Alternate Dimensions

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Here Comes The Swarm (Part 2) - Sliver Queen (Level 16 Solo Soldier)

One of the badasses of the Sliver world, this horror's main strength is its ability to bring a steady supply of minions into play, who become even tougher thanks to the abilities of whatever other slivers are nearby. Remember to get the correct total ability mods, add +8 to the scores shown. 




Friday, 4 April 2014

Shnecke's Wolves - Fire, Deals and Deadly Ice

23:56 - 00:00 (31/8/1472): Initially the group find themselves somewhat on the back foot, as the monsters unleash a horrific amount of pain their way. The soldiers it seems know a little magic, and send out great arcane chains of hooked flame, which draw the warriors closer. The hell hound is a catastrophe of fire and ripping jaws, who's elemental heat sears the flesh of anyone that gets too close. But worse, is the robed gigorim who stays back, the symbol of Zargor clutched in its armoured fist. Chanting in a voice like an inferno, this monstrosity bathes the streets (and the group) in blasting waves of flame and strikes at them with spears of lava.

Worse, before the group can fully adjust to the ferocity of the attack, the swordmage gives a tiny wail and drops to the floor; eyes rolling in his head, bloody foam frothing from his mouth. He convulses on the ground, unaware of the lethal battles around him.

The warlock flees to the slate roofs of the homes nearby, the assassin doing the same in a silent burst of shadow, whilst the rest of the group try to simultaneously stay out of the hound's brutal aura, and away from the glowing greatswords of the zargorim soldiers. Grigori is forced to throw almost everything into keeping his allies alive, whilst the rest of the group fight to protect the fitting swordmage and to take the monsters down. With the priest pouring healing into them, they slowly begin to push back at the monsters - though they are temporarily wrong footed when the obsidian exterior of the hell hound falls away to expose its blazing guts to the world, its deadly heat increasing to agonising levels. The fiery canine is the first to go down, its form vanishing in a burst of sulphurous smoke and sparks. Then the two soldiers are taken down, one annihilated by a wailing bolt of raw spite fired by the warlock, supercharged by pain taken from his allies with Hope's Famine's deadly powers, the other hacked and chopped to pieces by the priest and barbarian, weakend and disoriented by the assassin's deadly poisons.

Suddenly outnumbered, the priest tries to flee. He fails.

00:03 - 00:25: Gathering up the fallen swordmage (who twitches and convulses still, his eyes wide open, a thin scream escaping his open mouth), the group run from the area and head for Narogg's Grogs as fast as they can, arriving a short while later.

00:26 - 03:00: Varracuda is put to bed, and Grigori spends time with him, carefully pouring restorative spells into him. With time, his convulsions stop, and he falls into a natural sleep. Meanwhile, the rest of the group get stuck into some drinking....gambling...and, after Shnecke loses a wrestling match with a fellow Ulnyrr and smashes a stool over his skull in protest, brawling. Leorn is seems only favors the priest, who, once he has settled the genasai, comes down to play cards. Whereas everyone else loses money, he wins a huge amount - and adds several sharp brained card players to the crew roster.

Narogg informs the group that they have a meeting with Mercurio Giovecci the next day, a Feccia captain.

Varracuda has come around by the time the group retire, and he hoarsely informs them that he has seen a "vision of what lies beneath the volcano". He struggles to compose himself as he continues, "It's ancient. Older than anything you can imagine. A molten mass of hatred so intense that it would blot out this universe if given half a chance." He shudders, "It overwhelmed me. It's.....we have to leave or stop it".

08:30 - 13:00: The group awaken to find that Caleph is waiting for them. He informs the group that beyond the bounds of Scarathane's port, reality has shifted, and that the sea has frozen solid. This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, there is a distinct line the planar intrusion stops at around the island, suggesting that the it exists in some kind of dimensionally secure pocket. Secondly, the Drowned Bell was seen leaving only an hour or so before the sea froze, heading North. It seems very likely therefore that it is now stuck in the ice...vulnerable to attack.

It is decided that once they have met with the Feccia, they will head out to find the stricken pirate ship, to add it and its crew to their list of conquered foes.

