Teros

The World of Teros
In the Spike




EPISODE TWO

The party (sans Zeta, who got distracted and wandered off) had a meeting with Heshin, the ambassador from Utopia. Like Nish, Heshin blathered on about how misunderstood his nation was, how happy everyone there was, and how much we’d love it there. When asked about tourist spots, he mentioned the Great Mountain, a site sacred to the savage tribes who inhabited the area before the Utopia was founded, but now largely ignored. He also signed our visas, with a brief warning to watch out for bands of marauding ghouls, but the Dead Lakes are still awesome.

After making their way back to the top level (with a brief pause to look at the Hall of Blades, which hold the legendary sword Balon’s Blade), the team decided to look for gainful employment. Another attempt to meet with Sir Banehold met with failure, so the gang headed over to the local office of the Tomb Breakers, a guild of professional treasure hunters who occasionally jobbed out missions to nascent adventurers.

After learning of a nearby site that had claimed the lives of five other teams, our heroes elected to do a little bounty hunting instead. The first job was to capture the mage Kabul alive and return her to Trek, the local Tomb Breaker agent. She had been holed up on the top floor of a mid-range inn called the Boar’s Breath, so the team headed down to scout the place. After ingratiating themselves with the staff, the party learned that Kabul had been in the inn for several days, and apparently never came out, living off of room service.

After a poorly-executed plan involving dinner delivery yielded no results, Thedis picked the lock and the team rushed in, only to find Kabul ready for their attack. After a heated magical battle, during which several Thunder Wave spells woke up the whole neighborhood, Kabul was rendered unconscious and the team took a few minutes to search her room. In addition to a lot of books and research notes, the suite also contained an active magical circle, leading to some unknown plane.

After Sarice lifted a magical ring off of Kabul’s finger, he decided to step into the circle with it and promptly disappeared. After several minutes, during which the rest of the party attempted to figure out what had happened, a deep voice rumbled “Thanks for the morsel. How would you like to be repaid?” Thinking quickly, Corin shouted out “I want a magic wand!” which caused a bloody thigh-bone, incised with runes, to appear as the magic circle winked out.

Weirded out by the strange turn of events, the team alerted the Black Guard to the possible threat posed by the circle and headed back to claim their reward. Despite the loss of one of their own, the team decided to try their luck with another bounty, this one for a group of 5 dwarves who had reneged on a contract with the Tomb Breakers. There would be an added bonus if the party could recover the map and survey data they had been contracted to research.

After tracing the dwarves to a poorer neighborhood a few levels down, Oona was fleeced by a drunk, but eventually the team found the flop-house the dwarves were staying in. Corin rented a cot, and after dark let the rest of the team in to quietly thug the dwarves. A few botched Stealth roles later, and both sides were in a stand-off as the dwarf leader threatened to burn the book of research the team hoped to collect. He promised to surrender if the party would listen to his story first.

According to the dwarf, his clan was hired to map a cavern complex, and were wiped out by the monstrous inhabitants. They did find a cavern filled with gold, gems, and other treasure, but were unable to cross the river of magma that protected it. The dwarves claim to have lost almost 250 members of their clan on a mission they were told was safe. Despite the sob story, the team elected to turn the dwarves in, anyway, but Oona and Corin tried to impress upon Trek that the Tomb Breaker who set up the mission might have been dirty dealing. They turned over the book without copying it, although they did make a mental note of the location of the cave complex.

Heartened by this success, the team decided to try taking another bounty the next day, this time for a trio of half-orc warriors and the item they had failed to hand over, a clear stone on a chain. After a couple of nights fooling with the thigh-bone without figuring out anything about it, Corin finally shelled out for an Identify spell from a local wizard. The wizard was quite impressed with the item, and offered to buy or trade for it. The wand was called the Death of Sargoss, and had a few interesting powers.

