The Death of Life

Session 10: The Beginning of the End of the Beginning

The Cast of Characters
The PC’s: Rhett (Scott – half fire giant paladin), Haromyre (Jim – Spirit Shaman outsider), Quizlan (Doug – Wizard Air Gensai)

The NPC’s: Azar (Rhett’s lammasu cohort), Lorful (hobgoblin paladin), Katya (resurrected healer,), Abner (necromancer and former tender of the fruit grove prior to corruption), Bennett (Abner’s Skeletal golem), Howster and Remsin (Halfling clerics)

The PC’s being played as NPC’s: Garub (John – dragon shaman)

Previously…

_A Great Wyrm sized monkey wrench had appeared atop the castle! The ancient red dragon – who had become corrupt after originally being enlisted by Duulram to fight the corruption; the one whose spirit tried to lure us into a trap in the castle; the one who lied to Garub and Haromyre about the history of this place; the one whose scales and heart and teeth corrupted the king, his knights and his minions….that red dragon exploded out the top of of the castle – about just about where we recall Duulram’s holding place. And he looked really, really angry….

Rhett, being too big to ride Azar, drank a potion of Fly, donned a water breathing crystal and grabbed the first two innocents he could. The paladin instructed Azar carry a Halfling and Katya away. Garub, using his dragon wings, saved two people in his hands and also took off. Lorful used his magic steed (steed-in-a-box?) grabbed as many people as he could onto it and sped away in the direction of our friends, the dragons.

It became clear to us that this wave would wipe out the entire city, including the castle where our friend Duulram- the being we had agreed to help defeat the corruption – was being held hostage. We sped toward the castle hoping to rescue him in time._

The wave crested and smashed through the city laying waste to everything in its path. The docks, the castle, the market, all destroyed by a wall of water. The dragon, no longer red but now a seemingly prismatic energy dragon – a being comprised of every type of energy – roared atop the crumbling castle. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, the water split into two around the monster without touching it.

The dragon was massive. Quizlan and Haromyre were both shapechanged into dragons of their own – either gargantuan or colossal depending on your interpretation of the Shape Change spell – and this dragon was twice their size. It was MASSIVE. We dropped off those we had saved into what safe areas we could find and approached it. We gave it a wide berth and as we circled around it, Abner the necromancer appeared to Quizlan, stepping out of a pocket dimension (or appearing via teleport or some similar method). The rest of the party quickly met up with the necromancer – who was still not registering as evil to Rhett – and interpreted the dragon’s current for as it being was some kind of lich or demi-lich dragon. This was very, very bad – if not completely unsurprising – news.

Someone (Quizlan, I believe) suggested destroying the dragon’s head may be the key to defeating it. We had been told by the dragon spirit that its skull was kept in the basement / dungeon of the castle (see Session 3 recap – Scott). Having had three BIG fights since this morning (the druid / shambling mounds, the knights who were attacking the Daurkine, more knights and war hulk on the docks) we were running low on magic, arcane and divine. We didn’t have a choice, however. The dragon had to be dealt with RIGHT NOW. Hey, if being a hero were easy everyone would do it!
Abner suggested dropping Bennett (who’s Bennett? See description above!) into the energy dragon as Bennett is immune to most forms of energy and could attack the thing from the inside. The plan became “Drop Bennett into dragon as diversion, get to basement of castle, destroy skull, kill dragon, rescue friend, save world” . As our plans go, this one survived contact with the battlefield a lot longer than usual.

Part 1 of our plan – drop Bennett into the dragon as a diversion – went without a hitch. Bennett was dropped into the energy dragon by one of our shape changed casters. He immediately began attacking the dragon’s insides. The monster responded as if he had a mosquito pestering him that he was unable to shoo away. The last thing we saw was Bennett ripping and tearing at the inside of the energy beast while it flicked at the area the golem inhabited – unable to dislodge him. Part 1 of our plan was complete.

Part 2 of our plan – get to basement – was a problem. The castle was destroyed which was bad. The dragon stood right on top of it which was worse. Stream waters were flooding the city. Wasting no time, both casters changed into umber hulks and few hundred feet away they began tunneling down and over toward the castle basement. After a short time, we entered the dungeons. Part 2 of our plan was complete.

Part 3 of our plan – destroy skull – proved to be slightly more difficult than “Rhett hits it really hard with his Greathammer. It dies.” The corrupted root –which the casters had seen under the waters near the dock- was running throughout every hallway and room in the dungeon. It was nearly six feet in diameter. It felt to me as if the root had the castle in its grip and was slowly squeezing its life out. Wasting no time, Rhett attacked the root and took 60 points of “this is not the correct spot to attack it” damage. Lesson learned. We followed the root through the basement.

