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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Ogre in the Playground
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    We haven't had a session in a while due to my last bout of finals. I am now graduated! Anyways, to keep you tided over I found some stuff in my old notes.

    Terroc was originally the son of a noble wizard in the Aractrashan Kingdom. His father tutored Terroc in the arcane arts. Unfortunately a rival wizard slew Terroc's father. Using some of his father's more advanced magic Terroc summoned a Babau demon to enact his revenge. The demon succeeded in slaying the rival wizard, but the evidence led back to Terroc. He fled the police of the Aractrashan Jungle Kingdom and ended up in the Shacklack Desert. There he stumbled on a small enclosure. Inside he found who would become his magic instructor, Liithiil, an elf. She taught Terroc the basics of magic in exchange for Terroc's assistance with household chores and a magical ring that Terroc had taken from his father's still-warm corpse.

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #27/Total Session #37
    This session was attended by Ozymandias, Throgg, Salzar, and thewamp. It was held over Google Hangouts using Roll20’s app.

    The party spent the rest of the day after the fight with the Bane healing up and removing any supernatural injuries. Feeling that the Bane could revive at any moment, the party hurried to find exactly where the phylactery was. The Pit Fiend told them it was inside the Lich Shade itself. Guessing that the Bane would revive next to the phylactery, Amalius journeyed within his mind with a divination to figure out where this would be. The spell told him, “The Bane shall appear where the light first strikes in the desert.” The party guessed that this meant the top of the Lich Shade.

    Hektor was unfortunately called away on Alliance business. Tagenadi returned from his soulsearching adventure elsewhere. An encounter ensued between Tagenadi and Eathirilu. The druid decided to tolerate the undead party member for the moment in order to forestall the greater good. Additionally, the equipment of the Bane was left with the Björn for safekeeping.

    Teleporting to the Lich Shade, Torin cast a find the path to the top of the Lich Shade. The spell directed him straight up the side of the pillar. From previous experiments the party knew that flying and teleporting didn’t work so great around the gigantic obelisk. They surmised that a way up must exist within the Lich Shade itself down one of the passageways they did not explore previously.

    Using the same teleport trick, the party got past the room of zombie giants. Ahead was a four-way intersection as before. They had fully explored the straightway and minorly the left side. They decided to go to the right instead. The hallway went down a few dozen feet and ended at a featureless stone door. After Aldarian checked it out for traps, Tagenadi pushed the door open.

    The party heard the rattling of bones on the floor of the now-revealed, large, rectangular room. Thousands of bones littered the floor and as Tagenadi opened the door the bones began to move of their own accord. The shuffled together into four large shapes within the room. The shapes grew larger and larger until four huge skeletal dogs stood in front of the party!

    The dogs attacked, moving on Tagenadi. The rest of the party blasted from the back while Tagenadi kept the beasts at bay. The strategy proved quite successful. The dogs only broke through Tagenadi’s expert defense once. One of them landed two claw attacks on the death knight. Tearing through his skeletal structure, the dog almost undid Tagenadi. Fortunately, Torin had prepared a few harm spells and their undead friend pulled through. Eathirilu finished off the last of the dogs.

    The room held nothing but another door. Beyond that was a hallway with ANOTHER stone door. The party took up battle positions around that door. Tagenadi kicked it in. Inside was a rectangular room twice the size of the previous one. No one could see the other end of the room, but at the edge of their vision they saw a gigantic arm beast. The creature was composed solely of thin red arms extending from a darkened center. The arms each ended in claws with a yellow eye set in the center. The eyes blinked upon seeing Tagenadi before the creature rolled forward to attack.

    Once again, Tagenadi stood fast to defend the party. The creature attempted to grab Tagenadi, but Amalius teleported him out of the armbeast’s grasp. Torin then cast freedom of movement on Tagenadi to prevent future problems. Frustrated with Tagenadi’s kusari-gama defense, the creature grasped the weapon and broke it in two. Eathirilu summoned three tyrannosaurs into the room. More blast spells came out at the armbeast. It continued to attack Tagenadi, the dinosaurs, and even the wall so that it could surge forward and reach other members of the party. The dinosaurs took big chunks out of the armbeast, but it grabbed them and held them close. With the same action it broke apart the wall revealing Tagenadi. It prepared to roll over the party, but at the last second a final damage spell struck it down.

    Searching the room the party found a treasure pile at the back. None of the doors was big enough for the creature, that Amalius called an Odopi. The back door led to another hallway ending at a stone door.

    Tagenadi summoned his nightmare and decided to scout around with the aid of its etherealness powers. He found he could walk easily through the walls and doors while ethereal. He went back to the room he’d peeked in before with a giant staring at a fire. As he peeked his head in the giant looked up at him. Tagenadi entered the room and the giant continued to stare at him as if expecting something. Tagenadi now noticed a magnificent scimitar that the giant held. Tagenadi left, puzzled by the encounter. He told the rest of the group and they began to talk about where they should head next in the Lich Shade.

    The session ended there. We did a little bit of Salzar’s pirate campaign afterwards. We’ll be doing that in our next session, which may not be until August. Stay tuned!

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Rebellion Session #9/Total Session #38
    This session was attended by Throgg, Salzar, and thewamp and held over Google Hangouts using Roll20 as a virtual tabletop. It’s been quite a while since our last session! Reasons for that are quite obvious. I got married, moved, and got a new job. All things that take up a lot of my time, so we weren’t able to game until this week.

    I've also illustrated a scene from this session. I'll do all subsequent sessions and I'll try to do previous sessions as well, but we'll have to wait and see how many I manage to get done. The illustration is of Reggy, an NPC, Korjak, and Gregor. I've placed it at the appropriate place in the narrative.

    We left off with the party uncertain how to treat Rararak the Dragovinian bear. They decided to use Korjak and Gregor’s greatswords as stakes to keep Rararak in one place while they interrogated him. The giant that assisted them in the battle stood in the dwindling twilight above the grotto.

    Gregor put on the necklace of speak with animals and threatened Rararak, “Tell us the prophecy of the druids and we’ll let you live. Refuse and we’ll cut your body into a thousand pieces.”
    Rararak growled and said nothing.
    Korjak got out his dagger while Gregor worked his greatsword back and forth in the bear causing it to grunt in pain. Korjak handed his blade to Gregor who held it up against Rararak’s neck.
    “Don’t make me ask again.”
    “Grrrr… Fine… Lean in and I shall whisper the secret to you.”
    Wary of Rararak’s tricks, Gregor leaned in, but kept the dagger between his head and Rararak’s.
    Rararak whispered, but loudly so that everyone could hear,
    “Go to where the Best Smith fell
    To where in his fiery forge he dwells
    Pick up the pieces of a broken god
    Stir them in first with a golden rod.”

    As Rararak finished speaking each member of the party experienced a separate vision (except Reggy who felt terribly left out).
    Sivirdm commented, “Did anyone else just get a vision.”
    Murmurs of assent were heard.
    “What was yours of Stanton?”
    “Let’s not worry about it now.”
    (Unfortunately no one shared their visions. I wouldn’t want to share PC info that the other PCs would see, so everyone shall remain in the dark for now. PM me if you’d like to know the visions.)
    Satisfied with Rararak’s honesty, Gregor prepared to set him free, but not without ensuring the bear would not attack them. He took Korjak’s dagger and placed it to sever Rararak’s lower jaw.
    Wu nocked an arrow, “Don’t do that! We promised to let him go!”
    Gregor said, “This is to keep us safe.”
    “Don’t do it! I’ll shoot!”
    Gregor grunted and severed the jawbone. Wu loosed his arrow and it bounced off Gregor’s armor.
    “Are we done with this silliness?” asked Korjak, “Now isn’t the time for disagreements.”
    “Fine,” said Wu.
    Gregor carried the jawbone and muscled past Wu on his way out of the grotto after retrieving his greatsword. Korjak removed his greatsword and gave the wounded bear a kick into the water of the lake. The stone giant watched from above and the party decided to find a way up to meet the giant.

    After hiking around to talk with the giant, the party discovered it had come down after they left the grotto. The giant had decapitated Rararak with an axe laying at his side and was beginning to skin the scaly hide off the bear. Gregor and Stanton climbed down to talk to the giant while the rest of the party took the longer way of walking down.
    Gregor thanked the giant for his help in the fight using the Orcish tongue. The giant shrugged and said something back in a different language. Gregor tried Common in response and the giant tried a different unknown language as well. Stanton and Gregor went through all their known languages without any success. Once the others arrived they were also unable to speak to the giant. Stanton cast comprehend languages in an attempt to speak with the giant.
    After remembering that he needed to touch the giant for the spell to function, he raised his hand over his head, hoping the giant would touch it. The giant raised its hand over its head before going back to skinning the bear. Stanton mimed raising his hand over his head with Gregor acting as the giant, touching the hand. The giant understood then and put his index finger down, touching Stanton’s upraised hand. Stanton said, “Great! Now say something!”
    The giant kept contact for awhile before letting go and saying something undecipherable. Giving up on being polite, Stanton rushed over and hugged the giant’s leg.
    “You really are a strange little man aren’t you?” said the giant.
    “Yes! I understood that! Now we can talk.”
    “Well if you’d like to give me an offering I’m okay with it.”
    Stanton said to the others, “He says he wants an offering, we should give him something.”
    Gregor said, “How about Korjak’s knife?”
    “No! That’s mine! He can’t have it!”
    “But it’s the weapon that cut off the jawbone of the beast!” Gregor moved forward and placed the dagger on the boulder the giant had thrown earlier. Korjak lunged forward as Gregor moved, but fell back once the dagger was put down.
    “Why, thank you,” said the giant, “That’ll be a very nice needle to use for mending my pants.”
    Realizing that communication would continue to be one-sided, the party waved goodbye to the giant and left the grotto.

    The hike back to Stevie was uneventful. Stevie took our heroes for the ride of their lives back to Gazeara. Unfortunately, upon reaching the outskirts of the farms surrounding the city they could clearly see the city under siege by a massive force of soldiers and horses.
    “What do we do?” said Wu.
    “We’ll have to go back into Bigby’s Forest,” said Korjak.
    After some discussion as to how to get there without being followed, the party sailed off on Stevie to the rebel base in the Forest. They hopped off Stevie a few miles from the base entrance and hobbled in, exhausted.
    One of the soldiers recognized the group and hailed them outside the base, “You look awful.”
    Korjak said, “We need to speak with the commanding officer right away.”
    “I’ll get him for you. Come on in.” The party followed the soldier into the underground base.
    Lieutenant Gaft met the party in the briefing room, “I am the commanding officer of the base for now. I understand you were on a special mission for Major Dactirian.”
    (Korjak probably would’ve spoken at this point, but because Middle_Snu was absent, we had Throgg take the lead with Gregor)
    Gregor said, “We figured out what we needed to in the north. We’d like to get a message to Major Dactirian in Gazeara if you can. We’re also planning a trip to the south.”
    (The players had a discussion as this point about which animal clan to visit next. I assumed this conversation was had on the wagon ride back to the base instead of in front of Lieutenant Gaft as they seemed reluctant to give him any info. They decided to take a ship south to the sharks around Jovy Isle and then see if they wanted to go straight to the condors of the Dominarie Mountains or report back to the rebel base before going to the condors.)
    Gregor continued, “We need a ship going south to Jovy Isle. Do you have contacts in Makotako for us to arrange passage?”
    “Of course. Our main contact in Makotako is Torpor. You can meet him at the Red Horse Inn just inside the eastern gate.”
    “Any chance of us getting some new equipment and supplies for this trip?”
    “Yes! Major Dactirian said to give you access to all our best equipment after you returned. Take your pick in the morning.”

    (Salzar has been getting bored of Wu due to him not having a defined personality. The arrow shot at Gregor earlier was an attempt to introduce a personality of some compassion towards the enemy, but it kinda flopped. Salzar has retired Wu as a PC and will be playing a different character, a Halfling sorcerer/rogue planning on going into the arcane trickster prestige class. The trickster is named Draco Achaikos. Wu was assigned by Lieutenant Gaft to the infiltration team going into Gazeara.)

    The adventurers spent the next day recovering and the day after that picking out new equipment before heading out with Stevie. They stopped at Riverton to exchange the iron wagon for a real one, waving goodbye to their favorite magical construct. They then began to enact their plan for entering Makotako.
    An orc and a half-orc would have a difficult time getting into the city fullyarmed, but if they were dressed as slaves? The two orkin men stripped down to their skivvies. The Halflings were prepared to make inappropriate comments, but Gregor warned them, “Any halfling tongue that wags will get taken off!”
    Reggy noticed he hadn’t been included in this warning. He wolf whistled while Gregor was undressing. Gregor gave him one look and Reggy mumbled, “Sorry sir.”
    They easily took the wagon into town with the two orcs tailing behind. The Halflings posed as the owners while Reggy was the handler of the orcs. They waited in the wagon line of people entering the city. When they got to the front the guards assessed a tax of 20 gold on bringing the orcish slaves to sell in the city. Draco instantly attempted to bribe the guards. They asked him to step out of line while the captain was informed of the issue.
    Whilst out of line Gregor and Korjak whispered admonishments at the Halflings for screwing up the entry to the city. Stanton thought about charming the guards with magic, but decided against it due to the high risk/low reward.
    Eventually the captain came down and called the group back into line. “Now the fee to enter is 20 gold. The fine for attempted bribery will be an additional 20 gold.”
    The party grudgingly paid and entered.

    Upon entry the group spotted the Red Horse Inn, but left it for later. They found an alleyway and the orcs changed back into their clothes while everyone took all their equipment out of the wagon. Reggy was sent to sell the wagon and the mule pulling it. The rest went to the docks to find a seedy place that would let orcs and half-orcs sleep indoors. They found a rickety flophouse called the Wet Floor that paid them no mind. They rented floorspace for the week. The orcs stayed there while the Halflings returned to the Red Horse Inn.
    Inside the Halflings befriended the bartender. He told them Torpor sat in one of the corner tables usually. (In a strange twist, Throgg played the bartender while I played Sivirdm for this encounter.) The bartender questioned Sivirdm’s ability to drink a full pint of ale. Sivirdm then insisted on having a whiskey sour. The group came up with a cover story of being bounty hunters who turned in captured rebels from Bigby’s Forest. After chatting with the bartener the shortfolk went to Torpor’s table with their drinks to wait.
    Torpor arrived in the evening. He got a drink from the bartender and then went over to his table. “What are you folks doing in my table?”
    “We’re your friends Torpor!” said Stanton, “I’m Stanton.”
    “Friends? I ain’t-“
    “And this is Draco.”
    Torpor’s scowl turned into wide eyes as he realized this group of Halflings were contacts in the rebellion. “Yes of course! So you must be…”
    “Right! Sivirdm! Of course! Good to see you all again. Hang on just a moment while I go find us a quieter place to talk.”
    Torpor went to the bar and got a key from the bartender. He returned and said, “Come with me. We’ve got the backroom for awhile.”
    The group went down a hallway to a locked door. Inside was a small room with its own fireplace and some tables and chairs set up for gambling.
    Draco handed Torpor an unopened letter, “Lieutenant Gaft gave this to us for you.”
    Torpor took it and read the contents before throwing it into the fireplace. “What can I do for you?”
    “We need passage to Jovy Isle,” said Stanton.
    “I see. There are a few options. We could charter you a ship to go there or you could hire passage on a ship going near there and find some way to get to the island from the ship or we could buy you a small ship to get there.”
    The party discussed the options and decided that chartering a ship solely to go to Jovy Isle and back was best. Torpor told them it would take him three days to arrange a deal. In the meantime they could stay with two other rebels in town. The orcs and Reggy could stay with Jorgen, a cartographer, while the Halflings could stay with Deegan, a carpenter. The group spent their time helping out with the two businesses as best they could and learning a little from Jorgan and Deegan as well (The illustration is of Gregor learning a little cartography from Jorgen with Korjak in the background and Reggy being less than interested.).

    After three days the halflings went to meet Torpor once again in the back room of the Red Horse.
    Torpor spoke, "I've found two different ships that could take you to Jovy Isle. One of them looks a little shifty, but they aren't asking much. Lieutenant Gaft told me to give you any assistance we could afford. Paying for that ship won't be a problem.
    "The other ship I found costs a great deal more, but has a better reputation in port. Unfortunately, I can't shoulder the expense on my own. I'd need about 1000 more gold pieces from you fellas to charter that ship."
    The three halflings exchanged a look before replying in unison, "We'll go with the cheaper one."
    Three days later the party boarded the Maroon Mastiff under Captain Lucky Two-**** headed towards Jovy Isle (The Maroon Mastiff is a nod to Salzar's pirate campaign where our ship is called the Crimson Cur.). Lucky got his name when he was just starting as a sailor in the navy. He asked the captain before a naval engagement, "Do I have time to **** before the battle, sir?"
    The captain replied, "If you're lucky, you'll get two in." Lucky deserted soon afterwards to become a pirate, but the name stuck.

    The crew looked dirty, had tattoos, but generally ignored the party as they set up their stuff in the hold for the voyage. The ship set sail from Makotako and the first day was uneventful. The layout of the ship was simple. A main deck existed with a bow deck and a poop deck above it in the forward and aft sections of the ship respectively. The below deck section was reserved for the sailors and the meal times. Even lower was the hold which was reserved for the party and food stores. Two hatches in the top deck and the below deck allowed access to the hold for larger cargo items. The entrance to the lower deck was under the poop deck while the captain's quarters occupied the space below the bow deck.
    The men sat down for their evening meal. The party was given their own table to eat at while the sailors and Lucky spread out around the lower deck. Stanton got a little nervous so he elected to go down to the hold and cast detect thoughts. Unfortunatle, when he went down the stairs, a crew member followed him.
    Stanton said, "Could you give me some privacy?"
    The sailor said, "Nope. Captain's orders. No unsupervised passengers."
    "Well I've got some wizard casting stuff to do. I'll be chanting and doing weird stuff. I wouldn't want you to get caught in the crossfire."
    Stanton cast his spell and scanned the sailors and Captain Lucky. The sailors thoughts were uninteresting, but Lucky thought some bad stuff. He thought about murdering the party, looting their bodies and baggage, throwing their bodies overboard, or selling them into slavery. Stanton feared the worst and moved to inform the party members.
    The little halfling went to the lower deck and cast message on Korjak, Gregor, and Sivirdm, but forgot to include Reggy and Draco, because Stanton is a forgetful mage. The four people in on the message quickly came up with a plan to go to the hold, grab their weapons and take control of the ship. Essentially the "strike first, before they kill us in our sleep" plan.
    Stanton returned to the hold. A sailor followed him. Soon after Gregor, Sivirdm, and Korjak moved for the hold as well motioning for the others to follow. Reggy went along, but Draco didn’t understand what they wanted him to do. As they all went into the hold Captain Lucky shouted, “What are they doing down there? Stop them!”
    Weapons were drawn and the fight ensued! Draco remained passive for the first bit. Two sailors drew their sabers and pointed them at Draco, ready to stab him if he moved from the table. Gregor found his sword in the hold and began cutting through sailors coming down the steps. Sivirdm and Stanton supported the giant orc with crossbow shots or spell casts up the stairs. Korjak and Reggy waited for their turn to get up the stairs behind Gregor.
    As Gregor reached the lower deck, Draco realized exactly what was going on. He slipped away from his two guards and cast an obscuring mist covering most of the deck.
    Lucky shouted out, “Damn wizards!” before moving engage Gregor. He backed off after Gregor delivered a vicious hit to Lucky’s leg. The other sailors did their best to contain the raging beast, but they dropped in piles around the stairs. The men showed signs of cowardice, but Lucky “motivated” them.
    The Captain growled, “Kill the blasted orc or his blade won’t be the only one you have to worry about.”
    Draco took his guards on a chase through the fog. Reinforcements arrived from above decks. Lucky ordered the men to begin opening the hatch between the lower deck and the hold so they could flank the party. Korjak moved to intervene if the hatch opened, while Reggy went up the stairs to join Gregor’s melee. Stanton and Sivirdm continued to do what they could from below.
    Gregor began to show signs of serious wounds. Stanton prepared to blast the remaining sailors around Gregor, but Korjak rushed over first and applied some healing with his wand. Seeing the hatch being opened, Draco hit the hatch mechanism with a grease spell.
    “GODDAMNED WIZARDS!” shouted Lucky, “Find him and cut his little magic tongue out!”
    The sailors searched through the fog to find Draco. He tried to hide under a table, but unfortunately he made too much noise. The sailors stabbed him and Draco went unconscious. Meanwhile, Reggy, Korjak, and Gregor cut through the remaining sailors that felt like fighting. Stanton through a temporary blinding spell on Lucky. Lucky shouted, “I HATE YOU ALL!” before fleeing up the stairs. Gregor caught up to him and smashed one of Lucky’s swords into pieces. With certain death looming over him, Lucky threw down his remaining sword, “I give up.”
    After securing the ship, Lucky was fitted with manacles and locked in his cabin. Korjak checked on Draco and the men and treated those who were still breathing. Draco was brought around with the wand of cure light wounds. The party set up watches to prevent any attacks in the night and slept.

    The next day Gregor took Lucky out of his cabin and to the side of the ship. All the crew members were assembled on the main deck.
    Gregor shouted, “We are taking control of the ship and I will be your new captain! Anybody have a problem with that?”
    A murmur of no’s went through the crowd.
    “Now who was second in command here?”
    One of the sailors stepped forward, “Uh, I was sir.”
    “Good to hear it! After we’ve finished our business we’ll be turning the ship over to you and your mates.” Gregor turned to Lucky, “Now you aren’t going to cause any trouble on board are you?”
    Lucky spat in Gregor’s face, “I’ll die before I serve an orc on my own ship.”
    Gregor punched Lucky in the face.
    “Do your worst, you animal. You’re nothing better than a pig’s ass.”
    “So be it.” Gregor hefted Lucky up and over the side of the ship. He sputtered and tried to swim, but the manacles dragged him down to the bottom to drown.
    Gregor caught the eyes of each of the sailors, “Company dismissed.”

    The next few days of sailing were uneventful as the crew adjusted to their new captains. Stanton scanned their minds and found a few individual plans of mutiny or desertion, but nothing concrete or coordinated. Soon the Maroon Mastiff docked in Crafterton.
    Some of the party members went ashore to sell some loot from Lucky’s cabin in exchange for a few potions, specifically potions of water breathing. After making the exchange and also getting a nice feast to placate their new crew they went back aboard and threw a small party with food and wine.
    With the men on their side the ship sailed on for Jovy Isle.
    Knowing that the sharks inhabited the western and southern edges of the island, the ship approached from that side, skirting far around the whirlpool. Upon rounding the northwestern peninsula the party spied a ship with green sails at the corner of the bay.
    Stanton asked one of the crew members, “What ship could that be?”
    “Could be the Green Dish, Captain Peahammer’s ship. He’s a pirate like us, but always leaves survivors to increase his reputation. Not sure why he’d be here though.”
    Jovy Isle has a small lake in the middle of it with a lighthouse at each corner (northwest, northeast, southeast, and west). The party decided to sail for the western lighthouse and investigate there. As they did they saw a fiery shot go up from the Green Dish. Soon afterward a group of men went down from the center hill of the island to the Green Dish. Not sure what to think of it for now, the party ignored it.
    They found the place abandoned, perhaps for a few years. No significant possessions were left behind either. Only wood that was now thoroughly rotted. A winch mechanism existed for hoisting wood up to the top of the lighthouse. The living quarters for one person filled the bottom floor. A staircase led to the roof with a large pit for the fire in the center. There was talk of ghosts inhabiting the lighthouse, so the party decided to stay the night to see whether their suspicions were true or not.
    The party hoisted some wood up to the roof and lit the fire. Watches were set up, but the night passed peacefully. In the morning the party went back down to the Mastiff. They sailed to investigate the northwestern lighthouse.
    Upon arrival they found the lighthouse with no one home, but clearly inhabited. It looked as if someone had just left that morning leaving their white cat behind to meow at the adventuring group when they came in. Investigation revealed that a man lived here by himself, but little else was discovered. While looking at the roof the party saw another fiery shot go up from the Green Dish. As they left they saw men coming down from the central hill of the island once again.

    The party decided it was time to talk with Captain Peahammer of the Green Dish. They ordered the ship to sail a few hundred feet off from the Green Dish and then to head out in a rowboat. Gregor, Stanton, and Draco took the rowboat with two sailors to row while Korjak and Sivirdm stayed on board the Mastiff to prevent the sailors from skipping and leaving.
    As they pulled closer to the Green Dish they saw the pirates on board with crossbows leveled at the rowboat. Wanting to make it clear that they only wished to talk, Stanton began casting a silent image to project a white flag above the boat. Unfortunately, the actual casting of the spell was not seen as a peaceful action, the pirates fired upon Stanton, disrupting the spell.
    “Hey! We’re just here to talk!”
    “Get lost! We’ll shoot ya again!”
    “We come in peace! Tell your captain we come in peace!”
    “Tell your captain to shove it!”
    Stanton started casting a message spell on a few of the pirates to avoid the shouted conversation. They let loose another volley of crossbow bolts, but missed with them due to the boat bobbing in the sea. Stanton whispered to them, “We really just want to talk. There’s no need to fight.”
    “He’s in our minds! He’s trying to turn us against each other! Careful men!”
    “Just tell your captain that we want to talk. We’ll stay here til he arrives.”
    The pirates talked amongst each other for a few minutes then said, “We’ll wait for Captain Peahammer’s orders.”
    Soon Captain Peahammer arrived from the shore to the Green Dish. “Who are you?” he shouted from the ship to the rowboat.
    The party introduced themselves by their real names, then Stanton asked, “Could we meet with you in person?”
    “Why not! Row to land. My men and I will meet you there.”
    The party shrugged and rowed for shore. Peahammer did as well. They came on land face to face with more than a dozen men and Captain Peahammer. He wore a green cape with dashing clothes and two swords at his waist, one with a white pommel and the other black.
    “Why don’t you tell me what you’re doing on my island?”
    “That’s none of your business. What are you doing here?”
    “I ask the questions on my island. No one else! Now tell me why you’re here.”
    “We’re shark hunting.”
    “Shark hunting? No one shark hunts.”
    “We do. It’s to fight the Xorians you see. They-”
    “You’re hunting sharks to fight Xorians. Fine. MEN!” The pirates all aimed their crossbows at the party.
    “No! It’s true! We really are here to hunt sharks! The Xorians made a Dragovinian shark and we came here to kill it to stop the Xorians from taking over!”
    Captain Peahammer thought for a good minute on what the party said.
    “Alright. I believe you. You came here to shark hunt. So go shark hunt. But the sharks are in the water and I’m on the land. I don’t want to see you on my island again.”
    “Sounds fine with us.”
    With the negotiations concluded, the party rowed back to the Maroon Mastiff.

    We ended the session there. Stay tuned for more!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2013-12-05 at 12:46 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #64
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #28/Total Session #39
    This session was attended by Throgg, Salzar, and Ozymandias and held over Google Hangouts using Roll20 as a virtual tabletop. However, prior to the session there was an important email I sent out to all the players. We’d talked about having puzzles outside of actual game time. This was the first of many.

    As Torin slept one night he walked through a plain grass field filled with fog. He came to a stone tablet with writing on it. Athena stepped out of the fog and spoke to Torin. When he awoke he remembered none of what Athena said, but the tablet stayed fixed in his mind. He wrote down what he saw on the tablet immediately and shared it with the group soon after.

    Hint to solving the puzzle:
    The puzzle is a transliteration of an English rhyming prophecy into Ancient Greek letters.

    Half-solved puzzle:
    The puzzle is a little easier to solve once it’s in text as you can then put it into a transliteration translator online. That’s why I went with the handwritten version to begin with. Anyways, here’s the stuff in Greek.
    βυεν θη βλακ βλαιδ μαρχεσ
    παυ ιτ νο χιδ
    φορ αι κοντρολ ιτ
    οφ εντηρβεντιον θερε βελλ βι νο νιδ

    ενστηδ τυρν υορ χεδσ
    του οθερσ οφ καινδ
    φορ βεθ θεμ θη χωρσ μαρχεσ
    ανδ χι πλαυσ χεσ ων σαιδ

    ανδ βεθ θη χωρσ κομσ
    θη λων λοστ ριτυρν
    του θη υον μαδ οφ βονσ
    ανδ θη φαμελι χι σπυρνεδ

    Player’s Solution:
    When the black blade marches,
    pay it no heed,
    for I control it.
    Of intervention, there will be no need.

    Instead, turn your heads
    to others of kind,
    for with them the horse marches
    and he plows his own seed.

    And with the horse comes
    the lone lost, return
    to the own maid of bones
    and the family he spurned.

    My Solution:
    When the black blade marches
    Pay it no heed
    For I control it
    Of intervention there will be no need

    Instead turn your heads
    To others of kind
    For with them the horse marches
    And he plays his own side

    And with the horse comes
    The long lost return
    To the one made of bones
    And the family he spurned

    Thus the puzzle was more or less solved by one of the players (thewamp), but the meaning of the puzzle remains a mystery. They suspect that it refers to the army of Hades or Hephaestus currently.

    So! On to the session after all those spoilers!

    We left our adventurers deep within the Lich Shade tomb, searching for a way up the center of the Lich Shade. They’d just slain a hideous arm-eye monster. They carefully searched for non-existent traps before coming to the next door in their current section of the tomb. Eathirilu put his ear to the door and heard large bat wings on the other side. The group armed for combat and Tagenadi kicked in the door.
    On the other side was a large stone room with an altar to the moon goddess, Artemis, on the left and an altar to the sun god, Apollo, on the right. In the center of the room flapped a big ole nasty monster. Large bat wings protruded from ten conjoined necks. At the ends of the necks were horrifying ghoulish faces with pointed teeth and long slobbering tongues. The beast opened up the combat by shrieking in a terrifying resonating tone that paralyzed Eathirilu and Torin with unimaginable fear.

