Campaign Notes from August 22, 2018 Game Edit
Back in the Naga Temple Edit
The group has recovered ancient dwarven artifact, the Jörðandaplóg (yoor-than-da-ploug), and were now faced with whether they want to try to get out of the Naga temple and head for the surface, or if they want to continue to explore.
Paul and several others advocate for heading for the surface posthaste. A few in the group want to stay and explore some more, but eventually everyone decides that lugging around the gigantic geomancy artifact is kind of a big pain in the butt, and they can probably return to the temple later.
Down With the Sickness Edit
Paul seems a little woozy. Sick even. A few of the group notice that Paul’s irises are now a bright metallic gold.
An hour or so later, Darius notices that not only are Paul’s entire eyes metallic gold, but Paul’s shadow and his bracers look very different. The bracers extend all the way up to Paul’s shoulders. Paul casts a shadow that resembles a winged serpent with arms.
Testing for Hitchhikers Edit
Worried that some sort of supernatural horror is hitchhiking out of the naga temple on Paul’s aura, Darius takes a few gemstones out of his pouch and proceeds to juggle them. Seconds later, he misses a catch and one tumbles to the ground. He quickly tries to recover it, but in an unusual bout of clumsiness, slips on the gemstone and careens into Paul. Paul staggers to the side, and as he does so, Darius verifies that Paul’s shadow moves in the exact same way Paul does.
Still suspicious, Darius alerts the rest of the group that something may be up. Finally, they just ask Paul about it. Paul is startled to notice that his shadow is acting up, and that his bracers are trying to become all of his clothes.
Mystic, Heal Thyself Edit
“Hang on,” he mutters, and then closes his eyes and slips into a trance. Long minutes pass. After seven minutes that feel like days, Paul opens his eyes again. His bracers are back to their usual dimensions and his shadow is his own again, but not only do his eyes remain gold, but the upper part of his face around his eyes now looks like it has been brushed with gold powder. Despite the spontaneous makeup, Paul looks less sick, but possibly even more tired.
“Kela wanted to see the geomancy artifact for herself,” he offers, “she’s glad we recovered it.”
The group is amazed, but also relieved to learn that it was Kela visiting through Paul’s shadow, and not her sister, Fetaen. Without a corporeal form, Kela can’t fully enter the material world, but Paul’s strong connection to the shadow realm allows for a minuscule glimpse.
Temple Exit Safety Check Edit
Eventually, the group is satisfied that Paul is not being controlled by his shadow, and the spreading gold tint to his skin can probably be cleaned up with some antibiotics. They move to the entry room of the temple, staying clear of the unexplored regions. Dave casts a divination spell that allows him to send an arcane sensor out to scan the area. He detects no hostile creatures, but does note that the golems they fought earlier seem to be magically rebuilding themselves. The huge copper golem is about 70% back together, while the stone golems are only 50% rebuilt.
Unsure of how long they have before the golems are active again, the group carefully begins to descend the exterior ramps of the naga ziggurat. The group is pleased to find that Dave’s hat and Maggey’s bag of holding are back to fully operational now that they are outside the temple.
Leaving Town Edit
Moving the geomancy artifact takes some getting used to, and for a brief time, Dave flirts with the idea of animating some sort of tripod or other object in the city to carry the artifact around. Nothing suitable can be found, however.
Ups & Downs of Golem Defense Edit
As a security measure, Dave and Maggey both cast an anti-gravity spell on the area where the golems are reconstructing themselves, hurtling the deactivated automatons upward. Several minutes later, there is a thundering crash as all three golems and their various component slam down to the cavern floor at approximately 60 feet per second!
The Oplingers grin, satisfied that the golems will not be pursuing any time soon.
Ominous Omission Edit
Carefully, the adventurers from the surface make their way through the naga city, unaware that they have been followed since departing the temple. Finally, they reach the entry gate where they fought with the undead beholder. There’s no sign of the beholder’s corpse. Bones, tentacles, teeth, all are gone.
