Avlis Campaign 1, Part 3
|Avlis Campaign 1||The "Jade" Campaign||Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|Avlis Campaign 2||The West End of Time||Part 1, 2, 3, 4|
|Avlis Campaign 3||Vanoviel and The Godslayer||Part 1|
|Avlis Campaign 4||Rune Quest||Part 1, 2|
|Avlis Campaign 5||The Western Underdark||Part 1, 2, 3|
|Avlis Campaign 6||Daggerspace||N/A|
After annihilating the outpost of the Church of Valok in the shadowy village of Blandenberg, Van, Ari, Orianna, Andrinor, and Jade went back to the temple of O'Ma to recuperate. The next morning... as much of a morning as there is on the Plane of Shadow... they set off on their journey.
Meanwhile, far away, on the Prime Material plane there was a girl in trouble. Tupaia and her faithful cougar companion, Alistrina had no intentions of causing trouble when they stumbled upon a meeting of sorts. A group of M'Chekian special forces were deep inside enemy territory meeting with a contingent of Titanian fairies about a possible alliance against the elves. In return, the humans were pledging to help the the Titanians against the O'Ma fairies once the elves were out of the way. Through the course of this meeting, the conspirators became aware of the eavesdroppers, so they gave chase.
Tupaia and Alistrina ran for their lives with the conspirators on their tails. A little ways off, they spotted a large oak tree with a hollowed out trunk. Tupaia and her cougar ducked into it for cover. Immediately upon entry, there was a popping noise and everything turned dark for them. Where it was daylight outside a minute before, it was dark now. Tentatively, the pair stepped back out into the forest to discover it was night time. This puzzled Tupaia. She studied her surroundings, and she found that the plants were of the normal type and species for the area, but they were all made of some strange shadowy substance. She gingerly walked northward towards her home when all of a sudden her pursuers popped through the opening in the tree to come after her. The chase started up again.
Just as Van, Ari, and the other heroes were leaving Blandenberg, they spotted a lone female figure with a catlike animal running in their direction. Behind her, Van spotted some shadowy figures in pursuit. As the figures got closer, they hailed the girl. She frantically pleaded that the heroes help her against her attackers. Without knowing what to think, the heroes waited until the pursuers came within parleying range. They called out to them, and a female human stepped forward. She told them that Tupaia was a criminal who was wanted for espionage and that the heroes should hand her over. After more discussion, the heroes realized that the humans were from M'Chek and that they had evil intentions against T'Nanshi. They told the people who wanted Tupaia that they would not get her without a fight... and fight they did.
The humans drew out bows and started firing. Most of the arrows glanced harmlessly off of Van, but Tupaia was almost killed by a magic missle from the mage who in turn was almost killed by a lightning bolt from Jade. That same bolt took out one of the human bowman and a fairy.
Eventually the two sets of warriors closed in on each other. A steady exchange of blows occured for a while, only to be interrupted by an entanglement spell from Tupaia. However, due to a slight miscalculation, her spell managed to entangle just about everyone in the battle, on both sides.... much confusion ensued. It took a long time, but most of the humans managed to be killed. The surviving fairies attempted to change to their smaller form and break free. One fairy who did this was gobbled up by flaming spheres sent by Tupaia and Andrinor. The other one who managed was subsequently swatted by Van's flail to score a direct hit on a human enemy's forehead. The guts and refuse from the body stung his eyes a little bit, but it wasn't long before he was cut down by Ari's sword and aura bolts from Jade and Andrinor.
Eventually, all the enemies were slain. Tupaia formally introduced herself to the heroes. They introduced themselves in turn. Jade explained to the druid that she was now on the shadow plane, and that she could accompany them to get back to the Prime. Jade then explained the mission that the heroes were on, and that their mission played a large part in what Tupaia had just witnessed, as well as a large part in the safety of the world. Jade asked if Tupaia would be interested in coming along to help them, since their mission would eventually lead to the preservation of her homeland of T'Nanshi. Tupaia readily agreed.
