BOOK V - FORTRESS OF THE YUAN-TI

To save the kingdom from destruction, they must challenge a god.
Lewis's D&D 3.5 campaign set in the Principality of Corwyn in the mythical world of the North Kingdom. Evil yuan-ti conspire to destroy a kingdom using dark rituals and the bones of a long-dead king. To win the day, heroes must storm the yuan-ti fortress and wrest the bones from the cultists' clutches before they complete their rituals and unleash a far greater menace upon the world.
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Lewis
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Re: BOOK V - FORTRESS OF THE YUAN-TI

Postby Lewis » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:32 pm

Hello peeps. I plan to run The Chronicles of Corwyn on Sunday 01 Dec 2013.

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

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Lewis
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Re: BOOK V - FORTRESS OF THE YUAN-TI

Postby Lewis » Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:08 am

Hello peeps. I plan to run The Chronicles of Corwyn on Sunday 08 Dec 2013.

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

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Lewis
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Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

CORWYN: Bk V - Chptrs 4 & 5 The enemy of my enemy is... hot?

Postby Lewis » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:14 pm

The Chronicles of Corwyn - Book V - Fortress of the Yuan-Ti - Chapters 4 and 5

The enemy of my enemy is.... Hot??


The party explore the entrance level. They discover a torture chamber, slay the guards and torturers and rescue their victim, Rollin, who pleads with the heroes to rescue the other prisoners on the dungeon level, below. He warns them that the dungeon is guarded by a ghost. Taking stock of their assets, the party use up some of their hoard of magic to turn Alun ethereal and then set about freeing the prisoners from the cells in the dungeon. Sure enough, the ghost attacks, and Alun is able to engage it in a mighty battle. The two combatants phase in and out of the walls, floor and solid rock foundations of Castle Serastis. The young duskblade inflicts much damage upon the undead horror. However, it retaliates by draining his willpower and using this energy to restore itself. Then, the ghost uses another of its abilities to terrify Alun, who flees, leaving the incorporeal horror still undestroyed.

Down in the dungeon, the fight against the ghost becomes harder, now that it has caused Alun to flee in terror to the entrance level. The incorporeal jailer suddenly appears out of a wall, attacking more of the heroes. It drains their Wisdom, using this to heal itself. Fortunately, Branoc has the ghost touch dagger, Wraithbuster and Sylvar has the mighty Merthuvial. Working together, the party finally manage to slay the ghost. Their attention turns to the refuge pit, although Gotta'flul is more interested in the last prisoner - a pureblood Yuan-ti!

Meanwhile, on the entrance level, Alun and the fleeing prisoners run into an ambush by gnome-sized lizard folk who loose poisoned arrows at them. Panic ensues. However, help arrives from a very unexpected source. From an unexplored room at the side of the hall, a human-sized lizard folk in leather armour emerges. This new arrival blasts the ambushers with fire, allowing the prisoners to escape through the main entrance. The scaly spell-caster introduces himself as Chavakuth of the Dark Talon tribe, and tells Alun that he has a proposal to help the heroes if they will help him. It seems he regards the small lizard folk, that he calls Poison Dusk tribe, as vermin, defiling the sacred halls of Sertrous.

Things are not going well at the pit. Huge tentacles of an unseen creature hidden in the pit suddenly emerge from the slime and sewage. The massive appendages grab various heroes, squeezing the breath from their bodies and dragging them towards an unclean death in the vile detritus in the pit. Meanwhile, the Yuan-Ti pureblood prisoner is called Ossuru, and swears to Gotta'flul that she was pressed into service by the Vanguard, but entertains little sympathy for their aims. She claims she was imprisoned after turning a blind eye to escaping prisoners. Hearing this, the deep gnome frees Ossuru, and gives her a sword. Trusting the exotic pureblood turns out to be a gamble that pays off, and Ossuru rushes to help, attacking the tentacles. The party defeat the tentacles and escape their grasp. Ossuru is able to offer some information about the Vanguard and the layout of the castle.

