Sepent's Skull/ Zanton Edition

The End
aka Apocalypse Now

The end.

As the battle raged outside the party moved down into the lowest reaches of the temple.

PaoPao scouted down the initial hallway, finding only chambers full of human clothing organized by societal rank.

Clanks and hissing rose from behind the party, and they turned to face the bonded serpentfolk wizards Nazith-Yol and Nylla-Jas and a mechanical Siege Serpent.

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Nylla managed to magically dominate Darve, but the party sprung into action, Seralya using her previously granted authority to order Bree not to move, and everyone able throwing out anti-mind control magic. These defenses would prove crucial to the coming battles. The spell was broken when Darve resisted an order to kill Rodrick.

The machine was destroyed and Nazith died at the hands of a leaping, grabbing, and snarling Hal. Nylla teleported away.

Further on, PaoPao found the marilith demon Raviaza and the troglodyte Khorak. They had attempted to use illusions for defense, but couldn’t fool the true-seeing ninja.

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The combat began and the demon called a wall of blades to separate her from the party. Darve charged through the blades at Raviaza, but Khorak stopped him and the two fought until the stinky lizard was no more.

Rodrick summoned an angel and it rushed into battle with the demon alongside PaoPao.

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Raviaza teleported away from the pair to attack the witch and summoner, but Rodrick resummoned Hal, who wounded her enough that she tried teleporting back into the original room where she fell to Sir Darve’s lance.

The party moved on, and entered a great hall lined with columns, a slithering path of green tiles, and statues of serpentfolk. When the witch tried to read writing inscribed on the walls, a shimmering magic snake lashed out, almost hitting her.

At the end of the hall was pair of large doors. Moving through, they found a gigantic cavern chamber, and in the center a raised dais, atop which was Vyr-Azul, high priest of Ydersius, his minion Kestath, Nylla-Jas, and a huge albino snake. Nearby was a massive pit.

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On a second platform atop the first stood a massive skull.

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The final battle had begun.

Darve called out advanced tactics, and Hal and the knight began coordinating their charges, with Rodrick teleporting Hal back to charge twice as often to devastating effect.

Nylla died of fatal amounts of Hal, and the giant ineffectual snake was killed by Darve. The floor shook and roars echoed from the nearby pit, as something approached.

Vyr-Azul’s mind controlling spells were foiled by the parties defenses, and he summoned a pair of Tyrannosaurs into the battle. Some quick Protection from Evil spells and potions rendered the dinosaurs unable to touch their intended meals, and their jaws chomped and bounced away in a somewhat comical spectacle before they were rendered unconscious by Seralya and finished off by PaoPao.

Kestath was targeted by Rodrick and fell into a hungry pit, where he was devoured.

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Vyr-Azul teleported and flew about the chamber, blasting with his spells. His brief magical rampage and a lifetime of plotting was put to an end when he got caught out the open as the target of Darve and Hals twin charges.

Impaled over half a dozen times at once, Vyr-Azul died with a satisfied grin on his face as his master emerged from the pit.

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The skull on the dias was a decoy and Ydersius had already been restored, albeit not yet having reached his full power. (His real skull fossilized, and Vyr pulled out the remaining original bone and left the rock shell on the altar as a distraction.)

Looking over the mortal interlopers, Ydersius charged PaoPao. As Ydersius unleashed his legendary power on the party, breathing poison, casting spells, and lashing out with fangs and claws, the party made their final play. PaoPao leapt at Ydersius, landing atop his head and stabbing at him. This provided an opening for Hal, who lunged and delivered a flurry of claws, before being replaced by a glabrezu demon.

From atop the monsters head, Pao Pao chopped at Ydersius, suffering through acidic bloodspray that nearly killed him, decapitating and defeating the serpent deity. The severed head fell to the floor, disintegrating back to a skull as the ninja leapt to safety. The once again headless body stumbled back into the pit, back to its wanderings in the dark.

This act sent a psychic shockwave through all serpentfolk worldwide. Outside the temple, the serpentfolk armies felt Ydersius’s defeat, and the demoralized serpents were routed.

As PaoPao gleefully harvested Ydersius’s divine venom, the mages summoned the angels, who removed the skull to seal it away in Heaven’s vaults, perhaps forever.

On the surface, the party, with pockets stuffed with untold loot, were hailed as heroes by the people of the world they had saved.

No one knows for sure, but some rumors are whispered that Sir Darvan returned home victorious to his king, Hal and his accessory became plane-wandering, swashbuckling heroes, Seralya probably became an enigmatic power in some hidden dark part of Golorian (but only Michael knows), Nyles became the custodian of Saventh-Yhi, and PaoPao was last seen ghost stepping down into the earth probably to return to distant Tien and his drug and poison trade empire.

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View
The Final Countdown!

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In Saventh-Yhi, an army was rallied. The party had the support of the Sargavan troops, and convinced the boggards and Radiant Muse to join.

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The Chaura-Ka and Vegepygmies refused however—to their own folly.

The civilians gathered in Nyles’ temple, and hoped to survive the coming battle under his guard.

In Illmurea, the morlocks agreed to aid, and the urdefhans kept their word to aid the party. An elemental portal was found and used to summon an ally from among the planes. The group chose a Sharknado.

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Aveshi trained the odd horde, and then Pao Pao and Seralya worked to discover how to activate the spire-drills.

It was discovered that to activate the drills, a powerful magic item was required. A legendary item, known as an Ioun Stone! The party responded by casually pulling out roughly a half-dozen. “Take your pick.”

Kline volunteered his Ioun stone, and the spires activated. Dust and roaring noise rose from the jungle as the ancient machinery began their work, and the drills dug into the ground, carrying the army with them.

Aveshi offered his incredible sentient sword to the party, however, none of them were really specialized at using greatswords. Eventually, Pao Pao accepted the weapon, and it’s powers were his.

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The parties drill pierced right through the Fortress of a Thousand Fangs, and the army of monsters, humans, and flailing sharks moved through Illmurea to the Sanctum of Ydersius, the snake troops marching out to meet them. The battle was joined.

The party, riding undead bats called skavelings, (immediately renamed “Skrees” by Rodrick) flew out and entered the temple through a side door.

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Once inside, they were attacked by starved morlocks, which were swiftly dispached. The party moved through many halls and chambers, dispatching the serpentfolk guards on the way.

In one battle, they fought a Thessalhydra, but it too was swiftly defeated.

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The party came to a large courtyard, Pao Pao and his new sword/scouting partner snuck ahead and discovered a huge stone golem.

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The party decided not to fight it, and teleported across the room into the hallway on the other side, pulling the door quietly closed behind them.

Moving on, PaoPao scouted ahead. He invisibly ghosted into the room, and found a massive, floating snake head, the Emperor of Scales backed up by a pair of iron golems.

