The Doomed Bastards: Reckoning (story complete)


First Post
Hmm. I still like Talen. And I'd bet dollars to donuts that he is the nightlord and that he and his companions will show up in the story hour again before it's over.

Nightbreeze said:
(Well, he could whoop the ass of that arrogant Kiron even without it. Yeah, I already don't like him. And maybe you recall that I didn't like Talen, too, and we all know how it ended :D)

log in or register to remove this ad

Richard Rawen

First Post
Elder-Basilisk said:
Hmm. I still like Talen. And I'd bet dollars to donuts that he is the nightlord and that he and his companions will show up in the story hour again before it's over.
Mmmm... Donuts... :D anyways, I think that's a pretty safe bet!


Lots of posts! Thanks for your interest in the story, everyone.

Nightbreeze said:
By the way, Lazy, kudos to you for remembering when Sextus died...I remember that he died, but not where :p. Ah, well, I guess it is a side effect in being the one who writes that stuff :D
Well, I have the entire thing in a Word file (all 1,329 pages), so it's easy to search for details like that.

* * * * *

Chapter 27


Letellia drifted closer, but Dar noticed that she kept clear of both the hole in the ground and the reach of their weapons, coming to a stop about six feet away. She was almost eye to eye with Dar; her feet remained about six inches above the ground.

“Letellia... what happened to you?” Allera asked. The healer had started to come forward, but she had sensed the same thing Dar had, and had halted in her initial move to embrace the sorceress. The others shared an uncomfortable look; they knew that something was wrong, but they did not understand the subtext.

“Allera, there is no time,” the sorceress said, her voice thickened and deepened with more than just the usual changes of age. It sounded like the words were trapped in her throat, rattling around inside before they were able to escape. “If Ozmad is here... he’s sought out Rappan Athuk for a reason, we have to stop it.”

“I don’t know who this ‘Ozmad’ is, but we’re here to stop some murderous bastards from releasing the Ravager,” Dar said.

Letellia paled. “Gods, no...” she said, and suddenly turned, vanishing down the shaft as though she had been hurled down into it. Her robes flared about her, and then she was just... gone.

“Letellia!” Allera yelled after her, but the only response she got back was the echo of her shout.

“Secure ropes, now!” Dar yelled, but Allera interrupted him. “The wind walk spells are still active...”

Dar smacked his forehead. “Right, I’m an idiot.” His brow tightened, and as he concentrated, he slowly began to dissolve back into his mist form. The others imitated him, although it took time to complete the transformation, and it was almost thirty seconds before the Camarians descended into the shaft. Maricela cast a light spell before she transitioned, and the globe of illumination followed them down, glimmering as it passed through their misty outlines.

They reached the Well quickly. Dar had been there when it had been sealed, twelve years ago. Five clerics casting stone shape spells had closed the opening, and had then warded it with magical glyphs. That had stopped the intruders no more than the tons of earth and stone; the opening was sundered now, its jagged edges forming a black mouth around the deeper, older shaft beneath it. There was no sign of Letellia, so Dar kept going, the others trailing behind. The air grew colder as they descended, and moist; droplets of moisture and slicks of lichen clung to the walls of the shaft.

He found the sorceress at the bottom. She hovered over a flat plane of dark water. She carried no light source; apparently she no longer needed it to see. As Maricela’s light reached them, Dar could see that the water was only a few feet deep; under its surface, partially obscured by new mud, he could see the mithral hatch.


“Damn it,” Dar said. “We’re too late.”


Chapter 28


The companions, restored to their solid forms again, stood in water that rose up to their shins. Above them, the shaft rose high up above them, to the sundered Well, and above that, so far away that it looked almost like an illusion, they could see the glow of the open sky.

And at their feet, the mithral hatch.

“The water level is rising,” Zethas said. He indicated water marks that indicated that the natural level of the pool was a good ten feet higher than where they were currently standing.

Dar ignored him. “How long, do you think?” he asked Allera.

The healer reached out and put her hand against the rough edge of the wall; water flowing down the surface flared out around her fingers. “Tough to say. Not more than an hour or two, I’d guess.”

Dar looked up at Letellia. “Well? Do you have any answers?”

His voice was hard; there was still some tension there.