As Alun arrives with the potential new ally, Chavakuth, everyone decides that it would be better for Ossuru if her escape and helpfulness was not widely known. Therefore, Branoc escorts her to a nearby storage cupboard and helps her to hide.

Alun introduces Chavakuth, who claims that the party cannot stop the Vanguard's ritual to awaken Sertrous. The Dark Talon shaman worships Sertrous himself and will not help them try to interrupt the inevitable victory of his god. However, since he is offended by the presence of the 'vermin' of the Poison Dusks, he offers a bargain. Chavakuth will help the party escape with their lives, in return for them exterminating the Poison Dusks. Alun is all for co-operating with Chavakuth for as long as possible. However, Sylvar has other ideas. Under guise of breaking bread to seal the deal, the crafty eleven rogue catches the lizard folk unawares and stabs him to death.

Alun is not best pleased. However, he soon returns to business and detects magic on the shaman's equipment. The duskblade also detects some magic auras in the pit, but no one fancies climbing down into sewage of unknown depth on the off chance these might be useful. There is also a powerful aura from the store cupboard. Alun barges straight in without knocking, and discovers that Branoc is not so much playing "hide the prisoner" as "hide the sausage". The mighty fighter and the exotic snake-lady seem to have struck up a special relationship in the quest for peace and understanding.

Alun ignores the hastily-dressing couple, and is more interested in the source of the powerful magic aura he has detected. It turns out to be a suit of magical dark wood armour, and more than that, it is Nanietharil - another of the cache of legendary magical items that the Vanguard's agents stole from King Theron's tomb!

This leads to an intense debate amongst the party. Should they destroy one of the items, hand it to Branoc's new friend to take far away, or keep it and risk it falling into the hands of the Vanguard? In the end, despite the risk, they keep them all. Ossuru gratefully takes the lesser equipment offered to her and arranges to meet with Branoc in a nearby wood, in ten days time, assuming they both survive.

The party heads up to the level above the entrance hall. This seems to be some sort of central hub of Castle Serastis. However, thanks to Ossuru's patchy information, they are only interested in the western stairs. The heroes storm the stairs, and after a claustrophobic battle, defeat the Poison Dusk lizard folk guards.

The path lies clear to the Tower of the Way!

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

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CORWYN: Bk V - Chap 6 - The Tower of the (Wrong) Way

Postby Lewis » Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:07 am

The Chronicles of Corwyn - Book V - Fortress of the Yuan-Ti - Chapter 6

"The Tower of the (Wrong) Way"

The party crack on with storming what Ossuru thought was called the Tower of the Way. They enter a room with a staircase and a landing above. Suddenly, a young bronze dragon drops to the floor, pleading for help. Sylvar approaches, and notices too late that the man-sized dragon is horribly scarred - and possibly tortured or brain-washed to twist the usually inherent good nature of metallic dragons. The tormented wyrm suddenly blasts the heroes with lightning. As if this was not bad enough, the massive electrical pulse also sets their equipment on fire. Several flasks of oil explode, showering the hapless adventurers in burning liquid. Several of the party are badly burned, and much of their equipment destroyed.

The bronze dragon's sadistic mistress, a yuan-ti spell caster reveals herself on the balcony, before turning invisible. However, she is swiftly blinded by Gotta'flul, using the feared ability of the deep gnomes. Alun finishes her off.

Meanwhile, Dragola sears the dragon with acid. However, the dragon fixates on the mighty Branoc, biting and raking him with its claws, while waiting for its breath weapon to recharge, so it can finish off the heroes. But while the tormented dragon concentrates on Branoc it ignores Sylvar, seeing the elf as a lesser threat. Big mistake! Prince Emrys's favourite rogue stabs the creature in the back with Merthuvial, causing it massive and instantly fatal damage.

Several of the party head up the stairs and Veera and Tessina help to defeat a number of the flying snakes (previously encountered when the party tried to climb the tower) which are nesting in the rafters. This is after the snakes have temporarily blinded Branoc and Alun.

