The group was presented with a collection of . . . well, TERRIBLE, options:
- Head off into the Forest of Towers to seek a scroll that might better detail what, exactly, the phrase “have a Runechild give up his power.” means and whether that meant the death of Boren.
- Head off into the swamps to seek out HeadTaker, a cyclops that is rumored to be bonded with the spirit of a Dramojh, and hope that it can provide insight into their quest to speak with Korangar the Screaming Scourge.
- Attempt to gather more information on Korangar and his multidimensional prison.
- Do nothing.
After much discussion, the group decided their best choice was to advance into the swamps and engage HeadTaker, and from there head out into the Forest and investigate the scroll. After some discussion and planning (largely whether they’d need to again borrow the Burdenless Stone, which was ruled out when they opted to leave Abilurd and Genn behind), the group instigated a series of teleports (via the Boots) to an area of the swamp near HeadTaker’s lair. Kirmaul and Kaezhar went first, and Udyr and Clovek followed on the return trip with Miriana the boot-wearer. They knew that they were in the right area based on the strings of heads (largely Akthars) hanging from the nearby trees.
Miriana had hoped to camp for a day or so waiting for HeadTaker to sleep so as to implant a suggestion, but this failed as it became apparent that HeadTaker didn’t sleep. On the second day, Kaezhar ventured out with Clovek and discovered the cyclops wandering it’s domain, hunting for a lunch. He watched it pulverize a deer with a careless backhand, but eventually catch and consume a dire bear. During this process, Kaezhar noted that it’s wounds closed on it’s own…which, needless to say, made fighting it even MORE problematic. After it’s meal, HeadTaker headed down into a open pit/quarry with a cave in it’s depression – clearly, it’s lair. The sides of the quarry were smeared with the remains of previous adventurers, strewn with heads and smashed gear, and – somehow- prevented Kaezhar from moving through them incorporeally.
The group discussed Kaezhar’s findings and (based on some game trails found by Udyr) decided the best bet would be to bring an offering of food to HeadTaker in an effort to win him/it over. The group stalked and eventually slew a mighty Dire Elk, which died quickly due to a well-placed Slow and Kirmaul doing 56 pts of damage in a single round. After some healing (Miriana was trampled, Clovek took some antler damage) and completing the decapitation of the beast, Kirmaul hefted it’s head and rack and the group headed for HeadTaker’s sunken lair.
The group arrived (having left Clovek behind to guard the remainder of the meat/booty), and while Kaezhar floated above the other 3 members descended into the pit with the elk’s head as an offering. “HEADTAKER!” cried Kaezhar, in Nyssian, “WE HAVE BROUGHT YOU A GIFT!” HeadTaker’s response was to unleash a 15-foot wide beam of crimson-white fire, catching the living members of the group flatfooted and nearly killing them outright. [DM note – lots of d6. 50 damage, even, so it required Fort vs. Death saves. All passed, and Jason even made the initial save so only took half damage and thus stayed conscious!] HeadTaker emerged, eye still sparking and glowing, and demanded to know why he shouldn’t continue the slaughter. Kaezhar talked him down – still in Nyssian – and motioned to the group, then indicated to them (in Haraen) “Wait here.” Kaezhar and HeadTaker left the pit, heading for the elk’s carcass.
The remainder of the group, shaken, healed themselves of their wounds and looked about the quarry. While none entered the cave itself, they all found some gear amidst the remains of the less fortunate – Udyr found a bandoleer and 3 fine daggers, Kirmaul found a oil of Magic Weapon, and Miriana found a fine and clearly magical red and gold cape. Hiding their booty upon hearing the booming footfalls of HeadTaker’s return, they looked up to see Kaezhar and HeadTaker above them. The cyclops threw the elk’s body (which it carried, easily, despite it’s massive size) down into the pit, then descended itself and muttered something up to Kaezhar – still, all in Nyssian.
Kaezhar led the group out of the pit and explained the conversation he had with HeadTaker – the beast was of two minds, clearly, and the Dramojh within wanted to be free of the idiot it was stuck in. In it’s own broken way, it indicated what it needed – there was a Troll Warlock, trapped within an Iron Golem in Serathis, that had the ability to break it’s spirit out of the Cyclops. If the group could bring the Warlock to the pit, HeadTaker would (in turn) give them the methodology by which to pass through Korangar’s prison and reach him. Also, it had (apparently, for free) told Kaezhar further information about the task of breaking Korangar free – basically, something ‘good’ needed to give up it’s power in order to break the curse. A Runechild, thus, could give up it’s Rune (and thus “Runechildy-ness”) and do so, or so could a powerful force of good sacrifice itself to do so. In theory, an exceedingly powerful evil entity could give up it’s power (or kill a powerful force of good, etc) to do the same, but given the fail safes the Trinity built into the system it would be a LOT of power vs. just giving up a Rune. HeadTaker also implied that Korangar (whom he talked of as if he knew him) was trustworthy and kept his word, after a fashion.
The group agreed to do this thing, Kaezhar let HeadTaker know, and they all Teleported back to Serathis proper in order to let Abilurd and Genn in on the plan.
As it stands, the group’s path is roughly the following:
- Go fight Stompy the Iron Golem, and in so doing break free some sort of Troll Warlock that’s been held imprisoned within it for what sounds like thousands of years.
- Deliver this Warlock to HeadTaker so that the Dramojh spirit within might once more be rendered mortal.
- HeadTaker will, in turn, give the group the information on how to pass through the Prison of Korangar the Screaming Scourge.
- Figure out who/how/what they need for this ‘investiture of power’ that would be necessary to free Korangar the Screaming Scourge.
- Get through the prison – bringing with them Rokverkur and the vial of blood and this power – and meet Korangar the Screaming Scourge.
- Convince Korangar the Screaming Scourge to give up Xarthran’s truename and leave the plane if the Stormfront were to free him and give him the methodology with which to leave (the stone of Planeshift). This will also destroy Xarthran’s phylactery, conveniently.
- Get back out of the Prison of Korangar the Screaming Scourge.
- Go take on Xarthran, now armed with it’s truename AND having rendered it mortal.
- Oh, and not get sidetracked and/or killed by Valdra, whomever sent Miriana the invitation, the Hooks, or any of the OTHER enemies the group has made.