CHANGELING CHASE

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At the bottom of the stone slide was another (wetter) chamber. When me and the kobold slid to the bottom, we saw that the changeling had unfurled a scroll, and was standing over a hideous mass of bones and flesh stitched together into some.... more ABSTRACT form than your average humanoid undead. When she heard us hit ground, she turned to look at us, threw her hands up in an over-the-top "Shocked and Scared" look, dropping the scroll and running further down into the caves in the process.

We grabbed the scroll, and found it was an "Animate Dead" spell. We figured, we might be able to use whatever the heck this monstrous looking thing was against her, so the factotum UMDed it and called the mess of bones to unlife. It twitched, jerked, climbed into some hideous spiderlike form... turned pitch black, filling the air with an icy chill, and EXPLODED in a shower of black ice and negative energy. A smackload of cold and negative damage, a concussive blast that sends the two of us flying hard into the wall (for more bludgeoning damage), and in one single move the two of us were in single digit hipoints.

Kobold: “In retrospect, that was a fairly OBVIOUS trap...”

So he uses his Opportunistic Piety ability and channels some positive energy to get us back into double digit hitpoints, and we press on.

We finally come to what looks like, hopefully, a dead end chamber. This looks to be where the changeling has been living these past few weeks, as there's basic amneties set up, and some personal looking belongings. The chamber is also full of natural columns (the kind that form with a slagtite means a stalagmite), and the changeling does her best to hide behind them and evade us. Considering, to this point, she still hasn't made a single audible sound, she does a fairly good job. We never once catch her with listen checks, it's only when we spot glimpses of her that we can re-assess where she is.

We split up, to try to corner her somehow, but she kept sneaking past us, trying to make it back to the entrance so she could climb up back the way she came. Finally I gesture to the kobold. I'm going to spiderclimb above the entrace, he's going to chase her towards it. I'll drop and grapple her as soon as I see her, and he can try to attack. After a few rounds, it works, and she comes sprinting towards the entrance, thinking we'd lost her. I drop and try to initiate a grapple, but it provokes an attack of opportunity and she punches me and slips by me up the hole. Except I can spiderclimb at will, so moving up the passage is a lot easier for me than it is for her making climb checks. Except every time I get up to her, she gets another attack of opportunity and kicks me in the face. I would just pop her with an eldritch blast, but since she's trying to ESCAPE, it'd be a waste, hurting her but allowing her to get further away.

Fortunately, space finally work out to our advantage. When the two of us reach the next highest chamber (with the exploding undead thing, and the kobold in close pursuit), the rough terrain left by the shower of bones slows her down, while I just spiderclimb around the wall and perch at the exit leading up. The kobold comes up and blocks the path leading back DOWN, she backs towards the middle of the chamber, and I nail her with an eldritch blast. She throws up her hands. I assume it's another trick, but ready an action to fire at her again.

Me and the kobold both advance on her, and she looks like she's contemplating taking another dash at the exit up, when the swashbuckler and dragon shaman come sliding down (looking much the worse for wear). We all circle her while she holds up her hands in depressed defeat. The swashbuckler asks if we should just kill her where she stands, but she presses her wrists together and waves them at him, pleading with her eyes, a fairly obvious show of surrender. The swashbuckler, a little surprised, says "She's mute?!" to which the changeling shifts her face to mirror his, and makes a "DURR" face (calling him an idiot without actually saying as much).

The dragon shaman and kobold agree, they're not comfortable killing a surrendering prisoner, no matter how much of a pain she'd been. So we drag her down to the lower chamber to go through her stuff and see if we can find anything parcticularily relevant. We don't find a lot. Some magical items, wands and scrolls of animate dead and gentle repose (when we asked her where these came from, she holds out her hands in the classic "I don't know" pose and shrugs with a little smile). And a bunch of rolls of black silk cloth with golden embroidery. We unroll a few, and with a successfull knowledge check, instantly understand. She's a binder. The cloths are seals that she can use to summon vestiges. When we say it out loud, her face immediately changes back to an expressionless mask, obviously upset that we understand.

We bring up the possibility of real interrogation, considering how compliant she's gotten since she surrendered. Which is when it hits the factotum.

"Guys. She surrendered pretty quickly. Didn't even really fight."

Swashbuckler: Because she didn't want to die?

Factotum: But it was a pretty quick about face, even in the circumstances, don't you think? She didn't even put up a struggle, and now she's just going along with what we want?

Dragon Shaman: So?

Factotum: So, we need to get back to the docks. NOW.

The changeling adopts the tiniest smirk at that. We're all hit with the "Oh Crap" realization at the same moment, and we start dragging her up towards the main cave entrance. When we get to the larger, brightly lit chamber? No skeletons. No mine cars. Most of the crates are missing, just a few stray crates partially full of black onyx, and tracks leading up the caves.

