Death Llamas

Return to the Keep on the Shadowfell
Revisiting the first epic quest

As the Llamas stood amidst the smoldering ruins of Edmund’s, they were approached by an old acquaintance: the wizened sage Valthrun. The old man informed our heroes that strange happenings had plagued the Keep on the Shadowfell in the past few days, noting that “Although you have little reason to help us, the citizens of Winterfell would rest easier knowing that the Keep was once again calm.

The Llamas agreed to investigate, making their way back to the scene of their initial adventures over three years prior.

With Serafina and Miraun unavailable, the combined forces of Erastes Fulmen, Kelebrindal, Lilith Wowbagger, Cessi, and Pax Truecoins entered the depths under the forsaken fortress. It was there that they were besieged by undead forces—minions of Orcus no doubt! What vile plans could the Demon Prince of the Undead have set in motion? And what of Kalael, the death cultist who sought to open a permanent rift between the Keep and one of Orcus’s fine summer homes? Was he truely defeated when he was sucked in to the inky darkness of the basement portal?

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New Faces and the End of Edmund's
In which the Llamas meet some new allies and the bar experiences a setback

Pax paces around the smoldering ruins of Edmund’s, speaking to an older man dressed in the garb of a druid.

My memory’s a bit fuzzy…not that it should come as a surprise, what with all of the blows to the head I take from Serafina...but I’ll tell you friend, the last two months have been even more chaotic than usual. Strange organizations, kidnappings, elemental rifts, a sister-band of mercenaries. Oh, and this lovely number. He gestures to the ash and wreckage of the Death Llamas’ former home base.

It all started 7 or 8 weeks back. This crazed lady with golden hair comes barging in after hours. A real zealot, you know what I mean? They get that look in their eyes. See, she asks us to help rescue her organization’s fellows from some sort of vile influence that’s poisoning their minds. We almost made it in unscathed. Stealth attempts and all that. When that didn’t work, we had the bard bluff us in. Then the wizard had to ruin it all by pulling out that deck. Guard captain we were bluffing keeled over dead, his soul sucked out. That went over real well.

The addled warlock stoops over and picks up a black iron feather from the wreckage.

To make a long story short, we fought a few dozen undead, I fell about 70 feet on to solid rock and hit my head, and we disrupted some ancient shielding magic. Oh, and the zealot lady decided to pen her name in the dead book. The rogue tried to lift some trinkets off of her corpse, but it wasn’t happening.

Then, as if things weren’t strange enough, Padraig stops sending the mead shipments to the bar. Obviously, we’re unhappy about the whole situation, so we stroll up to his manor to sort things out. Turns out he was going to send for us anyway. Some diplomatic trouble with the dwarven lords down in Ironfell. He sends us down there as “diplomatic emissaries.” Waylaid by bandits along the way, quickly dispatched. When we finally get to Ironfell, Lord Solcius tells us in no uncertain terms that Padraig’s gonna try to march on the city. Seems that Padraig thinks he could use us as a strike team so he and his army of old men and younglings could scoop up some more land.

Pax spits on the scorched earth in front of him.

Three years. THREE YEARS we’ve worked together and he turns and thinks he can just order us around? And it doesn’t make any sense! He’s got nothing in terms of forces. Bah! Anyway, we spend the night in Ironfell mulling this over, and decide to come back home to confront our “benefactor”. Waylaid by damnable winter worms, eaten, spat back up, and pecked at by griffons on the way back. Twisted Rune swoops in and says that he has stolen our Deva! But then Miraun meets us at our tavern! Fun times abound. Then, we finally make it through the gates of Winterfell and our bar is a ruin.

I think some blood’s going to be spilled tonight.

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Imprisoned!
A trip to the Elemental Chaos

Tempting fate (and The Deck of Many Things), the Llamas decided to perform readings using cards from the aforementioned artifact. While small boons and minor blessings were obtained, our heroes succeeded in:

  • Separating Serafina’s psyche from her body and imprisoning it in the body of an imp
  • Trapping Cessi (sans equipment) in the prison of a fire giant overlord
  • Earning the emnity of said fire giant overlord not once, but twice in the span of three readings
  • Causing a volcanic gate to the Elemental Chaos to open next to Edmund’s
Needless to say, our remaining heroes (accompanied by Kordic evangelist Sven Yggdrasil, archery master Olivier, dragonborn sorceress Peaches, and skilled ranger Duchess) set off to rescue their friends in the fiery soup that is the Elemental Chaos. Battles with magma walls, teleporting archers, living statues, and enormous fire giants ensued. At one point, Kelebrindal (smoldering from a magma bath) managed to take out a small platoon of salamander archers in a flurry of kicks and punches.

