Item: Princes of the Apocalypse, Dec 11
In this part, I steer away from political special interests and hentai, thank the Gods, and move on to current activities in the Red Larch region. It seems that businesses has picked up while the crew were getting their groove on with the Bunnies at Yartar, with two other parties (NPC parties I’ve thrown in) answering the call to deal with the returning cultists. This will be fortunate, because there are three areas that needed to be addressed all at once:
The first part is the ever increasing petrified people that the Cult of the Black Earth is worrying Meriele Ambercrown with. A Greater Restoration can deal with each of then, no problem, but it requires a 100 GP diamond for each spell. Diamonds that aren’t readably available. To get a cheaper alternative, I have good news and bad news. Good news is that there is a wizard in Beliard that has rediscovered the Stone to Flesh spell that uses only dirt and a blood sugar test of blood. Bad news is that she got herself captured, and someone has to rescue her.
The second one is the Dark Lady, a dragon worshiping drow followed by Cult of the Dragon rejects who live in Rundreth Manor. This is a variation of the quest in the book, only tweaked to suit my world. If you’ve read it, you know who she really is. This is where the party chose.
A Third track is related to the Dark Lady. There has been some reports of an Orb of Dragonkind somewhere in the region, an magic item that can control dragons. It needn’t be said that the cults should never get their hands on the device.
The NPC parties went to Beliard and to the noted dungeon where the Orb of Dragonkind was. The party headed to Rundreth Manor to hear with the Dark Lady said. As promised I’ll recap what she said:
Yes, yes, the damnable cults have tried to woo me to their causes, and I’ve been teaching them in blood to leave me and my subjects alone ever since. Those I allowed to leave went away disappointed. Well, disappointed once the terror wore off, that is, heh heh heh.
Now then, about why they are here, again. I’ve done extensive research about these parts. Underneath where we stand is the ruins of an ancient Dwarven kingdom of Besilmer. Besilmer is at once a huge elemental forge and a temple to the very elements that this world, and all who live in it, are made of. It consists of four temples dedicated to an element each; Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. If you’ve seen the museum in Red Larch, you’ll know of a quartet of keeps that have openings to these temples. They combine in the middle further underground into what it known as the Temple of the Elements, where the main forge would be. This floor has four deeper dungeons that lead to nodes of Elemental Energy, where the dwarves draw from the Elemental Chaos.
Centuries ago, a drow named Vizeran DeVir discovered this temple dungeon and corrupted it by calling on four evil Elementals—the Four Princes of Elemental Evil, they are known—and forged four weapons with a connection to each of these Elementals. With these weapons, he was able to form the Cults of Elemental Evil, who have been spreading chaos and destruction ever since. Last year, they have resurfaced into this region with the goal of reclaiming the Temple of the Elements. They’ve been driven back, but they weren’t defeated. Thus, they returned for Round Two.
However, not just Meriele has prepared for them. Over the winter, me and some of my associates has constructed another set of four elemental weapons, each designed to counter their respected cult. I have hidden them in the places I’ll note on your map. I don’t have to tell you that they are needed right now, do I?
After their visit in the Manor, they discussed what to do next. By this time, the Beliard party caught the trail of the kidnappers and lead them to Haayon’s Camp, and the Orb Party have reached their destination overland. They decided to pick up the four Elemental Weapons one by one, starting with the Earth one.
At this point, Roll20 decided to be bitchy to me; which is has been all night. It seems that now that it’s the holiday seasons and the busses stop running in the degenerate Safe Spaces they call colleges these days, (Ooops! Sorry, I didn’t want to get politically snippy this post. My bad) it seemed that everyone with a Roll20 account decided to start playing. At the same time.
I could hear the gasping breaths of the routers from my computer.
But I did manage to get a description of what they saw, and I’m relaying a scene that will lead them to the dungeon they’ll face next week:
A trail leads into an ever-narrowing defile between bluffs of wind-sculpted sandstone. Eventually the walls draw in so closely that you can reach out and touch either side, but then the narrow space opens into a hidden canyon in the heart of the hills. A sprawling monastery with dark, narrow windows and red tile rooftops stands in the middle of this natural amphitheater, ringed by sandstone cliffs all around. Ahead, a weathered flight of stone steps leads up to the ajar monastery doors. The plain doors are made of heavy timber with iron studs. A dusty footpath circles the building.
As the party approaches, the door slowly opens, revealing the halls inside, as they step up to the door, they hear an ancient and wispy voice. “You’re here for the Stonespliter Axe are you not? I suppose I should lead you the way. Come along, I’m not known for my patience.”
You come inside and see a desiccated man in a surprisingly new cloak, he must’ve bought it over the winter. “Come now, If I wanted to kill you instead of talking to you, the lot of you will be dead by now. Isn’t that what liches do. Dogged if I know: I became one by accident. I’m Renwick Caradoon, by the way, I’ll show you to the opening.
Renwick leads them to the alter room in the monastery, with a flight of stairs leading down. “I spent the winter closing off the staircase that would’ve lead you to the Temple of Earth. I finally got sick and tired of the blasted Cultists using my home as a freeway. After some time moving some caves around—took me most of the year no less, you should appreciate it—I placed the Axe in the back room of it. I’ve also, and you must excuse me on this, gathered enough traps and creatures to guard it. It shouldn’t be anything you’re not capable of handling, or at least I hope so.”
He then turns and leaves. “You can use this to rest if you insist, but don’t enter the eastern rooms—that’s where I live—and for Gods’ sake, keep the noise down. If I hear a kya from a Sacred Stone Monk one more time….”
The next Friday session will occur in that customized dungeon. How they can enter the Temple of Earth from the surface, however, is a different story.