The meeting has been arranged to take place at the "Sword and Sabre", a well appointed inn that is mostly built into the side of the volcano. After securing their weapons and implements in peace knots, the group are allowed in (by the clearly terrified door guards). They are shown upstairs to a well appointed room, where, instead of the expected captain, they meet with one Iskarius Faedento; a devilishly handsome man with a warm, practiced, demeanor of businesslike friendliness. He is watched over by a hulking humanoid construct of gleaming steel, darkwood and polished obsidian, that Jaeger recognises as an advanced form of Shield Guardian being sold by the Order to certain individuals. His name, according to Iskarius, is Signore Massacrare (Mr Butcher), and he quickly demonstrates his protective nature when the warlock speaks in a less than friendly tone during the negotiations, and it rumbles menacingly, adopting a protective stance over the representative.

Iskarius (speaking crude tradespeak) apologises for Giovanni's absence, stating that the Feccia rarely allow "unknowns" to meet their ranking officers. Grigori realises that their reactions are being measured here, and that the intention of this last minute change is purely to see how they react. It is at this point that Thatari begins to voice his displeasure, the priest stepping in to speak over him and prevent the meeting ending before it can even start.

The meeting is brief, and the outcome clear (Grigori enacts a translation ritual, allowing the group to more accurately communicate with Iskarius). If the group wish to enjoy the benefits of association with the Feccia Del Mare, they will have to prove themselves. To this end, they are given a seemingly impossible task.

There are two rival groups of pirates in the city - the Figli Putana, and the Cani Mortali. The former group are despised by the Feccia, and are seen as worthy only of death. The "Death Dogs" however, whilst certainly foolish to have tried to take a piece of the Feccia's territory, have impressed them enough that they are willing to try and absorb them into their syndicate - a proposition they have currently rejected. To aid in this process, the Feccia feel they need to send a powerful message to the Cani, without starting a war. To this end, they ask that the group infiltrate their stronghold in the city - once the stronghold of Jediker's Collaterals, a mercantile investor and banker - in order to steal Scheggia; The Splinter; a deadly and potent dagger once owned by the Feccia, and held by Jediker's as a deposit against a loan they granted them. To make matters worse, the dagger is held within the heavily warded vaults beneath the stronghold, created by a well known local archmage who specialises in such constructs, within a solid pillar of crystal, built into the vault itself!

Oh, and if possible, the Feccia would prefer it if there were no fatalities amongst the Cani, and that they are not made aware of the theft. This is because they want to show them that they have the means to enter their most secure places, take what they want, and to leave without them even knowing, and without slaying a single soul - a powerful motivator for them to join the Feccia without a fight ("If we can do this, imagine what we will do if you anger us").

Iskarius leaves the group to discuss the proposition. Telling them that if they accept, they get three days stay in the ports for free - though all costs that would be incurred will be owed if the group fail in the mission. Thatari is not happy. He argues that by doing what is asked, the Feccia get something for nothing. Grigori argues the opposite, and feels it to be a good idea to try. The assassin and swordmage agree, whilst the barbarian seems concerned about the probable lack of killing involved, his axe aching for a good fight.

Eventually, the group agree. They will, within the next three days, try to retrieve the Splinter (though the assassin warns the group that the blade is known to the Unified Order, and was once held in the Durance Occulta. Intelligent, and famed for how its blade breaks off in a victim, before burrowing into their hearts, it is considered an "Artifice Threat". There is (or was before the Sundering) a substantial reward for its return to the Order).

With the meeting concluded, the group rush back towards the SC, eager to get out hunting for the Drowned Bell. As they head towards the harbor, they can see the impossibly huge wall of smog that has formed where the sulphurous, hot, dry air of the island meets the unnaturally cold and wet air of the realms beyond. What little sunlight that would normally push through the usual clouds of smoke and airborne ash is swallowed by this colossal wall of turbulent vapors, the only clear light being the constant flashes of lightning that leap and dance along its edge. It makes for an ominous sight, charging the atmosphere with a strange energy, and even the normally unshakable people of Scarathane are subdued and on edge this day.

13:00 - 21:45: The group discuss tactics, changing their original plan (sneaking up on the ship by swimming under the ice that they are reliably told now covers the ocean beyond the wall of smog), when they learn that the cold beyond is utterly alien in its intensity, and has frozen the sea to quite some depth. This also changes their original plan to bring along a good few of their crew, as they realise that the environment they are about to enter may be too much for them to bear.

