Scarn 16 After

Search for the Ruins (proper place)
Prince John Dictates again

Night is about to fall on Cadar. The Wujen learn that the Deity of the Town is Hedrade, a Lawful Neutral God, known as the Law giver.

That night, the group chooses to sleep 4 hours, just after Serpenthelm and Gwyn return to the tavern. The ranger has arranged to meet a contact, known as Dwindle, in the morning.
After a short rest of four hours, the group heads down to the square. There are a few people out on the roads and pathways. Janella flares up, likely casting her mage armor. The majority of the taverns are on the far side of the square, opposite where the Wujen are planning to explore.

Gwynn first goes on a minor engagement, by picking something up at a fine winehouse. A fair elvish maid serves Gwyn, and offers a fine port. Gwynn purchases the drink, a fine four year old vintage. It appears to be a fine wine from the west. “For when we have done something epic – fortified wine”, Gwynn states. He wraps it carefully, and stores it away.

As the group returns to the streets, they note that the night is overcast. The adventurers reach a tunnel entrance on the street, that Gwynn had earlier found. The grate covering the entrance is well maintained. IT opens easily, revealing a narrow descending staircase, making a 180 degree turn along the tunnel. The group initially argue over the order of the march, with brave Telius at the rear carrying the torch.

After about 30 feet, the tunnel levels out, with a cobblestone floor. All but Telius hears a click from above and behind. Ahead, some alcoves are seen, filled with some statues. The group steps into the side areas.

The adventurers then hear someone humming. The steps halt, after Serpenthelm calls out to the creature. The rest silently look on in horror, at such a breach of common dungeon etiquette. Serpenthelm, now emboldened by such brazen behavior, follows up with asking for directions in the underground.

A head pops around the corner. “What are you doing here?”

Serpenthelm continues her strategy of trying to engage the stranger. “Where is the party?” At this time, Ronn Tellius joins in. Acting curious, he introduces himself. The creature reveals himself to be a small dwarf, dirty and could be confused for a slave. He mentions that he is responsible for meals for the Artist Guardian. The Artist likes salted meat and cheese, and apparently makes statues. Serpenthelm asks further questions about the Artist Guardian. The small creature introduces himself as ‘Rue’, and fails to notice the rest of the party hiding in the tunnels.

Rue continues further into the tunnels, followed by Tellius and Serpenthelm, with the rest of the party hiding in the shadows.

The small creature leads the two brazen adventurers to a set of double wooden doors. Inside, a large chamber is dimly lit by magical light. Huge columns are in place, extending up to the 12 foot ceiling. Scattered around the chamber are various intricate columns with various statues. They include humans, dwarfs, and elves, some appearing as soldiers.
Jan, Gwynn and Shadowspawn are hiding outside the doors, as Gwynn listens through the open door.

Ru walks in approximately 4 to 5 pillars, and a tall humanoid approaches him. Ron Tellius and Serpenthelm follow the little creature. The tall being has its face and hands covered with bandages. He says, “What have you brought me, Rue?”

At this point, Tellius tries to engage with the mysterious individual. The Bard asks about an ancient temple. The disguised one states that he could help, but wants a fair trade, and wishes to be freed of a curse. He is allowed to live in the place, to be a guardian, but not by choice. He is forced to be here by the Charduni. He states it happened after he made an unflattering statue. He is held in place by runes, for approximately 40 years. Rue agrees. At this point, Janella enters the room, and asks the hidden beings’ name. The tall being does not answer.

He points out a large, central pillar that has a number of pictures and runes on it. Janella, Serpenthelm and Ronn Tellius examine the runes. The Bard, digging deep into his bardic knowledge, figures out three of the five runes. He deciphers the 1, 3 and 5th runes as “Ugly, Protect, and Anger”.

Gwynn and Shadowspawn enter at this point. Shadownspawn poorly attempts to connect with Rue, with an offer of food. Rue takes offence at this innocent gesture, stating that his job is to feed the Guardian.

Rue then reveals that he has 3 tattoo Runes on his back. Some of the runes are the same as on the pillar. With continued research, the group understand the symbol for wind; and start to realize that they could create a variant of one of the runes. These include porcelain, wind, and swim.

Janella and Gwynn start planning, and then Gwynn takes a nap. Janella, Serpenthelm and Tellius are taken to a wall covered by runes some distance away by Rue. The group of magic users study and copy the runes, for about 4 hours. In the meantime, Gwynn sleeps, trusting Shadowspawn to keep watch.

After the magic users return, and Gwynn awakes refreshed, the group plans to modify a single rune, in an effort to free the bandaged being. The effort is known as a Rune Hack, in an effort to change the rune for Anchor to Wind.

The bard, with help by Serpenthelm, starts playing a singing portion of the ritual. Some metal is used with a portable chem lab to try to prepare magical ink, and Gwynn prepares a soften metal spell. There is adequate paint to attempt to alter the rune. Shadowspawn uses his finesse of fingers to alter the rune.

