Apocalyptica

Pushing Forward
What's that Horrible Smell?

Despite being fairly injured, the party decided that it needed to do its best to press forward. It was clear that the multiple extended rests taken in assaulting the earth cult and the fire cult resulted in both cult leaders eluding the party. The same mistake would not be made again. Badding and Quintus doled out as much healing as they could muster and the party soldiered forward. But pressing forward did not mean charging ahead blindly. It seemed clear that the eastern half of the complex was clear but much remained west of the underground river.

So as the rest of the party took a short rest, Templeton used 1 hour to invisibly scout. While interacting with the cultists under the illusory guise of One-Eyed Shiver, Templeton had learned that Gar Shatterkeel was in the water temple. So Templeton began methodically searching the rest of the complex. He found one large room filled with 4 Reavers and a Fathomer. Many of the adjoining rooms to that one had the sounds and smells of monsters. Most likely bugbears and other sorts of minions at the cult’s disposal. Templeton snuck around them all searching for the temple where Gar Shatterkeel should be hiding. At last he found a big double door to the north that had the symbol of the water cult painted on it. Bingo.

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Templeton found a route that would bypass all of the guardians and take the party right into the temple. The only problem was that it required traveling down a passageway with fast flowing water. A plan was quickly hatched by which Badding flew Templeton to get in position at the base of a bridge going over the river to the double doors. Templeton covered the hallway to the south with his crossbow just in case any of the reavers or fathomers spotted what was going on. Next Badding flew back with Puck. Puck used his Bigby’s Gasping Hand to grab Quintus and Brenn and carry them across because each was too heavy for Badding to carry whilst in flight.

Still out of sight from all the guardians, Brenn opened the double door and strode boldly into the room. There he found 5 Lizard Folk with armor, shields, and big clubs at attention against the southern wall of a large temple. Brenn moved to the group on his left and closed for melee. Badding then flew into the room while still carrying Puck. Badding grappled with the nearest lizard folk on his right. He man handled two of them by pushing them back and making more room for everyone in the party to get into the room. Templeton slipped into the room and took his immovable rod out of his pack.

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Quintus then charged into the room, closing the large stone double door behind him. The doors opened into the room, so Templeton positioned the immovable rod against both stone doors and turned it on to essentially bar them from being opened by anyone from outside the room. Quintus then drew forth his great sword and began to lay the many blessings of Tempus upon the heathen lizard folk.

The Lizard Folk then smartly surrounded Brenn, Badding, and Quintus trying to gain advantage from flanking positions. A viscous melee broke out with Brenn, Badding, and Quintus trading blows with the Lizard Folk. Standing closest to the edge of the water that bisected the middle of the temple, something did not smell right to Puck. His olfactory senses picked up a terribly foul odor. Puck turned his gaze to look at the water as it began to roil. Two enormous demons rose up from the depths. The Hezrou stepped up on to the solid ground and moved in to attack Puck. The foul stench that hung around them was like nothing Puck had ever smelled before. It was almost too much to bear. But somehow Puck steeled himself against the stench and managed to put up a shield spell as claws and bites rained down upon his little body from the 2 powerful demons.

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Puck grimaced, keeping his wits about him despite the tremendous odor of the Hezrou that would have rendered most men stunned. Puck got through the stench and unleashed a spell of banishment. One of the Hezrou was hurled violently back into the abyss from whenst he came whilst the other steeled himself against the spell, his magic resistance saving him. Puck then used his misty step to teleport away across the water to the other side of the room. Badding then stepped forward and attempted to turn the fiend with his holy symbol. But the Hezrou was unimpressed, his magic resistance again saving him from the effect. Furious that the little gnome had banished his brother, the remaining Hezrou moved across the room to close with Puck. His claws flailed at Puck but the gnome stood his ground and miraculously was unhurt do to some lucky dodging.

The melee battle raged on between the lizard folk and the rest of the party with Templeton shooting bolts from hiding into the unsuspecting throats of the lizard folk. One was killed but 4 more remained. But Puck was still all alone against the Hezrou. Puck stood firm in the face of his aggressor and smiled while unleashing a fireball that exploded around the lizard folk perfectly sculpted around Puck’s allies. One of the lizard men was burnt to a crisp and the others badly wounded. There were still still 3 remaining but it didn’t take long for the rest of the lizard men to be cut down by Brenn and Quintus but in the meantime one of the Hezrou’s deadly claws had raked across Puck’s little body poisoning him. But as has been shown time and time again, Puck is made of stern stuff. The gnome focused hard on his banishment spell. Most wizards would have lost their concentration and the other Hezrou would have returned to the battle. But not Puck. His keen mind kept the spell going despite the burning pain of the gaping wound across his left mid section.

