Kayden sends his spined devil down the elevator shaft to recon the mines staging area. It rails at Kayden the whole way down. It soon returns claiming that it saw nothing of interest. It does confirm the layout of the Hold as described by the Dwarven Clan leader.
You all manage to make your way down the shaft without making any undo noise. You discover that the staging area is rife with Bugbears. Across the ravine you make out the forms of a quartet of Duergar crossbow wielders. A great Ogre guards the main entrance facing the stone bridge that crosses the ravine.
You launch yourselves at the Bugbears. The Ogre crosses the stone bridge and charges into the fray. One of the Duergar blows a horn and then joins the other dark dwarves in firing bolts into your midst.
Short moments later a Medusa armed with a longbow arrives on the balcony and begins loosing arrows at you.
Marvelous breaks off combat with the Ogre and leaps across the ravine and takes cover below the balcony. Kayden, Balthazor, and Barrakas ravage the Bugbears and finish off the Ogre. Churchill turns his aim away from the Bugbears and begins laying down a withering cover fire into the Duergar Bolters.
Marvelous then uses Churchill’s distraction and flies up onto the balcony and charges the Medusa. With a mighty blow he sends her careening off the balcony to the hard ground thirty feet below. The Monk then enters the Hold and comes face to face with more Duergar.
Kayden moves to cross the bridge and triggers the release of the Gorgon who charges him mid span.
The Medusa gets to her feet and moves to a position behind the Gorgon. She appears ready to flee if things go poorly with the Gorgon.
Churchill clears the several waves of Duergar off the balcony. Kayden, Balthazor, and Barrakas kill or drive off the Bugbears and finish the Gorgon.
The Medusa yells to a second Ogre manning the gates and is granted access to the Hold.
Marvelous ties off a rope and lowers it down to the rest of you. He then aids your accent by hauling each of you up the rope.
Once upon the balcony you make your way through the door, across the ramp, and then make your way down a set of spiral stairs.
The stairs open up onto a large hallway with several branches leading north. Nearby, to the east, is a wide staircase leading down. In the stairway you are confronted with more Bugbears and Duergar. You note the Medusa archer and the Ogre are taking cover in one of the northern branches. Also, one Duergar has a female Drow on a collared leash.
The Duergar seems to have control of the Drow and forces her to begin slinging spells you way. One such spell is a summoned swarm of spiders.
The monstrous forces keep you penned up in the stairwell until Churchill creates an illusionary wall that cuts the Medusa and some of the Bugbears and Duergar off from the Ogre and the Drow wielding Duergar Leader. Churchill also summons his Hellhound and Magma beast.
While the Medusa leads her forces on an end a round you manage to kill the remaining Ogre, Bugbears, and Duergar.
Barrakas manages to grab the Duergar leader with his pole arm. With some assistance from Kayden the Duergar is killed and Barrakas grabs up the leash and begins pulling the Drow along with the rest of you.
The Medusa and her small band of minions makes her way behind you and manages to petrify Marvelous and do some horrific poison damage to Churchill.
As you begin to rally the Medusa fires off a pair of arrows killing the Magma beast and clearing a path for her and her allies to flee down the wide stairs to the east.
Churchill swings his staff at the minions as they go by and actually manages to injure some of them. He then unleashes a freezing sphere upon the fleeing foes and stops their flight. Due to a quirk with the cursed Drow idol Churchill suddenly finds he is able to fire off another spell. Instantly another freezing sphere leaves his staff and annihilates the Medusa and her remaining minions.
You take a moment to catch your breath and bind your wounds. Mustering your resolve you head down the stairway to level below.
On the lower level you see a hall goes to the north and the south of you. Across the hall from you is a pair of elaborately carved stone doors. Inspecting the doors you determine the room is a temple to the Dwarven God Moradin. Opening the door you give a quick inspection and see nothing notable about the temple.
You stand silent and concentrate. A slight sound comes from the north. Balthazor heads down the hall and looks passed the corner. Down a set of stairs he sees a chamber with a set of double doors on its far side. Guarding the chamber are five Devils.
Attacking, you blow through the Devils defenses. The only resistance comes from the lead Devil who manages to summon a couple more waves of infernal allies before you kill him.
Not wishing to lose your momentum Churchill fires a freezing burst at the double doors and blows them off their hinges. Passed the ruined doors is an octagonal chamber. The dead remains of many bodies hang shackled from the walls. Against the far wall a Medusa pulls mystical looking broad sword from the heart of an Elvin female captive. Beside the Medusa is an armored dwarf with a mighty hammer. On the floor in the center of the chamber you make out a pentagram.
The Medusa summons a quartet of Devils and moves to hold the breach, her Dwarven body guard at her side. The fight is prolonged by waves of summoned Devils who teleport about the small space looking to surround and take you out individually. You soon guess that the Medusa is actually the Succubus you have been searching for. She manages to turn you against each other by dominating first Marvelous and then Churchill. Your attacks on each other are far more devastating than anything the Devils can dish out. Many of your attacks against her are soaked up by her Dwarven consort.
