"I wonder if that was from the pastrami rueben I had yesterday?"

Monday, September 11, 2017

Session 9 report, Friedvale campaign

When we last left our heroes, Brog was poised over a large 30' long, 20' wide metallic barrel in the middle of an underwater cave, whilst 4 large zombies began harassing the player characters down below.  Brog leapt to the ground to join the fray, heroically twisting his ankle in the process.  I could bore you with details of the battle, but suffice to say the zombies, even rather large ones, were no match for the PC's.  Having dispatched this final obstacle in the pursuit of their quest, the PC's pondered for no small amount of time what they should do next.  The guard who had wandered into the cave after them offered his opinion, and was quickly shushed by Brog with threats of having various body parts amputated by a sword. 


They decided to enter the device of Kwalish and see what could be seen.  They found ten levers and 6 seats, and a hatch in the aft section.  A disembodied voice began speaking to them and asking them questions.  The PC's did not seem terribly curious about a talking metallic barrel, but did ask HAROLD (as the device introduced himself as such) if he had any offensive capabilities.  Harold responded by extended his pincers and snapping them menacingly.


The PCs decided on a course of murder and mayhem, and were about to order Harold out of the grotto and into the spears of the many imperial soldiers outside, when the undine Brog had spared a few scenes ago appeared in the water, offering to open a portal to her homeland to transport the crew to safety.  Brog readily agreed, and away they went.


During this time, the guard watch haplessly and silently, and was promptly forgotten by the PCs until a few scenes later.


The PC's appeared in what appeared to be the ruins of an underwater city.  The undine who brought them hence (her name was Nightsong) spoke with her father, the leader of the undines, Cloudburst.  He allowed as how he would do no harm to the PCs, since they had saved his daughter's life, but he would need speak to the council on what to do with them, since they couldn't be allowed to leave now that they knew the location of the undine's hidden sanctuary.  They were taken to a holding area for 8 hours, which consisted of a large bubble of air beneath the water on the floor of whatever seas they had found themselves in.  Brog attempted a diplomacy role, and he conducted himself rather well, all things considered.  He did not sway the opinion of Cloudburst, however, and the PCs set watches over the next 8 hours, deciding to rest the spell casters and gather their wits about them. 


The PCs were joined with two other denizens of the holding area, Blackthorn the Druid and Terra the Rogue, who had been heading toward Freidvale by boat on a mission of mercy before being swept away by a storm.  They found themselves in the same predicament as the party.  Unsure of their next course of action, they decided to all rest until the leader of the Undines returned.  It was at this time that someone thought to question where the guard was, who had, in fact, been left in the grotto. 


Karsh took the first watch.  During his watch he saw a small octopus crawl out of the water and scuttle it's way towards their makeshift camp.  Alarmed, Karsh woke Brog and pointed to the octopus approaching them.  Brog rolled over and began snoring (with disdain for his easily unsettled friend).  Karsh then heard a voice in his head, asking if he might, perhaps, have any shrimp.  Karsh said he did not, never questioning for a moment that the voice in his head belonged to the octopus who had crept quite close to him.  Then the octopus (for this was indeed a telepathic octopus) asked if the person sleeping near Karsh might, perhaps, be a ranger.  Karsh allowed as Brog was indeed a ranger.  Brog became interested in the conversation at this point and roused himself.  The octopus introduced himself as Arthur, and went into a sales pitch as to why Brog should select him as his animal companion when the time presented itself. 


Arthur quickly donned an eye patch and showed that he could quadruple wield 4 daggers simultaneously, whilst still maintaining maximum speed on land.  He could also release a cloud of ink to confound his enemies (which, he assured Brog, was much more impressive in the water than on dry land).  He demonstrated his ability to jet backward at amazing speeds through the water, launching himself like a torpedo through the water into the air bubble and into the arms of Brog.  Lastly, he could even pick pockets with all eight of his tentacles.


Brog, nonplussed by this display, asked Tannis if she would like the octopus, stating he wanted 'a cool animal companion, like a wolf or a bear.'  Brog's loss was Tannis' gain, and the monk and octopus became fast friends.  The matter of how they would keep Arthur's skin moist once they returned to the surface world was left unexplored for the moment.


