The Empty Keg

Session 38

Recap
Jack and Azera decide to engage in a bit of gambling under Lan’s watchful eye. They make the acquaintance of a bass-voiced rakshasha calling himself Xamraif, Purveyor of Secrets, and manage to double their investment, walking away with a few more souls than they started with. The entire company retires for the evening, only to be woken several hours later by someone claiming to be “room service.” Jack is immediately suspicious and orders Joshua to bar the door while he wakes everyone else up, but eventually Barnaby allows the visitor in.

At the door is a ruddy faced halfling dressed in motley, wearing a bellhop’s cap and bearing a tray of drinks who identifies himself as Packaos, known as the immortal. He affably suggests that everyone join him in breaking their fast and have a “friendly conversation” about what it is they’re doing in his suite pretending to be him. Far from being irritated, he seems highly amused that someone has decided to impersonate him.

Once Packaos determines that the Keg is searching for a way out of Khyber, he is only too happy to help for a price. Unlike the rest of the parties trying to manipulate the Keg — the Quori, the Daelkyr, the Lords of Dust — he is up front with his agenda. He simply wants to die, and the only way he can do that is to destroy all of reality. He tells the Keg a tale of a reality that existed before theirs did, and a race of creatures called the Obyrith who were once many but now number only twelve. His universe was dying due the immortal hunger of his kind. Knowing their days were number, they crafted a mighty artifact to breach the barrier between their realm and Eberron.

They pushed a shard of their world, the heart of their power, through the smallest cracks in the hope they could use it to exert dominion over this new world. Instead, a being hungry for power seized the black shard and took it into his heart where it mixed with his essence — its mind and spirit were opened to the Obyrith as they lay dying, and they offered him anything in exchange for their own survival. Packaos looks back bitterly on that day, since it has since denied him the ability to end his existence. Instead of being able to control this being, it took their power and used it to do battle with his brethren. When he ultimately fell, the Obyrth finally broke through, unleashing a torrent of black flame through a yawning vortex in the dragon’s chest. They chose to be pulled through rather than perish, and have found themselves trapped in this reality — unable to leave. That was hundreds of thousands of years ago. Packaos cannot die, and it is all he wishes to do.

Even though some of the members of the Keg serve these other powers, knowingly or not, he is willing to be equitable. He offers Jack, who he claims is somehow important, a pact with oblivion — serve Packaos, and he will assist the company in leaving Khyber. Jack politely declines, and Packaos seems understanding, though disappointed. Before he leaves, however, he wants to wait around to see “something interesting” happen. At that point, everyone breaks into a run in a dozen different directions. Joshua rushes out to the balcony in time to see what appears to be an enormous steel spider climbing the building. It has a clear target: Twocopper Jack.

The battle starts in the Retriever’s favor, with it seizing its target and leaving a trail of flaming webbing behind to prevent pursuit. Teamwork ultimately prevails; the company rescues Jack just as the Retriever teleports away with its prize. Packaos watches from the sidelines, and afterwards repeats his offer as he starts for the door; Joshua stops him from leaving and asks for his terms. Packaos modifies the terms slightly, but essentially he wants the Crown in exchange for his assistance in leaving Khyber. The company begins to mull their options while the cheerful halfling waits for a formal response.

XP
Target: GNOME! 2000xp (yes I’m not kidding)
Obyrths — threat or menace? 750xp

Treasure
Contingent upon acceptance of Packaos’ bargain — 50,000 gp and a Ring of Borrowed Power (contains: Crushing Titan’s Fist and Force Volley).

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Session 37

Recap

Upon sighting the bone tower of Khin-Oin and the Great Lift which descends into Morglon-Daar, the Empty Keg withdraws out of sight to plan their next move — taking refuge in relative comfort thanks to Barnaby’s recovered Dragonmark while Jack finishes crafting demonic weapons and armor. The company decides to simply approach the slums surrounding the tower as if they belong there, trusting that false bravado will repel any attack. As it turns out, they seem to be correct as they are not openly threatened while walking among a throng of twisted half-humanoid demons. Jack locates the Lift Master and opens negotiations with him; by claiming the rest of the company are his slaves, he talks the demon down to the equitable price of 3 soul larva.

