The Gates of Heck

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Summary

Adventure: The Gates of Heck - The Sequel to The Fires of Heck
GM: Jacqui
Session: Spring 819
Night: Thursday
Location: Smiths
Level: Low+

Party

  • Jaycey - Party Leader & Halfling Illusionist (played by Anne)
  • Angus - Caledonian Namer played by Keith
  • Eugene - Necomancer (played by Sam)
  • Carrie - an E&E halfling played by Justis
  • Rhoswen - Binder Elf, played by Beth
  • Loot'er (Luther_Luthier) (Mike P.) non-mage Hobbit with the usual skills; and Kevin the Pony.
  • Emrys - Fire-mage Caledonian (played by Paul)

Employer: Pobble the Gnome
Mission: Do something about the Goblin King
Pay: see below — N.B. Nominate what you want for your physical talent

The Job

We were hired by Master Pobble to help the goblins get rid of the goblin king permanently. NO: they were NOT wanting a party that were all, in the words of that ancient song, “an A, Double-S, A, Double-S, ...” etc. Not for any airy-fairy moralistic scruples, but down-to-earth pragmatic they suspect they was one (or even seven) merely to kill the G.K., somehow he’d come back a bit miffed and vent his irritation on anyone who might have been responsible or, failing that, just anyone at all.

gNo. Instead the gNomes are working on a Ritual to Banish the G.K. to a place that he WON”T be coming back from. And they need us to help gather the very specific items listed by Juniper the Not-Quiet, Mad Prophetess ... (or possible the Not-Quite-Mad Prophetess — all that excessive facial hair makes it very hard to hear or lip-read what they’re saying).

What we will be “paid”

  1. A Fungal potion each (cunningly prepared by Tink and Tonk) that confers an intended a magically Physical Talent on its imbiber, such as Elven Witchsight; Dark Vision; Resist Pain; ... The Fungiologists would appreciate advanced notice of what is preferred.
  2. Gems
  3. Incidental loot that we “acquire”.

Frome Home, To Gnomes, & into the Layrinth

We obtained Greaters, Amulets, Healing potions, Grizelda’s cookies, and other support materiel & magic — the Party Leader & Scribe advancing funds to those a little short ... so the mission needs to make a profit (one way or the other). Pobble then took us to Alphonse’s — where we obtained extra rations, naturally.

Then, after a short journey, we (the hobbits, pony, “doublings”, and horses) eventually reached an un-DA-able door or two and ended up in Caves on a Different Plane. There were other doors too, including one with a Lazy-8 that leads to The Labyrinth. Oh dear: it seems we forgot to get an astrology reading. What a pity! Unfortunately the yellow-capped folk have already a mystic prognostication, as we discovered when we reached the Gnomish Under-Under-Ground and were introduced to T&T, Old Hogarth, Myrtle, Juniper, and other VIPs. A party was being set up. For Us and them.

Gnome Geography (& history) in brief

The Cave system, where the Gnomes now live is the Under-Under-World. Above that is the Underworld (the ancient sewer system, etc). And above that is the Over-Land, which is where the Gnomish city was until it was overrun by Goblins.

Gnomes are mostly earth-mages. And they were surprised we didn’t bring an air-mage for their Lightning which, apparently, could have been useful (which surprised us!).

They are pacifists, and live on Mushroom, eggs, cheese, fungal bread, and Beverage. Lots of beverages. The party went well.

THE PROPHESY, as sung by the N.Q.M.P.

Nobody knew
What kind of magic spell to use
Slime and snails
Or puppy dog tails?
Thunder or lightning
Then baby said
Dance magic, dance magic
Jump magic, jump magic

The plan, as interpreted by Myrtle the Wise

The ritual will be performed under the gNome gTrone gRoom. Those ingredients mean:

  1. Living Slime— NOTE: we were provided with a special (expandable!) slime bag for the gunk from the slime creature.
  2. Snails Antennae of Giant Chaos Snails.
  3. Puppy-dog tails: the tails of Hellhounds from Avernus
  4. Lightning Bolt or similar.

We are to enter the Labyrinth and find the Doors that will take us (directly, or not) to the Home Planes of the creatures, so that we can physically Kill (or Subdue?) the Special-of-the-day and remove its specified body part.

First up, we should go to a specific place within Golarion and talk to the locals to get to where the slime creatures live. Myrtle sketched the Rune for us.

