A Perilous Journey

Episode 67
I'm immune to necrotic damage.

Meanwhile ,Telzen and Tarn, have grown bored and have decided to check back in with Joe out front whilst getting Bertrand out as well.

After they bring Joe up to date, he decides to head back to where they’d been so that someone is present where the party expects them to be. Joe is escorted in by the now friendly Kobolds and on reaching the room with the Hydra’s corpse, he looks out into the water to see sudden movement. Several sharks heading purposefully downwards…

Joe takes a deep breath and heads into the water to see what’s going on…
-/-

As sharks come inwards, the party start to find places within the Nort’lov… It is now slowly coming to life. Sunflowers and daisies are coming alive within and petals are starting to grow around them apparently acting to communicate information abou the state of various sub-systems.

Ethia stepa into some foot supports in the centre. Vines immediately grow out from the wood and curls around her feet and lower body, stopping just at the point where it’s becomming alaming.

Eric steps off to the right side and grabs hold of the wooden representation of an arm and hand. Again, vines sweep out of the construct wrapping his right arm from shoulder to hand, bonding it to the wooden exo skeleton.

Nennah sets up a Spiritual Guardian outside of the Nort’lov before being elbowed out of the way as Therren who jumps into the third position, after briefly looking at the glyph/tablet interface, he grabs the helmet decorated with aracne runes dangling above. They glyphs on the tablet in front go dark and the ones on the helmet light up. He suddenly knows how to operate the “death ray”.

Ethia begins to walk forward in place and the Nort’lov slowly begins to moeve forward in unison, smashing away the debris of centuries, it moves slowly bur powerfully in the water.

Eric draws the massive 15’ sword and swings it at an incmming Giant Shark cleaving it in two as with ease.

As Ethia’s octopusses engage the smaller sharks, a huge creature emerges from the darkness now visible to the party and Joe up above.

-/-

Not seeing his friends and unable to work out what’s going on, Joe instinctively knows this new creature is bad news and starts loosing arrows towards it.

-/-

As an arrow from Joe lands a blow to the creature, Therren figures out how to fire the death ray!

A huge forceful blast of necrotic energy smashes into the creature knocking it off course and scarring its flesh horribly.

Therren feels some serious necrotic feedback through his link with the weapon but is able to mentally sidestep it. Thankfully he is immune to such damage after long experience dealing with it. This must have been the side effect that was being discussed in the journals.

Eric feels the now wounded creature try to meddle with his mind but concentrates and manages to throw off the effect. This is not his first mental contest!

As the battle rages on the sharks seem unable to damage the Nort’lov. A shield of magical light keeps flashing over the body of the Nort’lov keeping their teeth at bay. The octopusses manage to restrain several sharks although this does not prevent the sharks from continuing to fight back and bite them.

Joe manages to drop right into the middle of the fight at one point and discover where his friends are, although he takes a few bites for his trouble.

As Ethia tries to position them to get Eric’s sword into play, she uses her still free hands to cast a blight spell outwards at the creature. More necroctic energy slams into beast! It retaliates with a massive blow from it’s tail but blue light flashes again and the occupants feel nothing more than a slight jostle from the attack. The flower readout for the shield however, is showing the power level dropping low.

As the monster reels back from the blight spell Eric twirls his sword past some tentacles and slams his sword down its throat. A mortal blow.

With the giant creature dead the sharks try to retreat but are torn apart by the party although all but one octupusses perish as well.

Joe takes this opportunity to leave again after waving the party goodbye.

-/-

The party must now figure out how to leave. Ethia stone shapes hand/foot holds up the side of the cliff. Therren then “rocket” jumps them upwards with a poweful blast from the “death ray” and they just manage to get purchase to climb out past the damaged horizontal door.

They contine, and with help from 4 newly summoned octopi and the hand holds, they manage to crest out of the lake without suffereing a damaging fall.

The massive imposing construct stands tall over the lake, then squats to let the water out from insisde.

They head down road to Hell’s Gate Keep and meet rest of party. No once can immediately come up with a way to get such a massive construct home so they begin to make the journey on foot, taking turns to control the Nort’lov’s generous strides which save the energy of the parties legs.

The destination chosen is Hell’s Gate itself, Ethia wants to try to rescue the Wizards who had been held there. However the party know that the place may well be crawling with Devils now that the gate has been opened however briefly.

Ethia scrys on Quelline, finding her in Neverwinter, seemingly trying to hep a group of wizards out of the city.

Varous ideas for speeding things up are discussed over the next day, including gaseous form but eventually Tarn suggests that he can perform a reduce spell on the Notr’lov which might allow it to fit through a big tree if Ethia casts trasport via plants.

Now they can potentially go directly from here in the forest to Hell’s Gate they need to plan their attack and figure out what to do with Bertrand.

To be continued…

(Party levels up to 13)

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Episode 66
Nort'lov

The party quickly loot the dead kobold and Hydra’s stash of goodies. Therren in looting Molo finds a healing potion and some money.

Nennah finds the following:
A Gold locket containing a portrait of a young human woman.
A carved bone statue of a dragon – (later given to the Kobolds).
A small mirror in a wooden frame.
A +1 breastplate.
A magical greatsword.
A sword of sharpness.
A magical stone.

Ethia found a Spell scroll, which she intends to give to Isodor.

