Thursday, August 20, 2009

Origins


The events of the past week have rattled me to the bone. I am grateful for the poor condition of the Sacrifice and the lack of crew. The work distracts me from the thoughts that now race through my mind. It is these moments of silence when I find myself alone under the night sky that I begin to question myself. I begin to question all that I thought I was.

Unbidden thoughts surface. How did this dragonmark appear on my skin? Is it related to the flash of light from the altar? Who is my father? Is my blood true? Only my mother and Mikhal know the answers to that question and they are both dead. They will give me know answers.

As I look back at the past work I did for House Orien as a courier in Sharn. Did I seek them out or was I manipulated and placed into that position? If my blood is true, does my father watch over me? Hoping against hope that a mark might manifest? That he might reclaim his son?

It matters not to me who my father is, if he is of House Orien or not. The origins of this mark are of know consequence. What matters is the doors they could open up. As I truly do not know who my father is, it can't hurt to attempt to make a claim to the House. My failing is that I know nothing of their workings, or the politics. I must wait for them to come to me. I will allow the crew to do that work for me, to spread the rumours of a new dragonmark. There may be danger in this course of action, but it is worth the risk.

I do not know how House Orien will think of my work, if they do even embrace me as one of their own. I've successfully eliminated two marks and word is the employers in each case were very impressed with the way it was handled. A note from my handler indicates that there is another job waiting for me. My hope is that there is a House Sivis messaging station at the Fist of Onatar where I can receive instructions.

Perhaps my skills could be put to use by House Orien. I should let my handler know of this development, it should allow me to charge more for my assignments. All I know is this mark is my ticket out of poverty, out of the lower caste and I embrace that!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Recap #27 - Things heat up with Kristoff

2 Vult
  • The party carefully descended the stairs within the shrine. As their eyes adjusted to the dim light they could see what looked like a balcony 20 feet up and around most of the pew area where they stood. A stair to the right lead up to the balcony. Hearing very little sound the party moved forward. Nenia decided to move up the stairs first and was greeted by the charges of an elf and a dwarf. From there noise erupted from most of the balcony.
  • Two beholders and an elf wizard appeared at the edge of the balcony. The beholders attempted to blast the party with eye rays while the wizard dropped a wall of fire upon the stairs effectively splitting the party and blocking escape.
  • All three of the humanoids had glazed eyes as if they had been driven mad.
  • Unable to climb the wall, Ethan swung a pew against the wall and used as a ladder. He then moved to engage the wizard. Meanwhile Sterling moved up the stair to assist Nenia as she fell to the swords of her attackers. Braddoc used his "Come and Get It" power to to great effect and pulled the beholders down to him. Meanwhile Delian tried to climb the pew-ladder to no effect.
  • Sterling was able to heal Nenia and get her back in the fight. He then tried to draw her attackers away. Braddoc was able to pin down one of the beholders while the other slowly made its way back up to the balcony. Sterling was subsequently knocked unconscious before Delian bolstered him up.
  • As Ethan was fighting the wizard he noticed that one of the beholder's eyes was always following the wizard's motions. He quickly surmised that the beholder was somehow controlling the wizard and called for everyone to focus on the beholders.
  • Although Ethan's tactic was not followed by all it turned out to be the correct plan. As the first beholder fell the three humanoids were stunned for a few seconds. When the second beholder feel soon after, their thralls fell unconscious to the ground.
  • After the party tied up their captives they took a short rest. They then awoke the wizard to find that he was none other than Kristoff! Although his mind was muddled he was able to confirm his identity and give the party a bit of information regarding the shrine they were in.
  • He informed them that the shrine was tied to the seal in the valley. Dragonborn sent pilgrimages here to perform a ritual that strengthened the seal. He was not sure what it entailed. He also recalled the a very large beholder and a skeletal dragon in his nightmares. The last thing he mentioned was that the Phoenix item was not actually a sceptre. He had not been able to ascertain its exact form but he was sure it would be obvious to any who saw it as it was very powerful. He then said he would watch the entrance for the party as they ventured further in. He asked that the elf and dwarf remain tied up as he did not know who they were and could not vouch for their intentions. The party agreed to his requests.
  • Farther into the dungeon the PCs found a 10 foot deep chasm filled with glowing purple fog. The way forward was 15 feet across the fog and 10 feet up a natural cave wall. Not wanting to enter the fog the party handed a rope to Ethan who attempted to leap the chasm. He was unable to grasp the top of the far cliff face but managed to hang on to the wall and climb up. He secured the rope to a far wall and Sterling did he same down below. Then the party attemped to cross the rope line.
  • Sterling and Nenia made it but Braddoc and Delian fell into the pit. The noxious gas of chaos caused him to lose a healing surge. With the assistance of some rope from the party they were able to climb up out of the gas.
  • The hallway from where they stood was backdropped by a shaft of light at the far end. It created a silhouette of a large altar surrounded by what looked to be dragon heads. They could also make out a large pile of bones.
  • The bones ended up being a dracolich. As it moved into the hall to engage the party a grell joined the fray. Using some solid tactics the party was able to keep the dracolich dazed and unable to use its full fury upon them.
  • One thing of note was that the five dragon heads surrounding the large altar began glowing purple as the fight progressed.
  • Once it was reduced to a pile of bones the grell fled up the shaft in the ceiling. It called out some words as it disappeared up the shaft that Nenia determined was the end of a ritual.
  • As the grell's words trailed off a beam of purple light shot toward the back of the room, hit a mirror and shot up the shaft. The grell fell back down the shaft dead.
  • A blinding flash of light then stunned the entire party momentarily. When they regained their senses they discovered they had all manifested Dragonmarks and a door had opened to the west. They also regained 2 healing surges and heard the following words in their heads:

    When bones are laid to rest once more and chaos relinquishes the seal
    Destinies are written upon the five who tread the valley
    The ringed prize is won but the priestess’ curse falls upon the innocent
    The fire moons greatest strength brings about her final release
    Her vengeance upon the land will be terrible
    But the Shadow in the Flame will eclipse her fury
    Not until fire adorns the sacrifice will the Five's fury be drowned
    And Flame's Shadow will be returned to its slumber
  • The hallway led to a T junction. To the left was an ancient, undisturbed ruin containing nothing but rotted manuscript. Nenia found words pertaining to the seal and about something named Tiamat. It mentioned sacrifices of blood to strengthen the seal.
  • The hallway right ended in a doorway to a room containing a teleportation circle. After a few moments consideration the party stepped through.

Recap #26 - Picking through the Boneyard

2 Vult

  • The party was dropped off an hour before dawn outside the valley known as the Boneyard. They proceeded on foot trying to keep a low profile. As they entered the valley they were amazed by the sheer numbers of skelatal remains protruded through the grass and light shrubs. They decided to follow the path leading along the valley floor.
  • A couple hours later the path entered a clearing containing something they had not seen before. Upon the ground was a large stone slab - approximately 40 feet in diameter. It was surrounded by 3 small round altar-like pedestals. Upon closer inspection they noticed runes scribed around the outside of all 4 structures. Although they were unable to determine exactly what the runes said they were able to discern that it was a seal of some sort. In addition the large surface was marked with the symbol of Dolurrh while the top face of each smaller altar bore the symbol of Xoriat.
  • From this point the path veered up to the left toward the mountain face. The party had followed it only a short way when they heard an eerie call ahead of them. They formed up a defensive order and proceeded forward. They had just rounded a small corner in the path when they were attacked by five tentacled creatures. They quickly dispatched 3 of the 5. The others fled into the shrubs while making frantic screeching sounds. A few moments later they learned that the creatures were calling for assistance.

  • Now the party was surrounded by masses of gricks. In addition 4 destrachans and a very large grick were attracted to the sounds of chaos. Nenia's use of her firewall devastated several of the gricks and created a covering wall. Meanwhile the rest of the party made quick work of the smaller creatures. Things were just looking under control when a hideous creatures with multiple mouths burst through the ground in the midst of the party. A dangerous squamous maw was looking to feed.
  • Using its blast attack to deadly effect it nearly got the best of Nenia. Ethan was able to avoid the bulk of its blasts and kept the grick alpha from harrying the party too much. Finally the party was able to force the beasts into Nenia's firewall and then dispatch them.
  • Sorely hurt and shaken the party too a few moments to rest. During that time they noticed the remains of caravan wagons a little farther up along the trail. Moving carefully they were able to search the wreckage but found nothing of note except the skeletal remains of many humanoids. They concluded that this was what remained of Kristoff's entourage and continued up the path until they came to a set of stone doors. Braddoc surmised that they were thousands of years old. One of them was propped open so the party entered.

  • In front of them a set of stairs dropped 20 feet into an area containing a half dozen rotten wooden pews.

