Zach Legacy of Fire

Kelmarane, Month One

One month after the destruction of the Daemon Xulthos and driving out of the Khulis Gnoll tribe, Kelmarane has been reestablished as a small settlement, though there is much rebuilding to do. Over the next several weeks a massive influx of immigrants have increased the population from dozens to hundreds of souls. Expecting this, Almah focused the majority of her resources in rebuilding housing with Sayid’s help and establishing farmland and pastures in the nearby hills. While severely depleting her treasury, the town is now relatively self sufficient. Some effort was put towards rebuilding the Temple of Abadar and the Monastery, but it will take more time (and money) to fully restore them.

There was a funeral for the fallen cavalier Zaeda. She had left behind a will and letter to be delivered to her Order in Katapesh City, along with the ring which was the counterpart to Mia’s slave collar. Since Garavel was going to travel to the capitol city anyway to deliver Almah’s report and secure loans and workers he would take the message with him.

Dr. Zorastan and Undrella got into an argument over ownership of the Infuseum, an alchemical device located in the Battle Market that could inject a potion directly into the bloodstream. The elven witch was screeching vile insults and Dr. Zorastan looked like he was going to have a heart attack. Fortunately the party (Sayid? Kharis?) intervened and convinced them to share the device and pool their efforts into opening a business. (Result CR 3 reward, working Alchemy Shop)

Aarak patrolled the lands around Kelmarane, focusing his attention on the ruined fort to the North where lights are seen at night. Upon closer examination there was no activity on the outside, so he led a group of adventuers into the place. They discovered the remains of a terrible battle, gnoll bodies torn apart and eaten. Strangely, many body parts, especially limbs were missing. After some searching, they found an trapdoor that led into a set of underground rooms whose walls, ceiling and floors were scrawled with maniacal statements of hunger. It was theorized that a group of ghouls (or worse) were trapped under the keep for decades with nothing to do but write on the walls. When the gnolls occupied the fort they opened the trapdoor letting the ravenous undead loose. Outside there were some tracks found, leading Northwest following the river.

About a week after Xulthos was defeated, Haidur the former emir of Inep, now fallen cursed with lynchanphropy, asked to see Kharis. What happened exactly was unknown except that the two got into an argument and Haidur tried to attack or grab the Sohei. With the help of the guards armed with longspears Kharis got out, though visibly shaken. Later in the following weeks, dead mangled animals were found outside of twon. Good tracking on the part of Aarak showed the killer coming to and from Kelmarane. After some investigation, it was theorized that another were-leopard was in the area. Using diagnose disease spell Kharis was soon found out to be the one. El-Nebi, the magical Katara Kharis took as spoils from Haidur, was apparently cursed to inflict Lychanthropy on its wielder.

During the next full moon Kharis and Haidur were locked up and chained in separate rooms in the battle market. They both changed and remained confined. Mia, using her Oracle trance power, received visions that the answer to curing the two laid to the north, in the desert country of Osirion. She dreamed of four pyramids made of green stone and then a huge pyramid appearing in their place. Her vision then went up the side of the structure and through a tunnel, blurring through corridors until it came to a large square room with an alcove where an ornate sarcophagus. The dream then took her inside the ancient coffin where she saw the linen wrapped form a beautiful woman, clutching an ornate crooked staff, whose green eyes opened and stared into Mia’s whose vision was suddenly hurled away. The Oracle was certain then that the staff was the key needed to remove the curse inflicting Kharis.

Another mystery near the end of the month, perhaps connected was the report of one of the new immigrant farmers was reported missing. Investigation showed that the most recent tracks wandered off from his field, stopping about thirty feet away from a tree. From it looks like the farmer just vanished. Looking around, A’b’da found a large vulture feather. There were Grier in the area, they could be seen now and then gliding about the mountains, but only a small person, a child or gnome would be in danger of such…unless it was a BIG Grier…hmmmm.

Earlier A’b’da, Alenor, and Surkin traveled to Katapesh City. Garavel had been sent there by Almah to report her success and secure loans to buy supplies and recruit workers and farmers to rebuild the town. The group did some shopping and selling the loot that the party had gained during their adventures. They also delivered a message to the deceased Zaeda’s order. In it her executer of her goods, including Mia, was her good friend Kaira, a cleric of Pharasma. Kaira is a beautiful silver haired human woman constantly accompanied by a silent human(?) warrior in black platemail, his features concealed by his helmet. After reading the letter, Kaira suspected something wasn’t right, as while it seemed written in Zaeda’s handwriting, the fact she wanted Kaira to sell off her property, including Mia, was out of character. The forgery was so good that local scholars could not detect any deception, only a master linguist like Surkin (was it Surkin?) could spot the tiny distinct flaws.

Later A’b’da and Surkin did some investigations of their own. A’b’da wanted to find out what happened to his tribe which was wiped out 20 years ago. He found a dealer of information who told him where to find one of his people, a slave that worked in a for a forbidden book dealer in the Dark Stalls. While there he talked to the man, and found out where his tribe’s territory was located. He decided to buy and take the slave back with him to Kelmarane with the intention of freeing him there. While in the bookstore Surkin found an beautifully engraved and illustrated book that detailed the legends of the battles between Sarenae and Rovogug. While interested, the 4000 GP price was out of his price range.

