Princes of the Apocalypse

Session 16

The party gathered in the cavern under the shrine of stone and rested. They regained their strength and searched for Bucca. They found a red metal plate under the sand and Flint put it in his pack. They then moved upstairs and searched through the monastery. They broke into Hellenrae’s chambers but did not find anything of note besides a locked chest. Nessa infiltrated the distillery as a spider and then broke the group into it. They swiftly took care of the monks inside and moved on to the dojo (after stealing some booze). Lantian went in and talked to Hellenrae, and she invited him to spar. She knocked him down to half health and called the fight, returning to pummeling the initiates. She defeated them soundly and invited Lantian to fight some more. As he stepped up, Flint barged in and prepared to fight. In the ensuing chaos, Hellenrae clashed with the party but was overpowered. They brought her back to her quarters and interrogated her, but found out little. The finally decided to kill her since she would not be swayed and could not be reasoned with. They raided the chest using keys from Hellenrae’s neck and recovered some substantial treasure. Nessa then used her magic rope to carry Hellenrae’s body along as a sort of dead, floating trophy. They returned to the dojo and revived one of the initiates. He was found to be a mercenary named Barst, a rather unscrupulous character who wished to just leave after hearing the cult was falling apart. The party sent him off to find others who would defect and then dealt with the other 2 monks. The first jumped up yelling and attacked right away (and was swiftly dealt with). The second was a merchant’s son named Merric who only wanted to escape. Barst returned with 2 others and then left the monastery, but Merric was brought along and protected. The party learned that all that was left was a minotaur, 2 gargoyles, 4 duergar, and 3 monks. They decided that if they dealt with the monks, their work would be done. They went to the scriptorium and tried to reason with the first monk. He ran and tried to alert the minotaur and succeeded, but when the minotuar had arrived the monk had been restrained and gagged by the party. They told the minotaur that the monk was a traitor and the creature proceeded to lift the monk bodily and gore him on its horns, killing him. The creature then asked the group where his brother was and they said they didn’t know. The minotaur then smashed a desk and stomped off to look for him. The party then headed off back through the courtyard and found the last 2 monks in the kitchen. Upon realizing their identity, the one monk rushed them with a kitchen knife like a psycho and the other curled up on the floor. After some frenetic battle, the knife wielder was put down and the other shown the body of Hellenrae as proof that the cult was fallen. He ran from the room and jumped out of a window. The party then heard the familiar stomp of hooves in the hallway and fled out the north door. They ran around to the garden and quickly took their horses (under the watchful eye of 2 gargoyles) and fled the monastery. Though there was some bickering on the road, the group eventually made it out of the gully and camped just as the rain was letting up.

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Session 15

The group took a short rest in the duergar’s accommodations before they investigated further into the Sacred Stone Monastery. They quickly found the mess hall and continued on to the kitchen. They bluffed and pilfered their way into a wheel of cheese and then went east to the shrine of stone. There they were noticed and questioned by Qarbo. He “learned” that they were new initiates, so he asked them some cursory questions before sending them downstairs to their trial. While they were on the stairs, a lever was pulled that sent them crashing into the room below. They scrambled to their feet and got ready as a door on the west wall slowly opened. Bucca made a dash for a gem set in a pillar across some red sand as an umber hulk revealed itself from behind the heavy door. The group readied themselves and the hulk flew into a rage, slashing at whatever was nearest. Bucca grabbed the gemstone and as he did, was suddenly swallowed by the sand. The team then fiercely fought against the umber hulk, but realized that it was mostly trying to escape. Ikki flew up to the shrine and pulled the lever again, putting the stairs back in order. Meanwhile the umber hulk stormed up into the shrine and started attacking Qarbo and the guards. As the battle raged, Lantian kept blocking Qarbo’s escape and the umber hulk made its exit to the courtyard. Ikki and Flint were both felled and the hulk began to fight with a gargoyle. Qarbo finally made it out of the shrine and made a run for it in the courtyard, killing the umber hulk as he ran. Lantian burst out of the shrine and killed the gargoyle, and Nessa slowed Qarbo’s progress with entangling vines. While Brenna was stabilizing her teammates, Lantian finally finished off Qarbo, leaving the party roughed up badly and the monastery looking really beat up.

