And the Gates of Hell Shall not Prevail Against Thee

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Summary

Adventure: And the Gates of Hell Shall not Prevail Against Thee
GM: William
Session: Winter 812
Night: Monday starting at 7:00pm
Location: New Windsor
Level: High / Very High Level

The Party

  • Aryan - Legendary Human Warrior King and charming Paragon of Masculinity 15
  • Bleyze - The Fire mage! Blazing Skeletal Paragon of Manly Beauty - So hot right now! 15
  • Caprice - The charming Gypsy, mistress of thaumaturgy and veils. 26
  • Dalran - The Dark Sorcerer, a subtle Paragon of Manly Beauty 19
  • Lath - The Lady of Storms 20
  • Sabrina - Fey Dancer of Death 27

Brief

Lady Catherine of Northfield is leading a large band of Elementals to destroy the gates of hell, go in and start kicking some demonic arse, or whatever it is demons sit with.

With the gates destroyed the demons will no longer have a safe haven to retreat to and recuperate. Or so it is to be believed...

Pay

  • Aryan - Ability to Windwalk regardless of what he's wearing
  • Bleyze - Flower petals with his spell effects *
  • Caprice - independent shadow *
  • Dalran - Replacement independent shadow *
  • Lath - Flower petals with her spell effects
  • Sabrina - Store and/or redirect absorbed elemental damage *
* Unless they come up with something else, they get what Lath asked for.

Reference

Buffs

Magic Rk Effects Dur A B C D L S
Fire Armour (B) 20 100 Ablative vs Magical Fire 21 hours
Heat Shield (B) 6 28 Ablative vs Magical Cold 7 hours
Fireproofing (B) 6 Prot Normal Fire 7 hours
Weapon of Flames (B) 12 +13% +7 Dam 17 mins
Enchant Armour (D) 22 +46% Def +1 AP 11 hours
Enchanted Mind (D) 6 vs Telepathy, ESP, etc. 55 hours
Enchanted Weapon (D) 14 +15% +6 Dam 3-10 mins
Heat & Cold Resistance (L) 16 +5 gauge -5 Heat/Cold Damage 17 hours
Feather Fall (L) 8 You slowly fall 4.5 hours
Flight (L) 13 43 mph 7 hours
Vapour Breathing (L) 15 8 hours
Fast as the Wind (L) 15 +6 TMR up to a max of 15,and +15IV 42 mins
Barrier of Wind (L) 20 +42 Def in close, melee & range 10.5 hours
Eddy (L) 15 +6 Def (will stack with BoW above) 16 hours
Strength of Stone (Inv) 20 +20 EN 21 hours
Quickness (D) 20 +25 IV +6 TMR + NM Pass Action 115 mins
Aryan/Sabrina Mil Sci
Melee Only: +12IV +12SC +12Def +1 Pass Action at End of Pulse
Raise Morale +6 WP
Aryan - Morning Callisf Drill
+1 AG until dawn.
Caprice - Firelight Dancing
+ 18 MR + 18 FT until dawn (20 for Caprice)
Flavia's Kiss
Protects us from the Blandishments of Others
Orchon Sprites
Obscure us from prophecy and scrying for only 1oz of Myrrh per day (plus 5 lbs up front for their bosses).
Shopping List
  • Tincture of Nimwrath Root for Caprice

