After procuring the aid of some elves and a boat, our stalwart adventurers quickly found a ruined underwater city. After a short reconnaissance, they discerned three distinct sections of the ruins. The southern section was the most dilapidated. The north, while in ruins, still looked formidable with a wall and various towers still standing. The central section was what caught the party's attention, because it was covered by an opaque dome.
Readying themselves with various magical means of breathing water, they all made a bee-line for the dome, which rang out in a low tone when the first of the party landed on its top. This attracted the attention of a group of fishmen swimming from the north armed with tridents and nets. As party members struggled to move and fight in an alien environment, it quickly became clear that their attackers were interested in capturing them, not killing them. Dn. Goram tried to communicate to the group that he wanted to willingly go with the fishmen, but neither the fishmen nor the rest of party could understand him.
As a result, the party was split between those who were captured and those who figured out how best to fight underwater. This latter group was approached by what they guessed were a different tribe of fishmen. These seemed friendly, so they willingly followed in hopes of gaining allies to rescue their companions.
What followed was two separate conversations where the leaders of two different factions attempted to recruit the players to their cause. Those who willingly went with the second group of fishmen, found themselves in audience with a water naga who insisted that the domed section of the city had been stolen from her. Ahkmed and Gilek were taken aback that their would-be ally turned out to be something they perceived as evil (despite the fact that she had a neutral alignment — was it the way I role-played her?). Therefore, they busied themselves with trying to milk as much information and material goods out of the naga as they could before they could get away and figure out how best to eradicate her.
Those who were captured were surprised to find that the dome was filled with breathable air and contained what might have been a bustling, well maintained city if it weren't for the lack of inhabitants. As they entered what looked to be an ancient pagan temple at the center of town, they found themselves in the presence of the Winter King.
After it was established that Dn. Goram was there at the behest of the Summer King, the Winter King warmed up to the party and was quite blunt about his presence in the undersea city. He explained that he was afflicted with some kind of curse (his immediate appearance as an elf was an illusion — he was actually some kind of shadow version of an elf) and he had driven out the naga in order to be able to conduct a series of experiments in an attempt to reverse his condition.
When pressed, he admitted that he had made an "unfortunate" ally with what he referred to as "deep ones" and that they were responsible for the kidnappings and that the undead incursions were an unintended consequence of his experiments. However, he insisted that as vile as the kidnapping might be and as regrettable the undead attacks were, it was all necessary because his own condition was going to inflict all of elven kind if he did not act. Unfortunately, he had yet to find his answer.
The party (despite the openly evil things that the Winter King was doing) asked if there was anything they could do to help. Dn. Goram later explained that all of elven-kind was in danger. Helping the Winter King find a cure helped the whole, therefore his present evil was outweighed by a greater good. He also detected a sense of regret in the WInter King, as well as desire for redemption (even if the elf thought his own soul was beyond saving).
The party was informed that there was a distant cave wherein the Winter King did some unspeakable things in his youth. Therein they would find an altar. Upon that alter would be something that might be able to help. Unfortunately, the Winter King himself did not think it worth risking so much time to fetch himself. He would continue in his constant experiments while the party travelled south and west.
Each half of the party was then escorted out from their respective audiences and ran into each other. Much confusion ensued, especially when Gilek decided to turn on his own escorts.
The rest of the session was spent on sorting out everyone's story and deciding whose side to actually take (Gilek and Ahkmed were again taken aback when they discovered that the naga had told the truth about being ousted from her city). But it was decided that the naga was an evil that needed to be eradicated immediately. Thus, the session ended with an attack upon the naga's lair-in-exile in which Gilek almost died and Ahkmed found himself briefly polymorphed into a rust monster prior to the naga's demise.
2 days ago