This session was played on 1/7.
Dietrich the Human Knight
Ander the Halfling Rogue
Barakas the Tiefling Warlord
Chan Lee the Human Monk
The death of the demonic gnoll freed the slaves from the ritual, and they collapsed to the ground drained and unconscious. After making sure they were alive, the party looted the chamber, finding an odd silver key in the shape of a minotaur's collarbone, and numerous letters. Returning to the Seven Pillared Hall, they brought the slaves to the temple for looking after. They then spent the next day resting up, and transferring the enchantment from Ander’s dagger to his rapier. They also read through the notes from the demonic gnoll, which told them that Paldemar had the matching silver collarbone key, and that both would unlocked the Shrine of Undeath! In addition, the key seemed to act as a compass, pointing the way.
Following the key’s directions brought the adventurers to the very door of the hidden Shrine of Undeath. Entering a large chamber, full of appropriately atmospheric smoke, shadows, and dark mirrors, they heard a laugh coming from their bag of holding. Opening it up and pulling out the head of Kalarel, he tells them of their doom, and then the head is yanked from their grip and a new body forms below it, and stepping from the mirrors are 5 shadowy forms that resolve themselves into the appearances of the party - and of Ulrick the wizard! The fight was tough, as Kalarel’s shadowy form seemed to resist being torn asunder once again. The companions’ shadow-selves were dispersed several times before they focused on Kalarel, who kept re-summoning them, but eventually he, and the shadow-selves were drawn back through the mirrors.
Passing beyond that chamber a teleportation circle whisked them into the Shrine of Undeath itself! Shadowy walls hid strange goblin-like creatures, and hideous columns. The creatures were cut down rapidly, but the columns blasting the characters unrelentingly was the real challenge. The only way out of the chamber seemed to be another keyed portal, which they took very quickly...
Dropping them into a much quieter area. Simple unadorned columns held the ceiling aloft, and multiple doors sealed them in. Opening the large doors revealed a similar columned chamber holding a giant bronze minotaur - one of the same type of wardens that both protects the Seven Pillared Hall, as well as the ones down in the sea of shadows! This one however seemed much more interested in attacking. It was slightly hemmed in by the tight confines of the room, and the adventurers used that to their advantage, bringing it down in 2 rounds. This was just in time as a pair of the goblin creatures from before, and a pair of robed cultists came to investigate. Neither of the goblins lasted very long. Ander ended up on one side of the room with a cultist and goblin while the other two dealt with the rest of the party. Each set was taken down quickly and without much pain, though the cultists ripping their own faces off was a bit disconcerting.
Investigating around they discovered a library full of blank books, and a laboratory with some sort of large demonic machine, and a short passage to another closed door.... avoiding the machine, the party pressed on. Opening the door they found... a small chamber with 3 more doors, one on each wall.
Taking the door to the right (north) they discovered another Bronze Warder, which also moved to attack. This time they couldn’t take it down before reinforcements arrived in the form of 2 cultists, 3 more goblin things, and Paldemar himself! The battle raged, with the Bronze Warden dropping first, then the goblin things, then the cultists.
Paldemar spent the whole time blasting the adventurers with amazingly powerful magics. Paldemar’s companions, on the other hand, found themselves less than effective. Chan in particular, deciding that Paldamar needed to be brought down, bug finding himself at the wrong end of the battle, performed an epic combination of flips, jumps, and twists that managed to hit everything between him and his target, netting over 200 points of damage total! As the last of his allies were being brought low, Paldemar found himself facing the monk. Drawing Chan away from his companions, Paldemar avoided a solid blow, and became invisible. Losing his nerve, Chan decided to wait until his friends could back him up. Paldemar decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and fled the Shrine of Undeath.
The adventurers then destroyed the Shrine, the demonic machine, and claimed a ritual book, a stash of gold, and a map as their treasure.