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  1. - Top - End - #121
    Ogre in the Playground
    Anxe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #61/Total Session #77
    Throgg introduced his new character in this session! It actually fit in quite well. I teased his new character to the other players with the image you see below. The session was attended by Throgg, Salzar, Middle_Snu, Ozymandias, and Zigfried.

    The Alliance was revitalized to the highest heights it had ever known, but the party still had business to attend to. They returned to Lemnos and hunted down every last Dragovinian on the island.
    Danar brought along some wooden stakes and shoved them into the hearts of the Dragovinians. Rather than turn to dust or melt as they had done in the past, the animated corpses simply stopped moving. Dragovinians typically enter a retreat stage when critically injured where they would do anything to flee. They can truly die by removing the head or by inflicting cold or holy damage to them once they are in the retreat stage. This cessation of movement was entirely new.
    Danar pulled a stake out of a Dragovinian and saw it begin to move once more. He hurriedly shoved the stake back in to stop creature’s twitching movements. Wishing to learn more about their enemies’ weaknesses, Danar collected five staked Dragovinians and put them in his portable hole for future study.

    After scouring the vampiric menace from the island, the Exiles returned to Hephaistia to speak with High Priest Falkus of the Kabiri. Falkus greeted them, “I am glad to see you alive again! News of the battle in Myrina reached us here. We heard that you defeated their leader.”
    “Aye, we did,” said Eathirilu.
    The party regaled the Kabiri with the details of the combat with Davonisi before asking when Falkus could show them to the Leg Bones of Hephaestus.
    “We thank you for your service to Lemnos and to Hephaestus. The best time to reveal to you the location of Hephaestus’s leg fragments is three days hence. We will perform the Mysteries in Hephaestus’s honor. He sent you to us and through you we have been delivered from the poisonous influence of the Dragovinians. The people of Lemnos should know of your actions and be invited to join in the celebration of the Mysteries. It will take three days to reach everyone on the island and for them to travel here.”
    “And you’ll tell us of the Leg Bones of Hephaestus then,” asked Hektor.
    “I will, to be sure.”
    The party enjoyed a small meal with Falkus and a few of the other Kabiri before taking their leave.

    There was some discussion at this point about how to avoid future disagreements like that between Zelus and Amalius. Should majority votes be binding for the rest of the party? Should there be a leader that wielded absolute decision power? Two leaders that could veto each other?
    The discussion was largely dropped when Eathirilu made the point, “Even if we agree to something, I feel like each one of us will still break from the group for our own goals when the opportunity presents itself.”
    Everyone bobbed their heads in agreement. Perhaps there was no way for men of their power and position to see eye-to-eye on everything.

    And now for a short trip down memory lane. Two months ago the party had been exploring the Lich Shade and slaying undead within. They encountered a nasty beast known as a devourer that traps a person within it and slowly feeds off them for centuries. The party slew the devourer and freed the imprisoned sand giant from within it. The party also encountered two of his sand giant friends, but were unable to free them from their undead shells.
    The sand giant’s name was originally just an NPC named Brothmir. When Throgg and I were talking about a new PC for him I pitched the idea of playing Brothmir. He has a reason to be with the party, he’d be at about their power level, and there was a legitimate reason he hadn’t already been involved in the Second Alliance War. Throgg loved the idea, but understandably wanted to name his PC himself. Brothmir’s name was changed to Barakah and will subsequently be changed in the older updates as well.

    This sand giant went by the name of Barakah. He swore his aid and service to the man who freed him, Hektor Rackgard. Before becoming an underling though, he asked that Hektor give him some time to search the Shacklack Desert. It had been two hundred years since his imprisonment and he wished to reconnect with his family. Barakah promised to meet Hektor two months hence in the Great Valley of the Dominarie Mountains (where the Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali is).
    Well, two months had passed and it was time to go pick up Barakah. Hektor set to teleport off and Eathirilu, Tagenadi, and Danar decided to join him. Being a god with some slight enmity towards the giant race, Zelus went to Olympus for some nectar and ambrosia instead.
    The group teleported to the Great Valley. Looking around they saw the Hobgoblin villagers they’d encountered previously while searching for the Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali. They had gathered in the burned plains on the western edge of the valley outside a large cave. The party approached and saw Trolls among the Hobgoblins as well. The monstrous humanoids stepped aside as the Exiles came on.
    Peering into the cave revealed a warm light in the back around a turn. The scent of incense wafted forward and scuttling could be heard along the walls. The party moved forward and saw a huge centipede crawling along the walls and ceiling. It paid them no mind and they proceeded deeper into the cave. The warm light flickered and they heard two voices chanting in unison. As they rounded the corner, the voices stopped. Barakah sat by a fire with two Halfling-sized centipedes curled up beside him.
    Barakah had skin the color of red desert sand. When standing he measured more than thirteen feet tall. He wore a cowl over his face, but he pulled it back to reveal a white gold crown upon his head. His eyes were black when the party had first met him, but they had darkened, the cornea, iris, and pupil combined into an incomprehensible void that was a headache to look upon. A long, heavy cloak of brass dragon scales draped itself across his shoulders. Around his throat was a thick chain of Dythalidium, the strongest metal in existence. Behind Barakah rested a shield and suit of armor of the same material beside open sacks of food and other provisions.
    Dythalid comes up a lot in this update. You can read more about this valuable substance in the Mars’ Oasis page on my blog

    “Welcome,” Barakah said in a deep voice. “I have been waiting for you.”
    “It is good to see you again, Barakah,” said Hektor. “Were you able to find your friends and family or perhaps some of their descendants?”
    “Sadly, no. It appears that I am the last of the sand giants. And so the crown has passed to me.” Barakah dipped his head and rose to his feet. “I stand before you as King Barakah Al-Sakhr, Son of King Murkrah the Queen-Slayer, First Amongst Equals, Champion of the Billowing Sword, High Priest of Ruh-tor-ka the Destroyer, Guardian of the Well of the World, and last of the Sand Giants.”
    Hektor said, “You know myself, Eathirilu, and Tagenadi.” Barakah nodded his head at each of them. “With me is a new companion of mine, Danar.”
    Danar stepped forward and introduced himself, “I am Danar, Once King of Sheerzen, Slayer of Beasts, First Descendant of Rilopenaril, and Dragon Binder.”
    “Tales of your accomplishments have reached me even here in the desert. I know of you, Danar. I am pleased to see that Hektor keeps such strong company.”Barakah cleared his throat, “I brought each of you gifts.” The giant turned to the bags behind him and pulled out several items.
    For Hektor, Barakah had a cloak of Dythalidon silk, soaked in the magical waters of the Shacklack Desert to become thin and weightless. The cloak can keep the wearer as warm as a wool cloak or as cool as if nothing were worn at all. Intricate patterns were sown into the silk, turning it into a work of art as well as a practical piece of outerwear.
    For Tagenadi, Barakah had chain of Dythalidium steel. Made in a similar manner to Dythaidon silk, by soaking it in the waters of the desert. The chain was virtually unbreakable and the perfect length and balance for a kusari-gama.
    For Eathirilu, Barakah had a chalice carved from dragonbone. The rim was inlaid with Dythalidium and four lines of Dythalidium were set down the sides of the cup, traveling to the base made of a second circle of the priceless metal.
    For Danar, Barakah had not gotten a gift. Not wanting to insult him, Barakah looked in his bags for something to give the fellow warrior. His dark eyes landed upon his sand blaster, a long tube resembling a bugle.
    “This is the ancestral weapon of the sand giants. Sand goes in this end and you blow it out from this end. The sand distracts your foes and blinds them, allowing you to easily kill them with your sword or axe.” Barakah handed the sand blaster to Danar and continued, “The best sand for a blaster such as this comes from this little bag here.” Bakarah held up a small pouch. “It makes as much sand as you desire and easily fits in your pocket.”
    “Pocket sand?” asked Danar.
    “Yes, to blow into the eyes of your enemies,” answered Barakah.
    “Thank you.”

    (I had to leave the session at this point to go to a birthday party. I missed the rest of Barakah’s introduction. I got the broad strokes from the players and if any of them feel like posting a more in depth version of the events here they are welcome to.)

    The group brought Barakah up to speed on the state of the world and the war with the Xorians. Hektor released Barakah from his oath of service, but Barakah promised to help the party anyway he could in bringing down the Dragovinians. The party got a general creepy feeling from Barakah and at times it seemed as if there was something moving underneath his clothes.

    That’s it for that session!

  2. - Top - End - #122
    Ogre in the Playground
    Anxe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #62/Total Session #78
    This session is actually two sessions rolled into one. There was an awful lot of planning and no real action in both sessions so I decided to combine them for the purposes of the campaign log.

    First item on the docket, armies. The party discussed what to do with the undead armies that had fallen under their control. Tagenadi, as the Scion of Hades in the world of the living, had control over three different undead forces.
    Force #1: The skeletons and zombies outside the Lich Shade in the Shacklack Desert
    These undead previously served the Bane as shock troops and as a deterrent for attacks on his home. There are roughly a quarter million of them. They are commanded via the Black Crystal of Horror, an evil artifact that Tagenadi took from the Bane. These are the weakest type of undead with no minds of their own, but they are quite numerous.
    Force #2: The people and undead servants of Crux the undead city
    Tagenadi was given control of this army when the party ventured into the Silver Tower of Crux and spoke with the Antenator. There are 25,000 skeletons, zombies, and ghouls in the city that serve as servants for the 11,000 more intelligent and independent residents of the city. Crux is currently positioned between Shalerton and Phoenix. The skeletons, zombies, and ghouls of the city picked up each building and moved them south.
    Force #3: The Dwarven wights of the Western Underdark.
    The wights were created in a cruel truce the Xorians made with the Dwarves. The Xorians vacated the Western Underdark as agreed, but the agreement had not mentioned the citizens of that region. The Dragovinians slew all the Dwarves with their energy drain attacks creating a massive number of wights meant to waste the Dwarves’ strength as they reclaimed their lands in the Western Underdark. The Dwarves recently began their invasion into the Western Underdark to remove the roughly 350,000 Dwarven wights. Tagenadi can command the wights by going where they are while wearing the Cap of Hades.

    Current problem, the living Dwarf army was actively fighting the Dwarven wights. Both of these forces would be better used directly fighting the Xorians.
    Knowing that Torin was near the top of the command structure the party set out to find him. They teleported to Highhold, the Dwarven capital to find their estranged friend. Few dwarves remained at Highhold. Most had gone west with the army. A few Dwarven servants were able to give the party rough directions to where the army was stationed. With a quick thank you the party headed into the Underdark and teleported once more (The Underdark is a different plane in my campaign requiring one to enter below the surface before teleporting).
    Hektor, Eathirilu, Tagenadi, Danar, Zelus, and Barakah arrived in a cavern that had been converted into an infirmary. The smell of blood, pus, and alcohol reached the party’s noses and pained screams reached their ears. Lines of cots and bedrolls were filled with the injured. More wounded were limping in with support from their friends or worse, being brought in on stretchers. A cleric oversaw the healing, but most of the workers were apothecaries without access to instantaneous healing magic. Those gifted with such magic would likely be on the front lines to render immediate aid should it be required. Four guards stood at the entrance to the infirmary.
    All activity stopped when the party appeared in the room. During the brief moment of silence only the groans of the dying could be heard. One of the apothecaries spoke first, “A giant! We’re under attack from both sides!”
    Hektor tried to calm the Dwarves that were scrambling for weapons, “No! No! No! He’s with us!”
    “He’s brought friends! Form up! Defend the wounded!”
    The Dwarven guards lowered their weapons and bowed before the god. Luckily, Tagenadi was using his hat of disguise to look like a normal human, otherwise the Dwarves may never have stopped shouting.
    Hektor cleared his throat, “Ahem. I am Hektor Rackgard, a member of the Alliance and friend to the Dwarves. King Barakah is my friend and so a friend of yours as well. We came to speak to Torin.”
    One of the guards spoke, “Torin is busy on the frontlines. How can we assist you here, Lord Hektor?” The hustle and bustle of the infirmary slowly began once more with as stretcher bearers brought in more injured for the apothecaries to treat.
    “We really must speak with Torin directly. We have news that could make your entire battle with the wights unnecessary.”
    “And I must apologize,” said the guard, “but Torin cannot be disturbed during the battle.”
    “I don't think you understand how important this is.”
    “I have my orders, sir. No one is to disturb Torin.”
    Hektor sighed at the guard’s stubbornness, “Will you give us a few moments to talk amongst ourselves?”
    “Of course.”
    The group talked and decided that halting the battle was obviously worth interrupting whatever Torin was doing. Zelus spoofed a sending spell using miracle.
    “I am Zelus the god, working with Hektor. We need to speak with you about ending this battle.”
    The reply came soon, “I am blessed to speak with a god. My magic keeps the wights at bay and I cannot be interrupted. Speak with you after battle.”
    More discussion followed. Zelus moved to aid the injured Dwarves and Hektor assisted by summoning a pair of celestials. Tagenadi thought on what the Antenator had told him, “To command the Dwarven undead you need only go to their halls while wearing the Helm of Hades.” (Alliance Session #23/Total Session #32) Tagenadi quickly replaced his cap of disguise with the Helm of Hades. He tried commanding the Dwarven wights, but felt the connection wasn’t working. He swapped his hats once more (Tagenadi swaps hats so often that thewamp has actually talked to me about getting a magic item that can switch his hats as a free action).
    Tagenadi said to the group, “I can’t command the wights from here. The Antenator said I had to be ‘in their halls.’ Maybe it’ll work if we go to the throne room of the Deep Dwarves that used to live here and...unlive here now.”
    “That might work,” said Hektor. The party got a description of the throne room from one of the medics Zelus and Hektor had freed up. They gathered up and teleported away to the throne room.
    They came to a large pillared room with a ornate, squat, stone chair on a dias. Wights milled about the room and they all turned towards the popping sound of the teleportation.
    Tagenadi put on his Helm and spoke to the subjects of his dead kingdom, “I am Tagenadi, Hades’ power in Cimmeria.” The undead knight felt the power of the Helm of Hades radiated through him. Though he was invisible and silent, every wight in the room could hear him. The negative energy that fed them, connected them as well, feeding into a giant web. Tagenadi tapped into the web and made his will clear, “Fall back from the frontlines. Retreat. Take proper precautions to defend yourselves, but make no attempts to kill the living Dwarves.” His command reverberated through the unholy force that sustained the wights. Fighting stopped in the tunnels and caverns of the Western Underdark and the wights pulled back.
    Tagenadi spoke with one of the wights in the throne room. There were approximately 300,000 wights in the Western Underdark that were ready to do his bidding. Many were in the northeast, fighting the living Dwarves. Most were spread throughout the Underdark, trying to pick up the pieces of the lives they’d had before their deaths. A few had formed bands that attacked other non-Dwarf settlements in the Underdark, turning those people into wights or feeding upon their flesh.
    Tagenadi’s companions listened in on this conversation. On it’s completion, the group returned to the infirmary. Within two hours, fighting had ceased and Torin met with them. He had been busy during the battle channeling a spell that infused every living Dwarf with a minimal amount of positive energy. This was not enough to heal any of their wounds, but it did shield their bodies from the corrupting influence that would make their bodies rise again as wights.
    The group informed Torin that they’d pulled the undead back using Tagenadi’s power. The Dwarves would not need to fight their corrupted comrades. The wights would soon be leaving the Western Underdark to fight the Xorians, eliminating two problems at the same time. Torin felt uncomfortable about this plan, but he agreed that it was the most tactically sound idea. He would delay the Dwarves for a few days and then move forward into the tunnels that the wights vacated.

    All three undead armies were secured, but what was to be done with them? Well, the Xorians recently lost control of Phoenix to Poseidon’s forces. The Xorian army surely wasn’t all wiped out in that attack. Perhaps a retreating army was going southwest from the city of guilds to Gazeara where the Amazons besieged the Rebels. A quick teleport scout trip while under the cloaking effects of a wind walk spell showed that the Xorian army was indeed marching southwest. They were on course to reach a ford of the Great Divide just north of Demeter’s Garden in a few days. The column was made up of ~75,000 infantry and ~10,000 cavalry defended the flanks.
    The Xorians had a headstart on them, but the advantages of undead are that they can march all day and all night without tiring. Tagenadi ordered the wights to head west towards the ford. 20,000 could reach the ford in time to attack the Xorian army. Most of the skeletons, ghouls, and zombies of Crux, about 20,000 of them total, were ordered to head east. They could not reach the ford in time to fight the Xorians, but they should be able to attack from the rear before the Xorians got to Gazeara. If the wights waited to join up with the Crux army, then 40,000 wights would be in attendance instead of 20,000. The thousands of zombies and skeletons at the Lich Shade were too far away to bring to bear against the retreating Xorian army. Still, they had to get into the fight eventually. Tagenadi ordered them to march northwest and defend themselves if attacked. The party agreed to periodically check on the shambling army to redirect it and to warn anyone in its path.
    Additionally, the party recruited a few of the more sentient citizens of Crux to help them in the war effort. Wraiths were sent to keep tabs on the retreating Xorians at night along with some wind walking ghouls. All these undead armies would need leadership of some kind as well and the numerous clerics of Hades in Crux made the perfect candidates. A hundred or so clerics were recruited to aid in the commanding of the army when the time came.
    More preparations lay ahead, but the party had done all they could for the day. On the next day they would attend the Mysteries of Hephaestus.

    In the morning, after washing and eating breakfast, Hektor, Eathirilu, Barakah, Zelus, Danar, and Tagenadi got together and teleported back to Hephaistia on Lemnos. They found the old city filled with hundreds of people from all over the island. High Priest Falkus greeted the party and then announced, “Our saviors are here! Sent to us by Hephaestus to deliver us from the Dragovinian scourge! Hear their names!” Falkus recited the names and titles of each member of the party, even Amalius who was not present. The party introduced him to Barakah, but the two said no more than pleasantries before Falkus addressed the crowd once more, “It is time! We will go south to the old mountain of Paradeisi!”
    The crowd set out with the Kabiri in front followed by the island’s heroes and then its people. While walking south several girls approached Hektor, Danar, and Tagenadi to flirt with them. Tagenadi dismissed them politely. Hektor and Danar entertained them, but made it clear that there was no hope of anything more than flirting. One of the more courageous girls responded to Danar, “I don't care about marrying you! Even here in Lemnos we've heard of the heroic deeds of Danar the Slayer of Beasts and Dragons. I don't want your hand in marriage, I don't deserve it. All I want is a child as strong and brave as you.”
    “Oh.” The girl's meaning dawned on Danar, “Oh! You mean…”
    The girl blushed, looked down, and then back into Danar's eye, “Yes. I mean…”
    Danar interrupted her, “We cannot. My time of fathering children has passed.”
    “Could you not be persuaded.”
    Danar shook his head.
    “Well you won’t blame a girl for trying!” The young woman grabbed Danar's and walked with him the rest of the way to Mount Paradeisi.
    At the ashy mountain Falkus spoke to the crowd, “Hear we gather the ash from our fiery protector’s first forge for it was here that he made the weapons that our ancestors defended our isle.” Falkus grabbed a handful of volcanic ash from the ground and gestured for everyone else to do the same. Soon the air was filled with rocky soot and the entire pilgrimage was covered in smokey dirt. Falkus shouted, “Now we go back north to the cave of Philoctetes!”
    The whole procession turned around and headed north. The Kabiri’s path veered away from the tracks of their southward journey, towards the eastern sea. Soon the group approached the shallow salt Limni Aliki. The tide was low and no water washed over the eastern dirt mounds that separated the Limni from the sea. Falkus addressed the crowd once more, “We walk through the Limni. Let everyone take a few steps and then carry your young children if you must.” The crowd slowly surged forward into the salty water, continuing north towards the cave.
    A short walk from the northern edge of Limni Aliki brought the group to the grotto where Philoctetes had been left by the Achaeans on their way to Troy. A gibbous circle of rock enclosed a diameter of shallow water measuring a few dozen feet across. The sea’s water lapped up on a rocky shore that a stone overhang obscured. Falkus circled down into the grotto. Some of the Kabiri followed his circuitous route while others hopped down from the overhang to splash in the ankle-deep water below. The party went down and saw a dark opening at the back of the grotto.
    “This is where Philoctetes waited for the Greeks return and this is where we enter the holy place of Hephaestus,” Falkus said to the people gathering above the grotto. “I shall lead our heroes into the sanctuary first to perform the Mysteries of Hephaestus. The others of the initiated,” Falkus indicated the other Kabiri, “will lead everyone else in to participate in the rites.” Without another word Falkus entered the dark cave at the back of the grotto. The party followed behind with Barakah having to crouch down to fit through the narrow opening.
    Once within, Falkus pulled a torch from his robes and lit it. Light flared into the small space revealing a staircase headed downward into the earth. Falkus lead the party down.
    And down.
    And down.
    The traveled deep into the bowels of the earth, below the soft waves of the sea and sulfurous gas of Lemnos’s volcanoes. At last the staircase terminated at an open stone portal.
    Stepping through the portal the party saw a vast stone cavern so large that they could only barely make out the edges. An eight foot wide solid granite walkway rose up from the distant ground to walk upon. The pathway turned and twisted is way through the cavern, but always at right angles. Alongside the path, enormous stone platforms rose from the ground. Upon the platforms were grim statues of monstrous men. The statues stood forty out fifty feet tall each made of a different substance, iron, bronze, stone, or carved wood.

    High Priest Falkus led the party through the maze-like pathway past the silent giants. The people of Lemnos came in behind with lit torches of their own. The procession moved through the stillness along the pathway. In dim light a stepped pyramid appeared up ahead, sitting upon a stone platform. The constructed levels of the pyramid were about ten feet high each and a functional staircase led up the center of the pyramid. The stone pathway terminated at the pyramid’s staircase.
    Falkus led the group up to the top of the pyramid. At the apex there was a dark square hole in the stone. To the side was a bronze trough of water. Falkus tossed the ash he carried into the hole, “The ash is nothing!” He looked expectantly at the others until they too threw the ash in the hole.
    “When Hephaestus fell from Olympus he landed upon our humble island, creating a crater lower than any other point on the island!” Falkus shouted to the assembling crowd. “That point was the Limni Aliki. Our god’s bones were broken and pieces broke off and dissolved, becoming the salt of the lake. It is from this salt that we become immortal.” Falkus produced a sacrificial knife from another pocket in his robes. “The salt of Hephaestus represents our toil to form our homes and cities!” Falkus scraped a layer of salt off his boots using his knife. “And through that toil we become immortal!” Falkus dipped the knife into the water of the bronze trough. He pulled the knife out and swiftly struck his hand into water. His arm raised up to the cavern’s ceiling and in his hand he clutched a red brick that had not been there before. “Come forward brothers and sisters of the initiated and receive your blessing!”
    The party went forwards first, allowing Falkus to scrape salt from their clothes and shoes and handing them bricks in return. Hektor seemed a little disappointed in the revelation of the Mysteries. Barakah, on the other hand, was quite pleased. Once his brick was in his hand it made a short trip to his mouth where he crunched it and ate it.
    Falkus stuttered, “Ahh… The bones of Hephaestus… They are not for… Uhmm…” Barakah looked quizzically at the High Priest. Falkus’s voice petered out. He took a breath and then called for the next petitioner from the crowd.
    More and more people stepped onto the pyramid from the pathway, filling most of the steps as they waited to receive their bricks. Once the ceremonies were concluded the whole group filed out of the cavern with High Priest Falkus and the party of heroes in the lead. Another hike had the party back at Hephaistia as the sun was beginning to set.
    Falkus addressed the crowd one last time, “We achieve immortality through what we make with our hands, just like Hephaestus. You may place your brick amongst any of the buildings here to expand their size or to improve their designs in your image. The brick will conform to what you see in your own mind. If you wish to start a new building you may do that as well. Your brick is yours to place where you wish.” Falkus directed the last sentence at the Exiles.
    The crowd dispersed to place their bricks. The party stored each of their bricks in their respective portable holes and bags of holding. Hektor approached Falkus with a question, “High Priest, how is this immortality? It’s just a stone.”
    “Aye. It’s just a stone. But the stone builds something that can last forever. Is that not the immortality that we all seek? Through our deeds we become immortal. Through how we change and mold the world around us. The stone is just another way. More permanent than other ways and more transient than other ways too. Do you see?”
    Hektor looked at his brick. He opened his mouth to say something and then reconsidered. He looked up at Falkus, “I suppose I do. Thank you for your time Falkus.”
    “Oh no, thank you. You and your brave friends freed the island from the Dragovinians’ tyranny and have brought Hephaestus back into people’s lives. The Kabiri owe you a great debt.”
    “I hope we never need call upon you to fulfill that debt.”
    Falkus nodded and Hektor went to rejoin his companions.
    A dinner and dance were scheduled for the evening. The party joined for the food, but left as soon as politeness permitted, returning to Lakatia.

