View Full Version : Journal Adventures in Vistora; Journal of a Roll20 Campaign

2016-01-08, 09:11 AM
Welcome to Vistora

Hiya folks. Welcome to my first campaign journal. This will be the chronicle of a currently-ongoing Roll20 3.5e game between myself and some RL friends.

A Little Background

In the beginning, Humans were basically alone in the world. They overexpanded to the point where their world simply couldn't sustain them any longer. Roughly 300 years ago, they created a massive magical gate, which took many of them to a new land. They named their new home Vistora, and it is where our story begins. Vistora is basically "standard" D&D-Land; Elves, Orcs, etc. The Humans made fast friends with most of the other Humanoids of the realm, though they rather stupidly gave them the collective name of "Daemons". Relations went downhill pretty fast as the Humans once again expanded beyond their ken. The "Daemons" elected a king among themselves and together forced most of the Humans back through their gate. Some remained, staying at the "City of Beginnings", or just "Beginning", roughly half a day's walk from the Gate. Eventually, the remaining Humans opened their city to the general populace. They quickly befriended Orcs, and eventually (but not so much) the others began to trust them again.

These days, the PCs own a tavern that we mostly leave in the care of an old man who, by his own request, everyone just calls Old Innie. Tavern needs something? He's got it covered. We all acknowledge that this is weird and move on. My guess is that he's either A) a Wizard, B) evil and going to betray us at some point, C) both A and B, or D) a walking Deus-Ex-Machina so a bunch of tavern owners can go adventuring and not have to worry about the business. Word spreads relatively quickly that this tavern is owned by mercenaries, and that it's usually easy to hire us there. As a result, we have been hired to investigate an Elven diplomatic envoy that disappeared some time ago. How long ago, you might wonder? About a hundred years. In keeping with my unofficial name for our group, none of us even notice the obvious issue there, let alone ask about it. We've been sent to deliver a sealed letter to an Orc leader named Krag.

We've started at third-level.

Go Team Dumbass!
And it is increasingly-reasonable for me to call us that.

DM He generally knows what he's doing, but constantly mispronounces the PCs' names.

Kerik, a Dragonwrought Kobold Rogue. He loves making traps and causing a little chaos. Seems to get on really well with Trideca so far. True Neutral.

Valdaglerion, Gray Elf Generalist Wizard/Fighter. Scheduling conflicts have prevented me from getting even basic info about him. True Neutral.

Trideca Logis, my Magic-Blooded Illumian Truenamer. Mostly by the book (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?214115-In-the-Beginning-Was-the-Word-and-the-Word-Was-Suck-A-Guide-to-Truenamers). Don't pity me; I'm mostly doing it for laughs. It's partly that kind of game. It was originally pronounced tri-DEK-a (as in tridecalogism (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/Midnighters) - and the Wizard's player actually got the reference), but I decided I actually liked one of the DM's mispronunciations better, so now it's tri-DEE-sa. I have often found myself describing her as "having the exact right tool for the job, and nothing else", and will probably continue to do so. Lawful Evil.

There's also Tor, part-NPC, part-DMPC... I'm not quite sure about this one. We all know the potential pitfalls of the DMPC, and you can bet your ass I'll be watching for them. Tor is a pretty standard "dumb Barbarian", lack of pronouns and all, with the twist that she's an Elf adopted and raised by Krag. If nothing else, she's friendly and shares Kerik's love of traps. Dude looks like a lady Lady looks like a dude. Neutral Good.

WARNING: Spoilers for PC death and replacement.
So far, so good. We're all currently alive. Sort of. :smalltongue: That said, we occasionally have some interesting additions.

Daer Draug, Valdaglerion's new wolf Animal Companion that he randomly decided to tame during a fight.

Greet, the Daemon Lord of the Gnolls. Remember that Gnoll we pissed off in the first session? He's tagging along for a while.

And now Valdaglerion's player has been forced to leave us. We're working on getting one or two more people involved.

The First Two Sessions

Truenamer Trails Behind
So... I missed most of the first session. From what I've been told, the party got their asses kicked by some Gnolls and not much else happened. Someone (I think Kerik, but it might've been the Wizard) decided to harvest some Gnoll meat, and the others just kind of went with it. The Wizard's player did the research OOC, and discovered that it is possible to use Mage Hand with a playing card to slit someone's throat. I was reunited with the group IC via some Deus-Ex-Machina-Shortcut, patched them up with Lesser WoN and we proceeded to the Orc camp. Instead of Krag, we're met by his son. We didn't ask his name, instead just managing to bluff our way through anything that required it, and you can just get used to that happening right now.

Luckily, this guy is a bad liar, and the DM doesn't even bother to roll our Sense Motive secretly. On the other hand, we're using natural 1/20s on Skill checks, so I end up turning to my friends with a hearty "seems legit, guys". In addition to coming into power, shall we say "suspiciously", This Orc has also decided to banish Tor from the camp, so she had to stay behind for a while. Not a death order or anything, just a generic 'get out and stay out'. Kerik pulls out a wooden amulet they got from the Gnolls, and asks the Orc 'leader' if he knows anything about it. He claims ignorance, and we're pretty sure he's being honest this time.

After some prodding, we discover that Krag and his other son (whose name we also don't know - Go Team Dumbass) disappeared about a week earlier on a hunting trip. They were last seen heading south, towards an encampment of... Oh great, more Gnolls.

So I ask Kerik where he got the amulet (since I've only recently arrived and didn't know IC), and then ask the Wizard if it's magical. Turns out they didn't check. GTD. As a Magic-Blooded Creature, I get Detect Magic once per day. No sense in the Wizard wasting spells when the Truenamer can actually make herself useful. It's magic alright, but none of us want to try it on yet. This is also roughly the point TriDEKa became TriDEEsa.

