We’re exhausted and somewhat mauled, having survived three boss fights in a row. The GM’s response, of course, is to throw us into two more and then four at once, so it’s entirely likely the Covenant will be short a few members soon.
The next room has a stone table and numerous bloodstained knives.
Zenobia OoC: Probably not a teppanyaki bar.
And yet another variety of undead that arises from improperly buried remains. Zenobia is cursed again, so it’s lucky Nemat has a suitable scroll handy. Especially before whatever is trying to punch through the wall gets through. One of the things is a skeletal demon, and the other is carrying a shield embossed with an image of a huge faceless sphinx.
Zenobia: Didn’t we just deal with that?
Nemat: No. We dealt with the being that was carrying the SYMBOL of that.
Zenobia: Oh dear.
GM: Zenobia, are you openly displaying the symbol of a good-aligned god?
Zenobia: Of course.
Asrian: Of course she is.
It’s the only thing that’s stopped her being shot on sight sometimes.
GM: Well I know what Heket is doing first then.
Zenobia: *fainter oh dear*
Heket: *casts Destruction on Zenobia*
Zenobia: *burns remaining Hero Points to avoid being reduced to a black silhouette on the wall*
Ghost Paladin: *intervenes with her shield* Not THIS gnoll.
Zenobia is still mostly dead. Asrian goes berserk. Her fury, Nemat’s increasing resemblance to Robocop, and Onka’s mecha suit all protect them during the subsequent melee, despite spells like Chain Lightning.
Zenobia OoC: Somebody kill that wannabe-Sheev-Palpatine.
Onka OoC: I think that corpse is talking.
The fact that the entire party are all quite proficient spell-casters in their own right is also handy.
GM: Don’t worry, there’s only one more boss.
Onka: Oh f*** off.
GM: At least this one isn’t undead.
Asrian hits Zenobia with a Cure Critical Wounds, and the shaking gnoll clings tightly to her girlfriend.
Zenobia: I thought I was going to die.
Onka OoC: ‘I saw the Boneyard and it wasn’t pleasant’
Zenobia: ‘Saw it AGAIN’
Asrian: I’m just shaking with rage.
Nemat: So the last guy will have time to prepare.
Asrian: Let him - he’ll use up all his spells and the durations will wear off.
During the pause, Onka and Nemat discuss future plans to make Onka’s walking statue suit more efficient - crewing it with tiny animated poppets to operate the levers so he can concentrate on casting spells from the gun ports. Then Nemat obliterates the door to the last stronghold, revealing lots of summoned demons and a rather startled Maftet. We really shouldn’t have given Userib time to Dimension Door in extra troops from around the temple.
Zenobia: Userib! Your mother is very annoyed with you!
Userib the Corrupted Maftet: Why have you trespassed in our home? This place may seem abandoned, but our blood and our faith have reawakened it! Perhaps my old tribe sent you to retrieve me? Know this: I shall never return to that hollow pride of mewling weaklings. My new tribe is here, bought and paid for with my very soul. Join us in the worship of the Faceless Sphinx or you shall not live to tell others of this place!
Nemat: Faceless Sphinx? We already killed that thing.
GM: You killed an emissary of that thing.
Nemat: True. Answer is still no.
Zenobia OoC: If I lie on my side can I cast a column-shaped spell horizontally?
Onka: Shadow demon? Does anybody have a light spell?
Peanut Gallery: It’s a shadow demon, not a darkness demon - it’ll be healed by light.
Nemat OoC: … I hate that I agree with your logic.
Asrian: I cast Shocking Image.
Peanut Gallery: You telepathically cast Goatse into their minds?
The shadow demon is blinded and charmed, and slides off to hide inside the wall until it can see again and remember who its friends are.
Shadow Demon: Why did I like the guy who blinded me? He’s a d***!
Fortunately Zenobia’s Bless spell protects us from the worst effect of demon spores, too.
Glabrezu: Now come on, surely we can resolve this like civilised beings.
Nemat: *lifts club* War is just another form of diplomacy.
