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Unread 8th of November, 2009, 12:49
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This tale begins in the early fall of 595 CY, in a mining town east of Greyhawk called Diamond Lake. Diamond Lake was once a thriving hub of activity. Back in the day, the surrounding Cairn Hills were teeming with ancient dig sites - ruins, tombs, old battlefields and temples, each with a host of relics to be plucked by the unscrupulous or brave adventurer. However, most of those tombs have long since been picked over, and even the once-rich mineral veins that Diamond Lake subsisted off of in between hauls from the dig sites have nearly dried up.

Diamond Lake today is steadily becoming a ghost town. The mayor is an ineffectual man, easily swayed by the mining bosses who hold all the real power. Gambling and prostitution are the main trades of the town now, and it has become a rather rough-and-tumble stop on the road to or from Greyhawk as a result. Many travelers avoid it entirely, and the town's residents are usually little more than indentured servants working in the last few mines that have remained in business.

It is in this environment of squalor and destitution that an unlikely group of heroes will meet for the first time. They come from all different walks of life, but their destinies are intertwined.

They must band together and put a stop to the Age of Worms.

Last edited by treehouse; 9th of November, 2009 at 04:02.
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Unread 9th of November, 2009, 04:02
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The Whispering Cairn

The town wizard Allustan wishes for his apprentice Quince to get some real world experience, and an opportunity has arisen for him to put his arcane talents to the test. A new dig site has just been unearthed a few miles from town, and it has been causing quite a stir amongst the locals. It has even drawn the attention of an experienced trio of adventurers from Greyhawk, though the trio hasn't actually ventured out of the town since they arrived.

Allustan's hope is that the new dig can be excavated and explored by folks working for Diamond Lake's interests, but Quince alone isn't likely to succeed. He has called Darion Pendlebrooke (a squire with a drinking problem and Quince's life-long friend), Khalavas Aramok and Kellen Kor (out-of-towners who have indicated a desire for adventuring work) to his house to offer them a job: if they will explore this new site and bring some of its relics back to him as proof, he will pay them and also put them in touch with some of his old friends in and around Greyhawk, where they are sure to find more interesting work.

What follows is a little bit more than an excavation. The quartet of heroes fully explores the dig site known as the Whispering Cairn; it is actually a tomb for a favored servitor of the Wind Dukes of Aaqa. They encounter elemental guardians, undead and a host of intelligent vermin who have moved in over the millennia, and learn a little bit about the ancient war between the primordial forces of Law and Chaos.

Eventually, they reach a trapped hallway that they cannot get past, and encounter a boyish ghost who calls himself Alastor Land. The ghost doesn't attack them, instead beseeching them to return his body to the resting place of his family - in return, he will turn off the trap that bars their way and allow them to continue onward to the final chamber of the Cairn. They learn that the boy died about thirty years ago while exploring this very same tomb (he was small enough to get through the cave-in that formerly hid the entrance), and his family lived on a farmstead a few miles west of Diamond Lake. They retrieve his bones and leave the Cairn, heading in that direction.

When they reach the Land farmstead, they discover that it has been utterly abandoned. A wounded owlbear inside the ruined farmhouse gives them chase and they defeat it. They discover recent tracks in and around the building, and follow them to the Land graveyard. To their dismay, it has been desecrated - the bodies were dug up within a few days, piled into a cart and rolled away. A freshly severed, tattooed arm (the only remnant of another victim of the owlbear) is discovered on the grounds, and Quince recognizes the tattoo as the marking of one Balabar Smenk, a ruthless mine boss who puts his seal on anything (or anyone) that he considers his property.

They return to Diamond Lake, already having a pretty good idea of which thugs of Smenk's might be up for a little bit of grave robbing. They go to the notorious Feral Dog Inn and confront the half-orc Kullen and his gang, demanding information on the location of the Land bodies. A fight almost breaks out, but bloodshed is avoided for the moment. Kellen Kor decides to take matters into his own hands afterward, and pays a night-time visit to the half-orc while he sleeps in his hovel near town. Kellen learns from the wretch that thugs have been assigned to help Balabar's necromancer friend 'Filge' with various menial tasks around town. He learns that Filge is currently taking up residence at an old observatory near the town; this is where they took the Land bodies at his bequest.

