Session 4b
In which our protagonists venture into tunnels, riddles, and meet a Fiery Death!

the muse inspires me, i'll try and do it all at once!

A... "joyous" complication
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As the party wakes they notice Ayla's dance more exuberant, enthusiastic, colorful. she even sings! Killpi claps at her while the others raise eyebrows. "are you ok Ayla? has the stress gotten to you?" asks Lynn worriedly. "can't you see? that life is wonderful, joyful! i just want to spread out The Love!" she says with a big, on the border of damn stupid silly grin. "well, ok, but keep sharp- we need to keep focused!". Ayla nods enthusiastically "don't worry, all is fine, all is wonderful!"

it is at this point that Ayla's player puts this blast from the past to deliver the message...

Glimji mumbles to himself "cursed? must be!" We say our goodbyes to Strong hand and start climbing towards the little cave that leads to the Spirit of the Valley.

Don't you know it's cursed?
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(sigh) of course we know. the player rolls some dice on some table and that determines Ayla's mood for the day it seems. why don't we force her to take it out? because it's more interesting this way... at least for now.

read the lesson about the black medusa temptress


Why this kind of magic item?
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i'm not so sure, but here is my guess. the player has expressed some difficulties roleplaying, especially this character. i think he may find it uneasy to relate to the character so personally.

i think the DM gave this sort of an item as a sort of "easy access, not really your fault" roleplay tool- focus on simple extreme behaviors (though extreme in nature) which you can play that are not "really you". a sort of roleplay inside roleplay?

i may be over analyzing this. in any case- the player seems to have a BLAST with this. good call!



klutz and thunder.
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the tunnel is narrow, and there is some heat from it. Ayla remembers the scrolls Tall Mane gave the group at the village. she keeps them at ready. the party goes single file, with Ayla humming some song at the back, Killpi in front of her, keep looking back and saying sweet nothings.

the party reaches some sort of big cavern, with pillars in it. some distance away they see a hole in the floor, glowing with hit, around it gathered many rats... but not ordinary rats- rats on fire! Glimji recognizes them as Ash rats- sort of part fire elemental rats.



backing away, the party discusses things briefly, and decides to try and sneak past them. (there is some distance and cover, and they look distracted) however, Teal'c smacks his long speak against a pillar who partly crumble, and the rats takes notice. Ayla however cast a soundburst from a scroll (which was readied) and kills off nearly all, a few run away.

4 such scrolls left.


Klutz and thunder... and fire
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a corridor leads down, smoothly. Ayla tries to SLIDE down it which freaks Lynn out, and amuses Killpi. "She's hot! look at those curves!". Lynn grabs Layla "look! get a hold of yourself! what's the matter with you! you're the most dependable one in the party, you can't freak out now!" Ayla nods and smiles, reassuring Lynn. having no choice she accepts.

going down the air gets hotter, the party begins to sweat. after some twists and turns, and a few dead ends, they reach another cavern, on it's ceiling bats... on fire. again the party tries to sneak past, but Ayla tries to do so while doing an expressive dance... furious, Lynn shouts at her "are you mad woman?! get a grip for god's sakes!"

which makes the bats descend on her, they burn Lynn nicely before Ayla manages to break another sound burst and bring the bats down, but with nearly deafening Lynn and shocking her as well. Burned, bewildered, Lynn's gaze bore into Ayla as the priestess of love heals her. "you see? nothing to worry? a bit of fire, a bit of noise, but now you're alllllll better!" (wide happy grin).

Lynn just don't know what to say.

(At this point i look at the player: "hey, i know this! here, take Lithium!" it's a med for Bi-Polars. i should know, since i am one. some of this reminded some old times of my own. the party laughed at this.)