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PaoPao reported the sight through the radio dragon, and a plan of attack was made and launched. The ninja attempted to sneak attack the giant snake head, but failed, and was mind-controlled. The party burst through the door, and Hal lunged at the Emperor. It didn’t last five seconds against him.

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An iron golem was dropped into a pit of acid and slowly melted. The other moved and badly beat Darve before being smashed by Hal.

Mind-controlled, PaoPao attempted to defend the gore carpet that used to be a legendary monster. Fortunately, Rodrick freed him before he could kill a party member.

The party prepared to go down deeper into the Sanctum, standing on the precipice of the end.

View
Of monstrous friends and friendly monsters

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Back in town after a day of replenishing supplies and training with her fellow witches, Seralya meets back up with the group prior to the night’s sleep.

“I certainly feel more powerful after this useful day. Darv, you are looking quite well too; all strong, virtuous, and fortuous. Hal, glad to have you back with us. For good, I hope.”

Pulling out a lump of wax, the young witch continues. “I met with some fellow sisters for the afternoon. A fine group. None as powerful as me, mind you, but still, we are all able to learn things from everyone if we just know were to look and can keep an open mind.”

The lump of wax turns into a roughly humanoid shape. “Today I learned how to sculpt animals. I made a fine stone representation of Dursar there. As beautiful as it is useful.”

The wax form begins to take on the form of a thinly muscular human; perhaps an archer or hunter… “I also had the opportunity to join a circle with my sisters to do some scouting. I wanted to make certain that our old blue friend is safe in his absence from us or, more accurately, absent from us and therefore safe.”… or an acrobat!

Final touches of hood and bladed weapons compete the figure as Seralya stares at PaoPao.

“Imagine my disbelief when I looked in on our one-time devotee and saw myself there as well.” Seralya evaluates her small wax statue as PaoPao turns around and runs directly into the far wall.

“Fifteen.” The ever-mindful witch steadies a small vase on a side table that began to topple over from the impact of PaoPao’s sudden fascination with the wall. “I’m certain you can understand how I felt and still feel. Why, when I saw it, I could hardly move and felt physically ill.”

PaoPao becomes Staggered and Sickened. “Fourteen.” Seralya rises from her chair and walks towards the fallen man. “You could say that what I saw caused my very being to plummet.”

PaoPao drops prone. “Thirteen.” Seralya’s eyes turn cold as she stares into PaoPao’s soul. “There are some things that even the most open of minds will not accept.” Magically digging into his mind, she said “You will never do anything that you even suspect will annoy me.”

Admiring her handiwork, Seralya secrets the figure into one of her many pockets and sits back down. “All in all, I’d say that this day was quite revealing. Would someone mind ringing for more tea? I’m not quite yet ready to retire. Still restless from the day’s events, I suppose.”

PaoPao agrees that he couldn’t fathom a circumstance whereby he would care enough to annoy Seralya.

Still, in Tien and too himself he mutters through a grin,“Totally worth it.”

Staying on top of the cut-throat world of drug/poison dealing requires a balance of intimidation and rewarding those loyal to you.

In Skweesh’s case it seemed more prudent to appeal to his baser urges. The reports of his vim and vigor and the smile on his face seems to indicate that this was the right choice.

Besides, it was all Rodrick’s idea anyway, but PaoPao keeps that to himself.

Turning invisible, walking through the wall, and dusting himself off in the next room he slides back in, goes to drop a bit of slightly nauseating poison into Seralya’s tea he just can’t bring himself to do so, and decides to just sit down and have some tea.

Although he moves to start pickpocket Seralya to get a closet look at the wax figure he finds himself unable again to do it. With a shoulder shrug he thinks ‘onward and upward’.

In Tien, he raises his cup of subpar Saventith Yhi tea and says, “To your health.”

Seralya smiles wistfully to herself as she watches PaoPao exit and return to the room lacking any sort of harshly retaliatory response. Thinking to herself that perhaps her True Seeing spell, while revealing, was not entirely necessary.

No matter, the night is upon us and the spell, while wasted, had no actual cost other than a required trip to the Cleric’s in the morning. I suppose it’s worth the gold to not have to keep making those visits, she muses while rubbing the knife wound on her palm.

In Tien "And to your fortune, my eternal friend. We must discuss your culture some day; I find that flourish you did with your hands while serving me my tea to be most… unique.

“I wonder what the original significance of those movements was.” Seralya does some gesturing of her own (detect poison cantrip) to expected results. “I feel that my attempt to copy them came up short. No matter.”

In Common “To all our healths and fortunes. Today was a fine day and tomorrow promises to be even better. I do not envy my… our… foes. Did you all have days as productive as mine?”

Rodrick, having been lost in the lovely pear shaped rump of the native girl across the way turns back, asking in surprise “Huh? what was that?” Looking to Hal he said, “What’d I miss?”

Hal, knowingly nods his head, but as always, is at a lack for words.

After resting, they returned to the Hunter’s Maze. Traveling a ways in, they came across a cyclops, frozen in time with a woman impaled on his blade.

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After carefully creeping around and searching out the room, Rodrick began breaking the stasis field around the giant. It began to flicker and fade, as the giant started to move again. Pao-Pao opened fire, Seralya cast a hex and demanded a surrender in common, the giant yelling something back in Azlanti.

Hal rushed in, and the two monsters crashed together, landing mighty blows.

Before the giant could be killed, Darve guessed that it was not responding to their attempts at communication due to only speaking ancient languages and called out that the party should try using Draconic.

The giant understood the ancient speech of the wyrms, and after a few tense moments, the battle was over.

The giant introduced himself as General Aveshi, companion of the ancient hero Savith.

His immensely strong and sentient sword Eroeme also declared it’s identity—and brilliance.

The party explained to the shocked cyclops what had happened in the 10 millenia since he was trapped in time. After the explanation, Aveshi agreed to join the group, to prevent the return of his ancient enemies.

He also explained that the woman he had killed was a serpentfolk assassin in human form, and that the spires of Saventh-Yhi were actually drills designed to carry an army down to Illmurea.

Moving through along, the group dispatched a squad of urdefhans without incident—just some spawn of pure evil; nothing to worry about.

In the maze, a museum like chamber full of artifacts was discovered. When the party wondered how to get in, the cyclops general smashed open a case, and the loot was taken.

The team came to a door, and PaoPao invisibly ghosted through it. On the other side he found a Astradaemon snacking on the soul of a poor morlock.

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Also in the room were two ordinary urdefhans and a fancily head-dressed one.

Hal and Darve charged the Astradaemon, blasting it out of existence.

The major urdefhan was slain as well. The two remaining guards, knowing they were doomed, leapt at Hal, exploding to no effect.

The party found that the maze had nothing more of value to them, and teleported back to Saventh-Yhi.