She wasn't trying to fight us. She wasn't even really trying to get away. That's WHY she charged blindly into a dead end. She wanted to keep us busy while her undead minions loaded up the stones they'd been digging up!

CRAP.

Standing around in the chamber in slack jawed horror, her face shifted to a random female form and she pointed at us, making the motions of over the top mocking laughter, while mouthing the words "You're so stupid". The Swashbuckler reared up to punch her, and she shifted back to the expressionless mask and shirking away from him, throwing up her hands again.

We booked it back to our ship, only to see tiny little forms through the fog. Skimmers, quick little ships, out on the open sea.

Me: Any chance of us catching them?

DM: The tiny little lightning quick ships, each being manned and rowed by crews of tireless undead, who will not to stop to eat, sleep, or even slow down? No, you won't catch them.

Kobold: Crap.



UNDEAD MOUNTS?
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So we discuss what to do now. Our DM informs us that between the fighting, the chasing, the capturing, and the plot advancement, we'd picked up enough XP to level to 6.

Naturally we all stop dead in our tracks to update our character sheets again, while the DM gets his notes ready for what happens next. I had a tough decision to make though. See, right from level one I'd been planning on getting Fell Flight at the first possible opportunity. Being level 6, I get my first chance at grabbing a more powerful Eldritch Invocation, and the ability to constantly fly was really really high up on my list of desires. But I hadn't planned on hitting level 6 while on an island full of black Onyx and shuffling corpses. "The Dead Walk" is another option at this level... And with my level, if I take that, I can control 24 HitDie worth of undead creatures.

I decided, in the end, that I can ALWAYS take fell flight later. But I'd be a fool to look a gift horse in the mouth. And in this case, a gift horse takes the form of a pile of dead bats large enough to ride around on. And zombies retain their ability to fly

I had to bring it up with my teammates of course. "How do you guys feel about our ship being crewed by the undead? *innocent smile*" Responses were mixed.

We don't have to pay them, we don't have to feed them, and they'll keep doing their job even while we're sleeping.

We can't sail into any official port with them above deck, and if any authority checks our cargo hold, we could have big trouble.

I bring up the possibility of dumping the zombies overboard before we reach land, and restocking them when we have fresh corpses available.

Dragon Shaman: How many corpses do you expect to stumble across?!

Me: ...we're ADVENTURERS?

Dragon Shaman: Right, a metric crapload, right.

In the end, it was decided this was a horrible idea that we should avoid.

Kobold: I don't think it's the most sound and safe decision we could make as a group at this moment in time.

Dragon Shaman: As captain I have to say I'm not in favor of it. As a devout worshipper of a good god, I have to say I'm strictly opposed to it.

Swashbuckler: Yeah, the whole "Undead" thing probably won't be in our bests interest.

Me: ...*cough* You guys remember that there's a giant pile of rideable bat corpses up the mountain, right?

*pause*

Swashbuckler: I fully support "Operation Undead Labor"!

Kobold: If I get a mountable bat zombie, you can turn everyone we meet into a walking corpse.

Dragon Shaman: I hate you all.

So because he can't sail the ship ALONE, the captain tolerates our plans. He mentions that we are crossing into the grey-area of heroics (yet again). I point out that, while yes, abuse of a corpse is questionable, they're going to be turned into extensions of my will, so they're only as good or evil as I am. He points out that, if I lose control of them, they'll revert to trying to eat anything they can fit their jaws around. I ask "And that makes them different from normal carnivores HOW?" He reluctantly agrees to go along with things.

The large sized bats were all 4 HD, so I have a rideable bat corpse for all three people who want one, and still have 12 HD worth of undead I can control. After cramming a few hundred gold worth of black onyx into their skulls, they're ready to ride. We'll need to make some custom saddles to make riding them easier, but we can cling to their backs for now. My DM also agreed to let me ressurect the 1/4 HD bats at 4 for 1, so I also have 12 normal sized zombie bats sticking to the bigger one. Which I don't really think will come in handy, but it IS fun.

I also named my mount. The DM got annoyed. "You've had LIVING companions you didn't name, and you just named a zombie?!" I argued that it was more of a VEHICLE than a creature, and that we named the ship too! I call him Sky-rat.

I also resurrected five skeletons to serve us on the boat (faster than zombies, easier to stuff into small areas to hide them if need be), I had four left on my HD limit to use during battles, which seemed like enough for now. The trick is, if a warlock uses black onyx to raise the undead, they're permanent. If I DON'T use black onyx, the zombies that result only last a few minutes. Which is perfect for mid fight, because I can have a zombie fight for me, then crumble to dust without looking like I did anything suspicious.



BACK TO THE GAME

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Moving on.

We tried coaxing the dwarf woman to come out of her store, but she said she'd rather stay where she has food and saftey. We're planning on informing the next port we're in about the situation, and that the undead have been cleared out, so they can safely restore order there. When we dock, we're going to stuff the skeletons in various hiding spots, and have the bats play dead and say we're using them for material in crafting. That should let us get away without too much legal trouble.

