Current Situation in the Kernan Campaign: The party found its way into the Cauldera. They were nearly killed when they (heroically?) attacked a major gathering of Slith. The party did lose a member when Bow was possessed by a blood spirit and fled with about 1/3 of the party's magic items.
Through it all, the party maintained a good sense of humor and was able to rescue a dwarven priest who led the party to New Arendur. The party tangled with some undead there, and Gerald was badly drained by a vampire. (The chirgeon says that he should be able to hold a fork and tie his boots again real soon.)
The party made its way into the lava tunnels, but not before Moth summoned a minion of the Old Ones ... The party made its way through the lava tubes to the dwarvish treasure trove, sealed with a mystic seal for millenia. vochma waved her arms and said WORDS that reduced the barrier to a puddle of wax.
There were two guests waiting for the party once the seal was cracked, the yellow dwarf and Lady Sernelia.
The fight was terrific. Everyone in the party was down besides Querya (who was hiding in shadows), Issek (who was cleverly disguised as a frog), and Corlis (who was berserk). Corlis lopped the head off of the yellow dwarf and drove Sabrina/Lady Sernelia back to the "loving arms" of Nightgaunt.
Corlis (after he calmed down a bit) placed the "seed of the mountain" into the magical receiver on the altar and began the process of turning the Cauldera into a very large and active volcano.
Querya found a teleportation scroll while searching the altar; so, when Lodril appeared, Corlis asked that the entire party be restored to life, full health and capabilities and be re-united to include Misha and (a somewhat confused) Bow.
After Lodril departed, Querya found that the scroll was actually a clever forgery by that jokester -- Mango the Mad! The party was transported to the TOON universe where they saved Santa for good little capitalists everywhere!
Santa sent the party home to Zhalindor with a gift for everyone including a ooper-looper sized bag-of-holding carrying the lots-and-lots-and-lots of gold wheels promised to them by Lodril and some magical pots of paint.
The party is accompanied by approximately twenty small spiked, tentacled creatures who were freed from the clutches of the lichlords by the party.
The party members found themselves to the north and east of the extreme northern end of Gedro pass. The Yagha-Tsorv mountains stand to the south and dominate the landscape. (Think of Tibet times ten.) The mystery of Gedro pass and the city of the Lady awaited.
Just to the south of the party was a merchant and his family and retainers. Further down the trail toward the City was an enclave of the Brothers of Balance and some slavers.
The walls of the City shined like they were made of black glass, and the walls stretched all the way across the pass. The group sent a few to scout out the City and discovered that entrance would prove difficult at best. The walls of the City were covered in razorsharp shards of glass. Querya, a thief of no small accomplishment, said she would not even consider climbing the walls. The gate in the middle looked like a giagantic wampheri skull some 250 feet tall, and there was a strange hypnotic music issuing from a balconey that ensnared Moth in its charms.
The Brothers of Balance were less than friendly, and one odd looking Brother of Balance with no eyes cast some type of spell on the party members that ventured past. Probably nothing of import. ;-)
That evening the party noted a kidnapping in progress and due to the quick acting of Moth, et.al., the boy was rescued. The party attracted the wrath of those inside the city though, and soon the party was embroiled in combat. Several human and other robed creatures attacked the gang. The aggressors even summoned a mighty demon-spider! The party lay defeated and bleeding with the task to "warn others of your folley."
Worst yet, the party discovered something of the dwellers of the City of She Who Waits. There appear to be a number of mind flayers within...
The party elected to rest and recover. (You can check out their plan at Party Plan.) All of the party, minus Querya, Issek, and Kasmira, travel approximately two days into the foothills of the Yagha-Tsorv mountains.
The main body of the party enters a clearing that Corlis, Moth and Bow all feel offer good tactical, defensive capabilities. Apparently, the party is not the first group to think this as the twang of several bow strings herald the approach of arrows with the pointy side facing the party.
The party lays waste to a group of orcs. After some minor healing, the party continues up the side of the hill and discovers a group of orcish females and pups vacating a pillaged village. The party waits a bit, and then advances cautiously. (A map is attached map of the village.)
The village has apparently been devoid of its human inhabitants for approximately one year; the wheat still comes up (with many weeds) in the field just outside of town, which indicates the vacation took place after planting. Vochma notes using her knowledge of circles and wards that there are warding stones protecting the village, but they were chiselled down and show the marks of magical fire.
Misha has a flash of insight and recharges these wardings using his wards against demons. When he does this, many of the sensitive party members feel like a weight has been taken off of them. Odd. Probably just nerves.
The party elects to use this location as the base of operations. Bow travels back to the City to give the base location to Querya, Issek, and Kasmira.
The watches work well. There is one incursion by a wolf on the second night, but Farid scorches its pelt, and the wolf retreats. Gerald finds some words scrawled in blood in one of the sheds that reads "beware the avatar of the goddess." Probably doesn't mean anything. Silly kids.
