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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    This is Terroc/Korjak from the high- and low- level games respectively.

    I don't have a lot to add in terms of plot; due to real-world constraints I'm unfortunately only in about half the games. I would, however, like to call everyone's attention to a few "how it feels to play the game" points.

    1. The Xorians are clearly much, much better than us. We don't have any clear idea of how we might win!
    2. The low-level and high-level campaign are different in content, but they also have a different feel. So far, the low-level campaign feels appropriately mundane: we basically just did some mandated quests before going on a long journey.

    On the other hand, the high-level campaign often feels... epic. Very little of the game is traditional hack'n'slash. Instead, we're both directing the Alliance's war goals and trying to recruit allies to the Alliance. Distance isn't a factor, since our PCs can cast teleport a half-dozen times per day. The only downside to this is that time tends to pass much faster in the low-level campaign.

    Finally, huge shout-out to Anxe for keeping a campaign this complicated going, despite sometimes uninformed players and doing everything through Google Hangouts.

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Ogre in the Playground
    Anxe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    I'm gonna update the thread to say Middle_Snu instead of Servantofwomp. Changing your user name from your old one! ARGH!

    EDIT: I'd also like to publically thank Middle_Snu for his pubic compliments on my DMing.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2012-03-12 at 10:36 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Ogre in the Playground
    Anxe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #12/Total Session #20
    This session was attended by Throgg, Salzar, thewamp, and Middle_Snu. We had the session over Google Hangouts as normal.

    The party started off by wondering what they should do about the refugees discovered on the Delain River. Leaving them to float downriver would result in them going out to sea. The threat of running out of food existed as well. A forced march to Dalleer or Shalerton was suggested. Dalleer was closer, but not a member of the Alliance yet. Shalerton would work, but the Council suspected it was next on the Xorian hit list. Terroc put forth the idea of using a teleportation circle to move the civilians to a different city such as Bradel Fields or Jipangu. That solved the problem of the civilians dying enroute due to exposure and lack of food. It also got the refugees to a safe allied city. Amalius suggested Jipangu as a better location and Arendil, the Council leader and senior representative from Jipangu, agreed.
    Teleportation circle scrolls are hard to come by. Preta and Shez went to Greshendale as it was the only place they were sure would have it. They got two scrolls as the Council thought one might not be enough to transport the thousands of refugees.
    The rest of the party organized about a hundred assistant staff to teleport in with them to the refugees location. Preta, Shez, Terroc, and the two other mages can all teleport. Additionally, the party could stuff people into bags of holding to get past the limit on extra people tagging along for a teleport. The hundred or so officers arrived and directed the refugees off of their rafts to set up a temporary camp by the river. Once everyone was off they were quickly directed through the two teleportation circles to Jipangu. Arendil went along with them to smooth over their transition into life in a new city.

    Prior to Arendil’s departure it was decided that the new base of the Alliance would be at Bradel Fields instead of Jord. The senior members (Kig, Titandra, etc.) were teleported to Bradel Fields. Gradorian went to Jipangu to train the refugees who were willing to fight into a strong mercenary contingent.

    The away team decided it was time to check in on the dwarven political situation. A little bit of background is necessary at this point.
    The dwarves were created by Hades and Hephaestus a long time ago. Upon their creation, Hephaestus gave them four tools, one for each of the dwarf clans. These tools were the Anvil, the Hammer, the Pick, and the Forceps. The four dwarf clans were the hill dwarves, the mountain dwarves, the deep dwarves, and the duergar. The dwarf clans came together and forged the Fierce Axe of Dwarvish Lords for their King Meathgar. Meathgar created a mighty dwarven empire by conquering human lands south of the Terror Mountains. The Golden Age of the dwarf did not last long. Soon the dwarf clans began fighting amongst themselves for possession of the Fierce Axe which marked the wielder as High King of all dwarves. Meathgar died and the Axe abandoned the dwarves. Civil war consumed them until an uneasy truce was reached.
    In the last campaign, Ozymandias’s character, Atreides, found the Axe. It had decided that its people were ready for reunification. Unfortunately, the Axe was claimed by Atreides’ killer and given to the Xorians.
    In one of our most recent sessions the Fierce Axe was reclaimed by the Alliance. It can be an important tool in bringing more dwarves to the Alliance banner.

    The dwarf clans are separated in location. The hill dwarves rule the city of Jord and little else. The mountain dwarves live within the Terror Mountains. The deep dwarves live underneath the Terror Mountains. The duergar lived underneath the Xorian Empire’s lands in the west.
    About forty years ago the Xorians started raiding the Underdark beneath their Empire for slaves. The duergar were forced to retreat and sought refugee with the deep dwarves. The duergar have been living with the deep dwarves for the past thirty years or so.
    The dwarves know the axe must be retrieved and they decided they would all meet at the capital of the mountain dwarf clan in Highhold (Not on the map, but it’s in the Mountains somewhere). King Dainlin of the hill dwarves was on his way there at the start of the campaign.

    Terroc scried King Dainlin and found him having dinner with another dwarven lord. The away team (Terroc, Preta, Shez, Amalius, Tagenadi, and Torin) teleported in to talk to Dainlin. Dainlin told them he was taking his time getting to Highhold. He was stopping with every lord on the way and staying with them for several days to curry favor if the issue of who should wield the Fierce Axe came to a vote among the Lords. He estimated that his journey to Highhold would be complete in 4 months, or if given teleportation assistance for him, his family, his servants, and his guards, only 40 days. Dainlin said he’d prefer not to teleported directly to Highhold as it might be viewed as a snub to the lords he hadn’t visited yet. He expressed pleasure that the Axe had been recovered, but he knew it was best that one of the dwarven kings not possess it until it was decided who would wield the Axe and become the High King.
    The party teleported next to Highhold. They told a servant of the mountain dwarf king that the Fierce Axe of Dwarvish Lords had been recovered and was in Jord at this very moment. The servant was shocked, but quickly realized they were speaking the truth. He said a brunch could be organized with the three kings for the next day and the away team agreed.

    Not wanting to “waste a day” the away team set off to explore more of the Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali.
    They went to the room with the three demon statues first. They hadn’t explored the two rooms off the side of it yet. The west one was explored first. Going down the stairs into it set off a spear trap. The net of spears shot out of the walls around Tagenadi. He managed to jump forward before they clanged together, escaping them. The spears did not retract into the wall, so the party cut them up with Amalius’s adamantine dagger.
    The room below contained an elf statue in the middle of a fountain of blood. The blood oozed and spurted out of various wounds upon the statue’s body. A basin below the statue collected the blood and recycled it through the statue. Around the edge of the spherical room were writings and carvings that told an embellished version of Kruk-Ma-Kali’s campaign against the elves of the Valor Forest. Every defeat he’d suffered in that campaign was turned into a “strategic withdrawal.” Every elf killed miraculous multiplied into a dozen elf bodies upon the ground (Amalius is the only one fluent in Goblin, so he is the relating all the writings to the rest of the adventurers).
    Realizing that the fountain must be magic they sent a summoned ape forward to touch the fountain. Nothing bad happened to upon touching the blood, so they had the ape take a bath in it. Again, nothing significant happened. They tried having the ape block the flow of one of the elf’s wounds, and that elicited no effect either.
    The fountain appeared safe, so Tagenadi approached it. He poked his finger with a dagger and watched a drop of his blood fall into the fountain. His blood sizzled upon contact with the dark red of the fountain. His blood changed color to the deep red of the fountain, before mixing in with the rest of the blood and disappearing into the flow.
    The party decided to try adding blood to the fountain in greater quantities. The summoned a dog and gave it a large gash on its leg. The blood poured forth, sizzled, changed color, and mixed in with the rest.
    Torin suggested that perhaps elf blood was necessary. Having no elves present (Aldarian is the only elf who occasionally goes with the away team) the party decided to drop it. Saying the Goblin word for elf to the statue didn’t do anything either. Tagenadi got a vial of the fountain blood before they left the room.

    Next was the room to the east of the demon statues.
    The stairs down to this room contained a trap which was triggered by an ape summoned by the cautious party. The trap was three axes that swung down to four feet high. The party bypassed the trap by ducking under four feet.
    The room was spherical just like the room west of the demon statues. Writings and pictures on the sides of the room tell the story of Kruk-Ma-Kali’s successful eradication of the dwarves of the Dominarie Moutains.
    In the center of the room was a large well. The sound of deep breathing came out of the well. Additionally, faint whispering could be heard coming from the well. Terroc had cast a prying eyes spell previously. He sent one of the eyes down the well. It disappeared. Terroc sent another eye down and had it return to report every five feet. Through this method the party discovered that the pit was 200 feet deep.
    Tagenadi and Terroc went up to the pit to drop a rock with a light spell cast on it. While watching the rock fall Tagenadi heard a whispering in his ear, “You killed them! You killed them yourself, you bastard!” The rock suddenly disappeared at approximately 200 feet in depth. Tagenadi’s mind went through an experience upon hearing the whispering. He gained a permanent point of Wisdom (However he had to make a Will save as well. Terroc did not have to make a Will save.). The rest of the party decided it wasn’t worth it to listen to the whispers if Will saves were involved.
    Tagenadi dumped the vial of elf blood into the pit. There was no visible effect in either room.
    The party tried directing a summoned eagle to the bottom of the pit and then back up. The eagle disappeared at 200 feet and didn’t return. The party gave up on the pit room after that.

    The next section of the tomb was turning right at the T after the demon statue room instead of left. Previously, left had led to a room with a mindflayer carved into the wall and then a room full of spikes guarded by a now dead air elemental.
    The hallway to the right of the T led to a locked door pointing south. The party had Tagenadi open the lock with an adamantine dagger. A needle shot out of the lock and glanced off of Tagenadi’s armor. The lock was destroyed by the dagger and the party made it into the next room. The room had four doors just like the mindflayer room and the spike room. The left door was made of a mahogany and had a jade handle shaped like a dragon. The far door was made of bronze with a golden handle shaped like a wolf. The right door was made of oak. The walls of the room were made of gold. Goblin writing in blood covered the walls.
    Tagenadi examined the writing and found it to be about hobgoblin myths. Tagenadi wrote down the Goblin words for dragon, wolf, and pit and had the party search the walls for those three words. The party found one appearance of dragon and another of pit. The dragon mentioned was the dragon in Jason and the Argonauts. The pit mentioned is the pit of Tartarus where the Titans were banished after the war between the Titans and the Olympians. No clues to the pit room or the two doors in the current room were found.
    The party examined the dragon door and found it impossible to open through conventional means. No lock. The door didn’t open easily to a push, a pull, or sliding to the side. Knock didn’t work either. Terroc told everyone to stand back and then blasted the door with a disintegrate. The door fell into ash. The door was revealed to be hollow and full of acid. The acid washed over the floor, but the party kept a safe distance and suffered no harm. Torin cast create water to dilute the acid and the party moved in to see what was behind the dragon door.
    Beyond the dragon door was a small room with a metal vault door in it. The door had five one-inch holes in it forming a pentagon. Beneath the pentagon was Goblin writing. Tagenadi read it to the party,
    “The greatest treasure to behold, lies here within this vault so cold.
    Heart of earth, stone supreme, earns thee entrance if thou see past the mean.”
    The party was unable to figure out the riddle. They thought it might have something to do with gemstones or coins, but saying the Goblin words for gemstones or coins achieved no result.
    The wolf door was next. It wasn’t locked. Behind it was a symbol of lycanthropy. Everyone made their saves, so it wasn’t a problem.
    The simple wooden door was locked, but the adamantine dagger mutilated that problem as well. Beyond it was a short hallway with a huge 10’ by 10’ vault door made of steel and mithral. In the center of the door was a sword pommel. The party was scared of traps on the door. They decided to go back to the spike room from before.

    The three unexplored doors in the spike room were a wooden one in the south wall, a steel one in the west wall, and a golden one with writing on it in the north wall. After a detect magic found no overt magical traps, Amalius went up to the north door and read the inscriptions aloud the rest of the party, “I swear upon the blades of Athena and by the wings of Nyx that I am the slave, body and soul, of Kruk-Ma-Kali, King of All, Lord of Might, Prince of this World, Protector of the East, Builder of Empire, Guardian of Elos, Master of Blades, Defender of Faith, Conqueror of Men, Slayer of Dwarves, Grinder of Elves, Ravager of Cimmeria, Son of Night, Warden of the Black Pit, Brother of War. If I should ever fail my sovereign lord and master, may the daughters of the dark rend my flesh and the hounds of war gnaw upon my bones.” Upon finishing the golden door swung open to reveal another corridor with a large door at the end of it.
    Realizing that he had just read some sort of dark oath, Amalius immediately freaked out and manifested mind blank on himself. Nothing sinister happened, but he resolved to keep his guard up when reading future writings in the tomb (The other players had Amalius read the writing aloud while Throgg was away from the Hangout getting dinner. Amalius had his freakout upon Throgg’s return).
    The large door at the end of the corridor was covered in carvings of elves, dwarves, and humans writhing in agony. An elf with its back arched in pain formed the handle at the center of the door. Not wanting to risk the door, the party headed back to the pentagon door to ponder its riddle.

    The party sat down and tried to figure the riddle. Eventually, Terroc realized he was only getting older. He stood up and disintegrated the door (The party had, of course, written down the inscription already). Beyond the door were the walls of the tomb. Written on the wall were the words, “Wisdom, hard won, bests any coin. Follow Us and prosper. KMK”
    The party was set off on the coin part of the riddle, but nothing obvious presented itself. They moved on to the steel and mithral door. An ape was summoned to pull on the sword pommel. Immediately on puling it the sword sprung out and the ape swung it around. Fortunately, everyone had chosen to keep a safe distance away. The sword completed its ape-propelled circle back into its door sized scabbard. Upon returning, the door opened revealing another square room with three other exists.
    The room was dominated by a large black-marble statue of Kruk-Ma-Kali facing away from the party on a pedestal in the center. The walls of the room were beaten platinum covered with a tiny golden Goblin script. To the north was a bronze door with a gem-encrusted handle. To the south was an ebony door with a bone handle. On the other side of the statue was an archway, beyond which was only mist.
    The ape was sent in first to stomp around and check for traps. He found none. Not wanting to waste his remaining duration, the ape was sent into the mist and told to return after stomping around in there.
    It didn’t come back.
    Deciding that the room was safe, but not the mist, Amalius went in to examine the writing. The words told the story of Kruk-Ma-Kali’s true rise to power and his eventual fall. Amalius examined the statue to see if there was any writing on the pedestal. He found no inscriptions, but he did find that the statue did not actually rest on the pedestal. It rested upon a disk. The disk rested upon a pole that went into the pedestal. Amalius correctly surmised that the statue could rotate.
    The party moved forward to rotate the statue. They decided to turn it counter-clockwise to face the northern bronze door. Upon facing north, a great sound of stone grinding upon stone was heard behind the bronze door. The party continued rotating it. When it faced the door to the south, the floor crumbled beneath them! Terroc was the lucky one, having an overland flight spell already active. Tagenadi, Amalius, and Shez plummeted. Torin jumped to grab the statue which was not falling, but slipped when trying to grab it. Torin fell. Preta jumped for the statue as well and managed to grab it. Tagenadi, Amalius, Shez, and Torin hit the ground one hundred feet below and suffered a fair amount of damage. Torin healed them all up. Preta and Shez cast fly upon themselves and ferried the party members up. The statue had not fallen because it rested upon a huge pillar in the center of the room.
    After everyone was safe, Preta and Shex rotated the statue further, back to its original position, facing east. The grinding of stone upon stone was heard once again. Tagenadi suspected that a secret passage was opening and closing on the other side of the bronze door. Preta knocked the door and the party continued. Beyond was an empty room. Rotating the statue back to the north caused a section of the northern wall in the new room to slide down into the floor. A short hallway was revealed, at the end of which was a door made of bone.
    A detect magic revealed a necromantic aura on the door (surprised?). Terroc decided that disintegrating it was best. As the ray hit the door, the skulls that composed it animated. They flew forward and began biting the party members. Tagenadi slew one quickly. Torin filled the air with positive energy, causing the rest to turn to dust.
    Beyond the destroyed bone door was a large cavernous chamber. Stalactites covered the ceiling and bones were encrusted in the red stone walls. Instead of a floor there was a firey pit that could only lead to one place. The screams and cries of the damned came from the pit and sulfurous smoke curled throughout the room. A wooden door could be seen on the far side of the room. A winding pathway made of bones and skulls was suspended in midair.
    Terroc sent two apes to explore the pathway. The apes discovered that the pathway was very rickety. They promptly fell to their dooms.
    Torin used an animate objects on the doorway across the cavern. It opened to reveal a room filled with light instead of the usual dark of the room. Tagenadi threw a rock across the cavern, but it hit an invisible barrier in the middle of the room and fell into the pit. Puzzled, Tagenadi decided to chance flying into the room. He activated his celestial armor, but found that the flying magic slide off himself and into the pit. Terroc summoned an air elemental to see if its flight would be absorbed by the pit. The air elemental was able to travel the room safely. Tagenadi was also able to toss a rock onto the bone path close to him.
    A little bit more than curious, the party scoured the room with detect magic. The right side of the room contained a large illusion spell. The party immediately attempted to disbelieve the illusion, but was unable to.
    Amalius had a growing suspicion. He threw a rock near the wall to the right. The rock did not fall into the pit, but landed on an invisible section of the bone pathway. Torin tested the invisible pathway with his spear. His prodding revealed that the invisible pathway was a reality. However, as he poked the bone he felt a force grab his spear and take it from. A flying imp’s invisibility dissolved as it took his spear!
    Amalius reacted quickly and dominated the imp. He proceeded to interrogate the imp about the room. The imp revealed the full location of the invisible pathway along the right wall. The invisible pathway was considerably less rickety than the winding visible one. Tagenadi crossed the rickety pathway with the assistance of an air elemental. The party decided that would take too long. Instead they had an air elemental carry them across in a bag of holding. They questioned the imp about the rest of the tomb, but it knew nothing. Amalius ordered it to count all the bones in the pathway before they went into the well-lit room.

    The room’s walls were covered in golden writing. Tagenadi translated a few of the phrases as aphorisms of Kruk-Ma-Kali. The light in the room originated from a magical orb near the ceiling. Three identical wooden doors led out of the room to the west, north, and east. Tagenadi bravely opened all the doors, starting with the east and moving counter-clockwise.
    The east door exploded in his face and revealed only a wall behind. The north door revealed a wall with a magic symbol on it. The symbol disappeared and Tagenadi suffered no ill effects (FOR NOW! BWAHAHAHAHA!). The west door was… locked.
    Terroc threw a disintegrate at the door. A good portion of the door turned to dust. The spell revealed the door to be made of thick steel instead of wood as it first appeared. Tagenadi bashed down the rest of the door using his Mountain Hammer Strike (Or Ancient Hammer? Something like that. It ignores DR and hardness).
    Beyond the door was a long hallway. The hallway contained many carvings of Kruk-Ma-Kali. Kruk on a throne with various humanoids prostrating themselves before him. Him commanding his armies. Him slaying a dragon. His birth. His first battle. His slaying of a manticore at the tender young age of five. Him surveying his troops and executing prisoners. Him fighting humans and other beasts. At the end of the hallway was a carving of him with his back to the viewer while he filled out some paperwork at a desk. Four stern-looking bodyguards surrounded the carving at the back. The hallway turned left at the desk carving.
    Tagenadi led the way forward. The party encountered two traps. One that filled the hallway with fire and another that filled it with ice. Both were dealt with by having Torin heal everyone back to full after passing over the pressure plates (Stupid magic user party).
    Following the turn in the hallway a pair of doors was revealed. The carvings of Kruk-Ma-Kali continued to the doors. Upon the portals were two images of him with what appeared to be real stone scabbards capable of accepting blades. The party immediately knew that putting some sort of blades into the scabbards would open the door. They tried first with the black silver dagger they’d found in the tomb in one scabbard and a normal steel dagger in the other. That achieved nothing. They tried next with the black silver dagger and the cursed never-miss sword. That got no response either. Terroc suggested that Amalius think on it a little harder. Amalius manifested divination. The power told him, “Blades too big and too small. None of these blades fits at all!” The scabbards were longsword sized, so they needed longswords.
    Having no longswords with them, Terroc simply blasted one of the doors open with a disintegrate.

    The next room was the motherload room! A large chamber filled with treasure stacked up against the walls. Jewels, gold, silver, and four large treasure chests. A large statue of Kruk-Ma-Kali stood at each of the four corners of the room. At the far end of the room was a large alcove with a giant sarcophagus on it. Fearing traps and animation of the statues, Terroc sent in two earth elementals to lift the lid off the sarcophagus. No one was surprised when the statues animated and attack. A goblin ghost coming (Not Hobgoblin) out of the sarcophagus was a bit of a surprise. The ghost attacked the elementals with the help of one of the golems. Tagenadi engaged another golem. Preta used a wall of force to separate the other two golems. Shez threw a magic missile at the ghost. Torin followed up the missile with a mass cure spell. The ghost suffered under the influx of positive energy and slowly faded away. Tagenadi took down his golem with a Mountain Hammer Strike despite it attacking with its swords and magic eye lazers. The other three golems were quickly mopped up.
    The party took a look inside the sarcophagus and saw that it contained only the small preserved corpse of a goblin slave. The slave clutched a rusted dagger to its chest. Amalius correctly identified the slave as the assassin of Kruk-Ma-Kali long ago. Unsure what to make of it, the party loaded up the treasure into the bags of holding for later counting. Satisfied with the vast bounty of loot, the party exited the tomb and teleported back to Highhold.

    They were set up with fine accommodations in Highhold and informed that only one of their number would be seated at the same table as the dwarven kings. The rest would have to stand to the side or leave the room during the negotiations.
    The party hemmed and hawed over who should represent them. They narrowed it down to Torin, Terroc, or Amalius. Torin was a dwarf and made the most sense initially. However, Torin was deemed too low in the dwarven social order to sit with the other kings as equals. Someone wholly removed from that order would be better, a representative of the Alliance, for example. Terroc suggested himself as the most senior and Amalius suggested himself as the most diplomatic (or psioncally dominating, whatever). Bickering ensued until Tagenadi suggested that they simply ask King Dainlin if he'd like to take part in the negotiations. The party teleported to Dainlin and asked him. Dainlin agreed. They zipped back to Highhold and the Dwarven King's Brunch began the next day.

    Another interlude is necessary. The players did not want to watch me talk to myself over Google Hangouts using four different handpuppets (even though that sounds very entertaining). Neither did they want me to summarize the negotiations to them. Instead, they chose to play the dwarven kings during the negotiations. I wrote up a short bio on each of the kings and sent it to the player who would be playing that king. The bios are spoilered below. The players were not allowed to view the other players' bios until after the negotiations were concluded.

    Dainlin, King of the Hill Dwarves, Member of the Alliance played by Salzar
    Dainlin has ruled the dwarf kingdom since before the first Xorian war. He's always believed in bettering his kingdom and supporting the defensive side in any foreign conflict. He's against the Xorians because they're evil people who have hurt millions of people throughout the world. He wants the Axe to be used against the Xorians. He feels he'd be the best one for that as he's been fighting the Xorians before. He is willing to give the Axe to one of the other kings if doing so will secure the entire dwarf population's entry into the war.

    Torngar, King of the Mountain Dwarves, Isolationist and Dragonslayer played by Middle_Snu
    Torngar is king of the Mountain dwarves. The mountain dwarves don't trust the Underdark dwarves, seeing them as halfway to becoming Dark Elves. Torngar doesn't want to let them get the Axe and he doesn't want Dainlin to get it either and involve the entire dwarven race in a violent war that will kill thousands of his people. Torngar represents the most dwarves and he feels he already speaks for the dwarven people. He should get the Axe because he is the king closest to the High King already. Torngar is a distant relation to Dainlin and respects him most out of the dwarves. Dainlin the only other dwarf that Torngar would consider supporting. It would take a lot of pressuring to get Torngar to support Dainlin over himself though. Torngar is also a Dragonslayer.

    Deekgaon (Deek-Ga-On), King of the Deep Dwarves, Finest Axemaster in all of dwarfdom played by thewamp
    Deekgaon is the king of the Deep dwarves. He's been dealing with Duergar refugees. The deep dwarves and the duergar work together quite often and are "brother races." Still, having a brother live with you for three decades can get annoying. Deekgaon would like to fight the Xorians to get the duergar out of the deep dwarf homes. He doesn't care so much about the Xorians doing evil things. Deekgaon is also an expert in using Axes. Deekgaon is good friends with Sandil and often follows his lead. Deekgaon is often described as gullible for letting the tricky duergar into his home.

    Sandil, King of the Duergar, Sorcerer and Trickster played by Throgg
    Sandil is a sorcerer. He keeps it a "secret" because dwarves don't respect arcane magic, but everyone knows. He is king of the duergar, who are refugees from the Xorian raiding of the Underdark. Sandil is currently working to get everyone to cooperate on the issue of the Axe. He's planning on allying with Deekgaon to get the deep dwarf to go along with the premise of the negotiations. After Deekgaon agrees to the premise, Sandil will betray him and support Torngar. He supports Torngar because he feels the mountain dwarf king would be the easiest to manipulate with domination spells.

    I played Epidemus, Torngar's castellan and the arbitrator of the negotiations. There was an upset at the start of the negotiations that a mountain dwarf so close to Torngar would arbitrate the debate. However, Torngar convinced the others that because he was host, he got to choose the arbitrator. Besides, even if they looked they weren't going to find an impartial dwarf arbitrator in all the world. Epidemus set forth the goal of the negotiations. If the four kings could unanimously decide on one of their number being given the Fierce Axe, then no other negotiations would be necessary. If the kings could not decide, then they must come to a different unanimous decision on the method of decision. The other methods of deciding could be voting, a wrestling tournament, a crafting tournament, or a drinking contest. The kings began the negotiations to see if one of their number could gain the support of the other three. During the debate, Epidemus served the kings plenty of beer and mead in fine gem-encrusted silver flagons.
    Sandil opened negotiations by flattering Deekgaon. Sandil knew Deekgaon to be a strong and just king for letting the duergar stay in his home. Deekgaon took well to this motion and suggested that he be made High King of the dwarves. Torngar objected, thinking rightly that Deekgaon would drag the dwarven people into a war. Dainlin objected as well, not trusting the underdark dwarves to rule with good hearts. Sandil then threw Deekgaon under a bus and supported Torngar. Deekgaon was shocked at first. Dainlin agreed to support Torngar, only if Torngar agreed to send the dwarven people to war. Deekgaon was resistant to the idea of Torngar ruling, until Sandil suggested that Deekgaon be given command of the army. All four admitted a tentative approval of this plan.
    The details of the plan were worked out. The Xorians would be given an ultimatum to give the Underdark back to the dwarves within a month. If the Xorians complied, then the dwarves would not go to war. If they refused, then in three months time the dwarven armies would pour through the Xorian Underdark to reforge the Dwarven Empire of old!
    The four kings sealed the deal by smashing their flagons together and drinking deep of their beer. Deekgaon and Sandil kneeled before Torngar immediately. Dainlin hesitated, then kneeled as well. Torngar was proclaimed High King and Emperor of All Dwarves! Torngar’s first act as Emperor was to call for more beer and for an immediate feast.
    The session ended there. Next session will probably deal with the coronation stuff and then onto other adventures while waiting for the Xorian response (if any).

    I have encouraged all the players to post their versions of the negotiations. We really got into it with the flowery dialogue and the accents. I focused mostly on staying awake (it was pretty late) and retaining the general flow of the talks. The other players can hopefully enlighten some more specific high points.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Ogre in the Playground
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    The group has also noticed that the view count for this thread keeps going up. There were over a hundred views for Session 19. I'm not sure if people are reading or just clicking and then going away because tl;dr. You happy readers haven't given any feedback when I've suggested it. We'd still like to know that some people are reading this. If you are, could you please just throw a post into the thread saying hi? Thanks!

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Pixie in the Playground
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    I am Torngar the Great, Duke of Highholt, Lord of the High Passes, King of the Mountain Dwarves, Dragonslayer, Horror of the Dread Serpents, End of Yglesias the Black Shadow, Drinker of the Thousand Cups, He of the Everflowing Beard, Master Armorsmith, Strong of Heart and Arm, Forger of Mythslayer, the Solid, the Brave, the Alcoholic.

    This is my story.

    The four of us met in Highholt. My kinsmen - the great and numerous Mountain Dwarves - thronged around the palace. The four of us were arranged around a table:

    Me, Torngar. I already led the bulk of the Mountain Dwarves, and I was the only one bathed in the blood of the Dragon. In retrospect, how could I not become Emperor?

    Sandil of the Deep Dwarves: Strange little fellow. Never liked deep dwarves, personally, and he seemed a bit conniving.

    Dainlin of the Hill Dwarves: Not a bad dwarf. Am secretly envious of his beard. Still, consorting with the humans has been bad for him.

    Deekgaon: A little too much granite in the head, if you catch my drift.

    We talked. And drank. In the end, I became Emperor. How else could it have ended? Sure, I agreed to go to war against the Xorians in three moons - but Dwarves have never been known for keeping tight schedules.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    The following is the report of Deekgaon - written sort of in the style of the "very secret diaries". Deekgaon is a noble dwarf lord, but with four different accounts of this story, this seemed like it would be more entertaining.

    Dainlin says I should be king. A wise choice that.
    Sandil agreed. He always has my back. Such a pal.
    V. Important to get Sandil's land back. Duergar keep drinking my favorite beer.
    Torngar says "don't be hasty." Reminds me of a tree for some reason.
    Took break from drink and talk to drink some beer
    Beard check: impressive and bushy

    It's been decades since Duergar land taken I said. What haste is Torngar talking about
    Torngar says Kingmoot has only just started. "Kingmoot": V. funny.
    We drank beer some more.
    Epidemus mentioned we could have contest to pick king. V. good idea! We could have any sort of fair contest. Arm wrestling, knock-you-down, halfling tossing, etc.