We almost ended the session there, but we really wanted to get some more information out of the changeling for us to mull over in between games. So we collected everything useful we could from the town (including a whole MESS of black onyx from back in the cave!) and set off at sea. We figured we would have an easier time keeping track of the Binder Changeling on the open water, where she couldn't run off. We'd have to keep her tied up, of course, or she'd mimic us and probably start causing hell. We took her below deck while the skeletons manned things above. It stormed again when we were taking off, but thankfully, skeletons don't mind a little rain.

We tried to lock a bell around her neck (really) since she was so quiet. She mocked us by 'washing' her ears like a cat. We noticed the bell made no noise. That's when it hit us. She's not just MUTE, and she's not just STEALTHY. She literally CAN'T make any noise. She seemed depressed when we pointed that out, so we asked why she looked upset about it.

She thought for a minute, then moved her hands like she was playing piano and singing wordlessly. We asked if she'd been a musician, and she nodded. I asked, "This is a curse. Isn't it?" She looked sadder, and nodded again. The factotum asked what happened. She gestured for something to write with.

Swashbuckler: “Dude, she's a binder, we can't give her something to WRITE with. God knows what she'll do.”

The Dragon Shaman gives her some parchment, ink, and a pen all the same. He tells the swashbuckler to cut off her hand if it looks like she's trying something stupid, to which she goes wide eyed and puts one hand on her heart and one in the air (obviously promising to be good).

The message she writes is very abrupt. "Bard. Seduced wrong person. Betrayed wrong person. Curse. Fin"

Factotum: “So someone just wanted to hurt you as much as you'd hurt them.”

The changeling glares and writes "Thousandfold" Music obviously meant a lot to her.

Dragon Shaman: “Why are you working with these people now? Why are you doing this?”

The changeling almost tears up at that, but writes "When he's a god, he promised to make me his herald."

Swashbuckler: “When who's a god?”

The changeling just glares. It's obvious we know who. The Drifter.

We pause for a minute, before the dragon shaman asks if there was some other way to break the curse.

She writes "Tried everything"

He asks if we could find some way to break the curse, if she'd give up being evil.

She adopts a mile-long stare, blankly looking at nothing in parcticular. “She writes "Too late. Killed hundreds. Liked it."

He sighs and says "It's never too late. Anyone can be redeemed in time."

She doesn't respond.

I ask where they're taking the black onyx to. She looks at me like I'm an idiot. I ask if it's the ziggurat, and she puts one finger on the tip of her nose, and points at me with her other hand.

The swashbuckler asks what they're trying to accomplish. She looks angry, throws down the pen and parchment. Question time must be over. Swashbuckler says we can beat the information out of her, as long as we don't break her fingers. Her form instantly changes to a terrified young woman, tear streaked makeup and a black eye, shaking her head back and forth in fear, before changing just as fast to an expression of calm, resolved fury and spitting in the swashbucklers face. He punches her, splitting her lip. She licks her lips with a thin snake tongue, painting them red in the process and continuing to glare back.

The dragon shaman says this obviously isn't going to get us anywhere. That we should just tie her up and give her time to think about things. The factotum uses an inspiration point to make a ridiculously high "use Rope" check to make sure she's bound in the chair and can't move at all. Once we're confident she's not going anywhere, we go above deck to try to get our bearings against the storm and try to decide on a heading.

Our DM informs us that a few minutes later, we see flashes of light coming from below deck and hear loud, laboured weeping. We rush into the room where she's kept, and see her still tied there, still unable to move. But in front of her is a seal, and a weeping vestige standing in it. She'd chewed the split in her lip and SPIT the seal onto the ground in her own BLOOD

When she saw us, the vestige disappeared... by turning into streams of water and pouring into her. Instantly she began weeping (visibly, not audibly) as the vestige had. The walls begin to crackle with electricity, and she cringes and shuts her eyes tight. A bolt of lightning appears from nowhere and... hits...her. Square in the back. The sound and noise are deafning, and she's obviously scorched and in pain, but the lightning bolt also destroyed the ropes and part of the chair holding her in place. We moved to fight her, but she sprinted past us.

I hit her with an eldritch blast, but she took it in stride (even though she was obviously badly damaged and in pain), and ran straight out into the storm, jumped onto the deck of the ship, and dove straight into the stormy waters. We moved to the edge. She'd taken my form, and was pretending (quite obviously) to struggle and drown, before switching to her pale grey 'mask', smirking at us, and sinking into the inky waters with a mocking wave goodbye.

The dragon shaman dove after her (the only one who could breath underwater, which she obviously could too now, due to the vestige), but between his armor and low swim checks, she disappeared into the murky depths.

We got the dragon shaman back on deck.

And the session ended.





Destination Unknown

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Session Starts where the last one left off.