Riddle me this, riddle me that
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more twisting tunnels and such, we keep going lower, lower, and the heat intensifies. at the end of a long tunnel we reach a strange circular room, very well built, in which there are 13 black pillars in the circumference, and one huge black pillar in the middle. "trap" we think. Lynn notices some delicate etchings under the surface of the main pillar. we are hesitant to enter the room

Killpi volunteers. "i can find traps, and i can avoid most of them." Lynn puts a hand on his shoulder "you have proven your skill more than once. if you wish to, i trust your capabilities" to which, of course, Killpi rolls his eyes. he enters the room but finds no traps.Ayla and Glimji come in to try and decipher the writing, without success. Glimji casts read magic, which just happens to be the trigger...

suddenly the door starts to close. Teal'c swiftly glides in while Lynn barely makes it. inscriptions appear on the 13 pillars, and an odd echoing voice echoes in our heads "find the four pillars of the world" and some sort of warning about being wise or hastening our doom and so on.. at the base of the main pillar several holes appeared, from which came scalding water! and they were rising fast! Ayla read her scroll of mass resist fire (also from Tall Mane) which saved our lives.

on the 13 columns were 13 riddles. though the water rose (and the higher they were the more damage we took) each wrong answer would make the rising faster, while each right answer lowered the water. some pillars (the correct 4) started to glow as the answer was said. every about 20-30 seconds in real life we threw damage dice to see how much we scalded.

(i do not remember the exact order in which we solved these, but here goes)

voiceless it cries, wingless it flutters, toothless it bites, mouthless it mutters
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wind/ air

this we solved immediately, and the pillar glowed. this was our first clue, and if you guessed the riddle, than like us i assume you know the other pillars.

never ahead, ever behind, yet flying swiftly past, for a child i last forever, for adults i'm gone too fast.
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time

embarassingly enough, we mistook this twice (day, life) and solved it only after the riddle which begins with "it cannot be seen"

it has a golden head, it has a golden tail, but it doesn't got a body.
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coin

Killpi got this one. and if that isn't a clue, i don't know what is.

i am always hungry, i must always be fed, the finger i lick will soon turn red.
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fire

this we guessed quickly.

some riddles stumped us though:
turn us on our backs, and open up our stomachs, you will be the wisest of men though at start a lummox
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book

this puzzled us so we moved on.

one tooth to bite, he's the forest foe, one tooth to fight, as all healers know.
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axe

we were clueless as to this

bury deep, pile on stones, yet i will dig up the bones
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memory

we thought this might be a dog? death? undertaker? earth?

a leathery snake with a stinging bite, i'll stay coiled up, unless i must fight
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whip

we had no freaking idea... someone made a remark about a BDSM... instrument, which was close to home, but was only made in jest.

as you see, we had ample opportunities to get the water up, and killpi and Glimji started swimming, and the protection was only partially helping. Ayla was burned badly, and had to start healing herself.

luckily enough we figured other riddles out.

to be gold is to be good, to be stone is to be nothing, to be glass is to be fragile, to be cold is to be cruel
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heart

Teal'c, appropriately guessed this one.

three lives have i. gentle enough to soothe the skin, light enough to caress the sky, hard enough to crack rocks
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water

had we not known what we were looking for, this might have been a tough one, but we soon found it out. 3 pillars alight, 1 to go...

it has roots as nobody sees, is taller than trees, up up it goes, and yet never grows.
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mountain

this helped lower the water to managable bits

it cannot be seen, cannot be felt, cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
it lies behind stars and under hills, and empty holes it fills.
it comes first and follows after, ends life, kills laughter

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darkness

after a bit of confusion (time) Lynn guessed this, and immediately the riddle we missed near the beginning.

it counts time, stops clocks, drinks and is always thirsy. you eat it's children and it embraces you in the end
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earth

the last pillar was answered.

Aren't riddles considered bad play?
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usually riddles either get players completely stuck, or the players find their solution easily. at list simple "guess what i am" riddles. here i think the DM struck a nice balance- some riddles were quite easy (especially the ones needed to actually progress) while some were less so. (at least to us, i know some of you geniuses guessed them all! ) thus giving a challenge, but not a "do or die" kind of challenge.



into the volcano
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the water poured out, and steps appeared to lead below. we breathed out, tried to partially dry our selves of the heated water. glad that we passed this test, we decided to press on while the Mass Resist energy spell still persisted.

we went deeper, and the heat intensified considerably. breathing was hard, a bit steamed. we came upon a sort of wide ledge, overlooking... something below we could see the haze from the heat in the air over the edge. this cavern/ ledge had 3 creatures in it- some sort of fiery looking small humanoid.

