After a year of relaxing around Kelmarane, our heroes are once again drawn into conflict, when a stranger arrives in town. The stranger, requests a meeting with Almah and the heroes of Kelmarane to pass on a warning. He introduces himself as Omar, a 7’ tall wandering priest of Sarenrae who brings word of the Carrion King. He tells the group that the Carrion King is mobilizing forces and if not stopped will bring an army of gnolls down on Kelmarane. The party takes the warning to heart and prepares to leave the very next morning to find the Carrion King’s base, The House of the Beast.
They head out toward the Pale Mountain the next day as planned. The first day out is fairly boring but on the second day they are jumped by an Adult Blue Dragon in a canyon. The dragon tells them they are traveling thru his domain and they need to pay tribute to Andronax if they want to live. They start talking to the dragon, while trying to figure out what to do and Fiora tells the dragon they are here to kill the Carrion King. Andronax looks disappointed and tells them they he will have to kill them now as the gnolls are one of his main sources of tribute and he doesn’t want a group of adventures ruining that. But before the dragon can do anything a pair of Behir’s come over the canyon walls and attack Andronax.
The party is left in confusion and trying to figure out if they should join in the battle or retreat. The battle is swift and vicious and leaves one Behir dead and the other running away injured. The dragon, also injured, looks over at the party and takes off for parts unknown. The party checks on the dead Behir and after some spirited discussion, they decide to follow the injured Behir back to its lair. They find it fairly easily and are able to take out the wounded Behir. They find a nice stash of loot and then proceed onto Pale Mountain.
They reach Pale Mountain late in the day and decide to search for The House of the Beast in the morning. After a few hours looking around the area, they come across the valley with the House of the Beast. They look it over for a bit and then decide to head down and explore, as they see nothing moving around. They find some escaped slaves in one of the outlaying buildings and tell them to stay there and they will be back for them. They find a structure that seems to have been occupied by Troglodytes but something or someone seems to have wiped them out. In another of the outlaying buildings they encounter a group of gargoyles that have taken up residence but quickly take care of them.
From there they head over to the East gate and are jumped by a pair of Carrion Guards riding Hyenadons. They quickly take care of them but not before getting hit with the gnolls stingchucks, human heads hollowed out and filled with biting insects.
From their they head towards the main dome in the center of the complex. They head over to one of the doors and find it to be rusted shut. With a little team effort, they get the door unstuck and proceed into the dome. They find a hole in the floor and Duran notices a goblin ducking for cover in the room below. They decide to ignore it but watch the hole and head to the inner doors. Duran, using his new gloves, looks thru one of the inner doors to find a huge, 22’ long, scorpion, locked in the center of the dome. They decide not to mess with it and head down into the House of the Beast.
They enter a large chamber that seems to be used to house the other hyenadons and their riders. They are quickly spotted and after a brief fight, they are able to secure the room. They head over to the eastern portion of the room and start to check out some of the rooms when another Carrion Guard jumps out of a secret door, in one of the pillars in the center of the chamber and throws, what appears to be a gem at them.
The gem shatters and releases a Large Air Elemental that quickly attacks the group, while the Carrion Guard starts calling for help. The group takes out the elemental and the Carrion Guard fairly quickly but just as they dispatch them, a side door opens with a fairly large group of gnolls behind it. Fiora, who just happens to have been looking around, notices the door open and throw a fireball into the room. The resulting explosion kills 7 of the 11 gnolls and the rest fall easily to the heroes.
They spend some time looking around the chamber and the rooms off it and they notice some air vents that seem to lead to another room. Duran uses his new gloves to look thru the wall and finds a very clean room that someone seems to be using. The mystery is how that person is getting in and out of the room as the only entrance is in a hallway that is packed with rubble. After fruitless searches around the room for secret entrances, Fiora asks to be lifted up to one of the air vents. They are big enough to fit an arm thru but not much bigger so there is no way anyone of them will be able to use them to gain entrance but Fiora uses Mage Hand to start lifting things from the room and bringing them out thru the holes.
After removing all the items that she could see in the room, they go thru the items. One of them turns out to be a copy of The Birth of Light and Truth, the holy book of Sarenrae. The section in the back of the book is heavily annotated in Terran, with references to pages in the book. It seems whoever was using this book was trying to pose as a follower of Sarenrae. The other thing they found in the room is a robe that looks like the exact robe worn by Omar when he passed on his warning. The last item is a notebook, written in Terran, with transcription of prayers to Rovagug, with notes in the margins. It appears someone was copying the prayers and trying to decipher where the entrance to a place called “The Pit of Screaming Ghosts” is located. This location is reference as the resting place of a gnoll, named Shirak, who seems to be buried with something called the “Scroll of Kakishon”. The group pools their arcane knowledge and figures out that the “Scroll of Kakishon” is an artifact related to the Wizard-King Nex and is believed to be the entrance to a pocket realm.
Fiora leaves a note behind, that she Mage Hand’s back into the secret room, saying that they took Omar’s things or whoever the fake priest actually is should beware of them. They decide to clear out the rest of the level before taking one of the numerous stairs to the lower levels. While heading over to the natural passage off the main room, they spot a goblin watching them from the rubble in the south end of the room. They try to pretend they don’t notice the goblin and talk about what to do with it, when the goblin starts laughing at them. He tells them that he is glad they are here and that the Mother must have sent them to help him with the Heretic. He is fairly obviously insane but has some info about the temple that they stay and talk with him for a bit. Blobog tells them about the Heretic, named “Madfang” who is preverting a holy ritual of the Mother (determined to be the Mother of Monsters, Lamashtu) and making abominations. He tells them that the the Heretic is below as is the Maggot Throne, which the notebook references as a location to search for the entrance to “The Pit of Screaming Ghosts”. They tell him they are heading down there but not quite yet. He grows a bit frustrated with them and wanders back thru the rubble, mumbling to himselft.
They find a few more Carrion Guards, watching slaves dig in some of the other rooms but they prove to be no challenge for the group. They find a tomb that some of the slaves were trying to dig around the door too, and find what appears to be the tomb to an old priest of Rovagug. They also stumble upon a hallway covered in webbing and it creator, a huge funnel-web spider. Fiora weakens the creature with a lightning bolt, changed to deal fire damage, and the rest of the party rushes in and takes care of the monstrosity. They clear the webbing out, with fire, and find that the hall leads to a staircase that heads up thru one of the spires to the outside and heads down into the lower levels. As it was filled with webbing, and apparently not used, they decide to head down these stairs to explore the lower levels.
What will they find in the lower levels? Will the Carrion King prove as easy to defeat as his Carrion Guard? Who or what is Madfang and the abominations that he is creating? Who is Omar and what his real reason for getting the heroes out the House of the Beast?