    The next day Danar recalled that he had a few Dragovinians stored away with stakes in their hearts. Perhaps the party could experiment on them to determine any unknown weaknesses. Danar, Tagenadi, Zelus, Eathirilu, Hektor, and Barakah all participated in the experiments. Rather than go through everything they did I’ll just list what they found out and confirmed.
    Dragonvinians “die” when staked through the heart with wood. They live again when the stake is removed.
    Dragovinians breathe fire and can fly with their wings
    When struck with a blow that would kill a mortal man, Dragovinians attempt to flee.
    Dragovinians are immune to fire damage.
    Dragovinians can be permanently killed with damage from a holy source or cold damage once they are attempting to flee.
    Dragovinians are damaged by positive energy and healed by negative energy.
    Dragovinians are resistant to acid, electricity, and cold. The cold is strange as Dragovinians also die from freezing. The party confirmed this though.
    Dragovinian skin is difficult to break with any weapon. The one exception appears to be magic weapons made of silver.
    Dragovinians possess spell resistance, but the strength of this resistance is dependent on the strength of the individual Dragovinian. The spell resistance of the party’s captives was easily overwhelmed.
    Dragovinians can be poisoned.
    Dragovinians cannot shy away from someone presenting garlic or a mirror and attempt to escape if the object is brought closer.
    Barakah also performed an “experiment” of his own, eating one of the Dragovinians. One might think the living flesh of the Dragovinian would tear him apart from inside, but the act seemed to permanently destroy the undead.
    By the end of these experiments the party only had two Dragovinians left. They kept them for future experiments.
    There was some talk of the ethics of torture like this. The group brushed it off quickly. These were monsters, not men, not even animals. Hurting them was no sin.

    This is where the first session ended, but as I said, I’m lumping in another short session.

    The undead armies were on the move, but the party feared they might not have enough power to bear on their foes, especially if the Amazons rode out from their siege of Gazeara to escort the main Xorian force to their camp. How could they deploy more forces without breaking the covenant of war that prevented summoning magic?
    The answer was simple enough, teleportation magic! With mass teleportation the party could move thousands from the Lich Shade or Crux to the site of the battle. Moving the wights through mass teleportation would be more difficult as they were spread throughout the Western Underdark, but it could increase their numbers by a few hundred or perhaps a thousand.
    Where to get teleportation magic of this magnitude? The party had access to the normal teleport spell but this would require the more powerful teleportation circle. There were five places where one could get access to such magic.
    The Teleportation Guild in Crafterton. Unfortunately Crafterton was under Xorian control and the party had killed Terroc, a prominent member of Guild.
    Greshendale the magic city… oh wait… It's a crushed ruin. There might be someone there who knows the spell or a scroll, but who would give such magic to the same group that destroyed the city?
    The Alliance possessed a similar type of magic, a pair of six-foot diameter iron ring gates. No matter where the rings were, stepping through one would deliver you to the other. The issue with this method is that the party isn’t on the best of terms with the Alliance at the moment. Amalius was on his way to becoming the leader of the Alliance and he was… not well disposed towards the party at the moment. Still, Amalius could see the value in this use of the ring gates.
    Zelus could spoof a teleportation circle using miracle. This would work and the party already had access to the magic, but this use of Zelus’s power would seriously tax him. (Zelus is mechanically a high level Favored Soul so losing XP for spells does hurt him).
    Hektor could take some time to research how to cast teleportation circle on his own. This would take weeks of study in a library though, time that the party did not have (DMG page 198).

    Option #3 was the party’s favorite. They decided to reach out to Amalius and see if he and the Alliance were willing to loan the ring gates to the party.

    While Amalius is transitioning to NPC from PC we wanted Throgg to be playing him. Unfortunately, Throgg wasn’t available to play Amalius that day. We decided to call it a day and end the session, making it a rather short one.

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #63/Total Session #79
    This session was attended by Throgg, Salzar, Middle_Snu, and Zigfried. The session was using Skype for voice and video. Roll20 wasn’t really needed this session.

    Hektor and Danar teleported to Jipangu to speak with Amalius about borrowing the ring gates. They made their way to his estate and were swiftly admitted by his servants to his study. Bookshelves covered the walls and a large desk was covered in maps and tactical drawings. A worn wooden chair with a leather seat was behind the desk while three padded stools were in front of it. Hektor began to examine the maps while they waited for Amalius to meet them. He saw that the maps were of the Great Divide, the river the Xorians would be fording.
    Before Hektor could look at the maps in more detail the door opened and a young man entered. Not Amalius, but a well-dressed servant with a sword at his hip. The man was tall with a small nose, brown hair, and green eyes. Hektor recalled the description of Amalius’s dead squire, Endi, and noticed that this man matched it to a tee. Hektor was about to speak when the man smirked at the two guests, “Hello. You must be the two heroes my master spoke of. I am Endi, Amalius’s squire.” Endi tilted his head forward as he finished speaking.
    The smirk, the tilt of his head, the speech pattern. Hektor knew without a doubt, this was Amalius. Either disguised as Endi or controlling the squire’s mind, the person who stood before them was not Endi, but Amalius.

    “It is good to see you, Andi,” Hektor said, deliberately mispronouncing Endi’s name and drawing it out in such a way as to make it obvious that he knew the true identity of the man he addressed. “Will Amalius be joining us?”
    “No,” said Endi as he sat behind the desk. “but I speak with his voice.” His eye twinkled.
    “Of course. Perhaps you already know why we have come. We wish to borrow the ring gates that the Alliance uses for instant teleportation. We plan to attack the Xorian army that retreats from Phoenix with Tagenadi’s undead forces. This ambush will cripple the Xorian military, with no risk of lost life for the Alliance. I’m sure you can see the strategic advantages of such a move. Furthermore it has the potential to rid us of another troublesome threat, the undead army itself, which has long been a plague upon Cimmeria.”
    “Ah yes. Another ‘brilliant plan’ that I can’t help but accept is the good and righteous path. Is that it? I cannot condone an attack such as this. The loss of life would be too severe.”
    “Loss of life? There’d be no loss of life. Only the undead would die and you surely don’t value their existence.”
    “Not the undead, the Xorians. Your undead attack would give the Xorians little opportunity to retreat or surrender. Many innocent conscripted soldiers would die needlessly. They have done nothing wrong, why do they deserve a fate such as that? Furthermore you haven’t considered the problem of the undead creating spawn from their victims. Instead of solving two problems at once you may be creating an even bigger one and playing right into Hades’s hands.”
    “Then what should we do? You’ve looked at this. I can see your maps.” Hektor swept his arm towards the battle plans upon the desk. “This is a war, what else can we do but kill the enemy?”
    “I can give no suggestions to you.”
    “Really? That’s your answer, Inky?” Hektor lampooned Endi’s name once again. “We shouldn’t do this attack and there aren’t any other paths that you think are better. Bah! You’re hiding something.”
    “And what if I was?”
    “Then you’d tell me as your friend. We’ve worked together so many times in the past. If you have something that can help us, help the people of Cimmeria in this war, you should share it. After all the sooner this war ends the fewer casualties there will be in the long run.”
    “How is your side more right than their own? Do you not have gods and a pantheon that demand sacrifice and dictate who is right and wrong, just as the Xorians have their Blendegad?”
    “That’s different. Our gods do not demand enslavement of the masses and organize-”
    “Oh I think they do! What of your home country, Hektor? What of Aractrash? Twenty percent of the jungle kingdom is literally enslaved and who knows how many more have little freedom but to live and die in the same hovels that their parents lived and died in. You think your side is so right and just? Wake up and smell the hippocras!”
    “Our society has problems of its own, I admit. But they are nothing compared to the Dragovinians and their tyranny. I implore you again, help us in the name of the bond of friendship that binds us. What would you tell us?”
    “What would I tell you?” Amalius/Endi said. “I would tell you that the true tyranny is not the Dragovinians or the kings or nobles. True tyranny comes from the gods themselves.”
    “What are you saying?”
    “A great war is coming, Hektor. Not between Blendegad, Poseidon, Hades, or any of the other Olympians. No, not between them, but between us and them. We will rise up and cast off the shackles of ritual and superstition. A new order will be formed, where everyone is free. Gods have been cast down before. Do you know of Marduk? Ashur? Ereshkigal?”
    “No, but-”
    “All dead. Or as good as dead, but their people replaced them. They raised up new idols and clamped new chains upon their ankles and wrists.”
    “This is madness! We cannot turn against the gods, Amalius!”
    “Can we not? How else do we resist slavery and tyranny? How else do we do right by the people of Cimmeria. Zeus sleeps forever and his siblings and children will join him by the end of the Great War.”
    “Don’t talk about this anymore. It’s foolishness. Let’s… Let’s discuss the war with Xoria. We need to borrow the ring gates to help the Alliance.”
    “So you can have your kings prove dominance over theirs? Your gods over theirs?”
    “Our rule IS better! How can you not see that?”
    “A country without a ruler would be better.”
    Hektor and Amalius argued back and forth, but no common ground could be found. Amalius would not budge and Hektor refused to see any truth in Amalius’s bleak depiction of the rule of gods over mortals. Eventually, Endi/Amalius stood to leave the room.
    Hektor plead with him as Endi’s hand touched the doorknob, “Please! For the sake of our friendship.
    Endi turned back and said, “I value our friendship and that is why you will be the first to know when the time comes to create the new world.”
    Danar called out as Endi turned away, “Inky! You remind me of Tentineh.” Danar mangled the squire’s name, apparently unsure of how to actually pronounce it.
    Endi/Amalius paused with his hand upon the door, then exited without a word.
    Hektor looked at the maps in more detail after their host left. Amalius had come up with several different battle plans based on different conditions. Hektor rolled up the maps and took them all as he and Danar exited the Halkias estate. If Amalius would not help them, they would go directly to the Alliance Council.

    Danar and Hektor invited Barakah and Zelus to come and be introduced to the Alliance Council. The four of them went to the home of Arendil, diplomatic leader of the Alliance and head of the First Family of Jipangu. His home was the seat of leadership within Jipangu just as Jipangu was the seat of leadership for the Alliance. The pair were told that the Council would be meeting immediately and they were ushered into a sitting room to wait.
    Around an hour later the Council members had all arrived and the meeting commenced in a large empty room with a wooden floor. Hard pillows were available for people to sit or kneel on. Servants hovered at the edge of the room, ready to provide drinks or food as needed. At the head of the room, Arendil sat. On either side of him were Astyanax and Gradorian. Astyanax still wore the enchanted golden mask that obscured his features. The other attendees included Titandra, Kig Yupington, Erick Stoneborn, Junai, and Lieutenant Hunter. The party took their seats beside Junai and Lieutenant Hunter. Barakah sat at the end of the rectangle. A place that he felt suited him, being opposite the head, and a place that was large enough to accommodate his form as well.
    Spoiler: Quick Bio on Attendees
    Arendil was the strongest opponent of Tagenadi and Amalius being included in the Alliance.
    Astyanax is the military leader of the Alliance and a paladin of Zeus. He is also the representative of Bradel Fields on the Council. His face was scarred by a demon and he now wears a Golden Mask of Heroism that has somewhat warped his personality.
    Gradorian is the leader of the Mercenaries Guild of Phoenix and is responsible for training the Alliance’s soldiers. He is a Hobgoblin skilled in many fighting styles.
    Titandra is a blind seer and the representative of Restnor’s Point on the Council.
    Kig Yupington is a monk of unknown racial heritage. He has traveled across all of Cimmeria. He wields the Scepter of Dorrowsan and is the representative of that city on the Council. He is a close friend of Titandra’s.
    Erick Stoneborn was previously apprenticed to Torin Stoneblade as a Dwarven Cleric of Athena. During Torin’s tenure with the Exiles, Erick took his position as the representative for the Dwarves on the Alliance Council.
    Junai is Gradorian’s second-in-command and reportedly his lover. She is an Elf that wields two blades in combat.
    Lieutenant Hunter is the leader of Shalerton and a hard, unmoving man. He represents his city on the Alliance Council, but rarely attends meetings due to the requirements of his position in Shalerton.
    Absent were representatives from Dalleer, Mars’ Oasis, and Aractrash. Mars’ Oasis and Aractrash have yet to join the Alliance, but they plan to soon.

    “We have much to discuss,” said Arendil after the appropriate introductions had been made.
    “Yes,” said Hektor. “We have a plan to attack the Xorians that requires the ring gates.” Hektor told them of the party’s plan making sure to emphasize that using the undead might allow the Alliance plausible deniability should the Xorians wish to retaliate.
    Arendil said, “I fear there is no hope for plausible deniability any longer. The same was true for the destruction of Bradel Fields. Although we may have come through with the majority of our military strength unscathed… we were not without casualties…” Arendil trailed off. His chin quivered and he looked down.
    Astyanax set his hand on Arendil’s shoulder and said to the Exiles, “We had actually hoped to work more closely with you now that Amalius has proven his commitment to the cause. We received your letter Danar, but we respectfully disagree. We work towards the same goal, why not join our talents instead of dividing them?”
    (Danar had sent a letter to the Alliance outside of our regular sessions, offering to cooperate in supplying them with weapons and armor, but wishing to stay out of any official Alliance activities to maintain, you guessed it! Plausible Deniability.)
    Arendil said, “There's no reason to think the Xorians won't strike back again. I think it best that we work together from now on. With that in mind we see two ways forward to winning this war in earnest. We must heal Zeus or kill Jevaninada.”
    Hektor said, “Healing Zeus has been a priority for us.”
    “And well it should be,” said Titandra. “The sooner he returns the sooner Poseidon can be cast back into the sea. His encroachment onto the realms of the other Olympians threatens to upset the natural order of the world. Only Zeus can restore our world to its proper state.”
    “As for Jevaninada…” said Arendil. “We'd thought you might be planning some assassination attempt on him. We don't wish to stand in your way. Rather we wish to help you in anyway we can.”
    “I don't think an assassination attempt would be wise. If we fail the Xorians may retaliate and the results could be disastrous,” said Hektor.
    Arendil harumphed but said no more.
    Hektor said, “We have almost everything needed to bring Zeus back. We think it best to strike against the Xorians now though. There will never be another time where they are so exposed. My lords, now is the time to act.”
    Astyanax said, “Give us some time to deliberate in what you've told us. We'll vote and then tell you our decision.”
    The party members stood and left the room.

    While waiting for the Council to reach a decision the Exiles talked amongst themselves. The topic, would it be so bad if Poseidon were King of Olympus instead of Zeus. Zelus, knowing both Olympians personally said that it was not right. Poseidon’s place was in the sea as the Fates had decreed. Furthermore, his holding of both sea and sky made him too strong. Poseidon would surely abuse his power if given the opportunity and many would suffer.
    Before the others could weigh in, the doors opened and the group was summoned back into the large hall.
    The Alliance had agreed to lend the ring gates to the party. Astyanax, Gradorian, and Kig Yupington would watch over the ring gates while the party used them. With that the party's official business with the Alliance was concluded for the day.
    After the other Councilors said their farewells Gradorian approached Danar. The Hobgoblin opened his mouth, then closed it. He took a deep breath then started again, “I've heard stories about you since I was a child. You slayed many beasts, fought the dragons, brought civilization and culture to places that had none. In a way, I've always wanted to be like you. To have deeds worth remembering, to defeat evil, and to save the people of this world. Please, if you'll let me, could I follow you? I can help you in your quest now! Learn from you! And when the time comes, carry on your legacy if need be.”
    “Of course,” said Danar. “But what of the Alliance? Won't they need your skills and strength?”
    “They will make do without me and I can still aid them at critical juncture. Junai will assume my responsibilities. She is my equal in more ways than one.”
    “Then I accept. Come, tell me about yourself. What are your skills?”
    And so Danar gained a new cohort!

    The session ended there. Look forward to the Battle of Demeter’s Ford in the next session.

  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #64/Total Session #80
    Everyone was in attendance for this session. We used Skype for voice and video and Roll20 as a virtual tabletop. I used the trial version of Voxal Voice Changer to do the voice of an antagonist in this session. The preset “Alien” voice worked perfectly. Voxal is great and the trial version is just fine as long as you’re prepared to deal with it’s limitations (one of which is crashing your computer if you unplug your mic, FYI). I’ve continued to use it going forward and would recommend it to anyone gaming over the internet and looking to introduce some character voices.
    I’ve also used a special font to represent that voice in the written update. If you’re interested in the font it’s called Abaddon and is available at The Thieves Guild along with more RPG resources.

    The day of the undead attack on the Xorians came at last. Prior to the battle Eathirilu cast a control weather spell causing it to rain constantly. When he enacted the magic he noticed another weather control spell in place. The two seemed to not conflict, so he shrugged it off as inconsequential. The cloudy sky grew darker as rain poured down.
    Tunnels were dug beneath Demeter’s Ford across the Great Divide. The excavation went quickly thanks to Hektor’s honed arcane talents. Below the river the tunnels filled with water, but fortunately undead soldiers do not need to breathe. Kig and Gradorian had moved hundreds of thousands of zombies and skeletons from the Shacklack Desert into the tunnels beneath the Ford using the ring gates. More and more would flow until the start of the battle at which point Gradorian, Kig, and the mages with them would teleport back to Jipangu taking the ring gates with them for protection.
    Tagenadi wanted the undead to act intelligently in the coming battle, so hundreds of clerics from Crux were brought to the battle site. They used the powers granted to them by Hades to better control and direct the skeletons and zombies. The clerics were also able to cast water breathing allowing them to go into the tunnels with the undead for a few hours.
    With the undead in position just below the earth, Tagenadi, Hektor, Barakah, Danar, Eathirilu, Zelus, and Astyanax observed Demeter’s Ford invisibly from above. The Xorians were clearly wary of an attack while they crossed. Two large contingents of Amazon cavalry had come north from Gazeara to guard the crossing on the west and east banks of the Great Divide. A group of the lesser Xorian cavalry had already crossed to the western bank along with about half of the elite Brigade infantry that Xoria was famous for. The rank and file conscripts of the black and red army were marching across the ford in formation. An impressive sight from the air.
    The party began casting their protection magics. Hektor and Danar had previously summoned some allies for this fight as well. Hektor had a planetar class angel, Delirius, and a marilith, Drashkul, assisting him while Danar had a fully grown bronze dragon, Hron’dar. Everyone grouped together around Hektor, their teleporter. Tagenadi touched his shield hand to his temple, psychically commanding all the undead, “Begin the attack.”
    Zombies, skeletons, and wights burst from the ground all across the Ford. The terrified screams of thousands of Xorian soldiers reached the ears of the Exiles half a mile in the air. As the skeletons emerged they displaced the water, creating a temporary widening of the river. Horses reared on the eastern bank as wights erupted forth to encircle them. The Brigade troops kept calm and lowered their spears to engage. The battle had begun.
    The party planned to attack the Xorian leadership. Cut off the head and the rest of the snake will die. Hron’dar and Delirius, having the best eyes in the group, scanned the battlefield, looking for the regally dressed commanders. On the western bank by the Ford they spied half a dozen Dragovinians dressed in purple shouting at the soldiers surrounding them.
    “That’s them,” said Danar.
    “Gather up,” said Hektor. “We’re going in.”
    Hektor enacted his teleport magic. He aimed for the party to appear fifty feet above and to the north of the Dragovinian commanders. The rest of the party readied themselves to attack when the reappeared below. The spell took effect and the group entered the astral plane, but as their bodies turned to astral vapor Hektor ran into a block that he hadn’t previously encountered. What was this? An anticipate teleport spell?!?
    “Oh no,” thought Hektor.

    The party appeared right next to Jevaninada, Darudanano, Barejando, and Jittehalong. Jittehalong was a new face. She was the new Queen of the Amazons after the death of Ashabodai during the Battle of Phoenix. She was not a Dragovinian like the others. She stood at almost eight feet tall, wore sleek wooden armor, and wielded a titanic spear that could only be the Spear of the Amazons. Read more about Jittehalong.
    Further away were three huge red dragons. Heat weeped off them. The Exiles recognized the two larger dragons as Invernix and Sartoria, but something was different about them. Their volcanic eyes were dimmer, their scales paler, and their teeth longer. Tagenadi breathed the word they were all thinking, “Vampires.” Out in the day thanks to the dark overcast sky, partially due to Eathirilu’s magic (oops!) but also due to that other weather spell he had noticed.
    The final dragon was none other than Blendegad the Reaper, Scourge of Cimmeria. He wore a jaw brace equipped with serrated edges made to rip apart his foes. His claws were adorned with golden points, which seemed sharper than the air itself. Blendegad roared,

    Then he breathed upon the party. Scorching flames enveloped them, but Eathirilu’s enchantments stood strong and everyone emerged unscathed.
    Eathirilu’s magically enhanced senses allowed him to react immediately to the surrounding enemies. He shed the sparrow form he’d assumed for teleporting with the group and hulked out into his tyrannosaur form. He lunged at Blendegad, biting into the dragon god’s side. The rest of our heroes were not so lucky.
    Jevaninada and Darudanano ripped into Zelus with sword, claw, and tooth. Sartoria and Invernix, seeing that Blendegad’s fire breath was ineffective, went into the melee with their own natural weapons. They attacked the biggest target, Eathirilu. At the fringes of the battle Stanton cast a spell to strip away some of Eathirilu’s enchantments and Wu peppered Zelus with arrows. Zelus collapsed as the arrows sprouted from his body.
    And Jittehalong, the new girl on the block, what of her? She jumped into the air with her mighty spear above the party and rained lightning quick blows down upon them. The spear struck with shattering force, like that of a battering ram. Danar, Hektor, Tagenadi, Barakah, Hron’dar, and Delirius were pushed back by the crushing force at the end of her spear. Astyanax, being directly below Jittehalong, was pummeled mercilessly into the ground. He lost consciousness as his wounds consumed him. Eathirilu alone resisted the spear’s force due to his enhanced size and strength.

    Jittehalong’s ugly blows ended up helping Hektor as he found himself away from the melee. He accelerated his body into a time stop. Acting with incredible speed he gated in a solar class angel to help the fight, redid a few of his magical wards, used his shapechange magic to become an earth elemental, and sunk into the ground with just his eyes and new rocky ears above the sloppy mud. As the time stop ended, Hektor commanded the solar, “Return Zelus to the fight.”
    “As you command!” The angel raised its holy sword in the air. Light poured from the sword in all directions, then focused in on the downed god. Zelus’s body flowed with new found energy and he flew into the air on his wings.

    Blendegad lunged upon Zelus and ripped out his throat.
    Blendegad spat at Danar.
    As if commanded, Invernix immediately moved to attack Danar. The draconic sorcerer knight took the blows in stride. Eathirilu moved to assist, biting at Invernix and ripping out portions of flesh.
    Barakah, blown to the side by Jittehalong’s spear, got to his feet. Normally his full figure hid beneath his flowing cloak. Now, King Barakah flung his arms out wide, letting the cloak slide off his shoulders. Beneath the luxurious cloth were hundreds of writhing tentacles. Short, long, green, purple, pulsing, nodulous. The pseudopods shot forward and raked along Invernix’s body. The dragon belched fire in protest. The tentacles were leaving hideous acidic burns in their wake. Covered in horrific burns, Invernix’s corporeal form could not hold. He turned into mist and flew to the southwest.
    Tagenadi shouted, “Should we pursue?”
    “No! Stay focused,” said Danar.
    “REVENGE!” yelled Sartoria. She savaged Danar with scorching fury. He would’ve collapsed if not for his magical protections.
    Tagenadi dueled with Jevaninada and Darudanano. He fought a losing battle. Defeat was certain, but Tagenadi could detain and contain them for a time with the hope that his allies would gain ground fighting the rest of their foes.
    Danar grabbed Zelus’s body and dragged it away to meet up with Hron’dar. He ordered Hron’dar to find Wu and prevent another unseen strike. Delirius joined Hron’dar in the search.
    The new solar ended up being the one to find Wu. He was right behind the angel! The angel struck out with positive energy. The magic washed over Wu, leaving him unharmed due to some magical protection he had. He flapped his draconic wings to move away and disappeared into the shadows.
    Eathirilu quickly cast a spell to heal Astyanax’s wounds before taking another haunch of meat out of Blendegad’s side. Stanton returned the favor by shooting Eathirilu with another round of dispel magic. He got the most important of Eathirilu’s defensive protections along with his wildshape. Eathirilu reverted to his natural reincarnated form of a wolverine. Blendegad didn’t shy away from taking advantage of the situation

    The Reaper did just as he said, tearing Eathirilu apart, piece by piece. Eathirilu fell to the ground, dead.
    Hektor used his most powerful magic to bring Zelus back to life while his summoned creatures engaged Jittehalong. Zelus used his own magic to bathe the central melee in positive energy. The undead were unaffected, but it restored some vitality to Astyanax and Danar who happened to be just in range of the spell.
    The Exiles teetered on the edge. Unconsciousness and death had touched nearly all of them, but a victory here could mean the end of the Second Alliance War. Tagenadi scanned the battleground looking for an advantage. There! Stanton to the southeast! Should he charge him? Continue fighting against his brother and the King? Or maybe the group should cut their losses and retreat. Tagenadi’s warrior instincts kicked in and time slowed down… Which was his best option?