Here, at the top of the tower, the party discover that Ossuru's sketchy knowledge of the upper reaches of Castle Serastis has let them down. There appears to be no way from The Tower of the Way into the other towers or the main keep. After a search which finds a spell book but no doors or passages, the heroes head back down to find an alternative route from the floor below, off the balcony overlooking the main entrance hall.

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

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Lewis
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CORWYN - FORTRESS OF THE YUAN-TI - 22 Dec 2013

Postby Lewis » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:22 pm

The last episode of The Chronicles of Corwyn in 2013 will be on 22 Dec 2013.

Can the heroes of Corwyn find where the Vanguard of Setrous are conducting their apocalyptic ritual before it is too late and the cultists awaken the sleeping god?

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

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Re: BOOK V - FORTRESS OF THE YUAN-TI

Postby Mark » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:29 pm

Probably not!

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CORWYN - FORTRESS OF THE YUAN-TI - A SUDDEN END?

Postby Lewis » Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:41 pm

I'm going to post the write up shortly.

I was planning to run The Chronicles of Corwyn during January 2014 (Jan 5, 12, 19 and 26).

However, as the PCs have taken another shortcut to the end boss :roll: (and in time so that the end boss hasn't been woken up and/or risen from the dead yet) it strikes me that the campaign may end rather abruptly next time we play. I might be able to cover a couple of weeks, but it depends how it goes immediately we start again.

In which case I'm not sure what to do with the rest of January. As I am starting a new job on Jan 2 and this involves travelling to London at 6am on a Monday morning, I may just take the rest of the month as a break from gaming. :(

I certainly don't plan to do a Tolkien, where - after the climax of the actual plot - the surviving PCs travel around the kingdom saying goodbye to each other in song for 12 bleedin' hours. :x

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

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CORWYN: Book V: Chapter 7: Snakes on a Plane!

Postby Lewis » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:32 pm

Chronicles of Corwyn - Book V - Fortress of the Yuan-Ti

Chapter 7 - Snakes on a Plane


As the puzzled heroes prepare to leave the Tower of the Way and head back to Castle Serastis's central area, Branoc and Gotta'flul spot a green glow and electrical crackling from the upper landing. The phenomenon resembles that caused by the gate or portal that brought many of the party from the Necromancer's Spire to the fields below Cettrux Hill.

A harsh voice gives orders in Draconian and then says something about 'taking the blood to the Tower of the Worlds'. Two Yuan-Ti pure bloods appear on the stairs and attack the party, shooting arrows from longbows. The gloves that Alun looted from the dead bronze dragon now reveal their amazing magical properties. Without conscious thought on the duskblade's part, his left hand shoots up, grabs the arrow that would have hit him, and hurls it back, wounding the surprised snake-man that shot it at him in the first place! The duskblade, Branoc and Vera make short work of the two archers.

Sylvar cautiously scouts out the landing above. Archways in the wall that the rogue previously dismissed as decorative now appear to be magical gateways to other places. The yuan-ti leader has left, presumably through one of the four magical portals that are now active and glowing with green energy... but, which one? The elven rogue works out from footprints in the flying snake poo that a couple of the gates have seen recent traffic. Branoc immediately picks one and the party plunge through in pursuit.

The heroes emerge through a central arch and barely have time to take in another octagonal room, disturbingly adorned with hanging corpses, before the portal flickers and dies, plunging them into darkness. A gargantuan shape rises on all sides. Alun raises the staff and illuminates the scene with a magical glow. What the light reveals is almost worse than the imagined horrors with which their minds populated the darkness. A demonic wall of blubbery flesh, all staring eyes, rending claws gibbering mouths and gnashing, bloodstained teeth crashes over them like a wave, stomping and pummelling Alun, Vera and Branoc. Gotta'flul, Tessina, Sylvar and Dragola all try to hurt the fleshy tide, with varying degrees of success, as the massive flesh monster stomps on their fighters.

