Session Date: February 14, 2014
Game Date: Sarenith 13, 4712 AR
Armed with the knowledge extracted from Arema’s corpse, Knallhart heads towards the sewers. They find a copper yett barring their path and Sayaka takes a swing at it with her adamantine falcata. A tremendous shock sends her flying backwards. Though her mighty blade cut a large furrow in the yett’s cross bar, it remains standing. Ilya punches the yett and, though he damages it further, he also suffers a serious shock and the barricade remains. Finally, Szygy launches himself at the barrier, sending it flying off its hinges to lie sizzling and smoking in the sewer water covering the floor of the passage.
Knallhart continues past the destroyed yett and comes to an iron door barring further passage. Careful inspection reveals the hinges are attached to some mechanism built into the wall. Malgos cuts into the door’s frame with his adamantine nodachi and severs the mechanisms attached to the door.
The party continues on through a u-shaped passage. A door in an adjacent room leaks water into this passage. Ilya steps on a hidden and the door in the adjoining room springs open with a torrent of sewer water behind it. A door slams shut further down the passage. The door and mechanism which had been earlier disabled emits a horrible screeching noise but it remains open. Lodrin is knocked down by the tidal wave of sewage, offal and rat corpses, swallowing some of the mixture in the process. The rest of the party stays on their feat and moves quickly through the passage, only to find the way blocked by an iron door. Adamantine weapons make short work of this obstacle. Still, it is clear the passage would have flooded if the party had not disabled the other door.
Traveling on, the party comes into the main sewer tunnel. Aspen in the Fall turns into a bat and scouts the surrounding tunnels. He finds the secret door described by Arema’s corpse as well as a room filled with ghouls feasting on beggar corpses. The party decides to ignore this relatively minor threat and continue directly towards their goal.
The secret door reveals a passageway cut into the bedrock under the city. Faded stone mosaics with strange religious symbols cover the walls. Going down the rough hewn stairs, Knallhart discovers rooms used for the preparation of corpses as well as a statue of Choral the Conqueror. While the statue is more than 100 years old, it is far more recent than the rest of the area’s features.
The party spots a skeletal figure watching them from an open door way. The creature’s abdominal cavity is filled with rotting viscera that snakes along its spine and protrudes from its mouth in a twisted parody of a long tongue. Ilya somersaults over the creature, finding himself in a short hallway with four open doors. Ham charges the skeletal figure, holy fire tracing his lance, and obliterates it with one hit. Three more spring from the nearby tombs, surrounding Ilya. Ilya is paralyzed but becomes gaseous to prevent the creatures from taking advantage of his helpless state.
As the party focuses its efforts on these foes, Saalus checks a nearby hallway and sees a terrifying image—an undead creature nearly 8 feet tall, floating above the ground and with a fetus buried in its rib cage. The creature follows Saalus and touches him, filling him with negative energy. Saalus drops, unconscious, but miraculously survives the attack.
Attacked on two fronts, Knallhart fights back fiercely and is eventually victorious.
The tombs, statue room and dark chapel hold no other mysteries. However, along a hallway, the party finds a secret door. Abyssal amber coats the back wall of the room on the other side of this door. Several red oblong shapes rest in the amber. The party identifies them as sphexica eggs and Ilya proceeds to shatter them.
Shortly after this, the party comes to a huge cavern supported by stone columns. A fraying rope bridge connects the north ledge, where the party emerges, to the south ledge, where a bloody corpse rests on a stone table surrounded by candles. Water fills the bottom of this cavern. Bones float on the surface of the water, hiding its depth. Sayaka, benefiting from see invisibility_ spots a elderly man floating invisible above the bridge. This is clearly Zheik Isatas, headmaster of the Oraculum. She also spots an etheral spider-form on the far south side of the cavern. As the fight starts, the ethereal form scuttles off to the west.
Astoroth targets Zheik with glitterdust, revealing him to the entire party. Zheik dispels the glitterdust and flies forward, though he is still visible to Sayaka. Syzygy spouts wings and attacks the wizard. Meanwhile, two gargantuan worms swim forward in the water and burrow into the northern ledge. The worms have metal attachments to their tails that seem designed to deliver poison with a sting.
Lodrin dispels Zheik’s invisibility and the wizard is dropped shortly thereafter. Malgos, Ilya, Ham and Hyandaner take on the skeletal worms as two wraiths rise from the ground, draining vitality from Astoroth and nearly killing him in the process. While possessing a vicious bite and sting, the skeletal worms fall quickly and the party turns its attention towards the wraiths. Astoroth goes invisible but the wraiths pursue him regardless. Bent on destroying the Autarch of Arcadia, the wraiths’ focus proves their undoing as the party springs to Astoroth’s aid.
