Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Once More into the Void 27 The Big Finish

Oto watched as Thyrell stumbled back yelling struck by the Necromancer. The drow struggled to hold his ground and appeared about to fall. Instead, it appeared to be a feint he lunged forward with his other sword. The Necromancer clutched at the sword in his belly a look of astonishment on his face. He appeared to gasp something to Thyrell and then fell to the ground.

We did it Oto thought and was promptly struck by another stone falling from the ceiling.

“We have to get out of here!” Oto yelled. The portly wizard ran as quickly as he could manage toward the archway through which they had entered the chamber a few moments ago. Oto looked at the collapsed archway buried under a pile of huge stone blocks and quickly realized there was no way they could exit this way. Turning back to the chamber, Oto could see Thyrell helping Alcor to his feet. Talrek was standing near Mukah who was carrying Tinda.

“It's blocked!” Oto shouted. Everyone turned to look at Oto. Then all of the heroes turned to look at the swirling mists of the portal. Without a word spoken all of them began running for the portal. Oto heard a huge crash behind him, as more stone crashed to the floor. Oto realized that the chamber would collapse in a matter of seconds. Pausing for a second, he leaped through the portal.

As Oto passes through the portal, one thought passed through his head, “I hope this is not a one-way trip to Hell!”

Oto stumbled from the portal and looked about rapidly for threats. There appeared to only one. A robed figure sat before him on a stone throne covered in runes. As his eyes adjusted to the dim light he could see it was an unmoving, dust-covered skeleton in a robe, the skeleton of a giant of a man.

Looking about Oto saw the other members of the party had made it through as well. No one was talking. All stood in awe of the skeleton on the throne. Alcor stood near a window.

“You have to see this,” Alcor gasped. Oto walked over to stand beside Alcor. Outside was a city of towers stretching into the distance, where it then bent perpendicular and more towers ran up the horizon to the sky which was not a sky but another plane of towers but these pointed down at him. Oto struggled with vertigo.

“We are in a pocket dimension,” Oto gasped. Amazing he thought. It is a cube curved back in on itself. He had read of such marvels but could scarcely believe it.

“Why? Why have you come!” A dry, rasping voice echoed through the chamber. Oto whirled about, the head of the skeleton was turned toward Talrek who had approached the throne.

There was stunned silence before Oto found his voice, “ahh, we had no choice, you see..” he stuttered out before being cut off.

“You have created a way out. You opened the last portal. It will know. It will perceive you,” the creature said.

Thyrell approached the guardian, “Who,” he said, “Who will know?”

“It is the destroyer, we are the guardians! We moved the city here to this plane.”

Oto looked at his companions. Mukah stood like a stone holding the unconscious wolf Tinda, seemingly unconcerned by the words of the creature, Talrek appeared to be deep in thought, strangely Alcor had turned and was looking back through the portal. Oto was drawn to the direction Alcor was looking. The portal appeared to lead somewhere new! The swirling mists looked out on a snowy, rock ledge on the side of a mountain. Maybe they could take the portal again, wherever it led.

“You must go, it is coming!" the creature shouted. As Oto watched the skeleton hands began to move in arcane patterns. Oto realized it was casting protective spells. In the distance, all of the heroes could see dark mist forming in the city. Then the mist streaked across the city directly toward the chamber.

“You must go now!” the creature shouted again. Blasts of arcane energy shook the chamber and an enormous cloud of black smoke began to stream in. Oto scrambled toward the portal fell to his knees and crawled into it for the second time. He emerged moments later on a cold, snowy ledge above a valley. Mukah appeared by his side, still carrying Tinda. A moment later Alcor and Talrek appeared. Finally, Thyrell leaped out of the portal onto the ledge. Everyone was safe. Looking about Oto realized that the portal had not moved. The dungeon had just collapsed and slid down the side of the mountain. Below him, there was a pile of rubble from the slide. A portion of the old keep had also collapsed.

The heroes all burst into laughter. They had made it.

“Too bad about my Ring of Invisibility,” Thyrell mused, waving his hand about and gesturing to where the missing ring had been.

“Wait, it is still here, embedded in the portal,” Talrek said. “Let’s see if I can remove it without breaking it.” Oto looked over and Talrek began searching through his pack for his stoneworking tools. As Oto watched, three black tendrils of smoke emerged from the portal, spiraling about as if they were snakes!

“Smash it, smash the ring!” Oto shouted at Talrek and moved desperately toward the dwarf. Talrek looked briefly startled and then gathered his composure and swung his war hammer at the ring embedded in the stone. The stone cracked and the ring broke free falling to the ground. The light of the portal immediately flickered and then went dark. Where the portal had once stood there was now a bare expanse of stone. The portal was closed. Oto looked worriedly at the tendrils of smoke, cut off from the portal. They seemed to study him as well for a moment and then sped off quickly into the distance.

There were several moments of stunned silence. Then Thyrell bent down and picked up the ring and placed it on his finger.

“I think it still works,” he said with a hint of humor in his voice.

The Guardian

Once More into the Void Session 27
Confronting the Necromancer

This week our D&D 5th edition adventure had its big finish. All the players made the session which was nice as we were not actually aware this might be the final confrontation. When last we left the party of heroes was trapped by a rockslide in a crumbling dungeon beneath an old keep looking to put a stop to the plans of a necromancer. The stability of the dungeon had been increasingly suspect with cave-ins and rockfalls. The heroes came up before another pair of doors this time with light streaming out from beneath.

When the doors were opened the entire group, (Mukah the Half-orc barbarian, Thyrell the Drow Ranger, Alcor Fenn the Tiefling monk, Talrek the Dwarven cleric and lastly Otrovush Oto the human wizard), stepped openly into a brightly lit, large chamber blinking their eyes at the unexpected brightness.

