In the Ruins of Micah
Wikkle takes both of Mishakal's Tears for safekeeping and a potion of fly to keep her well above danger and speeds back the way they came (They did the math, she'd make it out with rounds to spare. I really should have done something to make this scenario more tenuous. -SB). Kara shifts into a gnome and she and Pidjit hide in the bag of holding so Almarden can teleport the rest of them to the location of the amphidragon eggs that he found with his scrying spell (Another good move by the players. Even less likely to get buried alive. -SB). The adventurers reappear beside an empty mucus covered nest (Where'd the eggs go?? -SB) and a grotesque statue---half disir and half insectoid outsider---that appears to be a variant of Morgion, the god of disease responsible for the elves' sunblight. On second glance the party realizes they have landed in the midst of four tough looking disir dressed in tattered black holy order robes. Jhandra mentally names them Xash (#1), Vazzak (#2), Dazrak (#3), and Rathak (#4). Kara babbles in fright. But she still manages to summon a spiritual ally that manifests as pure force in the form of an avenging angel wielding Mishakal’s staff. Seconds later, Xash counters by dispelling it. Almarden fires an empowered magic missile into Xash's face. Caran charges and drives Redeemer into Xash's stomach. [Crit slash "gut slash" double +d4 bleed and target cannot swallow whole.] Krusk swings his halberd overhead and roars (dazzling display), intimidating the whole cleric quartet. Vaz and Daz raise their unholy symbols and channel negative energy. Rath touches Jhandra with a contagion spell but she resists ($#!& -SB). Pidjit climbs out of the bag of holding and plays an inspiring tune.
Jhandra fires a radiant ray (searing light) into Vaz. Kara blesses Krusk's halberd to strike harder with divine wrath (weapon of awe). Almarden's branches of lighting (shocking spark) catch Xash in an electrical storm. Caran delivers another vicious slice across Xash's gut. [Crit slash “Rupture abdominal cavity“ double damage +1 Con bleed.] Krusk charges and uses a maneuver designed to shatter defenses against Vaz, throwing him off balance (flatfooted). Daz casts soundburst which stuns Jhandra and Almarden [1 round], and Pidjit whips at him but misses. Rath shoots Pidjit with searing light. Xash bites and claws Caran while Vaz bites and claws at Krusk. Pidjit full attacks Rath with his whip and lands a hard snap. [Crit bludgeon “Crushed Trachea" normal damage and target cannot breathe or speak. DC 20 heal check ends condition.“]
Kara casts earthen shield summoning a five foot high wall surrounding the as yet unharmed cleric, Daz (This spell, has gotten ridiculous mileage. It's great. -SB). Caran chops into Xash. Krusk impales the off kilter disir Vaz through the head, killing him, then whirls about and (Hero Point) charges Rath, goring him with his horns. Rath claws and bites Krusk. Daz climbs to the top of Kara’s wall. Xash bites and claws Caran and poisons him. Pidjit attacks Daz on the wall with his whip, tripping him backward into pit where he flops onto his back. Jhandra and Kara both channel healing energy.
Almarden batters Daz with an empowered blue magic missile. Caran sweeps Redeemer in an arc that lops off one of Xash's fingers and stabs him in the throat, finishing him off. [Crit slash "Finger Tipped" normal damage and 1 Dex.] The elven warrior faces the wall and waits for Daz to re-emerge. Krusk stabs the gasping Rath with his halberd and the disir retaliates by ripping a hunk out of Krusk's shoulder and poisoning him [-1 Dex to BOTH Caran and Krusk so far]. Daz climbs back atop the wall and narrowly dodges Caran's sword only to be tripped backward again by Pidjit. Jhandra shoots Vaz with her bow.
