House of the Beast: LoF Session XVIII
As the gnoll appeared to breath his last, Khatovar, upon closer inspection realizes the gnoll life force hangs by a thread. Quickly he is brought back from the brink of death as Zahkmed touches him with a wand of healing power.
Sputtering curses and bile the gnoll, through threat of slow and painful death, gives up all he knows. The adventurers learn of a slave rebellion taking place beneath their very feet. Apparently the complex descends beneath them for two more levels. The gnoll however, glories in this minor annoyance as more blood and glory for the Carrion King. Though the released slaves are not known in number, they learn the carrion king has 3 score troops standing between him, the party, and the slaves. To complicate matters further, a fourth party, with unclear allegiance, a vile stinking group of creatures called Troglodytes, also seem to be involved. Before they dispatch him for good, their told of a witch who appeared out of the mountains to have audience with the Carrion King. A surprising request if ever there was one. Thinking that her probable rape and murder would be fun to watch, he request was granted and she was brought before the great beast of slaughter. This, however, ended in an even greater surprise. Her masterful slaughter during the trials, and acceptance by the Carrion King. Covered in Tattoos which Glarth recognized as possibly symbols of Rovagug, she has not been seen since.
The gnoll details a horrid caste system of authority, in which to ascend, you must slay and devourer your peer in single combat before the Carrion King himself. Even slaves are submitted to such horror, only the strong are fit to serve…and feed the Carrion Tribe.
Those gnolls with the most favor, sup from the King’s “Table” and gain an otherworldly power, at the cost of the decay of their own bodies.
Highest among the gnolls is an assassin and mystic known as Rokova, over the passed few months he has risen to become the Carrion King’s right hand man.
Egged on by Ce-Tan, with his last breaths, the gnoll curses the party and challenges Khatovar to single combat. As the party inwardly chuckles, the monstrously strong monk obliterates the creature with a single blow. As he crumples lifeless next to the rest of his dead pack, the party steps over his body to exit to the courtyard.
Surveying their surroundings, three minarets stand before them. With no doors or access from ground level, Suerbahn climbs the Western structure. Telepathically sharing his finding with Glarth, the party learns that the minaret seems to descend far below the ground and into the depth, perhaps even into the complex itself? However, seeing spiderwebs and realizing the possibility of danger,threats on the ground nearby and areas left unexplored grab the groups attention, causing them to determine to revisit the towers.
Exiting toward the corner gate house on the North West of the structure, two large wooden doors meet the group. Stopping for a moment, they listen closely enough to hear two wimpering voices inside. Before anyone can say anything Glarth steps back and uses his Ring of the Ram to blast open the doors… Without checking to see if they were unlocked. Flying open, one of the two slams into a fleshy object. The slave hiding behind it is crumples against the crushing force. His friend stands quivering. After checking to assure the unfortunately located man still lives and will survive, the party questions the remaining man. They learn that the slave rebellion is indeed still going on, but that it’s lead by a twisted, evil leader calling himself Lazrul, who has given himself over to dark powers for the sake of revenge.
Knowing what lies beneath to a greater degree, the party investigates the main gate. Upon seeing it filled with Troglodytes, and recognizing that their presence is, at this moment, of little seeming threat, they depart without engaging. Approaching the final untouched structure to the North East of the complex, they find a final minaret, leaning aggressively to one side, the stairs which wrap around the outside of the tower can not be ascended. Thinking to instead carefully walk up the side, stepping or climbing over the stair case instead of using it, the party notices statues which seem oddly placed precariously on the leaning building. From afar, Ce-Tan , reminding the group of the long and drawn out combat they faced with statues on their last encounter, the group decides to leave them where they stand and return to the minarets.
As they face the imposingly tall structures, they choose the climb the eastern minuet. Seeing that this particular tower has no indication of giant spiders, and wanting to sneak into the dungeon, rather than assault it from the front where they will be expected, the crew ascends a rope secured by Suerbahn and descends into the black depths.
As the light from the windows fade and darkness overtakes the adventurers, Glarth casts dancing lights and Khatovar (Ion torch?). The darkness is stifling. The damp, musty air rings the the clicks of their heels against the steps. The walls are blank, and the stone, cold. As quickly as they began, their descent abruptly ends at a simple stone door. Undecorated marble, with brass hardware, only a single can be seen. Inspecting the door with Detect Magic, Glarth realizes the door is warded with a moderately powerful barrier. Looking back at the boring walk back up the stairs behind him, Glarth is suddenly filled with a giddy delight. Rummaging through his bag he pulls out a Dispell Magic scroll. The same scroll he had stolen over a year ago from Chelexian Pathfinder, Filliped.
Chuckling and overwhelmed with excitement Glarth reads the scoll aloud. The doors enchantment fizzles as the powers negate and the party looks around at one another. Giggling and ecstatic, Glarth swings open the door, to which, without warning, pours forth over the party a stench of rot and death so heavy that its thickness seems to clog the lungs. Taking a huge breath of the air, Glarth is utterly overwhelmed with it’s horror and begins vomiting so profusely from the indescribable stench that without speaking he turns, almost crawling, desperately trying to get away.
The rest of the party, however, remain unaffected. As the enter the utter darkness, Zahkmed casts Daylight and a scene of utter horror is unveiled. Before them 6 gnolls stand guarding the edge of the throne room. A walkway wraps around either side of a pit filled with rotting ripped apart corpses, carcasses of the fallen. Putrid, rotting flesh pulsates and moves, as if alive. Vermin and bugs move across its surface and in and out of the dead. Across from this gnolls standing at the near edge of the pit, a throne of rotting corpses stands on a pillar extending from the center of this mass grave. Ten feet across and just as tall. Upon which sits the Carrion King himself.
Far from sneaking into the complex discreetly, the adventures have stumbled upon the very throne room of evil, and a battle now awaits.
Underneath a ceiling of flesh crafted after a giant spider, above a mass grave of corpses, and sitting on a throne of bones, putrid meat, and death, The Carrion King laughs.
Without thinking, as Glarth stumbles past him, Ce-Tan bathes the gnolls in fire. Zhakmed, calls upon the divine affection of Sarenrae and sends a blast of divine light into the closest of the pack. As the surprised foes struggle to respond, Ce-Tan unleases another fireball, killing the center most gnoll outright. The party doesn’t seem to know what to do. Glarth continues to flee the stench, vomiting and retching. Ce-tan continues to blast the group. Khatovar moves into position to protect Ce-tan if the need arises. Zahkmed flees alongside Glarth, Suerbahn stays to protect the groups rear. As the fire and divine light clears, only one gnoll remains. However, the Carrion King calls out, “HONOR ME!” and with a realty tilting pounding of their heartbeat, a supernatural presence of unbridled rage overcomes the group, thankfully all but Suerbahn and Glarth were able to overcome the anger through share force of will.
Suerbahn heads into the room to engage foes as the Carrion King leaps from the throne across the Pit to engage the party. Ce-tan follows suit and gets line of sight from the stair case. Glarth overcomes his illness and casts haste on the party. Ce-tan grants Khatovar’s wish for strength and the Monk bursts onto the scene to engage to Carrion King in hand to hand combat. As blows begin to land between the King, Suerbahn and Khatovar, the Eidelon is nearly blasted out of existence with Smite Good. Clinging to a divine life line from his master, he clings to this plane by a hair and continues to fight, however his blows no longer seem to land.
Khatovar hit the carrion king so hard, any mere mortal would have been shaken to his core, yet the beastly gnoll appears unaffected, instead, returning powerful blows so strong and covered in such supernatural evil that fear overwhelms the monk and retreat seems like the only option….