Shnecke's Wolves - Session Report

It is a terrible battle, with the Orgon'Gigorim almost killing Varracuda several times. However, the group are able to slowly weaken it, until eventually, with a terrible roar and a surge of gore, it crashes to the floor, bleeding from the hideous wound to its groin the charging barbarian inflicts just before it dies. As for the Theo'Gorgai, they are taken apart in short order, although they leave the group bleeding and Shnecke, hobbling; his ankles hacked by their flamberge style greatswords.

04:25 - 04:30: Pausing only to catch their breaths, the group laugh as Shnecke considers decapitating the Orgon and rolling its head into the pirates lair as a portent of what is to come (this idea is abandoned when they realise that it is too big, and would simply form a fleshy barrier between them and their treasures).

Varracuda spends some time studying the carvings on the stonework, and with a shudder realises that they are most likely the work of an alien and ancient race of serpent men, known by a number of names; Aesh'Azarr, Yuan-Ti, or the Shaidith. He tells the party, and warns them to be on their guard, for if Aesh'Azarr are present, then the group could be walking into something more dangerous than they anticipated.

04:32 - 04:50: The group slowly make their way into the lair, and almost at once are attacked; the air zipping with daggers as more lurking theo'gorgai pirates launch them. Grigori awakens his floating lantern, and its brilliant light reveals their foes; a couple of the hobs, and a hulking gorashym wielding a huge hammer in a small chamber linked to the entrance room by a short, narrow corridor. Shnecke, his blood boiling from the battle outside gives voice to a savage howl and charges into the fray, his axe a blur as the spirits of his homeland fill him with...

...He passes the doorway from this corridor, his axe striking at one of the theo'gorgai, and at once, a blue light flashes from a previously hidden rune carved into the floor. Instantly, the Ulnyrr halts, his flesh turned to stone, his body blocking ranged attacks through the corridor...

Jaeger spots a slender rope running from somewhere above the chamber into which they are headed, trailing along the ceiling and to an unseen source beyond the petrified barbarian. He shouts a warning to his allies who are about to charge the two pirates stuck with them this side of the Ulnyrr statue, and with a yelp, Grigori also spots the rope - and the heavy iron frame covered in spikes that it holds aloft.

Already aware of this, the assassin calls upon his dark powers, and fires a barrage of shadowed quarrels across the room. Less than real, they skip through the solid stone of the walls, and strike the hand of an almost completely hidden theo'gorgai, the pained monster letting go of the rope, and letting the deadly trap crash harmlessly to the floor.

"CHARGE" Screams Grigori, thumbing the activation stud on his chainsword.

The two piratesin the room, realising they are trapped, fight like daemons. The group charge in, but before they can attack, all but the assassin reel as the room is briefly turned into a crematorium; magical flames erupting from thin air, burning hair, clothes and flesh, and sucking all the air from the it briefly.

"Spell caster!" Croaks the warlock (his natural resistance to fire protecting him), "Good shot too".

The pirates in the room take some killing, and it takes some time for the priest to reach Shnecke, and to pour a curing oil onto him, stone melting away to reveal enraged flesh. Then, with that bottleneck removed, the battle spills into the corridors beyond; a crossroads of halls, their far ends shrouded in darkness.

More pirates rush the group, desperation clear on their inhuman faces. The Gorashym falls surprisingly quickly, targeted for a swift death by the group who recognise the potential pain written in the sculpt and heft of its monstrous frame. The spell caster manages to survive only a short time longer, gradually backing up the corridor directly facing the group, sending showers of blasting magic and corrosive pulses into them, his gesticulations and chants becoming more desperate as he realises that his meat shields are falling. As it is, it is the warlock that ends him; Hope's Famine writhing as it absorbs life from Thatari and the rest of the party, its spine like length wreathed in dripping, bloody darkness as it converts the stolen energy into raw spite, ready to be focused and unleashed by the possessed human. A boiling bolt of raw malevolent hate erupts from the warlock's hands, and strikes the mage, his chest imploding into a weird, warped singularity, before exploding out in a gory blast, almost severing him in half.

Filled with malevolent energy, the warlock hurls another spell, the ground in the corridor ahead suddenly filling with boiling, biting frogs...unnatural things that not only flood around the shrieking pirates, ripping into their feet and lower legs with frenzied might, but smashing like a green tide into something huge and ancient that waits, just at the edge of the lantern's light, at the far end of the corridor...something that is suddenly awoken, its stone body illuminating with turquoise runes as it takes its first ponderous, rumbling steps towards the melee.

"Oh shit!" exclaims Varracuda, decapitating a pirate, "is that what I think it is?"

The assassin groans, and fires a volley of shadow darts at the thing.

"A golem." he growls, "A stone golem".

The last pirate is slain, and all attention is turned towards the massive construct. Everyone is almost spent, their magic and strength almost exhausted from the continued battles, and they realise that this formidable foe could crush them all if allowed to close in. Awoken, and tuned into the tide of battle, it walks very slowly, its stony exterior thickened by ancient spells, each step crushing scores of the summoned frogs into a warping smoke (which reforms seconds later into more of the unnatural amphibians). Blue light flickers from it, and Varracuda is turned to stone, although, with a burst of magic and effort, he manages to resist the petrification rays effects after a few moments.

A desperate game of tag ensues, with the group doing everything in their power to keep the lethal monster away from them. Slowed by the frogs, and the narrowness of the doorway, it nearly comes into melee contact with them several times. However, magic and might send it reeling back again and again, and eventually, after several hellish minutes of chanting, screaming, throwing and panicking, it begins to crack open; turquoise light bleeding in bars from its writhing, misty core. Magic cuts the air, whilst the assassin bends space to hack at it from a distance with his shadowy blades. Poor at range, the disgruntled barbarian has to settle for lobbing hand axes at it, his face the picture of disgust, whilst Grigori focuses on keeping his allies alive. Thatari pours all his hate and loathing at the thing, the air blackened with curses and spite as he strikes it again and again...

...It takes even more time, and everyone begins to wonder if it will fall, by this time numb with exertion. Then suddenly, with a crack like thunder, the monster falls apart, the seething core within it erupting out in a deadly blast of sharpened stone, and petrifying magic...

With a sob of relief, the battered and utterly exhausted party drop to their knees and take some time to gather themselves...