The Azure Shroud of Doom

Return to the Surface

The Temple of Ungu


Dramatis personæ:
Girish the Druid………………………………………………………….an elven protector of the natural world
Hobb the Fighter…………………………………………………………a sellsword, currently without a master
Ragner the Cleric………………………………………………………..a devotee of Khorne, god of Bloody Conquest
Wolfwood the Paladin………………………………………………….a champion of Law, devoted to his quest
Gogmutt…………………………………………………………………….a goblin warrior
Yumetz………………………………………………………………………a goblin orkaster
Snotgarble………………………………………………………………….a goblin clan chief
Gloch………………………………………………………………………….a river giant


Scene:
A campsite near the sacrificial pit in an ancient temple dedicated to the serpent-god Ungu. The adventuring party has returned from the caverns below and prepares to meet the awaiting goblin horde.


Our troupe of brave adventurers wakes in the morning to silence in the temple. Mysterious Girish transforms into a vermin form and investigates the wooden and rubbish barricade separating the goblins from Florimel’s chambers. Mighty Hobb, with his great strength, sets to pulling apart the furniture and trash the blocked the passage, quickly and silently opening hole through the barricade, and discovering a slumbering sentry on the other side. He prods the sleeping goblin awake with his sword, requesting that it inform the goblin chief of their return.

The goblin guard screeches and flees, leaving the party time to prepare. Cunning Wolfwood douses the barricade in oil, preparing his tinderbox to strike it alight, while Hobb pulls out more pieces to enlarge the hole. Spying the approaching goblin horde, accompanied by the war leader and the goblin’s orkaster with his trio of goblin hounds, the party falls back to ready themselves. Wolfwood sets fire to the structure and then uses Chief Snotgarble’s taunts to pinpoint the leader’s position. Leaping through the flames, he slams the vile chieftain to the wall with his shield, but not before Snotgarble is able to wrangle his own sword into position to plunge it into Wolfwood’s side. The paladin retaliates, striking with his sword while keeping the goblin pinned; Hobb, hot on his heels, sinks the Red Sepulchre into the monstrous master’s chest.

A thick red mist seeps from the goblin’s wound and curls around the blade of the spear. The haft of the weapon pulses twice in Hobb’s grasp and the mist is sucked into the uncanny metal. The goblin falls roughly to the floor, pulling his jagged sword from Wolfwood’s side as he does. The goblins warriors closest to the heroes all strike in anger, stabbing out with spear and javelin. The mighty heroes strike back, slicing down goblin and goblin hound alike.

Girish, in mouse form, leaps from his hiding place in Hobb’s pocket and transforms into a raging mountain lion. But the spirits of nature, whimsical and wanton as they are, run back the sands of time on Girish’s new form and he shrinks down to the size of only a cub. The goblins cackle with glee at this turn of events, but courageous Girish calls out to the spirit of the rocks of the mountain and covers the floor near him with rocky spikes, keeping the goblins at bay. Risking the ire of nature, he transforms once again into a great mountain bear and lets loose a terrible roar, frightening away many of the goblin warriors. A deep voice speaks softly in the back of the druid’s mind, but he has no time to investigate it in the heat of battle.

The goblin orkaster, enraged by the death of his chief, launches an orb of arcane acid at Hobb, who charges the muttering mage and impales him upon his blade. The orkaster coughs out a final spell, clamping his hands onto Hobb’s helm and calling forth his eldritch acid again. Yet the careful soldier is able to free himself and ducks away from the acidic blast with only minor mars to his armor.

The remaining goblins rally around Gogmutt, head warrior of the Bloodbelly clan. As he opens his mouth to spit invective taunts at the party, Girish, still in his bear form, barrels into the beast and tears him to shreds. The warriors of the Bloodbelly clan, cowering in fear, can do naught but await their doom as Wolfwood stalks towards them. The paladin raises the faceplate of his helm to reveal his eyes, glowing with his divine might, and speaks a single word. The goblins flee in terror before his indomitable visage.

The adventurers take the opportunity to tend to their wounds and examine the fallen goblins, as to the victors go the spoils. They investigate the orkaster’s chamber, as well as the chief’s throne room, turning up their long awaited for treasure, the chief’s sword and crown, several tomes of knowledge, and a few other valuable odds and ends. As they continue on out of the temple, they find that the goblins have completely deserted their refuge, retreating back into the mountains.

