For backgrounds on the characters played in this campaign, look here~
With a countdown to certain doom looming throughout their very surroundings, the party began their foray into Xin-Grafar: Tar-Baphon’s treasure vault and City of Golden Death. Approaching from the outermost threshold of the subterranean city, Pandora took to the lead in scouting a path and soon the adventurers were faced with the covered bridge leading into the first ring ahead. Below the sixty-foot span flowed a river of perilous molten gold—while the ambient heat throughout the vast chamber proved both taxing and cloying. Stationed upon the bridge, the group was faced with a pair of statuesque golden sentinels and the slagged remnants of what seemed formerly the same—and soon enough combat was engaged; upon their expiration, these golden guardians spewed forth dangerous molten gold, burning all among those clustered nearby.
The gatekeepers dispatched, the party was then freed to enter the lower-class section of Xin-Grafar—continuing their pursuit of the priestess Iramine. Not to be denied an opportunity at wealth, Meryk and Anselme saw to shoveling the melted remnants of the prior two guardians across the bridge to the shore in the hopes that they might further cool for later removal. With this holding secured, the group raced ahead—and upon reaching the first intersection triggered an ancient trap which summoned a sizable fire elemental. From here, as the party proceeded several such intersections saw to a repeat of just such a battle—while their travel was interspersed with an encounter including gold-clad burning skeletons.
Deeper into the first ring as the group advanced across another bridge they were waylaid by a frightening foe—the emergence of a greater golden basilisk drawing cause for much alarm; poised to petrify the party into statues of gold, the horrific creature was narrowly dispatched—but not before Emma was very nearly killed by massive damage to her constitution from the beast’s attacks and noxious breath. Requiring respite and rest from their grueling ordeals, the party secured what they deduced to be a relatively safe structure that they may recuperate and prepare to press onward on the morn. Further disturbing dreams were had by Meryk, portentous of what lay ahead.
On the morning as Brother Vang prayed and others prepared to advance, Anselme and Emma opted to explore the surrounding area in search of valuables whilst Meryk held vigil upon the roof; not long after their foray, the pair ran across the Golden Ram—an immense magical quarry crafted by Tar-Baphon to bemuse would-be hunters and guests within his lavish city of gold. Narrowly managing to placate the creature long enough to slip away, Anselme sought refuge in a golden building—and while within, availed himself of a number of gold-clad accoutrements.
With the party reunited, onward they pressed—passing through several more intersections before arriving at long last before the fortress gateway leading into the second ring of the city. Before the gate stood a pair of immense golden skeletal ogres, personal protectors with a spark of intelligence and massive halberds by which they stood their sentry. Again melee was engages as burning skeletal archers fired from above, the party taking cover among the ruins to separate and overcome their foes. In the midst of the chaos of battle, a devilish Babau ambushed Cassandra with its spear, skewering the sorceress before taunting her fellows and vanishing without a trace.
Once the protectors of the gateway had been vanquished, Anselme scaled to the roof of the gatehouse and stole his way inside—discovering both the controlling mechanism and for the portcullis below and the dessicated remnants of a crusader who had seemingly been stabbed in the back. As Anselme’s fellows joined him in the gatehouse’s upper chamber—and the young druid discovered a golden parasol for his own growing collection—relics were discovered of the felled knight—identifying him as a member of the old Knights of Ozem, and afterward the party elected to stow his remains that he may later be given a proper and decent burial.
Rallying once their passage had been secured, the party made their way through the tunnel trespassing the wall of bedrock and entered the second ring of the city; here, the middle class had once dwelt, and not far from the entrance a veritable hill of treasure and valuables was sighted. Deciding immediately that such a collection was some sort of trap, the party elected to avoid the treasures for the interim—and spied as well a golden skeleton nearby bearing a mask of Razmir as the cultists had before.
Through the streets the group continued, with Anselme and Meryk searching for a library of sorts as they went; upon sighting a promising set of shelves through a second-story window, Anselme scaled his way inside while the others covered from below. Within, the young druid discovered not only a collection of texts—but an ancient and powerful codex and the intelligent animated hand that is Tam. A curious acquaintance gained alongside further valuables, the progress of the party resumed as they made their approach to what had once been a pair of massive citadel fortress spires—each adorned with hundreds of skeletons nailed to their upper exteriors.
Beyond this ominous threshold, the adventurers were ambushed by a party of Razmiran acolytes—whom after demanding their surrender were engaged and swiftly dispatched. With several prisoners taken, the party questioned the herald leading the band—a woman named Eglanda. Determined in her belief in Razmir and her faith in Iramine’s cause, Eglanda spoke of the elven woman fondly though with concern—professing that Iramine had been kind-hearted, compassionate and caring and a strong leader, yet had grown colder and more distant the nearer their expedition had gotten to Xin-Grafar. Released by the party alongside the other surviving acolytes, Eglanda bid them caution for what lay ahead—pronouncing that even with their means of bypassing the hazards of Xin-Grafar that many lives had been lost in the innermost rings.
Words of caution spoken, the two groups parted ways and the adventurers trekked deeper into the city until arriving at another canal crossing; this bridge, however, was not covered like the others—and boasted ornate pillars lining its flanks while a pair of golden warrior-women stood statuesque guard on their shore. Once more, the pair proved to be guardians—enormously elaborate twin caraytid columns who engaged the group in melee swiftly and strongly; seeking to avoid a difficult battle, Anselme and others began to race across the bridge hoping to distance from the columns—only to be halted by the arrival of a golden skeletal dragoness who loosed a terrible torrent of flaming breath to bar their passage.
Battle on both ends of the bridge saw to a long and arduous fight with weapons broken and grievous wounds sustained; the dragoness proved a perilous foe while the columns tangled fiercely in martial combat, joined with uncanny prowess in their sustained assaults. Narrowly the party managed to overcome their adversaries—battered, bloodied and burned for their efforts, but nevertheless alive. With their hard-won fight soon came hard-earned spoils as the group discovered that even while skeletal the dragoness creation of Tar-Baphon had amassed something of a hoard—and as the party licked their wounds and tallied their treasures, the inner sanctums of Xin-Grafar yet lay ahead…