Cauldron, The Shackled City

Session Seventeen: March 18, 2010
Wherein our heroes return to the Lucky Monkey

The party was contacted by a local merchant, Maavu, to discuss a business proposition. Maavu informed the group that he and a collection of other merchants had come together to repair and reopen The Lucky Monkey, after the recent massacre there left it empty. They had sent out a team to assess the damage down to the inn and to begin repairs. Maavu hadn’t heard from that team in a week; he wanted to hire the Eldritch Blades to return to the inn and investigate the silence.

Early the next day, the Eldritch Blades made for the Lucky Monkey. As they approached the inn, they could see the grounds around the inn overrun with new mature trees. They also spotted several bugbears lurking amongst the trees, as well as a troll eating its meal on the other side of the inn. The party attempted to sneak around the intruders and catch them by surprise, failing as Morwin crashed through the woods with Josh stumbling behind her.

The ensuing battle was fierce; the Eldritch Blades used every resource they had against the troll and bugbears. The melee was hard fought, but the Eldritch Blades proved victorious.

Having spent most of the day traveling and exhausting themselves in the last fight, the group decided to make camp in the inn to recuperate for the night. Taking some time to investigate, they determined that all of the new trees were in fact the repair crew they were sent to find. Linden took it upon himself to commune with the primal spirits in the area. He discovered that whatever process transformed the work crew could be reversed and that the remedy lay below the roots of a massive oak far off in the woods. He was able to convince the spirits to provide him a guide to the oak the next day.

Session Sixteen: March 4, 2010
Wherein our heroes give up their last bits of strength to fight some pudding...

The group set off again into the complex in search of the remaining material components. They made their way to the main entranceway of the complex; a spacious room with a large, heavy wooden table dominating the center of the room. Of their several choices, the group chose to explore through a set of large double doors in the west wall of the room. Beyond lay a short, wide corridor, ending in another set of double doors. Suspecting foul play, Linden scouted the hallway; his keen elven eyes easily picking out the trap doors in the floor. Savain was able to disable the first. Alex, Morwain, and Josh tore the table top from its bases to act as a bridge across the second trap door.

They entered through the second set of double doors into an enormous workroom. Large worktables dominated the center of the room, scraps of metal and tools littering their top. The back of the cavernous room lay shrouded in shadow, yet they could hear movement within. Josh tried to parley with whoever lay beyond, but was quickly rebuffed. They group cautiously made their way further into the room. Their sunrod soon shedding its light into the rest of the room.

At the back of the workroom stood their many foes. They were quickly identified as a black pudding, a carnage demon, and several rupture demons. The battle was begun. The rupture demons were easily dispatched, but each demon’s death seemed to heal and empower the carnage demon. Though its blows were tremendous, Alex and Savain were able to dodge and parry most of its attempts to claw them, while dealing out plenty of pain back at the carnage demon; Linden’s arrows eventually felling the foul beast. Meanwhile, the rest of the group was in a pitched and desperate battle with the black pudding. It’s every touch caused caustic acid to sear its prey. Every slice and pummel of their weapons on the pudding separated a chunk of its viscous body onto the floor beside it, each chunk taking up the fight against the Eldritch Blades; their small appendages smearing painful acid everywhere they struck. The large pudding would stretch its body out, engulfing several of the group in a slick appendage, tightening its grip on them and burning them continuously with its acidic ooze, sapping them of their strength to continue the fight.

It was a hard fought battle. Several of the group were dropped by their caustic wounds. But teamwork, skill, and their unwavering resilience won them the battle. Though, they were in very poor condition to continue their search of the complex. They had only been exploring for a handful of hours. To fully recuperate from their ordeal would require them to hole up for the rest of the day. The group decided to risk barricading themselves into the workroom for the duration, hoping to see the next day without interruption.

Their hopes were not to be. A scant hour after barricaded themselves into the room, they could hear attempts being made to break into the room. They quickly mobilized and escaped through a secret door Savain and Linden had discovered. They passed several rooms covered in cobwebs, choosing to leave these rooms unexplored. They came upon a well furnished parlor and bedroom. A quick search of the room revealed a chest with a small treasure and the remaining ritual components. Considering the mission complete, the group decided to make haste for the outside gondola for the return trip to the surface. As they exited the complex, they were set upon by another patrol; this one led by a robed wizard. Linden called forth his spiritual ally, his panther companion, blocking the guards from reaching them, in time for Alex and Morwain to block the door closed so they could make their escape.

