Nidor, a world given life by titans

Tower of Drostan 2nd floor - Part 2

Walking into the classroom reveals a somber, dark place. 5 rows, split into two sections, of mounted chairs look almost mummified. They are mounted into a slopping upward floor. The windows against the top row of seats show scenes of beautiful underdark expanses; huge outstretched realms of winding caverns, plateaus of dark stone, and the light chittering of bats and other underdark denizens. Upon closer inspection with Spellcraft DC 24 it can be told these are permenacy’d illusions, created to allow the youngest of the drow nomads a glimpse into the homeworld they never knew. Small tears and failures in the illusion can be seen (as well as anyone with true seeing); the magic is failing in it’s great old age. IF WIND INSTRUMENT IS PLAYED, companions will notice a small opening under one of the student’s desks. Looking in it will find Jaunt Boots, ioun stone (touralamine sphere), and pipes of sounding.

The teachers area is adorned with calcified trinkets; gifts of love and thankfulness given by students to Professor Screa. Knowledge Nobility DC 20 reveals that some of these gifts were given by adults, so it can be inferred that the Processor taught many a generation of student here.

The party begins to feel a slight unease as they poke and prod while investigating this room. They begin to catch brief glimpses of wraiths, flitting to and fro. They seem timid and frail; they shudder as if caught in a cold wind. They seem to always be on the move, evaporating into the ether as soon as anyone turns to face them. It seems they have caught wind of something approaching….

True seeing will reveal that the windows are walled off except for one. It is not an illusion, but a concealed portal to the negative energy plan, a nest of beasts. It’s appearance to mimic the underdark is purposeful… from the left most window they leap out of the portal to attack the party! At end of round 1, the radiators boil forth and their inhabitants leap out as well!

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Tower of Drostan 2nd floor - Part 1

Staircase from 1st floor – Companions enter into an unfinished stone hewn room, very drab compared to the 1st floor rooms. A set of low slooping wide steps lead out of this room to the northwest. The place looks picked cleaned with mounting brackets along the walls that seem ripped out as if the room were pillaged. Scuff marks can be seen leading down the wide steps.

Trade Guild of Vexidyre – Set of rooms used by a noble house of the ancient drow studied in trade and barter. A smooth sandstone tiled floor, dingy with age pushes out to all directions. Knowledge Nobility to know the Vexidyre house prized itself in transparent bartering. The room to the north represents this as it’s 3 doors are simply frames with no doors of any kind. The walls are much sturdier and well kept compared to the entrance room behind the companions. The sounds of air rushing can be heard within the main guild area; the sound seems ghostly and reverbs against the tiled floor. As the party looks about they can see incorporeal figures flit to and fro within this area. They come to meet in the open room, 2 at a time. hey bow their heads as if in discussion. After a few moments an exchange happens between. The ghosts themselves make no noise but once reaching the end of their remembered transaction, their spirits crack and compress. They turn their ghostly visages upwards in silent horror and transmute horribly turning into black wisps of smoke. Following this the sound of rushing air can be heard and the severed spirits are dragged into the corners of the main guild area. The companions battle and defeat a Seraptis (Demon) and her crew, giving relief to the poor souls being prayed on.

Shimmering Hallway – Exiting the guild leads to the west entrance of the Shimmering Hallway. The aroma of moss and warm water fills the passage bringing with it a damp humidity no other area of the tower has shown. The floor has a slight give to it, the companions look downward to see a rich deep brown carpet of swamp weeds. They are not overgrown however and the hallway does not exude a disgusting moldy sensation. The light the party brings into the hallway begins refracting against the walls. As the party makes any sort of motion towards the walls they shift dramatically creating a scintellating wave of blues, pearls, and golds. Knowledge nature reveals the walls and ceilings are nested in great density with Shimmering Dragonflies. They stay locked together in a tight mesh no matter what the party does. The party can wander up and down the entire length of the hallway and find no exit, 45 ft in length. The party will need to create a constant source of light at the level of daylight spell AND add color to it to confuse the shimmering dragonflies to create openings in any 5ft section of the hallway.

Shrine of the Dala’nin – The north exit of the Shimmering Hallway opens via beautiful onyx doors, inlaid with graceful acid etched emblems of drow fellowship and matriarical might. These double doors open into the Shrine accompanied by the sound of ghostly drow melodies; low operatic verses telling stories of heroism and sacrifice of the drow warriors against the horrors of the hexa. Two ivory steps head downward from the onyx doors leading into a large oval shaped shrine. The clicking of the wings of the dragonflies dampen to nothingness as the onyx doors close behind the companions.

Unfolding before the party stands one of the most arresting displays any of the party have ever seen. Three drow valkyries stand against the far walls of this shrine. Their bodies, hewn from the deepest of underdark stone, stand over 14 feet tall. They are connected deeply with tower itself; the statue ends around the thighs and melds smoothly into the walls and floor. While the rest of the shrine is sparsely decorated, there are a few benches spotted across the room to allow any that seek guidance from the wisdom of these battle maidens.

Each statue has a raised plaque; flowing undercommon appears magically across the steel plate as the party reads.

Statue of Tal’ace = “With spear to pierce armor and sword to sever flesh, our maiden Tal’ace stands as champion for those that fight with honor, courage in the face of overwhelming opposition, and strength without end. Place within her hands an orb of zhaunil and Tal’ace will grant allies of this tower the strength to eliminate it’s enemies.”

Statue of Dil’taana = “With stave to incinerate and incantations to protect, our maiden Dil’taana stands as champion for those that fight with intellect, wisdom in the face of oppression, and magical might without end. Place within her hands an orb of zhaunil and Dil’taana will grant allies of this tower augments to eliminate it’s enemies”.

Statue of Phyrniss = “With aim to end any life and darkness to cloak the most vunerable, our maiden Phyrniss stands as champion for those that fight with precision, wit in the face of critical events, and constitution to survive all odds. Place within her hands an orb of zhaunil and Phyrniss will grant allies of this tower prowess to eliminate it’s enemies.”

Choir of Zha’linth – The party enters through the north entrance of this area. Laid out against the sides of this expansive area are theater benches to the north, west, and east sides of the auditorium. Along the south side is a raised stage with the remains of what would have been dozens of individual chairs for performers to sit. Battered curtains, molded paintings, and busted works of art litter all about the area creating some difficult terrain. This auditorium did not age into quiet decay; these ancient memories of the drow were destroyed violently without restrain. As the party moves within they can spot signs of claw and spell fire that wrought this destruction. It has been done in a gleeful manner with a perverse and sinister enjoyment taken in defiling this lost civilization. Hung high about the ceiling are chandilers creating dim light at best. It is within this sepia tinted flickering light that the companions and see ghostly figures appear on the stage. Spirits of beautiful drow songstresses, but even for spirits they are gaunt. Their incorporeal clothing hangs about them in tatters and each one has locked against their throats horrible manacles with thick chains dragged away from each spirit. As the chain leaves a few feet from the spirits they become corporal and gather in a powerful clawed hand to the right side of the stage. Cloaked in complete darkness the hand grips and yanks on the chains and the banshees begin to issue forth a sickening wail. Eldritch energies flow through the conductor’s claws, arcing across the chains and soak deeply into the throats of the spirits. It seems to control the wailing allowing the conductor to mask and manipulate the damage and effect the banshees emit. A loud screech erupts from the sides of the rooms as demons sense the approach of the holy paladin and attackthe party.
Upon defeating the demons, the enslaved banshees turn towards the marilith, uniting in symphony of wailing. Voices raised they drive toward the marilith incinerating it in horrible agony. The manacles turn to ash around their necks. They look towards the companions; Sol in particular. They have no words to left to speak; whether the spirits have chosen to silence themselves or perhaps they long ago lost the ability to speak in the words of Men. As Sol approaches the songstresses; the most regal of the ghosts floats forward. She reaches downward and lifts upwards a thick mat that had been laid out to mask the area under the stage. It will take some source of light to see within. With that light, the companions find the stolen art from the 2nd floor entrance and elsewhere within the tower. Oil paintings depict this very auditorium hall, filled with the Choir when they were alive. More abstract works also, things crafted by a people that seemed finally freed from the Underdark and whatever horrors their ancestors had fled to make it to this place. The Choir of banshees look favorably among the companions and with a guarded touch against Sol’s breast, they pledge to come to Ziggarat’s aid when called.