The heroes make their way to the observatory. Here they encounter several undead minions of Filge's, but fight their way up to the operation table at the top and confront the necromancer. They manage to take him alive after a pitched battle, and discover several important things:

-Filge has been summoned by his friend Smenk all the way from Greyhawk to investigate strange goings-on in Smenk's mine.

-Smenk recently fell in with some cultists of a group called the Ebon Triad, who have taken up residence in a recently discovered temple below the mine. The deal has gone sour for Smenk, but the mine boss is too scared to actually ask them to leave. Smenk has also witnessed some rather disturbing rituals while touring the facility with the apparent leader of the cult, a priest of Vecna calling himself 'The Faceless One'.

-Smenk has seen bizarre undead aberrations in the temple, which seemed to be dedicated simultaneously to Erythnul, Vecna and Hextor.

-While in the Faceless One's laboratory in the Vecna wing of the temple, Smenk managed to swipe a jar from a table that contained a single green worm. He hopes to use it as evidence against the cultists if it comes down to it, but in the meantime he has turned the jar over to Filge for investigation.

The heroes retrieve the jar, examining the worm briefly as they figure out which animated (and now destroyed) corpses are the Lands. Kellen believes the worm may somehow be connected to a minor undead deity called Kyuss, who was at one point involved in some dark deeds in 'his neck of the woods'.

They turn Filge over to the custody of the Heironeans in town, return the bodies to the Land graveyard and make their way back to the Whispering Cairn. Alastor is gone, but he kept good on his promise and deactivated the trapped hallway before moving on to the next life.

They proceed to the final chamber of the Cairn, where they encounter a pair of sword-wielding air spirits. They defeat the spirits and discover the shrine of a Wind Duke warrior named Zosiel. He is depicted in the shrine as succumbing to a sphere of annihilation while a battle with a giant deformed spider rages in the background.

In the shrine they find several items of import along with the expected haul of gems and ancient coins:

-A circlet with Zosiel's symbol on it. Kellen takes this and discovers that it actually has properties which are useful for him.

-Two long, slightly curved black horns, probably taken from a demonic enemy of Zosiel.

-A talisman which is later identified as an inactive talisman of the sphere.

They take all of these (and the worm in a jar) back to Allustan. The wizard is quite satisfied with the tale of their excavation, but when they show him the worm and tell him Filge's story he becomes grave. If the Ebon Triad has become active in the region, Diamond Lake may be on the verge of a disaster. He doesn't know much about the esoteric cult, but he does know that they have caused a lot of trouble in the Bandit Kingdoms to the north.

The heroes decide to forgo a trip to Greyhawk for the moment; they obviously still have work to do in Diamond Lake.

Last edited by treehouse; 9th of November, 2009 at 13:27.
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Unread 9th of November, 2009, 10:25
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The Three Faces of Evil

Our heroes get down to business quickly after trading their hard-won treasures from the Cairn for better equipment. They first pay Balabar Smenk a visit; he is somewhat hostile to their queries, and ultimately proves entirely unhelpful.

They head to the mine under cover of darkness, avoiding unwanted attention as they make their way to a barred lift leading deep underground. They take the lift down, and immediately find themselves in the center of the Ebon Triad temple. They see an oily pool of opaque liquid surrounded by altars on one side of the room, along with a tunnel leading into darkness. There are three doors on the other three walls, each marked with the symbol of one of the three gods of the Triad.

They decide to tackle the Hextorites first. They battle their way through a well-defended system of tunnels and rooms, fighting tieflings and minor devils at every corner. The confrontation ends in an arena-like room in the center of the complex, where they meet the Hextorite priest 'Theldrick'. Theldrick sticks around just long enough to release the temple guardian before teleporting away. The heroes then fight a deadly mummy, who kills Darion almost immediately but is eventually brought low.