After returning to Kelmarane, along with hundreds of workers, farmers, hunters and two score of the pactmaster guard, the party reunited and decided to investigate the nearby waterfall that was rumored to be haunted. They discovered this rumor was not true but was the site was the home of a nixie sorceress who didn’t like her privacy intruded on. There was a fight, the fae using the territory to her advantage using her song to lure some of the adventurers into the water and then casting entangle on the plants to ensnare and drown them. Fortunately, once the adventures discovered the nature of their opponent they managed to convince the nixie to cease hostilities before anyone was seriously injured. After some tense negotiations, the fae released the adventurer’s she had charmed. She then told what knowledge she had of the ghouls, confirming they had gone Northwest and in that direction was an old dwarf hold.

It was decided then that since the ghouls were gone for now, that it was best to pursue Mia’s vision and take a trip to Osiron to the North.

Howl of the Carrion King, Aftermath

Kelmarane (A week after the destruction of the Kudris Gnoll tribe and the Daemon Xulthos)

LN hamlet
Corruption 0; Crime –4; Economy –1; Law +1; Lore –2; Society –4
Qualities: Strategic Location
Disadvantages: None
Government: Overlord (Almah)
Population: 34 (26 Humans, 2 Half-Orcs, 1 Half-elf, 1 Dwarf, 1 Gnome, 1 Elf, 2 Gnolls)
Notable NPCs: Almah, Garavel, Zorastan, Undrella, Ragnar
Marketplace: Base Value 220 gp; Purchase Limit 1,000 gp; Spellcasting 2nd
Minor Items 1d6; Medium Items —; Major Items —

Planned Monthly Activities by Players:
Aarak – Primary: Will patrol/scout around Kelmarane. Secondary: Investigate the Ruined Fort.
A’b’da – Primary: Travel to Katapesh
Alenor – Primary: Restoration of the Monastery of Sarenrae. Secondary: Patrol around Kelmarane. Alternatively might be traveling to Katapesh.
Kharis – Primary: Restoration of Temple of Abadar. Secondary: Romance!
Mia – Primary: Research, specifically on a cure for lyncanphropy to cure Haidar of his condition. Secondary: Administration, acting as a consultant to help restore the town’s Pesh Fields.
Sayid – Primary: Rebuilding Secondary: Romance!
Surkin – Primary: Travel to Katapesh City. Secondary: Entertainer
Zaeda – Has a funeral

What is happening with other notable NPCs:
Almah – Administration
Garavel – Travel: Almah’s majordomo will be traveling to Katapesh city to deliver Almah’s report of her expedition’s success to the Pactmasters. He will be securing loans to purchase necessary supplies and hire personnel.
Dr. Zorastan – Business: He plans on opening an alchemy shop in the Battlemarket Infusium.
Undrella – Business: She plans on opening an alchemy shop in the Battlemarket Infusium…wait a momment.
Kardswain –
Haleem -
Haidar – Currently locked up in one of the rooms in the Battlemarket, always with a guard outside his door armed with bottle of silversheen.
Ragnar –
The Falcon’s Legacy -

Day Five, The Temple of Abadar

With the final whispered words of “Abadar, balance this injustice…”, Halruun, the former head priest of the balanced scale, now an undead horror, collapsed under the furious blows weapons. His undead deathless state was taken away by Kharis’ bless spell and so was unable to rise again to destroy the living. With the way clear, the party descended the Temple’s inner stairs to the door, kept closed by the Pactmaster’s Interdict Seal. The key provided by Almah released the binding and the doors opened, revealing another set of stairs leading down into a large oval chamber, mostly bare of furnishings with the exception of a large gong against the wall. A set of formidable looking double doors led inward, perhaps to an inner vault area, while a inset well in the center of the room was sealed by a stone plug.

Surkin’s detect magic spell showed the gong, the plug, and the doors enchanted with transmutation magic. Kharis stepped into the room and rang the gong, which opened up both the doors and summoned four statue like figures, armored in gem encrusted gold armor and wielding warhammers and shields emblazoned with Abadar’s symbol. Kharis recognized them as guardian spirits often used by Ababdar’s Temple’s to guard its persons and treasures. Mia was able to determine through her knowledge of planar lore that the guardians were earth elementals enhanced by divine magic.

The guardians demanded the reason for the party’s intrusion, Kharis presented his holy symbol and identified himself as a servant of the Balanced Scale. The guardians recognized his authority and stepped aside, warning that the god’s influence did not extend down into the lower levels where the trapped corruption was held. The party then entered into the Temple’s central vault/crypt, a large rectangular chamber whose walls were inset with niches filled with a mixture of linen wrapped corpses and coffers which likely contained the former town inhabitant’s personal wealth. In the center of the room was a large ceramic urn bound by copper. Surkin cast another detect magic and showed that the only source of magic in the room was in the center of the urn. Aarak also found a secret door that when opened showed a corridor leading to another area, an inner vault that contained the Temple’s sacred treasures, including some magical items.