When the Dwarf falls, Marvelous, free of the Succubus’s domination penetrates the room and moves to flank the creature. Unbeknownst to you he disturbs the pentagram and no more Devils are summoned into the room.
Unwilling to suffer the cruel hands of the Monk the Succubus again dominates Marvelous. As Barrakas moves in on her she leaps forward and plants a cruel kiss on the Warlord, charming him into her loyal consort.
Kayden now sees the opening he has been waiting for. With the Dwarf out of the way the Warlock rushes forward and swings a devastating blow into the Succubus. With sinister delight she winks has the charmed Barrakas leaps in the way of the strike to save his lady love.
Kayden is shocked as he sees the Warlords body slide off his weapon and drop to the floor dead. Enraged, Kayden lets his rage overtake him and he drives his blade deep into the Devils black heart.
Though the magic of the gemstones could surely allow Barrakas to return, you learn that some other fate awaits the Warlord as his wishes are to remain dead.
The fallen Dwarf is revealed to be the master forger. Once healed he most willingly aids your quest by making the armor Prince Jeremy requested. Investigating the sword created by the Succubus you determine that the powerful magic’s coursing through its metal are ideal for leading large forces of men. You feel it best to take it to the Prince for his consideration.
Two weeks later you are back in Carrack Keep with the Prince. He is saddened at the loss of Barrakas. The Warlords uncle “Lore” is also suitably grieved at the news of the death of his nephew.
After giving you some time to recover the Prince calls for you again. This time he requires you to divide your attentions.
He sends Kayden and Marvelous to take their Wyvern mounts and go along the coastal towns and check in on a series of projects for him. Each town is to manufacture a pair of unique barges. It is your job to see that their schedule is maintained.
The Prince sends Balthazor and Churchill to the Savage Coast of the western shores of Faerun to meet with a mercenary leader named Bracken. You are to offer him the sword and armor in exchange for the leader coming to Carrack Keep and listening to the Princes offer of employment.
Weeks pass as each of you travels to fulfill your missions. The barges are all well under way and the meetings with the mercenary leader Bracken go well.
You successfully convince the mercenary leader Bracken to meet with the Prince. Bracken and a dozen of his men join you on the Illithid ship. The mercenaries are uncomfortable in the presence of the Illithids, though Bracken himself pays them little heed.
You pick up Marvelous and Kayden on the way back to Carrach Keep. Another day of travel reunites you with the Prince.
The meeting takes place in the afternoon of the following day in a secluded chamber. The only ones in the room are the Prince, Lore, Bracken, and yourselves.
Prince Jeremy sits on the far side of a round stout oaken table from the mercenary leader. Lore sits to the Princes right and Barrakas sits to the Prince’s left. Marvelous and Kayden sit between Barrakas and Bracken, while Churchill and Balthazor sit between Lore and Bracken.
Before Bracken lays a thick sheaf of parchment, an ink well, and a quill. Bracken rifles through the contract with an experts eye. From time to time he pauses, asks a clarifying question, and then proceeds on.
After what seems an eternity Bracken takes up the quill and signs the contract. He looks resplendent in the Dwarven crafted armor you procured for him. The pommel of the broad sword raised above his shoulder carries a hint of menace.
Prince Jeremy’s chin is perched upon his steepled fingers. Gazing at his newly procured General he speaks. “I expect even now you are considering your options.”
“You see me as a minor noble of a backwater island nation; a nation in disarray, having neither a strong government nor a cohesive army.”
“You wonder, how difficult would it be to simply stage a coup and use your own considerable military prowess to claim our newly founded and lucrative economy for yourself…”
General Bracken gives a wolfish grin. “The thought has occurred to me.”
The Prince leans forward. “Bane, you have ever been transparent. But once again my subtle nature has ensnared you.”
The Generals face goes stern, the grin fades. Slowly recognition sparks in his cold gray eyes. He looks down at the freshly signed contract. He speaks a single word.
A quick glimmer cascades over the Prince’s features. For the briefest of moments Prince Jeremy’s handsome features alter to reveal the striking resemblance of Asmodeus; God of the Nine Hells.
“At your service. “
The Princes smile is decidedly wicked.
May 21, 2012 23:43
Kayden sends his spined devil down the elevator shaft to recon the mines staging area. It rails at Kayden the whole way down. It soon returns claiming that it saw nothing of interest. It does confirm the layout of the Hold as described by the Dwarven Clan leader.
April 26, 2012 22:33
Several moments pass as Orcs, Ogres, and Trolls devise a new tactic and attack from range. This tactic is more of a threat to you but Churchill’s freezing spheres decimate wave after wave of the Dragons slaves. The Paladin meanwhile soaks up incredible amounts of abuse intervening himself between the monsters and his allies.
