Session 09/19

The PCs followed the diverse group of lizardfolk through the muddy trail leading into the Vast Swamp. The trees around them eventually thinned as the water swirling about their legs grew warmer. The ground began to tremble and over the tops of the trees the group could spot a geyser spouting some 400 feet into the air. The lizardfolk quickened their pace and brought the PCs to a large clearing. The ground became a mixture of wet gravel and bare stone and the air was thick with mist and the smell of sulphur. Hot-springs dotted the immediate landscape as well as a large mound, that could only be the geyser. Through the thin fog the PCs spotted a trio of lizardfolk. The attack force that led them here departed, instructing them to go and speak with Kessessek (one of the three assembled figures through the fog). The group approached and left a respectable distance between them and the trio of reptilian humanoids. One was a massive blackscale wearing a nice-looking breastplate and wielding an equally well-made great club; the second was a medium-sized lizard holding a quaterstaff and carrying many grim trophies and shaman esoterica on his person; the third was a small poison-dusk lizardfolk that, strangely, had rams' horns growing from his head.

The shaman greeted them and introduced himself as Kessessek. He asked if any of the PCs were injured and if they'd submit to a zone of truth before proceeding with questions. Silas silently slipped into the fog, not wishing to undergo a lie-detector test. Kessessek explained that he had sent his attack force to the Skull Staff to intercept any dominated persons from the false temple. The "hairy ones" in the dark keep had been receiving more and more dominated persons to use for their dark ends. It was the shaman's hope to capture the enspelled humans and free them from the enchantment. The Sharptooths (Kessessek's tribe) had been nearly decimated by the Shadowscale tribe. Until recently the Shadowscales were called the Dragonslayers and had claimed to have killed many dragons over the decades. But now they have been enslaved by the dragon, Despayr, their souls torn from their bodies and replaced by shadow, and their eyes burning unholy fire. The Sharptooths were forced to join with the blackscales and poison dusks, whose tribes were similarly assaulted by the Shadowscales. Many had died in the assaults but some were captured only to return as shadowscales themselves to attack their nest-mates. Kessessek's mate, Ashala, had been recently captured as well as many other lizardfolk. He asked the PCs if they'd be willing to help; rescue Ashala and the other lizardfolk and defeat Ketsarra, Despayr's dragonspawned daughter.

The group deliberated briefly. The name 'Despayr' was familiar to them, they had seen it referenced in a note they'd found in the false temple. So, this person was actually a black dragon? The plot thickens. They surely shared a goal with these scaly humanoids, so what could it hurt? With no expected compensation, the group accepted. Kessessek was greatly appreciative, and offered them all of his magic before they left for the Lost Refuge (the next stop on their map). He could offer no aid beyond that of his advisor, !Chk, the small poison dusk with the horns. !Chk was to lead the PCs to the Lost Refuge and aid in battle, if need be. As Shank was about to offer his hand in accord on behalf of the group, a hawk-like shriek came from above; a beaked - tentacled brain swooped down out of the mist to swat at Kessessek. The shaman dodged the charging assault as more hollow roars came from the north and south.

Through the mist the group could make out the charging forms of monstrous beings. Four large, shadow shrouded worms with beaks and tentacles rushed the knight. Their razor-tipped tentacles glanced off of Percival's mithral armor. Helios gave ground and looked south, trying to make out the roaring beasts in that direction. There he saw charging undead lizardfolk shrouded in shadow. Calling upon the power of Mystra he fired a pair of scorching rays at the two leading undead. However, shadows surrounding them deflected the beams and they kept coming. Shank hastily pulled his scroll case and used a call lightning spell. The clouds overhead began to darken and the air smelled of ozone (and sulphur, of course) as Shank concentrated on the storm. Percival's sword eagerly tugged in his grip, it's aberration bane enchantment was eager to slash through the wormy - tentacled beasts. With a mighty slash, the knight dealt a hefty blow to one of the gricks, stunning it. The tentacled, floating brain swatted again at Kessessek, this time using all 10 of its rubbery - spiny members. The shaman was struck twice and seemed to shake-off some sort of toxin delivered through the spines and evaded any attempt to be grappled. The blackscale roared at the top of its lungs as foamy spittle flew from its maw. He took his massive great club and delivered a full-body, two-handed blow to the floating brain. Gray-matter spattered and bits of beak went flying as the club solidly connected. Nathan rushed to Kessessek's aid and restored some of his hit points with a touch of healing. Two large lobster-like aberrations rushed toward the battle. The blackscale took a mighty hit as one if the lobster-like claws clamped his arm. Aenin dodged the second creature's strike, but barely. Silas, still hidden from before, took the opportunity to pull a rapid shot at one of the large undead lobster-things. Both missiles struck true right around one of its glowing - lifeless eyes. The spell-thief ducked back into the shadows to snipe again next round. The warblade, with bastard sword in his grip, sliced through the undead chull's carapace, dealing a mighty hit with a Mountain Hammer strike. Kessessek gave ground, putting more distance between himself and the grell. He then cast protection from evil on himself to give the fiends a more difficult target. !Chk drew his net and deftly tossed it over the floating grell. Its tentacles tangled in the thick ropes as the horned poison dusk proceeded to drag the aberration behind him like some twisted balloon.


