Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil session 39

Date: 2019-11-23

Player Characters:
Acor, coleopteran sorcerer (~350 points)
Alyssa, halfling thief (~280 points)
Bennett, human holy warrior (~280 points)
Gugro, kobold alchemist (~325 points)
Sir Barrister, minotaur knight (~280 points)
Tallus, human wrestler (~280 points)
Yulia, dwarf knight (~290 points)

Beyond the prison block explored in the previous session, torchlight could be seen and slow, deep breathing sounds could be heard. The party cautiously proceeded to peer into the next room (the hallway entered into it at its southeastern corner), and were met by a gruesome scene. It was a larger hall, with a raised L-shaped platform along the eastern and northern walls, reachable by stairs on either end. On the platform along the walls, many horizontal and vertical wooden “surgery tables” were set up, most containing mutilated bodies. Further corpses were strewn between them. In the SW corner, there was a rectangular pool of blood, with a whole pile of bodies adjacent to the north of it. And in the crutch of the L-shaped platform on the lower level, a huge humanoid was strapped on to a vertical table. Almost 3 yards tall, it was bulging from muscle, heavily scarred, its hands and lower arms turned into pulpy masses of flesh. Many small spikes were embedded in its flesh, and several chains were wrapped around it. It was the source of the slow, heavy breathing.

The party cautiously entered the hall with some of them sneaking, Acor casting protective spells, and Benett slowly approaching the monstrosity from the front. It soon noticed, bellowed in anger and burst its restraints. A battle ensued where the monstrosity was joined by a blood elemental emerging out of the pool and several corpses (of the entrails-turned-tentacles variety the party already encountered) rising from the piles. Highlights include Alyssa blinding the brute in one eye at the outset of combat and Yulia jumping at it from the raised platform only to be swatted away by its massive arms. The monstrosity smashed at the ground several times during the fight, causing shockwaves that dispersed the party due to dodge-and-dropping. Tallus and Yulia engaged the brute while Sir Barrister and Bennett held off the lesser foes, which Alyssa efficiently dispatched. Eventually, Tallus grappled the brute from the ground and managed to hold it off for long enough for Yulia and Acor to cave its skull in.

After the battle, the group took a look around. They found several tomes about anatomy and radical surgical procedures, some high quality surgical implements, and noticed that the blood pool was steaming and bubbling. That is when we concluded the session.

Where we are: Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil

I last wrote play recaps about my Dungeon Fantasy campaign more than a year ago, soon after it started. Writing detailed reports about my other campaign at that time exhausted me, so I tried a more summarized format for this one. That didn’t stick either. I’m taking it up again, but primarily as a way to provide recaps for my players since the roster changes from session to session due to the campaign being open in nature. I could use some refreshers as well since I must confess I’ve become lazy with my own notes lately.

What has gone before (sessions 6-33)

After exploring the caverns under the “hobgoblin outpost” (which I’ve started writing up in the last report but never finished), the group decided not to follow some tunnels which led deeper underground but to return upstairs and check two areas they haven’t so far. One yielded an encounter with an angry ghost who mopped the floor with the party. They managed to retreat and vowed to defeat it later. The other led out of this dungeon section and into a large, built-out, fortified cavern dubbed the “lava cave” due to a stream of lava flowing through it. Exploration ensued but eventually the group passed the source of the lava and found an enormous underground lake of it on the other side. In the lake, against the far away cavern wall, a stone castle was carved out of the top of an island. There was a bridge leading to it, so that was the group’s next destination.

Both the “lava cave” and the stone castle deserve articles of their own, but for now a fast-forward will have to suffice. Within the castle there was an ominous door heavily warded with magic. Dubbed the “red door” due to the primary magic circle covering it being made of blood which shed red light, the party eventually disabled the warding rituals and ventured beyond. This is where the last couple of sessions have been happening.

Beyond the Red Door (sessions 34-38)

The area on the other side looked like cellars belonging to the castle, but soon the party noticed that the entirety of it was both a low-mana zone and infused with a background of demonic energies, making it low-sanctity as well. A creepy feeling of otherness permeated the atmosphere, and figments of darkness were playing tricks at the edges of everyone’s vision. The deeper the party went, the more twisted the whole place looked, with the corridors themselves starting to seem jagged and sinister. The stone displayed strange properties, from slightly bleeding at places to sometimes resisting being shaped by magic. One such attempt even produced a “living” rock which sprouted spikes and attacked the group. Big Ron, the current party Wizard, concluded that the background magical aura, which was already present in the entire castle, was much stronger here. It had mind-affecting properties, and anyone staying for more than a dozen hours would end up with their mind in a haze, “claimed” by the place and unable or unwilling to leave.

The party proceeded forward, undaunted. The area was in complete darkness without any light sources. After going through several storerooms they found a “hell’s kitchen”. It was a kitchen, originally belonging to this part of the castle, but it was now inhabited by a couple of “butcher demons”, like the one the party previously encountered in the servants’ quarters of the castle. They were joined in their attack on the group by one of the humanoid corpses which they were spit-roasting; it blazed its way to the fight in a stream of fire and proceeded to display further fiery abilities. The party of course prevailed (the demons seemed weaker than the one previously encountered) and looted the kitchen.

In a room opposite the kitchen there was a crack in the wall. Following it revealed a small cave with a pool of water in it, and several smaller tunnels branching off away from it. One tunnel yielded an undead corpse crushed under a cave-in and another some large crystals Alyssa the thief pried away. The third terminated in a submerged section. Since nobody was interested in diving either through the pool or the third tunnel, they returned through the crack to the cellars.

The next storeroom had a several yards wide hole in its floor which was obviously not an original part of its design. It proved just a dozen yards deep and a tunnel lead off from it, so the party descended down. The cavernous tunnel winded horizontally and started to climb vertically, and its stone eventually took on a reddish color and a jagged texture. After an encounter with a steam vent which burned Tallus the wrestler, the tunnel’s ceiling opened up to reveal another cellar room above it. The tunnel also continued further onward, but the group decided to climb up into the room and continue that way instead.

The room exited to a corridor which terminated with a wall on one side and a large double door on the other. Examination revealed the wall end contained a discrete door which acted as “secret” from the other side, the other side being the previously explored cellar area. The metal door was locked and trapped, severely zapping Tallus with lightning. The corridor beyond led to another such door, as well as a large metal hatch on the floor before it. Both the hatch and the other door were locked and trapped, but the trap pointed to the other side. Since the side they came through was a “simple” cellar, Acor concluded through his architectural knowledge that the area beyond must be some sort of secret, secure place which also didn’t want anything escaping from inside of it.

His suspicions were confirmed as beyond the second metal door there were two rooms with rows of prison cells. They were filled with corpses and skeletons, but in one of the rooms some of the “corpses” still seemed alive (barely moving) and a trio of demonically altered humanoids (such as were previously encountered when the red door was opened) was torturing them. Most of the party didn’t pay much attention to stealth so the trio attacked, but they were swiftly dispatched by Sir Barrister the minotaur knight’s halberd and Gugro the alchemist’s death cloud potion. Gugro examined their bodies and found some left-behind surgical instruments in them. The party eventually granted mercy to the barely living wretches and proceeded onward beyond the prison block.

But that is the tale of the latest session, which I will publish in the next post. A big reason for writing it up separately is trying to get a hang of a format in which I can write about the course of my games in a sustainable manner.