Legends of Thassilon

Familiar Faces

Another damp, dreary day along the Lost Cost. The adventures returned to Sandpoint with tales of Foxglove’s corrupton and his family’s haunted mansion. Pastor Zantus confirmed that Aldern became a ghast and that Vorel’s blight on the mansion could be exorcised with the proper rituals. Sheriff Hemlock noteed that similar murders have occurred in Magnimar and agreed that Foxglove’s townhouse was a reasonable next site to investigate.

The heroes left immediately for Magnimar and rode through the night. By midday, they reached Foxglove’s neighborhood. Maggie, Malcanthet and Albi approached the front while Ito and Kayleb snuck through the lush posterior courtyard.

Maggie used the iron key and the front door opened. She crunched a notice on the floor that indicated the property would be auctioned in 3 days, singed by Chief Justice Ironbriar. Inside, Maggie heard voices upstairs.

Meanwhile, in the back, Ito and Kayleb snuck beyond a gardner and climbed a trellised sunroom. Once in position, Kayleb cast a dazing spell and Ito leapt upon him. The teifling’s pummeling fists met unusually resistant skin and the “gardner” tried to push his way through the back door. Ito lashed out again dropping the foe, but another human, crashing through the foliage, joined the melee.

Faceless stalker copyInside, the sound of retreating footfalls encouraged Mal and Maggie up the stairs. At the top, they saw Aldern Foxglove! “Who are you people? What are you doing in my house?” he demanded. Mal began cursing him as he backed away calling for the town guards. The heroes move up after him and Maggie engaged with cries of “you’re still a shitty boyfriend!” Aldern’s features morphed to that of a woody humanoid with whorling skin, recognized by Mal to be a faceless stalker.

Outside, the humanoid facing the heroes likewise revealed itself. Ito, Kayleb and the creature traded blows, but Ito delivered felling strikes until the stalker was down. The pair rushed inside.

Upstairs, a stalker appearing to be Iesha Foxglove joined the fray. Maggie was grabbed by some massive wooden claws that leeched her fortitude but she managed to slip away quickly. She retaliated with rending sword strikes. Malcanthet blasted a lightning storm of arrows into the creatures. Albi lobbed a bomb but the stalker dodged; the resulting blast blew out a front window. After several tense strikes and counterstrikes the creatures died in oozing puddles of milky blood.

The group reunited and started searching the place. Upstairs, Maggie found a lion-headed ornament with a keyhole deep in its maw. Using her other key, she opened a compartment that contained a purse with 200 platinum, several papers and a ledger.

The papers were the deed to Foxglove Manor. The land and house were owned by Vorel Foxglove, but clearly financed by a group called the Brothers of the Seven. In addition, after 100 years the ownership of the manor “and all lands within one mile around and below” were to lapse to the Brothers – the deed was dated 80 years ago.

In the ledger, Aldern’s expenditures and income are recorded. most of it was pretty mundane, but towards the end there were several entries labelled “Iesha’s trip to Absalom”, indicating that Aldern payed 200 gp a week. These payments are made to a certain “B7” at an address in Magnimar – 3 Sugar Row.

Meanwhile, wary of attention from the watch, Kayleb disguised Malcanthet as Lady Foxglove. And just in time. A pair of guardsmen approached the front door and asked about the broken window. Malchanthet charmingly described the accident and thanked the guards for their vigilance. They withdrew smiling for her favor.

Alone again the heroes began to discuss their next steps…

Session Summary

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Legacy of the Liche

Surrounding the ghostly revenant of Iesha Foxglove, the adventurers debated freeing her from her self-loathing. Ito suspected the ghost would attack her hated husband, Aldern, but not without striking Malcanthet first. They decided to leave her.

The group entered the basement and stepped into a kitchen littered with rat spore. While looking around, a wave of diseased rats poured form the walls. They swarmed Theraga, Maggie, and Ragnok. All suffered bites but the heroes’ whirling blades quickly dispersed the vermin. In a locked cupboard, Maggie found the rest of the Foxglove family’s silverware.Rat swarm

After clearing the wine cellar, pantry and servant’s quarters, they found a thick metal door with no obvious way to open it. Maggie discovered it to be magically sealed but possibly defeated with brute force. Ito and Ragnok bent their crowbar before creating a ram from the kitchen table. After several thunderous crashes, the iron door bent inward enough to pass.

Within, they found a magical workshop with a blanket of dust and mold over numerous jars and glassware. Three birdcages contained the bones of rats. A bank of stained glass windows facing the ocean pictured four mystical beasts, recognized by Kayleb to be associated with the ritual of lichedom.

Kayleb’s vision tilted and was replaced with a stained glass hallucination of Vorel Foxglove researching and gathering components, preparing the ingredients, building a phylactery and the culminating ritual. Just has it was being completed, Vorel’s wife, Kasandra, appeared and with shameful rage blasted the phylactery with a lightning bolt. Kayleb shook the vision off without any ill effect.

The next room contained an excavated ancient stairwell. While staring into the darkness, the foul stink of rotten meat wafted up on a cold breeze. To Theraga the floor still appeared intact. She saw Aldern digging determinedly repeating, “For you,” with every swing. She somehow knew he was speaking about Malcanthet. As the last flags broke open, the reaching claws of a horde of shrieking ghouls surged forth. Overwhelmed, she suffered terribly as they clawed and bit her flesh. She dropped to the floor exhausted as the vision faded. The others stood by awestruck as wounds opened on her writhing body. And then it was suddenly over and she recovered her wits.

The terrible scene steeled the party’s resolve to deal with the source of evil. They descended the spiral stairs. The walls were carved with unfamiliar runes, clearly very, very old. The stairs opened into a fungus-covered limestone cavern with multiple corridors. Maggie started down one and found several pickaxes, including one that looked valuable. She advanced…into a thick, patch of yellow mold. The spore cloud enveloped her and Kayleb, but both managed to escape without harm.

Down another corridor, they heard the eery breathing sounds of an underground pool. En route, a band of ghouls rushed from a bone-heaped chamber. The first pallid undead jumped Maggie and Ito, but the heroes delivered much more damage than they took. With only one ghoul standing, Ragnok struck his massive sword against a hanging stalactite and the blade clattered into the nearby pit. The last ghoul was slain by the others.

The pit was actually an enormous chamber with a domed roof and a slippery spiral downward path ending in a pool of sloshing, foamy seawater fifty feet below. At the far side was a stone door. The party carefully made their way down the path, recovering Ragnok’s greatsword.

Maggie scanned the door and pushed it open. Within she found a large table covered with a foul setting indeed. Platters, plates and crystal contained rotten meat, writhing with maggots, and congealed blood. One wall was covered with a seven foot tall black tumescent fungus patch with a broken puzzlebox at its foot. The stench was overwhelming and came from the room’s other inhabitants.

