Yesterday, we played the second session of what’s turning into a three-part adventure currently entitled The Giant Magi and the Stag. Two more PCs are joining the party, and we figured out a pretty neat way of bringing them into the adventure, despite it being the second session.
Knowing they had to go down into the abandoned, sunken tower at Jagged Rock, our heroes brace themselves for an underwater journey that will lead them closer to the magic stag of time and seasons and the giant magi guarding it.
Fair warning: Another LONG summary coming up. Also, the fights definitely do get graphic toward the end. Enjoy!
Having recovered a portion of their health with the help of some healing potions and a few hours of sleep, Scarr the Fighter, Harren the Druid, and Avon the Wizard carefully lifted the top of the giant treasure chest and peeked out at the huge chimera that had nearly singed them hours ago. There were no sign of imps, and the chimera seemed strangely calm and non-threatening. Across the way, peeking out from the other giant treasure chest, they saw the familiar faces of three others they’ve adventured with in the past: Florian the Human Bard and Stretch Wolfchild, the Halfling Ranger with his companion hawk, Wisdom.
Stretch carefully studied the chimera, noticing its disinterest posed no threat, and he jumped down next to its paws as Florian followed. It looked down at them, sniffed, and looked away disinterested. Convinced that Stretch was magically manipulating the chimera by keeping it at bay, Avon, Herran, and Scarr stalled inside their chest when, suddenly, the chimera vanished, leaving a ripple in the air that quickly dissipated.
After helping Herran down and joining Stretch, the Ranger told them he and Florian had been traveling with Bort the Nimble to recover the magic stag that controlled time and seasons, for it defied all laws of nature and the Stretch yearned to destroy it. As he spoke, Avon sensed a spike of magical energy emanating from within the sac containing Bort the Nimble’s lifeless body.
When he stepped away to inspect the body, it turned out to be someone completely different, and much younger, with a distinctive brooch featuring a round, polished piece of zinc embedded in the middle.
Since Avon was vain and sought only the clues to obtaining immortality and everlasting beauty, he knew about two, twin brothers, both mages and alchemists: the Iron Mage and the Zinc Mage. The Iron Mage was black of heart and only sought power for himself at the expense of others; while the Zinc Mage was white of heart and sought to do only good – including trying to help his twin brother change his ways. Both mages were known to have focused their spell craft around the nature of change in different ways, although both brothers had perfected the polymorph spell.
The brooch and the fact that the dead lad had assumed a perfect form of Bort the Nimble prior to his death suggested that he was probably the Zinc Mage’s apprentice or maybe a servant transformed by the mage.
Looking at the map the dead lad left behind, Avon saw a long, spiraling staircase leading all the way down a giant tower. It seemed the whole, sunken tower was flooded with water. Avon decided to perform a ritual to grant the rest of the party the ability to breathe underwater. He asked the party members to hold hands and form a circle. Even Wisdom joined in with his little hawk talons next to Stretch and Florian. Drawing the essences of the fish int he surrounding sea, Avon was forced to perform the ritual in sheer darkness, but it left everyone covered in a slimy substance that would enable them to breathe underwater and ease swimming and maneuvering due to the weight armor and weapons impose.
Herran stayed back. He transformed into a frog instead.
The rise in temperature inside the chamber was subtle at first; but, by the end of the ritual, each one of the heroes (minus Herran) was sweating profusely, and they all felt as though the sun was directly above them, beating down on them in the heat of summer.
Suspecting it had something to do with the magic stag, the heroes quickly plunged down into the depths of the giant, sunken, tower, and began their descent through the murky, passageway, guided only by the light from Avon’s staff.
First, a group of maggot squid that Stretch tried to swim past suddenly became spooked and swam past the rest of the party from where they came. Up ahead, with Wisdom’s help, Stretch pointed out a faint, orange glow that drew closer and closer until Avon recognized them for what they were: fire eels – burning ablaze underwater. He gesticulated a fire eel with his arms and hands to the rest of the party, and Stretch decided to grab some rope from his adventuring gear and tie it around one of the huge, chunks of stone debris from the tower in order to toss it through the middle of the spiraling staircase and simply sink toward the bottom where they needed to go. It was a solid plan, but the fire eels managed to get close and attack. Avon shot off magic missiles, but it was Scarr’s fighting skills – even underwater – that cut one eel in half and send a wave through the water, forcing the other eel backwards and giving Stretch and Florian just enough time to finish tying the ropes.
The plan was to tether everyone to the rock and sink to the bottom. Scarr helped push the rock off with his mighty strength and the heroes sunk to the bottom quickly as a plethora of spears suddenly whizzed by them in all directions. One of the spears cut through Florian’s tether and he remained floating in the water as the rest of the party sunk a far distance down, until the rock suddenly hit a hard, rocky surface that shook for a moment.
Meanwhile, Avon’s light barely reached Florian, but the Bard saw flashes of eyes all around him as several, lizardmen suddenly came at him. Two launched their spears and missed Florian, but hit a sahuagin lurking in the shadows instead. It went after Florian, but he swam toward the lizardmen, narrowly dodging their spears and losing a healing potion in the process, and swimming down toward the rest of the party, leaving the lizardmen to be feasted on by the sahuagin.