Eventually the heroes reached Brekon. The city disgusted them immediately. The gates hung wide open, and all were allowed to pass through without harrassment. However, the occupants of the city were mostly orcs, goblins, ogres, and giant-kin. There were scatterings of humans, halflings, and even elves about the place, but not many. The adventurers entered the place to find an Inn where they could base their campaign against Mandaharuk. Jade told them that she had some connections in the city that she wanted to check out, and that she would meet them at the inn in 3 days time. She told them NOT to cause any trouble, but to explore and figure out how the place worked, so it would be easier to get to Mandaharuk. Then she left.
The adventuerers wandered around, and eventually they settled on their second Inn. After getting a room they turned in for the night. The next day they decided to split up and explore. Tupaia and Ari took Alistrina to explore the perimeter of the city. Orianna, Van, and Andrinor decided to explore within the confines of the walls.
Tupaia and Ari went out the gate that they entered originally, and they started to circle the perimeter. They found two more gates. A little while later, Alistrina the cougar was troubled by the scent of something following them. She couldn't figure out what the scent was... but it was definitely not orc or goblin. Tupaia and Ari pressed on. Shortly after, they spotted a couple figures on the walls of the city looking down on them. So they smiled and waved. At that point the figures disappeared, and about 6 more appeared out of thin air in front of them. They introduced themselves as urban sprites, and they were interested in the heroes because it wasn't often that fairy kin came to Brekon. They were wondering what the party was doing in the city. After some warming up, and talking, the urban sprites alerted the girls that there was trouble brewing under the temple of Valok. An urban sprite named Harry claimed to have seen all the influential clerics assembled at the bottom of the temple for a summoning. They were summoning large amounts of denizens of evil.... enough for an army it seemed. This troubled Tupaia and Ari, and after the urban sprites gave them a tour of the city, they returned to the Inn.
Meanwhile, the other heroes explored the city. When they got to the temple of Valok, a hooded figure approached them. He introduced himself as Kalik. He was an orc who claimed to know a lot about the dealings of the city, and that for a price he would tell the heroes whatever they wanted to know. Van agreed to this and motioned for the rest to follow Kalik to an Inn. Once there, Kalik gave them some information. He told them that the orcs were planning on using the slave army and Crullath's army to wipe out Lord Arvanos in the north. Once that was done, the orcs would turn on Crullath and take all the land for themselves. Kalik saw the merit of this plan... it would give them eventual control of the whole east coast, along with unification with Dubunat, the other orc nation. But Kalik saw flaws in this plan too. Namely, the orcs were not powerful enough yet to pull off a plan such as this. He told the heroes that if the current plan could be stopped, and he could install himself as leader, the attacks could be averted. Van asked why he doesn't kill Mandaharuk, and he explained that Mandaharuk, while influential, was not the most powerful figure. The government was in league with Mandaharuk, specifically two generals, Gilun and Bilak, and a district head named Crayn. Those three had to be eliminated for change to come, and then if they wished to kill Mandaharuk afterwards, they could. He explained that in exchange for all this information, the heroes are to go to the Goblin's Niche and kill the three people he mentioned. Van agreed.
All of the adventurers met back at the Inn and exchanged information. Van was troubled to learn that an army of baatezu was being raised in the lower depths of the temple of Valok. She went back to tell this information to Kalik. He paid her for it hansomely, and said that now more than ever they must kill the generals and district head.... to weaken the resolve of the invasion. Van gathered the heroes and went to the Goblin's Niche.
The place amazed and disgusted them. The Goblin's Niche was a pleasure house for orcs, goblins, and other nasties. The girls in the establishment were according to that taste. At the front desk they were met by a charismatic goblin. After some palm-greasing, he told them that government officials and generals do in fact frequent the place... usually they are in the suites on the top floor. Van promptly ordered a suite and 3 female goblins for the whole party. A likeable ogre named Francois was summoned to show them all up to their room. When they got to the top floor, they glanced around and noticed one door being guarded by an ogre and some orcs. After Francois took his leave, they noticed another hallway with a hill giant guarding the door.
The heroes made a plan. They would go up on the roof and hop onto the balconies of the rooms to sneak in and kill the occupants. Using some rope and some of Ari's biting arrows, they made easy access to the roof from their own balcony. Orianna walked over to the suite directly across and snuck in. She found a sleeping orc there who had just finished with his whore. She killed them both in their sleep, stole a governmental medalian off a chair and snuck out. One down.