MilSci

Skirmish Formations Watches
Default

Aryan Sabrina
Lath Dalran Bleyze
Caprice

Double File

Aryan Sabrina
Lath Bleyze
Caprice Dalran

Single File

Sabrina
Aryan
Bleyze
Dalran
Lath
Caprice

3-4 Hrs per Watch

Lath Dalran
Caprice Aryan
Bleyze Sabrina

Allies

Alegron, Daniel - went to Hell, wrote a book.
Explored Hell 500 years ago, wrote a guide book which the Temple of the One-Horned God has given to us to help - they want the Demons smashed too. He made it to the 7th level then got out with the help of an Ice Goddess who guided him to an exit.
Arinari, Djinn
Wished the Orchons to be more compliant to his wishes. The Djinn do not support the war on hell.
Catherine, Lady of Northfield - a Fire Elemental
Used to be human, now leading the combined Elemental Armies. Normally lives in the house of Tempest on Air.
Chantris
The Fates say that she will help us the most. Death says she would be a good choice of guardian for our souls.
Has our souls hanging from her mantlepiece as icicles - they'll melt in spring, we should reclaim them by then. We have icicles as place holders for our souls, this makes us feel an inner chill all the time.
Death
Warned about the upcoming influx of dead Demonics, would like the Scales that Bune has.
Warned us to protect our souls before going into hell, not something he does, against his principles. Younger gods would be our best bet, Chantris gets his approval, her cloak (the mantle of a Goddess of Fertility) would allow the one wearing it to walk unharmed in hell, especially effective if they were pregnant.
Eoren, Prince of Alfheim and Gloriana of Elvandar
A couple whose wedding would epitomise the virtues of Love, Truth, Hope and Honour - which would make great weapons against the Demonic Emperors. It would be best if we met them at the Mountain of the Laughing God.
Fates, THE
This is not a matter for them to be involved with, but this is a time when the younger powers could rise up against the old, they have no objection to our plans, we're unlikely to bring about the end of mankind or change the timing of Nightfall. And while we're down there... they would like Vassago's crown to be removed from him - nobody should have that much fore-knowledge.
Flavia of Tycho - 'The Fairest of the All' (Lath wanted to know)
Embodies the 'lesser virtue' of Beauty and has great taste in men. A dealer in information.
Orchons(??) - Smoke Elementals
Their smoke provides concealment from foretelling. Preferred trade is for Myrrh.
Storms of the Red Rocks
An Air Power, he generates the ship-wrecking storms around Red Rocks in the Isles of Adventure. A happy Elemental power, he enjoys his work, likes the cracking noises that ships make and how the fleshies fly from the ships until they fail to dodge the rocks and go splat.
Zel - senior Dark Elemental - GTN Naut
A sentient dark sphere, with an eye. Representing the Elementals, inviting us to join the first battle of campaign into Hell.
Zel's Brother
A really big sentient dark sphere, like swallowed the whole army and the castle to hide them big!

Opponents

71 Demons of Hell, then the 4 Emperors.

First Level of Hell

4 Pillars supporting the Gates.
Each corner of the gates is held by the hand of a Demonic Emperor.
Bune's Legion
Departing guards. About 1,000 Devils plus minions.
Ipos's Legion
Arriving guards. About 1,000 Devils plus minions.

Second Level of Hell

Earls ?

Third Level of Hell

Marquises ?

Fourth Level of Hell

Dukes

Bune - The Dragon Duke
His Legion has been guarding the gates and are now departing. Death wants his Scales.
Sent an undead dragon to stop the wedding of Prince Eoren.
Vapula - The Lion Duke
Maleficent wants his staff. It is an artefact of great Earth Power, Vapula is unable to wield it and probably keeps it in his throne room. Touching it would probably kill Lath.

Fifth Level of Hell

Marquises / Presidents?

Maleficent - of Savnok's Realm
Allied with the Grey Man, sent an imp to make a deal with the guild (us), claims to have Lath's memories wants Vapula's staff in return.
Showed Lath the Demonic symbol that can be used to communicate with her.

Sixth Level of Hell

Princes

Vassago
Has a Crown that The Fates would like removed.

Seventh Level of Hell

Kings

Eigth Level of Hell

Emperors

No-Kill List

The fates say there is a Cabal of Demons who should not die in this war: Seir, Ipos, Foras. We should keep Kael and Ipos away from each other - a lot of hate going on there.

Though perhaps this was more of a guideline, a preference, hardly worth considering, accidents happen in war...

Others

The Grey Man
Allied to Maleficent. Weakness is Daffodils. Every 3rd time he strikes, do not dodge left! If you do he will always hit you.
Bune's Undead Dragon
Attempted to stop the wedding of Eoren, killed some Elves, slain by Lath (who received the Undeath Curse).
2 Crystal Eyes, Undead Dragon Skin for Armour, 26 usable teeth.
Hobbit Thief of Salamanca
Stole the Crown of Vassago from us, after we stole it from Vassago.
Earth Mage, rk 20 SoS.

Calendar

Winter: Frost 812 (7)
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon2.jpg Samhain 1 Guild Meeting

Guild, Air

2 Air 3 Red Rocks, Seagate, Tycho 4 Fates, Death, Seagate 5 Seagate, Chantris, Elvandar 6 University, Eidolon, End of Time
Moon3.jpg 7 Elvandar 8 Elvandar 9 Elvandar: Wedding 10 Elvandar 11 Elvandar 12 Sanctuary, Seagate, Lath's Isle, Air 13 Bazaar, Adjepbar, Hell - Aim & Alloces
Moon0.jpg 14 Hell: Astaroth & Bael 15 Hell: Crocell, B, As, Al. 16 17 18 19 20
Moon1.jpg 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Moon2.jpg 28 29 30 1 2 3 4
Winter: Snow 812 (8)
Moon3.jpg 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Moon0.jpg 12 13 14 15 Solstice 16 17 18 Yuletide
Moon1.jpg 19 Days of Chaos 20 21 22 23 24 25
Moon2.jpg 26 27 28 29 30 Twelth Night 1 2
Winter: Ice 812 (9)
Moon3.jpg 3 4 5 6 First Plough 7 8 9
Moon0.jpg 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Moon1.jpg 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Moon2.jpg 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Scribe Notes

Strategic Planning

We meet in the guild to discuss the highly secret planned assault on Hell by the Elementals, and find there are three different parties already waiting to talk to us about it.


