After a meeting with the Oligarchy, the Companions ventured back to the ruins of Castle Greyhawk to stop Iuz’s army at the Oligarchy’s request to stop the armies of this mysterious Vayne. Descending to the depths, the group encountered a group of orcs they tricked into becoming canon fodder for traps and tricks in the castle, defeated Vayne, but all was not settled. While the troops marching below in the Underdark set to invade Greyhawk would now disperse because they had no leader, theproblems were just beginning.
When Vayne was put down like the dog he is, Iuz appeared full of anger at his lackey and was set to fight the Companions in what would surely become their tomb. Instead, tendrils of light attacked Iuz and trapped him far below the ruins of Castle Greyhawk.
Eventually, The Companions discovered Zagyg’s Ziggurat in a cave far below the surface. Hundreds of years ago, this hidden lair was home to the Mad Achmage. The Companions fought “Mauvaug”, a dracolisk, in the statuary around the ziggurat and descended through the fiery door at the top with aid of the glowing crystals found in a cave adjacent to the ziggurat cave.
Inside the ziggurat, there are many rooms. After urging from Leuwiss, the group stayed to investigate the library and found a secret room holding Queen Ashendra, a fairy queen from the outer planes. Armed with notes scribbled in the margins of books in delicate red penmanship and clues given by Ashendra, the Companions now had a more solid idea of what they were to face.
It seems that the witch Iggwilv is not what she claims to be, but a simulacrum created by a lock of the real Iggwilv’s hair by Vayne. The notes in the books indicated that this faux-Iggwilv is intending to use something called “The God Machine” to suck the soul out of the real Iggwilv and ascend to godhood! Queen Ashendra informed the group that a Lilitu demon named “Lavashti” and the fake Iggwilv bragged (in Abyssal) about sending twisted versions of Iggwilv’s former adventuring group to various planes to hide shards of something of great import to prevent anyone from stopping her plans.
The Companions found some interesting books in the library on topics like the Spelljammer, Greyspace, prophesies, and Zagyg’s spellbook. Below the ziggurat, the group fought off a guardian dragon, vanquished him and descended to “The Hall of Memory” where they found gates to other planes where the 3 shards must be and several museums dedicated to Zagyg’s favorite journeys to far flung places. Sadly most of the glass cases were smashed, with most of their contents pilfered recently by the faux-Iggwilv … with the following exceptions: At the Museum of Malice & Mayhem: A Rod, a Bag, a Crystal Ball, a Headband of Intellect given to the smarter Orc follower “Brelsh” ; a vaguely skull-shaped Gemstone, a Book, a Sword, and a Spear, plus the Moaning Belt. Echo put on the Cursed “Moaning Belt” from Zagig’s “Museum of Malice and Mayhem”. Pink frilly lace belt, adds +4 to STR, but moans in a lewd manner at the slightest movement. All of these items are cursed. Leuwiss collected the complete set of a Deck of Many Things, postulating that the cards drawn by the faux-Iggwilv bolstered some of her abilities and brought down the wrath of Queen Ashendra from the outer planes explaining the enmity where there wasn’t one previously.
The 1st shard was found in Zagyg’s favorite pocket dimension, The Isle of the Ape, a tropical primitive plane with giant apes, poisonous plants and dinosaurs… which lead to another dimension full of bubbles, which contained a shard. After the shard was obtained, the group was teleported back to the shore with the gate back to Castle Greyhawk.
The 2nd shard was in Dungeonland, a demi-plane of Zagyg’s creation, with endless underground labrynth and traps. We faced one of the duplicates of the Company of 7 in the Red Queen’s court who also had the 2nd shard.
The 3rd shard was in “Hollow’s Heart” which is the 176th Layer of the Abyss; Fraz-urb’luu domain. We had to pass through the “Hall of Rage” which was Fraz-urb’luu’s leftover rage after being trapped. A duplicate of Zagyg had it in his tent where a tiger-headed demon and some cultists were attempting to drain magical ichor from a vanquished demon’s heart.
It was revealed that Leuwiss was concealing a portion of a key “borrowed” from the top of the College of Magic in Greyhawk. This key is called Zagyg’s Key, lets us know the direction to best continue the quest, and is strangely drawn to the 3 shards. We have no idea what these things do.
Leuwiss found the Everlore Pit, which Zagyg used to contact powers on the outer planes.. Rainier the Druid used it to contact Merikka, a minor hearth goddess, who had been used in the past by Zagyg in the God Machine to ascend to godhood. She gave the whole party her blessing (a +1 on all saving throws, listed in the “Misc” column) for the duration of this quest. Merikka says the portal to the God Machine is behind a painting in Zagyg’s museum of paintings, but there is a puzzle to be solved before the portal opens. We must fight Iggwilv’s simulacrum while she is near the machine. She spends most of her time there, absorbing its powers. If we can kill Iggwilv while she’s near the machine, its energies will cause a feedback loop which will blow up the machine. We’ll only have a few moments to escape the dungeon before the machine and the dungeon will be blown up.
We now stand before the room with the paintings.