The next one was a little tougher. Upon entering the suite guarded by the orcs and ogre, they awoke the general. He scrambled to put his clothes on. By the time a few arrows from Orianna and Ari flew at his neck, he had turned his clothes into platemail! Just as he picked up his wicked looking axe to charge, some more arrows caught him in the throat and he fell dead. The ogre guard bursted through the door with his orc companions at that point. The Ogre charged and slammed into Van. He was slain soon after. Tupaia and Andrinor roasted the orcs with some flaming spheres for a while before they fled, only to be cut down by Van while retreating.
After Tupaia put the flames out with some conjured water, the party set the place back to normal. Ari slew the ogress whore, and they left. Now the worries came. They had to kill the next general without rousting the hill giant. Tupaia went back to the room and paid their goblin whores to try to distract the giant, while the rest of the party went for a full attack.
The plan worked. The general was suprised in bed, and he was cut down with his whore in a fairly short and brutal battle. The giant did not hear it at all. Quietly, the heroes slipped out of the building togethor and back to their inn to recuperate once more.
After getting back to the Inn that night, the heroes set up a cautious watch and slept and recuperated. The next morning they awoke and decided to shop for supplies. Tupaia split off with Ari and hung out outside the city. There she found herself a hawk companion. In the meantime, Vanoviel found a small shop where she was able to barter some items to get a better shield for Ari. Andrinor and Orianna stayed back at the Inn to wait for Jade.
When Jade arrived in the afternoon she was a little upset at the ruckus made by the party in town. It wasn't widely known that they were the assassins who pulled off the gig at the Goblin's Niche, but she knew it. In any case, she said that they had better get a move on, but right at that instant, the heroes were attacked by a group of drangonari elves in the hallway.
The battle was fierce. Flaming spheres were exchanged, and a flamestrike nearly killed a few heroes. The drangonari elf monks that were there got killed fairly quickly, but not before doing some damage. At that point, the main cleric fled the scene and left his lackeys to die.
Immediately after, urban sprites appeared in the hallway out of nowhere. They had a human cleric of O'Ma with them. They told the adventurers to come with them immediately because it was not safe for them here.
They retreated through the streets to an abandoned wearhouse. Inside the wearhouse where nearly 100 followers of O'Ma ranging from Templars, to clerics, and even rangers. The head cleric introduced himself as Sarmon, and he told the heroes that he had been in town for a couple weeks hiding out and gathering his forces for a strike on the temple of Valok. The urban sprites alerted him to the presence of Baatezu being summoned in the dungeon beneath the temple.
He told them that the lower levels of the temple had two entrances.... one was small and could be accessed from the sewers. The other was large, big enough to let a small army into. But it was barred heavily from the other side and there was a small magic dead area around it. Sarmon requested that the heroes make their way into the smaller entrance, cross the dungeon to the big door and let the army in. They agreed and after some healing they set out for the sewers led by some guides sent by Sarmon.
Upon entering the lower temple levels, they were immediately confronted with all sorts of minor to moderate Baatezu blocking their way. Some of them, such as the Lemurs, were easy enough, but the barbazu were a little bit more risky. Orianna scouted the area for traps after almost falling victim to a poison dart trap on one of the doors. Afterwards, the progress was slower but much safer. Eventually, the party fought their way across the dungeon and killed the barbazu guarding the big door. Removing the bar was easy enough, and on the other side of the door they were quickly reunited with their new friends who streamed in and down the stairs to the main summoning chambers.
The adventurers reasoned that if Mandaharuk were in the vicinity, he would probably be on a level somewhere above. So they went up while the army went down. That brought them into a large foyer with two small doors and a very very large set of iron double doors.
Jade spoke up at that point and said that it looked too easy. They must be expected. So she casted a few preparatory spells and asked the others to do the same. Once geared up, the party pushed through the double doors and found a fairly tranquil looking sanctuary to Valok.
Standing in the sanctuary were some familiar faces.... the saw the two generals, and the town official whom they just killed shortly before... as well as a couple of minor clerics, and standing in the back were Mandaharuk, and their friend Khalik... who has apparently betrayed them.
Mandaharuk gloated for a while about how they would not leave alive this time. Khalik said that after they were dead, he would work on displacing "the vortex" and bringing their lord and master, Valok, into the world. This puzzled the heroes, but they didn't have long to ponder it before the battle commenced.