Letellia matched the chill in his stare. The sorceress lifted a hand, incanting mystic syllables that echoed oddly up the length of the shaft. Power in the form of a blue halo flared around her hand as she closed it into a fist, but that was nothing compared to the result of her spell.

A massive, disembodied fist appeared in the air in front of the sorceress, a copy as broad across as a wagon wheel. As Letellia drew her hand down, the clenched fist copied the motion, driving down toward the pool with greatly amplified speed and force. The companions drew back in alarm as the fist struck the pool, soaking them with surge of dark water. The water barely slowed the fist, which smashed into the mithral hatch, sending blasts of mud flying out in every direction. The impact was like that of a battering ram, and the ground beneath them shook with the force of it.

The hatch held, unaffected.

The water was already rushing back in, but Letellia’s hand had already risen again, and at her command the clenched fist drove down again and again. The companions huddled near the sides of the pool, covering their faces against the constant spray of mud and water. The noise was pulsing, the echoes of the impacts layering one upon the other until it felt like they were standing inside a bell being struck. Dar yelled something, but it was lost in the din, and Letellia did not let up, ordering her simulacra to continue its assault.

But the spell did finally come to an end, and the surface of the pool again became flat, the ripples of movement caused by the impacts only slowly easing into nothing.

The hatch remained closed, apparently unharmed by the display.

“What the hell was that?” Dar yelled, thrashing forward through the water back to the edge of the hatch.

“That was my best effort to force an entry,” Letellia replied. “That having failed, I welcome your plan.”

Dar’s expression darkened further, but Allera stepped in between them. “It serves no purpose to argue; the hatch obviously cannot be forced. Letellia, what about your dimension door spell? Can you transport us in groups beyond the hatch?”

The sorceress shook her head. “You may not remember from our last visit, but the special stone that surrounds the vault is impervious to all forms of magical transportation. It is well and truly sealed from the outside world.”

“Are there other ways in, besides this hatch?” Kiron asked. “Maybe we can wait here, ambush them when they come out.”

“By then, it’ll be too late, kid,” Dar said. “The hatch didn’t stop the spawn from getting out, and I seriously doubt it’ll hinder the big Ravager in the slightest.” Kiron opened his mouth to add something, but Dar continued over him. “Trust me; we barely stopped the spawn even with Honoratius and Talen on our side; I don’t know what the big one’s like, but from what Allera told us of its prison, I don’t expect we’ll have a chance.”

“So how do we get inside?” Maricela asked. Mud now streaked her breastplate and vestments, but the blazing flame from the head of the mace she carried shone brightly in her eyes.

Dar and Allera shared a look; there were no answers there. “I don’t know,” the fighter finally said, staring down at the bright mithral gleaming under the surface of the water at their feet.


First Post
Bah, what are we worrying about! They killed Orcus, how difficult could the ravager be..
*remembering the rappan athuk module, section: temple of the final sacrament*
ehm....nothing, don't listen to what I just said.

Lazybones, do you have some secret stuff about Letellia, or you can post her charsheet?


Nightbreeze said:
Lazybones, do you have some secret stuff about Letellia, or you can post her charsheet?
I just need to remember to put the characters file onto my flash drive; it's on another computer. I will shoot for a Rogues' Gallery update later this week.

As for the Ravager, this is one of the situations where I think that CR30 sells the thing a bit short. :)


First Post
Lazybones said:
Chapter 28

Dar and Allera shared a look; there were no answers there. “I don’t know,” the fighter finally said, staring down at the bright mithral gleaming under the surface of the water at their feet.

C'mon Dar :) ! You can metagame better than that!! Look for the hidden button on the other side of the wall!!


I'm a little pressed for time at the moment, but I have the stats for the new guys (both the DBs and the Bad Guys) on my portable drive, and I'll post them tomorrow.

* * * * *

Chapter 29


“Did you hear that?” Jasek asked.

Ghazaran called a halt, but not, Jasek noticed, before glancing over at his whatever-the-hell-he-was, Ozmad. The elf—or was it giant?—seemed disinterested in what the rest of them were doing most of the time, but his apparent nonchalance did not fool the thief in the slightest. While he wasn’t sure just what Ozmad was, it had quickly become clear that he was far more than just another planar ally.

