29 Mirtul, 1367 DR
Sorry, I’m way behind on this campaign log. All of these events happened at the group’s last session on February 4. I got busy preparing for the Marmalade Dog 22 convention I attended this last weekend, and – yeah, I won’t lie – there was probably some laziness mixed in here and there. Anyway, on with the recap!
After a short rest – which the Hand of Light definitely earned – Lyr casts seeming on the group to disguise their appearances. The bard figures it will help them move through the compound a bit easier and perhaps avoid confrontations. Lyr, Dunkle, and Karn appear as githyanki warriors; Dexter becomes a mind flayer; Dona’s form shifts to that of her sister, a servant girl of the githyanki; and Grull – well, Grull remains Grull (a minotaur).
The heroes float down the central shaft of the level they are currently on to find themselves in rough-hewn corridors. Behind some doors, they discover a barracks full of enslaved minotaurs wearing collars. The heroes tell the minotaurs they are there to rescue them from the githyanki, but some complications arise since some of them appear to be githyanki. In the end, they remove the collars from the minotaurs and convince them to help them against the githyanki.
The minotaurs tell them what they can find in the lower levels of the compound: a minotaur guard post, a butchering room, and the dock area. They also tell them about Krovlockavoc, a bugbear leader in some tunnels to the north.
The Hand of the Light decides to go down to the lower levels, first. There they rescue some more minotaurs, removing the collars that compel them to obey the githyanki. At this point, all the minotaurs have been rescued, and their leader doesn’t want to risk is tribe to the cruelty of the githyanki. He wants to take his people and leave, but the heroes convince him to lend them just two warriors. In the end the minotaurs agree to wait in the barracks while the heroes clear out the githyanki compound, and two minotaurs accompany the heroes (one is Grull).
The adventurers bypass a lair of gith hounds, preferring not to fight them. It appears that the seeming magic fooled the hounds. [Gith hounds are a custom monster I made up. Nothing, too, complicated. Just a hell hound refitted with a psychic damage breath weapon. The idea was to have something that fit the githyanki theme, and these seemed pretty cool.]
They enter a long shaft that leads up and down. The walls of the shaft are covered with magical runes. Dexter investigates the runes, but is unable to unsure what they do.
They heroes press on and discover a chamber with counters lining the walls. The counters are stained with blood and various butchering implements – mostly cleavers and hooks – cover them. Empty crates and a large barrel of salt stand in the room.
Directly off the chamber is another chamber with an iron gate barring it off. Within the barred off chamber – effectively a large cell – are dozens of elves in tattered robes. They cower against the walls and cry out in fear when they see the heroes, disguised as githyanki. It would appear that the elves form the staple of the githyanki’s diet, and this chamber and the other serve as cattle pen and butchering block.
After great effort, Lyr manages to convince the elves that the heroes are but wearing disguises to infiltrate the compound. Then they free the slaves and have them wait there until they can clear a path out through the docks.
Going up the shaft, they enter through locked doors to find a strange russet-colored pool. Dexter searches through his memory of the arcane and determines this is a portal to Gehenna, the plane of suspicion and greed and the home of cruel fiends. Quickly retreating, the Hand of Light locks the door and erects an impromptu barrier composed of table legs on the other side. [I was kind of hoping they’d step through the portal. That would have been fun…]
As the heroes float back down the shaft, they trigger the magical runes in the shaft. Waves of psychic energy roll over them, not only causing great mental damage but also stunning some of them. And, as a consolation prize, the gith hounds they had bypassed enter the shaft and attack them. [The rune trap was designed as a warning alarm against intruders for the minotaur and gith hound guards.]
Things are looking quite dire for the Hand of Light after two hounds unleash waves of psychic energy at them. However, a well-placed hypnotic pattern from Lyr neutralizes several of the gith hounds. Then it’s just a matter of surround and beat down.
At the bottom of the shaft, the heroes find enslaved, collared dwarves. After freeing them, they discover that the dwarves’ minds have been broken after what must have been decades of enslavement. From there, the heroes find the docks and a way out of the compound. They escort the elves from the butchering room and the dwarves to their commandeered githyanki ship – stationed a few miles away – where they should be safe.
The Hand of Light then goes back to the top-most level they had reached. They explore a section of rooms which turns out to be githyanki barracks. However, they find neither githyanki nor anything of much interest.
The heroes enter another section of the compound which turns out to be a maze of sorts. As they are navigating the narrow corridors – they had to leave the two minotaurs out in the corridor – bugbears ambush them. Two bugbears engage the minotaurs; three take the heroes in the front; and a mind flayer engages Dona and Dunkle.
Dunkle begins to freak out [and rightly so since I did my best to have the previous mind flayer feast on his brains], and the mind flayer uses dominate person on Dona but fails. As the other heroes take out the minotaurs, Dexter casts banish on the mind flayer. The evil creature disappears and doesn’t return. The last two bugbears try to flee, but the minotaurs and adventurers trap and slaughter them.
Beat up and bloodied, the heroes go back to the servant’s barracks for a short rest. Dexter prudently casts Leomund’s Tiny Hut for them to rest in. Fifteen minutes into their rest, the door to the barracks opens to admit a githyanki. The creature examines the opaque wall of the hut for a moment and then quickly leaves.
It dawns on the heroes that it’s probably safe to assume at this point that the entire compound has been alerted to their presence. [And no more Mr. Nice DM.]
The Hand of Light
Below are the famed members of the Hand of Light adventuring party.