There are three exits of this area. To the east is a set of dark doors. The companions shadows seem to become lost within them and the handles appear to fade in and out of sight. Will take Perception DC 22 to spot the handles and a Reflex save DC 24 to actually grab them in time. If fail, trap negative energy damage 5d6. The tendrils of shade sort of pop and sizzle against the person opening.

To the south east is a reinforced steel archway. No door, the archway is strengthed by sigils of great fortitude.

To the south west is a doorway where the doors themselves have rotted away. Whatever steel may have been part of their wooden structure is rusted and pitted. Knowledge Nature DC 20 shows this is weather damage from the outside world.

Dusklight Hideout – entering through the shadow doors reveals what was once a den of rogues. Tables forged of ironwood (which would have been a sign of great fortune amongst the underdwelling drow) dot the room. The area is full of dust and cobwebs. Most of the seating arrangments have long since turned to dust. The party can parse through the various scroll cases that have survived, however the vast amount of knowledge in this room has long since turned to memory. What appears to be areas devoted to rogue trials still remain somewhat. The similarities to The Mussel is most striking. This appears to be an ancestor of that place. Anyone reading drow can find scraps of information. This place was known as the Dusklight Hideout, Dusklight being the name of the guild. SKILL CHALLENGE – Acrobatics, Bluff, Stealth all DC 23 – Flitting across the floor can be spotted small clockwork jacks, they are primitively animated and provide great sport and cunning to capture. They are the remenants of a Dusklight training exercise. The Rovers would be very happy to see the origins of their order. Find a beautiful onyx chest with an extravagant lock. Disable Device DC 35 – bloodvine rope, Tracker’s snuff, invisible ink, superior, 4000 gold.

Against the far wall is the living root. The party is directly above that area. Describe as the same, no amount of damage or destruction will cause it to fail. On this floor however it can be seen that the root is much more integrated into the tower itself, as if supplying it with sustance. This explains why the tower seems to be ageless compared to the ruins elsewhere across the southern coast of Ziggarat. Pipsqueak drenchs root after Soul fire breaths it.

The Anchored Path – passing through the imposing steel enforced archway, the companions enter into a long hallway with banded dark steel archs reinforcing the stone of the tower. These bands loop from floor to ceiling in what appears to be an almost stitched or knitted fashion. The bands themselves are not static steel, Knowledge Engineering reveals them to be a mesh and flexible. The hallway is cold and quiet. Motes of fiberglass like dust waft through the air and delving deeper into the hallway invites a dry hacking cough to everyone’s lungs. Along the hallway are 4 engineering alcoves, approximately 20 feet in diameter. Within each one is housed a great pulley mechnisim. A slender jeweled lever sits in an on/off position. Currently all the rooms are set to off. Anyone asking to look at the jeweled levers will notice room 1 and 2 are very similar to each other, but 3 and 4 are different than the rest (smaller, more auxiliary). The jeweled levers are dark and inactive, Spellcraft DC 24 reveals there must be some tool or enchantment to be spoken to activate them. Proceeding all the way to end of the hallway finds a grand staircase leading upward to the 3rd floor, yet the staircase simply ends abruptly against the cold unfeeling stone of the tower’s ceiling. Pipsqueak discovers Trivium element when a trap is triggered by attempting to activate the jeweled levers without the key item. She can take this knowledge to Eccelsia and get assistance in crafting a spell to take advantage of this rediscovered element.

Outworldly Passage – The companions will need to bash through the remainder of the door leading to this passage. Their nostrils are immediately attacked with the smell of mold and weather; this passage has wind and incredibly hot dampness flowing through it. This is not the cooling relief of the dragonfly hallway. This is the high summer of Ziggarat and the encroaching thunderhead moving in from the west. An opening, violently torn into the tower’s outer shell, is plainly visible 15 feet down the passage with the faint sounds of battle drifting inward. Splatters of thick glob-like rainwater pounds into the passage from this opening, each splash sizzles as it hits the exposed stone. Gutteral abyssal can be plainly through this opening. At the end of the passage is another sizable door, this one carved with symbols of knowledge and teaching, all in undercommon.

Outworldly Balcony – The party moves onto the balcony and back into the terrifying weather of the southern coast of Ziggarat. The first bands of the thunderhead have made land fall and bring with it lashing winds (heavy rain, severe winds, Concentration checks are penalized by 10 for spellcasters; the winds and rain arising from the thunderhead are vile; they can only be affected within an area of consecrate, healing effects from good or neutral sources operate at ¾ strength). The party can see the ground below outside this side of the tower. An extending balcony, some parts crumbled stretches out before them. Engaged in deadly battle below (the sound accentuated by the crashing of wave and storm) are the forces of Sarenrae, paladins and clerics (Soul’s leadership followers) with forces of Lamashtu, specifically the grave robbers the party tangled with earlier. It is not war by the books; there is no visible forward line amongst the paladins. Individual pockets, 2-3 paladins with 1 cleric for support, bleed and strike back against growing hordes of the demonic forces. They are unable to collasce into a unified fighting force because from above, on this balcony, an elite team of abyssal snipers and casters have routed them. Splitting them into small consumable bites for the ground forces below. If this battalion isn’t taken out soon, the goodly followers of Saranrae will be unable to amass any defense and will be torn to ribbons! The leader of the elite forces appears at end of round 1, introducing himself as Gezgexin; his speech in ancient Abyssal mixed the sound of crunching bone. The companions can see he chews on what appears to be a mouth piece composed of the slender finger tips of elvish and human adepts. These lowly clerics of Saranae and Besmara were stolen away by Gezgexin’s minions in the darkness moments of the night, when neither goddesses light could find them. The most vile of Lamashtu’s torturers expertly snapped the young clerics fingers into the most painful arrangment; forcing their somatic gestures to call only upon Lamashtu’s divine gifts. With their clerical arts shattered, the innocent clergy’s last vision was Gezgexin leaping forth from deeper darkness, severing their hands from their wrists with his maw before smashing their throats open with his barbed tail. Gezgexin chews on this mass of knuckles, marrow, and tendon much like a ball of tobacco; slurping and swallowing with each snap of his jaw. It is obscene and something no one will ever forget. His honor guard of vrocks screech forth at his call to arms!