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With the lizard men gone, the rest of the party came to Puck’s aid, surrounding the Hezrou. Templeton hid behind a pillar in the room unleashing bolt after deadly bolt into the creature. Puck loosed magic missiles from his wand. Brenn bravely used a goading attack on the Hezrou forcing the creature to attack him instead of the gravely wounded Puck. Surrounded and taking lots of damage from all sides, the Hezrou began to look for some means of escape but it was too late. Badding had the killing blow as he brought his flaming flail down hard upon the head of the Hezrou, caving in its skull.

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Leaping Sharks
And Blood in the Water!

Templeton knew there were 4 reavers and a fathomer left guarding the area of the water temple. He quickly hatched a plan to lure them into a trap. Still wearing the illusory guise of One-Eyed Shiver, he walked down the hall to make sure the coast was clear. He hid at the corner of the hall and beckoned the rest of the party to make their way to the prison room. The plan was to make the party look like they were prisoners and command the reavers to guard them. Then ambush them. It would be good to separate some of the reavers from the fathomer and definitely to stay away from the shark riding wave knight.

The plan worked well with everyone sneaking into the room except last to go was Quintus and his cursed armor made too much noise as usual. Two of the reavers started walking towards the noise to investigate. Seeing that Quintus would not make it into the room in time, Templeton stepped out from around the corner to almost run into them. The two stopped as Templeton explained that some prisoners had been captured and needed some guarding. He commanded the 2 reavers to collect the rest of their men. One complied and turned around, the other moved to the side as if he were going to go around Templeton. Templeton moved in his way. ‘Where do you think your going, I told you to get your men. Gar Shatterkeel wants these prisoners well tended.’ Templeton’s silver tongue did not seem to sway the curiosity or perhaps suspicion of the reaver. Unimpressed by One-Eyed Shiver‘s authority, the reaver again tried to step around Templeton. Knowing if he were to do so and the jig would be up, Templeton pushed the reaver backwards with his hand. The physical contact (much lower than expected) gave the reaver a save versus the disguise self illusion. He made the save and saw through Templeton’s illusory guise. The reaver yelled intruders and all of the reavers swarmed up and surrounded Templeton.

Quintus heard the alarm and ran forward casting a silence spell around Templeton to seal off any further alarm. Templeton tried to cast an invisibility spell but could not manage the verbal component of the spell while in the area of silence. So he disengaged and moved away down the hall past Quintus. Brenn leaped out of the prison room and swiftly made his way into the silence area to engage the reavers in melee. Puck then came out of the room and unleashed a fireball. The powerful ball of fire erupted perfectly inside the area of silence eerily producing a bright flash of fire and smoke but no sound. Brenn put a hand up to shield his face but the flames were expertly sculpted by Puck to avoid any contact with him.

The Fathomer moved out from around the corner and saw Brenn fighting the Reavers. The fathomer cast a spell and an icy shard blasted into Brenn. Brenn hacked away at the reavers slaying one of them. Quintus managed to move closer and cast a shield of faith on Brenn. Despite this incredible AC, Brenn still managed to get hit by some lucky shots by the reavers. Another of Puck’s fireballs blew up and took out two reavers leaving only one remaining.

Brenn lashed out at the remaining reaver and cut him across the leg but he did not go down. Brenn then printed around him and ran down the hall to find the Fathomer. Find him he did. He moved adjacent to the Fathomer and slashed Macallan, his burning longsword across the fathomer’s chest and tried to force him backwards into the zone of silence. Unfortunately the Fathomer proved stronger than expected and resisted the push.

Just then there was a huge surge of water and a giant shark leaped out of the water to fly overhead. The Wave Knight mounted on the shark thrust his lance into Brenn’s back as he soared overhead. Brenn staggered from the force of the blow but managed to stay upright and the shark and its rider crashed into the water on the other side of the jutty.

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The Fathomer cast a vampiric touch spell and managed to somehow get past Brenn’s formidable armor. As the life drained away from Brenn and into the The Fathomer, the cultists smiled grimly. Brenn collapsed pale and white from the blast of necrotic energy. As he hit the floor blood was still pouring out of the grievous wound on his back. But the magic of his periapt of wound closure sealed the wound and stabilized him in an unconscious state.