Exiting through the stout oaken doors, the adventurers ponder how to seal the temple, concerned with both keeping other infestations out and keeping the ettercaps below within. Direct Girish speaks to the spirit of the mountain itself, and learning its name, asks it to seal off the temple carved into its side. The mountain, Gorgramil, agrees, for long has it slumbered. The land begins to quake and heave, collapsing the front entrance to the temple of Ungu. But once awoken, Gorgramil is not so easily quieted again, and the land does not still until after a yawning pit and many deep cracks and ravines are opened in the ground where the temple once stood.

Girish calls upon nature’s aid in the form of a several stout bucks to carry the adventurers back to the village of Sodhaven. They find themselves drawn somewhat off track by Wolfwood, serving as trailblazer. The paladin’s oath to destroy the Red Sepulchre is pulling him subtlety to the east, towards the barren desert that remains in the aftermath of as ancient Magi War. In time, however, they arrive at the outer fields of Sodhaven and spend two days in the village, resting and resupplying for the next leg of their journey.

After a few days recuperation in town, the party again gears up and follow the village’s only road out to the main trade highway. The road takes them east to an old bridge crossing the Sanguine River. This bridge is considered by many of the residents of Sodhaven to be the edge of their protected civilization and few venture beyond sight of its ancient stones.

Stepping from the main trade route, the adventurers are able to locate the remnants of a road that in ancient days ran towards what is now the desert called the Arcane Wastes. Under the careful guidance of Girish, they get the drop on a pair of razor boars. With tusks that can rend armor like paper, these woodland beasts are the bane of many travelers in the area. The party sets about quickly dispatching the animals, as much with plans of fortifying their rations as with securing the safety of the nearby road. During the brief battle, Wolfwood experiences firsthand the powers of the Red Sepulchre, landing a killing blow to one of the beasts and feeling the witchwood haft pulse with pleasure in his hands. Sickened with the feeling, he refuses to partake in the slaughter of the boar’s carcass, or in the fresh meat the creature provides.

After the fight with the boars, they wander through the thick woods for the better part of day before coming to a rapidly rushing river in a deep gully, crossed by a stone bridge, wide and aged. As they approach the bridge, a huge hand claws at them from beneath and a deep voice calls out, demanding payment. It was Gloch, the river giant.

Greedy, lazy, and rather opportunistic, these giants have a near unquenchable thirst for fresh water that often keeps them near rivers. Biting the head from a razor boar he’d caught the day before, Gloch demands a toll to cross his bridge. After all, why should he have to hunt for game when these puny creatures could do it for him? Clever Girish takes the iron crown from his head and offers it to the giant, but Gloch is not so easily fooled. He swings out a hand to brush away the pestering elf, but a passing blow from a giant is not something easily shrugged off.

Nimble Hobb hesitates but an instant before darting around the giant while Girish roots himself in place in the form of a towering oak tree. However, Hobb’s hesitation is the only opening Gloch needs; seeing someone attempting to bypass his demands Gloch lashs out, squarely striking home and sending Hobb sprawling. He then turns his attention to the newly formed tree, gripping it between his mighty hands and pushing, the truck creaking under the assault.

The group scatters, Girish changing to a winged form and escaping to the sky, Hobb regaining his feet and charging across the bridge for a raised embankment on the other side, and Wolfwood leaping into a crack in the bridge, allowing the giant to pass him by. Gloch pounds after Hobb, who leaps from his vantage point and scores a sound blow against the giant, but huge creature again dashes him to the ground, knocking away his sword. Gloch brings his great fist down, turning Hobb’s blade into a twisted metal ruin.

Girish calls upon the spirits of the earth and plummets from on high as a boulder, crashing down onto the giant; as Wolfwood, previously overlooked by their foe, runs forward and slices into the giant’s ankle, hoping to hobble it, only to find Gloch’s thick skin turns aside most of his attack. Girish’s boulder form, sprouting arms and legs, charges forward, digging into the wound Wolfwood has begun as the paladin draws the Red Sepulchre and throws it to the now disarmed Hobb. Hobb catches the spear and plunges it into the giant as Gloch kicks out to dislodge the transformed druid from its legs, sending noble Hobb flying from the bridge and into the river below. Wolfwood lashes out one final time with his sword, sending the giant crashing to its knees as he rushes down the steep side of the gully to Hobb’s aid.