1) Imp from Maleficent

M. has Lath's memories, she'll return them and implant them if we bring Vapula's staff to her on the 5th level of Hell. Her ally the Grey Man told her we'd be involved.

The conversation is slightly and amusingly disrupted by Caprice, Dalran, and Sabrina's pet rocks savagely attacking the imp. Followed by locking them in the cupboard and regenerating the imp's tongue.

I get to pop the imp once we're finished.


2) A babe (priestess) from the One-Horned God

They're all for us smacking over the demons and have a travel-guide to Hell to help us.


3) Zel, envoy of the Elemental army here to invite us to join in.


We look at some books, talk a bit then follow Zel out of the guild so he can open a portal to Air.

In Air we fly towards Tempest's home and find ourselves approaching a very large Dark Sphere, Zel introduces us to his brother who has enveloped the Elemental Army to hide it from scrying. It's safe to be inside him but not to go into him. Zel's bro' opens up to let us in.

Then we see the castle and the army of elementals and allies of all sizes and flavours.

At the gates the Storm Giants won't let us in 'cos we're too short. Sabrina and I look them in the eye and explain things.

Further in the bosses are gathered around a sand table, more height issues with guards, then we meet and talk to Catherine.

The Elementals are in this for the duration, they plan to invade hell and wipe it out one level at a time until Hell is gone or their army is, they're betting on the former but it may take some time.

It's a good decade to be invading Hell as they're changing the legion that's guarding the gates.  ?Demon?'s Legion is leaving and ?Demon?'s Legion is taking over. They hate each other and are bickering over the transition.

The Elementals understand that we have short attention spans and are unlikely to join them for more than a mortal-season at a time, this season they want us to sneak be subtle into Hell, destroy the four pillars supporting the front gates and open the gates to the invading army. The gates can only be opened from the inside. Further tactical objectives we could help with will probably come up after that.

We talk about payment.

Sprites and Babes

We talk strategy and tactics with them for a while and start refining their plans until Lath points out that we're open books to the prophecy demons, as soon as we leave the Naut they're gonna know everything we know so we should stay ignorant until we're protected.

There's an Air Faction that could protect us from being predicted but they're not supporting the war so we're on our own with negotiations.

Storms of the Red Rocks flies us there, we negotiate, agree a price, then try to negotiate out of paying, blunder a bit, turn the blunder to our favour, decide not to engage in local politics any further and just pay the myrrh.

Tips - When you accidentally summon a thief into a delicate negotiation with a paranoid miser, make sure you catch it red-handed and only claim credit for the latter.

We depart shrouded by our bound sprites.

Th'rsday, 3rd Frost

Back to Alusia via Red Rocks, flying out of the storm to the west to an island (where an envoy from Flavia has an invite for Lath), from there to Adjepbar, to Seagate, to Tycho to visit Flavia.

We talk a while and make a deal for some information.

Frysday, 4th Frost

A cloud-flight north to see the Fates gives me a chance to catch up on sleep.

All 3 of the fates are waiting for us, they concealed their loom so nobody would be tempted to dabble with it - again.

We check if it's ok to smash the gates, they tell us it's up to us (as mortals) to decide and eventually concede that they're not against it. We talk more and get some more detail on what the gates are and how we kick them down.

Current Secret Plan: Organise a controversial Elvish love-marriage ASAP, weaponise its virtues (Love, Truth, Hope and Honour); sneak into the first level of Hell; escalate tensions between the two legions; disguised as the opposite faction, attack the guards on the pillars and destroy the pillars with our weaponised virtues; while the legions are distracted by the open gates and incoming army, destroy the legion commanders; help the Elementals mop up the rest of the legions; destroy any demons left behind on the first level; rinse and repeat for subsequent levels.

We have time

Next we go to see death, Dalran and Lath suck frogs. Death says we're early but talks to us anyway, we warn him about our plans, ask if there's anything he needs done in Hell and he grants us an artefact to recover. He also warns us to protect our souls before entering Hell. So now we're working for The Fates and Death which Caprice says is good, it makes us more likely to succeed.

