Session 5
In which our heroes are pursued, a riddle is given surprising solutions, the last adversary is met, and negotiations lead to an ending... of a sort.

so yeah, that's the longest we've gone without a meeting i think. real life can be a bit of a hassle at times. this is the last session of this adventure, hope you'll like it as we did. I had the worst luck playing Lynn, so other than roleplay she barely contributed, while Killpi's player shined. still, it was fun! at the end i will give some closing thoughts.

"What happened to me?"
last we left the group they just freed the spirit of the long deceased Glaurnog the red wyrm. he has blessed the party with some knowledge (in the form of free feats) and they leveled. but Lynn seems to have gone a an extra change...

she rose to her feet, a red glimmer in her eyes, holding her head, as if struggling with something. "did you do this?" she snapped first at Glimji, then Killpi. the party felt some sort of power emenating from the warrior, making their sking tighter, stronger, like armor? then Lynn turned to Ayla "is this sickness? i feel ill, voices... the dragon... in my head". "hearing voices now Lynn?" smirked Killpi. "now that IS a career change!" they suddenly felt angrier, mirroring Lynn's sudden rage. all of them.

Lynn tried to check her. "i'm afraid it's nothing in my capability. it doesn't seem to be physical, but spiritual. you are aware you're projecting your emotions like a sort of an aura?". Lynn shook her head, a bit more mellow. "yes, he tells me, tries to explain to me, Glaurnog, it's his power..."

"Ooooohhh, draconic power? in your head? affecting others? sounds like ARCANE magic to me! evil stuff!" it was Glimji's turn to smirk, and they could feel Lynn's anger washing them, making them more combat ready. Lynn growled. "it's not like that! it can't be! it's.. different, i think." she went silent for a moment more. "i need to think, but later. we don't have any time for this." as if settling the matter she lifted her flail and strode on. "we're not out of this mountain yet.

mechanics and behind the scenes
Lynn has leveled as a dragon shaman. (duh). the free feat was used for a house rule feat enabling strengthening the auras by 1 point.

if you're interested in the char sheet, here is 4th level Lynn

i wanted to draw Lynn a bit more towards magic, but in a way that is not obvious, and could be interperted between magical/ natural/ divine/ spirit world or the like. the original idea was to use the dragon shaman mechanics and gain the powers from the spirit of the valley, but since the DM planned on Glaurnog, we went with it.

another reason i chose the dragon shaman is the low dependency on attributes for later on, if and when we may continue this.

on our trail
we continued down the tunnel till we reached the opening of a huge cavern whose edxges we couldn't see. "stop!" whsipered Killipi, his ears pricking. "behind us, i'm going to see!" he said an went back. the rest stood to the sides of the opening, preparing for an ambush.

Killpi snuck back not a long way, when he notcied a lethal looking lightly armored red head man leading 3 Fist soldiers! they had a look about them that they were better than most, and he had seen the red head along with Alex, the Fist commander in the valley.

too close to back away, Killpi tried to hide, but the red head noticed him. Killpi bolted and ran back, a knife thrown after him, but no pursuit, yet. the surprised persuers were regrouping. the party rushed to Killpi who explained the situation in a few words, and they decided to put the (expected) ambush (now more like a choke point), when Killpi decidedto hide in the corridor, closing on them from the back.

and they came, the rogue in front (red head), who immediately threw something in, some sort of a... stun grendade? but only DC 13, so all made it. um, all except Lynn that is. he got close and sneaked attacked her severely, taking about half her hit points, and she'll be stunned for 3 rounds...

just as long as i'm useful
the party, alarmed moves to try and neutralize the rogue, and stop the others getting too close. Glimji wiht a distract spell, Ayla throws her net and entangles the rogue, but needlessly, as Teal'c comes and crits with his axe.

what a lovely shade of Red you wear today Lynn! (and the poor DM sobbed at all the tricks he had prepared)

Killpi attacked one of the remaining soldiers from the back, SA him "surrender!" but to no avail. after some sparring with the soldier he treis to tumble back, fegining injury, trying to get an AoO, and the soldier buys it.

meanwhile the other soldiers spread their attention between Lynn and teal'c, hitting him nicely as well. but all in all the battle is one sided, ending with all dead except one heavily wounded soldier who surrenders!