Badding finally came around the corner and engaged the last Reaver smashing him down with his fiery flail. He closed with the Fathomer but had no additional attacks. He saw Brenn collapsed but could not get close to him yet to help. Quintus and Puck moved as fast as he could to get down around the corner. Templeton was faster and made it to the corner unleashing a wicked bolt from Sky Piercer that tore through The Fathomer and hurt him so badly that he lost concentration on his vampiric touch spell. That being the case, The Fathomer transformed into some sort of water serpent who coiled himself around Badding and dragged him into the water.

Under the mirky water Badding was constrained and unable to move or fight until he escaped. He fought hard but was unable to get free of the watery serpent’s coils. Badding grimaced while holding his breath and being crushed by the water snake and attacked by both the shark and Wave Knight. Puck and Templeton took up positions at the waters edge looking for any sign of Badding. All they could see was roiling water mixed with blood. It was a tense moment as they simply waited with readied attacks not knowing what else to do as Quintus healed Brenn and got him back on his feet.

Suddenly Templeton saw a flash of the shark’s tail and let loose a bolt that tore through the creatures body. But everything went quiet again with the water settling down. Everyone was thinking the worst for Badding when with a surge of energy he finally broke free of the water snake’s coils. The bird man burst out of the water with a loud squawk and managed to fly over next to Brenn and Quintus away from the edge. Now that Badding was out of harm’s way Brenn yelled for Templeton and Puck to get away from the edge of the water.

Before they could move the giant shark again launched up out of the water to soar over Templeton. The Wave Knight’s lance managed to thrust into Templeton but he twisted at the last moment to minimize the damage. Just then Puck unleashed his readied magic missile spell that tore the shark apart. Five bolts of force tore into the giant shark pulverizing it into a shower of gore that rained down onto the surface of the water. His mount destroyed the Wave Knight splashed down into the water as well.

Templeton exhaled and moved away from the edge of the water. He noticed the Fathomer in human form again get out of the water across the cave on the other side. Templeton let loose a crossbow shot and hit the Fathomer in the leg. He staggered by the blow but turned to move down the tunnel. Before he took a step, Puck unleashed another empowered magic missile. This time 6 missiles tore into the Fathomer. The magical bolts of force picked up the fathomer and shook his body like a rag doll as they tore through him. His bloody lifeless body hit the ground with a horrible squishing sound. Puck nodded in satisfaction as he moved away from the edge of the water to the safety of his friends.

There was a moment of quiet before The Wave Knight leaped out of the water to attack Puck. He was hellbent on avenging the death of his trusted shark friend by the audacity of this little forest gnome. He would have gotten two good cuts in on Puck with his short sword, but the crafty little gnome put up a shield at the last minute to block both blows. Then the Wave Knight was surrounded. Brenn cut him with Macallan and with a cool maneuver disarmed him. After the knight’s short sword clattered to the ground, Quintus ran up and laughed, ‘Is this sword yours?’ He picked up the short sword and drove it up to the hilt through the man’s chest. As the wave knight fell down to his knees he looked incredulously at his own sword buried in his chest and expired. A pack of ghouls then snuck out of the shadows of a hallway and dragged the corpse of the Fathomer away back into the darkness.

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An Effective Ruse

Templeton continued using his disguise self spell to appear as One-Eyed Shiver and walked through the Temple of the Crushing Wave freely. He found that around the corner from the room with the reavers and cleric there were more reavers stationed on guard. There was also a water knight who dove into the water and swam away mounted on a huge shark.

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Templeton hatched a plan to deal with many of the cultists on his own terms and far away from the earshot of those that could come to their aid. Wearing the Illusory guise of One-Eyed Shiver, he entered the room with 4 reaver cultists and a cleric. He told one of the reavers that he had to come with him to help move some rubble near the entrance from a cave in. After some complaints the reaver followed orders and followed Templeton to the main entrance. The reaver said he was a bit afraid of the demon dogs but Templeton persuaded him to go inside.

As the reaver stepped warily into the room, Templeton shot him in the back with his heavy crossbow and shut the door. Brenn then ran down and cut into the reaver and Badding did likewise. The poor cultists was dead before Quintus could give him any of Tempus’ blessings and for that he was deeply disappointed. Quintus dragged the body out of sight and Templeton used his prestidigitation spell to clean up the blood.

