DCCZ: Defenders of the Red Keep

The Great Labors-The Croaking Fane (Day 23-24)

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Fought the transformed cultists
fought the Toad Thing
fought the mummified toads
destroyed the cursed tablet
rested in the chapel
tried to leave the temple, triggering the toad idol attack-defeat the toad idol and escape the collapsing temple

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The Great Labors-The Croaking Fane: Toad War! (Day 23b)

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The company continues to explore the lower levels of the Temple of the Croaking Fane. They stumble into a deep cavern and do battle with a host of giant frogs. Wave upon wave crash against Destruction and his companions until the gore piles up around them. Several of the heroes fall, only to be healed by Brother John.
After the battle, the group finds a trove of platinum pieces and a prisoner, a slightly unhinged cult member locked in a cell. Once freed, he leads the party deeper into the caves where they fight off some horrible flying vampiric frogs. Again Brother John calls on the healing energies of his masters. But his repeated requests for aid draw the ire of the Treemoot, who punish their priest by stripping him of his clerical powers! What will be the cost of this terrible judgement?
Lacking Brother John’s healing, the company uses the might Horn of Kings to heal themselves, Following the freed lunatic, Destruction and his allies discover a horrible scene. A deep bubbling pool of mystical fluids, floating upon which is the cult of the Croaking Fane. Each of the cultists is transforming into toad-like fiends. The lunatic screams in joy and dives into the pool, disturbing his brethen who rise to destroy the interlopers.

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The Great Labors-The Croaking Fane (Day 23a)

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After Brother John communes with the Trees to determine the cave’s safety (Second Sight), the group spends the remainder of the day and an evening resting and recuperating in the Mistress’s former lair. The next day they return to the Temple of the Croaking Fane. Destruction and Company finish their search of the temple’s upper level, destroying a swarm of killer frogs as well as a primeval slime. They also desecrate a great idol, stealing its gemstone eyes (classic move!). Then they move down into the subterranean level of the temple.
There they loot the head priest’s room and Dandalf smokes some bad witchweed from a water pipe (permanent -1 Intelligence!). Still they uncover the priest’s treasure stash and score some serious gold.

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The Great Labors-The Mistress (Day 22)

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Destruction tracks the trolls back out of the swamp and into a mist-shrouded forest of tamarack trees. There he discovers a nest of orb weavers. The party destroys six of warrior males before facing and defeating the Stygian Widow herself, Mistress Dralnibulla, in her extradimensional lair. Afterwards the group discovers a powerful magic item: the Staff of Vesuvian.
In defeating this terrible foe, Destruction has completed the first of the Elf King’s Great Labors.

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The Great Labors-The Croaking Fane: Minions of "the Mistress" (Day 22)

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As the group rests and Brother John heals the bloody mage, their barbarian leader hears whispering in the darkness back the way they came. When they investigate, they discover a group of satyrs setting up an ambush. A battle ensues and the party makes quick work of the savage goatmen. No sooner have they cleaned their weapons than a voice calls them outside.
There they find a giant, bent-back, green form who tells them that “the Mistress” wants them dead. Another lurking troll pounces from above, and Destruction and Company find themselves in a terrible battle. Both the barbarian and Zeb are struck down, but Brother John’s healing saves both men from death. Only the fiery spells of the battered Dandalf save the group, burning the trolls down. All feel lucky to escape the encounter alive. Who is the “Mistress”?

[OOC: Playing with my eldest while out of town. I brought everything we needed . . . except for the module “The Croaking Fane.” I scrambled and created this encounter to “pause” the adventure. Holy *(&% DCC trolls are nasty. Now I’ve got to figure out who “the Mistress” is . . . ]

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The Great Labors: The Croaking Fane (Day 22)

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The company enters the toad temple. They explore a strange fountain, desecrate a sarcophagus filled with mummified giant toads, and avoid tampering with votary candles. Finally, moving into the nave of the temple, Destruction and his allies are attacked by flying toad gargoyles. The party triumphs and Brother John even bends one of the creatures to his will using his powerful lotus stare, but Dandalf the Faceless is struck down. The party assumes the wizard is dead, but Lucky La La turns him over to find him barely alive!

