Session 38 Summary

April 10th, 2010

Heroes: Prometheus, Kebi Dabu, Thorgan, Lysandros, Rhinox, Dashiell, Donner, and Mariska.

Game Date: Solisdain, Whitesky 21, AD1017

The Fate Seekers are in a race against time. They are trying to save dozens of innocent lives and their quarry has a good head start. The adventurers are trying to save these people from a fate worst than death, keeping them from becoming part of a diabolical ritual that will transform a gnoll shaman into a powerful favored demon servant of Yeenoghu. They are trying to stop the creation of a new Exarch.

The heroes have traveled into the dangerous world of the Shadowfell, where evil seems to bloom from every shadow. They are on the trail of a powerful gnoll shaman that seems to have a retinue of demon servants. The group traveled upon ghost horses to gain some time on their target. Passing strange monolith creatures and even finding some normalcy in the form of a merchant caravan, the adventurers finally reach the Temple, the House of Slaughter.

Entering the Temple

The group passed through the gnarled and mostly dead woodlands to find yet another crater-like formation in the ground. The crater was almost identical to the place of the Shadow Crossing in the Natural world. It was 20 feet down to the base of the crater and the temple lay in the center. A single path leads from edge of the crater to the doors of the Temple. A field of bones covered the base of the crater, all except path leader to the doors.

Dashiell, Donner, Mariska and Thorgan all jump down into the crater. Lysandros and Kebi Dabu feystep down as Rhinox ties a rope to a tree so Prometheus can climb down, before he jumps down himself. After all this Thorgan inquired, “Hey, why didn’t we just fly to the Temple on our horses?” The group had a moment of silence as they realized, maybe this Temple is affecting them more than they realize.

Getting to the Temple was not going to be as easy as they expected. As they followed the path toward the entrance, some now back on their ghost horses, the thousands of bones covered the ground begin to move, begin to animate. In a miasmic storm of bones and skeletons, a massive creature made of just the bones from the ground forms. It appeared the Temple was not unguarded after all.

The creature grabbed up Thorgan and thrust him into the form of bones as the bones begin immediately to crush him. The bone mass continues to use this tactic against Dashiell and Rhinox as he tosses bones to the ground to form skeletal minions. Eventually, with brute force and radiant power, the beast collapses back into a pile of bones. They now have a clear path to the black stone temple decorated with body parts on spiked crenellations and flags made of humanoid skin.

Bloodthirsty Skeletons

The heroes moved into the House of Slaughter to find yet another horrific sight. A long hall splayed out before them leading deeper into the Temple by two side doors and a set of double doors at the end of the Hall. Chained along the walls and around the two rows of pillars were skeletal remains of many different humanoids. Even the remains of gnolls still hung from iron shackles. More demons barred their way as they dropped down from pathways stretching along both sides of the Hall, 20 feet up.

The Fate Seekers are becoming accustomed to these foes; barlgura, mezzodemons, even a canoloth was among them. Fighting these grotesque beasts in the Natural world is disturbing; it’s like fighting people’s nightmares, but these are heroes and they are used to overcoming their fears and taboos and doing what is necessary. It turned out not to be the demons that were the most disturbing. It was the skeletal remains.

It was as if the skeletons could smell the blood of the wounded. It woke them up. Any time a combatant spilled blood; whether it was his own or someone else’s, some of the skeletons broke their bonds and awoke. They seemed to focus on the living flesh of the natural creatures in the Hall, that being the heroes. Time after time the skeletons broke free, filling the chamber with more and more enemies. The group was starting to feel overwhelmed. The demons aided the heroes in their dilemma as the mezzodemons breathed acid on anyone or anything to get to the adventurers. Donner’s rage helped tremendously as he swiftly crushed any skeleton around him. Finally the group was able to beat back all their enemies, sending some back to the Abyss and putting others to their final rest.

The Blood Pool

In the very next chamber, through one of the side doors, the Seekers found a wood pile with 4 piles of skulls around it. The group deduced it was a sacrifice pyre for burning victims alive to appease otherworldly masters. While the group stayed long enough to scatter the wood and the skulls, they learned that some of the spirits were still trapped within this Temple.

They could hear screams off in the distance but could not figure out which direction they were coming from. Suddenly the room was bathed in firelight and the screams escalated until they sounded like they were coming from this very room. Suddenly the pyre of wood was ablaze with a column of fire and a victim tied to a pole inside. The heroes could feel the warmth of the fire when they got too close. They stood, trying to puzzle through what they were seeing, then as quickly as the image appeared, it was gone. The wood and the skulls were back scattered across the room. It was time to move on.

