Temple of Elemental Evil

6. The Sleeping Dragon Inn

3/18/11: Did a quick one.. John had to be at work at 10 AM the next day! We were done at 2 AM.

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

* NPC Hirelings: Elmo the pandamanMardix the man-at-arms, Vellic the druid & Cadsvine Chaltz the seeker.

The adventurers were checking out a dungeon near the town of Nolivari. they believed that villains linked to the mysterious temple were in the dungeon. They had heard that a leper had been brought there, and was never seen again. Orcs with painted-on flaming eyes guarded the entrance. After a fierce, bloody battle, the heroes killed the guardians and ventured inside...

A cave tunnel lead them to a cavern split by a 70 foot wide pit. The pit had black water at the bottom. Green vines hung from the ceiling. A tunnel continued deeper into the complex on the far side of the cavern. 

The heroes assumed there was some kind of trick or trap involved. Fayte remembered that the dwarf who built this place was obsessed with manners. She called out, "Can we please cross?". 

"Of course!" replied a voice. A vine wrapped around her and carried her across. The vines that hung through holes in the ceiling were actually tentacles connect to a weird sentient creature. The creature helped the adventurers across, and was very polite about the whole thing.

The hallway beyond led to a red door. They opened it, and entered what looked to be a sitting room. There were two bright red couches, a bearskin rugs, a raging fireplace, a mantel with a painting of the old dead god of the dwarves (Rundorig) and a clock.

Heron looked over the clock, and saw that it was not ticking. The time was set at 7:30. The heroes estimated the actual time was 1 PM. Heron turned the hands forward. The room aged as he turned it - the couches lost their color, the fire went out, the rug became just a bear skull, and the painting of Rundorig went grey and then depicted the dead god floating in the astral sea. Then the ceiling began to cave in. A piece of rubble nearly hit Jurod.

Heron decided to turn the hands back. He went back to 7, and was startled when Vellic screamed. He had nearly died in the battle with the orcs, and Vellic's wounds had reappeared!

Heron turned the hands clockwise again, and Vellic's wounds healed. Then he went all the way to midnight. Dust fell from the ceiling, and a far wall collapsed - revealing a passage that led deeper in....

The heroes made their way into a massive cavern where a genasi doomdreamer lurked with an ogre and six genasi archers. The archers gave a shout and attacked!

Fayte charged the ogre as archers fired volleys of arrow, injuring Carric, Mardix and Jurod. Fayte dazed the ogre with a mighty blow. The genasi doomdreamer chanted and cast a spell on her, infecting her with his madness.She stumbled back to the wall, and then shook it off. She charged a nearby archer and bloodied it with her blade.

Heron closed in on an archer and beat it to death.  The Judge faced off with the ogre, who was standing on one of four circles bearing the symbols of the elements. Judge teleported it off the circle (which granted regeneration 5). 

Fayte joined him in the circle, but was hit by three arrows. She fell to the ground, but was healed by the circle. Vellic attacked the ogre, and healed Fayte further. Jurod cast sleep on an archer, and then cast font of flame, killing two archers. 

Heron faced off with the doomdreamer, who was standing on the earth circle (which gave a +2 to AC). The doomdreamer drew his halberd and cut down Heron with a mighty blow (a critical for 23 points!).  An arrow dropped Mardix, and the ogre dropped the Judge. Things were not looking good for the heroes!

Then, Fayte's radiance killed an archer, and then slit the throat of the sleeping genasi. Vellic fought fiercely, bloodying the ogre. Carric was hit with the madness spell, but he ended up stumbling right to where Heron was laying. Carric shook off the spell, knelt down and healed Heron!

Elmo killed the last archer. Only the ogre and the doomdreamer remained. Jurod used his wand of petrifaction on the ogre. It began to turn to stone! Vellic, Heron and the Judge sliced into the ogre, killing it.

Elmo picked up the genasi's bow, and stood in the circle with the symbol of fire (+2 to hit). His knocked arrow glistened with mystical fire. He fired the arrow into the doomdreamer, who stumbled back. The doomdreamer cast a claws of doom spell that dazed nearby Heron and Carric... but Vellic charged across the room and struck the doomdreamer with his staff, killing him.

The heroes looked in the pit in the center of the room. It had a pile of corpses, some of them lepers. They'd been sacrifices on the two altars. One altar was dedicated to Lolth, the other to Zev. Heron wanted to destroy them both. Jurod piped up and suggested leaving Lolth's alone (Jurod quietly worshiped Lolth). Heron refused and went about his task, draining the altars of their power and destroying them.

The heroes sat on the water symbol, which healed their wounds. Then they returned to Nolivari to get their cart, and they hit the King's Road to continue their journey to Olwynn. A heavy rainstorm hit and slowed them a bit. Fayte noticed that she could see the red sun through the clouds. She remembered being young and looking at the red sun in the Desert of Desolation...

Fayte's father, Asir Bonesunder led a tribe of desert-dwellers who moved from oasis to oasis. Her mother was content to be Asir's servant - a thing to prepare food and follow Asir's every order. Asir made sure that Fayte would not grow up to be like that.

He had taken her out to hunt marrash, flying creatures who fired arrows that could turn those hit into marrash.

He told her about the red sun, and how it was like the desert mirages: "Daughter, I know this: If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and I am content."

Soon they spotted a marrash in the sky. Fayte heaved a skeleton of a small snake at it. The marrash swooped down and took aim. Fayte and Asir ducked behind a big boulder. The marrash landed on the boulder.