Grigori casts a ritual about the group that will shield them from the worst of most forms of natural cold, and with two crew men rowing, the group leave the ship in a lifeboat, and head for the interface between this realm and the one beyond...

The seas begin to thicken with ashy ice about half a mile from the end of the port, several huge vessels, clad in crushing ice, slowly sinking into the ash blackened, slushy waters. The cold increases every few meters further from the island they row, and the group realise that their crewmen may not be able to stand taking them much nearer to the dimensional interface. Fortunately, the tiny boat encounters solid ice before this happens, and the party disembark, leaving the two men, teeth chattering (despite the heavy furs they wear) to wait for their return.

Stepping onto the ice, each party member notes the thin skin of buzzing orange light that clings to them, realising it is Grigori's ritual desperately fighting to keep them warm. Grimly aware that they could be walking to their dooms, the group head in towards the howling wall of smog, snow and flickering corposant.

Within the wall, all is shrieking icy winds and blinding, biting snow. The group have to rope themselves together to prevent being blown away from each other, and it becomes immediately clear that although the ritual is offering them some protection against the cold, it is not able to fully shield them against its unnatural power. They trudge on, ignoring the pain of the cold, trying to be as alert as possible in the overwhelming chaos of the planar interface. This goes on for what seems like forever, until suddenly, they find themselves standing in another world.

Behind them, the wall of chaotic power is only visible as a ghostly image superimposed on the reality of the universe they now partially occupy; an endless place of ice, scudding black clouds, and unimaginable cold, litten by a bloodless, pale green sun. Shivering and pained by the cold, the group take a moment to acclimatise, the living struggling as the algid air freezes their throats and lungs. Worst hit are the assassin, and oddly enough, the Ulnyrr, who seem more stressed by the cold than the rest of the group.

"Th-th-there." Gasps Jaeger, pointing in what would, in their world, have been south. "A bump in the landscape." He takes out his telescope, and asks the warlock to breathe on it, to melt the frost that instantly gathers over its lens. Peering through, he sees that there is indeed a bump in the land, that appears to be a ship, trapped in the ice. However, as he does this, the priest hears something that makes his blood run cold; a rumbling, animalistic call, coming from the near distance, that reminds him of the call of whales.

Grigori tells the group what he has heard, and the telescope is swung in the direction of the sound. Soon enough, something massive is seen, slowly coming into view over the distant horizon; a monstrous silhouette against the light of the halo ringed, setting sun. As the moments pass the cold seems to deepen, and the group begin to burn with it, their limbs growing heavy and leaden. However, they find themselves transfixed as the beast comes closer, for it becomes clear that it is massive beyond words - at least the size of a large cathedral.

It is vaguely elephantine, with six massive legs, and a blunt head studded with huge, blue, fiery eyes. A massive vertical mouth splits the head, now and then opening to emit the terrible, bowel weakening cry that the priest first picked up on.

The group become worried, for the creature is heading vaguely in the direction of the Drowned Bell. However, they realise that it will not encounter it, and vote to let the behemoth pass before carrying on. This means waiting, in the waning light and waxing cold, for what seems like an age, as the impossibly huge beast sways and roars past, heading towards the planar interface, and possibly, the tropical waters around the port. The wait takes its toll, the cold draining the resolve and deadening the flesh of several party members. However, they manage to stand firm, and once happy that the monster is gone, they advance.

Darkness steals across this desolate place, the air growing still colder. Light pours from each adventurer as the enchantments fight desperately not to be overwhelmed by the cold, blending with another light that suddenly wells from beneath their feet. It is the pale green glow of rotting wood, rising it seems from the very ice upon which they walk. Wreathed in this, and the frozen spectres of their own breath, the group advance and soon find the corpse of the Drowned Bell.

The ship has been cut in half by its own exploding body, the water in its planks and ropes flash freezing and bursting outwards. Its masts lie in pieces, decorated in a million icicles, its sails shattered like glass.

The same thing has happened to the crew, all of whom are now abstract things of gory ice and erupted slush. Each has exploded as they have frozen, their forms caught mid-eruption, their faces lost amidst clusters of a thousand, thrusting, crimson needles.