Glabrezu: Fair enough *casts Reverse Gravity and smashes us all into the roof 60ft up*
The situation is looking dire, especially as the Vrocks starts charging up an electrical fireball. Anything else in the room would be a mortal threat to the party too. And even with Asrian running around the right way up decapitating Vrocks, one Power Word : Stun from the Glabrezu takes her out too, since it can see right through her illusory duplicates. Although it IS a little peculiar that the Glabrezu doesn’t seem to mind what happens to the Vrocks, or anybody else that comes range of Asrian, until she’s actively threatening him and him alone.
Onka entangles the Maftet, who falls to the ceiling, next to where Nemat has hurriedly lashed himself to a piton.
Glabrezu: You’re much more amusing than that silly Maftet. Are you holding on up there?
Glabrezu: That’s a pity. *cancels Reverse Gravity*
Userib and Onka plunge 60ft back to the ground. Zenobia grabs Nemat’s rope, which is just as well since the fall would certainly kill her. Nemat slides down the rope, points at Asrian, and bellows “SOOTHING WORD!”
Peanut Gallery: You graduate from piñata to punch-drunk.
Vrock: *still entangled in Onka’s Phantasmal Web* Spiders! Why did it have to be spiders!
Peanut Gallery: Despite being immune to poison and any other way they could hurt it.
Vrock: It’s the way they move.
The shadow demon re-emerges from the wall to protect its master with impenetrable darkness filling the room. The Glabrezu, of course, can still see perfectly, and could kill us at it’s leisure.
Glabrezu: *strolls over to Userib* You know what.. I don’t need you anymore. I have other playthings now. *tears the Maftet into bloody gobbets*
Nemat: Ah. Politics. I guessed as much the moment Userib started going on about ‘having a new tribe now’.
The Shadow Demon departs, Nemat Dispels the darkness, and only a still-entangled Vrock and the Glabrezu are left. Zenobia, still hanging up near the roof, attempts to nuke the later with another Orbital Friendship Strike.
Peanut Gallery: Get rid of the Vrock and you’re down to a level appropriate encounter.
Vrock: THey’Re just sO CREEPY!@!!!!
The Glabrezu seems more amused than anything, clapping its claws together in applause.
Glabrezu: Oh very good, you’ve done very well.
Zenobia: Can I climb down now please?
Nemat: Yes, but there’s still 10ft drop at the bottom - I only had 50-ft of rope.
Zenobia OoC: Hopefully this won’t have something to do with my anxieties about the afterlife.
Nemat: You’re a follower of Sarenrae, you’ll be fine.
Zenobia: That doesn’t mean certain other entities can’t make a prior claim.
Nemat: And Pharasma will take one look at you, and them, and say ‘Yeah, **** you’. I’ll make sure you get the proper offerings in your tomb.
Zenobia: I should hope so - look at all the things we’ve run into that didn’t get buried properly.
Nemat: If you’re really worried I’ll find a priest of Anubis somewhere.
Onka: And we can always cast ‘Commune with Dead’ - “How’s the afterlife?” “It sucks” “Resurrection it is then”
The party are not in good shape.
Zenobia: This, this is what happens when you don’t give them a chance to surrender first.
Nemat: I hope this Glabrezu isn’t going to offer us a deal - if I accept, I lose my abilities.
Nemat: It’s a problem with godbotherers - if we violate the scriptures of our faith we get punished.
Actually, all the Glabrezu wants is ‘out of the temple’.
Onka: Then why don’t you just leave?
Glabrezu: I can’t.
If we can find the keystone binding him to the temple and destroy it, he’ll grant us a Wish.
Nemat: I can work with that. We’ll just Wish him Banished to his home plane.
Glabrezu: Well, sure, if you want to waste your wish.
Nemat: It doesn’t hurt to be sure.
Glabrezu: It’s not like I’ll be hanging around in Osirion.
Onka: We can always make him swear.
Nemat: He’s a demon, we can’t trust him. That’s why I want him to swear by his blood and all his names.
Glabrezu: You really DO want to be sure, don’t you?
Glabrezu: I don’t even like working for Areshkigal - I’d rather work for his sister.
That ghost paladin of Sarenrae shows up again.
Lady Sophronia: How dare you parley with the demon?! He is the one that slew me!
Nemat: We’re not doing that well ourselves in case you noticed.
Lady Sophronia: You can’t trust anything he says.
Onka: We know.
Glabrezu: I’ve been here for 10,000 years, I need a change of pace.