The Dragon vaults off its perch. A quick beat of its vast wings takes it to the caverns ceiling. There the beast latches on with its hooked talons. The Dragon rages at its minions to sacrifice themselves to the cause of destroying you. It then begins slamming its tail into stalactites, causing a rain of sharp rocks to tear into you.
At this point Churchill’s cursed item causes one of his spells to backlash, stunning him. Seeing an opportunity the Dragon drops from the ceiling to launch a series of attacks on the mage. It is at first disappointed that Churchill is immune to its flames, but is then quickly contented to realize he is quite vulnerable to poison.
Sensing the mages imminent demise, Marvelous rushes forward. The Monk inflicts a blow so severe it temporarily blinds the Dragon. The Warlord is quick to take advantage of the distraction and drives his Greatspear into the Dragons scale covered hide with the Force of Fellowship maneuver. Then, drawing upon his inner reserves, Barrakas twists the spear with the Stand the Fallen ploy. In all the Warlord inflicted massive damage to the creature and in turn buoys’s the spirits of his companions.
Kayden, not to be left out, leaps to the Warlords side and strikes the killing blow to the Volcanic Dragon. The beast reels back, spewing flame and ash. Its wings shatter against the caverns stone walls and its tail shudders amongst the fallen dead. At the sight of the Dragons passing the remaining humanoids flee into the caverns depths.
You catch your breath and then search the cavern for a means of scaling the plateau. In time you discover a ladder like stair carved into the cliff face. Once on top you find a large scalding pool of sulfuric water and four magma spewing vents.
Within the scalding pools depths you find the Dragons hoard. Its treasure consists of a mountain of gold, several powerful magical items, and a curious scroll tube. Within the tube you find a parchment. This parchment holds three charges of a spell that allows vast volumes of liquid to have its temperature altered. Scalding can be changed to temperate or freezing and or any combination thereof.
You gather up your rewards, perform the ritual that transfers the Dragons mind into a magical crystal given you by the Illithids, and then make your way back to the Mind Flayers ship.
Anticipating your return, the Illithid meet you at the ship. The creatures are not what you expect. From what you ever heard of these Underdark horrors they are described universally as male. These horrors are cloaked in cowls and robes. Their faces hidden within the shadows of their cowls, only the glint of a white orb or the flash of a writhing tentacle gives truth to their appearance. They are nearly seven feet tall and the curves beneath the robes are decidedly female.
The Illithids communicate directly to your mind. Instead of the cold methodical droning of the Thrall, the voice coils through your mind like a gurgling black thread. The Illithids are satisfied with your endeavor and immediately commence to work on getting the Nautiloid operational.
Several days later, just as the final touches are being made to the flight controls and the planar shifting console, the water about the ship begins to boil with the frantic thrashing of Aboleth tentacles. Dozens of the abhorrent horrors surround the ship and prepare to board it. The Illithids inform you that they need just a couple more moments to make good your escape. You must hold off the Aboleth’s.
Churchill, recalling the scrolled parchment quickly turns the surrounding water into a scalding cauldron. Screaming the Aboleth retreat’s out of the blistering hot water adjoining the ship. The distraction is successful and the Illithids force the ancient ship to lurch up out of the lakes dark grip.
As the ship rises the Illithid quickly maneuver various knobs and toggles and suddenly the dark cavern interior takes on a grey, soulless atmosphere. You find yourselves in the Shadowfell. In this reality the cavern ceiling opens to the grey lifeless skies above.
Hours later you skim across the peaked roofs of Killin. The early morning light reveals the looks of wonder and horror upon the cities populous. Prince Jeremy, Lore, and Captain Darnaxxus emerge from the Keep. The Prince is elated with your success. He insists on coming aboard and seeing the wonders of the ship and its crew. You note that the Prince is curious about the Illithids but shows no fear of them. He then asks for a full review of what took place.
After you have finished with your tale the Prince congratulates you on a job well done. He then insists that the deal arranged between yourselves and the Illithids be cemented with a binding contract…for the protection of both parties. Several days later he brings you a legal document and has you and the Illithid sign it.
You are granted a week long leave to arrange your finances, organize your magical items, and relax in any way you like.
After your leave is concluded the Prince invites you back to the keep. He requests another task of you. The Prince explains that he desires a special suit of magical armor to gift to the man he hopes to recruit as his General.
The dwarves who can create this armor have been chased from their homelands on the island of Gwynneth by evil Fey and have fled to the Island of Alaron through the Dwarvenhome tunnels.
Prince Jeremy wants you to offer Clan Rustfire his aid in regaining their homelands in return for said armor. This aid will come in the form of the Princes own military might.
The trip back to the Island of Alaron takes you only a few days, where before you spent nearly two weeks by sea. Following instructions from Lore you find the Dwarven Hold atop the Fairheight mountain range. There is a small dust up of activity from the guards but you manage to convince them of your benign intent.