The plan worked so well, Templeton returned to the room and told the 3 remaining reavers that they had to come help. The cave in was more expansive than he had previously thought. There was a lot of grumbling and the cleric who stayed behind snickered, but the 3 reavers came with Templeton up to the ambush point. After they entered, Templeton shot one of them in the back and slammed the door shut. Templeton took the immovable rod out to block the door but before he could activate it, the reavers tried to push the door open. Templeton used his small frame to try and keep the door from opening but was easily overpowered by the ravers.

All three reavers cut deep into Templeton with their nasty spiked swords. Surrounded an din trouble, Templeton cast invisibility and slipped away down the hall. Fearing they would attract attention with the open door by calling for help, Quintus wisely laid down an area of silence. Puck then sealed off their retreat with a wall of fire. The three reavers burned from the wall of fire and then moved into the room to escape the flames. There they were met by Quintus, Badding, and Brenn who carved them up with Puck lobbing in fire bolts. Templeton patiently waited in the silence as he could not see through the wall of flame. If anyone came through that wall he was going to fire on them, but no one did. Quintus was rightly satisfied as this time he got to spread Tempus’ love quite profusely with his greatsword.

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With all the reavers taken care of, the party worked their way down to deal with the lone priest. Templeton made sure the coast was clear and everyone gathered around the doors. As one they burst into the room and pounded on the cleric. The only thing he was able to do was protect himself with a shield spell before he was pummeled quite rightly into the arms of loving Tempus. A quick search found 30 GP on the cleric. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

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The party then turned their attention to the remaining reaver guards around the corner. An initial plan was hatched to lead them into the prison with party members chained up in illusory irons but it was not entirely decided upon as yet.

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Interrogation Gone Awry

Brenn Buckmann rushed into the room and swung his longsword in a wide arc cutting deep into One-eyed Shiver. He then ducked and urged Templeton to fire upon him. Templeton obliged scoring a critical hit. The heavy crossbow bolt from Sky Piercer tore threw Shiver’s throat and spewed gore across the room. Brenn smiled at Templeton nodding his head at the impressive shot. But Shiver was not so easily put down, he put his hand to his throat and the blood seemed to freeze and stop flowing. He then turned his wicked gaze to Templeton and a bolt of icy cold erupted from his empty eye socket to strike him. Templeton shuddered as icy cold gripped him and froze him in place. The terrible cold hurt badly and prevented him from moving. One-Eyed Shiver then waved his hands and filled the room with the mist of a fog cloud spell.

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There were 3 reavers and a dark tide knight in the room with Brenn and One-Eyed Shiver. One of the reavers slammed the door shut and held it fast. The others moved in to attack Brenn. Cut off from Brenn Puck ran down to get closer, as did Quintus, and Templeton just tried to move but could not power his way out of the restrained condition failing his strength save. Badding ran up and smashed open the door to to find Brenn cutting down One-Eyed Shiver. The fighter had used his action surge to attack 4 times and one of the attacks was a critical. With Shiver dead, the fog cloud lifted and the frozen restraint faded from Templeton freeing him at last. Badding ran into the room to join the fight.

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Badding fought two reavers while Brenn fought a reaver and the dark tide knight. Puck lobbed in two fireballs and Templeton would fire sneak attacks into the room. the dark tide knight proved elusive. He managed to avoid most of the fire from the fireball and had an uncanny knack for dodging Templeton’s shots to minimize the damage. It was a hard fought fight but eventually the only one left was a bloodied dark tide knight. Templeton had called to capture him and Brenn obliged slapping him upside the head with the flat of his burning sword.

Templeton searched the bodies finding a pouch with 30 GP, 12 PP, 12 garnets worth 100 GP each and two potions. The Master Party Treasure List was updated. Desiring to make a safe house of a kind, Quintus got started using his Claws of the Umberhulk to burrow into the loose rock and create a new cave. Badding tried to conceal the entrance and Quintus stacked the bodies inside and covered them with loose rock. Brenn tied up the dark wave knight while Puck used his ritual magic to form a Leomund’s Tiny Hut to fill the newly made room.

After a short rest was complete. Badding gave the knight 1 HP of lay on hands to bring him to consciousness. Templeton from a hidden position cast a suggestion upon the prisoner that ‘we are trusted friends and to answer all of our questions truthfully and completely.’ Templeton then pleasantly asked him to introduce himself and got spat upon proving that the spell had not taken effect. Templeton tried playing good cop to Brenn’s bad cop but the zealot was clearly not going to cooperate. Templeton walked up and drew his dagger cross the throat of the prisoner and killed him. Badding was outraged and told the human that he did not approve of this treatment of a prisoner. Templeton pressed him on this asking him what difference it made? This cultist was clearly a zealot who was not going to cooperate. He was an evil man who would not change his ways. Badding was still very upset and threatened to not cast any healing magic upon Templeton. Templeton apologized in a way by saying that he was sorry they did not see eye to eye on the matter but then made a joke about not seeing eye to eye with anyone because of his height. Brenn laughed but Badding was not amused and continued to harbor a grudge.

