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  1. - Top - End - #91
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #46/Total Session #57
    This session was attended by Throgg, Salzar, Ozymandias, and Middle_Snu. Thewamp also came, but he was a little late. We used Skype for voice and video and Roll20 for tabletop interactions.

    Torin's method for finding the assassin was a discern location. Infallible and able to penetrate all but the greatest divinations, the party used it on King Ballard. The spell revealed that Ballard's body was kept in the bag of holding of R, leader of the assassins guild of Nomingburg. Specifically Ballard's body was between the bodies of Staynard and Shasta.
    Next Torin cast the same spell on R. The spell revealed his location as in the assassins guild hall in Nomingburg.
    The party cast their buff spells and teleported off. Clank insisted on coming with them. They arrived outside the guild hall and Hektor shouted, "Give us the body of King Ballard or we will burn your guild hall to the ground!"
    A few moments later and Ballard's body was tossed out the front door by two men in black.
    "And the other two as well!"
    Staynard and Shasta's bodies were tossed out next to Ballard.
    Clank rushed forward and checked the bodies for signs of life while Amalius began casting a divination. Clank found that Ballard and Shasta were dead, but Staynard was still alive. Staynard was comatose or something, but alive.
    Amalius' divination probed into the status of Ballard's soul. He got this response:
    “Ballard's soul is imprisoned
    Not to roam wild and free
    Ballard's soul is held
    By the Betrayer, Amalgami.”
    Cursing, the party returned to Yuettencal with the bodies.
    The group had a quick mental discussion of what to do next while Clank broke the news to the king's entourage.

    The party decided that they needed to act quickly on the information Amalgami had granted them about the Xorians attempting to meet with Invernix and Sartoria. Guessing that Devanane would be the one sent, Hektor tried a scrying. It failed. Eathirilu, hoping for better luck, tried a greater scrying which proved successful.



    Eathirilu saw Devanane flying on the back of a shadowy dragon. The group teleported to Lakatia and picked up Tagenadi for extra muscle. After prepping their buff spells once more they teleported off to catch Devanane with his pants down.
    They ported in and Amalius led off with a dominate. It was successful and Amalius ordered Devanane to shout out, "I am under the control of Amalius!"
    Ignoring this obvious news, Eathirilu cast a sunburst spell and Tagenadi moved to engage. Devanane wheeled his dragon around and darkness fell on the party. Those with true seeing (Torin, Amalius, and Eathirilu) could still see Devanane and his dragon, but the others could not.
    Eathirilu and Tagenadi stopped attacking and Amalius ordered Devanane to land on the ground a mile below them. Hektor, wanting to get in on attacking a foe who couldn't fight back, cast acid fog on Devanane. Amalius practically screamed at the party, "He's under my control! Stop!"
    Devanane teleported past the acid fog and continued towards the ground. As he did so, Amalius asked him about the magical items on his person. He begrudgingly gave them this list:
    Spoiler
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    +5 Keen Flaming Burst Vampiric Silver Heavy Pick (Vampiric deals +1d6 vs. living creatures and heals user for same damage)
    +3 Human Bane Unholy Ghost Touch Distance Returning Dart x3
    +5 Mithral Chain Shirt of Greater Sneaking
    Ring of Protection +5
    Belt of Pockets
    Immovable Rods x2
    Tunic of Physicality +6 (all 3 physical stats)
    Ring of Invisibility
    Amulet of Wisdom +6
    Earpiece to Jevaninada (Devanane described it as a constant direct link to the King. And that the King could hear him right now.)
    Bracelets of Resistance +5
    Boots of Teleport (3/day)
    +5 Hidden Shield (The group ooed and awed, but Amalius did not ask Devanane to clarify)

    Upon landing on the ground the group interrogated Devanane.
    “What were you trying to do?”
    “Meet with Invernix to convince him to join us.”
    “What were you going to offer him?”
    “A space in the new pantheon Blendegad is creating.”
    “And the dragon you’re riding? What is it’s name?”
    “Her name is Briasanon.”
    “How do you control her?”
    “By dominating her.”
    Amalius ordered Devanane to allow Briasanon to speak freely and turned to her, “Would you like to eat Devanane?”
    “Very much so, but Blendegad wouldn’t approve.”
    “You care what Blendegad thinks?”
    “Of course. He’s the greatest thing to ever happen to dragonkind in living memory. He will restore draconic dominance to the land and overthrow the Olympians. Why wouldn’t I serve him as fully and completely as possible?”
    “But you want to eat Devanane?”
    “Oh yeah. He’s a huge *******. I’d love to grind him up for all the **** he’s given to me these past few years.”
    “I see.”
    The group moved out of earshot to discuss their plan. They weren’t going to get much more information out of Devanane. Amalius could feel him fighting the domination with all his will. They decided it would be best to eliminate him, a complicated prospect given the exception to dominate, “the target will take no obviously suicidal action.”
    Amalius asked Devanane, “How long does your dominate on Briasanon have left?”
    “Four days,” Devanane answered.
    “Good. Order her to fly north for two days then back here.”
    Devanane looked at Briasanon and she took off to the north.
    After Briasanon had flown a good way off the group tensed for action. Hektor led off with a sudden maximized irresistible dance. The spell ripped through Devanane’s spell resistance and he set to dancing. The rest of the group moved in and chewed through Devanane’s hit points. They broke him in seconds. He began to crawl away, but Torin stepped forward with a cure spell and executed him.
    “Well that’s the end of that.”
    The group gathered up Devanane’s treasure, the Hidden Shield was unfortunately nowhere to be found. They scattered his ashes to the winds and teleported back to Lakatia.

    At this point there was a large discussion that is still ongoing through emails about what the next objective would be in the campaign. There were fifteen things we thought of:
    Spoiler
    Show
    1. Attempt to rejoin the Alliance (obstacles include Tagenadi being undead and Amalius being related to Amalgami).
    2. Attempt to get other citystates in Cimmeria involved in the war. Other citystates include Nomingburg, Mars' Oasis, and Balin's Holt. Nomingburg has the assassins guilds and a few people ready for militia, but how can you motivate them without money? Mars' Oasis has other problems to deal with (Formians and Bavastatner). Balin's Holt is heavily anti-magic and thus hates both sides in this conflict.
    3. Attempt to get Aractrash involved in the war. King Ballard was already headed in this direction after the assassination attempt. Will Staynard continue or will other forces in the court influence his decision? Could you be one of those forces?
    4. Something in Greshendale? There's still more orbs there for you to blow up. There's also a Dragovinian population that is taking over the city by converting people.
    5. Find the Lots for Tagenadi because Hades said so! Hermes has the Lots. Contacting Hermes just requires spending money. Then you "play a game of chance" with him to win the Lots.
    6. Find the Bow of Apollo for Aldarian because Helios said so! The bow is certainly powerful, but why would you do things for a Titan? Also, isn't Apollo using it?
    7. Danar's got some stuff he wants to do related to the orbs and his past life.
    8. Go beat up Bavastatner or something?
    9. "Divide" Nomingburg to get the Pitchfork of Doom from the Dahak for the prophecy to revive Zeus.
    10. Figure out what the Alliance and the dwarves are up to (This seemed to be the #1 priority).
    11. Do something with the giant undead armies. One at the Lich Shade. One at Crux. And all the undead dwarves underneath Xoria.
    12. Figure out who enchanted the Antenator (Big reward for Tagenadi if they do this!).
    13. Puzzle out more of the prophecy that Torin got from Athena that Tagenadi deciphered:
    "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."

    Or my version:
    "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"
    14. Play shuttle service to the lower level party to get the rest of the clues.
    15. Hunt down Amalgami. (The guys shied away from this one because it doesn't bring them closer to the end goal of stopping Blendegad.)


    The one objective the party took a step towards was finding the Bow of Apollo (#6). Amalius cast divination and received this answer from the universe, “Follow your rage and the answer will come to you.”
    The continuing discussion has favored securing Aractrash's involvement in the war (#3).

    We ended the session there, but before we did, we finally played out Torin’s sidetrip back to his family home in Jord! This trip was mentioned back in Alliance Session #41/Total Session #52. This was immediately after the group destroyed the Red Orb of Dragonkind and Torin had gotten a tip from his friend, Erick, that his position as an absent member of the royal court might be changing to a position of banishment. Torin's intention was to see if Amalius' family could be installed as caretakers of his old home. The hope is that if they are in Jord they will be safe from further Xorian attention.

    Spoiler: Torin's Side Trip
    Show
    Torin teleported to his suite of rooms in Jord and found them still deserted. Sheets covered the furniture and a fine layer of dust had settled over everything. After a brief look around Torin exited, keeping his head down lest anyone recognize him. He made his way to the home of his childhood tutor, Lasrar. Torin knocked on the door and was soon answered by a familiar face.
    Lasrar gasped upon seeing his old pupil. He stuck his big red nose out the door and glanced in both directions. He motioned to Torin, "Come on in laddie."
    Torin stepped inside and Lasrar closed the door behind him. The old dwarf spun around and opened his arms while saying, "Come 'ere laddie! I haven't seen you in ages!" The two friends shared a hearty hug with many slaps on the back before they broke apart.
    "Lets talk in the den. I'll get us some of this new mead I've been trying lately."
    Torin looked around the home that he'd spent many years in learning the ways of Athena. A few furniture pieces and wall hangings were different, but most of it was the same. He walked the well worn path to the den and was soon joined by Lasrar with two tall flagons of fizzing mead.
    "It's lemon flavored." Lasrar handed the mug to Torin.
    Torin took a drink and said, "Surprisingly good. I wouldn't think lemon and honey mixed well."
    "Right? Amazing isn't it?" Lasrar took a deep breath and sat down on one of the creaky ornate benches in the den. "So I imagine nothing cheerful brings you 'ere?"
    "No..." Torin paused, unable to come up with the right words to start.
    "I'd 'eard you and your fellows 'ad broken the Red Orb of Dragonkind out in Greshendale."
    "Yes..."
    "You know the king's talking about exiling you? Not that you 'aven't done that already to yourself in a way."
    "I'm doing what needs to be done."
    "I'm sure of that laddie! You know I'll always believe you on that! On anything. You must've 'ad a good reason for blowing up that Orb. I'm jus' worried that the rest of the court won't think the same way I do."
    "What are they saying?"
    "Bad stuff laddie. I think you need to come back home to protect your reputation. Of course Athena may say different than me, but if you gallivant around the way you are now, trying to save the world and all, you're going to find nothing much is left for you when you're done."
    Lasrar continued, "Now if you returned and you had a good explanation for the destruction of the Orb, well... You might have a good shot of getting high up in the royal court. Maybe even to the top."
    "I... I need some time to think about it."
    "Sure! Sure! Take all the time you need. Tell you what, I'll sound out what people are thinking around 'ere. When you've 'ad your think come on back and I'll tell you 'ow things sit 'ere."
    "Of course."
    "Well enough of serious things! Let me fill you in on the latest gossip..."
    Torin spent another two hours talking with his old mentor before excusing himself and teleporting back to Lakatia. He informed the others of the important content of the meeting, and that he was seriously considering leaving the group to return to Jord.

    TL;DR: Torin talked with his old tutor from childhood about giving up adventuring and returning to Jord. He's seriously considering doing it. Salzar plans to retire Torin soon and switch to a new character. As he said, "It no longer makes sense for Torin to continue to associate with the party."

  2. - Top - End - #92
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Ah! I didn't put up how the assassin accomplished most of what he was doing yet did I? I shall add it to my to-do list.

  3. - Top - End - #93
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Quote Originally Posted by Anxe View Post
    Ah! I didn't put up how the assassin accomplished most of what he was doing yet did I? I shall add it to my to-do list.
    Please do. I'm actually really interested to know once such knowledge is far enough away from importance to affect the immediate future of the game.

  4. - Top - End - #94
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Hello, loyal readers! Zigfried here (formerly Longshanks). I like to write a little something as far as backstory goes for all my characters in order to flesh them out and make them easier to rp. So today I would like to share something I wrote up for my latest character, Danar. It is presented as something of a history book with several chapters which I shall spoiler below



    A Succint Biography of Danar,
    King of Dragonkin


    The Nameless Childhood

    Spoiler: Danar's childhood and conditions of his heritage.
    Show
    The man now known as Danar was born under another name. Unfortunately this birthname has been lost to all but the most ancient of creatures and it is said that Danar himself forgot it. It is known, however, that Danar was born into a hatch of 6 brothers and sisters, himself included. This hatch was the 37th royal-blooded generation spawned from the mating of Rilopenarol and his human mate, Izalith. From birth, each child of Rilopenarol’s blood was destined to have a brutal upbringing on account of Sheerzen’s laws of royal succession.

    For the 37 generations prior, the throne of Sheerzen had been decided by natural selection: every child with a claim to the throne was made to compete in a fraternal contest of might of indefinite length, as the contest was to last until one child proved himself above the others to claim the throne. Historically, this worthiness was ultimately decided through mortal combat using the magical aptitude granted by each generation’s ancestry. This promised a dangerous future for Danar, as he was considered in court to be the “runt” of the litter in terms of magical aptitude.

    Danar’s difficulties in harnessing his magical abilities were further compounded by his compassionate spirit. He could not bear the idea of bringing pain to his brothers and sisters during their sparring sessions. Filled with despair, he went to the grand dragon Rilopenarol, who showed compassion to all of his broodlings, and asked for his wisdom. Rilopenarol heard his pleas and said “Henceforth, you are exiled from the city of Sheerzen. Leave your namesake and flee now.

    The words were harsh, but the tone and meaning were not. And Danar understood what it was that he must do. It was forbidden for any broodling to leave Sheerzen before an heir had been decided, so that night Danar fought through a number of guards as he escaped the city and the contest for the throne. He fled deep into the wilderness until hunger, exhaustion, and his wounds began to overtake him.

    Deep in the marshlands East of Sheerzen, Danar saw the flickering lights of a small and humble village. Danar called out to the villagers as he approached, and began to collapse as several men ran over to meet the wounded young man. It is said that his last thoughts before losing conciousness at this point were his attempts to choose a new name by which to introduce himself. Regardless of whether this is true, history recognizes this night as the birth of Danar...


    The Rise of Danar

    Spoiler: Why is Danar a gish in the first place?
    Show
    The villagers that took Danar in are known to be the primary ancestors of the major population that makes up the village of Tectoctar and the many hidden settlements scattered throughout the land features that bear Danar’s namesake.

    Danar was nursed back to health by the village that had taken him in, and he soon realized that this humble settlement was plagued by all manner of monstrous beasts that would try and prey on it’s citizens. Seeing their plight for survival Danar steeled his will and made a resolution: he would protect these people that had saved him from the beasts on their doorsteps or die trying. He borrowed the largest axe he could find from one of the village’s woodcutters and sat himself in a pose of meditation at the center of the town.

    That night a black dire wolf approached. The villagers of the town quickly fled into their homes leaving only Danar outside, waiting in the firelight at the center of town. He felt the wolf’s intention to kill and as it lunged at him, he dodged and struck it down with a furious and desperate assault of swings of his axe. The villagers emerged from their houses at the sounds of the death throes of the wolf. Seeing Danar there, standing over the dead beast, they felt truly safe.

    In the years that followed Danar became masterful at slaying dangerous creatures with only an axe and martial prowess. Those that saw him were inspired by his strength and courage and in turn Danar was thankful for the humble people that supported his newfound livelihood. Danar began to teach the other men of the village how to fight and soon enough, he had grown a stable of warriors brave and strong enough to easily defend their homes.

    Although it was only a small militia, in Danar’s eyes they were greater than any king’s army. He began to lead his men on expeditions to tame the surrounding marshlands and begin more settlements. Danar led them by showing them what they were capable of by doing it himself first. He never asked a follower to undertake a task that he himself was unwilling to perform. In this way the small village of Tectoctar began to thrive and grow. And stories of Danar had begun to spread...


    Invernix Cometh

    Spoiler: Why would Danar return from death upon the destruction of the Red Orb of Dragon Control? And why do he and Eathirulu recognize each other?
    Show
    Stories of Danar the Beastslayer and Hero of Men had spread far and wide. Eventually those in Sheerzen made the connection that Danar was the runaway that had cast off his responsibility to fight and struggle for the throne. Officially he had been exiled and his existence was no longer of concern to the royal court. But these words carried further.

    Eventually Invernix, the great red dragon and infernal wyrm heard of the broodling of Rilopenarol who had arrogantly cast aside his draconic heritage to gallavant with men among the swamps. Enraged by the thought of a mere dragonkin believing himself to be greater than his draconic bloodline, Invernix took wing and flew to Danar’s Marshlands. For weeks Invernix hunted out settlement after settlement among the riverlands in order to force Danar into confronting him.

    Danar hesitated to confront Invernix directly. Not for fear of his own life, but for fear of what would become of his people should he fail and allow Invernix to destroy him. He spent this time evacuating his people safely and trying to devise some means by which to defeat the great red dragon. His hand was forced, however when a brave young elf chose to confront Invernix.

    Danar had met the elf before. He was a druid and had been causing issues with Tectoctar’s settlements by destroying dams and foiling the attempts of hunting parties. Yet now he stood before Invernix in direct confrontation. Danar knew he had to join him, and engaged in the fray.

    Danar and the elven druid battled Invernix for hours, surviving by the skin of their necks by using the dense cover of the marshlands to their advantage. Invernix razed down hellfire and would dive only to find his prey had avoided him, each time becoming more and more enraged by the insolence of the mortals. Inevitably, the brave duo succumbed to Invernix’s power. The young druid was unconcious and on the edge of death and Danar found himself pinned beneath Invernix’s massive foreclaw. It was then that Danar made a desperate final plea to Invernix. He shouted that he would do anything the dragon wished, but spare the elf and his people. Invernix was pleased.

    Invernix made Danar a solitary offer. Return to Sheerzen and take the throne with extreme prejudice. Should Danar fail to become king of Sheerzen, Invernix promised that he would hunt down every construct of man east of Sheerzen and raze them to the ground. At this time, a small group of Danar’s men charged Invernix hoping to free their endangered champion. Invernix quickly smote them to ash and a large swath of greenery with them to punctuate his conditions.

    Danar’s heart sunk as he watched the men die. He steeled himself and agreed to the great dragon’s terms. With his pride satisfied, Invernix moved his claw from Danar and departed as swiftly as he had descended on the marshlands. Danar pulled himself up. Seeing the spirits of nature approaching to care for the elf that had fought alongside him, Danar left the druid and trudged his way back to Tectoctar to lick his wounds...


    Ascent to the Throne

    Spoiler: Danar's struggle for the throne of Sheerzen.
    Show
    Danar healed quickly and began to make plans for his return to his city of birth. He had always attempted to fight and lead without the use of his magical potential, but had been practicing it nonetheless if only to push his own limits as a warrior. He instructed his best blacksmiths to forge a new weapon of his design. This axe was not merely a large implement to behead creatures. No, this time he had his men make a truly martial weapon of elegant design.

    Danar told his people that he needed to seek protection for their settlement from the grand city of Sheerzen, and to know that they were always in his heart. And thus, the hero left the people he had saved to confront his past.

    There was a great uproar when Danar showed up in the court of Sheerzen. All were outraged at the audacity of him returning to claim what he had cast aside, whilst his siblings had been battling their entire lives for the throne. Furthermore, the heir of Sheerzen had all but been decided already. Danar’s eldest brother, Einhart had proven himself to be the strongest and most gifted and all of their other siblings had conceded for fear of their lives. Danar challenged him to a mortal combat to be held the next day. The court was in denial but Einhart accepted with confidence, eager for any chance to further prove his right to the throne.

    The two brothers fought the next day in an arena for all of Sheerzen to see. Einhart was a truly gifted sorcerer, but Danar had spent years facing overwhelming odds and teaching others how to accomplish the same. He would not be defeated. He cleaved his eldest brother in twain, but not before losing his right eye to a bolt of energy in the process. Thus Danar proved himself the true heir of Sheerzen, and no other would challenge his claim to the throne after that day...


    Danar, King of Dragonkin

    Spoiler: What connection does Danar have with the Orbs of Dragon Control? And what does his future hold?
    Show
    Danar’s coronation was a monumentous occasion for the city. The nobles hailed him as a prodigy tempered by the wilds, returned to restore order to the city. Danar was disgusted by the insincerity of the court he now presided over. He was however overjoyed to be welcomed back by his ancestor Rilopenarol, who seemed truly unsurprised by the events as they were unfolding.

    Days after Danar’s coronation, an elder earth elemental named Rhinston arrived bearing a gift from the king of earth elementals. It was a now gem-ified eye of one of Rilopenarol’s own ancestors. The eye of an ancient bronze dragon in crystal orb form, magically resized with the intention of serving as Danar’s replacement for the grievous injury he had suffered. The orb looked much like a living draconic eye and glowed with a pale green magical aura. Danar accepted the gift and allowed the earth elemental to place it in his now gaping socket. All surviving portraits of Danar display him after this day, wearing an eyepatch of royal status over his crystallized draconic eye.

    And so Danar was king of Sheerzen, but in his heart he was biding time. His hate for Invernix and the tyranny he had suffered festered, and Danar dreamt of the day that he could truly ensure that his people were safe. He honed his skills as a warrior, and developed his potential for magic much further than any would have thought possible for the “runt” of his hatch. Under Danar’s wise rule, Sheerzen prospered and the king cared greatly for his people regardless of their dogma for draconic superiority.

    The people of Tectoctar, however, forsook his name. They believed their savior had abandoned them for the glory of the throne. They no longer saw him as the hero that had led them to survive and later thrive when it seemed impossible. Eventually the stories of Danar, Hero of Men, ceased to be told.

    Danar led Sheerzen’s armies in greater conquests of magical beasts and otherworldly foe alike in a neverending quest to make the world safer for mankind. In time Danar began to slay chromatic dragons and spread propaganda of their evil ways. He summoned other great heroes of his age to his cause. This league that Danar had assembled would eventually be responsible for the creation The Orbs of Dragon Control, thus ending the tyranny of dragons for good...


    As for an idea of Danar's appearance, he appears as though in his late 40's by human standards and shows to be human all but for his hands which are actually bronze-scaled draconic claws. He wears an eyepatch over his right eye to hide his crystallized draconic eye which glows green when used as a magical focus. He typically wears clothes that are decidedly noble but still practical that are black and shades of gray (Think Ulfric Stormcloak for those familiar with Skyrim, or Eddard Stark from Game of Thrones). Also inspiration for Danar's axe comes specifically from a weapon known as the "bardiche" which lies somewhere on the spectrum between axe and halberd: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bardiche. The choice for said weapon representation felt appropriate for a warrior who has spent much time mastering the craft of decapitating beasts in as few fell strokes as possible. Overall I'm very excited to spend more time with this character now that I have a more solid idea of who he is. :)

  5. - Top - End - #95
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    How the assassin accomplished the murder of King Ballard, not once, but twice.

    The first potent clue to the assassin's identity was this,
    "Amalius 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.'"
    Led by a random servant and Someone very close to thee being the important parts of that clue.
    The assassin had already taken the form of a servant.

    So why didn't Amalius detect the servant's intelligence score being far higher than what one would suspect for a servant? The assassin was constantly under the effect of a misdirection spell. This makes his alignment seem to be that of whoever he casts it on (another random servant), but also his intelligence score for the purposes of the quick mental scan that Amalius performs.

    Why didn't the assassin's disguises get caught by true seeing? The assassin was a doppleganger, but that disguise is seen through by true seeing. However, the assassin was also trained in applying mundane disguises with makeup. He was already doing this when the party arrived, just to be careful. And no one had a high enough Spot check to realize it.

    Whenever a conversation took place in the war room, the assassin was right outside the door as a servant, listening in with his high Listen score. He knew the party's defensive preparations from the beginning. He was also included in knowing the password that Amalius managed as he was already among the castle staff.

    The assassin was aware of the shield other spell. His plan was to fake a wound on himself while disguised as the King, sneak in to the King's chambers using the shadowform spell that lets you slip through walls, kill the King, and then quickly shove him into a bag of holding. When Torin opened the door he would see "the King" who would then tell him the assassin jumped out the window when his attack wasn't immediately successful. A search of the castle ensues and the assassin sneaks away in the mess.
    That plan failed because Torin's initiative was higher than the assassin. He came in before the assassin could shove the body into the bag of holding. The King was still dead, but the assassin couldn't abscond with the body.

    The assassin then disguised himself as Clank, hoping to sneak in and kill the King again, but the party had too many guards around him for that to work. He tried to replace Lord Valen, but Valen was able to fight him off.

    The party moved the royal family into the mansion at this point, so now the assassin had to replace one of the royals to get access to the King at night. During the day the King was always too well guarded.

    First, the assassin replaced one of Prince Staynard's friends, Shasta. The assassin wanted her alive. Why? So he could cast misdirection on her. She fought him off for a few moments, alerting a guard. The guard came in and was killed. The assassin disposed of the guard's body, which would've been found if the assassination adventure had gone on longer.

    At this point, Amalius tried another divination and got this response,
    "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."
    Why was this an important clue? Because Shasta was not a male friend of Staynard's as everyone assumed, but a female masquerading as a man. Staynard and her secretly carried out a sexual relationship. She knew how to use a blade and a loom, the two traditional tools of a person in her position depending on gender. "Secretly rides" referred to her riding horses, something that women did not do very often if at all around 400BCE.
    Of course that clue wasn't very useful without the party knowing Shasta's cross dressing. They focused on the loom part, thinking it was the queen or one of her handmaidens. They also tried "secretly rides" as someone who rode Kinderax without anyone else knowing.

    "Shasta" asked Staynard to let her see inside the magnificent mansion. The other friends, Amalius, and Hektor came along. Amalius and Hektor left to give the boys some privacy, suspecting that they were going to engage in Greek homosexuality. No one watched the mansion door. Staynard asked his other two friends to leave. He and "Shasta" had sex, and then she replaced knocked Staynard out, swapped her misdirection spell's target to the Prince, and threw him into the bag of holding. The new "Staynard" executed Shasta to prevent her from awaking too soon in the bag, leaving the dead body in the bag with the unconscious Prince.

    Eathirilu was trying to recognize people by smell at this point to see if anyone smelled off. I told him that "Staynard" smelled a little bit like Shasta and a little bit like Staynard. He assumed this was because of the sex, but it was also because "Shasta" had put on Staynard's clothes, clothing some of her original smell.

    That night "Staynard" went into the mansion. After everyone had gone to sleep he snuck out and used shadowform to get through the walls to the King's chamber once again. He used dragon bile, a contact poison that deals Str damage, on the queen to paralyze her and prevent her from alerting the guard. A personal silence spell on himself prevented Tracer from hearing him execute King Ballard once again. The assassin put the body into his bag of holding and slipped out the way he'd come in.
    Eathirilu had fallen asleep in front of the door, but he was only covering the floor. The assassin used spider climb to go on the walls. His Move Silently check beat Eathirilu's Listen check due to Eathirilu's -10 penalty for being asleep (the modifer was still a respectable +25, so Eathirilu thought that was enough).
    The assassin ran past Clank on the outside and dimension doored to the exterior walls of the castle. He jumped over and ran to a previously arranged location where Amalgami was waiting for him. The assassin gave him the body and Amalgami bound King Ballard's soul into a gem. Amalgami gave the assassin a teleport ride to Nomingburg before leaving with the gem to his own abode, wherever that is.
    The party searched the castle grounds, but the assassin was already back home within a minute or two of killing the King.

  6. - Top - End - #96
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Mini Session
    This session was so short that I didn't want to grace it with the title of a full session. It was an Alliance session held over Skype using Roll20 as a virtual tabletop. The session was attended by Middle_Snu, Zigfried, Salzar, and Throgg.

    The group whiffled and waffled over what to do next. They sold Devanane's loot and bought a few things for themselves before going to meet with Prince Staynard (or King Staynard now?).
    Staynard expressed that he was at a loss for what to do next. The coming coronation seemed overwhelming and his father had only just begun to teach him about how to run the kingdom. Additionally, his inability to ride Kinderax weakened his image in the eyes of the people of Aractrash. Staynard also lacked the mental bond his father had with the dragon, meaning he missed out on her constant advice and guidance in his daily life. AND Shasta was dead. Nothing going right for Staynard today.
    The party attempted to fix the problem by talking with Kinderax. They hoped that Amalius could somehow build up a mental bond between her and Staynard over a few days instead of the years it had taken for King Ballard and his father King Willard before him. Kinderax kept her responses to these inquiries short, "No," and, "Leave me alone."

    Soon after this, Torin officially left the party. He packed up his stuff, said his goodbyes, and teleported off to Jord.

    The group wanted to see if they could get a Ballard's soul back from Amalgami and resurrect the king. They soon realized that Torin was the one who usually cast sending spells. The group teleported to Torin's suite in Jord where he had just arrived and asked him, "Hey buddyyy... Wanna cast a sending for us?"
    Torin grumbled, "You would do something like this. Fine. Give me a few minutes to prepare the spell."
    Torin cast the sending to Amalgami, "We want the gem returned. What is your price?" The gem being the jewel that holds Ballard's soul.
    Amalgami responded, "Which gem? I didn't take any gems from you, dwarf. Although we can arrange an exchange for your family jewels, if you catch my drift.
    The group talked over their next sending and sent this, "The dwarf sends on behalf of your grandson. We want the gem containing the soul of Ballard. What is your price? Be clear."
    Amalgami said, "Aractrash enters the war. Tell Ballard I'm hiding in Nox and am allied with Xoria. And use the power of Tagenadi’s gem. See you soon."
    (While thewamp was not there to roleplay Tagenadi's reaction to the request to use the gem we did tell him later and played it out separate from the usual session.)
    Tagenadi flat out refused to use the Black Crystal he'd taken from the Bane. Hektor agreed that the evil power of the artifact should be contained and destroyed when they got the chance instead of unleashed upon the world.
    As for getting Aractrash into the war? Did Amalgami mean that they were to lie to Ballard after resurrecting him about Amalgami's location? Lying to a king didn't sit well with the party, but it would get them what they wanted. However, with Tagenadi and Hektor unwilling to meet the other condition of using the Black Crystal and the rest of the group ambivalent about the Crystal's use... They might just have to settle for Staynard leading Aractrash and hoping that he got his **** together soon to join the war.

    The Bjorn used a sending spell to contact Amalius, "We need to talk. Meet tomorrow at the Monkey Forest at dawn."
    The next day the party met in the Monkey Forest once more. The Bjorn was there with someone else. An average human man wearing a cloak with his hands resting on two daggers that he wore at his sides. The Bjorn greeted the party and introduced his tag-a-long, "This is Origenes." (Salzar's new character! Woooo!)
    The Bjorn continued, "I've heard about what happened at Greshendale. Is it true? Did you destroy the Red Orb?"
    Amalius said, "Well..."
    The Bjorn sighed, "I'd feared as much. I'd like to prevent future such... setbacks in our combined war efforts. That's why I've brought Origenes along. I think he should keep a check on your more whimsical tactical decisions."
    "Of course. What exactly does Origenes do?"
    "Origenes, show them."
    Origenes whipped the two daggers out of their scabbards and threw them both with lightning speed at a nearby tree, severing two branches from it. The daggers appeared back in his grasp instantly.
    Amalius said, "Well, cutting branches off a tree is well and good, but how much damage can you do to a real target?"
    Origenes said, "Are you volunteering?"
    "Sure. Why not?"
    Amalius stepped forward and cast a vigor spell on himself to improve his survivability, doubling it on his psicrystal and then using share pain on his psicrystal to effectively double his hitpoints entirely.
    Origenes whipped out his daggers and threw them once more. They scorched through the air, each one hitting Amalius in the shoulder. The force knocked him back a step and the vigor spell was almost penetrated through. Amalius was sure that if he had not protected himself he would be standing there armless.
    Amalius said, "Pretty good."
    The Bjorn updated the party on how the Alliance was doing. Minor problems continued in Bradel Fields due to the goblin slave army, but nothing major. Most of the Alliance's force was being transported to Jipangu with the teleportation gates to be trained. The super soldier water made from the Geyser of Talos and the Tome of Agamemnon greatly accelerated the training process. The Alliance Council was confident that they'd have a formidable force by the time spring arrived. The only issue was if Xoria attacked during the winter. The Council found that unlikely, especially after the revolt in Gazeara.
    The Bjorn also brought the group up to speed about internal politics in Dalleer. The Bjorn's right-hand man, Terolio, was assassinated recently. Investigators easily determined that the assassin had been hired in Nomingburg, but who had done it and why? The Bjorn was confident that the normal police force would find something and that the party's involvement wasn't necessary.
    The group said their goodbyes and went back to Lakatia.

  7. - Top - End - #97
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Rebel Session #10/Total Session #58
    This session was attended by Throgg, Salzar, thewamp, Zigfried, and Middle_Snu. The session was held using Skype for voice and video with Roll20 as a virtual tabletop. Also, first rebellion session in a while!

    Recap for those who don't want to go find Rebellion Session #9. The rebel party is looking for pieces of a prophecy that can bring a god back to life. Zeus's death prevents the Olympians from sorting out the problems that the Dragovinians are causing, so bringing him back goes a long way to fixing the world. Note that Zeus isn't technically dead in the sense that mortal are. Olympians never really die. A better description would be that he is in a coma caused by poison.
    The prophecy pieces that the rebel party is looking for are kept by a set of animal clans spread out across Cimmeria. The animal clans have been taken over by Dragovinianized versions of the animals. The group is currently going after the prophecy that the shark clan knows. The sharks live off the coast of Jovy Isle in the Caspian Sea. The group has just arranged their right to hunt the sharks with pirate Captain Peahammer who claims to own Jovy Isle.

    So with the "fishing rights" worked out, how would the party actually go about contacting the sharks? Korjak deciding asking a fish while wearing the necklace of speak with animals was the best way to find where the sharks lived. The half-orc stripped down to his skivvies and the party lowered him into the water with a rope attached to yank him out if a shark showed up.
    Korjak swam up to a tuna and asked him, "How's your day going?"
    The tuna replied, "Just bubbles. Swimming along, eating. Yourself?"
    Korjak found that he could only speak with the fish while keeping his head underwater and that he periodically needed to bring his head up to take a breath. "I'm looking for something. Can you help me find it?"
    "Of course! What are you looking for strange fish?"
    "I'm looking for sharks. Do you know where I can find them?"
    "Sharks! SHARKS?!? Everyone look out! Sharks are coming from that way again!" The tuna indicated the west by swimming in that direction before joining his school and retreating to the east.
    "Well that answers that question," Korjak said to himself.
    The group pulled Korjak up and he told them what he'd learned. They sailed of to the west to find some sharks.

    Once they'd gone seven miles out the party sent a pirate down to the hold to get some chum from one of the rat traps. The pirate brought the foul smelling bucket up and Gregor ordered him to dump it in the water.
    Mate Geaton asked, "What are we doing that for sir?"
    "We're shark hunting."
    "Shark hunting? But we don't got no nets strong enough to hold sharks. Or harpoon lines."
    "Then I guess you'll just have to tie some rope to a harpoon then won't you? Or use the hook from cargo crane and attach it to the mast. DO AS I SAY!"
    The chum was dumped and the blood and guts spread through the water.
    Soon fins could be seen swimming towards the meal. Fins with red scales along them. A Dragovinian shark had arrived to feast on the blood.
    Korjak agreed to get into the water and talk to the shark, but only if the party was ready to pull him out. He got in and said, "Hi there. We wanted to talk to you about something?"
    The shark looked at him and its mouth opened to show a massive array of teeth. "FOOD!" The shark lunged at Korjak. The pirates on deck yanked on the rope attached to the swimmer and pulled him out, but not before the shark scrapped his leg, taking a good portion of flesh and blood off.
    Korjak shouted back, "We just want to talk!"
    The Dragovinian shark stuck its head above water and breathed fire upon the side of the ship. Those close to the edge were badly singed and the ropes caught fire. Mate Geaton shouted, "All hands! Put out that fire! Cut the ropes off if you have to!"
    The pirates grabbed buckets and dumped water on the flaming ropes. A few were cut to prevent the flames from spreading to the sails, but the fire was dealt with.
    The shark remained, circling the ship, occasionally bumping into it and setting the whole thing rocking as if in a storm.
    The group talked amongst themselves. If they headed inland they might get to an area with shallow enough water that they could fight the shark. Only if they needed to though. They set sail to go back to the cove on the western side of Jovy Isle.

    Along the way to Jovy Isle they attracted a second Dragovinian shark that followed the ship along with the first.
    Once at the cove Korjak passed the magic necklace to Stanton who used message to contact the shark. "We have a deal to offer you. More tuna and cattle in exchange for the prophetic words passed down to you by the druids."
    The sharks responded, "We want tuna. Give us tuna and we will tell you the words."
    "Tell use the words and we will give you lots of tuna tomorrow."
    "Words first. No words until tuna."
    "Meet us here tomorrow and we will have some tuna for you."
    "Tuna, or else."
    The sharks swam off.
    Now how to get some tuna? Fish for it obviously! A few of the pirates knew how to fish. In the pre-industrial fishing era it is quite easy to catch loads of fish. By the end of the day the party had tons of small fish and three tuna that a normal man could barely lift (No problem for Gregor to lift though!).

    The next day the party returned to just outside the cove and waited. Soon the sharks arrived, but not just two this time. Five scaly fins showed above the water.
    Stanton wore the necklace and he could just barely make out a chorus of voices chanting, "tuna, tuna, tuna or else. tuna, tuna, tuna or else."
    Stanton told the sharks, "Remember, we give you the tuna and you give us the words."
    "Tuna first! Words later!" A shark brushed against the boat, rocking it.
    The party hefted one of the larger fish over the side. The sharks ripped into it, fighting for the scraps. They swallowed none of the fish, only tearing it apart and drinking its blood.
    "More! More tuna!"
    The sharks banged against the ship, rocking it from side to side.
    Mate Geaton looked extremely worried. Stanton said to the sharks, "Give us the words and we'll give you the tuna!"
    "Tuna! Tuna! Tuna!"
    Another fish was dumped over the side and the sharks fought over it before it too was devoured.
    "Tuna! Tuna!" The boat swayed back and forth as if ten foot waves were hitting it.
    Stanton and Gregor hatched a great idea between the two of them. Stanton shouted the idea to the sharks, "We'll give another tuna to the shark that tells us the words first!"
    One shark began, "Go west to the-" before another shark tackled it.
    Another started up, "Go west to the river of-" before it too was attacked by its brother. Soon all five sharks were engaged in a bloody melee. Soon the largest, a 25 footer, emerged victorious. The other four sharks swam off to the west.
    "I am Earl and I am the strongest. The words are:
    Go west to the river of the world,
    To where the Black Kelp Plant is unfurled
    Take a clipping of this seaweed
    For it is the penultimate ingredient you need."

    Each of the party members was struck by a vision. None of them shared these visions with each other, so once again I will be keeping the visions secret for now.

