Toilday, Lamashan 28
There was a pointed but quick discussion among the party. I expressed my concern about being able to return from another plane, but Takkad or Kane said they had Plane Shift. That took me to the side of entering – this is what we’d been working towards and now it was time to meet the real Karzoug.
Takkad cast True Seeing on himself to see if there were any unseen issues on the other side of the portal. Nothing could be seen from this side, but we weren’t sure if True Seeing would work across a gate. He did report he could see misty, ghostly walls that seemed to be moving, or swarming. There were 16 evenly spaced columns of fire which lit the “room” up and, for all we knew, also kept it warm. There was a giant – no, huge – purple gem in the center of the room surrounded by bands of gold. (Rigel’s mouth dropped as she gaped at it.) Kane cast Spell Turning on himself while Avia brought forth a magic circle. Nolin quaffed a potion of Fly while Sedgewick buffed up his charisma with Eagle’s Splendor. Sabin cast haste.
Takkad suggested we not all bunch together as if waiting for a fireball. I bristled a bit, but he was right.
We were nearly ready. I cast telepathic bond among myself and most of the group (everyone but Sabin, Sedgewick, and Kane) so that they could communicate silently with each other on the other side. Takkad cast Holy Aura which would grant us some amazing enhancements for a short time. Rigel, of course, went invisible and Kane finally stepped through. “Status lost,” reported Takkad – so that’s one thing that wouldn’t work across planes (no big surprise, really.) Avia activated her boots, and Nolin also stepped through. Sabin and Sedgewick quickly followed. Then I entered.
There was an immediate, distracting sensation as I entered, but it faded quickly. And if I’ve learned anything in my adventures, it’s to think in three dimensions. Since nothing appeared to be threatening us on the ground, I immediately looked up upon entering and saw an ugly bipedal creature floating there with – was it gems? – embedded in his skin, that I figured must be Karzoug. Telepathically, one of my companions confirmed it, so I shrugged and did what was expected of me. I threw a fireball at him while my friends were not near him. He shrugged it off, but I think both he and my friends would have been disappointed had I not. It’s not like I wasted it, because I communicated through the link that it failed because of his spell resistance. Besides, if needed, I had 32 more fireballs I could cast (although, sadly, not all at once.)
Takkad entered after me, glanced at Karzoug, and communicated that “what we see is what we get”. He was not an image, he was not an illusion – he was the real deal. Then Karzoug announced, “Let’s finish this” or something like that and … four fireballs flew from his hand and exploded in a mostly overlapping fashion. My natural fire resistance helped some, and I was able to dodge a bit, leaving me only modestly injured, but he seemed to suddenly change position in an awkward and almost impossible fashion, like he teleported to the same spot but not precisely the same spot. But an instant after seeing this, I was able to guess he’d used a spell I was aware of but had never seen: Time Stop. He’d just given himself the opportunity to do more in an instant than we could do in half a minute. This would likely not be good. I knew, though, that the spell could not be used to specifically attack a person, but he’d have a chance to heal himself, buff himself, and perhaps toss out some area effect spells.
And sure enough, a yellow fog immediately dropped to the ground and began to spread out. It was cloudkill – we were strong enough it wouldn’t likely kill us but it would force us to move because, well, it was still a fog and blocked the sight for everyone on the ground (except maybe for Takkad, but he was already in the air). Avia entered and moved up to engage Karzoug, while Nolin straight off did a charge, doing some real damage to Karzoug and, I think, catching him by surprise.
For my next trick, I stepped a distance out of the cloudkill and cast Greater Dispel at Karzoug, and discovered that he’d also set up a Spell Turning. It came back to me, and fortunately, I was unable to dispel any of the spells on myself (primarily Holy Aura and Haste). I grinned, because Greater Dispel was high enough level that it would have used up a lot of the spell turning, and the next spell anybody cast at him would likely have at least some partial effect. I wasn’t doing any damage, but I was slowly stripping down his magical protections and that’s just as useful.
Sabin quietly moved up behind Karzoug. Karzoug was now flanked.
Takkad channeled energy to help most of the people affected by the cloud and the fireballs. But Karzoug’s glaive threw yet another fireball – you read that right; his glaive was an intelligent artifact and capable of aiding in his defense, and it damaged not only Takkad but also Avia and Nolin. Karzoug also clawed feebily at Nolin, whose protective rune of Greed ironically sent at least as much if not more cold damage back to Karzoug. Karzoug, incensed, sent a quickened lightning spell at Nolin, dinging him up noticeably.