Agreeing to move forward, Templeton led the way using his magic to take on the guise of One-Eyed Shiver using his disguise self spell. Templeton boldly walked through the complex. Some rooms were empty but they found one that was occupied.

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Inside were 3 reavers and a priest resting. The priest fooled by the disguise asked what Templeton wanted. He replied using his acting feat ability to make his voice sound like One-Eyed Shiver and said, ‘I am looking for Gar Shatterkeel have you seen him?’ The priest looked annoyed and said, ’He’s in the temple, you know that.’ Templeton said, ‘right, well then carry on.’ and he left closing the door behind him. He then used his helm of Telepathy to read the surface thoughts of the reavers and the priest. He felt they were annoyed at the interruption but not alarmed in any way.

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So the group went back to their hidy hole and Puck cast identify on the two previously found potions. They turned out to be Potions of Greater Healing. Brenn took one and Quintus the other.

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Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Water Temple

The party took an extended rest using the Leomund’s Hut spell to keep out anyone bent on disturbing them. They were not disturbed but during the rest Puck scribed the wall of fire spell from Lizzie‘s spellbok into his own. Templeton turned to Brenn and said, ’You certainly have come a long way to take up arms to defend my honor.’

Brenn nodded, ‘True enough but don’t go looking for me to bend the knee and Milord you every time you take a crap. I’m not your toady and I’m not your friend.’

Templeton replied, ‘Although I would treasure your friendship, I am mostly interested with your facility with murder. And if the day ever comes where you would be tempted to sell me out, remember this… whatever their price, I’ll beat it. I like living.’

The party finished exploring some areas of the fire temple that had yet to be seen. There was one section that had a strange dust or dirt like substance that clung to and attacked Brenn as he moved through it. It did a large amount of cold damage. Fire attacks just seemed to make it grow. The party decided just to leave it alone and left it be.

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In a room that was thought to belong to Vanifer some treasure was found. but Vanifer had long since left. In an urn was 170 GP, 170 EP, and 10 sardonix gems worth 50 GP each. Some rare books in the bookcase were worth 250 GP. In the southeast corner of the complex a treasure pile was found including 517 cp, 1048 sp, 432 gp, 5 moonstones worth 50 GP each. A potion of Water Breathing (Brenn) and a silk pouch containing 1 use of Dust of Disappearance (Templeton). A spell scroll of Melf’s Minute Meteors (Puck) and a Wand of Magic Missiles (Quintus) was found. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

In order to get past the heated columns, Quintus used his Claws of the Umberhulk to tunnel through the solid rock of the ogre room into the room beyond the fire pillars. There it was found that it reconnected to the barracks through a secret door that had been previously overlooked.

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An investigation was made of the floating magical disc hanging in mid air in the shaft of rock near the anvils. Puck figured out that there were unknown command words that would make the disc move up or down like an elevator. Puck then sent his owl Widget down several miles to find another platform level far below. The party considered flying down to that level as a group but in the end decided instead to try and find the water temple.

They were successful in finding the correct passage. The entrance to the temple of the crushing wave was guarded by two one-eyed devil dogs. The creatures fought viscously using gaze attacks from their one eye to send waves of necrotic damage into Brenn. The tough fighter held the line, however, allowing Puck and Templeton to pepper the creatures with magic missiles and heavy crossbow bolts respectively. Quintus burst into the room and exclaimed, “Someone’s having a party and didn’t invite Tempus!” followed by smashing his greatsword into the central eye of one of the creatures. Brenn likewise scored two massive critical hits with two attacks int the same round.

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Brenn was healed by Quintus after the creatures were slain and the party continued to explore not long after finding a room of water cultists.

