DM: Rick Smith
Hex Cade lvl 5 Barbarian lvl 5 Psion Earth Genasi – Dan Forrest
Arian Zephyr lvl 7 Monk lvl 5 Holy Liberator – Barbara Kalberg
Drachalt lvl 9 Druid Silver Half Dragon Half Elf – Tom Blossfeld
Calan Feathertouch lvl 10 Rogue lvl 2 dungeon delver elf – Jon Rosen
Zohi lvl 12 sorceror half-elf – Ken Marin
Well, Hex can’t remember whether the party is heading up or down next, but he does vaguely recall that if the party reaches a library, they are going in the correct direction. After some deliberation, the party decides to go down. Zohi pushes the button and suddenly finds himself in a torture room. Apparently there are unhappy people here, and a 7’ creature made of earth and encased in armor, toting a bastard sword and a steel shield. A male elf and a male human are strapped to the racks, and a saucy female is manacled to the wall… oh, and some female orc also.
Hex initiates Force Screen and pushes the button, appearing next to Zohi. Arian also shows up. At that moment the villain disappears. Hex and Arian continue to power up and move towards the buttons as Drac and Zohi see about saving the prisoners. Calan and Arian teleport to the next level down. A huge map is on the ground, depicting most of the continent. Above the map are two iron poles and more poles behind them. A strange statue of black and purple stone of writhing tentacles and serpents sits across the room. Yrthuk is in the room, and as he gestures the statue takes on a vague humanoid shape, apparently made of stone. The intrepid heroes spring into action!
The stone golem reaches forward ponderously and smacks Zohi up. Calan is struck by Yrthuk Innar, and Calan feels some of his endurance sucked out. Hex attempts to expend his psionic focus on the monster, but misses with that attack. His follow up does some damage, but not much. Meanwhile Arian cuts into Ythruk, hitting three times, while Calan takes an attack of opportunity in as well. The two heroes take the dude down, hard. The golem fixes Hex with a stony gaze, magically slowing his actions. Hex hastes himself and attacks back at normal speed, missing twice, but the Golem misses Hex as well. Drac steps forward and hits once. Hex misses twice. Drac goes into extreme action and does a small amount of damage. Hex and Arian work together to hit a few times. After a few more slow rounds of pummeling, the creature finally crumbles to dust.
The prisoners: a male elf cleric of Ehlonna, Tammy and Jeer (townsfolk from Rastor.) The party makes sure the prisoners are organized and somewhat self-sufficient, and then they continue on their merry quest. The center of the next room has a dark sun on the ground. The room is clearly a library. One book registers extreme evil. It is the book of vile darkness! Unfortunately, no one in the party is evil, so it isn’t particularly useful to us. Hex and Drac step into sublevel four. There is one item only… a pedestal of black basalt carved with demons doing terrible things. There is a clear black bowl filled with the blackest of liquids sitting on top of the pedestal. Hex and Drac consider it. Finally the party decides that Calan, who can emulate being evil, should use Hex’s old treasure scepter to scoop the thingee out of the yuck. Calan, after many tries, finally succeeds in getting the golden sphere talisman of pure good out of the bowl.
A multi-colored stone rises from floor to ceiling, wider at top. The stone is transclucent enough to see the other side of the tower as dark shapes. Six doorways of ochre light stand around the room. An ebony cabinet is on the far side of the room, a single candle sits atop it. In the cabinet are ten small flasks that are clearly magical. They are filled with a purplish mist. The next level is 30’ high and half filled with the widening stone column. A few large gray feathers are strewn about the room, and the place stinks of rotten meat. Two Vrocks squawk in greeting.
Hex says hello as well, by hitting the first Vrock with his good-aligned Earthcleaver. The Vrock fights back, claw and talon scraping off of Hex’s stoneskin. The Vrock releases a foul cloud of spores on Hex, which doesn’t bypass his stony skin. Arian steps up and casts magic circle of protection against evil on Hex. Drac brings a flame strike down on the Vrock heads doing some holy damage. One of the Vrocks attacks Hex all out, while the other lets loose a horrendous terrible piercing screech. Luckily, everyone makes their saves. Calan and Zohi take down the first Vrock with a sneak attack followed by a magic missile. Hex maneuvers behind the second vulture demon and Drac moves to flank it.
