Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wrath of the Righteous, episode13: Attack on the Gray Garrison

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Character level: 5th

In the aftermath of the fight with the ceiling-hanging alchemist and his cultists comrades, the assault team at the Gray Garrison took a few moments to check the corpses of their fallen enemies for any items of use. Asami and Runa both scanned the room for magical auras, finding five vials of magical potions, a ring, and a suit of enchanted leather armor worn by the alchemist. There were also a number of spell scrolls in the possession of the cultists. Some of the dead cultists had curative potions, which the assault group were glad to acquire. Runa examined some of the scrolls and found that half of them were meant to frighten the subject into fleeing in fear, which seemed to be a spell commonly given to the followers of Baphomet.

After the bodies had been relieved of useful objects, the group turned their attention to the chamber from which the cultists had emerged. It was a long narrow space lined by six white marble columns, which had once been carved in the likenesses of people but were now so badly defaced that they were unrecognizable. At the far end of the room an altar also of white marble had been overturned. On its uppermost surface lay a conglomeration of severed body parts stitched together into a vaguely insect-like form. Seven bedrolls lay on the floor next to the altar.

While some of his companions were looking into the room with the columns, Aegronius had gone to keep an eye on the doorway leading back into the shrine to Iomedae that stood to one side of the main entrance. Suddenly three demons appeared behind him. When he sensed them and turned to face them he saw that they were a type of demon he had seen before, ugly creatures that wore their heads where the chest region would be on a man, and had rat-like hairless tails. Before he could warn his companions one of these demons bit him and he felt strangely demoralized. Another demon bit one of the mongrelfolk who were with Aegron and the mongrelman collapsed.

Runa spied that Aegron and the mongrelfolk were under attack and summoned an area of blinding radiance that harmed the evil creatures. One of the other mongrelfolk pulled his fallen friend to safety and prepared to administer a potion. Two of the other mongrelfolk fired on the demons. Irabeth moved into the shrine room to face them as they attacked Aegron again. Irabeth was bitten as well but didn't suffer the same effect as Aegron had. From the other room, Asami could see two of the demons and she aimed her wand at the one nearest to Aegron, firing three tiny missiles into its body. Zosta ran past into the shrine, knocking the middle demon to the floor and slamming it with both of her gauntlet-clad arms, which sent it flying backward in a limp heap.

The other two demons began to mutter in the language of the Abyss, which Runa was able to identify as spellcasting. An instant later one of the demons vanished. Aegron stabbed the demon that was still standing, dropping it to the ground, after which Zosta smashed her fists into it. The demons had been defeated.

Aegron then went to examine the room that lay at the side of the shrine, which the group had previously bypassed. It appeared to have been a museum previously, but everything in it had been destroyed, with the exception of an adamantine morningstar which Aegron found. Having seen this variety of demon previously, he knew that they hated anything of beauty and after finding they couldn't destroy the morningstar they had likely used it to smash everything else. He also found the corpses of two men in full armor, who had both been decapitated. He realized then that the demons' hands had been covered in blood and they had probably been playing with the severed heads, using them as puppets.

While Jiro and Runa took out wands to heal the wounds suffered previously, Zosta went into another room that lay just off the columned chamber. This was was fitted as an alchemist's laboratory. Within it she found a portable alchemist's kit, a longsword in a case, and a small piece of parchment. The parchment contained a message addressed to 'Staunton', which said that the sword had once belonged to Irabeth but had been sold to Lord Kendro Nyserian, who had been punished for failing to reveal it earlier. Lord Nyserian was one of the victims of the vermlek demons outside, who had been wearing his skin as armor.

Zosta showed the sword to Irabeth, who explained that she had indeed sold the sword because she had wanted to purchase a wedding gift for Anevia. As she was now carrying the sword the group had fond beneath the city, she offered her old sword to anyone who would like to use it. After learning that it was enchanted to deal extra harm to evil creatures from other planes, Runa decided she would take it. She returned the sword that Irabeth had previously lent her in exchange for the new one. When she remarked that she would look on the blade as a gift from Iomedae, Irabeth responded that it was a gift from her, not from the goddess.

