PDA

View Full Version : Adamantine Meteor Showers-Dark Sun Themed Campaign Log



Kaveman26
2017-10-07, 05:59 PM
Darkest Night:

While capable of hyperbole and quite comfortable with it's use, I tend to steer away from it. Having said that...after a long hiatus I had to drag myself to writing and sharing this. Was simply too much fun not to.

Every gamer friend I have, is a fan of Dark Sun and the concept behind it. The Brom artwork spoke to us all and let us envision a brutal and convincingly harsh climate. The entire mythos of the Defiler and Dragon-Kings was ripe for expansion. This campaign is designed from the backbone of that setting and concept but adjusted and expanded.

Pre-Campaign Bits to Know:

House Rules:

No Flight, No Rez, No Teleport.

Character Creation:
Starting Level 8
PF Core Rules
PF Advanced Player Guide
Ultimate Combat
Ultimate Magic
Advanced Race Guide: Featured Races, Uncommon, and Core Races (No build Your Own)
Unchained Monk
25 Point Buy
No Metal Weapons or Objects (Metal is Going to Be Extremely Scarce or so we were told)
Banned Classes: Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Summoner, Witch,

Story Elements to Consider:
Characters have no advance knowledge of each other or relationship.

Metal is Extremely Scarce

Weapons and Armor not made of metal are prone to break.

The Main Antagonists are going to be Half-Giants and Draconic Casters…aka Dragon Kings. So we can expect to encounter enemies along these lines.

The Mythos:

Where seven city states once stood, only three remain. Four of the overlords once believed to be stern but fair rulers were ousted as Defilers. Now three remain Tyr, Drexja, and Brega. For the purposes of this campaign a defiler is a sorcerer who destroys the world around them to bolster their spells and strength. They begin to adopt draconic traits through this process as their humanity is shed and replaced with the brutal and ruthless aspects of a dragon. A preserver is a sorcerer who gives of themselves to replenish the land around them and restore life. Preservers are often mistaked for defilers as any sorcerer draws inquisition and suspicion. There is a third section of sorcerers called Warlocks who draw from themselves to fuel their spells while neither harming or replenishing the land.

An inquisitional force, both church and state police ferret out defilers in edict of their rulers and carry a harsh reputation. Each city state bears a Praetorian Guard consisting entirely of domesticated half giants. These enforcers led by the Inquisitors of each city state ensure the status quo is maintained. Slavery is still a standard part of life and slaves a valuable commodity. A small sect of clerics or “templars” exist to add a divine element to each of the cities rulering authority. The three remaining city states are led by their namesakes. King Tyr, King Drexja and King Brega.

Tyr is the strongest state, with Brega and Drexja nearly equal to each other. There is an uneasy alliance predicated on trade and economics that prevents warfare between them, but the shadow of invasion is a constant threat. Should Tyr invade Brega it is believed that Drexja would swoop in to counter invade the weakened Tyr and vice versa. If Brega and Drexja combined forces they would be able to potentially take Tyr, but would leave their domains of power vulnerable to the free tribes.

There are five tribes of substantial strength, and multitudes of smaller factions. The core five tribes of note are the Wemics (Centaurs but with lion in place of horse) led by Padalan. The Wemics loathe Tyr for previous attempts at exterminating their race, but bear strong trade relationships with Drexja.

The second free tribe is the Sharakim (Evolved Orcs…sophisticated and intelligent but still powerful). They have openly spoke of overthrowing the usurpers and tyrants of each city but will not attempt such an endeavor without the unified support of the five tribes. The Sharakim are led by their Caliph Raheem.

The Third tribe is the Centaurs as led by Robostus. The Centaurs recognize the divinity of each ruler and refuse to make a play against a King, unless it revealed that they follow the path of the dragon and are proven defilers.

Fourth are the Halflings…feral nomads more savage than most remaining orcs. They are led by their warchief Splinter and crave a true recognized sovereign nation with freedom and autonomy. In essence they want borders of their territory ratified.

Lastly are the Muls, sterile half breeds of dwarf and human, so basically Half-Dwarves. Powerful and sturdy they were bred for labor and grunt work. Enough of them managed to buy their freedom that they managed to create an entire community. They are content to be left alone and wish no interference with the world as it stands. Their leader De-Hon is widely respected by each of the other tribal leaders and viewed as a trustworthy neutral element.


Prologue:

The campaign starts in the most cliché and traditional place imaginable. A small underground tavern at the outskirts of Tyr’s capital at midnight. A stocky human wearing the crimson robes of Tyr’s Inqusition is drowning his sorrows in grog while bemoaning his current situation. His name is Helio, and four hours earlier he was dismissed from his position as a Captain under the leadership of High Inquisitor Ruzdhi, the defacto leader of the city’s Inquistion and Praetorian Guard. If there is one remarkable trait Helio possesses it is inability to shut up. For a man who has dedicated his life to scourging the world of the most vile and repugnant creatures he is astonishing loud and tactless.

Helio: Seven years of diligence and dedication. I flushed out seven Defilers. Seven! Most Commanders are lucky if they are forced to lock horns with three let alone more than half a dozen. I was on a short list for Commander mentored by Ruzdhi himself and then POOF! I’m out on my ass without a damned reason given.

The Inquisition in Tyr is not exactly viewed as corrupt, but they are deemed overzealous and a bit quick in jumping to conclusions. The presence of the crimson robes is not an invitation that gives people the warm fuzzies. So Helio’s frustrations are not exactly well received by the tavern keeper.

Bartender: Must have been a reason. Not for me to puzzle out the working of his Lordship. Shouldn’t be something you question either.

Helio: Questioning is what I am supposed to do! It’s what they trained me to do. I can’t just turn it off because I get the boot. I was in the middle of an investigation and they didn’t even give me enough time to grab my notes before escorting me from the Citadel. What a bunch of jackasses. Good luck to everyone in this bar! With these asshats running the show we will probably all end up on a slab as human sacrifices. None of you are safe with geniuses like this at the helm.

Bartender: I think you need to leave friend.

Helio: I haven’t even finished my first drink!

Bartender: That is your seventh.

Helio: Trying to trick me huh? Think I am off my game just because I had a rough day? I am a trained investigator and tracker. This must be my first drink because it is still only my first glass…you have just been spreading it out in the one glass piece by piece.

As he grins smug at his own obversvation a screeching crash grabs the attention of the bar. Bright red chunks of a solid substance come crashing into the tavern in a veritable meteror shower that seems to go on for ages…those who do manage to duck for cover find little refuge. Some bodies are vaporized by the force of impact and the heat…others are turned to swiss cheese. When the worst of it passes the survivors Helio included run for the surface and find the entire city a smoldering zone of impact craters and destruction. A horse sized chunk of the projectile has left a swimming pool sized crater a few feet from the sub structure of the tavern and as it rapidly cools the surrounding crowd gasps.

Onlooker: It’s metal!

Helio’s drunken haze vanishes at the prospect of his city being under attack. Fired or not he is still a representative of Tyr and he rushes to report in to his former commander.

The capital is in chaos. Those comrades who Helio knows by name can only say that King Tyr is safe and that they are investigating to see what happened. Helio finds Ruzdhi in a courtyard using his spells to push back a fire and drive it from the structures.

Helio: Are we being invaded? Where do you need me?

Ruzdhi: You are not needed Helio. Your services were deemed expendable. I have enough matters to attend without worrying about your drunken regrets. The situation is under control.

The curt dismissal shocks out the last of the haze from his mind and as he exits the courtyard he notices a small cactus…somehow coming through the cobblestones wither and die. Within minutes he finds himself back in the shattered husk of the tavern…the dead still on the ground. Almost in a dream he pours himself a new drink and ignores the fact that the bartender’s head is no longer on his shoulders. He rolls a small chunk of the strange metal on the bartop in front of him and then announces to himself out loud.
Helio: Ruzdhi is a Defiler.

The following morning Helio is still in the bar. The rumor mill is in full swing. Some say it was a failed invasion, others a natural disaster. The only thing being agreed upon is that the metal is everywhere and completely unsmeltable. No smith or craftsman can manipulate the material into a workable form. The Inquisition and Praetorian are scooping up as much of it as possible but it is everywhere. The word from other states indicates the shower spread over an area hundreds of miles in radius.

A still somber Helio makes his way back to his apartment and collects his worldly belongings…meager as they were. He straps on his leather armor and hangs a bone and granite Morningstar at his waist. The rest of his belongings go into a pack and he pulls his hood on high as he exits. The area he travels to is less than reputable. The Inquisition’s central mission is to rid the world of those who would destroy life for power. They find the Defiler and erase his heresy. At times their missions cause some overlap with the criminal underground and it was to this place that Helio now ventured. He needed someone discreet and subtle. There was a “fixer” whose reputation was at times viewed as myth or professional excellence. If you could afford his price he could fix your problem well enough and silently enough to warrant questioning if it was actually an accident of fortune. Helio knew this person to be real despite never having met him. If his contacts were right Skarlax would be right where he was heading.

The warehouse was a quiet place…mostly untouched by the bizarre storm. For a price any merchant could purchase a cell to place wares for long term storage. Half-Giants in their declining years were stationed as guards, while diminished they were still formidable and few thought to cross the merchant’s guilds who owned the warehouse. It was known to those who made crime their business that a specific tap code on a certain door would find Skarlax. When Helio tapped the code he gave himself a fifty-fifty chance of exiting alive. The response from within was a whisper, just loud enough to carry.

Skarlax: Come in and keep your hands empty.

Crates were stacked high within the cell, and the lighting was almost non existant. A figure bathed in darkness, eyes barely visible lurked within. Skarlax was a vishkanya, a serpent blooded humanoid. His kind were rare and valued for their naturally produced poison.

Skarlax: I don’t get many Inquisition callers. What is your pleasure? Need someone eliminated to ensure promotion? Or perhaps a lover who listened a bit too intently during pillow talk?

Helio: I need you to put a bowl of fruit into the High Inquisitor Ruzdhi’s bedchamber and remove it unseen.

Skarlax: You are a madman. Killing the High Inquisitor would make sense. It would be suicide but logical. You want to sneak in a bowl of fruit. That must be insanity.

Helio: He is a Defiler. I need confirmation.

The word itself made most men’s skin crawl. To accuse the man responsible of purging them of this very attribute was by itself cause for Helio to be burned at a stake or drowned in sand.

Skarlax: So we are past insanity and into the realm of hallucination. Let’s say I accept the job, can you afford my price?

Helio: I was told 5,000 ceramic pieces is your going rate.

Skarlax: Triple.

Helio: I have 6300, most I can offer.

Skarlax: Not enough. Five thousand…and a favor.

Helio: Name the favor.

Skarlax: I need a prisoner released.

Helio: That is beyond my ability. I have been sacked.

Skarlax: Then you will have to assist in creating a means for him to escape.

Helio: Where is this prisoner held?

Skarlax: Thram-Ba Keep.

Helio: A high security prisoner. You ask the impossible.

Skarlax: Then it is a fair bargain, as you ask the same.

Helio: If you survive we will die together to spring this friend of yours.

Skarlax: His release is strictly business.

Somehow…the vishkanya rogue manages to slip into the chambers of the high inquisitor and return the following night with the bowl of fruit.

Skarlax: Why?

Helio: These are a form of coastal coconut. The skins are almost like rock. Very hard for the elements to affect. But the fruit inside is delicate and sweet. It is also a milky white. A strong Defiler contains his corruptive aura and pestilence. It is required to control in order to remain hidden. When they sleep this aura leaks into their surrounding. If the fruit is rotten or the milk within curdled, then I have confirmation that he is in fact a Defiler and a potent one at that.

Helio cracks the coconut in half and a thick moldy putrid milk more akin to cottage cheese spills out.

Skarlax: Well there is your confirmation.

Helio: Damn. This means King Tyr is in grave danger.

Skarlax: Not like you can go to anyone and have them believe you.

Helio: The free tribes might. With enough support I may be able to leverage an audience where I can expose him.

Skarlax: Well then you are luck. Our prisoner once sprung is going to lead us to the Sharakim chieftain.

Helio: We have to survive first.

Helio uses his recognition as an Inquisitor and a classic ruse of bringing Skarlax as a prisoner to the Thram-Ba Prison Tower. Once inside they overpower some of the interior guards and crank open the stone door holding an unexpected prisoner. A lone dwarf…very lean and gaunt for their kind and completely bald with some engraved tattoos. The restraints holding him are triple braided giant hair…virtually strong enough to hold the most animalistic of giants. Skarlax produces a more than razor sharp glass dagger and begins sawing through the restraints. The dwarf seems remarkably calm and indifferent to his surrounding.

Skarlax: Alright, if I am being told correctly you are in fact Little Mountain correct?

Little Mountain: That is correct. You should leave. I have no reason to escape. My order has abandoned me and left me in shame. I have nothing left to live for.

Skarlax: Yes you do. The night before last there was a meteor shower of un-forgeable metal. The Granite Union has deemed it a divine event and are already sending ambassadors to all the free tribes. We are going to beat them to the Sharakim, and I need you to lead the way.

Little Mountain: Why would I do this thing?

Skarlax: The man paying me only gave me this message. The Cavern Wind Will Meet You.

Little Mountain: Finish cutting.

Helio: Where is your gear? I can grab it while he is cutting.

Little Mountain: I have it all.

Helio: Suit yourself.

As the trio makes their break for it, a portcullis is dropped and alarm is sounded.

Helio: We are trapped, that is the only way out that doesn’t run a gauntlet of archers.

The dwarf takes a wide stance and then begins to smash the stone gateway to splinters with his bare hands.

Little Mountain: This way works.

Helio: Who is this guy?

Skarlax: You have any familiarity with the Stone Brothers?

Helio: The guild responsible for currency? I don’t see him as a banker.

Skarlax: He protects the guild and currency brokers. He also has full immunity when it comes to moving merchandise and cargo. He is our ticket out of the city.

Skarlax leads the trio to an underground tunnel which routes them back to the warehouse, a wagon team with several oxen is awaiting them and the rogue hastily has them load up the wagons with barrel after barrel of heavy material. He then gestures to a pair of empty barrels and indicates he and Helio should hide within them.

Skarlax: Little Mountain we are heading as envoys to the Sharakim. Nothing more than that needs to be said.

Little Mountain: I am disavowed from the order.

Skarlax: you are a bald dwarf who bears the tattoos of the order. No one is going to question you.

The serpentine rogue is correct. The guard at the gates leaving the city are stopping every exiting person and searching any goods being transported. All of the meteor shower metal is being confiscated on sight. When Little Mountain arrives with a train of three wagons the Half-Giant Sargent asks his destination….takes a single glance as if entertaining the notion of searching the wagons then waves him through. The Wagon train passes two additional check points and is then waved through to neutral territory. Once free of the official check points Skarlax extricates himself from the barrel he is hidden in and then helps Helio out of his own.

Skarlax: Alright, now we need to turn and begin moving into the desert.

Helio: We aren’t following the roads?

Skarlax: My buyer specifically told me to avoid the roads. Gave me a route that should steer clear of most obstacles or city sponsored forces. Should be three days overland and I arranged for food and water along with other provisions and weapons to be placed in the wagons.

Little Mountain: Well then lead on. I have business of mine own to handle.

The trio moves through the wild desert and on the second day they encounter a bizarre spectacle. While moving through a rocky passage a human’s loud and obscene shouts fill the air, along with the sound of rocks cracking against each other.

Voice: I have been waiting ever since your thrice damned shower! How long do you plan on keeping me in this pit? Fine! Don’t answer. I’ll just smashing my face against the boulders til it starts to feel good. Probably will come to enjoy it before I get some straight answers you daft invisible sod.

The wagons are brought to a halt and they creep around a large boulder to see an emaciated wild haired crazy man. Deep into his forties with a wild mane of sand encrusted hair their initial glance shows a man who should not be alive. It is as if rocks are growing from open sores in his skin like barnacles. Naked to the waist save for a satchel he continues to alternate stacking rocks into intricate patterns and swearing at the rocks in turns. A bit bewildered and mystified they watch as he shakes a stone next to his hair and then taps the side of his head…sand spills out from his ear and he hold the rock up to the cleared ear like a phone.

Voice: Behind me? There ain’t nothing behind me but more damned rocks. Phaw! You might as well have been fossilized from a iquanas dung you stupid non porous rock.

The man turns never the less and sees the trio watching him.

Voice: Well it took you long enough. Thought I was starting to go sane.

Helio: Don’t you mean insane?

Voice: God no. Sane. Crazy is normal. It’s normal that scares the gravel out me. Name’s Mercutio. I am here to show you The Way.

Skarlax: The way to where?

Mercutio: Through this stubborn impolite hunk of granite. Damned thing doesn’t even have the courtesy to leave a suitable cave opening.

Little Mountain: I think he is touched. He may be crazy too, but I think he is an oracle.

Mercutio: Yeah. I am an oracle alright. Not like I had a freaking choice. Woke up one morning sweating sand out my forehead, next thing I know I am pissing gravel and ****ting pebbles. Then things got bad! I sneezed one morning and sent a rock the size of an apple flying thirty feet. Enough of the boring stuff. I got to show you the Picture.

The wild haired oracle turns and marches straight through the face of the boulder.

Little Mountain: well that’s impressive.

He ducks back out a second later.