Skinsaw man 2 copyPacing the floor was a figure dressed in the horribly-stained silken finery of a Magnimaran noble. The creature had discolored, slimy flesh, twisted claws and a snaggle-toothed, dog-like snout of a ghast. Its weeping red eyes narrowed and a snaky, blood-red tongue swept over its rotted lips. When Malcanthet entered behind Maggie, the ghoul growled, “You have finally come to me! My love, now you may join the Pack. Let us consummate our…hunger!”

It charged Mal as a pair of undead hunting dogs emerged from beneath the table and attacked the others. Mal suffered a war razor slash, but she slipped behind the front line fighters. Ito dropped one of the gravehounds, but even as it cruppled under his deadly fists, the hound chomped the tiefling’s thigh.

Unable to reach Malcanthet, the ghast raged. Maggie, Theraga, and Ragnok battered the foe, until he fell was a shriek of agony, “Please, no more. I surrender! It was him, not me!”

“It was who?” several of the group said at once.

“The Skinsaw Man. He killed all those people, not me, not his poor lordship. He terrifies me! He comes here sometimes and I’m so scared! Please don’t let him get me! I only came here to get what she wanted.” His voice was strange, wheedling and squeaky, not the gruff tones he used on seeing Malcanthet.

“Xanesha. Ironbriar introduced us. He knew my grandfather. He built this place. He is this place.” Foxglove titters. “He wanted to be a lich, but it didn’t work. Instead, this mansion houses his undying soul. I didn’t understand when I came here. But he whispered, and so it all happened. But no, I was talking about Xanesha!” He seems anxious to change the subject. “She wanted me to collect some fungus.” He waves at the odd patch of fungus by the wall. “All that is left of dear old Vorel. It’s quite deadly – she wanted it for a poison. But, but, it infected me. She sent me back to find them – the greedy ones. No, not me, him. Yes, him, the Skinsaw Man. Not me. Not his lordship.”

Malcanthet, incensed that there might be another women, demanded, “Who is Xanesha!”

“Xanesha is with Ironbriar. Here it’s only little me, and the Skinsaw Man. I don’t know where he is, but he comes and goes and does Xanesha’s bidding. He kills for her, all those she marked out. Wait! What’s that? I can hear him! He’s coming, he’s coming!” Foxglove slumped to the floor, held his head in his hands and started moaning.

“He’s here,” growled Foxglove, his voice deepening. He stood up straight and snarled. “The Skinsaw Man kills for the Lord of Murder – you shall be his next sacrifice.” He flicked open his war razor and resumed the battle. Still unable to reach Malcanthet, he slashed and clawed those nearby. Theraga suffered one claw strike and felt her muscles stiffen. Paralyzed she watched as the others rained damage on the Skinsaw Man. Albi rushed into melee but slipped on the bloody floor, cracked his head and fell unconscious. Nearly defeated, the ghast sneered and slashed his razor across Theraga’s throat. The spray of blood arced across the room, as Ito closed and crushed the ghast’s chest. Both Theraga and the Skinsaw Man fell to the floor.

Kayleb rushed to Theraga as others stood stunned. Kayleb shook his head and said, “Her soul has already left her body. There is nothing I can do.”

Somberly, the party collected Foxglove’s loot and Theraga’s body. Maggie and Albi found a wand amongst the fungus and Maggie dug into the growth to pull it free. Albi determined it to be a wand of lightning. He shot several bolts into the fungus, which smoked with a whining screech. Kayleb suggested that more powerful divine magic might by able to permanently exorcise the evil.

Once outside, the adventurers tried to light the mansion on fire. Despite several torches and even Albi’s bomb, the flames licked the walls only briefly before becoming wet smoke. Frustrated and saddened, they group trudged back through the cold rain toward Sandpoint.

Session Summary

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Misgivings

After returning to Sandpoint, the adventurers learned of another murder – this time at Scarnetti’s sawmill. While investigating the scene of Banny Harker and Katrine Vender’s grisly demise, the team discovered that the attacker was undead and using an ancient Thassilonian ritual for unknown reasons. Banny appeared to be the target, whereas Katrine appeared to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Next, the party went to the abandoned barn south of town where the first murders occurred. After Maggie magically spoke to a pack of wolves, she learned that a sliver knife with an embossed foxglove was overlooked by the Sheriff’s men.

The next morning, the adventurers went to Sandpoint’s cathedral to interview the lone survivor of the barn murders. Within they found Grayst Sevilla in the throws of ghoul fever. He ranted about his hunger and returning to his master. The party agreed to let him escape and lead them to his creator.

Lost coastGrayst caused brief pandemonium in town as he raced through on all fours, but the adventurers prevented any townsfolk injuries. Grayst rushed through the surrounding woods fueled by inhuman endurance. Kayleb and Albi were left behind, but they returned to town for Kayleb’s pony and continued the chase.

Grayst led the group to a ramshackle mansion along the Lost Coast, Foxglove manor. Grayst broke through a window and entered the house. Maggie picked the lock expertly, and the party entered the fungus shrouded halls. The entrance foyer contained numerous tattered and rotting animal trophies, including a large manticore.

The next room was a decaying parlor with a sagging grand piano. Grayst was still lingering in the room and was quickly dispatched. Afterward, Malcanthet was overcome with hallucination of dancing with Foxglove’s wife, Iesha. Iesha’s face bloated as though being strangled by unseen hands. Mal shook away the disturbing vision without ill effect. She advocated for leaving and trying to burn the haunted mansion down.

The group decided to continue investigating. An adjacent washroom contained a basin with a large, disease-ridden rat. Mal ended its suffering with a crackling arrow. Albi and Kayleb showed up and joined the exploration.

The next room was a formal dining room with a huge stained-glass bay window overlooking the coast. Albi identified the disturbing images as components of necromantic spells. Kayleb’s cat, Mordaki, whispered in the witch’s mind, “Parts of dark spells yes, but a more ominous recipe these make. Within the cauldron brews the draught of eternal unlife of a liche.”

A small sitting room near the back of the manor showed queer footfalls in the dust and Maggie reported a worried woman’s voice who spake, “Lorey my sweet. What does your father do down there so late in the night?”

The last room on this floor was a mouldering library. Albi cried at the loss of so many books. The others noticed a brilliant red and gold Varisian scarf and a heavy stone bookend on the ground. The scarf shuddered and flew around Malcanthet’s face. She had another hallucination of Aldern Foxglove storming in on Iesha and cursing her unfaithfulness. Aldern brained the young man seated in the nearby chair and grabbed Iesha’s throat. She wrapped the scarf around his eyes and nearly escaped but his grip was too strong. The vision ended as the scarf fell lifelessly to the ground. Maggie scooped it up, recognizing its value, and Mal again encouraged the group to leave this haunted place.

The heroes decided to continue investigating until they found the source of the evil that permeated the manor. Returning to the entrance hall, Albi found an especially thick patch of fungus. While collecting samples, he suddenly heard a zap behind him. Turning, he saw Kassandra level a wand at him as a lighting bolt surged into him. Albi’s perspective spun and he realized she was attacking the fungus and that he was the fungus. As the vision cleared, the room smelled of ozone and Albi’s ears and whiskers smoked from a painfully real lighting burns. Kayleb magically healed the worst of Albi’s injuries.