The party fight back against the demonic tide and eventually destroy it, despite its highly resistant nature which renders it immune to many of their usual attacks. The mob falls apart, and a handful of individual demons, dretches, jump free and run for the stairs. However, the heroes are quick to intercept them and cut the demons down before they can escape. Alun and Vera recognise that the portal has brought them to another plane of existence, possibly a demiplane outpost of the Abyss. It seems that not all of the mysterious Castle Serastis actually exists on the material plane!

Alun detects magic on one of the corpses and retrieves a dusky rose-coloured prism. The small gem is actually a magical ioun stone, which grants an insight bonus to defence. After much debate, the stone is given to Branoc, and takes up an orbit around the fighter's head.

Sylvar quietly sneaks up the stairs and scouts out the next level of the tower. The elf's heart sinks to see that the next floor is guarded by two hideous snake monsters and a scaly demonic medusa. The creature is similar to Fadheela - who turned Sylvar's comrade, Grimm, to stone - only worse. Problematic, too, is the pronounced slope in the room, that gives an advantage to the defenders. Seeing no other way to avoid a deadly encounter, the rogue reaches into his backpack and reluctantly removes one of the two remaining elemental gems.

Sylvar unleashes a huge air elemental. The demonic medusa is less put out by this than lesser creatures and attempts to petrify it. But elementals are made of stern stuff, and the air elemental turns into a whirlwind, picking up the three creatures and smashing them against the walls of the room. When the wind dissipates less than a minute later, the elemental has gone and the three defenders are dead.

Alun and Sylvar search the medusa and discover a magic ring and a potion. Unfortunately, the medusa's rather tasty and highly magical bow has been wrecked beyond repair by the whirlwind. Sylvar examines the door at the top end of the room and discovers a magical trap. There is a clue written in Abyssal, "For whom do you spill your life?". The rogue takes a punt and gets Gotta'flul to coach him how to say "I spill my life for Sertrous" in the same tongue. This seems to work, and the door opens to reveal an odd staircase, 10' wide but with no handrails, to either side, an apparently bottomless drop off into a lightless abyss, or perhaps, THE ABYSS?

Carefully, our heroes make their way up the stairs, mostly roped together in pairs. The party find it difficult to judge the distance they cover, or even the time they spend, on their ascent. Something about the nature of this infernal realm plays tricks with their perceptions. However, they all arrive safely at the top, and face another mighty door. Fortunately, Sylvar is up to the task, and swiftly picks the lock.

The scene that greets the heroes beyond the door is indeed hellish. The chamber glows with the light of demonic fire that seems to burn the air itself. Three stone biers covered with serpentine imagery stand across the chamber. Two contain what appear to be bodies wrapped in funeral shrouds. On the third, central bier is set a careful arrangement of yellowed bones. Three yuan-Ti in ceremonial robes and hoods stand in a triangle around the biers, chanting in sibilant tones. Brass braziers emit a noxious, purple smoke.

A fourth yuan-Ti stands before the central bier and gives true meaning to the word 'abomination'. He is monstrously obese, with multiple folds of scaly skin hanging from his jowls to hide his neck and chest. Rivulets of blood bubble up from beneath his black eyes and flow freely down his face. The bloated yuan-Ti carries with him a dark steel shield whose centre boasts an abstract black serpent in place of the lightning bolt of Heironeous. Sylvar and Alun recognise that the shield resembles that carried by one of the statues in the forgotten king's tomb. The obese monstrosity is armed with powerful magic!

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

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Lewis
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CORWYN: Book V - Chapter 8 - THE RISEN KING

Postby Lewis » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:32 pm

The Chronicles of Corwyn - Book V - Fortress of the Yuan-Ti

Chapter 8 - The Risen King

The bloated yuan-ti is Sulvaugren, Master of Worlds. The hooded priests seem to be oblivious to the heroes' presence, but Sulvaugren spins with surprising grace. With a flick of its tongue, the abomination slithers towards the party and first attacks Alun. With a rain of blows from his scimitar, the creature severely wounds the duskblade and forces him to drop back, out of combat. This leaves Branoc and Vera to hold the front rank. Branoc uses his flail to disarm the abomination of the deadly scimitar and then of the magic shield - The Aegis Inviolable. However, this makes the brave fighter a target, and he is bitten, burnt with acid and partially crushed by the monster, until he collapses to the floor, mortally wounded.

