Date: January 8, 359 S.F.
Members Present: Vakharim, Ziljian, Leandro, Rarghsha, Xochi, Kilur, Agmundr
Campaign: Banish Yeenoghu
Mission: “Fuckery in the Muckery”: Take down the Wall
Location: Yeenoghu’s Realm, Eastern Burned Lands
(Report # 3/13)
The appearance of Yeenoghu had shocked most of us, the brazenness of his direct intervention a novelty from a demon lord. With the large group we had assembled, certain party leaders (primarily Haruhisa, Callimor, and Magnus) indicated that we should split into two groups. So Vakharim, Leandro, Ziljian, Xochi, and I returned to the Cave on the morning of January 8, after enduring a restless night of lethal nightmares.
We waited for news from the other group as to what they were doing and what we ought to do in turn. While we waited, Kilur and Agmundr appeared, having heard of the gathering and eager to contribute. They were a most welcome addition to our small group.
A few hours later, Leandro received a whispering wind from Olias. Olias indicated that thanks to Callimor’s prayer to the Fates, they had learned some information about the Wall and how to take it down. There were two very holy sites of the gnolls, one called “the Pit” and the other called “the Muckery”. Although 2400 focus days had been put into the Wall by gnollish shamans, their devotion reinforced by the countless sacrifice of innocents, the Wall had a weakness. A single negation ray at each holy site would take it down. The other group indicated that they were going after the Pit, and suggested we should head for the Muckery. Their information indicated that the Muckery lay south of a gnoll city called Yeentar, which was somewhere along the northern coast of the gnoll lands.
We consulted the maps we had available in the Cave, but found no city marked on the north coast. We were somewhat at a loss on how to proceed until Haroch, who was nearby, let out a long low rumble, which eventually made sense as a word: “Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavigator”.
We considered the task before us and began brainstorming how we could accomplish our mission. We quickly realized that the other group had taken both the central pendant and the herb bag. The 7 of us were on our own, and we would not be receiving reinforcements once we began. Looking around, I became quite concerned with our healing situation. Agmundr generously offered up 150 000 cp for herbal healing, and I teleported to the Roman healing gardens while Leandro and Xochi circled up.
It was evening when I arrived at the Forum, and I gathered up the lifekeeping and some other consumable healing they had. Several useful herbs were unavailable, and the vendor indicated that an elf with white hair and a 2-handed sword had already been by. I’d missed Olias by mere hours.
Returning to the Cave via pendant, I found the magic users just about ready. A plan formed. We would see whether the navigator knew where Yeentar was, and if he did, we would teleport directly there. An odd rush of adrenaline filled me as I looked at the faces around me, and the hot head mentality took over full force.
I laid out the bold proposal. The other group had left us with little guidance, but we would not be deterred. We would teleport to Yeentar and call a bird to tell us where the Muckery was. Local wildlife would surely know of the Muckery, as the huge number of sacrifices the gnolls had made would have drawn carrion seekers for hundreds of miles around. We would fly to the Muckery and make a hit on it before the gnolls knew what was happening. With the element of surprise on our side, striking far up north while the other group slogged near Alvborg to the south, we would negate whatever looked like the main altar at the gnollish holy site. Our plan was to be back in the Cave slamming back beer before the other group could even get to their target!
The boldness of the plan energized our group. Young Vakharim agreed to the plan eagerly, exclaiming that this was the most Hot Head plan he’d ever been party to. We were ready.
With preparations complete, Leandro sent a whispering wind to a navigator, who appeared before us moments later: a pinkish bipedal creature with a curiously deformed head, surrounded by an odd clear shield and a swirl of spice mélange. He indicated that the gnolls did not have cities, only settlements, but that such a one known as Yeentar did indeed exist on the north coast. Kilur generously provided the navigator the required 40 000 cp, and Agmundr was teleported to the location. After getting his bearings, he immediately returned to us via pendant, and then teleported us all back.
We found ourselves on a rocky coastline, seagulls swirling in the air above us. Coastal cliffs towered off to the south-east, pockmarked with cave entrances. We estimated that some 1000 gnolls called this area home. Below the cliffs, a crude wharf system had been erected, whaling boats tied up.
Since we were so far to the north, the sunlight was still apparent, though it was later into the night. The others ducked down while I called out to the seagulls swirling overhead. They quickly began congregating on me, asking for food, food, food, food? It quickly became apparent that no information would be forthcoming from these animals.
Worried that the swarming seagulls would attract attention, we were quick to push off, avoiding the settled area as we headed south. When we were a safe distance away, we tried calling a bird again, this time a wiser creature: the raven. No ravens answered my call, but one alighted nearby in response to the winged shaman of Aerdrie. The raven solemnly told us that the gnolls would kill us if they caught us. He also indicated that the gnolls’ nearby killing grounds were well known to the carrion-eaters of the region, and that it lay some 60 miles to the south west, in some hills. The raven assured us we would smell the foul place before we saw it.
With this new knowledge, Leandro and I were able to pinpoint with relative confidence where Yeentar was on our map. Our mission was clearer than ever. Vakharim turned 6 of us into ravens, while Xochi made herself invisible and able to fly. We would strike the Muckery after a 3 hour flight.
The stench of the Muckery assailed our senses as we flew into the hills. It was quickly forgotten, however, as we got a visual on the gnollish holy site.