    Sandil says we should keep talking. Such a nice guy. I trust him.
    Dainlin talking about how awesome I am. So sweet, but he can't be my BFF. <3 Sandil.
    But Sandil says Torngar will be a better choice because of all the thinking a king has to do.
    That made me thirsty.
    Sandil yelled at Epidemus because our mugs were empty. I like Sandil.

    I remembered I am already a king. What's Sandil talking about? I think all the time.
    Axes. Beer. Mountain. Beer. Sandil. Beer. Waffle. See? Thinking.
    We drank some more beer. I like beer.
    I like Sandil, but his deurgar drink too much beer. Maybe if Torngar agrees to lead us to war… but I want to be king.
    Sandil says I could be a great general. That does sound fun.
    Torngar agrees, obviously, cause Sandil's so convincing.
    What would happen if you stored beer in gold kegs? Good thought. Will have to tell Sandil. He'll be so impressed.
    Beard check: Somewhat damp. Will have to see if tongue can reach beard after kingmoot. Do not want to waste beer.

    Torngar says we need three months. That seems like a long time.
    Sandil says we need three months. Oh he must be right then.
    Dainlin wants one month. I do want to go to war. But Sandil says three. He must be right.

    Sandil says it's cool to call Torngar emperor. I know he's still my best friend.
    We drank beer.
    Beard check: better than the emperor's. I am an impressive dwarf.
    It says signature, but when I tried to sign my name, I just got pen on my computer screen.

    GM - The Lyapunov Affair
    Turkey - Fly Like a Butterfly
    French Austrians - Realpolitik

    Want to play diplomacy? Want to GM a game? Want to learn what the game is? Good.

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Our negations began with two faced scum Sandil praising Deekagon's fighting strength and supporting him for Emperor. Because Deekagon is would lead our people to war against our Dragovinian foes I too said I would support him. But because Sandil has less honor than an elf has valor, he switched his support to Torngar who has been picking daisies in the mountains while the rest of us have been fighting. However, Deekagon whose will is as weak as his arm is strong also switched his support to Torngar and though it pained me I was forced to become Torngar's Vassal in order to get a united dwarf army. And so Torngar held the Axe of Kings and we all drunk, to health of a Dwarven Empire and to relieve our parched throats, which had barely felt sweet taste of beer for 15 minutes.

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Alliance Session #13/Total Session #21
    This session was attended by Throgg, Salzar, and Middle_Snu on Google Hangouts. Middle_Snu left about halfway through. Throgg hasn’t finished his dwarf recap yet, but we forgive him.

    The party enjoyed the great feast in Torngar's honor and loathed the hangover on the next day. After recovering they teleported back to Bradel Fields to consider their options. The dwarves were on the Alliance side, but what other factions could be coerced to join them? The party set their sights on Dalleer, the largest city in eastern Cimmeria.
    Dalleer is ruled by an insane dictator known as the Bjorn. The leader's name and title are always Bjorn. The Bjorn is demented and the day-to-day business of the city is carried out by the Prime Minister, Terolio. Terolio was appointed to his position with the Bjorn's absolute power. Terolio is very stable and not insane in the least. He keeps the Bjorn under control most of the time.
    Dalleer is the rival city of Bradel Fields. The two of them are often in conflict, particularly over which city rules Harbinston. The village itself is of no economic consequence. It is merely a political tool for their conflict. The village is currently not ruled by either city. Bradel Fields entered the war and Terolio has also kept Dalleer out of the war in order to weaken Bradel Fields.
    The Alliance has sought to end the conflict between the two cities by organizing a political marriage between Bjorn and Astyanax's daughter, Cassandra. While Bradel Fields is a republic, were it to return to a monarchy, Astyanax would be the best choice for king. Cassandra, being Astyanax's daughter, is the best choice for a poltical marriage to the Bjorn, but she is a slut and may no longer be a virgin. Astyanax is frustrated with her behavior and confined her to his estate when the important possibility of her marriage was suggested in July.
    The Bjorn expressed a tacit approval of the marriage. Cassandra's worth as a bargaining chip was reduced after Astyanax's death at the hands of a demon. He was tortured by the demon and came back changed. He has since locked himself in his rooms at his estate and only opened the door for food and water. The party went to Astyanax's home to restore his mental health.

    Terroc, Amalius, Aldarian, Tagenadi, Torin, Preta, and Shez were admitted to the estate and told that Astyanax was not seeing any visitors (They're let in regardless because they are his house guests when they stay in Bradel Fields). They ignored the servants and went straight to Astyanax's door. Terroc took the lead as he had known Astyanax the longest (Terroc established a friendship with Astyanax's father, Hector, in previous campaigns. Terroc probably occasionally visited Astyanax as he was growing up). Terroc knocked on the door.
    A voice from inside shouted, "Go away Bercephallus! I said I want to be left alone!" Bercephallus is the name of one of the servants.
    Terroc spoke through the door, "It's me, Astyanax! Your old friend Terroc!"
    "Go away!"
    "We need to talk to you about matters with great importance to the Alliance and yourself."
    Someone getting up from a chair could be heard. Astyanax opened the door a crack to reveal his flensed face with a beard growing on the skin half of his face. Astyanax scanned the faces of the party. Recognizing most of them he let them into his suite. "Fine. If it concerns the Alliance you can meet with me."
    Astyanax collapsed into a sofa chair in the entry room. The party took their seats in the the remaining chairs and couches. Astyanax drank straight from a bottle of hard liquor with only a quarter left at the bottom.
    Terroc began, "Astyanax, the Alliance needs you. A strong military man is required most of all after the fall of Phoenix. Your experience and leadership are necessary for the Alliance's victory."
    "I can't go back."
    "It'd really be for the best. We need someone who can command the troops and rally them in these dark times."
    "I can't go back! Look at me! I'm a disgrace! I could have led the men, but that was before. I'm so ashamed!"
    "Ashamed of what?"
    "When I was with that demon... The things it did to me... I would've done anything it told me to."
    "No one will fault you for that."
    "You don't understand! If it had asked me to fall I would've done it in a heartbeat to make the pain stop! I would've become...a blackguard. One of the lowly dark paladins."
    Amalius jumped in, "But you didn't, Astyanax. You stayed strong. You're what the Alliance needs right now, Strength."
    "I cannot return. I couldn't stand all those people looking at me. Knowing what I could've done. I'm so ashamed." Astyanax bent over to hide his crying in his hands.
    Amalius said, "We all need you back Astyanax. You can't be the Alliance's face anymore, but you can still be its heart. You're a good person."
    "But what would they say when they looked at me? I'm a monster!"
    Amalius said, "No one will judge you. They remember you at their best and that is what they'll see."
    Astyanax looked up from his tear-stained hands and shouted, "They will just see my twisted face!"
    Terroc said, "Then what if we hid your face behind a mask? A mask that can only show your virtues?"
    "I- I think that could work. Would you do that for me Terroc? Bring me a mask?"
    "Of course, old friend."
    "Thank you." Astyanax and Terroc went for a hug. The party excused themselves for more important matters.
    The party put some discussion into what the mask should be. Something intimidating and magically enhanced. They went for a white and red motif with rubies encrusted in the mask. It's magic powers would be a constant heroism effect and an amplify voice effect (Homebrewed cantrip/orison that makes your voice louder. Useful on battlefields.). Preta and Shez were sent off to Greshendale to find a mage who could construct the mask within a few days (There's a feat somewhere that lets you construct magic items 10x as quickly). Terroc also instructed them to buy some new protection gear for himself.
    The group, assuming that the marriage would be successfully negotiated, began planning Cassandra's processional from Bradel Fields to Dalleer. Terroc could summon some angels to lead the ten day journey. The group, not wanting to take their personal time to plan the processional, elected to have the NPCs do it. Kig was told to manage it and Junai was teleported in from Jipangu to assist with security. Preta and Shez also assisted after returning from Greshendale. Feeling that the procession was in good hands, the group rested for the night before heading off to the Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali.

    In the morning, Amalius did not emerge from his room for breakfast. The party went up his room, fearing the worst. Inside they found the wall between his room and his squire's had been disintegrated. On the floor was the dusty outline of a person. A longsword was cast haphazardly upon the floor. On Amalius's unmade bed lay a glass orb with the static image of a woman and three children flickering in it. The party looked onward until they heard a small noise from under the bed.
    Terroc animated the bed and ordered it to move across the room into Amalius's squire's room. The bed scuffed the ashes and revealed nothing underneath the bed. The party feared that a monster or assassin of some kind was clutching the bottom of the bed. Terroc summoned in an Avoral and told it to lift the bed up. Hanging onto the bottom of the frame was Amalius's Psicrystal. The Psicrystal leaped off the bed and tried to run through the door. Terroc snatched it up.
    Terroc said, "What happened here?"
    Psicrystal began to cry and whimper, unable to say anything coherent. More questions received the same response.
    Aldarian walked into the scene and said, "Looks like the Dragovinian came again."
    Everyone turned to Aldarian and said, "What?"
    "Amalius has been passing information to the Dragovinians. They're holding his family hostage to force him to do it. I didn't say anything because I didn't want anything bad to happen to his kids."
    Terroc said, "He was what?"
    "Passing information to the Dragovinians. He was a spy."
    "And you knew?"
    "Well, one time a Dragovinian came to beat him up and threaten him when he stopped passing the information along. He's been going pretty steady since then."
    "Why shouldn't we kill you right now for being a spy?"
    "Hey! I was under a geas! I couldn't tell you I was a spy. I didn't want to do it, but I had to!"
    Torin said, "Fine. We'll trust for you for now. What happened here?" He gestured to the room.
    "I don't know. I was asleep. Maybe the Psicrystal knows?"
    Torin said, "Psicrystal, can you explain what happened?"
    "I can. Last night, Master commanded me to watch the windows like I always do. I was on my guard, but the Dragovinian snuck through. He punched Master to wake him up. He told Master that his family was going to die because Master had helped kill two of the Rages at the Battle of Phoenix. He told Master that the orb he was holding would let him watch them die."
    Terroc interuppted, "Hang on. Did the Dragovinian say his name?"
    "Yes. He said his name was Devanane."
    "Okay. Continue."
    "Master sped up time. When he came back he was behind the Dragovinian holding his new evil dagger to it's neck. He used his magic to dominate the Dragovinian and then he started asking it questions about his family. The Dragovinian said they were being held at Petar Prison, but I'm not sure we can trust what it says. Master got ready to disintegrate the Dragovinian, but he missed because he was a terrible shot. The ray disintegrated the wall and woke Master's squire up. Master's squire came in with his sword, but the Dragovinian killed him. Then Master disintegrated the body because he didn't want it to turn into a Wight. Then the Dragovinian tried to run away, but Master told it to stay. Master then thought a long time before telling the Dragovinian to wait by the gate for him. The Dragovinian left. Then Master picked up the orb and he disappeared."
    Terroc asked, "Disappeared where?"
    "I don't know. I felt his presence for a second afterwards, but then he was gone."
    Terroc moved to investigate the orb, being careful not to touch it. Inside he saw a a static image of a woman, two boys, and a girl all screaming in pain as fire roared around them. On the orb the words, "Amalius," and, "Blendegad," were etched. Terroc cast a detect magic to reveal that the orb contained an illusion spell and a strong conjuration spell. He ordered his Avoral to look at the orb with true seeing. The Avoral reported that the image of the woman and the children was an illusion. Terroc thought a little more and realized that the orb was a trigger object for a trap the soul spell. Terroc tried a greater scrying for Amalius, but turned up nothing.
    Torin, Terroc, and Tagenadi talked it over and decided that Amalius was dead. They also decided that because he was a spy, he probably wasn't worth rescuing from death. Furthermore, they didn't think they could trust Aldarian. They decided to keep him with them until he proved his loyalty.

    (Throgg included the stuff about a captive family and being an unwilling spy with Aldarian as a geased cohort in his backstory at the beginning of the campaign. It's only been revealed to the other players now. Me and him have been having sessions on the side for him to pass information to the Xorians with Aldarian's help. During the last one, Amalius was soul sucked. Throgg will be playing Aldarian until Amalius can reenter the story. Also, we're a little sad that the others didn't want to rescue Amalius and learn what he'd discovered about the Xorians while being a spy for them.)

    The away team of Terroc, Tagenadi, Torin, and Aldarian went ahead with their plan to investigate more of the tomb. (The party regularly bypasses some traps into the deeper sections of the tomb with Shez’s magic. I forgot to apply the traps again this time. Lets just assume that Aldarian permanently disabled them this time.) They first explored more of the room with the falling floor and the rotating statue of Kruk-Ma-Kali. Aldarian used his rod of ropes to grapple the handle of the southern ebony door. The door opened to reveal a symbol of insanity. Everyone successfully resisted it.
    Terroc summoned an air elemental to carry the party across to the misty archway. Upon entering the mist, Torin and Tagenadi were teleported away. The air elemental and Aldarian went insane and started attacking each other. The elemental hit Aldarian hard and Aldarian spontaneously burst into flame. Terroc dispelled the elemental and flew away from Aldarian. Psicrystal flew away as well. The elf, left with no targets, began attacking himself. Terroc was puzzled by the fire that enveloped Aldarian, but didn't seem to harm him. Deciding to figure the puzzle out later, Terroc summoned a smaller air elemental outside of the mist and ordered it to go in full defense. Aldarian was able to attack the elemental instead until the mist's effect wore off.
    Aldarian quickly explored the room and found nothing in it. He hopped onto the air elemental back to the entrance to the room. Terroc used a scrying spell to find Torin and Tagenadi. He saw them on the plane of evil creatures. They were observing a battle between an army of hobgoblins and an army of orcs. Knowing that Torin had access to plane shift, Terroc decided that he would reunite with them at Bradel Fields the next day.
    Terroc and Aldarian, not wanting to waste any time, ventured into other unexplored parts of the tomb. They returned to the door with the carvings of humanoids in pain. Aldarian found no traps on it, so he opened the door.
    Beyond was a long room that continued into the darkness. The floor of the room was littered with bones, weapons, and armor of elves, dwarves, and men. The walls of the room had carvings of hobgoblin, elf, dwarf, and human armies battling it out.
    Terroc sent an ape in to "check for traps." The ape found nothing. Aldarian went in next. At the back of the 110 foot long room he found a steel door. Aldarian checked the door for traps. Finding none, he unlocked it. Aldarian tied a mundane rope to the door and then jogged back to Terroc at the room's entrance. As the door opened the two adventurers watched the bodies silently animate and grab their weapons.
    Terroc quickly summoned a trio of celestial lions and sent them in. Aldarian took a defensive position next to Terroc. The lions tore up the various types of undead until their duration expired. Terroc and Aldarian saw skeletons, zombies, a few wights, and 2 wraiths. At the back of the undead a tall mummy silently commanded the undead. At the mummy's side was a black longsword and a golden crown sat upon its head. With the lions defeated the undead shied to the back of the room out of the light.
    Terroc and Aldarian devised a plan. Aldarian tied his rod of ropes to himself and gave the rod portion to Terroc. Aldarian ran into the room with a light spell cast on a rock. When he saw the undead he threw the rock at them and told Terroc to pull him in. The skeletons charged him and got a few swipes with their swords before Aldarian was pulled away. Terroc dropped the rod and fired a true striked disintegrate at the mummy. It hit and the mummy dissolved into dust. The undead charged forward and Terroc put up a wall of iron. The two wraiths poked their heads through, but decided not to engage without the rest of their forces.
    Feeling that was all the pair could manage today, they left and teleported back to Bradel Fields to await Torin and Tagenadi's return.

    Torin and Tagenadi had been teleported into the midst of a battle between hobgoblins and orcs. Tagenadi activated his flight armor and took Torin up into the air. Torin used a detect magic to scan the battlefield for a return portal. Finding none, they settled down away from the battle to watch for its end. Neither side retreated resulting in a total victory for the hobgoblins. The victorious army scavenged weapons and armor for the slain on both sides before setting up camp away from the battle.
    Torin and Tagenadi approached the hobgoblin camp. The hobgoblins fired their bows at the two. Torin threw up a wind wall in response. Seeing that the arrows were having no effect, the hobgoblins grabbed their spears and charged. Torin animated the spears and told them to attack the hobgoblins. The hobgoblins ran away to grab axes and they chopped up the spears. They then charged with the axes. Torin animated the axes and the hobgoblins ran away again. No longer trusting any of their weaponry they stayed in the camp looking in anticipation at Torin and Tagenadi.
    Torin cast tongues and the two strolled into the camp and talked to one of the hobgoblins who identified himself as Hoogamoog. He told Torin that the hobgoblins had always fought the orcs, but occasionally they fought kobolds, giants, trolls, or animals. They lived to fight and did little else. The hobgoblin tribes lived in the mountains to the west. Deciding that he cared little for the hobgoblins, even though they referred to him as “Great and Powerful Shaman,” Torin ordered a tent built for himself. The hobgoblins combined three soldier tents to form Torin’s command tent. Torin and Tagenadi retired to the tent after ordering the hobgoblins not to disturb them.
    The next morning Torin plane shifted himself and Tagenadi back to Cimmeria. Surveying the geography they found themselves a good ways north of Bradel Fields. Torin cast a wind walk spell and within a few hours they reunited with Terroc and Aldarian.
    The group, not finished with the tomb yet, teleported back there for more.

    They returned to the undead room. Terroc disintegrated his iron wall and Torin used his clerical magic to eliminate the undead threat. Aldarian gave the room another search and found nothing. The steel door had opened to reveal a red stone wall. Terroc disintegrated the wall, suspecting a secret passageway. He created his own ten foot passageway, but nothing else lay beyond.
    The party shrugged and explored the final two doors in the room full of spikes. The southern door was locked. Aldarian popped it open. Behind was a lightning trap and a wall. Torin healed everyone up from the lightning damage. Aldarian searched the western door for traps and then opened it as well. Beyond was a small room with a golden circle on the floor. Terroc used detect magic to find a strong transmutation and conjuration aura. Fearing the effects of the circle, no one stepped into it. Aldarian searched the room and found nothing.
    Having explored all the rooms the party was stumped. They sat down and thought about the various riddles they’d uncovered during their time in the Great Valley and the Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali.
    Deciding that the line, “Wisdom, hard won, bests any coin. Follow Us and prosper. KMK” meant something, the party returned to the room with the whispering pit where Tagenadi had gained some knowledge. Each of the party members took a turn being tied to a rope and going up to listen to the pit. Torin gained a point of INT and Terroc gained a point of WIS. Aldarian gained a sudden desire to jump into the pit. Fortunately Torin and Tagenadi were strong enough to prevent a quick descent. They pulled him out of the pit and Aldarian apologized for his actions.
    Wanting to know more about what lay at the bottom, Torin and Aldarian were lowered down the pit by Tagenadi. Reaching the dark bottom at 200 feet they crossed the threshold. Beyond was a ruined city full of ghostly shades walking the streets of hell! The portal appeared 100 feet in the air above the dead city. Immediately recognizing it and knowing that no treasure lay here, Torin gave a signal for Tagenadi to pull them back up.
    While cataloguing the treasure of the tomb, the party had found an interesting gem that appeared to be a psicrystal. Amalius had confirmed that the gem was indeed a psicrystal before his demise. The party had tried various forms of communicating with the gem, but it had refused to say anything to them. Now, they thought it might be the key to Kruk-Ma-Kali’s secret burial chamber. They took the psicrystal, nicknamed Putty, throughout the tomb, searching for a socket to place it in. They found nothing until walking through the hallway filled with carvings of Kruk-Ma-Kali’s deeds. Upon passing by the carving of Kruk-Ma-Kali at his desk, Aldarians elven spidey-sense tingled. He detected a secret door. Pushing the seated figure of Kruk-Ma-Kali inwards caused a section of wall to slowly drop into the floor, revealing a secret hallway.
    (The necessary clues were “see past the mean” and “Follow Us and prosper” from the pentagon door. The mean is that all the carvings of Kruk-Ma-Kali show him doing heroic things, except for one of him doing desk work.)
    At the end of the hallway was an oak door. Aldarian disarmed a needle trap and unlocked the door. Beyond was a room filled with mirrors on the walls and ceiling.
    Terroc said, “Oh ****. Mirrors of Opposition.”
    The party tried to make battle plans, but were too late. The mirrors activated and their doubles walked out into the room. Terroc and Tagenadi’s doubles were hobgoblins. Torin’s double was a bugbear. Aldarian’s double was an orc. Combat ensued!
    The doubles all specifically targeted their originals. Hobgoblin Terroc threw disintegrates at real Terroc. Bugbear Torin threw blade barriers and flame strikes at real Torin. Orc Aldarian used an invisibility spell and sneak attack real Aldarian. Hobgoblin Tagenadi used White Raven Tactics and attempted to sunder real Tagenadi’s weapon with Ancient Mountain Hammer. Real Terroc summoned monsters to grapple hobgoblin Terroc and bugbear Torin. Real Tagenadi used White Raven Tactics and trip attacks to keep hobgoblin Tagenadi focused on him. Real Aldarian moved in to flank and sneak attack hobgoblin Tagenadi. Real Torin got blinded by bugbear Torin’s power word blind spell, but he still managed to blind hobgoblin Tagenadi with the same spell. Real Torin used mass cure spells while blinded as he could target people without seeing them.
    In the end, real Terroc’s summons decided the battle. Hobgoblin Terroc was unable to make any of his concentration checks due to the air elemental grappling him. Once hobgoblin Terroc was down, the rest of the party had action advantage and took victory that way. About a minute after their defeat each of the mirror doubles and their equipment disappeared.
    Before the party was another door. This one was gold and had two crossed halberds on it. Goblin writing on the door said, “The blade kills. The hand guides the blade. The mind guides the hand. The spirit guides the mind. The spirit resides in the body. The body dies by the blade. Such is the way.”

    We ended the session there. A good cliffhanger and it was getting pretty late. Next time! The final room of the Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali!

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Ogre in the Playground
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    We're taking a break form playing for Spring Break. Next session will hopefully be in the first half of April.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Ogre in the Playground
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    We've had two sessions, but we're having Salzar DM a campaign of his own. Makes it easier on me for the beginning of the quarter. I'm a Barbarian/Cleric (Hilariously fun! I mostly cast Command). Middle_Snu is a Paladin. Throgg is a Ranger. Thewamp is a Sorcerer (Sleep being his main spell).

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Alliance Session #14/Total Session #22
    This session was attended by Salzar, Middle_Snu, thewamp, and Throgg. It was held over Google Hangouts just like normal.

    The party puzzled over the golden door with crossed halberds carved in it and Goblin words written upon it, “The blade kills. The hand guides the blade. The mind guides the hand. The spirit guides the mind. The spirit resides in the body. The body dies by the blade. Such is the way.” Touching the door didn’t open it and shoving it appeared to do nothing. Terroc threw a disintegrate at the door. The door seemed to absorb the spell. The green ray stopped and turned into nothing at the door.
    Thinking that the psicrystal they’d found in the treasure chamber might know something about the door, the party attempted to interrogate it. The psicrystal proved resistant once again. The party cooked up a plan to polymorph Aldarian into a Hobgoblin to trick the psicrystal into thinking it could trust its bearer. Unfortunately, the party forgot to discuss this plan outside of the hearing of the psicrystal. After Aldarian polymorphed with Terroc’s help and picked up the psicrystal, it said, “I heard your plan. You’ll have to be smarter than that.” The psicrystal attempted to escape before refusing to communicate once again.
    The party sequestered the psicrystal in Aldarian’s magic key room before discussing further plans. They decided they would trick it with magic once again. Terroc would polymorph into a fierce looking Hobgoblin warrior. He would use his masterful Bluff skill to trick the psicrystal into thinking he had slain the party. Torin would add a tongues spell so that Terroc could speak in the psicrystal’s native Goblin. Terroc would create an illusion to aid with the party’s “death” and the rest of the party would make death noises that the psicrystal would overhear in the key room.
    The plan was enacted and Terroc successfully fooled the psicrystal. He took the psicrystal to the golden halberd door and asked it for the answer to the riddle.
    “Read the words and your answer is there.”
    Terroc read the words aloud and then said, “It does nothing. What does it mean?”
    “Kruk-Ma-Kali gave the power of his Empire to the strongest. You must have been strong and clever to defeat those who held me captive. To get past this door you must be strong and clever as well, but perhaps you are not clever enough?”
    Terroc shouted in Goblin, “NOT CLEVER ENOUGH! I’ll show you, you piece of glass!” Terroc covered the psicrystal in blankets to cut it off from the outside world (And so that the party could talk in private).
    The psicrystal spoke in Terroc’s mind, “I do not approve.”
    Without knowing what to do next the party took a knife to the door to see if it was really made of gold. They found that it was a layer of gold on top of oak. Aldarian got out the black longsword and used it to attack the door. His swings revealed that the longsword was cursed! However, the swings did have an effect on the door. On a particularly good swing, the door animated and began to writhe and scream in agony. Aldarian took a beating as the door writhed around in. Tagenadi pulled out the rusty dagger the party had found in the sarcophagus in the treasure chamber and stuck it into the door as well. Tagenadi took some damage from the door’s flailing.
    After a few tense seconds of the door screaming and struggling under the blades, the mirrors of the room shattered, showering the party with thousands of glass shards. Everyone got cut up pretty bad. The door shriveled up into nothing.
    Torin healed everyone up in a jiffy and the party looked beyond the door. There was a short corridor ending in a ten foot square red dragon hide tent flap, like those used on Hobgoblin yurts in the modern world. Aldarian moved forward to investigate and found that there was a illusion covered spiked pit on the right half of the corridor. Finding no traps on the tent flap, the party assumed marching order.
    1. Tagenadi
    2. Aldarian
    3. Torin
    4. Terroc

    Tagenadi ripped up the tent flap to reveal a thirty by thirty foot chamber. The chamber had unfinished gray stone unlike the rest of the tomb, which had smooth crimson marble covering the walls. At the opposite end of the room was a throne with a Hobgoblin skeleton sitting upon it in resplendent finery. A crown sat upon the skeleton’s head and a sword as black as a sliver of midnight rested on its knees. The party had at last found the corpse of the Hobgoblin King, Kruk-Ma-Kali!
    Aldarian moved forward sweeping for traps. As he reached close to the throne the sword moved up into the air and attacked! The sword danced and weaved in the air as if wielded by a seven foot tall humanoid.
    Tagenadi moved in and tried to grapple the sword. Terroc summoned an earth elemental. Aldarian moved behind Tagenadi for safety. Torin animated the throne and the skeleton to assist. The sword slashed at Tagenadi a few times. The cuts it inflicted bled at an alarming rate. Torin healed the wounds. Tagenadi finally managed to grab the sword. He felt the power of the sword attempting to possess him as well as a presence within the sword trying to impose its will over him. Terroc opened his portable hole for Tagenadi to shove the sword into. Tagenadi quickly did so and Terroc closed the hole up. Kharad-khor the Bloodthirster was now in the possession of the party!

    The party puzzled over the riddles upon the door more. They decided that they had to stab the blade into the old body of Kruk-Ma-Kali to have the “blade kill the body.” Tagenadi brought the blade out under a protection from evil spell. He cut off the corpse’s neck and then threw the sword back into the portable hole. The sword continued to struggle within the hole, so that didn’t free the sword of the evil influence on it. The party suspected that Kruk-Ma-Kali was possessing the sword.
    Aldarian searched the room and found a small piece of paper behind the throne. The paper read in Elven,
    “Dearest Kruk.
    The preparations are complete. We have no Doubt you shall find them satisfactory. I have decided that the negotiated fees were insufficient, however, and have taken the remaining half of your treasure, perhaps a bit more. If you feel further discussion of the matter is warranted, you may of course seek Us at the indicated location. I must thank you and your followers for the opportunity to perfect my Skill in Construction. With the lessons We have learned here, the Other Tomb should be nigh impenetrable.
    On the back of the paper was a map of the desert with the elven rune for treasure marking a location in the northeast.
    Tagenadi recognized the name, Sahamathrian. He told the party that Sahamathrian was an elven wizard who led a rebellion against the royal elven family of the Kingdom of Valor. Sahamathrian was exiled and he fled south, vowing revenge on all elves.
    Amalius’s Psicrystal piped up at this point, saying, “The rune on the map is where the undead that attack Mars’ Oasis all the time come from. Perhaps the Other Tomb is where those undead come from.”
    The party was puzzled, but unsure what to do with this information. However, the note mentioned treasure, so they filed the map away for later perusal.
    The party then realized that the psicrystal they’d been carrying around might be the psicrystal of Kruk-Ma-Kali! They brought out the psicrystal again to negotiate with it. After a winded exchange, the psicrystal agreed that Kruk-Ma-Kali would come out if he was allowed to possess the body of Aldarian. The party chained up Aldarian and then had him reach into the portable hole and grasp the sword.
    Aldarian spoke in the deep accented Common of the True Hobgoblin King, “Kruk-Ma-Kali, the King of All, lives again!” A shudder passed through the spines of Torin, Tagenadi, and Terroc.
    While talking with Kruk-Ma-Kali the party came to realize that the conquering power of the sword was actually the ghost contained within it. Kruk-Ma-Kali demanded that Tagenadi and Torin leave the room while he addressed his two “generals.” Torin and Tagenadi refused. Kruk-Ma-Kali brought his sword up to Aldarian’s neck. Torin and Tagenadi called Kruk-Ma-Kali’s bluff. He brought the sword closer and cut a small nick in Aldarian’s neck that began to bleed profusely. Torin and Tagenadi decided it was best to leave the room at that point.
    Terroc voluntarily brought Kruk-Ma-Kali up to speed on the current events of the world, “A nation ruled by draconic vampires has formed in the West. They march upon the free people of the east. We represent an Alliance of men and dwarves that resist the Dragovinians and their dark god, Blendegad. We sought the power of Kharad-Khor to help us turn the tide against the evil from the west.”
    “What of the hobgoblins? How do they fare in the modern world?”
    “After your death the Hobgoblin Empire fractured. The Hobgoblins live far in the east or are enslaved by humans. They are divided and squabble amongst each other.”
    “They need a strong leader such as myself to unite them.”
    “My companions and I had hoped you would ally with us against the evil of Blendegad.”
    “Blendegad? That is not a Hobgoblin god and I do not recognize it as a Greek name. This is a new god?”
    “Yes, he is a vampiric dragon. He is not fully god and still weak.”
    “Killing a god is a proper challenge for my rebirth! I agree to ally with you! I shall go into the east and reunite the Hobgoblins before returning to crush this upstart god!” Kruk-Ma-Kali noticed that a large puddle of elven blood had formed on the tomb floor. He called into the corridor, “Dwarf! Return and use your healing magics on this fragile elven form!”
    Torin returned, but refused to approach the possessed Aldarian. He used a mass cure light wounds instead. Torin then asked, “How do you know that I am a cleric?”
    “My psicrystal has been watching your group since you recovered it from the treasure chamber. What it knows, I know.”

