Monday, July 18, 2011

Szith Rijun – The Second Fall of House Rijun – Part 1

Characters: Dusk Revin, Gallipolas & Fig, Lazbin, Narn Daergal, Rathgillian, Trizoon & Nilmith, Vindicus
NPCs: None
Synopsis: Before moving to the temple level of the drow community Szith Rijun, the Defenders reassess their tactics. Knowing that whomever, or whatever, lies deeper in the chasm knows they are present. Having just battled two revenants of the missing Divine Hammer, the group recognizes the necrotic magics manipulating the dead. With both Narn and Dusk unconscious, their stealth and divine connections are that much weaker. Gallipolas and Vindicus move ahead to scout the lower level, each manipulating his magic to sprout wings and fly towards the rushing waters of the chasm below.

The two elves find a yawning hole in the chasm wall, anchored by a stone arch engraved in runes. Standing resolute at the back end of the chamber are two drow noble guards and four of the skinless undead guarding the room’s egresses. Without hesitation Gallipolas spies the undead nature of the sentries and spews a massive burst of pure sunlight into the chamber. In an instant the flash is all the elves need to provide cover as they return to their companions above. The report is quick but detailed as the others are ready to descend.

The group returns to entry chamber to find the exploded bodies of the undead, muscles and skeletons ripped apart from the druid’s magic. But missing are the two noble guards. Lazbin easily recognizes the mist of a fleeing vampire and moves into the chamber. As the blood mage passes beneath the stone arch, he flenches as a rune ignites, burning him as he enters the sacred temple. Bracing for the inevitable, the rest of the party enters bearing the excruciating pain of the warded gate. There is no doubt that the grounds of the drow are unhallowed.

The eerie feeling of omnipresence pervades the group of adventurers as they move to the rear of the chamber. The construction of this level is of incredible quality, indicting the excesses of the noble leaders of the drow settlement. Spintering off in opposite directions, two corridors wind their way into the darkness. Light from the adventurers’ magic illuminates another large chamber just off one of the halls. Shackled to a set of manacles hanging from the wall is a female drow, almost entirely drained of life. Before any objections are made, Lazbin lances the prisoner’s heart with a wooden stake. His quick dealing with the drow didn’t beg permission and his stern look doesn’t ask for forgiveness. A smaller chamber adjacent to the guard post, once a barracks for the noble drow guards, now houses three wooden coffins. Vindicus follows suit and looses a fireball from one of his many wands obliterating everything within.

The group returns to the corridor and continues its path, finding evenly spaced octagonal chambers, numbering eight. Trizoon spies the obvious, as the previously noble house most likely worshipped the now-missing spider god-queen Lolth. In one of the halls they find an elaborately carved set of double doors. Just prior to breach, Lazbin smells a faint whisp of smoke and then spies a fine mist beneath the door. The cowardly drow are now putting flame to the temple. As the group prepares for entry they hear movement from the corridor. Ready for anything, the group prepares for an ambush that never comes. The gnome Narn and the half-drow Dusk emerge into the light to rejoin their companions.

With the strength in numbers bolstered and enough ado, Rathgillian and Trizoon smash into the room. A fine hue of gray floats on the air of the chamber, partially obscuring enormous, despicable tapestries featuring landscapes of war and death. Walking corpses are depicted marching on burning lands. In the corner a toppled brazier oozes out a flaming liquid that has set the dense rug on fire. Against the far wall is a crude shrine. But there is no one to claim the arson. Pivoting around the room in tactical formation, the group parts the whisps of smoke to draw out the temple’s inhabitants. But the inhalation becomes crushing as they begin violently coughing over the acrid fuel. The distraction is good enough as three noble guards materialize from within the haze.

As the obscuring mist grows denser the group focuses on their enemies at hand, but fails to detect two other driders drop from concealed niches in the ceiling above. The ambush is disjointed though as the vampires a significantly weakened. Dusk loudly bellows for his god Kelemvor to vanquish the undead and his spell reduces two of the vampires to ash. Gallipolas dons a pair of magical goggles and gazes upon one of the driders, turning it to stone. Rathgillian and Trizoon focus their efforts on the final combatants and eliminate the threat immediately.

The thick smoke and burning room forces the Defenders to vacate the chamber. But on his way through a stone door in the corner of the room, Dusk passes by the makeshift shrine identifying it as one devoted to the drow goddess of death Kiaransalee. The half-drow snears at the abomination and disrupts the presentation with the back of his hand. He vows to carry this siege through to the end of his disgraced kin.

