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2012-06-29, 02:06 PM
Longest Running Campaign –D&D 3.5

I have completed 2 full campaign recaps, and have partial shorter recaps for two additional ones. Some of my friends who actually participated in these campaigns have read them and urged me to fully write up the events from our longest running campaign. I am not entirely sure how to summarize this sequence of adventures. It’s akin to an open sandbox campaign and it is sprawling in scope, tone, and in-game time span. Most campaigns we have done are encapsulated within a manner of days or maybe a few months. This one is something like 15 years. I think what makes this stand out is the characters and nature of the gameplay. If you polled my gaming group on their favorite characters ever played nearly all of us would agree this set of characters was hands down the best. This is also a currently running campaign. We play much less consistently but when time permits and we are able to "get the band back together" we play in this setting with these characters.

House Rules:
*No Flight,Overland Flight, Psionic Flight etc. No carpets of flying, no potions of flying. Basically no flight what-so-ever. Levitate is fine. This is a long standing house rule and nearly universal rule for our games.
*No reincarnate, no raise dead, no resurrection. This is a DM Rule. Dead is Dead…unless its undeath. He heavily frowns on rolling into a new character, generally when someone is killed we end the campaign. If it’s a strange circumstance then sometimes players get a pass and can start a new character.
*If you roll a 20 on a skill check…you roll again and add the results together.
*When you roll for HP you are guaranteed at least half. So a d10 that rolls 3 is bumped to 5, or a d10 that rolls 7 keeps 7.
*During character creation we rolled stats for about 15 races…4d6 reroll 1s. If you rolled 4 natural sixes that means you get a 20 for an ability score, four 1s was a natural 19. We like bloated stats and sometimes a player would drop a 19 or 20 in an odd race/stat combo and feel compelled to try something quirky.
*Every character got a cool starting item or unique characteristic, mostly to balance some race disparities.

The Cast:


Marilius Antinaius(Me) (human) Rogue2/Bard1 Str15 Dex19 Con14 Int16 Wis12 Cha 21 HP 25. Feats:Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Precise Shot.

As a bonus Mar got an extra +2 stat bonus and a pretty cool bow to the start the campaign. A comp longbow (modular to match strength bonus) that added another d8 of damage on a roll of 8.

Marilius was created as a wandering minstrel that was the lone survivor of a mountain bound caravan. In this campaign setting there is a giant sanctuary called New Jotun that acts as a safe haven and apolitical zone for all giant races. He was part of a caravan seeking New Jotun that got ambushed. He managed to survive in the wilderness and reach New Jotun where he was admired for his story telling and over the top bravado. He was forced to make a hasty exit when a dalliance with a Cloud Giant Maiden got interrupted by an angry father. The moment I bring up his brief affair with a cloud giant I get a chorus of juvenile comments about long-spears and mechanics of size. My response “She was quite amiable to making special accommodations...a timely scroll of Enlarge Person…a wine goblet laced with Reduce Person and anything is possible”. Marilius was the definition of a free spirited CN and a true wanderer who wished to seek out and visit places of legend and story in person.

The Silent One (githerzai) Monk3 Str16 Dex25 Con14 Int10 Wis18 Cha13 HP 28. Feats:Stunning Fist, Combat Reflexes, Short Haft, Weapon Focus:Spear.

The Silent One started play completely mute. Not voluntarily mute…
completely unable to speak or write in a decipherable manner. He also had a strange extra-planar tattoo in the shape of a chimera that imparted him a permanent Greater Magic Fang effect. It also rendered him able to understand every language and written symbol possible. He just had to pantomime or play charades to communicate with us. My hats off to the guy playing The Silent One…he rocked.

From what we gathered he was githerzai royalty and had spent years wandering the Planes in search of his wife and children who had been abducted by Githyanki slavers. He was eternally optimistic and had a constant smirk on his face. During his travels he had received his tattoo and had no idea as to it’s origin or ultimate purpose. An oracle of sorts had told him that his journey would only end once he met a scholar wrapped in stone. Played by ranger from Adversarial Process.

David Allen Coe-Nan (human) Fighter2/Barbarian1 Str21 Dex15 Con15 Int11 Wis14 Cha14 HP36. Feats: Two Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus Axes, Power Attack, Cleave, Improved Iniative.

Coe-Nan was played by the guy that DM’d Adversarial Process. If you read that whole log you know the end villain was Dayvid Allain Koe…Well David Allen Coe is a country singer and that name creeped into this campaign as a proto Robert e Howard barbarian/fighter. He started play with a spirit totem that could be called upon 1/day to bring forth a wolf companion…it would evolve to other functions later on

Brave to the point of stupid he refused to backdown from any fight. We started joking after a while that if he could charge from 60 feet that our only chance of diplomacy would occur from 65 feet out or further.

Kemen Sarn (dwarf) Fighter1/Abjurer2 Str14 Dex10 Con24 Int19 Wis14 Cha10 HP:34 Feats:Scribe Scroll, Improved Initiative, Spell Focus Abjuration, Sculpt Spell

Kemen began play with a family heirloom heavy pick. It was intelligent and able to detect gems and minerals, it also granted him levitate 3/day.
Kemen was cut from a different material than most dwarves. With an out of this world Con and huge Int, he focused heavily on crafting skills and magic item creation. Morradin came to him in visions and dreams and urged him to travel the world and create a new testament to his protective hand for his dwarven followers. Kemen was more cleric than wizard in his beliefs and functioned as a sour and belligerent merchant prince. Glory paled in comparison to the forge and the world was simply a workshop to be sifted through for new materials. He was played by the Paladin from Adversarial Process and this was in my opinion his coolest character ever.

Paddock Shiningstar (gnome) Paladin2/Cleric1 Str14 Dex 12 Con19 Int12 Wis15 Cha19 HP:33 Feats:Mounted Combat,Ride By Attack

Paddock began play with a stone horse. It was treated very similar to the magical item with the exception that he could only voluntarily be knocked off it.

The only reference for this character was played is Reepacheep from Chronicles of Narnia. Paddock was a shining knight who reveled in jousts and feats of prowess. Trial by combat was a religion unto itself for him. Appropriately Strength and War were his domains. Against evil he was a beacon of virtue and courage, unstaunched in the face of oblivion. Outside of combat he was compassionate and kind. He was also an uptight elitist prat. Those who viewed life differently than he were patiently sought to be converted.

Party Items:
*Everyone has mundane gear appropriate to their build
*There is about 500gp in coin available in the party coffers.
*We have a group Bag of Holding II
*We also have a serviceable Wagon and a pair of decent draft horses.
Little House by the Mountain:

We began the campaign deep in the north of the campaign world’s central continent. It is rough frontier forest in the shadow of spiraling mountain ranges. Paddock our jousting cleric is on point atop his stone steed with shield cradled on his left arm and a gleaming lance held vertically in his right. A pennant flying his tournament colors flies as a flag from his lance. My rogue, Marilius, brings up the rear sweeping in circles around our position for signs of tracks or danger. The fighter Coe-Nan is driving our horses from the Wagon’s seat, Kemen is in the wagon bed fumbling with his books and some small stone carving while the monk meditates beside him.

During my surveys of the surrounding areas I pick up signs of orc footprints heading south. From the initial descriptions given to us…this isn’t exactly orc country. We turn to start following the trail south and after a mile or so, the trees are thick enough to prevent forward progress from the wagon. Kemen doesn’t want to leave the wagon, but he is outvoted and he grumpily stomps after us.

The tracks take us to a General Merchandise Store and Tavern/BunkHouse that is more or less in the middle of nowhere. There is a band of 12 orcs standing patiently outside the store with sleds being loaded with sacks of flour,grain, barrels, and all kinds of generic building supplies like nails, hammers, planes, and rope. The owner, an average looking middle age man seems a bit unsettled, but the orcs are paying in coin and are not outwardly aggressive. An orc scout barks something we can’t make out and what we presume to be their leader turns to hail us with open hands.

Kemen: I want to make a closer inspection of these orcs for anything unusual.
DM: There is actually something that stands out to you…as you speak Orcish..it is somewhat surprising that their dialect is not Orcish.
Me:Do any of us understand the language?
DM: The Silent One does…(he hands the monk a small note)
Silent One (out of character): uh…
At the table he stands up and dangles all of his fingers just under chin and makes a slurping sound. We all just kind of stare at him blankly. He then moves to the player next to him at the table (Coe-Nan) and pantomimes putting a straw into his head and then makes a sucking noise…
Paddock: They are speaking the same language as Mind Flayers???
The monk snaps his fingers and gives a thumbs up…
Kemen:I’ll make a Knowledge check…Dungeoneering.

The wizard rolls well enough to figure out why “orcs” would be speaking a form of Illithid (to be fair it is the spoken version of a telepathic language and truthfully has probably never been heard before) and he determines these orcs are actually Sharakim, a race of orcs more akin to Atlantis than the wilds. The leader approaches the gnome and hails him in Common…

Sharakim leader: Peace upon you little one. We wish no quarrel only supplies.
Paddock:You must have travelled far to reach a place like this.
Sharakim: Farther than we ever desired, and still too close to the place we came from. Dark tidings ride the currents of the underdark and soon the foul air will reach the surface.
The Paladin states that he is going to discreetly detect evil…and he gathers nothing in the process.
Me: What are you referring to?
The Sharakim leader looks to his comrades and converse for a few moments…a consensus is reached and they start to open a bag…as they do so the monk hastily writes something down on a sticky note, crumbles it and tosses it to the DM.

DM: You all notice the monk stepping back quietly but quickly as the bag is opened. As the bag opens the biggest of the Sharakim takes out a long hooked pole from a sled and starts to drag something heavy from inside the bag…a sizeable cage is dragged from the now apparent bag of holding, it is wrought iron, and each bar is nearly ¾ inch thick…despite the blunt strength of the bars…the slavering creature inside the cage has managed to bend some of the cages supports. It is tightly held inside and its hard to gauge its accurate size…you have seen dire rats before…this by your recognition is closest in nature to a dire boar that has been exposed to forces beyond this Plane. Sores and festering wounds dot it’s hide, but the snapping and hissing creature shows little ill effect from them.

Sharakim Leader: A few days ago…a pack of things like this attacked the Illithid hive we call our home. This was one of the smallest. Most illthid bear a horrid reputation, our community was (he stumbles looking for the word) progressive. The Mind Flayers bought us enough time to escape, but I fear everyone else is lost. We have a sister community far to the south that we are seeking to reach overland and warn.

Our group all falls back to parley and figure on either joining them overland or picking up their back trail and trying to discern more about these creatures. The presence of settlers being mostly unprotected decides it in favor of following back trail and figuring out what is happening. We make arrangements for Meskeet, the store owner to alert most of the surrounding settlers and get them to evacuate pending our return. The Sharakim give us a rough of idea of where to head based on landmarks from the closest mountain range.

We move at a hustle back to our wagon and make quick progress towards the mountains. Towards nightfall we make camp a mile or two from the mountain and hunker down for the night. During our second watch loud drums and wood snapping brings us to attention. Kemen and myself take up positions in the wagon for cover as Paddock runs to his horse. Coe-Nan draws a pair of battleaxes and plants himself in the path of the noise, the monk gets himself into a sprinters starting position under the wagon, with his spear held flat against his back. Within minutes a band of grimlock warriors are visible in the flickering light of our campfire. Each is armed with crude stone axes and stone tipped throwing spears. Being driven before them on leashes are some of the leanest and most predatory dire rats we have ever seen.

Coe-Nan charges the lead Grimlock with a roar and starts hacking like mad with his axes. The monk sprints from his position to a spot at Coe-Nan’s back and uses his spear like a surgeon with reach looking for AOO’s and trips. I start putting arrows into the rat handlers, hoping that if they drop the leases the rats might scatter. Kemen tries to drop some well placed sleep spells and Paddock starts to clip at their flanks from atop his mount. The grimlocks are not particularly organized and poorly equipped. Coe-Nan eats damage from his overly aggressive position but the rest of attack with near impunity. We break up the raiding party in quick order and the gnome starts to harry some of the runners along with Coe-Nan and the monk.

Kemen keeps some of the more unusual stone axe heads, but there are no spoils of note. Pressing out into the dark is deemed too dangerous and maintain sentries without further pursuit. Or at least we tried to.

Paddock: I am not going to sit idly and nap while maruding bands of savages pillage the forests and neighboring homes. If you all lack the conviction to work through a bit of tiredness than so be it. I am going to follow them…alone if I have to.

Me: They don’t need eyes to see…we do. Attacking them in the middle of the night in terrain we are unfamiliar with is foolhardy at best and more likely suicide.
Kemen: Go on alone…we will follow you in the morning. I would love a chance to make a decent headstone…I got some nice patterns that I can chisel out from granite on short notice.

The headstone comment reigns him in and his character pouts about being rebuked, but he waits for morning with the rest of us.

Come dawn we prepare spells and pick up the trail of our grimlock marauders. We track them right back to the mountain and find a rock facing that was recently exposed from the inside by some kind of explosion or great force. Kemen examines the rock facing and owing to his ranks in just about every craft skill, knowledge check and his bonuses to stonework he announces there used to be a structure carved from the mountain that someone magically sealed by his estimations, at least a few thousand years ago. We put Coe-Nan on point, Kemen, myself and the monk in the middle, and Paddock as rear guard atop his stone horse.

Strong grimlock signs litter the tunnel like hallway going into the mountain’s base. We are working our way deeper in, when a handful of small shapes emerge from an alcove above us and swoop down to attack us. The Monk gets one stuck to his head and the small leathery creatures constricts his face. We identify the creatures as Darkmantles and the monk ends up having to pummel himself in the face to get the little bugger away.
The long hallway opens to an antechamber with five different paths leading out, the central path and most straightforward enters a room that is obviously surrounded by elevated archer slits. From the central path a high pitched feminine sobbing is audible and Paddock almost immediately attempts to wheel his mount around us and charge in. Coe-Nan throws himself in front to slow him down and we have to talk down our over anxious paladin for a second time.

Paddock: There is a woman in peril I HAVE to ride to her aid.
Me: There is the SOUND of a woman in peril, and that room is a sniper’s paradise…a round room with elevated cover? You are vulnerable from all angles.

This time he ignores us and spurs his mount to charge into the room. The moment he breaks the plane of the room’s entrance a portcullis comes crashing down and milky white kobolds pop up at every slit and start peppering him with blowgun darts.

Coe-Nan tries to lift the portcullis and fails…we also start taking some fire and back off. Kemen and Coe-Nan make the snap decision to take the passage left from center and the monk and I peel right to try and find a way to reach the murder hole area.

As we search, the paladin is taking a steady stream of Dex damage from poison darts. Both passages we follow are heavily seeded with caltrops. Both split groups encounter further albino kobolds with blowguns and between my arrows and Kemen’s sleep we plow through, more slowed by the caltrops than the kobolds. We do manage to locate the room’s that overlook the trapped chamber in which the paladin is stuck and we are start cleaning house from kobolds. Just about everyone takes some Dex damage, and by the time we are able to force a cease fire the paladin is rigid and reduced to zero amount his stone horse.

With no means in which to cure ability damage or negate the poison we have little choice on what to do with him. He mentally commands his stone horse to follow the wizard and instead of having a mounted lancer…we have a pack mule with a helpless pc.

The two adjacent passages are unconnected to whatever lays beyond the central room and we end up having to smash our way through the walls to get to the paladin. We advance towards the origins of the sobbing and press forward. The center opens to an alcove with a stone coffin in the center of a room supported by four pillars. At the rear of the room is a bloating and diseased barghest. The bones of grimlocks and other underdark dwelling creatures are scattered around it. The creature is sick in a bad way and is in a constant state of vomiting. What we think to be the remains of the creature the Sharakim showed us in the cage lays half eaten in front of it. It addresses us in Goblin…

Barghest:Kill me quickly maggots. A clean death is better than this misery. It matters little…these things (he gestures to the half eaten corpse) will kill you in ways far worse than I can.
Coe-Nan: I can take your head off clean, but I want to know how you ended up in here first
Barghest:My grimlocks and kobolds became startled when a band of strange orcs went past our cave to the east. When I gathered them to follow we found this place…then these things attacked us. Whatever was locked in that coffin…made it’s way out before we got here.
We all start conferring on what to do as Coe-Nan takes off the barghest’s head and then proceeds to smash every pile of bone on the floor “just in case”.
Me: So something/someone broke out of a mountain side tomb and blasted it’s way out. On it’s heels come a pack of mutated boars that can poison a barghest and wipe out a hive of mind flayers.

The monk gestures to some very faded symbols on the coffin and tries to get our attention. As he can read and understand every language he knows exactly what they mean but he has no real way to tell us. He makes a “sounds like” gesture and then starts scratching his arm.
Kemen: Sounds like scratch *no*…sounds like itch? *emphatic yes*
Paddock: lich?
DM: You can’t talk right now.
Me: lich?
Monk: *nod yes* then he gestures for more description. He gets up from the table and stands in front of the DM and takes up a boxer’s stance looking all around him….then he actually puts his arms out to the side like a crossing guard.
Me: Protect? *kinda* Guard? *snaps fingers yes*
Kemen: A guardian lich?
Monk *yes*
Kemen: guarding what?
Monk *shrug* points to a symbol in the shape of a necklace
Coe-Nan:So a guardian lich protecting a necklace makes a runner after a couple thousand years and within hours a pack of hellspawn boars hauls ass from the underdark laying waste to everything in their path.
Kemen: and it sounds like they are searching. I got a feeling we are in for company soon.
Me: So let’s get the heck out of here and get any settlers in the area out of here. Maybe we can pick up the lich’s trail.
Kemen: Screw that! I don’t want some twisted pig trying to tear me apart in the middle of nowhere. We have a defensible position with elevated cover, a great supply of caltrops and plenty of rocks to make traps with. If they are coming let them come where we can corral them and control them.
Me: We still have two passages unexplored.
Kemen: So if anything wants to come from there and raise trouble we will still be in a raised and covered position with good protection. If we get tied up in trouble exploring these things could take us from behind….

No one voices much dissent and we go into a hurried barricade mode. Caltrops are redispersed to slow down advances through the halls, the stone coffin and any other loose rubble are used to blockade entrance from the passages that lead to murder holes and the dwarf tries to make a cursory attempt to mask the hasty stonework as being permanent. We also make some rudimentary collapsing traps from the pillars in coffin room. All the carcasses from the grimlocks, kobolds and anything else we found are piled into the trap room as bait.

We have plenty of blowguns and poison tipped darts, the monk has shuriken, and Coe-Nan carries a longbow for emergencies. Kemen has a light crossbow and the paladin…well he is still rigid and helpless. We barricade his stone horse against the coffin lid to help secure middle trap room. Then we settled in to wait.

2012-06-29, 03:07 PM
And, once again, this looks like it could shape up to be one of the best campaign logs ever.

You should probably push for a campaign archive along the lines of the SilverclawShift one.

2012-06-30, 11:16 AM
Bacon that Fights Back:

As we wait in our ambush positions a truly disturbing noise starts to echo down the hallways and we hear some of the grossest liquidy squishing sounds possible. A quartet of bloating disease ridden boars file into the trap room. When all four are completely inside Kemen pulls the lever that lowers the portcullis and we launch a full assault. We start pelting them with arrows, bolts and shuriken. The majority of which are not doing a whole lot of damage.

The hell-pigs (our name for them) literally start climbing the walls and begin to tear apart the stone at the archer slits. Coe-Nan and the monk leap at a chance to get melee actions up and running and I can barely miss at this range. Unfortunately…they are tearing very quickly and these things are big enough and strong enough to tear through pretty quickly. Kemen tries a sleep spell, but they are too big for any effect.

With four arrow slits there is a pig tearing at each one. The pig closest to the coffin chamber breaks through first and he blocks off our escape route. Coe-Nan rushes him and starts hacking but once tusks and hooves are brought to bear he begins taking nasty damage. We focus everything we got on the pig in the room and try to drop it so we have someplace to back off too. A second pig makes it through and he bull rushes the fighter over. The monk makes a desperate trip attempt and fails miserably, losing his spear in the process. From beyond the ambush room we hear a gnomish voice cry out “For Kord! For Glory!” and our helpless gnome paladin atop his stone horse makes a charging lance attack which skewers the 1st pig.

The monk and Coe-Nan get a flank on the 2nd pig and I manage to start landing sneak attack aided arrows. The second pig is in it’s death throes when the third pig breaks free and with the gnome wheeling around to get some charges in we turn the tide against the second pigs with no casualty. Paddock recovered 1 point of Dex and woozily got back into the mix which probably kept things from getting real ugly. The monk is spearing the downed pigs when we hear additional squeels and grunts coming from outside.

With the left side of the structure decimated our master plan…move to the other side. We hastily exit and fight through our own barricade and rush to make it to the other ambush room. We try to close the barricade behind us with little success, and end up appointing Paddock as the sentry to watch for incoming danger.

Kemen: (In a whisper to me) I got a bad feeling about leaving the guy with 1 dex to guard our backs…

A trio of additional pigs make their way into the bait room and trailing behind them is something that is almost a drow. It is towering in height, close to nine feet, and gaunt beyond all belief. Bile and puss drip from gaping wounds and where the creature’s heart should be is a sucking empty wound that pulses with a purple liquid. It’s face is very elven in nature and it has the ebony skin and white hair of a drow. It has what we can only guess is a whistle around it’s neck. It looks like it is fashioned from a dark bone material and leathery sacks are hanging from at least five spots on the whistle. As the pigs start rooting amongst the corpses and nibbling he raises it to his lips and some of the sacks inflate and as they fill a piercing bass sound fills the room and the pigs snarl in anger and recoil back to his side.

I blurt out something that comes back to taunt me for the next 2-3 years in real life
Me: If we lose this fight don’t let whatever that is take me alive…
Paddock and Coe-Nan both give me looks at the table like I just abandoned them in a bar fight.
Coe-Nan: Don’t worry buttercup…we won’t let the bad man hurt you…
As I am getting chided the gnome has discreetly inched his figure into a position where he can charge and as I am trying to defend my dignity he YELLS from the table…
Paddock: For Kord and for Glory! Charge!!!!
Kemen: Are you fu***** kidding me! If I had Grease prepared I would 100 percent be dropping it in front of him right now.

Paddock is laughing himself silly at the table as we pelt him with crumbled up paper and the odd die, he laughs threes times as hard when he rolls a 20 for his attack roll on the bizarre drow thing. He confirms a crit and absolutely levels the thing with a lance charge. He rolls damn close to max damage and from what I had listed its close to 50 damage.

DM: The gnome comes bursting into the room as the gaunt figure turns to address the shout…the whistle is still pursed to his lips when the lance enters just below the navel and seperates his spinal cord, a death rattle like gasp escapes his lips causing a fell note from the whistle that enrages the remaining boars and drives them into a frothing berserker state.

The rest of us alternate between cursing him and high fiving him as we launch our own volleys into the hell-pigs. Coe-Nan goes barreling down the hall to get into the thick of things and the rest of us pepper them with projectiles. Paddock is getting gored with tusks as the pigs try to knock him from his mount. He leaves his lance buried mid torso on the drow and shrugs shield and Morningstar into his hands and starts swinging.

Coe-Nan comes charging in himself the following round and lays into the most damaged pig. Kemen puts a crossbow bolt into the lead pig that brings it down and the gnome eats a tusk that drops him to zero exactly. Coe-Nan absorbs the brunt of remaining aggression, but is saved by one of the pigs attacking the now stationary stone horse…the hardness and therefore DR make most of the attacks harmless.

We finish off the remaining pigs with Coe-Nan at 4 health and Kemen out of spells except for a shield.

Our examination of the drow turns up little aside from the whistle and a shimmering onyx map made from a flexible metallic parchment. It is constantly in flux, but an image that can be discerned as our location fixates on the map. A white hue inside the coffin room is visible from the map and stands out. We are offered an INT check to try and guess it’s purpose and owing to a long standing tradition…we make the dumbest character go first. Ages ago we ran a Dark Sun campaign where we needed to break open a door and our burly half giant failed his strength check…and the skinny defiler rolled a natural 20. From that point on we always made the least likely roll first. It actually rolls all the way around to Kemen who reasons out it is a sort of tracking device for whatever was presumably in the coffin, but it is based on on strength of aura, and as it moves the map is constantly adjusting, but hones in on a place where it stayed for a length of time.

We barricade ourselves in the coffin room and aim to recuperate…sadly our healing is knocked out, but once he regains consciousness we drain him of all healing available then rest for the night.

The following morning we cautiously make our way outside to survey the area. With no obvious or imminent threats approaching we turn our sights to completing the exploration of the mountain structure.

We start progress down the far left passage and emerge into what was once a mine. The well made and solid walls give way to supported rough passages, complete with rail system and mine carts. The mine tunnels run for miles and delve deep into the mountain. Kemen puts some pebbles and small stones into the remanents of old lanterns we string a crude alarm system that should make some noise if anything lumbers out from the mines.

The path on the far right leads us a long ways back to the same tunnel system and we find our own crude alarm which leads us to believe the whole structure was built from the mines or long after the mines were abandoned. Kemen wants to explore the whole tunnel system and map it out, but he gets vetoed.

Without much else to go on from the mountain we decide to check in with our tavern owner/general merchandise contact Meskeet. We arrive at his store early evening and find it a beehive of activity. Lots of settlers and small camps are moving all around. Meskeet himself is directing most of the traffic but no one is outwardly the worse for wear. They are assembling a wagon train which will depart the next morning for a larger village 25 miles southeast aptly named Frontierville.

Kemen inquires as to the legal status of land ownership in the area, and that seems to take our DM aback. He boils it down to saying that land ownership in these parts is in legal limbo, with no real organized government or tax system occupation and improvement imply owernship. That seems to work well with him, and while we all ask why…he plays whatever he has brewing close to the chest.

The group decides to act as a bodyguard for the caravan heading to Frontierville based on our lack of knowledge on further hell pigs or straggler grimlocks. Paddock reaches new levels of annoyance as he insists that we have all proven ourselves unworthy. We can no longer be trusted to act with valor based on our previous cowardice and he adamantly refuses to rest. He actively patrols the entire caravan non-stop rebuking all attempts at relief.

Thieves in the Night:

By the end of the first day…
DM: Alright Paddock you are soaking in sweat and swaying in your saddle from exhaustion. The only thing keeping you mounted is the magical nature of your bond. You are officially exhausted and in desperate need of a break.
Paddock: Not going to happen, I would rather pass out than leave the safety of these fine citizens to such dubious comrades as these.
DM: Alright…

That night we try to organize a sentry schedule but Paddock refuses to dismount and rest and continues to patrol the camp. The rest of us tuck in for the night (and discreetly maintain a secondary watch as we are sure he going to drop from exhaustion at any time).

That night a few small humanoids creep up on the encampment. They stealthily begin to steal anything not nailed down, and our sentry with his lousy Spot checks and exhaustion is oblivious. Coe-Nan manages to make a listen check that doesn’t reveal them but his investigation drives them from the camp. Not to be easily dissuaded they start stealing little things right from the nearly catatonic paladin riding in circles.

DM: Make a Spot check…
Paddock: 3…
DM: Alright they just unhooked your Morningstar. Make another check DC 15, give yourself a +5 bonus as they are taking your shield which is strapped to your back…
Paddock: 4…
DM:*sigh* alright make ANOTHER check…this time they are actively attempting to steal the saddle off your horse with you still riding it…
Paddock: *rolls natural 1*
DM: Make an INT check to realize you are now riding saddleless DC5
Paddock: *rolls natural 3*
DM:So…come dawn the barbarian starts a quiet check of everyone’s possessions and most of the settlers report small trinkets and family jewelry missing. Coe-Nan has a faint trail from where some small humanoids dragged off what he is guessing is a shield…the shield dragging left marks on the ground. As you coordinate and compare notes the Paladin comes back into view…his weapons and shield are gone, his horse is saddleless and he is slumped in his saddle snoring loudly.
Paddock: I don’t care if I rolled a 1…how would I not notice my saddle being taken?
DM: You have about 2 dex right now from the numbing poison you got soaked in, all your reflexes and reactions are operating on empty, coupled with EXTREME exhaustion and the fact that you rarely have to worry about your balance while mounted and you aren’t exactly keen on recognizing changes to your riding.
Paddock: These vandals will pay dearly…I will not rest until…
Me: until you pass out again? *snickers*
Paddock:…until they answered for their crimes at the point of my lance.
DM: They got your lance too…
Kemen: And your Morningstar…

The paladin ends up roaming the camp looking for any kind of weapon… he ends up with a club and spear. Grumbling under his breath at the table the whole time he is ready to march out and track down our thieves.

Coe-Nan and myself take point as between us we have the best chance to follow the trail and potentially spot ambushes/traps.

Paddock grudgingly takes rear while the monk and wizard are in the middle.
We follow the trail to a very small mountain (or large hill) with a winding path leading to a plateau…(think Weathertop from LoTR) and as we are working our way up the paths I spot a trap. Kemen and I examine it (craft trapmaking being a maxed skill he has) and figure it is based around a tripwire triggering a sliding boulder. We all successfully circumvent it and continue on. We find five more similar traps on the way up, and evade each of them. It is approaching early dusk as we reach the plateau and atop the hill is a Stonehenge like formation, in the center atop a stone crop is a pile of stolen goods. 8 small grubby gnomish figures are celebrating. The Paladin’s lance if functioning as a spit for a stag that is being turned over some glowing coals. His shield is being used as a serving platter for wild berries and nuts. Each gnome has a dagger at their hip and spread throughout the grass are a number of large spears.

Me:They haven’t spotted us yet?
Kemen: I can try to sleep a tight batch…might get 1 or 2.
Coe-Nan: Fill me in on the details later, im charging before the gnome gets to…charge attack at the nearest one…
Kemen and I: Damnit!
Coe-Nan steals a page from the paladin’s book and goes roaring in axes whirling to assault the nearest gnome.
Kemen: There is something you probably should have known before charging.
Coe-Nan: Why they are just gnomes…
Kemen: Actually I’m pretty sure they are Spriggans.
Me: Oh crap…

As Coe-Nan swings his axe all the gnomes drop whatever they are doing and dart for their spears…and then they transform into towering 9 foot slavering beasts. The Paladin who was already announcing his own charge attack ends up galloping into the thick of 3 towering giants.

I take a move up to get within point blank range on Coe-Nan’s target and put an arrow in it’s back. Kemen adds a magic missile to the same target and Silent One darts in to complete the flank on 1st target. As is becoming customary at this point the barbarian and paladin start taking big damage while the rest of us plink away.

The 2nd round large spriggans pile up on the melee combatants and a pair start loping towards the wizard. The flanked spriggan drops to a pair of hits from Coe-Nan, and we shift focus to support Paddock. His huge dex penalty is wrecking him. He is quickly dropping to dangerous territory.

Paddock: This is how it ends? Torn asunder by filthy beasts atop a desolate hill?
Kemen: We aren’t dead yet…
Paddock (maybe out of character im not sure):What are the rules for trying to bugger a large sized creature?
DM: Uh…I don’t think those exist.
Kemen: Grapple check+pin would be close.

Paddock forgoes the attempted “grappling” of a spriggan and instead does a 180 and runs from the encounter, he takes an AOO that knocks him to 2 health but manages separation. As the gang that was pounding on him advances Kemen makes a small move and launches a perfectly placed (and timed) color spray that leaves five of them blinded and stumbling. Paddock puts some healing into himself and then moves to help assist Coe-Nan. With several targets incapitated the tides turn and we start to gain control. The Silent One is dancing between blind target launching AOO’s and is a whirling dervish with his spear. We still scramble a lot and everyone takes a beating by the time the last spriggan goes down. Paddock gets himself into decent shape and does some triage on Coe-Nan. We are in rough but passable shape and now faced with another dilemma.

In the course of searching the spriggans and the plateau I readily discover the stone slab is actually a door that blocks a tunnel into the hill. The hill is their lair. We are hesitant to part ways with the caravan but there is a chance they will actually reach town before we do. We vote to further explore the hill. We all sleep on top of the stone slab so that anything inside will have a heck of a time getting out.

2012-06-30, 05:00 PM
Into the Spriggan’s Den:

The entrance to the spriggan’s den is actually quite ingenious. It would require considerable size to move the cap stone to their lair, but once inside the confines are very tight. The gnome very hesitantly is forced to leave his mount outside, and we are all cramped trying to shoulder our way through the narrow passage winding down. The initial entrance is windy and hard to navigate, and eventually gives way to a rope ladder that descends down a vertical hole.

Paddock goes down first and Coe-Nan brings up the rear. The hole leads to a common room. Picture the nastiest, most sleaze ridden bedroom possible, and add 8 bedrolls that could just as easily be called nests. From there is a second passage with a rope bridge that descends at a slight angle. We do a cursory search of the bedrolls and aside from filth and refuse nothing of value is located. The rope bridge is somewhat shabby and we don’t trust it to hold very much weight. Kemen puts a light spell on a copper piece and flings it off the side…it falls the better part of a 100 feet to an underground pool. We go across the bridge 1 at a time with the dwarf (who is actually the heaviest) going first. We figure he has the most weight and worst case…he can cast levitate from his pick.

Everything holds their breath a bit as we make it across and the monk makes a big show of scrutinizing the ceiling for signs of darkmantles. The other side of the bridge leads to a path that circles down deep into the bowels of the barrow. As we circle down we start finding statues of various warriors, wizards, thieves and clerics sculpted from various races.

Kemen: I am going to examine these from a spellcraft stand point and a stoneworking standpoint.
The DM nods and just hands him a note.
Kemen calls all of us to a halt and frantically gestures to us in silence to come back. In a whisper he pulls us close and says “I can’t find a single toolmark or seam on these statues”
Paddock: So they are valuable?
Kemen: No they are people. Petrified.
Coe-Nan: Spriggans can’t petrify…
Me: Could be a basilisk.
Kemen: Basilisks don’t keep decorations.
Paddock: A medusa would. Who has the best fort save?
Everyone as one: You do…

None of us wants to end up a statue, but we also feel compelled to go forward, if there is a medusa and she is collecting statues of victims then we can’t let her continue to do so. Most of us are CN/N but the monk and paladin are definitely good at their core. With the gnome out front and the rest of us staring at our feet we creep forward on pins and needles deeper in.

Crystalline formations are casting strange patterns of light off the walls, presumably being reflected from the pool of water deep within the hill. The winding path finally gives way to level ground amidst the shallow waters of a natural spring, stalagmites traced with quartz dot the shallow water and upon a rise in the center of the water is an island, the paladin sees something slip into the water and small ripples set everyone on edge. Kemen puts light on a few more copper pieces and tosses them in various directions to help visibility.

A pair of arrows come hissing from the shadows and Kemen takes two hits from an unknown attacker. Paddock and Coe-Nan both instantly react by saying they are charging the direction it came from.

DM: Give me spot check results and from that we will determine where you think it came from.
They both end up tearing off in completely separate directions, and neither of them locates the attacker. Paddock does manage to fall into an submerged pit trap, and with horrid swim ranks and plate armor he sinks like a stone.

Everyone else readies and holds actions to return fire or fire once they see a target. The medusa manages to get behind us and nearly sneak attacks the wizard, but Silent One gets the drop on her and with his reach he lands an AOO as she gets within range of Kemen. I put a close range arrow into her and move to a stalagmite for cover.

Coe-Nan comes charging back towards us in the correct direction and hits a submerged trip wire which sends him flying face first into the water. The Silent One flurries and lands another shot on the Medusa who then tries to petrify him. He makes the save buts it close. Kemen puts a magic missile into her then moves for cover at a different stalagmite.

Paddock is scrambling below water to try and climb his way out from the watery pit, but his check penalties are nasty and he keeps sinking back in. Luckily he has a huge con and can stay underwater something like 2 minutes with no ill effect. I miss with my next arrow and the medusa slips towards my position, she eats a nearly max damage from the monk in response but then she launches a gaze attack at me…I roll a 5 for the save and get petrified. Coe-Nan makes it to his feet and then takes a move to get within closer range. Kemen draws his crossbow and gets ready to put another shot into her…the monk charges her and lands another solid shot that rocks her. That is enough to get her spooked and she knocks my petrified form over and pulls a runner. The monk makes a dex check to react and slide under him to break my fall.

Kemen puts a crossbow bolt into the fleeing medusa and rolls a 6…the medusa screeches and drops in her tracks face down into the water. At the table he pantomimes blowing smoke from the barrel of a gun and holsters his imaginary missile weapon.

Kemen: Don’t mess with the dwarf baby

The monk dives down to bring a rope to the paladin who is basically sitting at the bottom of a 30 foot pit just holding his breath while fuming. We drag him out and get him back above water. Cautiously we begin a search of the Medusa’s lair and finally find some valuables. On her island are several nice gems and a chest of coin. We also find a scattering of magic items. A +1 morningstar, a +1 light crossbow and a belt of giant str+2. A few potions of cure light wounds and a wand of magic missile with 7 charges (CL3) are nice bonuses. What we don’t find is anything to break enchantment or remove my affliction.

There is a certain relief in finally getting treasure, but that is short lived once the question of how to get me out of there is raised. A couple hundred pound statue that is non maneuverable through the narrow tunnels is going to prove next to impossible to get up a rope ladder and out a narrow winding tunnel system.

Kemen: We could split him into pieces and I can put them back together…
Coe-Nan: We could just leave him…
Paddock:How about we find a different way out?
Me: I like Paddock’s idea!
DM: In the interest of saving time…and tons of un-needed search checks, there is not a separate means of egress save for a long swim underwater.
Kemen: Then we will just have to make one. Time to start digging…

In lieu of digging straight through the hill, they drag my petrified self up to the rope ladder than begin the long tedious process of expanding the exit to get me out. It uses up nearly five days in game time, but they work through the various layers and manage to get me out.

They load me in the wagon along with our loot and continue on (now long overdue) to Frontierville. It is a good sized village with functional militia and fortified walls, it is also woefully empty of casters that can un-stone me. We have 3500 in coin and try to hire out someone that can break enchantment to no avail. A town five days from there should have the necessary materials and resources and without wanting to operate fully a man down we make our way to the nearest true town. Word reaches us that the settlers did in fact arrive unharmed at the village and no further hell pigs had been sighted at that juncture. Kemen does a lot of note exchanging with the DM and he continues to play things close to the vest.

Travel from Frontierville to Skara (the town name) goes uneventfully. We have to cash in almost 1500 to get a scroll of break enchantment and the means in which to cast it. We are back to true full strength and have a bit of money and some upgraded items to show for it. As we relax in our tavern room we examine the map and compare to a rough overland map of the area we purchased. If our reading of the map is correct than whatever was in the crypt with our potential guardian lich is heading east like mad. The decision is made to head east as well.

Kemen takes the crossbow, Paddock the Morningstar and Coe-Nan takes the belt. We leave Skara heading east with no clear objective other than seeking clarity on our would be lich. We figure on being 10-15 days behind our quarry and for all appearances he/she is heading for the coast. We travel with little incident up until day 3. Mid afternoon we are coming towards the edge of dense forest and as we come to a bend in the road a wagon 110 feet ahead of us, is turned on it’s side and a band of elves are fending off the attack of multiple ogres.

Paddock spurs his mount and takes off at a trot to engage and Coe-Nan leaps from the wagon while tossing the reins to the monk. The monk tosses the reins back to the dwarf who is riding in the wagon bed and he too jumps off the wagon and starts running to the fight. In character and out Kemen and I look at each and shake our heads

Me: The recklessness is spreading…

None of them can reach even with a charge, and Kemen halts the wagon and the two of start sniping from a good distance off. The 3 elves are trying to defend themselves but with the ogres drawing in and hurling javelins that have enough force to penetrate the 2 inch thick siding of the wagon their situation looks grim. From the wagon we count five ogres.

The following round Coe-Nan wins init and he finishes his charge towards one of the ogres only to have a volley of five arrows land all around him from the treeline beyond our sight. Paddock has already declared his action and he is screaming his battle cry at the top of his lungs as he charges, he is targeted by another 5.

The monk redirects himself to the trees and he can see 10 goblin archers supporting the ogres from the cover of the woods. While he knows that, we don’t have those facts as of yet. The monk makes a running dive into their midst and lands surrounded by five goblins. He is grinning like it’s Christmas.
The next round sees an elf get his head bashed in by an ogre greatclub and our two melee combatants get into the thick of things with the ogres. Kemen starts moving the wagon closer and I am targeting the ogres closest to my position. Paddock lines up a nice charge that brings down an ogre and Coe-Nan puts a bad hurting on a 2nd that was already sprouting arrows. As the goblins start to panic and disperse the monk goes into full blender mode with his 7 AOO’s and reach with his spear.

When the third ogre drops, the goblins all try to full scale retreat, and the monk manages to kill six of the ten all told. He get close enough that Kemen puts a sleep spell on one of the last remaining ogres and he barks out for everyone to leave it. The fourth ogre goes down in a flurry of spear, arrow and axe, and the elves are able to relax and take a breath. They started with six, and only 2 are still alive.

We hold a brief parley with the elves while Kemen and Coe-Nan bind the remaining ogre with a ton of rope. They tell us that they are bound for Frontierville, the leader of their community asked them to investigate an oddity he saw in his crystal ball. He described it as “an ancient evil serving a greater good sending a distress call”. Now 4th wall antics aside we are positive this can’t be coincidence. We also know that 2 elves aren’t going to accomplish much of anything. They share what their master has gleaned and we share what we ran into. Unfortunately there are no breakthroughs in terms of knowing what is going on. The elves are ultimately of a mind to return to their community to update their leadership and provide proper funerals for their fallen comrades. Pern, the defacto leader of their band gives up a glass leaf, he tells us that if we do discover anything of great note to make a pot of tea and drop the leaf in the kettle, drink the tea and they will be able to contact us.

The ogre comes around and tries to break his bindings, but he is practically mummified. Kemen walks up to the ogre and squats by it’s side. He tries Goblin, Common and Giant. And the ogre recognizes Giant.

Kemen:I got me a good problem. I really want to find the rest of your friends and I really want to try out this new collapsing tree trap. So you can play this 1 of 2 ways. Tell me how to find the rest of your band and their lair and I will leave you close enough to a fire that your ropes will burn and you will be free with nothing too severe or permanent. OR I can rig up my new trap and see just how many trees collapsing on a ogre it takes to turn you into pulp. Your choice.
Ogre: Big Boss wants more sacrifices…I just follow orders. Big Boss going to break Metal Man..bring big mojo to tribe. Big Boss is half day north from here. Me no want to get smashed.
Kemen:How many?
Ogre: 1 Big Boss…that why he Big Boss
Kemen: how many in your camp?

Kemen gets a few landmarks to ensure we can track the tribe down and then true to his word he lights a campfire right next to the ogre and leaves it to presumably burn through it’s bonds.
Normally I would allude to a sense of duty in tracking down maruding humanoids. Our reasons are much more pragmatic…lairs=loot.
The DM ends session at that point and we make level 4.
I take a 3rd level in rogue and bump Dex
The Silent One bumps Dex and takes another level in monk
Kemen bumps Int and takes a 3rd level in abjurer and takes Web and Flaming Sphere
Coe-Nan takes barb and bumps str
And Paddock takes cleric and bumps wisdom

2012-06-30, 06:08 PM
And, once again, this looks like it could shape up to be one of the best campaign logs ever.

You should probably push for a campaign archive along the lines of the SilverclawShift one.

I have gotten positive feedback, which has encouraged me to keep writing. Having said that I would be hesistant to put these on same level. I absolutely loved reading them and that is what got me started on these. I don't think there is quite the same following for what I have written. That may change as I get deeper for this one.

Averis Vol
2012-06-30, 08:15 PM
I've enjoyed all of your game recaps, even the ones that only got one post or so in, and would definitely put them on the same level.

Endon the White
2012-06-30, 11:28 PM
This is looking like an epic campaign so far. Though I have to wonder if your Paladin is a newer player?

2012-07-02, 09:18 AM
This is looking like an epic campaign so far. Though I have to wonder if your Paladin is a newer player?

In all honesty, no. He has been playing since 1st edition. His desicion to play his paladin as an over the top nearly suicidal idiot was deliberate. He wanted to have fun and this was a way for him to do so.

2012-07-02, 10:42 AM
He is the Champion:

We trek through the wood’s and arrive towards nightfall to a large encampment in a small shallow valley. There are well over 50 goblins, 10-12 ogres 3 of which are clearly better equipped, and from our observations we are guessing 10 plain ogres with two elite bodyguards and a chief (Big Boss). In the center of their camp is a Warforged straining at his bonds held to a pair of thick trees like King Kong. From what chatter we can pick up the Metal Man is going to be sacrificed the next night as part of a dark blessing performed by the Big Boss. I think my favorite aspect of this description was the guy who was playing the Silent One coming to the table after grabbing a drink and him coming up behind Paddock’s player and covering his mouth as if to prevent him from charging.

We observe from a distance as they begin preparation for their ritual. Four enormous bon fires are lit and the goblins all take up positions around each fire. The Ogres form a cordon around the metal man as the Big Boss ceremonially sharpens a huge and heavily weighted axe. Against all reason we decide on making a rescue attempt to free the Warforged. Kemen memorizes a lot of color sprays and a pair of webs with a flaming sphere. He and Coe-Nan are going to make a beeline for the chief and try to free the Warforged. Paddock is given free license to ride like a maniac through the camp causing as much confusion as possible. The Silent One is going to follow in Paddock’s wake and tie up as many mooks as possible, while I trail behind them to snipe targets. If Paddock can get a clear shot he is going to try and lance the chief.

Everyone moves into their position on the map and as all eyes are on the ritual Kemen drops a web right amidst the ogre leadership, as his spell is landing the gnome comes stampeding into the camp skewering a goblin and riding off. The monk comes tumbling with his spear whirling in the middle of the camp, and Coe-Nan with axes swinging starts his bee line straight for the chief….dwarf wizard plodding behind him. I put an arrow into a goblin from the tree line…one that was within sneak attack distance and drop him where he stands.

Most of the goblins are panicked and a good number are unarmed, those too close to the monk get speared trying to run for weapons. The chief begins bellowing out orders as he and his bodyguards start to break free from the web. Kemen color sprays a pack of goblins and tries to keep pace with Coe-Nan but he is lagging behind quickly. Paddock makes a ride by attack at a fringe plain ogre and lands a solid hit. I move in and drop another goblin with’s back to me. Coe-Nan makes it to the web fringe and attacks his first ogre. The Silent One keeps picking off targets of opportunity and the mook goblins are dropping on any damage roll 3 or better.

By the end of round 2 they are getting their act together and the ogres at fringe of web are getting free. The goblins are starting to organize and begin to fight back. I shift focus to the chief and start plinking him. Kemen puts up another web atop his first to pin down the ogres. Paddock makes another ride by attack on an injured ogre and comes close to dropping it. I make it a point to target him on my next turn. Coe get flanked by a pair of ogres and he eats a pair of attacks for 16 damage. The Silent One abandons his harrying tactics and moves to support the barbarian.

The next round Kemen drops a flaming sphere on the chief and lights the whole web. I drop the most heavily wounded ogre and Coe and Silent One are tearing into the next closest one. Where the web gets consumed Kemen follows up with additional color sprays and I keep putting arrows in the chief’s direction barring a badly wounded target. Paddock gets a line of attack on the chief and makes a charge attack on a tight line through the flames. The chief then grapples him and start to pummel his small self. We start absorbing arrows from the goblins and Kemen is becoming a primary target, the ogres getting free from the flames start sending javelins at him. Coe-Nan makes a 5 foot move to get adjacent to the Warforged and manages to cut one of its hands free. The Warforged who has remained quiet until that point roars in appreciation and stands up horizontally against the second pole pulling with everything he has. A bodyguard ogre gets position on Silent One and he clocks him for 17 in a single hit. The Chief shifts with his own five foot move and puts a 19 point attack into Coe-Nan. That puts him dangerously close to single digits. Silent One lands a spear jab from reach on the chief and Paddock lands a lance jab in the same round. Kemen lines up a color spray to hit the bodyguard that hasn’t acted and a few fringe ogres that are now burning.

The Warforged breaks free and acts first the following round…he snatches an ogre club from the ground and lays into one of the bodyguard blocking his way to the chief. We have four ogres in total down and substantial damage on the chief. A dozen or so goblins are down and they are cautiously firing into the chaos at the center. The next round Coe-Nan gets cracked on the head and he drops to -1. Kemen eats a trio of attacks, a club and two javelins and he is reduced to single digit health. Silent One is below half health and Paddock is real banged up too. With no obvious wounded/near death target and things looking real ugly I toss a daze at a plain ogre that has been swinging on Paddock, I manage to take away it’s action for a round and Paddock dives from his mount to where Coe-Nan is dropped and he puts his full 10 point LoH into him. Kemen takes his five foot move and drops a color spray to try and buy himself time. Silent One keeps jabbing at the chief as our Warforged ally drops the bodyguard he was fighting. He steps up and comes face to face with the chief who is ready to finish off Coe-Nan. As the Warforged steps up the collective chaos and shouting goes silent.

The remaining ogres all back off and shout at the goblins to stay their hands. Paddock takes the lull as a chance to put a cure spell on Coe-Nan and our whole group backs up and regroups, as the Warforged starts circling the ogre chief.

Warforged: You should have killed me when you had the chance.
Ogre:Doing so now won’t take very long.
Me: Should we take advantage of this to re-attack or just wait?
Kemen: I’m all for letting people sort out their own problems…

As discreetly as possible (given we are still in the middle of a hostile battlefield in which we have just straight up killed more than a dozen of their allies) we do some cure-light wounds triage and get everyone a little less worse for wear.

The ogre chief and the warforged captive start laying into each other with a fury and perhaps owing to the number of wounds he sustained from our party the chief is not faring very well. The Warforged gets the upper hand and ends up kneecapping the chief, then using his head like a little leaguer would play teaball. There is a sickening *crack* as a final brutal club swing snaps the ogre’s neck and he falls to the ground inert. The surrounding ogres and goblins don’t cheer, instead they kind of look around at each other and most eyes end up on an ogre who take just about no wounds and is built pretty sturdy. He glances at the angered warforged and lowers his club slightly. It is described to us as not exactly a submissive gesture, but at least a complacent gesture.

With a shout the Warforged barks out orders to the goblins who drag the dead chief to the largest bonfire, they strip him of everything he has and unceremoniously toss him to the flames.

The Warforged approaches us and gives us a small salute with the ogre’s huge axe.
Warforged: I appreciate the assistance. I challenged that pile of gnoll dung to a trial for dominance of this tribe and he had his guards tackle me before I could proclaim it to the tribe.
Paddock: Wait, I thought you were being sacrificed.
Warforged: I was. We serve harsh gods, they demand real sacrifice and voluntarily slaying a tribal champion is a strong offering.
I sense a big old cliff coming up on the horizon and something tells me that a gnome sized locomotive is about to go full steam towards it.
Me: Well we are glad to see justice served and will leave to celebrate the change in leadership. Other pressing matters weigh upon us and we shall take our leave.
Paddock: Screw that!
Paddock:If this guy is taking over the tribe then he is responsible for the murders of those elves on the road…he must
DM: I am afraid that Paddock has just fallen asleep…
Paddock: WHAT!?!

The DM then hands a note to the gnome with Kemen’s handwriting on it.

The second the gnome tries to start any sign of additional hostility or confrontation I am dropping my last Sleep spell on him.

Paddock: I should at least get a saving throw.
DM: In the future absolutely. But this is a trusted comrade and ally, with no reason to doubt his intent the first spell he cast on I am ruling is not subject to a save. Any additional spell cast upon you even by an ally you can choose to save or not. That is if you determine what happened to knock you down.
The group makes some hasty “gotta go’s” and we are moving out at top speed to try and get some distance. Or at least we intended to.
Kemen: Have Coe-Nan grab the gnome and lets run out of here as fast as possible.
DM: Coe-Nan will find that rather difficult to do.
Coe-Nan: Uh…no he is well within carrying capacity.
DM: Paddock is. The HORSE is not.
Me: Just yank him off.
Now Paddock who is brooding at the table gets a **** eating grin to end all **** eating grins…
Paddock: I can’t be dismounted save by my own decision. Too bad I’m asleep.

We very haphazardly try to explain our soon to be predictament to the presumptive new ogre chief who is absolutely flummoxed at the turn of events.
Warforged: I think I may need to kill you all. I will feel bad in doing so, but you have badly injured my clan, and while my gratitude is enough to let you leave, it is not enough to accommodate any notions your small friend may have about our future.
Me: Then let’s settle this in a notion that even Paddock will have to accept. If the two of you can’t come to an accord then you settle your differences in a trial by combat. I must admit that I am not familiar with any of the customs of your kind. Perhaps…and I might be wrong…but perhaps *hint hint* there is a prescript in your customs that demands 1 year must pass before the trial can be carried out.
(Warforged were something we knew of, but in the context of character creation they were not allowed and from table chat the presence of was considered extremely rare)
Warforged: So you are suggesting that I accept an offer to fight your little friend, but tell him that we must wait 1 year for the actual challenge?
Me:Precisely. You gain status as not backing down, he saves face for finding a resolution and well all move on.

The gnome starts to come around at that point and Coe-Nan is quick to move in front of him.

The gnome is very confused and steadfast in challenging the tribe and their new leader to follow him to the nearest town for a fair trial. A request they firmly deny and weapons start to get hefted and arrows are put to bowstring. Any dissension from the shake up in management vanished in the face of a renewed threat. The Warforged makes the commitment that a trial will take place…between the two of them, but per his customs, 1 year must pass. We all haggle back and forth in character and out and agree that we are not in a territory with clear laws or governance and that we should meet in the middle ground and have a trial in 1 year’s time.

Paddock: So be it. In 1 years time, by my oath and dedication to Kord, we shall meet upon a field of battle and let providence deem the worth of our actions and stance.
There is a group sigh of relief as we all move on and head back to the main road. Tensions are high, as we expect some sort of potential retaliation in the coming days.

2012-07-02, 02:07 PM
The Road Goes Ever On

We are banged up and there is some real lingering tension in the group…the gnome is not entirely sure what happened and is acting much more leery and even more paranoid than ordinary. A lot of distance is put between the ogre encampment and ourselves and we travel without incident for 3 further days. Everyone gets back to full health and periodic examination of our metallic map leads us to believe we are on the right track.

The thick forests have given way to plains with high grass and the occasional copse of trees. More Savannah than farmland. Paddock is out front, with the monk bringing up the rear. Coe-Nan is at the wagon’s reins with Kemen and myself once again in the wagon itself. Its lazy going until early evening and maybe an hour before we would normally call it a night and make camp a streaking form sprints from the grass and knocks Coe-Nan off the wagon. A second blur comes sprinting out and tries to tackle Paddock off his mount, and instead ends up entangled on the mount with him.

A trio of arrows thud into the wagon and the wizard, 1 hits the wagon and two hit him. The streaking attackers look an awful lot like the boars we ran into, except in cheetah frames. A disease ridden and plague infested gnoll of staggering height rises from the grass furnishing a bramble laced, thorny longbow.

Paddock is stuck in a bizarre grapple situation where he is getting raked by the hindclaws of his mutant cheetah. Coe-Nan manages to get to his feet and draw his axes and the Silent One charges to intercept the assailant from the brush. I draw to return fire at the enemy archer and concealment from displacement sends my first shot stray. Kemen puts a shield up on himself and ducks down for full cover in the wagon. There is some back and forth archery from the wagon to the brush as the Silent One tries to force movement and create AOO’s the enemy archer proves to be quite elusive. Kemen jumps from the wagon on the side away from enemy fire and lends some flanking assistance via his heavy pick to the paladin. The Silent One and myself are both absorbing arrows and Coe-Nan manages to slay his cheetah, he moves to help Paddock finish off his target.

The monk is constantly working to close distance as the gnoll archer is frenetic in his actions. He has major displacement effect that makes him damn tough to pin down. The barbarian and paladin finish off their cheetah and we bring everything to bear on the gnoll…who immediately bugs out and flees. The monk and paladin give chase, but he is moving well beyond what they are capable of and we lose sight of him in short order.

Paddock starts to remain much closer to the wagon and everone piles up inside with missile weapons at the ready. As true night approaches we begin to hear howling from various directions in the distance. Uneasily we are afraid of being surrounded and ambushed in our sleep. Kemen comes up with a plan … he casts light on a handful of crossbow bolts…then levitates about fifty feet into the air…he takes four pot shots in different directions to cast out lighted torch-bolts in the compass directions. From his elevated position he confirms our suspicion. We have about 3 dozen cheetahs all creeping in a circle around our position. I feel obligated to mention something about our particular DM. He made this campaign with no resurrection, and with that he plays things on the edge but rarely throws something at us that we can’t handle. 2 dozen cheetahs feels overwhelming given the trouble we had the first time. 2 dozen cheetahs with ranged support seems overkill. When presented with a scenario like this he is saying 1 of 3 things.
1.You need to run or evade as there is something planned down the road
2. There is something I have foreshadowed that you can abuse
3. I am tired of running things and I want to play as a PC again so I am wiping you guys out to end the campaign.
Guessing wrong on these facts has TPK a few adventures.

As he starts to shout to us…arrows from a long distance hiss past him and he rapidly descends back into the wagon…
Kemen: We need to move and now…lots of cheetahs and they have us surrounded.
Paddock: Then let us stand and fight!
Kemen: We need to draw them somewhere they don’t have cover. We gotta run and hold out til morning when we have some visibility.

Coe-Nan puts the wagon in motion and we move at a good clip with everyone scanning for incoming cats like our heads are mounted on swivels. You never know when #3 could be the factor and its always nice to make a strong showing of yourselves.

The cheetahs strafe in and out harrying us from all angles, and after about 2 hours of cat and horse…they attack the horses directly.
Me: No horses…no movement they are trying to hamstring us.
Coe-Nan: Why not hook up the paladin’s stone horse to the traces and let it pull us? It never wears out right?
Kemen: That is a great idea. It should be able to pull the wagon we don’t have a lot in it.

The stone horse is jury rigged to the wagons traces after we slice the two draft horses free. Judging from pained whinnies we hear, we assume the horses are killed off screen and can’t help but feel a bit saddened. We are also greatly pained by the constant stream of cats leaping from the high grass. I’m not if we actually killed many as they relentlessly moved in and out and it was hard to tell injuries from disease marks. When dawn comes there is a short lived sigh of relief. Short lived because the attacks don’t cease. If anything they intensify. From the vantage of the wagon more than one gnoll is visible and we catch glimpses of cheetahs everywhere.

Everyone is low on spells and health. The paladin’s limited supply of healing is spent and we are all fatigued. We stubbornly keep plinking away with missile weapons and the paladin takes the reins to allow Coe-Nan and his better BAB to start dropping arrows. The Silent One is out of shuriken and he resorts to acting as a defensive asset to spear incoming cheetahs. The wagon moves up the crest of a hill and we spot a fortified hillock a mile or two away. A ragged cheer goes up at the table as the wagon turns and we head for the fort.

The attacks finally let up as we approach the fort. A strange but familiar face greets us as we come within hailing distance. The sharakim leader we parleyed with back at Meskeet’s tavern and bunkhouse waves to us from the fort walls.

Sharakim Leader: Fate does strange things in bringing people together and tearing them apart. I hope we are as well met the second time as the first.
Coe-Nan: Any face that does not resemble hyena or cheetah is welcome to us.
Sharakim Leader: We feel much the same.

In retrospect we probably should have thought to ask more questions, but when a chance to enter a fortified position and meet up with potential reinforcements arrives you just go with it. Oops.

Turns out the Sharakim have been harried and attacked by the same forces that have been nipping at us for the better part of a day. The survivors of their band found this hillock which had been over-run and barricaded themselves in. Of the 12 that initially set out, 5 remain. While we thought we were approaching a safe place, we really just steered ourselves into a siege scenario. The cheetahs and gnolls backed off because we were entering a place they already had bottled up. The Sharakim thicken the plot when they tell us that the gnolls went to pretty drastic lengths to avoid killing any of them, and have tried to take the fallen or wounded alive whenever possible.
We join the Sharakim atop the fort walls to survey our situation. Cheetahs in plenty and 7 gnolls or similar stature and raiment are casually setting up patiently in the grass surveying the hill.

Coe-Nan: Why do I feel like putting on the Alamo right now?

More cheetahs and gnolls arrive in the course of the next day and while the paladin is getting most of the Sharakim and ourselves back to full health the dwarf takes stock of our resources and starts improvising traps. The fort is well built and direct assault will prove taxing. The gate itself is rather weak and with little rainfall the wood is dry and will burn eagerly once lit. Whatever force was occupying the hillock left it well provisioned, we are not lacking for torch oil, wood, rope, food and ammunition. They were even kind enough to leave us spare timber and tools. The Sharakim fill us in a bit on their training and abilities. At heart they are two handed fighter who favor the falchion. In our vernacular…power attackers with crit weapons. Kemen and I load up all 10 light crossbows in the fort’s equipment room and rig a simple trap that will let us fire all five at once. We rig them on either side of the gate and set the trigger to be a cut rope. Nothing elegant…but should work in a pinch.

Kemen builds some rudimentary fire traps in shallow trenches surrounding the front gate, he sets up a ring of five grooves with torch oil that can be lit and form a burning circle. There are two sets of stairs that lead up to the fort’s walls. He takes off about 20 spear heads from the equipment room and pounds them through flat panels of wood, he adds nails and some broken glass then slides the panels pointy end up under the stairs. The stairs themselves he cuts most of the supports down to almost nothing, so that weight on them will cause it to to break…and the person falling should land on the pointy side of his panels. He also hammers in footholds and handholds directly into the wall so we can climb up and down. At the rear center of the hillock is a stone and wood cellar…he removes the roof from it and places all our water barrels inside. We stretch a rope net across the cellar with the intent of jumping from the walls into there as a last ditch effort.

Coe-Nan and myself both have comp longbows and with a good supply of arrows we set up shop as snipers from the fort walls. Most of the cheetahs and gnolls are well back from the walls, but with range penalties not precluding us from taking potshots we start lobbing arrows and forcing them to back up several hundred feet.

With a bit of a buffer zone we start to wrap arrow heads in oil soaked rags and pot shot out flaming arrows as far as possible. Our intent? Smoke em out from the grass and remove their cover. Its not exactly ineffectual and its hardly game changing but we manage to get a fair blaze going and we push a lot of movement on their part. Day 3 sees the biggest development. A hulking hill giant….and I mean HUGE hill giant is seen from our elevated position. He is at the helm of a monumental wagon being pulled by four wooly mammoth all stricken with the same affliction as the cheetahs and boars.

Paddock: You know that big rock guy in Never Ending Story? The one that rides the granite tricycle? I feel like that guy just went all stay puff marshmallow on us. What is the one thing that could never hurt us? The nice rock guy from Never Ending Story and now he is coming for us…
Kemen: Well its been a good run…
Me: We could just run for it.
Paddock: Cheetahs run faster.
Coe-Nan: If they hesitate to kill us we stand a chance.

The monk has an idea and owing to his limitations he is forced to get outlandish. Figuring it would be too easy to just let him say “ well my monk acts out the following without talking” the DM made him play his character as a true mute and in exchange he got a constant magic fang effect, shoring up a major weakness in the class.

At the table The Silent One pantomimes taking a deep drag on a cigarette then exhaling all over the place…he then raises his hand to brow and squints as if to see through the haze. He then takes a red 20 sided dice and starts rolling it all over the map and making burning noises. I love the fact that he follows his restrictions and is creative enough to get his point across. Basically “no one can see well in the smoke…so just use flaming sphere to light up everything and we move out in the smoke”
Kemen: I think cheetahs can track by scent…
*Sniff Sniff* *cough cough* waves hands in front of face to wave away the smoke…
Me: nice…

Not wanting to find out what the hill giant has in store the wizard starts lighting up the surrounding lands with flaming spheres and we get a good solid burn going just about everywhere except for the direction we are going to ride out in. The Sharakim go with us, running alongside the wagon. We are told the stone horse can pull it with them in it but at a slow pace. We decide to make as much forward progress as running will allow, then alternate running and walking.

It works pretty well. We get a good open plains fire roaring them get the hell out of dodge. The smoke does it’s job and keeps most of our pursuers at bay. The wizard is the only one to remain in the wagon at all times as the rest of us switch back and forth to catch our breath. Errant cheetahs do pounce on us and are quickly swarmed and overwhelmed. The pace is pushed until everyone is borderline exhausted and we are forced to all take rest in the now very slow moving wagon.

Our only advantage (we think it is an advantage, for all we know these mutant cheetahs don’t sleep) is that we can go endlessly with a never tiring horse. We take the extended retreat as an opportunity to really investigate what is going on. The Sharakim and ourselves enter a lengthy discussion and all we can come up as a reason for the assaults on us is the map we are carrying. What we do with that map? That is a tougher question.

*Side Note:A few weeks later someone casually tosses out this encounter as an example of overkill and our DM replies "well I expected you guys to scour the cellar and find a trapdoor leading to an underground section of the fort. You got so caught up MacGyver'ing traps that you never really bothered to search"

2012-07-02, 04:45 PM
Time to Test Out My Sea Legs:

Together we journey un-harassed to our original coastal city destination. The Sharakim once again part ways with us and book a ship for a long passage around the coast of the continent. The City is called LaBrau and its borderline metropolis in size, it is a sprawling and prosperous shipping location and heavy with resources. We seek out some knowledgeable scholar types to examine our map and see what they can come up with. We track down an archivist in a dusty library and he manages to tell us that some of the inlays resemble a very old manuscript he saw about a country/nation called Tempura, a once powerful desert kingdom that fell into antiquity and legend.
Kemen: Well that does us next to zero good.

Our next step is to scour the docks for any information about strange passengers seeking passage just about anywhere. If some kind of lich did emerge from the crypt way back past Frontierville then he must struggle to travel incognito. In game it takes us the better part of a full week to track down a smaller merchant fleet that recalls an odder customer that communicated almost exclusively by courier and written note. He arranged private passage for himself and a consignment of cargo to one of the lesser populated continents. Aside from the strange communication what made him so memorable was his desire for the ship to pass extremely close to a chains of islands known as the Hullbreaker’s Edge. Most ships avoid the area like a plague…he wanted to pass within several miles of it.

I alluded to the more sandbox nature of this campaign and I meant it. Our DM told us from the onset that we could take the content whatever way we wanted and that he had contingencies for the story for just about every variation he thought we could come up with. From a rail-road or paint by numbers aspect the “hook” is leading us towards travelling to the Hullbreaker islands or booking passage to the same destination our potential mystery guy went to. So naturally we skip that whole thought process and decide to double back to the hillock and re-investigate the area and get some payback on gnolls. This decision also led to some true lawyer-ing. While we the people know there is a whole nother section to the hillock fort, we the characters do not know that information. Kemen ends up making the true legal argument of inevitable discovery. Basically saying that given enough time and lack of an immediate threat we would have searched the area top to bottom before leaving.

We drop about 500 in coin on restocking mundane supplies and purchasing a second wagon and some serviceable draft horses. Kemen also crafts a custom harness that the gnome can unhook from the lead wagon as a move action. Paddock takes the lead wagon, and Coe-Nan steers the draft horses in trail wagon. Kemen and I split between the two wagons and Silent One walks in between the two. We spend another week backtracking to the savannah and we become over the top paranoid as the landscape grows familiar again. Game time the better part of 3 weeks has passed since we last entered and the place looks a lot different.

Turns out the whole area was reallllll dry, and we burned down several thousand acres of tall grass. The hillock is a smoldering ruin and there is no sign of our previous pursuers. We cautiously approach the ashes of the fort and get a big shock when…

DM: As you start to climb the hill towards the still smoking refuse that was once a fortified position a squat and expansively muscled creature steps out from a small tree. It is barely four feet tall and must weigh the better part of 400 pounds, it wears simple robes and is covered in short grey and white fur. Every fiber of your being is insisting that your eyes must be playing tricks but for all purposes you think the creature walking upright and looking very severely in your direction is in fact a dire badger. He crosses his arms and growls lowly at the group…he addresses you in Common…

Badger: It will take generations for this land to recover from what you have done to it. Few offenses this egregious have been witnessed in the last 100 years. I was fully ready to take all your lives as recompense but my master bid me show compassion. I may let you leave this ground alive and unable to reproduce if you can justify your actions in setting an uncontrolled fire and then fleeing with no regard to the consequence, but that is if I feel very merciful.
Coe-Nan: Did a talking badger just step out of a tree and threaten to castrate us?
Kemen: Can I ask your name?
Badger: I am called SlowHand
Kemen: Slowhand…if you are knowledgeable enough to know we are responsible then you should be knowledgeable enough to know what we faced, is this correct?
Slowhand *growling*:Indeed I do not. Whatever perceived threat you thought you faced was non detectable by any means at our disposal.

We all describe just what it is that we faced and are taken aback when the badger insists no evidence supporting our claims is detectable. Coe-Nan ends up leading SlowHand to the general area where we saw the hill giant arriving. While he can’t locate a single track, scrap of fur, drop of blood, or even sign of dropping, the badger does grudgingly admit it would take a tremendous amount of weight to create the tracks we help him locate. Embedded deep within a wagon tread we uncover a single strand of mammoth hair. Slowhand examines it slowly then licks it. When he does the following torrent of language is something none of can recognize, but as the DM makes a nonsencial tirade in a furious voice he hands the Silent One the translation and his eyes go wide at the table.

He doesn’t so much apologize, but he no longer threatens to castrate us. Instead he threatens to break our legs if we don’t recover every single detail of what happened and leave nothing out. We start from the beginning and describe everything from the boars to the cheetahs and the creepy drow. He nearly tackles my character to reach Kemen who has the map. As he examines the map, we all step back and try to get Silent to translate.

Me: Im assuming he was speaking language of druids…
TSO: *Nod yes*
Kemen: Don’t let on you can understand…that would be very bad.
Coe-Nan: Charades aside…how bad is what he was talking about, scale of 1-10
TSO: *raises all ten fingers*
Silent One: Give me a couple minutes…I have no clue how to act this out…need to think.
He kind of mutters to himself for a few minutes then rolls his shoulders and stretches his arms. He makes a moaning noise and bites himself on the arm…a few seconds after rubbing the imaginary bite he kind of lurches around the table Frankenstein like.
Paddock: Zombie bites…
He makes the “sort of” hand gesture then he draws a line around his forehead with his finger, makes a creaking noise like lifting a squeaky lid and gestures as if taking his brain out. He fake bites the invisible brain then puts in back in his head and closes the lid…resuming his Frankenstein lurch after.
Me: Yes zombies eat brains….
Kemen: I think he means the bites don’t cause infections, but the infections occur inside the head.
He makes the Bingo gesture!

SlowHand steps back into his tree and disappears, warning us not to go far. We take the interlude as an opportunity to move into the ruined fort and start searching. It takes not much more than 10 minutes to locate the hidden trapdoor and discover a wooden stairwell spiraling down. We forgo exploring and wait for our badger friends to reappear.

He comes back along with several other presumptive druids. 5 in total, an elderly elf, a pair of Halfling sisters, an awakened orangutan, and SlowHand (who we assume is also awakended). They all look ticked off. They blister us with yelling and let off a lot of steam but no overt violence is presented. They grudgingly give us the benefit of the doubt that something happened, but while they seem to have a clue as to what it was, they aren’t letting us know. It looks like we are almost off the hook when Elf druid silences all the chatter and simply stares Kemen in the eye.

Elf Druid: You must atone for what you have done, justification merely obscures balance. Balance is what I am interested in.

He gives me a frosted crystal, that is cold to the touch, but not painfully so.

Elf Druid: There is an elixir that can rapidly heal the damage to this area. It is rare and dangerous and is resistive to all magical transportation. A waterfall of pure water falls in a land carved from ice, you must go to this place and submerge the crystal, place the water that you create from this mixture into a wooden gourd, you will then return to this place and bury the gourd. When this is done the fulcrum will return to the position it is meant and the debt will be paid.
Kemen: I would comply with your demands on one condition and one condition only. Explain why you can’t locate any sign of the infected.

The orangutan damn near flips out and tries to leap onto the dwarves shoulders…the badger and Halflings manage to restrain him, but it looks like they are itching for any excuse to let him go. The elf druid is bright red from anger.

Elf Druid:Some knowledge is the exclusive providence of those charged with sheltering it.
Kemen: Some knowledge is being withheld that implicates us in a matter you deem extremely serious and I am not playing errand dwarf for a group of druids too uptight to be candid.
SlowHand: Master Carnish perhaps given the circumstance…we could…
Elf Druid (Carnish): No! Until I am certain we speak nothing of what MAY have happened.
Kemen: And until I’m certain you are on the level I am not budging from this spot. You want to kill me in cold blood…take your best shot.

They all start arguing in druidic and the Silent One acts like he is examining his spear VERY intently but he is hastily making notes from a worksheet the DM whipped up.

Carnish: We have decided that in the interest of necessary disclosure we will inform you of this fact. The nature of what we suspect renders any subject inflicted by this “condition” invisible to all attempts at scrying, divination or tracking. Whether this uniqueness extends to the arcane arts of a wizard is unknown to us, but our magic is useless and their presence invisible to us. Only with our physical senses could we glean their location or real-ness. The map you carry MAY be the only means in which they can be tracked.
Me: Then why would one of them be carrying the map? I mean it would explain our sudden popularity.
Coe-Nan: Its like kryptonite radar for superman.
Paddock: And we are the schlubs getting attacked by the League Of Doom.
Carnish: The map shows the location of something…*he looks to his colleagues and sighs*…something we have feared for millennia. Some forces are not meant for this world and the affliction you described is amongst them. It also possesses the capability to track more than just its intended target.
Kemen: Then I propose a trade. You keep the map and the crystal. Send SlowHand to communicate with us, but you can protect the map anyway you want and when you come up with anything that puts us on the right track…we will track down the source.

The Orangtuan who identifies himself as Wahlloon (hereafter we just think of him as the Librarian) expresses his fear that with their inability to detect anyone afflicted they can’t protect it.

Kemen: Go to the dwarven capital of Kay-Varn and ask for Grymm Strongarm…a former mentor and respected wise man. The dwarves stone and steel in conjunction with your earth and wood will make strong custodians. Now if you will excuse us…we got a cellar to explore…

Please leave some feedback on what you think so far. The "story" as it is unfolds starts to take off from here. I will say this...

Did a talking badger just step out of a tree and threaten to castrate us?

I was laughing at myself when I wrote that line down. It is plastered on a manilla folder, written in bold sharpie along with our character sheets.

2012-07-02, 05:03 PM
Hey, loving the stories. Keep it up. Gotta admit the CalimShaw Shank Redemption and Chaotic Goodfellas are my favorites so far. Keep writing, we'll keep reading.

Dr Bwaa
2012-07-02, 05:41 PM
Oh man. Lots of reading to do!

I've been an enthusiastic reader of your other recaps as well--I definitely think you should bring more of your writing over to the snippets thread (sig), if I can convince you to do more in that style :smallsmile: I even manage all the archiving!

/shameless plug

I'll give you some feedback when I can get through everything!

2012-07-03, 12:34 PM
The Cat-People Under the Stairs:

Our druids antagonists argue with themselves as they leave and they are equal parts intrigued and terrified to have the map. Once we are alone in the ruins of the hill top fort we start pressing the monk for details on their argument.

*He puts his hand over his eyes and scans the horizon then gestures to the tree they just stepped back into. He then grabs one of the dwarves carvings and makes a “hey I found it!” type expression*
Paddock: They were looking for something and the dwarf had it?
*Yes to 1st, no to 2nd.*
Kemen: It was something like the carving?”
*Yes…taps metal of spear head then picks up a coin and stretches the circle out further*
Me: It’s a metal circle they are looking for…”
*Yes…but he raises five fingers one at a time”

So we have some mid to high level druids who are freaking out over a strange disease/curse that makes those infected invisible to their magic, and there are apparently five metal discs associated with this disease. A guardian lich who may have possessed one or more of these discs or was instructed to hide them is being hunted or is hunting for them as we speak and he is a good month ahead of us at this point.

Being PC’s and owing to PC’s having the attention span and focus you would expect in a herd of cats we ignore those tiding and climb into the burnt out cellar of a fort that we inadvertenly destroyed. Priorities right?
The trapdoor opens to an counter weighted elevator mechanism that takes us more than a hundred feet below the hill. The elevator opens to a complex mine system. Permanently lit torches provide good illumination through the whole area.

Me: Well this is unexpected.
Kemen: Quite

We start moving and exploring and quickly locate a large number of traps. I mean lots. Hidden bear traps on the floor , trip wires, dead falls, nooses on a spring, pit traps with bait laid out, and nets. Nothing magical or targeted….just lots of different hunting traps that have secondary function of causing damage to anyone that stumbles into them. Between my rogue skills and Kemen’s trap knowledge we are granted good synergies on disabling them and avoiding peril. Forward progress occurs at a crawl as we are constantly working to disable and avoid traps. A screeching noise grabs our attention and turn a corner to find a good sized dire rat held aloft in a net trap. It is fighting like hell to twist and bite the ropes that hold it, but it can’t get an angle to gnaw properly and it is stuck solid.

As we watch the rat in his trap an agile humanoid coming jogging around the corner. We panic at the feline features for a second and fear more diseased cheetahs, but it is an actual Catfolk. The catfolk cuts the rat’s throat and does a quick and effective field dressing with it’s claws, then ties the corpse to it’s back and starts to jog back from the direction it came. Curious we follow after very slowly, not wanting to set off any further traps. The tunnel system extends for what feels like miles. We plod along carefully and methodically alert without trying to appear hostile. We finally began to hear noise from the mouth of an opening a few dozen yards ahead of us. I creep up to the lip of the tunnel and survey what lays ahead. Best as I can tell we have come to the mine’s entrance or central staging area and there are dozens of catfolk scrambling around a makeshift underground village. At the village’s center is a pit splattered with blood.

Paddock: Alright…the second one of these guys calls themselves Liono or Pathero I am done.

We are goaded into acting when we spot a very deep pit with a wood fence covering the top. One of our infect cheetahs in inside the pit. The desire to fully examine or even capture one alive for the druids to examine is too much for us to resist. Kemen uses a ghost sound to get their attention and we make our presence known. A detachment of catfolk with bows and spears approaches us with care. Communication proves difficult but luckily Kemen speaks giant which one of them is familiar with. They escort us to meet their Den Leader when we inquire about the infected cheetah. Their Den Leader turns out to be a very old and grizzled Wemic. For those not familiar the Wemic is a lot like a centaur but replace the horse elements with a lion.
The Wemic greets us in Common and asks just what the heck we are doing there. He identifys himself as Grad

Me: Well we followed an elevator from a hill top fort and were looking to see where it goes. Not too long ago we were ambushed and assaulted by creatures very smiliar to the one you have in your pit just over there. We wanted to examine it or possibly even buy it from you.

The Wemic says something in cat language and the whole place goes quiet. Like you can hear a pin drop quiet.

Grad: You would BUY the creature within that pit.
Kemen *whispering to me*: I don’t think you should push that idea.
Me: If I offended I apologize. We are curious as to what is affecting it and just want to help.

The Wemic stares at us long and hard and finally he reaches into a basket at his side. He removes an arrow that is mostly intact. He gestures to his catfolk who walk up to Coe-Nan and myself and ask for one of our arrows. A little confused we each hand over an arrow. The Wemic for all appearances if comparing the arrows he just confiscated to the one he pulled from his basket. The one he took from my quiver is similar enough that he singles me out. He snarls out something in a cat language and an elderly catfolk is escorted to our audience by a young warrior. She is blind and unsteady on her feet. She sniffs both arrows and nods to the Wemic.

Grad: My people have made these plains our home for generations. We have lived in peace with the land. Recently fires swept through our lands and one of my bravest warriors endured the flames to find this arrow. An arrow from the person that started the fire and destroyed our homes. Now you come to us with a desire to take Sha-Hatal from his cage.
Coe-Nan: Sha-Hatal?

The monk asks if he understood the reference. Nope.

A slightly built catfolk who has been lurking at the outskirts of the audience overhears the question and steps forth. He is afforded a certain respect from the larger warriors and even the Wemic shows him a degree of deference.

Catfolk: Sha-Hatal is our god. A spirit that is tied to the land. He comes to us in visions and omens.
Paddock ooc: If there is a flipping Sword of Omens…I repeat..I am done.

Catfolk: Recently he came to us injured and corrupted, angered and enraged. We have sought wisdom as to what has happened and it appears our answer has come.
Me: You gleaned all this from an arrow?
Grad: Do you deny firing this arrow and being part of what ravaged our land?
Kemen: Are you acquainted with Carnish and SlowHand?
At the name drop of the druids the Wemic looks at his cleric (we are guessing) and then at the old wise woman…they all pass glances back and forth.
Raja (Catfolk Cleric): Yes the druids are known to us.
Kemen: Good if you want to start passing judgment and lay blame you should get along great. Take up the destruction of your land with them. What lays in that pit is not your god. It is not a vision. It is not an omen. It is a cheetah whose mind has been infected. The mental disease has also altered it’s body. If you want proof…then Marilius will walk himself into that pit and you can let your “god” in there with him. My friend will walk out and leave the very mortal and very dead remains of that thing behind.
Me: I’m going to do what now?
Raja: It would certainly stand to reason that if that is an avatar of Sha-Hatal it would not allow the one responsible for his suffering to live.
Kemen: Such is the nature of most gods. Although…although it is possible that I am wrong and he is your god. In which case if my comrade kills the avatar of your deity it is a sign that your tribe is finished, that your god has grown too weak and that his demise is the prophecy that foreshadows your own doom. Perhaps Marilius is the mechanism to show you that your days have reach their end and his slaying of your deity is the omen you are actually looking for.

THAT gets them nervous and off center. Kemen goes on…

Kemen: Amongst my people these sort of no-win situations have a common outcome. I am guessing that most of your people don’t speak Common. If that is the case you have maybe half a dozen folks that understand what we have been talking about. I think those half a dozen are about to find their status in the tribe hierarchy drastically improved. Word of what might happen is curbed and you don’t risk losing anything in the process. We make appeasements to the “Spirit” trapped in the pit and then Raja there proclaims that the search for answers continues.

I admit we kind of congratulate ourselves here. With the ogre tribe and their Warforged we role played ourselves into a trial by combat which we delayed. And here amongst the Catfolk we role played ourselves out of a trial by combat by requesting it. So DM’s take note. When you plan something…we the PC will find a way to screw it up.

As the leadership of the cat tribe discuss current events a series of alarms begins to sound and catfolk warriors start leaping to attention and rushing to various mine tunnels. Infected cheetahs and dire hyenas even a few dire weasels come barreling into the central area and amidst the hissing and tangled balls of claws the sounds of traps springing starts going off like popcorn.

The Wemic grabs a large sack which he straps to his back and charges off to the room’s center. Our group makes a hasty retreat to the tunnel we came from and stand fast while waiting for incoming. With a lot of traps disabled from our direction we expect resistance. Coe-Nan plants himself in the middle of the tunnel opening with Silent One on his flank. Kemen and myself set up on the other side with bows at the ready. Paddock is wheeling his horse around the central chamber and riding around like a maniac skewering cats and dogs everywhere. Then the Wemic starts pulling out boulders twice the size of the dwarf and hurling them around with devastating accuracy.

There are 7 -10 rounds of furious combat with all hell breaking loose in the catfolk village. Our group is making a strong showing and the piles of dead animals is growing rapidly. The Wemic is brutal and he is laying out invaders all over the place. He finally gets swarmed by a trio of hyenas and he starts to go down. As he does Paddock makes a nice dip off the side of his saddle to land a massive critical on a hyena. The moment he does this the catfolk cleric raja reaches out to heal his leader…and instead hits him with an inflict wounds, killing the Wemic chief. The little bastard apparently wanted a big promotion.

Raja: The deceivers have brought this ruin upon us! They have killed Grad…get the one on the horse he has killed our leader!

Too much a coincidence for us, the infected animal attack seems to break off the moment this proclamation is made.

Paddock: 3 to 1 odds say this ass-hat is responsible for the attack.
Me/Kemen/Coe-Nan: Oh heck yeah.

Paddock becomes an instant target and under heavy fire he tries to reach us at the tunnel. He ends up moving past us and we keep up a fighting retreat as we back up the way we came in. Kemen puts a down a Web to slow our pursuers and we start to get some separation. Periodically we stop to try and re-arm easy to fix traps and Kemen puts another Web down when we hear the sound of close pursuit. Our arrival at the elevator seems like the logical interlude to this series of events but as we arrive the whole mechanism is broken.

Coe-Nan: Anyone got a shovel? We might have to start digging…

2012-07-03, 03:13 PM
Back into the Lion’s Den:

With no clear means of escape and a sprawling tunnel system laden with traps we are faced with the prospect of finding an alternate route or going back to confront the now very pissed off catfolk. Diplomacy may prove impossible, while we could easily examine the body of their chief and show the alarming absence of a gaping lance wound the chances of getting that opportunity are about zero.

Kemen: We could hole up for the night and I can prepare some flaming spheres, we can try to smoke out the tunnels.
Me: I think fire has caused us enough grief so far.
Coe-Nan: Personally I want to neuter me a catfolk cleric.
Me: I am all for that.
Kemen: Then let’s go on offense. We pick a tunnel and smash everything in our way, if at all possible we don’t kill catfolk and we track down Raja.
Me: If we kill their spiritual leader and most likely their true chief at this point we aren’t going to make it out alive.
Kemen: We kill him then prove he is guilty.
Coe-Nan: And how do we do that? Granted Im all for swing first and ask later, but that rarely works out well.
Kemen: We will burn that bridge when we get there.

We set our sights on roaming the tunnels and subduing any random catfolk we encounter, but our objective is the harsh questioning of Raja. What follows is a lengthy and grueling tunnel by tunnel extended combat with lots of traps. We start using pit traps as storage for bound catfolk. Lots of small skirmishes end up Coe-Nan knocking out catfolk with the flat of an axe or Silent One pummeling them. Raja remains in the wind and we fail to track him down. What we find instead is a tunnel that moves upward and eventually out several miles from the hilltop fort and above ground. We hunker down for the night still on high alert and try to catch our breath. We get promoted to level 5 and this opens up some big developments for us.

I take level 2 in bard and select Cure Light Wounds and Grease as my two spells
Silent One advances in monk
Coe-Nan takes Barbarian
Kemen takes Master Specialist to gain Skill Focus Spellcraft and he selects Protection from Arrows and Resist Energy as new spells.
Paddock takes another level in cleric which gets us 2nd level cleric spells too

We circle back to the initial fort and find our wagon destroyed. That is like a declaration of war in our campaigns. You can mess with a character’s wealth, his mind, even his manhood but hands off my spellbook and my wagon!
We spent the next three days moving in expanding circles to locate other entrances to the mine. Day 3 we find a partially blocked entrance to the mine system in the side of a hill. Catfolk activity is high, and with the amount we observe moving around cooler heads prevail and we finally give up on our quest to track down the sneaky catfolk cleric. Which raises the question, where the heck do we go now? You go right back into the lion’s den naturally. For those keeping score at home we have:

*A broken elevator that descends the better part of 100 feet into the depths of the tunnel system from our burnt hill top fort.
*A secondary tunnel that leads upwards and exits several miles from the fort
*A primary tunnel that seems to connect directly to the catfolk underground village that is heavily guarded.

We re-enter the zone via our secondary tunnel and resume our humane guerilla tactics. There is a small hope that unkilled catfolk being found in the pit traps bound will report just who in fact DIDN’t kill them and maybe undermine some authority or buy us enough doubt to not be killed on sight. The majority of traps are wrecked upon our re-entry and we run into surprisingly light resistance. A few rats and other critters are found in traps but no catfolk or mutant cheetahs/dire animals. We move all the way to the central catfolk village and find a full scale massacre. Something massacred the entire village overnight. Dozens of torn and sliced catfolk corpses are gruesomely strewn about the cavern. We are hard pressed to find a single survivor. We do a top to bottom search and find the elderly catfolk wise woman at the bottom of a pit trap, both legs shattered and barely clinging to life. She speaks a stilted form of elven that I am able to recognize and translate.

Elder:We were betrayed by our own. His treachery was hidden too long and when they came we didn’t stand a chance. Find Grad’s totem…follow it’s light and avenge our people.

While none of us is a ranger we have become quite familiar with the infected dire animals and most of the wounds we find are not from cheetahs or hyena. It takes an entire afternoon to sift through the bodies and Paddock makes the elderly catfolk as comfortable as possible. We finally find the body of Grad and at her behest we take his bag of holding and then find a totem in the bag. A wooden tribal charm I locate a false bottom and a small lion’s eye gem rolls out. It casts a pale but distinct light in a direction that leads out from the village. Paddock and Kemen build a basket and Paddock is gracious enough to give the use of his mount to carry her. We follow the light and escort the wise woman to a place deep in the plains. The light takes us to a nearly buried cairn of stones. Once there the lion’s eye gem levitates on it’s own to the center of the alter. It bursts with light and the wise woman levitates out from her basket, as the light bathes her the vision of a massive spectral cat takes shape.

Me: I think we just found the real Sha-Hatal
Kemen (mouth hanging open) Uh-huh

Sha-Hatal speaks in a voice laden with strength and dignity, there is true agony and anquish in her words and they are directed right at Coe-Nan.

Sha-Hatal: You are a kindred spirit, someone who nature sings to in a voice your kind has long lost the ability to hear. As long as a single person bears the emblem of our tribe then the memory and tradition of our people will never fade. I task you warrior of the wolf tribe…will you accept the bonding of two spirits and honor our tragedy?
Coe-Nan: Yes?

As he sheepishly says yes his own personal wolf totem floats out from his belt pouch and joins the lion’s eye gem…the spirit of Sha-Hatal bounds into the light with a roar and a hybrid wolf-cat forms from the light, the proud and savage beast dances into the sky then plummets like a comet directly into the barbarian’s chest.
Everyone looks around at each other with disbelief and awe.

Me: Do you feel any different?
Coe-Nan: Nope.
DM: You don’t feel any outward effect of the spirit entering you. Physically you feel the same and the only immediate effect you have is a small voice whispering that the traitor must be found if the spirit is to flourish.

Taking stock of what we have from our encounter with the catfolk, we come away with a bag of holding type 4 with 5 300 pound boulders, each with enchantments placed upon them, and a lion’s eye/wolf’s heart gem possessing the spirit of a tribal god that now imbues our barbarian with unknown properties.

Our attention next turns to finding a trail to follow Raja. Coe-Nan being our best tracker is leaned on to find a path for us to follow. We pick the merest hint of a trail with feline footprints and start to give chase. Which sheds light on our biggest frustration…time. So far we have steadily been pursued or in pursuit with severe time disadvantages.

Raja’s trail starts taking us back to the coast, this time further north. Without a wagon for our stone horse to pull all night we make ok time, but not very quick. The world’s slowest chase continues and we plod along to catch our clerical turncoat. As the savannah turns to desert we get a big break. The trail is getting much easier and fresher and we start finding signs of battle, soon the signs manifest as the dessicated and drained husks of dire animals, signs of their infection still evident on their hides.

Coe-Nan starts to feel a stirring within himself and he starts being asked to make Will saves, generally about 3 per day, some of which he must have failed given his rolls, others we are confident he passed. The consequences remain hidden to us for the time being. As the desert journey grows longer we find a desert compound replete with a tower at the center. From afar Coe-Nan is positive he spots the Catfolk cleric Raja…

2012-07-04, 09:43 AM
You Got Some Explaining to Do!

