Aleview

Aleview, Session 8.5

(Majestic DM voice)
3 months previous:
2 humanoid figures walk through a forest in the dim light, as the sun filters down through the trees. One of the figures drags a deer, bound at the feet. It struggles limply.
Tussin: “You expect me to believe that Dajani told you to make me drag the deer, specifically me? Grab hold of this thing you lazy bastard.”

Oland: “I’m not one to go against orders. Besides, it wasn’t Dajani, it was Nazin. Do you want me to tell him you didn’t appreciate his command?”

Tussin: “Nazin Redthorn told you to tell me to drag the deer? You’re a real piece of work, you know that. I’ve never even met him. Gods, Dajani herself has only addressed us as a group. I doubt either of them would recognize my face, let alone know my name to tell you. I’ll drag the damned thing, but only because I don’t want to listen to your bullywug anymore.”

Oland: "Fine, fine. We’re almost there anyway. Stop up. I’ve got to make it drink this. "

Tussin: "By the gods man, that smells like Orcus’ sweaty taint! What in the nine hells is it?

Oland: "Nevermind that now. Let’s just drag it out there before the Blackburrow sentries catch wind of us. Use your dagger, slit the beasts throat when we’re in the clearing. We say the words, and we’re gone, simple as that. "

Tussin: “Oh yes, drag the beast, slit it’s throat, say the words. You’ll recall we’re the same rank. How about I leave the beast here, and you can go slit your own throat for all I care.”

Oland: “Are you still mad about the barmaid? She wasn’t interested in you Tussin, for the last time, you’ve a face like like a wet sack of potatoes. And you smell like the potatoes have turned.”

Tussin: "Fine, here, look at me, here’s my potato sack face looking at my dagger, it’s done. I’m surprised the gnolls haven’t smelled my stink from here. You’re right, how could a fat old warty barmaid be interested in the likes of me.

Oland: “Say the words Tussin, we’ve got to say the words!”

Tussin: “I’ve got a few more words I’d rather say right now you woman stealing bastard!”

With that, the 2 men skulk off back into the trees.

==============
‎(Still all majestical)
Upon returning to Aleview, Ghed spots you and hurries you off to a warehouse. Inside, you find an odd collection of creatures.
You recognize Grundbar the Dwarf from the silver mines, and close by his side is a Goblin in a dragon costume. Some Ogres mill about, in a foul mood, as they are eyed by some sturdy adventurer types. The Wizard King and Akivasha rest upon some crates, far from the rest of the gathering. Apparently the floaty bearded dude can actually touch the floor when he chooses. There’s a collection of citizens as well, most of which wouldn’t usually be seen together. Some are peasants, others middle class, and a few of the nobility. This last grouping seems to be getting along swimmingly.

Ghed: “The Iron Circle has grown a lot more aggressive. They’ve got patrols wandering the streets at random. They strike down anyone that gets in their way, or doesn’t answer questions. It seems you’ve pushed them a bit harder then they care for. Some of the people have had enough and are finally starting to fight back. They are less than organized, but they’ve finally agreed on a name, that’s something, hah!”

One of the upper class people joins you, “Greetings. We are the Knights of the Crescent Moon. We fight alongside you, against the beasts of the Iron Circle. Our crest represents the bright sun of righteousness eclipsing their standard.”

One of the lower class chimes in “That’s not what we said. The Crescent Moon shows the power of the little man. The moon goddess is granting us a bounteous harvest, and she smiles upon us, and blocks out the burning sun of the Iron Circle.”

The noble speaks again, looking embarrassed, “Well, I thought mine was better. Ghed has brought us all together here, representatives from groups you’ve allied yourselves with. We are throwing in with you as well, we’ll show these bastards that they can’t take our property from us.”

Ghed speaks up, forcing his way in front of the noble, "My old party and I have been keeping track of the creatures you’ve garnered good favor with. I think we can assemble a small force of decent fighters. I hesitate to use the word army, it’s well shy of that. It’s not going to be enough to storm the Iron Keep fortress, but it might be enough to distract their forces and get some folks on the inside. If we can deal with their commanders, I think the rest might falter.

Ghed: “If we can get the main force occupied with some good old fashioned chaos and chicanery, a smaller group could accompany you inside. That little Goblin feller has a few rituals he’s preparing. He and the Kings are going to try and perform scrying magic on the fortress. If all goes well, they’ll be able to give us the map of the keep, and a report of the creatures inside. They won’t be ready for a couple more days, but it’s exciting news. When they’re ready, I’m sure they could use some assistance from the likes of you. Until then, carry on as you would, but be careful. Don’t drawn any attention to us, or these fool Knights. I think the upper class are more filled with bravado than actual bravery.”

View
Aleview, Session 8
Dragon tracks

Using Ghed’s map to track down the source of the beastly rumors, the party runs into a new companion, Mir. She’s a Dragonborn Sorcerer, also trying to track down the creatures, but for reasons of curiosity rather than gain. As they travel the road, something in the brush seems off. Patches of sand, and weighted down branches catch their attention. The bushes in the area are coated with a thick poison. A noise is heard from a nearby tree, and a small green dragon leaps out at the party, while a brown dragon springs out of the sand in the ground. The 2 wyrmlings attack the party, barking short commands to each other. The party quickly dispatches the green, and subdues the brown. It manages to escape, and flees behind a nearby waterfall, into a dark cave. Beyond the mouth of the cave, coins line the passage, leading back into a large chamber. A 20 foot wide pile of coin and gems is in the room, beside a pile of books, papers, clothing. One of the party detects something on the ceiling, from the sound of it’s breath. A large brown dragon sleeps there, and is lured down with the smell of food. The party manages to charm the dragon so it doesn’t attack, and they try to bargain with it to get something out of the hoard. It’s going well, but a few of the remarks seem to irk the beast, and it’s goaded into combat. Once it’s injured, it’s joined by an older sibling, a larger green dragon. It tried to bluff the party into thinking it’s much older and more powerful than it truly is. The 2 use their deadly breath weapons to try and kill the party, so it can be snacky time. One of the party members uses the Boon it had earned previously, causing the green dragon to be immobilized for much of the combat, reducing the damage it could do.
Once the creatures are killed, sounds are heard from a wall at the side of the chamber. An illusory wall is found, and a man and woman are in the chamber beyond.

Speaking with the couple,

Speaking to the humans:
4 Kings, the war: “We have heard of the 4 Kings. It’s said they fought in a great war, with many allies at their side. 4 chromatic dragons aided them in the fight, though most of the chromatics were on the opposing side. Surely the humanoid races would have lost, save for the dragons that protected them.”
Claw of Bahamut: “I’m… not familiar with that, I think. It intrigues me, what else can you tell me about it?”
Iron Circle: “Vile creatures who harass and assault anyone they please. They think everything is theirs, the air, the earth, the water. They are a blight to be eradicated. Asmodeus’ pups he sends forth to be slaughtered while he lies in the back laughing at the bloodshed(At this point the female coughs loudly and shoots and elbow into the man) I’m sorry, what else did you want to know?”
Dragons in the War: "Tales do tell of 4 heroic dragons, downtrodden outcasts from their own kind. They fought alongside the forces of good over evil. The other chromatic dragons were foolhardy and shortsighted though. Giving aid to a creature that seeks to subjugate all life, simply because he will kill your enemies or promises you power, this is a fools errand. The way of life you love will be gone, there will be no hoarding, no hunting, no freedom. It’s makes choosing sides very simple to an intelligent creature(again the woman coughs and elbows the man hard enough to knock the wind out of him. She sighs and begins to rub her temples). Yes, the dragons, umm. There were 4 of them. An arrogant Red dragon who thought itself more important than all others, a boring Gray, a Majestic Green…
(the woman curses loudly at the man in a flurry of draconic. “Ner jas valeij, VUR wux renthisj mrith baeshras. Wux jas thurirl vur mesta loreat.” Anyone that speaks draconic is able to pick out some of the words, “Spear something bleed, AND you speak with animals. You something friendly and something dying.” The tone comes across well through many different languages. The man waits until she’s finished speaking, and a few seconds more, before he speaks again “and a beautiful, patient, forgiving Brown dragon. They fought well.”