Next, they headed upstairs. The first room was a child’s bedroom. This time Ragnok suffered a vision from the eyes of Lorey, a Chelish girl. She (he?) saw her frantic mother whose face was covered with a growing blight. Ragnok was then convinced that it was his face afflicted and began clawing furrows in his own flesh. The vision receded but left Ragnok terribly injured.

Maggie declared the upstairs washroom unstable and prone to collapse. The room was otherwise avoided.

Iesha portraitThe master bedroom was completely destroyed. The bed was torn apart, walls gouged, tapestries shredded, and furniture sundered. The one exception was a fine portrait of Iesha turned backward against the wall. Once turned, Ito was overcome with a suicidal compulsion; he saw himself as Aldern Foxglove, having just murdered Iesha, his wife, in a fit of jealousy and almost plunged a dagger (actually a broken dowel) into his chest. As his vision cleared Aldern (Ito?) tossed the weapon aside and decided to turn to the Brothers of the Seven for help.

Next, the adventurers found a relatively well preserved study. Shelves were lined with books on travel and various cultures (particularly Shoanti tribes), and rolls of maps filled a barrel. A decorative scroll case contained two magical scrolls, and a valuable painting of a auroch bullfight, titled “Throwdown in Swynetown”, hung on one wall. Hanging from the ceiling was a magical pullcord with a preserved simian head at the base. The heroes chose to leave it alone…much to Maggie’s dismay.

The last room on this floor was the gallery of Foxglove’s family. The room was thick with mildew and mold. The portraits helped clarify the people in the hallucinations. Vorel Foxglove, Aldern’s grandfather, was the patriarch. The portraits of his wife and daughter, Kassandra and Lorey, hung nearby. Aldern’s mother and father are pictured (but did not feature in the visions). Aldern and Iesha are also pictured. While investigating the room, it grows warm and moist, just before each of the portraits suddenly transforms to show the cause of subject’s death. Aldern’s portrait becomes a gray-green skinned cadaver with an elongated jaw and sharp canine teeth. Kassandra and Lorey died of a patchy rash and Iesha from strangulation. Vorel’s portrait becomes encrusted with mold and fungus before exploding in a blast of spores that envelop everyone. There are no obvious immediate ill effects.

The heroes recover from the scene and continue exploring upward to the attic. Most rooms are storerooms with generous water damage and even some gaps in the sagging roof. The last room is locked with a heavy padlock. Maggie hears crying within and picks the lock.

Revenant iesha (This is a deviation from our session. I want to replay the events of this room somewhat.) Inside, the room reeked of putrescence, worse than any other room. Numerous tables, chairs and other furniture were covered with dusty, white sheets. The only uncovered furniture was a tall dressing mirror, its back toward the door. As the adventurers entered, they saw the source of the sobbing. A ghostly version of Iesha sat staring into the mirror, tears rolling down her face with wet drips on the floor that vanished after seconds. Behind her laid a human-sized corpse wrapped in a sheet brown-stained sheet.

Iesha moaned, “I loved him. No. I love him. Why do I still love him? Why didn’t I see him for the monster he is? How could he do this to me. Why was I so stupid? So stupid. I hate myself…I hate you. I hate you. I hate you,” she said to her reflection.

When Malcanthet entered the room, Iesha glanced her direction and flashed with rage, “You! You are the one he loves now. You are the one he loves more than me. This is your fault. I hate you whore!” She seems to turn inward again, “No. It’s my fault – not yours. I hate him. He did this to me. No. I let him do this to me. It’s my fault. I hate myself. I hate myself.”

Malcanthet protested, “What do you mean my fault? I didn’t know he was married. When I found out, I came to your house in Magnimar to know the truth and you were there just days ago. When did this happen to you? When?”

Iesha’s sobs subsided, “Free me from this prison. Destroy the mirror. And I will have my revenge. Aldern will be destroyed!”

Session Summary

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Interlude: Magnimaran Justice

On a bleak autumn day, the party traveled to Magnimar with the returning soldiers, the prisoner Lyrie, and Ameiko Kaijitsu. The trip through the outlying farmlands and high moors was uneventful. The party stayed at a wayfarer’s inn called The Verdant Knoll.

MagnimarThe next day passed similarly and by nightfall the party arrived at Magnimar. Maggie told tales of fiendish creatures living in the Irespan, the cyclopean broken bridge that that reaches from Magnimar’s heart out into the gulf. She also told of the downtrodden and lawless that continue to live in its shadow.

The group marched through the wealthier upper city until they reached the Pediment Building. A guard collected the prisoner and she was led into the prison, known as the Hells. The soldiers departed as the adventurers received a summons for the next morning to meet the Chief Justice presiding over the case.

The heroes then took Ragnok to Pharasma’s temple in lowtown. They delivered Pastor Zantus’ coffer unopened and left Ragnok overnight.
The next morning Ragnok was sitting on the steps waiting for his friends, apparently completely recovered.

The party returned to the Pediment Building and entered the upper Justice Court. A beadle led them to Chief Justice Ironbriar’s office. They were transferred to Verne, Ironbriar’s nasal, irksome assistant. The newly restored Ragnok was so vexed that he nearly throttled the man. Not a moment too soon, Ironbriar called for the adventurers.

During the audience, the group learned about the judicial process and the fact that Ameiko’s brother’s role and any necessary reparation would also be determined at the upcoming trial. He recommended a lawyer who Maggie later revealed to be an old duffer and a poor choice.

Outside the Pediment Building, the party briefly chatted with a crying woman who disclosed that her husband had been jailed for theft but was now missing. Maggie learned that neither Ironbriar nor the prison guards would listen to her complaint. Malcanthet harshly pronounced the punishment appropriate for the crime and the women fled sobbing.

Over the next few days, the party visited the Hells to question Lyrie but found her magically stupefied. They also secured a talented lawyer for Ameiko. The remainder of the time was spent shopping and looking around Magnimar (including a jaunt by Malcanthet and Maggie to Lord Forxglove’s townhouse and a brief introduction to his beautiful, young wife).

The day of the trial arrived. Chief Justice Ironbriar and Justices Kernwell and Chaddov presided. Lyrie and Tsuto were charged with conspiracy, murder, treason, high treason and cultic activity. Both Lyrie and Ameiko’s lawyer pled not guilty. The lawyer made a sound case that Tsuto had a harsh upbringing at the hands of his father and fell in with a powerfully corrupt Nualia and was mentally unstable. Lyrie argued that she was duped and that once she realized Nualia was evil, she was powerless to escape. She even accused the adventurers of releasing Nualia’s bodyguard, Orik, thus allowing her to be the scapegoat.

As the galley erupted with noise, Ironbriar leaned forward, “The witnesses are not on trial. Today. They have been cross-examined and we will not allow this court to become a Varisian Traveler’s show. As we have no more questions for you: Please. Step. Down.”