More Scheduling Issues
Okay, so the thing that made me miss half the game last time was a one-off issue, as was the thing that made our Wizard miss the entire next session. This one wound up not getting any kind of IC explanation.

So we pick up Tor and start heading south. It isn't long before we notice about a half-dozen Orcs behind us, not even trying to hide. After a few moments, Tor turns around and goes to talk with them. Apparently, these guys aren't fans of the new leader. Loyal to Krag, that kind of thing. At this point, we get a little insight into Tor. She's loyal to her tribe, even if that means listening to a false leader. However, she figures that if we can find Krag, he'll be the Leader again and unbanish her. We continue south, now alongside the Orcs.

It isn't long before we hear noises. Some yelling, some banging; it sounds like someone's having a party. A very short walk brings us to the Gnoll camp, where it's apparent that this is more or less what's happening. Kerik suggests laying down some traps in preparation for an attack, and Tor's face just lights up. I give Kerik an Extended Universal Aptitude and send him to scout ahead, only belatedly realizing exactly why that was such a good idea. While I have a decent Hide check, I'm also an Illumian. Meaning I glow unless I specifically will myself to stop doing so. Go Team Almost-Dumbass.

Kerik sees two Orcs in cages, presumably Krag and the other son, and starts setting up some traps. A tripwire or two here, some caltrops and improvised bear traps there, and then he came back to guide us through his work. We moved forward with him. When we were in position, Kerik gave a nice loud shout to get their attention. The Gnolls' leader (whose name we also never got, though this one was less forgetting and more not caring) gets up and asks him what he wants. Kerik hands him a bomb and tells him it's a gift. When asked what the gift is for, he says something along the lines of 'nothing, but we'd like those Orcs'.

The Gnoll isn't exactly agreeable to this. He reveals that "Kree" (who we assumed, correctly, to be the current 'leader' of the Orcs) gave them Krag and his son. He turns to face the caged Orcs in question, and Kerik sets the fuse and rolls it towards the Gnoll. He hears it, turns back and kicks it, causing it to go off and cover his foot in acid. His reaction isn't quite what one would expect. "Heh heh, nice trick." He then looks past Kerik, sees the rest of us and looks toward Tor. "Kree also promise us Tor."

Tor steps forward, engaging the Gnoll in a(n ultimately ignored) Duel of Wills. Kerik brings out the amulet again, driving some of the Gnolls into a rage. Roll initiative, I guess. Tor and the Gnoll leader are basically dueling (and no, we aren't subject to a blow-by-blow description of how awesome they are; it's a more generic once/round "these guys are beating each other up" and such), the Orcs and traps are doing pretty good against some of the others, though we end up needing to take down some Gnolls alone. We end lead some into caltrops, which really just puts some distance between them, but it works. Kerik screws up some acid, but luckily not in a way that hurts us. I take down one with a Mortalbane Reversed Lesser Word of Nurturing, then move to flank so Kerik can basically cut the other to ribbons.

After a few rounds and a few dead Gnolls, their leader yells out for the battle to stop. He doesn't quite surrender, but he lets us take Krag and Motie (the other son, though we still didn't know or ask that IC - GTD). I have to admit that I wrestled with my alignment for a bit here. Both he and Tor were in bad shape, and I was sure I could finish him off with a word. The Utterance was almost on my lips when it occurred to me that this might get Krag killed. I wasn't worried about Tor, and Kerik and I hadn't even been touched. Krag though? Not sure why, but Trideca kind of likes him. Instead, I use an Extended WoN to help Tor how I can while she frees her adoptive family. The Gnolls and Orcs are licking their wounds and gathering their dead while we approach Krag, who asks us to wait until we can speak privately.

Me, OOC: Back into the cage, then.

We had a quick laugh and proceeded back to the Orc camp. Kree of course, isn't pleased to see his father returned, and they have a nice little 'take him away' moment. Krag has everyone except himself, Kerik and I (but including Tor) clear out of his tent. "Now, we are in a private place." Kerik steps forward, gives him the sealed letter and briefly explains our reason for being here in the first place. He reads it, then tells us to ask him what we will. Then we have to clarify that we don't actually know what was in the letter.

Ultimately, we discover that Krag himself was involved with the carriage's 'disappearance', though he wasn't Leader yet. He mentions that it was after that battle he found and ultimately adopted Tor. He also gives us a small collection of documents they took that day. None of them speak Elven, so they don't understand any of it. Trideca speaks it though, so I give them a once-over, gaining almost no new information. Almost. There's one item in particular that interests me. I read it, then read it again just to be sure, then hand it to Kerik. Then I learn (IC at least) from his confused fumbling that he doesn't speak Elven either and take it back.

It's a birth certificate. For an Elf girl that would be about Tor's age by now. The name on it is "Victoria Windwalker". We weren't given any information on this name (in or out of character) up to this point, but one of the few things Truenamers are good at is being the walking encyclopedia. The Windwalkers were nobles, and since the current Elf king has no known heirs at the moment, they would have a strong claim if there were any left. While it could be someone else, it now appears that TOR of all people is next in line to the Elven throne, and I tell Krag as much. Then Tor falls into the tent.

Krag: Tor! I told you to go outside the tent!
Tor: But Tor was outside the tent! Tor just now fell into the tent.

So she gets up and goes back outside. We all just stand around for a moment, then Kerik walks over and pulls back the tent flaps. Sure enough, she's still there, not even trying to hide her presence. He just closes the flap and rejoins us. Krag then asks one last favor of us: take Tor. He wants his daughter to see the world, to not be held down at home. Then: "The banishment of Tor... is still in effect." We say our goodbyes, then head out to collect Tor, who was no longer right in front of the tent. We head for the encampment's gate, and the guards tell us Tor hasn't left. After getting some directions, we go to her tent and find her packing. She's pretty sure she's got everything she needs, so we start heading back to the tavern. Nothing really happens on the way, aside from Tor being fascinated by just about everything. Apparently, she's never been to a real city before, let alone the Beginning.

