Krys Runs: The Emerald Spire

2cd of Abadius (Session 55) The Emerald Root -> Fort Inevitable

And so the party fought Iluchtewhar tooth and nail. Through a bit of luck, the elemental failed to use his greater teleport ability when Chaaz and Invidia struck him with a flurry of powerful blows. Unfortunately for the party, the creature turned to dust upon his death blow and the dust scattered over the floor and rapidly retreated into the northern wall. Fortunate indeed that Avarita was out in the cavern to narrow down the direction it traveled.

Knowing that this could be bad, the party returned to the emerald root and slowly made their way through the spire using the Master Shards yet again and looked through the inner chambers of the Vault Keeper. When they returned to the innermost sanctum, they found the giant dragon statue humming with crackling green energy and infusing the partially re-created body of the Vault Keeper back to life. Unsure what to do, the party tried to halt the regeneration process by stopping the statue and killing the partially re-formed body. Luckily, turning the body to ash with a disintegrate spell did the trick. Iluchtewhar was finally, truly, killed and his death was marked by a terrible wave of raw energies traveling up through the spire, shattering large chunks of it off and devastating the rooms containing the spire all the way up to the very top of the tower, which broke off and crashed into the tower ruins.

For as dim and lifeless as the spire looked at that point, the spire transport tokens still worked, fortunately. While most of the party returned to the surface to escape, Chaaz and Axel stopped by the Law and Chaos floor to talk to the Axiomite. Standing next to a partially broken spire, the axiomite was surprised by news of their victory and thanked them for their help. They would make sure the Vault Keeper would not rise again and secure the lower reaches of the Emerald Spire for good.

With that squared away, the party returned to the surface and healed up, reviving the mad pech Eriniell in the process. While she was elated with the news of the Vault Keeper’s demise, the madness of the long ages of failed service to the vault keeper were not so easily wiped clean. The tiny earth fey was still convinced earth was evil and the party left her as she communed with the air for guidance. Of course, a level 10 sorcerer will likely be fine, especially now that she won’t think anyone touching the ground is possessed.

As they returned to the Fort, the party gave Abernard the final three maps in return for a small fortune in platinum and gold and the retired adventurer complimented them on their exploits, assured that their adventure must have been truly an epic tale.

And it was.

The party, adventuring fires unquenched, chatted long into the night about the grand adventures they could go on now that the Emerald Spire’s story has closed. Though they may not have fully realized it, the party had stopped a terrible disaster that would have befallen the River Kingdoms. The mad Vault Keeper’s plans to terraform wide swaths of the surface world and eliminate any races deemed unfit for the new biome were shattered. Though the days that followed, the spire dimmed and slowly become inert, the constructs shut down, the transport tokens and all the shards slowly lost their power as well. The unfettered magical potential of the spire that had attracted devil and lich alike is no more and nefarious forces can no longer tap its unlimited potential for their mad designs. Golarion is safer for their efforts and the tragic Vault Keeper, ancient and powerful, driven mad by his failures to form a new Vault, is finally at peace after aeons of being trapped in his own failed creation. What awaits the party now is anyone’s guess. But one thing is for sure: This unlikely band of friends have become true heroes. Their days followed are full of endless praise and adulation from the denizens of the Fort and their story is carried by ambitious bards far and wide, enshrined in story and song.

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2cd of Abadius (Session 54) The Emerald Root

In a hint of just how bloody frustrating he’ll be, Iluchtewhar teleported away the moment he declared he would enslave the party. Worried that he was preparing something quite bad, the party leapt into action and started opening up doors. Avarita found a strange, whispering stone behind her door but Quesh managed to find a giant stone golem in the shape of Iluchtewhar behind a separate one… with Iluchtewhar busily casting behind it. Ividia charged invisibly through the air at him but couldn’t interrupt him in time. His spell went off and the party was suddenly treated to the wall rippling like water just before a massive earth elemental charged through it.

The pile of stone certainly did its job of blocking the party off and Invidia found herself going toe to toe with the creature for a while until the party chopped through the unyielding mountain of rock. When the summoned creature was finally dispersed though, the party descended on Iluchtewhar with a vengeance, Invidia casually shattering his stone golem with a her characteristic flurry of strikes, unfortuately, with no allies left to damage, Iluchtewhar pulled out a powerful crystalline burst attack which tore through the party painfully… but most of them stayed standing. When Iluchtewhar noticed Chaaz forming the perfect weapon to get through his DR and that he was out of reinforcements, the elemental beat a hasty retreat, using greater teleport to vanish into thin air.

Knowing he’d hide and regain his strength, the party healed quickly and made an effort to search for him… but ultimately decided they would need to take this reprieve to better prepare for his tricks. That preparation being dimensional anchor. The party had 13 minutes of uninterrupted rest before setting off into the spire again.

Having already scouted the warped shining child from before, the party was more than prepared to attack when they kicked down the door and the warped, planar mutant didn’t last a single round before the violent, evil creature was cut down. The party briefly reflected on the strange, distinct crystal in the room before moving on, able to determine that the thing has the same make and energy of the emerald spire but… clearly distinct. Perhaps the seed of a new one? It would be hard to tell without a great deal of time studying it and time was something the party didn’t have.

The next room had a giant statue of a stone and crystal dragon dominating the southern end of the room. Though it was clearly an altar and there was clearly loot at the base of it, the party had little time to investigate deeply into it and moved on without even looting things. If you can imagine.