The next chamber was quite simple but still disturbing. The group found a shallow pit about 5-foot deep dominating the center of the room. The walls were painted black, or possibly charred black from long burning fires. Lysandros took a closer look with a light source and discovered it to be dried blood. The room was empty so they group went looking for other exits; Mariska looked into the pit to see if there were any exits inside. When the group turned around Mariska was gone and the pit was filled to top with fresh blood.

Mariska found herself lost in an endless field of nightmares. She was definitely no longer in the Temple; she was in some sort of barren wasteland with nothing for as far as the eye can see. That is unless you count to waves of countless carnage demons. The hideous beasts had elven maiden surrounded and there was no relief in sight, they had dragged her through the pit, or the pool, and were trying to feast on her.

Rhinox immediately dove into the pool to rescue his comrade-in-arms but found it to still be only 5-foot deep crashing to the bottom of the pit. Thorgan reached into the pit of blood trying to locate his friend and pull her out, but he found nothing. Lysandros went to a set of stairs and stepped easily into the pool and began waving around but his search was in vein. Mariska was fighting her own nightmare and frantically tried to escape the hordes of demons. With a burst of strength, possibly fueled by her fear, she broke from the grasp of the numerous carnage demons and when she opened her eyes she was at the bottom of the pit flailing frantically to escape. The blood was gone, the demons were gone, and the scene left nothing but a bad memory for the elf maiden; and possibly a nightmare.

The Stone Face

The group moved on in search of the innocent people they came here to save. They found a central chamber dedicated to an unknown creature with a bestial lower body and a muscular upper half. The creature appeared to be somewhat civilized with an air of elegance about it, for it kept its wings pulled forward across the chest in the fashion of a cape. The Seekers could not identify the beast for the head had been broken off and was missing.

The adventurers eventually found a set of stairs leading down, quite possibly where the hostages had been taken. They searched the room with the stairs for the walls were carved into a mural of tortured souls. The faces were contorted into visions of pain and anguish that no one should have to endure. Lysandros and Mariska looked for a pattern in the mural but found none.

In an alcove in the south corner of the room, they found a large stone face embossed on center of the wall. It was a demonic face with large horns and larger-than-life eyes that seemed to pierce the very soul. When the adventurers tried the stairs, they found a wall of stone only 10 feet down. Learning that the wall could move, they continued their search of the chamber in hopes of finding a way to open it.

Several of the Seekers pushed and pulled and tried to slide the stone face, but all they discovered was that it was moveable. It resisted all their efforts to activate it. Mariska took a closer look at the face and discovered it was indeed connected to the wall by the stairs, and that it was a large mechanism of some sort. She learned that the stone face spins on an axis, but another part of the mechanism was missing so she couldn’t get it to work. The Seekers decided to press on in hopes of finding the other part of the puzzle.

The Devil Demon Thing

The group returned to the chamber with the vandalized statue and continued their pattern; they turned left and went through the double doors. They found a large angled room in the shape of a diamond with a circular dais in the center of the floor. A large stone podium stood upon the dais. Walking near the back of the room was yet another nightmarish creature of black leathery skin and wings to match. It was a beast straight out of hell itself and Dashiell, Lysandros, and Kebi Dabu confirmed that notion. The creature held a large black tome in the crook of its arm.

The group learned the black skinned creature was an augmented devil that has someone inherited the features of a demon. It wasn’t a devil and it wasn’t a demon, but it was more than both. The creature made it perfectly clear that the tome it was carrying was his and that he must protect it. He did not appear hostile, simply protective. Lysandros misspoke as the team was trying to figure out what to do. Kebi Dabu and the other arcanists in the group identified the book as possibly a bible to a powerful and evil entity. Thorgan was adamant about getting the book and killing the devil demon thing. It was the Lysandros that shouted, ”alright we’re going to destroy it!” and the devil demon thing went into a fury.

The creature was a viscous fighter, flinging the heroes with its great trident and slashing them with its tail. It did not matter that the ranged adventurers kept their distance; the creature had the power to summon them to him. His strength allowed him to toss the heroes about, smashing them against walls, and picking them up by the neck and trying to crush them. Alas, the beast could not stand against all the Fate Seekers together. It finally fell from their constant bombardment of both brute force and magical prowess.

The Fate Seekers are now trying to decide on what to do with the tome they found. They learned it was a black bible of sorts to an evil deity or powerful entity. Some want it destroyed for it promotes evil and dark powers; while others wish to study it for all forms of writing is knowledge. Thorgan was leading the vote for the destruction of the book, getting very heated in the process. Is the Temple finally affecting the heroes on an emotional level? Are the dark powers of this place causing the group to turn on itself? Causing turmoil among the fellowship? If the Temple is powerful enough to affect these heroes this quickly, what will come of the prisoners? Will the Fate Seekers find their quarry, and will they still choose to stop the ritual?

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