The Silk Road
At the Masters' Shrine:
We knock on the brass knockers, front double doors open on their own. Looks exactly as was seen before. We find the Servant meditating upstairs at the same spot as before. Now in front of him is a wrought iron tripod, large glass or crystal sphere atop it. He's not meditating, but observing into the sphere.
Duncan "Hail servant of the Masters." He does not turn to look, but acknowledges us with greetngs.
Duncan "We come with questions, seeking answers."
"Ask, and hear the wisdom of the Masters."
Duncan details the ship, our knowledge of Ilithid and such, then is completely upfront about our concerns about him and the veiled masters.
He says the veiled masters don't seek worship, but obedience. He is not working with nor for nor worshipping them; knows the lingering effects of their former presence is permanent in this area. Sort of a poor choice of words, and ethereal veil separates where they masters are from here, they still speak to him through it; it is still possible with the right magiks. He does so often, still hear their voices. They impart their wisdom, guide him, etc.
D "So why did they leave? Was it voluntary?"
He does not get to ask questions, they simply tell him things. Its a one way communication. His story of it being his fault matches what we heard already. But, he has discovered how to make it right, how to mend the wounds he was the cause of and set things back to the natural order. All via the Masters. Its too beyond understanding to explain with words "but I can show you." We follow him downstairs to a secret rectory.
On the way down "What do you have locked up down there and why?"
"Its in the rectory, the great balancer, that thing the Masters explained to me on how to bring the world back to order."
D "Using it for what?" To reset the world, back to the way its supposed to be. Not sure how yet, talks haven't gotten that far.
D "How do you know you're talking to the Masters and not being tricked?" He's spoken to enough Masters in his life to know.
As we approach the basement, we can hear the thumping heard before, and the scratching.
D "What were you looking at in the orb? Is that how they speak to you?" Its the focus to strengthen the commune. "Always has and always will." He has had it since just before they vanished. Then it was just a regular crystal ball, later they started calling him through it, long glimpses of the future even centuries ahead. Can communicate to another crystal, or see what its being used for. Its the Master crystal ball of all balls.
We get downstairs to the door. All seems fine to Duncan, Bligh, TK and Grumpet.
Mulligan, Archileus and Toro feel an odd energy, almost more like a thought pervading the area, domating and powerful.
Arisaan feel it too, but knows its truly malevolent.
Mulligan "Do you feel that?"
Tore "More I sense it. like a cloud of thought all around."
Arisaan "Its more than that, its evil, I can feel its malevolence."
Grumpet then picks up on it, the most uncomfortable of all "It's not of nature."
Duncan "What in the hells do you have down here?"
"For all these years I've been tormented with the knowledge that there is no forgiveness nor redemption, but there is a way to make things as right as they can be."
Arisaan "Nothing this evil can make things right."
His eyes shut, hands cross into his sleeves. We hear movement in the dark of the hallway further.
Servant "Behind this door, behold, the great balancer, the one who will set things right."
An eery red emination begins at his sleaves, out of his hooded face. From down the hall comes a sliding or dragging sound. The doorway fades out of existence revealing a huge room full of books and the like in a rectory. A man sized humanoid form lurks, we see a silouette. 3 Yuan Ti, 2 half snake half man the other full big snake with arms, make their way down the hall for us.
Mulligan "You've laid a trap for us!"
W/o moving at all "I have laid no traps for anyone, you just happened to be here at teh right time."
Grumpet "The right time for what?"
The sound of this humanoid things voice wails as if in horrible torment and pain.
Archileus "Some friend, Pollux Malenko."
Arisaan lashes out with her new scimitar at the Servant. Mulligan and Arch move up and block the Yuan Ti as Grumpet warps the bows in hand of the 2 lessers, the creature in the room moves to the doorway, a man shaped ooze of crimson ichor. Like blood. Duncan leaps past it into the room and the 2 of them engage.
Th 2 lesser YT draw scimitars and stay put. TK moves and attacks the Servant. The big YT moves up to Mulligan and Archileus and engages.
Malenko is shocked at the Servants turn to apparent evil so casts upon the big YT, hurling a flaming arcane bolt.
Mulligan hears voices in his head calling for him to join the enemy but resists.
The Servant begins laughing maniacally, making up silly rhymes of death and the end of the world etc, hits Toro with an inflict wounds. He starts bleeding from all his orifices and pours.