Next, the party inspected the strange room they had found the stone golem in. Without people trying to kill her, Quesh was about to tell that the map intricately carved on the wall was of Orv, the vast complex of underground vaults that housed perfectly preserved biomes filled with varying species. Only THIS map was far more detailed than anything the party had ever seen. Even an avid explorer of the darklands would kill for a map this detailed. With their curiosity piqued, Avarita inspected what looked to be the controls of the machine. The map lit up in response to the motion of the globes and when she pulled on a lever the entirety of the vault started glowing and a spectral image of a strange, tentacle-faced creature appeared in the funnel-like protrusion in the machine. The orbs then cycled through many, many different creatures until Avarita decided upon a weak looking one. As she pulled the other lever, the creature looked like it was resisting some kind of pull, making her come to the conclusion it’s a device for pulling specimens out of Orv. Curious, and downright amazing for scholars. But still.. a mad Vault Keeper was on the loose and they could scarce spend time playing with his toys.

Avarita also gloved a wall to spy a matching set of carnivorous crystals that the party could not Nope enough at.

Still on the search, the party went through the spire’s roots and popped up in a small, fungal cavern with rather violent plants. Though Invidia and Chaaz shrugged the smell of pollen off, Avarita, Quesh and Remnus all started hallucinating vividly upon inhaling it. Though there was some amusing screaming about snakes, the plants were chopped up quickly with barely any struggle and Quesh’s aura of purity ensured they would stop hallucinating while they cleaned up.

Finally, they returned to the alchemy lab to find a large section of it was walled off by stone. Figuring Iluchtewhar made a stone shape wall, the party used their OWN version of stone shape to punch through the wall. Unfortunately, Iluchtewhar was waiting for them, having heard them coming and was quick to cast spells.

We’ll come back to the fight for next week which will likely be our final session.

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2cd of Abadius (Session 53) The Emerald Root

Turns out the pech, a sorceress named Eriniell, had sort of lost it. It screamed that if you touched the ground then HE could control your mind. Confused and wary, the party all took to the air with magical means of flight, with the pech providing floating disks to people who had only a short means of flight. In its mad ravings, the party was able to pick up that the earth elemental fey had been under the control of the “Vault Keeper” for hundreds of years trying to “free” him, though apparently it failed. Also it went a little nutty. Though she raved at times, she was surprisingly helpful in explaining a bit of the layout of the floor, warning the PCs of a “cold place” and the “powerful stone” in the Vault Keeper’s lair.

While they extracted what information they could, the party moved on, floating disks under their feet, to the small room in the south where they had heard “scientists” were staying. As they entered the room, they found a shockingly expansive set of alchemy equipment and a trio of strange, tentacled, multi-eyed…. things. They all drank a potion the moment the party entered the room and took to slapping them with their spiked tentacles. Though they were quite punishing to melee attackers, Quesh proved that having need of sleep is probably the worst thing that can happen to you in this dungeon and dropped all three of them before they could become too big a threat.

With the… things dead, the party looked over the equipment in the room, discovering a few medical journals and pedestals full of what Remnus found to be called “Master Shards”. A quick look through the journal revealed them to give the bearer the ability to Earth Glide once through the Emerald Spire itself. While this gave the party the ability to go deeper, it did not, however, give them the ability to see or breathe while traveling through the stone.

Not wanting to risk things if they didn’t have to, Remnus touched a stone wall to prepare to excavate it. Unfortunately, as he prepared to use magic, Eriniell flipped out that he had touched the stone and quickly moved to kill him for fear of being mind controlled. Although the sorceress’ invisible stalkers were annoying, they were slain easily and Eriniell herself was subdued quite handily, but not before forcibly dragging all the air out of Remnus’ lungs and nearly killing him. Though tempted to kill her for the slight, he contented himself with rubbing her face in the dirt and storming off with the rest of the party as they prepared to use Master Shards on the spire’s roots.

Invidia, always the first to bust down the doors, traveled through the spire’s roots and came upon a large, supernaturally cold lake with six vicious looking, four-armed amphibian creatures in it. She sighed in boredom and proceeded to dodge every attack they threw at her while the rest of the party piled into the room. Avarita got to show off why weak-willed creatures tend to do poorly around her and caught the majority of the creatures in an illusory web, plaguing them with nauseating visions of spiders and sticky webbing. Most of them were caught fast and were helpless against the magic and the few that weren’t were cut down by Chaaz and Invidia before they could land any significant blows.

With the creatures dead and the party avoiding the frigid lake, Avarita spied yet another secret door. Immediately, she and Chaaz went through the door, spying a strange, statue room with a glowing green child made of light pacing around a large crystal. …Strange. The cavern continued onward for them and Avarita gloved the secret door… to come face to face with a strange, elemental rock-bug.. thing. He greeted her coldly and introduced himself as the “Vault Keeper” and suggested that he and the party talk. Wary, the party obliged and piled into the room to chat. The Vault Keeper had little patience for questions though and demanded answers as to what the surface knew of him, what the party was doing in the spire itself, and what creatures might make good minions. Unfortunately the party’s tendency to be evasive and questioning whittled the creature’s patience down quickly and he decided that he could just as easily get the answers he needed by enslaving the party and asking them when they don’t have free-will anymore.

We’ll see how that works out for him next week.

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1st of Abadius -> 2cd of Abadius (Session 52) Order and Chaos -> The Emerald Root

With the jamming mechanism disabled, the Inevitables wasted little time submitting a report to the City of Axis and soon the party was gathered at the portal, awaiting the inevitable Axiomite. It wasn’t long before a silhouette formed of shimmering, golden dust passed through the portal. No sooner did it stop than the silhouette formed into a flawless, unblemished elf with golden eyes. It greeted itself as an axiomite and the overseer in charge of the Inevitable presence on the floor. Though the party was quick to ask her to contact her godmind about going down, the Axiomite, all business, started walking towards the Protean portal almost immediately, its body dispersing into golden dust with each movement.

