Thursday, December 29, 2011
Our heroes, freshly rested (and increased to level 2) in the mushroom home of the Interdraconic Thaumaturgy group of the Cormyrean War Wizards, awoke to find that two of their members were not well. Both Art Zoe/Jenn and Praxis/Lisa had suffered negative reactions to the combinations of mushroom spores in the area, leaving them in a somewhat zombified state (reflecting the fact that Lisa & Jenn couldn’t make it this game). IT Wizard Moss suggested that the effects might end on their own, or they might be permanent, or there might be a dwarf at Forgehome who could brew up a cure… but as long as they were in effect, the ailing characters would be able to do little more than take directions to move. Fortunately, Kerath/Mike had room on his floating disk, which went the whole adventure at its 500 lb limit carrying Art, Praxis, and the crystalline stasis matrix that held Kyone.
Heading off into the Underdark with reasonably decent directions to Forgehome, the party engaged in a montage sequence of threats embodied in a skill challenge, where acidic moss, tunnels of inconsistent gravity, poisonous gas, heavy rubble, and a warband of Quaggoths were dealt with in one fashion or another. Then they happened upon some strange slime/slug “things”, which appeared to be breaking down detritus in the caves to component nutrients. As the party tried to figure out this bit of Underdark biology, they were attacked by Shadowhunter bats and a large vine monster that seemed like it was feeding off the slime from the slug things.
Nulath/Casey went to town in this fight, landing the killing blow on each of the three non-hazard enemies… and even had a moment where she critically missed the last foe, then called upon an inner bestial rage within her to reroll (and crit) said monster. The party realized that they were being watched, though, and quickly found two accomplished minotaur travelers, Mr. Krup and Mr. Vandemaar, who were on a sort of pilgrimage/mission to gain favor with their god Baphomet. Not wanting to be rude, Nulath sat down to chat with these two, who believed the rest of the party to be her slaves or hirelings. The delicious stew Mr. Krup was cooking turned out to be made of a Drow raiding party that the pair had just slaughtered, and while some were upset by this, at least a few of the party members sampled the stew out of politeness to the (large and overly powerful) chef.
The party also learned that the two minotaurs were gaining power for their forces in the north, who planned to enslave the orcish hordes, then sweep south across the Alliance, bringing in a new age of Minotaur rule on the east coast. They were seeking an angel they’d heard tales of who had once served a dead god, but was now being expertly tortured in a den devised by Torog, the god of torture. Krup & Vandemaar said that they first wished to observe the expert torture techniques, so they could take notes, and then they planned to consume the angel in a ritual fashion to give whatever power remained of her dead god to Baphomet. The PCs weren’t 100% down with this plan, so they parted ways with the minotaurs, trying to ensure that there were no immediately violent hard feelings between them.
Next, after more wandering through the Underdark, the party passed by a cavern that was partially hidden, but which had such a strong magic signature that it almost called out to the party. Inside they found a skinless man, Bob, who was repeatedly whipping himself with a magical cat-of-nine-tails, and a sleeping naked woman who looked like a deva. When the woman woke up, she was terrified and screaming, and apparently had no memories. The longer she stayed awake, though, the more memories returned… first speech, then identity, then more. Her name was Amitiel and she had served Oghma, the god whose death began the Dawn War. Oghma was a goddess of not just Knowledge (like Ioun, who succeeded her), but of Truth and Wisdom, too. As the party spoke to Amitiel and Bob, it became clear that both were immortally tied to that cave, and if either died, they would awaken in the cave once more. Also, that long magical tunnel would destroy Amitiel if she went through it. In addition, they learned that no one who intended to kill Amitiel would be able to find the cave, as a function of the magics Torog had laid down. Bob’s whip, it turned out, would steal memories and somewhat heal after it ripped flesh. This was great for Bob, who repeatedly got to feel the “first whipping”, which is the “best” (for torture enthusiasts, anyway)… and also he said that Amitiel would usually reach a point where she remembered something so horrible that she would beg Bob to whip her in the head, stealing her memories once more.
Before this happened, as Amitiel reached full archangel power, she began to prophesy, telling Nicolai/Micah that his brother was alive, and with other dragonborn, some many miles away in the Underdark. She also touched Nulath/Casey’s head, awakening a memory she’d forgotten about a hobby she’d had working with knitting and knots from back in her military days. Then Amitiel remembered whatever it was that was so horrid (likely something related to Oghma’s death), and begged Bob to steal the memory and start the cycle over again. Though it was hardly a “good” option, the party decided to leave Amitiel & Bob, putting them on their “to do when we’re more powerful” list (along with reviving the World Tree).
The game ended as the party approached the outer walls of Forgehome, where they will hopefully find teleportation to the surface.
Treasure: 0 GP, alternate reward: Feat-Skill Training:Thievery (for Nulath)
Experience: 200 XP
Quests: [Major-Optional] Free The Archangel