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  1. - Top - End - #421
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    50 sessions!

    Huh...that's a lot.

    Spoiler: Silence
    Show
    We cut right back to the heroes, victorious over the Incarnation of Madness. Except it seems like they shut absolutely everything down by breaking the giant crystal that was suspiciously similar to a Forged heart...the pitch blackness would probably be more intimidating if the entire party didn't have darkvision. However, as nothing is creeping them out/trying to kill them/moving at all around them, the Pilgrims are tired and crash for 8 hours. Puck trundles about while this happens and sorts shards of broken crystal into piles, while Spotter processes the last while's events.

    After the first rest in what feels like a month (hurr hurr aren't I clever hurr), it's a team meeting. They're pretty certain that while breaking the crystal won the fight, it wasn't a great idea. Spotter is all for leaving things as is (having the most experience with Pathos being a murderous psycho) and not having to worry about the library anymore. Sona and Puck (well, more Puck's player) are opposed,
    Sona especially. If the End Times (why are they capitalized? Why aren't they always?) are fast approaching, destroying easy access to one of the greatest repositories of knowledge in the known world is probably a bad idea. Angelena agrees just on the grounds that they still need to find those paintings...the whole reason for entering the library this time.

    Time for a bunch of examining spells, checking class abilities, asking the GM for clarifications/hints/clues, and the GM being a smug jerk! *cough*

    Angelena has access to wish now! Buuuuttt not enough experience to use the megapower option that costs 5000xp. After much plotting and debating, the party comes to a decision. They're pretty sure that Pathos will count as a Living Construct (or close enough considering the crystal Core was a Forged heart), but if they just try to bring him back to life he'll most likely still be murderously insane.
    Spoiler: DM NOTE
    Show
    They're right


    So instead the plan is to use a combination of Limited Wishes, a Miracle (but just to duplicate a spell so it doesn't cost as much XP), and a Heal to reassemble the Core, bring Pathos back to life, and then heal his insanity. Seems like a pretty solid plan, so everyone sets up - flight on Angelena and Sona, Spotter with bow at the ready, Puck hanging above with axe like some sort of demented spider.

    With the first spell, the massive crystalline heart fuses back together with a series of chiming rings. It's still and dark, though.

    With the second spell, green light pulses through the heart...which abruptly shifts to a horror-movie red. Initiative time to see if Angelena can finish her final spell in time!

    Which she tanks. All right, Will save as a pulse of madness spills out from the core!

    Which she fails badly. Not to fear, Alter Fortune is here!

    Nat 1.

    Angelena's dice continue like this for the whole night...

    So instead of touching the core to cure it, Angelena rolls "attack caster" on the confusion chart and lays into said core with her mace, shrieking wildly. Whoops. Luckily Sona is close enough that she burns another Limited Wish to cure Pathos of his madness. The red light begins to fade and be replaced with the calm green, but not entirely. The shift slows, and halts at about halfway...then the red starts to push back. Angelena's regained her wits however, and can feel utter revulsion at the red light's touch. It is pure Evil, so she does what every Priestess of Light and Good should do,
    and smites it with a Dispel Evil. With a massive flash of white light, the red is obliterated, leaving behind only a placid green pulse inside the Core.

    "...Pathos?"

    "Greetings, user."

    It's Pathos' voice, but almost entirely stripped of emotion. After some careful queries, turns out that the party is inside the Library core, which is at the very bottom of the main shaft. Pathos opens a stairway back into said core, and also summons a platform to return the party to the Search Room (the first room when entering the Library). Pathos is back and functioning, minus all the crazy parts, but he seems...diminished.

    Spoiler: DM NOTE with minor spoilers
    Show
    The players managed a middle road victory here. They stopped the Madness from overtaking the Library entirely (along with spilling outwards and causing very bad things - more on that later in the journal), but at the cost of destroying much of Pathos' independence and creative thinking. They can still access the library, but some hidden knowledge and treasures are lost forever (along with Pathos' advanced intellect aiding them in making plans for what to do next). Certainly not worst case scenario, but not best either


    The party asks Pathos for a status update, along with if he knows or remembers anything of what happened.

    "Please wait...personality core at 32 % functionality. Extreme corruption detected, damaged sections destroyed. Data cores at 43% functionality, extreme corruption detected, damaged sections destroyed."

    The party is lifted back to the top of the shaft and the Search Room, but the heavy vault door is still sealed. When asked, Pathos reports that the library is sealed due to security measures, and will remain sealed for another 38 minutes. Compared to the last while, that's no big deal, so no-one worries about it.

    "Warning - evidence of time dilation detected." That's more worrying, but not something that the party can do much about, so it's set aside for now.



    Spoiler: Reading time
    Show
    First things first, Sona asks Pathos to bring up the paintings of capital and/or major cities of Artaith. There's a couple fumbles (they're basically trying to use a not-very intuitive and kind of clunky search engine), but a big steel cube eventually floats up and docks into the Search room. Inside is a miniature art gallery, with five massive paintings displayed in soft lighting:

    A tropical paradise, with lush green ferns, gleaming white marble pillars and buildings, with a waterfall spilling down from a floating island into a deep lake below - Helios

    A bustling metropolis, massive buildings of metal and stone stretching nearly to the sky, with one central building towering above even the others - Logos

    A city in twilight, candlelight illuminating wrought iron, angular roofs, and numerous statues in various poses of prayer (very gothic) - Eulethron

    An underground lake illuminated by the reddish glow of countless forges, squat buildings, and workings surrounding it - The Goblin Holds

    An arctic port city, powerful ships smashing through the thick ice while snow swirls across the sky - Haronfast

    The paintings aren't portals or anything like that, but there was magic involved in their creation. They're detailed enough that with enough study, they allow someone to count that location as "studied carefully." Sona does just that, taking the time to study the three unfamiliar paintings very very carefully.

    In the meantime Puck interrogates Pathos trying to get him to cough up treasure, and waits for the door to unlock when that doesn't work. Angelena decides to do some research of her own!

    Books on the gods: 23 000 results

    Books on the gods in Celestial: 4000 results

    Books on Uthra, in Celestial, focusing on her death: 3 results

    Angelena keeps narrowing her search, and rolls high enough to come up with something interesting - a book of extremely ancient poetry mentions the "Spiteful Sister" and how her divine siblings locked her away in a cold prison, forever under the watchful eye of her brother. Sona helps out once her studying is done, and they engage in some EXTREME NERDERY. They search specifically for the phrase "Spiteful Sister", and after enough successful rolls, end up with seven tomes. Each one is a different religious text, and seemingly unrelated, but with a quick scour, they find that same phrase of Spiteful sister next to a bit of info...

    She was imprisoned for some terrible deed

    She must never be freed

    She uttered a dire curse upon her siblings as she was imprisoned

    She is the Architect of Fate

    When the moon burns and the sun dies, the End has arrived

    Her hate will never be satisfied

    Her threads still stretch out from her prison

    Sona decides to try for the big money, connecting that the "terrible deed" of Zophiel (whom everyone is very careful to never actually utter the name of) has something to do with Uthra's death.

    Uthra, Angelena recalls, is Artaith's goddess of Death, Healing, and guidance. She is a shepherd to the dead, helping them resolve their mortal ties in order to move on. She is also the only creature in all of Artaith to return from true death, the Final Gate.

