The Age of Worms

Session Fifteen

Starday, 8 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

Jane is struck suddenly with a foreboding feeling that all may not be as it appears and appeals to the party to consider reviving and questioning the one lizardfolk who survived their approach.

Though it does little to change their minds about continuing to assault the lizardfolk surrounding the tower, the party learns that these lizardfolk are from the Twisted Branch and that they seek vengeance against all humans for the slaughter of an entire generation of lizardfolk 10 seasons ago. Their king, Shukak, leads them, along with a dragon named Illthain who aids them and guards their eggs. Eventually the lizardfolk hope to overtake Greyhawk itself. The tribe lives 23 miles due south, and have Marzena and others.

The party continues to assault the lizardfolk and eventually either kills or drives all of them away, capturing Kushak, leader of the assault.

The party investigates the Keep and questions those who survived the assault. In Marzena’s chambers, the party finds four ceramic jars filled with putrefying segmented Kyuss worms that appear to have been rotting for about 2 years. They also learned that she’d found some sort of lizardfolk burial ground in the swamps and seemed amped up about what she’d discovered there. Long Fist finds the signs of lizardfolk entering the lower area where they abducted Marzena, Lieutenant Forrest, and two soldiers, Wilkin and Kurt.

The party manacles Kushak and then revives him. He follows Shukak, who is their king. He claims they took the prisoners for food, labor, and/or sacrifice, back to their tribe. He tells the party they can find the tribe by following the dry places to the south and that they will see their trees and their nest. Oh and they should beware the dragon. When asked about the Kyuss worms, he flies into a rage claiming that wizards from Greyhawk brought the worms. Illthain has told them this. The worms ate their eggs, ate their young and then died (though this does not jibe with what the party knows about the worms). The burial grounds are deep in the swamp. The party decides to go and try to deal with the tribe and Illthain, as hopeless as that may seem, but plan to use this humbled leader to embark upon a diplomatic mission.

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Session Fourteen

Freeday, 7 Ready’reat CY 595

Difficult travel 18 miles due east through the hills, with Allustan noticeably inconvenienced by the journey.

Near dusk, the party finds that Shank’s Rest, where they had planned to spend the night, has been burned to the ground. Signs of lizardfolk tracks would indicate that 3 or 4 of them murdered a human family, 2 adults and 3 small children, and partially consumed the remains, within the last couple of days. The adult male wore a symbol of St. Cuthbert around his neck. The party buries the remains and finds a shelter for the night.

Campfire tales. Allustan, seeming a bit whacked out, tells the story of travelers on the road. Tyrrell tells a couple of jokes aimed at Kullen. Jane tells her story about losing Norgoz and meeting Long Fist. Riddle talks about himself and how strange it is that the party came together as it did, about Professor Montague and Zalamandra. Allustan notes that he knew Riddle’s mother, whose real name was Seela Traise, and his grandmother, whom everyone referred to as Lefty. Allustan then goes on to relate his own strange history before turning in for the night.

Battle with creatures of the forest shakes up Allustan badly.

Sunnday, 8 Ready’reat CY 595

Less rain, moderate wind, terrain flattening out a bit and growing moister with smaller, sparser trees. Near dusk the party notices an increase in the number of flies, and then smoke rising over the hill in the direction where Blackwall Keep should be. Athena flies ahead to scout and finds a few keep guards holding the tower against about 40 lizardfolk in the surrounding area. She learns from the boys on top of the tower that the lizardfolk have taken Marzena before flying back to the party.

They convince Allustan to help them save the people on the tower. A plan is made and buffs cast before the party efficiently eliminates three units of lizardfolk.

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Session Thirteen

Godsday, 4 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

(The following indicates events the party were not a part of on the surface, but which they learned from the garrison and from Allustan Neff when they returned:)

Around 9:30am, earthquake was felt all over Diamond Lake.

Collapses in Dourstone Mine proper (eighth, bottom, level), killing 2 and trapping 13 more (presumed dead). Collapses also in secret wing of Dourstone mine. Dourstone, Lordren and Carr leave the collapsed to their fates and focus a team of 5 guards and 20 miners on excavation of temple.