Helios continued to distance himself from the melee (he learned his lesson from the last encounter), watching the undead lizardfolk charge toward the group. He decided to try and take-out the ensnared grell with a magic missile. The bolts of force flew unerringly to slam against some unseen barrier around the grell. The young mage glared at the floating brain and cursed softly. The undead lizardfolk continued to charge and even more came into view through the mist. Two of the horrors made it to Kessessek as another circled around one of the hot-springs. The shaman's wards deflected both strikes, but many more were surely to come. Shank called down a bolt of lightning from his conjured storm above to strike at the grell. The lightning rippled through the aberration seemingly doing no damage. The halfling decided it might be best to switch targets for next round. Percival, still very much the center of attention for the gricks, gave ground to avoid being flanked and continued to hack away at the nearest beast. One grick switched its attention to the lonely Helios, charging in for a strike, but the mage's wards deflected the blow. The other gricks found their attacks equally ineffectual against the knight. Aenin charged the leading Shadowscale, using Leading the Charge and Battle Leaders Stance to deal massive damage (and avoid any attacks of opportunity). The fouls creature's left side was neatly removed from its body as it tumbled to the ground. Nathan rushed to his leader's aid and charged the grick threatening Helios. His enchanted heavy mace connected, dealing a respectable blow and gaining additional damage enhancement from Aenin's stance. The grell attempted to escape the net but failed. The blackscale barbarian turned to intercept the third Shadowscale slipping around the hot-spring. His greatclub shattered it to bits of bone and rotted-scaly flesh. He turned back to deliver his second blow to the chull, but its carapace and the shadowstuff surrounding it were too hardy. The chull returned the compliment, this time attacking with both claws and dealing even more damage to the weakening blackscale. The second chull shifted up to Percival and followed suit with two claws against the knight. One pincer connected and then clamped down, constricting the knight and dealing massive damage. The chull then tried to pull the knight toward his tentacles, but Percival slipped free of its grip. Kessessek attempted to place a healing hand on the Shadowscale directly threatening him, but missed. The shaman gave ground, attempting to move closer to his wounded companion. Silas fired a pair of arrows at the last Shadowscale threatening Kessessek and took it down with two well-placed missiles. The grell tried to break free of !Chk's net, but failed as the small lizardfolk dragged the aberration further from his leader.