The group next to the City of She-who-Waits observes the robed stewards, humans - not the mind flayers, asking a lot of questions about the party and handing out flyers written in several languages offering rewards for any information on the party's whereabouts. The party members think this is odd as the magical folks from the town seemed pretty buff previously, not to mention the Brothers of Balance. Weird. Toward the end of day three, they observe a large caravan led by ogres and taking many slaves enter the City of She-Who-Waits. Other groups come prior to the large caravan and are turned away. Some of these groups barter with the ogres to have goods sold in the City for them. The ogres react to this as though it is common practice. Querya observes the ogres bribing the gateguards to overlook one wagon.
Grath promises to do his best to pass the word on as best as he is able to the Duke of Kernan. Grath has a celebration with the party the night before his band departs and offers Corlis and Issek the chance to be his blood brothers. Both accept and now have a strange bond with Grath.
Moth finds elves in the area. They call themselves Moonbroth, Lily, and Sunflower. They treat Moth with great respect based on his circlet and the amulet of Ibn Gazis. They tell him of the legends in the area. It is said that in years gone by the dwarves fought the elves in the area, but none of these elves has ever seen a dwarf. Once in a while though, an elve is killed by an iron crossbow bolt, the mark of dwarves. Elves are particularily sensitive to iron. Vochma asks about the village and when it was abandoned. The elves make warding signs and talk about the night of the hell fires. It was approximately four seasons ago when demons swept through the area and drove the humans away. The elves did a recon and found the pass was blocked with the City after that. Bad omens! The elves also tell of a place called the Tower of the Rising Sun that supposedly exists in the area. None of them has ever seen it, but the seer for the village says that it is a powerful location of Law, and it might help the valiant to defeat the evil that lies all about. Many of the elves in the local forest have answered the call to adventure, but few have returned. None has found the Tower. No doubt too much swath smoking on the part of the seer.
Misha finds evidence that a green dragon is somewhere in the area. The group stumbles upon the remains of a hart with acidic burn marks across its body and the smell of chlorine in the air.
The party marches on after its meeting with Respirreouss. That evening they are attacked by druids yelling "death to the infidels" and "Boondarg will destroy those who do not submit to his will." The fight is a close one, and more of the magical mist and silence technique is used. Corlis even has to field strip his burning armor. The party does finally defeat them, but several of the druids shapeshift into wolves and escape. Querya says, "I have a bad feeling about these druids ..." But of course, thieves are always a little jittery.
The party holed up in the town they liberated from the orcs. Several major things of note occured. The party discovered evidence of a green dragon in the area. One of the Duke's other minion parties from Kernan that the group had met before came in to the village. The other party was shaken -- **badly** and were displaying disturbing behaviors. The party surmissed that this was caused by some type of post traumatic shock syndrom. The party elected to allow them to remain in the town, but the party put the new group in the western portion and put subtle patrols out to keep an eye on the newcomers. The party met Gerrard who told the party that the forces of the Balance were gathering to battle She-Who-Waits in case the party should fail in their mission for the Duke.
As Gerrard departed, Bow revealed that he believed that Gerrard was an ancient vampire lord, a creature of legend. Halima attacked Gerrard as he walked away. Both Bow and Corlis wrestled Halima to the ground, but Gerrard seemed to shake off Halima's best attacks with little apparent effort.
The party was confronted the next day by a horribly mutated gold dragon, Respirreouss. The party found out through various means that Respirreouss had tired of his service to Law and goodness and desired god-hood as his reward. To affect his apotheosis, Respirreouss had made a bargain with the Chaos god, Perchango the mutator. Unfortunately, bargains with Chaos turn out rarely for the good of the mortal, and Respirreouss was left as a disfigured, mortal creature.
Respirreouss dropped a small stone statue of a wyrm with the words "worship me" inscribed on it. The party destroyed the statue. This made Respirreouss unhappy. :-) Issek elected to keep an eye at the base camp, as the party was loath to leave just NPCs at the main base with the crazed party and a Chaos dragon floating around.
The rest of the group has been gone for three days now, and a woman slinks into camp. Issek is roused immediately (by the guard silly!) from his slumbers. Standing before Issek at the edge of the village, but inside the protective wardings, is a beautiful woman with raven black hair. Around her head dance seven golden daggers, and on her shoulder a gray cat is perched. The cat is purring loudly and licks its mistress' ear.
The strange visitor says, "Issek of the Prax, your camp is about to be attacked. Respirreouss feels his due has not been paid by your compatriots, and he comes here to eack out his revenge. Be warned, and be ready. You have but scant hours to prepare, and his on-slaught will be hideous to behold."
After two more days of travel, the party arrives at the Halls of the Dwarven Kings. The main entrance to the Halls is near the top of the valley. Although the battle must have taken place ages ago, some of the rock still shows evidence of magical fire, and Drew notices that there are bits of columns, etc. that still glow from magical attacks or defenses.