The axiomite explained that it was slightly surprised that the party wasn’t immediately tagged as threats to the Inevitables, given their desire to breach the wards to the lower floor. Indeed, had they not rescued the Inevitable from Floor 10 and gotten it to vouch for their assistance, that combined with the willing submission to submit to a Detect Lie spell and a promise not to breach the lower floor without permission, seemed to be all that saved the party from immediate conflict with the Inevitables.

As the Axiomite floated to the Protean portal and used Dispell Chaos, shattering the portal’s wild magics, the party made their case for going to the lower floor. Avaritia bluntly suggested that they should open the door and just let the party kill whatever scary thing was down there so they wouldn’t have to worry about it. Remnus pointed out that the party had defeated a myriad of powerful threats to get to this point, including Nhur Athemon which the Inevitables had been fighting against, and therefore would not be in danger of simply dying from whatever was sealed down there. Invidia diplomatically added that it would as easy for the party to destroy the Inevitables as it was for them to destroy the Proteans should they come to blows.

Unphased, the Axiomite explained that, with what information they could glean from their encounters, the entity is far more dangerous than the party thinks, possessing the ability to disrupt the very nature of the Material Plane for miles upon miles around. In addition, the creature appeared to be immortal and, thankfully in hibernation. While the party may have a shot at besting it in combat, its regenerative properties would likely make it win out in the end and, on top of that, why risk disturbing it when it’s in a hibernating state? The axiomite went on to describe its telepathic waves and its apparent affinity for the earth and its ability to control earth elementals.

Though the party suggested various other reasons they should be let down, Remnus provided the first hint of hope when he remembered a passage in Nhur Athemon’s journal suggesting that Klarkosh’s “clumsy tampering” was having terrible repercussions on the Emerald Spire’s route. While the Axiomite was unmoved by this revelation, Quesh had yet another stroke of memory and pointed out that Klarkosh had a Pech (a tiny earth fey) working for him, one who had mentioned something about “The Great Master in the Deep.” and how it served before.. and was now serving again.

The Axiomite was disturbed by this revelation, suggesting that its hibernation could have been disrupted if what the party said was true. In lieu of sending a contingent of Inevitables down, the party suggested that they could explore the lower levels instead. With this new information and the party willing to throw themselves into great danger with little to no provocation, the Axiomite agreed to let them into the lower level to stop the entity, on the condition that the doors are sealed up behind them. The party agreed, of course and returned to Level 12 to rest in the Oasis and get one last massage and breakfast from the automatons

As they prepared for what could very well be the greatest challenge they’ll face, Remnus hit on the idea of getting Klarkosh’s corpse from Fort Inevitable and ask it about the Great Master in the Deep. With absolutely no one questioning why Remnus was saving the dead body of Klarkosh in his basement, he and Invidia teleported to the fort and popped back to the spire with the corpse in tow so they could Speak with Dead the bastard. Unfortunately, he revealed very little. As it turned out, the pech was serving Klarkosh only because Klarkosh had lied to her about working for her Great Master and the pech cheerfully believed his lie and worked to chip shards off the spire for him. A real disappointment, but the party was prepared to go in mostly blind anyway.

After a hearty breakfast of +10 temp hp, the party returned to the great sealed doors. The Axiomite was already there, overseeing the Inevitables and was ready to open the door for them, briefly remarking on how the key was only supposed to work in the hands of an Axiomite. As it turned out, the keys “teeth” were only supposed to come out of the T-shaped bar if it was held by someone who had permission to unseal the wards. Unfortunately for the Axiomite, the time the key had spent in the Protean’s control had made the object grow tentacles in the exact shape the teeth were supposed to form. It frustrated the Axiomite, though it would have convenient had the party not gone a diplomatic route.

Regardless, the key was turned and the giant brass doors slid slowly into the stone to reveal a 1400 ft deep shaft that the Emerald Spire punched straight through. Not particularly wanting to climb, Avarita cast fly on most of the party and they descended down into the irregular cavern, stopping when the passage narrowed to a small, five foot gap in the ceiling surrounding the spire. It was there that the party peered down into the giant cavern from their vantage point of 50ft above it. The Emerald Spire itself took on several gigantic “roots” that snaked through the floor and punched into the walls, in addition, the cavern collapsed in the south end into a small pool of lava where a lone stalagmite jutted out of an island of rock. Darkvision also came in handy when the party spotted a duo of large, abberant beasts made of pure muscle and mostly having a mouth for a head. Identified as “gugs”, Quest explained that the brutes were native to dark places and could pack quite the punch if they hit. Of course, if the party had let giant beasts stop them before, they wouldn’t have gotten this far and they launched an attack as soon as the dancing lights let them see.

The first gug, withered by Avarita’s spells, missed the far more nimble Invidia pathetically and was cut down to size by her and Chaaz before he could even land a blow. The other gug was stunned by Remnus’ sound burst long enough for Quesh to put it to sleep with her hexes, making him an easy target for a coup de gras. Victory was short lived, however, as the stalagmite on the island suddenly formed a mouth and spoke in undercommon at them, telling them it was impressed by the display. Quesh identified it as a Roper, a type of cavern ambusher with a taste for interesting conversation.. .and flesh who was apparently stuck on the island, given a Roper’s very poor mobility. With the emerald spire exuding an aura on this level akin to a Ring of Sustenance, the roper wasn’t hungry and seemed more eager to converse with the party, rather than eat them. He suggested his favorite pastime: An exchange of information. He asks a question, then the party asks a question. Paranoid but willing to hear it out, the party agreed to the terms.

The roper, named Oorivoon, jumped right into questioning starting with why the party explored dungeons to which the party offered up a genuine answer. As the conversation continued (and boy did it ever) Oorivoon’s questions tended to lean heavily on the side of interesting philosophical conundrums whose answers tended to be more opinion than fact like: “How do YOU think magic is passed through blood with sorcerers?” or “What do you think would push a generally neutral person into being effected by an alignment based spell?”. Nothing particularly interrogating, but they certainly made the party think a little.

