Sunday, February 14, 2016

Shattered Star: Now You're Thinking With Portals

Game Date: 2/13/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 46
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Gustav Greycastle (Graham) - Human Necromancer
Maruca (Daniel) - Elf Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Daniel, subbing for Thomas) - Human Bard

The Session:
We entered a large octagonal room with seven exits.  There was a pit in the center, filled with silver smoke.  On the far side was a fountain.  Fellany recognized this location from a dream, in which she had learned there was a secret eighth exit.  We saw six sets of doors, labeled for our convenience:

1. The Dreaming Crypt
2. The Grand Hall
3. The Giltspur Treasury
4. The Binding Chamber
5. Whisperstone Sanctum
6. Abysium Core

The Giltspur Treasury's door was ruined, and the entire room had been cleaned out and smashed.  We opened the door to the Dreaming Crypt.  There were several sarcophagi, but they had already been opened and looted.  There was a Ghoul in there, but he seemed peaceful.  We had our resident necromancer, Gustav, do all the talking.  The Ghoul was from the plane of Leng, and only wished to go back there.  He was able to tell us a little about the dragon's recent activities.  He knew that we'd need dust from the Abysium Core to replicate the dragon's ritual.

We went to the Abysium Core next.  It was full of magical crystals and lightning, and the party kept taking CON damage as long as the doors were open.  Gustav sent in some zombies to gather dust, but they weren't able to grab much.  Later Bjertha went in with a bag of holding to collect more.  Bjertha proved highly resistant to the CON attacks.

In the Whisperstone Sanctum we found a large tan stone, with a faceted indentation in the center.  It looked like a place where a gem should be inserted.  A successful knowledge check told us that a Whisperstone Crystal is used to record information and memories.  We decided to look for this missing gem.

In the Binding Chamber, there were three faceless statues and a metal grill on the floor.  Two of the statues were holding vessels, from which smoke rose.  As Fellany entered, faces coalesced in the smoke.  One was a beautiful deva, the other was an ugly pig-faced demon.  The told Fellany that dumping one of the vessels would destroy that spirit but release the other.  Each face told her that the other face was lying.  Being genre savvy (or just chaotically bored), Fellany dumped the deva, releasing the demon.  The demon revealed to us that she was really the deva, and that their minds had been switched by evil magic.

We went for the last unopened door, the Grand Hall.  We saw stone faces on the walls, one smiling and the other scowling.  Behind the faces were magical portals.  On the far side of the room there was a giant damp curtain.  Behind the curtain was a third face (fear), and another portal.  There was also a throne, upon which sat a jewel-encrusted skull and a horned mask.

The curtain suddenly fell.  It turned out to be a green slime, creating a deadly moat between the party and the throne.  Then the skull began to hover, and attacked.  It was a Demilich, and a tough one.  He had legendary actions, regeneration abilities, fear powers, and lair actions.  He kept hitting Gustav with anti-magic spells, unsummoning his undead followers and preventing us from using healing him.  It was a hard fight, but we finally won.

We took a gem from the throne, and carried it to the Whispering Sanctum.  Using the crystal to get information, we learned that the various portals led to different areas of the dungeon.  We learned how to recreate the dragon's ritual, and that the giant central portal was a portal to Leng.  In order to use it, we have to pour powder into the fountain and cast either Nightmare or Plane Shift.

We decided to take a long rest before doing any plane shifting.  Once again we had nightmares.  Slancio, Bjertha, and Meruca shared a dream in which we fought a giant white worm.  This thing was way beyond us, and we didn't stand a chance.  Bjertha was swallowed, and the other two took massive damage without much chance to fight back.  Slancio survived the longest, but the worm still made short work of the party.

It was just a dream, and the only negative outcome was a level of exhaustion.  But if this is representative of an actual encounter we're going to have later, then we're going to need a plan.  We ended the session there.

Note: We each received 8,000 XP, bringing us up to 140,998 (level 14).

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