Death of Sargoss
-It must be attuned, and has 6 charges, regaining 1d4+1 at midnight. As with most wands, using the last charge has a 1/20 chance of causing it to crumble to dust. For 1 charge, the wand deals 4d6 fire damage and two levels of exhaustion to a target in 60’; a DC 17 Constitution save negates the exhaustion and causes the caster to take it instead. For 4 charges, the caster takes Xd20 necrotic damage to deal Xd20 necrotic damage to a target in 60’, where X=the caster’s character level.

The wizard that identified the wand has a standing offer to purchase it, or trade it for 3 wands from his personal collection. Although Coring would like to try out the Death of Sargoss for a bit, he is inclined to take the trade. Items that would make a good swap include:
-Rod of the Pact Keeper +1 (uncommon, if this counts as a wand)
-Wand of Magic Detection (uncommon)
-Wand of Magic Missiles (uncommon) -Wand of Secrets (uncommon)
-Wand of the War Mage +1 (uncommon)
-Wand of Web (uncommon)

Each PC also received 350 GP as their share from bounties and selling swag. We have also established a party fund which stands at 270 GP. After a brief discussion, we have voted to include Zeta in the split, despite her absence, in the spirit of teamwork. We should also look at coming up with a group name, and possibly a charter. See everyone tomorrow!





EPISODE ONE-

A group of indentured servants, sold into temporary slavery for a variety of reasons, gain their freedom on the same day. With a vast world of opportunity ahead of them, the group sets out to make their mark. They are:

-Pseudolus, a human athlete who volunteers for sneaky stuff.
-Oona Onyx, a half-orc noble punk-rock bard.
-Thedis, a light-fingered wood elf with some interesting connections .
-Sarice, a wood elf druid with a knack for forgery.
-Zeta, a wood elf cartographer who wins fist-fights with bears.
-Corin, just a guy….

After a few hours poking around town, Corin suggested that signing up for the crusade to retake Old Vanya would be a good route to fame and fortune. After a fairly underwhelming meeting with the recruiter, the group discovered they had a couple weeks to kill before the next caravan to the rallying point would leave, so they headed to a bar with Oona to watch her perform.

As the concert wound down, a mysterious hooded figure put the mental whammy on the bard, causing her to wander out into the street. By the time the rest of the team caught up with her, Oona was standing mindlessly in the road holding a scroll, and the cloaked figure had vanished. The letter proved to be an invitation to dinner with a representative of the newly formed kingdom of Utopia.

Suspicious of an invitation from the undead nation, the group headed back to the New Vania embassy for some advice. Once they had revealed the reason for their return, the heroes were invited to meet with Sir Leon Banehold, an inquisitor who asked them to attend the dinner, find out what was up, and slaughter their host if it turned out to be some undead other than the official ambassador from Dead Lakes, the Utopian capital. He also got everyone to sign a book that displayed some magical properties.

At the dinner, the team met a man call Nish, a representative of the ambassador Heshin. He spun a good tale of the greatness of the undead utopia and their wholly undeserved reputation, paid off Oona for his flunky’s mental mojo, and offered the whole group tourist visas to explore the Dead Lakes region. Somewhat confused by the whole thing, the group headed back to their inn, and sent a letter to Sir Banehold for advice.

Lacking any response from the inquisitor, the team decided that getting the visas stamped would be a useful thing to do, as it would provide a good chance for some espionage into the Utopia. Taking the express lift to the lowest levels of the Spike, the heroes found themselves with some time to kill, so they headed to the museum of religion to kill some time (no need for lunch thanks to Sarice’s Goodberries.) Oona decided to pray to Broktal, which actually elicited a response from the god’s icon.

Play ended here. Swag for the session: 12 vials of holy water, a holy symbol of Tovalus (belongs to Sir Banehold, creates a brief flash of sunlight when the god’s name is spoken), 12 gems (worth roughly 110 gp each)

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Episode 3, 3/5/15
in which our heroes confront their own mortality

Heady with the success of turning in a bounty without losing a party member to an extraplanar horror, our band of would-be heroes elected to press their luck by taking a bounty for a trio of orc-blooded warriors, the only survivors of a larger group. In addition to the return of the orcs, Trek advised the nascent adventurers that there would be an additional reward for the return of a clear jewel on a silver string, one of the objects the half-orcs had contracted to return.