In exchange, the party found out some useful tidbits..
-The Emerald Spire was made by a being called a “Vault Keeper” who used some ancient and impressive form of earth magic to form the pillar of crystal in the earth
-The Vault Keeper had asked Oorivoon to watch over this cavern as a sentinel in exchange for answering questions on a periodic basis. The Vault Keeper broke that promise and thus Oorivoon wasn’t taking his duties particularly seriously and was immeasurably bored.
-In his time here, the roper had met a trio of strange, alien scientists that worked out of the room adjacent to the party, the Vault Keeper, the two gugs (who apparently served the scientists out of fear of torture), and a pech who apparently had gone a little nutty the last time they talked.
-The Vault Keeper is a Xiomorn. A race that pre-date the gods: primordial beings, with an affinity to the Earth and its primordial beings as well.
-Witch patrons are a mystery to even the witches that benifit from them. He’d heard tales of them being ancient spirits, angels, demons or even the lingering consciousness of dead gods. It’s up to the patron to reveal itself, if they chose to at all.
-He’s honestly kind of struggling with not eating the party.

The last answer had the unfortunate effect of the roper whipping its 50-foot long tentacles out and grasping the party, injecting the lot of them with a small dose of a numbing agent that drained a bit of their strength. Invidia charged the roper fearlessly but Quesh, once again, proved that anyone who needs sleep is not safe around her and put the creature into a deep slumber, a slumber which Invidia was all too happy to cast her own version of Permanency on.

With the roper SUPER dead, the party fished out a bit of loot from its gullet and moved on to investigate a strange perfectly smooth wall. Avarita scouted behind the peculiar stone dome to spy a lone pech on the other side of the wall, a pech that was hovering on a magical floating disk, oddly enough. Deciding that the wall is clearly the right way to go, the party Stone shaped the wall away and prepared to battle the pech. As soon as it saw the party though, the pech didn’t attack and instead pointed in horror at their feet and started to scream.

Did it see something in the earth the party didn’t? Is the floor becoming lava without the party knowing? Is it horrified by the party’s shoes?

We’ll find out next week.

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1st of Abadius (Session 51) Order and Chaos

Things started off with a bang as the party kicked in the door and Naunets, their game of tag rudely interrupted, cackled in glee and attacked the party with claw and tentacle. The party got their first taste of fighting Proteans and witnessed first-hand their ability to shape-shift into useful subtypes and cause confusion merely by striking their foes with their chaotic tentacles. The creatures attacked them viciously and sometimes through the walls, but spell and sword proved to be too much for them and good positioning and some luck ensured the party escaped with barely a scratch. Though the room, bizarre and recurring on itself, was curious, little of value was there and the party moved on.

As if they needed yet another reminder that the Proteans are chaotic, the next door they scouted turned out to have no floor or ceiling. Red swirling clouds that stretched into an infinite expanse instead replaced the natural rock that should have been there and the two Imentesh creatures in the room only made it more dangerous. Luckily for the party, magical flight is readily accessible now and Chaaz and Invidia were able to fly into the cavern and do battle with the floating creatures. Though they came perilously close to losing Invidia to a polymorph effect, the Imentesh were taken down swiftly before they could do any real harm, apart from a single negative level on Invidia.

With the Imentesh slain, Avarita spied yet another hidden door within the pulsating walls of the room. She opened it up to reveal a chamber of pure velvet and a variety of curious magical trinkets which the party was quick to purloin. Of special note were two strange keys prominently displayed on breathing pedestals. One of them turned out to be the now unneeded key to the skull box that contained the Book of the Damned. The other thing, a two-foot long tentacled bar with strange patterns on the end, was less obvious as to its function. But like any good PC encountering a strange but clearly important item, they pocketed in and went on their way.

Though they spied a giant, swirling maestro in the room as well, the PCs wisely decided not to screw around with it and left to the next room… which turned out to have an Inevitable in it. Surprised to see non-proteans exit the doorway, the Inevitable greeted the party, trying to pay no attention to the singing crystals surrounding the door. Remnus, curious about the crystals, extracted one from the wall.. and it kept singing nonsense words. As he pocketed it, the Inevitable talked with the party, quite pleased to hear there were a LOT fewer Proteans on the level now. He retreated back into the Inevitable’’s base to inform the others, leaving the party to open up the last room… the room with the Emerald Spire… and an Inevitable and a Protean sitting there in a stand-off. The protean, seeing he was outnumbered, fled backwards but ran right into Remnus’ army of undead. It wasn’t long before the insane serpent was surrounded and slain.

With the battle over, the party was able to properly inspect the giant, brass doors sealing the floor next to the Emerald Spire. Remnus decided to pull out the Comprehend Languages ioun stone and found that the runes covering the surface of the door said “Warning” in EVERY language in existence, including several unknown to the PCs or the world at large for that matter. Ignoring the literal warnings in literally every language, Avarita found a panel and poked it open, revealing what seemed to be a keyhole made to fit the bizarre tentacled item the party had found with the Proteans. Before they could shove it in the slot though, the Inevitable that was with them demanded the key back and that the party absolutely should not open the doors under any conceivable circumstance.

The party “took that under advisement.”.

As the Inevitables searched for a way to destroy the Protean’s portal jammer, the party was treated to the rest of the tour of the Inevitable’s base. They found the Inevitable’s portal, a large, gold-glowing archway attached to various pylons that sparked violently with magical electricity. The non-functioning portal was interesting, certainly, but the party wasn’t done with the tour. The “guest quarters” were their last stop and they opened it to find a trio of Caulborns (strange, hunched, insect-like creatures) and a man who looked half-metal with skin stretched out in a series of wicked looking, steel, black hooks, blades and spikes.