Encounters: 4 quth-maren & 2 vampire drow noble guards, 3 vampire drow noble guards & 2 drider vampires.
Achievements: breached the temple level of Szith Rijun and destroyed the undead sentries and guardians.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Szith Rijun – Lost Allies

Characters: Dusk Revin, Gallipolas & Fig, Lazbin, Narn Daergal, Rathgillian, Trizoon & Nilmith, Vindicus
NPCs: Revenant Torp, Revenant Kholter, Theresa
Synopsis: As discussions continue regarding which area of Szith Rijun to attack next, Narn spies to attackers scaling the webbing of the chasm towards the barracks. As he pulls out a javelin to attack, the gnome stops in confusion. Backing away from the ledge he allows the two humanoids to breach the landing, summoning Dusk to his side. Two forms stand in front of the group. Dusk and Narn both recognize them as Torp and Kholter, two of the three missing members of the Divine Hammer. The half-drow Dusk waves off the Defenders as he stares at his allies. They are not right. With their eyes glowing supernaturally red, the two appear both shallow and hardened. Their skin has an atypical color and their movements are stiff. Dusk asks about their health and the location of Theresa, the other missing member of the Divine Hammer. He only receives blank stares.

Lazbin recognizes the condition of the two; they are revenants, not unlike the white dragon that attacked them in Threshold. Before he can warn Dusk, the half-drow lowers his weapon attempting to parlay with his missing companions. But they are unresponsive and lurch forward to attack. The Defenders respond in kind but Narn and Dusk show great restraint trying to reach their friends’ psyches. The favored soul of Kelemvor cannot communicate verbally so he closes his eyes to reach them telepathically. But the attempt has severe repercussions as he experiences a massive psychic blowback that renders him unconscious. The severed link is so powerful that the backlash strikes Narn knocking him out cold. Lazbin screams at the rest to defend their bodies as the two revenants move in for their remaining victims.

Even though the two members of the Divine Hammer are obviously undead, their actions are just as swift as any living attacker. The one Narn identified as Torp slips past Fig, Rathgillian and Trizoon to strike Gallipolas. The other, Kholter stands against warriors and attacks with the frenzy of a barbarian. Both revenants are fierce but using opposing methods. The revenant Kholter uses his great axe to extreme effect while the revenant Torp uses his knowledge of martial arts to pummel Gallipolas.

Vindicus serves as an excellent tactician, abandoning any effort against the barbarian and working with Gallipolas to bring down the monk. Trizoon and Rathgillian find the battle in their favor as each attempts to one-up the other. It isn’t long before the undead are no longer moving; the revenants’ mission is unfulfilled. Nilmith quickly races to the fallen Narn and then to Dusk. Both are alive but unconscious and the gnome priestess’ efforts to revive them do not work. Lazbin intervenes and details his knowledge of spellcraft. It seems that the members of the Divine Hammer had a telepathic bond within their ranks and in an effort to reach their dead comrades, the suffered a severe shock. Only time will heal their minds.

The Defenders decide to utilize the drow cell block and barricade the comatose Narn and Dusk within one cell. When they awaken the whisper gnome can easily break out of the cell and free the half-drow. Knowing the Council of the Divine of Cedarspoke would greatly appreciate the preservation of the dead, even though they were manipulated through some manner of necromancy, the two bodies of the revenants are stored in a separate cell. With their forces diminished Lazbin’s commission of Vindicus is looking better and better with each moment. The Defenders’ next decision is unanimous: they will strike the temple level of House Rijun.

Encounters: revenant monk Torp, revenant barbarian Kholter
Achievements: repelled the attacks of animated members of the Divine Hammer, uncovered the true nature of the revenants, and sequestered their fallen friends as well as preserved the bodies of the dead.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Szith Rijun – The Siege of the Barracks

Characters: Dusk Revin, Gallipolas & Fig, Lazbin, Narn Daergal, Rathgillian, Trizoon & Nilmith, Vindicus
NPCs: Tieraka Rijun
Synopsis: Just as the group is entering Lazbin’s extradimensional nook, Lazbin assures them that they are safe and that he is going to return to Threshold to secure extra assistance. Trizoon goes with him, knowing that the Defender is tried and tested in battle, and that they will need all of the help they can get. The two teleport back to Threshold and find Vindicus at the Verse. The elf is relatively indifferent to the two humans, but as the bard weaves a tale of valor, bravery and desperation, Vindicus is taken by the story. He agrees to assist them, as long as their spoils of combat are divided equally. Revelling in the opportunity to waste drow, Vindicus joins Lazbin and Trizon and teleport back to Szith Rijun.

After a brief rest Trizoon guides the drow priestess Tieraka Rijun deeper in the Dordrien Crypts. Moving clearly beyond the previously hewn stone walls they enter a natural tunnel that slopes further into the earth. The priestess alerts the bard that this is the forward position for the drow warriors. Trained for defense and raising the alert, the two drow sentries need to be dealt with quickly before any alarm can be raised. If word on intruders stretches into Szith Rijun, they will face a small army at once.