Mandaharuk and Khalik were cautiously standing in a minor globe of invulnerability and holding their attacks while the generals dealt with the main fighting. The minor clerics were quickly dispatched with a lightning bolt from Andrinor and a flaming sphere from Tupaia. The enemies all seemed to be resistant to heat, arrows, and physical attacks which made things much harder.
After a while the generals where whittled down, and Khalik and Mandaharuk played a fairly minor role up to that point. Eventually they started in on the fighting too. Mandaharuk headed off a charge from Vanoviel with a blast from his ring of the ram. Khalik tried a few mind altering spells and failed miserably. Eventually the generals where dead, and Jade, aided by an illusion, snuck up on the globe and casted a cone of cold into it, severely hurting the two inside.
By that time the warriors had gotten to the enemy spellcasters and started to beat on them. Khalik, feeling badly hurt, used his ring on the pool of water nearby to open a portal to the Elemental Plane of Water. Running past the warriors, he took a few hits but managed to jump in and escape by the skin of his teeth. Mandaharuk wasn't so lucky. He stood and fought by dishing out a few flamestrikes. But as he took a very nasty hit from Ari's sword, so he decided to cast a sanctuary spell on himself and make a break for it. That worked against all except Vanoviel and Andrinor. As he was running out to get to the pool, Vanoviel hit him, and as he exited the globe Andrinor casted a lightning bolt that sizzled him to ashes and severley hurt Ari in the process.
The battle was won, and Mandaharuk was dead. But the greater danger, Khalik remained.
After looting, Jade found a bag of holding and said that they must all follow Khalik to the plane of water. The only entrance she knew of was located in the Nixie city of Qwandovia, which lies off the shores of Arvanos' lands about 380 miles to the north. She said that if she casted a fly spell on herself and aimed to teleport to some spot high off the ground, she could carry everyone in the bag of holding and they could traverse about 300 of those miles instantly.
The party agreed and after leaving Brekon to sort their treasure, they teleported to Arvanos' lands.
Upon arriving in the border lands of Arvanos' holdings, the adventurers set out to the northwest to get to the shore. It dawned on them that they would need a method to breathe under water if they were going to the plane of water, but they didn't know how they would obtain the necessary means. Andrinor came up with the idea that he could polymorph them all into nixies which could breath water. So he started the process which took 3 days. Van and Ari were polymorphed into male nixies. Rynn was polymorphed into a voluptuous female nixie, while the others were polymorphed into average female specimens.... well, Tupaia was made slightly less than average. Alistrina the cougar was less than thrilled at the prospect of being polymorphed into a swordfish so she casually took her leave of Tupaia and headed for the forests.
On the road, they were joined by an elven bard named Rynn. He said that he was looking for some food and shelter and that he'd be willing to play for it. He was in the habit of wandering the lands far and wide and taking comfort when and where he could. Jade and the others allowed him to accompany them, although they warned him that they were going to no ordinary city and that they would be possibly encountering powerful foes. Nonetheless, Rynn said he would accompany them for as long as it was entertaining, if they would have him.
Shortly further down the road, they met some soldiers who were making camp for the night. They said that they served Sir Rajivik Roan, a vassal of Lord Arvanos. They were out on patrol and they were returning to the keep to be relieved by the next set of soldiers. Sir Roan only really has about 20 soldiers, they said. But it keeps the land safe enough. They told the heroes that their master is fond of guests and that he would love a chance to put them up for the next night if they accompanied the soldiers to the keep. The party agreed, since the keep was on their way.
The next day they found that the keep was actually a tower surrounded by a hexagonal wall. The soldiers brought them to the door and said farewell. The door was answered by what Van identified as a sadik (a neverdead version of the zombie). The sadik motioned them in and bid them to wait in the sitting room. Shortly after Rajivik came down. He was wearing a long white robe. His skin was nearly as white, almost glowing, and his features were fine like an elf's, yet he was human. He appeared almost to be cut out of marble. But he recieved them warmly and told them he would be glad to put them up for as long as they wanted. He gave them free reign of the kitchen, guest quarters, and library. The guests all settled down to some wine and a bath. Van went up to the libary to start researching.
