Wrath of the Righteous

In closing

Near a foul throne in a dark realm, the demon lord Deskari furiously paced. His victory had been within his grasp, but now his minions brought him new reports of calamity and thwarted plans as fast as he could hear them. Deskari thought back over recent events, trying to find the point where events had conspired against him. Khorramzadeh had failed to kill that dragon fast enough. That had allowed her to save some then-meaningless mortals. Deskari would have slain the balor for his failure, but the Heroes had already seen to that. His minions had then repeatedly failed to assassinate the Heroes as their powers grew like a cancer.

Baphomet himself had allowed the Heroes to rampage around his dungeon while he cowered in fear, and then tried too late to stop them after the damage was done and his protections were gone. Baphomet had paid with his life for his indecision, and if the rumors were true his remains were now a mere toy for the Heroes’ necromancer. It was then that the worst report of all came in. The Heroes had gone to the Worldwound itself, and in their greatest defiance yet had used the Lexicon of Paradox to close it forever. Deskari summoned his great scythe and pulled the heroes into his realm to finally put an end to their tale.

Deskari scattered them about as they entered and appeared before the sorcerer. In a moment of exultation, Deskari felt the psychic fear-influence of his unholy aura spread among the Heroes. A moment later, the sorcerer struck him with a powerful magic ray and Deskari’s aura was destroyed. Deskari had only a moment to realize it was gone before his throat was filled with arrows. Deskari had a hundred visions of murder, of Heroes butchered, tortured, corrupted. None of them could be acted on, as his blood flowed freely from his shattered neck. Deskari fell, his last sight the Heroes returning to their own world and leaving him behind.

Deskari’s realm restored him, but the war was over. The Worldwound was shut and no power in the Abyss could ever open it again.

The party returned victorious to Kenebraes. With the Fifth Crusade over, they parted. Many myths spread of what happened to them after that day. Gathered here is the truth, as best it was ever known.


As the festivities ended and the cleanup began, Tane used his newfound celebrity status to effect some change. Unable, and unwilling, to lead other adventurers to becoming Mythic, Tane helped the other end of the spectrum. The Perfume Ward of Kenebraes’ Gate District is now home to the largest free school on the continent. Initially established by Tane to simply bring literacy to the street urchins, it has grown into a compound of artisans plying their trades and teaching them to others. In the upcoming decades, not a single artisan for a thousand miles would consider calling herself “master” without spending at least five years teaching at the school. With such a wonder in the city, the government has gone to great lengths to clean up the District and make the city a bastion of equality.

The party no longer actively adventuring or otherwise saving the world, Tane began shaping the realm into what he considers just and right. With the everlasting life and youth granted to him by his ring Tragwyddol, Tane spends his time studying ancient texts when he is not crafting powerful magic items. As new evils arose, he made it known that all plunder that would otherwise be destroyed can, instead, be brought to him for cleansing at the Purity Forge. In this way, Tane attempts to tip the scale by transforming evil into good.


The Savior Necromancer was a source of great controversy among those who studied the Heroes. His methods were clearly proscribed by all goodly faiths and laws, but he was unambiguously on the side of Good and had personally aided in the fall of the Worldwound. For Gith himself however, such debates meant little. He walked his own path and was beyond morality.

Gith continued his journey throughout Golarion and the planes in search of exotic monsters to make into his minions. He also attempted to unravel the few mysteries the multiverse still held from him. It was a long journey indeed, for his new artifact made him immortal. The decapitated and shrunken skull of Baphomet served nicely as a belt buckle. Imbued with a new consciousness, it constantly sang his praises forevermore.


Wase now stood at the end of one of the strangest journeys the planes had to offer. He had been bred to serve evil, but through strange pathways had escaped from his fate. From there, he had risen above even those untainted by demons and become a true paladin. Now he was the personal Herald of his goddess and was in fact the mightiest of all Heralds. From her right hand, Wase was sent on countless missions. from serving as a mighty ally in times of greatest need for the righteous, to delivering holy revelations to Iomedae’s prophets.


With the Worldwound destroyed, Bendak’s dinosaur jungle was finally safe. Bendak returned to Tolguth and lived in peace with his sentient mask and familiars among the towering trees, flowering ferns, and reptilian stink. For her part, Hook had seen enough of demons. Her urge for revenge sated, the velociraptor found a new mate and raised a new clutch of murderlizards to replace the ones she lost to the Worldwound.


Of the Poonisher, people whispered stories of one shotting gods and demigods. But, such is the hyperbole of gossip. The truth is, having done all he could to avenge those oppressed by demons and having achieved all the success he would as a mime, Francis the flying monkey sought to exit stage right on a high note. Why not let his legend grow?

Becoming more and more comfortable remaining invisible and undetectable for longer and longer periods of time, Francis began to withdraw more and more from the societies of men. He always had had some modicum of disdain for them so this was no difficult task. Without a lover to keep him bound to the region and all the wealth and glory anyone could ever need or want his attachment to this world waned even further.

This growing malaise combined with his newfound ability to plane shift at will made the exploration of other worlds all the more appealing. Now preferring to stay undetectable indefinitely, Francis finally grew so tired of Golarion that one day he simply vanished for good.

And, in truly epic mime fashion he was never heard from again.


Illustrated version

After journeying into the depths of the Abyss and returning alive with a dead demon lord to their name, the party felt invincible. Perhaps they were. The party returned triumphant to Drezen, and split up to work on their own business.

Gith wasted no time in making a mockery of Baphomet’s corpse. He first removed the head, and then turned the rest of the corpse into a skeletal servant. The head he secreted away for a more elaborate project later. After Poonisher returned to his “secret” lair, he received some news. First, he was reminded that he had a lover. Second, he was informed that his lover had married another man while he was away. Presumably Poonisher wasn’t bothered, since his former lover did not suddenly die in a hail of throat arrows from nowhere. Bendak went to check on Arushalae. She had settled in with the church of Desna. She seemed to have found her peace. Queen Galfrey visited Drezen and requested an audience with Tane personally. Apparently, some were worried by her lack of an heir in this crucial time. As a result, she was considering Tane as her king-consort.

The party finally counted up their wealth and bought new gear. Clad in the finest of mortal treasures, they were even more powerful than they had been. Even Hook received a resplendent new suit of armor. Poonisher put much of his mythic power into his bow. In his hands it became one of the deadliest weapons in the history of Golarion and made him completely undetectable while invisible.

After about three days in Drezen, during lunch, the horns of war were sounded. A horde of demons had stormed the walls, and four Nalfeshnee demons were darting to the legendary banner the party had recovered some time ago.

The party flew up after it. Between Poonisher’s bow and Gith’s new 12-armed marilith, the demons were torn apart in seconds as they flailed about blindly from Tane’s curses. They seemed to have been trying to aid demons emerging from an old portal that had been placed in the citadel back when it was a demonic stronghold. The party got ready, and their opponents emerged. Four apocalypse locusts swarmed through and were stomped like the bugs they were.

The party regarded the portal. They chose to hold it open and invade the other side, rather than close it. In most stories, this would be the beginning of their downfall and a warning against mortal folly. But this is no longer a story about mortals.

On the other side was an Abyssal fortress. Two golems in the form of the Lord of the Worldwound rose up in their great and irrelevant might before falling. A corrupted phoenix who had once been a great hero came to their defense. In moments, she was defeated. Her rebirth brought redemption and the party sent her to the aid of their troops in the Material plane. The party stormed the castle. The marilith Aponavicius was there, commanding her troops through a pool that allowed astral projection. She was the legendary demon general who had lead their armies for decades and had been the one to capture Drezen. Of course, in moments she was dead.

