|A Deer-Man from some cartoon.|
After the party, consisting of two priests (Saren the Contemplative, and Tarvis, who Smites), two warlocks (Higgans, the sinister and Satyavati, the dabbler and a former Ratcatcher and Thief (Beni Profane) returned from the buried city of Pahvelorn with a load of plundered goods - the stockpiles of a mage likely transformed into a tentacled horror of some kind by his own thaumaturgical overreaching.
Relaxing in their shared domicile the band contemplates there next delve when suddenly shouts and cries arise from the street outside. The sleepy town of Zorfath is under attack, with fire and murder stalking the streets. The party rushes out, and heads toward the loudest fighting. As they rush through the streets a huge armored beastman, with antlers on sprouting from his head appears from an alley wielding a flaming mace. While the Beastman goes down quick to the party's weapons it's clear now that the town is under attack by the wizard who's been kidnapping villagers and transforming them into monsters.
Upon reaching the site of the battle the party sees a line of guardsmen, barely holding against a mass of beastmen wielding flaming weapons. With the guard about to break Higgans pulls out his prized scroll of Fire Wall and lays a curtain of eldritch flame onto the beastmen lines. Several of the creatures burn and others fall to the adventurers' arrows and bolts. Still, rather than having their morale raised by the entry of powerful magic on their side the guardsmen turn to flee from the wall, while a new squad of beastmen edge around the wall of fire chanting the word "Bitterspasm" in a frenzy. It's then that the party notices a crooked figure on a nearby hill directing the fracas, just out of arrow range.
It didn't take long for the party to defeat the squad of beastmen that survived Higgan's apocalypse, but it took long enough for the mysterious figure to vanish. Fighting was dying down all over town and as the party searched for more enemies, they realized that the defenders of Zorfath had succeeded in driving off the beastmen. Emerging around a corner near their home the adventurers met another heavily armed group, the cultists of the great lizard, whom they had previously battled and robbed, but whom the made a recent truce with. The lizard worshipers were lead by their priest, a strange man with lizard like traits who pretended to be a merchant named Korvath. Korvath explained that the beastmen attack on the town had been a diversion, an effort to kidnap a powerful child recently born in the slums. This child was the avatar of the lizard god, and the cult claimed they had sought to protect it, but had failed. Korvath also claimed that his cult was not a danger to Zorfath, and actually defenders of the town. Korvath even went so far as to accuse the party of being mercenaries, and perhaps it was the insult, but the adventurers were filled with civic responsibility and figured that the beastman menace needed to be dealt with quickly, and the baby rescued if possible.
The cultists knew that the wizard controlling the beastmen was named Louvrator and the his base was beyond the great bronze doors where Lune ChaMet was burned to a crisp. Indeed the lizards had no way to pass the doors, but the party believed they did, in the form of a plundered amulet and the sorcerer's name. The adventurers agree to help recover the baby, if the Lizard cult will also send men, and soon the group is heading into Pahvelorn's pit with a pair of near silent lizard cultists who Korvath promises are his best fighters.
Quickly the band moves to the great doors, noticing that the Necromancer's villa has a courtyard full of half assembled skeletons, but ignoring that for now. The doors open and an a moment of fear grips the party before they step forward towards the lions holding the amulet high and mumbling Louvrator's name. The lions fail to burn the party to a crisp though, and the band begins to explore the ancient civic building.
Hearing Chanting from a large column filled room to the South, the adventurers decide to explore the rooms to the East of the door, and discover a guard room with two huge beastmen (one carrying a dead lizard cultist as a toy). The beastmen are dispatched despite their strength. One stabbed through the spine from ambush and the other riddled with crossbow bolts. The two cult member retainers transform into huge lizard men (identical to those previously fought by the party when it raided the cult compound) and prove adept with their frightful claws. Other rooms discovered include a headless statute of a lizard god, a maddened beast-man chained to a wall (who is mollified with a food ration and bypassed) and finally a slumbering beastman of enormous size mumbling chants in his sleep. After the sleeping beastman is slain the party discovers more rooms including one filled with animated armor and another with chained prisoners.