Thus far, Ozmad had not contributed a great deal to their effort here, other than digging the shaft that had given them access to the Well. That had been surprising, and impressive. Jasek had heard of items like the one that the creature had used, but the reality of seeing it in action had been something else entirely. Since then Ozmad had been a mostly silent observer of their progress, but it was clear in the way that Ghazaran deferred to him that the balance of power within their little group had shifted subtly.

Now Ghazaran was looking at him. “It sounded like a pounding, distant, very faint. From back the way we came.”

Now that they had all stopped moving, everyone strained to listen, but the complex was silent. “Perhaps you are jumping at shadows, thief,” the Seer suggested. “You forget that we closed the hatch behind us, and the only keys are in our possession.”

But Ghazaran made a curt motion, and Falah and Parzad broke off from the group, and headed back the way they had come.

Jasek bit back a sharp retort. They were all on edge, and it wasn’t just because of the alien nature of this place, or the fierce resistance they had faced since they had reached the bottom of the Well, and broached the hatch that had led into the complex.

Getting that far had been relatively trivial. They had arrived at Rappan Athuk just before dawn, to find a strong Camarian patrol encamped there. The Camarian force had included almost two dozen soldiers, accompanied by both a mage and a cleric. They had been alert, expecting trouble, but it hadn’t saved them.

Concealed by the predawn murk, and the heavy morning fog that cloaked the hills, the wind walking company had drifted almost to the edge of the camp, and materialized undetected amongst a nearby cluster of boulders. Jasek had been late to arrive; Ghazaran did not have enough power to transform all of them with his spell, and the thief had been unable to keep up using the power of his winged cloak. Ozmad had likewise been able to fly under his own power. Jasek remembered feeling relieved when he’d realized that he was able to fly somewhat faster than the elf. While Ghazaran’s latest ally had made no hostile overtures toward the rest of them, there was something frightening in the creature’s eyes when it looked at you, as though it could peel away the shrouds over your eyes and stare upon the naked surface of the soul.

By the time that Jasek and Ozmad had finally reached the camp, it was already over. The enemy mage had only managed a few pitiful magic missiles before Navev had obliterated him with a single eldritch blast. The cleric had not even gotten off a spell; hit with a silence by Ghazaran, she had been cut down by Aerim in the initial charge.

And what a rush that had been. Jasek had arrived in time to see the former Bloodwraith take down a pair of warriors in a blur of steel and blood. He’d left a trail behind him, a path through the enemy camp that had been littered with bodies. A few of the Camarians had broken and tried to flee, but they did not get very far. Ozmad had flown into the camp holding a struggling Camarian by the ankle, the elf handling the larger human aloft with little apparent effort. The interrogation had taken only a few minutes; Jasek missed most of it, ordered to scout the area by Ghazaran. But it appeared that his initial guess had been right; the Camarians had been expecting them.

Well, the Camarians had been expecting trouble. He doubted that they really had been expecting anything like them.

They had not lingered long, as the mists were already beginning to thin under the glow of the sun rising over the hills to the east. Ghazaran had led them out into the dell, or rather, the rock pit that the Camarians had dumped on top of the entrance to Rappan Athuk. Jasek had considered this a serious obstacle, but that was before Ozmad transformed himself into a giant. At a command, his mattock had grown into a huge tool that had dislodged boulders and great clods of earth with obviously magical efficiency. What would have taken a team of a hundred men days had taken Ozmad just a few hours to complete.

Breaching the seals on the Well had been trivial; the Camarian glyphs of warding had barely fazed Ozmad. Getting down the shaft had likewise been easy, as Ghazaran’s wind walk spell had still had hours left on it. The cleric used another spell to move aside the water at the bottom of the shaft, leaving just a few minutes of scraping mud to reveal the hatch. Right where Ghazaran had said it would be. Jasek remembered thinking that it had been easy, too easy, thus far.

In hindsight, he’d been right.

The thief’s attention was drawn back to the present as the others turned back to the last pair of prismatic spheres. They gathered around the last pair, brilliant globes set into recessed alcoves opposite each other, a narrow space between to allow a sure-footed individual safe passage beyond. His companions all looked back at him, waiting with clear expectation in their faces.

Jasek sighed and stepped forward. Despite the potential for reward, despite the fact that this had already worked seven times, he still felt nervous using Dweomerblight against these shields. The Seer had provided a quite thorough explanation of the spheres when they’d first entered this gallery, including a detailed description of what the different colors within the protective bubble of light did to creatures that tried to force their way through. His sword had never failed him, but there was still something unpleasant about the thought of challenging something with the potential to kill you several times other.

