DnD 3.5 (Terra)

A whole lot of blood...

The adventurers, Luna, Diash and Rogen finished clearing out an ancient elven ruin; disrupted with age… but more importantly an arcane anomalies that disrupted magical energies nestled within a great pit. Inside the ruins were a great many strange things;an imprisoned Grimweird, items originating from The Strangers, a mind flayer outpost, an unusual lockbox and, most importantly, the final notes from George Nuvwater regarding his creation of ‘Living Illusions’.

Several near-death experiences were had retrieving the notes; which Diash studies as soon as possible. The notes indicated a need to secure the blessing of Garl Glittergold himself to power the illusions with the divine spark they needed to be self-willed and ‘living’. Diash was not pleased with this fact, but was adamant of getting it done no matter the cost.

Later on, the PCs returned to Gorakia to organize their treasure and sell the excess. Figuring the quickest way to sell all the items was to head to the capital city of Cayman City, they headed there expecting a great haul of gold to be filling their purses shortly. Not a second after the last coin was dropped on the shopkeeper’s counter; a great rumble was felt throughout the city. A massive attack was launched against the city, originating from a gigantic creature which had burst out from underneath The Grand Temple of Heironeous.

Luck was on the city’s side that day, as the PCs were well-prepared for the struggle ahead as they fought their into the mouth of the gigantic creature itself and battled their way through it’s innards until striking the fatal blow against it.

In the end, their suspicions were confirmed… the figure in black was responsible for the attack. Before she left through a strange portal; she cursed Luna’s tiger with a disgusting cyst within it.

The party gathered their courage and ventured through the portal in the hopes of stopping the vile women once and for all. They soon discovered they had arrived in The Tartarian Depths of Carceri, specifically the layer of Agathys… the most dangerous of the plane where not only the most powerful undead roam, but where Nerull himself resides.

They realized shortly that they were in a prison for the souls of betrayers… where treachery seeps like venom from the lips of every soul here. Happening upon a caged gnome, Diash recognizes the familiar face of Xanry Shortcloak. Xanry did not know why he was there, but after some research in the book of prisoners, it was soon discovered that it was Xanry who sold out his village and it’s magic use to the Kortan government for a paltry sum of silver. Diash kill Xanry the moment he discovered this and threw his body back in the cage… likely to recover later and continue with his eternal torment.

The party continued fighting through the prison, looking for escape. Eventually they made their way up the main elevator, rising past the tormented souls of thousands to the roof above. A craft of some sort was landed on the roof; an arcane airship that Diash had read much about in his youth. Before they could enter the craft they fought the warden and torturer of the prison, Beezlebor ,who was defeated after a challenging battle.

Tending to their wounds, they entered the craft as Diash used his extensive experience operate it and take a heading toward The Vortex of Souls, the most likely place of exit from the ice-coated plane of darkness.

Reaching the vortex, the craft came under an intense and unyielding force which forced the craft toward the Necromanteon, Nerull’s Palace. Despite much brainstorming, the heading of the craft could not be changed. Quickly landing at the Necromanteon, the craft is surrounded by innumerable hordes of the undead, who do not attack the party. Instead, they allow them to enter the palace at the behest of a soul-chilling voice.

Walking through the dark and misty halls, the party comes face to face with Nerull, the god of Death and Evil, himself. He explains that he does not support Vindantus, the cloaked figure, and that he wishes her dead. He does not trust the party’s power to do so, however, and seeks to test the party’s strength by preventing a prisoner of the plane from escaping in a crypt beneath The Statue of the Reaper. He promises to release the PCs on their success… but should they die, he says vaguely, they would become ‘well acquainted’.

Whisking them away to the crypt with a thought, the party searches for the prisoner. They encounter shadows, wraiths and their greater kin which took them to the limit of their abilities. Diash, feeling that fortitude was critically lacking, decided after much thinking to finally use The Heart of the Magi which fills his blood with magical energy.

Descending into a lower area, they took refuge in a room where positive energy emanated from the body of a preserved hero of ages past, Hardik (or Haradik by those who knew him closely). The party rested up before heading through a long, thin hallway leading west before suddenly finding that it was filled with over a dozen well-hidden doors. Undead of all types poured through, the most striking of which was the dreaded Bodak… a creature whose mere gaze could kill. During the battle, Diash opened his eyes straight into the creature’s gaze and his vision grew dim and his limbs cold. He collapsed to the ground dead in an instant.

The party continued on and defeated the creatures but realized they could not save their ally. The Heart of the Magi prevented the use of mundane magic to raise him and despite this restriction it was the request of Diash himself to remain dead and so the decision was made to burn his body and continue without him… to later scattered his ashes.

Not long after mourning the death of their longtime friend Jimbo appeared once more… this time with an armored hobgoblin that seemed different than the rest. Jimbo somehow knew of the party’s loss and sought to even the odds by bringing a potential ally… and the fight through the shadowy and undead filled crypts continued. They fought through a room of terra cotta figures protected by giant skeletons, both Rogan and the hobgoblin, Breg, fought to show off their martial prowess against each other.

Entering a room with six talking skulls; a riddle and decision was left upon them should they desire to progress forward; they must release of the souls imprisoned and unleash it upon their world to wreak death and destruction once more. After some deliberation, the soul of Oman, the giant, was chosen… and Nerull’s dark heart was filled with delight.

Continuing through the doors the party is greeted with a room lit with the brightness of daylight and several demons chanting around an altar, atop it a sacrifice to some dark god. A large shadow-like creature set loose upon the party with great ferocity. The chain devils at the altar attempted to bring forth another creature of some sort, but were thwarted by strong blades and sharp claws. The battle with the shadow creature ended in the unfortunate, but temporary, death of Rogan… whom with the power of Luna’s reincarnation came back as a full-blooded orc… a fate that Rogan partially resents despite the race’s inherent strength.

Moving begrudgingly onwards, the party fights suits of armor animated by specters and multiple wraiths on their passage down until eventually coming face-to-face with a devourer. The party made short work on the creature despite its gruesome appearance as Breg leaped unto it with both blades before decapitating it.

In the next room, the party discovers it is filled with mountains of treasure; precious metals, gems and fine crafts. Is this a just reward for the death and misery they have trotted through or does the prisoner they seek still hide within the halls?

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