032. Dark Side of the Moon, Part 2

 

 

The battle rages on outside, while Toggaf wakes up in Kazzen’s Chambers, sore from his ressurection and his neck throbbing in pain.  He stumbles around and finds a secret passage that leads to a long corridor.  He finds a bookshelf, rifling through quickly looking for something, when a whispering voice echoes in his head.  Richard is reaching out to him… Richard knows that Corvus is dead, as Corvus’ last act was to transfer some of his consciousness to him.

The dark energy that Kazzen projects at the moon causes great fissures to appear on the moons surface.  Sparks fly from the staff, and suddenly a great portal opens up in space near the statue of Embra, and out crawls a familiar looking half-elf.  He looks older, more haggard, but it is definitely Toggaf.  Future-Toggaf crawls, gravely wounded, toward Barlo.  He says, in his dying breath, “We were too late.  The cycle will run anew!  We should have forged the Sword of Stars.  Talk to the Elves and tell them what you know, they will help.  Unite the cubes and unlock Chronex’s power.”  Future toggaf dies.

Toggaf looks out a window at the chaos below.  He sees the eastern wall has been breached, and the black god, the abomination, the plague of undead is rampaging through Parthen and moving toward the party!!

Through telepathy, they work together on a plan…

D’understanding’s prayer is answered, and a brilliant bolt of lightning strikes down at Kazzen.  His smoldering body falls down behind the iron walls, with a low thud.  

Kazzen is dead.

Barlo notices the abomination rampaging through the streets, making a ruin of the buildings it encounters … it is coming for them!

 

Toggaf, rifling through a stack of papers, finds a scroll of mass teleport.  He reaches out to Richard for help, and Richard things with their combined mental powers, they can use this spell.  Toggaf closes his eyes, mouths the words on the scroll, and he feels a tug through the fabric of space…

The party, including Richard, find themselves ripped through space and emerge through the other side at Triple Toss Tower.  The spell worked, they are safe.  But, Parthen is not.

 

031. Dark Side of the Moon, Part 1

 

They see that Kazzen has Corvus the Black chained to a pole in the city square.  He is surrounded by several armored knights from the queensguard.  The square itself is surrounded by statues of the 4 gods: Ekrak, Elerio, Embra and Estra.  At its center was the statue of Chronex, but that statue has been toppled and Corvus is in its place.

Mobs of civilians are bickering, some seem to be supporting Kazzen and some seem to be against him.  Kazzen claims that Corvus is reponsible for the abomination that rose from the Sacred Forest.

The party is spotted by Kazzen.  His first action is to magically conjure a walled square of thick iron around him and Corvus.  As they fight off the guards, Toggaf decides to climb on top of the statue of Ekrak to get a view over the iron wall.

As he approaches the top, he can see Corvus, but Kazzen is invisible.  Suddenly, Kazzen appears above Corvus, floating, and he fires a set of magic missiles at Toggaf.  Toggaf stumbles backward, wounded, topples off the statue, and snaps his neck, dying instantly…

.. in another instant, his body and possessions disappear as the Cloak of the Phoenix he was wearing glows with magical fire and flutters silently to the ground.

Kazzen uses his staff, the top of which is affixed a Cube, to conjure black energy tendrils from the moon.  They snake down and turn damage the whole party, and kills the villagers and many of the knights instantly.  

… Toggaf exists in the existential soup between living and dying, and in that instance he sees Corvus.  Corvus opens his mouth to speak but no words come out.  He mouths the words “I’m sorry,” but fades from view as Toggaf is pulled, pulled, pulled back to Earth.

Meanwhile, D’Understanding is looking to the sky, quietly praying for rain… the clouds slowly coalesce ...

 

018. Kazzen part 2

 

Toggaf attempts to infiltrate the mind of Kazzen using Phantasmal Force, but Kazzen does not fall into the trap.  Toggaf casts Web, but if fails to ensare Kazzen.  Kazzen casts Slow on the party and then Massmorph, to turn the trees into soldiers, druids and archers.  The party is surrounded by almost 20 additional foes, and their movements sluggish.

