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 scouts ahead, heading down the stairs to find a room of mosaics, all slime, demon, fungi and music-themed… the usual stuff. Calan reflects on how strange it is that Tharizdun has this whole musical instrument obsession. He sees a pair of 10’ tall stalagmites flanking a 20’ wide passage to the north. As he watches, an enormous eye and mouth languidly open and close on each triangular column of rock… a pair of ropers, apparently. Calan returns to the party and reports… the heroes power up and charge!
Hex and Drac are snared by the ropers, whose six tentacles each snake out more than 20’ and glom onto them. Zohi fires a scorching ray at the nearest critter, but the spell fizzles against its resistance to magic. Arien tumbles in and smites, stuns and crits a roper, even as she is snagged by tentacles and dragged towards its mouth. Drac breathes a cone of cold, freezing and shattering the tentacles holding him and most of those on Hex. One of the ropers makes the mistake of targeting Zohi… the mage feels weakened by the roper’s strength-sucking touch, so he gets angry and fires a second empowered scorching ray… this one completely slagging the poor creature. The remaining one falls shortly afterwards.
Ahead in the corridor is a raised platform at the top of a set of stairs. Standing there is a gigantic hulking iron robot… an iron golem… with a dark inverted triangle on its chest. Hex hears a voice from the triangle… it proclaims itself to be Ogremach, the Prince of Evil Earth Elementals. Ogremach claims to be Hex’s uncle, and Hex receives a vision from his past… falling in desperate battle with this awesome foe. Hex also recognizes a familiar signature from the inverted triangle… apparently the remains of Earthcleaver are entombed within. There’s no two ways about it… the golem is going down.
Hex initiates electricity based energy retorts and charges, shrugging off a psionic concussive blast from the golem. He is less able to shrug off the psionic dispel that hits him next, canceling all of his powers. Drac flame strikes the golem, but it only speeds up and gains more health. Hex brings his might to bear and smashes the golem three times with his +4 heavy mace… doing a mere 2 points of damage due to the monster’s impressive 15 point damage reduction. The fight is not looking good at this moment.
Luckily Zohi, searching his mind for information on golems, recalls that electricity-based effects slow the critter down. Drac summons an arrow hawk, which releases its electricity ray in a relentless attempt to keep the golem’s full strength somewhat suppressed. Hex realizes he can overcome the critter’s damage reduction if he gains his psionic focus, so he alternates between hitting the thing and stopping to concentrate. Arien is able to do actual damage to the golem by using her divine sacrifice ability, but it begins to wear her down. The golem keeps smacking Hex, and only the combined efforts of Drac, Calan and Zohi’s summoned celestial friend Bradford keep him conscious during the lengthy slugfest. Finally, after what seems like many many rounds, the iron golem is brought down, and Earthcleaver rises out of the pile of rust and dents to return to Hex’s side.
Weary and battered, the party hears a cry from up ahead… they see a large chamber with a guy strapped to an altar upon a dais. A robed priestess looks like she is about to sacrifice the guy, and an ogre with his eyes sewn shut pounds on an evil-sounding drum. A suspicious curtain roils around behind the duo, and a dark eye stares from the translucent center of the altar. Realizing they have no time for rest, Drac runs towards the room, only to find himself suddenly surrounded by whirling magical blades… a blade barrier cast by none other than Hedrick, the evil Tharizdun Cultist who last escaped the party in the room with the four different elementals and the drow wizard! In addition, Lareth the Beautiful is here, ready to aid in bringing another evil elemental prince into the world! Worse still, as Drac pushes through the blades and into the room, the terrible eye in the altar focuses on him, sending a darkness coursing through his soul that would have annihilated a lesser hero!
Zohi grabs the rest of the party and teleports them onto the dais and into the action. Each of them immediately feel the effects of the evil eye… Zohi is struck by a major headache (-2 wisdom) and Calan nearly drops to the ground in weakness ( -10 strength.) The guy on the altar is dragged into it and a weird gooey egg pops out in his place and rolls along the floor (along with an amulet, as well.) It looks like the evil priests are winding up to blast the party, but Arien pulls out the Talisman of Pure Good and sends both the woman and Hedrick to the center of the earth for all their evil deeds. This leaves Lareth and the ogre… Zohi’s fire spells seem to be negated in the room, but Hex carves up Lareth in no time and the others take care of the ogre. The gooey egg is destroyed before it can hatch a clutch of noble salamanders. Calan hits the altar and it begins to rev up again, so Drac and Hex frantically smash it to bits just before it can drag another hapless victim (this time it would have been a party member) into its evil depths.
Continuing his suspicion of furniture, Hex attacks the curtain, which immediately attacks him and Drac with a whole buncha tentacles. Once again property damage ensues, and the heroes destroy the evil drapes to reveal a chamber with three ovoid altars and, in the middle of the room, Zuggtmoy, Demon Princess of Fungi!!! Ack!
Luckily, Zuggtmoy is an illusion, cast by the Second of the Three, a spellcasting aboleth hovering in a magical vortex of water behind an illusionary wall behind the illusion of Zuggtmoy. The heroes charge in and engage this final foe, and Calan is smacked by aboleth slime, necessitating a teleport back to town for curing with Zohi. Hex, Arien and Drac chop up the aboleth, and discover, among other treasures, a ring of fire elemental control. The cult of Tharizdun is all but defeated… all that remains is to descend one final flight of stairs and to take on Imix, the Prince of Evil Fire Elementals himself!