It is an intense volley of spells that destroy the sentries before they even spy the intruders. The two drow bodies lay near a sink hole in the cavern that drops another twenty feet to another fissure in the earth. Following the path, the group is stopped by the drow priestess. They’ve reached the uppermost level of Szith Rijun, and another layer of sentries. Through a second sink hole they will find the massive chasm that vertically divides Szith Rijun. A massive network of webs connects all of the layers. The revine itself stretches some 500 feet to its creator, the raging river blow. The attack will have to come quickly as the drow sentries are trained for a quick descent.

Gallipolas shifts into an earth elemental and again moves through stone and rock as if he were an eagle flying effortlessly in the Gulthmere’s skies. The elf druid spies an unearthly creature that stands beneath the sink hole staring up with its lidless eyes piercing the darkness above. Its skin completely absent as its muscles and ligaments are exposed beneath a layer of glossy slime. Three drow handlers quietly play a dice game at a table in the cave. Relaying the positioning of their enemies, Gallipolas demands knowledge of this undead creature as even he has never seen it before. Priestess Tieraka is unaware of such a find. But she restates that they must storm this position quickly. And a furious storm does indeed crack above the drow post. Raining divine fire upon the undead, ruining it. Catching the other sentries off guard, the group strikes with such orchestration that the drow cannot even draw their weapons.

As bodies are stripped, Narn investigates the chasm. True to her magicked work, the drow priestess’ depiction is accurate, save for the echoing sounds of the river below that effectively block sound throughout the void. The gnome wanders back to the others but is struck from behind by a massive misshapen spider. Gaunt in its appearance and moving without sound the spider strikes Narn, sapping his strength. The others quickly surround the silent huner and slay it within seconds. With no more obstacles, the group challenges the drow priestess about the lack of detail. The privileged noble shrugs her shoulders as her presence in the upper levels of Szith Rijun are as frequent as the centuries.

Priestess Tieraka layouts out the nest that is Szith Rijun. The drow barracks are near the top of the chasm. The trading post is at the center. Below the market is the drow commoner and slave level. Away from most of the settlement is the drow wizard tower. And near the bottom of the chasm is the entrance to House Rijun. The group targets the barracks for their first stop to eradicating the drow. Rushing the stoic drow soldiers, the group storms the barracks slaying the two sentries in the mouth of the barracks. But before they die, the ambush is revealed as the alarm sounds. An adjoining cavern holds four more drow warriors and yet another of the undead creatures. Gallipolas sends a wave of green slime atop their enemies, burning them alive in the conjured acid. Unaffected the undead races forward only to be cut down.

Sounds of armored troops flood the chamber. From within the complex more drow respond to the call to arms. Moving the rear of the chamber, the drow warriors are ready, but they are also supplemented with spell casters. Rathgillian is lit up by a series of rays and retreats to the group’s rear. In the commotion the drow priestess Tieraka attempts to flea to the webbing, only to be cut down by a javelin of lightning hurled by Narn. Her falling body passes the cave mouth, plummeting to the raging waters below. Vindicus and Dusk weave their spells, laying down a wall of flame and blades that systematically shreds the drow to pieces. Leaving their defenses in position, Trizoon instructs Nilmith to heal the badly injured Rathgillian as the others inspect the other hallway leading away from the barracks. A singular tunnel houses a series of empty cells. More than likely any prisoners were slain during the initial sacking of Szith Rijun.

Sure that the battle has alerted the other drow of the settlement, the group decides to lay waste to any remnents of the barracks. Better to have no enemies at your back. Dismissing the walls of flame and blade, the group moves through the barracks discovering two spell casters that survived the initial attack. Barricaded within their quarters, the wizards loose spells at the outsiders as the Defenders break into the drow chambers. It takes only moments as the drow survivors are mowed down with extreme prejudice.

With the barracks now empty, the group sweeps back to the front chamber only to spy another drow slipping past them. He is quick to cast the area into complete darkness and escapes to the webbed chasm. Dusk and Vindicus chide the cowering Nilmith, wondering why the gnome did not ensnare the escapee. Her reply is simple. She did not come to this drow settlement to serve their orders, only her mentor and leader Trizoon. A broad smile forms on the bard’s lips as they regroup for the next stage of the siege.

Encounters: two drow sentries, quth maren & 2 drow sentries & drow spellguard, huge wraith spider, 6 drow sentries & Quth Maren, 5 drow fighters, 4 drow fighter/wizards, drow officer.
Achievements: defeated the advanced positions of the drow sentries, uncovered a new form of undead used by the drow of Kiaransalee, and sacked the drow barracks.