Ayla and Teal'c went to engage and the creatures came to breath fire on them! thankfully the protection was up. with swift determined coordination, Killpi moved behind them to flank, killing one, but also gazing over the edge. he could see the volcano down below, and in it's magma- some sort of humongous fiery creature!

the fire mephits were killed swiftly, though 1 ran down. with the protection up their effect was minimal. we collected fire opals from the dead.



once more a tunnel, circling the volcano to another ledge, with 5 mephits who flew away. the heat was becoming incredible, and we were perfusing swiftly. we were getting deeper, closer to the fire creature. this ledge held no tunnel, but a hole in the floor, like a slide down.

Lynn wiped the sweat off her forehead, smiling a weird little smile. "Think about it a second- just a week or so ago i was flying to another city, to get a job as a guard. and now i'm down some crazy volcano, fighting fire spirit, seeking some divine entity in order to find the location of a fiend who hunts through dreams." she laughed a short laugh. "well, we've come this far!" and jumped down the tube.


Fiery Death
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she slid about 50 meters vbefore falling in another large tunnel that overlooked the belly of the volcano. a few seconds later she heard "Whheeeeee!" as Ayla landed on her, and Teal'c on them, followed by Glimji ("Teal'c will be the softest to land on!") and lastly Killpi "no one lands on me!")

which is when everything became blurry. the cavern was not the same cavern. instead they were in a big underground, with a huge pile of treasure on the ground, but a much more urgent matter directly above it.



they felt fear, awe, terror, and prostrated themselves in front of the mighty being. "Mortals! I am Glaurnag, known as the Fiery Death. Why have you dared enter this place?"
The party was stunned, Lynn tried to gather her voice, to face this creature, and spoked softly: "Great Glaurnag, he did not seek to intrude on you. we are strangers to your valley, there is a sickness in it, a creature from another realm, one who kills through dreams. we have sought your help in finding it, cleansing your valley. saving the village." however, her voice came croaked, weak, stammering, the fear gripping her to her stomach. (influence roll= 4) the party closed their eyes, ready to accept the flames.

damn, not again!
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It was at this point that i have fallen back to my general role when playing a character- a sort of paladinish party leader. i especially tried to avoid it with Lynn, but oh well. it's still fun!


yet that would not be the case. "you are noble young one, even if your words and your manner represent you poorly. Such young spirits walk this mountain, this grave. Yes I am dead for too long to remember, I can remember the elven, young and frightened wondering the great forests around those mountains, and I can remember the gnomes seeking their first magic in their great underworld realms…. But my memories are fading.

I am not the spirit you seek however... I am someone else. Maybe you have come here for more reasons than even you understand. I will help you but you must promise a help in return. Are you willing to trade favors with an old and tired spirit?"

to this Ayla responeded with "of course we will, with all our joy!" the party was stunned, but Glaurnag seemed nonplused. Lynn gritted her teeth. "what is it that us poor mortals can do that the great Glaurnag cannot? i wish no disrespect but our power is feeble compared to yours". Glimji wanted more "what help will you grant us exactly, oh mighty dragon?" the little gnome proving to be bolder than he looks.

The dragon seemed to consider "I shell remove the guardian from the entrance, and you, you must kill what left of me mortals. There is a great opal stone lying beneath us. The elements of fire bound my spirit to this place for eons now. Destroy the stone, free my spirit and you shell be rewarded."

"He tries to trick us! i do not trust the words of dragons!" claimed Glimji. "why have they bound you here? what will happen when we free you? how do we know you won't return as an undead abomination?" demanded Lynn, her voice cracking.

"Foolish mortal, the dragon kind are not easily raised by petty necromancy. i was bound here to torment me. and i wish release. i wish peace. will you do this for me?"

Killpi in the meantime was trying to scoop treasure, only to find it illusory. he looked at the dragons "can there be something else? is there... a treasure room somewhere? could you give directions to a hoard? a small one will suffice"

"i have not laired here but miles away, and it was eons of times ago. even if i gave you directions, the place must be looted by now. will you assist me mortals?"

the party discussed things briefly, Glimji strongly against, the rest in between, but in the end they agreed. "we shall be honored to assist you great Glaurnog, the Fiery Death, may your sole know peace."

at that the vision ended, and they were back at the cavern. they went to the ledge, and saw the gargantuan elemental, when a great draconic spirit appeared, they had battled fiercely for a few rounds, but the battle was one sided, when the elemental spirit died.