    Spoiler: Background stuff on death and afterlife in Artaith
    Show
    Sheol is the land of the dead in Artaith, an endless river that ferries the dead away from mortality. It leads to deeper and deeper layers as the dead abandon their mortal attachments and ties, washing themselves clean. Finally they pass through the Final gate, and no-one except maybe Uthra knows what happens then. Nothing has ever returned from that gate


    Uthra died before she came the goddess of death, which means something somehow killed a deity, and that she wasn't always the goddess of death. With a Guidance of the Avatar, some clever wording, and some lucky rolling, Angelena and Sona manage to find an actual tablet carved in archaic celestial. Uthra was slain by "a terrible wound that stretched across the worlds, a knot of dark hatred and violence." Said wound could not be destroyed, instead it was turned in upon itself and bound up into a twisting labyrinth.

    And Uthra, before her death, was the goddess of Hope and Free Will.

    Dramatic Reveal!

    With their heads spinning from that little bit of info, and new teleport locations acquired, everyone agrees it's time to return to the central fire. There's also a lot of snide comments about how they're going to see what sort of terrible future where everyone died they step into, cause "that's the sort of thing I do."

    Spoiler: Huffy DM NOTE
    Show
    They're not entirely wrong, but harumph!


    Pushing the now unsealed vault door open, the first thing that greets the party is the reek of death. The warrior-librarians that guarded the library entrance are all dead, 9 corpses sprawled across the floor. Examining them, Puck notices something strange...

    They all died from self inflicted wounds. The corpses are also completely ashen grey, crumbling to the touch. They've been dead for several weeks, and have been completely drained of their Vitae. A little creeped out, the party steps outside. It's night, so the fact that the moon is ABSOLUTELY GIGANTIC now is glaringly obvious. It is much much closer than it was before, almost stretching from the ground to the horizon (Think the moon from Majora's Mask). I get some glares for that, but there's suddenly the rasp of air escaping from dead throats, and the scrape of feet against stone! Initiative!

    10 dire wraiths and a dozen Bodaks rush the party, hungry for life and Vitae. Now that's quite the scary pack of undead, but...not so scary for our heroes. An Acid fog locks down half of the bodaks, a greater turning blows two dire wraiths apart, and Spotter and Talvosh shred several others in rapid succession. Poor Puck doesn't roll a successful incorporeal miss chance once this fight, though. No one has their life force snatched away, or dies from spontaneous ocular combustion, and the hungry Hollows are cut down quickly.

    The fact that such a group of monsters was right in the heart of Logos is a troubling sign though. Under the ominous moon, the party hustles to the Church of the central Fire. Managing to sneak past another pack of Hollows, they come across a new feature at the edge of the church's plaza. There's a wall of blazing purple light surrounding the plaza, pulsing out from numerous runes carved into the rock. A quick spellcraft and battlevisor scan reveals it to be a supercharged Forbiddance against Hollows, so they step through quickly.

    The squad of crossbowmen hold their fire, and a battered and one-armed Bulwark greets the party, quite relieved to see them for several reasons:

    1) it's been almost a month
    2)Hollows are popping up everywhere, far more aggressive than before
    3)the squad sent to check on the heroes and the Library never came back
    4) the squad sent after them only had one member return - everyone prior had killed themselves, and the Library locked itself up
    5)anyone not at the central Church started to kill themselves several nights ago as well (this just stopped thankfully last night)
    6)did they mention that it had been nearly a month, and WHY IS THE MOON SO MUCH CLOSER


    We end it there for the night.

    Spoiler: DEATH COUNT
    Show
    Still at 45, more of a story night
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  2. - Top - End - #422
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    danielxcutter's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    I have a feeling that I've forgotten something - what does Ultha being the goddess of hope and free will before her death mean again?
    Awesome custom psywar avatar made by Coronalwave. Thanks dude!

    Most of my old signature has been moved to the new extended signature.

  3. - Top - End - #423
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Not anything specifically other than a major reason why Artaith is such a terrible place, and why everyone is cursed to have such an unpleasant fate.
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  4. - Top - End - #424
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    danielxcutter's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by curious-puzzle View Post
    Not anything specifically other than a major reason why Artaith is such a terrible place, and why everyone is cursed to have such an unpleasant fate.
    Oh. Well, that makes sense.
    Awesome custom psywar avatar made by Coronalwave. Thanks dude!

    Most of my old signature has been moved to the new extended signature.

  5. - Top - End - #425
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    From some of the player plotting/rumblings, I'm certainly interested in what they're planning to do and where to next.

    Also! Anything people want refreshers on/possible mysteries answered (within reason), future teasers / random info?
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  6. - Top - End - #426
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by curious-puzzle View Post
    From some of the player plotting/rumblings, I'm certainly interested in what they're planning to do and where to next.

    Also! Anything people want refreshers on/possible mysteries answered (within reason), future teasers / random info?
    EDIT: Actually, a few random questions... sorry if they've been answered!

    In case these spoil things for the players, don't read?
    Spoiler
    Show

    1) Maria is the Traveler.(?) What has she done besides be the cause for everyone getting thrown to Artaith? (And talking to Sona in Logos/telling Puck she's his 'mother')?
    Spoiler
    Show
    2) ... Maria is the maker of all Forged and thus the Lady of Logos?

    3) General World Question: If they fail, does Artaith suffer eternal darkness or does this bleed into other worlds/universes?
    4) Revelation and the path in Helios covered in Ash -- are those connected to the Labyrinth at all, or another plane, or a sub-plane, or?
    5) Still looking for invader ideas? =D
    Last edited by Jonagel; 2017-11-14 at 11:26 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #427
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Spoiler: Minor spoilers (but not super terrible ones)
    Show


    1)Maria is in fact the Traveler. And while she's been going from world to world, she doesn't actually Curse people herself. Instead, she's manipulating and arranging events so that certain people with certain qualities are much more likely to put themselves in a position where they're afflicted by the Curse and pulled to Artaith. Sometimes Maria is subtle about it, sometimes not (see subtlety in guiding the PCS to the strange ruins in the first session, and not subtlety in then murdering them).

    Whether she's picking these people because she thinks they can accomplish something of note, subconsciously selecting them for punishment, or some other grand underlying scheme, only Maria knows.

    Spoiler: ACTUALLY MAJOR SPOILER - PLAYERS NO PEEKING
    Show
    Maria is in fact hunting and selecting individuals she feels are capable of overthrowing the cycle of Fire and Darkness, as the world is caught in an endless loop. Her heart and empathy has withered and dried up, though, and her brutal methods cause as many problems and failures as they get results.


    2) Maria is that Lady of Logos. She created the original 343 Forged cores (souls basically) with the assistance/power/inspiration of Thelesis, the Goddess of Wizardry, Knowledge, and Thievery

    3)So far Artaith is a tightly contained prison. Stuff comes in, coming back out is the problem.

    4)Both Revelation and the gate-paths that Helios used are on another plane, the world of Lethe. Lethe has wondrous features like oceans of ash, freezing temperatures courtesy of the near-dead sun, and ancient crystalline ruins buried amongst said mountains and oceans of ash. Lethe is certainly tied to the Labyrinth, but not in any way that the PCs have discovered yet

    5)Certainly! Actually getting to a point where they might be showing up, but again no promises on what I may or may not actually use :P
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  8. - Top - End - #428
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by curious-puzzle View Post
    Spoiler: Minor spoilers (but not super terrible ones)
    Show


    1)Maria is in fact the Traveler. And while she's been going from world to world, she doesn't actually Curse people herself. Instead, she's manipulating and arranging events so that certain people with certain qualities are much more likely to put themselves in a position where they're afflicted by the Curse and pulled to Artaith. Sometimes Maria is subtle about it, sometimes not (see subtlety in guiding the PCS to the strange ruins in the first session, and not subtlety in then murdering them).

