In the last adventure ever of the Lorr campaign, the party take the fight to the Lich King Zaggaroth in an epic battle to finally stop him from ripping holes in the Mortal Plane to the Shadowfell and over-runing the world with undead.
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 1: Pre-battle preparations
After the death of Strom, the party traveled to Jingle-water which had been recently been taken back by the United Empire Army of Lorr and was now being used as the place to launch the main assault onto the Galvinad Plain against the undead. Once they arrived there, they found that the Black Pyramid was now only two miles away, as were the rest of the undead, from the well-armed and tirelessly training army. They came to the top of the tower of the Leaflord where the other Lords were in a pre-battle meeting, and they decided to give a great speech to the soldiers down below. The combined words of Farfal, Kai Rellin and Cador Bayronx led to the men feeling inspired, and would make them fight all the more harder in the fight soon to come. The party were then briefed on the plan-in that they would use the Holy Symbol of the Supreme High Lord to enter and hopefully exit the pyramid, and fight their way through the Lich’s Shadowfell lair before killing him and then stopping the machines from fulfilling their deadly purpose. The party would complete this alongside their allies Bayronx, Jarn and Novak. Once the party agreed to this, Farfal proceeded to celebrate with the lords by getting drunk, Stelian not partaking in the drinking and Kai Rellin heading down onto the tented plain below to find his group of hunters. While there, he encountered the other Twin Dagger who had left him alone for a long time, and to his surprise explained it did not want to kill him due to the key role he was to play in the upcoming battle. Kai Rellin respected her decision, and gave her 500GP as some kind of compensation, which the assassin thanked him for, and then left him alone for good. With this turn of events, Kai Rellin quickly visited his hunter group and wished them luck before leaving to join the rest of the party to mentally prepare for tomorrow’s epic battle.
Chapter 2: Getting into the Pyramid
At the crack of dawn, the party awoke and mounted Akaroth, who flew them as quickly as possible towards the deadly construct. At the same time, the United Empire Army of Lorr led by High Lord Alain and the other lords, led the charge upon the undead forces, literally thousands upon thousands of soldiers smashing into the undead ranks. However, this was simply a fight for survival, as the proximity of Zaggaroth meant that undead who were felled simply rose again, and even those who had fallen rose up to, although not many thanks to the party advising the soldiers to burn their comrade’s corpses where they can. Nearing the Pyramid, the eldritch lightning it had been firing down into the battle below now began to fire at the dragon and the party instead, and they were almost hit once, but Akaroth managed to shield most of the blows. Finally getting close enough, they teleported into the Shadowfell lair of Zaggaroth and found themselves in a black stone room with a charnel floor and stairs that led up to a black wall with 4 circular indents. However, the symbol itself crumbled to dust due to having been very ancient and used before, so the party would have to be more inventive with finding a way out.
The party noticed that the room was essentially alive, as trying to set fire to the floor caused it to roll body parts on the flame and put them out. They also noticed that their was a bulging mass moving underneath the centre of the room, and so Farfal decided to hit it with a 10-ft pole and awaken the fearsome Bone-grinder, a deadlier version of Otyugh that feasts primarily on undead flesh and naturally reside in the Shadowfell. Several zombies and skeletons were formed from the floor, and everyone rolled for initiative. The fight was difficult, as the Bone-grinder had a lot of health and the charnel floor not only spawned more undead minions during the battle, but also tried to suck any unwary characters under it’s surface to their deaths. It almost got Kai Rellin at one point, if Bayronx had not saved him ! Finally, the party managed to escape by pulling out 4 octagon like puzzle-pieces all over the room to open the wall up the stairs. Running straight for it, the wall closed behind them when all of them exited the charnel room, protecting them from their would-be killers.
