RotRL Wednesday Nights
Chapter 6: The Spires of Xin-Shalast
Having steeped their weapons in the ancient magic of Thassilon, the heroes are finally ready to confront the newly risen Runelord Karzoug at the seat of his power. To do so, they must travel high into the Kodar Mountains, to the fabled city of Xin-Shalast, where they’ll be challenged by enormous giants, dragons, and other monsters before they can finally confront the mad wizard of greed in his mountaintop palace.
The party teleported to the Therassic Library and after learning of the Vekker Brothers from Brodert Quink wind walked to the Kodars. In the foothills, they were attacked by some yetis riding on the backs of rocs.
The next day, they flew higher into the mountains, where they discovered the haunted Vekker mining cabin. Searching it, they learned that the ghost of Silas Vekker held the key to finding Xin-Shalast. But to gain the knowledge, they first had to find the bones of his insane, cannibal brother, Karivek, and reconcile the two ghosts. This plan was heartily opposed by the wendigo who had caused the dwarves’ deaths so many years ago.
Now, with the path to Xin-Shalast at last revealed, the party prepared to travel even higher into the forbidding peaks. After a short supply trip to Magnimar, the party traveled to the Fen of the Icemists, meeting Svevenka, the nymph. She recognized Renbity as the savior of Myriana’s ghost and so is not hostile. After the party handled a problem she’s having with some giants, she shared information on Xin-Shalast.
With this information, the party entered Xin-Shalast and began causing trouble. After connecting with Morgiv, the party decided to help the Spared by defeating the Hidden Beast.
The next day, they started to head further north through the Lower City, following a rumor of an ice demon who might have another ring. Unfortunately, they were waylaid by a blue dragon!
Defeating the dragon’s deceptive mirage, they engaged it in combat. Renbity hit it with an arrow of greater slaying, and it retaliated with a devastating bolt of electric power. Renbity fell, but Havelok’s quick reaction saved her from death. Shalelu put an arrow through the wounded creature’s eye, and it fell, dead. On one of its claws was a second Sihedron Ring.
The combat attracted the attention some giants, and a large group came to attack the trespassing party. Most of these were cut down mercilessly, but driving them in front of him was the leader: a Rune Giant! Sherby used experimental methods to determine its resistances, and it was put down. It bore another Sihedron Ring!
Needing at least two more rings, the party chose to face the nearby yetis and perhaps draw the attention of two Rune Giants mentioned to them by Morgiv. Teleporting to the tall yeti stronghold building, they let loose a horrific storm of bombs and arrows. Giants and yetis fell about them. And they succeeded in drawing the attention of the Rune Giant twins. One of these was defeated in combat, and the other was mentally compelled by Gilly into giving up its ring.
With four rings and a Sihedron medallion, the party teleported to the Spires of Xin-Shalast, entered the Occlusion Field, and made their way to the Pinnacle of Avarice. Here they hoped to find and destroy Karzoug, but must first face his most powerful minions.
Flying up the interior of the great structure, they quietly approached the entrance. It was guarded by storm giants, and a massive, electrically charged battle ensued. Victorious, they proceeded, and encountered projections of Karzoug himself! These were defeated handily with their dominant Runforged weapons.
Next was the Throne Room, guarded by more storm giants and Viorian Dekanti, Karzoug’s champion, wielding the Sword of Greed! Dekanti was fearsome, but eventually fell to Renbity. But soon after, another Karzoug projection took vengeance on the ranger, disintegrating her!
While Shalelu swept up Renbity’s dust, the rest of the party engaged some lamias, including a vile “hungerer” and the hated Xanesha, Killer of Pikrak. In a hidden Thassilonian shrine, they find the means to resurrect Renbity.
Exploring more of the Pinnacle, they defeat more of the Karzoug projections and free a bound planetar named Ayruzi, who was forced into servitude by Karzoug’s apprentice, Khalib. Ayruzi said that he would help the party in their quest to kill Karzoug if he could be allowed to kill Khalib. The party agreed.
With Ayruzi’s help, the party easily found the Leng Device (avoiding it for now) and engaged Khalib and his giant minions.
However, the fight against Khalib was complicated, not only by a near miss with a Karzoug projection, but also by the party dimension dooring next to a horrible demon that Khalib had called for protection. Havelok falls to the demon’s claws and insect-like pincers. However, it was soon defeated, and the slippery Khalib was put down by Ayruzi, cementing an ally for the fight against Karzoug.