A greater air elemental appeared alongside Karzoug and smacked him, and I saw Kane grin.
And then our trio of fighters laid low the mighty Rune Lord of Greed. First Avia, and then Nolin got 4 hasted attacks on him and cut him up badly. A contingency spell sprung into effect, making him gaseous, but Nolin simply smiled and his magical axe inflicted even more damage upon the gaseous form.
He regained solid form and fell to the floor below with a surprisingly-pleasing thud.
With his death, there was a tremendous flood of blindingly (literally; Sedgewick was blinded by it) white light as the mass of souls which had been trapped in (or formed the basis of?) the walls surrounding this small alternate plane were all released at once. The massive release of positive energy immediately healed everyone (although Sedgewick remained blinded) and we found ourselves at the base of the tower we had ascended the previous day. The remnants of the runewell were freezing in the harsh cold. And the corporeal remains of a Rune Lord.
Because it’s a habit we’ve developed, we removed his head.
Kane healed Sedgewick, and we began to look at things remaining on Karzoug’s body.
There were about 20 ioun gems that had been embedded in his body, but every last one of them was now shattered.
 Glaive, intelligent, neutral evil and transmutational. It possessed a keen intellect, and was able to flame and dance. It possessed dark vision and could speak via telepathy. Once a day it could cast major image. Three times a day it could cure moderate wounds on its wielder. It could cast fairy fire, and it had fireball as a dedicated power. Its “life purpose” was to defeat spellcasters. And it. Would. Not. Shut. Up.
 Rod of greater quicken. 3/day up to level 9.
 wand of blood money 
 wand of dispel magic 
 wand of stoneskin 
 belt of great strength +6
 boots of dexterity +6
 sihedron tome. Can hold an infinite number of spells, and a spellcaster could prepare spells as +6 intelligence.
 Robes of Xin Shalast – +6 AC, SR 24, aids casting by casting as +1 caster level. 2 pockets are handy haversacks and wearer is comfortable at all elevations.
 ring of protection +5
 ring of freedom of movement
 amulet of Greed. Just pretty now – it was attuned to the runewell in Karzoug’s special plane, and granted the wearer +5 AC, removed the need for food or water, fly ability, and the ability to heal rapidly from wounds.
 ruby inscribed with rune of wrath ~1100gp
 1500 gp of ruby dust
 10000gp of powdered gemstones
 Talons of Lun. Ornately worked gloves with fine gold filigree. +3 attack bonus (1d4 x2), crit does x3, will save at DC20 or victim goes permanently insane. (save for 1 rd of confusion instead). Wearer is immune to insanity and confusion, but WI -2 due to constant voices in head.
We decided to permanently destroy the runewell to permanently disable the amulet. Nolin, Sabin, and Avia used it for target practice and soon it was rubble (and ice). We decided the glaive must be destroyed (somehow) and Karzoug must be destroyed (somehow) so that he cannot be resurrected by a misguided soul. Various ideas were tossed about on how to do that; the most sane seemed to involve a bag of holding and portable hole.
The cracked runewell gem is still likely to be very valuable, even with a huge fracture. So we will take it with us:
 large cracked purple gem
Given what is here, that we haven’t even picked up, we will be as wealthy as we want. But we also have some larger issues to consider.
1) This is also an archaelogical treasure. How much should be preserved, and left for scholars?
2) This city already has residents. While we need to figure out a suitable way to let them know Karzoug is dead, we also have to consider what group (or person) might try to seize control of the city, especially in consideration of possible visitors seeking 1)?
3) Thinking of 1) and 2) intersecting … what level of responsibility do we want to take on regarding visitors’ safety, given that few people can find the city without us telling them?
For a group that started by battling goblins in Sandpoint, we’ve come a long way. There is a lot of talk about people’s plans – many border on “retiring”. On the one hand, you could say I’ve been lucky to make it this far. On the other hand, I’m still a young adult. I feel I’ve got more in me yet.
I think I’ll check with Father and see how the store is doing. Maybe we can feed some of our artifacts through both Derell in Sandpoint and my father in Korvosa. But I also want to hear what the rest are doing. If there’s another interesting journey to be had, I might be up for that.