Mercutio: Ain’t you coming?

Helio: We can’t walk through rock.

Mercutio: Damn. Well this is going to be trickier then. Take my hand and close your eyes.

Skarlax: Why must we close our eyes .

Mercutio: Because it feels like swimming through rocks and if you leave your eyes open you will get dust and rock in them, and hurts like hell.

Inside the rock facing is a small alcove where the four of them are cramped. Carved into the facing of the small pocket of cavern is a relief displaying a storm of metal falling to the ground and a race to forge the metal. A dragon is shown rising from a smith’s anvil and on a divergent path the mask of a man is pulled to reveal a dragon.

Mercutio: Ain’t exactly descriptive but the rocks tell me there is two paths on the horizon. One where a dragon forges this metal and rises unchallenged, and a second where we beat the lizard to the punch and cast out the bugger from wherever he is hiding. I don’t care much for the world or give a damn about what happens, but the rocks won’t shut up until I do something about it so I guess I am in.

Skarlax: The wagons are chock full of this metal. I think it’s a sign you were meant to join us Mercutio.

Mercutio: Ya think?

The trio now becomes a quartet.

On the third day a Tyr emblazoned massive horse bolts past the wagon train. It is clearly the steed of a Praetorian Captain. Mercutio jumps from the wagon and literally buries his head in the sand for a few moments then popping up sputtering and spitting out dirt.

Mercutio: Less than a mile east of us.

Helio: The dirt told you that?

Mercutio: dirt is hardly a good conversationalist. The vibrations told me the direction and the intensity the distance.

Skarlax: So in a sense the dirt did talk to you.

Mercutio: Holy ****…it did.

Just under a mile east the quartet finds a patrol of half-giants…or at least what is left of them. Six high ranking guards have been torn to shreds, blood running the ground red and massive jagged wounds cover partially eaten bodies. A lean desert lion is gnawing at the torso of one giant and a second stranger looking lion seem to be tearing at one of the other fallen soldiers arms. The second is revealed to be a half-orc in lion hide armor, but he seems more animal than humanoid. He eyes the group leerily and with a grunt the lion drops it’s kill and begins to circle out away from the group. In a voice that seems ragged and almost unused a whisper of a grunt comes from the half-orc.

Orc: Mine. My kill.

Skarlax: you are welcome to it. All yours. You do this yourself?

The orc looks confused by the question and looks at the carnage around him. He eventually nods yes.

Helio: How many with you did they kill?

The orc gets a furrowed brow and looks around, then shrugs his shoulders.

Little Mountain: Are you alone?
*shakes head no*

Orc: I got Paws

He gestures to the lion still circling the wagons.

Helio: I see…and you are?

Orc: I am Claws.

He grins while holding up his hands, which are in fact wickedly sharp claws.

Helio: Well you enjoy yourself. We have to get going.

Claws: Sure-Kim that way.

Skarlax: That is where we are heading. The Sharakim tribe.

Claws: I lead you. Keep safe.

Little Mountain: Ok…

The half-orc makes a low toothy whistle and the lion comes loping in back at his side. The two take point and lead towards the Sharakim camp. The group makes arrival at dusk and the sentries are familiar enough with Claws to not challenge him, but they do give him a wide berth as he enters the camp. The lion remains at the edge of the tent camp. Claws leads them right into Caliph Raheem’s tent. The caliph resembles an emerald skinned nomad, taller and thicker than a human, but with all the sophistication of a true potentate ruler.

Raheem: I see you have met Claws. He found us some months back. Not a big talker. His family was killed by Praetorian’s from Brega some years ago while they invaded the Defiler Jamix’s city. He has a strong dislike for them alive and a great liking to their flavor when dead. We steer him towards any roving bands that might seek to interrupt our goings on, and he is kind enough to bring news of strange wanderers.

Helio: He seems savage.

Raheem: He is genuinely a kind soul, but more animal than man at heart. I would not ever want to cross him in the wilds. He can track and live off the land more successfully than any desert creature we have yet to meet. I assume one of you must be Skarlax? Your benefactor awaits in my tent.

Inside the tent the group finds a strange looking man dressed in the style of the Sharakim. His skin is a light sky blue and his hair a shining and flowing sea foam green. Sapphire eyes clearly otherworldly watch them in return. When he stands it appears that he is chiseled from muscle. He bows and introduces himself as Oasis.

Oasis: It is a pleasure to meet you all. Thank you for coming so quickly. Ahhh I see you have met Mercutio.

Skarlax: Do you have my money.

Oasis: all that was promised and more. I have been keeping a keen eye on events for some time before the storm. Where most focused their gaze on one another I looked outward. The storm was visible to those who looked for it. I met a seer almost a full two decades ago. She was in service to King Minahast, a usurper overthrown and deposed as a Defiler. In actual fact he was a Preserver and fair ruler. She survived the purge of his domain and entrusted to me, her apprentice a prophecy. She claimed that when men once more talked to the earth a great storm would change the course of our world. That the dragons who wore the faces of men would either complete their dominion or face exposure and destruction. She saw a path to this fork and no more. We now stand at that fork and I am looking for those who will walk the path with me.

Helio: I have dedicated my life to seeking out these heretics. I am not about to stop now. Count me in.

Little Mountain: If the Cavern Wind is involved I will stand at your side.

Mercutio: The Cavern Wind?

Little Mountain: We Stone Brothers take a sacred vow to protect and serve the Granite Union. Our race is responsible for maintaining integrity of coin and trade. The Cavern Wind are a splinter sect who wish the opposite. They are the greatest source of shame to our people.

Mercutio: I don’t have a choice. The boulders made that plenty clear. I am with you.

Skarlax: I hold no love for any of the states, but the Inquisition killed my entire family. I will stick around if it means a chance to stick them in the liver.

Oasis walks outside of the tent and shouts out to Claws the half orc, asking if he wants to join them.

Claws: Get to kill giants?

Oasis: Lots

*nods ok*

Oasis: I believe we have a team.

Raheem: And we have an objective for you. It has only been a few short days, but no smith or skilled worker has been able to temper or use this strange new metal. The first agency to find a means to do so will control a substantial resource. The remaining tribes will not move against any of the city states unless multiple conditions are met. My own is unification. You will need the tribes support for any play against the three kings. Find a way to smelt or craft this metal and I will extend envoys to the remaining tribes offering metal weapons and armor in return for their allegiance and oath to aid in any direct action against the kings. Until that time I will not make so much as a hostile motion. I will disavow knowledge of your existence or intentions.

Oasis: Luckily Raheem and myself have found a map leading us to a possible solution. The dwarves once held an island stronghold far past the east coast. This stronghold was a haven for advanced research and learning. Centuries ago it was crushed by typhoons and tsunami. The island was believed shattered and it’s exact location swallowed by the waves. We believe there may still be an answer in the ruins of that once mighty stronghold and we have a map leading the way. Unfortunately the Cavern Winds intercepted one of the messengers carrying this map so they too have a copy. I have contacts in the coastal city of Glenfif that say a caravan bankrolled by the Cavern Winds is setting sail in two days time. We have the means to reach the coast before them, or attempt an overland foray through the true desert wilds. The die is cast and the race is on, the question arises…will we race them or cut them off.


Welcome to the new party:


Little Mountain, Dwarf Unchained Monk3/StoneLord5: Str 21 Dex 16 Con 16 Int 10 Wis 16 Cha 5

Feats: Power Attack, Combat Reflexes, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple, Improved Sunder, Monastic Legacy, Greater Sunder, Elemental Channel.

Equipment: Monk’s Robes, Belt Giant Str+4, Ring of Protection+1, 20 stone shuriken.

Of Note: Has an earth elemental companion named Duran.


Skarlax, Viskanya Rogue8: Str 16, Dex 23 Con 14 Int 12 Wis 12 Cha 7

Feats: Two Weapon Fighting, Double Slice, Lightning Reflexes, Quick Draw, Finesse, Weapon Focus Kukri

Rogue Talents: Bleeding Attack, Trap Spotter

Equipment: Belt of Dex+4, Amulet Nat Armor+2, Dusty Rose Ioun Stone, Ring of Protection+1, 4 obsidian kukri, composite shortbow (+3 strength), 40 arrows, glass dagger


Of Note: Generates a naturally occurring poison that he is able to coat his weapons or arrows in that causes dex damage


Mercutio, Human Oracle8: Str 16 Dex 12 Con 14 Int 10 Wis 12 Cha 18

Feats: Weapon Focus Rock, Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Spell Penetration, Extend Spell.

Equipment: Leather Armor, Amulet of Natural Armor+4, rocks.

Curse: Wasting

Revelations: Crystal Sight, Earth Glide, Mighty Pebble

Spells Known:
1st: Shield Of Faith, Divine Faith, Endure Elements, CLW, Protection From Evil, Obscuring Mist, Magic Stone
2nd: CMW, Lesser Restoration, Spiritual Weapon, Shatter, Stone Call
3rd: CSW, Dispel Magic, Blindness Deafness, Meld into Stone,
4th: CCW, Holy Smite, Wall of Stone


Claws, Half-Orc Ranger8: Str 24 Dex 13 Con 16 Int 11 Wis 14 Cha 7

Feats: Boon Companion, Aspect of the Beast, Multiattack, Improved Natural Attack, Eldritch Claws, Rending Claws, Endurance.

Favored Terrains: Desert, Mountain

Equipment: Belt of Giant Str+4, Amulet of Natural Armor+2, Lion Hide Armor+2 (provides pounce on charge attacks 3/day), composite longbow (+7 str), 40 arrows,

Lion Animal Companion

Favored Enemies: Giants, Humans


Helio, Human Inquisitor8: Str 15 Dex 12 Con 14 Int 10 Wis 24, Cha 10

Feats: Improved Init, Power Attack, Brew Potion, Iron Will, Extend Spell, Coordinated Manuevers, Coordinated Defenses
Domain: War
Judgements: Destruction, Justice

Equipment: Headband of Wisdom+4, Ring of Protection+2, Potions, Bone Breastplate, Stone Morningstar, light crossbow 20 bolts,

Spells Known:
1st: CLW, Endure Elements, Protection Evil, Shield of Faith, Bless, Magic Weapon
2nd: Confess, CMW, Resist Elements, Spiritual Weapon, HP
3rd: CSW, Stone Shape, Wind Wall, Magic Vest


Oasis, Suli Sorcerer (Marid)8: Str 22 Dex 12 Con 14 Int 5, Wis 12 Cha 20

Feats: Spell Focus Conjuration, Augment Summons, Mounted Combat, Ride By Attack.

Equipment: Headband Charisma+4, Belt of Giant Str+4, Obsidian Spears (4), sling, 20 slingstones

Spells Known:
1st: True Strike, Mount, Mage Armor, Enlarge Person, Obscuring Mist, Tensers Floating Disk
2nd: Acid Arrow, Make Whole, Cat’s Grace, See Invisibility
3rd: Summon Monster 3, Haste, Gaseous Form
4th: Summon Monster 4

Lightweaver
2017-10-09, 01:34 PM
A new campaign log from Kaveman? Happy day!

I've been a longtime lurker in your campaign log threads; just saw this one during my third reread of Cattle Driving Necromancers. You and your group have had some of the most awesome D&D shenanigans that I've seen/read/heard about. Thanks for sharing them with us!

IntelectPaladin
2017-10-10, 11:13 AM
Well, what do you know. He's alive!
I look forward to this campaign thread as much as I cared to read the last one!
Welcome home, Kaveman.
Now to wonder if you remember me.
Thank you for being on this thread, and I hope a nice day happens to you!

PrismCat21
2017-10-10, 01:54 PM
Holy schnikes! A new campaign log.
I'm both excited and anxious :) looking forward to seeing what yall do Kaveman. Keep the posts coming.

Quertus
2017-10-10, 05:31 PM
Woot, woot! Happy days are here again!

Kane0
2017-10-10, 09:56 PM
The great Kaveman returns! Rejoyce, readers of campaign logs, for your lord has returned!

Honest Tiefling
2017-10-10, 10:45 PM
Now to guess who is who!

Hrm...I get a bit of an Azzie vibe from Mercutio, but perhaps I am wrong.

Jonagel
2017-10-11, 08:00 AM
Can't wait to read more! Your campaigns and writing style are always above and beyond excellent!

Kaveman26
2017-10-11, 05:26 PM
Chapter 1: A Rallying Cry Unlike Any Other

The first real choice put before us is fairly simple. Do we make a fast sprint to the port town where the Cavern Wind Expedition is set to sail from, or do we try to cross a brutal untamed desert wilderness and try to beat them to the X on the map. The food/water and equipment dilemma faced on previous campaign is greatly relaxed for this setting, so we don’t have to tear our hair out in that regard. Weapon and armor breakage has taken starvation’s place in terms of pitfalls. An immediate complication arises from the interaction between Helio and Oasis. The part genie sorcerer is put to a test in an effort to prove he is not a Defiler. Oasis insists that he is in fact a Warlock but Helio puts them to the test and seeks direct confirmation of this before proceeding. Oasis passes the check which alleviates the immediate hostility but the character relationship between the two is a bit sour as a result. With water genie blood Oasis is pushing for the intercept them at port route. Helio not wanting to draw overt attention in a populated area wants to proceed through the desert. Claws is at heart a wilderness survivor and the description of a boat alarms him enough that he casts his vote with Helio. Mercutio declares a geode told him to keep a close eye on the Warlock and he casts in with Oasis. Little Mountain does not want to risk losing track of the Cavern Wind and opts for the sea rout. Skarlax ends up being the deciding vote and he follows the money. Oasis and Raheem were the backers that got him into the mess and he decides to side with the bankroll. A vote of 4-2 settles us on leaving in the morning for the coastal town of Glenfif. Everyone agrees to leave at first light and we all bed down amidst the Sharakim tents before night has fully set in.

A few hours into our sleep alarms sound all over the camp. A warning shout erupts from sentries all over the camp.

Sentries: Elf Raiders!

Torches are being lit to push back the night, but every flame ignited is a beacon for unseen forces and those lofting said torches are almost immediately pincushioned with blow gun darts and hand crossbow bolts tipped with some nasty poison concoctions. Mounted on light ponies and utilizing their mobility, the lanky and nomadic elves are trying to subdue anything moving and those who succumb to the poison are being bound with leather restraints and shuffled off onto empty mounts being pulled by a second rider. Mercutio is the first one on his feet and alert and he chortles at the chaos…bare chested and unarmed he steps from his tent and claps his hands together…a trio of magical rocks appear and he deftly juggles two in one hand, and then in a blur of motion he windmills his lanky arms and send two stones shrieking with an audible whistle and knocks a raider off his horse.

Skarlax apparently managed to get readied even faster than the Oracle and he seems to reverse evaporate from a shadow as an elf tries to throw an unconscious body over the unmounted saddle of a pony. The kukris take the elf on both sides of his throat and the rogue is already gone before the arterial spray bursts. Almost as fast as the raid started the elves cut their losses and leave. As the chaos continues clearing the stragglers, Little Mountain comes back to the center of the camp dragging a groaning elf behind him. Both of the elves legs are shattered.

Little Mountain: Got a hostage.

A sharakim nomad searches through all the bodies before making a grave proclamation.

Sharakim Nomad: Raheem is missing. His tent is slashed open and there are signs of a struggle.

Little Mountain: The raid was misdirection. Raheem was likely the target.

Oasis: Who would want to take him a hostage?

Helio: Who is the second in command?

A sharakim named Kafick is identified as the next highest ranking tribal leader and when interviewed he is remarkably forthcoming.

Kafick: Raheem was strongly inclined to form alliance and raise up against the city states. I did not share his opinion. We spoke openly and candidly and agreed to disagree. I would not question his leadership or his rule, but if he is unreturned to us, I will lead the tribe away from clashing against the three kings.

Helio: This also means you have a strong reason to hire the elves to stage a kidnapping and put yourself in power.

Kafick: That is not our way.

Helio: I have spent a lifetime finding those who insisted they opposed the very thing they turned out to be.

Kafick: You have not spent a lifetime amidst our people. They will assure you that such a thing would be staged by one of our own.

All those questioned echo this same thought. No sharakim would ever pay elves to endanger one of their own. Should they view the current leader as being unfit or wish a different direction for the tribe to take a series of council meetings and eventual compromise would occur, or those in disagreement would form a separate brother tribe.

Kafick: This was done by an outsider who wished to dissuade us from sanctioning or encouraging revolt, but didn’t want full out conflict.

Skarlax: That sounds a lot like the sort of thing Ruzdhi would orchestrate. We were hardly subtle in our leavetaking from Tyr. Enough breadcrumbs were left that he could connect the dots and place us heading to the Sharakim.

Claws: The elves headed north, deeper into the far desert. Can follow.

Oasis: That pulls us away from the coast and towards the minority decision to press through the overland. Intercepting the Cavern Winds does us no good without an ally in wait. I think we have to go overland and see if we can free Raheem.

Helio: Or Ruzdhi has spies in the camp and wants us to go overland.

Oasis: You are awfully paranoid.

Helio: Occupational Requirement.

Oasis: The Sharakim have been steadfast friends to me. I do not wish to leave their chieftain in such predicaments.

Helio: That is for the Sharakim to contend with. Not as if they are going to throw their hands up and say “tough ****…cheers to the new boss”.

