Temple of Elemental Evil

12. The Queen of Spiders

5/28/11: I bought a 5 disc changing stereo thing so we can listen to music when we play. John thinks it's a little flimsy, and yeah maybe it is designed poorly what with the cds at an angle and everything... but in the end, it played music. Wonderful music.

Carric Cendoria - Elf Seeker
Fayte Bonesunder - Human Paladin
Heron - Half-elf Fighter
Jurod/Jolene - Changeling Mage

* NPC Hirelings: Mardix the man-at-arms, Vellic the druid, Harmony Helltiger the rogue and Rania the thief.
 

The adventurers had just had a rather momentous visit to the augury chamber. They'd contacted an exarch of Galasis (Burrage the scholar from Scales of War) and Carric had learned the spell Galasis' Force Bomb. The elf used the spell on Hedrack, Supreme Commander of the temple, and missed. If it had hit, Hedrack may have been mortally wounded.

Hedrack flew off, saying he was going to inform Lolth herself that Galasis was in the temple in some form. The heroes didn't have much time.

To make things worse, they'd brought three sacrifices to the prison. Their intent was to free the prisoners before they were sacrificed. The potential victims were all Nulth scum, but the heroes did not want them to die and have their energies further the temple's goal (enough sacrifices would bring the Elemental Eye to the world of Nyrod). The adventurers decided to do a bit of exploring just north of the augury chamber.

They came upon a hallway with a number of doors. The closest one was made of brass, and it had runes on it. They couldn't figure out what the runes were. Carric tried the door, and set off a magical trap!

An icy explosion engulfed nearly the entire group! They staggered back from the deadly blast (which did a pile of damage, then ongoing 5, and then when you made your save another pile!), took a moment to recover, and decided that exploring would have to wait. 

The heroes made their way over to the prison. There, Garweez, the ogre cook with no thumbs, was guarding the door. Heron distracted him by asking for his recipe for bone bread. Carric picked the lock...

But before he could slip in, a band of 4 trolls led by a voidsoul genasi came through. The voidsoul introduced himself as General Barkinar. His orders were to bring the heroes to the Fourth level of the dungeon to meet with the temple leaders.

The heroes went with them. Harmony saw a scroll sticking out of a troll's belt. She took it. The heroes later would see that it was a map of the fourth level.  

They passed by a chained owlbear being prodded by a troll keeper wielding a fauchard fork. Down more stairs, they came to a strange, fungus-filled room. In there lurked a stunning, nude woman wielding a glowing sword. One troll guard saw her, became aroused, and waved. She blew the troll a kiss.

More stairs led to the fourth level. They headed down a long hallway and came to the Greater Temple. the ceiling appeared to be the night sky. Twelve gargoyles perched on flying buttresses, growling at the heroes' arrival. The altar had the symbol of the fire temple on it. On either side of the altar were statues - one of Lolth, and one of Nocticula.

A pale blue-skinned demon woman lounged by the altar. She had long horns, and had wounds that opened and closed on her arms.

General Barkinar said "Stand Tall! You represent the Earth Temple! Your demeanor in here will determine your survival."

Vellic murmured, "I don't like this."

Mardix hissed, "there's too many of them!"

Heron urged them to just play along and keep quiet.

Mardix jerked a thumb at Jurod and said, "why don't we feed them this guy?"

Heron said, "We don't want to die today.. come on..".

The demon woman got up and walked around the heroes. She wondered aloud, "Who amongst you is pure?".

Jurod scoffed. "Pure? Who would want to be pure?"

She said, "I'm just interested... you don't look pure at all." She looked at Carric. "You're the one with the Galasis mark, aren't you? I'll see to it that you suffer!".

Suddenly, Galasis' mark began to glow. The Curse of Galasis had become enhanced (when insulted, Carric had to make a save.. fail meant that he had to dole out a random Galasis style insult - written by Galasis' player - but he also got one use of the Galasis Force Bomb spell). The regretful words Carric spoke: "You french kiss your mother with that mouth?"

Shocked, the demon cackled. She brought her arm close to his body. A wound/mouth with teeth opened up. "You're pretty pure, aren't you?" (Carric had ridden a unicorn in his past...). She cut his arm with her claw, and blood floated out and into the wound/mouth on her arm. She writhed in pleasure as his pure blood flowed through her hollow veins.

The curse kicked in again. Carric said, "Oh I'm sorry, are you still there?".

Vellic was disgusted. "Dammit!" he said. He stepped over and healed Carric's wound.

A new foe entered the Temple. He was hooded and cloaked. He hovered around, holding a gnarled staff with a red-skinned, black-clawed hand...

