...wherein a great plot is revealed and the party chooses their fate...
Yurg - violent thief with a penchant for poison and vulgarity
Black Wilder - a low level thief making his way toward greatness
Wolfgang - a Cleric of the Insurgent One finding himself through battle
Darvik Who Is Tarlon - A mage reveling in his power and fighting corruption
Kyle - a stalwart warrior/thief struggling with leadership and Chen (his bow)
It had been quite some time since the group had gotten together to play, so a quick recap.
The party was on a mission to kill the World God (who would eventually destroy the world and likely everything in the cosmos since it was a huge space demon that was trapped in the center of their world and strange minions of evil had been trying to free it plus there were some Beholders From Space, known as the Greyjax, that were also causing some problems). They were following a previously undiscovered prophecy that they must travel in the footsteps of their previous lives to defeat this wickedness - first stop the Island of Storms to kill the Great Storm Serpent Aloo who, as fate would have it, was already slain by their previous lives.
After having landed and dealt with catpeople ghosts, wereboar samurai, a torrential never ending storm, a water elemental, and an army of undead (who now stand scattered around the forest waiting for someone to enter) the party found an old Legion of the Phoenix camp and settled in for the night. The map indicating that the cave led to where they wanted to go.
As they camped a something, a gigantic spider by all accounts, whispered taunts and offered deals to everyone on watch. Through conversation it was discovered that the creature worshiped Claire. The story of Claire is an entire other blog post, but briefly: old party member, spider mage, was in love with Tarlon, suffered many backlash aberrations, was stoned by a basilisk and left behind, later to be found lost, has tormented the party for YEARS.
The sun has risen, the storm has stirred up, and the party is ready for spider mayhem. The players are suitably nervous.
After avoiding a log trap and a pit (100' down, spikes in an unknown depth of water with something living in it) the party stood in a large cave and encountered the first of the Spider Cult Goblins. The little bugger was painted black and white and had gemstones attached to his head to look more like a spider. He becked the adventurers forward saying "peace" and "she calls".
Of course it was an ambush. The party laid waste to the goblins in short order because, well, they are a 9th level party and there were only a few goblins (4 melee, 3 with bows). Of course the problem was the fact that everythign the goblins had was covered in some crazy debilitating poison.
After taking a few captives and exploring a bit more the party came across a huge barrier built into the caves. Heading back to where their captives were they found them being devoured by huge terrier-sized spiders. Battle ensued and exploration of the other tunnel.
The adventurers came across a chamber with 6 of these huge spiders guarding what appeared to be a gigantic egg sack filled with hundreds of these huge spiders (some help from a special item let them in on the specifics). It was decided to burn this shit to the ground. Darvik pulled out his wand of Zeus and let loose with a huge chain lighting wide bolt at full strength. The results were dramatic.
While the initial group of gigantic spiders was killed in a single stroke of the wand the huge egg sack split open spilling hundreds of the eight-legged horrors into the chamber. While the egg sack did burst into flames there was still a tsunami of giant spiders rushing the party. The battle was terrifying and if it weren't for Darvik and his wand it was likely going to go poorly. Standing amidst a chamber full of smoking spider corpses the party made various faces of disgust and walked away back to the barrier. Having luck with the wand it was then used to demolish the huge barrier as well. Best magic item ever.
After making the previously encountered goblin their bitch (the thing was terrified of the adventuring party and no amount of religious fervor was going to change that) it led them to the temple where they worshiped Claire.
A huge statue to Claire was carved from the very rock itself and a moment later the party was engaged in a heated battle with two spider-headed trolls. It could have gone otherwise, but hell - who doesn't want to kill trolls! As the battle raged on the enormous pony-sized spider that had been taunting them the night before made an appearance and started ... wait for it ... casting spells! It was ON!
As Black Wilder learned first hand that a troll doesn't die just because you cut his head off a wall of ice appeared separating Darvik from the rest of the group. The battle raged on as much was revealed. Claire still loved Darvik who is Tarlon and asked her to come away with him. She had seen the face of the World God and he had shown her things. Claire had set all these things in motion by traveling the gates back and forward in time to lay clues and paths to bring them here just so she could be with Tarlon. If he would show his loyalty by helping her destroy his companions they could travel to another cosmos - abandon this one to the Xinthian and rule entire worlds together. She pulled him into her weird spider arms and wanted to seal the deal with a kiss.
Important: This was a huge culmination of years of role playing. B had to make a choice that could end the campaign once and for all with a massive TPK which would have been epic. This exact offer with a known NPC for exactly what the character wanted more than anything was a Hard Choice (HM is agame of hard choices). As I chatted with B in the secret meeting I told him that we would rejoin the group and he would get to describe the scene. Even I didn't know which way he would choose.
As the battle raged on the giant spell casting spider an army of skeletons, and two badass trolls were beating the hell out of the adventurers. Yurg was flying around with his magic ring and stabbing folks, Kyle waded in and was doing his best to protect and slaughter, even Wolfgang was using his hammer with great effectiveness ... but everyhting stopped as the ice wall fell.
Tarlon, embraced in the numerous legs of Claire leaned in and kissed her deeply. There was an audible gasp from the other players. As the freaky make-out session continued the mage pulled his wand of Zeus and, point blank, blew a hole into the spider mage who loved him...
The battle petered out after that and it was a mop-up. Yurg had managed to coup de grace Claire and was flying around with her severed head. Darvik was shouting that "Evil will never triumph!" and the rest of the party was trying to take care of monster-based business. There was a LOT of fire.
With the battle ended, the party moved deeper into the temple and discovered the Gate that Claire had told Darvik of. After much debate to go to the City of Portals, Midian, or the Machine Core itself they chose to move directly into confrontation with the worldgod itself. The Gate Key vibrating and demanding action, it was placed and the gate began to open ...
Summary & GM Notes
Well ... that could not have gone better! Everyone had a blast including me. There was danger and choices that decided the fate of campaign and awesome fighting and the return and vanquishing of a villain who has plagued the party for years (about 5 years of real life). Having a game like this reminds me why I love this hobby. The party is off to the Machine Core to try and deal with the World God. They still aren't entirely sure what they are going to do or how they are going to do it, but it should be excellent.
I need to get painting and get the minis ready for these games. While I'm damn happy to be bringing this epic campaign to a close, I already know I'm going to miss these characters and the setting. The Aldsburg campaign is fun and going to be the go-to for some time, but I think this campaign will be the crown jewel of my gaming career ... at least until I come up with another idea this fun (and have the ability to pull it off).
Damn that was a great session!