2019-01-18 - Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies
Terrapin, Caramip, Meakah, Skeith, Arden, and Yelb'oleth (Yelb) wake up on their backs beneath a dome showing off various galaxies and stars. Standing up, they see a white bridge stretching forever in each direction. Meakah and Caramip look over the edge of this bridge: dropping a coin off the edge shows there is no bottom in the room. The party starts walking until they see a statue of a hooded figure holding a rod and a tablet, which Skeith recognizes as a potential ill omen.
Arden throws some twigs at the statue, but receives no response. Meakah suggests they poke it with a stick. Terrapin goes to examine the statue and realizes it moved. The statue is frustrated it didn't prank him, and removes its hood, revealing a tan-skinned young woman with eye tattoos covering her face and neck. On learning everyone is part of Purity, she introduces herself as Az and says she's a big fan of the Guild. She also informs the party they're dead.
On a mission to deliver supplies to some halflings, the party was killed in an avalanche. Currently, a bunch of halflings are removing their bodies from the rubble. Az is responsible for ensuring everyone gets to the correct afterlife, a job forced upon her by her grandfather. She agrees to help the party return to life if they can get her fired. She brings them all to a door that leads to the realm of Hades, Lord of Fair Death and Final Judgment who has faded into relative obscurity. If the party passes three tests, they can argue their case for resurrection.
Meakah promises they'll try to get Az to leave with them, earning the aasimar's gratitude. Warned not to mess with Hades's garden or bring up his wife, the party sets off through the door. They stand in a dark cavern at the edge of a gray river. A mute, hooded ferryman offers to take them downriver. Skeith pays everyone's fare, much to the ferryman's delight. As they all travel, Meakah and Skeith look down into the waters. Both hear voices, but they affect Skeith more. Four ghostly figures resembling men he'd killed during his life as a nomad appear on the left bank and attack the party.
In the ensuing battle, Terrapin becomes frightened and believes one of the ghosts is a shark. Skeith is temporarily possessed by one of the ghosts while in his beast form and attacks Terrapin. Arden provides cover for the group and sends his familiar to stabilize Meakah when she falls unconscious in combat. Yelb nearly crashes into the ferryman, who pats him on the head. Caramip's Scorching Rays and Magic Missiles prove useful against the ghosts, which disappear back into the river.
When they reach their stop, the ferryman congratulates them on passing the Test of Will and receives a healthy tip. Very happy, they wish the party good luck and row back down the cavern. The party takes a rest, and Yelb goes to investigate the hill above the river bank. He finds a large valley full of ghosts from every era and species relaxing and interacting peacefully. A nearby minotaur tells the party they're in Asphodel, a place for average ghosts to enjoy their afterlife. He tells them how Hades judges where souls end up after death and points out a few harpies bringing damned souls to the torture pits of Tartarus.
Caramip mentions they have business with Hades at his residence, which surprises the minotaur. He points them towards a large hedge maze and wishes them good luck. Caramip sticks her head in the hedge and determines it's safe while Meakah checks for traps. The party enters cautiously, taking time to detect magic and ensure they are going the right way. Successfully evading the harpies overhead, the party works their way through the maze and pass the Test of Wit.
They arrive at the edge of a very nice cottage and a well-kept orchard/garden with a water feature. Meakah and Caramip knock on the cottage door, which creaks open for them. Inside is a large room with a lounge chair at the opposite end. There, a middle-aged man reading a scroll sits comfortably: Hades, Lord of Fair Death and Final Judgment. He is confused by his new visitors, but not surprised Az sent them. He's trying to show her discipline by giving her a job in the family business. As Caramip and Meakah begin to argue why the party should be resurrected, Hades says they have one more test remaining. He tosses Caramip a red ball, and a three-headed puppy bursts into the room.
Caramip drops the ball. Meakah, Caramip, and Skeith approach the dog, unsure of whether or not to kill it, and a Mexican standoff ensues. Terrapin, Yelb, and Arden back up, the latter creating an illusion of more red balls. One of the dog's heads blasts a torrent of flame at the illusion and is not happy those balls are fake. A fight breaks out as the party attacks the dog. In the squabble, the dog's dragged into a sploot on the ground. Meakah can't bring herself to kill the dog and begins to tame its heads.
After two heads surrender to those good, good scritches, Hades ends the fight and commends the party for sparing the dog. As they've passed the Test of Strength, he demands they explain why he should let them live again. Most of the party argue they have unfinished business in the Material Plane and could do more good in the world. Terrapin says he is a storyteller and promises he will spread word of the party's adventures and Hades's mercy. The god approves and begins to send the group back to their material bodies, but Meakah stops him to ask that Az join them at Purity. He smirks, and says he will consider freeing his granddaughter, who has violent tendencies and may go berserk.
The party wakes in Purity's basement as the Guild mortician is about to prepare their bodies for burial. Though he's disappointed he can't do his job (and that another six bodies woke up on the slab), he is Hades's only living cleric and must abide by his god's wishes. Each member of the party receives a decent reward for their success, and find a bundle of metal feathers and a note from Az saying she'll see them soon.
The "rocks fall, everyone dies" joke is pretty funny, but the "what next?" sounded like a good idea for a session.
I'm so glad everyone decided to spare the dog.
Who knows? Maybe Az and that mortician will show up again one day…