Banner Marches

Session #15
Hexed hex overland travel

The party descended the Stormbanner Peaks, leaving Dragon Mountain in the distance. A troop of 8 kobolds and 2 giant pack beetles followed them, along with two inexperienced adventurers rescued from Dragon Mountain. As Miri the barbarian surveyed the terrain, the party’s suspicions were confirmed. When the wizard Zolar planeshifted Dragon Mountain out of the state of planar flux it was left in by the dragon Infyrana, the mountain returned to the world 50 miles to the northeast of its previous location. They had a long trek back to the king’s castle at Tir Uldeir, and the supernatural winter storms that wracked the mountains made them uneasy. Spirits of the Wild Hunt were visible in the storms…an omen of war, plague, and death.

Travel thru the mountains was mostly uneventful. The party almost lost a pack beetle (laden with treasure) tumbling down a steep escarpment, but Zolar cleverly cast a web spell to catch the tumbling beetle. Miri investigated a large basin filled with kobold and giant bones, but when something moved in the center of the bone pile, she thought better of it, and ventured on.

In the Dunwood, the party began noticing that they’d been cursed. It started when they noticed black marks on Zolar’s usually unblemished skin. Lily identified it as a curse and Zolar cast remove affliction on himself while the kobolds hunted elk. When the kobolds returned from their unsuccessful elk hunt, one had a dislocated shoulder. While Kirito was enthusiastic about punching the kobold’s arm back into place, to everyone’s surprise Zolar cast thunderwave and smashed the kobold against a tree, killing it. “What?” said Zolar surprised, I was only trying to help.”

Others were behaving strangely too. Kirito surrepitiously checked his newly acquired dancing short sword to make sure it hadn’t wandered away. Tristan gazed at the emblem of the Raven Queen on his newly acquired shield. Miri was seeing ghosts that seemed bound to her newly acquired flail. Was the entire dragon’s hoard cursed?

At this point, the other kobolds fled and Tristan the vampire took them under his wing, leading them to safety in a nearby cave. With the aid of the kobold Pick-Pick, Tristan proceeded to trap the entrance to the cave, telling the kobolds they’d be safe from the wizard here.

Lily realized the nature of the curses was stronger than remove affliction. She also noticed a nasty storm descending from the mountains and felt her newly acquired magic ring charging with static electricity. Was it drawing the storm? What would happen if the storm broke on her while she was wearing it? Lily didn’t want to find out. She convinced Zolar to cast a fey crossroads ritual (and Zolar was only too happy to oblige), and convinced Tristan to depart with them as the “safest course of action for the kobolds.”

An old oak split open, revealing a green firefly-lit passage thru the Feywild. Stepping in, the party felt their heads swim and suddenly they were only a few miles from their original basecamp where Dragon Mountain used to be. They heard echoing cries in the Feywild of “Synovel!” An elven name, perhaps?

Kirito led the giant pack beetles and noticed their henchman Kirnwedigan (a.k.a. torch guy) was drunk. Their henchman related what happened over the last several days, how he and Miri’s horse killed two trolls leaving the mountain, what he saw when Dragon Mountain planeshifted, and how surprised he was that the entire party was alive. Transferring their treasure to carts and mounting their horses, the party followed the mountain path to Harker’s Ferry.

While in Harker’s Ferry, Zolar cast remove affliction on Tristan, nearly killing him, but the ritual was unable to break the powerful monster apologist curse. It would seem only a series of side quests would break the curses on the party. In the middle of the night, Miri vanished. Just then Raphael remembered the story behind the belt of dwarvenkind Miri was wearing – it had belonged to Hrenbled, a dwarven performer, who led a circus troupe, but the dwarven mountain king was offended by these un-dwarven actors and had them killed, but the dwarves returned as ghost mimes who haunted ancient dwarven treasure. Guessing that her horse might be able to find her, Kirito led the party to the stables. Indeed, Miri’s horse pointed them to the old barn at the edge of town where they’d met a Vistani witch before braving Dragon Mountain.

Miri had been woken up by the ghost of one of her tribesmen who pointed toward the barn. All this while, Miri could see and hear her friends, but they could not see or hear her. She even walked thru them a couple times in frustration. In the barn they found the Vistani witch who could see Miri through her white glass eye; the witch was upset at Miri for shattering the gem the dragon Infyrana had trapped her sleeping consciousness in (in turn shattering the witch’s crystal ball). Thus, the witch was reluctant to help Miri. However, she did cast a spell which allowed the rest of the party to converse with Miri, though they still could not see or interact with her. The Vistani witch warned that the curse of the dwarven ghost mimes would only get worse, eventually drawing Miri into the Shadowfell and compelling her to join the undead dwarven circus. With a wry cackle, the witch offered to break the curse if the party agreed to certain conditions. Tristan did not trust Vistani, and he negotiated hard. Eventually, to save Miri, the party agreed to the following terms:

Miri’s curse would be ended first, and in return the party would tell her the secret of the Alder King’s daughter, retrieve a catoblepas’ heart for the witch, and perform an undefined favor for her (involving protecting someone or something) at some point in the future. As insurance, the Vistani witch geased Tristan to do these latter two things for her. Once the geas was cast and the deal struck, the witch told them they just had to extinguish the candle to bring Miri back. Zolar did so with his mage hand, plunging the room into supernatural darkness. Pulling out sunrods, the party found Miri had returned! The Vistani witch had vanished once again.

Gathering their horses and treasure cart, the PCs headed southwest across the Misty Downs, bound for Tir Uldeir. The Misty Downs was a haunted place, with the light of the sun muted through the ever present thick mist which wrapped around hills and oak copses like fingers on a loom. In the distance storm clouds were moving in, and the first snows of winter were falling. Then they heard the disembodied voices of elven men singing a dirge and a horn sounding from the woods. Elven men cried, “Synovel! Synovel!” Squinting into the woods, the party saw a golden haired elven girl in a torn dress with red sores on her forearms fleeing thru the woods. Behind her three undead riders emerged from purple mist. Tristan’s attempt at parlaying with the riders was only met with a steely “We are servants of the Horned Lord.” The party decided they would rescue this elven child, and engaged the three undead riders in combat. Though the riders nearly abducted the child, and momentarily possessed Kirito to turn him against his friends, Miri was able to mount her horse and rescue the girl from being taken. Strangely, when the riders died it was almost as if time was catching up with them and in the blink of an eye they aged hundreds of years and turned to dust.