    Tagenadi moved forward to chop off a few heads with his divine power. Amalius disintegrated another head. The beast moved straight past Tagenadi, losing a few more heads in the process. It converged on Torin and Eathirilu beginning to kiss them with its long tongues and bite them with its pointed teeth. The two were left covered in poison with no sure way of knowing if it affected them or not due to their frozen state. Tagenadi and Amalius continued to blast the heads, but found they regrew faster than they could be removed.
    The beast continued its assault on Torin and Eathirilu. Amalius decided he had to save his friends he cast his newfound power on Eathirilu and then Torin, psychic chirurgery. (DM Oopsie! Psychic Chirurgery has a manifesting time of 10 minutes! Oh well. The paralyze would've worn off in only one more round anyways, so it didn't affect the outcome of this battle). The two soon rejoined the fight. Amalius discovered that energy spells targeted on the beast redirected to its wings instead of singing a head off. The party began to retarget the wings with their attacks instead of fruitlessly chopping off heads. The beast valiantly fought back, but soon fell with its weakness revealed.

    The group explored the room, finding nothing save the altars and a door at the other end. The moon altar contained a magical transmutation aura and the sun altar contained an evocation aura. Torin prays at the altar of Apollo while Eathirilu prays at the altar of Artemis. At the end of the prayer they both touched their altars. At first a darkness extended from the Artemis altar, surrounding Eathirilu. That darkness soon receded as a great light poured from the Apollo altar filling the room with blinding light. Eathirilu and Amalius both went blind and ultraviolet burns covered the party. Torin reversed the damage and blindness with a mass heal.
    After recovering from the traps the party investigated the next door. Finding no traps, they opened the door to reveal a corridor ending in another door. Deciding they’d had enough for the day, the party left the tomb and teleported home to Dalleer.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2014-01-06 at 01:41 PM.

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    Alliance Session #29/Total Session #40
    This session was attended by everyone! Hopefully more such sessions will be happening in the future and more often with the return to our old time of the week for sessions.

    The group reformed at Dalleer with Hektor joining them via teleportation. Aldarian decided to take the day off as he was getting tired of almost dying. After preparing they popped off to the Lich Shade and teleported to the previous room they'd explored once inside. First thing to explore, the corridor beyond the room with the flying multi-headed creepy beast. The short stone corridor ended in a simple stone door. Amalius detected magic, but found nothing. Torin and Amalius movd into the corridor while Tagenadi took point in the opening position. Hektor and Eathirilu waited outside the corridor's edge.
    Tagenadi swung the door opened and saw only a solid stone wall beyond. The party then heard an ominous clicking sound as metal grinded on metal before the corridor floor dropped out from under them. Amalius quickly clung to the wall with his spider climb slippers. Tagenadi activated his celestial armor and flew in the air. Torin the dwarf plummeted like a rock. He hit the bottom, but unfazed, he quickly healed himself back to full. Tagenadi swooped down to pick him up.
    Amalius scanned the corridor's end and found no magic. Tagenadi chipped at it a bit with his weapon, but the party soon decided it was a simple trapped deadend.

    Wanting to experiment with the altars more, Torin and Amalius attempted to sacrifice their blood by dripping it on the altars. This produced no amazing effect though. Presumably the altars were another dead end trap.

    With time running down on the party's buffs, only one completely unexplored section of the Lich Shade remained, going left at the fork before the wisps swampy room. Going down that way the party reached another large square room filled with five foot thick columns. Tagenadi journeyed into the room first and found nothing unusual. Amalius went in next AND ACTIVATED THE SWARM. Roughly, two dozen incorporeal shadowy creatures appeared out of nowhere and encircled all the party members except Tagenadi. They flailed their appendages but quickly realized they could do nothing against a party fully protected by death wards. The party retaliated, killing about half before they escaped into the walls.
    The room beyond contained no monsters, but an extremely low ceiling. Wary of collapses, the party huddled together with people ready to teleport across the room if anything dangerous occured. Nothing foul befell the party as they entered the next room.
    This room deadended instead of containing another door or passageway. At the far end of the room was a stone throne on a raised dias. Sitting on the throne was a skeleton wearing the decayed clothes of nobility and thousands of gold pieces in fine jewelry. A detect magic revealed that the throne had a transmutation effect on it, but nothing on the skeleton or the jewlery. Amalius used his retrieve power on the skeleton's necklace and put the fine piece into his portable hole.
    Tagenadi braved up and went to shake the skeleton's hand. As he did so a spell went off that tried to slow Tagenadi down to almost not move at all. Fortunately he resisted. The spell also turned all the jewelery still on the skeleton into dust. Amalius and Eathirilu identified the spell as temporal stasis which requires a hefty material component to go off. Amalius checked to ensure his necklace was still safe and happily found it still entact.

    Now all the rooms in the tomb had been explored, but two remained unsearched. The room filled with corpse gatherer zombie piles that the party teleported past and the room with the giant staring at the fire just past the corpse gatherer room also teleported past. Choosing the unknown evil, the party went to the giant room.
    A few attempts were made to communicate with the giant through a cut open peephole in theiron doors to he room, but unfortunately, no common languages were shared. Amalius tried telepathy, but retreated instantly when he realized that the fire in the room was also intelligent! The party quickly surmised that the fire was somehow controlling the giant. Wishing to take care of the encounter quickly, Tagenadi busted in, Eathirilu summoned a water elemental on top of the fire, and Amalius dominated the giant.
    The fire rose up through the elemental and entered the giant's body. Amalius felt his influence over the giant pushed to a back corner of its mind as a new entity took control. The giant's eyes glowed an eerie white and his body became reathed in flame. Amalius recognized the creature as an effigy, an incorporeal fire undead that possesses living creatures and consumes them. The creature was known to be resistant to magic but weak to the icy cold.
    Tagenadi engaged the giant, but found it able to exchange blow for blow with him. Frightened, he took a more defensive posture. Torin kept Tagenadi healed up with a harm spell. Hektor prepared a maze for when th effigy remerged. Eathirilu changed into an ankylosaurus andoved to engage the giant. Tagenadi had hoped to keep the giant alive but unconscious, but the flow of battle directed his blade a different blade. With a mighty critical blow, Tagenadi cut off the giant's head. The effigy came out and was quickly removed from the world for a moment by Hektor. Everyone prepared attacks for when it came back.
    Upon its return, Torin tried mass heal but failed. Hektor tried a true striked disintegrate but whiffed with the touch attack. Eathirilu tried to bash it with his dino tail, but went through the ghost's ethereal body. Amalius successfully blasted the beast with cold magic and Tagenadi also landed a mighty blow, but the monster still stood! It moved to possess Eathirilu and succeeded.

    Hektor struck Eathirilu with a ray of enfeeblement. Torin also hit him with a dispel magic that removed most of Eathirilu's beneficial enchantments (Salzar was quite lucky in what he specifically dismissed). With the dino gimped, Tagenadi easily dispatched it with subdual damage. When the effigy came out again, Tagenadi and Amalius were able to destroy it using their cold and divine abilities once again.

    With victory achieved the party mourned the dead giant. Hektor realized that this giant was probably a relative of Barakah, a sand giant the party rescued from the Lich Shade awhile ago. Tagenadi felt especially bad as he was the one who dealt the unnecessary killing blow. As they prayed for the giant's soul, the decapitated head rolled over and spoke to Tagenadi in a chilling voice that could only be that of the god of the underworld, "Tunnel through the center for what you seek."

    We ended the session there!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2017-02-17 at 08:29 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    "Frightened?" No, Tagenadi did not feel fear. He was just fighting intelligently.
    It says signature, but when I tried to sign my name, I just got pen on my computer screen.

    GM - The Lyapunov Affair
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    Want to play diplomacy? Want to GM a game? Want to learn what the game is? Good.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    From what I remember he hit you for 80 or so points and you were like, "Oh ****! I fight with expertise!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anxe View Post
    From what I remember he hit you for 80 or so points and you were like, "Oh ****! I fight with expertise!"
    It was like 50-60 but yeah, lots. But that's not the point. The point is, that isn't fear.
    It says signature, but when I tried to sign my name, I just got pen on my computer screen.

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    I thought it was 50-60 because of your damage pool thingy. Does caution/cautiously fit better?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anxe View Post
    I thought it was 50-60 because of your damage pool thingy. Does caution/cautiously fit better?
    Oh. Yeah. So like 70. Yeah. But really, was just nitpicking for funsies - didn't really matter to begin with.
    It says signature, but when I tried to sign my name, I just got pen on my computer screen.

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    Alliance Session #30/Total Session #41
    This session was attended by everyone. It was held over Google hangouts using Roll20 as usual.

    While the party pondered what to do next, a sending came into Amalius from Aldarian. "Lich attacked Bjorn's Palace. Came with shadows. Bjorn escaped. Died and escaped. Palace staff are now shadows. Am at Dalleer Cathedral. No return to Palace." Amalius informed the group of the contents of the message.
    Eathirilu said, "What should we do?"
    Hektor said, "We don't have enough magic left to take on the Lich and to dozen shadows right now. We have to regroup."
    Tagenadi disagreed, "If we don't act now, then at nightfall those shadows could spread throughout the entire city. We have to do something."
    The party discussed it for a few minutes and decided they should meet up with Aldarian at the cathedral before making any concrete decisions. They teleported out and away to the large cathedral in Dalleer.

    The cathedral held twelve large statues to the Olympians, six on each side, with a stone altar at the far end opposite the door. Smaller offering pits with burned remnants of previous offerings lay at the feet of each of the statues. Three corridors on each side of the giant hall led out to other parts of the religious complex. The cathedral was devoid of people, save for Aldarian who approached the group.
    "You made it! When you didn't respond to my sending scroll I thought the worst had happened!"
    Amalius asked, "What happened at the Palace?"
    "The Bane attacked. He brought a few shadow undead with him. They got me. I saw the Bjorn slip away during the chaos. When the shadows were occupied with killing the Palace staff I resurrected myself and fled here. I think the Lich is laying a trap for your return."
    "Do you know where the Bjorn went?"
    "I don't, sorry."
    "Where are the priests in here?"
    Aldarian looked around in a circle and said, "There was one here just a second ago. I got the scroll and was talking to him while I waited for you to reply. Where did he go?"
    Aldarian turned around again and a priest appeared behind the altar. Had they missed him before or was something else going on. Amalius and Tagenadi immediately became suspicious.
    The priest approached them. "Is there anything I can help you with?" he asked.
    Amalius cast detect magic and focused on Aldarian and the priest. All seemed normal with Aldarian, but a powerful illusion aura covered the priest. Amalius issued a telepathic order to Aldarian. The elf reacted quickly and grabbed the priest, holding a dagger to his throat.
    Amalius hissed between his teeth at the priest, "What's going on here? What's this illusion magic?"
    The party rolled to disbelieve and the truth filled their eyes and ears. The cathedral wasn't empty, but filled with worshippers and priests giving offerings to the gods and goddesses. Most of them clustered around the gods associated with love, trade, and war.
    Tagenadi drew his weapon and held it over his head. He shouted, "What are you all doing here? Where did you come from?"
    All the priests turned in unison from talking with the worshippers to look at Tagenadi. The priest held by Aldarian wailed, "I'll explain everything, just let me go."
    The priests announced to the worshippers that the cathedral was closed for the day and began to usher them out the main doors. A few priests ran off down the side corridors. Tagenadi began swinging his kusari-gama over his head, ready to hit anybody who came within his reach. Hektor, Torin, and Eathirilu took up defensive positions while Amalius began manifesting a mind probe power on the captured priest to figure out what was going on. The priest continued to plead for his release while the party questioned him about why the illusion spell was in place.
    Soon all the worshippers were ushered out. The priests at the door turned to engage the party as the sound of metal bootsteps echoed out of the side corridors. The other priests returned at the head of a robot army!
    Tagenadi was now convinced that the priests were agents of Xoria in some way. He began striking out at them to keep them at bay. Eathirilu began to cast a summon monster. The priests hit the party with a few sound bursts disrupting Eathirilu and Amalius' spells. Torin animated the statue of Dionysus at the other end of the cathedral and had it engage one of the robot squadrons.
    The robots rushed to engage Tagenadi. He tripped a great many of them up, but one made it through and slammed against his undead body, chipping off a decent portion of bone. Fearing for the lives of his companions should the robots make it past him, Tagenadi used his hell given power to create a blazing inferno around the majority of the robots. One priest was caught in the blast and died a horrible death.

    Torin cast a wall of force between the party and the opponents, leaving Tagenadi alone on the other side. Amalius and Torin then proceeded to teleport everyone out. Amalius took Tagenadi and Eathirilu to his old quarters at Astyanax's estate in Bradel Fields. Torin took Hektor to Torin's home in the caverns beneath Jord. Aldarian, left behind, turned invisible with his magic ring and fled.

    Torin elected to simply remain within his house and not visit his family. Since he had now effectively allied himself with undead and possible traitors to the Alliance he felt ashamed to see his family. Better to pretend his self imposed exile had never been broken by this visit home. Without the option of a sending, Hektor asked to use Torin's mirror to scry Tagenadi and, after receiving the dwarf's approval, began to cast the spell.
    Amalius, Eathirilu, and Tagenadi looked around the suite and thankfully found it unoccupied. They began to bicker about Tagenadi's use of excessive force during the battle. Their arguing was interrupted by a maid opening the door. Amalius instantly vast psionic charm. Amalius recognized the woman from his previous stay, but couldn't recall her name.
    Amalius asked, "What's your name, sweetheart?"
    "It's Telerie, my lord."
    "You remember me from before, right?"
    "Yes, my lord."
    "How have you taken to the new changes Astyanax made?"
    "There's a bit more work for me around the house, my lord, but otherwise everything is fine."
    Amalius thought for a moment then said, "Could you go outside and wait for us?"
    "Of course, my lord." Telerie exited the suite and closed the door behind her.
    Tagenadi said, "What do we do?"
    Amalius answered, "We'll go out the window. I don't have enough power left to teleport again. This was just the first place I could think of. We'll have to meet up with the others tomorrow."
    Amalius called Telerie back in.
    "Telerie, we arrived here through magical means on an emergency. We're going to be leaving the same way. It'd be best if no one knew we were here. Can you promise me you won't tell anyone, not even Astyanax?"
    "Yes, my lord. I shaln't say a word."
    "Perfect! Now could you leave and close the door again?"
    "Yes, my lord. Goodbye."
    Telerie left and closed the door. Tagenadi used his hat of disguise and Amalius cast invisibility on himself. The three of them clambered out the window and headed for a bar by the town gate to hide out. Amalius feared he would be recognized, so he kept his cloak hood pulled up.
    While waiting at the bar, Korm, Amalius' intelligent dagger whispered to the party, "I don't think Dalleer is a place we can go back to. Maybe we should go to Aractrash instead. Aren't Eathirilu and Hektor from around there?" No one responded the dagger, so it remained quiet for a while.

    Hektor finished his scrying and found Tagenadi. He asked Torin, "When we get there are you going to attack him for killing that priest or just scold him."
    "Worse than a scolding, but less than an attack. I think we may have to break our ties with him. But I owe it to him to at least hear out what's going through his head."
    Hektor grasped Torin and they teleported to the middle of the bar. All the patrons turned and looked at once. Hektor shouted, "Alliance business! Go back to your drinks! Nothing to be alarmed about!" Grumbling, the people went back to talking. A few grumpy patrons paid for their drinks and left.
    Hektor and Torin soon found the other party members. Hektor requisitioned a back table from another group, citing Alliance business once again. The party sat down with ales in hand and began to talk.
    (A fair warning. A lot went back in forth in this conversation that I may have missed the subtleties of. I've told the players to post their own versions of the events when they have time, so that an unbiased version of events may be collected from the whole of us.)
    Torin started it off by narrowing his eyes at Tagenadi, “I’ve got something to say to you. We can’t go around killing innocent priests in temples. Their spells were minor, only meant to incapacitate and yours… Well yours was black magic from who knows where. It’s come to my realization that we have not been traveling with a person, but with a beast! A thing!”
    Korm interjected, “A thing? You saying there’s something wrong with being a thing? That’s a compliment, buddy, and don’t you forget it.” Korm was ignored once again.
    Tagenadi said, “You’re right, I am a beast. I traded my soul and my humanity, because we all need to make sacrifices to defeat the Dragovinians. You don’t know what evil they’re truly capable of, Torin.”
    “Maybe you can make sacrifices. You chose what you are now, but that priest didn’t. We can cast aside whatever we need to of ourselves in this quest, but we cannot make those decisions for others. You should be ashamed of your actions!”
    “No, I agree. I have done monstrous things, but I speak not of the priest. For the things I have done I have been punished and turned into a monster. And I don’t think we should force our own decisions on others. I made the deal with Hades, no one else. But I felt we were under attack by Dragovinian accomplices in that cathedral. Why the illusion if there was nothing for them to hide?”
    Eathirilu said, “Something fishy was happening in there.”
    Torin said, “We can’t know for sure, but my conscience tells me those priests were acting only to protect themselves. Why wouldn’t they use more powerful spells against us if they truly wished to hurt our cause? And that one priest held by Aldarian kept shouting that he could explain if we only let him go. There was clearly more going on than we realized, but I highly doubt that the truth was nefarious in nature. Your actions still stand.”
    Tagenadi responded, “How much are you willing to give up to defeat the Dragovinians, Torin? I gave up everything! How much do you think that priest would’ve sacrificed? He might’ve sacrificed his soul as I had, or his life, or his home, or his family. We can’t know. I feel terrible that I killed him, but I can’t take it back as much as I can’t take my deal with Hades back.”
    “You slew an innocent without provocation. How can we trust you anymore?”
    “Because… Because of how much I hate the Dragovinians. I’ll tell you a story that I hid when I first joined the Alliance, but I think its time you heard it now.
    “I grew up among a military family. My grandfather was in the military, my father was, and my older brother joined the army as well. With our family history he became an officer quickly. You've met my brother. He was there at the Rock of Prometheus when we fought the Dragovinian King himself. My brother, Darudanano, didn't use to be like that, by the way. He told me not to go to war. But I didn't listen back then. Anyway, you've met Daru, but I had a sister, Tanaranena too. And parents obviously.
    "Anyway, I came back from my first tour with the army. and I found out they wanted to make Daru a Dragovinian. It wasn't particularly surprising - he was a ranking officer who had made a name for himself in the wars. But he didn't want to be. I didn't really get it at the time but it freaked me out. So when he left us to…
    "He left and he's not there anymore and I decide to leave the service. Devanane is my brother's best friend, he was the other Dragovinian at the Rock. He comes to me as I'm leaving but he starts with these vague threats. I didn't know what to do so I ran.
    "But I got captured at this village the Xorians were… well they were burning it to the ground. Devanane wasn't a good man even before he was a Dragovinian. He brings in this mage and they tortured me some and then brought me back. I was an officer and needed to be made an example of."
    Tagenadi took a deep breath and said, "I killed my parents. They… the mage did something to my mind and I had to. But I killed them. The worst thing you can do and I did it. I might have killed my sister too but she saw and ran away.
    "My soul belongs to Hades. I've deserved it since that day. But if I'm going to die I need to do two things. The people of the Xorian empire don't deserve this. They aren't the enemy, it's the Dragovinians with Blendegad and Jevaninada at the top. They're the evil in this war. We kill them and we can end this.
    "And I need to make sure my sister is okay. I haven't seen her since that day. I doubt she'd want to see me since I killed… but I need to make sure she's okay before I die. Again. You know."
    Korm said, "That's some heavy ****, man."
    Amalius said, "Given the circumstances, I think we can forgive you, Tagenadi. How do the rest of you feel?"
    Eathirilu said, "I'm still here as long as we vanquish the Dragovinians first and the undead we're using second. Nature will survive."
    Torin said, "I'll let it pass this once, but you had better not slip up again. I'll be watching you." Torin glared at Tagenadi.
    Hektor said, "I'm glad that's all settled. Working with undead isn't my first choice, but if we need to bring down the Dragovinians, then so be it. Now we still have a separate undead problem. What are we doing about the Lich in Dalleer."
    Amalius said, "We can't take him on today. We'll have to return tomorrow. Then we can kick his boney butt."
    The party decided to rest at Hektor's small fiefdom called Lakatia in Aractrash. Hektor typically teleports from there to the party every day and then back at the end of the day. The only difference is that he was bringing them along this time.
    Before teleporting away, Amalius had a private word with Tagenadi, "This Dragovinian guy, I think I might know where he is."
    "Who? Devanane?" said Tagenadi.
    Amalius said, "No, the mage who played with your mind. There is only one Dragovinian who could have bent your will to such tragic deeds. I too was wronged by his malevolence, yet pity stayed my hand and I let the wretched little thing live on, knowing that his destiny dwelt elsewhere.
    "I see now that in prophetic grace I saw true. For he took from me naught but what he had weaved before my eyes, but you, my forsaken friend, he damned your soul and your blood to hell.
    "Let us rid the world of the terror he once was... and the terror he will become again. Only by the bloody toll of vengeance may your kin pay Charon and find peace before the gods. I can lead the way, Tagenadi, but you must wield the sword."
    "Where is he? Who is he?"
    "He is an albino halfling. He has lost his memory and his Dragovinian state. He travels now with a small band of other 'fixed' Dragovinians like himself, doing some work for the Rebellion in Xoria. I can find him and then..."
    "I see... But innocents are at stake in Dalleer now. We can hunt down the mage at a later date."

    We ended the session there as the party rested, recuperated, and prepared in Lakatia for their final battle with the Lich.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2014-02-22 at 06:24 PM.

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    Alliance Session #31/Total Session #42
    This session was attended by thewamp, Middle_Snu, Salazar, and Throgg. It was held over Google Hangouts using Roll20. This was my first time using Roll20's dynamic lighting settings. It was interesting, but the players felt weirded out by it. If I use it again I won't be enforcing line of sight on the PCs.

    Eathirilu awoke in the morning with a terrible vision. He'd dreamed that if he went to fight the lich, they would all die, but if he stayed behind, a life would be saved. Convinced of the truth of the vision, Eathirilu refused to go to the Bjorn's Palace even after the others pleaded with him. He elected to cast numerous buff spells on the others. Aldarian also chose to sit this one out saying, "I've died too many times to that lich."
    Everyone received mass resist energy to all five elements and freedom of movement from Eathirilu. Torin gave everyone a death ward. Amalius finished off the buffs with a spell resistance manifestation.
    The plan was simple. Teleport in and find the lich. Torin would cast antimagic field on himself and run up to the lich. Tagenadi would use his kusari-gama to keep the lich in the field. Without any of its powers, the party would slowly whittle the lich down to nothing.

    Prepped and ready to go, the party teleported to the edge of the Bjorn's Palace grounds. They found the area shrouded in unnatural perpetual darkness. The street just outside of the grounds had normal daylight, but no natural light penetrated the grounds. Fortunately, the light from Tagenadi's magic weapon still functioned and darkvision still worked for Torin's dwarf eyes, Tagenadi's undead eyes, and Amalius' magically enhanced eyes.
    The party cautiously moved forward into the Palace itself. They found several severely fire-damaged spots devastated from their last battle and the more recent one. With no signs of the lich or his shadows, Amalius reached out with his mind to find them. Suddenly his mental radar was covered in the pings of the undead. They were everywhere in the mansion!
    The shadows converged on the party and flailed at them with their incorporeal hands. Unfortunately for the undead, their negative energy attacks could not pierce the protection of Torin's death ward. The party took the undead out over a few turns using a few of their spells. The Palace creaked under the stress of the magical force. Would it collapse soon or hold together? Hektor used his shapechange to transform into an iron golem just in case.
    The party searched for the lich, but stuck together, fearing he would pick them off one by one. They moved from room to room. Tagenadi heard someone casting spells in the kitchen. The invisible lich cast a dispel magic on Torin and all but one of his protective enchantments slipped away.
    Time stopped. The lich smiled and planted three delayed blast fireballs on the party. He summoned a fire elemental as well and cast black tentacles. Time resumed. The party was engulfed in the inferno. Torin went down. Tagenadi came close. Amalius' spell resistance won out and he was unscathed. Similarly, Hektor's iron golem body took no damage. The fire elemental beat down on Amalius and the tentacles encircled Torin's limp body, unable to grasp anyone else due to Eathirilu's freedom of movement.
    Amalius grabbed Torin and sent a mental message to Tagenadi and Hektor, "I'll be back soon. Taking Torin to Eathirilu." With that he teleported away to Lakatia.
    Hektor abandoned his iron golem form and turned into a glabrezu demon. He swept the Palace with his now true seeing eyes and located the invisible lich in the entrance hallway. Hektor cast a time stop of his own and changed into a beholder. He fixed his central antimagic eye upon the lich, all but neutralizing it. Time resumed and Hektor blasted the fire elemental with a few eye rays, but it resisted. Tagenadi flew past the fire elemental, taking a few hits. He engaged the lich and whiffed his attack (total Tagenadi fumbles during this fight: 3).
    The lich moved to escape the antimagic cone, but Tagenadi tripped him. He ordered the fire elemental to bull rush Hektor in Ignan. The lich hoped that the elemental could remove the beholder from the Palace entirely, but it only managed to push Hektor's beholder body into the entrance hallway itself. The lich still crawled away.
    Meanwhile, Eathirilu healed Torin. Conscious again, Torin healed himself back to full. Satisfied, Amalius teleported back to join the fray.
    From there it was a slow slog to take out the lich. It could not escape, but Tagenadi's kusari-gama couldn't deal significant damage without magic. Torin returned. Amalius drew Korm and tried to use him to aid Tagenadi. Hektor's eye rays eliminated the fire elemental. The house did eventually creak and collapse under the stress.
    Hektor disintegrated a pit and Tagenadi threw the lich in. Amalius then had the bright idea of using the staff of the magi they'd looted from the lich previously. Artifacts continue to function in antimagic fields. Amalius activated the staff's wall of fire ability. The lich slowly burned to death in the pit. It took out a crystal ball from a bag on its belt and smashed it on the ground. Then it removed its spellbook from the bag and allowed it to be engulfed in flames. It may have been defeated a second time, but these interlopers would loot nothing from his corpse this time. He would return and unleash his full wrath on them another day.

    With the lich defeated once more, the party cheered. And a twinkle passed along Korm's edge in Amalius' hand. Artifacts work fine in antimagic fields, but the same can't be said for Amalius' constant mind blank mental protection. If there was a time to strike, now was it.

    And we ended the session there!

  13. - Top - End - #73
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Alliance Session #32/Total Session #43
    This session was attended by thewamp, Salazar, Ozymandias, Throgg, and a new player! Our new player’s screen name is Zigfried (Previously Longshanks). He’ll be taking over Aldarian from Throgg. Zigfried is a friend of Throgg’s that got introduced to the group through our weekday sessions of League of Legends. He got integrated pretty well and may be one of the only people we add successfully to the group since our fateful meeting more than a decade ago.

    With the lich gone, the darkness dissipated, but Korm’s desire for control did not. He stabbed at Amalius’ mind. The psion’s fortifications were strong, but had become idle with his reliance on magical protections. A thousand knives poked and prodded at Amalius’ mental bastion until a weakness was found. Korm seized his chance and broke through. Amalius was now under the dagger’s control.
    Korm ordered Amalius to dismiss his mind blank and step out of the antimagic cone created by Hektor. Then Amalius was made to manifest temporal acceleration giving Korm three more rounds of control within accelerated time. Korm made Amalius use up as much of his power points as possible by manifesting energy adaption as a swift action, dimension door as a move action, and overchanneled disintegrates at the feet of Torin and Tagenadi as a standard action. Korm’s final actions within the time bubble were to manifest moment of prescience and to dimension door back to Amalius’ start location just outside of the antimagic cone.
    When the time bubble ended, Korm made a foolish mistake and made Amalius manifest schism. It had become clear to Amalius that Korm was attempting to burn through his power points as quickly as possible. The schism would give him the ability to do a few more when the time came. But the second mind that schism created could resist Korm’s control over Amalius’ body as well. Amalius’ second mind fought and wrestled with the dagger’s commanding influence and successfully distracted the weapon to allow Amalius to break free. The secondary mind faded away as the primary took hold once again.
    The others freaked out a little bit. Tagenadi climbed out of the pit created by the disintegrates and pulled Torin up after himself. Torin sought about quickly for an invisible attacker and cast flame strike on an area he thought he’d heard something in. Hektor flew to the ground and assumed an iron golem form to protect himself from any magical attacks.
    Amalius prepared to tell the others that Korm had assumed control for a moment, but he felt the dagger invading his mind once again. The knives assaulted his mental fortress again, but this time Amalius was prepared. With his magical items restored to functionality, the gaps in his mental wall were filled once more. Korm could find no weak spot. Amalius maintained control.
    Amalius threw the dagger to the ground, turned off his invisibility, and shouted to the group, “Korm took over my mind! It was only for a second! I’m in control again!”
    Torin was suspicious, “How could all that be Korm?”
    “He used my powers. He used my time altering ability to create pits at your feet.”
    “Why wouldn’t he just escape with you as a hostage?”
    “I don’t know. I think he was trying to use up all my mental energy for some purpose.”
    Korm broke in saying, “Torin, he’s lying! Pick me up! Pick me up!”
    As Amalius explained what had happened in detail to Torin, Korm continued to rave about lies and that Torin should pick him up. Torin trusted Amalius over a dagger known to once belong to Amalgami. Korm was picked up by Amalius and put into his portable hole to silence the weapon’s continual shouting.