Taking note of her useful set of six arms, Gith promptly skeletonized her. With their leader dead and the pool’s powers turned against them, the demonic army soon crumbled and fled.

Some of the people of Drezen actually began attempting to worship the party as gods upon their return. None of them seemed very interested in being worshipped. Bendak used the opportunity to try and spread his dinosaur faith. This may have killed the burgeoning religion. During the night, the druid received a vision of Iomedae. She told him that the time had come for the final phase of the Fifth Crusade. The Worldwound must be closed. The next day, Galfrey met the party.

She had been granted the same dream. She brought with her the Lexicon of Paradox. The party had seen it before, as it was the book originally used to open the Worldwound and containing the secret of its destruction. They had used it once before when infiltrating the Succubus Queen’s realm. Queen Galfrey briefed the party on what needed to be done to win the war. In short, they needed to get the chisel used to destroy the Wardstones, find the secret of the Worldwound’s origin, and slay Khorramzadeh the Storm King. He was the enormous demon who killed a silver dragon at the start of this whole adventure.

The party decided to start with the chisel. According to the latest intelligence, it was in a brothel called the Yearning House. The Yearning House was located in the fallen city of Iz. Iz sat on the edge of the Worldwound itself and was the home of Khorramzadeh. The party teleported to the brothel. Two demons guarded the door. The party had made no effort at disguise and were immediately recognized. Rather than attacking, the demons told the party they had been expected and invited them in.

At the front desk was a fly demon. It told the party that its master, Sister Perversion, wanted to meet with them. Bendak sensed Poonisher’s bow raising and quickly asked the vigilante to stay his hand. After Poonisher had reluctantly complied, Bendak asked skeptically if the demon’s master was actually named Sister Perversion. The receptionist demon gladly confirmed this. His curiosity sated, Bendak motioned to Poonisher and the massacre began.

The party made no effort at stealth, rushing from room to room and annihilating all in their path. Eventually, they made their way to a large cavern.

Maze's End

Illustrated version

The party stood before what had been Iomedae’s Herald. He wore golden armor tarnished with a gaping hole where his heart was ripped out by Baphomet. His face was a horned skull, and tattered bat-wings rose behind him. In his hands he clutched two glaives. The Herald spoke from a platform surrounded by boiling tar. “My would-be saviors, sent by the child-goddess: you have arrived too late. I am the Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth and the champion of Lord Baphomet now, and you are to be the final step toward my ascension. Come. Be the meek lambs you were meant to be and bow before your executioner!”

The battle begun. The Herald struck to kill, the party to subdue and redeem. The fallen angel began by caging Bendak and Tane in a Blade Barrier. Poonisher tried to subdue the Herald with his deadly arrows, but the Herald turned the barrage back against him and forced him to hold his fire for the rest of the battle. Bendak and Tane both summoned enormous vines which wrapped around and bound the Herald as he dueled with Wase. As the glaives rang against Wase’s holy sword, Svendack teleported in.

Poonisher dodged her spells and shot her to death.

Wase continued dueling against the Herald. Corruption had brought great power to the fallen angel. The Herald struck Wase with blow after
blow, each enough to slay a dozen lesser men. Bendak and Tane poured mighty healing magic into the paladin to keep him standing. Poonisher switched to his swords and helped where he was able. Even the tar pit turned out to be sentient and attacked whichever of the party came too close. Eventually, Tane used his magic to bind the Herald’s glaives against violence. The Herald could not lift his weapons no matter how hard he tried. The Herald was forced to fall back on his remaining spells. He used a Power Word to stun Wase and so provided the idea of his own fall. Tane used his own Power Word and the Herald was unable to resist, weakened as he was by the battle.

Stunned, the Herald was dragged away from the tar and Poonisher lodged the heart back in his chest. The party began using the Atonement spells Iomedae had given them for this purpose. Baphomet’s corruption fought with all its might, but it was not enough. Tane broke through with the last remaining Atonement. The Herald transformed before the party. The hole in his chest sealed and the demonic parts of him fell away. He looked battered and tarnished, but the shadow of his old glory could be seen once again. The angel bowed before the party and thanked them in tearful gratitude. “You have saved me from serving evil forever. I can feel my mistress calling, but I know my time as her Herald is at an end. One of you must take up the banner of Iomedae, and defeat the Worldwound. But we must go quickly, for even now Baphomet draws nigh!”

The party remembered their promise to the Runelord and had to consider this intently. They had to ask themselves, were they truly arrogant enough to try and test their might against even a lesser god? It didn’t take long to decide. Of course they were. The party began preparing. The sounds of healing and summoning magic filled the chamber. The Herald was badly weakened and stayed out of the fight.

After less than a minute, Baphomet arrived with a terrible thunderclap and addressed the party. “I am lord of this realm, and yet you dare defy me? You do not have your strumpet protector with you this time, fools! I have crus-” And then Poonisher opened up with his arrows, and the floodgates of a fully armed and operational Mythic party was unleashed. Baphomet entered the room a god, and he was dead before he fully knew what was happening.

In innumerable worlds, countless wicked clerics and antipaladins found themselves without their powers. Their confused prayers and sacrifices went forever unheard. The Ivory Labyrinth immediately began to crumble without Baphomet’s will to hold it together. The party recovered from their surprise at Baphomet’s quick fall. Using the token Iomedae had given Wase, the party teleported back to her domain with her Herald and Baphomet’s corpse in tow.

Iomedae was overjoyed at the demon lord’s fall and her Herald’s rescue. In thanks, she began to grant the party divine gifts. Although the Herald had been redeemed, he felt he no longer deserved to serve in his old role. Iomedae needed a new Herald. She asked the party for the service of one of their own as her new Herald. As her only worshipper in party, Wase was the obvious choice. The pitborn paladin now served his goodly goddess at her right hand.

adventuring or somesuch, part 2

Illustrated version

So the party was at goat satan’s torture room in his jail. There were some frog things torturing a devil. They were doing it because the devil liked rules too much or something. Poonisher blew one frog thing away with a bunch of arrows and then Tane made him even faster so he shot the other one a whole bunch of times and it died. And then he killed the devil prisoner too for good measure. Before anyone could care about that, the party was attacked by STEVE BANNON.

It probably wasn’t Bannon, but it was a scary monster in a cloak so it could have maybe been him. Anyway Bannon lost quickly. The party looted and found keys and stuff. The keys were useful for getting around the prison. Anyway, the party decided to go look for a guy next. They looked for the guy because the guards were scared of him so he could be useful. Tane recognized him as the Runelord of Wrath. That was a very bad guy. The party went looking for him anyway. They found his chambers in a section of the jail that was deserted of all life. They continued anyway. The inside of his chambers was all dirty and filled with evil books and evil science and evil magic and evil magic science books. They continued anyway. They met the Runelord. He looked all ugly and evil.

The party talked to him anyway. He had been in jail for a long time like well over five years. He said lots of stuff and told the party they should release a powerful monster he made so that they could fight an even stronger monster. He also said they might be able to kill Baphomet after saving the Harold, and made them promise. The party kept listening to him anyway, and agreed to let him out if he promised to try and be good. They did it and he left. He probably did try but didn’t do a good job. Anyway he left his books, which had all the magic, including Avada Kedavra, friendship, and Adam Sandler’s box office money. Poonisher thought this was all a bad idea.

The party decided to try this terrible idea. They went to the place where the thing was, and did stuff to let it out. It got out and was a scary monster. It could eat countries and was almost a god.

Unfortunately for it, the party was really really overpowered at this point. It was chomped by a t rex even more enormous than the normal ones and shot a bunch and stabbed a bunch. It was dead in under fifteen seconds. Then the Warden showed up to stop the disturbance, and the party stomped her too. The party looted and rested and then they found the Harold.

And then, there was a real fight.