Due to several computer issues this is all we accomplished that night.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Recap #25 - Andred's Report

2 Vult
Andred Wormblade scanned his carefully written report. He had received the report request this morning. That meant the pouch he'd purchased and sent her from Sharn had finally arrived in Lakeview. The set had come at a steep price but it would make contact with his benefactor that much easier. He shook his head and focused on the task at hand. Alara did not pay him for amateur work. More importantly a historian of his caliber didn't omit important details. He knew that the actions of the Clifftoppers had the potential to alter the course of history in ways they couldn't imagine yet and he considered himself to be their witness. He started at the top once again. His eyes caught the major points of the journey since Sharn as he skimmed the writing and mentally recalled his travels.

They had left Sharn on the 21st of Sypheros. Two days later they had made an abrupt stop over a remote forested area East of Delver's Dale. The party had disembarked for a day. When they returned they bore new treasures. Even more impressive than that was the fact that he almost saw the hint of a smile upon the warforged face. He'd never thought it possible. Nenia informed him that the party had dispatched a Green Dragon. He research later told him the creature had been none other than Razcoreth. Andred recalled his previous dealings with the warlock dragon. He would not be missed.

Two days later they had landed in Flamekeep and spent two days talking to Thelio and some madman in the Houses of Healing. While dealing with the broken man had been unpleasant it had been fruitful. The ravings had supported Andred's research of the Boneyard. Even the state of the man confirmed that Xoriat was involved somehow. It gave credence to the rumors of the Xoriat manifest zone.

On the 6th of Aryth they had departed Flamekeep and spent the better part of a week flying to a settlement in Q'barra quaintly named Hope. During this time Andred had spent many hours with Nenia pouring over books and records trying to narrow their upcoming search of the jungle. He knew from his research in Newthrone many years ago that the jungles of Q'barra were an extremely dangerous and foreboding place. Death came quickly to the unprepared. Andred had been impressed when Nenia has stumbled upon a small note on one of the scrolls that indicated the general area they were looking for. he was sure it had saved them weeks of searching.

Even with this new information it had still been a week of waiting in Hope for the signal from the party that indicated they wanted the airship to pick them up. With the help of a Genasi Druid named Cur-ri they had destroyed a cult of Yuan-ti worshippers and obtained the Symbol of Fire. If the story was not embellished it was seem that the young human lad had actually tied a rope around his ankles and leapt into a flooding pit containing a Yuan-Ti Anathema! However when I pressed them on what had become of such a dangerous creature none of them could say. The holy warrior Delian looked particularly disturbed about that detail. My instincts tell me that the area there has become even more dangerous. Regardless, we got what we came for. The jungle can look out for itself.

They party has entrusted me with safeguarding the Symbol of Fire until I can perform the ritual in Onatar so I spent the next two days studying it and recording every detail I find. For two days after plucking the group from the jungle I was able to do so in peace. However as we neared the Boneyard we were attacked by Halflings of the Talenta Plains. They have learned much since they declared their independence. Incredibly they have mastered the use of kegs that burst into flame when dropped. With them they were able to crash our ship into the side of an ancient temple in the foothills of the Endworld Mountains. Many of the crew were lost in the battle and the crash landing. I am amazed that I have survived to make this report. However it turned out that our predicament was about to get much worse. It turned out that the temple - which is older than many I have seen - is considered to be a holy place to the Halfling tribes. To make matters worse it was also being held by a horde of creatures we know as witherlings. There must have been a great battle here at some point in history to account for the magic required to create such sheer numbers of the beasts.

Being caught between an advancing army of Halflings and hordes of Witherlings we wisely chose to hide. Somehow we ended up above the temple and the dwarf Braddoc released a devastating landslide of rock and rubble upon the battle in front of the temple. Luckily the Witherlings caught the brunt of that maneuver and the Halflings offered us quarter in exchange for the assistance we inadvertently granted them. In the nine days that followed we were able to repair the ship to its present condition. During our repair time we were honoured with the presence of Holy Uldra. The party did not share my enthusiasm though. We barely convinced her to grant us permission to enter the Boneyard in search of Kristoff's fate. She also spoke of some curse upon us and the lands if we removed any items from the valley. I hope to someday get a chance to sit down and record the histories locked within the mind of Holy Uldra. It would be a shame for our libraries to one day lose such a valuable source of information.

We now sit within the airship hovering over the mouth of the valley know as the Boneyard. It is an hour before dawn and we have just dropped the Clifftoppers off. It seems they wish to move in on foot in order to avoid any denizens spotting the ship in the air. Only history will tell us whether they find Kristoff or simply meet the same fate as his caravan.

Andred carefully reordered the stack of paper on his desk and counted them once again. Seventeen pages of details, diagrams, and commentary were ready for Alara's study. He rolled the sheets together and pressed his wax seal on the outside. He then waved his hand over the seal and murmured the words that would leave his arcane mark ensuring that Alara knew the words to be his. Placing his findings within the mate of Alara's pouch he closed the flap. It took only a moment for a slight warmth to fill the bag and he knew she had taken the letter from her own pouch. The ship shuddered slightly. He sighed as he repositioned the ritual components on the floor. The airship wasn't nearly as steady as it used to be. But that was understandable considering the damage it had taken in the previous couple of weeks. History predicted that Alara would have words for him to pass along to the group. He reached into his bag and withdrew a tome he had been studying. He may as well pass the time constructively.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Intentions

Ethan sat in the guild masters office marvelling at the many trophies that adorned the walls. The dragon's tooth and basilisk's eye being two of the dominant items in the room. His admiration for Master Dourstone was interrupted by the entrance of Ragnolin himself. Dressed in his normal attire the stout dwarf eased into an arm chair across from the rogue.

The dwarf looked across at Ethan and after some time spoke "So you wanted to meet boy?"

"I did Master Dourstone. As you requested in your note I've obtained the item you desired. None are aware that I have it, much less who it is for." With that said Ethan passed a small parcel over to Ragnolin. The dwarf cradled the parcel in his arms loving for a moment and then carefully laid it aside, his eyes had a strange gleam to them.

"Thank you for this Ethan, I shan't forget this favour."

"It is I who should thank you Master Dourstone, you provided for me when no other would. For that I am in your debt."

A silence fell upon the room and both men were content to endure it for a time. Finally, Ragnolin spoke "I assume there is something else you wish to discuss?"

"There is master," Ethan replied with a serious expression.

"A weighty matter is it, this calls for a drink then." Reaching into his personal cupboard Ragnolin drew out a bottle of Karrnathi Whisky, often known as liquid fire for how it burned the throat as it was drunk and then warmed the body afterwards. Pouring two glasses he passed one to Ethan and raised it in a toast, "To the glorious dead, to the living who will follow and to us. May we live forever."

Drinking deeply the two men regarded one another anew.

"Master, I come before you seeking counsel and requesting aid." Ethan took another drink before continuing. "In this time that I have been serving the guild and travelling I have experienced things beyond my understanding. I have learned and I have grown. Lately, I have feared that which I saw in myself. Killing comes to easily to me Master and I enjoy it too much. I lie awake at night afraid to sleep, fearing I might wake more terrible, more ruthless than before.

"In my time at Lakeview with Alara, I came to realize that perhaps I could harness this ability, the ruthless desire to kill. I thought on it deeply and consulted with Mistress Alara on it. I have come to realize that I am destined to walk the path of the assassin. I would choose this path willingly, though I know it borders on evil. However, I do not want this choice to be my ouster from the guild. So I seek your blessing on what I choose to embark upon.

"Further, I would ask that you or one that you trust be agent to my services. That those I might strike down be evil men. I would know your thoughts on this."

Ragnolin sat across from the rogue for a long time before answering. It seems the missive from Alara was correct and the once innocent boy was choosing to walk a dark path. Oh he knew of evil and evil men, but he always seemed to rise above it. "What have I done to him?" Ragnolin wondered to himself. "I hope that damnable Alara did not have something to do with this." Finally he spoke, "Know this Ethan, I cannot counsel you on this path. It is your own to walk and only you know the right of it. I believe you to be an upright and honourable man. I do not see evil in you, in fact I see much good."

"Should you decide to walk the dark road of the assassin you will not have my blessing. However, neither will I have you removed from this hall for making it. For as I said, I see much good in you. Nor will I act as agent on your behalf, however I know of one who can. Long has he been a friend to me and I trust his discretion." Ragnolin reached into the folds of his surcoat and withdrew a sheet of parchment and a quill. He wrote down a name and handed the sheet to Ethan. "This man makes a living by remaining anonymous, but I can arrange an introduction in time."