With little information about their quarry, the team perused wanted posters until they found at least a rough description of the half-orcs. Armed with this basic information, they were able to determine that a team of half-orcs had been making a name for themselves on the blood-match circuit in a chain of bars/betting parlors/arenas known as the Cage Drinkers. Starting their investigation in one of the less-reputable franchises in a part of the Spike with a high population of orc-bloods, the party enacted a clever plan to find their prey, a task that promised to take quite some time, given their scant information and the many Cage Drinkers establishment throughout the city.

Coming up with a clever ruse to, hopefully, draw the half-orcs to them, Oona took on the role of an aloof, spoiled aristocrat, while Corin and the others put out the story that she had been tasked with finding the bastard offspring of a “powerful person” who had taken an interest in the fighting prowess of a particular half-orc. Thanks to the liberal application of gold, a pit boss soon identified the warriors the party was after, as well as the fact that they had made such a name for themselves on the fighting circuit that they had moved deeper into the Spike to a more prestigious franchise of the Cage Drinkers. They also learned that the leader of the half-orcs had a penchant for wearing a monocle when he wanted to appear fancy.

Wasting no time, the group headed downward, pausing to purchase some fancier clothes to better blend in with the high-rollers. After scoping the place out, the group convinced Pseudolus to take a stab at a pit-fighting career. Since the loser’s health-care was guaranteed, the wiry monk saw no real risk in the venture, and soon found himself paired up with a dwarven fighter in heavy armor. After a last word of advice from Oona, Pseudolus headed up to meet his fate, accompanied only by Cerwin, who had wagered a fair pot of gold on his friend’s martial skill.

Alas, Pseudolus failed to heed Oona’s suggestion to aim for the balls, as he was beaten by the dwarf in a closely-contested match. Each fighter was battered and bloodied by the end, but the dwarf’s greater resilience proved greater than the monk’s speed.

After a little time drinking to their comrade’s bruises, Corin laid a bet so he could watch a mage-duel on the top floor, a rare event that had drawn spectators from far and wide. He also hoped to finally lay eyes on the half-orcs they were after, since this venture had already cost the party a great deal of gold, not to mention Pseudolus’ aching bones. Luckily, Corin managed to spot them on the far side of the arena.

The wizard duel was a grudge-match between two long-time rivals, a flamboyant master of fire and necromancy, and a subdued mage in gray robes. The gray-robed wizard proved the victor, spending his power wisely in defense while his more aggressive opponent exhausted his attacks, and Corin collected a fair reward for his clever wager. He also alerted his allies to stand by to tail their orcish quarry, which they managed to do successfully. The team also managed to overhear the orcs discussing their profitable relationship with someone called Garik Mauve (sp?)

Seeing the orcs had gone to an inn, the team waited a few hours for them to fall asleep, then bullied and bribed the young night attendant to give them access to the half-orcs’ room. After discussing a rudimentary plan, Thedis sneaked into the room and managed to incapacitate one of the warriors, and injure another before they were any the wiser. What followed was not so professional.

After knocking out the injured half-orc, Thedis stepped out into the hall and waited. This led to some confusion, as the plan had been for him to lure the warriors down the hall so the rest of the party could ambush them. All this dithering allowed the leader of the half-orcs to pour a potion down the throat of an injured comrade and gather up his weapons before our heroes rushed in to continue the battle. The haphazard assault left the enemy with the numerical advantage in the room, while the would-be bounty hunters piled up in the hall.

While the team eventually pulled it together and knocked out all three of the half-orcs, it was not without cost. Corin was literally cleft in twain by a sword-blow. Fortunately, with the help of Oona’s roadies, they were able to bundle up the fallen and haul them all away, even stopping to loot the room before they beat feet.

After turning in the half-orcs for the bounty, as well as the monocle (which Trek was quite excited to receive), the team set off to get Corin returned to the realm of the living, gods willing. Their first stop met with little success, as none in the group were particularly affiliated with the god they had choses, but the priestess at the temple of Death was more reasonable. In exchange for a large amount of gold and the chance of a task being demanded, she promised to restore Corin to life. Whatever additional demands the god laid are known only to Corin and the priestess.