The party split up for a while, and General Aveshi went to tour the ruins of the city constructed in honor of his old friend.

The city soon began to prepare for war, Aveshi giving advice as the Sargavan troops were assembled to battle the snakes.

It was then that the Coils of Ydersius would make their move.

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Seralya traveled to the Artisan District to investigate the Azlanti artifacts, with a woman she had met by the name of Marrell Bunell, who had requested her assistance.

Aware that the location has a reputation for being haunted, she divided her attention between the writing that she had before her and the surroundings; an easy task, given that she can easily decipher any language for 16 minutes a day instead of having to painstakingly transcribe and translate.

Upon feeling something slide along her legs, but unable to see any physical form, the witch used True Seeing and discovered a rather large serpent getting ready to attack. Upon a narrow miss by the snake and a useless search for the invisible by Ms. Bunell, the fight was ended as the cold-blooded snake became an ice-entombed corpse.

Her caution rewarded, Seralya went back to her reading as the other woman buried a dagger deep into the witch’s side, endangering her lovely and most vital of organs. Swiftly, and with a mere thought, said lovely organs moved out of the way of the blade and the surprised witch turned to face her new adversary.

“That was a… mistake” the witch cried out as her body turned into ice, as cold as her expression.

Dursar came to his master’s aid with a timely Grease spell on the attacker’s weapon. The attacker’s more timely ability to pull the knife away from the spell proved Dursar to be ineffective, though.

Apparently on a mission, the serpentfolk in human clothing attacked the Witch again. Despite the dagger’s magical abilities bypassing the witch’s newfound damage reduction, it could not get past her immunity to critical hits and poison. Nor could it prevent a stored Vampiric Touch in her bracers being activated.

Following another failed attempt by the dragon at disarming the creature, Seralya redoubled her attack with a similarly failed Evil-Eye due to the creature’s immunity, and an almost identically failed glitterdust.

Finding her dagger attacks to be of limited use, the serpentfolk changed to a new tactic of Domination. Seralya likewise changed tactics to Misfortune, after a slight tickling at the back of her head.

A final failed attempt at Grease, a clumsy dagger attack, and a glorious Ice Tomb later left the witch standing over a prone serpentfolk.

After a minute of chipping away at the ice, Seralya freed the poor soul. “The dagger was one thing, but you should know that the only way in my head is through decent philosophical debate, not a sad attempt at magic. Allow me to make sure that does not happen again.”

Seralya robbed the assassin of her mind, leaving her little more than a brainless wreck wandering the jungle.

After relieving the serpentfolk of all her equipment and determining that there is no value, intrinsic or otherwise, in the writings of the chamber, Seralya returned to meet the rest of her party.

Sir Darvan was approached by a man claiming to be from the tribe ruled by the insane Radiant Muse. He said that he wished to leave his deity, and choose a new one, asking Darve to accompany him out into the jungle for a purification ritual. Darve went with him after leaving notice of where he had gone.

Out in the woods, as the false “ritual” commenced, the assassin stabbed Darve in the back. Darve narrowly resisted an attempt at domination, and leapt onto his horse, rushing back to warn his friends about the assassins. The serpent teleported in front of Darve, cutting off his escape. Using magic, the killer forced Darve to dismount and remove all his armor and gear.

As Darve complied, his steed attempted mightly to beat on the assassin. The assassin tried to subvert the horse, but Bree’s will was unexepectedly strong. Darve told it to run and bring the cyclops, and it dutifully ran to do so.

As he was dropped his Golden Lion figurines, Darve spoke the command word, and the lions appeared and rushed the killer, grappling him. Unable to use his weapons, the knight beat the assassin to death with his bare hands.

PaoPao was approached by WowWow whom he had previously connected with concerning poison and drug trading. She wanted to discuss the locations and types of poisons or drug precursors that are available in the deeper recesses of the serpent world. Doing her best Mae West, she suggested they go back to her place. Figuring, ‘What the hell,’ he agreed to meet her under a cautious eye.

She took him into her parlor and proceeded to tell a most convincing story, complete with papers, detailing some varied types of poisons and creatures that dwell in the darkness. She kept making non-too-subtle passes and trying to ply him with drinks.

PaoPao tries a bit of sleight of hand to fake imbibing the drink she offered, but she caught him in the act. “Come now, you can trust me. See?” as she takes a drink of her own. “No offense, but this is not my first dance with seduction and poisons. I do not know you, so we will leave it at that. Now, about those papers?” PaoPao notes that she is hiding one of the papers she is shuffling and determines, given the chance, he will pop invisible and take a look.

She pushes repeatedly that he should come to bed and they should forget the trade for a little while. “Well, her canines don’t seem to be leaking any venom, what the hell,” he thinks to himself and follows her to her bedchamber. As he is undressing he doses himself with a protection from evil potion from his poisoner’s glove.

Things progress in congress as PaoPao indulges but keeps up his guard…among other things.

As passions reach a crescendo time seems to slow to a crawl as a premonition plays out in PaoPao’s mind. He sees this temptress deftly draw out a wicked blade shimmering purple and drive it into his abdomen angled up into his heart. Death is instantaneous as an evil smirk dances across this black widow’s beautiful face.

Things return to clear focus as time snaps back to normal. PaoPao easily rolls just enough to avoid the dagger as it stabs into the bed, but she cuts him as she draws it out of the cushion and he can feel the sting of quality poison course through him. But, poison being his stock and trade, her dose was insufficient this time as he had already built up a tolerance. In a flash of the wrist he slices her chest with a stunning hit that explodes with lightning and thunder as he tumbles out from under her.

Facing off naked and calmly angry the assassins circle each other as a swirl of dagger and falchion clash before WowWow blinks away.

“Hmm, usually it’s me who slips away leaving the woman in bed. No matter, the scar I’ve given her will mark her for death the next time we meet,” he thinks as he looks for his pants. One more thought occurs as he finishes gathering his things, “I thought she felt a bit colder than my usual company. Too bad I missed out on milking her fangs. Bitch.”

Rodrick was approached by a guard, who requested permission for his squad to spar with Hal. The summoner agreed, and they went off.

Rodrick spectated as the soldiers struggled to keep up with his monster as they were playfully smacked around the ring, and was offered ale. The drink seemed to hit a bit harder than it should have but Rodrick shrugged it off.

The assassin chose then to strike, driving their knife deep into Rodrick.

The summoner cried out, and he swapped places with his eidolon.
The serpent assassin was left staring into the gaping maw of Hal.

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Hal proceeded to unleash one of the greatest beat downs this side of the planes as he pummeled his masters attacker. In moments, the assassin was unconscious in the dirt.

The soldiers were discovered have been dominated as a cover for the attempted murder. Rodrick returned to town, dragging his bloodied attacker behind him.

