Apocalyptica

Charming the Air Myrmidon

Trying to make sure that there was nothing more hidden on this level, Quintus used his Claws of the Umberhulk to tunnel around the foul black smoke. He burst forth into a large room that smelled horribly of death. Bodies of many fire and earth cultists littered the floor in this room. As Quintus moved in the air swirled around him and in front of him materialized 3 air elemental Myrmidons. They each attacked Quintus in rapid succession and in 1 round brought him all the way to negative hit points. The brave cleric fell to the ground. Brenn ran in and dragged Quintus out of the room. Badding flew into the room and brandished Wind Vane. He spoke in Auran to the air elementals. He said that he had killed Aerisi Kalinoth and that he was now leader of the air cult. He then used the power of Wind Vane to dominate one of the air elemental myrmidons.

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With one of the myrmidons under his control he convinced the other two to stand down. The dominated one was commanded to follow the party. He was then asked many questions about the conflict between the cults and what else was here. Eventually Badding commanded the myrmidon to attack the fire cultist minotaurs.

Next the party investigated an old sarcophagus. Brenn opened it enough for a glowing sword to come flying out and attacking everyone. Templeton got close enough to use his mage hand to search the inside of the sarcophagus only to find it filled with old bones and dust. Badding managed to save the day by casting a dispel magic that destroyed the flying sword after it had done some serious damage to the party and was clearly immune to physical attacks from Brenn and Quintus.

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Templeton then turned invisible and scouted the minotaur area. He found a much larger complex than expected but was spotted by a nothic named Wyx. Apparently the air myrmidon had been destroyed by the minotaurs or it withdrew after getting hit by them. In any event, a battle had been started.

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Zegdar – the minotaur chief and 3 other emberhorn minotaurs were attacking. Zegdar and and 1 other smushed past Wyx and were caught single file in the hallway defended by Badding, Quintus, and Templeton. While Puck and Brenn were surprised by the two others who had run around the other way.

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In order to prevent a battle on two fronts, Puck wisely cast a Bigby’s interposing hand spell to block the southern passage and prevent the two minotaurs from getting through to himself and Brenn.

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Aerisi Falls
Windvane Claimed

The party decided to explore a passage leading out of the old mining room with the dwarf specters to the southwest. Templeton used his stealth to sneak down. He found a staircase leading up to a room filled with at least 3 minotaurs. The tunnel then ended in the same black smoke that was seen elsewhere. After a quick discussion it was decided that the minotaurs would be skipped. There was no sense in fighting them. We wanted to find the cultists.

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Thinking that the cultists were most likely beyond the black mist, the party chose to go back to the room where the they battled the two giants. From there, Quintus cast a silence spell and then he used the Claws of the Umberhulk to tunnel around the black mist. The party easily moved around the mist and into a large room with a strange statue dominated the center. It was a large eye floating above mist. Templeton and Puck thought they must be getting close to The Fane of The Eye.

Brenn boldly went first and found the room empty but for the statue and 3 other passageways out of the room covered in black mist that looked from the map that they led back to where we had been before. One passage to the southwest, however, had no mist and opened up into another large room. In it were 6 air cultists and 4 hurricane monks. Another familiar face also came into view – that of Windharrow. The party had slain her previously and left her for dead, but apparently she had somehow escaped.

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Brenn made first contact and held the narrow passageway as the hurricaine monks tried to maneuver around him with their great speed. But Brenn would have none of it. He used his sentinel feat to stop in them in their tracks when trying to move past him. Everyone else was moving up to get in the fight when none other than Aerisi Kalinoth her self showed up to join the fight. She began by casting a cloudkill that engulfed Brenn, Badding, and Templeton. Quintus jumped over using his ring and and cast a dispel magic to eliminate the cloud. Templeton tried to get a bead on either Aerisi or Windharrow but they were moving into the passage, casting spells, and then moving away making it difficult to target them.

Templeton used invisibility with a readied crossbow shot to wait for one of them to appear and then fire but it took a long time to set up. Puck moved up with a Blur spell going to offer flanking for Brenn but more importantly to counter spells. When Aerisi cast chain lightning and Puck managed to counter it – there was much rejoicing.

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The fight raged on with Brenn going toe to toe with the hurricane monks and doing a great job of soaking up their attacks which had a hard time hitting his AC. Templeton stayed away from shooting at the monks, knowing that they could snatch his bolts right out of the air. Puck tried using a cone of cold to get the monks since it had a CON save instead of dex, but Aerisi Kalinoth counterspelled it. Finally a chain lightning spell got through and Brenn, Badding, and Puck were fried. Puck especially had failed his save and was out of range of Badding’s aura of spell resistance. Everyone was healed by Quintus though and Puck was able to cast improved invisibility on Templeton. This enabled him to always be ready and really nail both Windharrow and Aerisi Kalinoth every round.

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Windharrow hit Badding with a few shatter spells with one of them being countered by Puck. But Aerisi used a two lightning bolts to great effect, but Badding’s aura of magic resistance really helped everyone minimize the damage greatly. All of the monks had fallen leaving the passageway open for Templeton to bolt through. He found that Windharrow had disappeared but Aerisi was still there. He fired a well placed bolt through her left shoulder. She cried out in pain and disappeared. Furious that she might escape again. Templeton called out for aid. Badding grabbed Puck and flew up into the room. At th every top of the pyramid they saw Aerisi Kalinoth sitting atop of it on a throne.