The party as a whole finds 2000GP

Therren casts some smoke to hide the worst of the looting from the Kobolds.

Eric and Ethia look out into the water through the force barrier that holds back the water seeing a dark collapsed hole in a flat stone floor that bisects the chasm. Ethia sees the movement of something big, but then it’s gone.

Telzen and Tarn decide to stay and watch the group’s backs in case the Kobolds try to sneak up and betray them.

The rest of the party dither about opening the locked left hand door, Eric finally puts his foot through it (it’s rotten from the water that’s leaking into the room) through the failing force field.

The party head downstairs through another barrier with water lying on top. It seems the barriers only block water.

They find a storage room with food in and a cross corridors.Signs point to “Main entrance”, “storage” (a way back to room above), and “quarters & labs”.

Fearful of traps Ethia casts Detect Traps a little too early and finds none. She then turns into an air elemental to investigate the other corridor, hopefully without triggering anything.

She sees a burned corpse with a pack and further down a large mirror with blood around it lying against a wall with a pack and some old dried up brambles next to it. She eventually spots a tiny plant near the mirror as well.

Nennah causes tremors in the ground to try to trigger any traps and succeeds in triggering a falling block trap at the far end of the tunnel.

Therren decides to resurrect the dead Kobold, Molo as a zombie as well as the burned man. As the man starts to get up a huge fireball erupts from the ceiling above him, downing both him and Molo as the party hide around the corner out of range.

As Ethia instigates further she briefly sees an image of an injured man in mirror. Therren also sees him as he investigates the plant trap and tips the heavy 4ft mirror onto plant smashing both of them. Brambles shoot out from the wall as the plant is crushed but find no target. Meanwhile, a dying man appears as the mirror smashes. Therren gives him the healing potion he fund earlier and then trolls him about what year it is.

As the halfling introduces himself as Bertrand Alderleaf, Eric and Therren realise that he’s Queline’s husband who went missing 10 years ago.

The party tell him Carp (his son) is fine as Bertrand explains about Jart (the corpse) and himself dungeon delving this place before the Kobolds arrived and trying to take the magic mirror, after he was injured he used it to save his life while Jart went for help. It seems that Jart didn’t make it very far though, triggering a Fireball trap they must have missed by sheer luck on the way in.

Bertrand (who is distraught and barely functional) is given over to Tarn and Telzen but not before telling the group that the waters are or were rumoured to be shark infested.

The party continue to explore the quarters of the main passageway. There are rooms for Wuluf (a druid) and three wizards Mordenkianan, Bigby and Oteluke, they find partial journals from Bigby and Oteluke. Bibgy talks of a magical fist of fury that could destroy the devils, it seems this idea did not go ahead, however the project goal does have a fist, he goes on to say that he’d never thought of using a sphere of annihilation in this way and he has reservations about the side effects of their weapon. Oteluke’s entry talks of protection for the fortress, a shield of some kind, it seems though that the shield will be used for the new device instead.

The party look out the window to see below the hanger door and spot a 30ft tall thing partially buried in algae, vines and rubble. They can’t really see it properly through the murky waters. The stairs down are filled with water, the level below is flooded. They continue down into the water below (all have water breathing already and Therren casts the telepathy spell to allow continued communication).

A sign on the stairs reads “Project Nort’lov”.

They find the lab, it contains a main console, various branches/vines/brambles connecting things, a room with a lodestone similar to the one used by the Black Spider in the Temple of Doom, though much smaller and more elegant.

Theren investigates a water wheel in an adjoining room ut it’s rotten and likely to break if used.

The console seems to be connected to something outside in the water. It has controls for raising and lowering a platform (which seem connected to the water wheel) and glyphs for opening and closing a hanger door – the Party assume this refers to the collapsed slab of stone above them outside in the lake. In the centre of the console a very dim Nort’lov gem glows in the darkness. Some sunflowers attached to the console have only a few petals left each.

The party also search out a druid lab, a wizard lab and a library, finding a heavily damaged (by water) photo of project members along the way.

They finally spot life in umbilical and follow it outside onto a gantry.

As they journey into the darkness they begin to see the “Nort’lov”, a towering figure, larger than the Pit Fiend seemingly based around a Tree’ent, with stone and rusty metallic armour incorporated in it. As they circle it they see a massive 15ft long sword at its hip it’s other hand has a huge green gem stone in the centre of a magical iron/stone contraption, connected to a pack on it’s back by a winding cable of vines and branches.

They find a door in the construct’s abdomen which they prise open (avoiding the glyph for fear of causing any potential power drain).

Inside they find a ladder leading upward and positing to place up to three Nort’lov Gems, each with an associated pictogram. A circle, a walking tree and a sphere connected to the gem arm.

As they investigate some elaborate contraptions up top where up to three people can be ensconced a telepathic voice says “thank you for bringing me the power I have sought for so long, soon I will walk out of here and dominate the land as I do the water!”

Shapes with fins on top begin to move out of the shadowy depths toward the party as they slam the gems into their respective homes inside the Nort’lov.

It’s morphin’ time!

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Episode 65
Tunneling towards Hydration

The party follow Telzen’s “friend” the lead Kobold (known as Varn). Sniv, the other Kobold stays more towards the rear of the single file group.