Against all odds it is the Silent One that nearly goes berserk and tries to storm the desert compound by himself. From a distance we creep on our stomachs to survey the location and we confirm that Raja is in the building, from what we gather he is in the tower itself. While we are used to Paddock and Coe-Nan trying to heroically kill themselves it is Silent One that has to be restrained. Why? We spot a group of hooded and slightly built humanoids entering the gate and as they pull back their hoods a tattoo becomes visible. What also becomes visible is their race…Githyanki. If you are not overly familiar the Githerzai and Githyanki have been at war for a long time. To add fuel to a feud that makes Hatfield-McCoy look like a mere squabble, the tattoo he sees is the same tattoo born by those that abducted his family.

The guild or syndicate for abducting his wife and kids have members not more than a few hundred yards away and if he can’t kill them all singlehandedly he will damn well do his best to take as many as possible with him. When we ask him what he wants to do, he draws his thumb across his throat and then makes a sweeping arm gesture encompassing the whole place.

Kemen: In due time…you ever the story about the old bull and young cow?
Rest of us:?
Kemen: An old bull and young bull are sitting at the top of a valley and the young bull says “lets run down that hill and make love to half those cows. The old bull says “ lets walk down and get them all”.

From our vantage the compound has high walls, sentry posted in all four corners upon wooden parapets and a central tower that holds at a minimum one catfolk cleric and four githyanki. Two sentries are posted in each parapet and amidst the center we pick out five other guards who patrol the inside so 13 visible guards and a five pack inside.

We plan on storming the compound come nightfall and heading straight for the tower. I am tasked with sniping the sentries on the southwest corner while Kemen immobilizes those northeast rendering the two remaining towers blind spots. Silent One is going to slip over the wall and sneak for the tower and if all goes well we will let Paddock and Coe-Nan in from the gate.

I stealth up to my sentry parapet and manage to put a rapid shot sneak attack with 1 arrow into each guard, while at the same time Kemen levitates up and Webs his parapet. Neither guard I hit drops, and both Kemen’s targets instantly raise an alarm. Well so much for the easy way.

Silent One made it over the wall and he intercepts a solo guard running for the webbed tower. He makes a Stunning Fist attack that knocks him senseless and Paddock and Coe-Nan start pounding on the gate. I win init and put another pair of arrows into my targets, dropping both. Kemen puts a second web into a group of patrollers, immobilizing them. Silent One sprints to the entrance of tower and takes up a position with his back to the wall.
The next round Paddock and Coe-Nan crack the door enough for Paddock to slip through mountless and he does so, he pauses to cast Bulls Strength on Coe-Nan then slips in. Kemen casts a flaming sphere into the webbed parapet and then starts to float his wobbly self down. Guards running across the compound eat shuriken from the monk and have trouble pinpointing their origin.

Paddock gets the gate open and everyone but Kemen gets inside. The remaining guards all run to the burning tower and aid the burning and shrieking sentries.

We are forming up to clear the remaining guards and Kemen comes to join us, Paddock casts Bull Strength on himself and remounts. With part of the compound burning, multiple guards down and a group of invaders in the courtyard the Githyanki emerge at the top of the tower and survey what is happening. From the ground Kemen yells up “ we want the cat”
Raja comes to the window and chides us
Raja: Remind me to thank you, my coup went much easier with some well timed patsies. The last fleeting glimpse in Grad’s eyes made killing him myself all the sweeter.
Paddock: I am calling you out sir! I demand satisfaction. You have besmirched my honor and such insults can only be satisfied by strength of arms.
Raja: Strength of Arms? Allow me to demonstrate strength of arms. My guests were just requesting a demonstration and you once again afford me the perfect opportunity.
Coe-Nan: That can’t be good.

That turns out to be a four armed beast that knocks the cap off the tower and emerge with a roar. We are familiar with girallons and from initial descriptions that is what we are facing, except it has 9 inch razor sharp talons and a certain granite aspect to it. It’s like a gargoyle/girallon hybrid and it starts climbing down the tower reverse King Kong style.
I put a couple completely ineffectual arrows into it and we get ready for an incoming.

Paddock puts a third and final Bulls Strength on Silent One and Kemen backs up to get clearance. The gar-girallon making a final leaping attack off the tower to pounce on Coe-Nan. Silent One steps in from behind and puts a spear into it’s back, he barely scratches it. Paddock makes a charging ride by attack and his double lance damage penetrates damage resistance much better.

With the creature flanked and me adding sneak attack damage I continue to pepper in arrows that start to pierce a bit better. Coe-Nan and Silent One are eating some substantial damage and when Coe-Nan eats a full attack it drops him to below half health. Kemen adds a couple magic missiles and Paddock continues to make ride by attacks. The gar-girallon turns and pummels a full four attacks into Silent One that knocks him silly and puts him to -1.

Coe-Nan rages up and lands a solid hit that crits and the gar-girallon is stung bad enough to turn from the monk and re-focus on the barbarian. Paddock rides to Silent and drops from his mount to put a LoH on him. I get another arrow in that connects and the gar-girallon is staggered. Coe-Nan drops an axe and grasps his remaining weapon two handed and makes a power attack to finish the gar-griallon off. The Silent One shakes off his cobwebs and pauses just long enough for a cure light wounds then he bounds up the tower steps with all of 14 hps. As he clears the entrance a portcullis slams shut and he is cut off.

Coe-Nan still in enraged starts attacking the blockade with an axe while Paddock grabs his mount and moves behind to heal the barbarian. I try to pick out a target at the now exposed roof but the githyanki and Raja have disappeared from sight. Kemen grabs his pick Thor style and starts to levitate to the roof top. As Kemen comes to the top, so does Silent One who lets out a wordless howl. The tower is empty.

2012-07-04, 01:55 PM
Well At least we found…

The githyanki and catfolk are gone. The remaining guards basically cop to being hired swords with no real vested interest in their employeer’s from here out and let them load up a wagon and a few mounts with water and supplies and they take off. There is a second wagon that we happily appropriate and enough horses for all of us. We search the entire compound top to bottom, inch by inch and we finally get something worthwhile. Underneath the tower stairs we find a basement laboratory that gets us some much needed clues.

A whole assortment of odd compounds, formulas, elixirs and herbs is laid out in a fully functional workspace. Some of the finished product is still there and from our examinations we match a few cages with animal dropping and some dead skin to the same afflicted animals we have seen. From what we can deduce there is a potion/poison that when ingested will bring about mental changes that then affect the physical. Everything gets packed into crates and secured in the wagon. In the workshop we also find a cache of valuable gems and platinum coins, easily 30,000 worth. Other than substantial physical evidence that can be connected to this string of bizarre attacks and some nice loot our trail now goes cold.

Kemen: Well I am going to make myself a pot of tea…
Paddock: Ok…
Coe-Nan: Oh yeah the elf gave us that shiny tea leaf.
Kemen: Yep.

We brew up a pot of tea at an alchemical workspace that our current villain had most recently been using and sit back for a nice refreshing cup of tea. The dwarf takes a drink first and is immediately brought to full health and given 10 temporary hps. Almost faster than you can blink everyone else is angling for some tea. In order of the lowest Con to highest con everyone starts to fall asleep. Kemen is the last one out and not sure what to do. He ends up passing out as well and we are all more than a bit worried. A short time later in game ( and pretty much instantly out of game) we wake up in a glade surrounded by elves. Pern the leader from the ambushed caravan is there waiting for us.

Pern: Greetings friends, what news do you bring me?
Me: Well we found some rather important mixtures and potions that could very well be the origin of what has been occurring. It would have been nice to know that drinking the tea would cause us to be transported far away as everything we discovered is now sitting unprotected in a wagon.
Pern: Oh you aren’t physically here, just spiritually. All the same it will be important that you do make it here in person. Our leaders will definitely want to research these mixtures. I am sending you back with a map that will lead you to our glade and community.

And as quick as that our dream jaunt is over and we are jolted back to our bodies, but Kemen comes back with a map in a scroll case that shows where exactly we must travel to reach the elves.

Transportation to Pern’s community is going to require some back tracking and we are expecting to be targeted by just about everything that can be thrown our way. In lieu of staying a night in an enemy location we get back on the road and begin the journey towards Pern. We get some miles between us and the tower and make camp. That night we get an unexpected visitor.
As Coe-Nan is standing watch a chill wind blows through our camp that leaves frost on the sand and makes our breath clearly visible. The sudden change in temperature wakes us up and we all scramble for weapons and cover. A black pool of liquid opens just beyond our camp and a slim hooded figure rises from the pool. A huge medallion, like something you would see on a bed country singer’s belt, hangs from the front, a sigil identical to the sigil we found on the original coffin. The figure pulls back it’s hood to reveal the leathery tight skin stretched over bone one would expect from a lich. It raises open hands as is to signify peaceful intentions and a spur of the moment detect evil from the paladin registers nothing. It speaks…

Lich: My name is Droka, for weeks now my servant has valiantly sought to elude those that would corrupt that which I helped create so very long ago. What you carried out from the desert is but the merest shadow of a specter that will bring an eternity of darkness to all creation. Forces far beyond the scope of my abilities are now at work and I fear those I left to prevent these tiding will be unable to stop that which comes. Last night my servant was cornered and ultimately destroyed. Time has eroded the safeguards we put into place and new ambitions aid our enemy. I am prohibited from giving direct assistance. There are those who will come to you as allies, but their intent will be to plunge a dagger into your backs. There are also those who would seem enemies, that will ultimately try to aid you.
Me: Can you tell us where Raja is?
Droka: I can’t. He has cast his lot in with forces that exceed my own.
Kemen: Can you tell us what we need to find.
Droka: You already know what you seek. I can’t speak their description but the druids gave you sufficient information.
Me: What limits you?
Droka: A curse of overwhelming magnitude and a geas that has no end.
Coe-Nan: How do we distinguish friend from foe?
Droka *fading as he speaks*: A crimson shadow will bring darkness to all below him, he is the great ruin and a living inferno. It is he that shall try to snuff out your lives in order to save the world. A traitor will find his way into your midst and a single voice will announce his presence.
Paddock: So anyone that seems like an ally we need to be extra paranoid about, fantastic.

I don’t know how most groups handle this sort of thing, but we basically have a small 4x6 binder with a three hole punch that we fill up with index cards with clues. The binder has a title in masking tape that just reads “Plot”, as the “plot” thickens so do our clues. We keep track of most little details like NPC names etc. Our middle of the night pow-wow with the image of a lich helps us a little bit and we now have some foreshadowing to keep at the back of our minds.

To reach the elf land we have to skirt the desert and some surrounding mountains and at the end of day 2 we start catching glimpses of something deep in the distance barely visible from the shimmer created from the heat. By the morning of day 3 it is clearly distinguishable from a great distance and from our perception not a mirage. As dusk of day 4 creeps in Kemen levitates up a few hundred feet for a higher vantage point. The DM politely scribbles a description of what we are seeing and the dwarf groans.

Kemen: Our hill giant friend on the cart with his mastodons is following us and he is getting closer.

I admit that since a lot of these happened more than a few years ago, the details have hazed but at that time we learned the rules for movement and fatigue in exhausting detail (no pun intended). We had an grueling game of cat and mouse where we fought like hell to avoid getting within range of the giant. A standard hill giant can be nasty on it’s own. With who knows what supporting it, we wanted no part. As we started to make it closer to elf country the giant started to flog the mastodons with something resembling a massive comb. From the fur and long hair of the mammoths a swarm of dust mephitis are riled up and they start flying overhead to come attack us.

Coe-Nan: The Mammoths have dust mephitis for lice…fantastic…

The dust mephitis are fast enough to close distance on us and I get relegated to sniper duty, trying to pick off mephitis from the back of a wagon. This was actually an inspiration for our encounter against the ogres during Adversarial Process. The flight from the giant and associated skirmishes against the dust mephitis took up almost an entire session on their own. The chase is going to come down to the wire as we reach the edge of elven forest territory the giant is nearly within throwing range.

The chase culminates in end making a mad dash for a path that leads into a dense tree line that our giant shouldn’t be able to navigate, as we whip the horses into a frenzy and push whatever they have left the giant takes aim and launches a boulder at us. The high arcing missile clips a wagon wheel as it impacts and our wagon gets overturned. Most of us get scattered by the crash and as we recover the giant in right on us.

2012-07-04, 03:48 PM
Are you crazy? Have you seen the size of those things?

Without many other options we turn to face our pursuer. The giant jumps down from his wagon and starts to twirl his club as he moves in to finish us off. Kemen and I use the overturned wagon for cover and Paddock gets himself dusted off and back in the saddle. Coe-Nan and Silent One both move off to the sides so they can come at the giant from the flanks. I call out to speak with him from cover…

Me: I don’t suppose we can talk things out can we?
Hill Giant: unless you can somehow convince Korlwyn that you weren’t caught with your pants down in his daughter’s chambers then no.
Me: Wait! You are a bounty hunter?!?
Hill Giant: A damned good one yeah.
Kemen: You mean you aren’t here for all of us, just him?
Hill Giant: The bounty is on his head, but I’ll take out whoever I need to.
If you skipped over my character background, my character pre-adventure had a bit of a problem in a political giant sanctuary. I got a bit over-involved with the daughter of a ranking Cloud Giant and I had to skip town real fast. Korlwyn being that giantess father, it seems that I left enough of an impression to warrant a bounty.
Coe-Nan: Then is how is it that you have a quartet of diseased mammoth?
Hill Giant*chuckles*:I was given them by a gnoll. Told me they never got tired and I all I had to do was deliver anything you were carrying back to him once I got you.
Kemen: Is he wanted dead or alive?
Hill Giant: There is a bonus for alive, but dead’s good too.
Kemen: how much is the bonus for alive?
Hill Giant: An extra 10,000…
Kemen: Give us 5,000 extra and we will turn him over to you…
Me: WHAT???
Paddock: I can’t condone selling out a stalwart companion for profit.
Coe-Nan: I am actually ok with it.
Silent One grimaces and sizes up the hill giant…then he waves goodbye to me.

Under his breath the dwarf whispers….”cast grease when I yell now”
Kemen grabs me by the waist and starts dragging me from behind cover…the hill giant lowers his club and while keeping an eye on the gnome he advances with a burlap sack in his free hand. As he starts walking the dwarf yells “NOW!” and he lets me go and I drop a grease spell under the giant. As the grease spell goes off the wizard immediately puts a web over the giant. The suddenly slippery giant is tap dancing himself even more entangled in the web and we start picking him apart from range. The moment he starts to get free Kemen puts another web on him and I re-grease. Shuriken, arrows and crossbow bolts pepper him from all angles and we are chipping away at him pretty good. But web only goes so far against something with that level of strength and we run out web before he runs out of hps. As it breaking free Kemen drops a flaming sphere to ignite the greasy sticky mess and then shouts out again “everyone scatter”

I break for the woods with the Silent One mirroring me and Kemen and Coe-Nan scatter in other directions while Paddock wheels behind the giant and lines up his favored lance charge. We are out of our best tricks at this point and the giant is pissed off. He comes barreling through the trees in pursuit of me and Silent One jabs him from range with his spear. Kemen is reduced to plinking away with his light crossbow and Coe-Nan is trying to now play catch up to get back in the scrum. Paddock lands a critical hit that rolls max damage and in the process his lance is shattered. The bounty hunter giant still isn’t down…and from our observation he is wounded but not panicked. The giant starts snatching rocks from a satchel on his back and hurling them at us as he maneuvers through the trees. The Silent One and I get pegged by small boulders that do 15-20 damage a piece which is a truckload at level 5. I land a good damage critical from a bowshot and the giant clutches the arrow as blood oozes from his wounds and he shatters a glass vial at his belt...smoke pours out from the shattered glass and the giant vanishes in the smoke.

We top off our damage from Paddock and wearily try to salvage another broken wagon. It is shattered beyond repair.

Kemen: Let’s take the giant’s wagon.
Me: Who is going to steer it?

A full inspection of the mastadon’s and his cart shows little damage and the mammoths don’t seem outwardly aggressive. We do a full search of the giant’s cart and find some nice bonuses.
*An alchemist’s chest with 36 compartments all filled with various potions, neatly organized and labeled.
*A solid silver statue worth a good 5,000
*15 bounty documents for wanted individuals on the giant’s list, including my own bounty..which stands at 25,000.

There is a bit of argument on taking the giant’s cart, but Kemen juryrigs the mammoth’s harnesses to attach in single file instead on in pairs and we have a tight slow fit through the forest path…and onward we go.

Most of these updates have been shorter than my previous recaps. It is easier to manage things in smaller chunks, but i may put a few bigger posts in the next couple days. Hope everyone is still enjoying things.

2012-07-04, 04:11 PM
Keep up the good work. :)

2012-07-04, 11:04 PM
Loving all of these

2012-07-05, 05:27 PM
I’m Not Saying I Would Build a Summer Home, But the Trees are Rather Nice

The journey into elf territory plays out like a bad running gag. We come trampling through their forest behind a massive cart pulled by four borderline zombie mammoths. A startled elf at his outpost standing sentry nearly has a heart attack as our convoy comes rolling in and when he hails us and bids us state our purpose we respond

Me: We are here to help you. We found an important elixir that your leadership needs to examine.
Elf: What does it do…
Kemen: We think it corrupts creatures and turns them into something like these ones.
Elf: And that is supposed to help?
Me: Well that is what the guy inside the teapot told us to do.
Elf: Guy inside the teapot?
Coe-Nan: Well he wasn’t IN the teapot. He was in a dream like world where he gave us a map and said come here.
Elf: I see…and did anyone else visit you? A fairy perhaps?
Paddock: Well there was a talking orangutan and a dire badger that threatened to castrate us, but no fairys.
Me: And don’t forget the good lich…but bringing him up is just going to confuse things. We need to find Pern.
Elf: Pern…right…just follow me…preferably stay back a ways.

As our bewildered Elf escort leads us deeper into the forest, he gets a big surprise, waiting for us in a clearing is SlowHand along with Pern.

Elf: There is a talking badger.
Paddock leans in off his mount and pats the elf on the shoulder…
Paddock: Actually he is a dire badger.

An impromptu Council of Elrond breaks out where SlowHand, the Elvish leadership and a paladin from far overseas join us to discuss and share knowledge of what is happening. The paladin, Vardon the Valorous, is amongst the campaign realm’s most famous and he is considered one of the most influential warriors in the entire plane. The elf leadership consists of a duo called Parsin and Sirip.

*Vardon ultimately elects to travel overseas in pursuit of the guardian lich’s fate. He also hopes to locate any signs of Tempura civilization and research any association with the tiding we have been apart of.
*Parsin and SlowHand make a detailed observation and investigation of our mammoths to pick up any futher information on the disease. The one major conclusion they arrive to is that our mammoths are healing. Over time, distance from their controller or a diminished effect of the elixir causes the subject to heal naturally. That is good news for any animal infected, but hurts our tireless work-mammoths.
*Sirip begins an exhaustive breakdown of the compound we found in the lab and tries to reverse engineer the process. He is able to identify most reagents in the formula and he makes a list of 3 places where the rarest ingredients are typically found. What he can’t identify is the base of the compound. He surmises there is a core item that allows the mixture to react and take effect. Whatever that core item may be is unknown to us.

Everyone is concerned over Raja’s role in these events and we are encouraged and supported to track him down. To that end we are offered a more or less blank check in resources to aid ourselves. Kemen makes a convincing argument to load ourselves up with as many rare materials as possible, since at level 6 he is going to take Craft Arms/Armor. He figures he can custom design anything we need access to. We wrangle a supply of mithril (15,000 worth) and get a cache of scrolls from their arcanely talented folks.

More encouraging for us is a story-line merited advancement to level 6, at this point we are 7.5 sessions into this campaign and only level 5. Level 6 is kind of a big deal for our parties future.
I take another level in Bard and select leadership as my bonus feat. I also pick up Charm Person as a new spell
Kemen takes Runesmith to gain access to casting in full plate armor, he takes Crafts Arms and Armor as his feat.
Silent one continues on in monk and takes Improved Trip as a bonus feat and II as his 6th level feat
Coe-Nan continues on in barbarian and takes Great Cleave
Paddock takes 4th level in cleric and picks up Spirited Charge

Our following steps are out of left field. We pack up our things say our goodbyes and make a return trip to the largest city relatively in our path. Our DM is left scratching his head as we make a shopping list.

Raw Adamantine in bulk
Raw mithril in bulk
Wand of Break Enchantment
Assortment of Scrolls (mostly buff type spells)
We already have 15,000 in mithril and about 65,000 in total for other liquid resources. The adamantine is tougher to find and we acquire 30,000 worth of adamantine, and another 5,000 in mithril. We spend out 10,000 for a wand of break enchantment with 25 charges and the rest goes towards scrolls and a lyre of building.

He grows even more perplexed when our next announced action is to return to the Spriggan’s Den.
DM: Ok…I get that bulk metal can be crafted into arms and armor and I definitely know the appeal of special materials, but why the heck are you returning to the spriggan den?
Kemen: Well remember all those statues? We are going to break their enchantment and offer them a job…

All told there are 32 statues in the medusa’s lair and we free up 25 of them. I won’t exhaust detail here other than to say it was fun bantering with 25 people that had lost all concept of time while being petrified and basically turned into underground lawn ornaments. We gave them a simple proposal…come with us put in some work that suits your abilities and we will pay you a fair wage and send you on your way…or stay on and work alongside us.

DM: Not a combat role, strictly labor and crafts?
All of Us: Yep
DM: You just saved them from oblivion…yeah they are willing to help you out…probably at a much reduced price.
Kemen:Alright then it’s back to the crypt where everything started…
DM: Are you backtracking looking for more clues?
Kemen: Nope we are building a stronghold.

2012-07-06, 03:54 PM
Kind of Like the First Indiana Jones:

The original crypt we started all of these hijinks in is nicely situated in the face of a mountain and surrounded by good forest. With an eager workforce and a lyre of building we set to work fashioning a fully operational workshop and stronghold. Kemen spends his union approved 8 hours per day crafting magic items and then he spends another 8 leading our workforce and helping with the skilled labor. Coe-Nan, and Silent One make excursons to fell timber and bring back wood and other materials to the base. I use bardic abilities and the lyre to inspire competence and boost some morale for our workers. Paddock lends some spell aid for crafting and provides a tireless work horse.

This is the stuff we love in game. Its our bread and butter. Some of the highlights...
*The first trap room with elevated archer slits gets some substantial modifications. We hollow out a 50 foot pit below the room and then place a stone floor on a central beam. Any excessive weight off center of the room causes the entire room to tilt and the whole floor turns sideways, much like the lid on a garbage can. We spike up the bottom of the pit and place a small escape hatch for anyone in the bottom, rigged with a grate. The grate connects to a rolling boulder trap. When someone from within the pit opens the grate it triggers one of the Wemic’s enchanted boulders to come rolling down the chute and smash into them. The enchantment on his boulders? Returning. Which means once the rock does it’s smashing it returns to the trigger mechanism to reset itself. Nothing like adding insult to injury.

*We built a deep underground vault to store any long term wealth or items of value. It is connected from a long descending slope. We rig a pair of grease traps that will turn the slope into a slip n slide and add another boulder trap that triggers once someone is sent sliding down the slope. The vault is connected from the original crypt room.

* The exterior is flattened and we put some ornamentation to mark it our own. We also add a terrace with crenellations and statues that function to spill boiling oil from.

*The left hand mine system is hollowed out in a large open area that becomes a masonry work space, and several sculpted stone horses take place (long term plan)

*The right hand tunnel for the mines is converted to a full scale barracks and living space. Nothing too extensive or complicated aside from the traps in central area, but we stage a lot of things for future growth.

From my logs we are spend the better part of six months making modifications to the structure and creating magic items. Kemen makes an adamantine spear for Silent One, Adamantine Lance for Paddock, a pair of adamantine battle axes for Coe-Nan and adamantine full plate for himself, all masterwork quality. He also puts together a mithril breastplate for Coe-Nan and Mithril Chain Shirt for my rogue/bard. Paddock keeps his own full plate+1. With what resources we have remaining we get a +1 enhancement bonus on the lance and spear.

Plot wise not very much happens during our extended vacation. Too coincidentally when we complete our crafting, SlowHand arrives to inform us that Kay-Varn the dwarven stronghold has been invaded by otherworldly creatures and is nearly over-run. Of remarkably great alarm…he has been infected wit the disease we have contended with now for 8-9 sessions and is slowly losing control of himself. He has arranged for us to be teleported to a spot near the city and provide what assistance we can.

What scares the piss out of us is that Kay-Varn is in the context of this campaign an unconquerable stronghold and seat of power for the dwarven nation. If invading forces crippled or leveled the city we aren’t sure what a group of level 6 characters is going to accomplish. Insecurities aside we are still PC’s and it’s time to get out of home renovation and into some adventuring. We gear up and ship out via SlowHand’s arranged teleport.
He brings us maybe a full mile from the city. Kay-Varn looks really cool from the exterior. Imagine the Cliffs of Insanity from Princess Bride but with a waterfall that seem to fall endlessly from on high. In the middle of the Waterfall is a towering dwarf statue with a pair of shields held over head parting the waterfalls and making a clearance through the water into the city gates. It is an imposing sight and meant to display their dominance. There is an alarming pallor over the whole area. Unsettled we set foot into a city that no longer belongs to the dwarves.

2012-07-07, 05:36 PM
Love the "Building a Stronghold" bit. Definitely something that should be done more often.

2012-07-07, 08:52 PM
This is amazing. This is the first campaign log I've ever read. I have never played d&d but after reading this, and realizing the possibilities, you have motivated me to start playing. (even though I have no idea where to start and have no friends to play with). I've been reading order of the stick for years, but have never registered on the forums (nothing against the comic, I love it and check regularly for updates), but your actual d&d experiences have inspired me. Keep writing, you have a gift.

2012-07-10, 09:29 AM
*skitter skitter*

As we tip toe our way into the ancient dwarven stronghold there is a palpable chill in the air. The central chamber of the dwarven city looks like a full scale war has been waged. No bodies of any kind are visible, just the occasional scrap of armor, broken shield or punctured helmet interspersed with broken weapons and patches of dark liquid. Some of the liquid is clearly blood…the rest…its hard to tell. There is considerable structural damage to nearly everything within sight.

The city is organized into five tiers, each going deeper into the heart of the mountain. The first tier is where most smaller shops and lodging for outsiders is present. The second tier is a manufacturing terrace where the true work is done, the workshops that supply the store facings. The third tier is residential and expansive. The fourth is where the majority of the city’s military and militia housed and trained. The fifth tier is where the true merchant princes and city leadership make their daily decisions, it also where the most valued items and most prized treasures are held. The fifth tier is the most likely home for our specialized map.

As we start a slow search of the 1st tier, what grabs our attention are holes through the plaza from something that burst from belowground. A crude anthill tunnel system is branched throughout the tier, and Kemen who is quite familiar with the city confirms they are recently added and not an intended element of the structure. A full scale scouring of the 1st level only shows us that whatever happened was devastating in scale.

There are three paths that lead to the second tier and take the most southern passage to the second tier. Multiple workshops, some built into the walls, others free standing in the cities center give us our first glimpse of what awaits. Scattering from our view like cockroaches are hordes of small skittering worm-like dog creatures. Paddock actually rolls a natural 20 on a Knowledge Religion check and follows it up with a 16. Without that roll we would have been in even more serious trouble.

Paddock who has consistently been bold and reckless reads his index card from the DM and he shifts uncomfortably at the table.

Paddock: Most of us are familiar with the Blood War?
Lots of nods yes. Demons don’t get along with devils…millennia of warfare against each other etc.
Paddock: So…there were a group of devils caught within the Abyss that tried to breed a hybrid species of sorts. They were partially successful, but the resulting creatures could not be controlled and were discarded to the Material Plane. Any further references are exceedingly rare. I happened to squire for a knight that had discovered a colony of these creatures and he was one of the very few to face off with their kind and live. What I know comes from him and it isn’t good. They are called Kythons…

If you aren’t familiar with Kythons they are about as nasty as a monster can be. I would highly recommend reading a campaign log from SilverClawShift, something I became familiar with much later. If you know what Tyrannids or Xenomorphs are then you are on the right track. They are from the Book of Vile Darkness and this was our very first encounter with them in game. They have DR, lots of immunites and resistance and they deliver poison attacks, suppress abilities and can move like lightning. They come in different stages, the smallest being worm-like dog creatures called broodlings. Juveniles are more like demonic Halflings with razor sharp claws and sometimes bio engineered weaponry like scaled down acid rocket launchers. The Adults are lethal, like bidepal gargoyles with more resistances and speed. Above the adults are SlayMasters and SlaughterKings. If you were to combine Jabba the Hut with Bane from Batman that would be a good approximation of a SlayMaster. A SlaughterKing…well we are fully expecting a TPK if we encounter one from what we read in the entry.

Mostly hidden amongst the second tier are swarms of broodlings. They are constantly in motion, darting in and out of workshops, and disappearing into enlarged rat holes. With no clear objective we start a room by room search for survivors and information. In most respects I think we get lucky on the first building we go into. A juvenile is at the center of a makeshift nest assembled on the floor of a jewelry shop. Three of it’s four legs are shattered and we are able to get close enough to inspect it without being torn to shreds. The tell tale sores and infected patches from the compound are visible. What is also evident…the disease is advancing and receding intermittently. The kython were affected by the substance, but they are naturally fighting it off.

CSI-Kython gets interrupted when a stream of acid comes flying towards us from a corner. A second juvenile along with broodlings aplenty comes spilling into the room to assault us. Kemen angrily draws his pick and start dutifully whacking away at broodlings. Most of his spells are fire based and neigh unto useless. He constantly mutters at the table while pantomiming his swings. “Fireball…why bother? Hey Acid Arrow…nope immune.” We are swept up into some frantic melee and with the confines of the building Paddock is reduced to swinging from his saddle and I can barely get range to shoot from longbow so I am reduced to wielding a dagger for emergency situations. With more and more broodlings swarming we make a controlled retreat and back out from the shop. As we do the second juvenile pounces on the shattered peer and breaks it’s neck. I manage to make a spot check amidst the scrum and can decipher the second juvenile as being free of the affliction.

Me: I think the one’s that fought off the disease are taking out the ones too weak or too afflicted to shake it off themselves.
Kemen: They are bayoneting their own wounded?
Coe-Nan: Or culling those too weak to adapt.
Paddock: Is that good for us or bad?
Me: Well if the afflicted ones are being driven to a purpose then the ones that shook it off are going to disrupt that purpose. I don’t think that will stop any of them from tearing us apart, but at least they are a double edged sword that hurts Raja and his minions.

There is a great deal of movement on tier 2 as we move building to building to search for survivors and try to avoid full scale engagement with the kython forces at war with each other. On the map of tier 2 is a larger foundry and smithy. As we work our way into the building we encounter our first adult which tries to go berserker on my rogue. I get sliced and diced as everyone else jumps to defend my squishy character. With the dwarves bloated Con and full plate I am actually the most fragile member.

As we kill off the adult (at considerable harm to ourselves) we hear groaning from a cellar in the building. As juveniles and broodling start pouring in through the cracks of the building we scramble towards the cellar and locate a quartet of dwarf survivors. From the bones and refuse we find in the cellar it is nakedly apparent they were being stockpiled as food. Banged up but in good health they are eager to get free and assist. With axes and hammers just about everywhere on the ground they are quick to re-arm themselves and join ranks with us.

We circle three other large buildings on the map and make a path to those buildings. The death of the adult has stirred up lots of activity and movement in the streets becomes hampered as juveniles with weapons start to sting us from distance. Acid is launched, bone darts come hissing for exposed flesh and the number of kythons on the battle map grows rapidly. There is a borderline desperate leap into the next larger building as we hope for a natural blockade to the swarm of little ones.

Once again we encounter an adult defending a stockpile of dwarven snacks. This time we are on fumes when we manage to kill it. My few meager healing spells are gone, the healing from our paladin/cleric is spent and everyone is limping with ability damage and significant hp loss. On the plus side our allies swell in ranks and we now have eight dwarves in tow. They are mostly experts of 2nd or 3rd level, a few have a level of warrior thrown in as well. Sleep and rest are imperative, but a swarm of agitated juveniles and broodlings is still skittering above us. We decide to rest in pairs and try to keep up a resistance to buy time for others to recover.

We end that segment of play pinned down in the cellar of a workshop surrounded by kythons while low on resources and health.

2012-07-10, 03:26 PM
More than one use for web...

As Silent One and Coe-Nan take point at the cellar steps the rest of us try to recover. Our dwarf allies are busy hacking away at a pair of support beams, while a few others are arguing amongst themselves while they take measurements at one of the walls. We manage to overhear a bit of their argument.

Dwarf Warrior: We have no idea if the armies held and reinforcements are coming. You risk the city to save yourself.
Dwarf Expert: No I am risking myself to save the city. I take full responsibility.
Warrior: Bah! Have your way.

The dwarves all come together and hold a small-council (no pun intended) in the cellar center. They then give us an option.

Dwarf Warrior: There is a seldom mentioned and even more seldom used passage from this building to the fourth tier of the city. Anrick Anvilson the owner of this building paid to have it connected sometime ago. We have the support beams for his shop ready to go and we can bring the whole building down once everyone is in the passage.
Me: Everyone?
Warrior: Me and Errol here are going to make the final strikes, with a bit of luck we can dive into the tunnel before getting smashed. IF not…well we were going to be these bleedings things dinner without your help anyway…we owe you.

Paddock comes up with a means to avoid dwarven sacrifice and uses a Spiritual Weapon spell to attack the columns once everyone is in the escape tunnel. The building comes down, but not cleanly and we are left scrambling through the tunnel in a tight fit as broodlings start to circumvent the rubble and give chase. Paddock is real banged up and the stream of broodlings is not non stop. Kemen ends up taking rear guard and he lays down web spells to stop up the passage behind, just clogging them with webs. It buys us enough time to reach the tunnel’s end which emerges above a check in post at the army level.

The fourth tier is a hell come unto earth. From our hatch in the escape tunnel there are hordes of kythons swarming in a thrashing mass as hundreds of the creatures claw at each other. SlayMasters and Adults are in full pitched battle against each other and the ones not tied up in a kindred death struggle are hurling themselves with reckless abandon at the last bastions of dwarven defense. The most stalwart and seasoned of all troops have taken a defensive position at the entrance to the fifth level of the city. Their numbers are small, less than a 100 in total, but they stand as a wall of steel and stone stemming the kython tide. Standing in the middle of the maelstrom is Raja along with a cadre of gnoll archers.

Held aloft above his head is an amulet emblazoned with a dark light. From his waist a liquid swirls upwards and into the amulet where it is emitted as rays of light piercing the skulls of kythons all around him. The liquid become light sends the affected creatures crashing to the ground where the disease runs rampant, and shortly after they rise up to follow his commands. Proxies of the amulet are held by each of the gnoll archers and they seem to have a lesser control at directing their forces.

We have a real pickle of a problem here. Our villain is before us and clearly the cause of this devastation. We can see the amulet which HAS to be the core item of his abilities and this affliction. We are desperately low on resources and wounded heavily, assuming we can survive the writhing mass of claw and talon that is the kython civil war unfolding before our eyes what will we have left to challenge him? If we are spotted, which is almost a certainty… the gnoll archers will pin cushion us.

Me: What do we do here? Suicide run and hope for the rest?
Kemen: Well we know he is headed for the fifth tier of the city. What defenses remain are heavily strained and not likely to hold out much longer. We need to get ahead of him and get ready to ambush him once he comes through.
Paddock: But he is RIGHT THERE
Coe-Nan: What are you going to do? Ride the Kython’s like a crowd surfer and charge attack him from the roof?
Paddock with a huge grin starts to grab some dice…
Me: Oh no…
Paddock: What would the ride DC be to ride the wave in and make a spirited charge?
DM: Serious?
Paddock: Yeah…
DM: You would have to free fall at least 30 feet before landing, rendering any ride attempts mute.

Paddock does not try to crowd surf the kythons atop a horse while charging with lance. He instead joins us in making the climb down into the check point and slowly working our way around the worst tangles to try and reach the dwarven defenders. They are dug in at their position pretty well and we don’t have much of a path to reach them.

Kemen: I am going to put a web up in the joint of the wall leading to their position, angled up high towards the ceiling. We can climb the web laterally and wall shift our way above their position.
Me: That will leave us wide open to archer fire.
Kemen: Not wide open…
Me: How do you figure?
Kemen: Web gives us cover…

Our scheme works like a terrific catastrophe. We are able to maneuver through the web and work our way to the dwarf battle line. The dwarfs see us and a reserve force of crossbowmen and wizards lays a suppressive fire in the direction of the catfolk’s cadre. The Catfolk and his gnolls see us and start sending volleys of arrows at us in return. We get lit up. Kemen drops a Protection from Arrows on Paddock who is our most injured party member and the rest of us get skewered.

I actually hit negatives and literally drop from the web into the battle formation, taking another 1d6 falling damage that puts me to -7. Paddock reaches the other side without further harm but minus his mount who can’t climb the webs.

Kemen makes it across at 3 hps. Coe-Nan reaches the other side on fumes…he made it conscious from rage, but passed out into negatives on the other side. Silent One was our best finisher with 9 hps. They have a few low level clerics hanging back that manage to stabilize our wounded and they drag us back for a briefing.

Turns out that for days now the dwarf city has been under constant barrage from the kython invaders. A colony of kythons far bigger than anything previously believed to be in existence was hijacked and redirected to Kay-Varn by Raja and the whole city was plunged into chaos. During his siege of the city Kython began to resist his control and most of his other infected creatures were utilized as food by the kython. A good portion of the population was evacuated to the fifth tier and most of the ranking arcanists and clerics are presently securing the premise below. We are urged to continue on and provide support at the fifth tier.

2012-07-10, 03:55 PM
Love the "Building a Stronghold" bit. Definitely something that should be done more often.

We always pushed for getting something like this. A lot of the times fate (DM fiat) intervened and prevented such things from happening, but for this one we got a thumbs up and got to have some fun. A bit of foreshadowing for something that happens around level 10...we get something much cooler and much more mobile.

This is amazing. This is the first campaign log I've ever read. I have never played d&d but after reading this, and realizing the possibilities, you have motivated me to start playing. (even though I have no idea where to start and have no friends to play with). I've been reading order of the stick for years, but have never registered on the forums (nothing against the comic, I love it and check regularly for updates), but your actual d&d experiences have inspired me. Keep writing, you have a gift.

That is a great compliment...much obliged and humbled by this. I will keep writing until I run out of binders to go through, my hands fall off, or people stop reading...whatever comes first.

2012-07-10, 04:13 PM
If your hands fall off, I am confident that the community will chip in and graft you a new pair.

2012-07-10, 05:36 PM
If your hands fall off, I am confident that the community will chip in and graft you a new pair.

I agree with this statement.

2012-07-10, 07:48 PM
I love reading these things; gonna check out some of your other stuff while I wait for the next update.

Also, is this an ongoing campaign, or have you completed it and are just doing a write-up now?

2012-07-11, 01:11 AM
This is awesome, man! Where can I read your other campaign journals?

2012-07-11, 07:48 AM
I love reading these things; gonna check out some of your other stuff while I wait for the next update.

Also, is this an ongoing campaign, or have you completed it and are just doing a write-up now?

This started what seems like ages ago. The DM that runs it would periodically request more time to prepare material and as a result we played several shorter campaigns concurrently. As a result some of the other stuff I am recapping are filler campaigns or shorter one-offs when he needed to adjust for what we had done. Given the more open nature of events in this adventure it required a lot of improv.

We play much less these days, maybe 3-4 times a year. This is still an active campaign, we are currently level 18 and approaching what is the presumptive finale, but it will probably be something like 2 years before that segment is finally completed. So I am mostly writing up the stuff we have already done. We keep good notes and track lots of detail which makes things a bit easier.

This is awesome, man! Where can I read your other campaign journals?

I put links to other threads in my signature, but I think if you do a forum search for An Adversarial Process or Calimshaw-Shank Redemption you will find the other two completed campaigns.

2012-07-11, 10:45 AM
No Really There are lots of uses for Web

Haggard and beaten we press on deeper to the fifth tier as the dwarven resistance continues to lay down their lives in defense of their citizens and city. We manage a limping hustle as we reach the magical wards that protect the fifth tier and a stout wizard raises the veils of a prismatic wall that blocks the passage. He tells us that the guards alerted him to our presence and that we are welcome to take up bunks in a makeshift refuge barracks. The dwarves provide us some meager healing and food which is gratefully accepted. The oddest part is that a lot of dwarf’s are whispering and pointing none too subtly at Kemen. From what we gather (gather information check…hey I am useful for stuff other shooting arrows!) most dwarves view him as a mix of celebrity and a bit of a freak. His armor fascinates them and it is said that Morradin guides his hands in his sleep.

The following morning we are kitting up in armor and finalizing prepared spells when alarms start sounding everywhere. We had earlier remarked to ourselves that there was a distinct lack of slaymasters and slaughterkings from what we had seen and we turned out to be right in the worst way possible. The higher eschelon kython are killing with reckless abandonment in the middle of the whole refuge segment. With their spell resistances and immunites they are decimating the dwarf ranks with neigh impunity. A badly wounded and maimed Grymm, a former mentor of Kemen hurridly rushes us to a vault where the map is being held and he briskly shoves us inside and locks us in. His parting words are “If we fail you can’t”

Coe-Nan: So…no saving throw to avoid getting locked in the vault?
DM: Nope.

With little choice other than to bide our time and play with our weapons we hear the horrified screams and wails of people being torn and sundered. From what brief information we attained, the masters and kings all emerged from a DEEP path underground and bypassed remaining defenders. Then it begins…

Kemen: How high is the vault we are in?
DM: About 50 feet.
KEmen: Accurate width?
DM: 20 feet diameter. Fairly cramped with every one inside. Most of the vault are recessed safe deposit boxes with broad adamantine handles.
Kemen: Climbable?
DM: Sure. You could use the deposit box handles as footholds and handholds.
Kemen: Everyone start climbing…at least 20 feet up.
Me: Why?
Kemen: Because we are about to be the spiders.

We all scale the vault walls and get clearance from the floor. Once we are up a reasonable height everyone waits. When acid begins hissing against the vault door Kemen puts a web high up off the ground to serve as cover for us to hide in. When the door seems like it is about to be broken we add Grease to the walls of the vault. We all wait amidst the web with missile weapons and when Raja finally breaks into the vault he is accompanied by three gnoll archers, and a single SlayMaster. The moment they enter the vault Kemen drops another web right on them and we start dumping everything we have into the cleric.

Raja: Return fire you inept dogs!
Kemen: Return Fire? Don’t mind if I do…fireball to the center of the web.

The fire doesn’t do a whole lot to the kython but it starts baking the cleric and the gnolls just fine. The next round Raja tries to cast a Protection from Energy and blows the concentration check. The SlayMaster is slinging acid at us, but we are putting a heavy toll onto Raja who is trying to get clearance from the burning webs, only to have Kemen recast a web then follow up with another fireball the next round. That round he does manage to get a protection from energy up and he tries to roll out of the room. Paddock wiggles free from the web and drops the twenty foot with his lance between his legs like a pogo-stick right onto the slaymaster. Coe-Nan follows suit to engage in a similar fashion. I put an arrow into the fleeing cleric and we drop down to finish off the wounded gnolls.

The SlayMaster even isolated and wounded is tossing us around like children. Kemen and Silent One both take off after Raja while I snipe the kython in support of our melee. Coe and Paddock are getting their ass kicked, but we are returning solid damage in return. Coe-Nan is swung around and knocked back from the tail and he lands in a patch of the catfolk’s blood. He is again randomly asked to make a Will saving throw which he blows big time. This time there is an effect. A force takes control of him and he lets out a massive cat’s growl, the specter of the tribal spirit takes form all around him and the claws of the spectral cat land on his axes, he goes into a rage and begins to brutally and mindlessly attacking the slaymaster. He needs a 9 to hit and he rolls a 4…but then he is informed that he still hits, but he takes five damage.

For the next several rounds he can’t miss, but he takes damage equal to the miss chance for his each swing that would have missed. He is taking enormous chunks off the thing, but he is gaining similar wounds in return. I forgo any further attacks and just start trying to Cure Light Wounds on Coe-Nan to stem the bleeding.

As we work to dispatch the slaymaster, Kemen and Silent One are trying to run down the fleeing catfolk cleric. Silent One manages to catch up and perform a trip attack, that makes him stumble but not fall and Kemen comes plodding along in his armor, lobbing a magic missile as he comes. The Cleric drops a Flamestrike on Silent One who makes the reflex save to evade, and he responds with an AOO to fully trip Raja. Down and wounded, the catfolk triggers a dimension door and reappears further down the hallway, piles of dead kythons and dwarfs form hills all around him.

Before the catfolk can say a word a shadowy form detachs from the wall and moves behind him, the figure savagely slashes Raja’s throat and damn near takes his head off, gurgling the cleric collapses to his knees and the figure grasps the amulet chain and wrenches it off tucking it into a pocket. With a final gurgling grasp the cleric pulls down the figure’s hood to reveal a sinister githyanki who grins at the Silent One.
The Silent One stops in his tracks and nearly goes into shock with a deep breath he yells at the top of his lungs “WHAT DID YOU DO WITH THEM YOU SON OF A BITCH!?”

I almost had red pop emerge from my nostrils because at the physical table he slams both hands down and screams in our faces. He has not said a single word in character the entire campaign and for all purposes we know of his character is INCAPABLE of speech, but never the less he speaks in the presence of this githyanki.

The githyanki shrugs his shoulders and drops a lock of hair on the corpse of Raja…then he vanishes.

2012-07-11, 01:09 PM
I don’t know what came over me:

After finishing off the slaymaster the three of us join back up with Kemen and Silent One who are both equally baffled at the most recent turn of events. The Silent One is desperately trying to speak to us, but once again only gibberish comes out. Coe-Nan can barely stay on his feet and the force that took him over seems to have abated. We are all perplexed at the spontaneous assassination of Raja, and there is a fair amount of animosity at some random npc stealing our kill. On the plus side, any remaining Kythons are abandoning the city (what is left of it) and all of Raja’s gnolls seem to be vanquished.

Rummaging the corpses of the gnolls and cleric gets us the proxy copies of the amulet and we figure that should give us some good information to go from. We strip anything of value from the gnolls and the catfolk, mostly masterwork equipment and some coin. Paddock disperses some healing to those in need and we start sifting through the rubble for survivors and those in need of aid.

Kay-Varn is nearly destroyed, the majority of it’s inhabitants are slain, and the infrastructure is severely compromised. The majority of ranking members are MIA or KIA. The aftermath takes up four or five days as we spearhead rescue operations and try to piece together a measure of order in the city. The coolest thing that comes from the aftermath is Kemen’s elevation to the title of Merchant Prince. In the context of our campaign world dwarves are not just stocky craftsmen with surly dispositions. They are a major economic force responsible for innovation and expansion. A Merchant Prince is basically a dwarf who is given full authority to make judgements and purchases on behalf of the race and not just himself. They are highly respected amongst their own kind, and deferred to in instances of conflict. While most races have a system of inheritance amongst their descendents, the dwarves have a system of inheritance that is predicated on race. Think of them as a great big co-op.

This really makes our stronghold particularly fascinating. We have established a legal precedent for owning the land given vague nature of property laws in the area. We improved and built upon the land giving us a basis for legal ownership. Now we can affix the seal of a merchant prince upon the structure and treat it as a dual embassy and shop front that is supported not just by our group, but by the entire dwarven race as well. On other fronts…
Silent One has just come face to face with the Githyanki Slaver responsible for his family being abducted and from what we witnessed, this guy is bad news. He also now has an amulet we need to take possession of. Little is known about him. He is a member of a syndicate that we can recognize from their emblem, and getting familiar with the bearers of that emblem is now paramount in our agenda.

Coe-Nan was for all intents possessed by the spirit of Sha-Hatal and while he was given some substantial benefits, the drawbacks were significant enough to warrant calling it a curse. Contact with the catfolk’s blood triggered the will save, and we are left to assume at the moment that enemies of the tribe may cause the spirit to rise up. We discreetly agree to keep a close eye on him for suspicious behavior.

For us as players this is the first climax in the ongoing story. Our known antagonist is dead, and the immediate threat he posed has run its course. We know have a better understanding of how creatures are infected and a clear example of something to study and figure out how.

2012-07-11, 04:04 PM
Ok..This time I reallllly am going to try my sea legs out:

With Kay-Varn in a semblance of working order we are commissioned a frigate and granted several documents which we are instructed to bring across the sea in an effort to locate more information on the Syndicate and requisition supplies and needed items for the rebuilding of the city. We have a half dozen proxy amulets that are dispersed amongst the elves, druids, dwarfs and ourselves. The ship is well crewed and well stocked. We are faced with a 3 week sea voyage that will let us get in a fair amount of crafting or research, and we are eager to get moving again.

Transport is mostly seamless to begin. Five days of clear sailing and smooth skies give us ample time to relax and kick back. Day 6 proves to be drastically different. The captain tells us that unusual tides and currents for this time of year are pushing us to take a different course, and once again the Hullbreaker’s Edge, a chain of islands that are avoided like a disease are mentioned. The captain tells us that we are going to pass dangerously close to the island chain and that he is going to need to be extremely cautious to avoid it. When we press why, we are informed that the waters around the island capture just about every ship within 5 miles of the shore and landing at the island itself is only done by the most stalwart and half mad captains. Dozens of wrecks are visible from looking glass miles out, but none are foolhardy enough to attempt salvage.

Aloud at the table we all “predict” the ship crashing at the island chain and more than person coughs *railroad* under their breath. Yeah we turn out to be right…sort of.

Late afternoon of day six a storm does come in…only much more severe than anything the captain had predicted. As the clouds turn dark and the rain begins to fall the ship gets rocked from something below decks…something large enough to shake a 75 foot long frigate. We are still in deeper water and the captain can’t identify any potential rocks or reefs on his charts. Coe-Nan climbs the mainmast of the ship and spots a many tentacled shape swimming through the water around the ship. It realizes it is spotted and emits a jet black cloud of ink, disappearing from sight.

Coe-Nan: Squid!
The captain and his crew go into overgear to correct the ship and fight the storm, when he probes Coe-Nan on the size of the creature the captain corrects the initial assessment…not squid…kraken.

The kraken makes strafing gorilla assaults against our ship all night. The weather is about three stages beyond hurricane conditions and great arcs of lightning lance across the sky, I may have caught glimpses of an enormous shape spouting fire from the clouds but I can’t be sure. I am also about 30% sure that I spot another vessal amidst the rolling waves and winds, but I lose all track of it in the storm. Any arrows we fire from the deck are mostly snatched away by the wind, or knocked off course. What attacks we manage to make are against the arms and whips of the kraken as it assaults the ship.
Captain: It is steering us, if it wanted to sink us, we would be swimming right now. He keeps pushing us closer to the islands.

The storm shows no signs of abating and the ship is starting to break up from the weather and constant barrage from the kraken. We are completely exhausted and spent from the stress of the night’s events and it takes every last scrap of endurance we have left to cling to the segments of the ship still floating as it goes under. The most important documents are inside our bag of holding, but most of the supplies and Paddock’s horse are currently at the watery depths.

By dawn the storms have dissipated and the scant survivors…us and a few deckhands are clinging to debris, we pull everything together and lash out a makeshift raft. All signs of the kraken are gone and we are faced with a choice. A few miles west of our position is a chain of islands, the Hullbreaker’s Edge. To our east I THOUGHT I saw a ship in the distance. We can either swim for shore or strive to paddle further out and explore for a phantom ship.

Faced with an uncertain chance at another ship out to sea and the much more solid prospect of an established hook and dry line, we opt to head in for shore. The bones of a hundred ships lay smashed against rock formation all across the beach and the tides are lethal. It takes a considerable amount of luck to reach shore in one piece and only one deckhand survives the swim/raft to shore. What looked like flocks of seagulls from the water turns out to be bands of harpies with greasy white feathers. Harpies scrabble across the rocks and outcrops all along the shoreland in mass and we uneasily reach the sand. At first they don’t seem to know what to make of us, but our guts tell us that their caution will not last long…

2012-07-12, 01:06 PM
Well at least he wasn't living in a sewer with a sensai rat

Not thrilled with the prospect of being eaten by oversized seagull-harpies, we try to backtrack slowly towards one of the more intact wrecks. As we start to tread back into the shallow waters, some of the below water “reefs” begin to swim around and move. Kemen identifies them as aquatic gargoyles…kapoacinths. *Sigh*

Me:Well we can be eaten by harpies and left as bird **** on the rocks, or we can swim for a wreck and be eaten by swimming statues.
Coe-Nan: I am not a fan of either option.
Paddock: Harpies are squishier and easier to injure, I vote we head inland and fend off any harpies that make a run at us.

We all start making search/spot checks looking for possible paths inland that don’t seem choked with harpies and we happen upon an outcrop with a cave facing, partially obscured by driftwood. Being fans of walls and chokepoints that becomes our first choice as a means of egress. A few harpies make fluttering dives at us and some well placed arrows and magic missiles drive them back. The cave leads us under the island from our best estimates and goes deep into bedrock. The cave is surprisingly warm, which we attribute to the central mountain peak that we reason is a volcano.

A few harpies follow us inside the cave and down the tunnels inside but they are more nuisance than threat. A few hundred yards in we all settle in and rest.

Coe-Nan: So let me run this down. A guardian lich that represents an even stronger lich from an ancient kingdom named Tempura escapes/flees from a crypt with an amulet (or five) and heads straight for the coast. Once shipbound he skirts very close to this particular island chain and does something. Meanwhile a Catfolk Cleric plots a coup of his own tribe in conjunction with a sect of gnolls. They concoct a potion that when filtered through one of these amulets corrupts and allows them to control animals of various breeds and to a smaller and far less stable degree demon/devil hybrids. Somewhere along the line a drow who is likewise corrupted has a map that they go to extraordinary lengths to recover, even leveling a city in the process. We are now on the island with a copy of the amulet and the map. Last night a frigging kraken attacks our ship and does everything it can do to force us here to this island.
Me: Yep that is about right.
Kemen: Why, were you expecting a quiet day at the beach?

Our quiet day at the beach consists of us hunkered down in a cave sweating attacks from gargoyles and harpies while we work to recover from the effects of the storm. Once we catch our breath we head deeper into the cave and start to pick up clues of inhabitants. The walls get smoother and smoother and claw marks are visible in the stone floor of the cave. Our best guess on the claws is dragon. The cave eventually spills out into a cavern beneath a rock outcrop a few hundred yards out to sea. Waiting for us partially submerged in the water is a dragon turtle. It readies itself but makes no hostile actions.

Turtle: You are foolhardy to venture into this area. I do not like guests, and I despise those who arrive unannounced. You have done both.
Me: Well we are just as eager to leave, but it seems our ship has sunk.
Turtle: This surprises you?
Me: not really, but it does leave us in a predictament.
Turtle: More predicament than you know. Dark forces have come to this island. Forces that extend far beyond your abilities.
Kemen: We have been contending with dark forces for months now.
Turtle *laughs*: Have you yet seen the red? Or the dark wings?
Coe-Nan: The what?
Me: I thought I saw something red in the sky last night.
Turtle: Chances are you did. This island is home to an ancient dragon of legendary strength. For several weeks now he has been increasingly agitated. Twice in the last month he has visited me with threats and bribes, not once has he disturbed me in the decade before.
Paddock: Why would a red dragon allow you to stay on his island? I was of the understanding they are fiercely territorial.
Turtle: Old Emberbane is territorial. He is also well past pity grievances. He likes solitude but occasionally relishes conversation or companionship. I don’t interfere with his endeavors and am I certain to leave gifts whenever they present themselves. Much of that has changed.
Me: What happened?
Turtle: A little over six months ago a man came to the island and held conference with Emberbane. I do not know what their conversation consisted of, but soon after Emberbane begin searching the entire island chain and the surrounding waters. He came to me a few weeks ago with questions about a relic that he was seeking. He plainly stated that If he found it in my possession I would make a nice soup. If I brought it to him I would be rewarded with a lifetime supply of the sweetest and most savory crab imagineable.
Kemen: That doesn’t explain dark wings…
Turtle: Around the same time another entity made it’s arrival on the island. A dark enchantress that brought with her four dragons black as midnight. At night I hear whispering, beckoning me to her service. I have ignored them. Emberbane made a second visit asking if I too heard the same voices . He expressed concern that he was losing chunks of time and losing track of where he was.
Kemen (in a whisper to me): Sounds like he was being controlled.
Turtle: last night I heard the sounds of a battle between the blacks and the red and their skirmish took them into the storm.
The Silent One hands a sketch of the githyanki’s emblem to Coe-Nan to show the dragon turtle.
Coe-Nan: have you seen this symbol?
Turtle: nope.

We part ways with the turtle after exchanging names and leaving him an apology gift of 1,000 silver. He calls himself Jan-Uin.

A few more pieces are placed in the grand puzzle and a giant blinking neon sign that screams “DANGER: THEY ARE BEGINNING TO CONTROL DRAGONS” kind of goes off in our minds. Dragons of nearly all kinds are out of league. An ancient red dragon is an impossible task to face. We make a commitment to ourselves to watch for dragon signs and avoid dragons. Instead we want to find the enchantress. If she is using an amulet to control dragons or corrupt them, we can probably stop her and prevent ourselves from engaging a big scaly monster.

Unfortunately Jan-Uin is something of a shut in, and he is not much help with directing us around the island. We politely inform him that we will be in the middle of the tunnel heading to his lair and he won’t bother him. We pore over our map of the five islands that make up the Hullbreaker’s Edge and tuck in for the night.

2012-07-12, 03:03 PM
Welcome to the Jungle:

The jungle heading towards the volcano sucks. We are working to the island’s center and are constantly assaulted by oversized jungle creatures. Monsterous centipedes, scorpions and snakes are coming out of the woodwork to eat us. Kemen is ready to once again just burn the entire habitat and be done with it, but that hasn’t worked out too well for us in the past. Come nightfall we have made little progress and mostly run ourselves in circles. Before complete dark we manage to reach the beachfront and again run a gambit of harpies and get back to the tunnel.

The second day we head out in the opposite direction and encounter less resistance. Complications arise when we reach a clearing with a natural hot spring. A nymph is bathing in the hot spring and singing a melody to herself. Being a bard and showman I made the decision to pick up the tune she is singing as supportive harmony. I took a little bit of multiple performs, mostly perform stringed for lyre of building hijinks but with strong charisma and it being a trained skill I have a good bass voice. We role play out a little dueling banjo ala Deliverance but in song form and then I am told to roll a Will Save.

Me: A will save?
DM: Yep.
I roll a 4.
DM: You are finding yourself completely enamored with the nymph and are compelled to reach out for her.

The group sees me suddenly go all starry eyed and I begin walking towards her in a daze. Coe-Nan gives me a thumbs up and Paddock urges us to leave for the sake of decency. Kemen steps right in front of me and holds me back.

Kemen: I don’t think so.

His interruption stops me in my tracks and also interrupts the song. The nymph does not appear to be thrilled by the dwarf’s actions. He boldly strides up to her and demands an answer.

Kemen: I may not be an enchanter, but I know Charm Person when I see it. Explain yourself and why you would do this.

The nymph seems genuinely baffled by his reaction and she slowly speaks to Kemen like he is a child.

Nymph: Your friend clearly enjoys what he sees and hears. I merely wished to remove an impediment to him giving in to his own desires.
Me (out of character and in): I am actually ok with this. No complaints here.
Kemen: That is the spell talking. You wouldn’t say that without the compulsion
Chorus of voices at the table: Yes, yes he would.
Kemen: No matter. I won’t abide her forcing you when you were perfectly willing to do so on your own. She drops the spell or I start burning the glade.
Nymph: you would dare disgrace and damage my home?
Kemen: lightning storms or forest fires would have done it on their own…I am just helping nature’s time table out.
Nymph: That is a logical fallacy.
Kemen: So is forcing a man to embrace your charms when he is perfectly capable of doing so on his own.
Nymph: that is completely different.
Kemen: Nope they are the same, we just don’t agree on the details.
Nymph: Very well...

With a wave of her hands the spell is dismissed and everyone starts to relax. As all this is playing out a the table the Silent One is furiously scribbling notes to the DM who keeps shaking his head no. Finally he grabs me by the arm and starting shaking me furiously. He is throwing his hands wildly around the table gesturing at the imaginary nymph. None of can figure out a damned thing he is saying. He grabs a yellow 20 sider and puts it high above his head with one hand, shielding his eyes with the other hand…he makes a swooshing noise and drops it out of sight, then cupping his hands under his head like a pillow while snoring.

Me: Sleep? *no* night? *sort of* Dark? *yes yes yes*
Paddock: Dark what?

Our DM is cracking up at the table fighting like mad to hold in a laugh. The Silent One just keeps wilding pointing at the nymph and giving us this “are you freaking stupid?” look. The DM’s sides are shaking and his face is turning red, he finally gives in and says “ go ahead just say it”

Silent One (ooc): WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE LOOKING FOR A DARK ENCHANTRESS! Don’t you think it’s a little convienient that a nymph happens along our path and tries to charm a party member?
Me: I completely forgot about that.
Coe-Nan: how do we know if she is the enchantress we are looking for?
Me: I am going to walk up and ask her.
Me: Excuse me, much as I enjoyed our song and I look forward to finishing the rest of it in a more private setting, I need to know if you are wrestling control of dragons on this island using an ancient amulet?
DM: You are seriously saying that? Not just screwing around at the table?
Me: Yep.
Nymph: That is a very sinister accusation to propose. I am not. I do unfortunately know of whom you speak. My sisters and I once lived peacefully in this place. Recently our youngest sister began communicating with a seductive force beyond our knowledge. She was coaxed with visions of glory and splendor and I fear she has cast her lot with beings of great malice. She was cast out from our commune and exiled from our grove.
Kemen: Then it is even more imperative that we find her and not waste time here. Where would she have gone?
Nymph: you seek to do her harm?
Kemen: If we can find another way, then no.
Nymph: But you would take her life?
Paddock: I assure you that we will strive to redeem her and prevent harm from befalling her.
Me: I would commit to the same.
Kemen: I defend myself and those who stand with me. I won’t commit to anything but that statement.
Nymph: Very well. On the south side of the island in the shadow the mountain is a grotto, her home is there.
Me: I fear we have other questions
Nymph: speak them.
Kemen: what do you know of Emberbane…
Nymph: He is wise beyond compare, and fearsome to behold.
Me: He actually doesn’t sound too bad.
Nymph: To those beneath his concern he is courteous. Those who cross him or anger him are reduced to ash.
Me: What of the visitor who came to this island around six months ago?
Nymph: I knew only of his presence.
Kemen: Last question…can Jan-Uin be trusted?
Nymph: The dragon turtle? He has no reason to lie, but his agenda is his own.
Me: Is there anything else you can tell us about him?
Nymph: He is a much worse lover than Emberbane…
Pencils fall. Jaws drop. Everyone pauses.
DM: So are you ready to move on? Or are you going to continue conversing with the nymph?
Coe-Nan: Let’s move on and pretend that last bit didn’t happen.
Paddock (under his breath): How do you even…how does it…who would be…
As we are all leaving and pondering certain unponderable events I slip a small post it note to the DM.

If I get the slightest chance to slip back here and finish what she started I am completely going for it. .

With a clearer objective in front of us we make our way to the location described. As we move through the jungle evidence of a fight keeps cropping up. Acid splatters from the air have fallen amidst the foliage and left clear signs of black dragon breath weapons being deployed. The occasional area completely toasted indicates the red returned fire (quite literally). Perhaps more telling we locate the corpse of a huge black dragon. He is tore up in a lot of places and most of his chest cavity is charred and hollowed out from a gout of fire. We think of it as a good news bad news development. The good news is…they are killing each other. The bad news…if we get involved we are barely going to leave ashes behind.

With Paddock unmounted we structure a new marching order. Coe-Nan takes point with Silent One and Paddock on our wings, I take center with Kemen in the rear. As we near the grotto site, a second black dragon, still alive is encountered. Its wings are shredded far beyond repair, and it has multiple borderline fatal wounds. It is slowly limping towards the grotto. From a brief observation the left rear hip is shattered. It is Huge which means at least mature adult. We all have magic weapons that can overcome damage reduction, but 29 AC is tough. Everyone creeps back and we put on some buffing spells and figure on trying to throw the kitchen sink for 1 round then scatter away.

Coe-Nan, Silent One and Paddock all go charging in as I put a rapid shot from range into flight. Kemen stands by and holds his action. I land a single arrow for 11 damage and Coe-Nan lands a single charging swing for 12 more. Paddock and Silent One both miss. The dragon makes a full attack spread out amongst all three of them and rocks them. Kemen throws a magic missile at it’s head and spell resistance fizzles it. The black wins initiative and lays a line of acid into Silent One who evades. Coe-Nan puts a full two handed attack and lands a pair of strikes for 18 more damage. Paddock connects with his Morningstar and the dragon stumbles, hissing in pain. Kemen launches another magic missile that gets through spell resistance and it is enough to send the dragon toppling over, as it falls the shattered hip becomes a severe compound fracture and blood oozes from the dying dragon as the bones pierce it’s hide.

Kemen: 2 down…3 to go.

While not exactly glorious we did kill a black dragon and with the combined efforts of Kay-Varn war, the snakes and vermin we vanquished and our Q&A with dragon turtle and one very freaky nymph we make level 7. I am going to include a stat block in my next update chunk to show where everyone is at come level 7.

2012-07-12, 04:18 PM
Dude....that nymph was great

2012-07-13, 09:43 AM
Definitely not like Hef’s Grotto:

Here is a more detailed update for stat blocks on our characters. At this point Kemen is working to bounce between Master Specialist and Runesmith before going Seven Fold Veil. He is trying to manage a feat starved crafter. He wants Craft Wonder Item and he needs Greater Spell Focus.

I am borderline tempted to take a couple druid levels and go fochluran lyrist, or take bard to 7th and go Sublime Chord. As campaign unfolds that will affect decision.

Silent One is happily not worried about min-maxing and continues to take monk.
Coe-Nan is dipping back into fighter for more feats and he is not sure where he is going long term.
Paddock has picked up the combat feats he wants and is more or less commited to cleric at this point.

We are used to operating with heavier magic items and the lack of boosts from gear is starting to worry us.

Marilius Antinaius(Me) (human) Rogue3/Bard4 Str15 Dex20 Con14 Int16 Wis12 Cha 21 HP 50. Feats:Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Precise Shot,Leadership. Spells Known: Cure light Wounds, Grease. Charm Person, Cure moderate wounds, Glitterdust. Equipment: Mithral Chain Shirt+1, comp longbow+1 (adds additional rolls on max damage) rapier+1, lyre of building.

The Silent One (githerzai) Monk7 Str16 Dex26 Con14 Int10 Wis18 Cha13 HP 57. Feats:Stunning Fist, Combat Reflexes, Short Haft, Weapon Focus:Spear, Improved Trip, II. Equipment: Adamantine longspear, 100 shuriken.

David Allen Coe-Nan (human) Fighter3/Barbarian4 Str22 Dex15 Con15 Int11 Wis14 Cha14 HP77. Feats: Two Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus Axes, Power Attack, Cleave, Improved Iniative. Great Cleave Equipment:Adamantine Breastplate+1, adamantine battleaxe (2)+1, masterwork dagger, comp longbow (+6str), 100 arrows.Belt of giant str+2

Kemen Sarn (dwarf) Fighter1/Abjurer3/MasterSpec2/Runesmith1 Str14 Dex10 Con24 Int20 Wis14 Cha10 HP:65 Feats:Scribe Scroll, Improved Initiative, Spell Focus Abjuration, Sculpt Spell, Skill Focus Spellcraft, Craft Arms and Armor Equipment:Adamantine Full Plate+1,heavy pick+1 (special abilities) large steel shield, dagger, spellbook.

Paddock Shiningstar (gnome) Paladin2/Cleric5 Str14 Dex 12 Con19 Int12 Wis16 Cha19 HP:63 Feats:Mounted Combat,Ride By Attack, Spirited Charge. Equipment:Full Plate+1, Morningstar+1, adamantine lance+1

We prep acid resistance and bulls strength on Coe-Nan and Paddock before entering the grotto itself. Then we move at a quick pace into the spring system. The grotto itself is well lit by neon algae and there is a nymph reclining on the subterraen roots of a massive tree that penetrated deep into the ground. The corpses of the other three black dragons are all laid out on the ground in her chamber. She is definitely aware of our arrival and does not seem the least bit surprised to see us. She identifies herself as Kreestan.
Kreestan: How naughty of my sibling to guide you here. I do think she does not have my best intentions in mind.

Kemen: She had concerns for your safety, but we have greater concerns about an amulet in your possession.
The nymph playfully spins the amulet hanging from her neck in front of us. It is similar to the proxy copy in our care, but markedly different.
Me: We made a commitment that we would avoid harming you if possible. What will it take for you to willingly give us the amulet?
Kreestan: I do have an answer. Once every silver and gold dragon of this plane is slain you may have the amulet until then it must stay in my keep.
Coe-Nan: That is a bold agenda. How exactly do you intend to carry that out?
Kreestan: That is between me and my master.
Kemen: Your master is dead…Raja was assassinated more than a week ago during his attack of Kay-Varn.
Kreestan: Raja? I answer to an emperor not a mere pawn.
Me: Droka didn’t seem an emperor to us (the lich that appeared to us as a vision)
That comment gets under her skin.
Kreestan: Droka? From where did you hear that name? It is heresy to speak his name.

As she speaks the word heresy three piles of vegetation…shambling mounds…rise up from the corners of the room and begin to form a wall in front of her. She then shapeshifts into a like shambling mound, and a bright light bursts forth forcing us to avert our eyes. The four mounds all start to attack us and we lose track of which mound is her. Kemen’s first action is to levitate to the peak of the grotto, and the rest of pick targets and begin our offensive.
We get hit with a flamestrike the next round and from what we can tell the spell came from a mound at the forefront. Coe-Nan keys in on that mound and Paddock supports him with a flank. Unfortunately plants lack critical spots or I would get added damage. Kemen for his part drops a fireball from on high to the rear of the mounds, hitting all but one of them. Probably would have helped to know that friggin plants have fire resistance, but who actually knows Shambling Mound lore?

There is back and forth action as we try to isolate the nymph. Kemen continues to drop fireballs from his levitated position, but a dispel magic sends him falling back to the ground. Coe-Nan drops an actual shambling mound and while we are holding our own, damage is beginning to pile up from constricts and spells. A web spell immobilizes the room’s center and one of the mounds then all but disappears as the druid shifts to a tiny fish form and vanishes amidst the churned water of the grotto.

Coe-Nan: Why do all the villains run?
Me: Because we are trying to kill them.
Coe-Nan: Oh yeah right.

2012-07-14, 11:59 AM
Under Da Sea:

Unable to effectively give chase, we focus on finishing off the shambling mounds. We take a few rounds after finishing off the last one to spread a bit of healing around then we search the grotto for any hidden items or other exits. The only way out is down and through the water. The Silent One can swim decently with no armor penalties but the rest of us are going to sink like stones. Turns out that we can use that to our benefit.

We tie a rope around our wizard and basically use him as a dwarvish anchor. With his monster Con and heavy armor he should be quite stable WALKING underwater like a diver. He can stay down for the better part of two minutes, and with levitate he can bring himself quickly back to the surface. We toss our wizard into the pool through which the druid escaped and wait for a report. We are tormented by a series of concealed rolls and actions as he is forced to write out in seclusion his actions for the next two minutes.

On round 17 he finally emerges from the water bleeding and yelling “ We got Lobster Men coming!”

A trio of Chuul lumber forth from under the water and come for us.
We get Kemen behind Coe-Nan and Paddock who tie up the monsters.
Kemen: There is definitely a passage through to dry land, I spotted it right before they came at me.

We are forced to skirmish and dance around the chuul as their paralysis and constriction are things we don’t want to get tangled in. They are surprisingly resilient and it takes a lot out of us to prevail. Our biggest handicap as a group is staying power. We have very finite resources. Before preceding we want to rest and regain spells, what we need to do is press forward and not let another villain run on a chase half way around the world before destroying a city. So a bit battered and low on big guns we all decide to go for a swim. Armor gets piled into the bags of holding and we get ready for a frantic swim to reach air on the other side.

The underwater passage gives way to a metal cave with a shocking surprise. At least a dozen silver and gold dragons of immense size and grace are decapitated and rotting in the shallow waters. An alter with blood grooves going to a large clockwork apparatus has a razor sharp adamantine guillotine hanging above it. A big ass door…I mean BIG made from intricate clockwork parts stands open. The alter from all appearances collects blood and then channels it into the doorway. We are equally parts baffled at the apparatus and equally parted horrified that ANYTHING could kill 12 dragons.

Treading on eggshells would be reckless compared to how we proceeded from this point onward. In the highest state of paranoia possible we make at least 30 un-needed skill checks for spot, listen, search, disable device and tons of random knowledge checks fishing for information. Inside the door is a whole different world. Elaborate artifice and clockwork systems line a grand ballroom of ancient and remarkably advanced design. A scale model of a city is on a stand in the center of the room. A few wet footprints are the only signs of any activity in the room. The panorama of the city is finely detailed and fills a table 30 feet across. We start cautious searches of it and I find a control panel that opens up several drawers embedded in the table. It is described to us as an instruction manual/visitor’s guide. It is written in multiple languages, some of which Kemen can make out, most of which only the Silent One can get any grasp of.

The Silent One gestures to the dragons outside and then takes a shuriken and pretend cuts his arm then squeezes the blood onto the alter. He then turns an invisible door handle and walks through. From that show we gather the blood is used as a key to unlock the door.

Paddock: So they killed the dragons and used their blood.
*Silent One shakes his heads no and then grabs Paddock’s arms and acts like he is taking blood forcefully and putting it on the alter…he then goes to re-open the door but this time it is still locked*
Me: It has to be voluntary.
Kemen: How do you voluntarily make a dragon give you all it’s blood then have it sit there and wait for you to lop off it’s head?
Coe-Nan: You take full control of it using an amulet just like the one Raja used to control all his animals.
Me: But there is no signs of the same disease on the black dragons or these. And the nymph showed the magic that a druid would. We know druids are vulnerable to the compounds that Raja formed.
Kemen: Maybe she came up with a way to perfect the process of control. We can ask her once we find her. The important thing is that she is controlling dragons and she is using the blood of silvers and golds to enter this place.

A detailed inspection of the model shows five branches of the city, each with a central hub. Tunnels extend from a main hub to each of the five outriggers, each of the outriggers have security doors just like the one we entered. Four of the doors are silver and gold filigreed, we assume it takes the voluntarily blood of a silver and gold dragon to open the respective doors. The fifth door and one northernmost is ruby. We further assume…that one requires a red dragon’s blood.

We have a rough graph paper map of the panorama city, and a map of the island chain. The Silent One lays the maps side by side and traces the outlines of the islands…each of the five islands correlates to a hub of the city model. To us that means each of the outriggers is under an island. With no clear objective of what is inside the sunken city we follow the trail of wet footprints heading towards the ruby door.

We are treated to sights no mortal has likely ever witnessed. A glass tunnel extends for miles under the ocean to the outrigger hub and from inside the tunnel we have a clear line of sight that must be magical in nature. Shipwrecks of all kinds stand out in bright relief and we see sharks, kapoacinths and other oceanic life swimming to and fro. They give no signs that we are visible and our presence is completely concealed.

The tunnel runs for the better part of five miles and when we reach the door we trigger a trap. Coe-Nan who is at point trips an alarm that causes a glass vial to shatter, the vial pours dragon blood into a receptacle that reaches the ruby door. The ruby door is visible from several hundred yards away and it is wide open. As the blood pours a Shield Guardian detachs itself from the various cogs and gears of the door and takes up a defensive sentry position.
At this point we aren’t sure of the sunken city’s purpose or the intent of it’s defenses, but a force stands in our way that we can’t reason with and we error on the “greater good”, electing to destroy the guardian to hasten pursuit of our quarry. With adamantine weapons and range to start we tee off on the shield guardian quite effectively. Coe-Nan lands the killing blow with a sweeping axe blow and we are on the verge of a minor celebration when a voice in draconic says “Destruction Contingency activated”

Coe-Nan: uh…
*Phfoooom!* A flamestrike erupts from the crumbling form of the shield guardian damn near taking out myself and Paddock.
Me: Well that was uncalled for.

Through the ruby door we reach the outrigger island complex and it is a stark contrast to the advanced technology we have been travelling through. Harsh and dull iron rules the complex, like moving from Victorian steam punk to dark ages pig iron. Rust permeates the walls and floors. The whole outrigger complex is dedicated to the formation of an anvil no mortal was ever meant to utilize. Forged from a metal none of us can recognize it stands 100 feet tall at the center, and we can’t even begin to guess what it must weigh. Runes and symbols in a tight small writing choke every inch of wall space in the stadium sized room. Rust and dripping fluid have obscured some of the writing, and while information is lost we figure a team of scholars could spend a decade inside studying the writing and barely make a dent in that which is present.

Against the furthest wall are ten hammers that could only be meant for use to strike the great anvil. Each is made from a different metal, and so heavily enchanted with runes and spells that detect magic would go off like a supernova in the room. Paddock bids us caution as we approach a human sized workstation. All he can tell us is that the protective warding around that station exceed anything even the strongest solar could conjure. He can feel the divine strength from dozens of yards away.

Paddock: Something remarkably important was placed on that work bench. Something that must have the capacity to shake the heavens for wards that strong to be placed around it. That something is also missing. You can see where the outline of an object stands out on the surface.

A few spot checks and nervous glances confirm what he says. Something roughly the size of a human coffin was moved from the bench. With no enemies to engage we devote our energy to exploring the whole area. Beneath the anvil we find a glass flute that connects to a trapdoor partially obscured by the massive blacksmith device above it. The Silent One translates for us by making the same blood letting motion across his arm then pointing to me.

Me: I guess this one only opens for humans.
I get ready to open up a small cut on my arm when Coe-Nan stops me.
Coe-Nan: If blood has to be voluntarily given, then maybe we shouldn’t be opening up hidden things the nymph can’t get into by herself. Assuming she can get into anything that needs dragon blood, she is blocked from anything that needs human blood.
Kemen: nice catch. We should wait before opening anything to be on safe side.

Before we activate any further locking mechanisms we back track to attempt and seal the central hub’s door. We try everything humanoidly possible to no avail. I have mentioned before that sometimes we get told to make Spot/Listen checks just to keep us on our toes. Random calls for checks don’t always mean there is something to watch out for, sometimes its just meant to be a distraction. So we don’t get too caught up when we are asked to make a spot check. Coe-Nan makes the best roll and is rewarded with a small hand written note. He thinks the panorama may have moved since we were last in the room. We all make more detailed examinations and we come to a conclusion.

It’s not just a model of a city…it is a timer. And it is counting down.

2012-07-14, 02:04 PM
So, you all started at level 3. I've only read up to the ogres ambushing the elven wagon so far, but there you mentioned The Silent One having 7 AoO. I'm curious how that's possible; are you using a homebrewed 0 LA githzerai, or the one from the MM/XPH and just ignoring the LA?

2012-07-14, 02:15 PM
So, you all started at level 3. I've only read up to the ogres ambushing the elven wagon so far, but there you mentioned The Silent One having 7 AoO. I'm curious how that's possible; are you using a homebrewed 0 LA githzerai, or the one from the MM/XPH and just ignoring the LA?

He has 7 Attack of Opportunity possible per round owing to huge dex score and combat reflexes, and in a way we are ignoring LA. Everyone got a slightly elevated additional boost to stats or a magic item to balance out the LA and keep everyone same level.

2012-07-14, 03:38 PM
If you have to go…I guess that is the best reason:

The panorama doubles as a timer and with some scribbled out math we come to the conclusion that within the next week the whole complex will go back into a full lockdown mode. From everything we can tell, the city is only able to be entered for 1 month every 2,000 years. That means we are on a tight schedule.

Without overwhelming readers in detail, we spend the entire week scouring all five wings of the structure. We dub the complex Nymph-Lantis. The whole complex is rigged with various animated objects and Shield Guardians as protectors. There is something unsettled about a metal bookcase attacking you. I suppose we kind of just got used to it after a while though. I am glossing over most of these segment because the encounters were mostly filler. We pick up the following facts as a result of our investigations.

*The five outriggers originally held five amulets. Each amulet is tied to a specific group of creatures. We identify an animal amulet (Raja’s) A dragon amulet (Nymph) a demon amulet, an elemental amulet, and a giant amulet.

*There was a lot of research done into these things. We find multiple tomes and carvings preserving the findings of those studied them.

*A sixth object was housed in the ruby outrigger (something we already knew) and it was in essence a control mechanism for the amulets. They expended just about every conceivable scenario to destroy these items with no luck.

*High ranking liaisons from each race were contacted and asked to assist at some point in the deep deep past. So each species should have some knowledge of their existence.

*The cities real name was Cinhill Rue, and was designed as an academic university from antiquity. All knowledge of this location was obscured and scattered. It has lain sunken in the ocean for at least 6,000 years. When each amulet was extricated we have no way of knowing.

*We find duplicate research that matches a lot of what we discovered about Raja’s compound. From what we deduce he was unable to effectively use the amulet and he concocted the elixir as a way of jury rigging the amulet into his control. It was a weaker form of control that allowed flawed dominance of the kython.

*These things are POTENT. Over time they will eventually sieze control of anything they are attuned to. Emberbane was most likely succumbing to the dragon amulet and we still don’t know his final fate.

*The map we have been carrying was stolen from Cinhill Rue and was taken from the human activated mechanism. It was not meant to leave the facility and the further away from its base the less predictable it became. When we return it, the map turns dark then begins a nice even glow. We are treated to a hazy map of the world and five blinking points are highlighted on the world map. Mental focus on a light creates a zoom function that lets us locate the five amulets current position. The dragon amulet is within 20 miles of the island chain, and the animal amulet is right there with it. The elemental amulet lays in a desert not too far off from our original destination. The giant amulet lays in New Jotun (eek) and the demon amulet is within a shadowy wasteland at the southern most point of our original area.

*Kemen comes across schematics for something neither he nor the Silent One can decipher. He holds onto them none the less because he is told they are akin to what you would find in a golem manual.

*With our week of wandering research nearly complete we all hightail it out of the central hub after leaving behind a few warnings of our own.

At this point we feel like we have a good grasp of the situation and now lack the means to act on it. We make it back to the island surface without incident, but we are still stuck on a remote island chain that ships rarely visit. We have no teleport capability, no boat and no means of egress. We boil up a kettle of tea to find the crystal tea leaf is now useless. Everyone just kind of looks at each other at the table.

Coe-Nan: So now what? We wait for SlowHand?
Paddock: We can head back to Jan-Uin.
Me: It can’t hurt…unless he is grumpy.
Kemen: Or he mistakes your pretty self for the nymph…

In the course of making our way back to the coast and the dragon turtle I sneak in a quick “visit” to the nymph that charmed me. I take a bit longer than expected to get back and assure them everything is alright when I return.

The coast is noticeably absent of gargoyles and harpies, like something forced them all away. Our trip down Jan-Uin’s tunnel raises red flags all over the place. Enormous claw marks have torn chunks out of the walls and we find several hard as steel red scales on the ground and embedded in the walls. We are less than surprised to find Jan-Uin dead. Dead is actually describing it lightly. All that remains is his head and a heavily scorched shell. Every square inch of his lair has been raked over by dragon claw and flame. What we presume was part of his hoard now sits in a melted slagheap at the bottom of his lair’s pool. Silver, Gold, and Copper are all melted together into solid piece.

With nothing better to do at the moment we split forces and keep a few people watching the skies and shore, while the others dive down in the lair and start hacking apart chunks of metal using our adamantine weapons. It takes up the better part of two afternoons but we bring up all the precious metal. We pack our bag of holding to capacity, and then try to brainstorm a new plan. Brainstorming is cut short by a storm of acid. Several black dragons are buzzing the shoreline and spraying acid at us. We all start to break for cover when one of the dragons damn near kamikazes itself into the dragon turtle tunnel. The barest glimpse of the nymph astride the largest black dragon tips us to her presence. None of them is huge, all are large or smaller, but with seven attacking us we feel screwed.

Not willing to go down without a fight we break for cover and try to make a show of things. We get some acid resist going and Kemen and I start sniping from range with fireballs and arrows. I land a good shot to a smaller dragon and out of nowhere a longspear impales itself in the dragon’s hide right down to it’s feathers.

Feathers? On a longspear…wait a minute.

From the jungle’s edge we have a poor visibility to the shore and are mostly focused on the sky. For every person that has EVER posted something about having flight capability and it being critical…I invite you to feel what it is like from the other end. Flights of longspear sized arrows are landing with enough force to knock the dragon’s from mid air. The nymph Kreestan bugs out and takes her surviving dragons with her.

Me: Well the cavalry has arrived or we are about to get hit with a lot worse.

Grounded on the beach is an immense round iron barrel with lobster pincers emerging and a strange propeller mounted in the back. It is an apparatus of the crab, but scaled up to fit the better part of a dozen huge creatures. Standing in the surf at the beach are 12 Storm Giants all equipped with gargantuan composite longbows, they are still scanning the skies when we tentatively break from the tree line. They hail us and lower their weapons. Their leader introduces himself as Bjorn Bjornsun. We are introduced to his crew and we return our names likewise.
Me: Well met Bjorn, and fantastic timing.
Bjorn turns to his crew and they whisper to each other.
Bjorn: Did you say your name was Marilius?
Me: Yes…yes it is.
A chuckle goes up from the crew.
Bjorn *laughing heartily*: There is an awfully big price on your head lad. You are worth 75,000 gold dead and 100,000 alive. Was she worth it?
Me *grinning*: Every penny…

2012-07-17, 09:09 AM
Titan’s Pride:

Ladies and Gentleman allow me to introduce the single most over the top piece of bad ass encountered in D&D fantasy gaming….the Titan’s Pride.
Anchored 15 miles offshore is a floating citadel 700 yards in length. It’s twice the size of the titanic and shaped like an aircraft carrier. 8 Apparatus of the Crab, four to a side hang as lifeboats or excursion vessels for the ship. 50 Cannons, 20 trebuchets and 32 scorpions are all mounted on the deck. A clan of 40 Storm Giants are owners and operators of the largest ship on the seas. Their captain, Beorn Bjornsun, younger brother to Bjorn and an absolute crack shot with a longbow. They have a third brother Bjornie. The rest of the giants are kin or clan.

Bjorn the Eldest (our shoreline greeter) escorts us back to the literal and figurative titanic vessel. Once on deck we find the final fate of Emberbane. The ancient red dragon is littered with arrows, and pock marked craters from cannon fire. Humanoids of various race and origin scurry about the deck bringing various items to the giants who are maneuvering the dragon to a below ship hold. Bjorn the Eldest takes us to Captain Beorn. If ever there was a storm giant bred to be a sea captain it is he. Perpetually laughing and savoring the salt wind the Pride is his lifelong dream and calling.

Captain Beorn: So I hear you ran afoul of some dragon trouble eh? Nothing quite like we ran into I am sure, but the boys say you were putting up a good fight.
Me: I think compared to your fight we had it easy.
Captain Beorn: Damnest thing I ever saw. Never met a dragon that cared for something more than it’s own hide. Put one in a bad spot and they cut and run to come back later. This one…one minute he is trying to burn the entire deck, the next he is trying to fly into our arrows and cannon shot. He never once showed signs of retreat, he just kept coming at us.
Kemen: That is because he was fighting off mind control from something very ancient and very powerful.
Captain Beorn: That would explain why he attacked, but not why he kept trying to get himself killed
Coe-Nan: Did he have anything with him?

The three brothers all share a look that probably means a lot more to them than us and Captain Beorn blows a whistle in three quick notes then dismisses his brothers. We are taken to his quarters where we get food and drink. He is a gracious host and ensures our comfort.

Captain Beorn: For most legal matters we are officially a fishing vessel. I trawl the waters none other dare and I bring in the biggest crab, the rarest squid, the strongest sharks. We cater in any rare cuisine or deep dweller the average vessel can’t contend with. From time to time our pursuits lean more towards the…”salvage”…of other vessels or islands. I got a buyer who pays a premium for white harpy, so every couple years we make a pass at the old Hullbreaker’s Edge and get some grimy chickens. This time though we get hit hard by a red dragon that don’t make no sense. He threw something on my deck then started his suicide run. I have had my best crewmembers trying to figure out just what the hell the thing is all night and they are stumped. Now I ain’t looking to boast, I can find reasons to boast without looking just fine on my own, but I got me some of the best minds alive and they are positively stumped. Not more than half a day later I pick up some minnows who are curious as to what this old red bugger had with him.
Me: There is a simple explanation….well an explanation.

The captain waves off my speech and explanation and continues on.

Captain Beorn: You will get a chance to talk, but first I want my boys to look ya over.

A polite knock arrives at his door, and from a smaller “humanoid” doggie door a drow elf and a dwarf walk into the captain’s quarter they salute and then wait.

Captain Beorn first gestures to the drow who he calls Lirdain.
Lirdain: I took the names they presented along with a description of their equipment and appearance. My sources confirm their identity and merit. They acquitted themselves quite handsomely in the recent turmoil of Kay-Varn and the one called Marilius is definitely the man with the handsome bounty.
Captain Beorn turns to me…
Beorn: I am quite familiar with her father and her. I have gotten three proposals for marriage turned down. Now what I need to understand is this…I got a warhammer below deck that can spew thunder and drown lightning. I can crack me pretty much any nut on this world, but I never got so much as an inch closer to her graces. How did you succeed where I failed?
Me: Easy…I am much smaller…I snuck in.

The drow quietly excuses himself as the captain roars in laughter and slaps me on the back…damn near knocking me out in the process. The dwarf seems surly even for a dwarf and he practically ignores Kemen, which we find odd. The captain calls him Beordie.

Beordie: They are well equipped and the arms and armor they bear are of a solid quality. Not as good as mine, but I would not be embarrassed to wear it.

The storm giant gestures for the dwarf to leave but Beordie doesn’t move. After a minute of awkward silence he finally makes eye contact.

Beordie: You said you wanted repairs done within the day captain.
Captain Beorn: Yes I did.
Beordie: Then I will require triple.
Beorn: Are you going to be a stubborn ass about this?
Beordie: Yes captain.
Beorn: Fine triple.
Kemen furrows his brow as the other dwarf leaves and point blank asks the captain.
Kemen: You gave in awfully easy.
Beorn: He is worth ten times what he charges. He just likes to look big in front of other dwarves. Ever since he rejected his seat as a merchant prince he has had a chip on his shoulder.
Kemen: Wait…is this the same Beordie Jorgunhammer that spat in the council’s face 20 years ago?
Beorn: The one and same.

Kemen proceeds to have an aside with us where he says that Beordie is like the Da Vinci of dwarf culture. He is regarded as the single greatest craftsmen to ever live and his creations are valued above all others. He disappeared after a huge spat with the dwarf leadership and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Coe-Nan: Apparently he built this ship.

Captain Beorn takes us on a tour of the ship. The whole vessel functions like a floating city, craftsmen, traders, cooks, bars, casinos, theatres are all housed on board. Massive holding tanks for oceanic life are built into the ship’s center and just about all manner of races work as contracted crew. The drow is his head of security and as we come to find out, delivered the killing blow on the red dragon.

The ship is powered by magic and by golems. A host of Iron Golems work as tireless rowers at a giant propulsion mechanism.

The big shocker is what the captain takes us to see inside his personal vault. Watched by four of his most trusted cousins, is a casket sized relic of impossible intricacy and design. Five keylocks are present on the outside of the metal coffin. The captain takes out an amulet, the animal amulet held by Raja and places in it one of the keylocks, he starts to turn it, just to confirm it fits then stops. This is what was taken from Cinhill Rue, the central control mechanism for these amulets.

Beorn: I have some damned good people working under me. Some of the best scholars and scribblers you would ever hope to meet. Not a one can come up with a damned purposed for this thing. I had Beordie go over it with a fine tooth comb and he couldn’t find a speck of dandruff. The best divinations money can buy only tell me it is related to necromancy.