Then a short flight to Lath's Island and back to the guild via Adjepbar.

Reapsday, 5th Frost

Into Seagate for Temple Time - Chantris first, the junior priest can't summon Chantris (despite being a reformed Summoner) and can't talk to her on our behalf but we hang around while Lath terrorises talks to him a while.

Then I head over to the One-Horned God to conclude some business with the Priestesses while the others go to bother Liessa's Sisters. My work is interrupted by a request to deal with some trouble at one of the other temples, Liessa's. I'm informed I should lead my group through the door of Bold Supplicants, definitely not the smaller door of cowardly safety.

We charge through into deepest winter then follow a trail through the snow to a small shack where Chantris is tending a fire. She'd like to help us but it's winter and gods interfering in the mortal worlds is dangerous and it's winter! If we could wait till spring... But she can freeze our souls and hang them from her mantle to keep them safe, if we're not back to collect them by Spring when they'll melt, she'll send them to F. Rowan.

We leave, feeling colder than before. Chantris sets us on a path to emerge into Elvandar.

We're in a forest, with trees, it's definitely Elfheim and probably Elvandar, we start shouting for Elves. It's not long before a tree calls back to us, eventually the Elves emerge and agree to take us to Eoren.

At the camp we take Eoren aside and huddle together so our anti-scrying smoke will help shroud the conversation, we explain our mission and ask to attend his wedding, he's fine with that, the wedding is in three days.

Dandelions will help against the Grey Man, we ask some questions of Caprice's book, then spend the rest of the day removing the subsequent curses.

Sunday, 6th Frost

We head to the University to find out how to recover the Dandelions that Sabrina un-made from the Firmament. An Elf in a smaller tower is the subject expert, while we're talking to him about how we can get there Dalran realises that he could lead us there, the same way he did last time, through The Ways. We invite the Elf to join us, he's keen to leave immediately, in about 3 hours, once he's packed the essentials. Eventually we head through to the gardens in the capitol, the guards try to talk us out of going in but we insist.

Dalran leads us along the paths through the mist for hours and eventually stops at a door that turns out to be the correct one, Bleyze holds the door open we step out to the end of time and get Sabrina to Name the Dandelions back into existence, we gather some to be re-planted, some to make posies for the wedding and some to be turned into resin for blades. A brief chat with the oracle then back onto the paths to Elfheim.

When we emerge back into the garden the guards ask some odd questions then hustle us away into a room to wait. They refuse to confirm it but I'm fairly sure we came back before we left and they're keeping us from meeting ourselves. Late in the afternoon they let us go and we head back to Elvandar.

Moonday, 7th Frost - Duesday 8th Frost

We work with some Herbalists on the Dandelions, and pass time till the wedding.

W'nsday, 9th Frost

The wedding is outside under some trees, lots of talking and singing and chanting and then the Undead Dragon turns up. Bune sent it to stop the wedding, we charge!

Sabrina and Bleyze deal with the minions that detach from the Dragon's back, the rest of us focus on the Dragon, I engage it in melee while Caprice, Dalran, and Lath rip it apart with magic. Half a minute and a couple of 380 damage Whirlwind Vortexes later, the Dragon is slain and we're burned, hacked, life drained, and slimed - but alive. Lath takes the death curse and gains a Vampire's vulnerability to sunlight, she smokes and burns a lot until Dalran shrouds her in Darkness.

Going to Hell

The corpses are removed, the wedding continues, followed by a good party.

Th'rsday, 10th Frost - Frysday, 11th Frost

Paintings and compositions are completed, I pick up my ship from Seagate.

Reapsday, 12th Frost

Fly to Seagate via Sanctuary, dropping off the painter, then on to Seagate for last supplies and preparation.

Then we fly west to Lath's Island and jump through her box into Air.

An Elemental is waiting for us, he has an invite for Lath from Prince Geris - a Djinn, Lath accepts. The Elemental transports us to the palace of Prince Geris, the Prince would like Lath to join his harem as his 7th wife. Lath is not so keen, we help with negotiations and somehow end up with Lath being willing to consider the proposal if the Price will send troops to aid in the war.

Shortly we're on our way to Tempest's palace with a storm of Elementals behind us. Catherine is surprised by the reinforcements we've bought but happy to have them along. We make it very clear that we don't want the Calimar bringing their horror weapon anywhere near Hell or Alusia. Then we talk about how we get into Hell and how we coordinate with the army to let them know when the gates are open. They'll watch the gates and be ready to invade within 10 minutes of them opening. We discuss various options we have for getting into deeper levels of Hell but the only option we come up with for getting to level 1 is hitching a lift with the Calimar, we just have a couple of special buffs to organise - shagging and sunset dancing. We can head to the Bazaar in Air for the shagging and some general shopping, but we need to return to Alusia for the sunset as it's endless day on Air.