The questions concluded and after a brief deliberation, the justices returned. Ironbriar said, “Lyrie Akenja, your testimony has clearly painted you as a dissolute individual bent of personal gratification and personal enrichment with little thought to the consequences of your actions. As a result, you fell in with this Nualia, an individual bent on undermining the city of Magnimar and its holdings, and showed little qualm at her activities and, indeed, were found to be defending her when confronted by the forces of good, as represented by Master Komondon and his associates. Your contradictory evidence undermines your testimony that you were uninvolved in the atrocities perpetrated by Nualia, and in any case your failure to prevent them is telling. We, the Presiding Panel, therefore find you guilty of the charges put before you. You are hereby sentenced to by hung upon the cross at dawn tomorrow until your soul vacates your mortal shell. May Pharasma judge you kindly.”

After Lyrie was removed sobbing incoherently, Ironbriar continued with the verdict.

“Ameiko Kaijitsu, it is clear from today’s testimony that your brother has had a life full of suffering. This may well have had an impact upon his ability to discern whether the company he kept was appropriate that a young noble and patriot of Magnimar. I am satisfied that Nualia was the prime mover in the plot against Sandpoint.”

“Notwithstanding, this plot led to the deaths of several individuals in Sandpoint. I am not satisfied that his state of mind was so disturbed as to be unable to determine whether his actions were right or wrong. While we find him not guilty of the majority of the charges against him, we still find him guilty of conspiracy to destroy a holding of Magnimar.”

“As such, he was responsible for damage to the town of Sandpoint and even its possible destruction. Therefore, all of the Kaijitsu property and improvements will be confiscated by the city of Magnimar to be distributed to the nobles of Sandpoint minus court fees and fines. Sentence is to be carried out immediately.”

Ameiko gasped and cried out, but Ironbriar had her removed from the courtroom. The trial quickly adjourned and party found her stunned in the hall.

Moments later, Sandpoint guardswoman Crispin unexpectedly showed up. She explained that there have been three gruesome murders in Sandpoint and the Sheriff wants the party’s help. She described three dead transients torn apart with a seven-pointed star carved in their chests. A forth was alive but insane.

Ameiko remained in Magnimar to conclude her business, while the party secured horses and rode hard back to Sandpoint.

Session Summary

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Malfeshnekor's Den

Drakken, Kynaan, and Maggie, standing in the darkened doorway, saw Nualia, unbelievably alive, advance toward them. This time, however, a sickening wave of evil radiated from her. Battered, the heroes retreated from her furious screams to regroup and rest.

Once outside they found Malcanthet who had followed the group from Sandpoint for mysterious reasons known only to her. She simply offered to join the fight.

The night passed restlessly. The evil awoken under Thistletop had a long reach. Ragnok’s exhausted form lurched from the ground and he spoke with a deep, resonant voice unlike his own. His features became more demonic and then receded suddenly. He returned to his stuporous snoring.

The next morning, fog thick on the Lost Coast, Maggie encouraged her companions to “just go take a look.” Despite considerable dissent, her plan to “hit that bitch with a stick” inspired courage, even from the gnomish advocate for returning home for tea and crumpets. She led the group back into the island’s ancient core and straight to the chamber where Nualia was last seen.

Just outside the door, Maggie heard diabolic arcane casting sounds coming from within. As the tiefling rogue crept forward, Albi sneezed and gulped. Nualia welcomed, “I had hoped your would return.” Maggie raced into the room to meet her foe, brandishing a dagger in one hand and a tree limb in the other.

The oval-shaped chamber was ringed with a recessed pit of glowing embers but was otherwise empty. Maggie stopped and turned back to say as much when Nualia suddenly appeared and, with a massive claw, gouged Maggie. Nualia’s inhuman strength staggered Maggie and she was completely surprised when Nualia bit here neck and tore a hunk of flesh free.

Kynaan and Drakken rushed into the room while Nualia swept Maggie off her feet and thrust her toward the open pit. Despite the flailing rogue in her grasp, Nualia easily evaded Kynaan’s slashes and stiff-armed Drakken when he attempted to join the grapple. Maggie slipped free at the last moment and Nualia lept free of the melee.

As Maggie slumped to the ground, unconscious, the beautiful aasimar bargained with the party’s wordsmith, Bandaro. A bit of Maggie’s shed blood, a holy item of Sarenrae and a prybar was all she asked in exchange for treasure beyond their ken. The ranged fighters answered with extreme prejudice.

MalfeshnekorAlbi lobbed in several bombs as Malcanthet launched arrows from her magical bow. As the conflagration cleared, Nualia stepped from the flames with her skin dripping off like hot wax. Revealed was a hulking mangy haired demon with a goblinoid face and enormous claws and fangs. The monster growled more arcane words and a wash of sorrow sapped Albi and Mal. Emboldened by their sadness, the goblin-demon rent and tore at the other fighters. Drakken managed to find a healing potion and pour it into the hemorrhaging Maggie.

Savage blows were exchanged for seemingly forever, leaving Drakken unconscious and Maggie and Bandaro barely standing. The creature was severely wounded but the heroes could not battle on. Being closed to the ground and rife with arcane knowledge, Albi noted a magical circle inlaid in the floor and yelled, “Fall back! The demon may not pass beyond the line.” The party retreated as the creature howled in pained rage.

The monster did not follow.

The heroes used most of Kynaan’s healing wand’s power and recovered as much as possible. Then the heroes returned to finish the monster for good.

Upon entering, the demon was invisible. After several minutes, it appeared again behind Maggie. It grabbed her and threatened to throw her in the fiery pit if the items demanded were not delivered. Drakken laughed.

“Do it. Who cares? She’s a tiefling.”

Enraged, the demon shoved Maggie into the pit, but sure enough, she suffered naught from the embers burning below. As she climbed out, Malcanthet’s rain of arrows and Bandaro’s dancing slashes harried the monster. Maggie emerged and charged toward the monster’s back. Armed with Malcanthet’s magical rapier, she drove the slender blade into its black heart. The monster wailed and fell to the ground dead.

Ring of force shieldAfter catching their breath, the heroes explored the summoning chamber and found a drawer beneath a scrying pool. Within was a ornate silver coffer with a magical ring.

The party collected their wounded and their mage prisoner and started back toward Sandpoint, exhausted but victorious.

Session Summary

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Scion of Lamashtu

Maggie fell back into the stairway gripping her bloodied side and Bruthazmus’ raven fletched arrow. The bugbear had slipped away. The heroes cautiously entered an old rough hewn chamber covered in goblin graffiti. One panel showed a massive goblin centered in Thistletop Island. An adjoining hallway, lit by lantern light, led to a wide oaken double door through which someone, likely Bruthazmus, had just passed. Orik and lyrie copy Intent on clearing other passages first, the party entered a northern doorway and stumbled upon a heavily armored man named Orik with a drawn hand-and-a-half sword and a comely, sneering, coal-skinned wizard named Lyrie. Drakken charged forward and grappled the fighter. Ragnok’s blade screeched against the fighter’s armor. Drakken pinned Orik’s arms allowing Maggie to sap the foe with her dagger pommel leaving him dazed.

