As we return to our story, in media res, our heroes find themselves looking upon a great tentacled sea monster known as Black Magga. Taking to the rooftops to avoid the flood waters below, the heroes watch as Black Magga throws her powerful body into Turtleback Ferry’s church of Erastil. Luckily for those trapped inside, the sea serpent spots the adventurers atop a nearby building and swims over to engage in battle.
Unluckily for the heroes, the monster casts a cloud of confusion over them, rendering them largely helpless. As the monster takes advantage of their confused state, throwing them around and grappling them, the party members take to throttling one another. Zazz and Aella do a dance of axes and magics as the wizard desperately tries to avoid a mighty killing blow from the bloodrager. Eric and Wallace do a similar dance and must also contend with Black Magga herself, who seems to prefer the men in shiny armor.
Though the moment is bleak as the heroes prove to be each other’s worst enemy, the paladin manages to direct some of his confused fury at the sea serpent, landing a blow. Unappreciative of the earthbreaker’s might, Black Magga flees back into Claybottom Lake and disappears into its depths.
When the heroes come to their senses and stop trying to knock each other’s brains out, they make their way over to the church to check on the townsfolk. As they head over, the floodwaters begin to recede, as if drawn away in concert with Black Magga’s retreat.
The town now drying out, they find the mayor and head priest and inquire about the damage. Though the town sustained some losses, it surely could have been much worse if Eric had not driven away the monster with his mighty hammer of Torag.
Thanking the group for their efforts and for saving the town, the priest fills them in on the legendary creature they just faced. Black Magga, a monster perhaps older than the gods themself, was said to reside in the Storval Deep, a large lake to the north of Turtleback Ferry. However, Black Magga’s presence along with the water surge seem to indicate that something has happened to the dam which secures the Deep’s waters.
Agreeing to investigate the dam, the heroes first spend the rest of the day assisting townsfolk in need and patching themselves up. In the evening, the people throw them the best feast they can scrap together after such a disaster.
When morning dawns, the party heads to the north to investigate the dam. On the way, they stop by Fort Rannick to check on their Black Arrow friends. The water thankfully didn’t make an appearance near the fort and the guard is able to give the heroes some information about the dam.
Known for being troll territory, the guard advises the group to find acid or fire to ensure the trolls will not rise again once put down. Some alchemist’s fire is exchanged hands and the heroes head off to the north once more.
Though the first part of the day transpired without incident, the party soon finds itself at a bridge. Before they cross, they detect a poorly concealed giant who gives up its stealth attempt and demands a human sacrifice before allowing them to cross. As Zazz converses with the large oaf in its’ native tongue, an old enemy strikes at the wizard from the shadows, throwing the scene into chaos!
Xanesha, the lamia matriarch from the dilapidated clock tower in Magnimar has returned to take on the heroes once more. Sporting her signature golden mask, the lamia and the giant team up to take down the group. However, the heroes refuse to fall prey to their attempt.
While Wallace and Aella focus on bringing down the giant, Zazz and Eric dance around Xanesha. Having a particular hatred for wizards, the lamia strikes repeatedly at Zazz until he is able to dimension door his way across the river and out of her reach. In the meantime, Eric continues to follow her around the battlefield, attempting to crush her with his mighty blows.
As Eric and Zazz deal with Xanesha, Wallace finds himself in trouble as the giant’s blows strike home and the lamia dashes in to throw some quick jabs his way on occasion. Eventually the cleric is beat into unconsciousness as Aella does her best to take down the giant as quickly as possible.
From the other side of the river, Zazz notices his friend’s plight and throws out a dusting of glitter in order to blind the giant before he can inflict a killing blow. Taking advantage of the giant’s blindness, Aella finishes him off as Eric dashes in and revives Wallace.
Seeing that her giant ally is down and the cleric is standing once again, Xanesha begins to move toward the river. Having had enough of these lamia foes, Eric throws a prayer skyward to Torag and charges the matriarch with all of his paladin fury. With a mighty swing of his earthbreaker, Eric crushes Xanesha once and for all and rids her from the team’s lives forever.
Not stopping to celebrate Xanesha’s demise for too long, the team patches itself up and begins the trek to the dam once again.