The party, in its slowed state, tries desperately to find an effective attack.  The melee damage-dealers can do little but nickel and dime the 18 foes.  Meanwhile, Toggaf digs in his pack (slowly) for a scroll.  D'understanding looks ponderously through the skylight to the azure blue sky.  D'understanding starts praying for rain.

Kazzen see's the party's feeble attempts, and taunts them.  "You think you know Corvus' power?  You have seen nothing yet!"  He pulls out a vial of blood and pours a drop on the cube, which glows in a dark cobalt light.  Then, he attaches the cube to his staff, and stabs the staff into the ground.  A wave of dark energy washes over the ground, killing the grass on the floor and doing damage to everyone else in the room.  

This display just angers the party even more.  At this point, Toggaf is able to read from his Scroll of Lightning Bolt and kill half of the room and do significant damage to Kazzen.  D'understanding looks at the sky, darkening.  His eyes turn white and he prays, harder, to the nature gods to deliver a storm....

The surviving clan of Kazzen turn their attention to the druid, trying to break his concentration.  Still, still, the clouds continue to build...

The slow spell dissapates, but Kazzen is not done.  He raises his hands at the Druid, knowing what he must do, and casts Magic Missile at D'understanding, doing significant damge.  Still, his concentration holds.  The smell of rain fills the room, and the hairs start to stand on the back of everyone's neck.

Kazzen pauses to look up at the storm cloud, as a bolt of lightning strikes down and seemingly vaporizes the evil wizard.  When the party searches the remains, all they find is his cloak, with sewn in runes that spell out "cloak of the phoenix."  The blue cube, the staff, and the body of the wizard are gone.

They kneel to inspect the sapling.  D'understanding sacrifices some of his own life force to the sapling to keep it alive.  They dig it out of the ground and keep it watered.  That night, camping in Presto's Tower for the last time, Barlo has nightmares of a Great Black God rising from the forest and shaking villages down with his fists.  It is a terrible dream.

The party heads out of the tower.  With D'understandings help, they find a few Sacred Elk to help protect them from wandering monsters, and they retrace their steps back out of the forest, spending another ten days trekking back through the Sacred Woods.  Finally, when they return to Triple Toss Tower, 36 days after leaving it, they find the shield of Ekrakk still going strong, and two graves -- one marked "Slim" and one marked "Grassfoot."

017. Kazzen part

 

Suddenly, as if pulled by strings, Presto's body sits upright!  His eyes roll back into his head, revealing yellow, bloodshot corneas.  The blood dripping from his mouth gurgles and runs thick and black like tar, smelling of sulfur and death.  Presto stands up, his skin now redenning and becoming covered with boils.  He leans back, lets out a blood curdling scream, and begins to attack the party.  The party manages to kill the Demonvessel that occupied Presto's body, but in its last moments, it warns the party that "it is too late, the ritual is complete.  Khash is risen."

The party rushes upstairs, and finds a narrow passageway.  To the left is a stone door covered in druidic runes.  To theright is a locked door.  They have a key!  Inside they find Presto's chamber.  They search frantically for a way to open the stone door.  They find a document illustrating the family lineage of Corvus the Black's Family, as well as a Vial of Blood from Corvus the Black.  They also find a Map of the World (with a red X on the location of "Triple Toss Tower."  Behind a hanging tapestry, they find instructions on how to open the door.  The instructions display the same set of runes, some of which are colored in red.  The party figures out through trial and error that they must use the vial of blood on a finger to trace over the runes.  The stone door opens to reveal a large room, carpeted in thick grass.  Dotted all around are 6 foot tall trees.  The ceiling is open, bathing the room in sunlight.  In the center of the room, in a mound of dirt, is the sapling of the evertree.   

 

The party moves in to inspect the sapling, which looks worse for wear.  Suddenly, they hear a noise from above.  A cloaked figure carrying a staff slowly descends upon them.  He appears to be a wizard in his mid 40s.  His hair is long and silver.  His facial features angular.  His ears are pointed.  Half-Elf, maybe?  He is clutching a gnarled staff.  He reveals himself to be Kazzen, chancellor to Queen Parthen and the high mage of the kingdom.  