Duncan sees that the blood from the Servant is trickling unnaturally to the ooze man, as is Toro's. Toro then slays the insane traitor and he crumples to the floor. In his eyes, Toro sees a moment of clarity in his eyes as he falls to his knees. There "It's all clear now, it wasn't my fault, and I have been forgiven" and falls dead.
He then spots in the room, on a shelf, is a small idol, more of a charm, of Master Bruce! Whom Toro's swords belonged to! And feels as though its beckoning him to retrieve it. His blades glow lightly through the Servants blood.
Arisaans's scimitar has the same glow. Bligh joins Duncan vs the blood man, striking it with the Wooden Blade.
The blood man attacks with a number of pseudopods, hitting both D and Bligh once. Arisaan starts sopping up the flowing blood with moss and fungis from the walls and floor.
Toro joins vs the blood man now as TK attacks with his glaive over Arch and Mull.
Mulligan drops the big YT. The other 2 move in.
The blood thing lashes out, crit on Toro and grapples him to draw him into itself. It's licking up the blood off of him.
The lesser 2 YT move in and Archileus immediately kills one.
Toro hacks the tendril off, freeing himself. Grumpet slays it with a dehydration spell!! Mulligan brings down the last YT.
Toro retrieves the Master Lee charm. He feels blessed by Master Lee. When using unarmed attacks, grappling, or cinematic stunts and such, gets plus 2 to any d20 rolls. Has lingering intell. from Master Lee's time, being in Toro's possession will begin enhancing his blades to what they are supposed to be, unlocking their secrets.
We search the place and loot what we can, too much for 1 shot. We pick out some choice stuff for Callimachus too.
The Servant's Journal: multi volume; spans centuries, in his perspective. His first meeting with the 1 god of the Masters to his moving to this place where it starts to peeter off. We can see the descent into madness from there. He was racked with guilt for a long time, traveled with a group of adv's for a while to a city in the kingdom of Esperania decades ago called , after Masters vanishing. There he was part of bringing down the inquisition, after which he began hearing the voices of Masters speaking to him, telling him how forsaken he was, dragging him down basically. He then sought seclusion ending up here. Came into contact with the YT who over time convinced/corrupted him into helping them destroy the world.
Eeh gads!! There is an active blood cult, and its not even humans but YT!!
We find info on the YT as well they hate everything not them, all else is food; if it can think its an enemy. Have taken naturally to blood cult, but rather than killing everything, just everything but YT. Where they came across the blood cult is not mentioned.
At one point, there is a vague reference to himself in the journal after the fall of the Masters: he was known as the crystal seer for a short while, a hermit.
We get the crystal ball of all crystal balls. Pollux says they are no toy as is, this one even more dangerous. Recommends none even touch it. Touching w/o UMD will likely have terrible effects; even with it he recommends not using it. With magic power is best. A user could be fine, but also might be bad. Can't leave it here either though.
Mst 3d4 glaive (plus 1 att)
2x mst scimitar (both lvl3, serpentine motifes, handles are coiled serpent, pommel is head, jade snake coiling up center of blade, extra money value)
We go outside. In otherwise blue sky are rolling blood red storm clouds! Drizzling but sunny, raining blood.
We leave for YT forest. Day 1 its drizzling the whole day. The clouds are circling the region not moving on. Day 2 its a full rain. Day 3 when we arrive its a blood storm.
There are actual rain clouds which have rolled in as well, mixing water with the blood.
Grumpet says the forest here, ruins inside most likely to
be specific, is the epicenter.
We camp as its late. The night is uneventful. The bloodstorm ceases.
Up early and into the forest of the YT, straight for the middle. Low lying cloud of mist greets us, very thick fog. Can't see clearly beyond 5', nothing past 30'. Further, its a bloodfog, nasty red hue to it. The animal life is completely quiet. The only sound is that of our walking on the bloodrain soaked ground.
Grumpet "This is unnatural, they've ruined the landscape.
By the time we reach the edge of the central deep forest, the fog has yet to lift. Many of the trees in the center are thriving like they love this blood rain, like they are feeding off of it. This makes Grumpet nervous and angry.
Grumpet "I will not be holding back from combat on this one."
Duncan "Wait until we most need it."