loot and interrogation
Killpi, still worried about a possible pursuit, goes back to check more thoroughly. he gives Lynn a knife- "to make him talk". Lynn and Ayla plays a bit of bad cop/ good cop with the soldier, but yield little info from him. the rogue was called Steve Morris, he led them here, an elite group to hunt them down.

meanwhile Teal'c and Glimji take the loot from the corpses, including a chain shirt for Teal'c some poisons and another stun grenade (later taken by Killpi) and a healing potion or two. quite a bit of gold though!

the interrogation seem to come to somewhere, as the men blurts about them being only TWO of them left. but as Lynn tries to question him further, an arrow is shot from INSIDE the cavern and pierces the soldiers eye. the party immediately comes on alert. Killpi arrives moments later, disappointed. "i told interrogate, not kill!"

Spirit of the land, hunt in the dark
the party immediately takes cover near boulders and rocks in the cave. the place seems strangely like the site of a meteorite crash or something, even being miles underground... they start a careful search of the cave (it's about 500+ meters wide) there seems to be no exit. "I'ts Alex!" proclaims Killpi, but Lynn doubts it "Alex wore full plate last you saw her. she doesn't sound like the stealthy type!". ""it's her, i tell you!". "will you two shut up?" Glimji hissed.

however, the mystery assailant did not seem interested in attacking. "she's playing a game" said Killpi, when Glimji came upon a strange find- a rock of a peculiar composition, like made of many materials, and warm to the touch. as he checked it it suddenly spoke. "oh well, that is nice!". the party quickly guessed this is the Spirit of the Valley. "can you tell us of the night hag, where it is, how to defeat her?". "it is a very nice thing you did freeing that pour soul. kept up too long. too long. and it's not a night hag, but a sort of a hag".

Killpi barged in. "is she in the cave? the one who hunts us?". "yes it is, but i can't sense it's exact location, only that it's in the cave." Killpi resumed his searches. "can you tell us the hag's location?" "i can't give it to you directly, things work in their own balance, i can give you a general direction, but you have to find the destination." Glimji rolled his eyes- "more riddles". the spirit then intoned a fairly... simple riddle. "seek the wet spot at the end of the circle".

blank stares. blinking eyes. a few seconds later the stone says "your pursuer has left the cave". "damn it" cursed killpi silently. "i can show you another way of travel." voiced the spirit. "step through the mushroom at the end". weird? not after some of the things here. Lynn rushed through, the rest after.

guessing the riddle
only to appear near the bridge of Far Reach! now that IS a nifty way to travel. hopefully faster than our tracker. but still no closer to the riddle. "It's the well of the fort! the mountains form a circle, they are at it's mouth, and a wet spot is a watering hole" thought Lynn. "It's in the nameless Keep" said Teal'c "the circle is the day, the end of it is the sunset, as in the west." Ayla seemed deep in thought. "no, i think we need to go to the catacombs again, the circle is life, it's end is death, we need to seek a wet spot in the catacombs". and so on...

we decided Killpi will go and call for Mike the hunter and Judith the healer. from the village. a few sneaking later (in which he saw the Fist has left the village) some more coffee, more tobacdco and chat the two village elder were with us. we were more or less settled to the idea of the Fist fort (mainly because we thought it a fitting end to the advanture) and inquired with Mike if he can get us close to it, if the village can make a distraction, and if we can get any allies (the centaur came to mind, and Mike suggested to also talk with the Goblin King in the mountains.

However they kept telling us that they think it means something else (gentle DM nudging) till we considered other options, when it finally struck us- the village! it has a watering hole! the end of our journey here? is that why the Spirit of the Valley brought us so close? Mike confirmed there are some cavers underneath, mainly of shocker lizard and fungus. we decided to go for it.

"guess my intention" meaning
these kind of riddles have the tendency to screw things up since the players will almost certainly think of something else than you did, which happened here. but i think it was fun. saw we gave as bit more meaning to the valley.

i wonder if the DM prepared several "answers", as he did entertain the "attack the fort" plan quite a bit, and seemed to have some thing planned that route. did he chose the village due to the meeting's time running a bit short? i don't know. it did feel a bit like we were pushed towards this solution, but not majorly.

