Sunday, September 19, 2010

THE FORBIDDEN CITY: PART SIXTEEN (1 & 2)


After an uneasy night of rest, the party healed up and began further exploration of the caverns they were in. Checking the door in the south of the crystal ball room, they found it went south and then over 100 yards to the east. They went along, with Cadelaine using her new Wand of Secret Doors and Trap Detection to check the long hallway (with nothing found). They entered a door at the end of the corridor, which led to a room filled with all sorts of what looked like burial urns, most broken, some still filled with ashes of what appeared to be past priests of the reptillion god. Searching around, the party located 4 urns which were unbroken and looked valuable, as Alando read the runes on the outside and said they appeared to be reptilian high priests inside and the urns must be brought back to the priest of Vistna.


Searching the room, Cadelaine discovered on the north wall a portion that appeared to be an old door that had been bricked over. Eschewing stealth, Mongo simply kicked the barrier down and broke through. A dark corridor lay ahead, which led to a long abandoned and dusty room filled with heaps of rubbish and debris. Carefully entering, Mongo tossed a few silver pieces ahead of him at the suspicious heaps of debris. At that, two rose up, which turned out to be pathwork warriors wearing nothing yet looking fierce and strong. Endefal attempted to turn the creatures, to no avail! They fell upon Endefal and Mongo, striking terrible blows with their fists. Mongo and Kal quickly disposed of one, while Endefal aided by the animals Gra-Gra and Simba destroyed the other. Looking at the beings closely, Alando announced they appeared to be flesh golems, left here centuries ago to guard something. A corridor continued to the north, and a strange glow came from a room beyond.


Carefully treading down the corridor, they found it dead end to a remarkable sight. In a large 40x40 room, atop a pedestal at the north end, stood a large green crystal. Within, seemingly asleep, was a large, 10 ft tall lizardman with wings….the same being seen on the walls of the crystal ball chamber! There was writing on the pedestal, and around the pedestal, heaps of gold, silver, scrolls, and other treasure. The party carefully advanced into the room, and suddenly, the lizard creature’s eyes opened, displaying a look of sheer malevolence. Tulu the fighter screamed with terror and ran out the corridor to huddle in the room beyond. Seeing the creature did not look friendly, Mongo sent two arrows at it (which stuck in the crystal), and Endefal attempted a whirlchain spell that simply bounced off the green crystal. Inside the crystal, the being smiled horribly, and began casting a spell. A small ball of fire appeared within, and then the creature disappeared (apparently teleporting away). At the sight of the small ball of fire floating in the green sphere, Mongo shouted for the party to run as fast as possible, while he stood in front hoping his Ring of Fire Resistance would help him survive. As the party crowded the corridor, Gra-Gra the ape stood staring at the ball of fire (perhaps wondering if it would taste good…). At that moment, the ball of fire exploded with fire, blowing apart the crystal sphere, and sending gouts of fire across the room and through the corridor, knocking everyone to the ground!


As the flames died down, everyone had taken damage, and some were badly burned. Kal checked his animal companions, and while the lion Simba was injured, the unfortunate Gra-Gra had been blown to bits, a casualty of what appeared to have been a delayed blast fireball. The party pulled themselves into the room, and curing began on the burns of everyone. It was decided then that the party must rest and heal, as injuries were heavy. However, before Endefal and Kal could Stone Shape the corridor shut, a howling noise came from down the corridor….suddenly, a whirlwind (air elemental) roared into the room to attack! Mongo was struck and thrown across the room, while Nadal and Kal struck at the creature to try and disrupt it. As they battled the being, Mongo picked himself up, came back to combat, and destroyed the elemental with several swift strokes of his magical swords.


At the short respite in combat, Endefal and Kal quickly stone shaped the corridor shut using rocks and stones from this chamber. Hoping the strange lizard creature wouldn’t teleport back and destroy them, they were at least protected by anything that attempted to enter through the now blocked corridor.


Binding and healing their burns, the party realized that they would have to have a proper mourning for the ape Gra-Gra at a later time. Nadal said a few words, honoring the ape as a true battle ally, and what was left of the ape was wrapped in a cloak and placed within the magical bag of holding for a proper burial later.