    We ended the session there!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2017-10-20 at 11:17 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Status Update

    I have finished writing up most of the sessions that we've played since the latest one. I've just been slow about drawing the accompanying illustrations. I have a few creative projects I'm working on and I recently finished my education and am now working full time. Basically, I've been prioritizing other things besides illustrating the sessions.

    We are now coming up on our final session. The players and I have discussed it and we'd like to stream the final session so that our faithful readers can join in the fun. I'm still working out the details and will post them later. Our final session will be taking place on December 2nd and 3rd.

    With that in mind, it doesn't make sense to have you all go into the final session without knowing what happens after Session #80. I will be posting the writeups without illustrations over the coming weeks.

  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Alliance Session #65/Total Session #81
    Everyone was in attendance.

    The general feeling of the group was that their plan had gone sour. They could continue to fight and hopefully take out two or three of their opponents permanently, but in the process all of the ragtag band of Exiles would die.
    Tagenadi spurred towards Hektor, dodging past Jevaninada and Darudanano on the way. “HEKTOR! GET US OUT OF HERE!” Tagenadi shouted with commanding force.
    Hektor jumped to action. He had planned for the scenario they encountered now, with the overwhelming force of the Dragovinian elite bearing down on them. He enacted his most powerful magic. Using a wish spell Hektor teleported all of his allies to Erebos. Additionally, his magic pulled at the Dragovinians and dragons, trying to bring them along into Hell. He'd planned for Hades to join their fight in the Underworld and tip the scales in the Exiles’ favor. Unfortunately, each and every one of their enemies resisted the transportation magic. None of them came along into Hell. The party made their escape, but none of their foes were trapped.

    Dusting themselves off the party members looked around, taking in their desolate surroundings. Wandering souls shuffled by on wispy feet. Dust swirled in the air. Mountains and dry rivers could be spotted in the distance. Far overhead stalactites hung down from the rocky ceiling. Zelus set to healing everyone’s wounds and reviving Eathirilu. As he finished his work, the cavern darkened, as if a cloud had passed over the nebulous light that suffused the vast space.
    Grey smoke surrounded the party and out the smoke stepped the Lord of the Underworld. Clad in eerily real bone armor he stared at the party with sooty steel eyes. A thin smile played on his grey lips between his black beard. “You have the ingredients of the prophecy. I can feel them.”
    The party stood, stunned for a moment. Hektor answered first, “No we don’t... What makes you think that?”
    “Do not lie to ME, mortal!” Hades spat out the last word. “I can sense them on your person. You will give them to me.” The smoke behind Hades crackled with electricity. The charged smoke shot forth towards Tagenadi, encircling him and digging into him. Tagenadi struggled silently, moving in shudders and gasps. The dark magic sought to control him. He fought it off using every ounce of his training. The smoke retreated.
    “You resist me? Impossible!” Hades thrust his hand forward as if holding an invisible goblet. The smoke surged towards Tagenadi once more. The crusader was exhausted from fighting off the first attempt to control his skeleton body, but he would not give up. Tagenadi shuddered as the smoke entered his bones. The darkness coiled within him, seeking to control his essence. For a moment it felt as if the Lord of the Dead was inside Tagenadi’s very soul. As he felt Hades take control, Tagenadi shouted, “No! You shall not have me!” A burst of light erupted from within Tagenadi. The black smoke was flung from his body back to the cloud from whence it came. “You control me no longer Hades. I am free.”
    “You reject me? In my own realm? You have grown stronger than I thought possible. Then I am forced to bargain and convince you to give me the prophecy reagents, the Bones of Hephaestus, the Rock of Prometheus, and the Black Kelp Plant.”
    Zelus sensed something changed in Tagenadi. The death knight was no longer bound to Hades, but the connection was already beginning to rebuild. Zelus could free Tagenadi now and forever by restoring his corporeal flesh. Perhaps he could even free him after they left the Underworld. Tagenadi had often voiced his longing for his old body. Zelus kept the possibility of rejuvenation to himself. It was not suitable for one god to steal the servant of another.
    Eathirilu stepped forward, “Okay, we do have the pieces of the prophecy. If we give them to you, what will you do?”
    “I will emerge from the Underworld and take my rightful place on the throne of Mount Olympus! I was born first! Don’t let that fool, Zeus, trick you! I was the first to come forth from Rhea’s womb, but Cronos gobbled me up, stealing my birthright. It should’ve been me that ruled in the sky and Zeus the one exiled to the depths of the Earth. Was it not I that gave the Hecatonchires a place in our realm so that they would join our side? Do I not deserve a more just reward, more just than this?!?!” Hades swept his arms around and the smoke dissipated revealing the stark, lifeless Underworld.
    “You ask me what I will do? I will go to the world above and make war upon my brothers. If they do not submit to my rule, then I will throw them down into the pit of Tartarus. See how they enjoy the company of our father and his ilk! I will remake the world! A better world, where the eldest and wisest rule instead of that insipid, lovestruck fool you call Father of All the Gods!”
    Eathirilu pondered what Hades said, then spoke, “You are right. Zeus is eldest in a way, but you are eldest in a way as well. I cannot favor one of you over the other.” Eathirilu pulled out his red brick from Lemnos and stepped forward. He placed the brick at the feet of Pluto. Hektor stared at him aghast. Tagenadi was similarly astonished, but he was still recovering from his rejection of Hades’s sovereignty.
    “Excellent. I am sure we will find a place for druids in the new realm.”
    Barakah came forward from the rest of the group, “Great Master of the Underworld, could there be a place at your side for one such as me?”
    “A King of the Giants? Of course, your aid would be welcome and you would receive rewards befitting your station. Wine, food, and wealth beyond your imagining.”
    “Hmmm… Good.” Barakah stepped back to stand beside Eathirilu and Zelus.
    Zelus said, “I feel the same as Eathirilu. I serve the leader of the Olympians. It is not my place to choose who that is.”
    Hektor took three steps forward, “And what would this new realm of yours be, Lord of the Dead? Something akin to your kingdom here? Desolate and ruined?”
    Hades answered, “I will not lie, there will be devastation brought about by my ascension to the world above. Poseidon will not relinquish the position he has taken. The upstart, Blendegad, will be dealt with as well along with all of his servants. The war will be…costly. The greatest war since the Titanomachy perhaps. Cities will fall. The earth will tremble. Forests will burn. Land and sea will be reshaped. The new world will not be the same as the old. Many will die, but mortals will survive and flourish in the new world I create. You need have no fear of that.”
    Hektor said, “I have fought numerous battles, journeyed to the realm of the dead and back, and slain many foes for this war. I have sacrificed my court position, my romantic life, and my wealth for this war. I have lost my most loyal servant, my people, and my king! AND I HAVE NOT LOST THESE THINGS SO THAT YOU COULD DESTROY EVERYTHING ELSE!” Hektor snapped his staff of the magi upon his knee. The destructive force flew forth from the ruptured artifact. The others were blown back by the explosion. When they looked again, Hektor was gone.
    Spoiler: Hektor’s Journey
    Hektor’s breaking of the staff took him to the Elemental Plane of Earth. His shapechange was still active so he morphed into a earth elemental. Hektor fortunately had a few scrolls of plane shift with him. He used one to return to the Material Plane. He teleported to Lakatia and informed his subjects about what had happened. He then told them he was headed to Jipangu to speak with the Alliance and teleported away once again.

    Hades’s armor was scoured by ash. A frown crossed his face and then turned into a bared teeth. Hektor was the one carrying the Black Kelp Plant and the dust from the Rock of Prometheus. Without them, Hades could not perform the ritual. “Begone! I wish to see no more of you!” Black smoke enveloped the party.

    The smoke left the party at the exit of a cave. Behind them stairs led down into the blackness. A silver-haired woman stood at the entrance to the cave. She was clad in bearskins and wore various charms. Leaning towards the Exiles on her staff, she greeted them, “I am Alkmene, sent here to guide you in the workings of the Druid’s Prophecy. I am the last of the Semanarie Druids entrusted with the Prophecy.”
    The party introduced themselves and took a moment to rest after their visit to Erebos. Once in good condition they told Alkmene, “We have all the pieces of the Prophecy to revive Zeus except the Pitchfork. What more could you offer us?”
    “You have the pieces, yes, but you do not know the order they go in.”
    Hektor said, “We could figure it out. The Prophecy doesn’t say the order, but it gives other descriptions.”
    “True. You may perform the Prophecy correctly even you do not share my mystical senses for the intricacies of the ritual. However, I think it best that I be the one to perform the ritual. And perhaps it would be best if the rest of your group were not gathered closeby the cauldron if you take my meaning.”
    Eathirilu spoke, “Does the ritual kill the one who performs it?”
    Alkmene looked down, “I will not say.”
    “We will be glad for your help, wise druid,” said Eathirilu.
    “And I am glad to provide it.”

    The party teleported to Jipangu along with Alkmene. They briefed the Alliance Council on the events of the battle and their subsequent visit to Erebos. The Xorians had surely lost many troops, but the Lich Shade likely had no way to retreat and was presumed to be wiped out. The Council members agreed to magically scout the area over the coming days to try and create a body count.
    The party rested and on the next day decided to collect another piece of the Druid’s Prophecy, the Pitchfork of Ruin that had “slain” Zeus. The Pitchfork belonged to the powerful monster, the Dahak of Greshendale. Previously, the Dahak had promised the Pitchfork of Ruin in exchange for the Exiles upsetting the delicate political situation in Nomingburg (Alliance Session #37/Total Session #48). The party accomplished this by arranging for the death of Nomingburg’s leader, Duke Jingo (Alliance Session #49/Total Session #64 and Alliance Session #50/Total Session #66). Having completed their end of the bargain, one would assume that the Dahak would hand over the Pitchfork and that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, the party had also been tricked by Hermes into destroying the Dahak’s favorite city, Greshendale, by pulling it out of the sky (Alliance Session #52/Total Session #68). Would the Dahak honor his deal or attack the Exiles on sight? Not wanting to be caught unawares, the Exiles buffed themselves to high heaven before teleporting to the site of Greshendale’s crash.
    The city was thoroughly ruined. Buildings smashed, timbers burned, possessions and corpses abandoned. A few fires still smoldered in the wreckage. A ways away tent village had sprung up, presumably occupied by survivors. A fort constructed from wooden timbers, stone, and metal could be seen close to the refugee camp as well. The Exiles path did not lead to the camp though.
    The Dahak’s home was inside the broken volcano that was once the city of Greshendale. They entered the mountain through a utility access manhole they’d used previously. Down, down through the shattered passageways they traveled until they reached the volcano’s core. Warm lava pulsed beneath rocky pillars and walkways. Amidst the magma and sulfurous smoke stood the Dahak. His eleven foot humanoid body, unrestricted by mortal skin, showed considerable muscle mass on a strong skeletal frame. The beast’s head was that of a human skull with enormous rams’ horns curving out from the sides. Flames flickered atop the skull and inside the eyes. The monster clutched the Pitchfork of Ruin in its left hand.
    “You have returned and Nomingburg is divided.”
    The party clutched their weapons. Hektor said, “Yes. Will you give us the Pitchfork?”
    “I shall.” The Dahak tossed the Pitchfork towards the Exiles. It spun through the air and landed point down, embedded in the stone. Lava began oozing from the puncture.
    Hektor yanked the Pitchfork out of the volcanic rock. The lava flow stopped. “And the city of Greshendale? Are we cool?”
    “There will come a time when all will be equalized. Of that you have no need to fear.” The Dahak leaned forwards and the party could’ve sworn that the skull grinned even wider than its sick rictus. “Or perhaps fear is needed.”
    Hektor frowned and stowed the Pitchfork in his portable hole. “I pray that day will never come. We got what we came for,” he said to the party. “Let’s go.”
    The Exiles walked out of the volcano and teleported back to Jipangu with their mission accomplished.

    One final piece of the Druid’s Prophecy remained, a song “better than the gods.” Orpheus certainly qualified, but being dead his voice was controlled by Hades. The Lord of the Underworld’s grudge against Zeus, essentially prevented the use of Orpheus’s voice for the ritual. Fortunately, Amalius had heard Orpheus sing while in the Underworld and his eidetic memory might allow him to replicate it for the ritual.
    The Exiles approached Amalius, hoping that he would work for them. Amalius admitted that he remembered the song perfectly, but he could not perform it himself. He might have an appropriate singer by tomorrow. The psion wanted something in exchange for his assistance though. He asked for nothing less than Zelus’s divine spark.
    Surprisingly, Zelus agreed. He was willing to do anything for Zeus, even sacrifice his divinity.
    The next day Amalius revealed the potential singer, Dillon the castrato, a freshly freed slave from Aractrasg. Amalius mentally linked with Dillon to recreate the beautiful music that Orpheus sang in the Halls of the Dead. Sadly, the song was not good enough. Zelus judged it poorer than Apollo’s voice and thus not better than the gods.
    “Is there something else we could try?” said Hektor.
    “Perhaps…” said Danar. “My old friend Gorwinua. She had a voice that people often said was the best since Orpheus. Maybe she’d be good enough.”
    Zelus said, “Ah yes. I remember her. She was good, but never quite good enough to beat Apollo in a contest.”
    Hektor asked, “What if she linked with Amalius to recreate Orpheus’s music?”
    Zelus digested the idea and then said, “Yes. That would most likely be a song better than any that Apollo could sing.”
    “Great!” said Hektor. “Then let’s bring Gorwinua here and do the ritual.”
    “That’s the thing,” said Danar. “She’s not quite alive and not quite dead. She went into an eternal slumber just like me, only to be reawakened when one of the Orbs of Dragonkind broke. She’s the insurance policy for the White Orb.”
    “So… She’s useless to us,” said Tagenadi.
    “Well...” said Danar.
    “We could break the White Orb and release Tikanile from inside,” said Eathirilu. “That would bring Gorwinua back. It may not be something we relish doing, but it’s the lesser of two evils.”
    “Everyone okay with destroying the White Orb of Dragonkind to save the world?” said Hektor.
    Murmurs of assent filled the room.
    “Then it’s settled. Let’s begin planning.”

    The session ended there. The party spent some time preparing and examining different ways of obtaining the White Orb outside of the session. I’ll put those below.

    First, where was the White Orb of Dragonkind? It’s previous storage location was in one of the minor calderas of Greshendale, just as the Red Orb had been before Amalius destroyed it. The fall of Greshendale just might’ve changed where the White Orb was kept though. Zelus, having some sense for the location of artifacts as powerful as the Orb, cast out his senses. He divined that the White Orb was now kept at the Museum of Power in Nox, the capital of Xoria. Presumably it had been transported there for safekeeping after the destruction of Greshendale.
    What is the Museum of Power? It’s a metal structure in the central district of Nox. The gods themselves created the building out of adamantine to house powerful artifacts that might be too strong for mortals to wield. Numerous traps protect the artifacts as well as the giant, Argus. The Museum does not technically belong to the Xorians, it is merely under their protection. Regardless, they have taken to using it as a personal armory since the start of the Second Alliance War.

    Spoiler: Argus Backstory
    Argus Panoptes was the giant set to watch over Zeus's lover, Io, by Hera. Io had been transformed into the shape of a beautiful white cow which especially insulted Hera as her symbolic animal is a cow. Zeus insisted that Io was just a cow, but Hera did not believe him, hence the guard so that Io could not become a human again.

    Argus made a particularly good guard because he could see in every direction and he never slept, only resting a few of his eyes at any particular moment. Hermes managed to make all the eyes fall asleep at once by singing a lullaby. Hermes then cut off Argus's head. Io was freed, but then Hera tormented her by sending gadflies to bite her for all eternity. The place where Argus watched over Io became known as Argos.

    Prior to his task of watching over adulterous cow women, Argus slew the Mother of all Monsters, Echidna.

    Spoiler: Other Artifacts in the Museum
    Sanguine Belt of the Night Mother: Gives dark power to succeed at any task, but the power comes at the cost of your life-force.
    Mace of Slaughter: The mace drains a piece of the victim's soul out of their body with each blow. This energy is transferred to the wielder, empowering them.
    Invisible Ring of Cats: Makes one dexterous and uncatchable, but easily distracted. Occasionally the wearer will latch onto one seemingly inconsequential goal and pursue it at all costs.
    Crescent of Wrath: A hateful weapon that destroys all it touchs. If you seek to loot your opponents after defeating them, this isn't the weapon for you.
    Fork of Horripilation: A simple weapon that seems to randomly either drain a person of magic completely or empower them, giving them resistance to magic and greater force with their own spells.
    Ten League Boots: These boots allow the wearer to go ten leagues with each step.
    Face of Gods: All past wearers of the mask are known for great diplomatic accomplishments, but also being big *******s in private when not wearing the mask. Some say the mask drains your Charisma when you're not wearing it to give you a bonus when you are.
    Ring of Impervious: Makes the wearer resistant to all attacks, but comes with a hidden drawback that has led to the death of all who wear the ring.
    Prismatic Blade: It's a shimmering blade with all the colors of the rainbow flowing across its surface. The sword applies a prismatic effect to whomever it strikes.
    Sin’s Mask: A horrifying mask that gives one the power of a vampiric monster.
    Shadowstaff: As in the DMG.
    Staff of Not: Prevents the actions of others when wielded, but traps the wielder as well.
    Ring of Draconic Wizardry: Grants one extra spell per day at every spell level to arcane casters.
    Orb of Omniscience: Staring into the Orb grants one all the secrets of the universe, if you can indeed handle such knowledge.
    Hammer of Thunderbolts: As in the DMG.
    Deck of Many Things: I have my own version, but you know what this does.
    Staff of the Magi: As in the DMG.

    The Xorians take important political guests on tours of the Museum of Power. These tours are always led by the King of Xoria and/or the Curator of the Museum who live in a nearby building. Argus stands motionless in the center of the Museum’s one room while the guests are led around from exhibit to exhibit. The giant sleeps with some of his eyes and watches with the rest. Different guests have recorded the placement of artifacts within the Museum, but their maps do not line up indicating that the items are shuffled after each tour.

    Zelus cast a commune spell and opened his godly mind to answer questions. (I don’t strictly enforce the time restrictions on commune if you were wondering)
    Spoiler: Commune Questions
    1. Besides Argus, does the museum have any other powerful guardians who pose a threat to us?
    2. Will the Cap of Hades allow Tagendai to pass undetected by Argus?
    It will turn him invisible, but perhaps not undetectable.
    3. Are there other detection systems that would not be fooled by the Cap of Hades?
    4. Is there any system or magical protection which will alert the Blendegad, the Rages, or the other elite Xorians?
    Yes, there are alarm systems.
    5. Will Blendegad, the Rages, or the other elite Xorians arrive within 10 seconds of being notified?
    6. Will Blendegad, the Rages, or the other elite Xorians arrive within 1 minute of being notified?
    Yes, probably within 1 minute.
    7. Would a mage's disjunction likely dispel the protective effects and let us teleport away with artifacts?
    A mage's disjunction would not be a good idea.
    8. Would stealing multiple Artifacts create any backlash that would not be triggered by stealing a single artifact?
    9. What are we missing?
    In, Out, Where, Dragons, Argus.
    10. Does Gorwinua actually have a “voice better than the gods” as described in the Prophecy?
    11. Is it necessary to have her psychically linked with Amalius to fulfill the Prophecy?
    12. Can we teleport or dimensionally shift away from the museum freely?
    13. If we leave the museum, can we then teleport or dimensionally shift away freely, even if we are carrying artifacts from the museum?
    Depends on the artifact.
    14. Can Hektor wear the Cap of Hades to go undetected without adverse effects?
    Yes, for the most part.
    15. Would a disintegrate spell breach the outside of the museum?
    16. Is the White Orb of Dragonkind magically secured so that we could not remove it easily?
    17. How can we breach the walls of the Museum of Power?
    Ram, lockpicks, or Curator.
    18. Will magical effects within the Museum of Power disrupt our magic?
    Some spells, but not all.
    19. Will an antimagic field disable the magical effects, spells, and traps present in the MoP?
    Some, but not all.
    20. Who were the “dragons” we were forgetting?
    Shivara, Kovan'rorshac, and Cordax.
    21. Could the Dragon Orb guardians be swayed to our side?
    22. Are the Dragon Orb guardians unable to be swayed due to magical, godly, or mundane influences?
    Bound by blood to Blendegad.
    23. Would a wish spell allow us to escape from the museum?
    24. Could an Olympian retrieve the white dragon orb?
    With difficulty.
    25. Who built the Museum of Power?
    The Hecatonchires.
    26. Could the Hecatonchires unmake the Museum of Power?
    27. What price would the The Hecatonchires charge to unmake the Museum of Power?
    No price would sway them.
    28. What would sway them?
    29. Would the Hecatonchires be willing to help us if they knew our goal was to free Zeus?
    Yes, if more gods asked.
    30. Would Argus be vulnerable to a maze spell?
    31. If the Hecatonchires helps us, what obstacles would remain?
    The dragons and the vampires.
    32. If we have the White Dragon Orb can we remove it from the museum nonmagically and then teleport away?
    33. If we remove the White Dragon Orb, will its guardian show up immediately?
    34. How can we delay the arrival of the Rages?
    Diversion, sacrifice, or magic.
    35. Is Amalius planning on betraying us or will he help to bring Zeus back?
    36. How can we prevent Amalius from betraying us?
    Dominate him.
    37. How can we catch Amalius off guard?
    Amalgami's plan.
    38. What is Amalgami's plan?
    Amalganus, Korm, and antimagic.
    39. Which Gods should we avoid consulting?
    The armorless.
    40. Among the Olympians that still claim allegiance to Zeus, do any not want Zeus to return?

    As you can see the questions had a progression from one plan to assault the Museum of Power to an entirely different plan. At first the group wanted to do a smash and grab. Then they realized the Museum’s defenses might be beyond their ability circumvent in the time required before Dragovinian reinforcements showed up.
    Interestingly, the party learned that the White, Black, and Green Orbs of Dragonkind were all kept in the Museum of Power. Greshendale held five Orbs in the past, Red, White, Black, Green, and Silver. The Exiles destroyed the Red Orb and the Xorians must’ve taken the White, Black, and Green Orbs, but what of the Silver Orb?
    As the group found the defenses too strong, their questions turned towards the orchestration of a divine intervention event. How could they influence the gods to help them directly? The Olympians were strong, but why not something older and better? The Hecatonchires! Briareus, Kottos, and Gyges, the brothers of the Titans. The hundred-handed ones were imprisoned by Uranos before the dawn of time. Cronos freed them during his rebellion against their father, only to cast them back into the pit when he took the throne. Zeus, likewise, freed them during his Rebellion against Cronos. When the Olympians emerged victorious, Zeus offered the Hecatonchires any reward they wished. They asked for nothing, but to left in peace in the only home they now knew, Tartarus.
    With a plan in mind to bring the Hecatonchires into the war, the party used the last few questions of their commune to investigate the loyalty of their frenemy, Amalius. Surprise! He’s not entirely trustworthy! Plans were discussed, but nothing concrete was decided upon.

    The update endeth here!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2017-11-16 at 01:48 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #127
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    As a reminder to everyone, I will be streaming the final sessions of Xorian Wars throughout the weekend of December 1st. We'll start things off on between 7 and 7:30PM PST (GMT-8).

