It’s been a long time since our last update but we’re finally back writing through our now lengthy backlog of battles!
Following on from our last game ‘Mines of Madness’, the ravens were captured in a sinister trap, giving us a convenient excuse to play through Incinerator! I’d been itching to play this scenario since reading the original version back in Spellcaster magazine, so when I heard it was being released as a fully fledged expansion, I knew we had to work it into the campaign soon!
Without any further delay let’s get back to our story:
Tristan woke with a sudden start. Disorientated, his vision swimming and his head pounding, he stumbled to his feet frantically trying to get his bearings. Half remembered images of pallid clawed hands, dragging him through the darkness and black hooded faces flooded his mind.
Whirling round expecting his enemy to be upon him, he quickly surveyed his surroundings. A vast chamber, with gargantuan rock-hewn walls loomed all around him, stretching up above into the darkness. In the twilight of the cavern, he could just make out a raised platform of carved flagstones to his right, impossibly high with no discernible way up from the floor below. Kneeling as a wave of dizziness threatened to overtake him, he noticed deep cut flagstones at his feet, a strange deep groove between each row. Bewilderingly, the stone felt somewhat warm.
All around him, his beleaguered companions were slowly drawing themselves to their feet, or waking their comrades before also looking around in awestruck dread. To his suprise, he noticed his weapons and gear scattered carelessly around where he had lain. The familiar voice of his comrade Freja sounded behind, a tremor of vulnerability in her words, “Stay alert everyone, something is far from right here…”
As the weary heroes collected themselves, they instinctively formed a line facing the distant ledge. In the twilight of the chamber, they could see figures moving in the distance. Mikael drew the company’s attention to a huge figure moving out of the shadows in the centre of the room, “By the saints, is that some sort of Ogre?!”
“Head for the wall, but keep your wits about you Ravens!” Freja cried out. With grim determination, the heroes fought back their exhaustion and made ready to advance. As they progressed across the flagstones, Tristan spied a huge monstrous rat skitter out from behind some rubble. He began to draw his bow, but Kris was already ahead of him, quickly drawing an arrow and efficiently dispatching the wretched creature.
In the centre of the chamber, the ghastly form of the undead Ogre lurched forward. Freja dashed forward, Rejinalt instinctively at her side. As they reached the monsters position, they quickly split apart to flank their enemy. Distracted, the lumbering beast swung its club around clumsily, trying to find one of it’s targets. With a sudden burst of energy, Rejinalt sprang forward with a massive blow from his spear. The sheer force of the blow was too much to hold the unholy creature together scattering huge bones and pieces of rusted armour across the flagstones.
As the Ravens cautiously advanced, more undead warriors emerged from the shadow of the great ledge. Almost tripping over a huge chunk of masonry, Kris cursed as another giant rat pounced up at him. Having collected herself, Ilyse scanned the room before speaking to Mikael at her side, “I don’t understand, why did they leave us with our weapons and gear, it doesn’t make sense, unless they know we can’t escape…”
As if in answer to Ilyse’s question, a dull rumbling began to sound beneath them and the floor began to shake. Casting their eyes behind them, the Ravens watched in horror, as with a resounding click, the first few rows of the tiled floor behind them began to slowly sink downwards. As the tiles lowered into position, a fiery glow began to illuminate the previously darkened chamber and a wave of intense heat spread towards them. The floor was sinking into a pit of glowing magma!
The urgency of their situation became apparent to the heroes and they pushed on with determined speed, their eyes to the wall in front, their only possible method of escape. As more skeleton warriors charged forward, Mikael frantically fired an arrow and Ilyse loosed a burning fireball, but in their haste, neither found their mark!
Bringing up the rear of the party, Johrn and Timoth rushed forward to meet the enemy, to try and clear a path away from the sinking floor behind them. Crashing into the skeleton warriors ahead of them, Johrn hacked at them with his axe, whilst Timoth tried to make a break for Kris’ position.
Reaching Kris’ position, Timoth stabbed out at the giant rat that threatened his comrade, but his spear was a second too late, and Kris cried in anguish as the monstrous rodent sprang up and sank it’s wicked teeth into his leg!