The heroes rifle through Theldrick's living quarters before leaving with their fallen comrade, discovering a ciphered correspondence and his journal. They are unable to figure out the cipher, but the journal is quite telling. Apparently, the three priests of this particular Ebon Triad cell aren't exactly best friends, and Theldrick is fairly sure he will have to move against the Faceless One eventually. He also mentions the antics of another Ebon Triad cultist in Greyhawk - a cleric named Bozal Zahol, who is attempting to subvert a man who Theldrick calls 'Loris'. They also find a key.

They return to Diamond Lake with Darion's body, immediately seeking out the Heironeans for aid. The high priest of the temple is able to raise him, earning the gratitude of the squire and his friends.

The heroes return to the tripartite temple, this time by way of a ledge along the coast of the Nyr Dyv that takes them directly to the main chamber. Along the way, they are ambushed by a young red dragon who seems to have allied himself with the Ebon cultists. He mentions his ancestral connection to Brazzemal the Burning before the party extinguishes him, apparently hoping to intimidate them into surrendering.

This time, they tackle the Erythnul wing; they make quick work of the horde of grimlocks in what amounts to a natural cavern system. At the end of this wing they fight the high priest of the Lord of Slaughter, a grimlock with a disturbing pair of eyes stitched to his empty sockets who calls himself Grallak Kur. They are able to kill the mad cleric, learning from the crude drawings in his lair that he fancied himself a prophet of something called the 'Age of Worms'. They learn that the Ebon Triad seeks to unite their three very different gods into a supreme overgod, an unholy event that will be heralded first by the onset of this mysterious Age of Worms. They find one more key which seems very similar to the one Theldrick had.

When they return to the main chamber, they immediately go to the Vecna door, and discover that it requires two keys which are now in their possession. They open it and enter a maze.

The maze is full of vicious bird men called kenku, and mastered by a young gauth beholder, but they fight their way through the enemy and make it to the main chambers of the temple of Vecna. Here they finally meet the Faceless One along with several undead monstrosities.

After slaying him, they discover the cipher to the letter from Theldrick's quarters and use it to reveal the following script:

The secrets of this page are most holy. Know ye heretics who invade them that the eye of Vecna is upon you. If you read this, Theldrick, you have either slain me and doomed our cause, or the time is nigh for our final victory.

At last the riddle of this place is solved. In ages past, a great being known as Kyuss rose above the petty warlords who fought and struggled for material gain. Mighty Kyuss is the herald of the Overgod. Soon, he will sound the clarion call to the faithful. The three sundered faiths shall be made whole.

The undead our agents spotted must be located and captured. If they bear the worms of Kyuss then they perhaps hold the final answer to our research. The Ebon Aspect stirs within the pool, bu it is still not ready to emerge. Perhaps a traumatic event - an invasion by heretics, a great battle fought within these halls - could awaken it. But even then it will attain only a minor form. The Way of the Ebon Triad speaks of the danger of awakening the aspect too soon. Our work will be for naught.

We must find the worms and the undead hosts that carry them. If they are not here, then we must send agents to the Rift. If Kyuss himself, or his agents, cannot shepherd in the Age of Worms, then we shall do it ourselves so that the Overgod may live.

Our course is clear, my dear Theldrick. Smenk is no longer useful to us and must die. Kill him, then send agents to the Mistmarsh, across the southern hills. I believe that we will find what we are looking for there, among the lizardfolk. Summon more of your warriors. If the calculations and portents are correct, the time for covert action is at an end. As the Age of Worms begins, we must strike hard and fast to prepare the coming of the Overgod.

Of course, dear Theldrick, if you were so rash as to slay my followers and I, then you shall soon join me in the afterlife. Doubtless your treachery has already stirred the Overgod. Our mission has failed, and you will die at his hands.
Alarmed by this, they set out for Diamond Lake. However, they are attacked almost immediately by Theldrick and a couple of tieflings outside in the main chamber. They turn the ambush on their attackers and make quick work of these last Ebon Triad stragglers, but something hideous emerges from the black pool in the room just as Theldrick is delivered a killing blow.

