Episode 28: The Search for the Phylactery/Tying up loose ends: Part 2

You forgot one thing Strom...I have friends !

In the second part of the Penultimate adventure, the party once again find themselves roaming through World-Edge to find and destroy Zaggaroth’s Phylactery and finish any key sub-plots they need to before they attempt to save the Empire from the brink of destruction.

Playing in this episode were:

-Mike (me), the evil dungeon master of the world Lorr
-John, playing Lord Farfal Kerreh, a chaotic good human cleric of Pelor
-Kyle, playing Kai Relin, a neutral human ranger
-Alistair, playing Sir Stelian Soul-eater, a neutral Vryloka Vampire Stalker

Chapter 6: Important history
The party advance forward through the dungeon, going through a large golden hallway which they looted several gems from the statues and also ancient books and tomes from the bookcases. They found out through several arcana and religion checks, they found out an important part of Elven coven history. Abanazar (the treacherous High Lord Jorgan Arcarnate) was the second-in-command of the Coven after Mallosar Spellbreaker, and created the warforged and place them in all covens in order to guard them from the outside world, animating them using the power of the Elemental Prince Imix, who Mallosar had good connections with and would make the created warforged substantially stronger. However, Abanazar instead used this to control the elven covens, using the physical force of the warforged to induct more mages to join the necromancer cult’s ranks or slaughter those who tried to stop them. They also helped in slaughtering the covens during the time in which Jaegar Grimmsword did so as well, in order for Abanazar to cover his tracks. This history made the party ponderous, and searching the area thoroughly before they advanced deeper into World-Edge revealed to them a golden-barred room in which a glowing, pulsating force sphere lay. Checks revealed this deadly item was a Force-Bomb, a powerful device which could do a catastrophic amount of damage. Abanazar created two of them to use in the First Great War of the Undead, and it was revealed that one had been used to utterly devastate Noscarta, which beforehand had been a large island town, converted to a prison island over there was no use for it. The party decided they would take this weapon if they could, as it would be a great tool if used against Zaggaroth, and were resolute to find the stone tile which fit into the slot to open the door. With this in mind, they pressed further onwards in hope of finding it.

Chapter 7: Destroying the Guardians
Moving forwards, the group found the next area of World-Edge had been maintained, several torches lighting the way into corridors which contained warforged-animated robots of Abanazar’s used to protect the inner areas of World-Edge. They fought through them in tough fights, one in particular being with a Stone Golem was in which Stelin had used a blue gem to summon a magical ooze to fight on the party’s side before they reached a key area. Standing on steps leading up to a huge blazing brazier was the Warforged Flame Priest of Imix, the leader of the Warforged guardians at World-Edge and the most powerful of all it’s kin. The party confronted it to determine it’s alliance, and found that it was loyal to Abanazar through-and-through, almost managing to activate the force bomb in order to prevent the party from advancing any further. Th encounter was a difficult one, and the Flame Priest himself actually killed two characters outright-Farfal and Stelian. However, by the skin of their teeth they managed to win, Farfal being resurrected using the final staff of life and Stelin would be resurrected later once the part got out of the dungeon, Alistair taking on the role of Loneth Darkshade for the time being. They proceeded to claim the force bomb, and then find a 600ft drop downwards through a secret passageway in the floor which led to a watery cavern. The party struggled to solve the situation, but then being a resourceful bunch were able to find a way round it, getting Kai Rellin’s pseudo-dragon Geoffrey to take Farfal’s ring of feather-fall up to the next person so they could all drop down into the cavern safely.

Chapter 8: Battle with the Naga
The party entered further into the water-filled large cavern, and found that the Phylactery was hidden under the water. However, as they approached it 3 savage troglodytes emerged from the water armed with crude bone spears, and a blotchy yellow and white Naga (an ancient snake-sorcerer guardian) hissed at them and attacked. Unlike many other creatures in Dungeons and Dragons, Naga’s are practically immune to bargaining, which meant this was simply to be a fight to the death. The party dealt with the troglodytes quickly, although they did cause a fair amount of damage before going down, and then focused on fighting the fierce Naga. However, this creature was both tough and fast, so was able to do a nasty amount of damage to the party in the form of tail-slap and words of pain, two highly deadly attack powers. Finally, with a arrow in the head from Kai Rellin’s bow (whom the dice gods favored very well throughout the battle for his bravery throughout the battle) dropped the vicious beast, and gained some loot from it’s stomach in the form of a fire-creating ring. The party then grabbed and attempted to open the Phylactery, which it’s strange nature had them on edge anyway. However, despite a great degree of success in the skill challenge they failed to do so, fumbling their dice rolls near the end, and would have to find another way in which to do so. With that, the party found a white stone plug in the centre of the cavern, and swimming out the tunnel and onto the coast of Courtbridge after about a day of swimming, they proceeded to destroy the Phylactery, finish business with their NPC friends and confront or prepare for Redgar Alain’s removal if they could.

