Arulia

What Kind of Temple Is This Anyway?

The party completed the exploration and cleansing of the temple of Nyan that had been overtaken by bad guys.

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The Shrine that Became a Church
Oops

Chris gave bad info about this place, saying in one game it was a small shrine, then making it a huge temple. That threw some people off. Anyway, it was bad stuff.

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Back in Kechner Proper
Out of the Past

Kismet reconnected to a lot of her old friends in town.

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The Remains of the Giant Home
Empty Caves in Empty Mountains

Traversing the land back to Kechner, the party encountered what they realized was the now-empty village of hill giants that Lady Tuala and her retinue had cleansed of evil dominated giants. As they were exploring, they once again encountered Sessyn, the tiefling woman who had accosted Karl in town. She was sweeping up the last of the coins into her bag of holding, and walked out.

Kismet tried to moralize with her. Priya offered to redeem her. She taunted Karl as she was leaving, saying she can’t believe he’s stuck with these losers for so long. She also said “Mother would be so disappointed in you.” And then she flounced off to Kechner with her sack of gold thrown over her shoulder. The party lingered to see if any threats remained, but ended up going back to town without finding anything.

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Underground and Back in Time
The Temple in the Past

The party investigated an abandoned temple to Aundine and ended up going back in time to when the dark elves ruled the lands, and the humans were just encroaching on their realm.

The leader of the elven community, a priestess of Aundine, had the exact same cloak that Kismet had on. Not the same kind — the very same cloak.

Human soldiers attacked the village, warriors of the forerunners of the people of Venn. They had been slowly growing in number and taking up more and more territory, and the dark elves were losing their homeland.

The party convinced the elves to give up the sunlight world and dwell in the Shadow Realm. To keep themselves in the realm, they drove spikes of cold iron through their wrists, thus maintaining their focus on the shadow. Thus were the Shadar-Kai born.

Karl imparted a last piece of prophecy to them. He warned them that in the party’s present time, 1800 years in the future, demons would invade, and the Shadar Kai would be needed to help stop the invasion.

After that, the party returned to their own time.

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Forward Into the Past
Where's That Confounded Priest?

The party was searching for a missing priest, and ended up in an ancient buried temple of Aundine. They discovered a trapdoor in the floor, which led down a chute into darkness. Kismet used her cloak to move through the shadows to the bottom of the pit, where she found herself confronted in total darkness by two giant spiders who made their lair there.

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Retrieving Braun's Soul
Bring Back Your Dead!

Taking Braun’s body to the temple, the party took part in a ritual to retrieve his soul. The ritual seemed to take them out of their bodies into a strange demiplane…

… where they found themselves on a foggy plain, and heard the sound of fighting up ahead. They came to a place where Braun was fighting hordes of monsters that were attacking him and some faceless soldiers. Scores of wounded soldiers lay on the ground at his feet, groaning and moaning for help, with monsters looming over them. Braun would fight the monster, and another soldier would fall. The party joined in, and Braun kept asking “Help me kill these monsters, then we can heal the soldiers!” Every time Braun hit a monster, it died. Every time a monster hit a party member or soldier, it went down wounded.

Eventually Bruan decided to leave the fighting to the others so he could heal. He was able to get caught up and the soldiers, penitent souls seeking the afterlife, we able to rally and defeat the monstrous horde barring the way.

Once the tide of monsters was stemmed, the party was able to bring Braun back with them, healing his body and returning him to life.

And we all learned a little something about ourselves.

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Final Showdown with Thurrulash
And a Hero Falls

gith_skull.jpg

After defeating the vampire that interfered with the party after Thurrulash fled, the party checked out a door in the roof, and was able to see the battle raging around the tower. The dwarves were fighting valiantly, but were losing. The mighty orc chieftains were overpowering the dwarves faster than they could recover from the assaults.

The group rushed to the basement where they reasoned the mist-form vampires had gone. They found a mostly-recovered Thurrulash bent over a humanoid form laid out on an altar, candles and silver chains binding it down. Thurrulash raised up his head to see them come in, and the party saw the wounds they had made on his flesh seal closed. Advancing on Thurrulash, they began the fight again.

That was when the other orc vampire made his presence known. A cleric of the Coveter had remained hidden behind the stairs, so that when the party filled the room, he was on their opposite side from Thurrulash. The party was surrounded.