It roars at the heroes once and rampages down the tunnel and out of sight. They follow it, their dread growing as it easily outstrips them on its way to Diamond Lake.

When they arrive in the town, they see three fires going, pinpointing them immediately even at night as the temples of Kord, Pelor and Heironeous. They are too late. They catch up with the terrifying beast (a six armed, flail-wielding aberrant with bleeding banners of three dark gods sticking from its back) while it defecates on the corpse of the high priest of Heironeous.

Exhausted, they still manage to win the day, slaying the horror in the now ruined temple of the Conqueror. The cost is great - most of the priesthood of these three gods have been slain in just a few moments, and they wonder how much more damage might have been caused if they hadn't intervened so quickly.

The heroes return to Allustan, not feeling victorious even with their difficult task completed. The old wizard is now very serious as they explain all that they have learned. He realizes that this threat is even greater than they first realized; he does not know enough about the relatively obscure lore of Kyuss to give much advice, but he knows somebody who might be able to point them in the right direction...

Last edited by treehouse; 9th of November, 2009 at 13:27.
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Encounter at Blackwall Keep

Allustan would like the heroes to accompany him to the Mistmarsh. The Faceless One's ciphered correspondence indicated that there might be some Kyuss-related activity going on here, but more importantly his good friend Marzena is the battle mage attached to the garrison at Blackwall Keep, right on the border of the deepest and unfriendliest part of the Marsh.

They leave as a group after making basic preparations. Being a rather powerful looking party now, they encounter little trouble along the road, and quickly make their way across the Mistmarsh to Blackwall Keep.

They find the place under siege by a small army of lizardfolk, and it looks like the defenders are in danger of being overrun. Quince and Allustan quickly dispatch dozens of lizardfolk with well-placed fireballs, sending the rest of them running back into the surrounding swamp. When they enter the keep, they learn that it has already been breeched once, and several human captives were taken away by the first wave of lizardmen. Naturally, Marzena was one of them, and the keep was sore pressed to carry on without its battle mage. A sortie was sent out the previous night to follow the first war band and rescue the captives, but they have not yet returned. The worst is feared.

Allustan tells the heroes that he will return to Diamond Lake to retrieve reinforcements. He asks them to follow the rescue party's tracks and save any captives they can. They head out into the Marsh without delay.

Khalavas' talent for tracking makes it easy for them to find the lizardfolk village; just outside, he finds evidence that the rescue party did indeed get this far, but was defeated. One set of tracks goes back in the direction of Blackwall Keep, though they saw no one on their way.

They meet the shaman of the tribe just outside, a hermaphrodite named Hishka. He/she/it tells them that the tribe has been taken over in recent days by a firebrand of a warrior named Shukak, who is backed by a black dragon named Ilthane. Ilthane and Shukak have convinced the tribe that a recent tragedy involving the horrific loss of an entire clutch of eggs (which their culture reveres above all other things) is the fault of human necromancers intent on exterminating the race. Shukak plans to sacrifice the human captives dragged from the Keep, although he hasn't done it yet.

Hishka relays his/her/its belief to the party that Ilthane's motives are more than sketchy; Ilthane recently left one of her own brood (a young black dragon named Velmane) to guard the newest clutch of eggs, leaving one of her own there as a sign of goodwill. But Hishka believes that Ilthane is merely positioning to hold the tribe's next generation hostage if Shukak were to lose favor. Hishka is tired of the dragon's meddling, and even suspects that Ilthane may have been he one to destroy the first cache of eggs, though there is no proof.

Hishka asks the party to select one of their own to challenge Shukak to a test of mettle. By the sacred laws of the tribe he cannot refuse without losing his status as chief. If Shukak can be removed and Velmane driven off or killed at the same time, Hishka can arrange for a more moderate chieftain to ascend to power. She promises to secure the release of the hostages when this happens.

