Participants: Damien (Renaldo), Stan (Ash) and Paul (Myles), missing Barundar (Matt) and Amon (Cameron)
When we last left the party, Barundar was plummeting for the water after having been snatched by a fishperson in a cavern below the cult-infested lighthouse in Wenshire. The pool into which he’s falling is fed by a waterfall sprouting from a hole in the wall and is of indeterminate depth.
Myles rushes forth but is unable to stop Barundar from being snatched. The booming splash of a large mass hitting the water fills the darkened cavern and is followed by the unmistakable thrashing of a drowning Dwarf. Myles calls Ash over to use his lighted mace to help in finding Barundar in the pool. Ash is able to spot a great disturbance in the water [“like a drowning child” Nathan says, disturbing the players a bit…] across the pool and travelling away. Ash bellows out a Command for the fishperson to “release” Barundar, but his word goes unheard over the flailing and screaming Dwarf.
Renaldo, ever undeterred, sprints across the cavern and dives into the water with his scimitar leading the way, slashing into the darkness. Amazingly, his blade finds its mark and he manages to sever the arm of the fishperson dragging Barundar into the depths, the arm maintains its grip on the Dwarf as the fishperson from whence it came bleeds out into the pool.
With Barundar now floating up to the top of the pool, Myles sprints across the stone bridge and pulls him from the water, holding his action for any fishpeople that might hop out near him. Ash follows behind Myles and inspects the glowing stone. In his hurry he is unable to make note of anything specific about it, other than it looks like it’ll fit in the altar on the top of the lighthouse above.
Renaldo continues his blind assault and, in true barbarian fashion, manages to decapitate another fishperson. As he surfaces for breath, two sets of hands grasp at his feet from below but he is able to avoid being dragged down into the depths [for the time being].
Across the pool, a large form rises from the water with a staff in its hand. The end of the staff glows with a green stone, which the form points at Myles. A ray of green energy cuts across the room and blasts Myles in the chest, severely injuring him and seemingly sapping him of strength. Myles cries out in pain as his Strength and Dexterity wither away [for 6 rounds!!!]. As quickly as it appeared, the form dips back down into the water and disappears.
Myles limps his way across the room to where the mysterious staff-wielding form appeared, but finds nothing there. He pulls one of his remaining javelins from his back and throws it into the pool in a vain attempt at spearfishing. Unsurprisingly , he misses and his javelin is lost to the depths. Ash steps forward [towards the pool] and channels his divine abilities and cures the burning hole in Myles’ chest.
Renaldo is drawn towards what he thinks is a more worthy opponent and swims towards the green light, lashing out and connecting with his scimitar, cutting the fishperson mage across its chest.
A fishperson springs forth from the water in front of Ash [who rolled a 0 on his DEX save] and drags him down, deep into the pool. Renaldo continues to avoid the grasping hands of an unseen fishperson. The fishperson mage reappears and attempts to grab Myles but his hand slips off. An electric shock cuts travels up Myles’ arm from where the fishperson mage touched him. Again, as quickly as he appeared, the mage disappears again, submerging directly into the path of one of Renaldo’s scimitars which, again, cuts him across his chest.
As Ash is dragged into the water by the fishperson he fumbles [AGAIN rolling a 0 on his DEX check!] his lighted mace. It flies through the air, but luckily lands on the shore. Myles abandons his pursuit of the mage and rushes over to where Ash was before he got pulled into the pool. He grabs the mace, tucks it into his belt and dives in after the cleric in an attempt to pull him free of the fishperson but is unable to do so.
Perhaps aided by Myles in some way, Ash momentarily kicks free of the fishperson but remains submerged. Across the cavern, also deep below the surface, Renaldo coninues his assault on the fishperson mage. As more blood fills the water, Renaldo wonders to himself whether the mage is in some way resistant to his blade, because he’s really been dishing it out and it remains active. So active, in fact, that the mage reaches out and shocks the barbarian.
Fishpeople manage to grab Ash and Renaldo again, holding them underwater. Myles and Ash renew their efforts to fight against the fishperson but are not able to break free again. Ash begins to suffer from prolonged time under water and takes a bit of damage from drowning. Renaldo spends his turn freeing himself from the grasp of the fishperson just in time to look up and see a ray of green light shooting towards him from from the mage’s staff. The ray hits him and nearly kills him. As if to add insult to injury, the fishperson below grabs his feet again and continues to try to hold him underwater.
