Age of Worms Adventure Path – Game Session 62

Game summary for December 6, 2007; present characters included Ashkor (half-bronze dragon lizardfolk barbarian/battle sorcerer/dragon disciple/fighter), Chuck Ahammer (shield dwarf master thrower/rogue/thunderthrower), Iapetus Hasur (hu-charad giant rogue/scout/vigilante), Lady Aridarye Phylund Brokengulf (human aristocrat/harbinger/ranger cohort), Lyrin Sinbal (simian incantatrix/ring sage/warmage), Morak Beardfist (shield dwarf fighter/rage cleric), and Taravin Truesilver (human gray guard/paladin of honor/pious templar).

Using find the path, the Mercenaries made their way to Thornvale where they discovered a massive thicket almost impossible to hack through. During some aerial scouting, Ashkor and Iapetus discovered a cave emitting fog or steam up on one side of a mountain. The team climbed and hacked their way around to the mountainside and discovered tracks going up to the cave and then hurriedly leaving. Dried blood accompanied the retreating trail.

The party moved up to the cave and cautiously entered. About forty or fifty feet into the cave, they found the source of the steam—a chasm plunging into the darkness with hissing steam bellowing forth. The heat was tremendous. Undaunted, Ashkor and Iapetus jumped the crevasse and landed on the far side. Suddenly, a massive, thick-hided monster with glowing red eyes burst from the covering clouds, its ten-foot tusks aimed for the two adventurers. It snagged and flipped Iapetus up into the air and hurled him into the chasm. The vigilante plunged into the depths and slammed into a lake of boiling water, sinking 20 feet below the surface.

Chaos erupted as the party fanned out and Ashkor soared into the crevasse to save his friend, his wings beating furiously against the scalding updrafts and blood pumping from a terrible goring. Lyrin leaned out from behind his allies and caught the monster in waves of exhaustion, visibly tiring the creature. In retaliation, it nailed him with a disintegrate ray. Taravin bolstered his ally, but it was only through the intervention of Fate that Lyrin survived the attack. The beast moved further into the darkness and swirling steam and disappeared from sight. The team took the opportunity to cross over the chasm and spread out for an assault. The glowing lantern-sized eyes reappeared in the steam, and a series of cloudkill effects poisoned the air. Despite these obstacles, the party pressed their advantage, with Chuck leading the attack with a barrage of magical hammers. Meanwhile, Ashkor grabbed Iapetus when he swam up the surface, and the two made their way back up the chasm. Beardfist and Aridarye unleashed some healing to offset the effects of the burning-hot air. Then, the dwarven priest slowed the monster with a frigid prayer.

With a yell of exaltation and suffused with righteous fury, Taravin plunged into the swirling cloud to bring the fight to the monster. It roared in defiance as the paladin slipped between the great tusks. At the last moment, Taravin twirled Lightbringer over and slammed the point into the middle of the creature’s forehead. The holy blade sliced the evil skin and bone like parchment, and the smite-empowered charge drove the blade deep into the beast’s brain. With a squeal of shock, the monster shuddered and collapsed, dead from the paladin’s brutal attack.

With the nightmare slain, the party nursed wounds and searched the cavern. Slow clapping erupted as the party stuffed their packs with loot. The air shimmered and shapes materialized—Darl Quethos and his evil minions had arrived! The soft-spoken priest of murder, flanked by devilish allies, proposed a truce. He suggested they combine forces in search for the knowledge of Last Resort. He claimed enough blood had been spilled and his interest did not include a fight with the party. After a conference, the Mercenaries agreed to return to the wild watchers and present themselves as one group, successful in all four Trials of Tilagos.

Now the enlarged party moves toward the wild watchers hoping to learn the secrets of Tilagos. The first few hours of travel have been peaceful. Chuck strove to remain hidden for a time, but Darl eventually suggested they could move faster if their sneaking companion would come out and travel at normal speed. Not long after, Lyrin made mention to Darl that the invisible kenku traveling with them might as well show itself as well. Although conversations have been infrequent and conservative, the groups are starting to learn about one another as well as display what they had learned through various magical means. Darl again applauds your tactics against the nightmare beast and recounts how several of his allies were knocked into the chasm, forcing them to grab them and regroup.

Darl is openly seeking the eye of Myrkul. With it, he believes he can install himself as the highest priest of Myrkul’s remaining faith. It does not take long to learn some about the loud and boisterous efreet genie, Malhazar. The flaming creature claims to be an exile from the Plane of Fire, where he came too close to overthrowing the Sultan of the efreeti. The truth of his statement could be suspect, but he says he has never met his equal in use of the blade. His flaming black horse, Black Fire, hovers a few inches off the ground rather than galloping along the turf.

Not much can be determined about the female kenku other than she wears the robes of Myrkul’s faith and carries a variety of blades and a repeating crossbow. She moves with a fluid grace and always appears to be staring at, or studying, members of the Mercenaries. The kenku’s silence is rivaled by that of the twin monks, Jalagar and Sabir. They never stray far from Darl and appear calm and alert. Neither carries a weapon, but that somehow makes them seem even more dangerous. Sabir amuses himself by plucking buzzing mosquitoes and flies out of the air and squishing them.

Finally, there is Darl’s scout, a great horned devil named Nalhazzarath. It seethes with undisguised hatred for everyone present, especially Darl. It is obvious it would like nothing more than to strangle the lot of you with your own entrails. However, whatever binding Darl has worked on the powerful devil is thorough and strong. You shudder to think what rites the Myrkulite had to enact to enslave a devil that makes other devils quake in fear. After sizing up Darl’s team, you feel any one of you could go toe-to-toe against any one of his allies, except this devil. You suspect you could bring him down if you could all confront him at once, but with Darl’s other allies supporting him, the devil may be unbeatable. Perhaps your uneasy truce will prevent you from finding out.

So, allied with a cancer of evil, the Mercenaries press on. The Age of Worms must be stopped, and a key to that is slaying Dragotha. Will the Mercenaries learn what they need from Last Resort? Will Darl’s team prove a problem now or in the future? Will the portal work for a return trip, or will another exist have to be located?