The group crawls through a very narrow winding tunnel only about 3’ high by 2’ wide, with the exception of Nennah who’s halfling frame is accommodated nicely. Tarn uses the eyes of Ben to se what’s up ahead and lets the group know about some Murder holes lining either side of the passageway leading to parallel tunnels.
Therren turns into mist at this point and checks out a tunnel whilst Ben is directed at the other.

They spot Kobolds in the other tunnels with small spears, however they seem to have heeded the word “friend” called out in Draconic by Varn.

Further in the party passes along a narrow trench with 15’ high walls and a cavern above featuring criss crossed platforms. Therren sees Kobolds hiding up their with crossbows and jars of hot oil.

Still further on through more narrow tunnels they reach a rickety bridge. Varn says they’ll have to cross one at a time or it will collapse under their great weight. Varn crosses first and Telzen misty steps straight behind him. Nennah tries (and fails unbeknownst to her) to follow the Kobolds exact path but no harm comes to her. The others use the broom to get across with the exception of Eric who just strides carefully over, cloak at the ready.

They are taken to what looks like part of the old keep. An elderly Kobold with a pronounced limp and shortness of breath is waiting there, he introduces himself as Hox. Much to his surprise Ethia immediately heals his ailments as best she can.

Hox tells them he’ll take them to speak to Kashak, the leader. Telzen forces Varn to come along as well, Varn looks very scared by this. Hox leads the party into a large bottle shaped room and the doors clang shut after them. They become aware of a platform high in the chimney like wall behind some bars and a flickering light.

There is something liquid and thick on the floor in here.

A Kobold strides towards the platform holding a torch as Therren moves up to investigate.

it is around this moment that the others realise they’re standing in oil and this is communicated to Therren through the mind link. He re-corporialises on the platform having passed through the bars and magically snuffs out the torch.

The kobold on the platform turns out to be Kashak, he seems at least a little friendly and kind words from Hox regarding the healing spell augment this. Varn also reports that the intruders have not really harmed anyone.

The leader reveals that they’ve been here about 8 years, it was recommended to the previous leader. Recently a hydra – Fia’mat has taken up residence and the kobolds flocked to serve it. Kashak explains that they must be taken to Fia’mat as by know, Molo, the sorcerer (Fia’mat’s right hand kobold) will know of their presence. It seems that many kobolds resent Molo and especially Fia’mat who occasionally eats them.

The party agree to slay Fia’mat, the Hydra in return for safe passage.

After a quick rest and considerable preparation they run into his lair which is an old druidic storage room that opens into the underground lake. A magical force barrier prevents the water from flooding the cavern, mostly, but allows the Hydra to cross the barrier and come and go swimming into and out of the lake.

Ben is enlarged by tar to match the Hydra in size.

Nennah banishes the Hydra to another plane as Eric tracks down and kills a dumbfounded Molo.

Ethia conjures two Giant snakes and turns into a Fire Elemental.

Tarn rips off three patches from his cloak creating three Mastiffs at his command.

The party all get into position, readying attacks for the Hydra’s return…

A guiding bolt from Nennah welcomes the hydra back, followed by some serious hits from Telzen, heads start coming off. Tarn blasts it’s chest. Eric chops wildly. Therren releases a huge fireball high up that adds to the damage from Ethia’s form that is inside the Hydra’s space. Unfortunately the fireball also catches Ben, smashing him against the wall where he lies still and smoking.

The Hyra tries to bite out at the party with it’s quickly diminishing crop of heads, but can barely inflict any damage through the rain of incoming attacks.

As heads fly off left and right, Tarn finally blows open the thing’s ribcage leaving it in an gory puddle on the floor.

To be continued…

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Episode 64
The entire special effects budget.

Conversations about what to do next and whether or not to make for a quicker journey to Treetips.

Options:

  • Regain other artefacts, visit next mountain.
  • Go to Hell’s Gate and try to engage whatever has arrived and rescue the imprisoned Arcanists.
  • Return to New Thundertree to prepare for attack.

Other Ideas included trying to contact Nepheene to see if she has forces that could help. The party are aware that they may need to raise an army.

Therren tries to contact another plane for answers. His attempt fails and he slumps into a stupor from the energy used.

Ethia scrys on Meadowin Took and finds that New Thundertree is tense and prepared, but not currently under attack. Only some local trouble is going on and of a nature that is beneath the city guards.
After determining that a scry on Destuvious would likely fail she also tries to scry on the individual believed to be Vascious, but this fails to find a target, other than to confirm she’s on the sword coast, and alive.

The party decide to stay aboard for the journey to Treetips .

On arrival they peak to Matilda and form a council of the party, Matilda, the Captain, Errk, Zeek and Isodor to discuss potential next moves.

Zeek tells them that she’s heard a few villages have been “saved” from Gnoll attacks recently by Devils. Many of them are now openly giving Fealty to the Devils and worshiping them. The hold of the Legion of the Crimson King is increasing outside of Neverwinter.

Isodor reveals that between his research and Matilda’s knowledge they’ve got more information about the previous destruction of the Devils and the creation of the Artefacts.

