RECAP: Age of Extinction, Last Two Sessions

So here’s what’s gone down the past 2 game nights:

After cleansing the Hermitage of Blessed Lightning, the High Druid Harlock explained to the party that 15 miles into the heart of the Nettlewood lies the Erran Tower, a strange tower that has stood within those woods since before the memory of men or even elves.  A strange glowing orb circles the very top of the tower, in much the way an Aeon Stone circles the head of its user, thus it has always been referred to as the Aeon Orb.  As long as the hermitage has stood, the druids have believed it was energies radiating from this orb have given vitality and life to nature for many miles surrounding the tower, but for decades now they’ve felt that power diminishing.

After a nearly all-day hike through the Nettlewoods, the party found the tower exactly as Harlock described.  Synin sent his raven to investigate the orb circling the 200-foot summit of the tower, but when he neared it, a sheer wave of Divine power emanating from the orb drove Munin back.  The party then decided to proceed up the switchback ramp that led to an archway about 40 feet up one side of the tower.

A pair of statue-like gargoyles guarded the open archway, the party defeating one after it nearly pushed Franco from the ledge, and the other flapping off at the death of its companion.

From the archway, a strangely steep stairway led down into the depths of the tower.  Midway down these steps, the party saw the flickering red glow of fire below, as well as a nauseating smell of sulphur and rotten eggs, which made some of the party retch and vomit.  Exiting into a large chamber, the group was immediately attacked by a group of emaciated reptilian creatures (which they identified as Troglodytes, or Xulgaths in their own tongue), and a vicious bipedal creature known by some scholars as a “dinosaur.”  A large chamber to the north held several more  large quadrupedal dinosaurs, with armored shells on their backs and clublike protrusions on their tails.  These were held in a makeshift corral – they snorted belligerently at the party and only showed outright aggression if the corral was approached too closely.  Down a dark, sulphur-reeking corridor the party encountered more xulgaths with dinosaur hunting companions, and interrupted a date night between the xulgath dinosaur tamer and the tribe trapmaker (sadly it’d been weeks since they had any time together!)  A strange hissing sound throughout the dark chambers turned out to be a gelatinous cube, which the party destroyed with hit-and-run tactics over a period of time.  A secret chamber was found which seemed to indicate there might be 4 more similar towers in Varisia, as well as a pair of shattered and desecrated statues of Aroden (strange) that Franco managed to piece back together and identify.  

Ascending a flight of stairs, the party found a chamber with a summoning circle, with an air elemental driven somewhat mad by its long imprisonment, which the party decided to keep imprisoned because they’re like that, and a trio of sickly-looking troglodytes covered in pustules that shot hot, vile-smelling nastiness in a defensive spray.  They then found a large encampment of troglodytes in a cavernous, pillared room, which the party managed to pretty much catch off-guard and make short work of.  Outside of this chamber they found a room with a spiral stair going upwards, and a piece of an iron cauldron hung from a frame which appeared to be a warning gong of some kind.

Down the hall strange, piteous moans echoed from a dark archway up ahead, but before the party could investigate them they found another archway to their right covered by a curtain embroidered with storm iconography that appeared to have been taken from the Hermitage of Blessed Lightning.  Inside, they found a candle-lit bedchamber, burning incense doing it’s best to combat the xulgath reek that now permeates the tower.  A bound woman began screaming for help as soon as the party’s light filled the chamber.  She said that she was from one of the farms surrounding Sandpoint, captured in a troglodyte raid.  She had been held here over a week, tortured by a demon calling herself Balenni.  Franco stepped forward to cut her bonds, failing to notice they really weren’t particularly secure knots.  As they fell to the floor, she gratefully embraced Franco, pulling him in for a kiss before he could resist (succubi get to use diplomacy for grapple checks).  Horns sprouted from her head and leathery wings erupted from her back as Balenni showed her true form, draining Franco of 2 levels as a pair of her pet demons leapt out to attack the party.  As the battle turned against her though, Balenni offered her surrender:  “No more need die here.  Least of all me.  And there is much that i believe my mistress wishes you to be aware of.”

Things that were learned:

  • Why did you have Togomir killed?
    • “That was the desires of my Mistress.  At the time I felt his studies angered her.  I thought she wished the location of this tower to remain hidden from her enemy.  Now I question if her goal was merely to draw your interest.”
  • Why would she want that?
    • “You all are pieces in a game of which you have no comprehension.  We play delightfully cruel and complex games in the Outer Rifts.”
  • Who do you serve?
    • “I serve 2 masters, but only my mistress fully.  My mistress i cannot reveal to you – that knowledge will come as you play the game.  I can only say that your interests are best served by being her pawns – should my other master win the face of your world will be forever altered. And not in ways your kind would find pleasant.”
  • Who is your other master?
    • “He is known by many names.  These repulsive creatures,” she gestures so as to indicate the troglodytes in the surrounding tower, “know him as Ahmon-Ibor, the Sibilant Beast.  Serpentfolk worship him as Siosivash and raise great temples to him in dark caverns.  Humans who dare follow him call him Demogorgon.”
  • Why are you with these troglodytes?
    • “The xulgath are led by a great priest of Demogorgon named Sarval-Ever-Hunger.  He has led a great host of xulgaths up from the darklands at the bidding of the Sibilant Beast.  Sarval-Ever-Hunger has found a forgotten temple below Magnamar known as the Moonstone Hall, where he seeks knowledge to further the plans of his master.  He sent a lesser priest, Cavnakash, to this tower, instructing him to destroy the orb that circles its summit for some reason.  Before Cavnakash departed, Sarval summoned a demon to aid him,” Balenni gives a short bow.  “My mistress was able to subvert the summoning to ensure I was the one who responded – while i serve Demogorgon, my true loyalties are to her.”
  • Where is Cavnakash now?
    • “He is above, at the top of the tower attempting to do Sarval-Ever-Hunger’s bidding.  I gather it is not going well for him.”
  • What is Demogorgon’s plan?
    • “No one knows, tho the Outer Rifts quake in fear of it.  He would easily rule the Abyss were it not for one thing – himself.  He has always fought a secret war for control of himself.  He is of 2 minds – Hethradiah is the mind that controls his right head, while Aameul the left.  Each hates and mistrusts the other – should this conflict ever end he would be unstoppable in the Outer Rifts.  Perhaps the game he plays will lead him to this.”  

The party then let Balenni go – she promised to leave Varisia, but who knows what she may inflict elsewhere?