We make it back to the tavern, where Old Man already has our preferred drinks ready. We have him get a beer for Tor (if nothing else, seeming to prove he isn't omniscient) and go to talk to the man that hired us in the first place. (Yet another NPC we never got the name of. GTD) I show him the birth certificate and bring up the Tor issue right away, and while he doesn't quite believe it at first, the idea grows on him rather quickly once he has a few moments to process it. He asks to take some of Tor's blood to their capitol, which she agrees to, pays us for the agreed-upon job and leaves while promising our given reward won't be all of it if this turns out to be true.

Not long after, a Gnome we've helped out a few times before (mostly hauling equipment and killing the occasional wild animal along the way) shows up. He offers us ten gold each, up front (which the DM claims has been our usual deal with this guy, and nobody really sees a reason to object) in exchange for helping him carry some things to the Gate. He also agrees to pay Tor. At this point, DM appears to have given up hope that we'll ever ask for an NPC's name and just tells us (GO TEAM DUMBASS!). The Gnome's name is Professor Humblefoo. No, really. So we have another drink or two, then meet up with the professor. Nothing happens along the way, but when we arrive... We've been to the Gate a few times before. It's basically a giant stone archway covered in magical runes that have been inert for almost three centuries. But when we get relatively close to the place, we can see the runes are all glowing. There's definitely some activity there.

For the first known time since The Beginning, the Gate is open.

2016-01-11, 06:28 PM
The Third Session

Dammit Kerik, I was only joking when I said it was your turn to not show up!

In other news: I showed DM and Valdaglerion this thread before we started this week's game. They were amused.

We Have an Army!
...We Have a Truenamer.
The runes are glowing, and there appears to be a white void with vague shapes on the other side. Humblefoo isn't the only researcher there, and we aren't the only mercenaries. Most of the people here are starting to panic, but I move in for a better look. As I approach, I can see that most of the shapes in the portal are vaguely-humanoid, and a very confused-looking dog gets pushed through to this side; its leash presumably being held by one of the people in Romtona. I walk over to it and, since it shows no signs of aggression, almost touch it before it's pulled back into the Gate. Sound is muffled somewhat through the portal, but I can now hear orderly marching.

Trideca knows her history. She knows that the people of Romtona aren't likely to be friendly. I take out a signal whistle and blow. The marching comes to an abrubt stop as every head in the field turns to me. I call out that any nonhumans here might want to hide, since we all know what happened last time this thing was open. Whether any of them actually know that is beyond me, but they seem to get the point. Suddenly, I hear voices behind me. Muffled by the portal, I only hear something about ranks; but then Tor speaks up: "What does 'fire' mean?"

It sounds like a huge explosion behind me. I feel a little pain in my arm, but I mostly hear a metallic whistling and see bloody wounds appear on many of the people in front of me. I turn and walk towards the Gate (GTD). Tor actually tries to grapple me, but I just Inertia Surge and tell them to wait where they are. On the other side, as far as the eye can see are armored men and women, each with a sword at their side and carrying a strange spear-like thing made of metal and wood. An army. With muskets. Of course, I don't have any idea IC what these things are, but I'm now pretty sure the Gate isn't the only thing I stepped in. There's a captain nearby, shouting orders to the men when I arrive. He stops mid-sentence when he sees me, and I take the opportunity to speak up.

"Would you please cut that out?" Trideca is not scared. She is not angry. She is only annoyed. Or rather, that's how it appears. Internally, while not panicing, she realizes she should probably get out of there. The army appears just confused enough to buy it, and the captain speaks. I really wish I could remember exactly what he said, because it was pretty cool. He basically told me to run along and warn the "Daemons". He ended it with "We're coming back."

"Yes, I gathered that on my own thanks." In this scene, the part of Trideca Logis will be played by a Honey Badger. I can tell he's a little put off by my lack of concern, but it doesn't stop him giving the order to ready another volley. So now Trideca has about thirty guns pointed directly at her, and she still can't find it in her to care. Eventually, she just says "Bah, whatever" and hits the captain with Mortalbane as she steps back through the Gate. It's actually this final defiant act of stupidity that saves my life, as the vast majority of the soldiers are distracted by their commander's sudden cry of pain and don't get a shot off. Not all of those that do hit me. Ultimately, I'm left with six HP left, and I start running.


Mending and Burning Bridges
AKA "I hate you guys"
So now we're running full-pelt back to Beginning. We see Humblefoo, now a blubbering mess of a man, on the way there and I briefly stop to pick him up (literally). I take an extra split second to turn, and see the army starting to pour through the Romtona Gate. A journey that usually takes an hour or two turns into only a few minutes, with the Gnome blabbering on the entire time. I drop him off (again, literally) in front of our tavern and we continue on to the mayor's office.

There's actually a brief aside where Humblefoo seems to come back to conciousness, and he meekly asks if that really just happened. I feign ignorance, telling him that it was just a basic delivery job. We went to the gate, helped him out a bit and came back. Valdaglerion chimes in with "You haven't paid us yet, by the way." We laugh and clarify that no, we aren't really doing that to him. We instead confirm what's happened and move on. Or rather, we try to. The Professor just keeps walking alongside us, blathering on the whole way. He's getting to be quite annoying, so I hit him with Reversed Inertia Surge, and he doesn't even notice until we disappear in the distance.