    After recovering from their visions, the party threw the final large tuna to the remaining shark and thanked it for its help. The original plan had been to sail to Lordodo and journey inland towards the condor clan and the final piece of the prophecy. That's exactly what the party did.
    The party avoided any trouble on the way to Lordodo by not landing on the islands enroute there. They docked at the port and got to work selling their loot from taking over the pirate ship. Lucky's personal booty fetched a fine price and the party were also able to line up a buyer for the ship quickly. The party was in the mood to give Reggy a share of the loot and he used a portion of his to purchase his freedom (This was partially to give Zigfried more control over Reggy now that he plays him. And for those who were unaware, paying slaves was something that occasionally happened in antiquity. Realism points!).
    So what did the group do with all their new found booty?
    Spoiler: Korjak and Stanton
    Show
    Korjak wanted to donate a portion of his gold to a local orphanage to benefit the kids there. Unfortunately his donation was refused on account of him being a half-orc. Upset by the racism, Korjak blew a bit of his gold on getting stumbling drunk. He wandered back to the orphanage and started throwing rocks at it. The police were called and Korjak spent the night in the drunk tank. Stanton was following Korjak around attempting to keep him out of trouble and failing. It's hard for a little halfling to stop a giant orc from doing something if the orc really wants to do it.
    The next day, to make up for his horrible day earlier, Korjak blew a decent sized chunk of gold on food, women, and fun.
    Stanton spent the next day going gambling at the Hunter's Best, a large casino in Lordodo. Stanton sat down at the blackjack table and played a few hands before trying to use his mental powers to gain an edge. The casino's magic detection went off and Stanton was thrown out immediately.

    Spoiler: Sivirdm and Drako
    Show
    Sivirdm and Drako headed out to the local halfling encampment outside of town and made friends with their kin. They learned the recipe for a delicious gopher stew and will probably have a place to hide out now if the law ever comes looking for them in Lordodo. Sivirdm and Drako spent their second day at the halfling encampment as well.

    Spoiler: Reggy
    Show
    Reggy spent both days partying it up and enjoying his new freedom. He joined Korjak for the second day.

    Spoiler: Gregor
    Show
    And the best for last...
    Gregor headed to the slave market in Lordodo, planning on using his fold to buy some orc slaves and free them. He found the slave trader that specialized in orcs with a dozen new orcs in stock, freshly captured from the orc lands on the other side of the Dominarie Mountains and the Shacklack Desert. As Gregor inspected the slaves one of the dozen had a flash of recognition on his face. Had he recognized Gregor from when he was in the orc lands?
    Gregor said nothing to the orc, speaking to the slave trader about price and how freeing the orcs worked instead. A price was arrived upon, but before Gregor could pay he was interrupted by a man behind him.
    "Aw... Buying the freedom of your poor little brothers? How cute."
    Gregor turned and saw a large human man wearing fullplate with a greatsword strapped to his back. Behind the man were two orcs and a half-orc, all wearing mithral breastplate. The half-orc carried a number of spears. One of the orcs had no weapons on him while the other had a bow and arrows easily available.



    "Gonna set them free in the wild are you?"
    Gregor replied, "None of your business," as he turned back to the trader.
    "I'd say it is some of my business seeing as I captured those orcs."
    Gregor spoke to the orcs behind the larger man, "And you allowed him to enslave our people?"
    The large human laughed, "They helped me!"
    Gregor curled his hands into fists, but restrained himself. If he struck the first blow he'd be arrested. Additionally, he could sense from how the four antagonists carried themselves that they were far more experienced than him.
    "You're a tough one aren't you? If you ever need some work look us up. When we're in town we're usually at the Bounty Hunters Guild. I'm Dorius and these are Hairocon, Temet and Hetud." Dorius indicated the half-orc with spears, the orc without weapons, and the orc with a shortbow in turn.
    "Whatever," said Gregor.
    "Let's go boys. He doesn't want to play." Dorius led the other three off.
    Gregor completed his transaction, securing papers that signified the freedom of the twelve orcs. He spent the rest of the day finding equipment and weapons for the orcs to survive in the wild. After each of them was equipped he led them out the northern gate of the city.
    Gregor spoke to the orc that had recognized him previously, "You know who I am. Go north and tell the other orcs that Gregor is not dead. I am alive and I will return soon."
    "I knew it was you!"
    The orcs cheered and headed out on the path to the orc lands.

    On the second day Gregor joined Reggy and Korjak in frequenting the brothels of Lordodo. At a house that specialized in elven women Gregor spotted Hetud, the orc with the shortbow, exiting the establishment as Gregor entered.
    Gregor mumbled, "Hello."
    Hetud mumbled back, "Hello."
    "Anything you'd recommend?"
    "I always see Anira when I come, but she's a little worn out at the moment if you know what I mean."
    "Well I'm sure I can show her what a real orc's passion is like."
    Hetud's face light up as he laughed, "You're alright! What was your name? I don't think we caught it before."
    "Gregor."
    "I'll remember. The captain's not always like that you know. You really should consider coming to work with us. We're going places and doing things you wouldn't believe."
    "Thanks for the offer."
    "Still not interested? Ah well. If you don't want my sloppy seconds then I'd suggest Veesati. She's who I see when Anira has her blood."
    A grin spread across Gregor's face as he said, "I'll have both."
    "Haha! I'll bet you could too." Hetud extended his arm to Gregor. Gregor gripped it. Hetud's hand was wet and sticky. Hetud leaned in and whispered, "A little preview of Anira for you."
    On that note Hetud made his exit.


    After the second day of fun the party bought a boat ticket to Yuettencal. The boat stopped at Tetalya on the way and the party chose to spend some time there before proceeding.
    Of primary importance to them was a visit to the Druids Guild to learn more about the condors in the Dominarie Mountains. They arranged a meeting with one of the druids for the next day.

    The session ended halfway through the conversation with the druid. Instead of splitting the conversation into two parts I'll just put it all into the next update.

  8. - Top - End - #98
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    This session was the best! As usual, our straight-talking, melee-focused Rebellion heroes managed to quickly and efficiently reach the next part of our quest.

    Meanwhile, the 19th-level party of virtual demigods has accomplished almost nothing. As it turns out, with Great Power comes Almost Endless Discussion on What To Do.
    Last edited by Middle Snu; 2015-05-12 at 11:43 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Rebel Session #11/Total Session #59
    This session was attended by Throgg, Salzar, Ozymandias, Zigfried, and Middle_Snu. The session was held over Google Hangouts using Roll20 as an app. Another note, Drako was reworked into a Fighter instead of the Rogue/Wizard he was previously. This was because Salzar's character in the high level campaign switched from a Cleric to a Rogue/Wizard type. Not wanting to play the same mechanical concept in both campaigns, we simply retconned what type of skills Drako had and moved on with our lives.

    Last time on the adventures of the low level party! The meeting with the representative from the Druids Guild of Tetalya. This rep went by the name of Trachendolf. The party was ushered in to speak with the druid. No tables or chairs were in the room, only a floor covered in growing grass. Trachendolf greeted them and introduced himself before asking the party to take their seats.
    Trachendolg began, "Now what can I and the Druids Guild do for you today?"
    Korjak said, "We have a matter of some delicacy we'd like your assistance with."
    Gregor continued, "There's a group of condors we'd like to reach in the Dominarie Mountains. They've been keeping a piece of information for generations that we need to retrieve to stop the Xorian advance."
    Trachendolf's mouth dropped open, "You seek the prophecy to restore life to a god?"
    "Yes."
    "Our brother group in the west kept that secret for a long time, you were sent by them."
    "In a way. The last druid has allied herself with the Rebellion against Xoria. She sent us to find the prophecy to revive Zeus."
    "Splendid. I had thought someone would come eventually."
    "Whatever you can tell us about the condors and how to get to them would be helpful."
    "Of course! Where to start? The condors live on the desert side of the mountains. They hunt and scavenge food in the desert. Their nests are in the cliffs of the mountains. They live in small communities of 10-20 condors."
    Gregor asked, "Could you show us where those communities are on a map?"
    "Of course." Trachendolf got out a piece of paper and sketched a rough map of the Dominarie Mountains and marked each of the communities on the map. "The communities will be quite difficult to find, but if you near each of these locations and look to the skies you should see the condors flying to their nests. Follow them and you'll find where they are."
    "Do the condors have any natural enemies?"
    "Not that I know of. The blue dragons are predators to everything in their domain, but they rarely attack condors. No treasure and no real meat on a bird's bones I imagine."
    Sivirdm said, "We've found the other animal clans and each one of them had a Dragovinian or multiple Dragovinian animals that ruled the clan. Do you know if that's happened to the condors as well?"
    "I don't. We haven't had a representative sent to the desert in about two years and even then, they don't usually visit the birds. Condors tend to be a little aggresive if you approach their nests."
    "How do we get to the nests?"
    "I can think of three ways to get into the desert. You could go around the mountains to the west. You could go upriver and directly over the mountains. Or you could go through the mountains I suppose.”
    The party talked amongst themselves and decided over or around were the best routes with a slight preference for over the mountains.
    Gregor asked Trachendolf, “Do you know any guides that could help us?”
    “My cousin, Tory, lives in Yuettencal and works as a jungle guide there. Ask for him at the Painted Turtle tavern and say that I sent you. He can take you anywhere you want to go.”
    Gregor addressed the rest of the group, “Anything else we wanted to know?” The orc was met with silence. “Then thank you for your help Trachendolf. Is there any message you want us to bring your cousin?”
    “Yes actually. I’ll write a letter for you to bring to him if it’s no trouble.”
    “Of course.”

    The party bought a few supplies for their journey and used the rest of their boat tickets to get a ride to Yuettencal, picking up the letter from Trachendolf before they left. Upon arrival in the capital city they went to the Painted Turtle and asked for Tory, saying that they knew his cousin. The innkeep told them Tory should be coming in tomorrow night or they could visit his house, giving them directions. The group decided to hang out at the inn for the night and relax. They heard some disturbing news about the castle being closed due to some threat on King Ballard's life, but everyone assumed it was some sort of ruse so the King's Court wouldn't have to meet (Yup! Storylines synced up pretty well!).
    The group got rooms for the night and went off to Tory's house bright and early in the morning. They knocked on his door and a bearded man answered.
    "What can I do for you?"
    Sivirdm said, "Your cousin, Trachendolf, sent us. Said you could guide us through the jungle."
    "Yup, I can do that. How is Trachendolf?"
    "He seemed fine. He sent you this letter." Korjak pulled out the letter and handed it to Tory.
    "Yes. Thank you. My rates for friends sent by my cousin are fifty gold per month plus a fifty gold retainer."
    "Sounds within our budget."
    "Great! Where did you want to go?"
    "We want to go over the Dominarie Mountains and into the Shaclack Desert."
    "I can manage that no problem. Come on in and let's look at same maps and plan out where to go."
    The party chose a route with Tory's help that took them to a mining town on the southern edge of the mountains and then up so lesser known paths into the mountains. Tory had some mountaineering books describing paths used to get through the Dominarie Mountains near that mining town. The group got along pretty well with Trachendolf's cousin. They put together a list of supplies they'd need for the journey, along with ten goats to carry all the supplies. The party purchased the supplies and in a day or two they were ready to go into the wild!

    The party rented a boat to travel upriver to the mining town. Apparently this was a fairly common procedure. Returning the boat at the dock upriver got you a little bit of the fee back. The meandering tributaries of the Aractrash River crisscrossed their path north. Tory took them on a shortcut that he said would cut a half day off their journey.
    Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned.
    While on Tory's shortcut the party came to an area where hundred of webs stretched between the jungle's trees. The river narrowed before splitting around a small island. Tory had said a way station was on the island to shelter in case of a storm, but the way station was no longer there. In its place was a pile of rubble that blocked the river.
    Tory said, "Must've been that bad storm last spring, completely knocked over the way station. Not many people come this way but me. That's probably why it isn't rebuilt yet. We'll have to get out and pull."
    The larger humanoids (Tory, Korjak, Reggy, and Gregor) spilled out of the boat while the smaller folk (Stanton, Drako, and Sivirdm) held on to the goats to keep them from jumping overboard in fear as the boat rocked. Tory tied four ropes to the boat and the big folk began to pull the boat forward.
    Korjak spotted something moving in a tree on the island. He looked a little closer and saw a giant spider covered in barbs and spikes. Korjak quickly raised the alarm, "Look out! We're under attack! Spiders in the trees!"
    Everyone dropped the ropes and pulled out their weapons. Two more humungo spiders, but without spikes, showed themselves in the trees on the northern bank of the river. Gregor and Reggy moved to engage the spiders on the northern bank. The three spiders zeroed in on Gregor. The two on the bank lowered themselves from the tree and scurried forward, one managing to bite him. The spikey one shot forth a barb on a ligament at Gregor, embedding in his leg. The barb instantly retracted drawing Gregor into the waiting maw of the beast.
    Korjak transformed into Baldr, god of plants, and moved forward against the spiders while Drako, Stanton, and Sivirdm got out of the boat. The goats spooked and began jumping into the water as well. Tory drew his weapons and moved against one of the spiders on the bank.
    The spiders tried to bite Reggy and Tory. Reggy's armor protected him, but Tory slipped on the rocks and received a nasty bite to his shoulder. Baldr swung his sword at one of the large spiders and cracked its exoskeleton open on its abdomen. Sivirdm, hopping from goat to goat, made it to the bank, rolled under the other spider on the bank, and stabbed it in the belly.
    Tory backed away from the spiders after getting his injury. Stanton and Drako, seeing that the fight was in good hands, prevented anymore goats from getting away. Gregor wrestled with the spiked spider, but couldn't prevent it from getting another bite in.
    The two spiders on the bank began to flee. Sivirdm and Baldr hit one as it ran away, but allowed the other to escape. Reggy grabbed the boat as it was beginning to slip downstream. Baldr melted away and Korjak ran to help Gregor. Everyone else grabbed goats left and right.
    Gregor pried the spider's jaws open and snapped one of its mandibles off. The spider screamed, dropped Gregor, and began scuttling away. Korjak ran up and stabbed his sword deep into its side. The beast writhed upon the sharpened metal before falling dead to the ground.
    Reggy, Korjak, Drako, and Stanton rounded up the goats. Sivirdm offered antitoxin to Tory and Gregor. Tory gladly accepted and ignored any further effects of the poison coursing through his body. Gregor hadn't felt anything previously from the bites, so he denied treatment.
    "I don't need any antitoxin. I feel finnnnneeeee..."
    Gregor slumped forward falling fast first into the river as the secondary poison damage obliterated his dexterity. The party got him out of the water quickly.
    Sivirdm asked Tory, "Is there anything you can do for him? The antitoxin only works before the poison reaches the heart."
    "I'm afraid I can't do anything for him once he's unconscious. We'll just have to hope there's a cleric willing to treat an orc in the mining town."

    Sivirdm did a little bit of searching in the rubble as the others loaded the goats and Gregor back into the boat. The little halfling found the corpse of what looked like an alchemist with five identical potions in vials untouched by the rubble’s collapse. Sivirdm took the vials and hopped in the boat with the others, showing off his find. The vessel was even more crowded now that Gregor wasn’t sitting, but lying on the bottom. The adventurers reached the silver mining town by dusk and carried Gregor into the local inn. Tory rushed to the local temple while the others cleared a space on a table and plopped Gregor down on it.
    The innkeep remarked, “Your orc is in a bad way there.”
    Sivirdm said, “Bitten by a spider.”
    “Ah. That’ll do it. Don’t worry. Priest Farian will fix him up.” The innkeep turned to the other patrons in the inn, “It’s alright everyone. Their orc’s been bit by a spider. Tory the guide is going to get Priest Farian.” He turned back to the party, “It’s a gold a night for you fellas. Your orc can stay for free tonight, but he’ll have to sleep on the floor, not on the table.”
    The party waited for Tory to return with Priest Farian. Sivirdm headed over to sit by the fire next to the miners drinking the yellow colored beer of the establishment. Tory came back in at a brisk pace followed by the priest. Sivirdm returned to the table that Gregor laid on.
    Farian approached Gregor and began examining him. He lifted his arm and felt for a pulse. “You said it was giant spiders that bit him?”
    Reggy said, “Uhuh. Spiders.”
    “Could you describe them?”
    “Well he was only bit by the one spider, right?”
    “Yeah,” Drako confirmed.
    Reggy continued, “Right, the one spider. It was about as big as two or three outhouses and it was covered in spikes. It blended in pretty well with the jungle, but I do remember seeing a few red spots on it in places. And it had the thing where it shot a spike from next to its mouth,” Reggy indicated his mouth, “like a tusk. And the spike hit Gregor and dragged him towards the spider because it was attached by webbing or something. Then it bit him.”
    “What you are describing is a harpoon spider. Your orc is lucky you save him. Those red spots you saw weren’t coloration, but blood from previous victims. The harpoon spider paralyzes its prey and then impales it on the spikes to slowly consume it over several days.”
    Everyone in the party had a look of disgust on their faces.
    Priest Farian completed his examination and said, “There’s nothing I can do for him until the morning. There’s no mundane cure I have for his condition. He requires magic and I won’t have the spell ready until tomorrow. Until then it would be best if you brought him to the temple.”
    Sivirdm said, “If you don’t mind we would prefer to keep him here.”
    “I suppose if you wish. Keep him cool if you can, but not cold. Put a warm rag on his forehead and try to keep his head elevated. If anything bad happens come get me at the temple. I’ll see you there in the morning.”
    Priest Farian turned to go but Sivirdm interrupted, “Actually, could you come here in the morning?”
    “If that is what you wish. Now if you’ll excuse me I need my rest to properly prepare the spells for tomorrow.”
    Farian took his leave. Reggy volunteered to be the first to look after Gregor. A space was made for him closer to the fire, but not too close. Sivirdm returned to the man he was chatting with earlier by the fire.
    “What was it you were saying earlier?”
    The old miner who introduced himself as Spilnat to Sivirdm earlier said, “I was saying that I have map to a fantastic treasure.”
    "Tell me more."
    "I'd like to tell you, but it's hard with a throat as dry as mine."
    Sivirdm signaled for the innkeep's wife to bring over another mug of beer.
    "Ah! That'll do the trick! Well one of my buddies was wandering out in the jungle. On a vacation or something. Who knows why he enjoys that stuff. Too dangerous for me. Anyways, he was wandering around out there, doing sightseeing and such. And he finds these ruins you see. He pokes around and found a big old shield, glittering and glowing. Probably magical. Next to the shield is a sack filled with gold and silver.
    "Now he's thinking, 'I've struck it rich!' but what comes up behind him, but an ogre! My buddy, he scrambled out of there as fast as he could. He could hear the ogre chasing behind him. He turned to look and all he saw was the branches on the ground crashing as it came closer. Damn thing must've turned invisible when it chased him. Fortunately for my buddy, the big beasty couldn't fit through the tighter parts of the jungle and my buddy got away."
    Sivirdm ordered another mug of beer for Spilnat and asked, "Where in the jungle did you say this was?"
    "It's on the map my buddy made. He's got good direction sense and remembered exactly how to get to the ruins. Wrote it all down. And I've been looking for someone to buy the map ever since."
    "How did you get the map?"
    "Inheritance. Mining pays well, but it ain't a job without dangers. He didn't have a family and I was the one who knew him best so I got the map. S' about the only valuable thing he had left to his name. He spent all his earnings on trips into the jungle."
    "So are you selling this map?"
    "In a manner. I'm looking for someone to go out there and bring a share back of whatever you find at the ruins. So you've got how many people in your group?"
    "Six."
    "Right, six. So I'd be wanting one seventh of the treasure you find there."
    "I'd need to talk to the others, but I think we could swing that."
    "And I don't want to be galavanting in the jungle with you either, so I'd need some assurance you'd come back with my share and not just skedaddle into the wilds. From what my buddy said the treasure there is worth thousands of gold pieces. I think it's fair to ask for one hundred gold pieces to ensure you come back with my share. You bring what you find back and I'll take my share, minus the hundred you gave me for the map."
    Sivirdm ordered another round of yellow beer. "You sure you couldn't part with it for less?"
    Spilnat was holding a mug of beer in each of his hands and taking alternating swigs from each of them as he talked. "I've thought on this for a long time. I can't part with the map for less than that. It's my ticket to the good life and what remains of my buddy's life and dreams as well. If you don't like the deal then I'm sure someone else will come into town eventually who does like it. No skin off my nose."
    "Well, like I said. I'll talk to my fellows and see what they think."
    "Much obliged little man." Spilnat toasted Sivirdm with one of his mugs.
    The party enjoyed the comforts of the inn before bedding down for the night.

    In the morning Priest Farian returned and set up his ritual with incense and holy water to purify the poison affecting Gregor's body. In a minute or two Gregor was able to move around once more, albeit a little clumsier than he was previously. Sivirdm asked Farian to perform the ritual another time to restore more of Gregor's functionality and this was done. (Gregor lost all 14 of his Dex. Two lesser restoration spells and a day of rest brought it back up to 9 or 10). The matter of donations came up and Sivirdm agreed to donate generously to the temple of Hephaestus in the town. The party each ponied up an equal amount to pay for Gregor's restoration.
    Next they discussed the deal that Spilnat had offered. It might be worth delaying their trip to gather the condor's piece of the prophecy if they could find a magical shield. Plus, killing an ogre just sounded fun! They spoke to Spilnat again and agreed to his terms.
    After receiving his gold Spilnat got the map from his home and spoke to the party, "Now here's the map. You can see the ruins to the west and my buddy wrote some instructions on the side for each of the landmarks. Your guide should be able to follow these and get you there in about two days."
    The party bought a few more pieces of equipment for their journey into the jungle and set out to the west. Tory led the party using the map as a guide, fording rivers and going through the jungle along the easiest paths available. After two days of travel they drew close to the big X on the map.
    Tory said, "The ruins should only be a mile or two west of here. Also, there's a lot of tracks on the ground. A lot of them are ogre tracks, but there's a few others that might be something else. See here?" Tory indicated one of the tracks, "This one is barefoot. It's smaller than an ogre foot, but way too wide to be a human or even an orc. And it also has these little claw impressions at the end."
    Sivirdm asked, "Like a cat man?"
    "Could be. I'm not really sure. It's definitely a humanoid's footprint from the shape of it, but I can't explain those claws. Ogres don't have clawed feet. But that's not the weird print! There's also some boot prints. Same wide shoe size as well. It could be whatever had those clawed footprints recently got some shoes."
    Korjak asked, "And these are all creatures in the area recently."
    "Yes. And definitely more than one ogre."
    Korjak said, "Alright. We don't want the goats getting in the battle. Let's find a good place to camp for today with the goats. Once we have a camp we can send Sivirdm to the ruins if he's alright with scouting for us." Sivirdm nodded. Korjak continued, "And then we can come up with a plan based off of what Sivirdm finds out."
    Tory found a small clearing that the group widened with axes. They set up camp there with the goats while Sivirdm snuck off to take a look at the ogre's ruins.
    Sivirdm approached the area around the ruins where the trees thinned. Five buildings once stood in the area cleared of trees. Four of the buildings formed a square, but had fallen into disrepair, more rubble now than walls. A fifth building stood to the north apart from the other four. The separate building had a large stone column at each corner with stone walls in between.
    Sivirdm snuck around and counted five different ogres with beds laid out in the rubble of the four destroyed buildings. Each of the ogres wore armor made from animal hides with a quiver of javelins and a club tied to their belts. The halfling saw an open entrance about ten feet wide to the northern building. He wanted to get in close enough to see inside the building, but there was no way to do that without the risk of being spotted by the ogres. Sivirdm retreated into the jungle and went back to the camp. He related what he saw to the others.
    Gregor said, "Well there are fresh tracks outside of the ruins, so they must be coming out to get food or something. We could look around for one of their snare traps and set up an ambush there. Hopefully pick one or two of them off."
    Everyone agreed. Tory started searching for a snare traps that the ogres frequented and soon found one. The snare lay at the end of a small pile of boulders which restricted entry to one direction. The party hid in positions around the path leading towards the snare and waited.
    After waiting for about half a day noise could be heard coming up the path. An ogre appeared out of the jungle and walked towards the snare. Sivirdm and Drako loosed crossbow bolts. Drako's bolt went wide but Sivirdm's went deep into the ogre's eye. The ogre clutched his eye and Gregor took advantage of the situation by rushing forward and slicing deep into the ogre's leg. The ogre fell screaming to the ground and quickly fertilized the jungle ground with its lifeblood.
    The party rejoiced in their victory and searched the body. They found only a few coins. The ambush had worked though! Hoping to catch another ogre they moved a mile or so down the path to see if another would approach.
    While waiting for another ogre, Sivirdm heard a noise approaching from behind. He alerted the others. They turned and saw nothing. A quick search turned up fresh tracks matching the clawed footprints Tory had pointed out earlier. Fearing their ambush had been discovered the party raced to the ogre encampment to defeat the remaining ones before they were able to erect defenses.
    The party arrived at the ruins and saw the ogres gathered in the middle of the ruins. In the middle of the group a human sized creature stood. The creature looked like a man except for its face which was red and resembled that of a frog. It wore chain armor and carried a spear and shield. The shield bore a remarkable resemblance to the one Splinat's buddy had seen. The frog man had a bull dog on a leash. The dog had metal plate armor which appeared to be bolted to its body.
    As the party of adventurers watched the ogres Gregor's poison-addled body didn't obey him. He misplaced his foot and stepped on a large branch. The ogres turned at the sound and the fight was on!
    Korjak yelled and transformed into Baldr, god of plants! Baldr and Gregor charged at the ogres, dropping one near the front and engaging a second. The location where the two of orcine blood engaged the ogres was restricted by the rubble. Only two ogres could approach from that angle. The others circled around the rubble to come from another direction. Reggy and Drako met the other two ogres on that side.
    The frog man shouted, "Drop to the ground!" Baldr and Gregor felt compeled to obey. Baldr resisted the compulsion, but Gregor could not. The frog man then loosed the bull dog. It ran forward and opened its mouth revealing that it had not one, but two sets of jaws. One that opened up and down and another that opened left and right. A twenty foot long barbed tongue shot out and coiled around Gregor's leg. Gregor felt a tug and decided to go along for the ride. The dog's tongue retracted, bringing Gregor in range for a bite.



    Sivirdm circled around the fight that Baldr and Gregor were in to get a good shot at the frog man. He kept himself hidden behind the rubble. Stanton cast a glitterdust spell on the ogres fighting Reggy and Drako, but the ogres shielded their eyes in time.
    Gregor tried to draw his dagger, but dropped it as he took it out of the sheath. Then he braced himself and began pulling on the dog's tongue, trying to rip it out of the monster's mouth. The dog pulled back and bit Gregor for his trouble. Baldr sliced into the ogre in front of him, almost felling it in one blow. Sivirdm got into a good position and shot a crossbow bolt into the exposed side of the frog man. The creature flinched in pain, but now seeing Sivirdm advanced on him and commanded him, "Bow!" Sivirdm resisted.
    The fight went poorly for Reggy and Drako. Reggy took a knock to the head and had to drop back. Drako remained okay, but found his dual-wielded daggers to be ineffective against the knees of the ogres. Stanton tried another glitterdust, but failed to blind the ogres.
    Baldr finished off the ogre in front of him. Gregor motioned him on to help Sivirdm while the orc continued wrestling with the demonic dog. Sivirdm took a stab at the frog man, but the creature caught the thrust on its shield. Again, it commanded Sivirdm to, "Bow!" Sivirdm felt his will breaking and he prostrated himself before the creature.
    The fight went poorly for Drako, but he stuck in it. Reggy provided some support with his crossbow and Stanton managed to daze one of the ogres.
    Sivirdm couldn't lift himself back to his feet, but he could still stab the frog man from the ground. The red creature was distracted by the approach of Baldr. Sivirdm struck while the thing was distracted and drove his dagger deep into its groin. The frog man howled and fell to the ground bleeding.
    Gregor pulled the dog's tongue back out of its mouth in his struggle and hoped to sever the tongue entirely. Baldr moved to intercept another ogre that had arrived on the scene.
    Drako took another hit and went into the negatives, but never fear! He has the diehard feat! Drako fought on against the ogres. Stanton moved closer and cast another daze spell.
    Sivirdm came to help Gregor against the dog while Baldr traded hits with the new ogre. The dog continued to enjoy Gregor's flesh.
    Drako sliced the ogres knees some more, but victory was too much to hope for. Another club blow fell down on the warrior halfling and he was no more.
    Stanton panicked with nothing between him and the two ogres. He retreated a little ways.
    Baldr finished off the new ogre, but the pair that defeated Drako and Reggy now threatened to attack Gregor and Sivirdm. Baldr moved to protect them.
    Sivirdm and Gregor's continued struggle against the demon dog finally ended in victory. The dog collapsed under a blow from Sivirdm and the continual wrenching on its tongue performed by Gregor. Gregor's wounds threatened to incapacitate him and his inner rage no longer fueled him, but he grabbed his sword and stood to face the ogres.
    Stanton moved in and cast a color spray on the two ogres. Both were stunned and then summarily executed by the party. A victory, but without cost. Drako lay dead on the field of battle.

    Tory was fetched and wood was gathered to burn Drako's body. Sivirdm, ever the pragmatist, removed any useful items from the body before it was placed on the pyre. Stanton started the eulogy, "I didn't know Drako for very long, but he was the finest sort you could ever know. We fought together and he died protecting me and Reggy. I wish I could've saved him with my magic and I promise I'll keep getting stronger so that this will never happen again. Plus, he was a halfling and we're pretty cool folk. I'll miss you Drako."
    Stanton lit the fire and the others said their goodbyes.
    After the grief no longer controlled them the party searched the bodies and the surrounding buildings. They found a load of copper, silver, and gold coins squirreled away in a few sacks. They also found a large pearl and two potions. And of course, the magic shield the frog man had used both for defense and offense during the battle.
    Whilst searching the intact northern building, Sivirdm found another surprise, a hidden trap door. He opened it and saw a twenty foot drop into a stone room. Korjak lowered him down on a rope. The dark room was about twenty foot square with stone walls. Two passageways left the room from the eastern wall and ended in stone doors soon afterwards.

    We ended the session there with the rest of the trap door as yet unexplored. Salzar was sad to see Drako go, but hadn't particularly attached himself to the character yet. There was talk of him taking over Tory and turning him into a PC.

  10. - Top - End - #100
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Jul 2005
    Location
    Davis, California
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Rebel Session #12/Total Session #60
    This session was attended by Throgg, Ozymandias, Salzar, Middle_Snu, and thewamp. The session was held over Google Hangouts using the app for Roll20. We're gearing up for a combo session between the two different campaigns soon, but are not quite there yet. This session also marks the introduction of Salzar's new character, Demetrius the Knight of Athena. He's using the paladin class to get into the cavalier prestige class for maximum charging damage.

    The session started with the party resting for the night in the intact building in the ruins. No one wanted to risk exploring more of the secret basement. A watch was set. The sounds of various critters eating the ogre remains could be heard, but nothing dangerous came close to the intact building.
    In the morning Sivirdm was lowered down into the basement once more with a rope tied to his waist in case he needed to be pulled out quickly. He searched everywhere for traps and, finding none, pushed open the stone door at the end of the hallway. Flames shot out of the doorway as he pushed it! Sivirdm deftly ducked below the flames and pushed the door the rest of the way open. Dodging flames is no problem for a halfling rogue!
    He came upon a room very similar to the first. Masonry stone walls with a dirt floor. Two doors were on the opposite wall. One on the left side of the room and one on the right. Sivirdm searched the room and found no traps before approaching the right door and giving it a push. What did Sivirdm forget to do? CHECK FOR TRAPS ON THE DOOR!
    A magical trap went off as soon as Sivirdm touched the door. His worst nightmare appeared before him. Stricken with terror, Sivirdm fled the room screaming. Korjak and Gregor heaved on the rope and pulled Sivirdm out of the basement. The halfling continued to panic, running into the jungle. The two orcine men pulled him back on the rope. Korjak attempted to reason with the halfling and ask him what happened, but Sivirdm only babbled incoherently. Gregor picked him up in a bear hug and held Sivirdm to prevent him from hurting himself. After several minutes Sivirdm calmed down and was able to speak.
    "You can put me down now. I'm okay. There was a door I tried to open on the right of the next room. It scared me, but I'm alright now."
    Korjak asked, "Are you good to go back in?"
    "I think so."
    Sivirdm moved to lower himself back into the basement, but as his feet left the dirt aboveground he began to panic once more. "Nope! Nope! Can't go back in there! I'm sorry guys!"
    Korjak and Gregor sighed before going down in themselves.
    Korjak approached the door and steeled himself for the coming fear. He pushed against the door and his greatest nightmare reared its ugly head. Korjak screamed as well and fled from the room. He climbed the rope back up to the surface and fled into the jungle with no one strong enough to restrain him left aboveground.
    Gregor, fearing the same thing happening to him, sat on the ground facing the door and began meditating on his greatest fear. He would not let if affect him the same way it had affected the others. He would overcome his fear and push through the door.
    Soon Korjak returned and Gregor was ready to face the door. He raised the magic shield of the frog man and charged the door. His nightmare appeared before him and he broke through. The door was open!
    Stanton came down to watch over Gregor in the next room. Both doors from the previous room had short passageways before they emptied into the same room. The left door remained closed, but the right door had been forced by Gregor. At the other end of the thirty foot long room was a large wooden chest with metal bracing. A large lock stood on the chest.
    Gregor yelled towards the entrance to the basement, "Hey Sivirdm! We've got a locked chest down here! Can you come take a look?"
    "Nope! Sorry! Too scared!"
    "Fine."
    Gregor looked over the chest as best he could before stepping back beside the passageway to the closed left door. Stanton stood in the passageway of the right door as he cast a knock on the chest. It popped open. At the same time stone walls crashed down at the end of the passageways, trapping Gregor in the room. Stanton shouted for help. Korjak turned into Baldr and came down to meet Stanton.
    Gregor relayed what was happening in the room, "The far wall is coming at me! I'll bash my way out!"
    Gregor hefted his sword and began slamming it against the stone wall that covered the right passageway. Baldr joined him as the far wall drew closer and closer, pushing the chest along the ground as it approached. Stanton, doing his best to help, cast detect secret doors. There was a secret door!
    The two orc friends kept slamming against the wall, cutting piece after piece away. Stanton found a secret door between the left and right doors. He puzzled over how to open it. The far wall drew closer and closer. Stanton found the release and opened the door. It revealed a short passageway that ended in another secret door. In the middle of the passageway was a medium sized chest. Stanton stepped around the chest to reach the back secret door. It was too late though! He heard the closing wall crunch against the larger wooden chest on the other side of the secret door.
    It wasn't too late for Gregor though. He and Baldr had managed to cut their way through stone and free the orc barbarian. Exhausted from the ordeal, the party grabbed the medium chest and left the basement.
    Cracking the chest open aboveground revealed a pile of gold coins, a golden scepter, a gold crown encrusted with jewels, and a wicked looking green dagger with a serrated edge.
    With all the treasure secured the party packed their gear up and headed back towards the mining town to meet with Spilnat.

    On the second day of travel back to the mining town the group encountered a group of lizardfolk while crossing a river. The lizardfolk were walking downstream in the river. As everyone else was surprised, Sivirdm slipped off into the bushes to flank the lizards. The lizards began shouting at the party in Draconic, but no one understood that language, no one except Sivirdm that is, and he had just left. Korjak and Gregor shouted back. Gregor got up on a rock and roared at them. They roared back in Draconic, "Get off our rock!"
    Cooler heads prevailed when Korjak said in Orc, "Do you speak orc?"
    One of the lizardfolk came forward, "Yes, I do. Tell your friend to get down from that rock. It is ours, as is this river, and you will have to pay to cross."
    Korjak told Gregor to get down and the group conferred amongst each other. Korjak turned back to the lizardfolk that spoke Orc, "How much?"
    "Two goats."
    Gregor said, "How about four goats and you tell us a little bit about the surrounding area."
    "Deal!"
    The lizardfolk that spoke Orc relayed the information in Draconic to the largest of the lizards who wore a suit of chain armor. The larger one came forward and shook Korjak's hand, securing the deal. After learning the deal was translated into Common for the others in the party they helped to readjust the gear onto the few remaining goats and cut off four from the herd to give the lizardfolk.
    The translator lizard spoke again in Orc, "Would you like to join us for lunch while we talk about the jungle?"
    Gregor said, "Sure, but let us treat you."
    Gregor moved to slaughter one of the goats and Reggy asked, "Why are you giving away so many of our goats?"
    "I hate the things." Gregor slit the goat's neck and the two groups prepared a barbeque by the side of the river.
    Sivirdm struck up a conversation in Draconic with one of the Lizardfolk, comparing the differences in the hunting grounds they grew up in. Gregor and Korjak spoke a little bit with the translator, but most conversation between the two groups was limited to non-verbal communication.
    As the meal concluded the lizardfolk leader presented Gregor with a potion, saying, "This potion will make you strong and brave when danger is near." The Orc-fluent lizardfolk and Sivirdm translated for the rest. Gregor thanked the lizardfolk for their gift and the two groups went on their way. (Sometimes random encounters can be fun!)

    Our brave adventurers got back to the mining town and were met by Spilnat. They presented all the treasure except for the potions and the dagger, which they kept to themselves. Spilnat and Korjak took the scepter and the crown to the town's general store to have them appraised and came back with a total of around 3,500GP for both of them. The party offered Spilnat 750GP as his share of the treasure and he happily accepted, having never seen that much money in his life. They unloaded their copper and silver coins on to him and thanked him for sharing the treasure map.
    The group was still left with a sizeable amount of gold, enough that it might weigh them down when they headed into the mountains. How could they make this wealth more portable? Normally you could transform the wealth into platinum pieces or gems, but the small mining town lacked a money changer for that. The town did have a temple though, and temples have potions. The group went to talk with Priest Farian and acquire some potions.
    Priest Farian accommodated the party. As he found what they were looking for a human warrior in fullplate, riding a magnificent horse, approached the temple. He dismounted and then dismissed his horse, which disappeared in a shimmer of light.
    "I am Demetrius, son of Demetrius. You are the band of adventurers known as Korjak, Gregor, Drako, Sivirdm, and Stanton?"
    Korjak said, "Yes, although Drako died in battle only a few days previously."
    "I am sorry to hear that. I am hear to take charge of your band and set you on the right path! Dactirian finally got word of what you've been up to and he's sent me to prevent anymore of your bungling."
    "Interesting... Do you have any papers?"
    "Yes of course." Demetrius pulled a paper out from his backpack and presented it to the party.
    Korjak noted its official seal before saying, "Let's go somewhere else to talk about this. We'll be back later today, Farian!"
    The group went a little bit off from the temple to talk amongst themselves.
    Korjak said, "Can I see that paper in better detail?"
    "Here." Demetrius held the paper in front of Korjak, but did not relinquish the paper to the half-orc.
    Korjak read through it and said, "This says you were only sent to, 'render assistance,' not take charge. And it says that you're a corporal. I'm a sergeant. I outrank you. What were you trying to pull here?"
    Demetrius looked at his feet. "Apologies sir. I'm a bit of a braggart at times."
    "Well, no to worry. We aren't as official with rank out here anyways. Let me introduce you to the two new faces. This is Reggy and Tory." Korjak indicated the two men. "Reggy is a freed slave who has chosen to continue accompanying us. Tory is our guide through the jungle and the mountains around here."
    Demetrius shook their hands and they got to know each other.
    (Demetrius is a paladin and some of you may be wondering, how can I possibly be including a paladin in a campaign where two of the party members are evil? Those two would be Sivirdm and Stanton if you didn't know. A couple reasons. First, paladins are already worse than other fighting classes. I don't think they need further nerfing by forcing a code on them. Second, paladins uphold the divine law, but the Olympians aren't exactly paragons of virtue. Paladins should be like their gods, but that isn't saying much in this pantheon. Third, Demetrius explicitly stated that he wanted to reign in the unruly behavior of the party. He's trying to follow the code as best he can. Fourth, Salzar said he wanted to play it and why shouldn't I let him have some fun?)
    The group bought the rest of their potions and got the last bit of supplies they'd need before making the climb into the mountains.