The girl revealed she was the daughter of the king of the wood elves – the Alder King – who had promised her hand in marriage to the Horned Lord of the Wild Hunt, and she was fleeing the arranged marriage.

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Session #14
Dragon Mountain epilogue

As the old red dragon Infyrana died, she began to discorporate, her essence merging with Dragon Mountain in a rare event mages call “environmental diffusion.” Lily realized she could absorb the dragon’s elemental energy to prevent the lair’s collapse; boldly stepping forward she touched the now insubstantial burning body of Infyrana and was consumed in flames. Seconds later, Lily emerged with cinders floating around her. Infyrana’s corpse fell to the cavern floor. The party had emerged victorious!

Many kobolds soon emerged to witness the death of their master Infyrana. Crusher uneasily approached Raphael to discuss the matters of his kingship, to which Raphael readily suggested Crusher use the Gold-Cursed Crown as a decoy. Pleased with this, Crusher warned Raphael that there was one group of kobolds – Clan Wyrmguard – who remained loyal to Infyrana and would seek retribution against the party, for Crusher had provided a decoy to prevent them from joining the fight. Raphael advised Crusher to turn as many of Clan Wyrmguard into golden statues as possible and then return. Crusher nodded sagely and trotted off.

Raphael found a magic mirror filled with grey mist. Touching the mirror, Raphael activated it and in a flash of light a githyanki’s image materialized, “Ah Majestic Infyrana…this is a new form I take it?” The githyanki inquired archily.
Surprised, Raphael tried to bluff, “You know, I got tired of being an old bag.”
Not convinced, the githyanki switched to speaking in Draconic, and when it was clear Raphael did not understand, the githyanki waved his hand with a snarl and the mirror went grey again. Raphael and the rest of the party exchanged some ideas of what this could mean.

As Miri and Kirito loaded treasure into backpacks and on to pack beetles lent by Crusher, Zolar seemed perplexed. “We are in a state of planar flux. It would appear that I deactivated the planar sextant just as Dragon Mountain planeshifted. I will need to cast a ritual to restore us to the material plane. Do not fear. I have done this before.”
After debating for a brief while, the party aquiesced to Zolar’s plan and he cast a planeshift ritual which returned Dragon Mountain to the material plane…only 50 miles from where it previously was located!

Among the treasure was a box with notes: There was a map locating the Cult of the Dragon in the Howling Hills, with sidenotes indicating the Wyrmlord leader of the cult possessed the Red Orb of Dragonkind. Also, there was a contract between a drow house and Infyrana allowing a party of 200 armed drow safe passage thru the mountain in exchange for tribute to Infyrana. Crusher confirmed that the drow had not yet used the mountain for safe passage. But now that the mountain had moved, who knew what this meant…

Crusher returned to warn the party that Clan Wyrmguard was agitating for reprisals against the adventurers and the “weak” Crusher. Things could get messy in Dragon Mountain for the next day or two, and Crusher would rather legitimize his rule without the aid of humans, to appear as kobold-y as possible. Raphael, as the designated human-kobold spokesman, agreed this was the wisest course of action and shared parting words with Crusher, who declared Raphael to be as close to a kobold as an half-elf could be. A high compliment indeed.

With pack beetles and a small troop of kobolds, the party trekked back thru Dragon Mountain, past triggered traps, many dead kobolds, and ruined passageways. Interestingly, the sphere of annihilation was gone, apparently having sunken into the earth leaving behind a circular tunnel. Zolar worried that the drow had taken the sphere.

At last the party emerged in light of day once again. Squinting, they looked across the snow-swept mountains with adventure awaiting them. Triumphant, they descended from Dragon Mountain…

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Session #13
How to kill a dragon

The air was hotter here, not like the rest of Dragon Mountain. Descending the sloping passage, the party entered Infyrana’s lair. It was a vast cavern, the ceiling beyond the range of their sunrods, with only the occasional stalactite hinting at its existence. Four massive stone columns supported its weight. To the left and right were 40’ ledges, accessible by natural stone stairs. Across a 20’ wide, unfathomably deep chasm was another 40’ ledge overflowing with treasure, on top of which the dragon Infyrana was curled gazing into a crystal ball which recounted scenes of the party’s journey thru Dragon Mountain…from the perspective of kobolds and various scrying sensors.

Zolar’s mass invisibility spell seemed to be working well enough. Several pieces of treasure were scattered around the lair almost haphazardly, as if a wanton gesture of the dragon’s copious wealth. Raphael noticed a crown of charisma and a ring of fire resistance nearby, which he stealthily grabbed and donned.

“So, you survived the Mountain…” Infyrana stretched her wings, revealing a tremendous array of orange, red, and yellow colors, fading to black wingtips. She shook off some coins from her back, her massive wickedly curved horns nearly the length of two men, and craned her neck to peer across the room trying to locate the invisible party.

Zolar called out to the dragon, “Why did your mate Kaldwarag attack the king’s castle Tir Uldeir?”

“Kaldwarag was a young fool, lured by the promises of the Cult of the Dragon, lured by immortality as a dracolich. He should have known it was only a matter of time before the Cult betrayed him…used the Red Orb of Dragonkind to command him to attack Tir Uldeir.”

Raphael commented nonchalantly, “Kaldwarag as a mate, really? Was that the best you could do?” However, suddenly Raphael did not feel right, and reaching his hand to his ear, felt the crown he’d donned turning him into gold! It was cursed! Wrestling with the crown, he managed to tear it free before he became a statue.

As Infyrana and Raphael exchanged taunts, the party began to fan out to get into position for the fight. Sensing Tristan’s stealthy advance in bat-form, Infyrana roared, “Come no further unless you wish for a fight that will only end in your deaths! I am old, out of practice at fighting adventurers, but I am not without tricks. For I am Infyrana the Majestic, Master of Magic, Ruler of Dragon Mountain!”

Raphael grimaced, “Wow, this dragon’s even more egotistical than me. I really don’t like her.”

Tristan called out, “Infyrana, cast aside this mad quest to become a dracolich. It is folly.”
Infyrana arched her scaly brow, “Ah, vampire, it was Kaldwarag’s dream, not mine. He believed the promises of the self-styled Wyrmlord and the Cult. I have no such illusions, no your succubus companion dispelled me of such notions long ago.”

Tristan mused, thinking of the Raven Queen’s quest, “It would seem I have been misinformed.”

“You have bested my kobolds and their traps, you did far better than Kirito’s former party who perished in my Mountain like insects.”

