Chapter 03: Vultures in the Dark

Previous · Next

Session Number: 104
Date: Sunday 17 July 2011
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr9 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Feren Rog10 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal10 (Craig) (kills: 1 large demonic vulture)
Tomen Rgr9/Drd1 (Ash) (kills: 1 large demonic vulture)
Troll Wiz10 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

In the last couple of hours Troll has been contacted by Ashhope's mages' guild and the royal army. It appears that a large number of mages and soldiers are in dire need of some time off, and wish to 'holiday' in the elven kingdom's beautiful southern regions. Elven holiday planners, including Ethalyn, are sorting out travel and accommodation matters. "While I am busy with that," she says, "the best thing you can do is to recover Elathon."

Elathon had been visiting the family seat of his uncle, in the Kanafel region's capital, Ferlar, in the elven realm's southwest quarter. Riaz's intel suggests that Elathon and five of his bodyguard escaped into the Underdark at an entrance some distance outside the capital. Trina knows of the entrance, describing it as being some two days journey from her branch.

"This is your matter, Troll," Rowaine says. "How do you wish to proceed?"


It is mid-afternoon. The party raid Elondel's stock. He has no such thing as antivenom in his inventory; Troll requests that some be made. The party decide not to wait the 24 hours it will take Elondel to complete the task. Troll can teleport back to collect things tomorrow, when they are ready. Arrian casts Magic Vestment on Rowaine's shield, then Trina transports all to her branch in the Underdark.

The party appear in pitch black. Rowaine lights a sunrod and sees a drow standing next to her. She lashes out in surprise but her fist falls well short.

"It's me," the figure says. "What are you doing?" The drow shimmers and changes into Tomen.

"Moradin's beard, man!" Rowaine hisses. "Warn us before you do that again!"

Trina's branch now bears leaves and fruit. Rowaine starts walking around. Nothing else appears to have changed.

"Remember that giant?" Rowaine says. "How about we take to the air? Trina, which direction is it to the other entrance?"

"Northeast," Trina's voice says through her branch.

"How long ago did he enter?" Tomen asks.

"Four days."

"Any idea which exit will get us there?" Rowaine asks.

"No. I can ask the roots. It will only take a few months to trace it out..?"

"No thanks, Trina."

"Quiet!" Feren whispers. He listens. No one else hears or sees anything, but they trust Feren's abilities enough not to question him.

"Faint screeching noises, coming from the north," Feren says. Everyone readies weapons and moves to the northern end of the metallic dome.

"What approaches?" Rowaine asks Trina.

"I do not know its name," Trina replies. "or its family. They are three."

"What else can you tell us about them?"

"They are larger than yourselves, but small enough to enter the dome. They are borne on wings. They approach quickly; they will be there within one of your minutes."

Seconds later the screeching is distinct enough for everyone to hear. The party opt to stay inside the dome. Rowaine thinks upon Harley, but chooses not to summon her, remembering that the dome is actually a sphere, extending underfoot.

"Troll," Rowaine says, "how do you feel about Feren having the regeneration ring?" Troll flicks the ring to his brother-in-law, then pulls out two wands. Arrian casts Magic Weapon on Tomen's longsword; Rowaine does same to her axe. Troll protects himself with a Shield spell. Arrian casts Magic Circle centred on Rowaine, while the paladin casts Protection from Evil on Feren. Arrian casts Owl's Wisdom on himself, followed by Aid on Tomen. Rowaine casts Bless. The bulk of the minute gone, Rowaine peers into the darkness beyond, trying to sense evil emanations.

The screeching continues, getting louder. Shadowy figures land outside the barrier - large, bluish, vaguely humanoid, with wings and the heads of vultures.

"Demonic," Troll says. "Evil," Rowaine adds. Troll eyes Feren and takes an (in)voluntary step away.

The three creatures join winged hands and start slowly spinning around, chanting.

"They're chanting in draconic," Troll advises. "Not good." He advances, shooting an Acid Arrow at one of the participants. A hit, but the creature appears unharmed. "Not good at all!" Troll repeats. Tomen backs him up, as does Rowaine.

"It's an evocation spell," Troll says.

"A what?" Rowaine asks.

"Evocation! The ones that go boom!"

Arrian casts Holy Smite on the group. They all take damage, but continue their dance.

"It's going to be a big boom!" Troll adds. "We need to stop them!" He casts Fireball and makes a boom of his own. The creatures are scorched, though considerably less than he expected. Troll advances right up to the barrier, followed by Feren. Tomen walks through and right up to the bunch, accelerated by his Boots of Haste. Rowaine trots after him, trying to keep all her allies within the Magic Circle. Arrian casts Flame Strike. Fire engulfs all three creatures, burning their pale flesh. And yet the chant goes on!

"We don't have much time!" Troll yells. "Trina, can you transport us all back?"

"Yes," Trina replies.

"Do it!"