At one point we located a huge treasure chest chock full of gold and platinum. Unfortunately, it was contained in a giant stone chest and we had no realistic way to transport it. We were so concerned with the root and the dragon that we let it go. Somewhere, far, far away, in widely dispersed locations and times, Thorn, and Felna are shouting “NOOooOOOoooo!!!”
We continued to follow the root. It went through many rooms of the castle. While it stayed underground it eventually exited the castle. We followed with the umber hulk casters leading the way. We followed to a point where we had fought the druid and the root had grown in diameter to a hundred feet wide! We got the feeling that it was a great big circle or at least a self-contained network of branches. We followed the root back to the castle the way we came.

We searched around the basement of the castle until we came upon a room in which the root had a knot. As we came upon that room, a war hulk like the one Rhett killed at the docks was teleported into the room by someone unknown. It immediately began hacking at the knot with a massive two handed sword. The massive war hulk swung mightily several times, doing some damage each time but not enough to sever the six foot wide root.

We noticed that as the war hulk hacked away that his skin was slowly being disintegrated. Within a couple of rounds we were able to see muscles and tendons in some places. Soon after that we saw sheer bone. Within a minute the war hulk was dead. It had been eaten away by a disintegration field which encased the room. The root had sustained some damage but began knitting itself together.

Rhett and Lorful wasted no time. The paladins jumped into the room. Rhett continued the war hulk’s attack on the root while Lorful dragged the corpse of the war hulk out to the clerics. Katya and Howster used Revivify and other healing magic to bring him back around. Quizlan explained the situation to him and warily gave the war hulk his sword back. The casters tried throwing several spells at the knot only to have them fail to damage it.

Each round inside the disintegration field caused 40 points of damage, cumulative each round (i.e.40 in round 1, 80 more in round 2, 120 more in round 3 for a Total of 240). The root could not be missed but it was not subject to critical hits either. Rhett hit it each round for 530 or so points of damage. Lorful used his flaming sword causing massive damage. After a few rounds, Rhett stepped out of the room to receive some healing. Katya and Howster healed the paladin of several hundred points of damage noting they’d only be able to do so 7 more times. Thanks guys, duly noted. Lorful stepped out the following round. With Rhett and Lorful back to full HP, the attackers completed the task of severing the root. It quickly began trying to knit itself together but some fire spells along its edges cauterized the cuts. The root would not be healing this wound. It was severed.

For the record, we do not know if this is a “good thing” but we assume it is. Good deed accomplished we refocused back to the reason we were down here in the first place. Destroy dragon skull.

We located the skull in the room adjacent to the knot. It was also covered by the same disintegration field which we discovered was emanating from the skull. The casters used their umber hulk forms to tunnel up from underneath the skull with the plan that we’d grab it without having to enter the room. We also noticed protruding from and fused to the forehead of the dragon skull was the being that had gotten our group together – Duulraam’s – staff.

We were unable to get all the way into the room – I think the field came out too far but I’m hazy on that detail – so the war hulk decided to lead the charge into the room. As he did, the dragon attacked through the rubble. A gigantic claw radiating cold, acid, fire, sonic, and electric energy punched through the layers of rubble all the way down to the basement and smashed the war hulk to smithereens! It then grabbed the skull and buried it inside itself. After that was complete, it dropped a broken but not demolished Bennett through the hole and into the room. The disintegration field was lifted as the skull was removed from the room and the dragon began to fly away.

Stunned, we entered the room. We found the King dead inside this chamber as well. We are unsure if he had died earlier or during the most recent attack.

We exited the castle through the hole created by the dragon and saw it flying away. As you’ll recall, this city sits on something of a nexus. The Stream, as they call it, allows for travel to many realms and planets. Someone (I can’t remember who) came up with the idea that bathing the energy dragon in the magical waters of the Stream might just kill him. The question then was “how do we get him to the stream”. After a few minutes of conversational ideas (raising the King as a lure was one idea) one of us (Haromyre, I think) recognized the direction of the dragon’s flight. It was headed toward the Daurkine.

We recalled that the Daurkine were small animals taken care of by a ranger of that name who gained the ability to speak due to proximity to a tremendous magical gem. We quickly decided this could not be coincidental. If the dragon was headed to the Daurkine to get the gem, it must want the gem. We decided to get the gem, bring it back to the Stream and lure the dragon into our trap.

Quizlan and Haromyre had run out of teleports. Abner agreed to teleport the casters along with
Katya and the foursome quickly teleported back to the Daurkine. The cleric, a friend of the animals, explained the situation and our need for the gem. Reluctantly, the animals agreed to our plan.

The gem is tremendous and turned out to be much too big to be teleported back. Quizlan and Haromyre turned back into massive Silver dragons and both carried the gem, making a wide circle around the approaching energy dragon, back toward the Stream.

We ended the session as they returned to the destroyed docks and castle with the gem – and an energy dragon some 10 minutes behind them…

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Rhett

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