With their comrade back, if not exactly in fighting shape, the team turned their attention to the scroll tube. After Thedis unlocked the lock, he managed to get pricked by a hidden needle coated with some virulent poison. After Corin took a look at the thing, he managed to find the actual method of opening it, and found a scroll containing an address and a date, two days hence.

While Corin and Thedis recover from their various mishaps, the party has at least a couple of days to recuperate before their next call to adventure.

Session Rewards
Level 2! Wheeeeeee!

Each PC gets 250 GP. The party fund stands at 283.5 GP, although a large portion of that is in the form of an IOU from Corin in the amount of 276 GP. He will pay that back as soon as he is able.

Among the loot were the leader’s well-crafted great sword, three sets of stylish leather armor, 3 suits of well-worn chainmail, a great club, a greataxe, as well as a monocle and a locked, trapped trick scroll tube.

Next game is 3/12. See everybody there!

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Session 4, 3/12/15
in to the dungeons deep

Reunited with Zeta at the Jester’s Rest, the team decides to try out another mission for Trek at the Tomb Breaker’s Guild. Given a choice between retrieving artifacts from a quarantined village’s church and exploring the sub-levels of a collapsed wizard’s tower, the group’s religious paranoia led them to choose the latter. As the site was close to the Spike, Trek only gave the team until the following evening to wrap up their exploration and return.

Trek also had a bit of gossip about Garik Mauve, the person the half-orc bounties had mentioned as having profitable plans for them. It turns out that Mauve is the man behind the Cage Drinkers chain, and is said to have plans to form a thieves’ guild in the Spike.

Before setting out, Corin stopped by the mage guild to trade the strange magic bone for a couple of more useful wands, attempting to secure an agreement to allow more study in future. While he did manage to get both a rod of the pact keeper +1 and a wand of secrets, his wizard acquaintance could not guarantee future access to the bone.

With borrowed horses and a cart, the team set out for the ruin of Ginlisk’s Tower, accompanied by a couple of Oona’s roadies. Quickly searching the three standing floors, the party discovered a pair of concealed shafts leading through the floors and walls to a subterranean complex.

Down one shaft, the team found a magical workshop, containing an active magic circle, a large chest-of-drawers containing both magical trinkets and deadly traps, and a powerfully warded door. After recovering a few items and setting off a couple of traps, Corin was reminded that there might be a being trapped in the circle. Addressing the apparently empty space in several languages, the team was surprised when strange words started scratching themselves into the ground inside the circle. Thanks to his recent studies, Corin was able to decipher the writing, quickly determining that a Being from Beyond was bound inside, and had been for some time.

After a bit of debate, the team elected to free the being in exchange for a future favor. A few minutes’ work prying up the precious metals of the circle were sufficient to break the ward, filling the room with darkness as the trapped creature expanded and left. Corin was the only one to see the thing in its true form, and was left with bleached skin and dead-black eyes.

Once the Being from Beyond was gone, the team returned to their explorations, opening a trap door that had been meant as a trap. The door opened into a large chamber full of refuse, with bars along one side, apparently once the lair of some fell beast long since dead. Rather than dealing with the bars, the team decided to return to the third floor and explore the other hidden passage.

This proved to lead to a damaged and flooded area that had served as an instruction and dormitory area. After some thorough searching and looting, the team found a well-hidden door that led to a verrrrry long flight of stairs that, after hours of walking, ended in a particularly intimidating door of strange metal, warded by powerful spells. Other than taking a few notes and poking it a couple of times, the party elected to let sleeping doors lie and made the long trek back up the stairs. Afterwards, Oona complained of hearing whispering voices, but it turned out they just wanted to give her some brutal song lyrics.

