Session Date: December 9, 2017
In this episode, the Hand of Light finds an unexpected ally, slaughters mommies and their ghastly children, wrecks undead beholders, and nearly perishes at the hands of an angel.
23 Flamerule, 1367 DR
Before the Hand of Light proceeds any further into the compound, the doors to the beholder chamber they just fled swing open. Two rotting undead beholders grab Karn and Dunkle with their telekinetic eye rays and drag them away.
Then, before the doors close, Luna comes dashing through to join the remaining heroes. The dwarven paladin as been with the group long enough to know that members being dragged off — whether by tentacles or beholders — is usually something that no one can do anything about. So, she doesn’t even bother asking.
Yep, Karn and Dunkle’s players were unable to attend the session…
The heroes investigate two doors nearby and find captives within. Some are from Leilon and others were simply traveling the road when they were taken by undead. One of the captives tells them that Lyr’s mother, Nicolette Fairson, was taken recently, and that no one who’s taken has ever returned.
One of the captives is a half-orc named Torug FaceSplitter, and he initially believes the heroes to be those responsible for shackling him. However, the Hand of Light convinces him otherwise, and Torug, a powerful warrior in his own right, agrees to help them out as he’s looking to get revenge on his captors.
The heroes explain to Torug they believe it’s a lich, but the half-orc seems undaunted.
The Hand of Light then users the captives out of the catacombs, using Lyr’s insect swarm staff to get by the undead beholders.
Further in the catacombs, they come upon a hallway lined with funerary recesses and two long hallways with sarcophagi in them. As they advance, ghasts leap out of the funerary recesses and drag Lyr into the middle of the pack and begin eating him alive.
In panic the bard unleashes one of his most powerful spells, destructive wave, and obliterates all of them.
Then the lids of the sarcophagi slide aside and two mummies shamble toward the heroes. However, Luna and Torug make short work of them.
Exploring further into the catacombs, the heroes find a couple rooms of interest. One is but a disused altar room dedicated to a fallen deity, and the other appears to the bedroom and study of the lich herself.
The heroes suspect a trap on that door, owing to the arcane runes written on it in blood, but sadly their trapper is absent. So, Luna and Torug just smash the door down.
Predictably, waves of necrotic energy roll over the party.
After recovering from such a cleverly disguised trap, they enter the room. They find some treasure and the journal of Miriam Hargreaves. They learn that this woman, a necromancer — and hopefully not an actual lich — has discovered a way to magically link herself to people so that any damage directed at her is instead transfer to them.
And, fortunately for the heroes, Karn is not present this day. For if he had been — and Dexter is damn sure to point this out to everyone — they would have never learned this information because the paladin is heaven-bent on destroying any knowledge related to the dark arts of necromancy and lichdom.
After taking a short rest in the altar room, Torug opens the door to see two undead beholders staring at him. “Close the door!” everyone else shouts at him.
What better way to make them fight more beholders than a random encounter when short resting? [insert evil laugh here]
The heroes don’t hide or run this time, though. They come out of the room, weapons and spells flashing. Lyr blinds one of them with blindness, making it a mostly helpless target, and Dexter begins blasting and blinding the other with sunbeam. One beholder does get off a couple eyes rays before they are both destroyed; so the heroes are not totally unscathed in the battle.
After licking their wounds, the group moves into a hallway that looks quite suspicious to them. Upon investigating, they find slits all along the walls from which they suspect something quite nasty will exit should they do the wrong thing.
They investigate a pair of double doors at the end of the hallway, and find a metal plate next to them that can be depressed. They finally determine that the trap is most likely triggered by opening the doors and that the plate probably disarms the trap.
So, what does Lyr do?
HE OPENS THE DOORS, OF COURSE!
Seriously, Lyr is the type of player that all DMs love. I mean the players had figured out my trap and were just about to completely bypass it. And then Lyr totally redeems my time spend designing the trap. 🙂
Fortunately, only Lyr was in the danger zone, and only Lyr is hit by a multitude of sharp blades that spring from the walls and begin slicing him to pieces. In panic, the bard slams his palm into the metal plate, depressing it and causing the blades to grind to a halt.
There is a bit of name-calling at this point, but Lyr just smiles, undaunted, and moves on.
The Hand of Light then enters a large chamber with columns running down the center, and a fallen, broken bronze statue lying in the center of the room. To the north are crypts with funerary recesses. To the south the ceiling has collapsed and stone rubble is strewn about.
As the heroes investigate the statue — that of an angelic being known as a solar — a deep noble voice begins to speak to them telepathically. It identifies itself as a powerful servant of a fallen god, Tabris, and warns them agains the evil necromancer that lies further on in the catacombs.
Luna uses her divine sense, determining that the area has been desecrated, but senses no fiendish, celestial, or undead creatures nearby.
After some discussion, the heroes ask the being if it can aid them. The voice tells them it will bestow a blessing on their weapons and armor if they lie them near the broken statue. Lyr immediately removes his armor and does so. Luna is about to do the same, but Dexter speaks up, questioning whether that is wise or not.
When Luna changes her mind, the rubble to the south explodes out ward, and a large demonic creature with four arms, two of which end in massive pincers, emerges. A glabrezu.
The voice in their head, now guttural and demonic, mocks them for their foolishness, and the demon drops a globe of darkness over itself.
The battle that follows is epic.
The glabrezu strides forward, snatches both Luna and Torug up in its pincers, and then casts power word stun on Dexter. As the wizard is left reeling for nearly half a minute and the demon begins rending the dwarf and half-orc to pieces, Lyr does the only thing he can think of.
He casts insect cloud from his staff, obscuring the demon’s vision, too.
Enraged, the demon goes into a frenzy, taking out its hatred on poor Luna. Lyr casts Bigby’s Fist, but the demon contemptuously dispels it. And then, the glabrezu tears Luna in half, throwing the two halves of her body to either side of the room.
Having no answer to the creature’s raw power and magical abilities, Lyr and Dexter both discuss fleeing, leaving Torug to his fate and losing the option of revivifying Luna.
However, the half-orc barbarian is not having it. With one final burst of courage and rage, Torug lays into the demon with his borrowed greatsword. The blind barbarian feels his weapon sink satisfyingly into the monster’s flesh several times.
And the darkness winks out.
The heroes then witness the might creature issue one last curse at them before its body dissipates into nothingness.
Immediately Lyr and Dexter pull the two halves of Luna back together, and the bard casts revivify. Luna’s eyes flutter open as life is restored to her corpse.
Then, wrecked, badly injured, and out of spells, the Hand of Light limps off to a dark corner of the catacombs to take a much needed rest.
That was an AWESOME battle! I had a blast running that glabrezu and was totally prepared to TPK the heroes. Fortunately, their bacon was saved.
The Hand of Light
Below are the famed members of the Hand of Light adventuring party.