The heroes see this as a worthy challenge of them. Khalavas in particular is eager to test his draconic prowess against a pawn of a chromatic, his natural enemy. They enter the lizardfolk village with Hishka at their side, which wards off an immediate confrontation and allows Khalavas to issue a challenge.

Shukak accepts, and a fierce duel commences in the center of the village. Khalavas is pushed to his absolute limits, but manages to slay the chieftain all the same.

Many of the lizardfolk are angry initially, but others are relieved, knowing that Shukak was leading them on a path to self-annihilation. Chaos ensues, and the party slips past even as Hishka begins to calm the tribe down. They make their way to the sacred egg chamber, where they encounter Velmane in the murky waters. This battle is even more pitched than the last, but they best the dragon, forcing him to flee.

Afterwards, they find a large black egg near the center of the chamber that they figure must be Ilthane's. But when one of them attempts to move it, it cracks open. To their intense disgust and horror, a swarm of green worms pours out of it, hungrily seeking out the unborn lizardlings all around the room. Quick thinking on the part of the party saves all of the eggs, but it is a narrow thing.

The liberation of the eggs (along with the evidence they are able to show of Ilthane's terrifying double-cross) sways the tribe, and they immediately release the human captives, including Marzena.

The heroes return to the Keep with more than Hishka's gratitude as a parting gift. The shaman bestows upon them a powerful relic of the tribe as thanks - a staff of life. It has been largely used up, but some of its potency remains.

When they reach the Keep, they discover that it has been completely abandoned. Khalavas sees a single pair of tracks going in, and shortly after many tracks leaving south with great haste.

They go inside to do more investigation, and are immediately set upon by a pair of worm-ridden undead whom Kellen recognizes immediately as spawn of Kyuss. They manage to destroy the monstrosities without incident.

Shortly afterwards, Allustan reaches the Keep with his promised (and now unnecessary) reinforcements, along with the defenders who fled the spawn of Kyuss a day before. They tell the heroes that a lone survivor of the initial rescue expedition returned to the Keep apparently sick. The took him down into the basement to treat him, but he transformed before the eyes of the unit's surgeon into a terrifying, worm-infested monster, immediately infecting slaying the surgeon (who must have turned into the second spawn of Kyuss) and rampaging about the basement. They locked the creatures in, but knew that the barricade wouldn't hold and fled for their lives. An understandable decision, to be sure...

Allustan and Marzena talk for a little while after being reunited. Marzena is able to tell them all a decent amount about the spawn of Kyuss, as the study and destruction of obscure undead is a bit of a hobby for her. Unfortunately, her understanding of the lore behind the beasts (which legends say are actually the weakest of Kyuss' servants - a scary prospect if true) is limited. The real expert on these matters is their master, but Allustan is reluctant to send the heroes off to visit that particular man. They sense that there is some bad blood in all of that, but Allustan glosses over it and suggests instead that they visit the sage Eligos in Greyhawk.

(continued in following post with Hall of Harsh Reflections)
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Unread 10th of November, 2009, 09:39
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Hall of Harsh Reflections

The heroes and Allustan return to Diamond Lake to plan the next move. They have significant evidence now that elements of the Ebon Triad and/or Kyuss (they seem to be interconnected somehow) are at large in the world and plotting some sort of serious mayhem, but at this point it is hard to tell if they are the isolated machinations of a few madmen or a larger conspiracy.

They decide after some discussion to go to the Free City of Greyhawk; Allustan is reluctant to leave Diamond Lake, especially since some of its greatest protectors (the priesthoods of Kord, Pelor and Heironeous) have been decimated in recent days. He asks them to go on his behalf to the sage Eligos, an old peer of his who will surely have the answers they seek.

Their travels are uneventful, and they arrive at the east gate barely three days later. They have some trouble with the gate guard, but otherwise are able to enter the city without incident.

When they arrive at Eligos' manor, the sage's manservant Pollard inquires briefly into their purpose, but lets them in once they mention Allustan's name. They meet Eligos shortly after, a fairly amiable fellow despite his posh living space. Eligos listens to their tale with great interest, and takes their evidence in hand, promising to devote himself to divinations and more mundane research techniques for the next week in an attempt to get some answers for them. In the meantime, he suggests that they take rooms at an inn near the waterfront called the Crooked House. The gnome who owns the establishment is a friend of Eligos, and will give them a discount if they mention his name.