Some crazy mute Binder Changeling just summoned lightning in the hold of our ship and managed to escape into the black choppy waters of the unforgiving sea. The four of us are up on deck with our five-man-skeleton-band, fighting a horrible storm and trying to pick a heading to follow.

The Dragon Shaman (who IS technically the captain of the ship) once again wants to return to the desert continent. He reminds us that The Drifter now has an undetermined number of spellcasting bugs, resurrecting warriors, a captive angel, and now a small group of skeletons carting a metric crapload of Black onyx.

We point out that we still don't know a whole lot about what's going on, and there are still three potential places to find new information about What's Going On(tm). We've ruled out the arctic. Even if the destination wasn't being listed as a lie, the odds of us finding anything to go on there are slimmer than elsewhere.

We elect to head for the second port on the Dark Continent after all, but agree that unless we find a very good reason not to, our next step is going to be to haul back to the Egyptian continent (with a brief stopover in the central island to check in with Macguiller and resupply, since that island is in the path between our next port, and the ziggurat anyway).

So off we sail, into dark and stormy waters, wondering in the back of our minds if a psychotic murderous changeling is clinging to the hull of the ship.

It turned out to NOT be the case, because we safely made it to our next destination. We sailed in to the port on an overcast morning through still choppy waters. The land itself looked to be a dense overgrown swampy jungle, and our first assumption had been that we'd lost our bearings in the storm. Then we saw a tiny dilapidated wooden pier at the mouth of a massive river, waving the flag of the Empires colors (black white and teal, for anyone concerned with such things). We pulled up to the rotten planks near as we could and docked, hoping our ship wouldn't just tear the pier clean off if it rocked in the water.

Before we could do much, a man came walking out of the port masters shack with a lazy stride. His dress style was some combination of normal attire and 'native' decoration, but all of it sported the empires colors. He waved as he came up to us.

"Ya don't wanna be stayin here. Plague's struck. Everyone's sick, ain't no one getting better." We asked him if he was the usual port master, and he let out a high sad laugh. "Sure am. Five years of stampin papers here, or twenty-five years of hard labor back home. I'm still wondering if I got the better deal."

We asked for the details of the plague, and he said it was like some kind of massive flu that everyone seemed to come down with at once. Headaches, chills, fever, vomiting. Symptoms kept changing, no one was getting healthy. Told us again we might as well take off. Again we told him we didn't have much choice, so he sighed and asked for our port documents.

When we told him we'd come from an abandoned port, he looked at us dubiously. We promised it was the case, but he shook his head and put up his hand to shut us up. Told us he didn't actually care where we'd come from, 50 gold and he'd update our paperwork and be on our merry way. We agreed, if only to cause less long term trouble. He actually updated our papers to include our LEAVING this port all ready, because he didn't want us interacting with him once we went further into the jungle, so we didn't "bring the plague to him".

We verified that the river was deep enough to sail a 10-man ship up it, and he nodded that we shouldn't have any problem, but that when the river forked, keep to the left. We asked what was down the right, and he said that it was nothing but a village of natives struck worst by the plague. He also told us "If you ignore that advice and go to the village anyway, at least trust me on this one. Don't listen to a word Papa HeeNo says. Head full of crazy ideas, really shady guy." We asked who Papa HeeNo was, and he just shook his head and mouthed "Witch Doctor" before looking around nervously and heading back to his shack with a wave.



PaPa HeeNo

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So we set up the river. Naturally, the first thing we did when we saw the fork was to push right. It was difficult maneuvering, and eventually the water did run too shallow, and we had to leave the SS Ironman where she sat. I gave the skeletons a few daggers and told them to defend themselves and the ship, but not to attack unless they or the boat were being tampered with. (I considered that to be an acceptable balance between "lethal misunderstanding" and "loophole allowing destruction of our ship").

We took to the skies here, with three of us riding our giant zombie bats, and our Dragonborn flying on his own wings (flying for a round here or there and then gliding along with us, since his wings can only support a few rounds of sustained flight per day).

We spotted the native village in a clearing, and considered landing our bats in some trees and walking the rest of the way, but we opted to just land in the clearing. They looked so sick and listless we didn't think they would get too worked up, once we explained we were there to find out what was going on. We were completely right, our landing on flying bat corpses and dismounting stirred no huge response. They were all watching us, confused and curious... the healthier looking ones anyway. Most of them seemed so ill they were delirious, with the ones who still had to together trying to tend to the worst off.

Our Dragon Shaman was largely struck with empathy, asking the DM if his lay on hands ability would provide any help. I was worried that using the healing now would be a... less than ideal tax on our collective resources, but he still knelt by the nearest person and put a hand to their forehead, promising he was trying to help, and letting a point of healing light pulse into them. It seemed to have no effect, so he tried a higher number (five), but it still looked like it wasn't doing anything. That's when Papa HeeNo showed up.