Creeping forwards, the party begin to explore the ghost ship, trying to ignore the horrific forms that were, but a few hours ago, living, breathing men and women. Thick ice is hacked away, and the group get access to the lower decks, and hopefully, whatever treasure the ship was carrying. And it is whilst they explore these levels that they hear a faint sobbing cry coming from the lowest decks. Moving carefully towards it, past cannons that have torn themselves apart as their metals contracted, and past more tortured, surreal remains, the group eventually find a Dohr'Khustan, dressed in the robes of a mage, half frozen into the ice that threads the ships corpse. He is close to death, a small ember of summoned flame the only thing keeping him alive. Realising he must possess great power to have survived this long, the group approach him and offer him his life in return for his loyalty. He is barely conscious, but after a long time, in a voice so weak and whispered as to be near inaudiable, he says one sentence before passing out.

"Aye aye captain."

Saturday, 22 March 2014

More from H2 The Mines of Bloodstone - Orcolla - High Priest of Orcus (Level 24 Solo Controller)

Orcolla is a Duergar found close to the end encounter of Mines of Bloodstone. He has a guardian daemon (A Type IV Daemon - Nalfeshnee), which is bound to protect him (I modified one, giving it a guardian aura that boosted Orcolla's defences, and granted him the daemon's immunities and resistances). 

Anyway, the group never got anywhere near this encounter, so I thought I would post his stats here for all to see. 

 

Don't forget to add +12 to all the stat modifiers to get their final value.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Orcus - Prince of Undeath - Level 26 Raid Solo (8-12 Man)

My stag weekend saw a number of things never seen before. It saw the birth of some new House Rules (to be published soon), the longest game of Magic the Gathering ever (3 damn hours+), and 8 22nd level characters trying (and failing) to take on this version of Orcus. Longest surviving member was a 22nd level Fighter...first to die were a Paladin and Cleric. 

Please be aware if you decide to use this version of Orcus, he is incredibly tough. The aura alone is absolutely lethal. Even potent epic characters will struggle - and that's how it should be; he's  a Daemon Lord for evilness' sake!

Anyway, enjoy. I'll publish some more stats from my conversion of H2 (an adventure that didn't in any way live up to my memory of how good it was), the Mines of Bloodstone. 

 
"RRRRRAAAARRRGH! TASTES LIKE PALADIN!!!"

Add half his level to the stat mods shown to get the total bonus, and if you beat this guy, well done!



Sunday, 2 March 2014

Ormid Et Al - Session Report - Grognob The Flatulent, Jailbreak Initiation

14:41 - 00:00: The gigorim's name is Grognob "The Flatulent" (translated from the Gigorim by Llewellyn), and he is one of several witchdoctors that serve Skrung. He is absolutely terrified, and can barely control himself (demonstrating where his title comes from) in light of the ritual he was (according to him) "forced" to conduct, the results ("He wuz my best mate, Bungor was.") and to be in the presence of a group who just massacred a major daemon and the energumen it created.

In return for its life, the monster draws the group a crude map, showing kitchens to the southwest ("Watch out for the cook, Mongoth, he's vicious, though not as vicious as his cooking"), "Prisuns" to the northwest ("Dey keep powerful enemies in there"), and after a "Gard room", a way down to the "Boss". Now completely spent, the group tell Grognob to go, warning him that if he betrays them, they will do to him, what they did to the daemon. Sobbing with relief and loss, the gigorim runs for his wretched life.

The group settle down to rest. However, a few hours later a patrol of guards begins to bang on the doors leading to the conjuring chamber. They last less than a minute, taken by surprise by the party, and hacked apart in a brief eruption of horrific violence.

12/7/51: 00:01 - 00:20: Feeling mostly rested, the group head back to the crossroads that leads from the manticore chambers. From there, they head west, moving past a partial collapse of the corridor, soon coming to another huge gigorim sized door. Veteran struggles to open this one, the wood having warped a little in the frame (although this is clearly a well traveled path), and it takes the assistance of Ormid to wrench it free of its frame.