We are faced with a fork in the road of major proportions. Do we spill what we know and explain what we discovered? Or do we go poker faced and go about our business until we know more? We go with the former and fill in the giant on everything we know. A loose plan is bred from the conversation.
Beorn is already been in contact with just about every archivist, court bard, diviner and cleric of note in the world and he has built a sailing schedule to meet as many as possible. His path will take us to New Jotun, and the original destination, leaving only the shadow wasteland as a potential spot for an amulet we won’t get escorted to. Therein lies a new problem. I am a wanted man and knowledge of my bounty seems far spread. On the plus side I am something of a Giant’s Maiden Robin Hood, at least these giants in particular are more willing to buy me a drink and slap me on the back than to sell me off for a profit. So I got that going for me.

Me: I am all for the wastelands.
Kemen: You want to go into an area most likely drawing demons to the control of some agent that will rend your flesh and soul to tatters? That sounds better than a civilized and politically neutral sanctuary?
Me: Demons always want to maim and rend. At least they don’t get a 100k bonus for doing so.

I get overruled and outvoted and as Beorn starts to finalize repairs on his vessel from the dragon attack, Coe-Nan makes mention of a small…almost trivial item.
Coe-Nan:They killed Emberbane.
Paddock: Yeah…
Coe-Nan: Emberbane was an ancient red dragon.
Me: Yeah…
Coe-Nan: He received tithes from the dragon turtle…
Kemen: Yeah.
Coe-Nan: An ancient red dragon is dead and we are leaving without looking for his hoard?
All together: CAPTAIN WAIT!

2012-07-17, 01:06 PM
That last exchange was absolutely priceless!

2012-07-17, 04:12 PM
This is why Flight is so frustrating

The storm giant captain reacts in an odd manner when we frantically run him down and bid him help us return to the island. To avoid strife we elect on full disclosure and tell him the red most likely had his hoard stashed in the island. Being a businessman he is perfectly in line with leaving no hoard behind and he throws a lot of resources our way. He grants us a pilot to command an apparatus in order to reach the island. He gives us ten bags of holding type 4 and a baton that when activated will teleport us back to the Titan’s Pride. All of which we are totally cool with.

Then he requests we submit to a full search and inspection of everything upon our person. He further requests that Kemen show Beordie his spellbook and he places a 1 way lock on the bags of holding that will only expire once we return to the ship. Basically we are strip searched and inventory of our equipment is documented. Our extraplanar storage is restricted to deposit only. Out of character we understand the reason for these types of security precaution. In character we greatly try to express outrage over our word being questioned to such a high degree.

Beorn: I trust my brothers with my ship but not my vault. I trust that you are good folk and worthy of respect. Having said that I never met a man or beast that doesn’t lose perspective at the sight of a dragon’s treasure. I am supplying transport to the island, safe passage back and I will give you a good share of any items you take out from the beasts lair. I am offering a 70/30 split. You take the 70, and I get the 30. I want first pick of any scrolls,wands,rods, or staves. Any weapons or armor you can take first pick. Beordie thinks of wands and rods as “busy” work and he much prefers to custom design any arms.

It is a generous offer and while we are asking ourselves why he is ok with us going back to shore, we reason out that giants are needed for security of the ship owing to the other dragons in the area. All these developments also beg the question…what are they doing with emberbane’s corpse? From what we witnessed it is being preserved and packed. Lirdain tells us that the captain will seek out any kin or blood relations that wish to claim him, then he will give him a proper burial/funeral per the instructions of whatever reds he can find. A big part of his business is built around reputation and he goes to great lengths to respect all races.

Silent One makes an off hand comment about being pat down and run through scanners at the airport and it feels appropriate for the situation.
A random storm giant lackey pilots an apparatus back to the central island and parks on the beach. He has a small team of lizarfolk that help him recover dead black dragons from the tree-line where they fell. Our first course of action is to backtrack into Jan-Uin’s lair and finish bringing the melted coin into bags of holding.

We then set off back to the mountain and try to find a way up instead of down. It takes us a full day to search and locate an entrance and we press on deep into the night. To our drastic disappointment we find Emberbane’s lair and it is just about empty. All signs of wealth are MIA, and the only useful things we recover are a journal he kept and a bone flute (*snicker*). It actually raises a lot of concern for us because we are leery of returning empty handed., but we dutifully trigger the baton and are teleported back. Beordie, Captain Beorn, Lidrain and ourselves all examine and read through the journal and flute as the ship makes for open water. Emberbane makes multiple notations and references to his growing unease and decaying mental state.

He chronicles his entry into Cinhill Rue, something his father did 2,000 years ago when the city last became available. Turns out he was part of a brood that was tasked with keeping the central control mechanism secure, something he was failing at due to the dragon amulet corrupting him. He forewarns the amulet is the single greatest heresy to dragonkind and no matter the status or purpose, the ones bearing it will find severe consequence from all dragons. As he was fully losing control he removed the control mechanism and was immediately beset by blacks. In desperation he sought out a place to protect the casket and he circled for days in a constant fight against the amulet, when he spotted the Pride he made a list ditch suicide run to basically transfer the casket to their possession. There is also a final warning about turning the key, but it is vague and we can’t determine if we need to open it or leave it closed.

Captain Beorn takes the metal slag from the dragon turtle den and tells us that it will pay for full passage. We are allowed to keep the flute which is magical, but we discern no obvious purpose for it. I try playing it and it sounds a little flat, otherwise nothing happens. The Pride makes course and we are told that within five days we will reach the desert nations.

2012-07-18, 11:26 AM
We are the Trap:

The Pride is it’s own floating adventure hook, dungeon, and floating city. Kemen gains access to a world class system of tools and crafting resources, Paddock even finds a small alter dedicated to Kord in a reliquary below decks. I take the few ocean bound days to Gather Information and chat with most of the ship’s crew. Mostly I try to get more information about the bounty on my head and who is after me. We get to watch the crew in action, hauling in enormous nets with all manner of crab etc. It is like the d20 version of Deadliest Catch.

Nothing attacks us in the five day trip and we are borderline alarmed by that. It felt like we were in for trouble, but then again 40 well equipped storm giants with tons of back up is a strong deterrent. We land at the port of a city called Adroita. It is a close proxie to Mulhorand and other renkowned desert cities. The Pride takes anchor a little over one mile from shore and then a flurry of smaller ships and barges all flock to it. The crew activates a mechanism powered through two enormous winches, and the side of the ship opens up, and a ramp lowers to the waterlevel, effectively creating a store front and entrance to the ship. As we make port we get promoted to level 8. I decide to make a run for Fochluran Lyrist and after trading my mithral shirt for an ironwood shirt I take a level in druid. Here are updated stat blocks.

Marilius Antinaius(Me) (human) Rogue3/Bard4/Druid1 Str16 Dex20 Con14 Int16 Wis12 Cha 21 HP 55. Feats:Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Precise Shot,Leadership. Spells Known: Cure light Wounds, Grease. Charm Person, Cure moderate wounds, Glitterdust. Equipment: Ironwood Chain Shirt+1, comp longbow+1 (adds additional rolls on max damage) rapier+1, lyre of building.

The Silent One (githerzai) Monk8 Str16 Dex27 Con14 Int10 Wis18 Cha13 HP 63. Feats:Stunning Fist, Combat Reflexes, Short Haft, Weapon Focus:Spear, Improved Trip, II. Equipment: Adamantine longspear, 100 shuriken.

David Allen Coe-Nan (human) Fighter4/Barbarian4 Str22 Dex15 Con16 Int11 Wis14 Cha14 HP96. Feats: Two Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus Axes, Power Attack, Cleave, Improved Iniative. Great Cleave, Weapon Specialization Battle Axe Equipment:Adamantine Breastplate+1, adamantine battleaxe (2)+1, masterwork dagger, comp longbow (+6str), 100 arrows.Belt of giant str+2

Kemen Sarn (dwarf) Fighter1/Abjurer3/MasterSpec3/Runesmith1 Str14 Dex10 Con24 Int21 Wis14 Cha10 HP:74 Feats:Scribe Scroll, Improved Initiative, Spell Focus Abjuration,Greater Spell Focus Abjuration Sculpt Spell, Skill Focus Spellcraft, Craft Arms and Armor Equipment:Adamantine Full Plate+1,heavy pick+1 (special abilities) large steel shield, dagger, spellbook.

Paddock Shiningstar (gnome) Paladin2/Cleric6 Str14 Dex 12 Con20 Int12 Wis16 Cha19 HP:80 Feats:Mounted Combat,Ride By Attack, Spirited Charge. Equipment:Full Plate+1, Morningstar+1, adamantine lance+1

Our goal in making shore is to pick up any traces of our fleeing guardian lich and track down the elemental amulet and or dragon amulet. From our initial estimate in the map room the elemental amulet is somewhere a week’s travel out from the coast. The whole area is notorious for bandits, raiders and pillaging. Most travel through the desert is limited and well guarded. Anything off the central caravan roads is sparse and rarely visited making the whole area a hornet’s nest of bandit compounds and camps. We make a brief check in with Vardon, the paladin crusader who several weeks back left the elven council to come to this area and investigate. He should have some leads for us in terms of a trail.

We purchase horses and camels as pack animals and load up on water and food. Vardon is polite but not entirely helpful. For close to a month he has been making jaunts into the sands with several knights in his service, they have been scouring hot beds of activity and trying to find something they can follow. No fruit has been born from their searches and we are given a map of the areas they have visited and invited to break fresh ground in unexplored zones. As we are about to make our way down the central caravan road Kemen has a bright idea.

Kemen:Vardon and company have been chasing various bandits that just keep slipping away into the deep desert and vanishing. They don’t want to be attacked. They are choosing the fights they want. Let’s buy a bunch of wagons, load them with nothing and make ourselves bait. When we get attacked, we keep survivors and led them lead us back to the main camps.
Me: I like this plan.

Everyone else likes the plan too and we get a bunch of random odds and ends from the Titan’s Pride to use as “cargo” for the wagon train. With our bait train in force we roll out into the open sands and wait for the fish to strike.

We wander around for days in the open desert, after a while Coe-Nan suggests using an illusion to make it look like the wheel on the lead wagon is crippled and forcing us to move at a crawl. The end of day 4 sees us FINALLY get attacked (odd how perspective can be affected) and are relieved to have some combat. The raiders spring out from the sand and are a mix of humans with a few half-orcs, most are in robes with scimitars/falchions and all have shortbows. While they coordinate efforts and get surprise they are not an overwhelming threat and we route them with little difficulty. Thus begins a bizarre sequence of events. As we are binding the wounded and surrendered Kemen rummages in his bags and says “ Don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier”

He pulls out the hill giant bounty hunters list of fugitives and starts comparing likenesses to the captured. A neat side effect is revealed, when a symbol below the written description is touched a Silent Image is triggered of the quarry if the target was known by the hunter. No matches are initially made but we figure on repeating this process as time goes on. An unintended side effect of this process is that we start filling our wagon with actual loot and begin discarding the ballast we had loaded. The captured are given a choice…lead us back to your camp and leaders-or-get bound and stuck in a wagon until we decide on heading back to town where you can deal with authorities.

Its about a 50/50 split. We are about to attack our third bandit camp when Kemen spots a fugitive worth 5,000 in bounty from one of the pamphlets. He is the presumed leader of a larger scale and much more organized group. Their compound is well guarded with multiple tents and a good 30-40 warriors. We make camp a few miles away and plan an ambush for the next night.

Coe-Nan, Silent One and Paddock all loop around and set up a few hundred feet from the tent cluster. I join up with Silent One and we creep the closest in. Kemen lines himself up about 600 feet away and levitates up to about 100 feet. He opens the encounter with a pair of Sculpted Fireballs that put just about the entire camp up in flames and hits close to every target the camp offers. As everything erupts in flames I put arrows into the leader and everyone else charges from all sides. Within moments their home is burning, arrows are hissing through the air and a gnome on horseback is riding through them with a lance.

Kemen falls back to standard fireballs once he uses his 4th level slot sculpted ones and keeps peppering clusters. We are cracking up at the visual of the “Dwarf Star” a levitating mass of metal and armor that is spewing fireballs from a 100 feet in the air. I know for most groups flight is par for the course, but as I have often alluded to and stated…we don’t do flight and this is the closest thing to it for us.

Scattered and singed the whole camp throws down their arms and surrenders. We take their leader a man called Rodrick into custody. Kemen and Coe-Nan dismantle the entire camp, tents and all and pack into wagons. The whole organization, at least the 19 survivors, are bound and escorted back to the coast where they are handed over to the magistrate for trial. We sell off the goods we acquired and at Paddock’s behest we tithe 25% of the profits to represent the legal funds incurred by those who surrender. Coupled with the 5,000 bounty we come out almost 11,000 ahead.

This is repeated for the next full play session and about a half a session after that. Our “wounded” caravan circles aimlessly in the desert until attacked and then we backtrack to central locations. We probably press this farther than was intended and eventually they just stop attacking us, apparently word got out. No other marked men are found, but we are turning good profits on the items we confiscate.

When we are ambushed by earth elementals, it appears we have finally found the amulet we have been searching for. In the vicinity of the earth ele attack we find a squat stone steppe pyramid, mostly buried by the sand. We end session there.

2012-07-18, 01:40 PM
Rocks…it had to be Rocks

I will say this in advance…this was evil. The pyramid is a false facing designed to hide the subterior. The first section inside is an extended hallway with alcoves like you might expect in a crypt. Ten feet of hallway, opens to side hall, then more hallway. We end in single file line and as we proceed down the hallway an earth elemental charges from the earthen walls and bull rushes me into the wall…not against the wall…into the wall. It then slides back into the walls and vanishes. Coe-Nan has to chop me out of the wall and as we are extricating my bard, another elemental comes from the non hallway side and pulls Kemen into the wall. We start chopping him free and as we do, from the side hallway an earth gensai steps out and puts a heavy crossbow bolt into Paddock. He then slips away into the wall.

I turn to return fire and as I do a Wall of Ice blocks off the whole section. Elementals of all four variety along with gensai of all four variety just start hitting us from every angle. Fire gensai are rolling flaming spheres down hallways, then disappearing from sight. Water Gensai ice the floors and earth elementals descend from the ceiling to snatch us and pummel us. It is about 15 rounds of us just getting our ass kicked as hit-run tactic elementals mop the floor with us.

We are forced to do something so foreign it hurts to write. We retreat out from the pyramid. We turn tail and beat feet to reach the safety of marauder plagued sand.

Coe-Nan: What the heck was that?
Kemen: How were they disappearing like that?
DM: Earth elementals have earth glide…the fire elementals are functioning very similiarly. The Water elementals are…affected by other criteria.

We banter amongst ourselves for the better part of 45 minutes as we try to figure out a different way to tackle the problem. With knowledge of the terrain and HUGE mobility advantages we aren’t sure how to come out on the winning end here. The place is crawling with elementals and gensai a lot of whom have spellcasting abilities. Direct assault is suicide and stealth is out as they can sense our footsteps and already know we are here. Getting back up and reinforcements keeps coming up as a the most likely action. Per standard operating procedure we pour over our inventories and equipment. I mockingly say that I could try to pull a Pied Piper and play them out from the ground.

Me: I have the bone flute…maybe we can get it to have an effect.
Kemen: Don’t you still have a lyre of building?
Me: Yep.
Kemen: You maxed string instruments for lyrist right?
Me: Yeah…
Kemen: Lets dig them out. Set the lyre to excavating the whole flipping place. Pile up everything and we sift through the dirt for elementals. You can play the thing for hours without fail.

I will readily admit to loving the visual this presented. I get barricaded into a wagon as invisible workers start digging out the whole subterrean complex and a mound of “safe” dirt/stone begins to amass. I didn’t keep notes on the math, but we consulted stronghold builders handbook and did some google searches and figure we can move a good 3,000 yards of earth in 30 minutes. So for all appearances the whole patch of desert starts to sink as the lyre goes to work. I have a full retinue of bodyguards and as we reach the end of 90 minutes a hundred tons of earth have been transposed. Our DM is forced to really wing things here and we start unearthing elementals that attack us. With them coming to us we are much more effective and start dispatching large elementals with ease. The gensai casters are nasty and take a heavy toll to bring down. By hour 3 they are actively attacking the wagon to interrupt the wagon and my playing, and I start having to roll to make the perform checks. I have big charisma and lots of ranks so they are still easy checks, but they are getting tougher and tougher.

Some of the earth elementals start to glide under us and surprise us. Kemen grabs his pick and starts to utilize its detect minerals and metal function to provide defensive radar for incoming attackers. I finally fail the check at hour 5 and while a monumental amount of digging took place we are still looking at some nasty room to room combat below.

Me: We need more lyres…this is fun.
DM: Something tells me they will be surprisingly hard to find.
Kemen: That is fine, I am taking Craft Wonderous next level, I will just make more.

I am curious as to what other groups would have done at this point. Most of the earth is moved, and we are approaching solid worked stone below ground. Ambush capability should be drastically limited from that point on. We are limited on spells and healings but everyone is at about full health. We are four days from the coast by standard travel and have located the likely resting spot of an important macguffin. It is blatantly obvious that the amulet is being used and heavily to amass elementals.

We opt for probably the strangest course of action possible. The Silent One is sent on a solo mission to return to the coast and bring back up. With his higher movement rate and mobility we figure he can make the four day trip in two days or maybe two and a half. The rest of us stage a watch to ensure nothing leaves from where we can see it. We take turns resting and keep up our inverted siege.

The four of us at the pyramid are harried by elementals for the next couple days and we are pushed to back up a bit, but nothing escapes from what we can tell. It takes Silent One just over 2 days to reach the city borderline exhausted and within 5 days Vardon arrives with a retinue of 15 knights. Collectively we all start smashing our way into the pyramid. Resistance is minimal and we keep barreling through corridors and knocking in doors. When we reach the heart of the pyramid all that we find is a stone tablet with the following inscription.

Had to Run…See you Soon

Coe-Nan: We need to take more risks.

The attempt to recover the amulet is not a total loss. We get a handful of minor magic items from the gensai casters, and we find a plethora of gems in the earth we moved. Kemen convinces us to wait until the next day and we go on another lyre spree. This time separating sand from precious stone. We haul in the better part of 60,000 in gems and follow Vardon and Co back to port. We are sitting on close to 100,000 in liquid resources and chomping at the bit to get some gear upgrades. We picked up a pair of ring of protections+2 from the gensai that go to Coe-Nan and Paddock. An amulet of natural armor+1 that goes to Silent One and a Periapt of Wisdom+2 that goes to Paddock. We are getting ready for some more shopping when a small fire elemental steps out from a torch near the Pride and hands us a metal encased scroll.

It was my sole expressed wish to bath in your blood and use your ribcages as the framework for a new flower pot but my master has bid me make a separate offer. Bring the beast talisman with you and we shall meet. The victor walks away with both talismans.
Love Kreestan

Me: Well that answers one question. Whoever is using these amulets is working together.

The fire elemental awaits a reply and simply waits patiently while we argue over accepting the challenge. Paddock is not one to back down from a fight and he is chomping at the bit to get a crack at the nymph. The rest of expect trap but would love a chance to get the dragon amulet. We reply with two words…

Challenge Accepted.

The Fire elemental seals the reply in the casing and almost instantly he reopens it and hands us another message

Then the five of you are to return to the pyramid in one day’s time. I will await you there.

2012-07-18, 02:55 PM
I am curious as to what other groups would have done at this point.I'm not terribly familiar with 3.5, so I don't know how some of your specific gear/spells work, BUT.

What about a Sending? When do Clerics get that?
What about continuing to pick at the elementals until you felt strong enough to go straight at them?
Why were you low on spells and healing?
What, specifically, does the Lyre do in 3.5?
What did the unearthed complex look like? How big was it?

As for anything else: Without knowing what odds-n-ends magical gear you have, and without knowing what non-fireball spells you have, I don't think I can come up with anything wacky to circumvent the dungeon crawl set-up.

2012-07-18, 03:07 PM
1. Sending is a 4th level cleric spell, which Paddock was 1 level away from attaining.

2. We did more or less keep picking at them while we waited outside

3. Spells/Healing were low from the inital entry that saw us get trounced, and from defending my bard while he played the lyre of building.

4. In 3.5 the lyre of building more or less does the work of 100 laborers working non stop for 24 hours a day for 3 days.

5. We were just approaching the worked stone portion of the complex when I failed the perform check. It was the looser portions above ground that were giving us fits. Earth elementals can glide through loose stone like a normal person walks. Worked solid stone makes that ability null, and our main goal was to reach the worked stone.

2012-07-18, 03:52 PM
So what did the revealed building look like? You said before that the pyramid was a fake and that it hid the real building. What did the building look like below the sand? Like a big cube, or like the International Space Station with rooms and hallways individually visible? Something else?

2012-07-18, 04:00 PM
From the top, a pale stone bunker thick enough to support a lot of weight. Central hallway that branches into several 20x20 rooms, all with thick wooden doors. Lots of small recesses in each room. From the triple fork we found descending stairwells that led to a main room with mulitple marble pillars. So the main structure was maybe 200 feet wide and 300 feet deep. 12-15 individual rooms inside with a main room housed deeper underground. We thought of it as a expanded burial chamber.

2012-07-18, 04:20 PM
So the entire structure was basically a building-sized hunk of rock that the baddies had tunneled out to make a fortress?

Can the Lyre of Building be used to Un-Build? Or would something along the lines of "Using that previously constructed stone fortress, build me a pile of stone over there" work?

2012-08-02, 12:27 AM
No more updates? :smallfrown:

2012-08-02, 12:02 PM
I'll be picking back up the pace again soon. Just needed to take a break.

2012-08-02, 01:01 PM
Just happy to see you back.

2012-08-28, 01:34 PM
Of Course it was a Trap

We are 99.99% certain this is an ambush. No villain is going to meet us on fair ground if they can help it. In that same vein, we are always anxious to prepare for a fight and try to figure out ways to make things work to our advantage. Turns out sheer logistics may be the bigger problem. We are all brainstorming ideas for defenses against dragons and dragon-kin, scouring spell lists and class features when Paddock makes a simple and profound observation.

Paddock: If she wants a fight tomorrow morning, how do we get there?
Kemen: on horseback…
Paddock: It took the monk two and a half days to make it and he runs faster than our horses, how do we make it in one day?
Kemen: Good point.
Me: We could get Beordie to cast Teleport…
Paddock: That violates the “come alone” portion of the challenge
Me: So? Do you really think she will come alone? Her and whoever is holding the elemental amulet will be waiting for us with who knows what in tow
Paddock: You don’t know that. We must proceed in a manner that is honorable and doesn’t leave us as oathbreakers.
Coe-Nan: We either walk and don’t make it…breaking the agreement, or we get someone to take us there which breaks the agreement. Either way it is broken. The question is which would you prefer to do?
Paddock: If we buy a scroll of teleport won’t Kemen be able to do the same thing.
Kemen: If I manage to trigger the scroll I can take myself+2 others. That leaves two of us behind. Or I would need a minimum of three scrolls. 1st takes 3 of us there, the 2nd gets me back and I can bring the last two across with 3rd. If I botch it then who knows where everyone will end up?
Paddock: Any risk that preserves honor is worth taking.

This was about the closest to out of game hard feelings we have had in ages. Paddock insists in character and out that he will not accompany us to the site unless we do so in a manner that preserves the challenge we accepted. We grudgingly tromp off to try and purchase scrolls of teleport and then get sucked into a debate on the accuracy we can expect out of the scroll.

“Very familiar” is a place where you have been very often and where you feel at home. “Studied carefully” is a place you know well, either because you can currently see it, you’ve been there often, or you have used other means (such as scrying) to study the place for at least one hour. “Seen casually” is a place that you have seen more than once but with which you are not very familiar. “Viewed once” is a place that you have seen once, possibly using magic.

That is an excerpt from teleport spell description. We figure that since we did spend several days in the area we are very familiar, or studied carefully. Studied carefully is where the final decision ends up which means we have a 94% chance of everything working out fine, and a few percent chance of being off target. We need to cast three scrolls in total, which means that just over a 1-10 chance this gets botched in a big way.

It costs us an outrageous 15,000 for the three scrolls and we are grimacing at the prospect of failure. We get ourselves prepped and decide to teleport in the middle of the night, hours before the appointed time. The first group to travel is Paddock, Kemen, and Silent One. Their teleport goes without a hitch and Kemen is able to come back smoothly. The final roll is for Kemen, Coe-Nan and myself and this one is “off target” off target means you roll a small percentage of the distance transported and that is how far you are “off”
It’s not too bad, we are teleported maybe 500 yards away from the intended target…which may have saved our lives. The whole area is absolutely bursting with medium sized dragons of all colors. There is no sign of Paddock or Silent One and we quickly duck for cover and hit the ground trying to be as invisible as possible. We pick up Kreestan’s voice from the commotion and hear her shouting orders for her dragons to scour the area.

The Silent One breaks from cover and from afar we see him sprinting in desperation as arcs of lightning, fire and cold crash all around him. As the Silent One draws most of the attention we catch a glimpse of Paddock who is plodding behind tossing out challenges that are lost in the flurry.

Out of nowhere the DM literally sweeps everything off the table and sends paper, character sheets, dice and everything else non spill-able scattering everywhere he YELLS at the top of his lungs “THE TIME IS NOW!” and slams a huge six sided dice onto the center of the table.


DM: Paddock you bear witness to an avatar of your deity Kord manifesting on the Material Plane. Raw power of an immensity that dwarves anything you have deemed possible emanates from him in waves.
Kord: One year ago on this day Paddock Shiningstar you issued a challenge and vowed to see it fulfilled. I am hear to ensure the challenge is carried out.

With a crack of thunder a bewildered Warforged Chief along with his entire tribe appears in the desert.

*blink blink*

But wait…it gets better.

The warforged who is finally given a name…Samhain…recognizes the nymph amulet holder Kreestan…or more accurately he recognizes the amulet she is carrying.

Samhain: Where did you get that talisman witch!?!
The nymph sizes up the warforged and shock washes over her…
Kreestan: you are one of them! But how? Cinhil Rue has been swallowed by the seas for millennia.
Samhain: I don’t exactly know…
Me: Wait…the warforged is from Cinhil Rue?
Samhain: Yes.
Kord: ENOUGH. Paddock you have issued a challenge to the one called Samhain and you are required to fulfill this vow.
Kemen: He is actually commited to fighting the nymph too.
Kord: You have commited your honor to a separate duel?
Paddock: Yes

I will skip the twenty minutes of snarky comments and goofy side comments that followed and say this”

*Paddock is commited to a 1-1 fight against the Warforged.
*He is also commited to a group fight against the nymph with us
*The Warforged wants to tear the nymph limb from limb…
*Kord is going to force a fair fight. Kreestan upon her mount against us. Kord turns this into a staged combat.
*Paddock will fight 1-1 and the winner will then be permitted to join the fight against the nymph. IF Samhain wins he gets to bring his whole tribe to bear against her, but she is then allowed to bring all her dragons to bear against him.
*If we lose to Kreestan, then she is free from her initial challenge and will be able to bring her full forces to bear against the warforged and gnome, but once again the whole tribe can then join in.

With the revelation that the Warforged is from Cinhil Rue we are inclined to NOT kill him because he could bear crucial information for us. Paddock however could care less about that. So we have an imperative to finish off Kreestan and then aid Samhain by allowing his entire tribe to join in before Paddock can kill the warforged. Confused yet? We were.

Long overdue...more to come

2013-01-05, 02:49 PM
Well after a long hiatus that involved marrying the most amazing woman in the world and surviving the busy season for retail I dusted off the ol keyboard, cracked my knuckles and starting typing again.

I recognize this is something of a thread necro-ing, but it seemed the most logical means of reposting further information on this topic.

Didn't See That Coming:

From the very first moment we realize that Paddock is likely not going to come out of this encounter intact. The Warforged was already witnessed as a capable fighter and the fact that he stands waiting with a longspear in hand bodes ill for our lancer. I instantly perk up as our DM describes the Warforged wielding a longspear with a greataxe strapped to his back. I get shushed before speaking and a few of us groan at the table. We don’t want Samhain to be killed (destroyed? I am unclear on exact definition for a Warforged) but we also don’t want our cleric to get smashed.

Kreestan is mounted upon a black dragon and she bears a staff we have no previously seen. The various dragons and humanoids form circles around the two duels. She displayed a limited range of tactics in our first battle but we know her to be a capable druid and not afraid to shapeshift.

As if he the gods of comedic ineptitude compel him, Paddock immediately attempts to lance the Warforged at a full gallop. Naturally the Warforged calmly sets his spear vs charge and awaits his impending gnome shish kabob. To this day I don’t know if he completely forgot about the rules relating to charging against someone with a set weapon, if he didn’t care, or he did it intentionally to stay in character. He didn’t say a word to us just went about getting his ass kicked all over the place.

On our front, Coe-Nan bemoaned his lack of mobility as he resigned himself to scant bow shots at the far more mobile and ranged druid. Kemen prepped his spells more from tactical support than outright nuking and he kept up a stream of buffs and dispels. The Silent One is hardly a ranged superstar, so the bulk of our damage output consisted of me being targeted by the dragon’s breath weapon while I shot away. It is not going well for us and we are trying to come up with escape plans when Kemen throws out an innocent enough question.

Kemen: How is she mounted on the dragon?
DM: She is seated in a saddle. Traditional style.
Kemen:Cool…I am going to cast Grease on her saddle….

*chorus of snickers*

The druid utterly fails her Ride check to stay astride the greased saddle and as she falls Coe-Nan gives us one of the best lines of the night. He lets out this incredibly excited growl/shout and hefts a pair of invisible axes at the table

Coe-Nan: Did someone ring the dinner bell?!!?

All thoughts of caution or patience are thrown out the window as the monk and fighter descend on the falling nymph as only melee starved warriors are capable of.

Paddock is furtively playing a skirmishing battle against the Warforged who just keeps stalking him down and prodding him with a spear. Paddock maneuvers for ride by attacks and drops heals on himself to alleviate the bleeding. His bravado quickly soured and he relegated himself to being happy to just survive and stall for time.

We have the nymph on the ropes and feel ready to finish her off, the DM announces she is activating a contingency teleport and Paddock jumps all over him.

Paddock: My own deity is bearing witness to these challenges and he said they would be fulfilled. There ain’t no way he would allow the cowardice of retreat. I highly doubt we would be given the same luxury.

I have a supreme amount of faith in our DM. He is hands down amazing and has created nearly all our favorite gaming moments. He is always a step ahead of us and can improvise on the fly with the best of them. He is insane with his preparation. This time though…he painted himself in a corner.

His original plan was for Kord to teleport the Warforged on the 365th day and have an avatar give us a declaration. Through drastic happenstance the two challenges coincided to the same day and given the fun factor involved he modded his preparation for a grander scale event. He had fully intended for the nymph to have strong chances for escape and basically just hamstrung himself. He admitted the mistake and told us we could precede but we he would have to make some changes and need extra prep time after our next session or two.

We anticlimactically finish off the nymph and once she is defeated…all hell breaks loose. Every dragon at her beck and call is instantly freed from her bond and while a sort of invisible dome surrounds Paddock and Samhain….everything else becomes a violent free for all.

Me: Well…I didn’t count on that….
Kemen: We should have just let her go…I think we are officially screwed.
Paddock: I am going to surrender.
All of us and DM: You are what???
*long pause*

Paddock: I am surrendering. The Warforged is the victor and I hold no further quarrel with him. He may take my life if he wishes. I will not let my pride cause the destruction of his tribe and my comrades. As a leader I held him responsible for the actions of his people. I can not let that fact cause their suffering. if hewill be allow it, I propose a temporary alliance between our groups until the immediate threat is averted. After which I will submit to his will.

You could have knocked us over with a feather.

Samhain is just as perplexed but with acid and fire raining down upon his tribe he quickly accepts and we try to organize a defense. We put together an impromptu fighting retreat and try to corral everyone towards the buried fortress. Goblins and ogres are dropping like flies along the way and our scant ranged firepower is nothing compared to the mass of swirling drago-kin. With heavy casualties everyone pours into the exposed fortress and we get ready for potential retaliation from elementals and gensai. Anything that doesn’t fly is an improvement over our present predictament.

We spend a frantic trio of rounds trying to triage the worst of the damage and figure out what to do. Samhain has about 15 ogres, 10 of which are enhanced with class levels, and a surviving 43 goblins most of whom are fairly experienced guerilla fighters.

We end up holed up underground on edge for a full ten hours as various dragon beefs are sorted out amongst their own kind outside. Whatever force bore the elemental amulet below ground had left by the time we arrived. We engage in a bit of conversation with Samhain and he informs us that he was the Cinhil Rue equalivent to a mechanic. He helped work with a lot of the clockwork interfaces of the submerged city and that he lost all memory of how he was expelled from the city. His earliest memory was of the nymph Kreestan reactivating him and tinkering with his programming. She extracted information from him and left him stranded in the wilderness.

The following day we emerge from our bunker and try to sift through the wreckage. The nymph is gone…and most of the slain tribal members have been eaten or dissolved/burned. Samhain makes arrangements with his tribe and from what is relayed to us he appoints one of the smartest ogres as the new chief. Two of the more highly decorated ogres and one very gaunt goblin are separated from the group and accompany him back to us.

Samhain:My people are to seek a place to settle, I have resolved that I will accompany you in order to recover the artifacts taken from my city. The strength of these items outweighs anything you can imagine and while their purpose is alien to me, I know of their potential.
Paddock (ooc): Will travelling with them cause me to fall?
DM: Detect Evil comes back foggy. They are not exactly evil…but they are no choir boys. Fall? No. Leave you in perpetual doubt and constantly second guessing yourself? Absolutely.

So it was that the strangest honor challenge ever imagined led us to gaining A Warforged tribal chieftain from an ancient and mighty city along with his two ogre bodyguards and a twitchy goblin rogue. We called the ogres Left and Right, and the goblin became Twitchy…he was always on edge and constantly ducking into shadows.

With that bit not entirely straightened out, but at least addressed we shift focus to the talisman…we have to assume that a dragon got possession of her body and made off with the amulet. Which one though could make a huge difference. These talismans are the deepest form of blasphemy possible. We furtively back track to the place where we think she was killed and examine the area. All manner of searching and detection gives us one aggravating lead…

DM:Something pulled her under the sands…beyond that you have no further information as to her final state.

2013-01-05, 05:53 PM
We Didnt End up Living Like Kings off Patagonia

We slog our way back to the Titan’s Pride and provide updates to Vardon and company. With our ability to trace the amulets all but abandoned and the local bearers presumably spooked and run off, we are back to the nightmarish plains with demons galore. Or New Jotun…and angry giant fathers. IN conjunction with the return to the coast we make level 9. I take another level in druid, Kemen advances in Runesmith, Silent One bumps monk, Coe-Nan goes another level in fighter and Paddock gets to level 7 in cleric. We are anxious to find the next piece of the puzzle when it happens. I had alluded to this in a bizarre treasure thread some time ago.

There was an open air market with all kinds of goods and personalities. Our eyes were drawn to a haggard pirate with a peg leg, eyepatch and an enormous gold encrusted cage inlaid with gemstones and holding a molted very old parrot. There was a FOR SALE: 1GP sign on the cage. Intrigued we wandered over and asked...

Pirate: I be selling this bird for 1 gold piece. You can keep the cage for free. But be warned, the bird be a downright evil bugger with a wicked sense of humour and the worst scatter brain imagineable. It will help you find treasure all over the world, and trouble to boot. Be warned you must sell it to a willing buyer, there be no other way to get rid of the blasted thing.

Coe-Nan jumps all over this and flips the guy a single gold piece before we can say a word. And he is the proud owner of a cursed treasure seeking parrot...

The Dread Parrot Roberts!

Within minutes he was looking for crackers to feed his parrot. The second the cracker touches the parrot's lips all hell break loose. It starts swearing and squawking like it was acid. It starts shrieking and flinging bird feces everywhere "I am a regal and proud denizen of the high seas! I do not quench my pallet with such paltry fare as a rancid wafer! I demand that my appetitie be appeased with only the finest cuisines!!!"

I notice lots of angry merchants some of whom are still brushing bird crap off their clothes. We throw out some hasty apologies and hightail it to somewhere secluded. We try to feed this bird everything and nothing is making it quiet down. The thing just continues its berserk rants.

Kemen finally grabs a handful of silver and crams it down the bird's gullet. It instantly gets quiet and makes yummy noises, then falls asleep on Coe-Nan’s shoulder. About thirty minutes later it wakes up and in a thunderous voice tells us to "DIG like yer yellow bellied hides be at the devil's doorsteps. Put your backs into those shovels and dig at yer feet!!!"

We dig about three feet down and find a necklace...maybe 10 gold in value...hmmmm. The bird eats money...falls asleep then finds treasure.

We forcefed this bird about 10,000 gold in an hour and it took every bit of it. It fell asleep overnight and in the morning...well it crapped out a glass bottle with a treasure map in it. The more in valuable it ate the better it looked. If we starved it the thing would look practically undead. Five hours of real time and a week in game time later we locate the buried treasure...which is an empty chest with a bottle of rum in it. The Dread Parrot chuckles as we see this and says "Sorry boys...I needed a drink!" and it begins laughing hysterically.

Kemen: Well that was pointless.

Coe-Nan: Maybe we need to try gems instead.

Paddock: Or it’s a money sink that’s meant to waste our time and we should get rid of the damn thing.

Me: We could sell the cage…

Parrot: Sell me cage and I’ll have intestines to run up the sails on a ship going straight to hell.

Kemen: If we are going to keep messing with this thing then let’s be scientific about this.

We made a chart of various currency types…amounts and then made separate grid for various gems. Our intent was to track what worked the best and then narrow down it’s particular tastes. It was a true exercise in futility.

For a time we tried to lease out an apparatus from the Pride, but after they inexplicably started to rust despite a load of enchantments to prevent that very thing we were no longer to use them. We then tried to buy a ship and every ship Coe-Nan climbed aboard with the bird sank. We bought a boat and tied Coe-Nan into the rigging and the ship stayed up. So we ended up a group of half assed pirates with our brutish warrior living amongst the main sail as the Dread Parrot Roberts sang bawdy tunes.

All pretense of following the main trunk of events was tossed out the window as we got big time Parrot fever. It was drastically hit or miss. The damn thing ran us ragged for pittances of wealth and in some cases we happened about a king’s ransom of unguarded treasure. It was like a squawking slot machine.

The only constant was that if it could throw a wrench into the cogs of a plan it did. It takes us past a chain of high stony islands and out of nowhere a blizzard takes form sending gales of freezing rain everywhere. The stony outcrops of a tropical island turn into impromptu glaciers, then the Parrot starts a high pitched keening that causes the ice to shatter sending 1,000 pounds shards of ice crashing like a volley of stalagtite arrows. The cursing at the table and the proclamation of throwing Coe-Nan overboard are soon drowned out by the realization that there are diamonds all throughout the shards of ice. The dwarf lets out a shriek and throws himself overboard where he sinks after rapidly melting chunks of ice. With his levitation be becomes a dwarvish bobber in the ocean trying to dredge on the fly for diamonds.

We burned entire days and ended up far behind in terms of profit…but we did manage to snag one big time home run of a find….

The Bandicoot
2013-01-05, 08:17 PM
Kaveman is back! ALL HAIL!

Congrats on the Kavewoman.

Can't wait to keep reading.

2013-01-05, 11:49 PM
Congrats on getting married, and hooray for an update!

2013-01-06, 11:45 AM
Congratulations man! I am glad to see you back updating

2013-01-07, 12:50 PM
The Dwarf Could Always Double as an Anchor

The Dread Parrot Roberts had sucked at least 4 to 5 full game sessions of whack a mole treasure hunting. We were collectively down in terms of profit and our systemic “scientific” system proved to be an utter waste of time. We were finally getting off the parrot fever and trying to figure out how to pick up the central plot again when our DM hits us with this little bit…

DM: As you pour over maps and documents planning out potential courses to both the Shadow Plains and New Jotun the Dread Parrot slips out of view and hops into Kemen’s trunk. It finds the strange and unidentified schematic from Cinhill Rue and chuckles as it begins to eat it.

Kemen: Alright I’ve had enough, time for this bird to go.

Kemen launches a magic missile at the bird, only to have the spell rebound off it’s feathers and slam back into him. All attempts to injure the parrot are futile and physical attempts to grapple the damn thing prove hilarious and nearly ineffective….we do manage to make the parrot choke on the schematics before it swallows them whole.

We watch in equal parts awe and amusement as the parrot swells to about ten times it size then explode in mid air. Feathers go flying everywhere and a small glass key falls to the floor. As the feathers float down they kind of come back together and reform back into a whole parrot.

Me: What just happened.
DM: The best you can deduce is that the bird exploded and accidentally created whatever the schematic was intended to create.

Two immediate objectives trump the next step of our journey…
1.Ditch the Parrot somehow
2.Figure out what the key is for.

We approach Samhain with the glass key hoping he can give us a purpose…he is baffled but sheds some light on the key.

Samhain: Towards the end of my time in the Academy a scholar and tinker began experiments for automations that exceeded our existing capacity. That looks like one of the keys he was researching.
Coe-Nan: So whatever it goes it is stuck in the sunken structure?
Samhain: Most likely. He did have a second off site research facility at a different island. So its possible that something is still within reach. I would be wary about anything associated with him…he was eccentric.
Kemen:We got all the maps out anyway…what are the chances we can pin down the island in question?
DM:Well its been millennia since Samhain was in the world and things change rapidly in a world with loads of magic. He can give you a general location, but nothing exact.
Paddock: So more wild parrot chases, or do we make our way to New Jotun?
Coe-Nan: Im all for one more parrot hunt. This one feels different.

And lo it was that five of the worst pirates in history set out to find an island we didn’t know the location of, at the behest of a cursed exploding parrot.
The first item that alarms us is the calm weather and fair winds that propel us with alarming speed and ease. Everything goes wrong around the parrot and suddenly things start to go right…therefore things are about to get real bad. So goes the logic of D&D players. Our paranoia amidst the leisurely voyage has our DM stifling laughter as we constantly scan with detect evil’s and spot/listen checks etc.

A week without incident and tons of false alarm rolls later and an island comes into view. We are expecting a jungle-ish island with lots of scary geography and caves…caves with nasty angry killing things. Instead we find a perfectly square metal island. The whole island is 3 square miles of solid steel. Perfectly flat and symmetrical. There are mooring all along the side of the island and from what is visible the metal extends deep in the water straight down. We dock at the island and make for land/metal when the Parrot refuses to go forward.

Threats….gems…coins…nothing gets the confounded thing to budge off the ship. With no other option we explore the barren landscape of the funky island. At the exact center of the island is a keyhole. Like a house key sized lock that matches our glass key.

Kemen: I am hesitant to open this. Knowing our luck with the parrot this is a prison for some horrific being and we are inadvertently letting it free.
Coe-Nan: Fortune favors the bold…we can’t sail all the way out here and not open it.
Paddock and I: I am actually ok with that.

In the end we are adventurers and caution be damned. After a wave of buffing and prep Silent One (with the best reflex saves) turns the key. The whole island rumbles and begins to reorganize itself. Massive gears and cogs groan and begin to spin. As everything begins to shift, the Dread Parrot Roberts grabs our ships mainsail and PICKS UP OUR FRIGGIN SHIP AND BEGINS TO FLY AWAY

All to DM: WTF!!!!
DM: It is moving very slowly…but it is moving. I suggest you show some urgency and get moving. The center of the island has reorganized itself into an elevator.

We all board the elevator and trip a mechanism that causes us to descend into the core of the island. I will readily admit tempers are running a bit high here. The curveballs continue as we reach the bottom unhindered. What is find is a workshop stripped completely bare of all tools and materials. Just the framework of a world class research facility, emptied like a house that is being sold. At the dead center of the workshop is a glass steel ship. 3 times the size of our current vessal and sleek in design. It is opaque but clearly glass. What is lacks is a sail, prop or rutter. There is not even a steering wheel.

The Silent One takes point and boards first.
Me: How does it feel to be the trap monkey?
*shrug* OOC: Like an itty bitty worm on a big ****ing hook.

We hastily explore the ship and come up 99% blank. We find a music box below deck and being our only musician I can surmise that a core part of the mechanism is missing. We all make Wisdom checks and against all odds Coe-Nan is the only way that succeeds.

Coe-Nan: There Is a place in the side of the music box that looks like a flute could slide in.
Me: Kind of like the flute we found on the weird drow?
DM: That would be a very accurate fit.

We slide the bone flute into the music box and a keyhole emerges from the lid. I turn the key and music starts softly playing from the box. As the music plays spectral shapes take form on the ship and ghostly sails and rigging appear. A veritable and literal skeleton crew begins outfitting the ship and going about the business of sailors. A translucent helm appears and a ghostly skeleton bearing a captain’s hat and sash mans the wheel. They are incorporeal and we are able to walk right through them, outwardly they are not aggressive and pay us little heed. Closer examination of the music box reveals a small whistle on a chain, it is both corporeal and incorporeal at the same time. It is weightless and and passes through objects, but remains in the holders hand. Kemen blows a short note on the whistle and the skeleton crew comes to attention, facing him and saluting. Like a dying breeze a faint whisper caresses us


Kemen: Take us out of here.

The Captain salutes and the crew moves back into action, the music picks up in tempo and a series of incorporeal discs begin to glow on the outer hull. For intents and purposes it looks like dozens of illuminated Tenser’s floating discs line the hull and the whole ship lifts off the ground about six inches and the whole vessel, with us on board begins to float down a previously invisible passageway, circling up to the surface.

Kemen: I think…I think that unless we die in the next ten minutes…we are DEFINITELY keeping the parrot.

2013-01-07, 04:02 PM
If Leonardo Da Vinci Nikola Tesla played D&D, he would design ships like these.

2013-01-07, 05:00 PM
Strangest Race Ever:

The ship is responsive and smooth, it glides just above the water and we begin to catch up to the parrot. We are barking out commands to the crew and while they obey basic commands we struggle to find the correct command for “faster”. As Kemen focuses on closing distance to the parrot the rest of us explore our new ship. As the Skeleton Crew took form other features of the ship started to activate. There are numerous panels of faintly glowing gemstones and several control panels of elaborate clockwork.

The Dread Parrot Roberts lets out a shriek as we get within a few hundred yards and he flaps his wings more furiously picking up speed. At this juncture we notice a third vessel, one moving much faster than our own. We are chasing the Parrot west to east and the new ship is approaching from the north. Kemen flips the whistle to Paddock and levitates to a crow’s nest on a central mast. The rest of us prep bows and make ready.

When the Parrot catches sight of the third ship he squawks and drops the ship back into the water…he then dives below decks of our old ship to hide.

Me: Plans?
Coe-Nan: I say we take the new fancy ship and park in behind our old bird jacked ship. Grab all our stuff and then hightail it out of here.
Paddock: That would let us use the old ship for a measure of cover.
ME: The third ship might not be hostile.
Coe-Nan: Yeah….riiiiiiight. Im sure they will be friendly.

We manage to park the floating ship next to our old one and everyone but Kemen jumps ship and frantically grabs the cargo and provisions we had aboard. The closing ship shows its intentions as cannons fire upon us.

Kemen:Alright…weapons systems online….

The dwarf from 80 feet in the air starts lacing the enemy ship with fireballs from on high. The rest of us are shoving stuff to the new ship as quickly as possible and we abandon all but the most critical items. Dread Parrot happily jumps on the Coe-Nan’s shoulder and preens its moldy feathers in relative quiet.

We abuse the old ship for relative cover and light into the enemy ship with reckless abandon. Their ship is shrouded in haze and it makes them hard to see. Fireballs work wonders against wood and their whole vessel is quickly alight and burning. We see humanoids leaping into the water and figure ourselves safe. That lasts about a minute.

A panel on the ship glows bright red and a gentle chime sounds. As it does a series of bone grappling hooks land all along the edges of our magic ship. Goblins wearing corral armor breathing out of ambiphous gills start pulling themselves out of the water and up to our deck, the water seems to be sucking into wounds as they repair themselves before our eyes.
Kemen shouts from his lookout…

Kemen: Well the good news is they aren’t pirates. The bad news is that they appear to be aquatic half troll goblins.

What follows is a bizarre orchestra of spectral skeletons walking through a pitched battle as soft music plays from the ship and badly wounded goblins leap from the deck to dive into the regenerative waters below. We all end up in the stern (except for the dwarf) trying to stave off wave after wave of goblin marauders. He starts fireballing our own deck in the hopes of clearing the trollish gobbies, and prays the ship can take it.

Everything is going pear shaped as there are just hordes of the little buggers.
Coe-Nan hits negatives and as he falls a clap of thunder booms across the sky. His limp and bleeding nearly a corpse lurches off the deck and a vestige of the wolf-cat spirit Sha-Hatal speaks from his mouth.

Posessed Barbarian: Your role is not finished, the spirits demand you shake off your mortal wounds and survive.

DM: Coe-Nan wounds close and he is restored to half his full health. More startling than the sudden emergence of the spirit and its recuperation of your comrade is the physical changes visited in their wake. Coe-Nan has physically grown at least six inches in height and thicker longer hair, more like fur covers most of his face, chest and arms. His hands remain human, but razor sharp short claws replace his fingernails, his canine teeth are far more predatory and his eyes look much more lupine. Your natural armor increases by 1, your str increases by 2 and your charisma drops by 2.

Paddock oc: Did he just go werewolf on us?

2013-01-10, 02:51 PM
Where there is a Will Save there is a Way:

A series of Will checks commence and it is announced that Coe-Nan may still direct his own actions, but something is pressing to take control of his mortal form.

His startling change in appearance and the dramatic flair of his recuperation leave the aqua goblins in startled shock and the Silent One takes full advantage leaping into the thick of them ready to pounce with AOO’s.

I have to give this advice to any group of adventurers….always write down everything you have and NEVER be afraid to research your character sheets.

Kemen: Are we pretty much at desperation stages here?

Everyone is at or near single digit health, all useful tricks and abilities/spells are spent and we are still facing more than 2 dozen regenerating oceanic marauders….we all concur…desperate times…desperate measures.

Kemen: Alright push them to the mast as close as possible. I am going to throw rocks at them.
Me: You have a crossbow don’t you…
Kemen: I am a dwarf I have thing for rocks.

We head scratchingly oblige and Coe-Nan and the Silent One tactically and bull rushedly maneuver the attackers closer to the mast. The following turn…

DM:Alright Kemen…what is your action.
Kemen: I am going to open the bag of holding we got from the cat people chieftain and turn it upside down. I am just hoping I don’t sink the ship.
DM: I don’t follow.
Kemen: The Cat People chief had 5 three hundred pound boulders with returning enchantments. I am letting them fall 80 feet to land on the goblins. They should then return to me next turn and since I can’t hold them….they will immediately fall back down.
Paddock: And if the ship sinks?
Kemen: Well…we have the other one…or whats left of it.

Game mechanics give way to fun factor as the dwarf rains boulders upon the goblins. What remains is a kind of troll/goblin slurry that smells like seaweed. The few remaining stragglers re-ascending on grappling lines are summarily overwhelmed and sent to the main mast pulverizer of constantly falling rocks.
The ship comes through without a scratch, something that makes its acquisition even more compelling. The old lass can take some punishment.
We are ready to make our way onward when Paddock gestures to the enemy vessel…still aflame.

Paddock: Shouldn’t we be investigating it?
Me: Not in our condition.
Kemen: Lets get some separation and recover…if it is still floating on the morning we board it to search for survivors,captives and loot.
Coe-Nan: Um…what do we do about me?
The Silent One grabs a goblin femur…makes a whistling noise and throws it across the deck.
Coe-Nan: I am not playing fetch…
Kemen: Keep making will saves…otherwise we burn that bridge when we get to it. Aside from that…maybe buy a shaving kit.

The enemy ship is listing badly and heavily burned, but still afloat. It is well laden with coin and trade goods. All of which make for a nice haul.

We spend a day drifting on the waves, resting and examining the ship. One of our first discoveries is a form of natural awareness possessed by the ship. We are trying to replicate the red warning light and chime from when we were boarded and trial/error our way into discovering how it functions. The ship inherently identifies those on board when activated as “crew” anyone not a member of the crew contacting the ship triggers the alarm. We figured this out by verbally removing Silent One from the crew then having him climb back on the ship.

My favorite aspect of the ship is the below deck cabins. Each one is the size of a cramped closet. But if you tap a small onyx dial at the top of the doorway it opens to a extradimensional space as a full sized suite (think Bender’s apartment in Futurama) We all end up with personal rooms and the ship even has a fully stocked and instantly replenished commissary. There is an extra dimensional workspace with fully provisioned smithy, woodworking equipment and leatherworking tools. All are considered masterwork and provide bonuses in accordance.

Me: We need to find a name for this ship
Coe-Nan: Wave Humper?
Paddock: Kord’s Lance?
Kemen: Morridin’s Embrace?
Silent One ooc: Revenge?
All: Revenge?
Silent One: The Dread Pirate Roberts was captain of the pirate ship Revenge…the Dread PARROT Roberts led us to this ship.

We settle on Revenge as our ship’s name.

As we steer the Revenge back to port there is a sizeable gathering on the docks and amongst the shallower waters near the city. Our floating ship of metal/glass is getting a lot of attention. We pull alongside the Titan’s Pride and are greeted by an eager Beordie and an impressed Captain Beorn. Beordie offers us 1 million in gold and “store credit” in 2 million further for the ship. It is a sorely tempting offer as we are below expectations on equipment by our standards but the ship is too pragmatically and thematically awesome to sell.
Kemen: We would love to chat further, but we have pressing matters ahead of us.

Me: Like what…
Kemen: Like figuring out what happens if we try to take our Revenge out of the water and over land

The ship slides out of the water smoothly to dry land and continues to hover a few inches above the ground.
All: Oh hell yeah!

2013-01-11, 02:39 PM
Fantastic read, keep 'em coming :D

2013-01-11, 04:14 PM
Booty Call:

Beordie comes abroad the Revenge and graciously assists us in fully exploring and researching the vessel. We purchase a lot of raw materials like scrolls, healing wands and crafting materials from the Pride, nearly expending our available resources. We also pinpoint the controls for adjusting speed on the ship, we also find a few defense mechanisms like triggered color sprays and a triggered silence for stealth. There are colorized warning for pretty much every detect in the spell lists with double ranges for all. This means we functionally have radar to about 240 feet.

Beordie makes the final and biggest find…
He reveals the ship’s vault…

Inside are several rare and unidentifiable metals and elixirs along with a leather folio. The folio when opened reshapes to a book...which can then be further expanded to a desk….then a full cabinet with shelves and drawers. Its basically a collapsible library. Once per day you can open a hanging scroll case and get a free scroll which is very cool. You can also once per day remove a random book from inside. Any book or scroll we put it can be retrieved with a move action.

An overland course is plotted for New Jotun and we estimate two weeks of overland travel at standard cruising speed to arrive. That gives us some time to tweak out equipment and do some crafting.

Captain Beorn pulls us aside and gives us a single rolled parchment, he winks at me and tells me it will come in handy. We are invited to read it and find it to be nothing more than a receipt for a clerk in New Jotun. He chuckles and refuses to speak further on it.

We make the overland trip uneventfully. There is something immensely satisfying as the Revenge picks up altitude to fly over a forest. Kemen goes to work crafting an additional 2 lyres of building. We fly/hover up the side of the mountain and reach an outpost amidst the rocks. Stone Giant sentries challenge our purpose and I instantly feel antsy.

Me: They have a smash first, ask questions later policy.
Stone Giant: State your purpose….you have reached the boundry of New Jotun and only giants are permitted entry.
Kemen: Think I can pass for a short giant?
Paddock: Only if I can pass as a tall pixie.

As much as it pains us to contemplate, Paddock was the decided front man for this leg of the adventure. I have a hefty bounty…Kemen is horrid with social skills, and Coe-Nan looks like a hairy man beast. Paddock with good charisma and some diplomacy is our best bet.

Paddock: Our purpose is justice and our mission is to see it delivered.
Stone Giant: Not interested. Turn your ship around and be gone.

The Silent One folds up a piece of paper at the table and pats Paddock on the shoulder…written on the paper is the word “receipt”

Paddock: We have floated the length of the land over many miles on a mission of dire consequence. Forces beyond your comphrension are at play and the fate of your entire race hangs in the balance…we MUST deliver this receipt?

His voice trails off as he realized what the monk intended. It is a bald faced atrocity of a loophole…but technically we are on the business of giants…a Storm Giant told us to deliver this receipt to a clerk in New Jotun.

The Stone Giant sentries scratch out a note on a rock and hurl up the mountain like a boulder tossing fire bucket chain. A few minutes later a boulder comes skipping back the mountain with a reply.

Stone Giant: That clerk is not here at present and his return is not expected for two months.
Paddock: We will wait inside for him…

Our ship gets lots of attention and we are escorted to a open area plateau deep in the heights of the mountain. A force of mixed race giants is waiting for us on the plateau. At their front is a scarred and familiar Hill Giant bounty hunter.

Hill Giant: Marilius Antinaius you are to accompany me to Ambassador Korlwayn for summary judgement.
Me: Uhm….no thanks?
Hill Giant: It was not a request.
Kemen: We are here on business that means we are to be granted the same benefits of a giant. That means diplomatic immunity for any acts previously commited until the conclusion of our business.
Me: are we?
Kemen: No clue, just pulled that out of my ass hoping it will buy time.

It triggers the summoning of many giants, including a very angry Cloud Giant Ambassador Korlwayn. A storm giant lawyer/wise man corrects Kemen as saying that while we are in certain sense under a diplomatic banner, it only prevents our incarceration, and that civil or monetary damages can be pursued. I can also be challenged to a honor duel which must be executed within 30 days time. Bottom line, I might get sued and I may have to duel a giant in a month, but until then I am free to move about the city in a controlled but open fashion.

Initially they want to show us to a humanoid guest quarters, but Kemen refuses to leave the Revenge. We are similiarly inclined to not leave our all purpose vessel and hasty getaway option. It becomes our defacto command center as we partake the strangest campaign leg of all time.

If you have never played Clue and are not familiar with it, I would advise googling it for a passive idea. Why? Because we were quickly swept up into a scheme that seamed straight out of the board game.

The morning following our arrival the storm giant lawyer from the previous day knocks on our ship and issues a subpoena directed square at me.
Paddock: Civil suit?
Me: Uh…not exactly…. (I hand it to Kemen)
Kemen: Congratulations Papa Mar….its a paternity suit! He’s having a baby!

2013-01-11, 05:37 PM
Rough Day to be A Father

The Ambassador wants 50% of all my future earning for perpetuity. There is a clause that reduces this garnishment to 20% if I forfeit all parental rights. The clause is to be enforced through means of a geas. I am really tempted to go the whole “ you can’t prove it’s me” route, but the documents include sworn statements from multiple diviners stating I am the only possible candidate. Gack.

Paddock: This works well for us. We need to explore New Jotun and try to locate the talisman or it’s influence. A legal proceeding would provide distraction and let the rest of us get down to business.
Me: It also says I can forgo all reparations in court if I duel the Ambassador.
Kemen: Let’s stall for time in the interim and do what Paddock suggested, maybe we can find something to our benefit, and hopefully we identify the talisman in the city.

I split off from the group with the Silent One to gather information and follow up on the diviners statements. I am due in court late afternoon and want something other a sweaty forehead when I go there.

The other three start chatting with various crafters and merchants in the city looking for irregular behaviors that jumped out. They stumble on a few leads worth exploring, mostly large purchases of weapons and some erratic requests from clients that rarely frequent the city.

I make little progress other than a lot of slaps on the back and some knowing winks. Everyone knows I am in hot water and they are entertained by the smell of the soup. The diviner’s give me nearly nothing to work with. The only thing I can cling to is the lack of the Ambassador’s daughter. She has gone MIA in recent weeks, presumably owing to the humiliation she caused her family, the Ambassador has moved her from the city. I try every diplomacy check, gather info check and bluff check I can muster looking for a lead on her whereabouts…nada.

The rest of the team meets me in the cavern with stone benches and a stone podium…the giants courtroom. We compare notes and decide to follow up on weapons purchases and figure out where the Princess has gone. We are left waiting a long time for the Ambassador. Finally a few Fire Giants leave to track him down in his quarters. Ten minutes later a heavily winded Stone Giant bursts into the courtroom

SG: The Ambassador has been assassinated! He was found in his study with his throat cut. He has been murdered!
All eyes turn to me…
Me: Oh cmon!

There are three diviners in the city…all 3 of whom were murdered as well. As their blood is spilled so is any chance of easily proving I was not involved. A ranking Cloud Giant is dead and I have heavy motive to see him in that state. The timing is awful and as an outsider in a city of giants I just went from amusing to a potential murderer.

Kemen: Well someone really has it out for you, or they know we are looking for the talisman and want us buried before we can get the trail.

I am placed in a temporary holding cell while Kemen and Paddock are permitted access to the murder scene. Kord has some traction amongst the giants and Kemen’s association as a merchant prince means he is afforded a measure of respect. If you treat him like a felon you are besmirching the whole dwarvish race. They pull the following facts…
*The Ambassador was alone in his study…he had guards outside his study and the door was secure and locked.
*The whole study is carved from solid stone…no nooks, no crannies, no hiding places.
*The guards heard no sounds
*His throat is slashed, deeply and sharply. No sign of a murder weapon…and when Kemen uses his pick to detect minerals and metals he gets an incredibly feint signature from the throat wound. With magnifying glass he extracts several slivers of black glass from the wound.
*The diviners were murdered in similar fashion.

So the good news is…they will have a hell of a time proving I got into the room undetected and managed to kill the ambassador let alone the three additional diviners. The bad news is…giant law doesn’t much care for evidence it is more concerned with intent and motive.

I am removed from my temporary holding cell and released for the time being, with express orders to not leave the city. Additional diviners are being summoned as is a lawyer for myself. Kemen retreats to the Revenge to examine the shards of glass and the rest of us begin tracking large orders of unholy weapons. Lots of unholy morningstars and flails are being purchased and requested by anonymous buyers. The funds are coming from a group of fire giants, but they are not fire giant sized weapons. We end up tracking down the purchasers to a quarter far from the cities center where the rocks grow hot and the hallways grow more sinister.

The Fire Giant quarter is located near natural hot springs and the smell of sulfur and heat in the air are stifling. We are challenged by Fire Giant sentries and urged to state a purpose.
Kemen: I am a Merchant Prince from the city of Kay Varn….you are looking for specifically enchanted weapons…we want to put in a bid.
Paddock (in a whisper): I will not sit idly by while you forge unholy weapons

We are taken into the hot springs and a recently invisible Silent One sneaks off to see what else is around. A sleezy giant named Frig tells us they have all the weapons they need and tells us to sod off. Politely we leave and meet up with the Silent One who is waiting in the hallway. He shows us the handle of dagger with black glass jutting from the handle. Kemen confirms they are the same type of glass and he further tells us they are forged from obsidian. A tricky substance to work with but INCREDIBLY sharp when crafted properly. He hangs onto this for the time being and stashes it in the Revenge vault.

Unholy weapons and they alliance with the potential murder weapon lead us to believe the murder is misdirection to throw us off the trail. Kemen discreetly begins a sweeping search of the areas closest to fire giant quarter to locate any further obsidian. I am directed to pick a fight with the hill giant bounty hunter. The group’s thought process is this….

*He was in contact with Raja’s gnolls and may have had stronger ties to them than he let on.
*He was very quick to realize we were in the city.
*We already had tangled with him once before, and he was specifically searching for me.
*If he is in league with the talisman holders he will have orders to not make waves or draw additional scrutiny.

I am the bait. If I goad him into a fight and he kills me…then we know he is not tied up with the talisman plots. If I taunt him mercilessly and he takes it on the chin without aggression then we have a target.

There is a Great Hall where various races mix and interact…albeit uneasily. Kemen and Silent One slip off to do some further detecting, while Coe-Nan and Paddock provide back up as I go to taunt the hill giant. We politely return his bounty kit, as complete as it can be and initially act nice. I then start bluff checking like no tomorrow taunting his ineptitude and lack of ability. A hush goes over the place as he sits their simmering like a tea kettle ready to boil. No reaction…I push further with insults to his race and prowess as a male…no reaction. I finally ask if he has any daughters…dead silence.

Me: I’ve never had a hill giantess…I suppose the trick would be a long hot shower after…especially if she is your offspring.

The Hill Giant flips his table and snatches a greatclub from the pack on his back…a Cloud Giant voice roars “Enough!” before he gets a swing off. All eyes turn to an ancient Cloud Giant of frail stature and one milky eye. In my visits long ago to New Jotun I had heard of him…he was known simply as the Elder. He was argueably the oldest and most influential giant in New Jotun and the closest thing to a unified king amongst giants. And he just stopped me from getting roflstomped. Under most situations that would make me want to buy him a drink. In these circumstances, it makes me be leery of any action towards us.

2013-01-12, 05:42 AM
Leaving this here to say this campaign is/was liquid awesome. I would just like to ask this: why your character classes are so eclectic? Wouldn't that just make all your many spell incredibly weak?

2013-01-12, 10:17 AM
Leaving this here to say this campaign is/was liquid awesome. I would just like to ask this: why your character classes are so eclectic? Wouldn't that just make all your many spell incredibly weak?

There are play styles other than "have wizard cast biggest spells, win encounter, rest 8 hours". Many buffs are lower level spells, so if you have a lot of them you can spread the goodness around and frequently have a much greater longevity than if you try to force your DM into a 15-minute adventuring day. That's my take on it, at least.

2013-01-12, 11:45 AM
We typically avoid min maxxing to an extent. We much prefer fun over dominance. This is most commonly offset with DM Fiat and over use of magic items. As a result we play a lot of sub-optimal classes like Monk, Paladin, Bard etc. Depending on who is DM'ing a particular encounter there is also a degree of escalation. The Door swings both ways when it comes to cheese.

A lot of what we do in terms of multiclassing also stems from holes in group composition or making adjustments on the fly. I took a sub optimal route and decided to go Fochluran Lyrist more because i was already a bard/rogue and I had never gone that route before.

2013-01-12, 04:32 PM
There are play styles other than "have wizard cast biggest spells, win encounter, rest 8 hours". Many buffs are lower level spells, so if you have a lot of them you can spread the goodness around and frequently have a much greater longevity than if you try to force your DM into a 15-minute adventuring day. That's my take on it, at least.

Well it was less "Wizard wins encounter" and more "Magus/bard can keep up with him," but okay.

2013-01-12, 05:38 PM
Everyone gets to be Bait:

I report back in with the team and we formulate a new plot. We issue a summons to the court saying we have definite proof of the actual killer and we will be awaiting the arrival of new diviners and lawyers in order to prove our claim. We announce that we will be on our ship til they arrive.
We anticipate some discreet visitors looking to uncover the truth of our statements, or at the least some outright assassination attempts. The Revenge should get us some early warning with it’s various sensors and it is ground we are familiar with. We proudly announce that we are leaving some “simple traps” on the main deck and that anyone approaching will need to make Spot checks. In truth we are not on the ship and hiding in a nearby alcove. The ship is set to ring out with it’s loudest alarms the moment ANYONE touches it.

The dead of night arrives and with it scattered Spot and Listen checks. The Revenge alarm trips with none of us even getting a glimpse of the assailant. In unison Kemen drops a web on the ship and I cast grease at the ground in front of it. Paddock rolls a natural 20 on a spot check and manages to catch a fleeting glimpse of a slight figure climbing up the mountain with great surprise.

Paddock: None of us can climb that fast.
Kemen: The ship can.

We all pile back into our ship and steer off the plateau in pursuit of our would be assassin. Kemen casts light on arrowheads and I start peppering the mountain face to try and locate the fleeing figure. All of this goes down in seconds and by the time our ship is floating up the side of the mountain, giants of all kinds are rousing and alarms are sounding. My fourth arrow lands and we see our suspect. Kemen puts another web over him and he slips right through like its not even an inconvience…Spider Climb maybe?

Coe-Nan: Give me your pick Kem…don’t argue…

Kemen sighs and flips his pick to the Barbarian…who tucks it into his belt then making a running dive off the ship to tackle the climber. He kind of succeeds….he does manage to make an insane grapple check, but the pair of them start tumbling down the mountain. They fall a good distance before Coe-Nan manages to stabilize via levitate from the pick. We sail down the mountain to where Coe-Nan is grappling mid air with a slender figure.

Coe-Nan: Are you insane? If you break free you fall and die!

The attacker doesn’t seem to care and even manages to slip free a dagger and stab Coe-Nan. We get the ship under them and he releases the levitate sending them crashing to the deck. Silent One and Paddock both instantly flank him and I have a bow drawn ready to fire. The hooded figure drops its dagger and then eats three AOO as he plunges himself off the ship.

Me: Well that almost worked.

Kemen: It worked…there will have to be a body down there somewhere.

We pilot the Revenge further down the mountain, and sure enough we find a shattered humanoid form on the rocks. We reveal it to be a very slender earth gensai…and he is armed to kill. He is an extra dimensional assassin’s paradise. A Belt of Many Pockets reveals multiple vials of poison labeled and ciphered. He has garrote wire with a silence enchanment, smoke bombs, caltrops, and a sweet pair of bracers. His bracers are bracers of armor modded to include a belt of many pockets that hold daggers. With a mental command we are able to bring a dagger to hand and he has six in each bracer. He is equipped with daggers of human bane, dwarf bane, gnome bane, human bane, giant bane and outsiders lawful bane. In a bag of holding are wands of detect traps, detect secret doors, dispel magic and darkness. He has ciphered logs with who knows what written inside.

The Revenge returns to the plateau and we are warmly greeted via boulder and spear by about 40 mixed giants. The first wave of fire ceases and guards surround the ship. We obliging provide them the corpse of the Assassin (sans a few items) and give them our version of events. The Storm Giant lawyer is confident the ciphers will be broken and with that pronouncement at least 15 of the giants all seem to snap into a trance and a brawl breaks out.

Drastically confused and bewildered giants of various races descend into a chaotic scrum as more and more replacements make their way to the plateau. We hunker down on the ship and just try to keep our heads from getting knocked off by boulders.

Me: Apparently the talisman holder has had enough subtle shenanigans.
Kemen: You kill one assassin….
Paddock taps Coe-Nan on the shoulder and dramatically backs up…
Paddock: We need a bigger boat…*he points to the distant skies*
As dawn is breaking a flight of dragons beyond count is approaching the city.
Kemen: Oh ****…how big is the main gate to New Jotun?
DM: Substantial.
Kemen: Big enough to maneuver the Revenge inside?
Kemen: Gather up any giant that seems to have his bearings and get them on board we are getting out of the air.

We ended session at this point and took a three week hiatus. We had played every Saturday for a long stretch and this was the longest break we had taken in a while. When we got back together the whole basement of our DM was reorganized. He had cleared out the whole central area and rigged with every folding table he could manage. He even covered his pool table with plywood which was then covered with graph paper. He basically built a nearly scale model of the more major parts of New Jotun. We were handed us a cheat sheet chart which showed the color coordination for races of giant and dragon along with which was which. It gave us a good breakdown of the composition of enemy dragons and enemy giants.

DM: Gentleman…you are practically fugitives in a city that has just erupted with impromptu civil war. Egress is neigh impossible and swarms of giants and dragons are now locked in a series of expanding skirmishes. New Jotun is for your intents and purposes under siege. The probability of this being anything other than full scale assault from multiple talisman wearers is next to zero. I’ll let you appraise the situation for a while, I am grabbing a coke…anyone want something?

Kemen: I think we need something a bit stronger than a coke.

2013-01-12, 07:19 PM
Would you mind posting the characters' builds? I'm curious :smallbiggrin:

2013-01-12, 08:15 PM
I do believe **** cannot get any more real in this campaign right now.

Bacon Elemental
2013-01-14, 02:06 AM
Absolutely brilliant!

2013-01-14, 08:39 AM
Ill re add character blocks again soon. I had some abbreviated stat blocks posted earlier and throughout.

2013-01-14, 11:11 AM
The Siege of New Jotun-Part 1:Everday Im Tunnelin

Updated Character Blocks:
Marilius Antinaius(Me) (human) Rogue3/Bard4/Druid3 Str16 Dex20 Con14 Int16 Wis12 Cha 21 HP 55. Feats:Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Precise Shot,Leadership. Spells Known: Cure light Wounds, Grease. Charm Person, Cure moderate wounds, Glitterdust. Equipment: Ironwood Chain Shirt+1, comp longbow+1 (adds additional rolls on max damage) scimitar+1, lyre of building x3. Ring of Protection+1

The Silent One (githerzai) Monk10 Str16 Dex27 Con14 Int10 Wis18 Cha13 HP 63. Feats:Stunning Fist, Combat Reflexes, Short Haft, Weapon Focus:Spear, Improved Trip, II. Equipment: Adamantine longspear+1, 100 shuriken. Bracers of Armor+5, Amulet of Natural Armor+1, Ring of Protection+1

David Allen Coe-Nan (human) Fighter6/Barbarian4 Str22 Dex15 Con16 Int11 Wis14 Cha14 HP96. Feats: Two Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus Axes, Power Attack, Cleave, Improved Iniative. Great Cleave, Weapon Specialization, Improved TWF, Improved Critical. Battle Axe Equipment:Adamantine Breastplate+2, adamantine battleaxe (2)+1, masterwork dagger, comp longbow (+6str), 100 arrows.Belt of giant str+2

Kemen Sarn (dwarf) Fighter1/Abjurer3/MasterSpec3/Runesmith3 Str14 Dex10 Con24 Int21 Wis14 Cha10 HP:74 Feats:Scribe Scroll, Improved Initiative, Spell Focus Abjuration,Greater Spell Focus Abjuration Sculpt Spell, Skill Focus Spellcraft, Craft Arms and Armor, Craft Wonderous ItemsEquipment:Adamantine Full Plate+1,heavy pick+1 (special abilities) large steel shield, dagger, spellbook.

Paddock Shiningstar (gnome) Paladin2/Cleric8 Str14 Dex 12 Con20 Int12 Wis16 Cha19 HP:80 Feats:Mounted Combat,Ride By Attack, Spirited Charge.Craft Wand Equipment:Full Plate+1, Morningstar+1, adamantine lance+2 Ring of Protection+2

The Revenge is our biggest asset in this fight. It provides cover, mobility, rest, and early warning for intruders. It also proves to be excessively durable and critical to our lateral thinking. Going toe to toe with giants and dragons is beyond us, but we can be damn tricky. First objective for us is to create some manner of control. The whole city is in chaos and there is no safe place or coordination. The mainmast is collapsible, or at least we are able to make it intangible, or the whole plan becomes mute.

We are hopelessly outgunned if it comes down to going mano-y-mano with giants or dragons. If we were in a position of leadership and could somehow manage to be generals that would be one thing. In this case we are more of a third party nuisance. The plus side is that not all giants are under the talisman’s sway and there is lots of giant on giant combat going on.
Paddock has one sending prepared which we use to contact Beordie on the Titan’s Pride. We figure Kemen and Beordie have a bond as dwarf craftsmen and also figure that Captain Beorn has the most resources at hand to contact other people. We plan on sending out more communications but figure the crew of the Pride will inform Samhain who we left at the coast and he can try and reach other potential reinforcements. We give ourselves a realistic shot at back up in two weeks time.

In the interim our plan is to create a safe area where we can organize giants and keep ourselves from being ambushed. So we dig in to what we do best…abuse magic items for purposes they were never intended.

Kemen: Alright Marilius, I hope your fingers are feeling fresh. Time to do some home improvement.

Our plan has all the subtley of a hammer to the face…we use the lyre of building to start reshaping the stone chambers of the mountain to build a track with elevated cover. We start cutting stone and rebuilding a path wide and hide enough to maneuver the Revenge through, and high off the ground we build a track with cover where we can hide behind and move up and down the tunnel. This has a secondary effect of allowing us to use the Revenge as a moveable wall. While I strum the lyre and set my invisible workers to shifting stone, the Paladin and Monk start searching for every scrap of metal they can. Kemen and Coe-Nan provide cover as we start burrowing into the mountain. With a good detailed map to work from we also are able to plan break through points where we can reach different quarters of the city. The crafting district is near enough and our first target. Even with me going non stop on the lyre we figure it will take days to accomplish everything. We have three lyres and I can run about 6 hours on each.

Our biggest obstacle is our DM. Each of our steps is vetted through him and get the sign off to move as we planned, but at a slower rate than we expected. Once we get enough bulk metal Kemen leaves Coe-Nan, Paddock and Silent One to defend our budding tunnel. Luckily we engage only stragglers at the onset. There is too much anarchy for us to be a priority. The first Catch 22 we encounter is giant allies. A pair of Stone Giant Guards and a Fire Giant mercenary got swept up and worked together, they are confused and eager for any ally, including us. Help is appreciated, but we also realize they could turn on us at any time. The talisman wielder had subverted multiple giants then more or less used them as sleeper agents. Probably looking to control the whole city before letting on to what was happening. That means any ally we pick up could very well be a future enemy or spontaneous assassin. As the dwarf says…”we will burn that bridge when we get there”

Kemen enlists the stone giants to help him with a project while the Fire Giant goes to assist the melee. Dwarf and Giant start hastily juryrigging caltrops from the collected metals and we leave scattered caltrops to slow down walking invaders.

We get about 100 feet of tunnel when the first lyre putters out. We maneuver our floating ship over the caltrops and use it to create a wall at the lip of the tunnel. Coe-Nan takes the left elevated track and I take the right. Paddock dedicates himself to providing healing and buffs from the deck of the Revenge while Silent One functions as bodyguard for Kemen. The giants lob boulders from the deck of the ship. Coe-Nan and I lay down bow fire to targets within range and the giants follow our targets. As we get attention we start falling back down the tunnel while Kemen throws up web and grease spells to slow advances, coupled with caltrops and any one coming down the tunnel being instantly flanked we turn it into a killing ground. Giants are easy meat…dragons prove troublesome. A good sized red with fire giant support picks us up and we have to retreat hastily as breath weapons splash a lot of damage. We lose all three giants bringing down the attackers and Paddock goes through the lion’s share of our healing.

Kemen drops a Stone Shape to seal off the tunnel and we get the ship as close to the wall as possible. I move to the rear of our tunnel and start working by Light Spell on expanding the tunnel. Its another 150 feet to the crafting quarter and we want to try and punch through the next day. I make it 120 feet and finally fail the next check. I get put on “exhausted” and then similarly fall back to sleep. The Revenge sounds an alarm that multiple bogeys of evil and chaotic nature are approaching and everyone but me heads above deck to intercept. A burly and muscular Storm Giant is smashing through the wall.

Spell drained and battered the four of them have a desperate fight to stave off the attacker. What brief glimpses they can see from outside the initial assault has now fully resulted in a siege as dragons and giants coordinate and work to break deeper into the city.

Coe-Nan: I think it’s time to raise up the Mage Hand…
DM: The Mage Hand?
Kemen:Yeah we figured…if it worked once it should work twice.
DM: this should be interesting.
Kemen: We left the bag of holding with our returning boulders just above the entrance to the tunnel. Once Stormy there gets inside I am going to Mage Hand it open and let the rocks fly.

This time we don’t get the steady stream of rocks…once they fall they are returned to Kemen on the deck of the ship. He does land 2 of 5 rocks and that softens up the giant enough that we can finish him off. The next morning we punch through to the crafting quarter which has become a lot like London during the Bltiz. Dragons are dive bombing all over the place while boulder-vs-boulder lobbing is leveling the area. As we size up the area Paddock receives a sending from Captain Beorn.

Aware of predictament. Mobilizing Support. Expect immediate reinforcements. Remain stationary for at least next four hours.

Paddock mounts up and acts as a our little half size Paul Revere…he gallops through the maelstrom rallying giants that are getting attacked by dragons and steers them to our tunnel. I experience most of this off camera as I continue to work away with my third and last lyre. They have me going back through the sections we have already tunneled and I am now sinking pit traps with stone spikes at the bottom. As I am reaching the last of my third lyre…we expend what stone shape spells and remaining building mojo on erecting a canopy above the mouth of the tunnel. Giants are giving us more traction in terms of leadership and they begin taking ques from the dwarf on organizing a defense.

Right around four hours after our sending arrives so do Samhain and his bodyguards along with Beordie and the drow Lirdain.

Beordie: Captain Beorn has raised anchor on the Pride and has sent alerts to most other trustworthy giants. He also reached out to any dragon that owes him a favor, along with the council in Kay-Varn. I expect things are going to get a lot thicker in the upcoming days.

2013-01-14, 12:32 PM
The Siege of New Jotun Part 2-How to Press Gang Friends and Pit Trap Enemies

Samhain and his ogre bodyguards are willing combat participants. Beordie is willing to help in a support role as will Lirdain. Lirdain flat out tells us he is there strictly to take a shot at the talisman holders, he intends to slip off during a crest in fighting and then “run silent,run deep” til he locates a prime target. Until he slips off he is willing to slit throats and slash hamstrings, but only when its to his benefit.

Any help that won’t suddenly try to smash us is appreciated and needed. The anarchy of initial assault wears out and we are faced with a reorganized map. The crafting quarter is nearly secure. Every 4-8 hours a giant will suddenly grab his head and turn on his allies, or groan and run off to the dragons, otherwise the dragons and invaders have been pushed back to the central hall. From what reports we can sketch together the Fire Giant quarter is standing as is the Hill Giant quarter. The Cloud and Storm Giant quarters were hit the hardest and had the most controlled giants. No reports are received from the Stone Giants. I shift modes to Gather Information and from my various interviews it does seem there is a pattern. Clouds and Storms are the primary targets for subversion. Any other giant with casting abilities or positions of leadership/wealth are secondary targets.

That tells us we need to gather up Hills and Fires that are lower priority. The city is organized in a half moon. There is a central chamber which backs into a large commissary and entertainment area. To the far right of the half moon is the crafting quarter. The far left quarter has a stables and storage area. The quarter nearest to us is the Stone Giant quarter, followed by Fire, then Cloud and Storm with Hill closest to the stables. A higher section that serves as a diplomatic center with special rooms and conference centers is above the Cloud and Storm section.

Invaders have seized the central chamber which effectively compartmentalizes the different quarters. On paper we can punch through to the Stone quarter once lyres replenish. Until then we set about building defenses against intruders. The whole crafting quarter is scoured for serviceable equipment and we build a solid if crude barricade against the main entrance. We can tuck in and wait til they decide to attack en masse again, but that seems to be there goal. Take one piece at a time and let the talisman’s do the hard work.

I suppose we can take solace in the fact that knowledge of these talismans is spreading and there effects are now public knowledge. No subtle coups are now possible. The flip side to that coin is that every dragon and giant in the world is now going to be ultra paranoid.

Not content to sit still we bring the Revenge inside and turn her around. Everyone preps up and we take an assault force with Samhain and company back to the central chamber where we initially tunneled. We pick up all the caltrops as we go and load them on deck. We built four sizeable pit traps through the tunnel and we want attackers coming through in force. We have Beordie doing nothing but crafting Wall of Stone and Stone Shape scrolls.
The Revenge gets to the end of the tunnel and we peek through the broken sections of our wall to look at the central chamber. It’s a swarm of giants and dragons all moving about. Subverted giants in chains are being lead out of the chamber to waiting dragons. For reasons we have not yet fathomed, they are ferrying giants away from the city. The central chamber has serviceable roads that lead to the plateau where we first landed. Our plan is to go fishing. Reel in a few stragglers and drag them through the death tunnel. Problem is…there are too many fish. We take the Revenge back to the crafting chamber and then return on foot along the elevated alcoves. A single Stone Giant we called Rocky accompanies us and he uses the returning boulders to knock down whats left of our wall.

The noise gets the attention of a few dragons inside and the subverted giants working alongside them.

As planned Rocky “panics” and runs down the tunnel. Rocky has the benefit of knowing where the pit traps are and he is able to avoid them. We put a thin layer of stone from stoneshape over the traps and told him where to dodge. As we expected a trio of cloud giants and two blue dragons pursue him down the hall. The clouds are close enough together that we almost expect to get all three in the trap, the first two go in and as they do Kemen puts a much thicker stone shape lid on the hole. The third giant manages to pull up short and when he does we ambush him from cover with ranged weapons. It is hardly fatal….but it does drive him back and as he falls back a web spell tangles him and the now approaching dragons. We all hightail it out of there and fall back to the crafting chamber. Seconds behind us comes the the dragons…we assume the third cloud landed in another trap.

The two blues come through the end of the tunnel and fight there way through a web into the crafting chamber…where 30+ giants are wating for them. We start to work slowly back down the tunnel where we find cloud number three trying to climb out of the trap.

Me: Poor guy…I am going to cast grease on the walls.

A giant with room to maneuver and swing is dangerous…a giant at the bottom of a spiked hole is target practice. As we are putting the coup de grace on the last cloud Silent One comes sprinting down an alcove waving his arms like crazy. A big nasty red is inching it’s way down the tunnel. He aint happy.

Paddock: I don’t think this one is going down easy.
Coe-Nan: Nope.

The red works his way through the tunnel and into the crafting quarter where he starts tearing apart our giant troops. Hit and Run tactics prove one step removed from futile and it is feeling like a rout. Kemen has 1 real blasting spell which is fireball and therefore useless. Its DR and SR make it a grueling fight and we lose more than half our giants. Its injured and acting far more weary but there is a lot of fight left in him. Rocky is pelting him with enchanted boulders and when the red goes to breath and melt our stone giant…Lirdain pops up from hiding below it and rams a rapier into it’s throat.

Me: That is one bad ass drow.
Beordie: He has his moments…and most of them look a like that one.

The red falls and trembles in it’s death throes and stays down. Paddock hangs back to heal what giants he can and the rest board the revenge and head back down the tunnel to check up on our trapped giants. Our concern is additional giants/dragons in the tunnel. We luck out in finding no additional resistance and finish off the trapped giants. We close back up the tunnel and regroup everyone.

Right around the time we have triaged the worst damage and gotten our feet back under us…there is a push on the barricade. Putting its shoulder into our barricade is the biggest Storm Giant we have ever seen. Easily 25 feet tall and probably closer to 30. We are talking the kind of Storm Giant that if you were a storm giant he would be the one taking our lunch and stealing your girlfriend. A behemoth.

Coe-Nan: Uh…maybe we should hide.
Kemen: That is actually not a bad idea. Get everyone in the tunnel and then seal it up.
Me: They are not going to assume a barricade built itself.
Paddock: They may assume the deceased we leave behind were all that remained.
Me: I guess its better than dying.

Quietly as possible we get the remaining giants and our ship back into the tunnel and then Stoneshape it shut. We leave a peephole to look out with. With bated breath we watch as the behemoth tears apart the barricade. Two large gold dragons and a quartet of massive cloud giants follow in the behemoth. They all part ways for something…something so small we can barely see it. We get a description and all scratch our heads…finally Paddock says

Paddock: I think…I think it’s a grig.
Kemen: the pixie?
Paddock: Whatever the smallest one is yeah…

The grig is wearing a talisman, except that instead of an amulet he is wearing it like an oversized belt. Like the wrestling championship belt. It’s voice manages to project quite well.

Grig: inform the master that this section is abandoned. Seal it up and keep pressing the Stone Giants.

The brute squad turns around and start rebuilding our barricade. Leaving us in shock.

Me: A friggin pixie is running all these giants!?!

Kemen: looks like it. Also looks like it is taking orders from someone else. Also looks like they aren’t interested in searching too much. I got a new plan.

We infer several things from our brief buzzing by the talisman holder.
1st: While sight doesn’t seem to be needed for the talisman to work, apparently awareness of the target at a minimum is required.
2nd: There is a figure out there calling the shots. Lirdain is enthusiastic about having a target and really wants to find the Grig’s boss.
3rd: We have relative freedom of operation for the time being. We park the Revenge close to the barricade and activate the silence hoping to buffer out any soon we might make.
4th: They are pressing but not all out. Recon down the tunnel suggests they are pressing enough to keep attention but are waiting on amulet to do its thing. We fear that will change once knowledge of what they are doing is revealed to be public.

The next several days are spent crafting manipulation scrolls and building defenses facing the stone giant quarters. We form up barricades and foxholes around the most direct path to Stone Giant Quarters. We also rig up deadfall traps from the ceiling that we can drop on attackers. On day 7 I get a good long nights sleep and get ready to do some serious strumming.

2013-01-14, 02:46 PM
The Siege of New Jotun Part 3-This time we get to come out of the frigging Walls…sort of

Me: I have been thinking…
Coe-Nan: about…?
Me: You know that part in Wrath of Khan when Spock out thinks Khan by telling Kirk that he is not thinking in 3 dimensions?
Coe-Nan: Yeah.
Me: Instead of coming through the walls, why not the floor or ceiling?
Kemen: Good question.

It actually becomes a tough question as well. From on high we can drop rocks and limit giants getting to us. It also raises the question, once we drop down we can float, but how do we get back up there? That alone trumps the death from above (kind of) and we elect to still tunnel through the walls.

Its 150-160 feet of rock to get through our quarter and into the Stone Giant quarter. In favor of quickness we make the tunnel smaller to small for Revenge to fit through. We have the Revenge lined up in our first tunnel ready to go as an emergency evac. The second tunnel is big enough for a giant to cramp in and crawl through. Human sized would have benefits, but we need our giants to get through as well.

With the smaller tunnel we make it nearly through with a few hours to spare. I backtrack and make some modifications to the first tunnel then start on pit trapping the second tunnel before I finally fail a check and leave first lyre spent. We have a scant foot or so left until we can break free to Stone Giant quarter. We stoneshape a gap and let the drow slip in to appraise the situation. The Stone Giant quarter looks like a honeycomb with apartments lining the walls, and the center floor going in is littered with shattered rocks and dead dragons. We more or less tunneled into some guy’s apartment and luckily he wasn’t home. Lirdain reports about 30ish stone giants still fighting with half a dozen badly injured and sheltered to the rear. He picked up talk of their leader having resisted the amulet for a full week but that he could feel the tugging and was having a harder time shaking it off.

Ironically the brute squad we saw earlier is working to widen the opening into stone giant area under heavy fire from arrow and rock. We all slip in and try to discreetly inform our potential allies of our presence. Paddock and Coe-Nan alert the stones and we tell them we can reinforce them. It’s pretty damn good timing too, Behemoth has just fallen back and is getting buffed up by unseen casters. He and the four clouds are getting ready to make an assault.

They burst through the crude barricades they have weakened and are met by an avalanche of thrown boulders from a suddenly emerged group of hills, stones and fires. Grease,Web, Fireball and walls of stone all limit them and singe them as we launch arrows, shuriken and everything else we have into their midst. Samhain and his ogres light into the behemoth with Coe-Nan right behind. Paddock is galloping in short circles lancing cloud giants with glee. Silent One is ducking knees and feet as his spear flicks in and out amidst the scrum. Stone Giant snipers are launching from elevated positions as return fire ceases their barrage increases.

Kemen slips off from the ambush and starts clogging the gap with Walls of Stone. Dragons are coming down the hallway to assist their giants and Kemen helps to delay them. Its battle map insanity and we love it. Sheer force of numbers are crippling the brute squad and we have them in tatters. Kemen runs out of spells and is hesitant to dip into his scroll reserves. We begrudgingly fall back and everyone goes into our tunnel and back to the crafting quarter.

Paddock is first through and he is frantically directing traffic as we prep a defense of the crafting quarter. We built a half circle around the stone giant tunnel and are using the Revenge to close off the opening. Anything coming through the tunnel will be met by elevated and covered attackers and dead fall traps. Sure enough some of the smaller dragons, blacks and whites spill out and get the tar knocked out of them. The moment they finish off the last dragon Paddock and Kemen redirect everyone to the next tunnel. They seal it up behind us once again…all that remains are corpses.

