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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Session 21, Part 3- Attack on the Midnight Fane

    Ok, last part, I swear!

    First approach of the Midnight Fane
    Nulan has previously gave the party a scroll of greater teleportation and they've seen the entrance through scry spells (We skipped over that). They correlated their arrival with the Queen's little company.

    They appeared near the broken wind swept hill that held the Fane, deep in the Worldwound. Our 4 heroes with Arulashee and Aravash accompanying. They were met by the Queen, Nulan, and her few bodyguards. "They will stay behind, give us some time to attack, covering our backs. Once we strike, demons will most likely come." Nulan started drawing a circle, to summon celestials, and the priest and Aravash started preparing themselves. Nulan, forthe first time, smiled a bit. "We will keep them busy, give you time. Just don't wait too long. My Queen, hurry back. Our army awaits." She herself was enthusiastic, bright, alive. "Once I see the portal closes with my own eyes, I will."

    As their backup started preparing, so did the party. Sena cast loads of buffs, and a circle against evil on Andera (Who had the weakest will save) and... Arulashee. Julian was on her flying carpet, using this as a mode of transportation. She cast echolocation, enabling her to see the outlines of physical surroundings, as to not fully incapacitate her. (I was a little disappointed here, since this spell kind of circumvented her entire blindness, but as this was mostly for roleplay, I agreed. Sh intended to cast this only before combat heavy areas.) Mad Dog flexed his muscles. "Finally! Lets kill something!" Andera however suggested caution, and trying subterfuge. "Lets first see what we're dealing with here..." Arulashee strung her bow, and breathed in deeply, in her true form, feeling ready.

    Queen and Andera leading, they came to the big double doors of the temple, the markings of the old goddess worn out, with markings of the demons new. The doors were not locked, and so they entered. As soon as they did, they felt the energies of the abyss in this place, and heard a great noise from further down the hall. "The portal is near!" whispered the queen, excited. (The abyss exerted some of the influences of the plane, only to a much lesser degree).

    As they progressed a bit deeper (I can't quite put the map of the dungeon, but it's surprisingly small. distances are very near) There was a door to the left, an an opening tot he right, as well as continuing up ahead, with a great noise coming from there. But to ther ight the opening came up to a small platform, with a large statue of Deskari (A bit resembling the gargantuan statue of Deskari they fought taking the citadel of Drezen, only far better made). The statue boomed in a great voice. "Behold the glory of the lord of the locust host!" But did not move. (As per the module).
    Andera: "Well, thee goes our surprise. Golem?"
    They recognized the voice as a magic mouth spell. they were unsure of what to do, and so contemplated for a few rounds, till the incubus from the room beside the golem, came to check out. (These are the lowly workers of Fane).
    The leading incubus was surprised. "Who are you?"
    Andra tried to bluff quickly. "We came to get the Nyhadrian crystals! Bring them to us quickly!"
    In: "Don't you mean elixirs?"
    Julian flew above, looking all powerful and majestic. "This is just my lowly minion, he is sometimes weak of mind, and doesn't know what he speaks. Bring us the elixirs! Now!"
    The incubus was terrified. "Of course, who shall I say sent you?"
    Julian went for full intimidation. "You dare question me?! Do as I said!"
    The incubus groveled. "Of course! Of course! i will go tell Mustafen and Urasthella at once! We thought the next shipment is due in one more week!" and he quickly scrambled away.
    Julian: "This isn't going to work, is it?"
    Andera:" No.... probably not."
    Sena (Sighing): "Here we go again..."
    Mad Dog just smiled widely.

    Battle of the Fane
    As has become accustomed with the party, due to dealing with demons (Who have telepathy you know, and can alert most of the complex quite quickly), and he way I run things, and the way the party likes it, this very quickly turned int one big messy battle that involved all (Well, nearly all, I'll get to that later) forces in the Fane.

    But first things first. Andera reminded them. "Golem?" Julian grumbled "Golem." (In the module the Golem doesn't attack unless attacked or ordered to). With a quick spell, Apparent Monster (Oddly enough, from the last fane they did battle in, under the Lost Expedition) and took control of it. I kinda expected it, though I hoped they forgot this tactic.

    "What do we order it?" asked Andera. Julian thought "Attack any demon that it sees!" The golem raised hs scythe, ready to strike the suddenly terrified Arulashee "Other than her! Other than her!" Shouted Julian quickly. Sena grumbled "This is starting great!" Julian revised the command, not wanting to deal with the golem in battle when it comes. She motioned him to the door the incubi came from. "Don't let anyone come from there!" The golem moved into position.