Back together again, the party interrogated the captive serpentfolk. They were approached during the interrogation by the authorities, and after they truthfully explained the situation, some panic and paranoia began to spread among the city, as anyone could be an assassin.

Some time after the assassin attack, Darve approached Seralya.

“Madame Seralya, if I may have a moment?”

“It has begun to concern me that I have trouble resisting the mind controlling magic of our enemies. To combat this weakness…” Darve turns to his horse, and points at Seralya.

“Bree, Serve.”

Turning back, the knight continued. “He will now follow your orders with the same authority as myself. Should you feel the need, you can belay my orders, or even instruct him to throw me.”

The Witch replied “Master Cavalier, you honor me with such a responsibility. May that time never come.”

View
Beginning of the End

Back in Saventh-Yhi, the party divided up loot and healed. When they were ready, they went to visit Eando Kline, who told them what he had learned in his studies and been able to glean during his imprisonment.

A serpentfolk named Vyr-Azul is attempting to resurrect the serpent god Ydersius in his Sanctum, and that the party would need a weapon contained in the Hunter’s Maze in Illmurea. Also learned was the tale of how the ancient hero Savith and her merry men took down Ydersius the first time.

Leaving Kline behind to recover under Nyles’s care, (and tour the ancient city they had so helpfully cleared out for him) they returned to the serpent city.

The group enlisted the morlock’s aid in finding the Hunter’s Maze, and their old ally Thekota lead them to the site before returning home.

Before them was a chamber full of rubble, with a river running through it.

Invisibly scouting ahead, Pao Pao discovered an urdefhan skirmisher hiding behind some rubble.

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Reporting this through Dursar, the radio dragon, he silently moved across the river, but the tiniest of vibrations entered the water, and a horrific abomination surged out from the darkness, swallowing him whole.

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The group leapt into action, Darve riding across and stabbing at the creature, alerting numerous other Urdefhans hidden in the rubble, who opened fire with bows at the adventurers.

Fortunately for Pao Pao, this was the second time in his career he had been devoured by an animated blob of insanity and he simply ghosted away as Hal swooped in and battled the shoggoth. A second impalement from Darve finished it.

The urdefhan troops were somewhat easily defeated by the party, and the last one, faced with certain death, sacrificed itself to unleash the negative energy bound into it’s very soul, releasing an explosion of pure evil and death.

Fortunately, all this accomplished was to mildly annoy Hal.

A nearby cage full of morlocks was found, and after a magic symbol on the door forced Pao Pao to enter the prison as well, an undead was summoned to smash the door to bits, freeing the prisoners.

The morlocks swarmed away, but were stopped by a solid fog from Seralya, who was able to ask them some questions. They didn’t know anything useful, and were soon freed.

Moving into the Hunter’s Maze, the group was faced with a hallway filled with seemingly hostile symbols, but simply teleported past.

In the maze’s first chamber was a meladaemon and three urdefhan troops.

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The (highly observant) meladaemon noticed the invisible Pao Pao sneaking up on him, and cast life-draining magic at him.

Pao Pao ghosted through the floor, rising up behind one of the still oblivious urdefhan troops. It soon noticed him as well when the ninjas falchion stabbed through it.

The meladaemon flew into the air, but was dropped back to the floor by the witch. Rodrick teleported the group past the barricades at the door, and the daemon was annihilated by the groups focused attacks.

The urdefhans soon followed, some exploding to similar effect as before.

After the usual pilfering and plundering, the group moved down the rightmost path, discovering another, similar group of urdefhans and a meladaemon, this time standing on a piece of the floor covered in runes.

The monsters were killed, and a meladaemon appeared behind them, but teleported away when he saw his dead compatriots.

When the party attempted to levitate or fly over the runes, they activated and played a magically pre-recorded message giving the history of the maze.

Continuing along, the group came into a chamber filled with pillars. Atop them were more urdefhans and meladaemons, and also a wandering morhg.

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The urdefhans were cut down or exploded, but not before almost killing Seralya’s dragon with their fell arrows.

One meladaemon was killed before it could escape, and the other was dimensionally anchored by Rodrick to prevent it’s escape, and soon slain.

The morhg perished under the teeth and hooves of Darve’s steed.

At this time, the party decided to return to town, so they memorized and marked the room before teleporting back.

One more thing. Skweesh met with Pao Pao as he left town, and was rewarded for his work with a Simulacrum (Ice clone) of Seralya created by Rodrick. So that happened too. We can only hope she never finds out.

View
The end of a Chapter

Instead of tracking down the key to Kline’s cage, the party (after first checking to make sure magic still worked in the cage) gave him a potion of gaseous form, finally freeing The Kline.

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Nearby, the hundreds of morlocks had worked themselves into a frenzy and took off rioting through the Fortress of a Thousand Fangs. The group followed behind, finding bodies everywhere as the morlock hordes flooded over and crushed serpentfolk patrols, taking everything of value they saw.

Moving through the chaos, the party came to a locked door. Not wanting the smelly mob to take all the loot, Skweesh pretended to be unable to pick the lock until the morlocks were gone to open it.

Passing through, the group found a hallway, with two iron statues flanking a door. Not really fooled Skweesh stealthed in triggering the iron golems to activate and attack.

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The party charged and the golems lumbered into melee. Seralya cursed them with misfortune and retribution as the merc and his axe went to work. Skweesh leapt atop one of the automations, hacking and slashing at as they threw around hammering punches and poisonous gas. Darve endured a poisonous cloud as he stabbed a golem again and again with his lance.

Soon, a golem began to crumble under the weight of its own punches against the party, due to the witches hex and was then killed by Darve’s stabs.

In another room, they found a canopy bed. Within could be heard something moving. Skweesh cautiously threw back the curtain to find a captive Varisian woman. They spoke to her for a bit, but then Kline saw her and could see through her disguise as she had chosen to imitate one of his deceased friends. He shouted “Witch!” as he hurled his dagger at her revealing her to be a named succubus.

The party opened fire on the demoness when she attempted to control the smurf. Fortunately, there was no place for her next to Skweesh’s ‘love’ for Seralya. Taking still more hits, she laughed and vanished just before Seralya could summon a bone devil to lock her in this mortal plane. Darve showed visible disappointment as his sword slashed perfectly through where her neck had just been.

Moving on, the group found a portcullis blocking their path. Struggling to open it, the merc turned into a yeti as the group attempted to aid him. After much effort and many attempts, they finally managed to jam it open, but not before the yeti crapped himself while exerting against the gate.

On the other side, Skweesh scouted ahead into a gigantic chamber with a building on a raised foundation. He could hear voices arguing in a strange language, turning the corner, he saw the huge foot of a great cyclops.