Kafick: We have a bit more class that that, but in essence that is exactly what we will do. We will not encroach into elvish territory unless it is in force. We can’t afford the deployment and casualties it will bring. Should a ransom be offered we will entertain negotiations and seek a peaceful release.

Helio: Well that tears it. I hate walking into what feels like a trap, but the Sharakim are the best starting point we have for a revolution.

Mercutio: Cheer up, we need a sand sail if we want to survive the worst parts of the waste and the Elves are the only group to maintain their own.

Skarlax: What is a sand sail?

Mercutio: Bah…city folk. Parts of the desert will gave way beneath your feet and suck you in, drifts will bury you faster than you can sneeze and storms can flense flesh from bone. A sand sail is a boat built for the deep sand, spreads the weight and allows for the wind to push you and not strip you bare. Tricky bits of design go into them and only elves seem to have the mechanics down. There are a lot of imitations that will get you killed, but an elvish sand sail is the real deal.

The rogue and inquisitor break off to interrogate the prisoner captured by Little Mountain and they gleen enough from the captive to ease their minds about Kafick’s involvement. They are reliably certain that the elves were hired by an anonymous party and their intention is to keep Raheem for a period of time while stalling ransom talks.

The party gears up and utilizes a sled to drag most of their non vital equipment, and Oasis utilizes a tensers floating disk to carry a good cache of food and water. Spare weapons and armor are stowed on the sled and on each PC’s person. Claws assumes the role of scout and tracker as he and the lion lead the way. Only a few hours into their trek a trio of elves pop up from camouflage where they had buried themselves into the sand…blowdarts whiz through the air and seem to glance off the monk’s skin. Return fire in the form of a shuriken and thrown rock fly back. An elf drops a smoke bomb and the three seem to vanish back into the sand. By the time the smoke clears the three are visibly out of range and running hard.

Oasis: Would really love for them to not know we are coming.

As the three elves crest a small sand point, a tawny yellow and brown streak levels one in the chest and a second form tackles elf number two. Elf number three stops to aid his companions and Little Mountain grumbles but begins to race towards the fight.

Helio: Don’t leave the sled, could be more misdirection.

Almost on cue, a further duo of elves rushes Oasis. They come brandishing serrated obsidian scimitars and get met by the flashing kukris of Skarlax and Morningstar of Helio. A stone cuts through the air smashing into Skarlax’s target and Oasis summons a horse and pauses for a full round before bursting into a charge to skewer Helio’s target. His true strike spear charge kills the second elf, and Skarlax cuts the first one to shreds. By the time the blood runs into the sand, Claws and his lion along with the monk are dragging back the other dead elves. The bodies are searched and stripped of their belongings, the weapons are cast out as useless, but the vials of poison being carried along with the blowguns are given to Skarlax for later examination. We find a strange painstakingly detailed amulet made from a nearly opague glass.

Little Mountain: That looks important.

Mercutio: Never seen anything like that before. Must have taken ages to make.

Oasis: I have seen it’s like from other elvish raiders. Never have found the purpose behind them though.

Helio: Well we must be on the right track if they are covering their trail for followers.

No further contact follows and the group reaches a sizeable cactus plant, from which we set up camp for the night. Claws takes out a hollow snake tooth the size of a man’s hand and begins tapping the cactus in various locations…he eventually hears the sound he likes and uses the snake’s tooth like a tap and punctures the thick skin of the cactus, draining it’s water into a thick ceramic bowl. He pulls the tap long before the flow stops and then moves the bowl to the campfire where he boils it before distributing it.

Oasis: It’s been a long time since I slept under the stars and not in the shelter of a camp.

Helio: I have been meaning to ask how a genie blooded warlock ends up roaming the sands with a band of Sharakim-orcs.

Oasis: As I said earlier I was apprentice to a Seer, she took me in after Tyr’s Inquisition killed my parents under pretense of their support of a Defiler Cult.

Helio: What were their names?

Oasis: Cherim and Utopia.

Helio: For what it’s worth I don’t recall any involvement with a cult or any suspects with those names. The Inquisition was at times, over eager. Hell it’s hard for me to say corrupt even now when I know just how debased and infiltrated the order is.

Oasis: I don’t hold ill will towards you specifically. But when they were taken away she took me in and helped me develop my gifts.

Oasis: What about you good sir Stone Brother? How did you come to be imprisoned?

Little Mountain: I was betrayed. The Cavern Winds planted a false rumor about my defection to their order and arranged for evidence of counterfeit coins to be placed in my room. I was unable to prove my innocence and was taken as criminal. Seven decades of discipline and single minded focus on honing myself to be a living weapon and guardian, destroyed in a single day.

Skarlax: I hear you. I was trained by High Commander Yorthrall, Praetorian Supreme from my earliest years as an orphan. I was groomed to be the dagger of the King. Then one day out of nowhere we were on maneuvers through an obstacle course dotted with traps and “danger points”. I managed to circumvent the testing ground and slipped to a sub level where I found an entirely new tunnel system. The following day I had half a dozen classmates try to kill me. They failed and I disappeared.

Mercutio: Do none of you see the big picture here?

Helio: Enlighten us.

Mercutio: the dwarf penetrated a level of deception he wasn’t supposed to and was set as a fall guy. The inquisitor poked his noise into business that went too far and was sacked and discarded. The sorcerer’s family was part of a cult that was not a cult. The assassin found what he wasn’t supposed. You all nearly uncovered something important and hidden and were stopped in your tracks from proceeding. You think all that is random? There is something dark and sinister in Tyr and as come together that fact gets clearer and clearer. All three of the Kings claim to be Preservers?

Helio: I have seen the land nourished from King Tyr’s very presence yes.

Mercutio: Then why isn’t the world flourishing? Fewer defilers are found every year, and the three most important cities and centers of progress are ruled by the most potent preservers seen in centuries. The dragon kings have been killed and expunged, why does the world groan in decay still? I wish I could say the gods are calling out to us, but they are in fact CALLING OUT TO ME AND NOT YOU. You don’t have to hear the constant screams and pleas for our attention. You don’t have sediment forming in your joints and wasting your bodies away. You don’t walk over the stones and hear the cries of anguish. You just grumble into your ale while pissing and moaning about your hardships. Well fate has brought us together in this god forsaken **** hole of a desert and some sort of salvation, or at a minimum and gods willing a measure of peace awaits us. I am damn well intend to snatch that salvation and clasp it to my chest in the hopes that it silences the voices.

Helio: That sounded like a blown up version of saying you think Tyr is a Dragon King.

Mercutio: Well as long as the message got through. Might not be him. Might be the other two. The signs point to him, but signs can be wrong. I will bet my fossilized testicles that at least one of them is.

Little Mountain: Fossilized…

Mercutio: When I said that I piss gravel I wasn’t waxing poetic.

Skarlax: Well then by Mercutio’s stone sack I solemnly pledge not to rest until the deceiver is unmasked. *snicker*

Oasis: By Mercutio’s stone sack we swear! *snicker*

As far as rallying cries go it is not exactly inspiring…but I’ll be damned if it isn’t memorable.

Quertus
2017-10-11, 06:35 PM
I thoroughly approve of your choice of chapter title. By M's S S, I laughed so hard!

Kane0
2017-10-11, 07:57 PM
Oasis: You are awfully paranoid.

Helio: Occupational Requirement.


Haha, will have to remember that one.

Honest Tiefling
2017-10-11, 08:12 PM
My money is on the amulet being fashioned from a tekite, through it is conceivable that it is merely a type or color of obsidian that isn't local.

Kaveman26
2017-10-19, 05:39 PM
Chapter 2: Sylvan Snake Pit


Elf territory sucks. I mean flat out makes one want to smash their head against a wall. The only comparison I can draw is The Hole in the Wall Gang. If you are not familiar with this location or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid I recommend finding the movie and looking it up. In short…gangs used a narrow valley entrance and numerous hidey holes to make it virtually impossible for law enforcement to enter their domain. The Elves have a base camp in a series of crags and shorter cliffs with too many caves and twists to measure. They are excellent guerilla fighters and highly familiar with poisons. While we managed to eliminate their vanguard of scouts, lookouts that we never spotted ourselves trip off the alarms and notify of our arrival before we set foot in the canyon region.

From minute one we are assailed with missile weapons coming from parts unknown. Attack and vanish is their dinner special and we are absorbing all we can eat and from virtually all sides. Mercutio and Oasis lay down staggered obscuring mists for cover and Mercutio utilizes the ability to literally walk through rock and stone to his advantage. With some cover and the sudden unexpected “hey guys look out for the guy who can walk through walls” shouts running through the canyon we manage to reach a small cave entrance, dotted with tunnels and sections crisscrossing and scaling both up and down. When Little Mountain manages to close distance with a foe they are dead meat. Grapple…Sunder…Trip…Mincemeat. He targets their weapons and in some cases their armor and then tosses them to the ground like a small sumo wrestler and leaves the unarmed elves for the lion and snake. Claws and Skarlax shred everything from prone. The longer we move the tougher it gets, as more elves begin assembling in coordination. After a few minutes we happen upon a slightly larger room where an elf warrior holds a stone dagger to Raheem’s throat.

Warrior: Drop your weapons and kneel or he dies.

Little Mountain: If he dies I will break every bone in your extremities and then your ribs. You will not be able to walk, or crawl, or even drag yourself, and the weight of your body resting on fractured ribs will be agony with every breath. Sleep will not come to you, nor comfort. The Oracle will ensure you don’t die. I will ensure you won’t want to live.

Helio: Free him now and tell us who hired you and we will leave you with no further harm. We are under a time crunch so we need a decision quickly.

Warrior: Your blood will run like a stream before you lay a finger on me you disgusting wretch of a dwarf. I will not let him free.

Little Mountain: I only give one warning. You have received it and rejected it.

The dwarf takes a wide stance and then draws a circle in the ground with his feet and slams his fist into the ground. From behind the elf warrior holding Raheem a humanoid shimmering with muted brilliance and forged from the earth itself rises. The earth elemental grabs the elf and pins his arms to the side, forcing the dagger free. Raheem pivots and snatches a scimitar from the elf’s waist and falls back away from the rest of the warriors. Mercutio throws up a Wall of Stone between Raheem and the Elfs and Skarlax seems to melt into the shadows.

Oasis send an acid arrow into the closest target and Helio starts a spiritual weapon attacking the elf closest to the earth elemental grappled leader. With control of the fight and their hostage now armed and in a position to protect himself the elves are quickly scattered, their leader abandoned as they look to self preservation. With the leader subdued and Raheem safe, they allow the remaining warriors to fade away. True to his word Little Mountain pummels the living daylights out of the hostage holder and breaks him up badly. They leave the gasping and fractured leader alive and begin a hasty retreat from the territory.

Helio: Did they tip you off to the ransomer?

Raheem: Not a word.

Helio: Can we risk you making it back to the camp on your own?

Raheem: You don’t have time to waste. I can make it on my own.

Oasis: Are you sure? A lot can happen between here and there.

Raheem: I will be fine. As a token of thanks…I saw a trio of Sand Sails being transported north of here. Heading right in the direction you need. I will keep a tent prepared for your return and we will feast your success.

Oasis: Should we worry about pusuit?

Skarlax: I would hope the Elves are distracted with enough in house drama and concern to not focus on us. They are also thinking we are returning south with Raheem.

Mercutio: We need to be cagey in reaching the sails. The elves are likely to burn them if it means avoiding them falling into an outsiders hands.

Claws picks up a faint trail as we pursue the elves and their sand sails. From his indications we begin closing the gap over the next two days. On the third morning he returns and starts to talk…pausing several times as if searching for the words.

Claws: Close now. See them before noon. Hear them before sun hides.

Mercutio begins acting oddly, well odder than normal. He keeps shaking his head and knocking sand from his ears. He also glances all around and mumbles under his breath at no one in particular. A sudden and painful gasp sees him choke on a stone which he spits out.

Mercutio: Storm coming. Bad one. We need to get cover.

Claws: Burrow close. We can all fit.

Helio: Is it safe?

Claws: *head shake no*

Mercutio: It has to be safer than the storm.

In the distance a mass of dark clouds is becoming visible and flashes of lightning are arcing through the sky.

PrismCat21
2017-10-22, 01:00 PM
Short but Sweet :)
It sounds like it took awhile in game.
What kind of bonuses were given for that intimidation check? It sounded pretty scary :P

Kaveman26
2017-11-03, 06:59 AM
Chapter 3: Slim Shady


We enter a breakneck speed chasing the ranger who seems to glide across the desert sands while most of us struggle. The fringe of the storm is kicking up massive gouts of dust and tornado funnels are damn near on our heels when Claws gestures to a large underground burrow and prompts us to enter. Mercutio seals off the entrance with a Wall of Stone and we try to fill lungs craving oxygen.

Claws is heavily on edge and staring into the shaft intently.

Oasis: What kind of creature lives in a burrow like this?

Claws: Tail-Killer.

Helio: A what?

The ranger does his best hand puppet showing something with a spike striking. A skittering sound interrupts the charade and we see a massive insectoid set of mandibles and claws…all trailing into a lengthy segmented tail dripping venom from a shortsword sized stinger.

Skarlax: Oh a scorpion.

Quite unceremoniously the scorpion lashes out with it’s tail and strikes Oasis in the thigh. Almost immediately the sorcerer is turning shades of green and shaking. Skarlax slashes at the segmented tail and lands two hits that send ichor spewing. Mercutio winds up and launches stones at the massive predator’s eyes. A pair of claws snap at Little Mountain



The scorpion grips the dwarf stonelord in it’s claw and then skitters down the hole. A flurry of stones and arrows chase it as Little Mountain hammers at the exoskeleton with fists that can shatter stone. Every punch comes a little more telegraphed as venom numbs his limbs and reflexes.

They pursue the massive scorpion deeper into the hole with Claws bounding to the front with his lion by his side. The hole transitions to a stone chamber, a temple swallowed by the sands in some long ago time. The scorpion skitters between columns and they see the tail lash out to impale the dwarf. A very groggy Little Mountain manages a desperation handbutt that sends ichor and fluid spilling from a gaping crack in the scorpions head…it drops the stonelord and hurries into a darkened hallway.

The group forms a protective circle around the badly poisoned dwarf and they set about stabilizing and securing him.

Claws: Said dangerous.

Helio: You weren’t kidding.

Oasis: I don’t recall seeing any writing like the glyphs on these walls.

Mercutio: You wouldn’t. These marking are old…tens of thousands of years old.

Oasis: you can read them?

Mercutio: No…but the stone is worn and judging by the amount of sand it would have taken ages.

Skarlax: Not to interrupt your geological sigil session but there is still a large hungry and now angrily wounded scorpion lurking in here.

Claws: Tail-Killer is ambusher. Will wait for us to sleep.

Helio: We are safe enough from the storm, let’s stay vigilant but not get too carried away. If it comes back we stop it, but I’m not too eager to go hunting in the dark.

Oasis: You alright Little Mountain?

Mercutio: He should be able to sweat it out, but he is going to be out of sorts for a spell.


Mercutio slowly traces patterns of the glyphs and walks the wall like a blind person reading braille.

Mercutio: It is an odd pattern. Normally when you carve something into rock you need something harder than the rock you are carving. That leaves tool marks, even the most careful chiseling will still leave marks. The fading on the walls indicates a great deal of erosion from time and elements, I can’t read the symbols but I can say they were not chiseled into the rock.

Helio: I think I know what the language is.* I can’t read it but I know the source. There was an ancient society of magic users, they developed a secret language known only to the dedicates of their order. I read about them in a crumbling scroll from within the Inquisition’s archives. They were known as druids. They formed a bond with the beasts and very soil of the land. Their kind passed from existence many millennia ago.

Skarlax: So a druid could read them.

Helio: There has not been a druid for at least five thousand years.

Oasis: It’s remarkable this structure has remained unknown or explored for that length of time. We are not so far into the desert as to reach udiscovered territory. Grave robbers would have surely delved this far.

Mercutio: The sands out here shift in odd ways. Things can be hidden five feet from you for centuries and then the winds blow just right and a little piece of antiquity finds its way back. The scorpion certainly found it. Might be worth looking a bit further in, if the tomb raiders have left the place unspoiled there could be valuables further in.

AS the storm continues to howl above we spend a few hours waiting for Little Mountain to recover and then set out in force deeper into the forgotten temple. Many of the columns are intricately worked reliefs of ecosystems long vanished. In short enough order they locate the nest of the scorpion and confront it in a fatal battle. We vanquish the massive vermin with no casualty and root through the scattered bones and refuse of it’s nest.

A trio of polished idols are found beneath the lid of a heavy stone chest. Each held in supple padded leather bags that look pristine in appearance. A Jade Tiger, Opal Panther, and Quartz Lion. They detect as magical, but the nature is mysterious, and their purpose unknown. Like any loot minded and goodnatured hoarder, they are tucked away for future value.

The winds let up the following afternoon and as the group emerges from the hole the whole landscape seems altered and alien.

Helio: Can barely tell which way is which. Claws can you get us to the coast?

*nod*

Little Mountain: We need to move, the Cavern Wind’s ship is set to sail today. If we don’t reach the coast by nightfall we won’t be able to cut them off in time.