    Whether she's picking these people because she thinks they can accomplish something of note, subconsciously selecting them for punishment, or some other grand underlying scheme, only Maria knows.

    Spoiler: ACTUALLY MAJOR SPOILER - PLAYERS NO PEEKING
    Show
    Maria is in fact hunting and selecting individuals she feels are capable of overthrowing the cycle of Fire and Darkness, as the world is caught in an endless loop. Her heart and empathy has withered and dried up, though, and her brutal methods cause as many problems and failures as they get results.


    2) Maria is that Lady of Logos. She created the original 343 Forged cores (souls basically) with the assistance/power/inspiration of Thelesis, the Goddess of Wizardry, Knowledge, and Thievery

    3)So far Artaith is a tightly contained prison. Stuff comes in, coming back out is the problem.

    4)Both Revelation and the gate-paths that Helios used are on another plane, the world of Lethe. Lethe has wondrous features like oceans of ash, freezing temperatures courtesy of the near-dead sun, and ancient crystalline ruins buried amongst said mountains and oceans of ash. Lethe is certainly tied to the Labyrinth, but not in any way that the PCs have discovered yet

    5)Certainly! Actually getting to a point where they might be showing up, but again no promises on what I may or may not actually use :P
    Thank you! I am a bit stunned at how much thought and time went into the world/universe you have here -- would love to read more about it if readily available -- I started thinking up a few more questions, and went down a rabbit hole of potential conspiracy theories/idea rather quickly...all I can think of now is how your players must feel (you know, in addition to the constant fear/death/dismemberment, etc).

  9. - Top - End - #429
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Thank you again! I'll try and compile the world lore that's been discovered (along with some stuff the players know but maybe their players haven't run into yet) over the next couple days.
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  10. - Top - End - #430
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Deities!

    Spoiler: Adremmelach
    Show

    God of Sorcery, Strength, Conquest, and the Sun
    Alignment: Lawful neutral
    Titles: The Dawnstar, the Conquering Sun, Godking, Firelord
    Portfolios: Sorcery, rulership, conquest, domination, royal bloodlines, magic
    Domains: Magic, Domination, Pride, Strength, Sun, Fire, Glory
    Favored weapon: Spear

    One of the most powerful gods, Adremmelach is the Sovereign of the Sky, and declares everything that the sun touches to be under his rule. Few would contest this, as he is the original ruler of magic, and his pride brooks no opposition. Adremmelach is responsible for the Gift of sorcery to humanity, and Adremmelach’s first Priest-Magi were both protectors and rulers of the beginnings of the Solar Empire.


    Spoiler: Thelesis
    Show

    Goddess of Wizardry, trickery, and knowledge
    Alignment: Chaotic neutral
    Titles: The Ascended, Trickster, Loreseeker, Scrollthief, Lady of the Word
    Portfolios: Wizardry, writing, knowledge, libraries, education, independence, freedom, theft
    Domains: Magic, Spells, Trickery, Travel, Knowledge, Liberation, Rune
    Favored weapon: Dagger

    Thelesis is the Self-made Goddess, and the first mortal to ascend to godhood. She did so by seducing Adremmelach and stealing his scrolls, which contained the secret of wizardry. Such an approach to wielding magic could be mastered by anyone, not just those with the blessing of Adremmelach. With this act, magic was no longer restricted to sorcerers. The audacity of such a deed catapulted Thelesis to divinity.


    Spoiler: Valeos
    Show

    God of Battle and Heroes
    Alignment: Neutral Good
    Titles: First Hero, the Eternal, Guardian of all, Ruler of blades
    Porfolios: Combat/battle, heroes, adventurers, martial skill, protection/guardianship Domains:War, Protection, Strength, Destiny, Courage, Mysticism, Competition
    Favored weapon: Swords of any type

    Little is known for certain about Valeos. Quite possibly the oldest of the gods, the First Hero has seemingly always existed. Even his or her true face is a mystery, as Valeos always appears as a fully armored warrior. Closely linked with Uthra and the Twins, the First Hero aids and empowers mortals to face unimaginable threats.


    Spoiler: Uthra
    Show

    Goddess of Death, Healing, and Peace
    Alignment:Lawful Good
    Titles: The last Guide, Final Companion, Gatekeeper, Shepherd
    Portfolios: Death, acceptance, medicine, afterlife/transition,
    Domains: Death, Healing, Family, Good, Exorcism, Deathless, Purification
    Favored weapon: Unarmed strike

    Uthra was once the Goddess of
    Spoiler: Recent spoiler
    Show
    Hope and Free Will
    . Together with her brother Rhamiel, the siblings ruled over their respective domains, one balancing the other.

    Then Uthra died.

    Uthra passed through the Final Gate, and returned as the Goddess of Death. Wielding power over Sheol, Uthra became a guardian and guide to the dead. She both helps the newly dead accept their fate, and encourages the living to cherish their time.


    Spoiler: Rhamiel
    Show

    God of Lust, Passion, Revenge, and the arts
    Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
    Titles: The Rake, Heartbreaker, the Mad Muse
    Portfolios: Lust, revenge, passion/madness, art, music, unfaithful partners, artistic inspiration
    Domains: Lust, Spite, Passion, Retribution, Madness, Charm, Craft
    Favored weapon: Bow

    Before his sister Uthra’s death, Rhamiel was the divine patron of creativity and passion. Driven to the brink of madness, however, he twisted his focus. Still the god of passion and inspiration, Rhamiel now prefers the darker side of these emotions. Love, to lust. Passion, to madness. Rhamiel is the personification of an absolute loss of self control.


    Spoiler: Anael
    Show

    God of Luck, Time, and Dreams
    Alignment: Neutral
    Titles: Push and Pull, the Twin, Coin’s Edge, Master of Time
    Portfolios: Time, probability, choices, chance, philosophy
    Domains: Luck, Time, Dream, Force, Celerity, Balance, Knowledge
    Favored weapon: Quarterstaff

    Anael is the god of what was, what is, and what may be. Every time there is a chance for one event to occur instead of another, Anael is observing, noting what could and could not have happened.


    Spoiler: Walking spoiler
    Show

    Zophiel
    Goddess of Prophecy, Fate, Spite and Suffering
    Alignment: ?
    Titles: Three faced goddess, Architect of Fate
    Portfolios: ?
    Domains: ?
    Favored weapon: ?

    The spiteful sister of Adremmelach, Zophiel hates all of her divine kin, and everything they hold dear. Suffering and ruination is all she desires for existence, and Zophiel uses her power over prophecy and fate to twist and manipulate the world down its path
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  11. - Top - End - #431
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Planes of Artaith:

    Spoiler: The Prime
    Show
    The center of existence. The home of mortals and immortals alike. The pillar of Creation. Also known as the Material Plane by some scholars.


    Spoiler: The Summerlands
    Show
    The Summerlands are the lands of the mercurial and alien Fey, a world of untamed magic and chaos. All things are possible, and reality itself is subject to whim and fancy.