To any force that can’t see the tunnels it looks like attackers and the people they attacked have just vanished or been murdered.

Coe-Nan: They are going to figure this out.
Me and Kemen *grinning*: Yep and we will be ready.

This time they bring a whole ton of forces to bear inside the crafting quarter.

Kemen: let’s shove a stick into the hornets nest and shake it…

From a small gap in the wall he tosses out a fireball to the crafting quarter then we all hightail it out of the tunnel back to the now empty central chamber. Kemen and company form up for a barricade at the lip of the Central Chamber while Silent One and I haul ass to the crafting quarter through the central chamber access. He stands as my bodyguard while I collapse the tunnel behind the force now stuck in our first tunnel. Once it is heavily blocked off we hightail it right back to the central chamber and I start using the third lyre to collapse that side of the tunnel.

When they realize what is happened, I get death hurled at me from every angle they can manage. They are opening themselves to AOO’s in the process but those are drops in the bucket. Every round becomes a concentration check with teeth gnashing at the results. Beordie and Kemen are flinging up obstacles as fast as dwarfly possible and each round is a nail biter. Once the ceiling starts to go it goes big and we cave in the majority of the entrance. I spend the next hour plugging and filling the mass at the front.

Covered in dust and scorch/acid marks I finally stop the last lyre and we admire our handy work. The bulk of invading forces are now bottled up and stuck in our tunnel. The remaining giants and Samhain spearhead our strike force to the Fire Giant quarter who were mostly untouched. With fresh troops and some breathing room we make for the diplomat’s section in upper levels of the city hoping to find the big bosses there.

2013-01-14, 03:45 PM
The Siege of New Jotun Part 4-He is realllly Sneaky:

Lirdain slips into the shadows and vanishes. Beordie gets a sending and tells us that help is on the way and he too departs from the central chamber to presumably join up with them. We slip up the paths to the ambassador’s quarter. Resistance is non existent. The sounds of fighting from Cloud and Storm quarters are audible, but distant.

We wave off the giants to hang back and Samhain joins us with his small contigent to enter the first room of the diplomat’s area. The grig and a few Cloud Giant guards are examining a map on a table. A few gensai are also in attendance. Like a bizarre Napolean he walks on the map of the region barking out directions to Gensai who slip into the floor and move away.
All thoughts of discretion, misdirection and evasion go out the window. Our quick huddle has everyone on the same page…kill the grig at all costs.
Samhain and his ogres are going in to distract the duo of cloud giants while Twitchy is going to work into a good back stab position. Coe-Nan, Silent One, and Paddock are going to rush the grig while I snipe away and Kemen supports.

The plan is executed to almost perfection. Silent One can out run a horse and he is practically on the grig before they know we are attacking. The Grig vanishes before the spear makes contact and there is a scramble to figure out where he is. In mid charge Samhain is tripped by his own bodyguards who join the Cloud Giants in smashing him to bits.

Coe-Nan: Damn it! Ogre are giantkin!
Kemen: Kill the grig and the cloud giants should be free…if he dies we live its that simple.

I make a Spot check which shows the ogres heads jerking up and to the left before they turned. I pick out the grig on a shelf in a corner and put a pair of arrows in his direction. Silent One picks up on my target and flurries a wave of shuriken as well. Kemen pops him with a magic missile.

The Warforged is scrap within two rounds and we now have four more attackers entering the fray. The grig is proving damn elusive and we hear more giants coming in. Coe-Nan and Paddock move to intercept the giants while Silent One and I try to pin down the talisman wielder. We force him to move back to the table and we see Lirdain rise up behind him rapier in hand. My silent fist pump signifying “hell yeah” is choked off by a second hooded figure rising behind Lirdain and putting a dagger through his skull…it entered just behind his left ear and the tip is visible out of the right ear. There is a sickening twist of bone and brain matter and our lethal drow assassin is toast. In the interest of silver lining he does fall on the grig who is pinned down.

Silent One can reach the helpless grig, and he can also reach the assassin. Seems like a no brainer until the killer pulls back his hood and see it is the Githyanki slaver that stole our kill on Raja. Silent One roars and impales the Grig as the Githyanki steps through a vanishing dimensional door. The Cloud Giants and Ogre snap of their control and try to shake the cobwebs from their minds.

There is a sudden shift in ambient noise as giants break free and the dragons are beginning to be routed by angry combination of every race of giant. We join the cheering giants who are running dragons out of New Jotun and watch them take wing and flee. As we see them all leaving….A roar to eclipse anything we have witnessed to that point draws every eye.

Mounted upon a gargantuan blue dragon is a Cloud Giant of ravishing beauty. She looks like a triumphant and savage Valkyrie atop the ancient dragon. She wields a spear that radiates sheer power and the dragon amulet is visible upon her throat.

I wave sheepishly at her as the retreating dragons swarm around her. She glares at us for a long moment…then leads their exodus from New Jotun.
Everyone turns to me at the table with furrowed eyebrows…

Kemen: Let me guess….that was your Cloud Giant lady friend?
Me: Fraid so…but she was much shyer then.

Later that afternoon a contigent of dwarves and the crew of the Titan’s Pride march into the city armed to the teeth. They find us on our floating ship nursing wounds and stout cloud giant ale.

Captain Beorn: I thought the city was helplessly under siege and that my kin were being enthralled?
Me: It was. They Were. We took care of it.

The survivors of New Jotun didn’t exactly treat us as conquering heroes, but there was a degree of admiration. The scant leadership that remained convened with Beorn and tried to formulate a temporary council to govern the city. From a story stand point the point driven home is how aggravating the presence of this amulet can be. We managed to recover the giant amulet from the Grig and now have the animal and giant talismans. My former cloud giant lady has the dragon amulet that fell with Kreestan, and we still don’t know who has the elemental or demon amulet.

Kemen consulted with the dwarves from Kay-Varn and by unanimous vote they elect to undertake rebuilding the city (at expensive and damn near unfair rates). Somehow I get Tom Sawyer’d into assisting them. This was the end to a extensive and exhausted 3-4 sessions of play. We ended the night with a cart blanche to spend about 150,000 per person equipment and the understanding that we would pick things back up with updated character sheets the next week.

Bacon Elemental
2013-01-14, 05:35 PM
Holy loot batman!

2013-01-15, 06:36 AM
Holy loot batman!

Deserved. Even WITH all those giants helping, the C.R of those battles was something along the lines of "OHSHI-" from start to finish

Bacon Elemental
2013-01-15, 06:30 PM
Oh, I'm sure they deserved every copper of it.

It's still a sphincter-tighteningly large amount for level 10/11s.

2013-01-16, 11:09 AM
Moridin’s Embrace:

We bump to level 11 and make some sweeping gear changes.
I take my 1st level in Fochluran Lyrist
Kemen advances in Runesmith…and can now share spells.
Coe-Nan continues up the fighter path
Silent Monk continues with Monk
Paddock continues with Cleric

Gear Changes:

I upgrade my bow to +4 enhancement bonus and add shock, I also add a Cloak of Charisma+6 and pick up a ton of wands (more on that later)
Coe-Nan dumps everything into getting his axes to+5 and updates his breastplate to +3
Silent One picks up a Monk’s Belt, Gloves of Dex+6 and bumps his spear to +4 he also gets boots of striding and springing.
Paddock updates his lance+4, armor+4 and adds Periapt of Wisdom+6, he also gets Gloves of Str+4
Kemen gets Rings of Wizardry 2 and 3 and makes some updates to his armor. He also mods the bracers that store daggers and allows them to store wands. I now have revolving wrist mounted bracers that rotate then pop a wand into my hand. I can carry six per wrist and it makes me feel a bit like a gunslinger.

We dub Kemen’s armor Moridin’s Embrace and while he has the framework for it started he still has a lot of changes he wants to make to it. Is no longer full plate but now dwarven mountain plate, confers +3 bonus and has some weird not explained additions to it.

Repairs and remodeling to the city take up the better part of 3 weeks, during which we expend down time examining the amulet. The Storm Giants from Titan’s Pride are accommodating in helping us test the talisman and we confirm a few basic points of interest. Proximity and line of sight affect it. You can enthrall a target that you can’t see, but the closer you are to it the easier it becomes.

Two big questions arise:
1st:Now that we have it…what the heck do we do with it? With two talismans in our possession we know they definitely fit into the casket relic. Do we carry the giant amulet around with us as a sort of beacon for trouble? Do we leave in a city of giants? We are confident we had the only map to track them, but its entirely possible there is more than one map we don’t know about. In the end we make about a dozen knock offs and publically have them all leave New Jotun. The real one is taken with the dwarves back to Kay-Varn and placed within their strongest vaults.

2nd: Samhain had some small metal scrolls that we are so far unable to open from inside his shattered remains. We anticipate these are important but wrack our brains with no way to pop em open.

We leave New Jotun with lots of new equipment and sizeable wealth on consignment that we bring back to our mountain stronghold. Work there has progressed in our absence and we even make a side trip to rescue the last poor souls stuck in the former Medusa lair. The journey back to our stronghold sees even more time evaporate as Kemen insists on creating a dock for our new ship. He explores some updates to the ship, mostly in the form of siege equipment mounted on the deck.

I jokingly refer to my hands falling off from the amount of strumming I am being forced to do on the lyres and I get told to suck it up. With fresh equipment and some offense present on the ship we make the unpopular decision to head to the Shadow Plains, a desolate flatland long ago abandoned to demons and their ilk.

There is also a pre-planned layover at a city called Flynt. Flynt is an assassins paradise and trove of villainy and killers. The second we get within distance of the city walls…as if out of a coma springs the Dread Parrot Roberts who flies from inside the ship’s hold and perches upon the ship’s mast. It practically sighs

DPR: Home Sweet Home

What you are reading maybe within minutes or hours of each update took us weeks and weeks in real time. Damn near feels like we forgot about the confounded bird. Our interest in Flynt is to get information on the mystery Githyanki that keeps popping up. We had a complicated plan involving Perform and the like, but for the most part are ship is all the conversation starter we needed. Every person in the town is coming out of the woodwork to see the Revenge and most are familiar with our exploits. Seems we went and got ourselves famous.

The only tidbit that gets us traction is the dagger through the head. That gets some knowing glances and uneasy responses. Wouldn’t you know there does happen to be a githyanki slaver with a reputation for performing that very manner of killing stroke. Sounds like a downright nasty bugger too. Name is Tiraxis Nis, and he has a reputation that spans decades. Rumour has it he has a safe located in the City of Brass and there is an enduring urban legend that the Efreet’s have orders to surrender the contents of that safe to anyone that brings them the head of Tiraxis. The thieves speculate it’s a means of keeping himself sharp….he literally put a bounty on his own head to draw in people trying to kill him.

We receive next to absolute confirmation that he is the one most directly responsible for kidnapping Silent One’s family. As to his whereabouts and agenda…we get nothing. From our perspective he is deeply caught up in the events surrounding these talismans but beyond that we are left in the lurch as to his true goals.

With no desire to spend any further time in a nest of killers and thieves we decide to move on and keep heading towards the Shadow Plains. The Paladin ( he has a ton more levels in cleric but we think of him as a paladin) has other plans. Paddock has ridden himself to the middle of the town and is standing upon his horse scolding the citizens at random about their wicked ways and imploring them to change and save their souls. He is receiving the polite kind of attention that only a soon to be angry mob with hidden daggers can provide. Most people are gathering in to watch a show and see some bloodshed, there just seems to be anticipation of who will make the first move.

Kemen pilots the Revenge OVER the town walls and floats the ship over rooftops right to the town square where Paddock is preaching. It’s a very cool visual. It also becomes a bit of a horrendous mistake. I work to diffuse the crowd and nudge Paddock back to the Revenge and the flipping parrot ruins everything. The Dread Parrot lands on a deck mounted scorpion and triggers the firing mechanism…sending an 8 foot long crossbow bolt right through a cackling onlooker. Everything except Paddock goes silent. He blathers on and on as every person assembled stares at the shish kabobbed gawker.

Coe-Nan: Oh ****…

*shnickt!* the sound is distinct in the silence and spread out everywhere. Blades of various length are bared and the one thing in common is this…sharp.

Paddock finally stops blustering and realizes he is now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered.

Paddock: Can someone drop me a rope?

Silent One drops a rope ladder over the side and Paddock dismounts to climb the ladder, he mentally commands his mount to head north and Kemen puts the Revenge on a similar heading. That was the best things got.

Grappling hooks coming over the side of the deck trigger alarms and arrows and crossbow bolts start pelting the hull. Flasks of flaming oil are heaved over the sides and we scurry for vantage points. Kemen kicks the ship into high gear and we are thrown from our feet when the whole ship jerks to a stop. The citizens of Flynt are tying off the grappling hooks to any solid structure they can and are literally anchoring us all over the place.

Kemen makes the main mast appear and turns it solid. He casts protection from arrows then begins levitating to the crow’s nest. Silent One is dashing and rolling trying to cut the grappling hooks while Coe-Nan tries to lift them free. Paddock keeps shouting and urging rational dialog and I am torn between aiding in diffusing the situation or dropping arrows from on high. As ruffians begin shimmying up the grapples I figure diplomacy is a dead end.

Paddock and Coe-Nan manage defending the deck while Silent One continues to try and cut the moorings, I get sucked into a counter-sniper role as various folks take to rooftops with bow and crossbow. Kemen quickly makes the townsfolk realize they can’t mass up after the first pair of fireballs. I suppose to our benefit the various archers take aim on the wizard…its what you are supposed to do right? But when the “wizard” is in a covered position and is wearing nearly his own body weight in plate armor and has protection from arrows it becomes counter intuitive.

There is 10-15 rounds of wild action and no real objective. The people of Flynt are getting slaughtered but they are also overwhelming us. We end up abandoning the deck (and the dwarf) and moving below level where we can’t be surrounded. Coe-Nan and Silent One take the front line while Paddock abandons attack for full blown healing and support. I send arrows streaking over their heads from behind them.

Kemen is just kind of stuck where he is at. No one is foolhardy enough to climb the mast and they realized that shooting at him was getting nowhere. He casts Unseen Servant and directs it to untie grappling hooks from their ropes.
After multiple rounds of us being pressed by mooks, the nastier elements of Flynt begin to show up.

Oh, I'm sure they deserved every copper of it.

It's still a sphincter-tighteningly large amount for level 10/11s.

It was huge for us. It also raised our paranoia about 300 percent. If he is being generous in a sudden manner it's because there is much worse coming.

2013-01-16, 01:07 PM
Soup’s On:

The flood of attackers finally lets up and we are left gasping for breath and up to our ears in dead bodies. Kemen levitates back down to us during the lull and gives us the updated situation.

Kemen: The good news…I cleared all the grappling hooks.
Me: then lets get out of here…
Kemen: The bad news is, we are still stuck. They sovereign glued a bunch of leads to the hull. Some are metal, some are silk, some are rope. They have the whole subterior of the ship covered with snipers. I can see lots of movement on the roofs near here, and they are building up for a big assault. They are probably waiting for nightfall, then they will rush us in a coordinated assault.
Coe-Nan: Well I suppose it can’t get much worse.
Kemen: Well it is. I spotted drow casters and at least five different times the ship alarms registered outsiders attempting to board. They fell back, but they are out there.
Paddock: This confirms the need for spiritual guidance…they need structure and discipline this whole incident is most unseemly.
*Coe-Nan in game slaps Paddock on the back of the head*
Me: Suggestions?
Kemen: We could go on the offensive and try to hit them before they are set. We could try to make a siege of it. Or we abandon the ship. None of which is a sure thing.
Coe-Nan: If we stay below deck their numbers count for far less.
Me: That is the most easily defended position.

We try to get Kemen enough time and rest to re-memorize spells and for Paddock to meditate. We put together some extra barricades heading below deck and get tucked in for a siege type scenario.

Paddock: And who the hell uses sovereign glue? That is like the most useless magic item ever.

That night we light up the ship as brightly as humanly possible and lookout for any signs of attack. The attack does come…in the form of flasks of oil and flaming arrows. As expected we quickly fall back below decks and get ready to defend. It takes a while for the flames to go out and when they do the ship’s alarms alert us to LOTS of boarders. Globes of darkness and Silence fill the entrance below decks. Kemen rolls a flaming sphere right into the darkness more on principle and gut than anything. We don’t see anything and we can’t hear anything, but we smell burning flesh.

Collectively we fall back down the central hallway and reposition. A few minutes of non spell induced silence later the darkness and magical silence dissipate. All that is left in their wake is the singed corpse of a frail decrepit kobold.

Kemen: Those conniving bastards…they shoved a kobold down the hole as bait.
Me (ooc): We have done the same thing in the past…
Kemen: Yeah but this time it is happening to us and that makes it not alright.

We agonize in silence a while longer, until Silent One makes a Listen check and flicks his spear out to impale…nothing. Well almost nothing. An invisible drow becomes visible almost in unison with the missed reactionary stab and lands a slashing rapier hit on Paddock. Silent One and Coe-Nan shift to engage him and a pretty furious duel ensues. Best we can tell the drow is fighting completely defensively. A second invisible drow slips behind us and backstabs me. With his attack the first drow whistles and an avalanche of frail and emaciated kobolds comes pouring through the opening. They psychotically attempt to bull rush, trip and grapple us with no regard to their well being. Silent One becomes a blur as he starts AOO kobolds like a video game character. Dancing in amidst the football pile up of grappling kobolds come additional drow, eagerly exploiting flanks and dealing out a big time hurting.

Coe-Nan: Hard to believe we spend two weeks winning a war of attrition against giants and dragons and now we are about to be slain by kobolds and a few rogue drow.

Everyone except Paddock and Silent One are grappled and approaching pinned, Silent One is leaving stacks of corpses, but they are all kobolds. Paddock kind of sighs then announces a flamestrike right on us all.
It damn near wipes all of us out…I dip to negatives, Silent One evades, Kemen hits 3hps and Coe-Nan drops to single digits. The kobolds aren’t even ash, just a bit of dust and the 2 of the 5 drow drop the other three seem too unscathed for our liking. The monk gives us his own safety to jump into their midst and provide a distraction. Paddock gets me back to positives and then dives in with the monk. I hang back and try to triage some healing on Coe-Nan. It turns into a nail biting tag team wrestling match. As someone gets dangerously low myself or Paddock tags them out and they fall back for healing. Kemen is kept busy putting up crowd control to prevent more attackers from joining in and the three drow that came through the flamestrike were apparently the strongest of the strike force. We kill two of the 3 and the last one gets the hell out of dodge.

Me: why are they not giving up? We have put dozens of people down.
Kemen: Would you let a ship like this go if there was a chance of getting it?
Me: No.
Kemen: They must share that sentiment.
Coe-Nan: Guys there is a Halfling with a white flag on the deck of the ship.
Paddock: a peace offering? We must accept this olive branch…
All: Shut up Paddock!
Paddock: What..if they wish to speak that has to be better than the current predictament.
Me: you want to meet under a white flag to speak with the same people that just sent dozens of people to their death, and used living creatures as a means of clearing out traps ahead of them. Flynt is the epicenter of untrustable and reprehensible beings for a thousand miles. It doesn’t occur to you this is a trap?
Paddock: The first step in avoiding a trap is knowing it is there.
Coe-Nan: yes…but you are wanting to STILL walk right into the trap.

We hold our “parley” from a safe distance with the Halfling who calls himself Snickle

Snickle: Me and the boys have been talking and we are willing to let you and the rest of your crew leave town. Just leave the ship to us and you can have safe passage out of Flynt.
Me: No thanks. We are quite comfortable inside. Feel free to send more people to die though.
Snickle: Look we don’t want to have to get cruel about this. There are much worse ways to die than a dagger slipping between the ribs. Continue to provide resistance and we will show them to you.
Me: We will take our chances.

The rest of the night is spent harrying us. Just little probes every 20-30 minutes designed to keep us awake and waste buff spells. We start a sleep rotation like a reverse watch so that no one gets exhausted or too spent. The probing tactics endure through to the next night. While waiting Kemen and Coe-Nan worked on jury rigging a harness that we can use to send the barbarian over the side and attempt to cut free the sovereign glued mooring that are preventing us from leaving.

At dusk he is thrown over the side like a living anchor and with his adamantine weapons he sets about slashing us free. He is using the the mooring to maneuver himself around and it looks like the ballsy-ness of the harness is going to pay off. The same Halfling, Snickle that we saw earlier grins at Coe-Nan and drops a feather in a horse’s water barrel.

DM: The moorings have all been cut free. The Revenge feels like it should be mobile again. Something is preventing forward motion. Your only inkling comes from whatever Snickle did with the feather.
Coe-Nan: Feather…wait. *fumbles through DM guide for magic items…*
Coe-Nan: Feather Token:Each of these items is a small feather that has a power to suit a special need. The kinds of tokens are described below. Each token is usable once.
A token useful to moor a craft in water so as to render it immobile for up to one day.
Kemen: You have to be ****ting me…a FEATHER TOKEN.
DM:Your exploits with the lyres of building got me to thinking about other “useless” magic items.
Me: Well looks like we are stuck at least one more day.

That night we get ready for stealthy invaders and this time we spread out deeper below decks so as not to be clustered. We layered the area leading into the below deck area with caltrops and natural grease. Just like the night before the ship’s alarms tell us that we have lots of people boarding and this time they…start pouring water into the ship???

Lots of water…

A never ending torrent of water…

Way more water than humanly possible.

Kemen: You looked up Decanter of Endless Water too didn’t you?
DM: I was very impressed with the lyres…wanted to return the favor.

So 30 gallons a round=5 gallons a second or 300 gallons a minute, 18,000 gallons an hour. Our ship is much bigger on the inside than the outside, but it is still finite. We figure we can last a few days before being completely drowned. Then a second stream of water starts in, and a third. Crap.
As we huddle up to figure out a strategy the Dread Parrot starts frolicking in the expanding water singing to himself.

Me: We should let them flood the ship.
Coe-Nan: Say what?
Me: Let them flood it. We have the only means of controlling the ship. We lock ourselves in the vault with food and water and let them flood the ship. By the time they come inside to investigate the feather token will be expired and they will have to drain the ship in order to search for our corpses. They may assume we bugged out somehow. They won’t be as concerned with us as they will with having the ship. A ship they can’t move or operate.
Kemen: Oh hell yeah!

As an aside...this update and the one or two that follow were LOADS of fun. Some very over the top thinking.

2013-01-16, 03:28 PM
The Parrot’s Revenge:

We barricade ourselves inside our vault and metaphorically bust out a deck of playing cards and settle in for a wait. From inside the vault we get a moderately opaque glimpse of what is happening outside. The whole ship is flooded and about 36 hours later we see a Halfling (presumably Snickle) walking through the water in a weighted suit. He has a diving bell helmet with a bottle of air.

They do something with hoses that causes the water to start draining out and we watch as droves of cutthroats swarm throughout the ship scouring for us. With everything shut off and the extra dimensional spaces shut, it looks like a cramped ship with no crew, no loot and no means of escape. We are treated to front row seats as we watch hostile and lethal arguments unfold. A group of Xill (five by our count) get into a lethal spat with some of the drow of the city. All told we lay low in our own vault for about three to four days.

When we finally emerge it is in the middle of night and there is not another soul visible. Inching our way towards the main deck we find a few sentries patrolling the deck.

Kemen: They must be trying to figure out what to do with the ghost ship.
Coe-Nan: Is the skelton crew always visible.
Kemen: Don’t know we stopped paying attention a while ago. They must still be there but I haven’t seen em in a long while.
Coe-Nan: If we can make them appear it would be awesome.

We creep our way to the deck of the ship and as we reach the stairs leading up the two guards both move to the edge drawn by commotion.
The voice of an angry cursed parrot booms all across the landscape.


There is indiscriminate screaming and crunching noises from all around us.
We catch a glimpse of the Dread Parrot, alight with an otherworldly yellow glow and a thousand times its normal size grabbing men and crunching them with it’s beak and claws. The whole town is being torn apart and we can’t help but watch in amusement. Coe-Nan walks up to a quaking guard and slaps him on the back.

The poor guy drops his bow and damn near pisses himself.

Coe-Nan: We have returned from a watery grave to exact a terrible vengeance upon you. Sound alright?

The two guards throw themselves off the ship and limp/run away in terror.
We all lean on the rail and just watch the giant parrot wreak havoc upon the town.

Me: I wonder what set him off.
“We fed him a cracker”
Everyone turns to find Snickle cowering inside a water barrel on the deck. He looks very shaken up and is trembling.
Snickle: The parrot was the only thing we found on the ship. Everyone started fighting each other for the ship and eventually someone gave the parrot a cracker. He didn’t take kindly to that.

Coe-Nan goes off to fetch his parrot while I console the Halfling. A few diplomacy checks later and he admits to simply being a lackey for the drow. They kept him for his creativity but at heart he is not that brutal.

The Dread Parrot has the remaining citizens of Flynt backed up to a wall and it screeching at them when Coe-Nan walks up with a bag of silver.

Coe-Nan: Stuff your oversized gullet with these coins ye daft bugger.
The vestige of the gargantuan parrot vanishes and in heartbeats the parrot is calmly nibbling at some silver marks on the barbarians shoulder. He pauses before walking off and turns.

Coe-Nan: Next time leave my bird alone!
Parrot: Rawk! Bring me back to my ship legs for wings!
Coe-Nan: Your ship?
Parrot: yeah, eminent domain you muscle bound oaf. I was the only one on it, so it’s mine.
Coe-Nan: We never left the ship.
Parrot: Well I never saw you.

DM: The few people not already cowering in abject terror are now doing so. The sight of you arguing with the Parrot has pushed them over the edge.

Dread Parrot in tow we steer the Revenge out of Flynt and make a fast heading for the Shadow Plains. It takes a few hours to find Paddock’s horse and he is quite relieved to have his stone horse back. Also aboard the Revenge is my new lackey…Snickle. He is what I would designate a social rogue and a real Macgyver with magic items.

All told we learned some useful things about our ship, picked up a new NPC via leadership and scared the piss out of a thieve’s den.

2013-01-16, 03:52 PM
Just how big is the vault on board the ship? I'm surprised your DM didn't start looking up the rules for asphyxiation or carbon dioxide poisoning.

2013-01-16, 03:58 PM
A bag of holding is i think 300 square feet and gives ten minutes of air. I think the vault on paper was 60x60x50. I doubt that was enough for a true 3-4 days of air, but we didnt think about it at the time. It might have been close though.

2013-01-16, 04:52 PM
A bag of holding is i think 300 square feet and gives ten minutes of air. I think the vault on paper was 60x60x50. I doubt that was enough for a true 3-4 days of air, but we didnt think about it at the time. It might have been close though.

The SRD does indeed say that a bag of holding has enough air to last a creature 10 minutes. It does not specify whether this is the Type I bag (30 cu. ft) or the Type IV bag (250 cu. ft), nor does it make any allowance for creature size.

So apparently a pixie in a large bag of holding will last exactly as long as a ogre you managed to stuff into the small one. Good job, WotC!

If I assume they mean the a standard medium sized creature in the smallest bag, then (providing I've done my math correctly) the vault has roughly 6000 times as much air, and you easily had another 3-4 days worth of air.

Math (in case anyone wants to check my units)
60x60x50=180,000 cu. ft.

180,000/30= 6,000 times as much space

6,000x10 minutes=60,000 minutes of air

60,000/60=1000 hours

100 hours =41.6667 days (but that's only for one creature)

41.6667/5=8.3333 days of air per creature

Coincidentally, the Typve IV bag is just slightly more than 8 times the size of the Type I bag.

Meaning that if there is only 10 minutes of air in a large bag of holding, then you did not have nearly enough air (could only have lasted a single day)
Its important to think about these kinds of things!

However, you where all using up the existing oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide for the duration, and if the concentration rose high enough, you might have become dizzy, sleepy, and eventually passed out long before expiring. The most difficult part of my calcuations thus far is determining if the githerzai's physiology significantly impacts his respiration rate. :smalltongue:

2013-01-16, 05:08 PM
The Shadow Plains:Intro

From the onset what we were told about the Shadow Plains is that lost to antiquity an event caused a rift to form between the Material Plane and the Abyss. This rift was centralized in a flatlands that came to be known as the Shadow Plains. Bordered by neigh impassable mountains, it became cut from the rest of the mainland and abandoned to denizens of the Abyss. It is whispered of but rarely visited.

Imagine our shock when the Revenge begins is ascent up the side of the mountain and crests the first set of peaks to find…

A sprawling city. We are talking miles upon miles without end. Everything is formed from black stone and obsidian and the whole place looks like an abysmal palace. At the center of the city lies a sinkhole simmering with light from what we guess to be lava. At the center of the volcano a single obsidian spire rises a thousand yards into the sky. The mountains have been hollowed out. All the stone from the mountain range was culled and used in forming this city to nowhere.

Me: This must have taken centuries…and i have never heard anything about it.

None of us have. From the distance it looks foreboding and alien. It also looks empty.

We sail the Revenge to the edge of the city and try to nudge it up and over…ship won’t budge.

Kemen: I am not going in there without the ship.
DM: You seem to have little choice.
Kemen: There is always another way.

The another way becomes a series of messages to anyone that has ever aided us. Captain Beorn, SlowHand and Parsin, our assistants back at our stronghold, Vardon the Crusader who was scouring the deserts. We send the word out to everyone. Then we tuck in and wait. Beyond scouting forays to the nearest sections and some spot checking of the perimeter we do nothing beyond recointerring the exterior structures. There is a great degree of articulation and design, all of it alien and frightening. We make daily Will saves just to avoid being shaken by the dismal pallor and aura of the place. Everything we examine tells us one thing…this is all architecture from pre Cinhill Rue. I.E. old

10 days into our surveying there is a thrum to the whole valley. Like a global single heartbeat. Then nothing. 15 days after arriving the first of those we beckoned for assistance arrive. SlowHand the dire badger druid, Parsin the elvish druid and an assortment of other druids come first. They are shocked beyond belief at what this city portends and chillingly (and not too surprising) they can’t “Feel” anything of the land in front of them. Whatever power makes the amulets so difficult to detect through druidic magic is preventing them from properly functioning in this place. I have scant druidic magic but I’m hoping it doesn’t affect me too greatly.

Day 20 sees another “heartbeat” and soon thereafter Grymm Strongarm, a wise dwarf from Kay-Varn arrives at the head of a platoon of dwarf warriors and clerics. By day 29 Vardon and his paladin crusaders have arrived and a third “heartbeat” is felt. The elves come last on day 31 and we have ourselves a grand little meeting. The majority of those folks who are working as craftsmen in our stronghold join us and take over temporary control of the Pride.

The gist of the meeting is this. From everything the races together have determined all three remaining amulets are in this place. Demon, Giant and Dragon amulets are all somewhere in the expanse of this city. Vardon informs us of his intent to lead a force of paladins through the compass north portion of the city, the elves are assembling an incursion force that will approach from the south. The druids in alliance with the dwarves will approach from the east, and we are urged to investigate from the west. The Revenge will become the rallying point and base camp for each group. SlowHand is left in proxie command of the Revenge and with great trepidation the controlling key is given to him.

Kemen: First things first…I am going to burn a stone shape scroll to see if it can alter the terrain.
DM: It does, but with more resistance than you would expect, any attempts to rework the structures or terrain are going to require Concentration checks. To intercept your next question the lyres will be under the same restrictions. For lack of a better term this place WANTS to be in the form it is in, and will fight to stay that way.

For the record…I personally pressed for all us to band together and move in straight for the spire as one collective force. I got outvoted by both NPC and party.

We pack up a wealth of food, water, arrows, rope and other sundries in our bags of holding and prep our initial foray into the stone city.

Bacon Elemental
2013-01-16, 05:20 PM
This is why you should invest in a Decanter of Endless Air.

2013-01-16, 07:12 PM
The Shadow Plains:Intro

From the onset what we were told about the Shadow Plains is that lost to antiquity an event caused a rift to form between the Material Plane and the Abyss. This rift was centralized in a flatlands that came to be known as the Shadow Plains. Bordered by neigh impassable mountains, it became cut from the rest of the mainland and abandoned to denizens of the Abyss. It is whispered of but rarely visited.

Imagine our shock when the Revenge begins is ascent up the side of the mountain and crests the first set of peaks to find…

A sprawling city. We are talking miles upon miles without end. Everything is formed from black stone and obsidian and the whole place looks like an abysmal palace. At the center of the city lies a sinkhole simmering with light from what we guess to be lava. At the center of the volcano a single obsidian spire rises a thousand yards into the sky. The mountains have been hollowed out. All the stone from the mountain range was culled and used in forming this city to nowhere.

Me: This must have taken centuries…and i have never heard anything about it.

None of us have. From the distance it looks foreboding and alien. It also looks empty.

We sail the Revenge to the edge of the city and try to nudge it up and over…ship won’t budge.

Kemen: I am not going in there without the ship.
DM: You seem to have little choice.
Kemen: There is always another way.

The another way becomes a series of messages to anyone that has ever aided us. Captain Beorn, SlowHand and Parsin, our assistants back at our stronghold, Vardon the Crusader who was scouring the deserts. We send the word out to everyone. Then we tuck in and wait. Beyond scouting forays to the nearest sections and some spot checking of the perimeter we do nothing beyond recointerring the exterior structures. There is a great degree of articulation and design, all of it alien and frightening. We make daily Will saves just to avoid being shaken by the dismal pallor and aura of the place. Everything we examine tells us one thing…this is all architecture from pre Cinhill Rue. I.E. old

10 days into our surveying there is a thrum to the whole valley. Like a global single heartbeat. Then nothing. 15 days after arriving the first of those we beckoned for assistance arrive. SlowHand the dire badger druid, Parsin the elvish druid and an assortment of other druids come first. They are shocked beyond belief at what this city portends and chillingly (and not too surprising) they can’t “Feel” anything of the land in front of them. Whatever power makes the amulets so difficult to detect through druidic magic is preventing them from properly functioning in this place. I have scant druidic magic but I’m hoping it doesn’t affect me too greatly.

Day 20 sees another “heartbeat” and soon thereafter Grymm Strongarm, a wise dwarf from Kay-Varn arrives at the head of a platoon of dwarf warriors and clerics. By day 29 Vardon and his paladin crusaders have arrived and a third “heartbeat” is felt. The elves come last on day 31 and we have ourselves a grand little meeting. The majority of those folks who are working as craftsmen in our stronghold join us and take over temporary control of the Pride.

The gist of the meeting is this. From everything the races together have determined all three remaining amulets are in this place. Demon, Giant and Dragon amulets are all somewhere in the expanse of this city. Vardon informs us of his intent to lead a force of paladins through the compass north portion of the city, the elves are assembling an incursion force that will approach from the south. The druids in alliance with the dwarves will approach from the east, and we are urged to investigate from the west. The Revenge will become the rallying point and base camp for each group. SlowHand is left in proxie command of the Revenge and with great trepidation the controlling key is given to him.

Kemen: First things first…I am going to burn a stone shape scroll to see if it can alter the terrain.
DM: It does, but with more resistance than you would expect, any attempts to rework the structures or terrain are going to require Concentration checks. To intercept your next question the lyres will be under the same restrictions. For lack of a better term this place WANTS to be in the form it is in, and will fight to stay that way.

For the record…I personally pressed for all us to band together and move in straight for the spire as one collective force. I got outvoted by both NPC and party.

We pack up a wealth of food, water, arrows, rope and other sundries in our bags of holding and prep our initial foray into the stone city.

Is this the bit where you throew shoggoths at them?

It sounds like the bit where you throw shoggoths (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/oozes/shoggoth) at them.

2013-01-17, 11:46 AM
First Impressions:

The Parrot flies to the Revenge and refuses to move, we take that as a blessing. We have tentatively explored the hundred feet or so at the edges of the city and not gone in any further. At this point the monk has 90 foot for a standard move and becomes our defacto scout, darting back and forth and looking for trouble. Creeping forward at slow crawl we inch our way deeper and deeper in. A quarter mile in their a sudden and marked change in atmosphere, and it is not for the better. A mental groaning and pressure starts weighing down on all of us. Its disconcerting and the origin is unidentifiable. Kemen decides to turn around and head back and confer with everyone else only to discover that we are somehow in a completely different segment of the city. He tries to levitate upward and finds himself unable to get more than 15 feet in the air. From that slightly elevated vantage point he tells us we are now somewhere deep in the northeast segment of the city.
We are conferring when a dretch walks around the corner…it is crying, openly weeping in agony to be more accurate. It looks at Paddock and then drops to it’s knees in front of him.

Dretch: Take my life…smite me. PLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEASE I BEG OF YOU. A hundred years reprieve for any blood relative that currently suffers in the abyss for your mercy. PLLLLLLLEEEEEASE.
Coe-Nan: What have we gotten ourselves into?

Paddock is left speechless but he takes a two handed grasp of his lance and impales the dretch…it twitches then keels over dead.

The next few hours of game time are unsettling. We keep finding demons that are already dead or babbling incoherently. The worst is the well we find. It runs deep but is empty of water…hanging in the well and bloated so grotesquely to nearly seal it is a Nalfeshnee…it hung itself from its own spiked chain.

To say we are on high alert is the understatement of the century. Silent One comes peeling back from a corner with panic in his eyes. Not too far ahead of us around a corner is the corpse of a balor…a swarm of devourers are eating the remains and draining whatever essence remains from the demon.

Me: I’m fine with slinking away and moving on.
DM: They spotted you.
Me: So much for that.

11 devourers are counted out and placed on a grid. A separate icon is placed for the chomped upon balor. Paddock attempts a turn undead…and fails miserably. Coe-Nan takes as Kemen and I attack the lead devourer. All eleven begin casting Confusion…and they manage to hit get through on Coe-Nan…who stands there babbling incoherently. A pair of devourers move to him and start to drain attack him. Paddock flamestrikes the biggest mass of them and Kemen follows up with a fireball.

Silent One snatches Coe-Nan and pulls him back as Kemen puts up a Wall of Stone between us. It’s not enough to completely block them off, but should buy us a little time. We fall back and try to slap the barbarian out of his stupor. Paddock uses Righteous Might and steps up in Coe-Nan’s role. Kemen drops a web amidst the wall as I plunk away at range with the bow. The stuck devourers send a volley of rays of enfeeblement at Paddock and he manages to make zero saves. 3 rays hit and our DM rolls 17 on 3d6…Paddock is reduced to zero strength. Crap.

He manages to command his mount to back up and gets some separation. I keep up the hail of arrows and Kemen keeps alternating fireballs with delaying spells. Silent One falls back and flings flurries of shuriken. Coe-Nan comes out of his stupor and shakes off the cobwebs hefting his axes back up and charging back in. The devourers start dropping and we have enough bulk damage to turn the tide in our favor.

DM: As Coe-Nan occupies the last 3 devourers you hear lumbering from additional devourers, from alleys all around you more are coming.

We make a haphazard retreat to the closest building and barricade the door with a concentration check passed Stone Shape. I use a lesser restoration on Paddock which enables him to move and cast an additional pair of the same on himself. That gets him out of negatives for str. The house we are stuck in is a squat and square, with only the one entrance two rooms and a stairwell leading to a basement. With multiple energy draining undead surrounding the building securing the building is our first critical step.

Coe-Nan: Search fast they are doing something out there.
Kemen gets close enough to the door to make a spellcraft check…
Kemen: They are using a planar ally spell.

The Silent One runs back up from downstairs and confirms we are secure, Paddock and I check each of the rooms and confirm we are alone.

Me: We need roof access…stone shape an opening?
Kemen: We need to preserve the spells. Hand me an axe Coe
Coe-Nan: Hell no!
Kemen: I lent you my pick and saved your ass from falling off a mountain give me a damn axe!

Kemen levitates to the ceiling and starts hacking a hole with the adamantine axe. Kemen and I get on the roof and lower a rope to bring up the rest. Except Paddock and his mount. We leave the horse inside and the Paladin up solo. What ensues is a duel between spells and arrows. There are just too many devourers though and they drive us back.

Me: Well unless they can dig through stone we can outwait them.
DM: Funny you should mention that…the ones casting lesser planar ally have completed. A handful of earth mephitis appear and immediately move to different sections of the walls.
Paddock: Why earth mephitis.

Like a lightbulb I get the little ding noise in my mind

Me: Because they can cast soften earth/stone 1 per day. They are going to breech and quickly. Pretty sure they are tall enough to reach the ceiling or gate in more mephitis to soften the roof.
Silent One passes a note to DM

“How far to next closest roof?”
DM: About 15 feet.
Kemen: We can manage that

We hastily tie off a rope around the dwarf and Silent One easily makes the jump across, he tows in the levitating dwarf who gets a hail of enfeeblements for his efforts. Coe-Nan and I follow the jump (with a little +2 bonus from bard song) and Paddock…well Paddock waits for the wall closest to the next house to be weakened then commands his mount to break through at a run…he leaps from the roof (more falls) and tries to hit his horse….he fails miserably at mounting but due to his weird bond he manages to land a hand….so the stone horse goes running with the paladin bouncing behind him like a full plate gnomish version of tin cans dragging behind a car at a wedding. Sparks go flying and he takes a heavy battering but he manages to steer himself into the next structure.

Kemen: Now I am going to burn a stone shape…to undermine the strongest remaining wall. With the whole structure hacked up and softened…it should fall down.

On the map are about 16 devourers (3 heavily wounded) and 8 are in the house when it collapses on them. So we are left facing 8 healthy devourers. We resume our skirmish as a few fall back to summon fresh mephitis and tuck in for some roof to roof combat and flight. The situation is grim as we are all eating periodic strength damage and most of our offensive spells are getting consumed. Bull’s Strength becomes necessary just to keep us mobile. Slowly we pull ahead in the attrition and manage to reduce the summoners from some well rolled critical. The last devourer falls and we have a substantial cheer at the table. From a few hundred feet away we hear the fwoosh of a flamestrike spell and see the pillar of flame and divine energy. Shortly thereafter we see arrows rising and falling from the rooftops and pick up the sounds of elvish. We gamble and start shouting back in elvish and we can see a redirection of the distant combat. The elvish force…now reduced to half it’s original number and carrying their badly wounded are waging a fighting retreat against a mass of shadows.

Paddock groans: Incorperal and strength damage…the walls won’t help us.

The elves are failing fast and their few casters look as spent as our own. We add every last scrap of what we have to the battle. Magic Missiles, attempts at turning (which is proving remarkably hard) and every other scrap of offense we can muster. Once everyone gets inside the building an elf caster puts up a magic circle against evil and the shadows recoil. From the doorway we see more and more massing from various alleys and emerging from various buildings.

Kemen: Where is Parsin?
Elf Caster: He got separated from us trying to draw off a pack of devourers. Something triggered and moved us to a deeper part of the city, we don’t know what.
Me: Same here.

The Silent One prods Coe-Nan who has the biggest ring of protection (+3) and then points to himself and flexes…he even makes a growl face. He then starts making cat scratch motions and then gestures to himself. We figure out that he wants the ring and a dex buff. What follows….was freaking awesome. The monk with his Wis bonus to AC, insane dex and a ring of protection has a TOUCH AC of 26. Even with greater shadows they need a 20 to hit him.

Paddock throws a personal protection from evil on him and I boost him with inspire courage and the monk goes dancing alone amongst a whole mess of shadows. It was hard to do anything other than stand back and slow clap. He started ripping into them with reckless abandon even with his 50% miss chance he started inflicting heavy damage all over the place. The casters started dipping into reserve scrolls and helped him finish off wounded targets. And lo it was that the monk crappy class that it is shined and saved our keesters.

2013-01-17, 06:33 PM
First Impressions:

The Parrot flies to the Revenge and refuses to move, we take that as a blessing. We have tentatively explored the hundred feet or so at the edges of the city and not gone in any further. At this point the monk has 90 foot for a standard move and becomes our defacto scout, darting back and forth and looking for trouble. Creeping forward at slow crawl we inch our way deeper and deeper in. A quarter mile in their a sudden and marked change in atmosphere, and it is not for the better. A mental groaning and pressure starts weighing down on all of us. Its disconcerting and the origin is unidentifiable. Kemen decides to turn around and head back and confer with everyone else only to discover that we are somehow in a completely different segment of the city. He tries to levitate upward and finds himself unable to get more than 15 feet in the air. From that slightly elevated vantage point he tells us we are now somewhere deep in the northeast segment of the city.
We are conferring when a dretch walks around the corner…it is crying, openly weeping in agony to be more accurate. It looks at Paddock and then drops to it’s knees in front of him.

Dretch: Take my life…smite me. PLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEASE I BEG OF YOU. A hundred years reprieve for any blood relative that currently suffers in the abyss for your mercy. PLLLLLLLEEEEEASE.
Coe-Nan: What have we gotten ourselves into?

Paddock is left speechless but he takes a two handed grasp of his lance and impales the dretch…it twitches then keels over dead.

The next few hours of game time are unsettling. We keep finding demons that are already dead or babbling incoherently. The worst is the well we find. It runs deep but is empty of water…hanging in the well and bloated so grotesquely to nearly seal it is a Nalfeshnee…it hung itself from its own spiked chain.

To say we are on high alert is the understatement of the century. Silent One comes peeling back from a corner with panic in his eyes. Not too far ahead of us around a corner is the corpse of a balor…a swarm of devourers are eating the remains and draining whatever essence remains from the demon.

Me: I’m fine with slinking away and moving on.
DM: They spotted you.
Me: So much for that.

11 devourers are counted out and placed on a grid. A separate icon is placed for the chomped upon balor. Paddock attempts a turn undead…and fails miserably. Coe-Nan takes as Kemen and I attack the lead devourer. All eleven begin casting Confusion…and they manage to hit get through on Coe-Nan…who stands there babbling incoherently. A pair of devourers move to him and start to drain attack him. Paddock flamestrikes the biggest mass of them and Kemen follows up with a fireball.

Silent One snatches Coe-Nan and pulls him back as Kemen puts up a Wall of Stone between us. It’s not enough to completely block them off, but should buy us a little time. We fall back and try to slap the barbarian out of his stupor. Paddock uses Righteous Might and steps up in Coe-Nan’s role. Kemen drops a web amidst the wall as I plunk away at range with the bow. The stuck devourers send a volley of rays of enfeeblement at Paddock and he manages to make zero saves. 3 rays hit and our DM rolls 17 on 3d6…Paddock is reduced to zero strength. Crap.

He manages to command his mount to back up and gets some separation. I keep up the hail of arrows and Kemen keeps alternating fireballs with delaying spells. Silent One falls back and flings flurries of shuriken. Coe-Nan comes out of his stupor and shakes off the cobwebs hefting his axes back up and charging back in. The devourers start dropping and we have enough bulk damage to turn the tide in our favor.

DM: As Coe-Nan occupies the last 3 devourers you hear lumbering from additional devourers, from alleys all around you more are coming.

We make a haphazard retreat to the closest building and barricade the door with a concentration check passed Stone Shape. I use a lesser restoration on Paddock which enables him to move and cast an additional pair of the same on himself. That gets him out of negatives for str. The house we are stuck in is a squat and square, with only the one entrance two rooms and a stairwell leading to a basement. With multiple energy draining undead surrounding the building securing the building is our first critical step.

Coe-Nan: Search fast they are doing something out there.
Kemen gets close enough to the door to make a spellcraft check…
Kemen: They are using a planar ally spell.

The Silent One runs back up from downstairs and confirms we are secure, Paddock and I check each of the rooms and confirm we are alone.

Me: We need roof access…stone shape an opening?
Kemen: We need to preserve the spells. Hand me an axe Coe
Coe-Nan: Hell no!
Kemen: I lent you my pick and saved your ass from falling off a mountain give me a damn axe!

Kemen levitates to the ceiling and starts hacking a hole with the adamantine axe. Kemen and I get on the roof and lower a rope to bring up the rest. Except Paddock and his mount. We leave the horse inside and the Paladin up solo. What ensues is a duel between spells and arrows. There are just too many devourers though and they drive us back.

Me: Well unless they can dig through stone we can outwait them.
DM: Funny you should mention that…the ones casting lesser planar ally have completed. A handful of earth mephitis appear and immediately move to different sections of the walls.
Paddock: Why earth mephitis.

Like a lightbulb I get the little ding noise in my mind

Me: Because they can cast soften earth/stone 1 per day. They are going to breech and quickly. Pretty sure they are tall enough to reach the ceiling or gate in more mephitis to soften the roof.
Silent One passes a note to DM

“How far to next closest roof?”
DM: About 15 feet.
Kemen: We can manage that

We hastily tie off a rope around the dwarf and Silent One easily makes the jump across, he tows in the levitating dwarf who gets a hail of enfeeblements for his efforts. Coe-Nan and I follow the jump (with a little +2 bonus from bard song) and Paddock…well Paddock waits for the wall closest to the next house to be weakened then commands his mount to break through at a run…he leaps from the roof (more falls) and tries to hit his horse….he fails miserably at mounting but due to his weird bond he manages to land a hand….so the stone horse goes running with the paladin bouncing behind him like a full plate gnomish version of tin cans dragging behind a car at a wedding. Sparks go flying and he takes a heavy battering but he manages to steer himself into the next structure.

Kemen: Now I am going to burn a stone shape…to undermine the strongest remaining wall. With the whole structure hacked up and softened…it should fall down.

On the map are about 16 devourers (3 heavily wounded) and 8 are in the house when it collapses on them. So we are left facing 8 healthy devourers. We resume our skirmish as a few fall back to summon fresh mephitis and tuck in for some roof to roof combat and flight. The situation is grim as we are all eating periodic strength damage and most of our offensive spells are getting consumed. Bull’s Strength becomes necessary just to keep us mobile. Slowly we pull ahead in the attrition and manage to reduce the summoners from some well rolled critical. The last devourer falls and we have a substantial cheer at the table. From a few hundred feet away we hear the fwoosh of a flamestrike spell and see the pillar of flame and divine energy. Shortly thereafter we see arrows rising and falling from the rooftops and pick up the sounds of elvish. We gamble and start shouting back in elvish and we can see a redirection of the distant combat. The elvish force…now reduced to half it’s original number and carrying their badly wounded are waging a fighting retreat against a mass of shadows.

Paddock groans: Incorperal and strength damage…the walls won’t help us.

The elves are failing fast and their few casters look as spent as our own. We add every last scrap of what we have to the battle. Magic Missiles, attempts at turning (which is proving remarkably hard) and every other scrap of offense we can muster. Once everyone gets inside the building an elf caster puts up a magic circle against evil and the shadows recoil. From the doorway we see more and more massing from various alleys and emerging from various buildings.

Kemen: Where is Parsin?
Elf Caster: He got separated from us trying to draw off a pack of devourers. Something triggered and moved us to a deeper part of the city, we don’t know what.
Me: Same here.

The Silent One prods Coe-Nan who has the biggest ring of protection (+3) and then points to himself and flexes…he even makes a growl face. He then starts making cat scratch motions and then gestures to himself. We figure out that he wants the ring and a dex buff. What follows….was freaking awesome. The monk with his Wis bonus to AC, insane dex and a ring of protection has a TOUCH AC of 26. Even with greater shadows they need a 20 to hit him.

Paddock throws a personal protection from evil on him and I boost him with inspire courage and the monk goes dancing alone amongst a whole mess of shadows. It was hard to do anything other than stand back and slow clap. He started ripping into them with reckless abandon even with his 50% miss chance he started inflicting heavy damage all over the place. The casters started dipping into reserve scrolls and helped him finish off wounded targets. And lo it was that the monk crappy class that it is shined and saved our keesters.

Silent one would love pathfinder then... with the right build/A.C.F a monk can be very good.
Also, Creepy introduction to the devourer swarm.

Amidus Drexel
2013-01-18, 03:40 PM
I've just finished reading through this; I'm impressed. This is a pretty cool campaign.

2013-01-19, 02:53 PM
The Opposite of a Campfire Circle:

With the Silent One having snatched our behinds out of the frying pan we pile everyone into the house and barricade it up. Rotations are set up and we make it through the night unattacked. Everyone is kept constantly on edge as the sentries raise frantic and quiet alarms at least three times. There is considerable movement and noise echoing in the night. The elvish casters and our own load up on warding spells and restoration spells. The elves elect to make a break for the city limits and try to make it back to base camp. The encourage us to press on and see if we can locate the other groups.

Pragmatism says…bug out regroup and come back in mass. But screw that we are PC’s damn it. The five of us press on and make a straight heading for the spire at the cities center. Silent One becomes our biggest resource he scouts at lightning pace and helps us clear the path as he sporadically encounters shadows lurking in houses. When he comes back ashen faced and trembling nearly tripping over his feet we reach the panicked edge of true paranoia.

Me: Are we about to be attacked…
*head shake no*

He leads us to a small town square and at the heart of the square is a circle of stone lattices, like you might see flowers and vines growing up on. There are ten lattices in a a circle and each is free standing. Crucified upon lattice is a Marilith…impaled through the stone with their own weapons. They are all facing each other in the center and their long serpentine tails have been tied together. Each of them has a single unbound arm that has been pointed down and to the middle. Where they target is a grate and as we inch closer a feint humming is audible. We can’t discern If it the humming of some machine or inanimate process, or the humming of a sentient entity.

Coe-Nan: Opening that grate is the absolute definition of bat **** insanity.
Me: Yeah, but something tells me we are going to do it anyway.

At this point no one has entered the ring of crucified demons, we spend several unnecessary rounds trying to convince ourselves the demons are actually dead, not illusions, not traps, but straight up corpses that are not going to jump down and yell “boo!” before flaying us alive. The Silent One is chosen to wade in amongst the tails and examine the grate closer.

As he puts his face over the grate the humming ceases and a voice that sounds like a file on rocks responds in a cheerful tone

“Ahhh you have finally arrived…I was wondering how long this would take”
Kemen: And how is it that you know who we are?
Voice: Well you have been following me from my tomb for the last year and a half and you have crossed oceans trying to keep up with me.
Paddock: you are the guardian lich?
Voice: I prefer the term custodial undead immortal but for simplicity sake….yes.
Me:oh….and you are under that grate surrounded by mariliths because???
Voice: That will take some explaining. You should come down and join me.

The grate leads to a sewer system…empty and once again all stone. Inside is a small study…more like a mobile hunting camp and the strangest NPC I can ever recall. Hold onto your hats folks…its backstory time.

Before us is a tall and slender man with a stag's antlers, he looks like skin stretched over bone but maintains a regality. his skin is charred black and he is covered in diabolic and demonic runes and markings. Kind of a half fiendish, half demon anthromorph tiefling stag. We never are told what his race is.

The “Voice” belongs to a lich named Karnack. Karnack was once a revered and highly regarded druid in an ancient kingdom during the peak of Cinhill Rue’s prosperity. He was a premiere researcher and scholar and when word came from a desert kingdom seeking wisdom he was eager to oblige. The kingdom was known as Malabith, and was very much like Egypt of old. Wealthy and progressive it was a strong and civilized kingdom. Their god-king had uncovered manuscripts and tomes from a time beyond record and sought those who could aid in their interpretation.

Joining Karnack was the Malabithian high priest a cleric called Droka (he appeared to us in a vision way back when), a Cloud giant Sorcerer named Rumin, a Air Gensai bard called Wind, and a half dragon elf named Nuat. They were all introduced to the Malabithian high counselor, a formidable wizard well respected and admired called Ven Aus. United they were amongst the most influential and dominant members of their respective professions. At Ven Aus’s urging they worked to unlock the knowledge of these tomes.

Over time they began to make breakthroughs as to how the Planes themselves connected and how the various races and species interacted. Their research grew bolder and more dangerous. Karnack talked about journeying to the Planes of the demons and devils where he lived incognito studying them and their ecologies, hierarchies, their weaknesses and their agendas. In unison they constructed five talismans to help them fully explore the depths of five races mental make ups. Their goal was to achieve a means of unity amongst the various entities and end war and strife in the process.

Much to his eternal shame they were deceived. Ven Aus had worked in secret to subvert the talismans purposes, he intended to use them for domination and control. So on the surface very Sauron/One Ring scheming. What Ven Aus found lacking was time. His mortal form was failing and he needed a means to extend his life. Before enduring the change himself he forced the other five into a state of lichhood. He hoped the process would bring them under his eternal control. Turns out resisting the transition to lichdom allowed them to retain a shred of their humanity. Not to be denied, he placed them under powerful geas and curses that forced them into a degree of servitude.

Kemen: Why not simply destroy you once the deception was revealed?

Karnack: Because we were the only ones with the knowledge he required to fulfill his plans. With us resisting, his master strokes were unfinished. He kept us accessible for future research purposes. I alone resisted the compulsions and the geas and managed to flee. In an event this world has lost knowledge of , the might of many kingdoms was brought to bear against Ven Aus and he was shattered and defeated. Only the relics of his regime remained. My four brethren were scattered to prisons and contact with them vanished. I alone brought the artifacts to Cinhill Rue where we strove to destroy them.

We failed. They were made with methods we could not reverse. He made the transformation to lichdom before his demise and his phylactery while widely suspected to be the casket you discovered, was never fully identified. We have Wind to thank for millennia without his return. A resourceful fellow he engineered a fail safe contingency. All five talismans must be brought together in order to trigger the activation of the casket.

Paddock: These talismans are all scattered and held by various agents…how?

Karnack: With certainty I know that at least 2 of the original five creators are vanquished. Droka was the strongest of us and he has circumvented barriers beyond mortal understanding to reach out to myself and your party. He for certain still bides. I suspect that Wind has also endured the ravage of time. Ven Aus was not without his followers and they still worked to restore their liege. Should you encounter them understand this…while they seek to do you harm, at their core they are desirous of assisting you. Their geas will compel them to harm you.

Cinhill Rue was breached and the talismans in part of all together were scattered. The casket itself was sunk to lay buried with the city itself. It seems time has finally caught up with our misdeeds and the butcher’s bill must now be paid.

Kemen: I don’t understand what this place is. Why are you here? And why the display with the demons?

Karnack: I spent decades studying demons, devils and their spawn. There are rituals and magics that are beyond the countering of mortals. The circle of protection you found above me is one of them.

Kemen: That is a protective circle????

Karnack: Powerful. So very powerful that its mere presence will drive any demon within ten miles to the brink of insanity and in manys cases right over it. As for what this place is…it is the lair of the one that took the elemental talisman. I don’t know who it is, only that he must have manipulated this landscape at the behest of another. We are standing amidst a replica of the great and ancient city of Malabith itself. Only the spire differs from the original city itself. I had hoped to investigate myself but it seems my presence has drawn the other talismans agents. I have formidable abilities and resources but not enough to counter the strength of all three. The circle above renders me to invisible to any form of detection or location, but the moment I leave they will find me. Hence I manipulated the geography of this place to draw you and your comrades deeper into the city.

Coe-Nan: you also transported our other groups to the wrong areas.
Karnack: My apologies, there is a distinct separation between formidable and omnipotent. I lack the latter designation.
Me: So if we re-unite the talismans and open the casket, then we will resurrect this wizard?
Karnack: Yes! Or you will destroy him completely. I actually don’t know.
Paddock ooc: Sure Frodo…just drop the one ring into the volcano. It might defeat Sauron…or it will allow him to come back in all his glory.
Kemen: yeah this doesn’t give us a whole lot to work with. I suppose we can try and reclaim each of the five amulets, but realistically it sounds like we just have to keep 1. As long as we keep a minimum of out of the casket we are in the clear.
Karnack: Unless they manage to recreate the lost keys. Wind or Droka has the capability to potentially make a serviceable duplicate, it may lack the potency of the original but as a replacement key they could be functional. Amongst their compulsions is a requirement to replace a talisman should one be destroyed.
Me: yeah, duplication seems probable. The jack ass catperson Raja managed that much.
Coe-Nan: So if we eliminate the two remaining liches before they can make spares…then the plan to hold a key back would work.
Me: Yes, but in doing so we would also be destroying the two people that have the knowledge to help us as well.
Kemen: We need some kind of plan.
Paddock: Karnack…what was your plan?
Karnack: I meant to locate the casket and ensure it was still sealed in Cinhill Rue. Then if possible search for my remaining colleagues and try to break their geas.
Coe-Nan: Do you know who holds the talismans presently?
Karnack: The bearer of the elemental and demon talismans are unknown to me. A Cloud Giantess who I discovered to be the descendant of Rumin holds the dragon amulet. A giantess called…
Karnack: Yes…you know her?
Me: Yeah….I did.
Karnack: Ahhh…you must be the father. Your son is truly a splendid specimen. I have never seen his like.
Me: my what?
Karnack: Your son…he is quite the imposing spectacle.
Me: She already had the baby?
Karnack: Naturally. Surely if you are capable of planting the seed you must realize that seeds GROW.
Kemen: I would offer you a cigar but the smoke might draw in the baby’s mama who is out to kill us and our host.
Me: No one said fatherhood would be easy…

2013-01-19, 05:11 PM
A few more Answers:

Coe-Nan: It occurs to me that you must be responsible for hiding the talismans and masking their presence to other druids.
Karnack: An unintended camouflage. A feature I never meant to be incorporated.
Me: Wait…about my son…when did she give birth?
Karnack: I assumed some time ago…He is quite the prominent adult.
Me: huh?
Karnack: He is fully grown and quite large.
Me: That is impossible.

When I say impossible…my “backstory” was supposed to take place leading right up into the campaign. Meaning at the very most 18 months has passed since I left New Jotun. Maybe two years tops. Even if the Cloud giant gestational period was a flipping week that would make him 2 years old tops.

Karnack: I fear the talismans may have aspects that transcend what we designed. When I said he was an imposing specimen I was referring to the scale of his wings…and the voracity of his breath weapon.
All:….*blank stares*
Me: So let me make sure I’m clear on this….my son is a half giant dragon?
Karnack: I suppose mixed bloodlines would be more accurate, I can’t speak to the proportions. He is a lovely shade of gold and red. Oh…and he has your eyes.
Kemen: Where did you meet him?
Karnack: He was assisting a nymph in harrying Emberbane on the Hullbreaker Islands.

Spoiler Alert: The following spoils something that develops later on. If plot holes make your skin itch, read it. If you prefer surprise then don’t.

We oversaw it at the time, but Kreestan the nymph had the talisman for the duration of that segment, not the cloud giantess. We much later find out there is a duplicate amulet for the dragon talisman and that Kreestan was an underling.

It’s hard not to feel a twinge of pride and dread with regards to my scion. On one hand is he almost certainly an antagonist and someone that will place us in peril. On the other hand my character has a son…a half giant that can fly and breath fire. What father would not be proud of such Over Powered Ness.
In lieu of returning to the surface we make our way to the spire via the sewer system. It is our goal to try and isolate a talisman and secure it then regroup with Karnack.

Progress through the tunnel system is much quicker and less stressful. Clueing us in to the fact that we are going in the correct direction, we begin to feel heat in the air from the fire surrounding the spire. We also find a nasty little surprise in the form of a submerged necropolis. The tunnels give way to an underground squat necropolis with ghouls and ghasts a plenty. Elementals with demonic traits are busily working to excavate material and shift it to carts heading for the surface. From the roof of the necropolis we see what we think to be the base of the Spire. A twisting stairwell winds up the cavern into the world above.

Ascending the staircase are a familiar hill giant bounty hunter and a very old cloud giant. It would seem that some giants are working of their own free will. We are locked and loaded for undead and large scale fights, giants and elementals may require different tactics.

Me: So do we camp out and reprep for tomorrow?
Kemen: Seems logical.

As we watch and take notes from afar our decision to hold off is tested. From the stairwell Vardon and his crusaders are being led to the more open areas, they are bound and stripped of their equipment, all of them are heavily wounded and the worse for wear. Driving the bound paladins is the hill giant bounty hunter and trailing him is the Cloud giant, who is walking behind a Earth Gensai covered head to toe in diamonds. For all intents it looks like he is made from diamond, save for the amulet around his neck. The elementals all move at his merest gesture…and they stoneshape away the lid on a bubbling liquid.

One of the crusaders is shoved into the liquid and we hear howls of pain as he disappears below the surface. Moments later the liquid turns clear and a new entity rises from the liquid. It is still the paladin, but larger, more sinister and most definitely no longer human. It kneels before the gensai and then stalks away to a separate chamber. Slowly the liquid returns to its previous texture and color. From our estimate it will take hours to return to the initial state but it is returning. The Gensai pats the giant on the knee and we hear a loud clear voice congratulate him

Gensai: you have done well Elder, these ones are strong…their vitality is robust. Normally the pits are refueled in minutes. I look forward to subjugating the rest. They will prove useful tools. Take the rest to the holding pens. Return them singularly as the pits are refreshed.

The hill giant nods in understanding and drives the remaining forces to the same corridor their altered comrade ventured.

Me: So…who is up for rescuing some holy men?
Paddock: I would dream of doing nothing else.

Bacon Elemental
2013-01-19, 05:43 PM
Wow, rescuing the Holy Paladin Cavalry. It's like the opposite of a normal game with the HPC!

2013-01-19, 05:56 PM

It takes some re-arranging of architecture but we make ourselves a pathway over the corridor where the paladins are being held and then climb/levitate our way down to the cavern floor behind most of the elementals. Stage 1 goes swimmingly as we make it down the corridor undetected. Stage 2 is to liberate some freaking back up. A naked paladin that can assist is better than nothing. We have a fairly good supply of equipment in the bags and figure we can outfit them with some benefit.

What worries us is the lack of resistance. We make it deep down the hallway with no confrontation. We also can’t find a single door or chamber. The corridor runs a few hundred feet and we follow it to a dead end with not a single detour or option to turn.

Me: What the hell

We expend a ton of search, listen, spot and detect checks and come up with squat. The dwarf as usual figures it out first.

Kemen: When we fought in the desert they had elementals and gensai walking in and out of walls to ambush us.
Coe-Nan: yes that was not fun. A painful memory that involved us getting trounced. Don’t see it applying here.
Kemen: If you can walk through walls and stone, and you can use stone shape and similar spells virtually at will, why make doors? We abuse terrain altering spells all the time. This is just a practical application of natural abilities. If I try to detect minerals and gems through my pick would it also register the LACK of minerals?

DM: you mean detect voids or empty pockets…indirectly yes.

So we started backtracking and using the dwarf’s magic pick like a high fantasy stud finder. The first void we located was forty of so feet from the end, and it takes 3 attempts to stoneshape away the doorless-door. Behind is an armory that oozes an evil aura. Standing at attention are half a dozen creatures transformed like our paladin ally. They are wearing obsidian armor and wield obsidian polearms with wicked barbs and hooks. As the wall melts away they turn as one entity and level their polearms at us. They fight in formation, constantly falling back in five foot steps to force movement to re-engage them….Offensive spells are being resisted and in some cases reflected back at us.

The wounds they inflict are much more painful than they should be and force us to make Fort checks. Failing a fort check leaves you stunned in pain and agony. The wounds bleed causing passive damage after contact. Engaging them is like squeezing a cactus with one’s bare hands. We manage to defeat them, but it leaves us leery of finding more. They are bad news. More troubling than the brutal wounds is the absence of similar weapons. Weapon racks are everywhere in the armory and they are all empty. Whatever force was equipped from the armory is already locked and loaded and out about it’s business.

We continue tapping on walls looking for our paladins and end up breaking into a storeroom instead. Troves of gemstones still in raw form are stacked in piles on the ground. 2 more obsidian guards await us and these ones smash a crystal lantern before engaging us. The lantern functions as an alarm, and within a few rounds elementals start leaking from the walls and joining in.

Coe-Nan: We need to get out of here and find Vardon…we need backup if more come.

Trying to retreat against a force that can ignore the walls you need to respect is tough, especially when your attackers like to try and pull you into the walls and leave you there stuck. Coe-Nan shines here with his adamantine weapons and big strength bonuses. He hacks up other DR aided elementals like butter and he lands huge roll after huge roll.

Kemen is moving at a hustle (all 10 feet per round of it) and he locates a third pocket in mid combat. He pops the seal and we can see the imprisoned paladins…watched over by ten obsidian guards. Yuck.

Their confines are described as a metal cage with large complicated lock.

Paddock: Coe-Nan we need you to hack open the lock.
Coe-Nan: little busy here…up to my elbows in rocks.
Me: Flip me an axe and fight with one axe…I need the adamantine to hack open the lock.
Coe-Nan: One axe? Have you seen my feats? I suck with one axe.
Me: ten paladins is better than an extra attack.

We get reamed trying to make the swap in mid fight but I get an axe and start chopping at the lock. I manage to clear the lock from the cage right as an elemental drags me into a wall and leaves me there.

Kemen throws a bag of holding and tells them to spill it out. It is a sack full of unfinished magic items projects, mostly masterwork swords and Morningstar awaiting enchantments. As they snatch up weapons a stream of Paladins joins in and starts aiding us with spell and sword. We are all hard pressed and pushed deeper and deeper towards the holding cell.

Coe-Nan makes an acrobatic roll towards me and at the table I say

Me: You are cutting me out of the wall? Sweet

Coe-Nan: uh sorry mate…you dropped my second axe, just getting it back.

Armorless the paladins are getting stomped and they are forced to fall back behind us and lay steady streams of healing on Paddock, Coe and Silent One. A paladin is using Paddock’s lance to chip away the stone around me. The flow of the battle is a dead heat. We aren’t overwhelmed but we are not taking the offensive. Then Kemen is bull rushed into a wall and our spell support is immobilized. Eek.

Silent one takes his rune of web and activates a web amidst the biggest bulk of attackers. Their strength is high enough to make it little more than a nuisance, but it buys us 1-2 rounds.

Chip .Chip goes the lance around me…then Hack, hack hack hack comes Coe-Nan around me, a flurry of axes gets me cut free.

As Silent One’s web is shredded….Paddock uses his. That buys us another 1-2 rounds and we get Kemen free.

This process is repeated two more times and we manage to form up and get a bit more cohesive. I get my bow cranking and Kemen keeps buff spells rolling. Vardon managed to find a shield and he is wading back into the fray like a man possessed. He is taking heavy damage and each turn another paladin puts a full lay of hands into him but him fighting on the front lines is the extra push we need and the tide turns to our favor.

The fight turns into a rout, and we clean house of the remaining enemies. A cursory examaniation tells us nothing useful about the obsidian guards. Best we can tell from the mix of their abilities. Whoever is dipped in the goo becomes a proto golem/undead. They gain undead and golem traits but what they are exactly is unknown.

Vardon: You aid couldn’t be more timely, but may prove to be a futile victory. This was the barest taste of their forces above. Legions of undead, elemental, giant, and dragon await above.

Me: Can we reach wherever they took your arms?
Vardon: I don’t know where those were transported, likely not.
Kemen: then we fall back, no point in fighting a battle we can’t win.

2013-01-21, 03:24 AM
Yeek. Your D.M doesn't do difficulty by halves does he?

2013-01-21, 01:49 PM
Difficulty is a tricky thing when it comes to his style. Escalation is the term I most commonly come back to when describing his DM style. If you start abusing feats or character builds, over use spells or come up with janky broken stuff (Pun Pun...Locate city Bomb...Scry and Die) then you better be prepared for the same cheese to come right back on you.

He made us familiar with the concept of Tucker's Kobolds long before the internet did it for us. He tore apart a level 9 party with nothing more than Monster's Manual unadjusted kobolds. He played them by the book by utterly ruthless and shredded us.

Once we started abusing the lyres of building and Stone Shape to ugly extents we opened the door for things to get escalated. If you ever wonder why we play under optimized or non ideal builds for things like wizards...it's because we don't want optimized wizards thrown at us. In fairness he rarely puts us in a situation without some type of "outs". You may get punished for going in over your head but if you end up TPK, there was a reason for it.

Out of curiousity sake...if anyone can reply with a good explanation of the open gaming license either straight to this thread or as a PM please do so, I got something brewing with a friend related to it.

Finally, I am curious as to how many people are actively reading this campaign log or one of my other ones. I try to gauge it from the number of views, but if time permits and you enjoy reading, send me a PM with something along the lines of "reading...etc"

2013-01-21, 04:01 PM
Paladin Crusader…Meet Lich

Collectively the five of us take our paladin squad in tow and beat feet back to the “custodial undead immortal” Karnack. Having a platoon of holy warriors introduced to a druidic lich adorned in demonic runes is awkward in the purest sense of the word. His protective circle does let us catch our breath and redistribute equipment for maximum efficiency. We get the strongest of the paladins partially equipped and fit for action.

Me: Karnack are you able to communicate with anyone else inside the city or just on the edge?
Karnack: I can reach anyone in the middle sections of the city.
Me: There is a contingent of dwarves and druids somewhere in the city, we need to meet up with them.
Karnack: Yes, they are about half a mile west of our current location. I am not sure of their present condition, but that is where they are.
Me: That is where we need to get. Salvaging whatever we can from those that entered will be crucial to what is coming.
Karnack: Which is?
Kemen: Full on invasion.
Coe-Nan: I think we need to split up.
Paddock: Nothing good ever comes of that…
Coe-Nan: Silent One can move faster than any of us…especially at a sprint. He can cover half a mile in like a minute or less. (80ft movement x4 for a run=320 feet per six seconds 2800ish feet in a half mile means he can literally run a two minute mile). He can bring them to us.
Kemen: Travelling alone is suicide.
Coe-Nan: That is why I think he should carry the gnome.
Paddock: Kord strike me down with shame! I am not going to be carted around like a sack of grain when I have an eternal steed of unending stamina at my disposal.
Kemen: But he runs faster than your horse…twice as fast.
Paddock: Two minutes is hardly a substantial difference from one minute
Coe-Nan ooc: Its 10 more rounds…a lot can happen in ten rounds.
Karnack: I will go. I can lift the protective circle and draw them in towards me. That should give you ample time to make good your escape and join up with your dwarf allies. Make your way to the edge of the city and regroup. I expect this will be a sacrifice, but if I do manage to escape intact I will find a way to meet with you at my tomb.

Karnack loads himself up with buff spells then climbs to the surface where he summons a frigging ton of greater elementals, he is absolutely surrounded by elementals of various types and as he has a small summoned army he begins moving east away from our destination.

With urgency and speed at the forefront, Kemen Levitates and basically parasails his way behind Paddock’s stone horse. The rest of us just haul ass as fast as possible towards the dwarven contingent. From above we get glimpses of dragon swarms all heading in Karnack’s direction. Dozens of dragons buzz overhead and roar off in pursuit. Silent One pulls ahead and disappears from our immediate sight. The sounds of dragon fire and smashing stone echo through the stone alleys and roadways and as the noises begin to sustain and persist we figure Karnack is fully engaged.

There is something of a hilarious moment when Silent One finds the dwarves and druids engaged in a pitched battle against Shadows and he starts wading through them like a hurricane with a longspear. From our perspective a small legion of warriors and druids are being pressed by horrors returned from the grave that sap your very strength and convert your allies to additional shadows…then out of nowhere this greenish-grey skinned blur in robes comes running into your midst at something like 50mph and starts twirling around like an insane ballet dancer with a longspear dodging and evading every attack like Neo in the Matrix. Then stands there completely mute playing charades trying to communicate with you.

Our two forces link up and there is a great sigh of relief on both ends to have friendly faces. The leader of the dwarf group Grymm Strongarm is dead. The druids of rank Parsin, Wahloon, and a few others are dead. A dwarf sgt named Gromlin is in charge of their group and he is more than happy to cede command to Kemen. The whole group of us does an about face and begins retreating towards base camp.

Red flags and alarms go off all around us…shadows are pouring out of houses, basements, cul de sacs….EVERYWHERE and instead of attacking us they are all making a beeline for Karnack’s direction. From larger houses and taverns ghouls, ghasts, zombies, skeletons and who knows what else joins them in a shambling exodus.

Me: I got a bad feeling
Kemen: I think you got the same bad feeling as me.
All of us: They made an undead talisman…

Base Camp does not offer us much better news…The Revenge and all our stronghold employees are gone, as are the elves we figure hightailed it out the city. I find a message left behind in druidic from SlowHand…

“Attacked by dragons, took the ship and everyone we could fit on it under the hollowed mountain. Will wait there for regroup”

It takes the whole afternoon and everyone working together but we track down our ship and find a heavily burned Dire Badger manning the helm of our ship. They got hit hard…very few elves made it out alive.

Coe-Nan: What do we do now?
Paddock: Tomorrow morning I will put out Sending to any member of standing across the country that I can reach, other than that we should stand as an obstacle to the the invading forces.
Kemen: We need to get back to our stronghold and wait for Karnack. As we stand…our group is nothing more than a speed bump for that army. I am on board for alerting everyone we can though.

The Revenge is packed to the gills with dwarves, a few scattered elves, a few druids, and a platoon of Paladins. We pause at every civilization of any size and warn them of what is coming and encourage them to seek refuge at any major cities with defenses. Each day Paddock and company Send out alerts to anyone they can think of.

Arriving at our stronghold gives us a sigh of relief. We break into the various crafting projects that Kemen was in charge of via his Kay-Varn resources and outfit the paladins and everyone else that we can with serviceable full equipment. Then Kemen gets to work crafting some enemy specific weapons. He starts working on dragonbane light crossbows that in theory just about anyone can pick up and shoot at dragons with. He also starts forging a supply of adamantine bolts to have them fire. He also starts manufacture of two elemental bane battleaxes for Coe-Nan.

Word starts to filter through tradesmen coming to and from our stronghold that an invasion force has lurched out of the Shadow Plains and begun to consuming territory in it’s wake. Legions from various countries and city states have mobilized and are responding. Vardon and his crusaders thank us for the arms and armor then take their leave of us to join others of their order on the front lines.

(I am summarizing an in game period of several weeks here)

Kemen completes the bulk of what he was after and gets some enemy specific weapons in our hands. We also get some other “story progress” upgrades to our characters and equipment.

Coe-Nan undergoes a further transformation where his nose becomes elongated and distinctly canine (under a waned moon) and his ears become distinctly catlike…he also grows whiskers and a cat’s tail. If it’s a werewolf….it makes no sense, it is something altogether different. Any aspirations of him passing as “normal” or “human” are straight out the window and he begins wearing a hooded cloak. He also gains Scent as an ability and gains boosts to Dex and Con…he loses Cha and loses a point of Int as well.

Silent One is granted what is called a “meditation inspired epiphany” and he mixes up several batches of spiritually imbued inks…which are added to his back tattoo and expand some of his abilities. He can now use his Ki to augment his body (or by extension his monk weapons) to gain magical properties. He can add any +1 enhancement boost through expending a Ki point (i.e. shock…bane…flame), or expend 3 Ki points to gain a +2 boost.

Paddock’s Stone Horse becomes a larger warhorse model and its speed and strength increase. The added weight of the horse almost move his triple damage on a charge to quad damage.

My bow on a critical hit now boosts my inspire courage to a maximum of +3. So if I have inspire courage running in a fight and land a crit the inspire effect increases by 1…if I land three crits the bonus rises by 3, but no more.

Kemen’s armor starts looking more like Iron Man. He has incorporated the same design as my bracers into his armor and can revolve wands to his hands as well. He also develops a central chest piece that is powered by gemstones. By activating a gemstone he can gain elemental resistances or even DR, these effects are temporary and “burn” gems to use and maintain.

As time passes the heartbeat we felt from the stone replica Malabith comes more frequently and it can be felt worldwide. When it starts pulsing every third day the “duh” alarm goes off for us.

It’s a countdown…a countdown that we were completely oblivious to.

2013-01-21, 05:47 PM
Finally, I am curious as to how many people are actively reading this campaign log or one of my other ones. I try to gauge it from the number of views, but if time permits and you enjoy reading, send me a PM with something along the lines of "reading...etc"

I read this one whenever you update it. And I go back to read Calimshaw and Adversarial process frequently. I haven't touched your other two in a while though since you haven't updated them.

2013-01-21, 05:53 PM
New Beginning:

Word continues to filter in that the forces gathering to repel the Malabith invaders is faltering. They brought countless forces to bear against the talisman wielders, but fallen soldiers are returning as undead and some captured soldiers are later seen as transformed obsidian soldiers.

Weeks have passed and no Karnack. We are assuming he is toast. Any outside allies take their leave of us and make their way back to respective homelands. We are left with Snickle, and 50 medusa freed tradesmen and former PC’s that are basically are workforce for the stronghold. We finally rename our stronghold…The Eldritch Weald.

Snickle has helped trap up a lot of the Weald and he has been working around the clock to lace the majority of our major hallways and rooms of importance with metal lined walls. We don’t want elementals or gensai to earthglide their way through our walls and take us by surprise. The places where we do have “vulnerable entry” are the most heavily trapped with anti elemental counter measures.

The hordes of Malabith rebuilt are on a course heading straight for The Weald and any force of consequence has been broken and sent reeling. The incursion force was perfectly capable of mopping them up, but seems to have forgone that step. Like a creeping mold they move closer and closer to us each day. We estimate they are about a week away when IT hits.

The heartbeats eventually start coming once per hour and with no other game plan we decide to stand pat on the amulet we hold and hope against hope it is enough to keep it out of their grasp. Turns out we gambled wrong.
In the midst of an uneventful day there is a sudden strong pulse…followed by perfect darkness. Everywhere…

The darkness lasts a total of four to five minutes and when it lifts a pallor covers everything in sight, like a pre-dusk shade that extends past the horizon. Within moments after the darkness we hear animal screams and cries of pain and despair all throughout the wild. As the minutes pass we catch sight of isolated deer and other wildlife bolting wildly in panic and following after them in a slow lurch…are undead akin to the obsidian soldiers from the cavern beneath Malabith.

No one within The Weald is affected, but as our communications to all relevant parties go long past unanswered we fear that the majority of the world at whole is affected. Kemen chooses that moment to emerge from the extra dimensional workspace aboard the Revenge and he looks around baffled.

Kemen: What did I miss?
Coe-Nan: I think the end of the world.

By the next day we still have received no responses from any party in the world at large. We make some scouting expeditions to the areas surrounding The Weald and discover multitudes of undead critters, all mindlessly plodding towards us to be smashed and hacked apart. Life still exists but at a drastic minority.

On day 3 we receive a single Sending from a cleric in the service of Vardon. He is locked at the peak of a cathedral tower by himself and his account tells us that only the most hallowed and consecrated of locations emerged with any measure of success. He becomes our eyes to the world at large and his periodic messages are our only glimmer of hope.

On Day 5 post E.oW (End of World) our cleric friend Erick tells us that a small band of clerics from the battlefront returned to his cathedral, they are gathering any survivors or those unaffected and tell us that the undead swarms turned on the talisman wielding forces and are hammering them relentlessly. Anything affected by a talisman was not changed or transformed and the invasion force is now the single strongest non undead force left in the world that we know of, but they are being pressed day and night by the undead.

Coe-Nan: We always assumed the talisman agents were in league with this Ven Aus…that seems less clear now. I think they joined together for mutual benefit, but perhaps not to his benefit. There must be a schism between them, at least two factions makes sense, maybe more.
Me: Any thoughts on how we exploit that?
Kemen: Decapitation strike on the undead talisman bearer…
Me: Longshot…
Paddock: Band together with any survivors and take them head on.
Me: Suicide…
The Silent One gestures to the animal talisman we bear, then points to our bane weapons. He points to dragon, elemental, demon and animal and holds four fingers together.
Paddock: Alliance with the invasion forces against the undead?
*thumbs up*
Me: Utterly stupid daft and ridiculous. How the hell do we make a pact with them?
Kemen: Well you did knock up one of their generals…maybe she still has a soft spot for you
Coe-Nan: Or we find Droka and or Wind. They might be able to give us some inclination of what the heck is going on.
Me: How would we even know where to look? They could be anywhere.
Coe-Nan: That is a deterrent.
Me: Putting up a fence to keep out rodents…that is a deterrent. Randomly searching an undead dominated landscape where EVERYTHING IS NOW LITERALLY LOOKING TO KILL YOU is a Great Wall of China sized deterrent.
Paddock ooc: So…let me run this out loud to see if I am on the right track. Everything in the world is basically looking to come kill us.
All: Right
Paddock: We are inside a heavily defended and trapped mountain location that was formally a crypt.
Paddock:We have a valuable treasure that creatures are going to attack us and try to take.
Paddock: So in effect…we are the monsters in the dungeon and adventurers are coming to attack us.
All:…yeah pretty much.
Paddock: So what aggravates us when we go into a location looking for an item?
Me: It not being there?
Coe-Nan: Casters?
Kemen: Spell Resistance?
Paddock: I was thinking what Marilius said…you show up and it’s not there. They are looking for us and they know where we are at. We need to make them hit a moving target. Defense will end us. Alliance is temporary. As long as we keep moving they will have to find us. The Oceans are our best friends at this point. Zombies can walk underwater, but not swim to the surface. We know the Titan’s Pride was heavily defended and enchanted. It’s a longshot but they might have made it through. I propose we turn the Revenge into an Ark, and find survivors, we keep mobile and never in the same spot. Try to locate Beorn and the Pride. If they made it out then the Pride becomes a floating city. If they didn’t we at least try to salvage their ship. We gather up anyone we can while the undead hammer the invasion force. Once we have established sanctuary we attack the exhausted forces. If we luck into Droka or Wind those are strictly bonuses.

Me: That is the single most practical and logical thing you have said in the better part of a year in character or out.

Kemen: Then’s let rig up every trap we can in the Weald and pack up the Revenge. Time to sail our way to a new world.

The Bandicoot
2013-01-22, 01:56 AM
I read! And wait with bated breath for every new update.

2013-01-22, 05:55 AM
I'm reading, and i'd appreciate if you finish your other campaign logs too, they all are a very good read.

2013-01-22, 12:11 PM
I am reading and I agree with GeriSch. I've read all your other campaign logs and wish to see them continued as well.

2013-01-22, 04:20 PM
Oh, I cannot wait to see what happens next.

2013-01-22, 07:13 PM
Another reader looking forward to updates.

2013-01-23, 07:58 AM
Not only I do read, I do love it (and the other recaps, as well).

Despite not really liking D&D, your writing style makes the read absolutely enjoyable. Please keep up the great work


2013-01-23, 09:19 AM
I've been reading this since before your hiatus, and I was glad to see you start up again (stories left unfinished are so frustrating).

And FYI, I have NOT read the plot-hole fixing spoilers, since I love suprises. I'm waiting to see if any of my theories are correct.

2013-01-23, 10:03 AM
Real Dead Out Here:

The countryside is drastically unsettling. Undead squirrels march alongside wolves and they are all heading to a place far to the east (presumably towards the remaining live forces). Nothing pays us very much attention. Surviving animals are scarce and I feel compelled as a druid to provide assistance where possible. Utilizing Speak with Animals I start converting our metaphorical Ark into a literal Ark and some woodland critters being joining us.

Me: we have been utilizing the lyres of building mostly for stonework, but in essence they are manual labor right?
Dm: yes.
Me: how are they with gardening?

Using the lyre I get my horticulture on and convert all but one of our personal extradimensional spaces into gardens. We transplant as much foliage, trees, plants and sod as will fit and create little private sanctuaries for our woodland critters. This inspires us to try something further. We break out the animal talisman and I put it on.

The moment the talisman descends around my neck I gain an instant awareness of anything within sight. All the animals are still animals…they are just something more as well. I find that is does allow me to communicate with any still living animal and I have a little bubble in my thoughts that says “push here to take this animal over”. The same mental command is present with transformed animals, but it in my mind it signifies danger.
We talk it over and decide testing this out is worth the risk.

I target an undead stag and push to convert it under my control. It requires a Will Save throwing on my behalf, and I make the roll…the Stag stumbles and the undead-ed-ness washes away from it. It returns to being a normal Stag. I get hit with a single point of Charisma damage in response.

Kemen: Well that is interesting.
Paddock: So the condition is curable…but using the talismans to do so is taxing.
Coe-Nan: shouldn’t we be able to surmise the method being used to cause this?
DM: Any of the casters could try to put two and two together. A spellcraft and Knowledge Arcana hybrid check would let you know if you deduce anything useful.

Kemen having the highest int and maxxed ranks in both becomes our likeliest to succeed. But we go in order from least likely to most likely to succeed and have him go last. All of us cycle through checks and don’t have any remarkable insight. We load Kemen up with Inspire Competence….because me telling him he can know more about this somehow lets him know more, and try to squeek out any circumstantial bonuses….we haggle our way into an additional +2 since we have seen a talisman in actual use.
Kemen comes up with the following:

*The “Darkness” was actually a worldwide deposit of focused negative energy that altered the composition of nearly everything on the planet. It was like a bomb building up to an explosion.
*The change is reversible through specific talismans.
*It allowed a saving throw and those in certain sheltered areas were unaffected.
*From this we postulate that around 90-94% of the world would have been effected. Any high enough level people or creatures had a better than 5% chance to make their saving throw, and 1 in 20 should have rolled 20 on their saves and been spared…hence the random critters still alive and in control of themselves.

I can “save” animals but at a heavy cost to myself. We wait to see how long the ability damage wears off naturally before pushing any limits and continue to travel through the strange exodus of undead around us. As the day wears on we find humans and other humanoids similiarly shambling along. These hit closer to home as the realization that family or friends our characters had are likely afflicted in the same fashion. I jokingly offer to let everyone else pet our of the live squirrels we found if that will make them feel better.

After one full hour my Charisma damage dissipates. We chalk that up in the “good to know” column. We consider this a resource and decide to focus it on the best possible allocation. Any big animal, like bears or horses become reclamation projects. If we can convince them to be allies/friends then sweet. If not we offer them sanctuary and move on. As the day wears on we notice that the shambling undead will periodically break from their mindless march and start to seek out food. Floating along in our ship they still mostly pay us no heed. We ignore them.

Towards dusk we passing what was the day before yesterday a bustling rivertown. It is now a tableau from the Twilight Zone…everything was left where it was and the town is now abandoned. The smoke and flickering light from a small fire gets our attention and we swing the Revenge around. Atop the largest building in the town is a group of five people all alive and surrounded by undead who are clawing at the walls. They have a meager fire they lit in the valley of a shield.

We pull them aboard the ship and take them below deck for some food and give them what hope we can. The knowledge that their family and neighbors can possibly be saved brings them joy. As we are calming them below, Kemen starts hammering the flat of his pick against the mast where he is our senty. We come running up and he points to the rear of the Revenge. Everything as far as the eye can see is now following us. In the midst of a shuffling horde chasing our tail is a fully transformed obsisdian style soldier, complete with increased size. It lacks the vacant stare is honing in on us with beady eyes.

Coe-Nan: Something tells me things are about to get a lot worse for us.
Kemen: They are slow and we have good moveable cover…we can mow down these ones.
Paddock: These are people’s family…they are still people. We can’t slaughter them whole sale unless our lives are endangered and we lack any other choice.
Coe-Nan: This is like a bad horror movie.
Me: Why because we are being chased by zombies?
Coe-Nan: no that is standard stuff…I’m talking about something far worse.
Me: We are in the midst of a zombie apocalypse what is worse than that?
Coe-Nan: I am a living whirlwind of destruction surrounded by hundreds of targets and the gnome is telling me I Can’t attack! Talk about dangling a carrot…

2013-01-23, 11:42 AM
Roaming Gnome:

Night falls and we pull up every light on the Revenge we can. Kemen rotates off mast duty and goes below deck to our now shared cabin for rest. I move up the crow’s nest and scan from visibility with the talisman. A whooshing noise two hours into my post raises alarms from the Revenge. Something evil just buzzed within 60 feet of the ship. I raise an alarm and everyone but Kemen comes running. I start plunking arrows with light spells through the air…they trail light and act like flares in the night. A higher arced arrow reveals several undead-ish dragons buzzing our ship. They are fully adorned in obsidian armor. Eek.

I scramble down not wanting to be isolated against flyers and all break for below decks. Paddock unmounted in full plate is the slowest. A zombie dragon swoops in and it’s claw scrape the deck as it grapples Paddock in mid flight and they carries him off.