But with the scrutiny of the others—and in particular, the greedy eyes of the Seer—full upon him, Jasek pressed forward. As he had seven times before already, he swept Dweomerblight up into the nearer sphere, starting low and then slicing the blade upward slowly. As it had against the ward in the Camarian vault, the sword tore through the shifting rainbow of bright colors, slicing an opening in much the same way that an inserted object opened a gap in the smooth surface of a waterfall. The tear started to close almost at once, resealing itself from the bottom, but it remained open long enough for Jasek to step through, into the protected area within.

When it closed, he was well and truly alone; an eerie feeling, with scintillating colored death spiraling just a pace away. The space within the globe was empty save for a low pedestal of white stone, like the others had been. This one supported a ceramic bowl, with about a dozen small objects inside.

None of the other pedestals had been trapped, but Jasek was careful.

He returned through the sphere a minute later, by the same means by which he’d entered. The bowl and its contents were tucked under his left arm. The Seer was there almost at once; no doubt he was being magically scanned by the wizard’s arcane sight to verify that he hadn’t picked up any new auras.

Jasek held out the bowl; the objects rattled around within. The Seer reached in and picked one up, holding it up to catch the almost blrnding light coming off of the prismatic sphere. He frowned.

It was an acorn.

The Seer snorted, and tossed the acorn back into the bowl. Jasek glanced at Ghazaran. “I take it you have no objection to my taking these?”

“Be my guest. But we must press on. We have already delayed too long in this place.”

Jasek dumped the acorns into his pouch, leaving the bowl against the wall next to the sphere. The eight prismatic spheres that they’d penetrated thus far, counting this one, had yielded a variety of odd treasures, and while the acorns looked unremarkable, he wasn’t going to assume that they were without value. He and the Seer had already disputed over whether the items they’d found fit under the definition of “ancient lore” and “monetary wealth” per the terms of their respective contracts. Jasek had ended up with a golden necklace that had supported a number of mithral plaques etched with strange designs. The item had radiated a very potent magic, but the thief had lived too long to experiment with unfamiliar artifacts. The necklace sat secure in his pouch.

A number of the spheres had guarded empty pedestals, but others had protected obviously valuable treasures. The Seer had claimed an odd bronze sphere encircled with bands of various metals, attached to the sphere in such a way that they could rotate concurrently around it. Other than the fact that it too radiated a strong magical aura, they had no idea what that device did either. Jasek had also turned up a more straightforward boon, a scimitar fashioned of brilliant, red-tinged steel. Like the other items, this one had radiated potent magic. Ghazaran had offered the weapon to Aerim, but the Duke had demurred, so the scimitar went to Falah, who carried it alongside his khopesh.

“There is one more sphere,” the Seer said, indicating the globe on the far side of the hall.

“Very well. Be swift.” Ghazaran turned away, and Jasek could see that Falah and Parzad were returning, the chaotic light of the spheres farther down the hall making their forms indistinct until they were close enough to greet without shouting. Jasek headed forward to confront the last sphere, but he moved with deliberation, and kept one ear cocked to pick up the scouts’ report.

“The energy barrier has reformed, and the damage to the chamber above has been completely repaired,” Parzad said.

“Were there any signs of pursuit?”

“No. But I... sensed something, a faint psionic disturbance. I believe that someone or something is working against us here.”

Jasek thought that was blatantly obvious; he didn’t need Parzad’s psychic talents to see that. From the moment they’d entered the vault they’d come under heavy attack. The vacuum trap had been clever, and it was really only luck that he hadn’t been sucked through the hatch along with Falah, Ghazaran, Navev, and Aerim when they’d used the three dagger-keys. The mud golems waiting in the chamber below had been... challenging, but once they’d recovered from the nasty fall and the chaotic aftermath of the trap they’d dispatched the creatures without too much difficulty. The dread wraiths had been more troublesome, and would have likely killed several of them had it not been for an extremely timely repulsion spell from Ghazaran.

Since then they’d had something of a reprieve, but Jasek thought of the missing treasures inside the spheres, and wondered what artifacts would be used against them by whatever guardians protected this place.