    The party commenced to bickering among themselves at this point. Kruk-Ma-Kali used this distraction to start slowly cutting away at the chain on his foot manacles with Kharad-Khor. The party noticed, but didn’t really care.
    The argument was over what to do with the sword now that they knew the drawbacks of using it. Previously, the party had thought the sword instilled in its bearer a desire to conquer and the capability to do so. Their plan was to give this to Balllard, king of Aractrash, the Jungle Kingdom. Hopefully, Ballard would be suitably motivated by the sword to abandon his isolationism and join the war on the Alliance side. His undying desire to conquer would be controlled after the war by some means.
    The party had thought the sword had given Kruk-Ma-Kali his great abilities in battle and the desire to conquer. Now they realized that the power of the sword was Kruk-Ma-Kali. He possesses its bearer and gives the user the knowledge and desire to conquer vast empires for the good of the Hobgoblin race. They could not so easily unleash this horror upon the world (Kruk-Ma-Kali has did some pretty awful stuff to the elves, dwarves, and humans during his life. The players compared him to Hitler. It’s not a bad comparison. Personally, I think Napoleon is more accurate; but, we had a stronger emotional reaction to Hitler, so we stuck with that.).
    Terroc was okay with taking Kruk-Ma-Kali out of the tomb as long as they did it under their terms. He would remain in a Hobgoblin body of their own choosing. Tagenadi was against bringing him out under any circumstances. Torin felt bringing him out was a bad idea as well, but felt the danger of the Dragovinians facing the dwarves warranted the risk Kruk-Ma-Kali posed. (Throgg said that Aldarian would want to take the sword out as well.).
    The party told Kruk-Ma-Kali that a hobgoblin village lay in the valley outside the tomb. They told him their plan. Kruk-Ma-Kali would leave the body of Aldarian. The sword would be left in the tomb while the party left to pick a few fine hobgoblin specimens to give Kruk-Ma-Kali a choice in which would be his vessel. They would return with the hobgoblin and Kruk-Ma-Kali would get a body. From there Kruk-Ma-Kali could meet with Alliance leaders in Bradel Fields before rising an army in the Hobgoblins lands to assist the Alliance.
    The Hobgoblin King ceased sawing at his chains before refusing, “I shall not leave this body, frail as it is, until I am granted a new one to immediately vacate into. Too long have I been without form. I will go with you to pick out a body for myself! I will be the judge of what is best for me! I will not make any contract with you until I have seen the current state of the world for myself. I will not be tricked again!”
    Kruk-Ma-Kali took a defensive stance and the party decided to have another huddle. They wanted to take down Aldarian and they knew they could do it. The problem was Kruk-Ma-Kali’s previous threat of suicide. They decided to go ahead with subdual damage with Torin standing by to heal Aldarian if Kruk turned Kharad-Khor upon himself. During the discussion Kruk-Ma-Kali sawed through a link in his foot manacles and freed himself.
    The party attacked. Kruk-Ma-Kali rushed Tagenadi, but couldn’t get through his aura of trips. Soon, Aldarian was knocked out. They grabbed the sword and thrust it back into Terroc’s portable hole before it could reanimate. Aldarian was healed back up to full.

    We ended the session there. The players need some time to think about what to do next. Next session is planned for the first weekend of May.

  12. - Top - End - #42
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #15/Total Session #23
    This session was attended by thewamp, Middle_Snu, and Salzar. It was done over Google Hangouts as usual. Some of you may have noticed that Ozymandias has been absent from the sessions since December. We’re not really sure what’s up with him. He’s occasionally contacted us to say he’s busy.
    Some of you gentle readers may have noticed that we have only been doing Alliance Sessions for a while. That’s for a couple reasons. The players like the high level power more. Since Salzar has started DMing his own campaign as well, we get a lot of our low level kicks there. Additionally, the Rebellion campaign spends a lot of in-game time travelling. The Alliance campaign is still a few weeks behind the Rebellion campaign in game time.

    The party talked a little more about what to do with the sword. They decided the best thing to do was just to bring the sword to the Alliance Council in Bradel Fields and have them decide what to do with it. They left the tomb and the teleportation warded box canyon around it. Upon reaching the mountain pass outside the canyon they held hands and prepared to teleport away. Terroc cast the spell and only he and Torin popped out of existence. Tagenadi and Aldarian exchanged looks and realized that something must have gone wrong with the teleportation spell. They knew Terroc prepared several teleports per day, so they decided to wait for his return.
    Terroc and Torin popped into existence one hundred feet above the sea, a mile away from Lordodo. Terroc grinned at Torin as he said, “Know how to swim?” Terroc let go of Torin and the dwarf plummeted into the sea. As he fell Torin quickly cast animate objects on his armor and his spear. Terroc floated above the water on his overland fly spell.
    Terroc summoned a giant fiendish octopus and shouted, “Die you insufferable cleric!” The beast plunged into the water after Torin. Torin ordered his armor to begin unstrapping itself so that he could swim. His spear attacked the octopus, but was unable to penetrate its infernal armor. Torin grappled with the beast, but was unable to overcome its many tentacles. His spells left him as the water muffled his verbal components and the octopus ruined his somatic ones. The armor eventually unstrapped itself and sank down into the sea, but it was too late for Torin. The octopus overcame him. The dwarf’s last breath of air left him as he wondered why Terroc had betrayed him and the Alliance.
    Terroc floated down to the octopus and ensured that Torin was dead. He cast a greater invisibility spell. The mage teleported back to the pass with the octopus and Torin’s body coming along for the ride. Tagenadi saw the octopus and Torin’s armorless corpse materialize one hundred feet above the pass. Both bodies fell to the ground and got a little mulched. The octopus slowly began to desiccate.
    Tagenadi and Aldarian rushed up to Torin’s body to see if life was still within him. Tagenadi felt his pulse and knew that the dwarf was dead. Their invisible attacker cast acid fog centered on the living pair. While Aldarian and Tagenadi fought their way out of the fog, Terroc summoned a dire tiger on both sides of the fog. He summoned a huge air elemental to attack whichever side the pair emerged one. With his final action before they left the fog, Terroc cast true strike.
    Tagenadi and Aldarian came out of the fog face to face with a dire tiger. In the fog Aldarian had once again mysteriously burst into flames that did not harm him or his belongings. Additionally, Aldarian had brought out his pilfered spellbook and Tagenadi, his kusari-gama. Tagenadi engaged the tiger. The air elemental and the tiger attacked. Terroc blasted Tagenadi with a disintegrate. Aldarian flipped through the spellbook and found the perfect escape spell, dimension door. He cast it on himself and Tagenadi. The blinked to the mountainous cliffs above the pass and to the east.
    Terroc cast his gaze around the area and saw Tagenadi and Aldarian to the east. The pair, unaware that they had already been spotted, used Tagenadi’s celestial armor to fly further to the east. Terroc used a dimension door of his own to catch up with them. He dispelled the flight enchantment on Tagenadi before throwing down another acid fog. While they escaped the fog once again, Terroc brought his first air elemental up from the pass and summoned another to aid it. During their time in the fog, the fire on Aldarian guttered out into nothing.
    Tagenadi came out first and kept the two air elementals away from Aldarian. Aldarian searched through the spellbook for more spells. He tried invisibility failed due to his ineptitude with magic. One of the elementals moved past Tagenadi and hit Aldarian. The damage was too much for the elf and he fell to the ground dead. As his body touched the ground, it began to glow. Red and orange light emitted from Aldarian’s fingers, toes, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. The shining lights grew brighter and brighter and his body began to burn. He and all his equipment were turned into ash. A great pillar of fire shot up from his body and then down onto the air elemental that slew him. From the pillar, Aldarian emerged with a new body and new equipment matching that of his old.
    All three of the combatants were shocked that, “Aldarian is a Phoenix,” but being battle hardened veterans the combat continued without pause. Aldarian tried to cast blink, but couldn’t quite get it to work. Tagenadi hammered into the air elementals, but couldn’t do much damage. Terroc tried a few other spells, dominate person being a favorite, but the obstinate pair continued to make their saves. One of his air elementals’ duration expired. Frustrated, Terroc had the remaining elemental grapple Aldarian. It flew him up into the sky to two hundred feet before dropping him. Aldarian tried to cast fly while he fell, but failed. His body crunched into the ground, but he managed to just survive by rolling with it. Terroc wouldn’t allow that. He aimed a disintegrate at Aldarian and ended him.
    Tagenadi realized that it was better to run away to fight another day. He fled into the mountains and found a cave. Terroc followed and first ensured that Tagenadi was indeed in the cave by sending in a celestial puppy to die. A standoff ensued where neither party was willing to engage. With Terroc’s invisibility spells running dry (He’d renewed the greater invisibility twice during the combat), he took a different approach. Terroc cast limited wish and wished that the rock surrounding Tagenadi’s cave would turn to mud. The whole mountain around Tagenadi collapsed. Terroc waited around to see if ex-Xorian would swim out through the mud.
    After a few minutes, he was sure that Tagenadi was dead. Terroc looted Aldarian’s dust and Torin’s corpse. He summoned a fire elemental to burn Torin’s body. The mage then teleported back to Bradel Fields. He collected his family and belongings before teleporting to the Xorian camp at Phoenix to claim his reward for betraying the Alliance.
    Tagenadi was not dead. A small amount of air had been trapped within the cave. Tagenadi hid out in there for four hours, before coming out to look for the bodies of his friends. He found no trace of Aldarian, and only a dwarven skeleton. He rested for one night. On the next day Tagenadi hoisted the skeleton and marched down the pass, hoping to shelter with the hobgoblins in the nearby valley for a few days.
    On the way down the pass, Tagenadi encountered a hobgoblin patrol. A language barrier prevented any peaceful contact. The hobgoblins attacked and Tagenadi easily defeated them. Three fell unconscious and two fled. The brave knight tried to reason with one of those he knocked out, but was unable to. He carried the three unconscious (One newly restored to this condition) down the pass using his ring of enlarge person.
    In the valley Tagenadi ran into a large contingent of hobgoblins led by a chief. None of them spoke a common language, so peaceful contact was once again impossible. Tagenadi easily scared them off by Ancient Mountain Hammering the ground. He walked into the village, but was met with only pointed spears. The hobgoblins made it clear, they didn’t want a human in their village, even if they couldn’t take him in a fight. Tagenadi sighed and left. Knowing that a journey through the desert surrounding the valley would be dangerous, he decided to camp by the lake until someone from the Alliance scried him to find out why the away team had been gone for so long.
    A few days later a wizard from the Alliance showed up and teleported Tagenadi back to Bradel Fields. Grave events had happened to the Alliance rank and file during their time apart as well. A revolt in Bradel Fields had been put down!

    But more on that next session!

    I feel I should explain a bit more about why Terroc betrayed the party. When I originally designed the campaign I thought Middle_Snu would not be playing. He was busier than most of us and could only show up for an occasional session. I felt I could do what I wanted with his old character Terroc. I decided that Terroc would be a spy on the Alliance Council. He has been feeding the Xorians information throughout the whole campaign. In return, he’ll be granted Dragovinian status and high power within the Xorian regime. Middle_Snu said he was fine with that when he rejoined the campaign more permanently.
    To my delight, Throgg said he wanted to play a spy as well. I loved knowing that they were both independent spies with no knowledge of each other. They were also both spying for very different reasons, one for love and the other for power.
    Terroc chose to fully betray the Alliance at this point because he was in possession of the sword of Kruk-Ma-Kali. That artifact is now going to be used by the Xorians in some way. Let’s hope the Alliance can survive it.
    Terroc’s betrayal also resulted in pretty much a TPK. Terroc will now become an NPC under my control. Middle_Snu said he will be playing a similar build with his next character. I don’t know how we’ll work that summoner in story-wise, but it shouldn’t be too difficult. Salzar has mentioned that he’s not so sure that Torin would accept a resurrection if offered one. He may be building a new character as well. Throgg wasn’t at the session, so we don’t know what he wants to do yet. He may continue with Aldarian, he may pressure the party to go rescue Amalius from his soul prison, or he may create a new character.

    Anyways, next session is not planned yet. I’m doing some stuff for Mother’s Day weekend, so we can’t play then.

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #16/Total Session #24
    This session was attended by everyone! Ozymandias, Salzar, thewamp, Middle_Snu, and Throgg. Ozymandias plans on returning to many more sessions in the future instead of this just being an odd session where he was back temporarily. The session was held over Google Hangouts as normal.

    The players started by discussing who would be remaking their characters. Middle_Snu certainly would be as Terroc became an NPC after the last session. Ozymandias was also a bit bored with Preta and wanted a change, so he made a new one. Salzar and Throgg also talked about making new characters but changed their minds later on in the session. Aldarian and Torin were both resurrected at the Alliance headquarters in Bradel Fields.

    The party proceeded to attend an Alliance Council meeting which had been long overdue. The attendees were:
    Torin, representative from the Dwarves.
    Aldarian, representative from the Thieves Guild of Phoenix (Questionable if this is good enough reason to be on the Council anymore).
    Tagenadi, advisor on Xorian military strategy (He was an ex-officer so this makes some sense)
    Hektor, a lord from the Aractrashan Kingdom who decided to lend what aid he could to the Alliance. King Ballard of Aractrash is currently staying out of the war out of concern for his people. Ballard also feels the Xorians have no plans to expand into Aractrash during his lifetime. Even if they did so he has a higher chance of success in a defensive war than in an offensive one. Hektor feels differently and wishes to prove that Aractrashan assistance would turn the tide of the war to the Alliance and to King Ballard's benefit. (Hektor is also Middle_Snu's new character, a generalist wizard)
    Arendil, political leader of the Alliance and representative from Jipangu.
    Junai, acting military commander of the Alliance in Bradel Fields. One of the representatives from the Phoenix Mercenaries Guild (She is on the Council more due to military experience than political connections).
    Titandra, blind cleric of Hephaestus and representative for Restnor's Point.
    Kig, tattooed monk and representative for Restnor's Point. He acts as Titandra's eyes.
    Logan, hellfire warlock and representative for the Adventurers Guild fo Phoenix (He was thewamp's old character. His position on the council is also a little questionable, but he is a useful magician).

    These nine met in the Bradel Fields Council chambers. Gradorian was absent because he is overseeing the training of the refugee soldiers at Jipangu. Junai is acting for Gradorian. Astyanax was also absent as he was still recovering from his death and torture at the hands of a demon. Preta and Shez were absent for reasons soon to be explained.
    Arendil started the meeting off, “The Xorians have sent us an envoy. Probably to discuss our surrender terms again. Before we get to that business item there are a few other things I think we should discuss. First, Tagenadi, Torin, and Aldarian, tell us about what happened with Terroc.”
    Tagenadi, Torin, and Aldarian recapped the last session.
    Arendil said, “And what about Amalius. I heard through the servants of Astyanax that Amalius was dead, or a spy, or a Dragovinian. Which is it?”
    The party recapped what they had learned when searching Amalius’ room after his disappearance. Aldarian retold what he knew from spying with Amalius.
    Arendil immediately ordered an investigation of all members of the Alliance Council to prevent future spies. The Greek gods are against Blendegad, the dragon-god of the Xorians, as he wishes to replace worship of them for worship of himself. Torin and Titandra are both clerics of the gods so they are above suspicion. The two of them led the investigation. All of the attending members of the Council were cleared.
    Kig restarted the proceedings while asking, “So we can assume that the sword of Kruk-Ma-Kali is now in the hands of the Xorians?”
    Tagenadi said, “Yes, Terroc had it in his portable hole. I’m pretty sure he was spying for the Xorians, so he must have taken it to them.”
    Kig said, “Should we come up with any plans in case the Xorians use the sword against us?”
    The Council discussed matters. The Xorians could use the sword to rally the hobgoblins against the Alliance or they could use the sword as a military advisor. Unsure of how to react to either ploy, the Council tabled discussion of Kharad-Khor for a later time.
    Arendil spoke to Torin, “What can you tell us of the peace offer the dwarves gave the Xorians? Is it a concern?”
    Torin said, “The peace terms? The dwarves demanded the Xorians vacate all the territory they have occupied in the Underdark. The territory is to be turned over the new Dwarven Kingdom led by High King Torngar. If the Xorians do not cede the land by September 10th the Dwarven Kingdom will invade the Underdark in November. I doubt the Xorians will accept the terms. The three month waiting period is just so that the dwarven armies can mobilize.”
    Junai said, “So there’s no chance that the Xorians will accept the terms?”
    “I doubt it.”
    “What about Dainlin? Will the hill dwarves’ army be assisting us in the interim?”
    “I believe so. Although that will only be necessary if the Xorians attack.”
    “What about after the Xorians reject the terms? Will the dwarves assist the Alliance above ground or only below it?”
    “The plan is to invade the Underdark. High King Torngar has no plan for the surface world. However, he hopes his invasion will divert the Xorian resources below ground and through that assist the Alliance.”
    “So no assistance above ground for the foreseeable future?”
    “Not as far as I’ve been told.”
    “That is unfortunate.”
    Arendil spoke, “Friends, we come now to the biggest issue affecting us. There has been a revolt in Bradel Fields. Many of the citizens wish to end the war with the Xorians. Whether they wish to surrender or hope to be left in peace I do not know. The lavish wedding plans that Preta, Shez, Junai, and Kig oversaw upset the commoners. A mob formed and threatened to attack the preparations. They began throwing rocks and Preta struck back with lethal magical force. Thirty-two commoners of Bradel Fields died.
    “I’m sure you all understand the seriousness of this. Preta is in the Bradel Fields jail awaiting trial. Shez is under house arrest at Astyanax’s estate. We of the Alliance Council must decide what to do with Preta. Should we judge him and punish him ourselves or turn him over to the government of Bradel Fields?”
    The Council members unaware of Preta’s deeds were shocked. A lengthy discussion began. Arendil and Titandra were in favor of turning Preta over to Bradel Fields. Torin, Aldarian, Junai, and Hektor favored the Alliance deciding his fate. Aldarian suggested that Preta’s execution be faked and that Preta be sent to do terrorist attacks on the Xorian Kingdom. Tagenadi admonished Aldarian and suggested that Preta be turned over to the Bradel Fields police. Arendil thanked Aldarian for sharing a different course of action that no one else had thought of.
    In the end the Council voted to allow Bradel Fields to decide Preta’s fate. They all knew it would mean a death sentence. Arendil also suggested that the Alliance offer 100GP to the families of each of those killed by Preta’s fireball. The reparations were passed unanimously.

    Arendil spoke again, “Now that the matter with Preta has been decided we can talk more of the revolt in Bradel Fields. It has by no means contained. Factions are forming throughout the city. Organized gangs prevent safe passage through the streets. The city is no longer secure. Every citizen is involved in a plot or a scheme of some kind. I need suggestions to contain the various factions.”
    Titandra said, “Do you have any more information about the factions themselves?”
    “I gathered a little bit of information. There are factions that support peace with Xoria, some that support war, some that support evacuation, and some that support surrender. Other factions wish to restore the monarchy or the oligarchy. Others wish to preserve the Republic. Some are calling for new elections or to rewrite the constitution of Bradel Fields. Some factions wish to continue the war, but to leave the Alliance. There are also all sorts of fringe factions pushing their own agendas. There’s one faction of abolitionists, another which supports using slaves in the army, and even one that wishes to use necromancy to quickly raise an undead army to oppose the Xorians. I, myself, was a little shocked to hear of that last one.”
    Discussion flared up again. Torin, Hektor, and Aldarian all favored the idea of reinstating a monarchy. However, the discussion was interrupted as a loud banging was heard on the Council Chamber doors.
    Arendil said, “What’s that? Open the doors!”
    A servant opened the doors and let in a crowd of angry Bradel Fields Councilmen.
    “We demand to be heard in your secret Council meeting!”
    “You have no right to prevent us from participating!”
    “You are guests in our city and we expect to be treated like hosts, not doormats!”
    “We want representation on your Council!”
    “This whole affair is illegal and should be disbanded!”
    Many more complaints were raised by the thirty or so Councilors who barged into the round Council room. The Alliance Council began to shout back, but Arendil calmed them, “Please! Everyone calm yourselves! Rodrigo, does the Bradel Fields Council wish more representation on the Alliance Council?”
    Rodrigo, the leader of the Bradel Fields Council, said, “Yes, we do. Firstly, Astyanax was never elected to the Bradel Fields Council, so he is not the best representative. Secondly, he is indisposed for the time being. Thirdly, Phoenix has several representatives on your Alliance Council despite no longer being a city. We wish similar representation on the Council now that we are the host of the Alliance.”
    “That is good. My Council will adjourn while yours picks two of its own members to join our ranks.”
    “Thank you,” Rodrigo said with pursed lips.
    The Alliance Council left to a nearby sitting room while the Bradel Fields Council occupied the city’s Council Chambers.
    The Alliance Councilors ate a small lunch while chatting about the events of the day. Who would the Bradel Fields Council pick? Rodrigo would almost certainly be one of the members, but what of the second? Would the chosen representatives share membership on both Councils or renounce their Bradel Fields Councilship? Were any of the Councilors involved in the factions gathering in the city? Would they be favorable to a monarchy or an oligarchy being set up in Bradel Fields?
    Before the lunch could be satisfactorily concluded the Bradel Fields Councilors emerged from the Council Chambers and marched to the sitting room. Rodrigo and Lotigan led the way.
    Rodrigo spoke, “Lotigan and I have been elected to your Alliance Council as we are the best and brightest of Bradel Fields. Now I would like to discuss the immediate cession of hostilities with the Xorian Empire! This war is too costly to our people! Thousands of brave Bradel Fields lives have been lost while you, you foreigners,” he spat the word, “have sat and down nothing!” I will not allow more of my people to die for a lost cause!” Metal boot steps could be heard behind the throng of Council members. “I will not allow my city to be destroyed by the oncoming horde!”
    Council members in the back began to move aside as an armored man strode through the crowd. “We will discuss the terms that the Xorian envoy has brought us and accept whatever is necessary to preserve my city and its way of-” Rodrigo was cut short as the armored man, now clear from the insignia on his shield to be Astyanax, decapitated him from behind.
    The Council members screamed and ran. Astyanax stabbed Lotigan and he fell to the ground in a pool of his own blood. The Alliance Councilors jumped to their feet and would’ve drawn their weapons if they were allowed in the Council Chambers. Tagenadi activated his magic ring of enlarge and stepped between the fleeing Council members and Astyanax. Junai broke a chairs’ legs off for weapons and defended Arendil. Aldarian dove under the table. Kig took a defensive stance in front of Titandra.
    Astyanax spoke through his newly made mask of gold and rubies, “We will preserve the Republic and continue the war with the Xorians using a slave army. All governmental power will be invested in me until the end of the war.” His voice echoed through the building due to the magical enhancement of the mask.
    This was the same mask conceived of by Terroc. It was made of white gold. A yellow gold beard covered the lower portions of the mask and blended into the white gold at the cheeks. A small gap for Astyanax’s mouth opened in the yellow gold lips. Two nostrils holes allowed him to breath. His real eyes could be seen through the open eyeholes of the mask. Each eyebrow was constructed from four glittering rubies. The sides of the mask were flat; Astyanax’s ears must have been flattened against his head. Atop the mask a great golden helmet crest extended four inches into the air. The mask was held on magically. The back was open revealing Astyanax’s brown hair on the left half of his head and his grisly flensed and hairless right half.
    In a panic, Torin cast animate objects and ordered table and chairs of the sitting room to attack Astyanax. Astyanax brought his Holy Avenger down upon them and dispelled the magic of three of the chairs. Torin, suspecting that the mask was influencing Astyanax’s actions, cast dispel magic on Astyanax. Hektor, favoring the imposition of a dictatorship over a sloppy republic, counterspelled the dispel magic. Fortunately, Torin prepared two, so he cast the second. Unfortunately, he failed to suppress the magic of the mask. Astyanax hacked at the furniture. The Councilors of Bradel Fields banged on the doors of the Chambers, but Astyanax’s men held them shut. Hektor cast maze on Torin and removed him from the battlefield for a moment. The furniture was at last destroyed, freeing Astyanax to speak once again.
    “Thank you for your assistance master…?”
    “My name is Hektor, Lord of the Aractrashan town of Lakatia.”
    “Yes. Thank you Master Hektor.”
    Tagenadi said, “You shed blood in these halls! Why Astyanax? Have you fallen from good?”
    Astyanax said, “NO! I have done what I must for my city! The Alliance continues the war! The Alliance Council has a higher authority than that of the Bradel Fields Council! These men, by seeking to end the war, were traitors to the Alliance cause! The punishment for treason is death!”
    Torin found his way out of the maze and reappeared in the sitting room. He moved to engage Astyanax once again.
    Arendil shouted, “STOP! This is no place for such violence. Astyanax, come with me into the Council Chambers and we can discuss things alone.”
    Astyanax nodded and turned to the round Council room.
    Junai said, “Wait! Arendil, I cannot let you in there alone. I will go as well.”
    The three went into the Council room and closed the doors. The Bradel Fields Council members were confused, but happy that they were still alive.
    The remaining Alliance Councilors argued over how to react to the situation. Tagenadi and Torin wanted to do something about the people Astyanax had murdered. The others felt that two deaths were worth the stability that Astyanax’s rule would bring. Ultimately, they decided to wait for Astyanax, Arendil, and Junai to return before committing to any course of action.
    Arendil came out of the Council room followed by Astyanax and Junai. Arendil spoke, “I have decided that is best for the Alliance if Astyanax assumes rule over Bradel Fields. This is to be a temporary measure, only extending until the end of the war with Xoria. Astyanax has sworn to this on all the gods of Mount Olympus.”
    Astyanax said, “To ensure stability in the coming months all of you will swear an oath to uphold my rule.”
    Torin asked, “An oath of fealty? I am already sworn to King Dainlin!”
    Hektor said, “I am sworn to King Ballard as well.”
    “Not an oath of fealty. Think of it as a promise to not interfere with my administration of the city if you wish. Your oaths to your liege lords come first of course.”
    Hektor dropped to one knee as he said, “Then I can swear to that. I swear to uphold your rule Lord Astyanax.”
    Some of the Bradel Fields Councilors began to kneel. Others bowed or knelt. The Alliance Councilors all bowed as well. Last was Torin, who gave a quick stiff bow.
    Astyanax said, “The new guiding principles of the city will be, preservation of the Republic, preservation of unity, and obeying the decrees of the Alliance Council. I hope I have made myself clear to the men of Bradel Fields. You are dismissed. Find a different location within the city to have Bradel Fields Council meetings. The Alliance Council will now occupy this location instead of renting it. The Bradel Fields Council is to pick two of its own members to replace Rodrigo and Lotigan. There will be no dual membership between the two councils.”
    The Bradel Fields Councilors scrambled to leave as Astyanax’s guards opened the doors.
    “Please. Let us continue the meeting.” Astyanax gestured for the Alliance Councilors to join him in the round room.
    Once everyone seated themselves in the round room Astyanax began, “I will handle things in the city. A new group of recruits is already being found and trained from the slaves of people like the Bradel Fields Councilors. Once the situation is stable here, I will personally meet with the people of Dalleer to organize the terms of my daughter’s marriage alliance with the Björn.
    “Unless there is further business I would like to discuss the Xorian Envoy that the inferior Council has been entertaining.”
    Junai said, “What of him?”
    “What if he is a Dragovinian in disguise? What should we do then?”
    There was a lot of discussion over what to do if the Xorian was a Dragovinian. Tagenadi and Astyanax favored executing the envoy immediately if he was a Dragovinian. Torin headed the side against executing the envoy. The Council decided that Torin would detect undead on the envoy. The situation would be allowed to evolve from there.
    Astyanax made it clear that the envoy’s terms for surrender would be rejected. The Alliance would demand the return of Phoenix to sovereign rule, the release of the prisoners captured at the battle of Phoenix, and the removal of all Xorian forces from Eastern Cimmeria. Obviously, these demands would be rejected.
    The Council also elected to see the Xorian envoy with weapons present in the round room. The show of force would hopefully intimidate the envoy and make the Alliance’s position clear.
    With the Council in agreement, the Xorian envoy, Thenedemos, was admitted. Thenedemos detected as not undead when inspected by Torin’s spell.
    The envoy spoke, “The Alliance has fought bravely and honorably, but this war is all but over. Your forces are sadly outnumbered. If you continue your cities will fall one by one. Even now, Xorian delegations are negotiating with the cities of Greshendale, Crux, and Dorrowsan for their admittance into the Xorian Empire. Delegations have been sent to Shalerton, Balin’s Holt, Restnor’s Point, and Aractrash as well. Your allies will desert you and your coalition will crumble between your fingers like a dried leaf.
    “Furthermore, the dwarves, now led by High King Torngar, have offered peace terms to Emperor Jevaninada. The gracious Emperor has accepted the dwarven peace terms. Your greatest ally has left you.”
    Mouths dropped at this revelation. Tagenadi and Torin were especially surprised by it.
    “Blendegad offers you the same terms that were given to Greshendale and the other Cimmerian cities. Surrender and your lives will be spared. The greatest among you will be given the gift of immortality if they wish it. Resist and you will be slain and your families enslaved for a thousand generations. Individual surrender is an option that the almighty Dragon God offers you as well.”
    Moments passed as the Councilors thought on the implications of the dwarven peace. An entire race of soldiers had abandoned the Alliance cause.
    Seeing that no one else would speak, Astyanax stood and drew his sword, gesticulating with it during his speech, “You come here and demand the surrender of my city? You think this place, which has stood through dozens of generations of my ancestors leading back to Hercules himself will bow before your Dragon God? Your Reaper?” He spat the words, “I will not allow my people to become slaves to your dark masters. I will not allow the sacred statues of our gods to be broken and smashed for your leader’s pride! I will not allow a single Xorian to mount the walls of Bradel Fields while I still draw breath!
    “What did your King promise you for coming here? Did he offer that shade of a life? Did he offer to make you a Dragovinian, to be an everlasting blight upon the Earth? I’ll bet he did. Well, unlike Xorians, the men of Bradel Fields cannot be bribed. The same can be said of the rest of the Alliance. None of us will betray our vows to the Alliance for your blasphemous gifts! Leave this place and tell your masters that you have failed! See the reward they bring you then!”
    Addressing the guards in attendance, “Men, escort the envoy to the city gates. Anyone wearing Xorian colors in the city after today is to be executed on the spot.” Two guards grabbed Thenedemos by the arms and pulled him out of the room.
    The envoy struggled, “This is outrageous! No one touches a diplomat!”
    “Diplomats are protected by the gods of Olympus! You spit on them by worshipping your dragon!”
    The envoy continued to shout as the guards dragged him from the chamber, “Outrageous! Outrageous!”
    When the envoy was out, Astyanax told one of the remaining guards, “Once he has left the city, dump a basket of **** on his head. A crown befitting his king.” The guard left to execute his duty.
    “That is enough for today. Lets us adjourn until later.” The Councilors got up to leave. “Tagenadi, stay. I wish to speak with you in private.”
    The Councilors shuffled out until only Tagenadi and Astyanax remained. “You are Xorian born, correct?”
    “Then I have a special mission for you. We know that Greshendale will soon join the Xorians. Their city is the greatest magical might in all the lands. If their power is joined to the Xorians we may no longer have a hope. I think you are the only one who can stop it.”
    “I have read that several magical artifacts keep the city of Greshendale afloat in the sky. I want you to steal one of the artifacts and make it seem as if a Xorian task force was behind the theft. That way the leadership of Greshendale will think that the Xorians only allied with them to get easy access to the artifact.”
    “But why me?”
    “You are a Xorian. If the seers of Greshendale use divination magic the response will be clear that a Xorian led the attack on their city. You should contact some of your old allies during your rebel days in the Xorian Empire as well. Perhaps some of them can be convinced to join in the raid on Greshendale.”
    “I will do my best.”
    “Good, the twelve Olympians be with you. Now I bid you goodbye. I must rest.” Astyanax left the room, showing his half flensed head from behind.