Climbing up then back down through the tunnels, the party headed back to the barred room, where they took advantage of a potion of hill giant strength to bend the bars after Thedis wasn’t quite able to spring the lock. Fortunately he had better luck on the barred door across the hall, which proved to contain a mass of carefully arranged bones (methodically blasted by Corin) and a large chest. The chest turned out to contain an undead snake thing, which leapt to the attack.

After a pitched battle, with spells flying and many blows struck, the snake was defeated. What further mysteries lie in the dungeons of the wizard Ginlisk?

Plunder

We found a lot of magical and mundane stuff, as well as a bit of bullion. Items that we determined are magical are italicized.

4 10-lb gold bars, worth 500 gp each
120 gp in assorted coin
pouch of as-yet unappraised gems
silver, gold, and platinum scraps from a scraped-up binding circle
pried from a binding circle
6 bottles of elven liqueur
heavy crossbow (currently buried)
chainmail
staff
staff
Staff
staff

a lead box containing a very powerfully magical obsidian coin
a pen case containing something magical
a spell book containing spells up to 6th level
a burned-out wand
a sword hilt
potions: unknown, greater healing, resist lightning, healing, climbing, growth
consumed potions: hill giant strength, gaseous form
a dead light orb
a scarf with a vampire stitched on it
an 8-sided die inscribed with glowing runes
a crystal bottle filled with a greenish-purple liquid
a folio containing information, spells and rituals about the lost city of Valish
a pewter sphere inscribed with alchemical symbols, hung on a chain
a steel mirror etched with 12 eyes, one of which closed after Corin examined his new appearance
a bronze-reinforced right hand leather gauntlet
a bronze chariot on a necklace
a small quill pen

We also borrowed 8 horses from Trek, and purchased a pair of carts. Since we haven’t divided up loot, no changes to the party fund, which still stands at 284.5 gp.

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Session 5, 3/19/15
dividing the loot, then back to school!

After plumbing the remaining depths of the wizard’s tower and gathering up whatever portable swag remained (including several more gallons of the strange, clear liquid that had been so laboriously distilled), our heroes returned to Trek at the Tomb Breakers guild house. There followed an intense round of debate and hand-wringing as the various magical items were identified and divided up.

While some devices were handed out to individual party members, others were deemed useful or interesting to the group as a whole, including the Hilt of the Last Praetor (a piece of a relic), a token that allowed direct contact with the god Bast (safely stashed in a lead box), and a pewter sphere that neutralizes poison on contact.

Hoping to learn more about the Hilt and some other items, the team decided to head down to the School of Growth. There they met with Professor Valshan, a history instructor whose specialty was the Lost Praetor. He filled them in on the tale of a man cursed by Ilich to wander the earth, who was slain mere miles from his ultimate destination. He also suggested that the Armor of the Praetor was in a museum in Old Vanya, but he had no leads on the Blade. The Professor was amazed to see the Hilt, and asked the group to help him recover the other to pieces of the sword. Luckily, the Pommel Stone was known to be held on the lowest level in Ilich’s former home. Valshan offered to get the necessary paperwork to provide access to the area, requiring a few hours to get things together.

While they were waiting, the team headed over to the School of Alchemy to find out more about the strange, clear liquid from the odd distillery. It hadn’t had any apparent effect on Pseudolus when he drank it, but it must have had some sort of use, and judging by the alchemists’ reaction, it was something pretty major. Assistant Dean of Alchemy Kristof Mir explained that the liquid was the essence of anti-magic, and Pseudolus would be largely immune to magic, both hostile and benign, for some time. In fact, his sweat or blood could temporarily suppress magical properties of items.

After the excitement in the lab had passed, Pseudolus was sent to a small garden where he couldn’t accidentally disenchant anything, and the rest of the team headed over to Acquisitions to trade off more of their unwanted swag. There they met an odd young woman who proved to be the daughter of Headmistress Razia. She offered them an intriguing offer on behalf of her mother to investigate a mobile, intelligent island known as Demonreach. After a bit of trading and swapping, several party members ended up with some useful items, and the party picked up a set of Sending Stones for future use. They also had an interview with the Headmistress.