Sunday, 13th Frost

Flying to the Bazaar, trading for services, and then returning to Tempest and then Alusia. We meet up with the Calimar in the desert north of Adjepbar, Caprice dances then we board ship for hell disguised as Devils, Succubi, and Incubi.

We start to regret our deal when we find out their way of opening a portal to Hell is with Seraphim encased in Strange Metal - not a good thing for the Seraphim.
Calimar use Seraphim as the fuel for an ethical reaction drive?
But too late to back out now, through we go to Hell.

As planned, we arrive in Aim's domain, the Calimar continue their raid while we discretely drop out the back and blend in with the Devils. Lakes of Fire are everywhere, souls burn in them, devils patrol the edges throwing escapees back in. Blood Towers rise into the air, an Obsidian Tower rises higher, in the distance we can see a Copper Palace - Aim's Citadel.

Following the directions in the guidebook we fly towards the gate to the next domain which we reach without incident. A Fire Toad and two flaming skeletons guard the gatehouse, the Toad demands payment of a soul to let us pass, I refuse, he insists, I give him a warning blow which devolves into a fight. An aerial patrol comes to join in which make the fight a bit closer, I declare us as agents of Bune, Dalran casts to open the gate, Caprice acquires the Toad's pouch of souls, we retreat through the gate before more reinforcements arrive.

We're in an endless sandy desert, souls are buried to the neck, chariots roam the plane running over the heads. We're in the domain of Alloces - The Lord of Battles.

When in Hell

Lath spots some form of obscurement to the north (there's a North in Alloces domain!), we head towards a huge representation of a desert mirage, it conceals the Tower of Mykos. The tower is huge and thin and should have fallen over already, spikes and souls decorate the sides, there are moving figures at the top. Our guide book says the Pillar could be seen from the top of the tower, we'll probably have to fight to hold the tower top while we look but then someone spoils it by talking to a head and getting directions to the pillar.

One difference we note is that Hell is emptier than it was described by Alegron, he writes of thousands of people wandering the hells, while we see many imprisoned we see very few at large, our helpful local says there were a lot of people when he arrived about 800 years ago. This all seems to indicate something happened around then which let the Demons gather a lot more souls than they should have.

This Pillar is the arm of Leviathan, we debate taking it out now and eventually decide to stick to the original plan of scouting them all then racing to take them all out. The guidebook says Alegron discovered a terrible secret and lift clues to it inscribed on the pillars, we search and find the first inscription.

To the people of the forest 16.
To the people of the mountains 7.
To the people of the plains 4 and 1.

Next is the realm of Astaroth, the Terrible Duke - a necromancer.

We try to travel there by will as we had into the trackless desert, after a while we come to a huge basalt cliff with a small cave at the base. A local head is eventually convinced to tell us there is a wise man in the cave and it's usually bad for devils that enter, I enter, Dalran scouts with his eye.

Inside is an old guy, he has been here for a few thousand years, he's waiting to have his heart weighed by Anubis. Lath gets out some scales and checks, his heart is lighter than one of Dalran's wing feathers, he steps into the light and is gone. We install the buried soul we interrogated as the new wise man.

Flying to the top of the cliff we enter Astaroth's domain, as we approach the top we hear beautiful choral singing, circles of dark angels are singing the glory of horror, suffering, and death.

We avoid as many of them as we can as we fly to the pillar which is the arm of Apollyon. Fortunately no singing dark angels here at the moment, we search for and find the inscription.

Hell was conceived as a prison
with Demons as the jailers.

Then on we fly to the realm of Bael (??) - The King in the East. It is a domain of flesh, everything is like an enormous creature of bloody flesh, scales and hair, souls occasionally emerge from the flesh only to be engulfed again.

We find the pillar, the arm of Istu and find the inscription.

To power anything in hell requires souls.
A power which has been diverted to suit the Demons aims.

Then quickly fly on to find the realm of Crocell - Duke of the Bath.

At first this seems an idyllic place, gentle sunlight, fields, forests, villages, happy villagers. Then we find a village that weren't happy enough, the entire village has been crucified to suffer without any chance of being released by death.

The pillar is disguised as a great tree, the arm of Ahriman, it too has an inscription on the 'bark'.

The Hells were built on the pre-existing realms of older beings.
Their followers are still coming here.

As we're planning we realise we've been in hell for nearly 3 days, time has not passed normally and we only work this out by spell durations, we all feel fatigued but decide it's better to push on than risk resting.

