Friday, September 20, 2013

Flame's Justice

The forest of ash makes our journey a quite one. Any creatures intent on harming us will have no problem approaching unheard; fortunately the Mark of Detection enhances my already keen eye sight allowing me to see everything around us.

After days of travelling on foot I see a structure half buried in the ash and soot thanks in no small part to the magic of my Dragonmark. It’s a temple to a long-forgotten deity. This is the first and only shelter we’ve seen in days. Unfortunately I also see a Salamander archer guarding the entrance. Clearly this Salamander (and likely more of his kind) is holing up here to rest after the long journey from Cauldron.

Normally I’d avoid these creatures and not risk combat, but we need to get out of the ash, if only for a few hours. And then I noticed that this Salamander is wearing a uniform of the Cauldron brute squad. He must be punished for his part in the Korred’s ongoing torment. The Flame teaches that those who abuse their power and authority will one day face retribution by those stronger than them. Today is that day.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fire-Forged Friends

Dangerous circumstances have torn me away from the Ironbeard clan, but not in spirit. We had used significant arcane resources to secure passage to this fiery plane, in hopes of trading some of our purest gems for the astral diamonds that could be found here. The negotiations were fruitful. The elemental delegate seemed amused that a "sparkly fairy lass" was in the company of so many dour dwarves, but I was uninterested in telling my life story to a strange fire person. As it happened, I didn't need to, as complicated business with a magical portal suddenly brought me into the company of these... I suppose you would call them "adventurers"?

They are a diverse group, but they seem unified in their goal to acquire oft-mentioned "Phoenix Items". They are apparently artifacts of great power. This power could supposedly be used by Evil Forces, so the adventurers are determined to find them first. One doesn't like to pry.

My role in the tragic events at Cauldron was minimal. Though I was glad to see many of the slaves fly off to freedom in their bizarre balloon boats, the deaths of those on the surface were undignified and dishonourable. I did what I could to give peace to as many as possible.I can only hope that the contingent from Clan Ironbeard was far away from Cauldron at the time.

We're making our way towards the City of Brass, where anything can be acquired for a price. The adventurers seem confident that a royal fiend has two of the Phoenix Items in his possession and we intend to relieve him of that burden. The route to the City passed through a forest of ash. Actual ash, not ash trees. It smudged my wings and gave me a slight cough, but the trees were otherwise serene. We came across some ill-tempered Salamanders (half-snake, half-man, half-fire), including one that seemed to have unfinished business from Cauldron, but Del (a devout worshiper of something called "The Silver Flame", more on him later) and Ethan (a street fighting gymnast, same) dealt with them handily. I also made some small contributions to the proceedings. Typical hammer-to-the-head contributions.

Our hope is to rest in the salamanders' lair for the evening, but my instincts tell us that we won't be able to sleep yet. Hopefully, it's just nerves.

Moradin Guide Thee,

Helia Ironbeard, Clan Ironbeard

Fool Me Once

How many times does treasure have to turn into a monster before we start to distrust treasure?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Recap #30 - Out of the Cauldron and into the Ash

We returned to the campaign as the party gazed upon death and destruction that had befallen the city of Cauldron. The Beholder who ruled was dead at the hand of our heroes, his treasures plundered, and his headquarters utterly destroyed. Unsure of whether Harrison Crabfeather had taken the Phoenix helm with him on the Korred escape ships, the party opted to wait a couple of days for the poisonous gases to dissipate and worked their way into the Korred stronghold below the city. While somewhat time consuming, the journey was uneventful. Unfortunately the item they sought was no longer below the city. Someone had taken it with them.

After some discussion, the group decided to travel overland from Cauldron towards residence of Lord Zul'bar in The Devil's Eye.

As the second day of their journey came to a close they came upon what seemed to be a half-buried ancient temple in the midst of a Ash Willow forest. In the doorway of the temple stood a Salamander guard clearly wearing the garb of Cauldron's town watch. Not wishing to leave enemies behind them and hoping to use the shelter of the temple as a resting place for the night the group used the forest's blanket of ash to plan an attack. Nenia and Braddoc worked their way back down the path they had come from to ensure that an outrider scout was not on their trail. Ethan and Helia snuck their way around the far side of the ash-cover mound and waiting for Delian to lure the guard from the doorway.

Using his best acting skills, the paladin was able to fool the guard into believing he was an injured traveller who happened to stumble upon the ruin. With a warning and a shout to his comrades in the temple, the salamander raised his bow and order Delian to stop. As a second salamandar emerged from the ruins, Helia and Ethan surprised them from behind and the battle began.

Two more salamanders emerged from the ruins. One had a tail that burned as he moved was wielding dual scimitars and the other a long spear. The later of the two looked familiar to the group and began laughing and taunting them as the melee intensified. In fact, it was none other than the former leader of Cauldron's city watch - Terseon. It seems that Cauldron was not quite finished with the party yet.

The two archers were quickly dispatched but the other salamanders proved to be quite formidable. Terseon used a fire cage spell to immobilize Helia, grabbed Delian in his tail and slowly began to crush the life from him. To make matters worse, two more archers appeared upon the top of the ruins and began pelting the heroes with sparking arrows.

Eventually the salamanders were dispatched as Helia drove her weapon up through the jaw of Terseon and a quiet settled over the clearing. The party quickly regrouped and dragged the corpses in the ruins and hid the signs of battle as best they could.

Once inside, the party closed the doors and rested for a few moments. While searching the interior of the building for danger and anything of note, Helia and Delian discovered 2000 gp worth of gems that had belonged to the salamanders and Ethan noticed that one of the altars on the side wall had a small space beneath it. Upon closer inspection he found a secret door which slid open to reveal a very large ornate chest. Being the cautious (paranoid) group that they are, Ethan and Delian scoured the area and chest for signs of traps. They found none. However when Ethan reached to open the chest, the look of excitement in his eyes changed to pain as the chest attempted to bite his arm. Helia quickly took his place and was subjected to an inordinate amount of damage. At the same time, three imps appeared in the ends of the room and another battle was joined.

Two of the imps immediately set upon Nenia and Braddoc. Within a few seconds both had been stung by the imps and had fallen asleep upon the floor.

The chaos continued as the mimic kept grabbing the party members and the imps attacked with razors sharp claws while blinking in and out of visibility. After several rounds, the party vanquished their foes and a sullen Ethan discovered runes of binding and a hidden stash under the mimics now-oozing corpse.

While Nenia and Braddoc continued to snore (lasts for an hour), the party discovered 10,000 gp worth of gems and an ornate mask in the small chamber.

Mask of TearsLevel 16 Uncommon

This bone mask captures the image of a grieving figure whose tears become a balm to you or an ally.
Head Slot        45,000 gp

Power (Healing)  Daily (Free Action)

Trigger: An enemy bloodies you with a melee or a close attack.
Effect: You or an ally adjacent to you can spend a healing surge.

The adventure continues next week a few hours after the mimic battle... (a short rest has occurred but not long enough for an extended rest yet. The group passes a milestone.)