    Hoping that the dispelled darkness would attract the town watch or the Bjorn himself, the party waited at the site of the destroyed palace. In the afternoon a group of five people began walking up to the palace. When they came close enough the group was recognized as Astyanax, Bjorn, Arendil, Titandra, and Terolio.
    Astyanax shouted upon seeing the party, “I should’ve known you scum were behind this!”
    Amalius tried to explain, “It was a lich. We were just protecting the Bjorn’s Pa-”
    A mental message from the Bjorn cut into Amalius’ thoughts, “SHUT THE HELL UP ABOUT US!”
    Tagenadi explained, “We were dealing with the Bane, a lich from the desert. He destroyed the palace, not us.”
    Astyanax said, “A deed done by one undead or another. It matters not to me. You are banished from Alliance lands. These are Alliance lands. Now get out before I make you get out.” The masked paladin drew his sword.
    Everyone started speaking at once, trying to justify the party’s presence at Dalleer. During the cacophony the Bjorn sent another telepathic message to Amalius, “Meet me at the shrine in Monkey’s Forest tomorrow at sunset.”
    Astyanax grew tired of the bickering and said, “If you aren’t out of here by the time I finish counting, I’ll lay you low. TEN!”
    The party gathered up to teleport, but Torin wasn’t done. “You can’t make us get out! You’re insane! The banishment doesn’t extend here and even if it did you can’t require us to leave immediately!”
    Astyanax continued to count as Torin spoke, “NINE! EIGHT! SEVEN! SIX! FIVE! FOUR! THREE! TWO!”
    Amalius grabbed Tagenadi and Torin before the dwarf did anything rash and teleported away to Lakatia. Hektor followed soon afterwards. Hektor’s position within the Alliance Council was not threatened as the other Council members could not recognize him in his shapechanged form.
    With few teleports remaining, the party rested for the rest of the day and the next day as well after Amalius told them of the planned meeting with the Bjorn.

    At sunset everyone (Hektor, Amalius, Aldarian, Torin, Eathirilu, and Tagenadi) teleported to Monkey’s Forest right outside of Dalleer. They walked down the path to the shrine in the middle of the forest, with monkeys hooting and hollering at them on the way. The forest soon thinned to reveal a clearing with two short stone towers on either side of a giant stone statue of a monkey. Rubble law at the feet of the statue and three stone steps led up to the monkey. The Bjorn stood upon the steps, waiting.
    The Bjorn spoke, “We need to talk about what happened. Your actions yesterday greatly endangered my relationship with the Alliance, which cannot be risked.”
    Amalius nodded his head.
    “Til now, I have been able to work with you as I was not a direct member of the Alliance, but that will change soon with my marriage. You can no longer stay in my palace nor come within the bounds of Dalleer. To do so would further disrupt an already delicate situation. However, while the Alliance is not your friend, I remain so. Using undead to defeat the Dragovinians would not be my first choice, but I understand the necessity of the situation. I doubt the Alliance will win if you do not aid them.
    “In the future, all contact with me will be via telepathic messages. If I need to speak with you, I shall send you a message indicating what time and where we shall meet. You should do the same. I have chosen this location as the wild monkeys keep nearly everyone away. We should use it again for any future meetings.”
    The party told the Bjorn that they understood and asked if they could make up for what they’d done.
    “I think it’d be best if you stayed out of the spotlight in Dalleer for now. No help will be needed.”
    Amalius added, “And congratulations on your upcoming wedding. Would you like us there?”
    “Frankly, I can’t promise that Astyanax won’t organize guards with true seeing active. Given that, if you do choose to come, only do so under a disguise that true seeing cannot pierce. The wedding will be held at Bradel Fields now that Astyanax feels the Dalleer Cathedral is not safe from you.”
    “What was up with that Cathedral by the way.”
    “The magic of the Cathedral prevents one from seeing anyone they do not need to see while they are there. People often wish to conduct their religious business in private. The Cathedral sees hundreds of worshippers every day, but none of them are ever aware of any other person inside save themselves, those they entered with, and the priest they speak with.”
    “Ah… We understand.”
    “I trust you will deal with the lich permanently. I can’t afford to lose any more palaces.”
    When prompted the Bjorn updated the party on the situation of the war.
    Greshendale remained neutral.
    Rumors out of Phoenix made it clear that the Xorians had it as a new base of operations. Dragoviniysm was taking hold there. Faced with death if they did not submit and a chance at immortality if they gave in, many gave in. The Mercenaries Guild in particular had almost all turned to become Dragovinians. The Wizards, Clerics, and Adventurers guilds were all wiped out. The high ranking members of other guilds joined up. Relief would be welcome by the common people with no chance at the immortality of Dragoviniysm, but that relief would be long in coming.
    The Xorians had halted their offensive due to a strong revolt in the town of Gazeara. The Rebels attacked and took the city with help from inside. The large Amazon contingent in the Xorian army had peeled off from Phoenix to besiege Gazeara. The siege has only just begun, so it is hard to say what the outcome will be.
    With a little more knowledge gained, the party popped back to Lakatia.

    The next day the party went on a grand shopping spree in Greshendale, the flying, neutral, and extremely magical city. The loot from the Bane was shared out amongst everyone. A few people chose to buy new items or sell old ones. The unused loot from the Bane’s hoard was sold and spread out among the party or kept in a rainy day fund.
    The day after that, the party returned to the Lich Shade to find the Bane’s phylactery. They had two clues thus far, the words of the demon they’d freed, “His phylactery is contained within the pillar of the Lich Shade itself.” And the words of the giant’s head, “Tunnel through the center for what you seek.” The party surmised that the phylactery was at the central axis of the gigantic stone pillar of the Lich Shade, probably halfway up or close to the top.
    Tagenadi summoned his nightmare mount from the outer realms and commanded it to make the party ethereal. With ghostly forms the party sailed up through the pillar, thoroughly checking for the phylactery. Tagenadi ended up finding it at the dead center between bottom and top and between the outer edges. The phylactery was a metal box, two inches on a side, with a intricate design. A looped chain connected to the box at a ring on a corner. The box was encased within the stone, with no air on any side.
    Now how to get to the box? The party figured the best way was by disintegrating. Amalius went back to the ground and became corporeal once more. He spiderclimbed up the outside of the Lich Shade until he reached the right height. He used his telepathy powers to communicate with his ghostly companions as he blasted his way into the Lich Shade. He created a tunnel inwards and then a room around a ten foot cube containing the phylactery. Tagenadi then went to work, using his ancient mountain hammer strike to carve out an area around the phylactery. Now only a two foot wide stone cube hung from the ceiling containing the phylactery.
    The party debated what to do next. Would disintegrating the box invite disaster? Would ancient mountain hammer prove disastrous as well? What was the best means of destroying the phylactery if the removed it? Time dragged as they discussed. Enough time it seemed for the Bane to return to life.
    The Bane materialized within the constructed room. Everyone’s eyes went wide. Tagenadi and Aldarian were the first to gather their senses. They prepared to strike the lich if he began casting any spells. The Bane did cast a spell and was hit with a shattering ancient mountain hammer from Tagenadi and a “I wish I had a Truedeath Crystal” from Aldarian. The Lich then cast a second quickened spell and disappeared. The more experienced in the party recognized the spell as a time stop.
    Fearing for their lives, the party wanted to escape as quickly as possible. Amalius commanded everyone to gather up for a teleport. As they did so he blasted the final stone block with a disintegrate. The spell removed the rock. The metal box glowed white hot as the spell’s energy entered it. The spell could not conquer the box though. The energy released in a beam directed straight back at Amalius. He lived, but felt the sting of his own spell.

    The needs of the moment took over. Amalius rushed forward and scooped the phylactery into his portable hole. Torin teleported the party away to his suite in Jord just as he’d done before.

    “What do we do with?” was the question on everyone’s minds. They needed to destroy it fast before the lich used it to locate them. And could they prevent the lich from scrying them somehow? No one could prevent the scrying, so a constant sense of impending doom dominated the conversation.
    Could they throw it into a volcano? But the only volcano they knew of was the one that composed the city of Greshendale. Who knows what the lich’s phylactery would do to the city. It might interfere with the magic holding the city in the air, crash it, and kill thousands if the party tried to throw the phylactery in the lava of the floating city.
    Disintegrate had been tried and failed. What about ancient mountain hammer? Tagenadi borrowed Aldarian's dagger and took a swing. The dagger burst into shards of metal upon impact. That would not work either.
    A sphere of annihilation perhaps? There were a few that roamed the valley below Greshendale. But the party feared the Lich's vast intellect could turn that plan against them. The spheres could all start homing in on the party members, picking them off one by one.
    The party latched onto the idea of taking the phylactery to Hades for him to destroy. An attempted plane shift squelched that plan. The realm of the underworld is not so easily reached in the Greek mythos. Instead of plane shifting to Erebos, the party found themselves in the sewers of Bradel Fields.
    Amalius suggested revisiting the disintegrate idea. He could survive another blast of his own magic or Tagenadi could block the spell for him. But that was only needed if he failed to penetrate the phylactery's spell resistance. If he used his power penetration ability and pierced through the phylactery's defenses, then maybe they stood a chance of destroying the box. If it failed, they were only out a disintegrate and some healing magic from Torin. Amalius readied himself and blasted the box.
    It worked! The Bane's phylactery turned to ash. His green soul emerged and flew away to the east, presumably where the Bane's body was. The lich's phylactery was gone, but the lich still remained alive. Now both sides would play for keeps in their next engagement.

    We ended the session there.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-04-26 at 11:26 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #74
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Anxe, might I suggest posting some portraits of the currently active PCs? I believe we have some pretty good ones selected for everyone and I'm sure it would help give your reader's a stronger connection to the characters.

  15. - Top - End - #75
    Ogre in the Playground
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    I've thought about it before. Just haven't gotten around to it yet. I think I'll post pictures in the blank post near the beginning. The first post is already crowded to the point of intimidation.

  16. - Top - End - #76
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Hey, just posting to say I enjoy this campaign journal and am looking forward to how it will go on.
    Also, congratulations on the various real life achievements you had!

  17. - Top - End - #77
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Our first vocal fan! *Squeels like a school girl* So exciting! Glad you're enjoying reading it! Thanks for reading

  18. - Top - End - #78
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    Alliance Session #33/Total Session #44
    This session was attended by everyone! Hurray! Held over Google Hangouts using Roll20 as usual.

    With the phylactery destroyed the next step was obvious, defeat the lich another time and kill him forever. The party thought a little bit and then realized, the lich had probably not recovered his spells from their previous fight yet! He’d had no opportunities to rest or to peruse any backup spellbooks he might have. Right now was the best time to strike!

    Hektor loaded up his only scrying spell and prayed that it worked. It did! Hektor located the lich in the giant room that the party kept teleporting past every time they went into the Lich Shade. The room filled with wights that turn people to stone, gigantic pillars made from skeletons, and huge monstrosities formed from dozens of zombies slapped together. There had also previously been some sort of undead lieutenant commanding the zombie monsters and the wights, but the party had killed him during one of their previous battles.
    The lich was in that room talking to the wights. The scrying spell did not reveal the zombie monsters, but was there any reason to think they weren’t there?
    Now, how to engage the lich tactically? Surprise via teleportation would be best, but you can’t teleport into the Lich Shade from outside. Only once you are inside can you teleport around within it. They could walk in through the front door as they have in the past, but that would undoubtedly be guarded.
    But what about a recently created hole in the Lich Shade’s defenses? One that the party carved out with disintegrate spells just this morning? Smiling, the party knew what their plan would be.
    They teleported to the edge of the Lich Shade’s teleportation interdiction zone. Tagenadi summoned his nightmare mount to make the party ethereal. They floated up to the hole they’d made previously in the side of the Lich Shade pillar. They willed themselves to be corporeal once more. Then Hektor grabbed everyone and teleported down to the corridor just before the bone pillar room.

    The Bane was indeed surprised. He stood in the middle of the room talking with three wights. He held a black foot long crystal in his hand that the party had never seen before. Tagenadi started things off by moving into the room and taking a defensive position next to the giant zombie monsters. Torin threw a fire storm into the room, lightly roasting all the undead. Aldarian moved in for his part of the plan, get swallowed by a zombie monster and die, then kill it from within with his fiery phoenix rebirth. Eathirilu began summoning some dinosaur allies. Amalius was too low on power points for extended offensive firepower. He settled on a big risky play instead. He moved into the room and readied a retrieve to hit the black crystal the Bane held whenever it began to leave his sight.
    With the surprise round over, the true combat began! Tagenadi gave one of the zombie monsters a good smack, but they were simply too large to take down with normal weapons. The zombie monsters moved to engage. Tagenadi’s defenses stonewalled them and Aldarian was grappled just as he planned.
    Something unexpected happened. The Bane shouted out, “EVERYONE! TAKE THEM DOWN!” As he did so, the two bone pillars in the front of the room detached from their positions and moved towards the party. A great shaking could be heard from the back of the room and two more pillars moved into view. The room collapsed behind them as they no longer held the weight of the Lich Shade up over that section of the room. Cracks appeared in the ceiling and sand began to pour in.
    The closer two pillars flanked Tagenadi. From their skeletal masses extended giant spears composed of hundreds of leg and arm bones sharpened to a wicked point at the end. The points jabbed through Tagenadi, severely wounding him, then retracted back into the pillars.
    The party realized that fighting the lich with his army at his side may have been a mistake.
    Torin threw up a wall of stone to block out one of the further bone pillars from engaging. The Bane’s response was to trap Torin within a maze spell. The Bane then moved to take cover behind the newly created stone wall. As he left Amalius’ line of sight, Amalius activated his readied spell. His psionic energy coiled around the lich’s dark crystal trying to take it away from its master. The crystal defended itself, sending a telepathic shock back along the psionic connection. Amalius lost his focus on the world around him and took a few seconds to recover.
    Eathirilu’ summoning finished. Four tyranosaurs materialized in in the midst of their undead enemies. Eathirilu moved into the room and took on the form of an akylosaurus. He cast animal growth on himself and his new pets and then ordered them to attack. Three of them engaged the same zombie monster, weakening it. The fourth was in range of the Bane. It chomped down on the lich and snagged it in its toothy maw.
    The undead converged on the party and the dinosaurs. The dinosaur holding the Bane was slain and dissipated. Another dinosaur could not resist the calcifying effect of the wights and began to turn to stone. Tagenadi retreated against the undead onslaught. Hektor used an acid fog spell to lock two zombie monsters out of the combat.
    The Bane struck back. He cast a high level version of dispel magic on Eathirilu. Thirteen of Eathirilu’s fifteen buff spells were stripped away from him and reformed themselves on the Bane. The Bane was now all but impervious to elemental damage, immune to grapple, had thicker armor, faster movement, and took on the form of an ankylosaurus. (The spell is called reaving dispel for those who care)
    Feeling naked, Eathirilu backed off and started another summoning spell to create a living wall between the party and the undead.
    Meanwhile, within one of the zombie monsters, Aldarian had pulled out his dagger and slit his wrists in order to die faster. Surrounded by zombies that tore at his flesh, his life blood poured out. He felt the familiar darkness come on. Soon he could return. But then a black hand reached out and clutched his soul. There would be no return from this death. The corpse gatherer had him in its grasp and only the end of its unlife would free Aldarian now. Aldarian’s soul screamed as he became part of the beast attacking his friends.

    Amalius felt his friend’s anguish through their telepathic bound, but he could do nothing. With only enough power points left for a dimension door he readied the spell to get anyone out of danger or for a hasty retreat if necessary.
    The Bane and his three wights left the party’s vision for a different part of the room. Eathirilu summoned a triceratops to block the undead advance. Now, the party’s only hope for victory was the return of Torin from the Bane’s maze.
    Torin did not come back through the maze. He found his own way out by summoning a coutal to shift him back to the material plane. From there he teleported to the edge of the Lich Shade. He walked inside the teleportation interdiction zone, then chanced a teleport to the steps of the dungeon underneath the giant stone pillar of the Lich Shade itself. It worked! He ran down the steps and rejoined his allies. Torin’s heals kept the triceratops alive, but were too late to save the last three tyranosaurs. Eathirilu, Torin, and Hektor began blasting the undead horde while Tagenadi and the triceratops held the line.
    The Bane remerged and pointed his dark crystal at Tagenadi. A spiraling ray of necromantic energy came out of the crystal and wrapped itself around Tagenadi’s head. He felt the lich’s thoughts invading his own and Tagenadi feared he might lose control. Remembering his training, he used his moment of perfect mind maneuver and repulsed the lich’s invasion.
    With the Bane revealed, Hektor took his chance. He quickened a true strike and let loose with a disintegrate. Luck was with the party and the attack worked. The lich turned to dust when the green ray struck. The black crystal fell to the floor and rolled out of sight.
    The Bane was defeated! But his horde of undead giants continued to assault the party. Fortunately, a good defensive position had already been established. The undead could not break through the triceratops and Tagenadi and Torin possessed the means to destroy the undead using spontaneous mass cure spells. After a few minutes of channeling positive energy, the monsters were destroyed.
    Aldarian returned himself to life and the party surveyed the battlefield. The black crystal was absent along with the three wights. There was some additional creaking and collapses after the bone pillars were defeated. Exploring further into the room makes it clear that the back two thirds collapsed entirely. The cracks in the ceiling continue to emit sand into the building, making a few large piles upon the floor. The structure seems to be holding together, for now.

    We ended the session there!

  19. - Top - End - #79
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Alliance Session #34/Total Session #45
    This session was attended by Ozymandias, Throgg, Salzar, and Zigfried. In other news, I got admitted to Sac State’s Master’s program in biology. Hurray!

    With the Bane defeated the party went back to Lakatia and began discussing their next objective. On the way out of the Lich Shade they noted the obelisk listing to the side slightly. The collapse of the interior room had affected the exterior as well. They still wanted to free up the city of Mars’ Oasis to join the fight against the Xorians. Mars’ Oasis residents have a particular talent for fighting undead and dragons. Who better to fight the Dragovinians than them?
    Unfortunately, three offensive threats afflict Mars’ Oasis. The Bane’s undead (now dealt with), a massive formian hive (those lawful ant things), and the children of Bavastatner (a blue dragon older than some of the gods). Which threat could the party take down next?
    They decided on the formians. The ants, being lawful, could undoubtedly be persuaded by lawful arguments to give up their attacks on Mars’ Oasis. It was just a matter of giving them what they desired.

    There are 25 formian hives to the east of Mars’ Oasis. The hives are all closely clustered together and each of the queens keeps her hive under control. The formians appear to reproduce until their hives are full, then they attack Mars’ Oasis as a single unit. Slaves are often taken by the formians during these attacks.
    The attacks started several centuries ago when the people of Mars’ Oasis were planning to establish a new colony. One group wished to colonize the desert and another wished to build the colony in the fertile plains north of the desert. The desert favoring group sent out scouts to find a suitable location. The scouts found an oasis by the formian hives and were attacked by the ant people. The people of Mars’ Oasis became involved in a war due to these attacks and the colony plans were abandoned. Since then war has continued off and on through the years.
    What do these mysterious formians want? Many citizens of Mars’ Oasis suspect that the formians are after the oasis of magic water in their city. This magical oasis, known as the Dythalid Pool, transforms any object placed within it for a month into a better version of that substance. Food becomes more nourishing, armor becomes stronger, weapons become sharper, backpacks become lighter, etc. Who wouldn’t want to control such a pool?

    What could the party offer the formians? They decided to get some gifts just to start negotiations in a favorable way. Amalius recalled that the rank and file of formians don’t eat, but the queens happen to enjoy medicine or alcoholic substances. The party went on a shopping trip within the Aractrashan Kingdom to acquire 25 kegs of sweet fruit wine (one for each hive), a decanter of endless water, and a truedeath crystal. The wine and decanter were gifts for the formians while the crystal was for Aldarian.

    They teleported a few miles away from the formians and walked in until they were noticed by the worker ants. The 25 giant ant hives made of sand stood before the party with hundreds of horse sized ants crawling over them going about their business. As the adventurers approached the ants saw them and scuttled inside. The party stopped and waited for the formians to take the first step.
    Soon enough a group of three ants emerged followed by two dozen warrior ants. The leading trio were the size of warrior ants, but lacked the typical mouth mandibles of warriors. Amalius told the party the trio were taskmaster formians, capable of dominating people with magical force. The party kept their peaceful stance and waited for mental contact from the formians.
    The taskmasters spoke with buzzing voices into the minds of the party, “Who are you? Why are you here?”
    Torin led the discussion initially, introducing each of his fellows. Then he asked, “And who are you?”
    “We are emissaries of the queen. Why are you here?”
    “What we have to say should be spoken to the queens.”
    “We speak for the queens. Why are you here?”
    Amalius tugged on Torin’s sleeve. Torin said to the formians, “Just a moment.”
    Amalius asked, “What are they saying? I can’t hear with my mind blank up.”
    “Well why don’t you take it down? We don’t need it that much right now. They don’t seem like they’re going to dominate us.”
    Amalius dismissed his mind blank that was typically active every day, all day.
    Torin continued, “Please excuse the interruption. We really must speak with your queens directly.”
    “We speak for the queens. Tell us why you are here.”
    “We are here to negotiate a peace between your hives and the people of Mars’ Oasis. The war must stop. A greater threat looms in the west.”
    Amalius mentally spoke to the formians, “In good faith we have brought you a gift.”
    The formians replied, “A gift? Show us the gift.”
    “Of course.” Amalius reached into his portable hole where the sweet wine and decanter were stored. His hand brushed up against something he didn’t expect within the hole.

    Korm spoke into Amalius’ mind, “Wine isn’t the only thing in this hole!” Korm began his mental attack. Amalius’ normal immunity was absent and the surprise of the assault spelled his doom. Korm quickly punctured Amalius’ mental defenses and took control. The psion teleported away with the portable hole.
    Eathirilu recognized the look on Amalius’ face before he poofed away. Something had controlled his mind just as he reached into the bag. The party instantly put two and two together. Korm had taken over once again.
    Torin spoke to the formians again, “I apologize greatly, but an unfortunate event has occurred. Our friend has been taken over by a magical dagger we have in our possession. You understand that right?”
    “Yes. We understand this,” the formians buzzed.
    “He could come back and attack us at any second. It’d be best if you waited inside your hive.”
    “We will do this. Negotiations can wait for safety.”
    The ants pulled back and re-entered their hive. The party marveled at the accommodating attitude of the formians before spreading out into a battle formation, ready to intercept Amalius if he returned.

    Meanwhile, Korm burned through Amalius power points once again, aiming disintegrates at the ground on the hill they’d teleported to. When enough had been burned, Korm ordered Amalius to remove his cloak of resistance before activating a temporal acceleration and returning to the desert.
    Amalius and the dagger popped in and Amalius struggled with the dagger. Without the cloak to help him, he failed to regain control of his mind. The dagger stood supreme. Surveying the situation, Korm placed Amalius directly behind Hektor, who had cast shapechange and turned into an iron golem.
    Amalius rejoined the normal time stream and cast two high level dispel magics. Hektor’s spells and the enchantments on his items melted away. Korm then ordered Amalius to stab Hektor and leave the dagger in the wound. Amalius did this, but as the dagger left his hand he regained control of his mind. He moved to take the dagger back, but as he touched the dagger the mental control returned. Amalius was forced to stand back from the wizard.
    Amalius mentally called out to the rest of the party, “Korm’s trying to control Hektor! Get the dagger out!”
    Tagenadi understood instantly. He ran forward and yanked the dagger out. Tagenadi’s undead form made him immune to the dagger’s controlling effect.
    Korm taunted the party, “You’ve won round two, but why did I do it?”
    Not wanting the day’s events to affect the negotiations, the party told the formians they’d be back the next day.

    Amalius wanted a permanent way of neutralizing Korm. A box or something to keep him in? The party discussed it and decided that encasing him in lead to prevent even his telepathy was best. Amalius then hid the dagger somewhere. The memory of hiding it was then placed within Amalius’ psicrystal, Black. The memory could be retrieved whenever he wished, but the portion of his mind stored within the crystal slightly weakened Amalius (lost 5PP til the memory is retrieved). Now Korm would only be found or touched by the party via a conscious decision to do so.

    After spending the night in Lakatia the party returned to the formian hives. The same group of ants came from the same hive to speak to the party.
    “You spoke of gifts yesterday. Where are these gifts?”
    Tagenadi said, “Right here!” Tagenadi pulled out the kegs one by one along with the decanter.
    Amalius said, “We’ve brought one keg of wine for each queen and a decanter for the queens to use as they wish.”
    “Thank you for this gift. It pleases the queens,” said the taskmasters. Workers came from the hive and took the gifts away. The taskmasters continued, “What do you want in return?”
    Amalius said, “They are a gift to show you are good will. We only wish the chance to speak with your queens.”
    “Why do you want to speak to the queens?”
    “A lasting peace must be reached between the formians and Mars’ Oasis. We are here to make that peace.”
    “We will speak with the queens. We must commiserate. Please wait.”
    The party waited as the formians stood there, speaking with their queens.
    Eventually the ants spoke again, “Why peace now when there has always been war?”
    Amalius answered, “A threat looms in the west. Have you heard of the Dragovinians out here in the desert?”
    “It is far, but we know of them.”
    “The Dragovinians are expanding, consuming all. They cannot be allowed to continue. They are a greater evil. It would be best for you to end your conflict with Mars’ Oasis. Both your resources and theirs would be best combined against the Dragovinian’s evil.”
    “Yes. We have thought this as well. We can use the Dythalid to fight Dragovinians. Do you offer Dythalid?”
    “No, we can’t give you that unfortunately.”
    “Then we cannot fight the Dragovinians. The Dythalid is necessary for our plans. We require it.”
    “What plans would those be?”
    “Law. Order. Perfection. Mortals mismanage the world. We are better. More organized. The world must be organized, like the hive.”
    “The Dragovinians are immortals ordering the world too.”
    “Sloppy. They are not perfect. Mistakes. Problems. We will correct this.”
    “And you want to order the entire world? All of it?”
    “Yes. We are patient. Order will come.”
    “Then why not go east instead of west? You could go to the other side of the world and order that before coming back around to the mortal side. Surely the people on the other side are not as ordered as you.”
    “Faster to take Dythalid first. Useful tool. No tools on dark side of the world as easy and useful to acquire as Dythalid.”
    “What if we promised to give you the Dythalid Pool if you went east first? No battle, nothing. It would be yours.” The party silently hoped the formians would not know that the pool was not theirs to give.
    “Before or after?”
    “The Pool would be yours after you circled the earth.”
    “No. We must have it before other objectives. The Pool is necessary.”
    “Well…” Amalius paused for a moment, “What if we got rid of another problem for you. You know the blue dragon, Bavastatner, yes?”
    “Does he attack your hives and eat your people, just as he does to Mars’ Oasis?”
    “What if we slew this dragon? We can do it. We’ve killed the Bane to the east. Would you go east if we did this?”
    “Hmm… Interesting. We must commiserate.”
    The ants silently talked amongst themselves again.
    “Yes. These terms are acceptable. If you slay Bavastatner we will go east around the world. Upon returning to Mars’ Oasis, the Dythalid Pool will be surrendered to us. Bavastatner must be slain within one year. If not, the terms will be renegotiated. As long as an attempt is made in good faith to slay Bavastatner, we will be peaceful. There will be a three month truce regardless.
    The party talked it over and decided the terms were good.
    “We’ll take it!”
    As they said this, 25 ants teleported in front of the taskmasters. These ants were bigger and each wore a concealing bronze helmet over their heads. Amalius recognized them as myrmachs, the queens’ bodyguards. Each of the 25 myrmachs held four copies of a contract along with pens.

    “Please sign each contract in turn, and then we will sign it,” said the taskmasters.
    The party filed down the line and signed each contract. Two in Common and two in Formian. The party was then given a Common and Formian copy from each of the hives.
    “We await good news of the dragon’s death.” With that, the formians returned to their work around the hives.

    Successful, the party decided their next stop should be Mars’ Oasis. They could perhaps get a reward from King Mero II of Mars’ Oasis for slaying the Bane and arrange support for their journey against Bavastatner.
    The party teleported to Mars’ Oasis and sought out their estranged friend, Sabriyya. She was a master in the Dragon Slayers Guild of Mars’ Oasis, so they checked there first. After being redirected they eventually met up with her.
    Sabriyya’s greeting was less than welcoming, “What do you want?”
    Tagenadi said, “I know we’ve had our differences and you probably hate me now, but we need a favor. You have a lot of influence in Mars’ Oasis. We need to meet with the King. You see, we’ve killed the Bane.”
    “You killed him? What?”
    “Yes,” said Tagenadi.
    Amalius pulled out the Bane’s staff of the magi. He said, “Here is his staff. We took it from him. His phylactery is destroyed and his body is now only dust.” He is gone forever.”
    Wide-eyed Sabriyya reached out and held the staff. After a few moments of silence she said, “I can arrange a meeting with the King for tomorrow.”
    Tagenadi asked, “Another favor if possible. Could you find some place for us to stay in town?”
    Angrily Sabriyya said, “The Lack-A-Shack Tavern has rooms for you same as every other traveler. I’d suggest you look there.”
    “Then we take our leave of you.”
    The party got rooms at the Lack-A-Shack Tavern with Tagenadi disguised as Hektor’s chamberlain in Lakatia to prevent his undead status from being discovered.

