Nightmares of Nerath

Session 14: The Beholder itself!

Adrenaline and panic racing through his veins Rocknut takes in the reality of the situation in front of him. His once time friend and ally Shreddin is covered in the blood of his allies and standing over the freshly dispatched body of Jenk. Mustering all the divine energy he can, he releases it in a burst of holy energy that pours into the bodies of his comrades bringing them back from the brink of death. Khadgar releases a bolt of lightning, striking Shreddin in the shoulder causing him to move into Jenk’s ‘fun zone’, earning him a large laceration to the back. The struggle is think and fierce with blows being traded between the once upon a time allies and continuously the beholder taunts the party with Shreddin’s voice and memories, waging a psychological war as well as a physical one. Rocknut becoming the target of Shreddin’s rage is thrown bodily across the chamber and crashes into the cog that turned off the wall of fire. Balassar unable to take what is happening to his dragon born brethren, charges in an attempt to sever his head and stop Shreddin being pupated, but is caught horribly off guard when with impossibly quick resources he is stopped dead in his tracks and met in turn with a burst of fire that explodes from Shreddin’s maw with an unknown ferocity. In a display of heroism that is surprising for one of his size, Pug and Steed, the newest members of the group, bull rush Shreddin and bowl him over and sink the spider’s fangs deep into his collarbone, spending poison pulsing through his body. After a series of eldritch bolts and an axe flurry from Jenk a single pillar of holy fire descends form the roof of the cavern and takes the dragonborn in the temple striking him dead.
Silence hangs in the air, broken only by the sound of heavy ragged breathing from the party members as they do not know what to think or what to do. Balassar breaks the silence, “we must burn his body” The party agree, though Jenk is reluctant due to not understanding what is really happening. Retrieving Shreddin’s sword and putting it in his rucksack Balassar instructs Pug’s spider to wrap the corpse so he begin his ceremony, reminding it explicitly that it cannot eat him. As this is happening Rocknut is slowly walking around healing the rest of the party as well as he can, he himself is exhausted and hurt but is looking after others instead of himself right now. Balassar is softly talking to himself in dragonborn, totally unaware of Pug avidly studying every detail of what is occurring, slowly drawing a series of draconic sigils on the webbing. He then traces a similar pattern of sigils on his own face to make a blood pact and vow of revenge on the entity that was the cause of their friend dying. Once he stands up turning to light a torch, Pug races in and attempts to mimic what he saw happen but only manages to smear blood all over his face…. The cocoon catches quickly, flames licking the edges of Shreddin’s clothing and beginning to warp the buckles of his armour. Balassar watches in a silent vigil ignoring the actions of the others and is only jolted back to reality when Jenk notices the doors behind the small throne have opened and announces at the top of his voice that he lusts for revenge.
Not willing to lose another friend Balassar rushes after the half orc into what can only be described as a nightmare. Tables of Troglodytes are sitting in what appears to be a large meeting hall, and in the far distance a grand figure can be seen resting on a larger throne to the previous room they’d just left. Hot on his heels are Asmodie, Pug and Rocknut arriving in the large chamber ready for battle or whatever is awaiting them; Khadgar having used way too much magic for his rudimentary skills is resting. A mighty roar from the obvious Troglodyte in charge triggers action from those seated as they rush at the invading party members. Momentarily studying the oncoming Troglodytes Balassar notices that they are much more humanoid in appearance, similar to that of a dragonborn in relation to the dragon-human scale, and this is drastically different to the animal like encounters when they first entered the cave, he also doesn’t see the same level of mind control visually present but before this can be pondered further they are upon Jenk and himself. Roaring into action Jenk boldly charges headfirst into the oncoming enemies, not caring for their overwhelming number nor his own