    The next day, Torin and Tagenadi used a couple sending spells to contact Tagenadi’s old buddies. Unfortunately, all but one were dead. The one living one remaining was an elf named Sabriyya. She is a dervish who calls the city of Mars’ Oasis when she isn’t testing her fighting skills against the evils of the world. Sabriyya was in Mars’ Oasis when she was contacted. She decided that fighting the Xorians once again would be pretty sweet. (In case you couldn’t tell, Sabriyya is Ozymandias’ replacement for Preta. Preta is being retired to NPCdom). Hektor teleported to Mars’ Oasis and brought Sabriyya to Bradel Fields.
    The party looked at many different plans then. They considered helping Mars’ Oasis, the terrorist strike on Greshendale, and a few plans related to Amalius.
    Mars’ Oasis is a desert city. The city is beset by three great dangers, the blue dragons, the formians, and the undead.
    The blue dragons are led by Bavastatner. Bavastatner is the oldest of dragons. Some claim he was even around during the Titanomachy. His children surround his cave, including some humanoid tribes that serve him.
    The formians live in 25 hives to the southeast of Mars’ Oasis. The formians attack the city whenever their hives fill up. The people of Mars’ Oasis have attempted to remove the hives in the past; but, to stop the threat, all the queens must be slain. No one has managed that just yet.
    The undead come from a great pillar to the east of Mars’ Oasis known as the Lich Shade. Thousands of zombies and skeletons throng around the Lich Shade. An adventuring group went out to inspect the tower once. Those who returned told of a trap and undead filled dungeon beneath the rock tower.
    If all three threats to Mars’ Oasis could be neutralized, then the city might join the Alliance. As the soldiers of Mars’ Oasis are already used to fighting undead and dragons, they would be a great addition to the Alliance army.
    The party pooled what they already knew about the magical city of Greshendale together. The city is a massive upside down floating mountain. Four smaller mountains surround the main mountain. The whole city is several miles in diameter and 2 miles deep. The bottom of the city is 3 miles from the Earth.
    Greshendale is made from the Dahak Volcano. Volcanoes are prisons of powerful monsters. When the Volcano was ripped from the ground, the Dahak was freed. It thanked the founder of the city, Tentineh, by giving him a dozen powerful elementals to power the new city. The city is held aloft by various magical forces. Elementals, artifacts, and the raw power of the volcano itself give force to the city. The flight, air, and water of the city are all managed by the magic that has been gathered in the tunnels of the volcano over the years.
    The party knew of only a few of the many artifacts that power the city. There are at least five Orbs of Dragonkind in the mountains of the city. One is in each of the four smaller mountains that surround the larger mountain. The other artifact the party knew of is the Staff of Oblivion. The Staff sits at the exact center of the Greshendale plaza. The Staff is magically suspended over a pit that goes straight through the volcano to the lava spout at the bottom of the city. Lightning constantly extends from the Staff of Oblivion to the railings that surround the pit and down into the lava. The lava begins 50 feet below the Staff.
    The party outlined a plan to kill and replace a Xorian delegation to Greshendale. Then, disguised as the delegation, they could steal one of the artifacts and either hide it or place it in the Xorian Empire. The party also considered using mind blank during the theft. They wanted to do some research on the defenses and artifacts of the city. However, the plan is to make it look like the Xorians only allied with Greshendale to steal something. For that to look good, the theft must happen within the next week. There isn’t much time to do research.
    Tabling all those plans, the away team discussed ways of getting Amalius back and on their side. Amalius’ psicrystal was destroyed by Terroc during his betrayal. Before that he had named the Dragovinian who attacked Amalius. The assassin’s name was Devanane. Tagenadi served with Devanane during his time in the Xorian army. He said that Devanane was a bad person and would be better off dead than alive. He didn’t elaborate more than that.
    Hektor tried scrying Devanane, but came up empty. The only other lead the party had was that Amalius’ family had been held captive at the Petar Prison. The party formulated a plan to attack the prison and spring the family along with any other inmates who would be sympathetic to the Alliance cause. They prepared for the expedition and teleported in.

    The Petar Prison is located under the Petar Castle. The party, consisting of Hektor, Tagenadi, Torin, Aldarian, and Sabriyya, teleported in atop the building containing the entrance to the prison. Xorian soldiers on the walls of the castle spotted them. The party jumped down and broke open the door to the building. Inside were four guards, a large, metal, locked trapdoor in the middle of the floor, four torches upon the wall, and a large chain coming out from a hole in the wall.
    Tagenadi, Aldarian, and Sabriyya barged into the room, each taking out one of the guards. Hektor threw a magic missile at one of the guards, but didn't quite kill him. The guard ran towards the chain on the wall, but Tagenadi swung his chained weapon and brought the guard down. Torin and Hektor entered the prison. Torin blocked the door with a wall of stone.
    Aldarian swiftly used his thieves tools to unlock the trapdoor. Beneath was a staircase going down and down with many switchbacks. Torches lit the way at each of the landings. The party ventured down with Tagenadi leading, followed by Aldarian, Sabriyya, Torin, and finally Hektor.
    After 12 flights of stairs and 120 feet according to Torin, the party reached a strong metal door that was locked. Aldarian fumbled at the door and after a failed attempt, opened it with his second. Tagenadi kicked in the door and the party behold the room beyond. A guard stood in the room with his hand upon a chain sticking out through another hole in the wall. Behind the guard was a metal door. To the sides of the metal door were two barred windows. A guard stood at each of the windows. All three of the guards stared at the door. Apparently, they had heard Aldarian's attempts to pick the lock. The guard at the chain, seeing that the people behind the door were not Xorian soldiers, pulled the chain. Red lights began flashing and a voice that came from nowhere endlessly repeated, "Alert! Alert! Alert!"
    Tagenadi slashed the guard by the chain, bringing him down. Sabriyya tumbled forward and stabbed one of the guards through the barred window. Aldarian moved to the second door and began picking its lock. Torin cast hold person on the third guard. Hektor searched the body of the guard on the party's side of the door for keys. Finding them, he handed them to Aldarian. Aldarian opened the lock, but the door refused to budge. Tagenadi and Sabriyya decided that going through one of the windows would be best. They cut through and captured the held guard. There was a second lock on the opposite side of the door, explaining why it didn't open with just the one key.
    The alert continued. Three doors led out of the room. The party questioned the captured guard. He revealed that the warden was the only Dragovinian in the prison and that the warden would mess them up. The door to the party's right opened. The warden was at the head of a dozen or so more guards. The Dragovinian warden breathed fire and the guards shot crossbows at the party. None dealt much damage. Tagenadi, Aldarian, and Sabriyya converged on the warden. They brought him down together and Sabriyya decapitated him to prevent the Dragovinian from regenerating. Tagenadi waded into the guards and after a few more were brought down they surrendered.
    The guards told the party that the cells were through the door opposite the entrance. They went in that direction and got three more guards to surrender. There were two cell blocks that the party investigated. They bashed down all the doors. Some were trapped and opened only to the wall. Others were not trapped and opened to cells. Tagenadi took the brunt of the traps. All the damage was easily healed by Torin with one exception. Hektor got hit by a sleep spell and went unconscious. Attempts to revive him failed.
    In the cells the party found and freed:
    An angry Owlbear. This wasn't freed. Tagenadi just slaughtered it.
    A young woman named Gina who had been raped by the warden. Sabriyya bonded with her and got her to relieve some of her hatred towards the warden. Sabriyya lent Gina a knife and let her stab the warden's head until her arm got tired.
    Twin witch sisters who tried to seduce Tagenadi, but failed.
    Three thieves.
    A wizard named Fortock who is interested in aiding the Alliance.
    The son of Duke Prusu of Jeutontic, Brevenditu. Duke Prusu revolted against the Xorians during the first Alliance. Brevenditu was imprisoned after the First Xorian War. He has been in the prison so long that he thought his rescuers were members of the First Alliance, not the Second.
    A small metal box which held a large diamond. Aldarian picked the diamond up and saw a tiny figure trapped inside. The diamond held the soul and body of his master, Amalius!

    Having secured one of their objectives the party quickly explored the rest of the prison. They found the belongings of the other prisoners and returned them. They interrogated the guards. They learned that the family of Amalius was taken from the prison, most likely to be executed. They also found that there was a back entrance in the prison that led down into the Underdark.
    The party escorted the rescued and the guards down into the deep. Tagenadi carried Hektor on his back. A winding pathway took them deep into the Earth. After going 700 or so feet down according to Torin the pathway branched. One path continued to go deeper while the other split off, staying level. The party took the level path and few hundred feet later it split as well. Confused about where to go, the party decided to just use Torin's new teleportation boots to escape. The guards were given a torch and told to follow the same path out of the Underdark. The prisoners and Hektor were all piled into the party's portable hole. Torin then prepared to jump back to the Council Chambers of Bradel Fields.
    The teleport failed and brought them to a dusty room with a long stone table and stone chairs surrounding it. The party explored a bit and found that they were definitely not in Bradel Fields. Torin teleported once again. They came to another dusty room with a circular stone table and rounded stone chairs surrounding it. Unsure of what was going on, that party turned to Fortock, the only wizard among them. He said he didn't know either.
    Aldarian said, 'If only my master was free from this gem. He always knew the answer to everything." (Amalius has ranks in all the knowledge skills).
    Fortock said, "Your master is trapped inside of this gem? How did he get there?"
    "We think it was a trap the soul spell cast by a Dragovinian."
    "A trap the soul spell you say? Why that's easy to fix! Just break the gem!"
    Aldarian dropped the diamond to the floor and stomped on it. It cracked and out came Amalius in mint condition! No time had passed for Amalius so he immediately panicked. The party calmed him down and explained everything that had happened since his imprisonment within the gem. They asked him what was going on with the teleport spell.
    Amalius said, "Oh! The teleport isn't working because the Underdark is technically a different plane than the surface world. We just need to get to the surface and then we can teleport to Bradel Fields."
    Torin said, "Or we could plane shift. I prepped that spell today."
    Torin plane shifted the party out of wherever they were, aiming for Bradel Fields. They ended up in Lordodo instead. After waving to the Aractrashan city, they used the last teleport of the day from Torin's boots to get to Bradel Fields.

    We ended the session there. I've got finals and preparation for finals the next two weeks, so no session until mid/late June.

  14. - Top - End - #44
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    We had our first session in a while last night. Unfortunately, no D&D was played at it. We played at Ozymandias' house. He, Throgg, thewamp, and I were in attendance. Salzar joined us by Google Hangouts. Me and thewamp showed up first, so the us and Ozymandias played a board game called Small World. It was a lot of fun and I recommend it to the forums. Then Throgg and Salzar arrived. We talked about playing my campaign, but spent too much time beating around the bush. thewamp had to leave to catch a train, so I drove him. When I got back the others wanted to play Hackmaster.

    I walked them through character creation for Hackmaster. About halfway through, Salzar got understandably frustrated with doing character creation over the internet without a book. He said goodnight. We finished making Throgg and Ozymandias' characters. I ran them through a sample combat with some goblins. They really liked it. I recommend Hackmaster to the forums as well, but we're less sure how well it will work over the internet now.

  15. - Top - End - #45
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Been awhile since my last update, but fear not! This campaign and its log will not be abandoned! The only fear I have is that no one cares about my sad writing.

    Alliance Session #17/Total Session #25
    This session was held over Google hangouts. Salzar, Ozymandias, thewamp, and Throgg were in attendance.

    We started off with an Alliance Council meeting to discuss Amalius’ return and what to do about his previous espionage actions for the enemy. Arendil called the meeting to order. Astyanax spoke first, “Well Amalius, the Alliance has recovered you from the clutches of the Xorian Empire. But are you on our side now or are you still with them? Since your departure we have examined all the other Alliance members for treachery. The same will be done to you. Titandra and Torin will question you in another room.”
    Titandra and Torin stood up and led Amalius to a separate room. Titandra dropped a zone of truth down. While questioning Amalius they confirmed that he had helped the Xorians only because they were holding his family hostage. Titandra asked if he would continue to help the Xorians if his family was still alive and in their captivity. Amalius said, “Family before honor.”
    Titandra also asked about Amalius’ past before he was captured by the Xorians to work for them. When he was just a baby, Amalius’ father, Amalganus, had left for Greece on an unknown mission. Amalius ran away from home to follow his father at a young age. Titandra learned that Amalius found his father dead in Athens, but Amalius refused to divulge more about the past events. Titandra and Torin said it might be necessary to place a magical enchantment on Amalius to ensure his loyalty, but left it at that.
    The three returned to the Council Chambers. Titandra said, “Amalius helped the Xorians only because they held his family captive. I believe he will be loyal to us if his family is freed from Xorian captivity. We should divine whether they are free or passed at a later time.”
    The Council was silent for a time. Amalius stood up to speak, “My lords! I have heard that you are forming an army out of slaves. I could be most useful for this task. We know that the body of a slave belongs to its master, but the mind reminds independent. I, as a powerful telepath, can bring the slaves’ minds under our control. I can remain useful to the Alliance even if you doubt my loyalty. Look at what my power allows!”
    Amalius gestured at the handful of servants in the room as they stiffly marched behind him and saluted.
    Astyanax stood and spoke, “It is your mind that is under suspicion, Amalius, not those of our men. These people have served the Council and its members faithfully for many years. Release them at once.”
    Surprise touched Amalius’ face, “Of course.” He snapped his fingers and the servants shook their heads, glared at Amalius, and returned to their previous positions in the room. “I did not mean to offend.”
    “You may not have, but I can see that the Xorian’s influence over you still holds in some ways.”
    Astyanax and Amalius sat down and commenced to having a staring contest. The rest of the Council Members were unsure of what to say or do.
    A minute or two passed by. The sun reached its zenith and shined down through the oculus of the dome in the Council Chambers. As it did so Titandra’s eyes lit up and light poured out of them. Her mouth opened and light shone from her tongue as well. She spoke with two voices, one her own, one with such strength and power that it could only be a god.
    Land, Sea, and Sky turn against you.
    The Earth trembles and Hell marches in the West.
    The Savior has fallen, but a new one will arise.
    The end is at the start and the son will meet the father of the renewal.
    Victory lies in the unmaking of the Dragon.
    Apollo is with the Rebels. They have freed Gazeara.

    The light left Titandra and she fell back into her chair, visibly weakened by the experience.
    Arendil stood up, “The Council is adjourned into this prophecy can be fully understood.” The Council left to the nearby sitting room (now with new furniture) to talk about the prophecy.

    The party thought that Sea and Sky were certainly Poseidon and Ares. They were unsure of what Land could be, but felt it had to be another deity. Or “Land, Sea, and Sky” could just be euphemisms for the vastness of the Xorian army, fleet, and flying Dragovinian units.
    They bypassed “The Earth trembles,” and focused on “Hell marching in the West.” Xoria is in the west, so this seemed fairly obvious. The Dragovinians are undead, so they’re “the Hell marching in the West.”
    Various people were named as “the Fallen Savior.” Everyone from the previous campaign, as well as Amalius or Astyanax. Everyone of the party members claimed to be the New Savior.
    “The end is at the start” was thought to reference the five people responsible for the first Alliance, Amalgami, Atreides, Salzar, Princess Tarigananata, and General Antapike. The party was unsure who the son and father of renewal would be.
    “Victory lies in the unmaking of the Dragon” seemed pretty obvious. So did the message about Apollo and Gazeara.
    Unsure of what to do about this news, the party decided to focus on Amalius. They had to ensure his loyalty and the best way to do that would be to rescue his family or his family’s corpses.

    The next day Amalius used a psionic divination and asked, “Where are the wife and children of Amalius Halkias?”
    The cryptic response was, “In the future, as yet unmade.”
    Turning to Hektor, Amalius imparted a mental image of his wife Denara, and asked Hektor to scry her. Hektor agreed.
    He said, “I see a wooden deck. Your wife is chained to a post on the deck. Your children are also chained to posts. There’s a man in an executioner’s cowl saying something.”
    Sabriyya said, “I think we need to go now. Like, right now, to rescue them.”
    Amalius said, “Right! Everyone cast your preparation spells quickly!”
    The spells and powers were cast and Hektor teleported the part in.
    The wooden deck was in the middle of a large town square. The damaged buildings around the square indentified the town as Phoenix. People filled the square facing the wooden deck. Ten Xorian guards surrounded the deck, warning people off with their drawn weapons. A few Dragovinians could be seen in the crowd and on the roofs surrounding the square. The executioner said, “-to be executed by fire!”
    Sabriyya rolled past the guards to the executioner and cut his legs off with her scimatars. He fell to the ground, quickly bleeding out. Torin animated the chains on the Halkias family. Aldarian moved to defend Amalius’ twin son and daughter. Tagenadi defended Amalius’ wife and older daughter. Hektor cast invisibility on himself. Amalius raised two energy walls in a circle around the deck.
    A great roar came from behind the buildings to the south. A ball of shadows rose up over the city. In the ball of shadows was the Dragon Reaper God, Blendegad. Fear clutched at the hearts of the party, but those under the affects of mind blank remained unaffected.
    Torin grabbed the wife, the older daughter, and the son before teleporting out with his boots. The others moved around Hektor and he quickly teleported away with them as well.
    Upon returning to Astyanax’s estate in Bradel Fields, Amalius asked for a few moments alone with his family. They went to a separate room. The rest of the party stayed in the room next to the family’s.
    After a couple minutes Amalius’ voice could be heard through the door, “HE was DEAD!”
    Then Denara shouted, “But I've met him! He gave us the tablecloth for our house! Please! You're scaring the children."
    At that, Aldarian reacted to a silent command and went into the room. He took the kids and led them out and to the nearby nursery in Astyanax’s house. Amalius closed the door. Tagenadi left the adjoining room, not wanting to hear more than he should of others’ domestic disputes.
    Denara shouted, "Who is that? Where is he taking them?! Tell me what's going on!"
    A minute or so later Denara shouted again, “I've never met your grandfather! Please stop! You're making me scared!”
    A few more minutes passed and then the wall separating the two rooms blew apart with magical sonic energy. Amalius’ dagger, Korm, came flying out of the room and imbedded in the opposite wall. When the dust settled, Denara was in the room. Amalius was absent having dimension doored away.
    Tagenadi came rushing back. Sabriyya went to Denara, but she clawed at her the elf and backed into the corner of the room demanding that she be left alone. Tagenadi went up to her while Sabriyya retrieved Korm from the wall. Denara yelled at Tagenadi, demanding to be left alone. He told her everything would be alright and did his best to comfort her without touching her (thewamp was going for the awkward feel on this one).
    Korm said to everyone in the room, “I told him. That’s not his wife. Amalius has no wife. I was there when he was growing up in Greece. He never married.”
    The party talked among themselves. They got Denara to contribute as well after returning her children to her and calming her down. At the end of it they had three versions of Amalius’ backstory. One told by Korm, one by Denara, and a third by Aldarian.

    Aldarian’s Story
    Amalius told Aldarian a lot about his life before being captured by the Xorians. Aldarian’s story is really that of Amalius, or at least what Amalius told Aldarian.
    When Amalius was a teenager he left his home in Jipangu to find his father in Greece. He caught up with his dad in Athens. There, Amalganus was confronting Amalgami, Amalganus’ father and Amalius’ grandfather. Amalgami was a powerful lich. He killed Amalganus and kidnapped/adopted Amalius. Amalius perfected his psionic powers under Amalgami’s guidance. Ten years ago, Amalius married Denara and they had three children. Korm was an overseer for the family while Amalgami went away for long periods of time. Korm and Amalgami tortured the family for many years. In 399 they escaped to Xoria. Not knowing that his name would get him arrested, Amalius used it with the hope of getting a safe return to Jipangu. He was arrested. After years of torture the Xorians told him they were releasing him as a spy into the Alliance. Cooperate and his family would live.
    Amalganus being the father of Amalius is backed up by all the other Council Members.

    Denara’s Story
    Ten years ago, she and Amalius were wed. They had three children. Amalius’ father is called Horatius. Horatius gave her family the tablecloth that they used for years as a wedding present. She never met Amalius’ grandfather or Korm. She doesn’t know who Amalganus is.
    Amalius joined the Rebellion in Bigby’s Forest. He became a spy in Petar. The family moved there from Makotako. Amalius was discovered and the family was captured. He was separated from them. Years later they were taken from Petar Prison and moved to Phoenix to be executed. Then the party rescued them.
    Torin cast a zone of truth that revealed that she was not lying.

    Korm’s Story
    Korm matched up with a lot of the details of Aldarian’s story. Amalius came to Greece. His father was killed in front of him. He studied under Amalgami for many years. Korm and Amalgami tortured Amalius in order to make him strong. Eventually, Amalius ran away and he never came back. He never married or had a family. Amalgami wouldn’t allow it.

    We ended the session there amid much confusion.

  16. - Top - End - #46
    Ogre in the Playground
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #18/Total Session #26
    This session was held over Google Hangouts. Ozymandias, Throgg, Salzar, and thewamp attended. For simplicity’s sake, Hektor was an absent character. He cast a few utility spells, but for the most part did nothing.

    Amalius was still missing. Hektor tried to scry for him, but Amalius was still under a mind blank effect from the prison visit. Astyanax suggested that Amalius may no longer be mentally fit for his Council position. Aldarian said he would take his friend’s place until Amalius recovered. Astyanax retired for the night and the rest followed suit.
    Hektor tried another scry in the morning and located Amalius in the free range zoo of Bradel Fields. The party walked over. They found Amalius sitting in a hunched position in a wooded area.
    Tagenadi approached him first. Amalius stood and opened his clasped hands, revealing a new psicrystal. The psicrystal was a black piece of obsidian. Every angle of it looked too sharp to touch. It floated out of Amalius’ hands and began a slow orbit around his head.
    Tagenadi asked, “What’s that?”
    The psicrystal answered, “My name is Black! And I’m here to get revenge on all those who have wronged me!”
    The party tired of dealing with this confusing memory nonsense, decided that a certain sort of “vacation” was in order. They (Sabriyya, Torin, Amalius, Aldarian, Hektor, and Tagenadi) packed their bags and headed off to the Lich Shade to battle undead terrors.

    Sabriyya told the others the story of the Lich Shade. The Lich Shade is a thousand foot pillar of stone that stands in the middle of the desert around Mars’ Oasis. Skeletons and zombies congregate around the tower and occasionally attack Mars’ Oasis. Once, an adventuring party fought its way through the undead to the tower. They found a passage way leading underground in the southwest edge of the Lich Shade. The adventurers went down the stairs and fought with an undead beast in the first room. Half of them were slain and the other half escaped forever scarred.
    It is rumored that a lich lives at the bottom of the dungeon. The lich is called the Bane by the townsfolk of Mars’ Oasis. The party discovered some information at the Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali that indicated another identity for the Bane. The designer of the hobgoblin king’s tomb left a map, noting the location of his own tomb. The location of the designer’s tomb and the Lich Shade match up. The designer was an evil elven wizard named Sahamathrian.
    The party teleported into the desert a mile and a half away from the Lich Shade. They sent Aldarian in as a flying, invisible scout. Aldarian ascended 1000 feet to the tower’s zenith and began to fly over the hordes of skeletons zombies. After going 500 feet over the skeletons, the fly spell failed. Hoping the auxiliary feather fall in the fly would save him, Aldarian was sadly mistaken, for the feather fall was dispelled as well. He fumbled for a few moments, trying to think of an escape route. He came up blank, and braced for impact. He hit the sand in the middle of the undead and dropped to 0 hit points.
    Aldarian staggered to his feet and drew his rapier, ready to defend himself against the undead. He was shocked to see no reaction on the undeads’ faces. He was still invisible, so they ignored him.
    Seeing that their friend needed help, Torin cast hide from undead on the party. They scurried through the undead shamblers to reach Aldarian. Torin healed the party thief back to full health. The party decided to scout ahead as a group. They walked through the masses of undead. At the base of the Lich Shade they found a staircase in the southwestern side, just where the stories said it would be.

    Aldarian gave the entrance and the stairs a sweep for traps. He found none and the party journeyed down. Hektor cast light on a rock and threw it to the bottom of the stairs. The rock illuminated a large room with four evenly spaced columns. The party walked down the steps. Tagenadi and Sabriyya jumped the last few steps to reach the granite tiled floor.
    And then the lights went out.
    Consumed by darkness, Tagenadi took a defensive stance. Sabriyya followed the wall on her left, hoping to find the edge of what she rightly assumed was magically darkness. Amalius prepared a disintegrate spell to be cast upon any enemy he perceived through his telepathy. Torin started his buff spell routine. Aldarian took a defensive stance by Tagenadi.
    The beast in the blackness saw one person separate from the others. It moved upon Sabriyya and took a giant bite out of her for 84 points of damage. The beast lifted the elf in its jaws and prepared to swallow.
    Amalius cast dimension door and Black delivered the touch spell to Sabriyya. She was teleported to the base of the steps. Tagenadi ran forward in the dark to engage the beasty. It picked him up in its jaws as well and injected some foul poison into his veins through a stinger. Sabriyya went to save Tagenadi. Hektor tried to dispel the darkness, but failed. The beast breathed freezing air on the party.
    Beginning to feel outmatched, Amalius prepared an intricate series of dimension doors to escape the party. First, Sabriyya tumbled back to the rest of the party at Amalius’ mental instruction. Second, Black went forward again and teleported Tagenadi to the rest of the group. Third, Amalius overchanneled dimension door to get everyone to the outside.
    The power failed. Some part of the necromantic aura within the tomb allowed teleporting within the tomb, but not teleporting out as an escape. Panicking, Amalius manifested another overchanneled dimension door. He rolled higher on his caster level check this time and managed to break through the interdimensional barrier. On the outside, Hektor teleported everyone to Mars’ Oasis before the skeleton and zombie horde descended upon them.

    The party spent a day recovering. Amalius had heard of the monster, a nightcrawler. A gigantic worm beast composed of pure shadow. It does nothing but think of evil acts to commit before it commits them. Unfortunately, Amalius was unable to recall any specifics on how to slay such a beast.
    The party had already encountered the important parts of its tactics though. The next day Torin prepared two freedom of movements and two delay poisons for Tagenadi and Sabriyya. He prepared a mass energy resistance for the cold breath weapon. Finally, he prepared a few daylight spells to cancel out the darkness.