He came out of nowhere, coming up to our group from a previously empty direction. He was seven and a half feet tall if he was an inch, and slender as a scarecrow. He didn't look like your archetypical 'witchdoctor', by which I mean there was no headdress or bone piercings or facial paint. There was no doubt about who he was though, he had a foreboding presence that demanded attention. "You dasn't try and help... won't do no good, and they dasn't need any right now."

The swashbuckler makes a passing comment that they obviously DO need help, because they're obviously DYING.

Papa HeeNo just goes on talking in his deep monotone. "I know what causin dis here sickness. A Man causin dis here sickness, and when he leaves he takes that sickness with him. And he leavin real soon. Come, Papa HeeNo needs your help."

So of course we followed him. We walked to a dark and twisted tree growing half on the land and half out into the swampy water, when HeeNo reaches into its bundle of roots, and seemingly falls through them and into nothing. We just kinda stand there awkwardly, until HeeNo reaches his hand out and beckons for us to follow. So one by one, we go tumbling down through the roots and into a dank and dark little room. There's a bundle of rags in the corner that looks like a bed, a tiny table on the floor, and the walls are absolutely strewn with bones, shelves containing jars of eyes, live mice, and god knows what else. Hand-carved trinkets and voodoo dolls abound. Water is dripping from everywhere, and you get the distinct impression that we are definitely under the water line of the swamp. Occasionally there will be a shimmer of something perfectly polished and cleaned, intricate gold objects and glass lenses and such, standing out against the otherwise filthy and horrifying surroundings.

And Papa HeeNo is sitting crosslegged at his tiny table (which is covered in runes and symbols and laid out in an obvious pattern). He's shaking bones in his fists and throwing them across the table, scanning his eyes over to take them all in before scooping them up and shaking them again. He keeps doing this over and over while he talks, Rattle, Rattle, Clatter, Pause, Scrape, Rattle, Rattle, Clatter, in a perfect and unbreakable rhythm.

He starts talking before we can say anything. "You knowin dis Man I spoke of. You searchin for him, wantin to stop him. He bad man, doin bad things."

Swashbuckler: “The bones told you that?”

Papa HeeNo: "Your eyes told me that. I seein you knowin when I sayin. I can help you against dis man. He almost finishin what he doin here, and when he leaves, the sickness leaves with him."

Papa Heeno stares us all in the eyes one by one, never breaking his rythm of the bones. "But dis man, he comin back someday soon. And when he comin back, he bringin somethin worse. Aint no one gonna live no more when he comin back"

I asked what The Drifter is trying to do. Papa HeeNo just replies with "Somethin Bad. Some Sickness. Bad Sickness".

We pause for a minute to take that in, before he goes on talking. "I can ward dis place against Him for a while. Keep the sickness out. For a time. But I needin ya help to do dis. If'n ya help Papa HeeNo, Papa HeeNo helpin ya. The Spirits showin me a Boon for each of ya. Ya help me, and I give dis Boon to ya."

We glance at each other before most of us either shrug or nod. The Dragon Shaman says we'll help any way we can.

Papa HeeNo just keeps shaking his bones and throwing them at the table. "A snake woman lives in the jungle." He points off in one direction during the pause before scooping his bones back up. "She's a bad snake woman, and she be mad at us. We be feedin her for years, meat. We'n too sick to feedin her anytime soon. She gettin hungry. She comin for us soon. You bring me dis woman's head, and I givin ya da Boon." he laughs, an unnerving monotonous laugh. "But ya be sendin the dragonman in first, ya hear?"

And with that, he gestures for us to leave.



Whacking Day

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Being adventurers, a crazy witchdoctor telling us to go murder a stranger for profit seemed like a perfectly normal turn of events.

So after a quick inventory/gear check to make sure our stuff was in good repair and we were sound for combat, we took to the skies. The Dragon Shaman only had two rounds of flight left, so he reluctantly hopped onto the bat with the kobold (best weight distribution), and we set off. We didn't have to go far, it couldn't have been more than a mile before we noticed something odd against the dense jungle canopy. There was an obvious stonework path - abandoned and in disrepair but clearly man-made - leading up to the remains of a small two story stone building of some kind. A few locations had given in and showed the ground floor below, and through them, we could barely make out a small female figure. I had Eldritch Spear as one of my blast shapes, and she was in range of it. I wanted to pop her, but the group elected to land and find out at least a little more about the situation before we started shooting complete strangers in the back.

We landed the bats near the stone pathway, and I ordered them to take back to the skies and circle above the building in case I needed them to swoop in for assistance. We set out up the path, and everything seemed relatively normal. And by relatively normal, I mean the area was completely devoid of natural life, and there were stray bones and skulls in every direction you looked, apparently tossed into larger piles the closer you got to the entrance. The building was obviously falling apart. Rough gravel in odd shapes (apparently from the collapsing stone), the whole building was covered in moss and vines, but a spot check made us realize there were still no signs of non-plant creatures. Not even bugs.