While all that was going on, Scarr, Avon, Herran, and Stretch cut their ropes once they realized what the rock had landed on and why the ground appeared to be moving. It was the giant claw of an enormous chuul that seemed oblivious to the party as Stretch swam up around the back of its head, looking for weak spots. Avon cast an illusion of himself via his prestidigitation cantrip and distracted the chuul just long enough for Scarr, Avon, Stretch, and Wisdom to swim down past it.
Herran quickly transformed into a human and then into a large pike fish that swam up to retrieve Florian. Upon grabbing hold of Herran’s fin and looking up at an angry sahuagin swimming down toward them, Florian and Herran also noticed that the water above them started to freeze and was getting closer and closer to them.
They quickly swam away, past the chuul, to join the others. Looking back, the sahuagin high above was frozen solid within the ice; and, though the chuul shifted and resisted, it too eventually froze over completely. For a split second, Avon saw three blink dogs floating in the water out of the corner of his eye. Herran was an incredibly fast swimmer, and Stretch and Florian took advantage by hanging on. They escaped through a large, open doorway into a large, rectangular, stone cavernous chamber with a short hallway leading into an enormous, open chamber with pillars of stone rising high with giant faces carved into the stone – some cyclopean in nature – just like on the surface, outside the ruins.
Scarr used all his strength to swim as hard as he could to escape the oncoming ice; but, as he swam past the open doorway, dozens of crisscrossing spears suddenly shot forward, forming a grate and cutting his arm in the process. Avon swam at his normal speed, enduring the ice as it crept up on him, but he found himself trapped behind the grate of spears. He cast a magic missile which shattered a hole through the wooden shafts of the spears and broke through with Scarr’s help.
The water emptied out into a stream which continued down the chamber, through the small hallway, and into the next, enormous chamber, but froze over as the temperature grew cold like winter.
Far ahead, in the distance, a spiraling vortex suddenly appeared from the gaping mouth of the closet stone head carved into a pillar. A pair of hell hounds emerged along with four quasit. The hell hounds seemed fixated on only a single quarry at a time, and one chose Stretch right off the top after he fired an arrow under its fiery throat. Pinning Stretch on the ground and taking a bite out of his shoulder, Scarr thrust Tormentor into the hell hound and pinned him again the wall, shattering bones and shredding the demonic flesh apart in an exploding inferno that quickly died down in the freezing chamber. As the other hell hound charged at Scarr, he took his best swing yet and decapitated the hell hound right as it lunged at him. Stretch fired off an arrow which went through the hell hound’s flaming, red eyeball and into the stone wall – the eyeball and arrow exploding and burning away in flame.
Meanwhile, two quasit went after Florian, who took too long performing intricate and wholly unnecessary pirouette moves with his rapier before lunging at the demons, and they ended up stabbing him with their fiery weapons instead. With two other quasit on Herran and Avon, respectively, Herran quickly transformed into a human, dodging one of the quasit’s blows, and transformed into a bear where he immediately unleashed a terrifying roar that spooked all the quasit – including the one that just stabbed Avon before retreating with the rest.
The chamber felt less cold all of a sudden, but the heroes all heard howling resonating in the distance. The hair on the giant’s head suddenly swayed violently, and as when the quasit reached the edge of the pit containing the giant, an incredible gust of wind blew them off, sending them to their depths. Herran’s eyes changed to matched the color of autumn as the winds continued to howl and circulate in the next chamber.
Approaching the small hallway between the two chambers, the heroes found a black cloak stuck under a large rock and blowing in the wind. They realized the black cloak belonged to Bort the Nimble, and Stretch found another brooch with a round, polished piece of zinc embedded in it. On top of that, Avon also found an archaic, but ordinary, iron key to some sort of locked box or treasure chest and emanating with incredible, magical energy – the likes of which he would never expect.
Looking ahead into the next chamber, the heroes saw a circular path that went all around a pit large enough to house twelve, full grown giants that all looked defeated as they stood bound with heavy chains at the wrists, legs, and throat. They smelled foul and disgusting. Far up toward the ceiling, the heroes saw stalactites with enormous, silk webs and shadows of giant spiders crawling about menacingly. Past the stone pillars, on the opposite side of the pit, was an insurmountable wall – through which the map described as the location of the magic stag.
Just when our heroes thought they could take a break, make camp, and heal their wounds, two more vortices suddenly appeared in the next chamber as the winds slowly died down.
To be continued (and hopefully concluded) in Session 3. 🙂
Thus, the second session came to an end. I’m surprised the characters are still alive. Who knows if they’ll make it or not? 😀 It has been such a thrill running this adventure so far. Thanks again to Eadwin Tomlinson Isa Wills Penda Tomlinson Matt Smith Simon Burdett for playing. It was another, fun, enjoyable session and it wouldn’t have been as awesome if it weren’t for you all.
I can not wait for Session 3 and the epic conclusion of The Giant Magi and the Stag (I might a better title, though, hmm :/)