A light shimmers around the 2 humans, and suddenly another pair of dragons is before you, one Green one Brown, but these creatures seem much more mature than those you’ve encountered. (Nature med, it’s unclear how old these creatures are, as the old scars covering their scales lends them a worn look. They are the oldest you’ve seen here, by far)
A green dragon stands ready, facing towards you. A wounded brown dragon is behind it, there is a lance sticking out from it’s chest. The Brown speaks to you this time,

“Therrax is a fool, but a loyal mate. I am Kaheste. What do you seek here, and no lies, as my legendary patience and forgiveness have retired for the day.”
The dragons outside: “Our brood is all that is left of Dragons in this land. Most were wiped out in the war long ago, and the rest have been hunted near extinction in the years after. We are doing our part to renew the population, which you have not been helping us with.”
The new war, Iron Circle: “a group of those foul creatures set a trap for me, thinking I was the only dragon here. They did surprise me, and stuck me with this accursed lance, before I fed the lot of them to my children. I’ve no interest in fighting any wars right now, lest my lineage end for all time. Asmodeus commanded many forces in the previous war, and I suspect he will not make his move upon the World until he has such forces again. He will take from those Gods as he can, and then move on the rest of creation. He must take control in each plane of existence to have any lasting power, for to be overthrown in one place would weaken him in another.”
Lance: “Though I worship the great Tiamat, I must have respect for Bahamut. This Lance is powerful, and I feel the life slipping from me. We are using all our magics to slow my death, but it is not enough. I would be greatful to you if you can help.”

The party uses all their skill and even some of their life energy to remove the lance from the wounded dragon. Therrax tells you, “I thank you for your efforts, it remains to be seen if she is saved. You may go from this place with those things you’ve gathered already. Take nothing else, except the lance. I will tell you, the foul rats that did this to her, their leader lies in a great fortress to the west, deeper into the old kingdom of the Wizard. I tracked them after their cowardly attack, but they have a great many creatures guarding the area. When you think you are ready, you should gather what allies you have, then you might stand a chance of taking the fortress. If my mate recovers, you may count me as an ally.”

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Aleview, Session 7
Mirrors, vampires, and the loss of a friend?

After dealing with the goblins and the Ice Queen in the upper levels of the silver mine, the party rests up, gaining new powers, and travels deeper into the mines.

The passages gradually become corridors. Writing is carved into the walls, heiroglyphics, pictures in place of words. Gives more backstory of the Robed King after the battle with Asmodeus, and the history of Akivasha. (Written in obscure dialect of common, but decipherable ), "The immortal beauty travelled the lands, the great gods shining their bright light down upon her. From place to place did she travel, granting her blessing to a great many others, gathering followers in her wake. She carved these halls with her alabaster fingers, a gentle caress for each word, and spread her love to all those that could bask in it. "

A midday sun is carved into one section of the wall across from a massive stone door. Searching the sun reveals a faint glow coming from around it’s seams. When opened, sunlight reflects down from above through the mirror apparatus they discovered above. When the sunlight hits the door, it slides down into the floor.

The next hallway contains 3 dented and ancient mirrors of polished metal, that can be pushed and turned into position, reflecting the light deeper into the corridors and chamber. A vampire is here, but weak and pitiful. She dirty, dressed in tattered clothing. She doesn’t want to fight because she knows she’ll be killed. She doesn’t offer that she’s a vampire, but doesn’t dispute it. After some long winded discussions about the mirrors, the party notices the vampire offering up information, that there are additional mirrors hidden somewhere close by. The 2 avengers search the corridor, finding a secret room with 2 mirrors stashed inside. On one mirror, some faded writing is found. It states “Know thy enemy, know thy self”

The Abaddon sees that the reflection inside the mirror is wrong, showing a great slobbering beast. He tries to move the mirror, but the beast comes out and attacks. Allies come to assist, but with each blow to the beast, it turns and deals damage to the Abaddon.
Sever detects something is off, and tries to discern the problem, but fails, twice. Eventually, Ebony sees through some type of illusion, seeing that the beast isn’t quite real. Sever throws his cloak over the mirror, ending the illusion. The beast wasn’t real. The Abaddon thought he was fighting the beast, but was really fighting his friends. The party had the same problem. They saw a beast to fight, but were really hurting the Abaddon.

Once the problem was resolved, the mirrors were moved in a fashion to reflect the light onto the next door, allowing them passage to move along.

Past the door, a passage leading to Akivasha’s chamber lies, with a sarcophagus therein. Upon this great stone box are more inscriptions, but they have faded over time. The lid of the box seems to have moved quite frequently, scrapes and marks along the edges. Another mirror within reflects the dim light up into the ceiling. A fragile wooden door in this room leads to the great hall. The party plans ahead for a change, putting in place a warding circle, to protect against the threats of the undead. The Abaddon opens the sarcophagus, but it is empty. Archleone checks the door out of the room, seeing a large room beyond with a tall woman seated within.
The Robed King is seated in a great hall. She’s tall, beautiful, and completely human in appearance. A lever is on the side of the chair she rests in. When Sever moves toward it, she says “it sets off terrible, dangerous traps.” Odd devices and books are strewn abou the room. Glass vials of liquids, foul smelling potions. Each of the vials has bloody fingerprints etched on it.

Speaking to the seated figure, she will admit her name is Akivasha, but seems somewhat reluctant to talk about anything else. “I am, or I was the Robed King you speak of. I am Akivasha now, King no longer.”

As people examine her chair, she speaks again, ""After the war, the other Kings grew ill. I pretended to be sick as well to maintain the charade. We were friends for a year before they died, but I hid myself still. When they died, all the kingdoms fell into despair and could not recover. People slowly left each land for better prospects. I brought a handful of faithful and tamed vampires with me here and we made a home. I cared for them, and kept them from hunting the people nearby above us, but after a few centuries, someone must have grown restless. I sat in my chair one day, and great pain shot through me. Great spikes have stabbed into my flesh and pinned me here. I’m drained and weak, and grow weaker each year. I’m not sure how long it’s been, but it seems forever. A few faithful remain, bringing me sustenance."

And with that, she turns to Sever and speaks, “Now, I must ask you to feed me. If you’d be so kind as to cut open your arm and let the blood fall into my mouth.” Sever strides forward to do as bidden. The charming aura of Akivasha is powerful. Each suggestion that she makes is followed without question by Sever.
A voice comes from an adjacent chamber. He yells “Stop! What are you doing? Do not feed that creature!” A large troll comes running into the room. “Please be careful, she’s grown insane while stuck in the chair, she’s very dangerous. Don’t let her appearance fool you.”
“I’m Jaskryn, her sireling. Please, you can’t trust her, you musn’t feed her.”

Akivasha speaks again, “This creature is no child of mine. I hunger, feed me now.” Jaskryn yells for you to stop him!
Sever makes his way to Akivasha, and cuts open his flesh, allowing the blood to drip into her mouth, feeding her. She breaks free from the chair, her back torn open and leaking blood. Her illusion dispels. She screams in agony and frustration. She’s gaunt, her skin is almost transparent. Skinny. Her face is horribly scarred from some old injury, an infection, a burn, something bad. Her hair is sparse, and her lips are retracted showing her bared fangs.
She does a massive amount of damage in her bloodied frenzy, but eventually uses her blood driven healing to calm herself. Jaskryn in the meantime, has run like a mofo’ as fast as he can go.

Akivasha speaks,
“I’m sorry, truly sorry my friends. The blood and the pain pushed me beyond reason. I’ve been entwined with that chair for so long. I did not recognize that creature as a sireling, but I do feel a connection to it somehow. I can feel those that have used my blood to become undead. I think I feel him coming closer now, but something is, different. He’s stronger, somehow. No, more of my sirelings are coming. I could never create a large number of them, as I feared they would turn to darker ways. Something is different, they make a noise in my head. They must be close now.”