Collapses in Deepspike Mine. 1 of 4 soldiers there trapped way back by hole. 3 others trapped closer to surface, started digging out.

Collapse of the new wing of Neff Manor (under construction). Lanod Neff was inspecting the work at the time and was injured, along with 4 workers.

Collapses across breadth of the Boneyard. Mausoleums fall in, gravestones crack. The temple/mausoleum home of the Cult of the Green Lady crumbles to the ground.

Freak collapse of the church of St. Cuthbert. Jierian Wierus was scourging himself while sermonizing to the masses when he suddenly made an awful hollow sound and his eyes glowed with sick green light. “It has risen! The sky will open!” he cried and then the earthquake happened. Mass chaos, people fled. Church fell in on itself, killing Wierus. Miraculously, none of the crowd was killed (27 injured). Mob mourned, then began to get riot-y.

At the garrison, Valkus Dunn went up to the walls when the earthquake began to survey the town. An aftershock caught him off-guard and he was knocked off the wall, where he fell on some jagged rocks. Broke his neck and shattered his skull.

The Standing Stones north of town fell over.

Many other random injuries and the like around Diamond Lake…

Around 10:00am, things got out of control.

Allustan, having received word of his brother’s injury, was up at Neff Manor. Lanod was being tended, but Allustan could see trouble brewing down in the square.

Down on the Vein, the mob of 100+ violent Cuthbertites was getting really, really wound up. Passersby got dragged into melees. Shops began closing. Sheriff Cubbin and his goon squad went out to try to calm things down, but they were mostly battered around/knocked out. Mob moved up to the garrison.

Rioters took advantage of the chaos on the Vein and distraction of Cubbin to break Kullen and others out of jail.

Childramun was helping garrison soldiers bring Dunn’s body inside for honor, etc.

Around 10:30am, riot moved up the hill.

Mob reached garrison and it was ugly. 4 soldiers were injured (including Childramun), 19 civilians were killed. “Siege” of sorts started.

Around 11:30am, the “big guns” were called-in.

Allustan, finally certain that Lanod would survive, went over to check out situation at garrison.
Cubbin turned to the Ashborn and told them to ‘take care’ of the rioters.

Ashborn reached rioters. Auric spoke to the crowd and tried to calm them down, but angry soldiers on the wall only exacerbated things. Khelleck tossed in a fireball. Allustan tried to speak, but no one would listen to him. Auric and Khelleck fought with the rioters. While Allustan was on the edges of the fray, trying to figure out how to handle this, Tirra got behind him. “Tell us where the boys have been going.” Allustan: “Which boys?” Tirra: “I’ve seen them at your place.” Allustan: “I don’t know. They won’t tell me.” Tirra: “Sure.” And then she stabbed him in the back, leaving him unconscious and bleeding out.

Riot eventually wound down. Ashborn bugged-out. Mob dispersed and let soldiers take Allustan into the garrison for care.

Around noon, missives were sent by the PCs:

Allustan and Veliaus Childramun, lying side-by-side in the garrison infirmary, were visited by identical birds who left notes on their chests and then vanished.

Around 12:30pm, 3 of the Deepspike soliders freed themselves.

Garrison soldiers not involved with keep defense, clean-up or tending to wounded were sent down to help excavate at Deepspike Mine.

Tolliver Trask sent a soldier to each of the mine mangers to get status reports on the mines.

Around 4:00pm, final Deepspike solider was freed.

Garrison cheered saving at least one life… but civilians from town were starting to bring wounded up to the garrison – no one else left in town with divine power.

Tolliver Trask commandeered Benazel’s small supply of healing potions in the name of Greyhawk and got Velias back on his feet. At this time, Velias read his letter and shared contents with Trask.

By 4pm, all of the soldiers sent to the mine managers checked in. The last two to report were a) the one sent to Dourstone’s, who was given a run-around by Gerrald, the administrator. Yes, there had been a collapse, but the miners themselves were on it and didn’t need aid, etc. Solider asked to see, made to wait, finally felt that something fishy was up and returned to garrison. b) the one sent to Smenk was told that Smenk was riding out to inspect his mines, so he got on horseback and followed the trail he was told Smenk was taking. Caught up to him and it seems like all 4 of Smenk’s mines suffered no incident.