As battle was joined all around him, Tristan rushed after Freja, who was speeding towards the wall, “I’m going to try and find a way up!” she shouted back over her shoulder. As he prepared to shout back, Tristan was caught unawares by a skeleton warrior, which charged down on him with a sudden dash of speed. Barging past him at the last second, Rejinalt met the charge, the skeleton’s rusty weapon clattering off his battered shield.
As Freja closed the distance between her and the wall, she got a clearer view of the top of the ledge. A single opening was shuttered with a huge portcullis and two dark clad cultists guarded the way, their hooded faces staring down at the battle below, silent witnesses posted to observe the heroes inevitable doom in the fires below.
As the deep rumble of some unseen mechanism began to echo around the chamber again, the heroes fought frantically, dropping his guard Johrn lashed out with his ace, shattering the skull of a skeleton warrior before wheeling to deflect a blow from another assailant!
With careful precision, Timoth struck out with his spear, skewering the rat before it could press it’s advantage against Kris. Clutching the bleeding wound on his leg, Kris shouted out in alarm, as over the rumble below, the sound of a shrill buzzing filled Timoth’s ears. A huge giant fly crashed into his back as he turned to try and face the new enemy.
The deep rumble became a deafening cacophony of grinding stone and the whole chamber shook with force. Behind them, more of the rows of flagstones lowered into the glowing flames below, almost reaching Timoth’s position!
Ilyse and Mikael pushed onwards, clambering over piles of rubble and broken wood. The heat from the magma behind them was becoming increasingly oppressive now and the true desperation of their situation began to dawn on the heroes.
As Freja ran towards the wall, a small piece of metal glinted in the fire light, slowing only a little she scooped up what appeared to be a small casket and stowed it her bag and continued to move forwards. As the chamber shook once again, Tristan almost lost his footing. As he righted himself, he saw a crumpled black shape behind a rock and decided to take a quick second to investigate.
Freja reached the bottom of the far wall and frantically looked around for some way up. She pounded the wall and cursed in despair as she realised there was no ladder, rope of any other obvious sign of escape. Their only hope would now be a desperate climb to the ledge above.
Some distance behind her position, Mikael stopped temporarily in his flight in order to fire an arrow towards the cultists guarding the way above. His arrow didn’t find it’s mark and clattered off the bricks just below the ledge, to his right he could just about hear Ilyse chanting some arcane verse under her breath as she readied a spell.
Summoning her last vestiges of magical strength, Ilyse conjured a spark of energy in her hands, which blossomed into a raging fire ball of bright blue flame. Launching the potent energy from her hand she willed it towards her foes. A flash of brilliant light engulfed one of the evil cultists a she burst into flame and toppled over the ledge!
Finally dispatching the skeleton warrior, Johrn gasped for breath in the searing heat. Recovering himself he mustered as much energy as he could and rushed for the wall. Meanwhile, at the rear of the party, Timoth saw the floor behind him continue to give way, the flames almost reaching his position. Seemingly heedless of the danger, the giant fly continued to dive towards him mindlessly. With a decisive blow from his shield he sent the giant insect flying backwards. It careened away from him and before it could right itself, tumbled into the magma and was engulfed in the flames!
Dimly aware of what was happening above her, Freja resolved to make the climb up the sheer surface of the wall. Shouldering her weapons, she stretched to reach whatever handhold she could in the rough hewn wall. Scrabbling up, she almost lost her grip as her hands scraped against the rock and the chamber shook with force once again. Finally reaching the top of the wall, she dug her fingers into a groove between stone tiles and hauled herself up onto the ledge. As she climbed to her feet, she saw more cultists emerge from the door before it slammed shut from the other side. With no time to catch her breath, she drew her sword and shield.
As Rejinalt began the perilous climb, Tristan stopped to examine the crumpled black clad form in front of him, as he began to turn over the body, a sickening realisation overcame him. It was their comrade, Liem, the tracker, who had stayed behind as they entered the mine to guard their exit, his corpse cold and lifeless, lacerated with innumerable wounds. Tristan reverently removed the star broach from the fallen heroes cloak and lowered his head to make a quick prayer to the saints. The silver star of Alladore glowed vibrant hues of orange, reflecting the infernal fires behind them. Realising with sadness that he would have to leave his fallen comrade behind to the mercy of the fire, he stowed the star broach and turned towards the wall.