General Barkinar said, "This is Senshock. He's the Lord Wizard of the temple. Son of the sorceress Iggwilv." The general turned to Jurod and said, "Perhaps he can teach you some spells."

Senshock floated close to the adventurers and said "Tell me what you know of Nocticula."

Heron couldn't remember much, but eventually remembered that he'd battled her ghastly image on the haunted battlefield of Emridel Meadows. He said, "She's a very pretty lady!"

"Poppycock!", spat Senshock. "You're all fools! Fools, I say!"

Jurod held up the symbol of Nocticula that he found in Emridel Meadows. Senshock was impressed. Jurod then told what he knew of Nocticula - that she'd been buried in the earth in a cocoon by Zagyg, and she'd been unearthed under the sunken tower, and that she'd had the temple built...

Senshock said, "That's all you've got, eh? Mildly impressed. You'll never have enough knowledge to challnge the Lord Wizard of the temple! Son of Iggwilv!"

Senshock floated over to Carric. "Galasis?! Here?! Your presence jeapordizes everything, elf!" He floated back ten feet. "You must die!" he shouted. He fired off a force blast spell. the spell completely missed (I rolled a 1!).

"Impressive", said Jurod.

Fayte drew her blade and advanced. The trolls and gargoyles rolled in surprise. Heron shifted next to him and said "Nocticula's much more powerful than you. I've fought her in battle."

Galasis took aim and cast Galasis' force bomb (and rolled a critical!). Senshock flew back from the explosion and crashed into the altar. Both of his legs snapped. Senshock flopped to the ground and wailed, "My legs!"

Then, Hedrack entered from an adjacent hall. With his was one of his concubines - a voidsoul woman in tattered clothes. She was his thrall. Hedrack moaned, "Lord Wizard! Enough! Carric are you... Double Dealing?!"

Senshock yelled again, "My legs!"

Hedrack called back "No time!". Hedrack took control of Fayte's body and forced her to sheathe her sword. "Your strength is misplaced, my lady. Perhaps one day you'll be one of my concubines! Together we can celebrate oblivion..."

Senshock was livid. The General muttered "They should all be sacrificed for this."

You're in the Greater Temple. Home of the Doomdreamers. Galasis.. this is not my decision. Even the Supreme Commander has a master!

From the curtain beyond the altar came Lolth. She had a spider bottom half, and the top half of a comely drow female. Each of her legs sent blue and orange sparks flying each time they touched the floor. Two strands of her long white hair fell past her ears all the way to the ground.

Hedrack floated over to her and whispered to her what had been going on - The augury chamber and Galasis, as well as Jurod/Jolene... Jurod sensed that this was an aspect of Lolth, and because she didn't have as much influence in

Lolth
said "What should we do with you..?"

Jurod bowed to her, and said "I beseech you - free me of Jolene."

The male is the dominant one. That is what is wrong with this plane. I must place a part of you.. somewhere else." Lolth looked to Hedrack's concubine. She was no longer dominated by Hedrack, but she still looked upon him lovingly.

The weak one over there. She'll be a good vessel for your Jolene." She put her clawed hand on Jurod's head. Spider veins pulsed from under his skin. A beam struck the concubine, sending Jolene's psyche into her. Then, the voidsoul's body transformed into... Jolene.

Mardix called out and ran over to her. Then he said, "I have had enough of this!" and drew his sword. "I am a man-at-arms!". Heron tried to urge Mardix to relax, but Mardix told him to shut up. Hedrack took control of Mardix' mind.

Lolth said, "Sacrifice the male. It doesn't know its' place."

A troll grabbed Mardix.

Lolth turned to Jurod and said, "You are to serve me as a female would. You'll never rank as high as a female...". Then Jurod changed shape into a female drow. Lolth giggled. "We'll see how you turn out..."

She turned to Carric. "Elf male. Your kind sickens me. You shall be sacrificed as well! Take him away!"

Carric's mark began to glow. The elf responded, "I'm surprised someone of your limited intelligence is allowed to speak."

Lolth shrieked for him to be taken away. Trolls grabbed Carric. She also told them to sacrifice Jolene.

Lolth turned to the remaining heroes and said "The rest of you will serve me, or suffer!". Lolth then left.

Hedrack again told Fayte that perhaps she would be his lover some time in the near future. Hedrack also told Vellic to remain with him.

The general led the other heroes out. As they walked, the General said one day he'd be Supreme Commander.

Carric, Jolene, and Mardix were sent to the prison on the first floor., where they were stripped and chained to the wall.  The heroes were led back up by trolls. One alone and on the first floor, they discussed what to do next. They decided they needed to break out their friends. They checked, and saw that the cell was now guarded by two trolls and Garweez the ogre. Hartsch was yelling at them, saying he'd found the door unlocked (Carric had picked the lock earlier). The sacrifices were to begin soon.

