He remembered that day about a year ago when those demonic bastards had rode into town. Robbed folks blind, they did, lying and cheating, as demons do. Finally the town’s protectors had put a stop to it. The Red Angels had needed a much bigger and stronger fire to burn that tiefling bastard alive, but they were doing Pelor’s work, so it was no trouble. His shiftless demonic partner Vash had fled in terror. Now, however, it seemed like a ghost had returned to take revenge on the masked defenders at night, when Pelor’s protection was weakest.
As the sunlight shone down on the villager, he paused to feel the Sun’s protective warmth on his face… until he saw several figures walking towards town from the west. At their head was a face he’d never thought he’d see again. A tiefling who looked all too familiar, though he’d shaved the beard and had a bit more spring in his step. In a shock of panic and hope, the villager wondered if that horned devil had returned to stop the ghost, or to join it in it’s unholy revenge quest. Unsure, he slipped off to warn the others as the strangers came closer to town.
Sunday, September 30
[Due to various factors, Jenn/Art, Valarie/Akara, and Lisa/Praxis were unable to attend. Their characters were present for the first part of tonight’s adventure, but elsewhere for the rest.]
Emerging from the temple after defeating the Yuan-Ti, the party was face-to-face with a large unit of elite genasi soldiers with Dambrathi symbols on their armor. They eventually discovered that this was the Popess’s personal retinue, who had happened upon the carts down at the bottom of the hill while on their way north to visit Father Oman Ra in Verdant Fields, as he was an old friend of the Popess.
After some explanation, the Popess made two things clear: the temple still needed cleansing, and the crystal thing in the party’s cart was not a good long-term solution. She said that while a crystalline matrix could redirect energy, it could not transform one energy into its opposite. Thus arcane could not become divine, nor chaos become law, nor light become darkness. Instead it redirected the energy around the many facets of the gem, slowly creating a vortex that, while diffusing the original energy type (and making it appear to “go away”) actually strengthened it over time, until the point where, like a whirlpool, it would draw like energy nearby to it, and shatter the crystal. This was all a bit above the heads of Nulath, Nikolai, and Scout, but the other (nonpresent) PCs all nodded in some semblance of comprehension. The end result, though, was clear… they had to destroy the crystal and attack the Spider Queen’s energy directly.
The Popess rolled up her sleeves and said she’s always wanted to take on Lolth directly, and asked the party to help. The 3 background PCs all made support checks to add +2 to the final check. The 3 present PCs made support checks, but also contributed healing surges to aid the ritual. The Popess herself (an elderly deva) managed to summon four previous incarnations of herself to help with the ritual, and also called upon her lifetimes’ memories. In the end, the DC of the Spider Queen’s power in Kyone was 60… and the ritual result was 69. As the Popess called out “Get the behind me, Lolth!”, the crystal shattered into tiny spiders, which were burned away in a blast of sunlight radiance. As the party’s vision slowly returned, the Popess’ former selves were gone, though she for a very brief moment had radiant angel wings. And Kyone, bathed in sunlight, was lying on the ground, cured of the Spider Queen’s infection, and looking decidedly more Eladrin and less Drow than she did initially.
The Popess, exhausted, still needed to cleanse the monastery of Zehir’s influence, so she asked Art, Akara, and Praxis to remain behind to help her. She asked the remaining 4 party members to go on a special mission to investigate a group of zealots in the nearby trade hub of Raske whom she believed were taking orders from one of the Cardinals… orders that might contradict the loving, forgiving Pelor that she preached and promoted. The party was to be discrete in their investigation, not mentioning that they were there as agents of the Popess. Seven days later, a military transport was to head through Raske towards Solaria (the capital), and the party was given paperwork to get them on that transport when it came through. Meanwhile the 3 background PCs would travel with the Popess to Verdant Fields, then back to Solaria. The party split, and the real adventure began.
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Heading into town, the party met with a departing merchant half-elf named Joxer, who explained the basic lay of the land in Raske. The town had a secret team of zealots known at the “Red Angels” who dealt with unpleasant outsiders in a most overbearing fashion. Most notably, about a year ago they’d attacked a pair of tiefling scoundrels who’d been cheating townsfolk, burning one to death (with LOTS of fire) while the other was made to watch. The partner had then been run out of town. Recently, the ghost of the murdered tiefling had returned to kill all five of the Red Angels out of revenge. So far it had killed the captain of the town guard.
Entering town, it soon became clear (after a rug-shaking-at, a drunken swing, and a lot of other unpleasant attention) that the “partner” had actually been Scout’s dad, Vash (who, it turns out, is actually a half-elf) using a Hat of Disguise to look like a tiefling, and that his murdered partner had been a very inconsistently minded other tiefling named Charl.
A lot of investigating and interrogating followed, and the party completely split-up without suffering any horribly ill effects (a rare occurrence in D&D, I assure you). The following night, the inn was set on fire and a female dwarven spear-fisher was murdered by the very real tiefling, who disappeared after a succubus claimed him just before dawn. Fortunately, the heroic (and fire-resistant) Scout was able to bound in-and-out of the burning inn, saving the innkeeper (obviously the target, with a red cloak & mask near her not-quite-dead-yet body) and two others trapped in the blaze. This made the party heroes, and caused the mayor (and majority owner) of the town to give them his blessing.
With the Mayor’s support, the party tracked down the remaining two Red Angels, who were visiting with their injured innkeeper friend at the temple to Pelor, and learned that there was a strangely ensorcelled cave nearby that the Red Angels had not been able to enter, since they had no arcanists among them. The party sought out the cave, with Kyone doing some counter-ritual on the cave’s enchantments, and inside found the succubus, her imp servant, and the caged tiefling, who was actually the twin brother of the one who’d been killed a year earlier (“Charl” was their family name). It appeared that “Charl” had made a deal with the succubus: if he could kill all 5 Red Angels before the full moon, she’d resurrect his dead brother (whose corpse was also there in the cave). However, he could only act at night, and during daylight hours was trapped to be tormented by the succubus. The combat that followed was narrated (it was pretty late at night by this point) but involved destroying all three enemies in the cave. The murdering “ghost” defeated, the party returned to tell the new captain of the guard, who was not a supporter of the Red Angels’ tactics. She asked that the body be buried in the woods in secret, and that the official story be that the party had “banished the ghost”. The party was okay with this misdirection, and were soon being hailed as exorcists of the town. Eventually the military transport came through, and the party jumped on and headed to Solaria.
Meanwhile, Art, Akara, & Praxis had some face time with the supreme leader of the nation of Dambrath and the highest mortal authority of Pelor on the planet… but we’ll deal with that separately.
Treasure: None per se, though Nulath got a new foppish hat. Also Scout now has a crappy homemade tattoo image of himself on the bicep of some guy in Raske. Oh, and Nikolai recieved an offer to have a fire-breathing canary tattooed on his own flesh, though he did not take the young man up on that offer (don’t ask).
Experience: For solving the mystery, the party got 200 XP each. For keeping 3 of the Red Angels alive, they received another 150 XP each. Total: 350 XP (totals should be just shy of 5th level at this point… it’ll probably happen after next game.
Speaking of next game, I’ll send an email about that to folks in a week or two. Micah & Casey’s space was awesome, though cat issues caused Niki to not be able to breathe, and Johny was saying that the commute was beyond what he could do casually… so we’ll also see if we can get our new apartment up-and-running as a venue before the next game as well.