We arrive at, or rather barge into, the mayor's council room during a meeting and announce in no uncertain terms that the Romtona Gate has opened and there's an army on their way. Mayor Joeseph (to be fair, it's reasonable that we would know this guy's name without asking since we live here) doesn't exactly beieve us. Fortunately RIS only lasts one round, so Professor Humblefoo wasn't that far behind us. Apparently the Gnome is a little better-known than us, so Joey starts giving our story more credit; especially when I tell him what I saw on the other side and give a description of their weapons.

We're asked to return in half an hour, when we will be given a letter to deliver to the "Daemon" King. We show Tor around the city a bit and return at the given time. We're given the sealed letter, as well as an added annoyance: we're to take the Professor with us. The Wizard's player and I immediately start joking OOC about what a terrible shame it would be if he were eaten by wolves along the way. So we make a few preparations (apparently Kerik is spending the time his player is away fortifying our tavern) and turn in for the night.

The next morning, I approach Valdaglerion and ask him to prepare a Mending spell for the day. We ask Old Innie if he has one of his famous shortcuts, and end up with a path that could shave two days off the journey. DM makes sure we know OOC that asking Innie for advice is a double-edged sword. He could easily have given us bad directions by mistake. We head out on our way, but I signal for the group to stop when Beginning is out of sight and pull Valdaglerion to the side. I then explain, both OOC and IC to Val, that the Mending spell works on a broken seal. I pull out the letter, but the Gnome notices and asks what I'm doing. I pretend like I accidentally took out the wrong paper and thank him for pointing it out. Yeah, he doesn't buy it.

Humblefoo: Maybe I should hold on to that...
Trideca: No. *opens letter*

It basically just explains to the king what we already know, and tells him who is supposed to be making the delivery. No real secrecy or "don't trust these clowns" or anything. Humblefoo gets red in the face, but says nothing else. Tor however, is confused. She tells us she thought we were just supposed to deliver the letter, but she's pacified when Valdaglerion points out that we were never forbidden from reading it ourselves (which is actually true, seal notwithstanding). We offer to show it to them, but Tor doesn't care much. The Professor on the other hand, starts to calm down and gets curious. He moves forward to take it... and Valdaglerion starts playing keep-away, holding it a few feet above the short man's head. We ended up sealing it again without letting him see it. I asked DM how much of a bonus we could get on our Bluff check if we rehearsed our story about Humblefoo being killed by wolves.

Not long after, we come across the cave Old Innie suggested we cut through, and there are plenty of signs of it being well-travelled. I make a few checks to see what kinds of creatures made the most recent tracks. It's wolves. Tongues firmly in-cheek, we promise to play nice and not intentionally let them kill Professor Humblefoo.

Bad, Wolf! Bad!
So I pull out a vial of Liquid Sunlight; a useful item from Complete Scoundrel that, while intended to be used as a splash weapon against undead, also gives off the same light as a torch. And it's only about a fifth the price of an Everburning Torch. It doesn't take long for the light to attract the wolves. Tor wins initiative and move forward, axe at the ready. This part of the cave is narrow enough that they can't get past her without provoking an AoO, and she has Combat Reflexes. Only one does though, and the other three attack her. Four more come from around the next corner after the first round. I put a few down with Mortalbane, and Val's critting left and right with his rapier, and Tor has Cleave. The Gnome panics and flails wildly with his backpack for a round, just getting bitten for his trouble. He wises up and retreats pretty fast. I can still reliably make the Truespeak DCs, but I'm starting to run up the Law of Resistance on my Lesser Words of Nurturing so I pull out my morningstar and start swinging.

Soon, we're down to the last wolf. Tor starts rolling badly. I start rolling badly. Humblefoo has rejoined the fight since the last one is bloodied, but is really just good for the flank. The Gnome smacks the wolf with his pack again, but it does nothing. In fact, the wolf just looks at him for a moment, confused. He's not the only one. So it comes to Valdaglerion, and we think it's over by now. But instead of attacking, he pulls out a chunk of Gnoll meat and created the greatest moment of the campaign so far:

Valdaglerion: I use Handle Animal to try and tame it.
Us: ...
DM: O...kay. Well it'll only work if- *Val rolls*

Natural. ****ing. Twenty.

The wolf, apparently just as surprised as the rest of us, hesitates for a moment before smelling and eventually taking the meat. I heal us... and the wolf... and we continue on our way. Obviously, taming a wild animal takes more than one die roll, but he's going to be working on it. For now, he's named him Daer Draug. Eventually, since wizards can have an Animal Companion instead of a Familiar (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#sorcererWizard), he's going to go that route instead. Trideca just wants to see the look on Kerik's face.

Soon after this, we made it to the other side of the cave. We can already see the capitol of Vistora in the distance.

2016-01-23, 06:44 AM
The Fourth Session

For those of you taking bets on who doesn't show up this week, the correct answer turned out to be Valdaglerion. He does manage to show up later though. In other news; I've started recording our sessions, so these journals will be a little more detailed now.

Don't You Daer
So Val's player was late tonight. He showed up about halfway through though, so we decided Daer Draug didn't want to leave his cave and the Elf was going to stay behind and make a few more Handle Animal 'rolls' before officially making him an Animal Companion. Kerik's absence last time was explained by him going back to town to warn people about the Romtona Gate. He's also been fortifying our tavern with various traps. He manages to catch up with us basically out of nowhere, using his Small size and Slight Build to find some hard to reach shortcuts in the caverns.

Gondor Vistora Calls for Aid
So we've made it to the other side of the cave. We can see the castle only about a half-hour's walk away. Maybe ten minutes if we jumped off a cliff (which none of us do). We can easily see, and be seen by, several of the Daemon King's emissaries. After a few minutes of walking, some of them approach us, asking why we're here. We have no reason to be dishonest, so we explain ourselves and ask for an audience with the King. They insist the King is busy and offer to take us to the High Ambassador. I decide to be a little more frank about the army coming through the Gate, but they still only take us to the Ambassador.

