Princes of the Apocalypse

The Last Push to get the Log Updated
Midsummer - Eleasis 5

With the campaign coming to a temporary end for the time being, here is a summary of the events that have taken place.

- The party rescued some folks who were being held by the Cult of the Black Earth. They were joined by member of the cult, named Orna, who had a serious bone to pick with her former colleagues.

- Orna proved useful, providing intelligence and doing a fair job of killing her former colleagues when a bunch came to try and stop the party. She got her hands on a magical pair of metal claws that the Dao had left after vacating her quarters.

- The party descended into the Fane of the Eye, a strange set of caverns even further underground than the dwarven city. They encountered Aerisi Kalinoth, finally putting an end to her evil. It was a very narrow thing; Arboro Vesto & Maluth Clanguard Caragavi were almost killed, and Orna was killed.

- Ultimately, the party fought their way past a pair of hill giants and into the Black Giode, the true center of power for the Cult of the Black Earth. There, the party overcame more cultists, as well as creatures of elemental earth, and a large number of hook horrors. They finally reached the portal that led to the Plane of Elemental Earth. Upon striking it with Ironfang, which caused the weapon to shatter, the portal closed and an earthquake began.

- The party encountered only a small number of cultists as they fled the collapsing Black Giode, the cultists more interested in getting out than fighting. They also were joined by another prisoner, the dwarven master smith Rhundorth, who was also a member of the missing delegation from Mirabar.

- Having suvived all of this, the party decided that perhaps it was time to return to Red Larch and rest and recuperate. They found their mounts missing, which shouldn’t have surprised anyone, but the situation was sorted out with the arrival of Erned Stoutblade, Galya, & Grund. The three had found the missing horses as they were travelling to the monastery to see for themselves what evil was afoot. Unfortunately, there was no sign of the hippogriffs.

- The party stopped off at Feathergale Spire, finding it still under the control of their avian allies. They also found the missing hippogriffs, who had returned home to roost after being left to their own devices for too long.

- Finally, the party reached Red Larch, and prepared to take some much deserved rest after all of their battles. Though the Cult of the Black Earth and the Howling Hatred appear to be broken, there are still two more cults: the Cult of the Crushing Wave and the Cult of the Eternal Flame.

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Even more subsequent events.
Midsummer

In an effort to catch up the log, here is a summary:

-The party returned to the dwarven city. Ogres were guarding the gates, but the party overcame them.

-The party killed some bulettes that were chained up, though these creatures snapped their chains pretty easily. An ettin was drawn to the sound of battle, though the party killed him too. They then looted the ettin’s lair.

-The party came across the forge that Arboro Vesto noticed previously. They managed to hire the dao present to fix Maluth Clanguard Caragavi‘s sword. Once that was done, the dao’s two duergar assistants bugged out for parts unknown and the dao packed up shop and presumably returned to the Elemental Plane of Earth.

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A Summary of Subsequent Events
Flamerule 28-30

To highlight subsequent events:

- The party woke up, went back down to the dwarven city. Along the way they were attacked by some mean mushrooms, but they handled them okay.

- Upon reaching the city gates, they found a makeshift barricade with a bunch of cultists and a couple of ogres. The party ultimately overran the position and dispensed frontier justice.

- They explored some new parts of the complex, killed some more cultists & those guards in the stone armor, and had a little difficulty with a new kind of spellcaster who ultimately escaped by merging with the floor.

- They came across a gallery with shockingly life-like statues, only to be immediately attacked by the priest & gargoyle that had already escaped them before, as well as a shadow demon. Then, Marlos Urnrayle entered the fray. No one was turned to stone, no one in the party died, and ultimately all the cultists died.

- The party took possession of Ironfang, plus a number of other valuables that the Earth Prophet had hidden away. They then decapitated & dismembered Urnrayle’s body, set it on fire, and dumped the remains in the chasm.

- After a little rest, they continued exploring. It was decided, at Noah Borchers’s suggestion, that no one would attune to Ironfang due to the potential danger of falling under the influence of evil powers from other planes.