With your offer of help you are quickly taken before the Clan leader Brym Rustfire. The gout stricken dwarf bids you sit as he is in too much pain to remain standing with you. You lay out the Princes terms and the dwarf goes over the armors instructions and looks through the chest full of material components.
He is at first angry that you are mocking him. Three items needed on the list are not in the trunk. The missing items are the eyes of a Medusa, the scales of a Gorgon, and the tongue of a Succubus. Coincidently a mob lead by these very same creatures only recently overran the lower portion of the Holds mines, a portion that includes the forge needed for creating this armor the Prince desires.
You quickly assure him that if there are any shenanigans involved you are not responsible for them. You volunteer to acquire the items and free the lower hold from the monsters grip. Appeased the Clan leader provides you with a map of the area in question.
He explains that the only viable way into the hold is down a lone elevator shaft that descends 300 feet into the mines staging area.
You then spend several moments considering how you can sneak down the shaft.
April 02, 2012 23:27
March 27, 2012 23:18
You are the first to notice the transformation taking place in the night skies. The stars twinkle in the heavens as always—but they are strange. They glow luridly with weird colors, spreading fear and wonder in all who behold them. Familiar constellations vanish, re-form, or shift to new locations.
With winter ending the Prince once more requests your aid in helping the Realm. Lady Vi has come across information that could lead to the recovery of an Illithid Nautilus. The Prince desires that you find and claim this prize.
Kayden is kept back, the Prince claiming he has other missions requiring the Warlock’s touch. The rest of you mount up on your newly procured Wyverns and travel north for three days to a small rocky island.
You spot several small fishing villages along the islands coast. After inquiring at a couple of the villages you learn that they have all suffered from a rash of disappearances. People have vanished from their homes in the middle of the night. Other people have gone fishing and only their boats are recovered.
Following the information detailed to you by Lady Vi you decide to ask about the islands volcanic vents. The villagers point you toward one of the larger vents, east of their village. Within minutes you locate the vent and drop into its dark depths on the leathery wings of your mounts.
Balthazor lights the way with his sword. Suddenly a vast swarm of bats engulfs you. The bats vary in size from normal to monsters with a six foot wingspan. Just as the bats thin out a gigantic web appears, blocking your path.
Barrakas and Churchill pull up in time, but Balthazor and Marvelous careen into the webbing, their mounts entangling themselves further in their desperate efforts to escape. The thrashing Wyverns draw the attention of a huge spider and her swarming brood.
Marvelous and Balthazor contend with the webs sticky nature while attacking the spiders. A Crag Roper uses the distraction caused by the chaos to ambush Barrakas. It snatches the Warlord off his mount and reels him in for a bite.
As the fight continues Marvelous and Churchill pair up on the spiders, while Barrakas and Balthazor suffer the grabbing tentacles and toothy maw of the Roper. Churchill’s fiery attacks ignite the webbing causing additional damage to anyone touching the webs. After several tense moments the two entangled Wyvern manage to break free and launch skyward.
Marvelous and Churchill finish the spiders and then move in to assist in killing the Roper. Churchill risks harming the party by summoning a wall of fire to block off the Roper. The Roper moves below the webs in an effort to escape the flames. Churchill’s arcane abilities force the beast back into the flames, killing it.
Shortly before that event the Warlord cleverly uses his pole arm to hook into the webbing above his head and swings to safety once the Roper’s grip is broken. Balthazor is fortunate to be partially in the webbing as the beast dies; allowing him to avoid plummeting down the dark shaft of the vent with the Ropers flaming corpse.
You discover the spider’s lair and search it for anything valuable. Ages worth of corpses provide a small horde of gold and even a couple of magical items. After a brief rest you mount up and descend further into the vents depths.
Finally you come to the point where the vent hits water. This informs you that you are on level with the underground lake Lady Vi spoke of. Steam rises from the water and you learn that it is scalding hot. You infer that an incredible heat source would be required to super heat so much water.
The lower part of the vent near the water is honey combed with tunnels and fissures. You set off to find the lake picking a promising looking tunnel. The tunnels create a bizarre labyrinth. A group of Troglodytes jumps you at a cross section of tunnel.
You endure little difficulty dealing with the Trog’s. You quickly set off again, as more Trog’s can be heard throughout the nearby caverns.
March 20, 2012 23:08
Each of you has begun to spend time in the city following your own interests. Churchill begins research on how to remove the cursed idol from his possession. His first attempts involve academia but soon prove fruitless. Not to be dissuaded the wizard turns to the Temple district in hopes of divine inspiration.
After several days of frustrating research Churchill calls it a night and heads back to the inn. A pair of arrows tearing through his flesh alerts him to danger. The threat comes from an assassin firing from a nearby rooftop. Churchill uses Twist of Space to teleport his foe to ground level. The assassin lands deftly, stows his bow, and pulls twin long swords with one smooth movement.
