For backgrounds on the characters played in this campaign, look here~
Once the restless spectres and spirits of the fortress’ former officers had been temporarily dispatched, the party regrouped and began a systematic search of the remaining rooms on the second level. Several storage areas were found alongside further abandoned quarters–while some of the personal effects of the haunting officers were recovered from their rooms. After a short time, the group discovered what appeared to be a war room with a flailing dreadnought within–the strange egg-shaped aberration flailing riveted steel about the chamber and obliterating everything within before it was dispatched beneath a bevy of blows.
While searching the war room, Pandora made headway into an adjoining chamber only to loose six plate-suited ogre juju zombies upon both she and her fellows; after the short melee which followed, Anselme discovered a secret bolt-hole and supply cache hidden away almost perfectly. Gathering the supplies therein, there was some debate about using the hidden chamber as a point to rest–but ultimately the party decided to withdraw from Kirash Durgaut with arcane and divine magic, to rest and recover after their first foray before venturing back into the breach.
Two days were spent back at the Camp, peddling treasure recovered from within the fortress and seeing to injuries both physical and beyond; a black ship had been glimpsed docked with the very peak of the Tower of Weeping Sores during the party’s departure, though word from around the camp is that such had since withdrawn–its mysterious occupants unknown. Once the party had resupplied and purchased further potent scrolls and potions, a return to the fortress was made–utilizing magic to make way into the hidden chamber in order to circumvent the exterior defenses.
By now, General Myrac and his war council doubtless knew of the party’s intrusion–so the group proceeded with the expectation that their opposition would be bolstered. Continuing the search of the second floor, a gray render fast zombie was found serving as doorman for a lavish private room with black velvet couches, a marble latrine and extravagant silk sheets and other decor. While Anselme busily began collecting as many goods as he could get his hands on, Pandora discovered a secret shrine at the back of the bedroom with a succubus waiting, bored, within.
It seemed the former officer had particular proclivities with his bedroom activities–but that the succubus had sat alone for near enough to two hundred years during the interim. Relieved at finally having company and anxious for activity, a tense exchange became parlay before the demon seems to beguile Brother Vang–prompting Zantric to spring into action and attack. After swiftly dispatching the succubus, the party had only a brief pause before a towering nalfeshnee demon appeared behind them–for the succubus it seemed had received a promotion.
Blinding half the party with a maddening light, the nalfeshnee delivered terrible blows and tore into their ranks, wading about the tangled melee sowing destruction; Brother Vang and Zantric were both nearly killed–but through diligence and grit the crusader and paladin managed to beat back the massive demon enough for it to at long last cede the fight and teleport away to safety. After some mixed feelings over the handling of the ordeal, the party pressed on in their rounding of the second floor–coming next upon a much more significant armory than had been discovered below.
A swinging lantern raised suspicions over a longspear left on the floor before Pandora and the others were given pause, peering into the gloom of the room convinced someone else was within; after making cautious headway into the armory, a pair of bearded devils emerged from aisles to flank those first into the room–and when Anselme and Leone moved about to hit the devils from the rear, a chain was hurled from the shadows to entangle Emma before a winged erinyes devil tripped the young druid and demanded the party withdraw and leave the weaponry in exchange for his life.
As adventurers are wont to do and with Anselme’s bold encouragement, instead the group pressed immediately for a melee–frustrating the devil as they moved to flank her. Determined not to withdraw empty-handed, the erinyes seized a magical adamantine greatsword before teleporting away, drawing screamed curses from Zantric and Emma in the process; without their significantly stronger summoner present, the bearded devils were swiftly and easily dispatched before the party set to task collecting the vast wealth of magical weaponry found within the armory.
Feeling freshly positive from their considerably valuable haul, the party finished their rounds of the second floor after searching out a mess hall, more quarters and storerooms–but finding little overall of interest among them. Settled, then, the party made their way to the stairway up to the battlements around the Tower of Weeping Sores–and soon after their arrival in the chamber above began to hear explosions from among the ramparts.