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Session 14

The group follows after the bandits and finds them cowering in a cave. They quickly surrendered their weapons and gave up. The group learned that they were farmers and homesteaders pressed into service. They went back to the road block and recovered the farmers stolen heirlooms and the party generously gave the gold they found to the homesteaders. They then sent them to Red Larch to say that the road is clear and headed off towards the Sacred Stone Monastery. They camped peacefully in the fields and set off in the morning as storm clouds loomed to the north east. They rode through the rain, getting thoroughly wet before arriving at the monastery. They tried the servant entrance but found it barred, so they went up to the front door and asked for entrance. They were at first denied, but asked for Qarbo. They then mostly successfully showed the earth cult symbol and gained access. They left their horses with a minotaur names Turuk and followed a monk and a minotaur named Grimm. They ambushed the monk, quickly slaying him and then battled it out with the minotaur. After defeating them, the party dumped the bodies outside in the rain and snuck further into the monastery. They found a barracks where they got disguises for themselves, found a locked room, and arrived at another barracks room filled with duergar. Brenna set them ablaze with burning hands and the team rushed in to the room to battle them. After a long struggle, the team won out and extinguished the fires.

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Session 13

The party began by gathering information in Red Larch. They found that Leizhu is an old woman and that there are bandits on the Cairn Road. Then they made a few purchases: Ikki gets feather oil, Nessa orders a Dire Wolf saddle, and Bucca summons Perkins. Later that evening, as the party is taking some well earned time in the tavern, Brennik makes it known that he wants to leave, but Brenna convinces him to stay with them. A shady figure meets up with Flint (Hyrsam) and tells him that Renwick might have a way to finish off Wrokai. He also notes that the ritual to raise Thurl looks “awfully familiar”. Party goes to bed, waking well rested but a little hungover the next morning. During breakfast, Bucca hears sounds from outside and goes to investigate. He encounters Cthulhu and is told to destroy the cultists, especially followers of Cthulhu’s rival Olhydra. Nobody else seems to notice anything so Bucca plays it off as nothing. Then, the party purchases draft horses and rides out south east on the Cairn Road. By nightfall they find a homestead, meeting a farmer named Maccus and his family. The farmers invite them in, providing shelter in exchange for protection. When they ride off in the morning, the team sets out further down the Cairn Road. After half a day’s ride they come across a grove of trees and find Bert and Gert, a pair of bandits leading a rabble with a toll racket. The party musters their menace and scare off half the bandits right from the get go. They then fight, overtaking the remaining miscreants handily.

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Session 12

The group heads off to the west en route to Red Larch. They settle down for the night, but are awoken by Brennik to the sound of barking and howling. After a brief scouting run, they realize that 5 gnolls are on their way to the camp. The group gets together with the commoners and rushes the gnolls with torches and yelling. They scare off the gnolls and sleep peacefully after that. The next day the group moves on past the Sighing Valley and comes upon a seemingly deserted camp. They instead find bugbears and battle commences. They have a hard time fighting but in the end win out over the beasts. They continue on to Red Larch, arriving in the evening and finding the populace building a palisade. The townsfolk all stop and greet “The Seekers”. The group receives a warm welcome and enjoys much popularity among the townsfolk. Word of their deeds had spread from rescued prisoners and through the workings of the factions in town. Flint begins forging mace that will contain Marlos’ Testament, Nessa gets sized for Dire Wolf barding, Bucca acquires the means to summon Perkins again and gets the coffer he found in the bugbear camp opened. Brenna returns one of Bruldenthar’s manuscripts to him, Lantian discusses sending Bruldenthar for reinforcements to Waterdeep with Harburk, and then all the members meet with their respective faction members and receive equipment and supplies. The party also learns that no traffic has been coming from the Cairn Road, a troubling development.

