5/23/11:No Hirbe or Eldeth this week! We threw in Bolios Whittish as an npc sidekick to round out the group...
Artemis - Half Elf Swordmage
Merric - Halfling Thief
Tornam - Dwarf Warpriest
The adventurers had obtained the Scarblade from the Proving Grounds, a powerful weapon in the hands of Artemis the swordmage. They also had obtained a flying stone head large enough to act as a vessel. But Elessan, Lord Drysdale's right hand man, was still suffering from the demon illness given to him by Obox-Ob. Obox-Ob was an ancient demon lord looking to expand his influence to fill the void left when the gods killed Orcus (in the Revenge of the Giants campaign).
The heroes met with Lord Drysdale, who explained that Elessan wasn't getting better. It didn't make sense, because the heroes had also been struck ill by Obox-Ob, and the churches were able to heal them. The heroes realized that Elessan's symptons were that of someone who was poisoned. They took the Head in the Clouds up over the Chaos Scar to find a remedy.
They headed to the glass shrine, where there was a pool of radiance that could give them answers. Tornam stuck his face in the pool as if he was bobbing for apples. When he was done, it had drained a portion of his soul, but also showed an image - a ruined tower covered in crystal shards. The shards were yellow at the top, but faded into dark red at the base.
They realized the cure could be at this tower. They took to the air again, and spotted the tower close to the chaos meteor itself!
The heroes landed, and Merric crept in to the tower to search. He found a few scrolls amongst the rubble - elven poetry, dwarven architecture notes, and a logbook. Artemis scanned the logbook, and saw that the tower had once been home to heroes who had fought battles with the 6 blades of fortune - the former rulers of the keep on the borderlands. Lord Drysdale had recently mentioned them, and was worried they had become undead and were coming to reclaim the keep from him.
In the cellar they found a tunnel blocked by crystals. They realized that excavating the tunnel could take many days, and decided to fly back to the keep to hire some people to help.
They came back to the keep and entered The Stumbling Giant. There, they approached three potential employees.
Marcos, Tiefling worshiper of Dispater: Merric walked up to Marcos, who turned and said "You look like a fellow that could use a drink!"
Merric sighed and nodded.
"I like the cut of your jib, " the tiefling said. "Have you ever heard of Dispater? I'd like to spread his influence to the keep!" (Dispater is one of the nine lords of hell. He got involved with the gods in the Scales of War campaign. Now, his followers are spreading in the world as if Dispater is a good and benevelont deity. They do good things, but some suspect it's just a matter of time before they do something truly evil).
"Do you have any problems that need helping? Dispater can help He's a devil but he does good things."
Merric said "I can relate to that.."
"So yes, how much gold?". Merric offered 10. Marcos said "OK. It's not a lot, so I'll be a little lazy about it.. just kidding! Or maybe not."
Kalidric, Crabby Dwarf: Tornam approached Kalidric. the crabby dwarf rolled his eyes. Tornam said, "You seem tired. Perhaps some gold could lighten your mood."
"Maybe", the dwarf grunted.
"I've got work for you. 20 gold, but you can't tell anyone else."
Tornam warned him he might get his warhammer dirty.
Shensen, Beautiful Half-Elf: Artemis approached her and greeted Shensen. Shensen said hello, and asked with disdain if she was with the church of Zev. Artemis said no, and this seemed to please Shensen. Artemis explained that she was in need of laborers. Shensen asked how much the pay was, and she wasn't sure. Artemis thought for a moment, and offered10 gold. Shensen agreed, as long as the Zev guy left her alone. Artemis said that should be fine, just to watch out for the imp.
They flew to the tower and put the hirelings to work. Kalidric took out his anger on the shards, and hammered away. Shensen stood back, and cast magic missile over and over and over. Marcos told the heroes they could go sleep in the head on the clouds, and he'd make sure the work was done.
Shensen heard this and said to him, "You'd better start hacking, tiefling!"
Marcos said, "Oh she's so sexy and sassy also!".
Shensen said, "you'd better stay away from me!".
Three days of excavating commenced. the heroes used their skills to keep their workers going at a decent pace.
Merric helped them hack. Kalidirc told the halflinh "You suck at this! Go away!" (Merric rolled poorly).