Hoping to distract Barnaby, Jack sends Azera to take him outside while he tries to negotiate an exchange with the Lift Master. As the company leaves, however, a disfigured, ugly wretch wearing sackcloth approaches, gesticulating with both his humanoid arm and his tentacle. Identifying himself as Skrumbum, he claims to have overheard the party and offers them a deal — unlike most of the rest of the city, he has a use for gold and especially gems. For a mere few thousand gold, he will take them to his “secret” lift on the other side of Skagtown, the slums, and take them into the city without fuss or customs fees. Joshua suspects a con, or perhaps is simply repulsed by the repugnant little creature, but eventually the others overrule him and agree to Skrumbum’s terms (after talking him down to 5000 gp for the trip). On the way, Skrumbum explains to Barnaby how soul larva and residuum are the currency of the city, and that gold and gems are only worth it to him because he can trade them with a few strange looking half-orcs that make regular, if infrequent, trading trips.

Skrumbum’s “secret lift” is little more than a rickety dumbwaiter with miles and miles of decaying ropes and pulleys, but the company risks it. The journey is harrowing, and takes all day, but eventually their guide sets them down in Beggar’s Fall, the poorest district in the city, where they immediately receive black looks from the inhabitants. Skrumbum suggests that they head for the Cinnabar Shadow, the only place in the district which rents rooms — “it’s the enormous mushroom, you can’t miss it!” With a cackle, the demon starts to pull himself back up the cliff face. Barnaby heads directly towards the largest mushroom building he can see, and slows down as it takes him down a blind alley. His instincts are correct. When he turns around, his path is blocked by two huge malgodemons. Out of sight, a voice calls out: “Right on schedule. Get ’em, boys! Take the female; angel slaves are worth a fortune!”

The muscle does it’s job — the malgodemons move to flank while the braxarat, a horrible flayed monstrosity, heads directly for Azera and grabs her by the throat, it’s face twisted into a leering grin. Azera’s eyes flash — the demon has made a terrible miscalculation, as whatever power Azera channels is stronger near the Blood Rift, much stronger. Spitting out abuse, the thing staggers backwards, but its fate is sealed by the deva’s curse. The rest of the Keg converges on the demon as one, and while it tries desperately to channel the pain it feels back, the braxarat’s head is taken from its shoulder by Barnaby within seconds. The rest of the ambush does somewhat better — Azera is spent, and the malgodemons begin to spirit her away, bashing her into unconsciousness while their leader, which appears as little more than an amorphous puddle of black slime, attempts to engulf Jack and then Joshua.

Gnome trickery is too much for the slime demon, as Jack escapes and then blows an enormous hole in the creature. It cries out for surrender, but Joshua is not in the mood and continues to bring the thing down. While Barnaby stops the malgodemons from taking Azera away, the slime demon flees for its life. It’s movements are completely unpredictable — sword swings, thrown weapons, eldritch blasts all fire at where the thing should have been, but never was. Joshua makes a last ditch effort, leaping from rooftop to rooftop, but comes up short and the demon makes its escape. Despondent, Joshua’s pride is further savaged by Barnaby’s taunts, after he ministers to Azera.

Searching the corpses, the company comes across a few larva in curious coin form. While the Cinnabar Shadow is right near them, the Keg decides that Beggar’s Fall is not where they want to be. Consulting their map, they try to navigate to the trade district, but make a wrong turn and find themselves in a slave market. Azera is terrified, and before any slavers can turn their eyes on her, the party beats a hasty retreat. No one seems to be able to find their way, for instead of the market district the company finds themselves outside a five story building built from the bones of death titans, still pulsing with necrotic energy. Spilling out of the establishment, which proclaims itself to be the Howling Devil, are all manners of demons, drunk and roaring with laughter. Inside, succubi and incubi ply their trade. More out of dread curiosity than anything else, the company enters the building.

Inside, the Howling Devil caters to the exotic. Dancers, drinks, drugs, and gambling go on in every corner, in every secret niche and private booth. The noise is overwhelming. Slack-jawed, Barnaby is approached by Madame Xiat — a squat and fat, toad-like creature wearing heavy eyeshadow and lipstick around a distended mouth full of fangs. Gushingly, she refers to him as “Packaos” and offers him his usual suite of pleasures. Uncertain of how to respond, Barnaby is swept away to the penthouse and pulls Azera with him. Meanwhile, Joshua is offered a drink called the Tears of Rashak, made from the tears of deva — it is salty, but he immediately begins to feel incredibly mellow and pleasant. Jack keeps his ears open for rumors and hears about a series of tremors in the chasm that has everyone concerned. At the same time, he marks the gambling tables where a well dressed rakshasha seems to be cleaning up the competition.