It seems that three magical items called the Nort’lov gemstones came into the possession of the Druids (it is unclear as to how this happened). The Druids resurrected an old fortress – Hell’s Gate Keep and used it as a base of operations to repel the devils as they worked on a way to stop them. Accounts speak of a mighty creature of a size similar to the largest Devil which carried a terrible weapon that could end life. This creature strode out from Hell’s Gate Keep with Druids and Wizards at its back slaying the Devils and making way for the Gate to be secured. The Druids used the power of the stones to help construct the Artefacts and seal the Hellmouth.

The party realize that the gems they recovered from their “dream” test experience after slaying Maruuig may i fact be the gems spoken of in the texts. After some comparison with a picture in a fragment of a book held by Isodor, this seems to be confirmed.

The party decide Matilda will tend to Tel and she and Isodor (still recovering) will help to persuade the Aaracockra that they should leave their homes and head to New Thundertree. The Elysium will aid in the evacuation.

Meanwhile the party will journey to Hell’s Gate Keep via a Wind Walk spell provided by Ethia.

They all turn into air and speed off at several hundred miles per hour…

On arriving near the Keep. They see a damaged old tree and an area of dead ground. The tree has grown back over the damage, but not into the area. This happened long ago.

Investigations show long lasting necrotic damage. The magical residue seems similar to the kind of power inherent in the stones. The party try various combinations on putting the stones near each other and the dead earth.

The stones glow almost imperceptibly brighter when near the earth but there is no other effect.

The fortress of Hell’s Gate Keep is seems to be made of a single giant block of obsidian. Its construction is impossible and must have been acheived by magic, probably druidic magic.

The crenelations on the towers come together to defend against attacks from the sky.

Support pillars for bramble netting, some long dead, some still in existence, cover the courtyards.

In an indentation where a gateway would be expected there is just a blank wall instead of door, however a small outline of a door is apparent, chalked onto the stone surface.

The party sense movement up in one of the towers near the door and decide to use the last of the Wind Walk spell to investigate.

Up above the wall they spot an old long rotted structure with a circular steel track. It seems it was once some sort of crane mechanism, possibly in place of the gateway.

Further investigation reveal a couple of Kobolds wathcin the chalk gateway, seemingly unaware of the parties presence.

Some of the party reform outside the gate in an attempt to negotiate entry. Others appear inside the fortress atop the opposite wall of the gatehouse to the Kobolds.

The chalk doorway does not reveal its secrets despite some investigation.

The party attempt to call out to the Kobolds, but when they notice that some members are already inside they become a little hostile. It takes persuasion from many people to prevent things escalating.

Telzen walks right up the the lead Kobold and grabs him, dangling him over the parapet. He teels them that the party is peaceful for now, but they’d better take them to see the leader right now.

The lead kobold agrees (as some escape inside).

As they are taken inwards the chalk door is explained as a ruse.

The party lead by two Kobolds march further into the Keep.

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Episode 63
Telzen it like it is

Aboard the Elysium, Telzen the monster hunting Paladin is on another duty shift guarding a mountain top although currently she’s filling in for a crew member pedaling one of the air screws that propel the ship forwards

As the alarm bell starts to ring and the sounds of battle begin to break out above, she’s trapped at this post!

Once the crewman returns she tries to make her way above decks to defend the ship, encountering some sort of Imp creature in one of the lower corridors – she makes short work of this creature and moves to continue to heed the captain’s voice calling her. But suddenly, in the Shrine of Mystra she hears a commotion and sticks her head in the door to investigate.


The party slam into the solid wood floor of the Elysium in various states of distress. Joe and Tarn are unconscious with Nennah pale, poisoned and wavering on her feet. Eric is bloodied and bleeding. Ethia and Therren are… actually pretty ok. As Ethia casts Healing Word on Tarn, Nennah concentrates on her holy symbol; fighting back the blackness at the edges of her vision she uses her magic to cure her poisoning before she’d otherwise have been overcome.

Seeing the still unconscious Joe, Telzen spits “Amateurs!” and slaps her hand on his shoulder and pours a small amount of healing energy into him. She’s gone before he wakes, heading back towards the upper decks.

The ship rocks listing heavily to Port, Joe is thrown into the wall and Tarn smacks his head on the ceiling as the party also make their way up onto deck to deal with whatever force is attacking the ship.

As they make their way up onto the deck trailing an Angelic looking human in chain mail with a great-sword strapped to her back, they stop briefly to take in the scene. The ship is under attack from several groups of Imps and Spined Devils. Eric and Therren immediately head over to the bow to assist Anton, as Nennah and Joe move to assist Brain on the Starboard side.

Telzen, Tarn and Ethia head up to the bridge finding Morvar at the helm with the Captain behind him and Lissa taking aim to the rear. “Alright, we’ve got them” says the Captain, “Now I want every bit of material we have lashed to this ship to catch the wind, if you have to take your shirts off. Do it! Get us out of here!”

Looking over the side, Ethia sees the dangling forms of Root and Ben, lassoed and hanging from ropes.

Moments later an Erinyes appears to fly up about 60’ back from the ship. This Devil appears female, with red feathered wings and black plate armour. She takes aim with her longbow and an arrow slams into the Captain! He spins around and falls to one knee, pale and sweating as the wound hisses black fluid. A second arrow seriously wounds Telzen and a third shot sends an already injured Tarn to the ground.

Telzen jumps forward laying her hands on hthe Captain’s shoulder; the wound stops hissing and the colour returns to the the Captain’s cheeks as Telzen looks towards the Erinyes and casts Hunter’s Mark.