Peering through a slot in the door, Pandora spied a slew of bombardments wiping out broad swaths of siege undead; the flying black ship from before was observed strafing the sea of undead defenders, and with such a distraction the party quickly formed up and prepared to make a mad dash for the upper levels of the tower itself with the aid of magical haste. Timing another salvo, Pandora and Emma broke into the lead and hastily ascended the stairs nearby–only for Emma to be caught unaware by a magical trap on the door at the top of the stairs, sent fleeing in fear; luckily, Brother Vang was able to reach the barbarian in time to bring her relief before she’d become lost in the great many siege undead nearby.
Mounting the stairs, Pandora began working at the locked door while the party formed a defensive line behind her, defending the stairs as siege undead began rushing towards them from around the battlements. The skeletons of cloud giants joined the mobbed throng of undead assailing the adventurers, delivering potent blows as the group slowly backed their way up along the stairwell. Brother Vang laid more than a dozen undead low with a holy smite while Cassandra and Anselme rained fire; Emma and Zantric powered through the mob with massive blades in hand while Pandora mused at the massive mines of onyx the occupants of the temple-city of Tsar must have on demand.
Once the way into the tower was opened, the party was quick to rush inside–only to discover an open spiked pit in the antechamber before another set of double doors. As Pandora and Emma sprang across the pit to begin opening a way, special mechanisms opened along the walls to allow juju zombie spear-men to begin thrusting and provoking the intruders before being hidden safely away again. As Gothroc discovered the spiked pit to be an illusory farce and soon Emma began to batter her way through the barred doors beyond, Pandora commenced to disabling the strange spear mechanisms to the apparent confusion of the zombies beyond them.
Smashing a path through the inner doors, the party closed and barred the outer doors to spare them further siege undead at their rear; immediately beyond the entrance hall four bonemen stood with crossbows firing unholy bolts from behind the safety of arrow slits. A loud bell began to ring within the tower, echoing an alarm as Gothroc and Pandora split up to begin dispatching the juju zombie spear-men. Anselme made his way into a large kitchen and pantry, beginning to gather up appealing goods while Emma and Zantric found a portcullis barring their way in the opposite hall, battering their way past it.
After a brief debate on their approach to the tower, the party concurred to ignore all else in favor of rushing to the top and dealing with General Myrac as soon as possible; eschewing the remainder of the area, the group quickly found stairs trailing higher into the tower–yet as Emma strode ahead, she stumbled upon an invisible boneman–and soon Pandora spied a small force of the siege undead rendered unseen by magic. Once their gimmick had been revealed, however, the bonemen were quickly destroyed–and so the party gathered at the top of the stairs and prepared to breach what lay beyond.
Breaching the doorway once collected, the party entered a decorated antechamber with a sign which read, in abyssal, ‘Wait here.’ Without skipping a beat Pandora proceeded on past the sign, opening up the double doors into the central chamber where another spiral staircase was discovered ascending further into the tower–as well as a retriever, an immense mechanical spider which sprang into action to seize the drow.
Loosing beams from its eyes as bladed legs danced and slashed, the retriever maneuvered around the chamber with a fury as the group filtered in and made an effort to surround it; from above, a mocking call was heard from what could only be General Myrac himself–that he and his fellows had guests of which they were all too aware. After a pitched but brief battle with the retriever, there was no time to waste–and Pandora was first up the stairs and on the scene to see General Myrac and his war council.
General Myrac himself appeared a grizzled human man with mutton chops and an eye-patch wearing a full suit of black plate-mail and brandishing a greatsword; to his side stood the Iron Seneschal, a metal-riveted iron devil wielding a huge scythe and belching gouts of flame. Also present were two figures soon to be recognized as former heroes of the first siege of Tsar: Sir Horace the White Bull in heavy white plate wielding an immense earth breaker maul, now a graveknight–and Dame Alessa Roma with scimitar and spell at hand, a vampiress now.
Hanging from the wall were the tortured remnants of the last of the Whispering Way cultists encountered previously and left in the torture chamber below; it was presumed then that the black vessel bombarding the ramparts was some modicum of retribution for their capture in lieu of an exchange. Hurling a jar full of flesh-devouring grubs at Pandora, General Myrac whipped his weapon free and the battle was engaged–answered immediately by a fireball from Cassandra from below which burned away the grubs but failed to harm the four villains.