Upstairs, Barnaby barely repels the advances of three succubi working girls in the penthouse. The tastes of demons are bizarre; while the penthouse has silken beds and sweet smelling baths, there is also what appears to be a torture chamber, a room filled with small pits of fire, cold, and acid, and a full bar. Barnaby attempts to get information out of the succubi, telling the other two to “bathe” Azera, who he claims is his newest slave. He learns that Kuvu is a curio merchant in the bazaar, but the succubi is surprised to hear that Barnaby wants to meet with her.

Meanwhile, Azera bathes and learns what she can about this Packaos that people seem to have mistaken Barnaby for — Packaos, known as the Immortal, appears to be a cherubic halfling in his late adolescence. Despite having met his demise countless times in front of witnesses, Packaos always appears in the city the following day as if nothing untoward has happened. He has held the title of Blightlord twice before now, where he serves as the master of Beggar’s Fall. He is known for his quixotic nature: one day he is the soul of charity, and the next he is a ruthless killer. The speculation is that he has grown somewhat mad in his inability to die, but that only makes him more dangerous.

The Keg decides to spend the evening in the brothel, so long as it’s on this Packaos’ dime … though Jack starts to edge towards the card tables.

Treasure
9 soul larva

XP
An “honest” demon 1000xp
This is how we roll in Beggar’s Fall 1200xp
The Howling Devil 1000xp

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Session 36

Recap

After a good deal of back and forth in the wake of the Empty Keg’s encounter with a night hag, the company plots a course using their newfound maps. The trek is not easy — indeed it is difficult to conceive of a worse place to spend the night than unsheltered in the abyss. The consequences are predictable and take a toll on morale, but Azera’s rituals provide some hope of ending the journey.

Though the first day is relatively uneventful, the second begins with pursuit: a flight of demons seems to be searching for the company while a sandstorm brews on the horizon. Unwilling to turn back or to find firmer ground on which to defend themselves against flying foes, the Keg presses on, hoping that speed will prevail. When it becomes obvious that, even magically assisted, the adventurers cannot outrun their pursuers, they turn and stand and fight. Lead by a huge, fearsome demon which appears to be a mighty Balor, the Keg uses every effort to bring things to a swift close. Joshua’s blade seems to greedily devour the soul of the leader, momentarily transforming his swordarm into the stuff of nightmares. While the company is successful at putting down the leader in short order, their flying enemies look to have gained the upper hand until a single whispered word from Azera brings them all crashing to the ground. The battle over, the last remaining demon takes to the skies, leaving the company with a parting warning — that they will never escape the Prince, and that they will never reach the Blood Rift before he can reach them.

Something about what the demon says sticks in Joshua’s mind, some half-remembered story that he can’t quite place his finger on. Finally, it comes to him — though the Blood Rift is said to reach every abyssal plane, and thus be of immense strategic importance, he can’t recall a single tale of a demon lord ever entering it. Meanwhile, Jack sorts happily through the remaining body parts of the demons, finding all sorts of useful components. Eye of newt pales in comparison to beak of vrock and femur of “balor.”

The Empty Keg avoids the sandstorms and stays away from the Blood River until they are forced to cross it painfully and swiftly — they learn the waters are toxic, at least to mortals. After their third day of travel, they reach the outskirts of what they can only assume is a settlement above Morglon-Daar. It is an impressive sight. An enormous tower made of bone, appearing to be a spinal column, stretches upwards and out of sight; it can only be the Wasting Tower of Khin-Oin, which descends into the great city itself. The Blood Rift here is vast, cutting across the landscape like an open wound. Blood-red mist rises from the falls which cascade into the depths of the abyss, sometimes obscuring everything nearby. Around the tower itself is a curtain wall guarded by well trained demonic troops. Nearby, a great lift loads and unloads cargo, served by a shanty town of lesser demons who toil endlessly. Though the company may have found Morglon-Daar, getting in to the city is another matter altogether.