    Spoiler: Hyperborea
    Show
    The domain of the Gods, only the most faithful and exceptional mortal souls are elevated to Hyperborea upon their deaths rather than Sheol. It is said that each deity rules an entire realm, shaped and grown to their desires.


    Spoiler: Sheol
    Show
    All things die, and Sheol is the final destination. The living do not know much of this place, and they are not meant for it. An endless mist-shrouded river, the Land of the Dead is a journey to release souls of all obligations and attachments.


    Spoiler: The Shadow
    Show
    The Shadow is aptly named, a ruined doppleganger of the other worlds. It is a reflection of wherever one steps across, but never truly the same.

    No one knows if the Shadow is simply a crumbling mockery of the other worlds, a promise of dark times to come, or a vision of the past.


    Spoiler: Lethe
    Show
    An ash-coated wasteland, the world of Lethe is a mystery waiting to be uncovered. Seemingly uninhabited, Lethe was discovered by the priest-magi of the early Solar Empire.
    The easily traversed and numerous portals, combined with the potent magical treasures buried within the ashen ruins, gave the Solar Empire many advantages over their foes.

    Despite their exploration and exploitation, little truths of this world were uncovered.


    Spoiler: Mild spoilers
    Show
    Spoiler: The Labyrinth
    Show
    A cancerous, malignant wound in the fabric of reality, the Labyrinth is a mass of shattered worlds, lives, and futures spiraling oblivion.

    Daemons rule the Labyrinth, and it is a broken monument to their goals
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  12. - Top - End - #432
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Some locations discovered/visited by the party!

    Spoiler: Far shore
    Show
    The beach where the party first found themselves in Artaith. Former location of the Twins’ Lighthouse, now destroyed


    Spoiler: Sinking Village
    Show
    An abandoned fishing village, slowly being claimed by the sea. Full of Drowned Hollows, clever trolls, and formerly at least one giant


    Spoiler: The Jungle
    Show
    A dense and lush jungle, full of danger. The party encountered at least one portal to the Shadow, a young and insane dragon, and elven hunting parties


    Spoiler: The Canyons
    Show
    A maze of vast canyons carved and blasted into the earth. Here the party first encountered Spotter, the Forged hunter and archer. Also contains Shepherd’s Sanctuary, amongst other locations.


    Spoiler: The Wastes
    Show
    A desolate and scoured badlands, where the land itself has Hollowed. The party found the haunted memories of a city, and a sacred tomb of the Sun


    Spoiler: Logos
    Show
    The largest city in the world, and where most survivors of Artaith call home. The size of a nation, only small swathes have been clawed back from predatory Hollows and corrupting Daemons


    Spoiler: Revelation
    Show
    The mysterious and deep temple within Lethe where the Pilgrims gained Sovereignty over Flame and learned of the Hearth of the World


    Spoiler: Helios
    Show
    The shattered jewel of a once worlds-spanning empire. The party defeated their former ally Janath here, but could not save the city itself. The refugees and reborn Mage-King reside within Logos now.


    Spoiler: Midpoint
    Show
    The sunken volcanic ruins of an island destroyed by the wrath of Tephras, the wyrm of devastation
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  13. - Top - End - #433
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Hopefully these snippets aren't too melodramatic, and impart enough info to be interesting without clunkiness. Going for the same sort of feel as the snippets of info about items and places you get from loading screens and descriptions in the Souls games.
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  14. - Top - End - #434
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Thelesis is probably my favorite.
    Ascended to Godhood by sheer audacity. :D

    I love this whole world. Thank you for sharing it with us
    The beatings will continue until morale improves!

    Vaz approval for the best backstory. Villainous Competition 16: Burn Baby Burn
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/shows...&postcount=114

    Honorable Mention Villainous Competition 22: I Am The Night
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?http://531199-Villainous-Competition...e-Night!/page6

  15. - Top - End - #435
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Happy to share, and thank you again for the kind words!

    Alas, we didn't manage to play this previous weekend, so going to be another couple weeks before the next entry - so instead I'll keep trying to post more snippets and tidbits of info. Think of it like a reeaaalllllyyyy long series of loading screens :P
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  16. - Top - End - #436
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    I remember this thread being created. Can't explain how impressed I am at it still being updated

    Congratulations to everyone involved. The story has been a magnificent read (and saved me from being bored to death at work). Can't wait to see how it finishes!


    Also, seems as good a time as any to ask for those backstories?
    Spoiler
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    I'll have a signature one day...


    Thanks Mr. Saturn for the awesome Pokeatar

  17. - Top - End - #437
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Quote Originally Posted by d13 View Post
    I remember this thread being created. Can't explain how impressed I am at it still being updated

    Congratulations to everyone involved. The story has been a magnificent read (and saved me from being bored to death at work). Can't wait to see how it finishes!
    Thank you!


    Also, seems as good a time as any to ask for those backstories?
    You poor, mad fool. It's too late now, the links have been sent hurtling towards your inbox.
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  18. - Top - End - #438
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Schedules aligned, and we're gaming tomorrow! Mwahahahaha!
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  19. - Top - End - #439
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Session the 51st! Couple players had to do a last minute cancellation, so Sona and Talvosh are in silent NPC mode for the night:

    Spoiler: Back at the Church
    Show
    The party quickly makes their way through the square into the Church proper. Thankfully the square is large enough(as well as the massive church itself) to accommodate all the refugees, but it's pretty crowded. The heroes are kind of used to the stares and whispers by now, but these are a bit more flat and despairing than before.

    The Twins and Alexandria are huddled around the fire, and quite relieved to see everyone intact. Alexandria has seen better days, however. Her skin looks rough and dry, cracking around her lips and Puck actually sees faint wisps of smoke curling out from her bandages. Alexandria's voice is still strong though, even if it's a bit rougher than before.

    The gang goes over what they had been doing in the couple days (to them) and the Twins and Alexandria go over the three weeks or so (to everyone else). As Bulwark mentioned, things got a lot worse, very quickly. Only a couple days after leaving for the library, seemed like Hollows everywhere started becoming far more active and aggressive. And seeing how most of this nation-sized city is still full of Hollows, catastrophic is a very good word to describe the situation. The first group sent to check on and help out the party never returned; the scond only had a single member return. And just to make the situation more alarming, he seemed to bring with him a wave of despair and madness leading to suicide. As anyone still with the will and wits to do so fled to the Church, the madness thankfully seemed to fade once Alexandria and the Mage-King put up heavy wardings (several days before the PCs made it back).

    Alexandria is quite happy to hear that the Library is still usable, as are the Twins (they mention one fragmented future they glimpsed involved cramming the entirety of the Library's knowledge into one poor sap's skull/soul with unfortunate results). The NPCs are somewhat at a loss of what to do next, though, or why the Moon is so much closer...they're hoping the Pilgrims might know.

    They're still a little confused and conflicted themselves, unfortunately *cue evil GM laughter*. Everyone can agree that acquiring the final two Primal Sparks from Eulethron and the Goblin hold's Fires is a good idea, though, so that's the next plan. And before the party leaves, there is at least a little bit of good news! Alexandria reaches into the Central Fire, and carefully scoops out 5 glowing embers. The Pilgrims need as much help as possible,
    and an infusion of spiritual fire should do just that. Everyone receives a boost to one of their stats, a boost to saves (or a higher boost to one), and they all choose one piece of equipment to gain additional abilities!