The wizardress cast a purple winding ray of enfeeblement that dissipated on the wall beyond Ragnok. She attempted to back into the next room, so Ragnok charged, slashed a 3-foot furrow in her back and then pummeled her unconscious. When he drug her apparent corpse back into the room, Orik surrendered and allowed himself to be bound.

Meanwhile Bruthazmus had circled around and traded ranged attacks with Albi who suffered two massive arrow strikes. Kynaan lurked above the doorway leopard-like waiting to pounce but Bruthazmus failed to close, so the elf instead sealed the oaken door. Bruthazmus’s flail destroyed it in two mighty swings. Kynaan and Bruthazmus closed in melee. Maggie joined in and the three maneuvered around the goblin-decorated room. Outmatched but still taunting Kynaan, Bruthazmus withdrew through an adjoining ancient prison. Ragnok arrived and he, Kynaan and Maggie chased the bugbear.

With Orik and Lyrie bound, Drakken and Albi guarded the main hallway near a pair of heavy oaken doors carved with symbols of Lamashtu.

Ragnok charged into a darkened chapel to the Mother of Monsters and found many of her children. Half a dozen thrall spawn, zombie-like aberrations of goblins with lashing tongues, surged toward the tiefling barbarian. Ragnok, Kynaan and Maggie battled the thrall spawn and suffered numerous gashes but avoided their tongue lashings. Bruthazmus joined the battle and targeted Kynaan with arrow after arrow.

At the other end of the chapel, Albi and Drakken heaved the great doors open only to be rushed by two thrall spawn. Albi fell before the assault as the monster’s tongue tore flesh from his cherubic face. Drakken reeled for nearly a minute before succumbing to his many wounds.

Within the evil chapel, the battle raged on. Badly injured, Ragnok dropped a thrall spawn only to be pounced upon by a midnight blue jackal-faced lion with a writhing tentacle mane. The Jackal of Lamashtu bit and tore at the tiefling. Maggie slipped behind it and slashed its hamstring with her dagger. The pair finished it off. Maggie cartwheeled back to the battle between Kynaan and Bruthazmus just as Ragnok suffered another thrall clawing that left him moaning on the stone floor. Kynaan, Maggie and Bruthazmus danced for several strikes and dodges until, flanked, Kynaan drove his curved blade through the bugbear’s thick skull. Bruthazmus fell.

Now, only Maggie and Kynaan stood against three goblin thrall spawn. The heroes backed against a wall, parrying and dodging, and making guarded attacks. Eventually the last foe fell.

Kynaan’s spells and Maggie’s potions healed the injured’s wounds and the heroes regrouped. They explored the rest of the evil chapel, which contained a huge dark statue of Lamashtu complete with paired kukris wreathed in fire and ice. Down the hall, a series of bedchambers, recently used, laid empty. At the other end of the complex, a small chamber contained excavation equipment, ancient Thassilonian rune-covered relics, and a secret doorway with a downward stair.

Albi stayed behind to watch the unconscious prisoner, while Kynaan, Ragnok, Drakken and Maggie descended into a much older portion of the island’s innards. At the next floor, they found an ajar door covered in Thassilonian script. The heroes cautiously entered a statured hall that narrowed to a corridor. Maggie noted a pressure plate with a recently bloodied trap and easily bypassed it.

NualiaThe party stealthily advanced past a doorway into another statued hall that was partially flooded. Seeing no exits they returned to the doorway. Ragnok yanked it open and rushed in. He found a beautifully stoic woman, Nualia, with hardened armor and a serrated bastard sword and two more Jackals. The beasts charged to meet the party only to be swiftly cut down by Ragnok and Kynaan. Nualia advanced and gouged Ragnok with her sawlike sword, tearing his armor and flesh. Her blade momentarily bound, Drakken launched at her and grappled her. In moments, Nualia was pinned and struggled to escape. Her body surged with necrotic energy twice opening weeping sores on her foes. Undaunted, the heroes stabbed and slashed and as she neared defeat, a medallion at her neck flared with blue lambent light and she vanished into the floor.

The heroes scanned the room but found no threats. Instead they found Nualia’s insane writings, maps, and a large collection of unsavory monster parts and fetuses cut from their mothers. Maggie also found seven large Thassilonian gold coins.

AllipsAs the party prepared to depart, a feminine taunt came from the flooded hall. Ragnok and Kynaan approached and found Nualia fully recovered and standing in knee-deep water with her sword drawn. Maggie and Drakken moved into covered shooting positions and Kynaan and Ragnok charged. As they rushed forward two translucent shadows lashed out from statued alcoves. The room was filled with the maddening babbling and incorporeal claws characteristic of the allip, a shade borne of madness. One rent Ragnok’s soul. With savage fury he charged, heedless of the pain. Kynaan narrowly rolled under the other attacking undead and came up next to Nualia. Her blade whistled through the air as Kynaan again weaved away. The babbling undead pierced Ragnok’s will leaving him confused and wandering from the fight. Both shadows closed on Kynaan and one finally grazed the evasive elf. The foul touch of undeath tore at his being and wisely he weaved away from the battle.

Ragnok turned and slashed his massive blade through one allip. His blade had no more effect than waving through dense fog. In return, he suffered several slashes crippling his resolve and opening dark gashes on his red skin. He finally succumbed to the attacks and fell, face down, in the inky water.

Both allips vanished back into the walls. Drakken and Maggie moved into the room to heal Ragnok and draw Nualia away. The allips returned and struck at Maggie repeatedly. She tucked and rolled through the the water and darkness evading half a dozen deadly swipes. Finally, one black claw slid through her body and a tiny gasp slipped from her mouth. Her knees buckled as another arching claw tore through her soul.

Kynaan pointed his healing wand and shot a braid of blue and white into Ragnok. He lifted his head from the water, gasping and sputtering. The tiefling barbarian pulled himself to dry floor away from the battle.

Drakken rushed Nualia and tackled her to their knees. His devilish skin surged with heat and steam roiled from the melee. Maggie steeled herself and raced past her ghostly foe. She buried her blade in Nualia’s scared abdomen. The lethal strike brought only a sneer to the aasimar’s face. Drakken’s searing heat blistered Nualia’s skin as she reached for a nearby statue. When she pulled its stoney tome downward, a panel opened behind the robed figure, leading into darkness. Unable to pull herself free of Drakken’s fiery touch, she fell to the watery floor with a curse on her lips. She did not rise.

The allips continued to assail Maggie and Drakken. Kynaan raced forward and swept up Nualia’s fallen sword. He slashed it through allip and found shreds of its shadowy shroud torn away. He rolled toward Ragnok and handed over the weapon. Ragnok used it to great effect nearly destroying one allip before he finally fell again, gibbering mindlessly. Maggie and Drakken back peddled with guarded strikes as Kynaan sent blast after blast of healing energy into the shades. With the claw of madness clenching around them, the remaining heroes fought like cornered wolverines. As the last last allip vaporized from Kynaan’s wand blasts, the heroes collapsed, utterly spent.