We're taken inside the castle, to a large ornate conference room and offered seats as we wait. The table is quite large, easily able to seat thirty to forty people, and the room has a bit of an echo to it. We don't wait long before the High Ambassador arrives, and he wastes no time getting to our reason for coming here. HA parrots the lines about the King being unavailable, and takes the letter in his stead. Technically, we were only instructed to deliver it to the King or one of his emissaries. We just ended up in silent agreement to see how far we could get.

One detail about these emissaries, as well as the High Ambassador, that I haven't mentioned up to this point is their masks. Each of them wears a mask of white porcelain that not only obscures their faces, but makes their voices dull. Devoid of real tone or anything that could potentially identify the speaker. DM's repeated attempts to describe something he's intentionally made hard to describe eventually lead to an exasperated declaration of "We get it, he's nondescript!"

HA wasn't exactly thrilled with the news, or entirely ready to accept it. Apparently though, Professor Humblefoo (no, we didn't kill him) has some kind of reputation in Vistora. While he's unable to personally verify the part about the army, he's more than willing to vouch for my own account. I end up describing what I saw in Romtona again. Maybe Trideca was a little overly-dramatic in doing so this time, but it had the desired effect. After a bit more brief conversation, HA calls for "Tri". In response to the call; three people with slightly different masks enter the room, speaking and moving as one. He gives them instructions to send word to the Daemon Lords, calling them for War Council. He then explains to us that the Tri are some of the most powerful casters available.

Not long after, the Tri returns with news that most of the Lords have been contacted, but they were unable to reach three of them. The Dwarven King (in true Team Dumbass tradition, we didn't get his name), the Elven Queen (ditto), and Greet. Trideca didn't remember that last name (not because of GTD, but because she IC didn't care at the time), but Kerik did and was able to subtly remind her. Greet was the name of the Gnoll leader we pissed off some time prior. I manage to verify with HA that their communication magic isn't location-based, and Trideca is visibly relieved at that. He asks us to bring word to the Elven Queen, and Greet too since their camp is on the way (well... it was). We also learn that our old friend Krag is the Daemon Lord of the Orcs.

The High Ambassador gives us a small green stone, explaining that we can use it to communicate telepathically with him (and how to use it of course). The Gnome volunteers to stay behind and help with the more scholarly side of things, and I joke that he probably realized we were likely going to kill him if things kept going as they were. The Tri take him to their library.

It's Tor of all people who speaks up, asking why the Daemon King was unavailable. I'd silently picked up on something HA said earlier - that they needed to keep him stable - but had simply filed it away for future reference. Regardless, we learn that he's been in magical stasis pretty much since the Gate closed, waiting for... essentially this moment. They'll wake him up when the War Council is assembled.

Go Team Du- Oh wait, that was actually smart...
We stay the night, and head back the way we came in the morning. We check in on Valdaglerion's wolf-taming (progress is slow), and I give him a shot of Universal Aptitude as we pass him by.

The Black Hand camp is actually closer from the direction we're coming from, so we decide we may as well check on them while we're here. We hear the commotion long before we see it. The Orcs are hurriedly packing up the camp, and we see an emissary on his way out, but don't speak to him. The usual gate guard, eternally picking his nose (seriously; aside from an occasional dialogue, this is all he ever does) welcomes Kerik and Trideca, but of course Tor has to wait. We head in, finding Krag and Motai without difficulty. He greets us happily, and I say something along the lines of "looks like you've heard".

DM: "Aye I have, I've heard the message in me noggin'." I don't know why I became Irish there for a second...

So we tell him the High Ambassador sent us to some people they weren't able to contact, and that we thought we'd make sure he knew what was going on. He thanks us, and even gives Greet a grudging compliment, admitting he'll probably be needed in the coming fight upon learning that he was one of the ones the Tri couldn't contact. He's able to give us general directions to the Gnolls' new camp, then asks how Tor is doing. We ask Krag to reconsider the banishment; but he makes it clear that, painful as it may have been, he mostly did it for the girl's own safety. Apparently, a lot of the Black Hand Orcs aren't fond of Elves in general. He and Motai even regretfully turn down a chance to see her, since she's just outside the gate. We say our goodbyes and move on, collecting Tor for yet another journey south.

Also, Tor called dibs on killing Greet if it came to it.

We approach the Gnoll camp. Once again, we hear it before we see it. This time, it sounds like a battle. And not long after, it starts to look like one too. The Gnolls are fighting a small army of some kind of heavily-armored creature none of us have seen before. The armor however, is familiar to Trideca. She's seen it before, in Romtona. The fight definitely looks like it's going against the Gnolls. A bit farther off, behind the non-Gnoll lines, is some sort of pylon. It's about three feet tall, with a small glowing blue gem on top. It's being guarded by four of these creatures, with a Romtonan Captain alongside them. Kerik immediately announces his desire for the shiny gem. He says he wants to sneak in first, then fight later. I give him an Extended Universal Aptitude.

With the sounds of nearby combat muffling his movements, nobody really stands a chance at beating his 44. His draconic wings give him more than the edge he needs to flawlessly leap up and grab the stone unnoticed. The moment the gem leaves its pedestal, the fight turns radically. The creatures stop fighting. Some try to run. Some even make it. Most are cut down by the Gnolls. The Human also gets away, after killing three of his own... whatever those things were.

The gem itself is only faintly magical, but the pylon was Strong. I put the gem back just to see what would happen, and the combined aura was Overwhelming.

