After the Summoning Wars

Session 21

Abyssal Ghouls!

  • As the discussions come to an end on the bridge of the Vertragus, Adriana informs Captain Striker that they will be taking off in about three hours.
  • Villeous and Liev Bolt request the Gateway Key so that they and Dr. Haverdy may study it before they set out to close the portal.
  • Thomas and Bert agree, but Bert insists on joining them. Thomas watches the door from outside, in case Bert comes into danger.
  • Newton offers to Captain John Thorn to scry on the missing rangers.
  • He agrees, and they head off the ship to avoid being watched. Kelly Palmer insists on checking her husband, Doug.
  • Jenny finds Bee and they go to watch if anything comes up.
  • They see that Doug is still alive, as are Marcus Terennis and several of the other rangers and freemen.
  • They are bound with gold cord and have been dressed in white robes.
  • As they watch, some white-robed men with white hoods gag Doug and drag him away, as Marcus screams in protest.
  • They move him to a basin, and bathe him in a clear liquid as another priest comes into view, marked with a Crimson Fist.
  • The priest speaks a long benediction, during which it becomes apparent that Doug will soon die.
  • At the end of the benediction, he and Doug are both engulfed in flames, though as they subside the priest is untouched while Doug is a smoldering corpse.
  • He carries Doug’s skull back to the remaining men, allowing the scrying sensor to reveal them.
  • Other acolytes are bathing the other men in liquid, and they drop a torch on them, setting them all aflame.
  • The priest looks directly at the sensor and invites all those seeking salvation to bring the dwarf with a “017” on his neck (Bee) to him. They will all be freed.
  • The scrying is then dispelled.
  • Kelly is striken with horror and grief at this point, and calls Captain John a coward and a fool.
  • Bee tries to calm her, but makes her even more furious.
  • Captain John reveals that he’s been stripped of his officer title (so he’s really just “John”) because he disobeyed orders and deserted troops when raiding the orc camp in Session 3
  • Strongheart gave him the option of doing reconnaissance in the Freelands as opposed to jail time, and he accepted.
  • Doug, Marcus, and the others followed him out of loyalty, and now they’re all dead.
  • He makes it his mission to get Creben Durgard back to Peloria and not the Arcane Empire, as that’s his only hope now of redemption.
  • More details about the above interactions can be found at The Fate of Doug Palmer
  • Newton and Jenny join Kelly and council and talk with her, hoping to give her some peace.
  • Bee tries to talk John into helping him break Durgard out (with the hopes that Durgard would simply be let free, though he keeps that part to himself)
  • John seems somewhat willing, though he also seems able to see through Bee’s attempts at duplicity.
  • Meanwhile, P-Pot finds Thomas outside Dr. Haverdy’s door and convinces him to join her to “see something cool”
  • She gets him to unlock one of the off-limit doors while she places a crystal on the door to disable any alarm.
  • They go inside to find two large cylinders reaching from floor to ceiling. They are broken into parts that slowly rotate and counter-rotate around a faint light in the center.
  • Thomas grows uncomfortable, but P-Pot is enamored by the objects and convinces him to stay.
  • As the ship takes off, the cylinders rotate faster, and squares begin opening up in the floor.
  • Before Tomas can get P-Pot out, she steps on one, revealing that it’s solid.
    He tries to drag her out, but she resists and forces him to lay on one. Eventually the entire floor vanishes beneath them.
  • They watch for a short time as the world below them becomes smaller.
  • P-Pot flirts with and teases Thomas for a short while, but he eventually convinces her to leave with him.
  • He re-locks the door and P-Pot takes the crystal back.
  • Chef finds the party members and gives each of them a tablet that’s intended to combat altitude sickness, as they are not yet acclimated to the high altitude.
  • P-Pot trys to convince Thomas not to take it, but he’s at this point realized she’s a bit of a whimsical liar.
  • Bertrum, meanwhile, spends the next several hours learning about the ritual necessary to use the gateway key to close portals, He realizes it’s more of an art than a science.
  • Bee, sets out in the night upon Yasu’s dire bat to find a bat to act as a scout in the caverns the next day.
  • Yasu encourages him to handle the bat himself, though she assists when it becomes apparent he’s not particularly adept.
  • She also tries to teach him spells, though she learns that he lacks the wisdom to cast them.
  • He uses the animal whistle that he got from Magical Trevor, and it’s effective. Yasu tells him that it possesses magical abilities to charm animals.
  • They return to the ship with their new companion, to find Commander Caras laying in Yasu’s “nest”.
  • She seems surprised to see Bee and asks him to leave, and Yasu asks that Bee give them about an hour.
  • Bee listens for a short while outside the door, and infers that Caras is used to having some intimate time with Yasu, which he may disrupt, as he’s temporarily living in her natural zone.
  • Bert and the other researchers eventually call it a night, and Dr. Haverdy convinces him to let him keep it for the rest of the night so he may research it further.
  • Bert agrees, though Thomas insists on remaining outside his door.
  • During the night, Thomas is awoken by a clockwork golem cleaning the hallway. He listens to the door, and determines that Haverdy is still working and undisturbed.
  • The next morning, Newton and Jenny pray. For the first time, she remains for the entire hour.
  • Bert, Villeous, and Liev Bolt meet with Dr. Haverdy and discuss anything else he learned that night. He casts telepathic link on them and himself so he may provide further guidance later should they need it.
  • After some preparations, the raiding party set out, atop many flying steeds. Bee is again forced to leave Bessie behind, though he now has his bat.
  • Jenny remains with the group keeping watch at the surface, while Commander Caras, Villeous, Liev Bolt, and Dean and Carlos Halsmith join them below in the drow caverns.
  • Inside, they find several lesser abyssal ghouls trying to hide from them.
  • Newton buffs his turning ability, and destroys one of them with a greater turning.
  • The remaining four rush the group, and the Halsmith brothers jump into action, blocking them and dealing significant damage.
  • Bee transforms into a bear, Bolt attacks with magic missile, Thomas employs holy water, Bert provides oration bonus and attacks with his spear, Caras smites evil, and Villeous remains available for healing.
  • One of the ghouls provides flanking on one of the brothers, and despite their high AC, he’s badly injured by a single sneak attack.
  • The party defeats the remaining ghouls shortly thereafter, but they learn they have to be more careful tactically.
  • When they try to find the secondary portal in this cave, they see it’s vanished.
  • The small crevice they used previously has been widened significantly, suggesting the advanced ghoul is somewhere beyond.
  • The party inspects it, and Caras’s detect evil finds more evil creatures below, which they assume to be more abyssal ghouls.
  • They cast hide from undead and climb down. Once half the party reaches the bottom, the ghouls strike, though the party is more prepared for them this time.
  • The creatures attack, but the party keeps them at bay, while the members still in the crevice above provide covering fire.
  • Just as it starts seeming they have the upper hand, though, the advanced abyssal ghoul appears above Bee and attacks him, having apparently crawled across the ceiling or wall of the cavern.
  • Villeous blocks it with stone shape, but this will only slow it for a moment.
  • The struggle on the ground suddenly becomes more dire, as the remaining ghouls vie for tactical advantage, badly injuring Caras.
  • The session ends as the party begins to spread out within the cavern.

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