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Into The Elder Wood (Days 20-22)

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Finally the company arrives at the Elder Wood, the vast forest home of the elves. They camp at its edge and spend the night fighting horrific fey creatures. The next day the band enters the wood and are met by an elven hunting band that takes Lore’s body and leads the company through the Grey Gates and into the mystical realm of Elfland. Griffin mounts take them to the Floating City, and Destruction and Company finally meet the King of Elfland. The Fey Lord thanks the party for returning his son Lore to him but then informs them of their debt to him. He commands that Destruction and his allies perform eight labors.
The first is to stope the malignant swamps from encroaching upon the Elder Wood. The company immediately embarks upon their first quest. They are led by Keyros, an elven hunter, to the marshy area at the forest’s edge. There the company finds a half-sunken stone temple, shaped like a great squatting toad.

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The Fetid Plain (Days 18-20)

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After looting the serpent man’s private chamber and discovering his alien spellbook, the company flees a strange fungus that begins to rot the tower from the inside out. They escape just before the tower collapses, emerging into the light of day in time to see the comet Serbok roar across the sky and crash somewhere back beyond the Shudder Mountains.
The group returns as heroes to Gator Hide, earning much deserved awards. After resting for a night, the party moves on, now with a new member, a donkey named Bob. But the journey is not a peaceful one; at midday they are attacked by a behemoth frog, an amphibious monster the size of an inn! The company proves triumphant and continues, stopping to camp at a yurt aside the causeway that night. They are awoken by a horrific sound, the roaring challenge of a water dragon racing toward them. Vandaraxx, the terrifying lord of the Fetid Plain, demands tribute from the travelers in the form of Dandalf’s spellbook. When his demands are not immediately met, the dragon attacks the arrogant humans. In a terrible battle that sees many of the company sorely wounded, Destruction ultimately slays the dragon with a mighty blow from his hammer. The heroes have freed the inhabitants of the Fetid Plains from Vandaraxx’s terrible rule! Huzzah!

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Gator Hide: The Tower Out of Time (Days 17-18)

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Traveling through the Fetid Plain along the Old Road, the company arrives at Gator Hide, a town sat up on stilts above the great swamp. They are able to rest and recuperate, and Brother John is able to heal the afflicted members’ zombie fever. While there, they are asked to investigate a pillar of light that appeared several days ago. Ferried out on flat boats, Destruction and his allies find a strange tower made out of living hide. Inside the group fights ape men controlled by strange parasites, one of which Brother John is able to dominate with his priestly powers. After making their way to the top of the tower, a snake man wizard and his ape allies. During a horrific battle, both Destruction and Brother John are struck down by the snake mage’s evil magics, but the group, led by Dandalf, are able to overcome their enemies.
Miracle of miracles, both Destruction and Brother John are found to be (barely) alive, though both bear horrible wounds from the battle.

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On the Road-Out of the Shudder Mountains (Days 16-17)

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Destruction and Company climb up through the Highwind Pass only to run into its guardian, a mighty, ruby-eyed stone giant! When the creature’s demand for gems was refused, a mighty battle took place. After both Brother John and the giant were both brought to death’s very door, the two parties struck a truce, and the company was allowed to pass on unmolested.

Reaching the eastern base of the Shudder Mountains, the group camped on the edges of the Fetid Plain, a great swampy area rumored to inhabited by many evil and terrible beasts. That night, the group was attacked by swamp dead, the animated corpses of those who had perished in the swamps of the Fetid Plain. The dead were defeated, but unbeknownst to our crew, several of its members (Dandalf, La La and Aurik) have contracted zombie fever and will themselves become the walking dead within a week unless cured!!

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