"Thank you for your words Master Dourstone, I appreciate your candour. One final thing, if you could keep this discussion from the others. I don't know what they would think of this decision. In time I'm sure things will become apparent to them and I will advise them of my decision in due course."

Meetings


Ethan walked into the common room of the Clifftop Adventurer's Guild hall, his eyes quickly scanning the room. He took in the faces both new and old, searching for the one who didn't belong. Finding her quickly he crossed the room and sat across from the girl. She was attractive, bearing the striking looks of his mother. Smiling he took her hand, glad for her safety.

"You look like mother" he commented, "I'm glad Larien was able to rescue you."

The girl blushed, unsure what to say. Tears rose up in her eyes and she began to sob, fear shaking her body.

With a sigh Ethan took her by the shoulders, "I know you don't know me, nor do you have reason to trust me. This place isn't right for you, you need a change of scenery, something to take away the dark memories. I have arranged transport for you to a town called Lakeview. A women by the name of Alara will find you a place to stay. Give her this letter when you arrive. Take care sister."

With that Ethan gave his sister a kiss on the brow, rising quickly he left the room lest others see the tears forming in his own eyes.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Quick Overview of Some Lands

Assume your characters know the following. Anything else you'd need to research a bit. Mostly this is here just to get your brains in the game and make some decisions on next steps.

Q'Barra
Lying on the eastern front of the Endwall Mountains and the long expanse of The Dragonreach it is easy to see why Q'barra remained untouched by civilized settlements for so long. The steamy jungles and sprawling swamplands that encompasses most of the landscape is a perfect habitat for dire and horrid animals as well as dinosaurs. The small shard of land is not completely inhospitable, however, as a small strip of fertile land lies in the southeast and other open expanses peel away from the jungle in places around the country.

The Bone Yard
The Boneyard is an area in the Talenta Plains filled with many skeletons of dragons. The halfling clans of the Plains consider the place to be cursed and will not willingly enter it. It is extremely ancient and may date from the Demon Wars. Filled with all manner of aberrations, it seems to lie atop a Xoriat manifest zone.

Fist of Onatar
The Fist of Onatar is the name of a volcano in the city of Mroranonhold in the Mror Holds.
The dwarves of the clan protect the site and think that it is a sacred place tied to Onatar, god of fire and the forge. The volcano radiates magical energy, which some Aundairian scholars believe is the result of powerful dragonshards beneath the lava.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Guildhall...

8 Sypheros - 999YK
Clifftop Adventurer's Guild

"It is good to see you all again. A toast to safe travels."

Ragnolin raised his mug and drained it to the bottom. Without a signal the barkeep set down a fresh ale and cleared the empty. The entire guildhouse had been closed for the afternoon for this meeting. The barkeep was happy to have something to do aside from restocking his wares.

"Thank you for taking the time to bring me to speed on your adventures. I know you were tired when you arrived two days ago but I needed that time to act on your words. I must give you my utmost thanks and respect for acting the way you have since you left. As members of the guild you have were not bound to follow through with Jaryn or any other portion of the Phoenix Regalia situation. Your actions have not gone unnoticed. It is time some of your questions surrounding the whole situation are answered. After that I have some further news for you that you may or may not wish to act upon. Siberys knows your earned a rest."

With that Ragnolin signaled to the barkeep who then led an elf from the backroom. His eyes gave away his old age but his body looked as strong and spry as any warrior elf. His frame was covered in a flowing green and brown cloak. As he approached Ragnolin spoke.

"Gentlemen, this is Kal'ser. It was he who hired Kartenix and his group in the first place. He is here to fill in some of the gaps to this point."

Before he said anything Kal'ser took a moment to shake everyone's hand. "You have my deepest gratitude for all you have done. Even the loss of the items in question to that fiend Skamos has not been for naught. However, before I go further I wish to offer some recompense for your efforts." He reached into his cloak and produced a bag. The unmistakable sound for gold pieces filled the area as he set it upon the table. "In it you will find 1000 gold pieces and 5 jade worth 100 gold each. I trust this covers your fee."

He took a moment to look at the people sitting around the table.

"Please take no offense when I say that I will now tell you all I can. Nothing more. The words I utter are all I am allowed to say. Even I have an employer. I have sworn oaths in his service that nothing can make me break. Let me begin."

"The Order I belong to is sworn to keeping the items of the Phoenix Regalia safe - and separated. As you already know, their powers of the wearer increase as more and more of the items are wielded. So much so that they can stave off death itself through rebirth."

"Nearly twenty years ago we learned that our Order had been infiltrated and the secret of each item's location had been compromised. Almost immediately our members began to disappear or turn up dead. We were being systematically eradicated. Now only I remain in the service of my master. We have become extremely secretive and usually employ individuals such as yourselves when our small numbers preclude our ability to act."

"With our numbers dropping we were unable to defend the items. Each was eventually stolen and taken to a variety of locales. We lost track of some for a time before they resurfaced somewhere else. Each was stolen and restolen."

"As you well know the first item was reobtained from a Mezzodemon by Kartenix and his group. I hired them to do so. How they accomplished the task I still have no idea. However they must have been followed since each was assassinated before returning to Sharn. Had I known that danger would follow them after they retrieved the item I would have met them in Flamekeep."

"The second happened to be in the possession of the hobgoblin Sinruth. From your report and my investigations I don't believe he actually knew of the power of the item he possessed."

"Of course someone else did. The tiefling Skamos has been tied up in all of this. He has murdered your comrades. Dogged your trail and committed an untold numbers of evils in his pursuit of the items. I can not seem to determine his motives but I do believe he is in the employ of someone much more powerful who seeks the items for themselves."

"We think we have located the last two items. The Cloak of Flames resides in Fernia. Retrieving it will be no small matter. Who knows what guards it now. The final item - the Mace of the Phoenix - is known to lie in The Boneyard in the Eastern Talenta Plains. I hired Kristoff - Jaryn's wizard acquaintance - to look into it for me. I have not heard from him in quite some time. I fear the worst."

Ragnolin interrupted "I have news on that when you are done Kal'ser."

The elf nodded "I am nearly through. I know not who it trying to reassemble these items but I fear their purpose. There is too much power involved for me to believe it is for any good purpose. Not to mention the murders that have already taken place simply to retrieve two of the items. That is all I will say until I hear Ragnolin's news."

Ragnolin took a long draft of his ale, pulled a letter from his pocket and spoke. "I received a note only this morning from someone claiming to be Kristoff's aid. It bears his seal. You may read it but it is brief. He beseeches assistance on Kristoff's aid. He claims that they did indeed locate the mace but its owner's servants overcame the caravan and killed nearly all its people. The Boneyard is now home to some malevolence that commands even the undead. Somehow it turned Kristoff's mind. He is now a servant to whatever the beast is. And - most importantly - it has the Mace of the Phoenix in its control."

A moment of silence went by as Ragnolin looked upon Kal'ser. Finally the elf spoke. "This is grave news indeed. I will now extend an offer of employment to you all for the safe return of Kristoff and - more importantly - the Mace of the Phoenix. You will be paid handsomely. What say you?"

We've got a flying machine!

Alara's Meeting Room - 25 Nymm
It never ceased to amaze Telios how Alara's garments effortlessly accentuated her body no matter how she moved. Today was no different. Her usual flowing black dress drew the eye as she entered the meeting room. With a small smile she addressed the minotaur and dragonborn who waited for her.

"Welcome back Telios. Andred. Was your journey to Arcanix fruitful?"

Telios nodded and Andred spoke. "It was. Great histories are recorded within the tomes of the floating city. Of import to your request we found that unless the Clifftop members wish to wait until Fernia is coterminous in two years, their best option is to perform a ritual of planar travel in Onatar."

Alara turned to look out the eastern window of the room. The morning sun streamed on her face. She remained silent for a moment. Andred felt that she was almost trying to see the volcano located within the Mror Holds. Alara turned.

"My experience with the dwarves of the Holds has not been good. They hold old grudges with Karrnath and my service to that nation places me in a difficult diplomatic position. Our guests will have to figure a way into the volcanic city on their own. I hope they aren't expecting a welcoming party." She paused. "And what of the Symbol of Fire you mentioned before? Is it definitely required for the ritual?"

Andred nodded. "It is. However they are not easy to come by. It was a difficult topic to research. In fact my original lead in the Demon Wastes turned out to be false. I found reports of a changeling by the name of Dox who came into possession of that symbol after duping its previous owners of their prize. It is hardly a wonder that he can not be found what with angry rakshasas after him now." Andred smiled at the wonder of it.

