5/18/11: Ryan couldn't make it, so I asked Tom and Sam to jump in to make sure I had enough people. I ended up with six! The heroes hit 8th level tonight. A couple more sessions, and then we'll start the Tomb of Horrors (DM Reward) adventure!
Artemis - Half Elf Swordmage
Eldeth - Dwarf Slayer
Merric - Halfling Thief
Ruby Cursecleaver - Half Elf Hexblade
Tornam - Dwarf Warpriest
Travok - Dwarf Warden
The heroes had obtained the Head in the Clouds, a flying head that could be powered by the Moonstone. Bolios Whittish stood inside a rune circle and took control, guiding it into the air and back to the keep. He landed it outside the Keep on the Borderlands, aka Restwell Keep.
The heroes entered the keep. Bolios recognized two people walking about - Ruby and Travok. He'd met them on his journey to the Desert of Desolation. He offered to introduce them to Lord Drysdale. The heroes accompanied them.
Lord Drysdale was pleased to meet them, but was concerned about Elessan. He was the high priest of Clarissa who had helped cleanse Warduke's helmet (now worn by Merric). During the ritual, Elessan had caught a demon disease and was still gravely ill.The church of Zev was trying to aid him but it wasn't going well.
Drysdale was also thinking about the previous rules of the keep - The Six Blades of Fortune. They were a band of evil adventurers. Lord Drysdale looked at Merric suspiciously...
Merric had decided to start using a short sword. Drysdale offered him one from the armory. Merric accepted it.
Bolios thought that he could take the heroes out into the Chaos Scar to see if they could find something to better heal Elessan. They decided to take the head out tomorrow to scour the Chaos Scar.
The heroes headed to the guildhouse of Saruun to buy magic items. Citirian, the leader, greeted them. His apprentice, Valtaris, nervously sold the heroes item. The mages of Saruun were fearful of the heroes after they called Zev down on the mages for a discount and a poop demon.
The next day, they got on board the head and prepared to take to the air to search the Chaos Scar. They took off. Bolios had a certain area he wanted to explore - a secluded valley that he'd sensed magic power.
Gloomhandler flew out of Merric's vest. She saw the two newcomers. She said, "Oh great, more of these..." She glared at Ruby. "What's your story, lady?"
Ruby said, "I know the power of devils all too well."
Gloomhandler said, "I'm not a devil, I'm an imp of Zev. I just want to let you know that Merric is not interested so don't try anything." She flew over to the dwarf warden. "What's your story, fart face? Oh no, another dwarf! I won't be able to tell any of you apart! Can one of you shave please?"
Ruby drew her blade of annihilation and swatted Gloomhandler away. Gloomhandler fearfully flew into Merric's vest and told Merric to protect her. Artemis applauded.
Bolios landed the head at the edge of the valley. "Something is calling to my superior arcane senses!"
Artemis asked how superior his arcane ability was. She felt she was his equal (both had a +11 arcana). Bolios challenged her to a quick duel. Both focused their arcane energy and pushed at the other. Artemis fell to the ground. Bolios chuckled and said, "Don't worry. You're on your way friend. I can tutor you later. Perhaps you can help me uncover the secrets of the Moonstone!We can master time and space!".
Gloomhandler said quietly, "I can't believe she lost a duel to a fat old man!".
The heroes exited the mouth of the head. They saw a trail leading into the hilly, rugged woods of the valley. They picked a trail and headed in. After a bit of travel, they had strange visions...:
Artemis: Saw herself in the Keep on the Borderlands holding up a magic sword known as the Scarblade. The citizens were bowing before her.
Merric: All of the church of Clarissa bowed before him
Tornam: Watched himself heal a nation of sick people
Ruby: Ruby recently had her boyfriend leave her for a half-orc. In her vision, the boyfriend was begging to come back.
Travok: He stood in the forest and birds landed on him and deer approached him reverently
Crystals jutted up from the ground here and there. Up ahead they heard a slurping noise. After a bit of listening and recon, Tornam boldly waddled up to the creature. I was a kind of anti-skunk. It hissed and raised its' butt, spraying him with a nice perfume musk. It almost blinded him. He stepped away, smelling great, and the heroes carefully made their way around the creature and continued on.
They had more visions:
Artemis: She was wielding the Scarblade in an arena, her foes unconscious, holding the sword high as cheers and petals rained down upon her.
Tornam: Was also in an arena, holding up the severed head of an orc
Merric: Stabbed three goblins in the back and urinated on their corpses
Ruby: Beheaded two gnolls and stood between them as blood sprayed like fountains
Travok: Strangled goblins to death with forest vines
Artemis asked if anyone else was getting a weird vibe. Tornam said yes. They began to discuss their visions, when they came upon a bloated dead body. The corpse looked like it had drowned somehow. It had a journal on it. From the journal, they learned that the traveler had been fighting in an arena called the Proving Pit in the hopes of being awarded a magic sword called the Scarblade.
He had a battle and fled. But he found leaving the valley almost impossible. Paths crumbled under his feet and the whole forest seemed to try to slide him back toward the Proving Pit. In the journal he mentioned seeing a flash flood. It looked like he had been killed by one.
Merric tested the idea. He turned back and tried to leave the valley. Not 50 feet in, a bit of a rockslide occurred, sliding him back down the hill he was ascending slightly. the adventurers realized they had no choice but to continue on.
Artemis: Wore armor of gleaming gold wielding the Scarblade
Ruby: Killed her boyfriend and the half-orc and then cackled madly
Travok: Was among the creatures of the forest. He became allergic to them, and commanded the forest vines to strangle them all. He crushed a canary in his bare hand.
Tornam: Ruled a clan of dwarves. One dwarf had failed him somehow, and Tornam commanded his allies kill him and laughed gleefully as they did so.