The wraiths are destroyed but Astoroth is still near death’s door, his vitality nearly sapped. Taking Lodrin with him, Astoroth uses dimension door to reach the surface. Once there, Astoroth and Lodrin run to the Temple of Abadar. One of the Abadarians has restoration preapred, which returns Astoroth’s life force. Astoroth and Lodrin then return to the party, taking advantage of the dwarf’s uncanny understanding of underground geometry to reach their destination safely.
Still in bat form, Aspen in the Fall uses mending on the bridge, making it safe for the party to cross. When they reach the southern ledge, the party realizes there are east and west branches to the cavern. An iron door sits on the south wall of the southern ledge. Bashing this door down, the party finds horrific experiments involving living creatures connected to various mechanical devices. Necromantic energies keep these unfortunate victims alive despite their horrific injuries. Shelves line the walls of this room filled with books. A number of these books form a valuable treatise on the art of necromancy. After taking Zheik’s remaining spell books from these shelves, and verifying that the Essarium is not among the shelved books, Knallhart torches the room and frees Zheik’s victims from their suffering in the purifying fire.
Unsure of where to go next, Lodrin casts locate object and determines the Essarium lies along the west branch of the cavern. Aspen in the Fall verifies there is a ledge along this branch of the cavern after it turns to the north. Szygy carries the PCs who cannot fly to this ledge.
An iron door is set into the north wall of this ledge. Ham detects several overwhelming evil auras beyond the door. The party also detects a magic aura on the other side. Lodrin, still using locate object, knows the Essarium rests beyond this door. After cutting through the door with their adamantine weapons, the party sees nothing but gray fog. The voice of the Speaker echoes in their heads, taunting them with promises of their imminent deaths.
The party charges into the room, which becomes visible once crossing the threshold. The room is decorated with red tapestries and strange artwork. A statue of a marilith rests in an alcove on the west side of the room and a statue of an umberhulk rests in an alcove on the east side. The Speaker, a huge nalfeshnee demon waits at a dais on the north end of the room. A hezrou demon and a vrock stand between him and the party. A sphexicon hides behind the Speaker. A dark shadow extends from the Speaker, coating the three other demons in a black film.
The party rushes into attack. Hyandaner moves in and casts dispel magic, managing to drop the unholy aura that surrounds the Speaker. Ham charges forward but stops as he travels too close to the umberhulk statue. Heproceeds to beat himself in the face with his lance. The vrock screeches, stunning Ilya and Malgos (?) though fortunately most of the party is out of range.
Other party members move in and the sphexicon casts a wall of fire that cuts through the party. Saalus dispels the wall of fire, Lodrin dispels the confusion inflicting Ham and Astoroth locks the Speaker down with dimensional anchor. Szygy flies in and pounces the Speaker, spattering the ceiling with the demon’s ichor. Then the hezrou speaks a single word, which is of such blasphemous power that it roils reality itself. Several of the party members are dazed and paralyzed. Others are just dazed. The lantern archons summoned by Astoroth are killed outright.
Hyandaner flies in and delivers a terrible blow to the Speaker. However, the demon responds with a spell that causes blood vessels to burst in Hyandaner’s skull, destroying his intellect. The hezrou grabs Malgos, causing the fighter to wretch uncontrollably. It then does the same thing to Hyandaner. Things began to look grim.
Teleporting right at the feet of the cruel demonic overlord, Sayaka raises her blade, both hands clenching her sword as it flashes down, crackling with a sapphire aura of annihilation. The power of Nethys floes through her arms balancing out the nauseous stench emanating from the hezrou. With heightened speed, she slashes down. The blade severs the huge porcine head from the demon’s massive shoulders. She steps back, watching the head fall to the ground as the beast crumples in a spray of black ichor.
Ilya furiously pounds the hezrou, his fasts blazing with holy light. Saalus then peppers the thing with demon bane arrows. It utters a cry of agony and then dies. Rather than face certain destruction, the vrock and sphexicon teleport away.
Knallhart recovers from the evil spells cast upon them before exploring a vault hidden at the north end of the room. There, they find the tomb of Choral the Conqueror, a tomb which lies empty. In addition to valuable treasure, they also find the Essarium.