But first, Havelok was resurrected and loot gathered, and the final rooms of the Pinnacle were cleared. These consisted of Karzoug’s reliquary and the Chamber of the Anima Focus. The latter was guarded by Karzoug’s leading lamia priestess, Most High Ceoptra, and the final giants in the tower. The battle was brief and the exhausted party was rewarded with the opportunity to rest and consult divinations in preparation for the coming battle.
They learned that the Anima Focus was the device that channeled the energy of greedy souls to the pocket dimension (named the Eye of Avarice) where Karzoug was trapped. There, the Soul Lens focused the soul energy into Karzoug’s Runewell. The Runewell, when full, will allow Karzoug to escape the Eye of Avarice and march his ancient army through the time portal of the Leng Device and conquer the world!
They asked some questions about Karzoug’s defenses and allies, and then rested as well as possible in preparation for the final battle.
As the sun rose, the party made detailed plans for their assault on Karzoug in the Eye of Avarice. Helping each other with armor and magical protection, they reviewed their roles and responsibilities, and, by using the Anima Focus, shifted themselves to the Eye of Avarice.
Calling upon deep wells of heroic virtue and the might gained through their many journeys, they engaged Karzoug and his final minions.
Chapter 5: Sins of the Saviors
The Skinsaw Cult, the Hook Mountain Ogres and the giants of Jorgenfist were all part of Runelord Karzoug’s plan to rise once more. In defeating each murderous threat, the heroes have inadvertently sped Karzoug’s return through their killing of foes marked with the Sihedron Rune.
However, an ancient site known as Runeforge hides keys to defeating this ancient evil. Our heroes spent a long time in the Therassic Library learning about the site and searching for clues to its location. Mokmurian’s Map suggested that the Old Light in Sandpoint might provide a way to find Xaliasa aka “The Scribbler”, a traitor who knew the secret of Runeforge.
Travelling back to Sandpoint, they discovered that an eerie sinkhole had opened in town, above the Catacombs of Wrath, and that stairs within the Catacombs had been cleared to a level further below. They encountered The Scribbler (aka Xaliasa) in this ancient shrine to Lamashtu, and confronted the mad cultist and his demon ally. The Scribbler turned out to be a formidable foe. Chasing him through the ancient shrine, they finally cornered him in his final sanctum and defeated him. At that point, they’re able to decipher his Rhyme, which gave them clues to find Runeforge.
The rhyme led the heroes to the shores of Lake Stormunder, and an ancient stone circle at the base of the frozen mountain of Rimeskull. There, their clever use of magic released the keys to Runeforge. Unfortunately, it also woke the ancient, slumbering white dragon Arkhryst. A horrible battle ensued, and Sherby almost died in the dragon’s jaws. But the combined might of the party (and Sherby’s explosive self-sacrifice) drove the dragon back to its lair. The heroes pursued into Rimeskull and cornered the beast near its treasure hoard. Sir Melthas landed the fatal blow.
In Arkhryst’s lair was the gate to Runeforge, and using the keys the heroes entered the portal to that hidden home of ancient lore. Hoping to find the secret for creating Runeforged weapons, they were confronted with seven passages (one for each of the Runelords). They first explored the Abjurant Halls of Envy. This area seems to have been recently destroyed, but contained a special magical liquid (identified as ethillion). Samples were taken.
Next, they decided to explore the Iron Cages of Lust: the domain in service to Runelord Shorshen. A large room contained several flying demons and a huge tent. Following Gilly’s gales, they fought their way into the tent and killed the succubus Delvahine.
Leaving behind Delvahine’s obscene toys, the party made their way to the Ravenous Crypts of Gluttony. They made quick work of the lesser guardians. In fact, nothing in the tomb was too difficult until they reached the sanctum containing a lich necromancer and his devourer minion. The lich’s prismatic spray killed Renbity and sent Sir Melthas to the plane of Nirvana.
A raise dead and some plane shifting later, the party was reunited and left the Crypts. Luckily, before they left, they collected some of the rare wine from the ancient Thassilonian state of Inib.
The secret to Runeforged weapons and the defeat of Karzoug still eluded them. So, they pressed on through the Festering Maze of Sloth. Some nasty demons came out of the foul water, but the main event was with Jordimanius, ruler of the Maze. He was defeated in an epic battle.