Johrn rushed towards the wall, the sharp pain of stitch in his side as he pushed onwards through his exhaustion. He glimpsed Kris to his left, frantically limping forwards. Turning his eyes upwards, he shouted in alarm as an arrow flew towards him. His reflexes too slow to bring his shield up to defend himself in time, the arrow stabbed into his side and he was knocked off his feet.
Mikael and Ilyse rushed forward, Timoth not far behind them at the rear. As more of the floor continued to give way, they began to see the hellish glow from the flames between the cracks in between the rows of the cobblestones around them. Watching the cultist above draw another arrow and aim it at Rejinalt, who hung precariously halfway up the wall, Mikael fired an arrow of his own and the cultist snapped back, the arrow having glanced his shoulder.
Tristan reached the bottom of the wall. To his right, from a pile of discarded rags, a skeleton rose up, cursing, he resolved to make his climb. As Rejinalt reached the top of the wall and clung onto the rocks the chamber shook with force again as more of the floor gave way, at an even more rapid speed.
Freja lunged forward with her sword to attack the cultist to her front, before wheeling back round to deflect a blow from behind her with her shield. As she did Rejinalt quickly found his footing and engaged the bow armed cultist, intent on stopping him firing in his comrades below.
As his blow is deflected by Freja’s shield, the cultist is knocked off balance and stumbled. Seizing the initiative, Freja attacked with a merciless slash from her sword. Slain outright, the fiend collapsed backwards into a candelabra. Meanwhile the archer dashed out of range of Rejinalt’s reach, preparing to fire again.
At the bottom of the wall, the remaining heroes prepared to make the deadly climb. Kris shouted in anguish as he slipped back down from his initial foothold, his leg wound impeding his footing. Ilyse, half way up the wall quickly glanced down to see a skeleton warrior about to pounce on Mikael, who had shouldered his bow and was oblivious of the danger, his attention on the climb ahead. “Look out!” Ilyse shouted downwards…
Having escaped Rejinalt’s charge, the bow armed cultist drew another arrow and took aim at Johrn. Allready grievously wounded, the poor man at arms was struggling to find purchase in the rock face to climb. The cultist loosed his arrow and it buried itself deep into the leather armour of the hero’s back. Overcome with pain, Johrn collapsed to the floor…
Seeing Mikael’s peril, Timoth barrelled forward, tackling the skeleton warrior to the ground with his shield before striking down to pierce it’s skull with his spear, destroying the creature instantly.
As Tristan reached the top of the ledge, a huge quake shook the room and he nearly tumbled back over the edge. The floor was sinking at even more rapid rate now and the heat from the flames was becoming unbearable. The heroes trapped at the bottom of the wall had little time left to escape. Looking round the ledge, Tristan saw a small metal fixture and had a moment of inspiration…
Rummaging in his pack, Tristan brought out a length of rope and hastily tied it to the fixture, lowering it below to aid his comrades in their climb. Meanwhile, just to his flank, his companions overcame the cultist warrior, with Rejinalt casting him over the edge of the ledge, where he landed with a sickening crunch on the flagstones below!
The Another quake shook the room and Freja realised they would need to escape quickly before the flames consumed everything. The ledge seemed increasingly unsteady and precarious. Summoning all her strength, she heaved at portcullis, but to no avail. Leaning his weapons to the side of the door, Her faithful compassion Rejinalt joined her as she pushed. With tremendous force, the stalwart guardsman strained with all his might and the gate began to shift upwards. With renewed hope, Freja redoubled her efforts and the portcullis began to raise!
As hope of escape returned, Freja continued to push the portcullis the remainder of the way open, but the servants of the shadow deep were not yet content to allow the heroes to prevail. Forgotten in the darkness at the end of the ledge, the wounded cultist archer drew a fell arrow to his bow and took aim…
Defenceless as she hauled the portcullis up, her shield on her back, unaware of the danger, the cultist loosed his arrow at Freja. The cruel arrow shot through the air towards her. Turning at the sound, Rejinalt realised in that fateful moment what he must do. Without hesitation he threw himself in the path of the bolt and made himself her shield. Spinning around Freja saw her friend slump down to his knees before her, the arrow buried into his chest, piercing his valiant heart.