- The party put a stop to some more cultists sacrificing a deep gnome, Rukhelmoth “Rukh” Glitterstone, to a black pudding. After killing the cultists & the pudding, Rukh was able to give the party a little information on what the Cult of the Black Earth was doing.

- They decided they’d done enough exploring for one day, but got sidetracked on their way out. This led to an earth genasi sorcerer & his pet stone golem. The party put them both down, but they decided it was definitely time to gtfo.

- Rather than return to the monastery, they went out the mine’s tunnel and set up camp some distance away. During the night it started to rain very heavily, forcing them to shelter in the tunnel. No one thought about the unsheltered mounts back at the monastery.

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Meeting the Black Earth Cult in the dwarven city
Flamerule 27-28

With the arrival of morning, the party had breakfast, tended their mounts, and prepared to descend into the mines under the monastery. Once down the stairs, they proceeded to scout the various tunnels. Dame Azinell made a point to mark their progress with a piece of chalk. They encountered no one, but did find a long tunnel that led to the outside about a quarter mile from the monastery.

Noting the exit for later, they turned around and headed back to the mines. As they got back, they were suddenly ambushed by a group of duergar. One pitched battle later and the party was victorious. Taking a moment to check their inventory of supplies, they then proceeded to the stairs with the locked gate that went even further down than the mines. Remembering the keys that they had captured the last time they had been to the monastery, Nasim quickly got the gate open and then they began their descent.

After descending a few hundred feet, the party discovered a passageway, which eventually led to a chasm with a stone bridge. The party almost immediately saw a trio of gargoyles. Inexplicably, Maluth Clanguard Caragavi ran across the bridge, only to be engaged and almost pushed off by one of the gargoyles. The other two engaged the party, eventually being vanquished. The paladin’s opponent managed to flee, flying through a wide crack in the cavern wall.

That hurdle taken care of, the party moved on through the narrow passage on the other side of the bridge, finding themselves in a courtyard. They were immediately assailed by spell and crossbow fire. While the rest of the party sorted that out, Organnac (the 3rd) charged across the courtyard and through the broken gate beyond, intent on finding a way to their hidden assailants. Unfortunately, he found himself confronted by a terrible beast, a bulette, with a cultist astride its back. Clanguard quickly joined that battle, though the beast came close to ending his adventuring career. As they were finishing the beast, its rider and the hobgoblins present, duergar came through one of the doors and attacked. After several tense minutes of battle, the party stood victorious.

Needing a moment to catch their breaths, they retreated through the door that the duergar came through, finding that it led to one of the arrow slits that had been used to fire crossbows at them. They barricaded themselves in and rested a bit.

After about an hour, they noticed activity outside their chamber. Before they knew it, another bulette and rider smashed their way through their barricaded door. Behind them came a couple of the stone-clad guards and some run of the mill cultists. The battle was swift and brutal, and once again the party was victorious with no casualties.

Moving deeper into the underground dwarven complex, they discovered a crude statue of some sort of elemental god. Organnac and Clanguard decided to smash it, which of course made a lot of noise, and of course brought a dozen or so cultists running, along with one of the earth priests. The cultists were easy fodder, but the priest managed to escape.

The party decided to hold up for a bit in the barracks that the cultists came out of, while Arboro Vesto went on ahead to scout out where the priest may have gone. He returned a short time later, reporting that the priest had collected five ogres and was returning. Deciding discretion was the better part of valor, the party withdrew entirely from the complex and returned to the monastery above.

Noah and Clanguard spent some of the evening investigating the scriptorium in the monastery. discovering a number of books that covered a range of topics relating to the elemental planes. They also found some so-called insights by Marlos Urnrayle, prophet of the Cult of the Black Earth. Lastly, they found some magical scrolls, which turned out to only be of use to Arboro. With that, the party retired, preparing for a second run at the Cult of the Black Earth.