Kazzen knows of Team Triple Toss, and even knew of their plans to take the sapling.  "You see," he says, "you have been gone for ... what ... 21 days, searching for this twig?  You know I couldn't resist the temptation you left me back at your tower."  With that, he produces a blue cube.  "Pity," he continues, "that you left snakemen in charge.  They just can't resist gold.  We watched your tower for 5 days.  Each night, at dusk, the shield would receed, two snakemen would come out, and then again the shield would return.  Exactly at dusk.  It was then that a humble travelling merchant happened upon -- 'Slim', was it? -- and offered 15,000 gold to buy a cube.  He dutifully produced a blue cube -- he knew enough not to give me the green one -- then a snotnose little goblin (Grassfoot) rushed out to stop the sale, but a contract is binding and ... well, breaking a bond is punishable by death.  He orders the party to come willingly or face death.

The party chooses the latter.

 

016. Revenge on Presto, Part 2

 

 

Presto’s tower sits in the center of a perfectly circular lake.  The lake seems to have been drained, leaving a 60 foot high drop before them, and the tower’s door straight ahead, some 600 feet away.  The druid that is with them pulls out a signaling horn and blows on it.  The doors open, and two druid guards peer out.  Soon, they hear the rushing of water and see the lake’s water is rising, eventually rising to 60 feet.  Then, the druid guards get into two wooden row-boats, and slowly row across the lake to fetch them.  The party climbs into the boats, and head toward the tower.  Halfway back to the tower, they hear a clap of thunder and a booming voice.  It is Presto, and he knows that TTT is there.  He sends Archers on Eagles to try and kill them, but the party manages to kill them and make their way into the tower.

In the tower, they find the mechanism to raise and lower the lake, and lower the lake again..  They also find a mysterious set of pylons flanking a door, and learn that the pylons create a deadly lightning bolt between them when anyone passes through.  They learn from the guards that they must head to the bottom of the tower to deactivate the pylons.  They head down and fight Desert Basilisks, Archers, Druids and Soldiers on their way down.   While looting the bodies, Monicrunk finds some herbs and a pipe, and decides to pocket the herbs.  At the end of the first day, they choose to camp in the soldier’s bunk in one of the lower levels.  

While Monicrunk is taking her watch, she is startled by a Majestic Tiger that sneaks up to her and attempts to parley.  The Tiger urges them to join Presto, and to give him their Cubes.  Monicrunk refuses to join, so the tiger leaves.

At the bottom, they find a flooded room.  Monicrunk dons her Ring Save & Closeof Water Breathing and heads into the room, only to find a huge, shadowy creature swimming below.  She rushes back.  The party decides to head back up and Flood the Lake again, which does in fact drain the water from the lowest level of the tower.  Back down there, they fight a Gigantic Turtle, and Barlo narrowly escapes death (again).  With the turtle dead, they find the mechanism and deactivate the lightning pylons.  Heading back up, the party finds a Lightning Sword and give it to Juxmonochrome.

On the 2nd level of the tower, the party fights another set of Druids and some Worgs.  During this fight Monicrunk takes some serious damage, so she digs into her pouch and grabs the herbs and shoves them into her mouth.  These herbs are not for healing. Monicrunk sees visions of bleeding walls, 3 headed dogs, and spiders emerging from Barlo’s armor.  She also sees a Majestic Tiger emerge to watch the fight.  The party realizes that Monicrunk is tripping balls at this point, but also realize that the tiger is real!  Monicrunk wraps her arms around the tiger to give it a hug, but D’unda wants none of the tiger and fires an arrow at it, hurting the tiger.  At this point, the tiger transforms into a human, revealing himself to be Presto.

The fight with Presto ensues.  Presto manages to summon several dozen worgs to aid his fight, but it is not enough and the party slays Presto.  

As they stoop to inspect the dead body of presto, they hear a loud sound of a war horn from above, and the worgs flee...

010. The Death of Turbo

The party heads east from the Sacred Woods, into the rolling plains.  After two days hike, they come upon a group of Ogres and Goblins.  One of the ogres puts the party to sleep, and they wake up deep in a dungeon, stripped of their gear.  

The break out of their cell, and manage to take the key off an ogre guard and get their gear.  Then, they fight their way out of the cave, and find themselves a few hundred yards from an old, crumbling castle…

The castle is patrolled by ogres and goblins.  Within the outer walls, the inner keep is the most secured.  They manage to use a grappling hook to climb atop it, and use a silence spell and hammer and iron spikes to collapse a section of the ceiling onto a pair of ogres.  