Meanwhile, Sylvar uses the last of the elemental gems and summons a fire elemental. The elf works with the elemental and Gotta'flul to bring down the priests and stop their chanting. While they do this, the rest of the party battle Sulvaugren. Dragola's aura and lots of healing potions delivered by Gotta'flul bring Branoc back from the edge of death and Alun also rejoins the fight. When Tessina uses the last of her psychic power to summon an astral being, this distracts Sulvaugren long enough for the others to surround the abomination and finally kill it, even though three of them are grievously wounded.

All the priests are down, also. But a dull thrumming fills the room and the floor begins to shake and crack. With a sound like thunder, the central funeral bier shatters and explodes, filling the chamber with a cloud of dust and rock. The high-velocity shrapnel wounds several of the party, and once again, Branoc is down!
Slowly, the dust clears, to reveal a gaunt humanoid figure, it's leathery flesh split to reveal bone beneath. An ancient bastard sword is clasped in its hands, and its empty eye sockets glow with a gangrenous light!

The spark of Sertrous animating the king's bones is a demonic energy of sheer destructive hate, with the potential power of a Demi-god. Fortunately for the party, they have caused the Sacrament of the Risen Abyss to conclude too early, and with too few of the desired elements, for The Risen King to be at anything like full power. However, in their weakened and exhausted state, the Demi-god's avatar is still more than a match for them.

The heroes recognise that only special weapons will have a chance of hurting The Risen King. Fortunately, they have several of them in their possession already. The undead demon lord also recognises this, and makes them a proposal, "I sssee you have the weaponsss of this's body's championsss of long ago. Join me now, and be my new championss, at the head of my army. Join me or die!"

Alun responds to the evil god's job offer with misplaced, but memorable bravado, "Thank you for your job offer. Please could you write it very neatly on a scroll of finest parchment. Then roll the scroll up, really tight... and RAM IT UP YOUR ARSE!!"

Sylvar activates the magnificent mansion and the party start to retreat into the extra dimensional bolt hole. Gotta'flul tries to wound The Risen King with Wraithbuster, but cannot hit the deity and has to cartwheel his way to safety. Tessina fights back too, but then with a gesture, the god causes venomous snakes to burst from her abdomen, nearly killing her. Grabbing the unconscious Branoc, the party escape into the mansion. As they do, Alun scoops up The Aegis Inviolable. The heroes are safe for now, but what horrific scenario will the undead god have waiting for them when they emerge?

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

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Chronicles of Corwyn - The Final Chapter - DOOMSDAY

Postby Lewis » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:20 am

The Chronicles of Corwyn - The Final Chapter - Doomsday

Inside the magnificent mansion, Sylvar is only slightly surprised to find "Jock Sleaze", one of the orcish Trickster Twins who created the mattoo, waiting for him. The elf is rather more surprised to see that the orcish Demi-god has brought someone with him. "Someone" is a beautiful, tall, glossy skinned drow woman with ankle-length silver hair. Who just happens to be nude. And a god. And did I mention she was naked? It's just that Branoc finds this rather important. More important to Vera is the fact that this is her goddess, Eilistraee.

The two deities have advice and information for our heroes. "Jock" relates the history of Sertrous. Long ago, before anything the humanoid races might call history, Sertrous was a demon prince who ruled one of the layers of the Abyss. Brutal even by the standards of the Abyss, Sertrous was the first to take an interest in the new races of the mortal world. He hatched a plan to use their worship to ascend to true divinity. was one of a number of demon princes who hatched a plan to rebel and seize the power of the gods. Their plan was nothing less than to overthrow and consume the gods. Hence the demon princes would make themselves gods and rule all of Creation.

Fortunately for the world, The conspirators were betrayed by their own underlings. The demons were mostly destroyed or exiled. Sertrous, however, escaped to the Prime Material Plane, with a few of his minions. In the process he irretrievably bound his essence to both The Abyss and the Prime Material.