Mazes and Monsters

Illustrated version

The party immediately attempted to scry the foul sorceress Svendack. Despite having her blood, it didn’t work. She had escaped into some hideout where scrying could not penetrate. It was much like Poonisher’s safehouse, except secret. Temporarily unable to reach the scimitar they needed to let the ghost paladin rest in peace, the party decided to work on another goal. Mike the angel still needed his hammer and it was in the pit of Baphomet’s pet linnorm. The party chose to kill two birds with one stone and had Mike lead the way.

The linnorm’s lair was a massive cavern, with small areas of land poking forth from an acid lake. The party coughed on the caustic fumes as they approached down a narrow tunnel. At the opening, the two-headed wingless dragon rose from the pool. It laughed and unleashed twin clouds of poisonous acid from its jaws. The attack hurt severely, and Tane was saved by a quick spell from Mike.

Poonisher unleashed his usual torrent of arrows, but was unable to get good shots in. Wase charged in with holy sword aflame. The linnorm retaliated, and Bendak kept Wase standing with the same spell Mike had used. Meanwhile, Hook ran around and dealt insignificant scratches to the linnorm’s tail. Tane cast Particle Form on his allies before assaulting the linnorm’s mind. With help from the party’s mythic powers, his spell nearly battered through the linnorm’s mighty defenses. Only its immunity to such spells saved it from being reduced to a drooling fool.

Wase continued clashing and trading blows with the beast. His sword cut deeply, and the linnorm decided to try for a different target. Its tail lashed out at Poonisher, striking hard. It tried to wrap its coils around the flying monkey, but Poonisher slipped away with the aid of the magic shirt Tane made him. Bendak tried to end the fight outright with a Finger of Death spell, but the linnorm resisted even against the party’s collective force of will.

At this point, the fight became a simple contest of strength. The linnorm was mighty, but in the end it wasn’t mythic. Riddled with wounds, Baphomet’s linnorm sank into the acid. It would have regenerated there, but Bendak sent a pack of acid and poison immune elementals down to finish it off. When the deed was done, a shriek of rage resonated throughout the tunnels. It seemed Baphomet was displeased at the loss of his pet. Mike recovered his hammer, and then there was the rest of the hoard to deal with. Enough wealth to save a nation or destroy it lay ripe for the taking. Mountains of gold, the personal treasures of kings, holy and unholy relics, The party gathered it up without much comment and moved on.

Continuing on with their explorations, the party found the prison’s vault. It was an octagonal room is brightly lit by unseen light sources. The walls and floor were of highly polished ivory, and the domed ceiling above rose to a circular disc bearing a pentagram inscribed with a leering goat’s face. Four ten-foot-square alcoves opened off the room, accessible via a few short steps.

A golden glow suffused each alcove, and in each a single object floated about fve feet off the ground—a burning scimitar, a red-bladed glaive, a ball of twine, and a raw, red heart soaking in golden blood. An iron statue of a winged, goat-headed demon stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by four fve-foot-high ivory pedestals with a bowl-shaped indention atop each. A shallow alcove sat to the south; in it was floating a six-inch-diameter golden orb. To the north, three doors, each with a symbol carved onto its face, lined the wall. To the west hung a single long tapestry decorated with an impossibly complex maze.

This room was a deadly enigma, and the party needed to apply all of their wit and cleverness to solve it.

Eventually, they found the answer after exhausting all other options and Wase getting briefly trapped in a maze world. Using the golden orb to get around the traps on the alcoves, the party collected each treasure. The significance of the glaive and the mundane ball of twine was unknown to the party, but the heart and scimitar were of interest. The heart was that of Iomedae’s Herald, and could be of great help in redeeming the fallen angel. The scimitar had belonged to the ghost paladin.

The party tried stashing all the treasures in Tane’s Sanctum, but the heart could not be kept there. Its tragic corruption was great enough to hurt Tane when stored in a world of his creation. For now, Poonisher would carry it. His soul was more comfortable with it.

The party returned the scimitar to the ghost. Finally, she was able to rest in peace. Before passing on, she purified the lingering corruption her weapon had been subjected to and gifted it to the party. The party rested in Tane’s Sanctum after that. The heart still hurt Tane, but they removed it after resting long enough for him to recover.

The next thing the party found was a torture chamber. One shudders to imagine what treatment Baphomet’s personal torturers would subject upon their victims.

The long battle

Illustrated version

The party continued their expedition into the Ineluctable Prison. Before setting out, the party dug one of the pit fiend skeletons out of its cage and stashed it away in the Sanctum as a gift for Gith when he returned. They then began searching out the labyrinthine halls of the Prison. Sometimes squads of demodands would accost them, but the skill and power of the party was too much. The fights were short. As they adventured, a strange apparition appeared to Wase. The hand of a halfling floated up to him, with a holy symbol of Iomedae around its wrist. All could see the hand, but it focused on Wase. The hand was beckoning and seemed to want the party to follow it. They hadn’t been going anywhere in particular before, so the party followed. Poonisher scouted ahead, sometimes picking off guards. Mysterious sounds echoed off the endless walls.

Eventually the party arrived at a collection of cells. One cell was occupied by a hunched halfling woman in the tattered remains of cleric’s garb. Four tarry demodands guarded her.

The party approached and the guards raised their swords for a charge. Without warning, Poonisher’s arrows lanced out, the first curving through the air to hit multiple targets. One demodand died instantly and the one next to it fell to its knees. Hook screeched and leapt on the wounded monster. It died quickly, but then the dinosaur was trapped where it stood. One sickle-claw was stuck fast in the demodand’s tar-like body. Wase charged as well, and Radiance too was stuck fast in a demodand’s lungs. One demodand was still unhurt and tried a spell. What it was we will never know, for Tane blocked it with his own magic. Another round of arrows from Poonisher ended the battle.

Many shenanigans then ensued to free Wase’s sword and Hook’s foot. After the Holy Avenger suffered treatment rather undignified of a righteous artifact and the velociraptor’s ankle feathers were sacrificed, the party turned their attention to the halfling prisoner. After she came up clean on both Detect Evil and True Seeing, the party let her out with a hidden button she pointed out.

The prisoner emerged tearfully praising Iomedae’s deliverance before giving her story. Her name was Waxberry, and she was a cleric in the crusade against the Worldwound. She described how a 12-armed, two-headed, demonic snakewoman had appeared on the field of battle in Raliscrad not long after the crusaders’ commander conjured the Herald of Iomedae to aid in the fight. Waxberry attempted to protect the Herald, and she was swept up with him by the demon. The next thing she knew, she was huddled in a great cavern of bones, watching from a ledge overlooking a lake of boiling tar. The Herald was standing on a circular disc floating in the tar, and for years, Waxberry was powerless to do anything but watch as the Herald was tortured by Baphomet. Apparently, time flowed more slowly in Baphomet’s realm.

In the end, Baphomet tore out the Herald’s heart and gave it over to the prison’s 12-armed warden. Through sobs, she explained how the herald finally submitted, pledged its loyalty to the darkness, and became corrupted. It was now the Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth, but Waxberry was convinced it was still not too late. She believed that the reason she still lived and Iomedae had lead the party to her was so that the Herald could be redeemed. She believed that the Herald’s heart would be key to saving him. She knew that the warden, who was named Ylleshka, had placed the heart in the prison’s vault. The Herald would likely also need powerful magic, such as an Atonement spell. Waxberry was very pleased to hear that Iomedae had granted uses of the spell to the party. Surely, she said, they wouldn’t need to use such magic on themselves.

Waxberry had also heard a prisoner named “Alderpash” mentioned with dread by her guards. She suggested it might be wise to seek Alderpash’s aid, if the guards were so afraid of them.

