Characters: Avria, Gronja, Indus Ederix, Konang, Nevyn Verulai, Vondulyth Grimtoken, Wennicus Winterbottom
Game Date: 11/1/15
- The heroes report the undead sighting to The Jordan, whose soldiers quickly confirm the threat. Surrounding villages are being set ablaze at night as refugees stream into Jordan’s Crossing by day. The group of ne’re-do-wells, who first alerted the party, leave the bone gutripper in their custody. Vondulyth hides it out in the open, behind the giant gutripper on display in their villa.
- As trusted figures in the city, The Jordan empowers the heroes to execute precision skirmishes and sorties around the city rather than commanding armies against the approaching undead. Veteran soldiers and generals from across the realm have been spirited into the metropolis through teleportation circles that were, until now, previously hidden from the public.
- As reinforcements take up position around the city, the party leave through the main gate to shepherd a large mob of Grainhollow villagers fleeing for lives from undead pursuers. Gronja observes that, after being honoured in Grainhollow the previous night, the celebratory lights probably attracted scores of undead to the village, resulting in countless deaths as they returned home completely unaware of what was happening behind them.
- The heroes sprint out to protect the peasants, even as stragglers are being picked off, and slam into the ghast and ghouls laying in pursuit. Konang runs towards the peasants at first with his greatsword, mistaking them for undead, until Vondulyth points him in the right direction. Gronja takes aim at the ghast, but Wen lands the first attack with his bow from back at the gate. The barbarian hews through ghouls as the half-orc chops at the ghast.
- Vondulyth arrives in time to deflect a ghast bite away from the fighter with his shield, and then smites the foul creature into oblivion. Twenty of the thirty peasants escaped the clutches of their undead pursuers, one of which hangs back, revealing himself to be a city commander. The party managed to avoid taking a single injury and immediately agree to another mission.
- The heroes make haste out to a fortified wall, which is currently being pummelled by a massive siege weapon. The ground shakes with each collision, producing a profusion of bright blue sparks. Indus and Wen take to the ramparts as the remaining party members charge out to greet a massive blue-scaled bahir, currently exhaling lightning against the masoned stone.
- Nevyn tries to approach the creature stealthily, hugging the curved city wall, but is spotted by the behemoth. The druid charges out to meet the beast, only to be swallowed whole for his bravery. Gronja goes to his rescue and attacks the creature’s belly, causing Nevyn to be spewed out in one piece. That’s when the multi-limbed monstrosity turns on the heroes and exhales a bolt of lighting.
- Vondulyth is electrified by the breath weapon and falls unconscious first. Konang is struck as well, but remains standing by virtue of being a half-orc. Avria heals the paladin back to his feet while being harried by two mercenary duergar, who have been whipping the behir into a froth. They insult her clan, double in size, and close to attack the female dwarf. She returns their ranged javelin attacks with Guiding Bolts of radiant light.
- Konang faces off against the behir and is almost swallowed whole, but Vondulyth bashes the creature in the mouth and deflects the attack away. The half-orc unleashes a dance of death, carving the monster open like a roast. The party turn their attention to the giant-sized duergar and cut the mercenaries down with pleasure. Avria and Nevyn find a greater healing potion inside the behir’s belly, preserved in an iron flask.
- The heroes return to the command tent inside Jordan’s Crossing and licks their wounds. The general in charge commends their work and hands each party member a healing potion before giving them a new task. Heeding Vondulyth’s warning about a threat from within the city, The Jordan would like the heroes to infiltrate the Church of Trithereon using the same fountain entrance employed by the motley group of ne’re-do wells. The party agree and head out to the watery sculpture.
- Before they can taken even a single step down into the secret passageway, two winged fiends appear atop the Church of Trithereon walls and demand to be given the bone gutripper sword. They throw the body of Wigens, the halfling rogue, out onto the street. Avria lies about not knowing where to find the sword, causing the cambions to focus their attentions on Vondulyth. The paladin is dismayed and sickened. The hellish creatures represent the embodiment of all his suspicions about the church, now manifest in the flesh.
- Sensing Vondulyth’s disdain, one of the cambions insults his newfound religion and lashes out at the half-elf with a fiery ray. He doesn’t move to avoid the blast, which strikes the fountain beside him. Vondulyth looks down at the scorched stone and then back up at the cambion, saying “Your faith appears to be ineffectual”.
- The paladin produces the icon of a silver bird, previously thought to be nothing more than a trinket, and summons a giant feathered mount to his side, naming the avian “Guntram”, for war raven. The cambions split up and fly to adjoining buildings, preparing to be attacked. Nevyn summons two bears, which tidily scale the nearest structure and knock one of the cambions down.
- The ground level church doors swing open. Knights and priests of Trithereon stream out, now shambling undead versions of their once living selves. Gronja and Konang scythe through the skeletons and zombies like wheat, while Avria, Indus, and Wen target the cambions with arrow, bolt, and spell. flies to meet the second cambion on his mount, smashing him to the ground with his shield.
- Giant raven and rider descend on the succubus offspring with pecking beak and smiting sword, killing the Vecna-worshipping servant in one perfectly coordinated attack. The first cambion escapes the grappling arms of both summoned bears and flies back to the church ramparts. Vondulyth and Guntram pursue as Nevyn tries to Thorn Whip the cambion to the street, but the winged fiend clings to the building side.
- Konang scales the wall and grapples the cambion, pulling him down to the ground with him, but not before turning the fiend around in mid-air to soften his own fall. The heroes surround the hellish creature and rain attacks on him, albeit with mostly mundane weapons. The fiend attempts to flee, only to be smacked down and killed by one of the druid-conjured bears.
