We have played several games now in the old Serpent’s Skull campaign carry on. The material past the 6th module has all been my own but it has in fact built on some of the framework that is put in place in the “What might happen…” section in Sanctum of the Serpent God the final module of that campaign arc. I have made the players mythic after they searched the tomb of the legendary hero that first struck down the god.
So the players have been tracing the path of Torag’s original hammer as they surmise that only the hammer of a god could shatter and destroy the skull of a god. As they followed this path they made out a story that Torag’s original hammer that forged the lives of the Dwarves was actually stolen and the hammer that he has now is only a facsimile of the original hammer (this is all my own material so don’t panic if you have not read that anywhere). The players went and investigated this story talking to shunned scholars and ex communicated religious members to find out that it seems Torag made a deal with the Devils of Hell. The details of the deal is yet to come out but when payment came due Torag shunned the Devils. Payment was the hammer and a group of the Devils with the aid of a Green Wyrm kidnapped Torag’s son and forced the acquisition of the hammer.
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Torag then had a similar hammer made and the religion of Torag was lead by the belief that this event never happened. The players discovered that the Devil involved went by the name of Geliaxon who was a favoured lieutenant of the ninth layer of hell and was exalted by Asmodeus (the general of the layer so to speak) when the Hammer of Torag was presented to him. The players also found out that soon after this exaltation Geliaxon was sent to the 6th layer of hell and never heard of again. In order to locate the hammer (which divination has put somewhere in the Abyss, lair of the demons, hated enemies of the Devils) the players realised they are going to need to talk to Geliaxon. The only link to him that they could find at this time that did not involve them busting into hell and demanding answers of Asmodeus was the green wyrm Becharest who helped Geliaxon steal the hammer.
With a little bit of leg work they found that the wyrm (now an ancient mythic creature) laired in the Estrovian forest located in Mendev. The players made their way there and found a community of gnomes nearby that knew how to rouse the dragon without him laying waste to miles and miles of countryside. They talk to him and Becharest agrees to tell them the story that they need to know if they deal with an infestation of Formian’s (ant like creatures from outer space that colonise and expand, expand, expand. Becharest states that their tunnelling under his lair is disturbing him and if they bring back the head of the Formian Queen they have a deal.
The players then make a deal with a Formian to locate and destroy something that is stealing the Queen’s eggs. They find out that it is a pair of undead creatures and after a massive battle they slay them. But Seleca (the Cavalier of the group) has two limbs ripped from her body in the fight and so the group heads to Nerosyan, the capital city of Mendev that protects against the Demons of the Worldwound and find a cleric capable of regenerating her limbs.
While in Nerosyan the party start to hear a comedy song that was borne of their adventures in the Mwangi expanse that ridiculed one of their party Cisco (now known as Janthir largely because of this song). The performance was created by Gelik Aberwhinge who was a former gnome NPC bard companion of the group but he was killed outright by a giant ooze and his body was dissolved to nothing. Janthir and Gelik despised each other, or so it seemed, at the time and Janthir was not unhappy to see the last of the bard though the other players had seen his value. It seemed that every time they came to a city that the song soon became popular despite the fact that they were keeping a low profile. Each time they sought out the bard that was teaching the performance they had just left. In this case though they heard that the bard was still in town and performing at one of the better Inn’s in the city. He was apparently a coloured halfling from the Mwangi expanse itself.
|Gelik Aberwhinge on stage performing the Ballad of Cisco
Original image by Storn A. Cook, legalese at bottom of the page
The group ordered a private booth and watched the halfling come out. Janthir and Seleca both have the ability of True Sight so the simple illusion being used was easy to pierce and the pair were shocked to see that in fact the halfling was Gelik! They could not comprehend how this might be. They invited the halfling to the booth and he arrived. Gelik did not drop his act for a second though, and nor did the players. The players hinted at things but Gelik never revealed himself. The group was in a little bit of shock and started to follow Gelik around that evening.
It seemed the diminutive bard entered his room and the party came to the door arguing about if they should just pin him down and shake the truth from him or leave him be when a chamber maid showed them that the door they stood in fron of was simply a broom closet. Gelik had managed an escape, or had he? The group found a well concealed large ruby in a velvet bag with an overpowering aura and what appeared to be a shifting shape in the centre. It was indeed an artifact, and something that they would need to investigate later.