Jiro happened to look into the altar room at this time and spied a large creature standing at the far end in front of the overturned altar. It resembled a giant tortoise with a spiky shell, standing on two legs like a man. He was surprised to see such a creature in Kenabres, for he could tell that it had come from Tian Xia. Jiro quietly approached the creature and greeted it respectfully. It appeared to be sizing him up. One of the mongrelmen looked into the room as Jiro was walking toward the tortoise-creature, but the mongrelman only saw Jiro walking purposefully toward the altar. Zosta also looked in and saw the same thing. Her curiosity aroused, she went into the room to see what Jiro was doing.

Jiro bowed to the creature. He could sense that his monkey was tense, though he did not know if it was due to fear, anger, or excitement. As Jiro neared, the tortoise-creature smiled, then pointed toward a section of the wall at the end of the room. Then it bowed and vanished from sight. Zosta heard Jiro speaking, but she did not see the creature. Jiro turned to look at the wall the creature had indicated and saw that a section of it shaped like a doorway was glowing.

Aegron left the museum room and followed the others. When he looked into the altar room he also saw the glow and went in to see what was causing it. Zosta, too, could see it. Asami joined her companions and observed it as well, noting that it radiaed a strong aura of magical energy. When Runa joined the rest she too could see the glow, but when Irabeth came in she saw them all looking at a blank section of wall.

Suspecting that the door-shaped glow meant there was a hidden door in the wall, Runa said a prayer to Iomedae, but the door remained shut. Then Zosta suggested that she recite the prayer that was engraved over the shrine. Runa did so, but it had no effect. Jiro attempted to open the door without success. He also described the creature he had seen to Asami, hoping she might be able to say what it was, but she did not recognize it by his description. Then Jiro recalled that it must be a type of oni, though he couldn't explain why it would have pointed the magic doorway out to him. At that moment he also realized that Runa had recited the prayer incorrectly, transposing some of the words. When he reminded her of this she spoke the words of the inscription in the correct sequence and the door opened.

The room proved to be full of weapons and armor. Many of the weapons were made of cold iron, best suited for fighting demons. Irabeth, Zosta, and Runa all went into the secret armory. Zosta drew out the magic bag that Rhino had given her, and they began putting all of the items into the bag as quickly as they could. Two of the mongrelfolk had been standing guard at the door that led to the staircase, and they had heard voices and footsteps coming from the second floor. As the group members removed all the objects from the armory, the sentries warned that the sounds upstairs were getting louder. The group members hurriedly finished emptying the hidden room of its contents, then went to the museum room to retrieve the two decapitated corpses, which had been identified by their gear as paladins. Carrying the supply of weapons and armor and the two corpses, they hurried out of the Gray Garrison. As they departed from the structure, Irabeth ordered two of the mongrelfolk to pick up the remains of Lord Nyserian and Lord Hulruun.

A short distance away the group paused to rearrange what they were carrying and check that no one was following them. Then they made their way quickly back toward Defender's Heart. Irabeth parted from them before they reached the inn, telling them she would go to the various groups carrying out attacks elsewhere and tell them to continue for a little while so that the defenders of the Gray Garrison would not realize that the Garrison had been the true target.

When the group returned to Defender's Heart and told everyone that they had managed to clear the entire ground floor of the Gray Garrison, morale was improved. The supplies provided by Horgus Gwerm and the things found in the secret armory also heartened the defenders of the city. As some of the fighters from the other attacking groups returned to rest, a mood of celebration overtook Defender's Heart.

The group members looked over the items they had taken from their fallen foes and the armory of Iomedae and claimed those things that would be useful to them, arranging to sell the remainder. Runa took her old set of armor to the smith to ask him to repair the acid damage when he had time. Later she and Zosta found Aegron's friend Darla practicing some unarmed fighting skills, and Runa offered to spar with her, which Darla accepted. Aegron then spent the rest of the evening with her. Darla seemed oblivious to the pitying looks of those who saw her partially amputated leg and felt sorry for her. Aegron decided to set aside all his funds to pay for healing for her once a priest was available who could cast a powerful enough spell.

