Flaming Gnome Attack are:
Robelar, Dragonborn Paladin (Jeff)
Tort, Gnome Warlock (Joe)
Aethelred Aquilonius, Human Ranger (Elliot)
Garbondor, Half-Orc Monk (Tim)
Podsnik, Deep Gnome Thief (Neil)
Fis’Ting, Goblin Thief
Mortaqui, Deva Cleric
Radlum, Half-Orc Assassin
Zoltar, Human Wizard
Adamus Aquilonius, Human Bard [dead]
Halan Barnagran, Human Swordmage [dead]
Lokus, Minotaur Avenger [dead]
Vondella, Dwarf Barbarianess [dead]
Cocktoesin, Shifter Druid [dead]
Automatic Johnny, his wolf [dead]
Blade, his wolf [petrified, left for dead]
Rochester, his hawk [fled, presumed dead
The inner sanctum of the otherwordly structure known as the Black Lake Ziggurat was a place of horror and madness, made all the more terrible by the corpse of their longtime companion Vondella, whose brain had been devoured by the mindflayer Keraptis. In days long past, when Vondella was Vondal, he had been struck down by the goblin marauder Irontooth, but FGA was a mere half-day’s march away from their beloved town Winterhaven and the promise of resurrection. This time, our heroes had no idea how to get out of the ziggurat, let alone the Underdark.
Garbondor set about looting bodies and experimenting with some bizarre devices scattered about the chamber—one of which was a small metal orb that exploded with unusual, and painful, blue energy when a button was depressed. They also discovered a number of books concerning a range of topics—from eldritch tomes on the demon god Orcus to more modern volumes on the sewer systems and government of Fallcrest.
Meanwhile Robelar was examining a strange device that slipped from the folds of Keraptis’s robes when he fell. It was a metal rod with fitfully glowing runes of interlocking triangles. When he depressed a metal stud on one end, a shimmering silver doorway appeared nearby.
Tort was torting around with a large cylinder located near the the spinning, 8-sided Nexus of Realms. Aethelred puzzled over the numerous tubings and coils connected to the cylinder, surrounding the vortex, and running around the dissection table. Clearly the fiend Keraptis was experimenting with the cylinder and Nexus—but to what end?
Inside the cylinder, Tort once again noticed a mysterious plink-plink noise originating from somewhere on his person. Rifling through his various pockets, pouches, baggages, and satchels, he finally discovered that it was coming from the large diamond he’d discovered in the Oni mage’s lair beneath White Plume Mountain. Sensing a presence inside, he stepped out of the cylinder and threw the diamond to the ground. It shattered in a cloud of noise and smoke—and when it all cleared, standing in their midst was a completely naked Deep Gnome!
He babbled in a language totally unfamiliar to any of them, though he was obviously grateful to Tort for freeing him and seemed to indicate that his name was Kinsdop. After several failed attempts to converse, Tort called upon his telepathic abilities to communicate with him. The brief exchange of thoughts revealed a bit of this gnome’s history—he was a very confused thief named Podsnik, who had been imprisoned by the Oni long ago. Prior to that, he’d been a victim of the same Mirror of Reversal that had transformed Vondal to Vondella.
Robelar produced the mirror from his Bag of Holding, and Podsnik gazed into it once more, hoping to reverse the curse that caused him to speak and write backwards. The powerful artifact wreaked all kinds of havok on his mind and body, and when Podsnik had finally had enough, he still spoke backwards, but he now breathed through his ears and heard through his nose. Luckily, he managed to re-reverse a think backwards curse. Really, the less said about this episode, the better.
So the group outfitted him with some armor and a dagger, then turned their attention to poor dead Vondella. They considered filling her now empty cranium with whisky to see if she functioned any differently than he had before, but in the end they shoved her body into the Bag of Holding, along with the incredibly powerful and immensely perturbed artifact Blackrazor.
Faced with the prospect of returning through the plane-jumping gauntlet through which they’d come, the group decided to activate the silvery portal once more—and this time, they stepped through it, Tort hoping silently that this portal would be the one that would lead him to the gnome Valhalla known as Dairy Queen Land.
They found themselves in a small chamber made completely of an unknown metal. In a large room head was a group unidentifiable grey-skinned creatures, which were seemingly bedazzled by a panel of glowing runes and faint piping noises. On many surfaces, they beheld more interlocking triangles, clearly a written language of some sort.
Flaming Gnome Attack stepped out of the chamber and Flaming Gnome Attacked the creatures. These creatures wielded large pipes and wrenches, but they weren’t as problematic as the large, warp-limbed things that emerged from a nearby chamber and attacked the group’s flank. Robelar left Garbondor to deal with a magic users of sorts, who was using some sort of maddening spell to allow his allies to shift around the battlefield, and leapt back to defend Tort. Aethelred peppered the large creatures with arrows, and Podsnik acquitted himself nobly in the fray.
When the creatures were dispatched, Aethelred claimed an armless crossbow that crackled with blue energy. The rest of the group experimented with the panels of glowing runes, though only Podsnik seemed able to decipher their various functions. He discovered that he could control the lights in the room, lock or unlock all doors, and identify items—which taught him that the armless crossboy was actuall a portal gun. Aim it in one place and pull the trigger, it opens a portal. Aim it elsewhere and release the trigger, it opens a twin portal, magically connected to the first.
In the end, the group decided to have Podsnik lock all the doors so they could get some much needed rest. But not before Aethelred discovered a side chamber with a window that opened onto a barren colorless landscape beneath an unusually clear night sky. The stars seemed out of position and in place of the moon was a blue-green-and-white orb. Where were they???