Eventually, the remaining Llamas and their Radiant Alpaca allies managed to defeat the fire giant lord and rescue their friends. Narrowly escaping a collapsing pocket plane, our heroes returned to Edmund’s to plot their next move…

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A Reading from the Deck
"An artifact of pure chaos? What could possibly go wrong?"

A cool autumn breeze blows through the town of Winterfell, sending the leaves scattered through the town in to the sky. The lamps set in each building’s windows cast their glow on the streets below. At Edmund’s, the town’s frontier-hardened population is abuzz with talk: The Llamas have returned! Recently returned from their expedition to the Underdark and the Shadowfell, our heroes are taking a well-deserved rest. Now in possession of the mighty chaos artifact The Deck of Many Things, the Llamas debate using its powers to increase their own.

Will the Death Llamas find fortune or ruin in their cards?

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Death of an Exarch
Or, "How the Llamas curbstomped Orcus's minions"

At last, the Llamas arrived at The Black Gate: the shadowy, necrotic entrance to Orcus’s summer home in the Shadowfell. Facing off against a death knight emissary, a cheap-shot rakshasa, and two giant mummies guarding the portal, the Llamas fought with the fury of a hundred enraged camelids. Battered, bruised, and drained of life, they pressed forward, eager to see Orcus pay for dragging them through a hellish desert.

The trials inside the Gate were not kind. Lilith Wowbagger bravely sacrificed a portion of her life force so that her friends might live. A guardian of Orcus’s self-described ‘shit list’ challenged the group to prove they were dead. Even Orcus himself tempted the Llamas with promises of power beyond their wildest imagining. And yet, through all of these trials, the guardians of the Nethir Vale never faltered. For their efforts, they were granted access to the Ziggurat’s inner sanctum, the abode of Zirithian.

The most epic battle of the Death Llamas’ adventuring career began. Bombarded with spells from a mighty lich, swarmed with vampire spawn, crushed by boneclaw ravagers, and cleaved by Zirithian’s might greatsword Nightbringer, the Llamas were tested at every turn. After what seemed like eons of battle, the exarch of Orcus was at last defeated. When Orcus appeared to claim the great sword, the Llamas struck his eye down and allowed the mysterious Keeper to assume control of the Deadhold.

For their efforts, the Llamas obtained two mighty artifacts: the Nightbringer, weapon of the Lord of Zombies and the chaos-inducing Deck of Many Things, a prized possession of the lich Lord Dust.

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Inside Deadhold
A journey to the Ziggurat of Orcus

Having successfully navigated the perils of the Deadhold’s entrance bridge, the Llamas found themselves pitted against demons and undead of immense power as they journeyed to Orcus’s ziggurat. Their first opponent, Baaldaran the Flayer, was dispatched with few injuries thanks to Kelebrindal’s quick thinking – a well-placed arrow caused all of the demon’s zombie minions to chain-explode, significantly improving the battlefield’s conditions. Baaldaran, despite his mobility, barbed whip of souls, and heavily enchanted painblade, was no match for the Llamas’ crowd control. It also seemed that Bahamut was watching over the adventurers that day, as Lilith was blessed with a boon for her heroic efforts.

Wiping their blades on Baaldaran’s corpse, the Llamas continued on towards the Ziggurat until they came upon a hellish scene: a literal Plaza of Howling Skulls, complete with ancient undead servants, barred the way forward. Arath, an ancient ghoul spellcaster dedicated to Orcus, attempted to bargain with the Llamas for safe passage. However, our heroes would have nothing of it. An epic battle ensued, with Arath and his demonic flameskull familiar battling against the more dexterous Llamas on top of a 20 foot pillar. On the ground below, a nightmarish undead abomination known as a nightwalker fought against Erastes and Lilith, at once point managing to nearly slay the rogue with his death gaze. Despite their difficulties, the Llamas once again prevailed, dispatching Arath and his minions.

The way to the Ziggurat cleared, our heroes made their way towards The Black Gate…

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The Deadhold
Tales of scorching deserts and bone bridges

The Llamas drifted off to sleep in the temple of Orcus, only to awaken in the throne room of his devoted soon-to-be-exarch Zalfain. Offering the Llamas a chance to work for Orcus (and slay Phaervol’s matron mother), he was refused (rather bluntly) by Erastes and company. The vampire drow’s laughter echoed in the Llamas’ minds as they awoke, refreshed but troubled.