Asami went to her room to give Kirara a good brushing, as the little white cat had suffered a very trying day. Later, while Asami was studying her spellbook, she realized that Kirara was sleeping on top of an unfamiliar book. She left the cat alone, but when Kirara removed to a different location Asami examined the book and found that it was a small, old spellbook, which had had several pages torn out. She also observed that the 'bookmark' tucked into the book was actually a wand, one which looked rather like the wand that had suddenly vanished from her pouch while she and her companions were fighting with the cultists outside the Gray Garrison.

The following morning, the attackers regrouped and returned to the Gray Garrison to continue their search for the fragment of Wardstone. Jiro used the magical chime to open the front gate. They found that the museum room was still in just as much disarray as on the previous day. The alchemist's laboratory was even more of a mess, as though someone had thrown everything about in a rage. They met no opposition, but the staircase room had been filled with boxes and crates. The mongrelfolk quickly formed a line and passed the crates, re-stacking them in a way that they would not block access to either the stairs or the exit. While they were doing so Runa and Irabeth went into the altar room to try to clean it of filth and reconsecrate it. When the crates had been cleared the entire party climbed the stairs, leaving two mongrelmen behind to make sure that no other foes would come from outside the garrison.

Aegron climbed the staircase first. As soon as he opened the door at the top he found himself facing two archers who fired on him immediately. He could see more enemies behind him in another room. All of the foes he could see appeared to be tieflings. He stepped toward the archers, which led to him being peppered with arrows, but he nearly sliced off one tiefling's hand and the tiefling collapsed. Zosta then ran up the stairs. When she saw that there were more enemies behind where Aegron faced the archers, she ran into that room and knocked one tiefling down. Jiro then followed her onto the second floor and moved to heal the wounds Aegron had suffered from the arrows. One of the mongrelfolk moved to the second floor, and at that moment more enemies appeared from a side room, these dressed like cultists of Baphomet.

Zosta's opponent rolled away from her, but as he did so she slashed him with her bladed gauntlets and he fell unconscious. Two of the archers fired on her. One of the cultists or tieflings cast a spell from a scroll and Aegron was consumed by terror and forced to flee. As Aegron departed two cultists stabbed their polearms at Jiro and two archers fired on him. Asami, who had been waiting at the bottom of the stairs, climbed up behind Irabeth, who had already reached the second floor, and used her wand to strike one of the archers with missiles. As Aegron ran past Irabeth she tripped him and he fell, but he scrambled to his feet and kept running.

In the other room Zosta tripped another tiefling and slashed him. Jiro's monkey produced a tanglefoot bag from somewhere and threw it, causing one of the attackers to be stuck to the floor. Jiro summoned a tetsubo of force. Runa moved to attack the cultists and was wounded in the hand. One of the tieflings tried to get past Zosta, but she dropped him to the floor and left him dead at her feet. One of the other fallen tieflings had been attempting to coordinate his attack with the one who died, but his efforts proved too much for him and he lost consciousness. One of the cultists cast a spell, telling Runa to flee, and several of the others attacked her. Then another door opened, revealing more tieflings, followed by a third door opening near the head of the stairs to reveal yet more enemies - and with them, a large winged bird-like creature.

Loot:
4 scrolls of comprehend language (2 to Asami, 1 to Jiro, 1 to Runa)
ring of protection +1 (Zosta)
2 potions of cure light wounds
potion of cure moderate wounds
potion of mage armor (Jiro)
potion of barkskin (Runa)
potion of invisibility (Asami)
+1 adamantine morningstar
+1 longsword of evil outsider bane (Runa)
3 cold iron longswords
2 cold iron shortswords
Compound longbow of +2 strength
2 heavy crossbows
Cold iron heavy mace
2 cold iron longspears
50 cold iron crossbow bolts
Masterwork longsword
5 holy arrows (Asami)
Arrow of evil outsider slaying (Aegron)
2 suits of masterwork chain armor
Masterwork breastplate with Iomedae symbol (Runa)
Masterwork heavy steel shield
Heavy steel shield of blinding (Runa)
Holy symbol of Desna (Aegron)
Holy symbol of Shelyn
Holy symbol of Iomedae
350 gold pieces each from sale of items

