Mar 2, 2020

2nd Day of Sunsebb, CY 580 - Another Near TPK

Today's session was a long continuation of the most difficult battle the party has faced thus far. It was a near Total Party Kill (TPK), though some managed to make it through. The basic setup of the room is that three of the pyramids contained a pair of drow, one female cleric and one male magic-user, all of 9th to 12th level. The floor of the room was crawling with dozens of undead creatures (skeletons and zombies) that, by themselves, were no match for the party, but they were designed to keep them slowed down and occupied while the caster blasted spells from their hidden locations atop the pyramids.

Complicating matters was the fact that one of the drow cast a specialty drow arcane spell called Hand of Darkness, that effectively extinguishes all light sources, without being cancelled out by magical light. Hand of Darkness only snuffs out light, not infrared radiation, so those with infravision could still see, but the undead were (mostly) invisible to infravision and the casters were skillfully keeping themselves out of sight regardless.

Further complicating matters was a drow priest spell of Lolth called Undead Focus (from the 2nd edition Demihuman Handbook), which allowed the priestesses to cast divine spells through the zombies. This caused the party some confusion and allowed the true spellcasters to keep themselves hidden a while longer.

Dalron was held in place, continuing to take 2d6+12 points of damage every round he remained in the Wall of Fire. Pontus immediately rushed to his friend's aid. Following the sounds of the screaming, he reached into the fire and pulled Dalron out, taking damage in the process. The drow wizards, seeing this, did not like it, as they knew from earlier spying that Dalron was currently the biggest threat to them as he could throw daggers with lethal results. In response, they each began casting magic missile at him, striking him multiple times and bringing him to near death.

Pontus carried the, still held, Dalron back to the rest of the party outside the doors while Fen used his holy sword to dispel the Wall of Fire. Kohvo and Tyril pressed forward into the room, determined to kill as many undead as they could. Meanwhile, Sarril used a Gem of True Seeing to look into the room so he could try to see the undead and, hopefully, whoever was casting those spells.

So, it turns out that using a Gem of True Seeing in the Abyss is not such a great idea. The Abyss is a strange place that is formed out of nightmares. What is seen by the naked eye is enough to drive any normal person insane, but the PCs are high enough level to avoid most of those effects. But within the Abyss roams a lot of things that were never meant to be seen by the naked eye. Hidden nightmares that the mind simply cannot comprehend if they were to behold. Sarril, with his very high intelligence, stood a good chance of handling it, but after a bad roll of the dice, he was driven mad by what he saw through the gem. Insanity effectively means that Sarril must roll a die before he can take any significant actions, with failure indicating he goes into a melancholy state and cannot do anything. This may have been one of most significant blows to the party at this point.

As several party members began to cluster in one place, one of the drow wizards took the opportunity to throw a fireball. That revealed his location to those with infravision. He was atop the left-middle pyramid, which gave Kohvo a driven purpose as he rushed that direction. Unfortunately, the fireball was too much for Dalron, who's hit points were driven into far negative territory.

Normally, I allow a single death save to prevent instant death and instead put the PC at zero hit points and unconscious, but because Dalron was already magically held and barely hanging on to life when the fireball hit, I did not give a save. Even if I had, further devastation was on its way, so this was the end of Dalron. He was truly a heroic force of nature. May he rest in peace.

More magic missiles and another fireball were cast from the other pyramids, and many, many failed attempts at Hold Person. Eventually, all of the drow were revealed and one of the Hold Person spells did eventually catch Sir Fenius, who was unable to dispel it. That would have made him a sitting duck if it were not for the fact that his holy sword still gave him 50% magic resistance, and he was able to shrug off most of what was thrown at him. Sarril, in a moment of lucidity, managed to drop a fireball in the room that cleared out most of the remaining undead. Fenius, even though held (rooted in place) was able to kill the rest that surrounded him. The room was now clear for the party to rush the pyramids.

