A Night in the Abyss
It was a great night of gaming last night so I thought I'd share not only the One Note recap of the session, but some of the pictures the crew took during the action.
To frame this improbable quest up, you should know that the party's arch enemy, an anti-paladin, was killed during the Summer War of 464 (which we handled using Chainmail). For reasons too complicated to abbreviate (but whose aftermath you can read here) the NG cleric of Hale (while her companions were off celebrating the victory) used part of her precious candle of invocation to raise the anti-paladin from the dead.
The fallout from this act (again, if you care you can click the link above) has positioned the anti-paladin in the party's ranks, and she is reluctantly and faithlessly helping them to achieve (in a very different manner) what she herself originally wanted. To that end, she must retrieve her sword, lost in the war and carried to the Abyss by her Nightmare when it fled.
The weapon was thrown into the warren pits of one of Orcus' Type IV lieutenants. Therefore, the party's journey across the Astral to an amethyst color pool on the Outer Planes might now make sense...
Here is the recap of last night's bloodfest:
The party spent several days in preparation after returning from the Astral, recuperating and casting spells. They set off again on the 14th, meet an Astral Ice Devil en-route, but swiftly reach the amethyst pool, with Cassiatta in the lead.
The anti-paladin brings the pool into focus in the depths of a sinkhole and then enters. The skies of Pazunia are orange and slick like salmon flesh, sliced by gray clouds moving at impossible speeds. It is freezing here, a barren waste filled only with wind-scored slate, ice, endless screams and a putrefaction--so rancid and foul that the party's assholes seal themselves shut in protest. (homage to Stephen King)
The party scales an ascending ledge, treacherous with ice, forgoes the first cave entrance to Nofgûl's Warrens (which is hexed and gibbering with many mouths) and plunges into the dark gore of a second icy hole. The carnage begins immediately.
Darkness, stench, and teleportation are the hallmarks of the demons. The ranger is paralyzed by ghouls, reliving his worst nightmares from a previous life (when the player's former character was paralyzed and devoured by ghouls ALSO in the abyss).
Nevertheless, the ghouls and demons are dispatched, nausea wanes, darkness fades and paralyzed muscles begin to move again.
The ice is composed mainly of corpses, skeletons and bodily humors. Illitran (the fighter but hopefully future-bard) discovers a potion of planar adjustment beneath the ice.
Carrion-scavenging horrors lurch from the cave system's unclean bowels, inflicting grievous injuries…and disease!
But the company presses on, looting a demonic idol while Cassiatta speaks the watchword to extinguish a barrier of flames in the adjoining tunnel.
The party is rewarded for their efforts with droning fly demons and tentacles (a Handmaiden of Lolth)…and a hole…a repellent black hole, steaming, heaped with rotting flesh, skins dangling down into the blasphemous depths. Cassiatta leads them into the vile cavity to a lower region of the warren complex where invisible demons lie in wait.
These are slain or chased off, but the sounds of demonic summoning (and gates opening!) can be heard beyond a narrow tunnel to a great cavern laden with offal and gore. Here the battle begins with Nofgûl himself, the lieutenant (in low standing) in the Prince of the Undead's ranks.
The demons surround the magic-user, under command of their master, not realizing that Ibram the law-bringer is the greater threat. Using the Gauntlets of the lost elven empire, Ibram the Lyan teleports directly to the swine demon and begins laying waste.
Cassiatta is running interference in the middle of the cave, occupying the majority of the underlings. The other fighters are trying to save the wizard. Meanwhile, Evanore, shining like a star, cuts through the cavern, attacks Nofgûl from the rear and the holy mace crushes his skull.
The demons predominantly fail morale and wink out, teleporting away en-masse.
The spoils held in the warren pit (including Cassiatta's sword) are quickly collected. The company now stands in the reeking cavern, likely with the objective of escape at the forefront of any plans.
Although three days were spent in preparations, due to the timelessness of Astral travel, it is impossible to know how many days passed during the session.
[DM NOTE] The demons that escaped have begun spreading the word about what happened in Nofgûl's Warrens. Due to the chaos of the abyss, the legend will persist only from Shem 15th 464, until Shem 15th 465 and linger only in the broken and disparate realms of Pazunia (Layer 1). For one year, however, Demons in Pazunia will suffer a -15% morale check when facing Ibram (should he return). It is the player's responsibility to notify the ref of this boon and to provide the above documentation, including the approved date range for use. You suspect there might be a furor as well over the anti-paladin's appearance there and her wresting of the sword from the warren pits...but if such stories are told, they will likely never reach your ears.
Thanks for loving AD&D.
Peace, and happy gaming.