Kirito drew his blades. “We’ve already killed one dragon. You’re just a number to us…”

“Is that so, adventurer?” Chortled Infyrana over-confidently. “Let’s put that to the test.” And a bright blue orb surrounding the aged red dragon, a minor globe of invulnerability protecting her from ranged attacks.

And with that, the battle was joined.

It was vicious and bloody, and without mercy. Some of the highlights included:
• Lily and Zolar breaking the dragon’s Minor Globe of Invulnerability with focused fire and an out-of-the-box use of a Rod of Beguiling.
• Lily getting ravaged in the dragon’s jaws and nearly dying, but making a comeback later to punish the dragon with devastating amounts of frost and lightning damage.
• Kirito connecting with six hits in one attack against the dragon.
• Zolar blinding the dragon and engaging in a bit of a wizard’s duel involving a spell quite familiar to him: Visions of Avarice.
• Kirito stealing a dancing sword and Anduvaar’s Blade from the dragon’s hoard, then returning to be invisible while tossing Anduvaar’s Blade to Ardell.
• Ardell keeping the party alive at one point with lay on hands.
• Raphael discovering the ring of fire resistance was actually a ring of fire vulnerability, and contemplating cutting his finger off to remove it.
• Raphael momentarily bluffing the dragon into believing if she flew that the god of mercenaries and warrior-bards would strike her down.
• Tristan dominating the dragon to fly and provoke opportunity attacks while surrounded.
• Miri scoring multiple critical hits with her flail, and pummeling the dragon to the cavern floor.
• Infyrana calling on her kobold minions, and none showing up, suggesting that Raphael’s deal with Crusher had paid off.
• Ardell and Miri getting teleported in the Kobold Proving Grounds and surviving through wits alone with flying colors.
• Zolar narrowly de-activating the planar sextant with an extended mage hand and a little help from the party.
• A last ditch effort to end the Pillars of Arcane Negation by smashing gems which contained the trapped essence of several important NPCs.
• The frontline PCs stabbing Infyrana to death in ferocious melee, despite her ominous warning of a Killing Curse she had cast upon herself.

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Session #12
Kill kobolds like a hero, Solve traps like a kobold

Ascending ancient stairs through collapsed tunnels, the party could hear the kobold horde in the distance. Tired of worrying about kobolds breathing down their necks, they decided to make their stand in the storehouses, where raw minerals extracted from the mines were taken by the kobolds for delivery to the dragon’s lair. As the rest of the party took a moment’s respite to sharpen their weapons and prepare, Zolar set about beating the kobolds at their own game: First he set up a kerosene trap above the door leading up to the storehouses, then he set up decoy caltrops down a hallway with a light spell cast at the end. As Zolar worked, he spotted the first of the kobolds in the horde come charging round the corner. High-tailing it back to the party, Zolar gave them the heads up. “The kobolds are coming!”

The kobolds came so fast, and from every possible fissure, in every direction that only a few of the party were able to get off spells or ranged attacks before being swarmed by the horde. Miri the barbarian managed to actually throw one kobold at some of the kobolds caught in Zolar’s kerosene trap. It was a furious fight, with PCs getting dragged down tight passage away from their party, knocked to the ground, pummeled, and even disarmed. As Ardell attempted to make it back to the party after being dragged off, he prepared to jump over a spiked pit trap only to trigger a tripwire which sent him careening into the pit; at the last second, he caught the edge of the pit and saved himself a painful fall. One of the highlights was Raphael bluffing the horde that he was one their side – since he’d been adventuring with the kobold Crusher – and it bought him a momentary reprieve from the horde. At least, long enough for the rest of the party, with Raphael’s propituous leadership, to kill a sufficient number of kobolds to break the horde’s morale. Yelling taunts at the fleeing kobolds, the party regrouped and ascended ancient dwarven stairs…

Raphael noticed the albino kobold Crusher peering at them from a fissure. Rolling his eyes, he looked at Crusher, “You. What do you want?” Wringing his hands, Crusher emerged from the darkness decked out in adventurer’s gear – 50’ of rope, gloves, thieves’ tools, even a potion bandolier – and explained that he felt taken advantage of by Infyrana and that he saw an opportunity for his advancement to the kobold throne. Raphael and Crusher swore a blood oath (with an epic bluff) that Crusher would help lead them past the gauntlet of traps before the dragon’s lair and convince any kobolds minions Infyrana might summon to not heed the dragon’s call; in exchange the party agreed to help Crusher become the new Kobold King provided the kobolds stopped raiding human (dwarven, elven, etc.) villages. As part of this deal, the party took two of Crusher’s potions of vigor. Miri noticed Crusher’s rations pouch was jostling about and making funny noises which sounded an awful lot like her missing pet monkey; she and her friends convinced Crusher to give them the monkey (his dinner) as a gesture of good-will (and in exchange for a potion of healing). Crusher considered that the party had saved his life and agreed to the trade. Kirito was less than pleased to have the kobold chief who killed some of his former companions now joining the party.

The first trap was a pit which Crusher was thrown across. However, when Raphael attempted to jump the pit, gravity reversed and he fell “up” thru the plaster ceiling and into a 50’ shaft. After some climbing, several gravity reversals, and extensive rope work, the party managed to get past the reverse gravity pit trap.

The second trap, they found themselves in a corridor with dwarven pictograms representing dwarven mages with frustrated faces. Crusher found the flame jet traps, but in the process of opening a portcullis accidentally triggered the flame jets, jumping back just in time to avoid being burned to a crisp. After some debate involving the red dragon scales of the last dragon the party slew and mis-labeled sovereign glue (to which Crusher sagely commented “switch labels, yes, yes, old kobold trick”), Lily decided to use her frost magic to partially quell the flames while the rest of the party ran through. They made it past the flame jets a bit seared, but not well done.

The third trap was a heavy stone block with a 2’ gap on the bottom. Crusher examined and reported back that there was a combustible gas and a pit trap with a narrow walkway. Zolar went “first” this time, ducking into the room and levitating, only to discover the poison was toxic to breathe. Extinguishing their torches, the party decided to just take damage from the poison gas and move past the trap; fortunately they’d set up planks and ropes across the pit so the dizzying gas didn’t cause anyone to fall into the pit.