Once inside the inner keep, they find their way to Turbo’s lair, where Turbo had just drawn blood from the Dwarf Boy.  He allows a drop of blood to fall upon a metallic cube, which then glows with a mysterious green light.  The party confronts Turbo, and manage to put him to sleep.  The fight is short.  After a short interrogation, they do not get any intel from Turbo, so they kill him and leave the castle, with the cube.

The party try and leave with the boy, but they find a strong knight with a flaming sword who confronts them. A fight ensues, but they prevail but are now faced with a castle full of ogres and goblins.  Toggaf decides to use gold and charisma to win the party an army (and a castle).  It works, the goblins and ogres agree to hold the castle for them for some gold.  

They head back to Ashvin to talk to Corvus (this time with the boy).  Corvus sees the cube, and recognizes some of the markings from his father’s journals.  He urges them up to Krshmir, the Dead City, to go into the Temple of Embra where his father worked and studied, to see just what happened, and whether his father really caused the fall of Krshmir, and how the stones are connected.

Map of Turbo's Castle:


007. Tomb Cleaning Time (and other mishaps)

Back safely in town, the party sets up shop at the Inn.  Just when the flagons of ale are poured, a pair of guards rush into the inn, panting.  "A .. a ... thing is attacking the city!  Just come see!"

A giant, Spider Lady Demon Thing is heading for the inn.  The Demon that the Evil Druid was summoning?

A crowd gathers as they fight on and finally defeat the spider queen.   The party stands around, looking for clues on the spider queen while Gunderson, the town Cleric approachs them for help.  "The light in the Tombs of Ashvin has gone out and now the dead are rising!"  Sigh, can we at least eat dinner first?

They fight their way through the tombs under the temple and relight the ever burning torch to quiet the undead.  What is causing the demons and the dead to rise?  Meanwhile, the ring D’understanding is wearing is slowly turning his arm into a tree branch, and his feet into roots...

The party seeks the wisdom of Corvus the Black, who sent them on their first quest (and who they have not spoken to since).  They explain everything that had happened (including the curse on D'Understanding), and he asks them to seek the council of Torus Whitetail, the Archdruid who lives in the Sacred Woods outside of Parthen City, about a week's journey southwest.  

Not only is Torus one of the few who can break D’understanding’s curse, but if druids are involved in demon summoning, perhaps Torus can help bring the druids back in line.  

He also believes that Turbo may have taken up residence in an Old Castle south of Ashvin.  He sent another party of adventurers (what? another party?) to seek intelligence of Turbo’s whereabouts, but they were ambushed by goblins and ogres.  All but one were slain.  Barlo the Brave, the cleric of that party, is the only survivor.  He begs for a chance to avenge their deaths and to kill Turbo himself.

Map of the Tombs under the Ashvin Temple

Ashvin Tombs, B1
Ashvin Tombs, B2
Ashvin Tombs, B3

 

005. Evil Druids and Death

On the way back to town, the party is accosted by a Farmer.  He is raving drunk and yelling for help.  He says that Spiders are coming up through his well and have been terrorizing his farm, and have taken his wife and child.  They take him to town to get help, but the guards complain that Farmer Joe has just been drinking too much, and is making this up.  However, the party has seen enough evil to be curious.  They follow Joe to his farm, and the druid uses his power to determine where a giant spider might be, and he is pointed to an Old Church that is covered in webs.   The party leaves Joe to his devices and enters the church.  There, in the rubble, they find Cultists and Giant Spiders.   They manage to dispatch the cultists and spider, but not without taking wounds.  They head back to Joe’s farm where he lets them stay.

The next morning, they had back to the church, and find a secret entrance under a rug.  Below, they find more cultists, some of them wielding poison daggers.  They fight there way to down to a room where an Evil Druid is finishing a ritual on a young girl over a bloody altar.  The fight is long and bloody.

Omnikrunc dies from a cut from the Druid’s Scythe.  

When the evil druid is killed, a section of the wall collapses revealing an earthen tunnel leading further down.  They decide to first head back to town.