Realizing this foe may be beyond his ability to deal with alone the wizard flees. Thinking quickly Churchill determines that the Paladin Balthazor may be nearby, as he had been spending much of his free time at the temple of Bahamut. Short moments later the wizard rushes into the temple; dashing the Dragonborn’s solitude.
Churchill fills the Paladin in on the nature of his predicament. The two then set off to find the others of their group. Within a half hour the five adventurers have gathered in the darkening streets. As they discuss how to best deal with the situation another pair of arrows rip into the wizard.
What follows is a fast moving combat of teleporting, spider-climbing, and jumping from street level to second story balconies. The assassin’s deadly weapons and speed are neutralized by the party’s numbers and quick thinking. The brutal struggle ends with the assassin dead. Upon a quick investigation the team determines the assassin was a female Eladrin. From notes found on her person they determine she was hired by some element of the Guilds; a response to the group’s involvement in unseating the last Guild Master.
Weeks turn into months. Fall turns to winter. Prince Jeremy forms a small council and with their aid he begins a reformation of the city’s infrastructure, politics, and economy. To celebrate the advances the city of Killin achieves in this short time the Prince orders a city wide celebration for the winter’s Solstice. Prince Jeremy spends time at several of the celebrations throughout the city before returning to the keeps great hall.
You have all been honored to sit at the head table with the Prince and several of his retainers. The hall is raucous with conversation and laughter. A warm glow from the huge fireplaces, wall sconces, and candelabras drive off the shadows within the grim chambers of Carrach Keep. Set before you is a bountiful feast of savory food and drink. After the first several courses are served and devoured the Prince stands. He raises his goblet and calls for the Halls attention.
“Fine folk of the Realm, you have earned this feast! You have risen to the challenge of making our part of the Kingdom a far better place to live. Together we have done much to offset the injustices of the greedy and the indifferent. There is still much to do…but, that is for another night. Tonight, we drink!” (Cheers drown out anything else the Prince attempts to say.)
A pair of fiery arrows streaks from one of the balconies. The Prince’s speech is interrupted as both steel barbed shafts slam into his skull, driving him back into his seat. A score of black clad Fey suddenly emerge from portals opening out of the rooms shadows. The leader of these black clad Fey raises her sword and shouts. “Slay them! Slay them all!”
Marvelous nearly takes out the leader with a devastating initial strike. The chaos in the Hall is quickly overcome by the tenacious and brutal efficiency of the adventurers. A small number of Fey escaped as smoky tendrils from the portals reached out and snatched them to safety.
At some point in the brief skirmish the Princes rises up, only a small pair of smoking scars on his forehead. He bellows in rage at the affront of being attacked within his own feast hall and cheers the group on in their slaughter of the Eladrin.
Once the battle ends clues are discovered on the corpses that indicate the involvement of High Lady Ordalf, the fey queen who reestablished the realm of Sarifal on the island of Gwynneth. She and her court are extremely powerful and are beyond the reach of Prince Jeremy’s power…for now.
March 12, 2012 16:21
As you stand before the central tunnel you observe a flock of raven scattered about before you. The birds peck and bob about. A particularly large raven picks at the leather strap of a rusted battle axe lying in the tall grass.
You shoe off the birds and examine the leather strapping to see what had the old bird’s attention. You carefully unwind the strap from the haft of the weapon. The leather appears to be black eel skin. Small silver-white skulls are embossed along its surface.
After several minutes of study you determine that the strap is magical. Its property is death. On a lucky strike a foe could be killed instantly. Conversely, on an unlucky strike the wielder could be struck down. You decide that the item is not worth the risk to use on common opponents, but keep it, with the thought that it may prove of use on an uncommon foe.
The group decides to leave the remaining horses outside the caverns. Leading the ox you head inside the dark stony interior. Midway through the cavern you begin to hear heavy footsteps sounding from several side tunnels. In moments you are accosted by a pair of skeletal Cyclops and a small horde of undead Orcs. As you wade into the undead menace you are confronted by their leader; an Ettin wearing the garb of a death priest of Orcus.
While combating the host of undead you are verbally berated by the Ettin for your crimes against his Dark Lord Orcus. It appears Orcus has taken exception to your interfering in his machinations with the Keep on the Shadowfell and with killing his priest Kalarel.
The battle goes quickly until you come to the realization that the Ettin can reanimate your undead foes at will. With this in mind it becomes your imperative to take out this leader immediately. Churchill summons a wall of fire and a magma beast which plays havoc amongst the undead minions and cuts the Ettin off from his source bodies to raise. You make short work of your foes after that.