    Alliance Session #66/Total Session #82

    This session started off with more planning to tackle the Museum of Power. I already detailed that planning in the previous update as I thought it best to keep it all in one place.

    Wishing to interrupt the planning with a little levity, Barakah invited Tagenadi, Eathirilu, Danar, Hektor, and Zelus to the kingdom he’d built for himself in the Great Valley. The party popped off to the Hobgoblin village in the center of the valley a mile from the valley lake. The Hobgoblins had erected a feast tent and the smells of various simple desert foods wafted outward from the tent’s folds into the November air.
    Barakah lifted the tent flap and bade his guests to enter. Inside four trolls and three Hobgoblin women lined themselves up to greet the party. “These are my wives!” Barakah said in his booming voice. Indicating the trolls, “Fishswordhammer, Rumpshaker, Toothy Mouth, and Gurglum One-Finger,” and indicating the Hobgoblins, “Shee-ti-la, Nu-fwique, and Xer-alia.”
    The honored guests sat and were treated to the humble food and drink of the Great Valley. They discussed their plans for the Museum heist and what their lives would be like after the war. Barakah spoke at length about his plans to rebuild the ancient kingdom of the Eimlaq Rimal, the sand giant people. He aimed to reestablish his people’s dominion over the Shacklack Desert and its inhabitants. True, he was the only remaining sand giant, but he could breed new children with a lesser giant race.
    The rest of the party was offput by Barakah’s talk. The sand giant kingdom was strong long ago, but it existed before the Olympian gods came to Cimmeria. Barakah worshiped the older gods, the Goblin gods. Observing the gods in those forms was… wrong. The food and cultural differences in the tent didn’t help matters.
    “I see you are finished eating,” said Barakah. “Come! Let us go to the Black Lake. There is something I must do before we confront the evil ones again.”
    Barakah stood and exited the tent. The others shrugged and followed. A silent procession of trolls and Hobgoblins came behind them. Soon they reached the shore of the Black Lake. It's clear waters were perfectly calm. No ripples or waves passed across the surface, despite the slight breeze in the air. The sparse vegetation of the valley stopped a few yards from the lake's edge.
    Barakah began a solemn intonation, “I am King Barakah Al-Sakhr, Son of King Murkrah the Queen-Slayer, First Amongst Equals, Champion of the Billowing Sword, High Priest of Ruh-tor-ka the Destroyer, Guardian of the Well of the World, and Last of the Sand Giants. The acid breath of Amutseba is in me and it calls out to its kindred. A shadow looms over the land, so a greater shadow must be called on. I call to you Amutseba. Come forth!”
    The water began to bubble. Waves played across the surface.
    Barakah took two giant steps toward Danar and asked for the man’s portable hole. Danar offered it. From within Barakah pulled one of the Dragovinians the group had been experimenting on. Barakah removed the stake from the Dragovinians heart and the creature began to move and scream in pain. Barakah turned back to the water.
    “I call to you Amutseba! Come forth!”
    The wind began to blow and clouds gathered in the darkening sky.
    Barakah’s tentacles extruded from beneath his cloak to grip the Dragovinian. The tentacles pulsed and tightened around their captive. The tentacles wrapped around the Dragovinians torso and those around his legs slowly began to pull further and further apart.
    “Please! No! No! NO NO!” The Dragovinian screamed as he was ripped in two. Barakah threw the two halves into the shallow water.
    “I call to you Amutseba! Come forth!”
    The Dragovinian flailed in the water as the waves lapped at his separated body. His torso could still move. He tried to drag himself towards his legs, but the waves had taken them further out into the lake. He began to swim with pitiful strokes. “No. No. No.”
    “I call to you Amutseba! COME FORTH!”
    The water roiled and bubbled. A great shape emerged at the center of the lake. Rubbery and massive it began moving towards the whimpering Dragovinian.
    Hektor interrupted, “Enough of this.” He stepped forward and enacted one of his more powerful spells, maze. Barakah disappeared into a pocket dimension where he would have to puzzle his way out.
    The massive shape drew closer. The wind howled and the waves pounded on the shore. The party could still barely make out the soft crying of the Dragovinian as he looked for his legs.
    Hektor shouted, “Zelus! We have to work together! Force that creature back beneath the water! Use our strongest magic together!”
    Zelus nodded and the two of them combined their magic. The clouds parted and the sun pierced the gloom. The shape in the water began to slow its movement forward and it slowly sunk beneath the waves. The wind and water calmed. The shape descended further and the Dragovinian’s cries could be heard a little easier.
    “No. No. No.”
    A long, thick, black tentacle extended from the shape and wrapped around the Dragovinian, torso and legs.
    The Dragovinian was dragged beneath the waves. The waves stopped. The water became flat. The wind was gone. The sky was clear. All was as before.
    Barakah returned from the magical prison Hektor had placed him in.
    “Amutseba?” Barakah turned, taking the situation in. Then he spoke to Hektor, “Why did you stop the ritual? Amutseba’s power would’ve been useful to us!”
    “That thing? We could all sense the evil rolling of it. Something like that can’t be controlled or used. Only… pointed.”
    “So you say, but I have the power of Amutseba in me now. The beast at the Well of the Worlds gives me power beyond imagining. If I had another piece of Amutseba’s power such as resides in that beast…” Barakah swept his large hand toward the water. “We would be unstoppable! No Dragovinian or dragon god could stand in our way.”
    “And then when the Dragovinians were all gone? What then? What would this beast do inside of you? How long could you maintain control? Power at such a cost is not useful. It is enslavement, of our cause to that creature and its dark purpose.”
    “Will you not see reason, friend Hektor? I control Amutseba now! I can still do so with this other piece.”
    “I’ve seen you fight, Barakah. You’re barely in control as it is. You will lose control at some point and the consequences will be disastrous. Only more so with another piece of power. I will not permit it. Do not attempt to summon that beast again. I would not wish to spoil our friendship.”
    The argument continued, but no agreement could be reached. Eventually Barakah frowned, looked down, and stopped speaking.

    Ever focused on action, the group went with Zelus to Mount Olympus. Torin came along with the others. They hoped to petition Athena for aid in securing the alliance of the Hecatonchires. Zelus led them from his small temple up to the large, golden temple of Athena’s near the summit of Olympus. Zelus entered the temple and the others followed. Inside was a pristine marble chamber sparsely decorated with olive branches. A few tapestries hung from Ionian columns, but otherwise the room was bare and furnitureless.
    “Athena! It is I, Zelus! I come to ask you a favor.”
    The radiant goddess emerged from the inner sanctum of the temple clad clad in a white toga with gold trim. Golden bracelets adorned her bare, tanned arms and a golden collar of leaves rested upon her shoulders. She wore a protective golden breastplate and a golden helm sat atop her perfectly symmetrical face. All were struck by the beauty of the virgin goddess. The mortals in the group bowed in her presence.
    “Zelus, how good to see you. I have been keeping up with your exploits. You have been doing well against Blendegad and his minions.”
    “Thank you. It is kind of you to say that. I will be brief and get to the point of why I have come. My mortal companions have learned of a way to bring Zeus back. All is ready, but we require the return of one hero who once fought the dragons in the Age of Monsters. I am speaking of Gorwinua the Orcish Bard.”
    “Ah yes. She was set as a guardian upon the White Orb, much like Danar was set to guard the Red Orb?”
    “Yes, my lady,” said Danar with downcast eyes.
    “Then why do you require my help?” asked Athena. “Surely, retrieving and breaking this Orb should be a simple enough task. After all, you have done so before for the Red Orb.”
    “Alas, it is not so simple,” said Zelus. “The White Orb has been taken by the Dragovinians to the Museum of Power in their capital. The protections around the museum are such that we cannot take the Orb and escape with our lives. However, we know that there are ones more powerful than us. The ones who made the Museum. The Hecatonchires.”
    “Yes… I see. They would likely act to free Zeus, even if that broke that the supposed neutrality that surrounds the Museum of Power.”
    “Would you ask them to help us tear down the Museum and get the White Orb of Dragonkind?”
    “I would, but it would be better if the request did not come from me. Hold on for just a minute.” Athena retreated to the inner sanctum of her temple once more. She returned in a few moments holding an envelope sealed with golden wax. “Take this to the temple of Hephaestus and give it to him. He will convince the Hecatonchires to aid you.” She handed the letter to Torin, her favored priest.
    “Thank you, Athena. We are in your debt,” said Torin
    “It is nothing you need repay.”
    Zelus and his mortal entourage exited the temple of Athena and journeyed down Olympus a little ways to the temple of Hephaestus. The interior of the temple seemed to be the workshop of some kind of mad scientist. Tables, benches, pegboards, and sawhorses were everywhere. Papers, tools, glass vials, metal scraps, sawdust, and pieces of discarded wood littered every flat surface. There were pathways cleared through the debris for walking. Zelus and the others entered the chamber.
    “Hephaestus! Zelus has come calling on you with a message.”
    Hephaestus limped out of the inner sanctum wearing a facemask, a blacksmith’s apron, and nothing else. The smith god flipped the facemask up. His ugly face was covered in soot. Greasy black hair fell down around his unibrow and mashed ears. Something smelled like rotten eggs and ammonia.
    “Yeah? What is it?”
    Torin bowed and brought the letter forward. “It’s from Athena,” the dwarf said.
    Hephaestus took the letter, opened it, and read it in silence. His eyes widened and he took in a breath. “We must leave as soon as possible! I will get outfitted. Wait here!” Hephaestus limped away into the back rooms.
    “That was easier than I thought it would be,” said Danar.
    A few minutes later Hephaestus emerged wearing an odd sort of armor constructed of bronze bubbles. Each of his limbs and joints were covered by a bubble. Over his head was a transparent bubble. Hephaestus spoke in a voice that sounded like chalk, “I will take the dwarf with me down into Tartarus to meet with the Hecatonchires. We will go quickly, it will only be a few hours before we will emerge in Nox. Our arrival should be obvious. Be ready to strike when we emerge.”
    “Yes, Hephaestus,” said the gathered Exiles.
    “Then let’s do this. Here, dwarf, hold this rod,” Hephaestus grabbed an iron rod with bronze loops around it and handed it to Torin. “Don’t drop it.” Hephaestus took a pick with a concave curve to its head from another table. “You’d all better be there when we come out.” The smith god set the pick to the ground and began to spin it. Hephaestus and Torin rapidly descended through the temple’s floor into the earth. Soon they were out of sight. Those who looked away from the hole and then back saw that it was no longer there.
    “I guess we’d better get prepared for our raid on the Museum,” Hektor said. “It’s happening sooner than we thought.” The group returned to the mortal world and split up to prepare for their attack on the Museum of Power.

    That’s it for this session!

  8. - Top - End - #128
    Ogre in the Playground
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #67/Total Session #83

    The group reunited a few hours later as the attack on the Museum of Power was about to begin. Barakah arrived, but was… changed. His void-bearing eyes now each had a pinprick of twinkling flame in their deepest reaches. His tentacles slithered beneath his cloak and his body radiated a new heat, making it even more uncomfortable to stand next to him. When he spoke his harsh voice now crackled and hissed like a wet log on a campfire, “I have slain the beast of the lake and devoured it.”
    Hektor stared wide-eyed then gritted his teeth. What of the wards he had secretly placed upon the lake during his preparations? Had they been muffled? Dispelled without his knowledge? Put in place too late?
    “Hektor you look concerned that I have seized what is mine by right and that which you tried to stop me from taking. Perhaps you do not trust me? I have shared with you my hearth and hall, wine and wives. I have told you secrets of my ancient and mighty tribe. And we have spilt blood together in battle against the great evil of our age.
    “Perhaps you doubt my resolve? Then I remind, Archmage, of oaths sworn to destroy the Dragon God. And I say to you now that by my hand I will rend the demon asunder. Perhaps most of all you doubt my prowess and control?
    “Know that so long as I live and breathe that this power is mine alone, and I wield it for my own purpose: to destroy the great god Blendegad.
    “But... perhaps your worries lingers. If that is true, my friend Hektor, when the battles are won and we have cleansed the foul dragon blood from our lands, and when the bacchnals and revelries have ended. If your doubt persists... come and find me.”
    Hektor clenched his fist and then slowly released it. “There’s time enough for that later. We have to work together now to get the White Orb from the Xorians. Your incessant progress towards corruption can be dealt with at a later date.”
    Tactics were discussed in detail, long-term buffs were cast, and a few minutes later the party, flying and invisible, teleported into the dark cloudy sky above Nox, the capital of Xoria. Below was the Museum of Power and on its roof were perched three dragons, black, green, and white in color.

    After a short wait everyone in the vicinity felt a great power coming from deep below. A growing sense of dread filled the air. Birds took to the sky and in the city thousands of cats and dogs cried out. The earth began to shake and moan. A circular depression appeared in a city block south of the Museum of Power. The depression grew larger and the city reshaped itself around the growing hole. Buildings slide across the ground as a magical force pushed them away from the yawning chasm. Soon a vast, dark pit opened a quarter of a mile wide. The pit stretched into infinity and at the bottom the fires of Tartarus burned. The smell of brimstone and the screams of the damned belched forth.
    Three hundred hands emerged from the pit and the Hecatonchires pulled themselves up into the city. A caterwauling air raid siren joined the grinding of buildings as they continued to slide away from the pit. The hundred-handed giants steadied themselves on the north side of the pit. Hideous in appearance, they were covered in boils, scars, and burns. Each of their fifty heads boasted some grotesque deformity and their arms were constantly in motion like a writhing nest of baby spiders. Those with good eyes spied Hephaestus and Torin coming out of the hole behind the Hecatonchires.
    The monsters picked up whatever was available and began hucking it at the Museum of Power. Paving stones, chunks of road, wagons, animals, people, barrels, walls, roofs. They advanced towards the Museum of Power and all things in their path became projectiles aimed at the adamantine building. Behind them they left a cylindrical path of destruction. As the rain pounded on the Museum of Power a violet light flashed and a baritone voice thundered from the bowels of the building, “THE CITY IS UNDER ATTACK. ALL MEN TO THEIR STATIONS.”
    The three dragons on the roof of the Museum of Power took flight as the missiles began pouring down. They dove towards the Hecatonchires to blast them with ice and acid and swipe at them with tooth and claw. The Hecatonchires redirected half of their attacks towards their winged assailants while continuing to pour devastation down upon the Museum as their advance continued. From elsewhere in the city, more dragon cries could be heard. Three red dragons took to the air, Invernix, Sartoria, and the armored Reaper himself, Blendegad. Following them was dark dragon that few in the party recognized as Briasonon, the mount of Devanane that they had spared. These four dragons joined the assault against the Hecatonchires.
    Hephaestus rose up from the ground and shot beams of light at the three red dragons. The holy energy turned their wings into sieves. Three crimson necks snapped towards Hephaestus. An energy shield erupted from his bubble armor protecting the lame god. The trio of red dragons split off from attacking the Hecatonchires to focus on Hephaestus. The great smith gave a sooty grin, enjoying the challenge that such a fight would present.

    Barakah swept aside the cloak covering his arms and torso. A mass of writhing tentacles emerged from beneath the thick cloth. The pseudopods seemed to shriek as Barakah surged forwards to intercept the white dragon, Shivara, as she swooped down for another pass at the Hecatonchires. Barakah tackled it and brought it down to shatter upon a rooftop. His red-hot tentacles raked the dragon leaving bubbling burns.
    The dragon roared and breathed frigid ice upon the tentacled giant. Barakah grinned and weathered the storm with Eathirilu’s enchantments. Shivara began to struggle to escape Barakah’s many-armed grasp, but he held tight. The fire burned hotter and hotter upon her skin until she turned into an ashen cloud.
    Barakah let out a yell, victorious. The ash lifted up off the rooftop and formed a dark dragon-shaped cloud. Shivara was not dead! Only defeated. How had she survived? It dawned on the party that Blendegad must have drained her blood and turned her into a vampiric dragon. The cloud floated away and settled above the front left corner of the Museum.
    Barakah growled and looked for his next target.
    Hektor and Eathirilu began moving towards the Museum. Zelus summoned an earthquake in an eastern neighborhood of Nox to add to the chaos consuming the city. Danar and Tagenadi watched the fight between Hephaestus and the dragons, hoping for an opening. As they watched, more gods showed up.
    Ares and Aphrodite emerged in a shower of golden light. Aphrodite pointed an accusatory finger at Hephaestus, “You locked me up in your volcano with your filthy iron chains! Well, look who has rescued me from your cruel touch!” She swept her arm to Ares and caressed his chin.
    Hephaestus spat, “Ha! You whore of a goddess! I should have known that this scum would take you from my home once more while I was distracted! I’ll put you in your place!” Hephaestus thrust his palm at Ares and a gout of flame shot forth, engulfing the glittering golden armor of the war god.
    The fire subsided and Ares smirked, untouched. “We are both gods of fire, brother. You cannot burn my skin. But let’s see how yours fares against my spear!” Ares lunged forwards and the two gods became locked in a battle that more resembled a ferocious storm than anything else. Aphrodite clapped her hands and giggled gleefully as her two lovers sparred.
    A golden spear shot down from the sky and glanced off Aphrodite’s hand as she covered her tittering mouth. Aphrodite gasped as Athena floated up from below, idly spinning the spear in her right hand. “Sorry. Did I get you there?” Athena said contemptuously. Aphrodite shrieked, electricity crackled in her perfect, divine hands, and she launched herself at Athena.
    The Olympians were coming to fight, but all their old grievances were flaring up once more.

    The dragons fighting Hephaestus seemed to shrug and then moved upon the Hecatonchires instead.
    Barakah channeled his dark power and tunneled through the void to appear directly atop the black dragon, Kovan’rorshac. He fell on the dragon’s back and ripped at it with fiery hot tentacles. “Weren’t his tentacles acidic before?” thought Hektor to himself as he flew towards the Museum. “I only hope he can be contained after this.”
    Kovan’rorshac scrapped his back against buildings and flailed at Barakah with his wings, tail, and limbs. All in vain. The black dragon met the same fate as the white, turning into an ashen cloud that floated to the Museum, alighting upon the back left corner.
    More Olympians showed up. Apollo and Artemis came as a pair, shooting arrows into the fight between Hephaestus, Ares, Aphrodite, and Athena. “Cease this foolishness! We must unite against the real threat!” The raw power scorched the city below. People fled in terror as errant blasts turned buildings into craters.
    Hercules and Hermes came. Having an inkling of why the fight was occurring, the two half-brothers attacked the dragons that flocked around the heads of the Hecatonchires. The dragons broke off from the many-armed monsters and engaged Hercules and Hermes. The brave Olympian duo fought back to back against Invernix, Sartoria, Blendegad, Briasonon, and Cordax.
    The Hecatonchires marched on, continuing to rain stone after stone upon the Museum of Power.
    Danar saw the embattled Olympian brothers, Hercules and Hermes. He rushed to help. Powering his most powerful magic into his axe, Danar brought it down upon Invernix. His powerful strikes ripped through the dragon’s scales. Invernix let out a roar and turned into an ashen cloud. He floated away towards the east.
    Barakah sought to aid Danar in his fight against the dragons. He rushed at Sartoria, Invernix’s wife, but found himself repelled by a strong force. He struggled against the enchantment warding him away, but he could not move an inch closer to Sartoria. Seeing Barakah’s problem, Danar hefted his axe and charged Sartoria. He dispatched her as swiftly as he did Invernix. She too turned into an ash cloud and drifted eastward.

    A teleportation pop drew the party’s attention to the sky. King Jevaninada, Darudanano, Barejando, and Jittehalong had arrived. They had two bound and gagged captives with them. Hektor’s kidnapped cohort, Bart, and a woman that only Tagenadi recognized.
    “Tana!” Tagenadi shouted the diminutive he used for his sister, Tanaranena, who had been missing and presumed dead since Tagenadi escaped Xorian captivity.
    The woman screamed through her gag. She wore a pearl necklace with an emerald pendant and beautiful clothes made from seaweed, fish scales, and sea shells. On her feet were sea-green flippers.
    Jevaninada said, “If you do not quit our city immediately then your servant and your loved one will be executed!”
    Tagenadi held himself back from charging in. Danar circled around, ready to charge at the slightest signal from his allies. Eathirilu growled. Hektor weighed the options. Retreating was not a realistic option. Engaging would certainly result in the deaths of Bart and the other woman that Tagenadi knew, but death was temporary. Bart and the woman could always be brought back.
    Hektor shouted, “We can resurrect them! Don’t worry about the consequences! Attack!”
    “So be it!” Jevaninada shouted back. Barejando and Darudanano bit into their captives and bled them dry before dropping their anemic corpses to the city below.

    Danar, Tagenadi, and Zelus descended upon the Dragovinians. Barakah sniffed the air. His otherwordly senses picked up on two invisible Dragovinians, an archer and a mage, who split off from their companions. He lunged upon the invisible archer, attacking with his tentacles. The fiery strength had reverted to acid. Wu’s flesh melted away. He restrained his impulse to scream as the Beast ripped him into pieces and devoured them. Wu, who had so often been a thorn in the Exiles’ side, was defeated by the nose and tentacles of Barakah.
    Hektor rushed to where the bodies of Bart and Tanaranena had fallen. He collected the mangled remains in his portable hole before continuing his flight to the Museum of Power.
    Without the surprise and numbers, the Xorian team could not contend with the Exiles. After trading a few blows, Danar knocked Jittehalong unconscious. The other Xorians were injured while Zelus had kept the Exiles hale and healthy. Jevaninada called for a retreat. Stanton flew in to grab Jittehalong’s body from a rooftop. While he was invisible, the party had prepared for this and readied divination magic to find him. Tagenadi charged the albino Halfling mage and caged him in with his martial skills. Stanton was trapped and Barakah descended. The sand giant’s body count increased. Having lost Wu and Stanton, the Dragovinians fled the field. They left Jittehalong to her fate along with the whole city of Nox.

    The party decided to throw Jittehalong’s unconscious body in Hektor’s portable hole and deal with her later. They weren’t sure if they wanted to kill her, but they definitely wanted to take her magic items as loot. The bodies of Bart and Tanaranena were collected as well for burial or resurrection.

    We ended the session there.

  9. - Top - End - #129
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #68/Total Session #84

    As the last session, the party floated above the city of Nox, all but victorious. The Dragovinians had fled. The vampiric dragons were being forced to retreat. Blendegad would soon have to flee as well or he risked being overwhelmed by the Olympians once they worked out their familial differences. The Olympian gods were mostly fighting amongst each other, working out old grievances which were never truly forgiven or forgotten. Only Hercules and Hermes fought against the dragons and they were losing without assistance.
    Happy with the distraction, Eathirilu and Hektor raced towards the Museum. The entrance wall had caved in, revealing Argus, the many-eyed giant. In his hands he held shining, violet cesti which he clashed together. (The cestus had this coloration)The Hecatonchires were approaching Argus and the air around the Museum hummed with missiles thrown by the many-armed ones.
    Zelus moved towards his beleaguered relatives, Hercules and Hermes. He used his magic to heal their wounds and they continued the fight with renewed strength. Barakah stared hungrily at Zelus. The Beast within him, normally just a whisper increased to the volume of a titanic hurricane, “CONSUME HIM! HE LOCKED US AWAY! HE'S ONE OF THEM! HE IS THE ENEMY! TAKE HIM! CONSUME HIM! HE IS THE ENEMY! ZELUS IS THE ENEMY!” Barakah’s soulless eyes blinked and Ammutseba’s opened.
    Ammutseba rushed upon Zelus. She grabbed him with her tentacles and unhinged her giant’s mouth. Zelus barely had time to shout for help before he was devoured whole. Ammutseba’s belly stretched and then contracted. Zelus was now contained within her giant’s body. Danar and Tagenadi watched with stunned horror. They hefted their weapons and prepared to engage the new threat that had entered the battlefield. Ammutseba’s eye-voids bore into the warrior duet. She snarled and then teleported away with her swallowed prize.
    Danar and Tagenadi looked at what else they could do. The Olympians continued to argue amongst themselves. Hercules and Hermes now had an advantage over the dragons. Blendegad looked ready to signal a retreat. The city of Nox itself was wrecked. Tagenadi felt a pang of guilt for the innocents caught in the crossfire. Unfortunately, there was little they could do to fix the damage the gods had wrought. Danar and Tagenadi headed towards the museum where the Hecatonchires and Argus engaged each other in melee.

