Unfortunately, life got busy (new baby!) and I didn’t get around to writing up the log for the end of the campaign. Here’s a quick breakdown of what happened:
After finding that their trap had partially backfired and that they had accidentally killed the last ally they had with any authority in the camp, the party immediately set to work arguing about what to do next. The most popular ideas amounted to “kill all the Mazon guards,” with some discussion about whether or not to kill the rest of the guards as well.
The party did not realize that there was still one “Invisible Hand” Mazon guard, listening to their discussion while wearing an invisibility ring. He heard their discussion, and headed back to the camp to gather support. He left behind a trap, though, which the party soon encountered…
As the party moved back to the entrance to the catacombs, they found the way blocked by a glowing crystal mounted on a staff. Approaching it caused it to shoot a bolt of lightning at anyone who came within range. The party ended up effectively disarming the trap by sending Donavan to pick up the staff while wearing the strangely heavy helmet, which attracted and absorbed the lightning. Donavan, carrying the staff (which was regularly zapping him loudly but harmlessly in the head) exited the catacombs to find both Mazon and mercenary guards gathered with very unfriendly expressions.
Suffice it to say that negotiations failed. The party ended up slaughtering just about everyone, although they preserved a couple of the mercenary guards and managed to talk the last Mazon Invisible Hand into surrendering and helping them set up the teleport spheres (the orc army was almost on top of them at this point). They set the spheres up hurriedly, but before they could finish, the orcs got close enough for the party to see they would be overrun before they could get the spheres “correctly aligned.” Debate over whether or not to trigger the teleport anyway (which would take them to an indeterminate location) was cut short when the nearby mountainside exploded, the giant purple-shell that had been tracking the party since Narak-Nalun burrowing into the open air and charging. This wasn’t completely unexpected: the party had eventually connected the brightening of the glow from the shield with the hammer that it was associated with, which had apparently been swallowed by the purple bug centuries ago… at any rate, it moved up the timetable for getting out of dodge. The party decided to trigger the teleport JUST as the behemoth bug got there, hoping to shear it in two.
A lot of things happened at once. The bug charged into the large tent in which the teleportation spheres had been mounted (and the party and their allies were huddled). Someone triggered the teleport. The purple-shell apparently wasn’t sheared in half, but teleported with the tent and everything else inside it. Everyone found themselves falling through the air, in some sort of cold gray fog. The bug’s momentum carried it right out the other side of the tent, where it fell alongside the tent (and everyone and everything in it, bouncing like mad from the turbulent air).
In desperation, someone clicked the teleport again, and suddenly everyone was on the ground safely. In the middle of a vast rolling grassland covered by an overcast sky. Completely naked and missing all of their equipment. Someone looked up, and high above, two small black dots were quickly growing as they sped directly downward towards them… one of those dots soon seemed to have ten legs and a dark, glossy purple shell, descending very quickly. The remaining Mazon and the two mercenaries immediately fled, running across the grasslands.
Arkan used his earth magic (and the rest of the party’s vision) to set up a giant stone spike directly underneath the falling bug. Then everyone ran. The falling bug crushed the stone spike as it fell, sending out a huge shockwave that knocked just about everybody down. Fragments of goopy purple shell littered the fresh crater… a suitably messy end for the fearsome beast.
The party dug around the corpse long enough to retrieve the brightly-shining warhammer that had been in its stomach. They retrieved their equipment (which fell like rain around the corpse), reset the teleportation spheres, fought off some local sharp-toothed fauna, and activated the teleportation spheres one last time.
This time, they found themselves inside a Mazon compound, arriving on a platform designed to be teleported to. The Mazon guarding the platform and its neighbors was surprised, and pulled an alarm lever before he was dispatched. The party tried to break out of the compound, but was met by a squad of Mazon guards and Commander Tom, who had sent them on the adventure in the first place. Negotiations failed again, Darak especially eager to slaughter as many Mazons as he could. He died in the ensuing skirmish, at the blade of Commander Tom himself, after which the rest of the party agreed to Tom’s conditions: give up the book, give me your weapons until we’re out of the compound, you are “in my custody” for the time being. Magus was the exception: he snuck back to the teleportation room and activated the spheres, taking him to an unknown destination and fate.
The party reluctantly agreed. Commander Tom handed the Book of Ornak over to a Mazon leader, led the party out of the compound, returned their weapons, and told them they had until sundown to get out of his town and never come back on pain of death.
And so the campaign concludes, at least for the time being.