The group raced across the beach to the gondola, with Sevain and Alex rushing inside the guardhouse to winch the rest across the lake and up to the ledge by the entrance. As they started their ascent, the wizard and his guards burst out of the complex’s entranceway, peppering those in the gondola with crossbows and arcane attacks. Morwain’s axes and Linden’s bow made short work of the first guard and seriously wounded the wizard. The wizard retreated back into the complex, followed by his remaining guard. Linden called forth his panther companion once again to block their escape. With a mighty roar, the panther savaged the wizard as he tried to escape past into the safety of the complex. The wizard was dead and the remaining guard fled, Alex and Savain were able to send the gondola to the top of the cavern, soon following behind themselves.

The group made their weary way through the lava tube out onto the surface of the mountain. They were met with a torrential rain. They made what haste they could back to Cauldron, delivering the ritual components to Jenya at the Temple of Bahamut. Grateful for their heroism, Jenya wasted no time in gathering her acolytes and priests to perform the ritual, as the torrential rains of the past several days had filled the caldera lake to overflowing, threatening many buildings in the lower city. Morwain assisted in the lengthy ritual, while the others returned to their residence for a much needed rest.

Session Fifteen: February 18, 2010
Wherein our heroes fight one of their greatest foes...

The group took a short rest, taking stock of the small treasure they’d found in the glittering cave. Soon they were exploring again as they made their way back through the caverns. They were immediately startled by a chanting coming from further in the cave complex. Stopping to listen, they were able to determine some religious bent to the chanting and eventually the name Demogorgon could be heard in the cadence.

They cautiously made their way forward, with Linden and Savain taking the lead hoping to scout out what was amiss. Unfamiliar with the underground terrain, the two scouts crunched rock underneath their footfalls, approaching louder than they’d hope, alerting whoever lay ahead. They made their way to a cave entrance, from which a deep, menacing voice called out them, “Enter, fools. Enter and meet your doom.”

Not to let a challenge go unanswered, the group entered into the large cavern. Stalagmites covered the cavern floor, clearing at the back. A large altar sat at the back of the cavern, lit candelabra atop it, and flanked by two large braziers. In front of the altar, etched into the ground glowed a circle of terrible symbols, pulsing with unholy power. In the center of the circle stood a armored gnoll, facing the group, skin pulled too tight across its body, ripped in several places exposing rotting muscle underneath. Scattered around him in the cavern were several skeleton warriors.

The Eldritch Blades charged in, hoping to quickly subdue the gnoll and his skeleton minions. The skeletons fell quickly in the first seconds of combat and the gnoll besieged by the heroes. The circle pulsed with dark energy, causing the skeletons to rise again and healing their gnoll master. Thus began a tremendous battle, the Blades harried by the continuing resurgence of the shattered skeletons and the dark forces the gnoll was able to bring down upon them. Alex was the first to attempt at disrupting the circle, though unsuccessfully. The fight raged on, wounding several of the group and incapacitating others. Bloodied and unable to contribute directly to the fight, Savain set about disrupting the circle. His trained eye was able to pick out flaws in the design and exploit them, causing the power of the circle to fade with his efforts. Wounded herself, Morwain began prayers to Bahamut to aid in disrupting the circle. All the while, the others continued their prolonged battle against both gnoll and skeleton. Together, Savain and Morwain disrupted the energies empowering the circle, causing its foul power to fade from the battlefield. His skeleton warriors collapsed as the circle’s power did, and its necrotic energies would no longer heal the gnoll. With his support gone, the gnoll quickly succumbed to the combined might of the Eldritch Blades.

Battered and broken, the group decided to secure the cavern and take a long rest to recuperate. They were harried midway through their rest by a patrol of guards. The patrol was soundly defeated, and the group was able to continue their rest unhindered.

