Real Date: July 24, 2005
Campaign Session: 27
Adventure Session: 11
Campaign: Legacy of the Burning Star
Adventure: The Banewarrens
Theeurth Date: Cleon 20-24, 2806 (Early Summer)
Location: Echoriath (The Imperial Capital) and The Quann
Bruce Barnett – Bonzimir Amantes (Rog5/Hlf3)
Barbara Muth – Nereida Amantes (Clr8) and Elida (KSK5)
Tim Chan – Demetrios Amantes (Wiz5/Hum3)
Michael Burgio – Marcus Asinus (Ftr1/KSK6)
Nora Dunn – Laelia Parvula (Mnk7)
Photos of the session can be found here
The Company of the Starborn moved in close to the Black Manor, and scouted through its tall front windows, discovering two rooms, with four large shaggy humanoids (ogres) in each. Without investigating the other windows, they decided to alert the ogres to their presence, thus hoping to draw them out into combat, rather than be caught between the two forces.
After much preparations (the most extensive use of "buff" spells to date), the Company threw open the front doors of the Black Manor and Elida blew their horn of goodness, effectively throwing down the gauntlet to the inhabitants. At that moment, they were rushed by a huge defender, a six-legged snake-like creature (Demetrios later identified it as a "behir") that breathed lightning and then snatched Marcus up in its enormous jaws.
The Company launched retaliatory attacks at the creature. Bonzimir’s ranged sneak attacks were devastatingly effective, and moments later, the behir withdrew, dragging Marcus with it. At this point, the eight ogres ran forward and stormed into the Company’s line, momentarily driving them back. But a well-placed fireball from Demetrios thinned out their ranks, and the Company was able to drive off or slaughter the rest within seconds.
Despite its formidable size and deadly attacks, the enormous behir seemingly had met its match with the devout holy warrior Marcus. The two wrestled for an improbably long time until Bonzimir could tumble through the line of ogres to assist Marcus.
[GM’s Note: The behir rolled a "1" on its attempt to swallow Marcus whole. On the following round, when it attempted to rake him with its six claws, the first roll was also a "1". According to a Theeurth House Rule, a roll of a "1" on a full attack prevents the attacker from making any further attacks that round. The favor of Borlamnos was clearly with Marcus in this fight.]
Just when the fight seemed well in hand for the Company, the mistress of the Black Manor arrived. Zsavri was a large snake-like abomination with humanoid arms and features (a yuan-ti abomination). She was accompanied by a fiendish giant praying mantis and three lesser yuan-ti archers. The mantis attacked Nereida, but was unable to penetrate the fine armor she had claimed from Brother Heth. Meanwhile, Zsavri (a druidess) called down lightning on Laelia, who managed to nimbly dodge the strokes. Fire, poison and psionics were all to no avail against the Company who swept the ogres before them, then turned to finish Zsavri while Laelia and Demetrios finished the praying mantis and Nereida summoned an hippogriff to devour the yuan-ti archers.
Meanwhile, in the Black Manor, a small humanoid made of disgusting ooze attacked Marcus as he struggled free of the jaws of the dead behir. It vomited acid and belched forth noxious fumes, but Marcus drove it off with a mighty power attack behind his spear before moving to aid the fight against Zsavri.
Later, the Company of the Starborn searched the Black Manor. They found quite a bit of minor treasure and several unidentified magic items. Deep in the muck of a disgusting room coated with slime and ooze, they found the second piece of the staff of shards. Laelia found a large pile of papers on a table in the Black Manor’s great hall, but realized that it was more than she could read in a short time, and simply swept it all into the Company’s bag of holding
[GM’s Note: The Company decided not to reunite Yaeshla with the missing piece of the staff of shards just yet, deciding that they would try an identify spell on it when they had more time.]
The Company then quickly left the Black Manor before reinforcements could arrive and re-crossed the great wall of green slime. There, they discussed how to return to the Portal to St. Thessina’s Chapel. Yaeshla was curious as to why they would want to do that. A confused discussion ensued, in which the Company learned that the portal from Echoriath was one-way. Pactlord teams either used a plane shift spell or the portal in the Tower of Charch-Pahn.
Realizing that their only way back home was through the tower of the ancient beholder, the Company hid, rested healed and recovered its spells. It was once again disturbed during this time by a gargantuan centipede, which rushed them and tried to swallow Laelia. This immense beast was driven off into the swamps without loss.
[GM’s Note: Because of time constraints, we didn’t cover the examination of the papers Laelia had recovered. It seems only logical that the Company would have done so during their twenty-plus hours of rest. The papers are about the plans of the Pactlords to recover the ancient artifact called the Black Grail, and many of the more recent papers concern the activities of the Company of the Starborn. In addition to a note about the origin of the Starborn in "the Phaedon meteorite", this dossier mentions the speculation by the Sky Callers that the Starborn are related to the appearance of a creature called the "Rune Manifest" in the city of Adamos.]