We snuck up to the entrance and leaned around, we could see a cloaked and hooded female form walking around. We heard very faint, angry murmuring. The area was shadowy, and she was moving away from us, so her exact location was difficult to place.

Remembering Papa HeeNo's suggestion, we sent the dragon shaman in first. We stayed pretty much lock step behind him, checking every possible nook and corner. The woman had apparently disappeared from sight when we'd crossed the threshold. We took it slow, with no sign of her. Our assumption was that she knew we were here, and that we were playing on her terms. We turned out to be right, when we entered a room where the floor had given mostly in, and heard her voice from the broken 'balcony' above, asking what we're doing in her home in a voice that sounded like wet ash being run through a grinder.

The dragon shaman approached her calmly, saying that Papa HeeNo had sent us, but that we were interested in learning more about the situation. She giggled, an ancient rattling sound, and said there was nothing to learn. The Dragon Shaman asked if she didn't want to tell us her side of the story.
She giggled again, and said "I can SHOW you my side of the story?" Before ripping back her hood and staring dead at the Dragon Shaman.

He immediately rolled a Fortitude save (and we all rolled initiative). He passed it, and tucked and rolled back to our group, saying "F*** ME it's a medusa!". Me and the kobold immediately dropped our eyes to the ground and shielded our eyes with our hands. Just in case. Our fortitude saves were NILL. The kobolds was worse than mine, but he can at least use inspiration to boost it up. I'm stuck trying to roll high numbers just to keep being made of meat!

Nevertheless. I won initiative. So when actual combat began, my first course of action was to run blindly into the room, rough terrain and all, and fire a blind shot (total concealment) with my eldritch blast at the medusa. And I HIT her too, for a good roll at that. The kobold ran out too, and fired a blind hand-crossbow shot (but missed). The medusa went next, and she jumped down and used her gaze attack again, catching both of us in it. Total Concealment meant I didn't have to roll against it, but the kobold didn't get lucky and DID. Fortunately, he boosted the saving throw roll with his Inspiration ability, and survived it.

The Swashbuckler cast True Strike, but stayed around the corner to attack the next round. The dragon shaman ran into range, and hit the medusa with his fire breath for good damage. I backed up to the wall and out of her gazes range, and fired another eldritch blast (which missed this time). The kobold used an inspiration point to cast Acid Arrow, and connected with it, which was great because it meant three rounds of acid damage for her.

The medusa dashed through the crowd, passing by the dragon shaman, the kobold, and coming to stop in front of me (sticking to the wall). Her snake-hair bit every one of us on the way. The dragon shaman shrugged off the poison, the kobold used his last bit of inspiration on the saving throw roll again, but the poison went straight to my heart. Four strength damage (HALF MY STRENGHT) later, and I was a wreck.

The Swashbuckler dashed into the room and two-handed power-attacked for a promised hit, and a BEAUTIFUL damage roll. It was glorious. The dragon shaman attacked her for another chunk of hitpoints.

I spiderclimbed up the wall, yelling up to my bats "BABIES! KILL HER!" before firing another blind eldritch blast (Whiff). They start swooping down for an assault. The Kobold takes a swing and connects, but for 1d4-1 damage .

The medusa uses her gaze attack, and things got ugly. The kobold and me both immediately failed and turned to stone where we stood. The problem was, HE was trying to cover his face and standing on solid ground, I was magically clinging to the wall 20 feet up and supported by nothing but the force of my own dark will.

I came tumbling down, straight onto my legs, which cracked and shattered under the weight.

Uh Oh

The fight raged on. The Swashbuckler dropped his longsword and quickdrawed (quickdrew?) his rapier, striking with it for another decent damage roll. She was looking to go down for the count. The dragon shaman closed the gap and attacked for another chunk of hitpoints. The medusa used her gaze attack again, and this time, the swashbuckler failed his saving throw too, turning to a statue where he stood.

It was her last action though. The Dragon Shamans breath weapon had recharged, and he rolled max damage (he actually threw his hands up and shouted "YAHTZEE!!!!!" after he rolled).

For a more cinematic description, he actually pressed his hand over the medusas face, slammed the back of her head against the stone wall, and aimed low, charring her body to a crisp below the neck with such a vicious blast that her body literally just gave away under her neck and collapsed.
Then the bats came and landed around him. They hadn't made it down in time for the fight



Last Leg

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The DM decided that me being a statue didn't mean they were out of my control, thankfully, so they just sat around waiting for my next order (which obviously wasn't coming). The Dragon Shaman scooped up the medusas head into a sack, so he wouldn't have to worry about glancing at it the wrong way, and then set about rummaging through the abandoned building. He found a few interesting things. A pair of dice that were seemingly carved out of bone and covered in strange runes, that he tucked safely into a pack. Some silver and gold coins, some gems and jewelry. And a small jar absolutely covered in tiny lizard statues (which were probably just tiny lizards, petrified in a huge number of layers).