Suddenly, the portal at the back of the temple flared an angry red, and who should step through but Shard Swiftlance himself? Accidentally abandoned in Moonstair before the party’s adventures in the Trollhaunt Warrens, Shard has apparently become lost in the Shadowfell while searching for a restroom. Led to the Llamas by his Flagon of Ale Procurement, Shard joined them in the quest to slay Zalfain and stop Orcus’s influence from spreading in the Underdark. Steeling themselves, the Llamas stepped through the portal…

...only to find themselves on a stone platform in the middle of a sweltering desert wasteland. It was there that a mysterious entity known as The Keeper struck a deal with the adventurers: retrieve Zalfain’s greatsword and plunge it in to the Eye of Orcus in exchange for assistance trekking through the desert. The Llamas agreed and received an ancient amulet to help them stave off the Deadhold’s malevolent curses.

A blistering trek across the desert ensued, with Erastes easily suffering the most of the group. The heat, necromantic fly swarms, mysterious gravestones, and spectral dragons took their toll on the party, but eventually they arrived at Orcus’s settlement in the Deadhold, a foul place surrounded by an enormous moat of zombies.

Defeating life-draining bodaks, skeletal monstrosities, and gibbering ghouls along the way, the Llamas crossed the Bridge of Bone in to the heart of Orcus’s power in the Shadowfell…

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Dreams of Blood and Fire

As you drift off to sleep, you notice a strange mist washing over your campsite. It swirls about you, blocking your vision. Even the echos of battle outside the temple seem muffled. As quickly as the mist comes, though, it disappears, and you find yourself sitting in a decrepit cathedral. Atop an altar of skulls and bone stands a dark elf, his hair matted with dried blood. In his left hand, he holds a jagged greatsword of enormous size. In his right, a chalice of thick red liquid. He stares at you as the mist clears, fangs bared in something resembling a smile.

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Allied with the Drow
An unholy alliance

With guidance from the Raven Queen, the Llamas ventured towards a nearby barracks in search of a way to combat Orcus’s influence in Phaervol. It was there they encountered a small force of drow, led by Commander Zaknoril. In an uncharacteristic move, Erastes elected to pursue a diplomatic approach to the situation, presenting the pendant of diplomacy the group received before they ventured in to the Underdark.

The commander gave the Llamas a mission to prove their loyalty: seek out and destroy an idol of Orcus. This profane artifact was the source of the abyssal storms wreaking havoc on the ruins of Phaervol. Battling against an undead husk spider, a immoleth (flame demon), and a swarm of imps, the Llamas managed to destroy the idol. They soon returned to the Commander with the good news.

In an equally uncharacteristic move, the drow battlemaster kept his word, bringing the Llamas to his Matron for an audience. The Matron, although condescending, pointed the Llamas towards the source of Orcus’s destruction: a small villa on the west side of the outpost.

The villa had been converted in to a profane temple to Orcus and was filled with vampire spawn, banshees, and a temperamental vampire lord (strictly speaking, lady). Although harried and challenged at every turn (facing terrifying banshee wails and dominating stares), the Llamas prevailed. Exhausted and unready to enter the nearby portal to places unknown, they set up camp for the night…

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The Trials Ahead

As you step off of the perilous bridge on to the bloodstained ground in front of Phaervol, you hear a quiet, hard voice whispering in your head…

Llamas, the ways ahead are treacherous, filled with demons, monstrous undead servants of Orcus, and cunning dark elves. They are embittered towards one another, these drow and Orcus’s servants—both would see you used as pawns in their lethal games. I would not wish to see you expire only to rise again as mindless slaves to Orcus’s will. If you progress forward blindly, you will only meet your end.

I can offer you guidance in the darkness ahead. Choose your path.

Three scenes quickly play out in your mind’s eye:

  • The Path of the Warrior: You and your party members are battling Lloth’s forces inside a temple of dark stone, cries of battle echoing through its unholy halls.
  • The Path of the Diplomat: You and your party members, escorted by a drow battlemaster, are exchanging words with a drow priestess flanked by columns of blue flame.
  • The Path of the Explorer: Maneuvering around the side of the city to avoid detection, you and your party members are sneaking in to a wizard’s tower filled with arcane treasures.
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