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The cultists will have to be dealt with and the larger area explored …

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The Wild Goose Chase

The party continued to track Lizzie in a seemingly hopeless cat and mouse game. Her greater invisibility was keeping her hidden from sight and she always seemed to be a step or two ahead of us. A barrage of magic missiles into Badding gave the party some clue as to the direction, but she was doing a great job of remaining undetected. Templeton used his helm of telepathy to try and detect the wizard’s thoughts but was unable to get within 30 feet of her. He even tried calling her the most terrible names he could think of to try and get her to attack him and give up her position. But she either didn’t hear him or was not fooled. Quintus found signs of blood that he was able to track. At one point he found blood going two different directions. Templeton called out for him to touch the blood thinking one set was illusory. Indeed one of the blood trails whisked away upon Quintus touch. Lizzie was crafty, Templeton had been fooled by her tricks once but was not going to be fooled again.

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Finally Templeton saw her for a moment. He spell had finally run out and she was visible once more. She cursed and ran around a corner. Templeton yelled for Brenn to give chase. He was only to happy to comply. But as he raced around the corner he saw the huge firepit opening up beneath him over the ledge and Lizzie flying across. She laughed at the chasm that was between her and Brenn.

Brenn pulled out his bow and took aim. His first shot went wide right and Lizzie laughed. He lined up the second shot much better and the arrow found its mark sinking deep into her thigh. It was but a flesh wound and the first real damage that had been done to her. But it was enough to break her concentration on the fly spell. With a confused look of despair, Lizzie plummeted to a fiery death into a large pool of lava. Brenn cocked his head to the side and said, “Huh. Well I guess that’s the end of her.”

Templeton ran up behind him and saw the smoke rising from the bloody lava splash. “What a wonderfully delightful end to a most wicked whore. Well done indeed, Brenn. The Daltrey’s always pay their debts. The debt is now paid.”

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The party then went back to the hidden room behind the curtain that housed the Chimera. Inside Templeton found a secret floor plate under a desk which revealed Lizzie’s spellbook. Puck salivated as he looked it over. It contained the following spells:

Firebolt, light, mage hand, prestidigitation, detect magic, mage armor, minor illusion, shield, magic missile, misty step, suggestion, fly, fireball, greater invisibility, wall of fire, immolation, counterspell.

Then the party opened the red door and heard the foul laughter of two horned devils. Badding was first to enter and invoked his Turn the Faithless ability. His ancient words of pure goodness burned the infernal ears of the devils. One of them was so overcome that he ran as far away from Badding as he could get. The remaining devil was so affronted by the horrible ancient words that he focused all his attacks on Badding. Its two pronged fork stabbed into the paladin and its nasty tail cut deep delivering nasty poison to the wound. The horrible wounds bled quite profusely.

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Brenn and Quintus came in and launched attacks on the remaining devil, flanking the creature. Even though they cut deep and Templeton’s bolts struck true, it continued to focus its attacks on Badding by hurling a blast of fire at the paladin. The brave knight went down, releasing the other devil from its turned state. Puck then came into the room and cast banishment. The heavily wounded horned devil disappeared – cast away back to its home plane. But the other fresh devil moved up to attack Puck. The brave little gnome was hurt badly but still was able to maintain concentration on his banishment spell, keeping the other devil away.

Quintus healed Badding but the devil tore into him anew cutting down the Aarokokra. Brenn and Quintus surrounded the devil again and Puck got off to safety down the hall. Brenn used his action surge to make 4 attacks against the horned devil and really cut into him. Templeton continued to shoot from hiding. Quintus used spare the dying spell to stabilize Badding but the magical bleeding wounds continued to bleed. So instead he used a medikit with his excellent medic experience to field dress the wounds and stop the bleeding. Brenn had the final blow cutting down the infernal creature.

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What's behind the Curtain?

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Having finally freed themselves of the endless battles in the infamous hallway, the party decided to further explore the complex. Templeton turned invisible and began sneaking about using his message spell to report back and keep everyone apprised of his explorations. Some empty rooms were discovered as well as some filled with ancient dwarven gears from the times of the Bessilmir. A pool of water was discovered to the west. To the east was a room that smelled of death and another that had some possible treasure. Finally a room was discovered with a curtain in it. Thinking the curtain was hiding something Brenn ran up grabbed a hold and tried to tear it down. Unfortunately he came face to face to the large snout of a chimera’s dragon head which belched forth flame over he and much of the rest of the party.

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The beast then emerged and began to battle with its three different heads. Bashing its horned goat’s head into Badding, biting with its cougar head, and continuing to breath flame with its dragon head. Brenn and Badding tried to flank the creature but found its many heads prevented such tactics from working. Badding received the brunt of the damage after failing a number of saves and being really cooked by the flames.