Some time latter, their wounds bandaged and the last potions quaffed, Drakken explored the dark corridor behind Nualia’s last stand. Within he found a massive column of golden coins. He ran his hand over them and found a small inset with a recessed seven-pointed star and slots for seven disks – the size of Nualia’s coins. Somewhat befuddled from the allips’ touch, Drakken, Maggie and Kynaan decided to keep investigating. Once Drakken placed the seventh coin, the column heated unbearably (even for him). The coins melted and drained into the star. The column dropped into the floor opening an ancient antechamber beyond with two doors.

One doorway opened into a small room with a marble table and an illusionary form of the same robed figure seen in all the complex’s statues. In Thassilonian it repeated, “…is upon us, but I command you remain. Witness my power, how Alaznist’s petty wrath is but a flash compared to my strength. Take my final work to your graves, and let its memory be the last thing you…”.

The other larger doorway required Nualia’s medallion to open. Once inside, Maggie, Drakken, and Kynaan found a short flight of steps and a single figure standing in the room. Nualia, sword in hand, said, “I had hoped you wouldn’t leave without coming to me.”

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Rippnugget's Court

The heroes fell back to plan and regroup. They ascended the tower hoping to bottleneck the goblin foes. Maggie and Albi tiptoed across the palisade roof and slit a small gash in the throne room’s canvas ceiling. Maggie heard Rippnugget say “Bring the longshanks to me and we shall talk like we did with the others.”

A goblin waving a soiled white flag entered the tower and bid Bandaro, Drakken and Ragnok follow. The intrepid trio entered the throne room and the goblins parted. Ripnugget from his macabre chair welcomed one “longshank” to advance before him in parlay. The warchief selected Bandaro. Bandaro bandied words but refused to step forward. As the stand off seemed near boiling over, fire rained from above. Albi flung a firebomb onto Ripnugget and his honor guard while Maggie simultaneously slashed the warchief’s face with a flung dagger.

Ripnugget courtA massive melee began. Bandaro charged a pair of Ripnugget’s honor guard. Ragnok moved to the center of the room and suffered dozens of small stabs and gashes. Drakken fought defensively and waited for Ripnugget to near. Ripnugget mounted his giant black lizard and was healed by his warchanter. Maggie answered with another unseen dagger to the goblin boss’s neck yielding a spray of dark blood. Ripnugget roared and quaffed a healing potion.

Ragnok invoked his divine power and grew to massive proportions. He continued to suffer countless slashes and arrow stings but any goblin within reach paid the ultimate price as his massive blade smashed and scattered foes. Albi dropped another well-placed firebomb, halving the goblins’ numbers. Bandaro continued to battle a pair of relentless goblin commandos.

Ripnugget and his mount charged the oversized Ragnok but failed to get within his reach. Drakken, however, was poised to reach the warchief when he neared. The tiefling grappler launched himself at the goblin and pinned his dogslicer arm. A dagger whizzed by Drakken’s head…and struck Ripnugget in the eye. The warchief’s head whipped back and his metal jester’s cap clattered to the ground.

Ripnugget’s mount was not slowed. It grabbed Drakken’s thigh and pulled him from its back and shook the tielfing violently. Ragnok crushed the lizard’s flank with his mighty blade, but Maggie’s dagger again delivered the killing blow.

The remaining goblins died or fled. Even Bandaro’s foes were finally defeated. Bound by the foot of Ripnugget’s throne, the heroes found a nearly dead forest elf. The prisoner was healed and he introduced himself as Kynaan, a woodsman and protector of the Sandpoint Hinterlands.

Once their wounds were healed or bound, the heroes explored the rest of Thistletop. They found a small room with a goblin bed and a venomous inhabitant. A four-foot-long black adder lashed at Maggie but she evaded. Bandaro rushed in and slashed the snake but it slithered into the throne room. Albi, startled, dropped a firebomb on the creature – snake flambe! Back in the room, Maggie disabled a sophisticated (for a goblin) trapped chest and collected an alchemist’s lab, a healing potion, and several silver and gold coins.

In the structure’s remaining space, the heroes found a courtyard with numerous giant lizards. Maggie raced across and slipped through a door, while the others stood at their doorway attracting the giant reptiles. Maggie recovered Kynaan’s gear and even found the cleverly hidden goblin hoard, including more coins than she could carry.

As the heroes battled the lizards at the doorway, Maggie attempted to scale the courtyard wall. The rotting, slippery wood delayed her and another lizard charged forth. It grabbed her boot and she could not shake its bear trap-like jaws. Bandaro, Ragnok and Drakken rushed the monster and finished it off. Maggie breathed a sign of relief and proffered her looted treasure – all except a new jade necklace that she slipped under her black leathers.

With the lizards defeated, the companions moved through the rest of the complex. Bandaro and Ragnok tried a barred door at the base of 15-feet of stairs, but it would not budge. The party returned to another downward stairway and Maggie advanced silently. At the base she found a large chamber with goblin-painted walls…and an attacker. A hulking figure launched an arrow into her leather armor. She fell back from the force more dazed than injured. She pulled free an black-fletched arrow the size of an axe handle. An arrow she recognized. An arrow of Bruthazmus!

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Thistletop Island

The salty air mingled with their drying sweat. After the fiery goblin battle, the group rested briefly. Next, they went to investigate the howling hole, the opening of an underground grotto full of sloshing seawater. Once the rope was set, Bandaro descended first. He swung to a sloping barnacle-covered rock. Ragnok began his descent next, but halfway down trouble struck.

ReefclawA mastif-sized crustacean with oversized claws scuttled onto the rock intent on mincing Bandaro. The swordsman repeatedly slashed its carapace but in its death throes, it lashed out still.

Two more reefclaws emerged from the water. Albi sank a crossbow bolt into one from up above. Still 15 feet from the water, Ragnok swung and dropped, massive sword leading, onto one monster. The crunch echoed throughout the chamber. Maggie followed down the rope.

Meanwhile, up in the goblin warrens, a blood-red panther surged from the brambles and ripped a chunk from Karik’s pants and leg. The firepelt took an axe blow from the half-orc as it reared for a rending strike. Albi turned his attention to the savage cat just as a gout of flame flashed by his head. The gnome briefly caught sight of an especially savage-appearing goblin wielding a flaming blade and a smoking wand.

Down in the grotto, Bandaro and the two tieflings battled the remaining reefclaw. It grabbed Ragnok who reversed the grapple allowing the others to finish it off. As Ragnok’s rage ebbed he noted several gashes seeping a urine-colored ooze, but the reefclaw poison had no effect on the stalwart Shoanti.

Up above, Karik continued a titanic battle against the firepelt. Clearly no normal beast, it fought on despite terrible wounds. Just as the half-orc chopped into its heavy neck ending the battle, the goblin shaman unleashed a massive spell turning every bramble within twenty spans into a writhing, grasping vine. The thorns bit and tore as the shaman slipped away through the briars.