    On the morrow a messenger arrived. The party was admitted to the King’s Court for the day. They packed up their things and journeyed to the Castle.
    Within the courtroom King Mero II sat upon his throne listening to disputes between his subjects. Arguments over assault, murder, theft, and other property issues filled the hours. Noise and the stench of dozens of human bodies sweating in the desert heat tainted the room. Guards were interspersed throughout. Behind the King’s throne stood the largest guard of them all. A man over eleven feet in height, Alabaster, captain of the guard. Sabriyya had spoken of the giant man in her previous adventures with Tagenadi. His height came from magical enchantments on his person.
    Soon, the party’s turn to speak came. A trumpter announced the party, “Presenting Lord Hektor Rackgard of Lakatia, Lord Torin Stoneblade of Jord, Lord Eathirilu Treeheart of Satronwook, Sir Aldarian of Phoenix, and Sir Amalius Halkias of Jipangu.” Tagenadi in his current servant disguise was left out of the calling.
    Amalius came forward and presented the lich’s staff. “Your majesty, I present the staff of the Bane. We have slain the undead beast.”
    A silence came over the courtroom.
    The King leaned forward, “Impossible. He cannot be killed. His soul dwells in his phylactery and no divination can reveal its location.”
    “We found it within the stone of the Lich Shade itself and I destroyed it myself. Lord Hektor destroyed the lich’s body a few days later. The Bane is gone. You may use your divinations and magicians to verify this fact. The undead scourge is gone. The Lich Shade was damaged in the battle and leans to the side. The inside is all but abandoned. Only a few straggler undead remain along with the giant force outside which can be destroyed at your convenience, your majesty.”
    “Hmm… Well if your story is true, you deserve the greatest reward I can bestow. If not, then I remind you that lying to your King bears stiff punishments. Does your story remain the same?”
    “Yes. I swear it on my soul.”
    “Then what do you wish?”
    “Only a private audience with your majesty?”
    “Done. Alabaster, see to these people’s needs personally.”
    Alabaster said, “Yes, my King.”
    The giant man walked the party out of the silent courtroom to a sitting room in a different wing of the Castle.
    Alabaster said, “Could my men borrow the staff? It will aid the divinations they cast to verify your story.”
    “Of course,” said Amalius, giving the staff to the man. Alabaster handed it off to one of the everpresent servants in the Castle.
    Alabaster sat down in a huge chair fitted for his size and gestured to other chairs spaced around a table within the cool waiting room. Servants brought the party iced water, sweetbreads, and the special desert fruit that acted as the staple crop of Mars’ Oasis. When the party was seated Alabaster said, “I can speak for the King in most regards. He will talk with you himself once the day’s court is done. Til then, why do you wish a private audience with him?”
    Amalius said, “We want Mars’ Oasis to join the war against the Dragovinians. Are we correct in thinking Mars’ Oasis would wish this if you did not have enemies of your own already?”
    “Yes. While we would not join the Alliance without something to be gained, I am sure that an agreement could be reached. Unfortunately, the undead, dragons, and formians occupy our time. Perhaps only the dragons and formians now.”
    “You see, we may have dealt with another of those enemies.” Amalius pulled out one of the sets of Formian and Common contracts from the formians and passed it across the table to Alabaster.
    As the great man read the contract Eathirilu caught something in his eye. The elf’s finely tuned senses identified the emotion on Alabaster’s face as he read the documents. The man knew something more that he was hiding. Eathirilu relayed this to the rest via Amalius’ telepathy.
    Alabaster spoke after finishing the documents, “This greatly oversteps your authority.”
    “Yes, but think of it! We could slay Bavastatner! We’ve killed the Bane! We can kill the dragon as well and then your two remaining threats will be removed in one blow. Mars’ Oasis will be free to join the war and together the Dragovinians can be crushed once and for all!”
    “A pleasing dream. I’m afraid this oversteps what I can do without the King’s approval though. Negotiating foreign policy that strangers have made on our behalf without our consent lies outside of what I can do alone.”
    “I’m sorry. Of course.”
    “The servants will show you to appropriate rooms and fetch you any food or drink you wish while you wait. Please excuse me.” Alabaster got up, nodded to the servants, and left.
    The servants escorted the party members to a guest suite where they waited. The contract and staff of the magi were returned to the party during the waiting period.

    An hour or so after sunset the party was summoned to meet with King Mero II. They entered the King’s study and bowed.
    The King said, “Alabaster has told me of this contract you have signed. But that concern can be addressed later. My sages have confirmed what you say about the Bane. He is held captive in Pluto’s realm, never to see the sun’s light again. This act deserves a reward.” The King paused and stroked his chin. “I don’t usually do this, but you may have anything within my power to give you if the request is reasonable. All five of you may have a gift from me.”
    Amalius said, “With respect to your majesty, there are six of us. Tagenadi is among our members as well.” Amalius indicated Tagenadi, still wearing his magical disguise. Amalius continued, “But I do not want to trick your majesty. Tagenadi is not… as normal as he seems. Tagenadi was turned to undeath within the Lich Shade. He maintains his good heart, but has the body of a beast.”
    “YOU BROUGHT AN UNDEAD INTO MY CASTLE? How dare you!” The King moved to grab a weapon.
    “Your majesty! Wait! Please! He slew the Bane with us! He still has a good heart. His mind is as human as you or me.”
    The King gripped his sword handle and stopped. He breathed deeply then moved his hand away from the blade. “Yes, you are right. Even if he be undead, he has done much for my kingdom. But I will not grant any boon to such a creature. I am loath to even continue allow it within my presence.” King Mero glared at Tagenadi.
    Amalius had a quick telepathic conversation with the party before continuing, “I’m afraid that he must be recognized with us, your majesty. Tagenadi is one of us. He has endured all our trials against the lich and suffered the worst of it. He now stands bound to Pluto without a life of his own anymore. When he dies, he will not go onto Elysium, but will be forever trapped by the King of the Underworld. What greater sacrifice could you ask of one of your subjects than their everlasting soul? I will not stand by while you disparage my friend and ally who has saved my life too many times to count. We all slew the Bane. We will all reap the rewards together.”
    When Amalius finished the King exploded in anger, “You bring this creature in here and I am merciful and now you speak of rewards for it?!? I will not have such people in my sight! Get out of my castle! Get out of my city before I have you executed! You are banished! EXILED! Get out and take your filthy undead with you!”
    Amalius had not expected this response. “Fine. We will go.”
    Eathirilu added, “But when we have slain the dragon and paraded its head through the streets of Mars’ Oasis, we will see who the people follow. Their stagnant King or the true heroes of the land.”
    Amalius flipped the King off and the party teleported out.

    At that point the group discussed what to do next. Should they still go after the blue dragon? Should they break their pact with the formians? Should they do something with Greshendale? The Antenator had spoken of going to Greshendale, but it was still a few days before the demigod’s prophecy told them to journey to the floating city.
    Slaying Bavastatner remained the favored plan, but the ultimate decision was tabled for our next session. First, the party journeyed to the Lich Shade once more. The Bane’s laboratory had never been fully looted by the party. They teleported past the rubble from their last battle and journeyed downwards.
    In the laboratory they found the three dust wights that had escaped them earlier. Aldarian, wishing to test out his new truedeath crystal, engaged the wights without significant assistance. Tagenadi helped with flanking to provide Aldarian with sneak attack bonuses (Aldarian found his new damage output was about 150 damage per round). The wights were quickly killed with Torin healing any injuries they caused to Aldarian and Tagenadi.
    One of the wights held a portable hole, filled to the brim with black onyx gems. These are the gems used to create undead from corpses. The second wight held nothing. The last held the black crystal that the Bane had used in their last battle.
    Fearing the black crystal might be an evil artifact, the party had Tagenadi pick it up. They hoped his undead form would be immune to any magical protections on the crystal. Their hopes proved correct and more.
    Tagenadi picked up the crystal and a ghostly green light pulsed out of the black crystal, quickly filling the room and then fleeing out. Tagenadi felt the light go through the Lich Shade. It left the obelisk and went out into the sea of zombies and skeletons that surround it. The light covered the entire horde of undead before it entered into the bodies of each and every one of them. Tagenadi could control them. He knew it.
    He knew the crystal was called the Black Crystal of Horror and that he was meant to wield it. The Crystal pulsed with green light again. The light flowed over Tagenadi from head to toe. He could use the Crystal to control and animate any amount of skeletons and undead. He could also control a limited number of more powerful undead. He knew it.
    The Crystal made undead more powerful within a mile of it, prevented teleportation from the outside within a mile of it, and prevented magical flight within a mile of it by anyone but he wielder of the Crystal. The Crystal could kill mortals with a black ray shot from its tip or cause weaker mortals to flee in terror at the sight of the Crystal.
    The ghostly light played along the length of the Black Crystal of Horror once more and then it returned to its solid black color. The Crystal was Tagenadi’s. This is what Hades wanted him to find in the Lich Shade.
    Spoiler: The Black Crystal of Horror

    A foot long black crystal three inches in diameter that sharpens to points at the ends.

    The Black Crystal can only be used by evil characters. A neutral creature that touches the Crystal suffers 5d6 damage and a negative level (Fort DC 24). A good creature must make a Fort save DC 28 or die. On a successful save a good creature loses one level.

    The Black Crystal allows its owner to animate and control limitless amounts of skeletons and zombies. These undead are always loyal to the wielder of the Crystal. They cannot be commanded by any other creature. The Black Crystal of Horror still requires black onyx gems to animate corpses.

    The Black Crystal has several effects that extend within a mile of it. It automatically dispels flying spells and attempts a 1d20+20 dispel check against all feather fall spells. The area is desecrated as if in an area with an altar of an evil deity. The area is unhallowed with that additional effect of a bless spell on all Undead. The combined effects give Undead +3 on attacks, +2 on damage, +2 on saves, +2 on HP per HD. Turning in the area has a -10 penalty and rebuking has a +4 bonus.

    The Black Crystal of Horror can be used to control undead as the spell 3/day with a CL of 20 and a Will save DC 22. It can cast slay living at a CL of 20 and Fort save DC 20. The Crystal can also create a fear effect within 100' as a free action. Living creatures must make a Will save DC 22 or be shaken while within 100' radius and 1d10 rounds after leaving. Making the fear save gives immunity for 24 hours.

    We ended the session there!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-04-26 at 11:27 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #80
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #35/Total Session #46
    This session was attended by Ozymandias, Throgg, Salzar, and Zigfried. The session was held over Google Hangouts using Roll20 like usual.

    What to do next indeed? The party discussed their options and decided that perhaps they should take a short break from their constant adventuring. The wedding of Bjorn and Cassandra was coming up in three days so the party took some time off until that. Although they lacked invitations they planned to attend to prevent any trouble the Xorians might cause.
    Bjorn is the leader of the city of Dalleer. Cassandra is the daughter of the champion and now dictator of Bradel Fields, Astyanax. In the past Dalleer and Bradel Fields were rival states, but the Xorian threat is forcing them to unite. A marriage alliance between their leading citizens will cement their alliance.
    The three days up to the wedding were spent forming disguises and relaxing by most. After their last confrontation with Astyanax, no one wished to be recognized at the wedding. Torin chose to go without a disguise, but not to do anything that would draw attention to himself.
    During the three days, Amalius teleported Eathirilu to Demeter's Garden, a marsh on the northern end of the Caspian. Eathirilu set up a wild santuary for himself there and summoned some guardians to keep his domain safe.
    Amalius did not return to Lakatia with the others until the end of the third day. He attended to some personal business while away.

    On the wedding day, the wedding attendees teleported off to Bradel Fields. Tagenadi chose not to go as a true seeing directed at him would cause a panic. Hektor, still a respected member of the Alliance, attended the wedding on an invitation of his own. Eathirilu disguised his appearance with his Thousand Faces ability, reasoning that only the Alliance Council members would recognize who he really was with a true seeing. He would stay out of their vision and be fine. Amalius and Aldarian disguised themselves using Aldarian's considerable mundane talents. Dyed hair, altered clothes, makeup, everything. In addition to all this Hektor demagicked the gear of Eathirilu, Amalius, and Aldarian with his magic aura spell.
    The wedding was held at the temple in Bradel Fields as Dalleer had suffered too many recent attacks and was seen as unsafe. The temple has a large garden courtyard filled with paths, plants, flowers, and trees. There is also a grassy section for the wedding games that accompany such occasions in ancient Greek culture. The marriage ceremony was to be held on the temple steps so that all could see. Directly in front of the steps were a few hundred seats for the noble guests. Knightly guards kept commoners out of this section. Throughout the temple grounds more knights and a few dozen goblin guards kept order. The goblins were new additions that Astyanax added to Bradel Fields army from the previous slave population of goblins in the city.
    Hektor entered first and took his seat at the front. Torin followed and was confronted by a knight upon entering the seated area. After voicing his patronage and familial connection to the hill dwarf king he was admitted with apologies from the guard. Eathirilu entered and stood among the commoners far back and to the side of the stage. Aldarian and Amalius entered together and muscled their way through the commoner crowd to get spots near the front, by the back of the seated section.
    (This scene was particularly memorable for the players. I've used the exact same map and location previously for another wedding. In our previous campaign a noble couple, Hector and Andromache, were married on this spot. The PCs of that campaign defended the wedding from an attack by a nefarious weretiger and a group of his loyal assassins. Hector became friends with the party ever since and was a favorite NPC of theirs. Hector and Andromache are also the parents of Astyanax and thus grandparents of Cassandra, the bride of the present wedding.)
    Peasants and merchants filled the temple grounds. Thousands of voices talking drowned out any sound from the temple steps at the front. All changed when the head priest emerged from the interior of the temple. The crowd slowly quieted down. Then the priest spoke with a magically enhanced voice, "We are gathered here today to witness the union of Bjorn of Dalleer and Cassandra of Bradel Fields. The marriage of these two souls will join their cities as well, fostering friendship where long there has been incessant rivalry. It is my hope and the hope of all of us, that the love these two share and the forthcoming alliance between our two wonderful cities will turn back the Xorian forces that threaten the sovereignty of our lands.
    “Who presents the bride?”
    Astyanax stood with Cassandra on the right side of the seated area. He walked her up the steps and said, “I do.” The masked man returned to his seat.
    The priest gestured to the left side of the seats, “And who presents the groom?”
    Terolio stood with Bjorn and said, “I do.” Terolio walked his lord up the steps and positioned him correctly beside the priest. Apparently the Bjorn was having a worse mental day than usual. Terolio pointed his lord’s head towards Cassandra before returning to his seat.
    The priest continued, “Cassandra has told me she wishes to sing one more song as a maiden before she is wed.” He turned to Cassandra and touched her on the should with a magic spell. “When you’re ready Cassandra.”
    Cassandra sang “Holding Out For a Hero.” (I had my own recording of it by Lucy Ward, but that recording isn’t easy to find on the internet. Here’s one by Jennifer Saunders from Shrek 2. Her voice is a little older than what I’d wanted for Cassandra. I avoided the Bonnie Tyler recording because I feel she didn’t capture the sexual yearning in the song as well as Ward or Saunders did.)
    When Cassandra finished the crowd applauded. The priest rose his hands in the air and spoke, "I now begin the sacred act of marrying this couple. Please repeat after me.
    He turned to Cassandra, "I, Cassandra, take Bjorn to be my lawfully wedded husband."
    Cassandra repeated, "I, Cassandra, take Bjorn to be my lawfully wedded husband."
    “My constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward.”
    “My constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward.”
    “In the presence of the gods, our family, friends, and subjects, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner.”
    “In the presence of the gods, our family, friends, and subjects, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner.”
    “In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow.”
    “In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow.”
    “I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”
    “I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”
    The priest turned to Bjorn and recited the vows once more, “I, Bjorn, take Cassandra to be my lawfully wedded wife.”
    Bjorn repeated, “I, Bjorn, take Cassandra to be my lawfully wedded wife.”
    “My constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward.”
    “My constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward.”
    “In the presence of the gods, our family, friends, and subjects, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner.”
    “In the presence of the gods, our family, friends, and subjects, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner.”
    “In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow.”
    “In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow.”
    “I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”
    “I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”
    The priest turned back to Cassandra, “Do you, Cassandra, take Bjorn to be your husband til death do you part?”
    “I do.”
    “Do you, Bjorn, take-”
    And the assassins attacked!

    Two assassins in nearby trees cast spells that entranced most of the guards by the stage. Colorful lights filled the air distracting the knights. Only one kept his wits about him. Two others rushed towards the stage. One made it past the guards and threw a dart into Bjorn’s side. The other was caught by the only knight that remained mentally competent.
    Two more assassins appeared on the roof. One shot a crossbow down at Astyanax. The other jumped off the roof holding a stick. He slammed the stick into the Bjorn’s head with the full force of his jump. The Bjorn reeled and almost collapsed.

    Three nobles on Dalleer’s side of the seated area jumped up from their seats and streaked toward Astyanax. They pummeled the seated dictator with their fists, striking pressure points with every blow. The nobles were nothing more than disguised monk assassins!
    Bjorn reflexively threw up a protective ectoplasmic barrier around himself, the priest, and his fiancee (the marriage not quite completed yet). Eathirilu and Torin used their skill with magic to light a few of the assassins up with well placed fire storms. Fire filled the air around the wedding, but the two assassins in the trees, the one on the roof, and the one who made it past the entranced guards were all roasted. Only the one on the ground survived with horrid burns. The crowd panicked at the sight of the fire and the assassins and began to run for the exit from the temple grounds.
    Hektor rose from his seat and cast hold person on the assassin next to Bjorn. Gradorian and Junai tackled two of the assassins attacking Astyanax. The other monk assassin continued to pummel Astyanax, but his efforts were stymied by Erick, Torin’s old apprentice. He cast a healing spell upon Astyanax, removing most of the bruises he’d sustained. Astyanax took a defensive posture and called for a sword from one of the guards, but all were entranced or occupied and could not obey his orders.
    The burned assassin, fearing for his life, disappeared. Amalius used two overchanneled dominates to try to take over the minds of the five remaining assassins. Only the free monk attacking Astyanax resisted. Amalius ordered them to surrender, cooperate with the people of Bradel Fields, and to not harm themselves or others.
    Aldarian turned invisible and moved to join the combat. He soon realized that it was all but finished and returned to his spot in the crowd. The one assassin still in control of his mind was soon captured by the knights when they regained their senses. A few cure spells from Erick and the head priest restored Astyanax and Bjorn to good health.
    Eathirilu turned into a sparrow and searched the grounds with true seeing for the disappeared assassin. Finding no one, he guessed the assassin had teleported away instead of turning invisible.

    The party began a different means of searching for the missing assassin. Amalius still maintained his dominate spells. He kept watch on the four under his control. They were escorted to separate stone cells without windows and left there. While Amalius couldn’t hear their thoughts, he could order them telepathically. They couldn’t respond mentally, but they could whisper to themselves and he would hear the whispers. Amalius began his remote interrogation.
    He learned that the assassins were members of the Ninjas Guild in Nomingburg, a city famous for its assassins guilds. They were hired to kill Astyanax and Bjorn during the wedding. They did not know the person or faction that had hired them for the job. They had a rendezvous point in the wooded Park of Delights on the south side of Bradel Fields. They were to meet there and leave tomorrow. This information was confirmed by interviewing all four assassins.
    The party reasoned that the remaining assassin must’ve gone there to wait. Eathirilu flew there in bird form with Amalius’ psicrystal, Black, following along. Eathirilu found the assassin and Black swooped in on the location with a dominate. The assassin’s will crumbled.
    Amalius checked the questions on this assassin and came up with the same answers. He asked a few more questions about what the assassins typically did after a contract killing failed. The assassins said that usually a more competent assassin would attempt the murder once more. This case might be different as the contract was for a specific time and place of the assassination. The dominated men were unsure of what would happen next.
    Amalius sent the assassin off to the noble quarter of town to turn himself over to the police. The assassin went there, but refused to turn himself over. Amalius told him to approach a guard and confess his sins, starting with the most recent.
    The assassin walked up to a pair of goblin guards and said, “I have trespassed on holy ground.”
    They looked at him strangely. “What can we do for you?”
    The assassin stood mute until Amalius ordered him to say, “I was at the wedding, but I wasn’t invited.” The assassin said this, but waved his arms around wildly, acting like a lunatic.
    The guards looked at each other and nodded. They arrested the assassin and threw him in the drunk tank along with many others who had celebrated a bit too much before the public wedding. Amalius told the assassin he was no longer allowed to act like an insane person.
    The party got rooms in town and waited. Amalius occasionally kept tabs on his dominated assassins.

    The next day the assassin was released. Amalius told him to take care of his body’s needs and contemplate his past sins, but under no circumstances was he to take any risky actions or to contact his guild members.
    Near the end of the afternoon nobles began leaving the noble quarter to return to the temple. Guards checked them off a list at the entrance to the temple grounds. They went inside the temple building itself. A private wedding would be safer.
    Eathirilu wanted to ensure the couple’s safety by casting foresight on them. Then if danger threatened he could react before the threat struck. He took his sparrow form and flew into the temple through the open doors.
    Logan (thewamp’s old character) suspected magical tricks. He blasted the oddly flying sparrow with a hellrime blast. Eathirilu faltered in midair, but did not fall. Logan saw this as confirmation that this was no ordinary bird. As he prepared another blast, Eathirilu fled. Logan gave chase along with Hektor. They would’ve caught Eathirilu, but he turned into an eagle and streaked away. Logan and Hektor could not catch up to him. Hektor could’ve with a teleport spell, but he recognized his shapeshifting friend. He let him escape.
    The wedding proceeded without any further problems noticed by outside observers while the assassins waited in their dark cells.

    We ended the session there. The party indicated they wanted to visit the Ninjas Guild in Nomingburg next.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-04-26 at 11:28 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #81
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #36/Total Session #47
    This session was attended by Throgg, Salzar, thewamp, Middle_Snu and Zigfried. The session was held over Google Hangouts using Roll20 like usual. We actually started off playing in Salzar’s pirate campaign. We reached a crucial point where thewamp was needed to play his character, but thewamp hadn’t gotten back from a World Cup viewing party yet. We played my campaign until thewamp returned and then switched back over to Salzar’s. Here’s the short one hour amount we managed to play.

    The morning after the successful wedding Amalius received a sending from Bjorn which he shared with the others, “Should meet to discuss war situation and events at wedding. Meet at shrine in Monkey’s Forest? Sooner better. Send back time that works. Bjorn Out.”
    The party decided the best time was immediately, so Amalius sent back, “Now.”
    The party teleported to the shrine in the Monkey’s Forest and waited for Bjorn to arrive. This ended up taking quite a while (Not everyone can teleport guys!).
    Eventually a large green rhombus shaped gem flew through the trees and approached the party. The gem spoke into the party’s minds with a high-pitched voice, “I am Pseudolus and I speak for the Bjorn. He has sent me to you while he remains with his newlywed wife.”

    Hektor said, “Enjoying his honeymoon is he?”
    “You might say that.”
    Amalius asked, “How long does he intend his honeymoon to last?”
    “I suppose a week, but he mentioned he might make a true honeymoon out of it and stay with Lady Cassandra for a month.”
    Amalius said, “I hope he can pull himself away from his bride sooner rather than later. We need as many people helping in this war as possible. Speaking of, Bjorn mentioned that he wished to speak about the war. What did he want to share with us?”
    Pseudolus bobbed in the air and said, “The Bjorn told me to first ask you about the events at his wedding. He believes that you were present and conjured the magical fire that scorched only the assassins, but left the guests unscathed.”
    Amalius said, “Yes, that was us. Tell Bjorn you’re welcome for his wedding present.”
    “A gift most graciously given. The rumor within town is that the fire was another part of the Xorian assassin attack. Astyanax suspects the truth though.”
    “And what does he think of what we did? We saved his daughter.”
    “I know not. I think he makes up lies to suit himself.”
    Amalius said, “Oh! Another thing. You, or Bjorn I mean, must’ve noticed that a few of the assassins gave up rather easily. They are under my magical domination. They should be quite susceptible to questioning. And there was one assassin who escaped. You’ll find him loitering outside the town guard headquarters.” Amalius gave the mental command for the dominated assassin to head in that direction.
    “Excellent news. I shall inform the Bjorn myself upon my return.”
    Hektor asked, “Now the war?”
    “Yes! News has come from contacts in Phoenix. The Gazearans have rebelled with aid from a greater rebel organization.”
    Hektor said, “That’s good news. How did it happen?”
    “The rebels have spies everywhere in the Xorian Empire. These men let the rebels in and attacked key Dragovinian and military positions throughout the city. The city was swiftly taken and now there is no longer an undead taint within the city. Unfortunately, the city has come under siege by the Xorians’ allies, the Amazons.”
    Amalius said, “The famed cavalry of the Amazons will be useless in a siege.”
    “They can get off their horses same as everyone else,” said Pseudolus.
    “Additionally, as some of you may know, the Alliance has been working on a pair of large Ring Gates for the past several months. These gates are six feet in diameter and capable of transporting any matter over any distance, theoretically. Our original plan was to use the gates to enact the rituals contained within the Tome of Agamemnon. You remember this Tome?”
    Amalius said, “Yes. Supposed to create super soldiers or something?”
    “Exactly. But it requires the water from a magical fountain. The Geyser of Talos was an easily accessible one, save for the guardian that gives the fountain its name. The training of the recruits in Jipangu was briefly interrupted for a sortie to the Geyser. Gradorian, Astyanax, Kig, and Titandra went to the fountain and defeated Talos. The bronze giant lies dead once more.”
    “So where are you planning on sending the water.”
    “To Shalerton’s untrained rabble or to Jipangu. Perhaps both. The Council deliberates. But that was not why I came. The Bjorn wishes you to contribute your cleverness and ingenuity to figuring out alternative uses for the Ring Gates.”
    “Ah… Most interesting. Tell me more about the gates.”
    “They are six feet in diameter and constructed of pure iron. I’ve been told they are quite heavy. They can be transported via a teleporting wizard. In our trials one man could move through the gate per second. It would take quite awhile to move a whole army through, but assuming the movement wasn’t noticed immediately…”
    Hektor exclaimed, “We could use it to reinforce Gazeara!”
    Amalius said, “Yes! We could move troops from the other Alliance cities to Gazeara for a surprise attack. Then the next day they could be back. Alliance defenses wouldn’t even be compromised!”
    Hektor said, “We’d need to coordinate with the Gazearans though. I’ll ask the Council if I can start negotiations and battle plans with them.”
    Other plans were discussed for the use of the gates. They could put one gate in the ocean and the other in a city or plain to flood it. They lay magical protections on them and place one in a volcano to transport lava. Troops could also be sent to disrupt the Xorian supply lines, but Pseudolus deflated that plan when he informed the party that the Xorians were currently supplied via their navy out of Makotako.
    Amalius asked, “Is there any other news, Pseudolus?”
    “Yes, one more thing. The city of Crux has turned west from Shalerton and now seems to be marching towards Phoenix. They will arrive by the new moon.”
    The party chatted this over as well. One idea that gained traction hinged on their status as a faction separate from the Alliance. Wide-scale offensive magic is forbidden during battles due to the large death tolls it produces (Just like nukes, biological weapons, and gas are illegal in modern day warfare). Instead, mages use a special type of battle magic similar to magic missile. If one side breaks these conventions it allows the other side to retaliate, changing the battlefield from the use of men to the use of spellcasters.
    The consequence for the Alliance breaking these rules would be disastrous. What would stop the Xorians from sending wizards in at night, strafing cities with fireballs and then returning the next day to do the whole thing once more?
    But if the city of Crux committed these war crimes… The Xorians would be free to retaliate against Crux and the party of adventurers, but presumably the Alliance cities would still be off limits.
    One concern was that the Xorians might retaliate against the citizens of Phoenix instead. The use of Crux and its undead population was tabled for a later date. First, the Gazearans!
    Pseudolus flew off to relay the discussion to the Bjorn. Hektor teleported to Bradel Fields to organize an Alliance Council meeting. The others teleported back to Lakatia and waited for the wizard to return.

    Hektor returned the next day with approval to negotiate bringing Gazeara and the rebels into the Alliance. While still with the Alliance the party had interacted with the rebels once before. The man they spoke with then was named Major Dactirian. A sending to him came back with a reply telling the party to teleport just inside the southern gate of Gazeara, the guards would be expecting them.
    Hektor, Torin, Amalius, and Aldarian teleported in along with a few of Hektor’s loyal guardsmen from Lakatia. They came to a large plaza just inside a wooden wall. A few guards stood at stations on the ground while others kept watch on a walkway attached to the top of the wall by support beams. Dozens of townsfolk went about their business within the plaza, going back and forth. The guards and townsfolk freaked out when the party popped out of nowhere. The guards calmed down soon as they had known a group was teleporting in.
    A guard wearing a set of wide shoulder pads identifying him as a sergeant came forward. “Calm down everyone! These are emissaries from the eastern cities, come to meet with Major Dactirian.” The guard sergeant turned to one of the guards, “Thompson, take these people to the palace. Treat them with respect. They’re honored guests.”
    “Yes sir!”
    Thompson led them through the crowded city past numerous statues of one of Gazeara’s previous kings, Shardamar the First. The eyes of every statue glowed a dull blue color.

    Shardamar the First introduced scrying dweomers throughout the city hidden within statues of himself. This was originally intended to prevent crime, but it soon became a means of controlling innocent people as well. Shardamar the First ruled with an iron fist. When Shardamar II came to the throne, the people were ready to revolt. Shardamar II was overthrown and replaced by an elected ruler, Leopold Anigama.
    Anigama kept the people happy, but the scrying statues stayed in place. Some say he used the scrying statues just as the Shardamars did. Others protest that Anigama was a just ruler who would never spy on his people. Regardless the statues remain.
    Anigama and Gazeara participated in the first Alliance against Xoria. He died during the war and his city was conquered soon after. The Xorians have ruled it for the past forty years attempting to stamp out all the strange traditions of the local people and replace them with their own homogenized culture.

