Rappan Athuk Reloaded

Session 12: The Den of the Master

You have come far. Pethriklah, the marilith general of Orcus, lies hacked to pieces at your feet; really, don’t they ever learn? Offers to join Orcus and gain power mean nothing. This scourge must end and its cycle of rotating through the Material Plane must be broken.
The maze of despair you can still see behind you. Cries from the lost souls trapped within reach you through the open archway. You shudder at the sacrifice each of you had to make to emerge from that demi-plane. Dozens of stake surround another open archway to the east, each topped by a preserved humanoid head. The heads are animated by some foul magic and gurgle, spit or curse you as you approach. The journal entries and descriptions in Grezneck are enough to recognize the face of the head nearest the archway, that of Cyrric, the broken priest. He babbles, laughs and cackles as you look away.
Your foes were many: Maphistal, first-born of Orcus, Zelkor and his spectres, Gudmund the Worm that Walks, the Vampire lord Agememnon and the Iron Titan of Grezneck and its urdefahn masters. Yet here you are.
There is only one question: Can the Master be destroyed?

A three-foot round coaxial of multi-colored energy emerges from a tumorous growth in the fleshy floor in front of you. Dark veins surround the pulsing mound and the cable of energy hums. It drops over a cliff and into a dizzy drop through electrical bursts and gouts of flame; swirling gusts of air buffet large boulders like toys. The prismatic cable descends as far as you can see into the chaotic ether. You can make out flames and dark smoke near what may be a bottom. Looking up, there seems to be a rocky dome illuminated by lightning arcs about 80 feet above you.

Hiso, battle-worn rogue dog of the north, gathered the most powerful of Golarion. In addition to himself were:
Olwyn, Archer of the Bitch Queen
Emmit, Farmer Demon Slayer
Solaris, High Priestess of Saranrae
Flynn, Elven archmage
Malik, Barbarian Rager
Golgoth, Holy Paladin of Iomedae

They navigated the columnar abyss and followed the cable to where it plunged into a pool of lava. Using a Sphere of Force, Flynn guided the party through the flames and Wished them free of the lava before the bubble’s force ended. The lava opened into an ether and they plummeted to the ground below, while above the Tor Linnorm, Aptelzenekoth, descended from his fiery realm to do battle while flying. Their magical protections fought off the dragon’s breath and arrows of dragon slaying and cold iron brought the beast low. Even its Curse of the Boiling Blood could not affect Malik.

Following the cable, the terrain changed suddenly.__
As you land on the “earth” you see the energy cable enter the earth and become one with the rocky terrain, rippling half out of the ground and half within as it travels away from you to what might be “west.” Brilliant lights suddenly illuminate everything. You lose perspective and the site of the nether above you. You are at the bottom of a coliseum, the noise of the crowd deafening. The top of the monstrous arena cannot be seen. Naked succubi make lewd gestures at you as mohrgs, vampires and liches jeer and laugh. A bloated Nalfeshnee demon bites into a humanoid leg, spitting abyssal curse words at you. Numberless undead and fiends seem to crowd the seats of the arena.
Flower petals are showered on you. It smells strongly of Jasmine. Far to the west, from a balcony seat, sits the bloated, goat-headed form of the Master. The humming, colored cable seems to ascend the arena wall and enter his balcony seat. The jasmine gives way to the scent of rotten eggs. The Master picks up what looks to be a mewling new-born orc, tears its head off in one bite and slowly chews. From behind his throne, you catch a glimpse of a glowing, floating skull covered in gems.
In a booming, cracking voice, he says,“The rewards are truly great after coming so far! See, my people welcome you into the fold.” He gestures about the arena. “Now, bow before me, submit and you will be part of the final act! We will usher in an age of purity and creativity, where flesh is no boundary. Do you submit?”
They did not.
“I had such high hopes for you. Soon, I will be part of the wretched realm above and enter it in my full glory. Deskari’s Wound to the west is nothing and I will crush him just as I crush the mortal kingdoms about me, making way for the one true god. Ah, well. I suppose you must face my champions.” His voice becomes much louder. “I’m sure my fair people will not participate! You will have nothing if not a fair fight!”

The champions of Orcus appeared. Fetolus, the Vrolikai demon. Kal, graveknight magus. Zzem, nightcrawler of Orcus. And Chechultez, Tzimitzl undead harbinger. Though powerful magics and quickened spells abounded, the heroes brought Kal down low before he could use a bit of Magus might. His graveknight acidic blasts barely touched the party. Chechultez loosed hideous beams of negative and fire energy while Zzem cast quickened Cones of Cold and Finger of Death spells. Melee and arrow destroyed the creatures quickly while Solaris Mass Healed and Flynn supported with strengthening spells and Wishes. The arena crowd harassed the party with fireball, magic missile and lightning bolt spells while negative energy blasts worked against them.

The Master finished chewing on the baby’s leg. Azathoth, the Awakened Demilich, appeared at his side. “It is time to finish this, Azathoth.” The Master and Azathoth started by casting Time Stop. From afar, in their balcony, Azathoth Devoured Soul while the Master cast death spells. Scarabs of warding protected them from death while Miracle and Wish spells dimmed the Wand of Orcus for a few moments. Orcus and Azathoth fought back by using Wish spells to reactivate the Wand and deactivate the scarabs. It became a battle of who could use Miracle or Wish more effectively, while at the same time Azathoth Devoured Soul and used Wail of the Banshee at every opportunity. Orcus’ avatar was filled with a hundred arrows and blood oozed from countless wounds – his near-godlike power fending off the most powerful blows. Finally, he waded into battle. Golgoth absorbed a blow meant for Flynn and, in so doing, was obliterated by the wand. Soon after fell Olwyn and Malik as they were crushed by the Wand of Orcus. Azathoth Devoured Flynn’s soul and his body crumpled soon after.

Hiso nipped and battled the demilich, avoiding its soul attacks. Emmit continued to fill the bloated body of the Master with arrows. Solaris had protected herself with a Prismatic Sphere and, in desperation, ran to Flynn’s crumpled form, grabbed the Staff of the Magi, flew to the Master and performed the retributive strike. In the mass explosion, Solaris incinerated herself but nearly destroyed Orcus as well. Emmit nocked an arrow and fired into the demon lord’s brain. His head slumped over and he slowly fell to the ground.

The arena erupted in panic. Fiends teleported away. Whatever magic prevented them from acting physically in the arena, now seemed to loose its effectiveness altogether as the arena began to crumble and pull away from the demi-plane. Hiso and Emmit followed the cable to the throne where Hiso performed a complicated surgery in removing the energy from the throne itself. Blood and juices poured from the gaping wound, but the transmorgrified blink dog simply found Flynn’s Handy Haversack and began stuffing the cable into it. As the anti-matter of the sack met the cable, the true implosion began. Emmit and Hiso teleported away, running as the dungeon crumbled behind them.

They emerged into the sunken graveyard, climbed a hill, and watch the whole thing slump and sink into the ground, burying evil forever and ending the cycle of Rappan Athuk.



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