safety and starts laying into them with his axe. Balassar needing no need for provocation charges in alongside Jenk in a futile attempt to protect him as much as possible, however just at the edge of his hearing he can hear a peculiar mechanical clicking…Eldrich blasts fly from azmodie’s hands striking Troglotytes consistently and a steady chanting emanates from Rocknut as he keeps the party healed as much as he is able given their vastly outnumbered situation. Pug races along the floor atop his mighty spider Steed and lashes out with both beast and blade to confuse and weaken the enemy but avoiding getting hurt himself. Khadgar hearing the ruckus rouses himself from his comfy chair and rounds the corner to send rays of scorching energy at the back group of Troglodytes uncovering the fact that they are users some peculiar device and in turn is hit by a volley of magical energy. The fighting is interrupted by a pair of metallic clangs followed by a high pitch whistle as two heavy ballista bolts fly across the room, one narrowly missing Khadgar and the other unfortunately striking Balassar, propelling him into the ground with the bolt itself pinning him to the stone floor. Gasping at the magical effort required and the pain he must feel, Balassar misty steps across the room to a ledge where the bolt must have come from and is confronted by the site of a Troglodyte loading what appears to be a mini siege weapon! Taking him out, not without dropping his sword once in the process, Balassar turns to see two equally terrifying things. The Troglodyte chief has risen from his thrown and is advancing on the party with another 10 monsters in tow and a mortally wounded Jenk bellowing in primal rage, causing the enemy and his own party members to quake in instinctive fear, literally vaulting up the cliff to eviscerate the other crossbowmen. Unnoticed Khadgar has palmed all the magical rings he had discovered earlier and with no idea what he was doing channels his magical essence into them and is rocked backwards as an enormous red beam explodes an inch from his chest shooting in the direction of the Troglodyte chief. The beam smashes into the chief’s chest leaving a whole the size of Rocknut and the creature itself stares in utter disbelief unable to make a sound and collapses to the ground, disintegrating as it hits the stonework. Momentarily stunned by the removal of their leader, the remaining Troglodytes fail to react in time before Jenk vaults down into the midst of them, separating limbs and decapitating heads. The rest of the group watches stunned at the charnel delight that Jenk seems to be deriving from this, noticing the shark like white of his eyes and dilated pupils indicating that if they were to get too close they might end up as his next target.
Slowly but surely, with the assistance of Balassar, Jenk is calmed down and the group elects to rest in this cavern, this being due to its defendable entrances and an apparently infallible series of traps created by Pug…. As they sleep Khadgar manages to sense a presence brush past him, searching with his mind he hits a wall of malice and quickly retreats, uncertain how to act he watches as one by one his friends undergo some sort of seizure as they sleep due to some unforeseen creature. Hastily waking up Asmodie he relays all he has seen and as Asmodie castes out his mind in an identical fashion to Khadgar had previously hi hits the frighteningly familiar sense of an Ilithid mind and instantly dashes across the room to wake up Balassar in an attempt to garner more positive favour. Balassar opening his eyes to see Assmodie above him reacts without feeling and head-butts him, reeling back in pain Asmodie mouths the word mindflayer which causes Balassar to realise why he was awoken and shouts to rally everyone. As everyone begins to react and attempt to find the aberration it blasts the party with a mind blast, stunning almost all of them bar those that are mentally the strongest…and Jenk.. who lash out at the create dealing significant damage before it warps reality around itself and retreats. Agitated that he was disturbed whilst sleeping, Jenk promptly rolls back over to his dead Troglodyte body pillow and rock cushion and falls asleep again. As they begin to drift off a second time a soft padding of paws can be heard as a very creepy sight emerges from the dark in front of them. An enormous brain on almost dog like paws walks out of the dark and blasts the entire