((Insert self critique – I should have spoken privately to Kharis’s player on what he knew about the Temple and whether or not taking anything would be considered desecration and then let him make whatever arguments and debate about the matter, not do it for him.))

There was some debate whether or not taking any of the magical items, especially if used to remove the evil in the lower crypts. The urn contained the ashes of the high priests of the Temple, sifting through it, no matter how delicately done, just to see what was in there that was magical might be be frowned on. It was decided then to leave the items be. The party took Halruun’s body from above and interned him in one of the niche’s. After saying the appropriate prayers and atonement, a sense of balance returned to the area and the source of magic in the urn transposed itself to Kharis’s pocket. This item turned out to be an Earth Elemental gem variant, most likely summoning a guardian version.

After that, the group descended down through the shaft into a lower entry area, the way forward into the lower crypts blocked by a rusty portcullis. With a mighty cry and surge of strength A’b’da lifted the gate up after a few moments of effort. The screech of protesting metal echoed through the complex. The party then moved into the corridor beyond, its walls inter spaced here and there with more niches, each with a corpse clad in rotten silk bindings. Just after the party entered the cooridor there was the sound of low boom followed by what sounded like Kardswain’s voice, challenging the Daemon Xulthos to mortal combat. The party hurried forward, casting spells in preperation for battle.

Before they could possibly help Kardswain against Xulthos several of the corspes lurched to unlife and attacked! The undead horrors moved quickly, slamming with iron like hands that sought out and in the case of Surkin and Mia got a hold of, the throats of their victims. At first they seemed easy to kill, a solid blow would knock them to the floor unmoving, seeming truely dead, but then soon after they would rise, whispering in Osirion “Join us…Join us in Xulthos’s embrace…” The sight of this was so horrible in sent some of the party into a panic, trying to escape by any means these terrible minions of the Daemon. Still, enough of the group were able to resist this fear, the blessing of Abadar continuing, that they were finally able to defeat the coffer corpses, Alenor even turning into a fire elemental to burn the foul things.

Meanwhile the sounds of a terrible battle continued, ending soon after the adventurers defeated the last of the undead. Having been warned by Mia, who used her Oracle trance to recieve hidden lore, of Xulthos’s reputation for trickery the party was dubious of what they were hearing. When they entered the final chamber the group was greeted by the sight of Kardswann standing over the half scorpion half dragonfly body of Xulthos. He exclaimed his welcome and thanks for their assistance for defeating the foul evil and offered them the treasures of the temple as a reward. Strangely, there was a pattern of hypnotic lights just in front of the doorway, catching some of the party in a trance like state.

Kardswain and the dead Xulthos was an illusion of course, the real Xulthos was hovering above, mostly out of reach of the group. However, Mia’s knowledge had revealed the Daemon’s weakness, blessed silver and A’b’da’s glaive and Kharis’s shuriken were prepared as such. So despite the Daemon’s ability to color spray and hypnotize the party it was never able to successfully reduce down the number of combatants enough for it to decend to kill the most dangerous (to Xulthos) of the group. Also, Surkin’s knowledge of illusions made its normal trickery more difficult, a well placed shadowspray weakened him, and the gnome even created a darkway ramp up to the ceiling enabling Aarak to try to get a hit in.

Fortunately (for the Daemon) it had an ace in that its charmed servant Kardswann had overcome Undrella’s sleeping draft and escaped his bounds, using power to turn ethereal to return to his master. He appeared in the corridor leading to Xulthos’s chamber, the entry guarded only by Zaeda who took the full brunt of the former Templar’s assult. Taken by surprise she was chopped in twain with one mighty hit (Critical large sized power overhand chop attack, ouch!!) and her brave leapard mount soon followed.

Xulthos ordered his minion to kill A’b’da, who was coming out of being stunned by the Daemon’s color spray. Alenor moved down to try to stop Kardswain but was felled as well by one hit. Fortunately for him, Mia had moved to the entry way after readying a Protection from Evil spell, hoping to catch Kardswain off guard and free the Janni of Xulthos’ influence. She had in her possession a vial of Golden Pesh, given to her by Ragnar. She fed this to the fallen druid and restored him to life. Xulthos, feeling more confident of his impending victory, was about to fly down and eviscerate someone, when Aarack nearly split his head open with a thrown axe. After that, the Daemon decided that it wasn’t worth killing the party himself, rather would leave that to his slave to do.

There was no one who could stop the Daemon, so Kharis used the Elemental gem to summon an Abdadar guardian, a Large sized version of the four guardians above. The Sohei priest commanded the Guardian to pursue and destroy the Daemon, the elemental using its earth meld to cut off Xulthos’s escape. A newly revived Alenor shifted into an earth elemental and followed and was able to get in one of the killing blows as the Daemon flew up the shaft into the entry chamber. Meanwhile Mia stepped up next to Kardswain and successfully cast her spell on him, freeing the Janni of the Daemon’s influence, thus preventing more deaths. With Xulthos dead and Kardswain finally freed of its infernal influence Kelmarane was truly freed.

Day Four, The Battlemarket continued.