A group of creatures come into the entryway, led by Jaskryn. He’s surrounded by a cadre of gaunt looking vampires. “I warned you not to release her. You’ll have to be dealt with I suppose, so we can get her back under control. I can always build another chair for you my dear.”
Akivasha shrinks back at the mention of another chair, cowed by the thought of it. She whispers to the closest of you. “Something is not right, these creatures are not true vampire?”

A familiar female voice echoes in the chamber, Dajani speaks , “I think you’ve said enough Jaskryn. I’m disappointed you’ve let them free Akivasha. I have some more friends on their way to get their final treatments, but this will alter our plans. I don’t think we’ll be able to wait for your research to see fruition now. Eliminate these nuisances and you can finally join the ranks of the Iron Circle. We can find a great many different uses for your talents.”

Akivasha whispers again “I can detect that his masterful research is unstable. You must be careful with these creatures. The energies they have stolen will be violently released when they fall.”

A massive battle ensues. Vampiric minions at the side of Jaskryn, and Dajani brings along some Vampiric trolls. As each of the new vampire foes falls, something odd happens. They explode in a shower of dark energy, their bodies transforming into shadowed bat forms, dealing large amounts of damage to any creatures adjacent to them. As the fight goes on, Akivasha’s gaping wounds continue to drain her of blood and life, and as she sinks into the bloodied state, she turns on those nearest to her to refill her reserves. The explosive energies from the vampiric creatures, combined with Akivasha’s wavering loyalties, and Dajani’s basic dickery, lead to several of the party falling unconscious, and one of them falling by the wayside. Ebony is killed, though her body remains intact. Eventually, due to the healing efforts of the cleric Caelinna, and the limited healing powers of Ebony before she fell, the party manages to scrape through with only one fatality.

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Aleview, Session 6

The party talks to Grundbar at the Alehouse.

Grundbar recently won a contract to operate a silver mine in the nearby hills. He has one problem, though: A tribe of primitive goblins is already mining his claim. Locals know the goblins as the Glintblades because they use the silver from the mine to make the points of their arrows and spears. Grundbar’s contract stipulates that he has to find a way to parlay with the goblins or remove them from the mine. Grundbar can’t imagine working with the “filthy savages,” so he wants to hire mercenaries. Since he has no experience in doing so, he hopes to talk to mercenaries or merchants so that he can learn how much he might have to pay.

Heading to the mine:
You see small skeletons hard at work, chipping away tirelessly at the walls.
Grundbar tells you “I’ve heard of this before, these creatures are simple constructs, they have no will of their own. The goblins must be using them as their main labor force.”

2 goblins are in a large chamber. One is dressed in a makeshift dragon costume. He is just lounging around. The other is standing with his hands on the bridge of his nose, concentrating and mumbling words to himself. The concentrating one turns his head and says a few quiet words to the other. The one in the costume stands up and starts speaking to you quickly in barks of Goblin before switching to broken Common language, “Who, who you are? What you do here? This mine, this mine is mine! You cannot have.”
About the rights to the mine “No. We buy rights! You don’t have rights, is not right. We buy from nice crazy cult. She gives us good bargain on mine. We gives them access to lower chambers, though I’d like to access that Tiefling’s lower chambers.”

The party negotiates with the goblins, urging them to work together with Grundbar and increase the amount of silver they can extract from the mines. They weave a tale of harmonious cooperation, short work days, dwarven ale. The mine supports are discussed, and will be strenghtened. The goblins are told a great tale of working together with other creatures to mutual benefit, a bloody tale about orcs and killing. The goblins are intimidated and impressed and eventually see the benefits of working together.

Afterwards, Grundbar pledges fealty to the party, promising money to them in the future, and possibly the construction of a stronghold. The goblins mention an odd contraption in the mine, a small shaft that leads deeper in, with sunlight reflected into it from a mirror on the hillside. They also mention some companions are lost in the mine, in an area that ice and snow has mysteriously taken over.

A goblin is found half buried in the ice, bleeding. Big Yan tells the party of his friend Wee Bigchin, and how she found a trinket in the wall. She seemed to speak to it, and after a time, bashed Big Yan over the head, and vanished into the mine. Venturing deeper into the mines, they find an expansive cavern of ice and snow.

  • The ceiling rises up beyond what the outside geography would allow. A light snowfall falls from the impossible heights of the ceiling. There are 3 raised ice sections visible in the room, and a series of barred cells at the back wall. 2 of the platforms have creatures held to them by chains of ice, while the third platform has a female form resting on a glassy throne. The female’s form shimmers and shifts between elven and goblin. Their are other figures scattered throughout the room, encased in ice. A flaming brazier sits near the entrance, no ice touches it. The ground around it is as the cave should be.

In the ensuing fight, the cold weather drains the life from the party, as do the attacks from the icy creatures. The Elven woman flies around the room, with more cold energy radiating from her. A section of the room collapses, and some of them are dumped into an adjacent pit. The floor breaks, twists, turns, in unnatural ways. Icy water numbs people in the pit. The metal trinket is eventually removed from the neck of the cold woman, through thievery, stealth, brute force, and seduction. The ice of the room crumbles away, and the area returns to normalcy, a simple cave. Wee Bigchin stands in place of the elf, her arm is branded with an iron circle. She speaks of the voice that was in her head, and how this other elf woman was sad, angry, lost and scared. The Iron Circle had done something to her, taken everything away. That’s what brought her here, linked to the trinket somehow.

Bigchin mentions “I’ve seen a couple of odd folk travelling deeper into t’ caves. They were avoiding us , right enuff. T’ Iron Circle sounds like a good match fer tha’ symbol on their cloothes. I got a look at one though, and it seemed a might peculiar. Almost dead on it’s feet.”
And about the Kings – “No talk ‘round ’ere in these parts of any kings, but there is a legend ’bout the old Vampire Akivasha. She was lifted from the World by the gods, for her beauty was so great, they granted her immortality and took her amongst them. The goblin folk in these hills see her as a patron saint or some’n like.”

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Aleviewm Session 5.5
Tonight on Lich Talk

(Facebook conversations between sessions)

The Abaddon will stand near the Lich, blade at it’s throat, growling to him ‘If you make an aggressive move, I will put an end to you here and now.’ (Readied Action: should the Lich make an aggressive move towards the party, The Abaddon will attack)
He turns to the mutated Dwarf, ‘Tell me what your intentions were with this place. Why are you destroying the various temples? What do these four undead have to do with your plan? Where can we find the Tiefling Djanni?’ (24 Intimidate)

  • The gangly dwarf creature replies in a gravelly, underused voice, “Iron Circles are big chosen of Asmodeus, not lowly underlings, not useless. We will…(he pauses in thought, reciting something is his head first to make sure he’s got it right) seek power, repay evil with mercy. No, show no mercy. Weakly exploit. Hmm. (More internal processes, he then recites something carefully like a prayer) We kree-ate this turbans in the planes, by way of bee trays, Al, mudder and pain. Yeah. You stand no hopes of hurting the master of the hells. He will drive away all your magics from the world. All the false gods will fall from the realms. Burning floaty creature is undead, but there’s only one of him. Dajani is …not boss, but like boss, you know? She likes to be invisible, not sure if that’s from her cloak or her tail. It’s nice though. It’s hard to say where to find her since you can’t hardly ever see her.” He thinks that over for a minute, and nods, seemingly satisfied.

Ebony places the phylactery at the edge of the broken circle and studies the weakened Lich King (had to be said). In a hesitant voice, (using my utility power Suggestion which allows me to use my Arcana check for a Diplomacy roll- roll 28) she asks, “Spirit, if you are one of the Kings, and we are meant to aid you, please help us to understand our purpose in this place. Our mission teeters on the verge of failure due to our ignorance and confusion.”

Ebony then withdraws, looking rather shocked at herself, and tries to look like part of the wall.