The ugly, ugly Caulborns greeted the party as curiosities but the strange man (a Kyton) got a whoooole lot more intimate with his greeting. He looked to Avartia, his stretched out mouth twisting into a fleshy smile as he praised fortune that they would meet. Though initially cryptic, the creature eventually revealed himself having once been Avus Falovir, of House Julia, Invidia and Avarita’s lost uncle, though he happily admitted to being much, much more now. Left with the prospect of dying alone in a magma cave, Avus, angry and cursing his hellknight companions and openly admitting he would do anything to not die in the cave, had apparently caught the attention of Aoz, Chaid’s Kyton familiar. Though he was vague about the deal he made with the hideously evil denizens of the plane of shadows, he apparently, in exchange for saving his life, allowed the Kytons to experiment with the family. Invidia’s brother was stolen, apparently for spare parts for Kyton’s bodies, and Avarita’s blood was tainted with a vile, evil darkness that gave her access to her supernatural magic… apparently for the sole purpose of providing Avus with a new body to assimilate into his own as he stared at Avarita with what could only be described as an unnatural and terrifying hunger.

The sisters didn’t need much more than that. Avarita conjured a burst of acid straight in her former uncle’s face. And before anything else could happen, Invidia soared to her former uncle’s side like a bird of prey and inflicted three utterly brutal hits, three of them nigh-artistic in how gracefully they pierced into the Kyton’s flesh. Her final attack saw her scimitar punch through Avus’ chest cavity and up to his heart, the twisted, malevolent creature not even able to sputter out a word before dying on her blade. Uncomfortably, the party got to witness his twisted body slowly stitching itself back together. Fortunate indeed, Chaaz could create a holy weapon with his magic and cut off the evil creature’s regeneration for good.

As if the scene wasn’t horrifying enough, Invidia recognized her brother’s face stretched out on Avus’ armor and mournfully took it with her, in the hopes of finding a way to resurrect him. Though the Caulborns were quite angry with having been splashed with acid, the brutal bisecting of their companion and Chaaz’s terrifying threats cowed them instantly into submission and they quickly ceased to be aggressive and meekly answered their questions, not that they learned much of what they didn’t already know from exploring the level.

With the grim business concluded, the party returned to the Inevitables who had just recently found the jamming device the Proteans were using and were making plans to destroy it. Wasting little time, the party flew to where it was, finding a small, serpentine skull with two tulips in the eye-holes, a circle of rocks surrounding it and a powerful aura of magic pulsing from it. Though resilient to dispelling magic, it was less resilient to being smashed with an adamantine sword and the Inevitables were as happy as emotionless robots could be.

With their portal unfettered, the Inevitables will report back to their Axiomite masters and secure the the wards to the lower floor once and for all. The party hopes to talk to an Axiomite and maybe secure access to the lower level. Unlikely as it is, we’ll find out if the Eternal City of Axis, bastion of pure law and ruled by the most powerful calculating intelligence in existence, will ignore their eons-old calculations now that five adventurers have shown up on a dungeon floor and just let them pass.

Next week.

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22cd of Rova -> 1st of Abadius (Session 50) Fort Inevitable -> Order and Chaos

Back in Fort Inevitable, the party was able to settle down and relax, finally. Remnus curled up with Nhur Athemon’s journal and read through it, letting everyone know a small summary of what it contained.

A gentle summation of Nhur Athemon’s Journal

Apart from that, with the undead gone the party was no longer under any real time limit and decided to take full advantage of it. With the weather getting cold, they decided they would stay in Fort Inevitable for a few months, craft magical items and improve their homes in their spare time.

Months came and went and the party funneled a great deal of their hard-earned gold into some truly spectacular magical items. Though the town was bustling and busy and its citizens poured adulation on them at every opportunity, nothing of note happened that the party is aware of. >.>

The Book of the Damned collected dust on a shelf.

Regardless, when Abadius 1st came around, the adventuring bug bit them again and they took the hike through the snowy echo woods to return to the spire yet again. The spire was as quiet as they left it and they hurried to level 14 and took the stairs down.

No sooner did they reach level 15 than an inevitable attempt to paralyze them and interrogate them. Though it wasn’t very friendly, hostilities did not immediately break out, especially when the inevitable they had called “Will” stepped in and told them the party was unlikely there to cause trouble. Though hostilities were lessened, they picked right back up again when the party announced their intention to go further down into the spire. The Inevitables told them, in no uncertain terms, that entry into the lower levels was strictly prohibited. The Overmind of the City of Axis had long ago calculated the best and wisest course of action to take with the lowest reaches of the spire and had decided that they were going to ward the doors and shut them for good.

Though they were vague about the exact nature of the threat, the Inevitables explained that the entity in the deepest reaches of the spire could introduce a massive amount of chaos into the Material plane, to the point where it could change the face of the world on a large scale. To keep this terrible agent of chaos in check, the Axiomites locked it away and sent a contingent of the Inevitables to eternally guard the chamber and prevent anyone from disturbing the entity. Of course, the Proteans could sense the powerful being as well and delighted in the thought of releasing an agent of massive change into the dull, peaceful setting of the Material plane and also sent a contingent through a planar portal to fu*k up the Axiomite’s plans. Both sides managed to sabotage each other’s portals and cut them off from any reinforcements, causing even the insane proteans to take a cautious stance to combat..

