We had traveled to a world that seems to be trapped in the Eye of Vecna, where we learned that Vecna probably wasn't actually Vecna, but he was an advisor who betrayed the king and brought darkness to the land.
Meanwhile in Duendewood there was an army of elves marching west, which wore Aramar/Annun colors -- official Elvish colors on a very dodgy army. We'd been addressing attacks from human forces coming through gates; they seem to originate in the Bambridge castle basement.
There are an undead T-rex and and an undead cloud giant in their own area. The priests are dead, because we set off some sort of device.
We end up with sixteen phylactery gems (worth about 5,000 gold pieces) and six costume gems. Azrael looks over the gems and declares that they've been treated with a Soul Trap spell, probably augmented by an unknown spell that pulls the souls in to populate them. Marshall hangs on to two of them; Ruin looks around and finds a bag for the rest.
There's a lot of equipment, including gem extractors; everybody gets a gem extractor.
There's a small table with a cystal on it, which seems to be a portal crystal to the world in the eye. (Phanaxia? Or something phonetically similar.)
Marshall: "Should I touch the crystal?"
Martini: "Go ahead."
Marshall takes the crystal. Just for once, nothing horrible happens. The other skeletons are just sort of standing or shuffling around.
The route deeper into the mines is closed off. We take the one open route out. There's a skeletal dragon, and we definitely don't want to go past it; we head south instead. Ruin's medallion shares a vision of his mother and her entourage being ambushed by the dwarves; Ruin shares this with the party.
Continuing along, we reach a door. We hear something crunching around on the far side of the door. Now Ruin get another vision, this time of two dwarves dragging his mother down the hallway. We proceed down a faily long staircase, and arrive on a lower level.
We've found the jail cells. There's also a Greater Shadow here, but it ignores us. We proceed, and Ruin has yet another vision - this time of his mother behind bars, probably for a long time. In one of the southern cells we find Ruin's mother. Ruin: "Hi, mom."
Ruin's mom: "What? How? Wh-???"
Ruin: "Long story, lot of Vecna priests and undead, let's talk later and get out now."
Ruin's mom: "Wha-?" (She appears to be the only survivor.)
We exit, maneuvering Baethira around to avoid the shadows and go back up the stairs, then detour around to the kitchen. Martini casts Invisibility on Baethira, and we slip past the skeletal dragon to to the dining area.
Marshall tries to eat, and it doesn't work. Baethia eats and drinks, for the first time in weeks. The castle is Janbridge, occupied by an anti-elf house ruled by a Duke.
Mom: "So they must have... huh. This is kind of like a Magic Jar spell, so if you're close enough you can probably repossess your body. So right now you're probably just too far away."
Ruin: "Can we find your spellbook?"
Mom: "Maybe. You're in the royal halls here. My rooms were to the west, for honored guests or well-to-do commoners."
We decide to check out the nearby area, since this is where the Vecna priests were located and we might as well loot their stuff.
Nearest door: no locks, no traps. Next door beyond it: there's what looks like a bedroom: bed, armoire, and a keg from the kitchen. The Armoire is trapped. Martini disables it. Inside is a candle of truth and 250 PP.
These were probably the rooms for Igor and Moses, the lieutenants.
Martini tries the next door in the sequence. Nothing much seems to be locked or trapped, but they probably weren't expecting anything.
We head off to the north wing, having looted the heck out of the eastern doors. Martini finds a trap on the door... the hard way. A block of stone falls on her head. These were the king's rooms.
We scrape her out from under the stone block, and few seconds later she reassembles. There are advantages to being a skeleton.
Martini checks for traps again but doesn't find anything else. It's still locked, though, and well beyond Martini's abilities. Ruin chops his way through. It seems to have been recently occupied, possibly by the necromancers.
We check the room; Ruin moves to guard the one door out of here.
Martini finds a trapped sack. It doesn't really work, so she just sets it off. Martini takes no damage; Marshall gets caught in a massive pillar of flame. It also sets the bookshelves on fire. We loot everything we can find.
The armoire has some really exquisite clothes worth 1200 gold. Martini searches and finds a scroll wrapped in a very nice bow. This... this is the missing spell:
Lv 6 spell, combines with animate dead casting & soul-binded gem (lv9 spell) that hasn’t been fully completed. Sucks a soul from somewhere (they are using Fanaxia, the world trapped inside the Eye of Vecna) and puts into the Sun Ruby (material cost 5kgp) to create a regenerating undead.
Ruin opens the door he'd been guarding. It's a storage room. There's an open chest (trapped) and a closed chest. She tries to disarm the trap; fails and sets it off. Fortunately, the poisonous fumes are a completely moot point. It's full of gold: 42,000 gold.
The closed chest is not trapped, but may be made of enchanted wood. Martini tries to unlock it, but it is simply beyond her. However, it's only about 50 pounds; Ruin could easily carry it.
The next door is unlocked. Martini screams anyway, just to freak everybody out. It looks like a waiting room: carpet, desk, couch. She moves through to the next door.
It looks like a meeting room. We loot it and move on to a library, which has a rod on the table which is surrounded by a prismatic sphere.
Ruin cuts the table out from under the sphere, and the rod falls out. It's a control rod for controlling large numbers of undead. It allows you to go up to ten times your level instead of the usual 4. It also allows you to attempt to control undead: 1d20 + level + cha bonus vs 10 + HD of whatever you're trying to control.
The books appear to contain detailed histories of the dwarves; they seem to be very recently written.
The west wing was a museum, but it's essentially been razed at this point. We check in with Baethira, then go to see about collecting a skeletal T-rex.
