Demons in the dark

A change of pace

The drop continues. Apparently, nobody in the party has a way to fly, feather fall, drop safely, or, pretty much do anything but a skill check.
So, they see a gaping black portal. Not a maw, this appears to be steady—a passage to the Shadowfell. Well, they needed one anyway, to travel fast, right?

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Tag!

When fumbling around in the dark, watch out for the light…

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I got my Eye on you

A new..uuuhhh….ally appears. Is your enemies’ enemy your friend? Because, seriously, this guy gives you the evil eye and you suffer for it.

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I get knocked down, but I get up again...

Old flames give rise to old enemies! Sorta. When a previous ally warns the group of impending danger, sometimes it pays to check the fine details.

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The Classics Never Get Old

What goes squish, squish, squish, squish, slurrrp, and screams? An illithid with a brain freeze.

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Feeling a Bit Hot

As they drift down the Falls, arcana checks will show the small gates upening and closing around them. These gates lead to the plane of Fire.

Not a problem, none of them are big enough to swallow up the boat….

Except that one.

A living maw, this particular gate will pursue the boat in hopes of fulfillment. The boat and all aboard go to the plane of Fire.

Fire elementals, look up: They seem similar in shape to huge dogs, with bright glowing burning centers. They of course attack immediately. (Fire elemental stats?) Their destruction means that a larger elemental comes over. Hopefully someone speaks Primordial, because this farmer is mad! He will appear very threatening, but (Insight 30) is actually somewhat frightened by the solids in his land. If attempts are made at communication, he will seek to send them elsewhere. Diplomacy 30 will have him create a firestone, which when swallowed allows conversation with anything that has “Fire” as a subtype.
He had always heard that the mixed planes were terrifying places with monsters running chaotically rampant. Faced with peace, he will offer directions, but cannot help them get back to regular reality.
Arcana check of 30+ lets someone still see the gate-Maw, 35 feet up in the air, rising. Insight 35+ lets you see it’s smug about ingesting the party, and is trying to move along, but is tethered psychically to the boat. This “tether” is slowly fraying, giving the party maybe a day or two before it will be freed. The Maw will not eat anything from this side of the gate. For help, the farmer will direct them to the city. If they’ve done well by him, he will give them a ride and a name: Peerhodeemus, chancellor to the king of this domain.
If party has to deal with it themselves, it is a skill challenge, using up time. It will be very hard.
The party’s unique nature here gets them an entrance into the Inferno, where they find that all resistances to fire are removed. However, if they are behaving, none of the guards have more than curiousity about them. A couple will offer to trade items (blazing armor, fiery weapons, consumables: fire bombs (an elemental snack?), reagents that add fire damage. Rituals can be found if decent diplomacy checks are made.
Peerhodemus explains to the group that the Maw, like others of its ilk, dump things out of one plane onto another, trying to satisfy their need for chaos. Sadly, Peerhodemus cannot help the group directly, but…
A huge water elemental has recently invaded. It is possible to trick the maw by presenting it with the elemental, thus taking it, and our party, back to their plane. The elemental is of course creating all sorts of havoc, but has been contained—just not destroyed. If they take care of it….?
(Insight: Peerhodemus is hiding [History] that killing it offends the Waterkin, and they would wage war for the crime). He offers a bottle that can contain the body of the behemoth.
PCs are led down into the bowels of Inferno, to find the giant water elemental, do battle, and collect its body for the Maw. The bottle is now an endless bottle of water.
The maw drops greedily down, siphoning up the corpse, boat, and hopefully the PC’s, shooting them back into the regular plane.
A final reward for survival through the plane of Fire: the fire resistance that any given member may have is now removed from their item, and internalized.

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The Drop

When floating helplessly down a river, it is one of the universe’s favorite running gag to insert a waterfall in.
When floating helplessly down a lava river, it’s that sort of sense of humor that make you want to punch God in the nose.


Skill challenge:
Real Time: 1 minute to figure out what to do. This can be extended by at least two PCs paddling, or somehow keeping the boat from moving 6 squares/turn.
Applicable skills: Strength check, 1 square per 5, endurance each round, athletics. Dungeoneering to get them deliberately snagged on a rock (perception can add a +1 bonus).

The Lava Falls! One of the great Wonders! A drop that goes down hundreds of thousands of feet, to drop you directly into the Underdark. The drop goes on for so long that it has its own ecosystems. This, of course, means that the party is attacked by fire mephits on the way down. If mephits are too weak, some other demon-y primordial kind of critter. And fire. Lots of fire.