Coe-Nan: They stole our healing!
We watch in stunned silence as his mount trots off the side of the ship and takes off in a canter towards it’s master.
Me: follow that horse! He is going to bring us to Paddock.
Silent One ooc: What’s that Lassie? Timmy fell down a well?
Kemen ooc: What???
Silent One: come on we are chasing the non speaking animal to save someone…aren’t any of you familiar with Lassie?

The dragon swarm is heading east…same direction as the hordes of shamblers. Only now they have our healing spells…I mean Paddock…and we aren’t going forward without cure serious wounds…I mean our Paladin compatriot.

The Revenge is kicked into it’s highest gear and fight to keep the horse within distance…it is a bit faster than us and we are losing ground to it.

Coe-Nan:Feeling suicidal courageous tonight Silent?

The Silent One sighs, pantomimes tying the laces on his shoes then does some mock stretching. He gestures to a light on the deck and then points to his shuriken. I get the gist and cast light spells on half a dozen shuriken. He gives us a salute then leaps off the ship’s deck and starts sprinting towards the horse.

With the Silent one pacing the horse we get our own personal wil of wisp…Periodically a shuriken will go flying into the air like a mini bat signal and we know which way to head. Over time even that light fades from visibility despite the high vantage of the crow’s nest. We then find Shuriken embedded into taller trees like bread crumbs and find gouges in the ground from Silent One’s spear drawing arrows for us to follow.

Then we begin to get really confused…we start finding more than the six shuriken he left us. That throws us for a real loop. We can only assume that we are being tricked. Silent One starts to make some gestures at the table and our DM basically kicks him out of the room.

DM: No meta gaming with table talk. You can’t give them information they can’t figure out themselves.

We move into full blown “this is a trap” mode but talk ourselves into moving forward. Come dawn Kemen comes above deck and I turn in for some sleep. The Revenge continues its attempted pursuit and they find a haggard and exhausted Silent One. A frustrated Silent One re-enters the room and charades across the concept that he put a shuriken on the horse then started doubling back to retrieve his beacons behind us. No trap.
The dragons carried Paddock into a cave a few miles from our current position and the horse stopped outside. It has stayed there since.

We collect ourselves and give the Silent One a chance to rest. We recon the area around the cave and look for any other important signs. Once Silent one is no longer exhausted we invisibility him up and send him into the cave as a scout. We wait on high alert aboard the Revenge for his return…which he announces by tapping me on the shoulder. My character damn near pisses himself and Silent One grins.

He holds up six fingers then flaps his arms
Kemen: six dragons.
*thumbs up*
One finger…points to spear then himself.
Coe-Nan: one skinny man?
*thumbs up*
Silent one then points to Kemen’s spellbook.
Kemen: One caster…six dragons. Did he have a talisman?
*thumbs up*
Me: Paddock?
*puts hands behind his back like they are tied, then covers his mouth with a band of robe.
From outward appearance the undead talisman holder is inside and has our Paladin held captive.
Me: why not kill him?
Kemen: If we can possibly liberate him, then he is bait. He is meant to draw us in.

It needs to be mentioned that our dead of night pursuit flummoxed our DM. He seemed to be taken aback that we found a way to keep up. As we are making preparations and coordinating buff spells Kemen receives a Sending from the gentleman inside.

“I have Paddock. Willing to negotiate. We are not enemies, nor allies. Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend. Can Send Dragon Envoy Transportation”
Coe-Nan: WTF
Me: My gut tells me this is not a trap.
Kemen: Then you go first.
Me: Alright

I march right into the cave and stride straight towards the mystery caster…
Me: My name is Marilius, I understand you found our gnome? We would like him back.

The mystery wizard is perplexed…
Wizard: How did you find this place? How did you keep up with my dragons? WTH???

The mystery wizard identifies himself as Brithag and says he was until recently a researcher working for a Cloud Giantess Ashleigh, an Earth Gensai called Torix and a Sea Hag (unnamed). The Sea Hag was in possession of the Demon amulet.

Brithag: I was drawn to the power and potential of their talismans. I have always been fascinated by the powers of the mind and couldn’t resist a chance to tap their potential.
Kemen: did you manage to make the undead talisman?
Brithag: I was able to duplicate the original. But it lacks the strength of the master copy.
Kemen: Master copy?
Brithag: Yes. There are at least nine master talismans.
All: ….come again?

Turns out…we made some assumptions that were flat out wrong. Ol Ven Aus had lots of different projects in the works and what he accomplished alongside Karnack just scratched the surface. In addition to the five known talismans are undead, devil, human, and elvish talismans as well. In order to activate the casket any combination of five can be used…so our whole “hold back the animal talisman strategy” just got tossed out of the window.

Also turns out that the Sending was the original method of finding Paddock and our midnight pursuit was never conceived as possible by the DM. Always good to keep em on their toes.

2013-01-23, 02:32 PM
Best Laid Plans:

Brithag goes to on to explain that the three talisman agents had more or less found each other and agreed to form an alliance. Together they began amassing larger and larger scale plans. One day a Githyanki showed up with the undead talisman and informed them of the other unfound amulets. The gith went on to reveal the existance of the casket and told them that only with the casket would they be unable to unlock the fullest potential of the amulets. He presented to them scrolls and engraving from Malabith and Cinhill Rue that advanced their knowledge leaps and bounds.

Brithag himself became leery when the pulses begin to emanate from the Spire in the replicated Malabith city. He goes on to explain the Githyanki brought them to the stone city, and from there they begin cultivating demonic allies. Karnack's ward threw those plans into dissaray and during the chaos he absconded with a replica of the undead talisman.

Me: Why flee?

Brithag: The druid...Karnack. They took him captive and sought to shatter his will with methods I would have never imagined in my most vivid nightmare. When they realized he would not bend...they broke him. They told me to investigate his remains and report back. At his core I found a single metal scroll tube. Opening it was difficult, but I figured out a way. Inside was a simple warning. He feared that no matter what choices were made Ven Aus would return. I took the pulse as warning of his return and decided it was time to cut ties or get sucked down with them.

Kemen: Ok...so...The Casket is aboard the Titan's Pride. We have the animal amulet, the dwarves in Kay-Varn have the giant talisman (or at least one of them. We now have to assume there are replicas of each and maybe every designation), Ashleigh has the dragon, Torix the elemental, The Hag has the demonic, so who has the undead and the rest?

Brithag:The githyanki took control of the master undead amulet. It would appear he too turned on my former colleagues and presses them currently. We were unable to track the other lost amulets.

Paddock: What of the obsidian arms and armor? Why do your dragons bear the livery of those you know avoid?

Brithag: The arms and armor are a function of the amulets. After sufficicent use they expand their capability. As you grow more bonded to the amulet it allows further use. These are manufactured from the amulet and quite potent.
Me: where do you go from here?

Brithag: Ahhh yes….about that. I don’t wish for you to be alarmed, that is part of why I required this meeting with you. I have several associates with whom I have made arrangements for protection. They shall be joining us shortly.

Paddock is miffed about his capture but Brithag made several concillatory remarks and the gnome appears to be undecided on how to proceed. The “oh **** it was a trap after all” alarm goes up when Paddock casually throws out a Detect Evil and then his eyes roll up into his head and he collapses unconscious. As he drops a series of shadowy forms take shape within the cave. 13 to be exact…13 liches all strong enough to make our Paladin collapse.

None of them appears happy to be there, and none of them seems comfortable around the other. A tense and palpable determination is strong enough to taste in the air. Brithag explains that within all domains even the most chaotic there is order. The 13 liches before us represent a council that secretly governs and monitors all undead in existence. An undead illumanti if you will. Each of them is most likely epic level or borderline epic level, and all 13 are concerned about the amulets. They feel the whispers of its voice penetrating their carefully prepared defenses and fear the effects it will have over time.

Brithag: I have made arrangements for them to provide me safe passage and concealment once removed from this Plane. In return I am giving them the amulet. And there is the catch. This amulet while not perfect, will tip the balance of power irrevocably out of control. They need safeguards for the amulet itself and from the amulet itself. That is where you come in.

Me: where we what?

Lich: It is out intention to each surrender ourselves…temporarily to the amulet to gain the protection afforded from future effects. There is a certain problem with trust amongst my brethren. Who would be willing to volunteer vulnerability when the individuals capable of capitalizing on that weakness are present? Sadly we are required to enlist an outside source…one too blinded by righteous and duty to possibly sieze the opportunity for an advantage.

Kemen: you want to place the amulet in PADDOCK’S hands and let him control you!?!?

At this juncture Coe-Nan got up, walked over to a PC and brought up blank character sheet PDF’s….”think we are going to be needing these pretty soon”

Me: You want to place complete control of yourselves into our Paladin’s hands because you believe him to be honorable enough not to cross you? Then you expect him to release you from this control and leave this place?

Lich: Times like this call for strange bedfellows.

Coe-Nan: this ends a TPK the minute he wakes up and they give him their idea. I don’t know entirely how…but this is game over

Paddock does groggily come to and we manage to ease him into realizing we are surrounded by 13 liches each capable on their own of crushing us a dozen times over. He calmly listens to their proposals and nods slowly. He calmly stands up, walks to the fridge, grabs a drink then takes a deep slow sip.

Paddock: I want phylacteries…all your phylacteries in this room before I am willing to proceed.

Pencils hit the table top, dice fall out of hands and there is a series of audible groans…Coe-Nan laughs and hits the print button on the computer.

To describe them as resistant to the idea of pooling all their phylacteries in the room is an understatement to end all understatements.

Paddock: I put my living soul in danger each and every day that I follow the path of what I believe in. You have finally found something that brings fear to your heartless husks. You need not feel that twinge of doubt when faced with adversity. I would have you feel that doubt, that sorrow of what might be lost just as I do before I take this step. I trust you not. Your very existence is a blasphemy against what is right. Kord willing I will one day grind each of you to dust. You must understand this to be possible. Demonstrate your resolve by making vulnerable the one thing you soul-less wretches truly value and I will do what must be done.

We are all picking out our favorite six sided dice and discussing our next campaign and who wants to run it…

DM: It takes the 13 some time, a few hours to collect their phylacteries and return but all 13 do as you request.

Paddock: So you are telling me that 13 epic level liches have just given me control of their actions and there very essence. I have at my disposal all 13 phylacteries.

DM: You have an angry mob of neigh invulnerable ancients waiting for one wrong twitch to leap and strike but yes…you have them by the skeletal balls…so to speak.

Imagine the “gamers” temptation. A few mental commands, the crack of some paltry phylacteries and your character gains what? 6-9 levels worth of experience? Imagine a single PC with 13 epic level liches at his beck and call….we KNEW what was going to happen. We printed out freaking new character sheets.

Paddock: I will honor exactly what they ask and relinquish control back unto each of them.

2013-01-23, 03:00 PM
This is the kind of awesomeness you get when the DM trusts his players to stick to roleplaying well enough that he can hand them literal god-like power, and not be afraid they are going to ruin the story.

2013-01-23, 03:40 PM
Oodles and oodles of win.

2013-01-23, 05:51 PM
...Huh. Wasn't paddock supposed to be an UNreasonable paladin?

Not that it matters. All the more win to him.

2013-01-24, 08:42 AM
...Huh. Wasn't paddock supposed to be an UNreasonable paladin?

Not that it matters. All the more win to him.

Yes he has very consistently been that way. That is why we were so surprised. Once he explained his reasoning it made more sense, but we figured it was curtains. He has going to try and force them to destroy each other and we would be wiped in the process. Startling to say this but after the Warforged duel he actually showed character growth.

2013-01-24, 10:10 AM
I've been reading this from the beginning, and ye gods it is epic. Your group is amazing! Thank you for writing all of this down, thank you!

2013-01-24, 11:09 AM
I'm reading it! Good stuff! Thanks!


2013-01-24, 01:03 PM
I have read all of your logs and I just wanted to say.

Thank You.

Chesty La Rue

2013-01-24, 03:47 PM

Speechless. The little sod left us completely speechless. Week after week he charged in and made irrational decisions. He constantly sought valor over prudence, and when they put the keys to PC paradise in his hands…he dropped them and walked away.

Kemen: why?

Paddock: Why avoid destroying the most prominent evil I can fathom? Why let them go? Because the whole world has been consumed by one worse than them. Thousands of innocents march right now towards oblivion, stripped of their will and right to choose. They will march without doubt straight into the teeth of dragon, the crushing hands of elementals and the maws of demons strictly to appease a master they do not know or see. This is the worst kind of abomination and the single most important fire to snuff out. I would leave candles in shadows to nip at this Darkness’s heels. Let them be the irritating flies that draw irritation and reaction for I will be the lance of light to pierce the heart of this Darkness and end it.

Brithag and his dragons are preparing to exit along with the lich council when Coe-Nan has an “aha” moment.

Coe-Nan: you said you opened a metal tube from Karnack…did it look like these?
Coe-Nan remembered the unopenable cylinders from Samhain and presented them to Brithag.
Brithag: sure…
With a deft twist of his wrist he pops the tubes open and hands them back to Coe-Nan.
Kemen: Well that was anticlimactic.

The scrolls inside are metallic. There is very feint imprints of wiritng like a pen that wrote on aluminum foil.

Me: What are they?
Kemen: Star maps. Sailors use astrolabes to sail by starlight, these are coordinates for an astrolabe.
Coe-Nan: two sets…two coordinates.
Me: anyone care to wager these are prison coordinates for Droka and Wind?
We all pile back onto the Revenge and continue for the coast. If we find the Pride…then we will find the astrolabe we need. The Casket is now our top priority. Unless we find a means to locate the other talismans we need that Casket.

From last we heard, Beorn had stayed on at New Jotun and we were working on assumption that the Pride would be anchored as near to New Jotun as possible. We made it to the water and hugged the 10 or so miles closest to the coast and started our search for the world’s largest ship.

Day by day we searched…every so often we received communications from Erick. We encouraged him to continue holding the line where he was and we would be coming for him.

Kemen would work on crafting and the rest of kept a weather eye for the Pride. Days turned into weeks and our search continued. If we caught sight that survivors might be present we would investigate and we ended up with 15 refugees living our of vault below decks. We saved more and more animals some of which took our indoor gardens.

After the better part of two months we catch sight of the Pride’s enormous hull. It’s anchored 20 miles off shore from a bay that has serviceable trade routes to New Jotun. We approach the ship at a crawl. Emblazoned in letters fifty feet tall are words in Dwarvish.

Me: What does it say Kem?
Kemen: All is Lost. Death Awaits

All attempts to detect or divine the ship or it’s crew are futile. The ship has anti intrusion safeguards that make external investigation useless. From our perspective the coolest ship (next to the one we got) of all time is now simply a massive floating dungeon.

Kemen: We need to go in.
Coe-Nan: it’s a giant floating death trap now.

Kemen: Someone survived long enough to write that message. Judging by the size and the language that tell me Beordie made it through. A wizard, especially one that helped build a ship like that would prove a damn hard termite to exterminate. The Pride’s vault is heavily secured and Beordie knows that ship better than anyone. Besides…it’s worth salvaging as a floating sanctuary.

We scale the Pride and manage to lift the Revenge using the Pride’s wenches. We dock the Revenge on the deck of the Pride and chuckle at the ship on ship action. The deck is a mess. Dead giants, dead humanoids, the withered husks of obsidian undead and shattered siege equipment are everywhere. We salvage a lot of siege equipment parts and ammunition, and we perform burials at sea for those we knew as allies. We feel like the deck is reasonably secure but we are loathe to sleep on board the Pride. We take the Revenge for a roller coaster ride off the edge of the giant’s vessel and make anchor a mile or so away. Our strategy is to an old school dungeon crawl…ship style. Deck by Deck we clear out levels and scour them. Once secure we move lower and lower. That was the plan anyway.

We put Snickle on repair duty and hope he can get the ship at least operating and mobile. He also works to restore the siege equipment to working order. The rest of us prep for close quarters room to room combat. The ship is a maze of rooms and corridors, but the first level is dominated by equipment and parts. Fishnets, hooks, block and tackle and various tack and harness are organized into different rooms. That is where we start our sweep. Signs of a struggle are present all over the place and we spend more time clearing out the corpses and husks of those fallen than we do actually “adventuring”.

Snickle is making good us of our followers from the Medusa Lair and they are working diligently to repair the ship’s exterior. Kemen continues to pump out light crossbows and morningstars and Coe-Nan and myself drill the followers on their use. Most of them are considered level 2-3 and have various trades and levels, but we plan on using them only as a last resort and in volleys against targets.

Day 3 of the Pride search we find our first resistance. It comes in the form of Wraiths and Water Gensai. Much to our surprise the Pride is spelled to prevent incorporeal creatures from moving through its walls. They got to use doors just like the rest of us. The pattern breaks down with Dread Wraiths moving to pin us in a position, then water gensai assassins peel from concealment or invisibility to take our rear and flanks. Detection spells are non operational and we have to rely on our senses. Coe-Nan becomes our all star. With scent he is able to sniff out the Gensai and we start reversing their ambushes with Coe-Nan readying counter attacks for their attempted backstabs. Silent One shines against the undead and Paddock is suddenly able to effectively turn undead again. Either the difficulties he had were tied to the landscape of Malabith, or interaction with the undead amulet has augmented him.

Dread Wraiths still press us hard, and they have knack for killing their own wounded gensai to reanimate as wraiths. Room by room we grit our teeth and dig deeper. It becomes clearer and clearer to us that Torix must have used his amulet a ton. His gensai are displaying abilities that far outstrip anything we are familiar with. The deeper we get they just get tougher and tougher. It also occurs to us that naturally occurs undead (all undead are unnatural but I mean the ones not undead-ified from the amulet) were not affected by the Darkness.

A full week in, and two levels cleared, we have not found one single survivor. Day 8 hands us our first nasty unexpected development. As I alluded to much earlier, the Pride is like the D&D version of Deadliest Catch. The Storm giants are giant crab fisherman. We find an access hatch to one of the holding tanks and peek inside…it is packed with dozens of huge undead crabs with razor sharp pincers. Best we can figure they were just sitting there doing nothing til Paddock peeked his head in. They start tearing apart the walls of the holding cell and we are treated to visions of monsterous undead crab ripping our floating city to shreds.

Kemen looks at our DM and has this “really?” expression.
Kemen: You should have learned by now…
DM: Learned what?
Kemen: you put monster in a box and gave us access to them from above.
Me *chuckle*: I hope you liked stoned crab…
Kemen: Bag of holding rock pulverizer engaged!
Coe-Nan: That never gets old.

The third level of the ship is where the meat and gravy is at. The workshops, living quarters and bulk cargo storage are all into play. More and more evidence of a slow withdrawal are visible. Broken barricades, doors wedged shut etc. Room to room combat is tense, more from the constant bushwhackers that seem to lurk in every shadow.

Silent One pops the door into a commissary area and inches his way inside. The whole mess hall is a tableau that brings a sense of déjà vu to us all. Scattered throughout the room are numerous humanoids, all turned to stone. Calming munching away in the larder are three abyssal greater basilisks.

Me: Alright Coe-Nan…go get them…
Coe-Nan: Why me?
Me: Cause I got turned to stone once. Not eager to repeat that process. And you have a strong Fort save.

Ultimately Paddock and Coe-Nan rush in to pin down the basilisks and Silent One positions himself to strike at Coe-Nan’s target. I focus arrows on the Coe-Nan target and Kemen webs the third basilisk to try and isolate it. They don’t have terribly good AC and Coe-Nan is tearing them apart. They are gaze attacking with reckless abandon and each save is grimace invoking. Coe-Nan finishes the first one off, then immediately gets stoned by the second. Eek.

Things get hairy and Paddock ends up trying to duel a pair of the basilisks while Silent one dances around for a flank. The previously webbed basilisk charges me and I end up dropping my bow and drawing the seldomly used scimitar. Silent one abandons Paddock to support me. Kemen catches a gaze attack and is also petrified on a roll of 1.

Silent One flurries and rolls high enough damage to draw the basilisk completely towards him. I return the favor with a backstab and bring down the second basilisk. We turn just in time to watch Paddock roll a 3 and turn to stone. Silent One and I end up running and skirmishing on the fly with the pursuing basilisk. We play hide and seek with it back through the sections we have already cleared and haphazardly nickel and dime it.

We run ourselves ragged and end up on a whole different level of the ship but an arrow between the eyes finally brings it down.

Me: Ok…so now we just a scroll of break enchantment and hope I don’t botch it.
Kemen: we don’t have one.
Me: We freed like 50 people from the Medusa lair, how do we not have one?
Kemen: Because we freed 50 people from the Medusa Lair, we used em all.

I swear we had a few “oh **** petrified” emergency scrolls/wand on hand. We scoured every inventory list we had and came up blank.

Me: Well ****, what do we do now?
Kemen: you could…

DM: No! No table talk from the statues. Asking an inventory question could have just save time. You can’t give him ideas on how to unpetrify you. He and the monk have to figure it out themselves.


What started out as a thrilling adventuring day and weekend session delves into a 13th Warrior and NFL day. Silent One and I scratch our heads to come up with ideas while watching the football game. For once at least Silent One is not bound by his character restrictions and we can chat without charades. We got a short list of options. We can load up the statues on the Revenge and try to hover our way to Erick, who presumably has Break Enchantment. I can gain a **** load of levels til I get to cast it naturally. We can randomly search the surrounding countryside for a living wizard/cleric with the scroll or ability to cast it. Our last option is the curio case/expanding library we found in the vault. Everyday we can pull out a new scroll. We can keep milking it and hope to luck into a break enchantment. Then if I make the UMD roll we unpetrify a caster who gets the other two free.

Me: I wish we had a two wheel cart…

Ultimately we drag/carry the statues of our team up to the Revenge where Snickle is waiting for us.

Snickle: what happened?
Me: Basilisks…three of them. They got Kemen,Paddock and Coe-Nan
Snickle: They got both casters?
Me: yeah…
Snickle: wow…that sucks. Especially since I have to make a bad day even worse…

We watch in stunned silence as Snickle steers the Revenge over the edge of the Pride and puts it into high gear…
I toss a Web at him, but it is mentally commanded and he just keeps on trucking. I hear the smashing of fists from below deck where he locked up the rest of our followers.

Me: you ungrateful little sod! I will hunt you down to the ends of the earth!
Snickle: Sorry to kick you when you are down…I feel bad about this, but I think my odds are better with the people that have amulets that can actually do stuff.

Me to DM: I really hate you sometimes.

2013-01-24, 06:56 PM
Limping Along:

A good chunk of our gear and supplies were on board the Revenge. Most of the really important stuff is with us, but we are going to be hard pressed for food and shelter. The prospect of spending the night atop the Pride with all kinds of stuff lurking below decks is daunting. Having to do with only two guys and no primary caster is terrifying.

Silver Lining-Snickle did repair the majority of the siege weapons on deck and the helm is now movable, we put together a crude barricade and try to wall off a segment of the deck near the helm. Then we get down to trying to see if the ship is moveable. We manage to locate some gear assemblies that when turned cause a groaning grinding noise below deck…the ship creaks as it inches forward a few feet…we open up the throttle and it sounds like an engine with an awful rod knock, but the ship is moving a steady 1-2 miles an hour. Turning even a few degrees takes ages, but the ship is mobile in the loosest sense. We take turns sleeping and the waking sentry mans the largest ballista…which is aimed straight for the nearest hatch. Neither of us is proficient, but it fires big rocks at a short distance…it should be a deterrent at a minimum.

We make it through the night uneventfully and start pillaging the safe areas for food and clean water. Our natural inclination is to plug towards Erick and just hold fast on the deck, but with the Revenge being piloted towards the enemy and our biggest guns offline we can’t sit on a busted hand. Silent One and start a cover and follow journey back towards the commissary. We have a new plan of attack. Before we set off we put the statues in a closest and hope they don’t draw attention.

Bypass room by room and try to sneak our way to the vault of the ship. The prospects of something sneaking up on us or surrounding us are huge, but there are now only two of us and we are sneaky so we should be harder to find? Right? Yeah I didn’t buy that reasoning either.

Silent One creeps ahead of me, while I cover him from behind with the bow. At the slightest sign of noise or movement we go into full blown duck for cover mode and bide. We end up on the fifth of 8 decks, which is where the vault is located. To that point we found a solitary gensai that we dispatched via ambush. As we get within a few rooms of striking distance to the vault…lots of chatter picks up. We pick scattered amounts of giant and abyssal language. We recognize one of the voices as the Hill giant bounty hunter. We take a long way around and come up from the rear of the vault. Pounding against the door is brutish Glabrezu, and barking orders at him is the hill giant. Waiting in the wings are a trio of Gensai.

Hill Giant: Report.
Gensai: The Ship and its occupants are gone master. They left yesterday after the basilisks petrified three of them.
Hill Giant: hilarious! I was beginning to think they would manage to interfere with us down here. It is one door! How long does it take to break down one door!
Glabrezu: Tis enchanted…sturdy and stubborn just like the putrid dwarf I smell Inside!

Hmmm. They think we are gone and confirmation that Beordie (or some other dwarf) is locked in the vault. Now just a matter of taking out a mid to high ranking demon and a tricky hill giant with class levels…oh and their assassin cohorts. No problem for five of us. Me and the Monk? Problem.

We don’t have a frontline tank, or a primary caster…we do have lots of delaying and nuisance spells. We also have a ton of different wands and some evasiveness. From our perspective, if the Hill giant is calling the shots then we need to take him out. Hopefully if we draw the demon away from the door we can get some reinforcements from inside the vault.

We rig up a weak and ineffective “noise trap” in the opposite direction we are looking to attack from and light a candle beneath a burning rope. The clatter of falling pots and pans we tied in the air from the burning rope should draw some attention. The candle gives us time to get away.

Everything else is going to be a frenetic attempt to kill the giant or force him to bug out. I put Bulls Strength, Cat’s Grace, Enlarge Person, Bears Endurance, and Owl’s Wisom on the monk. I do the same for myself via wand and start an inspire courage before we begin. The rope burns and there is an audible clatter. The monk burns 2 ki points to put giantbane and sonic damage into his spear and himself.

Hill giant: Investigate. We must not be disturbed.

The gensai salute and peel off to investigate the noise. Win for us.

As an opening we coordinate the monk charging the hill giant with me greasing the area beneath the demon. Silent One comes streaking into the room spear flying as the demon slips and falls. Immediately after I put a web spell to immobilize the demon and Silent One flurries the hill giant. He snakes an AOO on the demon with reach for added kicks. I immediately start pumping arrows into the fumbling giant and Silent One flurries again. The demon unleashes an unholy blight which staggers the monk and barely scratches me. The hill Giant manages to get sword in hand and takes a spear to the ribs in response.

The Giant is a cagey one and he takes some susbstantial damage without blinking. The demon follows up the next round with a chaos hammer on the monk which knocks him for a loop. He stays active and gets fighting. We are treating this as an all or nothing fight. I land a crit that boosts our inspire courage and the giant is showing some signs of worry. Unfortunately the demon is free and coming straight for me. I try to re-web and get dispelled in response. The demon is now on me and any shot will now incite AOO. I eat the AOO to put a full attack into the hill giant and land another crit. Now boosted to 3 the Silent One lands another flurry that rocks the giant and sends him stumbling into the wall.

I eat another AOO to put a killing arrow into the giant’s throat and then take a five foot step deeper into the room. From the hallway we can hear the gensai running…

Silent One shifts to attack the demon and augments giantbane to demonbane. I use my action to close the door and plant my back against it, this invites another AOO and I am in dire straights. I decide to play possum and bluff my way into falling over. Silent One puts two crits and 3 hits into the Glab’s back and that is enough to draw its full attention. I creep a move away and hit myself with a cure serious from a wand. Silent One and Glab stand there and take full attacks at each other…a battle the monk can’t win.

I sink a full attack with sneak attack bonuses into the demon’s back and get a third crit that boosts the inspire courage to max. The Glab begins summoning more demons and Silent One, who has single digit hps flurries again and we see a 20, 19, 19 for his three attacks. He lands two crits in a single round and rolls 8, 9, 10 for his d10’s, add the four damage from spear enchantment, the 2d6 per roll for bane, and 3d6 for sonic and +18x2for str and +12 for inspire courage…the Glabrezu tries to stem the bleeding from its slashed throat with one claw…takes the second thrust through its sternum and the monk flourishes with a spin to disembowel it.

As he kills the Glab the door breaks open and the Gensai see the enlarged blood spattered monk standing amidst their boss’s corpse and see the demon gurgling on it’s own blood. They decided to get the hell out of dodge.
I CLW us back to full via a wand that burn dry and we coup de grace the giant and demon just to be safe. We drag the giant to barricade the door before enlarge person wears off and then try to alert whoever is in the vault that we are allies.

From inside the vault we hear a raspy whisper we can barely place…it belongs to Bjorn the Elder…

Bjorn: If you are really Marilius…what is the first thing I ever asked you?
Me: You told me there was a price on my head and you asked me if she was worth it. I told you “every penny”

We hear locks recede and Bjorn beckons us inside and then hastily closes the vault. He is in baaaaddd shape. A leg is straight up missing and one of his arms is hanging down mangling and putrified. One of his eyes has been torn from it’s socket. In the vault with him are…corpses. A badly mangled and charred Beordie lays dead on the floor. A pair of other storm giants are also dead from horrific wounds.

I put every ounce of non wand healing I can into Bjorn…but his wounds are mostly resistant. It takes the pallor of dying away, but does nothing to repair the missing or mangled limbs.

Bjorn: you have any water?
Me: Some…

Bjorn: My brother (the captain) and most of the crew bought time for Beordie and a few of us boys to get the casket into the vault. He put the ship on lockdown and ran it silent…non detectable. Not sure where or when he fell. We have been locked in here for days…maybe weeks. Occasionally we would hear fighting, We finally tried to help when we heard fighting near us. So many demons…so many undead…all of them frenzied. Never seen anything like it. We made them pay a heavy price, but they killed Beordie and did their best to end me as well.

Me: Bjorn not to sound crass…but we are pressed for time in the worst way possible. The rest of our group is immobilized petrified by basilisks and we need to secure the casket and get out of here pronto. Did Beordie have any scrolls or wands on him? And where is the casket?

Bjorn: You would have to check him, I don’t know what he had with him. The casket…we jettisoned it to the bottom of the ocean in a crab. Couldn’t afford to let them take it.

Me: So you defended a vault to the death with no treasure?
Bjorn grinning: Only way to make sure they bought it. There is another crab secured below the hull we sank the rest.

Me: how did you plan on recovering them?
Bjorn: We are storm giants…we can breathe underwater…
Me: *sigh* Can you make it down there and back with the crab or casket?
Bjorn gestures to his mangled arm and missing leg.
Me: yeah right.

There is a whole lot of useless money in the vault and we scour the place for scrolls and wands, anything that might break the enchantment. Beordie has a pretty substantial set of spellbooks with him, but is sorely lacking anything we can take advantage of.

Bjorn: He had a private workspace on the other side of the ship, this level.
Me: Of course he did. How deep is the water here?
Bjorn: 800 feet. Squish you like a bug to try and swim it.
Me: we just need to get to the other crab. What do you think Silent? Do we try to reach the dwarves study? Or go swimming to secure the casket first.
*pantomiming flipping a book*
Me:Alright…cross ship and into more certain danger we go.

Averis Vol
2013-01-24, 07:20 PM
Oh man, if that isn't just the biggest kick to the nether regions right there.....

2013-01-24, 10:35 PM
For the players, certainly!

2013-01-25, 10:20 AM
Aaaaaaand this is why 9 out of 10 adventurers are psychotically-paranoid murder-happy hobos.

2013-01-25, 12:09 PM
Don’t Touch Anything

Before heading cross ship and to almost certain doom, we establish a code word for Bjorn so he knows it will be us returning. I expend another handful of charges to rebuff Silent One and myself, only this time I use reduce person instead of enlarge person. We want stealth not girth here. We resume our advance and cover method and start squeeking across the ship. Anxiety is heightened by lack of encounters…when we aren’t getting harried by smaller forces it tends to mean there is a larger force waiting for us.

The directions to Beordie’s workshop are clear and we are able to locate it quickly. We slip into the room and find it is occupied. Standing amidst the table and various half finished projects is Tiraxis Nis, the githyanki slaver and at this point Biggest Bad we have seen. He smiles at us and invites us with a hand gesture.

Silent One: Ki is going to bane…I am going to engage him the moment I get a clear path.

There is a visual cue to Silent One’s ki being directed to a specific function and I see a purple haze coating his whole form.

Me: Easy mate…

Tiraxis: I do so enjoy that look. Do you realize how many men have stared at me with that same ferocity? I do. I relish the moment when that rage turns to despair. There is a split second after the dagger slips in, before the shock hits and they realize “ I have failed”. Sweeter than the finest wine. But sadly my schedule does not include time for those indulgences…not here, not now. We have a mutual interest, and I assure you that understanding what this interest might be outweighs your desire for vengeance. There is always another time for revenge Chulainn.

Silent One: I have not heard that name in years…
Me: Did he just talk in character?
DM: Yes.
Chulainn (aka Silent One):Give me one reason not to skewer you right here, right now. You murdered my family you gutless son of a whore.
Tiraxis: One reason? Very well. Your family lives and I know where they are.

Chulainn eases off his stance and the purple haze and looks completely dumbfounded.

Chulainn: 2 minutes…
Me: What is it that you want?
Tiraxis: Many things. First and foremost the animal talisman you currently carry.
Me: Why?
Tiraxis: For purposes beyond you. None of you fully comprehends the events unfolding. You are not meant to, but up until this point you have consistently surprised me. Things are not what they appear.
Me: Are you saying that you are not the enemy?
Tiraxis: Hardly. *huge laugh* I am DEFINITELY working against your best interests. But that does not mean we can't come to arrangements in the mean time.
Me: I don’t follow.

Tiraxis: You are a performer? I will put in terms you can explain. You think you are juggling five balls in the air and preventing them from landing in the casket. You discovered there are actually 9 balls in the air. I have dozens of objects in the air and I am required to keep them all spinning. Killing you would simply complicate things even worse right now. Easier to parley then murder at the moment. So you get to witness my generous side. Few do.

Chulainn whispers: He knows about the casket.
Me: What do you offer in return for the animal amulet?
Tiraxis: A document signed and sealed with my own blood enforced by the highest ranking Efreets from the City of Brass. It gurantees the current location and safety of Chulainn’s wife and children. I will also give you the exact whereabouts of your fascinating ship.

Chulainn and I confer and we are hard pressed to turn down this arrangement.

Chulainn: We want something else.
Tiraxis: more?
Chulainn: We want a honest answer to a single question.
Tiraxis: your question?

Chulainn: What happens once all five amulets are placed in the casket?

Tiraxis: you mean what happens when ANY five amulets are placed in the casket. I will answer you. What happens will depend entirely on which five amulets are locked in place. For months you have thought of it as a prison, as a phylactery as a coffin. Everything you assumed is wrong. What happens when the amulets are placed in the casket? The world will forever be changed. As for what type of change? No one knows the answer to that question…even the one who built it.

Chulainn: Can we risk giving up the amulet?

Me: One of the only things you ever requested when we met was that we somehow help you find your family. You went through hell and back and risked everything for us time and again. I think we make this deal and if it’s a trick then I accept the consequences. If it brings a storm, then we ride the winds at laugh at the fates as we defy them.

We make the deal. We exchange the animal amulet for the whereabouts of Chulainn’s family. Tiraxis also gives us a small compass that points in the direction of the Revenge.

Tiraxis examines the amulet for a moment then looks at Chulainn.

Tiraxis: When I kill you…I will know it to be all the sweeter. When the light goes out of your eyes you will realize that there is a pain far worse than loss. You will have known the sorrow of hope. When you die it will be with the knowledge that you did far worse than fail to avenge your family. You failed to reunite with them.

Chulainn: when you choke on those words…I want you to understand that I will take your head off your shoulders and march it straight into the City of Brass. Your reputation and legacy will die with you.

Tiraxis: Excellent…I love a man with drive. Until we meet again.

With that Tiraxis vanishes…

Me:Do you have any idea how much easier it is going to be since you can now talk?
Chulainn: It is a welcome change.

Beordie’s study is a trove of arcane and we get the feeling that Kemen is about to get a serious boost to his available spells and casting resources. There are also numerous half finished projects that we can pick up. Weapons, Armor, random magic items and even some schematics for golems and a few golem manuals. Most importantly…we find a wand with 7 charges of Break Enchantment…

On razor sharp pins and needles we make our way back to the top level of the ship and retrieve the rest of our group from the closet we stashed them in. 3 clicks of a wand later and we have a bewildered trio of PC’s trying to figure out what the hell happened.

Chulainn: Well we managed to finish off the third basilisk and worked our way back to the surface with your petrified forms. Snickle took the lack of casting backup as the perfect opportunity to abscond with the Revenge. So we managed to find the vault on our own, killed off the hill giant bounty hunter and located the casket which now lies on the bottom of the ocean. We confronted my arch nemesis and we struck a bargain to trade the animal amulet to him. From there Marilius snagged a wand of break enchantment and revived you all. I think that about sums it all up.

Stunned silence follows the summation from the monk and finally Coe-Nan says

Coe-Nan: Did the Silent One just talk?

We end session at that point with instructions to advance to level 12 for when we next meet.
Side Notes:

From the initial stage of character creation the DM told Chulainn he would only be able to speak under the narrowest of circumstance, and that once someone spoke his name...the element of the tatoo that restricted communcation would be lifted.

2013-01-25, 01:00 PM
FINALLY. Were the rest of the players in the room at the time?

2013-01-25, 01:35 PM
Looking for Revenge

I advance in Fochluran Lyrist and unlock 3rd level druid spells, I also get to bump Charisma and gain Shot on the Run
Chulainn advances again in monk and his tattoo expands on it’s own, increasing his greater magic fang and improving his Dex by 2. He takes Power attack as his feat and bumps dex…he is practically a humanoid hummingbird at this point.
Kemen takes the fifth level in Runesmith and boosts his int. He takes combat casting as his feat
Coe-Nan bumps Barbarian and strength. He takes greater two weapon fighting.
Paddock advances in cleric and bumps his wisdom. He takes Improved Turning.

There is a wealth of new options for magic items and equipment, but the allure of new shinies pales in comparison to losing our ship. Retrieving the casket is a top priority, but getting back our floating ship and home is right next to it. With 3rd level spells I can cast water breathing and we are able to secure the crab under the Pride. It becomes a very Looney Tunes situation for a minute…the apparatus is designed for huge creatures and we need to work together to operate the controls. We manage to surface it and empty it out, then dive back down to search the floor for the apparatus with the casket. We load up the bulk of what we can onto the surfaced crab and get Bjorn the Elder inside. The majority of what we can salvage from the Pride we load onto the apparatus and we elect to use that as our means of intercepting the Revenge.

Bjorn helps us disable the controls on the Pride so that we can ensure it won’t be hijacked. We have every intention of revisiting it and securing it once we track down Snickle. The compass and his statements lead us to believe Snickle intends to throw in his lot with the assembled forces of Ashleigh and company. He is going overland and circling wide away from the hosts of undead. Our plan is to intercept from a river and basically ride right under the hosts of undead. It will require us going day and night with no letup but we think the intercept course is possible.

Our days of travelling are spent tinkering with magic item crafting and speculating on the true nature of the casket itself. There is also a lot of grumbling about what we should do to Snickle once we catch him. None of it is pleasant.

Everything is going according to plan and progressing well, when the compass indicates sudden and erratic changes in direction. It ping pongs back and forth for a while then stop altogether. The Revenge then reverses course and starts heading back for the Pride. W…T…F?

Confused…we adjust our heading and do likewise. The compass indicates that our ship sailed right back to the Pride and just stopped, waiting there. A few days later we surface the crab and see our freed Medusa tradesmen hailing us from on deck the Revenge. One of them, Malkem, waves with the controlling key in hand.

Kemen: What happened?
Malkem: We managed to get the hatch open and swarmed the little twit. He jumped ship and ran. Took us a few hours to figure out how to really steer the ship but we decided to come back here and wait.
Coe-Nan: Saving these guys from the medusa….definately one of the best decisions we have made.
Paddock: So what next?
Kemen: Snickle can wait. We need to finish securing the Pride, and then we have to meet with our enemies.
Me: Meet with them?
Kemen: Your conversation with Tiraxis concerns me. I think we are all being played and I want a meeting with the rest of the amulet holders.
Chulainn: I highly doubt they are looking for rational diplomacy.

Kemen: I think they will listen. They scrabbled for power and dominion. The world is over, there is nothing left to rule over. We have the casket…that puts us in the driver’s seat. They will come to us. They will listen. If they don’t…we send them to the ocean floor.

The next week is spent preparing the Revenge and Pride for defense. We raise the remaining crabs from the ocean floor and get them repaired. We finish clearing the Pride and securing it, the majority of hostiles are long abandoned and there is just the odd wandering monster or wraith left over. Bjorn helps us get the Pride in working condition. It is back to operational, but lacks a crew. We train our followers to operate the apparatus…it takes a four man crew to operate a single one, but with 50 guys we can get 10 operational crabs. Coe-Nan and Kemen finish repairs on the mounted deck weapons for the Pride and start drilling everyone on their use.

As we promised much earlier the Revenge sets out to Erick and we spirit away his survivors from their besieged cathedral and bring them back to the Pride. All told we end up with close to a 100 survivors, most of whom are combat capable. From that position we create a Sending for Ashleigh.

2013-01-25, 02:02 PM
From the initial stage of character creation the DM told Chulainn he would only be able to speak under the narrowest of circumstance, and that once someone spoke his name...the element of the tatoo that restricted communcation would be lifted.

Ahhhh, ok, that explains where the sudden cure for muteness came from. I had assumed he could only talk while in the pressence of Tiraxis, and once the githyanki left it would all be back to business as usual.

2013-01-25, 02:16 PM
He did only speak in the presence of Tiraxis...we figured that much out. But the name part of it was a development we never saw coming. That was pre-planned during character building and kept hush hush between Chu and the DM.

2013-01-25, 02:53 PM
An Unexpected Development:

Some strange diplomacy ends with Ashleigh, Torix and the Hag agreeing to meet with us on board the Pride. We prepare for their arrival in 48 hours. The night before their arrival we are on high alert for an ambush. All the siege equipment is manned, and we keep all the early detection systems from the Revenge at maximum.

In the middle of the night the sound of metal on metal and the hiss of sparks rouse us from sleep. Scrambling for equipment we hastily arm ourselves and prepare to investigate…while assembling Kemen is informed that his armor is gone. Seeing as how he only removes it to sleep and then begrudgingly it is a shock to him. Once it becomes clear we are not under attack we explore deeper into the Pride where the sound is coming from. Best we can tell, the sound is emanating from a workshop on the 3rd level.

Chulainn leads the search and we hear him let out a startled whisper.

Chulainn: I must be seeing things…
Me: What is it?
Chulainn: Kemen’s armor.
Kemen: you found it? Down here???
Chulainn: Found it is not quite the word…It’s…well just come look.

We all poke our heads into the workshop and find Kemen’s armor…hard at work sculpting weapons and working a forge. It works effectively and quickly…moving from one task to another with cold efficiency. Seven or eight different projects are being tended to and it seems oblivious to our presence. It is clear there is no one inside…we can see the blank space through the helm’s visor. But there it is…the dwarf’s armor is steadily plugging away at the forge. After what feels like hours….it turns and looks at us. A spectral and familiar voice reaches from the empty space inside…and talks to Kemen.

Beordie: You just going to stand there and gawk lad? There is work to be done…
Paddock: Kemen…your armor is talking to you.
Kemen: I am aware of this fact.
Paddock: It never used to talk.
Chulainn: neither did I…funny how things change.

Kemen walks up to his own armor as if in a trance and picks up working alongside it. From a distance they seem otherworldly. Coe-Nan starts to move forward and Paddock stops him.

Paddock: I hardly consider myself a spiritual priest. But I understand the gods and have knowledge of their working. This is a situation where we need to leave them be. More than one dwarf is in that room. We need to leave it at that.

Me: What do you mean?

Paddock: If you could see what I feel in my heart then you would know that it’s not Beordie in that suit. It’s more than a spirit visiting our plane. We hear a single voice, but there must be hundreds whispering to him right now.
Chulainn: how is it that you feel this?

Paddock: Kord answers my prayers everyday. He came to us and visited us making his presence known on the day I fought against Samhain. Since that day I hear him more clearly. I feel like his will louder and stronger. He gave me the strength to resist temptation when presented with the undead amulet. I feel him urging us to let this play out. We must not disturb him…no matter what.

The sounds of the forge echo through the ship and off the waters of the ocean hour after hour. Minutes away from the scheduled meeting time the hammering persists…
Me: 30 hours straight he has been working.
Paddock: Let him be.
Coe-Nan: They will be here any minute.
Paddock: That is our concern, not his.

Three dragons fly into view. A blue, a green and a red. Atop the blue is Ashleigh, atop the green is Torix and atop the red is the Sea Hag. They land at the furthest end of the Pride and the three dragons take wing and circle overhead. They all look haggard…but steely.

Ashleigh seems to be their spokesperson.

Ashleigh: We were under the impression that five of your were together. I count 4.
Paddock: Our comrade is occupied.

Ashleigh appraises our ships and looks over the mounted siege weapons. She pauses on him and flashes a devilish smile.

Ashleigh: You look well Marilius. You have grown since we last parted ways.
Me: you are just as radiant as ever. I was always told you that humility and shyness did you a disservice. You always looked the most beautiful when you were confident.
Ashleigh: That was a long time ago…much has changed.
Me: So I have heard. Do you find that motherhood suits you? I am curious as to what type of father I was meant to be.
Ashleigh: My son is not a concern for you.
Me: Our son.
Ashleigh: Your involvement was strictly…biological. His is mine and mine alone.
Me: I suppose that parenting is a topic for a different day. I was looking forward to meeting him though.
Ashleigh: You would regret such a meeting, and likely not survive it.

Torix, the gensai groans and picks that moment to interrupt.
Torix: you said there was much to discuss and all of it relevant to current events. What intelligence do you bear that impacts our war?

Paddock: Have you been paying attention to the world around you? This is not a war…it’s the final attrition. War rearranges lines on a map, it involves protecting territory or hedgemony. This is a reckoning. There is no more world to rule over, no dominion to conquer or vassals to pay homage. The only glory is managing to survive another day.

Torix: We are aware of these facts and not responsible for the state of things. That was the work of another.
Me: Who?
The three all look at each other.

Sea Hag: We don’t know.
Me: Droka? Wind? Ven Aus?

We wait to Sense motive and see reactions. None of them recognize those names….

Me: how about Tiraxis?
THAT name gets recognition.
Ashleigh: Tiraxis made us aware of the amulets…he supplied the dragon amulet to me personally.
Torix: And I as well.
Sea Hag: Aye.
Me: What did he bid you do with these talismans? What were his wishes…
Ashleigh: He explained their use …he never asked us to do anything with them.
Paddock: what of the casket?
Torix: Casket? What casket?
Paddock: The one you sent minions here to acquire.
Ashleigh: The power source?
Me: What?
Ashleigh: Tiraxis told us there was a power source that would amplify the effectiveness of the amulets and their effectiveness.

Me: So let me get this straight. No one has any clue what the githyanki wants? No one knows who is behind this all? We are all just fumbling at straws trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

Kemen: Yes…fumbling in the dark is a great way to describe it. And that is just what he wants.

Kemen emerged from below decks in mid conversation…and he looks like hell. His beard is heavily singed and charred, he is once again wearing his armor, but suddenly the weight of it seems to be overwhelming and several times we expect him to fall in mid step. His face is gaunt…the thick muscle and tissue that filled out his features have evaporated and his hair has much more gray in it.

Behind him come Bjorn…prostethic peg leg thumping against the deck…the giant is carrying the casket on his back and in his good arm is a heavy crossbow (more like hand crossbow to him) his mangled arm has a leather strap with a hook on it….perfect for pulling back the drawstring for a crossbow (and suitably pirate-y).

Bjorn slides it to the deck in the middle of everyone and then moves back.

Kemen: We have sacrificed much and seen many lives end trying to protect this device. An ancient dragon was driven mad trying to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Emberbane was his name…and he came to this ship and accepted death in order to see it sheltered. An entire civilization functioned as a prison for this casket. They devoted millennia to finding a way to destroy it. Why?What power could this thing hold that would drive an ANCIENT RED DRAGON TO ALTRUISTIC SUICIDE!?!

He practically screams the last part.

Kemen: I know the answer. We all do. We were just to blinded by our own desires to see it.
Sea Hag: What is this answer then?

Kemen: It took me remembering a riddle I heard as a child to solve it. What is stronger than steel and weaker than glass? What is heavier than a mountain and lighter than a feather? What is greater than Moradin and lesser than a worm?

Me: Is it hope or some metaphor like that?

Kemen: nothing. The answer is nothing. This thing is nothing. It’s only purpose is to be indestructible.

Me: Huh?

Kemen: We all got conned. Tiraxis had a purpose for all of this. He needed to spread chaos and anarchy. He needed to get these things used. The more they were used the more it charged the real danger. The best way to get something done is make people do it themselves. As we fought and clashed and tried to assert our wills these amulets fed off it and focused power to the spell that altered the world. Everyone involved in these artifacts had differing information, and differing opinions.

Torix: So…tell me Merchant Prince…how did you gain this wisdom?

Kemen: A good friend and amazing spirit gave his life defending this relic. My whole people have suffered mightily to preserve the casket and similar talismans. Too many of my brethren have joined Morradin in his halls too early. Through their spirits he tasked me with a single goal and a single means of achieving it.

Ashleigh: What was this message?
Kemen: in dwarvish Krazak Kavad Korad.
Me: Which means…?

Kemen: It means something that only makes sense to dwarves…but in Common it translates to “Cut through all the Bull****”

With that translation he gestures to Bjorn who unhooks a satchel from his waist…which he hands to Coe-Nan.

Kemen: Coe-Nan if you would do the honors…
Coe-Nan opens the satchel and draws forth a crude iron greataxe. It looks like something that sat in a tomb for a few centuries before being dusted off and hung on a mantle. It doesn’t really even appear to have an edge to it.
Coe-Nan: What am I supposed to do with this?
Kemen: break the damn thing.
Torix: What will happen?
Kemen: If Im right…not a damn thing. If I’m wrong…then we won’t be around long enough to know it.

All of this is news to us…he didn’t discuss any of this with us ahead of time.

Coe-Nan shrugs the axe above his head and prepares to bring it down. He squeezes his eyes shut ahead of time and slams the crude axe down.
The casket splinters at the impact site and cracks form all along the exterior…it crackles then shatters into dust before our eyes. Just like Kemen said…not a damn thing happens.

2013-01-25, 03:24 PM
The bulk of the primary plot line is coming to it's climax. I wanted to throw out some obversations before hitting the home stretch here. There is maybe 3-4 days or 6-9 more segments to post before hitting the climax of this plot line. Relatively speaking this set of characters (or the closest thing to them. I am not saying we make it out of this alive...at least 1 of us survives) is about halfway through the big campaign. Here are some mild spollers...more footnotes than spoilers. You can skip these if you want, or read them after the finale.

The Casket:

The MacGuffin de jour. Our DM designed this as the ultimate red herring. It was strictly put into the campaign world as a focus for everyone to bump against. It was more than MacGuffin. It was a catalyst for millenia of confusion and destruction. The simple twist to it was that it was only indestrucible because people thought it was something special. The harder you tried to get rid of it and the more convinced you were that it was special the stronger it got. Kemen came up with his epiphany between sessions. He figured out the trick on his own and when he asked our DM he got the tip that he hit the nail on the head...that triggered his "at the forge with Beordie's ghost" revelation.


Paddock's spiritual revolution was a character development reward. When he turned down the chance to try and corrupt or destroy the liches and chose the greater good he earned the right for some divine intervention. And quite frankly he was in cahoots with Kemen on the whole break the casket moment. The other three of us were clueless as to what was happening and just along for the ride.


Wayyyyyy back when I put up brief character descriptions I mentioned a blurb about Silent One only finding his family after meeting a scholar wrapped in stone. I'm not sure what the original plan was but our DM took that metaphor a bit literally and timed it so that a petrified Kemen was the trigger for Tiraxis having his verbal confrontation and name reveal.


this is a bit spolierish...so I will double tag this.

The Sha-Hatal spirit and gradual transformation is addressed much more in the second half. We were honestly perplexed as to whether he was going werewolf on us or what.


Same thing as Coe-Nan...double tagging this one

I was a bit miffed to not meet my "son" on camera before the halfway finale. After the fact I know that things continued on...but the finale was a conclusion of sorts. We werent sure these guys could be revisited when all was said and done. I get the benefit of hindsight and foreknowledge now and I can say that while the main trunk never shows him on camera the second half will.

The Revenge

We loved this ship. Absolutely frigging loved it. At one point it was going to be a long term project that was slowly built from some mystery schematics. It was a side project type thing that our DM had planned for but was open as to when he would introduce it. When we got cooky with the Dread Parrot it morphed into an artifact instead of a personal creation.

The Dread Parrot Roberts:

We were driven nuts by this thing. It was a deus ex machina and plot hook generator combined. The tables our DM created are so chaotic and random it made for high entertainment. I posted something about the Dread Parrot in the Funniest Stories thread and later asked our DM for the tables. his response "maybe someday I will reveal the full sheets, but I might want to break him out again someday...so not yet" We got glimpses of some it and couldnt believe some of the good and bad we avoided.


My DM friend and I are trying to make full sense of the OGL. I have convinvced him to look at putting together a printable form version for the Calimshaw Campaign and the other two big ones. A collection of full character blocks, maps, guides, strategies the whole deal. I want to explore Kickstarter and see if i can manage to publish them at a price where we can cover costs and share them.

Amidus Drexel
2013-01-25, 03:49 PM
That is an excellent twist. Unexpected, but it makes perfect sense looking back on it.

I think I'll save reading the footnotes until after the finale...

2013-01-25, 05:16 PM
Dark Waters:

We all stare in stunned silence. No unholy lich from an ancient empire rises from the dust…no flash of light or dark energy. It just falls to dust.

Kemen: The time is now. I challenge you each to play your amulet’s on the deck and let my friend shatter them. Destroy them. No more jockeying for power, no more trickery. Let’s cut through the bull**** and destroy these artifacts. Give the world a chance to rebuild…to rise from the dark. Once we return from the brink go back to your scheming and manipulation. But right now in this moment…do what’s right.

A slow clap interrupts Kemen’s diatribe. Tiraxis is leaning against the rails of our ship and looks for the first time to be angry. The mischevious façade is cracking…he is trying to hold it together but this time we see the failing. He is pissed.

Tiraxis: I was told this MIGHT happen. Never thought I would see the day. Destroying the casket is vexing…but I can deal with that. The moment you scratch an amulet…then I have to intervene.

Kemen: We are going to do more than scratch them. We are going to destroy them.

Tiraxis leers at our wizard for a long moment then turns to the trio of talisman agents.

Tiraxis: Do you share his desire to destroy the items that grant you such power? Would you be willing to give up all the control you have worked so hard to amass on the whim of a half crazed delirious dirt sucker?

Torix looks long at hard at Kemen and the dust of the casket. He snatches the amulet from his neck and tosses it to the deck.

Torix: Hell yes.

Coe-Nan doesn’t hesitate and brings the axe down hard enough to splinter the enchanted wood the Pride’s deck. The amulet shatters and there is a palpable groan in the world.

Tiraxis hisses and snaps to full attention. As he makes the sudden move we see a whole chain of amulets around his neck…all nine…

Kemen whispers it first: There have always been two of each. He held the originals the entire time…he just needed us to squirm . I think he loaned them out at times for long term purposes, like corrupting Emberbane…but there have always been more than 1.

Tiraxis: Too late you grow sense. So close to what my master needed. There is always time to start over…but right now….I feel like indulging.

As he practically croons the word indulging the seas themselves start thrashing. From the depths three shapes larger than any whale and black as night rise up and take flight. Nightwaves…100 foot long undead sharks capable of flight. Just as fast as they rise up…so do great torrents of water as water elementals surge to the surface to lock wills against these predators from the deepest abysses of the ocean. Torix is baffled…he is no longer controlling the elementals…they are controlling themselves. And more importantly they are free from the forces that subverted them into proto undead.

Me: Ashleigh we have to crack the other talismans…breaking them will liberate all members of that race.

In a daze she tries to unclasp her amulet and is rewarded with a pair of daggers slashing at her throat. They cut…but not as deep as they should have…Stoneskin ftw. Tiraxis covered the 100 feet or so between them in less than five seconds…he is really damn fast. She is forced to defend herself as swarms of gargoyles and undead harpies begin filling the skies. Tiraxis is attacking her with a speed that belies anything we have ever witnessed…well almost.

Chulainn reacts first and he covers the same 100 feet just as fast as Tiraxis and sends his spear into action. The Sea Hag manages to her amulet off and toss it to Coe-Nan as a nightwave swoops in and buzzes the deck swallowing her whole. Coe-Nan gets his feet braced and shatters the demonic amulet.

Within heartbeats demons appear from thin air and begin countering the masses in the skies. I unfurl bow and try to lace arrows into Tiraxis. Paddock may disapprove of me interfering in Chulainn’s business…but I have no such qualms. Kemen hit a rune on the chestplate of his armor and a stoneskin spell pops up around him. Then he calmly starts applying the same to anyone within reach.

Tiraxis is shredding Ashleigh and dancing around Chulainn like he is barely an irriation. Only our best rolls on highest base attack can connect on him. Any errant spell a demon throws at him he evades or saves. She ends up opening herself to a fatal full attack throwing her amulet to Coe-Nan…who shatters the dragon amulet…THAT gets things interesting.

Tiraxis howls in frustration as dragons of all races and types are drawn to the Pride like the worlds biggest bullseye.

Kemen howls above the maelstrom

Kemen: You don’t seem to realize just how much you pissed off not only us…but the world. No one likes to be a puppet.

Tiraxis growls and abandons the dying cloud giantess, he does…something…and the next thing we know he is astride one of the nightwaves…

Tiraxis: I will gather up legions of devils….hordes of animals…droves of giants…and I will grind your bones into dust…

Kemen raises his hand like a marshall in battle.

Kemen: There is something you need to hear before you leave Tiraxis. I am a capable wizard…but Im pretty sure you can save against any spell I toss at you. Me casting one spell a turn…bah…useless. But funny thing is…I have lots of lower level spells…most of which are functionally wasted on you.

At this point our DM is just looking at Kemen in confusement.

Tiraxis: Tell me something useful dwarf.

Kemen:Ok…Don’t bother ducking….it wont help.


From the crabs emerge our freedmen…all level 2 or 3…even with the crossbow training and bane weapons we know they can’t do anything other than score a hit on a natural 20. But Kemen is grinning and he barely cast anything in the fight. He also looks extremely tired.
Paddock: What are they holding…those aren’t crossbows?
Coe-Nan: It looks like rocks.
Me (ooc): Alright…what are you doing…throwing rocks?

Kemen slides the Races of Stone book to me and it has sticky note on the page for Runesmith.

Me: Share Spell…

Kemen brings his hand down and 30 of our freedmen launch a veritable wall of magic missiles. He used every spell slot he had to make shared magic missiles. 30 runes…150missiles.

Our DM sits there stunned….

DM: Tiraxis has some of the sickest saving throw you could imagine. He has evasion, and improved evasion. HIS AC is through the roof. You guys use and have virtually no save or die spells.

Coe-Nan: So what are you saying…

Still stunned…

DM: Tiraxis had no spell resistance…all 150 missiles hit him…that is a minimum of 300 damage.

Kemen: Whose the dirt sucker now?

Tiraxis plummets from the back of his nightwave…a nightwave now free from his control. And hurls through the air where he slams into the deck…

The Dread Parrot Roberts chooses that moment to emerge and fly over to the corpse of our first major nemesis.

Dread Parrot: Stone F**king Dead. Ceased to be. Deceased…no longer of this world.

If you get the irony of that interaction then you now perfectly understand our DM’s sense of humor.

As Tiraxis shuffles off this mortal coil…the world seems to alter. We are guessing that his death just reverted all remaining converted entities back to their natural forms. Which raises a whole new set of complications, but we can deal with those later.

Paddock stabilizes Ashleigh, and suddenly we are at the calm center of demons, dragons….and loads of everything else. All the good feeling and sense of “the world is bigger than us” that made this moment possible are quickly shrinking beneath the weight of hostilities that transcend Planes and history.

Paddock: Everyone just take a deep breath. We can all kill each other in a little while. First order of business is these remaining amulets.

A Succubus calls out for demons to take possession of their own amulet. This sentiment is echoed more or less across the board.

Kemen: no one takes anything. We destroy them all.

A massive red dragon (formerly the Sea Hag’s mount) says “ I will not permit that to happen”

A chorus of hollow graveyard voices booms across the landscape “yes…you will”

Standing in mid air and surrounding the ship is the conclave of 13 liches. One of them levitates down to our deck and places the undead amulet (or one of them at least) at Coe-Nan’s feet.

“Do it”

Coe-Nan obliges and shatters the amulet.
Paddock: Anyone want to argue with the 13 epic casters? I don’t think they will be verrrry keen.
DM: really
Paddock ooc: What you went there first.

Sometimes overwhelming firepower is just that…overwhelming firepower. One by one Coe-Nan smashes the amulets on the deck of the ship. Tensions hardly ease…but the crowd starts breaking up as various races take their leave. In the end the five of us stand on the deck with Torix, Ashleigh and Bjorn. Nearly two years of weekend campaigning brought us to this point and we all sat at the table a bit shell shocked.

Chulainn: can I borrow that axe Coe?
Coe-nan: Sure…
Chulainn: I got a promise to keep.
Paddock: normally I oppose desecrating a corpse…but I think exceptions can be made.
DM: Decapitation?
Chulainn: you bet your ass!

2013-01-25, 05:18 PM
What Comes Next:

There is most certainly more amulets out there. We have given up all notion of original-vs-duplicate…to us it’s all misdirection. For us it boils down to this.

If Ven Aus is truly the mastermind behind everything then he is more than two steps ahead of us. The best way to protect your phylactery? Make people fight each other to the death over what they think is your phylactery. Wherever his real phylactery is at…we aren’t going to be able to follow clues and find it. The true question now becomes…is he orchestrating everything that has transpired.

Tiraxis has been a major recurring villain and he had style…but he was not the mastermind. From our perspective there is still some element in play that we have not wrapped our heads around. Why orchestrate all this anarchy and chaos? Why did he want to bring this spell or event into play? What is his goal?

We got lots of loose ends all of a sudden.
*Morbid curiosity beckons us to bring his head to the City of Brass.
*Chulainn has the ability to track down his family. That has to be a high priority for us.
*We found an astrolabe, and presumably if we are going to get enlightened on current events then Droka and Wind would be good brains to tap.
*There are more amulets out there somewhere, and the people in control of them now have encouragement to stay to the shadows and be subtle. They CAN be broken.
*The world is in shambles. A massive shake up and restructuring are most definitely on the horizon.

Locating Chulainn’s family becomes our first objective. He opens the document given to him by Tiraxis and reads on with laser focus. The contents leave him dejected.

Chulainn: He didn’t lie, but they are far worse than dead.
Me: Where are they?
Chulainn: They are in the City of Brass…
Coe-Nan: Well that kills two birds with one stone. We can take the head to the City and get back the family in one trip.

Chulainn:…they are personal slaves to the Grand Sultan of the Efreet, the Lord of Flame, the Potentate Incandescent, the Tempering and Eternal Flame of Truth, the Most Puissant of Hunters, Marshall of the Order of the Fiery Heart, the Smoldering Dictator, the Crimson Firebrand, Marrake al-Sidan al-Hariq ben Lazen. He sold my family to the Grand Sultan…he wished to bed a gith princess. My wife is consigned to his harem.

Me: Well its going to be expensive but worth it to buy her.

Chulainn: there is more. I think he wanted to gloat. After kidnapping them several other members of the royal line were assassinated. Technically my son and daughter are the heirs to the Gith throne. However any offspring issued from him would have claims as well. If she produced a child from his unconsented union, then he simply could kill my children and place his bastard on the throne.

Kemen: We aren’t going to let that happen.

Talk about ruining a happy moment. Much as we relish the notion of storming the Charcoal Palace and hauling off the princess…that is a dead end…our dead end.

Kemen: We will find a way to liberate her or purchase her. But it is going to require a lot of preparation and planning.

Chulainn: Patience I have learned.

Me: Let’s tackle what we can. Where are the two prisons?
Kemen: Both are distant, nowhere near each other. Five to Seven days via the Revenge to reach either.

Knowing the situation his family is in, makes leaving them to languish further absolutely gut wrenching. But that is one challenge we can’t tackle just yet. So we strive to preserve this Plane first and provide a home where we can bring them home to. The Prisons become our next goal.

2013-01-25, 05:22 PM
Oh, that must have been awesome. But what could happen after this? That just screamed final boss. And yet you say you're still playing it.

Then again, there is the world to rebuild.

2013-01-25, 05:36 PM
That moment with the Magic Missiles is epic, especially since the DM was so clearly not expecting a damn thing like it. Bravo, good sir. Bravo. I look forward to more, as always.

2013-01-25, 05:58 PM
Well... that escalated quickly.

But holy moly what a pay-off!

2013-01-26, 10:10 AM
Return to Malabith

Consulting a series of maps tips us off to the fact that one of the prison’s is located at the border of Malabith. We were probably within a mile of the first location without realizing it at the time. For sake of coincidence it feels like the right one to visit first. We pack up the Revenge and begin a heading to the stone city replica. In transit Kemen starts working on augmenting some of our exisiting equipment with things like frost, fire resistance and outsider bane. In the long term we plan on reaching the Elemental Plane of Fire and we want to ready for efreets.

The path is strewn with pilgrims. Folks of all walks and races are hard pressed to return to their homes. Tens of thousands were affected by the controlling spell and were displaced from their homes and family. Whole communities were hundreds of miles from their towns when the spell broke and trying to get back is not without peril. Perhaps even worse…the memories of what transpired and there, not exactly clear but the shades of memory lurk.

Suddenly our chest bumping and high fiving for “saving the world” feels like a prhyicc victory. The Revenge eats up mile after mile and within a week we reach the coordinates listed on the the note. They brought us to the hollowed out mountain overlooking the stone city. It takes a full afternoon but we find evidence of tool use in a cave and follow a roughly hewn stone staircase up into the peak of the mountain.

The stairway leads to a stone door, the markings on the door are faded and nearly invisible.

Chulainn: An Eternity of Almost Death for Betrayers…that is what is says.

Me: So good chance one of Karnacks associates is behind this door, they would have been locked in here for ages and I imagine they will prove hostile. He did warn us that they would want to help but may not be able to resist their compulsions.

We buff up with a round of spells and Coe-Nan works to pry the door the open. Inside is a short hallway illuminated by a permanent light spell from the room ahead of us. A soft humming fills the hallway. Walking in we find a single room, maybe 15 by 10 with a single desk and chair. The walls are crammed with writing embedded into the very stone. Sitting at the desk is a skeletal bald human…presumably a lich.

The figure looks up at us as the door opens and seems happy to see us. It is Droka…the lich from our visions.

Droka: Marvelous. You managed to find me. Earlier would have been fortunate but you seem to have done quite well in the interim.
Kemen: Do you have to kill us?
Droka: If you attack me yes. Otherwise I think we manage to be civil. So…do you like what I’ve done with the place?

We look at the squat and featureless room….

Coe-Nan: it looks cozy…sure
The lich laughs at us…
Droka: not this room….the city! Took me ages. But I think I really managed the detail work quite well.
Paddock: you built the replica city….

Droka: You try spending 5,000 years locked in a room with one chair…boredom is worse than death…and trust me I’ve died I know.

Droka rambles on and on about using teleport and stoneshape and other spells to basically build a replica city of Malabith his capital city over the last several thousand years. It’s a little creepy. Like a demi-god with excessive amounts of legos.

Droka: But I digress. You here about our master.
Kemen: Yes. We would like to meet him.
Droka: I am prohibited from saying where I think he is.

Paddock: Right you alluded to a lot in your message to us. I am curious just what exactly are you prohibited from. I want to know the details.

“This man Droka of Malabith shall spend eternity in this room and this room only. He shall not leave this place til time itself ends. He shall preserve his existence by all means necessary. He shall neither speak, nor write, nor convey any word that hurts my interests. He shall remain unseen and unheard by any mortal. This pact will remain in effect against all exclusion. No spell, no will, no strength of this world or any other will render his pact void. He shall be my thrall for all time now and forever”

Kemen immediately begins chuckling under his breath….

Droka: I have spent millennia striving a way to break the pact. I have not found a single means imagineable. It took remarkable self detachment and all the strength of a century to get the one non spoken mental message to you and your comrades.

Kemen: Droka…don’t worry I got this…give me about a week and we will have you out of here.

All eyes turn to Kemen…even our DM.

DM: Alright I can’t wait to hear this.

Kemen: Guys I need to get back to my workshop, I need about a week. Find out what else you can in the meantime Just because he can’t help on this topic doesn’t mean he wont have knowledge of other topics.

Our DM likes a surprise as much as the next guy…though Im pretty sure the magic missile swarm hurt his feeling…and he bides as we question Droka. He can’t provide much help. He helps confirm a lot of what we already figured out and he seems excited that we found a way to break the amulets. The knowledge that the casket was a decoy wounds him deeply.

Seven days later Kemen walks back in with a belt slung over his shoulder…

Kemen: Put this on…
Droka: What is it?
Kemen: It’s a belt…keeps your pants from falling off.
Droka: It took you a week to make a belt?
Kemen: It’s a very nice belt.
Droka: Ok.

Droka puts on the belt and a subtle transformation takes place. His features grow softer, his bony hips widen every so slightly and his chest rises the smallest amount. His bald skull gives way to a pixie cut of grey hair.

Droka: What have you done???

Kemen: I made you a belt…more accurately a girdle of femininity. Everything in the curse references “He” or “Him” doesn’t say a damned thing about “her” or “she”. I didn’t do a single thing to break the confines of your pact or the pact itself, I just made a slight change to your gender. So what do you say? Want to try and take a walk.

We sat at the table laughing our asses off for at least ten minutes. Our DM was positively dumbfounded. Forget “ I didn’t see this coming” this was straight up insane outside the box thinking that I doubt anyone would have conceived.

Droka….walks to the edge of the room and when his hand breaks the plane of the doorframe he begins sobbing uncontrollably. There are no tears but he is weeping like a baby.

Droka: Free…I am free…
Kemen: Yes...now about this “Master”

A liberated Androka (his choice for a new name) spills everything he knows in a torrent.

*The master is Ven Aus…and he is a mystic theurge. He kept his clerical abilities a secret and most only knew him as a wizard.
*He made the ascension to lichdom, but his process was unlike anything the others went through.
*Androka says he is formidable…capable of epic spellcraft.
*They never caught onto the true intention of the casket and the amulets so he can’t help us there.
*He scryed and searched the world over. He never got a glimpse of where Ven Aus is hiding.

Androka: I have had a suspicion for a long time…what you have told me about the final nature of the casket and true purpose of the amulets has given me an insight. Ven was a master of manipulation and always seems to be misdirecting and confusing the true nature of things. I think I know where he is at.

Me: We are all ears.

Androka: you say that the casket derived its durability from the belief that it was indestructible.

Us: Yep.

Androka: he would have wanted to personally ensure that belief was cemented and would have nurtured the tales surrounding it to grow.
Coe-Nan: makes sense.

Kemen: And what is the one place that did more to create the “legend” of these relics than anywhere else?


Cinhill Rue.

The bastard was inside the city the whole time with the knowledge of the most powerful civilization ever at this fingertips. He tricked the only nation with the strength to oppose his home country into building him a citadel without equal. He made his only possible enemy into the greatest force driving his plans.

Chulainn: So all we have to do is enter the impregnable stronghold of a civilization that transcended anything we have access to, fight off an epic dual role caster with millennia of preparation and the forethought to make an entire world dance to his tune, all with the knowledge that we still don’t know where his phylactery is at. Sooooo even if we manage to pull off the greatest “Rocky” underdog win of all time…he will just be back in a week to laugh at us.

Me: that is not entirely true. The Revenge is Cinhill Rue artifice. We have at least one aspect that matches their peek.
Androka:What is The Revenge?
Me: It’s our ship.
Androka: is it a ship in the same way this is a belt?
Kemen: That is a good way of putting it….

2013-01-26, 10:33 AM
This is how Dungeons and Dragons is meant to be played. Well done sir! This could almost be a film script...

2013-01-26, 10:49 AM
Good Weather and Fair Wind:

Androka is extremely impressed with the Revenge and absolutely fascinated by it’s design. He is eager to travel forth and find Wind. The prospect of the bard having endured time makes him positively giddy. Our DM also plays off Androka as having something of a mental break. She is taking the gender shift rather seriously….but being a bit of skin stretched over bone ruins the feminine mystique. When she emerges wearing a dress and make up we get a little worried.

(Although truth be told a fair number of models probably don’t look all that different from her)

The Revenge sets course for where we presume Wind to be held and start sending out requests for one final alliance to everyone we know. The list of replies is slim. Ashleigh has agreed to assist us and Erick is willing to support, but they are hardly big guns. We held out hope that Vardon survived the Darkness, but it looks like he was killed. The majority of our druid allies are gone and we are faced with pretty much going at this alone.

Androka does assist Kemen in crafting and between them they start to churn out some very useful items.

Wind’s prison is located at the center of a lake…and we are faced with the prospect of diving via water breathing.

Androka: Just take the ship under…
Kemen: I don’t think it can do that
Androka: Have you ever tried?

It takes some complicated maneuvering, but the Revenge does dive below the surface of the lake and an invisible bubble surrounds the ship to allow us air to breath. A derelict ship awaits at the bottom of the lake…we pull the Revenge up right over it and the bubble extends to cover the prison ship.
The five of us along with Androka breech the sunken ship (which is not filled with water) and head towards the sound of a lyre being strummed. We find Wind in the captain’s quarters of the ship. He looks more crystalline then humanoid, and his eyes are hollow voids with the faintest light of blue. The presence of Androka causes him miss a note on the lyre he is strumming.

Wind: how…
Androka: These fellows have worked very hard to rectify the errors of our past. They are quite resourceful *then androka gestures to me and lets out a little “teehee” noise* and most certainly dashing

Kemen: We brought you a present…what size belt do you wear?

We hold a conference with all our freedmen and tell them we are very likely not going to be returning. We encourage them to return the Weald and help provide order and refuge for all who need it. Malkem is appointed Steward of our affairs and we give him cart blanche to use the wealth we attained in whatever fashion they see fit. Wind and Androka readily agree to accompany us on our suicide mission. Ashleigh and Erick join us as well.

Wind: Ven Aus is smarter than us and far more willing to dole out death and carnage. He has spent millennia preparing SOMETHING in Cinhill Rue. I only take confidence that we expect will likely be wrong. His strength exceeds our own. Androka and myself will buy you as much time as we can. I hope that your group can find a means of locating his phylactery and destroying it before we fall. I think he will keep it close. No person capable of his mis-trust and deception would trust it far from his hand.

Me: Anything we do hinges on us being able to find a way into Cinhill Rue. I don’t think that will prove easy. We also don’t know where he is at….we spent a full week in that city and found no sign of him.

Coe-Nan: It is a big place.

The Revenge sets course for the Hullbreaker’s Edge and we make what final preparations we can. Mostly this revolves around a huge gamble of strategy. We are going to take a very long shot here…the ship reaches the island chain and then dives beneath the waves….the invisible and concealed structure becomes visible as we approach and a warning sound we have never heard before goes off. The skeleton crew become fully solid and bump us out of the way as they set to work. The ship goes into an auto pilot mode and steers us towards an outrigger hub, it sails through the walls and comes to rest in a half finished docking bay.

Kemen: See first step went off without a hitch…

2013-01-26, 05:13 PM

A pleasant surprise…once the system goes on lockdown and the 1 month period is over…movement within the city is uninhibited. We are able to move throughout the complex with little interruption. As we said…it is a huge place. Wherever Ven Aus is…he is more than happy to remain hidden. We wander the halls day after day in fruitless hunting.

We exhaust just about every possible nook and cranny. After eight days we find ourselves back in the ruby complex. All of us end up staring at the giant anvil.

Androka: To think, all this misery and destruction started with a group of people trying to do the right thing. They stood in this very spot and sought to make the world a better place, and like a rat hiding under the floorboards Ven Aus chuckled and knew they were only aiding him.

Me: say that last part again…
Androka: A rat under the floorboards?
Me: mother***ker.

I move to the base of the anvil….to the same spot where ages ago I stood with a dagger in hand ready to spill my blood and open a section locked off beneath the anvil.

Me: We decided to not allow Kreestan access to anything non dragon blood related…we never looked under the anvil. He LITERALLY watched from underfoot as they smashed uselessly against his decoy.

Paddock: Well Mar…you are our only human…crack it open.

My blood fills the glass fluting and winds it way down…a circular stairwell opens then beckons us towards certain death.

A whole sub complex opens up to us and we are introduced to the mind of a true master. Every inch of wall is covered with details and research into life after death. Schematics and biological charts for every race we are familiar with are spread out and noted. Kemen and the liches are astounded at the degree of complexity and the level of spellcraft they imply.

Everyone is sitting on the edge of their chairs and moving their figurines on the table top grid with infinite care. We move slowly from one room to the next. Noise picks up the deeper we get into the complex and hear lots of commotion and the hissing of steam. Chulainn gets first line of sight on the actual workspace. An enormous rod dominates the center of the room, and surrounding the upper walls around the circular room are a series of Glowing Sigils. Many of the sigils are now dark. We put two and two together and realize the dark sigils are representative of the amulets we have destroyed. There is still half a dozen lights glowing. A knowledge arcana check informs us that the arcs of “dark light” emanating from the sigils and hitting the rod are a combination of positive and negative energy.

In alcoves all around the room are flesh golems, they appear stationary and non reactive. A trio of enormous flesh golems stand in a triangle around the rod. At the center of the room is a slender and flesh deprived robed figure.

Ven Aus. He is not surprised to see us.

Ven Aus:Wind? Droka? What have you done to yourselves? You look ridiculous.

Androka: I go by Androka now.

The theurge looks us all over and gives us the slightest of nods.

Ven Aus: Some of the finest minds in history have studied the relics I created. Wise men and intellectual giants toiled for decades to unwrap the secrets of my research. They all withered away and died. Somehow you five figured it out. If I didn’t already know the answer I would offer you jobs as my vassals. You created the job opening yourselves after all. Tiraxis was one of the finest tools I ever made use of. His death serves as a loss. I do hate to lose good material, so instead of hiring you, I shall offer you a bribe.

Me: A bribe?

Ven Aus: Naturally. Immortality. No strings attached, no loss of your abilities or reason, no shuffling off into dank crypts or sucking blood. No unsightly skeletal form or stitched monstrosity. Good old fashioned eternal life. You saw my work…you know I can deliver.

Coe-Nan: We have met those who drank from the cup of immortality. (he gestures to the liches) seems a bitter draft that causes boredom. I would rather burn bright and go out content then simply exist in apathy.

Ven Aus: Spoken like a true barbarian. How about the rest of you?

Me: no thanks…
Kemen: I’m good.
Paddock: Same.
Chulainn: Nah.

Ven Aus: Pity. If you wont accept a job, and you won’t take a bribe then that really only leaves a confrontation. A confrontation you can’t win. I know your tricks. I have seen your cunning and I understand your limits better than yourselves.

Kemen: We have surprised lots of people in the past…most of them are no longer around to assert that fact…which I guess proves my point.

I look around at the group and our trembling but resolute cleric friend Erick, and I look at the panicked Giantess who bravely joined us and turn back to the theurge.

Me: So this is it huh? We all die here?
Ven Aus: Seems like it.
Me: I gotta know something first.

Ven Aus: Ahhh yes. What was the point of all this? You wish me to gloat and explain my masterplan…while I’m distracted you strike and gain the upper hand. I will explain , but you will not take me by surprise.

Me: Fair enough.

Ven Aus: The casket was almost exactly as you surmised. It was a decoy…a beacon to attract attention. It did serve a secondary function. Once five amulets were placed inside and activated the casket would have become a transformation chamber. A human sized creature entering it would have been granted the abilities of the amulet within their natural form. It would have also put them under my complete control. A mere side project that helped me pass the time. As for the amulets themselves…you can probably surmise that from the apparatus in this room…they were focal points…wells in which energy could be collected. As they were used they fed off conflict, death, despair. They channeled these energies back to me and provided power. The pulse you felt those months ago…was the backlash from the apparatus activating. Tiraxis was instructed to keep the amulets in flow…keep them active and feeding me energy. He did an admirable job. Would you like to see the fruits of his labor? And to a large extent the fruits of YOUR labor. How many lives did you take in the proximity of these amulets? Dozens? Hundreds? A fine job you did of extending conflict and ensuring chaos. I do like having an audience. I was tempted to fetch Droka and Wind myself. But since you were gracious enough to bring them here I feel compelled to give you a final show.

Kemen: We are not interested in watching you start your little device…

Ven Aus: Start it? My dear boys…I STARTED it well over an hour ago.

As he says that the walls of the workshop turn transparent and we see ourselves rising up from the ocean floor. The entire complex of Cinhill Rue is rising up from the waters…and we bear witness to the massive city taking flight and lifting into the air. A bubble crackling with static begins to expand from the center of the city. Ven Aus looks positively thrilled with himself.

Ven Aus: I received enough power to lift the city from the depths and extend the barrier Malabith’s Emperor ached for so long ago. He thought it was meant to protect his precious kingdom…it was meant to enslave the world. All those who comes under it’s expanse will be my thralls, ready to live or die at my whim.

Me: The world will rise up against you…
Ven Aus: Im counting on it…the more they fight the stronger it will become. Even the most powerful wills shall succumb. The greatest trick ever conceived is the simplest in my mind. If you want to make a plan that can’t fail…then you simply need ensure that the only way to stop it is by doing nothing. If the world simply moves away and does nothing my plan would fail. But that is precisely the one thing they will find themselves unwilling to do.

Kemen: He is quite brilliant. His is a remarkable mind…I think we should kill him.

I don’t think there is ever much of a plan when it comes to facing an epic level wizard. So instead of trying to match him for finesse we decided to take a hammer to the face. Androka and Wind are dedicated exclusively to counterspelling and dispelling. They will do nothing else other than attack protective wards and spells and try to counterspell anything he throws at us. Kemen will be aiding them and buffing us. Coe-Nan is our champion in this fight. If the liches see an opening they will try to anti magic field themselves and close range with the theurge. The Giantess, Erick and myself are on phylactery duty. We try to find the phylactery and hope to the gawds there is something to tip us off. Chulainn and Paddock are on golem duty.

For the most part the “casting portion of this encounter” was done on a whole different level. The three liches engage in a battle of wills and spells that goes above our heads. Kemen targets any ward or spell that prevents physical damage, while the liches prevent our outright destruction. Right off the bat golems start to swarm our casters and Paddock and Chulainn are instantly hard pressed to defend.

Me: Ashleigh…Erick help the liches…I got the phylactery.

Ven Aus is all over the place…teleport contingency or reactions have him blipping all over the place. Coe-Nan is furtively trying to run him down. I spend most of the fight running and shooting while searching the room for possible phylacterys…its like trying to play “one of these doesn’t belong here” in the middle of a warzone.

A meteor swarm from Wind connects with Ven and he disappears. His voice begins to project from somewhere else in the room.

Kemen: It was a projection…the real Ven is somewhere else.

The somewhere else happens to one of the enormous flesh golems.

Paddock: he embedded his essence into a golem???

One of the biggest flesh golems takes on a new semblance of intelligence and we realize that is precisely what he did. Our caster enemy has himself a huge and powerful physical shell. We knew he was a non traditional lich…but this is overkill.

Ven Aus: I like your courage. I think I will keep you all as pets.

The flesh golem charges our liches and swats aside the melee like flies. He grabs the two liches by the head and eltrocutes them. When they rise they are acting mindlessly and inchorently.

Kemen: he is dominating them and taking control.
Me: That fast?
Kemen: Proximity plays a role in his magic…touching apparently is as proximate as you can get.

The following turn Paddock and Chulainn back off as Coe-nan charges. Coe-Nan gets brushed aside again and Ven grabs Kemen…who goes slack as his mental control is shattered.

Me: This is bad….

The flesh golems are swarming all over Ashleigh and Erick. And I can’t make heads or tails of anything on the workbenches.

Ven Aus tosses Kemen to the ground and we realize he is out of the fight. The lights are coming back on in the liches minds and we realize that within the next round or two they will be attacking us. The theurge laughs as he grabs Coe-Nan and tries to do the same….only nothing happens. The Golem-mancer grunts and Grabs Coe-Nan’s head in both hands and exerts more pressure…A growling sound builds and the avatar spirit inside the barbarian bursts forth and lashes out at the golem.

Me: I guess that mind was already a bit crowded and didn’t like guests.

The golem is sent staggering and something is pushed out of it by the backlash. With all the random energy lacing the air I see a trail heading back to a schematic on the wall…its hardly more than sheet of note paper, but the tint is slightly different then the rest of the documents and the writing is impossibly tight together.

I take a deep breath and send a quiet prayer as I unleash a trio of arrows at the note paper. Two of the three arrows connect and the paper crumbles and burns upon contact….the floating essence halts in mid air and reforms to what must be Ven Aus’s true form. A frail and ancient skeletal lich.
Coe-Nan staggers to his feet and takes a five foot step to get right next to the lich. He then proceeds to take a small rock hanging on his necklace out…a rune carved with anti magic field…

Coe-Nan: lets try that again on even terms….
Paddock: This is the chance! All or nothing guys…

Chulainn charges and covers a load of ground in heartbeats and abandons his spear in mid run…he completely his charge with a grapple on the lich. I charge the caster clump and activate my AMF rune as well…anything to buy us another round or two.

The golems are closing in fast to defend their master and our very narrow window is closing fast.

Paddock gets his mount wheeled around and goes for broke with a full on charge attack…Just like he predicted he gets into a full gallop and enters the point of his lance complete with quad damage just below the sternum of the Lich. He entered the AMF in the process and his mount goes inert as a result so he ends up just kind of hanging in mid air…lance impaling the lich. It isn’t a crit…it doesn’t kill him, but it sure knocks the wind out of him.

The casters are moving out of the AMF I established and the lich is valiantly struggling to get free. Silent One lands a flurry of blows at point blank grappled range and Coe-Nan lands his full attack as well. The casters get free and remove the AMF…golems start grabbing and tearing the melee off the lich. I put a volley of arrows at him…but it’s not enough..he is getting free. He stumbles backwards trying to regain his composure. He is rocked hard and dazed…but its not enough. The melee are all grappled and getting swarmed by flesh golems. The casters are all turned against us….and then Erick our cleric buddy stands up from the workbench he was cowering for cover behind. He places both hands on the liches head and delivers a single Heal spell…

All the golems in the room deactivate.

The casters pause in mid cast and the light of their selves turns back on.

Ven Aus falls to his knees, a last look of shock on his face as he pitches forward to the ground dead. Erick is standing behind him staring at his hands blankly.

Coe-Nan: I hate to be the one to take the fun out of a moment…but that is the third or fourth time an NPC has stolen our kill.

Kemen: I hate to take the fun out of a moment too…but the city is falling….

Cinhill Rue is plummeting towards the ocean again…and we have zero chance of making it back to the Revenge in time.

Paddock: the rod takes negative and positive energy….flood it with everything we got!

Kemen: That wont stop the fall!
Paddock: might slow it down.

The liches start pouring negative energy into the rod through harming spells and Paddock and Erick flood it with positive energy. I add what I am able to and the falling slows a bit. The whole city stops about 2 feet from the surface of the ocean and holds.

The whole Cinhill Rue complex is only a few hundred yards away from the chain of islands. As we make our way back to the Revenge (not sure if the city will continue falling) there is a solitary figure hailing us down from the beach.

Ashleigh: Who is that?
Coe-Nan: It’s the nymph that tried to Charm Person Marilius

Uh oh…

As the Revenge drifts closer “its definitely the nymph…and she looks like she is expecting”

Paddock: Expecting us?
Coe-Nan: Expecting a baby…

Oh no…

Loose Ends

The minutes and hours following the demise of Ven Aus were full of awkward silence. Aside from a mildly humorous baby mama’s meeting we are left in a haze. We managed to pull it off. The grand manipulator and schemer is dead and his phylactery is destroyed.

The emergence of Cinhill Rue is going to shake up the established order of society. In the heat of the moment we make a split decision. Cinhill Rue will become a neutral world academy. For a small donation…anyone irregardless of race, alignment or creed may come and study within it’s halls. The two transgendered liches act as caretakers of the floating metropolis.*

Erick is elevated to status of high priest of his order and becomes a preeminent holy man. His once besieged cathedral becomes the center of the largest post Malabithian Invasion cities.

The Pride is slowly repaired and a new crew of Storm Giants join Bjorn the Elder, within the year the Pride once again is carving up the oceans of the world.

Snickle…remains elusive.

Our band is bumped to level 13 and we complete preparations for journeying to the Elemental Plane of Fire. That tale I will tell someday in the near future. For now this a suitable ending for the current storyline. As I alluded to at one point, relatively this is the halfway mark for these characters but definitely the peak of the longest storyline I can recall us in.

*If I hadn’t written two-three hundred pages detailing our trials and tribulations that led to typing that sentence with a straight face I would probably shoot myself with embarrassment.


No one had seriously attempted to assault the grand bank of the Charcoal Palace for centuries. It never the less paid to post guards at any place where valuables were stored. Captain Sindon of the Efreeti Royal Guard was accustomed to dull days…but every so often something interesting would happen. Murmurs of the strange vessel reached his ears long before they reached his eyes.

A floating ship…powered through no obvious means and made of glass had arrived. The crew manning it had accumulated quite the reputation and it was said that many residents of the Plane owed them sizeable debts. Such matters concerned Sindon little. He was a captain and security was his domain. From that perspective the approaching humanoid triggered alarms in a mind honed with decades of experience. Humanoids were a known sight in the City of Brass…if uncommon. Most were held as slaves.

The man approaching the gates to the bank seemed slightly out of sync with reality…like it was taking force of will just to remain still and attached to the ground. He wore simple robes and carried himself with the air of one intimately familiar with combat and killing. A longspear of precious adamantine was slung over his soldier like a pikemen marching in formation. At the end of the polearm was a silken bag, dangling like a hobo’s satchel.

He strode up to the front counters and with a snap the polearm hummed through the air…causing a dozen uninterested guards to come at attention. The bag slid off the end of the pole and landed on the desk of an administrator. The desk clerk was not pleased with this display at all.

“State your business”
“ I am here to collect a bounty”

The clerk was clearly not in touch with the nature of the man in front of him and Sindon found himself cautiously inching closer to the desk in case things went south. From within the silken bag the clerk removed a severed head.
All movement and sound in the bank stopped.

The head was that of Tiraxis Nis.

:” I am told that the man who turns in that head is entitled to a bounty”

Boredom has a constant bedfellow…gossip. A popular topic amongst the guards was the exact contents of a particular vault. No person who spent considerable time in the City of Brass was unfamiliar with the legendary bounty of Tiraxis Nis. The subject of his splendors and wealth were prime material for bored guards.

A boring day had suddenly become a very interesting day. Perhaps some of that gossip would find truth.

Whether he understood it or not, this man had just raised a flag high into the air with a simple message all would flock to.
Come and Get Me

Amidus Drexel
2013-01-26, 06:44 PM
Kemen: Put this on…
Droka: What is it?
Kemen: It’s a belt…keeps your pants from falling off.
Droka: It took you a week to make a belt?
Kemen: It’s a very nice belt.

This made me laugh so much. :smallamused:

Woohoo, finale!

*eagerly awaits the second half of the campaign*

2013-01-26, 07:52 PM
Man, i wish i could be in a campaign so epic.

