Though the adventurers had managed to initiate the opening of CAERULEUM’s WATER PORTAL to FARRAGO, they were still enmeshed in a battle with War’todes and the undead forces pursuing them. There was also at least two wild cards to contend with: Snizzle the drunken Cleric of Kroakatoa and the Half-goblin Sister of Shettebrek they’d fought when they faced the Fearless in the PEACOCK ISLAND HARBOR.
The party had been divided into two basic groups: those who were atop the PORTAL PLATFORM when Davroar Hollysword cast his Glory of Moriarty spell and those who found themselves in the disarray of the WAR’TODE ENCAMPMENT at its base.
The Portal Platform
Atop the PORTAL PLATFORM, Dumplin Ages the Halfling Barbarian, Shelby the Rakshasa Sorcerer, Nathan Garney the Human Cleric of Everly, Davroar Hollysword the Cleric of the Mad God Moriarty, Acindor the Human Fighter, and Acindor’s wife Melissa the Human Fighter had managed to clear the ledge of almost all foes, including the banishment of a zombie tyrannosaurus rex, but were forced to dig in for a probable siege as they waited for the Portal to fully open.
Acindor used his sword arm to take out the last remaining War’tode on the PLATFORM. Following his lead, Melissa swung at the fr’ogre. While it hopped out of reached, she deftly dodged its follow-up swing by bending gracefully backwards as the war’thammer whizzed harmlessly over her.
The rakshasa quickly ready Davroar’s thoughts to see if the cleric was still hostile toward him. While he did detect Davroar thinking Shelby would make a decent throw rug, his attention seemed to be primarily on defending the portal. Taking a position beside him, Shelby sent magic missiles at the fr’ogre; Nathan Garney and Davroar Hollysword followed up the attack with sacred flame. Completing his flight to join them, Meldor Ironforge the Dwarf Wizard landed on the PLATFORM and added his firebolt’s damage to his comrades’ attacks.
The frog’re recovered and shot out its long sticky tongue at Acindor, but he managed to dive out out its reach. Acindor’s sword arm seemed to take on a life of its own. He found himself slashing at the fr’ogre’s torso. Wherever the blade touched, necrotic damage seeped in, rotting him away. His skin turned instantly paler. He began swaying on its feet. It sneezed and a fine red mist of blood plumed from its nostrils. Nathan Garney cast sacred flame on the creature to keep it busy.
Meldor cast thunderwave, buffeting the fr’ogre back into Nathan Garney’s guardian, which delivered even more damage to the creature.
The War’tode Encampment
Nikolas the brass Dragonborn Fighter, Nellson Williams the red Tiefling Artificer with a robotic left arm and his steel defender gorilla Cupcake, Kudac the Half-Orc Cleric of Baldnoggin had escaped into the WAR’TODE TUNNELS, Lightfingers the Elf Rogue, Pigsnot the Elf Fighter, Eondul the Human Wizard, and Nomad the Warforged Artificer found themselves trying to make their way to the Portal through a pandemonium of War’todes, ghouls, fr’ogres, and freed prisoners.
Deciding to make a beeline for the PORTAL PLATFORM, Eondul urged the dragon to follow him. Since the creature had already taken a bite out of him, he offered it a meal ration to encourage it to heed him. The dragon gobbled down the proffered meal and flew beside him as he flew closer to the PORTAL PLATFORM.
Still stuck in a War’tode prison cage, Pigsnot pounded on the lock with his sword. He damaged it somewhat but remained caged.
Kudac took a swing at a Peeper War’tode but the small creature ducked. The creature rushed the half-orc as he continued his swing, causing Kudac to trip over him. Kudac fell prone between the War’tode and a ghoul. Hoping to save Kudac, Nellson shot at the ghoul, but missed; however, he did draw its attention away from Kudac. Nikolas intervened by using the War’tode as a launching pad, squishing it, only to leap over Kudac and stab the ghoul straight through the skull, its unnatural life.
