the Way of the Wicked

The Ritual (Part 9)

The Tiger is an open country tank


Week Twenty Five


Sir Valin Darian, cousin of the King (and thus descendant of the Victor, and isn't that handy?) has been driven half mad knowing that there is great evil growing at the Horn but being tied to his duty as commander of the Hamarhall fortress. When a group of seven old comrades visit him he can stand it no longer – he leaves his most capable lieutenant in charge, and the knights ride immediately for the Horn intent on trampling whatever foulness lurks there. It may not escape the reader that this is not the most thought through of plans – they don't have much party balance, they don't actually know what lurks there other than “evil”, and the Tiger is an open country tank err I mean if your class is optimised for mounted charging attacks then maybe picking your way through boulders and difficult ground so you can enter the confines of a cave system isn't going to have its own entry in Sun Tzu.

To reach the Spire they have to pass the hangman tree, and unlike the Banner Verdant they don't have a druid with them to prevent it from attacking them. It duly releases a cloud of mind altering spores and prepares to grab a knight or two to snack on.

Combat is joined between the knights and the tree while sir Darian, his head swimming with the spores, looks at them confusedly. The tree strangles a knight a bit, but through bull headed persistence, weight of numbers, and brute force the knights hack the tree down. They've made enough noise doing this that the Frogloks are alerted, and one of them steps on the newly installed alarm stone, starting an earsplitting racket.

The knights and Sir Valin head into the cave and start hitting frogloks, but the knights are strongly affected by their frightening croaks. Two break and run and most of the rest are shaken. The party arrive by teleport, neatly behind the invading armoured do-gooders, but seem more inclined to spectate and offer “helpful” advice as Adelea takes them on and more and more frogloks pile in.

Sir Valin is paralysed by Hold Person; his horse steps away from Adelea but she follows up and strikes.

The following round she brutally cuts Sir Valin's horse from under him, then kills one of his knightly companions

Fitch and Creel join in the fight, with varying degrees of success

With the fight going badly, one of the remaining knights pulls sir Valin's paralysed form from his dead horse onto his own still alive one, intending to save him fron the fight. His comrade interposes himself between them and the killing machine that is Adelea.

Sam casts hold person on the “getaway driver” and Hexor then casts Hold Monster on the horse, leaving “a big pile of paralysed things”.

The battle is effectively over at this point. The knights are all killed, Sir Valin is captured and held in a cell awaiting sacrifice, and one of the two fled knights is anticlimactically killed when he returns. The other flees back to town to warn the abbess how scary the horn is and give her what little information he was able to gather while fleeing in frog-induced terror.


Week Twenty Six

Some wytch lights, will 'o wisps from the depths of the Caer Bryr, are drawn to the horn. Unfortunately for them, they are drawn directly to the specific area of the horn that contains a pack of wraiths, and wraiths could almost have been deliberately designed to be their kryptonite. Invisibility avails them little against creatures who can sense living things as though they have blindsight, wraiths don't feel fear so they cannot draw any energy from them, and their electric attacks don't work. Unable to leave the delicious magical energy and fear aura of the Fane of the Three Eyed Prince, they are made short work of by ex-high priest Ezra and his wraithy minions.


Week Twenty Seven


The magical energies of the horn draw the gorgimera Trithraxus from the deep forests, and he swoops into the third floor, roaring and preparing to go on a rampage. Sadly for him, however, he runs into those pesky wraiths and then Vexor, guided by the magic scrying power of the Eye, precision teleports Grumblejack and Adelea right behind him.


Grumblejack does an excellent Captain Kargeld impression, looking aggrieved as his greatclub flies out of his hands instead of thwacking the weird magical beast, but Adelea encounters no such issues as she finishes off the like-a-chimera-but-weirder creature, already hurt and weakened by being pawed at by wraiths with their freaky deaky wraithy lifey-drainy touches.


The attack does leave behind a couple of new wraith statues, dragged by Adelea to either side of the hallway so they'll look nice.


In the quiet aftermath of the attack Adelea and Sam can be heard discussing what they should do at the climax of the ritual, and who is likely to attack them.

The boggards? Probably – Zikomo wants to dedicate the horn to Dagon. Sam could talk to him and explain the plan? Nah, he's a loon.

Hexor and Vexor? Sam taps her chest, with a clunk as the two control amulets bonk together. Nope, they're definitely onside.

Tregellan? Who knows?

Ezra and his wraiths? Adelea is 100% sure he's going to betray them, and seems to be persuading Sam. He wants to bring back Vetra-Kali and to be high priest, and the Posse's plans are… not quite so straightforward.

Reading up on the ritual they realise they've got one spare request: Giving Vetra Kali the first eye will stop him slaughtering the Posse and their allies, and the second eye will get them the Tears they've been after since the start of this whole arc. The third eye gets another request that Vetra Kali cannot refuse.

True to form, Adelea wants this to be “stand really still so I can hit you with this sword”, but Sam is leaning towards the more traditional “leave this plane and don't come back”. Who knows if a coup de grace would even work on a powerful demon lieutenant of a plague god? Even if he is vulnerable to Adelea's primary spell "hit it really hard with a sword", how long will it take Vetra Kali to reconstitute itself and return for vengeance, and is a powerful plague demon with a grudge something you want on your trail?

Also "Welcome back. Now leave forever" is a very Samra'el kind of dick move, it must be said.