Seeing the green glow from across the water, Myles notes that things are not going well and that if he doesn’t do something different, the party will almost certainly die. Leaving Ash below the water, Myles swims back to shore and wretches himself out of the water. He dashes for the large glowing stone. Grabbing it in a very extravagant fashion he calls out, “Hey look! I’m taking the stone! That big glowing stone… I’m taking that!” Grabbing the stone and waving it in the air, he runs back across the bridge stopping with a healthy distance between himself and the water, trying to draw attention to himself the entire way.
The fishpeople that were drowning Ash and Myles release their grip. Ash immediately surfaces and crawls out of the water. Renaldo strikes out with his scimitar, somehow managing to hit the offending fishperson in the head, killing him.
The fishperson that had been holding Ash springs from the water and knocks Myles to the ground. The fishperson mage makes his way out of the water too and attempts to grab the stone from Myles. The light from the mace on his belt distracts the mage and he fails to take the stone from the fighter.
Myles scrambles back to his feet and attempts to swing at the mage but the attack fails to find its mark. With the last of his energy this turn, Myles does a pelvic thrust to ensure that the lighted mace is front and center before the fishpeople.
Ash and Renaldo rally themselves and join Myles in the fight over the stone. Ash casts Sacred Flame, bathing the fishperson mage in radiant fire as Renaldo swings and severs the mage’s arm – the arm holding the staff! The staff, arm included, falls to the ground between
Myles and Ash. The mage instinctively strikes out at Renaldo for cutting his arm off. Unfortunately for the mage, he does so with his now severed arm and he fails to do anything of note.
The remaining fishperson attempts to grab Myles but fails. Myles kicks in retaliation, his boot connecting with the fishperson’s face, totally shattering his skull and sending him flying backwards into the pool.
Ash casts one more Sacred Flame, again bathing the fishperson mage in radiant energy. This time the flames burn brighter and the mage’s skin begins to boil. Within moments the mage is reduced into a pile of cinders and quiet settles over the chamber as combat has ended.
Renaldo begins to complain about how injured he is, thinking aloud about, “How nice it would be if there were someone around with magic that could heal me….” Ash is also quite wounded, but sacrifices his last spell slot to heal the barbarian back to (almost) complete health. The party forced the newly-healed Renaldo to collect the staff for later inspection, [just in case it zaps him or something] and the party rushes back to the chasm in the previous room.
The party uneventfully passes through the pit but it does take a bit of time. As they ascend the stairs back to the lighthouse, the sound of the townsfolk pounding on the somewhat-frozen door grows louder. As the party reaches the main chamber of the first floor of the lighthouse, the door gives way and a large group of cultist-looking fishpeople burst into the room. [As we roll initiative, Stan manages to roll ANOTHER 0… seriously, three 0’s….] There appear to be 4 individuals leading an equal number of large masses of townsfolk.
Myles and Ash find themselves a few stairs up from the main chamber when the doors give way and they continue running up towards the barracks. Renaldo somewhat uncharacteristically stops and faces the horde of cultists, saying that, “I’ll buy you guys some time, just hurry!”
Myles and Ash run like hell [over the course of a few turns] for the top of the tower, quickly losing sight of Renaldo.
As Myles and Ash run up the stairs, the townsfolk set in upon Renaldo. A leader attacks him, dealing a small amount of damage. Renaldo attacks back and decapitates the leader, causing “his” mass of townsfolk to falter and shift back in an attempt to retreat. As the retreat, Renaldo lashes out at them, crippling a number of them but not outright killing the group.
More of the group sets in upon Renaldo and deal a great amount of damage [critting on him]. Renaldo moves away from the group and moves back down the stairs to the caverns below a little bit. He runs into the wall and slumps down, severely wounded. Almost utterly defeated and coughing up blood, Renaldo points his blade to the stairs and says, “They took the stone UP, go after them!” Many of the group do as instructed, but some stay behind to finish off the barbarian.
As the frenzied crowd sets upon him, Renaldo rebukes himself for his non-barbaric actions of trying to avoid battle. “Bollocks,” Renaldo says to himself, “It wouldn’t be barbaric if I went out without a scream, would it?” Setting his jaw, Renaldo bellows forth a battle cry that ancient barbarians of legend would envy. Pure rage courses through him as his veins bulge, his eyes glow red and his hair stands on end. The force generated by this scream shatters the minds of many within the crowd, but it is not enough to prevent the inevitable. Fighting valiantly to the end, Renaldo’s strength eventually falters and he drops to the ground.
[At this point Damien makes his first death saving throw. He types it in and….. ROLLS A 1…… In Next this means that, of the three failures needed to outright die, Renaldo has just acquired 2!!!!]
Myles and Ash reach the top of the lighthouse but are unable to reach the altar before Renaldo must make his second death saving throw.