Templeton ran up the steep 70 foot high pyramid steps to get blasted by an ice storm cast by Aerisi. Luckily, Templeton kept his footing and made it to the top of the tower. Still invisible, he took careful aim and pulled the trigger on Sky Piercer. The bolt pierced Aerisi straight through the forehead. He head snapped back, he body went limp, and then seemed to explode as if unleashing some sort of violent storm contained within her. The force of the blast blew Templeton straight back and off the edge of the pyramid for a 70 foot fall. Luckily he used his Wingwear to take flight and circle back around to land on the top of the pyramid once more.

Brenn and Quintus cut through the last of the air cultists, knocking one out and taking him prisoner for good measure. Puck and Badding landed softly on the top of the pyramid next to Templeton and saw Aerisi’s spear Windvane on the ground next to the throne.

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In searching the throne, Templeton touched it and pulled away in pain at the power of the object. Puck used an identify on the spear and found it had the following powers:
- +2 silvered weapon
- Has the finesse property (feels almost insubstantial in hand)
- +2d6 lightning damage on a hit
- Wielder can speak Auran fluently
- Resistance to lightning
- 1/day can cast Dominate Monster (DC 17) on an Air Elemental.

There were additional nuances that were vague that identify was not able to determine. The power of the weapon overwhelmed the spell.

- Something to do with an air node. Maybe some power there?

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Bow Your Heads and Remember Valor

The party went north into the room filled with fungi. A newly summoned Widget flew through the room first with Puck looking through his eyes. But half way through the room, Widget simply ceased to be. He had been destroyed by something but it wasn’t clear what. In order to mitigate possible poison from the fungi, Templeton and Quintus each drank one of Templeton’s 2 vials of anti-toxin. This would give them advantage on poison saves. Brenn Buckman was first into the room. He moved swiftly just trying to get clear of the fungi. But halfway through the room he was attacked. strange mushroom creatures attacked with fungal pseudopods. Brenn was hurt but he pushed on just trying to get clear of the room. Everyone else also tried to move quickly through the room. But the fungi creatures were everywhere and slowing everyone down. Puck decided that enough was enough. He lit off a fireball that engulfed the entire room. All the mushroom creatures were destroyed and all the fungi burned into a foul noxious cloud that hung over the entire room.

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Everyone ran north to try and get clear. Everyone made it out but all but Brenn were under the effects of a poisoned condition. This would mean attacking and ability checks would be at disadvantage. This was too great a penalty to lve with. So everyone made their way back to the hidey hole. There they found that Don had left. He had decided to try and make it back up through the temple by himself and take his chances. Puck scribed scrolls as we waited long enough to take an extended rest. After completing the good rest, the poison effects finally wore off.

With everyone back to full strength, the party went north of the fungi room and into a room with 2 huge giants. Their names were Maul and Karg. They didn’t seem too smart but they were very strong and very tough. Brenn was first in and engaged them in melee with Macallum ablaze. He cut deeply into Karg’s leg but the giant seemed more annoyed than anything. Templeton then snuck out of the shadows to cast a spell of Tasha’s Hideous Laughter on Maul who promptly failed his save and fell to the ground overcome with laughter.

Everyone else in the party focused their attacks on Karg as Maul continued to roll around on the floor overcome with laughter. Karg got some good licks with his huge club on Brenn before he went down, but down he went. As the giant died, he fell over and blocked the doorway into the room. Brenn pushed with all his might but could not budge the giant corpse out of the way. And Maul finally made his save against the Templeton’s spell and got himself up off the floor.

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With Brenn cut off from the rest of the party and trapped inside with the giant, everyone knew they had to get int fast. So Quintus used his Claws of the Umberhulk to cut his way through the rock of the passage and make a new hallway around the blocked door. Everyone poured into the room and attacked Maul. He finally went down after another big fight. There were strange halls of glowing purple crystal in this room and some treasure being guarded by the giants. A Mummified Human Head, 160 GP, 22 PP, 3 red spirals worth 100 GP each, and 1 fire amethyst worth 150 GP. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

North of this room was a dusty place with mining carts and tracks set into the floor. A thick layer of dust indicated it had not been traversed in a very long time. Brenn was first into the room once more and was surprised by 4 spectral hands reaching up out of the floor to attack him. The hands were attached to specters. Brenn shuddered as he felt the cold and dark hands send waves of necrotic energy through his body. But he managed to resist the other nasty effects of the undead creatures.

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Quintus stormed into the room and bestow the love of Tempus upon the specters. The specters all sunk into the floor in retreat. Their unholy beings could not stand before the might of Tempus. Since this section of the cavern system was as old as the Bessilmir Dwarves and did not seem to have been used since then, other areas were searched in looking for more recent cultist activities.

One room had an ancient dwarven sarcophagus with strange dwarvish runes on it. Since no one spoke or read dwarvish, Puck cast a read languages spell that made the words clear as day to him. It read:

Bow your head and remember valor.

Each party member bowed their heads and remembered a time when they were valorous, Each party member was rewarded with a 5th level Aid spell as the sarcophagus glowed in holy light. A gift from the ancient dwarves was happily received.

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North of that room was a room with a huge obsidian staircase leading up into the darkness. Badding thought it most likely connected to the large staircase they had encountered further up in the complex that was guarded by several earth elemental marauders. It seemed that the only way forward was through the black mist.

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Temptations To Touch
It's Evil Don't Touch It.

In the northern end of the prison, Quintus cast a dispel magic on the inky black cloud that blocked the passage. It vanished forced out of existence by the power of Tempus. But was seen to slowly start to fill back in. Before it could do so completely, however, the party ran though the passage. The saw a short hallway leading to a large room with a green glowing metal rod on the floor. Bodies were also strewn about. One was clearly a water cultist. Others were irrecognizable due to the damage upon their bodies.