All find themselves back at Trina. Troll counts off the fingers on one hand, then says "Trina, take us back!"

The creatures stand in a line inside the barrier, which appears intact. Trina's branch has suffered blistering fire damage.

"Is that all you got?" Troll taunts. "All that did was clear the sinuses!" To Trina, "Defend yourself!"

"Already in progress," Trina says.

"Are they doing that again?" Rowaine asks.

"I don't think so," Troll replies.

Arrian casts Recitation. Feren stands strong, rapier at the ready. Troll targets two of the creatures with a Fiery Burst, but the fire does not seem to touch them. Tomen advances, swinging his longsword. The nearest creature swipes at him first with elongated arms but Tomen easily moves aside. He finishes his swing. Despite his strength, the blade barely scratches the creature. A second attack is only slightly more effective than the first.

The creatures ignore the mage and ranger, circling around Feren instead. They seem unconcerned at the peril this puts them in and Rowaine and Tomen press the advantage. The creatures' confidence proves well-founded as the ranger's and paladin's strikes prove largely ineffective. All three claw and bite at Feren, but none touch him. They scream in frustration. Rowaine steps closer to Troll and smites her closest opponent. A solid hit. She follows it up with a second. "So they can be hurt," she says to herself as her axe again spills black blood.

Arrian steps into reach of one of the creatures, ducks down and paints it with Searing Light. The creature hisses as the ray of energy burns it. Feren looks for a way to tumble past the creature in front of him, hoping for a flanking opportunity, but the way is blocked. He stabs from where he stands and smiles as his blade sinks deep into demon flesh. He gives the hilt a twist for good measure. Troll activates his Ray of Enfeeblement wand. The ray hits but does nothing. Tomen shoulders his way closer and gets a clawed arm to the face for his trouble. The attack whips his head around and spoils his attack.

One of the creatures grunts and its skin explodes, releasing puffs of acidic dust that burn those in its vicinity - all but Rowaine. Its ally to its right screeches loudly. Feren grasps his ears, stunned by the sonic attack. The remaining creature's skin also explodes outwards, covering Rowaine, Feren and Troll in caustic spores. Rowaine steps between two of the creatures, wheels around and smites the beast to her left. The heavy blow finishes the creature.

Arrian casts his last remaining Searing Light spell on the same creature he targetted previously. The beast stoically takes the blast. Troll Dimension Jaunts to his right. Tomen hacks at the creature in front of him with a flurry of strokes. Two of the four attacks mark the creature, neither badly. A vulture screeches its stunning hatred but these are seasoned adventurers; they block out the horrible noise. The central creature again releases a cloud of spores about its body, catching Rowaine and Tomen. Moreover, the previous salvo of spores continue to eat away at the adventurer's flesh. Rowaine steps inside one of the creature's reach and smites upwards with her imithrium waraxe. A good stroke, but it does not topple the beast. Her return stroke bashes heavily but harmlessly into the creature's midriff.

Arrian Summons a celestial griffon. Troll looses another Fiery Burst that catches both remaining creatures. It seems to do little more than anger them. Tomen again launches into a complex two-weapon fencing routine. His first two strokes near-sever the hapless bird's neck and it falls to the ground. Tomen eyes up the single remaining creature, stepping closer. The creature launches itself backwards and beats the air with its clawed wings, gaining altitude. It manoeuvres through the metal barrier, climbing higher as it puts distance between it and its foes.

The spores continue to eat into the adventurers' flesh. Troll is the worst off. Rowaine moves to his side and asks Moradin for his healing power. Much of Troll's wounds close over.

Arrian moves over to Feren. "I'm OK," Feren says as he readies his bow and looses an arrow after the retreating creature. The missile streaks through the barrier and marks the creature, but causes no damage. Troll Fireballs it. Unbelievably, the creature continues flying as if nothing happened. Tomen adds another three arrows to the mix, none of which slow the creature down. It escapes into the darkness.

The spores continue assailing the party. Troll and Feren are the worst affected. Tiny hairs begin to sprout from their skin. "Trina!" Troll says. "take us all to the grove!"

Tomen magically inspects Troll for evidencd of poison or magic, finding neither. Rowaine implores Moradin to remove any disease that afflicts Troll.

"Trina, heal us!" Troll says.

"Hmmmm… Let me have a look at you," Trina says. "It'll take a couple of minutes."

"I don't have a couple of minutes!"

Arrian casts Neutralise Poison on Feren. Rowaine notes with relief that the hairs on Troll's arms wither and die. Moments later the same thing happens to Feren. Rowaine grits her teeth as the spores continue to wage war on her; she must complete her task! She prays that Moradin take away the malaise that afflicts Tomen, then casts Delay Poison upon herself. Her pain recedes.

"Hmmmmm," Trina says after a couple of minutes. "Rowaine, the spores in your system appear to have died. Your spell is not required; you are safe."

Previous · Next

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License