One, two… Principle missing!


Suspiciously eyeing the pentagram, Lilith tries to erase part of the circle. After a few moments she succeeds, thus severing it. She takes some time to heal herself and be ready for the challenges ahead.

The room of Thra’esue is bare, apart from a small stone table with parchments. Phaedra takes a chart of a graveyard with her. On the map directions have been indicated with arrows. Lots of humanoid skulls litter the floor. At the back is a locked door. Jharrath summons an earth elemental and orders it to demolish the door. With several power attacks, it splinters the wood. Inside is a sarcophagus, which – the lid pushed aside by the summoned elemental – reveals the resting body of the ogre. The cleric takes a vial of holy water and pours half of the contents in the giant’s mouth. His eyes snap open, and with a horrible scream, he pulverizes. No mist, no nothing; the beast is gone. In his sarcophagus  lie a pouch with three potions, a key and a magical chain shirt. The potions inflict moderate wounds when used.


The drow now move towards the room of Mephisolis, the upper Principle. The corners of his room are decorated with big urns. Something clicks when the scout passes the threshold and she gets hit by an arrow full of acid. With Thra’Esue’s key she tries to open the door to the inner sanctuary, but it doesn’t fit. Jharrath gets the same treatment, when he tries to open the lock with a scorching ray. One of his Melphs acid arrow takes care of the problem: the door is gone. The inner room is lit by four ever burning candles. A huge jump brings Alvra almost to the sanctuary… almost. Another acid arrow finds its target.

Now the method to destroy the Principles is clear, the cleric decides to leave it up to her siblings to take care of the vampire ogre. Elegantly she throws the still half full vial of holy water towards her brother, almost into his waiting hands… almost. Fumbling Alvra fails to catch the little bottle and it crashes to the stone floor. Quickly he wets a piece of his robe with the remnants of the holy water, while Lilith scowls at him. He walks towards the second sarcophagus – lined in red silk – and pushes the lid off. It takes quite some strength and the help of the wizard to accomplish, but finally they succeed. The wet cloth is not enough to finish the ogre, so they cut off his head and set the corpse on fire. Principle number two is gone from this world.

In the coffin another key, a beautiful magic chain shirt and a ditto great sword stay behind. Phaedra decides to keep the chain shirt for herself, though she will have to resize it. There are also two pouches and two shiny flasks, containing a silvery liquid. Alvra recognizes it as silver sheen. With a mighty jump, the fighter manages to reach the safety of the central room. His brother isn’t that fortunate, his clothing damaged by the acid that’s still eating its way through the fabric. The fighter hands the pouches to Lilith, and she finds gold pieces and two blue sapphires, worth 3.500 gold pieces.

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Checking out the Principles’ third room, Lilith commands her shield to transform into a spider and sends the arachnid to investigate. When nothing happens, she walks in to and tries out the keys she has found. They won’t fit. Out of holy water, Alvra and Lilith coat their weapons in silver sheen and hammer down the door. A closed coffin awaits them, which proves to be empty though. Where is the third Principle?

The Xaniqos gather in the central space, where the cleric casts a mass shield of faith. She warns her siblings to let their guard down before releasing the spell. Then they continue towards the last door: the library. The key fits the lock smoothly, and inside there are several shelves with lots of books and scrolls. Two are especially beautiful, but when Phaedra tries to read them, she gets nauseated. The wizard takes her place and soon finds out these are magic scrolls about necromancy. He takes them with him.

In the room of the ghouls, Alvra discovers a pouch with a black opal. Hurriedly he leaves the filthy nest. The cleric once again checks out the central room and the pulpits, but there is nothing there. All siblings search for hidden doors and other hiding places, but there’s absolutely nothing. The bats have found a quiet corner and witness the search.

The drow decide to go back to the first room. The corpses of the two ogres are still there, but the body of the mage ogre has disappeared! Could he be the missing Principle? It must be. A trail of blood leads upwards, but when they enter the upper floor again, an occasional drop and boot prints in the dust are all that is left of the trail. Though they search the mansion, even the upper parts and outside, there’s no trace of the mage ogre. He must have regenerated. Perhaps he ran off to House Shi’quos, they simply don’t know. The Matron Mother can be content: the leader of the Principles is dead and the rest has been slaughtered.

The Principles


The mist solidifies into the large form of a vampire ogre. He’s very pale, which is emphasized by his black cloak. Like the ogre mage, he has two horns. Next to him another big form appears, no horns though. The vampire ogre sends forth a large cone of cold, which hits the elemental, Alvra and his cleric sister straight in the chest. The remaining ghoul dies in the process. The vampire looks content. The other ogre hurls a javelin towards Lilith, but misses completely; the weapon splinters against the wall. She counterattacks and launches a bolt of cold darkness from her left hand, leaving the beast dazed. Phaedra tumbles down from the wall and loads her hand crossbow.