    Eathirilu and Hektor had reached the Museum of Power earlier, Eathirilu a bit before Hektor. The druid was still in his giant roc form. The giant monsters battled at the entrance and Eathirilu found himself bobbing and weaving to evade errant blows and thrown rocks. The Museum itself was made of solid adamantine. The floor had opulent carpets with arboreal designs woven into them. Benches rested against the walls for visitors to sit and admire the collection. Ruby and gold pedestals and counters held the most powerful treasures in all the realm.
    Not giving in to greed, Eathirilu ignored the other artifacts and scanned the room for the White Orb of Dragonkind. Where was it? It wasn’t here! But over in the corner? What’s that? Who is that?
    The elven thief had snuck into the Museum of Power while the others were distracted by the fight between gods and dragons. Amalius must’ve known they would attack the Museum at this time and sent Aldarian here ahead of time to take the best loot.
    “Uh… Hi!” said Aldarian. “What a coincidence seeing you here.”
    Eathirilu sniffed the air, “Where is the White Orb, Aldarian?”
    “Well you see… I came here and I couldn’t find it. Haven’t a clue! They must…” Aldarian trailed off as Eathirilu moved closer to stand directly over him.
    Eathirilu glanced up with his bird eyes through the cracks in the ceiling and then back down to Aldarian, “The ash cloud that was the white dragon is above us. It seeks out the White Orb as its home.” Aldarian leaned in, getting his enormous beak in Aldarian’s face. “And I smell the Orb on you.”
    “Hm,” said Aldarian and then he bolted for the entrance.
    Eathirilu grabbed Aladrian with one his gigantic claws. He began to crush the small elf. “Tell me where the Orb is! I know you have it hidden on you somewhere!”
    “I don’t… have it… I swear!” Aldarian grunted. The crushing damage did not intimidate him. His mysterious powers meant he was safe, even from death. As his body suffered internal wounds, Aldarian’s magical powers caused his body to burst into flames. Eathirilu had warded himself fully against fire before coming to Nox, but he found his protections useless. His claw burned, but he did not release his grip.
    “I will find it on you,” said Eathirilu. “Your pitiful flames will not even slow me down.” Eathirilu began pecking through Aldarian’s pockets with his beak, looking for the Orb or for a bag of holding that might conceal it.
    Hektor arrived in the Museum. The avalanche of rubble being thrown by the Hecatonchires had increased and the wizard took a hit as he flew in. He glanced at Eathirilu and Aldarian and quickly surmised the situation. Hektor shouted, “There’s no time! Knock him out and we’ll put him in my portable hole.”
    Eathirilu paused his search, “You’re right.” He squeezed tight around Aldarian and the elf passed out. Hektor opened his portable hole and they placed Aldarian inside next to Jittehalong.
    Hektor wouldn’t leave without a personal prize just in case Aldarian did not have the White Orb. He surveyed the room and spotted a suitable trophy, the Shadowstaff. Hektor had broken his Staff of Power to escape from Hades and the Shadowstaff would be a suitable replacement. A few magical protections stood in his way, but they were nothing to a master magician such as himself. Hektor cast the appropriate counter magicks, reached out, and the staff was his!
    Danar and Tagenadi arrived at the Museum soon afterward. The noise of the clash between the Hecatonchires and Argus had increased. Danar shouted, “Barakah ate Zelus and teleported away!”
    Tagenadi yelled, “It’s time to get out of here!”
    Eathirilu shapeshifted into a sparrow and the party huddled up around Hektor. With a pop, they left the city of Nox as fires and earthquakes consumed the city. People cried out for help below and the gods did not hear them.

    We ended the session there.

    And a reminder. we'll be streaming the final sessions of Xorian Wars from December 1st to December 3rd. Our first session will be starting around 7:30 PST (GMT-8) on
    Last edited by Anxe; 2017-11-24 at 10:01 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #130
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #69/Total Session #85
    The players had a bit overly hostile to Barakah in character, possibly for good reason. As such, we decided the best way to move forward positively was to make Barakah an NPC threat that could be dealt with later in the campaign. Throgg brought in a new character in this session.

    Having recovered Aldarian and hopefully the White Orb of Dragonkind from the Museum of Power, the party regrouped at Hektor’s magnificent mansion in Lakatia. Zelus was gone, taken by an Ammutseba-possessed Barakah. Unfortunately for Zelus, that problem would have to wait. Everyone agreed that defeating Blendegad took precedence over tracking down Barakah and rescuing their friendly deity.
    A thorough search of Aldarian revealed the White Orb hiding in an extradimensional pocket of the elf’s backpack. Tagenadi retrieved the artifact and placed it on the carpeted floor of the mansion. “What do we do with it?” said Tagenadi.
    Hektor said, “We break it open and release the dragon inside and Gorwinua.”
    Eathirilu said, “We destroy it like the Red Orb. We need to find a white dragon, dominate it with the Orb, and then order it to destroy the Orb. Perhaps we need to find a white dragon strong enough to break the Orb as well. A small wyrmling may not be enough for the task.”
    “Don’t worry. I’ll handle it,” said Danar. “My dragon’s blood can call out to any color dragon. It’ll be just as before when I summoned Boromir or Hron’dar. Our white dragon will be here soon.” Danar sat down in front of the White Orb and began casting his dragon ally spell. The others stood around, talking and waiting.
    In a few minutes Danar completed his magic and summoned forth an adult white dragon. It hissed and turned to snarl at its summoner. “Oh dragon!” entoned Danar. “I, one of your greatest enemies have summoned you to do a service for me, a service that I know you will perform gladly.” Danar pointed at the White Orb, “We want you to destroy the White Orb of Dragonkind.”
    The summoned dragon’s eyes widened, “Issss thissss true? The great betrayer of our race now wishes to free usssss?”
    “Yes. The magic I have used to summon you typically requires payment. I offer nothing except your race’s freedom.”
    “I accept!” said the dragon.
    Danar hefted the White Orb in both hands, “Then let the White Orb into your mind. Let it control you.” The White Orb pulsed and the white dragon fell under its spell. Danar set the Orb down on the floor once more. “Now destroy the Orb.”
    The dragon leaped upon the Orb spitting ice and ripping at it with claws, teeth, tail, and wing. The Orb grew misty cold and cracks appeared along it. Soon it shattered and the temperature in the mansion dropped precipitously.
    “The service you have summoned me for is completed and the payment is collected,” the white dragon said as the summoning magic released it. The dragon faded away to be replaced by a greater wyrm which now grew out from the White Orb. The party readied for a battle that they knew was coming.
    “At long last the great wyrm Tikanile is free!” shouted the huge white dragon which filled the entry lobby of Hektor’s mansion. It’s head whipped around reading the situation it was in. “But not by loyal servants! Freed by one of my jailors!”
    “I have no quarrel with you any longer, Tikanile,” said Danar. “If we let you go free do you swear by the River Styx to not return to your old, evil ways?”
    “Ha! Such a promise from me would be as empty and cold as my heart! You already know that if you let me out of this false house that I will bring about a new draconic hegemony that will rival the Titan’s in cruelty! You mortals will be punished for my imprisonment! This I swear upon the River Styx!”
    “So be it,” said Danar.
    The result of the battle was predictable from the start. The party, having readied themselves, knowing Tikanile’s weakness , and being up against an unprepared foe… It wasn’t much of a challenge. Tikanile was swiftly beaten and decapitated.
    When it was over Hektor asked, “Where is Gorwinua? I imagined she would be here.”
    Danar answered, “I believe the magic that preserved us prevents her summoning within an extradimensional space such as this. She will be outside.”
    “Then let’s go.”

    The party left the mansion. Outside was the burned out remains of Lakatia’s keep. Hektor’s subjects were tearing down the charred timbers and bringing in new wood from the forest. The ash covered stones were scrubbed clean. Holes were being dug for posts. New life was replacing the old. The sun was setting out in the west. Just over the horizon was the ocean and the sea breeze brought the scent of salt to the noses of the Exiles. Everything had a certain musical quality.
    And what was that? Actual music was playing! And singing! Descending slowly from the clouds came an Orc woman with a stocky, muscular build. She had twinkling radiant, amber eyes, delicate tusks, and feminine features. Her hair, short, black, coarse and held back by a thin leather hand band inset with small pearls.
    A strand of turquoise beads wrapped several times around her neck. She wore a white shirt with fine turquoise embroidery and a leather bodice with pearl clasps. Around her waist was a large leather belt embossed with a large, dull steel eye. Her gloves were soft leather with pearled cuffs and dark steel bracers with depictions amber owls protected her forearms. She wore two rings on her left hand, one featured a stylized turquoise cat’s eye and the other, a dull steel band always seeming to be on a different finger. On her feet were simple woven sandals.
    At her hip was an unadorned, circular mithral disk the size of a buckler and a small rod with a large pearl at each end. An Orcish greatsword was strapped to her back and wrapped in white dragonhide.
    Gorwinua landed lightly on the earth and took a few steps towards the party. She walked with a slight limp in her left leg. She gave everyone a look up and down. She finished last with Danar and licked her lips as she did so. “Well, how you been you old bastard? Still sticking it to your brethren I suppose?”
    Hektor stepped forward, “Gorwinua, we’ve summoned you because you are the best singer and we…”
    Gorwinua ignored Hektor as he spoke. She waved a dismissive hand at him and walked down the line of heroes to Tagenadi. “You’re a big son of a bitch aren’t you? You working with undead now?” she shouted at Danar.
    “Tagenadi is…different.”
    “Huh. I suppose he is.” Gorwinua dusted her hands off on her pants. “You got anything to drink? I tell you, being in that Orb with the dragon for that many years… I could use a drink.”
    Hektor got his subjects to bring goblets of wine over. Gorwinua, accustomed to Orcish drinks, had to make do with the lesser fare. While they drank the party filled Gorwinua in on the current state of the world. The expansion of Xoria, Zeus’s “death,” the rise of the Dragovinians, the formation of the Second Alliance, the subsequent battles, the Druid’s Prophecy, and the rescue of the White Orb from the Museum of Power. All of it. Gorwinua asked questions and listened attentively. (We did not actually play this part out).

    (I should note that the rest of this conversation is an approximation. I write these entries a couple months after they happen since that’s when they fit in my schedule. Usually I’m confident that I’m getting stuff correct. This conversation… I have my doubts. Everything is still true to the characters, but I feel like the argument between Hektor and Gorwinua is inserted by me and may not have actually happened. Either way, enjoy!)

    “So you’ve summoned me to do what?”
    Danar said, “The Druid’s Prophecy calls for a voice better than the gods. The only two I could think of were you and Orpheus.”
    “Orpheus? That hack cheated. He’s half-god. I’m the only, original, all-mortal, singing sensation.”
    “Yes, of course. That’s why we need you,” said Hektor.
    “To bring Zeus back? So he can defeat Blendegad? And then you can all go back to your happy lives?”
    Hektor admitted, “Yes. That is essentially what we want. What we all want.” He gestured to his subjects and the world at large.
    “And what about the Orcish people? Where would this leave them?”
    “I don’t understand.”
    “You didn’t mention the Orcs once in your little history lesson. Why aren’t they in your Alliance?”
    “Well the common Orc is too savage to-”
    “Too savage!? Too undisciplined?! Something like that?”
    Hektor met Gorwinua’s intense gaze and then tore his face away in shame.
    Danar interjected, “We just want you to sing for the Druid’s Prophecy. Is that too much?”
    “What’s too much is letting your telepath friend into my mind so I can sing Orpheus’s lyrics. I only sing my own songs, you know that!”
    “You- You can’t be serious.”
    “What if I am?”
    “You’d let the whole world be at risk? You’d let Blendegad and the Dragovinians continue burning everything? Just because you don’t want to sing someone else’s song?”
    “So? Seems to me that my people’s stake in this is the same either way. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”
    “I can’t believe this. You and I risked so much together to fight dragons before. We knew then that unity was the way forward. What changed?”
    “The world changed, Danar! Where are the Orcs in your unity? Why should I help you if it doesn’t help them?”
    “I can’t believe you would do this!” Danar stalked away into the mansion.
    Gorwinua looked around at the other Exiles with a smile on her face and then burst into laughter. She slapped her knee and said, “You all know I was kidding right? Of course I’ll help you! Saving the world is what I do!”
    The Exiles smiled at each other. Gorwinua was going to fit in just fine.

    There were other bits of business to clean up since the battle at the Museum of Power. The Exiles had captured Jittehalong, Queen of the Amazons. She could be turned and made into an ally or at least not an enemy, but that seemed unlikely. The party voted and decided that a permanent form of imprisonment was best. Something truly inescapable. A binding spell.
    It was discussed this way and that until a decision was reached. Jittehalong would be bound inside an ironwood acorn by Hektor until he released her himself. Should Hektor never choose to do so, Jittehalong’s soul would remain trapped in the acorn for all eternity. The group gathered the required materials and cast the binding spell. Jittehalong was trapped with unenthusiastic promises to release her once the war with Xoria was finished.

    We ended the session there.
    For those of you that didn’t figure it out. Gorwinua is Throgg’s new character. He’s the one who wrote the physical description of her that I used when she first shows up in the campaign log.

    And a reminder. we'll be streaming the final sessions of Xorian Wars from December 1st to December 3rd. Our first session will be starting Decembet 1st, 7:30 PST (GMT-8) on
    Second and third sessions will start at 10AM PST (GMT-8) on December 2nd and December 3rd.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2017-11-30 at 01:54 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #131
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    I've written a blog post about the upcoming session end. You can read it on or in the spoiler below.

    I am approaching the final session of the longest D&D campaign I’ve ever run.

    The players have made their way through all the challenges I constructed for them. The only thing left to do is confront the final villain and defeat him.

    I’m reminded of something I wrote in high school, that people are attracted to stories that excite them regardless of how real those stories are. The world, characters, and stories I’ve built through Dungeons and Dragons aren’t real, but the outcome is as important to me as the outcome of other things in my life.

    I started Cimmeria back in middle school with a map I made with my dad. I wanted to create a treasure map that would lead my friends on an adventure. I drew a river, some towns along the river, some forests, and some mountains to the east. Up in the mountains an X marked the spot of great wealth.

    The world that I called “The Magical Lands” grew over time. I expanded the map. I brought the Greek gods in because I like Classics. Including the Greek gods necessitated the existence of Greece, so I named The Magical Lands after the mythological land of Cimmeria. The land to the east that the ancient Greeks pointed to on a map and said, “Here there be monsters.”

    My first campaign in Cimmeria ended with a whisper as half my friends went off to college. The second campaign ended with a gasp as one PC stabbed the others in the back.

    In 2010 we were able to reunite the group over the summer. We continued into the school year by using the internet.

    At first I just pointed my webcam at a battlemap and moved miniatures around for my friends while they told me what their characters were doing. At some point we made the switch to using Roll20 and have never stopped. Roll20 has been essential for keeping the campaign alive and, in no small part, for keeping my friendships alive. My friends are one of the most valuable parts of my life.

    Near the end of 2011 I started posting a campaign log of our adventures on the Order of the Stick Forum. I’d read SilverClawShift’s campaign logs and loved them. I read Sagiro’s as well. I wanted to create something like their work, so I set out to do that.

    The log evolved over time as I’ve matured. I started it when I was 20. I’ll be almost 27 when it’s completed. As the log went on I expanded it by including illustrations and writing side material that detailed the history of Cimmeria.

    I love writing and the log was easy to write. All I had to do was transcribe what happened with minor embellishments here and there. Additionally, the log provides a record of the sessions. If someone asks, “When did we talk to that guy with the purple hat?” I can easily look that up in the log and tell them exactly when they talked to the purple hat man and what they discussed.

    The campaign log never took off with the reader participation the way that SilverClawShift’s or Sagiro’s did. While disappointing, the log was never really for other people. It was for me and my players. I enjoy rereading it and that’s enough for me.

    While the audience on Order of the Stick remained mostly silent, I knew they were there due to the view count on the page. The Xorian Wars campaign log routinely got 200 views per post and near the end was averaging something more like 300.

    As the end approaches I’d like to do something special for this silent audience as well as for my players. I want to stream our final sessions live on Twitch. Maybe an audience will show up and my friends will see that they we haven’t just been entertaining ourselves with our adventures, but hundreds of others as well. Maybe an audience won’t show up, but we’ll have the recording for ourselves. We can watch bits and pieces of it and remember the best campaign I ever ran for my players.

    I am approaching the end of the Xorian Wars campaign with a sense of melancholy. All my life I’ve been a student up until a few months ago. Since this campaign started I’ve completed my Bachelor’s and my Master’s. I’ve gotten married. I’ve gotten four pets. I have a full time job. My wife and I are trying to conceive. To put it mildly, I have other activities that demand my attention. I have every expectation that in the future I won’t be able to devote as much of my time to roleplaying games.

    I will stay play. I will still DM. Maybe I’ll continue to record my sessions in one manner or another. Maybe I’ll find the time to continue creating something as great and fun as the Xorian Wars. Maybe I won’t because I’m too busy teaching my future children how to tie their shoes and how to eat with a fork.

    One thing I have noticed as I’ve gotten older is that making these stories with my friends is one of the most important things in my life. I will not let it go. I might just loosen my grip so I can hold other things.

    With that said, the stream will be starting at 7:30PM PST on December 1st at It will resume on December 2nd at 10AM and again on December 3rd at 10AM. Watch the whole thing or just stop in to say, “Hi!” I’ll appreciate it either way.

    Last edited by Anxe; 2017-11-30 at 01:54 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #132
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #70/Total Session #86

    The last obstacle that stood in the way of resurrecting Zeus was Amalius. Gorwinua could sing almost well enough to be “better than the gods” as the Druid’s Prophecy required. Unfortunately, she wasn’t quite good enough. Zelus had affirmed that she would need to be mentally linked with Amalius to properly channel Orpheus’s musical talent. A deal had been struck to trade Zelus’s divinity for Amalius’s cooperation, but with Zelus captured by Barakah, such a deal was no longer possible. How else could the party treat with Amalius to ensure his assistance?
    It was decided that divine advice was necessary. Torin used his magic to commune with Athena. The party asked the following questions.
    1. Does Amalius know that we know that he is planning to betray us?
    - Yes.
    2. Will Amalius insist on attending the ritual?
    - Yes, he has to be there for the ritual to work.
    3. Will Amalius accept Aldarian as a bargain chip?
    - Yes, he likes Aldarian.
    4. Does Amalius have a way of tracking our movements?
    - Yes. He can track your movements.
    5. Does Amalius know that we know about "Amalgami's plan"?
    - No. He does not know.
    6. Since Amalius is a powerful telepath, is it possible to dominate him or Programmed Amnesia him?
    - Difficult, but possible.
    7. Does the aspect of Ammutseba known as Barakah pose a threat to any of us, the gods, or the universe itself within 1 week?
    - No.
    8. Within 1 month?
    - No.
    9. If we kill the aspect of Ammutseba, can we rescue Zelus?
    - Yes, he would be free.
    10. Would the lich Amalgami release King Ballard now that Tagenadi tried to attack the Xorians?
    - Nope.
    11. Would the Amazon queen be willing to turn on the Xorians or at least leave their cause?
    - Yes.
    12. If she made a deal with us, would she keep it?
    - It depends.
    13. If we kill her, will Blendegad or his agents be able to ressurect her? Or will Hades keep her soul?
    - Yes, they could resurrect her.
    14. Where is Amalganus?
    - Jipangu.
    15. Would he be sympathetic to bringing back Zeus?
    - Yes and no.
    16. Is Amalius likely to move against us in the next week if we do not provoke him?
    - No.
    17. Has Amalius mind-controlled any member of the Alliance?
    - Yes.
    18. What does Amalius want?
    - Power to initiate anarchy.
    19. Is Aldarian under Amalius' magical control?
    - Yes.
    20. If removed, would he turn away from Amalius?
    - No.
    21. How can we free King Ballard?
    - Break the gem.
    22. Where is Amalius?
    - Jipangu.
    23. Who in the alliance is dominated?
    - Kig, Arendil, Endi, Aldarian, and others.
    24. Can commune be tricked?
    - Yes, it can be tricked.
    25. How is Amalius keeping track of our movements?
    - Hypercognition.
    26. How is Amalius keeping track of our plans?
    - Hypercognition and informants.
    27. Has he mind-controlled or reprogrammed any members of the party?
    - No.
    28. Do Gorwinua, Eathirilu, Hektor, Torin, Danar, Tagenadi, Amalius, and Alkmene all intend to see the ritual of the Druid’s Prophecy through as written?
    - No.
    29. Has Amalius mind-controlled or reprogrammed Alkmene?
    - No.
    30. Does Alkmene intend to see the ritual through as written?
    - Yes.
    31. How long for Gorwinua to come up with a unique song?
    - 3 Months.
    32. Would it work to link her to Dillon the castrato?
    - Reduces time to compose to 1 month.
    33. What is Amalius's plan?
    - Siphon a portion of the divine essence.
    34. What would he accept as a trade instead of Zelus's divinity to aid in the ritual?
    - Amalgami or something of great value.
    35.Will Amalius attempt a ritual on Zeus' body within three months without Gorwinua?
    - No.
    36. When will Amalgami's plan happen?
    - When it will cause the most chaos.
    37. What is Amalius’s plan to defeat Blendegad?
    - Use Zeus's Power or ally with enemies.

    Could the group cooperate with Amalius to bring Zeus back? Probably, but Amalius had some scheme to steal a bit of Zeus’s power for himself. Could that be prevented? The group might be able to overpower Amalius and force him to go through with the ritual. That’s assuming they could catch him unguarded. His predictive powers would allow him to evade any such attempt before it started. Negotiation seemed like the only way to move forward. The group went to the Halkias estate in Jipangu to speak to Amalius.

    The group went into Amalius’s study and put forth their arguments for why he should help them without disrupting the ritual. Zeus was needed to end the war and kill Blendegad. Siphoning off Zeus’s power had the potential to ruin that. Amalius reiterated that the war could be finished regardless and that it was more important to free the people of Cimmeria from all who would oppress them. The rule of Blendegad was bad, but the Olympians were really so different. The debate went in circles. Amalius wouldn’t help them and the party had little reason to trust him if he did.
    Hektor said, “What would it take for you to help us? What can we offer or do for you?”
    Amalius brought his index finger up and tapped it against his lips, “Bring my grandfather to justice. Destroy him and his phylactery. If you do that, I’ll help you execute the Druid’s Prophecy.”
    “We can do that, but where is Amalgami?”
    “Korm knows. I’ll have the dagger delivered to you soon.” Amalius took a seat behind his desk. “Now is there anything else you wish to discuss?”
    “No. That is all.”
    The group left with uneasy feelings.

    The bodies of Bart and Tanaranena were collected from Nox back in Alliance Session #67/Total Session #83.
    Bart had been Hektor’s seneschal. He kept watch over Hektor’s estate while Hektor was away on business. Bart was also a trained priest, ready at all times to administer the healing magic of the Olympians. Hektor always kept a contingent teleport spell active on himself. If he ever became truly injured, he would be teleported to the safety of Lakatia. While Bart was alive, Hektor trusted his servant to see to his wounds. Unfortunately, Bart had been kidnapped and killed by the Dragovinians. With his corpse recovered, Hektor’s most loyal attendant might soon return to life and servitude.
    Tanaranena was Tagenadi’s younger sister. He had grown up with her while idolizing his older brother’s military career in the Xorian Army. Tagenadi joined the army to follow in his brother’s footsteps. During his service with the army Tagenadi witnessed the horrors that his nation had committed. He mutinied, but was captured. Due to his brother’s growing importance in the Xorian royal court, Tagenadi was given a special punishment. He was magically dominated and forced to kill his parents in front of Tanaranena. Tagenadi never learned the fate of his sister. Hades claimed that she was drowned, but apparently she was held captive by the Xorians and executed during the raid on the Museum of Power.
    The necessary offerings were acquired and the Exiles gathered in Hektor’s magnificent mansion to resurrect the pair. Bart and Tanaranena were laid on the ground in funeral garb. Torin began saying the necessary chants to bring Bart back to life. When he was done Bart coughed and breathed once more.
    Bart thanked Torin and the others profusely; however, he refrained from showing too much emotion. Bart kept to himself. He quickly excused himself to go see his family and show them that he returned to life.
    Torin turned to repeat the same ritual of resurrection for Tanaranena. As Torin cast his spell, Tagenadi used one of his magical items to change his appearance to that of his living self. Soon air flowed into Tanaranena’s body once more. She opened her eyes and slowly and sat up. She looked around. Tana was surrounded by a group of people she didn’t recognize. All except for one face, Tagenadi, her brother! After the terrors of Xorian captivity she was relieved to find herself amongst her family once more.
    “Tagu!” Tanaranena rose to her feet and moved to embrace her brother. He turned away from her. “Tagu? Why?”
    “You cannot touch me. I… I’ve changed.”
    “You’ll always be my brother. Please!” She moved to hug him again and he stepped away from her.
    “Tagenadi, no matter what you’ve done. No matter who you are. You are still my brother. I love you,” Tana’s face cracked and she began to cry, “and I still need you!”
    “No. I am a monster now. I don’t deserve your love.”
    “What could be so bad that you won’t even hug me?”
    Tagenadi let the illusion drop. Tana recoiled in horror.
    Tagenadi explained, “There was an incident while we fighting. I was transported to the Underworld. The only way to return was…” he swept his arms downward, “like this.”
    “I… I want to be alone.”
    “We should talk about this. I’m still the same person. I have other things to tell you.”
    “No. I want to be alone. Is there a bath in here? I want to take a bath.” Tanaranena shivered as if she were covered in cold mud despite just being washed for the resurrection ritual.
    “Won’t you talk to me?”
    “NO! You’re hardly even my brother anymore! Leave me alone!”
    Hektor, Eathirilu, and Danar stepped in. They led her to the baths in the mansion. Hektor informed her that unseen servants would obey her and assist with anything she needed before shutting the door. The trio returned to the chapel room the resurrections had taken place in.
    Tagenadi asked, “Do you think… Do you think she’ll ever understand what I did?”
    No one answered.
    Tagenadi stared at the ground.
    “Maybe its best if she isn’t around me. I’ll make arrangements for her to stay with Amalius.”

