Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Halls of Wrath (01/17/2014)

Runeforge contained seven different halls, each associated with a specific runelord. In the 10,000 years that have passed since the runelords disappeared the residents of these halls have been kept alive by the Runeforge's powerful magic, but the long years have taken their toll on the sanity of the residents of these halls. Their hate and resentment of each other had continued to burn bright though, and each had kept their secrets through the many years. The party had only one hall left to investigate, the Halls of Wrath. Once the heroes collected the final magical compenent they hope to create a great weapon and be able to stand up to Runelord Karzoug himself. That, plus there was still a Great White Dragon lurking around here somewhere.

As the heroes entered the Halls of Wrath they found a wide corridor of polished marble that opened into a brightly lit and extremely tall chamber. The upper portion of the far wall was entirely covered in a mural of an armored woman with crimson hair holding a burning ranseur and riding on the back of a massive red dragon. A square outcropping of smooth marble jutted out from the far wall, rising from the floor to a height of thirty feet. An opening in the wall directly behind the flat top of the stone column led deeper into this section of the vault. A twelve-foot-tall iron statue stood on this platform, an enormous iron bow gripped in its metal fists and a strange rune that looked almost like a pair of fangs decorated its chest.
Once the heroes began to cross the great hall the Iron Archer detected their presence and sounded a thunderous alarm that triggered other alarms throughout the Halls of Wrath - metallic clanking that vibrated the stones. Using its huge iron bow the creature began pelting the party with its fiery bolts of energy. Kheo was the first to take damage, so the party quickly swung into action.

The problem was that the room was 100 feet across, so it would take several turns yet to even get close. That, plus the fact that the golem was thirty feet in the air above them. Reynard cast a Wall of Force to give the party a temporary respite from the golem’s missiles. The Iron Archer used his inherent Air Walk ability to “walk” around the structure and continue his assault (DM note: Reynard argued that the wall was invisible and that the golem wouldn’t know it was there. Unfortunately for the party, the golem also had an inherent See Invisible ability as well). The next round of the archer’s attacks hit Selinor this time, plus Kheo learned that the arrows he had been hit with previously did ongoing damage.
The magic resistant golem had easily thwarted magical attacks from Selinor and Reynard. Fortunately Kheo had been extremely accurate with his own bow shots and had hit the golem several times, but now Kheo was forced to spend several rounds removing arrows. Reynard cast a Fly on Stike and the big fighter was able to reach the golem and finish off what Kheo had started.

The room beyond where the golem had stood contained two engraved circles in the ground surrounded large runes in their center, one red and one blue. Reynard was easily able to determine that these were Teleportation circles, but there were no hints as to where they might lead. After some discussion the party all took one step onto the red circle – and nothing happened. After some further deliberation the party all took one step onto the blue circle – and disappeared.
The heroes reappeared in room at the end of a long chamber, the room also containing a red and a blue Teleportation circle. The long chamber was filled with practice dummies dressed in battered and scorched suits of armor and a few contraptions bearing sharp implements. Several doors and two open corridors exited the chamber along each side wall. An opening in the opposite wall lead to what appeared to be a meeting hall.

Several continual flames on the walls provided light for this chamber, which was the primary training hall for the denizens of the Halls of Wrath. No matter how battered the training dummies got, the room itself repaired them every 24 hours so they were always good to go for the next day's work.

Despite the fact that the warriors stationed here need not eat or sleep, their training demanded they take time to do so. This prevented them from falling into habits that could be problems once the call for war was heard and they must return to Golarion. Each of the 20-foot square side rooms contained bunks for the inhabitants of the hall.