A few hours pass and Claws returns to the party to inform everyone that he has found a small camp with the sought after sand sails. The attached elves seem to still be digging themselves out of the storm and best as he can tell there is no guard or sentries posted. All hands busy getting the sails back in order.

A roughshod ambush is sprung and much to the parties annoyance only a single sail is secured, while the other two are piloted in opposite directions, at great speed. The sails cut through the sand at a remarkable clip.

Mercutio: All of us together is too much weight for a single sail, we need to capture a second one.

Skarlax: All for giving chase but I can’t get the sail to unfurl, it’s locked somehow. I have never seen a mechanism like this before. It’s refraction locked.

Helio: It’s what?

Skarlax: The lock is activated by refracting light. There is no key. I can’t pick a lock that needs light as a key.

Little Mountain: We took an opaque glass talisman from the elf raiders. Try that.

Skarlax: It worked…the sail is opening.

Helio: Skarlax, Claws, Little Mountain you head out after the sail that cut east. We will stay behind in case the other band doubles back.

With the group split into two halves there is a mad dash to reach the second sail. The elves are experts at maneuvering the skiff and the distance between the two groups steadily widens. The trio left behind do a quick search of a small bunker just below the sand’s surface. It functions as a small shelter and holds some emergency provisions, including a special honey cultivated from exotic bees that functions like a slow acting healing potion. No more than twenty minutes pass when the unchased sail returns with a three elf crew, they skirt the outer edges of the shelter and seem leery.

Oasis: We need to stop them from eluding, but can’t risk damaging the sail.

Mercutio: Why don’t I take a little walk under the sand and put up a Wall of Stone to block their escape. You two come at them from the opposite side. If we can get on top of the blasted thing maybe we can bog it down.

Oasis: Permission to cast a spell on you? Enlarge Person?

Mercutio: Eh?

Oasis: Going to make you bigger and more importantly heavier.

Mercutio: Sure thing.

The oracle is enlarged, as are Helio and Oasis, Mercutio walks through the side of the bunker and begins to approach the skiff from below ground. He manages to pull a land-shark type maneuver where he comes up on the tail of the sand-sail and drops a Wall of Stone in front of it, then he throws himself into the rear of it and goes deadweight. The Sorcerer and Inquisitor burst from the shelter with similar enlargements and Oasis summons a mount virtually midstride and charges at the sail. Helio tries to block the direction where they could turn the sail and tack into the wind with a Wind Wall and they manage to strand the vessel. The Elves snatch the glass key and scatter, abandoning the skiff. Oasis rides down the keyholder and skewers him with a spear thrust. The other two seem to melt into the swirling sand kicked up by the Wind Wall, and the trio elects not to be pursue. The impaled elf is badly injured but not dead.

Helio: Let’s stabilize and bind him. Rather have intelligence and interrogation then a burial in a shallow grave.

Mercutio: Well we have a few hours to practice while cutting for the coast.

Everyone get’s their supplies lashed down to the sand-sails and a haphazard pilgrimage transpires as everyone races the sun to make the coast by nightfall. It is right about at that point that a certain realization strikes home.

Skarlax: Uh…we don’t have boats. How were we planning on crossing the sea without boats?

Helio: Technically speaking we intended to make for the port and events redirected us to attempting the cut off.

Little Mountain: Can the sand-sails be used on water? They are basically canoes.

Elf Raider (Slim): You can barely run them on sand, and you expect to cross open ocean with them? You will capsize and drown from the first swell.

Oasis: Well that means they can be used on the water.

Slim: You are accepting your deaths the moment you place these in the water.

Helio: Then teach us.

Slim: I would rather die.

Helio: You will die. Not quickly or peacefully, but with salt water filling your lungs until you black out and the sharks pick clean your bones.

Slim: I want payment.

Helio: Where you planning on spending it? We are literally in the middle of nowhere.

Slim: I get you to your destination and back, and you let me loose. In return I want 10% of any profits or pillage we acquire in the process. I also want a pledge in writing that any travels you partake in the future through our territory are subject to a five percent tariff.

Oasis: I am all for trade agreements.

Helio: You have a bargain.

Slim: *Sigh* first things first, you have the sails backwards. Second with the exception of the serpent man, none of you can tie off a knot to save your life.

The raider turned pirate, makes the vessels ready to oceanfaring with great speed and efficiency. As dusk arrives the two outrigger sand-sails are cast into the tide and the group begins it’s intercept route.

Slim: They are leaving Glenfiff today?

Oasis: Yes.

Slim: Then we need to reach Isle Kiza in three days time. Virtually all ships exchange cargo and provisions at the Isle because it is the last source of fresh water for a great distance. I can get you there in time but I doubt your stomachs will thank you. These really aren’t meant for seafaring.

Skarlax: What can we expect L.M.?

Little Mountain: The Cavern Wind are a subtle organization, they won’t be running a flag shouting “counterfeiters and thieves”. They will operate under auspice of authority and legality. An organized envoy of guards and sentries will surround and insulate the ranking members of the society. I would highly value capturing their captain. I fear a frontal attack will be in vain and we will likely have to trail them to their destination or settle for sabotaging their vessel.

True to his word, Slim chuckles at the perpetual sea sickness and green faces of the crew as the two skiffs fight to stay upright on the waves and shifting waters. They manage to reach Isle Kiza at dawn of the third morning and stow their skiffs amidst the rocks a few hours before a large oar driven galley arrives.

PrismCat21
2017-11-03, 11:26 AM
Two Halfling thumbs up! Will read again :elan:

Fralex
2017-12-17, 05:55 AM
I don't suppose this is going to be continued at some point? :frown:

Kaveman26
2018-01-12, 07:01 PM
Where The DM is Cursed Equally For Terry Pratchett and Moana:



We watch from the port buildings as the Cavern Wind’s envoy unloads and shifts provisions. Platoons of Half Giant guards/pack mules ferry supplies up and down the gang plank. Little Mountain draws everyone’s attention to a series of heavily muscled and tattooed dwarves giving orders and consulting with the ship’s captain.

Skarlax reports that the galley is expected to launch for it’s journey by mid evening.

Skarlax: I talked with the captain of a smaller ship. He is willing to set sail today, but it’s going to practically bankrupt us of any remaining coin. He insists that his Well Dipper can reach the waters on our map within a fortnight, but he insists that it is vacant sea with unforgiving currents and nothing of interest.

Helio: Did you manage to feel him out for long it will take the galley to make that same voyage.

Skarlax: I posed as if we were consulting them for alternate passage. Captain Dmitri said that a ship that size driving it’s oar handlers hard could make the same trip in ten days, but they could be much slower returning.

Mercutio: Can we seek alternate passage on the galley? I mean sabotaging them is one thing, but flat out being in their shadow is just as good.

Little Mountain: They would recognize me on sight. If not me specifically certainly what I represent.

Oasis: Well let’s hear plans for hampering their passage and plans for accelerating our own.

Mercutio: I could smash their rudder up easy enough, but that could be fixed or replaced within a day.

Skarlax: Could poison their water supplies. I got enough to make the crew sick without killing them. Hard to spell a turn at the oar when you are ****ting your guts out.

Helio: Set a fire to the ship, could cost them more than a day or two.

Oasis: Can the sand-sails make that kind of crossing.

Slim: One squall or storm and we are shark bait. Get us close enough to the destination and we could make a shorter range sprint.

Oasis: Well let’s see if we can convince Dmitri to trim the sail time, and load the two skiffs. Then let’s try to sabotage the water supply and foul their rudder.

Captain Dmitri: You are quite confident of your map. I have sailed the trade routes and ventured beyond the paths deemed safe. You are paying a great deal for weeks at sea only to see more waves. No vessel I am acquainted with has found a single trace of the legendary “dwarf fortress”.

Oasis: Never the less, we need haste to reach our destination.

In the end a price is bartered that quite fully depletes all money held by the party, but the bartering does convince the Captain to belay transporting several loads of cargo and passengers that will potentially allow them to cut a day off the journey. Skarlax manages to slip a diluted poison amidst the water barrels of the galley Juggernaut, and under cover of darkness Mercutio and Oasis assault the ship’s rudder and hull, they are also fortunate enough to slip away undetected. The journey begins uneventfully, and it is only on day seven that trouble is spotted. One of Dmitri’s crew shouts down from the crow’s nest to alert the captain.

Sentry: Southeast Captain!

Dmitri produces a spyglass and then begins cursing to himself.

Dmitri: Helm! Prepare for hard and abrupt turning. Anyone not up to their eyeballs in work clearing the deck of anything you can.

Helio: What did you spot, another ship?

Dmitri: Right…you lot. Hope you can fight. Any of you ever hear of Zrithnaken?

Oasis: I recall a passage in a scroll, something about a jungle island very isolated and savage.

Dmitri: Well it’s a real place, one no one bothers going to. Problem is sometimes pieces of the island come looking for us.

Helio: We don’t follow.

Dmitri: You know Thri-Keen right?

Oasis: Deep desert dwelling primitives, look like insects, almost human level intelligence.

Dmitri: Well, on Zrithnaken they are a bit more advanced. Every ten or fifteen years we hear stories about their floating islands and how they devour whole ships. I never seen some myself, but I have had them described to me plenty enough to know if they are real what to expect. I just saw one.

The captain passes off the spyglass and everyone takes turns looking into the distance. Almost at the limit of sight is a massive floating jungle ball. The mass is most certainly moving and at a speed significant enough to create sizeable wake.

Dmitri: We aren’t going to out run it, but maybe we stall long enough to wear it out.

Mercutio: Wear “it” out?

As the crew scrambles to push the ship to it’s limit the minutes stretch into hours and the Thri-Keen floatilla nears, the captain hands off a spyglass and a set of enormous flippers and mottled green/grey head are barely visible beneath the surface.

Claws: It’s Turtle.

Oasis: That is a damn big turtle. Always thought the giant tortoises confused for islands was a myth.

Dmitri: I used to think the same way.

Helio: They are doing something…looks like they are erecting a sling.

Dmitri: Damn, they are going to try and sink us. Start tacking course…keep us moving side to side, change it up frequently.

Helio: Won’t that let them come closer and quicker.

Dmitri: Well that beast ain’t slowing down and we are about to catch all kinds of hell, so desperate times.

A few minutes pass and there is an audible lurch to the whole tortoise and floating island. A massive stone anchor is lofted high into the air and it plummets with alarming accuracy within a few yards of the Well Dipper. The force of the impact sends the much smaller ship sprawling.

Skarlax: They are going to be right on top of us soon, and a single hit from anything that size and we are sunk. I say we fight. Get close enough that they can’t hurl anything at us.

Helio: You want to nuzzle the floating death ball?

Skarlax: No I want to HIDE in the floating death ball. It will take them all of five minutes to sink or search this tub. We can’t get cover in the foliage a lot better than the larder.

Oasis: I dislike the notion of hiding in their territory, but I suppose it beats the alternative. Captain, can I persuade you to abandon ship?

Dmitri: Don’t see that I have much choice.

The Well Dipper swings around and begins a suicide approach to the tortoise jungle island, we all but ram the ship into the foliage and secure rigging to the trees, leaping to the safety of “dry land”. No sooner are we afoot on the island then we begin hearing the alien language of the Thri-Keen marauders.

A series of twin splashes snaps our attention back to the Well Dipper and we witness Dmitri and his crew sliding down ropes to the sand skiffs, now afloat in the water and he gives us a mocking salute as he starts a course away from the tortoise island.

Other than shouting a few obscenities we are unable to press that particular matter any further as a series of jagged bone projectiles come whistling through the trees at us. The paralytic poisons attached work marvelously fast and before we get mount much of an offense, Helio and Oasis are both virtually crippled. Claws and Jaws get a hold of a mantis shaped humanoid and begin rending it to shreds which draws enough attention for Little Mountain to snatch up the the paralyzed teammates and make a blind sprint away. Mercutio is chucking rocks mid stride and Skarlax seems to melt into the trees. The oracle and monk dump the poisoned duo at the hollow of a dead tree and then try to steer away the pursuers.

In a short frame of time Little Mountain and Mercutio are also paralyzed, Claws is surrounded by a veritable kill circle but somehow he and his lion wreak havoc on the Thri-Keen and are on the verge of getting free from attack when a heavy weighted net is dropped on them…their language is incomprehensible but the intent is clear. Easier to kill this one. A thri-keen more adorned and decorated than the rest draws forth a barbed spear forged from something akin to bone but different (we think ivory) and is prepped for a coup de grace when a pair of kukri plunge into his thorax and then sharply slash his throat. The few remaining warriors scatter and Skarlax manages to extricate the ranger and they limp off back into the vegetation.

The four paralyzed PC’s are trussed and gagged then dragged to the center of the “island”. In the midst of being stripped of their posessions a lighter toned mantis man begins rubbing something on their skins…the smell is unmistakable. Rosemary, sage, garlic and a hint of oregano.

Helio: We are being seasoned.

A short and sharp shrill like an abrupt whistle causes all the Thri-Keen to snap to attention and they part ways to let a figure approach the bound prisoners. A winged serpent with bright feathers and feminine features casually flies just slightly off the ground to appraise the day’s haul. She smiles sadly at the four players and the tip of her tail lightly caresses them in turn.

Winged Serpent: I wish you to suffer naught…I can grant you the boon of deep sleep and a painless passing. My flock will see to it that you are not wasted. Your companions will soon join you and I will grant them the same grace.

Mercutio: We would prefer to live…not sure you want to try and eat me, my meat would be rather sandy.

Winged Serpent: Your body is cursed, I see it. Your soul though is blessed. They will not partake of your flesh, but they will thrive on the nourishment of your spirit. I thank you for this boon. Your passing will strengthen them and allow life to flourish for a time longer.

Mercutio: Well that backfired.

The Thri-Keen start chittering to themselves as Claws and Skarlax are dragged into the small clearing. They are still breathing but in the worst shape of everyone. The lion itself seems to be in remarkably good shape and several smaller mantis people attentively care for it’s wounds.

Winged Serpent: I sense the taint of the wyrm upon one of you. But whom?

One by one everyone is levitated by the Winged Serpent and then wrapped in her coils, followed by being surrounded by her wings….it forces each of us to stare directly into her strangely alluring eyes. When she gets to Helio she shudders and visibly trembles.

Winged Serpent: Blinded for so long, I admire that you began to see. The deceivers grow stronger and the land suffers.

Helio: Then leave your bellies empty and let us fight.

Winged Serpent: You will only fail. Your bravado is sweet but futile.

A clamour arises from the thri-keen ransacking our posessions as it uncovers the trio of polished idols. The cat figurines are presented to the Serpent with reverence.

The serpent lady addresses the Mantis warriors and with haste they free us from our bonds and slide our gear back towards us. The Winged Serpent coils herself around each of us once again and with blinding pain she sinks her fangs into our necks and begins to drain us. The agony is untold and when she finishes we one by one crumple to the ground. The process seems to take a heavy toll on her as well, by the time she finishes with the last of us the Thri-Keen are propping her up from collapse. She names herself Qaur.

Qaur: I have drawn the poison from your bodies…the pain will pass in time.

The Thri-Keen are redirected and the island begins to turn.

Qaur: Freeing you is a great hardship, but one that must be born. The winds of change demand your presence and I must ferry you to meet your fates.

Mercutio: So we are free to go?

Qaur: Our home is free to you, as it must be. But I must shepherd you to answer the call. Shen Gralla beckons.

Helio: We don’t understand.

Qaur: it is not my place to explain.

Skarlax: Our destination is the lost dwarf stronghold…is that Shen Gralla?

Qaur: That answer is not mine to give.

She is carried away before we can press her further and while we are now mostly being left alone and confused there are several Thri-Keen paying us close attention in the trees.

Skarlax: We are stuck. I don’t fancy another fight, somehow I don’t think it will work out for us a second time. Those idols bought us back our skins but she doesn’t strike me as the multiple chances type.

We put ourselves back together and try to retrace our steps back to the Well Dipper. As we meander through the jungle a loud whoosh noise and lurching sensation sends us reeling.

Oasis: They are firing on something again.

Within a few hours we hear the desperate screams of men and the frantic chittering of Thri-Keen. We make our way back to the clearing and half of Dmitri’s crew bound and trussed. His first mate amongst them.

Helio: Well this seems poetic.

Mate: It was captain’s orders. Wasn’t my call. He is the Captain.

Helio: We understand chain of command…your hands were tied.

Mate: Can you help us out here? We can sail for you.

Helio: Oh Im afraid we aren’t in command. SHE is the captain around here. Our hands are tied. For what it’s worth though…she can make it painless.

Mercutio: Not sure I want to stick around for this.

Skarlax:Yeah I would prefer giving it a pass too.

As nightfalls the mantis warriors escort us back to Qaur…most signs of the Well Dipper crew are gone. Some of the clothing is left behind, but that is about it. Qaur seems recovered from her weakened condition but she also seems anxious and concerned. When we inquire she actually opens up a bit.

Qaur: They were not enough. I worry that Yi will awaken.

Oasis: Who is Yi? The tortoise?

Qaur: Yi is the spirit bound to this oubliette. We must consume living flesh to keep him slumbering. His presence amplifies the strength of life. It allows the flora and fauna in this place to bloom and prosper, but the cost is flesh. We are a point of light in a sea of dark. As we grow we weaken the hidden wyrms. We are forbidden from venturing below to his prison. I fear that if we do not find more food soon he will arise and destroy our verdancy.