party with a wave of mental energy that seems to sap something from Jenk. He growls a half sentence about killing and rushes the creature beating it to a bloody pulp with the assistance of other party members. He then goes back to sleep muttering about a sore head.,? They are awoken a third time by a peculiar stream on mind controlled villages walking into the party and attempting to attack them with their fists…Asmodie figures out a way to break the psychic connection to the Beholder by placing the Bag of Holding over the head of a creature, thus putting it into a pocket dimension quickly goes to do such a task. However as he does so he removes the Shard of the Abyss and is stunned as two Hezarou step out of portals that appear 10ft in front of the tiefling. Balassar in a genius moment speaks the command word of his iron flash and traps one inside and they manage to defeat the other as Asmodie placing the dagger into his black hole to hide it once more. One is questioned and all that is gleaned from him was the fact that the creature was aided by ‘a man in a cloack’.
Having spent over 10 hours attempting to rest and getting the inclination that the Beholder obviously won’t allow that and sluggishly move forward as some members of their group are tired and suffering near exhaustion whilst others a rosy fresh. Jenk having missed the demon action is angry, just like that of a juvenile child, and smashes his way through a serious of bizarrely thin walls that lead them to a passageway filled with traps. Utilizing his childish brain he devises a way to find out where they are and promptly throws corpses of previously killed creatures to see what happens when they land and slide along the floor…brilliant. Unbeknownst to Jenk the rest of the party have stumbled upon the female druid from the forest to the north west of their position, who had helped them previously, and freed her from the Beholder utilizing Asmodie’s bag trick. As she recovers Jenk notices and drops the corpse he was carrying and runs directly at her arms outstretched and hits a wall of invisible force. Balassar, ever the diplomat, talks Jenk down and encourages him to behave in return for the druid assisting them in destroying this Beholder in the name of balance.
Leaving the room and heading up the path toward the Beholder’s actual lair they are caught off guard as the wall to their right erupts in tentacles and grabs Rocknut and Asmodie tight, however Asmodie somehow manages to wriggle his way free. As they approach the opening they are welcomed by the now familiar voice that echoes through their heads and out loud “welcome to the place where you die”. As they take in the enormous cavern they instantly see the beholder, perching atop a ledge unable to be attacked physically, flanked by two enormous Troglodyte monsters that seem more beast than anything they’ve previously encountered, standing easily 10-11ft in size. At first unnoticed by picked up by a keen eyed Khadgar, a group of unknown humanoids perform a ritual just out of sight form most the party. Unable to use its eye rays the Beholder taunts the group about Shreddin, how easy it was to break him, how fun it was to watch you fight your former friend. The druid in anger calls forth an earth elemental but as it lumbers forward it steps into the antimagic zone and falls apart as the magic binding it together ceases to exist. Jenk in a fit of rage sends his axe hurtling across the 100ft distance between himself and the creature flying along behind it and unleashes a devastating series of attacks. The Beholder turns its giant eye onto Jenk and swallows him whole, beams exploding out of its stalks to crash into the party causing havoc. Unleashing the stoppered demon, Balassar commands it to attack one of the Troglodytes and using one of his Rhino Statues he summons two of the creatures to distract the other monster. Asmodie and Khadgar dimension door to the other side of the room to gain a better vantage point on the cultists and are met in turn by an enormous eye that forms out of the wall nearby, firing a beam of pinkish energy at Asmodie. Pug in his usual fashion skitters up the roof to attempt to get a better vantage point, missing horribly with his bow…… The battle rages on with mightly bowls being struck against the assailants and the party members, Jenk emerges from the Beholders gut, covered in mucus and hacks into the creature, Asmodie blasts the giant floating testicle and burns