And so the companions were heading south toward the Sun Palace, pushing hard in a race against time as the Black Mist now filled the cavern entirely, constantly draining the life energy of whoever was still alive.
Monday 3rd, May, 1001 AC
(destiny token 1)
- Urist, dwarven cleric of Kagyar (level 4)
- Danik, human scholar mage (level 4)
- Rurik, dwarven fighter (level 4)
- Serrin, human bounty hunter (level 4)
- Grom, half-orc druid, went missing during dragon attack.
- Adran, gnome bard, fell to his death after being dropped by a Drahie.
- Zao-rin, human monk who decided to stay with the Semphiwe and help Samshira as long as needed.
On the second day of their journey, a massive rumble echoed from the north, soon followed by a wave of dust and winds strong enough to send some mushroom trees flying past. Protected from the worst of it the cover of a nearby forest, they pushed on even harder than before, determined not to rest before having reached the entrance to the Sun Palace itself.
There, after a long rest, the companions descended once again into the dark ruins as the temperature seemed to be dropping steadily. There, things seemed different, quiet, and soon Danik and Rurik noticed that the magic sealing the access to the Throne room from the staircase had dissipated. Entering carefully, they found the room empty and no traces of the Drakkin Specters that Danik had mentioned previously.
In the middle of the room however was a pool, once empty, now almost overflowing with the same strange black oozy liquid that they had found in the Pyramid some weeks before. Out of it, dark tendrils of life energy were reaching out, trying to escape, or trying to pull others in and immediately.
Unsure, the companions stayed clear far from it as whatever was in the pool seemed unable to reach further than 10 yards or so. As they entered further into the room, a whirlpool started to slowly grow out and above it. As moments passed, the companions carefully searching along the northern wall, the whirlpool connected with the ceiling and suddenly, as Rurik was trying to open one of the other silver doors in the room that Danik confirmed was safe and non-magically sealed, something slammed into him with tremendous force.
Above the pool, a large elemental form stood, dark as tar, with waves of ghostly forms passing through it like currents, some of Drakkins, some of beasts, some looking humanoid.
On the side, Danik suddenly rushed near pool and the base of the elemental, and unleashed two Thunder-waves back to back. This seemed to grab the attention of the creature immediately and it slammed into the mage with enough force to send him flying back, unconscious, but not before he could shout to the others: "The well! Break the well!".
But the pool was already collapsing, weakened by the first Thunder-wave, and shattered by the second. Dark ooze poured out of it and, as it touched the floor, dissipated into nothing. As seconds passed, Rurik, Urist and Serrin still fighting the elemental, it's form was collapsing onto itself, as it the emptying of the pool drained it of substance. Soon, it was all over and with a quick divine prayer, Urist brought Danik back to consciousness.
What followed was a short rest and long search through the Sun Palace during things two things happened:
- In what looked like a treasure room, Urist found a light hammer that turned out to be the very hammer of a young Kagyar, before he went onto his quest for immortality, and became one of the Immortals. As the dwarven cleric touched the hammer, a radiant light enrobed him and Rurik could swear he heard a voice in the room, welcoming Urist and announcing that it required his services for an urgent task. Then the dwarf disappeared, leaving nothing but the hammer and a journal in dwarven, telling the tale of the young adventures of Kagyar.
- In what seemed to be the king's sleeping quarters, Danik found a fossilized Drakkin body under some debris and nearby, a massive crown. Within it, he found another crown, smaller and finely crated, with crystals mounted on it. This was clearly the Crown of Submission they were looking for but when Danik put it on his head, something took possession of his body for a short time and savagely attacked Rurik, shouting to be released.
Overall, they found:
- 10x 1 lb small gold bars each
- 20x 1 lb small silver bars each
- about 300 valuable ancient gold and silver coins each.
- Light Hammer of Kagyar the Young (radiant light hammer with a couple of passive abilities)
- Kagyar the Young diary (in dwarven, contains early adventures of Kagyar, as well as his very first investigations into the immortal path)
- Crown of Submission (artifact of unknown powers for now)
- Black Dragon Scale studded leather armor (needs refit since it was for a Drakkin, but overall human size)
- Various ancient tomes in Old Draconic (Treatise on Dragons, History of the Empire, Treatise of Entropy, a collection of Drakkins War Journals)
After a couple hours, the companions amassed and packed up whatever they could from their findings, and departed the Sun Palace, heading straight north.
For three days they pushed on as the temperature around them now reached almost freezing levels. The land they found in the northern half of the cavern was one devastated by a massive collapse, grasslands and forest buried under newly formed mountain of rock and stone. Then, they were walking on snow, climbing toward a bright blur on the horizon where the ceiling of the cavern was supposed to be.
And suddenly they were out. Cold winds they hadn't felt for more than a month burned their exposed skins as a bright sun greeted them. Around them was ice and snow, but they were out, finally.
Before Rurik, Danik and Serrin could gather their senses, figure out where the hell they were in the Mengul Mountains, a voice called out nearby. It was Themba, and behind him a couple of Semphiwe survivors hiding in a freshly dug up snow cave.
- "You did it, you came out! You break the sky!"
..Far on the horizon to the north, a large reptilian creature glides between the Mengul peaks, it's dark and old scales glistening under the cold morning sun.
Finally, after 3000 years of thinking the cavern was the limit of the world, after 60 years of doubts and pain trying to break rocks and earth above, finally, the words of the shadow elf female and these other creatures proved true. Finally, it had found a way......and it too, was now free.
- Good session and overall I'm happy with the wrap up of things, though it was a bit rushed here and there due to lack of time, lack of players (2 out of 4) and the need to finish this bit before we take a 3 weeks break.
- The fight against the elemental was interesting and they took quite a beating, but as usual with D&D Next, things are fast and brutal. Danik blowing up the pool almost by mistake helped a lot though.
- D&D Next really proved during this entire campaign (played with the latest playtest package) that it keeps the rules in the background while still providing a good basic structure for game-play mechanics. With the coming release of the PHB and DMG, will be interesting to see what changes and how it'll affect how we play.
Since we got another player who had to leave due to conflicting work schedules, we'll see what we'll be doing once we start again early July: either push on with this campaign, or start fresh.