Saturday, April 4, 2009
Campaign Update #6. The Cult of Shivani
As the evening began, you debated about whether you should attempt to rescue Granya and claim the 12,000 gold piece reward or pursue other opportunities. After a lengthy discussion, you decided to seek Granya's father, Jochi, and negotiate a higher reward. This task, not surprisingly, fell to Alayna. You agreed that the party would attract undue attention in the affluent Eastern City if it traveled together, so Ulfgar volunteered to accompany Alayna while the rest of you waited on the western side of the bridge.
Alayna not only easily convinced the two guardsmen on the bridge to allow her and Ulfgar to enter the Eastern city, but she also managed to negotiate a 28,000 gold piece reward from Granya's grieving father. She and Ulfgar returned to the Western City, and you all returned to the cult's compound to do some reconnaissance. Alayna cast invisibility on herself and flew to the roof of the building, only to discover that the roof was open, and the second and third floors were almost completely open to the sky. A tub sat on a dais in the middle of the building. You then adjourned to the Gull and the Limpet, a nearby tavern run by an attractive woman named Valya.
While you sat in the tavern, a party of three humans, a halfling, and a half-orc entered. One of the humans, a lovely, dark-haired woman named Iliana, approached you and attempted to blackmail you. She and her companions knew that Ophidia wanted the Mirror of Life Stealing, and they had discovered that you had been seen coming and going in the vicinity of the tower. You told her that she was free to tell Ophidia whatever she liked, and that you would not give her any money. She returned to her party, and as she spoke with them, the half-orc became very angry and moved to attack you. He seemed to think that killing you and taking the mirror and whatever else was in the tower was a reasonable contingency plan.
The half-orc's attack precipitated what I thought were the two best moments of the night. Alayna had readied an action on the half-orc, and when he moved to attack, she cast Phantasmal Killer on him. He missed both saves and died before the combat had even officially begun, literally scared to death by a vision of what he feared most. Seconds later, Ulfgar decapitated one of the humans with the first blow of his new vorpal greatsword. Iliana's party fought fiercely, but with two of their companions killed in the first seconds of combat, they had little chance to prevail. After Alayna wrested a magical wand from the halfling with a Suggestion spell and Erth summoned a bear which grappled the acrobatic Iliana, the fight ended with all of the enemies dead except for Iliana and the Halfling, Dink. You sent the two survivors to Bathcat, for whom they promised to work for 10 gps per week, and you left the bar with an impressive haul of magic items.
After visiting a half-elven artificer named Galeron, who enhanced some of your weapons, you returned to the cult's lait to do some more reconnaissance, this time by way of Erth using his wild shape ability to become an owl and spy upon Shivani from the wall above her tub. You returned to your tower to spend sleep and prepare, and returned the following night to make your assault. You reached the top of the building with a combination of spells, and after Alayna created an illusion of a mob assaulting the front door, you engaged Shivani, who turned out to be an Erinyes Fiend of Blasphemy, who had a small following of cultists and who apparently enjoyed bathing in the blood of virgins beneath the moon.
Shivani was wily, but turned out to be less fearsome than expected. Alayna used a scroll she had found in Ogodei's tower to block the staircase with an Icewall spell. After the cultists and two bearded devils had figured out that the commotion at the front door was an illusion and ascended the stairs, Alayna dismissed the icewall, which apparently confused the enemies, for they still pressed forward up the left stair, and ignored the undefended stair to the right. They fell quickly, and the fight ended.
You searched the compound, and found two rooms beneath the stairs. One held two girls, who were terrified but otherwise unharmed. The other was empty save for a trapdoor in the floor, which opened into a small chamber piled with the corpses of young women, one of which you identified as Granya. The evening ended there, with your party still in the cultists' compound.
Because none of you fully leveled up to 10th Level before the 2nd encounter, I am calculating the experience as if all characters were 9th Level. If a character was still at 8th level, please let me know, but given the experience points gained from the 1st encounter, I rather doubt it.
8th Level characters: 11,133 XP
9th Level Characters: 10, 237
9th Level Characters: 2,250 XP