Does this mean we can expect updates for the other campaigns though? I are excited.

2013-01-26, 08:46 PM
God I wish I had a stable enough group to run something half this amazing. Your work and campaigns are, as always, awe inspiring.

Joe the Rat
2013-01-26, 11:45 PM
I've got a stack of Kudos to pass out here:

First, for Kaveman, not only his willingness to share (in detail) the events of this campaign, but in his solid writing - One-half log, one-half narrative, all neatly blended and very well done.

Second goes to your DM: That is some seriously high blend convoluted stuff he's whipped together. There's a fair bit of give-and-take, and a bit of an adversarial edge to his plotting, but he does play it fair. Extra points for rolling with some absolutely gonzo turns of events.

Third, to your fellow players. Every one of them grew and moved their characters in interesting and surprising ways - creativity, ingenuity, and generating their own plot twists almost as fast as the DM was spinning his. The fella playing the Silent One shall be feared in any game of Charades. The one playing Kemen is, to me, a wizard done right. Not about the awesome spells, or even the Bat-preparation, but the sheer box-demolishing approach to problems. And another for Kaveman, who's bard is inadvertently repopulating the world single-handed. In character.

I look forward to future chapters.

2013-01-28, 11:19 AM
After all that, I was actually kind of expecting something more from the epic lich, or taking a longer time to track him down.

My DM friend and I are trying to make full sense of the OGL. I have convinvced him to look at putting together a printable form version for the Calimshaw Campaign and the other two big ones. A collection of full character blocks, maps, guides, strategies the whole deal. I want to explore Kickstarter and see if i can manage to publish them at a price where we can cover costs and share them.

What does "OGL" mean?

I'd support a kickstarter campaign, if only so I could read up on all the other potential possibilities for how things could have gone.

2013-01-28, 11:22 AM
Open Gaming License

2013-01-28, 11:29 AM
After all that, I was actually kind of expecting something more from the epic lich, or taking a longer time to track him down.

It was not exactly a barn burner of a fight. And if things like Time Stop and Celerity etc were employed we would have been a mere inconveince. I think it was more thematically about getting one narrow window where we got an advantage and going for it.

As someone else said, Tiraxis felt like the true end game villian of the campaign. We had interactions with him and encounters throughout the campaign and his signature was on everything. To us he was the king. Ven Aus was the power behind the throne and more closure then climax.

2013-01-28, 01:05 PM
I'm just a simple lurker, but I figured I contribute a post to state how much I enjoyed reading through your campaign. As an aspiring DM, it's great fun to see how other parties go about their merry ways.

I would also like to applaud your lyrical style in documenting the adventures of yourself and your comrades. It was clean and simple enough to progress at an enjoyable pace, yet detailed enough to set proper atmosphere. Thumbs up to you.

2013-01-28, 04:20 PM
New Business:

There is a considerable amount of preparation that precedes the next leg of our longest running campaign. We are fully aware that the Elemental Plane of Fire is a whole new breed of setting. Each and every party member is prepped with permanent endure elements. We have a whole host of fire resistance gear and an efreet killer’s dream with regards to frost and outsider bane weapons.

As the campaign texture is altering and we are in the higher levels the opportunity to retrain or redesign characters is presented. Everyone remains about the same…Kemen tweaks out a feat for Energy Subsitution, and Coe-Nan rescales his fighter/barbarian ratio a bit. Paddock remains nearly unchanged as does Chulainn (Silent One). I undergo the biggest overhaul. Instead of being a crippled multi-caster rogue. I rescale everything as a rogue/exemplar. I focus heavily on skill usage and UMD. With my wand bracers and skill focus’s it feels like I am a toolbox for casting resources while getting tons of skill points and sneak attack boosts. I retain the performance aspects of my character. (full blocks will follow in a while)

The biggest thing we do before shifting to the Plane of Fire is research. Our DM has some specific criteria for the Plane.

1st:Frost Weapons, Outsider Bane Weapons and anything that targets lawful creatures are considered contraband. Bearing these items is punishable by enslavement.
2nd: There are inspection sights at any major city , including and especially the City of Brass.
3rd:Some elementals owe us big favors…but there is a lot of suspicion that we may still have access to the amulets in some fashion. So we aren’t exactly welcomed as conquering heroes.

I make the trip across first and do some investigation to gather most of the above information. I also establish contact with a lot of palace guards while posing as a potential slave merchant. We put all of our contraband in the vault of the Revenge which we seal off so completely it no longer seems a part of the ship. Any aspirations for not sticking out evaporate into thin air due to the Revenge.

Chulainn (as per the Interlude) delivers the head of Tiraxis Nis and claims his bounty.

There is not a description given to us of the vault…instead our DM simply hands us a list of what is present in the vault…along with the personal memoirs of Tiraxis Nis.

It’s a monumental bounty. This guy was loaded. Capital L O A D E D…LOADED. From his memoirs and the contents of the vault we surmise a few things about our deceased nemesis. For him, it was always about the kill…not the reward. Everything he was paid is in the vault. Every item he took off fallen targets was in the vault. He didn’t view them as valuable…they were simply trophies to him…keepsakes of his triumphs. It’s a trove of magic weapons and equipment. In liquid assets…just the gems and coin figure into the millions. Even if we loaded the Revenge with all it’s extra dimensional space we are fairly certain we couldn’t budge the ship or find space for us to sleep inside. I want to convey the enormity of this because of what followed.

Kemen: how much is this worth?
Chulainn: Hopefully enough for the lives of my family. If it takes more…then I will happily pay it. Any objections…

The gamer in me wants to say “ a little” but that is not going to happen. If we have to hand the keys of the bank to the Grand Sultan himself we will do it…

But that is the trick isn’t it?

We are confident that the trifecta of piloting the Revenge, Saving the World from Ven Aus and having the guy that just killed Tiraxis Nis is enough to get us an audience straight to the top with the Grand Sultan. How we play it off with him could determine a lot of what follows. If he realizes that Chulainn is the husband of his gith royal consort…then there is isn’t enough money in the world or the bank to buy her. He will know that no price is too high. If he doesn’t know this, he is still going to be suspect of our motives and try to dupe us.

It’s with little surprise that our request for an audience is granted. The five of us are stripped of all our arms and armor and escorted to the receiving hall for our visit with the most powerful efreet on the Plane.

Sultan: So these are slayers of the great Tiraxis Nis…I expected you to be taller.
*he receives the polite chuckles from his court that any despotic ruler would expect*
Chulainn: He was a most elegant warrior and fierce enemy.
Sultan: That might be the nicest thing I have heard said about him.
Chulainn: I myself have said far worse.
Sultan: So tell me…what would you have of me? To what do I owe this honor.

Me: many of our friends died in the conflict of recent months. Our world is changed…much different than what it once was. It occurs to us that we must show them a token of new hope. A sign that the world can go on and be rebuilt. To that end we wish to make a display of generosity. We are hear to purchase as many slaves as possible. We are looking to purchase five equal shares….a 1/5 of human slave, a 1/5 of gnomes…a 1/5 of dwarves a 1/5 of githerzai, and a 1/5 of any mixed race you can sell.

Sultan: Slaves are plentiful in many markets…you need only turn around anywhere in the city and you can find what you seek. Why seek me personally?

Me: Because this purchase is meant to be symbolic…not strictly quantity but a sign of renewed hope. To return these people to their home plane from the Wise and powerful Sultan himself would send a powerful message to our lands.

It’s vague enough to seem plausible, but specific enough that we can haggle within parameters without raising excessive suspicion.

Sultan: I can certainly meet those ratios…except for the gith…so few of their kind grace our slave pens.
Me: We are amenable to purchasing them all.

Sultan: I am intrigued by this proposition and readily admit to seeing chances for profit. I am vexed by a troublesome technicality. An obstacle that may regrettably prevent the completion of the afore mentioned transaction.

Kemen: We excel at solving problems (under his breath) *even the ones we create ourselves*

Sultan: Recently my fiefdom has come under the specter of war. I took an oath to my people to set aside personal gain in their interests. I have sworn to complete no bargain or agreement until these foreign invaders are repelled.

Chulainn: what invaders are these?

An efreet in resplendent armor and bearing the regalia of command steps forward and kneels before the Sultan. The Sultan gestures for him to rise and speak.

Efreet General: Frost giants…in great numbers. They attack using outlawed weapons and raid at our fringes. Their leader is described as an abomination touched by neither cold or fire. He stands as tall as the proudest giant, but wears the wings of ancient dragon.

Me: Why are you all staring me?

Sultan: If this threat were to be countered I am sure we could negotiate an amiable agreement.
Me: Sultan…surely the safety and security of your realm trump those of a contract for profit.

Sultan: Truly the safety of my subjects is more valuable. Should you find a way to dispose of this threat I would allow you free reign to select any slave I own in the palace for yourselves.

We agree to take steps against the frost giant invaders and take our leave.

Coe-Nan: Well that was easy…we kill Mar’s illegitimate son and then stride back in for the monk’s family.

Kemen hangs his head in his hands as do I…

Kemen: You didn’t pay very close attention did you?
Coe-Nan: What? He said we can take our pick of any slave in the palace…
Me: And how much you want to bet that any slave of value will be moved from the palace long before we get back? It’s a word play that gives him an out.

Kemen: If we can confirm that he is moving any slaves of value out of the palace that could expose their retinue to ambush…

Me: I will follow up with my contacts around the Palace and see if I can get confirmation. Might give us a chance to jump the envoy.

Paddock: And if we can’t liberate her?
Kemen: Then we go to war with the frost giants and give the Sultan what he wants…he might still bite on us buying in bulk.

Paddock: you know… I might be losing it, but did we see a single Frost Giant during the siege at New Jotun?

For the life of us…no. There was not a single frost giant during the siege. We aren’t sure what that portends but even a thundercloud you can’t see still sounds like a thundercloud.

2013-01-28, 06:54 PM
After all that, I was actually kind of expecting something more from the epic lich, or taking a longer time to track him down.

Me too, although to be fair it's hard to do a millennia-old ANYTHING justice, let alone an undead super-wizard.

Also, good to see we're heading up on the next part.

2013-01-30, 05:08 PM
Rojos on One Side…Baxter’s on the Other…Us Right in the Middle:

My contacts at the palace confirm there is a caravan forming up and leaving the palace…it is being guarded by nearly 500 efreet elite. So much for ambush…unless…

Paddock: Did they give you a lead as to the final destination…
Me: They alluded to the Dead Zone…not sure what that is.

We do a lot of frantic searching to find out what the dead zone is and hope to beat the carvan to that destination. It takes a full day of Gather Information to find out the Dead Zone is actually an oubillete, a space where those are sent to disappear. It is a rift in the Plane completely cut off from travel and interception. Once you enter, you must pass through the entire zone before exiting. It is said only the most heinous or valuable prisoners are housed there and the Warden is a blackguard of fearsome accord.

From that we figure if we can beat them there and get inside we can capture the Silent One’s family and push through to the exit. We put the Revenge into high gear and work to get ahead of the caravan. We make quick time and eat territory day and night. Our contraband comes out of isolation and we suit up for the heavy work ahead.

The Dead Zone itself is unremarkable…a solitary door leading into the ground. It does present us a problem.

We can’t get the ship inside…and leaving it is kind of a giant red flag. So naturally, we bury the ship and take the key with us. Lyre of building gets The Revenge underground in short order and Kemen pockets the key and I take the flute.

The Dead Zone itself is a naturally occurring caldera, a lake of lava and stream of molten fire lace the landscape. A sprawling single story prison structure sits in the middle of a fiery lake. No one opposes our entry. We stride straight up to the prison and let ourselves in. The first chamber we enter sends up an alarm and numerous muscular canine humanoids surround us. Hound Archons and Hound Archon heroes…and lots of them.

They are taken aback at our presence and are thrown off that we are not fire plane natives. Their leader a gruff bulldog looking chap named Suhn approaches us in peace.

Suhn: We have been awaiting assistance for weeks, did the Solar’s send you?

*blank stares all around*

Me: No…we came here to rescue a comrades family from a caravan that is approaching.

Suhn: Caravan? Who? How many?
Kemen: Efreets…over a thousand…

Suhn lets out a low canine whine…

Suhn: Damn! They must know what the Blackguard has found.

Me: We are obviously on two completely different tracks here. A githerazai who is heir to their throne and is his wife is being brought her for safekeeping. We don’t have any clue what you are talking about.

Suhn: Well I hate to burst your bubble but you just walked into the middle of a war. 100 of my finest warriors came in here as a strike force and less than 20 now remain. The blackguard Jaminstin has put us on the brink. Unless we break through to the other side then we are going to be surrounded. We need your help.

Paddock: We are always amenable to helping those who request aid and serve justice.

Suhn: There is a nest of abyssal basilisks that Jaminstin let loose in the open area between the prison’s entrance and where he set up his command room. Those lizards need to get taken out before we can proceed.

Kemen: Basilisks?
Suhn: Yes…half a dozen maybe more…big ones…why?
Kemen: I have had bad experiences with Basilisks.
Coe-Nan: You and me both. But we are open to aiding you.

Kemen: Speak for yourself…something is off here and I don’t like it.

In character we are urging him to overcome his doubt and aid the archons for mutual benefit…out of character

Coe-Nan: Cmon man its just a side quest.

He shrugs his shoulders and joins us in heading out for some basilisk pay back…

As we march off towards the gap between sides…Kemen who is flipping through the monster manual bursts out with…

Kemen: I knew something was weird…Hound Archons are immune to petrification. They exude a good aura…the hound archons are the best suited to fighting basilisks but they sent us…

Chulainn: Not much to do about it now…

It takes us a short time to locate the pool of lava the basilisks are warming themselves by….they are even bigger than the ones we found on the Pride…

DM: Actions?

Kemen: Yeah I got actions…I am handing out some shared spell lightning bolts then we are doing some summoning.

DM: It’s a dead zone no things in or out.
Kemen: What if they are already here…
DM: I guess that works…

Kemen: Summon Monster Five…targeting Hound Archons…


Suhn appears before us along with three other hound archons….he looks straight at Kemen as confused as can be imagined.

Suhn: Didn’t I just send you guys to go kill the basilisks.

Kemen: Yep…and we decided that we needed your help in helping you. So get in there and attack the monsters you sent us to attack.

The Hound Archons being summoned have little choice but to help us and they charge in…

Kemen: Lightning Bolt volley guys…don’t bother aiming just hit the big ones center mass.

DM: You are going to blast your own summoned help?

Kemen: They are immune to electricity…just a pretty light show for them…like I said THEY are much better suited for this than us.

Have I mentioned that we love Kemen?

It’s barely a fight. Some of the basilisk make their save…but with the hound archons pinning them down and us raining spells from a distance it’s a route. The last basilisk drops before the summons wears off and Kemen marches up to his summoned Hound Archons.

Kemen: Ok…it will take us a minute or two to come back to you guys and report in that you successfully helped to kill the basilisks that you sent us to kill. So we will catch up with you there.

Me: You are my hero…

As a matter of protocol we go back to inform the Hound Archons what they already know. Suhn is pleased the basilisks are gone, but not very keen on the methods we used. He looks at Kemen uneasily and tells us that he will honor their commitment and act as a rear guard for when we advance on the Blackguards position. We figure that we have at least a day or two maybe longer before the caravan arrives and we treat ourselves to a single encounter work day and rest to recover spells.

2013-01-30, 05:56 PM
Mount Concerns:

We punch through the open ground leading to the prison proper and are immediately set upon by calvary forces the next day. By calvary I mean Cauchemar Nightmares with Azer riders wielding spiked whips made of flames.

Chulainn fearlessly gets within their midst and relies on his evasiveness along with fire resistance to buy him enough time for AOO’s. Coe-Nan launches himself at anything within axe reach and Paddock charges at stragglers while mostly focusing on spell support. Kemen gets a few energy substituted freezing spheres rolling and then taps Stoneskin on the melee.

The nightmares are nasty and when they stop trying to run us in circles and just attack ,things get hairy. Fortunately we did plan on this for several months and the frost damage and cold spells add up quick as double damage. Everyone is fire resisted up and we coordinate very well. Chulainn starts tripping Azers off their mounts and Paddock lances those who struggle to get their feet back. We are doing well when the remaining pair of mounted riders break off and retreat.

Coe-Nan: Well they are going to know we are coming.

They turns out to be a whole slew of noble salamanders with fire mephits riding them and sniping us with spells from their spear wielding rides. We fight our way into the prison structure and try to set up…more salamanders arrive from other entrances and the calvary force regrouped and swung around from the back to surround us. They have us stuck in a room and have us getting desperate. Kemen stops holding back and starts lobbing all of his bigger spells, mostly cone of cold and energy subbed cold fireballs.

We hold long enough for the Hound Archons to assemble a sortie and strike the nightmares from the rear…the commotion allows us to swing fully against the Salamanders and Coe-Nan grabs a fresh Stoneskin and goes into a rage hurling himself with all out attacks. Chulainn gets right on his heels and prevents them from getting a good flank on him. Paddock summons some hound archons right into the room with us, bypassing the terrain in the middle and giving us some out of nowhere flank advantages. I begin delaying my actions until after Paddock provides me flank support and sneak attack damage adds up in droves.

The tide is turning in our favor and we have the salamanders in full retreat…until Jaminstin shows up…he is a half-giant Blackguard (fire) and is wielding a pair of battle axes glowing with the brightest heat metal can bear. Each axe has a snarling wolf head for a pommel and he goes straight for Coe-Nan…whose fire resistance suddenly winks out. Almost before we can react…Coe-Nan is down to a quarter of his full health. The Salamanders who were on the verge of fully breaking are now fighting with the fury of berserkers.

Paddock: Coe-Nan needs help and fast!

Kemen throws up a circular Wall Of Stone around the barbarian. The Blackguard does a double take then raises his axes at the dwarf…

Jaminstin: The armor can’t fool me little wizard. My axes thirst for dwarvish blood.

Paddock delays his next action and I lace the Blackguard with a rapid shot volley. Kemen puts a lightning bolt into him, that barely makes him grimace and Chulainn is tumbling through the tangles masses of tails and limbs trying to reach the more heavily wounded targets. Jaminstin charges Kemen and is intercepted by Paddock who countered with his own mounted charge.

Paddock slams a quad damage attack into the blackguard aided by a smite evil, that rocks him but does not bring him down. The blackguard continues on his path and puts an overhanded power attack into Kemen…only the sheer lunacy of his Con and the Stoneskin prevent him from getting one shot killed. Kemen dismisses his own wall of stone and Coe-Nan charges from the rear for his own counter attack…which also conviently brings him next to the healer.
Every ally in the room sans Chulainn swarms the blackguard. Chulainn takes up a defensive position forcing anything looking to aid the Blackguard to move through his threatened squares.

The Blackguard is a spinning whirlwind of flame aided destruction. Hound Archons are torn limb from limb by his attacks and Coe-Nan is knocked into negatives as is Kemen. We have sunk a ton of damage into the half giant and aren’t sure if he is close to the brink…it feels like he has to be. I put a last volley of arrows into him and land a well rolled critical damage total. Chulainn sensing the desperation and unsure of what else to do…lunges for a ki aided backstab against the giant. It comes to Paddock for the last action of the round…Coe-Nan is at -8 and Kemen-7.

He takes a step through threatened territory and eats an AOO that crunches heavily into little frame..undaunted he starts a touch attack that triggers another AOO that drops him to 3 health, he then casts Harm upon the Blackguard. He gets through spell resistance…and the blackguard makes his saving throw…reducing him to 1 health…

DM: So close…but looks like someone is dying the next round.
Paddock: I have one last action to declare…
DM: You moved and cast…you are done.
Paddock: I want my horse to kick him…
Me: Paddock…you are my hero…

The stone horse connects with a hoof attack and the blackguard goes down. The remaining salamanders retreat and the hound archons push back the remaining nightmares buying us at least a few rounds to recover. Paddock uses his mid range heals to get Kemen and Coe-Nan upright.

Coe-Nan: So not only are NPC’s stealing our kills…now the frigging horse is taking them too!

2013-01-30, 07:55 PM
Rojos on One Side…Baxter’s on the Other…Us Right in the Middle:

I love you for making that reference.

2013-01-31, 01:06 PM
Out of the Frying Pan…

Matters have stabilized to the degree that death no longer feels imminent. Chulainn takes up a sentry position in the direction the Salamanders retreated, and the rest of us top off using small spells and wands while Coe-Nan and I pick through the bodies. The only real items of note are the axes used by the half giant. Even laying on the floor they emit a powerful aura. Coe-Nan makes a motion to pick them up and one of the hound archon nearly births puppies in shock.

Suhn: DON’T!
Suhn: They are the axes of Ragnarok…a portent of the world’s doom. This place was never meant as a prison, it was meant as a vault. We don’t know how Jaminstin was able to recover them from the lairs beyond.

Coe-Nan: So they are powerful? Cause I couldn’t help but notice that I got my ass kicked inside of three rounds flat. Fire Resistance and Stoneskin didn’t do a damn thing to help.

Suhn: They are the final resting place of a powerful demon prince…a true titan of the Abyss. His form was shattered by the combined efforts of a dozen solars who sacrificed themselves to scatter his essence into oblivion. A shard of what he was imbues these axes…a powerful fire wolf spirit and demi god.

Coe-Nan: That actually sounds familiar.

Before risking any kind of contact with the axes he uses a scrap of leather from the dead half giant to push them into a bag of holding and we move on to see the place where they came from.

The Hound Archon’s are on very high alert and constantly sniff the air. The prison structure is sparse and uninhabited save for fleeing salamanders heading towards the more open lava areas. As they are inclined to run, we are not inclined to give chase.

The Prison is built over a deep chasm that circles down deep into the earth. The corpses of three red dragons choke the chasm floor and even from on high the pedestal on which the axes sat is visible.

Suhn: Word reaches the higher planes that this place was breeched by three dragons seeking the axes for themselves. What happened after is unknown, but somehow the half giant took ownership of these artifacts for himself.

Kemen: I am acquainted with Ragnarok…tis an Argardian fable about the end of the world. I never heard references to these axes though.

Suhn: Then you should also be familiar with the fire lord Surtur…and the World Serpent Jormunder.
Kemen: Aye.

Suhn: Surtur bore a son, a son destined to free the world serpent and trigger Ragnarok. This demon was the prince I alluded to. A fragment of Fenrir’s spirit was melded into the son and it embodied itself as these weapons. Weapons that can’t be denied. No force mortal or divine can prevent their cut. No spell can stave their force. The chains that bind the world serpent would shatter with a single blow.

Coe-Nan: I definitely want these.

Suhn: Then you are mad. The spirit inside will fight you, dominate you and control you. You will happily welcome the void of apocalypse at their whim.

Chulainn: He actually might be able to pull this off…the spirit of Sha Hatal resides within him. We have witnessed the effect it can have. His tribal totem is the wolf. Too many coincidences for this to be happenstance. I think he is meant to have these weapons.

Kemen: I agree. But this is not the time or appropriate place. Any time now a force of efreets will be arriving and want to meet with their Warden…we need to get them inside and draw them into a trap. First step is securing this place, then we have to figure out a way for the army guarding the caravan to leave their captives inside without them entering.

The Archons set up as watchdogs *snicker* and ensure no creatures look to take revenge, while Kemen and I stone shape and Wall of Stone the area between structures into some lethal pit traps and dead falls. Coe-Nan is set to pose as the Warden…wearing his armor and a closed helm. Within 12 hours we have a good series of defensible positions, traps and a semblance of a plan.

We then settle in to wait…

1 full day…then a second…then a third…and finally a fourth.

Me: Did they get lost?
Chulainn exits to go scout and minutes later re-enters through the front door.
Kemen: So any sign of the Carvan…
Chulainn: Oh most definitely. They arrived here at least a day ago…maybe two.
Kemen: And?
Chulainn: No sign of my family.
Me: and?
Chulainn: And we missed a heck of a fight.

We all emerge from the exit to bear witness to the aftermath of a pitched battle. Frost giant and Efreet corpses litter the landscape. Hundreds upon hundreds lay dead. Any non efreet passengers or captives are MIA.

Me: The giants had the same thought we did…but they had the numbers to pull it off.

Kemen: Coe-Nan…I think its time for you to try out those new axes. We got giants to track.

Prior to Coe-Nan taking a gamble on grabbing the axes we put every buff spell we can conceive on him and do the same for ourselves. We give him a wide girth and take cover on the Revenge when he finally dips hand into the bag and emerges with the axes.

He hefts the weapons in hand and starts moving them around to get a feel for them. Nothing dramatic happens upon contact and we ease off the paranoia. Chulainn happens to pick up movement from the fringes of his vision and turns upward. A wolf form is assembling amidst lightning laced clouds.

Chulainn: Guys….

Bolts of lightning arc from every direction right into the barbarian who is lifted clean up in the air at least 50 feet. The axes seem to drink in the electricity and their glow burns far brighter. The spectral avatar of Sha Hatal emerges as a trembling and scared spirit…a second much larger and feral spirit takes form, that one of an enormous hound. The two spirits begin fighting and Sha Hatal is not doing very well. It is smaller and slower…


Coe-Nan is forced to make a series of will checks as lightning courses through him…he pushes away the forces near him and makes a hard landing on the desert floor. Shaken, he wobbles to his feet and wades in against the captive spirit. The axes are capable of injuring the spirit itself, but with each attack the glow fades from the axes and he starts to miss.

Paddock: It drinks in the elemental damage…blast the barbarian!

We all start lighting up our own team mate with elemental spells…the axe drinks in the damage but Coe-nan is also taking heavy damage in the process. All three combatants are spent, Coe-Nan rages and puts one last burst of attacks into the Fenrir demon spirit before collapsing. The two aspects fade…and fade…and for the briefest of moments Sha Hatal remains as the last one standing.

We give him separation and leave him unconscious for a full hour before approaching. Wearily and exhausted he opens his eyes and we see it is him, not something else. His hands have death grips on the axes and it takes a feat of strength just to unlock his fingers from the axe hafts. By the barest of margins he asserted control over the spirits within and he assures us…they now call him master.
Coe-Nan tells us that the axes imparted knowledge of their abilities to him. They ignore all damage reduction. They can’t miss… a beneficial curse calling everstriking is present. If he rolls a 6 and needs a 10 to hit…he hits but takes 4 damage. They also absorb elemental damage which can be expelled in controlled blasts or eruptions.

Me: I think its time to go introduce ourselves to my son…
Kemen: which one?

2013-02-01, 11:18 AM
No Longer Myself:

We leave the Hound Archons to secure the dead zone and dig up the Revenge. We all pile in and start tracking the frost giant force. As we get moving Paddock makes mention of a trifling detail.

Paddock: You remember us spending a few extra months prepping fire resistance and fire-bane weapons?

Kemen: Acutely.

Paddock: You do realize that we are now heading to fight a bunch of non-outsider frost based creatures that render all our preparations useless?

Me: I wonder if that was deliberate.
DM: *grin*

The Frost Giants are easy to follow and we track them across the landscape. Periodically we find a dead giant…culled from what is appearing more and more to be a forced march. They are moving with enough urgency to not even help their wounded, they are simply being left where they fall. As we chew up the miles a strange sight takes form on the horizon. In a land of perpetual heat and fire there is a growing stormcloud of ice and hail expanding from the peak of a mountain.

The closer we get the clearer it becomes…the storm is a rift that has formed over the mountain and the storm is consuming the mountain beneath it. Ice is forming and converting the landscape…like a patch of winter amidst the scorched desert and rock. The storm is growing in intensity. In camps all around the base of the mountain are legions of Frost Giant…score upon score of them wearing armor that Kemen identifies from a great distance as fire resistant.

Kemen: Guess they planned too.

Kemen steers the Revenge as close as we dare and Chulainn runs the last few miles as a scout. He returns to report in that the whole mountain is surrounded, and from what he could see, a group of efreet captive and others are being held near the peak by a giant with dragon wings.

Me: So it looks like my boy has become quite the leader.
Kemen: Also looks like he is up to some big time hijinks.
Paddock: Any chance we can reason with him?
Me: His mother was inclined to think not, but its worth a shot.
Coe-Nan: yeah we just need a way to get past all the frothing giants in order to parley.

Kemen: We just sail right past them. Pilot the Revenge right up the side of the mountain. We will put everyone below deck or under cover and I will steer us up to the peak. Pretty sure we can hover faster than they can climb. We can even run up a white flag…might help.

Kemen steers us at full speed towards what looks like a direct path and go sailing into the midst of the giant armies, they are focused enough on whatever is happening above that the ship is right on them before being noticed. We are already moving upwards by the time shouts are raised and spears and boulders begin clanging off the hull. The Revenge is taking heavy damage and warnings are going off that we have never seen before. As we get clearance the clangs come less frequently but the alarms keep going off.
When the clangs stop we emerge from below deck and survey for any surprises. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising, but my offspring is waiting for us above and he is not happy to see us.

Son: Have you come to bow before me Father? I have waited to meet you for some time now.
Kemen: I think he is talking to you Mar…
Me: If bowing is required then yes, I come before you on bended knee in desires to speak.
Son: Speak? What do we have to speak of?

Me: Well your captives and this storm seem like good conversation starters…I guess your mother if that won’t get me killed. I suppose your name would be a good starting place.

Son: You may call me Poligius. That is all the business we have…now leave before I smite you off the face of my mountain.

Kemen: We can’t do that. I will state that our purpose is not to interfere, but simply to inquire as to whether or not you have any githerzai captives…

Poligius: Githerzai? No…merely efreeti and azer. Offerings to the storm must have fire in their blood.

Chulainn: He duped us. Gave us an obvious subtle hint that we ran off to chase. They never left the palace. That makes this even more worrying.

Me: Why?

Chulainn: Because that means stopping Poligius is THAT important. He needs this done so badly that he is willing to honor his true word, no double talk.

Marilius…kneel before your liege…throw off your wordly concerns…bow to me
That was weird…like a voice whispering at the back of my mind…

Kemen: So do we take a run at him? Do we join him and assault the entire Plane…

Do not resist…giving in is far easier

Me: We need to leave and NOW. No time to argue get away from here…Coe-Nan grapple me. DO NOT LET ME GO.

Kemen doesn’t hesitate and sends the Revenge barreling down the mountain…

Chulainn: What is it…what happened?

Me: Voice in my head…trying to take control.

You are mine…you will return to me

I start twisting against my will in Coe-Nan’s grasp…trying to wriggle free and jump off the ship.

Paddock: guys he is following….and he is smirking…now he is taking a deep breath….

All: DUCK!

A blast of fire engulfs the deck of the Revenge and sends us flying. Chulainn alone managed to juke out its path and land on his feet. He has the presence of mind to trip me as I try to throw myself off the ship while still burning. He makes a combination grapple/acrobatics check to basically judo throw me down the stairs into the ship’s hold. Kemen manages to get oriented and sees Poligius flying own after us laughing as he pursues…he does the most logical thing he can think of…he drops a Wall of Stone directly in front of the half giant…

Poligius breaks through it barely slowed. Paddock and Kemen turn into earth benders as they keep throwing up obstacles in his path. Chulainn and Coe-Nan drag me downstairs and shove me into the vault. When the door closes I manage to regain my composure.

Me: I’m alright now.
Coe-Nan: We aren’t letting you out…
Me: yeah that is probably for the best.

Once I am secured Chu and Coe join casters on the deck. Poligius has switched to cones of cold once he realized fire was being alleviated. The giants are all forming up to block off our path of escape and soon boulders are once again hitting our hull. Kemen redirects to a more lateral path and tries to steer around the massing giants. Coe-Nan snatches an Enlarge Person and rips free his new axes. He stands fast on the rear of the ship and shouts out challenges to the chasing dragon-giant.

Poligius pulls up in mid air and sents a twisting mass of flame and frost, a twinned breath weapon straight at the barbarian…Coe-Nan puts his axes in front of him like a shield and they absorb a good majority of the impact…He is still srorched and frostbitten but not consumed whole. The sight of the axes gives Poligius pause and he staggers in his pursuit.

Kemen: Alright chief…(to DM)…I need to coordinate a spell with Paddock…probably need a spellcraft check…

DM: What spell…
Kemen: I want to sync up a pair of stoneshape spells….
…The two casters make their checks and in unison they make a stone shaped ramp that Kemen hits at full speed…sending the Revenge airborne and over the massing giants…
Kemen: …just like the bus in Speed.

Coe-Nan hums a few bars of the James Bond theme as the Revenge jumps the giants.

The Revenge takes a lot of damage and we feel the speed lagging. The hull is banged up bad and the twin breath weapon left some nasty damage on the deck. It still manages to outrun the giants and we get some distance between us. Kemen puts it on autopilot and comes down to figure out what the heck happened.

Me: I started hearing voices…just like what we read in Emberbane’s memoirs. They were compelling me to submit.

Kemen: So your son has an amulet…

Me: I think he IS the amulets. Ven told us that a humanoid placed inside would gain those powers naturally. That would explain a lot. Put a half-giant baby in the casket…hook in some amulets…I am speculating here but human, dragon and giant…and out comes a super hybrid capable of controlling the different races.

DM: Actually it was human…double dragon…double giant. Good pick up btw.

Kemen: how though? The casket was in the care of the Titan’s Pride.
DM: Tiraxis brought the infant and snuck past their controls. A few giants guarding the casket suffered some memory loss but he fulfilled his Master’s desire for a new body to inhabit. Too bad for Ven he never got around to jumping inside it.

Me: this is bad…if I get anywhere near him I am going to jump ship literally and figuratively.

Kemen: Can we get a Sending back to the Material Plane without difficulty?
DM: Sure…

At the table Kemen is giving me this sheepish “Im sorry in advance look”….
He comes up to me and pats my character on the shoulder.

Kemen: You have been a stalwart companion and loyal friend. Never once have I feared death. I hope you feel the same way.
He takes the rest of the group off in a huddle and they confer…Paddock is incensed…Chulainn is indifferent and Coe-Nan is amused…at least that’s how I view their reactions. Paddock begins to compose a sending and there are tears streaming down his eyes as he does it.

Paddock: I really hope this works…
Me: Really hope what works…
Coe-Nan: Full attacking Marilius….
Kemen: Lightning Bolt to the rogue…
Chulainn: Flurry of Blows from flanked position…
I get bombarded with electricity then feel the sting of a spear darting for my vitals…then I see blistering hot axes fall upon me with a strength that makes me appreciate every single creature’s last moments.

My own party kills me dead in a single round…

2013-02-01, 12:17 PM
Holy moly that's some roleplaying and some logging on your part!

2013-02-01, 12:28 PM
Ok, this is awesome, but I'm a little confused here.

Why double dragon/giant? It seems like 5 entirely different amulets would have been better unless this gives him more control than a single version of each one?

Does the mind-control not wear off after a set amount of time/range? Or does killing Marsilius have something to do with contacting the material plane?
Or are they hoping to reincarnate him as a different creature type so as to be immune to the affects of the amulets?

2013-02-01, 12:34 PM
Ok, this is awesome, but I'm a little confused here.

Why double dragon/giant? It seems like 5 entirely different amulets would have been better unless this gives him more control than a single version of each one?

Does the mind-control not wear off after a set amount of time/range? Or does killing Marsilius have something to do with contacting the material plane?
Or are they hoping to reincarnate him as a different creature type so as to be immune to the affects of the amulets?

Answers are coming for each of those questions. Almost have next section done.

2013-02-01, 01:10 PM
This One Time:

DM: Marilius roll a d100…
Me: Why they freaking killed me?
Dm: d100 please…
Me: Ok…I rolled a 1

Groggily I awaken and feel like death warmed over. Standing above me is Wahloon…the orangutan druid from so long ago…and one of the very few druids of note to survive the Darkness event.

Kemen: sorry mate…weren’t sure how you would react to our plan.
Me: Plan for what?
Kemen: Well…we reached out to Wahloon in the hopes he could reincarnate you.
Me: no raise rule…

Dm: I told them I wouldn’t say yes or no as to whether I would allow an one time only exception until AFTER they killed you.

Me: Judging by the outcome you allowed it.

DM: As an eraser to compensate for a mistake…no I wouldn’t have allowed it. As an intentional workaround to a plot driven problem…I liked the idea. Plus they commited to it…which I respect.

Me: so you killed me not knowing If you could get me back?
Kemen: sorry?

Coe-Nan: for what its worth…you were reincarnated as a race with some decent benefits. *snicker*

Paddock: The denizens of the world will certainly be quelled…though I think your days as a lothario are behind you. *snicker*

Me: Why are you all snickering…

Coe-Nan hands me a mirror….

They reincarnated me as a frigging bugbear…

DM: The bad news is that you lost a level…the good news is that I am giving you a one level reward for figuring out Poligius’s true nature so quickly. So it all evens out.

Me: I am a bugbear…
Coe-Nan: Boosts to Str Dex and Con…
Me: That don’t compensate for me being a bugbear.

Paddock: I’m sure the nymph won’t mind. She did mate with a dragon turtle after all…

Kemen: And now we don’t have to worry about you turning.

Me: Where are we?

Kemen: Heading back to the Dead Zone at the moment. Poligius has his whole army protecting that mountain…and it is expanding further and further. He is feeding any fire based creature he can find to the cold. I think we should head back to the Charcoal Palace and see what intelligence they can provide.

Wahloon: A storm cloud of ice and frost that is steadily expanding? This too is on the Material Plane.

Paddock: That can’t bode well. I am going to Commune and ask if this same thing is on all Planes

Paddock receives a one word answer-Yes.

Me: Well how can we attack an entire army of giants and their Double Half-Giant/Double Half-Dragon liege? The Efreets are potent…but they are basically being used for firewood at this point…

Chulainn: Firewood implies burning…which is not accurate…
Me: Fine…freezewood.

Paddock: We take what we have learned and return to the Sultan. We put our brains to use together and formulate a plan.

By the time we return to the Charcoal Palace the storm cloud is visible across great stretches off land. The whole City of Brass is in an uproar. In the town square is an immense portal being opened to the Plane Of Earth…everything with the word fire in it or associated with fire is packing it’s bags and getting the heck out of dodge.

Kemen: There running…ok now I am scared of what is happening.

Chulainn: Looks like they pulled just about every guard in the city towards this place…

Coe-Nan: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Chulainn: That we sneak into the Sultan’s Palace and kidnap back my family?
Coe-Nan: Heck yeah.

We let ourselves into the Palace and amidst the chaos we move unchallenged to the Sultan’s harem wing. A pair of stout guards stand at attention. They are extremely portly but still muscular. There are cheeks are smooth.

Coe-Nan: Eunuchs? The harem is guarded by snipped efreet? That is priceless.

Me: I got this…

I stride up the sentries and fire of my best authoritarian glare…
Me: We are here to escort the Sultan’s harem to the portal. Please stand aside.

Guard: Nice try…but no one enters or leaves this chamber unless by order of the Sultan himself.

Kemen: We don’t have time for this…*he rummages in his bag and takes out five runes…*

Kemen: On three…shared spell lightning bolt volley…

We leave the still twitching remains of the two sentries where they fell and bust in on the harem. There are several additional eunuchs and they are systemically murdering the harem who are all cowering in a corner. Chulainn catches sight of his wife in the corner and he sprints into action. Coe-Nan is hot on his heels and we wades right into the thick of things. Kemen levitates to the peak of the room and starts…doing geometry. WTH?

Paddock dismounts and moves from one fallen harem girl to the next…trying to stabilize or save as many as he can. Kemen pulls out 4 ten foot square pieces of graph paper and starts experimenting with placements.

Kemen: Ok…spell sculpted…energy subbed fireball (iceball) to these coordinates.

From overhead the runesmith starts dropping frozen iceballs with a bombardiers accuracy amidst the guards…avoiding contact with the harem. I step into sneak attack range and feather any efreets that Coe-Nan or Chulainn create flanks for.

Chulainn eats a lot damage moving through threatened zones and gets close enough to his wife to provide protection. As fast as we can kill guards…more are coming in. Coe-Nan is tearing them apart like a kid on Christmas with wrapping paper. The axes are lethal. He is also getting surrounded as is Chulainn. Paddock remounts and starts fighting from horseback amidst tight quarters. Kemen chewed through all his highest spell slots in short order and is now lobbing magic missiles.

As the situation gets grimmer…Coe-Nan rages and with his howl…he grows in size and the more bestial aspects of his gradual transformation take a sharp and pronounced surge. All vestiges of humanity fade…and what remains in the cross of a dire wolf and lion-esque humanoid. His change draws every eye in the room and he screams for us to get clear. Chulainn throws his wife over his shoulder and makes a break for it. Paddock falls back and Kemen levitates down…grabbing Paddock’s lance in mid descent, being pulled behind him. I snap off a last few arrows as we move out of the room.

Coe-Nan: Close the door!

I maneuver the door closed as we see him absolutely overwhelmed by efreets. There is the sound of ice hitting the walls and then a sudden silence. Sticking out through the massive door is an icicle…penetrated through the door by at least two feet. We cautiously reopen the door to see every efreet in the room impales at neck height. Icicle lances are embedded everywhere across the room at neck height on an efreet. Coe-Nan is standing there on wobbly legs…axes dull. He is coated in frost...a frost that is the only thing holding blood in his body from a dozen nasty wounds.

Coe-Nan: I aimed high…tried to spare the women…

He collapses on the floor.

2013-02-01, 01:53 PM
I'm still not sure I understand why "kill him and cross our fingers" was plan A instead of trying to find another way to aleviate the effect; permenant mind-blank maybe.

On the plus side, now you can remodel your home base (again) to include a seraglio for all the harem girls you just rescued. :smalltongue:

I've got a theory about the doubling-up of the amulets though, I guess I'll have to wait and see if I'm right about that as well.
The amulets also alter the form/species/type of the creature placed in the casket, either a little bit of each or based on which amulets get doubled up (i.e. 3 single amulets and 2 dragon amulets would produce a pure-blooded dragon, or something similar; doubling up 2 sets gives you a half-and-half.)

If anyone else thinks this is blindingly obvious...well I'm just slow, I guess. I still haven't gone back and read all the spoilers posted by Kaveman from earlier in the story.

2013-02-01, 03:30 PM
I am ashamed of myself that I didn't ever read this campaign log until now. However, it has given me three days of new reading material and an entirely new to me campaign...So that's a plus. :smallbiggrin:

Kaveman, this is my personal opinion, but I believe you are selling yourself short when you resist people comparing your campaigns to Silverclawshift's. Your logs might be slightly different in tone and how you both record and share information, but I have entirely enjoyed ALL of the campaigns both of you have posted. And your campaigns have equally amazing moments of awesomeness.

I can't wait to enjoy the rest of this campaign that has happened so far, and your other campaign updates as well, thank you very much for sharing.

2013-02-01, 05:15 PM
Size Does Matter:

Paddock jumps off his horse and rushes to his side…

Paddock: I can stabilize him, but healing is not affecting him.

Kemen tries to get as many of the slaves in the room to follow him and encourages them to help those unable to walk. I do my best to sooth them and get lots of repulsive looks…*sigh*.

It takes both Paddock and I to get Coe-Nan on the back of the stone horse…he weighs a ton and only my increased strength from the reincarnation lets us lift him.

We make a half assed attempt at being subtle in escaping. Trying to keep quiet with a 100+ sobbing traumatized concubines and a stone horse carrying an 800 pound unconscious barbarian is tough to pull off. We are spotted by guards too busy to intercept us, but they take note of us and our loading the Sultan’s harem onto our ship.

Chulainn has a tender moment with his wife. He is overjoyed at reunited with her. We find out her name is Aerika. She survived the months and years in the Sultan’s harem. The two children are being held captive by the Sultan himself. Aerika tells us that when the storm became visible he started a full scale retreat and was first through the portal. He ordered his guards to kill the entire harem.

Aerika: He abhorred the notion of sharing his toys.

Kemen: Did he mention anything about the storm?
Aerika: One of his guards said it that the dragon-giant was trying to rouse the great serpent.

Kemen: Jormunder?
Aerika: they didn’t say.

Kemen: Anyone want to bet against this storm being connected to the world serpent and Ragnarok? Finding the axe and having the archons portend its purpose tells me that Mar’s boy is trying to bring about the end of all worlds and not just our own.

Chulainn: That seems foolish.

Paddock: he may think that he is working towards some different purpose, but whatever his motives it does seem too much of a coincidence to ignore.

Me: Any updates on Coe-Nan?

The barbarian is still lights out. No amount of magical healing seems to be affecting him. Very slowly the wounds are sealing themselves off and the frost is dissipating from his body. He is officially large size and the axes changed shape along with him. We steer the Revenge oustside city limits and try to find an angle to work against Poligius. A few hours pass and Coe-Nan is starting to look healthier…he stirs once or twice but otherwise nothing.
From inside the city a host of elite efreeti guard are mustering and with the amount of banners and heralds joining in we figure it is someone important. It is the Sultan himself with a honor guard of 150 efreeti warriors elite. Another 30 or so Yes Men types join with him. For as far as the eye can see…the whole landscape is empty.

A herald approaches the Revenge and demands the return of the Sultan’s property.

Kemen: Property? Don’t have any of that.
Herald: The Harem…
Kemen: Hmmm…don’t have any of those either.
Herald: Witnesses saw…
Kemen:…the harem being murdered by their own guards at the Sultan’s command. The word is already spread and as far as I am concerned that is exactly what happened. If the Sultan himself wishes to express otherwise we will happy to set up a tribunal and examine in ways both magical and divine the truth. I am told that murder is punishable by slavery or death…especially the destruction of property…i.e. slaves. The laws of Sultan are absolute and extend even to himself. I challenge you to prove us wrong.

Herald: This is way out of my jurisdiction…

A few minutes later we catch bits of shouting and cursing…none of it good natured. The herald returns a second time and he presents to us a formal request for parley with the Sultan himself. We look over the requests and see that he wants to meet in ten minutes time, he wants us unarmed and unarmored. He is requesting that we step into an anti magic field for discussions.

Kemen: no dice. We will meet him on this deck in ten minutes strapped to the gills with weapons drawn. He is welcome to bring four of his personal guard and I will swear an oath to whatever deity cares that we will not be the agressors unless he threatens our persons or our property.

Ten minutes later the Sultan along with four of his bodyguard board the Revenge. He looks like he was forced to chew on a mouthful of nails soaked in lemon juice.

Sultan: I am of a mind to flay your skins and sell you as a mockery of life in the more specialized slave pens. Circumstances as they stand will delay that wish.

Me: Circumstances like your Plane being consumed like a giant cord of freezewood?

Sultan Guard: what is freezewood.

Me: Like firewood, but cold…look that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that your entire Plane and fief is circling the drain. Tell us what you know about who pulled the plug and we are inclined to help.

Paddock: We will help if the two children are returned.
Sultan: You mean the githerzai…

Chulainn take a single step forward and Kemen puts a hands on his chest.
Kemen: hold it in.

Me: Yes…no more subterfuge. We want the children back alive and unharmed. In return we will stop the source or die trying.

The defiance drains out the proud efreeti. With a suddenly solemen tone the Sultan reaches into the depths of his robes and takes out a book bound in burnished copper.

Sultan: Take it. I will return the boy child as a sign of good faith. Stop this storm and I will open my personal coffers for you and give back to you unharmed the girl child.

The book is an excerpt from Sharazad…more commonly known as 1001 nights…

Kemen: These are fables…myths…fiction.

Sultan: My ancestors from a different age allowed these tales to be repeated and written down as lessons. The most dangerous of the true tales were removed and kept in the royal bloodlines. Stories bear power mortals…true stories the most.

2013-02-01, 05:51 PM
The Serpent and The Trickster:

The tale inside the book goes a little something like this…

Surtur got bored one day and decided to create a serpent born of fire, and like fire it’s hunger never abated. It constantly sought to consume more and more. As it’s appetite grew to match it’s ever expanding size it went searching for larger and larger meals. Eventually it came upon a man in a clearing…this man led the serpent on a merry chase. Not to be denied the serpent chased. It followed through rivers, under lakes and over mountains.

The man laughed and chided it over and over driving it to a rage. The man moved from one world to the next and the angered serpent followed. Round and Round they went. Until the trickster led the serpent to a place of nothingess…sprawling infinity…with nothing else to eat the serpent bit the only thing it could find…the part of it that had come from nothingness..it’s own tail.

Loki the trickster was pleased with his deception…the serpent sustained itself by consuming itself. It’s size was locked and the serpent was trapped between worlds, locked away in the nothingness. And so for all eternity the cosmos were connected and ever shifting as the serpent chased it’s own tail.

Me: So…he is trying to do what exactly?

Sultan: This creature has pierced the veil between worlds and he is giving the world serpent food. As the serpent grows on new fodder it expands…widening the gap between worlds. Distorting them and changing them. If the holes grow large enough…
Kemen:…then the serpent will become loose and consume everything.
Sultan: once it has eaten enough it will let loose of it’s own tail and the links of it’s body that connect the planes will fall away…everything will be destroyed.

Paddock: so if we stop him the storm will run out of steam.
Chulainn: or we cut off the serpents head.

Chulainn draws a hasty diagram on the back of a init sheet.

Chulainn: If we cut any portion of the body…we are just freeing the serpent and letting it loose. We have to cut off the head and kill it.

Kemen: Or we seal it away…
Chulainn: If you don’t mind a temporary solution…

Paddock:How do we kill an immortal serpent created from the gods?

“I think that is where I come in” comes Coe-Nan’s voice. He is still too weak to make it to his feet but he managed to roll to his side and rise to his knees.

Sultan: You hardly look in a position to do anything…including draw breath.
Coe-Nan: looks can be deceiving. I just need some time to recover.

Sultan: You need more than that.

From within his robes the Sultan pulls forth two additional books. More maps than books there are plenty of engraving like a book’s jacket reviews. Upon one of the covers is a wooden spear of antiquity…Gungnir…Odin’s Spear. The second has a single eye with a slash through it…The All Father’s Lost Eye.

Sultan: Fragments of a culture long lost, preserved by an empire that can put a price on anything. All thing eventually come to the City of Brass including salvation.

Me: I got a sneaking suspicion you aren’t just going to hand this over to us…we are going to have to play fetch aren’t we.

Sultan: You show remarkable intelligence for such a base species.

Me ooc: One day I am getting Miracle’s or Wished back to human and when I do…this guy better put his daughters under some heavy duty lock and key…

2013-02-01, 06:18 PM
Me ooc: One day I am getting Miracle’s or Wished back to human and when I do…this guy better put his daughters under some heavy duty lock and key…

Revenge through procreation!

Always nice to put some mythology in your D&D, and particularly to put some dead gods within there.

2013-02-01, 08:49 PM
Me ooc: One day I am getting Miracle’s or Wished back to human and when I do…this guy better put his daughters under some heavy duty lock and key…[/SPOILER]

Oh please; humans will sleep with anything (and vice versa, apparently). I think it would be far more impressive if you got your revenge while staying a bugbear. :smallbiggrin:

2013-02-02, 09:43 AM
Hey, you used to have a link to your other campaign logs in your signature but now you don't. All I've been able to find are this and Chaotic Goodfellas. Could you post a link to the other ones?

2013-02-02, 10:32 AM
Signature is fixed and updated (I hope)

I had deleted it because some of the links were wrong, should be right now.

2013-02-02, 10:46 AM
You can half the length of that sig if you enter it like this:

Chaotic GoodFellas-Ongoing (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=245596)

The Big One-Ongoing (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=247997)

City State of The Enigmatic Overgnome-Complete (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=245994)

An Adversarial Process-Complete (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=240332)

CalimshawShank Redemption-Complete (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=244374)

Just quote my post to get the forum code, then copy/paste it into your sig.

2013-02-03, 04:42 PM
Running Errands:

Me: The end of all creation is forming overhead and we are being sent off to play fetch.

Kemen: I don’t mind so long as it’s worth the trip.

Gugnir and The Eye Patch are both close to each other. They are held in ancient pyramids in barren sections of the Plane and guarded by intricate traps and devious guardians. The Sultan says the safeguards are not to be circumvented, they must be confronted.

On the plus side, we are bumped to level 14…(not exact but close)
Marilius: Rogue11/Exemplar3 Str 24 Dex 28 Con 15 Int 17 Wis 12 Cha 22, Feats: Skill Focus UMD, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Improved Precise Shot, Greater Skill Focus (UMD). Equipment Mithral Chain Shirt+3 with improved fire resistance, Gloves of Dex+6, Belt of Giant Str+4, +4 comp longbow (adjust to str) with shock, Cloak of Resistance+3, Boots of Striding Springing, Ring of Protection+3, Ring of Acid Resistance(improved), shortbow+3, frost outsider bane. A ton of arrows, and Bracers of Armor+5 with wand mounts.

Kemen Sarn:Fighter1/Abjurer5/Master Specialist2/Runesmith5/Abjurant Champion1 Str17 Dex 12 Con26 Int30 Wis 15 Cha 10. Feats:Combat Casting,Spell Focus Abjuration, Greater Spell Focus Abjuration,Extend Spell, II, Skill Focus Spellcraft Crafts Arms/Armor, Craft WI, Energy Substitution. Equipment: Adamanatine Dwarven Mountain Plate+5 (variable resists and wand revolvers), Headband of Intellect+6, Belt of Consititution+4, Ring Wizardy2,Ring Wizardy3, Heavy Pick+1 spell storing (levitate and detect minerals) Ring of Protection+4, Amulet of Natural Armor+4, Cloak of Resistance+4

Chulainn (The Silent One): Monk 14 Str18 Dex 38 Con 16 Int 14 Wis 24 Cha 12: Feats:Stunning Fist, Combat Reflexes, Improved Trip, II, Short Haft, Power Attack, Lightning Reflexes, Weapon Focus Spear. Equipment: Monk’s Belt, Gloves of Dex+6 Cloak of Resistance+5, Bracers of Armor+8, Ring of Protection+3 Ring of Fire Resistance Greater, Boots of Striding Springing, Amulet of Natural Armor+4, Adamantine longspear+4 shock, longspear+2 frost outsider bane. Periapt of Wisdom+6

Paddock: Paladin2/Cleric12 Str 22 Dex 14 Con 20 Int 12 Wis 26 Cha 20: Feats Mounted Combat, Ride By Attack, Spirited Charge, Craft Wand, Improved Turning. Equipment: Adamantine Full Plate+3 fire resist greater, Belt of Giant str+6, Periapt of Wisdom+6, Cloak of Resistance+4, adamantine lance+4 frost, outsider bane. Morningstar+3 frost, heavy steel shield +3 , Stone Horse (special)

David Allen Coe-Nan (race unknown) Fighter7/Barbarian7 Str32 Dex22 Con24 Int11 Wis14 Cha8. Feats: Two Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus Axes, Power Attack, Cleave, Improved Iniative. Great Cleave, Weapon Specialization, Improved TWF,Greater Two Weapon Fighting Improved Critical. Battle Axe Equipment:Adamantine Breastplate+4 fire resist greater, adamantine battleaxe (2)+5, Belt of Giant Str+6, Gloves of Dex+6 Cloak of Con+6, ring of protection+5 Ring of Frost Resist greater, Amulet of Natural Armor+4, Axes of Ragnarok (special) Boots of Striding Springing.

There is a vast array of lesser equipment in various bags of holding, but this is about the standard layout for what we were loaded with.

Not looking to burn time that we probably can’t afford to lose. We kick the Revenge into high gear and head hell bent for the Gungnir pyramid. As the ship hovers along at top speed the shape of a serpent’s body is slowly becoming visible amidst the storm’s center. It’s a strong visual clue and pseudo timer that begs us move with urgency. The Revenge reaches the valley in which the pyramid rests Kemen doesn’t even bother to put on the break and we enter a long narrow valley littered with stone alcoves…as the ship speeds through, claws scrabble for purchase along the valley walls and multitudes of varied sphinxes take wing and surround us in an ever shifting pattern.

Kemen: Unless they attack I am keeping the same heading at max speed.

The air is thick with sphinxes like mosquitoes in a swamp come July. Everyone is shifting uneasily as the pyramid grows closer and closer…on the ramp at the pyramids forefront rests a colossal stone sphinx. It raises its head and eyes that have not seen the light in centuries blink away the dust to focus on us.

Big Sphinx: This is a forbidden place, and bears no trespassers. Turn back now.

The command is taken up by a chorus of hundreds as sphinxes chirp at us “ turn back now”

We all look at each other…

Coe-Nan: Uh…no.

Big Sphinxes: Then answer our riddles you must…or this valley will be your tomb.

Kemen: All of them?
Big Sphinx: Yes…
Kemen: Is there a Plan B? Cause we don’t have that much time
Big Sphinx: No Plan B…

Coe-Nan: We can’t answer a thousand riddles and we can’t kill a 1,000 sphinxes. How do we make the bird brained idiots get that?

Dread Parrot: Bird brain? Who you calling a Bird Brain?
All: Oh no….
The Dread Parrot chooses that moment to pop its head out from below decks and it angrily hops around the deck hurling insults and asking to know who said it.
A random Sphinx: What do you put in a box to make it lighter?
Parrot: Holes…
*poof* a sphinx disappears…
Random Sphinx: What is lighter than a feather and heavier than a mountain?
Parrot: Your mother…!

The sphinx screeches and dive bombs towards the Parrot….Coe-Nan intercepts it and with a natural 20 he crits and takes off the sphinxes head in a single blow.

Kemen: I got an idea…Coe-Nan answer the next one wrong no matter what…
Sphinx: What walks on four legs…
Coe-Nan: Peanuts!
Me: Peanuts??

A sphinx divebombs towards the barbarian…who is standing there in a batters stance with the ragnarok axes…full attack that cant miss…and another dead sphinx.

Kemen: Paddock…stay with Coe-Nan…heal him….Mar and Chulainn we are heading inside…

The three of us split off and make a break for the pyramid while Coe-Nan stands there hacking away with a gnome for healing support. Once he fully recovered from his burst the magical healing once again took effect on him. The big sphinx doesn’t stop us…but the questions are coming faster and faster and sphinxes are dive bombing the barbarian at much faster rates. With the Ragnarok axes he can’t miss…but every missed attack roll is more damage he is taking. The sphinxes with energy attacks are working to recharge the axes which may work to our advantage. We hear a random string of inane answers as he sprint into the temple

“Cabbage Soup!”
“Blue Flowers”

The battle map is portioned to isolate Paddock and Coe-Nan while the rest of us penetrate the temple. Not 20 feet in I shout for a stop…
Me: Wall mounted dart trap…probably poisoned. Pretty sure I can disable but it’s going to take a few seconds…
Kemen: How long?
Me: 30 seconds…
Kemen: ****…five rounds. Work fast…take penalties…

I rush to disarm the trap and manage some sweat inducing skill check results…but I disable the pressure plate triggers in 15 seconds (from the distance “Lilac…Pumpkins…Wind *poof* hey I got one)

The three of us are rushing forward as fast as possible but every twenty to 30 feet is another trap and its hard to figure out what direction we should go. The commotion outside is still audible inside and from the shouts the attacks are coming faster and faster.

Chulainn: Kemen fall back, they will need help…no time to disarm. Give me a stoneskin and Mar hit me with Cat’s grace…Im running for it…disable behind me for the return trip.

We hit him with Expeditious Retreat…Cats Grace and Stoneskin…and he looks like a hummingbird on meth trying to standstill. The monk pulls a full Neo and damn near runs up the walls down the hallway…pit traps open below him…guillotines descend to sweep at him and gouts of fire ignite the path behind him. He evades….and dodges them all. I get a nice circumstance bonus to disable having watched them trigger and I hastily follow behind him to disable and clear the path back.

Kemen hustles back out to the front of the pyramid where Coe-Nan is moving from spot to spot on the deck as the bodies pile up. AS long as he answers the questions…they are exclusively attacking him. He is see-sawing in health and the gnome is struggling to keep up with his pace.

Paddock: Some of the damage is resistant to healing I cant get him back to full.

Kemen pours over the lists of damage taken and healing provided and comes to a Spellcraft-Conclusion.

Kemen: The energy damage feeding through from the axe is only healed by natural means, not magical.

Kemen loads up Coe-Nan with as many buffs as he can. Then he starts trying to steer elemental damage dealing sphinxes towards himself. So the three of them create a triangle offense. Kemen and Coe-Nan at the points with Paddock splitting heals between them. Five to Eight sphinxes are descending per round and Kemen can’t deal enough damage to kill them as rapidly as the barbarian so he tucks in to eat damage and hold the line.

Chulainn meanwhile is hauling ass through the pyramid and triggering a boatload of traps in the process. He evades the majority of them but a few critical fumbles lead him to taking significant damage. I am chasing behind him at a snails pace by comparison but steadily removing traps for his return path.

Paddock: I am running low on spells, trying to scrape the barrel….
Coe-Nan: Still taking elemental damage, down to less than half…
Kemen: Out of best spells, resorting to stall tactics…
Me: I am progressing, but slowly.
Chulainn: Still searching, nothing yet.

Multiple races for survival, slaughter, evasion, and disabling are running concurrently and none of the fronts look good.

Chulainn is the first one to find success…he locates the spear room. Gungnir is visible at the center of an open chamber leaning against a stand on a pedestal. The floor is a tangle mass of sleeping basilisks…hundreds of sleeping basilisks.
Chulainn: Oh crap…

Chulainn sizes up the distance from the hallway to the pedestal…it’s about 50 feet…he has a truly obscene movement rate and he can make the jump with a check of 6 or higher. But what the heck does he do once there? Making a standing jump back? Play pitfall with what will likely be 100+ fort checks to avoid petrification? We will come back to Chulainn…

As I work to clear the path…I come up to a large pit trap…the trigger is way out in the middle and it would take 2 minutes to cautiously disable…so I do the next best thing. I force the trigger open so it is easily visible…then I fall back to provide support for the Boat crew.

Coe-Nan is sucking fumes on hitpoints and every point of elemental damage the axes let through is another point we can’t heal back. Every attack roll that misses and triggers more damage is causing us to wince, he manually attempts to switch back to his own axes, and blows the Will check to stop using the Ragnarok Axes.

Kemen is playing at being a dwarvish bird catcher…he is webbing up clumps of sphinxes and letting them fall. They break free pretty quickly, but it ties up actions and buys Paddock some breathing room. The trio is just about overrun on deck and the paths off the ship or below deck are clogged with corpses. I start pouring arrows into the scrum and try to get them back ahead of the curve. Its not looking good…

Me: Anyone got any ideas?

Chulainn gets a running start and leaps through the air like an Olympic long jumper…he sticks the landing and snatches the spear. The second his hand closes on the spear…the hundreds of sleeping basilisks instantly come awake…

Chulainn: You know what one of the least reached and most useful monk abilities is?
Hundreds of basilisk start to turn their gazes upon him…
Chulainn: Dimension….Fu**ing Door!

Chulainn wins initiative on the surprise round and Dimension Door’s himself back to the hallway…and hundreds of basilisks start chasing him back…

The four of us are fighting in pure desperation…Paddock is tossing cure light wounds to Kemen and Coe-Nan and Kemen is down to magic missile spells. I have abandoned shooting to aid in healing via wand of cure moderate wounds to the damage soaks…there is no room left to maneuver and the sheer weight of dead sphinxes is starting to bury us…from the pyramid moving at approximately 70-80 miles an hours comes the monk with Gungnir in hand. The moment he breaks the plane of the pyramids entrance…every sphinx turns and focuses on him…he makes a running leap to the Revenge and shouts “CLOSE YOUR EYES!” in mid air…

From the pyramid mouth basilisks pour out at startling speeds like ants out of ant hill. A lot fell into the pit trap I left open, but most just dug into the walls and came out that way. They are all pissed off and constantly trying to gaze attack…which ends up targeting the sphinxes who were honed in on the monk…

Sphinxes make their saves and remain frozen in mid air…others fail and turn all statue-y and fall to the ground, shattered by the impact. Kemen tries to back up the Revenge and it is too weighed down to move. The massive sphinx is unaffected. It is longer waiting for questions…it is now pulling itself up from the ground and preparing to attack.

Kemen: Push off the corpses…we need to cut weight and fast…

Everyone frantically tries to push off the masses of dead sphinxes from the deck and Coe-Nan is the only one with any major success. He gets a stack of about six off and the rest of us move three more…The Revenge lurches forward…scraping the ground below us.

Big Daddy Sphinx is almost free of it’s long term position…


A few more sphinxes go over the side and the Revenge stops scraping the valley floor.

Big Daddy takes a deep breath and a stream of acid pours over the front of the ship…I get hit front and center and I drop from full health to single digits…acid resist is the only thing that prevented me from getting one shot….monk evades…

Silver Lining: It dissolves some of the corpses and we pick up some steam. I duck behind a pile of corpses and try to snipe Big Daddy…Coe-Nan keep shoving corpses over the side and Paddock tries to slow the sphinx giant with a wall of stone…it blows through it like tissue paper. I am thudding arrows into it and praying another acid wave doesn’t wash me away. Chulainn is tossing shuriken off the ship and is otherwise restricted on productive action. Paddock…starts to get that look in his eyes…

The dwarf is shoving against a pile of dead ones trying to heave them over…The big daddy is slamming itself against the valley walls and causing falling rocks to hurl towards the ship. It is gaining steam and moving fast enough to catch back up to our limping vessel.

Coe-Nan: We need something crazy right now…

As he says that Paddock has gotten onto his mount and he snatches the Gungnir spear from the deck…he hold it two handed and cross body like a pole vaulter…and puts his mount into a charge…
DM: Uh…what are you doing?
Paddock: Charging off the ship and pole vaulting into that thing’s head with Odin’s Spear Boss…
DM: You are riding your mount off the ship?

Paddock: I was actually going to throw a hard stop command at the edge and let it hurl me into the sphinx…should preserve the charge damage.

As he prepares his attack roll…Chulainn snatches his spear and prepares to do the same….

Paddock goes airborne and brings the gungnir spear down like a pole vaulter planting on his jump..he rolls a 19 and connects for quad damage on the weirdest charge attack yet. He is waved off from rolling for damage and is simply told “you did max damage”

The sphinx groans in pain and throws it’s head side to side hurling the gnome from it back and leaving him to fall 40 or so feet to the valley floor. As the gnome is shaken off…Chulainn makes his own leaping spear attack and he too connects. The sphinx tries to shake him off and fails…Chulainn makes an acrobatic check to treat his spear as a pivot and twists his way to a stable position atop the creatures head.

Coe-Nan: You people are frigging crazy.

The Revenge is moving along steady and the sphinx while wounded is now in full pursuit…it is breathing in deep for a second attack…and then the breath weapon fizzles…As the beast seems shocked, the Gungnir spear flares up. I put a few more arrows into the sphinx big daddy and then tuck in to wait.
Kemen throws a magic missile and it fizzles on spell resistance. Paddock brushes himself off and mentally commands his mount to him. Apparently he didn’t want to risk it jumping to attack. Chulainn starts pounding at the sphinx’s skull with his bare hands. He is forced to make Ride, Grapple and Reflex saves/checks each turn to stay on, stay on his feet and avoid falling rocks.

Coe-Nan has cleared enough bodies that he too finally turns to address the big daddy…it is closing and fading on the Revenge’s tail…making Coe-Nan’s thoughts for a wild leap much more difficult. He is contemplating releasing an energy burst from the Ragnarok axes…but is afraid it might kill him.

Instead he scrambles to a bag of holding hanging from the mast…and snatches an enchanted returning boulder from the bag and steps up ready to hurl next turn.

In retrospect we got a lot of mileage out of those things.

The following turn Chulainn pummels again and is dismayed at the lack of results…Paddock gets mounted and wheels his mount around from the rear. Kemen tosses another ineffective missile. I put another trio of arrows into the sphinx and Coe-Nan hurls a boulder…it goes way wide with a roll of 1 and Chulainn is forced to scramble for cover…he fails his acrobatics check and goes tumbling down the face of the sphinx…he makes a reflex save (18+insane dex) and grabs the Gungnir spear to prevent himself from falling and getting trampled. He is RIGHT in the creature’s face…dangling in front of it’s mouth like a githerzai flavored carrot on a stick.

Chulainn: If he breathes again I am screwed.

The sphinx lurches forward with a sudden burst of added speed and rakes the Revenge…slamming it into the valley walls and sending everyone flying as boulder fall like rain. IT is trying to drag us down and cripple the ship. Coe-Nan SOMEHOW gets another boulder in air and again misses. Kemen is forced to devote full control to mentally righting the ship, and CHulainn is just holding on for dear life.

The sphinx lets out a sudden howl and loses its grasp of the ship, it tumbles and goes down in a heap, trying to lift itself back up…An adamantine lance is skewered directly through it’s kneecap and completing his ride by attack from the rear is the gnome celebrating like it’s Christmas. This was one of those Table Goes Wild moments.

Coe-Nan connects with his third boulder and Chulainn flurries again which is enough to finally kill the big daddy.

No one dead…no pursuers following that we can see. We yank various weapons from the big daddy sphinx corpse and get the deck of the Revenge clear. It is moving , but with great strain…the ol girl has taken a big time pounding and the wear and tear have taken a critical toll. We aren’t sure how much more it can take.

The five of us collapse to the deck and just kind of chuckle at each other…

Paddock: I hate side quests…

2013-02-03, 06:28 PM
If anyone arty is reading this, we NEED a picture of the gnome charging the sphinx. Off a flying ship. With Gungir. Kaveman, this just keeps getting more awesome! You and your group are amazing.

2013-02-03, 07:33 PM
It's impressive how awesome Chulainn makes Monks look.

2013-02-03, 10:37 PM
Well, 80ft of movement is ALLWAYS useful, they just can't do that and deal damage at the same time. And teleportation is never really useless: I remember a 4e feat that let you teleport for a five-foot step and it STILL comes in handy.

Also; thank you Kaveman's D.M. I have always wanted to see the great spnix of Giza get up and stomp someone, and now I finally have my wish


2013-02-04, 10:23 AM
If anyone arty is reading this, we NEED a picture of the gnome charging the sphinx. Off a flying ship. With Gungir. Kaveman, this just keeps getting more awesome! You and your group are amazing.

I vote we petition the forum poster who's friend did this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=14554708&postcount=71) to get them working on that right away.

In case you didn't click the link (shame on you) that's a picture of a hydra...with jetpacks. Aka- a SKYdra. :smallbiggrin:

It's impressive how awesome Chulainn makes Monks look.

Monks get a lot of hate on the forum because they supposedly rank low in the tier system, but in a game where you have enough wealth to compensate for certain deficiets and/or the rest of your party ISN'T filled with cheesey wizards and clerics they perform just fine.
I've played pure monks on 2 seperate occasions and a multiclass part-monk on a third and had fun every time.

It's important to remember that in JaronK's post of the tiers he states that classes of similar strength play just fine together, and that's what most of these characters are around, tier 3-4. Even the heavy magic users focus more on things like Fireball and Wall of Stone Rather than Summon Monster and Polymorph, and they buy wands of Cure Light Wounds instead of Candles of Invocation.

2013-02-04, 10:55 AM
It's important to remember that in JaronK's post of the tiers he states that classes of similar strength play just fine together, and that's what most of these characters are around, tier 3-4. Even the heavy magic users focus more on things like Fireball and Wall of Stone Rather than Summon Monster and Polymorph, and they buy wands of Cure Light Wounds instead of Candles of Invocation.

1st-I whole heartedly agree.

2nd-I think of the cooler aspects of how the wizard was role played was the excessive use of spells like Stone Shape and Wall of Stone. His name literally meant Stone Brother...he was a Runesmith that chisels his spells into stone. Of course he would heavily rely on stone spells

3rd-Does anyone actually play wizards as high optimization and abuse feats etc?I seriously think the moment a party member asked for a candle of invocation all hell would break loose.

2013-02-04, 11:38 AM
One More Thing:

Coe-Nan ooc: That was brutal…what kind of twisted idea inspired you for that?

DM: I honestly didn’t think you would find it that tough. I figured the Parrot would end up stalling for time as you guys rushed the pyramid and Wall Of Stoned the way behind you. Just wanted the traps to sap you a bit to create more drama for running from the big sphinx.

Kemen: The Parrot was going to answer the riddles?

DM: Some of them. That’s why I had him pop up from the holds.

We direct the Revenge towards the second artifact and get down to speculating what we have discovered about the Ragnarok Axes and the Gungnir spear. The axes absorb the bulk of elemental damage directed at them, but some leaks through and hurts the wielder. That seeped damage only wears off over time. It also prohibits switching to a different weapon once engaged. That is a fail safe against the damage from missing we suppose.

As for the Gungnir spear…we saw it deal maximum damage and when the second breath weapon started…it fizzled. We also realize that it can be useful in both the monk’s and cleric’s hands.

Kemen valiantly attempts to perform repairs on the Revenge, but the artifice that compromises it’s design proves to be beyond his ability to repair in the field. We put Coe-Nan on full bed rest, and try to get him to recuperate as much as possible in the interim. The form of the serpent is getting more distinct and we are stuck at a crossroads…we are torn up and out of meaningful spells. A few domain abjurations and the scattered cleric spell is about all we have left. We have enough wand healing to get everyone back to full, but in terms of battle field support or triage we are on fumes. We figure on being able to rest once before making a run at Poligius, but twice seems out of reach.

Paddock: Whatever is in this next pyramid is going to test whether or not we rest before or after. If it’s anything like the first one I don’t see us managing it without resources.

Me: We may not have a choice.

The Second pyramid is towering. An absolutely gargantuan structure. No visible surprises await us on the outside. The decision is made to leave Coe-Nan on the boat as a getaway driver. He gives up one of his battle axes to the dwarf who is shaking his head at the prospect of swinging a weapon offensively.

Coe-Nan: You have one level of fighter…suck it up. Never seen a dwarf depressed over holding a battle axe.

Kemen is going to provide what spell support he has left and lean on some prepared scrolls, failing that he has an axe. Paddock is reduced to a lancer and the one righteous might in a domain slot that we are banking on using to provide a frontline presence. Chulainn and I are a bit less ability dependent and we are expected to do the bulk of the work.

With anxiety and some doubt we enter the range of the pyramid. The interior of the structure is hollow and every part of the wall, floor, and ceiling are covered in crystalline stalagtites. One other striking feature are 16 tunnels leading to places in the walls and the ceiling. Hanging from a gossamer strand and suspended in the dead center of the pyramid is an eye patch on a golden chain.

Chulainn: So we have to climb razor sharp crystals and then climb down a nearly invisible rope to snatch the eye patch?

Kemen: I doubt that is the extent of it. I am going to try and levitate…

The dwarf gets about six inches off the ground and that is far as he can go.

Kemen: So much for that.
Me: I can try and shoot it off the string…

Paddock:We can try searching the tunnels. A few open to the ceiling.
Chulainn: Still going to require a lot of climbing.

We sit at the pyramid entrance in character for about five minutes and out of character about an hour. We pour over our list of scrolls and try to brainstorm ways of retrieving the eye patch. Kemen snatches a scroll of mage hand and attempts to grasp it from a distance…it dispels within 15 feet of the eye patch. From that we take the leap of faith that an anti magic field surrounds it.

Stumped we decide to send Chulainn climbing and then wing it. Chu starts off climbing the wall closest to us and he starts ascending, as he passes the first tunnel the crystals in the room all begin humming softly. From the tunnels emerge a series of miniature crystalline driders. They look like driders scaled down to the size of a Halfling, but all crystal and only the skeletons.

Each of them carries a stone axe, their behavior indicates they are automated. Chulainn swings out of the path of one and watches at is starts hacking at the base of a stalagtite…the stone axe chips away and the stalagtite breaks loose and goes flying sideways across the room. It slams into the wall opposite completely independent of gravity and as it shatters…the shrapnel all is sucked into the dead center of the room like the sphere around the eye patch is a magnet. The shrapnel swirls around like a bizarre blade barrier for a few seconds then falls to the actual floor.

Chulainn: Oh hell no…

The monk falls back to the floor and narrowly avoids lacerating himself on the stalagtites. Once he removes himself from the wall…the driders all retreat into their tunnels and before our eyes the damaged crystals disappear and replace themselves on the wall.

Me: This is just sadistic…
Kemen: We need to test more. Too much to factor in.

Chulainn is sent back up the wall and this time we are ready for the driders to pop out. Chulainn is mounted above a tunnel doing the splits between two stalagtities with his spear raised and ready to plunge down. I am leaning into the room at an odd angle to line up a shot. The first drider appears…the humming starts and Chulainn shatters the mini drider with a single strike. The humming intensifies and more and more lumberjack driders start hacking stalagtites. Shard of crystal begin flying in various directions and as we take out a second and third the humming becomes intense enough to make the whole room shake…which shatters crystal all over the place and causes some of the driders crystalline forms to explode. There is no safe place in the room and damage is pretty much guaranteed. We fall back and again…the room resets itself.

Me: Truly sadistic.
Paddock: I think we have to go in through the tunnels.

Kemen: Pretty sure you are the only one that can fit without cramping and leaving yourself vulnerable. But yeah…we need to find a way to the ceiling and maybe take a dive to snatch the eye patch and hope the fall doesn’t kill us.

Me: Might as well split up and search multiple tunnels, not like we can support each other.

The four of us split up to the four most easily reached tunnels. Paddock is forced to leave his horse behind and we all try to make sure we have stabby type weapons that we can poke with in the cramped quarters. Kemen is given the easiest tunnel to climb and enter as he has the most horrid skills for it. Paddock gets the second hardest, and Chulainn takes the toughest to reach. Paddock takes the gungnir spear.

Inside the tunnels the sense of direction and orientation is dizzying. Gravity is a mess. Crystal driders await us in the tunnels and apparently within the tunnel their automated behavior does not apply. One of them quizzically tilts its head at us and then skitters away…as it leaves a crystalline web that looks like barbed wire starts growing in it’s wake. It expands to overtake us and slashing damage from the barbs works its way against us. It disappears once busted up, but it makes crawling the tunnels an exercise in torture. Chulainn has some success pumping shuriken ahead of him and Paddock has mediocre success poking away, anything he hits dies. As we start killing them, we hear skittering in the central chamber. We are able to hear each other’s shouts and yelling to each other we believe the dead ones are popping back in the patch room.

Its slow agonizing movement and trying to asses direction is almost more infuriating then barbed wire crystal web spells. Kemen finds himself on the ceiling but a distance away from the eye patch. The driders we killed are actively skittering around the central room and diligently applying barbed wire webs all over the place. Kemen tries to wrangle himself a hand hold on the ceiling and finds that the ceiling, gravitationally is the floor for him. Once he makes contact in the central chamber driders break off from their web making and resume chopping away at the stalagtites, sending grenade weapons flying again.

Paddock: Chulainn…work to the ceiling and get ready to swing like crazy to the patch. Use the webs to maneuver there, everyone else…dance in and out of the room…keep them in motion without actually doing anything.

It kind of works…the rest of us dance in and out the room, keeping the driders seesawing back and forth. There are enough webs strung to make movement painful but possible. A group of three don’t snap back and forth and go to work chopping downs stalagtites. The sheer volume of shrapnel has everyone taking damage and Chulainn is getting shredded trying to make it across the room.

I hit the ones chopping with arrows and manage to shatter two of the three. They reform in the tunnels but its give the smallest amount of breathing room for Chulainn who manages to get in a position to take a leap for the eye patch. He jumps and is barraged with shrapnel in mid air…fingertips outstretched he grabs the Eye Patch and closes his fist around it. As soon as he has it the driders all freeze and begin vibrating like mad…

Kemen: They are going to blow!
Paddock: Everybody run! Get Away from the choppers!

( I can only type that last sentence because it actually happened)

The three of us retreat into the tunnels, and Chulainn is forced to make a swan dive into the razor sharp rocks. The whole chamber explodes into a tempest of flying crystal, but thankfully none of it reforms. Gravity returns to normal and we are left scrambling to get back down to the floor. The whole center of the pyramid is a giant cairn. There is no sign of the monk below the mass of debris. For the first time in 2+ years of play we are looking at a character being killed.

Paddock: He just got his wife back…
Kemen: We will excavate the room and give him a hero’s funeral. We have to find him to get the eye patch anyway…

From behind us…

Chulainn: That was almost bad.
*blink blink*
Chulainn: Dimension Door…

Bleeding and emotionally scarred the four of us make towards the exit and get back onto the Pride…Coe-Nan who is starting to look better by the hour…

Coe-Nan: did I miss anything?

2013-02-04, 02:34 PM
Final Approach:

At full speed we are hours away from the Eye of the Storm. With our ship banged up and limping we figure closer to a day. From the solidness of the serpent we aren’t sure if we will have a day. The time travelling is spent resting and getting ourselves back into fighting shape. Coe-Nan is back to full capacity and ready to rock. Kemen gets a fresh set of spells and for first time in what feels like ages we don’t have excessive amounts of spells shared.

Kemen: We know he is part red dragon…so immune to fire. He displayed a cold breath weapon so I am assuming he is cold immune as well. Any spells etc should be focused on acid and electric or even sonic. I think that the artifacts are going to turn the tide here. So most of our gameplan should be based on buffing up Coe-Nan and Chulainn. I plan on loading up summon spells so we can get some allies on the scene. We don’t just have Poligius but an army of frost giants as well.

Paddock: I don’t get the spear as a lance?
Kemen: If things go south sure. But we need you on spell support and healing.
Me: And the eye patch…

Kemen: We honestly don’t know what it is intended for. The legends associate Odin’s eye patch with knowledge and foresight. Beyond that we only figured out that is provides True Seeing.

Paddock: I don’t want to think that we went through that torture for True Seeing, must have other benefits.

Me: give it to Paddock…He will look cool with an eye patch.

Our rough plan is to make a final blockade run through the frost giants and try to hammer strike against Poligius. Bring Coe-Nan straight to him and have them go toe to toe with Chulainn nipping at the hybrid’s flanks. The rest of us just give them clearance and support.

As the mountain looms ever closer…we are greeted by a small army waiting before the mountain. It is compromised of Efreets and Azer all wearing black silk armbands. Their leader a efreeti Captain Sindon hails us. All told there are three to four dozen of them. He faces Chulainn and bows…

Sindon: I was there the day you brought in Tiraxis Nis’s head. I knew then you were not a man to be trifled with. The Sultan has shamed our race and abandoned his people to doom. He pressed you to fight this battle in his place. We are the few who know the truth of your deeds on the Material Plane. If our lives can buy you time to work a second miracle then we will consider them well spent.

Chulainn: We fight for reasons beyond your Sultan’s desire. Any ally is an honored friend and we will not sully this gesture…

Kemen: Bah! Quit yapping. If you want to go and die heroically by all means do it. But tell me….who is the strongest guy you got?

Sindon: That would be me.
Kemen: Come aboard, I need you up here not down there. Any of your boys have experience with siege weapons?
A couple of azer raise their hands…
Kemen: Man a weapon and help clear us a path.

Kemen seat a trio of azer at a pair of catapults and a scorpion and gives them directions to fire on any giant that is trying to hurl rocks at us. He gives the Captain the bag of holding with enchanted rocks and tells him to go nuts with it. The remaining forces are going to draw off as much frost giant attention as they can.

As the Revenge tries to punch through the frost giant blockade, the serpent is damn near corporeal. The storm is extending for miles and the gap between worlds is bare.

Coe-Nan and Chulainn with artifacts in hand are at the front of the boat and are ready to leap into action. Paddock is close behind them on his mount and I am reduced to darting back and forth to dodge boulders and counterattack the giants looking to hem us in. Kemen is way up in the main mast and steering the ship. Poligius awaits on the mountain peak.

Frost Giants are actively trying to board the ship and the efreet Captain fills the boarding parties faces with rocks. There are just too many giants and halfway up the mountainside The Revenge’s propulsion gives way and the ship groans to a halt. Kemen tosses down a rope to Paddock, and Paddock ties it to his saddle pommel…the dwarf levitates and is dragged through the air like a kite behind the cleric. The mountain is not so steep as to avoid riding, but is slows our speed a lot. Our attempt to rush Poligius is stunted and are we forced to skirmish and engage frost giants as we continue our ascent.

Once again we are faced with splitting up our assets. Paddock, Chulainn and Coe-Nan split off and head for the peak and the hybrid giant. Kemen and I use the disabled Revenge as our own personal Alamo and keep the frost giants at bay with the scant efreet and azer backup. Kemen drops lightning bolts in mass and curses his lack of fireball preparation.

Poligius is standing at the center of the storm and is stroking the now substantial serpents scales….the trio of assassins overhears him speaking to himself.

Poligius: This is it father…the gods may have snatched you from this realm, but I will hold them ransom and see you returned. Tiraxis Nis will be reborn and I will lead his armies in glorious victory!

Coe-Nan: That explains a lot…
Paddock: maybe we can reason with him and convince him this is not the way.

Coe-Nan is trembling and the axes in his hands are actively fighting to loose themselves from his grasp.

Coe-Nan: The Axes are not going to leave us that choice.
They all go to roll for initiative and Paddock is waved off…
DM: You will act first.
Paddock: ok.

Paddock holds his action as Coe-Nan charges in on the waiting and ready giant…Poligius is waiting for the rush and he lets out a great torrent of twinned breath weapon that damn near knocks Coe-Nan out of his boots. Chulainn rushes in behind him and is buffeted with a wing attack that sends him sprawled…then like a DVR in reverse the events stop and Paddock is told it is his turn to act.

The Eye Patch gives the wearer glimpses of what is about to happen. It is played off after that first round as him basically knowing what actions the Giant is preparing to take.

Paddock: Coe-Nan he is ready for you and is going to breath on you. Chulainn watch out for the wings!

Coe-Nan is given a substantial circumstance bonus and he delays his rush to allow Chulainn to go first. Chulainn ducks the wing buffet and scores a glancing shot with the spear. Coe-Nan completes his charge and Poligius’s breath weapon fizzles. Paddock continues to shout out orders and warnings as their dance begins.

Kemen and I are hard pressed to keep the giants at bay…they are not entirely interested in us and are using each action to get to their leader. Kemen trips them up with grease spells and web spells and those that do pass us open themselves up to barrages of sneak attack boosted arrows. Sindon is grinning ear to ear as he pummels the frost giants with enchanted boulders. Too many giants are trying to pass us and soon we are hitting them from range , desperately trying to drop them before they can assist Poligius.

Coe-Nan and Chulainn are benefitting from their tactical advantages and continue to nip at the giants flanks. The Axes bite deep and the gungnir spear has an effect of forcing a kind of reverse spell resistance. Poligius has to pass a check in order to use his abilities. He is damn strong and has a very deep health pool. The breath weapons that are successful are devastating. Paddock discovers a second benefit of the Eye Patch….his spells are maximized. He puts a cure critical that goes for maximum and realizes that it applies to all spells. They are holding their own and dishing out lots of damage, the combination of reverse spell resistance, maxxed spells and axes that can’t miss are giving them the edge.

Unfortunately Kemen and I are unable to buy them enough time. We are forced to chase the reinforcements up the mountain in pursuit. Suddenly the armored wizard is excruciatingly slow.

Kemen: Leave me I will catch up.
Me: Can’t we need you…Sindon!

The efreeti captain glances in my direction…I rush to him and tie the severed end of the rope that had tied to the pommel of Paddock’s horse…the other end is still around Kemen’s waist.
Me: Think you can put one of those boulders near the chief?
Kemen: Oh HELL NO!
Me: You have heard of an orcish shotput…this is the dwarvish equalivent. You might want to cut the rope upon landing…not sure if the returning will bring you back with it.

Kemen: This is crazy…you are not flinging me attached to a boulder up the side of a giant infested mountain…


Sindon makes a heck of a throw and the sound of the dwarf yelling echoes across the mountainside…

Coe-Nan and Chulainn have the giant fighting defensively, they are scoring damage and avoiding a good deal of the return attacks. Then Paddock foresees a trio of boulders smashing into Coe-Nan and he shouts out the alert. Coe-Nan and Chulainn go tumbling and a cadre of frost giants enter the fray to assist their leader.

Paddock: This is bad

The runesmith’s levitate slows his landing but he still slams into the mountainside about 40 feet from the thick of things. This leaves me as the lone straggler a few hundred feet away from the mix of things.

Kemen dusts himself off and immediately resuming lightning bolting giants. Coe-Nan and Chulainn are forced to dance around as multiple giants are attacking them. Paddock is forced to take defenseive maneuvers as well. From afar…enchanted boulders smash into giants and then return to their wielder who is creeping up the mountain. I take the random pot shot from afar and try to hustle up.

Coe-Nan: Out of curiousity…can I see the serpent’s head?
DM: in the space between worlds overhead what might be the head is faintly visible.
Coe-Nan: I am going for it…going to use the axes as climbing gear and ascend the serpent to get to the head.

Chulainn and Kemen keep most of the giants busy and Poligius is trying to track down where Coe-Nan went. Paddock puts a flamestrike into a center mass of giants (and right on Chulainn who evades) the flame damage doesn’t touch Poligius…but the divine damage does. We get two-three rounds of successful distraction and Chulainn is starting to take too many shots.

Without Coe-Nan to draw attacks and soak damage his evasion is giving way to lucky shots. I get in close enough to pick off the wounded giants but Poligius finally looks up and see the barbarian leaving trails of glowing blood from where he is burying his axes to climb the serpent. He roars in defiance and takes wing after the barbarian. In response Coe-Nan expels all the energy in one his axes in the form of a sonic burst that buffets the hybrid. The feedback nearly knocks him unconscious but he grits his teeth and keeps going.

The Frost Giants are all closing in on Paddock and he pops Righteous Might and tries to face them head on…its not pretty. Kemen puts an acidic sculpted fireball into the bulk of the closing giants and I manage to drop one of them with bowfire.

Poligius is back to control and rapidly ascending to get Coe-Nan.

Coe-Nan: how far from the top?
DM: five rounds plus or minus 1

Coe-Nan lets loose the full energy of the second axe and again buffets Poligius, this time he makes a fort save to avoid passing out. The next round he fully escapes our world and enter the space between. As he does…the Sha Hatal spirit that subjugated the Fenrir essence breaks free from him and takes on an astral presence. The hybrid wolf/cat bounds through space and attacks the serpent.

Poligius: No! I will not be denied. This is the only way to recover my father! You will not stop me.
Me: your father is right here!

Poligius scoffs at me…”Tiraxis raised me and made me strong. He is the only father I recognize”
Me: you think that destroying reality will bring him back?
Poligius: The gods will be forced to intervene they will free back to this world.
Me: No they won’t. They don’t interfere or take part like that. You will destroy everything before they bow to your whims.
Poligius: What do you know of the gods?
Me: not much…but I do know about stalling for time…

Poligius turns to see Coe-Nan nearly upon the head of the serpent. The Sha-Hatal spirit is attacking it with ferocity but nothing fatal. Coe-Nan starts hacking away with one axe, while clinging to the serpent via the second.
Poligius sends a breath weapon at Paddock and myself that kills five of his giants and damn near kills us. He then takes wing and hurtles towards Coe-Nan.

The barbarian is taking huge amounts of feedback damage and every swing causes him to lose health. He loads up a massive power attack and takes one final swing for the fences that drops him deep into negatives. He connects for a monsterous load of damage and we see the severed head of the world serpent drift off as Coe-Nan falls back towards the mountain top. With startling speed the storm is shrinking…the Sha-Hatal spirit is sprinting back towards the falling Coe-Nan but the rift closes as he tumbles down through the air. Poligius passes him going the other direction and cries out in misery as the rift closes and his ascent takes him strictly higher into the sky.

The remaining frost giants…seeing their leader strike down their brethren are confused and unsure of what to do. Kemen and Paddock rush during the sudden calm to Coe-Nan…his entire body is charred and frozen at the same time. The axes are gone…vanished somewhere in the space between worlds. Coe-Nan morphs back into his natural human state as the vestiges of the spirits inside him fade.

Me: Can you heal him?
Paddock: No…there is nothing left to heal. I don’t think he even felt the fall…he was gone before then.

