Temple of Elemental Evil Session Eighteen – August 16, 2003
DM: Rick Smith
Hex Cade lvl 4 Barbarian lvl 4 Psion Earth Genasi – Dan Forrest
Falkner lvl 4 Barbarian lvl 4 Rogue Tiefling – Barbara Kalberg
Drachalt lvl 6 Druid Silver Half Dragon Half Elf – Tom Blossfeld
Vishana lvl 2 Rogue lvl 2 Fighter Pixie – Jon Rosen
Zohi lvl 9 sorceror half-elf – Ken Marin
Bubba left, deciding he had a better chance of living a long life if he kept far away from this particular group of adventurers. The party chooses a heart-shaped room to rest up and wait for Zohi to return. The watches are Drac, Falk and then Hex. It is during Hex’s watch that all hell breaks loose. Looking down the two corridors, Hex sees immense lions with short manes and tawny coats. The critters have bony protusions around their eyes and running down their backs. Hex yells bloody murder and slams Earthcleaver’s haft into the ground at his feet initiating immovability. Liquid earth wraps up around Hex’s legs, moving with him, and stalagmites rise from the ground to guard him. Unfortunately the two creatures dice right through the earthy barriers, wounding him badly. Hex also smells a brimstone scent, and sees a troglodyte casting a spell beyond the vicious monsters.
Vishana and Drac wake up. Drac looks at the critters and identifies them as fiendish dire lions. Vishana flies up to the ceiling, 15’ above the ground. Drac initiates a wall of empathy against the lions, but it could take a while. Falkner stands up and draws his sword. The lions advance into the room, snarling and snapping and mostly missing. One snaps at Vishana… it looks like they can detect her. Vishana flies past the lions and trog, hitting each one a quick swap with her dagger. Hex initiates biofeedback and moves behind Drac for shelter. Drac refuses to be helpful, and moves out of the way of danger. Scaly swivels behind the fire. Falkner cleaves into the lion before him, giving it a severe cut. The power of Falkner’s first attack puts him off balance, though, and his follow up is a miss. The lion swipes a claw at Falkner and teaches him not to mess with an angry kitty. A lion advances on Hex, and they exchange vicious blows.
The trog casts a spell and a globe of radiation spreads out from him… and suddenly Vishana becomes visible. Vishana, looking down on the Trog, notices that one of its legs is misshapenly demonic, with a nasty claw that scrapes along the ground. Looks like this Trog is rather demonic. Vishana flies over its head, taking an attack of opportunity. She flits across the room, spins acrobatically in mid-air and casts a dispel magic on it, shattering some of its magical enhancements. Hex full out attacks the lion in front of him, making two slices which, on the backswing, sever the monster’s head cleanly enough to make trophy material for later on. Drac uses his sword to range touch attack the trog spellcaster, while Scaly swivels back behind Hex. Falkner cleaves into the lion in front of him, enraging it. Falkner is hit by a double claw attack, and a second lion smacks him upside the head from behind.
Vishana fires twice at the lion in front of Hex. This distracts it long enough for Hex to cut into it with two vicious swipes of Earthcleaver, pinning the monster’s skull to the floor, its brains thoroughly smashed. Drac swings his sword and bites at the trog, but both attacks miss this hoss. Falkner expertly downs a third lion, but misses the fourth… a severe mistake. The monster takes advantage of the moment and hits Falkner with a claw and a bite, grappling him in its jaw and raking with its rear legs. Falkner’s Sword of Earth glows, and some of the horrible claw wounds heal up. Vishana fires arrow at the grappling lion, taking advantage of its lack of attention. Hex comes up from behind and stabs at the lion as well, but it isn’t a solid hit.