Hobb finds himself in a quiet forest glade, strange yet familiar at the same time. Gentle sunlight shines all about him, and a soft breeze blows warm on his skin. A young woman of bronze skin and silver hair, steps out from behind a tree. She is clad in a simple dress that dances in the wind and wears a silver ring bearing a single white stone. She greets the weary warrior and speaks a simple secret to him. Hobb nods reluctantly and the woman takes him by the arm and leads him into the trees.

Kneeling at Hobb’s side at the edge of the river, Wolfwood calls out to Qualin for the power to heal his fallen friend. Broken limbs straighten and wounds close, but there is no life here.

Gloch, now on his knees and face to face with the elf, pleads for his life, questioning why the party has attacked him. The elf, retaking his own form, spits out accusations, that the giant had struck first and the resulting bloodshed is on his head alone.

On the wings of fury and vengeance, Wolfwood flys up the side gully and launches himself up the kneeling giant’s back. He plunges his sword deep into Gloch’s neck and, with a savage cut, tears away the giant’s life. The huge body crashes down, an empty thud shaking the ground.

The remaining companions carefully retrieve and clean Hobb’s body. Girish calls upon the earth to open to receive their noble friend and he is gently laid to rest. Wolfwood lays his shield over Hobb’s remains, offering its protection to the fighter in the afterlife as Girish closes the grave. As Wolfwood offers prayers of eulogy and sorrow, Girish whispers to the spirits of forest and flora, filling the area with lush flowers in remembrance of their fallen ally.




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Beneath the Temple, Part 2

The Temple of Ungu


Dramatis personæ:
Girish the Druid………………………………………………………….an elven protector of the natural world
Hobb the Fighter…………………………………………………………a sellsword, currently without a master
Ragner the Cleric………………………………………………………..a devotee of Khorne, god of Bloody Conquest
Wolfwood the Paladin………………………………………………….a champion of Law, devoted to his quest
Sokaris……………………………………………………………………….an ettercap leader


Scene:
Deep underground, in the caverns beneath an ancient temple dedicated to the serpent-god Ungu. The adventuring party has journeyed into the depths, finding potential for both friend and enemy along the way.


The glowing remains of a camp fire faintly lights a natural stone cavern.

A blocked passage

An underground lake

A ravine and monsters

The Red Sepulchre

A duel of honor

A winged rescue

Return to the surface




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Beneath the Temple, Part 1

The Temple of Ungu


Dramatis personæ:
Hobb the Fighter…………………………………………………………a sellsword, currently without a master
Ragner the Cleric………………………………………………………..a devotee of Khorne, god of Bloody Conquest
Veiger the Druid………………………………………………………….an elven protector of the natural world
Wolfwood the Paladin………………………………………………….a champion of Law, devoted to his quest


Scene:
An ancient temple sacred to the hated serpent-god Ungu, dedicated by the legendary Queen Ya hundreds of years ago, until recently occupied by the Spider-Witch Florimel. Refugee goblins infest the upper chambers, and the insane and aberrant sorceress has been killed, her body cast into the pit.


The curtain rises on our daring trio on a platform jutting over an endless abyss, once used to offer sacrifices to the serpent-god Ungu. Taking some time to explore around the sacrificial pit, leading to a brief experimentation in gravity by Wolfwood, the adventurers decided to explore into the depths. Tossing a torch into the pit revealed that the wall below them had collapsed inwards, creating a sloping pathway into an open cavern below. With insightful Hobb securing a rope to one of the nearby pillars, they carefully made their way down the wall with only minor incident.

Skirting around the ruins of Florimel’s corpse, the party discovered a series of dried and desiccated goblin corpses hanging from metal rings set into the rock ceiling. Those furthest from the pit were wrapped in some kind of silken webbing, strangely familiar to faint lines of spider silk that had lined the walls of the pit. Upon realizing that the occupant of the final bundle still writhed and moaned, they sliced down, revealing a semi-conscious elf.

No sooner was the elf freed than the group was set upon by a ravenous quartet of cave rats. Still injured from their trials above, the party lay about with sword, shield, and hammer, joined by the groggy elf, and quickly dispatched the menacing rodent.

Given a chance to rest, the elf introduced himself to the group as Veiger, elven druid and warden of nature. The elf, bound to slay unnatural monsters invading the forests, had been waylaid by the Bloodbelly goblins, bound and rendered unconscious. Someone, or something, had brought him below the temple and hung him from the ceiling, left to season like so much meat. Veiger was pleased to hear of Florimel’s defeat and offered to accompany the trio of humans while they explored the rest of the caverns under the temple and attempted to find an exit.