Merric: Ruled the church of Zev, and overthrew the church of Clarissa and ruled the Keep. He saw a vision of the keep, with a spectral image of Zev looming over it.
Then the heroes arrived at The Proving Pit. It was a fifteen-foot deep pit in a clearing. Nearby were empty bleachers. Merric found a trap door that lead into the pit. On the far side, a block of crystal pulsed with blue light. Inside of it was the Scarblade!
Then, a ghostly warrior appeared. He was Morrn Bladeclaw, the greatest champion of the proving grounds. He challenged the heroes to fight in the pit. they agreed and entered. Morrn blew a horn, and spectral creatures appeared and filled the stands. All of them were ghostly apparitions of fallen combatants in the Pit.
A side door in the pit opened, and out came the heroes' first opponent. It was a blue arcanian (an undead mage) and a dozen shadowy pit fighters!
Merric called on the power of the warduke helmet, and let out a blast of fire that killed one pit shadow. The crowd laughed and taunted Merric. Travok plowed into a clump of pit shadows and challenged them all. Artemis then teleported and switched places with Travok. She then swung into a swath of them, killing three with a violent swordburst.
Eldeth goaded the shadows to come and get her. They charged, and she dropped five of them! the crowd reluctantly applauded that. The arcanian created a blizzard that wracked the heroes with ice. Artemis was hurt. Tornam healed her with his magic.
Merric made his way to the arcanian and stabbed it. Ruby then teleported and switched places with Merric, and she swung at it. The arcanian blocked the slice with its' staff. She swung again, and his time stabbed the arcanian.
Artemis dropped two more pit shadows. Eldeth brought her axe down on the arcanian, wounding it greatly. Morrn activated a deadly trap - a spiked chain pinwheel that swung around and around, slicing any it met indiscriminately. The ghostly chain cut through Eldeth, Tornam and the arcanian.
The arcanian fell to the ground. Merric and Ruby stood over him, and finished him off. The crowd booed, feeling that the chain did all the work.
The heroes barely had a second to catch their breath. Morrn stopped the trap, and then called out the next opponent - Marok the half-orc death mage! He too was accompanied by over a dozen pit shadows!
Aremis approached the shadows and killed three with a flame cyclone. Marok created a zone of flies and then punished Ruby with a bolt of putrescence. Her body was wracked with necrotic energy, and she fell to the ground, dying. Merric flung a dagger at a bunch of pit shadows, and activated the dagger's lightning power to destroy four of them!
That cleared a path to reach Marok. Eldeth charged through and sliced into the half-orc. Tornam healed Ruby, but the trap kicked in. The spiked ghost chain tore through her and knocked her to the ground, prone in the zone of flies. The chain also cut two pit shadows in half.
With those minions out of the way, nothing stood between Artemis and Marok. The swordmage advanced and sliced into Marok.
Travok killed the last pit shadow, as the rest of the heroes surrounded Marok. Marok reached out to give Eldeth his rotting touch, but she slapped his hand away and cut into his neck with a huge blow (a critical). Eldeth followed up with the death blow. She had killed the champion of the pit - and now she had become the new champion. The crowd chanted her name.
Then the crowd chanted for Bladeclaw to fight. The heroes healed up as 10 foot tall blocks slowly rose up for the ground, changing the terrain of the arena.
Morrn Bladeclaw faced off against the adventurers, accompanied again by over a doze pit shadows. He grew to ten feet tall, his spectral sword gleaming. He was insubstantial - it would be hard to hurt him unless they could make him solid by hitting him with radiant energy.
The heroes had been resting on the dais where the central part of the ghost chain trap was. They were in the middle of the proving pit. So, as the battle began, the pit shadows appeared all around them. The heroes were surrounded! The pit shadows immediately let out their wails (close burst 3.. 7 thunder damage from about ten of them!). Ruby and Travok were just off of the dais, and thus were not targeted by the thunderous wailing.
The hit point total after the pit shadows wailed at the start of the fight:
Merric: down to negatives
Artemis, bleeding badly, killed three pit shadows. Travok made his way to Morrn, and sliced into him. Eldeth made a sweeping blow, killing 3. The crowd chanted her name. Suddenly, only one pit shadow remained.
The trap kicked in. The ghost chain struck Ruby, Artemis and killed the last pit shadow. Tornam cast Smite undead, staggering Morrn with radiance. The radiant energy made Morrn fully substantial for a moment, making him more vulnerable to damage. Merric stabbed into the ghostly warrior, bloodying him.
Suddenly, as the 10 foot tall undead man stumbled back, the ground beneath him cracked. The thin crevasse spread from his feet in a jagged line to the translucent crystal holding the sword. The crystal cracked The Scarblade was free! It called to Artemis.
Morrn tried to make his way to the Scarblade, but Tornam's smite undead spell prevented him from moving!Artemis had been knocked to the ground by the ghost chain. She sprung up to her feet and ran over to the crystal. She held the Scarblade aloft. The crowd gasped and cheered. Morrn cried out in frustration, "No! The Scarblade must be mine!".
Tornam cast consecrated ground, a spell that created a healing zone of radiance. He positioned it sot hat his allies and Morrn were in it. The radiance would keep Morrn solid, and thus much easier to kill. The heroes sliced into him. Artemis charged, holding the Scarblade tightly.It spewed red sparks and sliced across Morrn's chest, leaving a black scorched scar. Morrn looked at his wound in horror. The consecrated ground pulsed with radiance, and killed Morrn once and for all.
The crowd cheered, and then suddenly vanished. The heroes were alone in the pit.
They found some gold and a magic item in the pit, left by previous slain combatants. They then realized that the pit would be inactive for 24 hours, and they'd be free to leave the valley. They did so, and made their way back to the Head in the Clouds.