After a pitched battle including the destruction of Testament (Haloren gathers the remenants of the great hammer, split asunder in a powerful attack against Gezgexin. He gives these shards to Dante), the companions defeat Gezgexin and his forces. Kengr is taught the meaning of the word destruction, and questions what has this city of humanoids done to deserve such violent attacks, specifically the negative energy he has suffered. He briefly mentions that one of the number he seeks is his Chieftess. He does not refer to her by name. Sol is healed of his affliction and the party is cured by Abe and a few low level clerics.

Still battered and beaten, wisps of life force leaking from their bodies due to the permenant negative levels from Gezgexin’s attacks, the party moves cautiously into the western exit of the Outworldly Balcony. The entrance to the Classroom of Screa.

Classroom of Screa – The opposite door of the Outworldly Passage ends at the entrance to the classroom. A sizable door, hewn in beautifully oiled ironwood, bears symbols of knowledge and teaching all in undercommon. The writing isn’t from a single hand or artist; many drow added their words to this door. The majority of the writings are only a few feet off the ground and bear the look of youth exuberance. Celebration of achieving high marks on intense exams. The door is firmly locked but the signs of claw marks and spellfire can be seen against the frame where the demons of the previous few rooms attempted to force their way through. Disable Device DC 22 reveals the door is sealed with magics that cannot be unlocked by force. Reading the undercommon with greater focus spots 4 glowing sigils that require Read Magic to interpret. Whoever reads the sigils touches them gingerly as they read. The sigils hum out of tune in broken notes and glow a sickly slight blue/purplish hue. Perform Keyboard DC 18 to play the correct tune to open the door; it is a simple ditty played to sooth youngling drow to sleep. Perception DC 24 will notice a hidden release that once pulled produces a strangle, slender, pole like appendage from door’s frame. It has several small oval holes carved into the darkwood appendage (about 10 inches long). If the same tune is played through the wind flute (the party must identify it as such and inquire about making a Perform Wind DC 18 check) something can be heard opening within the classroom.

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Tower of Drostan 1st floor

Entrance into the Towers of Drostan – the party enters through 2 massive onyx doors. The first level of the towers stretches upwards about 3 stories before there is a ceiling. Several winding staircases lead to various rooms and levels within this area. Fairly advanced pully system elevators lie in different states of disarray; a few seem like they could be repaired. The entire area maintains a dim glow from elderly continual light spells that are nearing the end of their enchanted life. Several makeshift arcane “cubicles” have been setup and are mostly disheveled. These were the stations the Python and the Veil wizards and setup to investigate the southern horizon. Obvious signs of struggle, bleeding, and violence are splattered across floor and wall in this level. The party can see signs of where wizards were infested by the apocolypse locusts. Some did not survive the transformation; their bodies lie in mangled piles atop tables and banisters. The superheated airs of Ziggarat seem blocked within this tower due to it’s incredible design; the bodies dotting the area still maintain their death masks with little sign of decay.

1st floor

Python and the Veil HQ – The party arrives in this area as they enter the first floor of the tower. This was the hastily setup headquarters for the Python and the Veil. The party is attacked by denizens of the tower that have moved into this area since the wizards fled. They will discover a crystal orb that must have been used by the wizards but is much too old to have been constructed by them. No amount of investigation reveals any secrets of the orb. It’s insides swirl about lazily; filled with drab grayish smoke. All the texts found pertain to research of the swollen southern sky. what swells the southern sky is not demonic in nature; it’s emergence into our realm seems to be opportunistic. As if what lies behind the bloated super heated cloud line has foresight into the approaching reckoning Ziggarat will suffer from Lamashtu’s invastion and wants to be present for it’s own reasons. The wizards had planned to navigate to the top level of the tower (4th) which would put their view directly across to the horizon. However, they soon became besieged by apocalyse locusts that somehow made their way into the tower and were forced to flee.

An intensely fortified portculis stands to the north of the room. Entrance is impossible into the area behind it. Knowledge Nature DC 18 identifies it as some sort of living root. It is immune to any attacks (grows back within moments) and attempts to teleport/dim door through it are met with intense thorn damage. The party does detect a faint sweet, flowery scent anytime they near the portculis.

Right north HQ exit – Stained Hallway – A long hallway stretched before the party. The floor is checkered; alternating diamond shaped obsidian and marble construction. The ceiling sports a beautiful if somber pattern of geometrical shapes, lots of dark blues and purples. Along the walls are mounted exquisite stained glass works of art. Behind each one burns (and in most cases sputters) continual light spells to illuminate the figures and stories told by the glass (histories of the beginning of the drow nomads). No part of this hallway connects to the outside world. At the far end of the hallway is a raised stoned dais. As the party approaches, some of the stained glass panes break forward, forming into glass golems. Investigating the raised dais shows a slot for a crystal orb yet the one the party possesses does not fit. Hidden Alcove – One of the panes has a depth to the scene like a diorama. It shows a dull colorless scene of small contingent of drow wizards battling what appear to be mechanically enhanced foes. 8 legged arachnids with swords and shields for appendages; wolf like shadow-y apparitions with sparks for breath. Each of the wizards wields a different spell element (one of each). Casting a damaging spell of each element for a total of 20 spell levels (5 levels of each; cold, fire, acid, electricity, sonic) causes the stained glass to animate. The wizards fight back against the mechanical enemies. The pane shatters revealing a hidden alcove of drow technology. Martial Training Sprint – The stained glass directly to the right of the dais near the end of the hallway depicts a drow warrior in the throes of intense martial training. It is embelished greatly; it shows a female drow literally lifting the crust of the earth above her upward with embossed sweat pooled up at the feet of the figure. Perception DC 25 to spot secret door. Opening the door (which slides very smoothly as if damp from sweat) reveals a long dark path, much more narrow than the stained hallway. The proximity of the negative energy plane can be felt intensely here. Glimmering with a slight wink of light is a small object bobbing up and down slightly as if suspended from thin air. The sharpest of perception can only deduce it is sized for a medium humanoid. A few steps in and the object dances backwards at slightly faster rate. If anyone attempts a full movement into the hall the object will continue to keep out of reach and vision and at the end of the round.

Left north corner of HQ exit – Curtained Expanse – The party enters into a room that is lined (inside as well) with thick billowing dark curtains. These are thick tapestries; hand woven with fibers from the deepest of undercommon plant life. Those with no need of sunlight. This room is completely dark as per deeper darkness. Once any sort of sight can be obtained 2 bluish globes can be seen, their light almost panting underneath these ruffled drapes. Approaching within 15 feet of either globe triggers combat. Treat curtains as Dark Curtain spell. Once enemies are defeated, the two blue helix orbs can be retrieved and placed into the slots within the large steel doors to the south. They have to be punched in and imbue Dante’s fists with a bluish hue when activated (bane baldric) They short circuit the very advanced locking mechanisms. Once dispelled the doors fall backward into the Steel Plaza (their age is too great for their weight), making a terrifying clanging BOOM.

