And how did the grand finale go? What was the build up? And how to recapture the sense of last sessions' momentum? Well, that two week downtime period certainly helped keep it present in their minds as they got to enjoy the claustrophobic sense of pain and misery. When they came back to the table, they had their equipment in front of them, as before, and had to spart making a plan for how they would assault the Earthbound lair.
There were arguments but, in the end, they chose to take along the ex-Earthbound thrall Zephrox saved, rather than Olga (because Olga wouldn't help them if she came along but the thrall offered to point out the trabs). This turned out to be rather lucky as someone had let slip their goal to trap, rather than banish, Nechoshel and Olga wouldn't be able to rest until Nechoshel was back in the pit. If she'd been present, she would've tried to slay the urn bearer.
Ahh, players, you can never remember to keep a secret, can you?
So they headed in through a gap in the corridor wall and ended up in a corridor lined with zombies infused into doors that couldn't reach down the last few feet below them, and a rug across the floor (that hid a spiked pit trap). Of course, they started crawling across it, but not before the thrall warned them about the trap, and Anaphriel enhanced the rugs so that they were tough enough not to fray and drop them below. Then they crawled across it. One of the Cryers appeared and threw knives at them, but Zephrox threw a seed and made it sprout into a grappling tangle of vines, that someone set fire to so that was fine.
They used their flashbang and stinger to disorient the hostage keeping brawler knight and, while he made all his checks to not be blinded, it did confuse him enough that he didn't set fire to the toxic wood piled up around that would have gassed them unconscious. They took him down nonlethally (god knows how, but they did) and released the hostage and sent him back to wait with Olga.
Then they headed down another corridor, took out the armoured knight by using Activate on the straps to unbuckle them, and then shooting him into aggravated damage (that Barzel healed) and taking him hostage. They also realised there was a devil trapped in the sword (Nakreem) but left it there for now after he burned the one that picked him up.
They were tricked by the possessed statue and it slowly eroded their health, but they destroyed it, only to face the possessed Mage and, seeing him struggle against her presence, managed to damage her enough through him that she retreated. They then healed him and rushed off (he started turning to stone, like any good post-possession victim does but it would take hours so they didn't realise it at first) to fight the Earthbound's visage, and then blast apart where her knife was buried so they could attack the knife itself. Through luck, acid, and some good rolls, they destroyed her reliquary and captured her essence.
They then gathered up all the survivors, including the unconscious guys, and escaped through a doorway in the back of this room that led through a looooong corridor (miles long) to a church in the center of town (they'd previously come this way with their vampires in an earlier game). Oh, they also rescued the sword (they did need to pay off the Luciferans by bringing out a Luciferan, after all).
Discovering that the Mage was turning to stone, they asked Gipontel for another way and were so desperate to save him that I, as ST, took pity on them and gave them an option (though a nasty one). Someone else had to bear the curse, which could be transferred, but not ended. Zahaviel took it upon himself, and Gipontel prepared another host for him (a woken corpse) and one for Nakreem. Zahaviel had to slowly turn to stone, too, rather than take an easier death, for the transferred curse had to run its course or not be stopped at all.
And there you have it! One Caving Survival Horror complete!
If you'd like to read prior articles on this campaign, you can find them here.