The Angel & The Well, The Backwater Gambit, Campaign Diary 24

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The Angel & The Well
Chapter 23

 

After arriving back at the Moncrief Mansion from Kolo Illrym’s lair, the party sees in the distance a black column of smoke, hear a deep and booming crack, and are thrown down to the ground as the blast wave from Kolo destroying his pocket dimension underneath the Pelorian monastery. Regaining their composure, the party realize the entire monastery must have imploded.

Nym concerned that Wand might not have survived the explosion borrows a Chroma Stone from John to contact the kid (she had given Wand her Chroma Stone earlier). At first, there’s no reply from Wand but the stone glows his particular color suggesting he is alive. Then Wand responds sounding tired and shocked. Nym asks Wand to describe what happened in the city. Wand relates how the entire monastery suddenly came crashing down seemingly collapsing in on itself. Although many of the novitiates and acolytes survived, Wand is almost certain none of the church’s higher leadership survived nor the library.

Overhearing all this, Celia is struck dumb but encourages the party to come inside to rest and get sorted. As they come inside, they are greeted by a familiar voice expressing surprise and approval at what the party has done. Mercer Thiel sits on a couch in one of the dens smiling at them all. Celia is shocked. She makes it clear Mercer wasn’t here when she came outside and she doesn’t know how he got into her house. At this, Mercer stands and announces that it might be easier if he showed them his true self. A momentary but blinding light fills the room. When their vision returns, the hobo-like Mercer is gone replaced by a glorious hovering angel whose wings nearly fill the room.

angel

Mercer explains he is a Deva and was responsible for bringing the party to Osse. He had hopes that the young adventurers would be able to rectify the unbalanced situation in the obscure county. The Pelorian church’s leadership had become irredeemably corrupt and Lamias known as The Sparing Ones had almost grown too powerful. Mercer also reveals he had brought Kolo Illrym to the county believing he could restore the region. However, even though Kolo had good intentions (to unify Drow with the other humanoid races bringing them out of the dark and evil influence of Lolth) his means were far too often far too violent causing undue harm. Mercer thought the party could be the ones to right the mistake he had made allowing the peoples of Larrissone to live without being subjected to evil (the lamias, the Drow, and the corrupt church).

He confirms Kolo is dead, and with him his magic. The barrier domes over Foxon and Monton are gone as is his control over the hobgoblin and gnoll army. However, the militia of the county ought to be able to handle the marauding of the hobgoblins and gnolls and drive them out. He charges the party with is defeating The Sparing Ones, the Lamias, once and for all so the people of the county can live freely making their own choices without fear.

The Lamia’s plan to each return to a Corse Ruins, occupy, rebuild, and use it as a seat to lord over the county. They are in the process of collecting slaves and servants by abducting, charming, and releasing certain monsters into the populace to regain control of the county. Mercer lets the party know what their reward will be:

  • John placed as new bishop of Pelorian church to rebuild it properly 
  • Nym given control over ley lines to cultivate and maintain 
  • Roben granted command over guard & militia of the county 
  • Asher given the resources to build his own monastery of his order

And if they would prefer, Mercer can send each of them back to where they were before he took them away from Faerun only richer and more stronger. Mercer also grants the part an assortment of special items to help them finish their task. Hearing all of this, Celia confirms Karen had gone after bandit thugs who had been kidnapping refugees, but she hasn’t returned. Celia thought whatever was preying on the refugees was a consequence of the Drow but now she suspects the Lamias. She tells the party that finding Karen may lead them to where the Lamias are currently hiding out.

The party decide to find and/or rescue Karen on their way to challenging the Lamias. Celia gives them directions to the refugee camp. There they encounter the halfling giantslayer Corvias ‘Cora’ Underfoot who has just defeated the two Ettins the party encountered a few days ago.

corvias

She agrees to join the party in the search for Karen (we had a new player join for the session so I assigned him this NPC to play) and the defeat of the Lamias. Meeting with Cora, the party also runs into the goblin Xazt who was Celia’s shop assistant. After some aggressive flirting with Roben, she informs the party about what has been happening with the refugees–there have been raids, kidnappings, but usually between 2-3 days after one or two survivors are found with hazy memory and acting slightly different—off—than before; interviewing survivors will reveal nothing to the party. Xazt gives the group directions to a well Karen suspected as a possible hideout and a makeshift village of refugees attempting to make something more permanent. The party decide to start at the well.