With the door open, the group are immediately hit by a strong smell like cooked garbage, and they find themselves looking into a wide chamber, from which lead a number of corridors. Piles of mouldering rubbish lies strewn about, the nearest one exuding a filthy pool of sticky, greenish ooze. As the group's light enters the area, so hundreds of cockroaches and rats scurry away. Moments later, alerted by the tide of vermin, a vulgorim warrior begins to tromp towards the group, his pace increasing as he spots the pale, artificial light of the sunrods.

As he comes round the corner, he is attacked, his thigh destroyed by the rogue and his mace before he can even raise his weapon arm. Bellowing like a wounded bull, the gigorim is silenced mere seconds later, when the warforged steps in past the vaulting vyrleen, and plants the edge of his fiery, storm wreathed blade into its guts, bursting its belly open and sending it to the ground, convulsing and drowning in his own blood.

The group decide to head northeast, to seek the prisons, reasoning that they may find allies in there. However, they are also more than a little aware that time is running out, for it getting closer and closer to the 13th, and their meeting with the Tanners and Knife Sharpener's Guild.

They move through several more filthy corridors, piled up with more rotting waste, and soon find a huge door that bears tempered steel spikes on its surface, as well as clear reinforcements to its structure. Gigorim can be heard dully chatting from the other side, one of them coughing thickly throughout, and the group decide that a surprise attack would be best. However, the doors are an issue, for getting them open will clearly be difficult from this side.

00:21 - 00:23: Calling on his shadow powers, the warforged becomes less than solid, and slides through the doorway and into the chamber beyond. It is large; a diamond shaped room, with doors set in each point, barred from the inside. In the middle of the chamber yawns a vast pit, 20' across, and the gods only know how deep. Around this stand three vulgorim, each bearing a huge spiked club, hide armour and a sack of shaped throwing rocks. The room is warm with their heat, and reeks of their flatulence, and the living construct has to wipe the sudden condensation from his eyes that forms there. With the brief magics holding him in the shadow plane fading, he prepares to act, reaching up towards the beams (for there are two) blocking the door.

Suddenly, the magic ends, and with a roar Veteran throws off the bars blocking the door, the massive portal being kicked open a moment later by the artificer. Utterly shocked by the light that has suddenly filled their chamber, and confused as to what is going on, the vulgorim do nothing at first other than look around stupidly. Things change when Llewellyn darts in, and shatters the knee-cap of the nearest brute, sending it stumbling back towards the pit. It manages - just - to keep its wits about it, and drops to the floor before falling in. However, the battle is on, and the group pile in.

Two of the guards attack with their clubs, meeting deadly resistance. The third stands back and repeatedly fails to hit anyone with his thrown rocks. Realising they may be in trouble, one of the monsters backs to the northern door, and throwing off the bars, bangs on it, screaming out (in vulgorim) "Oi! Boss! We's under attack! Get up here and help!", From beyond the door, a deeper voice, filled with irritation replies, its words lost in the tummult of battle.

Moments of bloody madness pass, with the warforged taking a heavy blow from one of the vulgorim, his head dented and bent to a strange angle, his internal systems screaming at him that he has been seriously wounded. Then the northern doors swing wide, revealing a huge gigorim clad in a heavy apron of fire-blackened leather; a brutal over sized axe in one hand, a crude shield of melded bones, covered in primal glyphs, on his other arm. At the same time, the rock thrower piles in towards the party, raising his club with a battle cry.

Uznoor the jailor, a potent enemy, strides to destroy the invaders, but misses badly several times. He roars in fear as one of his allies is brutally shoved by a wave of artifice into the pit, the screams of the falling monster stopping briefly as it is heard to slap wetly into something far below - the agonised cries recommencing moment later for a while, until they are suddenly cut off, a slimy slurping sound and low level fizzing the only sounds to follow.

The downed gigorim is slain, his throat opened brutally, and the jailer becomes desperate to destroy these potent enemies. He tries to cleave the Veteran in two, but instead suddenly finds himself tumbling sideways towards the pit, a wave of magical force having caught him in the side. He bellows in fear, only too aware of the monstrous and ancient Gelatinous Cube that waits hungrily below, and desperately twists, smashing hard to the ground, winded.

