This weekend we played our Empire of the Ghouls campaign in person again, finishing Chapter 4: Catacombs of the Ghul King and entering the Underworld for the first time with the beginning of Chapter 5: Into the Fuligin Realm.
Here’s the write up which contains spoilers for the campaign.
29th Snowfall, 92 FY (contd.)
With the Ghul King safely trapped inside the urn, the adventurers make their way through the Grand Necropolis to the Hall of the Gravebinders; Louthin is carrying the large vessel. When Bubbles puts her ear to the urn, she can hear the Ghul King’s angry curses.
As the characters pass close to a ruined tower, they are attacked by owl harpies, mummies and a ghul, servants of the Ghul King. One harpy lures Penumbra and Zygmunt with her song, while Bubbles dashes into the tower to get out of the sunlight. The Gears destroys several mummies with turn undead, then casts spirit guardians to summon dozens of tiny Herr Biegens to protect the party. The ghul attacks from hiding with shatter and fireball. Meanwhile, Louthin does his best to keep the urn safe from their attackers.
Unfortunately, Louthin’s best isn’t good enough. One of the owl harpies hovers over the fighter and shakes her wings, covering him in magical dander that causes Louthin to fall unconscious. Although Zygmunt takes a swing at the harpy with his glaive, he can’t stop her from swooping down and grabbing the urn which she drops from a great height onto the stone floor of the tower. The urn smashes and the Ghul King emerges. But this incarnation is weaker and doesn’t survive long when it is surrounded by the party exploding with a blast of wind and sand when Bubbles delivers the killing blow. With their master destroyed, the ghul and the harpies flee.
At the Hall of the Gravebinders, Farra Hidyati thanks the party for dealing with the Ghul King and gives them Anu-Akma’s Book of the Hungering Dead as promised. This tome will allow them to pass safely among the ghouls. She also introduces them to a visitor, Ahmose Harkhebi, a member of the Honorable Society of Portal Wizards and a friend of Queen Urzula. Ahmose offers to open a portal to the Underworld for the characters and advises them to seek out Narosain, the Last King, as a potential ally.
The characters track down Gamal Elia, patriarch of the Elia family whose tomb they had explored. Gamal is the worse for fear with drink and the conversation doesn’t go well. Although the characters learn how the Ghul King came to be trapped inside, their confusing and contradictory stories anger Gamal and he sends them packing without a reward. While the others purchase spelunking equipment, the Gears reassembles poor old Herr Biegen again.
1st Deep Winter
Ahmose opens the Red Portal and the characters step through into the Underworld. They arrive in the Pillars of the Underworld, a large cavern with six massive white stalactites and a reddish-brown river flowing through the middle. As the party discuss what to do, they meet two travellers: Jiro, a kobold, and his companion, Sated Fang, a ghoul. The Gears gets directions from them to the kobold city of Lillefor but the conversation is cut short when Zygmunt is rude to the strangers.
After some deliberation, they decide to head to Lillefor. Roping themselves together, they make their way carefully around the narrow walkway into the main passage. Penumbra slips and falls, but the others pull her back up again.
A few miles into the main passage, there is a side tunnel with niches holding glowing skulls. Bubbles goes to investigate and spots two gaunt, giant-sized figures with scythes guarding a pair of massive double doors. The party decide to carry onward for now, but The Gears marks the location on his map for future reference.
An hour or so later, the characters run into a trio of ghoul slavers who are escorting eight shackled humans and two derro through the tunnels. The adventurers attack and destroy the undead with help from a superheated Herr Biegen. When The Gears unchains the slaves, the derro attack one of the humans and have to be subdued. The characters search the ghouls and find papers authorising travel to Vandekhul on the darakhul leader. Perhaps these might come in handy….
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Main image by Roland Deaconu