We Enter the Labyrinth

Apparently the Labyrinth has been described as “the Universe’s Basement”; it links many places. Weirdly. Which sounded odd for those of us who hadn’t been there yet. Then we entered it and were on a stone landing (with a door labelled H behind us). The landing had stone stairs going Up. And Down. And Sideways. AND maybe even somewhere else mutually perpendicular. Which, at the time, looked odd unless you concentrated on the steps and just thought of “down” being whatever was under your feet.

A Ball of Light, that had a warm & calming radiance, popped up through the floor: “Oooh, Visitors”.
[Detect Aura : “Lantern Archon”. Plane of Origin: “Celestia”]
Archon: Are you lost?
Hobbit (cheerfully): Not yet.

Jaycey [Party Leader, following Myrtle’s advice]: We looking a door marked by an “O” with 3 vertical lines through it and a subscript Runic-K.
Archon: I know several of those [Starts to go up & pauses] ... Is this a good thing?”
Experienced Party-members [in unison]: “Yes!”
Archon: “Then I can do it.”


On the trail of Living Slime (and shopping)

Once powered up (by our mages & the Archon), typically with Enhanced duration, we opened the appropriate Outer & Inner doors and stepped into rain & an Alley way in (as we later learned) Corsova. The outer door clicked shut after us leaving the extremely obvious inner open — which we closed & Jaycey illusioned to match the local wall.

Remembering we were here to find Living Slime, we exited the alley seeking local clues or directions and entered a nearby shop, which had a sign over the door reading Episcipo’s Dolls & Figurines (Yay! We can read, and presumably speak, the local patois as if it were common). Even better, Episcipo was not fazed by the armed melange of species entering his shop (Hobbits, Elves, Equines, Direwolf, Caledon firemage, etc) — apparently because Party-leader’s Jaycey’s openly worn, visible necklace identified her as a Pathfinder, namely some type of reputable super-Ranger, who are known to conduct expeditions that are good for the local Economy. And it helped that our necromancer knew the right artisan lingo and bought a well-crafted dolly of apparently exquisite taste (if you like that sort of thing).

Episcipo advised that we were in the midland region of Corsovo, and gave us general directions (the main road to Aeldred Square, Citadel Way, and so-forth) for establishments that would be useful: Adventurer-related shops and an adequate hostelry.

Tiffin-time, followed by Light Shopping

We followed the directions. The locals on the streets were mostly humans, with some hobbits, a few dwarves. The spies Some of us estimated, comparing the buildings and the numbers of people observed, that the City must have recently experienced a significant Drop in Population. There was a large pyramid visible (apparently near the city’s centre and visible from much of the city). And Citadel Way end in a large citadel. Not much interesting by way of street hawkers, although the “Elephant’s Ear” was a curious fried pastry not for its taste but its production (traditionally fried in a Tower shield, allegedly sufficient for 3 men).

We duly reached the Creaky Hammock (an inn catering mostly for ship-folk clearly somewhere near the docks, to judge by Nose) and paid for a couple of rooms, each with 4 bunks. Mine Host was called “Durstin Shmish” (or some such, I was too hungry to catch it). Since it had been literally hours since we’d lunched with the gNomes, we all had a light meal: battered Fish fillets with abundant chips, washed down with tolerable beer (except, obviously, Keven just had the chips followed by some apples from the provisions).

Master Shmish answered some questions and directed us to where we might purchase supplies. Nearby was the “Gold Market” (just a name for an open area of stalls and such), and more permanent establishments: shops, alchemists, butchers, haberdasheries, a barber’s shop (although Carey or Eugene took exception to its proprietor ... “Never trust a half-orc barber that dresses well!”) . Amongst the useful shops were weaponsmiths and armorers (got Kevin some light barding), and we were able to purchase mildly magical weapons etc, including weapons that were sufficiently adequate to hit standard targets needing magic/silver. Looter picked up a very practical bolt-case; and some (Rhoswen? Eugene? Emrys?) got the quiver version instead.

To The Sewers and What to Expect there ...

We returned to the Creaky Hammer Hammock, which was somewhat more lively (a gracious way of saying it got really VERY noisy at night). However, that night when we (meaning a respected Pathfinder & company) spake to Master Shmish about how to reach the Sewers, he advised that he knew a service entrance. And it’s not just “sewers”, also vaults and catacombs. And traps. Known wildlife includes gators, were-rats, dire rats, Fhorar (what ever that is), goblins, Oatiog.