Waking refreshed, the group continued their exploration of the complex, seeking the much needed ritual components. They passed several store rooms, barracks, and a mess hall. Eventually, they found their prey. Triel had barricaded up in her quarters, with a contingent of guards. They fighting quickly ensued, neither side giving quarter. Triel proved to be a skilled foe, but eventually she and her guards were brought down by the continued assault of the Eldritch Blades.

A search of her quarters resulting in the discovery of several dark tomes and a locked chest, containing several of the ritual components they had been searching for. But the collection was not complete. Several of the needed ritual components were still missing.

Session Fourteen: January 21, 2010
Wherein our heroes storm the fortress

Refreshed from their rest, the Eldritch Blades stole into the ancient fortress looming from the cavern wall. Entering through the northern most door, they are met by guards ready for their trespass. Several guards had positioned themselves on a balcony overlooking the entrance; Alex catching several crossbow bolts upon entering. Responding quickly and through some clever acrobatics from Savain, the group was able to quickly overcome the guards.

They quickly proceeded further into the complex, eventually coming to an opening in the worked stone walls. A lave tube had broken through to the interior and led back to a series of caverns. The party decided to explore this new area, soon set upon by skeletal behemoths and flaming skeletons. A fiery battle ensued; the Eldritch Blades victorious, having reduced their foes to bone and dust.

They ventured further into the caverns, coming to a room lit by a single candle, but with that light reflected a thousand times over by volcanic crystals encrusted in the cavern wall. A lone stone sarcophagus stood in the center of the room. Entering further, they discovered the cavern was not unprotected, as two large undead larval beasts emerged from behind the sarcophagus and attacked them. Worm-like tendrils writhed from their mouths; the touch of those frightful appendages causing horrendous pain. A fierce battle ensued. Alex got separated from the group at one point during the chaos, fighting alone against one of the worms. He was able to hold out long enough for his comrades to finish off the worm’s companion and come to Alex’s rescue. Soon, that worm too lay dead.

Going to the sarcophagus, the group opened it to uncover what lay within. With little effort, they were able to pry the lid off. Inside lay heaps and bags of treasure, much to the groups excitement.

Session Thirteen: January 7, 2010
Wherein our heroes battle terrors from the deep

Not wasting any time, Keira kicked in the door, surprising the two guards on the other side. The Eldritch Blades piled into the room, hoping to make short work of the guards, not realizing that they had friends in the adjoining room. Three more guards entered the fray, as well as their commander, a skilled mage. The fighting was fierce, with the Eldritch Blades giving more than they got. Before long, all of the guards had been dispatched, but not before the mage was able to sound the alarm with the aid of a Horn of Calling.

Their presence known, the Blades decided to make haste to the beach on the other side of the cavern before reinforcements arrived and to the alien structure rising from the cavern wall. They climbed into the large cage, and through Sevain’s handywork, descended quickly to the beach below.

Bearmit Crab

They soon landed on the beach. As they exited the cage, the lake nearby bubbled and foamed. A fearsome company of bearmit crabs and bearsharktopi burst from the water, awakened from their slumber by the sounding of the horn. Fearsome and loathsome creature from some forgotten god, they fought with a vigor no mortal yet living could recall! The Bearmit Crabs sprayed a foul acid upon whoever was in front of their vile maw; and the Bearsharktopi would ensnare with their tentacles and pull you in to that multi-toothed jaw of death. The party thought at first that they were outmatched, but some deft tactics and ferocious display of battle prowess turned the tide, and the Eldritch Blades put their aquatic foes to rest.

It was a close battle, but in the end they were triumphant and the beasts sent back to whatever forgotten Lord had put them forth! The group was taxed; their energies spent, and their wounds, though healed, still fresh in their minds. They decided to hole up in the stone building that the cable car was anchored to, for an extended rest.

Thanks Josh!

Session Twelve: December 3, 2009
Wherein our heroes rescue a damsel and pursue a thief

Having just defeated the bandits in the basement of the Lucky Monkey, the group took a quick rest. Searching the bodies and the area, they saw that the basement was the scene of an earlier and fierce fight. Exploring further, the group found the body of Sarcem Delasharn, his head missing, as well as a young elf, Shensen, who had locked herself in the inn’s cold storage to escape the bandits. She identified herself as a Strider of Avandra and saw to the temple here at the inn. The missing ritual components were nowhere to be found. Shensen described a striking redhead who lead the bandits, but no one the group had encountered yet.