I grow weary of my own session report.  Yadda yadda, King Cloudburst asked a favor of the PC's, find some missing undines and I'll let you free, they explored the undersea ruins of Atuan, found some dead bodies, found a strange man fleeing some sharks, decided the man was bad and left him for the sharks, he ordered the sharks to attack the device, the sharks were dispatched and reverted to human form, they questioned the old man and found out he had killed the corpses they found because his people were running out of water because of a revolt of the proletariat among his people, an undersea city enclave known as the Helenites.  Oh yeah, Vociferea got to cast zone of truth on the old man, Brog and Karsh stabbed things, and Arthur and Tannis bludgeoned and stabbed things.


To be continued.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Legend of the City of Atuan

When the conquerors from the north first came to Illandria some 350 years ago, the Elves treated the invaders not with alarm but with curiosity.  They had heard of no lands to the north, let alone one large enough to support a human settlement some 20,000 strong.  When asked from whence they came, the humans answered only, "Atuan." 


This single word has captured the imagination of cartographers, explorers and treasure hunters throughout the ages.  It has been the cause of many an expedition to disappear without a trace, and each successive attempt only fans the flames for those who still hope to make the discovery of the lost homeland of humanity.  All attempts have met with abject failure, usually resulting in the presumed deaths of all involved to the inhospitable seas and icy winds to the north of Illandria. 


Alex the Bold and his crew of his ship, the Jeweled Scabbard, are reputed to have made it the farthest in the Y.L. 201, travelling some 500 miles to return bearing tales of a frigid wasteland known as Kaltlund.  Alex told of endless tundra, rolling hills of ice and snow populated with strange creatures great and small, but no trace of any men or ancient settlements.  He brought home the white pelts of a great bear, a large fish with a horn like a unicorn, and a single tooth the size of a man's hand which Alex pried from the hull of his ship, but of Atuan, he confessed he saw no sign.  The floating ice surrounding Kaltlund made for slow going, and stretched on for miles east and west if his accounts are to be believed.


The voyage of the Jeweled Scabbard inspired many would-be copy cat sailors, most of whom were never heard from again.  But in Y.L. 225 Horatio Helgott, aboard the stout ship Red Selig, confirmed the existence of Kaltlund.  Unlike Alex, Horatio reported contact with tribes native to Kaltlund, not quite beast nor man but some sort of cross between the two.  The creatures had large pointed teeth meant for tearing and rending meat from bone, but used crude tools and weapons fashioned from bone.  They also bore thick white pelts similar to those brought home a quarter century before.  Horatio attempted a parley with the creatures, resulting in over half his crew ending up in the pot for the savages.  With little evidence to back his claims of a tribe of sub humans living in the ice and snow, Horatio was derided as a fool and a hack, and he died penniless and drunk, mumbling stories that people had long since stopped listening to years ago.


Vindication would come for Horatio, though not in his lifetime.  His great great grandson, Juno Helgott, was inspired upon finding the log of Horatio's voyages some 50 years prior.  Juno was a young aspiring shipwright, and he crafted his own vessel, the Rechtfertigung, using a loan he took out from the Bank of Abadar.  He hired on a crew and successfully made the voyage once again, using Horatio's logbook as a guide.  Taking his great great grandfather's warnings to heart, he came well armed and prepared for conflict, and when he made contact with the savages he sent them fleeing with flaming ballistae shot.  Two of the creatures' corpses were taken relatively intact, and the memory of Horatio was exonerated upon Juno's triumphant return. 


With the advent of the air dirigible some 30 years ago, several pilots have made the journey across the North Sea attempting to retrace the steps of those who came before them, and in hopes that some trace of the cradle of humanity in this region.  Kaltlund has been mapped thoroughly, and if Atuan lies within it's borders it lies covered in snow and ice.  The origins of man in Illandria may remain forever a mystery, and so long as they do there will be explorers galore attempting to find it and plunder its lost riches.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Session 8 report, Freidvale campaign

Nobody reads this, so I'm just going to summarize for myself:  Party finds a boat, the Farsight, Brog argues with the first mate, they go to the fortress to ask if any ships are leaving, Fallister talks his way aboard a different ship with two casks of mead, turns out the captain (Slosh) is a drunk and takes a liking to Brog.  The person guarding the boat is a bit cross-eyed.