Now with information on the components needed for Runeforged Weapons, the party back-tracked to the Iron Cages for one of Delvahine’s well-used sex toys, then moved to the Vault of Greed. It was guarded by a trap and several stone golems. With those dispatched, the party searched out this section (dedicated to transmutation magic) and soon found the Mithral Mage, defeating him with effort (after freeing his demon servitor). Collecting some waters from the pool of elemental arcana, they decided next to try the Screaming Halls of Wrath.
The first room contained an iron golem, and some teleportation circles led to a barracks filled with many warriors of wrath. These were quickly defeated and the party advanced to a big battle with the Highlady Athroxis and her demon minions. The evil leaders were defeated, as was a last ditch counter-attack by the remaining inhabitants.
The final wing of Runeforge was the Shimmering Veils of Pride. Entering, the heroes found some magical mirrors and invisible wizards in a vast Peacock shrine. They fought these wizards in a long battle, and then found the body of Vraxeris and some journals. Ignoring this for the moment, they attempted to clear the final rooms of the Shimmering Veils. A few clones of Delvahine were all that was left, and the secrets of Runeforged weapons were recovered.
Using these secrets, six “dominant” weapons were forged, but not without an interruption by a Karzoug-animated stone golem.
Chapter 4: Fortress of the Stone Giants
The various links to the Sihedron Ritual seem to be coming together, as all the greedy souls harvested by the The Skinsaw Man, Xanesha and Lucrecia, as well as the attack on Fort Rannick, all point to a powerful stone giant gathering an army in support of some mysterious master.
Of course, there was the pressing problem of the imminent attack on Sandpoint hinted at in Barl’s note, but the party was confident they would arrive in time. They did, in fact, arrive in time, being able to scout outside Sandpoint and realized that the giants would attack in the morning. They spent the evening setting traps, arranging defenses, and setting fire to the forest outside the city walls.
In the morning, the wind changed and blew towards the sea, covering the village in smoke from the forest fire. This provided excellent cover for the giant’s first round of attack. But the heroes rebuffed this easily. Unfortunately, the attack was being supported by a red dragon, which had no problem seeing through the smoke, and proved to be a dangerous foe. Once the dragon was chased off, the party quickly gathered their wits to defeat the rest of the giant raid. This raid was led by Teraktinus, who appeared to be gathering some pieces of the Old Light for an unknown purpose.
An eventful trip back to the Shimmerglens discovered that the giants likely wanted to gather a piece of the Old Light so that their elders could cast stone tell upon it and gather some information. What this might information might be, the party did not learn.
But it did suggest that they needed to confront the giants at their base, Jorgenfist. An army of the many tribes and kinds of giants was being gathered in secret valley in the Iron Peaks. Resolved to defeat this threat to all of Varisia, the heroes traveled far, fought their way up the Storval Stairs and eventually reached Jorgenfist.
The army was encamped about a massive fortress that looked into a deep river chasm. Avoiding the army, they entered some caves, lost Jakardros to a deep fall, and met a friendly gnome named Sherbethelbast before attacking the caverns.
Once they were in the caverns below Jorgenfist, they met an ally in Conna the Wise who helped them navigate the first level. They descended to the Library level where they found many horrible creatures, including a particularly troublesome forge fiend. But they managed to defeat Mokmurian in a difficult battle. Once the last of his minions were mopped up, his army dispersed, and threat of the giants to Varisia was destroyed.
But Mokmurian was a servant of Karzoug the Claimer (who finally took notice of the heroes) and was tasked not only with the conquest of Varisia, but of finding and entering a place called Runeforge. Perhaps the Therassic Library can provide some answers about Karzoug, Xin-Shalast and Runeforge.
Chapter 3: The Hook Mountain Massacre
In which our heroes find more evidence of greedy souls being sacrificed, recapture a fort from some giants, and learn of a looming threat to Sandpoint.
With Xanesha fled, the party was left to hunt down rumors of her older sister in the small village of Turtleback Ferry. Arriving there from Magnimar would involve a week’s travel across the wilds of Varisia.
An eventful trip up the river led the party to Turtleback Ferry, where they learned of recent troubles surrounding Fort Rannick. Following a rumor about the Commander of the fort, the party traveled to the Shimmerglens and met a distraught pixie named Yap.