The reunion with Greet is filled with contempt and sarcasm. He feebly attempts to claim they had the battle just fine, and I just give what Kerik's player describes as 'the ultimate ****-eating grin. We tell him about the Gate, and the High Ambassador's 'demand' (as we worded it) for his presence. He is just as confused as we were about the message not getting through, but accepts it and has the word spread to the other Gnoll tribes. He makes it clear that our last encounter isn't exactly forgiven, but sets things aside for the moment. ...Except for a few taunts toward Tor. She restrains herself, and Kerik makes a decent attempt to distract her with his new shiny.

Always one for gathering more knowledge, Trideca kneels down to investigate the bodies of the strange creatures. Now that she has a closer look, they appear to be some kind of magical construct of metal. Still nothing she's seen before, but it's something. There's also the fact that they seemed to have some sort of consciousness, judging from their reaction to Kerik's stunt with the gem. I kept some parts.

And Greet decides he wants to tag along with us for a while. Strangely enough, nobody seems to care (IC anyway) except Tor.

Go Individual Dumbasses
AKA "Don't Split the Dumbasses I"
Val's player still isn't here, Kerik's had to step away for a few minutes, and Trideca was the one given the telepathy stone from the High Ambassador; so I decided this was as good a time as any to pull it out and call him. I give a basic report of what's happened up to this point, making sure to tell him about the golems' weakness in the gem, and even managed to learn a few things.

The stone bypasses the emissary masks' voice concealment. HA appears male.
The stone can not send mental images. Only words.
Perhaps it's the stone, perhaps it's the casters, but the Tri were able to talk over our connection. Two appear male, one female.
HA doesn't seem to like Greet any more than we do. He seemed relieved to hear Greet would be delayed by accompanying us.

The first leg of the journey to the Elven city is reminiscent of two kids in the back seat of a car. Tor and Greet aren't even within arm's reach of each other. We wake up after the first night to find them both gone, and a thumping in the distance. For some reason, they're taking turns giving each other dirty looks and punching a tree. We didn't even bother to ask why. At some point during that... whatever it was, Valdaglerion and Daer Draug (now officially an Animal Companion) managed to find our camp. We filled him in and moved on.

OOC, we belatedly realize we most likely would've had some of that Gnoll meat for dinner the previous night. Greet's potential reaction to this was just laughed over and ultimately ignored.

DM describes the castle of the Elven Capitol as "kind of like Home Tree from Avatar". Since this is the first city we've been in (other than Beginning), I immediately find the nearest town guard and ask him about a thing DM and I briefly discussed before the start of game. The Paragnostic Assembly. It turns out they're actually in this city, so I give the green stone to Val and make my way there. Normally a public building, open daily, the doors are shut and the lights out. A Human man stands in front of the door. He tells me the Assembly is closed today because of some kind of pest problem. His friends or whatever went in about ten minutes ago to deal with it, leaving him to stand out front.

This guy has a bit of an accent. One Trideca recognizes. I can't be sure, but I think it's a Romtonan accent.

Cutting back to the main group, they go to the castle. Some guy is asking the castle guards about a package he brought in.

Guard: I wouldn't know sir. You'd have to talk with somebody in Human Resources.
Me, OOC: Wouldn't that be Elven Resources?
Val, OOC: Maybe just Humanoid Resources.

He turns around, and the party realizes this is the same guy that hired them in the first place. Apparently the tests with Tor haven't been finished yet. We'll see. Then he bows formally to her, confusing the hell out of Greet. They let him know about the Gate. The conversation dies quickly, and he all but runs off (once again not giving us his name - GTD).

They approach the castle guards, asking for audience with the Queen. They ask for proof that the Daemon King sent them, but the party comes up a little short. DM takes mercy on them by having the guard mention the Stone (good thing I thought to give it to them). Once that's settled, he starts leading them up the stairs. Cut back to Trideca.

I try to fool the man in front of the Assembly by switching from Common to Romtonan and implying I know more than I do, but that doesn't work. Lacking anything solid and not wanting to attack some random guy, I ask when the place will open and head for the castle. Only one of the guards remains, and I try once more to talk my way past, but these guys didn't think to mention the leftover of their group. This got the DM to utter "Go Team Dumbass". The guard promises to have his companion check with the others on his return. Cut to the group.

Many, many stairs later, the main group arrives in the Elf Queen's throne room. As they see the Queen herself, DM describes her as glowing with beauty, or something. Then Kerik's player chimed in, mentioning that this shouldn't be impressive to them since they hang out with a woman that glows all the time.

The Queen is currently "entertaining" two Human guests, a man and a woman. More like yelling at them, red in her face. Two Humans wearing the white armor of Romtona, each holding a winged helmet that we've noticed appears to signify a certain rank. Kerik has been openly carrying his new shiny, but manages to hide it from them as they leave. Greet snarls at them as they leave, getting ignored by the male, but returned by the female.

The guard that lead them in introduces them, then leaves at a brisk semi-run. Panting a bit, this guard would return to his post at the front door only to be sent back up to ask the group about Trideca. The other guard just grins after him. Not long after, the two Humans exit the building, appearing to be happy. They walk past me without incident, seeming to not even notice me. I'm tempted to go after them (partly because of that guard) but I stay.

The Queen sits in silence for a few moments. She is about to speak when a terribly winded guard comes in, asking about a strange glowing woman. After plenty of OOC jokes, such as "what Human?" and "she's been stalking us for weeks!", the poor guy heads downstairs to fetch Trideca. His armor is disheveled, his helmet crooked. He's barely still on his feet. I joke that I'm turning off my Illumian Sigils to further mess with the guy, but we play it straight. Finally, the other guard takes pity on him and escorts me up himself.

His name is Valdir. We know this because the second guard had him bring up refreshments. Bastard.