A good mile and a half or 2 in, nearing the center, some of us notice that some of the blood loving trees seem moving ever so slightly, branches beginning to lean into us. Vines on the ground slowly snaking toward us. 1 particularly vial tree further down the path looks like its moving, bluffing natural movement. Its big, real big, only reason we can see it.
Battle begins as we hear a massive rend from the earth, the giant tree has stood up.
The first to drop is via Mulligan and Pollux's fire spell. Then the rear 2 rakasta drop their's right after!
One of the front rakasta, Toro, TK, and Nnesk are rushing ahead for the big one, for Grumpet yelled he is likely controlling the other trees. He is then grappled, but transforms into a snake and slithers out.
Nnesk and the front rakasta see 4 humanoids come just into sight at the right of the blood Treant. They warn the other 2 as 4 arrows wisp by them.
Toro "Ignore them!"
The big tree is marching to us, but its slow. The wemic with Duncan kills that one, Pollux clears the front one, and those rakasta make for the new humanoid foes. More humanoids charge us from beyond the archers!
Maeth, Mulligan and his wemic make for the front as well now.
Grumpet slithers that direction too. The 2 rear rakasta join Bligh and his rakasta.
The chargers look human.
The final trees drop and we all head forward to battle.
The humanoids turn out to be YT purebloods. Mulligan deals the final blow to the evil blood Treant, which oozes a bloody sap. After that we start dropping pure bloods. The last archer flees into the fog and we take out the evil druid last, surrounded and hacked down like the rat he is.
The mist starts to break up and we move on. Approaching the ruined temple, the mist has lifted. Sky is still blood red swirling clouds, slight bloody drizzle now too.
The ruin is well and overgrown. Once 2 or 3 stories, now one. We come to what looks to have been the main entrance. To the rear an old dome structure and a spire adjacent, collapsed. Fronting the dome is a statue visible over the old 2nd floor wall remnants of half man/half snake arms outstretched. Remnants of a stairway within the spire.
We split up. Duncan leads Bligh, Pollux, Archileus, the wemics, Nnesk, Kyros and Father Balsomon and Tk in through the front door.
Climbing up and into the spire, Mulligan leads Grumpet, Maeth, Arisaan, Toro and the rakasta. Looking over the former dome, there is a huge ceremony in the largest room toward the front. About 40 some YT filling the room tight, priest we saw in the crystal included, of multiple sorts including some minor mutations such as a split tail. All chanting in a religious ceremony. In the dome room, is a pool full of blood. Tween that and the ceremony is the statue room. The priest stands at a bound thri kreen, dagger in one hand and rod chained to the kreen on the altar in the other.
In the front, we can hear the sounds of the ritual inside. They go carefully into the front door to a closed foyer room, lower then the rest of the temple. Steps go up about 20' to the grand chamber. Its an open path to the ceremony.
Mulligan signals to Arisaan silently to come up and over to eliminate a guard. She climbs up, eyes it up, and skulks over. She kills him instantly. The rest come over the top.
This place ID'd as a major place for the Path, the First who started/helped start them is the statue at the center; first man to change himself into a YT! This was one of the most major cult centers to the CP, he was one of their prophets. The blood pool is an artifact, used to summon a blood angel. That prophet helped bind the angel they turned into the blood angel. Used in all sorts of terrible rituals. The statue is likely evil too. Whatever they are doing to the kreen is not good. The kreen is 2 or 3 times the size of the kreen as we heard of them. Kind of bloated. Grumpet says it must be a female with spawn.
The YT next to the priest is stark red, heat shimmer surrounding him, wielding 2 weapons and split tail ending in spikes. 2 purebloods stand at the far side of the statue from Mulligan's men, one a lithe looking female, the other a male wearing loose fitting attire and carrying a staff.
In front, 2 YT are at the end of the hall just outside the main room. The fountain is on the floor, not set in it, and the statue is on a short pedestal, both giving us cover.
The head priest is explaining that the lifeforce of the kreen sacrifice will help bring their master back to this plane in his true form "The Defiler, the Reviled One, the One True Anethema".