XP
Air Battle 1200xp
Roleplaying Bonus 500xp

Treasure
Essence of a fire demon (Jack might be able to use it to turn any magical weapon into a Demonslayer Weapon of the same enhancement bonus of the weapon used)
Petrified heart of a kulchikur (Jack is more or less certain he can use a minimal amount of residuum to create a Demon Amulet +3 from this)
Failing that, Jack could grind the components into pure residuum worth 4 or 5 thousand gp.

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Session 35

Recap

Picking themselves up after the battle with the prison’s final guardians, the Empty Keg catches a small break when it seems that the intricate lock on the door has long since been broken (from the inside). Pushing the doors open, the adventurers find themselves at the top of a sort of hill surrounded by a lake of black glass. The landscape is bleak and barren, broken by tremendous spires of shattered stone standing at impossible angels. The heat and the dust are oppressive, and a ball of fire hangs high up in the red sky. The only structure is a bridge made of worked white stone, so the Keg heads towards it.

While crossing the bridge, the stones begin to shake as enormous fleshy appendages wrap themselves around crossing and begin to tear it apart. It isn’t long before the entire structure collapses, sending the Keg into icy black necrotic sludge while a titanic, oozing mass of tentacles pushes itself out of the morass and begins to feed. The battle with the abyssal kraken is lengthy and difficult — Barnaby stands toe to toe with the beast and flies into a berserk rage from which he almost does not recover, while Azera is pulled under the depths almost immediately and does not resurface until the battle is ended (had her divine heritage not protected her, she would surely have perished). Exhausted, the company manages to make it to the other side — an entire 500 feet from where they started.

Navigating the terrain proves difficult, but some timely ritual magic gives the Keg an idea of where to head. Trudging through the badlands is slow and tortuous work, and the company finds their way barred by an enormous crevasse which they use to take shelter from a howling sandstorm. Though there is no night, the Keg spends an uneasy period of rest hidden under tarps while dust devils run amok during the storm — only Joshua seems unconcerned with the conditions, almost taking pleasure at putting his training to use. Ominously, there are tracks of some kind of demonic bloodhound near the Keg’s campsite, but Azera is confident her ritual magic protected the group from their notice.

With the new day come new decisions. Rather than investigating a far off geyser or a patch of mist, the company continues along the edge of the massive crevasse until they espy a curious sight — a gypsy wagon resting in a patch of shadow where there should be no shadow. Investigating, Jack pierces the illusion masking a night hag and her bodyguard — a pair of fierce and massive Fir Bolg. The hag, Niamh, is startled and then irritated that her illusion, which works well enough against demons, was of no avail. She reacts with curiosity, asking what mortals could possibly be doing down in the Pit. After some back and forth, a few charming lies from Jack, and a veiled threat from Joshua, she reveals that she is a trader from Greywall. Though she is not willing to risk her livelihood showing the company her way in and out of hell, she is willing to treat with them.

Azera takes the hag aside while the rest of the party bicker over what they are willing to give up (souls? magical items? residuum?). The discussion between the deva and Niamh is brief and ends with the hag receiving a lock of Azera’s hair. When the two return, the hag agrees to give the Keg copies of her maps and to trade fairly for useful rituals to help them survive in the abyss. The company accepts the maps, but is unwilling to pay for anything more. With a shrug, the hag reminds Azera that the terms of their deal were that the Keg moves along immediately as she does not want to be anywhere near those that the First and Forsaken is pursuing.

“Your best bet is to seek out Kuru, a merchant in Morglon-Daar. I would not trust her were I you, but she can point you in the right direction if you seek someone who can open a gate back to Eberron.” She calls her phantasmal steeds into being and sets off in the opposite direction.

XP
Abyssal Kraken! 1000xp
Hell is a Bitch 750xp
Hag’n Wagon 750xp

Loot
See attached maps (but remember they are not necessarily reliable).

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Session 34

Bullets for Baylee!

  • People argue about whether to help Szo-Ahm into a construct body, but eventually they decide to kidnap him instead.
  • The Keg explores what seems to be an empty prison, until an elevator malfunction nearly ends all of them.
  • The First and Forsaken Prince tries to make a new deal and lure Jack away from the Keg, and almost succeeds.
    • The Keg engages three powerful demons in a room where gravity can be reversed, and wins.