The Inevitables only agreed to allow the party into the level after they agreed to not attempt to open the door and to not assist the proteans. After they agreed, they were treated to a small tour of the facility. The power room, filled with magical looking generators and wires, was curious.. but the party didn’t even get past the storage room before Avarita’s absurd door-finding ability kicked in and she spied a sliding wall in their store room. Not even caring where it leads, Avarita opened it up and stepped right inside. Luckily, there were no threats inside the secret passage, but “Will” was AWFULLY concerned about the presence of a secret door that bypassed the Inevitable’s defenses and quickly took to guarding the door.

With no such caution, Avarita and the party went through the passage without fear only to appear in a strange, room made from two cylinders. The only thing in the room were two large glowing symbols. Sensing no HOSTILE magic, Avarita stooped down to touch one of the red glowing runes… and promptly turned male. Avarita promptly freaked out and, as she did so, Quesh calmly examined the rune and explained that anyone touching it would randomly shift into a new gender. Hearing that, Avarita immediately touched it three more times, shifting to a genderless form, back to male and then finally back to female with little to no change from before. Quesh then explained the other rune would similarly change your race at random and the party decided they’d really rather not screw around with that and moved on.

Avarita, female again, scouted out the next door to spy a trio of Proteans playing a rather shockingly violent game of tag in a room where the walls were clearly not solid and covered in green mist. Knowing that Proteans are insane, dangerous and unlikely to side with them, they prepared for combat.

Next week maybe we’ll have a game where my internet DOESN’T crash for half an hour. :|

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21st -> 22cd of Rova (Session 49) The Throne of Azlant -> Fort Inevitable

With Nhur Athemon dead, the party was left to lick their wounds and oversee the shattered remnants of his crystalline army. With the heat of battle passed, the party was easily able to spy a small button on the the arm rest of the throne which opened a final chamber. Inside, the party found a small room with an altar and a desk with varying spell components as well as a powerfully locked door, behind which was the stairs down. Of note though, were a large leather-bound journal written in Azlanti and dusty old music box which broke after creaking out a few final, sorrowful tones.

With the journal and it’s undoubted wealth of information in tow, the party climbed to the top of the throne room balcony and threw open the set of double doors… to find a powerful wall of dust and wind blocking the way. Various tests provided very little comfort to the group and it was ultimately a celestial outsider Avarita summoned that managed to get insight into the strange thing. A dark voice with the tone of a serpent-like hiss echoed through the room and bade the party to enter as the wind parted. They did so… reluctantly.

As it turned out, the voice was Abraxas, a demon lord to who Nhur Athemon had pledged himself. Through conversation, the party discovered Nhur had turned his back on his former master and sought to surpass the demon lord. Wishing to punish his traitorous follower for his hubris, Abraxas bade the party to fetch him the lich’s phylactery so that he may be utterly destroyed. Though they were reluctant to trust a demon lord, Remnus especially, they ultimately decided that having a god-like being destroy the lich’s phylactery would at the very least be more convenient than finding a powerful druid. Abraxas was given the clockwork heart and the demon delighted in smashing it to pieces.

For their help, the party was given a single wish from the demon lord which they, in a fit of stunning altruism, spent on resurrecting the dead Tiawask. The deed done, the party left the shrine with Abraxas offering them more wishes if they would do him favors. ….So that’s an option. Regardless, for a demon Abraxas was surprisingly true to his word as Tiawask was found alive and normal and Nhur Athemon’s tortured undead/living victims quickly decayed into skeletons with the lich’s soul no longer having power over them. Their souls at rest, the party returned to Fort Inevitable with Tiawask for some well-deserved rewards… and an amusing moment where the guards freaked out at Remnus’ brand new undead dragon.

As it turned out, the high mother had received a vision as the phylactery was destroyed and had already told the Lady Commander the Crowned Skull was no more. The party returning with the lich’s crown was all the proof she needed and the pair congratulated the party on saving not only the town, but likely all of the echo woods from the lich’s mad schemes. After receiving a mountain of both adulation and gold, the party breifly stopped by and visited Abernard Royst’s house to give him the map of the lich’s lair and subtly inform him of its powerful scrying chamber. The wizard paid the party well for the map and exchanged pleasantries with the group that had nothing at all to do with the politics of the town. Nope.

The session closed on Iliara being reunited with Tiawask in a tearful reunion. Paid yet again for their good work, the party settled down for a well-deserved rest… and plans to delve further into the dungeon…

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21st of Rova (Session 48) The Throne of Azlant

With the succubus fleeing as far as she could, the party was left with needing to be especially cautious as they pushed on through the level. The library was fascinating to Remnus as it contained a multitude of tomes, mostly of arcane necromancy. A few scrolls, and a blessed book were icing on the cake for the party. Even more conveniently, they found a small tome with all the Emerald Spire sigils they had found up to this point… including two they haven’t yet found. A potentially useful find to be sure. While the party could spent a fair bit of time browsing the tomes, they quickly moved on to the next room which looked to be a small divination sanctum. Unfortunately, it was housed by a strange phoenix-like creature who greeted them very rudely. Apparently interested in Nhur Athemon’s experiments with life, the planar being was staying here and assisting the lich. There was a moment where the party was ready to leave her alone until Invidia decided that this minion of Nhur Athemon likely deserved a good killing as much as all his other minions. and it was killed… quickly.

The room the Jyoti occupied proved to be much more interesting than the conversation though, as a little experimenting with it soon revealed that one could view any part of the river kingdoms merely by closing one’s eyes and thinking of a spot. While a person could easily spend hours here gazing upon the happenings of the outside world (which indeed it seemed like the Jyoti was doing), Avarita was quick to remind the group that the lich knew they were coming and that they shouldn’t dawdle.