Helio: is there a way to restrain him?

Qaur: Only by force. He can never truly be killed, only subjugated and forced back to his bed.

Helio: We are not forbidden from entering his cell. If you were to grant us a favor I am sure we could be persuaded to assist.

Qaur: What would you seek?

Helio: Freedom to leave aboard our ship and to resume our course.

Qaur: I am compelled to return you to Shen Gralla. I can’t be dissuaded from this course.

Helio: And after?

Qaur: After you are delivered you are free to seek whatever destination you see fit.

Skarlax: Do you take requests?

Qaur: Requests? I don’t understand.

The rogue describes the galley commandeered by the Cavern Wind envoy and basically asks that they target this vessel specifically.

Qaur: If you can drive Yi back to slumber then yes we shall seek out this ship.

Skarlax: I think that is the best outcome we can derive given the present situation gents.

Oasis: Into the belly of the tortoise we go...


Doing my best to not let this fade out before completing it...

Terrorvein
2018-01-15, 02:48 AM
Woohoo! It's alive!

Welcome back Kaveman, I think I can speak for all your fans when I say we appreciate the effort you put into these Campaign Logs and into continuing to give us these amazing stories.

Thank you!

Kaveman26
2018-01-18, 01:25 PM
Tortoise Spelunking

The descent into the turtle’s stomach is less…organic…than we expected. No flesh or viscera or odd squishiness. The realization dawns that the spirit being held is not within the physical stomach of the turtle but a portion of the shell beneath the biomass held aloft on the turtle’s back.

The entity is located with a disturbing lack of conflict. It is represented as a tall man with a great set of antlers and a horn of plenty draped like a satchel. The whole figure is shadowy and ethereal and the horn is filled with small shadowy figures all writhing and struggling. There is a considerable pallor over the small prison cell, a discomforting quiet that seem amplified by the strained snoring and mumbling of the spirit Yi.

Skarlax: Do we just walk up to him and shank him? Do we have to slap him around first?

Helio: Not sure what the protocol on this one is. He seems to be sleeping.

Oasis: Can we even hurt it? I don’t see any actual organs to “Shank”

Little Mountain: It poses no current threat, nor can we be certain that it’s nature matches what has been described to us. I will not brutalize a defenseless foe that has done me no harm.

Mercutio: Better to be savaged by a prepared foe than to take an enemy unaware? We made a bargain that implicitly stated we would beat this thing into submission. We aren’t following the rules of a bloody duel.

Little Mountain: We can’t beat something that is asleep into submission. We wait for it to awaken, glean it’s intentions and then proceed appropriately.

Oasis: Little Mountain has a point, could be a trick. This may be a ploy to force us into undertaking a task too dangerous for them to attempt.

Mercutio: They literally tied us up and served us for dinner without breaking much of a sweat. No way do I believe that we are better suited for this fight then them.

Skarlax: Unless they only told us half a truth. If this thing needs conflict to be sated and flesh sacrifice/consumption…maybe those sacrifices need to be delivered voluntarily. They tricked us into putting the apple in our mouth and showing up for the pig roast.

Mercutio: Ok…that has me doubting.

Claws: It stopped snoring.

All eyes turn to the now awake Yi. It’s eyes are alert and remarkably compassionate. It stretches with a crackling of invisible joints and holds it satchel aloft.

Yi: I hunger…

The small writhing figures within the horn of plenty seem to jump from the cornucopia and grow as they fall. A series of pale goat like figure with rows of serrated piranha teeth perched in massive jaws land and immediately begin swarming the walls around us…eating away at the shell like living buzzsaws.

We waste almost two full rounds of combat trying to attack the Yi entity when we realize that it doesn’t even care about us, nor can we affect it. We turn our attention to the expanding stream of goat-piranha and those DO acknowledge us. As we lay hands on them or hit them, all their focus is redirected to chewing on whatever they can reach. Claws and Jaws are sent to stop those who have moved the furthest, Little Mountain plays mini-sumo with those spilling out from the horn, judo throwing and tripping them. The rest of the party tries to cull the swarm. Their bites leave gaping bleeding wounds that seem to expand on their own. Each bite seems affected by a dozen smaller sets of invisible teeth worrying at the flesh.

All of us are rend to shreds when the last piranha creature is slain, and as the horn runs empty the Yi spirit yawns and begins to snore again. While the fight is over…all of us are still bleeding. The magical healing we have available is not enough…and it isn’t stopping the blood loss. We limp our way back to the surface clearing and look for Qaur.

The Serpent lady finds us and gives the slightest bow of her head.

Qaur: I sense his slumber is peaceful and even…you have performed admirably.

Mercutio: Anything you can do about this bleeding? It’s not stopping.

Qaur: His appetite is unquenchable, the teeth still consume long after the wound is formed.

Oasis: Yes…we are leaking the proof of that all over the place…how do we stop it?

Qaur: You must take the unwilling flesh of another living creature. It must be sentient and aware of it’s demise.

Skarlax: We have to eat someone?

Qaur: Yes.

Skarlax: Any volunteers? Any of your mantis folk that are infirm or too badly injured to survive their wounds.

Qaur: You took a toll upon my flock already. I can’t permit or condone their death without consequence.

Mercutio: So either we catch something in the next few hours and eat them, or we are down to bleeding to death or eating one another.

(As a side note there was some discussion if the Ranger’s lion counted as sentient, it’s int score is tehnically high enough to qualify as intelligent, and it is certainly trainable…but we were delicately told that the lion would not suffice)

We try to wait out the few hours, and it does not go well. Everyone is virtually exsanguinated and what healing magic we had in reserve is expended. Without a convenient dinner on the horizon we are forced back into a tough spot.

Skarlax: One of us dies…or we all die.

Mercutio: Well Im not volunteering.

Little Mountain: We draw lots…loser sacrifices for the team.

Oasis: Are we really at that point? Better we die fighting the damned Qaur and her insects then literally eating each other.

Helio: That may have been an option before, but we are too weak to offer much resistance to anyone other than each other.

Oasis: We only need to kill one damned thri-keen. They were perfectly willing to kill us.

Skarlax: That just puts us back into the we all die category.

Oasis: Does it? She seemed pretty dead set on getting us to this Shen Grilla, I don’t think she has a choice in the matter.

Little Mountain: I would rather die than eat someone who has stood beside me.

Mercutio: I would feel guilty forcing any of you to consume my gritty ass.

Calm as a cucumber we walk back to the clearing and dogpile the first Thri-Keen we locate…it is not pretty. A storm of chittering and shaking branches sees Qaur swoop in with fury naked on her face.

Qaur: YOU WERE WARNED.

Mercutio: You are bound to deliver us to Shen Grilla. We kept our end of the bargain.

The scales on her body and the feathers seems to radiate and flow through different colors and the serpent is visibly shaking with rage but no death blow falls upon us. Quite unceremoniously we are stripped of our weapons and held in in crude cages. The mantis meal works…the bleeding stops.

Everyone is kept in the cages for days…deprived of anything but the most basic water or bare scrap of food. The whole party is left in shambles, considerable Con,Str, and Dex damage all around coupled with an inability to naturally heal due to dehydration and malnourishment.

Somewhere around day 7 the sky vanishes and we pass into a tunnel of some sort. The blurring of night and day is hell on already beleaguered senses. One moment the turtle is swimming and the next we are stopped. Thri-Keen remove us forcibly from our cages and we are bound and gagged as they drag/pull us to the edge of the floating island. With no supplies or weapons we are pitched overboard to a small outcropping of granite. The Well Dipper is cut free from the moorings binding it to the island and the tortoise turns to leave.

The light is scarce and we can’t tell if it is morning or night. We board the Well Dipper and find it stripped of virtually everything. Some make shift clubs are scavenged from wood and manage to find a single barrel of potable water which we transfer to skins. The cavern we were abandoned in is highly brackish and not drinkable. No trace of breeze is present and we are in no condition to man oars.

The outcrop seems to end at a solid stone wall. We light enough of a fire to make out three statues carved into the wall, they are old…very old. Three cats are they, Tiger, Lion and Panther.

Mercutio fishes out the cat figurines and we see the statues turn their heads to track each figure. The idols begin to glow and the statues eyes glow in turn…the wall opens and reveals a new tunnel…one with a light at the end. We take our paupers loot and enter the tunnel. A noise almost completely inperceptible draws Claw’s attention….but he sees nothing.

The tunnel slopes upwards and goes on farther than we expected. It eventually opens in the lushest and greenest jungle imagineable. In a world of sand and stone it is a heaven of green and fresh water. A wide valley teaming with fresh air and life. From above the tunnel a voice addresses us.

Voice: You have entered Shen Grilla. Do not make mistake your entrance for an invitation. Make no hostile movement and speak the name of the one who brought you to this sacred place.

Helio: She named herself Qaur.

Voice: Show me the Idols marking your safe passage.

Mercutio holds aloft the trio of idols…none of us at this point has the slightest sense of where the voice is coming from or who it belongs to.

Voice: You are granted amnesty. By the sacred rights of those bearing the mark of our forebearers I Gajira place you under the protection of my own name and permit you entrance to this valley. Should you dishonor the ground and streams of this holy site I will see that your blood and bone feeds the jungle floor.

A shimmering shape separates from the stone and jungle vines to reveal a massive panther, cloaked in a shifting body tight fabric. It was completely invisible despite being right above us. The panther alternates between standing on two legs and moving back on all fours as it guides us to the center of the Valley.

Helio: Where are we being taken? Qaur was not forthcoming.

Gajira: You look weary and ragged. I can’t present you to the Caliph in this condition. To escort such vagabonds as you would be a dishonor to my name. I lead you to the wellspring of Sher Khan, when you are more presentable I shall bring you before the Caliph.

The wellspring of Sher Khan is a hotsprings of lavish delight. Fruits, roasted meats, wine, honeyed tea, even some stout beer are all presented to us…as are numerous other feline humanoids. Massive lions, lean tigers, graceful cheetahs…all manner of large cat lounge and plunge into springs. Most give us barely a second glance…conversing with Gajira in a language none of us can comprehend.

The springs are invigorating…the exhaustion and damage sustained melts away. Within an hour we are revitalized and are reinvigorated. Once dressed we are escorted by Gajira to a marble steppe pyramid.

Gajira: You will kneel upon one knee and place your forehead against the ground until the caliph bids you rise. It is considered courtesy to seat yourselves on a couch and relax…do not sit upright…LOUNGE. If he eats…you should follow…if he drinks…you drink. You will keep your eyes trained upon the floor as we enter…only look up after you are seated.

All follow the instructions to the letter. A booming voice calls out.

Herald: You are each honored to be in the presence of his eminence Caliph Haric Sar Rak

Haric: Rise and take your leisure revered guests.

We each rise and finds the nearest couch and proceed to look upon the Caliph. I’m not sure anyone convincingly held their shock. Seated on a huge marble throne is a three headed tiger. The three heads seem to function as one…the words start and finish from different mouths all speaking with one voice. He is huge and overwhelmingly regal.

Haric: Welcome to Shen Grilla. The winds change and the world decays, but Shen Grilla flourishes. The sands must have shifted fiercely for these idols to be uncovered. Tell me, do the dragons reveal themselves? Or do they continue to hide?

Helio: Your eminence, I served for years under what I believed to be a great king, but the veil was lifted from eyes and I see now that he is a Defiler. A Dragon King.

Haric: Such is their nature that avoiding detection is paramount to their success. Gajira tells me that you were brought by Qaur?

Oasis: Yes. Not by choice.

Haric: Destiny is blind to choice. It has tunnel vision only for the future and cares little for the present. The present and future are of the up most concern to the denizens of this valley. The idols you found were markers, testaments to the depravity of the Dragon. As their blight grows, the idols will be uncovered. These are amongst the oldest seeded to the world beyond. Their discovery is a warning sign that the time for hidden dragons is at an end. Soon they will reveal themselves and the world will die in the ashes of their fire.

Oasis: Unless we stop them.

Haric: Stop them? The ignorance of youth was lost to us centuries ago. They can’t be stopped, nor can they be diminished. For too long they thrived undetected. The only hope is Shen Grilla. We exist beyond the scope of their defilment. Our borders and valley untouched by the taint of their vile magic. Like an acorn surviving a forest fire we will ride out the storm and rise from the ashes.

Mercutio: So your plan is to do nothing?

Haric: You mock us? We are preserving a seed to allow life to continue. This is the struggle. Life.

Little Mountain: You are abandoned thousands to war and strife. Better to die trying than simply survive.

Haric: You are wrong. Better for most to die than all.

Skarlax: Are you that heartless?

Haric: Let me show you something.

The three headed tiger leads everyone to a table with a saucer balanced on a peg. There are several figures holding bowls at the edges of the saucer. The Caliph places a stone in the bowl of a figure who resembles a cleric.

Haric: There is your good. The bowl is filled and the balance shifts.

He places another stone on the opposite end, of what appears to be a demon.

Haric: There is your evil. The balance shifts back.

He repeats this with Law and Chaos.

He then takes a full bag and pours into the evil bowl…the whole saucer comes crashing down. The Good King and all the figures are shattered. The broken saucer reveals a fifth figure straining under the weight of all above it. It appears to be a tree.

Haric: You see the bowls being filled and want to tip the scales back. The Dragon Kings would see the scales tipping in their favor and damned be the consequence. We care not for the scales or the saucer. We care only for the tree and it’s roots. This is not about good or evil, right or wrong. This is not about who wins or who loses. The suffering is immaterial. What matters is that SOMETHING must be preserved to allow for any future whatsoever. That is the purpose of our order. That is why we exist. We are the guardians of tomorrow. We are the world’s last druids. We will see that life endures…no matter the price.

Kaveman26
2018-02-16, 04:47 PM
Hard as a Dragon’s Scales:

Mercutio: I still don’t see why you won’t fight. If you have the strength to allow this valley to flourish surely you have the strength to fight against the Dragon Kings.

Haric: You are mortal, and naïve. To you a dragon is something imagined and whispered in story. Have you ever faced a dragon? Have you felt the heat of their breath or the sharpness of their claws? Gajira I think they need to see something solid to drive home the futility of this fight.

Gajira: Yes Caliph.

Several lions bring in a massive shield crafted from a shining red substance along with several weapons forged from stone, bone, glass and even a single spear with a metal head.

Haric: Take these and break the shield. Put all your might and strength into the blows. Crack the shield and we will aid you. The spear is tempered steel. Not the bronze or wrought iron attributed to royalty…real smith forged steel. Stronger than iron.

No one even manages to scratch the shield.

Haric: This is a dragon’s scale. A single scale taken from the fallen corpse of the last true Dragon King. No artifice known to your man or my people can pierce their armor. Our magic is great, so is theirs. To kill a single dragon would require tremendous sacrifice and effort, and there are now at least three as strong and hardened as this scale in the world you know.

Mercutio produces a single chunk of the meteor rock that fell to the ground…it is somewhat serrated and while unbalanced and clumsy he affixes it to the end of a club and hands it to Oasis who slams it as hard as possible into the dragon’s scale. The metal is unforged and unfocused, but there is an unmistakeable hairline crack in the scale.

Oasis: Help us find those who can forge THIS metal into something that will let us fight for our world and not rely on something to rise from the ashes.

Haric is clearly shaken by the minor crack in the armor and he bids us to vacate the room while he confers with his brethren. Some time later we are escorted to a separate private chamber where Haric rejoins us.

Haric: This metal, where did it come from?

We recap the entire meteor shower event and how a vast sum of this substance was seized by the Dragon Kings along with the Cavern Winds.

Haric: By itself the presence of this metal and it’s ability to compromise a dragon’s natural defenses does not sway me. The knowledge that parties other than yourselves are seeking to manipulate this metal IS cause enough for us to act and act boldy. I am aware of the dwarves “lost” kingdom. It is folly to search for this ghost of a civilization. Calamity and Ruin swept it beneath the sea’s waves. There is a source capable of smelting this metal and making it forgeable. I fear awakening this entity is potentially more catastrophic than the wrath of the Hidden Dragons. I made a statement in public that we would support you and we shall do so. Gajira has been given permission to leave the valley and guide you to one who may help. I caution you that this is a bold risk and not one lightly suffered. You are aligned against powerful agents who will not be dissuaded from protecting their interests.

Mercutio: All we seek is a chance. You are giving us that.

Previously having been stripped of all weapons save for some improvised clubs, we are greatly pleased to be presented with several new weapons. Each of us is given a new Ironwood weapon or our choosing along with a stone and bone secondary weapon.

Oasis: Ironwood Spear, Stone and Bone Spear
Mercutio: Ironwood Quaterstaff
Claws: Ironwood Comp longbow +7 str stone and bone club
Little Moutain: Quaterstaff, stone shuriken
Helio: Morningstar and spear
Skarlax: Ironwood kukri, stone club

We are resupplied with food and water, and some restocked items for the ship (primarly rope and spare planking and sailcloth) and then we are gently but firmly escorted out of the valley. Gajira, the panther sentry accompanies us and seems none too pleased about it. When questioned about it he is curt and direct.

Gajira: This is a fool’s errand. We are grasping at roots extending from the cliff’s face thinking that if we can but wrap our hands around the wisp of plant we will stop ourselves from falling. To be in the valley is a sign of value and recognition that what one contributes is needed to rebuild once the end arrives. I am not valuable enough to remain apparently.