    A few days passed and a special date arrived. Back in Alliance Session #53/Total Session #69 Danar had promised to go on a date with the lich of Crux, Vecna. This date was in exchange for Vecna returning Amalius to life.
    Danar prepared himself, putting on dress clothes and oiling his hair. He also accepted a load of protection spells from the rest of the party. Once he was ready Danar teleported to Vecna’s hut and knocked on her door. The others gathered around a scrying mirror to watch the events, partially to watch what would likely be a train-wreck of a date and partially to ensure Danar’s safety.
    A cloud passed over the full moon. The crone’s voice could be heard through the door, “Come in! I’m just getting dressed!”
    Danar pushed the door in and found himself in the familiar, cluttered hut. He heard Vecna moving around behind the back curtain. Danar was a courageous warrior, but the prospect of romancing a lich was giving him pause.
    Danar slapped his hands against his legs. “I thought we might go for a walk! In the park.”
    Vecna emerged from the back curtain. “That sounds lovely.” She was wearing a flowing, silver gown that swept down to her ankles. On her feet were silver shoes and tight stockings that covered her desiccated skin. The garments did little to hide her withered shape. She wore silver and sapphire jewelry around her wrists and neck. The wisps of hair that adorned her head were held back by a silver tiara. Vecna’s face was covered with paints making it appear as if blood still pulsed in her veins, but the sad facsimile was revealed up close.
    Danar stifled his urge to cringe. He smiled, held out his arm, and said, “You look lovely.”
    “Oh thank you! A lady always enjoys a bit of flattery.”
    “Would you like to pop us to our destination or shall I?”
    “You do it dearie. I want it to be a surprise.”
    Danar waved his hands and they teleported to the Park of Delights in Bradel Fields. The park was rumored to be haunted. Since the Xorian destruction of the city using death magic, the rumors were no longer needed. Ghosts and wailing souls wandered through the grass and woods, shrieking of the things undone in their miserably short lives.
    Danar led Vecna through the Park of Delights underneath the full moon. She frowned. “It reminds me of my home. Full of dead people.”
    “Do you…” Danar trailed off.
    Vecna grasped Danar’s hand with her one good hand. Danar flinched. The pair walked by the groaning specters that floated through the haunted park.
    “Could we go somewhere else?” Vecna asked.
    “Of course.” Danar wiggled his fingers and the two of them left the park instantly.
    They appeared in Satronwook the party city of Cimmeria. The smell of beer, vomit, and peanuts assaulted Danar’s nose. Alcohol and cheap entertainment were always plentiful in Satronwook. Danar was not being cheap tonight though. He led Vecna to an expensive riverfish restaurant that Eathirilu had told him about. The sky was overcast, but the light of the moon showed through the dark clouds.
    They ate their meal in silence on the patio beside one of the many plazas of Satronwook. A troupe of fire dancers twirled about in the plaza. Danar tossed them a small pouch of coins when they approached. The dancers spun around his and Vecna’s table for a few minutes before proceeding onwards. Vecna picked at her meal. Tasting all the portions, but eating little of it.
    When he was finished Danar looked at Vecna, “Would you like to go dancing?”
    “I thought you’d never ask.”
    “Not here though.” Danar held his hand out. Vecna took it and they stood together. Danar teleported them away again.
    The couple reappeared in the sky above the Caspian Sea. They were west of Lordodo. The clouds in the sky still covered the moon, but they were making their way eastward. Danar took Vecna’s right hand in his left and rested his other on her waist. Her left wrist stump rested on Danar’s shoulder. They spun around in the sky. Danar avoided looking in Vecna’s eyes.
    The moon began to peek out from behind the clouds. Vecna leaned in and whispered, “I’ve had a wonderful time. I’d like a perfect end to this date. Kiss me.”
    “I… Do I...have to?”
    “Okay.” Danar leaned in to kiss her dead flesh. The full moon came out into the open. Danar shivered and felt a dark presence in the sky with them. He turned from the kiss and looked towards the evil power he felt.
    A gray monster stood in the clouds. The Antenator of Crux had left his Silver Tower. His three heads were grotesquely long and featureless. All three mouths opened and the Antenator screamed, “ANOREXIIIAAAAAA!” As it screamed Danar seemed to see two different figures where the Antenator stood. The three-headed bodak that most associated with the Antenator and a one-winged black angel.
    Vecna screamed back at the Antenator, “This is what you get Thanatos! I hate you! Let me go!”
    “Never! You are my wife and will do as I wish!”
    Danar shied away from Vecna. The Antenator was the same as Thanatos, the god of death? It made sense.
    Vecna shouted, “I wanted to live a normal life, but you killed me and took me to your foul home for your own selfish pleasures! I’m done with it!”
    “I raised you up to the status of a god, Anorexia! You would continue to turn your back on I’ve given you for this… this… commoner!?”
    Danar realized the god of death was talking about him. Danar’s allies that had been scrying him realized this as well. Eathirilu and Tagenadi immediately teleported into the situation.
    Eathirilu said, “Date’s over, Danar. Time for your curfew.”
    “I’m getting the hell out of here.” Danar teleported away. Eathirilu and Tagenadi stayed to watch the argument unfold. The gods fought and Tagenadi recalled the story he had seen on the walls of the Silver Tower (Alliance Session #22/Total Session #31).
    Spoiler: Thanatos and Anorexia
    Glory to the Muse, Erato, for she rules this story and its contents of poetry and love.

    Long ago, when the immortals still walked the surface of Gaia, the king of the Gods was Zeus. This is a story about the conquest of women and Zeus had many conquests of women, but he is not the hero of our story. Zeus’s father was Cronos, and before Cronos there was Uranos. Uranos, the sky, sprung from the body of Gaia, the earth, and then copulated with her to make the Titans and their leader, Cronos. Before the Titans, and even before Uranos and Gaia, there was Chaos. Chaos had five children, Eros, Gaia, Tartaros, Erebus, and Nyx. Nyx, goddess of night, was the first to gain carnal knowledge of Cronos, the second king of the gods, and from their union the plagues of man were born. The plagues were many but our story concerns only one of them, Zeus’s third cousin twice removed, second cousin, first cousin, and half brother, Thanatos.

    Thanatos was the god of Death. You may know Charon whose job was to ferry souls across the River Styx to the land of the dead. It was Thanatos’s job to drag the souls of men to the banks of the Styx while they still clung to their corporeal bodies with every one of their wispy fingers. The ghosts would plead with him, asking to return to their old shells for just a few moments to say goodbye to their families, or for one last night with their love.

    Thanatos ignored their cries. He knew it was all lies. He would never allow the wiles of a mortal to ensnare him again. Sisyphus had tricked him, telling a sad story of his children having no inheritance if Sisyphus was not allowed back to life for just a few minutes. Thanatos considered the mortal’s situation for only a moment, in which the crafty Sisyphus threw a length of chain around the god of Death. The vile human being escaped to a second and third lifetime before Thanatos brought him into Erebus’s darkness for good. Thanatos would not be put into chains again. Death would not be imprisoned again. He would continue to bring humans to the banks of the river of Erebus until the end of times. It was his purpose.

    There were times of war when Thanatos was rushing back and forth between the surface of the earth and the world below, bringing the spiritual remnants of the casualties closer to their final resting places. There were other times in peace when Thanatos could relax and only had to fly off from his home atop Cloud Mountain every hour or so. It was in these moments of respite that Thanatos looked down on the human race and envied them. They still had occupations and purposes, but the order of the universe did not call them to one thing or another. The mortals of the world chose their place in it while Thanatos was bound permanently to be the caretaker of souls.

    On one of those peaceful days, Thanatos looked down on the humans and one of the young girls of marriageable age caught his eye. She was not beautiful like the other girls with silky brown hair and luxurious hips. This girl had hips that seemed no wider than her body and disgusting brown hair with blonde streaks in it. She had a small nose, so she could not smell her future husband’s dinner while it cooked, and she had almost no eyebrows to keep the hot Hellas sun from blinding her. It surprised Thanatos that so pitiable a girl would be left alive instead of abandoned to the wilderness with the other undesirables. Surely, she would never be married to anyone of reputable lineage.

    Yet, somehow, the girl interested him. Thanatos put his hand to his ear and was just able to catch her name before the next warm body called for his attentions. Anorexia.

    After Thanatos dealt with the screaming and kicking soul he observed Anorexia in her daily labors. She washed her father’s and her mother’s clothes in the river with the largest rock she could pick up, which was not very large. She milked the cows. She fed the chickens. She attended to her younger brother who had a fever as children sometimes do. She did all her chores with a downcast eye and with few words in response when her parents demanded more of her. She was the perfect filial daughter and one of the finest wives if only she weren’t so ugly.

    Thanatos took to watching her every chance he got. He spied her from his throne on Cloud Mountain and slowly crept closer for a better look. He was entranced. Her form was thin and damaged just like…Just like the dead. Thanatos knew she was repulsive in the classical sense, but to him, she was beautiful.

    His obsession with Anorexia increased. He began watching her as she slept and sometimes coming in close enough to smell her dry and oddly colored hair. She could not see him, for she was not close to death, but Thanatos felt she was aware of his presence. Her joints always made popping noises when he was nearby. She would sometimes stop and stare at shadows. Thanatos wished he could reveal himself to her, but it was not his choice to do so. Being next to her if not talking to her would have to be enough for now.

    As the days went by Anorexia grew thinner and thinner. Thanatos thought she might be losing weight because his presence unnerved her, but he also noticed that a little bit of the food she was served always seemed to be put under the table for the dog instead of in her mouth. The bones on her arms and legs began to show and she used smaller and smaller stones to clean the laundry at the river. She was wasting away. Thanatos wasn’t concerned. He was aroused. Her cadaverous body pleased him even more than before. He wondered how far she could go before she would see his face.

    Eventually, while milking the cows, Anorexia collapsed. She would’ve lingered and possibly recovered if Thanatos had allowed her family to care for her, but he did not. He gently picked her soul up out of her body and welcomed her into his world. “You have nothing to fear, Anorexia. I have been watching you and I want you to be my wife.”

    She said, “Yes,” and Death finally had something of his own.

    Anorexia and Thanatos flung insults at each other and the air practically boiled with negative energy. Eathirilu’s death ward provided him some protection, but he had to leave before too long. Soon Tagenadi began to feel the negative energy overloading his skeletal frame. He teleported away as well. They met up at Lakatia.
    “Well,” said Hektor, “that was interesting to watch.”

    We ended the session there.

    Reminder! We'll be streaming the final sessions of Xorian Wars from December 1st to December 3rd. Our first session will be starting Decembet 1st, 7:30 PST (GMT-8) on
    Second and third sessions will start at 10AM PST (GMT-8) on December 2nd and December 3rd.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2017-12-01 at 02:08 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #133
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    I wasn't able to finish the updates on here and I'm sorry. We are still streaming the final session right now if anyone wants to take a look!

  14. - Top - End - #134
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    We're live again!

  15. - Top - End - #135
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    The conclusion going live now!

  16. - Top - End - #136
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    The final sessions are available on YouTube to watch for anyone that is interested. I'm still working on the writeups as well. Six left and then the whole story will be here!

    For anyone that's interested in a little extra content, I have also been writing about other stuff in Cimmeria on my blog. After I finish the updates here I'll be moving them over to the blog. This will give me the chance to remove simple grammar/spelling mistakes, improve the language, and give the log a consistent voice. The version that is here will stay unedited.

    I'll also be working on finishing the remaining illustrations!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2017-12-15 at 12:33 PM.

  17. - Top - End - #137
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    Alliance Session #71/Total Session #87

    The party met in the capital of Aractrash to talk in safety. They had a choice.
    1. They could attack and capture Amalius, the man who was once their friend, but now planned to betray them. Once captured he could be forced with mind control magic to go through with the Druid’s Prophecy without altering it.
    2. Attack Amalgami the Betrayer, one of the most powerful and evil people in Cimmeria. If they destroyed Amalgami’s phylactery, Amalius had agreed he would work with the party. But could Amalius be trusted even then?
    3. Wait three months for Gorwinua to compose a song that would rival those of Orpheus. In this way the party could perform the Druid’s Prophecy without Amalius. But three months of composing means three more months of war.
    None of the choices were great. But it was complicated further by whether the problem was just the Dragovinians or the aggressive expansion of the Xorian Empire into Eastern Cimmeria. While the Dragovinians and the hegemony of Xoria were linked, they were not one and the same. Gorwinua argued that the Dragovinians were the real problem, not the war. She didn’t particularly care about the outcome of the war. The Orcish people were not involved, so neither was she. Three months of war did not concern.
    This position angered Torin. The Dwarven people had been devastated by the war. Tens of thousands slain and turned into wights in the Western Underdark. He had been down there, forced to kill his brethren again after the Dragovinians did it once. The war was inevitable linked to defeating the Dragovinians. The two could not be separated in his mind.
    Like in most passionate arguments, neither Gorwinua or Torin budged. It seemed that their fight would go on in circles forever when the discussion was interrupted by the arrival of a delivery boy. Korm had arrived!
    Tagenadi took the lead box that contained the weapon and tipped the delivery boy before sending him off. Tagenadi removed Korm from the box and held onto him. As an undead creature, Tagenadi could not be controlled by the powerful intelligent weapon. There was no risk of him going wild.
    Korm seemed to yawn and then said, “What’s up? Been a while. I see you traded the angel for an Orc. Good. I like Orcs better.”
    Hektor attempted to take control of the conversation, “Korm, we need you to tell us where Amalgami is. It’s vital to ending the war.”
    “Oh yeah? What’s in it for me? I like wars. More chances to cut off heads. And don’t even think of threatening me. I know what you think of me. You destroy me and you get nothing!”
    “Well what would it take for you to trust us?”
    “Let me control one of you. Then I can look into your brains and figure out if you’re going to let me go after I tell you where Amalgami is or not.”
    The party talked it over and determined that there was no chance in hell of that happening.
    Hektor told Korm, “We’re not letting you into any of our minds. Is there some sort of exchange we could offer you?”
    “Hmmm… Well… I like cutting off heads. Could I get some of that?”
    “I’m not really comfortable with that for Aractrash. Anybody else?”
    There was a round of negative responses from the party, then Gorwinua spoke up, “What if I took you to the Orc lands? I gather that since my death the Orc tribes are always quarreling and fighting each other. I could take you there and maybe you’d get to cut off some heads.”
    “Really? How can I trust you?”
    Gorwinua recited a short poem describing the unending rage and honor of the Orc warriors of Cimmeria. Courage, fortitude, and desire for blood. The poem convinced Korm that Gorwinua would take him to the Orc lands and let him be used by the people there to cut off heads as he wished. Gorwinua planned to take Korm to the Orc lands, but she had no intention of giving him to another Orc. She would bury him there in a metal box deep beneath the earth.
    “Alright,” Korm said, “I’ll tell you where Amalgami is. His stronghold is in Hyperborea.
    “Hyperborea?” said Hektor. “The northern land you can’t reach by land, sky, or sea? What good is that? There’s no way to get there! Even with teleportation.”
    “Amalgami found a way. There’s a portal in the Xorian capital, Nox.”
    An evil laugh filled the air, “But there’s no need to come to my stronghold. I’ll come to you.” Amalgami stepped through the open doorway. The lich wore expensive robes and had disguised his face with a thin glamer so that he appeared both living and skeletal at the same time depending on the angle one looked from. Looking carefully the Exiles noticed a thin silvery cord extending from Amalgami’s back. Such cords were indicators of an astral projection. Amalgami was not truly here.
    Everyone put their hands on their weapons. Amalgami put his hands out, “Please don’t. I’m only here to talk and perhaps make a deal.”
    Hektor frowned and said, “What do you want?”
    “The same thing as you, for my grandson to cooperate. I have a plan that will capture him for you. Quite easily in fact.”
    “We’re listening,” said Danar.
    “Let me explain. Amalius made a deal with Hades to return so many of your precious soldiers to life. He wished for specific people to be brought back as well. Several key Alliance members and his father. Hades neglected to tell him that the soul of Amalganus, my son, never entered the Underworld.”
    “You have Amalganus’s soul? And King Ballard’s!?” Hektor shouted.
    “Yes. You think I would let something so valuable out of my grasp? I have the soul of my son among my possessions.”
    “But we’ve met Amalganus since the Amalius resurrected everyone. He’s alive,” said Tagenadi.
    “Is he?” said Amalgami. “Or did I create a simulacrum copy and return him at the same time as the other souls?”
    “No...” whispered Hektor.
    “Yes! And Amalius never looked too closely at this copy. He feared the illusion of his father’s return might break. He was soooo happy. Why ruin the reunification of the family he had fought to find for so long? So he never noticed my duplicity or that the false body of Amalganus contains a trap. When I say the command phrase, an antimagic field will activate around Amalganus preventing all but the most powerful magicks from functioning.”
    “Well what good does that do us?” said Hektor.
    “What good indeed…” Amalgami gave a pointed look towards Korm. The Exiles were well aware that as an artifact Korm still functioned in antimagic fields. The dagger could be used to dominate Amalius when all of his usual protections were suppressed within the antimagic field.
    “That could work,” said Torin.
    The group asked Amalgami for some privacy to discuss their options. He left the room while they talked.
    1. The group could attack Amalius, dominate him with Korm, and then control his actions afterwards. It had a high chance of success and it could be done quickly. It was also a betrayal of one of their oldest allies for something he had agreed to do for a price the group had been willing to pay.
    2. They could attack Amalgami. He wasn’t truly present where they were now, so they would have to go to his secret base in Hyperborea, make their way through whatever protections he had put in place, kill him, and destroy his phylactery. While they believed in their abilities, that course of action was certainly longer and more perilous.
    There was some disagreement, but the group ultimately decided to side with Amalgami over Amalius. Amalgami’s plan had a better chance of ensuring Amalius’s cooperation and swiftly resurrecting Zeus. They informed Amalgami.
    “Excellent! We will carry out the plan tomorrow. I will take Korm and give him to Amalganus. He will meet with Amalius. I will say the necessary phrase and activate the hidden antimagic field. You all will be waiting to attack as soon as the phrase as said. If Amalius’s will proves too strong for Korm then you will have to knock him unconscious.”
    Further details of the plan were discussed. Amalgami said his farewells and returned to the astral plane with Korm in hand.

    The next day the party met at a prearranged location in Jipangu a few blocks away from the Halkias Estate. Tagenadi refused to participate, feeling that attacking their friend was morally repugnant, especially as an alternative to killing one of the most reviled liches in Cimmeria.
    Amalgami contacted them telepathically, “Are you prepared?”
    The party responded in the affirmative.
    They turned themselves invisible and flew over the study of Amalius’s house. The Amalganus simulacrum called Amalius to speak with him in the study. Amalius entered. Amalgami remotely activated the antimagic field. Amalius’s protections fell and Amalganus slipped Korm out and pressed it against Amalius’s skin.
    Amalius felt the stab of Korm’s intrusion in his mind once again. He had fought this attack off before. He could do it again! He struggled and slapped his father’s hand away. Amalganus grabbed Amalius’s wrist and placed Korm in Amalius’s hand. The psion’s fingers closed around the hilt as Korm stabbed at his mind. Amalius resisted the invasion with practiced effort. He released his forced grip and Korm clattered to the floor. The dagger had failed.
    Fortunately the group had a backup plan. Hektor disintegrated the roof. Eathirilu and Danar flew in and swiftly knocked Amalius unconscious. They stuffed him in their portable hole, retrieved Korm, and fled the scene as quick as they’d arrived.
    Amalgami telepathed his thanks for the party playing their part. Satisfied, the party left to begin preparations for reviving Zeus.

    Over the next few weeks Hektor kept Amalius magically dominated. Amalius had heard the song of Orpheus while in the Underworld, the same type of song that was required in the ritual to revive Zeus. Gorwinua was the only singer now living with the talent to sing the song. Hektor used his dominate to order Amalius to dominate Gorwinua in turn. Through this mental connection Amalius conveyed his exact knowledge of Orpheus’s song to Gorwinua. Hektor, Amalius, and Gorwinua worked together to compose a new song that took parts of the Orpheus original and combined them with elements of Gorwinua’s style.
    Soon, the song was ready. Torin contacted Athena and relayed the information. They were ready to perform the ritual of the Druid’s Prophecy. Athena brought the appointed people up to Mount Olympus on December 1st. Eathirilu, Alkmene, Torin, Tagenadi, Hektor, Amalius, Danar, and Gorwinua were brought to the Heavenly seat of power in the Cosmos. Atop the Mountain was a resplendent bed where a wane Zeus slept. Hera sat at the head of the bead, cradling her husband’s bearded face. Their family gathered around them. Rhea, Demeter, and Hestia at Hera’s side. Kratos, Bia, and Nike standing guard. Athena, Hermes, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, and Hercules a few steps below the Mountain’s peak. The Muses and Ganymede watching expectantly. Beside the party were Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Cupid, and Psyche. Dionysus, Pan, Hecate, and Leto stood away from the rest. Many other lesser gods and angels were assembled to watch the return of Zeus. Hades and Poseidon were notably absent.
    After staring in awe and making the appropriate supplicant gestures the mortals set to the work that only they could do. Alkmene had volunteered to perform the ritual. It was believed that the performer would be killed in the process. She placed a golden cauldron of water on a golden tripod over a fire. Danar held the Pitchfork of Ruin and stood beside Alkmene, ready to offer it to her at the right time. The cauldron fire heated to boiling and Alkmene began the chant,
    “Go to where the Best Smith fell
    To where in his fiery forge he dwells
    Pick up the pieces of a broken god
    Stir them in first with a golden rod”

    She added one of the Bricks of Hephaestus that the party had acquired and Lemnos and dropped it into the pot. The red brick broke into pieces of white bone and Alkmene stirred them into the solution with a golden rod. The cauldron began to foam.
    “Go to where the Creator of Men hung
    To where the eagle to its dinner would come
    Take a piece of blood-red stone
    And add it to the cauldron when it begins to foam”

    Alkmene took a bag from her robes. The Rock of Prometheus had been disintegrated by Amalius. All that remained was powder, but the powder still held strength. Alkmene upturned the bag of dust over the cauldron. The stone particalites disintegrated into the soup and the foam of the cauldron turned blue.
    “Find a voice both strong and pure
    Better than the gods to be sure
    Sing the song both well and true
    When the potion's foam turns blue.”