Ethia waves another Healing Word off to Tarn (waking him) and moves to protect the Captain while thrusting her staff forward and casting Blight on the creature. Lissa looses an arrow towards it, barely wounding it.

Tarn fires an almighty blast from his Thunder Cannon taking a massive chunk out of the creature’s armoured chest plate.

In retaliation the Erinyes moves onto the rear deck and fires back twice at Tarn, missing both times as he ducks into cover. The third shot hits Ethia but she’s able to resist the poison. She then conjures two massive Eagles to provide transport should the creature fly again.

Telzen moves toward the Erinyes with her Greatsword and the sword describes a massive arc coming towards the already injured Devil with a slow inevitability. The Erinyes tries to block with her bow, but the sword cuts through the bow, her arm and then her neck before coming to a stop.

The body drops to the deck.

As the party look around, the fight seems to be over, but the Captain signals that the crew remain at battle stations.

Lissa is looking through a telescope to the rear and after a beat she confirms that the Pit Fiend and its friends are far behind them and don’t seem to be pursuing.

As the Captain expresses concerns about the possibility of sabotage by invisible Imps, Telzen moves to midships and concentrates for a moment. She reports three presences aboard just as a hissing sounds from the air bag above. Two are below decks and one is above near the noise. Ethia casts Fairy Fire upwards but nothing appears. Tarn deduces that the Imp in question may be inside the airbag.

Eric and Joe head of to deal with one Imp and Telzen takes another, leaving Tarn to fly upward on his broom to the Crow’s nest as Nennah once again climbs the rigging to cast Mending on the airbag. Tarn lands and moves down the mast on level finding the airtight maintenance hatch and unlocking it. He moves through the airlock and once inside, spies the now glowing Imp. Tarn standing on a platform in mid balloon hesitates from using his breath weapon or Thunder Cannon and the Imp thinks it’s safe. Then Tarn pulls daggers and jumps onto his broom. He runs the Imp down and stabs it to death. After some consideration he keeps the body. Ideas of Imp-skin gloves coming to mind.

The Elysium speeds on towards Treetips as the party lay around in various states of tiredness and injury nursing their wounds but still alert.

After brief visits from Ethia and Tarn to check the hanging creatures are ok, Brian and Anton have now pulled Root, Tel and Ben up onto the ship using the anchor lifting winches.

Ethia, Tarn and Telzen complete their introductions via the Captain and consider what’s to come.

Ethia, Nennah, Tarn and Therren discuss how they can cure Tel. Apparently it will take the casting of three powerful spells each day for three days to reverse the effects of the Illithid’s mind control. They realise that they’ll need Matilda for one of the spells that’s beyond their current abilities.

Telzen states she may be willing to help them out if the pay is good. No one really makes her a firm offer on this.

As they fill Telzen in on the Mindflayers the trapped Alhoon comes up in conversation. After recent events, Therren, clutching his ring of mind shielding, seems reluctant to engage in more conversations in his own head.

He tosses the Periapt of Mind Trapping to the floor.

Telzen picks it up and examines it. It seems to recoil, almost squiming from her grasp and she deduces that her Holy Symbol hurts it. Unfortunately it seems the scream she hears is a distinct voice from that of the uncooperative Alhoon. There may be an innocent soul trapped in there with it. A sacrifice made to ensure its continued un-life. The Alhoon doesn’t seem to afraid of death threats, pointing out that they’ll doom the innocent soul as well. He does say he’s wiling to consider cooperation in terms of information if they can offer him something.

Therren states that given the likelihood of needing information on Lichdom in future, and given he thinks himself immune to the Amulet thanks to the ring, he’d rather not destroy it just yet.

As the party rest for about 12 hours, with Tarn finally sorting out a modification to his goggles to enable him to see through Ben’s eyes, the Elysium speeds onward towards Treetips.

The party now come together, with Telzen loitering close-by to discuss what to do next and where to go. The ship is a day from Treetips, but Ethia can get the party there faster if needs be.

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Episode 62
Small Victories

Joe immediately jumps down from the Rope Trick and fires off a volley of arrows at Destuvious and “Rick”, but a bad landing causes them to go astray.

Eric follows cleaving into Destuvious with his axe, however, as before, the non-magical weapon simply isn’t doing it’s job fully against this powerful creature!

Therren helps out by jumping down and casting Magic Weapon on Eric’s Axe whilst launching a massive fireball at Destuvious, a Cambion and a Spined Devil (the fireball singes the Cambion but has no effect on the Devils), he then beats a hasty retreat back into the Rope Trick.

Ethia turns water elemental and tries to sweep up Rick into a vortex but he’s too quick and is pushed aside.

Destuvious marches across the room and plants the Artefact down on the pedestal. He makes a swift quarter turn anti_clockwise and power crackles from the spikes on the walls into his hand. Nevertheless he keeps the artefact held in place to prevent the group from taking it.

Nennah casts a banishment spell but Destvious manages to resist its power.

Tarn blasts Destuvious’s hand with his gun, flaying the armoured skin from its back.

The fight rages on with the group focusing fire on the fiend’s hand to try to get the Artefact out again. The Spined devils end up taking pot shots at the party as they pop in and out of the Rope Trick using it for cover and protection from fireballs thrown by a frustrated Destuvious (the magic not penetrating the event horizon of the pocket dimension).