Kara mends Krusk's wounds. Almarden swiftly drains charges from the magic wand and leaps up to slam dunk (Literally. Acrobatics check was made and everything. It was brilliant. -SB) an empowered fireball right over the rim of the earthen shield pit. The fiery blast roasts the disir and severely weakens the wall. Caran readies Redeemer for another swing if the entrapped disir shows his sooty face. Krusk’s condition worsens [-2 more Dex] but he still manages to corner Rath and slay him with his halberd. The final disir Daz stands up, still surrounded by the barrier, and the impatient Caran smashes a path through and leaves the aberration exposed. Through the new gap Pidjit lashes Daz and Jhandra drills him with an arrow.
Kara patches up Krusk again. Almarden jumps atop the wall and slashes at Daz with the Shard of Light. Caran steps in and chops his ear off. [Critical slash “Missing Ear” normal damage and 1 Cha drain, -4 Percept.] Krusk drops his halberd in favor of the fabled Dragonlance and barrels forward, skewering Daz. The disir cleric desperately leaps on Caran and sinks his teeth into his swordarm, poisoning him again. Pidjit ends the disir's pitiful life with a final whiplash. The adventurers scour the room for magic items and find a whopping fifteen of them plus a large chest. Krusk finds a trap on the chest and the others back away while he tries to disarm it. The trap triggers, unleashing a gout of flame, which Krusk dodges entirely (Why doesn't every fighter have rogue levels?! -SB). Caran shatters Morgion's statue while Pidjit locates a key on the dead disir so Krusk can open the chest. Inside are five amphidragon eggs. The party hustles out of the cavern and reunites with Wikkle. The young gnome lass is astounded by Kara’s apparent transformation into a gnome and then back into a Kagonesti and babbles questions at her. Kara silences her by claiming, “My shifting is just a gift from Mishakal, it’s divine!” (Apparently Gnomes are okay with that, even being creatures of science, and I didn't want to slow down game with dice rolling. -SB) They all hurry away from the fast collapsing ruins. The party spends a day hotfooting it back to Floatsam, moving through the night so as not to delay.
They return to Lord Toede’s estate in the early dawn and the guards (And Flotsamian French Resistance dresed in civilian clothes -SB) surround them and escort them to his audience chamber. Lord Toede is upon his throne in his jammies (No lie, guys: Winston Churchill wore footies. I've seen them. Had to put that in. -SB) and ermine cloak and smoking a cigar and mutters unintelligibly to his chamberlain. The chamberlain translates in an aggrieved tone, “You’ve interrupted the Lord’s breakfast! And for what?” Krusk reveals the five eggs and the chamberlain demands “Where is the sixth?!” (In the Robin Leach announcer voice. -SB) Pidjit tries to explain, but the Chamberlain cuts him off yelling “CLIFF NOTES!” (The Chaimberlain is secretly Deadpool, breaking down the fourth wall. -SB) So Pidjit sums up “They used one.” At this the Chamberlain is baffled and must allow Kara to explain about the villainous cleric of Morgion's hideous experiment in simple terms. “Unforeseen circumstances aside, five eggs IS better than none," the Chamberlain concedes and says grandly, "In good faith the Lord Toede will grant you access to his fabulous library and his crafter!”
Almarden and Kara work to identify the enchanted items. (See Becca loot.) Jhandra, Pidjit, and Wikkle enter Lord Toede's library and start researching, which takes elven hours all told. Pidjit finds a promising passage about the Fountain of Renewal, an enchanted fountain with miraculous restorative powers. He reads it aloud: “So it was that Dereg Reinhold struck North away from the land where his sword had helped defeat Sylvana the Silvanesti Elf Ghoul Queen. He left behind the druid Waylorn and righteous throng of Silvanesti and sought out the fabled Fountain of Renewal in the far north. Great was his sorrow and dark the stains on his sword, but darker still the taint upon his soul. He struggled to overcome the challenges of the guardians of the fountain. Then into the fountain he plunged the sword and his arm, and they were restored.” (But the Ring slipped off Isildur's finger, too... -SB) An elven spirit materializes overhead in the library and in her distress whips up a vortex that sends pages whirling---she is the Spectre of Sorrows. When she speaks, Jhandra and Almarden and Krusk recognize her as Kayleigh who appeared to them in a dream before she was dragged away by her captor. Kayleigh cries, “NOOOO! Go no further! To use this knowledge is to risk ALL! You cannot cleanse this jewel, the Lord of Bones has claimed it for his own!” She wails mournfully and disappears. Jhandra reads the passage Pidjit found and deduces the fountain is in the country of Nordmar, a jungle land far to the North. The party consults a map and sees they will either need to take a long walk around Kern (the ogre lands), or take a boat to Kern and cross it on foot. Kara has mixed feelings about that since her hidden people and her ancient enemies alike inhabit Kern.