Huge clouds of flies buzzed in the air above the Muckery. Heaps of skulls and bones lay scattered about, the remains of thousands of sacrifices. Dozens of heads on pikes decorated the hillsides. Off to the side, a bone-encrusted cave entrance gaped wide. A shit pool with strange markings on the surrounding rocks lay to another side. But the main feature of the site was a large pyramidal structure in the center, upon which rested an altar with a bound female sacrifice, attended to by 3 elite gnoll holy warriors.
We observed the area for a few minutes, noting that the gnolls wandered about the holy site, an obvious pilgrimage destination. Two chasme were present, sitting at two different cooking fires with some gnolls, talking about matters that I quailed even to think about. A closer examination of the cooking fires revealed that humans were the evening’s dish, spun slowly on roasting spits. Some of the spitted humans had been beheaded. Others had not… Most of the bodies we could see, those that still had recognizable features at least, seemed Danish, though some Slavic bodies were also in evidence. The conquest of Daneland had been gruesome.
A plan of attack quickly formed. We would land on one side of the holy site, ready to jump into motion once Leandro rockblasted the bone cave. We would take down the visible gnolls as quickly as possible, and those with negations would target the foul altar. Once that was done, Vakharim would take us back to the Cave with a teleport. With a surge of adrenaline, we launched into action, flying down through the clouds of flies that surrounded the loathsome site.
Leandro’s rock blast levelled the bone cave, and Xochi and I immediately jumped into one of the chasmes, knocking it to the ground. Ziljian assassinated several gnolls, and Kilur and Agmundr landed in front of others, only to have Leandro banish them before they could swing at them. The gnolls in the area stood stunned, looking about to determine the cause of the commotion. We continued with our momentum, banishing the chasme and killing more gnolls. Leandro let a poisonous cloud go at the central altar on the pyramid, killing several of the elite gnoll holy warriors. Some half-hearted shots came our way from some gnoll archers that had managed to rally, but they all flew wide. We had certainly taken the site by surprise.
Working with efficient purpose, most of the visible gnolls were taken out. I blinked to the top of the altar and sent a negation ray into the blood-stained stone, seeking to take out the Wall’s power source. While doing so, gnollish powers began to make an appearance on the field. Swirling green mists of “Ancestor Spirits” appeared, one permanently destroying the magic users’ scrolls, the other taking out the prayers or spells of casters. A large egg also manifested, its nefarious purpose not yet known.
With no way of knowing whether the negation had worked, the group seemed reluctant to leave. I called out that we had done what we came to do, and called for a teleport to take us away. We’d had success because we had the element of surprise. We would not be able to fight off the shaman and warrior contingents that would descend on us once they realized what was happening.
Vakharim yelled out that his teleport had been taken out by the green mist, while Leandro took a moment to fire a negation ray at the shit pool covered with strange markings. The nightmare we’d had the night before about Yeenoghu had featured a shit pool surrounded by strange markings, so the odd pool may well have been the target we sought.
In the interim, the large egg had hatched, and lurching ghouls began crawling out. To make matters worse, gnoll warriors had begun charging out from the rubble of the bone cave.
Kilur blinked to the entrance of the cave, determined to hold off the reinforcements. He could see a long line of gnolls stretching back into the depths. With them stood a shaman, speaking to a figure through a portal.
Xochi let off a number of powers, and began hammering into the ghouls with incredible force, blowing them to bits. We quickly realized that these ghouls were incredibly resilient, however, with around 500 hp each. Although their attacks were weak, their immense stamina meant they kept coming, each strike from their fingernails threatening paralysis. Off to the side, Vakharim succumbed to their onslaught, and fell helplessly to the ground, completely paralyzed.
The situation began to deteriorate. Three negation waves spread out from the bone cave, wiping out most party members’ current effects. More green mists appeared, as well as another ghoul egg. We needed to leave before it was too late.
Leandro transformed himself into a massive silver dragon, and poking his head over Kilur’s shoulder, blasted the inside of the bone cave with his icy breath. Xochi continued to sweep ghouls, the eggs themselves, and the green mist of the ancestor spirits.
“We can’t leave because we don’t know if we were successful in taking out the Wall” she called out.
Two ghouls had reached me, and I fought to hold them off as they tried to gnaw on my flesh. Parrying them off gave me a moment to act. We’d done the best we could, and had negated the obvious targets at the Muckery. We were standing on one of the gnolls’ most holy sites. There was nothing to be gained by staying but our own deaths. I called out once more that we had to leave immediately, and that I was going. Then I hit my pendant.
I waited in the Cave anxiously, hoping that I’d been able to lead enough by example and that I’d be joined soon by my comrades.
Thank the Ancestors, they came. Vakharim appeared first, wearing Leandro’s pendant. Leandro had gone over to the paralyzed Vakharim, and on realizing he didn’t have a pendant, had given up his own to get the half-elf to safety. Next Kilur appeared, having used a rune of teleportation. He reported that 5 shaman and dozens of gnoll warriors had just teleported in, and that several more green mists and ghoul eggs had also appeared. We waited anxiously.
Suddenly Agmundr, Leandro, and Ziljian appeared, brought by Agmundr’s mass teleport. Miraculously, both Ziljian and Leandro had failed to resist Agmundr’s unexpected prayer: this had likely saved their lives.