Fayte swung her blade, and missed. The marrash fired an arrow at her. Asir snatched it out of the air. He urged her to kill it. Fayte swung again, and again missed. The marrash fired an arrow into Asir's shoulder, infecting him! Fayte swung once more, and at last drew blood. Her father soon sought out a shaman to cure him. Fayte  vowed to become better with the sword...

One night, her father awoke her in the middle of the night. He told her that the dracolich Dragotha was attacking them, and that Fayte had to run into the desert. Delcard, a kenku servant of the Bonesunders, was to accompany her. Asir explained, " Wits and swords are as straws against the might of the dracolich!"

He then left her and charged Dragotha. Fayte decided to do as her father wished, and exited the tent with the kenku. She saw many of her people already dead. She turned and saw the mighty dracolich. It had her mother in its' claws - it crushed her into a pulp of blood and flesh. Fayte felt sadness and regret for her mother's fate. 

Asir gave tongue to one deep, fierce roar and bounded into melee, all the berserk fury of his Bonsudner ancestors bursting into his terrible being. Fayte fled. Dragotha let out a wave of energy, tearing at her soul. She resisted.

The following day, she and the kenku walked over dunes under the suns.  Five riders approached, accompanied by a hovering spectral image of a bloated mage called Vulmea. "Hail Dragotha", called Vulmea. He served the dracolich and paid tribute to him in souls and gold.

Fayte spit at and through his image. Vulmea was angry. He looked her up and down. "Woman! You are fetching. You shall be my 32nd bride. And when you fail to please me, you shall be killed." He gestured to his five men. "Kill the kenku."

Before they could respond, Fayte had beheaded one of the riders. She hamstringed the second horse, who fell an crushed its' rider under its' weight. The third rider jumped off his horse at her. She headbutted him with her skull helmet and caved in his face. The last two charged her on their horses. She flipped out of the way and they killed each other in the collision.

The spectral image of Vulmea swore that Fayte would be his, and cast a spell that struck down the kenku. He fell to the ground about to die. He looked at Vulmea and said, "Poor devils! You'll wake up in The Shadowfell without knowing how you got there...". And then he died.

Fayte wandered the desert for three days. She finally collapsed, dying of thirst and exhaustion. She awoke in a damp cave. A wizened, weathered runepriest was tattooing her naked body. He said, "These markings sustain you, my lady - without them, you would already be walking the Shadowfell. The desert had nearly claimed you when I found you. I am Thune, Runepriest of the Raven Queen."

For days, Fayte regained her health and learned of the Raven Queen.

Then, 15 riders came to the cave. They were servants of Vulmea! His spectral image appeared before Fayte and Thune. He said: "I have lost seven riders searching for you! Tonight I shall conquer your flesh. And you will drink from my cup willingly, I'll see to that!"

The 15 riders rode in with nets and swords. Fayte killed four as they rode in, tore one of their ribs from their body and mounted the soldier's horse. Four rode up to Thune, netted and killed him. Four more rode up to her and slashed her again and again. They netter her and dragged her from her horse.

Vulmea hovered before her, and cast a spell of domination on her. Fayte felt compelled to do his bidding. Then, the image became flesh! Vulmea leaned in to kiss her. His countenance so repelled her that Fayte shook off the spell and bit out Vulmea's tongue. She spit his tongue at him as he fell back in shock, blood gushing from his mouth. then she stabbed him with the rib and tore he skull from his neck, his eyes plopping to the ground.

She slaughtered the other riders. The dead lay strewn, a red carpet that choked the cave. It was like a red sea, with each wave a straggling line of corpses. She stepped out of the cave and looked up at the red sun...

Fayte stirred from her recollections. She was on the cart with her allies. It was dark and still raining. The adventurers slept on the side of the road in soaked tents.

The next day, Jurod was pleased to see he remained (each night there's a 50/50 chance Jurod becomes Jolene). 

It was nice out. They continued on the road, and in the afternoon they came to a crossroads. The Sleeping Dragon Inn was just off the road, surround by a white wall. There was a gate guarded by an ogre. A sign posted on the wall said that violence was not permitted, but all races were welcome.

The heroes entered. In the courtyard, a band of goblins were camped. They begged for gold. The heroes gave them none.

They entered the inn and met the proprietor, a tiefling named Gibben. In the tavern area were a number of creatures at different tables. The heroes ordered food and drinks from a bugbear waitress. The azer cook was paid to come out and fry eggs and bacon on a frying pan on his fire hair.

The heroes spoke with some 10 foot tall pteramen who quietly pointed out five hooded genasis that had tried to recruit them for some organization earlier. The heroes suspected the hooded men were affiliated with the temple, and had Jurod keep his eye near their room for the night.

Heron caught the eye of a shimmering female at the bar. She called him over. She was a "lady of the night", and had a strange magical glow about her. Heron kept trying to tell her stories about his hometown until she just bluntly made him an offer. He refused.

Heron, Carric and Fayte talked to the goblins outside. They drank and ate. It turned out that the goblins were addicts. They were addicted to a herb blend called Tangoru. 

Inside, Jurod got a vibe from Gibben, the proprieter. He liked men and women (I rolled for it). Jurod met him in his room later, and Gibben was pleasantly surprised to see that Jurod was no ordinary man (Despite appearing to be male, Jurod had only a female part in his pants). 

Jurod spent the night in Gibben's room. the next day, the heroes were off again. The hooded men had left for Olwynn shortly before...

After a day of travel, Olwynn was before them - massive and steamy. Three huge statues rose up from the city, and dragons and foulwings soared through the air. At last they'd reached the greatest city, the seat of the kingdom of Valor...