Immediately, the group is on the defensive, and starts to make haste out of the cavern.
Their departure is interrupted, when a male dark elf steps out from the shadows and introduces himself.
Dark Elf Debut Edit
“Hello, I am Vasili Maximavna,” says the smartly dressed drow. The coal-skinned elf has white hair and red eyes, and offers a friendly smile. He wears a beautifully made sabre or rapier, but it is sheathed in a richly decorated hangar at his hip. Sharp-eyed Mirja spots several throwing knives tucked into sheaths close-trimmed gambeson and the sides of his pants. The surface dwellers freeze, rapidly readying weapons and magic to respond to an ambush… but the wrath of the drow never comes. (Or perhaps simply waits?)
An Intriguing Introduction Edit
When he is sure he has room to continue, Vasili explains his presence, “I was sent here as an agent of the Iron Eyes to make sure that a group of invaders from the surface are able to find and activate a lost dwarven artifact. And I see you have found it!”
Vasili gestures to the Jörðandaplóg, and tells the group that the researchers of his city are convinced that the activation of the artifact is essential to their survival.
Artifact Warning Edit
However - the drow cautions the humans and surface elves - do not dare to activate it on the surface of Sarvoda. The drow fear that the artifact will draw in the spirit energy of the infernal creatures trapped in the soil and become corrupted, which will further transform Sarvoda into a hellscape aligned with the outer planes.
Darius Dissents Edit
Darius is having none of this!
The normally jocular minstrel gets in the shorter elf’s face. Darius has his dander up, and the rest of his group stares in disbelief as he delivers a fierce dressing-down to Vasili. The drow does not look much surprised; such vitriolic racism is well-documented among the surface elves. The dark elf makes no move for his weapon, and instead responds to the bard’s verbal assault to the best of his ability.
The words “I play my lute menacingly,” descend to the mortal realm from comedy heaven and are immediately joined with a gif. To be fair, the tears dripping from Darius’ lute are kinda unsettling.
Tentative Alliance Edit
Finally, after Darius has interrogated Vasili along every avenue he can think of, the group concedes that Vasili seems to have helpful motives - though it is damned weird that a dark elf just showed up out of nowhere with a convenient reason to join them after they found the artifact. Darius is just about to open a new line of admonition when there is the sound of something shifting from high above in the cavern. The rest of the group freezes. Darius pales, “We need to go. Now!” Darius recognizes the sound of bone-on-bone-on-stone, from a long-ago encounter with a dracolich where he lost several friends to one of the undead dragon lords of eastern Heligastenen.
Leaving NOW Edit
The surface group and Vasili book it out of the naga cavern of Vaalki Tanni, and hustle through the illusory wall that hides the cavern from the rest of the Underdark cave system.
Maggey and Mirja quickly notice that the planar rift to the positive energy plane has healed over, and the only way out is to follow the long, winding path back up.
Dave covers their back by conjuring and maintaining a wall of stone over the entrance to Vaalki Tanni.
Awkward Ascent Edit
The group - including Vasili - begin to ascend up the fairly steep tunnel. Bringing the geomancy pillar along takes real effort, though once it gets moving it tends to continue moving as long as it’s able to hover about 10 inches above ground level. There are a few spots where the bulky pillar has to be reoriented and shifted, and this is not easy work.
Elemental Assistance Edit
Finally, Dave conjures up an Earth elemental to help with the laborious task. The 9’ tall rock creature gracefully emerges from the cavern walls and strides to propel the artifact. To everyone’s astonishment, the moment the elemental touches the artifact, it disappears! Dave suddenly feels no connection with the elemental. It was not dismissed - it is simply *gone.*
Artifact Battery Power Edit
Maggey carefully analyzes the artifact and realizes that it has absorbed the elemental’s quintessence, fueling itself a tiny bit.
Dave notes with puzzlement that this absorption effect did not take place when he used a Bigby’s Hand spell to move the artifact.
With more effort, the group manually maneuvers the artifact up to a fairly horizontal part of the cavern and prepares to make camp.
On to the next game!