“The hidden city was an unusual blind spot in Varassian society. Its inhabitants lived relatively normal lives despite living in an underground city guarded by a secret entrance. The cities inhabitants were mostly miners who made their fortunes by selling their boons to the rest of the kingdom. To other Varassians, the city was a complete unknown. Few questioned where the minerals came from, and even the cities leaders were in blissful ignorance. This made the city the perfect headquarters for the cult of the sleepers, but unfortunately backfired when the Drider Queen led her invasion force into the city. When the city asked for aid by anyone and everyone, they were simply wrote off as being mad or delusional. Not that it would have made much of a difference, as what was left of Varassian society at this point had bigger problems.”
- Gabriella Burke – Mapping the Realms Underdark
Using the information gleaned by the groups less than scrupulous methods, they headed north to find and unusual cave system with what seemed like some kind of magic puzzle lock. A pressure plate opened a hidden door, which meant somebody would have to stay behind. This was averted though as Lerissa could merely teleport through. This was double averted when we found a switch on the inside that could open and close the door at will anyway.
Carrying on we were presented with a fabulous underground city. The city was not, as I anticipated it would be, populated by drow. It did however house the members of the secret cult, which meant Megi could not be far. After a bit of sneaking it turns out that the city is under siege by the driders. The group steals some uniforms to try and fit in, but get caught off guard, and get roped in to building some barricades. At this point myself and Damon's player decided to play it cool, setting up the barricades and waiting for the opportunity to slip away. Lerissa's player got impatient though, and wandered off. Said opportunity never came either, as the driders set upon the barricade and Carnack and Damon had to dispose of both the defenders and the attackers.
“Spiders man. They freak me out.”
- Popular Saying
- Azreal of the order of Bahamut, on driders.
Reuniting with Lerissa, the group sneak around behind the drider lines to locate the prison that Megi had been taken to. Fortunately they locate it without any major difficulty. Once inside however, things end up a bit chaotic, especially when the accidentally explode a group of fleeing convicts. Megi is located, being not much the wiser of what the hell is going on. Everything seems hunky dory though. Until we arrive at the prison courtyard.
Its only the bloody Drider queen isn't it? She's none to happy about the group not taking her up on the offer of capturing her some slaves, and decides it would be better just to off us all. Carnack gets webbed right at the start, leaving me rolling for saves for most of the battle. Damon goes to town with everything in his arsenal, with little effect, ditto for Lerissa, who's player at this point has a bit of a crisis feeling redundant. Megi dishes out the damage, but given that she's the DM's character its hard to tell how much of this was automatic.
Finally I roll a save, Carnack frees himself to make up for lost time, and the whole group rallies and manages to pull the battle back into favor. The Queen goes down unexpectedly easily. The remainder of the session revolves around us locating another one of the sleepers. This involves us finding a teleportation room, then taking the characters each to an individual white room. Carnack's helm of true site comes in handy here, locating the method of exiting the room. Damon just batters everything till he can escape. This seems to work equally as well. With the final sleepers located, the DM has us roll a will check, and its Damon that wins out to get his hands on the divine power.
“The Farrelite invasion was not only unexpected by Varassia itself but also the many factions who where capitalising on the chaos created by the great fire. With the ascension of Revenant, many of the Variassian forces seceded from the governing body, preferring to side with the invaders than defend a regime that they hardly knew. Not all felt this way however. In particular the aggressive and devoutly patriotic Lord “General Scream” Scrathe and his associates preferred to fight outnumbered and under supplied against all comers, even their fellow Varassians, than side with the invaders.
Scrathe was a problem that prevented the Farrelites from attempting a peaceful transition of power, as well as directing an overwhelming force against Memmnon City. It is widely believed that they chose to employ some independent assassins to take care of Scrathe's vocal supporters in order to force him to rejoin the remaining free forces.”
- John Barlywood – Conspiracy and War in the North
Damon's god-like powers had yet to manifest fully, only currently giving him the ability to change peoples clothes in an instant. Not very useful but he did like putting Carnack into a dress. Hooking up with the invading forces they are told that they're best course of action would be to try and create an alliance with forces not affiliated with Revenant. In return Megi and Lerissa were offered their final graduation, Damon himself had an oath to Ioun to free the country from false godhood, and Carnack just wanted the arcane texts from Farrel's former head mage.
The group head off to seal an alliance. The first Varassian rebels seem quite enthusiastic about the idea, but advise that the other rebels would not be so agreeable. In that case the lieutenants of the others would have to be silenced in order to make the general even consider the idea. The first lieutenant to be eliminated didn't exactly go according to plan. Damon had used his powers to conjure disguises for the group, giving them perfect cover. The idea was to have Megi and Carnack wait just outside the camp, while Damon and Lerissa would signal when the target was alone using Megi's familiar. When this happened, Megi would open an arcane gate and Carnack would silently dispose of him. Instead Damon decided to let the rebel encampment and rather randy leader know that Lerissa was female, to which he decided he would take some liberties with her.
Suffice to say the plan went quite tits up, Lerissa tried to fight off the target, Carnacks shot went wide and instead Lerissa ended up burning the entire camp down before escaping with her dignity, just. Carnack displayed uncharacteristic chivalry after seeing what Damon had intended to do (or maybe it was just that he was pissed off that his well laid plan didn't work out) and the two ended up in a fight.
The second lieutenant was easier to dispose of. He was taking on challengers in a fighting ring, and if bested would pass on command of the camp. Carnack put on his best mock noble appearance and fought for the title. He won, thankfully, and ordered the camp to join up with the free Varassian forces.
“Despite the fact that the invasion force had the distinct advantage of employing magic on the field of battle, something the Varassian armies would never dare, they were still only backed by a small island nation. The Varrassian forces however, clearly had the numbers, though now fractured and disorganized. The deciding factor would always depend on leadership, and what held the Farrelite line back time and time again was always down to the fear that radiated from the loyalist generals. Without these generals, the command structure would all come crashing down.”
- John Barlywood – Conspiracy and War in the North
Three generals remained and this session began with the group making its way towards an impending clash of armies. There was a big disagreement in the group on how to deal with this general, but the consensus was that the best way would be to off him during battle. Damon had used his newfound powers to disguise everyone as soldiers. However Carnack had disagreed with Damon and Megi on how to deal with this, and Lerissa had decided to sit this one out in a tree after being nagged one too many times. Carnack ended up being restrained by Damon and kicked about by Megi after trying to convince the generals that Megi was pregnant as cover, culminating with him being tied up and dumped in the medical tent to calm down. No word of a lie, at this point I was ready to walk out, since the DM had given us no indication of the best way to complete this task, and then having my player character humiliated for trying to find a solution.
I calmed down however. Lerissa had arrived and decided that if Megi and Damon wanted to handle the situation on its own, then they were welcome to, and untied Carnack. The two then left to deal with the remaining generals. As for Megi and Damon, they rather ham fistedly awaited the battle and tampered with the siege engines to fire on their own ranks. In the chaos, they managed to locate the general and do away with him before escaping into the woods. Damon's player was worried that there were driders in the woods, but the DM stated that there were not. There were however, driads in the wood, and that they particularly wanted to sleep with Damon.
This also turned out to be unture.