Monday, November 7, 2016

Session 6

...Our heroes set out in search of the final cult safehouse ....
Now they were on their way to an alchemist's shop called Topaz Solutions, the last of the known Templars of the Ivory Labrynth.

On the way there, they saw another horrifying site:
The rubble has been cleared away from the street here, and they come upon a group of four cultists whom they later identify as part of a cult worshipping Deskari, who have captured two people that they’re preparing to sacrifice in the middle of the street.
Our heroes immediately spring into action and attack the cultists. Three of cultists respond in kind, but the fourth one decides to finish their grizzly task and disembowels their two helpless captives before joining the fight. They turn out to be clerics able to channel their god's defiling energies so Haligon responds in kind numerous times, trying to keep everyone alive long enough to kill the cultists. Soon the four have fallen woth only Lyrana's tiger receiving serious wounds.

After looting the dead cultists and saying a benediction over the murdered commoners, the group then continues on to Topaz Solutions. Once they get there, they see:

A wooden sign above the door bears a carving of a bundle of orange herbs and flowers hovering over a beaker filled with smoking orange liquid. The building’s windows are tightly shuttered, but the front door hangs halfway off its hinges.
Zaigon peers inside and sees that there are a number of ragged looking warriors inside sitting around a small fire and eating. he senses that they are only "mildly evil" so calls out to them and explains what the group is doing there. After several minutes, he convinces the group of mercenaries to allow them in the building to check for cultist activity without resorting to violence. Soon, they find a secret door leading to a damp basement. At this time the mercenaries leave the building, waiting outside to see what happens. Our heroes slowly make their way down the stairs:

The air in this basement is damp and musty-smelling. The walls and floor are packed earth, while dozens of gourds hang from the ceiling beams. A sludge of rotting plant matter covers the floor. Against one wall, a wooden table holds a strange apparatus that looks like a clockwork toy of a snake-bodied, sixarmed woman holding a sword in each hand. A tightly corked bottle, filled with what looks like water, sits before the statue. A wooden chest covered with engraved runes stands under the table, and a sinister image of a star surrounding a goat’s face is painted on the wall above the table.
Sensing magic from the general area of the chest and table, Ziagon slowly walks forward until a loud, booming voice is heard that seems to come from the goat's mouth:

mouth—“Ahh... I hope you are among Iomedae’s slaves... I would hate to think of mere peasants wasting such a personal greeting from Lord Baphomet!”
As soon as the name Baphomet is spoken, the clockwork marilith toy swings down its swords to shatter the bottle causing a magical vapor to rush throughout the room and up the stairs, delivering very caustic fumes to all in the room. Black Mage ran as fast as he could to get out of the building so as not to be overcome by the fumes. At the same time, a rotted, malformed, vegetable creature rises up from the rotten matter and attacks Zaigon. the group only needs a couple of rounds to finish it off for most of them were not seriously affected by the acid vapor trap. And the sight of Black mage running out of the building was enough for the mercenaries to decide it was time to leave this place once and for all - and at a high rate of speed.

Once things settled down, they investigated the chest only to find that it contained 6 silver holy symbols of Iomedae that had been coated in poison and a note taunting the finders, obviously left behind by the cultists as their "parting gift" to the crusaders.

Our heroes then head back and report on their successes to Irabeth. She thanks them and says that an important visitor will be arriving the next day that she wants them to speak with, assuming that the group still wishes to help the beleagured city. When they indicate that they will still help, she tells them to rest for the rest of the day and she will call for them in the morning. After conducting some business buying and selling items and re-equipping they settled in for the night.

In the morning, the heroes were called by Irabeth for their meeting with Quednys Orlun, the founder and head librarian of Blackwing and the last Riftwarden Mage (except for Arashinial) left alive in the broken city. Irabeth begins the meeting with a lengthy synopsis of the situation:

“As horrific as recent events have been, we’ve come to realize that they are, in fact, merely a prelude. The razing of the Kite, the destruction of our wardstone, Terendelev’s murder, and the assault on the city were nothing more than opening gambits. The Worldwound is on the march in a more concentrated assault than we’ve seen since the fall of Drezen. It’s fair to say the Lord of the Locust Host is finally making his move. The end of this hundred-year-war is upon us, and it falls to us to ensure victory.
“While the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth were scattered, those who serve the Lord of the Locust Host himself remain concentrated in Old Kenabres. What we’ve heard from within the barricade they’ve erected is ominous. The cultists are waiting for something, and based on our own information and what you’ve managed to recover so far, it sounds like the vile witch Areelu Vorlesh will soon be coming to Kenabres. And it appears that we’ve determined what she intends to do.
“When the wardstone was destroyed by the Storm King, it exploded and destroyed the Kite. The network along the border failed, but did not fade completely. I believe this is because a significant portion of our wardstone still exists, and that the cultists have taken it to the old garrison in Old Kenabres. From what we’ve learned, they’re hoping to engineer a way to somehow reverse the field generated by the wardstones—essentially, to use our own greatest defense as a devastating weapon.
“The attack on Kenabres had a predictable result: causing the crusade to gather at the border to defend it. Some wonder why the demons haven’t attacked in stronger numbers. I believe that Areelu was counting on us massing along the border, and that if she can corrupt the wardstone field, she can strike a devastating blow against us all. In effect, we’ve lined up for the slaughter.
“Vorlesh is surely seeking some object of great Abyssal power, likely the Nahyndrian crystal mentioned in the missive you recovered, and with it she intends to turn the source of our hope into an unimaginable nightmare. We cannot hope to evacuate everyone from the border—I doubt they would give up the defensive line even if they knew what the enemy planned. But we can still stop this from happening—we just need to have someone infiltrate the Gray Garrison, locate the wardstone fragment, and destroy it - and this is what we are hoping you will volunteer to help us with.”
At this point Orlon pipes in and produces a thin rod out of his robes and says,"This is a rod of cancellation. When touched on the remaining wardstone fragment, it should drain the remaining power out of the wardstone and render it useless to our enemies. It must be destroyed since it is too weak now to keep the border magically powered. If for some reason the rod does not do what it is supposed to, you should be able to physically destroy the wardstone even though it will still be quite tough to do."

Irabeth then mentions that the rest of the crusaders will stage attacks in various areas to create diversions so the party can slip in easier and take the enemy by surprise. As a final note She also asks them that as they are going into the Garrison, to please rescue any prisoners, recover any bodies for proper burial, and to undo any blaphemous things the demons have done to the area - afterall, the whole area was devoted to Iomedae, her followers, and those who believe in justice and righteousness. Try to save or restore everything possible from demon corruption.

We will find out how our heroes fare in their infiltration of the enemy next time...

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