They escorted her back through the inn, where a brief fight ensued with the remaining bandits. Handily defeating the badits, the Eldritch Blades returned to Cauldron with Shensen and many questions.

The group started their investigation into who this mystery redhead might be. Some hijinks ensued and many false leads, though the group were able to identify the woman as Triel Eldurast, a one-time town guard of Cauldron who escaped punishment after murdering several of her fellow guards while on duty. This event took place nearly a decade ago, so the specifics of the incident had grown hazy in the memories of the people of Cauldron. The group were ultimately put in contact with a local fence, Artus Shemwick. After some persuasion, he was able to identify Triel and her whereabouts in a subterranean ruin below Cauldron and the means to reach it.

With that knowledge in hand, the group set out the next morning to confront Triel and retrieve the missing ritual components.

Per Artus’ directions, the group followed an old lava tube on the side of the mountain Cauldron sat atop. The lava tube curved and meandered, but always down further under the mountain. Eventually, the lava tube opened out onto a ledge overlooking a cavern of immense proportions. A large suspended cage stood ready to carry them down to the cavern floor, across the acrid, phosphorescent lake below them. Also on the ledge, carved from the rock was a stone structure. Listening at the door, Linden could hear voices.

Session Eleven: November 12, 2009
Where our heroes attempt the rescue of a serendipidous simian

Coming to the aid of Jenya Urikas, priestess of the Temple of Bahamut, the group made haste to a nearby inn, The Lucky Monkey. Sarcem Delasharn, head of the Temple of Bahamut, sent a dire entreaty for help to Jenya, as bandits had attacked the inn and was quickly being overwhelmed. At her request, the Eldritch Blades journeyed to the inn to lend their assistance.

On their approach to the inn, the group spied figures dragging dead bodies out of the inn and piling them near the forests edge. Approaching cautiously, the group were set upon by bandits. The Blades made short work of the mercenaries and proceeded inside.

In the main common area of the inn, they immediately came upon a larger force of bandits. Battle was engaged with little mincing of words. The bandits were overmatched by the honed skills of the Eldritch Blades and were soon dispatched.

Making their way through the inn, the group found most rooms to be empty, ransacked and plundered. Entering the kitchen, they were confronted with large treasure, joyfully being counted by a feral looking werewolf. Wasting no time, Sevain lept into the room, savaging the werewolf before it fully defend itself. The rest of the group entered the fray, combating the werewolf’s wolf companions.

Before long, the fight drew the attention of some bandits down below in the basement. Blocked from fully entering the fight, the bandits were not able to come to the aid of their leader and soon saw him perish. They quickly retreated below, where the Blades cautiously followed. A fierce fight broke out between the Eldritch Blades and those bandits. Drawing on their every reserve, the Blades were eventually victorious, but it was a hard fought battle.

Session Ten: Oct. 15, 2009
Wherein our heroes wine, dine, and show off their dancing skills

Settling in to their new lodgings, provided by Lord Vhalantru, the Eldritch Blades are greeted early one morning by a messenger at their door. He delivers to them invitations to none other than the Demonskar Ball. Joesh is familiar with the Ball, if not the details of their involvement while in attendance. They set out individually to learn a bit more.

The Demonskar Ball is an annual celebration commemorating the defeat of the Demonskar Army and the founding of Cauldron. It is a costume ball, with much music, dancing, and food. It is hosted by Lord Aslaxin at The Coy Nixie. It’s the most prestigious event of the year and all the nobles and people of import turn out for the event.

The Eldritch Blades reconvene at Sarleen’s Silks and Finery, known to have the best costumes for the event. Costumes rented, they make a stop at Balteen’s Stables to hire a classy coach for the evening.

The rest of the time leading up to the ball is spent in classes at the Bluecrater Academy or on personal business at home.