    "Ok, that got one path covered, we go for the door, or down the hall?" Mad Dog motioned for the big doors down the hall with his sword. "We go for the big noise. It's where all the fun is!"

    Now, at this point I'd like to point out a strange peculiarity in the design of the dungeon, and adventure expectations. The entrance leads STRAIGHT to the main room, where the foundry is, and it even says it makes a tremendous amount of noise. Yet, for some strange reason, the module is written as if it's expected that the party will go through all of the rooms surrounding the foundry (Most of them leading to it as well by the way), before approaching it. Odd, but knowing the party, I kind of expected this approach. They like hitting the main events first.

    And so, with glorious swords held high, Mad Dog and the Queen rushed ahead, and burst the doors into the Foundry's room. This was a fairly big room, at it's center a huge machine, with whirring adamantine blades, churning the tough Nyhadrian Crystals. These were fed to it by a couple of Ash giants, whom the Fane used as cheap labor, from the surrounding hills. There were two more incubi here, moving towards the south wall, though it was empty (The party missed this at first. They were moving to see if Urasthella, behind the secret door might need assistance). But perhaps the most striking feature in the place was the violent, flashing white purple lights and a whirling chaos, portal to the abyss, occupying the full eastern wall.

    The noise was tremendous. Andera, invisible, went straight to one of the giants, cutting it deep with his blades. Arulashee on his heels, coming in and shooting many arrows, hurting the giant some more. Mad Dog and The Queen rushed at the other giant, hitting it fiercely. The enemies not being demons, some of the attacks were less potent than usual, but the damage still massive. Meanwhile, Sena and Julian started to control the combat. Julian cast an ice wall on the western door (From which the rest of the Incubi could come, as well as Mustafen, the Fane's mythic alchemist and his minion. She didn't know all of this of course, but she liked minimizing help, on principle). Sena turned back and blocked the corridor with a thick wall of stone. The battle was isolated, or so they thought...

    The enemies consisted of the has giants and incubi (minions), but 3 other powerful beings- Mustafen, a capable mythic alchemist, Ursathella, a mythic Lamia (I used the improved version from the files Scorpion made, that I mentioned before), and the last... well, you'll see. All three started preparing spells and such in their respective places. The party had a little time to deal with matters.

    With the combined forces of the party, the giants and incubi quickly falls to the blades, arrows and spells of the party. One giant does manage to land a heavy blow on Mad Dog, but the Queen quickly lays her hands on him, healing him of the most damage. She fights well (15ht level paladin, as well as herald powers). Andera, worried about the big machine and it's blades, goes to disable it while invisible. Meanwhile, the incubi try to come from around, but... a Golem awaits, and they hear their terrified (Yet abruptly short) screams. The door there slams, they won't be coming that way. Sena is also alarmed at strong strikes on the wall of stone, as the last Ash giant, who slept in the room they didn't explore at the start, comes after them, and tries to break down the wall. Sena's player is a bit annoyed, and find it important to remind me. "It's a THICK wall." It will give them quite a few rounds.

    Once the enemies are ready though (it takes them about 3 rounds), they try to attack simultaneously. From the west, the ice wall shudders, and suffers damage as Mustafen use his fire bombs on it. From the south the secret door to Urasthella's domain opens, and the Lamia, with many spells around her, comes slithering in. She first shoots a ray of disintegrate at Sena, thinking he is an angel, and hits him! Or not? He uses divine intervention and at the last moment reality reshapes itself and the ray hit the wall, disintegrating part of it.

    yet Above Urasthella, another figure enters, flying majestic, a woman who exudes tremendous power.

    This woman looked... human, not a demon. This worried the group. Sena, using display of intelligence easily succeeded on the knowledge check, and cursed, shouting at Julian: "This is Diana Bearstorm!" This was Julian's mother... (Party: WTF?)

    Diana floated, and her white eyes focused first on Julian. "Dear daughter, You have grown along nicely, but you side with the losing side. Let me show you what true power is!" She uses dominate monster on Mad Dog. (Andera's player: "Wait, isn't that a 9th level spell?" Me: "Why yes, I think it is!" ) Mad Dog manages to save just barely, rolling luckily on his save and mythic surge. (Sena: "Phew! That could have turned real ugly!")

