In our last Empire of the Ghouls session we continued with the final chapter, The Pure City of Vandekhul, one of the two that I wrote.
This time the characters headed to Chandelier Island, a location in the Sulphur Sea that first appeared in the original d20 version of Empire of the Ghouls. I got to update it for the new 5e campaign, using an awesome map by Jon Pintar.
26th Deep Winter, 92 FY (contd.)
As the Skin Trader sails towards Chandelier Island so the party can search for ghoulbane oil, the characters come under attack from a pair of chained angels with flayed skulls, wielding fiery greataxes.
The bound celestials are frustrating opponents, ignoring Zygmunt’s fireballs and The Gears’s guiding bolts, and countering their divine spells. They fly in and out, using their Fallen Glory ability to deal radiant damage to the adventurers and knock them prone. Penumbra casts eyebite to send one to sleep and then sickens it when it wakes up, but Louthin and Bubbles can only fire ineffective arrows or ready melee attacks in case an angel flies close.
After a few rounds, Bubbles and Biegen take the oars and row the vessel towards the landing dock. Everyone except Penumbra follows them below decks. The warlock is attacked when the angels land on the ship and takes 76 hp damage. She uses Misty Escape to get away. With both angels on the deck, Bubbles seizes her chance, climbing up the ladder and killing one of them. Louthin follows and kills the second.
As the bound angels expire, the characters gain the benefits of a heroes’ feast for an hour in gratitude at being released from their torment.
The party tie up the ship and start climbing the path leading up the giant stalagmite. The Gears enters the lower cave mouth where he spots the tail of an enormous worm carved into the wall. The characters climb a winding tunnel to a cave where two bloated ghouls and a corpse worm are feeding on a pile of rotting cadavers.
Bubbles casts spike growth so the disgusting monsters take damage as they close to attack the adventurers. Penumbra casts shatter and Zygmunt casts fireball; both spells are effective but make a lot of noise. During the battle Zygmunt is bitten by a ghoul but avoids catching darakhul fever. Once the fight is over The Gears goes round destroying all the corpse worm’s eggs.
Next, Bubbles goes west into the neighbouring cavern where is attacked by a pair of ghasts and two neophron demons in giant vulture form. Penumbra casts hypnotic pattern, mesmerising two foes but also incapacitating Bubbles. Zygmunt turns the two ghasts, then the party slay both demons.
The floor of the area to the north is carpeted with bones and a pair of floating skulls give off an unnatural green glow. The Gears moves some bones aside with mage hand but there are too many to clear a path through the chamber. One of the skulls babbles incoherently.
The characters return to the entrance tunnel and take a short rest. Refreshed, they head north into the fungus garden in the next room where a myconid is tending to the mushrooms. Bubbles chats to the myconid for a while who introduces itself as Truffleclub. After their conversation, the shadow fey returns to her companions and activates Anu-Akma’s Book of the Hungering Dead to disguise everyone as darakhul.
The group enters the fungus garden again and persuade Truffleclub to let them pass. They approach the doors to the west, flanked by another pair of glowing, floating skulls, and push them open….
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Main image by Roland Deaconu