The two dwarves went for the east pyramid while everyone else, led by Kohvo, headed up the west pyramid. Alas, poor Kohvo never made it to the top, as the wizard cast his one and only Cone of Cold spell against him (again, a death save would have been in order normally but had he made his save, he would have been killed by priestess's Flame Strike, which was coming up next, so we shall now say goodby to Prince Kohvo Koravel. His time with the party was too short). To rub salt in the wound, the priestess animated Kohvo's dead body into a zombie, which then attacked Pontus. Zombie Kohvo was no match for the party, but he was able to keep them busy long enough for the priestess to cast a Flame Strike on her next turn, severely injuring the party members climbing the pyramid (except for Sarril, who's magic resistance kicked in). The wizard, seeing the party was not yet down, cast Transmute Rock to Mud on the steps of the pyramid, sending the party sliding away. They would have suffocated in the mud, were it not for Pontus managing a couple of good rolls to grab his friends and hold them up above the mud (Pontus didn't need to breath since he is effectively a corporeal spirit).

On the eastern pyramid, Tyril and Dammic were doing much better. Dammic was able to get a good backstab on the priestess using his Ring of Invisibility, but unfortunately, that exposed him to the wizard, who then killed him (Rest in Peace Dammic Brickhouse - you were a fun dwarf and the party never did get to see just how much). Tyril, however, was able to quickly avenge his fallen dwarven brother. With a 20 strength and two attacks per round, the drow could not handle him up in their face. He killed both drow with extreme prejudice.

The two drow at the western pyramid levitated up and began pushing themselves along the wall to join the others at the north pyramid. The remaining party members gathered together under the protection of Sir Fenius' holy sword and Sarril's Globe of Invulnerability. The Globe negated the hold effect on Fen, allowing the party to move forward as a group. For good measure, Sarril cast Haste on the party, allowing them to close in quickly.

As they climbed the pyramid, the wizard, Rauklanin, cast Cone of Cold, which affected Tyril, but not the others. He then switched to using a Wand of Frost and cast another Cone of Cold before the party could finish making their way up the steps.

The other two drow managed to get the pyramid just as the party reached the top, but they had already exhausted all of their high-level spells and knew none of their low-level spells would penetrate the Globe of Invulnerability. So they began attacking with a Death Lance and a short sword. The short sword was effective (all of the wizards are fighter/wizards), but the priestesses both missed with their death lances. Sarril used a Wand of Paralyzation to paralyze one of the priestesses while Tyril and Fen finished off the other one. Rauklanin realized he wouldn't survive a round of melee attacks from both Tyril and Fen and was about to levitate away when Fen rushed up on him and, thanks to the Haste spell, was able to deliver three attacks, killing him dead.

The final drow wizard grabbed Rauklanin's wand and levitated up. He managed to get one Cone of Cold off before Sarril returned with a powerful blow of Magic Missiles, which penetrated the wizard's magic resistance and killed him. The fight was now over. BAMF Dead: 3. Drow Dead: 6. BAMF wins.


At the end of the battle, Sarril looks around at the devastation and his dead party members. He then reaches into his bag of holding and pulls out an ornate scroll tube he had been saving. He opens the tube, unfurls the scroll and begins speaking the arcane words contained within. As he speaks each word, he begins to fill with immense power, the likes of which none of the party have ever seen before. Energy begins to crackle like lightning in the air, drawing the primordial power that holds together the very fabric of existence His hair begins to blow fiercely, his eyes turn white, and the energy is so intense that the party can no longer bear to be in his presence The scroll is consumed in flame, leaving Sarril standing, filled with unfathomable power.

He then speaks.

Each word is a command that echoes across time and space.

“I wish for Pontus, Dalron, Kohvo and Dammic to be resurrected right here, right now!”

His words are a command for reality itself to obey.

There is a loud boom as the energy is unleashed from his body, knocking everyone to the floor. When they stand back up and gather their senses, they realize that they are not alone. Standing in the room with them are two demons of immense proportion.

One of them says “Her excellency, the Mistress Lolth, Queen of Spiders and ruler of the Abyss, does not grant your wish.”

The second demon then says "But Lolth is a generous mistress. You may choose one person to bring back."

Sarril considers his choice for a while, then says "I choose my friend, Pontus."

"And so it is done," says the first demon.

With that, color returns to Pontus' face, and he begins breathing again. His memories flood back into his living brain.

The first demon says "Congratulations on passing this difficult test. Our queen looks forward to meeting you in person."

With that, they both disappear in a burst of flame.


It is approximately late in the day (by biological time) on the 2nd Day of Sunsebb, CY 580. The party is still in the Demonweb - Lolth's layer of the Abyss, contemplating their next move.

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