More important to note is that everything appears to slow down during the drop. That’s because gravity weakens toward the middle, until it’s a complete free fall at that point. Only a very high Nature check will catch this. The immediate advantage is the ability to collect some rare specimens of floating plants, (worth thousands to the right folks), and reagents (for fire spells, flight/TK, shadow, primal) for rituals and powers.

Toward the bottom of the fall (takes a week, do they have food?) speed begins to pick up. There’s a giant lava pool waiting for them. How do they survive? A huge Athletic jump from the boat will only mean probably lethal damage, on the hard, hard ground. The boat will get crushed and destroyed by the lava pool. The unknown part of all this is that the passage away from theunderdark is through that pool. Before any of this, see the Primal Fire chapter

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Draggin' it out

In the Labyrinth, there are always bigger fish. You can only hope that they decide you aren’t krill. Though, when faced with an army of krill coming at them, our doughty adventurers may have to choose discretion over valor. Sad that the Navel is right around the corner…

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The Island of Doctor Morose

Going boating without guidance is a little like a box of chocolates. You never know when you could get dropped off in a hideous death trap.

...come to think of it, that’s not much like chocolates at all.

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The Lava River

Villages can be anywhere there is life and willingness to work together. Down in the Labyrinth, sometimes the craziest things get together, like some primoridials with a penchant for imitation. Fortunately, there’s a few folks with a slightly more “normal” take on the world. Unfortunately, being attacked is par for the course.

It’s very, very hot down here.

GM’s stuff:
Most citizens: Lava elementals, fire, earth. Large number of tieflings, couple of demonic types. There are several adventurers.
Notable: Shop selling items that grant fire resistance. Without it, characters begin suffering effects of overheating (endurance challenge, succeed 4/5 times, hard DC at 25(?). On failure, lose a heal surge and -1 all defenses, -2 to hit until rested. Success = +3 fire resistance, naturally, stacks with any resist they have that is power or innately based.

Key players: Shop seller, Brick. Tiefling, actually very nice but comes across badly. Mayor: Kaleth, a drow. She will welcome them and caution them about making waves. Literally—indicating the river of lava nearby, chars will see it shift unnaturally toward them. Anyone speaking Primordial can communicate with the massive elemental, Krackadoom, that lives in the river. It’s basically placid, and refers to the village as its pets. New pets are welcome as long as they get along.

NEOGI ATTACK! Big attack, start surrounded

Krackadoom will wake up in 1d8+6 rounds. Kaleth will begin herding the adventurers to a boat as soon as she sees what’s happening. The villagers retreat and lock off their homes (if they need to) which will makes a series of islands in the lava. Series of jump checks needed to get to the boat (which is made of stone). The neogi, of course, get eaten by lava along the way, except for several which, suprise, have wings. Introduce the Neogi Flyer: High AC/Reflex, moderate Will and Fort. They are fairly agile flyers, but can’t hover (though they can land on the ceiling). They have a Capture ability (restrains, and cuts their speed to 1/2 as they take their victim away) and do light to moderate damage. Greater risk is getting dragged off the boat, which should be x2 the size of the group, and basically square. (Giant rock barrel?) They will fight to the death, which suprises Malava.

We wound up doing it a little differently; even at 7 rounds it was taking too long. In the second round Krackadoom started moving in, a a few neogi got burned. I included Cadavre, the badass from Grandfather’s clan as a boss type. The lava continued moving in until only houses and a few pedestals were available, so the adventurers had to start leaping their way to the boat (made of stone, no moving it or rowing it easily). Also: Turns out that if you put stuff at the edge of the map, the players cover it with their papers and then forget about it. Lawls. Anyway, Krackadoom started lifting up on the far end of the map, away from teh boat, after it had covered it all (1d4 rows every round). Then, a tidal wave of lava. They surfed it in the boat, needing balance checks, then saves, to stay in said boat. they were nearly vertical before it began dropping them, and the boat then raced away with the PCs no-so-safely ensconced inside. I played up a huge swarm of flying neogi, which the tidal wave nailed (the real goal) the majority of…as things slowed down, the next encounter is on the boat, with all my melee folks facing off against remaining flyers, who are capable of dragging them into lava. From a distance. With webs.
Ow.

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