Razia explained a bit of Demonreach’s nature, and provided each party member with a Ring of Lightning Resistance, as well as a small pouch that she asked be covertly placed on the person of the current master of Demonreach, if possible. Her primary mission for the team is to scout out the island, learn its location and heading, as well as the current occupants The rings also served as a pass to use the School’s network of portals in the Spike, which would greatly speed up travel in the city.

After the meeting, the team returned to Professor Valshon, who had arranged for passes to the next public meeting of the City Council, after which he suggested the party sneak off to Ilich’s old house to find the Pommel Stone of the Praetor. Since the only person who regularly visited the location was Ilich’s High Priest, Kroff, the should have plenty of privacy to go about their larcenous business.

Finally, out of habit, the team checked in at the Tomb Breakers hall, and found out about a kill-only bounty. They also learned that they had fulfilled enough missions to qualify for full membership, but would have to make a trip to Trellis to finalize things.

Tomorrow, the party has an appointment on the lowest level to observe the Town Council, followed by some light housebreaking.

The party fund stands at 495 GP, cash money.

Next game is Thursday, April 2nd.

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Session 6, 4/9/15
music, murder, and major robbery

Ever industrious, our heroes elected to fill the time before their upcoming foray into Ilich’s lair with al little murder for hire by taking a kill-only contract from Trek of the Tomb Breakers.

The quarry was one Ergil Hunter, a mercenary who had broken a tomb breaker contract and murdered his teammates. A lone archer shouldn’t have proven too difficult a target, but Hunter’s brother Triel was the head of a large mercenary company, the Red Hounds, who wouldn’t take too kindly to his brother’s murder.

Splitting up to infiltrate the area, Oona went to the Hounds’ Rest, a hangout popular with the Red Hounds, while the rest of the team circulated in other establishments, hoping to gather information to formulate a plan of attack. After some excellent performances, Oona struck up a conversation with the barkeep, who turned out to be Lady Vanessa the Sharp, Triel’s paramour and second-in-command of the Red Hounds. After an odd, hazy interaction, she slipped Oona a key and a room number.

Gathering up the rest of the team, she infiltrated the Red Hounds’ barracks next door, where she found a drunk and disheveled Ergil. After a bit of rough seduction, the party piled in and quickly dispatched the hapless archer. Some work with an axe and Ergil’s head was secured in a somewhat-drippy pillowcase, followed by a quick bout of looting and a hasty escape. Items of interest included a wolf’s head medallion, a masterwork longbow (basically a non-magical + 1 weapon) and a cipher (a one-use item that provides a brief period of invulnerability).

Turning the head in to Trek, the party was rewarded with some cash and the magical gauntlet Truth or Fire . As a gesture of thanks, Corin used some of the prize to send an anonymous gift to Lady Vanessa.

The next day, the group rose early to pick up the paperwork necessary to attend the City Council meeting, the prelude to breaking in to Ilich’s former quarters. While at the school of growth , Thedis picked up his magical boots, and the alchemists made an offer to Pseudolus to take part in an experiment. After applying or resisting a good deal of peer pressure, the team headed down to the Council Meeting.

The party hung around in the council chamber long enough to vote against the decision to establish a no-man’s land around the Dead Lakes Utopia, then slipped out on their real mission. After using their key to bypass the door, the team slipped in to a massive trove of incredibly powerful and dangerous artifacts, including the prison of the world-ending Destroyer, a dagger that could turn the city into water, and a book that could, theoretically, return a dead god to life.

They also encountered a sentient suit of armor which asked their purpose and offered to provide information about the various items. After some argument and bargaining, Oona elected to don (and bond with) the armor in order to prevent it from ratting out the team. There followed a fairly frantic period of debating whether to take anything else now that a fairly obvious item had been lifted. The argument ended when Pseudolus decided to put on a pair of gauntlets crafted by the followers of Bast (which could also never be removed), which led to a flurry of looting. After snagging the Pommel Stone of the Lost Praetor, the team also lifted the three sacred blades of Lord Sothis (a death knight who was once a great paladin) and the robe of Archmage Valish. Scurrying out with minutes to spare, the team returned to the School of Growth to hand over the Stone, which certainly made Professor Valshen’s day. The team decided to leave the Stone and Hilt with the professor in the event they were all slain in Old Vanya. The professor also shared that the Blade of the Lost Praetor may be in a valley east of Rose Keep that was used to store biologically altered goblins.