Kardswain’s inner mental battle against the foul malevolence that possessed was the turning point in the battle. Ab’b’da charged off to beat back gnoll reinforcements and Sayed the Summoner arrived after freeing the slaves in the goat fields near the town. His powerful genie ally assisted Kharis and Haleem on the second floor while Aarak and Zaeda pounded on Kardswain to try and knock him unconscious. Surkin and Mia provided support, the gnome illusionist keeping the gnoll scout captain locked down with a hypnotic pattern while the Oracle used her healing magic to get her companions back into fighting shape. Alenor meanwhile, engaged the gnolls outside the market whom were providing the pugwampi firebombs, effectively taking them out of the fight.

By the time the gnoll subchief Uthok had engaged the party, the fight was nearly over. Kardswain was unconscious, the witch Undrella hovering protectively over his body. Surkin managed to avoid the gnoll’s wraith through more clever use of illusions. With the gnoll’s underlings were trapped in a pit created by Sayed, Uthok fought a loosing and ultimately fatal battle with Zaeda and Aarak. The remaining bugbear thugs had been disposed of with help of Reigor after one attacked Mia. The mysterious gnoll bard then vanished having apparently deciding the battle had been concluded to his satisfaction.

Afterwards, having gotten assurances from the few survivors that surrendered of their absolute loyalty to Almah and the Pactmasters, the adventures searched through the place. The found the remaining gear of the Lions of Senra, returning the property of the surviving members and other magical treasures which they claimed. Undrella offered a sleeping drought that would keep her lover unconscious for a day, much preferable than having his head bashed in every hour. Word of their success was sent to their patron and shortly Almah and Garavel arrived to take control of the Battlemarket. The rest of the day was spend moving the expedition from the Monastery and settling in.

That evening Almah told the party of Kelmarane’s true fate, that an evil had entered the town twenty years ago and had taken control of the populace, causing them to riot and attack nearby settlements including the Monastery. The Pactmaster guard had been sent in to deal with the situation and were able to seal the evil inside the Temple of Abadar but was unable to kill it truely. Now, twenty years later, according to the Pactmasters, the evil should have weakened enough for a team of brave warriors to be able to remove its taint permanently. They gave Almah a key to unseal the temple for this purpose, this same key she handed over at this time.

((As a side note, Garavel would have concluded his mythical tale about the origins of Rovogug the Destroyer, but I forgot))

The next morning the adventurers set out for the Temple, once they arrived they found the building in partial ruin, fire gutted, its interior filled with the bones of fallen clergy, townsfolk, and guardsman. They were greeted by an old caretaker, a seemingly harmless elderly priest of Abadar, dressed in the tattered yellow robes of his faith. His true form was soon revealed, some sort of undead horror, cursed by his deity to suffer throughout his remaining days. It summoned bloody skeletons out of the ground and attacked the party, its foul aura regenerating itself and its minions, getting up again and again. The group was able to destroy it after Mia came out of her Oracle trance with knowledge that blessing the area was key to finally winning this battle.

With that the party searched the ruin, discovering a stairway that led down to a sealed doorway…

Day four, The Battlemarket!

((Notes from 04/30/11 game))

The party returned to the Monastery in the early morning hours of day four after their defeating and capturing the were-leopard Haidir. After the mercenary leader was secured in the catacombs, Almah decided that his gear would be best be used by the group until his fate was decided. She also mentioned (but the GM forgot) a reward of 500 GP for dealing with Haidir and another 500 gold once the Shrine was fully cleared. Doctor Zorastan also gave Sukin two potions of Fox’s Cunning in gratitude for bringing back a sample of the Breath of Nethys which allowed the elderly alchemist to advance his knowledge (lvl 4). Surkin also discovered that the walls of the shrine were inscribed with mystical writings dealing with destruction and creation magics. (The Shrine acts as a spellbook that can be copied from containing all PH 1st-3rd lvl evocation and transmutation spells.)

After briefing their employer and dividing the loot, of note Kharis took possession of En-Nebi, Haidir’s shocking Katara, the party rested. It had been decided, considering events that had occurred the day before, to infiltrate the Battlemarket in an attempt to rescue the remaining Lions of Senra. During this break, one of the mercenaries on lookout spotted Gnolls in Kelmarane setting up wooden platforms on the upper level of the Battlemarket. Also there was a large group of gnolls searching through all of the Kelmarane buildings.

Around noon, after resting (welcome to lvl 41), Surkin decided to take his lunch in the open air shade of the Monastery courtyard. He heard an avian scream of rage overhead. The mother Grier had returned and was enraged by the discovery of her nest having been plundered, her eggs missing. Surkin was the unfortunate target of her wraith, screaming down to nearly bite the gnome illusionist in half. Fortunately, the diminutive mage was able to use his illusionary magic to create a phantom foe to distract the berserk bird long enough for help to arrive.

Alenor and Kharis quickly showed up, the druid shapeshifter changing into an earth elemental to travel through the ground and the Sohei boosting his speed with his ki. Aarak was nearby as well and between the three of them dispatched the bird quickly. Alenor decided to butcher it to examine its structure to increase his knowledge of animal forms. Shortly afterward, the lookout watched the gnolls searching the town find someone and drag him back to the Battlemarket.