Next: Episode 14, Return to the Gray Garrison

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Wrath of the Righteous, episode 12: Into the Cultists' Lair

Wrath of the Righteous, Part 12
April 9, 2017

Character level: 5th

After the team attacking the Gray Garrison had disposed of the two vermlek demons and their Baphomet cultist minions outside the fortress-like garrison, they searched the remains but found no key to unlock the heavy iron doors that had been locked behind them. At first they feared this would bring an end to their mission to enter the garrison. But Jiro made an attempt to pick the lock, and with the aid of a set of fine quality lockpicks that his monkey mysteriously produced, he was able to get it open. Asami, who had just discovered that she was now able to communicate verbally with her familiar Kirara, was confused when Kirara laughed at Jiro's efforts. It wasn't until afterward that Jiro remembered he had in his possession a magical chime that might have opened the doors with less effort.

The iron doors opened into an entry way decorated with a mosaic of Crusaders in battle with an army of demons. The mosaic had been defaced with vile graffiti, and the floor beneath was stained with fresh blood. As the attackers stepped inside the dimly lit entrance, shadowy figures emerged from a doorway to their left. Jiro exclaimed, "Cultists!" and began casting a spell. Asami stepped up behind him, as he held his lantern aloft and it illuminated the foyer. Half a dozen tieflings wearing the insignia of Baphomet cultists had emerged from a side chamber, where playing cards could be seen on a table. Asami sent three missiles of force from her newly acquired wand and one of the cultists collapsed.

As three of the mongrelfolk fired their bows at the cultists, one man rushed out and ran past the attackers into another chamber on the right of the entryway. A second man ran after him but was struck by Jiro's club. A man maneuvered behind Runa, who was standing next to the doorway from which the cultists had emerged, and stabbed her in the back. Two of his comrades also stepped into the entrance. Then darkness filled the area.

Zosta moved into the room to the right of the entrance, which proved to contain a small shrine to Iomedae that the cultists had attempted to desecrate. The man who had fled there was about to open a door on the far side of the shrine, but before he could do so Zosta tripped him and then stomped on him, crushing his ribs.

Asami could no longer see the cultists, but Kirara whispered in her ear and she directed Jiro's arm to attack the cultist who was standing directly in front of him. The mongrelfolk, who had no trouble seeing through the magical darkness, fired on the man who had stabbed Runa and slew him. Irabeth and Runa were also not troubled by the dark, and Irabeth killed another of the cultists. The last remaining man fled out the entrance of the garrison. One of the mongrelfolk outside fired on him. Then Jiro raced out after him, and Asami stepped outside to bring him down with more missiles from her wand.

The room the cultists had come out of proved to have no other exit and contained nothing of interest, other than evidence that the men had been gambling with severed body parts. The shrine had been smeared with blood and excrement, but the cultists had been unable to deface an inscription in the language of the Celestials that was on the wall above an empty sword rest. Runa took out a scroll and read it, granting herself the ability to read the inscription, which was a prayer to Iomedae that Runa found so moving it brought tears to her eyes. Jiro conjured up some water and an invisible servant and set his servant to washing the shrine clean. He knelt down to do some of the cleaning himself, and as he did so he noticed that the ornate script of the inscription formed the shape of a sword with different words inscribed on it. He called this discovery to Runa's attention, and she saw that the sword's message read, "Let us inherit thine arms, Iomedae." Encouraged by this, Runa tried placing her weapon on the stand and praying to Iomedae, but she didn't sense any change to the weapon, only a feeling of peace.

Leaving Jiro's servant to keep cleaning, the group opened one of the doors leading out of the shrine. They were immediately faced with a gargantuan demon filling the space beyond. This sight so terrified Kirara and one of the mongrelfolk that they both fled. But the rest of the group realized that the demon was far too large to occupy the space in which it appeared and must be some sort of apparition rather than an actual creature. The room in which the demonic vision appeared was actually quite small, but had three doors leading out of it. Zosta listened at one of the doors on the left and exhorted her companions to go through it.

