Determined to get to Absolom as quickly as possible, the party cobbled together a plan built on each of their experiences and capabilities (sailing and weather – Fosk, basic scientific principles – Rai’il, magic items and storage of stone – Gijit, and stonework – Yowen). The result was a throttle-able turbo-booster for the ship that allowed them to arrive in Absolom before the talisman, thus preventing bad bad things.
That’s not to say that their trip was uneventful. A lovely group of advanced, monstrous harpies attacked the ship, violently yanking them out of the HOV-lane that was the jet stream they were surfing. Unfazed by this, the crew realized that, thanks to their now dead feather adversaries, they had a ballista for the ship.
As they approached Absolom, it was clear that the city was under an EPIC dimensional anchor, preventing any teleporting or plane shifting into the area. Thankfully, their ship was well received by the pilots after they landed on the water and opted for a more traditional approach to the metropolis harbor.
Upon arriving in the city, two things became clear: 1. the nefarious plot they had been chasing was operating in the open and would require little effort to identify and 2. Marr was alive, in Absolom, and determine now more than ever to both stick with the party and proclaim his godhood.
Without further ado, the party cooked up a plan to assault the Cult of Terizan now barricading the entrance to the Starstone. This detailed and sophisticated plan can be summed up by a choice quote from the fine cinematic masterpiece Ghostbusters when Drs. Venkmen, Stantz, and Spengler were approaching their first full-torso apparition and Dr. Stantz instructed his colleagues to “Get her!”
To be fair, the party recruited aid from the temple of Torag (to supply arms), various dock workers (to guard the ship), and a strong contingent of less scrupulous fellows from Khalid’s days working in the Puddles.
Additionally, the party was able to sneak into the fort and discovered that many of Absolom’s citizens were in the process of being converted to this new “religion” under promise of a future AFTER the destruction.
The party made quick work of the acolytes who seemed not quite human. When they walked into the main building, it was quickly obvious that daemons were involved. After killing the first of several ceustodaemons (big bear-like things with 4 horns), they discovered that the dead were being “devoured” by much smaller cacodaemons (with their big single eye and giant gaping maw). After Fosk panicked and beheaded a body that one was feasting upon, it proceeded to jump up in his hand and produce (from an orifice that we’d rather not think about) a large, red, gem, still sticky with ichor.
The party proceeded into the main room only to be jumped by one of two ceustodaemon guards. The team did what they do best and controlled the situation with Rai’il instantly trapping one in a prismatic sphere while Yowen called the stone from the floor to rise up and walled the other beast out of the battlefield. Upon quick glance, the main priestess was more concerned with a set of bone armor, now bedazzled by hundreds of red gems. It was also not difficult to spot, in the center of the room, the source of the dimensional anchor that was stifling the city.
For the first time, the party saw one of their own members truly fall as Khalid suffered a wisdom death at the needle-like claws of one of the shadows. They were throwing everything they had at this women and she simply turned into mist, avoiding any further blows. Things looked quite bleak until Gijit wandered into the next room and was assaulted by on of the small balls of teeth and eye. Noting that a mouth that big and no stomach to match its size created an interesting opportunity, Gijit tossed in a pebble…
As soon as the priestesses familiar exploded from the inside, the mist coalesced into a body right as the thud on the floor could be heard.
Now it was time to deal with Khalid, and fast. Thankfully, Yowen was able to bring Khalid back to life (albeit a very limited one) through a prayer and a spell.
Once Yowen dismissed the stone wall, a bloody Marr was standing on the other side. It appeared that he had dispatched 4 of the ceustodaemons by himself. Perhaps there was a bit of truth to what he…no, no way. Impressive, but no way!
In the aftermath, much was discovered including a letter from DTN, a tapestry of a map, and a still-living woman frozen in a bed. The party did the honorable thing and dispelled her stasis only to discover that she was a very powerful individual. It only came out later, when Khalid fully regained his senses, that it was Yygara, the head of the city’s protection business syndicate known as “The Guild.”
Wait, did Yygara really flirt with Marr as she was leaving?
The party quickly made their way back to the temple of Torag and Yowen had no trouble getting an audience with High Priest Grizzlock (if for no other reason than Grizzlock would want Brattor the Truth-hammer back).
They discovered that the epic dimensional anchor had been powered by the trapped soul of the now freed (thanks to them and a true rez from Grizzlock) Master Gilban, Gatekeeper of the Wizard School. Fosk’s gem (which also stood out from the rest on the armor) proved to be a wealthy merchant and member of the City Council. Unfortunately, he didn’t take as kindly to the recent events and had to be excused from the room, vomiting violently the whole way.
Although the party had been wildly successful on saving the city, there were many questions left unanswered.
- What to do with the hundreds of souls trapped in the armor they now possessed?
- Are their two more sites that are in similar danger?
- What was the plan to enter the Starstone?
- Who was this Drax’vale Tre’Nar that seemed to be pulling the strings?