That afternoon, fortified by Endure Elements magics against the intense heat of midday, the group set out for Kelmarane, disguised as merchants with a borrowed cart pulled by a draft oxen. On their way, the party saw catapults being set up on the newly made platforms and that their ammunition look like some sort of large wicker balls, perhaps pyrotechnic in design.

The adventurers cunningly used the butchered body of the vulture to distract the Dire Boar whose lair was right next to the street they would have to travel through town. While the beast was feasting, Surkin cast detect magic and then used another spell to vanish, bravely going into the boar’s domain to recover some magical items, a cloak, a urine soaked scrollcase, a wand, and a potion. Fortunately, “Old Bonegrinder” as the dire beast was known, was two distracted by the vulure’s body to notice the intrusion into his domain.

The party eventually reached the guardpost outside the Battlemarket and seemed to bluff their way in without any problems. While on alert, the gnolls seemed eager to for new merchants to show up. The group then entered and was greeted by a scrawny goblin dressed as a jester, who “eagerly” led them into the central area to be announced. There above the central circular stage, dangling by his wrists from a chain leading up to the roof, was Felipid. The hapless bard of the Lions of Senrae was being tortured by lowering him down to the snapping jaws of three hyenas then jerked back up before they could get more than a few painful bites in. Up above, sitting on three thrones, were Kardswann and two gnolls, shouting questions down at the prisoner.

After the party was announced, Kardswann halted the interrogation commanding Undrella to tend to the bard’s injuries. The slave witch flew out to Felepid and pulled him over to the second level, both of them disappearing into one shops. Surkin introduced the group with a flourish complete with a gonging sound, which was actually the Chime of Opening employed by Kharis to open a door that led to the cooridor where prisoners were supposedly kept. The gnome illusionist kept up the deception that he was a merchant and entertainer with his assistants, guards, and slavegirl. This caught tho Jani’s interest and he demanded entertainment. While Mia danced provocatively with Surkin backing her up with colorful illusions (to quote Megamind “Presentation!”) the rest of the group used this distraction to move about.

A’b’da and Zaeda shifted their positions in between the two entertainers and the nearby tavern, the three bugbears and ogre getting more and more riled and “boisterous” as the dance went on. Of note, their was a well dressed and equipped silver furred gnoll sitting at one of the tables whom seemed to know Mia whom was later learned to be called Ragnar. Meanwhile Alenor moved the ox cart out of the way and then prowled around the shops, noticing that there were only 3 of the twelve(?) stores that were in use, the remaining filled with junk and miscellaneous supplies.

Aarak and Kharis meanwhile used the wagon as cover, followed by the distraction of the dance, to move into the corridor to try to find any prisoners. They only heard noise behind one door which belonged to the room Haleen was confined in. Aarak managed after a lot of work, to jimmy open the lock with a dagger. They found the sworddancer in good health but with no equipment and an enchanted slave collar around her neck, similar to the one on Undrella. This would warn Kardswann if Haleen moved far from her room. Kharis decided that they could at least arm her, sneaking back to the wagon and getting the masterwork scimitar the group had found in earlier adventures.

By this time, the ogre Harvouk the Strangler had moved up to the stage, staring at Mia with near uncontrollable lust, seeming unperturbed by Zaeda, Alenor, and A’b’da blocking his path. Kardswann, perhaps seeing this and being amused by the possibility of more violent and depraved entertainment, commanded Surkin and Mia to stop and instead for Harvouk and A’b’da to fight, the winner “getting” Mia as a prize. Zaeda, whom was currently in negotiations with Almah over the slavegirl, objected to Mia being “watched over” by the bugbears while the fight occurred. Ragnar offered to watch instead, which led to a brief interchange between him and Kardswann. Apparently the two knew each other, Ragnar expressing the opinion of the dismal state of his tribe under the Janni’s leadership.

Zaeda, perhaps in misunderstanding, objected to this new arrangement (despite Ragnar’s attempts to magically influence her), escorting Mia to the opposite side of the platform. Kardswann lost his patience at this point, commanding his minions and “honored guests” to kill the adventurers, with a reward of 500 gold for each body. A battle started immediately, with Kardswann and Ragnar mostly watching making various commentaries while everyone else fought for their lives.

During the battle Surkin used his illusions of umbrellas, bunnies, and naked dancing girls to impede ranged fire from the balconies, even fooling two gnolls to fall to their deaths after they foolishly tried to grab said illusionary bare flesh. He locked down with a hypnotic pattern a particularly skilled gnoll archer whose feet was able to stick to the walls by some means. Surkin also used the shadow and color spray spells to disable the hyenas when they were set loose on the party. Nearby, Mia used her Euphoric Cloud spell twice to keep the bugbears and other tavern goers out of the battle and healed when necessary. She kept A’b’da alive after the barbarian kept getting hit by arrows and then almost burned to death by fire bombs (with a living pugwampi inside) dropped on the group by one of the gnoll sub-chieftain’s forty feet above.