The fourth/fifth trap appeared to be a pit which Zolar noticed. At this point Zolar cast tenser’s floating disk to ferry people over the pit. It was at this point that several party members felt Infyrana scrying on them and Zolar realized the dragon had True Name magic. Crusher reported that the next room was clear of traps, and so the floating disk ferry process began. However, when three people were in the next corridor, suddenly the entire corridor tilted, sending Lily, Raphael, and Tristan careening toward the pit. Lily and Raphael luckily landed on the tenser’s floating disk. Tristan had readied himself to assume the form of a bat should he fall, and that’s precisely what he did. Crusher, who’d leapt clear of the trap, was duly impressed.

An old mithral gate lead into what was once the dwarven treasure vaults. The party was surprised when Miri pulled old a mithral key her monkey had found somewhere and handed it to Crusher. Hand shaking, Crusher placed the key in the mithral gate’s lock and winced. No trap was forthcoming as the mithral gate opened, revealing a fog-shrouded chamber. As the party advanced thru the fog with Crusher almost gleefully pointing out traps, Tristan wryly pointed out it was like a kobold trap museum. It was at this point that Crusher and Raphael parted ways, with Crusher declaring Raphael had learned to think like a kobold (a compliment?), Ardell declaring he was glad they’d saved Crusher’s life and that Crusher’s reign as king would be just, and Crusher giving a guilty look farewell. Perhaps humans weren’t so bad after all? Or was Crusher planning betrayal all along?

There was one last door to be opened, and Raphael did so with aplomb. A bunch of centipedes, spiders, and snakes dropped on his head…followed by several mithral bars. He stepped out of the way as a dwarven keg of ale and several rusting suits of ancient dwarven armor came tumbling down after. Lily consoled him that the loot was well worth it.

The passage became natural cavern and was noticeably hotter. Along the walls were the petrified remains of several adventurers. Among them was another of Zolar’s past lives, his outstretched hand petrified as if it once had clasped a book; Zolar and his grimoire mused what would happen if they cast remove affliction on the petrified old incarnation of Zolar. Lily found a petrified devil, and flashbacked to many centuries ago, when she had helped corrupt the Cult of the Dragon which sought to turn Infyrana’s progenitors into dracoliches; the dragons refused and so an army of devils laid waste to their lair…the only survivor to escape was the then young Infyrana. It would appear fate indeed had drawn them to Dragon Mountain.

Kirito, twin blades drawn, turned to look at the NPCs Giliana and Theadric, “You’d better wait here.”

As the party advanced into Infyrana’s lair, Zolar wove a spell of mass fire resistance and another of mass invisibility. The dragon had a lot to answer for…

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Session #11
In which the wizard collapses the mines...

As the party looted and licked their wounds, Ardell drove the kobold’s poison from the elf Giliana, who then warned them that she’d witnessed a kobold horde – hundreds of kobolds – amassing to hunt down the PCs. Realizing they were in dire straits, Zolar conferred with his ancient grimoire which revealed a secret but deadly technique to impart one of his old rituals into Zolar’s subconscious. Determined to succeed, Zolar touched the grimoire and for a moment turned into living lightning as memories swam thru his brain; tempering the energies, Zolar returned to corporeal form and his eyes flashed open. “Get me a rope…”

Kirito scouted out the old enormous carrion crawler’s pen in the arena as a safe (if terribly smelling) location for a Rope Trick ritual. Zolar cast Rope Trick, accessing an extra-dimensional space of mists and images of his past incarnations; Raphael made several off-color commends on the deeds of Zolar’s past incarnations. Despite the rescued slave Theadric’s frightful stories of kobolds in the mines, the party took a desperately needed sleep, confident the kobolds would not find them here.

Refreshed and girded for battle, the PCs found the entrance to the carrion crawler’s pen covered with hanging dwarven corpses strung up like kobold Christmas tree lights (i.e. trapped with translucent thunderstone containing poison gas). Apparently, the kobolds had found their hiding place. They could smell a sickly sweet burning smell, and could hear the enormous carrion crawler munching on dead kobolds above. Tristan, assured by Zolar’s casting of his fortunes, disarmed the traps, then proceeded to cut down one of the dwarven corpses. Doing so, however, triggered a counterweight trap which spilled a swarm of dire hornets upon Tristan. As Zolar and Lily blasted the swarm away with spells, Lily mused that the kobolds were not much in a fight, but they damn well knew their traps.

The arena floor was now a gaping pit dropping 80’ into an underground river, and the party set to work setting up an anchor for a long rope which they began descending. Lowering Tristan’s worg Vitejie took a bit more ropework and the combined strength of Kirito, Raphael, and Tristan. As the trio lowered the unhappy worg, the enormous carrion crawler attacked from above, attempting to grab them with its tentacles. Lily narrowed her eyes, then let go of the rope and began flying as lightning arced from her fingertips and severed the tentacles grabbing her companions. Several of the PCs dropped into the river once a safe distance down the rope, but Ardell in his plate armor began to sink; Miri dove after him and dragged him to shore. Once most of the party was safe, Kirito and Raphael looked at each other, shrugged, and swan-dived 80’ into the river below. Tristan calmly turned into a bat and flitted down, materializing on the shore of a massive lake as his soaking-wet companions climbed out.

They found the aftermath of a fight between the kobolds of clan Mangled Fist and clan Kneebiters – apparently Mangled Fist had been decimated and the Kneebiters were victorious. Zolar sighed, and reluctantly checked off “Chief Molokac” from his “Kobold Chiefs to Kill” list. Catching their breaths, the party decided to move rapidly thru the underground river and mines to outpace the kobold horde as long as they could. Though they stumbled upon a black pudding, they chose to run into the mines rather than fight it.

Beady red eyes glinted off their torch light, picks echoed in the darkness, and a creepy knocking pattern seemed to come from the stone itself. Upon coming across a door, Zolar flung it open with mage hand and a scything blade swung out toward Kirito…only to break apart and the rusting blade landed at Kirito’s feet. A single kobold was tormenting a bunch of baby stirges trapped in a shallow pit, and Raphael boggled the kobold’s mind so it stumbled into the pit and became stirge-food. Then Raphael entered the room, only to feel the hairs on the back of his neck rise as he realized it was haunted. The door slammed shut, and a dwarven ghost (Kirito’s former companion Brimli) appeared on the side where the rest of the party was, demanding Kirito prove he’d overcome his pride. Raphael, not one to mince words, kicked down the door and charged thru the dwarf, only to be rendered unconscious. The rest of the party assuaged the ghost and promised to help prove Brimli’s ancestral claim to the dwarfhold and find his body. Appeased, the ghost released Raphael from his thrall and agreed to help the PCs against the kobolds as best it could.