    The party went back the next day. Torin cast the buffs on everyone and readied a daylight for when the monster revealed itself. Too bad for the party, as the monster changed its tactics as well. Tagenadi went forward as bait, but the nightcrawler didn’t bite. It used its spell-like abilities to wear Tagenadi down a little bit. Tagenadi went forward more and came out of the darkness. He saw the gigantic nightcrawler sitting in the corner of the room.
    He charged at it. Sabriyya made her way through the darkness as well, but was ambushed by four shadowy beings that came up out of the floor. She fought them with Aldarian’s help. Torin came forward with his daylight spell. The darkness was countered and ambient light conditions prevailed. The battle was now lit only by the magic weapons the warriors carried and the darkvision that Torin and Amalius possessed.
    Tagenadi engaged in a slug fest with the nightcrawler. His hit point total was augmented by a share pain and a vigor power cast by Amalius. Sabriyya and Aldarian seemed to be fighting evenly with the shadow beasts, now identified as greater shadows. Torin kept healing everyone he could with mass cures that also damaged the undead.
    With the slamming from Tagenadi, and some energy waves from Amalius, the nightcrawler eventually went down. Its shadowy form came off in smoky tendrils. The core of its body dissolved in a black liquid upon the floor. Unfortunately, Sabriyya was felled by the shadows. They were quickly banished as well, but Sabriyya lay dead upon the floor. Almost, instantly a shadowy ghost emerged from her body, but it too was banished by Torin. The party took a quick look around the room before retreating to Mars’ Oasis.
    Aldarian found a secret door in the left wall. On the wall opposite from the stairs was a much more obvious door. A gigantic twenty foot wide set of double doors towered all the way up to the ceiling. The doors seemed to be composed of spirits which flowed across its surface emitting silent screams. (I linked this to give the players a good idea of the Gates.)

    The party full rezzed Sabriyya using money from the war chest. They got some potions too. They then went back to the dungeon to explore further. The black pool of shadow from the nightcrawler was now a stain upon the granite.
    First, Aldarian opened the secret door he found. Behind was a medusa head that tried its best to turn everyone to stone. Aldarian put the head in his portable hole. He searched the room from top to bottom, literally with his spider climb shoes. He found two more secret doors. Both were opened by Tagenadi, revealing two more medusa heads. These two were put into some sacks that Tagenadi carries around. Later plans were made to do something mischievous with the heads.
    The party now faced the Gates of Hell. Their first attempt was to disbelieve the gates, but they found them all too real. Next, Aldarian tied Tagenadi to one of the columns in the room. Tagenadi went forward to investigate the Gate. He gave a few trial attempts of putting his arm, head, and a coin through. The coin was safely recovered along with the body parts. Not knowing what else to do, Tagenadi stepped through the portal. (I took thewamp aside for this. A lot of cool stuff happened and I have made a separate update of it. That update will be uploaded in a later post once the rest of the party finds out what happened).
    Amalius’ telepathy no longer felt Tagenadi’s presence. After a few seconds, the rope they had kept taught on him, went slack. Unsure of what to do, the party asked Amalius to use a divination power. They found that Tagenadi was in Tartarus, safe and sound, and that the way to bring him back was to make a deal with Hades, Lord of the Underworld.
    No one else wanted to go through the gate. They went back to Mars’ Oasis and the next day Torin cast a sending to Tagenadi. They asked where he was, if he was safe, what they needed to do to rescue him. Tagenadi replied, “I’m fine. Bargain made with Hades. I’ll return on my own. If I come back changed, kill me.”

    The session endeth there.

  17. - Top - End - #47
    Ogre in the Playground
    Anxe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #19/Total Session #27
    Woo! Been awhile. My group ends up playing a little less often in the summer because we all go on vacations and things. We’ve also been playing Salzar’s pirate campaign a little bit. Anyways, the session was held in person. Throgg and Salzar showed up and Middle_Snu attended via Skype. Ozymandias and thewamp were absent, so we explained away reasons for their characters to be doing something else.

    As thewamp was otherwise occupied we decided to table his journey into Erebos for the meantime. Tagenadi sent another message to the party, “I may have to stay longer than originally anticipated. I’m learning many things from Hades and time may flow a bit differently down here in the Underworld. By the way, the Gate to Hell in the Lich Shade can be bypassed by making it not be there or going around it.”
    Sabriyya decided she would wait for Tagenadi’s return before venturing into the Lich Shade again. She put up her feet at her home in Mars’ Oasis. The rest of the party returned to the monolith in the desert and walked down the steps into the crypt. Inside they found the pooled shadow blood of the Nightcrawler still on the floor. The group used a few minor spells to collect the blood in a bucket without touching it. They hoped to sell the nasty stuff as spell components later on.
    Going off of Tagenadi’s advice, Hektor shot a dispel magic at the gateway to Hell. That brought it down. Beyond was a 30 foot long corridor ending in a large iron portcullis. Aldarian searched the area for traps and pronounced it clear. The rest of the party went forward to take a look at the portcullis and the room beyond.
    Spying through the portcullis the group saw a vast dark room. The ceiling must’ve been 40 feet high and massive columns made of bones towered up to the ceiling. The four columns were 20 feet around and split the room into nine parts, like the vertices of a tic-tac-toe board. Six massive sets of doors were along the side walls of the room. The other end of the room was out of sight.
    Two levers were on either side of the door. Aldarian used his mechanical know-how to deduce that pulling both levers at the same time would lift up the portcullis. The elven thief looped a rope around one lever while Torin used his spear to push down the other. The portcullis lifted and the party was granted access to the next room. They entered cautiously, looking everywhere for danger.
    After a few steps a booming voice echoed through the chamber, “All who trespass in the Bane’s Tomb will die!” A large undead warrior in plate mail, carrying two flails, stepped out from behind one of the closer columns. “And all who live in the Bane’s Tomb are dead!” A horde of wights stepped out from behind the columns as well. The wights’ flesh was the color of earth and dust swirled around them constantly.
    The party of casters threw up various control spells to keep the undead from reaching them. A blade barrier and Evard’s black tentacles. The big dude made it through the blades and the tentacles. The wights went through the blades and around the tentacles. Torin dropped a wall of stone to cut them off. The big guy shouted, “Go get the cavalry!” and charged forward, trampling the party. Some of the wights split off to go to the sets of doors in the room. Hektor zapped the big man with a maze spell, incapacitated him for a few rounds.
    The wights quickly broke through the wall of stone due to their amazing damage potential against stone objects. Amalius remembered too late that the creatures were dust wights, creatures of the earth, who moved through it as easily as a human walks. Hektor kept his cool and stopped the wights with an acid fog. A few other damage spells cleaned off most of the remaining wights.
    Unfortunately, Aldarian got too close to one of the wights. He felt a thickness in his lungs and he knew that soon he would turn to stone. Torin healed him, buying a few seconds of time. Amalius racked his brain, and remembered that dust wight petrification can be stopped with a stone shape spell. Unfortunately, no one had that prepped today. Amalius sent Aldarian a minute or so in the future to forestall the petrification.
    The big man came back, but a barrage of disintegrates turned him to ash. Unfortunately for the party, his earlier orders were still being carried out. Five of the sets of doors had been opened and the wights were bringing forth “the cavalry.” Five huge human looking beasts composed of rotting corpses lumbered towards the party. Amalius, Torin, and Hektor huddled in the corner of the room. Amalius split his mind in two and cast three lightning energy walls. The wights and the giant beasts charged through the walls. Torin was grappled by one of the beasts. Hektor announced a retreat and took Amalius to the stairs at the entrance to the tomb. Torin used his boots of teleport to escape as well.
    Aldarian was still left in the tomb. Amalius teleported back in at just the right moment to grab Aldarian and escape. Amalius called upon his vast knowledge to think of a place that would have a scroll of stone shape. The answer came to him, Restnor’s Point. Hektor brought the party there. Torin and Amalius were able to keep Aldarian in the pink with time jumps and heal spells. Soon a cleric arrived from Restnor’s Point’s temple to Hephaestus. The cleric cast the scroll and saved Aldarian.

    The cleric was glad to help, as Restnor’s Point is part of the Alliance. After a brief chat with him, the party sat down to strategize their next move. Hektor felt delving into the Lich Shade was a waste of time. Greshen Dale was set to join the Xorians this very day! Realizing their error, the party brainstormed a way to stop the negotiations and treaty signing between Greshen Dale and Xoria. The best plan they could come up with was teleporting to Greshen Dale, marching into the negotiation room, shouting, “I OBJECT!” and then seeing where things led from there.
    Torin used his boots to get the party to the wizards’ city. As Alliance representatives they were led to the negotiation room by some Greshen Dale civil servants. Torin threw open the doors to the negotiation room and shouted, “I OBJECT!” just as planned.
    The room had a large oval table with wooden chairs surrounding it. At one end sat three leaders of Greshen Dale, Talon, Krodius, and Loshok. Talon is the dromite sorcerer leader of the Greshen Dale Council. Krodius is the leader of Greshen Dale’s Sky Patrol police force. Loshok is a wizard on the Greshen Dale Council who represents the business interests of the city.
    At the other end of the table sat three human Xorians and two Dragovinians. The party recognized one of the Dragovinians as Barejando, the last of the Rages commanding King Jevaninada’s armies. Barejando glared at the party as they entered.
    Talon spoke, “Ah! The Alliance has chosen to send us a team of diplomats after all. Let us rearrange the table then before you begin your debate. Perhaps the Xorians should sit on our left while the Alliance members sit on our right?”
    The Xorians agreed and shuffled their seats over. Amalius, Hektor, and Torin sat down, while Aldarian waited outside.
    Talon said, “We have already heard the arguments of the Xorians and were about to sign a treaty with them. Now that you are here, what do you have to say?”
    Torin said, “What have the Xorians promised you in exchange for becoming their subjects?”
    Talon said, “Essentially… Immortality for the best among us. Many of us are wizards who wish to continue our research long after our normal lifetimes.”
    Amalius said, “You wizards would lose your autonomy to the Xorians. The Xorians will suck up the magic of the city and use it in the war, leaving Greshen Dale a broken shell of its former self. Becoming Dragovinians would damn you to Hell and isn’t true immortality anyway. The strongest Dragovinians, the Rages, have already had their numbers thinned by the Alliance. Couldn’t the same happen to the sky wizards?”
    Barejando had a sour look on his face after the remark about the Rages, “Greshen Dale shall retain its internal system of government as long as it is loyal to the Xorian cause. And while the Dragovinian form is not invulnerable, it is far superior to any mortal form. I am ten times as strong as I was when I was a mortal.”
    Hektor said, “What of the gods? If you turn your back on Zeus and the other Olympians to join the new Xorian god, you risk the wrath of the Heavens!”
    Barejando laughed, “HA! Zeus? He is close enough to death that it makes no difference. The other Olympians are divided, fighting amongst themselves. Ares is on our side and he holds the thunderbolt! The old gods will not stop the Reaper from taking his place in the sky.

    A few more arguments went back and forth. Eventually, Amalius asked for a recess. The Alliance met outside.
    Torin asked, “What’s on your mind Amalius?”
    “I was using my telepathy in there. Talon, the Greshen Dale leader, he’s not a wizard. He’s a psion!”
    Hektor said, “So what can we do with that?”
    “I’m not sure.”
    “I’ve been thinking. The Dragovinians have their dragon god. Do you think they offered something more than just immortality to the Greshen Dale Council?”
    Torin said, “What do you mean?”
    “I have an idea. Let’s go back in and I’ll do the talking.”
    The recess concluded, the party went back into the negotiation room.
    Hektor spoke, “If you’ll allow me to digress for a moment, good councilmen of Greshen Dale.” Talon nodded his head. “Thank you. Now, Barejando, Blendegad seeks to become a true god, correct?”
    “Yes. Once he is he will smite all non-believers.”
    “Of course. And he will reward his faithful upon becoming an almighty god, correct?”
    “Yes. I and all other Dragovinians will be rewarded. Our wings shall be returned and anything will be possible for those blessed with immortality.”
    “But Blendegad has promised something more for the truly faithful, has he not? He’s promised you and a few others in the Xorian Empire, a place at his side. Godhood along with the Repear!”
    “He has said this. Jevaninada, the living and dead Rages, many others, and I will all rise to become gods. Rivaling the Olympians in power, but with unified purpose instead of internal squabbling.”
    “Yes. And the god of magic, you have promised that these gentlemen of the council will take over Hecate’s position?”
    “Yes I have.”
    “But what of Terroc the Betrayer, to whom you have already promised the mantle of god of magic! You cannot have two gods of magic! Or three or four! How many promises have you given, Barejando? Too many I think!”
    Barejando sat in his chair, glaring at Hektor. His arms lay flat on the table with tensed muscles, ready to leap up and throttle the mortal.
    Talon said, “I think we have heard all we need to make our decision. We shall announce our decision later today.”
    Barejando and the others stood, respectfully bowed, and took their leave. On the way out, Barejando said to Hektor, “Meet me off-city and we’ll see if your magic is as strong as your words.”

    A few hours later, the Greshen Dale Council announced that they would remain neutral. Both Xorians and Alliance members would be allowed into the city to do business, so long as no fighting broke out.
    The party was still low on spells after the encounter in the Lich Shade. They didn’t want to risk meeting Barejando, with so few resources. They accepted the neutrality of Greshen Dale and stayed in the city for the night.
    The next morning, Amalius organized a personal meeting with Talon to talk about his psionic abilities.
    “So… My mental powers tell me that you are also a psion. You seem to be pretty well off up here. Could you give me any tips?”
    “Sure! I’ve always found versatility to be the best source of power. For example, psionic power lets you do some crazy stuff with magic,” Talon snapped the fingers of his right hand and the chairs, table, and lamp in the room all turned to crystal, “and arcane power can be used to turn the magic off.” He snapped the fingers of his left hand and the crystal objects reverted to their former materials.
    “Wow! So you’re a wizard and a psion.”
    The two talked a bit more, before Amalius had to leave.

    The party went to Bradel Fields to finally sort out the engagement between Cassandra and the Bjorn. They called an Alliance Council meeting. Arendil, Titandra, Junai, Kig, Logan, Torin, Amalius, Aldarian, and Hektor assembled in the Council Chambers. The party updated the Alliance on the situation in Greshen Dale. Conspicuously missing from the meeting was Astyanax.
    Amalius said, “Now that the Greshen Dale business is out of the way, where is Astyanax?”
    Arendil said, “He has gone to Dalleer to negotiate terms for his daughter’s marriage alliance. Before leaving he formed his army of goblin slaves that keep order in the streets. The goblins are led by Astyanax’s friends from the Knights Guild. They’ve been doing a remarkable job of restoring order. I feared the goblins would only make things worse, but it appears I was wrong.”
    Amalius said, “Excellent! We’d hoped to negotiate with the Bjorn. We’ll leave immediately to assist Astyanax.”
    “Before you go there is another matter we must discuss. We have been talking while you were away. We believe given your lineage, that keeping you as a member of the Alliance is not fitting. Amalgami destroyed the last Alliance through betrayal. You have already shown that you are willing to do so. Despite the aid you have offered us, I fear we can no longer trust you Amalius.”
    “But what of the works of my father, Amalganus? He formed this Alliance! He was the light that brought you together!”
    “Yes, but perhaps he left before his taint could truly be seen. It is the Council’s decision that you be exiled from Bradel Fields.”
    Amalius sputtered and was at a loss for words for a few moments. He composed himself and said, “Will you at least allow me to speak with Astyanax first? Perhaps he thinks differently.”
    “If you wish. We have not informed him of our decision yet. However, the decision remains valid without him. We had a quorum and the vote was unanimous.”
    “I see.”

    A little sad for Amalius, the party left for Dalleer. Upon arrival they were led to a room in the Bjorn’s mansion. Taken through the luxurious rooms they arrived at a small parlor where Astyanax sat, talking to the Bjorn’s Prime Minister, Terolio. The Bjorn stood next to the table on his flying carpet. The Bjorn’s outfit was quite ridiculous. A third gem eye on his forehead, gigantic gloves, boots with skates on their ends, and an old grey cloak. Amalius identified the gem eye as an Eye of Expose, meaning the Bjorn would always know when someone directly lied to him.
    After exchanging pleasantries the party sat down. Astyanax and Terolio updated them on the situation. Astyanax had promised Harbinston as the dowry for Cassandra. The village has long been a point of contention between Dalleer and Bradel Fields. Formally declaring the village to be in Dalleer’s territory should settle the dispute. However, where is the territory line drawn beyond the village? Astyanax and Terolio both felt a straight line across a latitude would be most appropriate, but which latitude to pick? During the explanation he Bjorn interjected a few inappropriate comments that everyone else ignored.
    Feeling the discussion was beyond them, the party adjourned to another room. Amalius had an announcement similar to the one he made at Greshen Dale, “Bjorn is a psion, and he isn’t human.”
    Torin said, “He isn’t human? What do you mean? He looks human.”
    “Yeah, but he’s not. His brainwaves are different or something. I can tell he’s not human.”
    “What is he then? An elf with his ears trimmed?”
    “I don’t know. He also can’t be a very good psion, he’s not smart enough. He’s only got an average brain as far as I can tell.”
    “So what do we do?”
    “I don’t know. Hektor, what do you know about the Bjorn?”
    Hektor said, “Well, he’s an insane leader that is always picked by the last leader, who was also insane. He appoints a prime minister to do the actual ruling, and that guy is usually competent.”
    “But what about this Bjorn. Where did he come from?”
    “Nobody really knows. He must’ve just been a commoner before the last Bjorn appointed him.”
    “When was the first Bjorn?”
    “About 500 years ago. Where are you go-”
    “Holy ****! The Bjorns are all the same person! He must be faking his insanity! He rules usinga shadow leader. He’s probably dominated Terolio and is speaking through him right now to Astyanax. And that’s why he lives so long, because he’s not human!”
    “That actually makes a lot of sense,” Hektor said. Torin nodded in agreement.
    “I’ll try and contact him with telepathy. Let’s see if he responds.”
    Bjorn. Can you hear me?
    Oh yes! Loud and clear! Did you have something to say thinky man?
    Uh… Aren’t you also a thinky man?
    No no. That’s Terolio. He does all the thinking. I just do all the skating. Woosh! Woosh! Skates!
    Uh right… Nice talking to you.
    Bye thinky Manilius!

    “I don’t know what to think,” said Amalius. “Let’s just wait and see what Astyanax and Terolio decide in the morning.”

    The next morning the party awoke to bells ringing throughout the city. “Is it for the engagement?”
    A servant answered the party’s question, “No sir! An army is right outside the city walls!”
    The party quickly got dressed and ran to the eastern walls. Outside were the people of Dorrowsan who recently joined the Xorians.

    A short description of Dorrowsan
    The city of Dorrowsan is a giant fortress composed of magical ice. The ice provides all the basic needs for the people of Dorrowsan.
    There are many odd organization policies in Dorrowsan. The society classes are split into colors with White being on the bottom going through Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple to the highest Black. To get into the city you must give up your possessions and wear a robe according to your color. If you wish to have your items returned you are given a tattoo that signifies that you are never to enter the city again. One is upgraded from each color for doing something exceptional for their current ranking and downgraded for doing something dishonorable.
    The city is led by a Fire Giant Cleric named Chirrigar. His title is The Great Lump. The people of Dorrowsan, instead of being unnerved by the identity of their ruler, are honored to have such a wise and strong protector. The Great Lump wields a magical scepter. It gives him absolute control over the people of the city at sunrise. He uses this power to organize a collective bowel movement every morning. The citizens of Dorrowsan have no memory of their time under the scepter’s control.

    The city of Dorrowsan itself had moved. It’s ice buildings and towers were visible on the eastern horizon as the sun rose behind them. The people of Dorrowsan were assembled on the fields east of Dalleer, each wearing armor and holding a weapon. Chirrigar stood at the head of his army in a black robe, with ice armor on top. He held his scepter over his head and shouted in a voice that could be heard for miles, “People of Dalleer, I am here to fight for you city! Send out your leaders so that we may negotiate terms!”
    Torin, Amalius, Aldarian, Hektor, Astyanax, Terolio, and the Bjorn all headed out to speak with the fire giant.
    The Great Lump spoke with a rumbling voice, “I will be quick. I have an arrangement with the Xorians, but I am not so sure how well that sits with me. I wish to join this war, but I do not know which side. I wish this battle to be one of single combat. Your best against myself. The winner will take both Dorrowsan and Dalleer under their wing.”
    The Alliance members talked it out amongst themselves. It seemed like a good idea to them so they agreed. Chirrigar said, “Then what shall the weapon be? Mano-a-mano or magic-a-magic?”
    “Magic! Definitely magic!”
    The party talked it out again and decided that pooling spells on Hektor would be their best shot. He’d use his SoD spells and if all those failed he could go in with Korm and hope to get a lucky vorpal crit. Hektor got magicked up while Chirrigar did the same. The battle began!
    Both combatants started off with dispel magics. Hektor’s did a bit better and he cast an irresistible dance upon Chirrigar. Two rounds didn’t get him much though as the fire giant repeatedly made his saves. Even failed saves on disintegrate still leave hit point damager, but the giant had plenty of those to spare. Amalius assisted with knowledge and spellcraft checks, feeding this information to Hektor through telepathy.
    Eventually both casters ran out of their big guns. Hektor went in for the kill with fly and improved invisibility. While close up, Chirrigar brought up a spherical wall of stone to prevent Hektor’s escape. They traded blows in the dark, and Hektor lost. His unconscious body fell to the ground and Chirrigar prepared to break through the stone walls and declare victory.
    During the fight, Amalius and Bjorn had been conversing. Bjorn admitted to having psionic powers that could take down Chirrigar if necessary. The two psions agreed to team up against The Great Lump if Hektor fell. When Amalius felt Hektor go down he let loose with a dominate. Chirrigar froze within the dome. The Bjorn began slowly attacking his mind with other powers.
    Amalius ordered the fire giant to heal Hektor. Chirrigar began expending cure spells on Hektor. When Hektor awoke, Chirrigar said, “Your companions have magically compelled me to heal you. I was going to do so anyways but apparently they didn’t trust me.”
    Amalius commanded Chirrigar to not communicate or call for help by any means. Amalius then telepathed to Hektor, We’re going to get you out of there, just hang on a minute. The Bjorn’s planning something.
    Amalius asked the Bjorn, What are you doing?
    I’m trying to get the Lump to kill himself obviously. The Bjorn let loose with another death urge power, which the Lump resisted. Tell your mage to give the vorpal dagger to the giant. When my magic works, he’ll cut off his own head.
    Amalius relayed the instructions to Hektor. Hektor passed Korm into the hands of Chirrigar. For a brief moment, Korm considered taking over the fire giant’s body, but reason relented. The dominate effect would override the dagger’s control. After several attempts at breaking the fire giant’s will, a death urge succeeded. The Great Lump brought the dagger up to his neck and cut straight through.
    Hektor reclaimed and sheathed Korm. He picked up the fire giant’s massive scepter. As he touched it, the mace shrank in his hands to match a size more fitting for a human. Hektor took a few practice swings with the mace and felt its power over the people and city of Dorrowsan. He touched the head of Chirrigar and teleported to the top of the wall of stone with the head. He kicked the head off the mound and shouted to the Dorrowsan people, “I am your king now!”

    The allies rejoiced while Hektor toured his new subjects. There was some discussion if Hektor would be allowed to keep the scepter, if it should be given to the Bjorn, or if another more suitable wielder existed. Nothing definite was decided, and the session ended there.

    After the session, me and Throgg had a Gmail chat. He wanted to discuss a few things with the Bjorn. Amalius had asked to know more about why the Bjorn appeared as a human, but was not. The Bjorn smiled slyly and said, "Wanna be a member?" Here’s a slightly edited transcription of the subsequent conversation (I took out the OOC stuff).
    The Bjorn said, “Alright Amalius. I've heard quite a deal about you from my servants. They say you're a spy and a traitor. Why should I trust that you won't pass what I tell you on to others?”
    Amalius answered, “There is truth in your words. I have held allegiance to my children above the struggles of the Alliance. You are well informed and may know that they were thought dead – only to be returned to me like hermit crabs: foreign minds wearing the bodies of my beloved family. I fear that they are lost in the psychic seas, their minds adrift.
    “You are the Bjorn telepath, a master of mind and visionary of the third eye. I too am a sailor on such seas, but finding my beloved family seems beyond me. If you say to me that you can help me accomplish me goal, you and your cause will be bound to mine and I will swear my utmost loyalty to your secrets. I have behold the wrath of gods, descended into the depths of hell, slain beings of immense power in my search – if you say to me that you can help me find my family then I will pledge that fearsome determination to the Bjorn Telepath and swear to uphold all of its secrets.”
    The Bjorn said, “You have much that is unresolved in your life, Amalius. I think first you must prove yourself to me before I train you. I think a fitting first task would be to discover the truth about your family. Tell me what happened recently when you rescued them. That may hold a key to the truth.”
    “Hermit crabs, king, their bodies are the same but the occupants foreign. They know me and tell stories of my father and of tablecloths. All false – I was raised in Greece by my kinsman and know nothing of the life my ‘wife’ speaks of. Nor does she know of the experiences I know and hold to be true. I know that there is truth in my story and falsehood in their's…”
    Amalius brought forth Korm, “A gift from my grandfather… an item well beyond the mundane life my ‘wife’ knows. While I came to acquire it only recently, I know it from my childhood. And now it is in my hand - a link to my version of the truth, not hers.”
    “So in your opinion, the family you rescued holds the bodies of your family but not the minds?”
    “I remember her flesh and her smell. And the children too feel familiar to me… Yet there is a third opinion that I hesitate to bring forth.” The Bjorn looked at Amalius expectantly. Amalius spoke slowly, “Korm, would you grace us with your… story?”
    “Of course master! You see Bjorn, Amalius has no family. He dreamed them up after he left Greece. He never got married. Never had children. At least not while I knew him. We've only been separated for three years and ‘his kids’ are all at least five. Makes no sense to me.”
    Bjorn said, “Hmmm... You said this dagger was a tool of your grandfather's?”
    Amalius said, “Yes. A 'man' known for his treachery.”
    “And a man known for his devotion to Eris, goddess of discord. Does this situation not seem chaotic, bringing discord to your mind? I think this little toy may be lying to you.”
    Korm said, “Hey. Whatever floats your boat, man. I know what I know and I say what I say.”
    “It is true that this one could be lying. He is certainly loyal, but not to me.” Amalius continued to speak as he pondered the situation, “Then what of my dreams? And what of my wife's? Hers seem so far removed from any truth. It was my grandfather, Amalgami, that honed my talents, not some fisherman.
    “It seems to me that there are two options: Her memories have been altered - for what reason yet I do not know. Or… hmmm. If she spoke the truth, then my skills have sprung from nothing, and the dagger too. She knew of my capture by Xoria, and so if she does speak truly, then my dissonance must have come from Xoria. If Korm speaks the truth… and I am a bachelor, I was once again waylaid in Xoria… then she would be manufactured… and my memories of her too…
    “Oh god.”
    Amalius said, “I would go on to spy for Xoria held ransom by my own thoughts. If I am truthful in my own words, why is their dissonance in my wife's story? I would have served without question for their safety. Why pester me with such a petty ploy as to alter her memories"
    The Bjorn said, “I don't know. But you must find out the answer.”
    Amalius said, “It would seem that Xoria is a constant piece and my answer must lie there. Amalgami was many things, but the subtly of this and the intricacy of such mental manipulation would have bored him.”
    The Bjorn speculated, “Someone besides your wife and children who was present at your capture would know the truth.”
    “Or someone who knew me in my youth. I must travel to Greece then. The names and faces of the men at Colchis are long gone to me”
    Amalius new psicrystal, Black, spoke, “I have a different solution. Remember what Devanane the assassin said? The man responsible for capturing us and our family is a halfling named Stanton. He MUST know.”
    Amalius said, “The albino…… Yes. In the forest… I beg your leave, kind king, to seek out the albino Dragovinian.”
    Black said, “We can crush his mind. Squeeze the answer out of him.”
    “His flesh may not burn, but his mind will.”
    Bjorn said, “Yes. Do this. Afterwards, return to me. Tell me what you have learned. Then we will see if you are ready for training.”
    Amalius left with a new mission in mind.

    For those who have been paying attention the implications should be fairly obvious. For those who haven’t… Next session will probably end up being a true combo session where the low and high level campaigns meet up. They are about even in internal time as well for the next session.

  18. - Top - End - #48
    Ogre in the Playground
    Anxe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Combo Session #2/Total Session #28
    Everyone attended this session. The session was held over Roll20 for our first time ever! We liked it a lot. A little disappointed that I couldn’t put my own music (Star Wars, 300, etc) into the jukebox as it was copyrighted. Still, it’s way cooler than having our sessions over Google Hangouts.