The party continued searching through the prison, now with Waxberry by their side. In a few minor encounters with demodands it became clear that despite her valor, Waxberry simply wasn’t powerful enough to survive at the party’s level. Tane opened his portal and Waxberry was given a temporary home in the Sanctum with the familiars. It was not glorious, but Waxberry had helped as much as she was able.

The next event of note was another cellblock. Strangely, an empty cell was locked. Wase, and only Wase, felt a cold wind emanate from it. The party failed to find anything in it with magical scanning, but opened the cell anyway out of curiosity. The wind burst out, affecting everyone this time, and gathered together into the image of a forlorn woman in rags and bleeding from the throat. In life, she was Lady Cessily Mantiel, a devout paladin of Sarenrae who, along with her husband Kestoglyr, went on a daring raid into the Ivory Labyrinth long ago. When Kestoglyr succumbed to Baphomet and betrayed their team, Cessily tried to reason with him, only to be turned over to Baphomet by her husband. She was imprisoned here, and in time her despair drove her to suicide. Although the knowledge that her husband betrayed her hurts, the thing that drove her over the edge was the knowledge that the potent weapon she had been entrusted by the church to defend was taken from her and corrupted. This weapon was Dawnflower’s Kiss, a “scimitar made from one of the dawn’s first rays.”

Cessily asked the party to bring it to her, for she felt her lingering spirit could scorch out the corruption and restore the weapon as an act of redemption before she could finally rest in peace. She knew the weapon was taken by one of Baphomet’s high priestesses, a vile woman who dwelt in a shrine elsewhere in the prison. She would send a cold wind to lead the party to her without the confusion of the maze. Someone recalled that Kestoglyr was the graveknight the party killed to steal his barge. Cessilywas relieved to have the closure, and asked if the party still had the Staff of Healing they took from her traitorous husband. They did, and Cessily infused it with her soul, upgrading it significantly with the power to heal and raise the dead.

The party began following the wind. On the way, they found another notable cell. Inside this one was a dead angel. He was almost beyond help, but thanks to Tane’s careful recordkeeping the party found a scroll of True Resurrection among their treasures. Waxberry was briefly called back to use it. With various magical and mythical bolstering to ensure she wouldn’t fail, Waxberry resurrected the angel.

After getting his bearings, the angel introduced himself. He was an astral deva named Malaika. In the party’s minds, this quickly distorted into “Mike”. He had stormed the Abyss in a foolhardy attempt to rescue the herald of his goddess, acting without her leave, and for his troubles was captured, tortured, and mutilated to death. Mike the angel had been greatly humbled by the experience, and pledged to aid the party in a support role.

Mike had picked up some information before his death, which he shared. He advised that it would be wise to defeat the prison’s more powerful wardens and sub-wardens before attempting to save the herald, to prevent a situation where all of the prison’s powerful defenders come to protect their greatest prisoner at once. Malaika knew that the warden Ylleshka, the prison’s high priestess Svendack, and the tarn linnorm Uffrandir were significant forces in the prison. Mike also acknowledged that there may be more.

Mike stated that Baphomet knows all that goes on in his prison, but he seemed to be content to let the prison defend itself. The
demon lord may eventually send some favored minions to bolster the defenders’ strength, however, particularly if the linnorm
Uffrandir is slain, as Baphomet particularly favored this beast. Mike didn’t want to ask for the party to risk themselves on his behalf, but he knew that his hammer had been taken and tossed into the cesspit where Uffrandir resided. He could lead the party there, if they so desired.

The next prisoner was no sad hero. Poonisher was telepathically contacted by the immolation devil known as Suurlahetas. Suurlahetas
politely asked to be freed. The party decided to investigate, and found the unfortunate devil. It stood ten feet tall, and looked down with proud eyes.

The devil explained that he was an ambassador from the second level of Hell who had sought to hire a legion of labyrinth minotaurs and ally briefly with Baphomet against a mutual foe. This alliance might have resulted in a critical blow against both the Knights of Ozem and the Pathfinder Lodge of Katapesh had Suurlahetas managed to convince Baphomet of the wisdom of the plan. Suurlahetas promised to give the party information if freed. Perhaps figuring that the enemy of an enemy is a friend, or perhaps just feeling merciful, the party outvoted Poonisher and released him. Being a Lawful devil, Suurlahetas kept his word. He explained how various pentagram shaped teleporters in the prison might be used by the guards and how certain statues of Baphomet could heal powerful guardians.

Suurlahetas also said that stepping onto one of the pentagram portals with at least three of the five keys used to open the Ineluctable Prison’s front gate would allow access to the prison’s most secure cell. Three of the keys were held by the warden, but the location of the others was a mystery. Finally, Suurlahetas told the party the location of the prison’s vault, making it much easier to find in the maze. He then bowed his head and vanished.

The party continued to follow the cold wind. Turning a corner, Poonisher saw a trio of tarry demodands like all the others the party had beaten so easily. Drawing back his bow, Poonisher prepared to silence them. Suddenly, a blast of fire knocked him back. The demodands were in fact accompanied by the drow high priestess of Baphomet herself, Svendack. One of the most powerful mortals alive, possessing her own mythic powers and an enormous repertoire of magical powers, Svendack would offer a battle remembered in legend forever.

It took a long time, her minions died and she lost but she got away with a portal.

Breaking into prison

Illustrated version

After resting in the Sanctum, the party considered their next move. With the Father of Worms’ blood, they could get into the Ineluctable Prison. Despite the beating they had taken before, the party’s best route to the prison was still the shortcut through the Father of Worm’s home. Fortunately, the passage would be much easier without the need to fight him. The party shot through the lair with Wind Walk before the Father of Worms even knew they were there. On the other side of the secret passage, the infinite Labyrinth opened up into a vast mountainous expanse.

The bizarre Ineluctable Prison was like nothing the mortal world had ever seen. A great sphere covered in long spikes was suspended in midair by great chains attached to the mountains. The only entrance was a miles long and rickety wooden bridge leading to a little door. The barbs swiveled with a mind of their own. A fiendish bird flew a bit too close and was immediately struck from the sky by launched darts. This was what the party must invade to rescue Iomedae’s Herald.

They set out across the bridge as Wase lead the way. From the bird’s example, the party knew they couldn’t fly in. Poonisher found this particularly irksome. The barbs ominously twisted to point at the party, but did not fire. After the long walk, the party arrived at the door. Smoking skull-carvings representing Baphomet loomed above, and twin pools of water bubbled at the sides. The door itself was a strange haze, with no sign of what might lie beyond. When Wase approached, the pools exploded into activity. Two half-demon great cyclops burst out and attacked him ferociously with their spears.

At almost the moment the cyclopes moved, Poonisher opened fire and tagged one with his arrows. The massive spears nearly slew Wase in a few blows, but the paladin’s mythic powers and unstoppable will kept him standing. The wounded cyclops’ began to bleed, and the dinosaurs pounced at the scent. Tane conjured a Forcecage around the unhurt cyclops. Immediately, bars of magical power snapped up and trapped the cyclops. The two cyclops tried casting spells that caused some injuries, but it wasn’t enough. The wounded cyclops went down in a flurry of claws and arrows, and the caged cyclops was finished off by Poonisher a moment later.

The party hesitated a bit as they healed and geared up to go inside the haze-door. Before entering, Bendak stashed Swoop in Tane’s Sanctum with Fee. The two familiars would be safer there, and could be retrieved when needed. Tane recast his escape contingency and Wase headed through the door first. As soon as he touched it, he was pulled through. One by one, the rest of the party entered.