Rick manages to get Joe? under his spell but looses concentration before he’s able to force anything.

One of Desstuvious’s hands is chopped off by Eric and he moves the other to hold down the Artefact.

As the party pour their resources into taking the pit fiend’s other hand he finally pulls it back before he’d lose it and the artefact is thrown to safety. meanwhile Rick is flying out of danger until a well placed hit from Magic Missile topples him to the ground.

Being trapped in place with limited targets, Destuvious has done considerable damage to Joe, Eric and Tarn. Eric tries the Banishment from the ring but again the fiend manages to shake it off, just. Joe is felled completely and at the instructions of Rick, the Imps begin to drag him away as Ethia moves to envelop all of them to save his life, a previously cast Water Breathing spell allows Joe to survive inside Ethia’s elemental form. Meanwhile The Cambions are trying to take Tarn away.

Rick has now called a retreat on their part as he reckons the the portal will now have been open for a short time. He reveals an interest in taking the party alive as he’d like their souls and he tells the party that they’ve doomed New Thundertree by their actions. Rick then disappears into a spell identical the the one the MindFlayers used. As Destuvious pulls away he manages to land a terrible bite on Nennah, seriously poisoning her.

Nennah is now barely standing holding their escape spell waiting for everyone to reach her…

Ethia drags Joe over to Nennah and drops her form while doing so and Eric uses the cloak to bamf him and Tarn over to Nennah. As everyone manages to grab Nennah, Ethia fires off an Erupting Earth at Destuvious just as they bamf out to the ship.

They arrive in the Sanctuary room on a wild angle, the sounds of battle can be heard outside…

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Episode 61
Devil's Advocate

Immediate short rest in Artefact chamber.

Much discussion and planning. They put glassware on top of the hatch in the former Alhoon throne room.

Questions raised about Devil abilities to “bamf” in and out of places.

Rick suggests they can’t and apologises for not being much use. Tarn remembers some can plane shift.

Tarn is suspicious of Rick but can’t pin anything he says down as a lie.

Therren rested after four hours.

Zombies left downstairs playing dead. One with Therren.

After considering an ambush and attack plan, they instead go with stoneshaping a rock to make a fake artefact holder. A plan is devised whereby the party will hide in Therren’s Rope Trick above the platform, wait for the artefact to be placed and then reach down and grab it. They can then attack or retreat to the ship as they see fit. Ethia can then turn into an earth elemental and leave through the mountain.

Therren reveals a potion of Invulnerability which is passed around to a few party members and briefly lies with RIck before the party changes their mind via a reinstated Telepathic link.

The full eight hours pass without incident and Ethia patially blocks the tunnel with the boulder in it.

Ethia now casts a spell to find nearby fiends. She detects a presence to the South about 5 miles out. Recasting a few minutes later she detects them at three miles, then one mile. Definitely closing in.

The party get into position and noises indicate incoming creatures. They slow after presumably finding indications of a fight. Eventually a male Cambion appears in view, a couple of imps flit past and they see the leg of a Pit Fiend!

A screeching sound hurts their ears and with a thump the stone cover moves just slightly. (In reality while the party are distracted looking out, Rick casts minor illusion to create a screech to cover his casting of invisibility. He then jumps out of the Rope Trick)

Now they hear a cultured voice calling out to them, offering them a deal.He tells them he’s been working for a hundred years on the Liberty Project and they are but a minor bump in the road. He says New Thundertree will be spared if they will sign a contract.

The voice comes forward revealing itself as Rick (the party do a double take and confirm he’s gone from near them). Rick seems to be giving “Destuvious” the pit fiend orders. As the party start to jump down and attack, he orders Destuvious to create a wall of fire below the Rope Trick.

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Episode 60
Alhoon came a Spider

As the party run up the ramp, the three distant Illithids begin casting defensive spells although one does cast a confusion spell that hits Joe and Eric.

Eric (after swiping at Joe with his axe) reaches the barrier first and barrels through it, before moving on to slice the heads off of a few Grimlocks. Therren blasts magic missile at a few other creatures. Ethia summons erupting earth below the Illithids shaking them but they seem to maintain concentration. Nennah calls up a stinking cloud that hides th Illithids from view. Two Quaggoths begin to choke.

The Illithids all perform a simultaneous mind blast, heavily damaging many in the party and stunning a few too, Tarn in particular finds this difficult to shake off.

As the party concentrate on the front line troops, any direct attacks against the Illithids are thwarted by a combination of a Wall of Force and a Globe of Invulnerability. Even Therren’s zombies (made from the Illithids former guards) can’t get through. As Therren casts his necromancy spell, he feels his mind split in two, he finally realises that the other Therren is a different entity trapped within his head. He tries and fails to contain its spirit and so the conciousness moves over to a zombie Quaggoth. Eventually he figures out he’s been played and that the entity was likely the Black Spider, a great necromancer. He died holding the Spider Staff, and he didn’t quite dodge the shadows clamouring on the other side as Nennah rescued him. The Black Spider manages to open a hatch and get away during the fighting.

The front two Illithid fire bolts of lightening out into the fog hitting many of the party. This does take down the wall of force though, just in time for Earth Elemental Ethia (with the aid of her Mephits) and Tarn to bring down a considerable load of rocks on the trio of MindFlayers (and the zombies).