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Unable to understand them, Skweesh called the Witch forward to help, who invisibly flew toward the ceiling and used her magics to eavesdrop. She learned that the two cyclopes were arguing over if they should interfere in the violence they could hear in the rest of the fortress or remain at their post. The witch became visible in the air as she began to cast a spell and battle was joined.

The merc and Skweesh began to battle one of the giants (Skweesh was thrilled to finally use his anti-giant training), Kline used his bardic song, and Darve rode through the darkness to line up for a charge.

A cyclops threw a giant boulder at Darve, and then the Witch finished her spell, and a massive T-rex suddenly appeared to attack the rock-hurling cyclops.

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Meanwhile, Skweesh stabbed his opponent in the gut, then launched up at the cyclops, and it crashed to the ground, the raging smurf’s teeth tearing at it’s throat.

The cyclops attempted to shoulder the dinosaur aside to charge the knight, but the tyrannosaur bit down on the giant’s arm and in a disgusting physics-bending spectacle somehow swallowed the entire giant whole.

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The party looked on with combined shock and bemusement, and the smurf tried to climb the dinosaur and get down its throat to continue the battle.

Inside the Rex, the cyclops punched and struggled to free itself and was vomited out, the smurf following it to the ground, teeth snapping. With a few more bites and hits, the great cyclops was killed.

After searching the giants for valuables, the party opened the door to the structure the Cyclops had been defending. Inside, they found a hideout of surviving serpentfolk, consisting of: Asaam, the poker-wielding backstabber, five ordinary serpentman troops, the vampire turncoat, and a serpentfolk leader they hadn’t seen before.

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The T-rex squeezed through the door and the smurf and merc leapt into action against several serpentfolk guards. Darve rode in, but was dominated by Sskhavo and frozen by the witch. Asaam came out of hiding to stab Skweesh in the kidneys yet again, but before he could disappear, the tyrannosaur’s jaws slammed down on him (yay!) Asaam struggled to escape the T-rex’s maw, but thanks to its grip Asaam was finally ended by Skweesh’s falchion. And nothing of value was lost.

The Witch summoned tentacles, and Skweesh and the merc sliced through Sskhavo’s minions to reach him. The tentacles caught the vampire, taking him out of the fight, but unfortunately caught the merc as well. Kline appeared in the doorway and the morlock horde swarmed in.

A brutal fight progressed with Sskhavo mortally wounded both the merc and the smurf as the T-rex vanished as the summoning expired. The merc was unconscious, Skweesh was bleeding out as he fought on to his last breath, while morlocks got tossed aside when finally Seralya tore through his defenses and froze Sskhavo, effectively ending the battle. F you Sskhavo, and all hail the witch!

Leaving the fortress, the party brought the vampiric traitors head to the vampire king, gaining his promise of support, in the coming apocalypse. The surviving morlocks returned to their home.

The group teleported out of the Darklands to recover. Eando Kline remained in town to recover. His mission completed, Davor the Half-Orc merc said farewell to the group and remained with Kline.

On a similar note, Skweesh was called home with a missive from PaoPao himself. The exact details of the note Skweesh kept to himself. Although the smurf pleaded with Seralya to return with him promising her riches and undying affection, she refused. So, disappointed, he finally accepted her solid rejection, picked up his axe and his baby seat and left with a final tip of his floppy white cap.

Soon, the party, now reduced to only Darve, Seralya, and Nyles, met in Nyles’ temple to decide if they should recruit new members. “I don’t think that will be necessary, if you’ll have me.” said PaoPao, appearing in their midst as suddenly as he had left. With all pretense of scholarly pursuits dropped, he looked even more battle ready then when he left.

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Before the party could fully react, an echoing roar shook the temple as a beast entered the room.

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A healthy Hal had returned. (And Rodrick too!)

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Behold, The Kline!
Does anybody know where the damn key to the cage is?

After freeing the stoned Darve, the party purchased a few items. Despite Nyles sincere wish to aid the party, urgent business at his temple prevented him from returning with them. Teleporting back to where they had left off in the serpent fortress. They circled further down the stone snake, past carved ribs and searched the rooms.

Eventually, in one of the chambers they found a secret door and heard marching approaching the room. The merc, Darve, and his steed turned invisible and the group headed down some stairs behind the secret door.

At the bottom, they found a large cavern. Skweesh crept ahead to scout, and upon entering the room, the serpent guards opened fire on him with arrows. He scoffed and let loose a cute little smurfy retort before raging.

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Skweesh charged in as the merc’s weapon flared with magic and he too entered the battle. Darve hurried to the end of the stairs, summoned his horse, yelling encouragement as he is wont to do. A serpent fired on Seralya, injuring her. Bad idea.

She lashed out in retaliation, staggering him with ice. Darve charged, stabbing a serpent folk, causing his horse to become visible again, making the horse a major target. Fortunately his skillful riding and his newfound skill as a bodyguard managed to keep Bree from being killed that day.

The Merc, the Smurf, and the Knight fought as the witch hexed, and eventually the guards began to die off. Unfortunately two more guards entered, and Skweesh was suddenly backstabbed by a serpentfolk wielding a red-hot poker.

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Fortunately, the smurf turned and seriously wounded the snakeman, causing the fancy head-dressed serpentman to throw pixie dust into the air and disappear. Curses.

Soon, the remaining guards were defeated, and one serpentfolk was captured.

Potions of curing wounds were used, the witch healed everyone, and drained the captive (that had unwisely struck her) of his life force to heal her own injuries. No interrogation was broached or suggested and Skweesh was released to slay the smelly guard when Seralya said she no longer needed him.

Searching around the room, they found no trace of the hot poker wielding backstabber. Dangit.

Soon, they found a dungeon full of about two hundred maltreated, filthy, cowering morlocks.

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Skweesh was able to speak undercommon but lacked the diplomacy to properly convey a calming message. Sir Darven offered to advise, so a three way conversation ensued, which went something like this:

“I don’t know what to say.” Skweesh admitted.

“Well, what do you wish to say, my little blue friend?”

“Calm the hell down, you filthy animals, and stop cowering!”

“Try, ‘Fear not, Citizens. We come in peace.’” Skweesh repeated this with little conviction.

The huddle morlocks continued to cower and beg not to be beaten or destroyed. “They’re still babbling and cowering as if their bony spines have been removed!” Skweesh grumbled.

“Try mentioning that we are friends of ‘the Great Kline’ and ‘Princess Juliver’ and we have come to rescue him.” Skweesh dutifully parrots this sentiment.

Upon mentioning the ‘Great’ Kline and (the late) ‘Princess’ Juliver, the morlocks mood changes dramatically and a more fruitful conversation begins and progresses to the place of freeing them and arming some of the more capable among them.

Some of the Murlocks wanted to go with the party but they were asked to remain there and told that the party would soon be back after some further exploration and recon. A small amount of armor and some food was parceled out and the party departed.