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When the drow and elemental go after the vampire ogre, their opponent proves to be unnatural fast. Alvra’s charge misses and the vampire lays his hand on the fighter’s arm. The icy cold drains his energy, while the vampire visibly grows stronger: his wounds heal! The other ogre is still under the effect of the darkbolts and wanders about. Lilith casts a healing circle, helping Alvra and the earth elemental, but harming the ogre. The horned giant is not troubled by the spell. Several attacks of the Xaniqos fail, so Phaedra changes back to her spiked chain. The vampire ogre grabs his shiny greatsword and pulverizes the earth elemental, sending it back to its own plane. A malicious roar echoes through the cave. The beast is laughing! What can they do to take him down? The drow cleric calls on the power of the Spider Queen to dispel any ongoing spells on the vampire ogre.

Meanwhile Jharrath is still in combat with the rats. The bats have been expelled but one rodent doggedly hangs on. The laughter has just died away when a new sound fills the room. The roar of a lion blasts straight into the rat’s ear, and with a squeak it runs after the bats… it will be its last race though, for the cleric kills the passing rodent in one swipe. Satisfied the wizard nods. Sometimes a trick is all it takes.

Alvra changes the hold on his sword and takes another swing at the horned ogre in front of him. This time he succeeds in wounding the vampire – twice – but again the creature’s wounds start to heal. The scout isn’t that fortunate:  her chain whizzes through thin air. Walking towards the cleric, the giant attacks and with a mighty swing wounds her badly. Again his maniacal laugh bounces against the walls. His fellow ogre is still under the influence of the dark-bolts.

Holding up the holy symbol of Lolth, Lilith rebukes the vampire ogre. She seems to succeed, as his behavior changes and his arrogance is somewhat tempered. The wizard sends down a hail of stones, while Phaedra scores two hits with her spiked chain. Again the ogre’s wounds heal, but only partial. He glares at the cleric but won’t touch her. He even turns around and starts to walk away! Alvra immediately lashes out with his sword and strikes home. The vampire takes to the air and tries to flee into another room. Jharrath’s answering ray of flames doesn’t do any damage, but Phaedra and Alvra’s combined attack with chain and javelin do: the vampire ogre dies and dissolves into mist.

Still under the influence of the cleric’s rebuke spell, the dazed ogre is commanded to answer her questions.

What is behind that door?

The library, with very important items; Thra’esue has the key.

When Lilith orders him to give her the key, the ogre refuses.

Where does the other corridor lead?

To the resting place of Mephisolis, leader of the Three Principles.

Aha. And how do we kill Mephisolis?

He is most vulnerable in his coffin.

Having extracted all the information she needs, the cleric attacks the ogre, aided by her siblings. It takes their combined forces to wound him and finally the wizard takes him down with his wand of scorching rays. Patches of mist are the only proof that there ever was an ogre.


Of Bats and Rats


Once again they find themselves in front of a door. Phaedra searches for traps, but it just looks like a regular one. Keeping his distance, the wizard releases a spell and unlocks the door. In a flash, a chain of lighting zips trough the corridor. The scout is able to jump aside, but the others are hit, one after the other. Apparently Alvra feels as bad as he looks, for he drinks a healing potion. He receives another vial from his cleric sister.

Drink this and get stronger again!

she orders.

Cautiously, Phaedra grabs the handle and opens the door. In front of her a big circular space opens, with three small stages and a pentagram in the middle. On each stage is a pulpit. Six doorways indicate there are more rooms.

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Taking no unnecessary risks, she once again climbs the wall to the right to scout ahead. With a lot of fluttering, a group of bats passes, but they move away again and return to the ceiling. When Phaedra glances through the first doorway, she sees a small room. Four ghouls are sharing a gruesome meal. Making her way across the ceiling, she silently heads for the second opening, when one of the ghouls notices her. They gather beneath her, craving for a bit of fresh meat. Quickly Phaedra climbs back over the wall and then drops down to the floor. The ghouls give chase and try to bite her. Fortunately they miss. The dark elf tumbles back and continues towards the other drow. Again a group of bats flies past, but they don’t bother her. Yelling Four Ghouls!, she climbs the walls again, and watches how two of the ghouls get awfully close in their attack. They don’t succeed though. A third undead makes his way towards Lilith. She steps in and lashes out. Chunks of flesh splatter in all directions. Then an earth elemental appears next to the wounded ghoul and with an enormous blow it kills the undead. Jharrath can be proud of his summoning.

When Alvra enters the room, he is greeted by a peculiar sight: his younger sister is hanging on the wall, while two undead are jumping up and down, desperately trying to reach her. Soon he’s engaged in a fight with the ghouls. For a moment the passing of eight rats draws the attention away from their opponents. The earth elemental, Alvra and Lilith each manage to kill one of the vermin, but the other five swarm towards the wizard. Soon they are all over him. The rats are aided by the bats, that fly round the wizard’s head, obscuring his sight. Enraged, Jharrath fires his wand of scorching rays again and again. For such small beasts, they are quite tenacious.


Meanwhile the battle against the ghouls continues. One of the creatures lies dead at the cleric’s feet, soon to be followed by its comrade. Alvra wipes his blade clean, battle rage contorting his face. Finally freed from her opponents, the scout climbs further. She blinks. In the middle of the pentagram mist is forming…