As the party continued exploring the mines, they soon were attacked by rust monsters and kobold commandos (and kobolds riding rust monsters!). As the rest of the party did battle with a seemingly endless stream of rust monsters and kobolds, Miri charged ahead, discovering the far end of the hall was lit on fire; she also found a concealed door, which she kicked down, only to fall into a pit trap which wedged her under iron slats. As the fire advanced down the hall, it drove a swarm of dire cockroaches before it, many which fell into the pit and began biting Miri. As Miri climbed out she was assaulted by kobold commandos and slingers which tried forced her back into the trap. Catching herself, Miri did a dynamic leap to the other side of the pit and rolled thru the fire to get to her feet. Shaking smoking dire cockroaches off of her, Miri said bluntly, “I need a healer!”

Tristan fought alongside Ardell, Zolar, and the NPCs against waves of rust monster-mounted kobolds. Leaping onto his worg Vitejie, Tristan was surprised by a steel-jaw neck snapper trap, and despite being badly wounded, teleported free of the trap. Tristan then made short work of the remaining kobolds. Ardell concentrated on taking down kobold minions attacking from the rear, healing Miri, and dragging one of the NPCs who’d been mortally wounded by kobolds to safety. One of the kobolds Ardell felled had a keg of explosive powder strapped to its back and a long trail of powder going around the corner; Ardell could only look on incredulously as the powder trail was lit…only to be mysteriously blown out by invisible breath. Had their ghostly dwarven ally done his part? When the black pudding from the river began slowly moving into the room, Zolar decided he would collapse the room with a spectral ram, and advised his companions to make themselves scarce.

As Lily blasted away at rust monsters, Kirito had taken the fight to kobold commandos on a ledge, deftly avoiding caltrops and a pit trap, only to be surprised by a steel-jaw neck snapper trap. By sheer strength alone he was able to extricate himself, gritting thru the pain as he growled at the kobolds laughing at him, “When I get out of this, you’re next!” One of the kobolds took off running and never looked back.

Once the rest of the party was clear, Zolar cast spectral ram at the ceiling supports, and the entire room came down on a rust monster and the black pudding. However, Zolar had overdone it, and the entire passage they were in began to collapse! Racing against time, the PCs dodged falling rocks, blasted at cockroach swarms, and extinguished flames as they attempted to escape the mine collapse. First Miri was crushed by rocks, then Tristan, but both were saved by their resourceful allies. In the last second, the party made it out of the collapsing tunnel, squeezing cheek-to-cheek in a cramped side passage.

After a short rest and a bit of exploring, the party found the stairs leading to the approach to the dragon’s lair. They could feel the dragon’s presence nearby. Were they ready for facing the legendary Infyrana?

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Session #10
You mean this kobold king?

Sneaking thru the darkness, the PCs came across the kobolds’ arena, where three hapless slaves were pitted against a basilisk in pitch darkness. Overseeing the festivities was the Kobold King himself, along with his Kobold Wizard. As the PCs circled the arena and debated on their course of action, they saw Giliana the elf (Kirito’s former adventuring companion) dragged before the Kobold King by kobold commandos. Quickly conferring, the brave heroes figured their cover was blown and decided to stage a full-on assault…was it for the magic items held by the Kobold King and Wizard? was it to free Giliana and the slaves? was it simply because they were tired of being sneaky? Whatever their reasons, the party decided to take on the entire mass of kobolds, and Zolar led the assault.

While the kobold rank-and-file proved no match to the PCs, the magical prowess of the Kobold Wizard and the deviousness of the kobold commandos proved quite lethal. The already depleted party felt their resources strained to the max. Zolar engaged the Kobold Wizard in another epic mage hand duel for control over the Grimoire Astralus, the ancient spellbook which once belonged to Zolar’s past incarnation…ultimately Zolar won, and though the Kobold Wizard evaded Zolar’s wrath with a cunning mirror image, Miri was not fooled by the Kobold Wizard’s shadow magic and crushed him flat with a well-placed flail strike.

Meanwhile, Tristan had flown as a bat to the balcony where the Kobold King was and found it swarming with kobold commandos (which weren’t visible until Tristan activated his sunrod in the midst of them. Soon, the vampire-cavalier was standing atop a mound of kobold corpses, hewing away with ferocity despite countless wounds and javelin heads broken off in his armor. The backup that his party had promised him, however, was not forthcoming.

Kirito and Ardell, trapped in black tentacles summoned by the Kobold Wizard, were immobilized or engaged in bloody close combat with kobold minions for most of the fight.

Lily fried the basilisk then directed her baleful magic against scores of kobolds, who fell to arcs of lightning and blasts of frost. When the kobolds unleashed an enormous carrion crawler into the arena, the carrion crawler killed several kobolds and one of the slaves before grappling Tristan and Vitejie. Just then the damaged arena floor gave way and the carrion crawler began to fall. Thinking fast, Lily phased thru the earth to sever the carrion crawler’s tentacles with a blast of lightning and ice, and as Tristan and Vitejie were released, a blast of scintillating water shoved them against the sides of the arena wall, where they clung for dear life.

The battle was won and the Kobold King was routed. Raphael, who’d been squeezing thru tight passages with Crusher, his pet kobold, realized what was happening, and emerged on the scene to slaughter the Kobold King’s entourage and in the chaos one of the King’s minions shot the King in the back with an arrow, killing him. Raphael, being a bard, certainly embellished the circumstances of the Kobold King’s death in the re-telling.

However, as Raphael was busy killing the Kobold King, Crusher scurried off down the narrow passage they’d emerged from to plot his kobold-y revenge…

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Session #9
So...their gelatinous cubes are trapped

The plan was perfect: the party would disguise themselves to sneak thru the kobold Underdark market. In a matter of minutes the party transformed themselves into: A hobgoblin astride a worg. A succubus. A drow. A little troll. A masked gladiator. And the paladin became an orcish blackguard. They were bounty hunters employed by the dragon, come to pit their captive gladiator in the kobolds’ arena. Crusher – their recent trophy kobold captive – was on a solo adventure with Raphael, the party bard, sneaking through as a duo to minimize the party’s presence. Alas, a bard would have come in handy.

Ardell dropped into “orc-speak” with the first kobold they encountered, going into detail on their fabricated bounty hunter story, only to be censored by Lily the “succubus” who reminded him astutely as all eyes were on the party that: “Less is more.”