Pushing further into the dripping darkness of the area a dead woman was found bobbing in a cistern-like recess. Skweesh gladly hopped in to check and retrieve the corpse which was more than mostly dead (and splash around for treasure).

There was indeed some treasure in the cesspool, including, I believe, a +2 Rapier, a Potion of Gaseous Form, a Scroll of Phatom Steed, and 486gp worth of valuables.

Soon, they discovered a room with a cage, containing a tortured, chained-up human prisoner. He was approached cautiously, and was discovered to be DUN DUN DUNNN! Eando Kline.

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(As seen in better days)

He was healed by the witch as the party attempted to free him from his cage. Unfortunately, the lock was magically sealed, the room warded against teleportation, and the cage itself made of nigh-invincible adamantine or unobtainium or somesuch.

Nuts.

Sadly, a plan to have the merc turn into a yeti and rip the cage open was rejected when it was judged to be too strong even for that. The collar and shackles inside the cage were opened though. Thank goodness for small victories.

There seemed to be no way to free him but by the key, which Kline said was held by Asaam, the hot poker-wielding a-hole serpentfolk who had escaped earlier.

Assigning the 200 morlocks to guard “The Kline” (which they were more than happy to do), the party resolved to hunt down Asaam and perhaps the traitorous vampire as they had earlier agreed to do for the blue Vampire squashy head.

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A Lighthouse of Evil

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A view of Illmurea

After resting, the group considered how to infiltrate the enemy fortress. It was shaped like an immense, highly detailed snake, coiled around the rock in the lake, and spiraling up into the darkness far above. They set out climbing up its back. Eventually, they reached the top of its open-mouthed head.

With the others holding the rope, the merc, with Skweesh hanging on around his neck, attempted to swing into the mouth. Embarrassingly, Davor flubbed the Errol Flynn-like swing so Skweesh bailed and did a nice through the air summersault and stuck the landing (with a flourish), leaving the merc dangling for a moment.

Once the adventurers entered the stone serpent’s mouth, they were painfully battered by all of their agonizing memories and regrets with almost overwhelming oppression. Seralya and Nyles flew down, and Darve climbed down with the rope already set in place—all meeting the same experience to differing levels of regret and damage. Seralya grumbled as her familiar took significant damage from this ‘back door’ approach to entering the Fortress of a Thousand Fangs.

There was a floating enigmatic lens in the center of the room within the cavernous mouth, and a wall with two doors halfway down the snakes jaw. Nyles, the ever faithful cleric, healed the damage taken (and there was much rejoicing.) Both doors were examined and the northern door was breached whereupon the merc was immediately grabbed by a huge mass of floating snakes and tentacles.

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The knight summoned his horse from its magical storage and moved around to charge, but was grabbed by the tentacles as well. The Merc used spells and his axe against it. Nyles healed, and the monster struck the witch’s pet dragon, and she retaliated with icy spears and hexes. Finally, the aberration was felled as the smurf pounced around, cutting away at the tentacles grabbing his friends.

The room was a large chamber, with an altar and a pool for collecting the blood of sacrifices. The bowl of nastiness was unceremoniously slid into the portable hole. They searched, and those educated in the magic arts discovered that the slowly rotating lens was a source of power, that could be interacted with by those with telepathic abilities, such as serpentfolk and the witch’s pet dragon. She protectively refused to volunteer him however.

Meanwhile, Nyles and Skweesh attempted to push the slowly rotating lens into the portable hole only to fail. Nyles also tried to douse it with holy water and paint it in his customary rainbow palette only to have both slide off it. With a cautionary clearing of the throat, Seralya persuaded them to move on.

A hidden room as also discovered behind the altar containing, among other treasures, priestly vestments, a spellbook, sacred relics for sacrifices, and a complete set of texts that would be worth something to the right researcher or collector.

Moving on in a downward spiral towards the base [making the DM reverse his research for the evening], they take their time actively searching for hidden doors and rooms and listening all the while for what may lie ahead.

They found another room apparently set aside for more religious duties, spells, and possibly sacrifices with anything not nailed down placed in the portable hole. These included; a block of incense of meditation, 10 flasks of consecrated gopher guts (evil blood stuff), 50lbs of powdered silver, and 100gp of hippy sandlewood incense to cover up the smell of cat pee and snake regurgitation.

Pressing on, they next came upon a vestibule with more magicky stuff which included; a finely carved and detailed statuette of a wizardy serpent folk (who will probably come to be known as a female named Khavith), 13 scrolls written in Aklo (worth about 10,000gp), a scroll of Clone, and a magic glowing spell book. The ever impulsive Merc opened the spellbook to examine it and a trap on it almost took the merc out of commission for several weeks, but fortunately, he shrugged it off as it crumbled into dust in his hands. How rude.

Lower down the tower, they entered a new room, this one a guard post full of serpent archers.

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Seralya opened by filling the perfectly round 20’ chamber with black tentacles, unfortunately the snakes just managed to avoid becoming trapped. The merc animated four whirling daggers around him, Sir Darve and Skweesh moved in, and Nyles used his invisibility/illusory decoy trick to heal from the shadows until a snake figured it out. The guards apparently used their telepathy and flicking out their forked tongues scent-located Nyles, snapping around to look at him. One guard escaped (red 7—“I’m too fat!”—yes, I know he was red 6, but he was 7 in our game, damn it!), and the others were killed by the party.

After looting, [5x cure serious potions—several were guzzled leaving 2x by the end of the night, 5x MW Breastplate, 5x Heavy flail, and 5x Composite Long Bows +8] they went down to the next level, finding a chamber full of arcane equipment and two more archers and a mirror imaged serpentfolk wizard. It immediately raised a wall of acid between them and summoned tentacles on the other side. The party retreated up the sloping chamber, and Skweesh used a magic horn to summon 3 barbarians as the witch summoned a pair of babau assassin demons.

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The summoned minions went in, the demons getting trapped in a spiked, crushing pit (now where have I seen that before?) and the barbarians were caught and eventually killed by the tentacles. After a momentary standoff, the serpent wizard and her minions suddenly appeared behind them, paralyzing all but the priest. The witch broke the effect with a greater dispel and saved everybody’s bacon, and then the guard snake archers ran forward and entered combat.

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Soon, the snake wizard called up another wall of acid, directly on top of her own guards. The witch responded by teleporting the party to the other side. The group moved against Khavith.

Skweesh hurt her, but was trapped in a magic, near impenetrable box, with Khavith transferring half the injuries inflicted on her to him. The witch cast her hexes, and barely survived a lethal spell with Nyles aid. The witch also used her magic to help defeat the wizard’s mirror images.

The guards, hissing in pain from the acid but hurtling themselves through the wall, turned and attacked the party, nearly killing Dursar. Eventually, the guards were defeated, one by the demons with Darve’s help, with the other finished off by the witch draining its life out.