    Julian is confused. "Mother! I will take care of you!" and tries an incapacitating spell, but Diana shrugs it off easily. "Julian, dear daughter, I need no taking care of! You are far beyond the scope of your power!" Sena, who panics a bit, tries to buy more time, and erects another wall of stone, blocking Urasthella and Diana, who screams in frustration. Meanwhile, Mustafen launches another bomb on the wall of ice.

    Mad Dog, The Queen and Sena (Flying) come close to the wall, knowing it will not stand for long. Arulashee positions herself to shoot at whomever comes in first, while Julian... thinks, confused. Andera shouts at the rest. "Give me more time! Nearly there!"

    Urasthella disintegrates the wall, and Mad Dog roars attack her and... misses? Her AC is sky high with all her spells. The Queen however, uses her Justice aura to grant Smite Evil on Urasthella to them all, including surprisingly- Arulahsee. With her hefty bonuses, hitting the Lamia becomes possible. And both Queen and Arulahsee hit her several times. Yet the Lamia hits Mad dog fiercely with her many attacks, wounding him deeply, more worrying then that, her strikes were draining his mythic power! The party raised eyebrows, this is the first time they've seen anything like this. They certainly considered the Lamia a major threat.

    Julian looked at Diana, and concentrated. "What do I see? With this sight?" I was a bit surprised at this, As we've decided on this just at the start of the session, so I was improvising. Thinking quickly, I told the player. "You see nothing there. Not even the flickering of soul like in Sena's case, just nothing there." Julian thought for a moment, and then called out, confused. "Mother, you are an empty shell! I have sought to meet you for so much time, but now, you are as nothing, empty!" This choice of words, though incidental, struck deeply at the core of the matter. Suddenly Diana's features seemed terrified, shocked "How did you know? How did you know?" and Diana gave one scream, and vanished. (Explanation will come later) For now, the party was content to not face her. Though Julian wanted answers!

    Pissed, Julian focuses on Urasthella, who in the meantime acted quite quickly (The Mythic initiative many of the monsters in the campaign have, allowing them to act fully, twice in a round), nearly dropping Mad Dog, if it wasn't for Sena's healing. Julian casts on her Greater Dispel, and takes down some of her spells. Sena, liking the idea, uses the Quicken Rod to cast another greater dispel, taking down her last defenses. Quite more vulnerable, Ursthella is hit by the many arrows of Arulashee, the holy sword of the furious Queen, and she screams in rage. Arulashee is exhilarated, filled with the holy power of the Smite Evil. "This feels good! This feels right!" Sena notices this, and smiles.

    Suddenly the great machine's noise comes to an abrupt stop, and it rattles disfunctioning. Urasthella screams "No! What have you done?!" (Andera: "Well, I just pushed this big red button...") But Mad Dog seems to have had enough, and slices her, cutting snake's body and tail from upper torso. He huffs ab bit, fresh wounds over his body, his mythical power somewhat drained. He looks at Julian and Sena. "Thanks. She was such a pest with those spells on!"

    I decide that with the fall of the main opposition, the rest flee. The Ash Giant stops striking the wall and flees, and Mustafen orders his Mutated flying gibberling minion to draw the golem's AoO, and flees the place. The party doesn't even lays eyes on him!

    As the party breathes in after the short but furious fight, the see some sort of shimmering in the portal, as something invisible passes it, flying. They hear a woman's voice, frustrated, angry, but also afraid. "Not again! Curse you! I will have my revenge!" For a second the party thinks to pursue, but Both Andera and Sena stop the party. "We need to finish here..."

    Aftermath, Minhago and the husk
    This was starting to get late, so instead of a room by room description, I gave the general layout. They find Urasthella's lair, with the shrine to Deskari, they find Mustafen's lab, and destroy the process that makes the elixirs, and they find some of the supplies. Some treasure, but nothing too outstanding. "Loot to sell at Porphyry" Andera mutters.

    They do find a small room, that looked as if someone has just recently moved into it. And behind a curtain they find something... quite odd- what looked like a human sized fleshy husk. Sena, again using Display of Intelligence identifies it for what it is- it is a husk a lilitu demon can use to imprison and suspend the life force of a victim, which the demon can then use to imitate. Julian speaks in a constrained, silent rage. "Lilitu? So this must have been Minhago. And my mother must be in there..." The Queen added "We learned that Minhago was responsible for securing the Wardstone fragment in Kenabres, and that she fell out of grace of Baphomet once you foiled her. I wonder what she does here! Still, if Diana is here..."