Trolls, lizardmen, kuo-toa, duergar, and hobgoblins wended their way alongside the countless kobolds, through dirty dingy market stalls. There was scarcely any light in most of the market, making Zolar’s “darklight” ritual all the more helpful. Making their way thru the market, the PCs noted a captive dwarf being led to what was presumably the arena. Ak-Ak-Ak son of Ak-Ak attempted to sell them superior trap components, but the party brusquely passed him by. So far, their cover story seemed to be working. Kirito white-knuckled his restraints, chaffing at the indignity of playing “gladiator slave”, and imagined painting the room red with kobolds. Or was it green?

The party dealt with a pushy kobold merchant dealing in dire weasels who alluded to their fancy magic items being illegal in the market. Several party members theorized this was due to the presence of a red dragon, whose greed for such things is legendary. Tristan, intrigued by the merchant’s claims, instructed one of the dire weasels to “fetch kobold.” The dire weasel made a top-notch effort to fulfill on the command, and Tristan was sold, purchasing three of the weasels. Sadly, only the one he’d named “Pramatie” was long for this world. One would be dissolved in a gelatinous cube, the other eaten by Vitejie indulging in his worg nature.

Shortly thereafter, Miri spotted her old tribesman Vao’es who’d been enslaved and forced to make arrows for the kobolds…however, in her troll disguise Miri was unrecognized. She and Zolar brokered a trade for the “slave” in exchange for a glowing green gem. Ardell sold their cover by lying to Vao’es that he was now their captive…and went on to enumerate the rights and privileges he would enjoy in their custody that the kobolds did not afford him. Once again Lily grimaced – it would appear that when paladins lied, they did it kindly.

It was at this point that a she-hobgoblin approached Ardell and questioned him about his armor, to which Ardell readily replied “I killed a paladin and took his armor. Best day of my life.” After revealing that she had done the same, the she-hobgoblin revealed a holy symbol of the Knights of the Chalic – Ardell’s own holy order! On a closer look, he saw the she-hobgoblin had human eyes! Under the pretense of conducting a backroom deal, the party was ushered into a side chamber by the “she-hobgoblin” who revealed herself to be Sister Clarice, a knight hospitaler like Ardell. Sister Clarice tended Ardell’s wounds and gave the party a healing potion (replacing the one stolen from Lily’s pouch by kobold pickpockets), then explained her mission was to uncover evidence that Lord Napina of Harker’s Ferry had cut a deal with the kobolds: he would supply a steady stream of slaves if the kobolds stopped their raids. It would seem the PCs had prematurely placed Lord Napina back in power after the incident with the trolls…

“What, you mean this?” asked Zolar nonchalantly, pulling out a ledger the party had looted from the kobold temple. It was exactly what Sister Clarice had been looking for, and in exchange for turning it over to Clarice, the PCs asked that she take to the surface Vao’es, who had been happily reunited with Miri but was in no condition to fight kobolds let alone a dragon, and the two corpses of Kirito’s former adventuring companions. Before departing, Vao’es revealed to Miri that their tribal totem had been carried by kobolds to the lair of the elder red dragon Infyrana. Bidding the party farewell, Sister Clarice/the “she-hobgoblin” clasped hands with Ardell, then disappeared into the market.

Lily and Tristan had separated from the party for a moment, overhearing some kuo-toa mention the “gifts of the queen”, and did a little trading on the side. Between Lily’s enticing wiles, and Tristan’s overpowering gaze, the kobold scavengers turned over a pair of luxurious spark slippers for a sack of worthless gems…which seemed strangely valuable at the time!

It seemed the party was in the clear after leaving the market. But soon kobold drummers were spotted ushering the entourage of Harlichak, Chief of Clan Gnarled Fang. Peering closely, the PCs noticed bits of floating metal ahead of the drummers. Suspicious of a trap, the party sent one of the dire weasels ahead, and sure enough the weasel twitched as it was engulfed by a gelatinous cube which killed it in seconds. Thinking to simply avoid the procession, the PCs tried backing into a minor passage only to find another gelatinous cube being pushed forward by kobold musicians. Zolar dived through a side door and would have fallen into a pit trap with a gelatinous cube were it not for a quick spell of floating. Retreating back to the secret room where they’d met Sister Claric, the party regrouped.

That’s when the kobold commandos arrived with a kobold wyrmpriest. Kirito, in his mask, saw the wyrmpriest glare at him and (in Draconic) say “that’s him!” Just then Kirito shut the door and pressed his back into it as several javelins thudded against the other side. Kirito breathed a sigh of relief, but it was fleeting as the kobolds soon began smoking the party out…by lightning the door (and Kirito’s back) on fire. Realizing that their cover hand’t been blown and that these kobolds were only enforcing market rules which the PCs had unwittingly broken, the party wisely kept their cool and focused on taking out the commandos and gelatinous cubes with minimum collateral damage. Miri expertly slaughtered the kobold commandos, while Ardell talked down the wyrmpriest with a surprisingly good bluff. “He’s finally catching on,” Lily muttered under her breath.

Zolar calmly stepped in front of Chief Harlichak’s procession, noticing the captured elven slave in the rear, and lifted his orb. The gelatinous cube at the front was knocked back, engulfing the chief…however Chief Harlichak’s potions of growth were consumed by the cube in the process, causing the cube to double in size and engulf the entire kobold procession – including the elven captive!

On the other front, Lily and Tristan made short work of another gelatinous cube, pushing it back into some kobolds. When Lily blasted the cube to oblivion, two small metal spheres suspended in it fell to the ground and cracked open, pouring out alchemical gases which reacted and formed a cloud of sparks and flame. Thankfully, only kobolds were nearby at the time. “So…their gelatinous cubes are trapped,” Lily informed the rest of the party. Zolar was flabbergasted… Only kobolds would be so devious.

Kirito, realizing the elven captive was indeed Giliana Brightbough, his former adventuring companion, pulled out a healing potion and leapt into the gelatinous cube, administering the potion and helping Giliana escape (Zolar’s mage hand helped as well)…only now he was stuck in the cube! Impressed at the heroic (if sticky) display of their companion, Zolar and Lily warned Kirito to get clear of the trapped cube. Again with a little mage hand help, Kirito ejected himself from the slimy cube as twin blasts of thunder and lightning erupted from the spellcasters’ hands, frying the cube and triggering the trap. In a Hollywood-esque moment, a slime-covered Kirito and Giliana leaped clear of the exploding gelatinous cube.