    At the threshold of the Palace stood a gigantic statue of King Shardamar wearing full battle regalia. The statue’s eyes glowed blue the same as all the others. At the statue’s feet the Great Fire of Gazeara blazed upon a giant solid stone pedestal. Gazeara’s last king, Shardamar II, ordered the construction of the magical Great Fire. Ironically, when the people revolted he was burned in the fire. Passing by it, Thompson led the party into the now Spartanly adorned Palace of Gazeara.
    (Logan, a past PC of thewamp’s, obtained his warlock powers from the Great Fire of Gazeara)
    Inside, Thompson took the party to a large war room where a dozen and a half officers planned around a gigantic table with a map of the local countryside spread out upon it. Troop placements of the Gazearans, rebels, and Amazons were represented on the map by painted wood figurines. An orderly, at the request of the officers, pushed the figurines around using a long wooden stick.
    Thompson saluted and said, “Major Dactirian, sir! The representatives from the Alliance have arrived.”
    Major Dactirian looked up from the map and greeted the party, “Excellent!” He strode over and held out his forearm to Hektor.
    Hektor gripped the offered arm with his own and said, “I am Lord Hektor Rackgard of Lakatia in Aractrash. I have allied my fief and my considerable magical talents with the Alliance.”
    “Good to meet you. And your companions I have met before when they brought back my special operative team. Amalius, Aldarian and Torin. Good to see the sun still shines on you.”
    Amalius asked, “Where is your special operative team now?”
    “Classified. Sorry. The fewer who know the better.”
    Hektor asked, “Major, could you tell us a little more about the situation here?”
    “Well, the Amazons have got us holed up here, but that may be for the best. There’s plenty of food that the Xorians have stockpiled up for us to use. They’d been trying to keep it from us when my boys were still rebels in the woods, but now it’s just a pretty pile of wheat for us to eat.”
    “And the Amazons?”
    “There’s more than ten thousand of them. Maybe twenty thousand. We’ve got only five thousand in here. But with the way things are I think their numbers could be counting against them. The Amazons may know how to ride horses, but we’ve been practicing guerilla raids for years now. We strike and retreat from the city as well as from the forest. They haven’t been here long enough to build siege engines and we may be able to sabotage their work if they do. Plus, it’s looking like it’ll be a warm winter. If this hot weather keeps up… Let’s just say it won’t go well for the lady warriors in their metal armor. Our men wear leather and stay cool in the heat.”
    “Sounds like you have things well in hand, but we may have a way to end this siege entirely. Is there a private location we could speak?”
    “Of course. I’ve been using a study for such conversations. Follow me.” Major Dactirian saluted the other officers before leaving. The Lakatian guardsmen were left behind as the Major led the party through the corridors of the Palace until they reached a comfortable room with bookshelves, a desk, and several hardwood chairs.
    Hektor spoke first, “The Alliance has obtained a means for transporting any number of men across great distances. We think it may be time for a greater amount of cooperation between our two organizations. We could bring in thousands of men and break this siege.”
    “There are soldiers being trained in eastern cities, ready for war. When the word is given all could be brought here in the space of… perhaps five hours. More than 30,000 more men to fight the Amazons with. You would have more than twice their number.”
    “Interesting… When were you planning on sending these men here.”
    “They are green soldiers to be sure, but I think a victory would boost morale in the Alliance greatly.”
    “Hmm…” Major Dactirian thought on it for a few moments. Upon finishing his internal deliberations he spoke, “You said these were new recruits? I’m fearful of how they would fare against Amazonian veterans. We would have numbers and surprise, but the battle would be bloody and costly regardless. I’m not sure it would be wise to attack at this time. For now, we are winning the small conflicts. We frustrate the Amazons with our raids and as the sun continues to beat down on them, their condition will only worsen. I see no reason to risk our advantage yet. Perhaps once our enemy is worn down more by this siege.”
    Hektor replied, “I see. Well, it would be best for us to remain in contact now. We can start to share resources and men when you think it appropriate. Send word to us if the Amazons start to attack in earnest. We could bring in the recruits and turn the tide if the battle goes poorly.”
    “Of course.”
    “Is there anything else you would tell us for how to fight the Xorians?”
    “Yes… One thing. There are two threats in Greshen Dale now. A new one emerges and an ancient one. You should go there soon.”

    At this point, thewamp returned. We ended my campaign’s short session and switched back to Salzar’s pirate campaign.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-04-26 at 11:28 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #82
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #37/Total Session #48
    This session was attended by everyone! Woohoo! Middle_Snu, thewamp, Ozymandias, Salzar, and Zigfried were all there initially. Throgg arrived a little later. The session was held over Google Hangouts like usual.

    When we last left the party, Major Dactirian of the rebels hinted that two threats had arisen in Greshendale that they would soon have to deal with.
    Hektor asked Dactirian, "What two threats?"
    Dactirian said, "The old threat is an ancient evil. A monster called the Dahak."
    Aldarian said, "The Dahak? Isn't that one of the Titans?"
    "No, but close to it," said Dactirian. "The Dahak was an ally of the Titans during their war with the Olympians. He fought on the losing side and was punished for his crime. Zeus trapped him under a mountain like he did to Typhon. The Dahak festered under the mountain until a group of mages turned the mountain into the magical city of Greshendale that it is today.”
    Eathirilu said, “That’s right. Greshendale used to be just a little mage’s village, but then the archmage Tentineh uprooted the Dahak’s volcano to use it as a power source for the floating city.”
    Dactirian said, “And as you may know, the Dahak is responsible for Zeus’ current condition. That monster snuck into Mount Olympus and ripped Zeus’ first love, Metis, from his belly. He ran away leaving Zeus poisoned and unable to move or speak. Zeus cannot stop the rise of Blendegad. If the Father God does not return, we may all be doomed to a new Dragovinian pantheon.”
    Hektor asked, “But why do we need to go to where the Dahak is? Shouldn’t stopping the Dragovinians be our primary concern?”
    “No, for we need something from the Dahak to cure Zeus. When last you were with me I told you the ancient prophecy passed down by the druids.
    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.

    If Zeus is ‘dead’ then we need the weapon that caused him to die to revive him. We need the Pitchfork of Ruin used by the Dahak to poison Zeus.”
    Realization dawned on the party and they decided that going to Greshendale might be a good idea after all. There was still that new threat that Dactirian had mentioned though.
    The Major continued, “The new threat is the Dragovinians. I have spies in the city who have informed me of goings on there. The wizards of Greshendale apparently did not fully think out all the implications of their neutrality. Dragovinians are now allowed freely within the city and free practice of their ‘religion.’”
    Eathirilu said, “You mean they’re converting people into Dragovinians?”
    “And attracting followers with the promise of such a reward, if you can call it that. The converted feed off the followers’ blood. If the conversion continues at this rate… by the end of the month the city will be lost.”
    “What can we do to stop this unnatural spread?”
    “I don’t know. I don’t have enough men on the ground in Greshendale to risk sending them into the vipers nest where the Dragovinian temple is. I’m counting on you to make the difference.”
    With that the group packed up, said their goodbyes, and teleported off to Greshendale.

    All teleport spells to Greshendale are redirected to the city’s landing platform, a large stone gazebo on the south side of town. The gazebo exits onto the south side of the Entrance Plaza where a beautiful fountain and a few small market stalls greet them. The citizens of the city walked around the market buying and selling their wares. As the party of heroes teleported in they also noticed a few Dragovinians buying items and conversing with mortal people.
    Amalius said, “They’re everywhere. We should go meet with Talon. He’s in charge around her. If he hasn’t turned, then maybe he can tell us more about what’s going on.”
    (Talon is a dromite cerebremancer who leads the city of Greshendale. Talon participated in the talks that decided Greshendale’s neutrality. Amalius also developed a friendship with Talon due to their mutual desire to explore more about psionic magic)
    The adventurers made their way to Talon’s office and spoke with his assistant.
    “Mr. Talon is busy until two days from now. Could you come back at ten o’clock then?”
    With their appointment set the party felt they had done what they needed for now to address the growing Dragovinian presence in Greshendale. Next on their to-do list, the Dahak.
    The party went around town looking for sages who studied ancient monsters like the Dahak. Their inquiries directed them to Corwinius, an older journeyman wizard who lived alone, surrounded by books.
    The party called at Corwinius’ house. The man opened the door wearing a green robe and slippers and he straightened his spectacles. “Hello. What can I do for you?”
    “We’re interested in learning more about the Dahak,” said Tagenadi.
    “Excellent! I charge ten gold coins per hour of work. Come on in!”
    The party shuffled through the door into a large room with a counter and stools on the left side and a table with an assortment of mismatched chairs surrounded it. A large fireplace lit the room from the back side with various horns hanging from the ceiling over the mantle. Several other doorways led out of the room. The rest of the wall was covered in books, scrolls, and maps. Many of the documents had also spilled over onto the floor, table, counter, and seats. The faint odor of dust and old paper greeted the party’s nostrils.
    “Can I get you some tea?”
    Amalius, Tagenadi, Torin, and Hektor murmured their, “Nos,” and, “Thank yous,” while Aldarian and Eathirilu accepted.
    “Alright, I’ll be back in just a bit while the kettle heats up.” Corwinius moved towards the back door to the left of the fireplace, then paused and went to the fireplace to throw a log on. He looked at the party. “Sit! Make yourselves comfortable! I know I am!” He laughed and left the room in his slippers.
    The party sat in silence. Tagenadi prefered to stand. When the tea kettle whistled Corwinius shouted, “Any biscuits or crackers for you?”
    Amalius shouted back, “No thank you! We wouldn’t want to impose.”
    “It’s no trouble at all!”
    “All the same. No thank you.”
    In a moment later Corwinius came back carrying a plate with a steaming tea kettle and three tea cups. The old sage now wore a green beret. He offered the tea to Eathirilu and Aldarian before sitting down at the counter. “Now obviously you all know me as Corwinius, sage of monsters both ancient and modern. Otherwise, why would you be calling at my house?” he chuckled at his own joke, “But who are you?”
    The party introduced themselves using their real names and titles.
    “Glad to have met all of you! Now what is it we are researching?”
    The party launched into a series of questions led by Eathirilu about the Dahak. Corwinius answered many of the questions from memory, but of a few he said he would have to consult his books. He excitedly told the party an extended history of the Dahak.
    (For simplicities sake and because I’ve forgotten the exact questions, I’ll just be listing the information that Corwinius gave the party instead of rendering it as dialogue)
    The Dahak was a monster like Typhon that fought on the Titans side against the Olympians. The Dahak lost the war of the Titanomachy and Zeus imprisoned him. Just like the other monsters, the Dahak was trapped beneath a gigantic mountain. The Dahak would strain and push to free himself and in his rage belch fire through the mountain’s top. The straining and pushing resulted in earthquakes and the fire breathing caused the mountain to spew lava into the air. The Dahak’s prison was in fact the volcano that makes up the floating city of Greshendale.
    Greshendale used to be a small community of mages below the volcano, but Tentineh changed that by uprooting the volcano to serve as the building block for a new city. The removal of the mountain freed the Dahak who thanked Tentineh. The Dahak assisted with the building and protection of Greshendale. The monster gave several omnielementals, elementals composed of all four elements, to serve Tentineh. The ominelementals now live in the volcanic depths below the city with their common and para elemental offspring.
    The Dahak has assisted the people of Greshendale personally in the past and now does so occasionally by bestowing boons upon a few or in rare cases, by entrusting his Pitchfork of Ruin for when the city is in dire need of help. Today, Greshendale citizens pray to the Dahak by throwing a sacrifice into the well at the center of town. Corwinius was unsure if offering something like this was actually effective. He’d heard that some mages detected slight bits of divine magic around the center well, but the source of the divine magic was unclear.
    The Dahak still lives in the mountain below Greshendale.
    Outside of the Dahak’s actions to protect Greshendale the monster also protects the timeline. Whenever anybody uses too much time magic or attempts to subvert Fate’s destiny, the Dahak comes in to fix it. To the Dahak the biggest subversion of destiny is Zeus’ continued position as King of the Gods. Before Zeus there was a cycle. Cronos overthrew Uranos and Zeus overthrew Cronos. The process was supposed to repeat itself with Zeus’ son from his first wife, Metis. Unfortunately for the Dahak, Zeus learned of this prophecy and swallowed Metis whole while she was still pregnant. A few months later Athena burst forth from Zeus, a daughter, not a son. Zeus is safe for now as he can’t impregnate Metis while she resides within his stomach. As his son is the only true threat to Zeus’ power, he cannot be overthrown until his son by Metis is born.
    That’s why the Dahak attacked Zeus with his Pitchfork. The Pitchfork ripped Metis out of Zeus’ belly and left Zeus critically injured. The Dahak is now hiding Metis, although no one knows where.
    The party asked Corwinius a few more questions about people who had gone down into the volcanic depths of Greshendale to speak with the Dahak in person. Corwinius said there were a few people, but he’d have to research more about them. The party agreed to come back later that evening to see what Corwinius had uncovered.
    While Corwinius researched the group went shopping for new magic items and made an offering of gold and diamonds to the center well. Along with the wealth they sent down a letter reading,
    “To the Dahak, the terrible,
    If you are so inclined, we would like to speak to you, concerning the increasing influence of the Xorians and their threat to the natural order of things as well as how this all relates to the current death-like slumber of Zeus.
    We would be grateful if you would grant us this audience.
    - Signed Torin, Tagenadi, Amalius, Eathirilu, and Aldarian”
    When they returned, Corwinius told them the story of Horman. 150 years ago Horman was a merchant in Greshendale. He watched the shop while his wife went on trade expeditions. One time his wife went on a lucrative but risky expedition that used up all of the couple’s funds. She was attacked by bandits and slain. The cargo was stolen. Horman became a penniless widower in Horman knew the Dahak controlled time, so he wished to entreat the beast to save his wife. As he could not offer anything to the center well Horman went down into the Dahak’s volcano to speak with the monster in person.
    When Horman returned he was a broken man. The Dahak had not granted his request. Instead it had said,
    “Fate will be what Fate will be.
    It is good that you came down to see.
    For that is what your Fate will be.
    And Fate will know when time has come.
    For this message to be redone.”

    Horman became a beggar after he returned from the volcano and died a few years later.
    The party gave Corwinius a several dozen gold pieces for further research on those who had ventured into the volcano.

    That night the party found an access shaft and went down below Greshendale. They followed the winding passages, seeking a position near the middle at the bottom of the volcano. They passed into a section with earth all around them and small streams of lava slowly flowing by on either side. The thick smell of sulfur filled the air. Eathirilu cast a spell to protect the group from the noxious fumes that collected on the ceiling.
    Further down they came to a passageway guarded by an enormous earth elemental. Aldarian had been scouting ahead when the beast suddenly appeared in the smoke. Fearing it would attack him, Aldarian rolled forward through the beastie’s legs and stabbed it to little effect. Amalius told Aldarian to cool his heels while Tagenadi took a defensive position in front of the rest of the group. Eathirilu stepped forward and addressed the elemental in Terran, “We want to go further down, will you let us by?”
    The elemental attempted to swat Aldarian against the wall, but the elf dodged the rock’s slow attacks. The elemental said in a methodical grinding voice, “You must present passes to go further.”
    A quick telepathic discussion between the party made them realize that getting passes would probably be easier than slaying this elemental and who knows how many others. Eathirilu delivered the party’s response, “We’ll come back with passes then. Keep up the good work. Goodbye!”
    The elemental’s rocky eyes stared down Aldarian as the group left the way they’d come. Aldarian pointed his fingers at his eyes and then at the elemental in the “I’m watching you” gesture.

    After teleporting to Lakatia for the night the party returned in the morning to go to the City Works Commission that releases passes for going below the city. At the office a corrupt bureaucrat demanded a bribe before he’d hand out passes. Amalius threatened to report the bureaucrat to his superiors, but the rest of the party felt it was easier to just pay the man and move on with their lives. Fifty gold pieces later and the party had passes for everyone.

    Torin cast find the path to guide the party’s journey into the depths. They went down towards the lair of the Dahak. The passes aided the party in bypassing an ooze paraelemental in a large sewer pipe and an air elemental in a fan powered air shaft. The group reached a section filled with lava once again. They walked on and on until Torin’s spell directed the party to a gigantic room filled with lava. Stalactites came down from the ceiling and a few flat rocks rose up from the lava to allow a dangerous passage across the room. In the center was a large rock which the Dahak stood on.
    The Dahak stood more than ten feet tall with broad shoulders to match. No skin covered his humanoid body. Instead, bulging muscles barely covered his exposed white bones. As his sinews stretched up his neck they gave way to a bare skull with no jaw joint or teeth, only a small oval hole for a mouth. Ram’s horns curled out of the giant monster’s head and accompanying the horns was a mane of fire. The Dahak held the Pitchfork of Ruin at his side.

    (An old illustration of the Dahak I sketched in my notebook years ago for the last campaign, but Hey! Color!)

    The Dahak’s deep voice filled the room with an undertone of static, “And the message is redone and Fate will be what Fate will be.”
    A little shocked, the party whispered amongst themselves before the Dahak addressed them once again, “Why have you come here?”
    Amalius stepped forward, “We came to talk to you about Zeus and the Dragovinians.”
    “Then speak.”
    “Well… We were thinking that you want Zeus to have a child by Metis, right?”
    “And he can’t very well have a child if he’s as close to death as god’s get, can he?”
    “The child will be conceived. Of that I have no worry.”
    “Well we could make it easier for you. We’ve found a spell that will bring Zeus back to his healthy condition. Then he can do what he does with Metis and you’ll be all satisfied. All we need is your Pitchfork.”
    “And you will have it.”
    A moment of silence followed as the Dahak did not move.
    Torin said, “Were you going to give the Pitchfork to us?”
    “How do we get it from you?”
    “There are many ways. You could fight me for it. You could steal it. Or you could bargain for it.”
    Torin instantly said, “Bargain! Bargain for it!”
    Amalius said, “Surely you’ve noticed the Dragovinians rampaging across Cimmeria? They are a plague upon the normal state of the world. They corrupt everything they touch and they live forever. It can’t be Fate’s plan to allow victory for the Dragovinians. Give us the Pitchfork and we will vanquish the Dragovinians, restoring order to the world.”
    “The Dragovinians will die if I give you the Pitchfork or not. Their Fate is already set. But I have a different task you could do for me.”
    “And what is that?”
    “In the east there is a town called Nomingburg. There is a saying I like to describe Nomingburg, ‘A city long divided, must unite. A city long united, must divide.’ Nomingburg has been united for too long. It must be divided. If you divide Nomingburg then I will give my Pitchfork to you.”
    The party discussed the ethics of this proposal. Nomingburg is a mostly halfling city that so far remains neutral in the conflict between Xoria and the Alliance. The city is ruled by a group of assassins guilds that recently attacked the Bjorn’s wedding. The guilds are united by the leadership of one halfling, Duke Jingo. Undoubtedly, the Dahak wishes the party to kill Duke Jingo and watch the city divide as the different assassins guilds vie to fill the power vacuum created by the Duke’s death.
    An interesting bit of information also existed. At some point Amalius learned that Duke Jingo is the brother of the albino halfling, Stanton, that had a particularly malevolent influence on Amalius’ own past and that of Tagenadi. Stanton was the wizard who altered Amalius’ memories to give him a fake family that was taken from him. Stanton also cast the spell that forced Tagenadi to slay his own parents. Maybe Duke Jingo could be used for some form of revenge?
    The discussion as a whole was tabled for later. Either they could do as the Dahak commanded, or come back another time to fight for the Pitchfork.
    The party said their farewells to the monster and returned to the surface.

    The party split up to do a few more errands in the city (more magic item shopping) before their meeting with Talon.
    Talon greeted the party as they entered his study, “Good to see you again Hektor, Amalius, Aldarian, Torin. And you have some new friends as well. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Cerebremancer Talon of Greshendale.”
    “I am Tagenadi, a crusader against Xoria.”
    “I am Eathirilu, druid from Aractrash.”
    “A pleasure to meet you even if we live in unpleasant times. Lets talk.”
    Amalius asked, “So the Dragovinians have come into the city. And they move about freely, killing people and converting them.”
    “It’s true and I can do little about it. The neutrality agreement ties my hands. I could call for a council meeting to pick a side in the war or ban the Dragovinians from converting within the city, but I fear such a meeting would turn against me. I have few friends on the council and some of them have already turned.
    “My greater fear is the Sky Patrol. I’ve seen their members talking with the Dragovinians every day. A few of them have already turned, but their leader, Krodius, remains elven. If the Sky Patrol joins with the Dragovinians… I fear the rest of the city will be forced to follow.”
    “What can we do?”
    “I can do little. The Dragovinians know I am their enemy. They asked me if I wanted to be given their ‘gift’ and I refused. And as I said I have few friends with power in Greshendale. It’s why I was chosen for this job. Little chance for corruption. Only now it is working against me.”
    Eathirilu asked, “Could we start a fight and remove the Dragovinians that way?”
    “Unlikely to work. You might remove the ones who are already here, but the converts are Greshendale citizens. We’d have to let them back in. Plus, our neutrality prevents us from removing them in the first place. If you acted against the Dragovinians directly, then the Sky Patrol would become your enemies. Violence might even spark Krodius’ desire to turn. I wouldn’t advise it.”
    Tagenadi said, “Couldn’t we convince people to stop becoming undead beasts? It doesn’t seem that hard.”
    “I must remain neutral, but others have tried with little success. How can you turn down the chance of eternal life? An eon to perform your experiments and perfect your magic? I’m not surprised so many are joining the Dragovinians. The deal seems good on the surface, even if it has darker truths.”
    Amalius said, “Where are the Dragovinians based right now?”
    “Their temple is a large converted household in this area of town,” Talon gestured to a map on the wall, “but a frontal assault would surely backfire.”
    “I’m just trying to learn more about what’s going on. And who leads the Dragovinians?”
    “Lady Li leads them. She is the Lady of Colchis. A formidable spellcaster I’ve heard. She would command respect here even if she wasn’t leading this new cult.”
    Amalius thought for a moment then said, “What if we convinced the Dragovinians to leave?”
    “I don’t see how you could do that. They’re clever. They know that the mages here can’t resist immortality. They’d need to be forced to leave.”
    “Forced to leave… But what if it seemed like they left on their own?”
    “What are you thinking?”
    “There are Orbs of Dragonkind contained within each of the volcanoes of Greshendale, right?”
    “Yes. Each of the volcanoes has a caldera at the bottom. A wall of force holds the lava in and draws power from it. At the direct center of the calderas, just below the lava are small spheres of force, each one probably about three feet across. The Orbs are kept within the spheres. The center volcano has the Silver Orb, the southwest volcano has the Black Orb, the southeast volcano has the Green Orb, the northwest volcano has the Red Orb, and the northeast volcano has the White Orb.”
    (The players at this point exclaimed, “No Blue Orb to deal with Bavastatner in the desert!?! You bastard!” I twirled my fake moustache and continued DMing.)
    Amalius said, “What if we took the Red Orb and used that on the Dragovinians to get them to leave? They were made by a red dragon. The Red Orb should be able to control them.”
    “The Orbs are guarded though. Each by an ancient dragon. And they each power the lights for that section of the city. When the lights go off people will know something is wrong.”
    “Have the lights ever gone off before?”
    “Sure. There’s technical problems in the underworks all the time.”
    “Well maybe you can tell the people that’s what’s going on. Distract them long enough for us to control the Lady Li.”
    “Yes… That might work…”
    “Tell us more about the dragon guarding the Red Orb.”
    “His name is Invernix. He’s been guarding the Orb since the city was young. Tentineh had him under control, but since he died… no one dares go near the Orb. I’d prepare yourselves for a fight. Invernix lives in a cave in the northwest lip of the upside down volcano. Beyond that… Who knows what protects the Orb now? Everyone who’s stupid enough to go down there dies.”
    “Sounds like we’re in for some fun.”

    We ended the session there! We’ve already played the next session which contains the fight between Invernix and the party.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-04-26 at 11:29 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #83
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #38/Total Session #49
    This session was attended by Throgg, Ozymandias, Salzar, and Zigfried. The session was held over Google Hangouts using Roll20 like we usually do. Middle_Snu’s character, Hektor was left out of the action, but I took up the mantle of Tagenadi and played him for thewamp during this session.

    The party prepared for their battle with Invernix with a battery of protection spells. Fire immunity, resist lightning, resist cold, protection from lightning, protection from cold, and shield of law were cast on everyone. Death ward and overland flight were cast on those who needed the spells. Other buffs included several ones that Eathirilu cast upon himself, a few that Amalius cast on himself, and the activation of Aldarian’s invisibility ring. With everyone flying and protected from magical attacks of all kinds, the group teleported to just below the northwest volcano of Greshendale.
    Greshendale is composed of five volcanoes. One volcano at the center is five times the size of the other four. The central volcano imprisoned the Dahak before Tentineh created Greshendale. The other four volcanoes imprisoned the Dahak’s omnielementals that continue to reside within the city, powering the magical rituals that keep the city running. The volcanoes are ripped out of the earth and now float upside down in the sky. The city buildings rest on what was once the base of the volcanoes. Below, the calderas are filled with lava that is held back by five immense blue walls of force. The walls of force keep the lava inside for use as power to keep the city aloft. At the direct center of each of the upside down calderas a sphere of force similar to a wall of force contains an Orb of Dragonkind which powers the lights in each section of the city. The whole complex is nailed to the sky. The lowest peak (originally the highest) of the Dahak’s volcano is two miles above the ground, while the four volcanoes are three and a half miles from the earth.
    The party popped in one thousand feet below the caldera of the northwest volcano. From there the party inspected the floating Orb above. Eathirilu extended his sense with commune with nature and pinpointed Invernix’s cave on the northwestern rim of the caldera. Torin cast find the path to confirm the discovery of Eathirilu’s spell. The group had guessed that if they simply stole the Orb then the dragon would chase them wherever they took it. After surveying the area the group teleported once again directly into the lair of Invernix.
    The cave was small for a dragon. An immense forty foot diameter opening allowed access to the sky. The cave deepened and expanded forming an huge room. A tunnel extended leftwards out of the cavern. Invernix lay coiled at the back of the first room, his head focused on the entrance where the party appeared. The great dragon raised his head and spoke in a voice filled with the smell of fire and smoke, ”Hua hua hua! Welcome to your doom, mortals…”
    The party leaped into action! Tagenadi took a defensive position and tried to draw the dragon’s attention. Eathirilu began summoning some dinosaurs to aid the party. The Invernix rose and ignored Tagenadi’s ineffective cuts as he moved to a different part of the cave, the caldera trembling as he walked. “You came for the Orb, but you will find only...” he took a deep breath, smoke flowing into his nostrils, “FIRE!” Invernix unleashed a torrent of flames upon the entire party. Fortunately, everyone was protected from fire, but fire wasn’t the only thing dangerous about the dragon’s breath. The party stood shocked as the fire stripped away parts of their magical protections. Amalius lost his fire immunity but his vigor protected him from any serious burns.
    Invernix followed up his breath weapon with a horrid wilting spell that dealt a little bit more damage across the party. Torin moved in and healed as many people as he could. Aldarian circled around to flank the dragon with Tagenadi. Amalius moved to the edge of the cave to target the dragon with a failed mental attack. With the spell failed, Amalius taunted the dragon using his telepathy, “What’s the matter? Can’t perform as well in your old age?”
    “Come a little closer and I’ll show you how well I can perform.”
    Tagenadi began cutting into the dragon using his crusader training. Eathirilu finished his summoning spell and brought four tyrannosaurs into the fight. He quickly shapeshifted into a tyrannosaurus form himself and cast animal growth on himself and the four summoned dinos. His minions moved to engage Invernix and took big chomps out of the dragon's hide.
    Invernix could not stand the existence of the foul beasts. He uttered an incomprehensible word of chaos that wormed its way into the minds of Torin, Eathirilu, and Tagenadi. Tagenadi momentarily lost his hearing. Torin and Eathrilu lost their focus and were stunned. More importantly, the T-rexes were dismissed back to where they had come from.
    Amalius tried another mental attack that failed. Aldarian flanked the dragon with Tagenadi, but was unable to pierce its hide with his flimsy rapier. Tagenadi continued to attack Invernix, slowly shaving away the dragon's scales. The dragon ripped away at Eathirilu while the poor druid was stunned, removing much of the druid's bonus health from spells. Amalius had a moment of quick thinking when he realized that most of the party was still protected against lightning magic. He charged up a lightning wave and let it rip into the room. Eathirilu got a little singed, but the rest remained immune. Invernix, having no protections, took a fair bit of damage.

    Eathirilu and Torin regained their senses and the fight continued in much the same pattern from there. Invernix would rip one of them apart each turn and Torin would do what he could to keep everyone healthy. Eathrilu and Tagenadi bit and cut at Invernix. Aldarian took to riding on Invernix's back and trying to stab downwards, but found that ineffective as well. Amalius continued his electrical blasting.
    Invernix had enough of the barrage. No one had threatened his body like this in centuries. He throttled the neck of the dinosaur druid and then turned to bite the boney knight. He spit the knight out against the cave wall. With the annoying blades out of the way, Invernix was able to focus long enough to cast a heal spell on himself. The group collectively groaned. If he could heal up their damage, then they would run out of resources before he would.
    Amalius taunted the dragon again, "You can't win without healing yourself? How sad."
    “Eating you will be sooo satisfying."
    Tagenadi rejoined the fight. He, Eathirilu, and Amalius quickly undid the work of Invernix's heal. Fearing for his life, Invernix broke for the cave exit. Eathirilu braced his huge dino legs against the cave wall and held the dragon back. The two titanic lizards twisted in the cave. Eathirilu could hold the dragon, but not for long.
    Realizing that escape was his plan now, Torin erected a wall of stone blocking off the middle section of the exit so that no creature as large as Invernix could escape. Amalius followed that up by temporally accelerating himself and throwing down several electric walls.
    With no way out, Invernix flew into a rage. He pinned Eathirilu with his jaws, grabbed Tagenadi with his left foreclaw and Torin with his right. Tagenadi felt his bones snapping and crunching. If he didn't escape soon he would die once more and escape was impossible against the dragon's iron grip. Torin realized the same thing and freed himself using his Cape of the Mountebank. Amalius continued with electrical attacks. Aldarian stabbed at the dragon's wings, but only created superrficial rips. Eathirilu struggled to break free using his dinosaur might, but failed.
    Escape was only temporary for Torin. Invernix grabbed him once again with his right claw. Torin used a daily charge of his boots of teleportation to escape once again, but if escaping was all he could do then...
    Eathirilu wrestled and momentarily gained the upper hand. He twisted around and bit into the neck of Invernix. Blood flowed freely and that was enough. So many other wounds and electrical burns covered the dragon's body. He collapsed. Eathirilu stood and roared triumphant over the body.
    Amalius flew back into the cave as the others dusted themselves off. Amalius recovered the memory of where he'd hidden the key to Korm's lead box from the memory's hidden location in his psicrystal, Black. Amalius reached into his portable hole and opened the secret compartment in one of his old torches. He opened Korm's box and withdrew the dagger. Wielding the dagger he advanced on the dragon. "Let us be done with it," said Amalius.
    Realizing he would soon die, Invernix whispered into Amalius' mind, “Save her."

    We ended the session there! Next session coming soon!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-04-26 at 11:31 PM.

  24. - Top - End - #84
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #39/Total Session #50
    This session was attended by thewamp, Throgg, Salzar, Zigfried, and Ozymandias. The session was a little shorter than others because I was helping my wife prepare her fifth grade classroom for her first year of teaching! Still lots of roleplaying action.

    As Amalius approached Invernix with Korm the magical dagger Tagenadi shouted, "Stop!"
    Amalius said, "What?"
    "You can't kill him with that! You'll only make the dagger stronger! Am I the only one who has a problem with this?"
    For those of you who don't know, Korm is an intelligent backsassing dagger. Korm has the vorpal ability and goes stronger for each head he cuts off. Korm also has a connection to Amalgami, Amalius' grandfather and mentor. And did I forget to mention that Amalgami is a nasty lich favored soul of Eris, goddess of strife and discord? Tagenadi has good reasons to distrust this dagger after the others told him about offcamera.

