All right, so: when last we left our heroes, they were going to try to lure some of the Vecna higher-ups into an extra-dimensional space before stepping outside and throwing a portable whole in to break up the whole thing and exile everyone inside to the space that aren't spaces. We did that, and then we just had to escape before they caught up with us and murdered us to death.
Geddy's in trouble: Ava has been dazed, and Sasha is bearing down on them. Sasha has so far not attacked him. He sings the song of freedom and frees Ava from being Dazed. "Get us the fuck out of here! Quick!"
Sasha -- or Kroni -- attacks Ava, full attack, with smites, for a huge amount of damage. Azrael moves up and zaps Sasha with a Ray of Exhaustion, but fails to break through his spell resistance; it looks like the protection is coming from his sword. Azrael follows up with a Ray of Enfeeblement (quickened) and dramatically saps the evil paladin's strength.
Martini has fled out the far end of the interdimensional tent and is waiting outside with Rita. The Blaspheme attacks Rita again but misses. The other monsters from the Dark Army are pouring over the grease spells and into the area behind us; it's definitely time to go.
Ava is still holding Geddy, and flees; one of the Blasphemes tags her on the way out, and she is again dazed. Geddy tries to break the enchantment again, but fails.
One of the blasphemes runs straight through the space where Azrael is standing invisibly. It doesn't even notice him, just flattens him as it passes. The other one attacks Ruin but fails to daze him. Sasha also tries to rush past, and trips over Azrael and comes down on his face.
Azrael grabs Ruin's ankle and casts Dimension Door to remove us to the entrance. Ruin hauls Azrael to his feet and tosses him out the door, then follows. It's now only Geddy and Eva who are in danger. And, of course, the rest of us don't know what's happening to them -- but hopefully it involves a very fast retreat.
Sasha has now emerged from the tent looking very confused. He has his sword out. "Back! Back!" He can only see Ruin and Rita the Gold Dragon, though.
Azrael tries to tag him with a Ray of Exhaustion but fails to get through his spell resistance. A blaspheme barrels out of the tent behind him. Ruin steps in and engages the Blaspheme, and a creepy disembodied voice says "BLOWWW IT!"
Rita throws the portable hole into the text.
The tent swells and flexes and that's it on the outside. Inside... things dissolve into a dimensional rift, tearing apart everything inside. Ruin yells, "Great, now help me with this thing!"
A rainbow appears over the now-empty tent. Geddy reappears, yelling "Like a rainbow in the darrrk!" The Blaspheme is mesmerized by the rainbow effect, and Geddy and Ava become visible.
Sasha, meanwhile, is looking around. "Geddy! Geddy, what the hell is going on?"
Geddy: "Drop your sword, bud. I got you out of there, you have to work with me for this."
Sasha: "Geddy, you know I can't drop this sword."
Geddy tries to break the effect but fails.
Sasha: "Um. Show of peace." He turns to the Blaspheme and drives it off.
Geddy: "Be cool everybody. I know this guy. He's got somebody in his head, though. We got to get him someplace safe and fix him." He looks at Sasha: "How did you get involved with these people?"
Sasha: "Ever since the ritual in Lamarque, I've had this voice in my head. Sometimes it's me, but sometimes it's this Krony."
Geddy: "Do you trust me?"
Geddy attempts to use Modify Memory on Krony, inside Sasha. Kroni comes to the front of the consciousness, and Geddy tags him with the spell. He uses it to give Kroni the memory that he was exorcised and now he's in purgatory.
Sasha is finally able to relax, as Kroni stops struggling to control him.
Geddy: "This is only temporary, but it should help. How much do you remember about the other side of that portal?"
Sasha: "A decent amount, but I was stationed in Briarmarsh with Maodeus. I was in Welfort taking some message to the hierophant, and they ordered me in after you.
Azrael teleport us to Mar Bola, leaving Geddy and the dragons to follow. During the teleport, Sasha seems to have an odd sort of resistance -- someone seems to be trying to pull Sasha back. We land on the beach without him.
Azrael: "I lost Sasha in transit. Terrible shame."
Geddy and the dragons catch up with us six hours later. The Boner Galley is there; they've been worried.
And at this point we switch to Evil!Party
-Chuck, a sorcerer-turned-vampire
-Jenny, a human barbarian, and her harem.
-Durest, a dwarven cleric with a focus on touch-spells and necromancy
-Hatch, an Arcane Trickster
-Ramekin, Hatch's imp familiar
Maodeus has given us an army -- 500 of the regenerating skeletons, and 100 griffins -- so we can take Sander's Reach and thus complete our conquest of this province. The idea is to take it by surprise and shore up Maodeus' flank.
We... basically wiped out the entire garrison and the Solari. (We didn't play through this; this is all a flashback, or a cut scene.) Three days later an army of 6,000 Wildlanders arrived and took up residence under the command of Chuck's two new ex-Solari thralls.
We then depart; the Hierophant has tasked us with a secret mission.
Wellfort is an ancient keep built atop a hill with any number of ancient tunnels underneath. Compared to the other provincial capitals, Wellfort is small -- so the Hierophant's troops are crowded everywhere.
