DCCZ: Defenders of the Red Keep

On the Road (Days 4-5): To the Shrine of the Druids

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The party spends a day resting in the centipedes cave. While most of the group feels slightly better, no amount of resting is going to solve Brother John’s paralysis. As they consider their options, the Champion Morgaine mentions the the rumors of a holy shrine a day’s travel from here, near the village of Upper Hook. Perhaps they could find a cure for their druid’s condition there? Girding their loins, the group sallies forth.

Their first day of travel passes without event. However, during the night, a terrible beast buzzes the group’s campsite. Destruction climbs up a tree; breaking the canopy, the barbarian sees a great dragon wheeling back around. Only by the luck of La La Farfoot is the party able to find a hiding spot, and the mighty wyrm flies past and on into the night.

By noon the next day, the company arrives at the village of Upper Hook. The place seems deserted, but eventually the group is approached by Mother Derva, an old crone who claims to speak for the townsfolk. She says that they have been under attack by a minotaur calling itself the Bull God. When asked about the shrine, she says it is very near the hill the creature calls its lair. She warns the party to be careful; a cleric of Justicia rode off a week before to end the minotaur’s foul reign but never returned. With a shrug, Destruction the Berzerker heads off to destroy the beast.

After an hour traveling through the woods, the party comes upon a pack of wild dogs feasting on the remains of a war horse. Though the pathetic creatures attack, they are quickly overcome by our adventurers. The group moves on, traversing a trapped bridge and ultimately making their way to a mysterious lake, shrouding in a heavy mist that constantly forms strange shapes and images. The company finds an ancient stone dock, lit by two ghostly braziers. The barbarian discovers a magical, invisible bridge that leads to an small, wooded island. As the party joins him, Destruction investigates the island. Everyone but the warrior succumbs to the island’s magical powers, falling into a deep sleep. Unable to awaken them, the Berserker continues to search the area. After four hours, his comrades awake, refreshed and healed. As the sun goes down, the company hears the noise of elfish flutes and singing, and a shimmering bridge appears, leading them to the Shrine of the Druids.

Once there, the company discovers ancient statues of a robed woman and a unicorn and a small stone basin filled with a sparkling liquid. Feeding the liquid to the paralyzed druid, Destruction is delighted to see Brother John healed! The company spends the night in peace at the shrine.

The next day, the group returns to their adventure, now actively hunting the Bull God. Searching the woods, the company is set upon by a flock of ravens, many with poisoned talons! The beasts try to force them to take a path to the east, but Destruction and his allies refuse and ultimately slay the birds. After the battle, they stop to take a breath and enjoy the ministrations of their newly restored druid companion.

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On the Road-Days 3-6: Disaster!

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The party continues the journey on the Old Road. Early morning on the third day, the group encounters a mysterious cyclops seeking knowledge. After much enigmatic talk, the being offers to trade a spell with Dandalf. Our wizard studies for two days with the strange giant, ultimately learning Edvarg’s Energy Enchantment, allowing him to manipulate the mystic forces of the cosmos into simple forms. The party continues on.
The next day, Destruction and his allies discover a large pile of boulders near the road. Upon investigation, the group is attacked by a giant centipede, but Destruction makes quick work of the great beast. The crew strides confidently into the cave lair of the vermin, only to discover a next of fourteen other giant centipedes. Things go horribly awry! Destruction watches as, one-by-one, his companions fall to the poison of the horrible insects. Finally, the mighty warrior is forced to flee. The barbarian returns to the site of the group’s meeting with the cyclops, but finds nothing—not even a trace of the strange creature. Girding his wounds, Destruction returns to the scene of the battle, determined to save his companions, or die trying!
Centipedes rush out, but the barbarian is able to defeat them. As he prepares to enter the cave-nest, Destruction hears voices from the road. La La has returned, and she brings with her Morgaine the Champion, a sword-wielding warrior. At the same time, the crazed dwarf known only as the Skeleton Man rushes out of the woods. The group is able to clear the nest and recover the bodies of their friends. Miraculously, Brother John, Aurik, Zeb and Dandalf are all found alive. Only poor Bumble the Dwarf and Clara the Archer died.
Exhausted, the group hunkers down in the now quite comfortable cave to rest and heal their wounds. Only one problem remains: Brother John appears to be paralyzed by the centipede venom. What will Destruction do?