Sertrous manifested as a serpentine entity with an insatiable hunger for living beings. The demon gathered a cult around himself, sometimes corrupting and shaping their bodies into new forms that suited him. Some of his transformative magic and power was stolen by The Body Weavers. And, as the world grew civilised, and worship of the true gods spread, his remaining power waned. Eventually, Sertrous fell into a seemingly endless slumber. However, so potent had he become, that even in sleep he observed the mortal world.

The cult that had formed around the Slumbering Serpent eventually split into two. One faction continued to worship the fallen demon as a demigod, while the other was driven by those Sertrous touched in dreams. They were infected by the demon lord's desire to see the world thrown down and consumed.

This new cult survived on down through millennia, although never large or powerful. One of its leaders, a yuan-ti called Sulvaugren, found his dreams touched by dark madness. The Slumbering Serpent was ready to awake, and he, Sulvaugren would be the one to make it happen. He recast the cult as The Vanguard of Sertrous and took over the sect's ancestral home, Castle Serastis. Here, he uncovered the dark lore describing the Sacrament of the Risen Abyss. The majority of the Vanguard's members thought they were toiling to raise Sertrous as a deity who would then reward them with positions of power in the new order. Only Sulvaugren and a handful of the cult's leaders knew the true goal was not Ascension but destruction of all that is.

Jock explains that they can offer some small help during the fight against Sertrous, tiny divine favours in return for the good that the party have done, saving the slaves, freeing the prisoners, etc. Jock informs the heroes that, thanks to them, the risen form of Sertrous's avatar in King Theron's bones is not at full power. However, he is still powerful enough to present a deadly threat to Corwyn, the North Kingdom and the whole world. As the night in the mansion passes, back on the Material plane, the Earth spins many times. With each sunrise The Risen King's army grows and more die. Powerful as he is, The Risen King's resistances can be pierced by weapons from Theron's hoard (such as Bright Steel and Methuvial), those made of silver (such as Wraithbuster) or those that are good-aligned.

The heroes ask the gods to bless their remaining weapons and make them good-aligned. Jock laughs and says they've got the wrong god! However, if they should meet an old friend along the road, then he should be able to take care of it for them. The party puzzle over what the Trickster means by "along the road". What road?

Anyway, the deities explain, in return for all this divine help and information, there is a price to pay. The party say they are ready to pay it, but Eilistraee shakes her head sadly and explains that others are already paying that price for them. Then she begins to dance. A beautiful, sacred dance, offering praise to the moon. Vera joins in. Branoc is so overcome with artistic appreciation for the beautiful dance performed by two skyclad drow maidens, that he tries to join in. At the end of the dance, Eilistraee exchanges her holy symbol with Vera, explaining that her silver moon-and-sword symbol will help Vera to turn repel undead. Vera asks if the other half of the Ephod of Authority is available, but the gods say that it was lost by an over-confident bishop on the Isle of Wight (see Edwyn's 'Heroes of Gwynedd' campaign).

When this strange timeless night is finally over, the deities depart. Sylvar cautiously cracks open the entrance, to see that Jock has given them one final gift - the door now opens back onto the Prime Material plane, in the entrance hall of Castle Serastis. Glad not to be trapped on the Abyss, the heroes pile out. The castle seems deserted, until they hear two muted voices approaching. These turn out to belong to Branoc's favourite yuan-ti, Ossuro, and the rescued fighter, Rollin.

The two ex-prisoners of the castle sheepishly admit that they had sneaked into the castle looking for the heroes' bodies and hoping to loot their magic weapons that they discussed in front of Ossuru, in order to use them against the Risen King. At the blank looks from the party, Rollin explains that it has been over a week since the heroes entered the castle, and in that time, Sertrous emerged, gathered the remnants of the cult and then started to raise an army. Rollin describes how the demon lord raised hordes of undead to do his bidding. With each battle, Sertrous's army grows, as the fallen defenders of Corwyn are recruited to kill their former comrades.