Wounded, desperate for a solution, Chance took from his belt the skull he had taken from the Shadow Flayer outside the first dwarven watchtower. Focusing on it, he activated the device, and the world disappeared around him. He found himself on a wooden planked flooring, and soon realized he was on the deck of a ship. But not a ship at sea. A ship adrift in the vast emptiness of Astral Space. Although the space was not empty. All around this ship, above and below, as well as alongside… were many more of these ships. And the creatures that manned the decks of this ship were strange beings, some like the Flayer they had seen, the one that had paralyzed half the party. Some with alien yellow skin, spotted and pock-marked, only vaguely human, with slits where noses should be. These creatures turned to look at him. “Uh oh.” Chance said, and activated the skull again.

When he returned to the basement of the tower, the battle was in full swing. Priya was using the power of her goddess to smite the evil vampires, and the party was losing. Karl was staggering under the power of the vampire’s greatclub. Braun was covered in blood, mostly his own. Priya was struggling to stand even as she smote those around her. As Thurrulash moved in to kill Priya, Braun rushed at the vampire. Thurrulash’s blow instead shattered Braun’s skull, and the cleric sank to the floor, dead.

Chance moved to the ancient withered vampiric form in the middle of the room, upon the altar. The skin was wrinkled and pale, like old paper, and a slit was cut into the creature’s neck. Chance’s eye for magic spotted that the chains holding him in place had mystical origins, probably rooted in some ritual for containing great power. Chance grabbed hold of the creature and activated the skull once again.

Transported to the Astral sea again, the creatures upon the deck of the ship were in an uproar. Having been intruded upon, they were rushing madly here and there on the deck. When Chance and the ancient vampire appeared, they all stood stunned. The vampire stood on his own power, and glared at Chance while the wound in his neck closed. The vampire then stepped to the side and was gone, whether invisible or having simply stepped out of the Astral plane, it was impossible to say. Once the great vampire was gone, the creatures started to close in on Chance, and once more he used the skull.

Back on the material world, Braun was dead, Kismet was wounded, Priya was fighting to keep her sword up, and as Chance came back into the room, he saw the might Thurrulash stop suddenly, scream, and his scream was joined by that of his high priest, and both orcs began to smoulder, and in a blast of heat, both crumbled to ash before the party.

Taking the spoils of the tower, as well as Braun’s body, outside, they saw that all of the other orc vampires had also incinerated, and the orc hordes were becoming a wild chaotic mess. Their victory was becoming a rout. The dwarves managed to fend off the horde and scatter the tribes to the wilds.

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The First Confrontation
So, Thurrulash, We Meet At Last, Said No One

The party left the kitchen to fight another group of guards inside the tower, and they got upstairs to face Thurrulash. He grabbed Karl and attempted to drain Karl’s blood, but the rest of the party beat him mercilessly and he was forced to flee as mist, entering the fireplace and floating down the chimney to the floors below. Another orc vampire emerged from the fireplace to cover Thurrulash’s retreat. The party destroyed him and sent him down after his master.

The party helped Karl recover and went in pursuit.

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To the Tower!
Rapunzel!

The final piece of advice from Chief Sughag was to run far away from the orc camp and never look back.

The three members of the away team left the camp and returned to the rest of the party, reuniting in the dwarven militia’s camp. The party decided to ask the militia to attack the encamped armies in order to provide a distraction for the party to get to the tower. Although the attack happened in the afternoon, orc soldiers dropped some sort of drums onto the ground, which tore a hole in the sky above to blot out the sun and make it night. After that happened, several incredibly powerful orcs took to the field, laying waste about them as the party struggled to get to the tower in time to stop the carnage.

They had to fight their way past two orcs who had been touched with Thurrulash’s power and made into vampires. In the great struggle, Karl was knocked unconscious, but the party eventually prevailed, and struck down the undead. Their misty shapes floated into the keep. After healing up, the party followed and was attacked by an elite guard of orcs guarding the tower. They fought their way in and into a room in the tower that seemed to be a kitchen.

Attacked by the cutlery, they realized a poltergeist inhabited the room. They made peace with it after they determined it was a dwarf who had been killed by the invading occupants of the tower, and he gave the party a message: BEWARE THE THOON!

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