Harpies are perched on the walls; there are manticores atop the towers. An escort of wizards and ogres emerges, and a lich appears and introduces himself as the Hierophant; he is, among other things, a legendary necromancer.
Durest: "Huge fan. Would love to get some pointers if we have time."
He leads into a secret area well inside the keep. Inside is a tank holding a grotesque partially-formed human. Hatch looks this over but isn't immediately sure what's going on.
"Kaz Drachma," says the hierophant. "Made a clone to preserve his life, but it wasn't finished when he failed me."
He orders the guard to smash the tank and release Kaz Drachma. Then he shows us a map of Mar Dentro and the location of the Hand. "This," he says, pointing to another parchment, "Is the apparatus of Kwalish. It is an artifact, strong enough to pierce the depths of the lake. I need you to retrieve it for me."
Chuck: "Hey! We could get that thing and take it into the lake and retrieve the Hand of Vecna."
Jenny: "No. Where's the food?"
Servants bring food. Kaz Drachma finally comes back into the room, in his new-but-incompletely-grown-and-therefore-hideous body.
Hierophant: "Ah, my servant. I accept you back into my service. You must tell me where to find the artifact."
Drachma sort of crumples, then limps over to the table and selects a map, pointing to a spot in the Wildlands.
Jenny: "I am from there. You do not want to go there."
Malefar: "That's why I saved your hide, Drachma. You're clever."
Drachma: "You'll need to talk to a man named Marlin. He's in charge of the dig."
So, we've been tasked to retrieve the artifact; Chuck is in favor of using the artifact to retrieve the Arm as well. The Hierophant turns into a cloud of flies and departs.
One of the minions teleports us to the dig site. There are... a bunch of dead bodies on the ground, and some little glowing balls floating in the air.
A dog-head man crests the hill and calls down to us in celestial. Between Chuck and Hatch's familiar, Ramekin, we manage to translate it: we're tresspassers, intruders, we'll never get past them, blah blah blah.
The glowing balls shoot out beams of light, attacking Chuck. Several of them hit, but they don't do a lot of damage. The dog-headed fellow charges, attacking Hatch with a greatsword and missing. Durest slides around and tags him with Inflict Serious Wounds, and he goes down. Jenny charges one of glowing balls and swings her chain at it, damaging it.
Chuck casts Scorching Ray, shattering one of the glowy balls. Hatch blasts two more of them, destroying them. Ramekin turns invisible.
At this point, enemies start teleporting in. We're now surrounded by a horde of these little glowy-balls and holy hound-people (Archons). They move in to flank us. Bob the Frost Giant Skeleton cuts one down. Durest drops a Mass Inflict Moderate Wounds, killing a couple of the lanterns and wounding the nearby hounds.
Jenny attacks one of the hound-guys, taking him down and swinging around to hit one of the lanterns. It shatters as well.
Hatch drops a Fireball, and Ramekin -- invisible -- heads over to smash one of the glowing orbs of goodness. He casts Poison, which unfortunately doesn't affect it.
The surviving Archons transform into Dire Wolves and attack. One of them hits Chuck, for damage that he'll probably regenerate immediately on his turn. One attacks Hatch and misses; the last attacks Durest and misses. Two more of the Archons teleport in, along with a bigger one that looks like a leader. Two more orbs arrive as well.
The orbs that didn't just arrive try to zap Ramekin, since he's an imp. Bob the giant skeleton cuts down one of the wolves. Durest turns and inflicts some damage on the nearest wolf. Jenny, meanwhile, is smashing orbs.
"I am an Archon of Light! Ww will not allow creatures of evil such as yourselves to land hands upon sacred artifacts! This site will be lost to memory!"
Chuck: "It's cute that you say that." He tags him with a spell, but it fails against his spell resistance.
Archon: "Fool! Your pathetic magic cannot penetrate the protection of my god!"
Hatch drops Grease under him, but the Archon keeps his balance -- though he's still flat-footed. Hatch then tags him with an empowered Scorching Ray. Hatch has spell penetration and doesn't care a bit about his spell resistance, and does a bunch of damage. He follows up with a quickened Ray of Frost, hitting him again and damaging him more. The Archon is still on his feet, but he is not doing well.
One of the wolves attacks Hatch, and two of the lesser Archons attack Chuck with their greatswords. The first one misses; the second one hits once, for (again) negligible damage. A wolf attacks Durest, and the big Archon steps in and tries to smite. Durest, however is not evil; he's chaotic neutral. The smite fails, but still hits. Durest fires back with Slay Living, but fails to slay him. Still, he takes more damage.
Chuck drops a fireball and takes out one of the lesser archons and one of the wolves. Ramekin uses his wand to cast Grease again, and Hatch tags the guy with Scorching Ray, and finishes the Archon leader.
Two of the lanterns attack Chuck, doing minor damage; the last Archon standing hits Chuck as well. Durest follows up with a Mass Inflict Light wounds, finishing off the injured and the vulnerable.
So... all the dig wizards are dead, and there are Archons all over the place. Something has definitely gone wrong here.