Down the well, herding lightning
first we slept, it was a long day. Lynn dreamt of dragons, and Ayla woke her own self today, which creeped some out after her being so chirpy yesterday. (see previous session). it enabled our casters finally access to 2nd level spells, which we needed going after the hag.

on the way to the village Killpi brought up the arrow of our stalker again. VERY high quality, elven made. this alerted us a bit. elves? "do the Fist hire the fey folk?" asked Glimji. "well, on rare occasions they rare specialists from other races". Killpi grimaced, and then grinned wickedly. "a specialist eh? i like a challenge!"

we got some long cloaks and into the village, and waited till most people scurried to their daily chores. then we got to the well, and slid down our ropes to the pool below. the last one was Ayla, who was spotted by a young girl coming to her. "what you doing?". the player was a bit stumped. " I'm climbing down the well to save the world. please don't tell anyone!"

group face palm.

anyway, we let it slide and splooshed to the pool below. a natural cave with many mushrooms. the temperature a bit warmer. connection to Red Smoke mountain? we started exploring, and soon met some shocker lizards.

we tried to move pass them without alerting them. and found a little maze with pools, mushrooms and other shocker lizards. Lynn, the only one with skills in handle animals tried to calm the little critters, with the rest helping, but perhaps they sensed the draconic influence- they were edgier most times, and the party once fled an angry mob of 14 shocker lizards. "Hey Lynn, don't make a career change just yet!" laughed Killpi. "we should herd them all to the hag's place, and then- kabloom!" however Lynn's attempts seemed to verge on the nearly catastrophic. we let it go.

that look in your eyes
finally we seemed to be making headway, and got into a little cavern. perception rolls later, and some of us notcied the critter hiding between the mushrooms- a basilisk!

Lynn failed her saving throw. this usually means dead, but our house rules subvert most "save or die" effects to ability damage (dex in this case) so she became heavier, stonier, but lived. the party tried to close the distance and chose simple bashing down tactics, with Lynn failing another saving throw, nearly becoming stone. the rest (bastards) kept making their saves.

Lynn turned away from the creature as Teal'c and Killpi (flanking) rended the beast dead, but not before a light and ominous laughter could be heard from the back of the cave.

final battle, or "just as long as i'm useful" part 2
Ayla started casting lesser restoration on Lynn (takes 3 rounds) while Killpi cast obscuring mist to protect us, while Killpi took a hiding behind the Basilisk's corpse. Teal'c advanced close to the end of the obscuring mist.

When Killpi saw the hag, slightly hovering over some of the mushrooms. "looks more like a fey than a hag." he said. (adding as a player- "all the enemies are hot babes?"

the hag cast a silence power, breaking the lesser restoration. Lynn motioned to the ones closest to her to move to the edge, and draw the hag to us. which is when Teal'c and even Glimji (!!!) ran the cave towards her, Ayla in their heel, Killpi joining at the fray.

Lynn was about to join when suddenly all the giant mushroom started grappling and entangling us all! and according to this session's brief tradition, everyone succeeded their saves, except for Lynn. Glimji comes close and fails a color sprat, Killpi tries the other stun grenade from the rouge in the cave, and fails. the hag uses ray of enfeeblement and Teal'c dodged it easily.

Lynn tried to break free.

Teal'c and Killpi due a recurring bash duo on the hag, whne GLimji hits her with a touch of idiocity, while Ayla calls the light of lun (i don't know this spell). the hag moves aways and drinks a potion of restoration, negating the touch of idiocity.

Lynn tries to break free.

another nice touch of idiocity, 6 down all mental stats! Killpi and Teal'c maneuver to keep the flanking, and dish out more nice damage. Ayla looses her light of luna andhits. the hag tries some attack that misses.

the party laughs the Lynn in entnalged, in myst, and can't make a noise (my characters have a tendency to miss out on the big fights) when Lynn breaks free! she moves out of the troubled zone. finally, in the fight!

when Ayla commands the hag to come to her, which provokes AOO all around, Killpi delivering the last strike to fell the hag/ fey.

even my bonus from auras didn't help them- were out of range.

not out of this yet
we take the hag's body and basilisk's head with us, as well as some treasure and the hag's dream amulet. we explore the caves more and find the have an out about a mile away, but decide to sleep in the caves first, regroup, and get lynn's dex back (lesser restorations). Ayla woke up glum this morning, her vestment still controlling her disposition.