Your group spends a few moments resting and patching up any wounds before reclaiming the wounded ox and leading it the rest of the way through the cavern. You make your way up a stony switch back and arrive in a natural amphitheatre. Placing the ox in the center of the amphitheatre you spread the magical blood paste over the beast and then stand back to watch the skies.
In short minutes the sky is filled with half a dozen of the winged reptilian monsters. They pounce on the ox and tear it to bloody shreds. At that point Marvelous moves in and unleashes a torrent of fire upon the feasting creatures. As he pulls back the wyvern respond by hopping toward him and lashing out with their stinging tails. Churchill also lets loose with a barrage of fire. As the rest of the group piles on the Wyvern a great shadow passes overhead.
A huge wyvern drops from the sky landing on one of the downed smaller wyvern. It faces off with Marvelous, challenging him for its prey. The Half-Orc strikes the great winged beast driving it into a frenzy. It slams its sting tipped tail into the ground on each side of the monk, unable to pin him down. As the rest of the party close in on the monstrous wyvern it grows frustrated and launches itself skyward. Angling its great bat like wings it dives at the Monk. A word of warning from the Warlord gives Marvelous the edge he needs to not only avoid being grabbed up in its claws, but also allows him to get in one last strike before the creature decides to simply fly off and search for easier prey elsewhere.
You then unpack the magical gear given you by Prince Jeremy and begin the process of strapping and cinching on the saddle and collar. After that it is a simple matter of reviving and healing the Wyvern. You realize that the magic of the collars allows you to alter the cosmetic appearance of your mounts. The saddle grants you the ability to control and fly the beasts as if you had proper training in such skills.
Mounted upon your new scaly prizes you soon launch up into the grey skies of the Moonshae’s and head over the seas to the island of Connacht.
March 06, 2012 00:00
Upon the Princes request you investigate the workings of the various merchant and craft guilds. Over several days you put together a list of individuals who hold the most influence over the guilds. One name leads to another until you determine the identity of the Guild Master. You also discover the Guild Master controls both the Thieves guild and the local Black Market. Topping off this list of activities is involvement with a cult of Lycanthropes.
You arrest the Guild Master Gavin and his two top allies Fendrel and Bryce. There is a public trial showcasing the corruption of the Guilds that result in a verdict of guilty of treason against the Realm. A week later you go to the plaza to witness the public execution.
The townsfolk are shocked when the Guild Master survives the hanging and shifts into a monstrous lycanthropic hybrid. They scatter as the beast tears through their screaming bodies to reach you. After a rousing battle you manage to finish the execution that the hangman’s rope failed to produce.
Another week or so passes and you are again summoned to Prince Jeremy’s court. He awards you a royal charter for your deeds and for deeds yet to be performed. In addition he provides each of you with a set of gear for taming wild Wyvern for use as a flying mounts.
Following instructions provided to you by Lore you find yourselves stranded on a small island east of Connacht. On horseback the five of you lead an ox across grassy plains heading toward the cliffs at the islands interior.
Midway across the plain you begin skirting a dense forest. From the forests depths emerge a flock of fledgling green dragons that swarm over you, attacking with poisonous bites and breath. Just as you begin to turn the fight to your advantage a huge Bulette erupts beneath you, scattering both men and mounts. The situation becomes even more dire when a second wave of green dragons bursts from the forests edge.
After a pitched battle you manage to slay the Dragons and drive off the Bulette. You then complete the trek to the cliff face. There before you are three tunnels. Your map suggests you use the center tunnel.
February 21, 2012 01:52
You travel down the hall. Balthazor peers about the corner taking in the chamber. A set of stairs descend into a long narrow chamber. The floor appears to be covered by perhaps 8” of rust colored water. The walls are cut stone and the ceiling 15’ above your heads is made up of irregular plates of rusted iron bolted into stone. Water drips from the plates into the water covering the floor. The Paladin activates his magical boots and walks across the water to a door on the chambers far side. Following his lead Churchill uses his staff to check the floor before him and also makes it to the far door. The door has three locks set into its rusted iron surface. When Balthazor checks to see if the door is indeed locked he sets off a chain of events.
First, the stone slabs that made up the floor in the hall smash upward from the teleporting circle to the stairway causing you to be thrown into the chamber. Second, a great ten foot by ten foot square of rusted plate metal drops from the ceiling nearly pulverizing the Paladin and the Wizard, cold marsh water rushes in from the whole left by the metallic cube. Third, the cube unfolds into a large metallic monstrosity known as a lesser Iron Golem.
Each of you begins using your various powers to tear into the rust covered monster. Marvelous discovers a pit in the floor under the rusty water when he moves to attack the Golem. As time passes several of you take damage from the constructs cleaver like appendages and all the while the water rises higher and higher. Soon you realize that the three locks will need to be successfully navigated before there will be any hope of escaping this flooding chamber.