Recap for the Rest!

Having made it back to the highest level of the prison, the company spends a few moments taking stock of their situation and attempting to come up with a plan for going forward. First on the agenda is how to deal with Szo-Ahm, who (having fulfilled his part in the bargain by guiding the party through the prison) wishes to strike a new deal: in exchange for being placed back into a construct body, he will help them repair the Codex crystal. There is fierce debate, and things get heated, but ultimately the company decides the risk is too great (and perhaps they simply don’t want to spend time finding a suitable body) and simply removes one of Szo-Ahm’s soul jars before descending.
The machinery level is eerily silent and seems to have been completely undisturbed for eons. Much time is spent attempting to get some of the great turbines up and running again, but Joshua accurately deduces that there is simply no power source to run them, even if he knew what they did. Perplexed, the Keg heads for a lower level, when catastrophe strikes! The lift goes into free-fall! Panicking, Azera destroys the controls while Barnaby tries to cast a rope upwards, and along with Lan, use the rope as a lifeline. Meanwhile, Joshua (clearly annoyed at the destroyed controls) finds the mechanical override and sends the disc screeching to a halt a few dozen feet above ground.
Deciding to kick the door to the lowest level open, the party finds themselves in a long oval room dominated by an giant clenching hand made of red stone. Seated nonchalantly, as if it were a throne, is a humanoid figure dressed in immaculate white garb – his body seems to have been stitched together from the skin of other beings.
Playing idly with a strange cube, he greets the party in a cheerful fashion. After a bit of back and forth, he offers them a deal – no longer interested in the soul jars, what he wants is the Codex and Szo-Ahm, and in exchange he will take the party wherever they wish, including out of Khyber. Though the offer is open to all, he focuses the most on Jack, clearly calling him out. While the rest of the company searches fruitlessly for alternate exits, Jack contemplates. Only Jack sees through the man’s illusions and sees the flames and hidden demons, and after a long period of deliberation comes to a decision – “I’m with … them!” Disappointed, the man waves his hand and vanishes, plunging the room into nightmare.
Three enormous demons lurk behind crumbled masonry and pits of baelfire and frost. One, a woman engulfed in strange green flame, begins to set the room on fire with a flick of her fingers, her aura intensifying. Another, made up of floating bits of masonry with powerful jaws made of stalactites, crouches on the hand-throne holding the cube. Finally, the last demon, with a trunk like body containing many mouths and wings of ice, hovers near the ceiling. With a gruesome chuckle, the rock demon flips the cube and sends the company tumbling to the sky – all except Jack. Having aroused the ire of the First and Forsaken Prince, the gnome seems to be the primary target.
While the winged frost demon confounds the majority of the party, the two others go after Jack with a vengeance. Using every trick he’s ever bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, Jack manages somehow to stay on his feet while focusing his attack on the demon with the cube. Enraged, the rock demon causes the ground itself to begin to encase an exhausted Jack, but he doesn’t catch the sparkle in the gnome’s eyes or the mocking salute as he allows himself to become encased in solid rock. Unable to harm the gnome, gravity is reversed again but with disastrous consequences – while Barnaby has to face down a pair of demons, it leaves the holder of the cube to the mercy of Azera and Joshua who combine tactics to turn it into little more than a pile of sand. With the cube in the party’s control, the tides rapidly change and the battle is won.

Exhausted afterwards, the Keg begins to tend to their wounded. The cube shatters after the last demon perishes, but in the rubble the company finds something interesting — a glossy ring. The fire demoness has bracers made of strange greenish metal that are warm to the touch.

Treasure!
Bloodthirst Bracers (on the fire demon)
Premonition Ring (in the cube)

XPs
Triple Elites Are Awesome 1200xp
Roleplaying 1000xp

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Session 33

Recap
Separated from each other, the Keg battles what appears to be some kind of family unit of tunnel dwelling non-sentient demon. While Joshua works to free himself from becoming the first meal of the demon’s offspring, Barnaby races to find him while the rest of the company fights off the strange mind bending poison these creatures use to subdue their prey. The delay is costly — both Barnaby and Joshua become implanted with demonic embryos, the rest of the party exhausts what limited resources they have finishing off the demons. Lan discovers that the network of tunnels dug by these creatures continues, off the map of the complex they have, but there are other matters to attend to.

