So, when last we left the party, they were headed south to meet a sect of geomancers.
They were in the process of constructing a pass through the mountains to the city of Al-Khamur, a move that would bring more riches into the capital; Finburgh. Unfortunately, the geomancers were attacked whilst working in the tunnel by a large, aplelike demon, who killed several of their members, and chased the remaining sorcerers from the tunnel.
The party came on behalf of the Queen to offer assistance. They have tackled demonic cults before, and hoped that this would be no different.
After getting the low down from the geomancer in charge, they headed up into the mountains, tracking the demon, which they knew to be a barlgura, as they went. They followed the tracks to a ruined village, where they appeared to end. After thoroughly investigating the area, they discovered that the large well in the centre of the village was covered with an illusion of darkness, making it appear 2d. After trying to penetrate this by lowering themselves down on ropes, sending familiars down and casting spells, they came to the realisation that if they were to simply walk down the side of the well, the illusion was broken. Doing this seemed to shift the world, so that walking down the side of the well appeared as if they were walking down a circular tunnel.
All the while, Jeff knew that this was a shrine to Fraz-Urb’luu, the Demon Lord of Trickery and Illusion. His patron, who he believed to be an angel, told him that he must destroy a gem, which held Fraz’s spirit, that the cultists had acquired.
The party progressed into the dungeon, springing traps and falling for illusions as they went. They found the barlgura after it disguised itself as a shackled prisoner, drawing them into a cage with it before attacking them. As they made their way through this dark shrine, they discovered that it was dedicated to Fraz-Urb’luu.
Prior to their mission, Tullie had been told to look out for a member of the Sound of Silence (SOS), a secret subfaction of the Harpers, dedicated to collecting magical instruments, and preventing them from falling into the wrong hands. Shet met Benjen after discovering the cultists dormitory, and he revealed what he knew about the place. He had been undercover for some time, hoping to discover the whereabouts of a magical harp. He warned the characters that there were many more cultists ahead, and that they were trying to summon a powerful Demon Lord.
With this new information, the party surged forward. They found the cults current leader, a maniacal gnome, and slayed him with his enslaved hezrou. After this fight however they were exhausted, and the cawing of a vile vrock demon deeper into the dungeon prompted them to leave, and return when rested. As they were making this decision, the vrock appeared and made to attack them. Thinking fast, Jeff threw a bottle he had bought from Mungo’s Menagerie in the Capital. This bottle contained a shrunken elephant and, when smashed, would release it, allowing it to expand to its true size. Jeff used this as a distraction to allow the party’s escape. They eventually make it back to the geomancer’s camp to take a rest.
Little do the party know, but during this time the cultists come up with a death trap plan. They will conduct the ceremony to summon Fraz-Urb’Luu in the dead of night, preparing his gem for the purpose. When the party return, they will complete the ritual and bring him to the material plane using the souls of the cultists that the party kill.
When dawn breaks, the party head out once more, this time with the help of seasoned ranger Cherri. Unfortunately, they walk straight into the cult’s trap. They cut their way through swathes of cultists, whose souls are bequeathed to Fraz-Urb’Luu, giving him more and more power.
When the party arrive to the main chapel, Juan effectively silences a glass organ which was being played by the new cult leader, rigged to fill the room with poisonous gas. The others shoot spells, arrows and javelin’s of lightning to great effect, killing the minor demons and cultists that fill the shrine. Arannis falls after being stunned by the Vrock’s screech.
After a hard battle, Vincent jumps from the gallery, bringing his maul down onto the head of the lead cultist in a mighty manoeuvre, killing her instantly.
Jeff had been biding his time. He saw the gem damaged by Vinnie’s attack. Unsheathing the broken blade (a magical dagger), he thrust it into that abyssal rock, and summoned Fraz-Urb’Luu, his patron, to the material plane.
Seeing this, the party begin to flee from the all powerful Prince of Deception. Cherri knows they won’t make it. She lays down her life, slaying Jeff with a flurry of arrows, then laying into the demon lord himself with her silvered shortsword, buying enough time for the party to escape. Unfortunately, in the attempt to flee, Arannis was crushed by a chunk of falling column, killing him.
The others escape, but Jeff, Arannis and Cherri lie dead in that dark tomb, sealed, for now, under layers of stone.
This section of campaign was a lot of fun. Jeff’s character arc came to fulfilment, as he summoned Fraz-Urb’Luu. Joe, who played Jeff, knew that Fraz was his true patron, as he picked a demonic warlock pact from the off, but together we turned it into more of a storyline. Over time, the other players (and characters) came to know of the truth about Jeff, but they did not act in time to stop the catastrophe taking place.