  • The Lich’s memory seems staggered and incomplete in spots, but he replies,
    “I had travelled far in search of the other kings, and had just found the destroyed phylactery of the Empress King. I managed to temporarily resurrect her when you burst in on us at the Necropolis. We sought no quarrel with you, fearing you might be linked to the Iron Circle. As we tried to leave, you cut her down. I fled to my chambers below thinking you would pursue, but you passed my chambers by and continued down into the tombs below. I went back to the surface and saw Dajani putting her accursed flame to my old friend, and now she can no longer be ressurected, temporarily or otherwise. With Dajani above, and you below, I returned to my chambers to prepare to defend myself.” And he trails off, looking around the room. You know he has more information, it just make take some coaxing and prodding of the memory

The Abaddon turns his attention from the mewling, aberrant dwarf and presses his blade more firmly against the Lich’s throat “You know my banner, and you know this sword. I’ve no love of your kind. Answer the girl’s questions lest I lose my patience” (Intimidate 27 [Roll17 +10 trained)

  • The Wizard King seems confused, like a senile old man. He tries to regain some of his composure, then concentrates on the Drow’s questions, “A millenia ago we Kings were at war with each other, constantly. Trivial matters would end in armed conflicts between us. It was so each month is seemed, for nearly a generation. The Iron Circle appeared, small at first, weeding their way into the communities and learning our strengths. They corrupted good and loyal subjects to their side. When the kingdoms took notice of them, we thought them merely a nuisance. Some new religion or politic. When the fighting began, it was almost too late. They swept over the lands in force and number, and attacked from within each kingdom’s own walls. The other 3 kings and I united and drove them back to the boundaries of our territory, but 2 years later they returned with unimagined creatures. Horrors, exarchs, demons, elves, goblins, giants, dwarves. Those that would not normally side with them were corrupted or coerced and fought alongside them. We Kings rode out on our allies backs, 4 great dragons of green, red, brown, and gray, and met the enemy at the head of our armies. Bahamut had granted us these allies in return for keeping the kingdoms united. When we defeated most of the invaders, a creature claiming to be Asmodeus himself, appeared on the battlefield with the few remaining generals. They decimated half of our remaining army before we could stop them. The dragons kept the generals busy while we dealt with leader. We managed to defeat him, but his death’s curse poisoned our bodies. 1 year later, to the day, we 4 Kings died as friends.”
  • Focusing on the Dragonborn’s banner, “Asmodeus’s curse on us kept the Raven from granting us our lives again, or raising us as revenants to do her bidding. When his forces began to gather this time, she tried in vain. I’m not sure how I awoke again, but I did see a large creature above me when I opened my eyes. From head to waste, a beautiful, dark skinned, naked elf. From the waste down, abdomen and thorax and legs and chitin. Surely a Drider priestess. She laid the jewelry box in my arms and bid me to keep it safe, lest I fall to the true death. I shall seek to reunite the Kings that remain, gather additional allies be they supernatural, demonic, angelic, or any creature that can carry a blade, and drive them forth against the Iron Circle in hopes of luring out Asmodeus once more into the field of battle. If I have enough power and knowledge behind me, perhaps he can be truly destroyed instead of temporarily defeated.”
  • Looking at his dead flesh, the Wizard King continues, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend. I shall gladly surrender unto death once more after the Iron Circle has fallen. Those creatures that I would normally loathe, I have become one. I can hate them again after my task is done. Asmodeus, he seeks total dominion. He wants control of all the powers of life, death, creation, nature, chaos, everything. If he lets the creatures of the world live, they will be subjugated, they will serve him and no other. Those that resist, will meet death if they are fortunate.” His mind trails off for a few moments, unaware of questions and his surroundings. When he comes back, he speaks again of something else as he eyes The Abaddon’s scales, “There was a Lance, the Platinum Claw of Bahamut. It was used to drive back the draconic forces under Asmodeus’ control. One of the Kings used it to deliver killing blows to the dragon army before us, but the Iron Circle stole away with it at the end of the battle. It appears a simple spear, but when used on a dragon it becomes something more. It treats the scales as though they were paper, and embeds itself in the flesh beneath. It continually drains the life force of the creature until it simply ceases to live.”
  • His mind wanders again, nodding off as if asleep, but muttering words to himself, “Illithid King, Alhoon, Illithilich.” His eyes pop open again, “If I and my female friend, the tall Knight King you met, were turned into these creatures, it seems likely the others would be as well. A mind flayer lich is an outcast from it’s own society of psychic, tentacle mouthed magic users. If that is not alien enough, the beings also feast on the brains of other creatures. It’s said the Illithid have a vast empire somewhere with endless slaves to feed on, or use as thralls. An elder brain would usually control the movements of those in it’s collective, controlling the defenses of it’s society, or so my old friend told us.
    An Alhoon’s skin is no longer moist and smooth, but cracked and dried due to the magical resistance of the creature, resisting the transformation into a Lich. The Illithid King had curbed his hunger for humanoid brains, or so he seemed to let on. It was never truly proven. In any case, Mind Flayer’s are typically subterranean creatures. A series of Gnoll caves that are said to lead into a deeper domain of caverns below, someone in Aleview knew of it, long ago. If there truly is a connection there to the underdark beneath it, it seems a good place to start.”
  • Again the Wizard King speaks to you, "The Robed King, of this King, I know little. While we were friends in the year after the battle, I only caught brief glimpses of her face. She was always robed and guarded her appearance when we were enemies, and became more private and secluded afterwards. She avoided any questions of a personal nature, but I always assumed she was of the same lineage as the Tall Knight King you briefly encountered. Some abberant offshoot of human or elf mixed with goliath or some other tall species. There are very few species of humanoid I’ve encountered that stand over 10 feet tall. At the end of the year after the great battle, we Kings all took to our beds in sickness. We were seperated by a journey of days between our kingdoms, so word of the illness was just that, words. We did not see each other in the end. I think I remember some rumor about her from my searches after I awoke. Unsubstantiated rumor, I think. I can’t recall if I followed the trail or not. I heard that she went into seclusion instead of trying to gather support for the cause. She made her home in a deep, dark place, but the Reavers found her there. It was always my belief that she was undead before the Iron Circle came, all those centuries ago. That is why she hid herself from us. If this is true, she may have grown extremely powerful over the years, but if the Reavers found her first, well I can not guess how they would deal with such a creature. Even the Knight King and I were weakened when you encountered us. She from being recently risen, and I from spending the magical effort to raise her. I urge caution in dealing with those of us that remain. They are likely greater in strength, but their minds may not be as sharp as mine. "
View
Aleview, Session 5
A bomb, a bridge, and a bunch of Iron Circles

A hard night’s rest interrupted with dreams.

Ebony’s Dreams
Sever’s Dreams
The Abaddon’s Dream
The Shared Dreams

Descending the staircase of the Alehouse, glass and wood litter the floor. As your ears start to clear, you can hear bits of debris falling onto the roof from the sky sounding like a hail. Smoke has risen above to the ceiling, what’s left of it. ¾ of the backwall and a large chunk of the ceiling above is simply, gone. The edges are splintered and charred. An alleyway is behind the Alehouse, through the gaping hole, and figures are glimpsed near the ground. The few patrons at this hour are in a sorry state. One lies bleeding on the floor, 2 are stumbling towards the front door. Balasar the Dragonborn must have come in early, or not have left last night. He lies on the floor near the bar, an arm missing, and his clothing blackened. Blood pumps from the remains of his shoulder.
“I don’t know what happened, I was having a drink with an Ogre. They ran out of ogre swill and she got a little, perturbed and…” he stops speaking when the tattered bits of his hand fall onto the floor in front of him. Looking up, the ceiling is covered in thick splinters and something wet. Part of a sleeve still hangs there. The blood stops coming from his wound. No one else living remains inside.

Stepping through the hole in the backwall, shrapnel lines the alleyway. Smoosh Rocktoss lies on the ground near the hole in the wall, her torso torn open, her arms missing from the elbows down. Burnt ale and blood drip from her body. On the opposite wall of the alley, 2 more corpses lie still. One is so thouroughly damaged you can simply make out meat and bone on the front of it, the clothing is singed away. The other corpse is human. It’s singed, it’s hands are gone, but is otherwise intact.