off two of its eye stalks but not before Pug and Steed are caught by a series of beams causing them to fall to the floor and get knocked unconscious. Khadgar unleashes magic upon the cultists killing them as fast as he can and is supported by Balassar who misty steps in knowing, somehow, that the ritual needs to be stopped quickly. As he wades into them hack and slashing he notices that they are surrounding an eerily familiar pedestal with a glowing source of purple energy that is beating like a heart, gaining speed every verse of the chant. Eyes form on walls, the ground turns to slime, more tentacles erupt from previously flat surfaces and beam of magic fly with deadly accuracy as the party attack everything that is in reach in an all-out attempt to survive this horrendous ordeal. A dark red beam takes Asmodie in the chest causing him to sink to his knees, a dark green beam takes Khadgar in the shoulder hurtling him across the room, Jenk gets struck by a blue beam and is thrown into the roof but manages to use his axe to land and continue his vicious assault. Pug regains consciousness and goes to save Rocknut who has awkwardly been trapped this entire time. Unnoticed by most a similarly red beam streaks across the room to hit the druid square in the chest, causing a momentary look of horror as she disintegrates into ash, this is peculiar only seen by Khadgar but he is way too focused on not allowing himself to be turned to stone by a sickly yellow beam that had struck him earlier. One of the massive Troglodytes crushes the skull of the demon it was facing and advances on Pug who, without his spider is certainly in trouble. However a few moments later Steed manages to ‘cable tie’ the limbs of the other Troglodyte bringing it crashing down on top of some of the Rhinos that have been engaging it. A dark green beam shoots across the room and takes Asmozie in the back and he collapses to the ground, a peculiar white beam strikes Balassar but he resists the urge to go to sleep and rushes across the room to deal with the fallen Troglodyte. Jenk in a fit of rage launches himself into the air and unleashes a series of overhead blows that sink into the already exposed brain of the Beholder and bring it crashing to the ground, finally dead. As the remaining Troglodyte is killed Rocknut and Pug emerge from around the corner rushing to save their injured companions.
As rocknut rushes across the room to reach Asmodie he is stopped sort the the sight of a milky white mist beginning to emanate from the tieflings corpse and the uncomfortably familiar sight of translucent tentacles begin to wrap around his body and seem to draw him into the mist itself. A little phased by what he has seen Rocknut shudders and turns to help those that are actually on this plane of existence. As they recover, physically, mentally and emotionally empty the party is startled by the calls of Jenk as he searches for the female druid. Unable to find her he is informed of her fate and in his child like state is unable to fathom the situation until he scoops her remains into a flash and tusks it tight into his bet with a very uncharacteristic amount of care and concern. He then begins to explore the room and notices the pulsating energy that Khadgar and Balassar are already standing in front of. Both feel a tug on their minds and unlike Balassar who is strong of will Khadgar is propelled to reach forth and touch it. Energy races through his body and he collapses into a fit for a few seconds then springs back to his feet and announces that he feels amazing!
Jenk arriving on the scene notices the pedestal can be moved, pushes it over and discovers a rather weird littleorb that he immediately touches. Instantly he is transported to an entirely dark place that upon exploring further he realises is a TREASURE VAULT. Searching further he finds a bigger version of the device that got him here and touches it transporting himself back to the cavern. Grabbing Balassar he touches the orb again and arrives in the treasure room quickly followed by the remaining party members who begin to fill their pockets as quickly as possible with whatever they can, except for Balassar who, showing concern, looks through the piles of wealth with a sense of trepidation. Jenk spies an oddly sized rug reasonably close by and discovers that it is a flying carpet which he promptly jumps on and begins giggling in childish delight as he soars around the ceiling of the vault.
 