The room was a classic evil ritual, an open portal of swirling mist on the north wall, huge stone pillars, a raised dais with an altar and a pool of blood in the center of the room draining by four channels into steel grates. There is also a statue of Orcus facing the gate. On the dais was a tall man in dark robes, clearly the necromancer we had been seeking to thwart. Surrounding him were a number of goblins.

Not really by design, we immediately split up widely. Some heroes heading north around the pool of blood (Thyrell, Tinda, Talrek and Alcor Fenn) and Mukah and Oto heading south. Oto ended up holding his ground near the entrance and attacking with long range spells. The spread formation ended up being key as the necromancer had a number of area effect spells. Unfortunately, we entered the battle almost completely out of spells and with several party members injured already.

Round 1
Thyrell shot a goblin with an arrow killing it in one shot, the goblins then dashed toward the heroes. Oto was struck by an arrow, then pulled out his scroll of Ice Storm and successfully cast the fourth level spell (being only able to learn 2nd level spells). The necromancer successfully passed his save but took a fair amount of damage from the spell. Alcor used dash and his monk quickness to sprint most of the way toward the altar. The necromancer made a speech about our stupidity of bringing the one object he needed to complete the ritual, with a gesture the ring of invisibility Thyrell was wearing dissolved into mist and reformed in the portal causes it to become active. The ring Thyrell took off the body of the necromancer’s assistant back in Winterton.

Round 2
There is a lot of swinging and missing by the heroes and by the goblins, Mukah is struck once. Even the Necromancer missed twice with Eldritch Blast. The necromancer spots Alcor Fenn advancing and moves south along the dias to put some distance between them but the quick-moving monk closes the distance to melee. A rumble shakes the dungeon and debris falls from the ceiling striking everyone. The only one really hitting is Tinda the wolf who flings a goblin prone.

Round 3
Thyrell dispatches the prone goblin then peers through the enormous portal and sees a figure sitting on the stone throne. A goblin is crushed and killed by debris falling from the ceiling. The necromancer again yells out his plans telling the heroes that they will not prevent him from summoning his lord Orcus. The necromancer then casts Fireball hitting Mukah, Talrek and two goblins. Mukah survives but Talrek falls unconscious. Both goblins are killed by the blast. Tinda kills another goblin. Oto misses the Necromancer badly with Firebolt hitting the wall. The blast is still showy so Oto yells out “Fireball” hoping to convince the necromancer of his power. Mukah kills the last goblin then moves to help Talrek.

Round 4
Thyrell casts a crucial Ensnaring Strike and moves toward the necromancer. The necromancer casts Blight on Alcor Fenn and pushes him prone and unconscious. Oto hits the necromancer with Firebolt but he shrugs most of it off. Oto taunts the necromancer but still cannot get his attention. Thyrell closes to melee with the Necromancer and strikes him with his sword restraining the Necromancer. The necromancer uses his turn to break free of the restraint. Mukah locates a healing salve on Talrek’s body and applies it.

Round 5
More stone falls from the ceiling striking everyone. Tinda is struck and falls unconscious. The entrance to the chamber collapses and is blocked. At this point, all of the heroes still standing are at 6 hit points or less and things look grim. Talrek casts Sacred Flame but the Necromancer counters it. Mukah hurls a javelin at the necromancer and it misses. Thyrell strikes the Necromancer again and is then hit by Hellish Rebuke. On his last legs, Thryell strikes again and the sword impales the necromancer killing him. The dying necromancer whimpers, “Orcus.. You promised!” then dies. Thyrell moves to Alcor Fenn uses a healing salve and brings the tiefling back to consciousness. Talrek administers aid to Tinda stabilizing the wolf. Oto checks the exit and sees it is hopelessly blocked with rubble.

At the climactic moment of the battle, Thyrell stabs the Necromancer

At this point, the dungeon begins to completely collapse, stones falling and striking every round. Realizing they only have seconds to get out of the chamber they all run for the portal. Mukah scoops up and carries Tinda. Everyone runs through the portal blindly hoping for the best.

Through the portal is a large chamber. A skeletal figure sits motionless on a stone throne. The exits from the chamber are blocked but open windows let in light. Out the windows is the incredible scene of a deserted city of towers that is inverted in on itself. Oto realizes the heroes are not in hell, they are in a pocket dimension.

The skeleton, who is covered in dust, suddenly moves its head and speaks in a dry rasping voice, “Why? Why have you come?

Oto explains that they had no choice, the skeleton explains that he is one of a group of guardians holding some ancient evil trapped in this pocket dimension. The heroes have opened a portal that will allow the evil to escape. The guardian then tells the heroes that they must go - the ancient evil has sensed the open portal and it is coming. We see a dark cloud forming in the city and racing toward the portal, the guardian cast protective magic against attack. Looking back through the portal the heroes now see that it leads through to a windswept ledge above a snowy valley. The heroes leap back through the portal and emerge on a mountain ledge. The dungeon has collapsed down the side of the mountain and the portal is now perched on the edge of the mountainside. As the heroes stand their congratulating themselves they realize that the portal is still open and that three tendrils of mist have emerged, Oto yells at Talrek to smash the ring that is embedded in the portal stone. Talrek strikes it and it falls free to the ground and the portal collapses. The tendrils of mist fly off into the distance in the valley.

The heroes sit down for a well-deserved rest. Oto transcribes Feather Fall to his spellbook. Talrek cast Detect Magic on items stripped off the corpse of the necromancer. A magic cloak, magic periapt, a ring and a wand.

With that the epic quest is complete. Or is it. All the characters level up to 5th.

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