Devout Ragner, servant of Khorne, scouted the passage before them. Peering ahead of them, he was startled by a silken noose flying towards him from the darkness. Deftly slicing it from the air, he warned his companions to prepare for an assault. Two foul beasts leapt from the shadows, lashing out with claws and webby ropes. Tall they were, though their torsos were compact and fat, with long arms and legs, and grasping fingers and toes that ended in sharp talons. The beasts’ faces were flat, with long, pointed ears, large bugged eyes, bare slits for noses, and wide mouths with glistening fangs. Their flesh was mottled and slick, with patches short wiry hairs across the backs and shoulders, and spouting here and there from limbs.

The ensuing battle was short and rather one-sided, though unfortunate Hobb discovered that the creatures possess the ability to spit a foul poison, leaving him weak and temporarily blinded. Enigmatic Veiger revealed his ability to shapeshift into the creatures of his beloved forests and took upon the guise of a bat, using echolocation to investigate the passage and large cavern that opened before them. He retook his elven form to communicate his findings to the party.
After carefully washing out Hobb’s eyes, the group continued on finding themselves before a large natural chamber, the ceiling vaulted high above them. An odd assortment filed the room, wilted and rotting vegetation, various collections of cave mushrooms and lichens, and against one wall, several hutches of sticks and woven vines containing nearly a half-dozen rabbits, blind and hairless.
Heedless Veigar rushed forward to inspect these puzzling animals, accidentally triggering a tripwire which set a wooden log, spiked and heavy, swinging down into the group. Veiger took a sharpened branch to the shoulder, though Wolfwood tried to push him free in time. With his wound bandaged, Veiger called upon his connection to the natural world and attempted to speak with the rabbits, but they had little information to offer, knowing little of what happened outside of the wooden cage they lived in.

With Veiger’s permission, Wolfwood slaughtered the rabbits and the group prepared to hole up for the night, lighting a fire to roast the coneys. Lighting a fire and roasting meat may not be the wisest choice while in unexplored caverns without taking certain precautions, as the party of adventurers soon discovered.

Bounded out of side passages of the chamber came six of the sordid creatures the group had fought before, three aside. One quickly entangled Hobb in a webby noose, and as Ragner rushed to aid him, bold Wolfwood charged to attack the trio attempting to flank the party. Veiger crouched down and, with a beastly roar, rose up in the hulking shape of a bear. In the form of this rampaging beast, Veiger frightened off one of the vile creatures and crashed bodily into another, rending its stomach and buying Ragner time to free Hobb. The wrathful warrior whirled upon his attacker, planting his sharp, serrated blade deep in the third creature’s gut.

Ragner, Hobb, and Veiger turn about, ready to assist Wolfwood, only to find the paladin standing triumphant, covered in foul ichor, battered and bloodied, with the bodies of his fetid foes stretched out before his feet, the severed head of the largest creature resting nearby.




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Into the Temple

The Temple of Ungu


Dramatis personæ:
Hobb the Fighter…………………………………………………………a sellsword, currently without a master
Ragner the Cleric………………………………………………………..a devotee of Khorne, god of Bloody Conquest
Wolfwood the Paladin………………………………………………….a champion of Law, devoted to his quest
Gogmutt…………………………………………………………………….a goblin warrior
Snotgarble…………………………………………………………………a goblin clan chief
Florimel…………………………………………………………………….a sorceress, wielder of strange magics

Scene:
An ancient temple sacred to the hated serpent-god Ungu, dedicated by the legendary Queen Ya hundreds of years ago, now occupied by the Spider-Witch Florimel. Florimel strove too far into her dark polymorphic arts and has transformed into a huge spider-monsterosity. The temple sits in a mountainous wilderness, surrounded by a thick forest.


The curtain rises on our intrepid trio insight of the temple entrance, following the ambush of a goblin hunting party, the bloody ruins of the creatures’ twisted bodies laying before them. Wolfwood leads the way to the temple, carefully scouting around the slightly ajar stout oaken doors, testing the air with nose and ear alike. Brazen Rognar, however, pops his head through the narrow opening, filling his eyes with the sights inside.