The night of the ball, the Eldritch Blades arrive in high fashion. They dance and dine the night through. They meet the Stormblades for the first time, little love lost between the two groups. They make some new friends as well. The Eldritch Blades comport themselves well over the course of the night, impressing many. At the end of the night, the Lord Mayor publicly recognizes both the Stormblades and the Eldritch Blades for their heroics in defense of the city.

Session Nine: Oct. 1, 2009
Where our heroes defeat a vampire and stop the goblin menace

Well rested, the Eldritch Blades readied to continue their exploration of the caverns. Entering back into the complex, an invisible alarm sounded, alerting the half-orc mercenary waiting for them. The half-orc was only able to get a handful of arrows off at the Blades before he was felled. As the Blades closed to search the half-orc, they exposed themselves to his friends in waiting, several more half-orcs and their leader, a surly looking dwarf. Savain staggered back under a hail of arrows as the rest of his comrades jumped into the fray. A fierce battle ensued. A dire wolf entered the fight, helping the mercenaries against the heroes. A concentrated attack on the wolf, along with a terrible blow from Alex, staggered the wolf. At which point, the dire wolf transformed into mist and escaped down into the caverns. The Eldritch blades were soon victorious, dispatching the dwarf and half-orc mercenaries.

Eager to pursue the wolf, they made their way further into the caverns. It wound down deeper beneath Cauldron. Discovering rough hewn stairs, they investigated where they led, coming to an open landing and a closed door. Commotion could be heard from beyond the door. Making haste, the Eldritch Blades burst in on several more half-orcs and their leaders, a tiefling wizard and a cleric of Bane, trying to make a quick exit. The Blades immediately engaged the mercenaries, preventing their flight. The battle was savage. The tiefling wizard exploded thunder amongst her foes, staggering them from the concussive force of her magics. The Blades were able to bring down the mercenaries, laying the last half-orc low. Among the mercenaries belongings, the heroes found ledgers and communiques showing the mercenaries to be led by someone claiming the title, The Blue Duke. The mercenaries were being hired by some unnamed noble within Cauldron itself. The mercenaries had made a deal with one, Drakthar, to the his caverns to smuggle themselves into the city. Enough provisions were stored nearby to supply a much larger force than was currently occupying the caves.

The Blades continued their exploration of the caverns, eventually coming to a recent campsite and a cave entrance in the side of the mountain, opening to the jungle below.

Returning to the caves, the Blades finally came face to face with the owner of the caverns, Drakthar, himself. Beckoning them to their doom, Drakthar battled the heroes, hoping to end the threat to his domain. As the Blades closed to battle Drakthar, the skeletal remains of his foes, scattered around the room, reached out and grabbed at those foolish enough to draw too near. Drakthar soon revealed his true nature, that of a vampire as Linden fell under his gaze and under Drakthar’s control. The battle was wild and furious. Linden was able to break free from Drakthar’s control, only to see others fall to the vampire’s dominance, Morwin and Alex in turn. The pressure from their assault proved too much and in a puff of mist, Drakthar retreated from his throne room.

Quick to pursue him, the Eldritch Blades followed him, needing to cross a 50’ deep chasm to reach Drakthar and his crypt. Vampire spawn erupted from the ground around them, aiding Drakthar against the heroe’s onslaught. It was here that Alex fell under the deep control of the vampire, dominated by his undead gaze. Alex turned his considerable battle talents on his friends, while his mind cried out for release. The battle was fierce. Drakthar was able to drop several of his foes, only to have them rally time and again under the inspiring leadership of Keira and Joesh. Finally did they strike the final blow and kill Drakthar, but not before Alex bullrushed a wounded Keira off the landing to the cold cavern floor 50’ below. Only as the vampire fell was Alex’s mind freed.

With the vampire dead, the Eldritch Blades quickly saw to their wounded, preventing any losses amongst them. Exhausted, the Blades took a long rest, before returning to Cauldron to report their findings and claim their bounty.

Session Eight: Sept. 3, 2009
Wherein our heroes further explore some caverns

The Eldritch Blades elected to continue on, looking for more goblin ears to add to their bounty. They had run ins with several more goblin patrols, as well as stumbling into an ankheg nest. Having made their way further into the complex, they decide to take a break to recuperate before exploring more and putting an end to the goblin menace.


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