Templeton snuck carefully forward in the shadows. He created an illusion of himself standing out n the room examining one of the bodies. Nothing happened. He used his mage hand to lift the glowing green rod high into the air. But its light did not reach high enough to reveal everything in the shadows above. Then everyone in the party heard a strange song it was eerily beautiful and bewitching. It was sweet music to Templeton’s ears. He felt compelled to move forward and try to find what was making such beautiful song. Everyone else in the party thought it strange music but were not compelled in any way. Just then Templeton saw something that caught his attention. A human woman flew through the room and down the hallway. To Templeton she looked like a vision. He had to meet her. All stealth was thrown to the wayside and Templeton ran after her in speedy pursuit. The green rod dropped behind him forgotten.

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Brenn frowned. That was odd. Why would Templeton run down the hall without moving in a stealthy fashion? That just was not like him. Brenn turned to Badding next to him and asked him what he thought. Badding squawked and flew into the room after Templeton. In about the middle of the room, two harpies flew out from the shadows from above to attack him. The two harpies surrounded Badding and tore into him with their razor sharp talons and claws.

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Templeton raced after the gorgeous woman. As he got closer he noticed that she was floating over a large pit but somehow he didn’t care. He still wanted to get to her. The music filled him with such joy and lust. He simply had to be with her no matter what. Back in the main room Brenn came running out and was battling the harpies with Badding. Quintus and Puck were coming up to give Badding support. Brenn shook his head. Renton Daltrey would not be pleased if his son was killed by a bloody harpy. Brenn heaved a large sigh and yelled out in to the darkness, ‘You are not leaving me to your father’s wrath you little bastard!’ and he ran off down the tunnel Templeton had fled.

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Brenn arrived just in time to see Templeton with a glazed look in his face running straight towards a very large pit with a harpy flying above it. Using his action surge and his high mobility, Brenn sprinted past Templeton to put himself between the crazed little man and his impending fall down the pit. Templeton didn’t appreciate Brenn’s concern and tried to dodge past him using an acrobatic maneuver. He simply had to get to that beautiful woman. Brenn responded with a shield bash to the chest of Templeton, knocking him off his feet and down to the ground.

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Templeton shook his head, perhaps the blow from Brenn’s shield had knocked some sense into him. But he somehow was no longer under the harpy’s spell. Shaking his head in disbelief he saw the harpy in her true form and recoiled. How could he have been so stupid. Seeing that the little man was no longer under her spell, the harpy’s song changed to a high pitched shriek as she swooped in to attack Brenn, the interloper. As the harpy and Brenn trade blows, Templeton picked himself up off the ground, dusted himself off, raised Sky Piercer up, and squeezed off a bolt that smashed into the harpy’s chest.

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All three of the harpies were slain and Templeton thanked Brenn for saving his life. Brenn shrugged and said he would add it to his tally of what he was owed. Templeton told him not to worry, ‘The Daltrey’s always pay their debts.’ Brenn shook his head. ‘If I hear you say that again it will be too soon.’

Badding used the glowing green rod to illuminate his way and flew up to investigate the ceiling of the room. He found it was about 80 feet up and there were ledges with harpy nests. A quick search revealed 560 SP and 220 GP. There was a gold bracelet worth 50 GP, a silver ewer worth 10 GP, 2 skull earrings worth 50 GP each, and a Potion of Superior Healing. In addition to the glowing green rod 5 backpacks were on bodies in the room that were magical. They have the power to use levitate and feather fall. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

Next the party encountered a room strewn with debris and a large pillar with a glowing orb atop it. Templeton tried to use his mage hand to lift the orb up off the pillar. As soon as he did so, a maelstrom began to swirl around the pillar. Four rusty swords animated and flew over to attack. The party attacked and destroyed them and then tried to get the orb again. This time Quintus and Puck got caught up int the maelstrom and were swirling round the room. Puck teleported to safety and Quintus was hauled out by Badding.

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With this section of the area cleared it seemed only one section remained – going to the fungi room. But first the party returned to the hidey hole that Quyintus had tunneled out of solid rock with his Claws of the Umberhulk. They checked up on Don to make sure he was OK and took a short rest before pressing on.

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A Day in the Life of Drexa, The Lizard King...
His Last Day...

It was a most unremarkable day. Drexa stretched his long scaly legs over his magnificent throne. The pile of boulders propping up the basic chiseled stone high backed chair raised the seat of his authority to a dominating height in the room. Drexa was proud of his stonemason, Bularg. To be able to work stone in such a way as to craft an actual seat was a truly amazing piece of technology. What Bularg could do with stone was unmatched by any of the other lizard folk Drexa knew. Bularg’s skill increased Drexa’s status and he liked that.

Gripping the sides of his throne with his sharp claws, the Lizard King shifted his heavy frame to one side of his chair and looked out over his subjects. Nine of his lizard folk stood at attention spread out through the room. They all carried heavy war clubs. They were strong and battle hardened warriors. Drexa liked that. Strong followers made a strong king. And Drexa knew in his heart that he was a strong king.

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Drexa grasped the heavy gold chain around his neck and absently traced his claws through its golden links. The chain was a token of his station. It was a mark of his authority as King. Being King wasn’t easy. Many warriors had tried to unseat Drexa and he had the scars to prove it. But these usurpers were no match for The Lizard King. A fond memory passed through Drexa’s mind of him in his younger days challenging the old king, Deeth. Deeth was strong but had become slow in his old age. Drexa remembered moving quickly past his guard and driving his spear into the old lizard’s heart. Drexa worked hard to keep his strength and his quickness up so as to avoid the fate of King’s before him. So far it had worked well.