The party reunited, healed, and waited for the spell’s effect to end. When they did so, a stranger appeared from the south. He said, “I have a message for Karik.” Startled, Maggie flung a dagger his way. The cloaked figure failed to evade, but he ignored the gash and launched at the rogue binding her throwing arm. She wormed away, but before she could retaliate, Karik stepped in. The party learned that the messenger was a recent tiefling immigrant to Sandpoint named Drakken. The message he delivered Karik irritated the half-orc who tersely said, “I have to return to Sandpoint. I need to put a boot in someone’s ass.” With no more explanation, he left.

The heroes decided to press on. The three tieflings snuck forward and found a den of goblin dogs. The beasts could smell their enemies and charged. During the battle, the goblin shaman returned and shot a ball of fire at Drakken. The attack missed. Drakken and Bandaro rushed the goblin shaman. As the last goblin dog fell, so to did the flame-loving greenskin. The heroes rifled through his lair and belongings finding a twisted branch of a wand, a magical cape, a pair of potions, and a hoard of nasty goblin trappings.

The sky turned purple and the water black before the party attempted to cross the bridge to Thistletop Island. Maggie snuck first, then Drakken. They crept to the base of one watch tower and Maggie began her silent ascent. Above she found two sleeping goblins. She set the grapple and one stirred. She leapt over the palisade, grabbed the greenskin’s leather tunic, and hurled him over the wall. She slashed the other goblin across the throat before it spoke and pitched it after its friend. She signaled Drakken – the way was clear.

Thistletop toss

The rest of the heroes traversed the swinging bridge under the cover of darkness and the blowing wind and crashing waves. Once reunited in the watch tower, Maggie moved cat-like over the stockade roof to the other guard tower. Once at the top, she found a pair of goblin commandos playing at dice. Hanging from the wall, she slashed one for a grazing wound. It leapt to its feet unwittingly exposing itself. A hail of missiles from the other tower struck the goblin. It fell but its comrade had time to hoist the trapdoor and disappear below. Determined, Maggie vaulted over the wall and dove through the portal. She landed hard on a dirt floor 30 feet below, but she blocked the commando’s escape.

The rest of the party descended their tower and advanced through the complex. They passed a foul trophy hall with poorly preserved dogs, horse heads, and a rotting harpy corpse. They pressed on toward Maggie’s last position.

At the bottom of her guard tower, Maggie traded slashing strikes with the goblin, but it managed to slip by her and race down a hallway yelling, “Longshanks!” Just then, Drakken and Ragnok pushed through the adjoining door and rushed after the goblin.

Now behind the tieflings, Bandaro heard goblin mutterings behind a ramshackle door. He shoved it open, bathing the room in iounborne light. Half a dozen goblins crawling from their hammocks screamed in panic and anger. Over the Varisian’s shoulder flew a flaming flask. The resulting inferno incinerated three goblins and seared the others. Albi grinned mischievously. Maggie rolled through the smoke into the room wreathed with small fires and slashed the dying goblins. Her claw-like blades and Bandaro’s long steel finished the nasty foes in moments.

In the guard tower hallway, Drakken grabbed the goblin commando and wrestled him to the floor. During the melee Ragnok jabbed at the green skin unable to swing his enormous blade in such tight confines. Drakken revealed a hellspawned power: his skin radiated a burning heat that blistered the goblin’s skin and withered its hair. Ragnok ended the foe’s misery and rushed through the door it had been heading toward. Her beheld Rippnugget’s court:

The large shadowed chamber with wooden walls and a steepled canvas ceiling decorated with hanging furs, dog pelts and horse hides was supported by four thick masts reaching to a web of suspended ship’s rigging. The base of each mast was studded with iron spikes with impaled mangled body parts in putrid decay. In the rear corner, a wooden platform supported a throne heaped with pelts and hides. Dog skulls adorned the armrests and a horse skull leered over the throne’s back. The throne was flanked by a pair of braziers, which provided the room’s only dim orangish light.

Seated in the throne was Warchief Ripnugget. Large by goblin standards, his skin appeared black with orange highlights. An ornate breastplate covered his chest but was overshadowed by the embers reflecting from his jester’s cap-like crown. Held backward in one hand was the handle of a vicious perforated blade and in the other, the reins of a massive black-scaled lizard with spiked barding.

Many other goblins were present as well, including an honor guard and several warriors.

Ragnok turned around and pulled the rickety door shut behind him.

Session Summary

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Thistletop Warrens

After cursing Karik, the quasit screeched and flew back down the darkened hallway from wence it came. Karik slammed the temple doors and spiked them shut. The quasit returned for another harrying attack, but the half-orc was determined to finish his task.

Meanwhile, the other heroes drug the poisoned Ragnok to his feet. Then, they circled around the dungeon avoiding the dreaded antigravity room. En route to the statued entry room, they reunited with the running Karik. He quickly explained that the quasit flew invisibly up the remaining stair-filled corridor. The heroes advanced cautiously on a circular chamber ornamented with Lamashtu’s monstrous children. A placid pool of clear water sat in the chamber’s center.

Expecting trouble, Bandaro and Ragnok approached carefully. Karik, annoyed but cautious, raced across the chamber to the opposite corridor. He pulled a swath of canvas form his bag and stretched it the width of the hall ensuring that the quasit was trapped between the party.

Lamashtu symbolMeanwhile, Albi rushed forward to inspect the iconic carvings. While near the cleansing pool, the quasit flew by splashing the water and triggering the chamber’s trap. A pair of portcullises dropped sealing the room and the pool rapidly drained…and then refilled with nose-wrinkling acid. Nonplussed, the gnome started looking for tools to collect the caustic, green liquid.

In the lower hallway, buffeting flapping revealed the demon flying past Bandaro and Ragnok. Bandaro’s slice was true and left a short trail of blackened blood down the corridor. The two warriors rushed after the wounded demon.

Albi reached into the pool with his vials as it erupted in an acidic fountain. He suffered terrible burns but regained his senses enough to remove his smoldering clothes and gear.

Back down the corridor, the rabid quasit re-appeared and slashed at Ragnok and Bandaro with her poisoned claws. Bandaro suffered a small gash but the poison slowly leached his poise. The quasit turned on Ragnok but the Mother’s grace abruptly subsided. None of her attacks reached the tiefling and Bandaro was able to land several blows. The demon’s resistances and regeneration were insufficient as a killing blow from Ragnok’s massive blade finished the tenacious foe.

The acid trap reset itself and the portcullises reopened. The party collected what valuables they could carry and limped back to Sandpoint.

The locals grasped and cringed. What could leave the Heroes of Sandpoint so battered? Were there greater threats beneath the Glassworks? Over the next couple of days, word of their deeds spread, the townsfolk were reassured and the group renewed their hero status.

After all their injuries healed, thanks to the temple’s ministrations, the heroes were summoned to a town council meeting. They were praised by Lady Mayor Deverin and learned the meeting was to discuss having the Heroes travel to Thistletop and deal with the rising goblin menace and Nulia and her followers. Titus Scarnetti criticized the “heroes” for depleting the town of its resources and openly doubted their ability. The grieving Ameiko Kaijitsu vouched for the party, while the aged patriarch Valdermar noted that the council would be unlikely to prevent them from continued good works. The heroes stated that they would take the fight to the goblins and end the threat for good. The vote was nearly unanimous in favor of the heroes heading to Thistletop. Only Scarnetti dissented.