Steel Plaza – This is the final room of the 1st floor of the tower. Everything in this room is made of cold unflinching steel. The sound of falling doors takes a few moments to clear out of the ears of the party. Dozens of permenacy’d dancing lights and outlines of fairae fire drape across the plaza. These lights glint with sharp silver and gray shafts of light off of the steel foundation of this expansive room. An exit can be seen at the far end of the room; a grand staircase (blocked by arcane locks bound to the guardian) that leads upwards to the 2nd level of the tower.

Investigating left room – Treatise room – This small private office was used within the plaza to act as a room of diplomacy and peace making between ruling families, martial powers, and mages within the ancient drow. The steel walls in this room are line with a deep jade, a color considered neutral among these ancient drow. While anything made of simple hides or skins have long since turned to dust, a few volumes remain; books cast in thin but firm bronze leaflets. The wording is acid etched and quite fade. It is the Treatise of Phor’tresk’ri, in common this translates to peace within the overworld. It would make quite a prize to any collector of books.

Investigating right room – Knowledge planes will reveal the staircase visible in this room that leads down is unusable here in the prime material plane. Any attempt to use it will see the walker coming back up the steps. The rest of this room is incredibly soothing with gentle sloping couches made of smooth steel. This room was an escape for military leaders weary from battle.

After defeating the guardian the arcane locks binding the door blocking the grand staircase collapse; crashing to the ground and splintering into jagged shards of metal. The staircase looms upward in a spiral leading to the 2nd floor of the tower. The companions may rest here yet an unease settles into the place as they feel aggressive forces could move in beyond a single rest.

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The Python and the Veil, investigating the southern sky

Along the rows of abandoned towers (including the one Alexandra and Haloron consumated in), the wizards of the Python and the Veil have taken up shop to investigate the southern sky that will not set.

Dotting the landscape of the great southern cliff sides of Ziggarat are rows of abandoned towers. As the party moves about these towers they will be able to tell they were built by the ancestors of dwarf and drow nomads. These are without a doubt the oldest standing buildings within Ziggarat. Locals amongst the tengu speak in hushed tones calling this section old Ziggarat. The majority are so close to full decay they are just swaying piles of stone. The city has never found the heart to tear these towers down; even without intimate knowledge of their forefathers there is a wistful remberance to this area. After decades of building sprawl in all other corners of the city it has become an unspoken law within the city to leave these most southern cliff sides alone. The ground is overgrown with vines and brambles but small tokens of civilzation do show up rarely; garbage from a picnic, practice dummies full of arrows.The Pearl Garrsion maintains very strong standards of pollution control from their foundries so the entire area seems to be kissed by nature. Brilliant green and blue flower buds open as the companions brush by them; only to reveal hidden poisonous barbs. Remains of pitted carriages roadways fall into untamed wilderness. The party soon notices one of the larger hills atop the cliffside; two towers provide excellent view of the southern sky and crashing ocean far far below. They are about a mile away from the dropoff of the cliff itself. Faintly at first but more prevelant as the sweltering sun rises from the dawn of the day the companions can see a light shimmer of a protective field around the towers. Spellcraft check reveals it is sealed by the magics of the Python and the Veil, specifically by the very powerful Lainadan. This is the observation area that the Python and the Veil setup to view the southern horizon. It cannot be breached by any means; Pipsqueak can determine the seal was setup from the outside to prevent entry. The party will need to track down Lainadan to gain entry to the towers.

The party will discover dead wizards who have been gutted from the inside; rips and sinew torn outwards. Lainadan is nowhere to be found, the Python and the Veil have fled the city! The companions track down an infested diviner that is lurching about the Garrison. Discovered wounded Amarok, Kengr the arbitor. He tells the companions he is from the far north where the waters of Nidor turn into sheets of ice, and the ground is locked in tundra. Abyssal forces have spirited away his people and he has tracked them here. Kengr will inform the companions he spotted Lainadan moving into the sewers beneath this area.

Entering into the sewers – The party will emerge into fetid sewer waters with a sickening splash. The surrounding area is veiled in abject darkness; a veil of absolute loneliness and despair. Darkvision nor any light will pierce it’s depths. As the party moves about and tried to deduce what is going on, the sound of stretching reptilian muscles groan throughout the sewers wrapping around the party’s location. Within the Astral Plane nearby, some reptilian beast that devours the will of living creatures lurks; the Python. Dante identifies it due to his high Wisdom and can feel it lurking ever closer to the party as they move through the southern cliffs.

The honest darkness of the sewer will settle it which can be pierced by darkvision and magical light. Behind them stretches West to East a large connecting sewer line; running between some of the abandon towers above. To the right fallen rubble from a tower long collpased into the underdark remains. It’s bleached white stone gleams like bone against the bleary slime of dozens of molds and unidentified refuse. A walkway exists along the sewer water the party stands in; barely held together cobbled rubble. Moving along it is nerve wracking to say the least; as if the catacombs they have arrived in will fold in at any time to entomb them. Looking along the sewer line reveals dead ends in both directions; a system long since left to decay. Moving south along the walkway with bring the party within touching distance of the Heightened symbol of fear. Triggering this trap unleashes a way of energy that stills the soul; an irrational purposeless sensation of stark emptiness. A stream of rat kings, snakes, and mis-aligned eyes push along the far side of the symbol of fear, fleeing deeper down into the sewer system through the main filter. A deep throaty chug of foul waters can be heard pumping on the other side of the filter. As the party moves through the symbol they catch view of the pumping station drowning the fleeing creatures.

Across the main filter, beyond the pumping station and away from the sewer minions, two grand arcane locks stand triumphantly at the far ends of the walls. Between them is a olympian sized slab of steal, recently erected as a final barricade. Releasing the arcane locks are the only way open the slab, which does not simply open but immediately melts within itself turning into a Molten brass death trap!!!

as the party struggles to survive, whispers of elvish enchantment bleed out of the room behind the arcane locks. Retched tapestries, rat chewed and bloodied, cover the ground. They have been clawed by elven tooth and nail as if Lainadan was trying to dig his way further into deep dark. Two oily flickering continual flames drape the room and tapestries with foreign light, as if the enchantments that gave these flames life were from another realm. Lainadan’s words fall apart as soon as they leave his throat, the sacrilege that emerges from his mouth cannot and should not be called speech. His eyes look upward and away, completely dryed and cracked from lack of sleep. Waves of turmoil, doubt, and self harm boil out of him. His arm flies upwards towards the party; sounds of blasphemous fey magic on his white lips. with a variety of checks the party deduces Lainadan’s arcane magic had been converted to druidic by a foul disease; and drove him mad in the process.

The party defeats Lainadan, recovering treasure and a ritual to unseal the barrier covering the Towers of Drostan. Traveling back to the Towers the party continues to feel the presence of the veiled astral python as it lazily drifts about the Pearl Garrison. An encountered with a demon and his bloody skeleton crew happens as the party approaches the Towers.