Once he was inside the last sphere, the thief moved quickly. The final treasure gave him pause for a moment, but finally he chuckled to himself and claimed it. He was faster out this time, and was standing back in front of the others no more than thirty seconds after he’d stepped inside.

The Seer snorted. “Flowers?” Jasek’s prize was a ceramic vase, full of a bouquet of brightly colored flowers.

“Magical?” Ghazaran asked.

The Seer was already focusing his arcane sight. “Bah. The aura is weak, likely a permanent preservation transmution. A waste of time.” He grabbed the vase from the thief, and hurled it against the wall. The noise of it shattering seemed unusually loud in the vast emptiness of the hall.

“That vase may have been a thousand years old,” Aerim said, “A relic of a vanished civilization.” The Duke had said little during their looting of the gallery; most of the time he seemed a thousand miles away, staring at things beyond the scope of this place. The only time that Jasek had sensed him really present was during battle; then Aerim had moved in a blur of deadly efficiency, accounting for one of the mud golems and at least four wraiths.

The Seer muttered something inaudible in response to the Duke’s comment. It was clear that the wizard appeared to be disappointed in their findings thus far. Jasek thought that was stupid; the big loot would be at the end of the complex, probably hidden in the same prison that held the Ravager. The necklace had been encouraging, and after Aerim’s last comment, he went back and picked up the ceramic bowl that had held the acorns, adding that to his haul.

“We must continue,” Ghazaran was saying. “Jasek, if you would?”

The rest of their company followed in the thief’s wake as he continued past the last spheres—walking very carefully through the gap between them—to the end of the hall. There a broad arch, a full ten feet high, opened onto a round chamber. The walls were perfectly smooth and featureless. The only appointment of note was a strand of golden fiber that dangled from a tiny opening in the ceiling. A small golden object hung from it, at about chest height. It was difficult to tell what it was from across the room, but it looked like a key.

Jasek lingered in the archway, studying the chamber intently. He dropped into a crouch, and ran a finger along the stones where the threshold met the chamber.

“Well?” the Seer asked. “There are no hostile magics here, nothing beyond the background auras of this place. Why do we delay?”

Jasek looked back at him. “I am wary of keys that appear without a lock.” He stood. “There is something wrong about the construction of this room. I believe that the floor is designed to collapse, or shift in some manner. I have my suspicions about the ceiling as well.”

Ghazaran glanced back at Ozmad, and again Jasek got the impression that more was said behind that brief shared gaze. The cleric looked back at his minions. “Parzad, if you would.”

The wilder stepped forward into the room. Nothing dramatic happened, and the Seer shot a sneer at Jasek, but the thief’s attention was focused entirely upon Parzad. He reached the golden cord, and reached out to take the dangling object in one hand.

He’d barely touched it when the ceiling came apart, as a massive metal frame, covering the entirety of the chamber and likely weighing several tons, crashed down onto the floor.
Last edited:


First Post
Huh. I'm starting to like Jasek. Has the kind of trap paranoia I have in adventuring campaigns.
Why did they send out the wilder instead of the rogue? I'm not familiar with that class.


First Post
Faren said:
Huh. I'm starting to like Jasek. Has the kind of trap paranoia I have in adventuring campaigns.
Why did they send out the wilder instead of the rogue? I'm not familiar with that class.

From the Expanded Psionics Handbook, basically a psionic wild mage who can boost their powers at the potential expense of getting burnt out and dazed.


First Post
I think he's got levels in the Incarnate (or Unbodied, something like that) PrC or whatever it is - you eventually become incorporeal, and as you progress, you get more time per day incorporeal (at 10th level it flips, you get limited corporeal time).

So, in theory, he'd be okay, in practice, I think he's dead. (wilders are like arcanists, kinda, and we all know what happens to them)


I updated the Rogues' Gallery thread (link in my sig). Some of the stat blocks are incomplete but there's enough to answer most of the questions that have come up in this thread. I'm saving Ozmad's stat block for the moment; more on him later.


Chapter 30


They tried other options, but most of them could tell that they were just going through the motions.

Qatarn’s soldiers went to work on the hatch with prybars, but it was pretty obvious that they weren’t going to have any luck where Letellia’s magic smashing hand had failed. Allera tried a break enchantment spell, likewise without any effect. By the time they had run through even those options the water level had climbed to their waists, and was slowly but steadily rising.