The merc battled the wizard, at one point taking the form of a giant dire frog in order to overpower her, and resisting an attempt to cast him into another plane. Sir Darve, deprived of his horse by the teleport, managed to hit her hard, but was turned to stone.

Nyles saved everyone’s lives several times over that day with his healing magic. Ultimately, the wizard seemed to be nearing the end of her extensive collection of spells. Finally, wrestled to the ground by the merc and the demons, badly injured, Khavith slashed her wrist with her dagger and vanished—seemingly instituting some contingency plan. At that moment, the statuette found in the priest’s rape room crumbled into dust. Skweesh lamented the loss of gold.

The party searched fruitlessly around the immediate area for her, freed the smurf-in-the-box, and collected the petrified knight and his (unpetrified) horse, and teleported back to town, where the process of turning his stone state back to flesh was a success. And there was much rejoicing.

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Murlocks, Vampires, and Serpents oh my!

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As mouse blood drips from the smurf’s hand, the party stood in a room filled with smashed brains, fallen morlocks, wrecked golems, and the door the creatures had been trying to breach stood closed. The loot was divided up and negotiations began with the morlocks hiding behind the door as the party tried to convince them that the threat was gone and they could open the door. Eventually the door opened to reveal the morlock leader Udarra and a wall of blades.

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The party spoke with her, and was told that the Pathfinder they were looking for, Eando Kline, had gone to attempt to ally with a town of vampiric creatures against the serpentfolk. Eventually the blades were dismissed, revealing numerous morlock civilians.

Udarra, when told that there was no hope for the intellect devourer-infected morlocks that had survived the battle outside and been taken prisoner, she approved the execution of the body snatchers, which was carried out by Skweesh (eagerly.) Before moving on, the party rested at the morlock stronghold, fawned over as conquering heroes and “ancestors” worshipped by the morlocks. The devourer patrols, away at the time of the battle, never returned.

In preparation to go, the party was given holy water, with which Skweesh made water balloons out of the bladders of the infected morlocks. No one else seemed to want to use the products of his ingenuity. Nyles was unable to come along due to chronic explosive diarrhea. Many morlocks wanted to accompany them, but were rejected due to lack of apparent competence. Their guide, Thekota, was brought along however. The party journeyed through the Darklands, and reached the city of the “vampires”.

Considering and rejecting the idea of a stealthy approach, they marched openly toward the city, calling out at the gate that they sought Eando Kline. Initially, they were angrily rebuffed but with mild difficulty convinced the inhabitants to let them in. Flying in on giant bats, the creatures came out and demanded the party disarm before they entered to see their leader. This was the first good look the party got at the creatures, which were fanged, blue, and translucent monsters.

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Dropping their main weapons, (with a few in reserve) the group was marched through the city toward a massive dome. The city was filled with torture devices and dead creatures strung up along the road. The guard escorts took every opportunity to roughly shove and elbow them along the way. One of the creatures struck the merc, who took exception to this treatment, turning and glaring threateningly at it. It shrugged it off and spit at him, nearly leading to violence, but the merc managed to contain his fury.

For now.

Finally reaching the dome and the rulers meeting hall therein, they were told that he would come to see them. They waited for hours, searching the room and picking the lock on the door out of boredom. Finally the ruler arrived, ignoring their presence momentarily until he felt he was ready to speak.

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Speaking with them in his strange two/echoing voices—one cultured and the other feral and savage—he said that, while Kline had arrived, he was no longer with them. He had tried to get them to ally against the serpentfolk, and as a test, the ruler, Izon, had sent him out to kill a traitorous lieutenant of his who had joined the serpentfolk.

Since he had not yet returned, the monsters had written him off as dead. The group accepted the same mission in the hopes of finding Kline, and possibly gaining the horrific beings support.

For now.

The merc had one condition however—the guard who had spit on him had to accompany them as their guide. Izon casually agreed, much to the guard’s terror. “Smurferific!” was heard in a muffled tone. They then took back their weapons and set out for the serpentfolk Fortress of a Thousand Fangs.

It was surrounded by waterfalls, a chasm, and a massive lake. Upon arrival, the merc dropped his weapons and dared the guard to a fight. It tried to flee, but was tackled by Skweesh just before the witch caused it to slumber. It was woken up and spit on by the merc. Skweesh tied it up and they brought it along briefly as a captive, the merc releasing him and giving it a final punch to the face when they reached at the edge of the chasm and bringing it was no longer feasible. “Smurf it.” was heard in a disgruntled tone.

Crossing over to the lake with magic, they dealt with the obstacle of the water by the witch flying, the merc transforming into a water elemental, and the knight’s horse having magical horseshoes. Skweesh, of course, came along on his baby seat. Crossing the mostly calm lake was suddenly interrupted when a massive sea serpent burst from the water, slamming into and chomping on Sir Darve.

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Battle was joined, the witch hexed the serpent’s aim as the knight and his steed gave it minor wounds and Skweesh pounced/swam/dove into it, slicing a massive wound in its side with his thundering electric axe. The serpent grabbed up the annoying smurf in her jaws as the smurf squirmed to get free. The merc found that a magic cone of cold and ice did nothing but freeze off one of Skweesh’s side burns, so he transformed into his original form and returned to his trusty axe doing respectable damage.

Dursar greased Skweesh, allowing him to escape the monster’s jaws, but then he was grabbed up again by the creature’s yawning maw. Finally, the knight backed off and charged, spearing and killing the old sea serpent—Ydersius’s Thalassic Daughter.

She sank back into the lake, dragging Skweesh with her. After a moment, Skweesh burst from the lake, wounded, but still alive and frothing—taking a moment to look up Seralya’s skirt. Reluctantly, the witch cured his wounds by a laying on of hands. “Smurferific, indeed!” the gnome exclaimed with glee! Darve was also healed.

When they reached the other shore, they chose to rest, using their portable hole as a shelter.

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Food for thought aka Thoughts for Food (Attack of the Intellect Devourers)

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The party rested in the ruins within sight of the mansion where the leader of the seemingly friendly morlock faction, Udarra was under siege by the forces of the warlord Ixolan. Before resting; however, Serayla’s faerie dragon familiar invisibly scouted out the area, seeing three morlock guards at the mansion door and patrols moving through the city. Oddly, they seemed to amuse themselves by casually throwing full-force punches at each other.

In the morning, the party carefully planned out their attack. With the rest waiting over 300 feet away in reserve, the witch and the merc turned invisible and crept up on the guards. Someone accidentally made too much noise, and the guards began looking around for the intruders. Serayla’s targets dropped, cursed with slumber out of the darkness. The merc threw four mithril daggers into the air, which animated into a spinning ring around him and moved on his guard. The knight and the smurf leapt onto the horse and charged towards the building and up the stairs as Nyles huffed and puffed to join the fray.