He continued. "I had nearly given up hope that Arcanix could help us when I came upon a record of an adventuring party that had passed through Qbarra. A small passage of the text talked of snaketongue cultists in an ancient temple deep in the jungle. This particular cult seemed to have a particular affinity for fire - as did it's Yuan-ti master. They sent in their rogue to infiltrate temple. As the cult did not possess the particular item they were seeking at the time, the party left the cult alone and moved on. However the rogue did mention in his reconnaissance report that a fiery symbol hung within the central chamber of the temple. The description matches that of what we need for our ritual. Perhaps we can persuade the cult to part with the item."

Alara smiled and spoke. "So if the party wishes to obtain the Cloak of Flames which we think lies within Fernia then they must first seek out this symbol of fire which we think is in the possession of a cult of Yuan-ti worshippers somewhere in the bowels of Qbarra's jungles. Then they must somehow convince the dwarves of Onatar that they must perform a ritual of great power within their domain? Do I have that summarized correctly?"

Andred thought a moment. "An accurate interpretation M'lady. There is one other concern of course."

"Of course." Alara concluded. "Do they have the ability to perform the ritual? Nenia has a natural command of the arcane. I am not so sure she possesses the necessary control yet however. That is yet another bridge they have to cross."

She looked up as Andred spoke.

"But I do. I could go along with them if they wished. I can research aboard the airship you retained as well as here. It will also give me a chance to set some conflicting historical records straight as they dirty their hands with their tasks. I can speak with local leaders and sages. If - I mean when - they accomplish their goals I can perform the ritual to send them to Fernia. It is a win-win situation as they say."

Alara thought for a few moments. "If that is your wish. It is their choice however."

She turned to her skeletal servant. "Tibia, fetch our guests. It is time Andred repeats all this information to them."

Telios shifted his weight on his hooves. He was glad Andred hadn't tried to include him in his grand travel plans.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Revenge

Mikal waited in the alley. The ranger would appear soon. She had kept to the same habits for weeks and now it was going to cost her life. Since the daring raid that liberated the girl, the sister of that miscreant Ethan. Mikal still bore the scars from their last encounter and for that he wanted the rogue to pay and pay dearly. Mikal had made a vow to kill everyone that was close to the Ethan, to make them pay and to ensure they knew why it was they were about to die.

Like clockwork the ranger Larien walked by the alley. With lighting accuracy Mikal tossed a dagger which dropped the ranger prone and slid her into the alley. Looming over her the halfling slammed his fists into the rangers prone body. With a laugh Mikal taunted Larien. "You know why you're going to die girl? It's because you choose poor friends, that's..." Mikal's voice cut off as a groan escaped his lips.

Stumbling to the ground Mikal looked at the figure standing above him. A familiar face leaned forward as a dagger plunged into his heart.

Turning from the dead halfling Ethan helped Larien to her feet. "I told you I had your back Larien, let's get you home now." Together the two friends made their way back to the Clifftop Guild.

Hidden in an alley across the way a hidden figure nodded silently to himself. So the rumours were true, Ethan Dalruun had returned to Sharn. The figure moved quickly, there would be others who would want to act on the information quickly.

The next morning Ethan found himself returning to old habits from a life time ago. While running through the Clifftop district a figure stepped in front of Ethan. Removing his hood a human stood before him. "Ethan Dalruun, Cavallah of the Cogs wishes to meet with you. He is aware of the death of Mikal of the Boramear's and knows of your involvement in Xandrar. I will await your answer outside the Clifftop Guild in two hours time." With that the man turned and walked away.

Puzzled Ethan continued his run. Returning to the guild he quickly equipped himself and left a note with the barkeep Tharuk. Stepping out of the guild hall Ethan quickly located the mysterious human. "Take me to Cavallah, I am anxious to meet with such a well connected individual." Ethan smiled, it had been some time since he ventured down to the Cogs.

Recap #24 - Lo! A Beholder!

19 Nymm - 999 YK


  • As the Eidolon was about to bring it's massive fist down upon Ethan's skull it suddenly turned it's head, looked at the Eastern tunnel entrance, and said "Invader's approach." It then stepped into position in front of the Northern doors and tok a guardian stance.
  • From the Eastern hallway emerged several strange creatures with skin where their eyes should have been as well as a mindflayer and a female drow. Since the Eidolon seemed content to guard the sealed doors the party turned their attention to the newcomers.
  • While the priestess focused her deadly magics on Nenia, the mindflayer attempted to latch onto her. At one point it was successful. However Braddoc quickly freed her by taunting his enemies with "Come and get it!". The blind creatures quickly succumbed to area magics but the party was dismayed when a second drow appeared from nowhere and caused grief for Ethan and Delian. Sterling's solid presence in the midst of the battle enabled the party to maneuver throughout their foes and the majority of the creatures were dispatched. Even the Drow priestess was defeated as she tried to make a calculated retreat.
  • With a quick lull in the battle the NPCs took the opportunity to beseech the Eidolon once more. This time they were able to convince the construct they meant no harm. Still wary, the creature was a little more forthcoming with information regarding the temple they were in:

    - The eidolon has no name. It was created by Ixthul in the service of Aureon.
    - The temple was a holy place where a great weapon against the forces of chaos has been stored against a time when it will be needed again.
    - The ediolon does not have any way to mark the passage of time, and considers such concepts irrelevant to its purpose, so it does not know how long it has been there.
    - The eidolon does not have the ability to open the doors, which are warded by powerful rituals. The Harbingers of Ixthul have the only knowledge of how to unseal the doors.
    - Ixthul himself placed the eidolon there to guard this chamber against intruders who might try to tamper with the artifact.
  • In exchange for their sworn promise to keep the location of the temple a secret, the eidolon opened a secret compartment and presented the party with a glowstone and a jolt flask.
  • The party also found a key, 600 gp and a pair of sending stones on the drow priestess.

20 Nymm - 999 YK

  • Exhausted from the day's spelunking, the party decided to take an extended rest in the temple. However in the 6th hour of their stay the eidolon awoke the party with a warning of impending danger.
  • From the Western tunnel emerged a horrendous floating beast with tentacle eyes - a mighty beholder!
  • With a shout an a warning not to hold back on the beast the eidolon moved forward and set up a stance which granted great boons to its new allies - extra damage seemed to flow from the party and they seemed immune to any fear. The effect surely turned the tide of the battle.
  • Even though it blasted the party repeatedly with its eye rays and attempted to move the PCs into a group for a devastating area attack the abberant beast was quickly forced into a corner. A war of attrition ensued and the creature was destroyed.
  • The eidolon advised the party that such attacks would surely continue if the source of entry for the creatures was not found and rendered unusable. He also begged that the tunnels leading to the temple be caved in as the PCs exited. Realizing that the construct would never leave this place they reluctantly agreed and said farewell to the faithful guardian.
  • Taking the Eastern tunnel Delian discovered that the key they had found on the priestess opened the magically sealed door in the chamber of 3 doors they had passed through earlier. Evidently it was a passage that allowed a traveller to bypass the chasm trial.
  • With the dwarvish knowledge that Braddoc possessed the party was able to collapse the tunnel to the temple. They also were able to disable the summoning portal they had found in the storeroom.
  • Eventually they exited the complex and returned to Alara and made a report. They were careful to avoid any mention of the eidolon but Delian slipped up once when he asked Alara about the golden Ixthul robe that Ethan possessed. Intrigued, Alara declared she would have Andred look into this lead if only to confirm that the threat to the town was over.
  • The townsfolk were overjoyed when they learned that the PCs had stopped the source of the ogre attacks. Old Jaeck - the smith - agreed to create a silver brooch for each party member in whatever design they wished. In addition, the party members now receive a +2 to any social skill check made when dealing with the locals.
  • A week later Andred and Telios returned from Arcanix to report to Alara regarding their findings on travel to Fernia. Later that day the party was summoned to a meeting with Alara.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ethan and Alara


The room was brightly lit. Sunlight streamed in through the window, the thick curtains uncustomarily parted. Ethan sat in a high backed leather arm chair. His hands placed on the arm rests as he waited for his host to join him. The wait wasn't long and soon Alara joined him. "You wanted to speak with me?" the wizard inquired.

"I did m'lady. I had a request of you, though I hope I am not wasting your time."

"Of course not Ethan, and please drop the m'lady. Alara will do."

"Yes, of course m... Alara. The Hobgoblin Sinruth that my colleagues and I brought to Lakeview. I.. I owe him a debt. I once made a promise to him and though that promise was made with less than honourable intentions I've learned that perhaps I should be more careful. I seek to release Sinruth from prison here in Lakeview, however I don't wish to cause you trouble or embarrassment to your people."

"An interesting request and I will have to deny it. Sinruth has already been released from prison, however I will convey your wishes to him."

"Thank you Alara." Ethan made to leave, then stopped.