After sleeping that night (generally requiring healer assistance) we headed back to the Labyrinth and re-upped on or queued the spells (including Archon’s). We then followed Shmish’s directions but, on removing the covering and seeing the slime-encrusted ladder and how far it went down, Jaycey made Kevin (with a feed bag) & the direwolf invisible, we went down the ladder carefully.

Tog

We descended the S.-E. ladder, and were in a tunnel system with fungus or mold on reaching at least 10 feet up the “walls”. As we moved there were patches of light (but not water, not yet) coming down through gratings and such. There was almost no garbage, but definitely a sickening smell. (Almost made one dread what the next meal was going to taste like. How horrific!)

Mercifully (?), such thoughts were soon banished by a monstrous wail (part keening, part howling) and then the monster itself. It was an Etoig — Good taste prevents further description. It bellowed: “Feed Tog. You give good food, I let you live”. We whipped out sweets and food, but fortunately Angus saved the day with some Haggis (No, really !!) laced with liquor from his sporran.


Shooting Goblins in a Sewer

... which wasn't as easy as it sounds, because they could see further than we could and had set up traps.

The Design of the Sewers

The sated Etiog retired back in to a chamber in the side of the wall. Clearly it’s den, We could see the sophisticated bricks the wall was made of. Over the next few hours we discovered that, the Sewer itself was designed as a network of tunnels about 15 ft across: a 5-ft walkway either side and a deep 5-gutter between them containing water (and assorted waste “materiel”). The walls either side were generally 10’-straight, then arching over to support the city above. The system was clearly planned, but not to any obvious, regular pattern. Over time we noticed the intersections were deliberate T-shapes or crossroads, sometimes at odder angles, probably because of whatever was above (or maybe to avoid some subterranean problem or hidden chamber?). As we went we rangers conferred and kept track of our heading. Being a Sewer, we generally followed the flow, but kept track of our direction; and obviously sometimes the same intersection had routes that, relatively, rose in one direction but fell in another. Sometimes the sewers just intersected with other underground features: designed underground passages, natural caves, or just areas of collapse.

Goblins

Six arrow flew out from the darkness ahead, 2 palpably hitting Angus. Perception checks showed goblins 120’ ahead for those with the magic/items to see that far.

Jaycey [Mil Sci]: Fire some fireballs into that Darkness!
Emrys the Firemage: How far?
Jaycey: Any, as long as we're NOT in the Blast Radius.

Emrys dropped a fireball that overshot their unseen front line but hit the main body and some goblins around the corner ... and apparently a goblin alchemist was there was well who took out many more people and some masonry. Angus, Emrys, Jaycey, & Looter moved up at various speeds, while the remaining goblins fled into the darkness. Getting there, we could see a semicircular chamber with an alcove holding an ugly idol of an elephant with spikes on its back and a topknot. Perhaps a goblin deity?

We also saw the 5ft pipe that the’y fled down. It was far to small for most of the party, so we didn't pursue. At the next T-intersection we took the path sloping upwards ...

Azure fungus

... which lead to a pretty fungus garden that appeared to be deliberately laid out, especially the blue skeins of fungus handing down like a fine-bead curtain. The Rangers couldn't identify it, so someone poked the Namer — gtn Azure Fungus (Q: is it magical. A: sort of). For clarification, the zombie touched it and fell down ("We're going to need another zombie!"), zapped by (DA) "Bio-alchemy"

So, back at the intersection we descended the other way that led to a mostly flooded room although the was a shallow, almost-dry path along the side of the room with an exit near the corner. We scanned the water VERY carefully for the dreaded Gators but there weren't any to be found. We did see the pairs of eyes partially above the water (gtn crocodile) ... and apparently we could cope with them. Eugene created a Wall of Bones, and none of us touched the bones ... even though we had been explicitly instructed NOT to.

The Trapped Door

We carried on, heading East to an almost square intersection. The north exit had a passage that lead to a few steps leading up to an impressively strudy wooden Door. Especially as Looter confirmed it had a trap ... magical, since Angus got an aura (Q: Counterspell necessary to deactivate the trap? A: Counter Fire Special).

Looter disabled the trap and the door opened onto 5' of corridor ending one a more imposing double door ... behind which (according to ESP) was a feeling of HUNGER.