After exchanging bitter greetings with Giliana, it became clear that the elf had suffered much and intended to leave the “cursed” Mountain as quickly as possible. Incredulous that the party intended to confront the elder red dragon Infyrana, Giliana concluded Kirito had finally found a group of adventurers as crazy as himself. Giving her some supplies and a spare magic sword, Kirito wished her good fortune and advised her to look out for Sister Clarice/the “she-hobgoblin” on her way to the surface.

Resuming their disguises, the party headed toward the kobold’s arena. What awaited them there? What had become of Miri’s missing monkey? And where were Raphael and Crusher?

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Session #8
Kobold cleanup.

Having successfully rescued Miri and Zolar, our band of adventurers sought vengeance against Clan Blood. Zolar was in no mood for argument and he walked through the temple blasting down each door that he came to.

Raphael and Ardell rushed after Chief Galatak, determined to catch him. Raphael was quicker down the hall and triggered another of the stone pillar traps. Ardell rushed to Raphael’s rescue, kicking with all of his might, but this trap was a bit different. The stone and walls were covered in flammable oil and Ardell’s kick of plate armor upon stone served only to ignite the oil.

Raphael, smelling smoke and knowing intuitively that a stone oven was not the best place for a bard, threw his strength into the stone and toppled the trap dousing some of the fire in the meantime. Tristan lagged behind to deal with some of the kobolds that Zolar’s door blasting had unveiled.

As Lily passed through the fire laden corridor, she surrounded herself with frigid ice. This was more than the oil fueled fire could withstand and Lily’s passage quickly doused what remained of the fire.

Ardell charged forward, drawing his sword against the kobolds that stood in the way. With each slash of his righteous blade, the party was bolstered and their wounds began to heal.

Methodically, the party laid waste to the kobolds. As they closed in upon Chief Galatak, Miri charged through the doorway of his guarded room only to have it slam shut behind her. The door was magically sealed and Miri was alone when Galatak summoned a fire elemental to finish the job. Caught between a band of kobolds on one side and the fire elemental on the other, Miri began to seethe with anger. As her rage boiled over, she knocked the elemental to the ground and stared down Galatak.

Lily began to shift her essence to earth and with no more than a gesture passed through the stone walls around the arcane lock. A welcome sight to Miri, Lily met the fire elemental with cool eyes before bringing her frost magic to bear. Miri and Lily dispatched the elemental with ease and turned to face the other adversaries.

Zolar was also raging as he found the kobold wizard was infringing upon his mage hand patent. The two mage hands arose from the casters and they struggled with the kobold’s staff, firing off random (and luckily inaccurate) shots in different directions. While the back and forth was nearly an even match, Zolar’s will won out and he snatched the staff from the kobold wizard. Ever the gracious winner, Zolar rapped the staff on the kobold wizard’s head twice while smiling and stating “I got your staff, I got your staff.”

Meanwhile Tristan’s worg Vitejie had been ambushed by stealthy kobolds and, combined with the other attacks he had sustained throughout the dungeon, was now bleeding out. He yelped as the hits rained upon him in the narrow corridor, setting his fur on fire, and he squeezed himself tighter as he tried to back away. Tristan, hearing his friend’s cries, came rushing to the Vitejie’s defense. Tristan launched himself into Vitejie’s saddle, activating its magic, and issued a divine challenge to the kobolds attacking Vitejie, killing the first outright and devouring its life essence. As the kobolds backed away to gain a better tactical advantage, Tristan administered potions to Vitejie, curing his wounds.

Seeing the true threat, and knowing what divine wrath would befall them should they attack Vitejie again, the kobolds focused their attention on Tristan. As they began to bleed him, Tristan’s eyes glazed red and he let his inner vampire lose. His wounds began to heal on their own and one by one he drained the blood of each of the kobolds that had attacked Vitejie. The last stood shaken and turned to run, but Vitejie’s powerful jaws snapped the kobold in two.

As the other kobolds also began to break ranks, Kirito cut down those that tried to flee. As one kobold ran past Kirito lobbed his head clean off, leaving it to land at the feet of the remaining creatures. What little resolve they had remaining broke as Kirito fixed his attention on them.

On one of the corpses Tristan found a letter written in draconic and prepared with a paralyzing runes spell. As he read the words out loud and reached the out of place word “rune” a puzzled look came over his face and his limbs froze. The party looked on in shock but before they could react Tristan’s superior will and years of iron discipline overcame the spell affecting his body and he finished reading the scroll. He discussed the scroll with Zolar as if nothing had happened.

Having rescued Crusher from his captors, Raphael engaged once more in their banter. They quickly picked up where they left off and Crusher told the party of merchant bazaar used by traders of the Underdark. Zolar cast a ritual to bolster the weaker of the party, using life essence from those who had been so far unharmed and then Tristan and Zolar set about preparing their disguises.

Raphael decided that it would be much easier if he and Crusher were to infiltrate the bazaar on their own, separate from the rest of the party. I believe his exact words were “If a party of exactly the size of those now running rampant through the mountain show up with no one having seen them before, I don’t think it’s going to matter how much like hobgoblins we look. Better if Crusher and I separate and see what we can find out on our own. I’ll go as a drow emissary. You’ll vouch for me, right Crusher?”

Tristan, freshly fed, let his lower fangs grow over his upper lip and pulled out his disguise kit, applying the necessary changes to appear as a hobgoblin. He mounted Vitejie thinking of the irony of how the worg would help Tristan pass for the creature that he had rescued Vitejie from, and the party set out toward the market.

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Session #6
Why trap a door when you can trap a bridge?

It was a massive chamber, with a ceiling some 40 feet high, stalactites casting long shadows in the party’s torch light. This was as far as Kirito’s ill-fated expedition had penetrated into Dragon Mountain. There were stories of these kobolds, Clan Humanbane, who had raided human settlements in the mountains for decades under the leadership of an albino kobold called Crusher. One day, so the story goes, Crusher was kidnapped and tortured by a party of adventurers, however he escaped and now harbors a burning hatred for humankind.

Despite being on guard, the PCs (now reunited after their sphere of annihilation mishap) were caught in an ambush by kobold slingers who targeted the thunderstone poison orbs affixed to the hanging corpses. Between Zolar and Lily’s thundering and freezing magic, they made short work of the slingers. Fanning out, the PCs found a wooden bridge (after Zolar was nearly decapitated by a set of steel jaws), and came up with a clever plan to bypass any traps: Zolar would cast thunderwave on the paladin Ardell and slide him across the bridge so that his full body weight couldn’t trigger any potential traps on the bridge. It worked splendidly, until Ardell realized he was standing in a puddle of oil on the other side. A shout of “Bree-Yark!” echoed from the shadows and dozens of kobolds began attacking the party, starting with a volley of flaming sling shots at the oil puddle. Later, Raphael would run across the bridge, leading to several alchemical flasks built into the bridge breaking and the entire bridge going up in flames.