"There is something else isn't there Ethan?" A small smile appeared on Alara's lips, disappearing as quickly as it arrived.

Ethan leaned back in his chair, squeezing his eyes shut his mind began to race. After a few moments a smile appeared on his face, opening his eyes he began to speak. "There is, while in the dungeon I came across a note. It indicated I, or my companions and I, had passed the first test and were now Harbingers of Ixthul."

Alara laughed, "finding a note does make you a member of an order Ethan."

"Of course note m'lady... I just... it doesn't matter."

"No Ethan it doesn't, now why don't we discuss what you really came here for."

Ethan smiled again, "Yes of course. I have observed you, you have an mastery of the dark arts and a knowledge of death. I find that this fascinates and terrifies me at the same time. I have come to realize while journeying with my companions that I delight in the ability to deal death to my foes. I fear that if I don't take control of this urge that it will consume and ultimately destroy me. I feel that I need to focus my ability and I feel that the path of the assassin is what is best suited towards this task.

"I don't know why I tell you this. Only that I think you may understand where I am coming from and perhaps you can provide me with some guidance."

"Ethan, your path is your own. If you embrace the life of the assassin then there is one you must slay first. You know of whom I speak Ethan. Finish what you started and you will have begun your journey."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Recap #23 - Something Foul is Afoot

19 Nymm, 999YK

  • Ethan deftly climbed down the hole in the floor and confirmed that the coast was clear. The party found themselves in a long natural tunnel that declined steadily into the darkness. There was no sign of who had left the ladder and the rope.
  • Striking a sunrod the party followed the tunnel. After perhaps 1000 feet it took a sharp turn to the North. (Thank goodness for dwarven directions!) Ethan ordered the sunrod hidden and proceeded to scout around the corner. From the echoes ahead Ethan surmised they were entering a large chamber. He was correct. After a few moments of waiting in the darkness Ethan signaled for his comrades to move forward. He deemed the coast to be clear. He was wrong.
  • A bellow from somewhere ahead and to the right brought the party to arms. Nenia threw a light spell into the chamber just as Ethan was blindsided by a creature he had never seen the likes of. It clawed his face and somehow attacked his mind. Quickly the rest of the party was set upon by two more of the creatures and a hulking beast of obviously the same descent.
  • The party charged forward to assist the rogue. It took several seconds for them to realize that there was another monster hiding up to the left in a small alcove. It was firing magic into the fray and somehow seemed to be bolstering its allies.
  • Assuming that the large hulking mass was the major threat the PCs set upon it. However looks deceived them. The brute - while formidable - was merely the front line defense for the caster.
  • After a brief but fierce fight the party bested the 4 monsters in the main chamber and turned their attention to the magic attacks. They then learned that their foe was trying to guard a hole in the floor of the alcove - and was doing so to great effect! However it was no match for the combined efforts of the 5 adventurers.
  • Searching the corpses reveiled that the caster was carrying some Boots of Eagerness which Delian claimed as his own.
  • After a brief rest the party descended a ladder propped against the wall of the gaping pit. They once again found themselves in a natural tunnel leading even further down into the earth. After 30 minutes of climbing the party arrived into a room that had obviously been hollowed out of a large cavern. They were surprised to find vast quantities of weapons, armour, and other stores stacked throughout the room. Sterling figured it was enough gear to equip an army of hundreds. In the centre of the room a large symbol was etched into the floor. Delian and Nenia detemined it was some sort of teleporation circle tied to the plane of Xoriat! They also figured that it had to be activated by a ritual on this plane.
  • Not wanting to spend much time here in case more enemies arrived the party took 10 minutes quickly searching different areas in the room. They were able to find a large amount of gold and several valuable gems in the stores. Quickly they pocketed their find and moved into a tunnel on the far end of the chamber.
  • After a few hundred feet the tunnel abruptly changed. Instead of rough, natural surfaces they found themselves entering a room that had been carefully carved from the stone. Despite a thick layer of dust and dirt they could see that beautiful stonework had been defaced in several places. It was clear that this place had a special purpose. In the far wall were 3 stone doorways.
  • The first had a strange device inset with a multitude of cubic stone sections that could be pushed, pulled and slide in different directions. The middle door was open and led into a dark tunnel. While once again natural, the surfaces of the tunnel had been smoothed in several places to make travel easier. The last door was magically sealed. Even though a semi-circle of dust and debris on the floor indicated that the door had recently been opened, no amount of coaxing could reveal what lay beyond.
  • Figuring the mechanical device was a trap, the party opted to follow the tunnel through the open door. After a few hundred feet the party came upon a rickety wooden rope-bridge that crossed a seemingly bottomless pit. Near the centre of the bridge hung a chain which could be used to swing off the bridge to a column of rock about 30 feet East in the chasm. Upon the column sat a chest.
  • Tying a rope around himself, Ethan moved to the centre of the bridge with the intention of swinging to the column. He was met with two skittering spider swarms who enveloped the rogue. Luckily his friends had the wherewithall to haul him back via the rope. From there it was a small matter to clean up the vermin and the two dire stirges that emerged from the darkness.
  • Withthe coast seemingly clear Ethan made a second attempt. However the usually deft rogue somehow fell short of the column and fell into the balckness below. Luckily for him the chasm was covered in an illusion and he only fell 30 feet into some water. A couple of climb checks put him on top of the column where he found a golden robe, some potions, and a note that read:

Congratulations for passing this test of courage and strength. You are hereby promoted tot he first rank of the Harbingers of Ixthul. The next step in your training as a holy warrior begins now.

  • Ethan then swung back across the chasm to the bridge and the party continued along the tunnel on the far side. It was not long before they reached a ornate chamber supported by 4 pillars and decorated with carved griffon heads. On the East side of the chamber was another tunnel. On the North end was a large set of double doors. In front of the doors stood a motionless Eidolon with a griffon's head carved into it's chest.
  • When the party carefully approached the construct asked "Who approaches and why have you entered this sacred place?"
  • The NPCs attempted to convince the Eidolon that they meant no harm and were in fact allies. However the guardian seemed unconvinced and turned hostile when Braddoc attempted to intimidate it.
  • The session ended with the raising its might fist in an attempt to smash the skull of the nearest party member.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Treasure

May 17, 2009

Here's a summary of what was found in the sunken temple last night.

CASH
  • Gems (500 gp) x 6
  • Gem (100 gp)
  • Statue (250 gp) x 2
  • 400 gp

Total = 4,000 gp / 5 = 800 gp each

MAGIC

The headband goes to Nenia, the cloak goes to Delian and the candle will go in the bag of holding until needed for a ritual. By taking the new cloak, Delian gives up his Amulet of Protection +2. Who wants it? I'd reccomend Braddoc take it.
  • (10) Headband of Intellect [5,000 gp]
    Property: Gain a +2 item bonus to knowledge or monster knowledge checks, and a +1 item bonus to attack rolls on powers that have the psychic keyword.
    Power (Daily): Minor Action. Gain a +2 power bonus to the next Intelligence attack that you make this turn.
  • (9) Cloak of Survival +2 [4,200 gp]
    Enhancement: +2 Fortitude, Reflex, and Will
    Property: Gain a +2 item bonus to Endurance checks
    Property: Gain resist 5 cold
    Property: Gain resist 5 fire
  • (11) Ritual Candle [9,000 gp]
    Property: This candle never burns down (except as noted).
    Power (Daily): Standard Action. Light the candle before beginning to perform a ritual. You gain a +2 power bonus to any skill checks made as part of the ritual.
    The candle automatically extinguishes at the end of the ritual and can be used again the following day.
  • (6) Amulet of Protection+2 [1,800 gp]
    Enhancement: +2 Fortitude, Reflex, and Will
April 19, 2009

Here's a summary of what was found in the dragon's horde last night.

CASH
  • Gold tiara (1,500 gp)
  • 400 gp
Total = 1,900 gp / 5 = 380 gp each

MAGIC

I assume the boots will go to Braddoc and the helm will go to Sterling.
  • (12) Battlestrider Greaves [13,000 gp] PHB
    Property: Gain a +1 item bonus to speed while wearing heavy armor.
  • (10) Helm of Heroes [5,000 gp] PHB
    Property: You and each ally within 10 squares of you gain a +2 item bonus to saving throws against fear effects.
    Power (Daily): Free Action. Use this power when you grant an ally a basic attack. That ally can take a standard action instead. The ally gains a +2 power bonus to any damage rolls made during that standard action.
March 22, 2009

When the game ended we decided we were going to Sharn. Once there I'll sell the following treasures currently in the Bag of Holding.