Emma was next up the stairs, taking a vicious blow from the Seneschal before moving to engage the towering devil; General Myrac moved to flank the barbarian while Anselme and Leone entered and rounded on Sir Horace. Between the Seneschal and General Myrac, Emma received grievous wounds–and as Brother Vang arrived, Myrac ordered the Seneschal after the healer; desperately, Emma bore into the iron devil and managed to save Brother Vang from his assault–only to have the Seneschal’s demise loose a pyrrhic blast throughout the chamber, scorching everyone within.
As the party worked to recover from the explosion, Emma re-engaged with General Myrac in a frenzied exchange of blows; the barbarian leveled powerful swings of her greatsword against the General–and as flesh tore away, it was revealed that a wicked skeletal construct lurked beneath his skin, sprouting forth numerous deadly bladed appendages! In her moment of surprise, Emma was cut down and slain by General Myrac before Zantric and Gothroc teamed up against him; as the trio began to maneuver around the tower chamber, across the room Cassandra had been laid low and unconscious by Dame Alessa–who now fought with Pandora in a bitter exchange.
Carnage reigned in the Tower of Weeping sores as the battle spread on all fronts; Leone managed to grapple Sir Horace at Anselme’s behest, tying up the potent warrior–but at the cost of terrible blows being loosed against the immense lion in turn. Brother Vang struggled to keep pace with the injuries his companions endured while the vampiress proved nigh impossible to hit, so layered were her defenses against the adventurers; Cassandra was rescued from death’s door as Zantric and Gothroc began to force General Myrac into a measured withdraw between their combined assault–but it was then that wraiths began to emerge from the walls on all sides of the tower, ambushing the adventurers as they joined the fray.
Panic spread among the party still conscious as life-draining attacks began from their newly arrived foes; an exit strategy was shouted out as Zantric was forced off from his engagement with General Myrac by Dame Alessa. Pandora scrambled to heal fallen friends and prepare them for an emergency retreat–yet all assembled found a swelling of morale as Brother Vang boldly loosed powerful divine channeling twice over, a yawped shout of defiance devastating and destroying nearly all of the wraiths and leaving the stragglers easily dispatched.
The odds were once more looking favorable for the party and all the while, Gothroc had remained in a bitter exchange with General Myrac; the two explained many blows–but with a fearsome fervor, the wicked master of Kirash Durgaut struck the half-orc fighter with what were decisively mortal wounds. Faced with imminent death, in a final instant Gothroc soldiered on through grim determination with his ring–continuing to fight well beyond death’s door–but in exchange, beyond the reach of even magical healing. Dauntless and determined, Gothroc bore against General Myrac and refused to die despite the ancient’s assault–until at long last General Myrac was laid low, a palpable relief felt among all still standing.
Sensing the battle soon over, Dame Alessa broke from her engagement with Zantric and Pandora and made haste to Sir Horace–seizing upon the grappled graveknight before teleporting away to fight another day. With only seconds left in his deathless resolve, Gothroc staggered mauled and bloody through the double doors of the chamber–a great wind rippling through from the devastated balcony beyond and setting the black cloak he wore to billow and snap. Brother Vang watched, unable to intervene any longer; Gothroc settled upon the balcony and looked off to the distant sunset before his shoulders slumped as he expired.
A certain quiet hung over the upper reaches of the tower as the remaining party regrouped; beyond the chamber scorched remnants from the bombarding salvos still smoked while high winds reigned. An exposed staircase led higher still among the tower, and it was there that the survivors tread–and having recovered a key from General Myrac’s corpse, unlocked the uppermost room of the Tower of Weeping Sores.
Within the highest locked chamber of the fortress, a statue was discovered of a robed figure–a magical artifact, by Cassandra’s assessment. The first of the nine disciples had been discovered and recovered, a great victory for the party–yet one which was hard-won and at a high cost. From the uppermost reaches of Kirash Durgaut, the party watched the sun as it set on the horizon as ever more challenges yet lay ahead…
After their toughest fights to date and biggest hauls of loot, the party is raring to go for more romps through the temple-city of Tsar. Thanks to everyone following along these twenty-five wild sessions so far, I hope that you continue to enjoy our adventures for the sessions to come–we’ve only just begun to crack the surface of Tsar and much awaits at stake!