Tl;dr: Adventurers from Ruined Oak go to help a troubled farm and end up fighting a battle against a zerg hive and mad great mage. Everyone safely returned.
Future Adventure Notes:
•Cromwell believed the demon lord Baphomet is somewhere on the isle.
Session Title : The Remnant Embers
Session DM : Calmseeker
Session Date : 08 Aug 2021 @ 00:05
•”Trailblazer” Bardy (Bard 11/Cleric 1) with Sisyphus the Pegagus.
•”Scout” Eight (Monk 12/Wizard 2)
•”Leader” Faenoa (Fighter 10/Wizard 2)
•Uzza (Warlock 14) with Ral the Imp Familiar
•Valorean (Paladin 6/Sorcerer 7) with Azure the Griffon
Returning from a recent battle with the “zerg”
We met up in Ruined Oak with the intent of helping a farm to the south that was reporting problems. When we arrived the farm was visibly struggling. The farmer reported something was corrupting the land. A quick check determined that this corruption was non-magical in nature, something living was doing this. (The nature of this corruption was new to me at least.) We detected the tracks of unusual creatures and followed their general direction,
We travelled along the road, seeing various things of minor note. (an old shirt radiating magic on the ground, everyone in this group was wise enough to not touch random magical clothing it seems. Then we saw some frogs.) We set camp for the night. During the night, I was awoken to see a familiar carriage being pulled by nightmares. (for those unfamiliar it belongs to a reasonably friendly vampire prince name Sitaris.)
Sitaris greeted us with welcome familairity. He said he was in the area, as he had heard “rumours from a particular scout, about a mage in the area that he heard of before.” then showed us a picture of said mage. A picture of Cromwell. (Prince Alfred Cromwell the Great Mage, I suppose having power lets you decide your name.)
Sitaris was intent on finding this mage as he needed his staff to animate in a useful fashion a particular body he had found. He showed us a recent flyer he had issued in lieu of showing us the body. (Dear me, I recognized the person he has in his possession and while I would welcome the return of all the adventurers of AFK, this one was rather annoying. Hopefully Sitaris’s plans have a provision for dealing with that. I wanted to warn him but one simply does not warn vampire princes about trivial matters.) He knew that Cromwell was out of the reagents required to make another clone and would be likely willing to trade for them. He said if we should bring him Cromwell‘s staff he would give us a bit of gold for it.
The rest of the night was uneventful and in the morning we set out east, following the tracks we had seen before. Before noon, I became aware of something moving invisibly near us, and used magic to let me see it. I saw a creature that was similar to a gith (like Zak) but it was not one. When I tried to signal to the others, the creature realized it could be seen, then dropped its invisibility and hailed us.
He introduced himself as Zeradul and said he was a “protoss”. He was in the area tracking some creatures he names the “zerg” and noticed we were following them as well. He described the zerg as creatures created by mind flayers millennia ago. He was trying to find the main hive of this zerg contingent but was being recalled. He asked us to eliminate the zerg and then left as swiftly and he appeared. We continued east to find what was not the main hive, a smaller structure of some kind. Eight terms it a hatchery
Enroute to the entrance Eight found a note on the ground, written in elvish.
I met a vampire today named Sitaris. It has been at least a decade since I have last seen a vampire. He looked smarter than that one, so I invited him to become my minion. He refused, his pride not allowing him to agree. I was tempted to vanquish him, but I realised it would be a costly battle, so I let him leave. Even my demons would have trouble with a vampire. I will avoid using undead for now.
-Prince Alfred Crommwell the Great Mage
We sent Ral to scout ahead of us as we slowly made our way in. Ral reported eggs and zerg. We started the fight with a fireball (against creatures I have no names for. One was particularly large, one was using something akin to magic, one hid in the ground and shot spines through it.) We were in a tight tunnel and they put up a solid fight, and a few of us were hurt quite severely, but we prevailed in the end. (I should probably have a conversation with Uzza about those damn bugs of hers. They blinded us as well as the enemy, nearly got poor Faenoa exterminated.)