 

Finding the well in the woods doesn’t prove difficult. However, investigating it reveals it to be no true well but rather some kind of hideout as Karen suspected. The party climb down the deep well discovering it opens up into a larger chamber and to a passageway. Following the passage, they enter a large room with a shallow reflecting pool in the center. Along the walls are several villagers, some bound in manacles and others attached to the walls in what appears to be some kind of organic covering. At the far end of the room, Karen is also bound to the wall but seemingly haphazardly with silver looking chains. As the party untie her they see she has deep burns from where the chains have contacted her skin and she is just barely alive. They revive her with some healing potions. As she comes back to consciousness recognizing the party, she gestures at the villagers along the walls saying “We’re gonna have to kill them.”

Suddenly, one of the villagers who was bound to the wall with the organic materials begins to convulse. The villager’s eyes open wide staring blankly at Roben. Blood begins to pour out of the villager’s eyes, nose, and ears who begins to cough vomiting out a bloody looking giant slug. The creature falls to the ground, raises up letting out a high pitched shriek as the four other villagers similarly bound all have the same kind of creature rip out of their bodies.

The party rolls for initiative engaging the vicious looking creatures. They are able to kill all of them with relative ease discovering the monsters seem to have a resistance to fire and lightning. Inspecting the corpses of the leech-like creatures, Cora is able to determine these were Slaad tadpoles. They go on to test different types of damage on the corpses to see what might or might not harm a grown version of the monster.

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Asher and Roben explore down the exiting corridor to see if there are any further creatures. They immediately alert a Red Slaad, which comes after them seeming calling out for reinforcements. Asher and Roben run back taking up positions around the doorway as the rest of the party is poised to ambush the Slaads. The party get a surprise round and then battle two Red Slaads.

Fortunately, the party has surprise and out number the Slaads. They are able to defeat them without too much difficulty. However, both Cora and Asher suspect they have been infected with Slaad eggs. The group takes a moment to cast a spell and use an item to remove any disease or curse that might be affecting the two. They question Karen about the bandits and the Slaads. She leads them down the path she and her men had taken in discovering the hideout. It eventually leads them out and not far away from the new settlement village Xazt had told them about. After rescuing the surviving, non-infected villagers and sending them back to the refugee camp, the party (now with Karen) go on to investigate the settlement.

 

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The settlement is a simple collection of huts surrounded by a palisade of spiked wooded logs. Within the walls, the settlement is abandoned having clearly been attacked. There is evidence of two types of attacks upon it—one that is conventional by bandit thugs and another showing claw and fire damage. They discover a huge burnt out hole in the palisade leading to a cavern behind the settlement. The cavern is huge but as the party explore they feel the air temperature around them increase. They discover an antechamber filled with what looks like large round obsidian stones each radiating heat. Investigating the stones, the party are able to determine they are Salamander eggs and decide to leave the be for the time rather than get bogged down in another battle when they feel themselves closing in on the Lamias.

Finally, the party discover a humanoid made great door. John is able to pick the lock opening it into a huge chamber that appears to be verdant and filled with light. It looks like a smaller version of the cavern the party encountered when they first discovered The Sparing Ones and confronted the elementals. Looking around and investigating before they move on, the party is able to just barely perceive they are seeing a glamour of some kind. They are able to make out corners in the cavern where there are four items: a bowl of sloshing water, a flaming brazier, an smoldering incense holder, and a large stone. They also see before them the four elementals they confronted last time they went to talk to The Sparing Ones only this time the elementals attack them.

The battle with the elementals is brief (although the creatures do land some damaging blows) as the party decide to break towards the four corners to inspect the items there. They discover each is an item that commands elementals and soon the four creatures stop attacking and wait to be commanded by the party members holding their items: 

  • Bowl of Commanding Water Elementals (John)
  • Brazier of Commanding Fire Elementals (Asher)
  • Stone of Controlling Earth Elementals (Cora)
  • Censer of Conrolling Air Elementals (Nym)

The glamour of the cavern falls. The group realizes they are in another giant humanoid made chamber on the other side of which is another great door beyond which the party is rather certain they’ll find the Lamias. Healing up as best they can, the group strategize as they near the door and their final battle…

 

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