(Smoosh’s corpse: as she’s searched, Hydrix’s enchanted gloves make a few muffled sounds, almost like weeping. A crumpled piece of parchment lies in a pocket. Lines have been written and crossed out, repeatedly. Roses iz red, I like you. Roses iz red, writin iz stoopid. You iz you an not a rose, an’ I like to stomp roses, but not you cuz I like you. There’s also a clump of greasy, lice ridden hair attached to the parchment by a glob of …possibly earwax.
(The human corpse: carries an iron circle pendant, and a note that reads “the ale is notoriously difficult to combine with the explosive, but we’ve managed to get a few ready. Plant it at the alleyway door of the Alehouse, and we’ll delay the regular shipment. When it’s served to the citizenry, the sparks will fly. Be well clear of the place by then, for it is extremely volatile and should carry enough force to level the entire structure.
Dajani”)

Searching around the city provides little useful intelligence. The party sets off for the temple of Pelor. As you travel through the city to your destination, a mist rolls in as you are about to cross one of the city’s bridges. Something waits silently for you on the bridge, a skeletal figure. It’s humanoid in size and shape, but it has 4 arms instead of 2. The additional arms seem to have been added in sometime after the design phase, because they rest against the ribcage with no shoulders to support them. They are simply there. In one hand rests a shining scimitar. The creature passes the sword from one hand to the next, leaving behind a fresh new scimitar in it’s wake. The 4 armed creature strides towards you with a shining sword in each hand.
As the creature fights, it tries to knock the party into the water below, allowing it more time and room to fight the remaining enemies.
Partway through the fight, someone hears a familiar female laugh coming from thin air. You think you spot a brief glimpse of a tail before it vanishes again into nothingness. The voice of Dajani whispers from nearby “I told you Brath, I said they’d come to take your sword away. Just like Ghed did all those years ago. You won’t let them take it away from you again, will you?”
A dry, creaking voice comes from the skeleton “Leave me alone witch, leave me to my fate.” One of his sword arms swings wide, and you hear a scream, followed by a splash from below.
Brath: “What is your quarrel with me, why do you follow me, that witch said you’d come after me. I must find Ghed . I’ve been trapped in the dungeon he left me in, all these long years. I can practice on you, then when I’ve killed Ghed, maybe then I can rest.”
The voice again from farther away
Dajani: “I told you they’d be here, I told you they’d be following you. They revel in robbing people of what’s rightfully theirs. I’ve told you of their terrible deeds and you wouldn’t listen. They want to take your revenge from you, they did the same to me.”

Once defeated, Brath collapses into a pile of bones and dust. The swords fall to the ground, but as 3 land they vanish without a sound. Only 1 remains, the Scimitar of Thaenor.

Continuing on to the temple, the party find Earl. Met previously at the Alehouse, he sought to retrieve a sword from the temple to ease his debts. His debt collectors didn’t appreciate the delays, and have since removed his hands. He’s drunk, again, and waiting outside the temple. His hands have been removed, obviously by someone who considers that type of thing more of a hobby than a vocation. As he drinks from a straw, he thinks if he retrieves the sword now, they might leave the rest of his important parts alone.

The temple would normally be occupied, but the Iron Circle has taken to running out most of the religious types in town

Burning torches can be seen from the path leading to it, and movement within. Large bronze suns decorate the face of the building. They appear to be clad in black armor, and seem to alternating between sacking the place, desecrating the religious icons within, and getting drunk.

Sneaking in, Sever impersonates a member of the Iron Circle and speaks to them. One of the drunkards speaks “You there, if you’ve come to worship, I think the place is closed for redecoration. Har harharhar”

The Mage leader addresses Sever as well, “Ahh, you’ve surely taken your sweet time. We expected you days ago. The spoils are in the antechambers, I’ve promised my boys a cut though. The Cleric is in the lower section dealing with the Pelor worshipping heretics, and a word of advice, don’t antagonize him. He’s in a foul mood.”
Earl rushes in early on in the fight “YousunzabitchesyalltookmyswordanI’mgonnagzzahh.” The leader runs Earl through, dropping him to the floor, dead.
A battle breaks out, and the Reavers are defeated. The surrounding area is looted, with various items being discovered.
A scream is heard from far off into the temple. 2 sloping hallways lead into a deeper chamber.
Usually the room would be brightly lit, but you can see most of the torches have been snuffed out. You can smell burned flesh in the air. A badly burned woman lies on the floor in the middle of the room, with corpses of another male and female beside her. A dwarf stands before them with a torch in hand, taunting them, telling the remaining Priest to “Beg, beg Asmodeus to spare you. If not I’ll tear out your soul and feed it to him”

The Duergar priest detects the presence of the jewelry box nearby, “Where did you find this child? That fool Dajani was supposed to retrieve this months ago. Give it here, it must be destroyed. These Pelor worshipping rats held the secrets to it’s destruction, but the secrets are mine now. Did you find the lance as well?”
The burned woman’s voice is barely a whisper as it comes from her blistered and cracked mouth, “Don’t let them destroy it, don’t let them…”
And with that, the Duergar priest waves a hand an incinerates the woman.
He tells you “Place the box here, on the circle and stand back.”

After the priest falls in battle, a bright light glows from the circle, brightening gradually towards the center. The box is bathed in a radiant white light. The lid opens a crack, and smoke issues out, coalescing into a humanoid shape. The form of the floating Wizard King appears in the circle, his body seems to be sleeping, but it begins to twitch and twist. His eyes spring open, and a low howl emits from him as his form starts to burn.

Long armed, thin dwarves drop from the ceiling and attack the party. The circle is eventually disabled, but not before the Wizard King suffers a great deal of damage. One of the long armed creatures remains alive…

View
Aleview, Session 4

Continued from the fight with Bel Sharnath:

Sever decides to go for a swim.
Descending into the black water, the icy temperatures numb his flesh. Light is halved by the murky water. Sever’s movement casts shadows into the depths below. Movement catches his eye, but fades away again as soon as he looks at it. There are some sort of holes, or growths on the walls. They are covered in slime.

Something jets out at Sever and grabs at him, pulling him into the slime of the wall.
The tentacles harass him as he drops down the passageway. Reaching the bottom, the tunnel changes direction from down to slightly upwards. Ahead the floor rises towards the water, still too deep to wade, but it is getting shallow. Sever emerges into a dark cavern, swimming in an underground lake. There are several tunnels branching off. There’s a small fishing boat in the lake with an old man in it. Dressed in tattered rags, he looks at the head bobbing up out of the murky waters and says “Oy, piss off, you’re scarin away the fish!” and then breaks out into the laughter of a madman. He catches his breath and starts rowing to shore. He ties off the boat and scampers off down one of the passages, giggling like a loon.
The other party members swim down to join Sever, but Caelinna is pulled into the wall but one of the tentacles and vanishes.

The passage the old man went down, opens up into a room. There are the remains of an old altar, carvings of a many tentactled horror, crumbled from a combination of time and abuse. There is no sign of the old man, but the party can smell something cooking.
The smell of cooking food comes from a tiny crack in the wall. Once noticed, it can easily be seen that the line is roughly the size and shape of a door.
Hydrix slams himself into the door, prying it open a bit. Once opened enough, they see the old man is sitting at a campfire, cooking something in a cauldron. Some books rest on a shelf against the wall.
(Daemons and Their Ilk by Ardan Fein, Baloquist’s Abyssal Numerology and Symbolism as Applied to Mortal Conjurations, and an abbridged translation of Iggwilv’s Demonomicon.)

The following information is gathered from the books:
Creatures known as Obyriths once presided over the remains of a dying universe. Evil incarnate, rulers, devourers of life and power.
Asmodeus sought to fool and trap these Obyriths, the elders of us all.
Those whom Asmodeus cannot rule, convert to his worship, or otherwise claim dominion over, he seeks to destroy. This creature, this aspect of Dagon is but a fingertip of the true beast that waits beyond the curtain.