While most of the prisoners are beastmen who have gone rabid and wild, one of the prisoners is a normal man with antlers, who seems helpful and sane despite his magical mutilation. He explains that the Wizard Louvrator fled, knowing the party was after him. After returning to town the band leaves the capture deer headed man at their home to relax and recover his strength promising him a potential job at a later date, and then quickly returns to the pit. Tracking takes the party along the boulevard, where they avoid a giant scorpion (apparently some kind of insect wizard is getting into business now) and eventually arrive at a cliff. The party ropes off and Beni climbs down followed by the rest of the adventurers and henchmen. At the bottom of the cliff is a strange crystal forest,and the adventurers momentarily forget their hunt for the mad wizard to stare at its strange majesty. Soon thoughts turn to plunder and several crystal plants are snapped free, their sap collected and speculation about their value begins. After a considerable length of time the party (perhaps spurred by the glares of their lizard cultist companions) follows a clear trail smashed through the crystal forest and discovers a statute of a fanatical anti-magic saint, a cavern of small huts and finally a building cut from the living stone with a circle of beastman guards in from of it. Satyavati uses his sorcery to put the majority of the beastmen to sleep and the rest fall under a hail of arrows and bolts as the party charges forward. A strange beastman escapes and makes it through the door of the building with the party in pursuit. He is encountered in the hall beyond the door, racing towards two more beastmen and a robed figure. Beni puts a potent poison arrow through the cowl of the figure and it collapses. The Beastmen, including the runner, who has a scorpion tail, are all slaughtered as they try to fight. The cloaked figure proves to be an unfortunate soul, magically enslaved as Louvrator's voice. His skin covered with a fine copper mesh woven with spells that replaced his will with Louvrators.
Listening to the doors, grunting is heard to the North and the party goes through the Southern door instead. Within are a group of more beastmen, inexplicably armed with silver weapons. The party manages to kill them quickly with the help of the lizard hulks and takes their fancy armaments including eighty silver quarrels. The room itself was molded from rock as if poured and its ancient smooth walls covered in red graffiti. The writing is in a thick chalk paste and when Higgans exhaust his magic reading it he discovers it is a series of prayers to 'Bitterspasm' the demonic patron of Louvrator. While Higgans begins to copy some of the sinister incantations the rest of the adventurers start through a Southern door, as Higgan's henchman Ogam is griped by strange voices whispering in his head and promising wealth and power. Ogam tells the rest of the party about the voices and ignores them the best he can.
Beyond the doorway in the graffiti room, the party discovers a long hall, of which only the first 30' are visible. Worse those 30' are filled with nooses, hanging from the ceiling and resting on the floor. The rest of the hallway's darkness seems unnatural, and indeed when a torch is brought into the hall it burns out suddenly and instantly relights when it crosses the threshold back into the graffiti room.
Poking at the closest noose, Travin the cleric is attacked and almost strangled, before it and the other six visible nooses can be destroyed. Deciding that the darkened hall of animated nooses is too dangerous for now the adventurers seek a way around and head through the Northern door. The party bursts in on a grim scene. Two beastmen are in the midst of systematically murdering a large number, at least forty captive villagers and bandits in a room that breaks in half to reveal a vast gulf beyond. While the beastmen are quickly slain, they have already slain over half the captives. The remaining survivors are freed and most are on the edge of madness and starvation. They know nothing of Louvrator's whereabouts, but did see him carrying a small baby.
With no where to go but through he noose hallway the adventurers return trying to unsuccessfully to use 10' poles to clear the animated nooses from the dark part of the hall. A pair of poles are lost and several near strangulations are avoided but eventually the party succeeds in cutting their way to a door at the end of the darkened hall. Only Beni's viscous rat dog, Treacle is remotely effective fighting in complete darkness a useful piece of information for the future.
The room beyond the hall is well lit and filled with stacked supplies, presumably hastily transported to this bolt hole from the building above. Within is a magical circle that appears to contain a teenage girl casting neferious spells and conversing with a two headed demonic deer the size of an ox. Strangely a second voice appears to be speaking in the room. Higgans exhausts his magic on the surprised teenage witch, and successfully charms her before she can use the wand she holds. Most of the party tears into the demon, hacking away at it while it tries to gore the lizard hulks. Beni orders Treacle to find the hidden voice, and the dogs senses are again helpful as it catapults itself towards the circle and begins worrying something invisible within. While Higgans attempts to convince the sorceress to abandon her master, and the Clerics and their henchmen battle the demon, Beni tries to douse whatever his dog is attacking in red wine, to make its outline visable, but the magic of the circle flings his missile back at him, and Beni again reeks of cheap shiraz. While the combat continues with the clumsy demon, Beni leaps for whatever his dog is attacking, just as Treacle yelps and flees blinded by a glowing light that surrounds his head. The demon collapses under a torrent of blows, still bellowing, while Beni struggles with the wirey sorcerer, now revealled. As they fight, Louvrator invokes another spell and an army of silent beastmen emerge from the walls. Satyvati, nonplussed by the obvious illusion hurls a dagger through the nearest phantom shouting "Illusion!" and the phantoms begin to disapate.
With the help of Sarin's burly idiot henchman, the evil wizard is restrained, and a baby recovered from his robe. Louvrator tries to claim he is the less evil choice, between the Lizard cult and himself, but the party is unconvinced and executes the wizard when he begins to mumble an incantation. Returning to the surface, the sometimes Order of Gavin is loaded down with jewels and followed by a train of freed townsfolk.