Before going to the Crooked House, they take rooms in an inn across the city and then sneak out, in hopes of throwing any Ebon cultists who followed them here off the trail. They proceed to the Crooked House, and do indeed find the owner to be friendly; while they are waiting on the sage's summons they decide to explore Greyhawk a little bit. It is the first time any of them have been in a city this large.

While wandering one of the market places near the Crooked House, they encounter a man standing on a covered barrel shouting loudly. They watch him for a moment, and notice something strange - no one else is paying him any mind whatsoever. Not just like they are avoiding the gaze of a crazy man, but as if they cannot actually see or hear him.

They approach. His words become clear. He is preaching portents of a wrathful age, one that can only be stopped by the actions of truly stalwart heroes. They manage to get him to stop his repetitive mantra just long enough to ask him who he represents. He smiles, and replies that he is the Prophet of the Golden Eye, and resumes the cyclic prophecy foretelling almost certain doom. Not wanting to make a scene, they back off, and for a moment the man on the barrel is lost to sight. When the crowd lessens, the barrel is still there but the man is gone. Quince peers into the barrel and discovers that the cover is really just a tarp, and the barrel is filled with rain water. Certainly nothing that a substantial human could have stood on.

A little bit creeped out, they continue their wanderings. When they return to the Crooked House, they hear something rather disturbing - the inn they just took rooms at has burned to the ground in a bizarre flash fire, killing several of the inhabitants. Arson is already suspected. They decide to keep night watches.

The next day, they hear a bit of a commotion down in the common room. When they go to investigate, they are startled to see the gnomish proprietor bleeding to death behind the counter. A man in the crowd points at Kellen accusingly, saying that he just saw him come down the stairs, stab the gnome and then go back up. It looks rather like a bit of angry mob violence is about to break out, but the heroes are able to calm the crowd down [as I recall, with some great Diplomacy rolls]. The loudest member of the crowd, having failed to incite a lynching, instead begins blasting the room with deadly spells. The heroes are caught off guard but still manage to bring the unexpected assailant down. As he dies, he reverts into his natural form and Quince identifies it as a doppleganger. Kellen returns the gnome to life, who is quite grateful after they explain what happened.

Among the doppleganger's possessions is a strange key with a kraken etched into it. The heroes do some investigation around town afterwards, learning that the symbol is associated with a once-prominent trade prince. The trade prince is long gone and most of the warehouses associated with his symbol have been torn down and built over, but they are able to locate one building nearby that the key might belong to.

The next day, they find themselves in front of a warehouse right on the edge of the river; indeed, the river bank seems to have widened over the years and the north edge of the building is actually now partially submerged. A sign scratched over the only door aptly names the building 'The Sodden Hold'.

Inside, they are confronted by a variety of wily foes, from mimics and a host of dopplegangers to a pair of ruthless invisible stalkers. They make their way to the lower level, which seems to be adjacent to the city sewers. Things are going well for them until they reach a room full of mirrors. There, they are confronted by a quartet of captives whom they recognize immediately as...themselves!

The captives begin shouting all at once that the 'free' version of them on the other side of the room is an imposter, creating much confusion and unsettling the heroes greatly. Finally, 'Khalavas' breaks rank and attacks the rest of the group, revealing himself as the phony. The imposters of Darion, Quince and Kellen break free of their false bonds and join the chaotic fray. The real Khalavas is able to break free of his very real bonds in an act of fearsome draconic rage. Eventually, the dopplegangers are defeated - even stripped of his gear, Khalavas' heritage has given him weapons that he is never without.

They find a strange gem on the corpse of the shapechanger who has been impersonating Khalavas for the past two days; it seems to hum harmoniously when the dragon touches it. More of these would be discovered later and identified as 'mind clones', devices that allow anyone with telepathic ability to tap into them and have full access to the memories of the subject of the mind clone.