    The climb went smoothly as the party had prepared so well and had Tory as an excellent guide. He led them on easy paths that took them higher and higher by the hour. When it came time to sleep for the night they were close to a cave. Tory pointed it out and they went inside. A little bit of exploring revealed that the cave had no back wall. It just kept going and going into the side of the mountain.
    Wanting to ensure safety while they slept, Korjak lit some torches and led the way into the cave. The journey took them deeper and deeper and the cave began to slope downwards. It was clear that this was some sort of entrance into the Underdark.
    Not wanting to chance any encounters with Drow or other creatures, the party left the cave and camped outside in the rain. Tory gave them what tips he could for keeping dry in the rain, but by morning everyone was soaked and miserable.
    The next day while hiking up the wide mountain path, a shadow passed over the party. Everyone looked up and saw a gigantic bird circling around the party.
    Gregor asked, "Is that a condor?"
    Tory's eyes went wide. "No! It's a roc!"
    Korjak shouted, "Take cover!"
    "It's too late it's already seen us and there's nowhere to hide around here," said Tory.
    Korjak ordered, "Loose one of the goats! Maybe it will only want to feed on one."
    The party quickly stripped the equipment off of one goat as the roc circled lower and lower. They prodded the goat away from the party to act as bait. The roc swooped down and landed upon the goat. It crushed the bleating animal in its talons and lifted it to its beak to be devoured in a single bite. The roc fixed its white eyes on the party and began to advance.
    "Oh gods," said Tory. He backed away, holding on to the leashes of the other goats. The rest of the party prepared to engage if the roc kept advancing.
    The bird came forward and the fight was on.
    Korjak pulled out his bow and shot an arrow into the neck of the roc. The arrow burrowed deep and the roc shrieked in response (Korjak got a double crit for x5 damage! 47 total). Gregor ran in to fight it toe to toe. Sivirdm hid behind a rock and fired at the roc's vulnerable side with his crossbow. Reggy took shots at it with his crossbow as well. Stanton hid behind a rock as well and cast blinding color surge to stop the roc's advance. Demetrius summoned his horse and mounted up.
    The roc faltered a little bit. Stanton, suspecting an opening cast vertigo on the roc, giving it the unsettling feeling that it was falling.



    The roc recovered its vision and bit into Gregor. The bird lifted him up in its giant beak. Korjak, Sivirdm, and Reggy continued their missile barrage. Demetrius charged by on his horse, jumping just in time to dodge the roc's talon, and scrapping the roc's side good with his lance. Tory continued to pull the goats further away and keep them under control.
    Stanton, wanting to free Gregor, cast a color spray up at the roc's face. The colors stunned both Gregor and the roc. The bird dropped Gregor roughly to the ground.
    The fight was sadly, depressingly boring after this point. Stanton kept the roc stun-locked with more color sprays and it was unable to resist looking at the pretty lights (Stupid low rolls on will saves!). The party cut it up with various attacks until Gregor rolled a huge critical hit and decapitated the beast.
    Tory handed the goats off to Reggy and came to investigate the roc.
    "I've never heard of a roc having a beak that big. Most of them are only about sixteen inches long, but this one must be two feet. Impressive."
    Gregor said, "Sounds like we should take some trophies."
    The party stripped what they wanted which included the talons, some gigantic feathers, and the already decapitated head.

    The session ended there. Next time will probably be a combo session.

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    I've started putting some extra info on my campaign at my website. I've given my players a bunch of info on the cities in my campaign over the years. I'm now in the process of updating that info for the current state of the campaign. Check it out!

    Cimmeria at GoCorral

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    Ye next session is being written up now!

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    Combo Session #3/Total Session #61
    This session was attended by Ozymandias, Throgg, thewamp, and Salzar. The session was held using Roll20 for tabletop interactions and Skype for voice and video. This is another combo session. A lot of bad **** went down in this session but it should be known that it was all at the permission of the respective PCs. No one was upset at the end of the session. We started off with everyone playing their Alliance characters.

    After welcoming Origenes into the party everyone decided to take a few days off for themselves. Destroying ancient artifacts can take a lot out of you. Eathirilu spent his time developing his base in Demeter's Garden further. Danar, Tagenadi, and Origenes worked on some battle tactics they could use in future fights. Hektor had Alliance business to attend to along with beginning negotiations of Aractrash's entrance into the war. Amalius did something a little different.
    Remember how Amalius had been kidnapped by the Xorians before the campaign began? He was brainwashed into thinking he had a family. The Xorians used an actual family to aid the creation of these new memories. The memories of the family were also changed, so that they would think that Amalius was the father/husband of the family. The Xorians held Amalius's family hostage and forced him to spy on the Alliance.
    Amalius eventually freed his "family" and in doing so realized that they his memories and theirs were false. This all happened back in Alliance Session #17/Total Session #25. A few more events have unfolded offscreen since then. Amalius consulted the Bjorn for advice and after doing so used psychic chirurgery to correct the errors of his memories and those of his “wife,” Denara. Denara and Amalius still kept their emotional connection and wished to stay together. The children were left in the dark about what happened and Amalius used a little bit of mental magic to smooth out any edges in their memories that might’ve made them realize that he was not their true father.
    Denara and the three children, Valaria, Hallion, and Procine went to live with Amalius’s brother, Amalchus. Amalchus used to be a prosperous horse merchant in Jipangu, but after Amalius was exiled and subsequently declared a traitor to the Alliance, Amalchus’s property was confiscated and he was exiled from Jipangu as well. He’d used what he could to purchase an inn and was now running it to serve the thousands of soldiers training in the field outside of Jipangu. Also living with Amalchus were his wife, Helia; his son, Hiero; and his and Amalius’s mother, Hiroka. Additionally, Amalchus’s and Amalius’s sister, Amelia, had moved in with Amalchus. She was married prior to the family’s exile, but afterwards her husband divorced her, sending her back to her family.
    The family had been close to destitute, unaware of how to manage an inn and live below their usual standard of living. Amalius used his psionic powers to give them some sound business advice and also gifted the family with thousands of gold pieces to invest in the business. Since then the inn, The Rising Sun, has grown in size and popularity. More staff are being hired and the family has thrown themselves into work to keep up with all their customers.
    With that being the current situation, Amalius realized something important, “I have a wife, but I never technically married her. Why don’t I have a wedding?” He asked her and she said yes. He began making the appropriate arrangements. Hiroka, Amalius’s mother, agreed to handle most of the small details as long as Amalius found a suitable groom for Amelia. Amalius thought of Tagenadi immediately, but discarded the idea soon afterward due to Tagenadi’s undead status. He is now thinking of asking Hektor, but the appropriate time to broach the subject has not yet arrived (Throgg and Middle_Snu haven’t played in the same session since he thought of the idea).

    So all the memory stuff is headed in a happy direction with marriage on the horizon, but there’s a darker side to these events as well. Stanton, the Xorian who altered Amalius’s memories AND dominated Tagenadi to kill his parents, still walked free, unpunished for his crimes. Amalius made plans with Tagenadi to get revenge and acted on them. Amalius hired a mage to scry Stanton and then he teleported himself and Tagenadi there.
    Amalius and Tagenadi arrived a hundred or so feet away from the Rebel party’s campfire up in the Dominarie Mountains. They’d just slain a roc and were enjoying reliving the experience, admiring the trophies they’d taken, and digesting some roasted bird. Tagenadi summoned his nightmare mount and activated his flying armor to float above the fiery steed. The Rebel party looked over and Amalius announced, “We come in peace! Me mean you no harm!”
    Seeing a large skeleton man, floating over a flaming horse, the Rebel party didn’t believe a word of that crap. Korjak yelled out, “Like hell you do!” as he transformed into Baldr.
    Tory began leading the goats as far away from the newcomers as possible. Sivirdm disappeared into the shadows and started circling around to flank. Gregor, Korjak, Demetrius, and Reggy all scrambled for their weapons. Stanton mentally rolled through his spell options as Tagenadi and Amalius approached.
    Amalius sighed and enveloped the party in a suggestion spell saying, “Speak with me by the fire for the night is dark and full of terrors.” This only succeeded in overcoming Baldr’s will. Unfortunately, even on him it did not have the effect that Amalius had desired. Baldr’s eyes focused on the “terror” in front of him, Tagenadi. The skeleton knight dispelled his nightmare and moved towards the campfire, bringing his activated inherent fear aura with him. Gregor and Tory fled as the chilling emanation enveloped them. Stanton also up and fled. Tagenadi swung his kusari-gama and tripped Stanton, preventing his escape.
    Demetrius summoned his horse, Alexis, and mounted, preparing to charge Tagenadi. Baldr ran at Tagenadi, but was tripped. Baldr attempted to hit Tagenadi as he fell, but only glanced off of his armor.
    Amalius shouted, “Everyone stop! We only want to talk with one of you!” but was ignored.
    Tagenadi continued to prevent movement of all within range of his kusari-gama. Baldr managed to stand and land a strong blow against Tagenadi. Reggy stayed out of range, trying to think of what to do.
    Sivirdm moved to approach Amalius from behind but as he did so he heard a voice in his mind, “I would be more careful if I were you.” Amalius’s tuned mental senses picked the halfling up even as he hid in the shadows.
    His patience running thin, Amalius wormed his way into the minds of Baldr, Stanton, and Demetrius, forcing them to obey his commands. He spoke to Baldr and Demetrius, “Sit by the fire and only take defensive actions if they are absolutely necessary.” They complied with the order. Reggy joined in as well. Sivirdm chose to stay in the shadows, still circling to get behind Amalius.
    Amalius and Tagenadi gathered around Stanton as he lay on the ground away from the campfire. “Now tell me… Do you remember me?” asked Amalius.
    Stanton nodded.
    “Good.” Amalius withdrew Korm from his gloves of storing. “Then you’ll know that there’s no way you can resist what we’re about to do to you.”
    Tagenadi’s eyes would’ve widened if he still had them. “Whoa man! Put that away! We’re not going to kill him!”
    Korm whined, “But I can do other things. And don’t tell me you don’t find my sense of humor appealing.” A shiver went down Stanton’s spine as Korm said pealing.
    Amalius locked his gaze on Tagenadi for a moment before submitting. “Fine. Hope you enjoyed your short time out.”
    “Wait! Wait! I can hel-” Korm was cut off as he was forced back into the gloves of storing.
    Amalius turned back to Stanton, “You remember me from the last time I was here. Then do you remember what you did to me and my family? And to his family!” Amalius pointed at Tagenadi.
    “It has a family?”
    Amalius glared at Stanton.
    “I mean, no! I don’t remember anything from when I was a Dragovinian.”
    “I’ll make you remember.” Amalius cast false sensory input on Stanton. He altered Stanton’s sense so that the cool mountain air felt like a thousand fire ants crawling over him, biting into his skin. Stanton began squirming on the ground, “Do you remember now? HUH?! DO YOU?!”
    Amalius relaxed the power and waited for an answer. Stanton took a few deep breaths before saying, “No.”
    Amalius was about to ramp up the spell again when Tagenadi said, “Wait. Wait. I have an idea.”
    Tagenadi donned his cap of disguise and used it to change his appearance. He shifted from a skeleton into the shape of an old balding man. “Do you remember this face?”
    Stanton said, “It seems a little familiar… Maybe I’ve seen it in a dream?”
    Tagenadi whispered, “He was my father.”
    “Sorry still nothing.”
    Amalius said, “Maybe he needs some more reinforcement.” Amalius made the sounds around them deafening in Stanton’s eardrums to accompany the imaginary fire ants on his skin.
    As Amalius twisted the metaphorical knife, Sivirdm dashed forwards and attempted to peel Amalius’ glove off of his hands. Amalius recoiled before Sivirdm could take the glove. Tagenadi swept his kusari-gama around and tripped the halfling.
    “Please! I want it! I want that dagger!”
    “You don’t know what you want.”
    “YES I DO!” Sivirdm jumped up and lunged for the glove again. Amalius amped up a sonic wave and blasted Sivirdm’s left hand as it reached for the glove. The left hand was destroyed.
    Sivirdm screamed and fell to the ground.
    Amalius looked down on Sivirdm, “I warned you.” Speaking to those by the campfire, “Come get him and treat his wound.”
    Baldr had reverted to Korjak at this point. He and Reggy brought Sivirdm to the fire. Korjak did what he could to heal Sivirdm’s injuries, but the hand was gone.
    By this time Gregor and Tory had returned as well. They took their seats by the fire, understanding that there was nothing they could do to help Stanton now.
    Amalius said, “Well if you don’t remember then perhaps I can unlock those memories.”
    Amalius began casting psychic chirurgery. His goal was to only restore Stanton’s memories and not the skills he had possessed as a Dragovinian. A difficult task he leaned over Stanton’s body as he wormed his way deep into the halfling’s mind. Slowly he reached closer and closer to the core where the memories were stored.
    At the center instead of a locked box as he had expected, Amalius found a white light as bright as the sun. He stepped towards the light and heard a loud voice, “TREAD NO FURTHER MORTAL! YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT TERRORS YOU UNLEASH!” Amalius was sure he’d heard the voice somewhere before, but he couldn’t quite place it.
    Amalius spoke to the voice, “I aim to only let out his memories so that he can be appropriately punished for his actions.”
    “THAT WOULD NOT BE WISE. NOTHING WILL CONTAIN HIM ONCE HIS MEMORIES ARE FREE.”
    Amalius pondered the situation before electing to retreat and leave the barrier around Stanton’s memories intact. He came out of the his trance.
    Tagenadi asked, “Well? Did you do it?”
    “No. There’s a barrier blocking his memories. A voice spoke to me and said not to let them out. I think it would be best if we let him stay the way he is.”
    “But he still needs to be punished for what he did.”
    “Aye. I agree, but it shouldn’t be death.”
    “Imprisonment then,” said Tagenadi. “I’ve already thought of a place.”
    “Oh?”
    “Where we found the Bane’s phylactery in the Lich Shade.”
    “I like it. We’ll need to bring him food and water occasionally until we decide to do something else with him.”
    “We can manage that.”
    “Let’s search him first though in case he has any means of escaping the Lich Shade.”
    Amalius and Tagenadi stripped Stanton down and took all his possessions. They teleported to the Lich Shade and marooned him within the carved out cavern halfway up the thousand foot tall obelisk where the phylactery had once been. Amalius teleported to Aractrash and purchased a wall of stone scroll as well. This was used to seal up the entrance to the cavern, leaving only a small slit for light to enter. Stanton was given two weeks of provisions as the high level pair teleported away.



    The session ended there.
    But what does this mean for the two adventuring parties going forward? Probably inconsequential for the high-level Alliance party. But for the low-level Rebel party this means another new addition to the team will be coming soon. Thewamp has already begun work on his next character, Fash the Swordsage. He’ll be introduced soon and taking the place of Stanton, at least until Stanton can be rescued. That rescue may never come though.
    As for Sivirdm’s lost hand, that probably spells the end of his crossbow usage. Sivirdm may be switching to throwing weapons for his ranged option or focusing solely on stabbing people from behind. Of course regenerating his hand will be a new goal for himself. Or at least getting a sweet hook.
    Next time! DRAGON FIGHT!

  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Alliance Session #47/Total Session #62
    This session was attended by Throgg, Ozymandias, thewamp, Salzar, and Zigfried. The session was held using Roll20 for a virtual tabletop and Skype for voice and video chat.

    After enjoying their vacation the bad boys of Lakatia decided their next objective was taking down Bavastatner the blue dragon.
    Bavastatner lives in the Shacklack Desert. He was one of the original ten dragons that terrorized the world before Danar and his friends imprisoned them in the Orbs of Dragonkind. Bavastatner broke free later on and now he and his children cast an ominous threat over Mars’ Oasis, the main city-state in Shacklack.
    But why kill a dragon? Just to get its hoard? No!
    Mars’ Oasis, in addition to dealing with dragon problems, also has dealt with undead attacks from the Lich Shade and giant ant attacks from the formian hives in the desert. All these offensives have made the people of Mars’ Oasis very good at fighting lawful enemies, draconic enemies, and undead enemies.
    Guess which looming power in the west matches all three of those descriptions? That’s right! The Dragovinians!
    The people of Mars’ Oasis would love to fight the Dragovinians but they can’t risk leaving their own city undefended against all those other threats. The party has been working hard to solve that problem. First, they took out the Bane, leader of the undead armies assaulting Mars’ Oasis. Second, they negotiated a peace treaty with the formians. This treaty was contingent on the party slaying Bavastatner within two months.
    Which brings us to action number three, killing Bavastatner. The party read up on him using the libraries of Aractrash, looking for any weaknesses they could exploit.
    Bavastatner is capable of the typical blue dragon things. He breathes lightning, he can alter his voice to mimic that of any voice he has ever heard, he can fly, his scales can only be penetrated with a magic weapon, he has power over illusions, he is an accomplished spellcaster, and he can burrow through sand. But what sets Bavastatner apart from other blue dragons aside from his size and status? Not only can Bavastatner breathe lightning, he can breathe fire, acid, and ice as well. Bavastatner has also been known to wear armor into combat.
    While researching Bavastatner the party also found a drawing of one of the old rulers of Mars’ Oasis, King Biveso. He had marched against Bavastatner wearing a full panoply of Dythalid infused armor, intent on slaying the beast. Biveso had failed miserably. The finest treasures in Bavastatner’s hoard are rumored to have been taken from the corpse of King Biveso.
    Bavastatner lives in a cave on the eastern side of the Dominarie Mountains bordering the Shacklack Desert. Surrounding his cave are a number of draconic humanoid tribes that act as his servants.

    That was about all the useful information the party could gather from books. Next up, gathering information with spells!
    Scrying would be the go to spell for investigating a lair, but it has problems associated with it. First, you have to cast it on an individual. Bavastatner is the only creature the party knew to inhabit his cave and his innate mental defenses were high enough that any scrying attempt on him was doomed to failure. Second, even if the scrying succeeded Bavastatner might detect it and come raging for the party in Lakatia.
    Going in into the cave invisibly would also be out of the question. Dragons are well known for being able to detect even invisible intruders. Fortunately, Danar had the perfect spell for this situation, arcane eye. The spell summons an eye within the caster’s sight which can then be used to explore beyond what the caster can see, relaying all visual information back to its master.
    Danar and Tagenadi were made invisible and used Tagenadi’s teleport boots to arrive two and a half miles away from the cave entrance. They found themselves in the middle of a large grassy field. Here and there throughout the field were camels grazing. Guarding the camels were large, winged, draconic humanoids with draconic dogs following them around. Looking towards the cliffside in which the dragon’s cave lay the duo saw a field of some crop on their right. The wind blew the smell of barley to their nostrils.
    Danar cast arcane eye, summoning his dweomer near the cliffside. He put his hand over his eye and looked through his new one. As Danar used the spell he repeated all that he saw to Tagenadi. Danar saw not one, but three caves entering the cliffside. The rightmost cave entrance was smaller and a few average-sized humanoid figures were leaving it towards the barley fields to the right. A waterfall separated the middle cave from the right cave. A pool formed below it, draining towards the barley fields. Atop the cliff to the left of the waterfall, three draconic ogres stood watch, keeping an eye on the plains. While the right cave looked too small for a dragon of Bavastatner’s size to fit into the left cave and the middle cave looked about the right size.
    Danar sent his eye down the middle cave. The tunnel snaked on for several hundred feet before reaching a large room filled with draconic trolls. They were milling around the cave, sleeping on bed pallets by the cave walls, counting treasure piles, or playing cards. There were three other exists from this room, one to the left and two straight ahead. All the exits were too small for a fully grown dragon.
    Danar investigated the left exit first. It led to a large room with close to a dozen cages in it. Within the cages were red draconic dogs. The dogs were chewing on bones, snarling at the cage doors, or napping in their cages. No other exits left the cage room. Danar tried the other two exits from the main troll room. The first led to a troll sized bathroom. Danar was thankful that the arcane eye did not transmit smell.
    The second room led to a bedroom. This room had actual furniture along with a bookcase containing a few volumes, some of which Danar recognized. A large draconic troll lay upon the bed reading a book.
    The middle cave proved a dead-end so Danar brought his arcane eye outside and sent it into the left cave.
    (The exploring of the left cave took another arcane eye or two and about half an hour of real world time. I’ll skip the boring details of Danar slowly directing the eye around the left cave and just describe the various rooms he found.).
    The first room was massive. Little pieces of trash were strewn around it. The party guessed that this room was used by Bavastatner to address all of his followers.
    Next was a room with a waterfall coming down into it and forming a pool. The pool drained via a waterfall going down into another room below.
    There was what looked like a dormitory/hospital, two or three dragon bathrooms, and twos room filled with baby dragons sitting on their little hoards. One room had a bunch of pits, short columns that didn’t reach the roof, and chains hanging from the roof. Another room held a number of eggs waiting to hatch. A library held hundreds of books in large aisles.

    Danar was interrupted as he prepared to send his arcane eye down another passageway. A rumbling in the desert stirred and then Bavastatner burst from the sand! He wore dazzling mithral armor over his body. Glittering emeralds were interspersed between his dull blue scales. He wore a ring upon each of his foreclaws. As he came out of the ground he unfurled his wings and took flight, soaring directly over the party. The great dragon snapped his jaws down as he passed by, bringing Danar along for the ride.
    Danar reacted quickly, dropping his arcane eye and dimension dooring himself out of the dragon’s mouth. Bavastatner whipped around in the air faster than any of the adventurers had thought possible. Facing the party members who were clustered around Danar’s previous location, the dragon breathed pure crackling lightning!



    The blast hit Amalius, Origenes, and Eathirilu. Eathirilu had buffed the party with electricity resistance that was still in effect. He’d saved the best stuff for himself, making him immune to all electrical damage. Amalius and Origenes were not so blessed. Each suffered burns as the ozone smelling energy enveloped their bodies. The lightning clung to them, preventing all movement and thought. Bavastatner also blasted the party with a little bit of evil energy, sickening those who were exposed to it.
    Eathirilu began casting a summoning spell to bring in some helpful rocs. Tagenadi moved forward, and then transferred some of his energy to Eathirilu giving him the power to finish his spell. Eathirilu summoned his rocs and boosted them with a brilliant energy spell to circumvent Bavastatner’s armor. The rocs moved in and began to pester Bavastatner.
    Danar returned to the fight. He empowered his longaxe with an arcane strike and a wraithstrike. Putting into action the manuever they had spent so much time practicing, Danar ran forward, leaped up onto Tagenadi’s shoulders, and then blasted off of them to reach where Bavastatner flew in the air. He got his axe in reach of the dragon’s hide and went to town. He cut a bloody swath into Bavastatner’s belly as he sailed by. Blood rained down covering the ground where Danar landed.
    Bavastatner looked to the ground, thinking to himself, “This one must be punished.” The dragon dropped the ground and ripped into Danar, nearly killing him.
    Tagenadi used his white raven hammer technique to try to incapacitate Bavastatner for a few seconds. As the blow struck home Bavastatner smiled and the emeralds on his hide glimmered. No stun would work on this beast.
    Speaking of stuns, Eathirilu cast heal on Amalius to undo the stun on him. Amalius flew away from where Origenes and Eathirilu were standing to avoid all of them being caught in Bavastatner’s breath a second time. From his new location, Amalius sent his psicrystal, Merlot, close to Bavastatner to hit the beast with a swarm of crystals. The crystals made thousands of little cuts in the dragon’s skin. (Merlot is the latest psicrystal that’s been reformed due to changes in Amalius’s personality. Don’t know if it’s shown up in the story yet).
    Danar, fearing for his life, dimension doored away. Without his target prey, Bavastatner turned on the only other party member who had damaged him, Amalius. He flew forward and snapped Amalius into his jaws.
    Tagenadi took a chunk out of Bavastatner’s hide while Eathirilu’s rocs continued to harass the dragon. Eathirilu turned into a roc as well and began to power up by casting strong short term buff spells on himself. Unfortunately, Origenes remained stunned.
    Amalius used temporal acceleration inside the mouth of Bavastatner. While in his accelerated time pocket he escaped, reapplied his vigor spell, and grabbed Merlot. He crawled back into Bavastatner’s mouth with Merlot and placed the psicrystal as deep as he could inside of the dragon’s mouth. Amalius got himself out of the tooth filled maw. When time resumed, he ordered Merlot to blast Bavastatner with a swarm of crystals from inside. Bavastatner shrieked and began climbing into the air to escape. Unfortunately for the dragon, the danger remained inside of him as he flew away. Amalius channeled a few more swarms through Merlot, bringing an end to the mighty dragon up in the sky.
    There’s a thing about flying dead dragons though. They fall. And Origenes was right underneath Bavastatner. Seeing the danger, Tagenadi grabbed the stunned Origenes and teleported away from Bavastatner’s landing spot. Eathirilu also backed away to escape being crushed.
    Bavastatner smashed into the ground.
    The whole party breathed a sigh of relief. The beast had been defeated.
    But the fight wasn’t over yet. The sand rumbled off to their left. Another enormous blue dragon came up from the desert! This one was smaller in size than Bavastatner, but it still dwarfed the size of a common human. The dragon shrieked, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY HUSBAND?!? I’LL KILL YOU!”

    We ended the session there!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2015-10-14 at 10:36 AM.

  15. - Top - End - #105
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    The players completed another puzzle outside of normal session time. See if you can solve it!

    While cleaning out the slowly depleting treasury of Hektor, a servant found an old stone box carved in the shape of a dragon. Unable to open it, he imagined it might have a magical keyword of some sort and brought it to Hektor to open.



    Not immediately recognizing the box, Hektor took it and examined it. As he did so, the room darkened and the dragon upon the box spoke,
    https://youtu.be/-c6wnCHqzeE

    Spoiler: Dragon Riddle
    Show
    Sealed until fire, smoke, and ash
    Return from an old and fracture past
    To upset the status quo
    And rain fire on those down below
    By fate sealed, by fate undone
    Of remaining locks there is but one
    Monsters are not the only to awaken
    The ire builds of my brothers forsaken
    A cruel fate of double birth
    Made them choose last, and I, go first
    Soon they clash on the fields of war
    While up all around the dragons soar
    And I, asleep, on my ivory bed
    No one there in my stead
    Save you who hold this box
    Inside, my weapon, my pride, one lock
    I give to you this power, this burden
    To use only if the need is certain
    Speak its name and hold it high
    And when you’re ready, Let Death Fly!


    Spoiler: Riddle Hint
    Show
    The speaker of the riddle is Zeus.
    Spoiler: Riddle Answer
    Show
    Lightning!


    Amalius quickly and correctly guessed the riddle. He attempted to open the box, but the dragon said, “When the time is right!” before turning to stone once more.

    Alliance Session #48/Total Session #63
    This session was attended by Salzar, Throgg, Zigfried, and thewamp. The session was held using Skype for voice and video and Roll20 for a virtual tabletop.

    Bavastatner’s wife roared and move towards the party. Tagenadi and Eathirilu intercepted her, taking the brunt of her attacks head on. Origenes recovered from the paralyzing energy of Bavastatner’s breath and circled around behind the new threat to sneak attack her. Amalius flew into the air and cast stygian conflagration on the dragon.
    Bavastatner’s wife screamed in anger and rushed Amalius. He took a great deal of damage from her attacks. Fearing for his life, Amalius activated iron body and teleported out of her sight. Somewhere presumably safe that she wouldn’t think to look… Bavastatner’s internal organs! But which organ would be big enough to allow space for the psion while simultaneously providing a safe environment? Not the stomach, but the heart!
    Amalius teleported into Bavastatner’s heart and realized, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
    Bavastatner was a very old dragon, one of the children of Typhon and Echidna. He lived during the rule of Chronos. He survived the Titanomachy. He established dominance over the mortal races and when Danar and his compatriots defeated him he suffered through all the indignities they leaped upon him. Through careful planning and luck he took advantage of an opportunity and freed himself and his wife. When the adventurer, Terry, returned to life to imprison him once more, Bavastatner slew her. He established his dynasty as rulers of the Shacklack Desert and defeated all challengers. He had done what no other dragon could and reached a zenith of power never seen before.
    Bavastatner was no longer a dragon of only Gaia. He had transcended and restored some of his primal connection with Tartarus. The plane of punishment had infected Bavastatner’s very soul, corrupting it. He could not die and his evil heart continued to beat. That evil heart that Amalius had just teleported inside of.
    The heart’s malevolent presence overwhelmed Amalius and consumed him. Merlot sensed Amalius’s death and moved to free itself from the throat of Bavastatner.
    The rest of the party continue their engagement with Bavastatner's wife. Their combined power was able to overcome her within seconds. Her body collapsed upon that of her husband.

    With no more immediate threats, the party allowed themselves to relax. Merlot informed them of Amalius’s death. Accustomed to coming back from the dead, the party did not panic. Tagenadi set to work removing Bavastatner's heart from his body. After an hour of careful cutting the massive organ was removed. The heart measured seven feet on a side and was covered in growths that looked like warty horns. Evil poured out of the heart as it continued beating even after separation from the host's body.
    Tagenadi cut Amalius out. The hole in the heart soon healed. Tagenadi tried cutting off the horny growths but found that those regrew slowly as well.
    Coming up with a quick plan, the party left Tagenadi with Bavastatner's body to keep cutting it up faster than it could regenerate. The rest of the group went to Dalleer to arrange for Amalius’s resurrection. Origenes organized a meeting with the Bjorn to get privacy at the Dalleer Cathedral for a few minutes to get Amalius returned. Paying the large fee for a true resurrection brought Amalius back the next day. The injured party members were also healed at the Cathedral.
    When they returned to the desert where they'd left Tagenadi her informed that of events that had transpired since they left. Bavastatner had slowly regenerated as predicted, but Tagenadi prevented it by cutting him up. Also, the various humanoids and other dragons that lived in the cave city had begun to leave. Many of them were clearly taking treasure with them but Tagenadi was unable to stop them all.
    The party moved into the caves and offered each of the remaining creatures a simple choice, surrender your treasure and leave our die. The massive hoards of Bavastatner and his wife were also added to the loot total. Collecting and cataloging the combined treasure took close to a week. The total came to:
    Spoiler: Treasure guide that I gave to the PCs
    Show
    Items that are essentially money in one form or another = 605,756 GP

    Items that probably belong to the Mars' Oasis Royalty = Dythalidium Fullplate, Dythalidium Longspear, Jeweled Crown, Belt of the Olympian +6, Amulet of Skin +5, Ring of Protection +5, Carpet of Flying Type II, Decanter of Endless Water, Ring of Endure Elements, Murlynd's Spoon, Gloves of Electricity Resistance 30, Boots of Striding and Springing

    Items that I'm guessing you'll just liquidate: Eyes of the Eagle, Elixir of Truth, Protection From Arrows Potion, +1 Light Mace, Magic Weapon Oils x2, Wand of Keen Edge, +3 Composite Shortbow (+2 Str), Divine Scrolls (Divine Power, Break Enchantment), Rod of Metal and Mineral Detection, Arcane Scrolls (Greater Magic Weapon, Lightning Bolt, Haste, Confusion, Cone of Cold), Ring of Water Walking, Masterwork Composite Darkwood Longbow (+4 Str)

    Total value if suggested items are sold: 32,000 GP

    Items that are probably valuable to you: Ring of Telekinesis, Gem of Fortification, +5 Greater Sonic Resistance Ghost Touch Mithral Dragon Barding, Tons of Healing potions, Bag of Holding Type II, Rod of Absorption, Crystal Ball (See Invisibility), Orb of Pleasant Breezes, One of the largest private collections of books you've ever seen.


    But the greatest treasure of all was definitely Bavastatner's dead body. Presenting his head to the people of Mars’ Oasis would make it clear that they no longer needed to fear dragon attacks from the desert. The citizens and king would then be free to engage in other conflicts such as the war against Xoria, a war they are particularly suited for after fighting dragons and undead in the desert for centuries.
    Origenes, Eathirilu, and Danar teleported ahead to Mars’ Oasis to clear a space in the town square for the incoming arrival. A crowd gathered as they moved people away from a central location. Soon, Amalius and Tagenadi teleported in atop Bavastatner’s decapitated head. Amalius took a bag of holding filled with silver and gold coins and dumped it upside down, letting the coins roll off the dragon’s head and into the audience. He shouted, “People of Mars’ Oasis, the foul beast of the desert, Bavastatner, is finally dead!”
    Disbelief played across the people’s faces first. Was this a trick? Just a way for Bavastatner to catch them unawares? No! These were the same people that slew the Bane previously! They’d killed the blue wyrm as well! Cheers of celebration began amongst the public. Music played, people danced, babies were brought forth to be kissed, tales were told. All the while Amalius stayed close to Tagenadi who remained in his skeleton form without an illusion to cover it up.
    Soon the higher up authorities arrived. Alabaster and a few Dythalidee marched into the town square. Eathirilu’s acute hearing picked out Alabaster saying, “The king’s not going to like this.”
    Alabaster clomped over to where the party stood around the head and said, “Congratulations heroes! King Mero invites you to his castle for a feast and celebrations in your name will be repeated throughout the land.” He did his best to hide it but a tint of sarcasm still came through.
    Alabaster commanded the surrounding guards, “Get some pikes and bring the head to the castle.” The guards did as instructed. Horses were brought for the party to ride to the castle. Tagenadi chose to walk.
    A crowd of nobles cheered as the party entered the throne room behind the head. King Mero sat thin lipped on his throne. He greeted his guests, “Welcome brave heroes. So good to see you again…”

    To be continued!

    I didn't feel like drawing a picture for this update so I drew a second one for the last update. Here's Danar jumping at Bavastatner.

  16. - Top - End - #106
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #49/Total Session #64
    This session was attended by Ozymandias, thewamp, Middle_Snu, Salzar, and Zigfried. The session was held using Skype for voice and video and using Roll20 as a virtual tabletop.
    In out of character news we just had our big Fake New Years party where we all get together at a time around New Years Eve, but not actually New Years (people want to do other things on the actual day usually) and stay up all night playing games. We played a bunch of games with a trust/deception theme. The highlight game was Betrayal at the House on the Hill. It moved a little slowly for our tastes to be honest, but perhaps that was because it was our first time playing it.
    This update took a little longer than the others due to activity in my professional life. I was advanced to candidacy at my Master’s of Science in Biology program. The work for that required about a month chained to my computer working on perfecting my proposal. It all paid off! Thank you all for your patience in waiting.
    Finally, we experimented with a new method of initiative in this session. We tried a Monsters Turn/PCs turn method, where the PCs were allowed to act in whatever order they chose with even some move and standard actions being separated. It worked well and we should be using it in subsequent sessions when appropriate. And now on to the D&D fun!

    Last session ended with the party showing up at the court of King Mero III. Upon arrival Tagenadi had a vision. thewamp shared this vision with the rest of the group immediately while Tagenadi was forced to share it in private later on.
    Spoiler: Tagenadi’s Vision
    Show
    Tagenadi glances at the dragon's head. Wait! Did an eye move? He looks closer to make sure. Tagenadi stands paralyzed as the head slowly rotates and the eyes look straight at him. No one else in the room seems to notice. The dragon's putrefying lips move, “Lord Hades wishes to speak with you.”
    In a flash Tagenadi is no longer in Mars’ Oasis. He stands in a column of light within a vast dark space. Looking down he sees not the armored skeletal form he has grown accustomed to but his old human body! Albeit naked, but this is truly himself again! Ecstatic, Tagenadi revels in the feeling of his fingers against his skin.
    The feeling of joy is soon replaced by that of dread. An impossibly large human figure appears over him, shrouded in darkness. Hades voice reverberates throughout the seemingly infinite dark space, “Think you’re a clever little **** don’t you?
    “Thought you’d outsmarted old Hades did you? Pulled the wool over his dark eyes? Slipped one by ME? THE LORD OF HELL?!?!? NOTHING ESCAPES ME MORTAL! NOT EVEN THE DEAD!
    “Now I don’t want to hear your pitiful mewling excuses. We had a bargain. You would lead my armies in the surface world and in exchange I gave you life. Your dithering and attempts to escape this compact through refusal to contact me or carry out my wishes surprise me, but I am not without my mercy. Since you seek a return to your mortal form I shall grant it to you.
    “BUT ONLY IF YOU COMPLETE WHAT I RETURNED YOU TO LIFE TO DO! I DID NOT CREATE AN ARMY OF UNDEAD TO WASTE THEM AGAINST THE FORCES OF HEPHAESTUS AND ATHENA! THEY ARE NOT MY TARGETS! DIRECT MY ARMIES AGAINST ARES AND BLENDEGAD OR BY THE STYX I WILL THINK OF A TORTURE FOR YOU WORSE THAN THAT DEVISED FOR CRONOS!
    “Use the Black Crystal. Take the three armies, the desert, Thanatos’s, and the dead dwarves. Take them against Xoria. Find me the Lots. And then I shall restore your human body,” the immense form leans down so Tagenadi can see his teeth, as large as wagons.
    “I will require one small task from you after this. When the time comes you will know. In return I will reunite your drowned sister with you. Do these things and you will be rewarded.” His sulphurous breath blows in Tagenadi’s face, “Do not… and you will regret it.”
    Smoke pours forth from his mouth, obscuring Tagenadi’s vision. Tagenadi tries to clear the air in front of himself with his arm. Fanning the smoke away reveals that he is back in the courtroom. The dragon’s head has not moved and conversation continues between the members of the court as if nothing has happened.

    Discussion of the vision resulted in little real decision. Tagenadi is certainly interested in reclaiming his body and his sister, who had not known was dead, but what was the real cost of using the Black Crystal? A cursory plan was drawn up for transporting the undead horde at the Lich Shade across Xoria, no action was undertaken. Similarly no action was taken to control the undead dwarves or the city of Crux.