Chapter 3: The Prism of Impenetrable Insanity
In this room, there was a golden diamond upon the wall which was filled with white light and various scintillating colors, and Novak recognized it as the dreaded Prism of Impenetrable Insanity, which he had been through once before. The party found out that it was originally built by Vastormix in an attempt to drive any would-be assailants insane by separating their mind from their body and putting them through a series of challenges. With Zaggaroth now in charge of this, he was likely to want to main their minds more than kill them, perhaps so he could gloat at them when he achieved his dark goal. Nonetheless, the party could do nothing but go through it, and they did surprisingly well in all 3 of the challenges. The first challenge was a series of riddles posed by each High Lords:
High Lord Alain:
Some use it as a weapon, others as a shield. Without it, you would most likely die. With it, you are weak. It is man-made and can be dangerous. What is it?
High Lord Zarkovich:
Whoever makes it, tells it not,
Whoever takes it, knows it not,
Whoever knows it, wants it not
High Lord Arcarnate:
A nightmare for some. For others, as a savior I come. My hands, cold and bleak, it’s the warm hearts they seek.
The answers were Power, Fake Money and Death respectively, the clues being in the lives and positions each of those High Lords held. With each riddle solved, the head of the teller would pop off and roll to the party, who needed all 3 to open the door to the second part of the Prism’s challenges.
The second challenge in the Prism was a fight with many of the party’s ex-villians in the ruined town of Jader-stone, arguably how it would look if they failed to defeat Zaggaroth. They fought Khesdra, Klast, Brug, Jaegar Grimmsword, Droug, Abanazar, Zane and everyone’ favorite Logan Hellmoney. Once again, the party were reminded why they were here today as the butchered their way through the ex-villians, and Farfal came to the profound realization that killing Logan a second time is still just as fun as the first.
The final challenge of the party was to navigate their way through the Maze of Eternal Despair, a
deadly and difficult maze filled with complicated death traps around every corner. Novak had navigated once when going to defeat Vastormix, but he had a vague memory of it since those times, and Zaggaroth may have changed what was in certain areas of it. Despite this, the party finally found that one of their mundane magic items was useful in the form of the Map of Orienteering. Using the map, Novak easily found a safe way through the labyrinth and to the other end of the Prism, which the party jumped through and found themselves at one with their bodies again. After that, they went down a long black-stone staircase to a door with a golden face on it, and realized that like the Mortal Plane Black Pyramid layout, Zaggaroth would be behind this door. Bracing themselves, the party kicked the door open, and were ready to fight the most important battle of their lives.
Chapter 4: Crits, Crits everywhere
Upon entering the door, they found themselves in a large grey rocky cavern, shadowfell crystals sticking out from several rocky walls. In the centre of the room was a large black stone pillar, within which several eldritch machines were being slowly powered up, purple orbs in their claw-like tops. Striding atop of the pillar was none other then the Dark King Zaggaroth the Dreaded himself, his polished bones clad in scarlet red robes, a gleaming golden crown atop his head with five green gems that shimmered with magical energy. From behind his empty sockets glows a faint red glow, and as he speaks in his terrible alternating pitch voice, the screams of the souls he has claimed can be faintly heard in the background. He taunted the heroes for the foolishness even in their final hour, failing to realize that he didn’t simply intend to rip holes from the Shadowfell to the Mortal Plane, but rather to fuse the two planes as one, creating a new plane which only the undead could thrive in that he would rule.
With the stakes even higher, the party leapt into action, charging straight towards the Lich King. Several heavily armored wights suddenly appeared from behind the rocky cavern walls and jumped into combat, as well as Zaggaroth beginning to use a deadly plethora of spells learnt from his many centuries of magical study with no limitations. The party decided to try to use the force bomb to stop the machine before it went off, so the activated the force bomb and tried to defend it until it went off. However, Zaggaroth’s magical powers were strong and he was often able to disable it with ease. The party then passed a series of checks to figure out how to deactivate The Eldritch Machine, and discerned that either killing Zaggaroth before a certain amount of time had passed or disabling it via a difficult skill challenge was possible. Farfal tried to disable it for a short time, but then decided a focused effort against Zaggaroth and his minions was better. A number of crits were scored on Zaggaroth, particularly from Lichbane, and slowly but surely despite the Arise! power the Lich King possessed, the wights were slain one-by-one. Finally, after much combat, the party managed to bloody their dreaded foe.