Drexa wanted better for his people. He led them out of the swamps and into a series of caverns built by the short bearded ones long ago. It was a safe place to raise a family and prosper as a community. Then one day the humans arrived. Drexa generally did not like humans but these were somehow able to speak the language of his people. They offered gold and riches in exchange for free passage through Drexa’s lands and safety from his people. The Lizard King liked this arrangement. It was a good alliance.

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Strange chanting broke Drexa out of his reverie. He gazed down upon Sleeslack, the Shaman, who was casting the bones. Sleeslack stared intently trying to properly divine what they foretold. ‘Ill omens, my Lord. The bones tell me what we already know. Your scouts are long overdue. They should have returned down the staircase some time ago.’

Drexa frowned, ‘Sleeslack you worry unnecessarily. The humans have been good to us. The alliance is strong. They would not dare to move against Drexa. The scouts will return soon enough. Have patience. Good things come to those who wait.’

The fire erupted without warning. A powerful fiery blast which burned away and blackened scales, melted eyes, and sucked the wind out of lungs. Gasping for air, Drexa looked around his royal chamber seeing the charred remains of his loyal followers scattered across the floor. He opened his mouth to rally his shaken lizard folk when a heavy shaft of wood tipped in iron hurtled out of the darkness, flew right into his mouth, and pierced the back of his skull. Drexa felt his blood pouring down his face and neck – flowing over his burnt and ruined scales.

A human man moved swiftly into the room from the south. He seemed to have metal skin and wielded a flaming sword and a shield. At last a target upon which Drexa could unleash his considerable fury. He moved forward and unleashed a flurry of claws and teeth upon this puny human. But this one moved well bringing his shield up to fend off one set of claws and teeth. But Drexa snaked his body around thrust another claw forward. He had used the same gambit to pierce many a human warrior with metal skin. But this one’s skin was strong. Somehow it turned his blow aside.

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The human grinned as he swung his flaming sword in a wide arc cutting deep into Drexa’s torso. The Lizard King felt another of those accursed bolts bury itself deep in his midsection. Drexa could feel his strength begin to fade as a feathered creature flew past him and struck him on the side of the head with a flaming spiked metal ball causing his head to spin. Drexa fell backwards and came to rest wearily on his throne. As his life ebbed away he saw every last one of his lizard folk cut down and burned. Crafty Sleeslack made the metal man’s skin red hot. But Drexa’s smile was cut short as another bolt flew out of the darkness to burrow deep into the shaman’s face and knock his lifeless body across the cold stone floor.

All went quiet. Drexa tried to move but could not. His vision was ringed in darkness like a tunnel getting more and more narrow. And as his last raspy breath escaped his lips, he saw a small shape melt out of the shadows. The little human took Drexa’s heavy gold chain from around his neck and dropped it into his bag as if it were naught but a trinket. What remarkable day it turned out be in fact. Everything went black.

Having dealt with the lizard folk, the party turned their attention to areas north and southeast. To the north was a large waterfall and a room filled with fungi. To the southeast was a large room filled with mist. Templeton was smart enough to have Brenn check the floor as they crept in and they found that it dropped away in the middle of the room below the mist. It could have been a nasty fall. Chained to the walls of this room, the party found 3 prisoners. Two were captured fire cultists. One seemed to be some kind of local. All three were in real bad shape. Badding used some lay on hands magic to heal the wounds of the local fellow. He turned out to be named Don and made a living sailing a boat up and down the Dessarin. He was kidnapped by water cultists and somehow wound up here. But he had no information about this place. The fire cultists were tricked for a bit by Templeton until he discovered they knew nothing and tired of them. They were left to rot.

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Quintus made another safehouse by using his Claws of the Umberhulk to create a burrow. And Puck cast a Leomund’s Secure Shelter. Don was given food, water, and a spear and told to wait there until we returned. It was too dangerous to try and make it to the surface alone. And even more dangerous to come with us.

There were three choices of where to go next: the mushroom cave to the north, the magical darkness beyond the prison cave, or the large cave strewn with empty pieces of equipment to the west.

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Squeezing the Last of the Water Out of the Cult

The water weirds swarmed around Quintus. One of them slammed into him and flowed around his body, grappling him in a strange way by coating him in water and holding fast. Templeton quickly used his Helm of Telepathy to reach out and make contact with the water weird. The language and thoughts of the elemental creature was extremely foreign to Templeton. But he did his best to communicate with the creature by sending images of the water weird releasing Quintus and then Quintus releasing it into a large body of water so that it could escape the confine of the barrel that currently contained it. It took a few rounds of explaining while Quintus was very patient but one by one Templeton bartered a deal with each of the three Water Weirds to stand down and return to their barrels in exchange for their freedom. After all the creatures submerged peacefully into their barrels, true to his word, Templeton instructed Quintus and Brenn to pick up the barrels and dump the contents into the flowing underground river. Each water weird disappeared into the water and swam away.

The group then returned to their hidey hole that had been carved out of the solid rock by Quintus and his Claws of the Umberhulk. There they took refuge for an extended rest. There was plenty of time for Puck to scribe a Melf’s Minute Meteors spell into his spellbook. Templeton took the time reviewing the documents secured from Gar Shatterkeel apartments.

The letters that gathered did not shine any more light onto the situation underground. However, a clearly recent letter notes the following:

Refugees have been shuffling down from the hills north of Beliard. Some wear the white robes and black-feathered cowls of air cultists, while others are dressed as our own. Each person bears a placard around his or her neck, reading ‘I am punished.’

The short, circumspect conversations I have been able to get, suggest the name Haayon the Punisher – some sort of enormous giant. She seems to be gathering stragglers… and placarding those she deems unworthy.

After further investigation, Templeton found a partially penned, unsent letter that seems to be in reference to the previous letter.