Finding their way to what should be Administration, the company finds a room reduced to rubble and strangely barren — all that remains is an enormous statute of an angel, an almost comical guardian of broken stone and centuries old dust. They find what might be some useful spare parts from the remnants of this level’s defensive wards, but little else. Joshua’s condition worsens and while Barnaby simply refuses to allow anything to remain in his body, the swordmage is forced to chose between trusting Jack with a knife and Azera, who he barely knows. He picks Jack and the emergency surgery is successful, to a point, but he’s left with a nasty abdominal scar to remember the encounter by. No one sleeps well here, except Joshua who’s body forces him to sleep. The more perceptive members of the Keg note that Jack’s eyes never really close, and that even the normally calm deva seems to have disturbing dreams.

Pressing on, the Keg finds a control room similar to the one several levels up. It too is mostly destroyed. After sifting through some of the rubble and finding more components but little else, there is talk of consulting with Szo-ahm to see if his knowledge can give them any insights, but an argument breaks out about whether he can be trusted. While the argument goes on, Barnaby gathers bits and pieces of broken crystal together. After he accumulates a critical mass of a heavy, purplish stone which seems drawn to itself, there is a flash of light and the halfling goes catatonic. When he is awakened, he spouts garbled prophesy and speaks nonsense about a blue light and a woman’s voice. The Keg strains to understand him, and out of desperation asks Szo-ahm for assistance. The voice can only tell them that it is likely they have located the Codex’s main information storage, or what’s left of it — the Maruc Codex that they sought. The content? All he can make out is that it has something to do with a former prisoner — Bel Shalor, the Shadow in the Flame.

Szo-ahm offers to help them repair the Codex and possibly to see what other systems he can repair, but only if they will strike a further bargain with him — place his soul jar into a construct body, because he no longer believes that the company can get his people to safety. There is some brief discussion before the Keg agrees. To get back to the top level, Barnaby and Joshua engage in some rappelling and locate the lift. With a little jury-rigging it becomes operational, and with a great groan carries the company to the top level. The wards are gone, but there are no demons. Joshua in particular seems disturbed — it is simply too quiet for a place that was swarming with demons the day before, and the party has not been concealing their presence.

XPs
Maze and Mama 1200xp
Roleplaying 800xp

Treasure
One (1) Codex Information Storage Crystal, gently used
19000 gp worth of platinum fittings, electrum wiring, and non-magical gemstones (which may be useful as spare parts)

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Session 32

Recap

The ancient machinery which keeps the defensive wards on the highest level of the prison working are grinding to a halt. The Keg decides that the best course of action is to press on immediately towards Administration in hopes of retrieving anything useful. Szo-ahm’s knowledge of the structure reveals that there are two ways down, the main lift which may or may not be operation, and the service ducts which may have collapsed. Option for the latter, the Keg begins their descent with relative ease — down is down, after all. Avoiding an eerily silent floor which they are told used to contain the complex’s massive array of functional machinery, the company tries to descend to the next level as quietly as possible.

Something goes wrong on a challenging portion of the descent, stuck in a vertical shaft, and both Joshua and Barnaby lose their grasp and start to slide. Lan manages to catch Joshua, but not Barnaby, who barely manages to grab hold of the lip of the duct, dangling fifty some feet above the ground. The room he’s stumbled upon is pure chaos. Chunks of floating masonry, unaffected by gravity, hover in mid-air, bound together by spiked chains of blackish metal. The dessicated husks of some huge humanoid beings are bound within the chains, while two figures struggle against their restraints — one filling the area with its screams. Things that appear to be mockeries of angels feed from the captured. The entire effect is like some insane, enormous spiderweb. Hearing Barnaby’s descent, one of the corrupted angels hisses a challenge and attacks.

The battle is long, but the Keg eventually prevails against the corrupted angels as well as the lesser and greater scavengers in the area. Joshua finishes off the screaming angel with a blow from his blade, which for an instant seems to gleam after the strike. During the fight, one of the victims is well enough to stand and fight alongside the company. Afterwards the Keg asks some perfunctory questions — who are you, how did you get here — and are satisfied with the answers they get. Though there is some confusion, once Barnaby is convinced the newcomer Azera is “not a Tikulti” he seems willing enough to have her along, and Joshua seems fascinated with the rarity of her species. They are not given long to contemplate, as soon the remnants of the creatures they have slain begin to stir.