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We are on a MFing boat!
Flamerule 22-26

With Yancy and Clancy sailing us up the Dessarin River, we came across another boat with a water fairing tribe on it, along with a magic user and the water genasi from Womford. A battle then ensued with Arboro Vesto fighting the genasi and a water elemental, while Noah the Scribe, Maluth Clanguard Caragavi, Organnac (the 3rd), and Nasim, bard of Ra’d attacked the rest. Dame Azinell aided in healing as she could and they soon defeated the others but not before the genasi escaped again.

Healing what injuries were incurred, we then continued up the river until we arrived to the landing point near the Sacred Stone Monastery. We requested that the brothers return in two days while keeping part of their pay. We then traveled to the pass that the monastery lay beyond. With Nasim and Dame Azinell in need of magical recovery, the group rested outside the pass and then in the morning went to assault the monastery via the kitchen. Mal found it occupied with hobgoblins, whom after a bit of shock on Nasim’s part, Mal viscously tore two of them apart, sending the third running for help.

With all of the motley crew trailing after, they soon found themselves facing down more then hobgoblins. Earth cultists had come back to the monastery, and joined in the fight. Although we were outnumbered,Noah was ambushed from behind, and the Dame over exerted herself, we all survived the battle. Needing a rest, we retreated to the distillery room (which still had booze despite Organnac’s previous visit to the room) to recuperate before gathering ourselves for another attack.

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Bringing the log up to date
Flamerule 12-22

After spending the night at Feathergale Spire, the surviving party members cremated their fallen comrades Silveno & Javonte Harte. After that, they made their way back to Red Larch.

On reaching Red Larch, the party met Dame Azinell & Arboro Vesto, one an agent of the Harper’s, the other an agent of the Emerald Enclave. Both were sent by their superiors to aid the party against the threat of the cults in the Dessarin Valley. They meeting didn’t necessarily go smoothly, as members of the Cult of the Howling Hatred attempted to unleash some sort of magical catastrophe on the town. Fortunately, the attempted was thwarted. Organnac (the 3rd) also found out that Zomith was pregnant with his child.

The party first chose to aid the various farms and ranches in the northeast part of the Dessarin Valley which were being attacked by the Iceshield Orc tribe. After a few day’s travel, they reached a ranch where a number of ranchers and farmers had hunkered down to battle the invading orcs. Erned Stoutblade, the commander of the defense, welcomed the aid the party had. After much brutal fighting, in which a distressing number of farmers were slain, the Iceshield forces were destroyed. The next morning, a force of high elves, accompanied by the paladin Galya, arrived to help the survivors of the attack get things back together.

The party traveled back to Beliard, only to find the center of town wrecked. The party helped out with rescuing survivors and investigated what happened. Witnesses reported seeing what appeared to be a group of Black Earth cultists gathering in the center of town and unleashing a a magical earthquake on the town. The cultists disappeared right after the attack.

After finishing in Beliard, the group decided to head south to Womford. Along the way, they stopped off at Summit Hall, home to the Knights of Samular. There, they learned about the Haunted Keeps in the Dessarin Valley. They were also joined by a young monk and scribe, Noah Borchers, who intended to record their further battles against the four cults threatening the valley.

On reaching Womford, they heard about the town’s troubles with vanishing citizens. They went down to the docks to investigate and ended up in a battle with the crew of one of the riverboats. The captain of the boat, a water genashi, managed to escape, giving Arboro a severe beating in the process. Investigating the boat uncovered crates of supplies marked with the water cult’s mark, as well as a map leading to Riverguard Keep.

After Noah smoothed things over with the authorities in Womford, the party commandeered the riverboat. Since no one actually knew how to pilot the thing, they hired on Clancy and Yancy, two tpwnies who also happened to be experienced with sailing riverboats.

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The Final Battle of Silveno and Javonte
Flamerule 11

From the account of Maluth Clanguard Caragavi:

My brothers fought valiantly today. Silveno and Javonte have joined their gods. The rest of us escaped death today thanks to the wit of Nasim.