They finagle a ring of free action from Captain Slosh, Tannis interviews first mate Jacque.  They are warned about a giant squid.  Karsh frees an Undine from a net.  They start diving on the west edge of the crater.  The Undine from the previous scene on the boat directs them to Kwalish's lair.  They find the way barred by a giant hermit crab.  They dispatch the crab with little difficulty.  They enter Kwalish's lair and see a barrel like device in the center of the room.  They also find a desk with the last words of Kwalish written on it.  A soldier from a different boat enters the cave, having followed the group to the illusory rock wall.  Brog decides to open the portal atop the barrel, finding 10 levers inside, seats for 6 people, and room for provisions inside the device.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Session 7 report, Freidvale Campaign

You don't have to wait long for a party of PC's to seek revenge when they've been wronged by a corrupt Lieutenant.  Such was the case this day as the party sought Lt. Faber for setting them up with some mean ogres.  They returned, predictably enough, to an empty office faintly smelling of smoke.  They found the remnants of a burnt note in the wastepaper basket, which Vocifera repaired using a mending spell.  The note was from the ex-captain Skarros, instructing Faber to go to Lord Bartimeus' house to find a device called Chronos.  The party left quickly to try to save Bartimeus.  They arrived at the manor just in time before Faber finished him off.  A heated battle ensued, dominated mainly by Brog slaughtering the rank and file soldiers and Tannis occupying Lt Faber in combat, preventing him from using his bow.  Vocifera dispatched one of the guards while getting Fallister back on his feet, and Karsh did his part slaying two guards as well.  There was also a bit of business with a goblin dog and a fit of hideous laughter.  Faber saw the writing on the wall and stepped onto a mystic glyph which teleported him... somewhere else.  Tannis saw to Bartimeus' wounds and gave him blood to drink.  The remaining soldiers surrendered.  (They had obviously never heard of Brog and his 'interrogation' techniques.


When Bartimeus revived, he told the group that the glyph teleported down to the slave pens.  So Faber was trapped.  They threw the remaining guards and bodies of the others into the glyph, then headed downstairs.  Faber proved recalcitrant, and challenged Brog to a duel, which Faber promptly lost in one hit.  (He was already very wounded.)  They found on his body a sending stone, which they used to contact Skarros and tricked him into coming to the manor alone.  Once Skarros entered the room, Tannis grappled him successfully and threw him into the glyph.  The party threw Faber's body in after him for good measure.  Fallister gave a convincing pitch to Skarros:  Either cooperate and tell the group all he knew, and they would guarantee he would not be killed for his crimes, or they would let him starve in the slave pens.  With little recourse, Skarros agreed.


Skarros filled the party in on what he knew of project Guyver.  Guyver referred to the dam that kept the waters of Lake See from flooding the northern plains of the Eastern Empire.  The Emperor of the West planned to destroy this dam, flooding much of the arable land in the East and their capital city, effectively devastating their ability to make war before war had even started.  They needed the Apparatus of Kwalish to enact this plan, using modified eggmen as bombs.  This was why Dr. Jessup was testing explosions in the harbor and looking frantically for the apparatus, which was believed to be in the bay at Freidvale.


With this knowledge, the party turned Skarros over to Lord Fatsbury, the only local authority they could trust.  They headed to the Temple of Abadar where Gorgio held residence, and informed him of Dr. Jessup's plans.  Gorgio declared the debt the party owed him paid in full, and agreed to sell his soul to Malrond in exchange for becoming High Priest of the church of Abadar.  Gorgio gave the group a note with his seal on it to take to Malrond, which they did, in exchange for a scroll that would release one person from hell.


Before he left, Bartimeus left the party with a final tidbit:  The Apparatus was believed to be in an underwater volcanic crater somewhere in the bay....


All loose ends tied up, the party called it quits for the night.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Session 6 report, Freidvale campaign

The heroes rested after having ousted Captain Skarros and his noble payee, Hong Weitung.  Corporal Wiggins had also gone missing, along with several other members of the Imperial garrison at the fortress of Freidvale.  Tannis had a fitful sleep, dreaming of a dark shadow that was sniffing the air, moving ever closer towards her.  It was decided, after much discussion, that the group would next investigate Lord Bartimeus' slave pens.  On the way there, sharp-eyed Vocifera noticed a darkened humanoid shape slip into an alley behind them when she turned around.  The group quickly pursued, but found no tracks whatsoever.  Once again, the keen eyes of Vocifera noticed that her shadow was not quite tracking with her own movements.  When she nervously reported this to the group, her shadow broke away into humanoid form.  The being stated it was following 'the master of the cards' (Tannis) and that it could 'smell them'.  It said that others would soon follow.  It also stated that while it served the master of the cards, it could not follow them into direct sunlight. 