    Tagenadi continued, "And I suspect the dagger may be subtly influencing your behavior as well. You’ve been acting differently ever since it tried to take over you in the desert. You’ve been more aggressive and willing to use lethal force. You were even hitting Eathirilu with lightning during the fight with Invernix! The dagger is affecting your mind and I think it is best left in your hole where it belongs.”
    Amalius replied, "You think the dagger is affecting my mind? Tagenadi, do you know what I've been studying for the past decade and a half? The magic of the mind. No one understands the mind better than I do. Trust me, there's no way for Korm to affect me unless I make a mistake like I did in the desert or at the Bjorn's Palace."
    "It still makes me feel uneasy. Why do we keep it around anyways."
    Korm piped in, "Because I know where Amalgami is and eventually you'll want to find him."
    "There, you see?" said Amalius.
    Tagenadi said, "Well if we need him for that then why don't I hang on to him. My mind works differently because I'm dead, so he can't control me even if I slip up. That way we can be sure he doesn't do anything evil."
    "If it makes you feel better, sure. Here you go." Amalius handed Korm and the dagger's sheath to Tagenadi who fixed the dagger to his belt next to his potions.
    "Thank you. I do feel safer."
    Korm said, "I feel like I'm tied to a dead thing."
    Amalius said, "As for the dragon... Maybe we shouldn't kill it after all. It said something to me telepathically, 'save her.' What do you suppose that means?"
    Torin said, "Definitely means the city, right? The dragon was defending it after all."
    Eathirilu said, "It could mean Mother Earth. Dragons are strongly connected to Gaia."
    Aldarian said, "Maybe he was just talking about one of lady friends."
    Amalius said, "I'm inclined to agree with Torin. I think he meant the city. I'd like to make sure though by invading his mind. He's unconscious so he can't resist."
    Torin exclaimed, "What we can't do that! It's unethical!"
    "Why is it unethical? Its no different than truth magic granted by Athena. And this way we're sure it'll work."
    "Invading someone's mind while they're unconscious is just wrong, even if it is a dragon. I think Tagenadi may have been right. Korm may have affected your mind without you knowing."
    "I can't believe this!" Amalius stalked to the edge of the cave in fury.
    Torin moved to follow, but Tagenadi put a hand on the dwarf's shoulder. "Let him cool off for a little bit. Let's talk about the mind reading. I think we should do it. After all mind reading isn't inherently worse than beating the crap out of something which you seemed okay with.
    Torin said, "The issue is it's unconscious. Do you think it's ok to beat up captive creatures? The same applies when you go into someone's mind. If they can't defend yourself then it's not a fair fight. It's immoral."
    "No, I wouldn't beat up a captive, but... I'm a soldier and there's no reason to hurt someone who is down. But questioning someone to help you win a war? This doesn't seem very different. And red dragons are horrendously evil monstrosities."
    "Unlike you, I feel all creatures are entitled to certain dignity, evil or otherwise."
    "You didn't really address what I was talking about. I don't think this is removing it of its dignity - certainly any more than speak with dead which I'm pretty sure you're okay with."
    "Speak with dead is different. You're not talking to the person. Really you're inferring from the body.
    "I think you're splitting hairs."
    "Some hairs are on the side of respect and others on the side of darkness."
    "Not in this case. Prying someone's secret out of their recently killed body for which you are responsible is not better than knocking someone out and reading their mind."
    "Yes, it is different because once they are dead you are in an entirely different moral realm."
    "Trust me," Tagenadi said, "That's not better. That's worse."
    "Of course it's worse but it has different morality."
    "But then speak with dead, which you are okay with, is worse than this?"
    "No, because the dead lose certain rights."
    "So do enemy combatants, but your suggestion seems to be 'kill helpless enemies so that it's moral to question them'. That seems distinctly wrong."
    "No living person should ever have less rights that a corpse"
    "Less does not equal the same!"
    "Oh fine," Torin said, "You can mind probe him, but I'm against it."
    Tagenadi asked, "Does anyone else have an issue with it?"
    Aldarian said, "Nah, I was all for it from the beginning."
    Eathirilu agreed, "Yes. Me too."
    "Alright then." Tagenadi walked over to Amalius and brought him back. Amalius prepared the mind probe magic and the questioning began.

    Amalius delved into Invernix's mind. First he looked for who or what Invernix was talking about when he said, "Save her." The her turned out to be Invernix's mate, Sartoria. For centuries she had been trapped in the Orb, powering the very object that served to enslave her descendants. Aldarian was particularly entertained that the "her" was, in fact, a lady friend. Invernix was willing to do anything to free his mate and on that note, Amalius got an idea.
    What if instead of using the Red Orb of Dragonkind on the Dragovinians, they used it on Invernix? An ancient red dragon would certainly give them the firepower they needed to remove the Dragovinians from Greshendale and possibly a number of other cities as well. Who knows? Maybe Invernix would even be in favor of the idea due to Blendegad's attempt to usurp the title of greatest dragon in the world. Amalius shared his plan with the group and they seemed to like the idea.
    Amalius tried to find memories of the Xorian invasions or the Dragovinians in Invernix's mind, but found none. The dragon had been cut off from the world. Next, he tried to discover whether Invernix would submit to domination in exchange for the release of Sartoria. It took some puzzling of the dragon's past emotions, but Amalius learned that Invernix would even swear an oath on the River Styx to save his mate. The party also learned that if Invernix was freed he would seek revenge on the descendants of those who enslaved him.
    With the plan approved, Amalius began to psionically dominate Invernix. After multiple attempts to break through the beast's magical defenses he got through and took control.
    Amalius spoke telepathically to his new thrall, "Now, Invernix, my friends are going to bring you around and you're not going to hurt us are you?"
    "As you say, weakling.”
    "Don't get up or speak when we heal you either." Amalius then turned to Torin and said, "Alright, heal him up. But not too much."
    Torin healed the dragon with a cure light wounds spell. Invernix's eyes opened. Amalius said, "We have a proposition for you that involves 'saving her.' In exchange we want you to do a few things for us. Now you can answer me. Do you know how to destroy the Orb?"
    "Yes. A mortal must wield the Orb and command a dragon to destroy it.”
    "And destroying the Orb is the only way to free Sartoria?"
    "Good. Let me on your back. We're going to go get the Orb."
    Invernix growled and smoke hissed out of his nostrils as Amalius floated up to land on the dragon's neck. The beast rose and ran forward on his four legs, bursting through the wall of stone placed in the fight earlier. He lept through the cave entrance and began to fall before unfurling his wings and beating them mightily. The dragon took flight.
    Invernix flew to the sphere of force surrounding the Orb and hovered next to it. Amalius commanded Invernix to grab the Orb after the sphere disappeared. Amalius carefully launched a disintegrate and destroyed the sphere of force. The Red Orb of Dragonkind fell into Invernix's claws. Amalius commanded the dragon to fly back to the cave and they landed safely.
    When they returned, Amalius took the Orb and looked into it. The Red Orb felt hot to the touch. Inside, Amalius saw a ancient red dragon exactly like Invernix. The dragon roared and flew ina circle breathing fire. Amalius sensed the anger eminating from the Orb. The dragon landed and the image zoomed in on its face. The dragon puffed smoke out of its nostrils and then laid down, ready to be commanded. Sartoria.
    Invernix submitted to domination by the artifact. The party began conversing telepathically about not destroying the Orb at all but commanding Invernix for as long as they could. Then, recalling that the dragon was in the room decided to get an oath from him.
    Amalius temporarily supressed the domination commands on Invernix before saying, "I have released you from my magic for a moment. Before we release your wife we have a few tasks for you to do. First, you just swear an oath to not hunt down the descendants of Tentineh the wizard."
    "I so swear it.”
    "On the River Styx. And know that if you try anything I will teleport away and you will never see Sartoria again. You will never find me in the many planes of the multiverse."
    Invernix puffed himself up and shouted, "I WILL SWEAR NO OATH TO YOU!” With that, he began casting a spell. Amalius panicked and teleported to the ground below Greshendale.
    Invernix had said under the mind probe that he would swear an oath on the Styx. What changed? Dragons have very high sense motive checks. When the party telepathically discussed not freeing him the dragon began to see that they had no intention of freeing him. Even if he could not hear the conversation, he knew from their expressions what they had decided.

    Invernix finished casting his heal spell and more of his wounds knit back into whole dragon flesh. The rest of the party tensed for a fight.
    Amalius gathered his wits on the ground and realized he had used up his magical reserve for the day. He had no way to teleport back to the cave and he was out of range of his natural telepathy ability. The range of communication to Invernix was infinite though. Amalius reached out his senses and commanded the dragon, "Say nothing except what I tell you. Say that this is Amalius and that I'm stranded on the ground. I need someone to come and get me."
    Invernix repeated, "This is Amalius and I'm stranded on the ground. I need someone to come and get me.”
    Tagenadi said, "I'll do it on my nightmare mount." Tagenadi summoned his nightmare and climbed on top of it before taking off. They slowly made their way three miles down to the surface. Tagenadi pulled Amalius onto the firey horse with him and they rose into the air once again. About a mile into their climb, the nightmare could go no further. An invisible barrier blocked its flight.
    Puzzled, Tagenadi stuck his arm through where the nightmare indicated it existed. He could go through, but the nightmare could not. Amalius attempted to fly up, but could not.
    Out of ideas, Amalius telepathed to Invernix, "Still stuck on the ground, reconvene down here."
    Invernix, still under the command to not speak, ran to the cave exit and took off once more. Eathirilu barely ducked out of the way. Aldarian grabbed hold of the dragon's tail as it passed and hung on for dear life as the beast dived.
    "Make sure he reaches the ground safely," commanded Amalius.
    Eathirilu turned into a pterodactyl and followed. Torin clicked his heels together and teleported down.
    Invernix dived past the descending Amalius and Tagenadi. As he neared the ground the dragon unfurled his wings and landed roughly. Aldarian released his death grip and rolled away to catch his breath. Invernix turned on him and stalked towards Aldarian. Two gigantic claws struck the ground, flanking Aldarian where he lay. Invernix leaned down and breathed hot, sulphurous smoke into Aldarian's face.
    Aldarian, to his credit, did not wet his pants. There was a lot of screaming though.

    The party regrouped on the ground and talked it over. Clearly Invernix would willingly do nothing for them. If they kept him enslaved he would eventually break free and possibly join the Xorians. It was decided that it would be best to free him and break the Orb. After all, two powerful dragons could make strong allies even if they are evil. Amalius set down the Orb and commanded Invernix to destroy it one minute from now. Everyone backed away.
    The party was silent as the seconds ticked away. Torin turned to Amalius and asked, "Are we sure this is a good idea? The dragon is evil after al-"
    Invernix leaped upon the Orb! His claws ripped into it, pounding it again and again into the soft dirt. A crack formed in the Orb, then another and another. Then it broke.

    A great red light burst forth from the Orb. The light filled the sky with a sunset glare. The party tried to cover their eyes. Aldarian and Amalius were too slow. The light blinded them. When the light faded, those who retained their vision saw Invernix necking with his freed mate, Sartoria. He whispered something in her ear and she flew off to the northwest. Torin healed the blindness in Aldarian’s and Amalius’ eyes.
    Invernix walked over to Amalius and looked down at the psion, "What would you have me do now, mortal?”
    "Go, be free." Amalius dismissed his own dominate, freeing Invernix.
    "Then I shall. Thank you for your service, psion. As for you, ELF!” Invernix whipped his snake-like neck towards Eathirilu. "You should watch yourself in armor like that. If I see you again, you're dead.”
    Eathirilu looked down at his enchanted red dragonscale armor and said, "We'll see who the dead one is then, lizard."
    Invernix grunted and narrowed his eyes. The party feared he might start a fight, but he turned away instead. The ancient dragon took flight and followed his mate into the wilds of the northwest.
    Torin said, "Talon is going to be pissed with us."
    Amalius said, "We'd better get back to Lakatia. I need to rest to restore my power. We can deal with Talon and the whole mess tomorrow."
    The party agreed and they teleported back to Lakatia using the last charge of the day on Torin's boots.

    We ended the session there! Since the party elected to destroy a powerful artifact instead of using it I gave them enough EXP to level up. 19th level baby! Almost to epics for the first time in over a decade of us playing 3rd edition.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-04-26 at 11:32 PM.

  25. - Top - End - #85
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #40/Total Session #51
    This session was attended by thewamp, Throgg, Salzar, Zigfried, and Ozymandias. Held over Google Hangouts using the Roll20 app just like usual. Roll20 has introduced chatacter sheets that I've begun to use. Everyone else is still using Mythweavers though. Maybe Roll20 should create a way to read Mythweavers sheets? Hmmm... Maybe I'll visit Roll20's forums after this! In other Roll20 news, they recently surpassed the amount of income they needed to be fully funded for continual updates. And, no, I am not a waking billboard for Roll20!
    This session also marks the introduction of Zigfried new character! Aldarian was a good character for introducing Zigfried to D&D in a high level campaign. Unfortunately, Zigfried was unable to make Aldarian shine even after we redesigned him to be more effective. His role as a sidekick to Amalius was too deeply ingrained to be changed. Zigfried's new character is super cool and the whole group liked his potrayal.

    Anyways... The session!
    After regrouping and resting at Lakatia the party decided they should go back to talk to Talon. Some of the party members were still confused as to why they'd destroyed the Orb instead of using it. Amalius, the main proponent of destroying the Orb when that discussion was had, admited that their may have been a personal reason for his desire to destroy the Orb. He hated seeing two lovers magically captured, no matter what type of creature they were, because he and his wife had once been there as well. This answer satisfied everyone else without any hard feelings.
    On to the talk with Talon! Everyone teleported off to the floating city while Hektor remained in Lakatia. As he was still an official member of the Alliance he could not openly associate with the other party members. He risked his ties with the Alliance if he did so. Additionally, as a wizard, he had a greater interest in maintaining access to Greshendale, access that might be revoked if he was seen with the group that destroyed the Red Orb of Dragonkind.
    The group porte in to Greshendale's entrance pad and for the first time the pad was guarded. Two Sky Patrol members looked over the party and waved them through. All except Tagenadi who they asked to speak to privately.
    "Sir, nothing personal, but you're not allowed in the city. There are restrictions against necromantic magicks." The Sky Patrol clearly saw through Tagenadi's hat of disguise to the skeletal form underneath
    Tagenadi said, "And those restrictions don't apply to the Dragovinians as well?"
    "They're a unique case. Dragovinians are in a halfway state, being both living and dead. Plus, the peace treaty contains a specific exemption for them. I'm sorry there's really nothing I can do."
    "Alright. I'll go."
    Tagenadi spoke with the others and arranged to meet them on the ground after they spoke with Talon. Tagenadi stepped onto the entrance pad and it teleported him four miles down to the outskirts of Greshendale.
    Normally the only way into Greshendale is by teleporting. Not everyone can teleport or knows someone who can. After numerous complaints the higher-ups in Greshendale created another means of accessing the city. A teleportation pad on the surface that requires a special token to activate. Where does someone get a token? From the nearby Dungeon of Trials, fully stocked with vicious monstrosities of all kinds, one of which might be guarding a token for accessing Greshendale.
    After the Dungeon of Trials and the pad were built a small community grew up around the base. The people in this community act as intermediates between visitors who can't teleport or complete the Dungeon of Trials. These go betweens will travel up to Greshendale to procure a spell or magical item on a visitor's behalf, for a small fee of course.
    When Tagenadi teleported down he was approached by one of the less respectable go between merchants. The merchant offered Tagenadi a free sample of Magical Miracle Cream, which the exiled knight turned down. Tagenadi found a stone bench not far from the pad and sat down to wait for his friends to conclude their business with Talon.

    Up in Greshendale, Torin, Amalius, Aldarian, and Eathirilu went to Talon's office in city hall, just off the plaza surrounding the center well of Greshendale. They asked for the soonest available appointment with Talon. The secretary went in to speak with Talon and upon emerging granted the party an immediate audience. They filed in. Talon sat behind his desk with a tired look on his face. His hands were clasped together in front of him and as the party entered he lowered them to the desk.

    Amalius, Eathirilu, and Torin sat in the three chairs in front of the desk while Aldarian was forced to stand.
    Talon's compound eyes stared at them in silence.
    Eathirilu spoke, "We ran into some complications."
    Amalius said, "We freed the life of two mortal creatures."
    Talon snapped back at them, "And what exactly is mortal about a dragon? You've unleashed two of the most evil beings in our history to roam Gaia once more. Who knows what damage they'll cause while we have to contend with the Xorians." Talon to his feet and shouted, "Compounding that with you destruction of an indispensible weapon against the Dragovinians and the sabotage of the lighting system in the Northwest Quarter! Tell me, what would you do if you were in my position?!?"
    The party was stunned for a moment until Amalius said, "I guess that's it then."
    "I'll say it is." Talon sat in his chair once more.
    "What will you do now?"
    "Inevitably the investigation that I need to order for this event will lead back to myself. I'll need to go underground and fight back however I can."
    "When you say underground do you mean literally or metaphorically?"
    "I mean literally, but I won't be sharing more of my plans with you. You seem to have a knack for screwing them up beyond belief."
    Amalius continued, still trying to make amends, "Is there anything else we can do for you at this point?"
    "Get out of my city and stay out."
    "We're sorry."
    "Just get out!"
    The party stood and left.

    Amalius, Eathirilu, Torin, and Aldarian exited city hall and passed by the center well where the Staff of Oblivion floated transfixed between twelve bolts of lightning. Dozens of people sold their magical trinkets and other wares from stalls in the plaza around the center well. Mortals of all kinds and Dragovinians walked through the plaza, going about their business. The party heard snippets of conversation about the Res Orb's destruction and the great light in the sky as they walked.
    A shadow passed over the plaza. Eathirilu glanced up and saw a small dark rain cloud directly over them. Greshendale is so high up that clouds being above the city is a rare occurence. Eathirilu puzzled over the cloud as the party walked right by the center well.
    A bolt of lightning ripped down out of the cloud and struck the Staff of Oblivion! The party was blown back from the center well by a thunderous boom. The people in the plaza scattered. As the ozone smoke cleared, the party stared at the center well. A man had appeared crouched within it, standing upon the lightning bolts in the well.
    The man was human, or close to it. He wore ancient formal clothes and a golden diadem crowned his head. Electricity coursed through his hair. An eyepatch covered his right eye and his left eye was deep green with a yellowed cateye slit instead of a pupil. His hands were ended in scaly claws and his right held a magnificently crafted greataxe with an abnormally long mahogany shaft.
    The man stood and walked on the lightning out of the center well towards the party. Upon exiting he pointed his axe at Amalius and shouted, "Amalius Halkias, do you know what you have done?"
    (And a big welcome to Zigfried’s new character!)
    Torin and Amalius began casting spells, but Eathirilu interrupted them, "Stop!" Then the old elf turned to the man with the axe and said, "Danar, is that you?"
    Danar lowered his axe "Eathirilu? Still running with the wrong crowd I see. How long has it been?"
    "Centuries! But I thought you'd died?"
    "I live again as a safe guard in case the Red Orb of Dragonkind is ever destroyed. I will reforge it, to prevent men from becoming enslaved to dragons once more."
    The townsfolk had scattered to the edges of the plaza. The police of Greshendale, the Sky Patrol, were arriving now, flying in the sky. They maintained their positions in the air, assessing the situation.
    Eathirilu spoke, "Danar, don't you know what's been going? There's a greater threat than Invernix and Sartoria in the world now."
    The crowd made way as a great Dragovinian wizard strode into the plaza flanked by half a dozen other Dragovinian spellcasters. Torin, Aldarian, and Amalius recognized the great wizard immediately. Despite his transformation Terroc's features were unmistakable.
    Eathirilu continued, "See there, Danar? Those are the new threat. Dragovinians. Half-dragon half-vampire monstrosities that seek to subjugate of all other life and to overthrow of the Olympians."
    Amalius said, "We gotta go. The lead Dragovinian is bad news."
    Eathirilu said to Danar, "Come with us and we can explain."
    Amalius held out his hands. Torin, Aldarian, and Eathirilu put their own hands in his. Danar hesitated.
    Terroc shouted, "Don't let them escape! Stop them!"
    Danar put his hand in Amalius' and they teleported to the teleportation pad on the Earth's surface below Greshendale.

    The party regrouped with Tagenadi telling him quickly about their meetings with Talon and then with Danar. They hurriedly tried to bring Danar up to speed on how the Dragovinians and the Xorians threaten the world, but sadly, you can't always get what you want.
    Terroc appeared on the teleportation pad, not too far from the party, followed by Krodius, the gray ef leader of the Sky Patrol. Soon more Dragovinians and Sky Patrol members filled the pad. The merchants around the pad quickly moved carts, wares, and themselves away from the pad.
    Krodius pointed a magical rod at the party and said, "You're wanted for questioning in connection to the events leading up to the destruction of the Red Orb of Dragonkind." All the mages on the pad readied spells to fire off at the party.
    A standoff ensued. The Sky patrol made demands for the party to "Drop their weapons and stand down!" But those demands were ignored. Spells were readied but kept in check to blast whoever made the first move.
    Tagenadi raised his kusari-gama and moved towards the teleportation pad. All hell unleashed.
    Several mages blasted Tagenadi with orbs of force. Others threw steel balls at him. Tagenadi dodged two of the steel balls, but the third hit him headon. Upon contact the ball expanded into a multitude of metallic bands that wrapped around Tagenadi, forcing him to the ground. Eathirilu recognized the entangling spell as bands of steel.
    Another mage cast black tentacles on the party. As the tentacles reached up to grab them, Amalius cast temporal acceleration. He stepped out of the tentacles and placed a few wards on himself. He lined up his shot just right and as time resumed he blasted the entirety of the teleportation pad with a massive lightning wave. The wave took out all the Sky Patrol members on the pad and severely injured Terroc, the lesser Dragovinians, and Krodius. Eathirilu followed the lightning up with a sunburst detonated in the sky. The lesser Dragovinins were caught in it and disintegrated.
    Tagenadi, using a special manuever taught to him by his master long ago, contorted his body and freed himself from the restricting metal bands. He raised his kusari-gama and moved to a threatening position next to the wide teleportation pad.
    Krodius and Terroc, fearing for their lives, teleported out. A replacement soon filled their shoes. Lady Shunawo Li, the leader of the Dragovinian revolution in Greshendale, came down along with a Sky Patrol member and a Dragovinian wizard.
    Lady Li led off with a devestating barrage of spells. Tagenadi attempted to disrupt her casting, but her concentration was immaculate. A version of Bigby's grasping hand appeared to grapple Amalius. She also fired off a disintegrate at Amalius, piercing his resistances and covering him in burns (single digit HPs!).
    Tagenadi warded off the magical tentacles and moved to attack Lady Li, but her magical defenses protected her from the worst of their attacks. Aldarian broke free of the tentacles and repositioned himself away from the rest of the group. Eathirilu morphed into a tyranosaur and lumbered forward ounof the tentacles. Torin attempted to break free, but found the grasping pseudopods too strong.
    Danar rushed out of the tentacles and engaged the arrived Dragovinian to prevent it from casting spells. The Sky Patrol member attempted to blast Tagenadi, but was stopped by Tagenadi's kusari-gama. The Dragovinian breathed fire on Tagenadi, but found the death knight protected by a spell that Eathirilu cast that morning.
    Amalius struggled against the giant force hand, but instead of trying to break free he focused his mind to ignore the damage to his body using psionic vigor. Amalius also reached out and touched Ladi Li's mind revealing that she was intelligent, but likely not intelligent enough to be a wizard. Most likely her power was innate like that of a sorcerer.
    Lady Li had been tripped by Tagenadi and he stood over her, harrying her, but she continued to cast spells from the ground. A wrack spell failed to incapacitate Amalius and a disintegrate brought some pain to Tagenadi, but he resisted the greater effects of it.
    Aldarian moved to flank Lady Li with Tagenadi. Eathirilu chowed down on the Dragovinian and Sky Patrol members that continued to arrive. Torin broke free from the tentacles and moved out of them. The little mages that arrived threw spells at Tagenadi, but he interrupted most of them with his whirling blade. Danar brought his axe down on Lady Li. It passed right through her! She was an illusion and Tagenadi had never noticed! Even Amalius was fooled as he sensed her mind where the illusion was!
    Amalius, unable to truly attack Lady Li, elected to dominate her allies instead. The minds of the Sky Patrol and lesser Dragovinians were coopted by their new psion master.
    Lady Li didn't let that stand for long. She whispered chaotic words into everyone's minds. Most of the party resisted, but Aldarian and all of Amalius' thralls were driven mad with bloodlust.
    Aldarian stabbed Danar in his madness, inflicting a viscious wound. Tagenadi knocked out one of the Sky Patrol members to prevent him from hurting himself. Their other affected opponents began to tear themselves apart with their bare hands.
    Eathirilu cast true seeing on himself and scanned the battlefield for Lady Li but he couldn't find her. Torin ran over with his goggles of true seeing, but was similarly unable to locate the missing mage. Even Danar joined the search party. He flipped up his eyepatch to reveal a magical gem in his socket. He swept the area but could not find Lady Li.
    Amalius decided to use a different method to locate her. He used a but of himself to bend reality to cover her in glitterdust. Their Dragovinian opponent appeared a few yards away on the opposite side of the party from the plot of thrashing tentacles. All the true seeing effects missed her because they didn't think to look thirty feet up in the air where she was flying!
    Lady Li swiftly flew next to Amalius and blasted him pointblank with a disintegrate. Amalius survived by the skin of his teeth. She blasted him with a second one. Amalius fell unconscious and began to bleed out in the grasping hand.
    Aldarian attacked one of the Dragovinians in his bloodlust. Tagenadi, Eathirilu, and Danar moved through the melee to get within attack range of Lady Li. They each scored a few hits on her despite her altitude due to their large forms and/or their reach weapons. Torin rushed closer to the party and got off a mass heal spell that restored Amalius to conscious and removed some minor cuts and scraps from Danar and Eathirilu.
    More Sky Patrol members poured in along with their fully healed leader, Krodius. The biggest and closest target was Tagenadi, who received a salvo of orbs of force in his back.
    Deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, Amalius called for a retreat. The group quickly agreed over telepathy. He temporally accelerated himself and positioned himself and his psicrystal, Black, to teleport everyone away. When time resumed, Black brought Aldarian closer with a dimension door and Amalius got Aldarian, Tagenadi, and Danar out with a teleport. Aldarian resisted in his insane state, but Amalius overcame the elf.
    That left Eathirilu and Torin. Torin still had his teleport boots, unfortunately, Lady Li was familiar with her enemies. She placed a wall of force between the two divine spellcasters.
    Perhaps not as familiar as she thought. Eathirilu changed into a sparrow to fly over the wall and into Torin's hands. Torin clicked his heels together and joined the rest of the party back at Lakatia.

    We ended the official session there, but afterwards Torin had a few choice words for Amalius. In the course of the fighting Amalius had killed ten Sky Patrol members. Was lethal force necessary during the battle? The discussion ensued! I was unfortunately, quite sleepy at this point and did not catch the specifics of the debate. I was also making quite a few **** jokes to lighten the mood for those of us not involved in the debate, but thats beside the point. Here's my attempt at a recreation.
    Torin said, "It's not so much what you did, but how easily you made that choice. Those men weren't asking to die. They were defending their country, same as we are."
    Amalius said. "What should I have done then? They'd all but joined the Dragovinians. Killing them was regrettable, but force WAS necessary."
    "But you didn't need to kill them, only incapacitate them. I know that's wrong and you know that's wrong. Just a few days ago these people might've turned into our allies."
    "It happened though. What should I do now? Turn myself over to the Sky Patrol for judgement? We all know how that would turn out. A swift trial and an execution."
    "You shouldn't do that, but..."
    From here the debate went in circles. Amalius had done something wrong, but who could punish him? What was an appropriate punishment? Should Torin decide as the only clerical member of the party? The Bjorn? Turning Amalius over to Greshendale, the Alliance, or the Xorians for judgement was out of the question.
    A small description of how law works was brought up. There are two types of laws in Cimmeria, divine law and mortal law. Divine law concerns sacriligeous crimes. Desecrating a shrine or killing a priest is a divine crime. Killing anybody within a city is a divine crime, but the fight took place just outside of Greshendale, not within it.
    Mortal law are the laws that mortals make for themselves. Amalius would certainly be guilty within the jurisdiction of Greshendale, but is it appropriate to try him there? Shouldn't he be tried by his people and peers? But who are those people? The party effectively functions as their own entity separate from any citystate or government with an established judicial system. How then could they mete out punishments upon each other?
    Torin left to discuss the matter with Athena and ask her guidance. Amalius would suffer no punishment for now, but Torin remained concerned. His friend was losing sight of what was right in favor. Was revenge for what the Xorians did to him and his family becoming a stronger motivation. He would talk with Wise Athena and only after that take action if action would be warranted.

    We ended the unofficial session epilogue at that point.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-04-26 at 11:33 PM.

  26. - Top - End - #86
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #41/Total Session #52
    This session was attended by thewamp, Throgg, Salzar, Zigfried, and Ozymandias. Held over Google Hangouts using the Roll20 app just like usual. Middle_Snu, who plays Hektor in the Alliance campaign and Korjak in the Rebel campaign, has gotten a new project with his job. This project unfortunately places him in Israel for the next year. We play through the internet so the location isn't as much a problem as the time difference. Middle_Snu is now ten hours ahead of most of the group. Since his attendance at sessions is now a practical impossibility, Middle_Snu's characters will be taking a backseat until he returns.