Yap led them into Whitewillow, where they met the ghost of the nymph Myriana. Following her tale of woe, they decided to head to Fort Rannick. On the way, they encountered a trapped cougar who was being hunted by an ogrekin and his dogs. Chasing off this threat, they prepared to resume their journey.
But Kibb the cougar tugged them deeper into the forest, and thus led them to the Graul Homestead. Awful hillbilly hijinks ensued.
The fight ended with Mammy Graul’s death in the basement. With the rest of the homestead cleared, the party found three surviving members of the Black Arrows captive in the barn.
After interrogating the former captives, the party made their way to Fort Rannick and began infiltrating the ogre-infested complex. They chose the secret tunnels behind the waterfall. They found the tunnels infested with shocker lizards, and paused to consider their options.
The decided that throwing a spear and running forward was a good plan. They were all horribly shocked by the lizards, but managed to slay them all. Moving forward, they discovered Lucrecia’s lair, and engaged the lamia matriarch. Lucrecia revealed Kaven Windstrike as a traitor, and the rogue turned on his companions. Lucrecia begain to take damage, but used dimension door to escape, leaving Kaven behind.
Kaven was quickly cut down and the party headed upstairs to kill more ogres. The ground floor was easy, but the tower proved very difficult and a horrific battle ensued.
The party faced and defeated several Kreeg leaders, including Dorella, Hookmaw and the fearsome Jaagrath. Once he was put down, Lucrecia was forced out of hiding, and she attempted to kill the party. Not only did she fail in this mission, she failed to escape with her own life.
A nearby hawk shared important information First the dam at Skull’s Crossing had broken, and was gushing water. Something large had gone over the lip of the dam and the village of Turtleback Ferry was in danger of flooding. But the party was more interested in the fact that Lamatar Bayden’s body had been taken to the Hook Mountain Clanhold by the ogre raiding party that had killed him in the Shimmerglens. If Myriana could be appeased, maybe the rains would end.
They decided to investigate this first, and assaulted the cave at the top of Hook Mountain. This turned into a lengthy process and many ogres were killed, along with some hags. (Perhaps the hags were causing the rain?) But they found the body of Lamatar Bayden and found the stone giant who was commanding the ogres.
This stone giant was Barl Breakbones, a necromancer charged with subjugating the region and helping Lucrecia with her task. He was quickly defeated. He held a note which suggested that Sandpoint was facing imminent attack. It also hinted that a giant army was being gathered at Jorgenfist.
The party now faced a variety of threats. Myriana’s ghost would rise up and destroy the living if Lamatar’s body wasn’t returned. The dam at Skull’s Crossing was set to collapse, destroying Turtleback Ferry (and its Sihedron-marked populace), and Sandpoint was targeted by a giant-raid. After Havelok and Renbity teleported to the Shimmerglens to appease Myriana, they chose to deal with the crumbling dam.
The dam was being sabotaged by ogres, who were in turn being harrassed by a resident tribe of trolls. Working on the political principal of “the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy”, the party killed both the trolls and the ogres.
Investigating further into the interior of the dam, the party encountered a nasty skrag and a skittering scorpion-thing made of skulls that almost killed both Shalelu and Sir Melthas. But after this they found that dam wasn’t working because the bound devils that powered the thing were too weak. They made a deal with the surviving devil to fix the problem and open the floodgates.
After averting disaster at Skull’s Crossing, the party heads back to Turtleback Ferry to find the village ravaged by flood and recovering from an attack by the monster Black Magga. Giving their condolences, they gather information about Jorgenfist and plan a trip back to Magnimar to rest, recover, shop and find some replacement rangers for Fort Rannick.
Chapter 2: The Skinsaw Murders
In which some terrible murders lead to a tragic family, a horrible cult, and then to the mysterious figure of Xanesah, a harvester of greedy souls.
There they found ghouls tied up as scarecrows in the fields, and a nest of ghouls and a ghast in the farmhouse and barn.
Exploring the barn and then heading back to town, they interrogated several surviving witnesses. They were unable to determine what connected the unrepentant con-men, the embezzling miller and the miserly farmer.