The Veteran receives another hefty blow, the club of the vulgorim that just joined the melee sending him flying through the air, to crash, dazed, next to the jailer. This brute is taken out moments later however, screaming as he plunges into the pit, knocked almost senseless by the vyrleen, who vaults off the wall, and smashes him in the skull with his mace. With a roar, Uznoor rises to his feet - only to get smashed in the belly by the rogue's deadly mace, and slashed by the Veteran's snarling blade. Gasping and soiling himself, he tries to slash the warforged twice with his brutal blade. However, so pained and off balance is he, that he fails to hit, the warforged catching the heavy edge on his adamantium plated forearm, deflecting its force, and further off balancing the brute.

Ultimately, this is the Jailer's undoing, for it leaves him teetering precariously next to the deadly pit. Seeing an opening, Ormid shouts out his oldest spell, and a shockwave of thunderous energy erupts from the downed warforged, smashing Uznoor in the face, splattering his nose and snapping his massive head back. Shocked, Skrung's jailer steps back, his massive foot slipping on the edge of the pit. Time seems to freeze as he hangs there, arms flailing, awkwardly looming over the darkness, and then, with a shriek, he is gone - paralysed and devoured by the blind horror in the pit.

From the southern door can be heard (and felt) the approaching tromp of huge booted feet, and the group move to quickly dispatch the last surviving gigorim. It tries to crush the vyrleen, but ultimately, perishes as Ormid, his massive artifice arm spitting steam and sparks, punches it in the throat, and sends it to join its comrades as the oozes feast.

The southern door explodes in a shower of splinters as a vulgorim kicks through it, the hulking brute's lower leg bleeding badly from the spikes. Behind it, another two filthy behemoths can be seen, their eyes widening in shock as they smell and sense the extreme violence that just filled this room.

From the northern corridor, a deep voice, sounding more like slabs of granite rubbing together than anything else, cries out in base gigorim; "H-help...."

Friday, 28 February 2014

Session Report - Ormid Et Al - Unholy Magic, More Undead, A Summoning

14:00 -14:10 For a while the group simply lean on the stinking, dripping walls and enjoy the feeling of not being dead. Then the doors leading from the manticore's chamber begin to boom and bulge towards them as the daemonic beast tries to smash its way free, and they back off, encountering another set of reinforced doors. These are subsequently torn open by the warforged, and the group find themselves looking at a dark crossroad; reflected firelight gleaming from the left, a barely visible sullen red glow welling from the darkness ahead.

Edging forwards the group come to a small chamber which has two exits; one to the west (a strong stink of urine and ammonia wafts from this tunnel, leading the group to assume it leads to some kind of midden), and one to the south (the red glow can be seen to emanate from here). 

14:11 - 14:40: Carefully, the group move towards the southern corridor, and at once see two huge, crude symbols on the floor, painted in (still) boiling blood, glowing with necromantic power. The symbols are promptly disabled by the artificer - who summons his Onyx Dog, invests it with a little of his own life force, and then sends it over the symbols - triggering each in a burst of repulsive, rotting light, the poor summoned animal yelping in agony as its energy is consumed, before it is sent back to the statuette.

With the symbols gone, the group carry on south, entering a narrow (10' wide) corridor that seems to turn around on itself heading mainly east. Fresh blood (less than a day old) is spattered along its filthy floor, as if something bleeding out was carried this way, and as the corridor turns northwards, the group see that it ends (in the eastern wall) with another reinforced doorway. The aether in this area is alive with energy so strong that even the Veteran is aware of it. All recognise the filthy tang of daemonic magic, and before the group attempt to open the door (which is covered in grisly blood symbols, fetishes and pieces of various animals), Ormid risks a peek into the magical realm - immediately wishing he had not, for he sees, somewhere close by, a wound in reality being torn open by potent ritual magic; a portal to some dark and unstable realm of raw chaos and malevolence. With horror, the artificer realises that someone is trying to summon a daemon to this plane of existence, and that they are very close to succeeding.

Ormid tells the group what he has sensed, and they discuss whether or not they should go on. As they discuss this, so the air become suffused with the smell of burning blood, and a psychic weight begins to press down on them. Despite their weariness, wounds and misgivings, the group realise that they can't simply stand by and allow a daemon to be called - especially as it is probably being called to deal with their "army" and "invasion".