A roar broke from the skies above as a large winged lizard swooped through the conjured storm. Percival could have sworn it was Pollux, but the rest of the PCs could see the illusion for what, or who, it truly was; Nimmik. The Red Wizard flew in to hover in front of and above the charging mass of Shadowscales and delivered an acid breath spell at the leading three. The viscous fluid ate away at their already rotted flesh, but they continued to charge. Helios, bolstered by the arrival of an ally, put a little distance between himself and the grick and fired two more scorching rays at one of the formidable giant-lobster-zombies. One beam connected, searing away some of the foul beast's carapace. More Shadowscales closed in, attacking Aenin. The warblade deftly avoided their blows as he readied for another punishing charge. Shank redirected his call lightning at the chull as well. The bolt struck down and blasted a nice-sized chunk out of its carapace. Percival switched his attention to the adjacent 'lobstrosity', seeing as how it was the real powerhouse and the gricks' attacks were wholly ineffectual if not superficial. His Yuir Ghostblade swung-in, serching for a gap in the swirling shadows and chitinous armor, but it was deflected. The gricks continued to focus their attention on the knight, aside from the lone aberration attempting to strike at Nathan, all in vain. The cleric of Mystra continued to hack away at the grick as Aenin sped-off straight toward one of the massive undead chulls. Using Leading the Charge and Battle Leaders' Stance again to great effect, he augmented that with an Iaijutsu Focused strike. His blade glowed white hot as he drew it from its scabbard. Lightning danced around his bastard-sword as it struck the chull in a brilliant flash of light. A split second later the air broke with the massive boom of thunder as the chull's head and upper thorax exploded, leaving a shallow crater in the ground as well (this was possibly the most d6 anyone has had to roll for one of Aenin's strikes; 26 on the Iaijutsu Focus roll! 1d10+1d6 electric+1d6 sonic+2d6 undead bane+4d6 Iaijutsu+19!). The chull (or, what was left of it) flew back ten feet to collapse to the ground. The large lizardfolk barbarian was far too engrossed in his own situation to even notice the spectacle, he continued to hack away at his own chull with little effect. The chull, however, had no problem clipping the blackscale twice, bringing him to the bloodied status (if he weren't berserk). The grell managed to pull the rope from !Chk's grip and started to float upward, but three attacks of opportunity (from Aenin, Percival, and Kessessek) killed the aberration and ended its escape attempt. The spell-thief fired a pair of missiles at the chull threatening Percival, one struck true. !Chk, no longer having to worry about the grell, lined up in front of the assembled gricks and spewed forth a gout of flame, hitting all three. However, they seemed less scorched than they should have been. The shaman cured his large bodyguard yet again, bringing him a step further from doom.

Nimmik floated up ten more feet above the rushing shadowscales and pointed a wand mid-mass (Percival saw Pollux point his finger toward the charging undead) as a bead of flame flew from the mage to explode amongst them. Many were sorely wounded and the three that had been sprayed with acid crumbled to ash. Helios attempted to aid Nathan with the grick. Using his aspergillum, he swung at the beast. The welt healed-over before the cleric could blink; damn you, damage reduction! The remaining shadowscales continued to charge forward, some slipping around the geyser, but not yet closing with anyone. Shank continued to concentrate on his call lightning and brought a bolt down to strike the grick near Nathan and Helios. The monster's tentacles stuck out at sharp angles as electricity coursed through its body, only to fall limp and stunned. Percival continued to hack away at the remaining chull, this time scoring a respectable hit. The chull glared at the knight and in a garbled, hollow voice told him 'he was going to pay for that'. The three gricks on the knight continued to swat away at him, scoring superficial hits, if any. Nathan finished-off the lone grick near him and moved to intercept the charging shadowscales. Aenin attempted a Mountain Hammer Strike on the remaining chull, but it deftly knocked his blade aside with its pincer. Silas continued to fire away at the remaining chull, but its defenses were proving difficult. The blackscale hacked at the chull with its greatclub in vain as !Chk charged one of the charging shadowscales, attempting to ram him with his horns. The undead lizardfolk deflected the bull-rush of the small - horned lizard. The chull switched his attention to Percival; delivering two massive claw attacks and clamping down with the second strike to deal even more damage. The large lobster-zombie then pulled the knight into its tentacles to administer a paralytic venom and chew away at the limp Percival with its mandibles. Kessessek continued to heal his blackscale bodyguard, unable to safely reach the helpless knight.