we found another hole (this time not doing a pile up) coming to another cavern where the elemental might have attacked us easily. a tunnel led to the side wall, towards which we moved

railroad?
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a bit of a railroad yes. the path down the mountain was straight forward without many options. but it's ok by our group. some parts are more open (for example the possible routes to the mountain, or the infiltration failure) while some we're comfortable at being more linear.

i don't think the dragon was one sided though. knowing the DM we could have refused- we could have run from the elemental towards the tunnel, i think we would have made it.

but being messed with the spirit of an ancient dragon is more fun! (by the way, in our campaigns dragon's alignment aren't bound by color) but... i had another incentive to want to do this deal with the dragon, which will become apparent later on.


isn't the adventure about to be over?
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indeed, i think we have 1-2 more meetings. but i think the DM is planning on building forward in case we might later resume this party and adventure. something to look forward to?


Soul prison
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we followed the tunnel deeper, oddly enough it was getting not cooler, but less hot. we were in the bowels of the mountain. at some point we noticed an opening to the right of the tunnel. Killpi snuck there and looked inside. he saw one large circular room, with a great big opal in the center, and a fiery/ magma elemental in the center.



he snuck back and told us the news. "time forthe second scroll Ayla". the creature seemed strong. we discussed whethere some should distract it, and some break the stone. maybe when the stone is broken it will leave this plane? or shall we try and destroy it? we decided to try and see. Ayla cast the second scroll of Mass Ressit fire, and Killpi and Glimji snuck in through the shadows, getting in place.

as the rest of us got closer, the creature crackled and hissed, and launched at Teal'c bashing him roughly. Ayla cast a sound burst scroll (2 left) that cracked the stone a bit, as well as the creature. Glimji cast his distract spell and baffled the creature, which Teal'c used to charge atthe stone and land a crushing blow. as the stone showed new cracks, so did the creature! the course was apparent now- obliterate the stone!

Lynn attacked the creature, trying to draw fire (literally!) but hurting it but a bit. Killpi tumbled out of the shadow and struck the creature's leg with a well aimed lash, knowing he can't pass the stone's hardness.

The fiery women next pummled Lynn nicely, the resistance blocking most of the fire. Glimji continued with his distracting spells while Ayla and Teal'c kept focusing on crushing the stune by spell scroll and mighty axe!

the creature, alarmed and heavily wounded turned to stop the half orc, but it brought the axe one final time and shattered the opal to pieces. with a great wail the creature dissipated into ash, fire and lava.


Rewards, some unexpected
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Elated, the party felt the vision cave again, and saw the great dragon trailing into mist. "Thanks you. I can finally go to the behind, almost completely. I grant you a drop of what I have learned over the years. I shall be watching from the behind."

Elated, the party felt themselves grow stronger, more powerful (we leveled up! level 4, yay!) as well as gain some glint of wisdom, of secret knowledge (free feat! yay!). however, as the mist traield off, some of it lashed and struck at Lynn, coiling into her mouth and nostrils, going in!

Lynn fell on the floor, coughin, rigid, feeling odd... she felt different, more... present. the others could feel the change as well. a presence emenating from her, a presence of power, of fire. a tiny fraction of what they felt with Glaurnog. she rose up, afraid and the others saw the glint of fire in her eyes. "what's happening to me?" she asked.

Glimji looked at her with a wry smile (humor at who'se expense no one knows) "well well... ain't that a turn of events?"

Free feat as reward
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i think this was the reward for 3 reasons:
- it befits the gift an old spirit with no material possesions can give.
- it is a cool reward
- as the adventure is ending soon, i doubt it if we'll use the 5th level feat (IF we get there)


What's the matter with Lynn
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not telling yet. gotta leave some tension for next meeting. a few things though:
- it's legit. a mechanical addition that will hopefully put a bit of a tiwst to things
- She didn't become a half dragon or dragon born or the like.
- it's not powerful, but hoepfully will fit well with the party, and more than that- with the story.

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so this is where we ended the meeting. all in all a very bust meeting, but also quite fun. we were quite exhausted at the end of it (as i am at finishing telling it all) next meeting (or the one after that) is the big finale.

i may have character sheets of everyone at 4th level (more or less) before next meeting, though at very different formats (we all do different things) if you guys are interested. can't promise though!

questions noble readers?