Chapter 5: Bosses come in triplicates !!!
Suddenly with that hit, Zaggaroth transformed as thick black shadow coiled around his form, his bony ribcage and skull glowing a deep blue as he became Zaggaroth the Great Shadow. Cold blackness filled the air, and the screams of the damned souls became substantially louder as 4 Black Shadows ripped themselves free to aid their dark master. The fight dragged on longer, Zaggaroth defenses becoming lower but his attacks becoming more powerful. The party slew the Black Shadow’s quickly, but found the damage from Zaggaroth the Great Shadow slowly wearing them down. One unfortunate critical hit from the evil Lich led to Novak being slain as any icy blast punched through his chest, his only regrets on his dying lips that he wished he had served Lord Farfal better. Finally, the group managed to a ton of damage, and Zaggaroth shadow dissipated, and as the unlife faltered from his eye sockets he dropped to his knees, finally killed by the party after so long.
Or so for a second they thought. Within an instant who exploded into a flaming mass of anger, his skeletal body now covered in red and orange flame, cursing the party for their intrusion in his plans from the very beginning, and how they would bother him no more. He was now in his final and most deadly form-Zaggaroth, the Wrathful Harbinger. Stelian was killed within seconds, being knocked down and then the following turn coup-de-grace with a flaming bolt. The party hacked away at Zaggaroth, who was made more difficult because of his copious Gaze of Flame attack and his flaming aura, but after much fighting, being bloodied and dodging attack, Farfal managed to deliver the killing blow with Lichbane-a turn before The Eldritch Machine was due to go off. As Zaggaroth crumbled into dust and the souls he had devoured returned to the Soul Well to rest in peace, the machine slowly ground to a halt. The evil dream that Zaggaroth had would come true no more. Then, after Farfal resurrected Novak, the cavern began to collapse, and the party took a massive risk by trying to escape via the Orb of the Far Realm. Fortunately, Farfal’s rolls came through and the party (and Stelians corpse) made it out of the Shadowfell alive to Jingle-water.
Chapter 6: A visit from above
The party watched as the Black Pyramid landed and collapsed in on itself from the top and the army of the undead did the same thing. The United Empire Army of Lorr surrounded the heroes, chanting a number of phrases like “THE HEROES OF THE EMPIRE”, “LORR’S SAVIOURS” AND “ZAGGAROTH’S BANE”. Suddenly, a golden light descended from the sky, and it turned out that not only an Angel of Pelor had come to visit the party for their great success, but it was the Supreme High Lord Ustrad Sunbrand who had ascended to such a position in the afterlife. He explained how both he and Pelor were proud of their success, and as such wanted to give each of them a gift for their courage. For Lord Farfal, he was now named Supreme High Lord, and his heirs would follow in his footsteps for the many years to come. For Kai Rellin, he was allowed to live with his family once more, and the Northlands was now granted a separate Empire status, referred to from this day on as The Empire of the Northlands. Finally, Stelian was to come with the Supreme High Lord, for he embodied true heroic virtues and would be much-needed in other, more darker lands where heroes would be needed to turn the tide and bring fortune back to these places again. He agreed (despite being dead still), and as he was taken with the Angel, it left the heroes one final gift to contend with. With a loud rumble from the earth, the barren lands which the undead had ruined grew plentiful once more, earthen hills becoming grass-covered plains, empty river-beds flowing with fresh water once more. A new land, for the remnants of the Empire to rebuild and expand, an be peaceful once more…
And so this ends the adventures of the party. With great courage and strength they slew the dreaded and highly powerful Lich King Zaggaroth, the main villain of the campaign who had been planning the downfall of the Empire for centuries. This year and a half campaign has been one hell of a ride, and I have had a lot of fun planning and running adventures as a first-time DM. Now with this experience under my belt, I hope to run many great campaigns having learnt a number of important lessons from running this one. I also want to thank Kyle, Alistair and John for being a absolutely fantastic party, and that you guys really made the experience twice as fun as it should of been. Now all that remains is to find out what happens to our esteemed heroes in the epilogue of this epic tale.
Until then, Happy Gaming !