House of the Beast
A year had passed since Kelmarane’s liberation. The relative peace was disturbed by the visit of a strange man named Zayifid, who claimed to be a traveling priest of Sarenrae. Asking for the heroes who had liberated the town, Zayifid explained that the Carrion King was gathering the gnoll tribes of the Brazen Peaks together for an assault on Kelmarane in retaliation for the destruction of the Kulldis tribe. He needed to be stopped before his plans could come to fruition. However, Isma’il detected the taint of evil upon Zayifid’s soul, and when he confronted him, the man smiled and vanished.
Kashel soon realized that Zayifid was actually a janni in disguise, a former member of the Templars of the Five Winds who had turned to evil. Despite distrusting the janni’s motives, the heroes knew that what he said was true—if the Carrion King was not stopped, Katapesh would soon face an army of gnolls. Thus, the party headed to the Carrion King’s lair, an ancient temple of Rovagug called the House of the Beast that hunkered in the shadow of Pale Mountain.
Upon arriving at the temple, the party began their assault, cutting a swath through the King’s gnoll minions. They discovered a small group of troglodytes that had been formerly allied with the Carrion King, but their leader told them the gnolls had turned traitor. His friend, the King’s advisor Rokova, had apparently been murdered, but when he went to report this he found the very same gnoll alive and well. Fearing trickery, the troglodyte confronted the impostor, only to be attacked. The troglodytes agreed to leave the group alone if they were hear to kill the gnolls.
The attack hit an unfortunate snag when Hotan was slain by an enormous scorpion the gnolls had locked up, milking it for its poison. His loss was mourned, but the battle had to continue. Alissa and Tasia squeezed through some narrow tunnels beneath the temple to explore another chamber, where they found a goblin cleric of Lamashtu. During the battle, Alissa fell into a lower chamber that was filled with enormous gnoll brutes! While the two women fought off the gnolls, the others tried to find a way down to them, inadvertantly charging down into the Carrion King’s court! The King himself was here, along with his advisor, Rokova.
The resulting battle was fierce. After dealing with their own problems, Alissa and Tasia managed to rejoin the others, and a dwarven druid who had infiltrated the temple in disguise revealed himself to join the melee. As the Carrion King neared death, Rokova emerged from hiding to help deal a final blow to the menacing monarch. No sooner had the King fallen than the group confronted Rokova, revealing him as the janni Zayifid. Zayifid had wanted to manipulate the party into finding an artifact known as the Scroll of Kakishon, but his plans foiled twice, the janni attacked. Zayifid fell in the fight, and after some debate, it was decided the best course of action was to slay the fallen templar.
Exploring the Carrion King’s throne revealed a secret entrance to a chamber beneath the temple, a strange magical garden guarded by fire spirits. A strange contraption filled with bound earth elementals filled another room, offering passage to the Pit of Entombed Ghosts. Deciding to stay clear of the Pit for now, the group explored the Carrion King’s sacrifice pit, where they discovered an enormous stegocentipede—a spawn of Rovagug! Fortunately, they were able to take down the spawn without losing anybody else.
After scouring the complex of the remaining gnolls and dealing with a band of salamanders living in nearby caves, the adventurers descended into the Pit of Screaming Ghosts, defeating undead edimmus and the Waiting Beast to find the tomb of the gnoll priestess Shirak. There, they found a great prize indeed—the legendary Scroll of Kakishon itself!Important NPCs:
- The Carrion King
- Hotan, killed by a deathstalker scorpion at level 5