With the odds now in favour of the party, two of the Illithids cast some form of transportation spells and vanish. The Alhoon tries to continue the stand, firing a Disintegrate spell at the Earth Ethia, however Therren counterspells this and the Alhoonfinally falls to a combination of Eric’s Axe and Therrens magic missiles.

The party investigate the area, finding a brain library and an room of experiments and cells. Tarn manages to spot something clean amongst piles of old armour, weapons, bags and equipment left behind by unfortunate prisoners. A Broom of Flying!

Therren finds a Periapt of Mind Trapping on the alhoon as well as a Ring of Mind Shielding. it seems the Alhoon yet lives on trapped within the necklace. Although it’s not all that happy with Therren.

The group head upwards using the new broom to access a room above. Ethia plants her hand onto a pedestal causing flowers to grow and a door to open to the triangular Artefact chamber. She doesn’t find a way to seal it from within, so shuts it again from the outside. She stops Eric from trying the pedestal just in case it’s trapped.

The party desperately need to rest but they also need to figure out how to set up defences for they know not when the Devils will get here…

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Episode 59
An immovable solution.

The party conclude their rest after much silent discussion has taken place regarding the priorities going forward. All casters are low on abilities now, but everyone is well healed and rested as well as they can be.
It sees that the main priority is to either take the Artefact from the Devils, which means waiting for them to bring it here. Or as another possibility, preventing them from gaining entry here in some way to buy time for another artefact elsewhere to be removed. With that in mind, the party gets ready to move on.

After removing the barricades behind to leave a clear escape route, Eric throws the bed aside from the door ahead and they venture out into the common area. Nennah fries a Cranium Rat which is spotted watching the party from the raised Kitchen area. The group quickly check the rooms again to ensure no-one has snuck behind them and they determine that the door ahead is the likely source of the rat.

Moving on, after Joe peeks under the door, Eric opens it with Joe, Rick and Tarn close behind and the casters in the rear. They all see a rope bridge over a chasm which leads down to a river. On the other side is a passage lading out of the mountain. An illusion behind and right fails to hide the way up to the Artefact room (Ethia’s description means the illusion fails on the party). However Joe’s Eldritch sight allows him to spot an issue ahead as well. he fires an arrow toward the magic he detects and reveals the bridge to be an illusion as well. In fact the bridge has been cut in the centre.

The party continue onward and up the steep sloped tunnel 10’ around. After a couple of switchbaks they reach the wall Ethia remembers covered in druid carvings with small holes all over it. Ethia knows one of these small holes leads all the way through. Remains of Giant spiders lay here, they’re not fresh, but she’s unable to determine exactly how long ago they were killed. Unexpectedly though, there is a new passage to the right 8’ high and 3’ wide that seems to lead around the wall. This looks to have been dug later with stone tools.

The party continues on and into a 10’ by 10’ corridor covered in druid carving sand some sort of burned slime or ooze, Therren thinks it’s similar to Gelatinous Cube ooze. Whatever it was, it has been destroyed. To the right is another crudely cut door and ahead lies a perfect tunnel of obsidian stone, smooth and with no apparent jons between floor walls and ceiling as if it ware carved out of a single huge piece. Joe’s Eldritch sight picks up something magical in the room to the right.

The party check this out and find a Dissection chamber, a Grimlock lies cut open on a slab, tools around it. organs (hearts, lungs, brains etc.) sit preserved within glass cylinders on nine pedestals in the room. They rest in a pinkish fluid that appears to be created from a distillation process set up on a desk at the far end. One of the body parts is a preserved Quaggoth arm fitted with Flensing claws. Therren places this cylinder in the bag of holding. On investigating the desk and ending ten minutes reading Therren learns that the chemistry process creates an excellent preservative and that some of the ingredients are healing potions. After Nennah pulls out a healing potion of her own for comparison, the party grab some unused potions from the table.
Also in the room is a crudely cut 8’ diameter hole in the ceiling leading up 15’ to another room. Eric and Tarn move some of the glass cylinders and pedestals to try to ensure that anything coming down will knock them over and make a noise before the group head back towards the obsidian tunnel outside.

An number of methods are now employed to try to figure out what this presumed trap is. Stones thrown have no effect, the Grimlock body thrown halfway, no effect (although Joe thinks he spotted a slight movement to the tunnel as it hits). A giant spider added near the beginning, no effect. Finally Ethia casts Find Traps and learns that a trap is nearby and that the nature of the trap is falling into a pit of spikes.

Therren casts Spider Climb from his staff and winds up having another quick conversation with himself. His better self chides him for taking point again and Therren assures himself that he’s saving spells to do necromancy later. Therren walks down the tunnel wall and as he reaches the very end the whole tunnel drops away revealing to the rest of the party, a pivot beneath it about a third of the way along. He dodges the bodies that fall past him down to the spikes and begins to walk back up. As he nears the top the tunnel slams back into place.

After some discussion Therren has an idea and uses the immovable rod to secure the tunnel in place. After everyone else is along he throws it to them and they use it to secure the other end so that he can come along as well.