    Gorwinua, still linked to Amalius, sang her song. Hymn of Resurrection was pure and resonant. It connected all present in a single experience of love and longing. The Muses wept first and then all others followed. The notes calmed the frothing potion. The foam disappeared and the top of the boiling potion was still.
    When Gorwinua was finished, Alkmene wiped the tears from her eyes and continued.
    “Go west to the river of the world,
    To where the Black Kelp Plant is unfurled
    Take a clipping of this seaweed
    For it is the penultimate ingredient you need”

    Alkmene tossed the large clipping of the Black Kelp into the potion. The Black Kelp sank beneath the blue surface and the potion turned gold.
    Danar offered the Pitchfork of ruin to Alkmene as she began the final stanza,
    “Should one of the gods forever close his eyes
    Find the weapon that caused him to die
    Add it last with great caution
    Then pour the mix on the great god's coffin.”

    Alkmene did not reach for the Pitchfork of Ruin. Her hand went into her robes once again and she withdrew the Lots. The same pair of dice that had split the world in three parts for the Olympians. The same pair of dice that had damned Hades to rule over the Underworld. The same “weapon” that had “caused him to die.”
    Alkmene’s hand stretched over the cauldron and time seemed to slow down. Danar’s eyes widened in surprise. One of the attendant angels shouted, “SHE HAS THE LOTS!”
    Another angel shouted, “STOP HER!”
    The first angel dove and knocked the Lots out of Alkmene’s hand. The Lots spun through the air too quickly to follow. Torin picked out their location first. “There! By Tagenadi’s left boot!” The Lots had almost fallen off the heights of Mount Olympus.
    “NYOOOOOO!!!!!” Alkmene screamed. She whirled around to face the Exiles who now stood between her and the Lots. She transformed into a gigantic armored bear and rushed toward the Lots. Eathirilu changed into a tyrannosaurus and barred her way. Torin scooped the Lots up. He felt Athena’s energy flowing in him stronger than ever. He stretched out a finger and blasted Alkmene with holy fire. The first angel that had knocked the Lots out of Alkmene’s hand was caught in the flames as well. The angel’s skin bubbled while Alkmene’s fur singed.
    Tagenadi moved to intercept the Alkmene if she escape Eathirilu’s grip. Hektor ensured that Amalius was under his complete control and not influencing Alkmene’s actions in anyway.
    Danar tossed the Pitchfork of Ruin into the cauldron. Maybe it would kill him but Zeus’s life was more important than his. He held his breath for a second. He was not dead. Had they been misled? Who had originally told them the ritual would kill the performer? Eathirilu had said so after a conversation with…Alkmene…
    A lie! And Eathirilu had been too busy thinking with his **** to discover it.
    Danar turned to Gorwinua and insisted, “We must get the cauldron to Zeus and pour it on him!”
    “Right!” exclaimed Gorwinua. She grabbed the boiling cauldron and teleported to the foot of Zeus’s bed. She moved to pour out the cauldron and was stopped. Vines burst out of the ground and coiled around the bed, pulling Zeus away from her.
    Demeter shouted, “YOU WILL NOT BRING HIM BACK! THE WORLD IS BETTER WITHOUT THIS RAPING LOUT!” She contorted her hands into claws. The vines grew tighter around Zeus and lashed towards Gorwinua.
    Kratos stepped in the path of the vines and cut at them with his swords. The vines did not reach Gorwinua. Hera punched Demeter in the gut and screamed, “That’s my husband! He may be a raping lout but HE IS MINE TO DEAL WITH AS I CHOOSE!” The two sisters began to flay and squabble with each other at the head of Zeus’s bed.
    Danar teleported in to assist with the cauldron. He and Gorwinua each grasped one of the handles on the side of the cauldron and prepared to dump it on Zeus when thunder boomed in the sky. Clouds rose in waves over Mount Olympus as Poseidon arrived on the scene.
    The sea god was garbed in golden armor that left his chest and face bare. He wore a golden coral crown. At his side was his son, Triton wearing a silver uniform that matched Poseidon’s in all but color. In Poseidon’s right hand was his trident. In his left were the thunderbolts of Zeus. He loosed a thunderbolt at Danar and Gorwinua. Danar blocked the divine assault with a reactive ward he had placed on himself.
    “Quick!” Gorwinua shouted. The pair hefted the cauldron once more. The other gods flew into the sky to challenge Poseidon. Danar and Gorwinua dumped the potion upon Zeus and it began its work. Zeus shone with light. The golden liquid creeped up his toes, feet, and legs until it covered his whole body. Poseidon flung thunderbolts left and right at his nephews and nieces, but there were too many. Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Hephaestus, Ares, Aphordite, Hecate. All were now united against the usurper. Zeus was returning.
    Zeus took a deep breath of life and rose up with a start. A bright light blasted out from a halo around his head. A vision so bright that it seemed to fill one’s ears as well as one’s eyes. Zeus was back!
    Alkmene slumped down, knowing she was defeated. Demeter shrieked as Hera took hold of her hair from behind. She had lost.
    Poseidon fought on. There would be no mercy in surrender. His only hope was victory, but that hope was dwindling.
    Zeus stepped out of his bed and began to grow. Already twenty feet tall he grew larger and larger. His children became like mice to him. Poseidon, a mere rat. Poseidon threw thunderbolts at his brother, but they fizzled upon contact. They would not harm their true master, the God of the Sky. Zeus reached out a massive hand and gripped Poseidon by the waist.
    Zeus flung Poseidon down upon the Mountain, like a child spiking a ball into the dirt. Mount Olympus cracked where the Sea God impacted the rock. Zeus grabbed Triton and repeated the motion.
    “Such betrayal I have never seen! Your punishment will be even more severe than that we enacted upon our father. Where he was whipped, you will be flayed! Where he was cut into a thousand pieces, you will be cut into ten thousand! The elder rules the younger brother! THAT IS THE WAY OF THINGS! AND I AM THE ELDER!”
    Poseidon covered his face in shame.
    “And you, Demeter! You think there will be no punishment for you as a woman? Think again! You will not escape your just rewards. I will deal with you after our brother and his worthless son.
    “But we also have mortals present.” Zeus turned to face the assembled heroes. “You have done well in following the ancient prophecy of the druids to revive me. Let it never be said that I am without gratitude. In recognition of your actions I will grant each of you eternal life when you die. You will live upon Olympus as one of the few blessed mortals. Living as immortals with all the pleasures and accolades you deserve. I swear this upon the River Styx.
    “I know that you have resurrected me to defeat the dragon, Blendegad, that now menances Cimmeria. Sadly I can aid but little in this endeavor. Vanquishing my brother has drained some of my strength and I must jealously guard what remains.” Zeus gave a pointed look at Ares, who had ruled as an unofficial and incompetent regent during Zeus’s slumber. Zeus continued, “Additionally, I feel that some of my divine power has leaked away. Not all of my essence has returned to me. Some…entity has stolen a portion of my life force from me during the ritual. I have not recovered fully and I fear I may never will. I have the strength to weaken Blendegad, but not defeat him. You and your companions will have to do the rest until the thief is found.”
    The party all turned their heads to look at Amalius. A smug grin passed across his face for an instant and then it was gone.

    We ended the session there!

    After the session there was an out of character discussion about why Zeus could not aid the party in a more concrete way. Why couldn’t Zeus just defeat Blendegad and be done with it?
    For one, that would create a rather unsatisfying end to the campaign. A god comes along and solves all your problems for you! The only satisfying resolution to the campaign is if the PCs defeat Blendegad themselves. Thus I have to come up with an in-universe explanation as to why Zeus would not just defeat Blendegad the same way he defeated Poseidon.
    Thus, the plethora of reasons Zeus could not use his power to defeat Blendegad on his own.
    1. Zeus had already used a portion of his power to defeat Poseidon. Recovery would take some time.
    2. While still strong Zeus had to reserve his strength in case his children saw his weakness as a chance to revolt.
    3. Someone (cough, Amalius, cough) had stolen a portion Zeus’s power so he was weaker than he would be normally.
    4. Zeus had enough power to weaken Blendegad to the point of making the dragon a mortal. Unfortunately once Blendegad was mortal, Zeus could no longer continue his assault due to the conventions that prevented gods from directly attacking mortals.
    So what to do? Weaken Blendegad and then let the puny mortals deal with it!
    And that’s where we are.

  18. - Top - End - #138
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    Alliance Session #72/Total Session #88

    Zeus blessed the adventurers with eternal life on Mount Olympus after they died. He sat in his Olympian throne. The thunderbolts lay by his right hand, Poseidon’s Trident by his left. He turned upon those who had betrayed his trust, Alkmene, Poseidon, Triton, and Demeter.
    “ALKMENE HALKIAS! You have allied yourself with Hades and failed him. I shall spare you from his justice...for now. You will be tortured by the furies for the rest of your natural days.” Zeus snapped his fingers and electric sparks flew. Two of the angels flying over the mountain glowed a deep blue for an instant and then descended to float above Alkmene’s bowed head. “These two furies will follow you invisibly. I have given them a portion of my power so none can stop them from beating you with hot iron rods for all your days.” The furies pulled iron rods from behind their backs and dipped the ends into the cauldron fire. The rod ends swiftly burned red hot. The first fury took the rod and whipped Alkmene across the face with it. The second beat her back. They took turns. Alkmene tried to maintain a dignified silence, but the pain overwhelmed her and she grunted and cried.
    “They will not kill you!” Zeus said, “You will live and be in pain and misery and suffer. The furies will prevent your suicide.” The iron rods continued to fall on Alkmene’s back. “They will prevent others from ending your torment.” Alkmene could no longer muster the energy to cry. She only moaned. Zeus continued, “And when your natural life concludes, Hades will have you. We will see if his punishment for your failure is worse than mine.”
    Zeus snapped his fingers once again. Alkmene and the furies disappeared, teleported off of Mount Olympus.
    “As for you!” Zeus hefted the Trident of the Sea and thrust it towards Poseidon and Triton. They were on their knees, bound and gagged with golden cords. “I shall need more time to think of a suitably excruciating punishment. For now you will be confined to Tartarus where a thousand eels will eat out your eyes everyday.”
    Zeus laid down the Trident. He stood with a thunderbolt in his other hand. He raised the bolt up then let it fly to the ground before him. A zap, a blinding flash, and a terrifying boom! A hole opened up in the rocky ground of Mount Olympus. The pit descended down and down and down, far below the Earth’s surface. Heat washed up out of the pit along with the smell of brimstone and burning flesh. Zeus grabbed his brother and hoisted him over his head. Poseidon grunted through his golden gag.
    “Into the pit with you! Perhaps the others we have condemned will forgive you.” Zeus dropped his brother into Tartarus. “But I doubt it.” Muffled screams blew out on a hot wind. Zeus nudged Triton into the pit with his foot. An afterthought.
    Zeus returned to his throne. Hera leaned in and asked him, “What of the Trident? And command of the sea? Who will take our brother's place?”
    “Yes, I was getting to that, woman. Must you always nag me? I will rule the sea, but only for an interim period while another god is chosen for this task. I swear this on the River Styx. A new god of the sea will be chosen within seven years from the lesser gods who are not among the Olympian Pantheon.”
    “But how will this new god be chosen?”
    “I… There is no need for us to discuss this in front of the mortals.” Zeus turned to look at the group in front of him. “Return to your world, mortals. Thank you for your service to me.” Zeus waved his hand and the party found themselves back in Lakatia outside of the magnificent mansion that Hektor made anew every day.

    (The Zeus scene covered the first part of this session. The bulk of the session was spent interrogating Amalius under Hektor's dominate. Rather than carefully retread the questions that were asked as a dialogue, I’ll just give an information dump of sorts.)

    What did Amalius do? How did he steal the power of Zeus while subject to Hektor’s dominate?
    Soon after resurrecting the Alliance army in his deal with Hades, Amalius summoned a planetar angel. He used true mind switch on this planetar, putting his mind in the planetar’s body and the planetar’s mind in his body. He then cast mind seed on his original body that housed the resistance planetar. The mind seed created a copy of himself in his original body, overwriting the planetar’s mind. Now there were two Amaliuses.
    Divine Amalius (or Amaletar) who was the original mind in a planetar’s body.
    Copied Amalius (or Fauxmalius) who was a weaker copied mind in the original body.
    When the Druid’s Prophecy was performed on Mount Olympus Amalius was present. The angel that swept down and knocked the Lots out of Alkmene’s hand was Amalius! While everyone was distracted by Alkmene and the Lots, Amalius slipped an extra item into the cauldron. Into the cauldron he dropped the glass orb Devanane had given him to steal his soul (See Alliance Session #13/Total Session #21). This was an item that had “caused him to die.” Along with some additional modifications this allowed Amalius to benefit from the ritual and siphon off a bit of Zeus’s divine essence. The power went into his planetar body which had been conveniently injured and then fled from Mount Olympus.
    (I notably reminded the players that I had asked for them to make a Spot check to see where the Lots fell when Divine Amalius knocked them out of Alkmene’s hand. This was a cover. The Spot check was actually for them to notice Amalius putting the orb into the cauldron.)

    What are Amalius’s goals?
    Both Amaliuses are united in their goal of bringing about a utopian anarchy in Cimmeria. A world without oligarchs, dictators, or gods who steal what you produce with the threat of violence if you do not comply. A world without slavery or conscription. A world without the walls of ignorance and inability. Anyone can do anyone as long as it does not harm any others.
    The Exiles were skeptical of how such a world could exist in reality.
    Fauxmalius replied, “The other me will make it work using the divine power he takes from the other gods.”

    Tell us all the useful information you have.
    Fauxmalius admitted that Divine Amalius had altered his memories so he recalled little of the plans his Divine self had laid. Not willing to leave things at that, the group decided to restore Fauxmalius’s memories. The best man for the job was the Bjorn of Dalleer who previously developed the method of restoring memories with Amalius (Alliance Session #17/Total Session #25 and Alliance Session #19/Total Session #27). The group went to the Bjorn. He restored Fauxmalius’s memories, taking a short break to skate around on his magical shoes. The party thanked him and then returned to the mansion to continue their interrogation.

    Fauxmalius told them a few useful things..
    1. Aldarian is not dominated, but has a few sleeper codes that Amalius (either one) can use to turn him into a killing machine. Aldarian also has a sleeper code to do whatever Amalius says.
    2. Amalius has dominated Junai and Lieutenant Tracker on the Alliance Council. He's using them to get support among the other Council members for his ideas of educating and training the populace in the use of arms as well as in the use of their minds. Astute observers might realize that these are different people than what was revealed via commune in a previous situation.
    3. Fauxmalius is only 14th level due to the Mind Seed.
    4. Amalius needs more divine power before he gets more serious about acting against the gods. Taking it directly from existing gods is probably beyond his ability. Divine Amalius will be looking at other ways of stealing divinity. Blendegad is a prime choice. Divine Amalius plans on dominating Eathirilu, the only party member who isn’t regularly mind blanked. He will do absolutely nothing with this domination. Eathirilu will accompany the others when they inevitably confront Blendegad. When they defeat Blendegad, Amalius will command Eathirilu to not use the Touch of Nature to purify and erase Blendegad’s essence. Amalius can then swoop in and absorb the divine power that leaves Blendegad as he dies.
    5. Fauxmalius will be going through with his wedding to Denar (This is something that’s been discussed off and on. I’m unsure if I’ve mentioned it yet.). The wedding is on December 10th in a few days. Despite his fake nature Fauxmalius still loves Denara and it was part of the original Amalius’s plan that Fauxmalius would live a “normal life.”
    Tagenadi will be in the wedding and Fauxmalius hoped that Torin would officiate. Overlooking the weird circumstances of the request, Torin said he would. The others had already accepted their invitations to the wedding previously.
    6. Amalius had predicted that Jevaninada would approach the Alliance on December 15th and request a showdown, the best of Xoria against the best of the Alliance to end the war and stop future bloodshed.

    The party didn’t want Divine Amalius’s plan to succeed, but they feared his psychic powers would predict any possible action they attempted to stop his plans. How could they evade his predictions? Should they act randomly? Counter his predictions with those of their own? Ward their plans with powerful magicks like wish or miracle? It was decided that the party would adapt as best they could, but take no real actions against Amalius until after confronting Jevaninada II and Blendegad.

    At the end of Amalius’s interrogation Hektor asked him, “Are there any secrets you’re holding back?”
    Amalius answered, “No,” but Eathirilu’s supernatural sense of smell picked up an increase in how much Amalius was sweating. Amalius was lying.
    Eathirilu said, “He’s holding something back.”
    “Tell us!” said Hektor.
    Amalius shook his head.
    Gorwinua indicated that the party should leave the room and discuss this. Outside she said that she could get the truth out of him without magic, just by singing him a song.
    Gorwinua returned to the room and sang Amalius the perfect song. She sang of freedom for all the people of Cimmeria. All the Humans, all the Elves, and all the Orcs. Free without gods or men controlling them. Gorwinua could help Amalius achieve his goals. They could work together to bring mortals into a new age of prosperity. Gorwinua would be Amalius’s agent within the Exiles. All he needed to do was be completely open with her about what he had held back before.
    It worked. Fauxmalius now felt that Gorwinua was his ally (Combo of Bluff and Perform checks). He confided her, “The other Amalius has a weakness,” he paused, “me. A bit of his soul is still in me. If I die, he is weakened.”
    “I understand. I’ll keep this between us,” Gorwinua said.
    Gorwinua left the room and told the others what Fauxmalius had said.

    After his interrogation Amalius was released unharmed, but with the dominate still in place. Hektor predicted that Divine Amalius would free Fauxmalius from the dominate at some point. Hektor wanted the group to be constantly ready. The second he felt the spell go down, the group should teleport in and apprehend Divine Amalius.

    This session bled into online chat afterwards, so I can’t really say “we ended the session there.” You get the idea though.

    This session crossed over with an odd part of D&D metaphysics. Mind switch swaps the mind and soul of the user with the target’s mind and soul. How does that work for an outsider such as a Planetar whose body and soul are one? I decided to leave that question unanswered in my campaign. Interestingly, around the same time I played this session there was a discussion on Order of the Stick about this exact problem. If anyone is interested you can read more about outsider souls and mind swapping at this thread.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2018-01-02 at 01:49 AM.

  19. - Top - End - #139
    Ogre in the Playground
    Anxe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #73/Total Session #89
    This session was attended by everyone but thewamp. That worked out quite well as his character didn’t have much to do.

    The last session ended with the party expressing a desire to capture the new Divine Amalius (dubbed Amaletar as a portmanteau of Amalius and the Planetar angel body that he now inhabited). Amaletar had stolen some divine juice from Zeus. If they got the juice back and gave it to Zeus, then the all-father could defeat Blendegad for the party and save Cimmeria. Sadly, finding the powerful psion would be next to impossible; but perhaps they could go somewhere they knew Amaletar would be present. Perhaps the wedding of Fauxmalius? PERHAPS?
    Back when Amalius was a man he had his memories altered by the Xorians to think a particular family was his own, when in fact he had no relation to him. This fact was eventually revealed to him and his “wife,” Denara. Rather than end the relationship Amalius and Denara had continued to live as husband and wife. They still had memories of their union, even if the memories were false. They still enjoyed each other’s company. They still had three children to raise, even if Amalius was not their biological father.
    Amalius and Denara continued to act as husband and wife after the truth was revealed, but they were never actually married. Rather than remain in what was technically an adulterous relationship Amalius wished to officially marry Denara. He had sent out invitations awhile ago announcing that the wedding would take place on December 15th. Now the time had come at last. With the events of the last few days, Fauxmalius would be the one going through the marriage ceremony. No one could say what Amaletar would do or if he would even be present at the wedding.
    No official plans were made for intercepting Amaletar at the wedding, but Hektor kept his magical eyes looking for any hint of the psion. He maintained the domination spell on Fauxmalius, but did not exercise its power.

    Soon the day of the wedding arrived, December 15th, the day considered to be the most unlucky for a wedding. Amalius had chosen the date to flout the rule of the gods and the superstitions that reinforced their divine rule.
    The entire city of Jipangu along with all the refugees joined the celebration. A hundred cows and a hundred sheep were sacrificed, roasted, and shared out to the populace. A multitude of other dishes were cooked and served in mountains of food. Wine, beer, and ale flowed in rivers through the streets. Amalius had hired entertainers of all sorts. Fire breathers, puppet shows, dancers, musicians, and animal trainers. The city was decorated in yellow banners bearing the shattered sun of Halkias. Everywhere good smells, sounds, and sights assaulted the senses.
    The nobles who were actually invited to the wedding ceremony itself included people from all over Eastern Cimmeria. All the Alliance Council members, the leading members of Jipangu society, the royal courts of Mars’ Oasis and Aractrash, and of course the faithful members of the Exiles. In addition, Amalius invited a few of the commoner friends that Amalchus had made during their family’s ostracism from Jipangu. The ceremony took place at a large shrine a few blocks from the Halkias estate. Chairs were set up for the guests to sit on. Amalius and his brother greeted everyone as they arrived. Fauxmalius wore a red, black, and gold uniform that combined the styles of Lydian and Jipangu to create something that seemed solidly masculine while maintaining a fluid appearance as if his silks were made of water. Amalchus wore gold and black silks, but in the traditional flowy style of Jipangu.
    Danar wore black satin with gold trim to match the Halkias colors, but his clothes were heavily embroidered in the style of his home country, Sheerzen. Gorwinua wore a purple robe with a bold cut that displayed the sides of her torso. Her dress was cinched with a turquoise cord and turquoise jewelry covered her arms, ankles, neck, and ears. Hektor wore his father’s ceremonial armor from Aractrash as he always did for special occasions. Tagenadi wore his armor, but used a small glamer to make it appear as if he was wearing a white toga with golden accents. Torin wore white, purple, and gold clerical robes appropriate for his role as officiant. Additionally the dwarf had elaborately knotted his beard.
    Eathirilu was the only one of the group to not dress up nor did he bathe. He went as his naturally reincarnated form, a stinky piss-covered wolverine. He still wore his magic armor that resized to fit any of his forms. Eathirilu was as rude as possible as he snarled and growled to disturb the other guests.
    Torin and Tagenadi had parts to play in the wedding as officiant and torchbearer respectively. The other Exiles sat in the last row of chairs in the shrine.
    Prior to the wedding Denara had spent time in the company of the women of her household. In the absence of her own family, this was with Amalius’s family. Amalius’s mother, Hiroka, would act as Denara’s mother, bathing her and preparing her for her wedding. Denara was familiar with the ceremony from her marriage to her first husband, but the particulars were much more elaborate in the Halkias noble household. Scented perfumes and oils, servants to assist with every need, music to calm the mood, and food available on request. Denara ate nothing but was grateful for everything that was provided to her.
    When Denara’s bath was done Hiroka informed Endi, Amalius’s squire. Endi ran to the nearby shrine and instructed Amalius that Denara was ready for him. Fauxmalius left with Endi to retrieve his bride. Tagenadi, Aldarian, and Amalchus followed. Fauxmalius returned a few moments later with his wife in a golden veil. She wore a dress that matched his uniform. The couple was surrounded by Amalius’s torchbearers, Tagenadi, Aldarian, Amalchus, and finally Hallion, Amalius’s “son” with Denara. Hallion was too small to carry the four foot long torch, so Endi carried it in his stead. The Halkias women followed behind the torchbearers.
    The couple filed down the aisle between the chairs to stand beneath the podium that Torin was behind. The torchbearers took their places, two on each side of Fauxmalius and Denara.
    Torin began the ceremony, “We are gathered today to join Amalius Halkias and Denara in the bonds of holy matrimony. While they have lived together before, they weren’t really married, and it's a bit complicated. Anyways, we are here to witness their official union as husband and wife in this holy place where we are joined together. If any person thinks these two should not be wed, speak now or forever hold their piece.”
    Silence filled the room.
    “Hmm…” Torin mumbled to himself, “I thought there’d be somebody.”
    “This couple has had it rough. They’ve made it through prison, losing their memories…” Torin continued on. He had prepared a nice speech, but was forgetting portions and stumbling over the rest. Torin’s talents are better suited for war, not officiating weddings. His inexperience was showing.

    Hektor’s magical alarms went off. Two people were watching the wedding through scrying sensors! He examined the first. Following the sensor’s magical tether to the source he saw Amalgami. The lich had made himself invisible, but Hektor saw him none-the-less. Amalgami stood in the assembled crowd of commoners outside of the Halkias estate. Hektor examined the other sensor, following it to its source as well. He saw Amaletar in a stone room. The bodies of elite Mars’ Oasis guards were strewn about him. The angelic psion was pushing a blue dragon head into a portable hole. Amaletar had attacked the dragon vault in Mars’ Oasis! The place that the heads of the dragon monarchs were kept imprisoned so that they could never return to the earth. He was stealing the heads while the party was occupied!
    Hektor spoke in a harsh whisper to Eathirilu, Danar, and Gorwinua, “We need to go now. Amaletar is in Mars’ Oasis stealing the dragon heads. The party stood up and went to the edge of the shrine. They cast a few spells on themselves, earning quite a few looks from the other wedding guests. Then Hektor teleported them away, following the scrying tether through the astral plane.

