In which our heroes complete the current adventure arc...
11:03 – Brundorson launches at Llewellyn in rage after his actions unleashed the Axyraxi, but calms quickly when Durjani reminds him of the situation.
11:10 – The group (after a short rest) enter the monolith...
11:35 – Within the monolith, the group find themselves in the halls of an ancient Dundorin fortress. The very air crackles with overwhelming ambient magic, and unseen presences stir as the group move through. It is immediately clear which way the Gorum'Durrak have gone, as they have unleashed their power at every obstacle. Doors lie blasted off their sturdy hinges, or cannot be found at all. Rubble is blown to pieces, and in at least two of the chambers, the group come across the shattered remains of Dundorin skeletons, which seem to have gained the semblance of life and attempted to stop the rampaging Dark Gorgoth.
For almost half an hour the group push further into the complex, until eventually massed piles of brittle bones start to show up, some still held together in papery armour, or holding age pitted weapons. The stench of ancient death grows stronger, and the group are forced to crunch over the massed bodies. The corpses of animals and children are evident, and the stones are darkly discoloured with the rancid fluids of decomposition.
Eventually they come to a large chamber, who's great stone doors have been blasted inwards with some terrible magic. From within the sounds of battle ring; inhuman screams and roars, and a horrific keening sound. Strange lights flicker and dance from within, and warped shadows leap madly. The air there veritably seethes with energy, and over the sounds of battle, a deep, droning chanting, from which their minds shrink can be heard.
Peering through the door, the group behold a fantastical sight. In the middle of the vast hall, a smaller version of the monolith stands surrounded by the apparently crystallized corpses of thirty Dundorin. The monolith is incandescent with rippling energy, as it is exposed to the dire incantations being chanted by a huge Gorum'Durrak from within a sphere of blinding bright purple flames.
Meanwhile, about fifteen more Gorum'Durrak battle with an ' high humanoid made from shadow, and edged in a flickering aura of indigo flames. Emblazoned with Dundorin runes of power and guardianship, this thing is setting about the Dark Gorgoth with a shadowy sword and blasts of magic, and looks like it was winning. However, the chanting monster in the sphere is clearly reaching some kind of crescendo, a dark line of corrosive force beginning to form around the middle of the monolith, held at bay for now by a band of dazzling silvery light which appears from the runes, and shortly after the group entered the fray, they realise that each time one of the crystallized Dundorin is shattered, the spectral guardian (a Soul Eidolon) is weakened.
A long battle ensues when the group charge into the chamber, in which they are pushed to their limits. Ormid realises that his artifice, enhanced by the seething magical current pulsing from the monolith enable him to repair the smashed crystals, and with the group slowly beating back the Gorum'Durrak (with the Eidolon's help) he does just that, strengthening the monolith's defensive spells, and eventually, as the last of the monsters are slain, allowing it to strike back at the one within the sphere; ripping her apart with a corrosive stream of raw, potent magic.
11:45 – With the monolith core's magic fully restored, the group are once more knocked senseless by a sudden release of incredible power. During this time they learn that a foul thing named a Morbind'Thruk (Dundorin – literally “sickness stone”) is contained within the monolith core, held in stasis by magics that cost every Dundorin their lives to release long ago. They learn that the stone gave sentience to disease, and created an elemental of plagues, and that the sacrifice of the Dundorin, their live stock and even their children, was the only way to ensure it remained hidden.
12:00 – Group awaken to see a shimmering, ghostly Eidolon of white and silver flame standing guard over them. It gestures towards a selection of items and each character takes one. It them gestures towards a floating rune circle of flickering, ethereal flames. Sensing that the monolith (currently suspiciously quiet) is about to do something that would be unpleasant for them, the group enter the rune circle, and are teleported to a cold tunnel that reaches into wintry air one end, and silent darkness at the other.
12:10 – The group emerge into a cold afternoon within an ancient and wild pine forest, apparently growing on the sides of some steep geological formation (like a mountains foothills).
I won't pretend, despite being a pretty bloody experienced GM (or maybe because of that), I was worried that this final fight (which had a LOT of bad guys, not to mention 30 crystalline statues to keep track of), would disappoint in some way; either because it would be a pushover, a TPK or that it would get really boring.
Luckily, it seemed to pace pretty well (though I did let the last two bad guys die a couple of rounds earlier, as they were 100% doomed, and stringing it out for no reason seemed dumb), and the guys seemed to really enjoy it.
My NPC's were cursed by shitty dice rolls for a good part of the fight, though they got some good hits in, in the end, and I forgot about an ability of one of my monsters which was pretty potent (and actually would have made the battle too hard and too long). However, a good time was had by all, and it was defintely not a push over. Indeed, it was looking pretty bad for the group a few times.
So, the Monolith arc is over...what next? Next game is next Monday, so you will have to wait and see won't you!