The Horse-head Door & its cloud of Darkness

The impressive double-door bore an emblem perhaps relating to important person, family or Underground Cult: a horse's head with a red-glass eye. The doors swung open into darkness that, even with our Light-Sight from Archon let alone our superhuman natural talents was impenetrable after about 15 or 20 feet. Gene the Necro sensed that undead were in range. To shed light on the cursed darkness Emrys threw a torch-light into the darkness which elucidated movement on/in the walls as it went past. And the following Fireball showed skeletal figures in rusty chain emerging from their niches.

So Angus and Jaycey rushed into the room ... followed by Rhoswen, Carrie, Eugene, and Looter ...
There was an inconvenient combat, with party-members being attacked from behind surprisingly often.


Halfling Rescues Elf from Jelly ... & other stuff

And once the armoured skeletal warriors were dead again, most of their possessions crumble and the Unnatural Darkness dissipated. However we did snaffle some ancient-looking coins but can’t decipher their inscriptions.

The exit doors were enchanted with “Hurty hurty” magic (according to Rhoswen’s Detect enchantments) and Angus cast the appropriate counter indicated by the D.A. (Counter Necro Special). Loot’er discovered a trap which the experts confirmed as magical, also “pain”-involved, needing Ctr Necro Spec — "Theoretically Agony", according to Carrie Gene. (Oops, Sorry! ... but doesn't Carrie sound quite necro-ish?)

There was something Hungry sensed behind the "Exit" door; possibly another “allegory”? ... since no undead were detected. We got into battle order and opened the double doors revealing nothing initially apart from an ever-burning torch in the room, but also a glinting hanging in mid-air that only some of the party could — “Aha! The Jelly Cube?”

Angus: “Do we need it alive?”
Jaycey: “Yes, that’s why you’re carrying the magical bag that will contain it.”
Angus: “Oh, sorry! I Forgot.”
Loud, snarky stage-whisper (possibly the Necromancer? Surely not): “If anyone could, it’s you.”

As the Glinting approached (Yay! Gold coins!), Looter shot a bolt literally into it as it charged, which gave the others a rough point of reference, and was rewarded by a mild impact repulsed by his armour — and nasty acid that wasn’t, and then the J.C. slid up to and over the party, also dealing acid damage to Angus, Emrys, & Rhoswen ... and then it engulfing them.
Angus (Muffled but, as a Caledonian haggis connoisseur, showing tasteful Bravado): “... Faster than a speeding stummikh”.

Looter & Emrys had leapt out of the way. Jaycey used her astounding Hobbit strength to pull the elf Rhoswen out of the Jelly Cube (technically, GTN was later found to be Blob, gelatinous) ... and then Angus managed to open the J.C.-trapping bag, dumping himself to the ground to the joyous jingle of liberated gold coins falling on stone. Also a clatter of magical & other indigestible items: (loot alert)

  • magical Brigantine armour;
  • magical leather armour,
  • magical calf-dagger-sheath containing a straight sword,
  • TWO magical Handy Haversacks,
  • a magical Efficient Quiver,
  • also a well-made bow & arrows, rope, and even rations (and I thought Guild iron-rations were indigestible).


Snaffling our new Ever-burning torch, we examined the room. It was a Mausoleum (or, given the Jelly, should that be Maw-soleum?). There was a large crack in wall ... through which the tomb-raiding human-sized former-owners of the magic armour suits and other loot had probably entered. Since no-one felt the need to obtain any gator skins, we went back the way we came and had lunch (grilled chicken & fresh bread).

Archon checked that we did GOOD. We did! Really! We also did quite well (in terms of Loot). So we took the Labyrinth exit to Heck (taking note of the symbols to other Doors see along the way. At Heck, we greeted Gallus and Ballus, the Watch Gnomes (Pacifist Mages) and took the slime to Myrtle.

Next ingredient: Eyes of Snail ... a Very Big, Tough, Magical Snail

Also, as we discovered VERY FAST (meaning 7TMR !).

Myrtle's next mini-quest for us was to Glorantha (have sketch of the very distinctive Pentagram & Runes for the Glorantha Door). There we aim to find the Chaos snail, which is as big as a ... something-I-didn't catch.

We saw Pythia the healer and were instructed how clean the armour & items to make them safe to wear. And, after diner, we retired to the Alcove allocated to us (with sleeping racks on the wall).

After Breakfast we toddled off to see Archon who confirmed Chaos Snails are creaturs of chaos and so deserve to die.
... We really must get him a present! There was discussion about Flail Snails and Dragon snails — given that the latter have fire breath.