After tending our wounds in the dreary gatehouse, devising a battle plan, and strengthening our resolve we marched back to the pyramid. Javonte revealed a vision he’d had, of one of our faction blowing on the horn in the throneroom. Javonte was certain this would bring good fortune in battle. Oh Tyr, if only we’d placed more faith in the prophecies of the kind warlock.

Upon reaching the pyramid and seeing enemy scouts watch our entrance, we split into two groups and ascended the staircases, prepared for the ensuing battle. The cult’s forces were stronger and more organized than we had anticipated, but with the Aarakocra’s Air Elemental fighting on our side, we were evenly matched.

Jumping up from the back of his line on the other staircase, Silveno initiated combat. With heroic agility, he put an arrow into the Winged Moon Elf and retreated by jumping over the ledge and landing behind me. The battle erupted. In a ferocious and foolish move, the enemy monk leaped after Silveno, but I was there and with two simple swipes of Aidla, the monk’s body was without its head.

As both groups moved up the stairs and onto the floor of the throne room, each was met with significant resistance. Organnac, fighting with astonishing brutality and fearlessness, did all in his power to hold the top of the stairs against an onslaught from a pair of skillful brutes. Nasim’s bardic magic bolstered the efforts of Organnac. As the other four of us reached the top of our staircase, Javonte shot an eldritch blast at some cultists and the Air Elemental quickly pulverized some dagger-wielders. In response, the enemy conjured a cloud of poisonous gas in our direction, causing Javonte to fall instantly while also hitting me and Silveno hard.

I cannot recall many details of the bloodbath after this point. Silveno fell in combat. He may have lived had not a cowardly man slit his throat while he lay unconscious. I flanked the two that Organnac was fighting, but our strength was outmatched in this battle.

Nasim has relayed the remainder of the fight. Bless Nasim, seeing all his companions dead or dying and with a clear path to escape, he could have made a hasty retreat and left us to die. Instead, Nasim heeded the premonition of the now-fallen Javonte and, vaulting over the combatants in front of him, sprinted to the horn. Upon blowing the horn, a genie appeared and offered his service to Nasim, for which Nasim commanded, “Save me and my friends.” Nasim, the Air Elemental, and the genie fought the remaining enemies, and although Nasim fell unconscious, the Genie soon brought him back.

The genie was now free of his bonds to the horn from the Cult of the Howling Hatred and was grateful to the little genasi for freeing him. Nasim took stock of the situation, realized that two of his friends were dead but that two could still pull through, and could do naught but rest in that throne room in the shadow of the horn.

Eventually both Organnac and I awoke. We gathered important items from the bodies of our friends and our foes, realizing that the Winged Moon Elf escaped the underground pyramid alive. With the Air Elemental carrying our fallen friends, Organnac, Nasim and I returned safely to the spire.

Praise to you, Tyr. I vow to bestow justice on these sinners who have slain Silveno and Javonte.

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A summary of subsequent events
Flamerule 5-11

Since a number of log updates haven’t been done, I’m just going to sum up several game sessions.

-The party went down into the monastery’s basement upon awakening. They killed an umberhulk, destroyed several skeletons, and took down several orogs. Maluth Clanguard Caragavi claimed a suit of orog armor, since it was superior, but now he looks more like an evil warlord than a champion of justice. They also found a group of prisoners, including a dwarf from the missing caravan from Mirabar. They decided to escort the prisoners back to Red Larch.

-The party returned to Feathergale Spire to assault the Feathergale Knights. Organnac (the 3rd) went on a mad murder spree through the spire. The party eventually caught up to Thurl Meroska at the top of the spire but failed to prevent his escape.

-The next morning a group of aarakocra approached the spire & met with the party. They were unwilling to accompany the party underground, but sent an air elemental with them. On their way down, they were attacked by a spellcaster riding a wyvern. Silveno was almost killed & Clanguard looked epic smiting the beast. Initially not encountering resistance, the battle was joined as the party approached the pyramid in the dwarven city. Several dead kenku & cultists later, the party fell back to the gatehouse to catch their breath.