CASH
  • Silver Bracelets (100 gp) x 5
  • Gold Bracelets (250 gp) x1
  • Gem – Fire Opal (1,000 gp)
  • Gem – Black Pearl (500 gp)
  • Gem – Topaz – (500 gp) x 2
  • 2,550 gp

Total = 5,800 gp / 5 = 1160 gp each

Update
  • 1,000 gp
  • Gem - Jade - (100 gp) x 5
Total = 1,500 / 5 = 300 gp each

MAGIC


We also have the following magical loot.
  • (10) Jolt Flask [200 gp] AV
    Power (Consumable): Standard Action. Make an attack: Area burst 1 within 10; +13 vs. Fortitude; on a hit, the target is dazed until the end of your next turn.
  • (5) Power Jewel [1,000 gp] AV
    Power (Daily): Minor Action. This power allows you to regain the use of an encounter power of 1st or 3rd level.
    Special: You must have reached at least one milestone today to activate this item.
  • (11) Sending Stones (pair) [9,000 gp] PHB
    Power (At-Will): Standard Action. Until the end of your next turn, any person speaking into one fist-sized round stone can be heard by those near the other stone as though he or she were standing in the other stone’s place. At the end of your next turn, both stones are exhausted. With a minor action, any character touching a single stone renews the set.
    Special: Sending stones normally come in a matched pair attuned to one another. Larger sets of stones attuned to each other can be created (add 50 percent to the base price for each additional stone).
  • (10) Glowstone [200 gp] AV pg#191
    Property: A glowstone radiates dim light in a 2-square radius.
    Power (Consumable • Radiant, Zone): Standard Action. Use the glowstone to creates a zone of bright illumination in an area burst 2 within 5 squares of you. Any undead creature that is vulnerable to radiant damage that enters or starts its turn within the zone is affected as if it had taken radiant damage. For example, a skeleton that has vulnerable 5 radiant takes 5 radiant damage if it enters or starts its turn in the zone. The zone remains until the end of the encounter or for 5 minutes, whichever comes first. Using this power turns the glowstone to dust.

NOTES

Delian - I'd like to keep the black pearl (500 gp) for myself. If anyone wants any of the other gems as part of their share let me know or I'll just sell them for cash. I'm not interested in owning any of these magical treasures.

Ethan - I will be taking 100% gp as I will be purchasing a new weapon while in Sharn.

Sterling - Will be taking cash as well.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Recap #22 - Koptila's Secret

  • Having just defeated the ogres and orcs that suddenly appeared the group took a short rest and then made their way to the door on the West side of the room. In the distance they could hear the guttural sound of chanting.
  • Ethan carefully opened the doors and crept down the hall. Not far along he came to a brightly lit room. From his vantage he could see 3 ogres with bowed heads surrounding a rune on the floor. They seemed to be either completing a ritual or praying. The rune was the same sun symbol they found on the door leading here.
  • Though the room was brightly lit the group decided to move as quickly and quietly as possible in an attempt to take the ogres by surprise. With a little teamwork they were able to gain the entry to the room without raising an alarm.
  • Once noticed, the PCs waded into battle. The nearest ogre - a warhulk - used its heavy flail to great effect on Braddoc and Ethan. Meanwhile Delian, Sterling, and Nenia tried to take out the Ogre Skirmishers who were lobbing javelins from the far wall. Splitting the party (again) managed to spread the damage around. However this was not the main problem they now faced. Every few seconds (end of the round) one of the PCs gained a curse upon themselves that slowed them and caused a penalty to their Fortitude and Will defences.
  • As the fight dragged on, Delian noticed that whenever someone was cursed the braziers on the far side of the room flared a little. Deducing that the fires were somehow connected, the PCs set to work upon them as well as the ogre foes. Delian also deduced that the writing on the wall mentioned an ancient god of some sort that was now angered by the presence of the party. Perhaps that was who the ogres were praying to.
  • Nenia was able to use her Thunderwave to knock over a brazier (on a crit!). There was no noticeable effect on the curse. However when Delian took a few seconds ot bow his head in prayer and apologize for this intrusion he knew he was on to something. He indicated for the others to do the same. They failed miserably and the curse persisted.
  • Meanwhile weapons were swinging as the ogres and the PCs attempted to hack each other to death. Braddoc in particular was having a lot of difficulty wounding the warhulk. Sterling took a huge brunt of the damage trying to fend off the skirmishers. After a number of rounds the PCs finally earned the upper hand.
  • After the battle the party was able to disable the second brazier and end the curse upon them all. Some treasure was found on the ogres and under one of the braziers.
  • Proceeding down a short flight of stairs the group followed a short hall to the West. As they walked the passageway they heard what sounded like a hum or crackling sound. The farther they went the louder it got until they reached a set of double doors where the sound was near deafening.
  • Expecting the worst the group burst open the door and rushed into the room. It seemed to be some sort of burial chamber. They were met by two zombie hulks who seemed to be guarding the source of the sound - a large energy field cracking with necrotic energy filled the centre of the room. They were also able to see through the field to a small room on the far side where yet another sun symbol hung on the wall in the form of a large metal icon.
  • Nenia's Arcane check on the field failed to reveal anything of its nature or how to deactivate it.
  • The PCs turned their attention to the zombies who quickly smashed Braddoc and Delian onto their backs and blocked further progress. Unable to gain flanking positions, the heroes attempted to push, pull, or slide the ogres in some manner.
  • A few seconds into the battle a large undead ogre ran in from the back room and blasted the party with necrotic energy and slowed them. It was a beast known as Koptila. It then attempted its Death's Beckoning on Delian to no avail.
  • Figuring they could quickly kill the zombies, the party left Koptila alone. The PCs expected from experience that the hulks would raise themselves once when they were "slain". However there was something they didn't realize, whenever a zombie was killed it disappeared only to return at the end of its next turn within the necrotic energy field! Several times they dropped a zombie only to have it return and set upon them again. Meanwhile Koptila was wreaking havoc upon the party although Delian managed time and again to avoid Koptila's summoning power.
  • During the scrum Braddoc stepped into the field. Aside from taking damage the party was surprised to see energy leave the dwarf and move into Koptila. Somehow the field had drained a healing surge from Braddoc and boosted Koptila in some manner.
  • Things were looking pretty grim for the party at this point. Resources were being used up and the creatures were still coming. Finally Nenia determined that the Sun Icon on the far wall was the key to the necrotic field.
  • After conveying the information to the party Nenia used her Thunderwave power to make access way to the sun icon. Ethan took the opportunity to move in and attempt to disable the device. He quickly realized that the only way to doing so was to simply rip it off the wall.
  • His first attempt failed and a zombie proceeded to try and smash his brains in. Koptila then used his Death's Beckoning power to teleport Ethan away from the icon. With the doorway blocked by a zombie no one was able to gain access to the icon again!
  • Then it happened.... TEAMWORK! (hehe... j/k) Braddoc put himself in the way of an opportunity attack from the blocking zombie in order to assist Ethan with jumped clear over the 10 foot zombie! It was a difficult task but it worked!
  • Once on the other side, Ethan was able to rip the icon of the wall. It turned the tide of the battle. Not only did the energy field disappear, it revealed a large hole in the floor.
  • In addition to rendering the zombie regeneration inert, Koptila seemed to actually take damage each round. He pulled all the stops attempting to slay the party and return the sun icon to its place but soon he fell to the floor never to rise again.
  • With every resource exhausted the PCs fell to the floor for a quick rest. A look down the hole in the centre of the room revealed a 20 foot drop into what looked like a natural tunnel. On its floor rested a ladder and some rope.
  • A few moments later Alara entered the room with her skeletal servant in tow. She said she had learned something new and asked for a report.
  • Delian complied with the request and Ethan pointed to the sun icon that rested against a wall. After a few moments consideration she addressed the party.
  • Her researched led her to believe that the ogres had been tricked hundreds of years earlier. Their leader Koptila had sacrificed his life in the deal and the ogres had been "saved" from their enemy by being transported through time. Their sudden materializing was the effect of their being sent from that moment in time to this one. She surmised that it seemed almost instant to the ogres. However she also believed from her readings that the ogres were being used as a decoy for some other more nefarious purpose. She wanted the PCs to proceed immediately into the hole in the floor. She felt it was no coincedence that it was there.
  • Realizing the group was in no shape for further encounters she asked them to drag Koptila's corpse from the room. She had to reactivate the energy field and didn't want Koptila to gain some advantage from it.
  • When the room was clear she placed the icon back on the wall. Immediately the energy field sprang back to life. Amid the din of crackling Alara began to perform a ritual. After about 10 minutes she put both hands into the field. Energy bolts flew in every direction and enveloped the party. A few seconds later Alara pulled her hands back.
  • Alara looked very drained but the party had been fully regenerated. It was as if they had taken a night's rest within a few seconds!
  • Alara asked them to remove the sun icon and give it to her servant. She then pointed to the hole in the floor and indicated for the group to proceed. The entire region's lives may be at stake.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Recap #21 – An Enemy Returns

Another long one folks…

12 Nymm, 999 YK
  • After defeating Jarmaag, his concubine Galaria held true to her word and assisted the PCs in retrieving the Khyber dragonshard from the secret compartment.
  • The PCs questioned the succubus in the hopes of learning something more about the theft. She indicated that it was Rathos who originally obtained the job. He relegated the work to Jarmaag and his crew. However when Jarmaag realized the value of the item he had taken he decided it was time to claim leadership of the Bloodghosts in Xandrar. Galaria never heard the name of the person who ordered the job but did here the employer referred to as “she” on several occasions during the planning stages.
  • The watch turned up at the bar about 20 minutes after the battle and the PCs turned Jarmaag over to them. Galaria was set free by the PCs. She promised she would be leaving Xandrar at the earliest opportunity.
  • After buying a few potions, selling a few items and visiting the ship captain they freed from Rathos, the group located their horses and started the journey back to Lakeview. The dragonshard was safely stowed in the Bog of Holding.