The team split up to avert suspicion, some heading back to the inn, while Pseudolus met up with the Alchemists and Corin paid a visit to the Headmaster of the School of Growth., where he gave a full report of what he observed in Ilich’s house, leaving out only the items the party had lifted. Headmaster Proke expressed a desire to recover the Staff of the Destroyer. He also asked that Corin say “hello” to Korg for him, if they met in Old Vanya.

The Crusaders were very excited by the blades, and elected to basically vacate the Spike with them.

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4/16 Session
things started out so peaceful...

Our band of itinerant adventurers finally set off with a large body of crusaders, secretly transporting the three sacred bladed of Lord Sothis to New Vanya. The first few days were tedious and uneventful, marching hard to get the new recruits into some sort of shape for the upcoming campaign. The team blended in as best they could, undertaking various duties just like the other tenderfoots.

The army took a brief rest at Trellis, home of the Tomb Breakers guild, so our heroes took the opportunity to check in and get their credentials as full members. After a meeting with the head of the guild, Lord Helkin, Corin stayed behind to pass on some hints about what was hidden away in Ilich’s vault, which immediately catapulted the group to second rank. They used this promotion to do a little research in the library, then returned to the army and headed out of the Darklands.

During a layover at a small town outside the great wall, a massive attack by dragons and Black Guards, accompanied by hooded figures, sent the city up in flames and the Vanyan army to flight. Taking a lead case (probably holding the three holy swords), the team ran off, protected from pursuit by the magic of Cerwin’s staff. After several days without contact, the group elected to turn southeast and make for New Vanya on their own.

Other than the discovery of an ancient tomb containing an unkillable evil, the journey across the wilderness was largely boring, hours of riding with brief breaks for goodberries. An encounter with a band of young hill giants and their pet wolves demonstrated the wisdom of Corin’s engineering work before camping, although it seems the entrenchments will need to be wider and deeper in future.

What horrors await our crew of fortune-seekers as they thread the gap between the Kingdom of Lies and the forbidden forest?

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4/23 session
A brief and poorly sourced account

I am in the middle of the Ultimate Marvel Movie Marathon, and cleverly forgot to post yesterday. I will correct inaccuracies when I get back to my notes.

Following the battle with the young hill Giants, the party continued their travels, aiming to get out of giant country as soon as possible. Soon enough, however, the night watch warned of a much larger giant approaching their expanded and improved earthworks.

This giant carried a squiring prisoner and offered to trade it for a horse, as the latter would be better eating. After discussing the pros and cons of having another mouth to feed, more riders for fewer horses, and the general awkwardness of meeting new people, the team eventually made the trade. They learned that the man was a guide, and the sole survivor of an expedition to explore a mysterious castle.

More discussion about what to do with the fellow was interrupted by the approach of two giants, one being the original trading partner. When the party prepared to mount up in case the fight went poorly, they discovered that their saddles had been sabotaged.

Barely a single accusation had flown before the recent prisoner conjured magical darkness. Only Corin was quick-thinking enough to try to disrupt the spell, but unfortunately only Zeta was harmed. (Unknown to him, the treacherous guide was magically protected against fire)

The rescuee responded with a cone of cold that killed the horses and badly hurt many party members, revealing his true form to be an oni, or ogre Mage.

The ensuing battle was dangerous and obnoxious, as the oni alternated damaging area attacks with bouts of invisibility. When the party finally seemed to be getting the upper hand, the boss giant called for a parlay.

It turns out that all the subterfuge was an effort to trick the party into exploring the very castle Tony the Oni had described, as it was death for Giants to enter. With no horses and a promise of treasure within, the party ultimately gave in to the extortion.