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Back to the Monastery
Flamerule 1-4

The next morning the party awakens &, as they prepare to return to the monastery, abruptly comes under attack. Three Feathergale Knights, 2 on hippogriffs & 1 on a vulture, begin an aerial assault, informing the party that their usefulness is at an end as they do so.

The battle is quick & brutal, ending with 2 knights down, the vulture dead & the last night fleeing on one of the hippogriffs. As Organnac attempts to calm & connect with the other hippogriff, having recognized it as the one he rode hunting the manticore, Nasim discovers that one of the dead knights is Xander & reacts in a suitably melodramatic fashion.

Meanwhile, Silveno goes racing after the last knight in an attempt to shoot him down, Maluth Clanguard Caragavi stands ready to step in if the half-orc has too much trouble, and Javonte goes about looting.

Silveno failed to bring down the last knight, then got jumped by an ankheg & almost killed. Fortunately, Organnac rescued him before the giant bug made off with his body.

Once that was all sorted out, the party made it back to the monastery. The first several rooms they explored were empty. When they reached to temple, they discovered a pair of Black Earth priests, which they immediately engaged. The fight drew in the rest of the monastery’s occupants: a couple of ogres, some gargoyles & the female monk with the eyeless mask. While harrowing & intense, the party came out victorious.

Further exploration revealed a library, a distillery for cheap booze, and a garden with a crude mass grave & a few more gargoyles. The party also discovered a sealed chamber that, when forced open, revealed an undead wizard who made it very clear that he should be left alone.

Convinced the building seemed secure, the party found a place to settle down for the night.

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The Cults & All That Follows
Kythorn 26-30

Just to sum up events:

After a night hiding in the ancient dwarven city, the party is attacked by some sort of invisible creature. It’s a tough battle, but they drive it off.

The party then returns to where the air cult is headquartered, almost immediately get into a large battle with human cultists and kenku armed with bows. Again, it’s a tough battle, but the party manages to overcome their enemies. Unfortunately, they are left in a greatly weakened state, with Organnac being forced to carry out the unconscious forms of Javonte & Nasim while Silveno guards the strategic withdrawal.

They return to their previous camp site, only to be attacked once again by the invisible creature. Organnac is knocked out quickly, so Silveno attempts to flee. The creatures dogs his heels the entire time. Silveno manages to make is back across the rickety bridge, but ends up falling off the stairs, only to be caught by a wyvern and its rider. Deciding surrender is the best option, Silveno relents.

The whole party is brought before Aerisi Kalinoth, leader of the air cult. She is quite angry, and starts off the conversation by grievously wounding Javante with a lightning bolt, though he is allowed to live. She denies claims that her cult has anything to do with the valley’s troubles, claiming it is the work to the Cult of Black Earth. She agrees to let the party go if they are willing to make amends by destroying the Cult of Black Earth, which the party agrees to readily.

With that, they are marched back to the surface by the kenku and one of the cult’s spellcasters. As they limp their way out of the canyon, they come across the imposing figure of Maluth Clanguard Caragavi. After a somewhat tense introduction, it becomes clear that the goliath is no danger to them, and he agrees to help them in their quest.

Heading off to the Sacred Stone Monastery, said to the the headquarters of the Cult of Black Earth, stories are shared and wounds are recovered. Along the way they find a quartet of shallow graves, which contains the remains of a dwarven artisan, a soldier from Mirabar, a warrior wearing strange stone armor and a body that clearly belongs to the air cult the party just left behind. Maluth insists on giving the bodies a better buriel, so the party settles down for a while to take care of it.

After a couple of days travel, they finally find the Sacred Stone Monastery. Nasim fails miserably to convince the monks of the monastery that they are members of the cult, and a battle breaks out. They are jumped by several monks, as well as a priest of some sort and two warriors wearing that same stone armor. It isn’t long before a half-dozen grey-skinned dwarves also join the fray.

After a long, brutal fight that the party barely manages to win, they retreat from the monastery to lick their wounds before reinforcements can overwhelm them. They flee the hills out into the plains several miles, eventually setting up camp once they are convinced that their enemies are not pursuing them.

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