Outside description of Towers – The barrier drapes over both Towers but there is obviously a primary tower and a secondard tower; they are not both the same size. Both are very tall and formidable despite whatever ancient realm they sprang from. The construction is of drow design and appears to be one of the first buildings made by the race in Ziggarat above ground. It’s well hewn stone is marbled with other deep realm materials; long spirals of onyx and deep purple ameythsts grace it’s surface. Windows and openings appear to be very few and far between as the party gazes upwards. The secondary tower seems more timid in appearance and tone as if it were muted and shadowed. There is no direct entrance into the secondary tower and what appears to be very wispy shadow bridges extend from the primary tower to the secondary one. Bits of rubble float hapazardly around the summits of both towers. Natural decay that has worn down on the materials does not turn them into dust but insteads dislodges from the main towers and gets caught into a low gravitational pull as if the spirits of the Towers refuse to die.

After defeating the grave robbers the party stands before the Towers. The ritual to destroy the barrier is long and exhausting taking several hours to perform. Once the ritual is complete the barrier surrounding the towers sputters into vapor and is blown away by the hot damp winds fan against Ziggarat from the tremedous thunderhead approaching the coast. Far off sickly sounding thunder can be heard as the party enters the large entrance to the primary tower; random splats of salted ocean rain chase them inside. The inflamed southern horizon seems to throb to the footsteps of the party as they enter as if watching from afar.

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Adaro and the Tide

Rebel monks have left the Makai Brotherhood, charmed by the power of adaro and sick of the weakness of Ziggarat. They have proclaimed a new monk fellowship called the Tide of Supremacy. Slinking into the ocean’s depths they have given the adaro crucial information about the defenses of the Bay of Life. The wisest amongst Yi Tu and Makai have determined the very bones of the earth the Bay is built upon needs to be rebuilt. Journey to Yi Tu’s dormitory, travel down the Training Pit and petition the earth spirits for assistance. Find the Requiem Beetle, defeat the Adaro and Tide along the way!

The party moves down the Training Pit with Dante leading the way. The slope of the earth begins to curve and become more slick to step upon; the rough soil and rock of the entrance into the Training Pit gives way to glassy obsidian and dark crystals illuminated in shades of purple and blue. The party can see beneath them the rooms of the training pit, much like looking down on an opera house from the catwalks above. The Pit lies in ruins, several members of the Yi Tu that were training here are ripped to shreds by claw and scarred with acid. Blood mars the walls and has drained into grooves along the floor. The catwalks collapse as the companion descend into the Pit, destroying all hope of leaving that way. After purification the companions are attacked by several Kurobozu they couldn’t see, rising out of veins of Plane of Earth.

The companions exit through a tunnel created by a huge sized creature. The walls are horrifically scarred and pitted via an acidic gel that still sloshes around clawed grooves in the earth. Passing through this tunnel reveals more exotic veins of elemental earth as the party moves in and out of the plane of earth and the material plane. The tunnel twists and turns; formed to create the most destruction on the surface world far above but still allow passage by non burrowing creatures. After several hours of slow plodding movement the bottom of the tunnel gives way under their feet and they begin sliding down a slick obsidian slope increasing in speed and gravity. The gravity becomes so intense that their blood is pushed down to their feet and they become light headed. Just before the sensation of passing out is too much they pass into a wide opened area, firmly within the Plane of Earth. The slick tube they have been sliding down has turned into a strip of strong dark glass, about 3 feet in width. It tapers into a sharp point which eventually becomes so narrow the companions fly off the ramp into empty oblivion. The intense gravity fades providing release as they tumble through gravel speckled air. A great rocking noise occurs all around them; the sound of 2 grand hill sides moving past each other. The ramp turns into multiple ramps, each one peeling away from the other in a fan like motion. The gravel air heaves upwards from beneath their rotating bodies to form a thick bridge, building outward several feet in any direction they move towards. The ramps rise far above them curving upwards, now 2 sets separated by a grand distance. Horizontal slits tear open in the obsidian and iron under the fanned out lashes; huge boulders of milky white pearl irised with man sized hunks of sapphire turn downward toward the party as they slowly stand up shaking their heads to regain their sense of balance. Defined features graft in the metals and stone beneath the eyes; a slender sloped nose, high arched cheekbones formed of emerald. Rubies embed the full lips of a powerful maw, teeth shorn from shining marble. Dark and royal is her chin, her neck slopes backwards into the darkened depths of the plane. This is the face of the Crystalline Queen, Sairazul. She proclaims aloud with authority, royalty, nobility, and poise: “Creations of flesh, your provokations against my homeland will be visited with weighted vengence. Your bodies will be crushed into paste, and your souls will suffocate under my gaze.”

Sairazul will attempt to attack at the beginning. She shifts the heavy gravitational field towards herself, dragging the companions across the surface of the makeshift asphault. She appears to be ready to unleash a very potent gaze attach when she begins to choke. Her maw opens and up comes a torrientally spout of muddy burning sand. The fire of her lips turns gray. Her teeth and rest of her features take on a pale hue. Charisma and strength seems to pour out of her every orifice. She is terminally sick from the damage the Adaro and Tide have wrought with their tunneling attacks.

After coming to realization the companions are not her enemies she will tell them of the Adaro and Tide, that they need to find the Requiem Beetle who can hunt down the dozen or so tunneling groups that are weaving through the foundation of the Bay of Life. She turns her gaze to the far side of the cavern they sit within. Even through the gravel air the companions can see her gravity altering gaze open a large gash within the solid core of the plane. She tells them this will lead them to the Requiem Beetle. The beetle acts as a rejuvanting force in this vein of the plane of earth, devouring the very bones of the plane to recreate them; stronger than before. The disease and rot the Adaro have brought into her world becomes too much and she begins to crack, her features splitting open with bursts of primal molds and abyssal fungi. Her death cry is the sound of a draining swamp, bubbling and caught in her throat. As her skull pours down her corrupted face her brain becomes visible. A single shining stone seems to have been spared from the disease. With a sharp sounding PING! It pops outward falling towards the crevasse below. After retrieving the stone the gravity holding the asphault together begins failing and the party must flee towards the new opening. If placed to the ear, the faint sound of Sairazul’s sickened moans can be heard. The stone will need to be cured.

Continuing through the snaking tunnels within the Plane of Earth; the foundation of the Bay of Life. Signs of toxicity and radiological decay become prevelent. These are the signs of Ayrzul, elemental lord of toxicity, known as the Fossilized King. Abyssal taint is intertwined with these profane symbols, further adding evidence that agents of Lamashtu and Ayrzul are allied in their siege of Ziggarat. The companions hear sounds of humanoid speech echoing from opening ahead. A steep climb followed by a few tight turns brings the companions to the catacomb entrance where the voices originate. The earth here is incredibly dense and seem to inhale the light around them. The catacomb is filled with dim light due to these light sponges. An adaro tunneling team is in the catacombs and have ran into a thick vein of this dead star matter and are arguing about the best way to proceed. The underling adaro slink away as soon as the companions attack.