Can We Trade Back?
We bring the Queen up to speed as best we can, though we're a bit put off to learn of her utter lack of concern for the opening of the Gate. Kerik brings out the shiny and announces that he took it from the Humans. The Queen just stares at him for a moment in disbelief that he basically just confessed to being a thief before we clarified. At some point in this mess; Valdaglerion pulled out some Gnoll jerky, clarified what it was and started chowing down.

Eventually, things calm down enough to actually get to talking. Queen is confused about not receiving the message. Regardless, she seems rather blasť about the Romtonan army. Greet gets a good moment or two that hints that he isn't as dumb as he tends to act. The Queen mentions that the most likely reason for not receiving the message would be interference from a powerful source of magic. The obvious idea being another pylon and gem here in the capitol. I mention the oddity of the Assembly, making it clear I suspect them.

Then the Queen drops a bombshell that almost got me to try recruiting her into Team Dumbass. Those Humans apparently assured her that if there is war, they will leave her people alone. And she believes them.

Trideca: I was there when they first came through the Gate. Most of us were. The first thing they did was attack. Blindly, through the gate.

This seems to, if nothing else, get her to agree to have some things looked at. More than anything else, she just wants to be rid of us. Then the original Elf that hired us bursts in, Valdir with the drinks barely managing a crawl behind him. The Elf whispers to the Queen. I try to listen, but get no real details. It's still enough to realize. Tor truly is Victoria Windwalker.

She sends the Elf away to fetch thirty men to deal with the Paragnostic Assembly, apparently her attitude towards us having been changed somewhat by the sudden family reunion. As he runs off, I turn to the Queen and finally ask what his name is. His name is Halter. Go Team Dumbass.

And now, the Queen wishes to speak alone with her cousin. Tor finds herself embraced by the queen, though her confusion pales compared to Greet, who is just babbling semi-coherently. He quickly recovers. I motion for the group to leave, with a quick aside to make sure Tor stays. So we've basically traded Tor for Greet.

I try to get Kerik to stay and spy on them, but something apparently gets misinterpreted and he just leaves with us. GTD

On the way out, Kerik tries to ride Daer Draug. It goes badly, and he gets thrown down the stairs. Luckily, all those stairs are arranged so that a spill won't be too painful.

We made it out the door and found our thirty men. Next Stop: The Paragnostic Assembly.

2016-02-13, 10:44 AM
The Fifth Session

Draug-ing Our Feet

Vally missed yet another game. Insert relevant joke here. We also had a "brief" pre-game discussion that ended in general agreement to keep playing together after we're done with Vistora.

The Pest Problem
The leader of the group approaches us to confirm our mission. They aren't completely up to speed, but we make sure everything is clear and head out. We arrive without incident, and the 'doorman' balks at the approaching men. He tries the 'pest problem' line again, this time throwing in that there's probably a mess inside. The guards aren't bothered, and insist on the Queen's authority that we enter. We get in, and he comes in behind us and closes the door. The Paragnostic Assembly is fairly well-furnished, with a mix of candles and magical light. We see some rather ornate wooden carvings.

We come to a desk, with a single Human sitting behind it. He jumps up, almost to attention, when he sees us. Our captain asks about the goings on around here, only to get the pest line again. Then the red-haired woman we saw earlier today comes down from the top of a nearby flight of stairs. At the sight of her, Kerik suggests they missed one of the bugs. She takes it in stride, claiming these people work for her. The guards ask to see some of these so-called rodents, and the woman grins as she has a man toss the corpse of an old Elf over the railing. As most of us are staring at it, she pulls a knife and stabs the guard captain, belatedly followed by Trideca's Utterance against her. She gives a slightly comical "GET THEM", and a few dozen of those golems jump down from above. There's also a quaking rumble as a Large quadrupedal golem bursts through the wall.

The guards deal with the masses, while we work over the big guy. Greet chases the Human woman around a corner. Kerik gets in a good sneak attack on the big thing with an acid flask. It charges forward, trampling 'friend' and foe alike, but misses Trideca. Line of sight doesn't matter once an Utterance takes effect, so I can concentrate on my Reversed LWoN from where I am and the redhead still takes the damage. I attempt to Tumble and flank with Kerik, but muck it up somewhat. It misses its AoO. The larger battle was momentarily disrupted by the charge, but now resumes with neither side gaining an immediate advantage. Kerik eagerly takes advantage of my flank with a full attack, dealing decent damage before having to easily dodge another of the creature's clumsy strikes.

I fail to utter, Kerik gets one hit while fighting defensively and the behemoth fails miserably at starting a grapple.

A Rodeo in Shiny-town
The thing stops, looking as if it's only just become aware of its surroundings. We've been ready for this since last time, and manage to warn the Elves not to butcher them all. Kerik actually jumps on the big guy's back and gets taken for a ride as it panics and bursts out the front door. He actually manages to stay on for a while, but ends up running after it for a bit. They end up moving toward the main gateway of the city, and some of the guards start shooting. Kerik pulls out a grappling hook and manages to parasail for a while before the guards put down the large golem.

After watching... that for a moment, I give a WoN to the worst of the wounded. I quickly explain what we probably should've at the beginning (GTD), that the golems appear to be controlled and should at least not be slaughtered. I turn around and head upstairs after Greet and the woman. Sure enough, there's a familiar pylon without a gemstone. Nearby, leaning on his weapon, is Greet. He's standing over a few golem corpses, as well as the woman; not only tied up but also rolled up in a rug. She is very, very unconcious. Under Detect Magic; DM describes her as "a dimly-lit Chrismas tree", but I fail to identify the specific auras.