The door is opened (no wards are found on it beyond the disturbing iconography and daubings - possibly as such magics might disrupt the ritual), and at once the throat-grabbing stink of advanced decay assaults the group. A murky, faintly luminous miasma clouds the air ahead, and the group are barely able to make out the two lumbering figures that stamp and stumble forwards until they are nearly upon them - two more animated Morgorim. These things are slain, and the group move on, soon spotting another blood sigil on the floor, in front of a another door - this time covered in well crafted circles and wards against extraplanar intrusion. By this time, a constant sense of dread and oppressive wrongness presses down on the party. From beyond the door, they can hear a number of unspeakable sounds; two gigorim voices, terrified and raw, coughing out the words to the ritual they are casting (although they sound more than a little horrified by what they are doing), an indistinguishable tearing sound, like hot knives through rotten flesh, and something else - a filthy, black, muttering in a tongue that seems to pollute their minds simply by hearing it - something ancient, malevolent beyond description, and powerful.

The group move to open remove the glyph. However, at this point a horrible, insane scream goes up from beyond the doors, and the air is suddenly wracked by echoes of wild magic and psychic screams. The entire area shakes as if in an earthquake, and the group feel something massive and terrible shift its metaphysical weight into their plane. The screams (those of one of the chanting gigorim) suddenly meld with the darker voice (although the other gigorim can still be heard screaming, his yells almost childlike in their raw terror), and the air is filled with the sound of ripping flesh and snapping bone. Sickened and suddenly worried, the group back off a little - just as the door explodes outwards in a shower of magic and splinters, and something utterly nightmarish, roaring from its multiple mouths, and lashing with its many misshapen limbs, pours through its frame (the glyph triggers uselessly beneath the flabby bulk of the horror).

It takes the artificer a moment to realise what they face, but then the copper drops.

"The daemon has possessed one of its summoners and warped their body for its own use. It's still 'putting them on' so to speak, so is a little less potent at present. Destroy it and send it back before it can truly take over its host".

His comrades need no further encouragement, and launch themselves in towards it. Their epic weapons cleave into the shifting, flame wreathed flesh of the thing, each blow triggering terrible wailing screams from the huge fanged mouths that cover its monstrous form. It responds by spewing a thick unnatural spume of fiery corrosion towards the group, drenching them in consuming abyssal energy, whilst its mere presence is enough to unseat their sanity and stop them riding the escalating winds of battle. Hurt badly, and already close to breaking point, the group almost sob with relief as the thing begins to split open - revealing a maddening weave of flesh, energy and chaos within, the remnants of the possessed gigorim slowly being hacked away to reveal the possessing spirit. Llewellyn darts here and there, the Devastating Momentum chewing chunks off the thing, whilst Ormid stays back, his magics raining down on it viciously, washing the flesh away like horrific paint. However, their victory is not easy, as the thing rips into them with claw studded tentacles, tearing through armour like paper, and sending them smashing into walls. But victory, of a kind is theirs, for suddenly, with a roar of ancient fury, the flesh form is peeled off, and the thing inside is unleashed.

"Glabrezu" gasps Ormid, as he recognises the form of the daemon; a hulking, four-armed behemoth, with the head of a rabid dog and the horns of a goat.

Billowing with magic, the summoned daemon is momentarily stunned by its unexpected transition from flesh back into spirit - and this proves to be its undoing, for before it can even react and bring its incredible powers to bear, the warforged, calling on every last ounce of his strength and resolve, focusing all the accumulated pain and rage he has gathered that day into one attack after another, leaps towards it. The Annihilator seethes with its own power, enhanced up by Ormid's castings, and time and again it strikes the abomination; each blow weakening the magics holding it to this dimension, its form becoming more and more unstable and unreal...until suddenly, with the fifth epic blow, the horror is banished in a burst of chaotic energy and deafening shrieks back to its own nightmare universe.

For a moment it is like the volume has been turned down on reality, as the rage that mantled the group subsides...only the sobbing of the last terrified gigorim filling the tainted, blood tasting air. Fumes, like shadows hover where the daemon was, almost leaving a negative impression of it, as if its evil has been burned into realities skin. However, as that fades, so too do the group come round...and turn their attention to the weeping monster.