Haayon is testing us. She will be dealt with. Keep us apprised of any changes in the situation…. It is of no worry at the moment….

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With the rest completed the party decided to finish cleaning out the entire level. So they returned to the large lake where they had previously spied some tentacles. Quintus used his lower water spell to shunt the deep water off to the side revealing a huge octopus that fell to the ground in a giant spot some 20 feet below to the now waterless cave floor. But it was still very much alive. Badding cast a spell summoning a moonbeam to burn radiant light into its massive body. The huge creature used its tentacles to pull itself close to the cliff face where the party was waiting for it. As it came up over the edge, Quintus hit it with a flame strike, Templeton fired bolts into it, Puck blasted it with fire bolts, and Brenn carved it up with his fiery blade.

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After the octopus was slain, Quintus exposed the entire floor of the sea cave. Nought but bones was revealed. Remembering the previously encountered ghouls to the south, the party moved to strike them next. Brenn cautiously moved in and quickly found two ghouls charging out to attack him.The party made quick work of those two and Brenn pushed deeper inside to find 9 ghouls in all surround him. Badding ran up in support but both Brenn and Badding were quickly overwhelmed by the ghouls paralysis. They both went down under the claws of the ghouls. The ghouls even tied their paralyzed bodies to a rope and pushed a heavy rock on the other end into water filled silos. Both Brenn and Badding would have surely drown if not for Quintus water walk spell that had previously been cast on them. As the rope went taught to pull them under, they just floated on the top of the water unable to go below.

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Quintus turned the ghouls and they began to flee. Then Puck hurled a fireball inside the room to burn them badly while Brenn and Badding cleaned them up with melee attacks. With every last inch of the complex explored, the party finally descended down the stairs to the next level.

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Clearing the Last Remnants of the Water Cult

After finishing their short rest, the party explored the rest of the rooms that they had yet to enter in the Temple of the Crushing Wave. The first was a room full of 9 lizard folk. They had meager armor but large two handed heavy clubs. They were all destroyed. Next the den of the aquatic trolls that were previously fought was found. It was decidedly too foul smelling for Templeton, so they continued on to find a room with two ogres. After the battle was joined with the ogres, a sea hag came out from behind a tattered curtain. Her horrific visage was so foul that Bren and Badding were overcome with fear. Badding’s devotion to his paladin deity and ideals hardened him against the fear effects but Brenn was overcome by a frightened effect. Luckily before the foul creature could expose Brenn to her Death Gaze, Templeton put a heavy crossbow bolt through her chest and Puck hit her with a critical strike from a firebolt to destroy the foul hag.

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The sea hag’s lair had within it a chest that contained 190 GP, 8 PP, and 2 potions. A Potion of Hill Giant Strength that was taken by Brenn and a Potion of Fire Resistance which as taken by Quintus. A strange magical sword was also recovered. It was made from strange bone with a ruby encrusted hilt. Puck identified it as a +1 Longsword that glows in the presence of Dragons. Badding took the dragon blade. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

Some sort of bedroom and office was found which seemed to be likely that of the cult leader, Gar Shatterkeel. There were reports from cult spies in Red Larch that described certain party members and their investigations. All documentation was taken by Templeton for future review. There was also a chest in the room containing 260 SP, 22 PP, and 2 potions. One Potion of Healing taken by Badding and 1 Potion of Gaseous Form taken by Templeton.

Another room further south was filled with 6 Bugbears who were all dispatched.

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Finally a room with some strange capped buckets was investigated. Quintus pulled the top off one of the barrels and 3 water weirds emerged to attack.

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Chase the Shiver

Everyone rejoiced at the slaying of the Dragon Turtle but were quickly brought back to the troubles at hand as Puck had 4 aquatic trolls and One-Eyed Shiver bearing down on him. The wee gnome quickly cast a blur spell to protect himself. The trolls attacked but had a hard time hitting the wavering form of Puck. Templeton fired Sky Piercer and a heavy crossbow bolt tore into the back of one of the trolls as it howled in pain. Brenn then moved swiftly across the water from the corpse of the dragon turtle to close with the trolls. Mcallum was a light with fire and it cut deeply into the troll that Templeton had wounded and laid it low in short order.

Quintus and Badding both gravely injured from the Dragon Turtle each cast healing magic on the other healing the others wounds. Then Badding closed in on One-Eyed Shiver who was cloaked in a mirror image spell had 3 illusory images of himself swirling in and around his real self. The Shiver cast an eldritch blast that blew Badding back and caused force damage. The three remaining trolls attacked Puck and Brenn. A claw made it past Brenn’s guard to slash him across the shoulder but Puck continued to elude the trolls with his wavering blurred form. Templeton crept closer to the trolls hiding among the spaces in the uneven cavern wall. From hiding he cast a Tasha’s Hideous Laughter spell on one of the unhurt trolls. Templeton’s magical ambush power as an arcane trickster gave the troll disadvantage on the wisdom save causing it to fail terribly and be overcome with fits of laughter as it fell to the ground incapacitated. Using the rary’s telepathic bond, Templeton warned the other members of the party not to hurt the laughing troll or it could break the spell.

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Puck followed up with breathing flames out of his mouth to engulf one of the trolls as a bonus action thanks to the potion of dragon breath he had previously quaffed. He followed that up with a firebolt to the creatures face. As it burned and bled, Brenn moved in to finish it off with some quick and decisive blows from Macallum. Quintus then crouched down on the surface of the water and sprang up hurtling through the air to land next to one of the trolls using his ring of jumping. He extolled the virtues of Tempus upon the troll as he brought his greatsword down upon its head. Badding then moved back towards the Shiver and unleashed a thunderclap spell at him destroying one of the mirror images. The shiver then returned the favor by unleashing a fear spell on Badding and Brenn. Badding who’s paladin abilities make him immune to fear easily resisted the spell but for Brenn it was more difficult. Images of Renton Daltrey once again found their way into his mind, but this time he was able to put them out of his head and continue the fight. One troll was rolling on the ground overcome with the laughter of Templeton’s magic. But the other troll attacked Brenn and once again got a claw past his guard.