After a short walk, the heroes finally make it to the dam just as night begins to fall. From below, they spy what appear to be a group of ogres atop the structure. Deciding to deal with the new threat in the morning, they camp out in Zazz’s extra-dimensional space for the evening.
The next morning, the party follows the pathway into a cave in hopes of reaching the top of the dam. Inside, they discover a two-headed ettin bent on destroying them. Luckily, the foe doesn’t have time to deal any significant damage with his twin flails as Wallace, Aella and Eric team up to take him down.
Undaunted by the ettin, the heroes climb through the rest of the cave and find themselves atop the dam. As they emerge into the daylight, they spot five ogres nearby. Though the enemies all seem rather tired, they lumber over to attack the heroes.
Thanks to the drowsy state of their foes, the party is able to dispatch of the ogres with relative ease.
From there the team heads into a chamber atop the dam. As they emerge through a set of double doors, they are greeted by the sight of dead ogres and some ugly trolls. The trolls don’t appear too inviting and Eric rushes in the room to begin the battle. Aella soon joins in and cleaves her mighty greataxe through three of them as Wallace approaches and deals some damage of his own. In another stroke of luck, the trolls seem to have poor aim and miss over half of their strikes. So, in due time, the party takes down all four trolls and uses acid and fire to ensure that they will never rise again.
The path now leading into the depths of the dam, the team descends to discover what lurks below. At the bottom of the stairs, the heroes discover a chamber with an algae-filled pool of water in the middle. Too murky to see into the depths, Eric picks up a pebble and tosses it into the water. Immediately, a trident shoots out to stab him.
Not wanting to take the fight to the foe in the water, Eric wanders over to a nearby door and opens it. He finds himself in the presence of Skull Ripper, a hideous scorpion creature made partly of skulls. Unappreciative of the paladin’s intrusion, Skull Ripper slams the door in Eric’s face, leaving him slightly bemused.
Knowing when he’s not wanted, Eric turns back to the others as the aquatic troll lurking in the pool hops out onto land with his trident in hand. Aella, Wallace and Eric make quick work of him and hack him into pieces. It seems he should’ve stayed in the murky depths.
Free of that danger, Eric returns to Skull Ripper to discuss his displeasure at having a door slammed in his face. The others join their teammate and do their best to avoid the fearsome sight of the creature and its poisonous strings. Zazz however is spooked by the scorpion’s horrifying visage and flees the room, but not before summoning a Hound Archon to aid in the battle.
As Eric and Skull Ripper wrestle, Aella, Wallace and the Hound Archon take advantage of its distracted state and begin whittling away at the foe. After some back and forth, the heroes manage to bring Skull Ripper down and crush its skull-plating to dust.
When the dust settles, the group inspects the room and spies what appear to be the dam’s controls. They try to open some of the valves to release the pressure on the structure but it seems that there’s not enough power to open the skull-shaped releases.
Frustrated but determined, the group heads back into the chamber where they killed the aquatic troll and remove a pile of skulls stacked against a door. Once the skulls are out of their way, they open the door to find the dam’s power room. Within however is something none of them expected.
The small room is flanked on either side by two magical circles created by a very powerful practitioner. In one of the circles is a pile of dust but in the other is a weak and trapped devil. This powerful creature would normally send the team running for the hills but in its emaciated state, they stick around to find out what’s happening in this curious and terrifying place.
Striking up a conversation with the devil, Eric learns that he was summoned a long time ago to help power the dam and that he knows all of the structure’s workings. He then claims that if the group releases him he will tell them how to power the dam. He also promises to do them no harm, which sends eyebrows shooting skyward all around the party.
Unsure of whether or not they can trust the devil and having some moral qualms about doing so, the heroes leave the room to finish exploring the area while they mull it over. In the remaining room, they find another pool of water but little else.
Having explored the bottom chambers of the dam, the group returns to the devil to try and decide what to do. It’s clear that the dam will not hold for much longer and they need a solution to their power problem if they hope to contain the water and prevent Turtleback Ferry from permanently drowning downstream.
A real dilemma on their hands, the heroes take a break to think over their devilish predicament.
Next time on Rise of the Runelords: Trolls, Ogres and Devils, Oh My! will the team release the devil or leave it to die? Will they ever get rid of their Wisdom drain? And will Wallace ever get a break? Tune in in two weeks to find out these answers and so much more!