    They quickly managed to identify the spells needed to open the husk securely, and managed to do it without killing Diana. As the husk opened, Sena healed the slumbering figure, and she opened her eyes in horror. Julian quickly hugged her. "Mother, it is me, Julian!" The Queen also came to hold her, having known her as a friend. "Diana! You were gone for so long! We have tried looking everywhere for you! We though you died!" But the awakening figure had more pressing, terrified matters on her mind "Minhago! Where is Minhago! You must beware, she..." But Julina comforted her. "She is gone, we drove her away, for now..." Diana, who looked like a broken shell, barely alive, broke into tears. "How.. how long have I been gone?" The Queen supplied the missing information, since about a month after Julian was born. Diana has gone hunting Minhago, after she killed her lover, and has not been seen since. As this was explained to Diana, she looked wonderingly at Julian, not fully comprehending, amazed, confused, at awe. Julian herself was quite distraught, and at an emotional turmoil.

    I was surprised by the group then. "We need to hurry. Alarm has surely reached the surrounding area. We can't Nulan can't hold forever, we need to deal with the portal." Julian was deeply conflicted. She turned to the Queen. "Give me a minute or two. I will be right back, bring Aravash and start without me." And with that she teleported with her mother to Drezen, to Brian.

    Seeing her, Brian's eyes flew open, and he rushed to her. "Diana?" Julian looked at him, at her. "Mother. I have wished to see you for so long..." She looked at her, pained. "Yet I have to leave you again. I have to stop the demons, stop Minhago, Stop all of this. Once and for all. Brian, The Queen, they will take care of you. I hope I will have the time to talk more with you, but this will have to wait. But this... this moment, finally meeting you? It was worth all of the adventuring this far, all the horror, suffering. Mother!"" They hugged for a few long moments, confused moments, charged moments, and then Julian stood up. She looked at Brian, he looked at her nodding. Nothing needed to be said, and she teleported back. Sena came to her "Are you ok?" But Julian was stoic. "Not right now, but I will be. Lets deal with the portal."

    Spoiler: Minhago, Diana's Bearstorm
    Minhago is the recurring villain of this module. As usual, for some reason the recurring villain is met and dealt with before the final villain (Hephazomeh) Of which the characters barely know (Just like Staunton Vhane and the Shadow Demon, and Jerribeth and Xanthir Vang). This continues to confuse me. I am making changes, you will see later I hope.

    By the module, Minhago first appears in the Fane, yet she is too terrified of the party, due to them foiling her plans at Kenabres (I REALLY would have liked there to be some emphasis of that in the first module, it would have made the build up for her so much more... making sense, and not seem coincidental and out of the blue). So she uses Project Image to confront the party. cast through it. In the module, she uses the image of Yaniel, who was the original paladin who wielded Radiance (The mythic sword found on the first module, which Andrew took, and that stayed with him when the characters were changed). But Yaniel would mean nothing for the party. So I decided to use Diana, as a sort of a closure for Julian.

    What I didn't think of, was the time pressure I put the party on. I totally forgot about it, though they didn't. So instead of having some longer time for a reunion, this felt kind of rushed, and "on the way"... I booped a bit here, but I think Julian will find a way to converse with her mother sometime later, though I don't fully know how. At least it makes for a juicy motivation against Minhago!

    Sena asked if this fight was worth a redemption trial for Arulashee. I deemed that it did, yet at the roll she failed again! (The players rolled for her) Sena grumbled. "You gotta be kidding me!" The fight for good, beside the Queen reassured her, but not fully yet.

    The XP for the fight got the party to 13th level! yet they decided to finish with the portal first, and deal with leveling up later.

    Closing the rift

    Aravash came, and the party quickly gathered. Julian explained the ritual again. She would designate them four, the Queen, and Arulashee as the primary participants, and Aravash as a secondary one. The Queen though brought an important question: "If Julian's ritual works, and we close the portal, you will remain on the other side. Aravash and me will rejoin Nulan and teleport from here. But..." The Queen turned to Arulashee. "Where will you go? To the Abyss, or with us?" For once, the Queen did not show such hostility. Arulashee answered with more confidence than before. "It felt good to be under your grace, and to fight alongside you. If you'll agree, I will join you!" and the party agreed! After seeing her in a fight, and with her new resolution, there was no objection.

    so the 5 of them came to the portal, and crossed it. This was not easy, as the energies sought to disrupt them. Weaker creatures it may have stunned, or killed, but not the party, they have entered the abyss, the effects of it's essence affecting them to the full effect. They took a small distance from the portal, and started the ritual.

