DM: Rick Smith
Hex Cade lvl 1 Fighter lvl 5 Barbarian lvl 6 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
Calan suddenly reappears! He looks the same except for some extra tattoos on his head… his rapier is gone, but he has a dark black star-speckled rapier. Zohi sends Toady up the stairs to check out the next level. Toady flies silently up the stairs, Zohi scrying in order to see a 10’ radius around his familiar. The area curves around the central multi-colored stone. There are one foot plates set in a path, each bearing the symbol of the dark god… the rest of the floor is iron. There are a pair of tapestries and a door with a huge skull etched into the iron and filled with a reddish material. A flood, a tornado, an earthquake and a burning building are depicted on the tapestries.
As Hex considers whether to step onto the stones or not, Drac helpfully pushes him out onto it. Luckily, nothing happens. Hex tromps across the room carefully keeping to the path. No one will open the door, and Hex starts to get impatient. He pushes the door open to find an area covered in tapestries, all depicting a single figure wandering alone in a terrible location. The tapestries are apparently gates to the outer planes… and not the friendly ones. The far end of the room has a small shrine with a small wooden box like a miniature coffin, and a single tallow candle. An inscription next to the candle reinforces the idea: the enemies of the dark god will die alone and unmourned like an unused candle. Hex and Calan head up the stairs while Zohi pokes around the altar in casual magical disinterest.
At the top of the stairs is a triangular room, one quarter of the level. A platter made of steel with a carved demon on one side looking greedily down into it sits on a table in the center of the room. There isn’t anything in the bowl, however. Two doors lead from this room. Calan steps out into the room and something begins to glow at his feet! Calan suddenly goes running crying out insane down the stairs into Hex’s arms.. Hex catches him and pinions his arms, despite his invisibility. Hex looks up at the top of the stairs and sees a strange mind-bending symbol on the ground… a symbol of insanity. Luckily, Hex is already a little bonkers and the symbol does not affect him (made his will save.) Calan comes back to his senses due to his new magic sword, and manages to disarm the glowing rune.
Hex opens the door and is splashed in the face with acid. He’s used to this sort of thing, though… practically does this as ablutions each morning, so he opens the door, unaffected. A wall of water stands directly behind the door. The room beyond has a grotto in it. Behind the other door is an enormous bed stained with blood. Two dead bodies are on the bed. Two silver circular plates hang from the walls on either side of the bed, flanking a hanging inverted pyramid above the bed. Knives and tools are scattered around the room. Standing in the room is a female figure with dancing wild hair.
Hex pushes through the magical barrier surrounding the room and hits the woman with his glaive, declaring “State your name and know that you will now be chastened by the great gawd Hex Cade!! You may surrender at any point.” Calan attempts to push into the room but the barrier repels him, eating away at his life energy. Zohi flits into the room successfully but toady lets out a burp and is pushed from his shoulder, flopping wetly onto the ground in the previous room. Zohi positions himself. “Hex Cade, presumed god, I am the third, and have not been known by anything but that for a long time.” She casts a spell defensively and steps forward to touch Hex. She hits and Hex feels a terrible energy course through him, but he manages to stave it off… a slay living spell! Hex grins and stares at her with cold, unblinking eyes.
Drac bounces off of the barrier, unable to get into the room. Arian tries to attack the girl from behind but misses. Drac readies an action to flame strike if she should attack. Hex readies an attack as well. Calan gets into the room and moves to her side, taking an attack of opportunity… her weapon freezes Calan’s blood but he steels himself and strikes back, causing her to block his blow but not doing damage. Zohi targets the gal and does a greater dispel. It looks like some of the gal’s spells unravel.
The third begins casting defensively and Hex and Drac launch into action. Hex smacks her with Earthcleaver and Drac calls down a flame strike on her head. Miracle of miracles, the spell is disrupted! Arian strikes her in the back and then Calan goes medieval, sneak attacking and doing a critical hit! Amazingly, she is still standing after the attack, but she looks bad. Zohi blasts her with an empowered scorching ray for three solid hits, killing her in an overly serious manner.
In the next room whips hang from pegs and manacles are on the walls. An iron maiden and a steel desk covered with papers and books is here, along with a chest covered by a red and gold cloth. As Calan walks into the room something begins to glow below his feet. A burst of dark energy spreads through the room and smacks both Calan and Hex. Both heroes die… but Calan is rescued by Drac and Hex’s soul is sucked into Earthcleaver.
The party retreats and rests. During the night a new character joins the group, a goblin named Goriah, the one true follower of Hex Cade. The next morning they make their introductions and proceed.
At the top of the tower is a room of complete darkness. The rounded black walls are visible. Two tall pillars support the ceiling, each intricately carved with tentacles, skulls, etc. Two side altars are regular black slabs, with a main grand altar in the middle that is lumpy and misshapen. Behind it is a huge two step upside down pyramid. It is extremely cold. Behind the altar is an old human male wearing full-plate, a large steel shield, a helm and a short rod in his hand that seems to be alive. The First.
Drac peeks up there and stops in his tracks, slack-jawed. The wolf charges up the stairs at Goriah’s command and also stops, stuck. Goriah attempts to curse the guy and is unable to. Arian attacks, hitting armor class 30, which is not good enough. Zohi flies into the room and throws a dispel magic on the foul wizard, which may have removed one spell. Everyone in the room takes cold damage and needs to avoid being beguiled by dancing ghostly shapes around the altar.
Drac snaps out of his beguilement and springs into action. He quickly hides behind a column and flame strikes the first, which does a small amount of damage because Zohi had apparently wiped out his spell immunity. The first knows our tactics because he has been scrying the party for some time. Arian attacks in a flurry of blows, doing some minimal damage while Goriah rushes up behind the priest to attack.
Zohi throws a second dispel on the first. Arian makes her save but still takes enough damage to take her down to one measly hit point. Harm is a tough tough spell effect! Goriah scores a critical and his maul Cadence wails, doing extra damage. Goriah initiates his aura of unluck as extra protection. Arian full-out attacks after Drac manages to cure serious on her. The first calls down a flame strike on Zohi and Calan. Calan avoids the pillar and Zohi’s fire protection mostly helps him out. Drac begins casting call lightning storm. Goriah misses a bunch of times, as does Arian… and when Arian tries to trip the first, she gets tripped in his stead. But then Arian whips her feet out around his and brings him down with her!
Calan gets a great strike in from above, and Zohi flies in to follow up with an empowered vampiric touch… but the spell resistance overcomes his attack. The first casts a spell defensively and all his wounds close. He then makes the mistake of standing up, and is immediately clobbered by a critical from both Calan and Goriah. Arian goes in for more trips as Goriah gives a light blow… Drac’s first lightning bolt does not penetrate the spell resistance. Arian succeeds and he’s down again! Zohi launches an empowered magic missile which zooms in and smacks him.
The first casts defensively and a blade barrier appears surrounding him, pushing the heroes back. Calan, who is still in there with him, initiates a grapple and succeeds! Zohi flies up and throws another empowered magic missile at him, finally killing him… dead. And thus ends the tale of the fall of the first and the third of the three!
When the heroes destroy the altar they are each granted a limited wish! Zohi wishes for money, and Goriah wishes Hex back to this plane of existence. Arian increases an ability score and Calan gains an addition to intelligence. Drac either increases an ability score or sups up his weapon… we’ll find out next time, perhaps!