Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Duendewood: Through the portal-tent, to GLORY!

 We open by reviewing our plan and what we expect to find inside the extradimensional space inside the tent.

The dark army is now divided into the Hierophant's army in Wellfort, and Maodeus' army elsewhere; we suspect the other end is anchored in Wellfort.

Memories, Thoughts, and Secrets are the main ranks; Kaz Drachma is a Vision, something like a Cardinal; he serves Malefar. Drachma can stop time.

We buff ourselves as best we can: False Life, Mage Armor, Shield, Death Ward, etc. We also leave bits of ourselves behind in labelled bags, so we can be brought back to life if needed.

Geddy opens the tent flap and we find ourselves in a banquet hall. There's one wizard who seems to be in charge, and two apprentices who are rushing around setting out food. Geddy strolls into the tent and hops onto one of the tables: "All right motherfuckers! If any of you fuckers move, I'm gonna execute every fucking one of you!"

They are surprised... and intimidated, at least the two apprentices. "Oh, shit! It must be one of Kaz Drachma's tests." The wizard spits his drink all over the table.

Azrael steps in behind Geddy and immolates the wizard with a scorching ray. Martini steps in next, bow at the ready, and drops the two apprentices. Martini: "Are we done here?"

There's a side door, and a hallway; the door sounds like there's a kitchen on the other side. Geddy opens the door, and Azrael blasts the kitchen.

We approach the hall, and Geddy hears some commotion down at the far end - somebody talking about conjuring, possibly lessons. Eva (the young gold dragon and Geddy's best friend) heads down the corridor to keep us covered.

The rest of us follow, checking side-rooms as we go. It seems to be empty bedrooms, until a door opens just in front of Eva and she pounces on an acolyte and rips her apart. Ruin does a quick check of the room and comes up with a bag full of 1,000 gp. Geddy hold off to stand guard with Eva. Eva takes the corpse and tosses it in a bedroom. Azrael does a quick smash-and-grab on another bedroom, and pulls a bag of coins off the top of the dresser. 120 PP in his bag. Martini searches through the bedroom she opened, and yanks a wand out of a roll of cloth on the bed. It's a Wand of Suggestion (47 of 50 charges) (10575 gp). Ruin tries the next bedroom, and comes up with a couple of scrolls:
Arcane Scroll (Animal Trance (200 gp)) (total 200 gp)
Arcane Scroll (Hold Portal (25 gp), Cat's Grace (150 gp), Mirror Image (150 gp)) (total 325 gp).

Geddy moves a little way down a side-corridor, whence he hears some sort of gutteral/bestial sounds; the corridor to the south definitely sounds like magic class. He reaches cross-corridor without encountering anyone else. There are a couple of staircases (descending) off to the side up ahead; the classroom sounds are hard to pinpoint and seem to be coming from everywhere. Ruin pads silently down the hall, while Azrael is just clumping along and smacks his staff into the wall. Azrael: "I forgot I had a staff!"

On the side-passage, Geddy opens the door, finding a laboratory on the other side; there's a door on the far side, and the bestial sounds are coming from beyond that. Geddy sets up to clear the room. "I can't believe Sophia gets kitchen duty," says a voice. "She's the worst student in our class!"
"I know!" replies another voice. "And we're stuck here mucking the stables!"

Azrael, meanwhile, has stepped a bit closer and it looks like we're on a passage around a sunken classroom; the sounds are coming up through a series of regularly-spaced stairwells. He identifies the incantations for blindness, and a lecture for how it will allow you to better see the Universe once your sight is gone. Gods, they're pairing up to practice on each other.

Azrael creeps a bit closer. Ruin slips up behind him.

Martini goes over the laboratory, mainly finding an assortment of fine gemstones and other components; the value is 5,000 GP. Eva slides up behind Geddy, and the two of them use a book-case to block the door. The apprentices on the far side are still complaining: "Why do I have to clean the centipede's cave?"
"You're knew. I get the beetles, you get the centipede."

Azrael hears about a dozen people cast Blind, but he decides to wait until the rest of the party gets here. Lecturer: "Do you feel your other senses grow stronger in the absence of sight? The Lord of Secrets will always fill your minds with truth. Approach the goat!"

There's a certain amount of shouting back and forth as blind people bump into each other, and a couple of "Mine didn't work! Hey!"

Azrael steps to the top of the stairs. There are wizardly statues, ominous braziers, and a bunch of hapless acolytes in front of their teacher. Azrael: "I'm going to turn you into toast! Or in your case, a loaf of toast!"

All but one of the acolytes die instantly; Martini kills him. Ruin just shrugs. Geddy raises the corpses as skeletons, and calls the skeletons from last session to join us.

Azrael slips down into the unhallowed training room. Ruin follows him across, as does Martini; the find another passage on the far side, and some voices that sound like a pair of orcs playing poker.

Azrael moves a bit farther forwards, and finds another passage with a door on one end; we can hear a couple of half-orcs playing poker on the far side. Ruin opens the door, intending to say, "Deal me in!" but freezes at the prospect of talking to strangers.

Geddy moves up next to Ruin, and Azrael lets loose with a scorching ray. One of the half-orcs now has a massive burn across his entire back, and looks badly injured; Martini slips past and finishes him.