The old man tells you that he is "Althanis, high priest of this cult of Dagon. Fish chowder. I once served my Eldtritch master loyally, and slew a great many sacrifices in His name, and made sure to garner more followers to the cause so that He might gain power, but then the Reavers came. Fish chowder. The Iron Circle started driving away or killing any who would worship a faith other than their own. (You can see something moving underneath the old man’s flesh). The sad and twisted horrors that lie in these caves may be all that remain in this world. Dagon had the followers to flourish and gain power in the past, enough even to challenge his rivals, but now the Reavers have slain most of us. Fish chowder.
I chose this place to hide us away, but I did not know it was a sacred place of rebirth. In the next chamber, you’ll find a creature called a Deva in suspended animation. I tried to use it’s Astral life energy to reinvigorate my Master, but my efforts have only kept Dagon linked to this plane. If you free the creature, perhaps my Master can be… put to rest.
I’m so tired. I can feel things changing inside me, I’ve spent too much time here with these creatures. Please, end my life now so that I can join with my master at last.
Sever delivers the killing blow, and small tentacles break through the old man’s skin as he dies. The tentacles burn and melt away in the open air.

The center passageway leads to a room of unrecognizable architecture. Everything in here is twisted and wrong. None of the lines flow together as they should. Straight lines bend and twist in upon one another. 3 creatures are at the far end of the chamber, held in suspended animation. There is a pool in the middle of the room, the floor curves down toward it, looking at the floor itself, it seems to be moving towards the pool.
From within the pool, shadowed spots rise in the water, their heads breaking the surface in unison, they carry with them some creature that appears nothing more than a blob of transparent flesh. The bending of the room seems to intensify around the blob.
The foul creatures have auras around them that confuse and harm the party.
Ebony eventually makes her way to the suspended creatures and frees them, allowing 2 Clerics and an Avenger to join the fray. They overpower the monsters and examine them, finding nothing of value, but simple items that show the monsters were once humanoid. A locket and a tarnished holy symbol.

In the final unexplored chamber, a large pool of blood rock rests at the far end, with a shambling mound of tentacles resting in it. The creature, or entity in this room is horrible to behold. An aspect of the god Dagon, itself. The sounds, though never before heard, are unmistakable to those nearby, as they feel them rather than understand them. Sorrow, loathing, fear. If the very existence of the creature wasn’t repulsive, it would be pitiful. In a high pitched, mewling wail of a voice, the creature speaks, but only Sever understands it’s language.
“Followers, worshipers, kneel, praise me. Feed me. Grant you power, grant you dreams. Grant desires.”
It flashes pictures of Asmodeus and Orcus into the minds of the party, with the words “Hurt me, banish me, trap me, fool me. They must be destroyed”
The creature has a different sense of morality than others, it simply follows it’s instincts, seeking worship, nourishment, power. Once it was immensely powerful, being one of the race that created the gods, but it’s since lost power through the machinations of Asmodeus
During the battle that ensues, the creature continues to scream out in the minds of the party, but only Sever grasps the meaning of the words. “You worship me, or vow find followers, Can gain power, help you win war. Can grant blessing, alter form, make stronger.”
The creature grabs at the party with tentacles, resists their damage, teleports around the room, screaming at them and harming them psychically. It tries to bargain with Sever, offering boons, powers, and assistance against Asmodeus and Orcus if the party will help it, but to no avail.
The party, now bosltered with new members, manages to defeat the pitiable creature. It’s form diminishes into a small replica of itself, turning to stone. The replica resists attempts to destroy it. The party falls into disarray for a short period, as they decide they want it destroyed, but can’t. They want to take it along, but don’t trust anyone to take it. They want it left behind, but don’t think it’s safe to leave.
Eventually, realizing all the concerns clash, they take the icon of Dagon along.

The party tends to their wounds, and heads back to Aleview, and the Alehouse.
Returning to the Alehouse, Balasar the Dragonborn rises from his seat to greet you. His scales are scorched and he’s missing an eye. “Well, what did you find? Did you find anything valuable? My teacher discovered the map was missing and took it out on me, even though there’s no proof I took it.”
The party show him the icon, but he has no interest.
“You’re telling me there was nothing of value, but the map said…we had a deal!”
Seeing the other loot, he does recognize the books as being valuable, but it was left in the air as to how to resolve the 50/50 deal that was agreed upon.

Ghed has some new information regarding the Beast in the Woods.
“Hey folks, I hope you enjoyed the meals from our special menu. I’ve been doing a little recon for you and it looks like you might be able to help me out with a supply issue. After sorting through all the usual bruhaha from unreliable sources about great slathering invisible beasts and fluffy little unicorns, I think we might have an actual creature lurking nearby. From the descriptions, I’d say it’s a dragon. If it’s just one, you should be able to handle it fine. Anything over that, well, you know what they say, don’t bite off more than you can chew, don’t tickle a sleeping dragon, don’t mess with a giant, fire breathing monster lest you get cooked, and so on and so forth. I can tell you from my days, dragons are pretty tricksy bastards. They hoard everything they find valuable, and lay traps for the unwary.
The rumors of the great beast wandering the forests are starting to narrow things down. Though the different people still give loathfully vague and contradictory descriptions, they mostly mention one section of the forest to the northeast, at least a days travel on foot. The talk from there is more specific. Missing livestock, injured woodland creatures, missing people, all the signs of something actually happening. I know it’s not solid proof, but it’s a lead. I’ve jotted down the location on a simple map(he hands it over). If you come across anything interesting, rare, powerful, or just plain weird, I might be able to use it in a dish here. Keep that in mind.”

With that fresh information, the party tries to relax away the pains of the days work.

View
Aleview, Session 3
Chatting again with the folks at the Alehouse, the party meets up with the owner, an old human named Ghed, an ex adventurer. He’s heard of the party helping out the city and is impressed. He informs them of the uselessness of the librarian in town, and that he himself might be a better source of information. Offering up some free samples from his private menu, he promises to check with his old contacts and get some information for them. His heated conversation with a bartender reveals a treasured sword has gone missing. A cursed item that once hung above the fireplace, the Scimitar of Thaenor, was taken during the bartender’s last shift. Ghed won the sword during his adventuring days from someone named Brath Blightsworn. He was rather confident that Brath was dead, at the time. Now, with the sword missing, he’s not so sure. The inscription on the blade that read “Whosoever slays the deathless owner is cursed to rise and take his place upon his own demise.” was not the type of thing that gives an adventurer great confidence.

Ghed also reassures the party that he’ll dig into the matter of the Beast Roaming the Woods, as the people seem to call it.

Ghed has a note for Sever from Smoosh Rocktoss. It reads “Yous had all better vizit clan. Dey wants ta give tanks fer yer helpin da stoopid menfolk wif stoopid statue.” There are little hearts, anatomically correct, drawn on the back of the note. The party sets off to find the clan of ogres in the hills. Reaching the settlement, the clan greets them with cheers and joy and large things being smashed. A feast is held in their honor, and those that can, drink some of the ogre swill. A shift in leadership has happened since the males in a hunting party were left helpless at the hands of a succubus, and a new chief is in charge. Shumshum tells the party “Yous little fellers barshed dat statue pretty gud. Dats wut Smoosh Rocktoss says. Mebbe you fellers wanna try a contest an shows all us ogres wut you kin do. If yous kin fight wif our big ogre an live, den we has a reward for yous. Our medicine lady ogre Prizum, she tooked all da stuff dat wuz left from our last chief, and magicked it all togedder to make sum gloves.” An area in the middle of camp is quickly circled by ogres. Most of the ones at the front are female. A large male ogre is shoved into the circle, covered in black, wooden armor, and brandishing a large club. He looks around the circle, and tries to shove his way back out. The repeated punches to the face, neck, and groin from the female ogres makes him rethink the situation, and he strides towards you instead. "Hmm, me tinks we gots ta fight. Me nots feelin like killin sumbuddy, but dese lady ogres iz kinda in charge now. "

The ogre is bested and the cheers from the crowd erupt again.
Shumshum comes over with the prize. A pair of gloves, and a shiny crystal. The gloves are made of an old pair of iron gauntlets, bits of bone, skin, and a couple of dangly parts you’d rather not think about. The crystal raises the hair on everyone’s arms, it’s charged with electricity.