Rear, Mulligan and Arisaan lead the way around the pool and hit the 2 there, the wemics charge and take down the hall guards at the front and the battle begins. With the Wemics, Duncan backed by Archileus and Bligh backed by TK lead the way in. Arisaan is momentarily mesmerized by the female YT who skulks suddenly unseen by all but Maeth who almost fumbles her shot pt blank at it. Grumpet lunges from the statue base and pounces upon the Ignan, as Mal will tell us later: the mix of a YT and a fire elemental who then tears into him, but his fire damage is negated by Grumpet's fire prot spell! The male at the statue is a monk YT, lashing out at Mulligan and the rakasta helping him.
Toro hurls his flour, prepared for scintilating robe, in front of himself revealing the monk out of her camo!
One of the wemics goes down under the attack of an abomination.
Bolsomon's attempt at a prayer spell is negated by the room's magic with a burst in the center of the room, likely removing a sygil. The pool of blood begins to illuminate from within. Maeth is envenomed multiple times by the female rogue. Zy Quan the high priest has retreated to the other side away from Mulligan and Grumpet (as a lion) and begins casting. The kreen looks like she's about to drop egg or eggs.
Maeth steps back and drops the rogue like a bad habit with 2 arrows! Grumpet is constricted by the Ignan, Mulligan feels a brief weak urge to drop all his weapons. Grumpet passes out. One of the abominations reaches into the kreen and squishes an egg withing, another 2 each pull one out and squeeze each onto the altar. Mulligan drops Po jan the monk YT.
Bolsamon moves in and saves the downed wemic.
Priest Zy Quan calls to his master "With the sacrifice of these innoncent royal young, as you asked for oh lord, come save us from the nonbelievers!" So, that's why they wanted the wemic queen, for her unborn. The pool of blood begins to writhe, forming a tendril that begins to come forth and wrapping it around the statue coating it in blood.
At the front its tough fighting as there are so many but Mal clears some space with fire.
He then hits the statue with a wave of arcane energy. Underneath the blood that it seers off, we see the starting of scales: its coming alive.
Maeth fires on the Ignan now. She's quite worried that she is on the other side of this statue. Our other wemic is clubbed down with a critical.
Kyros "It's the anathema, it is the end of all time. Doom of the world is upon us!"
Toro kills the Iganan!! Mulligan catches a glimpse of the Color Robes, right next tohim and Arisaan! Mulligan drops a YT and Arisaan swipes and hits the color sorcerer!
Zy Quan, ritual complete, slithers to Mulligan and the 2 rakasta with him.
Duncan "Kyros, how do we destroy it!"
Kyros "The pool of blood is its life! Get the statue in the pool of blood then destroy the altar." He moves to near TK, points his hands at a YT and kills it with a blast of blood red bolts. The dead pureblood starts to shrivel a bit, then Kyros passes out.
Mulligan crits Zy Quan. The battles till wages, and the Anathema comes to full flesh!! Noooooo! The blood seeps off revealing an enormous snake body with arms and multi headed wielding, a massive falchion. Around its neck is a silver disc of the world with a serpent coiled around it. Utterly horrible, it will haunt our nightmares for years at least. It moves slowly a step forward and begins with falchion swipe upon Zy Quon as he reveres "Yes, my lord, so amazing" unfortunately for him it couldn't care less.
Duncan "Bolsamon, you need to try to get forward and wake Grumpet up, if he lives" he does so.
Zy "Master, why are you not pleased, I will kill the nonbelievers in your name! For you" and continues vs Mulligan and the rakasta.
Mal "The Anathema should have no immunities, the bad news it is unbeatable in combat."
The altar is made out of wood.
The spear rakasta with Mulligan kill Zy Quan!!
The 5 purebloods left, seeing the god is uncontrollable, scatter and flee in panic.
Toro moves for the pool, the A hits with its AoO. But, Tor's homeland has a great relationship with his land's naga people, and wing laum protects him from this thing to some extent.
The last living abomination does not give vs Scum who kills him.
Balsoman's pray has activated with Zy gone, and Balsoman also sends another blessing upon us all.
Mal has been using spectral forces to batter the walls, causing a huge chunk of ceiling to cave in above the A right upon it.
Toro and the 2 rakasta in back start bailing blood out of the pool. Archileus spots the color robes but misses a spear throw! Then points to him. Arisaan leaps forward and blindly cuts him!! Bligh charges the spot but misses.
Color robes drops to the ground, cornered, begging for mercy "Let me live, I'll make your mission my mission and tell you how to get the A into pool. I want your word."
Arisaan "Ok. You have my word."