The trog swipes twice at Drac with a sword and bites as well, one sword blow and the bite taking a piece of flesh from our intrepid reptile friend. Drac fights back, missing twice again. Falkner tries to escape from the grapple and is unable. Falkner gets savaged again. The trog strikes at Drac again, hitting twice again. Vishana swings into a better position and two more arrows streak into the monster’s hide… but the lion’s enthusiasm and having Falkner in its jaws keeps it alive. This enthusiasm is short-lived, however, as Hex severs the critter’s spine. Zohi suddenly arrives out of the dark, spots the demonic trog, and lets loose with magic missiles, peppering the foe. Scaly tries to bite the trog but the expert monster uses its club demon leg to block the attack. Falkner drops out of the dead lion’s maw, tumbles in behind the Trog, surprising it completely with a critical hit, severing the deadly trog’s neck in one move.
The party rests up fully, and decides to ascertain where the lions originated from. Drac and Falkner take the lead, using Scaly’s help to backtrack the violent beasts’ path. The party passes through familiar ground, including the bebilith summoning circle. Investigating a pair of side rooms, there is a room resembling a nest more than a bedchamber, full of rotting food, jagged metal, feces and other crap. There is a burrow-mound in the center of this junk, which Vishana flies in to search. Hex waits in the corridor. In the second room there is a brown and black spiral rug and white walls, a small bed, dresser and incense burner. Falkner gives the room a shake-down, discovering that the bed is a bed of nails, and there are a few whips in the dresser. Obviously this guy had some interesting habits. Afterwards, Scaly heads towards the double-doors.
Falkner looks around as the party travels, spotting a rough-hewn cavern off to the side with other openings. The cavern is full of sarcophagi decorated with temple symbols, skulls and other stuff. The walls are carved with pictures of warriors, bat-winged demons and other stuff. There are tons of carvings in front of the closed and barred heavy gates. Beyond the gates is another bridge to the center. Hex spins and marches up the nearby hall, swinging the door open. Hex surprises four gnolls and two ogres… boy are they in trouble. There is a rope hanging from the ceiling. As Hex rushes into the room, one of the ogres yanks the rope… a heavy weighted net drops from the ceiling at Hex… but Hex has too much forward momentum… Earthcleaver swats the net aside, Hex flies forward and in a battle fury he downs all four gnolls in one vicious sweep. “Hi there.” He says, grinning at the two startled ogres.
The rest of the party arrives in the room. The two ogres move forward, and one swats Hex with a humongous club. Hex responds, slicing off the creature’s arm and killing it with his second blow. Drac strides bravely forward, sidestepping an attack of opportunity, and stabs the second Ogre. Falkner lets loose on the poor monster, disemboweling it.
A strange stone statue depicting a horse head mounted on a square block sits in the center of the next room. The statue is mostly smashed and there are lots of bones and junk on the ground. Hex begins pushing the statue forward, scraping it along the floor. Up ahead there is the symbol of the fire temple engraved on the ground. Drac investigates the southern passage, hearing a trickle of water up ahead despite the loud stone on stone grinding noise that Hex is making. Falkner is checking out to the north… Falkner sees another chamber and some doors up ahead. Drac finds a pool at the end of his corridor, with water running constantly down the wall and into it. Hex finishes pushing the statue onto the red fire diamond. Nothing happens. Hex kicks the statue.
Returning to the previous rooms, there is a barracks room. The next room is a pantry, where the party is able to restock on food. Next the party turns back to the sarcophagus room. Hex strolls into the room and kicks a sarcophagus open. A diaphanous, ethereal elven female turns ghostly angry eyes up at Hex. Hex isn’t surprised.
Drac looks at the situation, realizes that this is a major problem. He decides that even though Hex is in the way, the party needs to deal with this now. He calls a flame strike down on Hex and the four specters… all four of them take major fire damage. Hex is not feeling particularly good. At the same time, five inky blots of shade arise from other sarcophagi… the situation is not looking good. Hex skates for his life, breaking away from the undead groupies and heading down an unknown passage. Up ahead is a second passage with two more sarcophagi and a black zigguraut suspended by a chain from the ceiling. Zohi steps back and launches a fireball into the midst of the undead… unfortunately the specters’ ethereal nature saves them, but three of the dark shapes erode in the light of Zohi’s flames.