Meanwhile, Kharis, Aarak, and Haleen wiped out the gnolls in the guardpost at the end of the prison corridor. Kharis and Haleen then moved up to the second level to try to rescue Felipid. While doing so Kharis used the Chime of opening to free Undrella of her collar. The elven witch had returned to the air at Kardswann’s command, casting a web spell on the party fighting the orge wrestler and hyenas. The release of the collar apparently made the dark skinned slavegirl to change her allegiance somewhat, instead of using her Chill Touch spell through a spectral hand, she cast cure spells to heal the A’b’da’s mighty thews, and Aarak as well.

Speaking of the dwarf barbarian-scout, Aarak, after dealing with the guard post moved out to the central area (forgot that door was locked, GM retcon: he broke it down with a lucky roll) and challenged Kardswann to combat. The Janni eagerly accepted, enlarging himself and flying down to strike the brave dwarf with his Bardiche with a tremendous overhand chop. Aarak wisely stepped back into the corridor and drank a healing postion, forcing Kardswann to move down in normal melee range. The dwarf then took a nearly mortal strike, staggering him.

On the other side of the arena, A’b’da and Zaeda fought and killed Harvok the strangler, followed by a single bugbear that wandered out of Mia’s Euphoric Cloud. They weathered the pugwampi firebombs and web spell, Zaeda armor and shield proving quite effective against the arrows fired from above. They and Mia moved around the arena’s stage to go help Aarak. Alenor used ability to shift into elementals to innovatively deal with these developments, first changing into a water elemental to douse A’b’da when his clothes caught fire, and then as a fire elemental to burn a path out of the webs, and finally as an air elemental to fly up and to try and push off the gnoll throwing the firebombs. He wasn’t initially successful but stopped him from tossing a forth bomb.

Before his friends could possibly save him from a final blow from Kardswann, Aarak felt the spirit of Vadishal, Templar of the Five Winds, servant of Nephysti well up within him. With a voice tinged with a spirit not his own the dwarf started to admonish the Janni. He could not believe how low his brother in arms had fallen, how he could let such a fell influence corrupt him so. Aarak’s words were not enough, it took also Surkin, Zaeda, A’b’da and then finally Ragnar to break through to Kardswann, who gasped out pleading to be rendered unconscious so that the evil beneath the Church of Abadar could be destroyed thus freeing him.

Upon hearing this Undrella begged the party to save her lover, realizing his change of manner was not his fault. Meanwhile Ragnar finally “convinced” Mia to come over to him, his goal apparently throughout this entire fight, casting a heroism spell on her and giving her a small flask of Golden Pesh, a valuable and perhaps life saving resource. Upstairs, the surviving gnolls moved to engage Kharis and Haleen and enemy reinforcements were heard coming from outside. Though Kardswann seemed neutralized, not fighting, and many of the enemies dead or dying, the fight was far from over.

Night Three at Kelmarane (Cont)

After the battle with the sphinxes, Mia came out of her Oracle trance with the knowledge with how to bypass the wards on the door with the 4 statues. She did so with no problems, which was good because if the party had tried to force the doors the statues would have shot for gouts of fire, cold, acid, and electricity. On the other side was a large room whose walls were covered with arcane scripts and the floor covered with a while mist which seemed to spill out from an altar at the far end. Hovering above altar were the shifting forms of 3 voidworms, servants of the mad god Nethys.

Mia approached the altar and the voidworms swirled around her, while doing so they whispered secrets and answered questions. She discovered that Haidir was somewhere in the Shrine and he was curable, but not by any means at the Temple. She also was able to open a secret door that led deeper into the Temple. She entered the passage and the rest of the party tried to follow, but the voidsnakes moved to try to stop them, filling the room with an obscuring mist. Mia meanwhile followed a passage that led to an open cavern with a large decrepit barge floating in air with the remnants of ancient magic. Yellow mind numbing vapors issued forth from cracks in the floor, confusing the senses with hallucinations.

Haidir was there, in human form, clearly mad from the mists, raving that with his new powers he would reclaim his legacy as the Falcon Emir. Yesper was there as well, slumped up against the wall. Mia tried to sneak over to pull Yesper away but wasn’t quiet enough for Haidir to hear and rush her. For a momment it looked bleak, Haidir had the slavegirl gripped tightly and perhaps intended to infect her with the lycanphropy however he was interupted by the arrival of Aarak who had made his way through the mists and the voidsnakes.

The rest of the group arrived soon later, the voidsnakes unable to physically stop them and a battle raged, Haidir transformed into his hybrid form, and fought with his golden Katara and and madu (a spiked shield). Though monstrous in strength and skill, the mists and his madness kept him from fighting to his true untouchable perfection. Still, he was quite dangerous, dropping Aarak in a series of blows, then doing the same to (someone else, forgot :P). However, thanks to the foresight of getting a bottle of silversheen from Zorastan and applying it to Ab-ba-da’s Halberd, the party was able to overcome their opponent.

Haidir was not dead though. The party decided to leave his fate in the hands of Almah and took him back to the Monastery. The Merchant Princess decided Haidir was worth more alive than dead and ordered him secured in the catacombs.