Chapter 9: Grave news
Upon returning to Courtbridge, the players ran into Daglos Shield, their friend who suffered major burns during the Siege of Courtbridge from a flame catapult. He had for them terrible news; Jinglewater had been taken by the undead, and Lord William Hague had been killed during the battle. His son, the young Lord Johnathan Hague, has now taken power in his stead. The party told Daglos of Alain’s treachery, and after some shopping for essentials in Courtbridge the group (along with Daglos) went to Jaderstone to find Ambrose who could help them with the Phylactery. Farfal had a quick meeting with the three lords when they got there, and while Lord Hague and Lord Greymoor supported Alain’s possible removal, Albrecht did not and was outraged, leaving Farfal after saying some highly accusatory statements. Then, both Farfal and Kai Rellin spoke to their advisers about what they had learnt of Alain, garnering support from both Emilia and Gaius. However, the pair also information for both of them to; from Gaius, it was that the guards had managed to capture High Lord Zarkovich, and was now in their jurisdiction, and from Emila to Kai that Strom had left them a gruesome message. As it happened, Strom had brutally slaughtered all who had landed on Noscarta in the small evacuation during the siege. Moreover, this included Vi-Nuk-Sa who went after him and also the party’s beloved and comical friend Ludvig Rosewater, who had taken the evacuees there. Now he had Kai’s wife captive at a place known as Petregrav bridge, a key link between Jaderstone and Maplefield, and would kill her unless he showed up to speak with him. Time being of the essence, the party met with Ambrose to proceed on and destroy the Phylactery.

Chapter 10: The destruction of the Phylactery
The party returned to Ambrose, who was pleased to see his greatest friends as always, having in the recent days working on creating potions and magic items for the Empire’s army. He helped the party to push the Force bomb into an easy-to-carry orb, crucial for the final battle. Then, with the help of a few other allies he proceeded to open the Phylactery, and did so revealing a obsidian forged skull pendent. The party were puzzled by this, as their research had led them to believe that the Phylactery was in fact Vastormix’ crown, but then the pendent hissed at them. SUFFER FROM AGE AND FALL DOWN, IF YOU WISH TO FIND THE CROWN ! Ambrose explained that his meant someone had to wear the pendent, and suffer from the effects of rapid ageing in order for the crown to appear, a final nasty trap of Zaggaroth’s. However, the group had a wicked idea and got out Zarkovich, who they questioned on Alain’s loyalty, Zarkovich revealing it was a much different time back then. After this, they placed the pendent on Zarkovich turning him into an old man and causing the Crown of Vastromix to materialize. With a single strike from Lich-bane, Zaggaroth’s Phylactery was destroyed and it would be impossible for him to rise again if the party are able to defeat him. Then the party had him executed, still angry that he tried to flee Courtbridge when so many good men had fallen to protect men like him.

Chapter 11: Why we fight
Kai Rellin then started to question Ambrose rather tactfully, finding it strange that such a powerful eladrin wizard would ever hitch himself to rookie adventurers from the very beginning. Ambrose decided he needed to be honest, and told the party his life story. Many years ago, when Ambrose was a much younger eladrin living in the Feywild and only a novice mage, an elven sorceror took him under his wing and taught him many powerful spell and giving him the mastery of magic he has today. The pair grew close, and Ambrose felt as though the two of them would use their power to make a positive difference in not just their realm, but many of the others also. However, after a good many years of their exploits his tutor asked him to perform a powerful ritual with him in order to take him beyond his mortal constraints, and through the power of undeath become many times stronger than before. Ambrose refused, but sure enough he suffered for it when his entire family was murdered by his tutor. His tutor was in fact Magnus the Arcane, or as the world of Lorr knew him Vastormix the Black Lord, who unleashed a wave of undeath and eldritch terror upon the world of Lorr which changed the course of history forever. Since that day, Ambrose felt a sense of undeniable failure from not stopping Magnus’ ascent to power, and with nothing left in the Feywild came to Lorr to try make a difference to the recovering world itself. For centuries he failed to this adequately, simply collecting magical artifacts and ancient tomes to help him, but then one day the party walked into the tavern he first me them at, and he saw something inherently good in them, and knew they were a force for change in the world. Since then, the group has made massive differences with help from himself, and he hopes that they can defeat Zaggaroth and ultimately restore balance to the world. The party were very moved by what he said and vowed they would win this final battle, and it was at this point that High Lord Redgar Alain walked down the stairs to speak with them.