The team quickly unlocked the next room with the key they fetched off of Lady Estrekan. Knowing that Nhur Athemon’s traitorous apprentices were in there, the party burst down the door and prepared for a fight. Though the crystalline magicians had some tricks up their sleeves, Quesh entirely eliminated their ability to use their most crippling spells and when they gazed at the skulls Remnus had been given, they were shocked out of their ability to summon support and were quickly felled.

Avarita scouted the next door as usual and spied some curious green, crystal mirrors in the next room. Assuming it would be some sort of puzzle, she entered the room casually… only to come face to face with the lich Nhur Athemon. His horrible visage was frightening but the party decided this was a day they weren’t going to let supernatural fear effects make them turn away. The lich gloated that the party had arrived just in time for his hour of triumph. Though it was a tad cryptic, Remnus didn’t give a damn what his hour meant and quickly asked if he could compare notes on necromancy with the lich. Nhur Athemon seemed to be well aware of Remnus’ desire, suggesting a level of information on the party that was a bit uncomfortable, and arrogantly declared that the cleric would have the honor of being taken alive… unlike the rest of his party.

That didn’t sit well with anyone.

Regardless, the lich quickly showed how little he cared for the party’s wrath and summoned up a small squad of crystalline soldiers. When the party assaulted him and soldiers they quickly found the lich to be surrounded by a wall of pure force that was impenetrable by spell or sword. While the team tried to figure out a way around the barrier, Nhur proved that there were PLENTY more of these crystalline soldiers they’d have to deal with… things were looking a little dire. But the party’s unparalleled knowledge of arcane spells and Avarita’s ability to cast Dimension Door quickly proved to be a saving grace as the party’s whirling blender of death, Invidia was ported to the lich’s side with her sister and Remnus, leaving Quesh and Chaaz to bravely fight off easily a dozen of the crystalline soldiers. Though the lich was certain his mere touch would paralyze the heroes, luck and timely dodging allowed them to evade his devastating powers and Remnus gave him a rather harsh reminder that he was still, technically an undead with an immensely powerful Heal spell. Indivia quickly made sure Nhur Athemon was reduced to dust and the party mopped up the crystal soldiers with only a few injuries to go around.

It would seem the scourge of the Crowned Skull has come to an end. Next week the party will finish up on this level and maybe find out a way to destroy the lich’s phylactery so that they don’t have to repeat this fight in 1d10 days.

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21st of Rova (Session 47) The Throne of Azlant

Starting things off with a bang, Avarita threw her sister through the air at the clockwork juggernaut with a magical spell. Invidia took full advantage and cut the clockwork monstrosity almost entirely to ribbons… but not before it could let loose a blast of super-heated steam on the party which caught several people in its blast. Though Chaaz effortlessly finished it off, he, Quesh and Avarita were singed quite thoroughly. Avarita was especially hurt by it, which made her quite angry. One might say it made her steamed.


cough

With the monstrosity broken, the party inspected the wreckage to find several curious items. One, its eyes appeared to be made of large, red crystal balls of a size to match the semi-conspicuous belt sockets in the room’s statues. The party put two and two together REAL quick and inserted the orbs in the statues to reveal the rest of the dungeon having been hidden behind them.

Of slightly LESS obvious use was a large, mechanical clockwork heart that ticked like a heartbeat and exuded supremely powerful magics. It was quite fortunate that the party inspected it and found the terrifying magics first lest the cursed artifact compel them to place it to their chests and have it replace their heart. With all the protective spells on the artifact, the party settled on “It’s probably a phylactery” before moving on with the dungeon.

Avarita happily scouted ahead of the group and the party was able to pick whatever encounter they wanted… and they started with a group of seemingly undead knights. Upon opening the bedroom a particularly nasty looking knight was standing in, the knights charged the party, screaming to attack and defend Nhur Athemon… except for the female knight who was revealed to be Lady Estrekan, the woman who slew Nhur Athemon in the first place. With a raspy, withered voice, she told them to flee and drew her greatsword. Several more knights joined in the fray the moment the lady was attacked, but the party handled the knights effortlessly and left them all in unconscious heaps.

With the combat over, Quesh casually instructed the swarm of insects she had summoned to fly to the corner of the room… inadvertently activating a powerful Prismatic Spray trap on the steps which blasted the swarm of insects into the plane of fire.
Better them than the party though, THAT’S for sure.

After making a note NOT to go on the steps, the party went to Lady Estrekan and revived her briefly so they could talk to her. Sadly, the lich’s vile magics made sure she made every attempt to escape her bonds and attack the party, even while she explained she knew nothing of the lich’s weaknesses and could not die unless her armor or the lich were destroyed. After knocking her out again, the party resolved to find a way to free the knights and continued exploring.

The next room they opened was… weird. It was just a hallway with what Quest could only describe as a “Time Vortex” at the end of the hallway. Most of the party wisely elected to stay the hell away from it, but Remnus was FAR too intrigued by it to simply turn a blind eye and bravely dashed into the room, stopping about fifteen feet in after noticing that he aged about 8 years. Shockingly undeterred, he continued towards the time vortex which shifted his age to a shockingly spry 21 years by the time he reached the portal.

Inside the portal, Remnus found himself half inside another space.. and spied a strange, human-like figure that was phasing in and out of existence. The figure revealed himself to be Togarin, one of Nhur Athemon’s apprentices who betrayed him long, long ago. The lich imprisoned his spirit in this time vortex and commanded his body to labor eternally for him. Begging Remnus to stop the lich from the blasphemous use of his body, he offered the cleric three skulls… knowing that whatever living creature Togarim’s body has become without his spirit, could never stand the sight of evidence of their deaths. He also informed Remnus that whatever blasphemous form of life Nhur Athemon was creating, its victim’s souls would be bound to him eternally until the lich’s death. Sadly, Togarim was short on other useful information like, say, weaknesses but Remnus thanked him all the same and returned to the party with his information and his new, youthful glow.