They returned to the Estrovian forest and decided to kill the Formian Queen. They tracked the nightcrawler’s tunnels to the lair of the Queen and assaulted the vaulted room. With their mythic power and strength the group decimated the royal chamber of the Queen (A CR 19 encounter) and took her head. This would not completely destroy the hive but it would set them back for a good deal of time. They fled the chamber (after looting it of course) and took a day to prepare for their meeting with Becharest.
And so that brings us to last nights game. The party arrived at the hidden valley with the waterfall and lake and called on the great wyrm. Throwing the Queens head at its feet they asked that they give them the location of Geliaxon and a summary of what happened to him.
Becharest told them that the theft of the hammer was never meant to be revealed to Asmodeus. Geliaxon was planning to overthrow the Devil and he was going to do it by trading the hammer with the Demon’s in return for an army of demons swarming into hell to kill Asmodeus and show that he was a weak ruler. But the hammer was discovered as Geliaxon was on his way to make the trade. Asmodeus believed the hammer was a gift for him and so raised Geliaxon to a great height in his army and treated him as a trusted adviser. Geliaxon repaid the kindness by stealing the hammer a second time and making for the meeting to hand it over. The hammer made it into the hands of the Demon Generals but Geliaxon was discovered and the rift that he was forming to allow the Demon army in was shut down. Geliaxon was sent to the sixth layer of hell where the heretics are dealt with.
Here Asmodeus ordered that he be imprisoned in a ruby and that the ruby would be hurled into the hottest fires of a volcano on the material plane. The only way that Geliaxon would be freed was if mortals were to use the gem to make three wishes. If this were the case the gem would shatter and Geliaxon would be freed.
At this point Seleca, much to the shock of her companions, pulled out the gem they had found when tracking Gelik and asked if this was the ruby known as The Eye of Geliaxon? Becharest replied it was and attacked immediately as they requested more information. Here was an artifact of major power perfectly suited for its laiir. In my original plans I had intended Becharest to give them the information they needed and then attack them as they tried to leave, as he had never given his word he would let them leave with the information. This was too big a thing for him to resist though.
|Becharest as he tells the tale of Geliaxon
Image is by Sandara, legalese at bottom of the page
The battle swung to and fro last night. Geliaxon made good use of his combat and magical abilities but the damage dealing capabilities of the characters were always going to wear him down. Geliaxon dispelled magic that allowed flying and dropped players from great heights in order to kill them. Only has was reduced down to almost unconsciousness with Kaleb the monk still gripped in his teeth did he teleport back to his lair. Kaleb was also near to death and he determined his best chance was to run. Becharest spent a couple of rounds trying to kill the monk before turning to heal himself with some items from his lair.
Once Becharest was back (nearly fully healed actually) the second wave of the attack began. In this there was no certainty for either side and the battle was joined in earnest. By this stage many of us were tired and losing focus but the battle played out last night and the players were (just) victorious!
It was a great game and the victory gave them their very first mythic task completion! That means the players get to go to Mythic Tier 2 and become a little more brilliant. I am really enjoying the flavour that Mythic Adventures has brought to the game. I also got compliments on the plot of this game last night which had me surprised and also very pleased. I am working hard on this set of adventures to include a load of intrigue and it was just great to have the players break out in discussion about what the hell is going on with Gelik and how the gem was part of the Devil that stole the hammer. There are a lot of theories floating at the moment that I am looking forward to clarifying in games to come.
I thought that it was time to do a summary and show you all what has been going on in this game as an overview. I have included here material that will hopefully be able to make clear what has happened to date for the players and also the followers of this game. The first arc to the players Mythic advancement has occurred and I am about to go into the mode of designing the next arc. I have made the target of getting the players to Mythic Tier 3 before we return to the Skull and Shackles campaign, and then I will give the players the choice. Until next time, keep rolling!
Image used from http://holographic-reality.wikidot.com/wiki:formian is protected by a Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike 3.0 License
Image of Gelik Aberwhinge un-modified version is copyrighted using a Creative Commons – Attribution – Non Commercial – Share Alike 2.5 Generic Licence.
The Green Dragon image by Sandara is protected by a Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial – No Derivative Works 3.0 License.