The Death of Iuz - Anatoli's Interpretation
> Ok all, I just have to say…
> …THAT KICKED ASS!
> Had an awesome time yesterday.
> For Jeanette, here’s my version of the writeup (sorry for the length):
> So we prepped quickly before landing the ship. Most of your standard protections. The GM was a little surprised however when Anatoli used Alter Reality as a prep spell. The intention was to make one simulacrum who could cast spells, and have the real Anatoli walk away with the thief abilities. Instead, one Anatoli stepped to one side, and another stepped the other way…and the one in the middle faded. Through the rest of the adventure we referred to these two individuals as Anatoli/Caster and Anatoli/Thief.
> Anatoli takes hair samples from each person and Shadow Moles these to Aramath…which elicits a questioning response. He organizes sending us back-up, but we decide to proceed while it is incoming.
> Anatoli/Caster then uses the Eye of Thera crystal ball to call in a favor. He contacts Robilar and tells him “Get here now”. Robilar groans, says something about darn gnomes…and says he will be there soon.
> To finish the prep, Jet cast the group Protection from Fire on everyone, and we were off.
> (NOTE: all of the following was done at pace as typed…basically running from one to the other…with no stopping…elapsed time in dungeon was probably an hour or less I think)
> Fight 1
> We hit the ground. Anatoli/Thief went into rear far recon/non-detect mode. The gates burst open, and out come several trolls (Oerth’s Blood gauntlets) being driven by 2 Flinds with magic whips. Maximus wades in. Trolls all go down 1st round. Anatoli caster uses the Sceptre of Beguiling and has the Flinds throw down their whips. Flinds are cacked the same round.
> Huge numbers of archers pop up on the walls and fire Oerth’s Blood Crossbow Quarrels down on us. A few strike, but not for very much damage. Aramath calls incoming and to clear the area of the kill zone.
> We rush inside the gates and close them behind us.
> Aramath activates the Silver Dragon form of the Silver Eagle. Anatoli/Thief witnesses it from outside. It screams upward, then comes piledriving straight down. When it impacts in the center of the outside resistance, it effectively creates an Earthquake. We’re knocked off our feet, and the gates are broken. Silver Dragon has to pull out, having spent all of it’s energy in the maneuver.
> Fight 2
> The team presses onward beyond the gate area. Inside it is a large marshalling area with another barred gate on other side. While the team is reviewing the gate, Anatoli/Thief on rear orbit recon spies a team of 5 emerging from a hidey hole and approaching the gates from the rear. The team includes 4 assassins and 1 very evil looking dwarf. Anatoli/Caster throws up an illusion of the team focused on the gate ahead, and we all hide off to the side. Tarl (coordinating via comm link with Anatoli/Thief) drops Blade Barrier on the external gate just as the enemy is sneaking in on the illusions. Blade Barrier takes care of the assassins, and Maximus engages the dwarf with a mighty blow. However, the dwarf has a huge hammer. His countersrike is a massive shot on Maximus, which blows him back against a wall…then unleashes a lightning bolt against him. I believe the druid then uses dragon breath to blow the dwarf back through the Blade Barrier to the outside. Anatoli/Thief then does a backstab and finishes him off well into negative territory. On trying to put the hammer in the bag, Faerie Protection warns Anatoli before the hammer tries to shift him to another plane. Pop, off it goes. Anatoli slips a ring of weakness onto the dwarf body, just in case. Anatoli/Thief then enters the hidey hole tunnel the ambushers used, effectively splitting the party.
> Fight 3
> The team have the illusions stand in front of the inner gate. The gates are ripped open, and the gathering of hobgoblins inside all fire their heavy crossbows at the illusions. Various spells such as ingot storm and possibly fire seeds get fired in, and the hobgoblins are down in less than a round. At this point we are using Augury by Beodar to quickly just point us to which door takes us to Hexxus. In we press, both our team plus the illusions (minus Anatoli/Thief). We head down our first set of stairs.
> Fight 4 (Retreat)
> On the way down the stairs, a good sized DBF goes off on the party. The group Protection From Fire keeps all damage from everyone, but it is virtually used up in the process. Maximus charges the door into a huge circular chamber. He notices before he charges that spikes or spike growth have been cast on the floor, so he uses the wall to run around them. Tarl moves in as well. (I’m a little fuzzy here, but I believe there was about one round of clearing the immediate enemies in the obvious room as well as clearing the spikes).