Vishana attempts to effect the undead with her connection to Pelor, but she is not close enough to her deity to impress. Falkner swings at the specters but isn’t able to hit them… Drac withdraws… Hex runs like hell though a series of sarcophagi-laden scary rooms… running blindly into the unknown, hounded by two shades, and in dangerous danger. Up ahead are two statues guarding the passage ahead… they look suspiciously nasty. Meanwhile Zohi launches a second fireball at the specters, burning one to oblivion but giving Falkner some damage in the process. Vishana attempts to turn again and once again it is futile. Incredibly, Falkner actually hits one, ripping a ragged hole through its chest, but the monster is still alive. Falkner is smacked by a shadow for four points of strength damage. Hex is dispirited to see two shadows emerge after him. He quoffs a healing potion and turns to face his foes.
Zohi magic missiles another specter, taking it down. Vishana finally manages to turn the remaining shadow fighting the party. Two specters are still there. Drac, who fled from the party in the form of an eagle, spins and turns back into form… Scaly stays safely far from battle. The two shadows on Hex attack… he just manages to keep away from their touches, but he is unable to hit them either. Zohi steps back and magic missiles one of the specters, but it still stands. Falkner changes this situation immediately, however, severing the spirit’s connection to this plane. Vishana attempts to turn again, and discovers she cannot effect such powerful undead. Hex is drained two points of strength, but he manages to destroy one of the two shadows. Zohi summons a wall of fire which incinerates the final specter. After being viciously strength drained, Hex finishes off the last shadow chasing him.
While the party is resting up in town, Vishana turns into a bear and starts opening sarcophagi… one sarcophagus lands her a curse of some kind. Vishana opens the last three sarcophagi and finds a magical rapier, that everyone is scared to touch. Vishana picks it up. It is a +1 shock rapier.
The next room is 30’ wide… the walls of the cavern glitter as if wet.. There is only one sarcophagus here, atop a dais. There is a squat demon statue sitting atop the sarcophagus. Next to the dais is a bronze human warrior statue, green with age and holding a greatsword. A shallow pool 10’ across sits in front right to the sarcophagus. Hex begins slowly creeping into the room. Suddenly the water level begins to rise in the pool, seeping across the floor, and the statue swivels and points its sword at the intrepid delusional hero. Magic missiles slam into Hex from the sword, getting him quite upset indeed.
Drac casts barkskin on himself. Woof. Woof. Vishana tumbles through the air past the statue and into the far corner of the room. Falkner tumbles into the room and attacks the statue after his sword advises him to do so. Falkner’s attack does some damage, and the thing’s head swivels to stare at him. The statue stabs Falkner in return. Hex vents at the statue, Earthcleaver punching holes in the aged bronze. Drac does something inconsequential. Vishana uses her new toy on the statue’s head, dinting it. Falkner attacks again, causing the statue to crumble.
Falkner discovers a message in common on the sarcophagus: The greatest of us, gone but not slain.
“We can fix that.” Remarks Drac.
Falkner touches the sarcophagus and the demon statue speaks: This is the resting place of [some dude] who is joined with the master.
Hex destroys the statue in a characteristic display of Hexocity.
Hex tries to open the sarcophagus, but is unable to! It won’t budge, even with Falkner helping. Drac casts detect magic and sees that the sarcophagus is glowing. Hex checks around in the water, and turns back to the sarcophagus. When his wet hands touch the lid, there is a click. Hex, Drac and Falk work together to open the sarcophagus. Inside is a black vortex of energy moving back and forth. It looks like a curtain of energy… filling the entire bottom of the sarcophagus. It is impossible to tell how deep it is. Drac tosses a piece of rock into the blackness, and four ethereal marauders pop into existence. Drac, unimpressed, takes a step back and flame strikes them out of existence. Hex tries tossing another rock into the blackness, but nothing shows up.
Zohi summons a fiendish hyena and makes it hop into the darkness… it doesn’t come back. Hex gets into an argument with Earthcleaver. First Earthcleaver wants Hex to attack Zohi, but Hex wins the contest of wills. Then Earthcleaver wants Hex to reach his hand into the inky darkness… this time the weapon wins, and Hex obeys… he plunges his hand in and pulls it right back out. Hex feels a taint on Earthcleaver… but when he steps out of the room, the taint disappears. Zohi, not to be outdone, sticks his hand in the darkness… and disappears!