Mercutio: Makes me look cheery this one does.
We are being left in the dark in terms of our destination. Gajira mostly stays in the shadows below deck and occasionally blurts out a change in heading for the ship. Sailing the vessel is hardly a forte for us. We are able to figure out the basics, but find ourselves constantly course correcting and covering twice the distance as a skilled sailor might.

Days melt into the better part of two weeks and the water seems to shift. It grows darker and choppier, the sky becomes overcast and there is a noticeable pallor in the air, as if the breeze is afraid to enter.

Gajira: We are getting close.

The panther’s detached grumpiness is replaced with a sudden intense focus.

Gajira: From this point on speak no word unneeded, make no noise lightly. Attention is the last thing we want from here out.

Oasis: Where is here.

Gajira: There is much in this world unnatural. My kin have strived for centuries to remove the more destruction elements and steer towards harmony. Some things will not lighly be steered and others refuse to relinquish their hold to this world. This is where they are exiled. We are entering the limits of their domain.

The silence is supernatural. The wind stops blowing at one point almost like an invisible wall cuts it off with a razor’s sharpness. The water stops moving and the only sound is that our own breathing. Nothing stirs in the water, no ripples from the passing of fish below. Gajira uses some very demonstrative sign language and patiently guides us in action. As the Well Dipper emerges from a fog bank land is sighted. Everyone does their best to stifle gasps and shock.

An island of black sand, dominated by a massive black as night volcano comes into sight. The volcano is one massive graveyard…crypts, tombs and headstones line it from top to bottom. The only thing to disrupt the darkness is the bleached bone skeletons of ancient creatures unidentifiable to any of us. Massive bones jut from the sand and make a maze amidst the beach. Gathering us together in a tight circle Gajira whispers to us.

Gajira: We seek a single grave in an island of graves. The dead do not rest easily. Should we disturb their slumber they will awake with great fury.

He points to the summit of the mountain and motions slightly to the right…a cave opening is distinguishable from the rest of the honeycomb of crypts.

Gajira: That is our destination. Move silently, move carefully and maybe we won’t join the natives.

We set out on foot across the sand which echoes like a thunderstorm in our ears. The crunch crunch crunch of sand sets ours hairs on end and we notice that Gajira’s footfalls barely even cause the beach to shift. Painstakingly we approach the twisting up the side of the volcano and as we ascend Claws lets out a small squeak and as we turn to chastise him for making a sound we realize that he has been frantically trying to hand signal us from the rear. He gesticulates wildly to the beach where we see several massive frigates breaking through the fog bank. Without question they are Cavern Wind vessels.

Gajira’s permanent scowl suddenly hits new levels of scowl intensity and he begins to sprint ahead of us on all fours. We hasten to catch up while maintaining quiet. By the time we reach the cave mouth the Cavern Wind’s outriggers have made landfall and Helio squints at the lead figure he silently mouths “Rudzhi” the head of the Inquisitors picks up a handful of sand and then lets it trickle through his fingers. With a sudden inhuman roar he seems to expand in size and his robes evaporate in a burst of leathery wings. A massive serpentine form takes shape with long sinewy neck and predatory claws. The albino white form leaps into the air roaring it’s reptilian cry. Spirits rise from the depths of their tombs and all trace the airborn dragon. Like flies drawn to a flame shades, wights, wraiths and ghosts trod in the direction of the roaring dragon.

Squad after squad of half giant’s disembark from the large rowboats and hold aloft palanquins bearing dwarven emissaries, they begin jogging towards the volcano at a pace that puts our to shame.
Helio: Move your asses! No need to be quiet anymore that frigging snake with wings is drawing every bit of attention possible.

We all begin to sprint after the panther druid and scrabble to make the turn down the volcano’s tunnel. We wind our way down to the heart of the volcano, the tunnel gives way to a crater at the volcano’s center where massive spectral chains hold a great shadowy form. Like a distant relation to the winged serpentine form circling the island is the ghostly outline of a dragon easily five times the size of the Inquistor’s true form. Much stockier and shorter in form it’s hollow eyes are fixed on Gajira.

Gajira: As a descendant of Sher Khan and a keeper of the ancient ways I beseech you for knowledge lost to our world. Will you honor the pact and provide us with your wisdom?

The spectral dragon seems heavily weighted by the chains holding it and the strain of lifting it’s head causes the whole ghostly body to tremble.

Dragon-Ghost: Ask your question and disturb me no longer.

Gajira waves us closer with a hiss and Mercutio holds aloft the chunk of meteoric metal.

Mercutio: We must know the process to forge this metal, so that we may craft weapons and armor.

Dragon-Ghost: Only the fire of my ancestors is hot enough to temper this metal. None of my kin remains in this world, only the corruption of their memory.

Oasis: So it’s impossible?

Dragon-Ghost: I have answered your question and met my obligation. Now leave me in peace, lest you deem yourselves ready to offer new terms.

Little Mountain: New terms?

Gajira: Stop now. We must leave this place. You have your answer it can’t be done.

Mercutio: He is implying there is another way. We have to ask another question.

Gajira: you can’t. He is bound to answer to respond to my people only once every hundred years.

Little Mountain: That is the bargain you struck, we can make our own bargain, that is the implication.

Gajira: You are toying with forces you CAN’T control. Walk away now or I will force you to leave.

Helio: What are you so afraid of? He is bound.

Gajira: THE CHAINS ARE PART OF HIS PACT. Form a new one and those chains will vanish.

As we are arguing with the panther Skarlax meanders to the dragon and crouches down low.

Skarlax: What do you seek?

Dragon-Ghost: Freedom…freedom to die.

Skarlax: Then I offer a new pact. I will grant you the freedom to die, if you grant me the ability to forge weapons that will kill these Dragon-Kings.

With his supernatural senses Gajira turns as the words are spoken and in true anguish and fear he screams for Skarlax to stop. But is too late. The chains evaporate as does the Dragon-Ghost. With his true dying breath the ghost speaks one last time.

Dragon-Ghost: I give you my final breath. Let it light the fires which will remove the abomination of my descendants from this world.

Where the dragon spirit lay in chains a small bunson burner like takes form and then begins to expand…with no signs of slowing.

Skarlax: Well that didn’t turn out well.

A mad sprint sees us rushing from the ever expanding and burning floor. It is as if the dragon reignited the volcano with his final gasp. We make the exit in time to see the Half-Giants ascending the twisting pathways to the volcano’s cave. Our hasty retreat becomes a half controlled fall as we slide down the volcano’s edge.

Gajira: We can’t leave them to control the flame! That flame will smelt the meteor rock and you just showed your bellies and surrendered it.

Helio: I know what it’s like to fight against Praetorian Giants like these. We are hopelessly outnumbered and it’s the height of suicide to engage on these terms. We make it to the boats we warn the clan chiefs and come back in force.

Gajira: You have doomed this world and perhaps even my people with it. If you find these warriors dangerous now, then picture them with armor forged from an unbreakable metal and with spears capable of puncturing stone. They will wipe the tribes from the land without breaking more than a light sweat and the Hidden Wyrms will reign.

Mercutio: You got a better idea?

Gajira: Yes…I did. Then you children freed the Dragon Shade. You are on your own.

With no further argument the Panther seems to melt into the shadows and simply vanish. A brutally desperate battle follows where in we attempt to retake our now occupied ship. We manage to take control of the helm and get some momentum through the open water while we still fight some of the invaders off. Oasis dispatches the last half-giant as we are left gasping for air and dripping sweat…the heat radiating from the volcano is palpable even a few hundred yards off shore.

We bear witness to the majority of the landing party frantically escaping as they burst into flames from the super heated air. A great winged shape perches on the volcano’s edge and we see if it’s scaled sear and blacken. The Rudzhi dragon shrieks in pain and leaps from the volcano’s edge to cooler air.

Oasis: I guess we can consider that a minor bonus. It’s too hot even for a “dragon king”.

The Cavern Wind armada begins to get their act together and we watch Rudzhi shift back to his human disguise and nearly collapse aboard the flagship. The fleet is leaving and they are beginning to track our smaller vessel. We make our best attempt to outrun them, but the strong backs and thick arms of the half giant guards spelling their turns at the oars sees any lead we had evaporate.

Ultimately we decide to head below deck and force them to come to us. The decision is rendered meaningless as Rudzhi retakes dragon form and rakes our ship with a swath of acid that burns through the planking of our hull. As we founder the human voice of Rudzhi mocks us from above.

Rudzhi: Our thanks for leading us to the secret island. I am sure my mentors will more ably be able to manage the heat. At least you have drowning to look forward to. How many desert dwellers can boast that?

(Ironically drowning is actually a real concern for people who live in deserts. Most desert communities exist in Wadis where there is bedrock and underground water supplies. When rain does fall it creates flash floods that hit the valley basins…fun side note)

With our ship sinking and our main objective lost things look bleak. As the water levels rise and the ship inches closer to submersion we hear a thud from below. And the water levels stay neutral. Several hours pass and we cautiously peak our heads above decks. The Cavern Wind Fleet is out of sight and the skies remain clear of dragon wings.

Against all reason and logic an island seems to be rising from beneath us. Every so slowly it takes more and more form and while it is definitely akin to the tortoise island that attacked us with the Thri-Keen, this one dwarfs the previous. A serpentine neck and jaw that is starting to be all too familiar rises from the water’s surface. We recognize it out of character as a dragon-turtle….albeit far bigger than any previously encountered.

I feel like I need to throw this out there. A little under a year ago I suffered a substantial loss. My kids were playing downstairs (something they rarely do) and I should have realized something was up because they weren't making noise. My wife keen observer and doubter of silence nudged me to go see what they were doing.

I came downstairs to find them making soup. They were using a plastic bin where I stored all my maps and notes from D&D and Pathfinder as a cauldron and were adding plastic vegetables and other fake foods to the soup...they were also adding water and the contents of a few capri suns and using a ruler as a stirrer. A big chunk of my accumulated notes, characters sheets, dungeon maps, fully scaled grid graph paper combat maps and pawns were all turned into the stock for a fake stew. Some of the accumulated losses were replaced by my friends own back ups and I have a forum goer who was kind enough to re-send me a PDF file with the Entire Necro-Ranchers campaign (thank you Lord of Shadows).

I am in the reprocess of rebuilding some of that material and redrawing the maps. While doing so I stumbled across a few old projects that found new light and that stuff will be getting shared as well.

Lord of Shadows
2018-02-24, 12:29 PM
I feel like I need to throw this out there. A little under a year ago I suffered a substantial loss. My kids were playing downstairs (something they rarely do) and I should have realized something was up because they weren't making noise. My wife keen observer and doubter of silence nudged me to go see what they were doing.

I came downstairs to find them making soup. They were using a plastic bin where I stored all my maps and notes from D&D and Pathfinder as a cauldron and were adding plastic vegetables and other fake foods to the soup...they were also adding water and the contents of a few capri suns and using a ruler as a stirrer. A big chunk of my accumulated notes, characters sheets, dungeon maps, fully scaled grid graph paper combat maps and pawns were all turned into the stock for a fake stew. Some of the accumulated losses were replaced by my friends own back ups and I have a forum goer who was kind enough to re-send me a PDF file with the Entire Necro-Ranchers campaign (thank you Lord of Shadows).

I am in the reprocess of rebuilding some of that material and redrawing the maps. While doing so I stumbled across a few old projects that found new light and that stuff will be getting shared as well.

Wow... Glad I held on to that stuff. Your campaign logs should be declared National Treasures!

Kaveman26
2018-03-09, 04:06 PM
Smoke On the Water:

The Dragon turtle’s scale is beyond all reason. It’s scale shimmer and shift from one color to the next and it is able to turn it’s head at an impossible angle. We are introduced to Kiwi…who is voiced with an Australian accent.

Kiwi: Having a rough day of it are we?

Helio: To put it midly yes.

Kiwi: Thought you were all goners for a tick there, good thing I came along eh?

Mercutio: Very fortunate timing for us.

Kiwi: Well the knocking about and dragon’s roar woke me up and I figured I better go take a look. And now here we are.

Oasis: As grateful for the rescue as we are, chances are you just delaying the same outcome. We messed up big time and may have doomed the world in the process.

Kiwi: Ah no worries mates. The world is always doomed one way or another, all seems to work itself out in the end.

Little Mountain: You seem awfully calm.

Kiwi: I lived a good long time little fella. Takes an awful lot to upset my day. What exactly did you lot muck up though?

We explain the whole situation including the Valley of the Druid Cats, the Meteror Rock, the Dragon Kings, the prophecies of the Hidden Wyrms and the fact that we just handed the keys for forging adamantine to the dragons themselves. It is from Kiwi that we officially are clued into the word “adamantine”

Kiwi: That stuff is a devil to forge. The cat bloke was nearly spot on though. Only a true dragon’s fire is hot enough to work it proper.

Skarlax: Well aren’t you a dragon?

Kiwi: Like a catfish is a cat I suppose. Dragon’s used to mix it up with just about anything. Fertile lot they were so kind of odd that they died out. I am more turtle than dragon. But like I always said if you can’t find someone to do something properly, find someone that can do it anyway.

Helio: We don’t follow.

Kiwi: Dragon Fire would get that adamantine hot enough for any bloke to work, but that don’t mean someone else couldn’t work it without dragon fire. Kind of like how a bowl holds soup, but you can toss it in a mug and still drink it, might be messier and not ideal but the soup gets to the same spot in the end.

Oasis: And you know someone who can be our mug?

Kiwi: I don’t rightly know them. Not an inviting lot but I know where they are. I can take you along if you don’t mind, could use a good stretch after a long nap.

Mercutio: How long were you asleep?

The dragon turtle peers up to the stars and ***** his head…

Kiwi: Oh four or five hundred years give or take.

The massive turtle island moves smoothly and swifter than our ship. We are a few days into the journey when the shout of a several miles long turtle darn near scares us to death.

Kiwi: These cheeky bastards need to find someone else to nip at.

We scan the horizons and can’t find a single target or threat.

Mercutio: Who?

Kiwi: Sharks. They love to take a bit out of my flippers while I swim. Darn right rude and irritating. Don’t suppose you wouldn’t mind sending a message to them?

Skarlax: We can’t exactly swim down under there.

Kiwi: Oh right. Alright, hang on a tick, and I do mean hang on. Come to the far left side of my shell and grasp the edge.

The Turtle ROLLS onto it’s back which sends us clinging to the side of it’s shells hundreds of feet into the air terrified and damn near soiling ourselves. It executes the roll as smoothly and gently as possible but massive waves are sent crashing all around us. Now doing the backstroke we climb onto the turtle’s stomach and find a mass of ships tethered to his underside.

Kiwi: Bit of a hoarder mates, hate to let some of these go, but I think the one closest to the center has some underwater goodies. Help yourselves if it means getting these nibblers to nip off.

Inside the derelict ship we find a handful of water breathing potions and some harpoons made from actual metal *squeals of excitement*. We also find a wand of repair object with which we decide to repair one of the vessels for our own use.

Able to breathe water and now armed with harpoons we suddenly think we can all be Quint from Jaws. Little Mountain snaps us back to reality with a simple statement.

Little Mountain: Anyone know how to swim?

*blink blink*

Oasis: I can sink quite proficiently.

Helio: I think we all can.

As opposed to sinking or attempting to swim, we end up kind of fishing. We dangle a spelled up Oasis over the edge of the turtle with harpoon in hand and have him try to spear a shark and pull it surface where missile weapons and harpoons can pin it. That action fails spectacularly.

Our next attempt at being useful involves rigging a smaller rowboat to tie off on top of Kiwi while we board the smaller boat and get in the water being towed behind. This also fails miserably. The dragon turtle has fast healing, we can actually see the bites close as the flippers rise and fall, and none of the sharks are large enough to cause serious wounds but it certainly seems damn uncomfortable.

Skarlax: Hey Kiwi, can you glide with the flippers as close to the surface as possible.

Kiwi: Yeah I can manage that, but a stationary target is just going to get bit more.

Skarlax: Short term loss, long term gain. We are going to use your flipper as a surfboard and get these things off you.

That plan mostly works. We all board the massive flipper and begin to harpoon sharks and Claws laces them with arrows. We churn up a hell of a mess with dying sharks and we do our best to shove off and away from the turtle. We manage to trigger enough of a feeding frenzy to draw off the majority of the sharks and the few remaining ones look for easier meals. There is a stomach wrenching flip back to the normal position after freeing the most salvageable of boats and we set about using the wand to repair it as the turtle swims onward.

We smell our destination long before we see it. The stench of putrid smoke and sulfur are enough to make a billy goat puke. Massive trails of black ash and corrupted air trail from a location on the horizon.

Kiwi: Alright fellas, this is where I have to let you off. The water shallows out and there are too many jagged reefs for my liking. These chaps are not the friendliest bunch but I think they will be intrigued by the adamantine enough not to kill you. I’ll hang around the area for a few days to see how things turn out.

We leave the shelter of our friendly dragon turtle and take over as captains of a small sailboat we dub the Last Chance. It isn’t fair to call us sailors, but we manage to putter closer to the smoke by pushing off rocks with oars and getting some air behind the droopy sails to get us forward momentum. The smoke does not lead to a new island so much as it leads to a permanent platform. An ugly high walled platform has been erected above the water with plates of crude iron all riveted and welded together. It is hardly tempered steel but is still the most concentrated and astonishing expensive amount of metal we have ever been exposed to.

