Apocalyptica

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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Disapointment
Burn them... Burn them all...

Thinking that Gar Shatterkeel was just past the next door, the party quickly healed up using a combination of spells from Badding and Quintus along with some greater healing potions and healing potions. Templeton once again cloaked himself in the guise of One-Eyed Shiver and opened the door. He frowned as yet another hallway stretched out before him. Intent on finding Gar Shatterkeel safely, Templeton cast invisibility upon himself as well and explored the passageway. There were basically two doors. He tried the first one and found a guard room. Inside were 2 priests and 2 reavers sleeping on their bunks. Templeton left those enemies sleeping. The party did not want to engage them and possibly weaken themselves in the process. They could wait. Gar Shatterkeel was the target. He had to be beyond the other door because Templeton found it warded by a glyph of warding.

Quintus had a dispel magic spell at his disposal to remove the glyph. But his cursed plate armor of clanging and banging would most likely wake up the sleeping guards. So he sat down on a blanket and Bren and Badding dragged him down the passageway past the door with the sleeping guards and down to the warded door. Quintus cast his spell and with a few good words to Tempus melted the ward away.

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Templeton opened the door and slipped in invisibly. His heart sank as he saw an empty room with a staircase leading down into the darkness. Where was Gar Shatterkeel? The party was very disappointed. It seemed all that preparation was for not. As Puck entered the room, suddenly a large figure rose up out of the darkness of the stairway leading down. It was a huge Hezrou.

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The foul creature’s stench immediately began to fill the party with dread as it demanded the password. Puck guessed incorrectly and the Hezrou said incorrect as it was joined by another Hezrou to attack Puck. Puck was mostly missed miraculously and replied by casting a banishment spell. But both Hezrou helped by their magic resistance managed to save versus the spell. Badding then stepped forward and spoke holy words that burned the Hezrous’ infernal ears. One of the creatures grew frightened of the paladin and ran away down the stairs. That left only one to deal with.

Templeton fired a few bolts into the creature from hiding. Brenn had trouble with the creature’s stench but managed to cut into it with his sword. Quintus got some swings in on the Hezrou but it was Brenn who finally cut down the demon.

Puck sent Hedwig down the staircase to see if there was another level but the stairs seemed endless. Hedwig flew 100 feet and could see another 120 and only saw darkness beyond that. Frustrated the party reigned to burn them… burn them all… They went back to the room with the sleeping guards. Puck woke them up with a fireball that filled the room. As the staggered out of bed aflame and the midst of a raging inferno, Puck let loose another fireball killing them all. The smoke was severe as everything flammable in the room was ablaze.

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Badding flew through the smoke to stand by the arrow slit leading the rest of the complex. He used his magic to control the winds and blow the smoke away from the arrow slit. The party then went back to the Hezrou room and found the Hezrou who had been turned by Badding was back. The party attacked it in combination and killed it quite quickly.

Resigned to the fact that they would not find Gar Shatterkeel here, Quintus used his Claws of the Umberhulk to tunnel through a rubble strewn area nearby. He created a hidey hole that the party used to take an extended rest in. Fully rejuvenated, the party prepared to possibly go down the stairs.

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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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