> Segway -
> Anatoli/Thief has snuck up the hidey hole tunnel to a grate. Inside the room above he notes 2 displacer beasts. He uses the Bag to Minor Create a large amount of fresh meat, distracting the cats into the corner. He slips through the door out of the room. He hears voices in the other room and slips into the doorway. Inside he spies on a cleric of Iuz and a cleric of Hexxus talking. The Hexxus cleric says ‘We are being invaded. We shall deal with these. Tell Syndall and (can’t remember the other name) it is time to earn their keep" The Iuz cleric leaves. Anatoli relays these via comm to the party.
> Segway back
> Anatoli/Caster detects the use of a Ventriloquism spell, and a voice tells the party “This is your last and only warning to leave this fortress or be destroyed”. (key point here discovering there is an illusionist around) Out of the three doorways into this room, the party hears chanting. Maximus and Tarl quickly retreat back up the stairs with the party and shut the door. A massive blast goes off which takes down the door, but otherwise misses the party.
> Group determines they are in kill zone, and this is not a good place to be. Tarl and Anatoli coordinate distances via link. Beodar uses Dig down to reach the chamber with the clerics where Anatoli/Thief is.
> Fight 5
> The party drops in via the Dig straight on the Cleric of Hexxus, who tries to flee. Backstab by Anatoli/Thief takes him down in a heap (think there might have been another shot here too). Party gets indications that somebody is above the Dig hole and about to come down. Anatoli/Caster uses Nolzur’s Pigments to seal up the hole, making the bottom mithril and lined with spikes. We’re now on level 3.
> Anatoli/Caster then casts Wraithform on Anatoli/Thief (which should only be useable on self), and Anatoli goes off on forward recon.
> Fight 6
> Anatoli/Thief passes 7 doors, hearing chanting behind each. He relays the words to Tarl, who confirms it is a group chanting summoning spell. Anatoli drops a couple of illusion darts under a couple of doors as distraction and keeps moving. He arrives at the end of the hallway where he sees a temple, bubbling black vats arranged in a 7 pointed star, and a central pool starting to bubble.
> About then the team arrives at the 7 doors. Tarl says ‘No quarter, everyone take a door’. Everyone rips them open and each person takes out a low level cleric in 1 round who was chanting to aid the summoning.
> Anatoli/Thief moves on down the hall past the temple. As the group arrives at the temple door, they are seeing something emerge from the central pool. Als uses disintegrate to blow one of the cauldrons…breaking either the circle of summoning or protection (we’re not sure). Anatoli/Caster again takes the Nolzur’s and quickly walls up the temple doorway with a wall of lead. We turn and head down the hallway (Anatoli/Thief on advance recon and Anatoli/Caster watching rear guard).
> Fight 7 (aka the Death of Maximus)
> As the party advances, Anatoli/Caster notes he is getting pushed forward into the others via possibly a Repulsion force (possibly to group everyone closely for another fireball). He turns and fires the Wand of Wonderment behind him on Defensive mode. Rolling an 01, this creates the purple image of Bob Kneeknocker (Anatoli’s level 5 Fighter Roughrider who we had freed earlier in this arc). The shadow of the image creates a break in the repulsion force, which Anatoli crouches in. Al fires a Wall of Force behind us, stopping the Repulsion force, but also cutting off any retreat. Then, from behind, comes walking up a kitty cat with a gem around its neck. It paws at the wall and meows. Maximus whispers to it and tells it to go away. It meows and runs off.
> At about this time, up ahead on recon, Anatoli/Thief’s Faerie Protection goes blaring off in immediate danger all directions. He takes an immediate leap of faith, and uses the Amulet of Dim Door to jump blindly ahead down the corridor. Bamph. He arrives (invis, non-detection, wrathform) in between several beings in a room. (I can’t recall all of them) A human female, an elf, an obvious fighter, possibly a couple of other humans/elves, a hunchback (none of which notice him)…and…turning…the large demon prince who then turns, looks straight at him…and starts drawing his rune-emblazoned sword. The others turn to the demon and just kind of say “Syndal, why are you looking that way?” Anatoli instantly feels the enemy empathy with the demon and realizes that’s why he can see him. Eep. Picking a direction 90 degrees sideways (having resisted the urge to try up or down)…Bamf.
> Anatoli/Thief arrives in a 1 foot wide passageway. Basically it appears to be a sneak-way between walls (he never would have found it otherwise). He climbs up to an eyeslot, opens it..and discovers that rather than going 36" he has only been teleported a few feet…as he sees the demon in the next room (the walls of the temple prevented him from going further..quite fortunately). Down the sneak-way he finds a trap door in the floor. He lays out one of Max’s carpets, contacts the team, and asks Beodar to transport the team to the carpet.