Kemen: Where is the damned half breed?
Gone. Only the faintest sight of his wings are visible in the distance.

2013-02-04, 03:10 PM

The remaining frost giants throw down their weapons and mass together in exodus from the mountain. From the distance comes a legion of efreets. The banner of the Sultan at their forefront.

I carry Coe-Nan’s body down the mountain where Captain Sindon is sifting through his loyalists for survivors. Paddock heals the rest of us and we sit there in a daze while the Sultan approachs.

The Sultan himself is all smiles…in his resplendent robes and followed by his scores of Yes Men. Upon the palanquin carrying him is Chulainn’s daughter, dressed in gems and silks like a true princess. She is frail…sickly so, but alive and coherent.

Sultan: You have defied this world an end. For that I welcome you with a new beginning. Take back your wayward daughter and rejoice for not only her liberation, but the liberation of our world as well!

Chulainn eyes the Sultan warily but welcomes his daughter with open arms.
Chulainn: Thanks…

Sultan: So where is the monster’s head? This half breed abomination. I wish to parade through all the cities of my realm.
Kemen: He isn’t dead. He escaped.
Sultan: Escaped? To one day return and torment us again. This is unacceptable.

Paddock: Coe-Nan severed the world serpent’s head…there wont be an “again”

Sultan: I assure you that as long as this creature draws breath….then he
Me:…is still my son. His motives were selfish for all the right reasons. If we had taken the time to understand the pain he must have felt then we would have been able to reason with him. He didn’t want glory or prestige. He wanted someone dear to him returned from beyond the veil. I think that is something we can all appreciate.

Sultan: nonsense…he is a pillager and traitor to all races including his own.
Me: bide your words carefully Sultan…
Sultan: You would admonish me? How dare you.

Kemen: We dare by virtue of having in our possession the spear of Odin…Gungnir…by bearing the Patch of the All Father gifting its wearer with wisdom and foresight. We know the power they grant and the strength they impart. You want to take that chance?

Sultan: Perhaps…an exception would be merciful.

Kemen ignores the final response and beckons us return to the Revenge. Sindon follows us back and volunteers to Plane Shift us back to the Material Plane. Kemen works out an arrangement for him to get the Revenge back as well and we are Plane Shifted back home. He brought us to the docking area of Cinhill Rue.

We make it a first priority to travel to the plains where Coe-Nan hailed from. We bury him in a cairn fit for a king. There is a high degree of uncertainty at this point. In many ways it feels like the end of this campaign all together and for the most part, none of us is ready to part ways with this set of characters just yet. Our DM is remaining guarded in terms of what’s next. We are dreading the moment he says “Alright…I need a break who wants next?”

A lot of downtime developments are unfolded.

1st: Chulainn has become one of the wealthiest men in all of creation. The combined wealth of the Tiraxis vault and the troves of magic items contained are a fortune that dragons would salivate over. He donates enormous amounts to Kord and those who follow in his faith. He creates a lifetime endowment for CInhill Rue with the caveat that Cinhill Rue always be a sanctuary for any githerazai that enter its halls.

2nd: He invests a kings ransom to Kemen directly urging him to help rebuild Kay-Varn and build The Weald into a place that will one day rival the great dwarven capital.

3rd: He brings his family fully to the Material Plane where they are fully re-united.

4th: Kemen and a host of skilled craftsmen begin repairs on the Revenge.
And finally…

We return from The Weald to Cinhill Rue and find a stranger in tattered clothes stained with mud from the road watching the craftsmen work on the Revenge. The man is old but stout and missing one eye. He leans heavily on a bad leg. As we enter the workshop Paddock cheerfully introduces himself.

Paddock: Welcome to Cinhill Rue stranger.
Stranger: Ahhh many thanks. That is a fancy patch you are wearing…I find myself in need of one.

Before Paddock can respond the Stranger is placing the Eye Patch over his missing eye.

Stranger: Fits perfectly.

Hey now…wait a second.

The Stranger looks at Chulainn who has Gungnir on his back…
Stranger: That looks like a fine walking stick…

Chulainn reaches for his spear to find it gone. The Stranger suddenly has a gnarled and plain stick that he leans upon.

Stranger: I feel much better.

A cawing noise emits from his cloak and the Stranger takes a handful of grubs from his cloak and feeds them to a pair of fledgeling ravens.

Kemen: So…stranger…what do you think of the ship?
Stranger: Things change all the time. Only the past stays the way it was. Although...

He pauses in the course of walking around…
Stranger:…somethings like courage are timeless. I expect that few know more about that then you lot.

Kemen: you know I think I know your name stranger…
*shhhhh* the man says in a hushed whisper
Stranger: I imagine you do.

Me: It seems that we managed to bring something lost back to you…do you think its possible that we might…
Stranger:…receive back “someone” that was lost to you. I’m afraid not. Death is not to be reversed lightly.

The Stranger looking much haler begins walking out of the workshop…as he fades from sight. He pauses for the briefest of moments and says.

Stranger: Although I am told that sometimes not all it what it seems. You don’t need to wear an eye patch to see all the loopholes of this world. I’m sure you will figure it out.

As he fades…from the recesses of his cloak pops out the molting and dusty Parrot. It squawks in distress and lands upon it’s cage in the dock area. It rummages within a nearby satchel and spills out the barbarians axes…

Dread Parrot: *yawn* Wake me up when the cracker bitch gets back…
Chulainn: Cracker bitch?

As if it is answer enough the Parrot relieves itself all over Coe-Nan’s axes and begins laughing in an insane squawking cackle.

2013-02-04, 03:12 PM
...What a way for Coe-Nan to go.

2013-02-04, 04:06 PM
The Search for Squawk:

Me: Ok…It’s not just me right now. That was Odin that just stole back the artifacts that we busted our asses for right?

Kemen: yeah, pretty sure that was Odin. And he gave us back the Parrot.
Paddock: So what loopholes do you think he is talking about?

Kemen: I’m not sure…but in a few weeks the Revenge will be mobile again. We could try chasing the Parrot around and see where it goes…but something tells me that is going to be a wild goose chase.

Coe-Nan rejoins the game with a new character sheet. We are super confused now…he is steadfast in simply saying “no comment” as to whether there is something in the wings we don’t know about.

His new character is called Kneel Yung (*sigh*) and he is a straight up human Paladin. He is level 14 and similiarly equipped to the rest of us. He plays himself off as a crusader that was referred to us by Erick. We take him in stride and try to figure out where we go from here. In game time four months have passed since Coe-Nan died to seal off the world serpent. Chulainn is intrigued enough at the prospect of “saving” Coe-Nan to leave his family in their new home at The Weald and once again hit the road. We are two weeks away from a fully restored Revenge and there is still a few action items worth pursuing.

*Poligius is out there somewhere and from the lengths he was prepared to go the first time we expect him to do something else to try and raise Tiraxis.
*We know there are at least 13 liches of staggering power out there somewhere.
*Snickle is still owed retribution for stealing our ship.

I am going to take a hiatus (maybe a day or ten not sure) from this write up to try and finish the ChaoticGoodfellas log.

2013-02-04, 08:57 PM
I finally check back on this thread after months and it's gone from two pages to six! I'm loving your writeup kaveman.

2013-02-05, 09:19 AM
Players CAN have nice things...but world-ending artifacts are probably a bad idea in the long run.

When they started losing game-breakers like that, I was expecting the parrot to turn out to be one of Odin's Ravens in disguise.

2013-02-06, 04:29 PM
Embracing The Trauma:

Approximately 8-9 months have passed in game since the Darkness Event that caused nearly every sentient creature to fall under Ven and Tiraxis’s control. The regions of the world have been put back together to a certain extent and a sense of normalcy has returned. From that standpoint we are encouraged by the prospect that we may find a way to get Coe-Nan back.

To that end we have decided to journey forth and seek out the wisdom of any pre-eminent clerics or wizards we are able to track down.

We also make the call to try and track down Snickle. To that end, we pull the Revenge from its dock at Cinhill Rue and set course for the town of Flynt. If the little bugger double crossed us he may have returned to a place where he had contacts. We are ten to fifteen miles outside of Flynt when the weirdness begins. The whole countryside has been scoured clean and the landscape is now festooned with human sized birdhouses. Tall Poles with open air structures are frigging everywhere. Like a bird house cemetery.

Me: Something is seriously wrong here.
Kemen: Ya think?

The Revenge presses onwards and as we get within sight of Flynt the weirdness grows.

The whole city is now one giant bird’s nest. Griffons and Roc’s are thick as mosquitoes in the sky above the city. There is something off about them though…their feathers are painted and adorned with bright festive colors. At the center of the city an immense wicker parrot spreads its wings over the city.

Chulainn: Are we all thinking the same thing and are just too afraid to say it?
Me: If you mean the whole city converted to some cult worshipping our parrot then yes.

The Parrot hops onto the mast of the ship and surverys the landscape.

Parrot: Bout time someone got around to making me a god.

As The Revenge steers closer to the city some of the bird house’s are occupied. Bug Eyed humanoids in bright plumage wearing griffon skull helmets hop around their over sized bird houses and caw at us. When the Dread Parrot caws back the sound is like a clap of thunder. The bizarre bird cultists instantly awestruck and prostrate themselves before their deity.
The zealots create an honor guard around us and escort us into the bird’s nest. Seated above the talons of the wicker parrot idol is Snickle. He is wearing the brightest feathers of all and is surrounded by decorated rocs and griffons. Around his neck is an amulet…

To describe his reaction as shocked when he sees us is the understatement of the year. His look when he spots the parrot…puts the previous look to shame.

Snickle: My feathered friends and comrades…BEHOLD! The Great One has returned to us. The Dread Parrot Roberts in all his Avian Glory has come to take us beneath his wings and fly with us into a new destiny. We owe his escorts homage for their service to the OverParrot.

Our first impulse is to flamestrike/lightning bolt/rapid shot him in the face. Dozens of huge and larger flying allies dissuade that approach.

Kemen: So I love what you have done with the place…
Snickle: I saw that my purpose was here. To spread the word of our OverParrot praised be his feathers. This world shook off the husk of it’s old pantheon just like our lord molts his feathers. The time is now for us to create a new future where the skies are our home.

Chulainn: Has anyone bothered to ask what the Parrot thinks?

The Parrot who is happily preening himself on our ship’s mast looks up and coughs…sending a shower of gold and jewels scattering off the ship and into the reeds of the nest.

Parrot: I am happy with being a god…but there better be booze. I am thirsty.

With a snap of his fingers Snickle has a roc dive bombing straight to the base of the statue. Around its neck like a St. Bernard carting whiskey to a mountain climber is a cask of grog.
Parrot: Carry on little bird guy…spread the word.
Snickle: The OverParrot has spoken!

Kneel: I think we are quickly getting in over our heads.
Me: Can we have a word in private Snickle? I will gurantee that our parley goes without aggression or abduction.

Snickle: To honor those who returned our lord to us…all requests are welcome. I shall return shortly my brethren.

The moment we are all below decks Snickle rips off his headdress and practically begs us to get him the hell out of there.

Snickle: These people are F**KING INSANE. I can’t take another day of some schlub chewing up my dinner and vomiting it into my throat. GET ME OUT HERE!

The little guy is sobbing uncontrollably and is clearly terrified. But we fell for that once before.

Kemen: You stole our ship and left us for dead Snickle. The chances of us helping you are somewhere between Slim and None.
Snickle: look…times were rough. I thought the world was ending ok. Cut me a little slack.

Me: Start by telling us what happened.

Snickle: So after I got the boot off the ship I drifted for a few weeks and when people got control of themselves back they found me living high on the hog in Flynt. Most of the people returning to the city were confused and the last thing they remembered was the Parrot attacking them. I saw an opening and took it. Told them the parrot got the darkness lifted and that I was his prophet. The next thing I know I got hundreds if not thousands of people all looking to me as high priest for a religion I got to improvise on the fly. I set them to building bird houses just to get them off my back. They took it upon themselves to build the nest and statue. I figured I could just slip away when things settled down. Before I can pack my bags…the whole city is swarming with griffons and Rocs. There is enough belief for these people that some force is actually answering their prayers. My fake religion got enough juice to become a real religion and Im stuck as their leader.

Chulainn opens his mouth to respond at least five times and nothing comes out.
Snickle: You mute again?

Chulainn: No just speechless.
Kemen: I think you need to realize something Snickle. You need to listen very carefully.

Snickle: ok.

Kemen: As crazy as you think these people are…the parrot is worse. Right now he is in good mood and laughing it up. In an hour…he might order everyone to burn down every tree in the world because he wants a stiffer breeze. You just created a zealous following for a bird that has no moral compass or remorse. You just created the world’s hardest to predict time bomb.

Chulainn: I suppose we could just say that you are coming with us on a mission to retrieve an item of great importance for the Parrot.

Kemen: Mark my words…no matter what we plan…this ends badly.

Amidus Drexel
2013-02-06, 04:35 PM
Embracing The Trauma:


Hehehe :smallamused:


2013-02-06, 05:03 PM
More Plumage than a Shubbery:

Snickle emerges from the Revenge…façade and headdress both back on.

Snickle: Nestlings…brothers. Our gracious friends…the escorts to our lord have begged me join them on a noble quest. With our Parrot’s blessing I shall accompany them to places not yet enlightened and spread the word of our noble lord.

A chorus of dissenting voices raises up. They don’t want their high priest to leave.
The Parrot who was happily drinking his grog perks up and flies to the top of his statue.

Kemen: Here comes the trouble.

The Dread Parrot resized himself to colossal and his booms across the lands.

Parrot: FOLLOWERS. DISCIPLES. These minions will go forth to spread my word. And right now my word is WENCHES! I want some bright colored…longtail feathered green hued lady parrots here in five days time or I will destroy the nearest city. And what does a demi god need to do to get some flying monkeys. Find me flying monkeys my children…no chimps…only baboons and gorillas.

Chulainn: Well as far as commandments go his first two are rather blunt. Lady Parrots and Flying Monkeys (no chimps). I could imagine worse as the basis for a new theology.

Kemen: humor me for a few hours fellas.
Kemen steers the Revenge to the outskirts of the birdhouses and he makes a simple box with a sign that says CITY OF NEW TOWN.
Kemen: There is the closest city.
Me: Come on…you think that will work.

Kemen: I have every confidence that It doesn’t matter.
Chulainn: so are we actually going to find some parrots?
Paddock: Nah…Im sure he will forget all about it in no time.

No sooner are the words are out his mouth then a swarm of riders mounted on griffons and rocs come streaking through the sky…a lone Roc breaks off and hurtles into the City Of New Town, destroying it.

Snickle: Brothers what are you doing?

Rider: God got impatient and told us to destroy the City and then find him a parrot. He said if he didn’t have a parrot within 24 hours we were to destroy anything we found without feathers. Except for sea turtles and dire badgers…he said to spare those.

Me: We should sell the parrot, maybe that will force it to follow someone else around.

DM*cough*: Technically Coe-Nan is the owner of the Parrot and he is currently dead. This leaves the state of the Parrot undefined. In terms of what that means to you…he can’t be leveraged or coerced. An owner more or less implies the parrot will follow. An owned but presently ownerless parrot…well it will prove eventful.

Kneel: Where do we find a parrot?
Me: this is a temperate zone…not much lush or verdant jungle around.

Kemen: The only verdant jungle I am aware of is the Hullbreaker Islands. That means Cinhill Rue. Paddock could get a sending to Androka and he could possibly teleport us there, or teleport himself here with a parrot. We could conceivably have a parrot here in hours.

Kneel: Sounds like a plan.
Within a few hours Androka teleports to our position with a cageful of Parrots.

We anxiously pilot the Revenge back to the OverParrot and present our offerings to the new god.

The dread parrot reverts to his normal form and preens his musty feathers. He then hops to his own cage and performs a hasty and ineffective clean out.
Dread Parrot: alright ladies come to papa.

The Dread Parrot hops to attention and surveys his offerings…

Thunderclouds form overhead and lightning arcs from the sky in all directions. In an instant the Dread Parrot is once again enormous and his voice is somehow even louder.



Parrot: be gone from my sight. Minions…if any of these six ever appear in your sight again…kill them. Leave no trace of their bodies. BE GONE!
In haste we get the heck out of Flynt and kick into high gear.

Kemen: This is going to bite us someday…and maybe soon. We need to get Coe-Nan back in the worst possible way.

Me: Question guys…are we more mad at Snickle now? Or less mad? Cause I still have a desire to keelhaul him or make him walk a plank. Something nasty.
Snickle: Don’t do anything permanent. I can still be useful.

Kneel: you are the treacherous former high priest of a mad religion. Your followers have order to kill you on sight and the only people that trusted you want you dead. Describe useful.

Snickle: I know where to find a wizard that can get your friend back.
Kneel: Doubtful but we are listening.

2013-02-06, 05:04 PM
Forget ven aus, the parrot being in charge of a religion is by far the greatest danger that campaign world will ever face.

2013-02-06, 06:29 PM
It got cold real fast:

So here goes the tale spun by Snickle:

When the darkness hit…one place was unaffected. An arctic island as far north as you can get. According to Snickle the world’s most powerful wizard lives on this island…isolated from the rest of the world and secluded from it’s concerns. He claims to know this from a sailor he helped shanghai, claims that is where he got his diving bell/bottle of air rig. A ship this guy had been on that made it to the island.

If there is a chance of recovering Coe-Nan it will be from this hermit mage on an island of ice. All we would have to do is sail thousands of miles through treacherous and churning nearly frozen water and track down an epic wizard that doesn’t want to be found in the harshed climate on the planet.
Unspoken is all also the concept that we would be we trusting the guy that already burned us once.

Paddock: I suppose freezing to death on a fool’s errand while trying to rescue a friend is a better end than being eaten by a crazy bird cult.

After a brief stop for some extremely cold weather clothing The Revenge turns north and lays on the gas.

There is the slightest sigh of relief when the island comes into view…at least it is real. The bulk of the trip is uneventful, a few sea serpents attack us, but nothing of a threatening nature. The Revenge hovers the last few miles over fractured and ever shifting ice and arrives at the island proper. Waiting at the edge of the continent is a towerin polar bear. It is wearing a fur lined parka and holding a drink tray…

Above the gale force winds and flying snow it speaks to us in clear and articulate Common

Polar Bear: My master is expecting you. He pursued several possible outcomes of your trip here and finally decided to tell you to get lost in person. Figured it would save time.

Kemen: Well that is inviting.

The polar bear waiter leads us overland to an igloo carved from diamond. One solid mind numbingly perfect and priceless diamond…big enough for the polar bear to walk upright inside. He leads us to an underground bunker where his master awaits.

Snickle: told you I was telling the truth.

Standing on top of a rolling office chair is a goblin wearing wizard robes.

Goblin Wizard: So you are here to ask me to help you get your dead friend back and somehow stop your parrot from destroying the world during a mood swing. You are willing to do just about anything and have no fear of death. Not interested…not buying…sod off.

Chulainn: You are a goblin?

Goblin Wizard: yeah and my master was a kobold and his master was an awakened squirrel. **** happens. Now once again sod off.

Kemen: You have the ability to see the future and you knew we were coming. Why tell us in person?

Goblin Wizard: Because otherwise you would have torn apart my island and done so in all the wrong areas. We had to haggle a bit so that when I finally did ask you to go destroy stuff on my island it was the right stuff.
Kneel: So…you are going to help us?
Goblin Wizard: Yes tin man…I am going to help you.

Without even bothering to look back at us the wizard causes a scroll to levitate right to Paddock.

Goblin Wizard: Eye for an Eye Tooth for a blah blah blah. There is a list of five things you can find on the island. I don’t feel like getting themself and that is what I will require for helping you get your friend back. But don’t tarry too long. My offer has a 180 day expiration after that you are on your own.
Kemen: you think it will take six months for us to get this stuff?

Goblin Wizard: Probably less…slight chance the full time. Not really interested in describing details. The Polar Bear will show you out.
Me: Well that was unusual.

Paddock: Well he wants a crystal chalice from an ancient white dragon that lives on the highest peak of the continent. He wants a rare iceflower that bears blue-sapphire berries and only grows at the bottom of a never freezing lake. He wants a sliver of ice frozen by an ice titan that lives in a cave not too far from here and he also wants a platinum and heavily enchanted wand from a duergar that is runs a tribe of arctic dwarves.

Kemen: What is the fifth item?
Paddock: A bottle of clear liquid inside an unbreakable clay urn from beneath the island.
Me: Picky little bugger isn’t he?

Kneel: You remember what happened the last time we got put onto a side quest?
Kemen:Trying to forget. So Ice Titan huh? Can’t say I have ever heard of those. But if it is closest we should start there.

Paddock: There is even a crystal holder for the ice.

So…at the whim of a nearly omnipotent goblin we trek through frozen tundra and high winds to find an Ice Titan. His cave is not too hard to find and we quickly park the Revenge to block out the majority of the wind and proceed on foot inside. Chulainn has point with Kneel in the rear. A burst of frost jets comes flying out of nowhere and from the walls of the cave a pair of 11 headed cryohydras ambush us. Chulainn is panicking as he is forced to make almost two dozen saves in one round and Kemen is tickled pink that he gets to lob fireballs like mad.

Kneel immediately steps up to the front lines and engages the hydras and Paddock follows a Kemen fireball with a cleric flamestrike. We are having fun and rolling lots of damage dice…when two more hydras emerge from deeper in the cave. That changes the complexion a bit…44 jets of frost are now pouring out into the space. Chulainn lands a killing blow on 1 hydra and even with his fantastic reflexes he is failing saves.

Kneel takes down a second and we breathe a bit easier. Paddock flamestrikes to bring down number 3 and arrows dispatch the fourth. We tread lightly from there out and are scanning the walls and the cave ahead. At the heart of the cave is a throne room carved from ice….scaled to proportions that dwarf even our storm giant friends.

Sitting upon the throne is a true to life titan…but it is as if he is carved from ice. Across his lap rests a greatsword of pure crystal.

Ice Titan: Has the goblin sent you to murder me after all these years?

Kemen: no….he is just sending us on errands and your place was on our list. We are happy to not kill you. We just need some ice frozen by you.

Ice Titan: is that all?
Chulainn: Yes.
Ice Titan: did you kill the hydras?
Me: Sorry?

Ice Titan: Then you have murdered me. Those creatures were my last line of defense. Without that I am sitting seal waiting for the shark’s mouth.

Kneel: You are a 30 foot tall titan with a greatsword that could behead a whale…how are you helpless.

Ice Titan: I swore a vow to not attack a single native to this island. With the hydra’s gone I will soon fall prey to the dark dwarf and his barbarian horde.

Kemen: he is on our list too right?
Paddock: Yeah. Pretty sure we are planning on killing them though.
Kemen: you are confident they will come for you once they realize the hydras are gone?
Ice Titan: Certain.

Kemen: Well…make us some ice and we will defend you to the exclusion of all else.
Me: We are defending the immortal all powerful titan?

Chulainn: Its definitely a role reversal that is for sure.

2013-02-06, 10:36 PM
It got cold real fast:

So here goes the tale spun by Snickle:

When the darkness hit…one place was unaffected. An arctic island as far north as you can get. According to Snickle the world’s most powerful wizard lives on this island…isolated from the rest of the world and secluded from it’s concerns. He claims to know this from a sailor he helped shanghai, claims that is where he got his diving bell/bottle of air rig. A ship this guy had been on that made it to the island.

If there is a chance of recovering Coe-Nan it will be from this hermit mage on an island of ice. All we would have to do is sail thousands of miles through treacherous and churning nearly frozen water and track down an epic wizard that doesn’t want to be found in the harshed climate on the planet.
Unspoken is all also the concept that we would be we trusting the guy that already burned us once.

Paddock: I suppose freezing to death on a fool’s errand while trying to rescue a friend is a better end than being eaten by a crazy bird cult.

After a brief stop for some extremely cold weather clothing The Revenge turns north and lays on the gas.

There is the slightest sigh of relief when the island comes into view…at least it is real. The bulk of the trip is uneventful, a few sea serpents attack us, but nothing of a threatening nature. The Revenge hovers the last few miles over fractured and ever shifting ice and arrives at the island proper. Waiting at the edge of the continent is a towerin polar bear. It is wearing a fur lined parka and holding a drink tray…

Above the gale force winds and flying snow it speaks to us in clear and articulate Common

Polar Bear: My master is expecting you. He pursued several possible outcomes of your trip here and finally decided to tell you to get lost in person. Figured it would save time.

Kemen: Well that is inviting.

The polar bear waiter leads us overland to an igloo carved from diamond. One solid mind numbingly perfect and priceless diamond…big enough for the polar bear to walk upright inside. He leads us to an underground bunker where his master awaits.

Snickle: told you I was telling the truth.

Standing on top of a rolling office chair is a goblin wearing wizard robes.

Goblin Wizard: So you are here to ask me to help you get your dead friend back and somehow stop your parrot from destroying the world during a mood swing. You are willing to do just about anything and have no fear of death. Not interested…not buying…sod off.

Chulainn: You are a goblin?

Goblin Wizard: yeah and my master was a kobold and his master was an awakened squirrel. **** happens. Now once again sod off.

Kemen: You have the ability to see the future and you knew we were coming. Why tell us in person?

Goblin Wizard: Because otherwise you would have torn apart my island and done so in all the wrong areas. We had to haggle a bit so that when I finally did ask you to go destroy stuff on my island it was the right stuff.
Kneel: So…you are going to help us?
Goblin Wizard: Yes tin man…I am going to help you.

Without even bothering to look back at us the wizard causes a scroll to levitate right to Paddock.

Goblin Wizard: Eye for an Eye Tooth for a blah blah blah. There is a list of five things you can find on the island. I don’t feel like getting themself and that is what I will require for helping you get your friend back. But don’t tarry too long. My offer has a 180 day expiration after that you are on your own.
Kemen: you think it will take six months for us to get this stuff?

Goblin Wizard: Probably less…slight chance the full time. Not really interested in describing details. The Polar Bear will show you out.
Me: Well that was unusual.

Paddock: Well he wants a crystal chalice from an ancient white dragon that lives on the highest peak of the continent. He wants a rare iceflower that bears blue-sapphire berries and only grows at the bottom of a never freezing lake. He wants a sliver of ice frozen by an ice titan that lives in a cave not too far from here and he also wants a platinum and heavily enchanted wand from a duergar that is runs a tribe of arctic dwarves.

Kemen: What is the fifth item?
Paddock: A bottle of clear liquid inside an unbreakable clay urn from beneath the island.
Me: Picky little bugger isn’t he?

Kneel: You remember what happened the last time we got put onto a side quest?
Kemen:Trying to forget. So Ice Titan huh? Can’t say I have ever heard of those. But if it is closest we should start there.

Paddock: There is even a crystal holder for the ice.

So…at the whim of a nearly omnipotent goblin we trek through frozen tundra and high winds to find an Ice Titan. His cave is not too hard to find and we quickly park the Revenge to block out the majority of the wind and proceed on foot inside. Chulainn has point with Kneel in the rear. A burst of frost jets comes flying out of nowhere and from the walls of the cave a pair of 11 headed cryohydras ambush us. Chulainn is panicking as he is forced to make almost two dozen saves in one round and Kemen is tickled pink that he gets to lob fireballs like mad.

Kneel immediately steps up to the front lines and engages the hydras and Paddock follows a Kemen fireball with a cleric flamestrike. We are having fun and rolling lots of damage dice…when two more hydras emerge from deeper in the cave. That changes the complexion a bit…44 jets of frost are now pouring out into the space. Chulainn lands a killing blow on 1 hydra and even with his fantastic reflexes he is failing saves.

Kneel takes down a second and we breathe a bit easier. Paddock flamestrikes to bring down number 3 and arrows dispatch the fourth. We tread lightly from there out and are scanning the walls and the cave ahead. At the heart of the cave is a throne room carved from ice….scaled to proportions that dwarf even our storm giant friends.

Sitting upon the throne is a true to life titan…but it is as if he is carved from ice. Across his lap rests a greatsword of pure crystal.

Ice Titan: Has the goblin sent you to murder me after all these years?

Kemen: no….he is just sending us on errands and your place was on our list. We are happy to not kill you. We just need some ice frozen by you.

Ice Titan: is that all?
Chulainn: Yes.
Ice Titan: did you kill the hydras?
Me: Sorry?

Ice Titan: Then you have murdered me. Those creatures were my last line of defense. Without that I am sitting seal waiting for the shark’s mouth.

Kneel: You are a 30 foot tall titan with a greatsword that could behead a whale…how are you helpless.

Ice Titan: I swore a vow to not attack a single native to this island. With the hydra’s gone I will soon fall prey to the dark dwarf and his barbarian horde.

Kemen: he is on our list too right?
Paddock: Yeah. Pretty sure we are planning on killing them though.
Kemen: you are confident they will come for you once they realize the hydras are gone?
Ice Titan: Certain.

Kemen: Well…make us some ice and we will defend you to the exclusion of all else.
Me: We are defending the immortal all powerful titan?

Chulainn: Its definitely a role reversal that is for sure.


Defense is what this group seems to do best. This is not going to be the dwarf's day.

2013-02-07, 08:53 AM
King of The Castle:

The following morning Chulainn comes sprinting through the cave to announce the presence of the dark dwarf…along with 200 arctic barbarians.

Chulainn: The duergar is awaiting at the lip of the cave he wants to talk.
We assemble and move to the front of the cave where the dark dwarf awaits…he has a formidable army of nearly slavering barbarians.

Dark Dwarf: did the goblin put you up to this?
Kemen: Yes.
Dark Dwarf: no evasions no denials?
Kemen: Nope.

Dark Dwarf: You know he is a fraud right? He has made commitment to nearly everyone on this continent and keeping us at each other is the only reason he has endured.

Me: We are ready to take our chances.
Dark Dwarf: Is there any way I can talk you out of that cave?
Kemen: You could leave…
Dark Dwarf: I see. Alright. Boys…let’s go.

As he says lets go a Circular Wall of Ice encircles everyone but Paddock and Chulainn. The moment the spell is away all 200 barbarians break into a charge and stampede the cave entrance. Chulainn and Paddock are our two fastest characters and they manage to turn tail and get ahead of the horde. Paddock mentally commands the stone horse while making a concentration check to cast Wall of Stone at a full gallop…sealing off part of the cave and hopefully buying enough time for us to get free of the ice wall.

Chulainn takes up a spot in the cave hallway and draw a line in the ice with his spear.

Chulainn: They are going to have to bleed to pass this line.

Paddock gets behind Chulainn and puts up Wall of Stones on either side of the monk…it basically turns him into a spear wielding turnstile…anyone passing him will trigger AOO.

Kneel hacks a hole through the wall of ice and the three of us take off in hot pursuit. Kemen levitates and I drag him through the air to catch up to the horde. The arctic dwarves have deep health pools, but poor attack skills, when they connect its with force…but they miss a lot of attacks. The dark dwarf mostly hangs in the back and tries to dispel magic.

Kemen gets within range and starts launching sculpted fireballs into clusters of barbarians. Wherever the fireball lands the Ice Titan groans in pain.

Chulainn: Hurting the room is hurting him Kem!
Kemen: son of a ….

Kneel and I tear into the caster and he starts lobbing some high level spells at the Paladin. Kemen continues to fireball but is aiming higher to avoid splash damage against the floor. It is still hurting the titan, but far less than extra attacks against him would.

Paddock ends up standing directly in front of the titan…and he keeps up a torrent of healing for the big guy. Everyone else is taking and dishing out damage. Kneel keeps the duergar occupied and barbarian dwarves begin dropping like flies. We kill 35 ish and the rest along with their leader break and flee.

Kemen: no way….

He puts up a Wall of Force to block their escape and we continue hammering them.

Bluntly speaking we blow our entire load on the encounter and route the barbarians. The grateful Ice Titan provides us a sliver of ice cooled by his own breath. Kemen recovers the enchanted wand from the remains of the dark dwarf caster.

The Ice Titan seem melancholy but content to remain where he is.
We decide to hit the dragon last and proceed to the never freezing lake. The Revenge will not dip below the surface of the water and we are faced with a predicament. Kemen loads up on cold resistance and gets water breathing in the form of a bottle of air. He then gets thrown out into the lake where he will sink like a stone…once he has the berries in hand he will levitate back up. The journey to recover the berries is uneventful and he surfaces without incident. As he tow him back in…a shimmering figure walks across the surface of the lake towards us. She is a water sprite with gossamer frosted wings and ice blue eyes.

Sprite: Tread carefully. Your presence, brief though it has been is changing the balance of this place. Even now the dragon awakens from it’s slumber to hunt the vulnerable Titan.

Me: We just saved the Titan from the dwarves…
Sprite: The dwarves are dead?
Kemen: I suppose some may have gotten away but yes.
Sprite: Then we are all doomed.
Chulainn: Anyone else beginning to think the dark dwarf was telling the truth about the goblin wizard?
Sprite: Goblin Wizard? There is no goblin wizard on this continent.

2013-02-07, 01:03 PM
Twisted Logic:

All action comes to a screeching halt. There is a tangle of unknowns that we suddenly feel right in the middle of.

Chulainn: We just met a goblin wizard inside a giant diamond igloo…he knew things about us and why we came.

Sprite: Then you are being manipulated by the true force of this place. There is no goblin wizard, no diamond igloo. There is a wizard in this place, but he never makes his presence known. He is like the wind…everywhere and nowhere. Whatever tasks he set you to is strictly to his benefit and not your own.

Kemen: I believe her…still think we should press forward and complete the tasks. We can think ourselves in circles but we have three of the five items he told us to fetch, might as well finish the job.
Sprite: What else did he send you for?
Kemen: A chalice from the white dragon and a bottle of liquid from under the continent.
Sprite: I do not know what he wants with these items but I implore you not to kill the dragon.
Me: Ummm, question. Why did us saving the Titan from the dwarves mean we doomed this place?

Sprite: The Titan is what holds this island together. If his spark is extinguished this whole place will sink and be lost.

Me: And if we kill the dragon then we prevent the island from sinking…how is that a bad thing.
Sprite: I can’t answer that question.
Paddock: This all makes no sense.

Kneel: If we defend the Titan again won’t we be obligated to kill the dragon?
Kemen: New Plan…Paddock myself and Kneel will keep the Titan alive. Chulainn and Marilius go fetch the chalice from the dragon’s cave. The sprite will go get the bottle from under the island.
Sprite: Why would I do that?
Kemen: Because we ask politely?
Sprite: no.
Kemen: Do you want your island to sink?
Sprite: No.

Kemen: Then help us. No matter his intention the wizard of this place will only reveal himself or communicate with us once we have all five items. Get us the five items and we will not kill or destroy anything. Once we get a chance to talk with the wizard then we will right whatever wrongs we may have set in motion. Prove to us that you are not trying to manipulate us.
Sprite: Very well…

The Sprite leaves and once she vanishes within the waters Kemen turns to us.
Kemen: Alright…all five of us are going to straight up incinerate this dragon…
Me: We are?
Kemen: yes, the sprite is definitely trying to manipulate us, so is the Titan and so is the “wizard”.
Chulainn: How do you figure?

Kemen: Because they are giving us reasons to help. They are too dismissive of events. I don’t care who brings it to my attention an igloo crafted from diamonds bears investigation or questioning not outright dismissal. The wand, the berries and the ice are tangible. For whatever reason someone wants us close to this Titan and I think it’s a trap.

Kneel: And if you are wrong?
Kemen: Then the dragon’s lair will be unguarded and we walk in and take the chalice.
Me: And if the island sinks?

Kemen: We had to go under the island anyway for the last piece. No matter his intention any wizard worth his salt won’t let that happen.
The five of us make our way to the mountain peak and locate a frozen over entrance into the mountain. Kemen burning hands it open and we find a series of frozen walls sealing off access to the interior. We wand out a flaming sphere and use like a snow blower to clear a path in front of us. I have to grab Chulainn by the belt to prevent him from triggering a nearly invisible trip wire that would have dropped the ceiling on us. Slowly and surely we burn a path into the dragon’s lair. Paddock triggers a true seeing before we enter the cavern and give us a small hand signal we worked out in advance…”occupied”. The dragon is home.

Paddock: looks empty guys…made sure to sweep the ledge on the far east and didn’t see anything
Translation: The dragon is concealed on the far east ledge and waiting for us.

A chortling and excited Kemen hands out 4 spell shared fireballs and we blow up the alcove in a fireball volley. The white dragon bursts from silent invisibility and laces the hallway with it’s breath weapon. Chulainn and Kneel sprint off to attack the dragon while the rest of us dodge. We attack it with zero finesse and straight up aggression. We eat a boatload of damage but we are hammering away with ruthlessness and fire. Our DM is used to us evading and maneuvering and the fact that we just went for the knockout threw him off.

Chulainn gets the killing blow and we breath a sigh of relief that no one died.
Paddock: This was too easy…
Me: Easy we got torn up
Paddock: Yeah, but we didn’t have to stretch ourselves. When is the last time we fought against something solitary and powerful without being challenged?
Me: I honestly don’t know.
Kemen: We found the chalice that is what matters.
Paddock: But no horde…not a single coin, gem or item.
Kemen: The horde is probably hidden somewhere else.
Paddock: Probably, just something feels off.

We head back out and return to the lake where the Sprite is waiting for us. She is holding the bottle and appears vexed.
Sprite: You lied to me. You killed the dragon.
Kemen: Turns out it was home. We had to improvise. However…I do notice that we are still standing here…not swimming. So that’s something.

The Sprite tosses the bottle to us and dives back into the lake wordlessly. By the time we can turn around the Polar Bear Waiter is there waiting for us.

Polar Bear: My master will see you now.

Jeeves (our nickname for him) takes us back to the diamond igloo and we once again enter the lair of the alledged goblin wizard. Once again he pays us almost zero attention and hardly moves from his workbench. The Polar Bear puts everything on the table and then fades away. The goblin appraises the items and then sits in his chair, turning to look at us. As he turns the goblin fades and is replaced by a half-elf.

Half Elf: You may call me T’Hun.
Kemen: Ok T’Hun, we found what you requested…and far faster than 180 days.
T’Hun: Indeed you did. And what did you make of your trip?
Me: We were hoping you would explain that.
T’Hun: I do so wish to hear your interpretation first.
Me: Heck if I know.
CHulainn *shrugs shoulders*
Kneel: I think you are deceitful and playing at something beyond us.
Kemen: There are no seals…
Paddock: No seals?

Kemen: Something the Titan said “like a seal waiting for the shark”. We haven’t seen a single seal in this place, no walrus, no polar bears (aside from the waiter) and no flora or any kind.

Me: So?
Kemen: So what does a white dragon and 200 dwarves feed on? There is no ecology here. No ecosystem. I think the whole place is just an experiment. I am reasonably certain everything here is manufactured or illusionary not quite sure which. The only living creatures we have seen are the ones we are sent to interact with.

T’Hun: I am impressed. So few notice the lack of wildlife. But surely not all of it can be fake.
Kemen: Reasonably certain the dragon was real, maybe the Titan. The dwarves and their leader probably fake…as was the sprite.
T’Hun: Fake? But certainly you have the items in hand I sent you for do you not?

Kemen: Sure…because we were supposed. Something tells me that you wanted us to kill the dragon but something prevented you from telling us to do it. So you engineered circumstances where we were supposed to make the choice ourselves
T’Hun: Outstanding.

T’Hun gives us a full detailed account of what has transpired and fills in the gaps for us. First off he is a half elf wizard with remarkable mind control and illusionary spells. The whole island was meant as a sanctum for himself and the only other inhabitant was a white dragon. The white dragon had access to a very old and powerful trap that once triggered prevented the person who it set it off from harming him. T’Hun was prohibited from taking action against the dragon, but conceived a workaround to get someone else to do it for him.

The Ice Titan, the dwarves and the sprite were remarkably accurate illusions and most of the encounter took place in our heads. The white dragon was real.

Paddock: I don’t understand why it acted oddly then.
T’Hun: I am a master manipulator and illusionist, he never knew what was real on this island, and even through I could not harm him, I could trick him into harming himself. When you attacked he couldn’t know what you really were. You might have been squirrels or fire giants. He couldn’t trust himself to guess.
Me: This seems like an awfully complex plan for such a simple goal. Why not just tell us the truth.

T’Hun: Because deception is in my blood. It is my ultimate talent and talent begs to be used. Now as to your friend. I have seen in mind the method of his return and if you will kindly meet me at the place where he was buried in 5 months and 11 days we will see your friend return together.

Kemen: *sigh* that is a long time for any spell.

T’Hun: All things in due time. In the meanwhile there are few things I would ask of you and a few things that you need to know. 1st I have a second list of items I would like to see you locate. And second…your Parrot has begun destroying the land around Flynt. You might want to go deal with that.

Chulainn: One last question T’hun, could you take the Parrot in a fair fight?

T’Hun: A fair fight? Don’t have any idea what one of those is. I will rephrase the question. If I utilized every resource at my disposal and was willing to commit to an all out confrontation and had time to plan ahead I would not stand a chance.

Chulainn: That is comforting.
T’Hun: One final thing. Don’t kill the Halfling…Snickle is his name?
Kneel: Why would we kill the Halfling? His lead this time was accurate. He brought us to you.

T’Hun: I know…but he also stole your boat again.
Kemen: What? That’s impossible I have the keys in my bag of holding.
T’Hun: You mean the bag of holding that he switched out on you?

Kemen starts swearing under his breath and we catch something about “got your long green”

Me: I missed that Kemen, what did you say?
Kemen: I said I am going to tar and feather the little **** and stick a long green tail feather on him. Then give him to the Parrot as a new girlfriend

2013-02-07, 01:31 PM
Embracing The Trauma:

More Plumage than a Shubbery:

Oh god, it's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. And no matter how much I want to look away, I find myself compelled to just. Keep. Reading.

The bulk of the trip is uneventful, a few sea serpents attack us, but nothing of a threatening nature.

This line perfectly sums up adventure-logic, I think.

2013-02-07, 02:36 PM
Press Ganging Celestials

We trudge back through the harsh tundra with a very angry dwarf to confirm for ourselves that the ship is actually gone. When we arrive to the coast we find Snickle alone and half frozen huddling for shelter in a make shift lean to.

Snickle: Thank the gods you guys came back…some wizard stole the ship.
Kemen: MOTH****CKER! He tricked us. Got me to say where I had the keys and HE switched the bags out. I am going to murder a dozen dragons to learn teleport if I have to.

(Our DM doesn’t outright tell us that we can’t have teleport as a spell but he goes to drastic lengths to limit it’s availability)

Chulainn: I think you should read the letter he gave us…

Dear Friends,
I was very impressed with your ship and decided to borrow it for the time being. Fetch me everything on the second list and meet me at the burial site a the agreed upon time and I will give you back the ship and reunite you with your friend.
P.S.: There is a boat on the far wester portion of the island. Its slow and a bit cramped but serviceable. Enjoy!

Me:Well if you can’t trust a deceptive genius who can you trust?

The group plus Snickle makes an about face turn and cuts west to search for the spare boat. In game we are furious and chomping at the bit to smash something. At the table our DM has a little smirk and seems like he is ready to dodge shrapnel. Overland through high winds and blowing snow we trek the barren landscape and locate the boat he mentioned. Its basically a rickety U-Boat. It moves just below the surface of the water and has a periscope. It is propelled by what amounts to an exercise bike and it barely fits the six of us. We estimate being 2,000 miles from the mainland and we can pilot the ship at four miles an hour without working ourselves to exhaustion. With us rotating in and out (no easy feat given the cramped space) we can keep the ship going 24 hours a day or close to it. That means just under a 100 miles a day…or 200 days. 9 days outside the window for meeting with the wizard and not counting overland.

All attempts to reach for outside assistance via Androka etc are blocked. So there goes the easy solution…call for help. We need to find a way to accelerate movement and make up time. Paddock comes up with the closest thing to a solution.

We pack every single non vital item into bags of holding. This includes Paddock’s horse and nearly all our armor to reduce as much as possible. Paddock and Kemen prepare a very unusual list of spells every day. All Summon Monster and Expeditious Retreat spells. The duo cycle through every summon spell possible to keep up a stream of creatures to work the pedals furiously and achieve faster speeds or even water elementals to act like outboard motors.

From an outside perspective the ship must look completely bizarre, every minute to minute and a half creatures pop into the ship and immediately pedal like crazy…or celestial orca whales appear and pull the ship forward. We are sitting ducks against random encounters but they manage to help cut time and improve us to 150 days approximated travel time. With coordination and practice they tweak out a mix of summoned creatures for maximum efficiency and trim us to 145 days.

Chulainn and I take turns hanging out on the periscope as the caster keep creatures rotating in and out. Four months later a group of extremely haggard and foul smelling adventurers emerge from our metal tube and set foot on dry land.

Me: A few months ago we saved the world and now we are celebrating another major victory…being able to walk ten feet.

Kneel: I see something odd in that clearing ahead.

The Something Odd is a lightweight but durable wicker idol of the Parrot. As we head inland we find the things everywhere.

Paddock: We are ten days walk from Flynt…its not too far out of the way back to the Plains, should we make a stop?

Me: I think our priority has to be finding the remaining list items and getting to the Plains on time.

Kemen: What is on the list?
Paddock: a white cow with three black spots…yellow kernels from a tall green plant, and refined olive oil from olive grown on the south slope of a vineyard.

Chulainn: This guy is a whack job. Do you think there is any chance he is actually going to come through on helping?

Kemen: We have come this far. Might as well see it finished.

Sendings once again work and we manage to wrangle Androka into getting us the oil. Chulainn is sent as a solitary scout to investigate Flynt while the rest of us try to track down a cow and the green plant with yellow kernels.
We all meet back up on the outskirts of the Plains where Coe-Nan was laid to rest with 2 nights to spare. The cow turned out to be the hardest item to track down.

Chulainn gives us a dire update. The entire region around Flynt has converted to the Parrot. Anything in the world with wings has flocked (pun very much intended) to his cause. Every sphinx, harpy, roc, griffon, chimera, and sparrow for a thousand miles lives to peck at his commands. Worse for us…a number of sphinxes that survived the spear temple are now his personal retinue and they confirmed the avionic atrocities we committed.

Any one that speaks out against him is dropped into a nest and eaten alive. A whole cities population is dedicated to polishing bird eggs across the country. The wicker idols have spread like wildfire everywhere. Too much of the world is still trying rebuild and put together a semblance of order…as such there are no armies that could stand up against him. Chulainn goes on further to explain one of the 13 liches attempted an assassination attempt on the Parrot when he infringed on the liches domain. The Parrot handed his ass back to him on a silver platter and is now using him as a regenerating chew toy.

We make camp at the tomb of Coe-Nan and wait for the wizard to hopefully show up. There are equal parts relief and terror when the Revenge comes into sight the following night. The friggin wizard turned into a party boat with lots of lights and decorations. We see him lounging on the deck sun tanning surrounded by at least 50 elven maidens and nymphs. As he gets within bowshot of us the serving girls and decorations disappear. He cheerfully waves to us from the stolen ship and welcomes us aboard.

T’Hun: you guys made it huh? You must be really comitted to making this happen.
Kemen: you have no idea…

T’Hun: Alright then…lets do this…

The wizard teleports himself off the ship and over to the tomb. He flips the key and flute back to Kemen and then claps his hands making a full workbench appear. He then calmly sits down and milks the cow…

T’Hun: 3 black spots…perfect.

As the milk sits in a pedestal a mortar starts churning it as if wielded by an invisible hand. The green vegetable’s yellow seeds and the oil go into a pan over some coals…

Chulainn opens his mouth to interrupt the description being given then shakes his head and stays quiet.

As the milk is churned to butter it too is placed over some hot coals and begins to melt…we watch as the seeds begin to pop in the oil…

Paddock: he is making…popcorn?

In a haze we watch the wizard cook himself up a bowl of popcorn complete with home churned and melted butter. He then takes the five objects we retrieved for him and goes to work on a potion. By potion I mean he takes the clear liquid that suddenly unstoppered smells a lot like vodka and mixes it with the lake berries. The sliver of ice is dropped inside and he stirs the mixture with the enchanted wand. The whole thing goes inside the crystal chalice and he takes a sip of it…

T’Hun: This is honestly the best vodka martini I have ever made. Now let’s see about your friend…

The wizard leans back in a suddenly summoned chair and sips his martini while chewing popcorn. In stunned silence we watch him munch away for about twenty minutes and then it strikes midnight….a swirling portal in the sky opens and a shimmer of light descends to the barbarians tomb. Moments later the earth heaves and Coe-Nan rises from his own grave choking on dust. He looks perfectly healthy and human.

Kemen: Ok…what the hell is going on?

T’Hun: your comrade was technically the avatar of a demi god at the time he died. As he died outside his home plane he was banished from the Material Plane for 1 year’s time. Midnight tonight marked the one year anniversary.

Kemen: So you did absolutely nothing. He would have come back no matter what. You intervened in no measureable way.

T’hun: hell no…that sounds too much like work. I just made popcorn and a drink to watch the show. Not often you get to see something like that.

T’Hun walks up to the dazed barbarian and slaps him on the shoulder.

T’Hun: If you survive the parrot I would love to hear about your last year. Until then I plan on getting back to my island and keeping my head low. Have fun gents and whatever you do don’t kill Snickle.

Coe-Nan: Snickle? You guys found the Halfling? He didn’t steal our ship again did he?

Lord Torath
2013-02-07, 03:02 PM
I think you need to re-check your math. 2,000 miles at 100 miles per day is 20 days, not 200. And if your DM meant 20,000 miles from the continent, that's a biiiig planet you're on, as Earth is only 25,000 miles around (so you are never more than 12,500 miles from any particular location).

I'm surprised no-one tried to kill the half-elf. That'd of been my first order of business.

So with ConanCoe-nan back, what happens to Kneel?

2013-02-07, 03:14 PM
I think you need to re-check your math. 2,000 miles at 100 miles per day is 20 days, not 200. And if your DM meant 20,000 miles from the continent, that's a biiiig planet you're on, as Earth is only 25,000 miles around (so you are never more than 12,500 miles from any particular location).

I dont think we ever questioned that at the time....but that is a good point.

I'm surprised no-one tried to kill the half-elf. That'd of been my first order of business.

We were a bit shell shocked at the turn of events and it actually didnt come up then...that came later.

So with ConanCoe-nan back, what happens to Kneel?

Ill have that answer posted before the end of the day.

2013-02-07, 04:12 PM
Ruffled Feathers:

Kneel: You know…Erick told me you were all valiant heroes and honorable men. I would not go so far as to dispute that assessment, but I do feel that chaos shares your bedrolls. I think it would be best if we simply parted ways. I have seen this Parrot and think that I can better serve my homeland there and not with you.

Coe-Nan:What has my parrot gotten himself into?

Me: Snickle accidentally created a cult of zealots that treat him as their god. He has expanded his sphere of influence for hundreds of miles in all direction and raised an army of anything with feathers and wings. His followers are complete off the scale nutjobs and fervent worshippers. He has commanded his followers to kill us and bring him lady parrots and flying monkeys (no chimps). He also put forth an edict not to harm to dire badgers or sea turtles…so he has a merciful side

Coe-Nan: Jeez you go and get yourself killed for a year and the whole world goes to pot. Feel like we just saved it too.

Kemen: You missed the U-Boat…be thankful…very very thankful. Now we just need a plan for how to work against the Parrot. We have been banking on Coe-Nan having influence as it’s owner, but that does us little good if the bird doesn’t care anymore or it kills us before we can get within range of it.

Me: I got this one guys…I had lots of time to think while in the boat…Snickle we are going to need you for this one…and its probably going to be dangerous.

Kemen: If its dangerous for him Im in.
Me: Good. We are going to need lots of white paint.

A few days later:

The Dread Parrot Roberts sits upon a throne at the heart of Flynt. Legions of winged fanatical creatures attend his every whim. From the fringe of the great nest and the heart of his ever expanding empire a great ruckus begins. Snickle…in full high priest regalia comes back to the nest…atop a great floating egg. Before he can be eaten he goes into his planned spiel.

Snickle: Behold my brethren…the Great Feathered One has a son! In this egg grows the heir to the OverParrot’s empire. He sups upon the yoke of conquest and is nurtured by the shell of strength. I his humble prophet have returned his offspring to the nest where he will take wing and follow in his fathers footsteps…err wingspan.

Kemen from inside the Trojan Egg…
Kemen: Are they buying it?

Snickle *whisper*: Don’t know he is mostly looking confused just like everybody else…
Me: Close enough.

A wall of armored Roc’s stop Snickle’s forward progress just shy of the Dread Parrot.

The Parrot eyes the egg and finally turns to a fence whereupon a 100 green tailed lady parrots sit.

Dread Parrot: Alright…someone has some explaining to do. Who laid the egg? Not even a heads up? I don’t even have a cigar…


The thin shell of the fake egg is broken and Coe-Nan makes a jumping leap over the Roc’s with the Parrot’s cage in hand. He tackles the parrot into the cage and slams the door shut.

Dread Parrot: Hey it’s the cracker bitch! Figured you would be feeding worms by now. I had plans for picking them out from your corpse…they are extra juicy when they are corpse fed.

Coe-Nan: you have been busy….

Dread Parrot: eh…the whole deity thing was getting kind of boring…they couldn’t even find a decent flying monkey…

As he says that he gestures with his beak to a poor little Rhesus Monkey with some fake wings glued to it’s back.

Coe-Nan: So you want to tell your cult to disperse…
Dread Parrot: yeah…only had one thing left to command anyway and now that you guys are here I can wrap it up.


Kemen: Well it almost worked…

Coe-Nan: I know you are insane but are you crazy? You will be burned up too.

Dread Parrot: well I think I’m part phoenix figured it was worth looking into.

Kemen: Alright fireballs at the ready, Im going to explode anyone that even thinks about burning this place down…

Me:Think about what you just said…
Kemen: oh yeah….giant wicker bird nest…right.

The Dread Parrot’s “clerics” don’t hesitate and begin dropping flamestrikes everywhere. Towers of flame ignite all over the place and the whole place instantly starts going up like a candle. On the battle mat our DM grabs several red circles and places them in random spots on the map. He then takes two handfuls of dice and just kind of throws them all over the place.
DM: Red for Roc…Green for Griffon…Clear for Chimera…Steel for Sphinx. Red circles are fire.
All: Yikes…that’s a lot of birds and a lot of fires.

Coe-Nan leaps back to the egged Revenge and throws the parrot in his cage below deck. As we hear the cage rolling down the stairs…

Parrot: Is that anyway to treat a god?

Kemen is trying to mentally steer the Revenge out of the rapidly burning nest-city while Paddock starts summoning water elementals as anti fire measures. I am sniping against anything buzzing the ship while Chulainn provides cover for the casters. Birds keep making diving fly by attacks where they try to grapple us and throw us off the ship. Coe-Nan scrambles up the ship’s main mast and shouts at the top of his lungs.

Chulainn: You know that Kneel guy was pretty bland…im glad to have Coe-Nan back…
Me: you and me both.

Pretty quickly the birds alter tactics and begin carrying cleric/barbarians to the ship and dropping them off to attack us. Chulainn is kept extremely busy and Kemen is forced to devote his resources to deck duty while Paddock tries to manage the rising flames. Coe-Nan is drawing in attackers like moths to the flame and he lays waste with axes all over the place. It actually complicates things for us on deck as we have to avoid falling corpses. Snickle goes MIA and we aren’t sure where he ended up.

I blow the first opposed check and get snatched by a Roc and tossed into a burning circle.

Me: glad to know all the fire resist stuff we crafted turned out to be more useful inside a giant birds nest than on the ELEMENTAL PLANE OF FIRE.

The fire damage is not the end of the world, but the scores of crazed cultists are problematic. Kemen dutifully swings the ship around to pick me up but they are under heavy attack and soon after I get the winged boot so to does Coe-Nan. His falling is like a starter gun as circling swarms descend to attack him.

Kemen: Well the city is burning already…going to make it extra toasty in here.

Kemen starts lobbing fireballs all around Coe-Nan and manages to drive off the majority of attackers. Chulainn jumps from the ship and goes to aid the barbarian while I sprint to catch up to them from behind. Paddock’s water elementals are containing some of the blaze, but the fireballed area is spiraling out of control. He surges his summoned minions to that spot and it becomes our Little Big Horn. Coe-Nan is the flag we rally around and make a gritty stand with.

Alone he is fighting most of his attackers to a standstill and with Chulainn in tow they cut a swathe of frying chicken. Kemen get snatched by a Roc and he goes tumbling in an opposite direction…then stabilizes in mid air via levitate. A coordinated formation dive bombs and snatches Paddock up flinging him in a different direction. The battle becomes pure madness as we now have four different engagements being waged.

2013-02-07, 05:07 PM
Getting Along Like a Bird-House On Fire:

Things get desperate in a hurry. Paddock is able to take care of himself with elementals supporting him and self healing. Kemen is harried and flipped around but not heavily attacked. Coe-Nan and Chulainn are hit from every side and angle. They are covered head to toe in viscera and blood and the corpses stack up around them. They end up backing up INTO the flames for cover.

I am being constantly attacked by cultists and I am struggling mightily to avoid allowing AOO’s against me. I am garbage with melee weapons and I eat a fair number of AOO’s just to get full attacks into those on me. Paddock makes it to the melee and hits them with some much needed healing. Kemen puts a few hound archons near me and takes off some of the pressure.
There is no retreat in them and they are not hesitating to suicide bomb us.
Kemen seizes on an idea and runs with it…he tried to mentally command the crew despite not being on the ship and it responds moving to him…he puts the ship under him and levitates down to the crow’s nest. He then brings the ship towards me and starts burning paths with flaming spheres….

Me: What are you doing? We are almost out of room.
Kemen: So are they.

I get aboard the Revenge and take control of the ship as Kemen keeps a steady burn across the last blank parts of the map. He swings the Revenge around to Paddock and Co and puts his last fireballs to work around them, adding a Wall of Fire.

Kemen: Safe to say the whole place is blazing?
DM: Yep…
Kemen: Everyone below deck…lets wait em out.

We shelter inside the Revenge while the city burns around us. The following morning we pop the hatch and witness the aftermath. There are still lots of flyers all over the countryside, but the city is about clear. We kick the Revenge into high gear and pick up a steady stream of flyers on our tail. Chulainn happens to notice the hatch closing on the ship and realizes that we are now locked out on the deck.

Parrot: The breeze was a little stiff with all these trees burned down…so I closed the door

Kemen and I attack from maximum range and try to thin the pursuing flock. Coe-Nan pivots a scorpion and starts sending eight foot long bolts into the air. He crits and kills a griffon and fist pumps

Coe-Nan: Chicken kabobs served fresh!

We are cleaning house and dropping birds like flies when Paddock gets a note…
Paddock: We got incoming from the other side.
Kemen: More rocs?
Paddock: no…angels…Devas and Planetars…
Coe-Nan: no…he didn’t convert…

Sure enough there half a dozen Astral Devas and a Planetar all wearing bright face paint and covered in rainbow plumes. They are still clearly angels…but something is horribly wrong with their eyes.

We hear the parrot cackling from below deck…

Parrot: I’ve gone multiplanar…sweet
Paddock: We can’t kill angels…
Kemen: I think they are definitely going to be trying to kill us…
Chulainn: Don’t you think attacking ANY angel will trigger reprecussions? Even fanatical cultist angels?

Me: what else can we do?
Coe-Nan: might be able to talk to them?

Kemen brings the ship to a full stop and raises a white flag. The Angels wave off the pursuers and slowly fly to the ship.

Planetar: Free our Parrot or face oblivion.
Coe-Nan: hey Roberts…they want you.
Parrot: Occupied at the moment…tell em to come back later.
Coe-Nan: Your god is busy at the moment he said come back later.
Planetar: We will wait…

After about three minutes of awkward tension the hatch opens and The Parrot comes on deck, out of its cage.

The Angel goes to one knee and bows before the Parrot.
Planetar: We have to liberate you Great One.
Parrot: Don’t bother…I am done with the whole god thing…could really go for some silver though.
Planetar: My lord I don’t understand.
Parrot: Go worship something else…I’m retired.
Planetar: But…you saved us this world…you have given all those with wings new hope…
Parrot: go find some turkey and worship it for all I care.
Planetar: What have they done to you Great One?

Parrot: They kidnapped me and told me if I didn’t say these things they would murder my real heir.
Coe-Nan: We said no such thing!

Planetar: Silence! You animals would dare threaten his offspring? We shall secure your heir my lord and once he is safe we will rescue you.

Parrot: Check the city…pretty sure he was left there somewhere. *chuckle*

The Angels take wing and all the other flyers join them…we watch them race back to the burned city.

Parrot: What a maroon..he bought that. I kill me sometimes. So where do you keep all the coins at? Im famished.

Coe-Nan: Come on ill get you some silver.
Me: so what do we do when they come back? We can’t slaughter angels.

A few minutes later Coe-Nan comes back up top.
Coe-Nan: Did you guys move all the good stuff out of the vault?

Kemen: No…it still has everything in there.
Coe-Nan: Are you sure? Cause it’s empty.

Kemen moves faster than even the monk and his metal boots send sparks flying as he races for the vault. The empty vault….
Chulainn: Empty…
Me: empty…
Paddock: we did lose track of Snickle during the fight in the nest.

I won’t lie…dice got thrown at our DM here. Heavy metal dice…

2013-02-07, 05:47 PM
Ok im pretty sure even a LG character would kill Snickle in cold blood at his point.

Also, does the parrot EVER get explained? Or does he just exist without reason?

Amidus Drexel
2013-02-07, 06:31 PM
Keep the story/parrot shenanegins coming!

Ok im pretty sure even a LG character would kill Snickle in cold blood at his point.

Also, does the parrot EVER get explained? Or does he just exist without reason?

I'm pretty sure the Parrot exists to derail the plot when the players fail to do so in a timely manner. :smallamused:

2013-02-08, 06:47 AM
Ok im pretty sure even a LG character would kill Snickle in cold blood at his point.

I'm about ready to do that at this point. Ideally, by picking up the dread parrot roberts and beating him with it, or vice versa.

2013-02-08, 08:26 AM
Also, does the parrot EVER get explained? Or does he just exist without reason?

I will not say one way or another until I finish the full recap. I can tell you where the genesis of the Parrot came from. It was according to our DM A combination of the Parrot from Terry Pratchett's book Eric and the Monty Python/Cheech and Chong/Mel Brooks Troop movie Yellowbeard. Yes Monty Python, Cheech and Chong, Marty Feldman,Madeline Khan and Peter Boyle all made a movie together. It was the awful-hilarious stuff that breeds a cult following.

In Eric, a young boy uses his grandfathers occult lab and makes a summoning circle to bring forth a devil to grant him wishes. He ends up sumonning the world's worst wizard. In the attic where all the occult junk is kept is an ancient and decrepit parrot with a bad memory.

Yellowbeard is a ridiculous pirate movie and has a scene where the main character is recreating the events that led to him burying his treasure. Words can't describe it. You have to watch it.

Our DM siezed on the idea of a parrot that COULD lead you to untold riches, but it was too messed up to do it with any consistency. It morphed into a full blown cursed item and popped up in this campaign eventually.

2013-02-08, 09:39 AM
You Would Have Done the Same-

Kemen: Alright…the Parrot’s Cult can wait. They should be off on a wild goose chase for the Parrot’s heir. I want to track down Snickle and then build a demi-plane dedicated to making him suffer.

Strangely enough no one voices any dissent, even Paddock is hard pressed to resist tracking him down. The question then becomes…where did he go. I am proud of the group when we first scour the ship top to bottom to ensure he is not stowed away or just hiding on the ship. Once we eliminate the possibility of a stow away we next look at a map of the region. There is a sizeable coastal settlement to north that could be reached without great hardship. Any other major cities or habitations are under siege by the Parrot Cult or farther treks to reach.

We put the Revenge on an intercept course for the coastal town of Pholl. It takes most of the afternoon and when we arrive it’s like we arrived during mardi gras. Straight up dancing in the streets and rejoicing. As we pull in everyone acts like a group of teenagers that just got caught drinking in the high school gym…lots of shushing and snickers. A portly man wearing a wealth of jewels and gems (most of which are familiar to us) walks up to the Revenge…

Mayor: I am the mayor of Pholl…how can we help you fine folks
Me: We are looking for a Halfling…calls himself Snickle.
Mayor: Ahhh yes. We became very familiar with that fine fellow just a few hours ago.
Kemen: Where is he?
Mayor: Wouldn’t tell us. He spent more money in half an hour then we see in a year and bought every vessel,frigate and cog in the harbor. Hired out every able bodied man and boy to man the crews and took on a mountain of provisions. Then he boarded one of the ship’s and they all left in different directions.

Paddock *in an aside to us*: So I have consulted Kord for guidance and direction. He told me that specialized demi planes for punishment are allowable given the circumstances.

The Halfling purchased a whole town’s supplies and ships and then split them off in four different fleets, all heading in different compass directions. He made himself the shell in a shell game and we have to somehow figure out which way he went. We are halfway tempted to roll a d4 and just pick from that. Instead we try to divine intelligence from the plot.

North is the frozen continent and home of T’hun

East is Cinhill Rue and the Hullbreaker Islands

The Weald is west of us…but that is staffed by a group of people familiar with the Halfling and we can reasonably exclude anything of note in that direction.

South…is mostly Parrot Territory. The Dread Parrot told us that he was encouraging his people to head south because migratory birds would deem that a good omen.

So from a plot standpoint North and East feel most likely. But because we are adventurers and because we overthink things…West could make sense from a “last place we would expect” perspective.

We elect to head north and alert Androka at Cinhill Rue and have him tell us if the Halfling shows up.

The Revenge can outrun just about any other ship and within hours we find the northern fleet. More accurately the remains of it. All ten ships are destroyed…badly burned and ripped apart. A few survivors are pulled from the water. They confirm a few suspicions.

Survivor: The Halfling wasn’t with us. He paid for us to meander the northern waters for a week then return to port. Almost immediately after we launched a winged giant began following us. When he approached we told him the Halfling wasn’t with us. It made him angry and he destroyed our whole group.

Chulainn: Why would Poligius be chasing Snickle?
Survivor: He didn’t say.
Kemen: Which fleet was the Halfling with?
Survivor: he didn’t tell us.

Me: Let’s cut west…that is the least likely route so it is now the most likely route.

We make a short layover to return the survivors home then head West at full steam, we hug the coast and dart in and around much like our pattern of searching for the Pride so long ago. The Western fleet is located in the same state as the northern. A few survivors all saying that a dragon winged giant attacked them.

Increasingly perturbed we cut overland south and grumble for a few days as we head around parrot territory. An extensive and time consuming search eventually locates the southern fleet, no survivors and barely any wreckage left. Also no Halfling.

Kemen: How is Poligius moving so fast and how does he know where to look?

No one ventures a guess. Other than him having access to spells like teleport.

Me: Ok…if you were an obnoxious twit that somehow knew a truly devastating and unstoppable half breed warrior was after you…where would you hide?

Kemen: I would create a trail to draw him off and then find the single most secure unfindable spot possible.
Paddock: I know where he is!
Coe-Nan: He never left the town did he?
Paddock: No…Poligius would be able to backtrack to the town. I would expect Pholl is now in ashes. But Snickle was with us when we located an undetectable and highly secured position.

Kemen: Where?
Paddock: The vault inside the Titan’s Pride.

2013-02-08, 10:07 AM
When even the paladin suggests stuffing you into the Demiplane of Extremely Painful Torture, you may want to rethink your life choices.

Amidus Drexel
2013-02-08, 10:13 AM
When even the paladin suggests stuffing you into the Demiplane of Extremely Painful Torture, you may want to rethink your life choices.

Hehehehe. :smallamused: Indeed.

You don't mind if I sig that, do you?

2013-02-08, 10:22 AM
Hehehehe. :smallamused: Indeed.

You don't mind if I sig that, do you?

Not at all! In fact, I'm honored! :smallbiggrin:

2013-02-08, 10:53 AM
Wounded Pride-

The Pride was last anchored far to the east and our attempts to communicate with Bjorn the Elder are futile. Either he is dead, or the ship’s full defenses are active. Neither prospect is good.

We mix overland and sea travel to make the most direct course to the last known position of the Pride. It takes a degree of searching and hunting but we manage to hunt down the Pride. The ship appears to be fine and all the normal operations we would expect are in their proper flow. Bjorn himself hails us from the deck and invites us aboard.

Bjorn: A Halfling? The little bugger that tried to abandon you? Haven’t seen any Halflings in a long time. Most of them don’t venture far from home anymore.

Kemen: We think he may have hidden in your vault.
Bjorn: I doubt that is possible. But feel free to follow me down and we can take a look together.

We follow Bjorn down to the lower levels and Kemen and I begin an investigation of the vault, trying to locate any extradimensional spaces or unusual features. We come up with nothing.

Bjorn: I told you he wasn’t inside the vault.
Snickle: Bjorn is telling the truth…because I’m right here.

We all turn from our position inside the vault and see Poligius and Snickle entering the room. Bjorn drops to a knee and bows before the hybrid.

Poligius: One of the first questions I asked my father was why he didn’t allow me to be born in control of many races. He gave me a simple and profound reason. With duplicate keys placed it increased my level of control and expanded the range. It was a much stronger and focused control…to the extent that those who bowed to my will would not only do so out of requirement but they would utilize their natural talents and take initiative on my behalf.

The hybrid turns to Snickle and pats him on the head.

Poligius: You have done well little one. I have fulfilled my end of our agreement. The wizard T’Hun is dead.

Paddock: Why did you do this Snickle? We rescued you. Twice.

Snickle still manages to look contrite. He gives us a half hearted smile and grimaces…

Snickle: When I left you the first time I was telling the truth…the world looked like it was about to end and I was looking for the winning side. I said I was looking for someone that actually could do something with their amulets. I hit the jackpot with Poligius here. After you killed his hopes of restoring his father he told me to find a way to bring you to him. I was happy to oblige.

Chulainn: Why would you have him kill T’Hun? T’Hun was his best shot at restoring Tiraxis.

Snickle: T’Hun was a charlatan. A scam. A con. Trust me I know. That guy was never going to help. And after I heard you guys talking about the diamond igloo… I mean come on that is the kind of gemstone that could set you up for a thousand lifetimes. I sure wasn’t going to steal it from a illusionist, but my friend here had no such problems.

Me: What is your angle in this Poligius? Revenge? Payback?

Poligius: No. I think I have finally found the one creature left that could restore Tiraxis to his glory. I want you to be present for his rebirth. I want to watch you in cower in anticipation knowing that his blade will snuff out your lives.

Coe-Nan: Who? The Parrot?

Poligius furrows his eyebrows…and shudders.

Poligius: Not that wretched creature. A true deity, one that has reclaimed his divine glory. He has not yet returned to the Cosmos…he still bides and waits for the strength for that. I have felt the sting of his spear and suffered the knowledge of his sight. In this window he possesses the power to resurrect Tiraxis and I will force him into submission and compel him to doing so.

From within his armor he removes a single tooth…long as a man’s arm and razor sharp.

Poligius: You slew the world serpent and left it’s corpse rotting in the space between worlds. A single tooth fell from on high to be reclaimed by me. A god can not be killed by an item of this world. Luckily for me…I have one not of this world.

Kemen: He is going to hold Odin hostage and force him to return Tiraxis.

Poligius: You shall witness these events firsthand. Until then enjoy your time inside the vault. I am told it is quite impervious.

Chulainn makes a sprint for the door and for a split second it looks like he will make it…then he runs into a Wall of Force. The vault door shuts and we hear a locking from the outside.

Coe-Nan starts swearing and smashing his axes against the door. The Parrot takes up a perch on the top of the door and yawns. He flies through the door and comes back a few minutes later munching on a silver necklace.
Kemen: Any chance you can do the same for us?
Parrot: Nah *munch munch* It gives me a headache.

2013-02-08, 12:47 PM
Ramming Speed:

Hours and various skills are spent searching for a way out. The place is damn secure.

Kemen: I would have thought Beordie the type to build an escape hatch or backdoor. Sadly if he did we can’t find it.
Me:We have attacked the walls for hours with adamantine and can’t even scratch the paint.
Chulainn: I tried to Dimension Door out…no luck
Paddock: My attempts to reach out via prayer are blocked.
Coe-Nan: You think Snickle stole our ship again?
Kemen: No I have the keys with me.
Me: Can you control the ship from inside?
Kemen: I can try.

It requires a staggeringly difficult concentration check, but Kemen is able to make a mental connection to the ship and he keeps a vague mental picture of it’s location.

Kemen: Yeah I can move it, but barely.

Coe-Nan: Hey Parrot…what would it take for you to unlock the door from the other side?
Parrot: It would take me getting off my duff and flying through the door. Fat chance that will happen.

Coe-Nan: Right…all that hard work. Much better to wait here. I mean every minute we sit here is another minute that Snickle gets further away with a few million dollars worth of snacks.
Parrot: I do love me some gemstone crackers.

Coe-Nan: I know right? I mean he is heading straight for a diamond the size of a house, and I’m sure you won’t mind the former high priest of your religion taking it for himself. Maybe its just me but a diamond the size of a house would be the most fantastic birdcage ever!
Parrot: You are willing to give me the diamond as a bird house.
Coe-Nan: Nah…that would require me getting off my duff and tracking down the backstabbing little devil.



The vault door opens.

Kemen: Subtle.

Poligius and Snickle are gone, but a ready supply of fanatic storm giants thralls remain.

Me: I am getting a horrible sense of Déjà vu. Seems like only yesterday Chu and I were trying to break into the vault and then hunt down Snickle to get our ship back. Now we are breaking out of a vault to get on our ship and hunt down Snickle.

Storm Giants sent lightning bolts down hallways and spear sized arrows streak through the air. We are forced to fight deck to deck against the ship’s crew and our former allies. Paddock does his best to stabilize any fallen but not dead giants.

Paddock: If we end Poligius we can save them. I can’t bear the thought of needlessly killing them.

Kemen has the Revenge in motion as we reach the ship’s top deck and we are scrambling to board as arrows and lightning strike all around us. We know we can outrun the Pride but she is putting all her siege weapons to bear and dropping an armies worth of ammunition at us. Our ship is durable, but the bigger siege weapons and boulders are denting the hull and interrupting the hovering capability of the ship.

The Parrot is laughing and flying through the air dancing with the falling projectiles when it suddenly nose dives into the ocean…The Revenge makes an ugly lurch then suddenly pitches forward at double it’s top speed. Churning it’s wings underwater in a bizarre circle is the suddenly enormous dread parrot…he is pushing the ship fast enough to send us skipping like a speedboat on choppy water.

We get a substantial lead on the Pride and then the parrot lands on the deck and shakes out its feathers…drenching us all. It then reverts to its normal size and takes a nap.

Coe-Nan: Any thoughts on how we track down Odin?

Kemen: Well in stories he is a wanderer, a trickster and a man of wisdom. It is said that he gave up an eye for knowledge and spent a week hanging from the Tree of the World to gain wisdom and insight. He is also associated with ravens and the spear. We know he has the eye patch so he has already given up the eye. He got his spear back from us and we saw his ravens. That leaves the world tree. If you were going to ambush a god I suppose you want to do so when he is vulnerable.

Chulainn: I have never heard of anything along the lines of a single grand tree on this plane.

None of us has.

Me: *clearing throat* I do have one potential contact familiar with nature. They may be able to give us a lead.

Coe-Nan: one of the druids?
Paddock: Wahloon?
Chulainn: Oh…do you mean who I think you mean?
Me: Well I did have a good rapport with the nymph on the Hullbreaker’s Edge islands.

Kemen: Good rapport? You left her knocked up!
Me: Well yeah but she didn’t seem too mad about it.

Chulainn: The last time we got involved with one of your flings we ended up on the Elemental Plane of Fire trying to stop your son from destroying reality to bring back my arch nemesis from beyond the grave. Is that really all we have to work with?

Me: Unless someone else can think of something?

A few days later we approach the Hullbreaker chain and I do my best to curry comb my fur and make my fangs nice and shiny. Just because I’m a bugbear doesn’t mean I cant look my best.

We hover inland to her clearing and find her resting on a boulder near her spring….a trio of small children run back and forth through the glade…jumping in and out plants in an advanced game of fae hide and seek.

Kemen: Triplets? Oh Morradin be merciful. This is going to end badly.
Me: So how are things?

Nymph: Splendid. The children are vibrant and full of life…a bit mischevious, but that is too expected. Your fur looks quite splendid….did you brush it?
Me: A little touch up.

Kemen: *ahem* World Tree…resurrection of the bad guy…death of a god. Take your pick but all of those are important than your small talk flirting.

Nymph: World tree? Ydrassil?

Kemen: If that is the Tree of Life or World Tree then sure.

The nymph is suddenly weary and an unspoken command send the three fae blooded half nymphs into hiding beneath the spring. She is suddenly all business.

Nymph: of what concern is the world tree to you?

Me: Well you see there is this hybrid…my son actually…who…

We spill the whole story to her and leave nothing out. She is shocked and disturbingly…rather interested in my son. She is also dismayed at our information regarding Odin. Her first reaction is check on her children. After ensuring they are safe below the springs she emerges and tells us what she knows.

Nymph: If these gods once again are walking the material realm it means a shift in the world approaches. To locate the World Tree is no easy task. Not because it is guarded or special, but because it is so mundane in appearance. I honestly do not know how one such as this Poligius would be able to find it.

Kemen: He seemed confident that he could locate Odin and this is the only lead we have to work on.

Nymph: I am hardly all knowing. He may have means I can’t fathom. I will show you how to find Ydrassil but you must swear an oath stronger than my ties to the land.

Paddock: Name it.

Nymph: The tree must not be harmed. If Odin already hangs from it’s branches you must not allow him to touch the ground. At all costs and no matter what perceived consequence he must not be allowed to touch the earth until his eyes open.

Kemen: We so swear.

The nymph goes to the highest point of her glade and makes a graceful swan dive into the waters below…as the mist from her landing sprays over us…so too does a haze of mist that smells like flowers and dew…

We come back to our senses in a cavern coated entirely in quartz and silver. A single ray of light pierces from outside and shines a beacon to a small bonsai looking plant at the edge of an underground river. The nymph goes to the tree and examines it closely. A caterpillar’s cocoon sits amongst the tiny branches.

Nymph: He is here…your rival does not yet appear to have found him.
Me: The caterpillar is Odin?
Nymph: yes.
Coe-Nan: That plant is the world tree?
Nymph: yes
Kemen: Stop being so doubtful. Great things come in small packages…I am living proof of that.

Me: How long before he…matures?

Nymph: I don’t know when he arrived, but two weeks give or take.
Kemen: Then we should get down to securing this cavern for as long as we can.

We are bumped to level 15 (7th level cleric spells become available) and we prepare to defend a caterpillar god.

2013-02-08, 02:44 PM
Spread Your Wings and Fly:

The cavern is at the end of an extensive and twisting series of caves. If Poligius is coming it is going to be through the caves. To that end we dip back into the bag for the long since tucked away lyres of building and construct a gambit of difficult terrain to make it into the cavern. The word of the day is Spikes. We make each cave a bed of protruding spikes to dissuade flight and set up a series of walls to slow progress of any massed forces he may have. We tie off a series of counterweighted deadfall traps that can be released and dropped with the simple cutting of a rope.

Wherever a cave switches to tunnel or a different cave we erect barriers with a single human sized opening at the base where we can travel back and forth. Anyone assaulting the tree is going to pay a butcher’s bill to get through. Chulainn runs the two miles towards the surface and serves as our early warning system. We rigged the mouth of the cave to collapse and hopefully buy us enough time to rest and prepare spells if we do get hit suddenly.

The very last countermeasure made is something a bit selfish. Much like the alcoves in the tunnels of New Jotun, I construct an elevated sniper’s track that runs the length of the cavern and enable me to fire from 9/10th cover and from high ground. I will almost always be within 30 feet of most targets and can follow the whole tunnel with ease.

We finish all our modifications and still no Poligius. The night before Odin’s transformation could potentially finish Chulainn triggers the entrance trap and runs back.

Chulainn: They are here.
Me: What kind of giants did he bring with him?
Chulainn: None.
Kemen: Well that is good news.
Chulainn: He only brought dragons.
Paddock: How big?
Chulainn: Nearly the same size as Emberbane.
Kemen: What types?
Chulainn: I counted 2 red, 2 blue, 2 black , 2 green.

Eek. 8 dragons and one heavily modded and advanced half giant half dragon hybrid. And not mindless thrall dragons…ones that have been subverted to serve him to the very extent of their abilities. If there is a silver lining we don’t have to kill them. Just keep them at bay long enough for Odin to finish doing his thing.

Major downside…they are are going to be tearing through our hurdles like tissue paper. One of our first thoughts is to ignore the dragons and focus everything on Poligius. If we drop him then its game over. He removes that option from consideration when the dragons start smashing through the cave in rubble and advancing without him in tow. The dragons are clearing a path for him. They begin a methodical entry to the caverns, systemically tearing apart the first of our roadblocks. Kemen goes on springing trap duty while I hit the lead black from my alcove with arrow volleys. Chulainn pumps shuriken in from the humanoid doggie door and Coe-Nan waits for the first one to peak its head through the door.

It’s a war of attrition and position. We are constantly kept on our heels as we give ground to maintain tactical advantages. The dragons try to poke their heads through the smaller doors to ignite breath weapons and receive a barbarian’s axes to the face as rewards. They rapidly abandon that tactic and shuffle themselves in and out to recover.

There are 11 compartmentalized caves and we are into the third within minutes. Hardly the pace that will buy us 12-24 hours. Coe-Nan lands a trio of critical against a blue in a single round and manages to sever it’s head. The blue was in the transition space between caverns and them being forced to burn the corpse before moving through is a small win for us.

Our traps are taking their toll and inflicting good damage. Paddock makes a lot of upkeep healing and no one is in any imminent danger at the onset. Then comes the breath weapon blitzkrieg. Two by two they begin volleying breath weapons to shatter our barriers…otherwise they go completely defensive.

Paddock floods their faces with summoned elementals and Coe-Nan and Chulainn go on the offensive against the second remaining black dragon. Kemen connects with a lightning bolt in the same round and they kill the second black dragon. Coe-Nan is electrocuted from return fire by the blues but they manage to escape without serious harm.

We do a quick group huddle and come up with a trap for the next section. Kemen hands out spell shared Walls of Force and we prep for next room. The biggest red dragon leads the breech in and as he enters after clearing a path with breath weapons we box him in with Walls of Force. Kemen who is levitating at the top of the chamber upends the bag of holding with all the enchanted rocks in them. The first volley smashes down, but second grouping are blown into pieces and we catch sight of Poligius finally. He is bearing a rod that crackles with energy.

Kemen: He just cast Disjunction from that rod and broke our rocks!

We were banking on the bag trick killing a dragon and the red shakes off its concussive damage and climbs over the walls putting itself in full attack range of Coe-Nan. He eats the AOO to run the heck away and Chulainn makes a single spear poke before bolting as well. The wheels come off as dragons charge the chamber amidst our disarray. Kemen is levitated and out of contact with us at the ceiling. To add insult to injury a green dragon apparently dispels his levitate effect sending him crashing to the ground.

The wizard isolated and prone on the ground…his biggest spells mostly used and shared.

The cleric is nowhere near the melee and will have to eat AOO and possibly dragon dance full attacks to reach them.

The Melee are divided and unable to support each other with flanks etc.

I am separated from everyone else and mostly being ignored.

Oh and the primary antagonist just made his presence felt with a potent magic item that can circumvent most of our advantages.

2013-02-08, 03:48 PM
Fight or Flight:

Coe-Nan goes into a rage and hurls himself at the wounded red. I take that chance to fire on the flanked dragon and we begin a dangerous race. Chulainn tumbles into the dragons threatened space and pokes away.

Kemen activates a Stoneskin and is promptly tramped by a green rushing to finish off our melee. The Walls of Force are still in place and that balks him for a moment. Poligius begins disjunction sweeping the walls and the remaining four dragons start to pile in.

Poligius: I don’t know how you escaped from the vault…but im pleased to know you will be here in person to watch my father’s rebirth. It will be more satisfying with an audience. Your traps are shattering and your forces scattered. It is a mere formality to grind you under heel and continue on to what is rightfully mine.

Kemen: Ignore him…regroup.

Chulainn makes a charge attack against the dwarf and dodges three sweeping claws in response…he bear hugs Kemen and the two of them vanish….reappearing in the secured cavern behind us. Coe-Nan has every scrap of attention he can handle and his hp total begins to plummet. Paddock has no chance of reaching him in time and he puts a squat stone bunker shaped wall of stone OVER the barbarian. Chulainn comes sprinting back into the room as Kemen begins pumping energy subbed acid fireballs into the masses of dragons. That shifts attention to the monk and wizard. Paddock retreats to the dwarf and gets behind him, hitting him with a heal spell. I put an arrow into an explosive rune rigged deadfall and send most of the ceiling falling onto the dragons.

Chulainn dances on and around the falling rock and lashes out with spear at every moving dragon. It is a recovery from the edge of disaster and we almost think we of ourselves as having the upper hand again.

Kemen keeps sticking and moving and Paddock paces him. Chulainn harries the charging dragons from behind and nips at their heels. I track them from the alcove and keep up a stream of missile fire. Poligius is content to hang back and let the dragons wear us down.

Spell Resistance negates a lot of the fireball effects, but he is putting damage on all of them and he keeps retreating and casting. Paddock resumes the Wall of Stone delaying tactics and we try to weather the war of attrition against the wyrms. After four to five rounds the energy subbed fireballs are wearing thin and Kemen turns to targeted spells. The dragons finally give up chasing Kemen and turn to devour our monk. Chulainn for his part salutes them and sprints back the other direction…back toward Poligius.

Poligius: you think to confront me alone little hummingbird? I will smash you into dust.

Chulainn: Alone? Hell no. I am not the confrontation…just the distraction.

It took him a while to chop himself free from the stone bunker but a grinning Coe-Nan is directly behind Poligius…

Coe-Nan: Remember me?

With the dragons stuck between two fronts and angry for being singed with acid…they are torn between pursuing the fleeing monk and engaging the ever retreating wizard. I back track to assist the melee against Poligius and the casters take a gamble…sealing off the path for the dragons to support Poligius.

The barbarian being right on top of him is enough threat to startle the hybrid and he mentally urges the dragons to aid him…This gives us some free reign for Paddock and Kemen to reorganize. They join me on the snipers track and we chug back to provide aerial support.

Coe-Nan and Chu are fighting at peak effectiveness but losing. Poligius is too much of a brute for them to handle alone and they are getting tossed around like rag dolls. Without the Ragnarok axes his breath weapon is murderous. Kemen and Paddock trigger a pair of celestial elephants to draw the dragons and then Paddock hustles around me to a position where he can drop in and get healing to the melee.

Beaten to a pulp Coe-Nan is forced to withdraw and break off. Chulainn holds out an extra round thanks to improved evasion. Kemen keep summoning lesser creatures as roadblocks for the dragons..a 6hp celestial badger still takes an attack to kill and that is the same as mitigating a full 15-20
damage. Paddock gets a Heal off on Coe-Nan who smacks his axes together like boxing gloves and wades back in.

The dragons coordinate attacks and clear a path to send a red’s breath weapon through to hit Chulainn from the rear. He evades by the narrowest margin. Poligius grapples him in response and hits him with his twinned breath weapon at point blank range. It drops him to 0 health and he hits the ground out. I jump down from the alcove and rush to his side…administering a cure light wounds to get him conscious. Coe-Nan once again takes up the reins against the hybrid and Paddock hits Chulainn with his last heal spell.

The dragon tide breaks through and we are once again in full blown panic mode. I am in position to hit the lead dragon with a full attack and rapid shot for maximum arrows…I connect with two and we are surprised when one of them crits for maximum damage. My bow had a special quirk that let me add another d8 to a max damage roll and I roll a second 8…then a third. It was the first time in the entire campaign I got to roll four dice and it is enough to drop the already wounded red.

Functionally it was little overall benefit…we are given a +1 morale bonus to attacks and damage for killing the red, but our situation is little improved. Time for desperate measures. I slip a note to the DM and then announce my intention to grapple my son.

Poligius nearly laughs me off and with his size benefit and obscene strength/HD he tosses me off like a ragdoll. I slip a note to Chulainn slap him on the shoulder and tell him to run.
Chulainn bursts out laughing at the table and then breaks out into a sprint.

Poligius: Retreating just when things grow interesting?

Chulainn pauses for the briefest of seconds and then holds up the serpent’s tooth in one hand.

Chulainn: Your father is not much of a wrestler…but he has EXCELLENT sleight of hand. Ever play tag with a hummingbird?

I get a slow clap from the table as all notion of strategy evades the hybrid and he roars out an unspoken command for all out attack against the monk. The four of us are left behind as everything else heads off in hot pursuit. That buys us plenty of time to regroup and spread out healing and rebuff from what lower spells we have remaining. Kemen and I hit the alcove and Coe-Nan waits for Paddock to mount up on his horse before they follow the dragon train.

For his part Chulainn is unreachable as he plays a sadistic game of hide and seek with the remaining dragons. He is able to trip most of our remaining traps and even manages to double back once or twice as they chase him. Frustrated and heavily wounded they are literally dragons chasing their own tail by the time Coe-Nan and Paddock hit them from behind. Paddock has Righteous Might running and Coe-Nan is enlarged, bulls strength and Stoneskin. Kemen even hit him with a globe of invulnerability from his domain slot. Quad damage charge attack and a charging power attack from Coe-Nan finish off a falling behind green and we are down to a blue, a red and a green.

The dragons stay behind to tangle with us as Poligius barrels ahead to find the monk on his own. The remaining dragons put up a nasty resistance but with all four of us laying into them with buffs and full health pools we clean house and drop them. Good news…its now us against Poligius. Bad news? We have used all our best tricks and spells.

2013-02-08, 05:46 PM
And people say that in-combat healing is a sucker's game.

2013-02-08, 05:56 PM
Family Reunion:

Chulainn is eventually backed into a corner and forced to play dodgeball with a 20-30d6 breath weapon. Being completely defensive he has a damn good chance to evade, but he will fail and get caught at some point. The rest of us are hauling our behinds to get into the mix and we get hit with a dose of our own medicine….a Wall of Force goes up blocking us out of the room. Coe-Nan begins chopping through the stone around it to punch an opening. Kemen and I are able to bypass it through the alcove.

I get arrows running again and Kemen tries to connect with magic missiles…SR is rough against him.

Paddock wiggles through the gap through the stone and Coe-Nan works to make it large enough to get himself in.

Me: You got a chance to back away from all this Poligius. I understand why you are doing this. I really do. But this is not the way. Fate had other designs for Tiraxis.

Poligius: Easy enough for a murderer to justify his crimes. I am not going to be denied.
Me: Fine…let’s say that we stop. We prostrate ourselves in forgiveness and let you walk in there and hold the fang to Odin’s throat. What next? If he refuses to help you or is unable to do so, what then?
Poligius: Then I will find another way.

Me: Is that really how you want to live your life? Scraping the bottom of the barrel for an impossible hope? One day your life will end and you will realize it was spent in futile pursuit with nothing to show for it. Why live if you can’t be alive?

Poligius: Hollow words. My life will be complete when Tiraxis is reborn.
Chulainn: He is stubborn, I will give him that. I wonder though. Do you know who actually killed your father? Who struck the killing blow?
Poligius: I don’t care who pulled the bowstring or who swung the spear , you five are responsible.

Chulainn: Yeah, and I personally took the head off his shoulders and paraded into the City of Brass to claim it’s bounty.

Somehow goading the unstoppable juggernaut seems like it would be on the bad idea side of things. So when Poligius begins laughing its extra unsettling.
Poligius: You mean this head? *from within his pack he removes the badly decayed head of Tiraxis.* I took it back from the sniveling efreets. My father has never truly left my side and soon we will be completely re-united.