    Eech participant chose their way to try and unravel the threads joining the planes, and mend them together. But after but a round of concentration, something... someone, moved within the energies of the portal! A great demon, a Mythic Nalfeshee, protector of the Abyss roared "You will not harm the abyss! Insolent fools!"

    Arulashee is the first to respond, critting the demon with a holy outsider bane arrow, damaging it nicely! It howls in pain, and the party gives a cheer. The Nalfeshee creates it's nimbus of chaotic light as a free action, and unleashes a mythic chain lightning on them, with all evading! Thanks to the mythic saves this mean absolutely no damage! Once more the party goes into a little song! Cheeky bastards! Sena recognizes the harmful effects of the nimbus, and warns the party. Mad Dog tries to intimidate the demon (Surprise round, can't get close), and Sena uses Harm on it, but it saves (Sena has faith' reach, enabling him to cast touch spells at a distance).

    As other mythic bosses before, this creature also has Mythic Initiative, and acts before the rest oncem more with the Nimbus stunning both Julian and Andera. The concentration breaks, and the Rift starts to break, and spread! "No!" The Queen shouts. "We must stop it!" The Demon grins at Sena "Nice trick you guys did there with the snake woman, let me try!" And uses greater dispel on Sena, takign down his 3 major buffs.

    Arulashee continues to hit the demon, and he grows angry, flying out of the energies of the portal, and lashes at her with claws infused with powerful abyssal energy (I used the upgraded version from the file) But Sena used divine intervention to block the incoming claw, surprising the demon. With such close proximity, Arulashee held herself against the corrupting power of the demon, trying to affect her soul, but she withstood the test and shook the effect. Sena called at her "If you fall, I will catch you!"

    Sena uses a spell to restore Julian to functionality, while Mad Dog comes to the demon, and hits him hard, twice. The demon turns on him, hitting with both claws, with divine intervention negating one attack. But the other claw is infused with chaotic energies, bringing the effects of touch of chaos (No save), and hefty damage. Mad Dog growls in response.

    The Nimbus catches them again, and stuns Mad Dog, but before the demon attacks him again, the Queen jumps roaring through the portal, and slays it for good. The portal shakes, starting to unravel and grow. "Quickly!" The Queen yells and go back to her position. Sena restore the stunned ones quickly, and they try to control the ritual again.

    The DC is 40. Aravash' bonus manages to counter the effects of the abyssal evil energies. The party all uses mythic surges, and try to close it.
    Andera treats the thing like a complicated magical trap, and uses Disable device, with a total of +32, and succeeds.
    Mad Dog helps noting the energies of the portal with his perception, a total of +24 and succeeds,.
    Sena uses uses knowledge of the planes (Again with Display of Intelligence) for a total of +32 and succeeds.
    Julian casts dispel evil, concentrating on amending the portal, for a total of +44 (With Display of Charisma) and succeeds.
    The Queen uses Dispel Evil too, with a +36, and succeeds.
    Arulashee uses UMD with a +32, but fails, with the portal taking some of her life force (1 Permanent level).

    It takes only 4 successes to make it, and the party manages to stop the portal from coming out of control, 4 rounds before it happens! With the threads between worlds being unwoven, and then being mended, the rupture closes quickly. The Group sees the Queen raising her sword high, exhilarated, shouting for victory, before the portal closes finally.

    The lights are off, there is only the lonely cave. They are in the Abyss, The Midnight Isles now...

    Small, but important final note: I deemed this another trial of redemption- participating in the closure of a portal between worlds. As Sena restores her lost level, he sees a new light in her eyes. She progressed one mroe step! (2/4 points of redemption). Sena's player: "Sweet!"

    Each person's XP: 361,366!
    We finished here. It was long (9 hours or so) and very satisfying session! The players really liked it, and despite some of the focus being on Julian, all quite loved the visions and her change. I think they also like the step up in matters of challenge- visiting the abyss, how to manage in a city full of demons, Dealing with a demon lord, and so on... It feels a whole new level of epic, which got their attention I think!

    FINALLY caught up! For those of you who have waited and read, thank you. I apologize for the long delays, but life can cause delays. I hope you liked the read. Our next session is in next Friday (14/8/2015), and the party is mostly concerned with the level up, and a bit with plans. (nothing too concrete).

    That's it, I'm gonna go have fun with my friends now. Thanks for reading!
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2015-08-05 at 12:20 PM.

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