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Soon 4 little magmen came out from behind the curtain as well. Creatures of pure fire they tried to touch Brenn and Badding to ignite them with more fire. Before entering the fight Puck wisely drank a fire resistance potion and Templeton stayed clear of the fray firing deadly bolts from hiding in the next room. Quintus moved up and lent his sword to the fight as well.

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Suddenly a door opened and out came a human female wizard fire cultist named Lizzie. She lobbed a fireball right in the middle of the party and then ducked back inside her room for cover. After doing this a few times and dropping Badding down with singed feathers to bleed to death, Brenn and Templeton had had enough. They burst into her room but she was nowhere to be found. Out in the main room another spell blast rocked the party. Grumbling, Brenn and Templeton gave chase to their invisible tormentor. Templeton listened carefully and heard her moving out onto the bridge of rock over the chasm. He and Brenn moved quickly out to intercept but found nothing. Puck even sent a lightning bolt sailing down the center of the bridge but it seemingly hit nothing. Then Quintus heard some giggling as another spell blasted down the hallway from the east. A well placed minor illusion of Lizzie had fooled Templeton and the rest. The chimera had been cut down and the 4 magmen destroyed releasing a fiery explosion each time one of them were killed, but Lizzie was still at large.

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Templeton yelled in frustration and called out, ‘Well played my dear. I don’t think we were properly introduced. My name is Templeton Daltrey of the Waterdeep Daltreys. The Daltreys always pay their debts. I must insist that the game is not yet over. A time will come when you think yourself safe and happy and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth and you’ll know the debt is paid."

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New Blood
Hellos and Farewells...

The battle with the Fire Cultists in the dreaded inescapable hallway raged on. Kareep’s summoned Dire Wolves were slain by the cultists. But Puck laid down multiple Ice Storm spells freezing the hell hounds and Salamanders to death. Templeton was in a good potion around a corner laying down deadly fire from Sky Piercer. Kareep had been burned by hell hound breath, skewered by Hot Salamander Spears and shot by fiery bolts from the fire cultists. Kareep finally could take no more and collapsed from his wounds. Suddenly a swirling portal of light appeared next to him. A human in half plate with a sword and wooden shield leaped out followed by a huge Aarakocra in a shining breastplate wielding a large morning star. The Aarakocra screamed, grabbed Kareep’s unconscious body and hurled him through the portal which then suddenly swirled away to mist.

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The human fighter and Aarakocra joined the battle on the side of the party and helped finish off the fire cultists. They fought well. Templeton thought he recognized the human. He was wearing Waterdavian clothing, but he couldn’t quite remember his name. The battle instantly turned against the fire cultists and the party won the day. After some quick healing and searching of the enemies, some introductions were in order.

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Brenn Buckman told Templeton Daltrey that he had been sent here by his father Renton Daltrey. Renn produced a scroll with a hand written note with perfect lettering. Renn read the scroll aloud to the group and did so in a voice that sounded ominously familiar to Templeton.

Templeton,

I am glad to hear you are actually doing something with the little task I put you on, and not drunkenly chasing whores about the night houses for once. But of course, when I received word of your “progress,” I had no idea that your involvement would bring disaster on the little hamlet of Red Larch. SO very disappointing. At first I couldn’t believe it, a no nothing town being laid to waste like that, so I sent your courageous brother to bring me an honest full report. He brought me real information I could rely on and craft a strategy for my trade routes in that area. Upon his successful return and reading the report, I see the situation is far worse than you have led on. IF you want a seat at my table Templeton, you must provide great intel to help the cause. So, it is obvious you will need help, I am sending a trusted scout from one of my last triumphant military campaigns, Brenn Buckman. He has served me well and is very aware of the virtues of Daltrey loyalty. He will do his job so you can do yours. See to it he is paid handsomely for his work, 1,000 GP, because as you know very well, a Daltrey always pays their debts.

Do not continue to disappoint me,
Renton Daltrey

Templeton slapped his hand to his head and exclaimed in exasperation and defeat. He asked if anyone would like a drink, because he certainly needed one. Brenn took the drink of wine offered and drank heartily with Templeton. And in a token of good faith and fellowship, he ignited the blade of his magical flame tongue sword and burned Renton Daltery’s letter away to ash.

Everyone was also quite curious about this new Aarokocra, Badding. Badding explained that according to the Aarokocra, the Elders of the flock in the Star Mounts had a vision that one of their kind would be involved in ending the rise of Elemental Evil in the Dessarin Valley. Knowing of Kareep of Goldenfields, they had been scrying on the party for the last five days. Fearing for the worst they prepared their friend Brenn and one of their finest guardians Badding to intervene if necessary. When Kareep fell they invoked the power of their Deity, the Great Bird in the Sky, creating a portal to save Kareep and send Brenn and Badding to help put an end to the fire cultists.