Shumshum says to you "Hey fellers. Youse did a reel gud job. Metinks dat Smoosh knowed wut she wuz talkin about. Here’s dem gloves I told youse about. I hope dey serves you well. You go away now, bye. "
The party is considered unofficial members of the clan now.

Upon being worn, a voice comes from the gloves. It’s the voice of the previous chief.

Mrtok “Oh, ooooh, now dey gib me ta stupid little people. Bah. How iz Mrtok’s fault if dem ogres tink a statue is purty, huh? Dey beated me wif trees, barshin me right in da face. Dat’s jus rude manners from dem lady ogres. Mebbe dis glove fing iz not so bad. Youse like to barsh stuff? Youse don’t look tuff enuff ta hit stuff wif a tree. Well, I guess we kin barsh sum stuff an see how it goes.”
With that bit of prose, the party returns to Aleview and the Alehouse.

Speaking with Balasar, a dragonborn and apprentice wizard, the party agrees to a 50/50 share in any treasure they find as a result of the map Balasar gives them. It leads the party to a location a couple hours travel outside of the city, into a tunnel entrance in a cliff near the ocean’s edge. Some wet shuffling sounds from within let the party know it is occupied. A creature is glimpsed within, and attempts to grab and draw in the party. It backfires in it’s attempt and is instead drawn outside into the light of day. It regenerates some of it’s wounds, but it’s tentacled, ugly, abberant form is beaten and bloodied quickly, and finally dispatched. Several other similar creatures are encountered inside the cave, and a large room deep within contains a creature known as Bel Sharnath. It’s all eyes and teeth and tentacles. It’s foulness and aberrant nature causes a buzzing noise inside the minds of those in it’s presence, and it grapples with the party, pulling them closer to itself and trying to destroy them. Sever catches bits of meaning from the buzzing in his head, as the creature is projecting it’s thoughts in Deep Speech. He also finds some writing on the pillars in the room stating “With these blessings, locked away are the fathers and mothers of the world, so that their horrors shall never again be visited upon the living. The Mi-go, the Shoggoth, the Deep and the Elder. Do not disturb these, the creators, lest they undo all that is. Despair and madness lie in wait.”

As the last of the foul abomination melts away after it’s defeat, a dark pool of water is revealed behind it. It is 10ft squared, and leads straight downward. Making an anchor to drop down on a rope reveals that it goes down at least 150-200 feet.

View
Aleview, Session 2
Continuing the Necropolis, moving on to some giant trouble.

At the bottom of the caves, underneath a tomb, a giant insect has emerged from the ground.

The party engages in combat, fighting it and the other giant ants that line the chamber. Once the main creature is defeated, the other ants become passive. On the corpse of the kobold, a set of magical bracers are found and recovered. The party begins to head for the surface, but part way back, a voice is heard from above. Her side of the conversation follows:

“Haloo down there. What’s going on, do you need a hand?”
“My name is Dajani, I’ve come seeking an old bearded man. There’s a bit of a mess back at the entrance. I’ve already burned the Empress King, have you killed him as well and saved me the effort?”
“Did you see where he went?”
“Why are you after him?”
“I guess I promised you a hand, didn’t I?”
A large satchel drops down from above and lands with the thud on the cavern floor. Severed hands trail out from the opening, and start scaling the walls towards you.

The hands are dealt with, and Dajani enters the fight. She teleports around becoming invisible at her whim. Eventually she decides to flee, but has a difficult time escaping, only narrowly getting away. The party finds the side passage they neglected earlier and enters it. Through the cavern, there is a man made structure. A long hallway with brickwork walls. There are no torches, candles, light sources of any kind. Midway down the hall are 3 doors. 1 large ornate door on the wall to the left, 2 smaller wooden doors on the right.
The first wooden door leads to a simple bedroom room, covered in dust. Nothing here has been disturbed in a very long time. A dry and fragile parchment lies on the table in the room. The words can can be made out, though the dialect seems foreign, or old. It reads “We, the knights of the 4 realms, do vow to battle against the Iron Circle, the Skulled Mace, and those that ally themselves with these horrors, no matter the cost. Life shall not hinder us, nor death halt our charge. As these 4 kingdoms unite, so do we.” Four illegible signatures are beneath the words. Scribbled in shaky print at the bottom are a few more lines, “Death on the battlefield, welcomed it. Peace stripped away, feel the pull towards the others. They won’t let us rest. I’ve found her, the others elude me. Bring her home.”
A small jewelry box sits on the mantle above the fireplace. No matter how hard it’s tried, it cannot be opened. It’s quickly guessed it’s worth at least 300 gold and is swept into a pack.

The next wooden door contains a portrait on each wall.
2 look familiar. The floating undead man in pre-undead form, as a gentle looking bearded man. The tall woman from above, dressed in shining armor on horseback. Another towering woman dressed in robes, and a…creature. Humanoid, with tentacles where it’s mouth should be. Each is painted by the same artist, but the backgrounds in the portraits, the surroundings and features seem familiar. They all seem to be of the same scene, from a different angle. Each of the figures can be seen in the backgrounds of the other portraits, with vast armies behind them. All the armies are focused on one spot, doing battle with a single figure, a toweringly tall and handsome man. The backs of the portraits contain the names of either the scene, or the battle. “The fall of the 4 kingdoms.”
The party guesses that the single figure is Asmodeus, be it the god himself, or an aspect or avatar of him.

Moving on from there, the party enters the ornate doors and finds the bearded man floating above a fountain. Chains in the wall and ceiling sprung to life and immobilized some of the party, but the floating man was no match for the party and quickly dispatched. Finding nothing else of note in the caves and tomb, the party heads back to the Alehouse. They speak with an ogre they noticed before.

Smoosh Rocktoss has come down from the hills to drink her sorrows away. “Mah clan has lived in dem hills fer generashuns and we’iz always happy. Smashin tings, and finding tings to smash. A few weeks back, Smoosh wuz in a gatherin party. We goes out and gathers deerz and cowz and horses wif carts attached to ‘em an udder tasty stuffs ta carry back to da clan. Well dis time, we talked into dis clearing, and dere was some real old ruins built fer little people like youse fellers. Dere was dis statue in da middle, an all da udder ogres started bein all weirds. Dey kep’ lookin at dat statue, an den dey dropped all da stuff we was catchin, an’ it started runnin away. Smoosh ran’d off ta recatch all dem goodies, and when Smoosh gets back, all dem ogres iz sittin ’round dat statue, just starin at it. Smoosh tried real hard ta get dem ogres ta stop starin. Smoosh even smacked one of ’em in da face wif a tree, but he jus blinked an kept on starin.”
After she gives her little story, she pops the top off another barrel, and starts drinking again.

Smoosh tells where the clearing is, but has no interest in going back there. It was quite the shock to her system, seeing all of her friends sitting around, not smashing anything, not caring about smashing, or even eating.

The party heads to the clearing and find a statue, and the ogres sitting around it dazed, awestruck, bedazzled and whatnot. Basically, they think the statue is the shit. As the males in the party drawn closer to the statue, some of them are caught up in the effect and have a seat, staring at the statue. Ebony tries to shake Sever out of it, but is attacked by him in response. The Abbaddon delivers a tried and true attack, the Bootfuck, to a column the statue rests upon. The statues shimmering and shifting form seems to lose it’s balance, and tries and fails again to lure The Abbaddon into it’s influence. Each person looking upon the statue has seen it as the more beautiful female form imaginable, but it shifts between species multiple times each second. It now reveals itself to be a Succubus, enticing males to their deaths through starvation and exposure. Ebony quickly drops a cloud of darkness around the creature, breaking it’s line of effect to those it has enthralled. The party members recover, but the ogres seems rather, agitated. They want the pretty lady to come back. Combat ensues, with the ogres pelting the party with boulders and fist sized facsimiles of boulders. The succubus is defeated, and the remaining ogres collapse in exhaustion. The Succubus has turned back into a statue, but is smashed to pieces. It’s head remains, and resists further attempts to destroy it, but is taken along in a pack. Returning to Smoosh at the Alehouse, Sever delivers the good news that the ogres are released from the statues influence, and can be helped. Smoosh is very happy at this revelation, and gives a crushing hug, and lingering, kiss to Sever, made all the more awkward by the chair sized handprints she leaves on his backside. She tells the party to come and visit her clan for a celebration.