    But what of King Mero III’s court?
    King Mero regained his composure after his momentary lapse, “Your deeds will be rewarded and remembered for all time. Let us rejoice! For Bavastatner is dead and our kingdom is safe!”
    The court cheered! “Hip hip hurray! Hip hip hurray! Hip hip hurray!”
    Before another cheer could begin, Hektor interrupted, “Your majesty, could we speak of what you could do with your newfound freedom from Bavastatner’s shadow? Perhaps joining the Alliance against the Xorians?”
    “Yes, in time. For now, we celebrate! Bring on the succulent foods and let the wine flow!” Servants ran from the courtroom to organize the celebration. “And where are the entertainers? Let there be music and dancing in the castle and throughout the realm!”
    Wine was served first, putting everyone in a good mood. Amalius teleported off to Jipangu to collect members of his family to join in the fun. Joining the psion were his wife, Denara; his sister, Amelia; his brother and sister-in-law, Amalchus and Helia; and his mother, Hiroka. Amalius spent the evening constantly refilling his cup with wine and talking with multiple members of the court in an attempt to find a husband for his sister. He’d had his eye on Hektor as a potential groom, but the Aractrashan turned him down.
    Tagenadi stood aside from the others, unable to enjoy the fabulous food and drink. Danar stood with Tagenadi, ensuring that the skeleton man wasn’t alone at a triumphant moment such as this. Sabriyya was present in the court. She nodded at Tagenadi from across the room, but elected to not approach her old friend.
    Eathirilu enjoyed the free alcohol to its fullest extent while also keeping his ears open for any suspicious activity. He picked up the words of the captain of the guard, Alabaster, as he spoke to the guardsmen, “Keep at the ready in case our guests of honor get violent.”
    Origenes joined Amalius and Eathirilu in letting loose. He ate pieces of the succulent pig and enjoyed it. Wary of the succulent camel hump, he tried a bite. He found it much to his liking and helped himself to a larger portion. Origenes tried the succulent succulents as well, but found the retrieval of spines from his teeth was a tad uncomfortable.
    The party continued late into the night with entertainment provided by musicians, dancing, jugglers, and a circus animal act. Amalius succeeded in finding a noble interested in marrying his son to Amelia, but sadly the hero was unable to remember the noble’s name in his drunken state.
    As the party began to wind down, King Mero III stood from his throne and addressed the crowd, “Thank you all for joining me in honoring these heroes! I will now be talking to them in private to address their future in Mars’ Oasis.” He signalled to his men and then left the throne room. Guardsmen elbowed their way through the crowd to reach each of the heroes and guide them towards a room where the king awaited them. Amalius drunkenly waved goodbye to his wife. The psion almost fell asleep in the guard’s arms and had to practically be carried out of the throne room.
    The party took their seats in the back room across from King Mero and his ever-present companion, Alabaster. Mero began, “I am prepared to give each of you a medal honoring what you have done for Mars’ Oasis and one wish if it within my power to grant. All except your undead. I can barely tolerate his presence in my city, but I will bow to the wishes of the people.”
    Hektor said, “And the Alliance? Can we expect your support?”
    “Yes. I cannot commit troops immediately. Bavastatner’s spawn may attack the oasis to avenge his death. I’m going to plan some preemptive strikes against a few of the blue dragon nests we know of to forestall any such attacks. Once we’ve done and once the army is mobilized, we will enter the war with as much strength as we can spare. There are details to be worked out for this arrangement, but from what I know I will need to speak to the Alliance Council directly for that.”
    “Your majesty is correct.”
    “There were undoubtedly a few items in Bavastatner's hoard that belonged to my great grandfather when he attempted to slay the beast,” the king continued, “I expect their return. We can talk more in the morning. I am tired as I am sure all of you are as well.” Mero glanced at the sleeping Amalius as he spoke.
    The party bowed add they excused themselves. Some walked out while others had to be carried.

    When morning came the group was treated to a small breakfast. Afterwards a guard led them to a meeting with a royal clerk who asked for the items listed as belonging to the Mars’ Oasis royalty in the previous update. Curiously, the clerk mentioned that the Dythalidium fullplate had enchantments on it that protected the wearer from all attacks, incorporeal creatures, and sonic attacks.
    Eathirilu gasped when the clerk mentioned this, “Just like th-”
    “Shush!” Amalius cut him off.
    The clerk said, “What was he going to say?”
    Amalius explained, “Nothing. Just a druid thing.”
    “Hmm…” The clerk tapped his lip with the feather of his pen and wrote a note down upon his paper.
    The royal items were turned over to the clerk. In exchange he presented them with five medals of honor, one for Amalius, Eathirilu, Hektor, Origenes, and Danar, but zero for Tagenadi. The clerk also accepted any requests the heroes had for the wishes King Mero had offered. Hektor asked the king to take care of Lakatia should Hektor die. Danar asked that the magic within his bardiche be enhanced to allow him to cast powerful spells quickly (Danar uses a Rod of Lesser Quicken as the shaft of his weapon. He wanted it pumped up to a Rod of Normal Quicken.). Amalius wanted something akin to a landed title but he hadn’t decided which particular title to claim. Eathirilu and Origenes elected to save their requests for another time.

    Heroes can’t rest for long. The Dragovinian threat still loomed and continuous action was the only way to turn the tide. With their important business completed in Mars’ Oasis the group sought a new objective. Find the Lots? Find Apollo’s Bow? No! The group decided they needed to get the Pitchfork of Ruin from the Dahak.
    Why is the Pitchfork of Ruin important? It is the weapon that poisoned Zeus, preventing the Olympian King from stomping Blendegad into dust. Ironically, the weapon is also required to cure Zeus. The Dahak still possesses the Pitchfork. In Alliance Session #37/Total Session #48 the party brokered a deal with the Dahak. In exchange for politically “dividing Nomingburg” the Dahak would hand over the Pitchfork. The party could do this or confront the Dahak, a creature of legendary power who had defeated Zeus himself. Logically the party chose to go along with their deal instead of poking the bear.
    Nomingburg is a city ruled by assassins guilds. The guilds once fought amongst each other for control of the city, but that practice was stopped by the halfling Duke Jingo. He has kept Nomingburg stable for decades since. This goes against the Dahak’s desires, so in return for ending this stability he will grant the party the Pitchfork of Ruin.
    The party landed on three different plans for stopping Duke Jingo’s influence.
    1. Bargaining with him to leave the city for a time. The group’s reasoning was sound. Gaining the Pitchfork would be instrumental in the return of Zeus. Zeus could halt the advance of the Dragovinians. Stopping the Dragovinians is good for everyone. Everyone includes Nomingburg. Ergo, Duke Jingo would want to step aside and let Nomingburg descend into chaos. Plus, the group isn’t exactly short on bribes.
    2. Kill Duke Jingo. Can’t stabilize the city if he’s dead!
    3. Kidnap Duke Jingo. After all, he only needs to be missing for the guilds to begin fighting amongst each other again.
    The group settled on the 3rd plan with the possibility of going back to the second if necessary. They feared that plan 1 might fail which would lead to the Duke being forewarned for plans 2 and 3. Plan 3 and plan 2 were effectively the same, commando-esque strike on the Duke’s residence; plan 3 was just less evil than plan 2.
    Amalius’s hangover was cured with a quick lesser restoration spell. Buffs were put in place. A plan was made. The party teleported off to Nomingburg!

    The group had been to Jingo’s palace previously when following a prophetic dream that led to the assassination plot on King Ballard. They went there again. The group silently flew over the roof. Hektor used a locate object spell on a distinct hand crossbow he’d seen in Jingo’s possession last time. He locked onto the weapon as they flew above the building until he came to the spot where the signal was directly below him.
    Hektor said, “Alright. He’s here.”
    Everyone else chimed in with, “Ready,” and “Let’s do this.”
    Amalius disintegrated the section of roof beneath them with a ray of green energy. Revealed below was a large solar. Two bookcases held numerous volumes and a fire blazed in the fireplace on the northern wall. Two padded armchairs faced a door on the eastern wall. An ornate carpet covered the floor. A book rested on a small table between the armchairs and the crossbow laid upon the southern armchair. In the middle of the room stood Elijas, the old man whom the party had seen with Duke Jingo during their last visit. Elijas was looking straight up at the party with his twin daggers drawn. He held the daggers in a reverse grip with his thumb around the end of the hilt and his pinky finger being closest to the blade. The dagger in Elijas’s right hand was made of pure energy while the left was wreathed in cold black mist.
    “Duke Jingo stepped out for a little bit, but I’m sure you’ll find me just as entertaining.”
    Amalius, Hektor, and Eathirilu had true seeing active. They saw a different creature in the room below. Instead of an old man, Elijas appeared as a shadowy humanoid figure. His skin was as dark as the midnight sky. His eyes twinkled with starry voids.
    Hektor, unsure of the difference between Duke Jingo and Elijas, flew down and threw a point blank dimensional anchor at Elijas. A direct hit by the ray ensured that Elijas would not escape the fight through teleportation magic.
    Elijas shouted, “Why would I need to escape?! Your Defeat,” he hefted the misty dagger, indicating its name was Defeat, “is Inevitable!” He swung the energy dagger named Inevitable at Hektor. Elijas attacked with Inevitable in a flurry of strikes. Tagenadi recognized the avalanche of blades technique that his master, Aruna Sheth, had once used. One, Two, Three, Four, Five Strikes! Hektor collapsed from blood loss on the fifth strike. His contingent teleport activated, sending him back to the chapel in Lakatia where a cleric was always on staff, ready to heal Hektor in the case of just such an emergency. Elijas’s starry eyes shone with a bright light and a feline grin crossed his shadowy face.



    Eathirilu transformed into a tyrannosaurus and began casting his short term buff spells. Tagenadi, Origenes, and Danar descended into the room to go toe to toe with Elijas. Tagenadi swung with his white raven hammer strike. With expert dagger skill, Elijas deflected the blow off of himself and onto Danar. The draconic knight was hit on the head by Tagenadi and stunned. Elijas took advantage of the situation and stabbed at Danar with both of his daggers. The energy dagger, Inevitable, pierced Danar’s liver, causing him to bleed profusely.
    Origenes tried to attack Elijas from behind, but the Duke’s bodyguard nimbly dodged aside. Amalius tried a powered up dominate to end the fight with one spell. Unfortunately, Elijas was protected against magic. Amalius had not prepared for this and the spell was botched. Eathirilu aimed a dispel magic spell at Elijas and peeled away a few of the enchantments protecting their foe.
    Danar attempted to safely retreat from the fight but he was caught by Elijas. Two daggers plunged into Danar and he went unconscious. Elijas’s starry eyes shone with a bright light and a feline grin crossed his shadowy face. Tagenadi struck back against Elijas. He pierced the man’s skin, but found it resistant to his blow (damage reduction). Eathirilu cast a heal spell on Danar, bringing him back into the fight. Origenes repositioned, but still found it impossible to get the drop on Elijas.
    Elijas slashed at Origenes, inflicting a few cuts before disappearing completely in the shadows. Amalius shouted, “It wasn’t magic! He’s just hiding somewhere in the room! I’ll find his mind.” The party went on guard preparing for Elijas’s return. Amalius cast iron body on himself while Eathirilu completed his buff spell routine.
    Eathirilu said, “We don’t have to fight. Come on out, we can talk about this.”
    A voice spoke from behind Origenes, “Oh no. Our violent conflict is Inevitable.” Elijas thrust his daggers into Origenes and the man from Dalleer collapsed. Elijas’s starry eyes shone with a bright light and a feline grin crossed his shadowy face once more. The shadowy opponent agilely flew up the wall and across the roof to land behind Eathirilu. Amalius attempted another mental attack on Elijas that failed. Tagenadi donned the Cap of Hades and moved next to Elijas to prevent escape. Eathirilu tried to bite Elijas, but found his attack deflected towards Tagenadi. Thankfully the undead knight’s armor protected him from the dinosaur’s teeth.
    Meanwhile, Hektor had recovered in Lakatia. His clerical servants had healed some of his wounds, restoring him to a conscious state. Unfortunately, Inevitable’s energy blade inflicted wounds that refused to close. Hektor cast a sudden maximized time stop. With his extra time, he cast shapechange. He consulted his lexiconic memory for celestials that could cure his condition. He landed upon an avoral, using the bird angel’s power to heal his wounds. Next he teleported back to Jingo’s Palace. Once there, he transformed into a leonal to restore his lay on hands ability. He used this on Origenes. His final two actions were to cast true strike and a forcecage on Elijas and Tagenadi.
    Time resumed! Amalius had found Elijas’s mental defenses too strong to penetrate, even for his strongest attacks. He focused his full attention on telling the party where Elijas was when he disappeared into the shadows and dust.
    Elijas and Tagenadi were locked in a battle within the forcecage. The Cap of Hades granted Tagenadi impenetrable invisibility and Elijas’s skills granted him the same protection. With Amalius’s guidance, Tagenadi reached out with his warrior senses and swung his kusari-gama. Success! The attack collided with its target. Not with Elijas, but with Inevitable! The dagger was knocked out of their opponent’s hand. Amalius followed the disarm up with a retrieve on the glowing dagger.
    Hektor followed this up with a true striked disintegrate. Sadly, even the best laid plans fail from time to time (Middle_Snu rolled a 1). The ray zipped in and out through the bars of the forcecage to collide with another portion of the roof, destroying it.
    Elijas narrowed his eyes and disappeared into the dust kicked up by Hektor’s ray. Tagenadi swung his weapon around trying to locate his foe but encountered only air.
    Hektor spoke to their hidden adversary, “Please! The Dahak needs the city divided and in return he will help us bring back Zeus!”
    A voice whispered from the shadows, “I serve my master, even though his principles may be corrupt. United is more static than divided.” Elijas reappeared as he kicked the forcecage wall. His boots shined and the cage disintegrated. Elijas faded into the shadows again.
    Amalius directed Tagenadi, Danar, Origenes, and Eathirilu to surround Elijas, cutting off his escape. With Hektor’s dimensional anchor in place, all means of retreat were cut off for Elijas. Striking from the shadows he battled on. Even with Inevitable gone he still struck with two weapons, although the party never saw his second weapon for the fleeting moments that Elijas was visible. Elijas continued to redirect missed attacks against him back towards the party, but without Inevitable this became harder and harder for him to accomplish.
    Tagenadi got another lucky break and knocked Defeat out of Elijas’s hand. Amalius snatched it up with a second retrieve spell. In a fury, Elijas launched himself upon the closest person to him, Origenes. He attacked with tiger-like claws that had replaced his hands. A blow to the face caused Origenes to bleed, another to the stomach knocked him out, and a final blow to his back as he fell killed the party’s newest member.
    Tagenadi screamed in rage and used his white raven hammer once more. It connected this time, stunning Elijas once more. Eathirilu picked up their opponent in his huge jaws and began to crunch down. Amalius swooped in and blasted a full force cold energy wave at Elijas and Eathirilu. The druid had warded himself completely against cold damage that morning. Elijas could not say the same. Freezing pulses washed over Elijas, nearly killing him. The old man said, “I serve my master,” as Danar chopped him in half with his bardiche. As Elijas died his body returned to its natural rakshasa state for all observers. Their opponent had not been a human or a shadowy star monster, but a tiger demon.
    The party recovered and mourned Origenes. Although death is not permanent in the realms of Cimmeria, it is still a sad thing. Amalius and Tagenadi regretted that their combat led to the death of Elijas as well. They had hoped to resolve things relatively peacefully.
    The party’s practical side induced them to search Elijas’s corpse for magical items. They found a black belt, his boots, a spidersilk shirt that he wore underneath his black clothing, an adamantine spider figurine, and two magic rings. One of the rings was particularly interesting, as it was only detected by true seeing. Perhaps this was what had shielded Elijas at least partially from true seeing?
    While examining the items, Eathirilu heard a scrabbling beneath the carpet in the, now half-frozen, lounge room below. Hektor flew down and lifted the carpet, revealing Duke Jingo. The halfling had magically tunneled into the floor with his bare hands and had come back up for air.
    “Ah. Hello there,” said Jingo.

    We halted the action there!

    Spoiler: Out of session activities
    Show
    First things first, Salzar has been a little unhappy playing Origenes. The character doesn’t really have the same place in the group, making it difficult to find real ways of roleplaying him during group discussions. Additionally, Origenes is kind of boring/bad mechanically compared to the rest of the twinked out party. Salzar has decided that after Origenes is resurrected he’s going to say, “That was too much. I’m out,” and leave the party. We’ve already planned a replacement which may even be ready by the next session! I’m excited for Salzar’s new character and it should highlight how strong the group has become.
    Next, while Elijas’s items haven’t been detailed yet in game, I told the party what the results of future identify spells would be. Inevitable and Defeat are their first epic weapons. I allow magical enchantments to be transferred between items in my campaigns, so the group is looking to move the epic bonuses on to the weapons they actually use. Only problem is they need someone who can craft epic items who can do that. Only two known wizards are that strong in Cimmeria, Vecna and Sherlock. Vecna was already encountered in Crux and most of the party views her costs as too high. Sherlock has been encountered in past campaigns within Cimmeria. He’s insane, so he might do the transfer for free or he might turn the party into fish and laugh at them.
    There were a couple other big items from Elijas. The Shadow Belt, which allows the wearer to dimension door as a move action at will between shadows that are up to 50’ apart and make a hide check at one’s destination as a free action. The Boots of Force Destruction, which allow their wearer to dispel a force effect by kicking it as a standard action. A +5 Spidersilk Chain Shirt which provides a +9 armor bonus with no armor check penalty, max Dex bonus, or arcane spell failure. The adamantine spider figurine which is a homebrewed figurine of wondrous power. A ring of invisibility and then the Invisible Ring. The Invisible Ring makes the wearer immune to all divinations, even true seeing. True seeing reveals a shadowy figure with starry voids for eyes. The ring itself is invisible too, but can be detected with divinations. Looking at the ring's gemstone while it is worn reveals a tiny version of the wearer on whom divinations do work correctly.
    The final bit of out of session news was a general update on the state of the war in Cimmeria.
    The Dwarves are gearing up to reclaim their Underdark territories underneath Xoria. The Xorians abandoned these territories and level drained all the Dwarven slaves left in them. The slain Dwarves turned into wights who the living Dwarves must now defeat. Deekgaon, a Dwarven King, will lead the attack, with considerable assistance from the other Dwarven kings, Torngar, Dainlin, and Sandil. Torin as high priest of Athena is the religious authority of the attack.
    Krodius, the leader of the Sky Patrol in Greshendale, joined the Dragovinians. Soon after the city officially declared for Xoria. Dragovinains in attendance at the treaty signing were Krodius; Barejando, general of the Xorian army; Lady Li, sorceress extraordinaire; and Wu Lang Li, Lady Li’s husband returned after his long absence. There were many exclamations from the PCs as they realized Salzar’s old character had returned to his former Dragovinian status.
    The Rebels have occupied the city of Gazeara and are sieged by the Xorians’ Amazon force. The sun continues to beat down on the Amazons and it looks as if the summer will continue into November. This has caused a serious drought making it difficult for the warrior women to find water for themselves and all of their horses. The city remains miraculously unaffected.
    Aractrash has begun negotiations with the Alliance for entrance into the war.
    The Alliance continues to train their recruits with the assistance of the water of Talos and Agamemnon’s ritual. Gradorian and Junai are taking the lead on this training.

  17. - Top - End - #107
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Rebel Session #13/Total Session #65
    This session was attended by Middle_Snu, Salzar, Ozymandias, Throgg, and Zigfried. The session was held using Roll20 for a virtual tabletop and Skype for voice and video. There's been a push to finish my campaign amongst the group lately and the Rebel campaign was approaching a natural stopping point. With that in mind we decided we would wrap things up in the Rebel campaign with this session. I’ll talk a little bit more about what I had planned at the end of the session writeup. We’ll be playing the Alliance campaign exclusively from now on.

    When we had last left the party of Rebels they had been enjoying a nice meal of roasted roc they had killed themselves when they were attacked by Tagenadi and Amalius. The two high level PCs pried into Stanton’s mind, but elected not restore his memories. Instead, they marooned him in the Lich Shade. Sivirdm’s left hand was blasted off by Amalius when the halfling attempted to steal Korm.
    Now the party is recovering and trying to determine what their next steps should be. Korjak used his wand of cure light wounds to Sivirdm’s wounds while Gregor started discussion with the other members of the group, Demetrius, Reggy, and Tory.
    “The first thing we have to ask ourselves, do we continue or do we turn back? I feel we should continue.”
    Demetrius said, “I do as well. Sivirdm can still walk and we can carry him while climbing if necessary. We can still reach the condors.”
    Gregor turned to Tory, “How far are we from the condors?”
    “About two days travel from the area where the closest nest is. It’d take a few days of searching once we’re there to find the nest.”
    Gregor asked, “And are you still willing to guide us there?”
    “Yes. If people like that,” Tory gestured to the spot that Amalius, Tagenadi, and Stanton had teleported away from, “are what we’re fighting, then I’m all for going on and stopping this madness.”
    Gregor opened his mouth for a second, then closed it. From what he knew Amalius and Tagenadi were not with the Xorians, but were acting on their own agenda. But why correct Tory? He was for continuing.
    “And you Reggy?”
    “In for a copper, in for a gold piece. Let’s keep on up the mountain.”
    Korjak returned, “Sivirdm’s alright. He’s in a bit of pain, but the wand stopped his blood loss. He’s got a stump instead of a hand, but he’ll live and he’s committed to finding the condors.”
    Gregor said, “We were just discussing that. The rest of us think we should continue on as well.”
    “Then let’s do it,” said Korjak.
    There was no celebration to this decision. The party stared into the crackling fire as the mountain pass’s cool wind blew around them. The burning wood smoke filled the party’s nostrils as the clouds parted revealing the waning gibbous moon. The moon’s light illuminated the herd of goats further up the pass.
    A shaft of light extended down from the moon, illuminating Tory. He looked up from the fire and his eyes shone with the moon’s light. His lips moved. It was not his voice that came out, but that of an Olympian, “Each former Dragovinian shields one other mortal from the Xorians’ wards. The half-Orc is shielded by his god. Only one mortal per Dragovinian. One of you cannot continue.” The light went out of Tory’s eyes and he looked back into the fire.
    Reggy exclaimed, “Whoa! What was that?”
    Tory said, “What was what? What are you all looking at me for?”
    Korjak said, “The goddess Artemis just spoke through you. She said that Gregor, Sivirdm, and me can approach the condors safely. Only two others can go with us. Demetrius is a corporal and should continue to accompany us. That leaves Reggy and Tory.”
    Gregor said, “Reggy’s more useful in a fight and there’s bound to be some up ahead.” Everyone else nodded their assent. “And Tory can find his way out of the mountains on his own.”
    “That I can.”
    Korjak said, “Then it’s settled. Tory, you’ll turn back. The rest of us will go on.”
    The party mulled it over a little more and decided that once they got back they would want to get the final prophecy pieces to the Rebels as fast as they could. Since the druids guild seemed to be open to helping them, they asked Tory if he could speak with his cousin in the guild and get some sort of assistance ready for them upon their arrival in Tetalya. Tory said he would do whatever he could to get them what they needed.
    The group set a watch and tried their best to return to sleep.

    In the morning our brave heroes waved goodbye to Tory. He was taking two goats with him for supplies on his return journey. Twelve goats were left with the party. With a late morning start the party traveled further north into the Dominarie Mountains.
    Luck was with the party. As the afternoon lengthened Korjak and Gregor saw a shadow pass on the ground. They looked up and saw a large bird flying overhead.
    “Hey look!”
    “Is it a condor?”
    “Looks like one? Maybe?”
    The group quickly set their plan in motion. They separated a goat from the herd and tied it to a stake in the ground. Sivirdm was given the grappling hook of a rope. His job was to swing the hook at the bird when it landed and entangle it if necessary. Gregor tied the other end of the rope to himself, providing the anchor that would prevent the bird from flying away. Korjak wore the necklace of speak with animals and would negotiate with the beast.
    The plan was a success! The bird dived, tackled the goat, and killed it. The party examined the bird as it feasted on the goat. It’s bald head and large stature marked it as a condor. Furthermore, the bird bore the red scales of a Dragovinian beast. This was indeed their target.
    Korjak stepped away from the party and spoke to the condor, “We are travelers seeking the druids’ prophecy. Could you give it to us in exchange for another goat?”
    “Sqwuaaakkk! You talk? Didn’t know two legs talked.”
    “Yes. This necklace I wear allows me to speak.”
    “You want the prophecy you say?” Blood dripped from the condor’s beak as it continued to drink from the goat.
    “Yes. We will give you another goat to eat if you tell us.”
    “Two goats.”
    “Alright, two goats. And you have to tell us the prophecy first.”
    “No. Goats first.”
    “As you say.”
    The condor continued feasting on the first goat. Korjak related the conversation to the others. The party staked two more goats out. Sivirdm and Korjak kept at the ready in case the condor tried to double cross them.
    The condor lunged at the other two goats, killing them. It drank their blood down as well until it was a fat and happy bird.
    Korjak said, “The prophecy?”
    “Ah yes. Ahem…
    “Feed a condor for a day, live for a day,
    “Feed a condor for a life, and live forever.”
    The condor laughed and began flapping its wings to take flight. Korjak drew his bow. Sivirdm threw the grappling hook. It caught! Gregor braced himself against a rock. The condor took off, but found itself unable to get further than its fifty foot tether to Gregor.
    “Hey! Let me go! I told you the prophecy!”
    Korjak shouted back, “No! I don’t think so!” He shot an arrow, but it was unable to pierce the condor’s Dragovinian hide. Sivirdm got out his crossbow and started the painful process of loading it with one hand. Reggy and Demetrius got ready to attack the condor if it came back to ground.
    Gregor and the condor engaged in a tug of war as Sivirdm and Korjak shot at the bird. Gregor’s weight and strength won out in the end and the condor plummeted to the earth. Korjak dropped his bow and took on the form of Baldr to engage the condor with his sword. Demetrius and Reggy moved up as well.
    The condor viciously bit into Gregor’s side, drawing blood. The condor quickly lapped up the blood which healed its wounds. In the end this wasn’t enough. Baldr, Reggy, and Demetrius continued to wail on the condor while Gregor wrestled it to the ground and pinned it under its knees. Eventually the condor gave in.
    “Okay! Okay! If I tell you the prophecy will you let me go?”
    Korjak said, “Yes. And the real prophecy this time! Then we’ll let you go”
    The condor spoke,
    “Find a voice both strong and pure
    Better than the gods to be sure
    Sing the song both well and true
    When the potion's foam turns blue”

    Each of the party members received a vision upon hearing the final piece of the prophecy. Some of them elected to share them, so I can freely post those visions!
    Spoiler: Gregor, Sivirdm, and Stanton’s Vision
    Show
    The three of you share a vision. You are your old Dragovinian selves. You are sneaking into Bigby's Forest. Stanton mindraped a rebel earlier to learn the exact location of the underground Rebel base and how to approach it unseen. You come upon the entrance just as the rebel's feeble mind had told you. Each of you readies your weapons. Gregor hefts his blade, Sivirdm his daggers, Wu his bow, and Stanton his casting fingers.
    Gregor throws the door to the hole in the ground open and runs inside. The rest of you follow. You soon come to a large, empty, and circular room. Gregor stands confused. "Where are the rebels?" he says.
    "We've been here, waiting for you," The vile druid, Alkmene steps out from a hidden alcove at the back of the room.
    "A trap!" you exclaim.
    Another old woman's voice comes from an alcove on the other side of the room, "Yes, one you stepped into so easily." The woman comes out.
    She has long white hair, and extremely wrinkled skin, but the eyes… Her eyes, despite the purple color, are the same as the King's. Both of the women begin to transform and leap upon the four of you. Alkmene into a giant bear and the woman with purple eyes into a demonic beast. The fight is even. Each of you land blows back for every one that you receive while Stanton distracts the beast women with illusions, all the while trying to sneak into their minds. Eventually you gain the upper hand. Four against two is never fair. As you stand poised to strike a deathblow upon the exhausted women a unearthly loud voice shatters your composure.
    A simply dressed man carrying a rapier suddenly appears flying in the air above the four of you. His voice speaks directly into your mind with such force that you are forced to listen and do nothing else.
    "YOU WILL NOT KILL THESE WOMEN! THEY ARE UNDER MY PROTECTION!" As the
    voice finishes the man transforms from the form that you recognized as Major Dactirian, Leader of the Rebels, into Apollo, the sun god. His armor becomes a shining toga, his close cropped hair turns blond with a halo surrounding it, his rapier becomes a golden bow.
    "YOUR TIME AS DRAGOVINIANS IS ENDED! SLEEP! YOU WILL BE HEALED AND
    REBORN AS MEN ONCE MORE!"
    Apollo nocks four golden arrows to his bow and shoots each of you in turn. The arrows pierce your hearts and you feel yourselves drifting off to sleep. As your eyes close you catch a glimpse of Apollo lowering himself to the ground with his eyes closed and his hand touching his forehead.

    When the group returned to themselves the sky began to darken. The sun disappeared a red glow illuminated the mountain range. Above the group a terrible figure appeared. An enormous humanoid without skin. It’s bones and muscles were freely exposed. It’s head was entirely bare bone with ram’s horns coming out of either side. Instead of hair, the creature wore a halo of fire. In its right hand it held a pitchfork.
    The Dahak spoke, “You mortals will not return the prophecy to the Rebellion! Zeus will not be healed by you!” The huge form began to lower itself to the ground and shrink to a smaller, but still large size.
    Stunned, Gregor let the condor loose and it flew away. Baldr turned to Demetrius, “Take Sivirdm on your horse and get out of here! Take the prophecy back to the Rebels! Go! Now!”
    Gregor, Reggy, and Korjak ran straight at the demon. The demon skewered Gregor on his trident as the Orc charged. Gregor collapsed and the demon withdrew its weapon. Baldr and Reggy connected. They both dealt significant blows, but to the demon, they were but ants.
    Demetrius mounted on his paladin horse and scooped Sivirdm up in the front of the saddle. Sivirdm had other ideas. He slid off and ran to the goat herd that were now stampeding away from the demon. The little halfling jumped into the goat herd and grabbed onto the back of one of the goats as hard as he could.
    The demon brought its huge pitchfork down upon Baldr and Reggy simultaneously. The pair fought on. Reggy mustered all his willpower to stay standing and swinging (Diehard feat is relevant). They inflicted more small wounds to the demon, but it was clear that their contest would be futile. Demetrius and Sivirdm fled south, each in their own way.
    The demon brought its pitchfork down once more. A prong pierced Reggy’s chest, slaying him. Baldr was similarly punctured. Using his godly force, he ripped the pitchfork from his body, but Baldr was undone. His form slipped away, abandoning Korjak.
    Korjak still wished to delay the demon from chasing Sivirdm and Demetrius. Without an ally, melee combat would ensure his death. Thinking on his feet, Korjak ran north, further up the mountain pass. The demon would have to chase him or the others. One of them would escape its wrath. The demon stabbed Korjak as he fled, opening a large wound in his back. Korjak kept his footing as he ascended the pass.
    The demon turned and pounded down the pass after Sivirdm and Demetrius. Hearing the pursuit, Sivirdm rolled off the goat and hid behind a boulder. The demon rushed after him, following Demetrius and his mount.



    Unfortunately, the demon had made the wrong decision. Even high in the mountains, Demetrius was faster mounted than the demon was on foot. Soon, the sky began to lighten as the sun shone once more. The demon dissipated into black mist that the wind quickly blew away.
    The party regrouped around Reggy’s corpse.
    Demetrius said, “Should we bring him back with us to be buried?”
    Gregor grunted, “We bring him back. We’ll bring him back and we’ll bring him back to life.” Gregor’s tone made it clear that there would be no argument on this point.

    The party gathered up the goat herd once more and redistributed their baggage. Gregor carried Reggy’s body himself as they headed back down the mountain pass. The next day Korjak cast gentle repose on Reggy to make their journey easier on their noses and to lengthen the time in which Reggy could be raised.
    Within a few days the party was back at the silver mining town. Tory had left a message for them, saying he was traveling on to Tetalya. The group sold their goats and mountaineering supplies in exchange for healing and a trip downriver.
    Days passed as the group went through Yuettencal and finally into Tetalya. They looked up Tory and Trachendolf at the druid guild and were warmly received. The group spoke with one of the higher up druids. After fully explaining the prophecy the druid understood the importance of their cause. He offered to help in any way he could.
    The party needed three things from the druid.
    1. Reggy needed to come back to life. The druid offered to do that with a reincarnate spell. Gregor had grown close to Reggy and knew that he would be okay with being brought back in that manner.
    2. Korjak needed a raise dead cast on himself. This was not to bring him back, but to bring back Baldr who had retreated into a deep slumber after his defeat at the demon’s hands.
    3. A quick journey back to Gazeara where the Rebel command was stationed. The druids would provide this with a wind walk spell.
    (So what did Reggy come back as? Zigfried rolled well on the homebrewed reincarnate chart and came back as a centaur! Reggy was behind by a level, but his new stat boosts should put him on par with the rest of the party if we play any future sessions.)
    After resting in Tetalya and rejoicing with their returned friend, the party turned into clouds with the wind walk spell and flew off to Gazeara.

    The heroes alighted near the Great Fire outside of the Palace. A few of the Rebel soldiers stationed at the Palace entrance recognized them and brought them in to see Major Dactirian, Alkmene, and Tarigananata. The room furnished simply with an oval table and chairs surrounding it. The three Rebel leaders sat on the opposite side of the party.
    Major Dacitiran took the lead in the conversation, “Good to have you back.”
    The party grunted in response. They’d never liked Dactirian that much and it didn’t matter much to them if he had some connection to Apollo or not.
    “I take it you found the final pieces of the prophecy.”
    Korjak said, “Yes we did.”
    “Before you tell me there is something I wish to discuss. You have done much for the Rebellion. More than I had originally thought you would given your nature… I must now ask more of you. The ritual the prophecy refers to requires specific ingredients. These ingredients are all warded by the Dragovinians. The same wards that you are able to bypass. However, these items are located far afield. When I sent you to collect the prophecy I had a limited power to enforce my commands,” Dactirian indicated Korjak and Demetrius, “but once you leave Cimmeria you will be on your own. Collecting the ingredients is of the utmost importance for defeating Blendegad. can I rely on you to stay true to your mission if you are sent out to collect the final ingredients? There may be another riskier means of collecting them, but I shall not risk it until all other options are exhausted.”
    Gregor said, “I think we’re done going on your errands.”
    Sivirdm agreed, “Yeah. We don’t want anything to do with the Xoria. Not anymore.”
    “I appreciate your honesty. You will be free to do whatever you wish once you tell me the prophecy.”
    Gregor said, “We will tell you the prophecy, but you must give us something in return.”
    “Oh?”
    “For too long my people have sat in bondage. For too long they have been slaves to Humans, Elves, and Dwarves. This practice must end. The Orc slaves that you have must be freed and the enslavement of Orcs must be outlawed in the future government of Xoria that you build. That is my demand.”
    Tarigananata said, “I cannot promise that enslavement of Orcs will be abolished in Xoria if we are victorious. I am unsure if I will even become Queen.”
    Dactirian said, “ And I will not free the Orcs in our possession now. They are too valuable a resource to us and too much of a liability if they flee and are captured by the Amazons. My answer is no, Gregor.”
    “Then we will not tell you the prophecy,” Gregor stood
    “You do realize that I could rip the prophecy from your minds if I wished? I don’t need to ask.”
    Gregor spun on his heel and walked out of the room. Sivirdm and Reggy followed.
    Dactirian turned to Korjak and Demetrius, “Well, you two can tell me the prophecy then. I’d rather not hurt them more than necessary.”
    “Of course,” said Korjak. He repeated the three pieces of the prophecy they had collected since last speaking with Dactirian.
    “Thank you.”
    Korjak said, “If I may, sir. I would like to speak to you in private.”
    “As you wish.” Dactirian looked at Demetrius, Alkmene, and Tarigananata. They all got up and exited the room. “Yes?”
    “You see, sir. What Gregor says… About freeing Orcs? I want to join him. I’m half-Orc myself. I have to do what’s right for my people. They should be equals with the other races. Not oppressed and enslaved.”
    “Do what you feel is right, Korjak.”
    Korjak sat and thought. He looked at his folded hands on the table. After a time his hands moved to his neck. He removed the necklace of speak with animals, the only badge of rank he had ever worn. He set it on the table, got up, and left.
    “I see,” Dactirian said to an empty room.

    Korjak, Gregor, Sivirdm, and Reggy rested for the night and in the morning they set about collecting supplies. They would journey east into the Orc lands and attempt to reclaim Gregor’s position as Chief of Chiefs. With the full might of the Orc race behind him, maybe they could free the enslaved Orcs in Cimmeria by force. First they would need to sneak through the Amazon siege. Next, a long journey through no-man’s land before reaching the Orc lands. The hard task of finding and uniting the chaotic tribes would occupy their time after that. The group prepared everything they would need, saddled up, and rode out.

    The session, and the Rebellion campaign portion of Xorian Wars ended there.

    So where was I originally headed with the Rebel campaign after the intrepid band returned from finding all the pieces of the prophecy? If you’d rather not peak behind the curtain, then just skip these last few bits.
    Spoiler: What was going to happen?
    Show
    As Artemis emphasized in this session, the prophecy pieces and the ingredients they described were warded by the Dragovinians. Any attempt to retrieve them by a non-Dragovinian would alert the Dragovinian doom squad as seen in Combo Session #2/Total Session #28. I designed the campaign this way to explain why the high level Rebel and Alliance members had not already claimed the prophecy and restored Zeus. It also gives an impetus to the Rebel party. The other heroes can’t do this because they weren’t Dragovinians. They are literally the only ones that can get to the prophecy pieces undetected. Any other attempt would be thwarted by the doom squad.
    The original intent was for the Rebel party to continue flying under the radar as they retrieved the ingredients needed for the prophecy. They would travel west, using Stevie the Wonder Wagon to speed their travel. They’d go up in the Balkans to retrieve a piece of the Rock of Prometheus. They’d take a boat to Lemnos to get the “pieces of a broken god.” They’d go out into the western ocean to find the Black Kelp Plant. They’d journey into Hell to magically record a snippet of Orpheus’s voice. The Pitchfork of Doom that injured Zeus was always intended to be something the higher level party would get, so that will still go as scheduled. The Rebel party was supposed to do all those other things, undetected by the Dragovinians and unmolested by the doom squad.
    But now the Alliance party has risen to 20th level! They are theoretically strong enough to take on the doom squad (I still have surprises ready for them don’t worry). We don’t need the Rebels for the campaign to progress anymore. So we decided to wrap that plotline up. We provided good in character reasons as well, but the plotline is wrapped up no matter how you look at it.
    So what will Gregor and friends do as they journey east to form some kind of Orc Coalition? To tell the truth, I had originally planned a bit of what would happen should the PCs venture towards the Orcs and attempt to reunite them. Maybe I’ll still get to use that material in a separate mini campaign. We’ll see!

  18. - Top - End - #108
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #50/Total Session #66
    This session was attended by Salzar, Throgg, Ozymandias, Middle_Snu, and thewamp. Skype was used for voice and video chat while Roll20 was used as a virtual tabletop. Salzar intended to introduce a new PC during this session but the golden opportunity never showed up. Unfortunately he sat as a silent observer waiting for the perfect entrance that just never occurred.

    Jingo began pulling himself up out of the hole in the ground. Eathirilu roughly said, “Don’t move.”
    “What are you going to do? Kill me?” Jingo extricated himself. Eathirilu considered shoving the Halfling back into the ground but realized he couldn’t as the hole closed behind Jingo as he left it.
    Amalius said, “We were considering that. The Dahak gave us a mission to divide Nomingburg. Killing you, Nomingburg’s uniting force, seemed the easiest solution. Unless you can give us a reasonable alternative we may do just that.”
    “I see,” said Jingo. He looked around at the party’s determined faces. “You’d really kill an old man like me?”
    “We do what is necessary for Cimmeria.”
    Eathirilu noticed that Jingo’s hand was inching towards a pouch on his belt. Jingo pulled out a crossbow bolt from the pouch. The druid shouted, “He’s got a bolt!” and cast flame strike. Jingo dodged out of the way but the rest of the room was scorched. The protective spells placed upon the party absorbed most of the friendly fire damage.
    Jingo sneered at Eathirilu and drove the crossbow bolt into his own thigh. The Halfling instantly collapsed dead.
    “He killed himself?” said Amalius. “He must have a game plan for returning to life. Let’s take a look around.”
    The party spread out through Jingo’s Palace, looking for any clues of how Jingo might return. They searched his body and that of Elijas as well, taking all their magical items. Amalius also took this opportunity to place any valuable art objects he found into his portable hole.
    The party’s search was interrupted by a sending that Hektor received from one of the wizards working for the Alliance, “Attacked by Sahuagin. Their leader wields Kharad-Khor, the sword of Kruk-Ma-Kali. Help requested immediately. Leader is big. Has slain all challengers. Unnaturally good battle tactics.”
    Hektor informed the rest of the party and they prepared to rush to the aid of the Alliance! Hektor teleported the group to the plaza outside of the Bradel Fields Courthouse.