Templeton fired his crossbow at the Troll who was till up and sunk a bolt deep in its chest. It coughed up blood as Puck belched flame to finish it off. The gurgling and burning creature fell down and moved no more leaving the only living troll the one who was still overcome by Templeton’s laughter spell. Puck then hurled a firebolt at the shiver and luckily hit One-Eyed Shiver himself. Brenn closed with the shiver and swung at the real one but was thwarted by a shield spell. Quintus used his ring again to jump up and over to be adjacent to the Shiver. He then laid the blessings of Tempus upon him by slicing through him with his sunsword. Badding attacked the Shiver as well popping the last of his illusory images. Having lost the protection of his mirror image, the shiver turned tail and ran to the north. He moved out onto the bridge and dove off into the water below.

The party gave chase. Brenn got there first running out over the water looking for the Shiver below the murky surface. He could not find him. Badding flew around the other way trying to cut off his escape into the large lake area. Templeton ran in past Brenn and used his Helm of Telepathy to try and detect thoughts within 30 feet. Templeton only detected the thoughts of Brenn and himself so clearly the Shiver was not in range. The group kept closing in on The Shiver trying to spot him while leaving the final troll laughing uncontrollably on the ground. Finally after many tries, Templeton picked up One-Eyed Shiver’s surface thoughts. He was clearly underwater and trying to elude the party’s pursuit. But then the shiver moved out of range again. Badding cast a moonbeam spell creating a powerful beam of moonlight to strike the water and bathe it in light. But he did not have the beam in the correct spot. Templeton followed in the correct direction and detected the Shiver again. He moved again to try and get closer and luckily spotted him 5 feet below the water. He rallied the rest of the party to him with his telepathic bond. Puck used his magic to get there quickly and cast a Bigby’s Grasping Hand spell to grapple the Shiver and prevent his escape.

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Brenn moved down and tried to attack through the 5 feet of water at the grappled shiver but was unable to hit him with the disadvantage. The troll on land had finally shook off the effects of Templeton’s Hideous Laughter spell. It got up and saw Quintus nearby. The troll successfully grappled Quintus, picked him up, and then jumped into the water. The troll went into the water, however, the power of the water walk spell prevented Quintus from submerging so he popped out of the troll’s gasp as it sunk under the water.

Puck squeezed the Bigby’s grasping hand and it crushed The Shiver mightily. Puck then hauled The Shiver up and out of the water with the hand so that Templeton could get a shot. He did not miss on the opportunity. Sky Piercer’s bolt sunk deep into his forehead killing One-Eyed Shiver instantly. Worried that the troll might get away, Quintus cast a control water spell and parted all the water in a 100 foot per side cube. This included pretty much all of the water in the large lake. With all the water rushing out from beneath us, everyone but Badding (who had safely landed on the little rocky island) fell 30 feet down to hard rocky bottom of the now empty lake. There was a large ‘crack’ noise as the dragon turtle’s body slammed into the hard stone and cracked open its shell. The troll also fell and landed in a heap not far from Quintus. Puck was next to go, however, and let loose a firebolt which nailed the troll for a critical hit. Then Badding moved his moonbeam to shine down upon the troll. The moonlight burned radiant damage into the creature. It started its turn in the full brunt of the moonbeam and expired as its skin blistered and cracked under the intensity of the radiant damage.

The other interesting outcome of Quintus’ control water spell is that it revealed a large pile of treasure in the middle of the lake at the now dry bottom. This was The Hoard of the Dragon Turtle. It contained 700 GP, 440 EP, 6 gems worth 40 GP each, 4 onyx gems worth 70 GP each. The body of the shiver also had 10 GP. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

The party then moved back to their hiding spot that Quintus had tunneled using his Claws of the Umberhulk. Inside Puck’s Tiny Hut spell was still operating. A short rest was had inside. An hour later most were healed and ready to finish exploring this level and then go deeper into the next.

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A Daltrey Always Pays His Debts
Templeton Pays Back The Dragon Turtle...

The fight on the bridge over the river to the Water Temple continued to rage on. Brenn shook off the fearful effects that One-Eyed Shiver had ensorcelled him with. The image of Renton Daltrey dressing him down for failing to protect his son Templeton was difficult to endure but he somehow managed to get the old imperious noble out of his head. Brenn sprinted forward and vaulted over a pair of reavers holding the bridge. Brenn flipped over the reavers whilst deftly blocking an attack by one of them with Oban, his enchanted shield, and parrying another with Macallan, his flame tongue longsword. He then closed to be face to face with the Shiver. Brenn slashed with Macallan and cut deep into the Shivers side making him pay for his spell dearly. Quintus pushed forward as well and began carving a swath through the reavers with his two handed greatsword and laying the blessing of Tempus upon them all.

A Fathomer then came out from around the corner and cast a fog cloud spell that engulfed everyone on the bridge and blocking Templeton and Puck from using their ranged attacks. Puck smartly quaffed his Flask of Bottled Breath which had been gifted to him by Ahtayir, the efreet. Puck was able to hold his breath but more importantly expel all the air at once to form a powerful gust of wind spell. Puck’s Gust of Wind blew the fog out to the sides of the bridge and cleared the way for all to see properly once more.