The Vrock spins and attacks Hex a lot, but misses a lot as well. More spores twist into Hex’s stoneskin, but fail to penetrate. Arian attacks from behind, and then Calan does the same, achieving a critical. Hex puts the smack down on the remaining Vrock, and Calan the opportunist follows up, killing the foul demon.
The next level is taken up almost entirely by the giant stone cone rising from the floor from the last two levels. Calan sees dark shapes floating within the stone. Calan falls unconscious. At Zohi’s word Hex grabs Calan’s body by the ankle and drags him down the stairs, which doesn’t do wonders for his nose. Hex thinks it is wise for him to go up next, but his companions convince him that better the monk should go. She feels the place is despicable and utterly tainted with evil. She sees a couple of humans, an elf, a trog, etc. floating and drifting inside the stone. When Arian uses the candle from below, the terrible evil of the room does not have an effect on her. Unfortunately, the candle doesn’t actually have anything to do with the effect, so each person ends up making a will save anyway when they reach the top.
At this point both Drac and Calan don’t look all that hot, so the party retreat to the first floor and rest up under the watch of the released prisoners. Calan, Arian and Drac fall asleep… and find themselves in the dream plane, each alone, and each facing a terrible nightmarish old woman with horns coming out of her head. Each hero begins a private battle within the dreaming while Zohi (on watch) and Hex (who as an outsider doesn’t sleep) remain blissfully unaware of the desperate life and death private struggles. Each of the three heroes wins their battle. Not knowing what his dreams have in store, Zohi falls asleep and meets his personal bad grannie as well. Zohi is unable to defeat his inner demon, and he ends up losing a point of con… permanently.
Hex finds a hideously ugly woman… everyone recognizes her except Hex. Nonetheless, Hex decides to smack the old gal in greeting. Eager to take vengeance for the last night’s bad dreams, the party launches into a full frontal attack, killing the creatures with minimal problem. At that point Drac makes a very strange decision and quoffs one of the drinks and steps into the stone… discovering seven floating clerics of Tharizdun. The longer he stays inside, the louder the voices grow… Drac judiciously decides to leave the stone before he gets absorbed.
The sixth level has the words carved into the floor: “the dark god’s favor smiles upon those willing to risk much in order to gain much.” A voice calls out from the other side of the multicolored stone in a gravestone voice: “come around here friends, and see if the fortune of the deity smiles upon you.” On the other side of the stone is a skeletal figure wrapped in a black robe with a gold crown sitting on him. On a violet stone table spread before him are a number of cards. It is a classic deck of many things. Hex steps forward and decides to play.
Hex steps forward and chooses two cards, one for each of his portfolios, earth and healing. His first card he takes from the center, representing the earth domain and his current place in the world. Hex picks ruin, and loses all his material non-magical possessions. He then draws a card at the top to signify his coming ascension towards godhood and his healing portfolio… it is the jester, which gains him 10,000 XP.
Zohi picks the jester, which grants him 10,000 XP. Zohi’s second draw grants him 50,000 gp in gems. On Zohi’s final pick he draws “talons.” Zohi loses all of his magic items… including the cursed amulet… a mixed blessing.
Drac chooses four cards… his first card is ruin… he is now broke, like Hex. Next Drac draws the star… and gains +2 to an ability score. Drac draws the moon… he gains four wishes, that he must use in the next four minutes. He uses two wishes to add the icy burst ability to his weapon, and then he uses two more to add two more points to his dex. Drac’s final draw is the Vizier… one request or insight may be gained within the next year… Drac had picked the four corner cards, one for each of the four elements.
Calan decides to pick three cards, as it is simply his lucky number. Calan picks “Donjon”… and immediately disappears, imprisoned by some powerful extraplanar force.
Arian chooses a number of cards to draw randomly… and chooses two. Arian loses all of her magic items… a rather big disaster, although at least she had passed the talisman of pure good onto Hex before it had happened. Arian’s second card is the Vizier, the same card Drac drew previously.
Arian goes down to the prisoners and discusses the option of playing the card game. The cleric and the monk are willing to play. First the monk, clearly not understanding the gravity of the situation, chooses to draw six cards. He starts out well, gaining copious levels and a monk’s belt… but then death appears on one of the draws and kills the poor insane monk dead. The cleric steps up to the plate and draws “donjon” on the first draw… and he is gone, just like Calan. Fate is fickle today, it seems!