Chapter 12: The Battle plan
Alain talked to the part, unaware that they knew the truth about him gaining the promotion to his position by disregarding blasphemous followers of Asmodeus. He explained to the party that the army of the Empire were currently pushing forward to seize Jingle-water from the undead, the final battle taking place on a large area known as Galvinad Plain. As well a significantly being an advantageous position for the army when fighting the undead, but it also was the place where the army of men fought Vastormix in the first war. While the grand army held off the undead one, the part would fly on the back of Akaroth along with up to 4 allies of their choice (Cador Bayronx, Loneth Darkshade and Jarn) and teleport into the Shadowfell lair, where they would brave the Prism of Impenetrable Insanity as well as any other challenges they had to face before slaying Zaggaroth and destroying his several Eldritch machines before they rip holes leading to the Shadowfell, which would bolster his forces and lead him to complete victory. With the party clear on the plan, they asked Alain if they could secure any men from him to help him deal with Strom, which he replied was tough to do as they were all preparing for the final battle, but equally should ask Balrad, whose contributions to the war effort from Hellmoney Corporations Ltd. have been huge. The party thanked him once again, but before they left Alain tried to have a word with Farfal in order to justify his actions. Farfal refused, replying that what he has done is unforgivable and goes against almost every principle the Empire of Lorr holds, and that he would suffer for it greatly. In the end, the pair agreed that Alain could hold power and see the Empire through the final battle (providing his leadership was not called into question a second time) and then suffer for his crimes after the war was over, providing the Empire was still intact. With that, the group bid him farewell and rode to speak with Balrad.

Chapter 13: The End of Strom
Sure enough, Balrad was pleased to see them still alive and well, and was also sure enough to furious to learn where his enemy Strom was, the former captain who betrayed him and seized power of his own private army. With Balrad alongside them, the party traveled to Petragrav bridge to deal with Strom and get Kai’s wife back safely. When they got there, Strom stood in the middle of the wooden bridge, a handbow to Kya head and threatening to blow her brains out any second. The party then hatched a brilliant plan-guardian whistle Kya way from Strom’s hands under the bridge, thereby leaving him exposed to the party and the several crossbow-armed guards either side of the bridge which Strom had been standing off with for a long while. Kai Rellin approached Strom to talk with him while Farfal climbed under the bridge, Kai essentially distracting him. Strom told Kai that he wanted diplomatic immunity in the Northlands, and to finally be taken off of the Empire’s number 1 most wanted. Kai Rellin stalled for time, and just before his wife was teleported from Strom’s arms enacted this epic line:You forgot one thing Strom…I have friends ! and with that left Strom open, Kya Rellin safely in the hands of Farfal underneath him. Immediately Strom was shot at from either side, crossbow bolts filling his chest. He tumbled to the ground and fumbled for the Orb of the Far Realm to escape once more, but Kai Rellin snatched it up and cut off his outstretched hand. The party decided to let Balrad do the honours of choking the life out of Strom, which he duly did, and even in his last breaths Strom cursed the party, condemning them to failure and the complete destruction of the Empire. Finally, he was dead, and the most important loose end was tied up for the party. There would be no more opposition, or plots or just general evil from Strom, and as was said in the session: “Strom always fought like a bastard, so therefore he died like a bastard”. With that, the party now had one clear goal: to save the Empire from Zaggaroth’s undead clutches, and this next battle was going to be the most important battle of the heroes’ lives…

And that ends the penultimate adventure sessions, meaning that the next session we play as a group will be the last. As such, I want to just say thanks to everyone who stuck with us so far in this year-long journey of Dungeons and Dragons, and I want to assure that the last session will be one hell of an ending, be it victory or defeat.
Until then, Happy Gaming !
-Mike, DM



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