The front parlor of the temple houses dozens of goblins, twisted cavern dwellers. Rognar discerns that the group is made up of goblin women, children, and the elderly. Unfortunately, they too spy the cleric and raise up a screeching hue and cry. The trio of adventurers back away from the temple…and into the waiting blades of another goblin hunting party. Though outnumbered, supernal Wolfwood boldly demands to speak with the goblin chief, calling upon his divine authority for guidance. Gogmutt, leader of the hunters, agrees to take the three before his mighty master.

The adventurers are led through the goblin parlor and into Snotgarble’s filthy throne room. The goblin chief, robust and strong, lounges in his throne, surrounded by ruined finery looted long ago from the temple. Standing sentinel at his side are his royal guard, awaiting his commands. Snotgarble’s hand rests upon the pommel of a mighty sword, jagged and brutish.

The thuggish chief questions the three warriors as to why he should not slay them outright and save himself time and trouble. Clever Hobb attempts to deceive the troglodytic creature with tales of greatness, claiming to have recently vanquished the mountain giant Thorg who lives in the nearby hills, but the goblin king refuses to take Hobb’s word without proof and dispatches several of his warriors to confirm the mercenary’s tale.

The trio of dungeon-delvers finally convince Snotgarble to let them attempt to slay Florimel. If they succeed, the goblins will be free of her monstrous spawn, and if they fail the goblins will at least have some entertainment. Snotgarble also extracts a vow to retrieve an item he claims the Spider-Witch stole from his clan, the Crystal of Fire. The goblins lead our fearless crew through the butchery, where the creatures prepare stolen livestock to provide food for Florimel’s offspring, and, by way of secret panels in the sturdy barricade, lock the adventurers inside the inner temple.

Wolfwood, having been blessed with a mystic amber gem in the pommel of his sword, calls upon its power to light their way into the gloom. Scrabbling out of the darkness come a swarm of nightmarish spider creatures, fist-sized and screaming with all-too human faces. The trio lay about with sword, hammer, and shield, smashing through the aberrations taking only minor wounds unto themselves. When Wolfwood’s sword is ripped from his hands, Rognar beseeches his god Korne to illuminate their way, casting forth a cold white light, tinged with the blood of the vanquished.

Right on the skittering heels of the tiny swarm come two lumbering goblins, each bodily controlled by one of the scurrying beasties. These too are quickly cut down, but not before causing injury in return. The bloodied trio carefully continue down the temple passage when keen Rognar calls them to a halt. In the silence, he draws attention to the swiftly approaching sounds of larger aberrations, and he and Hobb set about preparing a fiery defeat for the creatures with oil and torch. In seconds the insalubrious beasts crash into view, screeching cries from human mouths before clambering up the webby walls of the temple to avoid the burning flames.

The heroes again strive forth with sharpened blade and blunted force, laying waste to the noisome creatures as they spit webs and slice at the adventurers with talon and fang. The brave trio is victorious but not unwounded, and Rognar’s prayers to his deity are answered with healing magics to close the most grievous of their wounds. As they collect themselves and prepare to venture deeper, a gigantic hideous face emerges from a hidden passage in the cobwebbed walls. Florimel has heard the calls of her horrible children and spits a gripping gob of eldritch acid at Wolfwood before scurrying away.

The explorers hurry on down the passage to Florimel’s lair, the temple’s ancient sacrificial chamber. The hallway opens up onto a sloping platform that juts out over a yawning abyss. The monstrous sorceress leaps to the attack, slicing with sharpened claws and hurling uncanny spells. The heros return with strikes of their own, deftly hewing away her chitinous legs and slicing agape her soft underbelly. With a mighty roar, stalwart Wolfwood leaps onto the beast and plunges his sword into her fetid neck. Clinging on with one hand, he bashes his shield again and again against her twisted human face, scoring deep and true. Florimel’s foul features erupt in flames, bursting outward and throwing Wolfwood from his perch.

The arachnid monstrosity collapses, pinning Wolfwood to the slanted floor. As her corpulent body begins to slide over the edge, benignant Hobb dashes forward to pull Wolfwood from his doom. But the mighty weight of the Spider-Witch is too great and both heroes are pulled ponderously towards the hungry abyss. Mighty Rognar leaps to their aid and with the great strength of comradery all are saved from certain death as Florimel’s corpse crashes into the depths below.

The heroes stand on the edge of the precipice, bruised, beaten, and burned. Behind them waits the den of tumultuous goblins; before them lies the cavernous unknown. Though the paths diverge, both routes may lead to an illustrious destiny.




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