[GM’s Note: Finally, the papers detail the Pactlords latest attempt to kill or cripple the Company. A creatured called an "areana" and another named Li, of a type unknown, plan to use their powers of disguise to approach the Company in the Banewarrens, gain their confidence, and kill them one by one. Demetrios is noted as the first targeted for death, though the unnamed writer opines that it is Nereida ("the dark-furred female") whose death will break the will of the Company to continue.]
The next "day" (there are no day or night in the Quann), the Company approached the Tower of Charch-Pahn and attempted to move up to it in stealth. They were stunned to be accosted by a beautiful winged serpent (Demetrios later identified it as a "couatl") that named itself "Xichlan" (actually, the name was much, much longer, but they settled on Xichlan) and offered its aid against the evil Charch-Pahn. Though it gave no reason for its aid, and the Company sought none, it was evident to the observant among the Company that it burned with a particular hatred for the beholder.
The Company accepted Xichlan into their ranks and tried to enter the tower, but found its single door magically locked. Demetrios defeated this ward with a scroll of knock. Inside, the first floor of the tower was 200 feet tall, and utterly empty, save for a glowing rune on the floor and a bronze trap door in the ceiling far above. Demetrios hoped that the rune somehow allowed ascent to the second floor, but soon realized that the runes were related to earth and transmutation. After some study, he opined that it would alter one ore into another. When Bonzimir reminded him that Professor Herminius had told the Company that the Quann was rich in the magically potent ore "andrecite", Demetrios decided that the function of the rune was to refine raw andrecite ore and dispose of the resultant slag.
The Company ascended the tower by having Xichlan carry Nereida, while Marcus carried Demetrios (with the aid of a fly spell) and Laelia carried Bonzimir (she climbed up with her sandals of climbing). The door was again magically locked, and Xichlan burst the ward with a timely dispel magic spell. Above, the Company found a chamber with a strange cracked orb on a stand. Beside the orb was the charred and disfigured corpse of a giant blue-skinned woman. As the others examined some closed doors and eyed the bronze trap door leading upwards to a third level, Demetrios examined the cracked orb.
Unfortunately, the orb was dangerously unstable, and Demetrios’s merest touch caused it to explode with eldritch energies. After a brief moment of disorientation, the members of the Company realized what was wrong – they were each seeing with someone else’s eyes. Nereida and Demetrios could see through each other’s eyes, but not control each other’s actions. Marcus could see through Laelia’s, while Laelia could see through Xichlan’s, and so forth. Unbeknownst to them, Elida could see through Charch-Pahn’s (the experience of seeing through eleven independent eyes at once disoriented Elida longer than the others), while the angry beholder could see through Marcus’s eyes.
With a bang, the bronze trapdoor to the third level flew open. "Who dares disturb the contemplations of Charch-Pahn?!" roared the dripping maw that hovered above them. "We do," replied Nereida. Succinct, if not poetic. Seeing defiance on the faces of hated humans (Elida, still stunned, was looking at Nereida), Charch-Pahn roared in anger and attacked. However, because of the sense transferrence, his aim was wild, and no one was hurt. Bonzimir, the one member of the Company not affected by the sense transferrence opened fire on the beholder with his sling, while Demetrios fired magic missiles. Injured, the eye tyrant fled, locking the trap door behind him.
By the time the Company had broken into the third level, Charch-Pahn was gone. Only a bare room remained. Still seeing through his eyes, Elida reported that he had emerged at the Chapel of St. Thessina and blindly fired at the paladin guards before fleeing into the air above the city. Some time later, she reported seeing the ground rushing up as if the beholder had fallen. Then her sight blacked out. Over the next hour, sight returned to normal for all the Company. They looted the dead giant woman. They discovered a stash of andrecite (which they quickly refined using the rune on the first floor) and the lair of a missing creature they assumed to be the harpy slave driver described by Xichlan. Eventually, they found the hidden portal to the Chapel of St. Thessina and returned there.
Here the story paused….
1) What will happen when Yaeshla is reunited with the second piece of the staff of shards
2) How will the Pactlords respond to this raid on the very heart of their power and the death of one of their founders?
3) What is Li, and where are he and the "areana"?
4) What are the magical items looted from the Black Manor and the Tower of Charch-Pahn?
5) What has Navanna Vitellius been up to while the Company was in the Quann?
6) Has the Great Church sent a team after the Sword of Truth, as Donna Mara said they might?
7) What of the Inverted Pyramid’s desire to keep hidden the Sword of Lies?
Tune in next time, as the Company continues to search the Outer Vaults and possibly plumbs the depths of the Inner Vaults of the Banewarrens!