The room was searched, the explosion had scattered melted gold and silver across the room, along with a golden crown, scepter and platinum medallion. A sword, wand, potion bottle, and several scrolls were also rescued from the destruction; Alando cast Detect Magic and Detect Curse upon them before they were examined more closely. The scrolls were found to contain many mage spells of very high level (18th) and were given to Cadelaine, for use later. The Wand was found to be a Wand of Paralyzation, and this was also given to Cadelaine to use, and the potion was one of Fire Resistance. The other items were placed away, except for the scepter which Alando examined after seeing the runes along the sides told of some creature called “The Immortal King”. While looking at it he realized the bottom of the scepter could be removed, and inside several ancient vellum sheets (somehow resisting all aging) slid out. Alando then used spells and knowledge to translate the scrolls during the night, and what he found both frightened and disturbed him……


As he explained to the party, the vellum sheets contained a history of a being called The Immortal King, the giant winged lizardman they had just accidentally released. In the prehistory of the world, before even Lyrian times, reptilian beings ruled the earth over the humans, dwarves, elves and other humanoids. As the centuries passed, the reptiles became less focused and more chaotic, and lost control of much of what the ruled. Even before the Cataclysm, the Reptillions had retreated to the dark corners of the earth, mostly in underground caverns where they could breed and worship Set, hoping for another chance to seize power in the world above. In these dank, dark places society for the serpentmen and others continued as before, degenerate and evil. Near the surface they built temples such as this one, where sometimes humans of ill repute or seeking forbidden knowledge could be corrupted into breeding with serpent and lizard people, creating half-breeds.


Finding places of arcane potency where the fabric of the multiverse converges, the Reptillions built “Sanctuaries” such as this, where their dark magicks could tap into areas of natural power.

This practice changed with the coming of the Immortal King. When the Immortal King took complete control…he subverted the theology and made himslef the link between the Reptillions and Set. Over time, sojourns to temples near the surface were forbidden. Thus the Immortal King became a demigod as more and more Reptillions worshipped him. After creating another paradise and sending his people to it, the Immortal King retreated to this temple to rest. Believing that his people would awaken him in a thousand years, he allowed himself to fall into a comatose sleep. This occurred 4,000 years ago.


Alando then explained apparently the Immortal King was a lich of great power, and now that he was awakened, would begin summoning other scaly beings to worship him and begin once again his conquest of the outer world. From Kitanga, to Delos, then perhaps the world beyond, nothing would stop his ambitious plans. Alando explained that they only had one chance: attack now before The Immortal King gathered his followers or ancient magic, and destroy him utterly….even if it mean their own destruction, for the thought of such a powerful being controlling armies of serpentmen, lizardmen and worse was too terrible a though. Agreeing, the party decided to rest for the night, and began making plans for confronting and hopefully defeating the now-awakened demi-god.


The night spent in the dusty, deserted tomb of the Immortal King was not pleasant. Scattered melted globs of gold and silver were throughout the room, and it was quite uncomfortable as well as frightening as the group wondered if the reptillion lich like creature would return. After a few hours, they heard something at the door trying to get in. A window was stone shaped in the door, and the party saw a mixed group of undead outside the door trying to get in….a half dozen skeletons, some of the deadly gem-eyed skeletons, and two undead wights. Endefal was able to destroy the skeletons with his religious turning ability, as well as scatter most of the gem eyed skeletons. The clerics brought down the stone door to attack the undead creatures, destroying them in short order (but not before Kal was struck by a wight, causing him to feel weakened). Carefully the party retraced their steps until they reached the crystal ball room, where Alando grasped the ball and immediately began thinking of the whereabouts of the Immortal King. Soon, his visage swum into being on the crystal’s face, and they saw him upstairs at the stone altar where they had battled the troglodytes, surrounded by over a dozen lizardman warriors, a shadow like being, and a mummy holding a glowing black sword.


Quickly making plans, the party resolved to make use of the high level scrolls they had found in the lair of the Immortal King. Outside of the temple area, Cadelaine cast Haste on the party from one scroll, then began casting Conjure Elemental to summon a creature from the Plane of Fire. After he was formed, and protection spells such as Bless, Protection from Fire, and Protection from Enemies were cast, the party rushed out hasted to do battle. Kal also cast a Giant Insect spell and several ants also charged and attacked the lizardmen. Then Kal changing into an elephant as they reached the first wave of lizardmen, the druid stomping and throwing them with his feet and tusks.