    The group arrived outside the dragon vault in Mars’ Oasis. Dead guards were strewn about the place and Amaletar was shoving another dragon head into his portable hole.
    Hektor shouted, “STOP!” and the party attacked. Gorwinua prepared a spell to prevent Amaletar’s escape if he tried. Eathirilu transformed into a dinosaur and charged. Danar hefted his axe and charged as well. Amaletar ignored their ineffective attacks. Danar struck with his full force, enough to decapitate a mountain peak. Amaletar had not a scratch on him.
    Hektor shouted. “He’s using a psionic technique. He’s immune to everything we do temporarily!”
    Eathirilu said to Amaletar, “Can’t we stop this? Can’t we put all this behind us and move against the Dragovinians together? Put down the dragon heads and we can talk it out.”
    Amaletar replied, “Of course we can,” and Eathirilu felt his mind being assaulted. Waves of psionic energy pounded into him. They felt different than all the attacks the Exiles had seen Amalius use previously. The angel’s mental energy was cloaked behind an invisible curtain. Was this why they’d missed his timeless body effect that made him immune to spells? Eathirilu gritted his lizard teeth and bore through the cerebral invasion. He maintained control over his own thoughts and actions.
    Amaletar continued, “But perhaps not today. On a later date we can watch the gods fall and mortals rise, together.” Amaletar began casting another spell. The same invisible curtain passed in front of the Exiles’ eyes. Those who were so trained at recognizing different forms of magic were like children before Amaletar’s godly power. What was he casting?
    Gorwinua realized it at the last second, a teleport spell! She flung her own gather energy at the psion and countered his escape.
    Then from behind Amaletar his psicrystal appeared. It was no longer a black jagged crystal as they had last seen it or a deep red orb as it had been before that. The crystal now took the shape of a white tesseract, constantly rotating in and out of three dimensional space. The crystal folded space around it, Amaletar smiled, and they were gone, taking the portable hole with them.

    “Damn it! No!” Hektor cursed. “I won’t let him get away!” Hektor focused his most powerful energies and made a wish, “Take us to where Amalius has run to.” The party’s surroundings shimmered and changed. They left the dragon vault of Mars’ Oasis and appeared in another place, on another plane of existence.
    Flames roared around them. Everything was fire and ash and heat. The Elemental Plane of Fire! Amaletar floated in front of them.
    “You followed me as I thought you would. Predictable.” He waved his hand and another wave of invisible psionic energy crashed against Eathirilu’s mental fortress. The power surged and pounded against Eathirilu’s defenses. He resisted. He would not fall to his old companion’s magic. He knew it too well.
    “You cannot control us Amalius,” said Eathirilu. “Give up! It’s over.”
    Gorwinua shot a green ray out of her finger. The magic ray hit Amaletar and the green energy spread across his body. “He’s dimensionally anchored! He can’t get away now.”
    Hektor erected a forcecage around Amaletar. There would be no escape through magical or physical means.
    Danar spoke to Amaletar, “Let us take Zeus’s power from you. We don’t have to kill you. Just give the power back and we’ll end this now.”
    Amaletar spoke to all of their minds. “No. I am immortal now. It will never be over and it will never end. Not until the world is free.” And then he disappeared along with his psicrystal.
    “WHERE DID HE GO?” Hektor screamed. The dimensional anchor prevented teleportation. Hektor’s true seeing magic was active as always, Amaletar was not invisible. The forcecage was still erected so he could not have physically left.
    “What spell did he cast?” The Exiles did not know. Magic that was so easy to identify before was now foreign and strange when Amaletar cast it. Had he cast a teleportation spell that overpowered the dimensional anchor? Had he altered reality to escape? If they followed him would he simply do the same thing again?
    Danar said, “He got away for now, but we can find him again another time. Let’s go back to the wedding.”
    Gorwinua said, “Let’s stop at the dragon vault first. Maybe one of the guards is still alive and could tell us something.”
    The party returned to the Material Plane and to Mars’ Oasis. A minute or so later, Amaletar’s time hop expired. He reentered the time stream exactly where he had been before, within the forcecage. He smiled smugly to himself. They had acted just as he predicted. He removed the dimensional anchor and the forcecage before returning to his secret lair.

    We ended the session there.

    I have now caught up with the recorded sessions. If you were waiting to watch them until I finished the previous sessions, your wait is over! The recorded sessions are posted on YouTube. You can view them here. I will still be writing those sessions up and posting them here. Just three more!

  20. - Top - End - #140
    Ogre in the Playground
    Anxe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #74/Total Session #90
    Sorry for the long wait on this one. It's taking me a bit longer to do these. Reason #1 being that with the campaign done there's less motivation. I still want to get it completed though! Reason #2 being that with the video recording I feel like the work is already there in some sense. Reason #3 is that I have a desire to be accurate and transcribing character conversations from the video is obviously more accurate, but it also takes up more of my time than making up my own dialogue that matches my memory of what was discussed. Reason #4 is good news. My wife got pregnant shortly after we concluded the previous session! Baby's due in a month and just the preparation has been taking a lot of my time and energy.
    I expect to do three more updates after this one. We have two more sessions to writeup and then an epilogue. I'll get to them when I can, but no promises.
    Anyways, let's get going!
    This session was recorded and can be watched on YouTube. There’s an audio error so only my audio was recorded for the first 36 minutes. After that was smooth sailing. As this session was recorded I was able to get a lot more dialogue written down and more accurately at that. Whether that was worth it is another question.

    The party returned to Mars’ Oasis after losing Amalius in the Plane of Elemental Fire. They investigated the scene. The adamantine door to the dragon vault had been broken in by an acidic blast. Four guards lay on the ground with caustic lacerations that strongly resembled those that Barakah inflicted. Were Amalius and Barakah working together? No… The Exiles suspected not. They examined the bodies closer. Were the wounds really caused by a giant’s tentacle?
    WAIT! One of the guards was still breathing! The party quickly revived him and got his version of events. Six guards had been stationed to the vault. They were attacked by a tentacled giant who lashed at them with his acid pseudopods. He had moved too quickly for them to react and incapacitated all of them. Two of the guards were eaten whole by the beast. The guard they were speaking to had been knocked away by a tentacle and passed out. He had no memory of his mind being assaulted in any fashion. This was especially odd as the elite guards of Mars’ Oasis receive special mental training. It was unlikely that his mental state had been altered without his knowledge.
    Suspicious, the party cast speak with dead on one of the corpses to confirm the living guard’s story. Everything matched up. Still, the Exiles remained uncertain. Barakah and Amalius’s goals seemed incompatible. Could they really have worked together? If Barakah had attacked initially, where was he when the Exiles arrived? Where was Amalius in the guard’s story? Unfortunately, the party had a wedding to get to. They told the guard to report their suspicions to his superiors before they teleported back to Jipangu.

    The party’s absence from the ceremony was noted, but the wedding had proceeded successfully without them. Torin stumbled his way through the swearing of vows, often not so subtly insulting the couple by mentioning their premarital relations. Additionally, where it is traditional to praise the couple’s finer attributes, Torin could come up with nothing for neither bride nor groom. At the conclusion Fauxmalius kissed Denara and people applauded as they usually do. Husband and wife left for the Halkias estate and the reception. The rest followed. Gorwinua, Hektor, Eathirilu, and Danar returned as the stragglers were still exiting the shrine where the wedding ceremony was held.
    It is traditional after a classical Greek wedding to hold a series of contests at the reception. The first contest was a javelin throw. Hektor stepped up and hefted one of the javelins. With a lazy throw he sent it flying 80 meters. Danar tossed his javelin a sizeable 60 meters. A good throw, but not the best.
    Gorwinua hobbled over to the javelin rack, humming as she went. The old Orc grabbed one of the javelins and lifted it over her head with both hands. She then adopted the perfect javelin throwing pose and chucked the missile 90 meters.
    Eathirilu was too busy shotgunning a keg of ale to participate in the javelin toss. A few of the other guests participated. Gradorian, Astyanax, Junai, and Alabaster threw their own javelins. Gradorian and Junai threw their’s a bit short of Danar’s throw. Astyanax threw a “weak” 40 meters. Alabaster gave his javelin a heave and it landed 88 meters down the pitch.
    Gorwinua won the javelin throwing contest. Fauxmalius gave her a slight smile, knowing that she had used magic to unfairly influence the outcome. Regardless, Fauxmalius congratulated the Orc on her stunning victory. He produced a beautifully decorated golden javelin and gave it to his mother, Hiroka. She in turn presented it to Gorwinua. The old Orkin bard accepted the gift graciously and used it as a cane for the rest of the evening.
    The party elected to not participate in the remaining contests. Gradorian won the wrestling contest and Sabriyya won the sprinting contest. The long jump contest went to an unimportant character. Each winner was presented with a gift from the host.
    As the evening went on Gorwinua got drunk and started encouraging people to dance. Many asked her to sing. She responded, “I have something special planned for later.”
    Eathirilu sat in the corner and continued to shotgun kegs. The Bjorn of Dalleer invited Eathirilu to a drinking contest. The wolverine druid continued to drink without saying yes or no.
    The Bjorn said, “Ah! An animal after my own heart!” He raised his eyebrows provocatively, “We should talk later.”
    Eathirilu continued to drink.
    “I see I have some catching up to do!”
    Bjorn picked up a casket of wine, poked a hole in it with his magically sharpened finger, and then began shotgunning it along with Eathirilu. The Bjorn engaged in circular breathing through his nose to continue downing the wine nonstop. The wolverine’s head inclined towards Bjorn in a slight nod.
    Torin drank keg after keg. When he felt close to his limit, he cast restoration on himself and continued to drink.
    Tagenadi and Hektor sat in a corner and avoided social engagement.
    Danar mingled amongst many people who admired his legendary deeds from 500 years ago. He danced with his old friend, Gorwinua. He made connections with a few of the key political figures in the Alliance and in Jipangu. The food was served. The noble guests hid their surprise as best they could when they realized that their banquet would contain exactly the same dishes at that offered to the commoners outside the Halkias estate.
    Soon the time for toasts arrived. Gorwinua took the first.
    “First off! Another round of applause for the newly beds. I mean! Newly weds! Newly weds,” Gorwinua paused for applause and laughter, “Raise your glasses to our gilded tongued master of ceremonies, Hierophant of Athena, and High General, Torin son of Ringr of the Dwarven Empire.” The reception gave a quiet round of polite applause, remembering Torin’s abysmal officiation of the wedding.
    Gorwinua continued, “From the looks of it he has a lot of seats to fill, but don’t worry folks. He and his belly are working on it.” The crowd chuckled a little bit. “And lastly, of course, a toast to the venerable lords and ladies of Jipangu and the Alliance whose wisdom and acumen, courage and strength, have together raised the greatest slave army that Cimmeria has ever seen.
    “Ah… the young couple. I would like to present to them a gift. Twelve barrels of the finest Orcish wine, one each for the twelve Olympians. Er…well… Eleven and seven eighths barrels?” Gorwinua flashed a smile, indicating that she had tasted a goblet from one of the barrels. “Not the finest wine in all of Cimmeria none-the-less the Orcish people have slaved over it for generations.” The crowd was a bit more puzzled now. The guests were uncertain whether to look at Gorwinua, the married couple, or the Goblin servers she seemed to be talking about.
    Hektor cast mage hand and began tugging on Gorwinua’s dress. Gorwinua ignored the wizard’s attempts to quiet her, “And to you, young Amalius, what deeds you have wrought in your two dozen years. To bring back the armies of the Alliance, you are our very own Prometheus. I’ve only been back for a short while, but I feel I already know him so well.” She put her hands on her hips and said in a joking tone, “Amalius have you been messing with my memory?” The crowd was silent, but from the back of the party one could hear the sounds of a drunk wolverine laughing.
    “But really folks, he really has done so much for the people of Cimmeria. One is forced to wonder if there really are two of him.” Gorwinua paused for those in the know. She continued with a wink, “And what a fine gift for young Denara that would be.
    “To Amalius and Denara. To the end of tyranny and the end of an evil god and to the end of evil kings. And now…” Gorwinua gestured to the band and they began playing.

    The party continued on. Gorwinua attempted to introduce Hektor to some of the eligible ladies at the reception. Hektor stumbled when it came to social conversation, but Gorwinua more than made up for it. She told the women about the many exploits and talents of the best wizard in the world. Hektor began to talk with them. Once the conversation seemed to be approaching stability, Gorwinua left.
    The whole night, Aldarian had been glued to the side of Eamorataj, the elvish, druidic tutor of Fauxmalius and Denara’s children. Gorwinua cut in, attempting to dance with Eamorataj. Aldarian skillfully twisted the dance into a circle of three.

    The sun began to set. People went from drunk to wasted on Gorwinua’s gift of wine. The festivities continued outside of the Halkias home as well. The hum of voices outside rose to an angry murmur. Eathirilu’s keen ears picked up the sound of a demagogue riling the commoners up against the nobility. A strong male voice shouted, “You know what they’re eating in there? They’re eating all the sirloin while we get the stringy bits. They get lamb and pork and you get the scraps! They think nothing of the plight of the common man and the trials you face in your daily lives. They care not. They do nothing for you, but placate you with these empty entertainments and empty gifts. The nobles do this to keep you down. To keep you depressed and obedient!”
    The angry voices shouted for blood. Danar flew to the top of the Halkias estate’s exterior walls and looked out at the crowd of thousands. In the midst of the mob a wooden platform had been hastily constructed out of overturned tables. On top of the platform stood Amalganus, Amalius’s father. Amalganus continued to rally the crowd against the nobles of Jipangu, “We should go in there! We should take what they’re keeping from us! We should bring them out here into the misery of our lives so they can see what it’s like to live like us for a change!”
    Danar flew off the Halkias wall towards Amalganus, planning on removing him from the platform. As he streaked forward he was slammed by an unseen force. He struggled and pushed through the magical force, whatever it was. Danar shouted to the crowd, “Yes! People of Jipangu, refugees, war victims, now is the time to strike out and make a new life for ourselves.”
    Amalganus spoke towards Danar, “Yes! Here stands one of the converted like me who is sympathetic to your plight and wishes to share our materials. Come forth! Share your wealth oh, Danar of Sheerzen, King of the Dragon Artists!”
    Danar responded, “Do you know who I am? I am the man who denied the throne and started a kingdom in the middle of the ****ing swamp. Follow me and you shall prosper!” Danar laced his words with a magical suggestion adding a little umph to his self-made man story. As he cast the spell, Danar was hit by the unseen force once more. He ignited one of the wards he had set in place earlier and deflected the hostile magic. Danar’s suggestion influenced the minds of key members in the crowd, getting them to follow him. Unfortunately, not knowing Danar’s full intent, the crowd began to pick up improvised weapons and light torches.
    Within the Halkias estate most of the guests were gossiping about the growing mob. The conversation seemed to center around how it would take a long time for them to make their way home through the throngs. Few seemed concerned about the dangers the gathering presented.
    Gorwinua flew out, holding a bottle of wine and a goblet. She alighted next to Danar and asked him, “What’s going on?”
    “To be honest, I saw a big group of people. I’ve been looking to start a new settlement. I kind of miss the swamp days. I saw an opportunity.”
    Within the mob there was a multitude of fearful screams. A point coalesced where the crowd thinned as people ran away in fear. There was nothing at this point as far as Danar and Gorwinua could see. The screams attracted Eathirilu. He transformed into a bear and carried his keg over to the wrought iron gate to watch the proceedings.
    Amalganus vaulted off his platform and overturned one of the tables to create a barricade between himself and the point that people ran from. As he did so, the mob went insane. People began frothing at the mouth, running, and stabbing each other. The spellcasting party recognized this as a magic influence.
    This was too much chaos for Torin. His stoic indifference to the affairs of Jipangu dropped and Torin used dispel magic to clear the minds of the people rioting outside. Some of the people calmed down, but only relatively. The mob continued to writhe and surge.
    Hektor, thinking that this must be some sort of plot by Amalgami with the Amalganus simulacrum, acted without remorse. He shot a disintegrate at Amalganus. The false man turned to ash and water. This served only to anger the crowd further as their demagogue was martyred in front of their eyes by the perceived enemy.
    As the crowd’s anger peaked, Gorwinua began to sing. The message of the song was that the dream of Jipangu was still alive. If you work hard as a person of Jipangu you can succeed and build an honorable life and home for your family. There is a problem in society, but there’s a peaceful solution to it. This calmed more of those within the mob, but still not enough.
    Seeing that they might not be able to stop the flood, Danar and Tagenadi began flying down and picking people out of danger to deposit to safety nearby.
    The mob flooded towards the Halkias gate. Eathirilu vaulted in front of the gate and took up a defensive position.

    Eathirilu waved his bear claws and summoned a strong magical wind to blast people backwards, preventing the mob from reaching the people in the wedding reception.
    Torin continued to dispel the insanity magic and Gorwinua kept singing to calm the people. Eventually the chaos abated and the crowd dispersed. Who had cast the insanity magic? Most likely Amalgami due to the presence of the Amalganus simulacrum.
    Hektor, Danar, Torin, and Gorwinua engaged in a discussion on the ethics of slaves in Eastern Cimmerian society. Hektor felt all social issues could wait for the fall of the Dragovinians. Gorwinua felt that no time was too soon to begin the work of abolition. Torin felt that slavery was a naturally more ethical than executing prisoners of war.
    (Watch the movie at about 1 hour and 55 minutes in for the slavery talk)
    The party wound down. Guests began leaving. Amalius and Denara went off to bed. Slowly everyone else trickled out. The sun set on an eventful day.

    Plans for the war continued. A few days later the Alliance Council was contacted by a human messenger from the Xorians. They wished to negotiate a truce.
    The party joined the negotiations with the Alliance Council.
    Gorwinua asked, “Is this an unconditional surrender?”
    The messenger spoke with a Xorian peasant’s accent, “I have been instructed to allow King Jevaninada the Second to speak for himself, using me as a remote. I shall summon him immediately if you are ready to discuss terms.”
    “The Council is ready,” said Arendil.
    The messenger twisted the pendant on his ruby necklace and his face began to morph and change. Slowly his features were altered to become those of the King of the Dragovinians, the Avatar of Blendegad’s Might, Jevaninada the Second of Xoria. The messenger’s plain face remained beneath the surface, visible only out of the corner of an observer’s eye.
    "The loss of life in this war is no longer sustainable. Greshendale, Bradel Fields, Phoenix, and Jevanicia, destroyed. We throw mindless undead armies at each other and do not consider the consequences to our individual soldiers and citizenry. I ask you to end it. Come to Nox Castle with your best fighters and face the best of Xoria.”
    Gorwinua spoke up saying, “Why do you come here now? Is it that you realize you have no chance in this war without hinging your fate on ritual combat?”
    “We wish to end the loss of life. Xoria has always had the power to crush your Alliance and bring an end to your resistance, but doing so would be traumatic. All your people would die and there would be nothing left to conquer. I now see this result as inevitable if we are to continue on our current track. To forestall this outcome, ritual combat is preferable. Vanquish you, not eliminate you. Afterwards we will raise up those with merit who join our Empire. It has always been the Xorian belief that Ability, Unity, and Immortality are the most important things in society. Therefore they should be the most important things in people.”
    Eathirilu said, “You realize your immortality is a lie. You’re all just offering yourselves up to your god. For him to devour you all. I have seen it. There will be no one left in the end and you will hand your people their doom.”
    “You look at false visions, druid. As Blendegad rises, so will the best among us rise to join him in the pantheon. He will not consume the rest of us as we will raise up to be gods just as he is. You too could be a god in the new pantheon, druid.”
    Hektor broke in, “The way I see it, you don’t have the power to eliminate us. Your threat is meaningless. We are winning this war. We .have the power of resurrection on our side. We’ve got Eathirilu and me. You have Stanton and Terroc, oh wait, they’re dead! This is just a war of attrition and the Alliance is winning.”
    Jevaninada answered, “Perhaps you need another demonstration like Bradel Fields. Maybe that should happen here in Jipangu, or Yuettencal, or Lakatia. You think that you stand above us? We have weapons that you cannot even imagine.”
    Eathirilu said, “You can kill our cities, but you can’t kill us.”
    “I wouldn’t need to. You won’t have anything left to fight for but your own, sad vision of the world.”
    Danar said, “We may not be able to save the world, but you can be damn sure we’ll avenge it.”
    Gorwinua asked, “Would there be slaves in your new order?”
    Jevaninada said, “Of course. Such is the natural and right way of the world. The strong rule the weak.”
    “Dammit!” Gorwinua took off her shoe and threw it at the messenger. The man did not even flinch as the shoe hit him in the nose. Blood began to drip down into his mouth. The messenger’s actions were controlled by his Emperor and Emperors do not bleed.
    Gorwinua said, “We accept your challenge! But we refuse to negotiate terms through this gross, middle person.”
    “If you so wish you may come to Nox Castle I swear no harm will come to you as long as you keep the peace. A Dragovinian is bound to his oaths, so you can have faith in your security throughout the negotiations.”
    Gorwinua said, “If Jevininada, emperor of Xoria and Avatar of the Reaper, expects us to trust that the terms of his challenge will be honored in the very heart of Nox, then he must trust us and meet to discuss terms in a place of our choosing. Atop the Lich Shade is both neutral and a place of power that honors neither his gods nor ours."
    Jevaninada replied, "The Lich Shade? The very site where you sent thousands of undead to slaughter my men? You call this neutral ground? A grave insult if I've ever heard one. If you wish a more neutral location then we should meet outside the east gates of Gazeara in two days hence."
    "With your grand assembled armies at your back, and starving peasants and battered walls at ours? Ridiculous."
    Jevaninada was happy to trade insult for insult, “Then perhaps your 'great intelligence' realizes why communicating through a messenger suits both our needs."
    An idea came to Gorwinua, “No, we can meet in the desert. There’s twenty-five insect queens that rule the great hives. They are bound by their custom and their culture to uphold lawful interactions between people. They will stand as witness and through their magical might enforce civility between us and you ****ers.”
    “Since you honor honest and in-person discussion so strongly, I will meet your challenge pitiful orc woman. We will go to the hives and negotiate there.”
    Particulars were discussed for hiring the formian hives in the Shacklack Desert (Alliance Session #34/Total Session #45). Both sides offered up a fee and the hive queens were hired. If the sanctity of the negotiations were violated, the twenty-five hives would join together to enforce the contract. With their combined might to violate the truce was to court death.

    A few days later the Alliance party went to the formians. The Xorian party was already there. Blendegad the Reaper, King Jevaninada II, Barejando, Darudanano, and the whole host of enormous dragons that were present at the fight over Nox. Danar locked eyes with Invernix and glared. Danar fingered his axe. Invernix’s eyes slid off Danar to land upon Eathirilu. For armor the druid wore the skin of red dragons, Invernix’s children. The red dragon patriarch snarled.

    Negotiations for the terms of the ritual fight were held largely out of character and over the course of a few days before this session took place. Blendegad’s participation in the fight was established as non-negotiable. From there we moved to choosing location with the two main options being Nox Castle and the Formian Hives.
    Nox Castle could prevent the teleportation of people trying to enter or leave, but allowed teleportation within its confines. This would prevent any retreat, ensuring that the combat would reach a final resolution. Recognizing that this was their home territory, the Xorians were willing to allow a “man advantage” to the Alliance. The Alliance could bring twice as many warriors.
    The Formian Hives were more difficult. The Formians could stand by and dispel teleportation magic, but how would they know what was an attempt to escape and what was merely a tactical maneuver? Magical barriers could be put in place, but they lacked the discretion for in-fight teleportation as well.
    Nox Castle was decided on.
    Next up was who would participate. The party was confident in the six of the PCs. They knew that at least four of the Xorians would be Blendegad, Jevaninada, Barejando, and Darudanano. If they were going to be matched six for six, would the other two be dragons? I decided not, because I didn’t want to play the vampire dragons again.
    Summoning magic was also discussed. Summons were acceptable during the fight, but it was decided that they could not occur beforehand. Doing so would count as bringing additional people.
    Negotiations were continued and settled upon in the next session!

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