With Jarvain missing – unknown to the rest of the group, currently trapped in the deep caverns clutching a mystical glowing gem – the rest of the group was at the entrance of the mind flayer temple, loading treasure into the wagon and getting ready to head in since the confusion seemed to be dying down a bit.
And they were only three-quarters of the way done with the “first part of the route”. They still had to get through the negative energy plane and an “unknown sith world”. Oh well. Kevin loaded everyone up with a generous selection of reasonably-persistent, if relatively weak and low-level, protective spells and they headed in.
Inside the temple the “Mind Flayers” went down so easily that it was pretty obvious that they were fakes – and a bunch of drow started dropping out of the roof and attacking under cover of darkness to confirm it. They weren’t too effective, but there was a lot of semi-random crossfire as the weapons swung and fired blindly in the darkness.
The “Best Line” award went to Benedict, for “Darkness will not hide you! This can only be your grave!” (Kevin threw in a roll of thunder and momentary flash of light to outline him against the darkness just for fun). Meanwhile, Raphial fired his linecaster at the roof and rose gloriously out of the darkness. Still, there weren’t enough drow to stop them.
The temple was littered with the remains of old sacrifices, and seemed slightly ransacked already, as well as more than a bit like a trap. It was: a prestress of Lloth trying to suck an entire drow army into the negative plane – and was kind of annoyed that, after all this work, she was only getting a few disposable adventurers.
Well, they’d pretty much concluded “trap” long ago. Still, the three core kids (about equivalent to age 4) were there, chained in a triangle and entranced, and the gate was opening. Wards, shields, and three collected kids – but everything that got sucked through unprotected was corroded and destroyed at a fabulous rate, its very structure draining away into the surrounding void.
Kevin sealed the gate to prevent mass destruction.
So: they had the orb, their personal powers and equipment, a bunch of d20 healing stuff, a pile of mind flayer gear, lots of gold and gems, an assortment of d20 tomes, relics, and magical and psionic treasure (fairly worthless once you got outside the d20 core realms), a fair pile of basic supplies, minor items of protection against negative energy, Ilthuldir, one “visiting mind flayer”, one minotaur, and one weird kobold, plus three four-year-old core kids. (The three kids were a mess – tortured, spirits broken, imbued with alien life energies, control spells/psionics, tortured, personal life energy drained. All repairable, but it would take a lot of work – and mostly couldn’t be done on the negative energy plane).
Not bad for equipment. What they had outside was a distant black hole, a peculiar tower, and one planetoid with lights, as well as a few Hollows and other monsters. Kevin reported to the drow while the others dealt with the monsters; he’d taken a contract. Raphial got creative and anchored the Hollows by firing lines through the holes in their chests.
They went for the planetoid, although it took hours to make the trip. The winds were terrible, the ghosts of both living creatures and even inanimate matter keening against their fate as they were drawn screaming into the eternal void.
The planetoid was covered with weird illuminated cubes, each with some kind of door – sealed with mystical palm-lock diagrams set up for the “Right Hand of the Plus, Left Hand of the Minus”. Some sort of open circuit of positive and negative energy. It opened to a spiral staircase leading down – and a livable environment. An Arriancar (an amalgamation of more than 10,000 souls) called “Sianus” turned up to greet them. The place was a sort of a refuge.
They also had holes in their chests like the Hollows – a symbol of the void in their hearts. It didn’t take all that much insight to know that the Arriancar were eventually doomed; every consumed soul added its own tiny fragment to the void in them while the energy they contributed soon drained away. Eventually – although it might take thousands of years – even the strongest of wills must be overwhelmed.
They had just recently seen the arrival of Kiaransalee, that drow deity everyone had been made to forget – but were led by King Arthur, a handsome man who just radiated charisma. The place was easy to get into, but hard to get out of – and supplies were very limited. The group decided to donate some of the d20 junk and healing they’d brought along. It would work here; it looked like almost everything did – albeit not as well as usual.
The group donated a lot of stuff: after all, it wouldn’t really be of much use to them later anyway. The locals were mildly surprised: few people turned up with so much gear. Still, their biggest problem was the plane itself: it killed most people and turned the rest into monsters.
Kevin soon came up with a reason to take everyone along: the psychic support of the Arrancar would be worth far more than that of normal people. They spent most of the trip to the portal – a place the locals had heard about thanks to a visit from a somewhat confused Jedi/Sith named Revan – infusing the 108 Arriancar with positive energy to replace what had been drained from them and carefully balancing them for stability. As they were balanced, the Arriancar developed emotions and interests, as well as losing the holes in their chests. It was always good to have powerful types owing you favors.
They also picked up a lot of information, including a fairly through briefing on the singularity war and how it had started spreading through the manifold. The war was not ended, only silenced for the regathering… The Arriancar knew a lot of obscure stuff. The group also set up a lot of magical circles and such to make life easier for anyone who showed up on the negative plane later. Ii was always good to have powerful types owing you favors.
The gate seemed to be aboard an ancient Sith Battlecruiser – or what was left of one. Still, there was enough energy leakage – or enough raw power in it – to sustain most of the structure. It was one of Revan’s warships. It seemed awfulkly malevolent somehow – and the computer systems were still active. It wanted to bargain (and still had some major weapons), so they drew up a contract, complete with a wide selection of safety clauses.
They left the refuge – newly christened “The Citadel of the World’s End” – parked around the gateway and headed through with the ship.
They wound up in the New Imperium, the split-off star wars universe, in orbit around Korriban, an ancient Sith homeworld. They elected to disembark at an imperial military station instead. The imperials were used to refugees from the Manifold, but were appalled at the ship… They tried to keep it from getting away, even though Kevin tried to warn them that it was a doomed effort before heading off for lunch.
So: they’d upset an evil goddess, an evil high priest, an archdemon ship, a galactic empire, and an entire carnivorous reality. They weren’t too sure what to do for an encore.
4 CP and some bonuses to be determined later.