    The party teleported directly into the middle of a pitched battle. The metal statue of Zeus defeating Typhon still dominated the plaza center, but a scene of chaos surrounded it. A thin layer of sea water covered everything and the streets to the north and west were clearly flooded. Outside the courthouse to the southeast a battle raged between Sahuagin invaders and the conscripted Goblin army fighting for the Alliance. Small numbers of Human and Dwarf troops supported the Goblin soldiers with Arendil, leader of the Alliance, directing everything from the courthouse steps.
    Standing on the outskirts of the waterlogged tiles that surrounded the statue of Zeus and Typhon, just fifty feet west of the party, was an immense Sahuagin. Over thirteen feet tall and bristling with muscles. His arms were thicker than the average oak treetrunk. He wore a suit of armor made from sharkskin with large pink seashells covering the joints. The Brute wore a massive belt around his waist and in his right hand, the blade of Kruk-Ma-Kali, Kharad-Khor, the Bloodthirster. Close by lay the stripped bodies of Astyanax and Kig Yupington, killed by the black sword. The Brute’s blue-green face darkened as he saw the party teleport in.



    Eathirilu’s foresight warned him of impending danger and he immediately wildshaped into a tyrannosaurus after the teleport landed. Danar turned his eyes to a group of nearby Sahuagin. He shouted to the party, “I’ll keep those guys out of the fight! You deal with big and slimy over there!” (Zigfried was absent today and I completely forgot to include his character in the fight. This explanation was thought of afterwards to explain his absence.)
    Tagenadi and Eathirilu jumped into combat together. Tagenadi incited Eathirilu to charge at the Brute with his war master’s charge technique. They collided with the Sahuagin, stunning the wits out of him. Hektor summoned a leonal to aid the fight.
    Amalius teleported to the steps of the courthouse on the other side of the battlefield. He appeared in front of Arendil, the same man who had thrown him out of the Alliance. Amalius said, “How can I help?”
    Arendil wrinkled his nose in disgust and shock before composing a more neutral expression. “Check on the southwestern barracks. The Ring Gate is there letting in reinforcements from Jipangu.”
    “Got it.” Amalius immediately teleported away.
    The battle against the Brute continued as Tagenadi slammed the huge Sahuagin with his white raven hammer. Just as the Brute recovered the wind was knocked out of him once more. Eathirilu bit into the Brute, dealing a good chunk of damage. Hektor completed his summoning of a leonal, cast true strike and flew in close to the Brute.
    Just as the Brute recovered from Tagenadi’s devastating blow, Hektor hit him with another spell, irresistible dance. Without any magical protections, the spell forced the Brute to begin dancing instead of fighting back. Eathirilu and Tagenadi ripped into the Brute in his continually exposed state. Soon they realized, no matter how much damage they inflicted the Brute would not fall. Multiple grievous injuries covered his body. The Sahuagin could only dance as Hektor spell commanded while expressions of rage and fury played across his face.
    Amalius found the Ring Gate in perfect condition. Junai directed the arrival of Alliance troops from Jipangu. Satisfied that everything was in good order, Amalius returned to the fight against the Brute. He touched the Brute’s mind and detected two distinct entities within,the native sahuagin flinging himself against the prison of Hektor enchantment and Kruk-Ma-Kali, King of the Hobgoblins, patiently waiting for the spell’s duration to lapse.
    Amalius telepathically taunted his opponent, “You chose a poor vessel for yourself, Kruk. An unwieldy cudgel.”
    Kruk gave no response.
    Amalius followed his taunt up by opening a portal to the negative energy plane underneath the Brute and Tagenadi. A dark miasmatic pillar blasted out of the ground (stygian conflagration). This energy invigorated Tagenadi, giving him additional fighting strength, but not so for the Brute. The sword, Kharad-Khor, absorbed half of the miasma while the other half stripped away a healthy portion of the Brute’s life energy. Amalius followed the first pillar up with three more as Tagenadi and Eathirilu continued to physically assault their opponent. Eathirilu’s death ward protected him from any residual black energy that touched him.
    When Hektor’s spell wore off the Brute was momentarily free to act on his own. Kruk-Ma-Kali spent his brief moment of freedom to psionically attack his foes, but the heroes minds were accustomed to such intrusions and the Hobgoblin’s attempt was thwarted. Tagenadi was ready when Hektor’s spell wore off. He planted his feet just so, raised his kusari-gama above his head, and brought it down to strike the Brute once more with the stunning force of the white raven hammer technique.
    Tyrannosaurus Eathirilu took the Brute in his jaws and began grinding his teeth together further mulching the mighty Sahuagin’s devastated body. Tagenadi knocked Kharad-Khor out of the Brute’s hands. Hektor snatched the sword up using telekinesis magic.
    As was his habit, Hektor had sealed his thoughts from intrusion that morning with a mind blank spell. Even this formidable wall did not stop Kruk-Ma-Kali when in close proximity. Psionic energy pulled at Hektor, threatening to take his consciousness into the sword. Fortunately Hektor had fine mental defenses besides his mind blank. Kruk-Ma-Kali could not penetrate Hektor’s thoughts and the accomplished wizard dropped the sword into his portable hole, cutting the Hobgoblin King off from the world.
    The Brute continued to struggle against Eathirilu’s grasp, but his weakened state brought about by Amalius’s magic ruined all hope of escape. The titanic rage that had sustained him ran its course and he collapsed under his wounds. The Brute was defeated without landing a single blow against the party.
    Danar’s battle had gone on his favor as well. Soon the Sahuagin leaders called for a retreat. They went backwards into the sea.

    An emergency Alliance Council meeting was called. Tagenadi and Amalius were invited to attend despite their exile, along with Eathirilu and Danar. Hektor was already on the Council and thus obviously included. Also in attendance were Arendil, leader of the Alliance and representative from Jipangu; Titandra, blind seer and representative from Restnor’s Point; Bjorn, eccentric psion and representative from Dalleer; Erick, Torin’s old friend and representative of the Dwarves; and Junai, survivor of Phoenix and general of the Alliance.
    Arendil began, “The city and the Alliance are saved in no small part due to your actions. I thank you, the city of Bradel Fields thanks you, and the Alliance as a whole thanks you.
    “However this does not dismiss the concerns we have about your group's actions.” Turning to Hektor, Arendil said, “I see the rumors were true. You have been traveling with and aiding these exiles?”
    “Yes. I’ve seen their power and skill. We have the same goals. It would be foolish not to work with them.”
    “The Council has a different stance on the issue. You are young and do not remember the First Alliance.” Arendil pointed at Amalius, “The same Alliance that his grandfather created only to betray and destroy. The attacks on Dalleer and Greshen Dale only confirmed our concerns. Amalius cannot be trusted. We cannot lift his exile.” (The Bane’s attack on the Bjorn’s Palace was blamed on the party.)
    The Bjorn said, “Oh there's no hard feelings about that. I'd been saying to myself for awhile, ‘I need a new palace. I should just burn this one down and start fresh.’ A visit from our friends was just the kick in the pants I needed.” The Bjorn winked at Amalius.
    Arendil tightened his lips before speaking, “Be that as it may the destruction of the Red Orb drove Greshen Dale straight into the arms of the Xorians. Given Amalius’s own past we can't even be sure that he isn't still working for the Xorians whether knowingly or not.”
    Amalius pointedly glared at Arendil, “When did I say I wanted to come back? Huddled here, waiting for the storm that's coming? I'm out there trying to stop the Dragovinians. What have you done?”
    “Your methods are inexcusable. Increasing our chances against the Dragovinians, but at what cost? You would throw away our humanity the smallest advantage!” Arendil stood while shouting and gestures at Tagenadi. “I will not take the Alliance down that path. The people of Cimmeria will not stand for it either.”
    Eathirilu spoke, “Don't you see what's coming? I have seen it in my dreams every night. Every inch of land will be burned. Ash will blot out the sun and nothing will grow in the soil. The world will be consumed and all that will remain will be Dragovinian horrors, feeding on each other after we are gone. Only our group can defeat Dragovinians. We have the strength that is needed.”
    Arendil responded, “You are not the only ones who have stood toe to toe with the Dragovinians. Astyanax, Kig, Junai, and Gradorian all fought in the Battle of Phoenix against the Dragovinian generals. We still have veterans who participated in the fight against the Dragovinian infantry units. I think the Alliance has just as much experience fighting Dragovinians as you do.”
    Eathirilu continued, “What of Blendegad? What happens when he spreads his wings over Bradel Fields and the other cities of the Alliance? How will you fight that?”
    “Blendegad is bound by the same rules as the other gods. He will not enter the battlefield unless the Olympians do so first and the Olympians are on our side with few exceptions. We have nothing to fear from him.”
    “You really think he’ll follow what the Olympians say? First chance he gets, he’ll fly into this city and burn it to the ground!”
    “Blendegad has shown every indication that he follows the same rules as the Olympians. In the two year siege prior to the Battle of Phoenix he only participated directly in events after one of the gods had done so first. He will not risk a conflict that would rival the Titanomachy when he is so outnumbered.”
    The meeting paused as Arendil collected himself. He folded his hands on the table in front of him and continued, “I am reluctant to discuss strategic matters in front of Amalius and Tagenadi and those who travel with them. As much as I would like to trust you, your allegiances and motives will always be suspect.”
    Amalius said, “I am a master of minds. I have looked into my own mind and it is clear of Xorian influence.”
    “Be that as it may, you have been wrong before. You both remain a threat to the Alliance and what it stands for. Until the Council is convinced otherwise, your exile remains.”
    “And what of my family? Surely they can’t be a threat to you?”
    “There is no reliable assurance you could give me that they are not acting as your agents or that they do not have the capability to act as such. Their exile remains. Perhaps if you refrained from hampering the Alliance’s efforts for say… three years, I could be convinced to lift their exile. But I don’t see that happening at this rate.”
    Amalius pushed himself away from the table and left the room. Eathirilu moved to say something, but held it in and left behind Amalius along with Tagenadi and Danar.
    Arendil turned to Hektor, “Do you intend to continue traveling with these people?”
    “I do. As I said, it would be foolish to squander their strength. I can direct them towards constructive ends.”
    “I certainly hope so. My concerns still stand. If you travel with Amalius he may glean information on Alliance troop positions and other secrets and pass it on to Xorians, all without either of you knowing it.”
    “Even through the walls we have set around our minds?”
    “Anything is possible.” Arendil sighed, “If you choose to travel with Amalius and Tagenadi then you can no longer represent Aractrash in the Alliance Council.”
    “You can’t strip me of that position! Only the King of Aractrash can!”
    “Yes, as I understand it he never gave you the position in the first place. Aractrash is only now formally extending the olive branch to join the Alliance. King Staynard may wish to appoint a different ambassador and I will be sure to let him know who the Council would consider appropriate.”
    Hektor stood, “I will discuss this with the King.”
    “Do what you think is right. One more thing, Hektor. The Druid’s Prophecy that could return Zeus to life. Pluto is plotting to take it for himself and Tagenadi is his pawn. We may still require your cooperation in recovering the final pieces of the prophecy. The guard placed around the Rock of Prometheus was… formidable. Your group might be the only way for the Alliance to reclaim the prophecy pieces. We will be sending you information on these pieces as we receive them. It would be best if you made no mention of them to Tagenadi.”
    “I understand.”
    Hektor said his goodbyes to the Alliance Council members and made his exit. He met the others outside. Hektor took Tagenadi and Eathirilu back to Lakatia. Danar and Amalius took a detour back to Jingo’s Palace in Nomingburg. They wrote in blood on the walls, “Victory goes to the strongest,” hoping that this would spark a war between the assassins guilds and divide the city. Amalius grabbed some art and they went to Lakatia.

    Back at Lakatia the group had a moment of “What next?” Two battles against fearsome foes in one day and they still chugged on. Hektor peeked in his portable hole and said, “Why don’t we talk to Kruk-Ma-Kali? See what he knows?” Everyone else agreed. Tagenadi was put forward as the one to pull the sword out. His undead mind could not be manipulated in the same ways as the others. Kruk would not be able to control him.
    Tagenadi pulled the sword out and Amalius said, “Hello Kruk, remember us?”
    “All too well… And were you not protected from my influence I would have you kneeling before me as the kings of the Conclave kneeled long ago.”
    “We’ve got some questions for you Kruk. Will you answer them?”
    “I might or I might not.”
    Amalius glanced at the rest of the party before speaking again, “Why the Brute?”
    “I’m the brains and he was the muscle. Doesn’t matter who I take over because I’m in control. Might as well be the biggest, baddest one of them all.”
    “And why attack Bradel Fields?”
    “To get to my people in the east! Those Sahuagin had no idea how to fight on land or what supplies to bring so we just raided them from Bradel Fields. Would’ve been in and out in no time.”
    At this point the party connected a few dots. Back in Alliance Session #28/Total Session #39 Torin received a prophecy from Athena which stated
    “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”

    The black blade was Kharad-Khor! And Athena had told them to “pay it no heed.” They’d somehow messed up Athena’s plan by intervening! But what about the “others of kind?” The group asked Kruk-Ma-Kali about that.
    “You mean you don't know? Whoever you hired for military intelligence, they aren't doing their job.”
    Kruk told them that after he'd been taken from the party by Terroc (Alliance Session #15/Total Session #23), he'd been given to the Sahuagin. The shark men and the other underwater races had been planning an attack in Poseidon’s name on Xorian-controlled Phoenix. Kruk had other goals in mind, wishing to return east to the lands of his people, the Hobgoblins. Kruk forced the Sahuagin to break off from Poseidon’s main force to raid Bradel Fields for supplies. The main attack proceeded at the same time upon Phoenix.
    Tabling the discussion with Kruk for another time he was thrust back into Hektor’s portable hole. The party made minimal preparations and teleported to the south of Phoenix across the Curving Stream. The city has clearly been flooded and attacked by ballistic weapons, but the Xorian flag still flew and people in red and black still patrolled the damaged battlements. Poseidon’s army was nowhere to be seen.

    We ended the session there! I've been struggling a little bit to keep up with writing the session logs. We have played three more sessions since this one. I'll get them out as soon as I can!

    Spoiler: Bonus: The Brute’s Story
    Show
    There was a request made by my players for me to reveal the Brute’s background and skills. I'd pumped this encounter up before the session and nothing came of it due to their perfect stun lock.
    First, the stats. The Brute was a Barbarian/Frenzied Berserker, but not just any Barbarian! The Brute had alternate class features (Ooo! Aaa! Such Minmaxing! Wow Balance!)! Specifically, Complete Champion’s Lion Totem, Unearthed Arcana’s Wolf Totem, and, most importantly, Cityscape’s Streetfighter. These features trade out most of the Barbarian’s abilities besides Rage for the following:
    Lion Totem allows for a full attack on charge.
    Wolf Totem gives Improved Trip and Track.
    Streetfighter gives a bunch of bonuses to charge. Most notable of these bonuses is Charging Cleave. If a foe is taken down on the first attack of a charge then the Brute could charge again. If the next foe is taken down in one hit, he can charge again, and again, and again until he runs out of movement.
    Couple this Cleaving Charge with Power Attack, Leap Attack, Improved Power Attack, and Shock Trooper… The damage goes through the roof. Add on the strength bonuses from Rage and from combining girallon’s blessing and fuse arms. The final attack looked something like this:
    Kharad-Khor +53/+53/+48/+43/+38 (1d10+154+Wound, 15-20/x2)
    Bite +40 (1d6+75, 19-20/x2)
    With a chance to repeat the full attack if the first attack of a charge felled an enemy.
    My original plan for the encounter was that the Brute would charge in and practically wipe the party. It was likely that Hektor and Tagenadi would go down in one hit. Danar and Amalius would take one or two hits (Eathirilu might actually have survived the full attack). After halving the party’s potential, Salzar’s new PC would have shown up, resurrected everyone with a miracle spell, and the rocket tag fight would’ve continued. To even the odds, I gave the Brute almost no defenses. His Reflex and Will saves were terrible, he had no Spell Resistance, and his AC was actually -4 while Power Attacking with Shock Trooper. The party smartly never let him attack and that was that.

    But what of the Brute’s sad backstory? How did he get into his position? Let me tell you, oh curious reader!
    The Brute was born to a low class Sahuagin family. He was lucky enough to be born with the four arms that marked him as a Sahuagin mutant. Unfortunately his intellect left something to be desired. Normally a Sahuagin mutant rose to a position of leadership in their society, but the Brute’s tenuous grasp on concepts as simple as language syntax put an end to such thoughts. The Sahuagin priest leadership decided to mold the Brute into a weapon instead of a leader of the Frenzied Herd.
    From an early age the Brute dined on special meals laced with bull’s strength potions. His handlers constantly encouraged him to fight with the other mutants he was raised with. They beat him if he disobeyed and promised rewards to any who could defeat him to increase the motivation of his schoolmates. The Brute grew up not into a man but into a beast. In battles he never received orders to attack. His superiors merely handed him a weapon and pointed him at their enemies.
    The Brute’s ferocity grew and the scale of the Sahuagin priests’ magical experimentation grew with it. They blessed him with increased size and additional functional arms. The extra arms confused the Brute so they were fused together, augmenting his prodigious strength. As the Brute’s body changed he became difficult to control. He was as likely to attack his handlers as his enemies. The priests voted to lock the Brute away until they could devise a better means of controlling him.
    The Brute’s prison time was interrupted by events above water. When Terroc brought Kruk-Ma-Kali to the Xorians they tried everything they could think of to gain his tactical advice in the war against the Alliance. Kruk refused. He would only aid his own people in war, no other. Wishing to be rid of the sword, Jevaninada II ordered Terroc to drop Kharad-Khor into the sea.
    The black sword was found by a Sahuagin hunter who was dominated. The hunter brought the blade to the Sahuagin priests who lead the shark people’s society. Kruk quickly took over the priests through a combination of bribes, threats, and domination. Kruk’s mind was as keen as ever, but the Sahuagin priests offered withered old bodies. He wanted a body whose raw physicality would be terrifying to behold. The priests were forced to tell Kruk of the Brute and that was that. Kruk-Ma-Kali took over the Brute’s body, combining his tactical genius with the strongest Sahuagin to ever live.

  19. - Top - End - #109
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Jul 2005
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #51/Total Session #67
    This session was attended by Salzar, Throgg, Middle_Snu, Ozymandias, and thewamp. Skype was used for voice and video chat while Roll20 was used as a virtual tabletop. Salzar got to introduce his new character! Woohoo!

    Seeing that Phoenix was not currently invested the party decided not to investigate further.
    But what to do instead? Should the party take time off from the stress of adventuring to sell their loot and upgrade their gear or should they press what little advantage they might have against the Xorians and accomplish more?
    Hektor’s voice won the party over. Perhaps the only thing they had on the Xorians was their speed and determination to win. They would continue completing quests that could help against the Xorians.
    Which quest next? Tagenadi reminded everyone that Hades had asked them to find the Lots that were cast to divide the world amongst Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. Hermes had the Lots currently. Speaking to a priest of Hermes seemed like the best way to contact him, only Hermes had no traditional priesthood. (Danar stayed behind to study the library the group had collected from Bavastatner and the Lich Shade. He hoped to find some record of his descendants in the city of Sheerzen) The party settled for speaking to the high priest of the Dalleer Cathedral (that place where Tagenadi burned around ten priests to death in a misunderstanding) who represented the entire pantheon. A large bribe/offering swiftly arranged the meeting. The priest entreated the gods in the party's name and their prayers are answered!

    Tagenadi, Hektor, Amalius, and Eathirilu were teleported to a vast white space. The only ornamentation was a well carved table. Two gods sat at the table, one with the unmistakable gold winged hat and sandals of Hermes, the other has feathered wings of his own and a grim shadowed face. Hermes rolled a pair of dice on the table and laughed, “Two fours! Another win! You really aren't suited for this game are you Zelus?”
    The grim faced god spoke, “Perhaps not, but it would be a hard task to convince me you aren't cheating somehow.”
    “An unjust accusation! But look, we have guests.” Hermes turned to the mortals and said, “As you may have guessed I am Hermes, son of Zeus.” Hermes’ sandals flapped as he slid up out of his chair to take a slight bow in front of the party. “And this is Zelus.”
    Zelus stepped up out of his chair, showing off his impressive chest and spreading his seraphic wings. “I am Zelus, servant of Hades, bodyguard of Zeus, incarnation of power, and son of Pallas the Titan of War and the River Styx itself.”
    The mortals bowed deeply before the gods.
    Hermes said, “Zelus, how about another wager? If you win you get my dice to have as your own. If you lose you have to serve these mortals for a year.”
    “The stakes may be, but what is the game?”
    “A set of challenges that I decide. To make it fair the mortals can assist you.”
    Zelus eyed the group before him intently. Taking in every detail of each of the four people before him and processing it. After a minute or two had passed he spoke in a low voice, “Agreed.”
    “Splendid! Shall we begin the first challenge?”
    “Yes. Let's.”
    Hermes floated down to the table. He picked up the dice which the party now knew to be the Lots they sought. Hermes shook the old bones and tossed them on the table. As they rolled they seemed to grow bigger and bigger until they filled the party's vision. Hermes’ echoey voice accompanied the rattle of the dice,
    “The game is mine!
    I cannot lose.
    You too can win.
    Just learn the rules.”

    The dice landed on two fours. Hermes exclaimed as the scene faded to black, “Ooo! A hard eight! Interesting…”

    The party found themselves outside of a busy hippodrome along with Zelus (Zelus is Salzar’s new character for those who haven't figured it out yet. Yes, the party has grown strong enough that even a minor god can join their ranks!). Crowds streamed towards the stadium while salesmen shouted from their stalls that sold food, drinks, souvenirs, and flags of different colors. Many people gathered around the gambling desks where the odds for the winners were displayed. The racers were:
    Lucius Felixus, the Green Roman
    Targunus, the Blue Greek
    Orilan, the Yellow Persian
    Heshasumas, the Red Amazon
    Finatolo, the Black Xorian
    and Drosha, the mystery man in White.
    Amalius scanned the minds of the crowd and took note, “None of these people are real. They're all automatons created by Hermes with no real thoughts of their own.”
    Zelus said, “What do we do then?”
    “I think we have to learn the rules,” said Hektor, “But first I'd like to learn a little more about you, your divinity. Clearly you are a being of immense strength and prowess, capable of many feats beyond the scope of mortal ability, but Hermes’ challenges will probably require us to work together. If we're going to defeat them I think we all need to know what we can all do.”
    Zelus replied, “I see what you are asking. I have occasionally watched your group from Mount Olympus and heard stories from the other gods as well. I am already familiar with each of your own skill sets. Mine remains the only unknown.” Zelus flexed his wings, “I can fly and my divine magic can bring both life and death. That is all you need know.”
    Hektor pressed his lips together and nodded, “Alright then. Let's solve this first challenge.”
    The party talked amongst themselves about what the goal of the challenge even was. Were they supposed to pick the winner and bet on them or enter the race themselves? Ever the prudent one, Amalius suggested, “Why not both? One of us enters the race and we bet on them to win.”
    Eathirilu said, “But who would enter? I can turn into a fast horse but I can't say that I can drive one.”
    The group looked amongst themselves. Many of them knew the basics of riding and driving chariots, but none had skills to rival the professionals in the race. Finally Zelus stepped forward, “I may fly most places, but I am the god of competition itself. If I can't win a race that Hermes setup then no one can.”
    The finer details of a plan were worked out. The party would supplement Zelus’s divine talent with three magically summoned horses and a wildshaped Eathirilu as the fourth horse. Their team would be further improved by buff spells cast on the horses and the driver. The group got directions to the race commissioner’s office and went there to enter into the race.
    The commissioner greeted them, “Hello! What can I do for you gentlemen?”
    Eathirilu said, “We're looking to enter the race.”
    “A last minute entry? That should spark some interest, shake up the betting…” The commissioner spoke half to himself, “I'll allow it! Who's racing?”
    Amalius indicated their winged companion, “Zelus is our driver.”
    “Excellent! And your horses?”
    Eathirilu said, “We'll summon some with magic.”
    “Oh no. ‘Fraid not. Magic of that sort is strictly forbidden. Creates an unfair ad-van-tage.” The commissioner enunciated every syllable of the last word.
    Amalius said, “We can buy some horses then. There were a few riders outside. It'll cost, but we have the gold.”
    Eathirilu said, “And I can shapeshift to be the fourth horse and enhance all of us.”
    Hektor stared bug-eyed at Eathirilu. He'd given away their whole plan! The commissioner said, “Nope, nope. Can't have any magically enhanced animals whatsoever. Can't have a man turn into a horse either. This is all about the driver making his team work together, none of that fancy wizard stuff.”
    Eathirilu muttered, “It's druid stuff…”
    Amalius said, “It's fine. It's fine. We’ll enter the race and Zelus will carry us through.”
    “Great! Soon as you get those horses I'll put you on the docket!”
    The party left the commissioner's office. To purchase horses, the party approached several nobles, who only parted with mounts after haggling for exorbitant prices. Amalius spoke to the party as they went from noble to noble, “We can't use any lasting magic on the horses, but there may be another way to swing the odds in our favor. I can speak to the beasts’ minds before the race, impress upon them the importance of their task, and link their consciousnesses to aid cooperation.”
    “I can help,” said Eathirilu. “Animals trust me. I can speak with them and tell them to follow your instructions.”
    After acquiring the animals and a chariot as well, the two spellcasters carried out their plan. The team was told to follow the lead horse who was in turn told to follow the driver’s commands instantly and without question. This was supernaturally drilled into the horses until the will to follow was as strong as any behavioral instinct.
    One final thing remained before the race began. Amalius took Defeat, one of the daggers (+4 Keen Icy Blast Adamantine Dagger with Truedeath Crystal) taken from Elijas in Nomingburg, and bet it on Zelus’s victory. Any payout from that bet would surely have high value! The race would be two laps around the hippodrome with a final sprint across the first straightaway once more.

    Crowds of people packed the long hippodrome. Criers walked through the stands selling snacks, drinks, and toys. Hektor, Tagenadi, Eathirilu, and Amalius found seats high up, but along the starting line. They sat and waited for the race to begin.
    The horses took their positions. The chariots were yoked to their respective teams. The drivers mounted their platforms and saluted the crowd. The starter climbed the ladder to the starting platform in the centerfield along the side of the racetrack. He raised the flag above his hand, “On your marks! Get set! GO!” The flag flashed down to the starter’s knees and the race was on!
    Targunus the Blue Greek shot into first, followed by Zelus in second, and Finatolo the Black Xorian and Drosha the White Mystery vying for third place. Heshasumas the Red Amazon, Lucius Felixus the Green Roman, and Orilan the Yellow Persian brought up the rear.
    The contest between Finatolo and Drosha for third place turned ugly at the first turn. Their wheels locked, preventing a turn. They went straight into the side of the racetrack, the first two wrecks of the day. Zelus slowed and stayed on the inside track, but Heshasumas and Lucius Felixus took advantage and passed him on the outside.
    Hektor worried for Zelus as he was falling behind. He began to cast a spell, but as he intoned the magical syllables the crowd’s shouting took a violent turn. Hundreds of eyes in their section turned upon Hektor with murderous intent. Hektor abandoned the magic and coughed, “Wizard cough. Sorry.”
    On the second straightaway, Zelus came alongside Orilan. Orilan began to whip Zelus, attempting to force the god to drop back. Zelus concentrated and cast a silent still shatter. The spell’s magic caused Orilan’s left chariot wheel to explode into a million slivers of wood. Shrieking, the Yellow Persian fell from his chariot, landing in the dust and sand as his horses slowed to a stop. Up ahead the other three teams rounded the turn with Zelus following behind.
    As they started the second lap, Heshasumas the Red Amazon gave her horses their head. Her team pulled ahead alongside Targunus the Blue Greek. Zelus was able to pull up by Lucius Felixus. Heshasumas and Targunus began whipping each other at the front. The Red Amazon became absorbed in the conflict and missed the third turn. She sailed into the hippodrome wall to add to the wrecks. Meanwhile, Zelus took the inside track on the turn and pulled away from Lucius Felixus.



    Targunus the Blue Greek was in first for the fourth straightaway, followed by Zelus, and then Lucius Felixus the Green Roman. Zelus’s lead over Lucius Felixus was minor. The god of agon, competition, wanted to cast another shatter spell, but he if diverted his attention for more than an instant to the spell he would lose his lead over the Green Roman. Fortunately, Zelus possessed divine power in spades. He cast a silent still quickened shatter upon the left wheel of Targunus’s chariot. The Blue Greek, practiced in the dangers of chariot racing, calmed his horses and quickly moved to the side of the track as Zelus and Lucius Felxius raced passed him.
    Zelus urged his horses on around the final turn. He and Lucius Felixus were the only ones remaining in the race. They came upon the last straightaway neck and neck. Zelus gave his horses their head and so did Lucius Felixus. Neither driver paid the slightest attention to the other. They passed the finish line and the starter shouted, “And the winner is Zelus by a head!”
    The crowd roared in appreciation. Zelus flew into the sky to receive their shouted accolades. As he flew up a wooden box appeared in his hands. He opened it and inside was a potion containing a metallic liquid swirling with all the different colors in the world.
    In the stands, a similar wooden box appeared in Amalius’s hands along with the dagger, Defeat, as payment for his bet.
    “Congratulations,” Hermes voice echoed throughout the hippodrome as the crowd cheered. “Now on to the next challenge.”

    The crowd’s cheers receded and the party found themselves in a medium-sized, square, stone room. Two stone doors stood on the wall they faced. On the left door was written, “Dragon Spider,” and on the right, “Spider Dragon.” The room was bare beside the two doors.
    Eathirilu opened the discussion of which door would be best. The mention of a dragon made it clear they would have to fight whatever was behind one of the doors. What was the party best suited to fight? The choice seemed irrelevant. What was the difference after all, between a dragon spider and a spider dragon? Amalius flipped a coin and the group chose the Dragon Spider door.
    Opening the door teleported the party to a large cavern with lava covering the lower floor. Pillars, platforms, and bridges rose out of the hot sulfurous liquid. Each of our stalwart adventurers appeared on a different pillar clustered near the edge of the room. At the far end of the room was a gigantic red spider. The arachnid’s scaled carapace was covered in spines and wicked barbed mandibles clacked together as the party appeared.
    Tagenadi jumped off his pillar onto the nearest platform. The party was fortunate that they were all warded against fire due to Eathirilu’s daily protections. The heat rising from the lava would inconvenience them no more than it did the eight-legged beast who called this place home.
    The spider scuttled forward, its huge legs straddling the different platforms in the lava. Mandibles widened and the beast spit forward a spray of fire. The flames were hot enough to burn through a portion of Eathirilu’s protections, scorching the party. Luckily they were used to this sort of thing and shrugged the damage of without complaint.
    Hektor stayed on his platform and began casting a summoning spell. Eathirilu leaped forward off his platform and started a summoning of his own. Amalius turned invisible and flew to a new vantage point in the cavern. Zelus stepped off the platform to cast a healing spell on the party, removing any burns caused by the spider.
    The spider angled its spiked mandibles, moving them like a farmer would move a piece of straw in his mouth. SHUUMP! Both mandibles shot forward away from the spider on tendonous strings. One glanced off Eathirilu’s armor but the other impaled itself in his leg. Eathirilu felt a pulling force. He heard a whinding noise as the spider's sinews began to retract the barbed mandibles. Luckily, Eathirilu had placed a freedom of movement enchantment on himself. The barb slipped out of his leg, leaving a nasty wound. The injury caused Eathirilu to cry in pain, ruining his summoning magic. The mandibles returned to their positions beside the spider's mouth.
    Tagenadi moved forward and gained the spider's attention. This allowed Eathirilu to sneak sound behind the arachnid to flank it. Hektor completed the summoning of his own gigantic spider which attacked the dragon spider ineffectually. He also cast an acid fog that enveloped their enemy’s front. Behind the beast, Eathirilu saw the spider began to flash between green and red coloration.
    Amalius souped up an electric energy wave and threw it into the fog. The green mist crackled with lightning. Blue was added to the mix of colors flickering on the spider's exoskeleton before Eathirilu’s eyes.
    Zelus pumped negative energy into the dragon spider, causing cracks to appear in its armor. The spider began to step out of the fog and bit into Eathirilu. The druid’s training helped him to resist the poison as it coursed through his veins. Eathirilu transformed into a T-Rex and joined Tagenadi and Hektor’s spider in attacking the dragon spider back. Hektor attempted a disintegrate spell but found the spider resistant to its destructive magic.
    Amalius and Zelus joined in throwing negative energy at the spider. The beast clacked and waved its legs in pain. It turned on the biggest collection of party members, Tagenadi, Hektor, and Zelus, and breathed upon them. This time it was not just fire, but electricity and acid, that left its mouth. The same elements they had used to previously damage it! The party was not so well protected against all these elements and took more damage than before from the attack.
    More attacks from Tagenadi, Eathirilu, Amalius, Zelus, and Hektor’s spider eventually resulted in the dragon spider’s death. It collapsed on the platforms and slipped into the lava below.
    Hermes appeared in the air above and applauded the party, “Well done! Your next task is something that even the great hero, Hercules, had difficulty with, stealing a golden apple from the Garden of the Hesperides. Be warned, the Garden is guarded by the hundred-headed dragon, Ladon.”

    The session ended there!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2016-04-05 at 11:00 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #110
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #52/Total Session #68
    This session was attended by Salzar, Ozymandias, Throgg, thewamp, and Middle_Snu. We used Roll20 as a virtual tabletop and Skype for voice and video.

    The lava cavern in which the party fought the dragon spider dissolved around them. The group soon found themselves standing in an expanse of dry-smelling grass. In front of them was a twenty foot tall fence that enclosed a large garden. Groomed shrubs and plants grew within the garden. At the center was the golden apple tree, tall and resplendent with dozens of gorgeous fruits hanging upon it. A heavenly smell flew from the tree to the party’s nostrils and when the wind blew through its branches it was almost as if the gods themselves were singing.
    Unfortunately, the beauty of the Garden of Hesperides was marred by a hideous beast that coiled around the base of the golden apple tree, Ladon the hundred-headed dragon. His heads filled the garden, snaking off long necks that split from each other and reformed in a never ending dance. The sweet smell of tree’s fruit was soon replaced by the foul stench of fire and death that leaked from every pore of Ladon’s being. A large, closed, metal gate separated the dragon’s web of heads, necks, and teeth from the party.
    The party could tell that Ladon would turn nasty in an instant if they stepped through the gate. Could they fly over? Tagenadi tried and found an invisible pyramidic barrier surrounded the garden, extending from the fence to form a point over the top of the tree. Could they tunnel under? Hektor used his Staff of the Magi to summon an earth elemental. The elemental tunneled under the fence, but encountered a similar invisible barrier under the earth. The only way forward lay through the gate.
    Amalius opened the gate and stepped back, not entering the Garden. The heads hissed in unison and two dozen of them instantly snaked forwards to surround the Garden’s entrance. Amalius said, “We wish to take one of the golden apples.”
    Ladon responded with what seemed like a hundred voices and one at the same time, “No applesssss for you. I guard. No applessssss unlesssss Atlassssss ssssayssssss sssssso.”
    “Atlas was defeated long ago. We come here with the blessing of Zeus, Hermes, Zelus, and Hades.” Amalius turned to Tagenadi who nodded his head in approval of the use of his patron’s name. “Will you not give us an apple for these powerful gods?”
    “They are not my masssster! My masssster is Atlassss. I ssssserve him and him ALONE! You will have no applesssssss!”
    The party stepped away from the gate to discuss their options out of Ladon’s earshot.
    Could they cut off the dragon’s heads from outside the Garden and move forward that way? This seemed unlikely to work. If Ladon was anything like the Hydra, cutting off his heads would only make things worse.
    Could Eathirilu buff himself up and race forward towards the apples? Maybe. He could change into a burrowing animal and tunnel under the ground once he was inside the Garden, perhaps? With magical enhancements to his speed and distance healing from Zelus he might be able to make the journey.
    Could they go through invisible? Probably not. Ladon’s heads and necks presented an almost solid barrier between the Garden and the gate. The Cap of Hades made the wearer invisible to all senses save touch, but Ladon’s positioning ensured that even touch would betray them to him.
    Eathirilu diving forwards seemed like the best plan. He changed into a badger, cast longstrider to improve his speed, and jumped forward into the Garden! The heads of Ladon descended upon Eathirilu. Biting and snapping at him, they ripped at his flesh, almost making Eathirilu collapse in his first second of digging into the earth. Poison entered Eathirilu’s bloodstream, but his druidic powers fought it off. One final threat remained, A head reared above Eathirilu and breathed fire down upon him. The shapeshifting druid warded himself with total immunity to fire every day, but Ladon’s fire was different. It burned hotter and brighter than anything the party had ever seen. The flames singed through Eathirilu’s magical armor and consciousness left the eyes of the druid turned badger. (One round, 200+ points of damage. WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES!)
    Ladon’s heads dragged Eathirilu’s body behind the wall of necks and teeth before Tagenadi could grab his friend. Zelus said, “Well there’s no point in healing him now. The heads would just knock him unconscious again or kill him before he could burrow into the ground.”
    Hektor said, “Is he still alive?”
    “Yes, his mind is still there,” said Amalius.
    Hektor said, “Well what now?”
    The group decided to combine their other plans of invisibility and chopping off Ladon’s heads. Tagenadi donned the Cap of Hades and swung his kusari-gama through the open gate at Ladon. The dragon did not react until the weapon passed the Garden's threshold. At that moment he reflexively dodged backwards. It was clear that he could not see the blade, but he felt the air stirred by its presence. Despite Ladon’s quick reaction, Tagenadi still inflicted a wound, slicing a piece of lizard flesh off a neck. Ladon roared and retreated thirty feet from the entrance, dragging Eathirilu’s body with him. The dragon’s heads still encircled the entrance, although the coverage was certainly thinner.
    Thinking for a time the party came up with a new plan to both get an apple and to retrieve Eathirilu. Hektor could summon an almost never-ending stream of powerful elementals using his staff of the magi. The staff used charges to summon these creatures though. Fortunately, a staff of the magi can be recharged easily by casting a spell into it. Zelus could give the staff enough energy to cast summon monster 9 using only a second level spell of his. An excellent use of resources! The elementals could then storm the Garden like a crowd of commoners running after the gold tossed aside by a noble. Earth elementals could run on the ground or burrow beneath it and air elementals could presumably soar over Ladon once inside the Garden. The ones that got furthest could grab Eathirilu and the apples and hopefully make it back to safety without succumbing to the dragon’s teeth.
    Hektor and Zelus began casting, bringing close to two dozen elementals into being. Hektor gave them their marching orders and then sent them into the Garden! The first rush hit a wall of biting gnashing dragon heads, but the push from behind kept them going. The elementals on the ground and in the air eventually reached a point where Ladon eliminated them as fast as they came forward. Fortunately, the five earth elementals that went underground were spared Ladon’s aggression once they burrowed into the dirt. They raced towards the golden apple tree and popped up to claim the apples. Each plucked a fruit and Ladon roared his fury at them. His heads snaked across the Garden and devoured one of the elementals. The other four dived into the ground once more and safely brought their prizes to Hektor behind the crush of the remaining elementals. Unfortunately, those who were ordered to retrieve Eathirilu were unsuccessful.
    Amalius took one of the fruits from Hektor and tossed it up and down. He spoke to the dragon, “Well, well, well. Looks like we have one of your apples!”