The demon's army initially swung north through the local villages to gather forces, and is now heading south on the long march to the capital, Caer Corwyn. In their path stand only a small force, gathered around a paladin called Sir Kieran (known to the heroes) and a few scattered units of the Prince's militia. Kieran hopes to buy time for the army proper to arrive under the command of Lord Michael. The young paladin has chosen to make his stand at Newkeep, where he can use the chasm of the River Tawe to act as a natural defence. All the same, his position seems hopeless. Sir Kieran sent Ossuru and Rollin back to Serastis in the hope of recovering the weapons.

Outside the castle they discover the dead body of Cora in the slave's village. According to Ossuru, the slaves' de facto leader had refused to flee with the able-bodied slaves and had remained behind with those that could not. She then defied Sertrous when he demanded that they join his army. He repaid her bravery by killing her with a spell that caused snakes to burst out of her abdomen. Vera then performs a great miracle and raises the courageous woman from death, back into life.

Rollin and Ossuru find mounts for our heroes, who ride south as fast as they can. They are dismayed to find Kingsholm in ruins. They are shocked also to see that the ancient graveyard has been defiled - every grave and tomb has been opened to swell the ranks of Sertrous's undead army!

On the road, the party do meet an old friend. The tall, bronzed form of Father Invictus occupies a tented pavilion at the roadside. He feeds the heroes and then blesses their weapons, making them good-aligned. He then bids them well and points to the clear path of destruction left by Sertrous's army. The party ride on southwards.

As the party ride over the last rise before the River Tawe, they see before them a chilling sight. A huge undead army is pouring into the River and clawing their way up the other side. They can just make out the shining armour of Sir Kieran as he directs his forces to hold back the horde. The paladin is commanding an amazing alliance of the good folk of Newkeep, a detachment of Corwyn militia ... and tribes of orcs - the same orcs that Sylvar and Grimm invited into relations with the town! From a tent on a small hill, Sertrous directs his army to fill up the chasm with their bodies, and literally thousands of zombies pour into the canyon. Soon, Kieran and his defenders will be overwhelmed, but for now they are buying time.

Branoc, Vera and Sylvar sneak forward towards the tent, which is guarded by several skeletal archers and a number of zombies, including a large undead ogre. Vera goes forward first and, presenting the symbol given her by Eilistraee, channels positive energy to turn the undead guards. This is more successful than the drow cleric could have expected - all the skeletons and zombies are destroyed on the spot, apart from the ogre!

Branoc and Sylvar join her and the three make quick work of the ogre. The party then all move up and storm the tent. Inside, the Risen King is ready for them. A desperate fight ensues. The demon lord severely wounds Alan and Branoc, using his mighty bastard-sword and the dreaded spell which makes snakes burst from his victim's body. Tessina is able to psionically remove some of Sertrous's advantages and further distract him with an astral construct. Branoc and Dragola use their weapons to disarm the Risen King of his sword. Branoc and Alun inflict much damage with their own weapons and even Gotta'flul plays his part. At one point the tent fills with deadly black tentacles, which themselves are also poisonous snakes. These grapple and poison several of the heroes.

But, finally, against all the odds, the heroes prevail. Branoc strikes the final blow to the demi-god and the form of the Risen King suddenly crumbles to dust and fragments of bone. A blast of force knocks the heroes down, but also causes the undead army attacking Newkeep to also turn to dust.

In the weeks that follow their victory, the god-slayers are rewarded by Prince Emrys with gifts of land, and by Niall, King of the North Kingdom with knighthoods. Fitting rewards for saving the kingdom, if not the whole world, from destruction.

The apocalyptic plan of the Vanguard of Sertrous has been defeated and, for now, Corwyn is safe!



Just as a personal note: The Chronicles of Corwyn have lasted three years and eight months. Making it the second longest-running campaign I have ever run in 32 years of running games. It has also featured at least 11 players and at least 14 player characters, making it the campaign with the biggest cast I've ever run. Not bad for something that was only meant to fill in for one night when Colin and Sam didn't have a game!

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)


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