Immediately several spells were cast on the Immortal King, mostly Dispel Magic, which had instant results as a Mirror Image he had cast vanished. However, his superior spell use had immediate results…Mongo leapt forward with his ring to do battle, struck the lich many times (which were absorbed by a Stoneskin), and then was immediately held fast by a giant hand conjured by the reptile lich. Then, a Chain Lightning spell cast by the Immortal King ripped through foe and ally alike, striking several party members and killing a few lizardmen. The Fire Elemental and Elephant Kal rushed ahead to do battle to the mummy and shadow creature, exchanging blows. Simba, Tulu, Kumar and Epi battled the lizardmen, while Endefal began casting spells at the lich, mostly to no avail. Sholo ran forward to attack the Immortal King hand to hand, hasted, but his blows also did no damage to the protected reptile king. Nadal also ran past the lizardmen to do battle with the mummy and his dangerous, crackling black sword.


Kal in elephant form managed to smash the undead duo several times, but he and Nadal were struck by the mummy’s deadly black sword. After landing a blow that destroyed the shadow wraith, Nadal went down screaming and was paralyzed by the mummy’s sword but Kal managed to knock the mummy and sword off Nadal before his life force was drained. Meanwhile, ignoring the blows falling around him, the Immortal King hit the area with a Dispel Magic and took off most of the protection spells of the party, and also banished the fire elemental from the prime material plane. Endefal, finding little success except with Fist of Faith, then cast a Dimensional Anchor spell on the lich, binding him to the temple floor in case he again tried to teleport out of combat. Win or lose, live or die, the Immortal King would not be able to leave!


Slowly, the opponents of the party were worn down and destroyed, but the superior spell casting ability of the Immortal King began to triumph. An Ice Storm hit the area, not harming the undead, but killing an unconscious Kal who had been struck down by the mummy, the large hail stones crushing in his skull. Simba was knocked unconscious by the ice and Kumar barely hung onto life as he fell to the ground. Nadal could barely move as the paralyzing sword of the mummy had hurt him badly, but Endefal came to his rescue. Using Fist of Faith to destroy the mummy, he spread a healing ointment on the already festering wound of Nadal to bring him back from almost certain death. Sholo continued to batter the Immortal King and managed to strike a few blows here and there.

Suddenly, Cadelaine and Alando appeared at the back of the temple, and Cadelaine used one of the highly powerful spells from the scrolls to strike the Immortal King with a Magic Missile spell! Clearly injured, the Immortal King sent a lightning bolt at Cadelaine, but Alando unselfishly through himself in front of it, taking it’s full brunt. He fell to the ground at death’s door, unconscious, and Cadelaine was also injured. However, again she sent another Magic Missile spell from the scrolls against the reptillion lich, staggering him. Having worn their way pas the Stoneskin, the Immortal King was beginning to take damage and appeared to be heavily damaged. He tried to strike Sholo but to no avail, and Endefal added his mace to the fray by striking the lich king again. Then, Cadelaine finished off the menace with one last Magic Missile spell, this time from here personally memorized spells. The Immortal King was finally defeated! His body exploded into dust, and his robes lay in a pile on the altar. The cost, however, was high, as Kal lay dead, and a few others (Simba, Nadal, Kumar, Alando) were barely alive with heavy wounds. Epy and Tulu had managed to finish up destroying the lizard men, so all the foes had been defeated. However, the party would have to rest immediately, for as long as it took them to heal up enough to move around and defend themselves in combat. The highly defensible secret shaft that had taken them down to this level was right in front of them, and Endefal used Stone shape to open the passageway, then close it behind them after everyone had been dragged or dragged themselves inside.


Inside the circular room and hallway, healing spells were used but with Kal and Alando out of action there wasn’t much to be cast. Using a scroll that Alando had kept for emergencies, Endefal cast Raise Dead on Kal and soon the elf’s wounds began to knit themselves and the druid opened his eyes and looked around, surprised to find himself once more among the living! Everyone else was bandaged and stablilzed, with Endefal casting Cure Disease on everyone unlucky enough to have been struck by the mummy. Barely able to function, the party made quick plans for the night, with Wyvern Watch being cast, and soon the more injured members of the party were asleep and healing from the tremendous battle they had just won.


The only items retrieved from the battleground were the Immortal King’s spellbook, a massive, ancient thing laying in the ashes of the dead lich, and the crackling black magical sword wielded by the mummy. Both items were carefully handled and brought into the hideout, to be carefully examined when the party was healed and ready for any type of foul magicks.

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