Time to start dealing out some virtue! Bleyze forms Dalran's poem in letters of bound fire, then brands them onto the tree. There is a spurt of blood which hurts Bleyze, the ground shakes, Sabrina and I stay to observer while the others activate their Fireflight, the arm moves, the ground heaves, then the arm withdraws into the ground leaving a hole which presumably goes all the way down - we resist the impulse to charge after it and follow the others.

Blasting back to the realm of flesh as fiery comets, we land and decide to apply one of the paintings to Istu's arm. Sabrina slashes it open, Dalran TKs the painting in, blood, smoke, fire, the ground tears and shakes, we flee as the hand withdraws leaving another gaping hole.

On to the realm of Astaroth. A circle of 20 dark angels is flying around the pillar and singing, we decide our virtuous song is most appropriate for this pillar. I land to engage the dark angels, Sabrina and Caprice land close behind and start singing, Lath, Bleyze and Dalran land further out and start dealing out damage spells, they get some falling stars in return. The demonic song makes things much harder for us and easier for them. 7 dark angels are killed in the first volley and that reduces the effect of the song. The pillar starts twitching as our song takes effect, Sabrina and I start our choreographed combat dance, 30 seconds of pain and suffering later there are only a few dark angels left, the ground is heaving, the arm is thrashing, a hand occasionally descending to grab at us and then it withdraws completely.

Alloces Advice

We patch up the flesh damage, we still have some holes in armour and Lath, distracted by the devils she absorbed, has the willpower of a peasant.

Flying on to Alloces domain we find it shrouded in a dust storm, can't go over it, have to go through it. A scratchy, abrasive flight but eventually Dalran's Locate guides us in.

Alloces is waiting for us, he accuses us of lunacy, recklessness, meddling in affairs we don't understand, and unleashing the demonic Emperors to destroy us all. We can't argue with most of that and we're a bit concerned that he seems completely truthful and honest about the last. He does have a reputation for truth, honour, and following the knightly code. But he's a Demon and therefore can't be trusted, we charge.

He fights well and has a big mace, it inflicts mortal wounds with every strike, Sabrina makes herself immune to it, the rest of us that approach and attack the pillar-arm shed bucket loads of flesh and blood on the sand.

On the brink of unconsciousness, Dalran applies the last painting to the arm. The ground heaves, the arm thrashes, Alloces withdraws to his stronghold.

We patch the worst of the damage and head for the gates, healing as we go.

Devils of all shapes and sizes are engaged in battle on a vast plain by the gates, we avoid most of them as we fly on to the gates where it's a bit quieter.

Dalran casts opening, the gates unlock and swing open, the combatants all pause and look our way.

The bigger they are

Task 1, open the gates is complete. We could exit, rest, sleep for the first time in days, wait for the Elemental army, or we could move onto the next task. The Dragons commanding Bune's Legion are conveniently close, Sabrina calls Ajax, the Angelic Blades come out, we charge!

As we're taking the first step we're there's a whistling sound from behind us - Thor decided he wanted first blood in this battle and sent his Hammer to strike the Dragons, dozens of smaller devils die and the Dragons are stunned, then we charge.

We have the element of surprise for a while and discover that killing Bune's minions in Hell gets us a death curse, probably fatal, even the portion that gets through our protections is gradually rotting our internal organs. The bigger they are, the greater the damage.

Then the big devils and Dragons start laying into us. Hellfire, Necromancy, Fear, Life Drain, Reverse Empathy, and a lot of physical damage.

I engage one of the big (15-hex) Dragons to stop it's fear attack which almost broke Caprice and Lath. Sabrina vents some spleen then becomes immune to the Death Curse, Bleyze sheds his skin to protect his organs, Caprice goes for disabling attacks, Lath and Dalran kill them and take the internal damage.

The elementals said they'd be with us within 10 minutes of the gates opening, 1 minute down...

The harder they hit

Front Gates combat... Blood, bone, necrosis, fear, horror, & life draining but eventually defeated by Dragonflames, Whirlwind Vortex and Angelic Blades.

One Dragon enlightened by Aryan and leaves. The other restrained by Aryan and Sabrina then killed by Bleyze using a spear looted from the dragon that cost him his flesh. The plan was that Bleyze do the killing as he's immune to the Necrosis Death Curse, unfortunately the Dragon's Death Curse is that Bleyze is consumed by fire.

It's a Green Dragon so I drink it's heart blood and along with some nasty internal burns, I gain understanding of all the languages of Hell. I start to wonder if that was such a good idea, then the rest of the party drinks some too so it must be ok.