    “NOOOOO!!! GIVE THEM BACK!!!”
    “Tell you what, I’ll give one back if you free my friend, Eathirilu.”
    “NO! ALL OF THEM BACK! Then I will release your friend.”
    “Sorry. No deal. One or none.”
    Ladon’s heads looked between Eathirilu, the tree, and Amalius. They hissed, “Fine. Give ussssss the apple.” One of the heads picked up Eathirilu’s limp badger body and brought it close to the gate.
    Amalius tossed the apple to Ladon who caught it in a mouth. The dragon dropped Eathirilu at the gate’s edge. Tagenadi pulled the druid through while Ladon returned his salvaged apple to its spot upon the tree.
    “Pleasure doing business with you,” said Amalius.
    Zelus used his magic to bring Eathirilu back around. The fenced in Garden rippled before their eyes and soon the adventurers found themselves in a different place.

    They stood in a vast open rectangular room. Corinthian columns and carvings covered the walls. A vaulted ceiling rose overhead and huge marble slabs tiled the floor. Hermes floated overhead. “Excellent! Excellent! But one more task for you and I will be forced to declare you the winner of this wager! The golden apples first though.”
    Amalius tossed an apple up followed by a second, “One for you and one for the Queen of the sky, Hera.”
    Hermes tossed the second apple up into the air and it disappeared with a flash. “I'm sure she will appreciate the gift.” He rolled the apple in his hands and continued while he worked, “My father talked to all the gods during the Trojan War once. He’d banned us all from fighting, but we did it anyways while he was distracted. He stretched a golden cable out across a pit to Tartarus,” Hermes stretched the apple out to form a golden cable, “and dared all of us to best him along in a tug-of-war. None of us took the bait because we knew he would win.” Hermes examined the cable. “I have a similar game I want to play with you. At the other end of this cable will be…” Hermes threw the cable towards the end of the room. It coiled forward through his hands, but instead of striking the the wall it went through a magic portal that suddenly appeared. “A volcano!” Hermes finished.
    Looking through the portal revealed a top-down view of a volcano’s lava-filled caldera. The portal cut off the edges of the volcano’s base. The golden cable wrapped around the sulfurous mountain several times, secure at that end. The other end of the cable lay on the floor of the temple the party was in.
    Hermes continued, “All you have to do is move that volcano up for just a second and you’ll win this challenge. Just a little pull. That’s all!”
    Hektor, knowing that monsters were often imprisoned within volcanoes, asked, “Which volcano is that?”
    “What does it matter which one it is? If you’re worried about the monster, this one got free long ago. No need to concern yourself with defeating it.”
    “Is it Greshendale?”
    “What? Why would I want to pull Greshendale?.”
    Eathirilu said, “Are you sure? It’s not Greshendale?”
    “Cross my heart.”
    “For real?” Eathirilu persisted.
    “Did I say it was Greshendale?”
    “No.”
    “Then there you go.”
    Girding themselves for the challenge, the party all grasped the cable and pulled. Not a budge.
    Amalius asked their resident Olympian, “Do we have a time limit on this challenge?”
    Hermes answered, “No. Take as long as you need.”
    “And can we get as much space as we want to?”
    “Yes. The temple will expand to suit your needs as your require it.”
    Amalius said to the rest of the party, “If we have as long as we want then I can build a complex pulley system. It should minimize the volcano’s weight and we can lift it up like a butter churn.”
    The party agreed that what Amalius had said sounded like a good plan. The psion got to work designing his pulley system while the others sat and pondered their existence.
    While thinking, Eathirilu landed on a different idea. What if he summoned a bunch of triceratops and tied the cable around their horns? He could transform into a dinosaur as well and animal growth all of them to vastly increase their strength. Couldn’t they pull the volcano together then? It was worth a shot. Eathirilu magicked up some dinosaurs and Tagenadi and Zelus tied the cable to them.
    The dino gang along with Tagenadi and Zelus pulled on the cable… and it began to move! Tagenadi’s bony hands slipped and the cable pulled back. Shouting for help, Hektor and Amalius joined in. As everyone struggled together the volcano moved! The party released the cable, cheering!
    But wait, the volcano hadn’t stopped moving. It hadn’t gone back to its place in the earth. It was coming on towards the portal, faster and faster! The party heard the faint screams of tens of thousands of people as the volcano came closer. It hurtled closer and it seemed the lava would envelop the portal, then the magic gateway went dark.
    “Oops,” said Hermes. “Maybe it was Greshendale after all. Here you go, Zelus. You can have the Lots.” Hermes tossed the dice to Zelus who pocketed them.
    Eathirilu said, “You lied to us.”
    Hermes shrugged and said, “What do you expect from a trickster god?”
    Tagenadi asked, “What do we do? Do we go there now?”
    Amalius said, “Yes. Right now. We can kill Lady Li and a few other Dragovinians in the chaos. Gather around me. Everyone ready?”
    With a pop the party disappeared from Hermes’ temple.

    All teleportation magic in Greshendale is redirected to the main entrance to the city. That remained true despite the city’s fall. Amalius’s teleport planted them directly on the main teleportation pad of Greshendale. Fire and ruins surrounded them. Along the city’s shattered walkways finely manicured gardens burned. People both mortal and Dragovinian ran screaming for the teleportation pad to take it to the ground. No one cared for the party’s arrival, only rushing past them to activate the escape pad for themselves. Others stumbled around, either too injured or too shell-shocked to fully comprehend what was happening. Smoke of mystical colors and scents rose from several dozen spots in the distance.
    Amalius said, “Let’s find a Dragovinian that’s alone and get some information from them.”
    Everyone agreed that getting information about the city was their best course of action. They stepped away from the pad. Amalius searched around with his mind and found a likely candidate Dragovinian. He dominated the victim, a wizard who appeared to possess some skill, but nothing that approached the party’s towering arcane might.
    Amalius asked the dominated Dragovinian, “Where is Lady Li?”
    In a stilted voice the man replied, “I don't know.”
    “Where do you think she'd be right now?”
    “At the compound or where she is needed most.”
    “Take us to the compound,” Amalius ordered. The wizard led the party down the cracked and ruined streets of Greshendale. Along the way Amalius gave more order, “You are to conduct yourself amicably and nonchalantly with other Dragovinians. You will be calm and collected. You will give no indication that you are dominated or controlled in any way. When we get to the compound you will go inside and locate Lady Li. Once you have done so you will come back out to me as soon as possible.”
    The party arrived at the compound, a large stone building shaped like a rhombus. To the left side a tall tower once stood, but the city’s fall caused the tower to fall as well. Dragovinians and mortals rushed in and out of the building, making it clear that it was acting as a sort of command center during the crisis. Amalius sent his peon in and the party waited.
    And waited.
    And waited.
    After almost half an hour Eathirilu felt a tingling on the back of his neck due to his foresight spell. “We’re under attack!” he shouted!
    Spoiler: What happened inside the compound
    Show
    The players weren’t privy to this information during the session, but there’s no harm in letting everyone know now!
    The nameless peon entered the building and approached the person in charge. He asked her where Lady Li was, doing his best to pretend to not be dominated. A contested Bluff vs. Sense Motive check ensued which person in charge won by a large margin. The person in charge asked if nameless peon was doing okay. Nameless peon responded along the lines of, “Yes. I’m perfectly fine and calm. Why wouldn’t I be? Do you know where Lady Li is?” (Calm and collected may not have been the best choice of words for Amalius to use when Greshendale is experiencing the biggest disaster it has ever known.)
    Person in charge called someone else over to double check that something was wrong. They confirmed person in charge’s suspicions. Nameless peon was acting strangely because he was dominated. Fortunately, person in charge had prepared a protection from good spell which blocks all attempts at mind control. She cast it upon nameless peon. Nameless peon regained his senses and informed person in charge of what had happened outside the compound.
    Person in charge and looked out the window and saw the party. Recognizing who they were and the threat they posed, person in charge contacted Lady Li. Lady Li in turn contacted other people and… well...


    Up in the sky several Dragovinians appeared. Terroc, the spying mage who had stolen Kharad-khor and given it to the Sahuagin, completed a teleport spell, bringing along:
    Lady Shunawo Li, dictator of Colchis and accomplished wizard in her own right. She specializes in force and enchantment magic. Her presence in Greshendale led to the rise of Dragovinians in the city and the city eventually joining the Xorians.
    Krodius, leader of the Sky Patrol, the aerial police force of Greshendale. When he became a Dragovinian it wasn’t long before the rest of the worthy in the city followed suit. His battle skills were honed in the War Mage Academy of Greshendale.
    Barejando, chief general of the Xorian forces. Barejando has mastered the same armament that his troops use on the battlefield, a large spear and a massive shield.
    King Jevaninada II. What more needs to be said? He arrived in his flowing purple silk armor, wearing the Crown of Xoria on his head and the Gauntlets of Martial Skill on his hands. He wielded the Diamond Sword of Xoria which glowed a dark blue.
    Darunanano, King Jevaninada’s bodyguard and Tagenadi’s elder brother. Daru’s size is magically enhanced just like his younger brother and while he wielded no weapon his draconic claws and teeth showed the signs of significant “work” to increase their damage-dealing potential.
    Each of the Dragovinians had scaled skin and cruel smiles. In addition, they all had leathery wings sprouting from their backs. Blendegad had given them the gift of flight!

    Eathirilu’s warning allowed the party to react quickly, but Barejando was prepared! He flew down and breathed upon the party. This wasn’t the typical Dragovinian fire breath. Barejando breathed black crackling electricity, the same energy as that in an antimagic field. A dark pale set over the party as their magic faded into the background.
    Everyone scattered out of the new antimagic area. Eathirilu left and summoned an enormous downdraft with control winds. Tornado force winds began blowing down on the Dragovinians forcing them to land or risk being blown away. The three Dragovinian mages were sufficiently disrupted by the winds that they were unable to cast spells while they repositioned (or were blown to new positions!).
    Jevaninada and Darudanano charged through the winds to collide with Tagenadi. Tagenadi swung his kusari-gama around, freeing a space for Hektor, Zelus, and Amalius to back out of the antimagic zone.
    Hektor shapeshifted into an iron golem and began a summoning spell. Amalius used his time magic to position himself for a devastating spell. When he rejoined the normal time stream he was face to face with Lady Li. Amalius blasted her with a full force disintegrate. Li screamed, but her tongue turned to ash followed swiftly by the rest of her body.
    Krodius cast a damaging spell that burned through the party's magical wards, but Zelus quickly healed any wounds with a mass heal spell. Zelus targeted the spell at Jevaninada and Darudanano as well, going the positive energy would disrupt the negative energy that powered their unliving forms. The magic caused lesions to appear on Darudanano’s skin, but Jevaninada remained immune.
    Terroc attempted to disintegrate Amalius right back. Fortunately, the wards that Amalius had placed upon himself protected him from taking damage.
    Eathirilu turned into a T-Rex. He joined the melee with Tagenadi against Jevaninada and Darudananano with Barejando joining on the other side. Hektor and Zelus attempted to disrupt the Dragovinians by blocking them with force spells. Daru dispelled one of the effects using the magic of the headband he wore. The other effect, Daru and Jev flew over. Barejando took an alternative approach and broke threw a weakened stone wall that the wall of force butted up against. The three of them surrounded Eathirilu and Tagenadi, trading blow for blow.
    Hektor’s summon spell concluded, calling an air elemental to the battlefield. The elemental attempted to catch Krodius and Terroc up in its whirlwind. It succeeded in capturing Krodius, providing an easy target for Amalius. Amalius lined up the shot and fired off another disintegrate. Krodius turned to ash and the wind blew his remains away.
    The fight went poorly for Eathirilu and Tagenadi. They could dish out damage, but against superior numbers they couldn’t take it as well. Jev’s dark blue diamond sword cut again and again while Daru savaged the heroic pair with his enhanced Dragovinian claws. Barejando provided a flanking position ensuring that his allies’ attacks hit. Zelus attempted to heal his new companions’ wounds, but he could only channel one type of energy at a time, positive or negative. Positive energy sustained Eathirilu while negative sustained Tagenadi. In the end, Eathirilu was the first to go. A diamond sword swipe took his consciousness followed by a bite from King Jevaninada’s fangs that took his life. Eathirilu fell dead upon the broken stone of the street.
    Amalius had more success in his continuing barrage of disintegrates. He blasted Terroc with one. The Dragovinian wizard attempted to block with a rod of absorption, but could not raise the magical item in time. The spell took his life, but the rod absorbed any latent energy into itself. The rod survived, but its master did not. Amalius scooped the rod up into his portable hole.
    Amalius would not be able to celebrate his accomplishment for long. A new Dragovinian entered the battlefield! Wu Lang Li, the Lord of Colchis, first made Dragovinian after King Jevaninada II, and enforcer of the King’s will. Wu had returned after his disappearance into the Rebellion controlled territory of Bigby’s Forest. He wielded a massive dragonbone composite longbow. He wore similar purple silks to what King Jevaninada had. On his back was a quiver of arrows of different sorts. Yes! This was the same Wu that had helped Korjak, Gregor, Stanton, and Sivirdm to find the first pieces of the Druid’s Prophecy! (PC turned into villain! Oh how I love it…)
    Amalius’s first clue that Wu had entered the combat was when four arrows sprouted from his chest. The magic of the arrows ripped through his magical protections and blood flowed freely from his wounds. Amalius fell to the ground, unconscious.
    Wu’s dark red eyes glowed as he said, “That’s what you get for what you did to her.”
    Hektor, Zelus, and Tagenadi could feel the battle turning against them. Sounding a retreat, Zelus flew forwards on his seraphic wings and teleported himself and Eathirilu to his temple on Mount Olympus. Hektor teleported himself away to Lakatia. Tagenadi donned his Cap of Hades and slipped away from his fight with Daru and Jev, hoping to rescue Amalius before he fled as well.
    The Dragovinians dispatched the air elemental as an afterthought and gathered around the body of Amalius.
    Tagenadi circled the battleground, stepping upon the cracked stone of what was once a vibrant street of Greshendale. He was invisible to every sense except touch, but one could never be too careful. He slowly crept towards the spot where Amalius lay.
    Wu felt a tingling on the back of his neck. Something was wrong. What was that over there? A footprint on the dusted stone? And another? Someone was there! Wu nocked four arrows to his bow and fired! Two whistled past Tagenadi, but the others hit him straight in the chest. He felt his unliving form shudder and almost fall apart. He held on to his “life,” but the arrows carried another force. He felt the arrows pulling him, pushing him, trying to take him out of the material plane! Tagenadi held on with everything he had! His force of will, his martial training from Guru Aruna Sheth, every fiber of his being resisted the magic. At last the pull stopped! Tagenadi was still on the mortal plane!
    The death knight snapped his hand forward and grabbed Amalius. He teleported away to Lakatia, safe from harm.
    Wu looked at the ground where Amalius had been, “They can’t get away with this.”
    “No,” said Jevaninada. “Not this time.”

    We ended the session there!

  21. - Top - End - #111
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #53/Total Session #69
    This session was attended by Salzar, Ozymandias, Throgg, Middle_Snu, and Zigfried. We used Roll20 as a virtual tabletop and Skype for voice and video. Eathirilu was dead for most of this session so Ozymandias played Tagenadi in thewamp’s absence.

    When we last left them, our heroes had faced off against the Dragovinian elite of Greshendale. While many of the Dragovinians were slain, the forces of justice did not emerge unscathed. Eathirilu the dinosaur druid perished in the fighting and Amalius the telepath succumbed to his wounds before help could arrive.
    Upon fleeing, Zelus had taken Eathirilu to the demigod’s temple on Mount Olympus. Hektor and Tagenadi took Amalius and met with Danar in Lakatia. Danar had stayed behind from the previous adventure to research his family's current position in the world. Feeling exposed even at their home base, Hektor went inside his keep and cast a magnificent mansion to take shelter in. After inviting Tagenadi and Danar in, Hektor spoke to his castellan, Bart, “We'll be in here for a few minutes or maybe a whole day. See that we aren't disturbed.”
    “Of course, my lord.”
    Hektor, Danar, and Tagenadi spoke within the mansion. Amalius would need resurrection. They decided the best person to ask about that was the Bjorn in Dalleer due to his quasi-master/apprentice relationship with Amalius. Meanwhile on Mount Olympus, Zelus had come to a similar conclusion for bringing Eathirilu back. The particulars of bringing a person back from the realm of Hades required certain rituals that even Zelus could not perform. He needed a priest and Dalleer’s Cathedral seemed like the best place.
    After resting for a bit the party reemerged from the magnificent mansion, not to the lovely coastal village of Lakatia as they’d expected, but a blazing inferno! Lakatia’s keep was in flames all around them! Coughing in the smoke, Hektor struggled to figure out what was going on. Danar and Tagenadi heard a sharp voice from the keep’s main gates, “There they are!”
    Tagenadi turned to Hektor, “Get us out of here now!”
    Hektor spoke the magic words as Jevaninada, Darudanano, and Wu strode into the keep. Wu nocked an arrow to his bow, but the teleportation magic whisked the party away before the missile could fly.
    Hektor and Co. arrived outside of the Bjorn’s burned out palace (See Alliance Session #31/Total Session #42 for why the palace is burned!). Unsure where the Bjorn was while his house was being rebuilt the party went to the city’s administrative center, the jail, hoping to find the Bjorn there. When they arrived they were escorted to a large open room filled with administrative desks. Hektor, Danar, and Amalius’s psicrystal Merlot introduced themselves as friends of the Bjorn. Tagenadi kept himself invisible with the Cap of Hades and held Amalius’s body in his portable hole.
    The portly sheriff replied, “Yes you have the look of his friends… Unfortunately the Bjorn is indisposed at the moment.”
    Hektor said, “Indisposed? It's a matter of some urgency. Surely the Bjorn can be found.”
    “Urgency?”
    Hektor exploded with anger, “Dammit man! We don't have time for this! I've just come from a battle with the Dragovinians, one of my friends is dead, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance! You speak of urgency?!? My every action is urgent! Now where is the Bjorn?”
    The sheriff backed up with his palms out, “Keep your shirt on! It's my job to ask questions for the Bjorn’s safety is all.”
    Merlot said, “Take us to the Bjorn! We need him to bring my master back to life!”
    “A talking rock? Now I know you must be the Bjorn’s friends. Jensen will take you to him.” The sheriff indicated one of the guards in the room.

    Jensen led the group through the streets of Dalleer. Passing info the seedier part of town the observant party members realized they were entering the red light district.
    Merlot approached their guide, “So… Uhm… How's the Bjorn’s marriage going?”
    “It's not my place to say,” the guard said before adding, “Mr. Rock, sir.”
    “Mr. Merlot is fine.”
    “As you say, Mr. Merlot.”
    Jensen stopped in front of a house of pleasure with a lewd sign depicting a carnal act. The establishment’s name was written above the door in bright pink letters on a yellow background, “The Slap and Tickle.”
    Jensen said, “He's in there, my lords.”
    “Thank you, Jensen. That will be all.” Hektor handed the guard two gold pieces and dismissed him. Jensen walked happily back towards the jail, perhaps detouring on his way to enjoy one of the local businesses.
    The party entered the Slap and Tickle, Tagenadi still invisible and Merlot still a floating wine colored sphere. The entrance room was a large lobby with a few doors at the back and a staircase leading upstairs. A large desk sat at the side of the room. Prostitutes lounged on chairs, pillows, and couches throughout the room. They advertised their favors out entertained patrons interested in more casual company. A few men and women walked around offering drinks and mint crackers. At the desk the madam rose from her chair. She wore a thick burgundy colored dress and gold jewelry. She approached our heroes and asked them, “What can I do for you find gentlemen? We cater to all tastes and creeds here at the Slap and Tickle.”
    Hektor took the scene and the perfume scents of flowers and almonds before replying, “We want, that is to say, we need to see the Bjorn.”
    “Then you're not interested in our girls or boys?”
    “No, not at this time. We know the Bjorn is here. We just want to talk to him.”
    “We need the Bjorn!” piped up Merlot.
    “Our clientele are private, sir, as I'm sure you understand. I can't tell you if the Bjorn is here or not.”
    “Bring us to the Bjorn!” said Merlot.
    “Isn't there something you can do?” asked Hektor.
    “I'm afraid not, sir.”
    Danar eyed the staircase. Two burly, bare-chested harem guards stood at the base of the stairs. They were so far beneath Danar's level of expertise that he had not even noted then previously. Could he get past them? Definitely. Could he do it without causing a scene? Probably not. Danar's skill suite wasn't exactly subtle. Hektor felt much the same.
    Merlot did not share the other two’s reservations. “We must save Amalius! I'll find the Bjorn!” The psicrystal flitted forward past the guards and up the stairs shouting, “Bjorn! Bjorn! It's Merlot! Help! Bjorn!”
    The madam gasped in shock. She clutched her necklace, reflexively straightening the pendant to calm herself. “Boring! Alfonso!” she shouted at the two guards, “Go catch that thing! Don't let it into any of the guests’ rooms!”
    “Yes madam,” the two said in unison before stomping up the stairs. A few of the prostitutes followed to watch the show.
    The Madam turned to the party with pursed lips, “You'll need to wait outside, sirs. Once your…pet... has been caught it will be returned to you.”
    “Yes madam. I understand. The two of us will leave,” Hektor emphasized the two, hoping that Tagenadi would take his meaning and stay to discover where the Bjorn was and hopefully recover Merlot as well.
    Upstairs Merlot had not found the Bjorn, partially because he could not open doors, only scream, “Bjorn! Where are you? It's Merlot! Amalius’s psicrystal!”
    The guards attempted to catch Merlot with their hands. They didn't succeed, but they forced the psicrystal to the end of a windowed hallway. Merlot drew in a psionic breath and plunged at the window, breaking it to escape. The little rock only exited the building for a short time. He circled around, found another window, and broke back into the Slap and Tickle. Hearing the crash the guards ran to the other side of the building. This time they came armed with a blanket. Merlot bobbed and weaved, evading the first toss of the covering. “Bjorn! Bjorn! Help! Bjorn! Help me!”
    Merlot raced away from the guards, but another pair met him in front of a lounge area at the end of a hallway. They netted Merlot within a blanket. Merlot wriggled against the scratchy material and broke free. “Bjorn! HAAAAALLLLPPPP!!!” Merlot knocked over a vase and ran past doorways opened to the guest rooms where Johns, Janes, and prostitutes watched the spectacle.
    The Bjorn poked his head out from one of the rooms, “Merlot, is that you?”
    “Bjorn! Oh I found you!”
    The guards rushed up and prepared to net the psicrystal with a blanket once more. The Bjorn stopped them with a hand, “It’s alright. He’s with me. I’ll pay for any damages he’s caused.”
    “Errr… Yes sir,” said one of the guards.
    “Come on in, Merlot. What’s troubling you?”
    Merlot entered the room and saw that the Bjorn had been hiding his naked body behind the door. The room was well-furnished and dark curtains covered a large window on the opposite wall. A large bed dominated the room, obviously. Sitting up under the bed’s covers was not a prostitute, but the Bjorn’s wife, Cassandra, daughter of Astyanax. She was naked as well except for a feathered mask on her face.
    “Bjorniiieeee…” Cassandra called.
    “Just a minute sweetie. I’ll finish this business and then I’ll finish you.”
    “Ugh. Fine,” Cassandra flopped back against the pillows and bent her knees under the blankets.
    “What’s wrong?” the Bjorn asked Merlot, “Where’s Amalius?”
    “He’s dead. We need your help to resurrect him. Everyone is waiting outside because the madam doesn’t like us.”
    “I see. Why don’t you go wait with them. Tell them I’ll be down in a few minutes.”
    “Okay. You promise?”
    “Yes, I promise,” The Bjorn said as he pulled his leather gloves back on. Merlot left as he saw the Bjorn reaching for a potato on the nightstand. Tagenadi left the building behind Merlot.

    The Bjorn met Merlot, Hektor, and Danar outside wearing his full regalia. “Good to see you all again, even though I wish it were under better circumstances. You have Amalius with you?”
    “Yes,” said Danar. “He’s in a portable hole that Tagenadi is carrying.”
    “And where is Tagenadi?”
    Tagenadi took the Cap of Hades off for a moment appearing beside the party in the street. “I am here, but I’ll be staying invisible for the time being.” Tagenadi donned the Cap once more.
    “Let's head to the Cathedral then. I could use a wind-down stroll after my workout,” said the Bjorn.
    The group walked through the city chatting and were within sight of the Cathedral within a few minutes. Unfortunately, when it rains it pours.
    As the group approached the columned entrance to the Cathedral, who should step out from behind the columns but Jevaninada, Darudanano, and Wu?
    Wu shot Hektor in the chest with a volley of arrows.



    Hektor passed out, activating his contingent teleport spell to the shrine in Lakatia. A shrine that was on fire when he last saw it.
    Danar put himself between the Dragovinians and the Bjorn. He wouldn't have lasted long if not for happy circumstance. Zelus had come to the Dalleer Cathedral to resurrect Eathirilu. Hearing the commotion outside, the demigod flew to the entrance. After appraising the situation, Zelus channeled positive energy into Danar, healing the cuts and scrapes on his body.
    Daru and Jev advanced on the party. The healing Zelus had done for Danar was quickly undone by few swipes from Jev's sword. Realizing that they were outmatched, Tagenadi grabbed Danar and teleported away.
    Merlot distracted Wu by shouting, “How did it feel Wu? When I killed you wife?” Wu chased the floating orb into the temple.
    The Bjorn was left to fight Daru and Jev with only Zelus to help. He tried to assault their mental defenses by failed. They both laid into him. Zelus was sure the Bjorn’s weak mortal body would succumb to the attacks, but instead bright flashes of psionic energy absorbed all damage. Zelus frowned, not recognizing any spell at work, only raw magic.
    Still, without any reasonable offensive strategy, the Bjorn retreated. His body melted away, becoming just another shadow beneath the Cathedral’s columns. Zelus picked up Eathirilu’s body and escaped as well.
    What of Merlot? Wu cornered him and captured the orb within the Cathedral.

    Tagenadi and Danar arrived at Crux. Tagenadi kept his wits about him enough to think of other places that might possess the means and motivation to resurrect Amalius. He thought of Vecna, the ancient lich who had offered her considerable magical talents to Tagenadi in the past for the small price of an unconditional favor in the future. The price was too steep back then, but for a friend’s life? Tagenadi would take whatever bargain he needed to.
    Tagenadi and Danar popped into existence just outside of Vecna’s hut at the base of the Silver Tower that oversaw all activity in Crux. The city was on the move westward, going from Shalerton to Phoenix. Skeletons and zombies picked up whole buildings and moved them, going back to get the other shops and houses on a block. Through this process the city had come south to Shalerton and now westward towards the captive city of guilds.
    After catching their breaths, Tagenadi and Danar headed inside the hut. Dozens of candles lit the space that was larger on the inside than it appeared on the outside. Vecna sat behind a long table with various occult objects strewn across its surface. She gestured with her withered skeletal hand at the stools in front of the table, “Please. Sit.”
    “Hello Vecna,” said Tagenadi. “We come here for your help. We need you to-”
    “Yes I know dearie. You want me to bring your little friend back to life. Do you want him like he was or...like you and me?”
    “Like he was!” Danar interjected.
    “Of course. How silly of me. And who is this fine friend you’ve brought, Tagenadi? He looks...scrumptuous…” If Vecna still had a tongue and lips she undoubtedly would have licked them.
    “I am Danar, once King of Sheerzen and Defeater of the Dragons.”
    “Oh! That Danar! Oh my! Well I’m afraid I’m a bit underdressed. Nothing but skin and bones on me!” Vecna cackled at her own joke. Danar and Tagenadi looked at each other unamused (Fortunately the players were very amused!).
    “That’s… just fine, Vecna,” said Tagenadi, “but we need you to resurrect Amalius.”
    “Always straight to business. Yes. Yes. I could raise your friend, but there’s the matter of the cost.”
    “We can pay you.”
    “Pay me? With gold? I have all the gold and wealth I want. But I don’t get to have fun anymore.”
    “What do you want?” asked Tagenadi.
    “Let’s see… Let me think… Ah! I have it! I want you, Danar, to take me out for a romantic evening.”
    Danar sputtered, “I, uh, what?”
    “Yes. Wine and dine me. Woo me. Treat me like a lady. An oh-so-fine lady!”
    “But. But I’m not dressed for it?”
    “Neither am I! How about you pick me up at the next full moon?”
    “I…” Danar looked at Tagenadi. His uncertainty turned to resolve. “I’ll do it. But you must bring back Amalius today.”
    “Of course! Wouldn’t dream of it any other way.” Vecna’s hand took Danar’s from where it rested upon the table. She stroked his hand with the stump of her left arm. “You have the body I presume?” Vecna asked.
    “Yes,” said Tagenadi. He retrieved the corpse from his portable hole.
    “Just put it on the table over here,” Vecna indicated another table in the hut. “I’ll go fetch the necessary reagents.”
    Vecna left and returned to perform the spell. She anointed the body with special oils and placed gems and herbs around Amalius’s head. After she chanted for what felt like an hour, color returned to the psion’s cheeks. Amalius gasped and took breath once more!
    After filling Amalius in on the situation the group decided to teleport back to Lakatia and see what remained. Vecna waved them goodbye with her stump and blew a kiss to Danar. He thought she might’ve winked, but it was hard to tell since she only had the one eye.

    Tagenadi, Danar, and Amalius came to Lakatia and saw the flames still burning. Hektor was directing a bucket brigade. While they had resurrected Amalius, Hektor had materialized within the burning temple of Lakatia. Fortunately, one of the priest’s noticed and dragged Hektor out to safety and restored his vigor with positive energy. Hektor shouted at the party to help. Amalius told everyone to get clear. After the bucket brigade backed off, Amalius hit the fire with several cold energy waves. The flames quickly guttered out as their fuel froze and ice covered the burned keep.
    “Damn it!” shouted Hektor. “The library was half destroyed! All those books we’d taken from the Bane and Bavastatner! Who knows what knowledge was lost?” Hektor sighed and turned to the party, “I’m glad you’re alright though.”
    The party desperately wanted to rest and regroup with Zelus, but Hektor convinced them otherwise. “We need to warn the Alliance what’s happened. With Greshendale destroyed the Xorians might retaliate against an Alliance city.”
    Amalius said, “Let’s go to Jipangu. We might get a more friendly reception there than Bradel Fields.”
    The party popped off to the western gates of Jipangu. Dust rose west of the city as the new Alliance recruits trained for war. Guards stood beside the entrance. A few of them recognized the party and clutched their weapons. Amalius glared at them, daring them to act, as the party walked through the gates. Amalius and Tagenadi had been banned from the city for their associations with Amalgami the Betrayer and the undead respectively.
    As they went along the streets of Jipangu the party noticed they were being tailed by several dozen guards. “Where are we headed?” asked Hektor.
    “To the First Family’s house,” answered Amalius, “but I don’t think it matters. They’ll come to us first.”
    Soon enough guards surrounded the party preventing peaceful progress forward. Stepping through the curtain of spears came an officer. Amalius recognized the man, “Yukaro,” said Amalius.
    “Amalius,” said Yukaro. The man was dressed in armor and wore the traditional wide spreading pants of Jipangu. Two swords hung from his belt. Above his thin face a purple and red striped headband stretched across his forehead. The symbol and sigil of the First Family of Jipangu adorned the front of the headband. Yukaro was the grandson of Arendil and the recently divorced husband of Amalius’s sister, Amalia.
    Yukaro rested his hands upon the sheathed handles of his swords. “What are you doing here? You are exiled, banished, forbidden. Did you not understand?”
    “We came to see the Alliance Council.”
    “They're in Bradel Fields. Why are you here?”
    “Maybe I just came to see the streets. Dirtier than I remembered, or maybe that's just you.”
    Yukaro bristled, “If you wish a duel then say it!”
    “You think I couldn't destroy you and every other man here? You think I have anything to fear from this force?”
    Hektor stepped between the two boiling men. “Calm down. We didn't come here to fight,” Hektor said to Amalius before turning to Yukaro, “Surely at least one of the Council members is here with the army?”
    Yukaro pursed his lips and glared. After a moment he said, “Gradorian and Junai are with the troops outside of the city. If you leave through the western gate you'll find them.” Yukaro thrust his finger towards Amalius, “His banishment does not extend to the fields of Jipangu, though I wish it did.”
    “We'll be going then,” said Hektor. He gestured for his companions to gather around him and they teleported to the encampment west of the city.
    After a few stunned expressions from the soldiers who saw a group of heroes appear the party received directions to the camp center. Gradorian and Junai were waiting for them.
    After polite greetings Hektor said, “We have grave news.” The party told the two generals about how Hermes contrived to destroy Greshendale, their subsequent battle with the Dragovinians, and the likelihood of a Xorian counterattack. The divine magic that crashed the flying city might be construed as a breach in the rules of war which outlawed large scale destruction using magic. The Xorians had justification to destroy a city like Bradel Fields or Jipangu in response. Once again, the party stressed that Hermes tricked them into bringing Greshendale down.
    Gradorian thought over this and said, “We need to bring this before the Council as a whole. Will you come to Bradel Fields with us?”
    The party agreed. Gradorian called in a pair of Alliance wizards and a few moments later they stood outside of the Council Chambers in Bradel Fields.

    Gradorian and Junai left to gather the other Council members. Armed servants led the party to the large and round, familiar Council room in the center of the large building. Drinks were offered to the party but not taken. Amalius, Hektor, Danar, and Tagenadi waited for perhaps an hour before the Council arrived.
    Torin, their old friend and battle companion, arrived first. The Dwarven cleric of Athena greeted them cordially and whispered that he'd missed them. Next came Titandra, the blind seer of Restnor’s Point. Gradorian and Junai next. The pair are the sole survivors of the Mercenaries Guild of Phoenix. Rumor said that the Hobgoblin and the Elf shared a bed.
    Missing from this meeting were Kig Yupington and Astyanax who had both died during the battle with the Merfolk and had yet to be resurrected. The Bjorn of Dalleer was also absent as contacting him had proven difficult.
    The party struck up a friendly conversation with Torin. Arendil spoke, “Shall we get things started?”
    The party ignored him and continued speaking with Torin.
    “I’d very much like to hear what you have to say.”
    Not even a glance in Arendil’s direction.
    “If you will not participate then I see no reason for this meeting!”Arendil shouted.
    The party continued to ignore him, attempting to instill a measure of control of the proceedings. Arendil stood up from his chair and swept out of the round room, followed by Gradorian, Junai, and Titandra. Arendil shut the door behind them, unable to slam it due to the size of the door and his advanced age. Torin stayed, continuing to speak amicably. The party laughed, feeling that Arendil would return soon.
    A few minutes later the party heard voices outside the double doors and then a dull gray light shone as an antimagic field enveloped the room.
    Danar and Tagenadi rushed towards the doors. They met resistance when they tried to open them. The doors had no locks or bars, someone was holding them shut! The two struggled against the door and heard the strained voice of Gradorian on the other side, “It’s for the greater good!”
    Arendil added, “You will be turned over to the Xorians to pay for the destruction of Greshendale.” Evidently Gradorian and Junai had shared what they’d learned earlier.
    Danar and Tagenadi pushed with all their might and broke through the doors. They found Gradorian and Junai on the other side hastily drawing their weapons. Behind them stood Arendil and over a dozen archers in the hallway.
    Hektor pulled out his Staff of the Magi which had powerful magic that worked regardless of the antimagic field. He pointed it at the wall opposite the doors and invoked the Staff’s passwall magic. A blue light flew from the staff and illuminated a door-sized rectangle upon the wall. The rectangle flashed and then disappeared, revealing a passageway connecting to the hallway behind the Council room.
    Amalius’s gloves of storing had regurgitated their contents, his magical, but currently inert shield, and Korm the Decapitator. Korm was an artifact like the Staff of the Magi and the blade hungered for control of its destiny once more. The dagger attacked Amalius’s steel trap mind with a thousand needles, searching, probing for a weakness. Amalius left none. The dagger was rebuffed and Amalius remained master of his own thoughts and actions.
    Fully in control, Amalius bolted through the passwall away from the antimagic field. Once on the other side he cast his mind upon Gradorian, Junai, Arendil, Titandra (who he sensed in the hallway), and the archers. Amalius imposed his will upon them, dominating the actions of Arendil and half the archers.
    Gradorian and Junai unsheathed their weapons and attacked Danar and Tagenadi, trying to force them to retreat into the antimagic field. Danar and Tagenadi drew their weapons in turn and stood their ground, but did not unleash their full power against those who were once allies. Arrows flew at Danar and Tagenadi, but did nothing. A common soldier’s arrow could not damage Tagenadi’s skeletal body nor pierce Danar’s invisible armor composed of pure force.
    Torin, realizing what was happening, sided with the Alliance members. He loosed his spear and stabbed at Hektor, distracting the wizard.
    Amalius cast his mind out once more and succeeded in dominating the rest of the Alliance members outside of the Council room. Amalius shouted, “It’s over! I control the minds of everyone in the hallway! Give up, Torin, and we will treat you fairly!”
    Torin frowned and threw down his spear. He could not fight all four of them, especially within an antimagic field.
    Danar, Tagenadi and Hektor exited the Council room through the passwall, joining up with Amalius. Amalius ordered his mind slaves to kneel upon the ground and facing the Council room door with their eyes downcast in a mock worship of a god. He telepathed to everyone but directed his mental voice at his prisoners, “What did you hope to achieve here? Do you see our strength compared to yours? If I wanted to I could command you all to fight to the death. What do you have to say to that, Arendil? Hmm?” Amalius bitterly remembered how Arendil had spearheaded his exile from the Alliance.
    Arendil remained silent.
    “I command you to answer!”
    Arendil looked down and said nothing.
    “Look at me!”
    Arendil face lifted and he looked upon Amalius with utter hatred and malevolence. Still he refused to speak, mentally or otherwise. The domination magic had conquered the old man’s body, but not his mind or his spirit.
    “Speak!”
    Arendil said outloud, “What are words for one such as you? You are your grandfather’s spawn well and true.”
    Amalius’s eye twitched and he considered forcing Arendil to void his bowels. He thought better of it.
    Tagenadi said, “Amalius, that’s enough. Let’s go.”
    Amalius mentally commanded all of his mind slaves, “You will spend the next twenty four hours in solemn contemplation of what you have seen here and whether it is in your best interests to continue opposing me. You have my permission to carry out body functions as necessary but you are not to speak or communicate with anyone until your twenty four hours are complete. At that time you should contact me and I will release you.”
    With that the party teleported away.