    As always, the party started off by bickering. Who gets the scepter? What do they do with the people of Dorrowsan? After a long discussion, Kig Yupington was named the wielder of the scepter. Kig would use the scepter’s power to move Dorrowsan over to Jipangu. Hektor relinquished his kingship, but with a promise of receiving one of the Xorian cities to rule after the war. At Jipangu, Gradorian can train the people of Dorrowsan with the Phoenix refugees. In a year or two they will be a fearsome army.
    Next topic, where does the party go next? After much bickering, a desire for Tagenadi’s advice was stated. Then, in the most dramatic way possible, Tagenadi returned! Fire and smoke erupted out of the ground. As the smoke cleared and the smell of brimstone filled the area, the party looked upon their friend. Tagenadi had changed. His hair was gone and his flesh was pale and bloodless. A red light glowed behind his eyes. A slight aroma of death could be smelled in the air.
    “My friends, I have returned from Hades with grave news. We must call a Council meeting.”
    Bjorn lent a hat of disguise to Tagenadi to cover up his undead body. The party poofed back to Bradel Fields. Astyanax stayed behind to work out more wedding details. Before leaving Astyanax gave Tagenadi a piece of advice, “We all have to make sacrifices sometimes. Maybe you being a monster is yours, Tagenadi. As mine is similar.” Astyanax touched his mask and quickly pulled his hand away. Tagenadi touched his bald head and frowned. He patted the paladin on the shoulder before teleporting out with the rest.
    Kig was given the Scepter of Dorrowsan. The Council members gathered in the Council Chambers. Tagenadi addressed the group, “I have spoken with the Lord of the Underworld, Hades, and he has given me wisdom in return for my service. I may look like an undead beast now, my friends, but I assure you; I am still the same man underneath.
    “Hades told me of events in the dwarven tunnels under Xoria. I am afraid Titandra’s prophecy has new meaning now. ‘Hell marches in the west,’ did not refer to the Xorians, but Hades’ army.” Tagenadi hesitated for a moment.
    Arendil said, “What has happened?”
    “The Xorians have returned the Underdark land to the dwarf king, but not the people who reside there. Jevaninada killed all the dwarves he enslaved in down there. No living dwarf remains underground west of the Great Divide. But there is good news in this! The masses that were slaughtered now serve in the Dark Lord’s army. He will enter the war soon on our side! He needs only one thing first.”
    Arendil said, “What does Pluto require?”
    “He spoke of a prophecy that could return a dead god to its former glory. He said that Blendegad was searching for it and that Ares the Fool aided him. If the prophecy is used on Hades, then he can enter the war and secure victory for the Alliance.”
    Torin spoke, “Couldn’t this prophecy be best used upon Zeus, who lies injured on Mount Olympus?”
    “No. Hades was quite sure that the prophecy should be used on him and him alone. Another method must exist for healing Zeus.”
    Arendil said, “I am wary of whatever words come out of the King of the Underworld’s mouth. Regardless, we must inform the dwarves of what has befallen their people. They may seek to enter the war above ground as well now.”

    Using teleports, the party took Kig to Dalleer to oversee Dorrowsan. They picked up Sabriyya at Mars’ Oasis. From there then poofed to Jord, to speak with King Dainlin of the Hill Dwarves. Torin spoke with Shorlin, the king’s brother-in-law and castellan, “I in my duties as our ambassador to the Alliance, request an audience with his majesty.”
    “Aye. What about young nephew? King Dainlin is very busy with his dwarf forms at the moment.”
    “Dwarf forms?”
    “Yes, forms for us dwarves. He has to sign this and initial that. I do try to do most of his paperwork for him, but there’s only so much that can be done without the King’s official signature.”
    “Ah. I see.”
    “Your audience?”
    “I wish to speak of a tragedy that has befallen the Duergar in the west. I have just learned that the Xorians have slain all of them.”
    “That is dire news… I shall take you to the King immediately.”
    The party was admitted to the King’s study. King Dainlin sat over a large wooden desk reading, signing, and placing the King’s seal on various papers. He looked up and recognized his relative. “Torin! My grand-nephew! You’ve come to visit me! Come here!” The King stood up and gave Torin a big dwarf hug. “This blasted paperwork can wait! Lets get drunk!”
    “My King, may not be the best time for drinking,” said Torin. The King looked shocked that any dwarf would ever say such a thing.
    King Dainlin said, “Shorlin, bring in mead for us all anyways. I am a bit thirsty. Oh! And some fish too! These forms leave my throat dry and my belly empty.”
    “Uh… My King, despite your belly’s emptiness, we really must discuss this important matter.”
    “Yes. Yes. Go ahead.”
    “We’ve learned through our sources that the Xorians killed all the dwarves under the Xorian Kingdom.”
    Dainlin’s eyes opened wide in astonishment. He looked at the ground. He sighed as he sat down in his chair. “Bad news indeed… I’m not sure if I want all that mead now. You are sure of this?”
    “Yes, our sources couldn’t be wrong.”
    “And what sources are those?”
    Amalius said, “Unfortunately, we cannot say, your majesty.”
    “Ah. Magic undoubtedly. Well, keep your secrets if you must. I will not place such confidence in your sources alone. I will send scouts to confirm what you have told me.”
    Torin said, “But, my King, it is true and we must strike against the Xorians as soon as possible. We should marshal the armies immediately and march to reclaim our dwarven land and enact vengeance upon the Xorians!”
    “And if it is false, the dwaves would’ve breached our peace treaty with the Xorians by entering the Duergar territory too soon. The land is ceded in six days. Only then can we pass into the land unmolested. Hidden scouts are breach enough of the Xorians’ trust. But if what you say is true… I can think of no greater calamity that has befallen any people since the Great Flood. I swear that every last Xorian will pay for what is done.”
    Shorlin reentered the room with mead and a steaming hot fish.
    Dainlin said, “Ah! Set it down here. I am indeed still hungry after this news.”
    Shorlin was sent to dispatch the scouts to Xoria. He also sent messengers to High Hold to inform High King Torngar of the situation. The party members and Dainlin ended up drinking all night. Hektor and Tagenadi abstained. Hektor told Tagenadi about Ungent of Timelessness, which would prevent Tagenadi’s body from rotting and stinking.
    The next day was spent recovering from their binger with Dainlin.

    Amalius had a request for the party, “I’d like to go after the man who kidnapped my family and I. He’s an albino halfling Dragovinian who was last seen entering Bigby’s Forest a few months ago. Is that enough for you to scry him, Hektor?”
    “Maybe. I’ll try.”
    Hektor used the limited description to scry and succeeded. He saw a living albino halfling marching on a hill’s ridgeline. Next to him was another halfling. Ahead of him were a human archer, and two orc warriors. Behind the two halflings was an unarmored human leading a mule.
    “I found an albino halfling, walking on foot. Could be him? He might be using illusions to appear living.”
    Black the psicrystal said, “Let’s get them.”
    The high level party teleported in and confronted the low level party! (I took over the dialogue of the low level party for the initial confrontation. The players played their high level characters)
    The high levels teleported in a ways off to not disturb the low levels. As they approached on foot Reggy said, “Did I ever tell you guys about the time I had to face down a fearsome fire mole?” He trailed off as the two parties met.
    Hektor held his hand up in greeting and said, “We want to question you about Xoria.” Amalius glared at Stanton, the albino halfling.
    Sivirdm aimed his crossbow at Hektor’s hand. Hektor snapped his hand down. “Torin, give them a demonstration of our power. On that tree over there.” Torin cast flame strike on the tree.
    “By Zeus!”
    Restoring order, Korjak said, “Don’t run! They’ll flame you if you run!”
    Wu whispered, “I think these guys are Xorians. Keep cool.”
    Hektor spoke, “As I said. We’d like to question you. What are you doing out here?”
    “We’re just traders headed north,” Korjak said. “Yeah! We’re going north to get furs.”
    “You expect us to believe that? What are you really doing out here?”
    “Its fur season! I don’t know what else to tell you!”
    “So orcs, halflings, and a human just travel together for work in the middle of nowhere?”
    “Well hang on a minute! Who are you traveling in the middle of nowhere? Humans, a dwarf, and an elf?!”
    Amalius said, “Unimportant. We’re looking for an albino Dragovinian. Seen one lately?” He continued his glare at Stanton.
    Stanton said, “We saw a Dragovinian the other day. He was black, does that count as albino?”
    Amalius only glared more at that answer.
    Hektor said, “Let me explain. We’re from the Alliance. We fight the Xorians wherever we can. I myself was king of a city until a few days ago and am now a count. My name is Hektor of Lakatia. I’m a noble, so you know you can trust me. Now tell us the truth, have you seen any Dragovinians lately?”
    Korjak said, “Could you give us a minute to huddle and talk this out amongst ourselves? We’ve never been graced by nobility before.”
    The low-levels gathered in a huddle. Reggy said, “He’s a king, he’s a count. He’s a Xorian, he’s not. I think he’s insane. I think we run in different directions. Some of us will get out alive.”
    Wu said, “No we won’t. They’re too strong.”
    “It’s worth a shot man. Who’s with me?”
    Gregor said, “I will stay and fight. Buy you time. I want to test myself against the big one.”
    Korjak said, “I’ll stay with Gregor.”
    Stanton said, “I’m out. I’ll go invisible as soon as we start.”
    Sivirdm said, “I’m for running too.”
    Wu said, “Then I am in as well.”
    Reggy said, “Okay. On three?” All nodded their heads. “THREE!”
    Gregor and Korjak charged in, ending badly for both of them. Sivirdm, Stanton, Wu, and Reggy ran, but were quickly caught by the rest of the high-level party. We did roll the combat, but it was probably unnecessary.
    Under magical interrogation the low-levels revealed that they worked for the Rebel army in Bigby’s Forest. They were previously Dragovinians, but had been turned to non-Dragovinian status to hunt the prophecy. Deciding to talk to someone who know more about what was going on, the parties teleported to the Rebel Base in Bigby’s Forest. There, the remaining Rebels told the parties that the main force moved to Gazeara. If they wanted to talk to someone important they’d have to go there. Another teleport and an introduction and the parties were led to speak with Major Dactirian, the man in charge.

    Hektor said, “We’re members of the Alliance and we heard you’ve been searching for a prophecy.”
    Dactirian said, “How good of the Alliance to send envoys! And yes, we’ve been looking for the prophecy pieces. It seems you found my special forces team and brought them back here. I am Major Dactirian. Who are you sirs?”
    The party introduced themselves. Hektor asked, “Shouldn’t we be speaking with someone higher up than a major? A general perhaps?”
    “I assure you that I am the highest authority among the Rebel army. I speak for all of us.”
    “Alright then.”
    “Why don’t I speak privately with one of you? It might be best to convey the true state of the Rebellion that way.”
    “Torin is our representative. He’ll talk with you.”
    The parties left the room except for Torin.
    Torin said, “We are looking for a prophecy. We have heard you are too. We want it NOW.”
    “We’ve only recovered two of the five pieces. The others are out of our reach for now.”
    “It is critical to our success. Where are the other places?”
    “The other pieces are hidden within animal tribes in the Terror Mountains, the Dominarie Mountains, and the Caspian Sea. Bears, condors, and sharks were told portions of the prophecy by the druids long ago.”
    “What pieces do you currently have?”
    “The druids kept a piece for themselves,
    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.

    “The wolf tribe just north of the forest also had a piece,
    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.

    Torin asked, “Do you have any leads to where these ingredients for the prophecy might be?”
    “The places in the prophecy?”
    “Well… Prometheus was crucified in the Balkans. I know where it is. Here on this map.” He gestured to an unfurled map on his desk. “Quite a ways away as you can see. I was planning on having my special forces go there in my magic wagon. Get them there in a week or so.”
    “We can get there faster.”
    “Yes, but you’d set off the alarms around the Rock. Our strongest warrior tried and she was repelled by the Dragovinians that guarded the Rock.”
    “What is your plan to avoid the alarms?”
    “Send in the special forces men. They used to be Dragovinians so they bypass the alarms. They can shield maybe one other person who goes in with them. They don’t set off the alarms, no problem.”
    “Ah! Okay. Can you tell us what exactly happened when you set off the alarms?”
    “She was going to the bear clan in the Terror Mountains. She got close to the lake where the bears live. When she got there, some Dragovinians teleported in and attacked her. She escaped using her magic, but if she hadn’t, she would probably be dead.”
    “Well, me and my team have slain three of the best of the Dragovinians. I think we can handle this.”
    “If you think your team is better than the strongest member of the Rebellion, then don’t let me stop you from going after the Rock.”
    More pleasantries were exchanged along with more info on who the special forces low-level party were.
    While Torin talked with Dactirian, Amalius had a little chat with Stanton. (I missed most of it as I was talking with Salzar. Here’s what Throgg had to say about it). “Not much transpired - thewamp/Stanton didn't know what was going on. Throgg meta-knew and Amalius was confused and angry. Mostly he threatened Stanton and made snide comments.” So Amalius has confronted a possible lead and found it a deadend.

    The party rested with the Rebels and elected to go after the Rock of Prometheus the next day. The low-levels were left behind at Gazeara with plans to take Stevie the Wonder Wagon to the bear clan. Stevie had been needed for the invasion of Gazeara, but that was now over. He could be spared for the low-level party’s transportation now.
    The Balkans are two teleports away from Bigby’s Forest, but that’s no problem for a 15th level party. They got there in two hops. They found themselves on a constructed platform on the side of a mountain. Stairs led up to a second platform where the giant bloody Rock rested. The sides of the platform were effectively a dropoff. The stairs were guarded by five Dragovinians who reached for their weapons upon seeing the party. The team flew into action. The five Dragovinians were downed in about two rounds. The Allies searched the bodies and stuffed all the magical loot into their portable hole.
    The party unfortunately didn’t take the time to chip a piece of the Rock off before the cavalry teleported in. Four creatures appeared next to them on the lower platform. King Jevaninada in his purple armor and crown, wielding the Diamond Sword of Xoria. Devanane the Enforcer, wearing his black armor. A large shadow dragon with fearsome ridges down its back and sides. Finally, a large sized Dragovinian wielding no weapons and wearing no armor except for an animated shield.
    The large Dragovinian stepped up first and engaged Tagenadi. He clawed away a good portion of his hit points and said, “Sorry brother.” Devanane hopped on top of the shadow dragon and breathed fire upon the party. Sabriyya ran forward to flank the large Dragovinian. Jevaninada swung his sword at Sabriyya and downed her in three solid hits (Took her 1HP from dying!).
    Tagenadi said, “You’ve grown larger brother.”
    The big Dragovinian said, “So have you.” (Tagenadi has a ring of enlarge)
    Tagenadi spun his kusari-gama around his head and managed to trip the large Dragovinian and the King, as well as pulling Devanane off the dragon’s back and onto the ground.
    Amalius used his psionic powers to slow down time. He zipped over to the Rock, disintegrated a large portion of it, scooped a handful of dust into a small bag, and teleported Tagenadi and Sabriyya next to Hektor, Torin, and Aldarian.
    Torin cast a quick cure spell to prevent Sabriyya’s death before teleporting out with his boots. Hektor got everyone else out just as the shadow dragon drew in air to breathe… whatever shadow dragons breathe.

    The party recovered and rejoiced at their success! They reported to Dactirian that the mission had gone well, before going back to Bradel Fields. The Rock Dust was stored safely in the Alliance war chest. The gear taken from the Dragovinian guards was sold. The party went on a shopping trip with the loot and a few people leveled up. With victory in their hearts, we ended the session.

  19. - Top - End - #49
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    Oh! I forgot to mention. In the last session, Tagenadi was always leaving the party for short periods of time. Walking a couple dozen feet away or something like that. Often this was when they were discussing party business. He did it in a very obviously suspicious way.

  20. - Top - End - #50
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    Alliance Session #20/Total Session #29
    This short session was attended by thewamp, Salzar, Ozymandias, and Throgg. Middle_Snu came in briefly, but was otherwise occupied with work. We played D&D for an hour or two before switching to video games. We played some League of Legends and then some Battle For Wesnoth, discovering that LOL is way cool for multiplayer and Wesnoth is bloody awful.

    Anyways! The Session! I don't really remember the specifics at this point unfortunately. I delayed posting here too long.

    Arendil called a council meeting to take a final vote on Amalius' position within the Alliance. Amalius' grandfather was now discovered to be the infamous Amalgami who formed and then destroyed the First Alliance against the Xorians. Not wanting a repeat of that, Arendil wished to throw Amalius out. Amalius wanted to see how Astyanax stood before he started his defense.
    Astyanax had half his face flensed off, if you recall. He's been wearing a mask to cover it. I recently purchased a mask like Astyanax's to freak out my players over Google Hangouts. I ducked off camera and put something on a bit like this:

    The players appropriately freaked when I came up wearing the mask as Astyanax. He said, "While you have helped us in the past against the Xorians, your grandfather did the same before he betrayed my father. I cannot accept your help any longer. Blood always runs true and I see your betrayal as inevitable. I'm sorry, but I think it best if you sit out the rest of this war."
    Preliminary votes were taken before Amalius voiced his defense. Arendil, Titandra, Junai, and Astyanax all voted for Amalius' banishment. Logan, Torin, Tagenadi, and Hektor all voted against banishment (Split along PC or past PC lines). Sabriyya had not sufficiently proven herself to have a vote, but she was present at the meeting. Gradorian and Kig were also away, but a quorum existed without them.
    Thus, Amalius held the deciding vote on his own banishment. He stood up, drew in his breath, and spat on the table. "This is the thanks I get for aiding you at every turn? Sacrificing my very soul to the Dragovinians? If that's the case, then I am done with the Alliance. I'll take my leave, but not alone. Torin, I've saved your life countless times. You know that this Council's removal of me signals further stagnation. Come with me and we can continue to oppose the Xorians without the petty restrictions of old men.
    "And Tagenadi, don't think that this Council won't turn on you next. These elders are stuck in their ways and will refuse the aid of such a powerful god as Hades. They already have one foot in his realm, but will reject your help for fear of contamination. Siding with me is the only way to ensure the fall of Xoria.
    "The same for you, Sabriyya. These dogs will reject your aid as it only comes through a man such as Tagenadi. A brave and just man, that they are blind to see only because he lacks a pulse. Stay here and you'll get to fight only a few Dragovinians before the Alliance crumbles. Come with me and you can slay every last one of them.
    "And Hektor, I hope you now see the decadence and corruption within the Alliance. Don't side your Aractrashan armies with ancient, decrepit men. Come with me and the war can be won."
    With that, Amalius disappeared out of the room. Torin followed an instant later in a puff of smoke. Arendil gritted his teeth in frustration, but said nothing.
    Tagenadi stood and said, "Amalius may have overstepped his bounds in what he said, but some of what he said is true. I see that my presence here is no longer wanted due to my pact with Hades. I leave willingly, but I will continue the fight against the Xorians. Hades has told me that the dwarves slain in the west have risen as his undead army. I'll use this force against the Xorians. Hopefully justice will triumph in the end."
    Tagenadi and Sabriyya left the Council Chambers.

    We ended the D&D part of the session there and moved to video games. The guys plan to hook their power to that of Bjorn and Dalleer now. Unsure what Middle_Snu is going to do with Hektor, but we'll wait and see. Also, neat note! The Greek word for contamination is miasma!

  21. - Top - End - #51
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    Alliance Session #21/Total Session #30
    The session was held over Roll20. Throgg, Ozymandias, and thewamp attended. Salzar also made it, but was a little late.

    Having just left the Alliance, the party wondered where to go next. Should they go aid the Rebellion in the west? Delve into the Lich Shade once again? Tie their wagon to the Bjorn in Dalleer? Go raid the Xorian financial capital? Do something in Aractrash? A lot of options got thrown around. After severe DM prodding, the players were convinced to go talk with the Bjorn.
    The team was admitted to the Bjorn’s Palace. The prime minister, Terolio, met with them. “I’m sorry gentlemen. The Bjorn is busy at the moment. He’s having one of his worse days today and is yelling at the books in his library for containing too many words. Is there anything I can do for you?”
    Tagenadi said, “Yes. We’ve just been banished from Bradel Fields and we were…”
    Amalius broke in, “Hoping you could set us up here.”
    Terolio said, “Yes. Of course. The Bjorn has made such arrangements for friends of his in the past. However, you can’t stay in the palace. I’ll make arrangements for you to stay elsewhere in the city. But first, there is some business to attend to.”
    Amalius said, “Oh?”
    “Prior to yelling at Homer, the Bjorn gave me instructions for you should you return. Scouts report that the city of Crux is on the move. The undead appear to be moving the entire city south. They have already crossed the Curving Stream. It would please the Bjorn if you went to Crux’s current location and opened negotiations with whoever rules the city. The Bjorn felt that the common connection between Tagenadi and the undead might mean something.”
    Amalius asked, “Would we have official negotiating power of the Bjorn if negotiations take place?”
    “Unfortunately, no. I can’t promise such a thing. You will be provisional ambassadors at this time. Full negotiations will have to be approved by myself or the Bjorn.”
    Accepting the situation, the party rested for the day.

    In the morning one of Dalleer’s mages scried Crux and showed the party. Masses of skeletons, zombies, wights, and ghouls moved buildings upon their backs. They carried the buildings a few dozen yards, before setting them down, and going back to move another building forward. Living and undead clerics directed the movements of the weak-willed undead. At the center of the city stood the Silver Tower, looming over all.

    A little background info on Crux:
    Crux is a city inhabited mostly by undead. About ten thousand people live in it and about five times that of undead. The skeletons and zombies are used as mindless slave labor. Ghouls and wights are ordered around as well to do simple labor tasks. The Silver Tower at the center of the city causes the weaker undead within the city to follow orders given to them by those who can turn or rebuke. More powerful undead such as mummies or vampires are not subject to this effect.
    The people who live within the city do so for various reasons. Some wish to perfect the necromantic arts, others wish to bring dead one’s back to life, and others wish to perform experiments which would be unethical with living subjects.
    Notable structures within Crux: A bank run by vampires. A small potion and curiousity shop run by the ancient, one-eyed, and one-handed lich, Vecna. She also sells a super powerful spell, said to wipe out all life within miles. At the top of the Silver Tower is the Antenator, a three-headed bodak. The Antenator is Hades’ representative in the mortal realm. It is what keeps the undead of Crux in line. Some say that the Antenator will answer any question if someone makes it to the top of its tower, but none have succeeded.

    The party teleported in a few miles in front of the city’s path. They waited for scouts to spot them. A human on a skeletal horse spied them and ran off towards the city. The group waited until the scout returned with many other riders on skeletal horses.
    “You have the looks of a negotiation team, not spies.”
    Tagenadi said, “We are.”
    “Saddle up then. We’ll take you to Vecna. She’s the one in charge for now.”
    The party got on the horses. Sabriyya gritted her teeth as she did so. She hated undead. Her friend, Tagenadi, had turned into one. Now they were talking with them instead of sending them to Hades like they deserved. It was beginning to get on her nerves.
    Riding through the city, the adventurers saw all the undead and clerics moving about. Tagenadi took out a special gift that Hades had given him, the Cap of Invisibility. Tagenadi set it upon his head and all the undead and clerics knew what it meant. Tagenadi was the general of Hades. They saluted him, prayed, and bowed as he winded his way through the city streets. All the while, the former Alliance members drew closer and closer to the massive Silver Tower at the city’s center.
    They reached the base of the Tower. The Tower slowly moved through the earth on it’s on. There were no windows or doors. To the side of the tower, a dozen skeletons lifted a small hut. A staircase descended from the hut’s door to the ground. One of the scouts said, “Vecna is in there.”
    Tagenadi said, “I’ll go in alone.”
    Amalius said, “Wait! Take Black with you. He’ll protect you if something goes wrong.”
    Black hopped into Tagenadi’s pocket and the warrior went up the steps into Vecna’s hut.
    Candles lit the hut. The candles sat in skulls, metal dishes, and on the bare wood of tables and shelves. Hundreds of spell components, books, potions, and magical knick-knacks covered the shelves and hung from the ceiling. At the center of the hut was a table with a crystal ball on it. A dusty cushioned seat was on Tagenadi’s side of the table and Vecna sat on the other side. She wore a long dull purple robe. The only skin remaining in her body was her right eye. Her arms rested upon the table, showing that she retained her right hand, but her left was missing.
    “Welcome Tagenadi. How’s your family doing? Same as always?”
    Tagenadi glared at her and took the dusty seat.
    “Ooo… All business. Okay then. Have you anything to ask me or shall I just tell you what you need to do?”
    “I have something to ask you, but it can wait. What do I need to do?”
    “The Antenator controls this army, not I. You must speak with him. He will tell you Hades’ plans for war. But I wouldn’t go alone into that Tower. You should take your friends with you. Even the little stone you have in your pocket.”
    “I see. So I have to speak with the Antenator because you don’t know what I need to do.”
    “I didn’t say I don’t know. Hades has different ways of speaking to all of his children. But you had a question for me.”
    “I want an item to reverse the polarity of energy upon me. I want positive energy to heal me once again and negative energy to hurt.”
    “I see, but this will come at a price. I already have all the money in the world. Instead, I deal in favors.”
    “What sort of favor do you want of me?”
    “I don’t know. It could be anything. I don’t need you now, but I might later.”
    “Then my answer is no. I made my bargain with Hades because it hurt only me. A debt to you could hurt others as well.”
    “Oh, did you want me to talk with Hades for you, little soldier?”
    Tagenadi’s dead eyes opened wide when Vecna said this. “No! Not yet! No!”
    “Let me know if you change your mind, dearie.”
    Tagenadi got up to leave. As he turned around, Vecna waved her left stump goodbye.

    Torin said, “So what’s the plan?”
    “We have to go into the Tower.”
    “How do we do that?”
    As Torin spoke, a ten foot wide door appeared in the Tower’s walls. The party stepped in and assembled themselves in a small oval shaped room within. Words were written on the opposite wall,
    Little is big, and Big is small,
    You’ll learn that size doesn’t matter at all,
    Small scrapes wound, and cures fatal,
    Do the opposite if you are able.

    The party began puzzling over the meaning of the riddle. As they did so, the door behind them reverted to its previous wall form and the wall in front of them disappeared. Beyond was a large circular room. Tables and chairs littered this dining room and unlit chandeliers hung from the ceiling. Dozens of torches were affixed to the walls in upside down positions. At the center of the room was a gargantuan ogre looking man with a wooden club. The ogre roared and moved to attack.
    Tagenadi and Sabriyya both ran forward to engage, but found the monster’s natural armor to be ridiculously high. Torin threw a flame strike at the beastie that seemed effective. The beast brought its club down on Tagenadi, dealing a heap of electricity damage. Fortunately, death knights are immune to electricity, so Tagenadi didn’t care. Aladarian turned invisible and Amalius used a psychic crush upon the ogre.
    The ogre freaked out, shouting “WIZARD!” It barreled forward towards Amalius. Sabriyya got a devastating cut on the ogre’s ankle and Tagenadi forsook his free attacks to gain a bonus in the next round. The beast missed its attack on Amalius. Unfortunately for the psion, the beast was trained in anti-mage techniques and casting defensively within its reach would not be possible. Amalius chose to set a spell off anyway and he got hit with the club for some electricity damage. In response he threw up an energy adaption. The protection wasn’t enough to stop the paralysis effect of the ogre’s cattleprod. Amalius went down. Aldarian swept in with a portable hole and bagged his master up safely. Sensing something amiss, Torin cast true seeing on Tagenadi. The warrior noticed that the large ogre he was fighting was in fact an illusion.
    Tagenadi whirled around to see Amalius disappear into the void of Aldarian’s bag. Next to the elf was a small red demon with electricity glowing in its hands. Tagenadi engaged the demon and Sabriyya joined in. The two of them quickly took the beastie down with some help from Torin’s animated tables and chairs and a suggestion spell from a restored Amalius.

    At the opposite end of the room were two staircases that led up to a landing. On the landing was a silver door with more writing upon it:
    “That which is in locomotion must arrive at the halfway stage before it arrives at the goal.” –Zeno of Elea
    Halfway forward, Halfway back,
    Go forward and you’ll shrink,
    Go back and you’ll be halved,
    To succeed you must halve the Halver,
    Or shrike the Shrinker.

    The party opened the door and saw a long, 5-foot wide corridor. At the end was another silver door. Not wanting to venture in without info, Torin quickly sent his chairs running in. After much more experimentation the party learned a few different facts.
    1. Going halfway in to the corridor causes something to shrink to half its size. Going to the three quarters point from there will cause a second shrinking. This continues until the objects disappear.
    2. Coming back across one of the halfway points causes that object to lose half of its body. A chair they sent across lost two of its legs upon returning.
    3. Both of the above effects only happen once per halfway point. Therefore when a chair goes forward and back across one halfway point it is only shrunken and halved once.
    4. The upside down torches within the corridor and in the dining room do not shrink or halve when they go through. However, if the torches are cut in half by a sword and then thrown through a halfway point, they do shrink.
    5. Amalius used his divination power and received this response,
    The Halver is a ghost,
    The Shrinkers are all traps,
    Defeat either or you won't last.

    Tagenadi went deep into the corridor, pushing a table ahead of himself to ensure that one of the traps didn’t shrink him. When he pushed the table across the halfway point, a ghost came out of the walls and attacked him. It held a long black sword that it swung at him. Fortunately, the sword seemed solid and clanged off of Tagenadi’s armor.
    Sabriyya ran in and doused her weapons with an oil of ghost touch she’d purchased earlier. Tagenadi swung as best he could to hit the ghost. Torin used his curing magics to keep Sabriyya in action and damage the ghost. Everytime the ghost hit, it dealt damage equal to half the target’s current hitpoints. Amalius and Aldarian sat on their hands and felt useless. Eventually, the tide of the battle was turned and the ghost was vanquished. A yellow flash went off at each of the halfway points, signaling that the trap there was dispelled. All the chairs, torches, and other items returned to their normal sizes and regained their other halves.

    The party went down and read the riddle upon the next door:
    Going up and going down,
    Going around and round,
    All ways are closed,
    But there’s another way out.

    The guys opened the door. Beyond was a staircase, spiraling up to the left.

    It was getting pretty late, so we ended the session there.

  22. - Top - End - #52
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    Alliance Session #22/Total Session #31
    This session was held at Salzar’s house. He, Ozymandias, Throgg, and myself attended in person while thewamp attended via Skype.