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Aleview
A new adventure, session 1

(Taken from notes and memory, so excuse the randomization of tenses)
Backstory: taking place from character creation to the end of level 3
Sever, The Abbaddon, and Ebony were manipulated by the gods Lolth, and the Raven Queen. They were sent into a castle to attend a carnival. While there, they were sent through different iterations of time and space, all the while trying to unravel what was going on around them. They finally found that the god Asmodeus had warred against other gods, using his underling Orcus to help him in destroying or taking power from the others. The 2 lied in wait while the Raven Queen and Lolth fought each other, stepping in at the last moment to claim victory over the weakened foes. Lolth and the Raven Queen managed to slip away in their weakened forms and create the carnival as a way to gather followers, training them, and sending them against the forces of Asmodeus and Orcus.

Asmodeus found the carnival and destroyed it, but not before the party was sent to the mansion of the necromancer Azagar. There, they defeated his foul creations and learned of his fall from a man of family, to the dread creature he became. His defeat dealt a blow to Orcus and summoned forth a demon whom the party had encountered previously, bringing us to…

Session 1 – 2 new players for a party of 5, everyone now at level 4.
Defeating the necromancer in his mansion, the party again encountered a demon. He was once a subject of Orcus, but had fallen from his master’s favor and offered assistance. He opened a portal and shuffled the party off to a place where they could be a thorn in his master’s side.

Stepping out of the portal, Sever, The Abbaddon, and Ebony appeared in a bustling city. Making their way around, they discovered information was easiest to come by in 2 locations, the library, and the Alehouse. They met 2 dwarves who quickly joined the party, and the 5 set off to discover what it was about this place that would make the demon send them here.

They met the librarian, who, rather rudely, informed them of some things:
The current situation is this, I think. It’s hard to tell since no one is talking. No oracles can see through the turmoil, no prayers for information are answered, no summoned beings will spill the beans. There’s a war coming, or one has already started. Lower beings are being granted power, and elder ones are being stripped of theirs. I think they are taking sides, and waiting to see who has the most support. I do know that the gods and other beings of power are interfering and granting favors to mortals that they wouldn’t dare before. Giving people abilities beyond their usual gifts of great crops, and no headache today, and let my husband get run over by his horse.

Necropolis – It’s full of dead people, that’s about it. There’s some more famous than others. It’s said a wizard king rests there. Involved in some war. A great hero, and such and so forth. No documents to back it up mind you. No one can quite recall where they heard it from, but they know it’s true. The usual worthless accounts. Lolth – God of the drow, spiders, darkness, chaos, evil, assassination. She’s got a spindly leg in everything fun. She was a sister to 2 other gods, and the trio lorded over the Fey pantheon, unchallenged. They were the sweetest family, laughing, granting favor to mortals, trusting. They had a chosen peolpe, the elves. Some kind of war came, and Lolth saw the opportunity for growth. She tried to murder one of her brothers, and he thought it was one of her usual pranks, until the gaping wounds clued him in. She failed, and the brothers warred against her. She fled taking her elves with her, into the underdark. She’s supposed to be a lord of chaos, but I think she’s the same as most of the others, she just wants to spread her influence and get her way. She’s a fan of rewards and punishments. Ascending her followers and changing them each time to be more like her. I can’t find anything else on her of late, only the usual lore and legends. She’s gone quiet, or her corpse has gone cold.

The party chatted up the people in the Alehouse, speaking with Zoobov, the tiefling cryptkeeper of the Necropolis. The Abbaddon did not like the sound of evil stirring in the graveyard. Entering the grounds, they found 2 people from the local Temple of Pelor exhuming their brethren from the site.
The man standing watch is Newmark: “Whoa guys, back up. We aren’t doing anything untowards. An awful lot of corpses have been disappearing, so our temple sent us here to exhume our brethren.”
The woman digging is Kingston: “Yes, and if you’d let us get back to work, we could get out of this cursed place.”
The pair tells you,
“This has been the resting place of, well pretty much everyone of means for centuries. The trees were healthy, the grass was green, the flowers bloomed, all the temples shared this place. Now, there’s some feeling of malevolence here, it’s so pervasive, a person can’t even relax. We each feel the need to look over our shoulder as soon as we set foot in here. That’s why there’s 2 of us. We’re just going to take our brethren and leave, if you’ll let us.”

As you part company, they point the way to a tomb they think might be the cause of the trouble. Nearing the tomb, the feeling of unease takes hold. You notice no light effects the blackness within. Ebony realizes it’s something similar to her racial ability to summon a cloud of darkness, but artificial somehow.
A voice from within screams and is suddenly choked off. The unnatural darkness begins to fade, but your vision is still somewhat obscured. A set of steps decsends into the crypt, the floor within is covered in bits of, something. A finger here, an eye there. Some of them still twitch, they used to be zombies.
A voice within the room speaks “Yes my friend, welcome back to the mortal plane.”
The blackness in the room clears, you have a brief view of a dwarflike corpse on the floor in the middle of the room, a hovering humanoid form, and a large figure, seated on a coffin. The same voice speaks again as your lightsources extinguish, “Ah that’s better. My friends eyes are not yet used to the brightness of life, and to be truthful, we prefer darkness.”
A male figure floats in the room, bits of flesh missing from his face, his skin pale and dead. He wears long robes and carries a staff. A female figure is there as well, her skin is pale but not so far gone as the man. Seated, she’s already at 6 feet in height.
The woman speaks, “My eyes hurt, everything hurts, where am I?”
The male, “Hush a moment, let me deal with these onlookers. What do you seek here?”
“I was disturbing the graves, seeking the proper, replacements to help my friend. This creature, (he points to a dwarf corpse wearing a robe with a flaming circle insignia) was assisting me, however I chose to no longer associate myself with his band of thugs, they make too many demands. ‘Destroy these people, tell me the secrets of undeath.’ They think themselves above all others just because they worship something evil. Evil is a relative term. We seek no quarrel with you, and have made no moves of aggression. You are in fact, trespassing and harassing us. Who’s the evil one here? Sorry, sorry. I get lost in thought. My debt is now paid, I will take my leave.”

He helps his friend rise and heads towards the back of the crypt.

At this point, the party engaged the undead creatures in combat. The female tried to run for a ladder at the back of the room, but was swiftly cut down. The male managed to flee down a different ladder after inflicting some damage. The party pursued, but one of the ladders was less sturdy, dropping someone far below into a cavern.

As they climbed down, they saw a side passage but chose not to take it. They found a halfling’s corpse, propped up against a wall. Her legs bent in ways that they shouldn’t be. As the corpse was inspected, the body twitched, the jaw cracked, and the mouth started to move. A series of scraping and clicking noises came from it. A faint smell came from the body, then the noises coalesced into a series of small voices. “Trespass, get out.” It stopped moving, and hundreds of tiny ants scurried out of every orifice.
The sound of hundreds of tiny legs faded away, and a single set of tiny feet sounded below. A flickering torchlight emerged from a cave. A light emerge from the tunnel, and the face of a kobold appeared, briefly. A sudden snapping noise, the torch dropped to the ground, and the kobold vanished.
At the bottom, the tunnel was inspected and explored. The ground was spongy with large patches of thick moss and fungus. The party discovered the fungus belched out something flammable that stuck to the moss, causing the area to be flammable and explosive. A fire beetle and a giant centipede emerged from the shadows and were swiftly defeated. Deeper into the cave, giant ants were discovered. A trail of blood in the area led downwards along the wall. Reaching the bottom, they found the remains of the kobold in pieces. The head of the kobold twitched as the halfling’s corpse did before, and a chorus of voices spoke the words “You were warned.” Suddenly, the ground shook, and a gigantic insect emerged from beneath their feet.

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