Ruin moves in and attacks the second half-orc, injuring him; Eva continues guarding our back, and the half-orc rages and tries to attack Ruin, but to no effect. Geddy moves around and fires off a crossbow bolt. Azrael adds a magic missile, and Martini tumbles past to flank him, and stabs him to death. Rogues with partners to help them flank are the best rogues. Treasure from the half-orcs totals 2,000 GP.

We move up to join Eva, having cleared everything between here and the way we came in. Ruin opens the next door, and we find outselves in an antechamber looking at another door.

We ready our final set of buffs, then Geddy steps out onto the ledge and starts singing. Two hulking corpses lumber up the stairs, and the two half-or guards disappear through the far door in a storm of alarums and excursions.

Geddy drops Grease on the steps. Azrael fires off a scorching ray at one of the hulking corpses. The corpses reach the landing, and utterly fail to notice Martini who is invisible. She slips past them and over the railing, ninja-style, and goes to look at the door. There's a bunch of grunting coming beyond the door.

Ruin slices one of the corpses, but it looks more irritated than damaged. Azrael tags it with an empowered scorching ray.

Ruin rages, and Geddy drops some additional rage in the form of a spell; the two corpses attack Ruin, but only hit him once.

Martini opens the door, and sees a hallway leading to a bunch of doors; the orcs are running and shouting. Martini screams down the hallway after them, then props the door open and retreats.

Ruin also screams, and chops at the living corpse for a ridiculous amount of berserk damage and cuts it in half. Geddy fires off a couple of crossbow shots at the ont that's still up.

The remaining corpse moves in to attack Ruin, but disdains to attack and instead grabs Ruin and tries to rip him in half. Ruin, still raging, tears himself loose.

Martini stabs the corpse as she comes up beside it.

Eva: "Uncle Geddy, is everything okay?"

Geddy: "We may need your help!"

Eva moves up and cures Ruin; Geddy follows suit with his cure light wounds wand. Azrael throws a Scorching Ray and finishes the thing. Meanwhile, Martini can hear something that sounds like gorillas bounding down the hall. She and Ruin both withdraw up the hallway; Eva follows suit and heals Ruin again.

A wizard races into the room, flanked by a couple of bodyguards. Geddy drops a Rainbow Pattern into the room to slow them down, leaving two Girallons fascinated by the pretty lights. Geddy: "Come and get me, ya fuckers!"

Azrael withdraws, muttering about how he'd like to kill something instead, and also how death is the next great adventure.

The Secret of Vecna casts an area Dispel Magic, and utterly fails to dismiss either the grease or the rainbow pattern.

The Girallons bound over the railings, skipping past the Grease spell on the steps. Geddy is expecting this; he disengages to move back, then casts Mirror Image from a scroll. Azrael drops Grease behind us, and keeps running.

Various undead move in to support the Vision of Vecna. Martini retreats, following her brother; Ruin follows, hanging back as a rear guard.

The first girallon hits the grease, slips, and falls; the second one bounds over him as the third comes up behind them. More bad guys are pouring into the room behind them.

Eva looks at the girallons and breathes fire all over them, though not to as much effect as she'd hoped. Eva retreats, moving up ahead of the rest of us.

The Secret of Vecna casts Haste on all the nearby undead, then has one of the ogres toss him over the railing. Geddy flees.

Various undead are starting to try to catch up with us, and more monsters are coming up behind.

Martini runs for the far door. Ruin follows. Grease takes down another girallon. Some mercs, another Secret, and some bodyguards run in.

Geddy attempts to use the Animal Fascination on the Girallons, holding them in place. Two people bamf into the middle of the unhallowed temple; one of them is Sasha. Geddy: "Time to bounce, motherfuckers!"

Azrael casts Mislead, and both he and his illusionary mirror image retreat. It is definitely time for us to go.

Martini, who is invisible, races for the door and tells Rita that we're on our way. Ruin follows a bit more slowly, since Geddy, Azrael, and Eva are still in danger. Geddy uses his charmed Girallons to grab the nearest Blaspheme. The mercs come forward, some getting stuck in the grease and some making it through.

Eva is now very worried about her uncle Geddy, so she yells: "Uncle Geddy, are you okay?"

Geddy: "All good, baby!"

Sasha: "GEDDY???"

Wizard in Purple: "You know this insect?"

Sasha: "No. My former self knew him."

Geddy casts Haste, buffing himself, Azrael, and Eva. He then retreats.

Sasha: "I'll get the gnome!"

Kas Drachma: "I'll get them all!"

Sasha charges and attacks Geddy, doing... not nearly as much damage as he could. Kas Drachma, the Wizard in Purple, does something... and things just kind of freeze for a moment.

...And then Geddy is Dominated. Eva, fortunately, is not. Kaz Drachma tries to kill Azrael, but only tags his image; he now knows he was tricked. He also attempts to Power Word Stun Eva, but fails. He takes off in pursuit of the rest of us.

Azrael follows him, and tags Kaz Drachma with Disintegrate for 95 points of damage... and kills him.

More creatures and mercs are coming in; we really need to go. Ruin holds, waiting for the other to catch up before he runs. Eva squeezes past the Blaspheme and grabs Geddy, who flails at her with his hands. The Blaspheme hits her, doing some regular damage and some strength damage; unfortunately, she's also dazed.

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