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Session 13: Hunting for Shreddin

Surrounded by the freshly slaughtered corpses of over two dozen Troglodytes, the party takes a moment to collect themselves mentally and physically, allowing the reality of what has happened sink in. Voicing everyone’s internal thoughts Jenk surges to his feet (having just rummaged around for things of interest on the bodies) and screams at the top of his lungs after his captured comrade…


“Red Lizard?” his concern ringing through the cavern, “RED LIZARD!” rage beginning to supress his worry and sprinting he dashes into the darkness in the direction that Shreddin was taken.
 

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Session 12: Entering the Underdark

After killing another small group of Troglodytes the group, upon exploring the room further, discover a peculiar structure at the top of the room. Looking at it close it appears to be some sort of intricate cage that seems to surround a golden orb that swirls with pale ripples, finishing with claw like feet dig into the ground. Jenk seeing something shiny inside claims it as his and begins with all his strength to rip the top of the cage off and when it only budged slightly he was infuriated and tried even harder. Asmodie believing it to be something magical reaches into the cage and touches the orb, instantly feeling a painful backlash of Holy energy race through his body as he is propelled across the room and snarls, cupping is scolded hand.

As this was happening Balassar smiles slightly and walks over touching the orb himself, feeling a surge of Holy energy suffuse his body and fill him with energy and strength. He begins to search his copper mind in an attempt to identify what this object could be or what the cage could be and after a couple of minutes of memory sifting he is delighted to discover that it is one of the long lost Orbs of Pelor, a relic of ‘the Bloodwars’ between heaven and hell that was used to create areas of sanctuary. Only knowing of two in existence Balassar makes the decision to protect this relic and take it back to a holy place of Pelor so they may use it as a symbol of worship. However as he was instructing Jenk to protect the cage until he could find a way to open the intricate lock Asmodie reaches across the surface of the cage and touches the orb with his 'fun' dagger.

The moment of contact between the two items creates an ear piercing ringing and as everyone in the room, minus Khadgar who was looking at the murky water in the corner for some reason, watched in horror/rapture as the orb began to grow dig and spider web lick cracks spread across the surface or the orb. This continued for a couple of seconds until the orb was a latticework of crevices and as they watched it crumpled to dull brownish grey dust. Reacting without thinking Jenk lashes out with his foot kicking Asmodie in the chest sending the dagger flying across the room and Asmodie in the opposite direction to slam into the far wall. This reaction however pales in comparison to Balassar’s response, slowly pivoting on the spot he draws his Divine sword with deadly intent and advances towards Azmodie’s current position. Looking up and seeing the paladin advancing on him and recognizing the terrifying look in his eyes the tiefling dimension doors out of the room into the darkness, hoping this saves him. Balassar pings, finding where Azmodie is directly and with a flick, indicating extreme talent (that until now had been hidden) throws his other sword from his scabbard, igniting its core, and illuminating the air as it sails scarily close to Azmodie to lodge in the ground illuminating him. Recognizing the situation he was in and his options, Azmodie throws his hands up in surrender.

As this is happening Jenk goes to retrieve the dagger from where it ended up and is attack by an Abolith that had been hiding in the murky water that Khadgar had been exploring. Surprised and scared that something monsterous had been so close Khadgar falls on his butt watching as Jenk is dragged back into the water and vanishes amidst a flurry of disturbed water. Struggling to free himself Jenk tears into the creature with his razor teeth and hacks at it with his axe, in return being poisoned and constricted to the point that he almost falls unconscious. Khadgar jumps into the water awkwardly to help Jenk by sending his magical pebbles. As the creature slowly loses the fight it seems to lose interest in the raging barbarian and launches itself out of the water apparently in the direction of the dagger. Surging out of the water after the Abolith, Jenk lands on its back and cuts it down then turns to survey the situation at hand.

Balassar calls Jenk over and instructs him to watch the tiefling as he removes all of his possessions and places them on the ground. As this is happening Balassar turns to the Abolith and bottles some of its poison to hopefully use at a later date. Tying up Azmodie they leave all his items to Jenk who hastily puts them all in his chest. Turning to Shreddin who had been rocking backwards and forwards during the whole encounter Balassar asks if he will assist in taking Azmodie back to the surface and a church to receive judgement for what he has done. At the same time Azmodie is mentally talking to Shreddin about the horrible lies that are being told about him (as he is now gagged) and asking to help him get free. Shreddin being unable to process what is happening, nor deal with the weight of the decision that is being forced upon him, breaks down and runs away… straight into a dark unexplored tunnel.

Seconds pass as everyone processes what happens and in unison they turn and rush after their long-time companion, though Azmodie is being carried currently. They race down tunnels they haven’t explored, dark shadows receding in front of them and enticing hallways beckoning to be looked at. After roughly 10 minutes the group rounds a corner to see an enormous group of Troglodytes swarming Shreddin and he seemed unaware of the enormous Troglodyte wearing resplendent armour striding up to him. Before anyone could shout out, Shreddin was smacked in the back of the skull by the haft of a large Warhammer and knocked unconscious, slung over the shoulder of the new Troglodyte and carried deeper into the caverns system.

Slaughtering the large group of Troglodytes, with the assistance of Asmodie of course (who polymorphs out of his bindings and then REBINDS himself when combat finishes) the group push deeper into the caves of the underdark.

 

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