For the rest of the day, Rajivik asked the party about their quest. He was very interested, and he gave them much information in turn. But as the sun went down, he pulled away and said he needed to retire upstairs.
The rest of the night, Van, and Andrinor spent time researching the basics of planar travel, and god avatars, as well as the monsters one could encounter on the planes.
The next morning, the guests awoke feeling very refreshed. They had all had much food and comfort. Breakfast was served. Rajivik then took everyone back up to the library to explain things.
He told them that he would start by explaining the vortex Khalik spoke of. He said that magic on Avlis emanated from one of two vortices. One was accessed only by the gods for God Magics. This vortex originated from the fabric of all the planes, and it permeated the world all through. The second unseen vortex was the source for all conventional magics. It emanated from one plane only. Currently, it was the plane of Arborea. But that was not always the case. Rajivik explained that since there was no god or goddess of arcane magic, the vortex was apt to shift its plane of origin, although uncommonly. When that happened, things in the world often changed. First off, mages would be rendered powerless until the figured out which plane the magic came from and made the necessary changes to their spells. This could take weeks. Second off, the magic sometimes partly took on the character of the plane it attached to. As an example, Rajivik told of the time of the Great War when the orcs attacked the fairies and were subsequently attacked by the other good races. At that time period, the vortex originated from Baator. Thus that age was characterized by large scale orderly war and bloodshed. If a greater god had help from a mortal and maybe one or two other gods, it is conceivable that the vortex could be purposely shifted from one plane to another. This may be what Khalik intends.
Pertaining to Avatars, Rajivik said that a greater god could work with a servant to bring his avatar to the prime. That would be very unfortunate for the world if Valok came, he said.... whether he was helped by Baatezu armies or not.
To aid the party in their quest, he donated a magic ring which enables one to breath underwater by creating a bubble of inexhaustable air around their head. He said that polymorphing into nixies is not a good idea because the spell could be disrupted, dealling death to the victim. He suggested that they find alternate means. He knew a lady necromancer named Alanna who lives in a keep not far off. He told them that they should go there and ask her for what she has. He also requested that they deliver a letter to her for him.
This they did, after another refreshing night's sleep. Upon reaching Alanna's keep, which looked much like Rajivik's own, they were ushered inside this time by zombies. They waited in the parlor for about an hour and a half at which point they were greeted by Alanna. She wore black robes and had fairly pale skin and long dark hair. She had read the letter which the adventurers gave to one of the zombies to deliver to her. She said that she had two rings for waterbreathing, and that she was willing to trade for them. Van traded her two magical axes for the rings. She seemed happy with this, and said farewell. She told the heroes that they could stay the night in her tower if they wished. She knew of a group of nomads nearby called the Romini, who had a witch with much water magic. She warned them to treat the witch well, however, and to ask her if she could trade for any more useful water items.
That night the adventurers cautiously stayed in one room in the tower. They did some more research in the library there, and found more of the same information. Curiously, they found the letter which Rajivik had sent to Alanna. It turned out that they were lovers. The letter explained the heroes quest and that they were to be treated well. It also made reference to a curse that they were under. Van figured out that this curse was somehow related to the necromancers' strange behavior. Rajivik was never seen at night and was often seen healing people, as well as keeping neverdead servants. Alanna was obviously a vampire necromancer. That must make Rajivik a neverdead vampire, or Infusor. They thought it sad that the two of them could never meet again, for one is active in the day and the other at night.
The next morning, they went to the Romini camp.
Rynn got into an instrument duel with one of the locals, and he barely lost for best out of three. The people were in good spirits though, and as they relieved them of some of their belongings, they showed the heroes to where the witch was keeping a lean-to.
The witch was crotchety at best. She didn't want to deal with outsiders, but after much coaxing, and a special song written by Rynn, she was persuaded to trade. She traded to the heroes an amulet of waterbreathing, bracers of waterbreathing and free action, and a ring of water command. In the process she clarified the curse that she put on Alanna and Rajivik. It turned out that about 60 years ago they were involved in the death of her son.... something about accusing him and his friends of stealing... ridiculous. But he was dead nonetheless, so she cursed them. Only she could lift the curse, but once she died it would be eternal. She was happy about this. All she really wanted from the two was an apology..... and some monetary compensation. But the heroes let it all be and wandered towards their destination, Qwandovia.