Marcos commended Merric on pretending to suck. He asked Merric if there was any alcohol in the head. Merric blew past him.
Tornam talked with Shensen. She twirled her hair and asked him what he did.
"I don't mean to brag, but I'm the head of a church!
Do you have acolytes?
I don't mean to brag, but I have many acolytes!
"You should show me your church some time.
Shensen seemed to take a shine to Tornam.
Artemis joined in and hacked crystal. Kalidric was impressed, and said "You're putting me to shame,girl!"
Shensen said "She's not a 'girl', she's a woman."
Artemis said, "Actually, I'm a half-elf."
Marcos sidled next to Artemis and hacked. He siad "wow, we swing at same time! What a coincidence! So what do you do?"
Artemis' blade "slipped" and she accidentally cut Marcos. He said, in fake dismay "Oh no, I am wounded and now I must sleep it off in the head!"
Merric climbed the bailiff's tower and entered through a window. The room he was in had beds and a locked strongbox. He picked the lock and stole 300 gold, leaving 200 more and a holy symbol. He headed downstairs and unlocked the door and let his friends in. Together they explored the cellar, and found beneath a bunch of crates a tunnel spiraling downward.
They followed the tunnel and came upon a chamber. A horde of troglodytes lurked there. The chaos shard was nearby (two rooms below) and caused evne more delirium... As the battle went on, and the heroes would kill a troglodyte, they'd see the troglodyte rise up and fight once more! This was an illusion, but the damage to the hero was real! As things progressed, the heroes realised what was going on, and were able to convince their minds that the dead troglodytes were no longer there.
The troglodytes noticed the heroes coming out of the tunnel, and roared. Merric raced forth and killed one.Tornam went in and ended up surrounded. Artemis teleported and switched places with him. She then swung the Scarblade in a wide arc, killing 3!
She also struck the troglodyte champion, and cut off his arm at the elbow!
Bolios and the heroes had killed most of the troglodytes. Then the delirium set in, and they "rose up" again. Tornam was the first to realize what was going on. He shook off the delirium and yelled at his friends to do the same.
Artemis was the last to shake it off, but she did. The troglodytes were no more.
The heroes followed some stairs down to the next room. To their dismay, they found that all 12 abducted citizens were here - mutated! They were half-transformed into meenlocks (bug-like humanoids with pincer claw-hands). One meenlock had control of their minds, and ordered them to attack.
The chaos shard caused a different kind of delirium here. When the heroes would try to attack a meenlock, the meenlock would become "invisible". Merric was the first to realize this and shake it off.
Tornam realized that curing these poor citizens would require a lot of work - they'd have to be killed, the meenlock controlling them would have to die, and then the citizens' bodies would have to be burned. Then. Tornam knew that his new spell resurrection could be cast to bring them back to life.
But that was assuming the heroes would survive the battle!
Tornam shook off the delirium, but the meenlock stalker controlling all of the citizens cast a twisting whispers spell on the dwarf, which gave him meenlock corruption! (-4 to will... and worse after an extended rest!).
Artemis again did the telportation trick, switching places with Tornam once he was surrounded. Then she cast swordburst and killed 4 of the meenlocks! She turned and cut off a meenlock's arm, and tried in vain to shake off the delirium. At this point, all remaining meenlocks were invisible to her, and she had to rely on her allies to point out a target.
Tornam healed his allies and charged the meenlock stalker, hurting it badly. Artemis shook off the delirium, spotted the stalker, and killed it!
The heroes paused to heal, and then headed down to the third chamber....
There, they found the chaos shard. It was 7 feet tall and hovered above the ground, casting an orange glow. Beyond it were their enemies, an umber hulk thrall and its' master, a neogi! He called out to them "Obox-Ob has brought me here to gain revenge on you! You have corrupted Warduke's helmet and taken his temple from him! Now I will use the power of the shard to destroy the Keep on the Borderlands!"
Merric boldly rushed the umber hulk. It slashed him with two claws (for 30 points total), picked him up, and pressed its' claws into his chest (for an automatic 40 points!!!). It dropped Merric's limp body to the ground. The halfling was unconscious and dying!
The battle had barely begun, and the heroes were uncertain if they could survive the revenge of Obox-Ob.