There's only a few weeks left to the very last ritual, but something tells me that they might be quite eventful…


I didn’t recruit any replacement boggards after the knights took a few down. I don’t intend to replace them now – maybe they’ll suffer a bit more attrition before they eventually turn on us, making that easier.

As for the wraiths, they’re a bit more worrying. That Con drain is a pain. Because it is a ‘drain’ rather than just ability damage, it needs a Restoration spell. I have added it to Zach’s list (4th lvl spell). Also needs 100gp per cast (but the cast restores all points drained).
Can’t hurt to chuck some wraiths at the dragon and whoever else shows up to thin them out too over the next few weeks.

I like the quote Steve!

The Ritual (Part 9)

got a decent pile of cash too. 7 suits of mwk full plate add up nicely!

The Ritual (Part 9)

Yeah, be quite nice to get some attrition going on the wraiths. But they are just so tricky to actually hit!

I think yesterday could well be our single biggest XP session – apart from maybe when we totted up all our bonuses for taking the keep for the bugbears.

Hopefully something similar happens here!

The Ritual (Part 9)

You’ve got a magic weapon, so Adelea’s traditional “hit them very hard with a sword” technique should prove effective.

Also don’t you have holy water? I have the feeling one or other bunch of adventurers you harvested had a wee handful of flasks.

Incidentally, and apropos of nothing in particular, wraiths are powerless and suffer from the staggered condition when caught in sunlight, so we’ll have to retcon that the gorgimera attacked the Horn in late evening, otherwise they’d have been able to do bugger all to it in that hallway where the fight took place.

The Ritual (Part 9)

I can hit them, but I wasn’t planning on being the initial agent of attrition!

Ooh, I like that. Can I claim the title?

Adelea, Agent of Attrition

The Ritual (Part 9)

Attrition implies a slow erosion over time. There is nothing slow about how Adelea goes about her business!

I have 1 flask of Holy water nicked from the corpse of Jiim. But 2d6 damage isnt going to alter the outcome I wouldnt think.

Also, Artephius wasnt mentioned in the write up. He could go either way, and he’s proper scary.

The Ritual (Part 9)

Yes you can.

Sunburst is a level 8 spell so no good for your purposes. ‘Daylight’ specifically doesn’t affect wraiths. However temples to good deities, such as for instance the abbey in town, sell holy water at cost, and you have circlets and a mindshield so could get some. The wraiths are unable to approach the sanctum until the seal is broken, so would have no idea if you were, for instance, to rig up a bucket of holy water, a string, and a big X on the floor.

On the other hand, judging by the description of “desecrate”, the sanctum, and the Fane on the 3rd floor, both of which contain altars to Vetra Kali, would be particularly dangerous places to be fighting the undead ex-priest of Vetra Kali.

The Ritual (Part 9)

Zach desecrated the place to Asmodeus when we cleared the place, not Vetra-Kali. That’s how he gets his double-sized undead army.

Does that make a difference?

The Ritual (Part 9)

The Withering Eye (the Third Eye of Vetra-Kali)
Aura strong evocation (evil); CL 15th
Slot none; Weight –
This jewel at frst appears to be nothing more than an exquisite
emerald worth at least 20,000 gp. Only if the jewel is steeped
in the blood of a sentient creature does it reveal its true nature. The Withering Eye was the magical focus used to frst
summon Vetra-Kali from the lower planes to the prime material. It is thus attuned to Vetra-Kali and a powerful channel
for daemonic energy. The Withering Eye when placed in the
statue of Vetra-Kali descrecates (as the spell except it affects
both undead and daemons) the entire Horn of Abaddon. The
DC to resist negative channeled energy within this area gains
a +6 profane bonus. Every undead or daemonic creature gains
a +2 profane bonus on all attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws. An undead or daemonic creature created within
or summoned into such an area gains +2 hit points per HD.
Furthermore, anyone who casts animate dead within this area
may create as many as double the normal amount of undead.
The Eye is also a critical component of the ritual to destroy the
Silver Seal and return Vetra-Kali to the prime material plane.
If all three of the Eyes of Vetra-Kali are united in the statue of
Vetra-Kali in the Sanctum, then the Withering Eye not only
desecrates the Horn but also grants all daemons within fast
healing 1.

It was the eye that desecrated the entire horn. Zach desecrated the Knights’ Shrine only. Given it was the eye of Vetra Kali, being placed into the statue of Vetra Kali, inside the horn which is a temple of Vetra Kali, which desecrated the Horn, I am pretty sure undead servants of Vetra Kali are going to get the bonus.

However I note from the description that I’m wrong about the area of effect – the entire Horn is getting the bonus for having a permanent shrine, rather than just the specific rooms with statues in.

The Ritual (Part 9)

Yeah let’s let the dragon deal with them then, and have Adelea mop up whichever is left :)

The Ritual (Part 9)

Also – we won’t have to deal with the wraiths until the seal is broken and we’ve dealt with Demon McPlagueface. Cos they won’t know we aren’t re-summoning him until we’ve banished him back. By then, we’ll have given him his eyes back.

It follows that the eye will therefore no longer be “placed in the statue”, and therefore no longer desecrating the Horn?

Or is that not correct?

The Ritual (Part 9)

It’s not entirely clear but my interpretation is that the horn is desecrated, and it’s not a simple on off switch. Maybe if you took all the eyes out and didn’t do anything particularly evil for a few weeks it might wear off.

If you take any combination of eyes out of the statue the fast healing will be switched off though.

The Ritual (Part 9)

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