There is nothing akin to a gate or doorway that we can view from the side we approach so we maneuver around to the far side and find a single heavily reinforced gateway. A thick heavy set duo of men each almost sixteen feet tall, and covered head to toe in blackened iron armor spot us. Their beards flicker with fire and they clutch the hafts of pikes with hands that could crush a half-giant to pulp. They speak a broken and twisted form of common.

Fire Giant Guard: Is that a basket or a boat? What in the Hell are you doing here?

Oasis quickly pulls forth a chunk of the adamantine and proffers it overhead.

Oasis: We were told by a giant dragon turtle you might be able to smelt this.

The first guard lifts the visor of his helmet and squints at the metal. He clutches the pike and reaches over the top of the gate to hook our boat and pull us in closer.

Guard: That is adamantine…

A third giant appears from behind the guards, stockier and with slightly better armor.

The second guard snaps to attention.

Guard 2: Captain we were just about to alert you. We found these humanoids and they bear adamantine. Says a dragon turtle steered them here.

Captain: Seven Hells you aren’t delusional or lying. Strip them of their arms and demolish the boat we will bring them to the General.

Without a chance to raise objection or delay them a pair of boulders emanating fiery heat are heaved at the hull of our little boat and Last Chance sinks beneath the waves as we cling to a fire giant’s pike like a life preserver in a kiddy pool. We are roughly manhandled and singed by the natural heat from the giant’s who certainly don’t go out of their way to offer any apologies. Our meager weapons are cast aside and our posessions are stripped.

We are marched below decks of the platform, which extends deep below the ocean floor in some manner of sub-sea mining well. We circle past the old and infirmed giants reduced to doing patchwork on the ironplates compromising the walls, and come out into a extensive shaft lined with foundries and barracks. After what feels like forever we are shoved into a slightly nicer room with some meager furnishings and a better constructed suit of armor and weapons. The General Brymig is confused to our presence and shocked at the chunks of adamantine displayed.

The captain explains our arrival and then awaits orders.

Brymig: How randomly fortuitous. You found this metal?

Helio: It fell in a meteor shower…this is what we salvaged from that event.

Brymig: There is more?

Oasis: We know where more is yes.

Brymig: Captain, who else beyond these two knows of this metal?

Captain: Just us.

Brymig: You two shut the door.

The guards scramble to close the door to Brymig’s quarters and then come to attention.

Brymig: Captain I think these two deserve a commendation.

The Captain salutes his general and swiftly draws his greatsword taking the head off Guard One in one fluid stroke as the General pivots with a pike from the wall and impales the second. The Captain covers the scream from Guard two as he drops his sword and wraps arms around the impaled guards face. The General drops the pike and pulls a long jagged dagger from his belt slashing the second guard’s throat. The two bodies land with a clang.

Skarlax: Well that is one way to demonstrate achievement.

Brymig: Captain bring Horton and assemble those you would trust with your life. I think today is the day. As for you lot. Your survival depends on the answer to a simple question, can you get more?

Oasis: We can. But I think you need to hear us out.

Brymig: I don’t care for your words or pleading. Supply more of this metal and you will live, fail to deliver and you will die.

Oasis: There are many parties searching for this metal and some have the means to forge it already.

For what feels like the tenth time we explain the entire the dragon kings saga from the beginning and even include the part where we screwed up with the Dragon’s Ghost.

Brymig: You puny creatures think that this will let you stand against the might of a dragon sorcerer? We have toiled in these mines for centuries seeking out the means to kill that scum. In a thousand years time we have found enough adamantine to make a single greatsword, you bring me metal enough to forge a dozen. Our ancestors fought against the Sorcerer Reptiles and failed. They exiled themselves here until they were strong enough to fight once more. That day looked to never come.

The Captain returns with a grizzled lean fire giant and a handful of others. They discretely close the door and the grizzled giant, Horton begins to stoke the coals of a forge inside the generals office. The two dead guards are stripped, dismembered and shoved into the furnace to burn.

Horton: Shield?

Brymig: Yes, and an axe I think. Less metal than a sword.

The smith sets about working and the Captain seems heavily excited.

Brymig: You are to witness a change in leadership this day. You should feel honored, no man who is not one of us is privy to such a day. You wish to fight dragons eh? Far be it from me to talk you out of a death worth finding. When today is over I will send a war party to this island of the dead, you will show them the way and steal more of this metal. Return to me a ship swollen with adamantine and I will make you weapons and armor. We will outfit you all. Then we will return to the mainland as Liberators and wipe this scum from the world.

Helio: Very patriotic of you.

For several hours we are grilled by the Captain and General Brymig. His cadre of soldiers all seem uneasy and from the chatter we pick up the fact that a Coup is about to unfold. The current Fire Giant King has ruled long past his prime years, a rarity for their kind. Now a step slower physically and mentally the troops are clamoring for a replacement but few are willing to risk the challenge owing to the adamantine sword wielded by King Harrod. Capable of sundering iron, armor, and flesh in a single stroke it has enabled him to maintain the crown.

Horton manages to forge and affix the adamantine axe head to a haft and they band adamantine over an iron and wood framework for the shield. It is not the most elegant of work but it is far more serviceable than anything we could juryrig. Brymig layers strips of leather over the shield’s exterior and blackens the axe with grease to disguise the metallic enhancements it possesses. His processional forms up and they are all on high alert as we are escorted to see the King.

As we walk there is a general sense of “something is up” from the giants we pass. Several other contenders seem to realize Brymig is taking his shot and the hornest’s nest is stirred. To apparently avoid delay Brymig makes a beeline for the King’s chambers and barely even pauses before throwing down his helm in a clang at the King’s feet and issuing his challenge.

Brymig: Strength breeds strength and you have grown weak. It is time for you to step down.

The King himself is clearly into later years, the fire of his beard and hair seems to be dampened and flickering. The skin is loose around his arms and torso and the eyes betray their years. His grip on the magnificent greatsword is firm and resolute. He knew this challenge was coming and there is unmistakeable arrogance as he takes his feet and spits at his general.

Harrod: You are not the one to wear the crown Brymig. I will add your skull to the pile of those who have failed.

The spectators are still filtering in as the two begin circling. To his benefit Brymig is being cagey. Moving as if he is leery of the greastswords strength. They enter into an extended exchange where Brymig keeps trying to hook the greatsword out of danger’s path and it leads to a counter where Brymig has no other choice than to full parry a swing with the shield. The weight of the blow drives the General to his knees and previous experience from the onlookers indicates the stroke should be fatal, sundering the shield, and severing the arm holding it. But the bands of adamantine hold the stroke and HArrod’s disbelief gives way to a grunt as the axe takes him in a upward stroke at the joint of his breastplate and armpit. The attack severs the arm save for the skin holding it in place at the top. Hot boiling blood spills out and spatters on the floor. To Harrod’s credit, perhaps realizing the end is at hand he drops his greatsword and manages to push his body weight down upon the General who is driven to the ground with the weight of the King upon his torso. The King manages to pin the arm with the battleaxe with his knee and he abandons the greatsword, going for a serrated dagger from his boot. Reaching cross body amidst the grapple he struggles to extricate the blade and Brymig in return abandons the shield trying to wrestle the King off his chest before the dagger can be brought to bear.

Brymig is able to wrestle for the dagger as the King continues to spew blood and after a tense series of moments he pushes the King off and buries the dagger right through Harrod’s elbow. He comes to his feet clutching the greatsword in one hand and the battle axe in the other. He drives the length of the blade through Harrod’s chest and pins the point into the iron below, skewering the crippled and dying king on his knees. Perfectly staged for the execution Brymig hacks the head from the dying King and then takes the bloody iron crown.

Brymig: The King is Dead. All Hail the King.

Dutifully all the soldiers take a knee before their new sovereign. A few of the more seasoned captains seem to linger just a few moments longer before kneeling as well. Taking up the greatsword he beckons for his Captain to approach and gives him the axe and shield.

Brymig: Captain Yamur I promote you to the rank of General and give unto you the first of our clan’s newest adamantine weapons. General Halz and General Grib approach.

Anxious murmurs arise as the two who hesitated the longest before kneeling are summoned. From what we overhear culling the loyalists from the previous Monarch is not uncommon.

Brymig: General Halz you are a strong warrior and the finest commander and trainer I have had the honor to fight alongside. I hereby promote you to High Lord Commander and task you with the burden of taking up our clan’s greatsword BloodThirst. Should I fall in battle fighting the dragon imposter’s your last sworn duty is to kill the beast that fell me or die trying.

That earns a roar of approval.

Brymig: General Grib. For too long we have squandered our strengths fighting amongst each other and delving in futile attempts to find the metal needed to combat the craven sorcerers. Those days are over. You have the most experience of piloting our Dreadnaughts I bid you choose the six most capable of your proteges and outfit your ships for raiding and battle. You are promoted to the rank of Admiral and have earned the right to lead our fleet back to redemption. As for the rest of you my brothers from this moment forward we are at war.

Entering from the back is Horton carrying the remaining adamantine chunks.

Brymig: These outsiders have come to us, knowing we have the means and strength to use this metal. They shall go forth as the scouts for a raiding party that will return with a cargohold filled to the decks with this metal. We will reclaim the mainland and mount the Wyrm’s heads upon the walls. Tomorrow we will have a contest, and the six who show the greatest strength and cunning will be the vanguard that strikes out to lead these outsiders. GO NOW AND MAKE YOUR PREPARATIONS. TO WAR!

The roar of approval is deafening and we are left staring at each other.

Mercutio: Well I think we just did a bang up job of pouring gas on the fire to put it out.

Ionsniper
2018-03-11, 02:19 AM
Oh gawd this will not end well! Fire giants in possession of adamantine weapons in a world where real metal is scarce means the giants could take over the world. And you guys just gave an the key!

Kaveman26
2018-03-20, 12:52 PM
Ironsides:

The following day sees a series of skirmishes and battle royales. Six champions are selected from the victors and they are each outfitted with shiny new greataxes forged from our confiscated metal. General Yamur and the six escort us to a facility deep in the sub oceanic mining complex. There we find eight vehicles very akin to submarines held in cradles. The largest we are told is reserved for the newly promoted Admiral Grib. We are to provide navigation and direction to the volcanic forge and assist in raiding the island to recover as much metal as possible. Each of us is given bows/crossbows tempered from a decent quality springsteel along with about three dozen arrowheads repurposed from chips of the adamantine.

The ship is very much akin to a submarine from the interior and the presence of seven smoldering fire giants makes it feel cramped beyond reckoning. The Dreadnaught is launched down a tube and through a mechanical process that we find confusing somehow ends up in the water. We are all quite alarmed to discover water dripping in through the walls of the dreadnaught.

Yamur: Calm yourselves. The heat from our bodies vaporizes the water and creates steam, that steam is filtered by a material in the walls to allow air to circulate. It is intentional. Just hope too many of us don’t die or the heat won’t be great enough to counter the water coming in.

Skarlax: Well that’s one way of making sure your life insurance policy holds water

The confines of the subermersable are stifling and nauxious. We are prone to fits of retching and deal with intermittent fevers as the journey progresses. We arrive a mile or so off shore of the undead island and survey the surroundings. Ruzdhi himself is visible on the ramps directing contingents of Cavern Wind dwarves and Half-Giants to a more manageable forge setting. From the cover of the dreadnaught we bear witness to a dragon substantially larger than Ruzdhi make a flyby. The beast seems to suck in the heat dispersed from the Shade’s final breath and he concentrates it back into the volcano’s center. Several freighters have made port and carts filled to the breaking point with adamantine are being ferried to the main forge site.

From the far side of the island we see a walled pen of force containing the island’s restless inhabitants, as if all the undead were herded into a holding cell.

Yamur: Never in my life did I imagine seeing a dragon with mine own eyes.

Mercutio: He might be the smallest or the largest, we don’t have any way of knowing either. I doubt your lads want to find out if the others are near. Might be best to wait for at least the big one to leave and see about ambushing the carts moving the metal.

Yamur: I was instructed to kill the dragon if isolated and disrupt their production by any means possible. You would have me fail at this honor?

Helio: We would have you achieve some victory instead of a hollow defeat. Let the big one leave and we can attack Ruzdhi. We can disrupt the mining by taking out the overseer and absconding with the metal.

Oasis: Or we could investigate the wall holding back the undead. Crack that open and we have a distraction that would wipe out the whole smithing operation. At least observing for a while longer would be fruitful.

We convince the fire giant leader to hold off on any foolhardy attacks and after some time the largest freighter is filled with forged material and the bigger dragon transforms back to his human self obviously weary and stumbling, then escorted to a cabin below decks.

Skarlax: That is our opening. We saw Ruzdhi exhausted from the shift to his dragon self earlier and the big one is showing the same signs of tiring. I’m guessing he is hitching a ride on the ship because he lacks the strength to fly the entire way. The dragons need the ships to ferry them back and forth they can’t make the flight solo. It’s a gamble but I say we follow the freighter and wait until they have reached the halfway point. We compromise the boat and we have a legitimate shot at drowning the bastard.

Yamur: Or we simply attack now while he is worn out.

Skarlax: Then you have the second one to contend with along with all the guards. None of these folks strike me as strong swimmers.

Yamur: Then we shall do both. I will take the dreadnaught to intercept the dragon and sink their vessel. You will remain here to sabotage the pen holding back the grave creatures.

Mercutio: How are we supposed to get off the island?

Yamur: I will return for you.

Mercutio: And if the beast kills you all?

Yamur: Then take one of their boats, at that point it will matter little to me.

Helio: Why not just sink all of the boats to make sure we are stranded.

We all laugh for a minute for suggesting screwing us further but Claws is the one who speaks out the simplest truth there is.

Claws: If we sink all the boats they are stuck. Dragons can’t leave. Dragons eat dwarves and giants while they wait for more boats.

*blink blink*

Mercutio: By my count there are eight vessels in total. One about to leave. Can we sink all eight without raising critical alarms.

Yamur: I got myself and six more warriors, one of us on each ship means we can disable seven.

Oasis: I think the right plan is in the middle. We get far enough out to avoid instant detection, but close enough to track the rest of the seven. take them one at a time while in the water and let the survivors head back to the island. I highly doubt they are expecting adamantine axe wielding fire giants to emerge from below the waves.

As the large freighter leaves shore we take up an intercept route to meet it a few miles into the open water. Yamur deploys a harpoon like device to affix the dreadnaught to the hull of the freighter and in a hiss of steam that obscures their actions he begins hacking giant gaping holes in the wooden hull below the shoreline. The giants deal catastrophic damage to the hull in several locations and to the rudder. They work fast enough to remove the harpoon and sink beneath the surface before the alarms are fully sounded. The ship is sinking fast and from a periscope like device we get a good look at the dragon in human form. It is not Tyr, but one of the other two kings-Brega. The angered defiler shifts back to his dragon form and grabs a heavy crate filled with their forged metal which he carries back to the island, nearly collapsing from the strain upon arrival.

The dwarves and giants make for several smaller rowboats and provided they steer back towards the island we urge Yamur to let them. Ruzdhi shifts back to his own dragon form and begins to search the island perimeter and the surrounding waters. As we are about to dive for deeper water to avoid detection Yamur catches sight of the exhausted larger dragon emit an aura of dark energy and the dwarves and giants coming to the shore wither and rot in a manner of moments, almost instantly a revitalized larger dragon joins the smaller High Inquisitor in a search.

Yamur gets the dreadnaught into deeper water and we continue to patrol off the shore for several hours. The dragons seem to tire after about four hours and then land returning to human form. The seven remaining ships are all being prepared for launch and the stock of forged metal is dispersed carefully amidst each. Ruzdhi returns to the smith entrance and stands guard over the main work area. Patrols of half-giants escorted by Cavern Wind envoys spread out over the island.

Brega himself ascends to the crow’s nest of the largest remaining ship and that ship along with an envoy of three “Guards” on each flank and it’s rear begin to make final preparations to leave. The remaining three seem to be preparing to take separate courses in different directions.

Little Mountain: I think we have reached the point where we need to get riskier. We will get spotted working against the larger ship by the lookouts on other escorts. Each of the three outliers will likely take differing routes to alert their final destination of tampering.

Oasis: Doesn’t it seem odd that they are trusting The Inquisitor to remain behind unsupervised?

Helio: He is stuck. Without a ship to carry him he can’t leave. Those wings won’t get him out of no man’s land.

Mercutio: Uhm…thought occurs to me. This realllllly is no man’s land. There is nothing but the undead here.

Skarlax: Yeah that isn’t news.

Mercutio: No….realllly nothing but undead. No plant life, no animals, no crickets, nothing even in the water for a good mile or more in all directions. Completely devoid of life.

Oasis: You have a point?

Mercutio: Brega made the point for me. They are defilers, their very existence drains life for fuel. Being in that dragon body must take a ton of energy, or they would stay like that all the time. They need to defile to regain their energy and there is nothing to drain on this island except for their own minions. If we pin the two dragons on this island they won’t have a choice but to destroy their own battalions. We aren’t just making this a nuisance for them. We are endangering them. I think LM is right. We need to get bold in keeping them here. If those two sorcerers are isolated and shipwrecked long enough we won’t need to lift a finger in stopping them. Time will kill them both. Their presence alone will likely rot any food or other provisions…especially if those provisions are on the boat.