After defeating the adaro and Tide, the party will be faced with the wall the adaro and Tide were stuck at; they had begun carving into the earth with the bulette’s acid until they hit fortified earth the acid could not penetrate. Dense and layered abjuration magics are applied like mortar to this wall, settled deep into the backbone of the plane itself. The only exit to this chamber is the corridor the adaro underling slinked out of. Within a few minutes the party will happen upon the adaro underling flaying against the wall, just his lower torso and legs sticking out. His abdomen is swollen as if viciously stung. Lines of petrification are actively moving through his skin, following his veins and arteries. 2 length rope like appendages snap out of the wall, snagging the bottom of the underlings feet and snapping his legs down and forwards, his kneecaps splitting in twain. 2 more tentacles barbed with horrific stingers, coil around his thighs. The petrification washes through the adaro and his corpse is sucked into a creavace within the wall. As the party moves past this part of the corridor they can slightly hear the sound of flesh and bone matter dissolving. The creavace and 50 feet in all directions is irridated, interfering with teleportation magic and causing Con drain.

Within an hour of traveling through more corridors, enduring periods of low oxygen, digging through walls of debris, fighting small pockets of heighten gravity, the party can start to feel the ground swelling, then deflating every minute. Passing through a tunnel that has been shored up by the adaro, the party enters into their main lair. 200 feet in length, the Requiem beetle (60 feet in length) has been bound via foul druidic magics on the far side of the lair. It breathes slowly, tettering on death. Dozens of bands of adaro and Tide monks, similar in makeup to the group the party just defeated, mill about the lair in and out of similar tunnels to the one the party huddles in. From here the Adaro are taking the bulettes on destructive expeditions, burrowing upwards to the points where the Bay of Life on the material plane touch the skin of the earth plane. The eldest ashvawg, the cruelest and most cunning of her order, stalks about the beetle with several of her pupils. They are discussing new ways of attempting to control it as they wish to use it’s voracious appetite to their own ends. Based on the wounds the creature sports, some fresh and oozing downward into small pools of slimy liquid, the ashvawgs just failed at trying to torture the beetle into servitude. The party has no hope of battling their way through this situation and will quickly meet their respective makers if they take on the lair by force. The party can attempt to either distract the majority of the forces away from the lair (appeal to the Cave Blights) or wait until the majority of the forces are asleep and attempt to sneak in. In either case they will need to subdue and control the Requiem Beetle in some fashion (sing to it in Terran or anything as creative) after battle the eldest ashvawg and some of her pupils.

Dante makes loose diplomatic connection to the Cave Blight and convinces it to attack the Adaro as it enjoys the taste of their flesh. Soul communes with a clan of earth elements, the Silver Fox clan. He discovers the chamber the Adaro and tide are using as their base is a nursery for newly born elementals. Soul gains alliance with the Silver Fox elementals.

After freeing the Requiem Beetle from it’s prison it can be guided to repair the damage the Adaro and Tide have caused (lots of chomping on them as they flee). The Requiem Beetle can easily carry the party upon it’s back but they will have to enact some level of protection against the earthen environment as they go smashing through the tight caverns. The beetle seems to have little issue tracking any breathing living creature as their scent and movement of air through their lungs is extremely alien to this beast. The beetle swims easily through rock and mortar, murdering both Adaro and Tide trespassers with reckless abandon. It avoids areas of deep radiation, long stretching maws of green tinted stone. Deep with those curved recesses the companions can see the eyes of cave blights staring back at them. The beetle has taken them to the border of the blight’s homeland; pinning the remaining adaro and tide forces against their deadly lands. The beetle picks up speed here, it’s crushing weight breaking the backs of many adaro who are left screaming as the cave blights ensnare them with their stinging tentacles. The party quickly loses all sense of direction as the beetle pushes up, down, and diagnoally to repair the acidic damage done by the forces of evil. It slows eventually, it’s gait and movement become more measured and steady. It tunnels upward bringing all of it’s riders back to the Ruby Cave. Those ruby walls stretch upward but the beetle seems to have little interest in it, shifting it’s weight to the ground and falling into a deep digesting sleep. The party will have to rest here; the path back to the Pit of Training was destroyed when the Crystalline Queen passed.. Those taking the final watches will begin to feel disconcerning unease in their nerves; from the ruby wall ebbs a pulse of ancient evil, grand and powerful. It fades as if something is pushing it back but it only returns, stronger and awakening.

Upon waking the beetle will follow whatever orders the party wishes; it can be directed to bring them back to the surface or it can begin moving through the ruby wall in front of them. This direction will take time, as the beetle moves slowly through this substance, thereby revealing it’s defensive powers. After moving through a few dozen yards of ruby, the walls strata changes to a deep exotic green. Veins of emerald seem to be sewed and stitched into the ruby wall.

After several hours, with a final push the beetle breaks through the last segment of the wall, emerging into a wide open domain. It will venture no further. An expansive dome lies in front of the party in a large flat field. Surrounding the field on all sides is the ruby and emerald wall. As the party moves across the field long decayed remains of dwarven weaponry litter the ground, evidence of an epic battle. They turn to vaporous dust when disturbed. What corpses may have been here have long since mixed with the earth below. But as the party moves across they begin to hear the sound of pitched dwarven battle. The ground seems to push forward under the movement of metal clad boots. Battle cries mixed with hundreds of screams ignite the air. Sparks from metal against metal spray onto the heads of the companions; showing the weapons of giants must have clashed against the dwarves. Most arresting on this plain of battle as the party moves ever near to the dome are signs of large swatchs of graveled earth. These patches have no dwarven weaponry and the phantom sounds die to but a whisper; areas where death was swift and efficent to these ancient dwarves.

Within 50 feet of the dome, the party’s booted feet ignite runes of protection pounded into the earth with dwarven blood. Spellcraft check reveals these runes bind against extraplanar movement; nothing can teleport into or out of this area. One final phantom battle order can be heard, commanding clerics to sanctify the area and for arcane artisans to begin building a cage around whatever foe they engage. The dome is impossibly large, constructed by team of ultra rare dwarven stonemasons who wield wizardly powers. It is enarmored layers of walls of stone, force, and regal materials known only to long dead sages. A single skeleton, the only fallen dwarf to have a corpse, lays against the entrance to the dome, it’s hand resting upon a lock, it’s pin the firing mechanism of the Radiant Silvergun. The party knows this is the final cell, enclosing whatever this clan of dwarves enprisoned. It is from here the pulse of evil originates. A gunsmithing plus religion check shows that Crystalline Queen’s existance was integral to these binding mechanisms outside of the dome; the runes on the ground, the protective layers entwined within the ruby wall. With her death, the only thing that remains is this dome and it’s single lock built as a failsafe. It will not fail immediately but eventually and it will destroy the Radiant Silvergun’s mechanism with it.

Within the dome is a lair of elemental and foul evil. Radioactive pools pock mark the landscape; tall spires of rigid stone pierce upwards into the darkness. Statues of giants litter the area, most broken but a few standing tall quite regal with scythe in hand. From out of the largest pile of radioactive decay, the serpentine swish of tail, buffet of wing, and tear of claw can be seen. The crystalline dragon emerges:

“I am Gordess, son of Aryzul. General of his armies, commander of the entombed legions. The dwarves of ages long decayed captured and confined me here; making me a prisoner within my own lands. With the demise of Sairazul the final bindings on me have been released. Her throne is now Aryzul’s and while he rules our homeland I will stretch my wings and venture upward; into the aired lands of mortals and partake of the upcoming feast of flesh that even now encroaches onto your shores. Such is your lot in life; to be fuel for the engines of greater kingdoms. Paladin, monk, sorceress, and rogue; you are too far under earth for your prayers to reach the ears of gods or goddesses. Look upon me; and beg for quick slaughter”. The battle immediately turns against the party as Gordess dampens their initiative. As the party struggles to keep in combat, the spirits of the fallen dwarves outside in the plains whisper a lost secret to them; they have learned Refocus!