The pathway forked after the battle, the path we chose was a dead end filled with zerg eggs. Eight said to burn them, so we burned them (rather, Faenoa indulged in more pyromania, still a bit troubling, but used to good effect here.) We returned to the fork and down the other path was another dead end, this time with hallucinogenic mushrooms. Hidden within the mushrooms was a secret tunnel. While traversing this tunnel Eight found another note in elvish.
I saw a black dragon flying across the sky the other day. It was the largest dragon I have ever seen in my life. It was hard to make out in that storm of darkness that appeared months ago, but it looked like it was heading to the Ghostwood Marsh. Is there something there that draws its interest? It is of no matter to me, for once I discover the location of the demon lord sealed away on this island, the dragon will be no match for me. For now, I will use these monstrosities I have found in the Silent Forest called the zerg. They have intresting potential for mutations. I will see what happens if I infuse them with demonic blood…
-Prince Alfred Crommwell the Great Mage
At the exit of the tunnel was a much bigger structure than the previous and right in front of use is Cromwell. (Or any illusion of him, as Faenoa discovered when she tried to attack it.) We mention the staff and Cromwell laughs, inviting us inside the hive. He gestured and it opened, the illusion disappearing. We enter and find Cromwell with two zerg and two demons beside him. The battle was terrifying, a much larger zerg appeared from the ground shortly after we started. Throughout the fight Cromwell (seeming a bit unhinged in this bard’s nonexpert opinion) uttered various things that I tried to commit memory.
“I was never king. My father and mother exiled me from the Sori for my obsession with demons. Now I will become king by sacrificing you to Baphomet.” (so he was a real prince then)
“So many minions and friends killed. The Vampire Brandino, Belfador, Yama Orochi, Medeana, the balor and now the zerg. Must you stand in my way every time?” (various groups had dispatched those various named creatures. )
“Your mounts annoy me to no end! Why would they follow you when I could not attain one?” (he banished Sisyphus at this point)
“Ahh, I am growing faint, my lord Baphomet. Will I never find where you are hidden on this island?” (I should note that Cromwell believes demon lord Baphomet is hidden on the island)
“Insolent zerg! You retreat just because the ultralisk is dead?” (this was said after the very large creature died, so perhaps that was an “ultralisk”, also the remaining zerg started to flee.)
“Is today my day to perish? If it is, I will find solace in that I will never have to see that obelisk-like structure again.. (interesting, he had experienced the obelisk.)
When he was killed Cromwell‘s final utterance was “So ends my insanity …” (From what we know of the clone spell and if Sitaris was correct that Cromwell had no clones left, his soul should be in this body. We put the body in a bag of holding, intent on asking Chemist if he has any ideas to prevent it from being resurrected or reanimated.) We grabbed his staff, did a quick search, (finding a potion) and discovered upon his body was a third note in elvish.
I have been trapped on this island now for… I have lost count. The centuries have passed me by too quickly. No matter where I go, I feel their eyes watching over me. I never learned their names, but I can sense that dreadful obelisk somewhere in the sky. I hear its humming in my trance every night. That is, until I saw a vision of the demon lord Baphomet. It had the horns of a goat and said it was also trapped on this island. I just have to find the location, and together, we will destroy the creators of the obelisk that have trapped us here.
None of my past subjects of the Sori nor my minions could understand what I meant, but my wardens are there. I know it. I know it. I know it. I know it. I know it.
-Prince Alfred Crommwell the Great Mage
We make great haste out of the hive as it had begun to implode upon Cromwell’s death. We travel back the way we came, until nightfall. An uneventful night progressed into more travel, with us pushing to get back to Ruined Oak. Just outside Ruined Oak we encountered Sitaris again, who was pleased with us giving him Cromwell’s staff.
The potion we found turned out to be a Potion of Longevity, which encouraged by my party I took, finding myself feeling as good as I felt seven years ago.