    Spoiler: Angelena
    Show
    Angelena chooses her armor, and it gains the Roaring ability


    Spoiler: Puck
    Show
    Puck chooses his armor plating, and gains the Greater Blurring ability (10 min-duration Blur at will as a swift action)


    Spoiler: Sona
    Show
    Sona chooses her mask of mental armor, and it gains the Mindvault ability (1/day make yourself immune to mind-affecting abilities for 1 round as an immediate action, but be dazed in return-you can use this after failing a save but before the consequences)


    Spoiler: Spotter
    Show
    Spotter chooses his armor plating, and gains the ability to Dimension door 3/day


    Spoiler: Talvosh
    Show
    Talvosh chooses his axe, and it gains the Throwing and Returning Properties, along with 1/day the ability to make a full attack throwing his axe and treating it as melee attacks (like the Bloodstorm Blade ability)


    The party also has work begin on some minor magical items - without the forges, it's more difficult, but there are still enough mages around to make at least some helpful stuff.
    Spoiler: DM NOTE
    Show
    I'm deliberately going against the whole "the world is ending? Still full price!" thing


    With newly acquired abilities and gifts, the party decides to set out to Eulethron! But because of distances, they'll have to teleport to the Goblin Holds (also cheerfully known as the Demon Ruins) first, then to Eulethron.


    Spoiler: Off and Away!
    Show
    The first teleport to the Demon Ruins goes smoothly, leaving the party in a small cavern next to a vast underground lake.
    No-one looks more than a small peek outside, so only numerous glowing points of light around the lake are seen, and the occasional strange growl/grunt echoes across the water. With only a brief pause, it's onwards to Eulethron!

    But I roll 100 on this teleport - mishap! The location roll is right on target, but everyone takes 10 damage as they are deposited rather roughly at their destination. There's no splinching, so only some minor flesh wounds. Looking around, they seem to be in a park of some sort. There's dense forest beind them, and up ahead a small clearing overlooking the city of Eulethron. After attuning to the fire, they do a bit of searching, and find a nearly worn-away footpath. Following the threadbare trail through the trees for a few minutes, the party comes across a large statue. It's a massive owl, intricately carved but worn by age (I get a lot of suspicious questions about how intricately carved, like if it looks liable to come to life all of a sudden :P ). Digging around the grass and roots, Spotter finds a plaque at the base.

    Spoiler: The Plaque - internet cookies if you know where I pilfered it from
    Show
    Beware The Court of Owls, that watches all the time
    Ruling from a shadow’d perch, behind granite and lime
    They watch you at your hearth
    They watch you in your bed
    Speak not a whispered word of them
    Or they'll send The Talons for your head


    So of course Spotter reads this out loud to everyone

    Nothing seems to happen, so the party goes back to the fire, then advances towards the city outskirts. Creeping up all sneakily, Spotter finds what seems to be a square for executions. As the rest of the party walks up, they see what seem to be four gallows. Instead of being hanged by the neck though, 4 corpses hang on brutal hooks and chains, impaled through their chests. As the party gets closer, though, the Gallowdeads' eyes light up with unholy power, and they slide off the gallows! Initiative!

    The Gallowdead are pretty nasty customers, especially with their aura of whispers and chains of the dead abilities. Puck takes a big hit, and Angelena acts fast enough to throw out a mass death ward (which technically shouldn't have worked on Puck but ah well). With that big damage blast blocked, Puck is able to tank the undead chain gang while him and Spotter throw out the damage (after the death ward Angelena succumbs to the whispers and is nauseated). Puck takes a lot of damage, but they manage to kill the Gallowdead (again) without anyone other than Puck taking too many hits. Only a moment passes though, before the howl and snarl of hounds fills the air!

    3 massive horse-sized mastiffs come scrabbling into the square, along with two rough and ragged-looking bowmen. With a cry of, "Outsiders!" their intention is clear. One bowmen dashes forward with unnatural quickness and launches a shot off that splits into two mid-air. The arrows land home with a lot of dice being rolled. Angelena throws out another big spell, though, and blocks off these new enemies with a blade barrier. This is a very solid tactical decision, allowing the one hound to be chopped down relatively easily, and keeping the huntsmen outside their preferred Greater Manyshot range. Spotter goes invisible and unloads point-blank on one of the hunters from just across the blade barrier, and the resulting damage is enough to reveal the hunter's true colors. With a snarl, the man's teeth elongate and thicken, forcing his face into a rictus. Fur sprouts from under his clothing, and the werewolf howls with rage!

    Then Angelena crits with a Bolt of Glory, taking most of the spring out of his step. Puck and Spotter manage to climb the gallows to avoid the blade barrier, and finish off the one hunter (Puck's final brutal surge sending him careening into the blade barrier). The second hunter made a rapid retreat after the display of intense magic, but one Hound gets caught and dazed by some more magic. It survives Puck's beating, however, and pounces on Puck in retaliation, ripping and tearing! I drop Puck to below 30 hp, but the final Hound (a reskinned Rage Drake) is cut down finally. Welcome to Eulethron!



    We end it there for the night.

    Spoiler: DEATH COUNT
    Show
    45
    Last edited by curious-puzzle; 2017-11-28 at 09:51 AM.
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

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  20. - Top - End - #440
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Session the 52! Back to full group, so Sona and Talvosh were just "lurking" in the back last session.

    Spoiler: What do you mean this isn't Yharnam?
    Show
    Yeah, I'm not even bothering to disguise it, this is the Bloodborne city in my game. Whether that's good for the players or not, well we'll see.

    There's a couple blessed moments of silence as the party checks the corpses of their defeated enemies. The Gallowdead have nothing but rags unsurprisingly (and the gigantic hounds teeth and blood), but the bowman has some equipment. There's a nice set of leather armor, and a crude longbow that nonetheless hums with some pretty impressive magic. On closer inspection, it's also ridiculously thick, with a bowstring that could double as cabling. Everyone tries it, and only Talvosh can manage to fully draw the bow back (it has a +10 strength pull), which is a little alarming. After that bit of experimentation and examination, the party figures out that it's a +1 flaming splitting composite longbow. So quite impressive, but not easily used to its full potential.

    The feral and lupine appearance of the dead hunter also convinces the party that there are werewolves in them thar hills...before they can make much more of a plan however, the sound of bells rings out from deeper within the city (play those three sound effects together but not simultaneously for the best effect). It sounds like multiple locations sounding an alarm of some sort, zig-zagging deeper into the city.

    Well, stealth is scratched off the list of options, and speed is suddenly looking better. The party agrees that wandering down the main street is probably a Bad Idea. Instead they take to the roofs for a block or so, trying to find a good vantage point to further into the city. They do spot one that's quite a bit closer to the massive church dominating the cityscape (and the nagging pull of the Fire is indeed that direction), but before they can teleport they notice something in the air off in the west of the city.

    A large winged mass soars through the air, and then a thunderous roar rattles the tiles of the roof the party stands on. Even thousands of feet away, the shape of the dragon is unmistakable. It swoops towards a tower, and a beam of blazing red light slashes through the building. As the tower crumbles, the dragon roars again and flaps away, ducking out of sight.

