Rappan Athuk - The Finale

In this six month D&D campaign I ran for my local gaming group, a strange mix of adventurers explore the Forgotten Realms, including braving the depths of Rappan Athuk, and even battling the Demon Prince Orcus!

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Rappan Athuk - The Finale

Post by Sieobahn » Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:04 pm

After years of fighting the minions of Orcus, with numerous dead comrades (and passing deaths door several time themselves), the surviving members of Trevor's Heroes crept closer to the lair of Orcus himself.

Climbing a stairway from level seven, they entered a room with the walls, floor and ceiling made of seamless white stone. In the room are two huge pillars, carved in the shape of demons, as well as mouldering piles of bones and rusted metal.
Across the room are a set of double doors, an artistic marvel of depravity. No scene of terror is spared in the carvings and inlays on these doors. Hearts are ripped out of living victims, demons devour babies, men are impaled on spikes, women are dismembered, and other scenes too grisly to describe are carved in detail. A set of magical runes reveals a message:
Beware the crossing,
For those who disturb the Master's rest,
Gain only eternal torment.
Opening the doors caused a pair of glabrezu to step out of the pillars. These were soon slaughtered.

Passing through the passage beyond, they found a vast chamber. There were numerous pillars around the chamber, imprisoned within were men in pain, withering in eternal torment. The heroes even found one of their comrades, long thought dead, withering in agony. Nothing which the adventurers did seemed to effect the pillars.

Turning their attention to an alter in front of the portal, they found a trio of blood smeared bowls and sponges. Words inscribed on the alter read:
To pass the portals of oblivion
One must cover themselves for the dark god
in only a coat of his own crimson
Ignoring the message, first Dunmar, then Kranak, and finally Andrew leapt through the shimmering black portal.

DM Note: The only way to pass through safely is to strip naked, coat yourself in you own blood, then jump through (carrying you gear in hand). If you don't do this, the gate functions as a sphere of annihilation. Therefore, they all died instantly! Of course I didn't want to end the session that early, so we carried on as if they passed through safely.

The heroes were deposited on a flat stone pathway. Before them stretched a vast, flat maze. The pathway is the top of these maze walls, and the side of the pathway drop down into utter darkness and oblivion. The screams and shrieks of the damned filled the sulphureous, hot air.
After braving the terrors of the maze, the heroes eventually made there way out of the maze where they were greeted by a pair of mariliths. They were soon slain and the adventurers started up the passage towards Orcus's lair.

First they encountered a violet screen of energy. Dunmar bravely leapt through it first, revealing it to be an Otilukes Greater Dispelling Screen, removing most of their protective magics and rendering their magical items inert. To gain time for the magic to return, Andrew raised a wall of stone down the passage. Unknown to them, the stone wall caught an invisible lich on the same side as them. It used a time stop spell, then stepping up to an immobile Andrew, cast an Imprisonment spell on the cleric. Enclosed in a temporal stasis, Andrew was trapped beneath the earth. The lich then tried a disintegrate against Kranak, but failed.

Seeing where the disintegrate ray came from,. Kranak attacked and slaughtered the hapless lich.

With Dunmar to shape a door in the stone, the remaining two heroes strode down the long passageway and out into Orcus's lair. Along with a horde of undead was a second invisible lich, sat the demon prince himself on his throne. After giving them one last chance to flee, the battle was joined. Spells were thrown by Orcus and the lich including time stops, horrid wilting, magma burst, finger of death. Kranak managed to avoid most of the spells, and was soon savaging Orcus with his greataxe. The demon prince retaliated with a touch charged with an imprisonment spell, sending the barbarian deep below the earth for eternity.

Dunmar, the sole survivor, slew the lich facing him before turning to battle Orcus. The pair traded blows, Dunmar eventually felling the demon prince.

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Post by Sieobahn » Sun Oct 12, 2003 7:44 pm

That did not go the way I had intended. I had intended to use Mordenkainen's Disjunction to permanently remove the effects of most of their magic, if successful against Kranak would have really reduced his effectiveness. I had also intended to cast a bunch of buffing and protective spells before the battle, but forgot about them until half-way through. That would have included haste on the bad guys, and slow on the good guys.

My biggest mistake was not organising things out in advance. I was away for work most of the week, so I didn't really start until a few hours until the session started. I didn't even plan out Orcus's spell list, just used the one from the Liches.

Dunmar shouldn't have had so easy a time with Orcus. The demon had plenty of chance to heal himself after Kranak's 500 or so hit points of damage in a single round, or even when Dunmar paused to heal himself, but I didn't bother. By then I just wanted to get it finished.

The plan was to first to take out the holy guy (Andrew), any other arcane spellcasters (none), then finally go after the warrior types. But when a half-dragon goes flying about, I should have bumped his priority up.

I couldn't believe I rolled a natural 20 when the lich touched Andrew with the imprisonment spell, I was worried I would then roll a 1 and fail to get through the spell resistance, but I managed it.

Then Kranak ignored all my attacks, immune to all those mind affecting spells thrown at him. Luckily Orcus had a great attack bonus so he was easy to touch, but that high spell resistance had me worried. I had to roll over an 11 to get through, and luckily I made it before he could kill off poor Orcus.

Then Dunmar slaughtered a 85hp lich in a single round, and he and Orcus started slugging it out. With their attack rolls they each hit every time, I was just hoping for Dunmar to fail his save against the wand of Orcus, and die. But he didn't.

In hindsight, I could have planned, organised and run the forces of evil a lot better. And with the characters jumping from around 10th to 25th level, the players had too much of a chance to customise their characters for that encounter. If we had run the game through, they would have been a much lower level, and would probably have a completely different set of abilities and items.

Or more that likely, they would all be dead! I think we can call the bad guys the winners, the PC's jumped into a portal acting as a sphere of annihilation before they got anywhere near the demon prince! :twisted:

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