    First the group had to tackle the riddle of the staircase. They decided to explore it in two groups. One group would consist of Tagenadi, Aldarian, and Amalius. The other would be Torin and Sabriyya. Sabriyya and Aldarian would be tied together with a rope to ensure constant contact between the two groups. The players feared some sort of trap that would prevent them from leaving the staircase once it was entered, so they at least wanted to keep the groups together.
    They went up a few flights and began to notice a pattern. Every ten feet of stair there was an upside down torch and every other ten feet there was a window. The window looked out over an extremely cloudy landscape with a few mountainous peaks just visible one or two hundred feet away. Definitely not the plains north of Shalerton that the group entered the tower in.
    The group tried a throwing stuff out the window and detecting magic, among other things. Tagenadi stuck his head out the first window and Aldarian ran up to stick his head out of the second window. They waved at each other. Aldarian pulled his head back inside and saw a skeleton corpse, previously unnoticed in his rush up the stairs. He alerted the others and they came to look at it.
    The skeleton wore tattered, decaying red robes, some boots, and a disintegrated hat or headband of some kind. Around its neck was a leather pouch. Underneath it was an old spellbook strapped to the mage’s belt. On the mage’s right ring finger was a simple golden ring. After careful prodding and poking the party discovered that the ring was magic, but detect magic couldn’t reveal the school of magic. They also opened the pouch to find an ivory carving of an elephant and a silver figurine of Hades, possibly used as a holy symbol. The ring, elephant, and holy symbol were pocketed, while the book was left because it fell apart when it was read.
    Out of ideas on how to proceed in the tower, short of going up it, Tagenadi elected to scout ahead a few floors. He ran up the stairs…and didn’t come back.
    Worried, the party discussed plans of rescue, but abandoned them in favor of climbing outside the tower and looking for Tagenadi in the clouds. They then went back and forth between rescuing him and the cloud plan. They were following Tagenadi’s tracks to see if they disappeared at a particular point, when Tagenadi returned out of nowhere upon a firey nightmare steed.
    Torin asked, “Whoa! Where did you get that?”
    Tagenadi said, “I think I’ve always known how to summon it. But you have to follow me! Once we go up the stairs there’s another window. I made a hole in the wall to make my own window, but then I noticed that the other window had another tower outside of it in the clouds. I threw a rock on the window and I found a wall of force. The walls actually made an invisible staircase that I climbed out on. I walked through the clouds and made it to the other tower. Inside was another room and another riddle. Then I summoned my horse and it brought me back through the astral plane.”
    A little concerned for Tagenadi’s sanity while he rode a firey hell horse and spoke of other towers in the clouds, the party decided to send a scout with him first. Sabriyya took the same path with Tagenadi and found his story to be true. The rest journeyed along and they found themselves in front of a door with the next riddle.

    This thing all things devours,
    Birds, beasts, trees, flowers,
    Gnaws iron, bites steel,
    Grinds hard stone to meal,
    Slays king, ruins town,
    And beats high mountains down.
    When this thing abandons you,
    What is left?
    Turn to the gods or your youth is theft.

    Thinking the riddle had to do with clocks, Amalius taught a clock related dance to Tagenadi and the newly undead man opened the door. Opening the door took the party to a vast starry landscape. There was no ground beneath them and everywhere they looked was the inky blackness of space or the pinpricks of starlight. No gravity existed and the party quickly learned they could move in any direction they wished.
    And in the blackness was a fearsome beast. A shadowy wispy form, half the shape of a leopard, half the shape of a man. Amalius vaguely remembered such a picture from his younger days when he read so many books. This was one of the immortal children of Echidna, the Phane.
    The Phane rushed forward and extended his wispy touch to Tagenadi. The knight became frozen in time. Amalius attempted to free Tagenadi from the time prison, but failed. Torin used destructive magic on the Phane, but found its incorporeality and spell resistance difficult to overcome. Aldarian and Sabiryya engaged the Phane directly, finding that it took a significant amount of damage from Sabriyya’s holy scimitar. Amalius overchanneled the hell out of a dominate and trapped the Phane in his psionic clutches.
    Tagenadi soon returned and the time bubble around him wore off. Amalius then questioned the Phane.
    “You’re one of the other tests in the Silver Tower, correct? How do we surpass you?”
    The Phane spoke directly to the minds of the party, “You must defeat me and you have done so. To pass to the final test you must only ask to leave.”
    “What can you tell us of the final test?”
    “From here on lies only Death and Death is the only answer.”
    “Do you know who the skeleton in the tower was?”
    “He was another of those who failed to reach the Antenator.”
    “And… How’s your day going?”
    “Time is nothing here. I contemplate the universe and it is the same as always.”
    “Alright then…” Amalius paused then said, “I hate to leave you with nothing after you’ve answered our questions. Here’s a symbol of Hades, so you have something else to keep you company in this place.” Amalius handed the silver figurine of Hades to the Phane.
    “Thank you.”
    “We’re ready to leave now.”

    The party appeared in a large room. The silver walls of the room had drawings and etchings covering them. One side told the story of Thanatos and Sisyphus. For those unfamiliar with the story, Thanatos is the Greek god of Death and Sisyphus tricks Thanatos twice. After living three times as long as a normal man, Sisyphus is taken to Hell and has to push a boulder up a hill for eternity. You can check out the Wikipedia entry here.
    The other side of the room told a story the party had never heard of before. That of Thanatos and Anorexia. This is a story of my own creation. Thanatos sat upon a mountain when he wasn’t out collecting souls. He often stared down at the village below his mountain. A young girl lived there named Anorexia. She was much thinner than the other girls. Thanatos became obsessed with her due to her similarity to a skeleton. He began watching her whenever he got the chance. Sometimes he swore that she could see him out of the corner of his eye. Eventually she wasted away to nothing and he took her up to his mountain to be his bride.
    The Thanatos and Anorexia is something I wrote a while ago to see if I could come up with a Greek myth of my own. The full story is here:
    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.

    At the center of the room was a silver sarcophagus. The outline of a noble woman wearing a crown could be seen on the sarcophagus. Upon her torso were these words,
    Stab the heart!
    Stab The Heart!

    The words were written larger further down on her torso.
    The players immediately started thinking that this was a suicide room and the only way to proceed was to stab themselves in the heart. Sisyphus tried to escape death and was eternally punished. Anorexia accepted death and received eternal rewards. The party tried stabbing the coffin, but found even adamantine couldn’t pierce it.
    Sabriyya elected to be the first to stab herself, with Torin ready to heal her if the plan failed. Sabriyya laid down on the coffin, positioned her scimitar, and plunged downwards. The scimitar entered her flesh and she disappeared.
    Deciding that this was successful, the party executed themselves one by one. When all were done they found themselves before the Antenator, the Three-headed Bodak, Thanatos, Death.

    They stood in a space with the Antenator before them. It was ten feet tall and all grey. Three heads sprung from its shoulders. It wore no clothes, but had no genitalia. Behind it two upside down torches burned. All but Tagenadi averted their eyes, fearful of the Bodak’s gaze.
    It spoke, “Xorians seeking my counsel! Hurrrr! If it were within my power I would slay you where you stand!”
    Amalius said, “Xorians? What?”
    Torin said, “We’re not Xorians.”
    “I can recognize Xorians when I see them! Red X’s on their bodies with black armor! You are Xorians!”
    Sabriyya said, “No we aren’t! We’re fighting Xorians!”
    “So it’s tricks is it? Well I won’t be fooled! I know a Xorian when I see one! And if it weren’t for my godly duty not to slay someone until their time comes, you would already be dead!”
    Tagenadi stepped forward and put on the Cap of Hades, “Would a Xorian have this helmet?”
    The Antenator bowed low immediately, “A servant of the Lord of Hell is welcome here.” The Antenator shook its heads. “But wait… You aren’t Xorians at all. What was I thinking before?”
    Tagenadi said, “No we are not Xorians. We are members of the Alliance that fights the Xorians. Or we were until recently.”
    “Yes. The bearer of the Cap would not lie.”
    Sabriyya asked, “Why are you traveling south?”
    “I go south at the orders of Alliance members who came to me previously. They said I should take the armies of Crux south and fight the Xorian Empire in the east.”
    Amalius said, “In the east? But the Xorian Empire is in the west.”
    “No. The people who came before definitely said the Xorians were in the east.”
    “Great Antenator, I fear that those who came before us may have lied to you. The Xorian Empire is in the west. You first saw us as if we were Xorians. Perhaps similar magic was done to make you feel your previous visitors were Alliance members when they were in fact Xorians?”
    “Yes, that is possible. And Tagenadi bears the Cap of Hades, so I must trust what he and his companions say. But who could have done this? Only those with power rivaling the gods can conjure illusions powerful enough to trick me.”
    The party congressed and decided on three likely candidates for who tricked Death: Vecna, Sherlock the Warlock, and Blendegad. A strong emphasis was put on Vecna.
    Death spoke, “This is most troubling. You must explore who caused this once you leave the Silver Tower. But first, the rules must be followed. You came to visit me. Each of you may ask one question of me. I will answer it truthfully. Then if you wish to ask another question, you must first answer a riddle. All of you may help the current question asker with the riddle, but only one guess is permitted. If you fail, then you may ask more questions.”
    Torin said, “So basically we only lose if we have five wrong answers.”
    “You may think of it that way if you wish.”

    For those who care to read riddles, here are the ones they went through so far. Only Sabriyya and Aldarian have wrong answers so far.
    Though desert men call me god,
    Others call me mad,
    For I wag my tail when I am angry,
    And growl when I am glad.


    Turn us on our backs,
    And open up our stomachs,
    You will be the wisest of men,
    Though at start a lummox.


    It has a golden head,
    And a golden tail,
    But it has no body.


    I go around in circles,
    But always straight ahead,
    Never complain,
    No matter where I am led.


    If a man carried my burden,
    He would break his back,
    I am not rich,
    But leave silver in my track.


    Glittering points,
    That downward thrust,
    Sparkling spears,
    That never rust.


    Each morning I appear,
    To lie at your feet,
    All day I follow,
    No matter how fast you run,
    Yet I nearly perish,
    In the midday sun.


    One tooth to bite,
    The forest’s foe,
    One tooth to fight,
    As all Orcs know.


    As I was going to St. Ives,
    I met a man with seven wives,
    Every wife had seven sacks,
    Every sack had seven cats,
    Every cat had seven kits,
    Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
    How many were there going to St. Ives?

    One. Despite two of the players being familiar with this riddle, they tricked themselves into thinking the answer was zero. This is because they thought the question was only referring to “kits, cats, sacks, and wives.” Aldarian lost his questions.

    You break it even if you name it.

    In Youth exalted high in Air,
    Or bathing in the Waters fair;
    Nature to form me took Delight,
    And clad my Body all in White:
    My Person tall, and slender Waste,
    On either Side with Fringes grac'd;
    Till me that Tyrant Man espy'd,
    And drag'd me from my Mother's side:
    No Wonder now I look so thin;
    The Tyrant strip't me to the Skin:
    My Skin he flay'd, my Hair he cropt;
    At Head and Foot my Body lopt:
    And then, with Heart more hard than Stone,
    He pick't my Marrow from the Bone.
    To vex me more, he took a Freak,
    To slit my Tongue, and made me speak:
    But, that which wonderful appears,
    I speak to Eyes and not to Ears.
    He oft employs me in Disguise,
    And makes me tell a Thousand Lyes:
    To me he chiefly gives in Trust
    To please his Malice, or his Lust.
    From me no Secret he can hide;
    I see his Vanity and Pride:
    And my Delight is to expose
    His Follies to his greatest Foes.
    All languages I can command,
    Yet not a Word I understand.
    Without my Aid, the best Divine
    In Learning would not know a Line:
    The Lawyer must forget his Pleading,
    The Scholar could not shew his Reading.
    Nay; Man, my Master, is my Slave:
    I give Command to kill or save.
    Can grant ten Thousand Pounds a Year,
    And make a Beggar's Brat a Peer.
    But, while I thus my Life relate,
    I only hasten on my Fate.
    My Tongue is black, my Mouth is furr'd,
    I hardly now can force a Word.
    I dye unpity'd and forgot;
    And on some Dunghill left to rot.

    Pen. This one stumped them for about half an hour. They eventually answered tree. This is a Jonathan Swift poem if you’re interested in reading more stuff like this. I think it’s an amazing riddle. Sabriyya lost her questions.

    Weight in my belly,
    Trees on my back,
    Nails in my ribs,
    Feet I do lack.


    The part of the bird,
    That is not in the sky,
    Which can swim in the ocean,
    And always stay dry.

    Shadow. This one was asked to Tagenadi. Torin was convinced that egg was the answer, because shadow had been a previous answer and wouldn’t be repeated. The rest of the group convinced Tagenadi that shadow fit better though.

    Touching one, yet holding two,
    It is a one link chain,
    Binding those who keep words true,
    Til death rent it in twain.


    And that’s all the riddles!
    Now for the questions!
    Aldarian has noticed that he has some power to return from death now. He asked how he could finally come to peace and not be punished for escaping death so many times. Death told him that if he observed the divine rituals and did just work, he would be rewarded. Aldarian lost out on other questions.
    Sabriyya asked a series of questions about how to rival Ares in martial strength. She wanted to best him in single combat. She figured out the only way to do that was to take away Ares’ divine strength. This could be done inside Sherlock the Warlock’s tower. Appropriate bait for Ares would be the goddess Aphrodite. The final thing Sabriyya learned was that the best message to send to Aphrodite to trick her into Sherlock’s tower would be saying that Hephaestus couldn’t find her in the tower.
    Torin asked if he would ever be king and was answered, “No.” He asked how he could best serve Athena and was told to serve the druids.
    Tagenadi asked a series of questions related to defeating Blendegad. He found out that Blendegad was once a man and could be defeated by turning him back into a man. This could be done in a place where magic does not function.
    Amalius asked if Denara, Valaria, Hallion, and Procine were actually his wife and children and was answered, “No.” He asked what the phylactery of Amalgami, his evil grandfather lich, was and learned it is an adamantine bookmark.
    Torin, Amalius, and Tagenadi all have questions remaining which will be picked up in the next session.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2012-12-22 at 12:06 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #53
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    We had a little mini D&D session that I shouldn't even bother to count. Over winter break we like to play new games in person, so we did Ganakagok, a storytelling Inuit roleplaying game. I also asked thewamp his next riddle.

    Long legs, crooked thighs,
    Small head, and no eyes

    Tongs. Thewamp ended up answering chimney. Other answers were suggested by everyone else. Dining hall, ship, table, and heron, but none got all four parts of the riddle. Thewamp just said chimney to give up as he had no clue.

    Tagenadi failed to answer the riddle and is out of the running! That leaves only Torin and Amalius remaining. They suggested a few questions such as:
    How do we free Tagenadi from his bondage with Hades?
    How do we get one of the so far unaligned gods (Poseidon, Hecate, Demeter, etc) on our side in the war?
    The precise wording and the actual asking of those questions will have to wait.

  24. - Top - End - #54
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    Alliance Session #23/Total Session #32
    This session was held over the internet. Throgg, thewamp, and Salzar attended. This was a rather short session as well. We finished up the riddle game then moved to Salzar’s pirate campaign for the rest of the night.

    Tagenadi had missed his question, so Amalius stepped up to the plate. He asked, “How do we free Tagenadi from his deal with Hades?”
    The Antenator answered in three voices, “There are two paths to free him, one of peace and one of rebellion. Which would you know of?”
    After some discussion, Amalius landed on peace. The Antenator said, “If Hades releases Tagenadi from his pact, then he is free.”
    Amalius received the riddle:
    What is it that speaks without any words,
    And can be loudly and distinctly heard,
    Will drive away friend and foe alike,
    And is enough to make a stolid man’s face alight?

    A fart. Amalius ended up answering wind. Very close, but not quite there. The reasoning was sound. People often refer to whispering wind, so that’s a type of speaking. It can be loudly and distinctly heard at times. Hurricane force winds can drive people away. And if it’s a cold wing it can make a person blush. Ultimately, a fart was the better answer though and I ruled he didn’t get it.

    Amalius out, Torin asked his question, “How do we free Tagenadi using the way of rebellion?”
    The Antenator said, “Only immortals are bound by oaths on the River Styx. Make Tagenadi mortal once again and he will be free.”
    Torin’s next riddle was:
    Deep, deep, do they go,
    Spreading out as they go,
    Never needing any air,
    They are sometimes as fine as hair.


    Amalius tried asking the Antenator if it had any brothers, sisters, or family. It told him, “No free questions for you.”
    After some discussion, Torin asked, “How do we get Greshendale to join our side in the war against Xoria?”
    The Antenator answered, “Go to them in a month and a quarter and they will be ready to join you.”
    Pleased with the simplicity of that answer, the party moved on to the next riddle:
    What has wings,
    But cannot fly,
    Is enclosed,
    But can outside also lie,
    Can open itself up,
    Or close itself away,
    Is the place of kings and queens,
    And doggerel of every means,
    What is it upon which I stand,
    Which can lead us to different lands?

    A stage. Torin answered book. There was a lot of discussion about books, bookshelves, libraries. They knew that none of those answers truly satisfied all parts of the riddle, but tricked themselves into thinking they did.

    With that the game of riddles was over!
    The Antenator wasn’t done yet, “I have two things to say to you Tagenadi. You are chosen by Hades to command his armies. There are three undead armies in the world above, the one of Crux, the one in the Dwarven halls, and the one by the Lich Shade which the Bane controls. Those of Crux are yours to command when you wish it. To command the Dwarven undead you need only go to their halls while wearing the Helm of Hades. To secure the Bane’s soldiers you must go to the top of the Lich Shade.
    “Further more, I wish you to find out who cast illusion spells on me. If you find out who did this to me, then I will grant you the item you seek. That will reverse your life energy and make positive energy heal you once again.”
    Feeling that was a good stopping point, we transitioned to the Pirate campaign and hoisted our flag, the Crimson Cur!

  25. - Top - End - #55
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    To all my adoring fans. The update is long coming as I have been going to interview at graduate schools on the weekends. We should have a session by the end of February and it should be posted within the first week of March.

  26. - Top - End - #56
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    Rebellion Session #8/Total Session #33
    This session was held over Google Hangouts using Roll20 as an app. We'd had some problems in the past with Roll20's facechat plugin, but never with Hangouts. This worked way better once we set it up. The session was attended by Ozymandias, Throgg, Salzar, and thewamp. Ozymandias arrived a bit late.

    Last time the Rebel group got kidnapped by the Alliance group in a combo session. The Rebels were taken back to the Rebel camp and then Gazeara where the main force of the Rebels had relocated and captured the city. With the city captured, Major Dactirian no longer needed Stevie the Wonder Wagon constantly running supplies to his field army. Thus he allowed the Rebel group to take Stevie and race off to the mountains.
    Stevie travels about 30MPH when loaded down with people. He's a construct, so he doesn't get tired. He got as far as he could into the foothills in about 19 hours. Stevie sang "The Wheels on the Wagon," and "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" and played "I Spy" the whole way there. Gregor, Sivirdm, Wu, Korjak, Stanton, and Reggy bumped along in the back all the way and felt awful after arriving. They'd left at dawn and arrived in the middle of the night. The 6 adventurers crawled out of the wagon and collapsed, leaving Stevie on watch for dangerous things.
    In the morning the party awoke to the smell of burning wood and cooking beans. They saw a man of Xorian ethnicity wearing fur clothing, fur boots, and a fur hat. He sat by a cooking fire with the party's cooking pot and tripod stewing some beans for breakfast. The man's large pack, spear, and unstrung bow laid to the side. "Morning friends! I came upon your strange camp and thought I'd made breakfast for all of us."
    Gregor the orc got up and asked, "Who are you sir?"
    "My name is Talarian. I'm a hunter by trade, fur hunter as you can see. I was talking with your wagon here, Stevie, and he said I could get some breakfast ready for all of us. Want some beans?" He offered a spoonful to Gregor and as well as the others would had now woken up. A chorus of "No thank yous" went around the camps as no one wanted food prepared by this stranger.
    "Suit yourself. What are your names?"
    Stanton said, "My name is Aldarian! Apprentice to the mighty wizard, Amalius!" (You can see where he got those names from...)
    Gregor said, "And I am Tagenadi the Brave!"
    The rest declined to offer their names. (However, at some point Korjak, Reggy, Sivirdm, and Wu's names all came up in conversation. I don't remember precisely when though)
    Talarian said, "Apprentice to a mighty wizard, eh? But you don't even have a spellbook."
    "Look at our method of transport. What other proof do you need of how powerful my master is?"
    "True enough. But what about you 'Tagenadi?' That's a Xorian name and I've never head of a Xorian orc!" The hunter smiled as he ate a spoonful of beans.
    "I was a slave in the quarries of Jeutontic. Tagenadi is my slave name."
    "Fine, fine. Keep your secrets. Everyone has a right to be wary of strangers up in these mountains."
    Gregor asked, "Any news of whats further north?"
    "Yes in fact. I used to hunt bears exclusively. The pelts are worth far more than any other." Talarian fondled the bear paws that tied his cloak around his shoulders. "But some scaly fire-breathing bear has taken up residence at the lake where the bears congregate. There's no good hunting anymore. I came down south into the hills a couple years ago to trap deer, squirrels, rabbits, and other such animals. Until a few months ago everything was fine. Then I started to notice an offness to the wildlife. Everything felt wrong and my traps were often empty. I went to the oracle at Sheerzen and asked her how I could be saved. She said, 'Two-skins would be my salvation.' Who knows what that means?
    "Anyways, Just yesterday when I was resetting a trap I was attacked. A black panther snuck up behind me. Normally my fine ears would hear animals sneaking around in the woods, so this was quite a shock. I shook it off my forearm, grabbed my spear, and was able to keep it at bay with that. Eventually it slunk away into the woods. I was just going down to Sheerzen to get it looked at. Not good to have a wound like this for long." He took off his fur coat to show a large bloody bite mark in his left arm.
    Korjak stood up and said, "We can handle that. If you'll allow me?" Korjak took out his wand of healing.
    "Now hold on a minute! Let me take a look at that first." Talarian held out his hand for the wand. Korjak gave it to him. The hunter turned the wand over a few times before handing it back to Talarian. "Seems fine. Go ahead."
    While Korjak used the wand on Talarain, Gregor asked, "How do you know so much about wands?"
    "Well, I don't. It's just general knowledge really. Wands I've seen always look like what they do. White wands are good. Bad wands are red or black. Makes sense if you think about it."
    After eating in silence Gregor said, "Talarian, you have a bow there, do you shoot?"
    "Yes, of course. I shoot game to eat if my traps don't catch anything." While Talarian spoke, Stanton stealthily reached into one of his pockets and pulled out whatever was contained within.
    "Would you care to place a wager in an archery contest?" Stanton reached towards the pot of beans that Talarian had prepared. While getting more beans he dropped the bowstring he'd taken from Talarian's pocket into the pot. Stanton pushed the string to the bottom of the pot with the ladle.
    "Oh no. I never gamble. A friendly contest sounds like fun though."
    "Sure. Wu, how about you go find a good target while our friend gets his bow ready."
    Talarian rummaged around in his pockets, but couldn't find his bowstring. He searched through the pouches on his belt, then moved over to check his pack. Not wanting to be left out of the pickpocket fun, Sivirdm moved in. Unfortunately, Talarian was more aware this time. He turned around and shouted, "AHA! It was you! You took my bowstring! I knew I hadn't misplaced it!"
    Talarian moved on Sivirdm, but before he could grab him Gregor kicked the halfling in the ribs. "Needn't worry about that thief. Here, take my bowstring." Gregor handed his own bowstring to Talarian.
    Talarian grumbled, "I'll consider it a guest gift."
    Wu came back and announced that he'd found a place to hold the archery contest. A good target on a tree stood with a 50 foot range. Talarian grabbed his pack, fearing more thievery. The group moved over to the range. Talarian, Wu, and Gregor took shots. Stanton took the chance to silently riffle through Talarian’s pack even with the hunter’s precautions. He found nothing of interest. Just typical hunter equipment, furs, and food. (The players shared at this point that they suspected Talarian was a Xorian spy.) A detect magic also revealed nothing of interest.
    Wu won the contest, Talarian got second, and Gregor took third. They congratulated each other and went back to camp.
    Upon getting back Gregor said, “Have you seen any unusual lizard activity this far north?”
    Talarian said, “No. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just the normal amount of lizards on the trail that scoot around when they see you coming.”
    “That’s not quite what I meant. Any Dragovinian activity?”
    “No… Although now that you mention it, that scaly bear that breathes fire reminds me of those Dragovinian animals they’ve got at Sheerzen. Maybe the Dragovinians are keeping me from my livelihood there as well you think?”
    Talarian asked, “I don’t suppose you folks will tell me what you’re doing this far north will you?”
    Stanton said, “We’re headed to the bear lake to kill the Dragovinian bear.”
    Gregor stomped on Stanton’s foot.
    Stanton quickly continued, “Then we’ll build a fortress on top of the mountain. We’ll take the skins of all the bears and sell them. With the money we’ll make an even bigger fortress and then we’ll go dragon hunting!”
    Talarian said, “I see. You’re going to make a bear farm up there? Is that the idea?”
    “Yes. Definitely.”
    “Alright then. No shame in being cautious. I’ll be on my way then.” Talarian packed up his things and headed north after saying goodbye once again.

    The party rested another day before following the same trail Talarian took deeper into the mountains. It became quite clear that Talarian might be the only one who used this trail as the party went further. The trail got less and less maintained as they went further until all that remained was an animal trail.
    The further they went into the wild the less noise they heard from animals. Fewer birds sang, fewer animals scurried off the path as the party came by, and fewer scat and fur signs were seen on the trail. Eventually all the party could hear was the crunch of fallen leaves and sticks beneath their boots. Reggy told the story of Actaeon discovering Artemis naked. She cursed him to change into a deer and be eaten by his own dogs.
    After traveling for several hours a deer burst through the foliage and continued running to the west. The party stood for a moment before going on. Around nightfall the party found a small cleared rise by a creek. They set up camp there for the night with double watches.
    During the first watch of Korjak and Sivirdm, the halfling noticed a movement in the trees to the east. He alerted the others. Everyone woke up and armed themselves. Wu kept watch on the trees with his bow. He saw more movement among the plants, but he was unable to place where the creature causing the movement was. However, with no wind, he was sure that something was there.
    The movement drew closer and then the creature struck. A vine whipped down and constricted around Wu, but he pulled himself free. The movement belonged to an assassin vine! Gregor, Korjak, Reggy, and Sivirdm moved into melee with the plant monster. Gregor scored a good hit and severed the plant’s main vine. The plant used its mystical connection with other plants to cause the whole forest to convulse around the party members. Then the vine began to shuffle away through the trees. Wu used his own magic to try and entrap the vine similarly, but it riggled free. The others chased after it and dealt it a few blows. Then Wu sent an arrow volley that blew through the vine, rendering it dead on the ground.
    Korjak healed Wu back to health. After scouring the forest for similar threats the party went back to sleep. During the second watch of Gregor and Reggy another attack occurred. A black panther came out of nowhere and mauled Reggy. Reggy went down. Gregor leaped into action and swatted at the panther. The others woke up and the panther retreated, turning into a ghostly white version of itself as it did so. Gregor stepped forward and took another swipe at the panther with his greatsword. He rolled a double crit for 90 damage, resulting in a devastating cut on the ghost’s shoulder. The panther turned invisible. Stanton cast see invisibility and pointed out the location of the panther. Gregor prepared to attack it if it charged him. The panther did. Gregor’s sword speared the panther as it mauled his shoulder. The panther fell upon Gregor as it succumbed to its injuries.
    Thinking the panther’s skin might be magical, Gregor asked Wu to skin the beast. As Wu took his knife to the beast, the panther shimmered and turned into a pure black naked woman. It was like the human version of a drow. The only clothing the woman wore two golden bracelets, one with red gems and the other with green gems. Stanton discovered that the bracelets were magical, but experimentation failed to reveal the effects of the bracelets.

    The party got through the rest of the night undisturbed. While traveling further north the next day Wu spotted a dragon-like creature flying through the air. The party took cover, knowing the Terror Mountains reputation for dragons. However, Gregor and Korjak were unable to hide their orkin bodies fast enough. The draconic beast dived on Korjak. Wu shot arrows at it before it landed. Stanton blinded it just as it dive neared its end. Korjak and Gregor got out their swords and prepared to scissor it. It was able to wound Korjak with talons and a tail stinger as it landed, but the combined attacks severely injured the dragon. It writhed blindly on the ground. The whole group descended on it and turned it into mulch.
    Korjak healed himself up and his tough constitution completely resisted the poison in the wyvern’s stinger. Gregor severed the stinger and threw it in the same sack that held the rotting cockatrices gathered earlier.
    No other encounters interrupted the day and the party camped safely through the night.