Someone said "Beware Bruh" whatever that means?
(Yeah! I think that must have been Broo, pronounce Brew — as in Beer or tea.


“Daddy” seeks scout ... and what happened next

The hobbits were disguised/illusioned as children, while the bigger party members impersonated adults. Both groups tired to get information.

After purchasing beer (and other bribes), “Daddy” Angus spoke to a barkeep & customers. “Ah'v bin heered to find Kayohs snail bits — Know where Ah kin faand Woon?”
Amalgamated answers: Out in the big rubble. You need a scout. One from the Flint-nail Cult. Go to Dwarftown and ask there. You need a rubble tracker. All the monsters out there are creatures of Chaos. Some are more chaotic than others.

Meanwhile, a precocious girl (a.k.a. Mil-Sci Jaycey) stared up at a table of toughs that included 2 elves and proudly announced, “Daddy’s going hunting Chaos Snail” ... and was told of DRAGON snail ... which breathe fire
Little Miss [a.k.a. Party-Leader]: “ Oooooh ! That MUCH cooler than Chaos Snail”

In Dwarftown

There was a clean-shaven Dwarf in charge of the work-crew repairing the streets. D-i-c directed us to an “office” where they agreed to provide a rubble tracker after we did some work for the Cult.

Angus and Eugene were put on Street repair. The adults that were mechanicians were put in the workshop making tools — assisted by Looter.

After two?? Full days work, we were supplied with our appointed tracker Lucia Paticus — a female Human in leathers with a bow and sheathed sword. Lucia agreed to lead us, however she would not fight for us, but was prepared to act defensively for herself and her town.

She lead us to places where the adults now could legitimately purchase some useful items ...
Angus repeated that we were hired by an Alchemist to retrieve some SC bits; and it was revealed that we were all off-plane adventurers (including the children, I mean halflings)

What to expect and What surprised us

Apparently the Last sighting of C.S. was in a place called the Demon Sands

We were heading that-a-way when, after a while, Lucia whispered “We might have “Brew” in the ruins near us”. So we prepared &/or loaded. The preparing mages noticed that the mana was “Slightly weird” (possible an understatement.

About 12 VERY ugly large humanoids, inconsistent in appearance started charging us ...
Yes, definitely Chaos creatures ... later identified as Broo which, in in this case resembled Satrys except were half antelope, half humanoid and VERY much larger and heavier, and armoured.

Angus yelled something incomprehensibly Caledonian
Carrie: “Let’s see what colour they bleed”
Angus: “Aye, Tha’ ‘Swad-uh Saitt”

Angus was hit by arrows from the right (some hurt).

The party was charged head-on on the front-Left. Jaycey was hit & made EN check. Looter hit by a javelin to no effect and the Crossbow at point blank did no effective damage. Angus was not hit Jaycey dropped her spell & attacked with her sword instead.

In reply, The intended Wall of bones spell goes very wonky, creating a highly inappropriate memorial pyramid of bones.

Our unengaged guide, who had retreated from the party fired on unengaged Broo (and that was her policy for the rest of the fight — which was probably the best result anyway!)


Broo dregs with Escargot chaser

The battle continued with two broo attacking Angus (1 ogred gored him, the other missed) who multi-struck them and another incomer with the Fearsome Glaive with, as the Ballad goes, "Two out of Three aint bad". 1 on Rhoswen striking twice. 1 on Looter (who had unarmed initiative, so drew daggers and evaded). 2 charged at (and missed) the Direwolf .

Next pulse, Emrys' Fireball failed and Eugene's Noxious vapors caught 4 Broo. Jaycey struck well. As did our hired Rubble-Ranger, further back, snap shooting at the enemy.

Then more charged in: 1 on Eugene; the other at Jaycey and it stumbled. Looter hit with both daggers; Angus, standing his ground, again multistruck — for a perfect and an almost perfect blow.

A little later, Jaycey eviscerated her Broo and the monster (three times her height and thirty times her weight) collapsed at her feet. Angus also fell over as his remaining opponent offensively withdrew and gained a lucky hit. (The Broo still ran away!) Eugene hit mightily and his Monster wavered. The battle turned when Emrys trebled his fireball(?) damage — at least one died and two were out of fatigue.

Our Guide switched to taking out the Direwolf's opponents ... which dissuaded the other broo on that flank from pressing their advantage. and in a couple of pulses they were retreating at top speed. While Jaycey maintained the left flank, Looter shoved a healing potion into the fallen Angus (now that the Caledonian's mouth was within reach) and then pressed another into Angus' hands.