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On the Road (Year 1, Month 6, Days 1-2)

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After visiting the Blue Shrine’s library to research the journey to the Elder Wood, the company sets out for the east on the Old Road. On the first day, the group is set upon by a company of hobgoblins in a botched robbery.
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Destruction and his allies make short work of them.

Near the end of the first day, our heroes come upon a group of hungry ape-men. Dandalf casts a spell that allows him to communicate with the beasts. The creatures were planning on attacking the small village nearby; the company offers the ape-men food and they all part ways peacefully. That night the group sleeps on the floor of the village tavern.

On the second day, the company is ambushed by a giant lizard in the ruins of an old way station. After defeating the creature, the company travels on. At nightfall, they encounter a trio of bugbears who ask for a toll.
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A quick refusal results in a tough fight, but Destruction and his allies are triumphant. Afterwards, they hunker down for the night, sleeping at the side of the road.

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People of the Pit: Up Into the Light

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Destruction, Brother John and Dandalf (now most fouly corrupted by the magic of the Pit Beast) lead twelve villagers up out of the pit. Unfortunately, the arduous trek leads to the death of the majority of the poor commoners. The three survivors, Aurik, Zeb, and Clara, pledge themselves to the service of Destruction and Company.
After resting in the now nearly empty village of Hilltop, the adventures, with the body of the poor Lore, head back north. Along the way, they face a mighty band of trog warriors escaped out of the Broken Lands in the west. After defeating the savages, our party finally returns to the Red Keep. Already they begin to plan their next expedition. Fearing the curse of the King of Elfland, Destruction and his allies plan to take the corpse of their fallen comrade back to his homeland in the Elder Wood.

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People of the Pit: Pit's Bottom

Clambering down a secret passage, Destruction and his allies, along with a mad dwarf who calls himself the Skeleton Man, interrupt a terrible rite in which cultists and their subhuman servants attempt to sacrifice villagers to a colossal beast of a hundred mouths and a thousand tentacles.
After a mighty battle in which Lore the Wanderer is cruelly struck down, the company is able to slay the head priest, causing the pit god to go mad and pull the walls down upon itself and its cult. Our friends, and the rescued villagers, flee back into the caverns. When the dust settles, they find themselves trapped, and now must begin the arduous journey back to the surface.

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People of the Pit: The Third Level

The company travels deeper into the pits by way of mysterious eggs that magical transport those who lie inside them. Upon arrival, Destruction and his brethren fight their way through more cultiests and several foul toans, ultimately discovering a secret passage beneath a statue of a foul tentacled beast from beyond the stars.

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People of the Pit: The Second level

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Using another magic maze room, the heroes enter the second level of the Pit. There they are confronted by more cultists who summon up a great tentacle to attack our heroes. Only by slaying the summoners are Destruction and Company able to save Loo Loo from being crushed by the foul appendage!

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People of the Pit: Friends In Low Places

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Destruction and friends, still reeling from Dandalf’s horrific mutation, are surprised by reinforcements from Commander Hawk: a simple-minded but ferocious dwarf mushroom farmer named Bumble and a savage halfling from the Broken Lands named Loo Loo Farfoot. Continuing deeper into the pits, they discover a true abomination, the devil toad of Bobugbubilz. After a ferocious battle that left Bumble in an enchanted sleep and Destruction half in the great maw of the toad, our heroes destroyed the foul beast. They then traversed a magic lightning maze before confronting the Yellow Priest of the Pit, who cursed them and left them to battle his minions. Loo Loo barely escaped with her life after being struck down by the priest’s Toan pet. However, our heroes ultimately triumphed. The elf seer Lore used his mystical knowledge to use the magical energies of the pit to travel further down into the depths of the Pit . . . into the Cult’s Workshop.

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People of the Pit: Down, Down, Down They Go

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Our heroes continue to explore the warrens within the pit. Several cultists are dispatched as are the horrific octopods that live within the cultists’ bodies. The adventures face another ghost, the Spectre of the Red Room, who leaves them with both a curse and a powerful magic item, the Red Glass Wand. After studying some dark, arcane writings, Dandalf casts a spell with horrific consequences. Summoning a great tentacle from within the pit to do his bidding, the wizard watches as his own arm morphs into a horrific grey tentacle!

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People of the Pit: Into the Pit

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Our heroes traveled into the cavernous lair of the cult within the Pit. After killing some cultists and slaying their octopoid overlords, Destruction and Co. discover a secret door that to tunnels going deep into the ground. There in the dark, Destruction and Lore confront some angry ghosts and barely escape with their lives.

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