Ultimately, the party decided that they would keep exploring the level and soon found themselves at a library, face to face with two female sorceresses. Though they greeted the party pleasantly enough, NO ONE was fooled for a second by the strange presence of two attractive females in the depths of a dungeon. Though they had a rather comical exchange, the succubi dropped the act and attacked the party. Or they WOULD have attacked the party if one of them wasn’t immediately put to sleep by Quesh. Though the other tried to use her charm magics on Invidia, her will was a bit too strong and the succubus found herself wounded and facing certain death… luckily for her, succubi have a LOT of avenues of escape and she used ethereal jaunt to vanish in front of their eyes and make a quick getaway.

With the succubus roaming around, the level will be just that more dangerous. Will the party face her later on? Will they find Nhur Athemon and end his atrocities? We’ll find out next time.

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20th of Rova -> 21st of Rova (Session 46) The Pleasure Gardens -> The Throne of Azlant

The skeletal abomination, Murthok Huul was quickly felled by the party as soon as he rose out of the pit, though Remnus caught a rather extraordinarily painful Slay Living spell before it was destroyed. A bit of magical healing was all it took for him to be good to go though and the party went right back to the task of exploring the level. The first thing on their list was the floating platform and the seemingly endless pit that was right nearby. Stretching down as far as the eye could see, the party figured this was probably the way down to the next level and promptly left it for later.

The next room was a bit of a curious one: a natural stone cavern smoothed out and carved to act as a crude sort of museum judging by the odds and ends placed on the various stone pedestals. A peculiar helmet made from the head of a cyclops was one of the items on display which the party immediately took an interest in, what with the eye following them as they were walking around. Avarita managed to deduce the helmet was magical and suggested someone who was NOT her wear the skin of the horrible beast. Next on the list was a black cat who appeared to be sleeping on the pedestal and refused to wake up when poked. While Avarita stared at it curiously, Chaaz inspected the items for magical auras, finding most of them to be emanating something…

Oddly enough though, the strange, squishy brain on one of the pedestals stopped emanating magic without explanation. Had Quesh not pointed out that the beast was looking an AWFUL lot like an Intellect Devourer the party may have just brushed it off instead of stabbing the brain to death. Though it was resilient, the creature was felled before it was much of a threat, leaving the party to inspect the rest of the relics, finding the skymetal replica of a shark’s tooth to be probably what Abernard was looking for, and the cat to be a simple taxidermy cat enchanted to look like it was only asleep.

Moving on, the party found the body of a dead drow getting up to gnaw on them. Fortunately, their brush with death prepared them for what was coming and when the hellwasp swarm burst from the corpse the swarmbane clasped sword wielders of the party made short work of it with a little lightning support from Avarita.

With revenge finally theirs, the party entered the strange marble bathhouse to find two succubi lounging inside it. Rightfully paranoid, the party demanded information from them and for them to keep their damn distance. Noticing that they were carrying the sword of the extremely powerful guardian of the floor, the two demons wisely decided to retreat and teleported away with great haste.

With the floor cleared, the party ascended the spire again to return to The Automaton Forge for some well deserved pampering and relaxation. Invidia and Chaaz volunteered to return to town to gather supplies and sell loot., Remnus decided he was going to take on the monumental task of resurrecting the adult dragon the party had fought on Level 10, and Quesh and Avarita decided they would take on the difficult task of getting massaged and pampered by the magical servitors on that level.

And so they did.

The trip to town was uneventful, not that the Echo woods was particularly threatening to such seasoned adventurers. Chaid DiViri was eager to know of the trials of the spire, so eager in fact that she invited herself to come with them on the next trip. Not seeing any reason she shouldn’t, Chaaz and Invidia allowed her to prepare as they talked to Abernard about the relic and the payment for the maps. And what a payment it was. Pockets overflowing with wealth, the pair stocked up on magical reagents and fine foods before returning to the spire, Chaid in tow, eager to interrogate them about the spire. Though her presence was odd, it didn’t stop the party from relaxing in the spa yet again and enjoying a truly hearty meal prepared by the automatons before it was bed time.

When morning arrived, the party awoke refreshed and were greeted by a delectable spread of bacon, fruit, toast, jams and juice, prepared so well that they felt magically fortified for the trials ahead. And so off they went, back to floor 13 to figure out how to make the elevator go down. Luckily it was little more than Avarita standing on it and shouting ‘Down’. Fortunate indeed that everyone else was in range to hop on the platform before it descended the TWO MILES the shaft stretched into the ground. The party was at a very real risk of dying of boredom by the time they reached the ground and found themselves in front of a foyer with two giant imposing doors flanked by two alcoves bearing statues.

Tragically, one of the alcoves had more than a statue… it had the body of the wizard Tiawask… dead for months by now and killed by a magical trap that Avarita was able to spot. In the palm of the statue was a red ioun stone, the party identified as an Eastern Star Ioun Stone. Almost instantaneously figuring out this puzzle, the party had one of the zombies stuff the western star ioun stone into the opposite statue… only to have it be zapped by a slay living spell. ..Deciding that maybe the Western Star stone should go in the WEST statue, the party quickly switched the stones and slotted them into the statue’s palms, unlocking the giant bronze doors. Avarita, of course, scouted the door before anything could happen and spied a giant clockwork statue lording over four trembling, half naked humans that were chained to the floor in a kow-tow position in front of the statue, their eyes and mouths sewn shut.

Creepy.

Still, the sight did nothing to dissuade the party and Invidia pulled open the doors just as bold as you please. The statue turned its glowing red eyes towards the brash adventurers and loudly declared that they were trespassing on the demesne of Nhur Athemon, the lich and that they should prepare to die.

We’ll see how that turns out next week.

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