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Session 11

The intrepid group ventured east from the orog guardroom and encountered 3 cells full of human prisoners and one dwarf. The dwarf turned out to be Bruldenthar, the renowned sage and member of the dwarven envoy from Mirabar. They freed the prisoners using the keys they had acquired, but were not able to leave right away due to the guards. They returned to the guardroom and Flint and Lantian pretended to join Jurth and the orogs searching for the keys. They then surprise attacked and the fight was on. As the characters flooded the room the orogs and Drool the ogre came on with a vengeance. It was a tough battle but the team won out in the end, slaying all 3 orogs and the ogre. They then proceeded to lead the prisoners out through the front servant’s door without being caught. As they exited, night was falling and they made their escape under the cover of dusk. Brennik followed them out with a note that he would join them if they made an attempt to recover Samular’s bones (per Renwick’s orders), but would leave after 3 days of ignoring the quest. They rested in a dell near the edge of the Sumber Hills and decided to escort the dignitary Bruldenthar and the human prisoners to Red Larch. They then traveled an uneventful day west along the hills and camped.

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Session 10

The group learned about the Black Earth cult from their charmed friends, but got tired of them reading from Marlos’ testament and stopped them by telling them they were not initiated. They then waited until the two un-charmed monks came back with robes and then attacked. They swiftly dealt with the 4 monks, knocking one unconscious to interrogate. They learned that the monastery has a shrine where Qarbo spends his time and that the stairs down lead to the mines which lead further down to a locked door to Tyar-Besil. They also learned that the cult took prisoners from the Mirabar delegation. After finding all this out, the monk started yelling for help but was quickly silenced by Lantian. Lantian and Flint don cultist robes and masks and the group headed towards the shrine where Qarbo could be found. After peeking in and seeing him, they had second thoughts about attacking and retreated stealthily to the courtyard. The party deliberated in the courtyard, but noticed that one of the statues was watching them. The gargoyle attacked and the party vanquished it. They retreated to the hallway to see a woman exiting the dojo adjacent to the scriptorium. They held still and silent as the blind monk passed and narrowly evaded detection. She locked herself in a room just north of the courtyard. The party peeked into the dojo and saw 2 unconscious monks and one tending to them. Then the door to Renwick’s room opened and Bucca and Nessa rejoined the group (invisibly). The invisible members checked out the garden and found the statues seemed to be too lifelike and frightened looking to be natural and saw another gargoyle waiting on the roof. The party then headed downstairs and ran into Jurth and his cronies. Lantian and Flint talked to Jurth and asked for his keys. Brenna stealthily took Jurth’s keys and got away with them. She snuck over to the south door and started opening it just as Jurth was sending Lantian and Flint back to talk to Qarbo for keys. Jurth ran to the door and looked outside, while Brenna snuck under his outstretched arms into the hall beyond. Flint and Lantian went up the stairs a little way and devised a plan to bribe the guards for the keys. When they returned, they paid 20gp, but when Jurth looked for his keys they were gone. He began berating and hitting Drool, the ogre, for taking them. As he did, the rest of the party snuck into the south hall while the orogs were distracted. Just as they closed the door behind them their invisibility wore off.