The young Red Wizard fired another smoldering red bead at the mass of shadowscales, catching many of them in the area of another fireball. They crumbled to bones and ash. Helios fired his last scorching ray at the remaining chull, searing away a few of its body plates. He then gave ground to avoid getting caught-up by the few shadowscales left. The undead lizardfolk continued to charge-in, however, there were only two or three left at this point. Those that had been in the lead were now piles of dust, but a few were rounding the geyser and headed for Helios. Shank called down another bolt of lightning, scoring a hit on the chull holding the knight. Unfortunately, Percival also took the brunt of that bolt of lightning, bringing him closer to death. He could do nothing but let the chull gnaw-away at his torso, as the paralytic venom continued to course through his veins. The gricks switched their attention to Nathan, attempting to flank the cleric. Nathan fended them off and smacked a wounded one with his mace, killing it. Aenin tried to finish-off the formidable 'lobster-nightmare' and free his comrade, but the thing's armor was too tough. Silas followed suit and continued to fire at the chull, scoring a decent hit. The blackscale, finally realizing his error, struck at the chull again, this time focusing on accuracy instead of power (stopped using Power Attack). While a wise move, it still did not permit him a solid hit on the beast. The chull doled-out massive damage as it struck Aenin and clamped-down twice. The warblade couldn't take many more hits like that. !Chk shifted to intercept the shadowscale rounding the geyser, delivering his full attack; two claws, a bite, and a gore with his horns. Few of the strikes hit, but still managed to damage the undead beast. Kessessek healed his blackscale companion one last time, ensuring he would last a while on his own. The shaman then began to search for a clear way to get to the grappled knight.


Nimmik / Pollux cast light of venya, surrounding himself with pearly radiance. He then flew over and positioned himself above the chull. Helios blasted one of the two remaining gricks with a magic missile spell. The shadowscales had, by that point, closed with Nathan and Helios. Their attacks against the clerics, however, failed to penetrate their wards. Something did happen to Helios, though; As the shadowscale closed with him he felt one of his cantrips slip from his memory. Shank delivered another high voltage strike, this time at one of the shadowscales that had slipped around the geyser. The undead lizardfolk exploded in a hail of bones and rotted flesh. Percival could do nothing more than lay limp in the chull's clutches, numbly feeling its mandibles continuing to chew on his flesh. The gricks focused their attention on the cleric, still failing to find an opening in his defenses. As Nathan deflected their tentacles he continued to hack away at them, felling the one wounded by Helios' missiles. Silas fired two well-placed arrows at the last grick, ending its foul life. Aenin again tried to slice away at the chull only to have his strikes deflected by shadows. The chull returned the favor, dealing more massive damage to the warblade. The blackscale barbarian continued his attempts to strike the chull, in vain. The horned poison dusk and Marf managed to take down the last of the shadowscales with tooth and claw (and horn). Kessessek tried the only thing he could to help the grappled knight; He tried to turn the undead chull, but it was too powerful.

The airborne mage focused the pearly radiance into a ball of white-hot sacred energy and fired two beams of light at the chull. The first was absorbed by the shadows surrounding the chull but the second slammed home right behind the first, disintegrating the shadows and blasting a huge portion of the beast into dust. Its left claw, its head, and one of the legs on its left side were obliterated, causing it to drop the paralyzed knight. The undead aberration staggered about with its remaining claw, still able to fight, but barely. Helios took no chances and sent a steam of magic missiles to unerringly slam into the beast, blasting the pincer from it's remaining arm and finally felling the undead horror.

Kessessek and Nathan rushed to the knight's side. The shaman cast remove paralysis while the cleric used his Touch of Healing ability to bring Percival to half. Kessessek then used several cure light wounds spells from his wand, bringing the knight back to full. The Red Wizard landed as his major image terminated, greeting the PCs in passing as he moved to inspect the bodies of the undead lizardfolk. Aenin was next to receive much-needed medical attention from Nathan and the lizardfolk shaman, bringing the warblade back to fighting-fit. Percival asked Kessessek if he were able to cure diseases, as he had the suspicion that the mummified ogre mage the group had fought earlier that day had infected him with mummy rot. Kessessek attempted to remove the ailment, but failed. He offered the group a place to stay among his tribe for the evening before heading off to the Lost Refuge, and promised he would attempt to cure the knight again in the morning. After inspecting the carnage, Nimmik returned to the group to greet them properly. He had much to tell them of their Sharran foes and their minions. Mythrella, the zulkir of illusion, had long been experimenting with the Shadow Weave and her tricks were known the Maercus Brand, Nimmik's master. These undead were a new manifestation that promised to be a severe threat to their group, and Faerun as a whole. As they prepared the settle in for the evening Nimmik began to explain what he knew…

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