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Pushing Further into the Fire Temple

With their leader Bastian Thermander dead, the fight went out of the remaining cultists and hobgoblins. Most fought on and were cut down but one of the fire priests tried to escape by using a minor image of himself to distract Templeton and get him to waste a crossbow shot while he snuck across the high heat column area. Puck, however, gave chase wound up close enough to see the cultist from the ankles down escaping up the stairs. That was all Puck needed to unleash a full volley of magic missiles from his wand to blast the life out of him. His limp body flopped down the stairs to finally rest at the edge of heat room in a bloody mess.

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A quick search of the bodies revealed some treasure. Bastian Thermander had a purse of 90 GP and a potion of fire breath. Puck took possession of the potion.

At last the party was able to push further into the fire temple. There they found mostly undefended quarters of hobgoblins, priests, and ogres who had been marshaled by Bastian Thermander to fight against the party in the main hallway. Bastian’s room was smoky and lit by 4 separate coal stoves. Inside was a desk with some writings. They described various ledgers and accounts pertaining to the enslavement of the Azers and Salamanders by Sephabodis Wuwiad Taddaahiz the efreet and their production of weaponry for the cult. Templeton took the damning papers and put them in his pack as evidence.

The party also found stashed away, 3 potions of fire resistance (Quintus, Puck, and Kareep), 1 potion of greater healing (Quintus), and a Stone of Luck (Templeton). There were also 36 SP and 19 GP. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

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A large tunnel to the southwest took the form of a huge bridge that spanned a giant chasm. Kareep used his ranger powers to sniff the air and examine the ground to divine that to the southwest across the chasm were 8-9 humanoids and 4 elementals. To the southeast 6-7 humanoids were detected. And directly east were 4 more elementals.

Another rest was taken in order to get to full strength to confront these threats. All seemed quiet but of course Templeton sprung a trap again in the main hallway. Two fire cultists were waiting for the party with 4 Salamanders and 2 hell hounds.

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The fight was difficult from the start with all attacks being focused on Templeton while everyone else caught up. The hell hounds fiery breath was dodged and evaded by Templeton’s quick reaction but one of the Salmander’s hit him with his red hot spear and grappled him with his constricting tail. Kareep had summoned dire wolves for Puck and Quintus to ride in order for them to keep up quietly. Puck managed to blast the Salamanders and Hell Hound with an ice storm spell. It worked perfectly really hurting the Salamanders who were vulnerable to cold and forming a slippery coating of difficult terrain to slow their advance on the party.

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Kareep’s wolves were able to hold off the enemy while Quintus made his way over to heal the fallen Templeton who had been felled by the Salamander’s deadly spears. After being healed, Templeton was able to dart back down the hall and take cover around the corner. From there he launched many heavy bolts from Sky Piercer that found their mark in the form of deadly sneak attacks. Quintus was in the thick of the fray hewing mightily with FoeCleaver – his Greatsword Sun Blade.

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Bastian Strikes Back...
...But is Finally Laid Low

The party snuck back to the hiding spot they had carved into the rock of the temple using the Claws of the Umberhulk. They took a short rest. After an hour they took some hit dice of healing but heard some voices. Templeton was unable to scan them using his helm of telepathy. All was quite, So Templeton snuck out. The party snuck all the way down to the stairs leading up to the hobgoblin quarters when the trap was sprung.

The party was surrounded by 2 hell hounds, 10 hobgoblins, and 5 fire cultists including Bastian Thermander who had somehow been hiding invisibly right in the area of the party’s hiding spot. A large battle erupted as the party fought to try and get back together and find some cover.

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At one point in the battle Templeton created some cover for himself by using a silent image of a large briar patch. He and Kareep used it as cover. But when Bastian hurled a fireball and the fire did not alter the image at all, the fire cultists saw through the illusion. Kareep was able to slow the advance of the hobgoblins by casting a summon animals spell. He conjured 2 giant octopi that filled the southern hall. The hobgoblins spent many rounds trying to fight their way past, allowing the party to focus on Bastian Thermander.

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And focus they did Bastian Thermander was hit by bolts and Kareep’s lance and Puck even went toe to toe with him while under a blur spell. In the end, Bastian was overwhelmed and fell but not before hurting the party mightily. Although he had fallen the hobgoblins and other fire cultists fought on.

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