Inside was a stinking chamber. After a short landing, a 300-foot bridge went across a pool of acid, and two cages hung in the air. The ceiling went up 500 feet before ending in a Baphomet pentagram. Each cage held an ominous giant devil skeleton. Tane identified them as pit fiends, among the mightest devils in all existence. Demons often conflict with devils, due to their very different views on order and chaos. Bendak telepathically contacted Arueshalae and asked her to tell Gith about the skeletons. A few moments later, she reported back that the necromancer was extremely excited to hear about them and would very much like the skeletons recovered please and thank you very much.

The party began to cross the bridge. Before they could get more than a few steps, colossal oozing pseudopods lashed out from the acid pool. Poonisher shot it a few times, but was then paralyzed when the pseudopods struck him. The creature retreated into the acid after attacking, and the party immediately began preparing in the few moments before the next attack. Tane began scanning the room and preparing for a good moment to cast a spell. Wase and five summoned T. rexes stood by the side of the pool, waiting for their chance to strike. Poonisher freed himself with his powers and looked into the acid. With amazing perception, he saw the creature. It was a crystal ooze.

Most such creatures are a minor hazard found in lakes, rather like crocodiles, but this one seemed to have been twisted by the Abyss into something much larger and far more powerful. Wase attempted to Smite the ooze, but could not. The ooze wasn’t evil, just hungry. The ooze began striking again. Tane warded the party against acid, greatly reducing the pool’s threat. The ooze itself remained dangerous, battling through arrow and blade and bite. The door on the other side of the room opened up and two winged creatures with two swords each entered. In moments, they struck down a tyrannosaurus.

Unfortunately for the new creatures, they were both evil and not sitting in an inaccessible acid pool. Wase picked them off alongside one of the angry tyrannosaurs. The ooze struck Tane hard with one of its many tendrils, and Tane’s contingency tried to teleport him out. Rather than reaching an exterior safehouse, his teleport spell was only able to reach the inside of the Ineluctable Prison’s door. Bendak then had an idea, and began barking orders to his dinosaurs. Reaching to the bottom of the pool, Bendak called up a geyser.

The entire house-sized ooze was launched 60 feet into the air, wobbling and thrashing about. The tyrannosaurs snapped their jaws, and one landed a last fatal blow. However, there was now an ooze the size of a house falling from above. Most of the party managed to get out of the way, but the tyrannosaurs and Bendak were knocked into the lake as the bridge was broken. Thanks to Tane’s magic, Bendak was fine and quickly floated out of the acid. The tyrannosaurs were unsummoned before the lake could hurt them too much, and then the party decided to rest. Fortunately Tane’s Sanctum was still accessible, so the group still had one safe area.

Tane saves the day

Illustrated version

The party continued their strange meeting with the vescavor swarm known as Verbovezzor. The swarm was eager to know how the party had defeated Baphomet. Bendak corrected the swarm, informing it that it was actually Nocticula who had defeated Baphomet. The swarm was no less impressed, however. The swarm listening with unsettling joy at the tale of how Baphomet’s daughter had fallen. The swarm rewarded the party with secrets of its own, chief among them being that Baphomet had not just fled Nocticula’s realm. Nocticula had actually slain Baphomet and forced him to reform in his own realm. It also knew the way to the Ineluctable Prison where Iomedae’s Herald was likely being held.

It told the party that the prison was located in a region called the Breathless Mountains. It also knew of a tunnel shortcut under the mountains. However, that would require going through the Lightless Maze, which was inhabited by the mighty Father of Worms. If the party could make him bleed and somehow store the blood, they’d have an acid capable of burning through even the Ineluctable Prison’s gates. The swarm chuckled at this and thought it impossible, not knowing that Iomedae had given the party her goblet for just that purpose. With no more to discuss, the party said farewell to the thought-eating bug monsters and went on their way.

As the party was carefully on their way out of Blackburgh, they noticed that someone was following them. Poonisher invisibly doubled back to find a pair of coloxus demons stalking them through the streets. Poonisher eavesdropped on them and heard them discussing their master, a local ruler named Orengofta. Poonisher decided to approach the demons and crept up behind them. The demons managed to not die of fright at his sudden appearance and immediately began squeaking that they meant no harm. They merely wanted to bring the party for a visit with their master. Poonisher marched them over to the party. The group agreed and followed the demons. Through alleyway mazes and many turns the demons brought the party to Orengofta’s throne room. The chamber and throne was all ivory, and the ceiling rose high above. The piglike Orengofta himself lounged on the throne while holding an enormous sword. A crowd of coloxus servants gathered around the edges of the room.

The nalfeshnee demon waved at his attendants for silence and spoke.

“Ahh… so you are the Inheritor’s lapdogs. You seem a little out of place in this town. Normally, I wouldn’t bother with the likes of you, but the reason you’re here disturbs me. I do not condone any act that endangers Mother Abyss, and the abduction of a goddess’s favorite pet does just this. You are here to correct this situation, and I would see you do it, for the alternative is not something I wish to contemplate. I do not condone Baphomet’s actions, but neither do I wish to work directly against them. For me, the faster you fnish this quest, the better. I take it the same would be true for you, yes?”

Orengofta went on to detail his idea. He would pretend to have captured the party, and send them into the Ineluctable Prison as captives. Once inside, the party would escape and free the Herald before Iomedae herself felt forced to intervene. After all, "Surely heroes as great as you can’t be held long by mere prison bars?” The party debated the idea amongst themselves for a long while. Mostly they focused on how they would manage to keep their gear while prisoners, occasionally badgering Orengofta for more details.

Finally, Orengofta tired of the discussion and rose from his throne while announcing in a loud voice that “This is no longer a request.” Raising his sword, he unleashed a burst of light that stunned Bendak’s dinosaurs. Wase charged forward and clashed blades with the demon ruler. Orengofta was himself a mythic creature, and proved a worthy opponent. The demon and the paladin circled about, trading blow after blow. All the while, arrows and spells steadily whittled away at Orengofta’s strength. The minor demons rushed about and mostly tried to get in the way. Finally, Orengofta found an opening and downed Wase. However, it had taken all his strength to get that far. Just before Tane cursed his sight, Orengofta saw Bendak revive Wase. Once the blindness had taken hold, Poonisher finished him off.

The party gathered themselves up as the coloxus demons teleported away. Whether or not the offer had been genuine, it was no longer an option. The party decided to rest before they went further. Bendak was preparing to conjure his extradimensional meadow, but Tane took the opportunity to show a new trick he had gained from his Mythic blessing. After some concentration, he summoned a door in the air. On the other side was a resplendent Archmage’s Sanctum.

(Cue awesome Mage-fortress montage)

It was very impressive. Fee flitted off to her own miniature wing. From now on, she could teleport back and forth from the mansion at will. The rest of the party wandered off inside to sleep. The next day, the party set off for the Lightless Maze. On Tane’s suggestion, the party stoneshaped a hidden area in the Abyss. Tane then set up a contingency spell to teleport any who were near death to the little room. With that done, the party made their way to and through the Lightless Maze. There were some monsters on the way, but they weren’t worth missing or were blown past with Wind Walk.

As its name implied, the caverns of the Lightless Maze were utterly dark. The party used various means to see in the dark and were unaffected. Poonisher went ahead, wafting silently through the void on simian wings. Eventually, he spotted the Father of Worms. The centipede-like abomination was clinging to the rock ceiling far above.

It took a moment for the thing to spot Poonisher, so he contacted Arueshalae through their telepathic mark. He then described the creature to her so she could relay the information back to the party. The Father of Worms then noticed Poonisher and began rushing down the wall. Humanoid shadows dislodged from its back as it went. Poonisher flew back to the party as they began preparing spells. The shadows were the first to attack. Their incorporeal hands phased up through the floor and began grabbing ankles. Strength and life died away at their touch. The Father of Worms then arrived.