The heroes came up with a plan. Jurod, a changeling, shifted to adopt the appearance of Hartsch. He walked up to the trolls and ordered them to let him in the cell. Inside, he walked up to Jolene and said, "Your days are numbered, girl." He freed everyone. All of them were nude.

Then, "Hartsch" ordered the trolls to come with him and to take them to the sacrifice area. He told Garweez to stay where he was. He led them south, where the heroes lurked. They surprise-attacked the trolls! When Garweez came running, "Hartsch" told the ogre that the trolls had turned and needed to be killed. Garweez joined the heroes in the battle against the trolls.

After defeating the trolls, the heroes exited the temple and returned to Nulth. A urinating sailor saw the ogre and screamed. He ran. As they made their way through the misty town, more people screamed in terror at the sight of the ogre.

New heroes had arrived in town - Randor and Baldrim. Randor was a cleric of Storm. Baldric was a fighter and a loyal sidekick. Randor sought to slay the ogre.

Randor said, "Halt in the name of Storm, god of war. Ogre! You've made your final mistake by entering this town!".

Baldrim said, "Yeah!".

"Whoa, whoa whoa," said Heron. "I think it's time we all just calmed down and talked this out."

"What do you mean?", called Randor. "Stand aside, citizen!". Garweez growled and held up his club, which was tied to his hand. Randor said "It's time for death! So says Randor, servant of Storm!".

Heron piped up. "I think that's a little extreme, don't you?".

"Are you with the ogre? Perhaps you're affiliated with that temple we've heard about."

Heron said, "I don't know, your attitudes make me think your affiliated with the temple...".

Randor says, "friend of the ogre hmmm? I'll add you to my death list then. What about the rest of you? Ogre lovers? Temple members?"

Jolene, free and in her own body, quietly turned to Mardix and said, "I want to be free of all this... I finally have a chance to be free."

"What do you mean?", asked the man-at-arms.

"I don't want to do this anymore. I want to go away."

Mardix bristled his mustache. "Do you want to go to Olwynn?"

"Yes."

"I'll take you there! I'll take you there right now", Mardix said excitedly. He turned to everyone and said "I'm gonna need that mule. I've had enough of this temple crap. I've finally found something worth living for."

Heron congratulated Mardix. He let them take the mule and they rode off.

Raina and Jurod headed to the brothel. There, they quietly schemed...

Randor and Baldrim closed in on the rest, ready to rumble. Randor swung and missed Garweez. Baldrim cast a spell... missed the ogre. Heron tripped Randor and said "We don't have to do this. I suspect we're on the same side."

"You're with an ogre!" Randor called out.

Carric fired off an arrow that created a cage of spirits, trapping them. Randor called out, Oh no! Now we're sitting ducks! The ogre will pummel us!"

Garweez said, "Oh yeah!" and raised his club.

Heron told him no. Garweez was confused. Fayte stepped in and talked to him. Garweez didn't under stand what she said, but calmed down and said "You smell like my mommy."

Randor said "Perhaps we were wrong about you all. Go in peace!".

Raldor and Baldric were staying at the hostel, and wanted to team up with the heroes. When the heroes entered the hostel, Dick Rentsch nervously asked if they'd seen Dala. The heroes said they hadn't. Despite their vicious fight the night before, Dick was worried she'd never come back.

The heroes traded information with Raldor. Raldor rescued Lemunda the Lovely in the city of Dunnwynn from villains affiliated with the Sunken Tower. Raldor had been able to figure out that the tower was linked to the temple of elemental evil and had come to Nulth to kill Chaotic Evil in the name of Storm. The heroes added the duo to their ranks.

Late that night, a fire salamander lit up the room. It burned a rune circle into the ground, and a spectral image of Allrem appeared.

"Well well, we meet again, " said Allrem. "Treachery etcetera is afoot! Am I wrong?!"

"We are considering an allegiance.." said Heron.

Allrem cackled. "Most delicious! I knew it was a matter of time. All are fascinated by fire."

They talked about Romag. Allrem wanted him dead. The heroes were unsure if they could defeat him. Allrem assured them they could.

Allrem remembered that getting in to the temple would be a problem. Carric mentioned the big well which had a circular stairway that led down to the second floor. Allrem pointed out that the guard tower outside was alleged to have a secret passage that led to a lower level. Allrem was most interested in it.

He had his salamander draw them a map.

The heroes agreed to turn on the Earth Temple and to join the Fire Temple. They felt it might time to see who or what was in that tower....