NettlewoodThe trip to the Nettlewood, south of Thistletop was uneventful. Bandaro, Karik and Ragnok expertly navigated the game trails and goblin tracks. They found a thick bramble with a concealed wicker gate. Pushing it open, they found a series of cramped tunnels with thorny walls. Shortly after entering, two goblins stumbled upon the party. The greenskins were quickly defeated before any alarm was raised.

Fire goblinFurther in the tunnels, Maggie found a den of nearly a dozen goblins squabbling around small cookfires. After brief planning, Albi snuck forward and lobbed an incendiary bomb into the foes. Four goblins died immediately as the rest leapt up and raced about. Bandaro, Ragnok, and Karik rushed forward to meet a pair of goblin commandos at the entrance. The enemies traded blows while a trio of goblins in the back of the den fired arrows at the heroes. Albi answered the hail with another bomb and three more goblins went up in flames. The remaining goblins fell to the combined barbarian fury and Bandaro’s dancing blade.

Once the dust settled, Maggie found another wicker gate and it led to a small lookout at the edge of cliff that afforded the first view of Thistletop. Below, the surf pounded on the rocks about 50’ down.

The island, connected to the mainland by a precarious-looking rope bridge, was surprisingly regular and round-topped. On its crown sat a palisade with a number of wooden platforms at irregular intervals. Inside the palisade appeared to be a large hall. The whole seems to be made of weathered wood and canvas, battered by the elements and half-rotting. Smoke curled through a hole in the hall roof and several goblins milled about the platforms and grounds.

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Catacomb of Wrath

Catacombs of wrathAs the party caught their breath and assessed the frozen Malcanthet and Maggie, two ancient undead shambled into the light. They closed on Albi and tore away rents of flesh. The alchemist fell to the ground, and the dead turned their hatred toward Bandaro and Ragnok. The Varisian danced around the zombie’s clumsy attacks, while carving off its limbs, as Ragnok chopped through his foe like a lumberjack. Karik channeled Gorum’s healing energy into Albi and as the gnome stirred, the half-orc joined the fray. Maggie shook off the last of her paralysis, and sunk throwing daggers into the walking dead. Within moments, both zombies collapsed but the noise of distant grinding metal announced the arrival of more trouble. Maggie remained behind to guard the still immobile Malcanthet, while the rest of the party moved on.

Another zombie, followed by two more, ambled forward. The heroes chopped them down while pushing toward the source of the dead. They entered a large chamber filled with chains and suspended cages and a hideous figure near the back raising more undead-filled cages from pits in the floor.

Suddenly the heroes were all stunned by violent vision of a bygone stormy night when Lonjiku Kaijitsu murdered his wife. When their senses cleared, several of the group suffered an uncontrollable rage.

Bandaro and Ragnok charged around the cages and pits toward the misshapen humanoid. The monster rose to reveal an oversized goblinoid with huge cords of muscle, savage milky eyes and three mutated arms each wielding a differing blade. Bandaro dealt a wicked slash but the monstrosity retaliated with a series of chops, slashes and stabs that nearly finished the beautiful Varisian. Ragnok’s wild swings were untrue, including an unbalancing swing that caused him to crash through one of the covered pits landing him face to claw with a caged zombie. He was able to right himself and “turn” the undead with his massive blade.

Meanwhile, Karik and Albi focused on the remaining zombie which they defeated as the flying head creature returned. The aberration swooped upon Albi and dealt a grievous tearing bite but the gnome shook off the effects of the monster’s poison. Karik raced forward and crushed it with his axe casting an arcing spray of necrotic goo halfway across the chamber.

At the same time, Bandaro finished the goblinoid mutant with a series of graceful slashes. The weapons that clattered to the ground included a magical longsword, a masterfully crafted handaxe, and a silver dagger.

Maggie escorted Malcanthet away from the tunnels since the paralysis’ effects still lingered. Once the ranger was safely away, the tiefling returned to the group. The reunited heroes pressed onward down an ancient spiral stairway and found a secret passage that led to a peculiar room: a circular meditation chamber devoid of gravity with blackened walls and flashes of reddish lightning and several floating treasures. Maggie, secured by a rope, dexterously launched into the chamber and collected a scroll of burning hands, a magical wand, a wicked bestiary, and a half-drunk bottle of fine wine. Once looted, the party carefully traversed the chamber with Maggie’s help.

Then, the party suffered a second violent vision. They all witnessed the night the mass-murderer Chopper began his killing spree.

Once the scene vanished, Maggie opened a passage door into a huge underground temple of Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters. In its middle, a 15-foot burbling pool belched out two sinspawn who charged the party. Karik moved to the fore and traded blows. One hairless beast fell but a magically summoned hound-sized spider appeared over its corpse. Karik bullrushed the other sinspawn deeper into the temple opening up the combat. The heroes surged into the room and struck down the remaining sinspawn and summoned vermin. During the fray, a bat dropped silently from the ceiling and struck Ragnok with a foul divine force that nearly dropped the tiefling. The lofted screeching of inane threats revealed the presence an inhuman invisible flying foe, obviously the source of the magical assault. Above, a self-inflicted wound caused two more sinspawn to surge from the glowing pool but its diffuse light dimmed noticeably.

A third vision struck the heroes mid-combat. The pregnant form of Nualia Tobyn, daughter of the deceased clerical leader of Sandpoint, awakes from a nightmare and finds herself bleeding. She curses the town, invokes “The Mother”, and threatens to “burn them all.”

EryliumThe scene immediately faded and the flying foe materialized as a twisted demon as it spat a hideous wad of acidic phlegm that narrowly missed Ragnok’s face. While the party battled the sinspawn, the demon channeled Lamashtu’s foul energy into a fearful spell that caused Ragnok to flee the battle and race toward the antigravity room.

The battle raged on but the demon vanished again. Another giant bug appeared, but it and the sinspawn were quickly defeated. The heroes paused, catching their breath and quaffing their remaining healing draughts and infusions. After several moments without sign of threats, Bandaro, Albi and Maggie went back toward the antigravity room. Maggie caught a zing of electricity by misjudging the far portal, whereas Bandaro dramatically overshot earning a wrack of electricity through his body. Albi crossed effortlessly as though born in the weightless astral sea. Maggie and Albi rushed onward toward the sounds of fighting.

Maggie entered the chain and cage chamber to see the wobbly, lacerated form of Ragnok slump to the floor. The quasit snarled defiantly and flew through the opposite portal. Ragnok’s wounds seeped a greenish-black discharge leaving him barely conscious. Bandaro entered and the trio assessed their poisoned friend.

Meanwhile, back in the temple, Karik threw open the massive double doors at the wicked temple’s entrance. While gazing toward the antechamber’s black, marble font in a raised portico, the screeching demon darted toward him. A wave of foul magic left the half-orc shaken as the tiny foe closed, black dripping claws outstretched.

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