    The party sat down to talk about what to do next now that the Greshendale situation had turned against them. Should they attack Bavastatner, the blue dragon? Doing so would give them leverage with the people of Mars' Oasis even if the king no longer liked them. Danar particularly liked this plan. Danar also suggested visiting Sheerzen, where his ancestors now ruled as a forced client state of the Xorians.
    Eathirilu suggested doing something with Crux, which now served Tagenadi. Could they set Crux's forces against the Xorians and wipe out two bad apples with one throw?
    Amalius had a third plan, of attempting to get back into the good graces of the Alliance. Tagenadi and Amalius were banished from the Alliance. Tagenadi for his undead state and Amalius for his tainted lineage. Hektor's association with the group was secret, so he was clean and still attended Alliance Council meetings. Torin left the Alliance of his own free will and could potentially return if he renounced Amalius and Tagenadi. Eathirilu and Danar were new players on the field and although they had associated with Amalius and Tagenadi, they could renounce that association as well. But how could Amalius and Tagenadi get back? The other Council members took issue with very basic parts of their being.
    Amalius proposed a grand gesture that demonstrated their commitment to the Alliance so that their readmittance could not be denied. Something like the destruction of a great evil that threatened the Alliance could provide an opportunity. But what evil existed besides the Xorians that threatened the Alliance? Crux perhaps? But Crux was on their side.
    The discussion was tabled in favor of a day of rest. Perhaps the party would have new ideas after being refreshed.
    Amalius provided teleport services for everyone on their day off excursions. Eathirilu returned to his new base in Demeter's Garden and continued his magical shaping of it. Amalius reformed his psicrystal into a new red-wine sphere named Merlot. Merlot embodies Amalius' search for the truth. Danar received a crash course on the current political situation in the world. Aldarian went off to Satronwook for a true holiday of drunken debauchery. Torin went to the dwarven city of Jord to see how he stood with his sovreign lord, King Dainlin. Tagenadi meditated and practiced his martial techniques. Hektor teleported around to Alliance meetings and within Aractrash in an attempt to gain support for the Aractrashan Kingdom entering the war (Hektor will be doing a lot of this until Middle_Snu returns to the States). Additionally, Amalius convinced Tagenadi that Korm should return to Amalius' control.
    The morning after the "vacation day" the group gathered for breakfast with troubled faces. Many of them had disturbing and prophetic dreams last night. (I sent the players their individual characters' dreams. They discussed them in character, but I'll just post the dreams themselves here for you to read and enjoy them)
    Spoiler: Danar
    You walk through the halls where your old band of heroes met. You go to the great table where you ate with your old friends. Your seats have been replaced with open graves. Tombstones mark the graves. You see replicas of the Dragon Orbs embedded in each of the tombstones marking the graves. You walk by your friends and see them sleeping below with their Orbs intact in the tombstones above. Your own tombstone is missing its Orb.
    The final grave you come to is that of Tracy, the halfling trickster. Her Orb, the Blue one, is gone. You peer into her grave and you see a horrifically burned body. You smell the faint scent of burnt air and ozone. She failed in her mission. The Blue Orb is undone.

    Spoiler: Eathirilu
    Eathirilu: In a dream you enjoy your life as a panda once more. You hear parade music through the trees. You lumber closer to investigate and see the many marvels of Pan's processional. Towering giraffes. Women with tattered clothes. Satyrs running this way and that with their panpipes. Dwarves carrying napping lions on palanquins. Thousands of ants swaying to the song. And in the middle of it all you see Pan with his memorable grin.
    "Hello friend. What are you doing here?"
    You answer, "Dreaming."
    "Hmm... At least its a good dream."
    You join the party and enjoy yourself for a time. You dance, sing, and sleep with one of the Maenads while in your panda form. One of the giraffes plays a wonderful solo on the drums. Pan calls you over to sit on a levitating pile of burgundy pillows with him.
    Pan takes out a goblet of wine and sips it before speaking with you for a moment.
    The dream begins to fade. The edges become blurry.
    Pan says, "One more thing before you go! The Touch of Nature will help you in your quest. It is guarded in Elkhorn Grove."
    Pan fades until all that is left is his grin.

    Spoiler: Hektor
    You dream of Prometheus teaching you in a classroom. He speaks directly to you, "Nomingburg lies in your way, if you wish Aractrash to join the fray. Seek the Duke, approach him kind. The betrayer's touch, you will find."

    This dream is shorter because Middle_Snu isn't here to read it anymores.

    Spoiler: Aldarian
    Helios tells Aldarian to find the weapon of Apollo.

    This dream is also short because Aldarian is an NPC once more

    Spoiler: Torin
    I originally planned for a dream of sorts about Torin's position in the Hill Dwarf King's court, but Torin went there himself to see where he stood. Thus, Torin received no dream.

    In a few of his momentary teleport trips back to his suite in Jord, Torin noticed that the rooms seemed abandoned and dusty. His household staff is no longer there. Amalius was hoping that his extended family could be moved there. Amalius' family has been similarly ostracized and now live on the outskirts of Jipangu. However, they are used to living like nobility. Amalius hoped they could stay at Torin's home, but under assumed names, perhaps as the new caretakers of the estate if Torin's old staff have left him.

    Torin went to Jord to figure out if such an arrangement would be possible. We did not play out Torin's visit during the session as it would have been an extended one on one interaction while the other people present just watched. Torin's visit will be played out in a private session later on.

    Spoiler: Tagenadi
    You lay on your provided bed at night as you always do. While you can no longer sleep it is hard for a soldier to break habits so deeply ingrained. Seven or eight hours of sleep a night to be wellrested. Fewer on the eve of a battle to be up before the enemy.
    As you can no longer close your eyes you resort to resting your arm over them. For the first time since your transformation you feel the call of Hypnos. Despite your desire for sleep, in your disoriented state you accidentally shock yourself awake. If you sleep will you ever wake up again?
    You remove your arm and are surprised to see that you are not alone in the room. A pair of figures stand, one on each side of your bed. You sit up and immediately reach for your weapon, but a glance at the figures' faces stops you. These are not your enemies, but your parents returned.
    Your father sits by you, but does not touch you. "Son, it is good to see you."
    You reach for your father's hand, but your skeletal appendage passes through him.
    A tear rolls down your mother's cheek as she says, "You cannot touch us son, for we are truly dead."
    "How-" you begin, but your father cuts you off.
    "Listen. We come with a message from our lord. 'Find the lots,' he says."
    Your mother says, "Find the lots, son."
    Your father says, "Find the lots."
    Together they say, "Find the lots."
    Your father's head falls off into your hands. "Find the lots!" His decapitated head speaks to you with your mother chiming in.
    "Find the lots! Find the lots!"
    Your mother's head leans to the side and falls to the floor with a thud. Her voice joins your father's from the ground. "Find the lots, Tagenadi! Find the lots!"
    "Find the lots! Find the lots! Find the lots!"
    And then once more in a voice that can only be that of the Lord of Erebos himself, "FIND THE LOTS."
    You awake and are alone in your room. No heads, no parents. Only yourself.

    Spoiler: Amalius
    After a fitful night of chaotic dreams you wake up. You go to the wash basin in front of the room's mirror to perform your morning routine of splashing water in your face. The physical sensation helps you to regain your sense of self. Your routine is interrupted. The mirror is broken by a dagger stabbed into the center of it. There is a note attached to the wall by the dagger.
    In the all too familiar black writing of your grandfather, Amalgami, the note says, "Come to Nomingburg if you want to find me. -Poppy" The smell hits you and you realize that the note is written on human skin. The ink is unmistakably some mix of black bile. And it is still wet.

    Amalius showed everyone the note on his wall. He cast some spells on the dagger without touching it and discovered that it had a divination aura on it that affected mental defenses somehow. The party noted that Hektor's dream was very similar to the note on Amalius' wall. Both said to go to Nomingburg and Amalgami could be the betrayer.
    Two of the dreams also came from Titans. Aldarian received his message from Helios the Titan of the sun who is either imprisoned with the other Titans or under house arrest in India where the sun rises from depending on who you ask. Hektor's dream also came from a Titan, Prometheus the creator of humanity.
    Aldarian's dream was tabled for later. The last they'd heard of Apollo was when Titandra prophesized that he was, "with the Rebels." What that meant or how to get his bow seemed difficult to puzzle out.
    Tagenadi's dream was discussed. At first a language mistake was made where the party thought they had to find Tagenadi's parents' bones. Then they realized that GRAVEYARD PLOTS are not the same as LOTS. Plus, Tagenadi's parents were never buried. Tagenadi remembered that Lachesis, one of the the Fates, measures the lots of a man's life, but he was unsure what to do with that information.
    Danar's dream was clear in some parts, but not other. The Blue Orb of Dragonkind was destroyed and the guardian, Tracy, dead with it. But was the destruction recent? Had Invernix gone to where the Blue Orb was kept and destroyed it? Or had the destruction happened long ago? The dream was unclear.
    Eathirilu's dream seemed the simplest. Go to Elkhorn Grove, defeat the guardian there, and get the Touch of Nature. Eathirilu recalled that Elkhorn Grove was north of Sheerzen. Pan had traveled there and had a raucous party with the stag that lived in the grove. Upon leaving he blessed the stag. Eathirilu had been to the Grove in his youth. He remembered it as a vibrant place of green and beauty. A short waterfall came off a cliff into a clear blue pool below. Strong trees surrounded the pool and the river. Insects and creatures of all kinds moved around the fragrant escape from civilization. Eathirilu remembered the joy of diving off the cliff into the pool's water.
    Amalius sent Aldarian off to look after the Halkias family with a teleport. The party prepped for battle as Amalius gleaned the details of Elkhorn Grove from Eathirilu's mind with permission. Fly spells were given to everyone and Amalius teleported to the grove. His target was one hundred feet above the old waterfall.

    They arrived to a very different scene than Eathirilu's memories. The waterfall was gone. After centuries the water had worn down a sloped path to the pool. Only one side of the cliff remained, the other collapsed into rubble. The vibrant vegetation was all but gone, replaced by dead ground and grey, lifeless trees. Life no longer filled Elkhorn Grove. Standing on the remaining cliff side was an immense beast. The stag, grown to colossal size, was consumed by fungal growth. Mushrooms grew all over its body and the stag glowed with all sorts of colors. A thick cloud of spores surrounded the stag.
    (Music for the battle)
    Spoiler: Elkhorn Stag Image

    The Elkhorn Stag lifted its head to look at the party and breathed. Spores flew upwards out of its mouth and engulfed the adventurers. The spores dug into skin and bone, growing fluorescent mushrooms and causing agonizing pain as the original tissue was invaded by mycelia. The Stag bleated at them, almost laughing at them.
    Amalius reacted quickly by manifesting a pair of defensive powers. One restored his vitality, but only temporarily, while the other turned his body into solid iron. He moved further away as well, hoping that the beast could not breathe on him once more. Torin cast a mass heal on everyone, but Tagenadi. The undead knight flew further away, making sure that the beast could not breathe on him again for if it did he would surely die.
    Eathirilu cast a sunburst spell on the Stag, irridiating it with light and dealing extra damage due to the beast's fungal nature. Danar channeled a spell into his longaxe and dived at the stag. As he entered the spore cloud, thirty foot long pseudopods extended from the Stag's back in an attempt to intercept him. They scrapped his magical armor, but could not pierce it. Danar sunk his longaxe into the Stag's side, dealing a good blow. When he moved to wrench the axe out though, he found that he could not. The creature's skin began pulling the axe into itself. Horrified that the same thing might happen to him, Danar released his treasured weapon.
    The Stag whipped its four pseudopods and began pummeling Danar. The pseudopods were as sticky as the beast's hide and the ancient warrior found himself snared in their grasp. Amalius circled around to the other side and blasted the beast with fire. The Stag pranced about on the cliff and dodged a decent portion of the damage. The burns in its side were quickly filled in by spores from the great cloud around the beast.
    Torin healed Tagenadi up with a harm spell. Feeling well, Tagenadi dived in to help Danar. Unfortunately, he was similarly trapped by the flailing pseudopods. Eathirilu flew down as well and cast animal shapes turning himself and Danar into tyranosaurs, figuring that greater size and strength was the best way to grapple with the pseudopods. Tagenadi could not be polymorphed due to his undead status. Danar struggled to free himself but was unable to, even in tyranosaur form.
    The Stag pounded Tagenadi and Danar with its pseudopods. It unhinged its mouth and moved to swallow Danar, but he kicked it away with a dinosaur foot. Amalius unleashed another burning wave of fire that scorched away a section of ungulate fungus which was replaced by spores pmce more. Torin flew in, dodging a pseudopod strike, to give Tagenadi a freedom of movement spell. Unfortunately the stress of the situatiom caused him to lose concentration on his spell.
    Tagenadi tried mightly to get free, but failed. Eathirilu bit into the side of the Stag. He took off a chunk of foul fungus and spit it into the moist river bed below the cliff. Danar continued to struggle, but the adhesive pseudopods were unconquerable.
    The Stag moved Danar its unhinged mouth and swallowed the polymorphed gish whole. Its pseudopods pounded into Tagenadi and Torin, entrapping both of them. Amalius continued his fiery assault. He burned through and glimpsed Danar's lizard tail before the spores filled up the hole. The cloud of spores was noticeably thinner now. Torin panicked in the grasp of the Stag and used his cape to dimension door out in a puff of smoke. He reappeared flying high above the battlefield.
    Tagenadi's battered skeleton was close to falling apart (7 HP!). Eathirilu stretched over the Stag to touch Tagenadi with his dino-snout and cast word of recall. The spell took them both to Eathirilu's sanctuary with the pandas of Satronwook. Danar spotted his longaxe in the Stag's stomach. He ignored the foul smell of rotten fungus and used his carnivorous jaws to bite a hole to the outside. He struggled and managed to worm his way out. At the last second he used his foot to kick the axe out with him. The spores gathered to refill the hole once more.
    The Stag realized that most of the damage coming its way origniated from that annoying psion floating over it. The Stag dealt with this problem by taking a deep breath and expeling the damaging spores once more. The spores ripped through Amalius' protective spells and implanted themselves in his body once more.
    Torin hit the Stag with a fire storm and Amalius followed up with a new power he'd discovered, stygian conflagaration. Holy and unholy fire raged across the Stag's body. This proved to be enough. The spore cloud was exhausted and the beast could no longer repair the damage the spellcasters inflicted on it. It collapsed to the ground.
    The Stag began to glow with white light. Light particles were slowly brushed away by the wind, reducing the size of the colossal monster until only a normal, fungus-free stag remained. Then the stag's body was carried away by the wind as well, leaving only a ball of pure light, one foot in diameter.
    Danar assumed his human form once more and reached out to touch the orb. Amalius shouted, "Don't! It's for Eathirilu! Let's find him and Eathirilu first."
    Torin cast a sending and Eathirilu responded with his location. Torin burned two teleports on his boots to pick up his two companions.
    Eathirilu returned and the group gathered around the orb. The druid reached his hand out and placed it against the orb.
    The orb filled Eathirilu's body causing him to emit light in every direction. The light reduced to a dull glow except for the elf's feet which continued to shine brilliantly. The light entered the ground and spread out from Eathirilu. As it passed over the ground life returned to the grove. Green grass grew in the light's wake. Trees perked up and leaves sprouted. Wild flowers bloomed. The river gushed with clear water. Insects, birds, rodents, and deer appeared from nowhere and moved throughout the grove. Eathirilu let out a primal roar! The light spread into the distance reviving the entirety of Elkhorn Grove. The light at Eathirilu's feet climbed up his body in a band that increased in intensity the higher it went. The light concentrated at his head and formed a ball two inches in diameter on his brow. A fresh wind blew threw the grove and on the wind Pan whispered, "Use it when the time is right to return things to their natural state."
    Eathirilu experimented and found that his "head flashlight" persisted no matter what form he took.

    With the quest completed we ended the session there!

    P.S. If anyone was wondering, the Stag was a refluffing of an epic monster, the (Mu Spore. Additionally, this session’s illustration was done by Dmitriy Barbashin.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-04-26 at 11:34 PM.

  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #42/Total Session #53
    This session was attended by thewamp, Throgg, Salzar, Zigfried, and Ozymandias. The session was held over Google Hangouts using Roll20 as usual. I arrived late because I was celebrating my dad's birthday with him. This meant the session was quite short. We are also coming up on our group's Fake New Years Eve party where we meet up in person and play games all night. We usually don't play the campaign, plus the holidays will delay any updates. Have a happy holiday either way!

    With one of the dreams figured out and tied up (at least until they needed to figure out what exactly the Touch of Nature does) the party decided to tackle one of the other dreams, Tagenadi's. His dream came from Hades, Lord of the Underworld, who told him to "Find the lots!" But what exactly were the lots? Puzzling over it came up with multiple answers. The favorite answer was that the lots refered to the three Fates. Our group of adventurers wanted some outside confirmation on this though and where better to get confirmation on prophetic dreams than the Oracle at Delphi!
    The Oracle required an offering of some kind though. King Croesus of Lydia had offered the Oracle six tons of gold when he consulted with her before going to war with Persia. What could the party offer? They had a small cash reserve along with a collection of valuable magical items. One item stayed unused in their portable hole though, a +5 Holy Undead Bane Disruption Scimatar taken from one of the guardians of the Lich Shade. No one had used it and the party had been unable to sell it. Some members resisted selling it as the scimatar was the most powerful weapon in their posession, but eventually the party realized that their own resistance to giving up the scimatar was why it would be a good offering. An offering to the Oracle must feel significang and the scimatar surely was.
    After a little more discussion on what they would ask the Oracle, Amalius teleported the group to the holy shrine of the Pythia.
    A line of pilgrims stood out front, but they parted as the party walked up to the temple. Magic is not a common presence in the lands outside of Cimmeria and the party was positively dripping with it. The pilgrims respected this force and stepped aside.
    A priest on the steps of the columned temple greeted the party, "Welcome great lords. With whom do I have the honor of speaking?"
    Amalius introduced himself and his friends.
    "You are most welcome to the shrine of the Pythia. I trust you have brought a sacrifice to match your stature."
    Amalius pulled the scimatar out of his portable hole and unsheathed it. The sword glowed with holy green light. The preist marveled at it and took it in his hands. He felt the power within the sword and quickly sheathed it.
    "A fitting gift indeed. Please, enter."
    The priest led the group onto the shrine and past the first room where a few other worshippers were gathered. They entered the antechamber of the temple where a large painted statue of Apollo stood. At the back of the room hung a thick burgundy curtain. Standing in front of the curtain was a Greek woman wearing simple clothes.
    The priest spoke to the Pythia, "These are great men come far from Cimmeria to ask for your guidance." The priest introduced each member of the party. "You may ask your question when ready."
    Tagenadi spoke and Amalius translated, "Oh, Pythia. I have had a dream sent to me by Hades, Lord of Erebos, in which he commanded me to find the lots. Could you explain to me the significance of this dream and where I can find the lots?"
    The Pythia nodded before retreating behind the curtain. Smoke rolled above the curtain and the slapping of skin against stone could be heard behind it. The woman let out eerie moans and the smell of sulphur and burned herbs assaulted the noses of all who were present.
    (I learned about the Pythia from Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe and used a page from the book to visually represent the Pythia to my players. Here it is!)

    The Pythia emerged, sweaty and tired. The priest approached her and she whispered into his ear. The priest looked shocked. He took the Pythia's hand to support her and turned to the party, "The Pythia has been surprisingly direct. She says, 'Consult Homer's first book, the fifteenth of it."
    Amalius, being familiar with the structure of the book, quickly realized that she meant Book 15 of the Iliad. Eathirilu was well versed in his Homer and, upon prompting by Amalius, recited the relevant passage from memory,
    "Poseidon was enraged:
    ‘He may be powerful, but this is arrogance,
    to try and restrain me against my will, and threaten force,
    I who share equal honour with himself. Three brothers are we, sons of Cronos and Rhea,
    Zeus and I and Hades, Lord of the Dead.
    The world was divided in three, and each received his domain.
    When the lots were cast, I won the grey sea
    for my home forever, while Hades had the dense darkness beneath.
    Zeus may have taken the wide heavens, the cloud and air,
    but Earth and lofty Olympus are common to us all.
    So I will not submit to Zeus’s will. Despite his power,
    let him stay quietly in his own third.
    And let him not try to frighten me, as if I were a coward.
    Let him menace his sons and daughters with angry words,
    he begot them and they are forced to listen to his urgings.’"
    So the lots meant the dice that had chosen which of the three greater gods would rule over which domain. And Hades wanted them. Hades, who had gotten the worst of the three with his prize. The group suspected that the lots might've been loaded by Zeus to give him the sky. Perhaps Hades wanted to check the dice to ensure the accuracy of that long ago game of chance? For whatever reason he wanted them, where were the dice now?
    The grouped held a strong suspicion that the dice were with Hermes. Hermes is the god of chance, boundaries, trickery, thieving, and agreements. Many things that applied to the rolling of the lots that the three great gods did in the past. But if Hermes had the lots would he give them up? Amalius sent his mind out into the universe to find out. He came back with this answer,
    "The dice are with their keeper,
    The god of luck and circumstance,
    His name is Hermes,
    To gain them, play a game of chance."
    So Hermes did have the lots! But a game of chance? Wouldn't that be risky against the god of luck himself?
    Tagenadi said, "Well, Amalius' vision didn't say we had to win. Only that we had to play."
    Danar added, "And a game of chance isn't any different than what we adventurers do on a daily basis. We risk our lives every day. How would this been any different?"
    How could the party talk to Hermes though?

    The group was discussing this as the session drew to a close. I left at that point to go to bed early.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-04-26 at 11:36 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #88
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #43/Total Session #54
    This session was attended by Middle_Snu, Throgg, Salzar, and Ozymandias. Yes, Middle_Snu was one of those people! He's not back from Israel, but we changed our session time to start in the morning so that he could attend for part of it. Middle_Snu's microphone doesn't work well with Google Hangouts, so instead of using that like we usually do we switched to Skype for voice and video with the actual website of Roll20 for tabletop interaction.

    With thewamp and Zigfried absent, the remaining players elected to look more into the Lots at a later time. Tagenadi and Danar spent this session working on their martial skills. Danar was a bit out of practice, being dead for several centuries, so he needed some work.
    The rest of the group consisting of Torin, Hektor, Amalius, and Eathirilu headed to Nomingburg to examine various things directing them there. The note in Amalius' room left by Amalgami directed the group to Nomingburg. Hektor's dream from Prometheus directed the group to Nomingburg. The leader of Nomingburg, Duke Jingo, also had ties to Stanton who Amalius and Tagenadi have some personal enmity towards. Finally, the Dahak monster offered his Pitchfork of Doom in trade for the party to "divide Nomingburg." The party needs this pitchfork to bring Zeus back to life.
    Nomingburg is a town inhabited mostly by halflings. Most buildings are restricted to being under five feet tall resulting in most of the city being underground. There are a few exceptions, most notably the Hotel Nomingburg run by a genial half-orc named Toto.
    Several different assassins guilds dominate the political scene in Nomingburg. A few decades ago the assassins guilds were engaged in open street fighting to control the city and vie for contracts. The chaos resulted in a fire that almost destroyed the city. At that point and independent halfling assassin named Jingo mediated negotiations between the guilds that ended the violence and made Jingo ruler and Duke of Nomingburg. Duke Jingo is getting on in the years now and many rumors circulate that he is looking for the means to extend his life.
    The four assassin guilds in Nomingburg represent four different prestige classes, the basic Assassin, the old Ninja of the Crescent Moon from Song and Silence, the corrupted Blackguard, and the deadly Blood Magus.
    The party popped off to Nomingburg with the goal of speaking to Duke Jingo and finding clues for how Amalgami was involved in this mess.

    Upon arrival the group got a suite at Hotel Nomingburg. After settling in to their rooms they went to Duke Jingo's Palace to ask for an audience. They approached the Palace doors where two guards stood. Torin said, "We'd like to meet with Duke Jingo."
    The guard on the right said, "And I'd like to sit down while I'm on guard duty, but we don't always get what we want do we?"
    "It's rather important."
    "Uh-huh. I'm sure. Soooo important that I'll just let you in without learning your names, your business, and taking your weapons. Is that right?"
    Amalius piped up, "It's a private matter that we want to discuss with Duke Jingo alone."
    "Well, well. A private matter! I shoud've know it was one of those. One of his honeys got pregnant? Go right ahead then!" The guard gave a mock bow and gestured towards the door.
    The other guard began to snigger beore saying, "We can't let you in without knowing why you're here and who you are."
    Hektor said, "Of course. My apologies. I am Lord Hektor Rackgard. These are my associates, Lord Torin Stoneblade, Eathirilu Treeheart, and Amalius Halkias the Psion."
    "And my name is Romar," said the guard on the right, "Pleased to meet ya! Now your business."
    Amalius said, "It's a matter from his childhood. I really think we should discuss it with him in private."
    "Ooo! A matter from his childhood! One of his old honeys from childhood got pregnant and never got around to telling him until a hundred years later when he's ready to kick the bucket. Is that it?"
    "No! His brother! It's about his brother!"
    "His brother's pregnant? Now I've heard everything!" Both the guards kneeled over laughing and slapping their thighs.
    Torin said to the rest of the group, "We probably need to bribe these people. Do you think ten gold woud be enough?"
    Romar said, "Enough to buy me a pie, but not enough for you to get inside!"
    "How about fifty gold then."
    "Now you're talking. I'll take a message inside for fifty gold."
    Amalius said, "Give him the gold Torin. And you," he pointed at Romar, "Tell Duke Jingo that we know where his brother Stanton is. The albino brother. We'll be staying at Hotel Nomingburg if he sends a reply."
    "You got it chief. Pregnant albino brother named Stanton. Send a message to Lord Rackgard at Hotel Nomingburg," said Romar. Torin gave him the gold and the two guards split up their proceeds as the party walked away.
    Torin said, "Do you think they'll actually tell Duke Jingo?"
    Hektor said, "If not we can probably arrange a meeting through Toto. He knows a lot of people in town. It's just a matter of paying off the right people."

    The party spoke to Toto about arranging a meeting with Duke Jingo. He said it would take 500 gold pieces and several days, but he could manage it. The group coughed up the money and enjoyed the comforts of Hotel Nomingburg.
    When the group bedded down for the night Hektor headed into a magnificent mansion spell in his room. Torin went to sleep in his room. Amalius feared some sort of night attack and meditated instead of sleeping with the plan of receiving a restoration spell from Torin in the morning to recover. Eathirilu slept out on the balcony in his natural panda form despite their being a room and bed available for him in the suite.
    In the night Eathirilu felt the sharp sting of negative energy coursing through his body. He awoke and found he could not move. He opened his eyes and saw a skeletal face holding a bony finger to its teeth. "Shhh..." said the skeleton floating in front of the balcony.
    Unable to move, but still able to take purely mental actions, Eathirilu transformed into a T-Rex and collapsed the balcony.

    With a giant crash he fell into the interior courtyard of Hotel Nomingburg and awoke most of the guests. Amalius, already awake prepared himself by casting iron body. Merlot the psicrystal mentally checked in on Eathirilu to figure out what happened. Eathirilu telepathically informed Merlot that he'd been attacked by a flying skeleton in robes and mithral armor. Torin awoke and scrambled for his spear and his holy symbol. Hektor remained unaware in his mansion.
    The skeleton flew up and shouted at Eathirilu, "Tell the little puppy that I want to speak to him privately!" The skeleton blasted Eathirilu with an energy drain that sucked off five levels before it flew off to the north.
    Merlot, Amalius, and Torin came out, but the skeleton had already gone. Eathirilu transformed into a sparrow and Amalius flew down to pick up his paralyzed form. The group retired into the magnificent mansion while the guests and the hotel authorities dealt with the broken balcony.
    Torin restored two of Eathirilu's levels with previously prepared restoration spells. The paralysis was removed with a heal spell. The group quickly guessed that the skeleton was Amalgami the lich. Wanting to deal with him immediately they flew off to the north to find him.
    As they went north Merlot spoke, "Wait! He's behind us! He's speaking to me telepathically. He says he wants to meet with Amalius alone. I don't think its a good idea, master."
    After thinking for a few seconds Amalius said, "I'll go meet him. Merlot, you tell everyone else exactly what's going on. The rest of you be ready to come in if things go south."
    Amalius flew down into an alleyway where his grandfather awaited him.
    "Hello little puppy. It's good to see you again. Haven't you missed me?"
    Amalius shuddered.
    "Come now. Is that anyway to treat your grandfather?"
    "What do you want?"
    "You've been a bad little puppy. Breaking things and letting prisoners free. And now the prisoners are being approached by the Xorians. And you know how that'll turn out."
    "What are you talking about?"
    "Do I need to spell it out for you? You broke the Red Orb of Dragonkind, puppy. And the Xorians are sending Devanane, you know him? The one who put you into a little orb of your own? Well, he's a dragon priest of some sorts and he's going to Invernix and Sartoria to see if they want a piece of the dragon pantheon pie. And if they join you know the rest of the dragons will join, and then where will you be?"
    "Why do you care?"
    "Because I want this war to keep going. The Trojan War didn't destroy Greece because one side crushed the other. It destroyed Greece because both sides were even and it took ten years for one side to defeat the other, and then another ten years of chaos after that! And Eris doesn't want this war to end yet either. No no no! She wants it to keep going and going for a long while yet. And the dragons will disrupt that. If they join the Xorians... I just don't see how your pitiful efforts will matter. The Xorians will win. I can't have that. You can't have that. We both benefit." If skeletons could grin more than they usually do, Amalgami would be doing it.
    "So what do you want me to do? Kill Devanane?"
    "That won't do anything. The Xorians will just send another messenger. I want you to kill the dragons! Oh, and I also want you to take my little dagger out of his prison. If he's not out then I can't talk to you. And you know how much I like talking with my grandson..."
    Amalius took Korm out of his glove of storing. Korm yawned, "Ahhh! So good to be free! Oh hey boss! Good to see you again."
    Amalius said, "So you want me to kill the red dragons? What are you offering in return?"
    "Please, this isn't a bargain. We both benefit from the dragons' death. I can offer my own considerable magical power in defeating the dragons. Whatever you need little puppy. I'm yours to command."
    "Need some time to think it over? That's fine! Whatever you decide, just tell little Korm there. Now I'll be taking my leave. Do you have a hug for your grandpa?" Amalgami stretched out his skeletal arms. Amalius kept his arms firmly at his sides, holding Korm. "No hugs? Ah well. Be seeing you." With that, Amalgami flew away to the south.
    The group decided to do nothing about Amalgami's offer for now. They went back to the hotel and spoke with the attendants. They explained that Eathirilu had a night terror and he sleep transformed into a dinosaur. The group assured the hotel staff that future transformations would be avoided and gave them a large sum of money to cover the damages. The group went to sleep.