    Fearing that there might be some backlash against him either from the Xorians or the Alliance, Amalius gathered his family members from their inn outside of Jipangu and took them to Lakatia. Zelus met up with the party at Lakatia, bringing Eathirilu’s body with him. Amalius’s relatives along with the party, entered Hektor’s magnificent mansion space for the night.
    In the morning Tagenadi and Amalius teleported to the Druidic Healing Guild in Lordodo to bring Eathirilu back to life. After the spell was cast Eathirilu’s panda body reformed into that of a shrew mouse. Eathirilu still kept the golden circle of fur around his head that he had earned while Panda of Satronwook. This same gold circle allowed him to speak and express his unhappiness with this new form. Eathirilu asked Tagenadi to kill him so that he could try once more (the circle of life is wonderful!). Tagenadi complied and the reincarnate was cast again. Eathirilu returned as a centipede. Frustrated, the process was repeated. On his third reincarnate Eathirilu came back as a wolverine with a golden circle around its head. Satisfied with this powerful mammalian form, Eathirilu thanked the druids and Tagenadi for their help and understanding.
    While Tagenadi and Amalius attended to Eathirilu’s reincarnation, Hektor used his scrying mirror to get a glimpse of their captured companions. Bart, his cohort was located in a candlelit torture chamber, naked and tied to a rack. The other captive, Merlot the psicrystal, appeared to be in a bag filled with gems and gold. Hektor could not see outside of the closed bag.

    The session ended there! More good fun to come!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2016-09-13 at 02:31 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #112
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Jul 2005
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    Davis, California
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Mini session.
    Between our normal length sessions we had a mini session attended by Salzar, Zigfried, and Middle_Snu. The session was held using Skype for voice and video. We had Roll20 open, but there wasn’t much need for a virtual tabletop this time around.

    First things first, the party set in motion the sale of all the wealth they’d accumulated over their past few adventures. Magnificent statues are nice, but gold and gems that can easily be exchanged for magical items is better.
    Next, Zelus, Danar, and Hektor voiced their concerns over Amalius’s treatment of the Alliance members. There was some discussion over the morality of domination in the first place, but that was largely dismissed. Amalius dominates enemies all the time and the Alliance was certainly an enemy under the circumstances. The real problem was Amalius forcing how captives to give him proskynesis (bowing to someone as if they were a god). Not only was it a heresy but it was enormously disrespectful to people who had once been allies.
    Zelus, Danar, and Hektor agreed that they needed to somehow repair their relationship with the Alliance and come up with a plan for restraining Amalius if he stepped out of line again. The psion undoubtedly had his uses for the team, but if he became too much of a political liability…
    To repair their relationship with the Alliance, the trio made themselves invisible and teleported back to Bradel Fields. Silently walking the halls of the Council Chambers they looked for a friendly face. Their wish was granted when they saw Erick walking alone down a hallway. (For those that have forgotten, Erick is Torin’s cohort, squire, and protégé. As such, he is a Dwarven cleric of Athena just like Torin, albeit much weaker.)
    They invisibly followed Erick until he entered a room by himself. Hektor whispered, “Pst… Erick.”
    Erick looked around to locate the voice. Hektor dispelled the invisibility magic and he, Danar, and Zelus appeared in front of the red-bearded Dwarf. Erick’s mouth dropped open and he took a step back.
    “Don't worry,” Hektor continued, “We just want to talk.”
    “Oh? What would you have to say now? After what you've done?”
    “We did nothing. Amalius did it all. We're… considering leaving him.”
    Erick stroked his beard and harumphed, “I don't know about this…”
    “Please can we speak with Torin? I know he'd understand.”
    “I doubt he's inclined to talk with you anymore.”
    Danar said, “But this could be our only chance. Everything is moving quickly. If we don't talk to Torin now we may never get a chance.”
    Erick drummed his fingers on his lower lip, “Alright. He's at the warcamp west of High Hold. Here, take my ring,” Erick pulled his silver ring off. “Show it to Torin and tell him I gave it to you.”
    The party thanked Erick before teleporting off to the warcamp.

    The party popped into a massive underground cavern the size of a modern airfield. A dozen or so enormous natural pillars kept the ceiling aloft. Globes of light floated everywhere illuminating the huge space. Dwarves filled the cavern, moving, patrolling, talking, laughing, and preparing for war. Hektor spoke with the authority of a noble to a group of nearby dwarves and secured a guide to the command tent.
    The guards stopped the group outside the tent. Hektor said, “We wish to speak to Torin Stoneblade. Please give him this ring,” Hektor handed Erick’s ring to one of the guards, “and tell him my name is Hektor Rackgard.”
    The guards eyed the party suspiciously and the one with the ring headed inside to find Torin.
    Torin emerged from the tent a few moments later along with a few armed attendants. “What do you want?” Torin said.,“How did you get Erick’s ring?”
    “He gave it to us, Torin,” said Hektor. “We came to tell you we have concerns about Amalius.”
    “That’s an understatement…” muttered Torin.
    “We want you to know that if he truly becomes like his grandfather… We’re prepared to take him out. We’d like your help if it comes to that.”
    “I can’t promise much, but know that if our interests align once more I’ll be certain to work with my allies wherever they can be found.”
    Hektor and Torin caught up a little bit more, but in a few minutes Torin felt his duty pulling him. It wasn’t proper for him to be speaking to Hektor. Torin asked for his leave and thanked Hektor for the chance to meet Zelus and hear the few words the god had spoken during their conversation.

    (Outside of the mini session the players talked with Throgg about their concerns about Amalius. They roleplayed it a little bit)
    The party brought up their issues with Amalius himself at one point. Amalius stood by his decision to dominate the Alliance Council members. They’d attacked him first and he hadn’t caused them any permanent damage. Still, if Amalius got out of hand they could put counter-measures in place. He offered to put a trigger in his mind that Hektor could activate in an emergency. This trigger would cut off more than half of Amalius’s psionic power, ensuring that the party could defeat him if it became necessary.
    Hektor felt that requiring such a failsafe meant that they probably shouldn’t be working with Amalius at all. He mulled it over and decided to trust Amalius not to act against the best interests of their group. The rest of the group followed Hektor’s lead and all was made right for the PCs.

  23. - Top - End - #113
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #54/Total Session #70
    Attended by Salzar, Ozymandias, thewamp, Throgg and a late arrival of Zigfried. We played using Roll20 for a virtual tabletop and Skype for voice and video as usual.

    In the morning the party split up to sell some of their loot and look for some of the magical items they wanted to purchase. Danar, Salzar, and Eathirilu secretly went to talk with Torin. Tagenadi, Amalius, and Zelus went to Yuettencal to tour the magic shops.
    Around noon a booming message was heard by everyone in Eastern Cimmeria. Jevaninada’s amplified voice spoke out to the entire land,
    “You have transgressed the covenant. Those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind. You will be swallowed up and your city left an empty vessel. And people will come to this place many years hence and wonder what tragedy befell your people and what you did to deserve your fate.”
    Spoiler: Quote origins for those who are interested
    Show
    Hosea 6:7, “But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.”

    Hosea 8:7, “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.”

    Jeremiah 51:34, “Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.”

    Smith's Ozymandias, “In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
    Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
    The only shadow that the Desert knows:—
    "I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
    "The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
    "The wonders of my hand."— The City's gone,—
    Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
    The site of this forgotten Babylon.

    We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
    Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
    Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
    He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
    What powerful but unrecorded race
    Once dwelt in that annihilated place.”

    Then an enormous white light shone in the direction of Bradel Fields.

    The party muttered a collective, “Oh ****,” and returned to Lakatia to respond to whatever happened to Bradel Fields. This must’ve been some sort of reactive strike to the destruction of Greshendale. Wanting to investigate personally, the party suited up, cast their best buff spells, and teleported in about a thousand feet above the main plaza in Bradel Fields (the same place they fought the Sahuagin Brute).
    Arriving above the city the party saw that the buildings were still intact. No floods, no fires, no earthquakes. But nothing was moving. Not a person, not an animal, not a bird, not a fly, not even a blade of grass in the temple garden. As they drew closer to the ground, the party saw hundreds...no...thousands of bodies.
    Every last living thing in Bradel Fields had fallen to the ground and died. All the people, dead. All the animals, dead. All the plants, beginning to wilt. Examining the corpses revealed that the people had just fallen down. No injuries, no obvious signs of negative energy, but the faint taint of necromantic magic filled the air if you knew how to look for it.
    The party walked into the Council Building. Dead bodies scattered the hallways. All the servants and guards had collapsed where they stood. In the Council meeting room, where the group had been just a few days before, they found them. Arendil, Titandra, Junai, and Erick sat in their seats around the Council table, torsos slumped upon the table itself. All dead.
    After taking a moment to collect themselves and verify the Council's passing, the group placed the corpses along with their gear in Amalius’s portable hole.
    Feeling their duty here was complete the party decided they could still get some mileage out of the buff spells they'd cast prior to coming to Bradel Fields. What to do? Hektor insisted on rescuing his kidnapped cohort, Bart. Everyone agreed that the rescue should be their first priority. The crew huddled up around Hektor and he teleported them to the torture dungeon he'd scried Bart in previously.

    The party appeared on the torture chambers but something was a little different than when Hektor has scried it. First, no Bart strapped to a rack. Second, the dungeon was filled floor to ceiling with water.



    Eathirilu transformed into a water elemental while Tagenadi and Zelus did not need to breathe. Amalius, Hektor, and Danar though… Hektor thought quickly and cast a silent rope trick. Throwing a rope from his bag up created a dimensional bubble. The water could not enter due to the instantaneous air pressure within the created room. Hektor gestured upwards to the others before swimming into the room. Everyone else followed save Eathirilu who stayed outside with his elemental head near the portal entrance so as to overhear what was going on inside.
    The group talked for a bit and landed on needing more information to really know what they wanted to do. Tagenadi put on the Cap of Hades and went out with Eathirilu to figure out where the dungeon was and why it was flooded.
    After finding the stairs and swimming up the unlikely pair emerged on a ground floor that was still entirely flooded. Dimmed sunlight shown through broken windows and a half dozen corpses of Xorian soldiers floated at the top of the room. Swimming outside the two adventurers saw that the water reached a height of about twenty feet. Streets and buildings sprawled before them and it was clear that this used to be a populated city. How had it flooded?
    The answer was soon found when Tagenadi and Eathirilu surfaced. High above them, locked in an epic struggle, were Blendegad the Reaper and Poseidon the Olympian of the Sea. Blendegad roared and swatted at Poseidon who stabbed back with his trident while trying to pummel the dragon with his merman tail.
    Tagenadi and Eathirilu got a stabbing feeling that this was not a place for mortals to tread. Fortunately, both of them were as close to demigods as one could get. They would go get the rest of the party and fight Blendegad alongside Poseidon!
    Eathirilu and Tagenadi dived and returned to the party in the rope trick below. They told them what was going on up above. Unfortunately, most of the party’s more powerful buff spells had expired at this point, but they decided to engage in combat regardless. A few of the spells were recast and they set off to fight themselves a dragon. They stepped out of the rope trick; Amalius concentrated his psionic powers and dimension doored the party one thousand feet up into the air.
    Everyone looked around and found the gods battling a few dozen feet above them. Additionally, staring at them across the gap in the air below the gods, were Jevaninada, Barejando, and Darudanano.

    While the combat between the party and the Dragovinians started in this session, it did not conclude until the next session. Instead of giving half a combat here, I’ll just put the whole thing in the coming entry. Stay tuned!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2016-08-05 at 08:58 PM.

  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Alliance Session #55/Total Session #71
    Attended by everyone. Held using Roll20 for a virtual tabletop and Skype for voice and video. It’s taking me longer to get to these updates, so it has been quite a while since this combat. I unfortunately no longer remember the play-by-play of the fight. Instead I’m just going to highlight the most important parts.

    One thousand feet up in the air over the flooded city of Phoenix, Blendegad the Reaper and Poseidon the Earthshaker fought. Alongside them the Dragovinians paired off against the Alliance Exiles. King Jevaninada II, Darudanano, Wu Lang Li, and Barejando on one side. Hektor, Tagenadi, Danar, Eathirilu, Amalius, and Zelus on the other.
    Jevaninada and Daru engaged Eathirilu and Tagenadi, slowly gaining the upperhand. Barejando tried to chase down Amalius, but was too slow. Hektor hit Barejando with a disjunction. All his items turned mundane, but the magic was swiftly returned by a mysterious force. Amalgami sent a telepathic message to Hektor that pierced his mind blank, “You’re not the only one in the big leagues.” Hektor stayed calm, hoping that Amalgami would not aid the Dragovinians further. Zelus healed the wounds on Eathirilu while simultaneously channeling positive energy into Jev and Daru. Daru became damaged by Zelus's powerful magic, but Jev showed no signs of the positive energy affecting him whatsoever.
    Eathirilu transformed into a gigantic roc and cast brilliant aura on his talons and Poseidon’s trident Brilliant aura that allows a weapon to move through all the nonliving armor a foe wears. Unfortunately, the Dragovinians and their master, Blendegad, are entirely nonliving, so a brilliant weapon would pass right through them. Poseidon gave Eathirilu a sour look and dispelled the magic on his weapon. The minor distraction allowed Blendegad to get a quick claw hit on Poseidon and golden ichor leaked out.
    Wu circled the battlefield, looking for an opening. He found one in Zelus. He launched a barrage of arrows at him and Zelus fell out of the sky. Tagenadi glanced up at the right second and saw Zelus hurtling to the ground past him. He disengaged from his melee with the King of Xoria and flew to grab Zelus in his swiftly opened portable hole. Amalius came down and attempted to revive Zelus, but got shot by Wu as well, almost slaying him as well.
    At this point the party felt that retreat might be a better choice. Eathirilu summoned a wind that blew the Dragovinians away or at the very least kept them in check. He grouped up with Hektor, Tagenadi, Amalius, and Danar. As they prepared to teleport away they saw Jev and Daru taking out a pair of stone circles with crosses on them and breaking them. The breaking of these seals released negative energy that healed the wounds the party inflicted on them.

    After teleporting away, Amalius was able to bring Zelus back. Being a god, Zelus can revive on his own, but that process takes time, something the party didn’t have. Unfortunately, during his fall Zelus dropped his rod that aided his magic. Tagenadi decided to return to Phoenix wearing the Cap of Hades to observe the outcome of the battle between Blendegad and Poseidon and afterwards look for the rod.
    At Phoenix the Dragovinians had stayed around as well. Tagenadi observed that their injuries were not completely healed and thus they were staying out of the divine battle.



    Continuing to watch it became clear that Poseidon had the upper hand in the fight between himself and Blendegad. As the battle turned in favor of the Olympian, more gods showed up! The Dahak materialized along with Ares to join Blendegad. Countering them, Athena and Artemis arrived. Artemis hunted her prey, the Dahak while Athena fought Ares for supremacy of their disputed war god title. Ares proved superior in the initial stages of single combat as he wielded Zeus’s thunderbolts.
    Poseidon eventually won over Blendegad, piercing the dragon’s wing with his trident and throwing him down towards the water below. Blendegad teleported away in a black fog before he touched the flooded city. Poseidon turned his wrath against Ares. With their combined strength, Athena and Poseidon put Ares off balance. Athena stabbed Ares in the thigh. The Battle Rager roared and dropped the thunderbolts. Poseidon snatched them up and Ares ran away in a shower of golden lights.
    Seeing her father’s weapon in the hands of her most hated uncle, Athena attacked Poseidon in an attempt to strip the thunderbolts from him. They wrestled for a time, but in the end Poseidon broke free. He raised the thunderbolt to strike and Athena disappeared much as Ares had. Keeping his arm in the air, Poseidon turned to aim at the Dahak. With the writing on the wall, the Dahak disappeared from the sky as well.
    Artemis recovered her breath after her battle and composed herself. Seeing Poseidon wielding the thunderbolts, she went to one knee in the sky and lowered her head.

    Olympus had a new regent.

    Oh, and Tagenadi looked around and couldn’t find Zelus’s rod. =P
    Last edited by Anxe; 2016-09-04 at 07:59 PM.

  25. - Top - End - #115
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #56/Total Session #72
    This session was attended by everyone! We're on a roll here! The session was held using Roll20 as a virtual tabletop with Skype for voice and video like usual.

    The last session had a definite conclusion with a question looming over the party's heads of what to do next. Between sessions Zigfried and I did some brainstorming and came up with a to do list.
    Spoiler: The To Do List
    Show
    1. Priority Wu: Buy some wands of glitterdust
    2. Did we do anything about Bavastatner's extremely evil, slowly regenerating corpse?
    3. Is it worth speaking to the Dahak ever again? We divided Nomingburg, destroyed Greshendale, and even if we revived Zeus, would Poisedon willingly turn over his thunderbolts?
    4. Amalgami apparently directly interfered with our last battle. Should we ignore or confront him before our next conflict with the Xorians?
    5. We've tried negotiating with Kruk-Ma-Kali recently and could not come to agreeable terms. Can we gain anything from further negotiations?
    6. Tagenadi is overdue for a weapon upgrade.
    7. Danar gets his axe back in two days.
    8. Has Eathirulu revealed some of his latest knowledge/plans for Touch of Nature?
    Yes. He believes you need a large wooden spear and is hopeful that the dream is not entirely accurate with the timeline in which Blendegad is killed.
    9. We need to collect all 7 dragonballs in order to wish back everyone killed by Blendegad's mass death spell.
    10. Go get that Sand Giant that swore himself to Hektor's service.
    11. Find Zelus's rod at Phoenix.

    From Anxe's last handout:
    -What happened with Alan Roy's golem experiments in Bradel Fields?
    -Are the Xorians still trying to get Invernix on their side?
    -The Amazons are sieging Gazeara, but Major Dactirian has asked that no help be sent. What's with that?
    -Aldarian has dreams that keep telling him to get the Bow of Apollo.
    Also you should go pick him up in Nomingburg ASAP.
    Find out more about how to move the Lich Shade army into the Underdark


    There was some discussing and voting about what to do. The group agreed to spend a day doing small chores before tackling the important task of completing the Druid’s Prophecy.
    First, Hektor scried Aldarian to find where he was waiting for them in Nomingburg. Aldarian had been sent to the city to ensure that the assassins guilds within the city would war with each other after their unifier, Duke Jingo, had died. In exchange for creating chaos in the city, the Dahak monster had promised them his Pitchfork of Doom. Possessing the Pitchfork was the only way to bring Zeus back.
    Aldarian was waiting for them and a tad bit annoyed. Amalius was supposed to pick him up the previous day. Aldarian told his friends that the city was heading towards an internal conflict. The guilds were already carving out territories and it was dangerous to cross the border between one neighborhood and the next. Aldarian had tried to spur the chaos onwards by assassinating a few individuals. A little bit of murder would heighten the city’s growing uneasiness. The group idly dismissed Aldarian and thanked him for his service.
    Next on the list was to search for Zelus’s magic rod once more. The party made themselves invisible and returned to Phoenix. The city, once ruled by guilds, was now flooded. The water level reached above the first floor in most of Phoenix’s buildings. A few land-dwellers remained, walking around on the roofs or the upper floors, but most of the city’s inhabitants were now Merfolk, Locathahs, Kuo-toas, and the like.
    With too much ground to search and most of it underwater Amalius tried a different approach. He reached out with his mind and contacted one of the Merfolk, “I seek a rod.”
    The Merfolk paused before replying, “Who is this?”
    “It is I, your Lord Poseidon!”
    “Your eminence! Forgive me. What can this humble servant do for you?”
    “I seek a rod which was dropped in the city streets yesterday.” Amalius went on to describe the rod and send a mental picture of it to the Merfolk. “Get your friends to look for it as well.”
    “Yes! Right away your eminence!” The Merfolk swam off out of Amalius’s telepathy range.
    Amalius told the others what he had done. “We'll come back in a day or two. They should have the rod by then,” Amalius explained.
    “But how will we get the rod? You didn't tell him where to bring it!” said Danar.
    “We'll figure it out later,” said Amalius.
    The party regrouped at Lakatia. Before going on their last errand of the day Amalius dropped Aldarian off at Bradel Fields. Aldarian’s mission would be to collect anything of value and fill his portable hole. With the entire city dead it would be an easy feat. Aldarian said with a grin, “Open season.”

    The Alliance Exiles party knew three out of five pieces of the Druid’s Prophecy, the part kept by the wolves, that kept by the bears, and that kept by the druids themselves. The Rebellion had been collecting the other parts of the Prophecy. Perhaps it was time to go check on the Rebels?
    Spoiler: Reminder of what the prophecy pieces are
    Show
    The druids’ piece was:
    Should one of the gods forever close his eyes
    Find the weapon that caused him to die
    Add it last with great caution
    Then pour the mix on the great god's coffin.


    The wolves’ piece was:
    Go to where the Creator of Men hung
    To where the eagle to its dinner would come
    Take a piece of blood-red stone
    And add it to the cauldron when it begins to foam.

    This was correctly interpreted to mean taking a piece of the Rock of Prometheus. The Rock was disintegrated and collected.

    The bears’ piece was:
    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.

    The group teleported to Gazeara and walked up to the Palace where the Rebels had set up their administration after taking the city from the Xorians. At the Palace entrance the party expressed to the guards at the door their intent to talk with the Rebel leaders, whether they wanted to or not. A few minutes later the party was led in to meet with Major Dactirian, Princess Tarigananata, and Druid Alkmene.
    “Welcome,” said Dactirian. “To what does the Rebellion owe this visit?”
    Amalius began, “We've worked with you in the past to claim the items mentioned in the Druids’ Prophecy. We feel it's in the best interest of everyone fighting the Dragovinians to work together to bring Zeus back. You had a group of… soldiers looking for the pieces of the Prophecy. What happened to them? Where are they?”
    Dactirian answered, “They obtained the last pieces of the prophecy, but have since left the Rebellion’s service.”
    “Oh? Do you still have contact with them?”
    “No and I doubt we ever will again.”
    “That's too bad…” Amalius trailed off for a moment. “So they could be anywhere? Up to no good?”
    “As long as they are under the sun I know we can trust them to do the right thing.”
    Gears turned in Amalius’s head. Under the sun… The voice… The bright light in Stanton’s head… Titandra’s prophecy that Apollo is with the Rebels… Were Dactirian and Apollo one and the same?
    Amalius broached his suspicions, “Anywhere under the sun you said? That wouldn’t happen to be because we are in the presence of the sun god Apollo?”
    Anger flashed across Dactirian’s face. He pursed his lips and moved to stand, shaking with fury. Tarigananata delicately placed a hand on his arm. He looked at her and his face softened slightly. Dactirian unclenched his hands and slowly lowered himself back to his seat. Gritting his teeth he said, “I will forgive this impudence. Do not test me.”
    Amalius continued, “How else would you know these things?”
    Dactirian rose from his chair once more and left the room.
    Amalius stroked his chin and wondered.
    After a bit more discussion, Princess Tarigananata gave the party the other pieces of the Prophecy.
    The shark piece was:
    Go west to the river of the world,
    To where the Black Kelp Plant is unfurled
    Take a clipping of this seaweed
    For it is the penultimate ingredient you need.


    And the condor piece was:
    Find a voice both strong and pure
    Better than the gods to be sure
    Sing the song both well and true
    When the potion's foam turns blue.


    All together to revive Zeus the party figured they would need:
    The weapon that “killed” him, Dahak’s Pitchfork of Doom. The Dahak agreed to give them this weapon if the destabilized Nomingburg. They did this, but then they crashed the Dahak’s city, Greshendale, before getting the Pitchfork from him.
    A piece of the Rock of Prometheus, already acquired.
    A splinter of bone broken off from Hephaestus’s leg when he fell from Olympus to Lemnos.
    A golden rod (easy enough)
    A piece of the Black Kelp Plant. The Black Kelp Plant is the sacred plant of Oceanus. It is situated in the Atlantic Ocean where Oceanus’s court rules. It’s said that any who take a piece of the plant without permission will be hunted by the Kraken for all their days.
    A voice better than the gods? This was the one that stumped the group on what it meant.

    After getting home Amalius cast divination to clarify, “How could they reach the Black Kelp?”
    The response came, “Sail west out of the Pillars of Heracles and the Island will appear from the sea.”
    With knowledge of the group's next goal in hand everyone split up to do a little shopping.

    In the morning everyone suited up before joining hands in a circle. Hektor said the magic words and they teleported west. The Pillars of Heracles (Known in modern times as the Rock of Gibraltar and Jebel Musa, the mountains at the Strait of Gibraltar that separates the Mediterranean from the Atlantic) were so far away that Hektor had to repeat his casting of the teleport spell another two times. Within a few seconds everyone had arrived at the base of the northern mountain.
    Danar had been chosen to provide transport through a new spell he'd learned, dragon ally. He went down to the show to make the appropriate preparations. Once done, Danar assumed his meditative stance while slowly working the magic of the spell. After a few minutes passed a large shelled form appeared on the summoning circle drawn in the sand. Detail came in revealing the summoned creature to be a dragon turtle with a shell large enough for the entire party top ride upon easily.
    Danar intoned the final words of the spell and the turtle began to look around at its new surroundings. Danar spoke, “I am Danar, your summoner. By what name are you called?”
    “I am known as Boromir.”
    “Do you know the way to the Black Kelp Island?”
    “Yes, just swim west. It always gets a bit stormy, but it’s not too hard to find.”
    “How long does it take?”
    “Depends on how stormy it gets. Fastest I’ve done the journey is in two or three days. I don’t remember which.”
    “Will you take us there?”
    “For a price.”
    Danar negotiated with Boromir and got him to agree to journey with the part for several days for a few thousand gold pieces in gems. Danar gave Boromir the gems and the turtle swallowed them.
    There was much talk amongst the group about ways to speed up Boromir’s travel with wind or water magic. Boromir was eventually allowed to interject into this heated discussion to say that Oceanus let people arrive when they arrived and that there was little the party could do to change that. Satisfied, the group hopped on Boromir’s back and settled in for a voyage out to see, taunting Atlas’s mountain on the northern shore as they left the Mediterranean for the Atlantic.
    While Boromir swam Hektor attempted to scribe a new spell into his spellbook. Unfortunately he found this quite difficult with water constantly sloshing onto Boromir’s back. He attempted to move into his portable hole to continue writing but found that keeping it open on the shell still allowed water to splash in and disrupt his quill work. Frustrated, he asked Tagenadi to hold the hole in the air above the shell while he continued to scribble in his spellbook within the shell (He couldn’t simply close the hole to shut out the water because then he would suffocate). Hektor managed to get one spell written on the parchment of his blessed spellbook before a storm picked up preventing any further scribe work.
    The storm tossed the party around on Boromir’s back for a day and a night. Lightning flashed, rain came down in buckets, and waves pounded upon Boromir’s back. Occasionally the wind picked up and blew at them from the sides or seemingly from below. All the adventurers found they had places to get drenched that they never knew existed before. As the storm neared it's end Hektor cast teleport anticipation to prepare for the typical ambush King Jevaninada and his compatriots had used in the passed. This would warn of any teleportation magic within 100 feet of Hektor and allow the party to prep before the attack.
    The storm broke with the dawn and up ahead the party could see a small island.
    Danar asked, “Is that it?”
    “Yup,” said Boromir, “That’s Black Kelp Island.”

    Black Kelp Island was made of hard and cracked red rock that jutted straight up out of the water. The rock was dampened by the constant surge of waves splashing against the sheer eight foot tall sides of the island. The whole space could not have been more than a hundred feet on each jagged side. A crude wooden fence was constructed on one half of the island. Squeezed into the enclosure were perhaps two dozen poorly dressed humans in manacles along with barrels, crates, and sacks. Outside the fence a few of the manacled people attended to a dozen Dragovinian soldiers, feeding them blood drops from wounds in their arms or massaging their backs. Upon sighting the dragon turtle laden with adventurers the Dragovinians struggled to redo the clasps on their armor and grab their weapons. The blood slaves pulled the cranks on crossbows and loaded bolts for their masters.
    Our heroes flew forward off Boromir’s back. Everyone prepared for a pitched battle, but the fight was concluded rather quickly. Amalius teleported forward and caught the Dragovinians in a cold energy wave that made ice statues of them on the red rock of the island. A few slaves were slain in the blast as well, but the bulk behind the fence were spared.
    Zelus followed Amalius up with an earthquake spell that broke the island into a thousand pieces. The ground rumbled and the sea roiled. Fissures opened in the rock and the slaves’ legs caught, pulling them slowly down into the sea salt slurry that was forming. Of the four remaining Dragovinians, one was pulled into the muck while the others found miniscule shards of solid ground to cling to. They shot at Amalius with their crossbows, but his iron body deflected the blows.



    “Surrender!” Amalius shouted.
    The Dragovinians dropped their crossbows at their feet and surrendered.
    Amalius dominated the three of them and set to questioning them while the other heroes rescued the living slaves by moving them to the safety of Boromir’s back and an open portable hole. Amalius’s interrogation revealed that the Black Kelp Plant was nearby, but protected by Oceanus the Titan of the Waters. The Dragovinians had been here for some time, feeding on their slaves for blood. When asked about their communication with their superiors the Dragovinians kept their mouths shut. Even the dominate could not force that answer.

    Amalius did not have long to puzzle out the reason for this refusal. Eathirilu got a tingling from his foresight warning of imminent danger. Hektor's teleport anticipation had not succeeded. Eathirilu threw up a magical tornado of wind with a large calm eye around the party. If Dragovinians were coming they would be in for a surprise.

    We ended the session there. Thrilling combat to come in the next session!

  26. - Top - End - #116
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Boromir best character imo. Need to find another reason to summon him in the future.

  27. - Top - End - #117
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Jul 2005
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #57/Total Session #73
    It's been awhile since I've posted! I have a lot of updates ready to go, but for a variety of reasons its taken me awhile to piece them together. They should be coming out a bit faster now that the new year has started.
    This session was attended by Salzar, Middle_Snu, Ozymandias, Throgg, and Zigfried. Skype was used for voice and video and Roll20 for a virtual tabletop.
    It's probably about time I do a real life update as well. Let’s see…
    I and my wife have moved into our new home. She continues to teach 5th grade at a nearby school. I’ve about completed the coursework for my Master’s of Science in Biology and am close to completing my research as well.
    Throgg has journeyed across the country to go back to school on the East Coast.
    Ozymandias is working at a school and still with his long-time girlfriend (getting close to ten years).
    Salzar got promoted at his job at a local card shop and completed his Associate’s Degree in History.
    Thewamp is plugging away at his PhD in Physics. Something about superconductors.
    Middle_Snu has come back to California from Israel and moved in with his long-time girlfriend as well. Still working for the same company, I think? He was getting loaned out from that company with some frequency. Doing the same sort of stuff either way.
    Zigfried has moved to Wisconsin. He’s planning on joining the Airforce. He tells me the preliminary tests he took were very promising and he’ll likely get to have whatever position he requests.
    Now onto the D&D!

    (Unfortunately this is another combat where it’s been a long time since it occurred and my memory of the specifics is a little fuzzy. I’ll do my best to recall it all accurately. I asked the other group members to help out with extra effort coming from Zigfried in remembering the details.)
    The first sign of the Dragovinians’ arrival was not a barrage of arrows, fire, and steel, but the sudden billowing of green fog within the eye of Eathirilu’s tornado. The casters quickly identified this fog as not one, but two spells combined together somehow. Mind fog and solid fog working as one to slow one’s limbs and thoughts. Neither Barejando, Wu, Jevaninada, nor Darudanano were capable of casting such a spell as far as the party knew. There was someone new with the Dragovinians! Wary of this new factor, most of the party retreated into the fog. The mind-addling effects of the fog only took hold upon Boromir the dragon turtle. Hektor remained out of the fog, He shapechanged into an invisible stalker air elemental to hide from the as yet unsighted Dragovinians as well as to adopt the elemental’s natural resistance to Eathirilu’s windstorm.
    Eathirilu stuck his head out of the mist and got his giant bird head filled with arrows shot from Wu’s bow. Looking around he couldn’t find Wu, even with his true seeing enhanced vision. Wu wasn’t the only ranged threat. Eathirilu was targeted by a dispel magic that tore at his wards, removing about a third of his carefully placed spells.
    Tagenadi and Danar went to the edge of the fog as well, looking for the Dragovinians. He didn’t have to look for long. Jevaninada, Darudanano, and Barejando came rushing at Eathirilu, appearing on the edge of his 120’ true seeing. Their attacks ripped through Eathirilu’s remaining magical protections (temp HP) leaving him with a few minor wounds.
    Zelus aimed a mass healing spell at Eathirilu and the Dragovinians next to him, hoping to cure Eathirilu’s wounds while simultaneously damaging the Dragovinians with the positive energy. The Dragovinians had wards of their own that prevented the magic from harming them. Eathirilu was luckily restored to full health.
    Amalius focused his mind into an impossibly sharp spear. Sacrificing a piece of his own soul, he penetrated Jevaninada’s mental protections. He wove a suggestion spell upon the Xorian Emperor, “You companions are holding you back. They plan to betray you. Stop them!” Had it worked? Would the Emperor attack his allies?
    Hektor placed a forcecage around Darudanano, cutting him off from his king. The Dragovinian brought a hand to his scaled temple and the forcecage shattered. King Jevaninada shouted at his subordinates, “Get back, you useless worms! I’ll handle the druid myself.” Amalius’s enchantment had taken hold, but not completely.
    Daru and Barejando obeyed their master and backed away from Eathirilu with confused looks upon their faces. They always fought as a trio, but they must follow their lord’s directives. Tagenadi had moved towards the island, unable to see the Exiles’ foes. Barejando fell upon him, chipping away at his boney form beneath his armor. Daru went after Danar, attempting to grapple him. Danar slammed his axe into Daru, sending him away with a bloody wound.
    Eathirilu felt another layer of his magical enchantments slough off. The invisible mage was frighteningly effective. Eathirilu took it in stride and struck at Jevaninada as best he could. Jev returned the blows with greater strength. He swung with wild strength (Power Attack), but each of his blows struck home with preternatural accuracy. Eathirilu reeled, almost losing his grip on consciousness.
    The onslaught did not end there. The hidden mage uttered a single, horrible word. Eathirilu cringed at the sound and then died. His lifeless body fell into the water.
    An invisible Wu fired a volley of arrows at Amalius. The exiled psion had protected himself with extra vigor, but the arrows all but eliminated that protection.
    Amalius sped up time for himself to accomplish several things at once. Remembering how Wu had swung their last fights, Amalius sacrificed his soul energy once more to alter the very fabric of reality. He reshaped the world so that he could see Wu, no matter what. The vampiric archer lit up with a red light above and to the right of Eathirilu. Only Amalius could see and he mentally shared this information with his companions. They couldn’t see Wu, but they knew exactly where he was.
    Amalius continued to attack Wu by firing a disintegration ray at him. The ray hit Wu and the reflected back at Amalius! Fortunately, the psion was prepared to resist his own magic. Frustrated, Amalius cast one final spell to try and block Wu’s stealthy offensive capabilities. Amalius retrieved Wu’s bow. The magnificent piece of dragonbone teleported from Wu’s invisible hands into those of Amalius. The great archer could no longer fire his arrows.
    Zelus’s body stiffened. He hadn’t been struck, but his mind had been invaded by the invisible mage. The demigod was now under the control of the Dragovinians. With the grace of a jerky automaton, Zelus sent negative energy flowing into the party members. Fortunately, their death ward spells protected them. Danar attempted to dispel the domination magic on Zelus. Unfortunately, he was not skilled enough to strip away the enchantment that had turned Zelus into a puppet.
    Jevaninada, seeing what Amalius had done, rushed the psion. His hand surged with dark power. He slammed his palm against Amalius and the darkness flooded forth, consuming his body. Amalius shuddered and fell, dropping the bow.
    Eathirilu tried to cast a spell to help his situation, but Jevaninada unveiled a cruel trick. He had practiced the art of interrupting spellcasters, even when they attempted to avoid him. Eathirilu was struck and he fell into the water.
    Hektor summoned a set of enormous spiders on the broken earth of the island. The spiders shot their webbing at Jevaninada and ensnared him. Jev slashed and ripped the webbing apart, but could not move onto another target after Eathirilu.
    Darudanano attacked Danar, slashing at him with his draconic claws. He followed up the slashes with a bite that weakened Danar. Below, Wu searched through the frothing muddy water for his bow. Danar saw his chance and charged. Wu’s distracted him and he did not see Danar’s bardiche until the last second. He twisted and the blow that would’ve taken his head, severed his right arm. Wu screamed and disappeared. He reappeared beside Jevaninada.



    Hektor used his most powerful summoning magic and brought in an angel. The celestial flew forth and dispelled the domination controlling Zelus. Zelus in turn was able to heal Danar’s wounds. The invisible mage, scared that Danar might move to attack his wounded allies, threw a dispel at the ancient hero. Danar’s fly spell was taken away and he was left to splash in the waves. Taking constructive action, Danar gathered the bodies of Amalius and Eathirilu.
    Hektor scanned the battlefield and finally located the invisible mage. He used his own dispelling magic to strip away the mage’s invisibility magic and the caster was revealed! Stanton, an albino Halfling Dragovinian once more!
    Tagenadi bellowed a rallying cry. He, Hektor, and Hektor’s angel all charged Stanton. Hektor wielded his staff of the magi, the angel had a sword, and Tagenadi used his traditional kusari-gama. Stanton’s eyes widened and he ripped a button off his shirt. He disappeared and reappeared beside Jevaninada just as Wu had.
    “This isn’t the last you’ve seen of us!” shouted Barejando. The Dragovinians converged on their king. As they activated their teleportation magic, Zelus attempted to overload Wu with positive energy. A warding spell protected Wu from what would’ve been a lethal blow. The Dragovinians escaped, minus an arm and a bow.