Hearing the halfling barbarian’s call, Dumplin’s death dogs ran toward the Portal. One of the dog clamped down on the arm of a fr’ogre at the bottom of the stone hewn steps to the PORTAL PLATFORM. The fr’ogre panicked and in his flailing attempts to dislodged the first tenacious death dog from his arm, he somehow backhanded the other death dog across the beach until it was stopped by a wall. The second death dog lay unconscious. The two heads of the first death dog released, leaving behind their venom in the fr’ogre’s blood. Cupcake followed up the attack with a steel-armed simian punch. The War’tode began swinging himself and his hammer around and around in a dervish. Cupcake avoided the whirlwind attack, but the death dog was hurt badly. It retreated with a whine.
Cupcake hit the fr’ogre as hard as it could in retaliation. The creature was bloodied after the blow and looked like it could barely stand.
Dumplin’s other death dog regained consciousness. It bounded up the side of the stairs to avoid the fr’ogre, still trying to reach its owner. The other death dog joined it.
Nomad heard the tell-tale whistle of an arrow sailing through the air. It landed at his feet and sent a shockwave in a 25 foot circle. One of the prisoners was knocked into the cage door as it hit her like a physical blow. She fell to the ground, blood welling beneath her head from her injuries. Ironically, the force bomb also unlocked the doors on a good number of the prison cages as well. The zombie ogre and Lightfingers also felt the effects of the arrow-triggered spell attack. It and then a sudden pain in his buttocks. Turning to track the source of the arrow, Nomad spotted the half-goblin Sister of Shettebrek high on the OVERLOOK LEDGE.
Realizing she’d been discovered, she aimed an arrow at Nomad. He turned to run for cover; however, a second later, he felt a sharp pain in his buttocks. And then he vanished!
Lightfingers got to his feet, his eyes wide in astonishment. One second, the Warforged fellow had been there and, the next, he just wasn’t! Did he teleport again? Was Lightfingers going to teleport again?
His attention was drawn to the prisoner cages where he could hear the stifled screams and whimpers of prisoners desperately trying to hold their doors shut lest the zombie ogre reach in and grab them. Even through the bars, the thief could make out the looming shadow of the zogre. It was positioned between two aisles of double stacked prisoner cages. If he dashed in a straight line, he’d cross the end of those aisles in full sight of that undead monster. While it might lead the brute away from the prisoners, it would also likely end in one very dead thief. He wasn’t the noble martyr type. He opted to slink around the back of a tent, well out of its view.
An arrow whizzed past him. Turning around, he tried to track it to its source, but was distracted by a sudden flash of lightning on the other side of the beach.
From his ledge above, Snizzle the Cleric of Kroakatoa spied Nellson.
Cackling with drunken glee, he pointed to the cavern ceiling. Stormclouds began to form overhead. Lightning coursed down from the clouds, as the Tiefling Artificer instinctively dove aside. Even so, he felt a jolt of electricity course through his body. Rising to his feet with his hair standing on end with static, he realized that spell could’ve gone much, much worse for him.
Not wishing similar treatment, Kudac got to his feet and began running across the WAR’TODE ENCAMPMENT toward the steps to the PORTAL PLATFORM.
Nells also took an expedition retreat across the ENCAMPMENT. In doing so, he ran across the end of the aisle of cages where the zogre was tormenting prisoners. His movement caught the undead brute’s attention instantly. By the time it got to the end of the aisle, Nells was long gone, but the zogre did spot Kudac. Nikolas the Dragonborn began running toward the zogre in case he needed to aid his friend.
With the zogre now dangerously near him, Lightfingers cast a minor illusion to make a prison cage door rattle and scream for help, distracting the zogre so he could pass by unnoticed. It also distracted the undead brute away from Kudac. As Lightfingers hurried to catch up to Nellson, another arrow landed at his feet. He followed its flight path back to the OVERLOOK LEDGE, spotting the half-goblin Sister of Shettebrek responsible.
Nells ran to the side of the stairwell and began climbing up the side wall to avoid the fr’ogres at the base of the stairs. Cupcake punched the nearest fr’ogre as he hopped atop a lower section of the stairs.
