The realization of our loss slowly sank in as we silently made our way out of the swamp. With a good length of rope and a few jumps, we started crossing a patch of quicksand towards higher – and dryer – ground. Distracted by the proceedings, another giant boa sneaked up on us. So close to the death of Rex, courage failed us and we retreated hastily before losing another member of our party. Luckily, the reptile quickly lost interest and we were left free to examine the expanse overlooking the swamp and welcome Iriediana, a Thiefling bard teleported in reinforcement a few moments before. Apart from a sinister-looking sinkhole, the only way out of this cavern was a little passage leading to a series of tight, dark corridors. Even in these conditions, underground, on a perilous mission, surrounded by monstrous beasts, it didn’t take long to Leon to find some mischief to achieve. The damned rogue almost woke up the spectral guardians of an altar of Zehir. This one’s vices will need to be taken care of soon… Before they kill us all. Our journey into the darkness ended on an even larger cavern. The sheer size of it simply defied imagination. An entire city was sprawling within its limits, hundreds of feet below us. We had just reached the mythical hidden city of the sorcerer-kings of Parhok.
A gigantic orb, floating high in the “sky” of the city, was spreading an eerie glow over the scene and a multitude of campfires could be seen throughout the streets. Safely hidden by the the sheer altitude of our position and knowing the last part of our journey was to be the hardest, we decided to set up camp. The Gods granted us an undisturbed rest, leaving us to tend our wound and contemplate our mission. How could the bastard girl of the Overlord of Punjar have amassed that amount of power? How did she find the legendary city in the first place? Some other evil force must have been at work behind Dragora…
The orb illuminating the city apparently reproducing the surface day/night cycle, we decided to wait for the darkest hour before resuming our journey, climbing down the cliff down to the city. Adell had spotted some strange “birds” during her watch, they turned out to be small drakes, we discovered with horror, when they started harassing us during the descent. They seemed to be more interested in the shiny objects we were carrying that in ourselves though and we were able to reach the ground more or less unmolested. Infiltrating the city itself was a very tense process as the main streets were crawling with an army of ape-men. We kept to the back alley and advanced as discreetly as possible towards a very large pyramid at the centre of the city. A large patrol and a set of guards were keeping the structure secured, but we saw an opportunity by circling around the back of it, where stairs led us directly to the top. And to a big surprise. A big, green, scaly surprise.
We discovered a young green dragon soundly asleep on the pyramid’s platform. We came up short of ideas on how to diffuse the situation until our bard resolved to try and bluff our way past the winged monster. It unfortunately didn't pan out as we hoped and Dragora was swiftly warned. A platform magically rose up from inside the pyramid and she appeared, in all her glory, sitting on the throne of the sorcerer-kings, her magical halo almost palpable. Against all odds, she didn't outright attack us but instead invited us down to her chambers. She turned out to be a surprisingly well-mannered - albeit extremely devious and strangely dressed - young lady. I gave me hope to resolve the situation without further bloodshed and so I tried talking her out of revenge plans. It quickly proved to be utterly useless though, as she was entirely bent on ruining her father’s life. But this conversation turned out to be the perfect distraction for Leon, who deftly stole from her pouch the small orb that seemed to be the focused of her magical power, the very goal of our quest. He discreetly warned us of this fact, a large grin on his face, as the exchange with Dragora was concluding.
Somehow, this sprung Jenn into action. All of a sudden, she raised her axe, murderous intent in her eyes. The young sorceress was apparently prepared for this, and lashed out at our warlord before she could land her blow. The situation went from dangerous to desperate in matter of seconds. Dragora was as good a warrior she was a sorcerer, her pet dragon join the fray almost immediately and a couple of her guards came to her defence at our back. Focused on containing the dragon, I could only watched as Tasarus and then Iriediana suffered catastrophic injuries from its acid breath and the axes of the ape-men, falling dead in front of the dais. Dragora was not as resilient as her dragon however, and chose to flee by elevating her throne back to the rooftop of the pyramid. Jenn and Leon managed to jump aboard the platform, determined to finish her off. Her scally pet followed her as well, leaving Adell and me a couple of guards to deal with. As they* fell, we couldn’t hear any battle sound coming from above us any more and I had to contemplate the possibility they we were now trapped underground, alone, against a city full of soldiers, a dragon and her lethal mistress...
*GM: One Zain-Kin was killed, one fled.
Quicksand & Boa - 500
Not messing with pit - 125
Grotto, not messing with sinkhole - 200
Not messing with serpent wraiths - 300
Cliff Descent - 500
Navigating through city - 500
Evading patrol - 250
Battle in throneroom - 1162
Total 3537/6= 590
Level 3 major quest - defeat Dragora - 150 XP each
Total: 740+3244 = 3984 XP
3750 XP for Level 4
Level 4 reached.
Erik's account +60 XP= 4044 XP
Need 5500 XP for Level 5.
The surviving heroes of Punjar catch their breath (short rest - can spend healing surges, regain Encounter powers).
In the sunlit world above, Jenn and Leon search Dragora - she has a +2 Resounding Longsword and the strips of leather she wears are +2 leather armour. Her belt pouch held 25gp and the dark red scaly Orb of Parhok.
|Lvl 7||+2||2,600 gp|
Power Daily (Free Action)
In the Temple of Tiamat in the city of the Parhok, Adell and Erik search the throne chamber. The treasure chests are stuffed with tapestries, furs, and moldering bolts of ancient silk. While most of the treasure has fallen to the passage of time, some wealth yet remains: 2,000 gp, 5,500 sp, 2 potions of healing, and 5 emeralds v 150gp each (total non-magic treasure value 2000+550+750=3300gp).