Quite alarmed by this development, Tannis immediately set about obtaining some means of obfuscating the cards so that others would not pursue them.  It was determined through the knowledge of things Arcane that a simple bag of holding would shelter the cards from detection, which the group quickly procured from Pascal the bookseller.  Their detour concluded, the heroes continued on to Bartimeus' manor.  The passed town square where holograms depicted various criminals local and national who were wanted for assorted crimes.  The group recognized Captain Skarros and Corporal Wiggins and Hong Weitung as a trio of wanted men.


Lord Bartimeus, who had no servants it would seem, opened the door himself, wrapped from head to toe in rags to shelter him from the deadly sun.  He led them to the slave pens where two of his 'cattle' had been abducted and murdered.  It had been too long for Brog to track the murderers, but he didn't notice a splash of blood on the wall, which Bartimeus decried as being horribly wasteful.  There was a passage leading to the undercity, orc territory according to Bart.  The heroes resolved to investigate the tunnels, but not before Bart warned them not to head west through the tunnels, as this was the abode of unsanctioned undead.  Brog rejoiced that he would finally be able to put his orc-slaying skills to good use.


The group was not long into orc territory when they stepped into the midst of an ambush.  The orcs and their Wererat ally had the element of surprise, but it mattered little.  Brog made short work of three of the orcs, while Karsh slew the vicious wererat, but not before it scratched him in the face.  Thanks to the healing efforts of Vocifiera, Karsh was kept curse and disease free for the time being.  The final orc dropped his crossbow and plead for mercy.  He escaped with one foot intact, the other in hand (thanks to Brog), but not before he admitted to taking a bribe from some imperial soldiers to let them pass through to Bart's slave pens.  Even better, the group had made it to level 3, at 5230 experience points.


The next stop was a return trip to the Fortress, where they visited Lt. Faber, who was furiously filling out paperwork in the absence of his Captain.  When questioned, he wiped sweat from his brow, checked the forms, and informed the group that Captain Skarros himself had investigated the crime scene, and that they had received an anonymous tip that the slaves had been murdered.  The tip came in the form of a note, Faber reported, that had vanished after the investigation.  Before the group left, he handed them a bill for the capture of the leader of the Crimson Claw gang, and asked if the heroes would do him the favor of capturing the criminal.  His last known location was at the ruins of the Chapel of Saint Mel, outside of Freidvale.


At the ruins, the group found a single corpse bearing the mark of the Crimson Claw, it's neck having been broken by intense blunt force trauma to the head.  Something large and powerful had hit him over the head.  Only moments later, two immense, hideous humanoid creatures stepped onto the road behind the heroes.  They made their intentions clear a moment later when they threw javelins at the group.


Tannis was quickest and charged, getting pummeled within an inch of her life for her trouble.  Vocifera and Fallister managed to get her back on her feet, while Brog and Karsh managed to slay one of the ogres (for Brog recognized the creatures for what they were).  Tannis had few hit points and few options left, so she hit the remaining ogre with all her might... a critical hit!  She slew the ogre with a single blow.


The group set about investigating the altar and the statue which were still largely intact in the ruins.  Tannis checked the altar and detected a crack between it and the stone floor of the chapel.  Fallister set the statue aright, putting a stone quill in its hand, which opened the way to a crypt beneath the altar.  They also heard a disturbing moaning coming from the crypt.  Vocifera detected an undead monster close by, then proceeded to blast the bajeebers out of it using channel positive energy.  Saving her last remaining channels for healing, Karsh and Brog bravely stepped into the crypt, ghost-touch swords in hand.  The gifts from Lord Fatsbury served them well, as they were able to dispatch the wraith, but not before its chilling touch drained Brog of some of his vitality....


Inside the tomb, the spirit of Saint Melrose awakened, and the luminous being greeted the heroes, granting them his Sacred Quill as a reward for letting his spirit rest once again and purifying his chapel.  Using the quill, they translated the document they had received from Gnosh the locksmith, and learned of a secret Project codenamed Guyver.  It seemed Dr. Jessup was working on some sort of bomb that relied on living beings for its activation.  But what was he planning to destroy?  The note did not specify, but it did state the urgency of locating the Apparatus of Kwalish, a device that was crucial to the Emperor's plans....