They decided to follow-up on the remaining clue: the key to Foxglove Manor, a place on the coast known locally as “The Misgivings”. Explorations of the house began…
..and proceeded quickly. Gilly’s use of hide from undead meant that the heroes were not molested by the various haunts of Foxglove Manor. They found Iesha Foxglove, the murdered wife of Aldern (who was himself now the Skinsaw Man) and both undead were destroyed. PiKrak was distraught for a bit.
Following up on this note led the party Magnimar, City of Monuments. Exploring Foxglove’s Townhouse, the party learned that Aldern was working for the Brothers of the Seven and that their cult could be found at the Seven’s Sawmill. There they defeated some cultists, and captured Justice Ironbriar and got some loot.
Interrogating their captives, they learned that the cult had recently been dominated by Xanesha, who had diverted their murdering ways towards the Sihedron Ritual, finding greedy victims to be destroyed. After breaking Xenesha’s charm on Ironbriar, he told them that they could find the evil woman in the Shadow Clock.
Making their way to the Shadow Clock, they defeated the golem guardian on the ground floor, cleverly using silence to hide their efforts. But the long climb up the tall tower proved difficult, with faceless stalkers, a falling bell and, ultimately, the deadly Xanesha. Her barbed spear took the life of Pikrak, and the other three heroes fled back into the streets of Magnimar.
They spent a week or so tending their wounds and crafting magic items and then returned to the Shadow Clock with Pikrak’s brother, Sir Melthas. The party discovered that Xanesha has fled, leaving behind only a note from her sister.
This contained rumors about Turtleback Ferry and Fort Rannick. The heroes decided to follow-up by traveling there…up the Yondabakari River.
Chapter 1: Burnt Offerings
In which the party saves the town of Sandpoint from goblins and first hears rumors of Thassilon and the Sihedron
Several adventurers came for the Swallowtail Festival. Pikrak, Gilly, Havelok, and Renbity each came for their own reasons.
Engaging in games and waiting for the consecration of the new Cathedral, the festivities were interuppted by a goblin attack on the town. The party defeated the goblins and saved the life of a noble, Aldern Foxglove.
The new friends tried to find out how the goblins had entered, and why. They learned that some had entered the boneyard, where a mausoleum had been opened and some bones stolen. Speaking with Father Zantus, they learned that the bones belonged to Father Tobyn and had likely been the purpose of the raid.
Gilly gathered much information about Father Tobyn, his dead daughter Nualia, and recent troubles affecting the town, including Chopper’s Spree. Soon, they were asked to help a family with a goblin problem, and faced other troubles around town, as when Pikrak got into trouble with a couple of Ven Vinder’s daughters.
Next, Shalelu showed up to explain that the goblin tribes usually don’t coordinate their attacks, so there must be an organizing force or mastermind.
Agreeing to guard the town while reinforcements were sent from Magnimar, the party was quickly called to save Ameiko at the Glassworks. Lonjiku Kaijitsu was found dead, and they chased off Tsuto, rescued Ameiko, and learned that Nualia lived and was planning to destroy Sandpoint.
They tracked Tsuto out of Sandpoint, but noted that some secret caves lead to the Catacombs of Wrath, an ancient Thassilonian complex once ruled by Alaznist, the Runelord of Wrath. Exploring the entire complex, they faced off against a quasit in a cathedral to Lamashtu, it using a strange well to create monsters. Unfortunately the quasit got away. Once it fled, the Catacombs seemed clear and the party turned its attention to saving Sandpoint from Nualia.
With Shalelu’s help, they decided to attack Thistletop before the goblins could attack Sandpoint a third time. This assault proceeded apace, and mist was used to cross the dangerous rope bridge. Now in the goblin fort proper, the party defeated Ripnugget and went on to clear the upper level and courtyard of the fort.
Exhausted, the party left the complex (rescuing a warhorse, George) and rested. They returned to clear the second level, but also found a third level : the lowest, ancient, Thassilonian level of the complex. Which was almost completely abandoned, except for the horrible undead and traps.
Eventually, they learned that a sealed vault held Malfeshenkor, an evil barghest helping Nualia control the goblins and threaten Sandpoint. Their first attempt to defeat Malfeshnekor ended badly. Returning the next day, they explored the rest of the complex , but eventually returned to try again against Malfeshnekor. Havelok’s sleep hex did the trick, and the party was victorious. With Nualia fled, Malfeshenkor defeated, and many, many goblins killed, Sandpoint was safe!