Thursday, 3 November 2016

Loquista Session 5 - "Something Wicked This Way Comes."

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Dramatis Personae:

Callie Tealeaf, Halfling Ranger and demon-hunter.
Kavarus, Tiefling Bard and social butterfly.
Eoighan, Order Fanatic and Dwarven Druid.
Landar Farshield, Half-Elven Rogue/Fighter, spook and unknowing pawn of The Morrigan.

Out of character: Thanks to a blown fuse, an enormous chunk of this session occurred in pitch darkness. This was atmospheric but also bloody inconvenient.

With a drastically reduced party strength, the Heroes of North Corner had bedded down and made camp in the swamps of Loquista to face off against Black Annis – luring the monster with Sessassurak, son of the Lizardfolk Chief, as bait. Their base was a ruined watch tower suspended on an outcropping in the mire – traversing the mire was a struggle so they wanted dry land in which to do battle (the mire is difficult terrain, and if you end your turn in it you need to sacrifice your standard to move again).

As night descended, silence fell over the camp, and the scattered Heroes of North Corner glimpsed, standing atop the tower, the ethereal figure of Black Annis stood, grave-quiet and presiding over the scene with the predatory splendour of a hawk.

The party readied their actions for violence, and Annis jaunted – moving as a ghost through any solid object in her path, to the very centre of the party, where she unleashed her Banshee’s Scream. A noise as solid as granite burst the skulls of our Heroes, and Kavarus and Landar succumbed, falling unconscious instantly. It was at this point the party realised two other threats – that the murk and ire around them was growing and overtaking dry land, and that in the dark a horde of undead shapes were making their inexorable march towards the party.

Finding their mortal arms barely affected Annis’ spiritual form, they looked on in horror as she grasped Sessassurak and moved, incorporeal, past the party to the tower. Desperation set in as the party scrambled to rouse their downed allies and rescue Sessassurak from the clutches of the hag-queen of the Loquista mire. With the party ranged on one side of her, Annis unleashed her foulest power – turning the very air into a choking miasma of death with a Cloudkill spell which enveloped most of the party.

Landar sprung to action duelling Annis with his serpent-quick blades – they had cut an Arch-Fey after all! Whilst his blades did little but inconvenience Annis, they allowed Sessassurak time to escape. At this point the party realised that Annis has set her heart ultimately on claiming the young reptile as she had countless other children, and quickly put themselves between the mire witch and her prey. Noting that Annis would not harm Sessassurak, they also endeavoured to prevent the dreaded Cloudkill rolling over the party by keeping Sessassurak tactically nearby. Sessassurak himself, eager to show his mettle before the envoys of the gods, and buoyed by his friendship with Kavarus, struck mightily with his spear. Meanwhile, Callie rode her panther across the mire, keeping Anni’s resurrected Dameshti wights at bay before the swamp embroiled her precarious footing.

As the rising swamp waters devoured the camp, the party held strong in the ruined tower in the midst of the swamp, and there defied Annis’ might and magicks. Kavarus fell in the retreat, his unconscious body almost overwhelmed by the Cloudkill before Eoighan cured his wounds. With just twenty feet of dry land remaining, the party traded blows with Annis, eager to bring the fight to a conclusion before they disappeared beneath the murk.

 There, eager to stomp the life from her as resources were stretched thin, Kavarus and Eoighan both Polymorphed into Triceratops form, eager to trample Annis into the mire before the swamp consumed them all. In a final act, Annis became ethereal with Eoighan, and surged upwards, dropping the phantom dinosaur down in the midst of the party – only Landar’s quick reflexes saved him from death. Callie fired Yilidrim’s legendary lightning arrow which illuminated the whole scene before thudding uselessly into the tower’s wall as she missed. Fear rose like bile in the party’s throat as they looked upon the inexorable swamp waters closing in. In a last moment of desperation, Landar vanquished Annis with his sword, and the waters began to recede. As her hag-like, bestial features sloughed away, the ghost of an Elven maiden remained, who wandered sullenly through the swamp.

The party pursued, to find her weeping over a grave half a mile away. They quickly set about excavating the grave, to find Bedergeid, the last King of Loquista, lying in the murk. On his corpse were two objects: an enchanted ring and the hour-glass Cerelesta had bade them find.

The party identified both objects – Bedergeid’s wedding ring, which was also a ring of Spell-Storage, and that the hour-glass could take life-force from one being into another, making them young or older or extending life-spans at will – a gift from the Dameshti overlords to human servants to tie them to Elvish largesse.

Judging that Cerelesta could not be trusted with an object of such power, they returned to the city intending to deceive her.  Upon returning to her room, choked in opium-smoke, to speak with her imp emissary whilst she reclined, Kavarus lied: the hourglass was destroyed in the fighting and could not be recovered. Imperceptibly, Cerelesta’s right eyebrow arched cynically.

The imp grinned, and offered to make good on the bargain anyway. The Planar Orrery creaked and whirred, as the imp asked clarifying questions: “The man you seek’s destiny is entwined with your own. He fought monsters? He wields a two-handed sword? He is bold? He is lost on another plane? He is a warrior of the light?” Throughout, the party answered in the affirmative, as a shape formed in the smoky depths of the summoning circle. The imp giggled and finally said “Is he a righteous man?”
At the moment the party saw the shape that had been summoned into the circle: that of Righteous-Fire-Scours-Clean-The-World, once tyrant of North Corner and knight of the Order of the Resplendent Star, whom the party had banished to the Abyss after he tried to bring them to justice as North Corner burned around them.

The path to paradise begins in hell.” Dante Alighieri

Villains Vanquished: 11
Treasure: 0gp
Mighty Magi mugged off: 1

Magic Items claimed: 2

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