Inspired by his example, Lightfingers dashed to the side of the stairwell and scrambled up like a spider. Seeing a fr’ogre a bit too close for comfort, he took a hasty swipe at it but missed.
Snizzle cast spike growth upon the ground where Kudac and Nikolas stood. Small tendrils began emerging from the sand, their only clue that they were in any present danger. Kudac and Nikolas dashed to catch up to their friends, but found their progress slowed by thorns and vines suddenly growing to impede them. Still, they pressed through.
The froghemoth continued on its path along the shoreline, snatching up War’todes and their loose prisoners with equal abandon and stuffing as many into its mouth as it could on its way to the feast of the prisoner cages.
Still trapped in one of those cages due to the Blessing of Moriarty, Pigsnot nonetheless had no intention of being a part of the buffet. Seeing Eondul flying over his cage, Pigsnot cried for help, but the other was in no position to do anything. Seeing that he was on his own, Pigsnot again, he continued to bang on the lock to his cell.
Atop the PORTAL PLATFORM, Shelby dashed to the edge to get a look at who might be coming up the stairs. Seeing the Big Big Boss Gilderwart, two fr’ogres and a few War’todes, he cast cloudkill on the head of the Big Big Boss again. The War’todes died within seconds.
Also atop the PLATFORM, Davroar cast a Janusian Blessian upon the fr’ogre he and his comrades were fighting. The fr’ogre swung itself and its war’thammer around like a top, lost control, and flung itself off the PLATFORM. It hit Dumplin’s death dogs on the way down. The fr’ogre died on impact with the ground. The severely death dogs died shortly thereafter from both their injuries and effects of Shelby’s expanding cloudkill spell.
Pigsnot was not the least bit happy to be blinded by Shelby’s stinging cloud. He had enough trouble escaping when he could see and wasn’t in pain! Pigsnot howled in frustration and pounded the cage door with renewed fury. The lock broke! He burst free and used his elven sense of direction to run toward the water, hoping that if he couldn’t escape the cloudkill perimeter itself, perhaps he could escape the cloud’s sting by diving into the water. His instincts served him well. He emerged from the cloudkill spell’s grasp at the very edge of the water. He gasped in the fresh air and let out a whoop of joy and relief.
His actions caught the attention of the froghemoth, who shot out its long sticky tongue at him. Fortunately, the tongue missed, shooting over the elf’s head when he dramatically fell to his knees in relief at being alive.
The Portal Opens
The Portal opened at last. Through the portal, they could see palm trees, blue waves and bright sandy beaches beyond. The scene lit up the cavern, drawing every living creature’s attention, save those whose vision was obscured by the cloudkill.
Farrago lay within reach.
The prisoners whose caged had been unlocked decided to make a break for it, especially since the zogre was no longer concerned with them.
Eondul landed on the PLATFORM and breathed a quick sigh of relief that he was almost to safety.
Acindor moved to the top of the stairs and took a swipe at a fr’ogre who’d nearly reached the PLATFORM. Lightning shot out of the end of his symbiotic sword arm, blasting the fr’ogre off the side.
The creatire fell to the ground, quite dead. Melissa looked upon his valor approvingly and came to join him in defending the top of the stairs.
Shelby shot a magic missile at the froghemoth for spite, definitely drawing its attention to the PORTAL PLATFORM, and then stepped through the Portal to safety. The rakshasa’s spell reserves were depleted. While the cloudkill spell dissipated with Shelby’s exit, the froghemoth had definitely changed its path to make its way to the PORTAL PLATFORM.
Dumplin, Meldor and Davroar followed the rakshasa through the Portal.
Nathan Garney stepped to the edge of the PLATFORM to see how many more foes were left to deal with. He spotted the Big Big Boss and a fr’ogre at the bottom the stairs. The zogre was still dangerously close to the bottom of the stairs as well. More undead were coming out of the Temple Doors, a problem that would only grow over time. And that drunken War’tode and his pet were still very much in play.
Seeing the sorry state Eondul was in, Nathan quickly said a prayer of healing to restore the wizard to service. They weren’t out of the woods yet.