Kerag Teel

The Fang, off Tarkesh, Sadric 89 Yoarus 20

Air Elemental

Fredyr took a deep breath and ordered his air elemental to scout ahead. The sylph moved to the edge of the cave and surfaced carefully so as not to attract attention. It returned after a few moments to report back, and Fredyr formed it into a large bubble so that all three could both breathe and hear the results. This would expend its' time more quickly but it would last long enough.

The sylph reported a large room above, filling the whole level of the tower, filled with workbenches and sorcerous equipment. In the centre was a large summoning octogram, in which was some sort of creature - the sylph seemed unhappy and a little afraid of it. There were six humans or near-humans in the room, four of whom sounded like guards placed at the exit stairs and by the pool. Another human stood close to the octogram, presumably the sorcerer responsible for all the trouble.

The Vivisection Chamber- click it for larger image!

Stealthily, the three swam underwater through the shelving pool until they reached a point where they could stand without being hampered by the water. Whether their watery patron Straasha dulled the water to hide them, or the guards were distracted by the events at the octogram or were unable to see into the water due to the poor lighting, they did not spot them before all three stood sharply up, arrows nocked to bows.

Kerag Teel and his creations

The sorcerer looked up sharply. He was tall and gaunt, his long black hair shot through with streaks of silver and his black beard plaited. His hair was shaved back at the temples to show an octopus design tattooed onto the skin, on either side of his head.

Benches lined the walls, covered with repellent tools - jag-toothed bone saws with clots of hair and meat between the serrations, black candles melted atop horned skulls, pools of blood on the tables and floors.

In the centre of the octogram, a viscous semi-transparent shape roiled and bubbled, raging helplessly at its' magical bonds. Strange organs were visible at its core, and the thing constantly formed wicked claws and horns before retracting them into its' amorphous form. Fredyr frowned as he eyed it - to him it looked very much like some kind of unhealthy blending of elemental and demon. He began to understand why Straasha wanted this man's activities curtailed.

In one corner stood ranks and ranks of glass canisters, all containing something liquid that sloshed and thrashed helplessly. Nearby, a hideous creature was moving aimlessly around, occasionally bumping into things - the naked body of a young boy with the head of a huge black moray eel grafted onto its shoulders. A strange creature like a winged lobster was circling over one of the workbenches.

The four guards, two each by the pool and stairs, were - like the sorcerer - Pan Tangians. Upstart island of pretenders to the Melnibonéan mastery of the sorcerous arts, Pan Tang aped its betters in a cruder and brasher fashion. To them, as to most humans, sorcery was only mastered after years of struggle, study and dark bargains with unspeakable beings. For Melnibonéans sorcery was natural, a part of their heritage, and they disdained and mocked the amateurs of Pan Tang.

Surprise was complete.

DM Note: Another boss monster dropped with a single critical. It's a conspiracy!

Fredyr drew a careful bead and loosed an arrow from the parabow. It hummed across the cavern before anyone else could move and drilled neatly in between the sorcerer's eyes. The back of the man's head exploded as the demon-driven arrow tore through his skull and he dropped like a string-cut puppet.

Malvyr shot one at the demon/elemental but shook his head as it bounced off. Abandoning his efforts to damage it, he turned and shot at the boy-thing, and was faintly surprised when his shaft sank into its' chest and killed it instantly. He'd rather expected such a sorcerous creature to be a bit tougher. Glancing back, he saw that the sorcerer was down and yelled 'drop your weapons!' at the four guards. They chuckled and continued to advance, and a moment later he saw why.

With the death of its summoner, the demon-elemental was freed from the octogram and surged forward, heading straight for Fredyr, who backed away deeper into the water. Not quickly enough, though, as the creature swiftly formed an arm from its' mass and delivered a heavy blow. Fredyr's demon armour absorbed most of the impact, but he could feel the enchantments binding the demon to it weakening and knew he couldn't take much more of that sort of punishment. Malvyr leaped from the pool and sprinted around the edge towards the two guards standing at the deep end, unslinging his axe from his back. 

Kira had ordered her water elemental across the cavern towards the sorcerer, planning to try and drown him with it; with this rendered moot by his death, she redirected it to one of the two guards Malvyr was engaging and drew her massive demon sword as the fourth guard lunged towards her. The enormous blade swept up, feather-light in her hands, and the man lifted his sorcerously-treated shield almost contemptuously to stop it. With a hideous, unearthly shriek the sword crashed onto the shield, smashing it to fragments, passing straight through and glancing off the Pan Tangian's shoulder. Shaken, the man struck back and Kira easily deflected the blow away with her weapon, grinning nastily at him. Her smile slipped as the strange flying lobster thing zoomed in to swoop on her, but its' mandibles skated off her armour as it zipped past.

The ParaBow

Undaunted by the bizarre monster looming over him, Fredyr nocked and loosed as quickly as he could, sending two more arrows plunging into the demon-elemental's amorphous form. Water flowed like blood as they struck, and the damage they were doing to the thing's internal organs was visible to him even as the wooden shafts dissolved away from immersion in whatever it was now made of. As the second arrow struck home, the beast shuddered to a halt and froze in place, another crushing arm upraised for an attack, paralysed by the magic of Fredyr's weapon. 

To his right, Malvyr launched an all-out attack on the nearest guard, aware of another closing on him and not wanting to be flanked. The man's shield flew apart from his first attack and the second sheared nearly half way through his sword before the running footsteps behind suddenly broke into a ragged stumble mixed with a peculiar desperate gurgling. Malvyr risked a glance to see the second guard staggering backwards, both hands clawing at a ball of water that clung with horrid affection to his head, its' size dwindling as it was sucked into the Pan Tangian's lungs. Kira's elemental had struck!

Capitalizing on her advantage, Kira disengaged her opponent's parry sharply and struck low. Her greatsword didn't actually pierce the demon armour but the force of the blow was enough to shatter the man's leg, and he fell howling. Disdaining to fight the maimed man further - and wanting him alive for her own purposes - she backed out of his enfeebled reach and changed her sword for her bow, watching as Malvyr continued to trade blows with the guard he was fighting, drawing his blood several times as they circled and fought. Picking her moment, she shot across the pool and smashed the Pan Tangian's knee, leaving him too sprawled on the stone unable to fight on.

Fredyr coolly watched as the fourth guard sloshed into the pool in pursuit of him, sword raised to 'kill the helpless bowman'. Nocking an arrow and taking a moment to aim as he backed deeper into the water, he shot it into the man's eye at point-blank rage, and the Pan Tangian keeled over onto his face in the pool with a splash. A buzzing caught his attention, and he turned to see the lobster-thing diving at Kira once again. A snap-shot plucked it neatly out of the air and the fight was over. 

[At this point we all seemed to have started method-acting the legendary ennui and disinterest of Melnibonéans, because no-one really wanted to go on and finish this off. To be honest there wasn't much left in the adventure anyway; the tower was rather bereft of treasure, and the endgame of Straasha learning the truth of what had been happening from the released water elementals from the jars (which Kira smashed) and showing up to destroy the tower and thank the PCs got missed off. Here's a picture of him anyway!]

Session Date: 25th April 2012
This concludes the Stormbringer filler between the campaigns; I think it's unlikely we'll be returning to this game and characters, neither seemed to gel at all successfully with the players. Hopefully the next campaign will be lighted with better success..