“I can empower most of us to walk on the surface of the water,” Maricela said.

Dar let out a frustrated sigh. “No, save it,” he said. “We’re not going to accomplish anything here.” He looked up at the shaft, at the distant point of light high above. “We’d better...”

“Wait,” Allera interrupted. “There’s one more thing we can try. Maricela, you said before we left that you had a sending spell prepared?”

The priestess nodded. “Yes, to report back to the Patriarch. I’d intended to wait until we got to the hatch, but now...”

“Do you have to know the person that you are trying to contact?”

“Well, generally, yes, although you can attempt to contact someone with whom you are familiar, but have not met personally. Such attempts are often difficult and there is no way to know...”

“If there’s a chance, we have to take it. Here is what I want you to do...”

* * * * *

The spell took about ten minutes to cast, although it seemed much longer for those shivering in the water. By the time she finished her incantation, the water was up to the chests of the soldiers, and the others crouched miserably in crevices around the perimeter of the shaft, clutching to slick and slime-encrusted protrusions of rock to keep them from sliding back down into the pool.

Maricela had told them that she could send a brief message of up to twenty-five words, and receive a reply of similar length if the sending reached its intended destination. But none of them expected the reply they got.

“Why have you returned?” Maricela asked, her voice subtly different than it had been before.

“Mari?” Kiron asked, turning toward her in concern. He started to reach for her, but Selaht interrupted him with a hand on his arm. The knight started to shrug free, but Dar stepped in between them and the priestess.

“Why have you come?” she repeated.

“Amurru?” Allera asked. The priestess did not reply, but there was something strange in her eyes, an odd look that Dar had seen once before, in the eyes of his wife. “We have come in pursuit of evil men.”

“You have failed to protect the keys,” Maricela said, her voice hollow and empty, but her words an indictment. “You have let this danger enter within the vault.”

“Look,” Dar interjected. “We know they want to release the Ravager. Just let us—”

“They will not succeed. The Ravager must never be freed.”

“Yeah, how’s that going for you? These bastards aren’t your average bad guys. If there were dead, you wouldn’t be talking to us right now, so I’m guessing they’re making pretty good progress against your traps and guardians. If there’s a chance that they can succeed, let us in, and we’ll take care of them.”

“We have a stake in this as well, Amurru,” Allera added. “If the Ravager is released, it is our people, our cities that will be destroyed. Please... we only want to help. Once these enemies are defeated, you have our word that we will withdraw. You can keep the keys, so that no others can intrude upon your sanctuary.”

There was a long silence.

“Please, Amurru. You know my heart. You know I speak the truth. Look into the heart of the woman through which you speak. We only want to protect the prison.”

The guardian stared at them through her borrowed eyes.

Finally, a noise started, a grinding sound that rumbled through the ground beneath their feet.
Last edited:


First Post
Wow, clever move on Allera's part. And thanks for the info Javcs.
Thanks for the update on the stat blocks Lazybones! That was a lot of information to work out.

Couple things surprised me:
1. Yay! Dar still has that awesome suit (though I haven't found brightness as an ability for armor, I'm assuming it works like a blinding ability when struck).
2. the duo's ability points, and Kiron's build. I was expecting him to be 4 fighter/4 paladin /2 DK, for weapon specialization and turning. I believe your build makes more sense, given his description in this story.
3. Sorry, another question. Did summoning Ozmad or fighting the dreadwraiths drain a level from Ghazaran?
Hope I'm not talking too much. Great story and fun read!


Faren said:
1. Yay! Dar still has that awesome suit (though I haven't found brightness as an ability for armor, I'm assuming it works like a blinding ability when struck).
I think it's a legacy power from a previous edition, or maybe from a sourcebook I don't have. I read it as unleashing a blinding blast once per day on command.
3. Sorry, another question. Did summoning Ozmad or fighting the dreadwraiths drain a level from Ghazaran?
These were my original stat blocks. The bad guys gained a level after the Temple of the Final Sacrament, and that opened up the Greater Planar Ally spell that Ghazaran used to summon Ozmad (which gives a clue as to his approximate power level). Ozmad criticized Ghazaran in that scene for taking so long to get 8th level spells. :)

Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition Starter Box

An Advertisement