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Session 9

The adventurers receive disguises from “Eric” and try to decide what to do next. While observing the gate to the Water cult’s portion of the underground city, the party hears a horn blow. “Eric” says the city is going in to lockdown and they need to get out now. The party races for the exit and escapes just before the doors close. After trekking under the ground, they arrive outside in the middle of the night. They walk a ways from the entrance of the cave and rest. The following morning they rush to catch up to the prisoners they freed the day before. When they catch up, they explain that they had to flee from a greater force and explain that they will return. They leave “Eric” (Derrik) with the escapees (who head to Yartar) and head east towards where they believe the Sacred Stone Monastery might be. While resting in the night, Ikki hears a scuffle of armor and roaring a ways from the camp. Flint and Bucca investigate and the party discovers a plate mail clad figure fighting an owlbear. They party discovers it is the Watchful Knight and converses with it (with some difficulty). After agreeing to follow the knight, the party walks on through the night and stops in the morning to rest. As afternoon passes, the Knight wakes the party as a group of people approach. The people appear to be pilgrims with 2 guards returning from visiting a cairn to their ancestors. They do not trust the party and carry on without too much interaction. As the party walks into the evening, they approach a canyon with sandstone walls. The Knight beckons them forward and approaches a sandstone monastery. The Knight flies over the wall and the party follows as best they can. This leads to the rear of the building where a gate and low walls give easy enough access for the party. They stealthily enter the building following the Knight and work their way in to a laboratory. Here they meet Renwick, the owner and creator of the Knight. He turns out to be a lich, who uses the Watchful Knight (Brennik) to feed his phylactery using bandits and the like and keeping watch out for upstanding adventurers who would return the bones of his brother to him. His brother, Samular Caradoon, was the founder of the Knights of Samular and Renwick wishes to bury him in the crypt he has prepared. As the party tries to figure out if they want to help Renwick, they ask him questions, visit his crypt for Samular, and decide to leave without committing to anything. Renwick gives 4 of the party members invisibility for an hour as an incentive. Lantian and Flint decline because of their distaste for necromancy. They then start to separately explore the monastery, finding an exit, stairs down to where 3 orogs and an ogre live, and a scriptorium with 4 monks. Lantian distracts the monks and Flint successfully charms 2 of them. They pass off as initiates and the un-charmed monks head to get robes and masks for them. The charmed monks sit down to teach the characters of the ways of the Black Earth Cult.

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Session 8

The party decided to continue into the underground city and found initiates tied to obelisks leading to the pyramid. They knock the initiates out, but not after the initiates sound the alarm to the room next door. They party is snuck up on while they figure out to do next, but they quickly dispatch the Howling Hatred Priest who attacked them. They then move into the next room and rescue 5 commoners that were being initiated. They killed a priest and ruined the cog for lowering the water level of the moat. They then continue on to the room where kenku are torturing prisoners and kill one of the kenku. Then they have a tense standoff, paying the kenku for prisoners. The kenku flee after releasing the prisoners but are killed. The party scoops up their gold and helps the escaped prisoners make it to safety, though not without loosing one to the kenku in the guardhouse. After returning through the guardhouse, the group narrowly evades detection while hiding the bodies of their enemies. Then they take a short rest in the torture room and are surprisingly undisturbed. They discover the barracks, a barred gate they cannot open, and meet the djinni Ahtayir. Ahtayir tells of his enslavement and how to rescue him (and use him to their advantage). As they ponder what to do next, they hear an initiate patrol coming by. They ambush the patrol, killing 3 and knocking out the 4th. When awakened, the initiate tells them all he knows and that he wants to escape. They ask him to get them disguises and he agrees to help them. They called him “Eric” though he does not use his real name since it was stripped upon entering the cult.

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Session 7

The adventurers slay 3 gnolls who ambushed them and let a 4th go free. Then they settled down to sleep in the gnoll camp. In the middle of the night, Lantian hears something big crashing through the trees. He wakes Flint and finds an Ogre coming straight for the camp. Despite a few scars (from Lantian getting landed on by 2 trees) the party slays the ogre and wakes up the following morning. They go to investigate the end of Knifepoint Gully and see a crack in the wall, a small cave. Lantian approaches and calls for the Earth Cultists. He gets a response in the form of a challenge from a hurricane. He tries to bluff saying he came from Aerisi, but the cultist sees through the ruse and attacks. 2 other hurricanes ambush from the walls of the gully, but both are killed. The 3rd runs deeper into the cave and is lost to sight. The party sets off after him but quickly realizes they wont catch him and that the cavern is much bigger than they anticipated. They follow the winding stair along the side of a chasm for miles before seeing a great dwarven palace stretch out before them. The city is beautiful, but is clearly in ruins. They try to enter, but the door is barred. Ikki and Lantian sneak over the wall with levitate and flight to see a group of terrible minstrels failing to play bone flutes while infuriating their director. They fly back and Lantian audibly boos. The doors to the guardhouse creak open and the party hears the wailing of tortured souls. They rush forward to find the source of the noise but are bombarded by arrows from arrow slits in the guardhouse gateway. As the party rushes through, they take a few arrows, but survive. As they regroup on the other side, Lantian spies on the minstrels in the courtyard and they make their plans for what is next.

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