The party spends a week in Floatsam. Jhandra crafts potions and writes down their trials and adventures in a journal she has been keeping for some time (But I believe that Aang can save the world! -SB). Krusk secretly binges on his new addiction, allomanya. He runs out and tells the party he is “bored” and wants to go out. Kara notices Krusk’s strange behavior and questions him, guessing the drug may have proved to tempting and powerful. Krusk craftily claims he still has "all the vials" left, implying they are still full of the strange drug when in fact they are empty (It was the truth, from a certain point of view. -SB). Kara apologizes for doubting him. Almarden augments Caran’s sword, Krusk’s halberd, his own headband, and Kara’s headband with stronger magic. Caran visits the temple of Chislev and dedicates the shattering of Morgion’s statue to her.
Krusk goes to the Vigilance Force (That's what the Flotsamian French Resistance is called! Whew! I thought I was going to have to look it up! -SB) looking for work. They offer to give him three vials of allomanya in exchange for an assassination (As long as you're killing the bad guys, right? It was a roleplay choice. I just wanted to see what he would do. -SB). The minotaur completes the hit and successfully sneaks away from scene of the crime without getting caught. The Vigilance Force puts Krusk into a saferoom while they find more drug to give him his fix, then give it to him ASAP. Krusk returns to party on the seventh day with four vials total of allomanya, which won't last him long.
Almarden returns on the eighth day and Pidjit fills him in on Kayleigh’s pronouncement and the need to visit Nordmar.
Captain Swift of the Lucky Maiden takes the party onboard. Pidjit smooth talks him while delivering a versatile lute performance and knocks off half the price (Apparently the bridge to Freebird makes you want to slash prices. -SB). The ship's route is from Floatsam to Ogrebond along the rugged coast. The boat is preferable because otherwise the band is likely to encoutner spotted lions and wild dogs in Kern (Any kind of hunting cat with this party is a rather sore subject. -SB). Umdella Semthal, Captain Swift's Ergothian first mate, takes a romantic interest in Almarden he adamantly does not reciprocate (lol -SB).
A few days into the journey Almarden spots a bobbing bottle in the waves and telekinetically retrieves it. The parchment inside in Khurish says (rather washed out in spots, creating gaps) “You are respectfully invited to attend a great gathering in the north. Forces loyal to the Lord of Bones...the usurper Lothian and all who stand against…Qwes…ruined city.” On back in Common is a scrawled cry for help: “Under siege by undead on floating kelp forest. Please rescue me. Big reward.” Qwes is a ruined settlement in Nordmar, the site of an epic battle between ogres and humans. The Lord of Bones is of course one of Chemosh’s titles, and his name seems to be on everyone's lips lately. Half an hour after acquiring the note, the fog grows thicker. Pidjit's divination reveals the fog is both divine and magical. The ship comes to a sudden grinding halt as though beached. The "ground" beneath the hull is full of kelp, but also a veritable graveyard of ships with their masts tilted at crazy angles---a sailor’s nightmare from which none of them may awake... (Dun dun DUN! -SB)
That's all for now, everybody. I tried my best to break up the combats in a way that made a little sense. It's not going to be perfect, but don't say that I don't try. Stay tuned for bonus content! -SB
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