Bleyze is starting to get worried as the extended Trollskin means he won't die till the end of the month, he'll just keep burning and there may not be much left to resurrect after that. Sabrina applies a potion of fire & water that reacts with the flames and stops the burning.

Then posturing and intimidating to keep the rest of the devils at bay while we heal, loot and wait for reinforcements.

Once the Elemental army is through and has the area under control we fall back through the gates to rest and report in.

Outside the gates is not Alusia, it's some sort of inter-dimensional doorstep.

We get a bit curious about the sheer volume (about 1 a second) of souls going to hell and question a few, most of them don't seem deserving of going to hell, lay followers of the Western Church and living good lives. Dalran spends some time with his Angelic blade redirecting them to the Arch Angels.

We need to get back out to Alusia to recharge some of our abilities. I ask around for directions, Zel offers to show me ... touch .. and I'm in Seagate near the Temple of the One-Horned God, obviously I should consult with them about hell and the souls.

Some hours later I'm refreshed and Dalran is there dragging me out, I think the priestesses said something important about the souls but I was distracted by their devotions.

Dalran says they finished divining and de-cursing then searched for me and Zel sent them here. We agree we should tell the Archangels about this, Dalran heads off to commune with Raph and I go to talk to Liessa's lot.

After confusing each other for a while, the sisters and I agree that it must be an evil plot within the Western Church that should be stamped out, an internal matter that they can sort out, then they point out that they're not part of the Western Church, they're not even on the same side, they just share some enemies. I guess that means it's back on me to sort out.

I meet Dalran on the street, he looks confused too. We head off to the guild to catch up with the others and get some sleep.

Th'rsday 17th Frost

We check some people on the street, their destination on death is Hell, the same for some of us. It's not something that has been messed with, it's our natural destination.

We decide to fly to see the Fates and let them know, they already knew. They didn't mentioned it as they thought we already knew. We ask more but it's nothing to do with them, we should talk to the Elves (Archangels & Demons) about it. We fly home.

We're all going to hell

Frysday 18th Frost

Guild security gathers us to meet some visitors, a Sister of Dissonance and a cherub from Raph. The Sister tells us that everyone in the Western Kingdom is going to hell by default unless they are specifically linked to some other power. We also discuss Zel and two of the sisters know the ritual to summon him. The Cherub tells us that the Angels have discovered that Hell is getting most of the human souls from the Western Kingdom.

We interrogate the Cherub, Caprice's book, our own notes, guild records and then the Elven records. We manage to piece together that the Demons when they became Demons built hell as a prison for the Demonic Emperors, they built it on top of the 'Heaven' of the primitive human gods (Earth, Fire, Storm, Death) and using the power they had gathered. The human gods are still down there and Humans in the area (Western Kingdom) have continued to head to their heaven by default for the past 30 or 40 millennia and been intercepted and used by the denizens of hell. The Archangels stepped into the power vacuum in the area, crushed other gods and powers that tried to rise up, and took care of the Elven souls but didn't consider the human souls, they got a few a year, that was normal.

Each of the Demonic Emperors is sitting on top of one of the old human gods, we could drop down one of the holes left by the arms holding the gates and haul the gods out to the gates so they get the souls before the Demons do. There may be one or two challenges to overcome with this approach.

Or we could tell everyone that they need to convert to a god so they don't go to hell, it might take some convincing.

We decide to carry on and get Lath's memories and the stuff for the fates and Death while we think about it.

Zel comes for us, after our usual preparations and some firelight dancing we return to the Gates of Hell.

First mission is Lath's memories, we've decided not to deal with Maleficent for them and to recover them ourselves, we've traced them to Seir's Vats of Transformation - which nobody knows much about.

We convince Zel to come with us so we have an alternative way out, he hides as Dalran's shadow, devouring it in the process. Heading to Alloces realm and dropping down the hole left by Leviathan's arm, we stop descending at the 5th level of Hell and exit into _ ? _'s realm, disguised as demonics we make our way to Seir's realm. As soon as we enter, Seir's voice booms out greeting Dalran and inviting him to come visit, Dalran accepts. Seir's citadel is some sort of tent city, the rest of us become invisible to Demons and we follow Dalran in, the guards escort him to see Seir. We skulk at the back while they talk, Dalran spins a blend of half-truths and talks Seir into showing him the Vats of Transformation, we follow them down to a deep cavern filled with cauldrons, jars, fires, and all sorts of Alchemical and Mechanician stuff. Seir points out the jar that contains the mind of a mad air mage that protects the Vats, Dalran acts impressed at the protections then gets Seir to show him the protections on his other key relics. The Sabre of Winds is safely on his hip at all times and the All Seeing Eye is secure in the tower, as they head off for the tower, we lag behind and as planned Lath trades a penny for her own thoughts. We've planned not to steal anything from Seir on the assumption that he'd know and be able to stop us. Lath and Caprice decide they could get away with stealing stuff that belongs to Seir's minions and start scouting as we trail behind Dalran, Seir and entourage. They find and steal some cool stuff from various devils, I buy a lightning bolt from a barrel.