> Meanwhile in the hallway, Beodar asks the team to give him cover while he forces swapping out of the spell in his head. Continual lights appear around us, highlighting us in the hallway. A lone grissled fighter appears ahead of us charging down the hallway, carrying a massive tower shield. Spells sent his direction (both 1st lvl MM and 7th level) get completely absorbed/dissipated.
> What follows is possibly the most titanic exchange of blows we have seen.
> Maximus charges forward at Cheetah Speed, blows Dispel Exhaustion and Tsunami Wave (think that was the name) and Tensers Deadly Strike. He unleashes 12 blows at once. About 7 or 8 hit…and deal about 140 hps damage, using Oerth’s Blood weapons (which it turns out is the only way through that tower shield). The fighter still stands. His turn.
> His strength turns out to be titanic (litterally big T). First strike, the sword of sharpness takes off Maximus offhand arm. Total for the 3 strikes he deals about 70 hps. Plus the fighter heals some from the damage he deals.
> Second round. Initiative. Simultaneous. Maximus weilds the Oerth’s Blood weapon in his main hand, only getting 2 strikes off. (I might get this order incorrect, but here goes). The fighter’s strikes do another 60 to Maximus. This takes Maximus down to over -10. Bamf…Maximus’ star as a Guardsman takes him to "the bucket’. Uh oh. Uh oh. Uh oh.
> MAXIMUS IS DEAD
> The fighter does not survive the round. I can’t recall, but others step forward and finish his last little bit off. He drops, but a glow such as a stasis field plus wyvern watch comes over him.
> During the same round, chanting is heard in the darkness down the hall. Anatoli/Caster drops Prismatic Wall down where he estimates the casters are at.
> Three Prayers go off against us, putting us at a disadvantage.
> Then Syndall walks through the Prismatic Wall, which flickers against his magic resistance. The demon prince advances down the hall.
> Al sends his very special sword Dancing to hit Syndall, who promptly Disintegrates it (there is a very startled whimper out of Al at that point).
> Beodar meanwhile is furiously using something to power through switching out the transport spell in his head.
> Anatoli/Caster somehow mind-links with Anatoli/Thief and gives him targeting on Syndal. Anatoli/Thief then Dim Doors in and backstabs General Syndall (but only for 40). Syndall’s return blow isn’t too bad…to which he growls as he discovers that Anatoli doesn’t have a G in his alignment.
> Jet summons a 24 HD elemental to use as tank, but as summoned, it cannot connect.
> Anatoli/Caster yells down the hallway and forces all of the casters to sit on their hands using the Sceptre of Beguiling.
> Everyone jumps next to Beodar…Jet has the earth elemental fill the hall with earth…Bamf…he pops us to the rug within the wall hidey-way.
> However, the empathy between Syndall and Anatoli is still too close. Syndall can still feel him. He starts piercing the walls, setting areas ablaze with black flame screaming for the gnome.
> Holy cow. We’re without Maximus. We have no tank. What are we to do? CHARGE! Down the hole through the trap door. Anatoli/Caster uses the crystall ball. Oh Robilar…where are you? “Busy” was the response. Followed by “Oi, demon boy, I’ve got a sword too. Bring it….Oh bloody hell, you’ve got clerics…followed by the sound of beating feet.” (This turns out to be key later)
> Fight 8 (Down the Hole)
> Down the hole is a much different area. We’ve left the castle. Think large underdark-like cavern hallway. It’s also extremely cold (Control Temperature used by the druid to counteract)
> We find the walls lined as far as we can see with dessicated corpses (some human, some demon/devil) with all of them jammed into crags in the walls. Each has an incision. Inside the incission is a small gem which we discover were used to preserve the corpse and sometime in the past to draw energy from each.
> Jet does a Commune. Only 1 undead in range. A crypt thing type creature, 300 yards ahead (which we never encountered). We move on.
> We find 3 large puddings ahead. Jet summons a fire elemental, and has it wade forward to take care of the puddings, which it does….
> …however, the nasty trap was when the elemental then wandered into the brown mold (I think) that feeds off fire on the other side…which then consumed the elemental and instantly used it to grow exponentially around us. The cold threatened to overwhelm us (V described the mold as rivalling the size of the ooze we encountered in the cavern in Ket).
> Anatoli/Thief (who had shifted to far back rear guard) sprang forward with his Ultravision lantern. The ultraviolet combined with one other spell (might have been a dispel) took out the mold.
> Fight 9
> On we move with Tarl and Beodar in the lead as our tanks.