Zohi appears before the huge black gate, surrounded by four ethereal marauders… and quite alone. Zohi casts a wall of fire in a circle around him, killing all four of the critters in one blow. At this point Falkner and Drac dare each other to jump in. The two of them stupidly answer their dares, and both disappear into the blackness, joining Zohi in the dark entrance to Tharizdun’s prison. This leaves Hex and Vishana and Scaly in the room by themselves. Hex advises the pixie to wait and not chase after the companions.
A fire trap explodes on Hex, who is in the lead again for some reason. There is a gong sound up ahead… it looks like the place is on alert. Hex initiates skate and biofeedback. An iron brazier swings from a chain 8’ above the floor, and there is a brass hammer hanging next to it. Under it, in the center of the cave, is a 10’ diameter iron plate cupped like a huge bowl. Rising from the bowl are two creatures with muscular humanoid upper bodies, hawkish faces, and serpentine scaly lower bodies… the critters are wreathed in fire. Also crawling out of the dish is a powerfully built dog with glowing red eyes and blackened fur. The dog immediately jumps forward and breathes fire at Falkner and Vish, but both dodge out of the way.
The salamanders swivel forward and miss Falkner. Hex grows large. Falkner attacks the closest salamander, killing it with two blows. Drac summons a lightning bolt on the hellhound, electrifying it. Drac then moves forward and hits the doggie a swordblow. The dog snaps back, missing terribly. Scaly hangs out. Vish sweeps through the two opponents, missing twice. Drac is missed. Hex swings over Drac’s head, critically hits for a whopping 68 points of damage on the poor salamander, rocking its world and killing it super doper dead. Falkner steps forward and slams the doggie into deadness.
Hex sees the two statues he was scared of earlier, from the other side. He skates over and starts smashing them from the corridor. Meanwhile Falkner drops water into the brazier, which boils immediately. The brazier is very hot. Hex suddenly gets cursed by destroying the statue… a bleeding curse that causes him to lose a hit point per round. Hanging his head in shame, Hex has Zohi teleport him back to town for a remove curse from the St. Cuthbert priest. Hex grumbles, is cured, and Zohi teleports him back to the action.
Meanwhile the party finds a huge carved dragon with glistening eyes which guards a metal box, all of this in a side-chamber. There is also a red curtain drawn across the main corridor up ahead. Vishana looks into the dragon cave and sees a glyph carved into the floor. Falkner gets the fool notion that he should disable the device. After some deliberation, he thinks he’s disabled it. To test the hypothesis, Falkner strolls into the room, and a giant scythe swings out of the floor, missing the able Falkner. Falkner sees that there is a series of small pressure plates on the floor… he takes a moment to disable these. Vish flies over to the dragon and ascertains that the eyes are emeralds. Drac opens the box, to find a golden orb sets with pieces of amber, worth 1000 gp. There is also a book which shows what looks like an eye of blackness.
Beyond the curtain is a lavishly set bedroom with beautiful furniture. A large wooden chest sits against the west wall. The room is 20’ wide and extends for about 30’, before arriving at another curtain. The walls have been painted with red streaks to simulate dancing flames. Vishana beats the lock on the chest, springing it. Falkner listens at the second curtain and definitely hears some muttering/gibberish. In the chest are a heavy mace, a copper tube, an ivory box with carvings of nude men and women, a bag, a rolled up piece of paper, and another folded piece of paper. Falkner looks out from under the curtain as quietly as possible… on the other side is a lavish torture room fully stocked with everything acme could come up with.
Vishana casts detect magic and sees that the copper tube is magical. Vishana checks the letters… the usual stuff… finding the “champion” to fulfill the prophecy, etc. Is that Hex? Vishana unrolls the other paper and finds a map. Zohi opens the curtain and then the iron maiden… a human male, alive but quite demented, falls out of the terrible device. Zohi calls Drac into the room, who proceeds to cast cure light wounds on the victim. Falkner notices that there is another passage leading out from the torture room. Vishana finds some more treasure.