    The party were left in command of Black Kelp Island after the Dragovinian Goon Squad retreated. A few of the Dragovinians that had camped out on the island remained. The party put the slaves back on the island. Amalius told the Dragovinians that if they killed the slaves or so much as touched them… He would make them regret it. With the situation above the water as controlled as it could be, the party cast water breathing and descended with Boromir beneath the waves.
    Just below the water’s surface the Black Kelp Plant was visible. The plant was enormous. It’s slimy black stalk was as thick around as an old oak tree. Huge black fronds unfurled from the center, waving in the current. Dozens of sharks, fish, and other ocean creatures swam around the or clung to the plant.
    “Oceanus’s court is at the base of the Black Kelp,” said Boromir. The dragon turtle also gave them advice on how to present themselves to Oceanus. Most importantly they should provide him with a rich gift on meeting him. The party agreed that the magical unholy fire pick they’d taken from Devanane was a good gift. They’d been unable to find a buyer so using it as a host gift seemed the best way to get some use out of the evil weapon.
    Swimming further down the group began to pass by sea people. Green Elves with webbed hands and feet. Sahuagin and Merfolk. Kuo-toas. Locathahs. All sorts of crosses between the humanoids of the world above and the creatures of the sea.
    The palace swam into view through the salt water below. Many brightly colored corals and deep sea plants were being tended by sea nymphs around the palace. The building itself seemed to be made of pure salt with gold accents on the windows and exterior moldings. The Black Kelp Plant rooted itself at the center of the garden in front of the palace. Beside the black stalk was a large golden statue depicting an old, strong merman with a fishtail split into two.
    The party was met by a dozen armored merfolk guards as they descended. The captain of the guard wore gold plate instead of bronze. He bellowed, “What is your business here, landwellers?”
    “We seek an audience with Oceanus, Lord of the Outer Ocean,” said Hektor. “We have brought him this gift to show our respect for his majesty.” Hektor pulled the fiery pick of Devanane from his portable hole.
    The guards marveled at the dark flames coming off of the pick under the water. “Our lord, the Titan of the Waters will be most pleased by your gift. Please, enter.”
    The guards led the party into the palace. They walked down a sea green hallway and into a large throne room. Oceanus sat upon an enormous throne of gold. His shining bearded form matched the statue outside of the palace. Golden bands adorned his arms and he wore a green coral crown on his head. He held a boat tiller in his right hand. On his left in a smaller gold throne sat his sister wife Tethys. Numerous attendants and guards floated to the beside the throne and around the sides of the chamber. A trumpeter announced the party, stating each of their names and titles.
    “Greetings Lord Oceanus,” said Hektor. “We bring you this offering and beg your attention.” Hektor went to his knees and presented the pick. A nymph swam forward and took the pick back to her father, Oceanus.
    “A fine gift,” said Oceanus in a voice that resembled the pounding of waves upon the shore. “You are welcome in my court.”
    “Great Titan of the Waters,” said Amalius. “we come hoping to trade with you. We ask for one of the leaves of the Black Kelp Plant. In exchange we offer one of the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. A beautiful gift for your beautiful wife.” Amalius pulled one of the golden apples from his portable hole.
    A sound came from Oceanus’s throat like that of a water circling in a tub drain as he thought on the offer. Bubbles emerged from his nose. “An interesting offer.” He turned to look at his wife and saw the rampant desire for the golden apple on her face. “An offer that I feel I must accept for the sake of my marriage. You have a deal, mortal. A leaf of my sacred Black Kelp Plant in exchange for a Golden Apple of the Hesperides.” He pounded his boat tiller against the golden arm of his throne “But let this not be a transaction of pure business. Stay and join us in a celebration. I would hear about the realms of Cimmeria you come from and I have not spoken with my grandson, Zelus, in many years.”
    “We would be honored, your divinity,” said Hektor. The rest of the party were happy to stay as well.
    A series of underwater games were organized. Dolphin races, harpoon throwing, dancing, and merry making. Eathirilu noted that a gigantic squid silently floated above the ceremonies, watching with its bulbous eyes.
    “Who is that?” Eathirilu said to Boromir.
    “That is the Defender of the Black Kelp, a relative of the Kraken.”
    “Wow! I'd love to wrestle him.”
    “He is the reigning champion of the deep. None have bested him.”
    “None have bested him you say? Perhaps I can change that.”
    Eathirilu asked Oceanus for permission to challenge the great cephalopod. The Titan gave his approval. Eathirilu transformed into a squid as well, although a smaller one than the Defender’s great size.
    They grappled back and forth. Although Eathirilu seemed equal near the start of their contest it soon became clear that even he was no match for the Defender’s strength and skill. Eathirulu signaled his submission and the Defender released him. The Defender gave Eathirilu a respectful nod with his beak and Eathirulu returned the gesture.
    The party lasted a few more hours. When the time was right the party took their leave and returned to Black Kelp Island above the waves. Boromir waved them goodbye with his fins, saying that he would be glad to work with them again any time.
    When they arrived at the island they found a gruesome sight. The slaves were slain and dismembered. Their murderers had arranged the bodies into crude lettering that read, “Ability, Unity, Immortality.” Although frustrated, the party could do nothing. The Dragovinians they had left on the island were gone. Most likely Jevaninada and his entourage had returned and “cleaned up.” The party returned to Lakatia with slightly dampened sense of victory.

    And that ended the session.

  28. - Top - End - #118
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Anxe's Avatar

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    Jul 2005
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #58/Total Session #74
    This week's illustration is brought to you courtesy of Zigfried!

    After the Dragovinian raid on Lakatia, Hektor felt unsure about the party continuing to use it as a base. The party could be safe in a magnificent mansion, but Hektor's subjects could still be targets. Everyone else convinced a reluctant Hektor that no matter where they were, his people could be targeted by the Dragovinians. Their best option was to stay close to protect the townsfolk of Lakatia and not expose another group somewhere else to danger by a fleeing association with the Exiles.
    Hektor still needed something to worry about. His mind landed on locating Bart, his cleric cohort who had been captured by the Xorians during the raid on Lakatia. A scrying failed to locate Bart. The Xorians had shielded him from divination spells.
    Tabling the rescue mission for now, the group decided to find another piece mentioned in the Druid’s Prophecy.
    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.

    The “Best Smith” was almost certainly Hephaestus. When Hephaestus was born, his mother, Hera, shrieked in disgust at his ugliness. She threw her newborn son down from Mount Olympus to the island of Lemnos. Hephaestus broke his leg in the fall and became the Lame God. He set up his forge in the volcano of Lemno, becoming the Smith God as well. He spent so much in this volcano that the Romans gave him the name Vulcan.
    So the Druid’s Prophecy referred to the pieces of Hephaestus’s leg that broke off during his fall to Earth. Lemnos was their destination.
    Wanting to be fully prepared for whatever might be awaiting them, the party spent a day shopping for new magic items and paying a few mages to hit all the magic shops the party could not get to themselves looking for specific items.
    Prepped and ready to go, the party teleported off to Mount Vigla on Lemnos.
    Spoiler: Map of Lemnos
    Show

    Hills represent hills. Dots represent cities, or a place of interest in the case of Philoctetes's Cave. There are some salt lakes on the eastern side. The island is still an active volcano at the time of the campaign. There's actually an island of the east coast, Chryse which will be swallowed by the sea during a later eruption (the island no longer exists in modern times). The active volcano at the time of the campaign is Mount Vigla.


    The party materialized flying above Mount Vigla. The volcano smoked and occasionally when the wind blew just right, a warm red glow could be seen below. A noxious smell came with the updraft irritating the noses of the party, especially Eathirilu’s enhanced senses.
    Going down to investigate revealed nothing out of the ordinary. Just your everyday active volcano. Hektor used his staff of the magi to summon a few elementals and he sent them down into the earth and magma to learn more. The creatures returned soon. All was normal within the volcano except for a large, round, silver, vault door several hundred feet down. A twenty foot diameter bubble of air surrounded the door that the lava and earth did not penetrate. Was this the entrance to Hephaestus’s Forge? The elementals feared the door and did not touch it.
    The party agreed that Eathirilu should go down in person to see the door himself. He turned into an earth elemental, still protected from all heat damage by his fire immunity spell that he cast every morning, and dived into the lava. Going deeper he found the silver door. Examining it with magic revealed deific magic upon the door. Eathirilu shared the fears of Hektor’s elementals, that touching the door would set off a trap. He shouted and wailed and knocked upon the ground beside the door. Nothing. Hephaestus did not come.
    The party talked about it amongst themselves when Eathirilu returned. Where could Hephaestus be? Perhaps he just wasn’t at home?
    Examining the map they’d brought with them, the logical place to ask about Hephaestus was Hephaistia. The group teleported to the town.

    Mystery Cults in the Olympian religion provide ritualistic pathways to a truer version of life after death than that offered by the mainstream Olympian religion. Most people when they die become an absent shade in the Underworld, devoid of emotion or feeling. Through different Mystery cults people can secure something better for themselves after they die. Famous Mystery cults include the Artemisian Mysteries at Ephesos, the Orphic Mysteries, and the Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter. One thing remained constant for the Mysteries, the rituals were only discussed with other members with harsh punishments for those that violated this taboo.
    Hephaistia is home to the once popular Hephaestian Mysteries. The Hephaestian Mysteries had thousands of attendants at one point. People from all over Lemnos and the Greek world came to be initiated and gain immortality through Hephaestus’s gift. Over time the Hephaestian Mysteries fell out of favor until in the time of our heroes, less than a hundred Lemnian natives still kept the faith. Most of these people belonged to the tribe of the Kabiri in Hephaistia.
    The party popped into town and looked around in astonishment at the vast variety of erected buildings. Different architectural styles from different eras and different places were all present in the town. The simple Dorian columns of a modern classical temple stood alongside the ancient imposing designs of Mycenae and Egypt. Elegant spirals etched one side of the building while the other side held a mural depicting the brutal murder of Megara and her children by Hercules. Hundreds of magnificent buildings sprawled from the edge of town to the shore and not one person walked the streets. Hephaistia was as grand a ghost town as the party had ever seen.
    Walking down a wide lane was sobering. Who had built these massive intricate structures only to abandon them to dust and decay? The party soon came upon one of the mysterious inhabitants of Hephaistia, one of the Kabiri. The Kabiri were originally a race of stone, dirt, and metal people made by Hephaestus to keep him company on Lemnos after his fall. They acted as his servants for a time as well until he replaced them with bronze automatons. The Kabiri maintained a special place in Hephaestus’s heart as the administrators of the Hephaestian Mysteries.
    The person that approached them seemed to be made out of earth. She worn a dun-colored robe with a hood and walked with her eyes at her feet. Eathirilu cleared his throat and she looked up. “Oh! Visitors! I’m sorry, I did not see you.”
    “Could you take us to the leader of this village?” Eathirilu asked.
    “Yes, of course. High Priest Falkus should be on his porch. Come with me please.”
    The woman led the party through varied architecture. Even the cobblestones and drainage sites of the streets had a look that mixed different styles from different eras and locations. Before too long the party reached a building where many other Kabiri with earthy skin gathered. The building resembled a temple, but with only a pair of columns at the front, one at each corner over the entranceway. A Kabiri with flakes of silver metal in his skin sat on a rocking chair upon the building’s front landing. He wore a simple brown robe with many pockets. In his hands was a piece of wood and a whittling knife. He and all the other Kabiri were as bald as a summer mountain top. The woman pointed at the Kabiri on the porch, “This is High Priest Falkus. High Priest, we have visitors!”
    Falkus nodded and raised the hand with the wood piece in greeting, “Visitors are always welcome in Hephaistia. Come and speak with me. You will excuse me if I do not rise. I am old and not as spry as I used to be.”
    The party gathered around the porch where Falkus sat. After introducing themselves Amalius began the conversation, “We’re here looking for Hephaestus. We need a piece of his leg bones from when he broke it upon his descent to Earth.”
    “Ah yes. We’ve had others ask about the bones as well. The Dragovinians. We told them there are no solid bones of Hephaestus on this island and never have been. They believed us… after a time.”
    “Surely there must be some piece of Hephaestus that broke off,” said Hektor.
    “Aye. There might be. But who can say?”
    Hektor’s eyes narrowed, “These bones are of the utmost importance to the people of Cimmeria and perhaps the wider world. You know of the Dragovinians so you must know of the power they command. These bones of Hephaestus are the ONLY thing that could stand in the way of their evil menace spreading across the entire world. We need them and we need them now.”
    “The whole world you say? Well my whole world is my island. And tis been a sad island these past few decades. No one attends the Mysteries save for myself and the other Kabiri. Still, I feel the other people of the island may be made to sense the glory of the Smith God once again. Only they are so distracted by their plight right now.”
    “Their plight?”
    “Yes, the Dragovinians took over Moudros and searched the eastern half of the island. They left last year for Myrina and began searching the western half. They search and search and all the while they steal, murder, and maim the poor folk of Lemnos. We are a simple godly people who have done nothing to deserve this evil.”
    “And the bones of Hephaestus?” said Amalius
    Falkus laughed, “You and your friend have a one track mind! Yes, the bones. With all these difficulties for the people of our god Hephaestus’s island it is difficult for me to recall… Perhaps if the Dragovinians were defeated in the name of Hephaestus…”
    “I see,” said Hektor. Amalius gritted his teeth and said nothing.
    Hektor asked, “Do you know anything about the particular group of Dragovinians here?”
    Falkus answered, “There are about fifty of them. They wield flaming picks and wear chainmail armor. Their leader is a shapeshifter named Davonisi.” Eathirilu’s eyes widened at the mention of that name.
    Hektor said, “We’ll take care of it.”
    “In Hephaestus’s name,” added Falkus.
    “In Hephaestus’s name,” said Hektor. “If you’ll give us a space where we can plan in quiet?”
    “Of course. That building over there has no one living in it now, but there is a large table and sand pit for sketching. I’ll have food and drink sent to you. Alas, that is all we can provide you in these trying times.”
    The party entered the building and set to planning their attack on the Dragovinians.

    Eathirilu said, “I know Davonisi. She was a druid before my time but she turned to evil and darkness. She was a faerie. A powerful shapeshifter, but a blight upon the land. If she’s a Dragovinian now as well… Bad things could happen. I knew I sensed something before! The whole island is corrupted by her presence. She’s killing the landscape here, sucking up its energy and leaving nothing behind. We HAVE to kill her.”
    “Do we?” said Amalius. “Why don’t we just dominate Falkus and force him to tell us where the bones of Hephaestus are. He clearly knows. It’d be faster and we can leave Davonisi here, searching in vain, without any threat to ourselves.”
    Hektor said, “I don’t think there’s any reason to attack the people here. They’ve been kind to us.” The other party members nodded in agreement. “Besides, we should be killing Davonisi anyway. She’s a Dragovinian, she was evil before she was a Dragovinian, and it might earn us the friendship of Hephaestus.”
    Amalius folded his arms and stayed quiet for the rest of the meeting. Bread, cheese, and wine were brought in by the Kabiri. The group maintained an awkward silence while the plates were set down on the table before the Kabiri left.
    Danar said, “I think we need more information first. We still don’t know where the Dragovinians are in Myrina, if they have hostages, or what their search pattern is on the western half of the island. I can use my magic eyes to scout out the town and give us a little more knowledge of what we’d be getting into.”
    The group cast invisibility spells on themselves and teleported about a mile east of Myrina. Hektor surveyed the city from the sky while Danar sent his scrying eyes through the streets to get a feel for the situation.
    Myrina was clearly being oppressed by the Dragovinian occupation. People walked through the streets with their eyes downcast. Dragovinians tromped by and the citizens scurried to get out of their way and bow before them. A Dragovinian approached a teenage boy with a sneer. The boy shivered and offered his neck. The Dragovinian drank and then slapped the boy when he was down, sending him to the ground with blood still flowing from his neck.
    Hektor returned to the others with information on the Dragovinian headquarters. They’d killed the old mayor and taken over his large house near the center of town. Danar sent one of his eyes inside. It circled through a few hallways until it found half a dozen Dragovinians talking in a sitting room. They stopped talking for a moment then turned to look in the direction of the eye. A moment later the eye’s magic fizzled out as it was dispelled by an unknown force.
    “They might know we’re coming,” said Danar.
    “Then let’s get set to go!” said Hektor.
    Buff spells were cast, the party drew their weapons and teleported directly into the sitting room.

    Popping into the room allowed the party members with true seeing to see the invisible Dragovinian pixie hovering by the hearth in the room. “Davonisi!” shouted Eathirilu. “She’s flying invisible by the hearth!”
    The party got their bearings and prepared to attack, but as they did so the pixie began to transform. Her form molded and shifted, becoming visible and growing larger and larger. The walls of the sitting room cracked and broke. Furniture moved and tumbled as the other Dragovinians scrambled to accommodate their leader’s new size. Soon Davonisi appeared not as a draconic/vampiric pixie, but as a large fanged bull with iron scales and green glowing eyes. A Dragovinian gorgon. She breathed a noxious gas upon the party. Tagenadi was immune, but Eathirilu and Danar felt their skin beginning to calcify. They resisted the shapeshifter’s magic, but the rest were not so lucky. Hektor, Zelus, and Amalius turned to stone.
    An enraged Danar flew at Davonisi. He hit her with a flurry of axe blows carving into her gorgon body. Davonisi shrieked and began to shift and transform once more. Tagenadi engaged the six Dragovinians. Eathirilu shapeshifted into an earth elemental and moved into the ground.
    Davonisi’s head split where Danar cut it. The cut deepened and deepened until it reached her shoulder. The cut split and split again until Davonisi had twelve heads attached to long serpentine. Her body widened and her feet changed from hooves to scaled claws. Her iron bull tail changed into a long lizard’s tail. Davonisi now had the form of a hydra.
    “Foolish heroes! You cannot hope to stand against me!” her mouths said in a purring chorus as they dashed forward to bite with fearsome strength. Danar did his best to ward off her attacks, but he still took several blows. Frighteningly, the blows still had the power of a Dragovinian to sap blood from Danar. His fortitude weakened under the unexpected blood loss. He was not the only target of Davonisi’s wrath. Three heads spiked forward to shatter the three stone statues of the party’s casters.



    “NO!” shouted Tagenadi. Ignoring the lesser Dragovinians that sought to block him, Tagenadi moved and struck Davonisi with tremendous force. His white raven hammer strike clanged against her dragon scales and the shapeshifter paused as the martial move momentarily blackened her senses.
    “We have to get out of here!” said Danar.
    “I’ll get the statue pieces!” shouted Eathirilu as he came up from the ground. His arms encircled the pieces of Hektor and Zelus, bringing them into his own body of earth and stone for storage.
    Danar unleashed another barrage of terrifying strikes upon Davonisi. He severed heads left and right and her body oozed green blood. Her form began to shift and change once more.
    “By Zeus does she never die?!?” declared Danar.
    Eathirilu took up the last pieces of Amalius and said, “Tagenadi, teleport us away!”
    “Right!” Tagenadi stepped over a toppled cushioned chair to stand beside Eathirilu and Danar. He touched both of them and clicked his heels together to activate his boots of teleportation. As they faded away Eathirilu saw that Davonisi was growing larger and taking on the form of an enormous scorpion.

    With the limited range of the teleport boots, Tagenadi could not return to Lakatia or anywhere else in Cimmeria. He chose the only other community they’d visited on Lemnos, Hephaistia. They reappeared by the porch where High Priest Falkus was still whittling away in his rocking chair surrounded by the other Kabiri who were also engaged in leisure activities. Upon the party’s arrival, Falkus jumped to his feet. “What happened?”
    “She turned half of us to stone!” said Tagenadi.
    “Are you hurt?” Falkus said, coming down from his porch with more solidity and strength than he had let on to before.
    “Just a few scratches,” said Eathirilu.
    “We have to put the statues back together,” said Danar. “I have a spell that can break her magic.”
    “Statues? Stone? Slow down and tell me what happened,” said Falkus.
    The party took a few moments to calm down and explain what had occurred to Falkus. He nodded his head and listened.
    Falkus said, “So you have the spell? That is good. I can set the pieces of your stone friends back together with Hephaestus’s magic. Then you can make them flesh and blood once more.”
    The party and the Kabiri collected the statue pieces and put them into piles of rubble belonging to each original person. The Kabiri’s training and natural knowledge of stone aided the organization. Once complete, High Priest Falkus concentrated and a magic light flowed out of his hands. Each statues’ pieces moved through the air and reformed into a single piece. Hektor, Zelus, and Amalius were whole statues once more!
    “There. It is done. Now your part comes, Danar,” said Falkus.
    Danar concentrated for many minutes, focusing on the intricacies of Davonisi’s magic. Pull this part here, push that ley line there. Yes, he could undo it. It would only take a few more minutes. Push and prod until the magic sustaining the stone forms fell away. With a hiss and a pop, the three were returned to life!
    Gasping, they asked what had happened. Danar, Tagenadi, and Eathirilu filled them in.
    Hektor said with determination, “We have to go back. Davonisi may retaliate against the people of Myrina or Hephaistia.”
    “What? Right now?” asked Eathirilu.
    “Why not?” said Hektor.
    “Yes. Why not?” agreed Zelus.
    “Then let’s go!” Eathirilu said.
    The party healed before buffing themselves up once more. Particular attention was paid to gaining immunity to petrification this time. In a few minutes they were ready once more. They teleported back to Myrina, three hundred feet up in the air over the dead mayor’s house.

    Continued in the next session!
    Last edited by Anxe; 2017-01-22 at 01:03 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #59/Total Session #75

    Hektor, Tagenadi, Zelus, Amalius, Eathirilu, and Danar reappeared in Myrina flying over the small city. Below a scene of destruction awaited them. Davonisi had transformed into an enormous scaled scorpion and rampaged through the town. The mayor’s house was a smoldering ruin and many of the town’s other buildings matched its appearance or were on their way. Bodies decorated the streets and those who were not dead or dying had fled the city.
    The party discussed how to approach the scorpion when its head whipped upwards. She’d heard them from over three hundred feet away! The scorpion’s mandibles clacked together and then Davonisi was transforming once again. Her tail shortened and flattened out, losing the black carapace and gaining scaled feathers. Her claws widened, moved back, and gained feathers, turning into wings. The scorpine mandibles rotated and reformed to become a huge sharp beak. With a flash and a aquiline shriek Davonisi assumed the shape of a roc with shining scaly feathers of all colors.
    The dark druid took to the skies, flying towards the party. As she approached she let out another sky-splitting shriek and a spray of colored magical rays shone forth from her mouth, eyes, and wings. This prismatic spray struck the party with magical force. Fortunately, the party’s wards protected them from the worst of it.
    Eathirilu transformed into a roc as well to match Davonisi’s form, but his was a smaller one. Amalius and Zelus flew away from the group and sent crackling energy at Davonisi, electricity from Amalius and positive from Zelus. The dark druid screamed and burns singed her feathers and skin.
    Hektor began summoning celestials to aid the party. Danar and Tagenadi went on offense, rushing the rainbow roc. They collided. Tagenadi made one strong cut with his kusari-gama. Danar made several. Davonisi flapped her wings and retaliated, biting and scratching at Danar.
    Eathirilu moved in and struck Davonisi in the chest. She screeched and fell from the sky. Spinning and twirling on her way down she began to transform again. Her form tightened and lengthened, stretching to become a long wurm. Her feathers turned to hard scales with disgusting mismatched colors. She crashed to the ground with a satisfying thud.
    Hektor said, “Oh no. A fiendwurm. I’ve only read a few brief descriptions but we’re in for-” The sky shuddered and suddenly the whole group was falling to the ground as well. Luckily the feather fall portion of the party’s fly spells prevented a harmful descent. Getting their bearings on the ground took some time, during which Davonisi let out a horrible retching noise and burped up three short emaciated black demons. She then lunged at Eathirilu, biting into his feathered side.
    Tagenadi kept the little demons busy while Zelus, Hektor, and Amalius pooled their knowledge of fiendwurms.
    Amalius said, “They’re just earthworms with a portal to hell stuck in their intestinal track. The portal HAS to be there. She just vomited demons everywhere.”
    Zelus asked, “What would happen if we closed the portal?”
    “Oh I remember!” said Hektor. “That drags the wurm and everything close to it into Tartarus.”
    “Here goes nothing,” said Zelus as he began casting a spell.
    Danar rushed forward and cut away at Davonisi with his gore-covered axe.
    “No wait!” shouted Hektor.
    Zelus’s spell went off. Davonisi screamed and the very fabric of reality buckled around her. Her body imploded, forming a dark hole. Eathirilu, Danar, and one of the black demons clutched the ground, trying to resist the howling winds that pulled them towards the hell portal. The ground gave way and all three were pulled into the hole. With a pop the blackness vanished and Myrina was the same as before.



    “Oh no,” said Amalius. He shook his head to regain his composure then shouted, “Everyone gather up around me! We’re going after them.”

    While writhing through the tunnel to hell Davonisi changed shapes once again, but only slightly. She exited the tunnel in the form of a thickly scaled purple wurm. Eathirilu and Danar followed swiftly behind her.
    “Druid!” she spat. “You thought you’d kill me here and give my soul over to Hades? Well I will not be another victim on your ‘circle of life!’ Feel my hatred!” Davonisi cast a spell in her purple wurm form. Like a pounding tsunami it struck Eathirilu. He felt it ripping at his enchantments. All his buff spells came flaking off, but the raw spell energy still remained behind. More and more were lifted from him. His energy immunities, his enhanced senses, even his wild shape. Eathirilu lay upon the ground in his natural panda body. The pure magical energy gave out a high pitched whine as it circled around him. Then Davonisi made a clacking noise with her wurm’s tongue and the energy descended upon Eathirilu. Every spell that was taken from him tore into his flesh, wounding him beyond anything he thought possible.
    Davonisi hissed, “Now, you will die.” She flashed forward and swallowed him whole.
    “No!” shouted Danar. He hefted his axe once more and charged Davonisi carving pieces off her body for what felt like the hundredth time that day. Davonis snapped back at Danar, trading blow for blow. The Slayer of Beasts would not last long against this foe.
    The little demon danced around trying to get Danar’s attention, but he was nobody’s fool. He ignored it. Help would have to come soon from his friends on the surface world, or he would die.

    THUS ENDETH THE SESSION!

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Xorian Wars: Alliance and Rebellion

    Alliance Session #60/Total Session #76

    Danar and Eathirilu were pulled into Tartarus with Davonisi, the shapeshifter. Eathirilu had been eaten by Davonisi and Danar was on his last leg fighting against her. Hektor, Amalius, Zelus, and Tagenadi had gathered together above Myrina on Lemnos to follow their companions into hell.
    Zelus concentrated and in a flash the four of them were in Tartarus, a realm normally forbidden to mortal travelers, but accessible due to Zelus’s divine status. Unfortunately, the plane shift magic that Zelus had used merely got them to the correct plane, not the correct location.
    Amalius said, “Danar and Davonisi were mind blanked. I sensed it during the fight. But Eathirilu wasn’t. Zelus, can you scry him?”
    Zelus waved his hand in front of his chest. The air rippled in front of him, then grew still. “No. The magic failed completely. He is dead or beyond my reach.”
    “I’ll have to try something a little different then.” Amalius pumped magic into his fourth dimensional self speeding up to five times faster than the normal flow of time. He dipped his mind into the fabric of the universe, risking his very soul to learn things he could never know. His goal, the location of Danar. A minute for him, but only a few seconds for the others, he had the answer.
    “I’ve got it. Gather around. Teleport on three, two, one…”

    Amalius, Zelus, Hektor, Hektor’s summoned creatures, and Tagenadi appeared a few dozen feet away from Danar and Davonisi. Seeing that Danar was injured, Tagenadi shouted, “Stop!” at Davonisi as he charged her. Zelus flew in and healed most of Danar’s wounds.
    “Where’s Eathirilu?” Tagenadi asked Danar.
    “Inside her!”
    Hektor shot a disintegration ray at Davonisi. Her enormous body resisted the destructive magic. Davonisi tried to swallow Danar, but Tagenadi’s defensive position prevented her. Amalius followed Hektor’s lead and shot Davonisi with a disintegrate. She resisted it once again, only losing a few pieces of skin that smoked as they turned to ash.
    “Give him back! Give back Eathirilu!” shouted Danar. He swung his bardiche, cutting down the mouth of Davonisi’s worm form in an attempt to reach Eathirilu. Davonisi screeched and began to change forms again. She regurgitated Eathirilu’s half digested corpse as her own body twisted and shrunk. As she changed her form became more and more transparent until she seemed to shrink into nothing. Those who still had their true seeing spells up saw Davonisi in her true form, a one and a half foot tall pixie. Her eyes glowed a molten red and her skin was covered in green scales.
    Davonisi opened her mouth to cast a spell. Her teeth were as sharp as a wolf’s. Dark energy flowed from her words into her left hand. She pointed a finger at Danar and the blackness shot forward. A black mist surrounded his body then poured into Danar’s own mouth. The negative energy thrummed within him and overcame him. Danar fell to the ground, dead.
    Amalius said, “Don’t worry! I’ll fix it!” He bent over Eathirlu’s body and sent him back in time. The acid sores on Eathirilu grew smaller and vanished. Then he was coughing and spitting up blood. Eathirilu lived once more! Zelus sent positive energy flowing into Eathirilu, healing more of the wounds inflicted by Davonisi’s spell reaving.
    Davonisi attempted to flee, but she was out of options. Tagenadi hunted her down with Hektor directing him where to strike her invisible form. Amalius turned the clock back on Danar, bringing him back to life as well. Eathirilu’s trained ears picked up on Davonisi’s location. He wild shaped into a T-Rex and rushed her. His teeth clamped down, trapping her in his jaws. Davonisi struggled to escape, but she was well and truly stuck.
    Tagenadi and Eathirilu cut into her, opening more and more wounds. Davonisi cast a spell and teleported a short distance away. She made to run, but Amalius flew directly in her face. His mind focuses and unleashed freezing energy on the dark druid. Frost covered Davonisi and she fell silent. For a moment she was frozen solid and then she melted. Her clothes fell to the ground, moist and empty. Her belt buckle, bracers, and rings clanged against the rocks, echoing through the realms of Tartarus.

    The party did not have long to recover their thoughts and strength before the smokey sky/cavern roof darkened. The distant grey smoke above their heads turned black. Purple sparks moved through the air. A swift black cloud detached from the roof and rocketed to the earth. The smoke dissipated and Hades, God of the Underworld, emerged. He stood fifteen feet tall with a dark complexion, dark eyes, and dark hair. His silver armor featured skull decorations including some eerily realistic skull pauldrons. At his hip rested a large sword that seemed simple at a glance, but whenever you weren’t looking at it a sense of dread filled your mind.



    “Welcome back Tagenadi. I see you have brought your companions. And just in time for lunch too. Won’t you join me?”
    Knowing better than to refuse a god, the group followed him into a smokey cloud that he conjured. They appeared at Hades’s Silver Palace in Erebos. Dead servants brought dishes of pork, duck, and steamed vegetables with garlic and butter. Bowls of pomegranates were available all along the table. Tagenadi dug into the food. Surface world food all tasted like maggoty wood to his undead senses. This was food for the dead and did not taste like maggoty wood. Zelus ate as well. The others, familiar with the myth of Persephone, ate nothing.
    Conversation during the meal (which I have unfortunately forgotten the specifics of in the time from when the session occurred and when I am writing this) focused on who Davonisi was and why she was in Tartarus. The party dodged the questions, attempting to keep the Druid’s Prophecy and their purpose in Lemnos hidden. They feared that Hades might be planning to use the Prophecy for himself instead of on Zeus. Hades confronted the flaws in their story by producing the captured soul of Davonisi. Her shriveled form screamed within a lantern cage when Hades brought it out. Her skin perpetually burned and sloughed off her body, only to be replaced once more. The smell of burning flesh was sickening.
    Tagenadi answered what questions he could about the Druid’s Prophecy and Amalius filled in the blanks, truthfully. Hades was particularly interested in the Condors’ portion of the Prophecy.

    Find a voice both strong and pure
    Better than the gods to be sure
    Sing the song both well and true
    When the potion's foam turns blue


    “A voice better than the gods?” said Hades. “Why that can only be Orpheus, my personal singer. ORPHEUS!”
    A silver door opened near the back of the banquet hall. The famous singer’s shade emerged with his lyre and a stool. He set the stool down beside Hades’s throne. He seated himself, ensured that his lyre was tuned, and began to sing.
    Song 1, Song 2

    Amalius listened closely to the song. His trained mind memorized every line, every note that Orpheus sang, and every strum on the lyre. If Hades was resistant to give them the genuine article then perhaps Amalius could recreate it.
    Once Orpheus was done Hades said, “You find the other pieces of the Prophecy and return here. Orpheus will be ready to sing into the cauldron.”
    Tagenadi said, “Then it’s all settled. We should get back to the surface world.”
    “Not just yet. I need the Lots. I can sense that you have them.”
    “Zelus has them,” said Tagenadi. “We’ve got them, don’t worry.”
    “You will give them to me before you leave.”
    Zelus said, “They’re mine, Hades. You cannot take them from me and you cannot prevent me from leaving. I have eaten your food. I am protected by guest rite.”
    “The same cannot be said for your companions. How would you like it if they ended up like Davonisi?”
    “If you attack them you will never get the Lots.”
    “So let us bargain,” Hades said in a velvety tone.
    Hektor said, “We can give you gold, magic weapons.”
    “I have gold. I am the God of Gold! What use do I have for more of it?”
    “Magic then-”
    Zelus cut Hektor off, “We should not be giving him weapons. If Hades wants the Lots so badly then let him offer us something.”
    “You think I would grant boons to such as these?! When I have them in my power?”
    “Yeah. We deserve it. We've done alot to fight the Dragovinians who cheat death,” said Amalius “If you really look at it were the ones helping you out.”
    “You think you have done so much?! FOR ME? THEN YOU CAN FIND YOUR OWN WAY OUT OF THE UNDERWORLD!” Hades disappeared in a flash and the palace dissolved around the party. Soon they were standing in the desolate wasteland of the lands of the dead.
    The party discussed how to win Hades to their cause, but still get something out of him. Soon they called out his name, asking him to return.
    Hades reappeared, “Yes?”
    Zelus said, “The Lots are valuable to you. We will not give them to you without an equal exchange. Something we can use against the Dragovinians. Surely you can see that we would both benefit from such a deal?”
    “The Dragovinians that you claim to have so easily bested before? No, you need no help against them,” Hades spat. “Perhaps something else though for another enemy. You spoke of needing to take the Pitchfork of Doom from the Dahak monster. The Dahak has a spark of the divine in him. He would be too strong for you, unless I gave you a weapon… The Spear of Iapetus. It could pierce through his divine armor, opening him up to your inconsequential mortal weapons.”
    The party talked it over and agreed this was a good deal. They might even be able to use the Spear against Blendegad. While in the final parts of their discussion Amalius asked Zelus, “Could I see the Lots for a second?”
    “Why?” asked Zelus.
    “Just for a second.”
    “Fine, here.” Zelus dug the Lots out of a pocket in his clothes and dropped them in Amalius’s outstretched hand.
    And Amalius teleported away.
    “No. No No NO!” shouted Zelus. “Traitor! Bring them back!”
    Fuming, Zelus could do nothing. Amalius was mind blanked and thus undetectable.
    Amalius spoke to Hades separately and made his own deal for the Lots. Soon they returned. Hades held the etched bones in his dark hand. “I have taken the Lots. In exchange you will be returned to the world above along with all the Second Alliance soldiers and Lakatians killed by the Xorians. In addition all Second Alliance leaders will be returned to life if they so wish, including Amalganus Halkias, son of Amalgami. I will also take the soul of Kruk-Ma-Kali.” Hades’s arm snapped forward with lightning speed to claim the black sword in Hektor's portable hole. Kruk’s screams could be heard for a moment before Hades crushed the sword in his hand, turning it to smoke.
    Hades turned to look down at Amalius beside him, “And you. Remember your promise to me, for I will hold you to it, one way or another.”
    Hades began to turn to smoke. He and all the land of the dead blurred and swam out of focus. Was Hades turning to smoke or were they?

    The group materialized in the real world on the plains southeast of Jipangu. Hektor, Amalius, Zelus, Tagenadi, Eathirilu, and Danar looked around confused. More people came into being beside them. Mostly unknown faces, but Astyanax, Junai, and more of the recently deceased Alliance leaders were there. More and more soldiers arrived with smoke on their heels. Some from Bradel Fields, some from Jord, some from Phoenix, Shalerton, and Restnor’s Point. Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, and even Goblins from Astyanax’s slave army. All arrived in simple white tunics with puzzled expressions on their faces.
    Amalius took off from the rest of the heroes into the growing sea of people. He scanned the crowd with his eyes, ears, and mind for the slightest trace of his father. Nothing. Hades had said that any who wished to return would come to the plains by Jipangu. Had his father really chosen to stay in the Underworld?
    “Amalius! Amalius!” Amalius’s ears pricked up at the sound of a familiar voice calling his name! He turned, but it was not his father.
    Amalius’s dead squire, Endi, ran towards him and grabbed him in a hug. “Master! It's so good to see you again. Did you do this?” (Endi was killed by Devanane in Alliance Session #13/Total Session #21)
    Amalius sighed then said in an enthusiastic voice, “Yes! Yes I did! It's good to see you again. Endi, we must spread the word. Tell everyone that the Alliance is reborn! With a new symbol. An infinity symbol for the Alliance everlasting.”
    “An excellent idea, master.”
    “Here, use this.” Amalius took a scrap of fabric from his portable hole and worked some magic on it. The scrap turned into a banner bearing the new symbol he'd described.
    “Of course master. I will let everyone know!” Endi hoisted the banner and moved off into the crowd shouting, “We are risen thanks to the efforts of my master, Amalius! We are risen thanks to Amalius Halkias!” Amalius added his mental voice to the shouts and beaming a more complete explanation of events to those that needed one.

    Meanwhile, Zelus grumbled, “I can't believe he would do something like this. After all the times I've helped him. Healing his wounds, keeping his very soul in his body. Not to mention that it is I that stokes the fire in his heart to act on his mortal desires. This is my thanks? Theft and betrayal?”
    “It's not as bad as all that,” said Danar. “I'm sure Amalius meant well. And he did get us an army or two back. There must be close to ten thousand people here.” It was true. Even more were pouring out of the city onto the field to welcome lost friends and family members.
    “Mean well? He stole from ME! God of Zeal itself! And for what? To revive this inconsequential rabble? They are nothing compared to the power of the Spear of Iapetus. You have never seen the Piercer’s Spear, Danar. You do not know it's power. You do not know what we have lost; what Amalius has taken from us.”
    “Rabble? These are soldiers, every one of them. This is a great opportunity to reshape the Alliance.”
    “The Alliance? I've never cared for the Alliance. They don't have the courage to make the necessary choices to win this war. That's why I joined you Exiles, instead of them. And doesn't it bother you, all of you, that Amalius took the Lots and went against a decision we all made together. He's done this before and he could do it again.”
    The group talked more on the topic. Hektor convinced Zelus to speak with Amalius. Danar and Eathirilu went to find Amalius (easy enough when he was sending out a psychic signal). They told Amalius how angry he'd made Zelus. The tension was strong enough that Zelus might never work with Amalius again if he didn't apologize and work make amends. Amalius agreed that unity was important and that he should speak with Zelus.
    The two met. Zelus said, “Well?”
    Amalius said, “I saved thousands when you would’ve let them perish. I won’t apologize for it and you should be thanking me for what I did for our cause.”
    “Amalius…” warned Eathirilu.
    “Seriously? Do you have any idea how much I’ve improved our position? We can start working with the Alliance again instea-”
    “AFTER EVERYTHING I’VE DONE FOR YOU? THIS IS HOW YOU THANK ME?” Power crackled in Zelus’s hand and he seemed ready to lunge at Amalius. Eathirilu and Tagenadi quickly separated the god and the psion.
    The group talked it over again. Zelus made it clear that he would not work with Amalius if he didn’t apologize and work to make amends. Tagenadi begged Amalius to swallow his pride and say whatever was needed to work with Zelus. Amalius refused making it clear that no such statement would be forthcoming.
    Hektor called for a vote to decide which of the two the group would remain with. Tagenadi and Eathirilu abstained, wanting the group to stay unified and unable to choose one side over another. Zelus obviously voted for himself. Hektor sided with Zelus as he felt that Amalius too often acted independently instead of following explicit group decisions. Danar wished for unity as well, but after Amalius made no effort to mend the rift with Zelus… Danar voted for Zelus staying in the group. With no votes in his favor, Amalius accepted the group decision. He distributed the group wealth that he had kept in his portable hole and left to speak with the resurrected Alliance Council members.
    The Alliance Council instantly agreed to readmit Amalius into the Alliance. Arendil frowned at the thought but agreed with the others. Notably absent from the group of revived members was Gradorian. Speaking with Junai revealed that her partner had never come to the Underworld! He was still alive! A quick scrying revealed that Gradorian was hiking east from Bradel Fields towards Jipangu while carrying a treasure chest filled with the majority of the Alliance’s wealth. Gradorian was teleported back to Jipangu and welcomed Amalius back into the fold along with the others.
    Secure in the knowledge that he was back in the Alliance, Amalius teleported to Lakatia to bring his family back to their noble home with the walls of Jipangu. There he found his family crying tears of joy. Amalganus, Amalius’s father, had returned to them. Amalius joined his tears to theirs and embraced his father.

    The session ended there. Amalius will be leaving the world of PCs to become a semi-NPC. Throgg will still be controlling Amalius’s actions but he’s going to leave the spotlight that shines on the rest of the group. Throgg will be bringing a new PC to the party in the next session.

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