18 Nymm, 999 YK

  • The group made camp at a fork in the road about 1 day’s journey from Lakeview.
  • At about the 6th hour of the watch they were awoken by a rough voice who taunted them. “Well, well, well. It seems I have finally found you.”
  • Upon waking they PCs realized they were surrounded by a large number of hobgoblins led by none other than their old adversary Sinruth! After a very brief dialogue he gave a signal to attack.
  • Things went from bad to worse when the ground suddenly shook and a great beast tore from the ground killing several hobgoblins and knocking a number of other combatants prone. Realizing what was transpiring Sinruth ordered his men to assist the PCs in killing the Bulette that had decided it had found a plentiful feeding ground.
  • Things were going well against the bulette until it became bloodied and buried itself. Unable to attack their common foe, the PCs quickly turned back to attacking the hobgoblins. Several of them were killed.
  • A couple of rounds later the bulette once more burst from the ground and set upon the remaining people. Unable to decide whether to trust Sinruth a second time, the group split their attacks between killing their old foe and their new one. It took everything they had (and I mean everything) to accomplish the task. In the end the bulette was forced to retreat severely wounded and Sinruth gave himself up as prisoner. The group recovered 200 gp and an Elven Cloak +2 from the defeated hobgoblins.

19 Nymm, 999 YK

  • The PCs entered Lakeview with their prisoner in tow. However they immediately noted that the inhabitants of the town were on edge (to say the least). Paranoid would be more appropriately descriptive.
  • The group escorted Delian to Alara’s residence so he could deliver the dragonshard. Alara was pleased. Offered Delian a drink and listened to his report. She also warned him of leaving his friends alone in town in light of recent events. She didn’t allude to what they were at that time.
  • Sterling took care of stabling the horses and then assisted Braddoc and Nenia with escorting Sinruth to the town jail. It took a little convincing but they were able to get him incarcerated.
  • Ethan went to find out what was going on in town. One woman talked briefly about mysteriously appearing ogres killing people. Then she got so freaked out she ran away. From there he worked his way around town until he end up at the Tailchaser Inn. No one was in the pub so he hit up the bartender for information.
  • He learned that 7 days prior an ogre had materialized out of thin air in the middle of the town square and set upon anyone with reach. It killed over 30 people before an organized resistance was able to take it down. 3 days later another appeared at the town pond and killed 4 swimming children before being killed. No one knows where they are coming from but many people are leaving the area until the mess is cleared up.
  • After everyone returned to Alara’s residence she proceed to fulfill her end of the bargain. She divulged the following information: (I’ve had to switch things a bit from what I said last night. It seems I had my planar information quite wrong. Oops. You’’ just have to go about things another way!)
  • The last known location of the Phoenix Cloak was in the Fernia – the Sea of Fire. Getting there was not impossible by any means but it would be difficult. Getting there is MUCH easier when Fernia is coterminal with Eberron. However that is not going to happen again for another 683 days. (Just over 2 years) To that end she had sent Telios and Andred
    (the minotaur and dragonborn) to Arcanix in search of other means of getting there.
  • They were also researching another the group would need. It seems that the cloak is in a chamber that is impossible to open without the proper seal. There research seemed to indicate that the seal was being guarded within the Demonwastes. This was currently being confirmed with research in Arcanix.
  • In the meantime the town had been under attack from the ogres. She noted that Kythri was currently coterminous with Eberron. She felt that the Churning Choas plane was somehow tied to the ogres. With that clue she
    was able to find a small ancient snippet in one of Andred’s history books referencing a powerful clan of ogres that used to live just north where Lakeviewnow rests. It was even possible that Lakeview was built upon buried ruins. It seems that a powerful enemy was about to defeat the ogres so the clan chief, Koptila, mad a bargain with some gods in exchange for the rescue of his clan. The gods agreed and all the ogres disappeared without a trace. There is no record of where they went.
    • As Alara was talking the ground suddenly began to shake like an earthquake. Upon investigating the group learned from some people that a huge sinkhole had opening in the earth north of the town. One brave soul had crept up and seen a passageway of stairs leading into the earth.
    • Alara thinks this is no coincidence. As the PCs have a week or so to wait for the return of Andred and Telios she asks the group to investigate.
    • The group makes their way to the passageway. They find a door that has been cracked up. Using a sunrod the group moves in to find an ancient chamber covered in runes. From a small crevasse in the floor the party hears the whispers of hundreds of voices.
    • As the group moved toward a door in the West wall 3 ogres and 3 orcs suddenly materialized throughout the room. The group was able to get a round of attacks in while the seemingly surprised beasts slowly became substantial.
    • Even though the foes caused quite a bit of damage (yay for great axe crits!) they were quickly subdued by the PCs. Upon the corpses the group found 3 silver bracelets worth 100 gp each.
    • The PCs once again turned their attention to the door to the west. It is adorned with a large sun icon. Listening to the door, the group can hear loud guttural chanting. They are unable to discern what it means.

    Friday, February 27, 2009

    Farewell to a Friend.

    I am not sure if anyone follows this blog aside from our gaming group but I want to preface this post before it is read.

    On February 15, 2009 one of our group members - Robert Ste Croix - passed away at the age of 33 after a brief battle with cancer. This post is my way of saying goodbye as I - and the rest of the group - were unable to attend the funeral far, far from here.

    Rob is going to be missed by many people. Not the least of which will be the guys who enjoyed his roleplaying on Sunday nights over of the past couple of years. Rob's last character was Jonathon; a battle cleric who dropped everything to assist innocents and the weak. Many times it was to the detriment to the rest of us but it was always entertaining!

    Rest in peace my friend.


    Jonathon winced as he leaned his head against the rotten stump of a tree. Even had it not been just after sunset, he was sure he would still have had trouble seeing with all the blood flowing into his eyes. His helmet had saved his head from being crushed like a melon but he had been rewarded with a large gash in his forehead where his helm had been forced into his skin. Of course that wound was of minor consequence. The mighty club of the ogre had somehow managed to crush his left side. He was having trouble breathing.

    He was in a bad position now and he knew it.
    Taking a ragged breath he calmed himself. Had anyone been close enough to assist him they would have heard a quiet prayer of thanks to Dol Dorn. The god of steel and strength had granted him victory over his foe. Most importantly he knew he had saved the boy from certain death. His thoughts drifted to what had just transpired. It seemed like hours ago yet he knew it had been mere minutes.

    Some might call happening on the situation pure chance. He knew better. All day he had sensed he would be tested once again. Travelling alone to Flamekeep had granted him the opportunity to meditate a great deal on his teachings and beliefs. Somehow he seemed to have gained a sort of six sense of danger ahead. He surmised it was a blessing from Dol Dorn for his faithfulness.
    He recalled hearing a bellow of pain as he rounded a corner of this forest path. As he cleared a large boulder he had come across the scene: an ogre dwarfing a human lad held a raised club in his right hand while he grasped a newly opened knife wound in his left leg. The boy was brandishing a knife as he danced defiantly between the nearby trees. Both combatants were obviously looking for another opening.

    With a quick prayer Jonathon had leaped into action. He uttered a challenge to the ogre and set upon him with his sword. The ogre’s large frame offered plenty of target but the huge club seemed to swing as easily as a sapling in the wind. The strength of the ogre was astounding. When Jonathon ducked under a blow directed at his head the club had struck a tree and shattered it into tinder. Time and again Jonathon had managed to wound the beast but never with a blow grievous enough to slow it down. It was becoming a battle of attrition.