Night Three at Kelmarane

((Summary will flesh out later))

The party left town after taking out the gnolls at the SE guard post. When they arrived at the shrine they were greeted by Sayid (new character) and Dakashi who informed the group that Almah needed them back at the Monastery because of strange goings on. Just after this, Kardswain, the Orge sized Janni leader of the Kelmarane gnolls, flew up on top of the battle market and started shouting out threats, while having his minions torture one of the Lions of Senra. The party debated what to do, either head back and attack in force, or try and draw out a force with an obvious distraction, or try something more sneaky. However, before they decided Kardswain apparently lost interest and told the gnolls to kill the unfortunate prisoner.

The group then headed back to the Monastery, arriving in early evening. After discussing events with Almah and Garavel it was concluded that someone in the expedition, most likely one of the mercenaries, was a Were-Leopard. They made a plan to separate out everyone in different rooms, to try to contain the beast if it revealed itself. However, in the middle of the night, the watchman looking over the town noticed a group of gnolls leading a prisoner out into the Pesh fields. Deciding that this merited action, the party left the monastery and sallied forth. They defeated the gnolls and the huge dust digger they had attracted by pounding the ground, successfully rescuing one of the surviving Lions of Senra, a cleric of Abadar named Oxvard. He had been lamed by the gnolls and could not walk.

The adventurers returned to the monastery to find a scene of a recent battle, in their absence the Were-Leopard revealed itself as Haidir the leader of the Falcon Legacy Mercenaries. Apparently he had left his room and went down into the laboratory, pilfering potions. When confronted by Almah and her guards they got into an argument and he changed into his “true” form. Garavel and her loyal guards managed to keep him from killing or taking Almah but was he was seriously wounded and one of the guards killed. Haidir, for reasons of his own, took one of the mercenary women, Yesper with him. Zorastan confessed then that he had been trying to help the man, but thought he was inflicted with a mental illness and not lycanphropy.

The party tracked Haidir back to the Shrine of Nethys, finding the blocked entrance to the lower level pulled upward, presumably by the potion enhanced strength of the were leapard. Heading down the shaft they came out into a room with four statues on each corner and a set of magically locked doors to the south. There was a small passage to the west which they went down, coming into a room guarded by 4 animated wooden sphinxes. The group managed to destroy the constructs and then looked around, but the room had no apparent exits. Somehow, someway Haidir had managed to get deeper into the complex but how?

Day three at Kelmarane

The next morning, Alenor changed into a bird and flew over the town, doing some scouting before circling around to report the group’s progress to Almah back at the Monastery. He saw nothing unusual in town, but spotted to the north an area of grass covered hills where the gnoll’s goats were herded. Perhaps more interesting he found to the south of town a make shift platform, about twenty by twenty feet wide. Next to it were two large logs with straps (battering rams?) and splotches on the gritty sand leading away from the platform that might be dried blood. After his fly by he arrived at the Monastery to give his report.

While Almah was pleased that the group was whole after their fight with the demon and snake, she was concerned about their pace and ordered them to step it up. The reasons for her irritation was that one of the Falcon’s Legacy mercenaries, Brotis was killed by a monstrous spider that apparently was hiding in the rafters. Also, a pugwampi had shown up and was causing all sorts of havok, the place was in a ruckus as people tried to locate the evil gremlin and deal with sabatage and chaos it had caused. On his way to visit Zorastan, Alenor passed by Dakashi who apparently had misplaced his dead pugwampi good luck charm. Nothing was said, so the druid went on down to the laboratory. Doctor Zorastan was pleased with the snake’s head Alenor brought and traded some more potions for the gruesome remains.

After Alenor returned to the shrine and the party had finished praying and meditating (congrats on level 3!), the group set back out for Kelmarane. They decided to investigate the building, an old mill across from the tannery, where the goat had been shoved into, apparently in offering or tribute to some fell creature within. This proved to be true as the group woke up and fought a mysterious yet terrifying Peryton, whose shadow would twist about and seek a victim’s, filling them with fear and making the creature’s attacks more effective. While it was effective with its hit and run flying tactics in the beginning, its fate was sealed when Surkin got close enough to cast a color spray which knocked it out of the air and made an easy target for Aarak’s magic axe. In the thing’s next, the group found a magical longsword (+1) and a ring of jumping.

After healing up the damage the Peryton’s sharp antler’s had caused, the party layed in wait for the gnoll patrol to show up. Another color spray and slaughter later, the group had four more dead humanoids on their tally. Aarak chopped off their heads and wrote on the mill wall, “Leave now or else!” in a threat to the remaining gnolls, hoping to make them afraid and jittery.

The party then walked across to the road to the tannery, entering the building wary but willing to talk with whomever inside. Inside they encountered Undrella, a beautiful if scarred and unwashed elven slavegirl. She had dusky dark skin and sun bleached hair. The slavegirl spoke strangely and was immediately attracted to the mighty hews of Ab’b’da, claiming that her cruel master, the genine Kardswain often whipped and raped her and pleaded with the handsome barbarian and his companions, including the cute gnome, to kill the evil man and free her. According to her tale (though some of the group found this dubious), she and her mother had lived in Kelmarane for 15 years, peacefully living their lives as alchemists until the gnolls moved in and captured them. Her mother was killed (she wouldn’t say how) and Undrella was the gnoll’s slave till Kardswain showed up and killed the former gnoll chieftain. After taking over the tribe, the genie took Undrella as his concubine and was kind to her, but for the past couple of months has become cruel and evil, mistreating her terribly.