After a moment of simply watching the battle, it lunged forward and swallowed Tane whole as Wase, Bendak and Hook fought the shadows. Poonisher emerged to unleash his usual torrent of arrows, but the Father of Worms survived to retaliate. Inside the monster and dying from acid, Tane summoned a magic sword. Thankfully, he had been the one to carry Iomedae’s goblet. The sword slashed away at the Father of Worm’s innards and Tane grabbed the freed blood. After getting it, Tane was forced to teleport back to the party’s safe zone just before the acid could dissolve him.

Meanwhile on the outside, Poonisher was downed by the Father’s bite and sting. Poonisher vanished and reappeared still alive in the safe zone. Wase scorched the shadows with channeled energy and his mighty sword, but their strength-draining touch eventually overcame him. Wase fell, and his shadow rose up of its own accord. Thankfully, it was weak and stunted compared to its kin, and flickered out moments after its animation. Wase’s pitborn soul was just not composed of the right material for such a thing. Wase’s spirit was grabbed by Tane just before the sorcerer teleported out, and his lifeless body went to the safe zone. The dinosaurs then killed all the shadows and found themselves one on one with the Father of Worms. Bendak fought mightly, but eventually he too was sent away.

Tane and Fee used wands to revive their wounded and battered allies, before Tane triumphantly unveiled his goblet of captured monster blood. The party now had their way into the Ineluctable Prison.

The Inheritor

Illustrated version

The party reappeared in a field outside of Drezen. They smelled the acrid air and saw a sky choked with the usual smoke of the Worldwound. After so long in the Abyss, even a tainted home was still a relief. Entering the city, they saw all around them the tired crusaders and those who had followed them. At the sight of the party returned alive and well from the Abyss, a sense of quiet hope pervaded the crowds. Some were concerned when they noticed Gith’s absence. Others were relieved. Once they got home, Poonisher lead the group down into his newly expanded secret lair. Some bats flew out of the cave as the secret door behind a tapestry opened. Many new rooms had been carved out by Poonisher’s loyal followers as a reward for his help in Punishing criminals in their midst. Poonisher also brought attention to the enhanced warding designed to prevent those in the lair from being discovered by all but the most powerful divinations.

The party settled into the strange rhythm of day to day living. Arueshalae was doing well. She had been doing charitable works for the church of Desna and generally trying out her new purified spirit. Bendak’s pterodactyl familiar Swoop had stayed behind with Arueshalae when Queen Galfrey went home. The little creature happily returned to its master. Tane’s own familiar, Fee, was glad to be back to work in Drezen’s forge. She was rather furious to find nobody remembered her. Such is the life of a familiar.

Tane went to work studying Baphomet and his Ivory Labyrinth realm. His expert knowledge on the subject turned out to be quite comprehensive. Baphomet—Lord of the Minotaurs—was created by Lamashtu from the soul of the first minotaur. In those days, he was a powerfully muscled specimen, and the Queen of Demons kept him as a consort until the day Baphomet stole away from her palace in Yanaron, seeking to gain even greater favor by claiming a legendary trophy. Baphomet’s ambition was as great as his folly, and he invaded the deepest layer of Hell, intent on stealing Asmodeus’s ruby rod for his mistress. Needless to say, he was swiftly caught. Lamashtu claimed no allegiance to him, and Asmodeus imprisoned Baphomet in a devious maze the archdevil proclaimed to be unsolvable, even by the first minotaur. The archdevil also carved his own symbol into Baphomet’s brow with the nail of his index finger in an attempt to fully subjugate the minotaur.

But in this attempt, it was Asmodeus who overstepped his bounds. Not only did Baphomet solve the seemingly unsolvable maze after a mere decade, but as he escaped, he also took the world-sized labyrinth with him. Baphomet had changed over that time, becoming almost emaciated in his build, yet growing much wiser. He did not return to Lamashtu’s side, but instead took the archdevil’s infernal maze and made it his own as he claimed a portion of the Abyss as his realm.

This was eons ago, and now Baphomet was a powerful demon lord in his own right. He forgave Lamashtu, and served as her lover now and then, yet was no longer her direct subservient minion. Ever since, he worked to increase the influence of his cult on countless worlds, building his forces so that one day he might again invade Hell and destroy Asmodeus.

The Ivory Labyrinth itself is a layer of the Abyss, a sprawling maze world the true size of which none can determine, for it seems to fold back in on itself, shifting and growing randomly. Navigation of the Ivory Labyrinth is difficult but not impossible. One experienced in trailblazing, navigation, and planar geography can navigate the labyrinth to known locations, provided the traveler does so within the rules of the maze and doesn’t attempt to cheat via flying over the labyrinth’s walls. Teleportation offers the easiest method of travel, provided the teleporter knows the location he wishes to visit.

Entire mountain ranges, vast forests, sprawling underground tangles, swamps, plains of bones, and more terrible expanses exist within the Ivory Labyrinth, including two sprawling cities— Blackburgh and Echostal. Of those two, Blackburgh is the realm’s capital, and at the city’s heart rises Baphomet’s Tower. Anything that would normally find north points here. Blackburgh can be thought of as the “center” of the Ivory Labyrinth, and it is here that one is most likely to learn of current events in the realm. A fraction of Asmodeus’s original prison is said to be hidden deep within the maze realm of the Breathless Fountains. This so-called “Ineluctable Prison” is where Baphomet keeps his favorite prisoners. This prison is shielded from magical observation from beyond its walls, even from the sight of the gods themselves. If Iomedae’s missing herald still lived, he was likely being held there.

Of Iomedae’s herald’s capture, Wase learned that it had happened when a priest of Iomedae summoned him in a pitched battle with the Worldwound’s forces. Baphomet had noticed the moment of vulnerability and personally entered the fray to capture the Herald. The herald was a powerful golden angel named Hand of the Inheritor with a halo of golden blades constantly surrounding him.

After a few days of peace, the party was resting in Poonisher’s cave. At dawn, a wondrous event occurred. The first thing each of the party noticed was the growing light of morning in each of their chambers. Usually this would not be a concern, but is rather unsettling underground. The party gathered in a meeting hall as the light grew ever brighter. Strangely, the party sensed no imminent danger from the light.

Tane was reminded of the sense of satisfaction he got from seeing the many treasures he had created used by his friends in their journeys. Poonisher felt a grim satisfaction at his destruction of evildoers, yet also a wariness that his vicious methods could one day condemn him. For Bendak there was the sense of primal joy a great saurian feels when it downs prey and bellows in triumph. Wase simply knew that his faithful service in the face of his innate demonic nature was about to be rewarded.

Suddenly they all vanished in a flash. Fee, Hook, and Swoop were left behind.

The party found themselves in a cathedral, vast beyond all imagination. A Gothic ceiling was faintly visible behind blue sky dotted with clouds and flocks of doves. Stained glass windows shifted in an endless procession of honored heroic acts. Finally, a female figure appeared, of normal height and too bright to look upon. Most averted their eyes, but Bendak stubbornly drew power from his mask and looked the figure right in the eyes. He got a glimpse of her determined visage just before he was blinded. The light gradually faded for the rest and they saw the goddess of paladins herself, Iomedae. Wase immediately knelt before his liege.

She nodded politely and spoke. “Welcome heroes. I am Iomedae. You are those who have proven most worthy to strike back against the Abyss’s latest injustice: the kidnapping of my own herald. Answer my questions truthfully and be found worthy of the great task I would set before you. Remain silent, and be known as cowards in the face of evil.” She noticed the brief hesitation among the party and added:“Fear not, for I am the true Iomedae. No demonic trickery can stand in the place.” Bendak spoke first. “I apologize for offending you, ma’am.” Iomedae responded by restoring his eyes and speaking again.