    That was when it happened.

    The boy appeared suddenly on the far side of the ogre. It was so unexpected that Jonathon had been momentarily distracted. It was enough for the ogre to bring his weapon to bear upon the cleric. The club hit the cleric full on causing the massive wounds he now suffered from. Jonathon had been momentarily stunned by the force of the blow. He was sure he would have been killed in the seconds that followed had his ally not struck the right arm of the creature. It had been a well aimed attack. Perhaps a nerve or tendon had been severed. Whatever it was, the effect was immediate. The beast dropped his club and clawed at his arm in pain. In the same motion it had also swung around so quickly that it had caught the boy full in the chest and sent him flying like a rag doll into some nearby bushes.

    Seeing a precious opening Jonathon had gathered his wits and drove his sword home beneath the ribcage of his foe. With a shudder the monstrosity had fallen forward never to move again.
    Jonathon mind wandered back to the boy. He had no idea where the youngster had gone. A quick search had revealed a small pool of blood in the bushes but nothing more. In his current state Jonathon was unable to follow any trail.

    He was getting tired. Most likely lost blood. Even with his considerable knowledge of the healing arts he was unable to do much for what he believed was a crushed lung. Fight as he may he knew in his heart he was too far from any house of healing to have much hope. He resigned himself to that thought and turned his heart to prayer. Soon he was unable to stay awake any longer.

    *******************************

    Tharunn crept forward through the underbrush. Everything had gone quiet after he had bolted from the battle. Honing his skills in the forest was one thing. Taking on an ogre singlehandedly was something entirely different. In fact, if he didn’t feel that he now owed the cleric a life debt he would be long gone from here by know.

    As he crept forward he finally made out the form of the ogre corpse. He didn’t know a lot about the huge creatures but he didn’t think they slept sprawled on their faces on the forest floor. Surely the beast was dead. But where was the cleric? From his vantage point he couldn’t see to the far side of the small clearing.

    He was about to stand and move passed the body when soft white light appeared on the other side of the path. Unsure of what was happening, he slowly stood and peered out from behind a young tree. For a moment he thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. The cleric was leaning against a rotten stump and in front of him was a warrior bathed in a glowing white light. The radiant being’s armour had been specially crafted to accommodate the two large wings on its back. Tharunn had listened to enough church sermons in his life to know that this creature could be nothing more than an angel. Tharunn heard him speak.

    “Awake faithful servant of Dol Dorn. It is time to receive your reward. You have followed your convictions as well as any man could. More so than most. Your time here on Khorvaire is at an end. Come. Time to meet the other faithful. Take my hand Jonathon.”

    As Jonathon slowly took the creatures hand a brilliant flash of light filled the entire area.

    When Tharunn’s eyes finally adjusted to the coming darkness of the evening he was standing alone with the corpse of an ogre.

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    Recap #20 – Jarmaag’s Hot Girlfriend

    12 Nymm (This is the date I've calculated and I'm sticking to it.)
    • After a very long discussion on how to proceed, the party decided that a straight up approach was the smartest plan of action. They would try to act like everything was normal in order to gain audience with Jarmaag but they would expect the worst. Good thing too.
    • Along the way they were joined by a mysterious elf ranger. He would later disappear. Maybe never to be heard of in Eberron again. (Thanks for playing Ed!)
    • Entering the bar the party noted 7 individuals quietly talking amongst themselves and having a drink – even at this early hour of the day. Ethan noticed Tolg in a back booth speaking to a tiefling. Tolg ignored him though.
    • The groups request for a drink and Jarmaag’s ear was initially ignored by the barkeep. However after a moment he went into the back to let Jarmaag know the group was here.
    • In the meantime Tolg said “You’ve got a lot of nerve coming back here traitor!” and a bloody battle ensued. It had many of the elements of a classic bar brawl!
    • Braddoc deftly jumped on a table in the middle of 4 humans and with one mighty swing felled 3 of them. The bartender returned from the back and quickly dropped an area of darkness before going to town on Delian. He was joined by shifter who went straight for the backlines of the PCs and began hounding Nenia and the ranger.
    • Ethan and Delian were able to do enough damage to Tolg to force him to flee through the darkness and into the kitchen. They were then joined by Sterling and they were able to kill the bartender before turning their attention to the tiefling warlock he was protecting behind him.
    • In the end the PCs were victorious but Delian and Nenia were rather sore.
    • Proceeding through the kitchen and down the secret stair to the gambling hall the group encountered Jarmaag and his cronies.
    • Druel the dragonborn gladiator drooled (haha), hooted and grunted as he brought his considerable gladiatorial skills to bear while Jarmaag’s “wife” Galaria dominated Ethan and Delian from behind the bar. She was in fact a succubus. Even the battered Tolg joined the fracas.
    • Several other members of the Bloodghosts also joined the fray and Jarmaag himself unleashed a devastating array of magic upon the outnumbered heroes.
    • Eventually the group began to get the best of their enemies as they dropped them one by one. In the end it was only Jarmaag and Galaria left. It was then that Galaria showed her true colours and betrayed Jarmaag to save her own skin. She stopped resisting the PCs and offered information on Rathos’ in exchange for her life.
    • Enraged, Jarmaag tried to flee but was dropped in the stairwell by the mysterious ranger’s deadly aim.
    • As the party tied up Jarmaag, Galaria unceremoniously relieved him of his secret key (from places best left unspoken!) and took Ethan and Sterling up to Jarmaag’s suite. There they found the Khyber dragonshard just where Rathos thought it would be.
    • Now the party needs to decide how to proceed.

    Recap #19 – Rathos’ Deal

    • With the Oni defeated the party took a brief respite and proceeded south to the end of the main hallway with Ethan taking point. Rounding the corner to the west they encountered two bugbear warriors on jail guard duty. The party made quick work of them.
    • Inside the second jail cell the group found a prisoner near death. After tending his wounds they discovered he was the captain of the ship that had been raided for the dragonshard they were seeking. Being in no condition to defend himself the man begged for the party to take him out of the catacomb lair immediately. After a brief (but animated and detailed) discussion, Ethan led the man to a safe spot in the ruins outside while Delian stood guard near the hidden lair entrance. They provided also provided the captain with their magic candle to keep him safe.
    • In the meantime the rest of the party took peek down a short stairway to discover a pit containing several needlefang drake swarms. Fearful of a trap Nenia destroyed the creatures from the safety of the stairway landing. (Murderer!)
    • With no other doors left to open the group suspected yet another secret passage somewhere. With a little luck they were able to locate one in the middle of the hall. It lead to a bar stocked with exotic wines and ales. Each party member helped themselves to a bottle. (Worth no money. Simply roleplaying options here folks!)
    • Through a further door the group finally met Rathos. The rather overweight bugbear was lounging on his bed with his two pet displacer beasts standing guard in front of him. By the looks of him, his love of the finer things in life had left him rather out of shape – or at least more of a round shape!
    • The party initially accused Rathos of plundering the dragonshard and demanded he return it. Rathos indicated he did not have the dragonshard in his possession. He claimed that Jarmaag had it and that the group was being used by a scheming kobold. He even allowed Ethan to search the room to prove his claim.
    • Rathos then put an offer on the table. In exchange for being left alone he would tell the party where the dragonshard was and some of Jarmaag’s tricks and strengths. Braddoc wanted no part of it. He was itching for blood. However Nenia spoke up and accepted the offer on behalf of the party and the deal was struck.
    • Rathos indicated that Jarmaag most likely kept the dragonshard in a secret compartment within a secret compartment under his bed. Furthermore, no skill in thievery would be able to pick the lock. The group needed the key that Jarmaag kept on his person. He also informed the group that Jarmaag kept the company of a seemingly beautiful woman who was in actuality a demon. He also sported a dragonborn body guard of sorts who had fought as a gladiator many years before. Aside from that, all the individuals frequenting the Bottle and Speak Easy were fiercely loyal to Jarmaag and should be expected to help defend him.
    • With that the party left Rathos.
    • On their way back to town the group stopped to pick up the captain of the ship.
    • Further along the path the group happened upon a group of bugbears and a doppelganger. On Jarmaag’s orders they demanded proof of Rathos’ demise. When the party refused to do so the doppelganger ordered them to wait while Rathos’ lair was checked. Upon refusing that request as well, the party found themselves in another scrum. The doppelganger warned the group that if he did not return then Jarmaag would know he had been betrayed. The party didn’t care.
    • Having already used up most of their tricks, the group was hard pressed to overcome this group. In the end they were victorious but they were also forced to see shelter within the ruins prior to returning to deal with Jarmaag.
    • In the distraction of making camp, Sterling did not notice the scout that spied upon them before slinking back towards town.