Age of Worms Adventure Path – Game Session 76

Game summary for March 25, 2008; present characters included Eolas Windmaster (moon elf duskblade), Grim Firestorm (shield dwarf barbarian/battlerager/frenzied berserker/warmain), Lyrin Sinbal (simian incantatrix/ring sage/warmage), Mael Gabrian (human cleric), Morak Beardfist (shield dwarf fighter/rage cleric), Ranulph Wathbater (human berserker/fighter/hellreaver/paladin of freedom/rogue), Syvarius Strongbow (moon elf archer-ranger/peerless archer), and Taravin Truesilver (human gray guard/paladin of honor/pious templar).

Wasting little time, the Mercenaries set out in search of Thessalar, lich wizard and father of the thessalmonster. After a few hours travel, the troupe found a lake and used the folding boat to head out toward the lich’s tower. Following a short boat ride, the party got to the cliff leading up to Thessalar’s keep and used flight and dimension door to arrive on his doorstep. The party was confronted with a thick-walled stone keep with a closed double portcullis. Using a grapnel, the team scaled the outer walls and moved along the parapets to avoid a stasis field in the courtyard noticed by Mael’s arcane sight. Along the wall, Mael discovered a staggering array of magical traps laid out with the murderous tenacity of an undying lich with nothing but time to ward his domain. Apparently, Thessalar is a firm believer in overkill.

Rather than meticulous defeat the dozens of traps, Mael attempted to dispel the stasis field, with success. Syvarius was lowered down on a rope and started searching for traps. Apparently, the stasis field originated from an item, not a spell, because it soon flickered back into existence. Syvarius’ presence within triggered the effect, causing four stasis-held thessalmonsters to appear—two thessalhydras, a thessalisk, and a thessalnaga! Syvarius succeeded in avoiding the petrifying gaze of the thessalisk and fled back up the rope to his allies. The first thessalhydra moved forward and launched a glob of acid spittle into the midst of the Mercenaries, damaging them and destroying several of Mael’s items.

Meanwhile, the thessalnaga warded itself with greater invisibility and started moving into better position. In order to buy time, the quick-thinking Lyrin separated the thessalmonsters with a prismatic wall. The team started hammering away at the thessalhydra, including a diving attack from Grim and a feather fall-assisted advance from Taravin. Lyrin turned the creature to dust with a disintegrate and dismissed his prismatic wall.

As the wall flickered out of existence, the skeletal form of Thessalar—his steel snake-crown firmly on his head—was seen across the courtyard above the doors on the parapet. Apparently, he had emerged from the open doorway behind him. The lich wasted no time hurling spells at those who hurt his thessalmonsters. He attempted a disintegrate of his own, with much less spectacular results. The thessalisk whipped its pincer tail through the air and scissored Grim’s left arm off above the elbow. A flurry of attacks from spells, bow, and blade soon cut down the thessalmonsters; however, dealing with the creatures bought the lich more time to hammer the team with his fell magic. Lyrin, flying a few feet in the air succumbed to a flesh to stone spell and toppled to the ground.

Grim and Taravin, using the skeleton key, appeared behind the lich and triggered some of the parapet wards. Grim was scoured with energy, while Taravin was dimensionally shifted out over the water and slowly drifted (thanks to feather fall) toward the lake. One-armed Grim attempted to grapple with lich, but discovered it to be no more than an image. Unfortunately, he was caught by a maze and sent into the labyrinth. Mael dispelled the illusion lich, Ranulph flew up to the open doorway, and Taravin used the skeleton key to return to the area where he triggered the ward. A blast of colorful rays, a dreaded prismatic spray, rippled out of the doorway and engulfed Taravin and Ranulph. It had no effect upon the paladin, but the hellreaver caught the full effect of a green ray and died in poisoned agony. A second maze sent Taravin into a labyrinth as well.

Moving quickly, Eolas grabbed Syvarius and Mael and used a series of dimension doors to end up within the keep. They discovered the second floor they could see through the open doorway was an illusion and the actual floor was twenty-five feet down. As they plunged to the stone floor, they saw Thessalar flying above, startled by their appearance. They could see a blade barrier flash into place across the doorway as they entered the room; fortunately, their magic by-passed the danger zone entirely. Somehow, the three just missed the edge of a huge bubbling vat of swirling, fleshy stew. The effect of landing in the protoplasm would have no doubt been disastrous!

With three foes in his sanctuary, Thessalar went on a real offensive. He hit the trio with a slow spell and followed it with another prismatic spray. Eolas became confused from an insanity effect, Mael was struck dead by a poisonous green ray, and the swirling colors left Syvarius a petrified statue. Eolas retaliated with a polar ray, but the spell slid off of Thessalar like water. The snarling lich countered with a ray of enfeeblement, which missed Eolas. It then turned Syvarius the rock into pyrohydra the hungry. The hydra attacked Eolas, who began babbling in his insanity, and Thessalar moved to the corner to let his monster do its work.

Meanwhile, Beardfist removed any traces of poison from Ranulph, and the cloak of the phoenix spell Morak had cast earlier brought the slain hellreaver back to life. Now, two allies are outside moving toward the opening (with an unknown blade barrier behind an illusion!), and two more Mercenaries desperately seek escape from their mazes. Any moment, Mael will be raised by his cloak of the phoenix as well. Can the confused Eolas survive long enough for his allies to arrive? Will the return of several supposedly vanquished foes give the Mercenaries the edge they need to bring down the archlich?

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