The heroes continue their progress through the Sodden Hold basement, finding a 'planning room' of sorts with evidence connecting this cell of shapechangers to a dozen high-level conspiracies all over Greyhawk. The evidence is confiscated.

Finally, they meet the master of the Hold - obviously a doppleganger, even though he attempts to make them believe that he is Allustan as he begins launching fireballs at them. A weird, one-eyed, tentacled aberration joins the fight, but the heroes easily defeat both. The revealed doppleganger's forehead is covered with an odd green tattoo (a spiraling tentacle), but they are unsure what it means.

They also find a note in the doppleganger leader's quarters, signed with the same tentacle stamp:

I have a task for you, thrall. Meet me at the sewer junction beneath the cold forge and I will give you the details. There are some troublesome small minds that must be removed.
On their way out, they are in for yet another surprise as they are attacked by yet another aberration - a mind flayer! It ambushes them through a secret sliding door, unleashing a blast of psychic energy and then teleporting away as a pair of drow thralls close in to slit throats. Unfortunately for the thralls, the heroes are largely unaffected and quickly dispatch the dark elves.

Confused by this turn of events but eager to track down the illithid (after all, an illithid is a threat to anyone, not just them), they look for clues on the drow corpses. They have the same strange green tattoos as the doppleganger leader, which tells them that the illithid and the shapechanger gang were somehow linked. More importantly though, the boots of the thralls are covered in yellow phorescent fungus.

They return topside after this to rest and plan their next move with two clues in hand:

-the illithid meets his thralls below a place he calls 'the cold forge'

-at some point, the thralls both stepped in a bunch of yellow fungus

From these clues they are able to pinpoint the illithid lair below a smithy called 'The Cold Forge' (no, seriously). The owner seems to be a harsh taskmaster, but he isn't a mind flayer thrall so they leave him be, instead heading down into the sewers once more. Directly beneath the Cold Forge is a natural cavern that juts directly out of one branch of the sewer canal. It is covered with yellow fungus. Their course is clear.

They wade through some more drow, but the main foes they face on their way to the illithid mastermind are a war troll, more of the weird aberrations like the one they fought in the Sodden Hold, and finally a bird-demon known as a 'vrock'. They are also slowed down by a devious domination trap, though Kellen is able to disable it before it enslaves the entire party.

The battle with the mind flayer (a depraved lunatic calling itself Zyrxog) is fairly intense, but again they are victorious in the end. They also discover a pool of illithid tadpoles, which they promptly destroy.

The find two valuable pieces of information in the illithid's private sanctum:

-A rather official ledger penned in a disturbingly ordered hand. It details Zyrxog's many transactions and services rendered in Greyhawk - apparently he was some sort of ultimate black market dealer, trading magical items of dubious or obviously evil value to people all over the city. They wondered how many of these people knew exactly what they were dealing with.

-A note signed by one 'Loris Raknian'. This triggers a memory for Quince immediately, who rifles through the copy of Theldrick's journal that he made before handing it over to Eligos.

The note reads as follows:

Zyrxog - I have another request for you, and I will pay you even more handsomely for this one's completion. A quartet of adventurers is on their way to Greyhawk as I write this. They are likely to cause some trouble for me, and I need them removed. They will arrive at the east gate. I am sure your changelings will find them easy sport; they lack the tact and cunning necessary to survive in a city like this one for long.

[the rest of the letter provides very accurate descriptions of Khalavas, Quince, Kellen and Darion.]
When they look back through the ledger to see if Raknian has made any purchases from Zyrxog, they find several entries, but the one that sticks out to them is the most recent. Apparently, the illithid acquired an item called 'the Apostolic Scrolls' for the man within the last few weeks. The name almost rings a bell for Kellen, but he is not sure why.

(I do believe we stopped here. I will pick up at the point where you are leaving Zyrxog's lair and presumably returning to the surface for some rest and recovery and revenge-planning in the first IC post)

Last edited by treehouse; 10th of November, 2009 at 09:48.
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