Shattered Star #59: Betrayal Most Foul?

At the end of last session, we left the standing over the hacked and battered corpses of two aberrant cloakers.

The Shattered Star


After briefly discussing who should wield the aberration bane spear they found, the heroes pushed on. There was but one way to continue and with no obviously other option they continued their explorations. It was not long before they discovered more enemies—a chuul that at sight of them retreated out of sight down the corridor. The party gave chase—which was precisely what the chuul intended. As it led them further into the complex, another of the foul monstrosities burst from a side passage leading into a partially flooded chamber. Sadly, Karelia was at the back and the powerful creature easily plucked the weak elf from the ground. Seeing this some of the party rushed back to help her while the others moved forward to aid Narfu who was also by now (involuntarily) grappling with the other chuul.

Although the creatures’ initial attacks had been successful, weight of numbers been to tell quickly and both were badly injured a few short moments after the battle began. Then, however, new disaster struck. The creature attacking had been struck down but Karelia was badly injured; as the chuul’s blooded, broken body tumbled to the ground Thaladan rushed toward her and unleashed a burst of magical healing across the battlefield. Sadly, the paladin had forgotten his healing would also affect the chuul and so while he saved Karelia from near certain death, he also healed her enemy!

Still, no matter. A few short moments later both chuul lay dead at the party’s feet. Unsurprisingly, a veritable tidal wave of healing ensued; Karelia being in particular need of Grooble’s wand of cure light wounds. After a few minutes, the party were sufficiently recovered to continue.

From ahead came the sounds of mining and the party theorised they had at last discovered what lay on the other side of the mining effort they had disrupted in the cove several days ago. Narfu crept forward and spied five skum (illuminated by one of the bobbing light they had seen in the city above) working on breaking through a wall. Water spurted through several small holes in the brickwork but the scout noticed that as quickly as the skum broke the wall down, the masonry seemed to regenerate itself.

Narfu returned to the party, and a hurried conversation yielded the plan of rushing in and slaying the skum. This the party did after making a few quick preparations, which principally comprised Karelia casting haste. Surprised and outnumbered, the skum fell before the party’s blades like ripe grain, but as victory seemed to be within the party’s grasp, Zainnis suddenly turned and shot Karelia! Somehow warned of treachery, the elf dodged two of the ranger’s shots, but the other two struck true and Karelia was again grievously injured.

Grooble realised that Zainnis had probably—hopefully—been charmed or dominated and hurried over to the ranger to cast protection from evil, which seemed to break the enscrollment. More problems immediately presented themselves, however. The one skum that had managed to limp away from the carnage staggered down another passageway—despite Narfu’s best efforts—and alerted a powerful skum spellcaster who rushed to the sound of battle. He unleashed several lightning bolts into the chamber and from the other direction another sinister charm affect failed to crush Thaladan’s will.

Cortana moving forward engaged the powerful spellcaster. At that moment, a chuul appeared in the corridor behind the party. Zainnis shot it, but the arrow passed straight through its body! Several of the group saw this and all tried to disbelieve the chuul, but it seemed real enough. Moments later it brought forth a cloud of scintillating lights about two of the party, but they resisted the lights’ hypnotic allure.

Meanwhile, Cortana succeeded in cutting down the skum wizard with one terrific blow that nearly cut the unfortunate spellcaster in twain! The party’s jubilation was short-lived. At nearly that precise moment another chuul appeared in the corridor behind the party and moment’s after Karelia hurled a fireball at several of her companions! This injured them, and also released a very annoyed will-o-wisp from its captivity in the glowing light ball. Angry and injured it flew toward Karelia intent on revenge, but Zainnis tried to smash it with his bow and so it turned its attention to the unfortunate ranger (who was quickly badly injured by its electrical attacks).

Thus as the battle raged on, the party—now dangerously low on healing and magic—fought four enemies: two chuuls, an extremely irate will-o-wisp and one of their own—Karelia—who continued to lash them with powerful magics…

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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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