Barrakas manages the final blow with his spear, downing the construct. Its metal plates swirl down into the pit. At that moment iron plates magically shore up the ceiling giving you a respite to pick the locks. Fearing another metal cube might drop into the room you quickly navigate past the three locks and throw open the door. Behind it you find a spiral stairway leading up.
Following the stairs you come to a barred door. After taking a short rest Marvelous helps Barrakas force the door. This open door reveals you have made your way back to the statue filled chamber of Jezzoranth. Several of you attempt to open a dialogue with the insubstantial Tiefling, but he shows no interest in talk. You spread out tactically to fight the undead former emperor. Churchill summons both the Hell Hound and his Flaming Sphere. Marvelous moves to attack Jezzoranth provoking an attack of opportunity from one of the large marble statues of armored sword wielding devils. The Paladin also attacks Jezzoranth, which inspires the Tiefling to teleport to the center of the room.
What follows is Jezzoranth focusing the majority of his attacks on Churchill in an effort to destroy the Mage and his summoned minions. Alas he could not do enough damage to overtake the Warlords healing effects. As Jezzoranth is smote his undead form collapses and in its place forms a more ghostly image. Beside him rises the ghostly form of the Bog Hag Gizzella. As you watch she transforms into a beautiful woman. Jezzoranth salutes you and appears to mouth words of thanks. The two apparitions then fade from site.
You then spend time locating Jezzoranth’s sarcophagus in which you find the treasures you sought. After loading up your new found loot you begin the three day slog back to Prince Jeremy’s keep. The travel through the swamp and beyond is uneventful and you find your selves back in the Prince’s court.
When first you arrive Lore is busy speaking to a pair of richly attired merchants. Upon seeing you, Lore politely but firmly excuses himself of the merchants company. The two merchants stroll past you with satisfied smiles on their smug entitled faces.
The items are inspected by Lore. Once he is convinced they are safe, he hands them over to the Prince.
In his own exuberant way the Prince takes both the gem and the sheath. He stands dramatically and straps the sheath to his waste. He then takes the clear gem and holds it to the pommel of the sword, his tongue at the corner of his mouth in rapt concentration; when the gem snaps into position all sound ceases in the chamber. Reality seems to expand and contract. Pressure builds in your ears and is then released with a sudden pop.
Jeremy straitens from his task. His eyes gain a clear focus. The Prince looks about the room as if seeing all within for the first time.
The Prince speaks. “A veil has been lifted from my mind. You have removed a curse that has hindered me since birth. For that I thank you.”
“But as I sift through my memories from this new perspective I see there is much that must be done.”
“For too long has my rule been hampered by those who would benefit from my condition…that ends now.”
“My authority has been undermined by the Guilds. My people suffer unduly because of the greed of a few.”
“You have done so much to aid me. Might I induce you to aid me once more? I need leverage in reigning in the various Guilds. Will you accept this daunting task?”
January 30, 2012 17:02
As you all face the night sky looking for the source of the terrible piercing shriek a bellowing mass of black scaled fury launches out of the mist covered swamp to attack the paladin. As you turn your focus on this threat a sinewy form streaks from the sky attempting to grab and make off with one of you.
You soon realize that the two dragons, though ferocious, are young and inexperienced. With grim satisfaction you wear them down. The male is first to fall beneath your onslaught with the female quick to follow.
Gizzella reappears after you separate the dragons from their heads to claim her prize. Patting Churchill affectionately on the cheek she says “ah sweetie, you could have simply declared your heart to me, but this is nice.” The next several hours are spent harvesting the dragons for their natural resources and then getting an extended rest.
Once you are ready to embark on your mission Gizzella prepares to open the passage. First she says. “I must give you a warning. If you are not out of the Barrow before sundown forever in its depths will you dwell. Also I will give you two clues. Actually they are sort of riddles…I am not very good with riddles…I have so few visitors.” She is obviously excited to have this opportunity. “First, the items you seek lie within this… The man who built it doesn’t want it. The man who bought it doesn’t need it. The man who needs it doesn’t know it. Gizzella grins that black toothed grin. Next I will say…the safe path lies on the other side of a jar.” After several minutes of ritualistic casting the grass covered mound falls away to expose a heavy stone door. Her chanting then causes the door to grind slowly open. With that she claps her wrinkled black talon tipped hands excitedly and then sinks back into the mire of the swamp.
You descend into the darkness on a set of stone stairs. Behind you the stone door grinds slowly closed with a dull thud. Balthazar’s sword lights the chamber below. Four large marble statues of armed and armored devils occupy the corners of this chamber. A great throne sits atop a raised stone platform. An iron door resides on the east wall, barred from this side.
A dim nimbus of pale green light manifests around the throne. Slowly a figure in full plate armor holding a full blade manifests, seated on the throne. It is a powerfully built Tiefling with soulful searching eyes. The insubstantial figure speaks. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?”
Deciding to use honesty as your motivation you tell the insubstantial figure that you are here for the sheath and gemstone for the sword.