> Twang, twang. Saving throw vs poison Tarl = 1; Saving throw vs poison Beodar = 1
> Both tanks drop in the darkness as drow sleep poison takes them down (and John thwacks himself for forgetting Slow Poison, which he had intentionally memorized). Ruh roh.
> Anatoli/Caster blazes a Sunray from the Wand of Illumination, taking the 2 drow by surprise. Al engages. Jet casts Neutralize Poison on Tarl.
> We take down both drown within the next round. Luckily they were only scouts.
> Anatoli/Thief on rear guard finds their camp, including a teleportation obelisk, which he destroys with his knife. Our search of their camp finds that they were hired as guards. They were to teleport somewhere else to warn of intruders.
> Encounter 10
> Before we move forward, we decide that possibly a wizard eye might be a better way of reconning vs drow. This finds a lone figure standing far down the passage, a hunchback leaning on a staff. The group identifies this person as a twisted, deformed version of Patch, the former high priest of Iuz.
> Al and Beodar are determining the best way of laying waste to him at distance with spells..
> ..but Anatoli/Caster walks forward with the Sceptre of Beguiling and engages in parlay.
> It turns out, he bears us no ill will. He only seeks release from Iuz’s final remnant. Iuz brought him back in this deformed form as a curse. He just wants freedom. He’s been waiting for us, because just around the bend is the source of Iuz’s power and the only thing keeping Iuz’s remnant powered.
> At about this time Robilar catches up to us, limping heavily. “A little warning on the clerics would have been appreciated. Demon prince, really.” We heal him up, and together all of us advance.
> Final encounter
> Robilar is none too pleased to find out where we are. At Iuz’s name he turns white and wants to leave (turns out Robilar is the only person Iuz hates more than us…mainly because Robilar has been responsible for imprisoning him).
> Patch points us to 5 crystal tubes, capped with copper and inscribed with runes. Investigation determines that 1 holds the body of a deva, 2 demi-heroes, 1 demon prince, and the final one a sleeping god. However, as Patch explains, these are all long dead. Iuz drained them (and the bodies in the wall) as part of his rise to power. The bodies are the only thing sustaining Iuz’s link over those that serve him. (Patch warns us that Hexxus approaches)
> We organize, each take a tube, and at the same time we smash them while standing on Al’s disks. The bodies tumble to the floor and immediately turn to dust. Unnoticed by most of us, 5 small motes also fall among the debris.
> Patch fades away, released away as a now re-formed ghost in his old non-hunchback form. In his place stands a shriveled old man. Iuz the Cambion (not the god) stands among us. (Jet off to the side gathers each of the motes and combines them with Sym’s bone carrapace…it begins to glow)
> A flash flood of black liquid pours down the tunnel and forms a wall at the entrance. Out steps Hexxus.
> Hexxus states that all he wants is his father. He pledges that he will never harm us or interfere with mortals. He is now a god, and the non-interference directive is in force.
> Iuz at this point is actually cowering behind us (us of all people) for protection.
> Anatoli shifts the Bag to a prison cell, and tells Iuz to get in…which he does. Hexxus does not like this..at all.
> He unleashes the black water (which unknown to us has been coming up through the floor) to envelope us.
> Al unleashes a full wish to restore all of our team, including items, and transport us to Silver Mansion.
> Hexxus actually interferes with the wish with his god power and holds us. We can feel the tug.
> Then Sym steps forward and with a swing takes off Hexxus’ head (although only temporarily disrupting his form). This releases us. Bamf, we are ALL (including Robilar) at Silver Mansion
> Epilogue (The End of Iuz)
> When we arrive, we note that each of us that was in the final encounter with Hexxus felt like something of us was missing. It’s a passing feeling, but we are each healed.
> Beodar finds that he is holding a small pool of black. We’re reminded that it looks like the small tattoo he used to have connecting him with Max.
> Anatoli uses Speak With Dead off scroll, and we discuss with the creature. It appears to be Max, or at least the portion of Max that Iuz consumed. We are briefly considering how to revive him. However, Tarl looks with True Sight and determines that it is the Chaotic Evil portion of Max that willingly swore himself to Iuz. Our thoughts of raising him are put to the side. We all realize we said goodbye to Max long ago, and our one remaining thing is to finally get rid of Iuz. (turns out this was simply a horcrux of Iuz trying to fool us)
> Maximus bows out. He doesn’t want to have being a godkiller on his hands.
> The rest of us step forward, but Beodar volunteers that he and he alone should do it.
> Anatoli dumps Iuz out of the bag in the midst of us.
> Al throws Anatoli (singular now after the wish) the Scroll with all our enemies on it.
> Anatoli looks at Iuz, and scratches his name off.