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Badding used the opportunity to sweep in and engage more of the reavers, smashing them down with his fiery flail. Templeton’s crossbow bolts ripped through the cultists and Puck continued to deftly use his gust of wind to clear out the rest of the fog cloud. One-Eyed Shiver craftily disappeared using some sort of invisibility spell. Brenn called after him angrily calling him a coward. The party pressed forward and took out the last of the water cultists except for the Shiver who had seemingly escaped. Quintus used a spell called Beacon of Hope which maximized all healing magic. And then he said some prayers to Tempus and quickly healed the wounds of everyone in the party.

A quick conference was held regarding what to do next. Puck pushed for the elimination of the Dragon Turtle while the party was still strong. After what had befallen him at the webbed hands of the dragon turtle, Templeton needed little convincing. A plan was hatched to engage the beast and slay it. Badding and Quintus went to the Northwest of the underground lake in which the beast dwelt. Puck cast improved invisibility on Templeton and with Brenn, the three snuck down into the cultist room that overlooked the lake to the east. Templeton used a silent image spell to create the illusion of himself in the middle of the lake. Badding used a spell of his own to make the water swish about under the feet of the illusion to lure the dragon turtle to that spot.

It didn’t take long before a dark shape rose up from the lake and the dragon turtle’s huge jaws surfaced from the water and snapped shut on the illusory Templeton. With that queue, Templeton unleashed a deadly sneak attack with Sky Piercer and Badding hurled a javelin. The Dragon Turtle sank beneath the waters no longer fooled by the illusion so Brenn leaped out on to the water and ran across to the middle buoyed by the walk on water ritual Quintus had performed. He yelled out to Templeton as he ran, ‘You owe me for this Dalrety!’ Brenn readied an attack for the inevitable surfacing of the beast. But the attack never came. Instead the beast had tracked the javelin and moved up to attacked Quintus. It surfaced and smashed Quintus with its tail trying to hurl the priest away and knock him off his feet. Quintus just grimaced and held firm telling the Dragon Turtle he would have to better than that. But the beast submerged again and moved once more.

Again it did not take long as the creature surfaced to try and eat Brenn. The huge jaws closed around the brave fighter with a critical hit but the dragon turtle found the adamantine breast plate worn by Brenn not to his liking, however. As Brenn who was immune to critical hits from the expertly crafted armor was spit out of the beasts mouth with a nasty wound but it could have been much worse. Brenn countered by driving the tip of his sword deep into the soft connective tissue of the turtle’s shoulder and directed Templeton to fire. Somewhere hidden away Templeton fired Sky Piercer. Badding swooped in to attack from the flank and Quintus ran out on the water to lend the blessings of Tempus and his greatsword to the put the dragon turtle on the proper path… towards dead.

Everyone was encouraged until the Dragon Turtle unleashed his hot steam breath on Brenn, Badding, and Quintus. The three were burned badly but managed to stay up. Then just when Puck’s little legs had finally got him to a place where he could join the fight, he was surprised blasted by One-Eyed Shiver who suddenly appeared in an nearby hallway. A strange fear welled up inside of Puck as the Shiver’s spell took hold, but the resolute gnome shook off the effects and understood it was not real but a trick of illusion. Puck also heard some strange noises to the east and saw 4 fully healed aquatic trolls running towards him.

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With tail sweeps and claws and bites, the dragon turtle left terrible wounds on both Brenn and Badding with Badding getting the worst of it. Brenn’s adamantine breastplate again saved him from a critical hit as the turtle closed his jaws around the fighter only to have them unable to puncture the unusually strong metal. Brenn, Badding, and Quintus hit the Dragon Turtle repeatedly with strong melee attacks and Brenn called in multiple missile strikes from Templeton but the huge creature refused to die. In fact it gathered up a huge gulp of air and belched out another blast of deadly steam. This time Badding caught it full in the face and fell to land on the water, his feathers and skin badly scorched. Puck got caught in it as well and was hurt do badly that he lost concentration on his improved invisibility spell on Templeton. With the spell broken, Templeton was now visible. Quintus called upon Tempus to bathe everyone in healing using a powerful 5th level mass cure wounds spell. This brought Badding back into the fight and kept Brenn from going down. Finally Badding stood up and brought his burning flail down hard on the head of the dragon turtle, caving it in. The dead turtle stopped moving and just went still floating on the surface of the water.

Everyone cheered in victory but it was short lived as they turned to face The Shiver and The Trolls who were bearing down on them.

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Dragon Turtle Steam is Bad for Templeton's Complexion
Fried and Almost Died

It began with a simple recon mission. After a long rest, the party wanted to be sure they were not leaving anything important behind before descending the stairs to the next level. Puck cast a ritual version of Rary’s Telepathic Bond on everyone. Quintus blessed everyone with the power of Tempus by casting a water walk ritual on everyone. Templeton then cast invisibility on himself and began his scouting mission.

Right outside the hidey hole that Quintus had tunneled, Templeton found a group of 4 lizard folk mulling around the dead Hezrou by the top of the stairs. Templeton easily slipped around them and made his way out onto the water. He snuck across a large lake towards an area of doors that had yet to be opened while keeping in contact with the party telepathically as to his progress. The water was deep, murky, and still. But the hairs on the back of Templeton’s neck stood up as a huge dark shape passed under him. An immense Dragon Turtle surfaced and began to sniff around. Templeton telepathically shared his alarm at this development with his comrades. The huge creature spun around and swam towards Templeton too quickly for him to react and brushing against his legs. Templeton made a break towards a water filled passage to the south that was too narrow for the Dragon Turtle to follow. The Dragon Turtle could not see Templeton but could sense something down the tunnel so it drew in a huge gasp of air and unleashed a torrent of scalding hot steam down the tunnel. It engulfed Templeton cooking him like a lobster as he fell over unconscious and bleeding to death.