Around 4:30pm, Allustan’s note was read…

Childramun and Trask discussed developments, read letters (including Allustan’s) and decided they needed to move in force down to Dourstone’s. A force was mustered.

Around 5:00pm, conflict at Dourstone mines.

Dourstone broke through to secret passage. Found elevator ruined and shaft downward a dangerous descent. Only had digging gear, no climbing gear.

Trask arrived at Dourstone mine with Dobrun Trent and 16 experienced militiamen.

Conflict, fight in “secret hallway.” 2 militia killed, 3 miners killed.

Around 5:30pm, stalemate.

Dourstone had passage collapsed to buy time to think.

OVERNIGHT – militia dug, Dourstone waited for word from below or death from above, torn by helplessness and indecision and impotent rage.

Waterday, 5 Ready’reat CY 595

Around 8:00am, Allustan revives after a night of long-term care in the garrison. Learns news, heads down to Dourstone Mine and arrives there around 8:30

(The following picks up during actual game-play)

Athena scouted out the shaft passage to the secret door and discovered Ragnolin Dourstone, Lordren, four dwarven guards, and 17 starving, exhausted, and overworked miners trapped in the passage.

All of the party except Jane drank potions of gaseous form and floated up to the edge of the broken elevator shaft wearing cultist robes, and Tyrrell wore the mask of the Faceless One. Jane transformed into Athena and flew up behind them. Dourstone was enraged when he saw the masked figure and made ready to attack. The gaseous forms floated forward as if to meet the challenge, though Tyrrell raised his mask, further confusing the desperate dwarf. Knowing her companions would be unable to speak as long as they were gaseous, and unable to escape without the potions’ effects, Athena transformed back into Jane and confronted Dourstone. He told a tale that perhaps wasn’t the entire truth, but enough to convince her that the Faceless One had charmed the unfortunate dwarf into aiding him all this time. With a stellar diplomacy check aided by her companions, she managed to convince Dourstone to let them go beyond the blocked passage and get help.

Jane stayed behind with the exhausted miners while the gaseous boys made their way through the collapse to find soldiers from the garrison digging from the other side. They are quickly collected by Dobrun Trent and taken to Tolliver Trask and Allustan Neff, who catch them up on events.

Allustan reports that he has had a message from Marzena Brevyns, the Battlemage at Blackwall Keep, and that we should all gather at his house later to discuss things.

Riddle and Long Fist go to the infirmary at the garrison to help take care of the wounded. Scar-Eater and Tyrrell stay at the mine to help dig out the people within. By 6 pm, they finish the job and join Riddle and Long Fist at the garrison, taking back roads to avoid notice.

The party meets the wizard at his house at midnight

Earthday, 6 Ready’reat CY 595

Allustan shows the party Marzena’s Letter from Blackwall Keep. The party asks him about Jieran’s prophecy and show him the Faceless One’s scroll. Allustan demonstrates how Zosiel’s diadem prefers the out of doors.

The party returns to the mining shack for rest.

Jane performs a circle dance to locate the Ashborn, specifically Tirra. The spell points her due west, possibly in Greyhawk, where the Champions Games are typically held at the beginning of winter.

Around 9:30 am Amariss is buried in the Boneyard with the rest of her dead acolytes.

Around noon the party heads to the Diamond Lake garrison for Dourstone’s trial. Riddle uses his zone of truth scroll for the questioning. Dourstone claims to have been under magical compulsion the entire time of his cooperation with the Cult of the Ebon Triad, doing as he was told whether or not he thought it was right. In the end, Trask and Childramunn are obligated to let him go pending further investigation, but the party attempts to convince the dwarf that he could take a leadership role in the rebuilding of Diamond Lake.

Athena flies down to the Emporium to check up on Zalamandra, noticing Kullen and Rastophan lurking nearby. She is not admitted at Zalamanra’s, and returns to the garrison around 1 pm.