    Spoiler: DM NOTE
    Show
    I'm a little surprised that the party didn't charge dead ahead chanting "dragon dragon dragon dragon" :P, maybe the aircraft-carrier sized Tephras made them a little wary


    The party gathers close, and Sona teleports further into the city, aiming for the broad roof relatively close to the massive church...buuutt she rolls a mishap for "similar location", and they end up at the base of a large roof, next to a church-like building (but certainly not the main one they were looking for). Spotter's sharp ears catch the rustle and mumble of people inside the church, and he motions to the rest of the party before carefully clambering over the nearby rusty gate to do some scouting.

    And Puck pushes open the church doors loudly as soon as Spotter is over the fence *facepalm*. The four hunters and two hounds stare in befuddlement at the stranger who just opened their church door, then with a shriek of "OUTSIDERS!" the fight is on!


    Spoiler: A hunt!
    Show
    Two of the hunters dart forward and let loose a volley of arrows at Puck and Talvosh. The one manyshot doesn't deal a ton of damage to Puck (this hunter doesn't have Forged as a favored enemy) but everyone is a little alarmed when the second manyshot blasts Talvosh for over 150 points of damage. One of the horse-sized mastiffs scrabbles up to the door, and the party snaps into action. Puck pushes his way further into the church ,
    just narrowly avoiding being grappled by the hound's bite of opportunity, and chops one of the hunters to send him smashing into a pew. Sona shuffles just far enough to see into the church, and shuts down half of the opposition with an Acid fog. Spotter sends his time getting back over the fence,
    and then dim-doors his way into the rafters of the church to lurk all batman-style. Angelena zaps the hound, and Tavlosh cuts into the beast's neck for a huge damage roll. It growls menacingly in response, so talvosh swings into the same spot and rolls his first crit of the night, decapitating it.

    "A hunt! A grand hunt!" The one hunter cackles madly and tumbles away from Puck, pincushioning him with another series of shots. His eyes are bulging and shifting, going more animalistic as Puck watches. The second one does the same, and this one hurts a lot more. Puck responds by charging straight through a pew to smash the hunter with another massive blow and send him careening against the stone altar (which, by the way, is a large owl with outstretched wings). There's the spray and splatter of blood, but the "man" is still standing, frighteningly enough. He's also not really a man anymore. Fur has burst out all over his skin, his jaw has swollen and distended from the fangs jutting forth, and the wolfen beast roars in rage at Puck.

    Angelena blasts him right in the open mouth with a Searing light and finishes him off, though. Sona further splits the battlefield off with a Wall of Force. As one hunter was just making it to the edge of the acid fog, he thumps up against the wall with a confused snarl. Puck skitters around/over the wall of force, Talvosh gets swapped around with him and lands another crit, killing the hunter on the spot. Sona dismisses the fog on the next turn,
    and the remaining hound manages to tear into Puck before Talvosh lands his THIRD crit of the night and splits the dog into pieces. The final hunter gets pincushioned by Spotter, a holy smite from Angelena, and more chops from Puck finishes him off.

    While the fight is being finished, Sona notices an owl perched on the opposite roof, staring at her. There's traces of magic about the owl, so Sona carefully asks if the owl represents someone who won't attack them on the spot. It silently flaps off around the corner, but Sona chooses not to follow it,
    going inside with everyone else and closing the doors behind her.

    Spoiler: DM NOTE
    Show


    next time...


    Now that there aren't arrows being launched at ludicrous speeds, the party notices that there's a person in the corner of the church. Well, it looks like a person, if a little giant-sized. They're chained up (hands together, feet together, both chained together as well), wearing a Hannibal-style muzzle,
    and propped against the wall. There's also a massive metal stake jammed through their neck. But when Spotter checks the body carefully, it registers as feverishly warm...with no pulse. It's definitely undead of some sort, but no-one can make a high enough religion roll to recognize exactly what sort.
    It doesn't respond to Spotter tapping it on the mask, so Puck pulls the stake out.

    The Ecorche immediately comes to life with a shriek and rips into Puck! He passes his save, so it doesn't rip his skin/armor plating off, alas.

    It doesn't last very long as Spotter does a Hunter's mercy manyshot right into the Ecorche's face, and Puck frenzies again unwillingly and hacks it down. Unfortunately that means he has to take a swing at Spotter, and lands a heavy blow. If not for the party's usual vigor running, Spotter would be a scrap heap. He wisely warps away, and Puck calms down before it's time for some emergency healing (both berserkers plus Spotter being extremely low on health).


    We end it there for the night.

    Spoiler: DEATH COUNT
    Show
    45. Pretty close though.
    Last edited by curious-puzzle; 2017-12-13 at 12:48 PM. Reason: Words!
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  21. - Top - End - #441
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    It's not bloodbourne..... How can it be WITHOUT ANY GUNS!

    That being said there are a lot of very nice bows. THAT I CAN'T EVEN USE PROPERLY!

    not that I'm bitter lol

  22. - Top - End - #442
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Not my fault your robot doesn't have enough swole.
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  23. - Top - End - #443
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    I like those Hunters
    They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside
    The beatings will continue until morale improves!

    Vaz approval for the best backstory. Villainous Competition 16: Burn Baby Burn
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/shows...&postcount=114

    Honorable Mention Villainous Competition 22: I Am The Night
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?http://531199-Villainous-Competition...e-Night!/page6

  24. - Top - End - #444
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    They are certainly fun even if they aren't goblins, Prismcat . Certainly looking forward to them getting further into the city, there's some interesting beasties I have lined up. Downside, at this level prepping stats is a somewhat intensive process...I think once this campaign is finished I'll have had my fix of running high-level games for a while.

    Timing wise, the previous session may end up being the last one of 2017, probably 2-3 weeks till the next game.
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  25. - Top - End - #445
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    I live! And the game is on Sunday!

    Churches and teeth and blood, oh my
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  26. - Top - End - #446
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Session 53!
    Talvosh's player was felled by some terrible plague, so he's out of sight in the background.

    Spoiler: Sanctuary! Sanctuary!
    Show
    The party takes a few moments to catch their breath, but then decide they need to press onwards to the grand cathedral. After poking their heads outside and listening carefully, Spotter and Sona determine that the sounds of angry rioting/screaming/insane laughter/general mob behavior is heading away from them. The teleport tactic has allowed the party to evade the attentions of whatever group is making such a racket...but then Sona mentions the spooky owl that was totally watching them. With that, everyone agrees it's time to go. Our heroes hustle down the streets towards the ominous cathedral!

    A few minutes later, they fail their spot checks. My dice in return decide that they've had enough of Spotter and I roll a nat 20 for a spot check, and then a nat 20 for the surprise attack. Everything goes quiet...eerily silent in fact. To Angela and Sona, it looks as if Spotter is suddenly struck by some unseen object and yanked off his feet. Puck however can see the huge spectral owl clutching Spotter in its talons, as well as a second go swooping by in supernatural silence (it hits one of Sona's mirror images). Fight time!