The door opened into a room containing a smashed sideboard and an ascending staircase. It also held three creatures that the companions recognized as dretches, having met such demons while they were trapped under the city. Irabeth rushed into the staircase room to attack the dretches. When one of them made a move toward her she laughed and remarked, "You're trying that? I'm protected by Iomedae!" Her sword slashed into the dretch. Then one of the dretches released a cloud of foul-smelling gas that filled the room and spread into the small chamber beyond, blocking sight and causing Zosta to retch and vomit. Kirara was also affected and the little white cat began to retch into Asami's pack.

One of the mongrelfolk archers pulled Zosta out of the gas cloud. Runa started to step into the room with Irabeth, but Irabeth called out to her to wait and that she would lure the dretches into the other room. Jiro cast a spell on Runa. Irabeth moved into the small room and the dretches pursued her. Runa and Aegron attacked them and Aegron killed his target. Jiro cast another spell upon himself, but was distracted by the sight of his monkey, who seemed to be trying to lay hands on himself as Jiro had seen Irabeth and Runa do, though the monkey seemed to be struggling with this action. In the meantime Aegron and Irabeth slew the other two dretches. Once the creatures were dead the malodorous cloud dissipated.

Zosta had recovered from her sickness by this time and warned her companions that she had heard booted footsteps before the dretches appeared. Since the demons didn't wear footgear there must be someone else in the garrison. Then the doorway at the end of the small room opened, revealing four cultists who wore the insignia of the demon lord Deskari rather than Baphomet, and a fifth figure who was suspended from the ceiling. Like the Baphomet cultists at the entrance, all of the new foes appeared to be tieflings. Runa moved to attack and the man on the ceiling hurled a vial into the small room that exploded in flames, dousing everyone nearby and setting Irabeth on fire. Asami, Jiro, and Zosta were spared as they had all remained or retreated into the shrine room. Aegron moved forward to attack the cultists in the doorway. Jiro summoned a tetsubo of force to attack the suspended tiefling, but found him a hard target to hit. Irabeth patted out the flames and stepped to one side to lay hands on herself for healing.

Asami directed missiles from her wand at the suspended tiefling but they were deflected by a magical shield surrounding him. The mongrelfolk fired on the four cultists in the doorway, leaving one of them badly wounded. Runa then created a burst of brilliant radiance that left the cultists dazzled and the severely wounded man slumped to the ground. The man on the ceiling hurled another vial into the small room, this time setting Runa aflame. Zosta, who had finally recovered from nausea, moved into the room and disarmed one of the cultists. In turn she was struck by one of the others who wielded a scythe. Jiro ran into the room and channeled divine energy to heal his companions, and Irabeth laid hands on herself a second time.

Asami moved a step closer and sent a spell into the room where the man was suspended from the ceiling, wrapping him and the three remaining cultists in sticky vines. Unfortunately the vines also wrapped Aegron and Zosta, but they failed to entrap the man on the ceiling. The ceiling hangerthen hurled another vial that shattered and splashed Runa, who moved into the space occupied by the vines and set them on fire, then collapsed.

Two more of the cultists fell dead after they were burned by the flaming vines. Asami shot a magical arrow coated with acidic sap at the man on the ceiling but Zosta observed that the acid appeared to do him little harm. Jiro healed Runa and she got back on her feet, but the suspended foe hit her with another vial. Asami tried hurling one of her spears at him and missed. When he tossed yet another bottle of liquid Zosta slapped it out of the air, which caused it to only splash everyone instead of setting Runa on fire again. Jiro's tetsubo finally managed to hit the man, then vanished, the magic spent. Jiro then ordered his servant to shut the door into the shrine to prevent the man from exiting into the other room. He called upon the spirits of his ancestors to grant boons to Zosta and Runa. Zosta then grabbed hold of the suspended tiefling and lifted herself up by his arms, wrapping her arms and legs around him so that he couldn't move. Asami threw another spear but it also failed to connect with the man on the ceiling, who was surrounded by a magical effect that made him difficult to see clearly. He tried to drink a potion, but spilled it instead. One of the mongrelfolk managed to hit him with an arrow, then Runa then rendered him unconscious and Zosta dropped him to the floor.

Next: Part 13