Now they turn a corner and a tunnel leads up about 50’ at a 45 degree angle. It has obsidian steps set into it and it seems to go up to an entrance partially barricaded with a portcullis of bones and sinew. Above the top of the steps is a square hole surrounded by a border of obsidian.

Ethia Conjures Minor Elementals and sends four Mama Mephits to investigate. They are attacked and injured by four Grimlocks hurling rocks from the other side of the barricade but they do learn that the hole above contains a boulder that seems set to fall down the tunnel and crush anyone on the steps.

Two Mephits are sent up again one with the immovable rod it manages to click the rod into place under the mechanism supporting the boulder as the other Mephit acts as a distraction to the Grimlocks, breathing fire on all of them.

With the trap disarmed the party charge up the steps, Mephits in tow ignoring an impotent click on the seventh step. As they reach the top they see through the damaged bone barrier, the four Grimlocks at the bottom of some steps and away behind them at the top of the steps two Quaggoths either side of three Mindflayers. The centre Illithid is different to the others and appears undead. Based on what the party found out earlier, this could be an Alhoon.

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Episode 58
Mindflayer

As Eric kicks in the door and charges through he finds two Intellect Devourers and three Quaggoths waiting for him and he quickly goes to work on a Quaggoth with his Axe. These Quaggoths seem to have what the party later fin are called “Flensing claws”, metal augmentations to their original offensive weapons. Therren backs him up with a massive cone of fire which kills Eric’s Quaggoth severly injures two others and burns an Intellect Devourer to ashes. After a strong opening, Ethia’s spiders head in alongside her Eagle form and they lock down the other devourer as Joe, Tarn and Nennah unload on the remaining Quaggoths. Things take a tun for the worse however when several of the party are stunned by a psychic blast from an unknown source. Finally Rick runs in and stabs the last teetering Quaggoth finishing it off. IT would seem that the parties troubles are over, but another attack from nowhere lets them know there are more enemies somewhere.

Ethia remembers this as her master’s quarters, now converted to a filthy guard post. There should be a door straight ahead and indeed as Eric throws a stone through it the wall is revealed to be an illusion. Standing behind it, is a Mind Flayer!

The Illithid quickly casts a spell but nothing seems to happen. That is until Eric launches a javelin at it’s head. The weapon smacks into the invisible wall and finds no target. Eric investigates and reveals the wall bisects much of the room, leaving only the brain sucking creature and a currently stunned Joe on one side of it.

Ethia and Joe work to try to come to their senses as the rest of the party try to find a way to breach the wall or attack the Mind Flayer in indirect ways. Magic Missiles are employed but the creature is trained in the ways of the Arcane and blocks with a shield. Tarn blasts a hole in the stones above the wall and this allows Eric to bring down a portion of the ceiling using a javelin as a lever. The resulting hole is just enough for someone to squeeze through. The next thirty seconds have the party slowly overcoming the barrier as the Illithid continues to keep concentration on the wall despite hit after hit. It seems that here Rick might not be trying as hard as he might to get over the wall. The Illithid manages to get it’s tentacles around a severely injured Joe’s head, but Joe manages to fight it off just before his skull would have been penetrated.

As the party close in and the wall drops the badly injured Mind Flayer manages to cast some sort of transportation spell and it vanishes into nothing. Investigation of the area suggests it’s not invisible, just gone.

Now the party are able to see into the next room, what should be a Library has been emptied of books and replaced with holding tanks full of a brackish green/yellow liquid. As Joe investigates, a MindFlayer Tadpole jumps up at him. THese appear to be tanks which store eggs and young of the Illithids. Nennah uses acid to destroy the contents of two of the tanks and Therren uses targeted fire bolts on the other two to slowly eliminate the threats. Any negotiation is probably off the table from now on. Tarn and Rick provide some explanations of the Arcane magic the Illithids are using. This is very strange and is the sort of thing that would get a normal Mind Flayer kicked out of their colony.

The gang decide that there is no possibility of waiting long enough to rest as much as they’d like, but they do decide for some members to barricade these rooms and take a short rest. Therren and Nennah, who are not so injured as the rest, along with some Mephits summoned by Ethia, do a little further exploration into the next room during this time. It seems that this was once the common area and kitchen, with doors Ethia’s former bedroom and a larder. Now there are two extra bedrooms. Exploration of these reveals that they’ve been turned into Illithid quarters for Arcane using Illithids. Their books and desks have experiments and journals written in the Mind Flayers psychic language/script. These detail the Flensing claws, the cranium rats investigations on a bottle of some sort of unknown magic potion which Therren pockets. They also find information regarding the Illithids’ search for a new form of immortality now that their personalities continued existence in an Elder Brain is no longer an option. They’re looking at lichdom, but they’re not powerful enough yet. There is information indicating that there is a short cut to being undead by becoming an Alhoon. This would provide enough time to research and master true lichdom.

Therren casts Mindspeak on all but Ric and so he’s kept out of some of these conversations and revelations.

Time passes quietly, with no challenge from the rest of the dungeon, even though its inhabitants must know the party is there. They’re not far from the end of Ethia’s memories now and the ever pressing knowledge of the Devils who must be on their way keeps the group focused. What is the relationship between the Devils and The Mind Flayers? Are they Friends, Acquaintances or Enemies? Only time will tell.

Still what they’ve gone though recently leaves the party feeling like they’ve learned a lot.
(Level up to 12)

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