After much argument between Nemat, Onka, and the demon about what is actually required by this kind of oath, the demon swears by his blood, all his names, and the River Styx.
Nemat: That enough for you?
Zenobia: I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Nemat: I meant her.
Lady Sophronia: Demons don’t DO that!
Nemat: They do when they want something badly enough - and having a bunch of cultists show up was the most excitement around here in 5000 years.
Fortunately we killed the main vault guardian earlier - it’s not like we could survive another serious combat anyway. It’s just as well the scorpionfolk have finished off the rest of the cult minions.
Zenobia: When we get back to Wati I need to find some Rings of Protection, or something. After nearly dying so many times over the last few days I’m a little more concerned about self-preservation. And I’d like to meet your parents, if you’re agreeable, my love.
Asrian: That shouldn’t be a problem.
Zenobia: And I need to talk to a priest, about what happens in the afterlife if your partner and yourself are of different faiths.
Asrian: Good question - I’m a follower of Abadar.
Nemat: There’s a reason why the vow is ‘Until Death Do We Part’, Zenobia. Eternal love is really rare - not many of the gods have achieved it.
GM: From my limited research it looks like you’ll both be able to get an apartment in
Nemat OoC: And you’ll probably both be dying at sufficiently high level to be treated as important petitioners, rather than one of the gumbies. You’ll be transformed into another kind of being, and not recycled.
Zenobia OoC: Um.
The vault might be lacking its main guardian now, but it still has a gargantuan undead crocodile. It’s a little alarming that that counts as a lesser guardian. The vault also contains a ridiculous amount of riches - and we’re already carrying everything we can lift.
Glabrezu: *calling from the top of the stairs* I DO have a Wish spell, you know.
We might not even need that though - with Word of Recall we can teleport the entire party, and everything we can possibly load up with, straight back to the Temple of Sarenrae in Wati.
Zenobia: Or we could turn up at your parent’s place - I’m sure your girlfriend showing up on their doorstep with literally as much gold as she can carry would impress them.
GM: ‘Hi Mum, Hi Dad - this is my girlfriend and this is my dowry.’
They might be less impressed with the bits of giant crocodile that Onka is collecting, although he might be able to stuff it into his Corpse Bag with all the other unusual bodies.
Zenobia: How much do you want to bet this is a Load-bearing Keystone?
Nemat: Did we run into any Load-bearing Bosses?
Zenobia: If we haven’t already, I doubt we will now.
Peanut Gallery: Contingency spell - it casts Earthquake if shattered.
Glabrezu: You’re SERIOUSLY wasting your Wish on sending me back?
Glabrezu: Well then - see ya! *pop*
Nemat: Does anybody think I wasted that Wish? Anybody?
The Temple still has a lingering air of evil, but given it’s been dedicated to Areshkigal for thousands of years that’s not surprising. Pity none of us know Earthquake.
Asrian: I mean my pyromaniac tendencies are aroused, but stone won’t burn.
Nemat: I’m not interested in your levels of arousal.
Zenobia: I am.
Lady Sophronia is still annoyed about the deal we made, but banishing the demon back to hell does release her attachment to the mortal plane, and she heads off to whatever awaits her in the afterlife.
Zenobia: I was going to ask if she could arrange for a divine meteor strike on the temple after we leave. Ah well.
Although it turns out Onka can summon a tornado that’ll do the job anyway.
GM: *sigh* Do I give you the XP for the remaining monsters in the temple now?
We pay off the scorpion-people with a generous mercenary fee, on top of whatever the cultists were paying them and whatever they can loot from the bodies, cart out the rest of the treasure to a safe distance, and our spell-sage summons a gigantic rolling sandstorm that will obliterate the temple over the next few hours. It’s pretty impressive.
GM: That holy day you made up might well end up an official religious festival anyway.
GM: You all appear in the main courtyard of the Temple of Sarenrae. Nobody really notices you appear. Because they’re all looking up.
Onka: Oh dear.
Nemat: Because there’s a giant flying pyramid.
GM: Because 500ft up is a giant flying pyramid.
Nemat OoC: These days you can’t do an Egyptian setting without it going all Stargate.
Zenobia: *to Asrian* So I guess we won’t be seeing your parents tonight.