“Rejinalt!! No!!” Freja cried as she rushed forward to cradle her dying friend as he fell backwards into her arms. Springing up from where he was lowering his rope, Tristan saw the cultist drawing another arrow, it’s eyes fixed on Freja. With lightning speed, he drew his own bow and pulled an arrow from his quiver and quickly fired a shot. The arrow whistled past Freja’s ear and flew straight and true, piercing the hooded face of the cultist, who fell backwards slain.
Unaware of the tragedy unfolding above them, the remaining heroes continued to try and escape the advancing flames. Seeing the lifeline of the rope, Kris limped towards it. Ilyse, her weary arms almost giving way, finally reached the relative safety of the ledge, Mikael following close behind her. At the base of the wall, Timoth stopped with uncertainty. Johrn lay at his feet, an arrow embedded in his back, unconscious but breathing still. Knowing he couldn’t leave his comrade to die in the encroaching fire, he threw down his equipment and heaved his friend onto his back, resolving to make the climb with his companion or else die trying.
More and more sections of the floor were lowering below into the magma, but the denizens of the shadow deep were not content to allow the heroes to escape. Slowly and deliberately, a huge skeletal ogre reared up out of a pile of rubble and bones, a massive rusted axe clutched in it’s hand.
Tristan ushered Ilyse and Mikael through the exit as he turned to help Kris, who had tied the rope around his waist and began to climb as best he could. Hauling the rope up from the top, Tristan pulled him over the edge and supported him to the doorway. Gently lowering Rejinalt’s body to the floor, Freja glanced down at the ogre on the chamber floor below . With grim resolution, she strode towards the doorway and seized Rejinalt’s spear from where it leaned on the wall. Returning to edge of ledge, with a guttural battle cry of pure rage, she threw the spear towards the Skeleton Ogre. Like a lightning bolt from the skies, it struck the creature with incredible force and vanquished it instantly.
The remaining flagstones began to fall into the lava below, leaving only a thin strip of walkway between the wall and the torrent of fire. Skittering from its hiding spot, a hapless rat, frantically scrabbled at the wall. Timoth, with the unconscious Johrn strapped to his back, teeth gritted, slowly continued his perilous climb up the wall.
Grief struck Freja picked up Rejinalt’s body and slipped throThe ledge began to shake with incredible force and Tristan was nearly cast off the edge, crouching to steady himself, he made for the doorway, where he clutched on to the stone archway. The chamber continued to shake with violent force and as the last flagstones gave way into the fire. Huge billowing clouds of acerbic black smoke filled the room and Tristan’s eyes watered as he looked for his final companions.
Wracked with coughing, Tristan clung to the archway as the chamber flooded with smog and huge volcanic eruptions threw great sheets of fire up into the air. Through the darkening smoke, Tristan could just make out the form of Timoth clinging to edge of the ledge. Suddenly a huge quake shook the very foundations of the entire chamber and the ledge begun to give way, as he ducked through the archway, the last image he saw as he looked back into the room was Timoth and Johrn being cast off the edge into the abyss…
Noooo!! Rejinalt!! 😞
We always knew when we started this campaign that the odds would one day catch up with us, we’ve been spared our share of casualties up to this point
We always knew that the odds were against us
We always knew the odds of survival in this campaign were low. We’ve been fortunate enough not to have many casualties up to this point, but fate has caught up with us big time!
Losing such a main character as Rejinalt was such a massive blow. It feels like the missions are getting harder and our overall doom getting closer!!
Incinerator was a masterpiece of a scenario, truly gripping and cinematic! Hats off to Joe for another amazing entry in the Shadow Deep chronicles!!
– Can the surviving rangers make their escape back to Alladore?
– What is the final fate of Johrn and Timoth?
– What has befallen Tallis and our other heroes in Tristan and Freja’s absence?!