[Damien stoically announces each keystroke as he types it… “slash…… r……. spacebar…. 1….d……20……” knowing that, with another failure, Renaldo succumbs to the cold grip of death. The group awaits the strike of the return key with bated breath. Damien takes a deep breath and….. ROLLS ANOTHER FUCKING 1…….. The group collectively cries out to the heavens in agony and grief. Damien states, “Well, that’s the dice….” as Renaldo passes on, dreams of utter barbarism unfulfilled…]
Myles and Ash, not knowing that their friend has just died, press on in their pursuit of the altar, the sounds of fervent cultists rapidly growing louder behind them. As they approach the altar, Myles tosses the stone to Ash, equips his shield and turns to face the masses at the top of the stair. [When questioned on how the cultists are right upon Myles and Ash (who took like 6 turns to get to the top) Nathan states that the townsfolk are able to move, “at the speed of drama”.]
Ash catches the stone and slams it into the altar just as the cultist townsfolk round the corner to face Myles. To both he and Myles’ surprise, the gently glowing stone does absolutely nothing in its new-found home. Myles screams out for Ash to, “Do some cleric stuff to it!” prompting Ash to cast Sacred Flame upon the stone. As the cultists reach Myles, the stone begins to sputter and spark, the light slowly growing more intense.
One of the leaders approaches Myles who has been preparing for attack for a few seconds. Before the leader can act, Myles decapitates him, again causing the group of townsfolk he was leading to attempt to flee. Myles dodges and weaves his way through the crowd, avoiding all attempts at attack before confronting the remaining leader, cutting him deeply across his belly.
Ash tries another spell, this time casting Light on the stone. As he does so, an explosion of light erupts from the stone, whiting out the top of the lighthouse before dimming slightly into a solid beam of light cast out upon the sea. Ash is standing right in front of the stone as this happens, but his divine favor and utter hatred for the Chaos Cult allows him to withstand the explosion without harm.
The cultists all attempt to flee the light, allowing Myles to hunt them down one by one, [critting twice in the process].
At the bottom of the lighthouse, the cultists that killed Renaldo begin to drag his body away into the darkness.
Ash and Myles descend the tower, expecting to see Renaldo looting the bodies of numerous cultists. They are both shocked the descent into the open chamber at the base of the lighthouse to find it completely silent. A pool of blood is located at the top of the stairs that descend to the caverns below. There is a trail leading from the pool to the door and it is obvious that something has been dragged out of the building. Myles and Ash cry out for Renaldo but begin to fear the worst… Ash looks to Myles and says, “Surely, the brave and ferocious Renaldo is out chasing the cultists down… h-he’s probably killing the cult leader right now, right Myles? Right?” “I don’t know, Ash, but I sure hope so…” Myles responds as they begin to follow the trail of blood out of the lighthouse.
As they exit the lighthouse, Myles and Ash note that the majority of the lights in the town have been extinguished. One of the few buildings that’s still alight is the chapel near the center of town. The pair follows the trail of blood until it peters out near the end of the docks. Sprinting at this point, they decide to seek aid at the chapel.
As they approach the structure, they find that blood stains the door, which Myles promptly kicks in. The trail of blood is heavier inside and leads to the altar. Ash calls out for a priest but his calls go unanswered. The pair proceed up to the altar and Ash begins hearing chanting, which he admits is pretty ominous.
The altar is stained with blood, but the trail continues back into the vestry. Proceeding back, the chanting grows louder until, once inside the priest’s chambers, it is obvious that they are coming from somewhere nearby. A wardrobe stands on the Southern wall and also has blood splattered on it. Ash inspects it, but it seems like an otherwise ordinary wardrobe. However, when he stands near it, the sound of the chanting seems to be coming from below. As he relays this to Myles, who promptly pushes the wardrobe over, revealing a laddered chute leading below.
Ash leads the way down, and he and Myles descend deep below the chapel. Reaching the base of the ladder, the pair find themselves facing a dark scene. A giant statue of Dagon stands on the opposite wall. Standing before the statue is a figure that Myles recognizes as the Mayor of Wenshire [Myles seems to think that his name is something like Sal Mon or T. Rout, but isn’t 100% sure…] who strongly resembles a fish. The mayor is standing over the beaten and bloodied body of Renaldo leading the chant before a congregation of townsfolk not dissimilar from those that attacked the group at the lighthouse. Most disturbingly, a pair of cultists are collecting blood from Renaldo’s body….
Myles reaches into his belt and hands the mace back to Ash stating through gritted teeth, “……you’re gonna need this……”