After dark, the party reunites with Allustan and takes him to the Whispering Cairn. They show him the talisman of the sphere and he pretty much craps his pants. He advises the party to keep it hidden, and not in the Cairn, as none of them may remember where it is once they get a little older. Scar-Eater takes the horns and the talisman and puts them in a lead-lined box for taking with the party as they head south.

Riddle leaves a note at the Cairn, “Too late.”

The party, including Allustan, heads south about an hour.

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Session Twelve-Point-Five

Godsday, 4 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

Jane checks everyone for diseases and such but doesn’t find anything unusual. The party decides to spend the night there and await any responses from Allustan or Childramunn, but will find a way out of the ruins in the morning regardless. The party seems convinced that Smenk was in league with the Faceless One simulacrum, tricking the party into becoming the heretics necessary to fulfill the Faceless One’s plan to raise the Ebon Aspect, and are unsure of what they will find when and if they return to Diamond Lake.

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Session Twelve

Godsday, 4 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

The party dashes back towards the temple of Vecna labyrinth, hoping to confine the Ebon Aspect and limit its power. Tyrrell sneaks into a secret panel towards the entrance while Fury, having taken a full attack from the Ebon Aspect and hovering on the brink of unconsciousness, runs to the far end of the labyrinth, into the laboratory where the party left some items that might help them against the evil overlord. Riddle casts an obscuring mist into the hallway and Long Fist gets Scar-Eater back into the game with his laying on hands ability, now enhanced by his Cloak of Charisma. Tyrrell’s marbles trip up the Aspect enough for Tyrrell’s short sword to strike a critical sneak attack. Fury returns to deliver the +1 heavy shield of blinding to Long Fist. The Aspect briefly doubles in size, healing itself somehow as well, and effectively carves a space for its regular-sized self out of the hallway. The grimlocks run into the hallway to attack Scar-Eater, but Riddle dispatches one of them easily with his now-magical crossbow. Scar-Eater manages to tumble through the remaining grimlock’s space to deliver what he hopes will be a crushing blow to the Aspect, a blow suffused with his own dwindling life energy and a shocking grasp spell. He manages to get the blow across, but failing to beat the Aspect’s Spell Resistance, the shocking grasp only appears to heal the creature of most of the damage from the attack. Long Fist raises the shield of Heironeous to the Aspect and blinds it for a few rounds, in which the party moves in for the kill. Jane’s snake’s swiftness spell, re-memorized through her pearl of power, allows Long Fist to deliver the final blow, disrupting the Aspect back into the black goo from the pool of the Cathedral. In the meantime, the structural damage to the Black Cathedral continues, until the entire place seems to cave in upon itself.

After the battle, the party heals itself as best it can without draining all of their resources, divvies up the remaining loot (for all that was hid in the Temple of Hextor was lost), and send off two feather tokens, one to Allustan, and one to Velias Childramun at the garrison. Then they settle in to decide what to do next.

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Session Eleven

Godsday, 4 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

The party traces some escaped Kenku to a secret door near the end of the maze and follows them through after collecting loot. At 9 am, Tyrrell opens the secret door into a wash of sickly green light. Long Fist recognizes this as a holy site of Vecna, left with an imprint of the Maimed God’s presence. The party hears low-tone chanting. Long Fist kills the Kenku who got away before the party is spotted.

The party interrupts some kind of ritual with two humans in black robes at an altar. There is also a 6’ wide, 5’ tall free-floating glob of magical eldritch energy, which attacks Tyrrell. The walls are strange green rock with purple veins writhing inside. The columns look like stalks of human hands covered in tar. A battle ensues, eventually resulting in the death of the Faceless One, whose corpse turns to snow, revealing it to be a mere simulacrum of the true creature.

They discover the bodies of Amariss and the missing priest of Heironeous, Tormin Arsylis, along with their holy symbols and equipment. There is much loot collecting and identifying, including a cypher that allows the party to read a letter from the Faceless One to Theldrick. Upon decoding the letter, the party is horrified to learn that by killing two of the three head priests of the Cult of the Ebon Triad, they may have unwittingly raised the Ebon Aspect themselves. A noticable rumbling in the ground seems to confirm this fact, and the party rushes back out into the Black Cathedral to fight what they have raised. After some unfortunate blows, they realize their usual fighting style will do nothing against this thing, and scramble to think of another plan on the fly.