Fleeing Broo-boss surprised by Snail

The Bigg Boss Broo boldly ran away in another direction, fleeing from our obviously horrifying hobbit party-leader pursuingly engaging it. Looter prepared shield and headed after them. Next the scared Broo offensively withdrew and Jaycey followed up; and Looter caught up (although distracted by a silvery glinting trail on the rocks and sand). Next pulse LL struck the cowardly BB (from behind) who turned to face his pursuers, swung, and missed; and Jaycey stepped up and very palpably hit the BB. At that point Carrie saw the top of something large and shell-like just above the rock outcrop that the BB had almost reached (obviously to avoid the arrow-fire, etc), so Carrie shot an arrow at it and most-unexpectedly missed.

Next the Chaos Snail (for such it was) moved about 35 feet in a few seconds and sprayed the Broo-leader and hobbits with acidy gunk that really hurt. The hobbits defensively withdrew (and prepared healing potions. Again).

The CS attacked the BB with both antennae and the BB attacked back. Angus fired at it and missed. Then Eugene cast Rigor Mortis on the CS, but it just turned blue instead (Probably cos of the Chaos part). Then Emrys cast a Fireball on the CS and BB (which was noticeably winded), followed by a spell from Carrie.


The Snail is nailed. Then to Avernus we turn us.

The Gigantic chaos snail was tough. Fortunately it had to go through the Big Broo first, and the Broo was facing two party-members (Looter & Jaycey) just cos we chased it and poked it somewhat. So the Snail attacked Broo from behind; then Broo recovered from stun; while Jaycey and Looter ran away tactically ... meaning promptly, in different directions. Elsewhere: the Dire wolf damaged its Broo better than it hit back; Carrie, Emrys, and Eugene each prepared.

Next pulse, the Giant Gastropod killed the big Broo and started gastro-ing it.
The direwolf savaged its Broo.
Our Guide fired at the Snail, but the arrow bounced harmlessly off the shell.
Emrys Fireballed the Snail.
Eugene animated half a Broo into a demitasse zombie, ordering it to engage the enemy.
And, crucially, Carrie succesfully Echanted Slept the Snail. Jc and LL tactically returned.

Then, as Jaycey strolled to the Chaos Snail and spec-grevved it between the eye-stalks now that they were at hobbit-level. Similarly, Carrie, reaching the snail, prepared to cut off an eyestalk. But the Snail woke up.

So Carrie “assassinated” an eye-stalk. Eugene spec-grevved the Snail. Rhoswen hit it too. And Emrys cast a fireball beyond the Chaos Snail so that it was in range of the damage, but not the party. In other news they Direwolf and Broo continued their fight.

The next pulse it was over when Jaycey, going first, spec-grevved the snail and this time it was magically slept and theoretically unable to be woken for 20 hours. But it only took a moment for Carrie to finish the snail (some "professional" skills may have been involved).

Loot, some of it icky, Then Back to our Employers

Besides the essential ingredients for gnomes (the eye-stalks), and the obviously interesting Shell, We discovered inside the Snail (prompted by storied of what the last Guild party found) we found two inedible magic treasures. And (prompted by our Rubble Guide) we cut off the horns of the Broo for the bounty. Returning to the Town, Angus Divinated the inedible items, namely:

Pearl of Power — stores up to 6 pt of spell fatigue and regenerates 1pt per day.
Chaos Stone — an elemental mage may cast an elemental spell which will randomly change to some other elemental college.

... Then we returned to the Labyrinth and to the Gnomes’ Undercity to hand in the Eye-stalks and see Myrtle the Wyse to get information on Avernus and the next ingredient (puppy-dog tail a.k.a. the tail of a hell hound and HOW MANY do we need to harvest) ALSO what else might we encounter there other than merely fire-breathing Hell-hounds. Avernus (the first layer of Hell) is a blighted heath where “The Departed” (who are dead, but not Undead) go before they pass on to the 1st of the Heavens, or to Limbo, or to one of the Lower Hells. The Departed can’t be harmed, but they can be hurt. More importantly, we might meet Lesser Devils some of which are spell-casters.

In the Labyrinth

Before locating the Avernus “Rune” (A skull on a shield with blobs of flame about it: possibly a reference to the inscription allegedly over the Gate to Hell ... something Like “Abandon Good Taste all who Enter Here”?), we asked the Archon if he could cast anything that would help us non-dead adventures to survive in that environment. Flash could cast Vapour Breathing, which would last 9 hours when Enhanced. So we might have to return to the Labyrinth to have it renewed. We powered up before we opened the Door ...