Pipsqueak is able to open the domed door with the last assistance of the dwarven skeleton outside; this is the spirit of Geth Belmont wielder of the Radiant Silvergun.

Upon Gordess’s defeat, Pipsqueak moves out of the domed prison back into the open fields. Reacting to her casting additional spells into the void, the rest of the companions join her. Before them are a battalion of phantasm Tomb Giants; much like the ones defeated alongside Gordess but with more powerful weapons. In the raised sky of the cavern the party can see a projected dragon’s face eclipsed mostly in shadows. Her eyes are older and wiser than Gordess’s but carry a strong familial bond; this is the mother of Gordess. She lets loose a powerful roar and tears down the walls of ruby and emerald surrounding the field. The debris pools up, rolling around 2 central points (one for the ruby and one for the emerald). Her draconic power brings life to these golems, Ruby and Emerald Engines surrounding a core of infinity. With that, the projection fades, the Engines burrow off into the distance and the phantasm Tomb Giants evaporate into ectoplasmic mist.

The party rejoins the beetle back in the ruby chamber and rides it back to the city of Ziggarat. They speak with the Makai and Yi Tu about their victory. Riches are split and spent. The next day, they move to investigate the southern cliff sides of Ziggarat and the foreboding inflammation of the southern sky….

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Betrayal at the Mussel, uplifting speech at the Witness.

The bards of Lyceum are working with the urban barbarians to get into sync. The barbarians are struggling working with the bards; they are weak of body. The companions decide to side with the barbarians using their skills to convince the bards the barbarians should lead.

At The Mussel, a surprise attack is launched by Lamashtu’s forces! Hordes of Nerizo flood the alleys around Beguile. These bipedal hound like demons wield firearms forged of Abyssium; a horrid substance that poisons anyone touching them who isn’t native to the Abyss. Survayas, Claddath and Kenth join the companions in the streets outside the Mussel. Claddath and Kenth push further into the streets in an attempt to defend the people of Beguile After defending the tavern against the hordes, the party escapes inside with Survayas.

Survayas seems poised to tell Soul who sabatoged the defenses outside the Mussel (protective wardings setup to prevent extraplanar travel) when she is suddenly stabbed! Soul’s courageous spirit helps her fight back the pain Party can give chase through the basements of the tavern until they come upon pantry with a floor secret door, inlaid with infernal sigils. Delving into the hidden bunker unveils a world of devilish worship; tattered oil canvases, vases teaming with fiendish flora. The iconography is well worn but in each piece is the symbol of two lantern flames encapsulated in iron cages. Fresh sacrifice litters the floor, several spots slick with innocent victims. Mixed in with the art are images of Rickshaw’s ancestors, adorned in worship to the infernal wielder of flame. Rickshaw’s disguised voice emanates from the far side of the bunker. He thanks the companions for cleansing the talisman and leading to the release of his patron saint. The forces of Lamashtu that held my patron prisoner, the disgusting Cult of the Red Rain, deserve to be stricken from this world. Ziggarat needs the focused leadership of the infernal, not the slobbering grotesque anarchy that the Cult would bring. He invites the party to join him in worship of the lantern wielder, to join the only force powerful enough to beat back Lamashtu and her cult. Rickshaw destroyed the protective sigils in the streets of Beguile to lure out the cult’s initial forces as commanded by the Lantern Wielder, to weed out who amongst the Rovers will be too weak to serve under the Lantern Wielder once this cleansing is complete.

Rickshaw transforms into a heresy devil and begins inscribing the first bible of the Lantern Wielder. Once the party defeats Rickshaw, they will find in the back of his underground lair a stretching river of unholy waters. The River Styx flows against the Mussle bridging the planes to Stygia and the Palace of Destruction where the Lantern Wielder holds sway building his power. A mysterious winged voice (Spirit of the Velve, Turul) will inform the party they cannot sail across these waters without a holy buffer to protect their vessel. Taking a sample of the River Styx and analyzing it at a Catherdral or Temple will reveal they need the whole vitae of a noble paladin who must give his life to ferry the ship to the Palace. Soul and dante purify bodies, burying in dirt after smashing up floor. SOUL READS SCROLL ON EACH CORPSE. Places “Caution Cellar” on the door as the party leaves.

Many of the Rovers have fallen in the defense of their base. As Dante moves amongst the wounded within the main room of the Mussel he hears the sounds of tears falling to the well worn bar floor. Kenth, the younger of the two drow twins, weeps over his elder brother’s fallen body. Claddath is no more.

A small (but vocal) migration of Besmaran clerics are heading to the Witness of Sarenrae. Lady Aqueous is arguing with them. Skill Challenge to prevent a spiritual divide between the followers of Sarenrae and the brazen minority (successful). At the Witness Sol gives his speech. Aasimars crowd the Witness, proclaiming the return of a fallen hero.

Dante returns to the Yi Tu Brotherhood with the companions in tow. He is told by Kalani that a small group of monks have left the Makai, fed up with what they see as weakness amongst the inhabitants of Ziggarat. These were the dude bros that have given Dante trouble in the past. These monks have joined the Adaro off the coast of the Bay of Life and declared independence from the city, calling themselves the Tide of Supremacy. With their intimate knowledge of the Bay they have been leading the Adaro in surprise attacks against the Makai and Yi Tu, attempting to collapse the very ground of the Bay of Life into the oceans swelling grasp (continuing to swell by the encroaching thunderhead). Dante convenes with the elders of Yi Tu who humbly asking him to petition the earth spirits below the temple to assist in defending the tunnels beneath the Bay against this newfound treat.

Dante and companions delve deep into the Training Pit; an entrance to the Elemental Earth plane housed within the Yi Tu. His last vision of the world above is Kalani. They both exchange gestures of caution to each other.

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Iridescent Grotto

Eager to seek more power in the upcoming battle with Lamashtu’s forces the companions decide to seek out the last remaining treasure of the Blue Lotus. This leads them off the coast of Ziggarat about a mile out to a serene underwater cavern. Battling some denizens of the ocean to gain entrance, the party enters into the lost Temple of Besmara, a much different place of worship than the current modern Cathedral. Here the forces of the Blue Lotus ruled, a powerful group of pirates and brigands brought together by the strength of the chaotic deity. Moving through the temple they discovering lost artifacts of Lady Aquaeous, the first cleric of Besmara. Dante discovers a first draft of Besmara’s holy texts which foretells doom for the city of Ziggarat. They battle evils from below the mantle’s crust in the form of Crag Man, brutal thugs who kill and pillage in glory of Ayzrul known as the Fossilized King.

Walking among the remains of the Blue Lotus’s forces, bits of armor and armaments left behind in a rush, the companions begin to fall against each other in discord; Pipsqueak in particular. The temple’s worship was driven by a very complex aquatic system of music known as the Handel, generated by a flowing curtain of blessed waters to pass through exotic instruments. The waters have become foul, drenched in brine and salt causing the once inspiring musics to become painful and bitter. Some equipment is rescued however; a suit of full plate armor, a mysterious sheath, and a portable smithery.