“You are bold to look on me and I favor boldness. When facing demonic foes, one must be bold, as I was when I faced one of my most dangerous enemies. Tell me, then, which undead lord did I slay while leading my knights of Ozem into the Three Sorrows?” Unfortunately for Wase, he had not spent enough time on his studies to know this answer. Tane was able to recall the answer from the history books. It was Erum-Hel, the mohrg lord. Iomedae continued. “You have a hero’s bravery. You have proven that you can survive the horrors of the Abyss, and this marks your courageousness as surely as any feat. But also you have learned that not all those in the Abyss are your enemies. Some are creatures whose nature can be used as a tool to defeat greater evils. So tell me, when evil assumes a fair form, and when weak villains beg for their lives, are they due mercy? Or are the wages of their villainy always death and oblivion?” The party mostly agreed that mercy should sometimes be offered. Poonisher kept quiet for that question.

Iomedae then separated the party and asked her final question to each alone. “Honor is my soul and life, justice is the passion that stirs me to war, and yet the cause of the true and the righteous is beset on all sides by evil. Tell me, how does one outwit and defeat a demon lord in his own domain? For let us not pretend, this is what I ask you to do.” Each answered in their own way. Tane would apply his mind and crafts. Poonisher would strike from the shadows. Wase would fight with honor and valor. Bendak would simply relentlessly keep on trying until he succeeded or died.

Satisfied, Iomedae said:“You are worthy to champion me against Baphomet, for mandate prohibits the interaction of the divine in even such matters as personal as the loss of a herald. I charge you as worthy souls to go into the darkness of the Abyss, into the Ivory Labyrinth of my enemy, and seek out my herald. If he be dead or worse, I trust you shall fnish things as befts those of your boldness. Heed the advice I have given you. Go forth on a road of honor, swiftly and with great justice, to defeat Baphomet and return or avenge my herald. In so doing may you fnd the strength to face the true peril that lies ahead. Deskari always watches, and the time shall soon come when the Worldwound must be closed forever lest it consume your world."

With that, the cathedral burst into light, and the party was once again in the darkened halls of Poonisher’s fortress. In each of their hands was a holy symbol of Iomedae. A bit of knowledge imparted into their minds told them that they could use these to transport themselves to the Ivory Labyrinth. However, Tane also knew the spell to do that without wasting a divine gift, so they agreed to have him do it instead.

They spent a short while longer in Drezen to prepare and say goodbye to their allies again. Arueshalae again decided to remain behind as an advisor rather than risk corruption. However, the familiars were brought along this time. Bendak purchased enough of the ritual supplies to reincarnate his friends three times. After Tane explained the nature of the Labyrinth to the party, they decided to go first to Blackburgh. There they could search for clues about the location of Baphomet’s prison and the Herald within. With their plan and supplies taken care of, Tane gathered the party and Plane Shifted them to Baphomet’s realm.

Upon arrival, the party found themselves in a large circular area. Walls made of endless contorted bones rose high above them, just above Bendak’s allosaur-height head. The sky was a blank white void, with light provided by an orb suspended in the air. Three fly demons were milling about in the chamber and noticed the party. After a moment of brief surprise, they turned and started to politely greet the party, asking many questions and bowing deeply. The party was extremely suspicious and immediately began waving weapons at the demons and demanding they stay back. A large shadow slid across the floor from behind the party, and spread out with six-weapon laden arms. A voice demanded the party pledge their loyalty to Baphomet. The party turned to see a marilith, a powerful female snake-demon most commonly seen as Abyssal generals and rulers.

Poonisher firmly turned down the offer with a withering barrage of arrows and the fight was on. The marilith rushed at Poonisher and slashed away with her many weapons before snatching and constricting the monkey with her tail. Poonisher would have been reduced to disassociated meat if not for a Stoneskin spell Tane provided. The fly demons ran in and bit several party members and drained out blood. Each teleported away after taking a meal. Bendak unleashed a mighty lightning spell with a howl and the bolts rushed out in all directions in search of enemies. Unfortunately, all these demons were immune to electricity and the spell did nothing. Meanwhile, Wase and Hook provided a distraction by clawing and slashing at the marilith. When the marilith turned her six weapons and eyes against them, Poonisher was able to get out his backup rapier and run it through her heart.

The flies were gone so the party moved on. The endless skeletal walls stretched and curved ever on before them. Tane estimated it could take weeks to reach Blackburgh at their current pace. The solution, then, was to increase their pace. The party stopped and Bendak prepared some spells. First, he cast Wind Walk on everyone. Under this spell, the party could become nearly intangible clouds and fly about at 60 miles an hour. When they did need to rest, Bendak would cast Fairy Ring Retreat, allowing them to relax in an extra-dimensional meadow resembling a jungle clearing. The long necks of brontosaurs were visible over the tree tops, and ghostly dinosaurs attended to any needs. In this manner, the party shot through the maze in luxurious conditions. Occasionally a monster or obstacle would try to stop them, and be promptly ignored and left behind.

Eventually, the party reached Blackburgh. Unlike the Midnight Isles, this city was not meant for temptation. This was a place of death for all outsiders. The party disguised themselves and began carefully scouting the town for clues. Bendak took the form of a small lizard and rode on the raptor’s back with Swoop. Poonisher began spreading renown for his social identity, Francois Bastille. He made himself known as an evil mime. The difference between a normal mime and an evil mime is somewhat unclear. As the party was exploring, their identities somehow became known. Perhaps a passing alignment scanner or mind-reader found them, or a glimpse of a holy sword was what did it. However it happened, they were discovered.

Dark energies swirled down from above, sapping at the life force of the party. A whole pack of undead giants descended from above, emanating the very essence of death.

Nearby minor demons looked on with morbid interest. The giants were nightwalkers, twenty foot tall abominations that lead armies of the dead into battle in crusades to end all life. From their bladed arms to their mighty spells, they had no shortage of methods in their dark quest. Their only amusement was in seeing the despair of their victims. The demons cheered as the nightwalkers charged. Their excitement died away in seconds as the giants were torn apart. They were shot full of arrows, they were cut down like trees, and finally they vanished down the gullets of summoned beasts. For a little while, none were willing to interfere with the party.

Shortly thereafter, the party was approached by a little bug-thing.

Tane recognized it as a single vescavor, one of those swarming chaos-insects they had once fought. In a high voice, it urged the party to follow, because it’s master wanted to relay a message. With a general shrug, the party agreed. After many twists and turns, the party found themselves in a lair of rubble and filth and slime. A swarm of vescavors rose up and formed themselves into a collective body. It spoke.

“Listen, meat things, and hear the voice of ages. If you be not fools, then leave this place. Do not return, for to wander into the Labyrinth is to die. Do not seek the prison. Do not approach the mountains. Worship the Horned Lord. Embrace the greater powers that surround you. For to do otherwise means only that your bones will join those of a million others. And yet… Lord Baphomet cowers in his tower and you openly walk his streets. Very interesting. Very interesting indeed.”


Illustrated version

Hepzamirah was a nephilim. She stood at a full eleven feet tall and a long pair of horns weighed down her brow. The blood of the demon lord Baphomet flowed through her veins, and her heavy pick bore the subtle notches and bloodstains of countless failed heroes. She had personally seeded her father’s cult on thirty different worlds. She was the daughter of a god, and this is the day she died.

When the end began, she was watching through a hidden crystal lens in her room as the intruders butchered the guards posted at the entrance to the mines. Of course, she recognized the attackers. Some of the enemy had taken to calling them “The Heroes of Kenebraes”. Apparently, when the crusader city of Kenebraes fell, this group had been there. Like an infection in a wound, they had thrived in the carnage and become a rapidly escalating threat to the Worldwound. The righteous gods always seemed to like their heroes born of tragedy. Hepzamirah often wondered to herself what role they had in encouraging such origins.