A furious battle ensued on three fronts: (1) the mass of kobolds and slingers, who Miri, Zolar, Raphael, Ardell, Tristan, and Lily faced courageously, (2) kobolds riding giant bats and wielding slings who attacked Miri and Zolar, trying to haul them away or drop hornet’s nests on them, and (3) a band of kobold kidnappers equipped with paralyzing poison which attacked Kirito as he took the long way around. After a bunch of fighting, the albino chief Crusher appeared on the rooftop of an old dwarven building and his scraggly voice echoed throughout the chamber: “The one called Kirito bring to me. The rest kill. Summon the gorgon!” With that, Crusher kicked the corpse of one of Kirito’s former adventuring companions to the ground with a burning arrow tacking a note to the chest.

A loud charging sound came from deeper in the Bell-Chasm District, and a gorgon charged Raphael, knocking him backward, but Raphael rallied with Ardell and Miri to make short work of the gorgon. Meanwhile, Lily unleashed arcane fury on Crusher, turning him into a bat then back into a kobold, before Crusher bitterly slinked away into the darkness, calling his clan to retreat.

Two side quests of happened around this time: Kirito came upon a blackened rune-engraved dwarven skull which seemed to be watching him in a supernaturally unnerving way. Miri summoned shades of her tribe, one of whom advised her that the messenger Vao’es was on a lower level held captive but alive.

The PCs had won the day…for now. But the bells had been rung, alerting all kobolds in the vicinity to the presence of intruders in the Mountain.

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Session #5
When in doubt, create a sphere of annihilation!

The party was surrounded  by corpses of kobolds clad in black wool, and echoing sounds of kobold squeak-barking came from deeper in the Mountain. As the PCs secured their entry passage in the old dwarven fighting chambers, Tristan Capri studied a massive stone block barring one of the paths…he and Raphael examinend an adventurer’s hand crushed beneath grasping a scroll [handout]. Zolar wondered aloud at the fossilized starfish and other marine life in the upper strata of the block. More weirdness would follow…as would the traps. Throwing caution to the wind, Lily phased thru the block, tapping into her arcane senses to notice two kobold guards on the other side, as well as two trapped stone deadfalls. Surprised by the sorceress’ head popping out of the stone block, the kobolds didn’t have time to react before Lily snuck back thru to warn the party. Squeaks of “wizard! wizard!” soon followed.

After exploring some empty rooms, all of them trapped (among the highlights was a reverse bear claw trap almost decapitating Tristan), and looting the kobold supplies within, the PCs decided to find an alternate route. Heading west, they snuck up on a room of commoner kobolds (in which Ardell was impaled by a scything blade trap) who Ardell managed to pacify and Raphael proceeded to lock in the room. At this point, the party had thrown caution to the wind and was nonchalantly opening doors just to see what would happen and what they’d find.

Taking the lead like any good wizard should, Zolar followed a strange set of “demon-donkey” hoofprints slightly imbedded in the stone…and walked straight into an ambush by a lone kobold sniper who fled. Coming to a massive stone door, which Kirito recognized from his previous venture as leading to the Bell-Chasm District, with hefty dwarven knockers. Raphael pushed the doors open…and the party came face to face with three hanging corpses wrapped in poisonous green orbs like Christmas tree lights: they were the skeleton of Zolar’s past incarnation, a dwarven adventurer, and Taern (the farm boy who had accompanied Kirito). Adamant that the bodies be taken down, Kirito barely had a chance to take cover as Zolar cast mage hand to grab the journal…the results were bad. Next Zolar attempted to mage hand (yes, it’s a verb!) one of the orbs…the results were disastrous. Dropping a series of orbs, Zolar unleashed a blast of thunder as the translucent thunderstone broke…and then was engulfed in poison gas which nearly killed him. Thanks to Ardell’s healing and his own fortitude, Zolar emerged alive but not amused.

Backtracking, the PCs decided another route was in order. After Tristan disarmed a trapdoor hatch (by triggering it and getting covered in poison centipedes), Raphael did a ballsy leap into the narrow tunnels above crushing a kobold. After jamming the door shut as he was becoming known for doing, Raphael rejoined the party below to find the trading shots with kobold snipers. The handful of kobolds posed no real threat, but their poisoned arrows were starting to wear the party down…

Zolar again was not amused when he discovered a room of dwarven ale with a kobold propaganda poster that read: “Kill the wizard first!” Things took a dramatic turn when Zolar grasped a door handle and found his hand stuck by sovereign glue. Soon thereafter a lone unarmed kobold approached the party pitifully carrying a bag of “tribute from chief Garunaak, who doesn’t want to see anymore kobolds killed.” Rightfully suspicious, the party ordered the kobold to open the sack and show them (it appeared to be a bag of holding), then convinced him to find some universal solvent for Zolar’s hand. Ardell bravely reached inside the bag and was promptly devoured! At that moment 12 heretofore invisible kobolds surprised the party and attempted to bring down Zolar. Not to be outsmarted, Zolar activated a reactive teleport …meaning Miri took the brunt of the attack, but Miri remained standing. And she was raging. Garunaak’s ambush had begun.

Miri, Kirito, Lily, and Tristan devastated the kobolds and slaughtered Garunaak and dispersed the kobolds. Zolar fought himself out of being cornered by kobold with a swift thunderwave spell. Meanwhile, Ardell was being crushed to death by the devouring bag with only his faith to sustain him. In a desperate bid to save the paladin, Raphael and Zolar planned to drop the bag of devouring with mage hand into Raphael’s bag of holding. The was a massive explosion (which the party wisely had taken cover from), which triggered the two stone deadfalls, separating the rest of the party from Zolar and Ardell.

The party had just created a sphere of annihilation. :-) Unable to will the sphere to move, Zolar skirted around it with Ardell, losing a bit of their life essence in the process, but escaping alive. Meanwhile the rest of the party dealt with a pitch fire started by kobolds by leaping (or flying) thru the flames and killing the kobold arsonists.

Backtracking yet again, the party reunited in the Bell-Chasm District to see what the Mountain held in store for them there…

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