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Session Ten
In Which the Site Administrator Wonders Why So Few Notes?

Moonday, 3 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

Two cultist prisoners are questioned and the party recuperates.

Godsday, 4 Ready’reat CY 595

The party moves into the Temple of Vecna and fights several spellthief Kenku.

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Session Nine
In Which Jane is Present but There are Still Very Few Notes

Moonday, 3 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

The fight finally ends! The party loots the temple of Hextor and takes three cultists prisoner. They find a Staff of Life which Riddle uses to raise Long Fist and bring him back from the planes of Celestia! Among other things, they find the journal of the High Priest of Hextor here, named Theldrick.

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Session Eight
Or, the Session Jane Missed

Moonday, 3 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

The fight continues in the Temple of HextorLong Fist dies, the elevator shaft to the surface is destroyed, and things look grim.

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Session Seven

Earthday, 27 Patchwall CY 595 (continued)

The party decides to accept Smenk’s offer of a sit-down and determine that Long Fist should spend the night at the garrison in the hopes of getting more information from Velias Childramun.

Freeday, 28 Patchwall CY 595

The party reconnects at the Land farm early in the morning and sends a message to Smenk via the feather token, instructing him to meet them in twenty minutes, and to bring no more than three people with him. Fury races ahead to ensure that Smenk is complying with the instructions and returns to tell the others that he is, but that there also seemed to be much more to Smenk than met the eye at first – the fat old man is surprisingly agile for one of his girth.

Smenk parleys with Tyrrell while the others watch from various places. He offers peace between the party and his gang in exchange for evidence against Ragnolin Dourstone that Smenk coan use to shut down the dwarf’s operations. He provides a map of an area 400’ below the surface in the Dourstone Mine known as the Black Cathedral, where the Cult of the Ebon Triad performs their research, ceremonies, and atrocities. Smenk reports having seen terrible things there, and also that he was now bleeding money providing supplies for the Cult’s activities, as they have stopped paying and killed his chief administrator when he tried to cut back on the supplies. To ensure that Kullen Crushskull will not take matters of revenge against the party into his own hands, Smenk offers to have the albino half-orc jailed for one week. Smenk goes on his way and later that day, Jane delivers a message to him through Zalamandra (who makes it clear it was the last favor she will do for Riddle), saying, “Offer accepted. Deliver the package to the Sheriff.”

Fury and Tyrrell scout out the Dourstone Mine and soon determine that getting in was not going to be easy.

Ready’reat

Starday, 1 Ready’reat CY 595

Riddle and Long Fist spend a day working in the Dourstone Mine. Long Fist is exhausted at the end of the day, Riddle merely fatigued. Not much learned.

Sunday, 2 Ready’reat CY 595

Just before midnight, Jane casts mass camouflage on the party and a fog cloud on the yard at the Dourstone Mine entrance. Riddle updrafts everyone into the yard. There is a close call when Riddle makes a terrible amount of noise and draws the attention of the guard, but a quick-thinking Tyrrell imitates the rasping, lisping voice he heard Smenk describe from his trip below: “Thisss isss not your affair…” and the guard stands down.

Moonday, 3 Ready’reat CY 595

The party enters the darkness of the Dourstone Mine. They quickly find the boarded up entrance to the left of the entryway and make their way in, down a long, sloping passage to the lift described by Smenk. They climb in and ride their way down to the Black Cathedral, where it is pitch black and only Long Fist can see. He spots two guards with thick strange tails, wearing tabards of Erythnul, at the right corridor, and though it seems like they would not attack if Long Fist just didn’t attempt to go that way, his aggressive stance causes them to prepare for an attack, activate some kind of darkness spell in the chamber, and sound an alarm. Long Fist destroys a few skeletons and Riddle sets off an obscuring mist to attempt to aid Long Fist in the fight, while the rest of the party scrambles around for light. Scar-Eater runs to the top platform of the Black Cathedral (above the roiling pit of black goo) to retrieve two objects lying there – a small leather pouch, and a silver idol of a ferocious beast like creature.

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