He nods appreciatively. “That is a noble task indeed. And who are you that intrude upon these moldering old bones?”
Again you choose honesty over subterfuge and introduce yourselves by your accepted names. With that the ghostly figure who claims to be Jezzoranth raises the tip of his full blade an inch off the floor and then slams it down with a resounding boom. You instantly teleport into a cross section chamber with iron doors to the north, south, east, and west. A feint voice drifs from above. “You must prove worthy to confront me.” The doors to the north and south are slightly open causing the paladin to remark that they are ajar and that this may well be the hag’s first riddle. Agreeing, you take the north door and follow the spiral staircase up.
This leads you to another door. Opening it you find a large chamber. A ten foot wide ramp stretches out across the room from your door to one directly across from it. Splitting that ramp is another midway in the room. This ramp leads from the wall to your right across the room to a set of stairs leading onto a balcony to your left. The balcony goes from one end of the room to the other. Two arcane circles give off a dim light in this chamber. One is at the intersection of the two room spanning ramps while the other is fifteen feet down on the bone covered floor. Standing in the upper circle is a large Bone Golem.
As the Bone Golem is attacked another foe intervenes. It is an undead creature known as a Skeletal Inquisitor. It manages to force the Paladin off the ramp and onto the floor below, revealing the floor for a necrotic hazard. Churchill then summons a magma creature to deal with the Inquisitor. The Inquisitors true threat is revealed when it makes short work of the magma creature.
Barrakus determines your best strategy is to destroy the Inquisitor as fast as possible. Complying, Churchill uses Twist of Space to teleport the Inquisitor out onto the ramp next to the Bone Golem. With it exposed you are able to focus your powers on the monster. When you also bloody the Golem causing its bone volley to erupt, the Inquisitor is dazed along with the other conditions you have heaped upon it.
The Warlord then uses his pole arm to drop the Inquisitor down below where the Paladin can confront it; short moments later you destroy both the Golem and the Inquisitor. After a short rest and some investigation, you discover that the only means of egress from the chamber is the upper arcane teleport circle.
Using the circle you find yourselves in a ten foot wide hallway. The hall stretches out before you some forty five feet, turning to the left. The feint drip of water can be heard ahead.
January 28, 2012 18:23
You confront the Cyclops whom you see is carrying off two young women. Several of you attack the Monster before he can even begin to react; Marvelous deals a particularly devastating blow. Bloodied before it can even mount a counter attack, the creature drops the females and flees. Just before the Cyclops could lose its self in the tree line Churchill fells it with a well placed magic missile.
Marvelous has little trouble picking up the trail used by the monster and within an hour your group is outside the lair of the Cyclops. The lair appears to be a cave leading into a rocky hillside. A poorly cured hide is draped across the entrance. Sneaking inside the cave, Marvelous scouts out the entrance. Upon his return your group strategizes what to do next.
After some discussion Balthazor marches in, leading the assault. The Cyclops’ prove to be no challenge to your martial prowess and are wiped out. The survivors are freed from the Monsters make shift cage and escorted back to the town of Baniff.
All though the townsfolk are deep in morning for those they lost, they are still very appreciative of your efforts and do what they can to provide you with food, lodging, and comfort.
The next day you venture on toward the Cold Marshes. You spend the night near the swamps edge and set off again early the next day. By late afternoon, after a miserable day of hiking through cold boggy water, biting insects, and noxious fumes, you make your way to the Barrows. You quickly determine that the largest most central barrow is your goal and spend an hour searching for an entrance on the grass covered mound.
You cease searching when you are confronted by a horrific sight. Rising up out of the dark murky water is a wrinkled muck covered hag. She has long stringy black hair. Her lips and gums are black and her tongue looks like a slimy worm or eel twisting around behind her few remaining teeth. She begins a conversation with your group by telling you how very lonely she is and asks for one of you to ease that loneliness. “Give ush a kish”.
Churchill grants her request and is quickly overwhelmed with nausea as he feels what he thinks is her tongue squirming around in his belly. The Hag introduces herself as Gizzella. She asks you what brings you to this desolate dreary place. Once you tell her that you propose to enter the Barrow she informs you that you will need to satisfy one of two requirements. You must either give her the Heart of an innocent, or bring her the heads of the Twin Terrors of the Swamp. “For only the very bad or the very good may enter the Barrow of Jezzoranth.”
Choosing to kill the pair of Black Dragons that hunt these swamps you make a plan. Balthazor stands on the center mound with his sword lit bright and held high above his head as a beacon to draw in the Dragons. The first night you fail to draw anything to you. Gizzella asks Churchill to join her in her dwelling. When he agrees you see she draws him into the murky waters of her home.
The day passes gray and wet. Then, late into the night, as Balthazor stands tall with his sword blazing into the darkened sky, a piercing shriek from high above you announces the arrival of your prey.