Imps of Avernus

And appeared in a cave or similar (possibly a mine-shaft?) that on closer inspection was part of a ruined castle or similar structure. We heard arguing in a high pitched language. (Note-to-self: I’ll be annoyed if it turns out there was a simple way to be able to speak the main languages of the plane we visit ... rubbing the inside door or some such.) So Jaycey snuck in, followed by Looter in case she was discovered or needed assistance. She recognised two imps (meaning that is what they were, not that they were personal acquaintances) which were torturing a tied-up spirit — demonstrating “can’t be harmed, but can be hurt!” (Aside: Thought momentarily that this plane could be a good training place for "Advanced Combat" ... before remembering that we are NOT “Departed” and so can be very much harmed!)

Quick retreat of party, to be instructed of the plan of attack by Mil Sci. We need magic (or ...). So those without magic weapons had theirs Enchanted (+11 Strike chance, +4 damage, 27 minutes duration) by Carrie.

The Halfling assassins experienced commandos, Jaycey and Carrie, together with Luther the Thief, stealthily deployed and attacked. ((Lut’er for a normal 11 pts with Dagger; Jaycey, attacking from behind with a special main-gauche for 17 pts plus critical)) Jaycey’s imp was clearly deaded, sort of, and oozed into the floor of the chamber. With the first opponent gone, LL then half-TMRed and struck for 14 EN.

The imps were defeated: Jaycey uninjured, Looter hit for -10 FT, Carrie for 13 EN.


And all the people in Heck lived happily for ever the rest of the season

Goblins and their former King excepted, naturally.
In more detail ...

Escaping the Fortress of the Unknown Demon

Gorbo the Goblin Departed seemed contrite, as you’d expect for any half-smart Goblin freed from torture. After repeatedly slapping his own face and saying “Gorbo sorry — Should not eat babies”, he agreed to act as our guide. We also released all the other prisoners, since that was the best way to make it hard for the local Minions of Evil to find witnesses of our presence or detect our actual mission. That wasn’t due to any mass-attack of the Namby-Pamby Warm Fuzzies, but a pragmatic decision by the Mil-Sci Party-Leader that temporarily “killing” all the witnesses would rapidly alert the local demonic powers that we were here and seriously up to some good.

Gorbo lead us out of the prison, which was part of a crumbling Fortress. He said “Demon used to live here, now dead”. Outside it was sulphurous and dark, overcast with a dim reddishness. No wind. No sun in the sky (obviously) but we did notice some distant flying demons, so we disguised ourselves as best as possible. The red and often rocky land was irregularly cracked with open streams or pools of lava. We saw a small demon or proto-imp crawling out of one such lava crack, GTN Hell spawn.

Normal mana level, apparently. We told Gorbo we wanted some Hellhound body bits and he agreed to take us towards the Hellhound Kennels.

First prepare your Hellhound

We headed toward the Kennels, a large fortress-like building, and heard the distant sound of dog-like howling (but a bit more menacing). A few raised roads lead from it, with ditches or drops beside them the depth of a human. Some of the “puppies” were outside and being trained. Through spy-glasses we saw the occasional Winged Demon walking small packs of hellhound puppies.

Our Military Scientist found a suitable place (where an outcrop of rocks reached the height of road) to set up an ambush for one such Hellhound-walker leading a pair of puppies the size of Carrie’s Direwolf, and we hid within an Illusion of adjacent rocks.
Partymembers without a magical weapons (i.e., what you NEED to kill/dismember the hellhounds and walker) were loaned to those that didn’t have any (e.g., the scribe).

Then we followed the prearranged Battle Plan in the correct order:

1. Eugene used a Control Sentient scroll on the Winged Demon. It succeeded. (Good! It always helps morale to have at least the first surprise pulse going as intended)

2. Emrys’ prepared Fireball was cast using the Chaos Stone to randomly transmogrify it into a slightly less Flashy elemental that still did the same damage (33 pts) ... in this case, a Ball of Earth that wiped out the Hellhounds’ fatigue and bruised the Winged Demon
... whom Eugene ordered (by the Control) to hill the hellhounds.
While Looter, Angus, and Carrie climbed/leapt onto the road beside their appointed, barded Hellhounds — Oops! Didn’t plan for the barding, but it wasn’t a major problem. And the rest of the party deployed to their 2nd-line position
Then the hellhounds breathed fire, causing nasty ouchies to most of us. A shocker for those of us (e.g., scribe) who didn’t know they could do that. Unfortunate; excessive; but not sufficient to derail the plan.