    The Owl Spirits (Begin with base of Steelwings, add Undead, Incorporeal, Invisibility, Silence Aura. Mix well, and garnish with ghost touch talons) do their best to snatch a hapless adventurer and carry them off to an untimely demise. However, a combination of lucky rolls and me forgetting to give them Snatch prevents them from doing so in a single turn. Spotter gets ripped up by talons, but a dimension step pops him free. The spirit is invisible, but the robo-archer unloads into the square he knows it has to be in, and lands a couple blind hits. Then Angelena steps up and reveals the massive owl-beasts with an Invisibility Purge.
    Spoiler: DM NOTE
    Show
    I think that Invisibility Purge has stayed in Angelena's prepared spells since the fight against the Agents of Fate. They might have left a bit of an impression, methinks :P


    An initial spell fails because of the silence surrounding the spirits, and I giggle with only a bit of malice. Puck frenzying and Spotter opening fire hurts one of the spirits, while the other swoops up to the top of a nearby building to do another divebomb. Sona pulls out a scroll of Undeath to Death, and blows one spirit to ectoplasmic dust. Not to be outdone, Angelena brandishes her shield and uses a Greater Turning to completely annihilate the second!
    While this fight was going on, though, Sona failed her spot and listen checks... there's a piercing cold sensation as a blade perforates her kidneys. The second strike is blocked by wings of cover but then two more land home between her shoulder blades and kill Sona with extreme prejudice.

    "You really shouldn't have come here..." is the last thing Sona hears whispered into her ear before she bleeds out 80s ultraviolent anime style and keels over. The rest of the party turns about to see a shadowy figure sheathing a pair of long-knives. They're dressed in dark obscuring armor, but what draws the eye is the menacing white mask.
    Spoiler: The Mask
    Show

    The figure vanishes in a swirl of shadows as Sona crumples, and Angelena+Spotter scramble out of sight as they realize Puck is still frenzying! He makes his second save though, and the gang hangs around long enough for Sona come back to life. The only evidence of Sona’s mysterious assailant (besides her blood all over the ground) is a pair of owl feathers.

    The distant sounds of the mob is starting to get closer though, so the party picks up their pace to hustle to the Cathedral. After a little while hustling, they turn a corner and find themselves at the Grand Cathedral. This place is BIIIGG, probably 10+ stories tall, with wide steps stretching up to giant-sized double doors. Scurrying up to the threshold, Puck’s battlevisor lets him see the Forbiddance warding the building. After Sona explains how the spell works, Puck tests it by sticking his hand in :P. I obligingly grab a handful of dice, and he gets zapped. Spotter decides to do the same, so I grab two handfuls of dice and Spotter gets zapped even harder! Sona wisely (greater) dispels the Forbiddance before there’s more testing. It takes both Puck and Spotter working in tandem to shove the oversized door open far enough for everyone to slip inside and close it behind them. There’s a large lever to lower a heavy beam across the doors, so Puck yanks that and then jams the gears with a knife. Finally everyone turns and looks at their surroundings.

    The cathedral is quite impressive, stretching far above their heads. There are two upper floors that the party can see from the base; first one about 30-40 ft up, and the next the same distance again at least. Rich red tapestries hang from the walls, and even the numerous pews are elaborately carved. Despite the opulent surroundings, the party feels on edge, tense. The central focus of the room is a broad firepit containing a giant crackling Bonfire, nearly the size of the one in Logos. Spotter makes a Vitae roll and rolls quite low, but feels the pull of a Bonfire in front of him.

    Spoiler: DM NOTE
    Show
    He's being deceived, but more on that shortly


    As the party cautiously advances, the set of doors on the far side of the fire opens, and a man dressed in simple black preacher's clothing steps out.

    "Ah, strangers. Welcome to the Healing Church, it has been some time since we've had foreign visitors."

    "With the way everyone tries to kill you on the spot, it's hardly surprising!" Can you tell that Sona is not everly impressed with Eulethron? :D

    "Much of the city's remaining inhabitants have been overcome by the Madness, yes. But you are safe here, do not fear." The preacher has been walking forward slowly while speaking, stopping on the far side of the Fire, around 70-80 feet from the party. Angelena is definitely getting the heebie jeebies,
    and asks exactly what this place is a church to. There are no notable symbols or carvings, other than a couple subtle owl-like shapes in an alcove/corner or two. The preacher smiles and makes a sweeping gesture with his hands.

    "Why, life itself. The mending and care of flesh and spirit. But tell me, what brings you strangers to our doors?" Upon hearing that the party are Pilgrims and wish to commune with Eulethron's main Bonfire, his smile stretches even further. "My my, Pilgrims! It has been so long. Of course, avail yourselves to our Fire."

    The party's creep-sensors are definitely going off. Puck's battlevisor shows an absolute lack of any magic on the preacher, and while Spotter's Sense Motive doesn't catch the preacher in an outright lie, Something is up. The two Forged wave to stop Angelena from walking closer to the Fire,
    Spotter nocking an arrow at the preacher. Puck stares HARD at the Fire, which counts as enough a focused study to allow a Will save. Passing his Will save, he sees through the illusory fire to what is actually there: a large hole in the ground. Tersely barking this out, the rest of the party gets a save and passes. The preacher's lips thin and his eyes narrow.

    "How unfortunate." Initiative! Puck beats everyone and gallops forward in a CCCHHAAARRGGGEEE!. Swinging his blade in a brutal arc, he surges in an attempt to send the preacher flying at an angle (using Directed Bull rush from Shock Trooper)-if he gets a good roll, he could get him dangerously close or even knock him into the pit. Everyone is a little alarmed when the preacher blocks the thunderous blow on his forearm and only skids back a few feet. No longer particularly human eyes glare at Puck, blood running thickly from the cut in the preacher's arm. As Puck watches though, the blood reverse directions and flows back into the wound!

    "I will deal with you later." With that hissed threat, the preacher shimmers and vanishes. After confirming that he didn't just go invisible, the party
    peers down the hole.


    Spoiler: The Pit
    Show
    It is a large ominous pit, 20-some feet across. There are even ominous stains ringing said pit, and it rapidly drops into blackness out of the range of darkvision. That sense of unease plaguing the party is even stronger near the edge of the hole...Puck goes right up to the edge, and actually has to make a save to resist the brief and bizarre impulse to fling himself into the blackness. He resists, but swears he can hear something right at the edge of audibility, almost felt more than heard. The rest of the party can as well when they focus (though everyone else keeps their distance from the creepy pit).

    It kind of sounds like this (play it at half speed). Focusing, Angelena makes her Vitae roll and senses the presence of a Bonfire - but above her. From below though, she can feel that illicit tug of Vitae...that nagging ache that feels far too good to fulfill. Just to add to the creepy factor, the party also notices that the door the preacher had come through is closed.

    The preacher had left it open when he entered the Cathedral.

    Puck's player is intrigued by the ominous pit however, and crawls in to clamber down the side. And goes down. And down.

    And down.

    After a while, Puck uses some of his flight ability to rapidly descend. After a few minutes (and what Puck figures is thousands of feet) the pit connects to a stone tunnel. The noise is louder here, and the passageway stretches to both the left and the right. The rough-hewn stone also has strange grooves worn into it, both on the floor and ceiling. Puck advances to the left, eyes flicking back and forth.

    Meanwhile up above, the remainder of the party tries the door, discovers it's locked, and is a little too creeped out by the implications of it being closed and locked when no-one noticed to try and fiddle with it much. The sounds of general mobbery and rioting has reached the cathedral now, and they can quite clearly hear yelling, screaming, and fists pounding on the door. Said main doors are extremely stout though, and it doesn't so much as quiver in response to the mob bashing against it. Angelena and Sona also make some Knowledge (religion) and (planes) checks to determine that the palpable aura of creepiness around the pit could be caused by:
    a)extremely blasphemous atrocities
    b)wholesale slaughter
    c)long-term portals to planes of great evil
    d)some combination of the above options


    Back down below, Puck finds that the stone beneath his feet has change to iron grating, and below that he can see numerous metal pipes. Before he can do too much examination however, a menacing shape lurches out of the darkness! A lumbering creature of metal and stone crawls forward, most of its surface covered with brutal jagged spikes of steel. Impaled on said spikes are dozens of humanoids in varying states of decay and health, all moaning and thrashing weakly as the monstrous construct notices Puck. Glowing green eyes pulse to red, and the creature lets out a titanic bellow that shakes the cavern and rushes Puck!