Looking over the band, it struck her that she had expected them to perhaps look more “heroic” in a way. She saw among them reptillian beasts, a necromancer, and Fulsome, that demon of excrement who previously occupied her father’s mine. There was also a paladin and a sorcerer, but even the paladin was clearly born of the Pit. Most of the heroes she had faced had always had that smug sense that they were truly Good. Shining armor, stern faces, righteous incantations. Her favorite part was always just before the end, when the facade so often fell. Sometimes they would beg, betray their allies, or just scream. It never saved them.

She watched as one of the beasts was allowed to devour the heart from a corpse, the necromancer reanimated the gore-dripping skeleton of her glabrezu minion in front of the paladin, and the others tore the room apart in search of valuables. If they were here, they likely had gained Nocticula’s blessing as well. The intruders seemed to decide that there was no longer anything to kill or steal here, so they began searching door-to-door. Mighty traps were contemptuously dispelled by the paladin as the group stalked through the caverns with deadly precision.

Hepzamirah knew they would soon reach her at that rate, and so thought back to what her own necromancers and surviving minions had learned from their previous battles. Once engaged, the Heroes typically lacked subtlety. The attack would be sudden, brutal, and overwhelming, aiming to annihilate their enemies before they think of retaliation or escape.

It sounded like her kind of fight.

Hepzamirah grabbed her pick and took a quick look around her room. It was a finely appointed room that served her well as a study, shrine, and bedchamber. The walls were decorated with detailed maps of her father’s maze-realm. Over it all loomed the face of Baphomet. Around the rest of the room was a chest for her possessions and a laboratory for stabilizing Nahyndrian crystals. Her latest crystal sat on a desk, surrounded by all the tools needed for such work. She cast spells to walk on air, to strike even harder, and to become even more enduring as she waited.

The sound of footsteps gathered outside the door. A moment later the door swung open and Hepzamirah swung first. She backhanded the paladin with a deadly magic spell that nevertheless failed to kill him. Her room’s trap struck true and ruined all the protection spells that the sorcerer had distributed. The two beasts leapt upon her. Countless little claws and teeth snatched and scrabbled at her arms and shoulders as Hepzamirah shielded her face. She felt little pain as her unholy powers perserved her flesh. The paladin rushed forward with a glowing sword illuminating his cursed visage. His blade left her a shallow cut across the stomach. Hepzamirah responded by shaking off the dinosaurs and struck the paladin hard in the knee with her pick. Finding purchase, Hepzamirah slammed him against the opposite walls of her chamber and tossed him aside. Hepzamirah was just thinking of the great rewards her victory would earn when the necromancer drew back his bowstring.

Hepzamirah screamed in pain as the deadly arrows tore into her. Even her legendary strength would not last long against such an assault. The situation was rapidly falling apart. The Heroes had begun to magically restore their lost spells and heal their wounds. Their blows were also beginning to hurt her more readily. After a failed attempt to hurl the bow-necromancer back to his own world, Hepzamirah chose to make a tactical retreat. On the way out, she saw an opening in the wounded paladin’s defenses. She took the chance, and her pick ran through the paladin’s chest and out his back. His soul was immediately snatched from the lifeless body and absorbed by the sorcerer. Hepzamirah had little time to ponder this as she fled. The dinosaurs and the glabrezu skeleton attacked her, but failed to stop her escape. Hepzamirah made it to the pitch-black pit in the mine’s entryway. She began running down on empty air to restore her strength and gather her most powerful minions.

Arrows shot past her as the necromancer tried to aim in the magic darkness. Hepzamirah’s eyes worked perfectly in the darkness, and she saw her half-demon minotaurs flying up to aid her. Suddenly, she was stopped as the Heroes’ sorcerer somehow saw through the darkness and bound her with golden chains of light. Hepzamirah struggled uselessly against her bonds as the fight went on without her. She heard the glabrezau skeleton jump down and clattered apart against the distant floor. She felt two demon-minotaurs grab hold of her and drag her toward the safety of the tunnel. She saw the third try to hold off her enemies. One of the beasts shifted into a winged form and pursued with the beat of leathery wings. The sorcerer summoned a massive eagle that swooped down. Hepzamirah raged against her arcane chains and held off the bird with what unholy will she could still muster. The escape tunnel was close. Her guards dragged her as fast as they could. The chains would soon fade.

She heard the flying reptile shout a spell, a column of flames came roaring down from above, and it was over. Hepzamirah felt the flames ripping her apart. She sank to the ground as her minions abandoned her to defend themselves. Staring into the darkness of the tunnel that would forever be just out of reach, she felt the presence of her father in her last moments. He said nothing. She knew that all her service before was not enough to earn anything but scorn at her weakness. It never would have been enough.

As soon as she was dead, Hepzamirah’s body split itself open and collapsed into ash and ichor. Smoke rose from the remains and formed into the image of Baphomet himself. Reddish light filled the pit, revealing his form to the party above. Baphomet roared and his voice echoed in the party’s minds as the demon-minotaurs fell prostrate before him.

“Mortal worms! You have destroyed my daughter. But even in her failure, she proved of use to me, for while you toyed with her, I took from your mewling patron one of her own! Know, fools, that none of those you value are safe from me. Even your goddess Iomedae knows my wrath, for I have claimed her herald as my latest plaything, stolen from her as you whiled your time away in the Midnight Isles. And now, I do the same to you! When I am done with you, your bones shall join those of millions more within the walls of my Ivory Labyrinth!”

At that, Baphomet truly began to force his way into the room. At that intrusion, the shadows seemed to rebel against his infernal light and surrounded him. A horn was shorn away and flesh was torn apart. The demon-minotaurs vanished into the shadows and were never seen again.

The voice of Nocticula rang out in the darkness. “No, lord of slain daughters. This is my realm, and these are my guests. You are the intruder here, and your bones shall decorate my palace walls if you choose to remain!”

Baphomet shrieked once and vanished, retreating to his own world. The party looked down into the pit, now restored to its usual gloom. Nocticula spoke again in the void, now in her usual alluring tone.

“And so you have done it. I must admit, I’m a touch surprised. You have more in you than I suspected. Rest assured, mortals, that your enemies will claim no more of my realm’s blood for themselves. Yet you have made a greater enemy than the children of gods tonight, and I suspect you will be facing Baphomet again. Were that I could be there to watch. I must say, I’m not sure who would prevail in such a clash! No matter-the way to the Midnight Fane and your homes on the Material Plane lies before you. You have but to step into my shadow to be on your way home.”

The party turned down this gift. Wase’s soul still needed to be put back in his body, and there was loot still unclaimed. Also, Tane could take the party home with his own magic. Bendak did interject to request that Nocticula grant him one boon in place of her earlier offers. He asked that Nocticula transport the dinosaurs he had gathered earlier to a specific clearing in his homeland. Nocticula agreed to that, and vanished with a last smirk at something just behind the party. A single arrow stuck itself in the wall, just behind where her throat had been a moment earlier. Poonisher was back.

The flying monkey archer neglected to explain where he had been, but he had cleared out the rest of the dungeon for the group. It involved much shooting of necks and captives. In the process, he had recovered a large contingent of half-mad slaves intended for sacrifice along with the rest of the loot. Tane could not shift back so many, so Gith offered to find them another exit. With his skeleton minion and the slaves, Gith sailed away on the barge down the poison river under a demon-filled sky.

The party healed Wase’s fatal wound and Tane restored his soul. After Bendak provided a recap of the situation, the party joined hands in a circle. Tane cast his spell, and the party finally returned to their own world.


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