Greet turns to me and says "I caught me a carrot" as he gives the rug another kick. He also shows me the gem he grabbed from the pylon and gives a terrible impression of Kerik; "I got a shiny". He hefts the woman over his shoulder and we head downstairs. The situation in the foyer has calmed down somewhat, with several of the golems subdued; their weapons piled up nearby. The order is given to search the building for survivors, and we have the golems taken to the dungeon. They appear sentient enough, and the control would make them blameless; but we decide not to risk that control being restored for the moment. Kerik catches us on the way out, and we bring each other up to speed. Greet does his Kerik impression again, but the Kobold doesn't realize he's being made fun of and just pulls out his 'shiny' again. I take the woman's winged helmet. It looks important enough.

Prisoners of Both Sides
We run into Valdir and his tormentor again, but the Captain waves them off and escorts us up himself. The Queen greets us politely, asking for news. Tor is nowhere to be found. She's brought up to speed, but takes a moment to realize what's in Greet's rug. The woman is taken to the dungeons. Trideca speaks up, openly mocking the Queen's earlier statement that she has no reason to distrust the Romtonans. She actually doesn't seem to care very much, given the circumstances. Tor rejoins us, having very clearly not enjoyed her time in this city, though Kerik manages to lighten her mood by telling her about his recent ride.

So we head down into the dungeons to interrogate the new prisoners, via elevator of all things. I was tempted to start humming The Girl From Ipanema during this, but managed to contain myself. I palm the green stone, and quickly tell the High Ambassador (without warning the others present) that I'm going to be relaying a conversation to him. The Queen asks one of the golems its name, receiving "Gear" in answer. When asked what they are, he says "We are what the Human masters would call 'Warforged'. We were forged for war, hence the name."

The High Ambassador asks that we bring some of these creatures along with us. Trideca asks about the pylons and gems. The gems alone only work on one of them at a time. They have at least partial awareness while under the effects, but describe everything as hazy. He also makes it clear that they would fight against the Romtonans if given the chance. A few moments later, we hear an angry scream from a few cells down. We give Gear a polite farewell for now and go to the Romtonan.

A New Level of Stupidity - Not Us This Time
I stop the Queen for a moment, giving her a brief description of Reversed Universal Aptitude. I make it as clear as I can that she won't be forced to speak truthfully, but any lies will be more obvious. We manage to waste it all anyway.

Kerik repeats Greet's line about the carrot, and she flips out. She actually manages to tear out of her carpet, and we realize she still has all of her equipment (aside from whatever weapon she used when fighting Greet). To be fair, this one wasn't even on us. Why in Corellon's name didn't the guards we gave her to search her???

Regardless, she says something that implies Truespeech isn't uncommon in Romtona. She also agrees with Kerik that those big things are fun to ride. The Queen however, is more interested in the supposed nonagression deal they had. Still. She still seems to believe it wasn't complete nonsense for some reason. The Human makes some vague threats about her disappearance being met with hostility. HA asks us to bring her along if we can. We do get her to mention that yes, the stylized helmet is indeed a marker of rank. Kerik asks Trideca for the helmet, then places it on his own head as a taunt. The woman then makes it clear that the tiny lizard is going to be the first to die (or rather, be punted across the room) when she gets out. The responce must be quoted:

Kerik's Player: "Kerik is gonna shake his ass at her, and dance."
DM: .....Uhhh, how far are you from the bars?
K: I am not next to them. I'm not a complete dumbass.

We exchange a few more taunts and threats. It actually gets a little dull after a minute. She's soon pushed a little too far, and pulls out... something. OOC, it's a flintlock pistol. Kerik is the only one who notices at first, and he elects to use the Queen as a human(oid) shield. Well, more like step behind her. She aims at the Queen, but takes her shot at the Kobold. She misses, then drops the weapon and raises her hand in surrender. She claims that was her last trick, but even without any rolls none of us believe her. I tell her to stand against the back wall, but she feigns ignorance. Annoyed, I pick up a pebble and hit her in the face with it.

She seems to know what I was going for though, because she kicks the gun backwards as she moves. I turn to the room at large, and ask that everyone try not to kill her because the High Ambassador wants a turn. I have a guard open the cell door and move in. Kerik and I move to flank her, parallel to the wall. I take a few half-hearted swings for nonlethal damage, but we all know the real point is setting up an unarmed sneak attack. When Kerik moves in, she reveals a boot-knife and gives him a solid cut. Kerik fails to tag her in return, and Greet runs in to slam her against the wall.

She again tries to feign surrender, then tries to punch me. It ends badly for her. We take attacks of opportunity, finally knocking her out. We set to disarming her, letting DM know in no uncertain terms that we're completely stripping her down. Except there was apparently some uncertainty, but it was quivkly clarified that we meant literally. Completely stripped down. Nothing left. Nude. Naked. Pick your favorite word for it. Between those stunts and our track record so far, we weren't taking any chances. We also take full advantage of the fact that there's no upper limit to nonlethal damage and beat her down for a while. Even the Queen gets in a few good kicks.

All told; she had three flintlocks, two boot-knives (each with their own daggers hidden within), a set of full-plate, and some things we didn't go through just yet.

We also found a pouch with some documents. DM's personal notes are rather vague at this point, but we discover that this woman's name is Laura and that she's on a very secretive, supposedly very lucrative mission for Romtona. We also learn the name of Romtona's king: Augustus.

Steal-er... Borrowing Knowledge
The Queen arranges some prison transports as we bring HA up to speed. I tell the others do do their own thing while I check on the Assembly. Kerik takes Tor to see the big golem. Unfortunately, the entire local Assembly is either dead or missing. I go inside, looking for their library. With basically-unrestricted access to their library, I'm able to steal enough books to grant the Paragnostic Scholar guild benefit for a few skills.

A few hours of study (and a permanent +5 typeless bonus to my Truespeak), we've assembled at the town gates. The High Ambassador is confident they can hold as many prisoners as we can deliver, so we bring them all. Six Warforged, and Laura. The journey should take about two days.