As the first corpse rises, it is clear that whatever is animating it does not comprehend, or is simply unused to, the body. Motion is awkward and stilted. Joshua interposes himself between the creature and the rest of the party, who attempt to open the great double doors, seeking a quick exit. Seemingly unphased by Joshua’s attacks, which serve only to destroy the corpse, the thing begins to investigate the swordmage by scent and (after some gruesome self-surgery) taste.

“My, what do we have here. Savory. What an impressive toy this blade is, and so familiar. But where did you get it? Ah, I see. Delightful! It found you though of course you don’t see it that way. And who is wielding who, I wonder?”

Investigating Barnaby, the creature seems disgusted. “Unpalatable! Intolerable! I can barely stand the … innocence.” Irritated by the proximity of the corpse, Joshua destroys it effortlessly and orders the rest of the Keg to search for other exits.

As Lan moves to comply, another corrupted angel’s corpse rises and begins to scent the air. “Oh ho! Abadonment! Delectable. But not quite ripe. What’s the matter, elfling — " but before the thing can finish its sentence, Lan’s spear separates the head from the body.

The corpse of a demon-spider begins to stir, and this time Twocopper Jack calls upon his pact with the beyond to use his second sight. Whatever he sees causes a violent reaction. His head jerks backward and his lips open in a silent scream before he topples to the ground, unconscious. “Who is this? Who is this? The most dangerous one of you all. Perhaps I should … " the body moves as if to strike, but then relaxes. “No. Of course. Too soon for all that.”

The final corpse animates and Joshua once again stands between it and the rest of the company while they frantically try to dig out the second set of doors. The creature finally begins to respond to questioning. “Who am I? A reasonable request, a rational request, and one that shows fear. Delicious. If you must address me, men have called me the First and Forsaken Prince at times. It will do. As for why I am here, I am a patient man, willing to wait, but I simply want what is mine. Those containers. Give them to me and you will have safe passage both here and in the rest of my realm.” Joshua does not treat with demons, and simply destroys the last creature.

With time to consider the situation, the company determines that the best path to Administration lays within more ducts. They make their way through more cramped, slime filled tunnels until they come to an impasse. The newcomer uses a ritual to try to mitigate any dangers, but sometime during the casting of the ritual, Joshua has vanished. Distressed by the lack of his friend, Barnaby tries to double back in search of him, but quickly leaves the rest of the company behind in his haste. The Keg attempts to follow, but it soon becomes clear that none of the tunnels match the ones they were in before. Azera postulates that it the First and Forsaken Prince, who should have complete control over the shaping of his realm, and what remains of the main group pauses to consider their options while Barnaby’s cries grow fainted and fainter.

Treasure
Azera!

XP
The Feeding Room 850xp
The First and the Forsaken / Introductions / Roleplaying 1000xp
The Maze (incomplete) TBD!

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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

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Session 30

Bullets

  • The Keg makes their way through a hellish volcanoscape, climbing Giger-esque pillars of obsidian and stairs made by inhuman hands while being deafened by the calls of tortured souls.
    • Lan falls even after Kharif tells him to stop being a puss
    • Krumroc uses the Diadem of Hell to determine that the entire structure is held up solely by the will of Rhashaak’s bloodline and could come crashing down at any moment.
  • Once the company reaches the summit, an enormous stone dragon’s head animates and speaks. It claims to be one of Rhashaak’s progeny, and thanks the Keg for destroying the last thing that prevented him from seizing the demon’s power now that his father is away.
  • The dragon’s mouths summon demons who assault the Keg. Sadly, most of those demons fail to avoid standing on the edge of the platform and get pushed into lava.
  • Once the demons have been all but dispatched, Lashrak (the dragon) attacks, climbing out of a deep well in the center of the stalagmite and bringing chilling darkness. Using his blasphemous demon-stolen power, he causes the Keg to quake in fear, then unleashes a devastating spray of acid.
    • Lashrak tries to call upon the power hidden within the stone dragon statutes, but Krumroc is either far to canny or just really likes smashing shit, because before he can, one statute has fallen.
    • The dragon gets a few solid licks in, but ultimately is subdued. Surprising no one, the entire field of bridges and spires begins to collapse.
  • The Keg decides that, since the way they came has toppled into an ocean of lava, the smart thing to do is jump down the well that Lashrak crawled out of. A brilliant plan, except they seem to have forgotten that dragons fly but dwarves do not. Cue 100’ fall at the end of the shaft.
    • Barnaby and Jack leap off the dragon, the halfling clinging to the wall and the gnome to a rope. The rest of the company tries desperately to steer the falling dragon, in a split second, away from the ground. Against all odds, they succeed! Only to note that the chamber itself isn’t enormous, and that the dragon is now on a collission course for the wall.
    • Joshua and Lan are thrown clear, tumble down the side of the chamber, and land in a heap. Krumroc holds on for dear life and shouts a catchphrase, and lets the body of the dragon cushion his fall. Unfortunately, he lets the bodies of Joshua and Lan cusion his fall as well.