We go back and Marshall takes control of the T-rex. Then he takes contrl of the cloud giant. Which is utterly insanse, but here we are. (That's 35 HD out of 80 total possible.) We release them, and send the cloud giant to go make friends with the dragon.
The cloud giant keeps it occupied while we slip past with Baethira and the t-rex. The hallway beyond is magically lit, making the dried blood on the floors really obvious. We take a side-passage to the north to get out of sight, and start opening doors.
It's skeleton storage, all with rubies. Martini shoos them out the door and leaves them just wandering around outside. Marshall starts collecting undead troops. We proceed north, collecting more of them. LOTS more of them.
Bloody footprints lead into the last door. Martini checks it for traps.
There's the body of a dwarf inside; he seems to have drug himself. This is Jondur -- he was the lord chamberlain; Baethira recognizes him.
A final room is a pile of bodies. The dwarves were in various outfits; the elves wear the official colors of Aramar.
We head back south and start checking doors in the westbound passage. It opens into a kitchen, and it's exceptionally bloody. Baethira and Ruin both receive visions: this is where they slaughtered the civilians.
Martini checks the far door, and finds it opens to a cross-passage. Martin starts just opening doors. There's a dining area, where prisoners were fed potions under the instruction of an elegant woman. "Almonda!" said Baethira. "That was Almonda!"
Almonda was a very power human Solari, working under Duke Corbin of Janbridge.
Ruin: "Almonda! That was the bitch who had Devonin tortured!"
Baethira: "Wait, WHAT?"
We check a few more rooms, dining areas mostly, and find the one where the Dwarven king and his troop fended off their attackers.
We move on, finding the ultimate dead body storage: bodies, skeletons, and a pit of acid to turn one into the other.
We finally reach the front gates.
Marshall, meanwhile, tosses one of the gems into the vat of acid. Nothin happens, so he steps in for a quick bath to get the soot from the flamestrike off.
We have keys. We exit, and find our way down to the boat. (It's the Black Betty, Bam-ba-lam.) We march up, and then Azrael drops stinking cloud on the living and we start the battle.
The leader charges out of the cloud but trips and falls prone. The rest of us move up, and Azrael zaps him with Enervation. Marshall steps in and hits him with an axe. The leader stands up again, and Marhsall and Ruin both miss him. He attacks Marshall, doing a lot of damage; his lieutenant steps in and attacks, striking Marshall again.
More guys spill out onto the deck, but they're stymied by the Stinking Cloud and decide on archery from the deck. The nauseated guys run into the cabin. Two more run out and shoot at Martini with a ballista.
The skeletal T-rex chomps the heck out of the leader, and the other skeletons move in to surround us and just brutalize the lieutenant. Martini moves up and attacks the leader, and Azrael follows up with Scorching Ray and takes him down. Marshall damages the Lieutenant, who strikes back in return.
Martini and moves in misses. Ruin hits. The dinosaur finishes the job, and Marshall calls on the other living folks to surrender. The four archers jump ship and swim for shore, but the two at the ballista continue firing... until Azrael blasts them right off the boat.
We catch up with the three nauseated crewmen and make them our new crew. We now have a boat. We search but do not find any more control rods. Marshall goes looking for charts to see where they were going. We load all the skeletons on board and head off to go get our bodies back.
Candle of Truth
14 gems worth 5,000 apiece or 1,000 apiece
Wand of silence (5 charges) worth 450 GP.
2 potions bear's endurance
1 potion of blur
1 potion of bull's strength
o Arcane Scroll (Ghost Sound (12 gp 5 sp)) (total 12 gp 5 sp)
o Arcane Scroll (Magic Aura (25 gp)) (total 25 gp)
o Arcane Scroll (Mage Armor (25 gp)) (total 25 gp)
o Arcane Scroll (Magic Weapon (25 gp), Shield (25 gp)) (total 50 gp)
o Arcane Scroll (2 x Mount (25 gp), Ventriloquism (25 gp)) (total 50 gp)
Bottle of wine worth 900 gp.
o Wizards’ clothes
o Arcane Scroll (Endure Elements (25 gp), Enlarge Person (25 gp), Magic Missile (25 gp)) (total 75 gp)
o Arcane Scroll (Eagle's Splendor (150 gp)) (total 150 gp)
o Arcane Scroll (Levitate (150 gp)) (total 150 gp)
o Arcane Scroll (Mirror Image (150 gp)) (total 150 gp)
o Arcane Scroll (Animal Messenger (200 gp)) (total 200 gp)
o Arcane Scroll (Identify (125 gp), Mage Armor (25 gp), Owl's Wisdom (150 gp)) (total 300 gp)
Silk robe trimmed with leopard fur.
Ring of feather falling
wand of darkness (26 charges) worth 2340gp
2x +2 Amulets of Natural Armor.
2 Adamantine Battle-axes.
Wand of cure critical, 34 charges, 15080gp.
Bunch of burnt scrolls.
really exquisite clothes worth 1200 gold.
Porcelain statue of mastiff, 1,500, traveling clothes,
scroll with a bow tied around it.
Scroll of Create Lesser Phylactery (combines with Animate Dead; it's the soul-sucking component of the process).
o Potion of Lesser Restoration (300 gp)
o Potion of Neutralize Poison (750 gp)
o Potion of Nondetection (750 gp)
o Potion of Remove Paralysis (300 gp)
o Potion of Shield of Faith (+4) (600 gp)
o Potion of Undetectable Alignment (300 gp)
Chest of 42,000 gold
Mystery Chest of magic wood.