3 & 4. Carrie and Jayce attacked their HH; Angus swung his Glaive in a multi killing the first HH outright and damaging the second HH. Looter, who palpably hit (by 98% !) his HH, but failed to do sufficient damage to penetrate its natural armour and unnatural barding. Rhoswen crossed to the other side of the road (so that the enemy couldn’t flee that way). The fight finished soon after, with little permanent damage (Mil Sci: “Eat a God-damn cookie, Rhoswen!!”). The puppy tails were harvested and the dogsbodies looted before they sunk into the ground
LOOT: 2x improved leather barding; 2x Leads.
The controlled Winged Demon was ordered to divest and sent on its way (Downwards)
LOOT: 1x Infernal Blade; 1x Infernal Longbow (made of METAL! 3 hobbits pretend to be unimpressed and not at all envious); Devil Armour; Gems.

From Hell to Heck

We made it back to the Doorway into the Labyrinth. Gorbo begged that we took him with us, but we couldn’t. Instead he got to go into Limbo because he had redeemed himself.

Flashy was unable to leave the Labyrinth, but could give us a crystal that, when triggered, could give us a “thing” (an elemental) that would appear where we were and would be Controlled.
So we thought that would cover the “Thunderbolt & lightning” ingredient. As was confirmed when we got back to Heck. We were taken to Gnomeland and received the Magical Mushrooms for our individual rewards. Then back to the party …

The Goblin King is Ritually “Removed”

We helped prepare the ritual room — not that the gnomes needed our skills but because (like all shrewd party-employers) they know it’s better not to leave unoccupied guild-member guests to our own devices. Besides they knew we would enjoy the fireworks, given that HALF the party are hobbits. (Anyone making a tasteless “rounding down” joke better be well-armoured from the hip down!).

There was a big pointy thing drawn on the floor (a Dodecagram, apparently). In the middle of the pattern was a big pot where the ingredients could be place. Carefully.
Since the ritual room was physically under the Throne Room. They gave our ceiling One-way Transparency so we could see what was happening overhead. Myrtle the Wyse lead the ritual; Juniper the NQMP did the dancing. A strange mist rose to the ceiling and then, with the thunderbolt and lighting, it became a bright beam of light. When the glare faded we saw that the Throne was empty, with goblins variously stunned on the floor or fleeing the Room.

And so back to the guild to get the treasure valued and split; with all relevant party-members repaid the money that Looter and Jaycey had advanced them (interest free) for the amulets and stuff.


Technical Stuff

OTHER QUOTES:

Gnome (explaining their pacifistic social set-up): “We don’t run to the Military.”
Possibly Tipsy Hobbit: “No, Course not! You should run from them.”


Military Scientist Section

Marching Order

Loot'er
Angus
Jaycey
Emrys
Eugene
Rhoswen
Carrie

Watch Order

Emrys Jaycey Rhoswen Carrie
Angus Eugene Loot'er

Buffs

Long Duration

+13 GREATER
lesser

REMINDER: Jaycey & Looter advances cash to those that needed to purchase Greaters, Lessers, and other magic. Especially Amulets of:
Iron (normally no Demonics within 10 ft) or Jet(ditto but 50 ft)
Hypericum: increased MR (+10) from Daemonics
Amethyst: Better sleep
And you're not a proper adventurer if you DON'T have a Luck Amulet (or something better).

Short Duration

From Archon All Rank 10, but Buffed in the Labyrith for duration:
Lightsight (G-7): 10hr 30m, effective range of vision of 150 feet under the open sky, and 75 feet elsewhere.
Corruscade (G4-4): 10hr 30m, +22 Def (Melee or Ranged); +11 (close) for those that chose it

From party:
Blending (G-1) 21 hours
Enchanted Armour: +16 def; +3 protection

Loot

TREASURE SPLIT order: Eugene; Emrys; Carrie; Looter; Jaycey; Rhoswen; Angus.

Also your RANKABLE Physical Talent from the Gnomes

For example: Infravision
Resist Pain
Resist temperature
Witchsight (or Lightsight, or similar by any other name)
Detect Fumes
Necrogeny
Enhanced Vision

Calendar