"The amulet. The blood is the portal where the spirit came from, the altar is the key to opening it, but its the amulet that it truly cares about. Only a YT can actually use the amulet. Very powerful. Get the amulet into the pool and it will go for it. Take my cloak so it can not see you diretly. It has so many eyes looking directly everywhere, it will never see you." Arisaan takes it.
Duncan "Clean that altar off." Bligh and Archileus get the kreen off.
Maeth, Nnesk and Balsoman cover the formerly robed sorcerer.
Men surround the A to separate its attack forms.
The A decapitates a rakasta!
Arisaan scales the A, cuts the leather cord with a handaxe. One of the heads does catch sight of her but misses her!
She grabs the big amulet and drops off the creature!
As it attacks, successfully hitting her once, she moves and drops it into the pool. It moves to it and swan dives into the blood portal. It grabs it, and begins appearing but Grumpet warp woods the altar and TK starts hacking it up with Duncan and Scum just for good measure. Arisaan books it back to the altar room.
The pool turns into a reflecting pool, and grabs at Arisaan as she rushes off, beginning to pull her into the pool. She barely escapes by ditching the cloak which is lost with the A. As the blood turns into water, it is a normal shallow pool again.
The blood sky turns into normal dark rain clouds and it begins to rain.
Arisaan cuts the YT dead to his last words "We had a deeeeeal".
We check on the kreen, which is not doing well. Duncan can communicate via the bracers! It thanks us for freeing it and fill in some story: they come from a huge valley of insectoid races; she is effectively the kreen Queen; balance of power shift recently, the formians becoming very aggressive and dramatically increased in numbers, went conquering; all their colonies joined forces killing and eating all in their path; the kreen saw the end coming and migrated out, making a deal with the aranya who controlled the caves out of the valley; once here the snake men kept them north of the river via magic before resorting to kidnapping the queen, causing the kreen to go a bit wild and chaotic; now that she's free, she can stop their wild aggression; their great wish is to be able to return to their valley; the rift valley is a huge rend in the earth; she has no info on what lies further east of it; all creatures there have a communal memory w/in their kind; as far as hers goes, kreen have never left the valley until now; lots of minerals and gem mines in the rift that may interest us though and not a single being there cares about such things! The bracers we use will be of big use there.
We find her equipment she carried when kidnapped.
Loot: all coins older
gems totalling 2904 gp
mst glaive (1 abil)
mst hvy wood sh
2 mst shortbows
hoplite armor, augmented = halfplate, mst 1 abil (1750) w/hvy st sh highly ornate (2159)
Alchem potion purify food/drink
pot: magic fang
scroll: consecrate, divine favor, gr heriosm, plant shape, summon nat ally 1, unseen servant
falcata that illuminates as a torch
spear illuminates as a torch
6 small altars (30 total)
4 sets artisans tools
3 backpacks, 2 bags 20 marble sling bullets, 2 bags 20 sling bullets, 33 bags of half lb chalk, 2 bags common spice, 5 bags dried shrooms, 4 bags iron nails, 41 bags 1lb salt, 12 bags 1lb wheat, 4 barrels 30lb, 2x 240lb barrels alcohol; 3 × 150lb barrels oil, 35 × 10lb bolts canvas, 11 × 10lb bolts linen, bottle high qual wine, 27 bottles regular wine, 16 bottles fine wine, 2 bottles good wine, 19 bottles honey, 6 bottles spiced wine, 2 × 5lb bow saws, box 20 arrowheads, 3 boxes 20 candles, 35 × 20lb boxes charcoal, 4 chisels, cold weather outfit, asiatic courtiers outfit, 2 crowbars, 3 fishing nets, 32 flasks oil, 8 fling and steel, 2lb gameboard, grindstone, 2 × 50' hemp rope, 2 × 10' ladder, large cage, loom, 10×10 rope net, 2 × 50lb wheat sacks, 4 lb salted ham, 8lb cask molasses, 8lb dried figs, 5lb cask pickled fish, 2 × 5lb cask sausages, 3 small hunting traps, small magnet, 2x 3lb wool cloaks.
1 Rakasta is the only death.
Adv Note, Kimiristi:
Entered via Room 23; Vhue is in room 30; orcs in the 5 rooms marked 25
Books: when using book with a heal check = plus 2 to treat; healing herbs = 150 uses, each gives plus 2;