The interchange buys Coe-Nan enough time to wiggle through the gap and get his feet back under him. All five of us go on the all out attack. Kemen wades in extra close and tries an acidic burning hands…and gets twin breathed into negatives. Coe-Nan does the most damage of us all, but we can see the fatigue and damage have taken their toll on him. He relentlessly stalks Paddock and manages to knock him out as well. I am able to sneak in and cure moderate on both of them while Coe-Nan and Chu stall. Chu ends up self healing for his monk ability and we get the casters back up and mobile.

Poligius lets out a defiant roar and then triggers something from his rod. It’s a reverse gravity effect and we are all send tumbling to the spike lined ceiling. With his flight the half giant casually retrieves his dropped serpent’s tooth and flies down the hallway. We scramble out of the area of effect and Chulainn and Paddock get free and take chase. Kemen Coe-Nan and I take a bit longer and the falling damage puts Coe-Nan into single digits. I use my best remaining scroll cure serious and hit him with my best shot.

We come to a running halt at the final chamber…Chulainn is holding us back.
At the center of the room, standing next to the World Tree, Poligius is holding a butterfly newly hatched from it’s cocoon and still drying it’s wings. In his free hand he is grasping the World Serpent Tooth. From the roof of the cavern the shaft of light is turning red and it moves from the tree to the pool of water in the underground river. The water begins to hiss and bubble and from its depths rises Tiraxis Nis. Or at least a semblance of him. Jagged obsidian and brimstone lace his slender form, and black onyx horns rise and twist from his forehead. His feets are now hooves and he has a very demonic grin. At his waist are a pair of onyx daggers that seem to drink in what little remains in the room.

A jubilant Poligius abandons the tooth and let’s go of the butterfly. Chulainn bursts into motion and snatches up the butterfly before it can touch the ground.

Poligius: Father…you have returned.

The abyssal Tiraxis moves with the fluid slowness we associate with Chulainn’s deliberate slowing. He strokes the chin of his sobbing adopted son and soothes him with a demonic hum.

Tiraxis: You have performed admirably my one true son. You have sacrificed much to reach this point. Your strength and commitment make my pride soar.
Poligius: Anything for you father.

Tiraxis: Yes anything…

In abject horror we see the daggers flash and the celebration vanishes from Poligius’s eyes…his life blood pumps from the gaping wounds across his throat, running into the water and somehow turning it clear again.

Tiraxis: An eye for any eye and a life for a life. Some magics are older than time itself, and they always demand a price.

The reborn Tiraxis appraises us.

Tiraxis: I always wondered who would finally end me. I am truly blessed to have a chance to return the favor.

I manage to snap an arrow off that disintegrates before reaching him.

Tiraxis: Tisk Tisk…already we are off to a bad start. Dispose of my “son” I have a world to conquer all over again.

Powerless to stop him and unsure just what “he” now is…Tiraxis Nis vanishes.
Chulainn falls to his knees dumbfounded. A raven caws from the shadows and sweeps in snatching the butterfly and swallowing it whole. We are too numb to really react. So it is even more surprising when the raven starts convulsing and morphing into a man.

Within moments the falling feathers reform into a gray robe and the tree itself stretches back into a walking stick. The tree now resembles the smallest possible seedling just bursting from the soil.

Odin takes a deep breath and stretches. The previously hale old man…now looks like a man in his prime that has begun the shift to his middle years.

Chulainn: We failed…he coerced you into bringing back Tiraxis.
Odin: Is that how you view these events?

Kemen: Tiraxis is back and he came within a hair of killing you so yeah.
Odin:I am still here. That counts for something. And as I have told you earlier. Always look for loopholes. Whether it’s the ringmaster at a county fair or a vulnerable god…there is always a loophole. I merely facilitated contract stipulations for a third party. A life for a life. Think on that for a while.

Kemen: Where do we go from here.
Odin: Unless one of you has recently changed faith…I am not the one to provide that guidance.

As we contemplate our next moves one final element is made clear to us. Tiraxis took the tooth.

2013-02-08, 06:13 PM
Oh dear, I hope you guys prepared for Magic-Missile based revenge.

2013-02-11, 10:39 AM
Culling The Weak:

So not only has our primary antagonist and the monk’s arch nemesis been resurrected, but he immediately murdered one of my offspring (sure he was trying to kill us but he was blood). To make matters worse this reborn nemesis is equipped with a god killing serpent’s tooth and he has made plain his aspirations for further world domination. As if that was not salt enough in the wounds…the lemon juice is squeezed further into the cut when we realize that we are no where near our ship and we have no immediate means of returning to the Revenge or the Hullsbreaker’s island chain where we left it. That ship has taken us to hell and back and we are hesitant to make a bathroom stop without it.

With the world tree more or less secure, we vacate the cavern systems and emerge from the mountain to try and figure out where the heck we are in relativity to the known world. We are far south of the The Weald and weeks away via overland travel to a coastal town that could arrange transport to the Hullbreaker’s Edge. Paddock prepares a Sending for Androka hoping that maybe we can finally arrange a teleport to get back to our ship.

As we emerge a winged figure in the distance closes quickly…it is the Planetar that confronted us during our exodus from Flynt and the Parrot Cult. The same madness is present in it’s eyes. It does not immediately attack us…instead it drops to a single knee and beckons an audience with the Parrot. The dread parrot is happy to oblige

Parrot: You better have located my heir or I am going to become very angry.

Planetar: We have my lord…he awaits your return anxiously at the world’s nest.
*blink blink*

Parrot: My son…you found my son?
Planetar: Yes he is splend…err unique specimen.
The stutter over “Splendid” is heavily emphasized.

The Parrot jumps on Coe-Nan’s shoulder and whispers in his ear…
Parrot: How drunk was I when you guys jumped out of the egg?
Coe-Nan shrugs

Parrot: Very well…then all that remains is for you to describe my son to me so that I know you found the right bird. I will suffer no imposters.
Planetar: Is this a test my lord?
Parrot: Yer damn straight it’s a test.

Planetar *clears throat*: Your son is a turkey vulture-phoenix. He has a fire red droopy gizzard and a severe case of missing feathers…he is also a bit cross eyed and tends to drool his bird feed. And his right leg is just a bit shorter than his left so he hops in a fascinating gait.

We all look at the parrot in disbelief.

Parrot: What? This is news to me too, I was just being a jackass with the whole phoenix thing. Didn’t realize it was true.

Parrot: Ahh yes…that’s my boy. I will return to you shortly to give him a proper welcome home. First I needs punish these treasonous dogs and grind their bones into dust…then I shall use their skins to coat the floor of my cage so that I may defecate on the remains of their mortal forms for all eternity.

The Planetar suddenly beams and cheers up. His whole demeanor is joyous and relieved.

Planetar: I will make a king’s welcome for your return. We are ecstatic to see you back to your normal self my lord.

The Planetar flies off and the Parrot waves with his wing in farewell.

Coe-Nan: The fruit of your loins is a cross eyed turkey vulture with phoenix blood and a weird hop…this is priceless.

Parrot: Never realized there was fruit in there, just figured their was lice and cobwebs. I didn’t know I could I breed. Didn’t even know If I counted as being alive. Well surprises never cease. You guys have fun… I am going to go break in the new kid and teach him the ropes of tyranny. No hard feelings but when I see you next…it is going to have be on the floor of my birdcage.

Kemen: But all that was just a smokescreen right? Misdirection.

Parrot: Hey you guys offered a diamond bird cage…I can dig that. But I got to show this youngling how a real god smites. I got bigger duties now, and the first rule of being a just god is keeping your word.


CHulainn: Well when it rains…it pours. No half measures against us. Somewhere Fate is laughing itself silly.

Soon after the Planetar leaves Androka sends us a response that he can arrange for us to be teleported in an hour’s time. As we are preparing to make the teleport Paddock spasms and then gasps hitting the floor like he just his brains scrambled. He twitches for about 30 seconds then goes limp…coma like but alive. Before we can really react to his sudden status change we are back in Cinhill Rue.

Androka is in a panic. The cosmological pantheons are in a sudden state of disarray. Communications with various planes and deities are suddenly going black. In mid sentence the stammering lich eyes roll up into his skull and he too hits the deck.

Me: This is veryyyyy bad.

2013-02-11, 02:30 PM
Migrating South:

Sheer chaos rules over everything in the Academy. Scholars and holy men are dropping like flies. Wizards divinations are suddenly drawing blanks. The only conclusion that Kemen can provide is that divinations are failing because there is no future to scry or veil to pierce.

Coe-Nan: This has to be a play by Tiraxis…what other explanation is there?
Me: So fast? Its been a few hours since he vanished from the cavern.

Coe-Nan: He seemed like he had pressing business. Why not kill us then and there? He had us cold.
Kemen: He must have had bigger fish to fry. If I had to make a stab at the truth of it, I think he is killing gods.

Chulainn: That’s preposterous, no one can simply stride into a god’s Plane and kill them.

As if to prove his point Kemen kicks the prone Paddock and Androka.

Kemen: They dropped like a bag of rocks down a mine shaft. No external basis for it happening. So it had to be internal. Only people I see keeling over are cleric and other divine casters that worship a deity.

As we speculate Wind, the lich bard/sublime chord enters.

Wind: If this Tiraxis is returned from the grave then it is entirely possible that he could perform these acts. Especially if he has the serpent’s tooth.

Me: Let’s assume that he can move to planes at will and that the tooth is a godkiller. How do you sneak up on a god? How do you circumvent the preparations of an omnipotent being?

Wind: Tiraxis was in the employ of a wizard that managed to hide myself and Androka along with others from all divination and outside sight for millennia. It is entirely plausible that he had access to such research and may have been familiar with it’s execution. Coupled with his seemingly newly demonic nature and he maybe access to Plane Shift. How he is shifting to planes against his perceived affiliations and philosophy I don’t know.

Paddock starts to come around, albeit functioning as if he has the world’s biggest hangover and some of our budding suspicions are confirmed. All divine magic has fled him. He can longer make a connection to Kord. For all intents and purposes he is now a weak melee warrior with no spells. As we contemplate the ramifications of him losing his abilities as a cleric a popping sound begins cropping up all over the place. As we look outside we see hordes upon hordes of demons,devils, elementals, and angels all Plane Shifting into the Material. They all look dazed and confused. All of the angels turn as one to the north-east and begin flying in tight formations towards Flynt and the Parrot.

A popping noise in Cinhill Rue draws our attention to a hound archon, our old “friend” from the dead zone on the Elemental Plane of Fire, Suhn has just arrived in Cinhill Rue. He looks even worse than Paddock and we get hit with some substantial exposition.

Gods and divine entities across all Planes are being assassinated with alarming alacrity. The pantheons as there are known are being shattered and entire planes are in chaos. Just about every sentient outsider is being “deported” to the Material Plane. Whatever is killing the gods (presumably Tiraxis) is doing so with sudden and instant results. All manner of safeguard and warning have failed. As Suhn is elaborating on what this means a legion of demons and devils…each eying each other with weariness and tension more or less come knock on the door for the floating Academy. They all want sanctuary.

The demons and devils are in true fear.

Suhn: with no guidance the majority of things that we outsiders take for granted are suddenly lost. The angels have been affected strangest of all. By their very nature they exist to serve a deity and enforce their guidance and protect their followers. Right now…there is only one game left in town.

Kemen: So let me see if I have this right. There has been a coup de tat amongst the heavens, perpetrated by Tiraxis who is assassinating all the deities across multiple planes…and now that they are on the Material Plane the PARROT is the only viable deity remaining.

Suhn: I am sure there are a few lesser gods remaining and perhaps some minor gods that spend their time truly on the Material Plane, but yes. The Dread Parrot Roberts is currently the most powerful god on this Plane.

Chulainn: And like moths drawn to the light, the hosts of angels, solar and planetars are flocking to his cause.

Kemen: Alright I admit it. For the first time in ages I am stumped. I have no freaking clue what we do from here.
Coe-Nan: We need to find Tiraxis and stop him.

Kemen: That is about six steps removed from impossible right now. We would be better off gluing feathers to our ass and begging the Parrot for some pre-chewed table scraps right now.

As we are going through all of this Paddock is having a side conversation with his DM. He retains his smite evil and saving throw bonus, but all spells and lay of hands are gone. He is genuinely angered at this sudden swing and to his credit he tries to steer a negative to a positive. It ends up more or less saving our bacons too.

Paddock strips off his tabard emblazoned with Kord’s sigil and he discards his plate armor. He strips down to simple clothes and removes a dagger from his belt. While we are haggling over ramifications with Suhn and a few chatty demons Paddock raises the dagger to his forehead and kneels in prayer. We hear a sharp gasp and turn to find him cutting out his own eye.

Me: Paddock…what the hell are you doing?
Paddock: Bluntly speaking…cutting my eye out. Metaphorically I am making an offering. Realistically I’m not sure.

Kemen: I think Paddock has lost it…

Paddock: Odin…if you are real and worthy of a follower then grant me the honor of being your first. I have devoted my life to righting wrongs and fighting for righteous causes. I have strayed from the path at times and made decisions I regret. Right now in this moment I seek two things…wisdom and the strength to fight a war against tyranny.

As he makes his request we hear bootsteps accompanied by the sound of a staff striking the marble tile of the Cinhill Rue floor. From a hallway the sound manifests itself into the wanderer, only now his appearance has changed yet again…gone is the man approaching his middle years…before us is a man at the edge of his prime or just a hair outside of it. His beard is no longer grey but more salt and pepper and there is a new found fierceness to his composure.

Odin: He who was once Paddock Shiningstar, you make a bold request and an even bolder sacrifice. Would you stand in honor as a stalwart defender of wisdom and knowledge? Would you raise arms against those who threaten my beliefs?

Paddock: Whole Heartedly.

Odin: Then Paddock Shiningstar is no more. Arise from your knees as Paddock Odinson….high priest of Odin and first of my followers.

Paddock comes to his feet and from nothingness a grey cloak emblazoned with two ravens and a single eye is draped over his shoulders. His hollowed out eye socket is covered by a new eye patch…one that grants him True Seeing (and nothing else).

Odin: Paddock…for years the lance has been your focus. Today you must take up arms that served you once before and ever more in the future.
As Paddock unhooks his lance from his mount’s saddle it transforms into a spear before our eyes. As he cradles it under arm the spear takes on the properties of a brilliant energy weapon.

Paddock: I shall wield it with honor and respect.
Odin: One final thing…your horse.
Paddock: Yes?
Odin: I don’t like it.
Paddock: No?

Odin: I think it is time for something new…as the world changes so too must it’s rules.

The stone horse morphs before our eyes and transforms into a silver bear…a voracious and powerful grizzly bear with a full set of wide furrowing wings.
Paddock gingerly mounts the bear and as he does it rears to it’s hind legs and roars…then it breaks into a run and takes off in flight…

2013-02-11, 02:44 PM
A flying bear as a mount? Totally worth losing an eye.

Awesome recaps, as usual.

2013-02-11, 03:57 PM
Wayward Children:

Me:The gnome is flying…
Chulainn *jaw hanging*: Yep.

Odin:Your foes take wing and it is time for you to bear the same fortune. I should mention…there is a price.

Kemen: There is always a price.
Odin: My children….they must be found and brought to this place.
Kemen: You are talking about other gods?

Odin: Not exactly. More legends that have started the road to a new beginning. Right now they are too small to matter. But what has been started today will draw the eyes of dangerous parties. This Tiraxis is indeed culling the old gods from this world and while I am confident that some may escape the purge in progress, in time his gaze will fall upon those who might challenge him.

Kemen: Who we find and where do we look. Also…how do we pull the plug on Tiraxis?

Odin: Tiraxis will become his own downfall. All those who reach too high invariably fall. As for where and who…4 must be found…Thor, Loki, Freyja, and Hel. Where…even I don’t know that for they do not yet know themselves.

Kemen: Then will we know that we found them?
Odin: I never said the price was low. I trust you will find a way.

Paddock comes swinging back in in sheer glee.
Paddock: I have a flying bear!
Kemen: We noticed.

Me: So four fledgling gods to be are somewhere out there and we need to track them down and bring them for protection.

Chulainn: Yep.
Coe-Nan: Where do we start?

Kemen: Based on events, I would say the Material Plane is the only place they may be. As to where within this plane…eek that is tough call.
We know from stories and mythos that Thor is god of thunder and battles and that he is associated with the hammer. Loki is a god of trickery and mischief. Freyja is a nature goddess and associated with the earth. Hel is goddess of the underworld and death.

Kemen: Let’s make a strange assumption and figure on the Underdark being a literal metaphor for the Underworld. From that perspective Hel could very well be incarnated as a dark elf matron or some such proxy. Thor being god of Thunder and Battles…New Jotun feels right and we have history there. Freyja…the nymph baby mama may be a good lead or Freyja herself. Maybe the daughter is Freyja. As for Loki…he has to be associated with the Parrot in some manner. I just don’t see any other option for Loki.

Chulainn: Then the obvious Loki candidate is Snickle. Is there anyone that we have run into more tricky than him?


I will spoil without hedging what so ever that Snickle is 100% NOT Loki. We operated on suspicion he was for a while but he is not.

Kemen: I can’t exist in a world where that twit is a god in waiting. So its possible but I pray he is not. Where do we go first.
Paddock: Not the Underdark.
Me: Why not?

Paddock: After two years of campaigning without flight I don’t want my first stop to be underground with low ceilings.

Kemen: Too true.
Me: New Jotun?
Coe-Nan: Sure…

The Revenge reloads with some supplies and we set a course for New Jotun. The world is far different than we are used to. With the gods literally being gone there is widespread desperation and chaos. We are subjected to a lot of random encounters that bear no threat but establish a clear pattern of people seeking any kind of security. I am glossing over these encounters because it can really be boiled down to a few simple points.

1st: Paddock is generating more and more followers for Odin. His ability to display clerical powers makes him kind of a big deal now. As we travel more and more folks take up cloaks and spears, a lot even cut out their eyes as a display of dedication. Dutifully Paddock accepts their offerings and heals those who do so.

2nd:Grummsh seems to have made it through the initial purge alive. A very large and powerful Orc with a single eye and blood red armor is spotted at the forefront of a massive humanoid army. He parleys with us briefly and informs us that he is taking his horde to confront the bird. From the numbers described he must have scoured every warren and forest for a thousand miles and leads a host ten’s of thousands strong.

3rd:The Parrot is spreading his influence like wildfire. Birdhouses and statues are all over the place and more and more common folk are plucking their chickens and dying the feathers as ceremonial garb. Pilgrimages (or as they call them “migrations”) are in full force towards Flynt.

New Jotun is a ghost town when we arrive. No sentries challenge or hail us and the mountain is startling quiet. The initial halls into the giant’s city are empty and dusty. Only the higher apartments are occupied by a scant few giants. Most of the cities inhabitants fled at the onset of the purge and have gone to their homelands and their extended families. We press the few that remain with our celebrity status and urge them to help us locate Thor. They give us a slight lead. An aspiring half giant recently entered the city and then left just as quickly to explore the Underdark. He was described as proud, fierce and strong and he bore a warhammer of ancient design.

Hmmm….Underdark is suddenly a better lead. Not ready to commit to a subeterrain conquest just yet we alter course to approach the nymph and are startled to discover her grotto abandoned. She is gone as are the children. We track down Wahloon and through Paddock we learn that a half-nymph druid apprentice recently left for the underdark with a few companions.

Hmmm…I sense a pattern.

Kemen: Sorry Paddock…think we are supposed to be heading underground.
Paddock *sigh*:The DM giveth and the DM taketh away.

Averis Vol
2013-02-11, 06:36 PM
Poor paddock D:

2013-02-11, 08:36 PM
I'd say not to loose hope because the underground may be big enough to still allow his bear to fly, but then I realized this campaign is actually several years past this point.

2013-02-11, 08:56 PM
It is taking all my willpower to not open that spoiler.

Amidus Drexel
2013-02-11, 10:41 PM
And the plot thickens! And jumps around like a madman with a half-broken camera!

*eagerly waits for next update*

It is taking all my willpower to not open that spoiler.

You and me both. :smallamused:

2013-02-13, 07:30 PM
Oh…That’s What Happened to Them:

We make our insertion to the Underdark in a cave system not too far away from The Weald and proceed to traverse the myriad twists and turns deeper and deeper into the Underdark. Low and behold we locate a well worked and organized cavern that was once home to a thriving colony of Sharakim and Illithid. It’s a kind of neat callback to our very first play session when we met the fleeing Sharakim band. Surivivors are nowhere to be found, but a whole slew of dead mind flayers in highly advanced states of decay along with hell boars beyond count are all stinking up the place.

We are met with very little resistance, only a token band of goblins decide to test themselves against us. They are not augmented with class levels or templates…just average run of the mill goblins. Coe-Nan and Chulainn let their hair down so to speak and go full force running into the midst of their bands hacking and cleaving with gleeful abandon. The rest of us just kind of watch as the goblins get routed and crushed. It serves the purpose of making us fear something bad though. We haven’t ran into a non-challenging encounter in countless weeks. I do admit it was kind of fun.

The party spirals further into the dark and continue to search for signs of life worth interacting with. Almost like clockwork we are spotted by a drow hunting party and alarms are raised as they move to pin us down. They are not pushover mooks like the goblins, but they are half our level at the most. We try to reason with them and parley and we keep getting pestered with darkness, faerie fire and drow sleeping poison that is ineffectual against us. Chulainn finally walks into their midst calm as can be, smoothly dodging every dart and spell tossed his way. He is deep enough into monk tree to have Spell Resistance and he is a pain in the butt to actually hit with anything at this point. Without raising a finger we finally make them see reason and understand they can’t take us. A captain approaches us and finally submits to answering a few questions.

No he doesn’t know where the band of adventurers we describe are. No he won’t take us to the drow capital. No he won’t tell us where we are at. Frankly he is little help and getting on our last nerve. Chulainn is the first one to make headway.

Chulainn: Do you know the name Tiraxis Nis?
Jaws drop from various drow…
Captain Drow: All in our world know that name.
Chulainn: Do you know his fate?
Captain Drow: It is said that a band of misfits brought the forces of the entire cosmos together and fell him from the sky in a rain of fire. That a monk from beyond this plane took his head…

The captain trails off and then looks at Chulainn again… a sudden lightbulb goes off in his head.

Captain: You…
Chulainn: Yep…took the head myself.

Captain: Perhaps other words than mine are required here. I will escort you to the Matrons.
Chulainn: good man.

The drow patrol escorts us through tunnels and mazes of passages all the while murmuring about the death of Tiraxis Nis and what our presence means. It’s good to finally get a little respect. We are led to a large city, not quite a capital city but a strong section of the suburbs at the least. The captain sends his subordinates off to summon an audience with a drow matron. Patiently we await in a small chapel dedicated to Lloth. We are left to wait for a surprisingly long time. Finally after hours and hours…the drow captain walks back in…at the head of a honor guard 50 strong. Trailing them are three drow matrons. 50 drow warriors and three potentially powerful casters make us a tad bit uneasy. If things do go south in a hurry the confines are cramped enough that we won’t be functionally outnumbered and if Lloth took a serpent tooth to the back we can count on having the casting edge. Which I guess is the basis for Paddock instantly putting us in a hostile footing.

Paddock: Is your god dead? Or do you still await her demise?

Paddock Shiningstar grew into a much calmer gnome…Paddock Odinson is showing more of the wild impossible to rein in spirit of the early days.

Drow Matron: Lloth is not take unawares with ease. She bides in silence and isolation until these troubling time are behind us.

Me: Are you familiar with recent events as relates to other gods?
A second Drow Matron: Of course…the weak are winnowed away like chafe in a harvest. Only the strong remain.
Chulainn: Tiraxis Nis is returned from beyond the grave and he is the one responsible for these acts.

2nd Drow Matron: We are aware of this.
3rd Matron: The great liberator Tiraxis himself has visited us and made his will known.

Oh crap…

1st Matron: He came to us covered in divine blood and had about him an aura of absolute strength. He requested two things of us and in return Lloth will take her place as the strongest remaining deity.
Kemen: What were these requests?
2nd Matron: That we do not interfere with his goals.
3rd: And that we capture alive and unspoiled any groups that enter the Underdark.

As one 100 swords from 50 drow are drawn. In the darkest shadows above us the forms of twisted driders descend on gossamer strands of spider silk.
An out of character team huddle breaks out and we are all agreed. We go down swinging and abuse the fact that they need to capture us alive. The confines in the room are cramped and about to get a lot tighter as movement begins and we are surrounded.

Chulainn is the first to act and with it being a two sided Mexican standoff there is no surprise round just init, and he rarely acts second in that regard. He bursts straight into the midst of the drow warriors and then activates the shared spell of the day…wall of fire. We made the judgement call to share walls of fire given the potentially cramped confinements of the underdark and proclivity for it’s inhabitants to use web spells. Given our substantial cache of fire resist (and yes we are still jaded at the lack of help it gave us on the Plane of Fire) we plan on treating the walls like a sauna. He drops the ring of fire at the center mass of drow warriors and waits for the first one to blink so he can AOO.

A matron flamestrikes us before Coe-Nan can act and we eat the damage as Coe-Nan charges the same matron…he eats a handful of AOO’s but closes distance to the matron and slaps her with a single axe. Paddock takes flight and activates righteous might.

I duck for a wall and fire off a shot on the run against a flat flooted matron. I land a critical and confirm it for a nice little opening gambit. A host of drow attacks and a failed Hold Person later, and Kemen is left to act. He surveys the pieces on the map and in his usual “Im about to break things” voice asks if Wall of Fire can be made horizontal.

DM: As long as it is anchored to a wall.
Kemen: How many driders are hanging from the ceiling?
DM: Ten…mostly in positions where they can provide cover above the matrons.

Kemen: Then I will cast a horizontal wall of fire as high up as I can…the fire should snap the web threads holding them up. Let me know how much crushing damage amongst the drow…

The answer is a lot. It also lends a complex clusterf**k aspect to the map.

Coe-Nan stays right in the matron’s face despite being surrounded by drow warriors and Chulainn goes into a whirling frenzy as the wall of fire provokes movement and extra attacks. He flurries to kill a pair of drow. They are not mooks, but most are level 5-8 somewhere in that range. That bodes well.
Kemen puts a spell sculpted fireball into the thick of the melee scrum and organizes his ten foot cubes to avoid hitting our guys. I put a full attack into Coe-Nan’s matron and Paddock makes a diving charge attack against her hot on the heels of my arrow volley. Quad damage and some burly strength bonuses leave her impaled and dead as a doornail.

More and more spells launch and then the matrons begin summoning demons behind Kemen and I. As we keep hacking away more and more alarms are being raised through the city. Chulainn is killing 2-3 a round and when tries to hone it on the next matron he is like a human axe powered drow weed whacker. As fast as we can kill them more are pouring in. Kemen puts up a Wall of Stone to seal off the entrance and it is quickly dispelled. Paddock is diving in and out from flight range to spear the matrons and he follows whatever target I am on. The two remaining matrons are throwing harm and slay living spells at Coe-Nan and we are forced to grit our teeth.

Paddock skewers a second matron and then swoops back up…the driders are getting clear of the mess and begin returning arrow fire and lighting bolts. They are completely uncaring about any collateral warrior damage. One of the driders puts the brakes on Paddock’s aerial bombardment by hitting him with a web at the apex of his ascent. He responds the following round with a flamestrike of his own that clear Coe-Nan a path to the third matron. He goes for broke on a power attack charge and damn near cleaves her in half.
The remaining drow warriors scatter at her death and the driders make hasty retreats through concealed exits in the ceiling. It gives us a moment to catch our breath and spread around some much needed healing. We can hear the forces being rallied outside and we are quick to realize this was strictly the opening gambit.

But with time to prepare and a defensible position…things are going to get a lot hairier.

2013-02-13, 07:35 PM
And the plot thickens! And jumps around like a madman with a half-broken camera!

I think the moment that the Parrot became a deity all hopes of smooth storytelling were not only abandoned, but they were put up against a wall and shot in the head before being shuffled off to an unmarked grave. It made for great fun though.

2013-02-13, 11:55 PM
I think the moment that the Parrot became a deity all hopes of smooth storytelling were not only abandoned, but they were put up against a wall and shot in the head before being shuffled off to an unmarked grave. It made for great fun though.

That's not a statement you hear every day.

Also, continuing explosions sound good.

2013-02-14, 02:29 PM
Did Someone Turn on the Lights?:

As we begin our usual preparations of digging in, Coe-Nan throws out a radical concept.

Coe-Nan: we should scatter.
Kemen: When has splitting up ever led to good things?
Coe-Nan: There is a first for everything.

Kemen: They are massing out front like a SWAT team ready to take down a drug house. If we split up we are easy targets.

Coe-Nan: so we are going to stay exactly where they know we will be and just wait til their ready to stomp us?
Kemen: well when you put it that way…

Coe-Nan: We split into three teams. Me and Paddock together. Kemen and Mar together and Chulainn on his own. I will draw most of their attention and have healing support that will buy time for you guys to scatter and then Paddock and I fly off. You and Mar can attack from range and keep mobile. Chulainn melts away and acts as a rescue force and ambusher for any isolated scouts. Once in flight, Paddock heals me and we return to the fray.

Me: That sounds entirely plausible.
Coe-Nan: Mar even has spot healing through his wands.

Kemen: I can levitate up to the gaps where the driders ran off and Mar should be able to climb the walls. We can provide cover fire from the roof if needs be.
Chulainn: It would be better if we slipped away during the chaos.
Kemen: I got a pyrotechnics scroll…five of them I think.
Me: could use those like flash bangs.

And with that sentence begins the guerilla war against a drow city intent on our capture. Popping a scroll of pyrotechnics to blind our seigers Coe-Nan comes roaring out in a flurry just hacking with reckless abandon at anything he can reach. Paddock is hot on his heel and charging from the ground. Their initial contact and the flare of light allows Chulainn to burst from the building with expeditious retreat and then streak from sight.

Kemen and myself work our way in a third opposite direction and sneak away at an angle. Within a few rounds the drow have begun hemming in around the gnome and barbarian. Kemen takes that as a sign to buy them an opening and I scroll out a fireball as he does the same to ignite the surrounding drow warriors. Coe-Nan mounts up and the two of them fly out amidst wild and blind bow fire and spells. Before they can pick up us up I put a full attack into a caster and we slip off out of sight.

The forces split and some head in our direction. Kemen wands out some magic missiles more to stay active than anything and I keep sniping. It buys Paddock enough time to heal himself and Coe-Nan and they come dive bombing it to the wounded caster. That is enough threat to draw the bodyguards from a cleric and as the cleric barks out orders Chulainn charges from the alleys and house structures to spear him in the back. The following round he flurries and with drow bane from ki running he shreds the cleric.
We run the drow forces in circles juking in and out and lobbing the majority of disposable scrolls and spells. When we get pinned or in trouble we break out the bigger guns and then try to buy time for someone else to strike. It works well but we find ourselves being drawn further and further apart. Chulainn eventually takes enough injury that he is forced to expend his self healing and he dimension doors back to the vacated chapel, where he takes up hiding amidst the ceiling.

Coe-Nan and Paddock expend every ounce of casting available and dodge the hail of missiles to hide on a rooftop. Kemen and myself end up hiding in a small storage unit and trying to remain unseen for a few hours. We are never given a chance to fully rest and are given incremental recoveries of spells and spell slots in two hour blocks.

Paddock and Coe-Nan flying on the back of a silver winged bear are the highest visibility targets and they draw the largest degree of attention. Chulainn becomes a blurring streak that leaves death in his wake. Any isolated solo figure or scouting group of three or less becomes an instant target. With his movement speed he is able to evade most pursuing forces and his spell resistance and insane reflex saves make him a bane of casters. Kemen and I are more hamstrung by his inability to adequately recover spells and Kemen doesn’t have the backup benefit of a charging quad damage attack. As a result we are captured first. Kemen rolls a natural 1 on a sleep dart and goes lights out. I keep up a run and gun escape for a few rounds before being overwhelmed via webs and drow warriors. More on our fate in a bit…

Paddock and Coe-Nan are next to succumb. The drow begin putting scouts on rooftops and keep up a torrent of faerie fire to prevent them from going to ground. Coe-Nan eventually blows a sleep dart save as well and he plummets from flying bear back, forcing Paddock to dive and try to catch him. Paddock is tackled and grappled by swarms of summoned demons and he puts up a hell of a fight before he is finally reduced to negatives. For his part Chulainn…remains a shadowed veil of sudden death. He keeps a low profile and tracks our captured selves to the eventual holding area.

The four of us come around deep in a prison structure. We are stripped to basic clothes and put through an anti magic field before detect magic reveals any potentially hidden secrets. We are placed in separate cells with substantial restraints. Per Tiraxis’s orders they do not leave with any of our equipment…it is all visible from inside our cells at the center of the room. Communication with Kemen is neigh impossible. He is chained to a wall with very little give and his cell has a permanent Silence effect throughout.

At the end of the day…a whole battalion of drow elite come to the prison area and are followed by seven drow matrons along with Tiraxis. The Silence is dispelled temporarily around Kemen’s cell and the demonic githyanki addresses us.

Tiraxis: I do not yet understand your purpose in coming here. I will endeavor to discover that information through torture and destruction. My drow colleagues are tasked with torturing and withdrawing all you know. When you are crippled, panicked and begging for death I will consider their work properly begun.

It doesn’t take him very long to count to four and realize that Chulainn is not captured. That inspires him to show the drow his angry side.

Tiraxis: Who is the highest ranking matron?
A diminutive wizard steps forth.

Tiraxis: In all your centuries have you ever failed to count to five? I see only four of them.
Ranking Matron: The fifth eludes our patrols…he is devious and without honor.
Tiraxis: Find him. At all costs.

To emphasize his displeasure his hands dart to his cloak and before she can blink the matron’s head is falling from her shoulders to the floor.

Tiraxis: Animate her head as a zombie and leave it on a spike at the center of the city. If anyone else chooses to fail me they can join her.

The torture begins soon after…we endure it knowing that Chulainn is out there. As long as he has his feet under him he can disrupt their actions and potentially locate the wayward asgardian offspring.

I started a thread in the roleplaying subforum for 3.5 and other systems. Looks like I will be getting a chance to DM for some newer players (and the guy that ran Kemen) and I was going to run Calimshaw Prison Adventure for them. Looking for feedback on ideas and input.

2013-02-14, 04:45 PM
Torture? I can Take Pain. No..No…Anything But That!

The drow constantly bring us to the brink of death then have their clerics restore us so they can work us all over again. We hold out for hour after hour on the insane hope that somehow Chulainn pulls off an epic jail break montage. Those hopes are dashed to the ground, and the open wounds have salty lime juice liberally applied and mixed in. A mass comes tumbling down the stairs, wrapped in a net and followed by at least 30 drow guards. It’s Chulainn…at the brink of death. He is heavily scorched, frayed and has numerous wounds. A bolas is wrapped around his arms and legs. The drow clear a path and give the slightest of bows for the one who captured him.

A slight figure in dark robes comes down the stairs idly twirling a bolas end over end. He is whistling softly to himself and skipping every odd step. The highest rank drow bows low and tells us to do likewise (despite being stuck in chains) .

Drow Elite: Bow to the personal assistant to Tiraxis himself. The most revered of his followers for capturing the terrorist Chulainn. His eminence…Snickle!

The hooded figure pulls back its cowl to reveal the grinning and sadistic grin of the Halfling thief, conman and now the bringer of our final defeat.

Kemen: No flipping way. Just kill me now.

Snickle walks up to Chulainn and pats him on the head before back handing him viciously. He then retrieves his bolas as Chulainn is stripped and put through the same procedures that we were subjected to. Once Chulainn is secure Snickle takes out a leather roll from his pack and unrolls it on the table. All manner of sharp twisted implements are present.

Snickle: Tiraxis is pleased with your diligence and admires your resolve in breaking these scum. His patience has grown thin and he has dispatched me to see them fully broken before his return. To this end he has entrusted me with secrets not to be known by those of this world. I must urge you to bring the monk out in the open and tie him to the stockade. The gifts he has bestowed upon me must not be viewed by mortals.

The very anxious and excited drow agree.

Drow Elite: yes your grace. We shall be waiting just outside…call out and we will be here in a heartbeat.

The instant the drow disappear from view Snickle freaks out…we are talking total and complete meltdown territory as he frantically saws through the bonds securing Chulainn to the stockade. The wounds covering our monk vanish before our eyes…an illusion. Snickle then takes his nasty and sharp implement tray and it suddenly resembles a lockpicking kit…another illusion.

He begins working with marvelous efficiency on the locks to our cells…the best calculation is that I am a 15th level rogue/exemplar with skill focus in disable device and I am AMAZED at his speed. He frees me first and in a fierce whisper he beckons me to do the same for Kemen as he works on Coe-Nan’s locks. He gets Coe-Nan and Paddock free before I can spring Kemen.
We are all sitting there in shock at the turn of events both in character and out. Chulainn who was functioning as a lookout gestures for us to move for our gear and we begin hastily reeuipping ourselves.

Chulainn: I found him leading a patrol through the city and I snatched him before they could react. I was going to smash his larynx and break all his limbs then leave him for the spiders to eat but he told me that he could help get you guys out.

Snickle: And I did…don’t forget that. I know we have had our differences in the past…but that is water under the bridge.


Snickle: look…I try to find the best angle for any situation, have to play the cards dealt right? Nothing personal. And trust me…this Tiraxis is nuttier than a gnomish fruit cake. World domination? Knock yourself out. Destroying gods and trying to reshape reality? Cmon you got to have limits and this crosses the line!

Kemen desperately restrains himself from choking the Halfling and keeps working his armor on. Apparently the lack of screams has raised an alarm due to the silence and the drow elite pokes his head into the room , where he is promptly grappled and choked out by the monk.

Chulainn: We are bout to have company.

As drow begin pouring into the room we start a whole scale slaughter of the attackers….the whole time Kemen is grumbling to himself.

Kemen: I am still building a plane to torment this jacka## (Fireball)…but maybe I will leave him a mattress to lay on. (Lightining bolt) but no pillows…I draw the line at pillows….(Wall of Stone) and definitely bland food, no spices…etc

We take out the entirety of the torture regiment and suddenly find ourselves again free and this time we are not splitting up.

Averis Vol
2013-02-14, 05:12 PM
I wonder........does snickle make it out of this campaign alive? I can't imagine Kemen just leaves him be.

2013-02-14, 05:39 PM
I wonder........does snickle make it out of this campaign alive? I can't imagine Kemen just leaves him be.

I will neither confirm nor deny his final fate.

we got our first hint that killing him might not be that easy. It was demonstrated through his skill set that he is either a rogue savant or a fantastically higher level than he lets on.

Lord Torath
2013-02-14, 06:06 PM
I wonder........does snickle make it out of this campaign alive? I can't imagine Kemen just leaves him be.
Of course he makes it out alive. There's no point in sending someone to the Demi-Plane of Extremely Painful Torture with a mattress but no pillows and extremely bland boring food if he's dead.:smalltongue:

2013-02-14, 07:05 PM
So, there's no way that Chulainn is a RAW Monk. Does he have ACFs, or did the DM just okay some stuff? SR, spear proficiency, using Ki to get special stuff... Or is he just playing a PF monk?

2013-02-15, 08:51 AM
So, there's no way that Chulainn is a RAW Monk. Does he have ACFs, or did the DM just okay some stuff? SR, spear proficiency, using Ki to get special stuff... Or is he just playing a PF monk?

Longspear use was a DM granted prof owing to character build. Spell Resistance is a rarely reached aspect of monk.

Diamond Soul (Ex)
At 13th level, a monk gains spell resistance equal to her current monk level + 10. In order to affect the monk with a spell, a spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) that equals or exceeds the monk’s spell resistance.

the ki stuff i dont recall the origin, but it was Dm granted ability (non raw)

2013-02-15, 01:52 PM
The Enemy of My Enemy…No we Still Want To Kill Him:

In a mind boggling dumb and sure to backfire move…we follow Snickle out of the prison to where he claims we will find an avenue of escape. We hastily follow his tiny figure through the city and with some degree of incredible luck or skill he eludes nearly all pursuers, always just out of sight or sound of our followers. He maneuvers us to a narrow tunnel…Coe-Nan is scraping the walls sideways. We crab walk through the tunnel and emerge into a small illuminant fungal cavern. He brings us to cover behind a giant mushroom and tells us to wait.

Kemen: So if you think this madmen has crossed the line, how is that the drow treated you with such graces? They are hardly known for their hospitality…especially towards outsiders.

Snickle: He used Speak with Dead on one of the dragons you killed and my name came up. He admired by ruthless out for myself nature. Said he needed guys like me. What was I going to do argue with him? Tell him no?

Kemen: So you think we are going to win?
Snickle: You took him once…and besides he owes me.
Coe-Nan: How is that?
Snickle: He stole the diamond before I could steal it.
Kemen: on the subject of theft…where is our money?
Snickle: I spent it…it went to good use though.
Me: What do you define as good use?
Snickle: It kept me alive…
Kemen: I would whole heartedly say that is a bad use…
Snickle: …long enough to save your captures behinds…
Chulainn: he has a point.
Snickle: Alright…time to move.

We pick back up our exodus and move at a hustle away from the drow city. Somehow the drow pick up our trail and we are harried through the tunnels by roving patrols of drow. They don’t directly engage us…just focus their fire on Paddock and Kemen and then faerie fire us and break away. It becomes clear in short order they are marking us and trying to get lucky in dropping the casters.

Drastically out numbered…their statistical advantages are tough to overcome. Eventually we are going to fail saves and they can slowly weed us out at their leisure. We go with Plan B…all out offense. Coe-Nan and Chulainn and Paddock all pick a path and charge into it with a fury as Kemen I and target any casters from range and follow behind. Snickle is a non factor in combat, all he does is stay out of the way.

We punch through part of the ever retreating siege force and put feet to floor trying to create distance between us and our assailants. Paddock and Kemen are dropping walls and stoneshapes to seal off means of reaching us and multiple frantic rounds later we are once again isolated and free of faerie fire.

While catching our breath and topping off damaged party members a sound from a distance passage draws our attention. Creeping towards the noises of a distance battle we end up stumbling upon a group fighting for their lives against a host of driders. The group consists of a half giant warrior swinging a warhammer with great prowess, a half drow skillfully wielding a rapier and main gauche in graceful parries and ripostes, a half nymph with flowing green hair and adorned in ironwood armor and a black robed half-orc holding a scythe. They are fighting with discipline and skill, but are outclassed by the driders.

Paddock goes into calvary mode and before we can fully assess he is dive bombing into action. Coe-Nan follows him at a sprint and Chulainn at least has the decency to look our direction before leaping into the fray. Kemen puts up a wall of stone barrier between the second group and the driders and he and I casually walk up to them with a warm greeting.

Kemen: Seems like you have a spot of trouble…
Thor (half giant): nothing we couldn’t handle…
(a driders head is lopped off on the other side of the wall of stone and they hear Coe-Nan bark out a short laugh)
Me: Never dreamed of demeaning your ability, just passing through and figured we could be of assistance.
(A drider in the background tries to scurry up it’s web and is hit at 30 miles an hour from the charging bear mounted gnome…the spear strike crushes its ribs and sends a spray of black ichory blood flying)
Freyja (half nymph): you seem to be quite familiar with these creatures…
(from over the wall of stone Chulainn comes into view as he uses his longspear to pole vault over an impaled and twitching drider)
Kemen: yeah. We have had interactions with their type before.
Hel (half orc): Then we appreciate your assistance and will be happy to share a camp with you. If you swear oath that you bear no malicious intention towards us.
Loki (half drow): how do we trust those we have met?
Thor: Shut up Loki.

Its like a bizarre mirror world where we are witnessing a group of adventurers cutting their teeth much like we did so many levels ago. Only now we are in desperate need of protecting them despite them having no clue who they really are.

The sounds of carnage give way to the sound of a few fading death rattles and Kemen dismisses the wall of stone revealing a pile of maimed and slaughtered driders. The trio are all laughing and shaking off the gore from their various weapons.

Kemen: Listen here youngins…there is a matter we need to discuss. Do any of you know your father?

2013-02-15, 02:06 PM
Half drow...Not really surprising. This is great!

2013-02-15, 02:50 PM
We have Experience With Complex Father-Offspring Relationships:

The band of four is certainly incredulous that we believe them to be future gods, but while they can’t decide if we are crazy or misinformed they are game for letting us hang around until they finish their quest…at which point they will voluntarily follow us to Cinhill Rue.

Me: what is your quest?
Loki: We met this old man in a tavern and he sent us to find a vault in the underdark, told us magnificent riches and wealth were to be had.
Chulainn: This old man was missing an eye and dressed in grey wasn’t he?
Thor: What, you know him?
Paddock: it’s complicated.

We are faced with the prospect of forcibly kidnapping them (a plan Kemen and Coe-Nan are fine with) or helping them fulfill their mission (Me and Paddock support this) Chulainn wants them to go to Cinhill Rue while we finish the quest. In the end we follow them on their mission. By our guess, if Odin sent them on a chase, it must serve a purpose of some kind.

They have a compass that is supposedly guiding them in the right direction and we dutifully follow. As we travel Chulainn takes up his role as forward scout and Snickle and Loki seem to hit things off like long time friends. Kemen brings to our attention something rather odd.

None of their equipment is magical.

Me: So? Are you suggesting they are under equipped?

Kemen: Ignoring all aspects of “in character” if they are holding their own against drow and driders they have to be at least 4th to 6th level and they should have stumbled onto a magic sword by now. None of their equipment is magical in the faintest way.

Coe-Nan: Well we can equip them. We got lots of second rate magic items just gathering dust in bags of holding.
Kemen: I doubt they would want em.
Paddock: Why not?
Kemen: because I think they are loaded to the gills with artifacts.

*blink blink*

Kemen: some artifacts show no magical signature. If they are really gods in waiting, then its entirely possible their old man gave them some “edges” in the way of artifact equipment. Anyone want to take a bet against ol Thor there wielding a masterwork warhammer as opposed to a Hammer Of Thunderbolts?

Coe-Nan: I don’t see how that impacts us though. They are still low enough level to warrant watching over.

Kemen: Oh Im not disputing that…just saying we need to let them get their hands dirty, Im pretty sure they can handle it.


This was actually a pretty big pick up and analysis for Kemen. Our DM had two paths planned where the gods in waiting got some more practice and a chance to learn by doing, and one where we coddled them. Not coddling them paid huge dividends later on.

The compass draws us back towards a parallel course skirting the drow city. We let the asgardian four handle most of what arises. Some of the encounters that ran from us engage them and we end up in a weird meta game where we are training our asgardian opposites. Paddock ends up mentoring Hel, while Coe-Nan discusses tribalism and his experiences as a demi god avatar with Freyja. I give Loki some sneaking tricks and help him identify vital organs for sneak attacks. Kemen gives Thor some advice on hammers and Coe-Nan works through some combat feats with him. It’s a cool and actually engaging excursion as we start routing for our “protégés”.

They cut their teeth on grimlocks riding dire bats. They lock hammer and sword with chuul and hooked horrors as we shout out encouragement and tactics. And by the end of our play session we find a vault deep within the earth that seemed undisturbed for ages. Loki makes the first attempt to pick the lock and fails. I make the second attempt and fail as well. Coe-Nan and Thor smash the vault doors in vain and all spells Paddock and Kemen can manage are ineffective.

Snickle: So that door giving you a hard time huh?
Kemen: Yep.
Snickle: I have a knack for locks…could have that open in a jiffy if I was properly motivated to do so.
Chulainn: We are listening.

Snickle: Full amnesty. No retribution for acts prior or present. I get a free pass on whatever transgressions you think I have made against you.

Me ooc to DM: You are an evil and sadistic man.

Coe-Nan: Ugh…I don’t know if there is anything in this vault worth THAT
Kemen: alright Snickle. I will play by your rules. Speaking for the five of us, we shall not raise a hand in revenge against you. We will not target you with spells or weapons for all eternity.
Snickle: I knew you guys could be reasonable.
Me: but…

Kemen waves us off and gestures for Snickle to proceed.

The Halfling breaks a big time sweat and anxiously holds his breath on more than one occasion. A feint click is heard and the complicated locking mechanisms of the vault door are released and it swings open. The vault is a long narrow hallway with rack after rack of instruments. All horns of silver, iron and bronze. There are hundreds…

Kemen: Morradin’s beard…that is a lot of horns.
Thor: I don’t think we can carry them all.

Before we get silly Kemen identifies them as horns of Valhalla…hundreds of them. At that point we get the intuition that these are going to be needed in a big way. For months we have just shuffled stuff into bags of holding and never worried about encumberance. Suddenly we have a supply problem. The Revenge is miles away and we need storage space. We have to clear a lot of items from our bags and we refill them to the brim. We scour the vault and while everyone but Chulainn is struggling under the weight we empty the sucker.

At this point all systems and resources are dedicated to getting to the Revenge and returning to Cinhill Rue. At the risk of sounding anticlimactic…that part goes without a hitch.
What follows after is the pinnacle battle of our entire gaming careers. Most of my updates are 3-5 pages in Word…this one will be close to the 50,000 word limit and will probably break 40 pages. It took four full Saturdays to play out and consumed every die and figurine of our combined collections. That section will be up within a few days or maybe a week.

2013-02-15, 03:03 PM
What follows after is the pinnacle battle of our entire gaming careers. Most of my updates are 3-5 pages in Word…this one will be close to the 50,000 word limit and will probably break 40 pages. It took four full Saturdays to play out and consumed every die and figurine of our combined collections. That section will be up within a few days or maybe a week.

Oh, I cannot wait. You're going to post it all in one go?

2013-02-15, 03:07 PM
Oh, I cannot wait. You're going to post it all in one go?

Gonna try.

2013-02-15, 03:11 PM
Gonna try.

If you can't, that's okay too. This is going to be awesome. And were you guys already thinking of loopholes to your promise with Snickle?

2013-02-15, 04:12 PM
If you can't, that's okay too. This is going to be awesome. And were you guys already thinking of loopholes to your promise with Snickle?

"Speaking for the five of us, we shall not raise a hand in revenge against you. We will not target you with spells or weapons for all eternity."

Oh, he's in trouble? Sorry, they swore to never target him with spells for all of time. *shrug*

But seriously, I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next. :-)

2013-02-15, 06:23 PM
If you can't, that's okay too. This is going to be awesome. And were you guys already thinking of loopholes to your promise with Snickle?

Do they still have the boulders with the returning enchantments, and would those count as weapons?

2013-02-15, 06:32 PM
Do they still have the boulders with the returning enchantments, and would those count as weapons?

I think those were disjunctioned by Tiraxis, or some other big bad.

I would just like to thank Kaveman for posting all of these campaign logs. They've been a great read, and have made me consider DMing a campaign again. :smallsmile:

2013-02-15, 10:55 PM
waiting with bated breath for the next part!!

2013-02-16, 12:54 PM
Originally Posted by Shred-Bot
Do they still have the boulders with the returning enchantments, and would those count as weapons?

I think those were disjunctioned by Tiraxis, or some other big bad.

Nemesis is right, Poligius destroyed them during his assault on the world tree.

2013-02-16, 01:01 PM
Nemesis is right, Poligius destroyed them during his assault on the world tree.

How long had the DM been wanting to do that?

2013-02-18, 11:07 AM
How long had the DM been wanting to do that?

I would imagine for a long time. He had a purpose for when and how he did it though.

Expect the mega update today sometime.

2013-02-18, 01:27 PM
The Battle for Cinhill Rue:


Odin is waiting for us at Cinhill Rue, he is eager to greet us and excited to see his children returned. The Four are realizing that the old man in the tavern is their “father” and understanding of their true nature is taking effect.

Odin gives us the closest thing to a forewarning we can expect. We are told that when the moon rises full Tiraxis will assault the citadel of Cinhill Rue. He tells us that the world will freeze and with the oceans solid his forces will march on the city. He has maneuvered the hovering citadel closer to the shoreline where we can prepare a battlefield to receive Tiraxis and his forces.

Odin: Ragnarok has come fully to your world.
Coe-Nan: Thought I died to prevent that.

Odin: there are always loopholes…something as dire as the world ending is not easily averted. True choice exists only on the precipice of oblivion. You diverted the course from that maw, but something as weighty as these events will steer themselves right back. He will come because he must. Before he can truly ascend to replace those he has eliminated he must clear the last dregs from the barrel.

Kemen: so ascension to godhood is his aim.

Odin: and like an arrow drawn to the target he will find us. He will come in force and his strength will be beyond any of us. The essence of those slain will empower him and make him a force unstoppable. On this plane he is still mortal, as are all of we. But his strength will dwarf my own.

Me: so what action can we take in the face of such power?

Odin: you are all experienced sailors…granted your ship has sailed stranger waters then most. When the storm comes you don’t run for cover, you attack the winds and waves and ride them out to reach the eye of the storm and you baton down your hatches and tie down your sails. You hold fast against the gale and come through the other side. It pays to plan ahead too.

As he says that he pats one of the horns we recovered from the Underdark.

Kemen: what will we face? How do we prepare for this storm.
Odin: think of me as a shepherd and my children are my flock. The wolves will come for our sheep and you must the hounds to keep them from supping on veal.

Kemen: Don’t give us metaphors give us blunt.
Odin: I did. Expect wolves…lots of wolves of all shape and size and breed.

Coe-Nan: suddenly that full moon takes on a whole second layer of importance.

Paddock: He has to take out you five to win though? If even one of you survives net win us?

Odin: Yes.
Chulainn: we should be able to work with that.

I will run you through a list of different things we considered. These are noted as either DM Aware or Close to the Vest. If it says DM aware these are changes and expected developments we ran past him. Close to the Vest implies something that on paper is feasible but in execution is meant as a surprise and he is not aware of the pre-planning.

*With 28 days to plan and a litany of resources available we are looking at 3 lyres of building working four times each. That equates to an absolute minefield of pit traps and altered terrain. See below (Dm aware)

*We have Horns of Valhalla numbering in the hundreds. Odin placed them in that vault ages ago to basically empty the eternal keg party of asgardian after life and force those deceased warriors to get off their spectral duffs and chip in. (dm aware)

*Kemen and Paddock can load up the approaches with walls and defensible positions (dm aware)

*Paddock can now serve as a dive bomber…suddenly we are lamenting the loss of our enchanted rock bag. Coincidentally Kemen is pretty certain he can craft more in the 28 days, but we need to prioritize any specialized crafting boosts…that might end up making the cut. (close to the vest)

*We have a pair of high level npc transgendered liches that owe us big time and while we have called in a lot of favors they are willing to chip in as scribe scroll and brew potion monkeys and will help with buff spells. They are not willing to participate in actual fighting though. (dm aware)

*As the weather turns cold and the rumour mills churns…all of Paddock’s recruits start showing up in droves. Most are treated as low level clerics and npc warrior mixes. But they number in the dozens and they are devoted to helping. (dm aware)

*We early on abandon aspects of bottling up the god-children and intend to make them work for their survival. Tiraxis is too slippery and could very well murder them all while we are distracted. We would rather draw him into a position where we can take shots at him while defending the Four+Odin. (dm aware)

*We empty out the bags of holding and assemble a full list of wands and scrolls that can be distributed amongst NPC’s. We are able to put together a strong battalion of curers and some magic missile+web+flaming sphere slingers. As those have been amongst our favored tactics we are loaded with wands along those lines. (dm aware)

*As much as we enjoy abusing Share Spell, we need every spell slot we can imagine. So no magic missile barrage or excessive abuse here. Come crunch time we might share out some utility spells for emergencies. (dm aware)

*Snickle gets to tinker with the previously active clockwork guardians of Cinhill Rue and he basically rigs them as traps that can be moved. It enables us to move around resetting traps that pop out Shield Guardians and Animated Objects to defend a given position. It’s very hard to stay angered at the little snit when he keeps being useful. (dm aware)

*When things reach critical mass we have a contingency plan to “cut the lights” and let the whole Cinhill rue citadel sink beneath the ocean. Once we are inside with at least one odin-child we yank out the rug and make them swim under the waves to reach us. As far as last gasps go we think that is a pretty solid plan. (close to the vest)

*Snickle is loaded to the extreme with defensive and misdirective spells and magical items. He spent our life savings on making himself impossible to pin down and he volunteers some of these services for our use. Amongst the abuses we intend…we are going to make Coe-Nan and Thor look an awful lot a like. We also intend to create illusions for a lot of clerics to make them all look like Hel. (close to the vest)

*Custom but practical trap#1-The spontaneous tomb. We are going to dig a lot of pit traps and then create a trigger plate a the bottom of some that released the cleared dirt and rocks and basically fills back in the hole. When something falls it takes the pit trap damage then get buried by the sudden avalanche to refill the hole. (close to the vest)

Custom but practical trap#2-The Over/Under. Same concept as above…trigger plate in pit trap but these will release a pile of circular logs that are wider than the trap…once triggered the wave that pulls up short and avoids the pit trap will then be subjected to the rolling logs. (close to the vest)
Custom but practical trap#3-The BBQ Pit-Same concept but these pit traps will be filled with tar and grease and activate a tindertwig to light the pit. (close to the vest)

*The Revenge will be our defacto base of operations. Kemen intends to pilot and steer around the battlefield with a contingent of wand attackers. He will be in the crows nest and be our eyes in the sky. (dm aware)

*Paddock is going to be aerial support and use his superior mobility to make precision strikes to in danger areas and provides a mobile battlefield triage for those absorbing big damage. (dm aware)

* We are forming a murderer’s row, that pushes attackers into maneuvering through very tricky and dangerous terrain surrounded by pit traps. Chulainn will be patrolling the no man’s land to capitialize on AOO’s. (dm aware)

*A series of stone shaped deer blinds are going to be blended into the terrain and I will be bouncing back and forth between stone bunkers with aid of invisibility to become a mobile sniper. (close to the vest)

*Coe-Nan is our point man, and he will be leading Thor and several of the highest clerics in a fighting wedge. (dm aware)

*Hel and Freyja and Loki are assigned defensive assignment to protect the Revenge and Kemen. (dm aware)

*Odin does not share his plans for the battle. Only telling us that he will be inside prepared to strike when the time is right. (dm aware and insistent)

*Despite his instructions that our chances of additional reinforcement are slim we put out a call to any and all NPC’s we have ever encountered, including our freed-men overseeing The Weald. Kneel Yung, Erick…we put out the word for EVERYONE to come assist. (dm aware)

*We have the rod that Poligius was wielding during his assault on the world tree. It is a remarkably powerful “dispelling” tool. It also functions as a rod of spell storing. It casts Greater Dispel Magic, Banishment, Disjunction and Reverse Gravity all at 17th level and is usable five times per day. (dm aware)

Other Notable Magic Items:

Staff of Life 10 charges (probably going to carried as emergency healing by me)
3 Wands of Fireball (13,9, 7 charges all CL 11)

This is just about everything we assessed and prepared prior to the first sign of enemy contact. Ultimately we put in four weeks of intensive preparations littering the fields ahead of Cinhill Rue with pit traps, and fashioning defensive bunkers and choke points to stall attackers. More recruits bearing gray cloaks and eye patches find themselves drawn to the Citadel and they willingly take up shovel and pick to aid in the construction efforts. Androka and Wind work tirelessly day and night fashioning scrolls and potions to disperse and Kemen has 28 days to craft any customized magic items that we think could be critical. To craft a +1 returning boulder takes 8-9 days and we figure that we can squeeze out 3 max.

Kemen: With the prospect of lupine invaders and the rising of a full moon we have to figure on lycanthropes. I got enough silver coins to make a few smaller boulders but nothing like we had. Paddock’s mount is the only source of silver big enough for what we abused earlier.

Paddock: That is not an option.
Kemen: Sadly I know.
Chulainn: How many arrowheads could you craft in that same time?
Kemen: lots.

Chulainn: So make massive scorpion bolts with silver broadheads. We put a team in place to single out possible werewolves from the Return. Then make a pair of boulders one good old fashioned stone. Make 1 that Coe-Nan can throw and one that Paddock can bomb with.

The highest martial class pilgrims wearing eye patches are appointed as a fore and aft gunner from the Revenge manning the deck mounted scorpions..there orders are to fire on anything wolfen with two legs.
Coe-Nan is outfitted with an over the back returning boulder bag, and Paddock has a bag of holding rigged to his saddle with a drawstring to begin bombing.

On day 21 a heavy snow begins to fall and the weather turns cold…bitterly cold. The liches are forced to abandon scroll work and take up fabricating cold weather garments for those not blessed with permanent endure elements. Our final pit traps, those closest to Cinhill Rue are getting harder to dig as the ground freezes.

Kemen spent his remaining crafting time to forge a cheap distance bow that lets me take pot shots at long distances and we range out our defenses to the extent of the longest bow range. Chulainn runs off on day 26 to try and scout out any advancing forces and give us a gauge of their make up and disposition. Wind’s biggest contribution is a series of Hallucinatory Terrain scrolls designed to last 24 hours+ these serve as covering agents for our minefield of traps.

Chulainn returns to us the night before the expected attack and gives us the rundown on what is coming.

The Opposing Force:

Dire Wolves of large stature number in the hundreds. Not exactly advanced but probably on the upper end of HD and HP range.

Scores of drow warriors mounted on large wolf spiders.

Scores of Frost Giant Werewolves hybrids. (that is scary)

A handful of gargantuan demonic wolves, one of which is borderline colossal and is serving as Tiraxis mount.

And a “sea of white fur that must constitute the world’s entire winter wolf population”

At their forefront is a mass of lesser abyssal wolves and raggedy lycanthrope sub species like goblins and orcs. They are highlighted as a disposable vanguard.

Coe-Nan: Why the wolves?

Odin: Wolves are strong symbols in the legends surrounding my previous reign. It is said that Fenrir will bring about the end of days. He will take the life of myself or my son Thor. Tiraxis is a literalist in many senses.
Our initial thought is that aside from the frost giant lycans and the possibility of elite drow nothing is too much of a direct threat against us. But sheer mass makes them dangerous. We should be able to slaughter wolves wholesale and even our lesser pilgrims can make a decent toe to toe showing against most of them.

Our pit traps should be filled with wolves and raggedy lycanthropes in short order. The massive wolves accompanying Tiraxis are troubling and those are going to require work. Tiraxis himself…that is going to be tricky. We have no clue what he is fully capable of at this point.

First Contact:

The attacking force draws close enough for us to start nipping at them and Paddock starts some high flyovers, lobbing out his returning boulder as a bomb weapon trying to score lucky hits. The ground forces are quick to adapt and move out of its falling trajectories. It does keep their eyes drawn skyward and the drow capable of launching spells at range try to return fire as he comes within striking distance. It serves a secondary purpose of making my first arrow volleys harder to pinpoint as I shoot from the furthest out bunker, focusing on drow casting spells.

Coe-Nan and Thor with their company of clerics (and a single apprentice wizard turned cleric with a wand of fireballs) stand at the point and Coe-Nan starts lobbing drastic penalty throws of his own boulder. Kemen has the Revenge at midfield and is aiding the fore gunner with lining up a shot on a lead frost giant.

A few targets are dropped from extreme range and we manage to clip a werewolf giant without taking any return damage. Kemen brings the Revenge to a broadside and the scorpions rotate on their mounts so they can bring both siege weapons to bear.

Tiraxis brings his army to a halt and then sends forth the vanguard with the wounded giant as a captain. They break into a sprint…the true wolves outpacing their humanoid compatriots and begin the rush against Coe-Nan. I take the ensuing charge as a good opportunity to stealth off to a more sidewards bunker where I can shoot at their rears and flanks.

As they charge Coe-Nan orders his 7 clerics and single wizard/warrior to bring horns to lips and the ten of them blow their horns. As the sound clashes with stampeding paw and foot a platoon of spectral and ghostly Vikings takes shape and forms a battle line. Most are barbarian Vikings but a scant few shamans and archers litter their ranks. The ten become 50 and the summoned barbarians charge to meet the vanguard.

Half the attacks against the barbarians miss and they begun hacking down lupine forms with a song on their lips. Coe-Nan almost instantly spots an odd occurrence. As the forces battle a barbarian is “killed” and its spectral form does not disappear…it shrinks and then floats towards Thor. It’s impossible to miss, every barbarian summoned from a horn that falls joins back into the proud warrior and it is apparent they are bolstering him. On a character level he is growing stronger and more mature before our eyes, on a meta level the dead barbarians are basically leveling him up.

Coe-Nan and his company allow themselves to be “overwhelmed” and they fall back beyond the first pit traps…forming a defensive square. The frost giant captain barks out commands and the wolves try to surround the square…and fall into our standard run of the mill pit traps in response. I use that opening to put a silver arrow volley into the frost giant with sneak attack damage and am pleased to see him groan in sharp pain. Coe-Nan crits him with a boulder and crushes his chest cavity.

Elsewhere the vanguard is pouring across the battlefield and slipping into traps as they try to go around Coe-Nan at the center. Chulainn is waiting for them at the flanks and he pumps silver coins melted into shurikens with startling speed and accuracy all around him. Some of the wolves peel off and land in our Instant Tomb trap. The remainders try to cross the broken terrain around him as his spear comes out and darts at every moving target.

Paddock takes the confusion of the first giant falling to make a dive bomb attack and target another giant with his falling boulder. He also flamestrikes a mass of 3 giants standing close enough together that he connects with all three. Drow return fire from readied actions slams into him and he takes a combination of acid arrows, magic missiles and lightning bolts in response.
Kemen has the scorpions pumping out eight foot long bolts into the giant ranks and wand aided pilgrims are launching flaming sphere and web spells into the larger masses of wolves and goblins. Where they are pressed by the forces that managed to evade monk, trap and boulder the Pilgrims of Odin blow their horns and bring forth the warrior dead from Valhalla to aid them. As the barbarians fall they disperse amongst the various children, bolstering them.

I put volley after volley into distracted targets from my bunker and when they hone in on my position I trigger an invisibility scroll and stealth away to the next bunker. We clear out the garbage in short order and only Paddock took damage of consequence.

The Winter Wolf horde comes to the forefront and the frost giants all slink to the back of their ranks. They exclusively target our lesser comrades and avoid Coe-Nan/Chulainn spectral barbarians altogether. When a hornsounder is killed, their summoned barbarians disappear. Coe-Nan seizes on this quickly and makes a snap decision to order the retreat of lower level NPC’s.

With everyone separated he is forced to shout out order and run to the positions that can’t hear him. As he sprints towards clusters of struggling npcs, winter wolves are recklessly sacrificing themselves to try and trip him. He gets the word rolling and the npcs all retreat towards the Revenge. As they retreat a gargantuan wolf comes charging through the splintered lines, leaping over pit traps and running through our barbarian defenders. It is breathing cones of cold in mid run and raking humanoids into pits as it goes. Coe-Nan and Chulainn can’t reach it and the Big Bad Wolf is taking out our clerics en masse. Kemen swings the revenge around and broadsides the thing firing all the deck mounted weapons at point blank range. A volley of magic missiles and a volley of webs basically glues it to the side of the Revenge and its shaking almost knocks Kemen out of the crow’s nest.

Loki pulls a Crimson Pirate/Tarzan and swings from a rope over the side slashing with his rapier at the Big Bad Wolf. Hel hits it with a flamestrike spell and Freyja summons a fire elemental inside the web holding it. The remaining clerics split between Cinhill Rue and making a hasty boarding on the Revenge. The Odin-Children are appointed exclusive horn blowers and their primary actions are to send more and more barbarians into the fray.

I blow a big time spot check and end up with a winter wolf inside a bunker with me. I can barely recall the last time I swung a melee weapon and I elect to eat the AOO and put a rapid shot volley into its snout.

We are reeling and have winter wolves racing all over the place. Once the Big Bad broke our first line of defense, the winter wolves all scattered throughout, triggering the pit traps with much smaller consequence. They reach mid field and Kemen orders his fireball wander to begin carpet bombing. Horns are sounded from on board the Revenge and directed to spots where the wolves are punching through. Paddock and Kemen use their own spells to erect Walls of Stone in long narrow lines to corral wolves back to the center. Coe-Nan and Thor regroup with a remaining pair of clerics and abandon the far territory to assist in the frantic center. Chulainn readies his action and holds, and it pays off huge. A second Big Bad Wolf rushes through the open territory, avoiding most of our exposed pit traps and makes a beeline for Thor and Coe-Nan…Chulainn triggers his held action and makes a charging attack against the second Big Bad Wolf.

Thor and Coe-Nan are hard pressed on all sides and sheer numbers are taking their toll. For his part Thor is swinging his warhammer with inspired strength and expiring barbarians are flooding him every round. Chulainn is giving everything he has against the wolf he charged and the beast is proving a true challenge. He is evading claw attacks that could take a giants head off, but making little headway against what must be a huge health pool. Kemen has his hands full with his own Big Bad Wolf and despite half a dozen spells striking it each turn, they are barely denting their wolf as well. I stealth to a fall back bunker and try to put arrows into Kemen’s wolf from range, but without sneak attack damage its drops in a bucket.

Paddock skylances the Chulainn wolf and scores a huge hit. At the apex of his descent the giant werewolves make good on their delayed actions and come at a sprint towards the monk and cleric. The dire wolves boslter their ranks and the pair look ready to get swept away. The ship board asgardians are sending barbarians a plenty into battle and all of them are getting stronger before our eyes. 4th level spells give way to 5th level spells, Loki is getting harder and harder to keep track of, and his rapier slashes are sharper and deeper. Thor hits the breaking point first. A quartet of barbarians hurling themselves at winter wolves near Coe-Nan are hit by a errant drow fireball and their essence slams into Thor who raises forth his hammer and hurls it with at thundercrack at the Chulainn engaged wolf. A clap of thunder accompanies the impact and with a startled yelp the big bad wolf drops like a stone.

The hammer returns to Thor and with his war cry the remaining barbarian ghosts all raise arms and join his rally. They all become more substantial and a bit larger and they actively join ranks with Thor and become their own force.

Coe-Nan is gushing that his protégé hit his peak first and Kemen is gloating over calling the twist of Thor having a hammer of thunderbolts. The rally of barbarians and explosion of Thor’s hammer bring the battle to a even footing as everyone but me rallies at the Revenge.

Our battle lines disintegrated and the majority of our traps now bypassed or rendered useless, The Revenge becomes a central rally point and mobile battlefront.

Wave after wave of summoned barbarian heroes leap from the decks of the Revenge and fearlessly stride into battle. Tiraxis is wise enough that his minions begin avoiding any direct contact with them. Instead they are focused on those sounding the horns. The Odin children are becoming prime targets on the battlefield and Paddock is pushed into full on healer mode to protect them. Hel and Freyja are by the minute growing stronger in their respective disciplines but the hordes of slavering wolves feel endless.

Kemen has gone into full blown scorched earth mode, lobbing area of effect spells all over the place where fighting is cramped. He is using the Revenge as a pilotable wolf plow, pushing the wolves into our pit traps and broadsiding them whenever possible. The gunners continue to target the wolf giants, but they are fully into the mix of things now and are moving with heavy evasion in mind. Thor steers his wedge towards them whenever possible and when he does so they instantly give ground and fall back, forcing more and more of the wolves against us.

I work my way to via stealth and invisibility to a bunker in mid field where I can line up shots against the giants. As the rounds pass Coe-Nan and Thor begin to lose healers. When their third and final healer drops to a final swarm of winter wolves all efforts to elude them vanish. They throw the kitchen sink at Thor. All the giants stop backpedaling and the remaining Big Bad Wolves all enter the fray. Barbarians aplenty hurl themselves at the gargantuans and are rapidly dismissed via tooth and claw. The dispersed essence of the reslain warriors enters the other Odin Children and they too seem on the brink of transforming.

All fronts of the fight collapse around Thor as he is put into a desperate fight for survival. Coe-Nan and Chulainn are basically ignored as everything strives to bring down Thor. For the first time in ages and maybe for the first time ever Chulainn hits his AOO limit per round. Coe-Nan is power attacking every swing against inferior AC and they are destructive machines. It is not enough. Paddock tries to reach Thor from the Revenge and is swarmed by drow spells before he can make contact. Thor goes down in the scrum, he connects one final hammer blow against a giant, one shotting it before he is torn apart by the winter wolves.

Coe-Nan goes into a literal and metaphorical rage when Thor goes down for the count and he stalks giants and Big Bad Wolfs with suicidal abandon. The remaining Asgardians are invigorated by the display of grief and double their efforts in the battle. A quiet voice seems to whisper on the wind and reach us all…
Do not fear death. Fight for your fallen brother and make his sacrifice an act to be valued.

Lokie leaps from the Revenge and follows in the wake behind Thor’s final rush. His weapons dart with lightning fast speed and every blow landed find a vital spot on wolf or giant. With less than forty horns remainings the spectral Viking once again grow fiercer and larger, they now nearly stand toe to toe with the wolf-giants. Paddock gets everybody topped off and he remounts his silver bear taking to the skies once more. Coe-Nan and Chulainn pick up Loki and regroup at the Revenge. They pick up Freya and Hel and put themselves at a cross section where they are surrounded by pits. Anything coming at them will have to come in single file. The wolven forces can no longer ignore the barbarians, too many are on the field and they are taking a heavy toll on the lesser dire wolves and winter wolves.

Tiraxis sends his remaining dire wolves and remanents of the vanguard to swarm the PC/NPC block. They make suicidal bull rushes to try and knock off the defenders into our own pit traps. Every attack is an effort to reach Loki and company. The drow fully enter the fray, every action they take is directed at banishment or dismissal of the barbarians. Their spells are haphazard, but effective and potentially crucial “spirit” is being evaporated. The group at the cross section is forced back to avoid being knocked into our own pit traps and Kemen gives the signal to trip the construct traps and bring in the automated calvary.

While we aren’t getting killed, we are losing. The battle for control of the battlefield is lost as we continue to be driven back. The race to keep the gods alive is already suffering. It is clear that their deaths are Tiraxis first and only real priority. We are already scrambling and he hasn’t even joined the fray yet. We have considerably hemmed the massed part of the army, so that must count for something.

A company of shield guardians and animated tables (its all he could juryrig to work) approach the remaining wolf-giants and try to let our PC/NPC wedge regroup. Loki makes an acrobatic tumble and suddenly he seems to be in four places at once. Giants swinging greataxes sheer through the images of him and Loki himself hamstrings then coup de graces two giants back to back. The separation from the rest of us is minimal but the instant he is spotted alone Tiraxis wheels his enormous wolf into a sprint that outmatches Chulainn and has his mount make the worlds most lopsided trip attack. Tiraxis makes an elegant dive from the back of his wolf and impales the pinned Loki through the throat with the serpent tooth.

Panic regins supreme as Coe-Nan and Chulainn push the remaining two asgardians behind them. Paddock comes out of a bombing run to swoop down and join the melee. Kemen steers the ship into a broadside position, sinking two scorpion bolts into Tiraxis mount. He adds a disintegrate to the mount and another wave of barbarians is summoned and sent into the fray, attacking Tiraxis directly.

Now for those paying attention at home. I have made nearly zero mention of myself in some time. This is because I got stuck behind enemy lines so to speak and when it would come to my action each turn I would just pick up a trio of dire wolves and remove them from the board. With my attack and damage bonuses I was guaranteed 3 hits and kills each turn and I elected to cull the ranks from the rear. This served a secondary purpose of becoming virtually invisible. Everyone was so caught up in the tempest at the center that as I slowly crept up to different positions no one really paid attention to me.

Coe-Nan futively duels with Tiraxis for a trio of rounds, most of his axe attacks miss wide or strike targets that are displaced and not really there. Tiraxis toys with him, scoring hit after hit with a secondary dagger. In three rounds time we finish off the mount and have the remaining giants reeling. Freyja and Hel (now formidable casters) sound the last of their horns and make their move against Tiraxis. Freyja summons in some huge elementals and Hel tries to hit him with a Harm spell. Coe-Nan, Chulainn and Paddock are immersed and completely tied up with providing defense and attacks against the githyanki.

Barbarians have routed the majority of wolves and only two giants and the drow remain on the field with Tiraxis. All the Big Bad Wolfs are dead.

The drow company provides a full scale volley of quickened magic missiles against Freyja, then a standard volley. She hits the ground for the permanent count. And thus magic missile revenge is served. Hel is getting the brunt of further attention and Kemen uses his domain slot to hit her with a globe of invulnerability. It’s not enough. Coe-Nan and Chulainn kill the remaining giants and we have the drow in retreat, but Hel goes down in a tangle as well.

Kemen: We need to fall back ASAP to the citadel and protect Odin at all costs.

The spectral barbarians throw themselves in a suicidal swarm against the last shreds of wolf and drow. Tiraxis calmly strides through them, virtually untouched. He leisurely takes his time pursuing everyone towards Cinhill Rue itself. Odin himself waits on the edge of the water. He is leaning on his spear and in full battle armor. At his side is the final remaining Horn of Valhalla. He speaks only a single sentence to us

Odin: If I fall don’t panic. Stay the course and fight on.
Kemen: If you die he becomes a god.
Tiraxis: Yes…I am looking forward to the experience.

Kemen,Chulainn, Paddock and Coe-Nan are all in front of Odin who calmly stands his ground. There is a tangible aura of strength and menace surrounding Tiraxis and his more demonic attributes are in stark relief.

Me:Disjunction sneak attack to the back of the head…!
DM: What the heck are you smoking?

Me: I have been following everybody in from no man’s land the whole time. I made my last action from the previous turn to get within five feet of Tiraxis and I am now swinging the Poligius rod in sneak attack and triggered its Disjunction from spell storing.

It’s not a home run, he still has some big time defenses but I manage to knock out more than a third of his equipment and multiple spell effects. I also land a solid sneak attack in the process. Thus commences a pitched battle for survival. Tiraxis is damned slippery and he now has spell resistance. Coe-Nan has the best rate of success in attacking and the rest of us are just trying to fight defensively and avoid getting one shot or letting Odin get rocked. Chulainn is knocked senseless and reduced to 1 health. Coe-Nan and Paddock are working overtime to deliver damage and keep Coe-Nan from being killed. Kemen is dancing around with dispel magic and greater dispel magic and I am trying to smack Tiraxis again with a disjunction attack.

Whatever his build, he is downright lethal and he sends Kemen deep into negatives from the solid 60’s. I am forced to fall back and trigger wand healing to keep the dwarf alive. With Chulainn dazed and almost out, Kemen coming to and me distracted he makes a feint to move Coe-Nan and then strikes out at Odin. The Serpent Tooth is buried deep within Odin’s chest and even ten levels ago we would have been able to recognize the wound as fatal. Blood trickles from his lips and he pauses long enough to wink at us before falling. As he expires he brings the last horn to his lips and lets out a final weak note.

A fog springs from the ground around the fallen god and from the fog a shape takes form. It is a single level four barbarian who roars and charges the would be god. Tiraxis is laughing himself silly as destroys the spectral Viking with a single lazy swing.

Tiraxis: I expected much more from the All Father. Severely disappointing. That was all he could manage with his dying breath? laughable

As he bad mouths the fallen deity the low final note continues to echo and as it does a bass sound begins to accompany it…distant but distinct.

Coe-Nan throws himself at the laughing githyanki and Chulainn makes a desperate spear thrust. Tiraxis continues to toy with them laughing all the while.

Me: Paddock…Kemen needs a big heal…bad. We need to keep trying. One more disjunction could swing this.

Paddock: He just killed my deity. Don’t think I am much use for anything at this point.
Me: Just try.

He does.

And it works…

The distant bass is approaching and its becoming far clearer.


Kemen gets his feet under him and tries for a greater dispel magic against Tiraxis. It gets his displacement effect. Paddock moves to hit Chulainn with some needed triage and I stay low to try and maneuver to Tiraxis’s rear. His laughter is dying as the thunder grows closer. Rain begins to fall on the frozen battlefield, melting the snow where it lands. From the steam of the warm rain the dead drow come to their feet. Their appearances suddenly look much more akin to satyrs than dark elves and they all bear Joker sized grins.
They all begin playing discordant tunes on ghostly bagpipes and flutes and Tiraxis begins to stumble during the foul notes. His dying laughter is replaced with fury as the satyr’s tune curses his very movements. Amidst the thunder comes the cackling laughter of a small child.

More and more blows are landing on the githyanki and his confidence is cracking. Every attack he makes is now an attempt to kill. His toying gave us time to regroup and as he stumbles again I crack him across the shoulders with the rod for another disjunction and the serpent tooth shatters into crumbling shards. His fury is naked on his face and he rips a second dagger from his belt, his movements are now almost too fast to track and we get our asses handed to us all over the place. He is positively lethal. But Its five on one now and he can only be in one place at a time.

Lightning strikes blast the field and where they land remains black holes into nothingness. A spectar in black robes with a scythe rises from the holes and the dead wolves choking the terrain all rise as one in a long keening howl.

Ghostly wolves charge Tiraxis and slam themselves into his form. The energy and aura around him diminish with every wolf that impales on him.

That sends him into full blown retreat as he dances away from the black holes. He is sent sprawling to the earth where vines are now erupting from bare patches on the ground. They snake their way up his calfs and every ounce of his god like dexterity is used to evade their grasp.

We begin harrying him from afar, I toss the rod to Coe-Nan who now wields rod and axe, I sent arrows flying once again and we stalk him across the ever shifting battlefield. Paddock with his true sight laughs like a man that has seen the greatest irony of all time.

Paddock: I can see the laughing child. It is loki, and he is standing amidst the storm clouds like a puppeteer. He is making Tiraxis and the reanimated drow dance.

Kemen: Keep pressing him, don’t let the basterd breath.

The storm overhead continues to grow in intensity and lightning bolts that dwarf anything (no pun intended) Kemen has every tossed strike at Tiraxis with alarming frequency and accuracy. We are pummeling Tiraxis with everything we have and he actually leaps INTO a pit trap to try and gain some breathing space. It is one of our Sudden Tomb pit traps and he is left scrambling with supernatural speed to avoid being buried alive. He emerges from the pit to meet a waiting Chulainn who makes a valiant attempt to decapitate him with a spear. He does the last thing we ever expected…

Tiraxis: I surrender…grant me mercy and I can restore that which has been wrought. I can call off the drow armies and I can eliminate the parrot. This world can be safe and peaceful once more. I will swear any oath you deem required.

That startling request gives us pause. Before we can kill him or contemplate listening to him other voices bring their own opinions.

Thor: Mercy? You would seek mercy?
From the steam Thor emerges in his true form. The god of thunder with a massive hammer in tow. Resplendent is the best way to describe them all.

Loki:Hard to grant for one that is so difficult to grasp.

To us Loki, as he is when he emerges from the shadows looks like a ten year old street urchin. But there is a twinkle in his eyes that belies ancient knowledge and understanding.

The hooded figure with the reaper’s scythe is Hel and her voice is dark and faint.

Hel: He belongs to me, not this world.
Freyja: He must answer for all that he has done, he belongs to us all.

A final voice enters the conversation, one that we are far more familiar with.

Odin: In truth…he belongs to Surtur.

Odin, the true Odin walks from inside CInhill Rue. Mighty is the only word to describe him.

Odin: When he slew his adopted son he broke a pact that Poligus made with Surtur himself. I should know, for I helped broker the contract with him. Poligius dedicated his life and soul to Surtur in exchange for the strength to bring his father back to this realm. When Tiraxis slew Poligius to pay off his own debts to the underworld he broke their contract. He tried to pay Surtur with his own coin. My children and I are the enforcements of that contract, a stipulation I expressly required.

Tiraxis: But I killed you. I killed you all. I felt you die.

Odin: Indeed you did. Killed each of us in the heart of battle, sending us to Valhalla. A place where these horns happily call forth those needed. It called and we answered. So mercy is not an option. You must die usurper.

Thor raises his hammer and the stormclouds all compact into a single point above head.

Odin: No my son.
Thor looks at his father with confusion.

Odin: These five have done far more for us than any other in existence. They have suffered more and endured more because of this creature than even us. It is their right.

For once NPC’s don’t steal our kill. A cowering Tiraxis sits there on the ground quivering as Coe-Nan raises the Disjunction Rod overhead.

Coe-Nan: This will only hurt for a second.

Calm After the Storm:

The storm abates with the death of Tiraxis. The asgardians disspear along with the clouds and only Odin remains. His mighty warrior avatar gives way to the old man traveler and he wishes us all well.

Kemen: There is something I don’t understand.
Odin: I am sure there are many things none of us understand.
Kemen: The horns call forth heroes from Valhalla, but I have never heard of them calling specific entities, let alone gods.

Odin: They can’t.
Kemen: Then how did it grab you five?

Odin: Because I cheated. How many times have I counseled you on loopholes? To yank a god from Valhalla is like trying to stick your hand in a storm and grabbing a specific snowflake.

Kemen: How did you cheat?

Odin: I emptied the halls of Valhalla. It is much easier to pick a specific snowflake if there are only five snowflakes left. I rigged the game. Took the hay out of the haystack and only left the needles. When we were killed in battle it sent us to Valhalla, only a warrior worthy of that honor would reach and you were wise enough to not coddle my offspring. Had you sheltered them or held them back my plan would have failed. With Valhalla empty the horn took the only folks left in it’s halls…us five.

Me: I wish I were half as clever of that.

Odin: Do you? It occurs to me that a god owes his followers a boon. Certainly the five responsible for bringing Asgard back to the pantheon of gods deserve reward. What can I offer each of you?

Paddock: Anything?

Odin: On this day I think nearly anything is possible. What have you strove for all these years? What does your inner most heart yearn for?

Paddock: I have always strived for justice and integrity.
Odin: Indeed you have. I have just the thing for you Paddock Odinson…
He bestows unto Paddock a locket. The locket opens to reveal a small chamber and once sealed it glows with a strange light.

Odin: There are those in this world that would break their oaths and betray their own country. There are those who would deny Hel death itself and there are those you would escape justice for their actions. Simply speak their name and seal this locket and to your disposal will arise The Inevitables. They shall be your hounds to track down the transgressors and they will stand by your side for however long you hold the path of true justice and righteousness.

Paddock: I can summon inevitable now?
Odin: yes…
Kemen: Doesn’t that seem…obscenely powerful?

Odin: Under most circumstances the other gods would dissuade me from doing such unseemly things but lately I am the only game in town. While the Cat is away the Mice will Play. Kemen how about yourself?

Kemen: I have nearly everything I have desired. I do miss my friend Beordie. He was taken far too long before his time. But I know that bringing back the dead is not on the agenda.

Odin: Would you be interested to know that Morradin escaped the purge?
Kemen: He did? How?

Odin: It seems that one of his followers was involved in a ritual not seen for a thousand ages. He put a fragment of his essence and of this Beordie’s into the suit of armor you now wear. The time has come for you to shed his embrace and give unto him fully this new skin. Beordie is gone, but his spirit resides within your armor. He shall forever more be by your side with wisdom and knowledge.

Yes folks. Kemen’s armor has achieved sentience. It is now the shell for a 15th level dwarf wizard named Beordie. It is fully self operational and possess Beordie’s full personality. Kemen is going to have to take leadership when he next receives a feat, but he now has a fully automated suit of armor for a cohort.

Chulainn: It is said that you spent considerable time hanging from the tree of life to gain wisdom. I watched you there for most of it so I believe it. I would seek enlightenment.

Odin: Enlightenment is difficult to achieve, but for one that has walked the roads you have it is certainly within reach. Are you prepared to give up all wordly possessions and sit beneath a tree of your own for a year?

Chulainn: If needs be.
Odin: well I was never the patient type myself. Cast off your worldly possessions. Keep your belt on though, can’t have your trousers slipping. Do this and true enlightenment will be yours.

Chulainn strips off his rings, bracers and amulets, even his boots. He is left standing with his robe and monk’s belt then finally sighs and casts his spear into the ground some distance away. The tattoo which has altered itself and been altered by us for the last five years fades away. His wisdom score makes a sudden surge to 50 and he gains some rather unique perks. His dimension door is now a swift action useable 3/day and his hands are always treated as +5 weapons with the enhancement of his choice. He also gains a permanent +5 bump to his spell resistance. Finally his enlightened nature grants him a domain spell for each spell slot up to level 6 once per day as selected from any abjuration or transmutation school.

Coe-Nan: Well I’m not sure what I want. I miss those axes a lot.

Odin: The Axes of Ragnarok? The ones forever abandoned to the space between worlds? Those can be arranged. Only…it seems that my son Thor has taken a fancy to them. I suppose exceptions need to be made.

Coe-Nan receives twin axes, but not the Ragnarok axes. They are both +5 and can’t miss. They bear the same everstriking aspect, but they also function as a hammer of thunderbolts. Capable of killing a giant with a single blow. In addition they provide constant energy resistance of 30 across the board. The resisted energy can be molded into a series of attacks similar to a warlock’s blasts.

Odin: What about you Marilius?
Me: Well I promised the Sultan of efreets that one day I would be wished or miracled back into a human and I would take his daughters virtue with my charm.

Odin: I have just granted powers unlike those any mortal has beared witness to for each of your comrades and you wish to be human again.

Me: It’s the first thing that came to mind.

Odin: You know…there is a strong tradition of the gods assuming varied forms to woo mortal women and beast. Perhaps its time for the world to experience a mortal that does the same.

Me: I don’t follow.

Odin: I admire your appreciation for the finer sex and I think that Loki tipped my hand. He made a suggestion that I simply can’t resist.

(Kemen actually slipped him a note)

Odin: Marilius from this day forward the ability to Shapechange will be yours. However it will be limited to forms that you have intimately known.

I can not begin to describe the chorus of laughter at the table.

Me: So anything that I can bed I can become? Is it retroactive?
Odin: yes.
Me: Well that is interesting.

To demonstrate the point I shapechange myself into a cloud giant.

DM:Alright I think that about does it for now. I need a break, who wants the DM’s screen next.
Kemen: No way…we got one more piece of unfinished business before you get a vacation.
DM: I am not ready to go back to the Parrot yet.
Kemen: Parrot? I never said anything about the parrot…


Snickle: I really appreciate you guys coming to the ends of the earth to help me get my diamond. From the second you made that half assed attempt to say you wouldn’t hurt me I have been worried. Cause lets face it, you could drive a wagon team through the ways around that oath.

Kemen: The thought never crossed my mind Snickie. We said we would bring you out to this frozen rock to get your diamond and that is precisely what we are doing. Figured it might take a while to dig it out so we made some portable supplies. Got a serving dish that manifests caviar and champagne to celebrate.

Snickle: That is so nice of you guys. I am really glad there are no hard feelings. Hey guys, aren’t you getting off the boat.

Kemen: Nah. Its all on you mate. We should be back to pick you up in a few years. Enjoy living in the diamond igloo until then. I do think that after a few months of subsisting on caviar and champagne you might get sick of it. But hey, I was originally going to leave you bland food, so that’s a silver lining at least.
Snickle: You are leaving me here? But there is no way off!
Kemen: Oh no? well…Im sure you will find a way to pass the time. Maybe ice sculptures?

2013-02-18, 01:50 PM
*Slow clap*

But that's not the end of the campaign, is it?

2013-02-18, 02:06 PM
But that's not the end of the campaign, is it?

It is and it isn't. We played a few brief sessions sporadically with these same characters and same world. But not on the 12 hours per saturday every weekend that we used to do. All told there is about 2 sessions worth of additional stuff from this story, but these characters are stuck pretty much where they are at the end of this.

If we ever managed to resume a solid schedule we would pick back up with the Parrot and possibly the remaining 12 liches. That remains a big "if" though.

If we ever really picked things back up it would be not the same. The guy playing Kemen and myself are still pretty tight. Our DM would still be game, but guy playing Paddock moved to Florida, the guy playing Chulainn is in California and Coe-Nan the player (not the character) passed away. So while the hope remains that one day we will ride out to confront the parrot, this is very likely "The End"

2013-02-18, 02:28 PM
...Oh. I'm so sorry.