Coven Horror & Return of Inquisitors, The Backwater Gambit, Campaign Diary 18

Chapter 17
Coven Horror & Return of Inquisitors

 

After traveling to the eastern most Corse Ruins, exploring a portion of it, and coming out victorious in a rough battle against a pod of gricks, the party decides to take a long rest. After resting, they discover a huge loot pile. The mound of items are covered in a thin slim clearly excreted by the gricks as undigestable. The vast majority of the items are forgettable trinkets however the party does discover the weapons and armor of pasted adventurers. They store it all away in their Bag of Holding to be sold at a later date.

John discovers two books in the pile. One, a thin book of what appears to be folklore that although seems to be in Common reads in a dialect no one can really make out. The other is a Manual of Bodily Health.

manual-of-bodily-health-0

 

Rested, the group decides to continue on through the ruins in search of the witches coven they have been told to eliminate by The Sparing Ones. Retracing their steps to where they encountered the Black Pudding, the party investigates the hall for any secret or hidden doors. They discover one but before they can act, a chilling scream from some demonic creature comes through the thick stone walls accompanied by familiar humanoid voices. 

Inspecting the opposite wall from beyond which the sounds are coming, the group discovers a large secret door. They continue to hear the haunting Abyssal cackling, the sounds of impacts, steel, and arguing. It seems as though there is a battle taking place on the other side of the door. Hearing the yells again, several members of the party recognize the voices but can’t quite place them. The group decides to engage with whoever or whatever is beyond the secret door.

Jorg is able to find the door’s trigger mechanism and successfully unlock it. The door pops out slightly revealing itself as a doorway that spins around a center axis. Pushing it open, Roben and John are the first into the room soon followed by Nym and Jorg.

***Asher’s player wasn’t able to attend and we didn’t have an updated character sheet so he left behind in the grick room to guard the rear. Jorg’s player also wasn’t in attendance and will probably not be able to continue with the campaign. However, we did have a recent character sheet for him so I used this encounter to organically write him out of the story.***

The room before the party is some kind of ceremonial chamber. There are images to the demon lord Pale Night all on the walls with several braziers burning bright and leading to a staired dais upon which a gigantic monstrosity stands. 
coven horror

This monstrosity is a fused mound of grotesque flesh. It is clear this is the form of the witches of this coven. Their body glistens as faces of other humanoids seem to want to push through parts of their skin as well as what looks like the partial bodies of infant children struggling to free themselves. In the back of their mind, each party member can hear like a constant ringing static the screaming of babies and small children.

The Coven Horror stands on the dais engaged in battle flanked by a birdperson in flight and another on the other side, both are holding thick looking cords around its torso and pulling as a third stands before them all in the process of casting a spell. These are The Inquistors, the witchhunters the party met on its way to the Hag Tree. Geyer, Grim Donovan, and Volante look harried battling the Coven Horror while the unmoving bloodied bodies of a kenku to one side and a halfing to the other suggest the witchhunters are not winning the fight.

The party rushes in, calls to the Inquisitors, and position themselves to join the fight. As they do so, the Coven Horror grabs ahold of the ropes around it yanking Geyer down and lifting Grim off her feet as it slams the two together in front of Volante sending him falling backwards. All three are knocked out as the Coven Horror now focuses its attention on the party.

Immediately, the Coven Horror uses its Gaze of Agony on Roben dealing significant damage to the aasimar fighter. The party is understandably takenaback by the monstrosity’s power. As the rest of the party attacks, they soon discover their elemental spells of fire and ice do far less damage than they expected as do any of their weapons. However, Roben is able to discover with his Sun Blade the monstrosity can be best hurt with magical weapons. Grim Donovan comes to and joins the party’s fight. She yells to everyone not to kill it and all are confused. Soon Geyer and Volante come to as well and in the chaos, the party learns from the Inquisitors that if the Coven Horror dies The Sparing Ones are freed from their prison in the northern Corse Ruins. 

As the party fights, they become increasingly frustrated with the resilience and find it difficult to figure out how to incapacitate the creature without killing it. Grim directs them to try to bind it saying they were trying to tie its arms down when the party rushed in. Nym decides to use her Staff of the Python sending the giant constrictor snake to wrap around the creature and hold it.

The snake is a success. After several attempts, John and Volante are able to use Mage Hand to bind the creature’s feet and cover its head with some spare clothing cinched with rope. Jorg is able to get close enough to do some fancy knot work. But just as the party seems to have muted, hooded, and bound the Coven Horror from an opening in the high ceiling fly out two creatures looking like a cross between an emaciated human and vicious vulture. The Vrocks descend on either side of the group trying to defend the Coven Horror.

Vrock

While the Coven Horror remains bound, the vrocks continue to harry the party. The casters in the party soon discover the creatures are not just resistant to fire and cold like the monstrosity but also lightning and immune to poison. However, John persists expending most of his sorcery points to bring the vrocks down while Roben manages some truly astounding strikes leaping and doing back flips as he deals multiple attacks. Finally, between the seven adventures, the creatures are defeated. The party can take a breath and find out why The Inquisitors are here as well.

Speaking with Grim and Volante, the party learn killing the Coven Horror will free The Sparing Ones from the ruins that is their prison. With the death of the Hag Coven, only the Coven Horror stands in the way of The Sparing Ones becoming the magical force in the county. They have been benign while trapped but they’re too chaotic and powerful to be allowed to be free. At least, this is position of The Inquisitors. They have been tasked with capturing the Coven Horror. Grateful for the help from the party, Grim gives over some of the loot they got as they cleared a path through the ruins to this chamber:

Broom of Flying
Mace of Smiting 
Boots of Speed
Alchemy Jug 
Dimensional Shackles

Grim assures the party they can handle the creature now. John suggests The Inquisitors keep the Dimensional Shackles to keep the Coven Horror under control. The party discuss what to do because they need the spell promised by The Sparing Ones to free the towns. The Inquisitors don’t know about what has happened at Monton or Foxon. They know before they left Bas Eldritch there were camps developing from the waves of refugees.

The party explains, briefly, what has been happening. Grim sees the concern but is insistent releasing The Sparing Ones would be worse. She explains how they came through the ruins giving the party directions out where they’ll find the boat they used to arrive. It’ll take some time for them to fully bind the Coven Horror; once they do, they’ll head back to Crix Outpost to confer with Mercer Thiel. Grim also gestures to her dead companions explaining they’ll have to bury them as well. She then asks if anyone in the party wants to join their ranks given they’ve lost their monk and rogue. Jorg asks what it’d pay. Grim takes out a coin pouch tossing to him. Opening it, Jorg finds about 150 platinum pieces. He agrees to join The Inquisitors for now.

He bids farewell to his compatriots and the rest of the party departs leaving the witchhunters to clean up…

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