    Up above, the roar is faintly felt and a cloud of dust puffs from the pit. The party agrees that if Puck doesn't show back up in a couple minutes they should go after him.

    I'm fairly certain the
    Spoiler: Greater Cadaver Collector
    Show
    will get a hold of Puck rather easily, impale him, and Puck will die once his frenzy runs out. We do a quick on the spot ruling that a nat 20 auto-succeeds and a nat 1 autofails on the grapple checks though, and that turns out to be my undoing.

    Puck manages to roll FIVE natural 20s over the course of the battle, and myself a natural 1 to allow Puck to break free of the Collector's grasp, hack into the construct with an adamantine axe, and do it multiple times until the Collector topples over with a groan. Once his rage and frenzy end, Puck is dangerously close to single digit hp.

    I possibly get a little salty for a few minutes over Puck's absurd dice.

    The rest of the gang flies down the pit (which I rule is deep enough that if you fall down it you are dead with no save) to meet up with an extremely battered Puck. For the party members who have noses and breathe, the air is curiously warm, and has a very faint metallic tang to it. It also seems rich rather than the stale you would expect...

    Spotter does some scouting through the tunnels, and finds a heavy iron door before the tunnel loops back on itself. While he's scouting, the other party members make a gruesome discovery. The cadaver collector is quite thoroughly destroyed, but the bodies still impaled on its spikes are not. Angelena tries to turn them, but it has no effect; they're somehow still alive. Not only that, but they're very slowly healing. Just enough to start moving and try to pull free, but then the serrated spikes rip and tear the wounds open again, and the poor souls slump over and bleed out. This process repeats itself a couple times before Puck grabs one and yanks him free of the spikes and dumps him on the ground. The healing continues sssslllooowwwlllly until the horrible puncture wounds seal up.

    Sona and Angelena hadn't been able to coax anything out of the bodies other than hollow pleas and blank-eyed stares, so Angelena lays her hands upon the freed one and channels a bit of healing to speed the process. His wounds completely seal with a shudder, but then things go wrong. The man's skin goes a healthy tone, then flushed, then feverishly red. Growths bulge and swell on his skin, tumors pulsing obscenely. The man thrashes and gurgles, and then with a shriek he explodes! Poor Sona spends a moment retching, certain some got in her mouth oh god it's in my mouth. A WTF/Knowledge check about what just happened reveals that extreme exposure to positive energy could possibly do such a thing...or maybe an excessive dose of Vitae. Just to cap off the ick factor, the pieces are still twitching.

    Puck and Spotter examine the steel grating more closely, and manage to find a latch to lift a section of the grating to reveal a pathway between numerous pipes. The metallic tang is stronger, as is the low thud---thud noise. The party decides to keep going, following the pipes down!


    Spoiler: Further down still
    Show
    The pipes angle down sharply, so Puck goes first to act as a living plug in case anyone slips. The pipes are warm, and Sona presses her ear against one of the pipes to hear something viscous flowing back and forth in time with the rhythmic thuds.

    The party continues onwards with a bit more trepidation...after a while the slope turns into a sheer drop. I call for will saves from everyone, and Sona fails. A wet warm breath of air makes the pair's heads spin drunkenly, Angelena nearly losing her grip while Sona (who's polymorphed into a Will'o'wisp to travel more easily) lurches back and forth erratically. At the bottom of the drop Puck and Spotter can just barely see more grating, and what looks like a platform below. The colossal heartbeat (it can't be anything but that by now) is a constant thrum, and everyone can taste the copper in the air. Caution finally overcomes curiosity at this point - everyone is low on resources, Angelena and Sona seem particularly affected by whatever's in the air, and this doesn't seem like the sort of place to just stroll into. The gang agrees to retreat back to the tunnels above, and check out the steel door Spotter found as a possible place to rest.

    Climbing back up, they do just that. It's a heavy iron door with a large keyhole, and a barred viewport. On the other side seems to be a medical room of some sort? Puck uses his rod of escape's Knock ability, and the door opens with a CLUNK. Inside is a circular room with a dozen tables on pedestals, and a large circular sink/trough with bars along the bottom in the center of the room. There are a pair of arms still manacled to one of the tables-they're partially furry, and still bleeding as if freshly cut. Occasionally they spasm to the distaste of everyone. There's another heavy locked door on the other side of the room, which seems to lead to stairs going up. It too has a large keyhole, and seems that can only be opened with a key (no handle or deadbolt on either side).

    Creeping closer to the large round sink (think an industrial sized round washing basin), there's a little bit of thick reddish liquid in the bottom. It's not quite the right color for blood though...it is a rich red, but with a black metallic gleam mixed in. A gleam much like Vitae...

    Puck presses on the foot lever, and with a gurgle, more blood flows sluggishly into the basin. There's a bunch of out-of-game debate and questioning, and then Puck sticks his finger into the blood. I declare he heals 5 hitpoints.

    Puck's player: "But I can't be affected by healing magic."

    Me: "You heal 5 hitpoints."

    Puck's player: "Huh..."

    Me: *scribbles something down in notebook*

    Puck's player: "Did you just write something down?!"

    Me: *horrible poker face*

    Puck's player: "You did!"

    Me: *eye twitch to resist cackling*

    Angelena, Sona, and Spotter all try to make various knowledge checks to try and discern anything they can about this fluid, but underwhelming rolls mean they can only come up with a single word between the three of them.

    Ichor.

    Sona uses a scroll to put a Glyph of Warding onto the door leading up, and the party hunkers down with the intention of rest. We'll see how that works next time, and end the session there.


    Spoiler: DEATH COUNT
    Show
    46 - totally should have been 47 *grumble grumble sulk sulk*
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  27. - Top - End - #447
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by curious-puzzle
    46 - totally should have been 47 *grumble grumble sulk sulk*
    You're totally being way too nice and forgiving to them. I think you might be going soft

    Ifin' you don't mind, I've forgotten most of the magic items the party has. Could you give us a quick list of the major/powerful ones the party is carrying around and what they do?
    The beatings will continue until morale improves!

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  28. - Top - End - #448
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by PrismCat21 View Post
    You're totally being way too nice and forgiving to them. I think you might be going soft


    Take that back

    Lol, maybe a little soft. I shall strive to reverse such impressions, especially with some of the stuff I have hidden in this city!

    And as for items, despite their caterwauling, the party is level 18 and has quite a collection of powerful magic items. I will try and compile a list-everyone is still using the custom items they received in the Temple of Revelation, though.
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

  29. - Top - End - #449
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    danielxcutter's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    ...18th level? I'm surprised they aren't throwing around higher level spells more often... Or are they being used for background buffs like Persisted Lesser Vigor?
    Awesome custom psywar avatar made by Coronalwave. Thanks dude!

    Most of my old signature has been moved to the new extended signature.

  30. - Top - End - #450
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Angelena normally uses the higher stuff for buffs, while Sona is actually 2 caster levels behind from her Pact Adept prestige class.
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, ongoing. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

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