The Empty Keg

Session 31

Reboot Recap 1

  • The Keg enters the lower level of the temple, only to be trapped there by Tikulti.
    • Tikulti implies he has been manipulating the Keg for months, and that Krumroc may not have been what he seemed.
  • A swarm of demons attack, and only by activating some kind of defensive grid can the company repel their attackers.
  • The defensive grid is controlled by a machine called Codex, which is guarding a hundred souls (or so it claims). The Codex seems to be malfunctioning.
    • The souls inside the Codex claim to be coatls responsible for running a prison for demons and seem to be thousands of years old.
    • One soul, Szo-ahm, makes a deal to help the Keg if they will help him rescue the souls in cold storage.

The Keg unlocks the arcane gate to the lower levels of the temple, causing no small amount of commotion and revealing a long downward tunnel. Securing one end of a rope to a supportpillar, Krumroc anchors the line as, one-by-one, the rest of thecompany descends as quietly as they can into the depths. Joshua isthe first to descend and finds himself in a large circle surroundedby pillars, the rest is dark and quiet beyond the flickering light ofthe torch. He draws his blade and awaits his companions, who comequickly, until only Krumroc remains. Barnaby, the last to descend,gives the rope a sharp tug to signal Krumroc that it is safe, and issurprised to feel the rope give and tumble down the shaft until itlands heavily on his shoulders. He narrowly dodges the shattered halves of Old Age, thrown down the tunnel after the rope. Bewildered, he looks up only to hearmocking laughter echoing down from above and then the sound ofgrinding stone followed by a heavy thud.

Beforeanyone can formulate a plan, a familiar voice speaks from withinBarnaby’s pack. “Many thanks, old friends, for opening the lastseal I needed the assistance of you miserable bags of meat toaccomplish. While it has been quite entertaining walking among youfor so long, and I could never have made it this far without such’willing’ allies, I fear that our time together has sadly come to anend. I do wish I could see the looks on your faces when the SilverFlame itself goes out, but instead I will console myself with theknowledge that your dear friend will help me finish the job. In away, consider yourselves lucky – once I free my lord from hisprison, your deaths would be much more prolonged. Instead, I give youthe singular opportunity to see what few mortals ever see – Welcometo the Pit!” The sending stone fades into silence; the last soundit makes is Tikulti’s cackling laughter.

Thoughas focused as anyone on listening to Tikulti speak, Lan is the firstto notice a stirring in the darkness beyond the light from the Keg’storch. Something moves, flowing across the ground and up a pillar.Before he can call attention to it, a hollow, mechanical voice speakswords in Supernal and the area is lit as brilliant walls ofvermillion crackle to life between several sets of pillars. A quiethum from several ruined statutes of angelic figures breaks thesilence before the room is awash in a horde of demons, boiling upfrom multiple directions. Blades flash and arcane energy crackle as the Keg fights to regroup, and it seems as if the very room is against them as the walls of force shift and separate them off. One thing is clear — if they don’t find a solution they will eventually be overwhelmed. Thinking quickly, Jack examines the machinery dominating one end of the room and determines that he can control the room’s defenses (so long as whatever is working against them does not overwhelm him). While the rest of the Keg buys him time, Jack eventually cordons off the demons from the Keg, and together with Joshua is able to determine that the machines were being controlled from somewhere through a nearby doorway.

Exploring further, they find themselves in a mostly destroyed room with an enormous machine, glowing ominously. They advance only to be met with accusations in multiple languages calling them demons and ordering them to return to their cells, as well as stiff resistance from a variety of angelic constructs. On a hunch, Jack detonates a strange red container near the machine which seems to enrage it, if machines have emotions. The resulting explosion is enormous, nearly enough to bring the entire room down, and no one escapes unscathed. Joshua attempts to communicate with the machine using the focusing crystal from the grid in the previous room, and it at least seems to stop the machine from functioning. Exploring further, they find that whatever is controlling the defense systems is stuck in some kind of loop. Once that issue is resolved, a cacophony of spectral voices pleads for them to stop their assault.

One voice eventually takes the lead, claiming to be a coatl named Szo-ahm from tens of thousands of years in the past. He tells the company that they are in a prison built at the end of the creation war to hold a variety of powerful demon lords who the victors were unable to completely banish to Khyber. There was some kind of prison break and their level of the prison (controlled by Codex Subcommand Defensive Unit 1A) lost contact with the other levels. The situation was dire enough for the staff of the level to give up their corporeal forms and take refuge with Codex as souls only, hoping to be re-corporalized later once the situation had been dealt with and a rescue team sent. When asked about the Maruc Codex, Szo-ahm reveals that Maruc is the name of the prison’s administrator, and that “his Codex” would be the one on Administration, some levels down. However, it would be suicide to go down as is without a way to prevent the demons from attacking.

The Keg goes back and forth over what to do. Barnaby wants to save the spirits. Jack wants to ensure that the Keg treats the situation with the gravity it deserves. Joshua cares nothing for the problems of the long dead, but does care about being able to complete the mission. Lan simply wishes to strike a beneficial deal, used to dealing with the spirits of the dead. Eventually an accord is reached — Szo-ahm and a few others will remain in control of Codex if the Keg will take the other soul canisters to someone who can help return them to the land of the living. In return, Codex will help take over further defensive grids if possible, but such a feat is easier said than done. With at least the start of a plan, the Keg decides to see what they can do to repair the defense grids on this level before moving forward.

XP!
Welcome to the Pit! — 1300xp
The Codex — 750 xp
Speaking with the Dead — 750xp

Loot!
Codex communication crystal
Approximately 100 extremely explosive souls in 8 soul canisters
The satisfaction of playing D&D again

Comments

Tikulti derekjford

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