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Templeton’s invisibility was concentration based so it immediately ended. But the water walking was cast by Quintus so it remained in effect keeping Templeton from sinking into the water and drowning. The current of the water moved Templeton’s unconscious and dying body down the passage away from the dragon turtle. Although the beast could now see its prey, Templeton was too far along the narrow passage for it to give chase. It was simply too big to fit down the passage.

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With Templeton’s communication having gone silent, the party knew he was in trouble. They knew roughly where he was but did not know exactly. After some quick deliberation, Puck cast improved invisibility on Badding who flew away following Templeton’s path to try and find him. He easily flew around the confused lizard men. They heard him fly by and went on alert but were unable to see past his invisibility. Badding then flew across the large lake noting the huge dragon turtle swimming around the entrance to the water filled south passage and looking down it. Badding took the time to look carefully around the big lake but did not see Templeton. Meanwhile Templeton’s body continued to be carried by the current further south. Eventually Badding flew over to the southern passage and spotted Templeton. He flew over the dragon turtle and landed on the southern side of Templeton to prevent him from floating further away. It had taken a long time for Badding to track down Templeton, but luckily the tough human had stabilized. His body had clotted the bleeding on its own. He was still unconscious but no longer bleeding to death.

Suddenly two pairs of sickly green clawed hands emerged from the water to grab a hold of Templeton’s unconscious body. The water troll tried to pull Templeton under the water but was surprised to find the water walk spell preventing him from doing so. Confused, the troll paused to try and figure out what was going on. It became even more confused when an invisible Badding tried to push the troll away from Templeton to break its grab. Unfortunately the water troll was simply too strong. Puck mentally asked Badding to describe his location so he could dimension door over to help. Unfortunately the aurokokra’s description had too many squawks in it for Puck to suss out exactly where to go. So he held tight not wanting to waste his spell.

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Confused by the invisible force pushing against him, the aquatic troll continued to hold onto Templeton’s body and swam with it down the passage. Frustrated, Badding gave chase and unleashed a thuderwave spell to try and separate a still unconscious Templeton from the troll. The huge noise produced by the spell reverberated through the complex. Quintus and Brenn looked at each other with alarm. The troll was still too strong to be physically moved by the spell but the creature was hurt by the blast and startled by the loud noise so he continued to drag Templeton’s body south and emerged down in the large southern lake area with the rotten boats where the party had seen the ghouls.

Badding gave chase and once again tried to describe the area to Puck. This time Puck understood having seen the area before with his own eyes. He used the Cape of the Monteback to dimension door to the area. Badding flew down and touched Templeton using his Lay on Hands ability to FINALLY heal Templeton’s wounds. Regaining consciousness, Templeton twisted away from the troll like a slippery eel, got up and ran away across the water.

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Seeing a strange looking gnome appear out of thin air and seeing his now moving prey getting away, the troll screeched and barked calling in a group of 3 more aquatic trolls. Puck greeted them with a fireball. One of the trolls swam towards Puck for a moment but then hesitated and instead went after Templeton. Puck wisely moved away from the area by teleporting with a misty step just before a mass of tentacles surfaced where once the little gnome stood. One of the trolls got to Templeton and attacked. Despite being warded by Badding’s shield of faith, a claw and bite hurt him badly. Templeton turned invisible and moved to dry land. He also used a potion of healing to help heal himself. Badding attacked the trolls as did Puck. Fire and acid hurt them badly but the decision was made to try and rendezvous with the rest of the party leaving the trolls behind as well as whatever new deviltry was behind those tentacles.

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Tired of all the waiting, Quintus and Brenn sprung into action. They stormed into the Hezrou room and cut down the lizard men. After making short work of them, the two ran quickly to the main temple door that had been sealed shut by Templeton’s immovable rod. They found the rod still in place and the room secure but there was a pounding on the door. Two reavers were on the other side of the stone double doors trying to force their way in. Puck told them to sit tight until they got closer. Puck, Badding, and Templeton made their way north through the complex to the double door. They left the trolls behind. Although they were badly wounded, the trolls were regenerating. They went to ground in a different room to heal and the party let them go wanting to press on and reunite with Brenn and Quintus.

Templeton got in position seeing the two reavers trying in vain to force the door open and readied a shot with Sky Piercer. He then gave the signal to Brenn telepathically who removed the immovable rod and opened the door. Brenn ran out to get adjacent to one of the reavers. Templeton’s crossbow sunk a bolt deep into the reaver’s shoulder. Badding flew down the tunnel carrying Puck and tossed him past the water fall into the temple room. Puck used his ring of free action to scamper over the current and get up with Quintus and Brenn. Badding charged forward into the fray on the bridge.

The battle was joined with 5 reavers, 1 fathomer, and 1 one-eyed shiver (who turned out to be a type of water cultist and not a unique leader like Templeton had thought). The shiver looked at Brenn with his glowing good eye and filled Brenn with dread. Illusory images of Templeton’s Father, Renton Daltrey, filled Brenn’s mind. Brenn cowered before the tall Waterdhavian Noble who was berating him for not taking better care of his son. Brenn was so overcome that he dropped his flaming sword and the fear forced him to flee back into the temple room. Quintus called out after him that he was going to wrong way and to take Tempus’s blessing and get back into the fight. With that Quintus cast dispel magic and removed the fear effect from Brenn. It looked like the party would indeed be forced to deal with the rest of the cultists on this level. The cultists hit a large gong that reverberated through the complex and all joined the fray. The fight was on.

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