> Beodar takes the artifact spear he’s been using and with one strike it’s done. Iuz the cambion is dead…finally dead.
> With a flash of light, Iuz disappears. So does Beodar and his spear.
> We determine that, with the balance of the gods restored, this was Hexxus’ desire all along. To finally get rid of Iuz. We believe that’s why he did everything he did (or mostly), to get us to get rid of Iuz.
> With the threat to the elven nation removed, her aspect of her cavalier disappeared. The only thing we know:
> IUZ IS DEAD
> That’s where I exited. Again, all in about an hour elapsed in-game time. Only 6 hours real time. Wow.
There are some minor corrections worth noting. After Maximums fell, EVERYBODY jumped on the warrior to take him down. It was a party effort for sure. It was amusing to note that Maximus made it clear that anyone that uses a sword of sharpness knows that everybody on the planet is going to pile on the minute they recognize that its being wielded. He has a point for sure ;)
We aren’t quite sure if the essence of Max that was left behind was a horcrux or not. (For Jeanette, a horcrux is a fragment of a soul object that can be used to resurrect someone). Tarl seemed to get the impression that it was the part of Max that had been dedicated to the service of Iuz and that had been consumed by Iuz during the combat at the Godtrap. In any event, it was NOT a nice thing and we weren’t going to try and bring Max back with it. The Max that we knew was gone. Beodar agreed.
The comment that Beodar made before slaying Iuz was “No one else should have to pay for my transgressions.” Iuz was surprisingly weak and helpless during this entire situation. He did not attempt to defend himself and had a look of dread as his sentence was announced and executed.
After you left Jordy, the team actually ended up going back to the World Serpent Inn. At the moment, you can’t get there unless you go through a properly consecrated temple/area to the god that you are claiming protection from when you enter. Turns out also that you can’t claim protection from just any god either, it must be one that is either your clerical patron, you pay routine homage to or you are serving at their behest.
Maximus seemed exceptional bummed about the way things turned out. Gods are gods and despite their ethos, need to be respected. The walls of the Inn are adorned with pictures of gods and adventurers. Depending on where a god lies in the hierarchy, their pictures get larger and more prominent. Iuz’s picture was much smaller but lower to eye level than usual. And various flowers had been laid below it in some way honoring his death. Maximus made a quiet, small, personal speech to Iuz and then went to find Odin who was in the Burlesque Club.
Jet also journyed to the World Serpent Inn. While she was there she encountered what she believes to be an avatar of Sym. He wore a plate helm with a thin veil over the front. Through the veil, you could see a vaguely half-orcish face. The bottom of his face was unobscured and he was most definitely a half orc as evidenced by his huge underbite and fangs. He said that the threat of Iuz was over for good now and the Shield Lands would soon be whole again. he was going to investigate this new life he seemed to have before him and that odds are he would bump into us from time to time. That seemed to be the fate of those he met early in his life.
While the rest of us were at a table toasting our lost comrade, we ran into a tall red-headed barbarian bar made. In the past, we had realized that this was an avatar of Lira Nevesere. She didn’t seem aware of Beodar’s passing or if so, didn’t let us onto it. she did however buy us a round of drinks in honor of him. The drink for the night was a new Porter that was quite tasty and popular among the patrons there.
As we were nearing the end of our celebrations, we were told that someone was wanting to see us in room 214. Mitchifer was confused as he still had the key to that location and it wasn’t rented out. He gave us the key and we went to visit it. Upon going through the door, we found ourselves in the upstairs room that Mithchifer’s mother used to occupy. Sitting there was a beautiful brunette women in a green dress with slightly scaley skin. She introduced herself as Iggwilv. She offered to help us recover our lost comrade Beodar in exchange for something that belonged to her. She said that on one of the maps/rugs that was in the groups possession was an item that was used as an embellishment or decoration. When Maximus inquired as to how she could do this, she said that she could case a Wish without any undue side effects. The group declined her offer. Maximum was of the mind that we shouldn’t deal with her and additionally, if a wish was all it took then Aldebaron could do it.
Iggwilv said that if we changed our mind, then to go tell Mitchifer and he could get in touch with her. She told us to tell Mitchifier that “Wilva sent us.”.
We exited the Inn and went our separate ways for the evening.
This is a VERY good time for players to schedule some downtime events that they need to do. Additionally, I’ll calculate XP and have it ready for us the next time we start. If Jeanette would be so kind as to give me the list of events that you are still owed XP for, I’ll have it ready the next time we play. Speaking of that, the next time we play should be scheduled as well. I’ll send a separate email out about that for ease of tracking.