Level up! i took a level of fighter this time. level 5. we climbed up the well back to the village, the whole village people there- the Fist are coming! we came to the wall and talked to Andrew, the mayor. it seems the Fist were amassing some force, in intent to wipe up the village. we decided to try and parley with them.

we went towards them with Andrew, and splayed our findings on the floor. at the head rode Alex, 3 elite fist soldiers, and an elf to which Killpi quickly hissed. "specialist".

Lynn tells the story, emphasizing our desire to help the village, risking our selves and having come to this by mistake, there is no need to the village to suffer. as to the magic of the gnome? well, he was touched by the hag. Glimji tried to weave a sad tale of heroism, sacrifice and altruism, while Killpi was more practical, seeking to "end the needless and pointless circle of death". Ayla tried to touch the compassionate side of Alex, her humanity, while Teal'c remained silent.

Alex seemed to think. "I will consult with my advisors, Shaina (the elf) and others. we have watched you through her eyes and others for quite some time. it's a nice little tale you tell. But you (she motioned Lynn) have long forsaken our ways, and even become a traitor. more than that- now you're contaminated by some dragon spirit? and the gnome who's magic confuse, befoul and alter the thoughts of those he meet? and the holy woman? wears a powerful magic item that makes her an idiot or a fool, and she wear it gladly! and as to YOU (she leaned towards Killpi) "talking about ending the circle of death when you're nothing but a happy natural born psychopathic murderer ("i'm but an honest businessman!")" ALex straightened up "the best one of you is the orc for Chrone's sakes!" she trumpted her horse a few more steps. "your aim is to protect the village, mine is to eradicate all foul magic here. i just don't see how it will coincide. i shall talk with my advisors, and we shall talk with in the hour".

yay. we rolled our influence rolls, it seemed to be pretty high, but Alex demeanor seemed to be hard to beat.

unexpected ending.
"do we even stay?" said Glimji, let's run!". "No!" said Killpi, "we stay and fight, and kill the bitch!" quickly we thought to fight, but we needed help. again we thought to get help from the centaurs, and possibly from the goblin king Mike mentioned earlier (but that wouldn't work, as it will take too much time). we made some preparations (traps and the like) and send Mike to the centaurs. we'll try and sell some lie to buy some time.

but we didn't really need it seemed. our influence was better than expected. "despite my reservations" spoke Alex as if it hurt her. "my advisors agree the magical danger in the village is gone. it is free." yay! we rejoiced. "you however are a different matter. some of my advisers said you did real good here, while some of my... people (Shaina leaned over) would like to test their skills and some of these new found powers of yours." we prepared for a fight, though it seemed helpless against the 80+ Fist assembled. "you have 2 days. 2 days to try and run. you are outlaws now. hunted, till found dead. flee now, for in 2 days there shall be no reprice." Alex leaned down at us. "run fugitives, run little tainted dogs. the hunt is on!"

not quite the ending we were hoping for.
Ayla talked to Andrew, the guy we wanted to free from the fort (see session 2/3) "i hope you'll be well from now, and that you mess not with the arcane".
Killpi offered some laxatives in a cookie to Shaina "a present for a good hunt?" but she smiled and waved it away. "we shall meet again". "I'm stuck with you guys?" Glimji groaned, bemoaning his fate.

Lynn seemed thoughtful. she pulled out her armbraces from her back pack, the ones that held the worn mark of the Fist on them. she held them. "i have often wondered whether my choice some time agao, a choice that cost me my position in your order was the right one. i wanted to go back, to find my place, my meaning..." she threw the arm braces to the snow. "i prefer my new meaning, and my new people. they are so much better than i could ever be in this pathetic sham called the Fist. thank you for liberating me."

and with that the party started to make haste towards the opening in the mountains.

so this was the closing session for this little adventure. a bit of an odd one, not the classic ending, but in a way i think it was a good one. i did miss a good final fight but it was also nice that our influence could affect things. i'll summarize thoughts in the next post. hope you liked it!