    The next day the party reached a fork in the trail. One path led off to the right. The other led straight north and higher into the mountains. Korjak told the party that they were close to the bear lake and that they’d be there soon if they took the left path. Wanting to know how well traveled the path was, Wu looked for tracks. Instead of tracks he found three sticks planted unnaturally in the ground between the two tines of the “fork.” The sticks were planted like so,


    with two on the left close together and one on the right, apart from the others. After examining the sticks the party thought it might be an arrow pointing to the right. Sivirdm tried pulling the sticks out, but found himself too weak. The party guessed that the sticks were attached to something under the ground, but felt it wasn’t a root. Gregor pulled with his mighty strength. He pulled open a box buried with the dirt. Inside the box was a silver trident head with its barbs pointing to the left. The party guessed this meant that the lake lay to the left and something else was to the right. Additionally, Stanton found the trident to be magic. A haft was quickly honed from a good tree branch to use the trident if necessary.
    At dusk the party reached bear lake. A waterfall poured down into the lake from the north while a second waterfall drained the small lake into a river going down the mountain. A cliff face surrounded the lake with a short rocky beach. Many caves dotted the cliff side that the party guessed were bear dens. Fish jumped in the lake and as the party exited the forest Wu caught a glimpse of a bear-like shape at the top of the waterfall.
    Sivirdm went forward and peaked on the bear dens. Sleeping bears lay within. A larger den lay by the waterfall. Feeling the Dragovinian beastie might be there, the party prepared to negotiate with the bear. They made a bowl of stew and dressed Wu and Gregor up as druids with wooden staves. They approached the cave and saw a large scaly red bear within. Tufts of hair peaked out from its scales and its dead red eyes stared at the party as they approached.
    Wu wore the necklace of speak with animals and spoke, “Great bear! We bring an offering of stew for you and wish to ask something in return.” He set the stew down in front of the bear and it came out to eat. “We wish you to tell us the secret the druids entrusted with you long ago.”
    The bear spoke, “Stew for me and secrets for you?”
    “Yes. Will you tell use the prophecy of the druids.”
    The bear growled and then said, “Yes. Rararak the great bear will tell you. I will eat the stew first.” Rararak dug into the bowl and lapped up all the stew’s liquid, leaving the solids behind. “Weak stew.”
    Rararak lumbered forward. “So you want to know the secret of the druids?”
    “You really want to know?”
    “Lean in. I’ll whisper it to you.”
    Wu leaned in and Rararak breathed fire directly on him and the rest of the party. Reggy dropped at the beginning of the combat once again. Gregor called for a retreat while Korjak ordered an attack. Sivirdm circled around the back to flank Rararak. Korjak assumed the form of Baldr and engaged Rararak. Gregor joined in as well. Wu backed off and took a shot at the bear. Rararak targeted Baldr, going through most of his health. Stanton blinded Rararak with a spell. Korjak changed his mind and decided a retreat was best. He grabbed Reggy while Gregor grabbed Sivirdm and Wu.
    Rararak gave chase even while blind. As the bear moved forward a rock sailed down from over the waterfall. The rock landed in front of Rararak and he tripped over it landing at the feet of Gregor. Looking up the party saw a giant above the waterfall. Changing their minds with the new ally, the party turned on Rararak. Baldr started healing everyone. Stanton cast spider climb on Wu so he could climb the cliff face for a clear line of fire to the bear. Sivirdm flipped over the back of the bear and stabbed it from behind. Gregor cut it up from the front. The giant hefted another rock and prepared to throw it if needed. More arrows from Wu, mace hits from Sivirdm, and sword hits from Gregor brought Rararak into the wounded state where all Dragovinians attempt to escape.

    We assumed the party could bring Rararak down from there, but a few of us had to take a break then. They hadn’t decided whether they’d cut off Rararak’s legs and interrogate him or just cut off his head. We’ll see at the next session.

  27. - Top - End - #57
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    Finals have stalled updates for awhile. Spring Break is looking its going to do that too. Look for an update in the first half of April.

  28. - Top - End - #58
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    Alliance Session #24/Total Session #34
    This session was held over Google Hangouts with my camera pointed at the battleboard during combat. Throgg, Salzar, and thewamp attended. We did the camera thing instead of Roll20 as Throgg was attending via his iPad. It can’t run Roll20. We’re used to the battleboard setup though, so it went fine.

    Having finished talking to the Antenator, the party left the Silver Tower. They teleported to Dalleer and spent the night there. The party’s next plan was to go to the Lich Shade and reach its top as the Antenator had suggested. Then they could easily secure three undead armies and attack Xoria. At that point, Sabriyya decided she was done with the party. She fought with them to defeat the undead menace of the Xorians, not create another undead power. We skipped over the exact circumstances of her leaving as Ozymandias was not present that night. We’ll probably retroactively go back and roleplay Sabriyya’s departure.
    The remaining party, Tagenadi, Aldarian, Amalius, and Torin, teleported to the Lich Shade and walked in with hide from undead cast as normal to avoid the zombie hordes. Within the Lich Shade they descended down the steps and reached the same room they’d fled from before. Inside the giant zombie behemoths still waited with a few of the petrifying wights. The undead attacked! Tagenadi stepped forward to take all their shots. Torin flame striked the wights. Aldarian took a defensive position in front of Torin. Amalius climbed up the wall with his boots of spider climb and blasted the undead with an energy cone of electricity. The undead all went for Tagenadi. One of the big ones grabbed him and would’ve pulled him into a grapple, but Torin cast freedom of movement and saved Tagenadi. Tagenadi continued to tank the monsters. Amalius let another energy cone loose, but only the wights fell. With six of the zombie beats closing in, the party chose to retreat. Tagenadi fell back and Torin cast wall of stone to close the room off with four inches of granite.
    Unsure of how damaged the big zombie beasts were, Amalius teleported back onto the ceiling of the room. He blasted them with another energy cone, but they still didn’t fall. He quickly teleported back to the previous room. The party discussed tactics. They certainly could eventually wear down the zombies with their magic, but Tagenadi’s HP went down faster. Torin would normally heal Tagenadi, but he needs negative energy to do that now. He forgot to prep negative energy spells. The party could rest up and continue into the room with negative energy spells or they could just gauge how far the room was and teleport past it. They decided to teleport past it. Before doing so, Tagenadi went outside and wailed on the undead hordes for a bit. He has an ability that heals him for 2HP every time he strikes something, so he just healed up that way.

    Forging on, the party teleported 300 feet forward from the newly made wall of stone. They found themselves on the other side of a pair of iron doors in a ten foot wide corridor. The corridor extended in front of them to a T, splitting off to the left and right. Puzzling over which way to go Amalius asked Torin, “Which path does Athena guide you down?”
    “I’m not sure. My dwarven intuition says left, but we’ll have the gods decide.” Torin hefted his spear in his hand and threw it at the wall in front of them. The spear banged off the wall and landed pointing slightly to the left. “My dwarven intuition was always a good match for Athena!”
    The party got into marching order after Torin retrieved his spear and began going towards the left. As they passed the intersection, Aldarian’s elven sense tingled. “Hey guys! There’s a secret door behind this wall!”
    Amalius asked, “Behind where Torin’s spear struck?”
    Aldarian nodded.
    Torin said, “Athena would never lead us astray! Let’s go through that secret door.”
    Aldarian pressed the catch at the bottom of the door and it swung open. Beyond was a stairway going down. The party followed the staircase and reached a large square room filled with murky water. The adventurers stood on a small ledge one foot above the water. The other end of the room had a passageway similarly placed one foot above the water that led out of the room. Five glowing balls of light moved in an erratic and beautiful fashion over the water. Tagenadi and Amalius recognized the balls as will-o’-wisps.
    Wary of the water, Torin cast a light spell on a pebbly and dropped it off the ledge. The stone went two feet down into the water before its light was completely obscured by the dirt and slime. Next, Tagenadi took Torin’s spear and began poking the water to identify drop off locations. He found a flat space only three feet down that extended several feet to the left of the ledge.
    As Tagenadi was poking, the wisps flew over. They made a formation a few feet off from the entrance. The lights vibrated and they spoke with one voice, “The skeleton man can poke and prod, but we can show you where to go with just a nod.
    Amalius said, “You speak? I thought will-o’-wisps were mute.”
    Torin said, “Apparently not.”
    We will lead you over this cleft, first go forward and to the left.” The wisps moved as they spoke and illuminated a path going over an area straight away from the ledge and to the left.
    Amalius asked the wisps, “Why are you here? I thought only undead lived in this tomb.”
    The wisps answered, “The Bane was not the first in this tower, we live and serve another power.
    Amalius asked, “What other power?”
    Our masters are the immortals themselves, and we serve them in these dungeon delves.
    “But what are you here for?”
    To help you across the watery way, that you may make the Bane pay.
    Tagenadi had continued to poke the water and found the water dropped off even further to the right, but the three foot mark extended straight out from the ledge as well as to the left, but the straightway did not match where the wisps had placed themselves.
    Tagenadi said, “Which way did you say to go? There’s no path under where you are now.”
    The skeleton man tells only lies, come with us if you want to survive.
    Tagenadi pulled the spear out of the water and found the area he’d poked below the three foot level was simply gone. A straight mark diagonally across the spear was the only remains of the spear point. “Look at that! If we fall off the path we’ll die!”
    The Bane’s traps may ensnare you, but we are the only ones who can spare you.
    Amalius said, “I’ve heard some stories about will-o’-wisps leading people astray in swamps. What do you have to say to that?”
    The skeleton man is the only liar here, We are truthful and can be your seers.
    “But there’s no path under where you are.”
    The path can change, so quickly you must go, to survive go left then up this row.” The wisps moved again to mark a new path.
    Amalius said, “I’m losing my patience with these things. Torin, do you have any spells to get us out of this?”
    “Sure. I’ve got a control water spell that’ll reduce the water level in here by a few dozen feet.”
    “Cast it.”
    Torin cast the spell and the water levels quickly dropped. Three feet down from the ledge was a path that winded its way through the room. It would be a maze under the water. Without the water the path very clearly went forward, to the right, and then followed the wall before reaching the opposite passageway. The path was composed of ten foot high stretches of stone that came out of the stone floor below. Torin’s spell had completely removed the water from the room for the duration. Still suspicious of the empty area where the spear had disappeared, Amalius picked up the light rock from before and threw it down. The rock touched bottom and skipped a bit. Nothing out of the ordinary happened.
    Tagenadi cautiously stepped out onto the pathway and nothing bad happened to him either. “What do you have to say for yourselves now?”
    The skeleton man is undead so he cannot die, but the rest cannot trust the hand or the eye. The skeleton man will lead you round the bend, if you go his way you will meet your end. The path is only safe with the water here, bring it back to reach safety’s tier.
    Amalius brought everyone in a huddle, “What do you guys think.”
    Tagenadi said, “I think they're liars.”
    Aldarian said, “Definitely liars.”
    Torin said, “Liars.”
    “Alright then,” Amalius said.
    The party ignored the will-o’-wisps and stepped onto the path. Once everyone was in the room, the wisps attacked. They targeted Torin, Aldarian, and Amalius with electric shocks. They ignored Tagenadi. Tagenadi smote one of them with the broken spear. Amalius made himself immune to electric energy and taunted the wisps to attack him. Torin tried to flame strike the wisps, but found them immune to magic. Aldarian turned invisible. The wisps turned invisible and regroups to attack. Torin as the only remaining targetable member, hid in Amalius’ portable hole. The party waltzed through the room shouting insults at the wisps. The wisps remained silent and invisible.

    The passageway beyond the wisp room led to a rectangular room with small step down to the floor from the passage. The floor was covered in thousands of silver coins. Experimentation revealed that taking the coins was as easy as reaching out your hand and that the coins covered about half an inch of the entire floor. Across the room was a stone door. Seeing nothing else out of the ordinary, the party stepped into the room.
    The ghost opened by revealing its horrific appearance which severely weakened Aldarian and Amalius. The ghost then let out a scream, causing Torin and Aldarian to keel over dead. Tagenadi engaged the ghost with his kusari-gama. A blaze of fire erupted from Aldarian’s body and he resurged to full health. He quickly emptied the silver coins he’d taken from his pockets in case that was attracting the ghost. Amalius cast his new 8th level power, iron body, hoping to protect himself. The ghost foolishly tried to drain the life energy of Tagenadi, but found none there to take. Tagenadi and Aldarian began wailing on the ghost. Amalius blasted it as well. The ghost turned its incorporeal powers upon Aldarian and drained some of his charisma. The brawl continued until the ghost screamed once again, causing Aldarian’s and Amalius’ death (Throgg had hoped iron body would protect him from this. I ruled that it didn’t, but that may have been a bad call on my part. If you’re reading, maybe you can throw in your own opinion?). Aldarian rezzed in flames again and dove into his portable hole. With no living targets remaining, the ghost faded into the ethereal world.
    Tagenadi gathered up the bodies and took Torin’s teleportation boots. He teleported back tot eh other side of the wall of stone. Aldarian and Tagenadi spent the night resting in the old nightcrawler room. The next day they teleported to their accurate guess of Crux’s location. They hoped to treat with Vecna for the resurrection of their friends.

    (I unfortunately forget the dialogue for this part). Vecna offered the party a new deal. Two favors in exchange for the resurrection of Torin and Amalius and a energy reversal item for Tagenadi. The two favors could both be returned by Tagenadi or one by Tagenadi and one by Aldarian. Tagenadi included the caveat that none of the favors could affect his family. Aldarian was unsure if he wanted to be part of this deal and argued for a separate deal of his own, one favor for Amalius and Torin. Vecna turned that down as what she really wanted was Tagenadi’s favor.
    The party also considered going to Dalleer to beg the Björn for resurrections or to King Dainlin of the Hill Dwarves. They didn’t have enough money for resurrections without selling magic items. They also considered sending Tagenadi back to the room of silver coins to collect as many as possible. Casting speak with dead or reincarnate was also considered. We had to end the session there, but it felt like a good stopping point anyways.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2013-05-09 at 12:58 PM.

  29. - Top - End - #59
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    Alliance Session #25/Total Session #35

    This session was attended by Throgg, Ozymandias, Salzar, and Middle_Snu. Ozymandias introduced his new character in this session. We’ve actually had two sessions since the last session I posted, but I’ve been too busy to write them up until now.

    Worried about how to bring Torin and Amalius back to life Aldarian and Tagenadi had resorted to desperate measures. Fortunately, before they went through with their deal with Vecna, Hektor arrived! Hektor had stayed with the official Alliance members, but found Tagenadi, Torin, Amalius, and Aldarian more capable of pushing back the Xorians than the Alliance itself. Thus Hektor wants to help both the Alliance and the Outcasts to better prevent the war from eventually reaching the soil of his homeland, Aractrash.

    Hektor offered to resurrect Torin and Amalius using his vast wealth and connections if all swore to assist in preventing the war with Xoria from spreading to Aractrash. Tagenadi and Aldarian accepted. They teleported to Aractrash and promptly had the two dead members raised (The party was low on funds and I didn’t want the two guys to just lose their characters. No more freebie resurrections!).

    While at Yuettencal, the party was approached by a group of clerics. They bore holy symbols of Dionysus, Nyx, Eris, Phobos, and Pan. Those of Pan delivered a message to the party, “Pan has spoken to us and asked us to speak with you. He is also against the Xorians as you are, but as the gods are not able to act directly, he requires your assistance. There is a great warrior of Pan’s following that has been slumbering for the past fifty years. We wish you to awaken him so that he may aid in the defeat of the Xorian Empire.”

    Hektor asked, “Where can we find this great warrior?”

    “He is a druid living in the Panda Grove of Satronwook. He won the great drinking contest fifty-one years ago and has taken on the form of the golden panda ever since. We can take you to the grove and he will join your cause.”

    “A panda? What?”


    Satronwook is one of my funnier cities. The city has lots and lots of alcohol in it. The town square has a magic fountain that spews a different form of alcohol into the air every day. Every year they have a big drinking contest. The winner is declared ruler of the city and given the Panda Crown. The Panda Crown permanently turns its wearer into a panda. While wearing the Crown the Panda may speak and rule the city as s/he sees fit. When the Panda ascends s/he has the right to change, remove, or add one law to Satronwook’s legal code. After leaving office the Panda bestows the Crown upon the next winner of the drinking contest. The old Panda can no longer speak, but is marked with a golden circle around its head where the Crown sat indicating its former status as a humanoid, ruler of the city, and drinker of the highest stamina. Ozymandias’ new character is an elven druid who won this contest fifty years ago before even the war between the First Alliance and Xoria had started.

    Puzzled but interested the party decided to go to the Panda Grove. They left Tagenadi at Dalleer as they weren’t sure how a druid would receive and undead servant of Hades (Also because thewamp wasn’t there for this session). They sought out the greatest Panda in the Grove. They found him seated by some bamboo occasionally taking bites from a stalk he held in his hand.

    Hektor spoke first, “Uh... Great Panda! We come to you from Pan to ask for your assistance!”

    The Panda with the golden circle looked quizzically at each of the party members in turn. He took another bite of bamboo.

    Amalius spoke, “Please, we need your help against the Xorian threat.”

    The Panda rose to stand on his two back feet. Slowly his fur receded into his skin as his body reshaped itself. In the space of just a few seconds the Panda turned from a bear into an ancient elf clothed in dragonscales. “Who are you? What has happened in the world since I started my vacation?”

    “We are freedom fighters in a war against the evil Xorian Kingdom that continues to expand far beyond its natural reach,” said Hektor.

    “The Xorians? Yes, they were expanding when first I left the active world. But what is this to me? Mortals always fight each other when Ares demands. It is the way of the world. I do not take sides. People fight and people die. That is natural and good.”

    “Natural and good? These are people’s lives!” Hektor turned to the others, “Why are we wasting our time here? He clearly doesn’t care about the world.”

    Amalius said, “Hold on a minute. What’s your name great druid?”

    “My name is Eathirilu Treeheart.”

    Amalius introduced himself and the others then said, “And don’t you know about the Dragovinian vampires?”

    “What? No, I’ve never heard of those.”

    “They are a deathless race of undead that can go out in the sunlight and drink the blood of mortals. They have taken over the Xorian Empire and spread its influence even further. Their evil deeds serve their dark god, Blendegad, a dragon which seeks to usurp the throne of the Olympians. Zeus would’ve cast Blendegad down and set the world to rights, but he lies in a death-sleep due to a poisonous attack by the Dahak monster. Ares has taken up the mantle of Zeus, but he aids the Xorians as he has always loved their warring ways. Blendegad grows stronger with every city he conquers and if he takes them all then the undead menace will consume Cimmeria forever. Do you see now why we need your help? This is not a natural war between kingdoms and city-states. This is a war with the undead. This is a war between righteousness and the vilest evil this world has ever known.”

    “I do see now.” Eathirilu looked at the ground and did not speak for a several seconds, then he looked up and whistled. A two-legged reptilian beast came crashing through the forest and sat down by Eathirilu. “This is my raptor, Jack, and we will join you to defeat the Xorians.” Eathirilu took a bite from the bamboo branch he still held. His face soured as he realized his now elven body couldn’t digest it.

    Hektor said, “Hold on a minute! We haven’t decided if we’re letting this guy join us. Really? A panda that’s sat on its butt this whole time while the rest of the world has been fighting? How do we know he’s responsible?”

    Amalius said, “Let’s put it to a vote then. I say he’s in.”

    Aldarian said, “We’re getting help from worse places. I vote yes.”

    Torin said, “Initially I was thinking the same thing as you Hektor, but I agree with the others. We need all the help we can get to defeat Xoria.”

    “Fine. I just hope we don’t regret it.”

    Amalius said, “Alright! Eathirilu, our current mission is to find an artifact kept at the Lich Shade in the Shacklack Desert. We think this artifact will give us the power we need to turn the tide of the war.”

    “Lets go get it then.”

    The party spent a few days resting before teleporting off to the Lich Shade once again. Someone had the idea to cast find the path to find the Lich’s treasury. That way they could be sure they were headed in the right direction. They teleported past the big zombie beasts again and thumbed their noses at the will-o’-wisps. Prior to the ghost’s room everyone got death ward cast on them. None of the ghost’s abilities pierced the death ward. It tried attacking each of the party members in turn, but too late it realized it could harm none of them. The onslaught of magical damage coming from the party eventually killed the ghost.

    Aldarian swept all the silver in the room into the two portable holes the party had and they continued. Then next door opened onto a spiral staircase going down. They followed the staircase down for two hundred feet and reached a new level. A short corridor went out from the stairs to a large dark triangular room with columns supporting the twenty foot ceiling. Find the path indicated the ceiling past the second row of columns as the way to reach the Lich’s treasury. Eathirilu cast true seeing and saw a large black and purple blob with black, purple, and red tendrils coming off of it hiding in the darkness. He informed the rest of the party and the blob charged.

    (It’s been awhile, so I don’t remember the details of the fight exactly anymore). During the crazy fight the group quickly realized that the beast had some power over time. They’d deal it a big hit of damage past its SR, but then find time reverse and the damage healed, but the spell still used up. It used this ability numerous times throughout the fight. The beasty spent most of the fight trying to grab onto people with its tendrils and suck the life out of them. Eathirilu turned into a big dinosaur and kept the beasty away from most of the rest of the party. Eventually all the blasting spells wore it down. During the battle a ghostly hand went around touching people inappropriately and making them shiver. Torin recognized the hand as a ghostly ghoul hand that would paralyze someone if it got past their fortitude (which it did not on any targets).

    After slaying the blob beasty it dissolved into a black goo on the floor. The party was very low on spells, but decided to explore the room before leaving to rest up. Eathirilu detected another undead still lurking behind a column. He summoned some T-Rexes and attacked the undead Devourer. Devourers are undead that trap a soul inside of them and feed on that soul to cast spells like ghostly ghoul hands. The soul freed from within the Devourer was a sand giant named Barakah.

    Hektor claimed responsibility for freeing Barakah, so the giant swore fealty to Hektor and the Aractrashan cause. They talked with the giant a bit and learned that he had come in here over two hundred years ago with a few of his friends to clear out the Lich Shade. Unfortunately they had gotten their souls trapped. Hektor offered to help Barakah find what had become of his sand giant people. Barakah agreed.

    The party left the tomb to heal up and recover spells. Barakah and Hektor toured a few of the old haunts of the sand giants, but found no evidence of their existence. The giant feared his attack on the Lich Shade had angered the Bane, indirectly causing his people to be wiped from existence. Barakah asked Hektor for two months leave to find what become of his people. (We skipped over what Hektor said in reply, but I assume he graciously granted Barakah’s request).

    The party journeyed into the tomb the next day and went up the secret door in the ceiling. It led to a diamond shaped room guarded by a skeleton dragon and a zombie dragon. The party blasted the bejesus out of the two dragons and just managed to kill them in a single round (Three less damage and one of the zombie dragon would’ve gotten to attack!).

    They walked through the next hallway, with find the path directing them around a few traps. The spell also told them not to look at the opposite wall in the next room. Amalius cheated a little bit and had his psicrystal peek at the wall. On it was a red symbol that looked awfully like a symbol of pain. The psicrystal also saw a large carving of a skeleton on the left wall and a corridor leading out of the room at the back right corner.

    The party deliberately looked down at their feet and walked into the room. The party heard some stone grinding to their left and Amalius glanced up to look at it. He saw the skeleton carving pulling itself out of the wall, but Amalius also accidentally glanced at the symbol and double over in pain. He quickly cast false sensory input to turn his pain into pleasure, but found himself just as incapacitated by that. Torin cast a wall of stone to block the symbol. By then the stone skeleton had pulled itself at the wall. Eathirilu went toe to toe with the skeleton in his dinosaur form. The two of them slugged at each other for a minute or two. The party correctly identified the skeleton as a stone golem that no spells would harm. The golem would’ve defeated Eathirilu, but Torin healed him up whenever he got low.

    Find the path warned of more traps in the next hallway and another thing that shouldn’t be looked at on the opposite wall in the next room. Psicrystal looked around again and saw a fountain in the middle of the room and a black symbol of death on the opposite wall. Torin walled the symbol off again and the party investigated the fountain. Experimentation with summoned monsters revealed that the fountain turned summoned monkeys into geese if they drank the water, but not if they touched it. The party filled three waterskins and two wine bottles with the magic liquid. Hektor made sure the water still detected as magic when out of the fountain and the party laughed at their good fortune (But who's to say if it stays magic outside the Lich Shade?).

    We ended the session there. We have done another session since then and I will try to post it soon.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2017-02-17 at 08:31 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #60
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    Alliance Session #26/Total Session #36
    This session was attended by Ozymandias, Throgg, Salzar, and Middle_Snu. It was held on Google Hangouts with the camera pointed at my battleboard during combats.

    The party walked into the next room after obtaining the goose water. The room was quite dark, but upon reaching the edge of the room the darkness lifted. Hidden within the murk was the lich’s laboratory and library. Rows and rows o bookshelves stood at the back of the long room along with another door out. In front of the bookshelves a variety of lab equipment and specimens were littered about the room. Most notably were two unmoving undead looking zombies strapped to examination tables. Due to the party’s extensive knowledge of undead most people identified the strapped down undead as some new creation the lich must’ve been working on. At the center of the room was the lich along with a fearsome giant spider companion.
    The party became immediately suspicious that this was not the true lich. This opponent wore half-plate armor and held a holy symbol which he soon used to cast spells on the heroes. The lich they’d heard of in stories was a spellcaster for sure, but no further info was given on him. However, the party had discovered earlier that the Bane may be an elven wizard called Sahamathrian who constructed the Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali. The lich in front of them, if it even was a lich, did not match that description.
    The party started things off with a dispel magic on the lich. That got rid of its spider guardian as well as a few protection spells. The lich started a combo of casting spiritual weapon and then silence on the spiritual weapon. Amalius was able to dispel that as psionic powers get around silence. The lich cast a few other spells, but nothing o consequence. It fell soon afterwards.
    The party proceeded to ransack the lich’s room. Shoving all the books into the portable holes they had (Along with the silver pieces from before, the holes were just about full).
    Tabling investigation of the rest of the lab equipment for another time the party moved on to the next room. This one was a large bedroom that the lich inhabited. The find the path spell directed Eathirilu to a large glass case with various weapons, maps, armor pieces, jewels, and scrolls on display. Hektor cast detect magic and found that a crystal ball within the case was magic. Aldarian was sent in to to detect normal traps. Aldarian began to act a bit evasive when asked if he found any traps. The reason became all too clear soon.

    Aldarian looked for traps and found none, but he did find a secret door at the back of the bedroom by the glass case. Upon noticing it he heard a voice in his head, “Say anything and I assure you, the last one to die will be you.”
    Aldarian puzzled over what to do before shouting, “Be on your guard! Something is about to come through this wall!” The party sprung into action. The mages prepared to blast whatever came out and Torin animated all the furniture in the room to block the secret door.
    All their precautions were for naught. An explosion ripped through the room and poisonous gas followed instantly afterward. The secret door stood wide open, but no one had time to look inside for the true lich blocked the only physical way out to the surface. Great and terrible with arcane energy dripping from his fingertips, The Bane floated in midair between the party and his ransacked library. Magical items of all sorts covered his skeletal body and he held a mighty stafff in his right hand. The words, “You should have listened,” came out of his tongueless mouth.
    Shrieking like wounded birds, the party threw a few spells at the Bane, before realizing combat was a hopeless endeavour after spending so many of their resources getting this far in the tomb. Torin thought quickly and teleported everyone to the entrance of the tomb.
    And The Bane teleported right behind them. With only one spell left, he turned Amalius into a toad. Torin shrieked and teleported to Dalleer. The Bane did not follow a second time.

    The party explained the situation to Bjorn at Dalleer. They all thought the Bane would soon come after them to reclaim his library and wreck vengeance for the damage done to his servants in the Lich Shade. Amalius was given some medical care and returned to human form. The party sat down and tried to think of what they could do to stop the Bane’s coming attack. After formulating a plan they rested for the night and prepared spells in the morning.
    The party was having breakfast with the Bjorn in the morning and wondering where the Bane was. They had prepared spells, why hadn’t he? What was he waiting for? Eventually Amalius gave in and used divination to see when the Bane would attack. His answer was, “The time is soon. The time is now! The Bane comes in just one round!”
    Scrambling to prepare the party cast a few death wards. The Bane materialized outside the breakfast room window along with three giant wraiths. Combat began! (I unfortunately forget most of it as it has been a few weeks since we played it. I’ll do my best.)
    The Bane started things off by turning Amalius into a toad again. Fortunately, Amalius could still cast spells in toad form. Eathirilu gave everyone protection from fire. His pet raptor, Jack, ran in fear from the unatural wraiths. The Bjorn turned into a shadow and disappeared. Everyone else threw their magical might at the Bane. The most crucial spell was a dispel magic which popped the Bane’s spell resistance spell, making the rest of the fight a lot easier for the casters, and the dispel caught the Bane’s iron flask before he had a chance to open it himself. This released the pit fiend inside with a burning desire for revenge on its captor. The pit fiend cast meteor swarm and a quickened fireball which nuked the house, but dealt almost no damage to the combatants as everyone had protection from fire. Amalius noticed the pit fiend’s hatred of the Bane and offered it an alliance, but the demon soon ha dproblems of its own.
    The wraiths ganged up on the pit fiend causing it to teleport away in fear. Torin did his best to blast the Bane or keep everyone else alive for the rest of the fight. The Bane turned invisible and created an illusion of himself which fooled the party for two rounds. Eathirilu cast true seeing and pinpointed the real Bane. The Bane didn’t let that last long and dispelled the true seeing. Eathirilu wild shaped into a dinosaur with scent and found the nasty dead smelling lich anyways. Unfortunately, he’d also lost his death ward and began losing out to the wraith attacks. Torin renewed the ward.
    Meanwhile the Bane had cast a Bigby’s Grasping Hand to mess with whatever casters were around. The hand chased Hektor to the edges of the fight. Amalius jumped into Aldarian’s pocket and skirted the edge of the fight, blasting the Bane. The fight continued in this way for a few rounds and eventually the sheer amount of punishment defeated the Bane before he could slay a single party member. His body turned to dust as he said, “I shall returned and keep my promises, mortals.” Upon his death the wraiths immediately fled into the Bjorn’s burning house.
    The party quickly called the police. The Bjorn said his pet dinosaur had caused the fire and the explosions with his hideous farts. He’d also farted up some nasty wraiths. The clerics of the town were called in to find and destroy the wraiths. A few create water spells put out the fire before it spread to the rest of the town as well. A glorious victory for the party!

    After snatching up the Bane’s equipment all the party members heard a demonic voice in their heads, “Thank you for freeing me from that wretched prison. I too wish the Lich's doom. His phylactery is contained within the pillar of the Lich Shade itself. I hope you find it soon for he will return at full strength in a few days. I am not ungrateful for what you have done for me. I shall find you all again in one year and grant you whatever you desire. Until then I bid you goodbye.”
    The party at the moment seems to favor hunting the pit fiend down and killing it, but we’ll have to wait and see what they do next. We’re caught up on sessions now!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2014-09-23 at 11:24 PM.

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