The castle itself proved a very strange place, seemingly rebuilding itself from a ruin. After methodically searching the outer areas, the party determined that the place once served as a center for hunting, dissecting and studying various forms of life. A few trapped chests yielded some treasure, and there was a bit of excitement with a tentacle monster in a well.

Items found
Shard of First Ice: take a bunch of cold damage to create a Wall of Ice

Sheath for a short sword that makes the sheathed weapon vorpal for one attack after being blessed at any temple

A shard of glass that slowly oozes blood

Next, the party dares to plumb the mysterious depths of the main keep!

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Skedaddlin'!
In which great Wisdom doesn't always lead to great decisions

Continuing their investigation of the slowly resurrecting castle, the team discovered even more weird stuff. At the top of the central tower, a hole in a stone plinth emitted an acrid smoke; further investigation was unable to confirm whether it was the top of a chimney or something else.

Down in the basement was a large room with many long tables, upon which were hundreds of piles of clothes. There were also three doors, each of which proved to be trapped with a cunning concealed pit. After Thedis fell into the first one, greater care was taken in dealing with the others.

The rooms beyond held many blue cylinders built into the wall, each magical and apparently containing living creatures. One room had a particularly large, black specimen, which the team assumed contained a more powerful being.

While waiting for Thedis to recover from his wounds, Corin undertook a more thorough examination of the areas, eventually discovering a secret door that led to a room full of large, black cylinders, and another containing a pillar slowly turning from stone to crystal and a holographic display of the keep.

The image of the castle depicted a large area of underground tunnels, as well as many red, gold, and black dots. A bit of experimentation suggested that the red dots were living creatures, the gold dots seemed to be constructs or spirits that were rebuilding the castle, and the black dots were the creatures inside the cylinders, and those dots were slowly turning red.

There was also a massive book bound to a stone table by a heavy chain. Despite being written in a strange language, Corin was able to determine that it was the journal of a being called Akarium, a godlike being from a distAnt reality who traveled between realms gathering knowledge. In his travels he seems to have defeated (and vivisection) more than a few deities.

Intrigued by this wealth of information, Corin started copying down as much of the journal as he could, aided by Cerwin under the effects of a Comprehend Languages spell. More to get the rest of the party out of the way than anything, Corin suggested that Thedis and Pseudolus report to the giant chief what the team discovered.

The giant was unimpressed, and ordered the team back in, informing them that he had calls all the local tribes to assault the place if our here’s failed t deal with it. After explaining that we would likely die in the process, the envoys headed back in.

Back in the secret chamber, observations of the crystallizing column suggested that it might be a timer f some sort, and that there wasn’t much time to spare. A heated discussion about whether to fool around with things, sneak away, or jus wait and see what happened followed, with the ultimate decision being Cerwin would stay behind and observe while the rest of the party headed for the hills. Thanks to Thedis and Pseudolus, the clumsy giant patrol were easily avoided and our heroes slipped away. Fortunately, Corin convinced Cerwin that he wouldn’t need cash, and added it to the party fund.

While his comrades exercise the better part of valor, Cerwin had a box seat for the slaughter of the hill Giants, watching their red dots wink out one by one. Once the battle was over, he wandered around the halls of the castle until eventually being captured by the awakened residents. He was carried to the head guy, who simply ordered the Druid be taken to the lab. Finally deciding that escape would be wise, Cerwin used his spells and shapechanging skills to run away, barely making it into the forest outside the castle walls, but only after taking a severe beating.

Now, the team is split, with Corin, Pseudolus, and Thedis making their way to New Vanya, Oona and Zeta lost in the shuffle, and Cerwin presumed vivisected.

Loot: Thedis identified the shard of bloody glass as the Blade of Heart Blood, some sort of focus that keeps the Titan of Braga asleep. The shard would serve as a + 1 dagger if fitted with a hilt, but if broken would allow the Titan to wake.

The blood dripping from the glass also has special properties: a drop added to a healing potion super charges it, increasing the healing by 1d10. The blood can also dispel magic and break curses, but greater volume is required for more powerful effects.

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