Treasure
Primordial Ring (except it makes you a demon, not an elemental)
Flame Bracers (?)

XP
Load Bearing Boss, 1000xp
Dwarves Can So Fly + Climbing + RP/Fun Bonus, 700xp

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Session 29

BULLETS!

  • The Keg explored further into the temple and encountered angels guarding a wide hallway. The angels did not attack until the company approached a small pyramid, which burst into slo-mo fire. Even then, the angels refused to attack Krumroc who walked into the fire and emerged unscathed.
    • There he communed with what appeared to be the maiden of the Silver Flame who tried to assuage his guilt and tell him that even if he had turned his back on the Flame, the Flame refused to turn it’s back on him.
    • She also told Krumroc of the corruption which had taken hold in Thrane, that he should beware other agents of the Flame. Additionally, she recounted the story of the current temple — built on a demon citadel to contain the demons, locked by the powers of all three dragons.
    • Khyber’s key was the skull of the Gatekeeper, but she told Krumroc to be wary since the skull was sealed inside the prison. Siberys’ key lay with the bloodline of the draconic protectors.
  • The party explored a shrine to the Three Dragons where it was obvious that the lizardfolk had been revering Khyber over the other two dragons.
    • Barnaby prized out the gem eyes of the Khyber statute and was cursed … TWICE because what were the chances that the statute would cast it’s curse when the SECOND eye was taken out? Joshua lit the unused votive candles for Eberron and Siberys and was blessed.
  • The Keg explored a disused passage and found a room which labeled itself the Domain of the Green. Eventually, Jack determined he could use the magic circle to transport the party into the Feywild.
    • They found themselves in a great viking feasting hall lorded over by a Man in Green who seemed to know Jack. He invited them to feast with him (all refused) and when questioned about the key to the jail, he suggested a contest.
    • The company undertook his challenges, all of which were rigged — Krumroc lost an eating contest to fire, Joshua lost a race to thought, and Barnaby lost a wrestling match to old age, though in all cases each one felt they were competing against another person. Jack exorted the Man to play fair, and Barnaby challenged him to a shell game, which the Man lost.
  • At which point the Man challenged the Keg to claim the key themselves if they wanted it so badly, and summoned plant minions who were hollow copies of the company. These minions were protected by huge lumps of moss which seemed to feed on thought and memory, and who could absorb damage. The first side to find the key, buried within a plant pod scattered throughout the hall, and bring it to the Green Man would be the victor.
    • Eventually plant-Jack found the key, but was foiled in bringing it to his master by real-Jack who cast him up into the air where the creature stayed for PRETTY MUCH THE ENTIRE BATTLE which consisted mostly of plant-Joshua swordbursting real-Krumroc over and over.
    • The Green Man told the Keg what Eberron’s key was (mud, spit, and breath) and returned them to the real world with his blessing, applauding the company for being such “good sports.”

XP
Hall of Dragons — 520xp
Fey Lords Don’t Cheat! — 650xp
Plant-Keg Hockey Game — 735xp
RP Bonus — 650xp

Treasure
Onyx dragon-eye gems (1500gp)
Krumroc’s hammer was blessed by the Silver Flame itself and becomes +3 Crusader (forgot to mention this)
Green Man offered to enchant any one item to +3 as reward for being a good sport (oops, forgot to mention this, decide yourselves!)

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