Having been previously notified by the alarm the golem had raised six Sinspawn Axemen and six Warriors of Wrath advanced on the intruders. The axemen held vicious looking greataxes and the warriors cast spells as they advanced on the party, sprinkling the area around the heroes with several Fireballs. The axemen proved relatively easy to kill, the warriors not so much, but soon the battle was ended. As the party inspected the bodies they found the following:
Warriors of Wrath Gear: +2 Mithral Shirt, +1 Greatsword (six sets of each).
Sinspawn Axemen Gear: +2 Breastplate, +1 Greataxe (six sets of each).
The party had originally entered via the Teleportation circles at one end of the hall, and at the opposite end of the hall was a mess hall with several tables and a kitchen area. Beyond the line of rooms on each side of the hall was a room that contained a red and blue Teleportation circle. The party knew the blue one would take them somewhere, but as to where they could not say. With no further clues, the party chose one of the blue circles, stepped onto it, and disappeared.
The heroes the reappeared in another great hall, the Chamber of Readiness. The polished granite walls of this large chamber were covered in spidery glyphs. The ceiling rose twenty five feet high, where a mural depicted a redheaded woman holding a flaming ranseur standing atop a burning tower of stone. Swords and ranseurs rested inside shallow depressions in the walls, glowing faintly to illuminate the chamber.
This room is where initiates who wished to test themselves and make the attempt to become a new Highlord or Highlady of Wrath prepared themselves for the grueling combat that awaited them at the far side of the chamber. To advance, an initiate need only defeat the current highlord or highlady - no easy task.
Highlady Athroxis
The chamber flowed into the Hall of Testing. A wide avenue flanked by crimson stone pillars ran down the center of this chamber - the ceiling arched sixty feet above and seemed to be made of fire. At the center of the room, a huge seven-pointed star made of silver was engraved into the floor and surrounded by a circle of low-burning flames.
This enormous chamber served as a training ground for the current Highlord or Highlady of Wrath and as an arena for the testing of new applicants. The fire burning above was quite real (treat it as a permanent Wall of Fire covering the extent of the ceiling). Ash resulting from objects burnt in the flames of this Wall of Fire slowly wafted down onto the floor of the hall below.
Highlady Athroxis awaited here, having already watched the party in battle several times through her Wand of Clairvoyance/Clairaudience - her frustration with her servants' failures served to increase her rage with each of the party’s victories. She had little in the way of social graces, and when the party enter the room she shrieked a battle cry in Thassilonian - something to the effect of "For fury and hellfire!" - and attacked at once. Unfortunately for the party Athroxis was not alone - she was accompanied by a Glabrezu Demon she called up from the Abyss to serve as a guardian.
Selinor put up a wall of fire and smoke, but Athroxis easily walked through it and the glabrezu teleported to a position directly behind the party. Stike took on the huge demon while the rest of the party concentrated on Athroxis. Athroxis was whittled down pretty quickly, and as a last dying act she threw herself at the party and immolated herself in a giant Fireball.
This left the glabrezu. The party had fought one of these before and knew they were definitely hard to kill. The huge demon had several inherent damage resistance, plus even though Stike was able to deliver several crushing blows, he was never actually able to do a lot of damage to the beast. Kheo decided to try and blind the beast, but there was not much hope it would be successful (DM note: I would need to roll a 1 on my saving throw for it to work) but it was indeed successful after all (DM note: I rolled a 1 on my saving throw).
The glabrezu was able to continue his attacks, but they were much less effective and the party had the break they needed to finish off the demon. Unlike Stike’s minimal damage Kheo’s arrow attacks did massive damage to the demon (DM note: the demon had a Damage Resistance 10 to good creatures ... somehow, Kheo was not affected).
Highlady Athroxis was found to have the following gear: Wand of Clairvoyance/Clairaudience (32 charges), Wand of Lightning Bolt (CL 10th, 25 charges), +4 Mithral Breastplate, +3 Adamantine Flaming Ranseur, Amulet of Natural Armor +2, Belt of Physical Perfection +2, Cloak of Resistance +3, Headband of Vast Intelligence +2, Ring of Protection +2, spell component pouch, and several spellbooks. The combined spellbooks contained all 1st through 7th level spells from all schools except Conjuration and Abjuration. They also contained two 8th level Evocation spells: Greater Shout and Sunburst, and two 9th level Evocation spells: Crushing Hand and Meteor Swarm.
Warrior of Wrath
There was much to inspect in this room, but another set of Teleportation circles led the party to yet another hall. This long chamber was filled with two rows of wide worktables. The far end of the chamber contained three wide alcoves. The ones to the north and south were each filled with all matter of alchemical supplies and large barrels, while the one in the middle contained a single huge vat of what appeared to be twitching, foul-smelling flesh.
This chamber is where the Lords of Wrath forged magical weapons and armor, and also where they transformed older generations of warriors into sinspawn and engineered the proper growth of their own children. The vat of bubbling flesh in the central alcove was a semi-living mass of protoflesh - the raw building material for growing sinspawn and a key component of much of the work done here to keep the generations of wrath from descending into deformity and madness. The stuff smelled foul and was almost certainly dangerous to eat or even to touch.
This room was currently occupied by nine Warriors of Wrath, all toiling diligently on a complex problem - a method to revert a sinspawn back into its human source. The answer was still a long way off for the increasingly frustrated Warriors of Wrath, who took to the interruption by the heroes with welcome and sadistic glee. They fought to the death to protect this laboratory and once vanquished the quiet aftermath of battle soon filled hall.
Warriors of Wrath Gear: +2 Mithral Shirt, +1 Greatsword (nine sets of each).
There did not appear to be any further Teleportation circles leading away from this hall, just the one that led back to where the party had been previously, so the party believed they might have found all of the rooms in the Halls of Wrath. There was much to inspect yet though, and we will pick it up from there next time. For tonight’s effort the party earned 45,600 XP, giving them (641,150 + 45,600) 686,750 XP earned so far, with 890,000 XP required to reach Level 16.

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