In the jar was a translucent blue goo, and when the dragonborn wiped the goo on the side of the jar, one of the lizards sprang to life and ran off into the jungle. So he naturally returned to us, and brought the kobold and swashbuckler back to life. The three of them stood around for a while, debating on what to do with me. My stone legs were absolutely shattered. Peicing them back together would take god knows how long, and that's if they could even find all the right peices in the gravely rubble. Closer examination revealed that a lot of the gravel was actually stone insects, so the odds of peicing me back together was nil. Then the Swashbuckler raised the gruesome possibility of my mangled legs rotting off of me if they did something wrong.

It was THAT comment that made them decide to resurrect me sans lower limbs.

So, THAT SUCKS.

The Dragon Shaman thinks it's ironic justice. I skipped over the ability to fly at will in order to have zombie mounts. Now I NEED a zombie mount to MOVE under my own power. He chuckled. I glared.

The zombie bats move at 20 feet, so I'm the slowest party member on land now. But my adventuring career isn't over. I auto-fail any dex or strength check that needs legs, and take a massive penalty to full body dex checks. But my ACTUAL dexterity is still okay, and my aim with my eldritch blast is still fine. So I just have to rely on clinging to a zombie bats back for most situations. I'm less mobile in general, but... it could be worse. I could have shattered outright. My character is in full on hardcore emo-mope mode over her loss though.

My current plan, two levels from now, is to IMMEDIATELY take the Fell Flight invocation so I can fly under my own power, and then to IMMEDIATELY purchase a floor length dress. I'll be floating like a wraith, but at least I'll be more or less where I was before.



Lime in the Coconut

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So we saddle up, and fly back to the village. The Swashbuckler and Dragon Shaman have to help me into Papa HeeNos underground...hut...thing. But we all get situated. He's put his bones away by now, and it looks like he's been busy. The entire hut looks like its contents have been rearranged. He laughs when we tell him what happened, and asks for the bag. He fondles the head through the fabric, nodding to himself when he feels the snakes. Says that he's very glad she's dead, and that he's gonna cut the snakes off and put them around the village to ward off outsiders... that it'll keep them all safer, longer.

Then he says that "The spirits got two boons for each of ya now."

He has the kobold sit in the middle of the table, with me leaning in behind him. The swashbuckler and dragon shaman sat on either side of the two of us. First, he says, he's giving us all a boon of knowledge (but he points at me and says "Dis boon for ya, most of all"). He pulls a cage down from over his shoulder, full of the tiny little white mice. He opens the door and says "Allright now I need ten of ya babies to help Papa HeeNo now" and ten of them scurry out. They're still moving like mice, randomly, darting around, but they all moved out as a group all the same. He shut the door to the cage, still teeming with the other rodents, and left it there on the table.

Then he scoops up a cup and pushes one of the mice into it. The other nine just run around the patterns on the outside of the table, never crossing into where the runes and symbols and letters are. He gestures to me and leans across the table, until we're almost nose to nose, before saying one word. "Priest". Only he says it "Prees-Tah". I arch my eyebrows in surprise, and he goes on "Ah ya be knowin him den. Da spirits don't lie do dey? Dis Prees-Tah, he a bad man. He doin bad tings, da spirits don't like him none at all."

Papa HeeNo cups his hand over the cup and starts rattling it around ruthlessly, probably bludgeoning the hell out of the poor mouse inside, before uncupping his hand and pouring the mouse out into the middle of the table. The mouse runs in a dizzy circle, before finally coming to rest, at which point Papa HeeNo SLAMS a thin iron spike down through the base of the mouses neck and into one of the symbols.

Our group reaciton was "OH!"

He scoops another mouse into the cup and repeats the process. "Da spirits... dey gonna tell us where ya be findin more about dis Prees-Tah. Dey gonna show where ya goin to learn ta stop stop him."

He pours out another mouse, waits for it to stop and SLAMS another spike down into the table. He does it with all ten of them, before looking down at the pattern the mice formed, and mouthing wordlessly.

"Papa HeeNo dont know what dis here means. But da Spirits say YOU do" pointing at me directly.

As an aside, this next part is something me and the DM set up ahead of this session. It was setting this up that PROBABLY saved my character. Spiderclimbing up a wall while fighting a medusa was a poor tactical decision, and the fact that I lost my legs instead of shattering entirely is probably because our DM wanted the plans to carry on.

He hasn't SAID that, it's just the vibe I get

Papa Heeno just says one simple sentence. "Mercyglade."

I just stare blankly at him, before replying quietly "The asylum".

The factotum asks what asylum, and I respond "The asylum they put me in when I started talking back to the voices."