Dalran makes excuses and leaves Seir, we catch up to him, render him invisible and try to leave. We can't, there's no way out of the tent city. Fortunately we have plan Zel. I suggest that we could destroy Seir's eye to weaken him since we know where it is, have a friendly dark sphere and it's not strictly stealing. Dalran asks if we want the chest, "What Chest?", the one over there containing all the stuff that Lath and Caprice stole. We decide we've pushed our luck far enough and we should just get out.

Back outside the gates Zel starts making odd comments about seeing everything, we question him and he says that he devoured Seir's eye as we suggested, now it's part of him, another cryptic comment about finding something then he vanishes. I head to the command tent to confess to Catherine that I may have corrupted Zel and lost him, she doesn't seem as concerned as we are.

Negotiator Tog's people have been recruiting the incoming souls into their army and equipping them to fight, promising them they will inherit the realm once the war is won - naturally with some advisors from the Swords World Confederation.

We need to return to Alusia to recharge but we don't have Zel on hand any more, we're regretting not spending 3 days learning the ritual to summon him now. Tog offers to take us but we don't want to owe the Calimar any favours. Sabrina gets permission from Heimdal and we leave by Rainbow Bridge.

Reapsday 19th Frost

Rest, recharging, and then after dancing we Rainbow Bridge back to hell to go get Vassago's crown and Bune's scales.

Vassago

Back into Hell and heading for Vassago's realm, things are a bit chaotic, elements of the armies from both sides chasing each other around, skirmishing.

Vassago's realm is beyond the current battle lines but is very quiet. The centre of Vassgo's realm is a castle. We plan to try to be sneaky but we can't hide all of us so Sabrina and Dalran will approach openly with Dalran wearing the helm while the rest of us sneak in ahead.

The sneaking seems to go well, we get inside and make our way up the tower. There are odd contraptions (including an Orrery) on some of the floors which we try not to get too distracted by. Passing the room sized military sand table, the throne room, a storage room to finally reach the chamber with the crown and other artefacts. In the middle of the room is an unmoving hobbit in mid step.

We DA, we experiment, we speculate... it seems like a time based trap, the further in you go the slower you get. Sabrina and Dalran arrive, knock on the door and start chatting with Vassago. We sneak down to play with the Orrery in case the two are linked - no such luck but Vassago hears or is aware of someone messing with it and comes to investigate. Sabrina and Dalran attempt to distract and deflect his interest which seems to work better than it should but we probably don't have much time.

I initiate human trials and walk into the room, nothing happens, I walk out, nothing happens, I walk back in to the Hobbit and then on to the display cases, it turns out that Caprice's amulets protect us from the trap as well as from her magic. I remove the crown, Lath comes in and grabs the goblet of gems and sceptre too.

On the way out against the advice of the others I rescue the Hobbit by grabbing him and hauling him out of the room. He was here to steal the crown too, he thanks us for the rescue and we part ways to make out independent ways out.

We signal Dalran and Sabrina as we leave, they make their excuses and depart too. All a bit too easily like Vassago was resigned to it happening or didn't care any more.

Outside I reach into my pocket for the crown to discover the thief I rescued has shown gratitude by stealing it from me. We can't locate him or track him easily but Vassago doesn't have it any more so technically we achieved what the Fates wanted but it's not very satisfying.

We go past Bune's realm on the way out and consider nipping in to get the scales, but our Demonic invisibility is gone and this realm seems a bit more actively defended, Dragons flying around, ground patrols, impassable mountains, ... we might pass on getting his scales for now.

Back to the gates where we check in with the army commanders, they're happy with the work we've done and sign off on our completion and payment.

Then out to Alusia where we head off to report in to The Fates. Naturally they already know what happened but they appreciate the courtesy and don't mind that the Hobbit got away with the crown, we'll still be rewarded.

From there we head off to drag our loot home to Seagate and divvy it up.

SGT Details

When battling Alloces in his own realm and in immense danger Caprice casts her potent Stasis spell which is reflected off Alloces onto party members who manage to successfully resist. Caprice then reflects on this and states that perhaps she should pass out her resistance to Stasis Amulets that she has on her (she has 12 of them apparently). Such a blonde moment.