    In the morning they received word that Duke Jingo would see them tomorrow. The messenger indicated that he had some extra information to offer for a price. Amalius gave him a small bribe and the messenger said, "When Duke Jingo heard the name of Amalius, his face was surprised for a second before he covered with his usual stone-cold poker face." Amalius thanked the messenger for this information and sent him on his way.
    After waiting around for another day they went to the Duke's Palace once more. Romar met them out front, "Hey, Hey! If it isn't Lord Rackgard and his entourage! Duke Jingo decided he did want to hear about his brother. Come on in."
    The group went in. Romar took their weapons and directed them through a room to the left to a study where Duke Jingo sat behind an ornate wooden desk. The Duke was quite tall for a halfling and also quite old. His wrinkled skin and slow movements showed that he was clearly getting on in the years. Behind Jingo stood an old human wearing all black with his hands resting on two dagger sheaths in his belt. Romar took his leave.
    Duke Jingo said, "My servants have told me about you. Hektor Rackgard, Amalius Halkias, Torin Stoneblade, and Eathirilu Treeheart. I know about you. I understand you have something to tell me about my brother."
    Amalius said, "My lord, do you trust your servant there?" Amalius pointed at the old man in black.
    "Elijas? Yes, completely. He is my bodyguard."
    "Then I'll continue. We have news of your brother. He gained some scales you might say."
    "If you're saying that Stanton became a Dragovinian, I'm not particularly surprised by that fact."
    "But he's since lost those scales. He's now a mortal halfling once again."
    "And? What is he like?"
    Torin said, "He's young and healthy. Working for the Xorian rebellion." Amalius gave Torin a glare. He'd hoped they wouldn't reveal that information. If Jingo was looking for ways to lengthen his life then the idea of becoming a Dragovinian and then undoing it to become young again might attract him to the Xorian cause. Torin continued, "But he's lost his memory. Doesn't remember a thing about his life before he was changed back to a mortal." Amalius gritted his teeth. This presented an even worse picture where going Dragovinian didn't leave a realistic option of changing back.
    Jingo said, "Now that's at least partially interesting. I'll have to file that away. Is that all you came to tell me? That my brother is mortal once again? He might be bareable to be around if he's lost his memory, but I doubt it. We haven't spoken for decades and I'd like to keep it that way."
    Amalius said, "I suppose if your grace prefers to switch topics there is something else we'd like to discuss."
    "The other night we were attacked at the Hotel Nomingburg by a lich named, Amalgami. You wouldn't know anything about that would you?"
    Jingo visibly perked up from his previously dour self, "Ohoho! I was looking forward to this! One of the more interesting contracts I've encountered. The lich paid for a hit on the King of Aractrash! But he wanted to make it interesting so he told me to tell you if you showed up. So it could be a 'contest of wits' or something like that. Ridiculous isn't it? But fascinating too."
    Hektor said, "Excuse me? Did you say that someone is going to try and assassinate King Ballard?"
    "Yes. Left two days ago actually."
    "Is there anything else you can tell us about who you sent? Which guild, how many, that sort of thing?"
    "I'd rather not say. It's not in my usual habits to give away any information about an assassination attempt, but when a client pays good money for me to give that information away... It's actually quite satisfying."
    Hektor said to the rest of the group, "We have to go immediately. If the killer is walking, then he won't be there for months. But if he teleported... He's got two days on us. The King could already be dead."
    The party left Jingo's Palace with swift goodbyes, settled their bill at Hotel Nomingburg, and teleported to Yuettencal, the capital of Aractrash, the Jungle Kingdom.

    Hektor rushed through the city followed by the others to the castle at the center. Guards stopped him at the entrance. Hektor brushed past them, "I am Lord Hektor Rackgard of Lakatia. I will speak with the King immediately on a matter of the utmost importance."
    The group entered King Ballard's court where supplicants brought their disputes to be arbitrated by his highness. Amalius, remembering that King Ballard's father was humiliated, partially due to Amalgami's betrayal, telepathed to the rest of the party, "Call me Alan while we're here. The King probably hates anybody related to my grandfather."
    At this point I gave the players a document detailing all the high ranking members of Ballard's court. The document is spoilered for readers to look at as well. While no such document exists in game, it is information that most of them would've picked up either through their Knowledge (Nobility) ranks, by living in Lakatia over the past few weeks, or if you're Hektor, because you know these people personally.
    Spoiler: King Ballard's Court
    King Ballard (Dragon rider. Middle aged. Reserved, but ready to be a hero for his people.)
    Kinderax (The family silver dragon mount. King Willard, Ballard's father, rode her into battle against the Xorians forty years ago. She is in her second century of life.)
    Kash-to-bar "Clank" (Hobgoblin bodyguard and best friend of Ballard.)

    Queen Traliya (Noble daughter from the Human Isle. Political marriage, but successful. She doesn't deal well with men, but gets along well with women.)
    Tracer (Female elf bodyguard of Queen Traliya.)
    Julia (Handmaiden who protects Traliya from unwanted attention.)
    Halvira (Handmaiden who does most of the menial tasks for Queen Traliya.)

    Prince Staynard (Young prince ready for war with Xoria. Bad at fighting and intimidated by his father and the dragon.)
    Talfdir (Staynard's unsavory friend from Balin's Holt.)
    Shasta (Staynard's small, but noble friend.)
    Hongen (Staynard's joker friend who is also a spy for King Ballard.)

    General Kokinspiel (Specialized in jungle logistics. He is in charge of moving the King's gold and spiderwire. Seems hard, but loves to laugh as well.)
    Lord Valen (Ballard's younger brother. In charge of the gold mines. Resents his inferior position, but accepts it as the will of Zeus. Also in charge of information network of spies/propoganda for Ballard.)
    High Priest Alkmedemos (Older man who married Ballard's sister, Evagenia. Suspected that he bought his priesthood, but he is an excellent priest. Often speaks in metaphors or references myths no matter how inappropriate or not the reference is.)
    General Dalen "Shock N' Awe" (Supreme commander of the military. Known for stretching the limits of the no magic war laws. Would like war with Xoria, but respects the King and has set up terrifying defenses.)
    Admiral Lucas (Bitter that naval power is seen as a backseat to a mobile land force.)

    King Ballard sat on his throne wearing his royal robes and crown. The crier stepped forward and announced, "Presenting Lord Hektor Rackgard of Lakatia, Lord Torin Stoneblade, and their companions, Eathirilu Treeheart and Alan the psion."
    Hektor stepped forward and bowed before his liege. "My king, I wish to speak to you on a matter of grave importance."
    Ballard spoke, "I admit I have wished to speak with you Lord Rackgard. Don't think your visits to Bradel Fields have gone unnoticed. I'm not pleased that you've gone over my head in this manner. Not pleased at all." The King looked down awaiting a response.
    "Your highness, I have just learned that the Xorians have hired an assassin to kill your majesty. I ask that you adjourn court so that we may discuss this matter in private."
    Ballard stared at Hektor, "You're serious?" Hektor nodded. The king sighed. "Well then. Court is adjourned for today. I ask that my advisors meet with me and Hektor in the war room."
    The guards began clearing the room of the supplicants. King Ballard signaled his attendants and Hektor to follow him. The party went along as well.
    The two groups met in the war room around a large oval table. Various maps were kept in bookcases along with books on military strategies and logistic tactics. A glass cabinet next to the bookcases held figures to be used for troop movements in battle planning. King Ballard sat down with Lord Valen, General Kokinspiel, High Priest Alkmedemos, General Dalen, Admiral Lucas, and the new Archmage Preta joining him. The King's hobgoblin bodyguard, Clank, stood by the door. Hektor sat opposite the king on the oval table with Torin, Eathirilu, and Amalius next to him. You may recognize the name of Preta as that of Ozymandias' previous character. That's right! After escaping the Bradel Fields jail he fled to Aractrash and took a position in King Ballard's court.
    King Ballard started the meeting by asking, "So tell me Hektor, what is this assassination attempt?"
    "Your majesty, I learned only an hour ago that the Xorians have hired an assassin from Nomingburg to kill you. The assassin left Nomingburg two days ago. I don't know if the assassin has magically come here already or if they are coming via mundane means. Frankly, I don't even know if the assassin is one person or a group. I came here to help as soon as I could."

    Now I as a narrator would like to do this meeting justice, but its difficult to act out seven NPCs all at once in a session. I didn't even try to be honest. The established personalities will be useful to have at later points, I'm sure, but it was too much to attempt. I established the King's personality as a reasonable man, Lord Valen as a filial younger brother, and Alkmedemos as an overly religious man. The other characters didn't get to do much of anything.
    What exactly happened during the meeting? They discussed the possibility that the assassination attempt was a ruse. Perhaps the Xorians had sent an inept assassin, hoping that the forewarning the King received would result in the assassin's death. It fit the Xorians MO for executions, but seemed too unlikely to not take the necessary precautions (The readers should also note that while the party told the King that the Xorians paid for the assassination, it was in fact paid for by Amalgami).
    Lord Valen noted that an annoying halfling merchant from Nomingburg had arrived in court two days ago hoping to establish a trade contract for redwire. They had dismissed him as ridiculous as redwire is something of a military secret to Aractrash. Redwire's lightweight and strength make it doubly effective as leather for defending one's self. Perhaps this merchant, named Morin, was the assassin? Nearly everyone suspeted this as a red herring, but not wanting to take chances, Lord Valen sent out to capture Morin.
    Amalius/Alan went to a different room led by a random servant to perform a divination to learn more about the assassin. He received this message,
    "Someone soon will kill the King,
    With quarrel or blade, they will stab him,
    But the mask this person wears will be,
    Someone very close to thee."
    This brought some good information. The "thee" in the prophecy was unclear. Did it refer to Amalius or King Ballard? Either way, that meant that the assassin would likely disguise themselves as one of the people in the war room or someone in the royal family. The assassin would use a crossbow or a blade to kill the king. The attempt would come within a week (divination is only accurate for events within a week). Perhaps the most shocking part of this message was that someone will kill the king, not attempt to kill, but will kill. Was opposition to the assassination attempt hopeless? If all else failed the party hoped they could still resurrect King Ballard, but the king preferred to avoid that fail safe.
    After suggesting various defenses the party landed on several good ideas.
    1. Increase security around the castle. Doubled watches, new passwords, etc.
    2. Check anyone entering the castle for concealed weapons.
    3. Torin had a pair of true seeing goggles that could be active constantly to detect for magically disguised people. While Torin can't keep watch constantly, he could swap shifts with Clank to ensure the king's safety.
    4. Eathirilu could cast foresight on the king to warn him against any incoming sneak attacks.
    5. The King's advisors and the party could create a system of rotating passwords to ensure that if one of them was replaced, they'd know.
    6. Prior to implementing the password system Alkmedemos and Torin could verify the identity of the people in Ballard's group and Hektor's group.
    7. Closing the circle, Torin and Alkmedemos could use truth magic to ensure that the other one of that pair was not working with the assassin. Thus the only way the assassin could infiltrate those "close to thee" would be if the assassins had already replaced Torin and Alkmedemos in which case they would vouch for each other.

    After deciding on these formidable defenses, Middle_Snu had to leave. While it was only 3PM for us, it was 1AM for him on a Sunday, meaning a workday once he woke up. He said goodnight and we ended the session there. The questioning of the those "close to thee" had not taken place yet.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2017-02-20 at 01:32 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #89
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jul 2005
    Davis, California

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #44/Total Session #55
    This session was attended by Salzar, Middle_Snu, Throgg, and Ozymandias. Zigfried is in the process of moving to California and couldn't make it. Thewamp was participating in a Hearthstone tournament. I think he ended up getting in the top 16 out of 60 people. The session was held using Skype for voice and video and Roll20's website for die rolling. Note that I didn't say tabletop interaction this time, because there wasn't any during this session. Enjoy!

    The first step in the anti-assassination plan was to clear everyone in the war room. King Ballard cleared asked personal questions of all his subordinates in private to clear them while High Priest Alkmedemos cast discern lies and interrogated the party.
    (The interrogations were carried out with everyone still on the Sykpe call, but separated in character. The questions were also asked sequentially. I asked Hektor the first question, then I asked that question to Eathirilu, then Amalius, then Torin. Then I went back to Hektor and asked the second question, then Eathirilu, etc.)
    Spoiler: Who hired the assassin or the assassins?
    Everyone answered something along the lines of "Amalgami hired the assassin through Duke Jingo of Nomingburg.

    Spoiler: What is your real name?
    Hektor: Lord Hektor Rackgard of Lakatia.
    Eathirilu: Eathirilu Treeheart.
    Amalius: Amalius Halkias.
    Alkmedemos looked up at that answer and said, "The grandson of Amalgami?"
    "Betraying you family for the greater good as Orestes did, eh? We'll have to come back to that then won't we?"
    Torin: Torin Stoneblade.

    Spoiler: Are you working with the assassin or the assassins?
    Hektor: No.
    Eathirilu: No.
    Amalius: No.
    Torin: No.

    Spoiler: What do you know about the assassin or the assassins?
    Hektor: They were hired from Duke Jingo as some sort of test for Amalius. And the assassin left Nomingburg two days ago.
    Eathirilu: Amalgami hired the assassin two days ago in Nomingburg.
    Amalius: Amalgami hired the assassin to kill King Ballard. The assassin left Nomingburg two days ago.
    Torin: Amalgami hired the assassin to kill King Ballard as a test for Amalius. I think its some sort of contest between them that the lich set up.

    Spoiler: Are you the assassin or one of the assassins?
    Hektor: No.
    Eathirilu: No.
    Amalius: No.
    Torin: No.

    Spoiler: Do you have any special magical or mental triggers?
    I should note that I clarified this question to the players. Alkmedemos was looking for any "sleeper agents" who might have some sort of programmed response to kill King Ballard when they were alone with him.
    Hektor: No, but in the interest of full disclosure I do have a contingent teleport that will take me back to my home in Lakatia if I get knocked out.
    Eathirilu: No.
    Amalius: No, I do have my psicrystal, Merlot though.
    Torin: No.

    Spoiler: Additional questions for Amalius
    As Amalius had identified himself as the grandson of Amalgami and not "Alan" Alkmedemos had a few more questions for him.
    "Are you still in contact with your grandfather?"
    "He speaks to me sometimes, but I never seek him out. He's despicable."
    "Are you working with him on this assassination?"
    "No. I'm working against him."
    "Do you have any plans to betray the Alliance or Aractrash to the Xorians?"
    "No. Never."
    "What are your goals in your exploits with Hektor and the others?"
    "To overthrow the Xorians. They kidnapped my family. We've been reunited, but I plan to make them pay."
    "I see. I trust you Amalius. I shall make your case to King Ballard myself. Zeus Pitar willing, he will grant you clemency in the court."
    After hearing Alkmedemos' endorsement of Amalius, King Ballard allowed Amalius to remain with the same trust and respect that he gave the other companions.

    Spoiler: Not done with spoilers yet!
    The party also wanted to ask the same set of questions to Alkmedemos to see if he was working with the assassin. Along with a few questions of their own. Eathirilu acted as a lie detector using his high sense motive skill.
    Who hired the assassin or assassins?
    To the best of my knowledge, Amalgami the Betrayer did.

    What is your real name?
    Alkmedemos son of Theseus.

    Are you working with the assassin or assassins?

    What do you know about the assassin or assassins?
    Only what you have told me.

    Are you the assassin or one of the assassins?

    Do you have any special magical or mental triggers?

    Do you have any gaps in your memory over the last two months?
    No. I can't drink as much as Bacchus anymore. Getting on in my years, you know.

    What are your opinions on Aractrash joining the war against Xoria?
    I stand with the King, but I wouldn't be against taking the fight to those undead.

    Amalius set up his password of the day system for everyone who got close to the king and the defense began! The divinatio from last session would've only worked if the assassination attempt was coming within a week, so the party waited, ready for the assassin.
    During the week, King Ballard had a conversation with his old archmage, Hektor.
    Ballard admonished Hektor, "I've heard you're working with the Alliance now. I don't appreciate you going over my head in this. I chose to stay out of that war for a reason."
    Hektor said, "I respect your majesty's opinions, but frankly they are wrong. This war is not something you can choose to keep out of. You are the single strongest power that could oppose the Xorians and you choose not to. Without your aid the Alliance has no hope against the Xorians. They will lose and where next will Blendegad turn his serpentine eyes? South to the jungles that fought him in the last War of the Alliance."
    "And it was in that last war that the Xorians captured and killed 10,000 Aractrashan lives. I won't subject my people to such brutality."
    "Those people were only captured due to the actions of the Betrayer, Amalgami. Amalgami isn't on our side in this war."
    "We do have his grandson here, although Alkmedemos said he could be trusted. What about Amalgami himself though? He's the one who hired this assassin. Why?"
    "Amalgami is a follower of Eris, goddess of strife. My guess is that he wants you to join the war so that no city in Cimmeria will be at peace. The assassin is just a means of stirring things up."
    "Hmm... Well he has stirred things up. I'll consider your arguments again. With Phoenix lost to the Xorians you may be right. The Alliance may not stand a chance without Aractrash and it is better to fight with allies than without. No promises though."
    "Thank you, your majesty."
    "It's good to have you back at court, Hektor. You make me think."

    You may remember Morin the halfling merchant from Nomingburg, that the party had dismissed as a red herring? Lord Valen interrogated him and found that he was, indeed, a red herring. Morin was removed from Yuettencal to make sure, but it is very unlikely that Morin is the assassin.

    Three days after the meeting in the war room, the assassin struck. At night. The defenses in place were Torin, Eathirilu, and Amalius. Ballard had rejected Hektor's offer of a magnificent mansion to sleep in. He preferred his own bed. Torin stood outside the door wearing the true seeing goggles and a ring of friend shielding. The other ring was on Ballard's own finger. Any damage that one took would be shared with the other.
    Eathirilu slept on the roof next to the windows of King Ballard's rooms. Even sleeping, a panda druid's ears can catch a lot of sounds. Amalius wafted through the halls of the castle in a shadowy form, looking for any mental signature out of place. All seemed normal.
    Torin felt a sharp pain and an enormous wound opened in his chest. The King had been attacked! Torin flung the door open and saw something strange. The King stood, holding a bloody rapier over the body of... the King. Apparently the King with the rapier had stabbed the sleeping King in the bed. The King with the rapier had a similar wound in his chest as well. Torin cast mass heal on himself and the King in the bed, assuming that the King with the rapier was probably the assassin in some sort of disguise that could fool true seeing. Unfortunately, it was too late for the King in the bed. He had already died. Amalius' divination came true.

    The assassin King pulled out a crossbow and shot at Torin. The quarrel went through a chink in Torin's armor, but instead of hurting the dwarf, it nailed him to the door he'd just come through. The assassin turned and dove out the nearest window. The plink of the quarrel hitting the Torin's armor awoke Eathirilu. He looked over the side of the roof to investigate and saw the assassin clinging to the exterior walls of the keep.
    Torin cast freedom of movement on himself, easily removed the quarrel and dashed to the window to see the assassin as well. The assassin looked up at Torin and Eathirilu and smiled. He let go of the wall and cast a spell as he fell. He disappeared before hitting the ground.
    Torin shouted, "Dimension door! He'll have to be nearby! Search for him!"
    Eathirilu cast true seeing, changed into a sparrow and flew around the castle bailey, looking for someone who looked exactly like King Ballard. Torin drank a potion of fly and joined Eathirilu in the search.
    Amalius, in making his rounds of the castle passed by King Ballard's room once more. He sensed neither Torin nor Ballard's mental presence within. He investigated and found the King murdered. Calling on his great psionic might, Amalius bent reality and undid the King's death. Ballard breathed once more, but the wound in his chest remained. He did not awake. (bend reality used to copy psionic revivify for 800XP. Revivify restores the target to life, but at -1HP.)
    Amalius telepathed to Torin on one of his flybys and learned what happened. Torin came down and cast heal on the King. Eathirilu also came down, having looked all over the castle courtyard and around the exterior. If the assassin was outside and still in the area, he would've found him by now.
    King Ballad woke up and mumbled a few groggy incoherent words. Amalius said, "Your majesty. You died. We brought you back to life."
    "What? Died? I don't feel like I died."
    "You're still injured your majesty, see?"
    The King looked down at the bleeding wound in his chest. Torin's heals had repaired some of the tissue damage, but not all of it. "What happened?"
    The group repeated their experiences. At the end of the short tale King Ballard said, "Call my court. I need to speak to my people."
    Amalius said, "My lord it might be best to get you to a safe place first."
    "I said to call my court. I didn't ask for back talk."
    "Of course. My apologies." Amalius left to summon the people who were present in the war room previously. Torin healed King Ballard back to full while they waited.
    When Clank, Dalen, Valen, Alkmedemos, Kokinspiel, Lucas, and Preta were present the story was repeated.
    King Ballard said, "You people are supposed to protect me and the assassin got past all our defenses. I want something done now!"
    Hektor said, "Your majesty, you could still sleep inside the magical mansion. I do it myself. It's quite comfortable. You wouldn't miss anything on the outside."
    "Fine. It seems appropriate given the circumstances. Now can we track this teleportation that the assassin used? It might give us a clue on how he got through our defenses. He shouldn't have been able to teleport into the castle grounds from outside. Maybe he teleported back to where he got in. And find out how he disguised himself through true seeing!"
    The court murmured their agreement.
    "Now the sleep of the dead does not do much for my health. I will go with Hektor to the extradimensional mansion for the night. Clank will keep watch from within Hektor's rooms. Torin, give him your goggles. We'll meet in the morning to discuss this further."
    The room cleared out as everyone followed the King's orders.

    In the morning there was news of another attack. The assassin took on the face of Clank this time and attacked Lord Valen in his chambers. Lord Valen fought off the assassin until the guard showed up. The guard took a few more seconds to get into Valen's rooms as the door was still locked. The assassin disappeared once more when the guards arrived.
    Hektor's entourage met with the King and his court in the war room once more.
    King Ballard said, "I'm through playing defense with this bastard. We have to find him and take him out, not the other way around. I'm also worried about my family. We should assign a security detail to them and have them sleep in the mansion with me. Hektor can protect us from within if the assassin somehow gets inside while Clank watches the outside. Now I want to hear ideas on how to catch this shapeshifter!"
    The group came up with a few ideas, but nothing concrete. Trace teleport, a psion power, could track the assassin's dimension doors, but only if it was cast immediately afterwards. There was also the question of how the assassin's disguises were fooling true seeing. Hektor remembered that there was a halfling that had figured out how to get around true seeing, but could not recall any of the details.

    We ended the session at that point, but discussion of how to combat and find the assassin have continued in emails afterwards. King Ballard and Lord Valen were both keen on figuring out how the assassin got into the castle. Hektor thought another divination might be in order to figure out who the assassin would attack next. Amalius and Eathirilu began to suspect that Lord Valen had been replaced by the assassin, but only spoke about this in private with each other and Torin.
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-04-26 at 11:38 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #90
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #45/Total Session #56
    This session was attended by Throgg, Ozymandias, Salzar, and Middle_Snu. It was held using Skype for voice and Roll20 for the the tabletop. The player I've previously referred to as Longshanks is changing his screen name to Zigfried. I'll be changing his name throughout the thread accordingly. Zigfied is also going to take a break from playing with us for awhile, but will hopefully be back soon!

    In the morning the King, his entourage, and the party met once more in the war room. It was quickly decided that the King and his family would sleep in the magnificent mansion each night until the assassin was caught. Hektor would sleep in there with them. Tracer, the Queen's bodyguard, would guard the royal family within the mansion while Clank kept watch outside wearing Torin's goggles of true seeing.
    The assembled group also attempted a few methods of tracking the assassin down. Torin, having seen the murder weapon previously, tried a locate object spell on that. The spell failed, meaning the rapier was either out of range or warded from divination somehow.
    Hektor tried a scrying spell, but was unable to hone in on the assassin with the limited information available.
    A final magical attempt to find the assassin was made by Amalius with a divination spell once more. A new answer came back,
    "The assassin seeks to replace someone soon
    Either one with a blade or one with a loom
    Carefully go with eyes open wide
    The assassin will be the one who secretly rides."
    The party immediately suspected all the women in the King's court. Earlier the Queen had insisted that her two handmaidens join her in the mansion as their help would be needed to alleviate the discomforts of having to sleep in a new place. The group suspected that the assassin would replace one of the handmaidens, the Queen, or Tracer. The party hatched a plot and didn't tell anybody in the King's entourage.
    The day passed normally otherwise. No more assassination attempts and no great pressing business. Hektor attempted to find a suitable wife for himself. He was approached by Lady Badiana, the daughter of a count with small holdings similar to Lakatia. Hektor talked with her, but in the end rejected the lady. Her conversational talent didn't quite match his own, she wasn't particularly pretty, and marrying another small lord presented no chance of advancement for himself.

    That night after the royal family and handmaidens were escorted into the mansion to sleep the party set their plot into motion. They left the mansion and waited about half an hour for everyone inside to go to sleep. They then returned to the mansion's entrance. Clank met them there.

    "Hello, did you forget something inside?"
    Hektor said, "No, but we think the assassin may have gone inside while masquerading as one of the family or handmaidens. We want to go in and check."
    "Seems unlikely with the passwords and brain scans that Amalius is doing, but lets take a look."
    The group entered the mansion and took a look around. Torin and Hektor watched the door while Clank, Amalius, and Eathirilu went to examine everyone's rooms. The king and queen were a little miffed at being woken up and the handmaidens were frightened out of their wits. Prince Staynard didn't even wake up. After clearing everyone again, the party left.
    Eathirilu, still suspecting something, changed into a fly and buzzed back into the mansion. He flitted around. Everyone was asleep except Tracer and Staynard. The prince had gotten up and was looking around the mansion in apparent amazement. Eathirilu flew back to the door to the king's room where Tracer stood guard.
    Unfortunately for Eathirilu's senses and intuition were at their peak. A fly shouldn't be buzzing around a supernatural mansion cut off from the rest of the world. Tracer screamed an alert, "Assassin!" and drew her sword.
    Eathirilu instantly changed back into his elf form, fell to his knees, and put his hands up. "It's me! I was just providing extra security!"
    The king came out of his room, upset at being woken up once again. Hektor came out of his room as well. The king ordered Hektor to go get Amalius to examine Eathirilu. He might be the druid or he could be the assassin in disguise. Amalius confirmed Eathirilu's identity. Eathirilu's extra vigilance was also allowed to continue, now that the royal family knew about it. He walked around the mansion as a cat, smelling for anything out of the ordinary.

    The next day at breakfast Prince Staynard and and his small friend, Shasta, asked a lot of questions about the mansion and how it worked. Hektor answered them as best he could without getting into the specifics of extradimensional theory.
    After breakfast the party had a little interview set up with Kinderax, the court dragon that King Ballard rode into battle like his father before him.
    Eathirilu acted as a human lie detector while Amalius led the questioning, "Who rides you Kinderax?"
    "The King."
    "Anyone else?"
    "Well, Prince Staynard and Ballard's brother Valen have both ridden me in their lifetimes. Valen rode me when he was growing up. Willard had thought it best that both of them get training in case one of them was rendered incapable in an unfortunate accident. Staynard is training to take his place when Ballard dies."
    "And no one else besides them?"
    "Ballard has occasionally brought Queen Traliya on flights with him."
    "No one else?"
    "No one."
    "And the others always ride with King Ballard?"
    "Valen has not ridden in many years. Staynard and Traliya always ride with King Ballard. That is correct."
    "Thank you, wise Kinderax."
    "You are welcome."
    Eathirilu detected no lies in this statement. If the "one who secretly rides" referred to riding Kinderax she was either a good liar or the divination meant something else.

    King Ballard took Prince Staynard on a dragon riding lesson alone for the rest of the day. They didn't fear an assassination attempt while with Kinderax and away from the castle where the assassin was.
    Upon returning Staynard felt energized asked Hektor to show him and his friends the mansion. Hektor agreed and Amalius tagged along. They gave the young men a tour while explaining the basics of how the mansion worked. Hektor left, giving the men some privacy. Amalius lingered for a moment. Should he leave Merlot behind to keep an eye on them? He decided against it, suspecting that the men were going to engage in some sexual experimentation and not wanting to witness it. Amalius left, bringing his psicrystal with him.

    That night the royal family entered Hektor's mansion once again. The handmaidens, Hektor, and Tracer followed. Everyone went to sleep except Tracer and Clank. Tracer watched the king's door and Clank watched the mansion entrance on the outside. Eathirilu transformed into a bear and slept in front of the inside entrance. His supernatural hearing and smell would pick up anybody entering or exiting. Amalius wafted through the halls in a misty form, extending his mental senses for anything out of the ordinary.
    Clank ran into the mansion and tripped over Eathirilu. He shouted, "The assassin blew by me. Everyone is looking for him in the castle grounds, but he could've teleported away. He looked like Staynard. We have to search the mansion!"
    Eathirilu leaped up and they combed the premises. Staynard was gone. Tracer hadn't noticed anything, but when they went in the king's room, well...
    The bed was covered in blood. The king was nowhere to be seen. Queen Traliya lay on the bed, still asleep, with blood splashed upon the side that the king normally laid next to her.
    The handmaidens were still asleep.
    A search of the castle grounds turned up nothing. The queen could not be woken. Torin cast a heal spell on her and she returned to consciousness.
    She exclaimed, "He was here! The assassin was here! I didn't see him, but I felt him. He touched me and I couldn't move, or open my eyes, or even scream! Then he went to the other side of the bed and I heard him stab my husband. He dragged him off the bed, but I didn't hear him hit the ground. Then he left the same way he'd come."
    Hektor asked, "And which way was that."
    "I don't know!" The queen began crying and her handmaidens went to comfort her.
    Clank said, "It ends tonight. We're finding that assassin and bringing the king's body back."
    Torin said, "I think I might have a way."

    We ended the session there!

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