Chaos Scar

30. Besieged by Demons

5/2/11: The week after this we skipped so some of the group could go to a book signing. I believe the head in this adventure is inspired by Zardoz, a very bizarre film about a huge stone head. Here's the trailer to the film, which gives you a sense of the head's interior and features a still-old-looking Sean Connery here. And here's a short scene, it probably has to be seen here.

Eldeth - Dwarf Slayer
Hirbe - Human Mage
Merric - Halfling Thief
Tornam - Dwarf Warpriest

The adventurers had defeated Warduke just outside the Keep on the Borderlands. They had Warduke's helmet, a powerful artifact, but it was tainted by the demon lord known as Obox-Ob. After consulting with the churches, it was decided that a ritual could be done. Elessan, Lord Drysdale's right-hand man and the head of the church of Clarissa, decided it would be safer to execute the ritual in the church in the Chaos Scar (the one the heroes got the necroshard from). 

hey headed out into the scar and got to the church, where a few acolytes were ready. The ritual was prepared. Warduke's helmet was placed on the altar. Elessan began to invoke the name of Clarissa to cleanse the helmet - and a massive spectral image of Obox-Ob appeared! It loomed over the helmet, hissing a warning in an ancient tongue. The ritual continued.

Obox-Ob lashed out, sending its's stinger at the heroes. They dodged and fired back - their weapons useless against the image. Obox-Ob lifted its' tail once more, and stabbed Elessan. Elessan's skin went grey and he fell to the ground, gasping. The heroes repelled Obox-Ob with arcane and divine power. Hirbe rushed to the altar and completed the ritual. The helmet was cleansed, but Elessan had contracted a horrid demon disease.

The adventurers needed to bring Elessan back to the Keep. But first, they had to decide who got the helmet. It had three gems in it, which could store spells and powers - it was a power artifact. They settled on a game of chance - Merric won. He put on the helmet, and his eyes appeared to be on fire.

The heroes started to make their way back to the keep, when suddenly a giant floating passed over them. Bolios Whittish was leaning out of one eye, trying to get the heroes' attention. He threw coins down on them. The floating head was descending at an angle out of control. It passed over some trees beyond the heroes' field of vision and crashed, kicking up a plume of dust. The heroes ran over to investigate. 

They weren't the only ones intrigued. A band of ettins, two-headed giants, were approaching the mouth. They thought this could be a god. They tossed some hobgoblin corpses at it and waited for a response. The heroes crept close and watched. Bolios Whittish waddled down the stairs to the cave inside the mouth and shouted out a hello. The ettins roared and prepared to attack the wizard.

One ettin rushed in the mouth, and Bolios staggered it with a spell (he had one spell - volcanic blast, area burst 1 within 10, +10 vs REF, 1d10+5 damage, ongoing 5 fire and slide 1 square). 

Hirbe cast fire shroud, burning two ettins. The leader of the ettins, a curse chanter, began to sing a song laced with arcane energy. The song bolstered the ettins (enemies had -2 to hit, and the ettins had +2 to hit and damage!). Eldeth was struck by a few clubs of the ettins and was hurt badly. She still called them all near and swung back, bloodying one of them. Merric used a gem in his helmet and cast fire shroud as Hirbe had done before him. 

Tornam bloodied an ettin with thundering steel. Merric staggered a chanter with a choice dagger blow. Eldeth dropped the chanter, ending the rage song.Hirbe ran into the cave to aid Bolios. They combined magic to send an ettin into a wall again and again. It died, and the heroes finished off the rest.

Bolios thanked the heroes. He explained that he'd found the head in the Desert of Desolation. It was powered by elemental spirits that he'd bound to the rune circles inside of it. Something in the Chaos Scar had pulled the head downward (the heroes would learn that a clan of demonic minotaurs had spotted the head and used a ritual to force the head to crash. They meant to take it and use for their own nefarious purposes). 

The crash had freed the elemental spirits, and they were angry.

The heroes headed into the mouth and up the stairs. The spirits included a frost hawk, a flame snake, 3 geonids (boulder-men), and a shardstorm vortex (a cyclone with crystalline shards flying around it).  The battle was spread throughout a few rooms inside the head, mainly in a room behind the eyes of the head. Through the eyeholes, the heroes could see out into the Chaos Scar.

Thehawk breathed ice on Tornam, while the fire snake spit fire at Hirbe. Eldeth tried to deal with the geonids. She destroyed one very quickly as the geonids tried to grab her, drag her inside their hollow boulder center and trap her. Hirbe used his beguiling strands spell to knock the geonids back down the hallway.

Tornam and Merric fought the frost hawk by the eyes. Tornam killed the hawk. Merric paused for a bit to look out the eyes, not overly concerned with the fate of his allies. He saw more creatures approaching the head! Demonic minotaurs!There was very little time to finish off the elementals.

A geonid dragged Eldeth inside it. Eldeth hacked at the interior, and exploded out of the geonid amidst an explosion of dust (she critted it from the inside!).  Hirbe used his beguiling strands to finish off the remaining foes. They could hear the minotaurs below. The heroes hid in the chamber, ready to ambush the minotaurs as they emerged from the stairwell (..on the north of the map to the left. The heroes hid by the circular stairwell, and in the nooks and crannies in the room beyond. The two eyeholes of the head are on the bottom of the map).

3 minotaur mages, 3 demons called Neldrazu were led by a large demonic savage minotaur. They charged into the chamber, which looked empty...

Until Merric stabbed one as it passed! Hirbe cast a fireball that exploded in the midst of the monsters. To his dismay, many of the monsters seemed to have a natural resistance to fire. 

Tornam charged and bloodied a minotaur. Eldeth stabbed it in the groin. The minotaurs got their wits and counter-attacked. Tornam was hit with a spell and teleported near the neldrazu. The mages cast crimson bolt spells which were devastating (2d10+5 lightning damage and ongoing 5 fire, cannot shift!).  

Hirbe stood before the minotaurs on the stairwell, and cast a massive beguiling strands that pushed all of them back down the stairs! The minotaurs got up... and he did it again! The mage was single-handedly keeping most of the horde at bay! All of them were bloodied. 

A minotaur stabbed Merric with a glaive, and the halfling fell to the ground, dying. irbe used another push, again sending the minotaurs down the stairs. Tornam killed one of the neldrazu. The giant minotaur swiped at Hirbe with its' claws, but Hirbe teleported away to dodge the attack. Hirbe cast a fountain of flame spell that killed three monsters at once! Eldeth killed another and then charged the giant minotaur. Tornam closed in on that minotaur as well, and buried his weapon in its' back, and healed Eldeth with a spell at the same time.

The minotaur picked up Eldeth, but she lsipped out of its' grasp. The heroes converged and slaughtered it. The enemies had been defeated. Merric was healed. 

Once they had recovered, Bolios and the adventurers talked. The head had lost its' power source - but the heroes had another. They had the moonstone! The adventurers had acquired a most unique traveling device. Bolios could not wait to take the head over the Chaos Scar to see what secrets could be learned.