The table (the REAL table, the one the players are sitting at) is quiet for a minute, and the swashbuckler leans off to the side and says "I now take a 5-foot step AWAY from the warlock..."

We all laugh, and then the game continues.

Papa HeeNo nods and goes on "Ya be goin back to Mercyglade. Ya be findin more about dis Prees-Tah. Ya be learning how ta stop him."

I just nod quietly, looking conerned to the point of illness. Then he pulled out the spikes, scooped the dead mice into another box, poured some white liquid into it, closed it, and shook it all around while chanting. When he opened the box to pour the contents back into the cage with the mice, the ten 'helpers' he'd spiked all looked completely normal, hale, and healthy.

Then HeeNo reaches into the box next to his table and starts pulling out odd little trinkets.

The Swashbuckler gets a little wooden ring, intricately carved around the entire length. He says it'll give him more magic, and help him use it better. It turns out that the ring gives him an extra four first-level spell slots, and lets him cast first level spells as a swift action twice a day.

The Factotum gets some kind of sandals. They're more like leather circles that go under the arch of the foot, and lace up around the ankles. They turn out to give him an extra 10 feet move rate, and let him make some downright ridiculous jump checks. Which is exactly what he wants out of life. It also gave him two extra inspiration points.

The Dragon Shaman gets what looks like tiny golden webs made out of delicate feathers, that Papa HeeNo draps over the spikes on his wings. The golden clings to the dragon shamans skin, and will allow him to fly for three times as long as he could otherwise. When he gets the ability to fly indefinitely, the feathers will increase his maneuverability by one step.

I get a pair of black leather wrist braces, laced, and covered in red runes. There are holes for more lacework to be done, and one thin silver chain laced on lower left brace. He also gave me a matching set of short black leather straps, and an additional chain. The way the extra straps sat, it looked like a loopy X made to go over a sphere. I had a clue what the extra bit was for. The braces themselves pumped up my eldritch blast by 2d6, and gave me an extra invocation of the lowest level (still no fell flight).

Papa HeeNo says "Okay, da girl got the knowledge, ya all got ya tings. Three boons left". He pulls out three bottles of foul black sludge, and hands one each to the swashbuckler and dragon shaman. He tells the kobold to put his hands face down on the table in front of him, and sets the third bottle between them.

He tells the two holding the bottles to drink. They hesitate, naturally, and he says "Drink now before ya makin the spirits angry". Since we're adventurers, and doing stupid things is just a matter of course for us, they both chug the bottles together while cringing. Then they both immediately pass out onto the floor together.

Before me or the kobold can react, HeeNo pulls out two more of those iron spikes and SLAMS them down through the center of the kobolds hands, nailed them to the table. As the kobold scream, HeeNo, fast and practiced, opened the bottle and pours it out over both of his hands, before putting his hand on the kobolds face and SHOVES him back so hard his hands slide up over the tops of the spikes, leaving them still in the table and covered in blood and a nasty black syrup.

The kobold topples back, knocking us both to the ground, and passes out on top of me. Papa HeeNo moved too fast to respond to, stepping over the table in one motion, and leaning down over me. I manage to get out "Was this a double cross?" before HeeNo exhales a black cloud of smoke in my face, saying "Sleep Now Girl".




Ja Boons

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We all come to at about the same time. Sitting out in the sunlight, laying in the middle of the village clearing, coming to with the worst headaches any of us have had. We ran over to the roots of HeeNo's hut, but it seemed to be nothing but dirt underneath. The entrance was gone.

It turned out, whatever HeeNo had done was a blessing of some kind though. The Swashbuckler got +2 Dex and another first level spell known (which he didn't consider too hot, but we talked him into taking Protection from Evil. Since he's our strongest attacker, we like the idea of him having a buffer against being mind-controlled).

The Dragon Shaman got a +2 to CON and a +2 to CHA, as well as being able to manifest two auras at once (he checked, he can still take the double-draconic aura feats to manifest three at once, at some point). Pretty darn handy, as the extra CON is actually another three rounds of flying for him, and the extra CHA increases the multiplier for how many Lay On Hands healing points he has).

The Kobold got it the coolest though. When we checked, his hands had two perfect holes through them in the shape of eyes. The skin around them was jet black, and the black was spreading rapidly. If you looked closely, you could actually see it bleeding ever so gradually into his normal skin color. By nightfall, the black will have encompassed him entirely, and given him the Shadow template.
Shadow Kobold. Wicked.

He's trying to decide between Fast Healing 2 or Damage Reduction 5/magic for his shadowy perk.



Intermission

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Now, we have a problem here. A combination of me getting more into the flow or writing, and this session being very roleplaying-heavy with less combat, means we're actually only HALF of the way through tuesday night session, and this post is already ridiculously huge.

I'm going to stop and post this while I work on the rest of this session, and HOPEFULLY I'll have the second part up before our next game saturday. I'll work on being a little more concise in the future.