The party finds a second area! Seemingly entwined with the Temple another chamber is hidden to the west. Breaking into it, the party finds themselves inside the remains of a collosal sea creature. It appears to be the remains of another nightwave, but a positive energy version. The companions are beset by salt drakes from the cavernous ceiling above and begin battle. The companions prove themselves to be better warriors and defeat all by one of the salt drakes. The remaining drake is the leader, an alpha among his species with the appetite for combat. The party convinces the drake that his path to reincarnation as a true dragon lies in the world above, namely in the upcoming battle with Lamashtu.

Climbing above the Rising Annex, the party comes into the Ark of Wealth, the highest floor of the Temple of Besmara. Here resides the fortune of the Blue Lotus and her crew, as well as the music instrument that drives worship in the temple below; the Handel. Suspended above the large open cavern is a planar opening to the elemental plane of Water, seeded with the holy waters of Besmara. It is seething with chaos but docile as it is under control of the solaric dragon, Rezlara. The elderly brine dragon stands above the party, greedy for the wealth of magic and coin they bring on their person. She desires to add their treasure to her hoard and defeat them the same way she did the Blue Lotus so many centuries ago. The Handel lies in ruin around them, Relzara’s salt laden breath weapon having ruined it long ago. This caused the water passing through it to be out of tune and in turn drove the Blue Lotus’s crew mad.

The companions battle Rezlara and 2 dwarven arcanists, mercs of Rezlara. After heated battle of sword and spell and the fall of Soul the paladin, the party is able to strike a killing below on the great dragon. The holy book that Dante discovered below in the temple, the original Testament of Besmara, flashes with a solar light and the party experiences a vision of Ziggarat under siege by Lamashtu’s forces. Coming from the vision, the party gives the tome to Lady Aqueous who appears in the Antechambers of Song within the temple and pledges her loyalty to the party. The figurehead of the Seawraith appears as well and becomes a mobile ship (which can form a ship’s body from a large body of water) that follows the party around. Lady Aqueous returns to the Cathedral of Besmara with the holy book, the 3rd and final treasure of the Blue Lotus. Soul is brought back to life with the solemn information that his goddess Sarenrae is mute, her vocal chords missing.

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Ziggarat Defense Council, preparing for siege

Soul tithes 27k to the church. Soul spends gold to buy enough BP to build an Exotic Artisan shop for Abe attached to brewery.

A few days after freeing the Ajari District and cleaning up the plantation, the companions are set upon with requests to discuss the defense of the city. The leaders of the various guilds and militias of the city wish to meet at night.

The party obtains enough good will and financing after rescuing the Ajari Plantation to construct the following buildings which have :

Items highlighted were choosen

Any 2 of the following, each deployed to Inlet+Beguile, Pearl Garrison, the Proper, or Bay of Life
INLET+BEGUILE Bardic College – 3 rounds of every combat, gain inspire heroism (must be declared at beginning of round). Rounds do not need to be spend consectively.
Foreign Quarter – 1/combat, reroll any failed save.
Guildhall – 1/combat, treat your character level as 4 levels higher for any activated ability
THE PROPER Military Academy – all movement speeds increased by 10ft, +2 initative, fast healing 5

Any 2 of the following which gets deployed to every area in the city

Hospitals – Any time you receiving healing that is not a cantrip, fast healing, or regeneration, heal an extra +2d6
Museums – Preserve the culture of Ziggarat and it’s peoples against the encroaching hordes
Caster Towers – At the beginning of every combat, call down 10 magic missiles divide amongst any number of targets. This ignores spell resistance and functions in any anti magic field.

The following representatives gather at the plantation throughout the looming dusk. The city’s weather has gotten worse, and flooding has started to occur along the coast. Relm’s Blessing is maintaining with it’s powerful abjuration magics but the rest of the city is moving inland and building seawalls. It is under this slowly building chaos that the city’s defense council takes place.

From the north assaulting the Bay of Life will come the adaro and Dude Bros.
From the west assaulting the Inlet and Beguile will come the Daughter of Lamashtu and her demonic forces.
From the east assaulting the Proper will come the fallen paladins of Sarenrae.
From the south there is silence. A bleary red glow hangs in the air like a sunset that won’t quite leave. The sky seems inflamed and swollen yet nothing has emerged. Lainadan states he will turn his divination techniques to this area in the upcoming days.

Runas Deep – speaks for half elves and Jim Jum elves
Captain Insali – speaks for the rest of the Yccona refugees
Alexandra Hera – speaks for Opalescent Guard
Claddath and Kenth – speaks for the Rovers
Hazzier – speaks for the general public, those without religious conviction
Father Agni – speaks for Besmara and the merchant districts not controlled by the Rovers
Aganon Hera – speaks for Sarenrae and the Pelagic Way
Kalani – speaks for Makai Brotherhood
Uron – speaks for order of Eccelsia
Vesz – speaks drow and dwarven nomads
Vekel Gully – speaks for the Pearl Garrison
Lainadan – watches from the comfort of Eccelsia via numerous divination techniques. He does not hide this, and states he is doing it to make a recording of the events.

Main points of contention – protecting the half elves or let them go? Should the city try to evacuate into the wastelands? Should the city try to evacuate to the plane of shadow? EVACUATE TO BOTH, TRY TO SPLIT UP SO ONE SECTION CAN CARRY ON THE CITY’S LEGACY Who should be the first line of defense on with front (beach head MAKAI vs wasteland gates BARBARIANS BARDS vs Pearl Garrison OPALESCENT’ GUARD vs Bay of Life YI TU, rovers city wide, clerics everywhere except the proper, Pelagic Way will defend the waters)

BEGIN TRAPPING MAJOR ARTERIES OF THE CITY, PRIMARY FOCUS TO SLOW DOWN ASSAULT.

WEAPON FOCUS GHOST TOUCH WEAPONS FOR BARBARIANS TO BATTLE THE FALLEN PALADINS.

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Jolanera, Nightwing queen of the Isle of Terror

The companions battle their way into the Ajari Plantation. Searching it’s rooms, the party battles hordes of vicious animals, necrotic oozes, and delves into the lineage of the Ajari tengu family. Moving to the 2nd floor the party encounters Ehrimun, a ghoul’d necromancer. He is defeated and the party discovers a foul creature, Jolanera, has been whispering into his ear to get him to bring her magical items from every corner of the city. She has been pretending to be the spirit of Ehrimun’s former master, the missing wizardress Lilyana.

Despite Dante falling in battle, the party champions against the undead creature with the help of Ajari. He appears from the Cosmic Fire to help cleanse his home. Dante is brought back gaining new found power from the mysterious Beowulf in the Cosmic Fire.

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Freeing the Ajari District

After a plea from the city’s leaders to seek a neutral place to discuss defense plans for the upcoming demonic invasion, the companions decide to call on their deed of ownership of the Ajari Plantation; a large home within the Ajari District that has fallen into evil hands over the past years. They successfully chase off a band of tengu brigands that loiter outside the plantation. Fighting their way in against beheaded; severed heads risen into undeath, the companions find themselves in what appears to be a necromancer’s laboratory.

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