Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tomb of Abysthor: Epilogue

Recap from late 2005 to early 2006

During the parley with the Evil Elven Sorceress, she agreed to let us pass through her domains if we would help her to defeat her enemy, a rival litch wizard.  So after passing through her domains, we entered his realm and battled through a large group of stirges amongst other foes.  We eventually came across a large group of Priests of Orcus (around seven or so) that were obviously scouting out this area in an effort to strike a bargain with the wizard litch thing.  We had a Wood Elf Grugah warrior wizard with us at the time who cast a Web spell on the evil cultists (Holzabog was once again not present) and the group easily killed them.  Later, we entered a permanently darkened corridor and were attacked by a group of albino apes that hurt us pretty badly because we couldn't see them as they attacked us in the dark but we managed to persevere against them.  We never found the wizard litch thing but we did manage to get through his domains eventually and on to other areas of the tomb.

Later, the remaining knights of the Bitter Rose returned to the locked door on the second level of the Tomb to battle the remaining cultists but found the place eerily quiet and cleared of all of the bodies.  The only evidence of the previous battle was the blackened, scarred and burned walls and doors in the hallway from all of the fireballs.  They proceeded down to the end of the hall and entered a chamber that had several tapestries hanging on the walls.  Their numbers were few at this point - the paladin was in the process of being resurrected after having been killed in the previous battle.  The primary player character group had fallen back to Rahanna to recover from getting burned by the fireballs of the Sorceress previously so it was only a group of four knights and four of their henchmen (also knights or mercenaries).  In addition, the necklace of fireballs was exhausted at this point so they had no wizardly assistance whatsoever and the only spells they had at their disposal were of a clerical nature.

From behind one of the tapestries came a Wraith, followed by a Mummy and then followed by a Banshee!  This was not good news for the under strength Knights of the Bitter Rose.  The four henchmen all failed their save verses fear from the mummy and fled and then several attempts to turn the undead failed as the desperate knights fought for their lives.  Jean Paul tried to cast his Silence spell on the Banshee but since it was incorporeal it ended up getting cast on the floor instead of on the creature.  The banshee's wail was delayed for but a round and the next round it moved out of the radius of the Silence spell and let out its horrible scream.  All four player character knights failed their save and were instantly killed on the spot including Harold, Jean Paul and Dirk Masters. We found out from the GM later that the head priest of Orcus was standing behind a secret door and peering through peep holes behind one of the tapestries and had summoned the undead to slay the knights.  That encounter was payback to the Knightly Order for exacting such a heavy toll on the cult in the previous battle using the necklace of fireballs.  The knights fell back to their order to lick their wounds and did not return to the Tomb after that.

In further adventures in the Tomb of Abysthor, the group kept pounding on the remaining priests and minions of the Temple of Orcus on the second level.  The first time the adventurers entered the primary Temple itself was an eerie experience.  There was a large cavernous area filled with undead of various types and a large statue of Orcus in the center of the cavern with the actual temple behind two heavy bronze doors off to one side.  The group made their way through the cavern to the Temple and entered through the doors and was immediately confronted by numerous cultists and minions including a very large demon.  A pitched battle ensued but we were forced to withdraw due to overwhelming odds.  It was a successful recon in force of the Temple though and we were better prepared the next time we entered.  On the next foray Brundel managed to send their pet demon back to its original plane of existence when he cast the cleric spell Dispel Evil on it.  Their numbers continued to dwindle and we had a feeling that we had finally tipped the balance after that encounter.

In the final battle in the Temple of Orcus the group went in with Holzabog the Wizard who cast Invisibility 10' Radius on the entire group to keep us concealed from our foes until we were ready to strike.  Once we opened the doors we had a fairly large combat where we managed to kill most of the remaining priests and minions of the cult.  Then the wizard finally slew the Head Priest of the Temple of Orcus who was still standing defiantly up on his alter with a couple of other lesser priests.  Before casting his Lightning Bolt spell to finish him off he said "this is for all the pain, suffering and hurt you have caused to the people of this world" and then the cult was finished.  Our moment of victory was finally at hand after a long and brutal war of attrition against the Cult of Orcus in the Tomb of Abysthor.

We continued exploring the complex and eventually found a passage hidden in an underground river area that led to a level we had never been to before that was crawling with giant frogs.  We found out later there was yet another cult there of frog men that were worshipers of the evil demon god Tsathoggua.  We skirted this cult for the most part not wanting to get embroiled in another war against yet another evil cult and eventually found the lower levels below.

In one of these areas we were teleported into a maze and trapped there and had to answer three riddles asked of us by the gate guardian which was a giant sphinx.  We answered the riddles successfully and it let us escape the maze through the magical portal.  On one of the deeper levels we discovered a cavern guarded by a couple of Xorn which allowed us to keep some of the gems and precious metals contained therein after we solved some riddles having to do with colors.  There was platinum and gold in abundance and a wealth of gems in the cavern.  After this we found the Earth Blood Chamber where Brundel was told by his god Kaz Grimmle, the elemental god of fire, to swim in the earth blood.  This gave him great strength for a time and he used the gift of his god later to restore the Temples of Pavaline and Oltherion on the surface above to their former glory.

Eventually, we made it to Abysthor's Tomb itself where we found the priest still alive but trapped in a giant crystal prison.  Apparently, he had sacrificed himself to stave off a great evil and keep it from entering our world but his spirit could not be freed and he was not strong enough to close the gate unless someone of his alignment was willing to sacrifice themselves by joining him in the crystal.  The only one of our group that was Lawful Good was Holzabog the Wizard and he was not willing to sacrifice himself for such a cause because he was a mighty and powerful wizard of the Order now so we left him in his tomb to guard against the evil and thus completed the adventure.

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