Skarlax: How do we get the ships sunk without being burned to a crisp.

Yamur: Well I am fire proof. So are the lads.

Little Mountain: Which goes back to the original point, we need to take some risks. The giants need to focus on the remaining freighter first and we will fill the dragon’s faces with arrows. We dive into the water and risk drowning if we have if it means we scuttle the remaining fleet. Once the ships are disabled we make a break for the dreadnaught and get to deep water, hopefully we survive the initial assault.

The dreadnaught is brought into as shallow of water as possible as close to the side of the main ship as possible. Separate from the giants our PC group strikes at the farthest ship from the freighter and we begin attacking the guard crew aboard. That draws quite a bit of attention, including the focus of Brega who does not immediately shift into dragon form. Patrols begin to converge on our position and as they do the Fire Giants spring from the sub and hack at the hull of the freighter. Once there are several gaping holes on each side of the ship they split and wade through the shallows to the next nearest ships. The steam from their body heat creating a mini cover. That process gets Brega’s attention back and sees him shift back to dragon form, hovering above the water while he seeks a target. The dragon swoops in his alarming quickness and snatches a fire giant from the water like an eagle snatches a fish. The warrior howls in pain and drops his shield, bringing the axe in a full swing against where the limb meets the chest of the dragon-king. The adamantine axe is not masterfully forged, but it is tempered and sharp and bites deep, sending thick blood spraying out from the wound. The dragon howls in return and drops the Fire Giant on the deck of the sinking freighter, where he is surrounded by half-giants.

Ruzdhi shifts forms to his dragon state and launches from the volcano’s edge.

The wounded Brega gets back into the air and beginning casting lightning bolts into the water at the hint of any giants. Three of the seven ships are badly damaged by the time a coordinated defense is mounted. We jump ship and race through the shallows heading for the dreadnaught, trying to take pot shots at Brega while we run. Yamur scales the sinking freighter and seeks to aid his besieged warrior. The two of them are sundering half giant’s non metal weapons and then more or less ignoring them. A third giant mounts the ship and begins cleaving through the smaller giantkin. Brega showing no regard for his own minions puts a Cloudkill onto the deck of the ship and continues to pelt spells. Ruzdhi joins in alongside the larger dragon and hammers at the giants. With most of the attention on the freighter we are able to draw a bead on the circling Brega and begin sending arrows. The adamantine arrowheads pierce the thick scales and definitely piss him off. With the majority of the fleet crippled if not outright sunk the giants make for the dreadnaught. Yamur is the last to leave the ship and he is damn near splitting the Praetorian Guard in half. Brega and Ruzdhi land and engage the fire giant captain physically, eventually pinning him down and rending at him. With his last bit of strength the giant fights to his feet and tosses the axe into the closing hatch of the dreadnaught, he then bull rushes the smaller Ruzdhi, trying to knock him into the water. Yamur’s second in command Grif pushes the dreadnaught to it’s limit for speed and gets it into deep water as fast as possible.

Grif: The General died fulfilling his mission. These dragons bleed, they know fear and are vulnerable. Their fleet is crippled.

Helio: How long of a leash do you have on that harpoon device?

Grif: Maybe a hundred feet, but it’s hard to hit anything at that range.

Helio: Can we fish up the sunken ships?

Grif: I don’t think I could pull the one we sunk at open water. These ones in the shallows we might be able to drag a ways, they are foundered and not entirely submerged.

Helio: Well maybe we can drag them deeper to help prevent repairs. See if we can’t fish out any crates of tempered metal.

That segment of the plan more or less works. They are able to sneak in and harpoon the smaller vessels, then drag them into slighter deeper water. We end doing up some half-assed scuba diving and manage to recover some pieces from the smaller ships. What we find doesn’t make much sense.

Skarlax: This is all pieces of armor. No weapons. Wouldn’t they want to put weapons in those giants hands? You guys shredded their armor and weapons like they were nothing. None of this is even complete armor, its all piece meal and way too big.

Mercutio: They don’t trust the lesser species with a weapon that can harm them. These aren’t pieces of armor that are too big. They are big pieces of armor that are the smaller pieces for something enormous.

*light bulb*

All: They are making themselves armor for their dragon form.

Helio: But wait. Ruzdhi is situated in Tyr. Either Tyr is working alongside Brega or Ruzdhi is somehow able to hide himself from Tyr’s detection.

Mercutio: Or Tyr is what he appears to be. Prophecy speaks of the Hidden Wyrm with a mask being pulled away. Ruzdhi could simply be the hidden wyrm. Hell Brega could be the only dragon king with Ruzdhi as an apprentice.

Collectively there is an attempt to eyeball the armor pieces and try to mentally assemble the jigsaw puzzle of fitting those pieces onto the approximate form of Brega or Ruzdhi. Those attempts are useless, too many variables from too far a distance to make a reasonable conclusion.

Little Mountain: Let’s backtrack a bit. The original meteor shower was wide spread and massive. An envoy from Tyr debarked in a quick manner with loads of this metal. Those same envoys ships found this place and with them was Ruzdhi. It strains belief to think that the King of Tyr is not aware of these events or has no hand in them. Even human he would have to act in some fashion given recent events.

Oasis: Doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that we have two dragon sorcerers isolated in a place where their very presence undermines those opposing us. We have interrupted their plans to armor themselves and removed their transport. Yamur’s sacrifice shows they can be wounded and presumably killed by the weapons at our disposal.

Grif: We have lost the advantage of surprise. The Dreadnaught is now known to them and my mission does not involve shepherding them in place on this island. We were sent to get more metal. More metal is what we have and I will return to our stronghold and bring more force to bear on this island. They are already adjusting…dragging the hulks on shore and setting up a perimeter to monitor the shallows. They will fix or juryrig enough of the salvage to leave and when they do so it will be with preparations to counter us. I will give you one more day then I set a course home and leave with or without you.

Grif speaks true. From our vantage point in the open water we can see a cordon of derelict ships surrounding the central freighter being patched up. Furthermore we see crude plates being fitted to the freighter’s hull to prevent further damages.

Helio: Within a few days they are going to be mobile again. We need to find a way to belay those repairs.

It is eventually decided that we are going to undertake a remarkably stupid course of events. From our perspective we can’t let them off the island if we can help it. There is too much to be gained by keeping them stuck. Neither can we overpower Grif and company to keep them from leaving. The group ferries it’s possessions to a position amidst a clump of rocks behind the undead pen and we decide to stay behind as scouts and sabatouers while the Fire Giants return with reinforcements. Helio and Mercutio utlilize Stone Shape and a few other choice spells with Little Mountain’s earth elemental to create a small cavern in the clump of boulders with a sealable door, we basically formulate an impromptu bunker and then settle in to observe.

Most of the camp’s efforts are being put into securing the freighter. Adamantine Plates are being riveted to the hull of the ship as reinforcements and other bits of forged armor are being prepared for transport. It is revealed that Ruzdhi is renewing a spell twice daily to refresh the undead pen and over the next forty eight hours we see the pair of dragons “defile” four more times. The half-giants are getting agitated as are the few remaining dwarves but it has not reached mutiny levels yet. Combined we pool together some arrrowheads and fashion a sort of cable saw from bowstring and adamantine arrowheads as teeth for the saw, we also affix several arrowheads in a serrated row on a snapped spear haft and in a desperate attempt to stall for time we have the monk’s earth elemental sneak underground to the repaired freighter where he works to cut away and undermine as many internal supports as possible. Outwardly it looks like the ship should float just fine, but the elemental makes some major structural damage to the reinforced hull and rudder.

We get some kicks from formulating a crude tunnel below the freighter, and have the elemental and a reduce person Mercutio shimmy to abscond with some unprocessed ore and various bits of dragon armor in the middle of the night. All of which is cached in our bunker. By day four we have their movements and patterns down quite well, the reinforced freighter is a dead ship walking and we have snuck out with a considerable stockpile of metal both forged and raw.

Day Five sees us receive quite the shock. From the horizon a mass of sails becomes visible. Even from the extreme distance we are confident it is not the Fire Giants. By midday it becomes apparent that a second larger and much more defended fleet is arriving. A shadow sweeps in over the water and the massive serpentine form of a dragon washes over the beach. A red hued long necked dragon makes landfall and all on the island kneel before it. For comparison:

Ruzdhi=Huge
Brega=Gargantuan
New Dragon=Well beyond colossal

The new dragon swirls into the form of a man in resplendent bronze armor and Helio nearly bites his tongue off in anger and sadness. It is definitely King Tyr.

Helio: So much for hope…damn!

There is no trace of the fatigue or weakness we have seen from the others. We are close enough to overhear part of the raised voices.

Brega: My liege. We weren’t expecting your arrival so soon, but we are all the more grateful for it.

Tyr: You two have made a mess of things if reports are to be believed. Are the blueprints complete?

Brega: Yes my liege. Despite the setbacks we have completed the designs you have provided. The crates are organized and stored upon the freighter.

Tyr: Have you seen any sign of these giants since their initial intervention.

Brega: No. We are confident they have left, but we have remained vigilant never the less.

Tyr: have the freighter unloaded and the cargo transported to my flagship. I don’t trust your floating garbage heap. I will bring the ship aground and you will retro fit the panels to reinforce that vessel. Then we will discuss our further preparations.

With a single fluid motion the man becomes the dragon and he takes off with a powerful stroke of his wings. The fleet (easily 20 ships strong) is nearing and as the ships come into the shallowest of waters Tyr snatches the anchor from the deck and pulls the ship the last several hundred feet until it is firmly beached.

Tyr: Show me the survivor. I wish to see this burning giant.

Mercutio: Survivor? That means Yamur was taken alive.

A trio of half-giants bring a manacled and badly beaten Yamur out from the volcano core and force him to his knees near Tyr. The dragon king looks tiny compared to the giant, yet is completely unfazed by the presence of the warrior.

Tyr: I doubted any of your kind still existed. I thought we had exterminated them all

Yamur: We? You speak as if you partook in events that predate you by centuries.

Tyr: You don’t understand yet do you? I was certainly younger when it happened, but by no means was it before my era. My kin vanquished your breed. We decimated your ranks and devoured your young. Once upon a time in antiquity you were a proud and mighty foe, now you are a novelty. I will keep you alive for the days to come. Perhaps you may serve a purpose to stud a better crop of slaves. Any thoughts you had of usurping our place as rulers of this world are but dreams.

Brega: He was not alone. There are more.

Tyr: A dozen or a hundred it makes no difference.

Tyr leans in as close as possible to the giant and inhales deeply. His human smile is more unsettling than the dragon’s maw.

Tyr: I have your scent now “giant” and should any more of your kin crawl out of the hole they been cowering in all these years I will rend their flesh and crush their skulls.

Yamur: You will never find them. When they come they will be ready for you.

Brega: He had a weapon forged from the meteor rock, cut through my scales like cloth.

Tyr: Where is this weapon now?

Ruzdhi: Gone…it was taken by those who fled.

Tyr: You let a weapon forged from the only material capable of piercing our scales escape with those who bear the strength to wield it? Does your failure have no limit?

The pair begin to speak but are cut off by an angry wordless hand gesture. Tyr backs away from the giant and paces for a few moments…he then kneels and appears to meditate. Within a few minutes a shape detachs itself from the shadows and walks before him. It is Gajira…the panther from the hidden valley.

Gajira: You have reached a decision?

Tyr: Tell your “caliph” (the word oozes disdain) that I accept his terms. The valley will remain untouched and you may continue your cherished isolation. In return I must know the location of the giant’s stronghold.

The panther calmly bows and hands a small parchment to the dragon king who takes the paper and then dismisses the druid.

Brega: Shall I accompany you?

Tyr: If your wings were strong enough certainly. If the damned cat’s intelligence is right you lack the stamina for the flight ahead. Continue securing the metal we need and then destroy all trace of the forge and seal the island as tightly as possible. When you are done load all the remaining ore on the freighters and sink them in the place we discussed. Then unleash the sleepless dead, let them act as guards for the forge. Work quickly. The skies will darken once more all too soon and we must be ready.

Ruzdhi: What of the giant?

The king turns in a pivot and strides back to the giant.

Tyr: Do you wish a chance to redeem yourself? To regain your honor? No need to answer. I will release you. No person on this island shall harm you, go where you please and live as you desire. When you beg to enter my service I may just accommodate you and allow you the privilege of living out your remaining days as my slave.

The dragon king reaches out to the furious fire giant and places a single finger on it’s head…everything around the giant seems to lurch and tendrils of something unknown flow out of Yamur and directly into Tyr who seems to be savoring the act. The muscles and strength visibly atrophy off the giant before everyone’s eyes. When Tyr finishes the giant is emaciated and gaunt…the heat from his body virtually extinguished. The shackles are removed from him and Tyr transforms into his dragon form and launches off with no further exchange. Brega and Ruzdhi mock the crippled warrior and then set about executing their master’s orders.

We see Yamur struggle to gain his feet and standing seems to be exhausting. With no way to intervene we are forced to wait until nightfall before acting.

This is a bigger chunk.

NRSASD
2018-03-20, 01:39 PM
Wow... Quite the plot twists! I have to admit I am shamelessly stealing the island of the dead wholesale for my own campaign. It's brilliant! Did anything in particular inspire you/your DM to come up with that idea?

halfeye
2018-03-20, 01:48 PM
My memory is such that I am having problems remembering what went before, yet I am enjoying this.

Kahlendrrari
2018-05-27, 07:24 AM
Could really go for an update...

Castiel1
2018-06-12, 12:55 AM
I cast summon Kaveman II!

Sorry for the low-level spell, I'm only a third level DM.

...Maybe TPKing my party will get me enough XP to cast a more powerful spell?

Reboot
2018-07-23, 01:59 AM
I cast summon Kaveman II!

Sorry for the low-level spell, I'm only a third level DM.

...Maybe TPKing my party will get me enough XP to cast a more powerful spell?
Sorry, the Summon Kaveman series has a non-trivial material component, involving an increasing number of living cattle (although they can be cheap/barely clinging to life, they must be alive)

Kaveman26
2018-08-05, 10:27 AM
There is a legitimate reason for my vanishing. It is profound and life altering. I reached a crisis point in my life as both a human being and a father. I have no idea how I reached this point or what transpired that I found myself staring into this soul crushing abyss.


So here it is...I am now the embarrassing father failing to play video games. I tried to play Fortnite. The groaning sighs of my tween lamenting my nearly instant and embarrassing death cut me to my core. I suddenly felt old and slow. I tried to get better...but epic fail after epic fail piled up. I scored a legendary grenade launcher two minutes into a solo match and was killed by a pistol less than twenty seconds later as i fumbled to switch from pickaxe and building mode back to the bazooka.

So instead of writing i wake up early seeking some measure of redemption and improvement.


Overly dramatic? Yes. But good god is this also true.

halfeye
2018-08-05, 11:32 AM
There is a legitimate reason for my vanishing. It is profound and life altering. I reached a crisis point in my life as both a human being and a father. I have no idea how I reached this point or what transpired that I found myself staring into this soul crushing abyss.


So here it is...I am now the embarrassing father failing to play video games. I tried to play Fortnite. The groaning sighs of my tween lamenting my nearly instant and embarrassing death cut me to my core. I suddenly felt old and slow. I tried to get better...but epic fail after epic fail piled up. I scored a legendary grenade launcher two minutes into a solo match and was killed by a pistol less than twenty seconds later as i fumbled to switch from pickaxe and building mode back to the bazooka.

So instead of writing i wake up early seeking some measure of redemption and improvement.


Overly dramatic? Yes. But good god is this also true.

I know nothing about tweens (what are they exactly?) but my computer gaming mainly focuses on sniping rather than melee, because my reactions aren't what they used to be. Skyrim is okay for that, you can melee a bit without needing super reactions, but bows are almost a superpower, you need to craft to get the most from them, but it's doable. Fallout New Vegas is also a very good game. Check out the "gaming (other)" forum for other ideas.

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?26-Gaming-(Other)

Kahlendrrari
2018-08-11, 03:31 PM
There is a legitimate reason for my vanishing. It is profound and life altering. I reached a crisis point in my life as both a human being and a father. I have no idea how I reached this point or what transpired that I found myself staring into this soul crushing abyss.


So here it is...I am now the embarrassing father failing to play video games. I tried to play Fortnite. The groaning sighs of my tween lamenting my nearly instant and embarrassing death cut me to my core. I suddenly felt old and slow. I tried to get better...but epic fail after epic fail piled up. I scored a legendary grenade launcher two minutes into a solo match and was killed by a pistol less than twenty seconds later as i fumbled to switch from pickaxe and building mode back to the bazooka.

So instead of writing i wake up early seeking some measure of redemption and improvement.


Overly dramatic? Yes. But good god is this also true.

Hey man, no harm no foul, as long as you and yours are doing well.

Castiel1
2018-08-13, 12:15 AM
'Sigh'. I'll just put these stolen cattle back, then...

In all seriousness, though, it's fine. I was happy before I read your campaign logs, so I'll be happy if you decide to refocus on your life and your family.

Plus, you still have half a dozen completed campaign journals for me to reread if I get bored.