Undrella wore a heavy almost intoxicating perfume, which she traded a bottle to Mia for some jewelry. The collar she wore was locked, reinforced with magical arcane lock and a status spells. Also, one of her cauldron’s was magical, apparently legacy from her late mother. Undrella claimed to have a key to the battlemarket’s back entrance, but wanted the head of the snake that the party had killed the day before. She was VERY disappointed upon hearing the news that the snake’s head wasn’t available, but appeared to appease her hurt by stroking Ab’b’da’s chest and arms, smelling his scent. The group promised to return to her for the key when they were ready and left the tannery, deciding to take out one of the guard posts over looking the east side of town.

While Alenor circled overhead in bird form, the party approached under the guise of a traveling merchant and his slavegirl prostitute. Mia sang come hither songs in gnoll, distracting the gnolls at the post long enough for the party to get close. Alenor attacked the guard on top of the post, taking him out. He then prevented the gnoll’s leader from setting off an alarm. Among the gnoll scout leader’s possessions was a +2 STR Composite Longbow. Outside the group fought two gnolls and four hyena’s and with magic and force of arms overwhelmed the bestial humanoids quickly. Afterwards, Aarak chopped off the gnoll’s heads, laying them outside and painting on the walls with their blood, “All gnolls must die!”, continuing his terror tactics. Deciding that enough was done for the day in town, the party returned to the Shrine of Nethys to make another attempt to move the stone blocking the way to the lower level(s).

Day two at Kelmarane (continued)

After clearing the first floor of the Shrine of Nethys, the party decided to set up a watch post on one of the outside statues to keep watch over the daily goings on in Kelmarane. As a precaution, Surkin maintained an illusion to conceal the post while Zaeda’s feline mount patrolled to keep wandering animals away. The watchers observed that a varied group, usually 4 gnolls and 2 hyena’s would patrol through the town every 2-3 hours. Once at around noon, the patrol led a goat to one of the buildings across the river. They shoved the goat into the building and left. Twice the patrol stopped at the old tannery where the alchemical smells were coming from, apparently dropping off and/or picking up small items. At other times during the day, a group of more heavily armed gnolls threw chunks of meat and slop into a ruined building on the East side of town. For whatever reason, all of the gnolls avoided the Temple of Abadar on the southwest of town, skirting around it as much as possible.

That night, while Surkin, Mia, and Zaeda were on watch, Surkin fell asleep and was awakened to a fearsome growling sound, looking up he saw silhouetted in the moonlight the terrible visage of bestial humanoid holding up a squirming goat. As the gnome illusionist watched in shock, the thing ripped the goat in half and threw the blood spewing remains at Surkin, splattering him with hot blood. The monster then pointed a clawed finger at Surkin, perhaps in warning or threat, and then left, disappearing into the night. Investigation the next morning showed varied tracks giving evidence to what the gnome witnessed, large feline feet that alternated between bipedal and all fours. Curiously, also mixed in were traces of a similarly sized individual but wearing boots. The remains of the pure white goat appeared to be that of Rhombard, the young white goat rescued from the pugwampi days earlier. Was this him or that of another animal?

Mia smacked Surkin for sleeping on the job. Zaeda was tight lipped about the whole affair. The rest of the night passed uneventfully.

Day two at Kelmarane

Early in the morning of the next day, while it was still cool, the adventures set out for Kelmarane. They decided to avoid the open Pesh fields and come in from the East, after crossing the river. After entering the town they discovered evidence of some sort of patrol and set up an ambush. To perhaps everyone’s surprise it turned out to be a ram headed demon wielding a halberd. The fight was tough, the demon nearly killing Ab’b’da after goring him from a leaping charge off a building. The brave barbarian might have been finished off except the fighting woke up a sleeping giant mamba, the huge snake biting and constricting the demon out of existence. Before the angry reptile could do the same to another, Surkin managed to stun it with a color spray and the rest of the adventurers killed it with a series of brutal melee attacks, including Ab’b’da who had been revived by Mia’s healing magic.

Afterward, concerned that the Demon’s howl might have raised an alarm, the adventurers withdrew to the hills to the East and after some searching found the abandoned Shrine of Nethys. The plan was to use the structure as a base, so as to keep suspicion off of the Monastery. Outside, the group found evidence of animal tracks going in and out of the structure as well as the strange ones that had been found earlier at the Sultan’s claw. Inside, there was a room with two pools of water, magically refilled by lingering magic. This room was also filled with columns and was the hunting ground of four monstrous spiders who attacked the party but were killed in turn.

The group continued to explore and search, discovered a small trove of treasures under a stone in the floor. Further in they found the way down to the lower levels, a large circular block that rose up and down a shaft like a elevator. The mechanism however was broke and the block was shifted and stuck in place and no amount of effort could shift it. There was evidence there of something with claws trying to do the same thing earlier and well as dried black slime that was identified as being from a strange aberration known as a choker.


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