The remaining guard attempted to defend himself, but was then rendered unconscious. The knight thundered up the stairs, but then stopped, not seeing any target. Skweesh however, did, hopping off his baby seat and approaching a downed foe with sword in hand. Darve tried to stop him, but he executed the prisoner anyway/delivered righteous judgment, lightning and thunder blasting from his weapon. Nyles arrives seconds later commenting, “I probably can’t heal that.”

Seralya froze a downed enemy as the merc went to study one of the doors. Nyles noticed that the damage from the final blow shouldn’t have done so much damage when a tiny brain with legs lept from hiding attacking the party with magic for a moment before being killed.

Nyles tied up the remaining unfrozen morlock. The merc went through the door, not wanting to waste his remaining time invisible. Inside he saw two giant, cannon wielding machinations battering on a door. Another figure was momentarily glimpsed in the corner, but then disappeared.

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The party rushed in to fight against the machines, Skweesh disappointedly crying out, “MY RIDE!” as the knight charged, depriving him of “his” horse. The battle was joined, with the golems smashing elemental substances into the ground and blasting with their cannons. As the battle raged “Nyles” (an illusionary doppelganger) danced into the fray, dodging cannon shots and eventually getting brutally pummeled by the golems, as the real priest had turned invisible to bestow his lifesaving healing from the shadows while the decoy provided a distraction.

A golem fell, and the knight moved to the other side of the room to line up for another charge when suddenly the figure seen earlier, revealed to be Ixolan, leapt out of hiding, his weapon glancing off Darve’s armor as he landed nearby.

The knight charged in retaliation, impaling Ixolan, who, while wounded, survived and vanished in invisibility as frothing morlock warriors ran in, surrounding the knight. Skweesh dropped the remaining golem and the merc attacked the new enemies, chopping with his axe and casting lethal spells.

As this new phase of the battle began, Seralya used her magic to search for the invisible Ixolan. Ixolan noticed her looking at him and attempting to make him visible and leapt from the shadows high into the air to attempt to take down the flying witch. Fortunately he missed, landing in the rubble nearby. He was unable to restore his invisibility in time and was killed by Skweesh. Seralya, now seeing the invisible, noticed that more of the brain monsters were emerging from the fallen morlocks.

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Seralya decided it was time for the fight to end, summoning a swarm of 20 foot black tentacles into the fight. Darve rode out of the tentacles and attempted to stab one of the brains, who were becoming visible as they attacked. The merc was grabbed by the tentacles, and Dursar attempted to free him with magic grease. The merc then escaped and although two brains pounced on him, they were quickly killed. The fight seemed to be drawing to a close.

Suddenly, the merc cried out in agony. The leader of the intellect devourers, who had been possessing Ixolan, had crept out of the rubble and nearly killed him with powerful stings to his leg in an attempt to gain a new host.

Before the final blow could be struck, the creature was snatched off of the Merc by Skweesh, who successfully gripped it in his hands. It attempted to ward Skweesh off with its mind powers as the merc and the knight repeatedly stabbed and slashed at it. Finally, the witch, using her powerful magics, polymorphs it into the form of a helpless mouse caught in the smurfs’ enraged, crushing grip.

The great Uthothot’s long, cruel life ended with a skweesh and a crunch.

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Into the Rectum of the Darkland

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On Serayla’s suggestion, before going through the portal, the party spent a week in Saventh-Yhi, and teleporting around the world beyond, buying supplies, selling treasures, and having wondrous items created and improved. Shining armor became shinier, coffers became lighter, and Smurfs became smurfier. The week was not entirely good for them, however, as Hal had fallen sick, and the immortal alien death-beast and his pet wizard were forced to leave the group and search for a cure. After finishing with the trip, the party ventured to the portal, repaired the powering gems, and stepped through the gate into the dark tunnel beyond.

On the other side they found…nothing. A dark and empty natural tunnel extended before them. Behind them there was only a blank wall. After marking their location, they pressed onward, Davor the merc and Skweesh on point, reporting back through the Witches pet dragon’s telepathic ability. After a long, long walk through the tunnel, during which Skweesh eventually retired to his crude, reclining baby seat on the side of Bree’s saddle. Eventually the tunnel opened up into a huge chamber, tiny spiders and webbing drifting throughout. The merc crept in cautiously, searching for enemies, when suddenly an immense spider leapt down behind him, the others seeing only a massive, dark shape blocking their path. The spider attempted to swat the merc, but was prevented from doing so by a magic deflection. The others leapt into action, throwing spells and a lance at it, and finally killing it when Skweesh leapt from his seat and smurfed it, gaining none of Serayla’s respect in the process.

However, the dead spider blocked off the path, and another one leapt down, leaving Davor to face it alone in the darkness.

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Then, in a sudden burst of glory, the merc charged with magical power, and struck off the beasts head in a single blow.

Awkwardly crawling or flying over the carcass of the first spider, the party searched the room. No treasures were discovered, but one of the hundreds of webbed up victims turned out to be alive. The party scanned him with magic, and then carefully unwrapped the figures face, leading to a shriek of terror from what was revealed to be a morlock, a pale, oddly proportioned cave dwelling humanoid.

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They spoke with the creature, who told of war between those of his tribe who supported the “Great Kline”, the Pathfinder the group were looking for, and a warlord who opposed him. Also the morlock revealed a hatred of serpentfolk, an great respect for the party, a interest in knights, a reverence for the “ancient ones” and a great love for the great and beautiful “Princess” Juliver. The party accompanied him through the underground going to aid him against the warlord, catching a glimpse of the serpent city of Ilmurea on the way.

Eventually, they came to a gate guarded by the statues of ancient humanoid figures. The morlock, believing it was safe, walked through without harm, but when the merc went with him the statues sprung to life, lashing out at him. The Priest and the Witch threw spells but had difficulty causing any affect at first. The merc battled for his life against the monsters on either side, at one point grabbing away the amulet worn by the screaming morlock in a futile attempt to fool the guardians. Darve charged, stabbing his lance into one and taking a punch to the helmet. However, the knight dodged another blow, which chipped Skweesh’s baby seat. This released the true berserk fury of the angry smurf. Ice spears also erupted from the ground impaling and tripping one of the guardians.

During the battle, Nyles seemed to run foolishly into range of the beast, and subsequently be cut down in single blow. In fact, Nyles simply disappeared, leading to much rejoicing (yay.) when he revealed himself after the statues were finally cut down. They then entered the dark city of the morlocks, hiding in a building on their guides encouragement to hide from a patrol of the warlords troops, and decided to rest there for a time.

As a final sidenote, Skweesh continued to harass the witch throughout the day with his unwanted attention, ignoring the almost certain brutal vengeance that was to come on the day he finally pushed her too far.

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