- Unbeknownst to his companions, Nevyn has been hearing a voice in his head for most of the battle. It’s the same voice with whom he communicated through an obsidian seeing-stone, back at the first archaeological dig site he and his companions visited. A seeing-stone that the druid ‘intended’ to give The King’s University every day, right after finding it in his pocket again, only to forget all about it the very next moment.
- That voice focuses to clarity now as Nevyn steps inside the Church of Trithereon, sits down in the entranceway, and begins to chant the words of a profane ritual. The voice in his head screams “Release me!” causing the druid to produce the obsidian seeing-stone out of his pocket right now. Indus and Vondulyth independently recognize the stone as being similar to one they removed from Palimar. It tried to control them as well, but ultimately failed.
- The paladin urges his companions with quicker reflexes to wrest that stone from Nevyn. Indus tries to grab the stone from the druid using Mage Hand, but receives a psychic backlash for the attempt. Wen rides back from one of the fallen cambions, but can’t get a bead on the stone with his bow. It falls to Indus again, who shoots Nevyn through the hand, causing the seeing-stone to drop.
- That’s when Damien, the new Bishop of Trithereon, father figure to Vondulyth since infancy, appears in the entranceway with a retinue of skeletons. Damien seizes the opportunity to take the obsidian seeing-stone for himself and causes it to skitter across the ground toward him. Suddenly there is a mad dash for possession. The party members don’t want Damien or Nevyn to have it, but the two men are closer than anybody else. The druid turns into a dire wolf and goes for the stone, but his paws pass through it, as if it were completely insubstantial.
- The dire wolf immediately turns on Indus, known for his illusory trickery, and flattens him with a grapple. He finds nothing, which means Damien must have cast the illusion. The new Bishop of Trithereon reaches down and picks up the seeing-stone unopposed, using the skeletons to run interference. That’s when this gentle man, a well-known caretaker of the disenfranchised poor, not only transforms into a huge black dragon, but exhales a gout of acid at the heroes.
- Gronja manages to dodge, but is injured and now frightened of the dragon. Avria fails to dodge and is knocked unconscious by searing pain. Wen too, but his giant badger fairs less well, and is killed outright by the acidic breath. The dragon turns to Vondulyth next, raises a claw to attack, but stops short before striking the paladin, despite the fact that the half-elf is visibly near death. The conflicted creature rears up and flies across the courtyard instead.
- Konang quickly pours a greater healing potion into Avria, who recovers her senses. Vondulyth looks around at his companions and assesses their chances of survival. It’s extremely bleak. He decides to charge after the dragon, hoping to distract the creature long enough for his comrades to escape. Perhaps they can summon enough help from the soldiers in Jordan’s Crossing to defeat the dragon. When the paladin shares his plan, Konang refuses to let him die alone.
- Suddenly Nevyn takes leaves of his senses again, as the obsidian seeing stone, currently in possession of the dragon, calls out to him. The druid answers the call, which prompts the stone to appear in his wolf mouth. The wild shaping elf uses this opportunity to channel the black dragon into himself, hoping to wrest control away from Damien. The attempt, however, fails.
- The dragon swoops back, clawing through Nevyn’s wolf form, until he is not only forced to change, but knocked unconscious as well. The seeing-stone rolls out of his mouth. Avria, normally a paragon of secrecy, yells for the stone to be kicked in her direction, claiming to know how the black dragon can be defeated. The Damien-dragon swipes at Konang with his tail, but narrowly misses, after which the half-orc skitters the stone towards the dwarven cleric.
- The obsidian seeing-stone is now in front of Avria. She tells Vondulyth to smite the stone with all the might that he can summon. He leaps off his war raven mount and brings his ancient longsword down on the stone with the divine wrath of Araleth. The dark conduit is pulverized into countless shards. Avria produces an urn from her backpack and upends the contents, dusting the pieces with the ashes of a god from whom she is secretly descended.
- The shards reform into a new seeing-stone, one that is crystal clear instead of pitch black. As this reforging takes places, the Damien-dragon is wracked with pain, only to explode in an abundance of radiant light. A vision of Vecna briefly flashes before the party members, swearing vengeance against each of them, and then dissipates, leaving only the broken body of Damien behind.
- Any injured heroes are healed or stabilized as Vondulyth goes to the only father figure he ever respected. Damien weakly tells the half-elf paladin that he couldn’t cut him down, especially after he was prepared to die in order to save his friends, but these final words sap Damien of his remaining strength. The newly appointed Bishop of Trithereon dies in the arms of his adopted and acknowledged son.
- A profusion of roots begins to rapidly spread from where Vondulyth smote the seeing-stone, engulfing the entire Church of Trithereon. The exterior sheds the Vecnian corruption and pestilence of untold years and replaces it with a miraculously refurbished appearance, now adorned with the religious iconography of Araleth Letheranil. Nevyn regains consciousness and his senses, but retains no memory of the entire battle that took place against the cambions and black dragon.
- Indus figures out the rest, having privately studied the religions of his fellow comrades. Damien resisted the influence of Vecna at the end, but Nevyn was a much more willing host, and so the seeing-stone passed to him. Not only that, but near as his exhaustive studies confirm, when Vecna originally killed Trithereon, who sacrificed himself to save Araleth in battle, the evil god was forced to take Trithereon’s place in the pantheon. Not as a god of secrets, but as a god of justice.
- It took thousands of years, but Vecna’s covetous influence eventually manifested in Trithereon’s worshippers, albeit through the obsidian seeing-stones. Having tied up these explanatory loose ends, the smug academic, who wasn’t injured even once during the final battle, ends his impromptu lecture with the satisfying knowledge that he did in fact ‘know it all’.
- “Your faith appears to be ineffectual.”