Corlis and Moth notice the area surrounding the entrance to be covered in tracks. Moth looks down carefully for a moment, and then says, "it makes me want to have a god to curse." Corlis looks down as well and quietly informs the rest of the party, "trolls, and plenty of them."
The party began the session standing in the dwarvish throne room, having just defeated the spectral trap. Issek ran forward and claimed the Runic IRON spear.
The party then retreated a few hours to the north of the Halls to rest and recover. The party handily defeated some superfluous werewolves that dared to disturb the party's well deserved rest.
Speaking of rest, the party members had some very interesting dreams. Vochma dreamed that of an evil city that existed in three planes at the same time in the same place, and that She-Who-Waits was insubstantial, and that Moth held the key. Moth dreamt that he could make the party travel to the ethereal plane. Bow dreamt that She-Who-Waits was a huge bloated wampheri egg-mother, ready to burst with thousands of wampheri eggs that she is preparing to seed Zhalindor with. Corlis dreamt that there were seven spears on Starside that would crumble when exposed to the light of the Sun and that doing so to each of the seven spears of darkness would cause the Sun to shine once more on Starside, releasing the world from the control of the wampheri. Querya dreamt that there was a special crystal of night at the center of the City, which bound it together. The crystal could be destroyed by exposing it to the light of the Sun. Bah! But, these are dreams and probably mean nothing!
Another significant event transpired when the blade Obion was demagicked and its spirit absorbed by the Brodachur of Lopnel!!! Querya took the reigns of party leader and directed the noble band back to the Halls of the Dwarvish Kings.
The party worked incredibly well together and was A MACHINE when it came to the Halls! The party moved with nearly supernatural precision directly to the room where the robes of annointing were kept. They moved fluidedly to the room of purification and completed the ritual with one voice.
The party rested and recovered for the evening and awoke the next morning to find three Brothers of Balance walking about. The party dispatched them in quick order.
Respiraneous entered at this point and informed the party that Halima, Misha, and the seeress had been transported to the City of She Who Waits (CoSWW) and were being held by She-Who-Waits personally. Respiraneous also gave Akir, Farid, and Kashmira back to the party. Respiraneous told the party that his goal was soon at hand, thanked the party for its part in helping him achieve his goal, and then departed.
The party went onward with their former companions who had betrayed them to Respiraneous, but what the party did not tell the returning members is that those who are not purified face a terrible death in the tombs of the Dwarven Kings.
The party used Moth in the role of departed dwarvish monarch. As the party completed the second in the series of three rituals, HUGE elementals of the SHADOW PLANE arose and attacked the unblessed. One by one the unfortunate three were turned to dust!!!
To complicate matters, the party heard the tell-tale thrum of an interdimensional portal being opened. Aasim and company had returned!!!
Corlis rushed forward to one of the elementals to engage, defeated one and then retreated before another. Corlis informed the party that this was necessary to activate fully the powers of the Brodachur.
As the last of the three ceremonies was completed, eight secret doors opened revealing the millenia old tombs of the Dwarvish kings.
As the secret doors opened, the party heard the sounds of combat behind them. The group turned as one to see the two-headed trollish leader battling a voidling! Directly behind the voidling was one of the Brothers of Balance. This was not just any Brother of Balance. This was the sightless Brother the party had seen in the CoSWW!
Bow informed the party that this was an ultra-powerful member of the Balance Cult that had turned to the evil offered by Mung. The two-headed troll was destroyed by the Voidling, and the Brother of Balance recovered the club of eyes from the falled troll. The entire party realized this was a Bad Thing (tm).
All the party retreated into the nearest open doorway except Moth who engaged the Brother of Balance in mental combat. After a moment, Moth left the combat in a dazed and confused state. The party rushed on to find the tomb of the Diamond Dwarf. The Brother of Balance and the Voidling gave chase. They opened the Diamond Dwarf's burial trappings and resurrected this legend with the bit of the Tree of Life.
As the Diamond Dwarf was resurrected, a blast of energy knocked down the party and the Brother of Balance. The Voidling was blasted back into the unholy dimension it was spawned in. The Brother of Balance promptly fled.
As soon as the Diamond Dwarf was roused he commented that the world was very cold. The World Machine was broken, and some of the Runes were missing. The Diamond Dwarf identified that fifteen of the Runes were missing from the Machine. The party was not sure what to make of this, but its contemplations were cut short by the arrival of Respiraneous. Respiraneous said his moment had come, and he raised a black and glowing hand as Respiraneous marched toward the Diamond Dwarf. It was a near thing, but the Diamond Dwarf acted a split second faster than Respiraneous and destroyed Respiraneous with a WORD.
The Diamond Dwarf gave each of the party members a special blessing and also gave the party seven rings of anti-psionic metal as well as several arrows of anti-psionic metal.
The party departed and was greeted as heroes by the dwarves. The dwarves gaved the party three fighter-clerics to work for the group. These three accompanied the party back to the CoSWW. The party used the giant bag of holding to hide in a wagon and enter the CoSWW. The party is currently living in a tavern called "the Waiting Eye."