Once this is completed, an audible crack is heard, and a breeze eminates from the pillar. The party hear the covered creature exclaim “Free!! He will free us!!” He removes his bandages, and reveals himself as a medusa. The adventurures manage to avoid his direct gaze, except poor Rue. The little creature is turned to stone.

Combat is initiated, but the Wujen are at a hideous disadvantage, as they cannot gaze upon the vile creature. Janella attempts to cast flame breath, but misses. Tellius bravely walks behind it, drawing his sword and hiding behind his shield. Gwynn bounces past, and connects. Serpenthelm tries to strike at it’s shadow, but misses. Shadowspawn melts into the shadows, and gazes upon the visage of the creature. It’s living anke hair hisses, and writhes. The eyes are blood red, with no pupils. The evil that emanates from them would curdle the soul of any brave creature unlucky enough to be caught in its view. Shadowspawn realizes that he is in a unique position, to actually give aide with vision for his clan. He decides to head towards Janella, and whispers, “I’ll be your eyes”.

Ron does what he does best, not by actually engaging his sword arm, but rather begins singing. His ditty, “Getting Caught in Hedrade’s Basement” stirs the souls of the Wujen. Serpenthelm manages to grasp her mirror, and strikes the creature with a mighty blow. In one strike, she beheads the creature.

Shadowspawn leaves the shadows, slightly weaker, but throws a bag over the decapitated head. Tellius bravely loots the body, finding a silver chain and key, which Gwynn quickly graps. The group realizes that there is still one last dose of Rune Juice, and a shirt. Rue is still stone, and possibly picked up.

It is now approximately 6 in the morning, and the main double doors seem to be locked. The room is explored, and another set of doors are found. They are covered with runes that are apparently “explosive”. After a second attempt, the doors are opened, reveals a neat and stacked group of various expensive items……

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Cadar, jewel of the Empire
Dazing Scrolls, Magic Pikes, Shovels, and Rats

On the road to Cadar…

Battle! Terrible Furious Battle!

We rejoin the party as they are in the midst of a disagreement with a group of Rangers from the Prince’s northern armies. They apparently don’t take kindly to groups of murderous border jumpers running through their forests and shooting arrows at them. But hey, at least THEY swung first. Let it not be said the Venerable Ronn Tellius ever revised his histories.

The bitter melee is intense, one of the rangers is fleeing, and Sam is going on the offence and swooping in harassing the ranger. Janella shares Sam’s concern and with a flourish of her bat-cloak, takes flight after the fleeing ranger. Sam continues her pursuit and Janella quickly overtakes and swoops in for a charge. The ranger, however, side steps at the last minute and avoids the swooping charge. Janella, ever graceful still manages to stick the landing, rolling in front of the fleeing ranger.

Meanwhile the battle between the other ranger and the party comes to a close as the remaining ranger sees the error in his ways and surrenders to the Wu’jen. Shadowspawn and Serpenthelm run off to give chase to the other fleeing ranger. Serpenthelm launches magnificent looking long shots at the fleeing ranger.
[Author’s note, at this point the brave and wise Ronn Tellius was busy ignoring the merchant Gladys’ orders to slay the captive ranger, and so did not record the conclusion of the chase with the other ranger. Knowing Janella and Serpenthelm, it was suitably bloody and fiery.]

The group decides now is not the time to hang out and wait for more of the rangers. The team resumes their course towards Cadar to the south. Janella activates her cloak’s bat-form and takes off, scouting for any approaching reinforcements. After quite some time, Janella will insist she was being thorough, the author however, has reason to believe her delay was due being lost in a dark forest and an unfamiliarity with echo-location.

As we travel down the trail, Serpenthelm covers some of our tracks, hopefully making our trail harder to track for any of the Prince’s forces pursuing from the north.
After several hours of travel, the party figures they must have made their way far enough south to be across the border into the southern Empire. The group finds the main trail, which, leading south eventually takes them to a great walled city in the distance.

Dave stops about 1.5km from the wall. Gladys informs the party that Dave will be waiting with the prisoner while the business is conducted within the city. The guards at the city gate prove to be refreshingly friendly, apparently they have not received as much merchant traffic of late. Most likely due to the borders with the princedom being closed, apparently unbeknownst to the Imperial forces.

The guard tells the group his commander’s name is Capt. O’Meilly, who will still be sleeping off a hangover, as it is only 6 AM or so.

Gladys is anxious to get inside and doesn’t seem particularly appreciative that the party is making these overt inquiries as to the commander’s identity and that the party is considering telling the local forces about the increased presence at the border.

Once inside, Gladys reinforces his stance, by telling the group that the reason he doesn’t want them to know about the Prince’s aggression is that it may spark the Emperor into launching an invasion which would only result in the deaths of many citizens of Antwala and the princedom, including Gladys’ family.

Gladys leads the party to a grand indoor market. The party experiences some major culture shock, as this is the most cleaned up and impressive market they’ve laid eyes on. Everything in the northern princedom is as of yet still destroyed and beyond comparison to the sight before them in Cadar.

Gwynn starts making inquiries as to the locations of any temples in Cadar. This is, as the reader may recall, the city housing the temple where we will find the wondrous sphere that will save Shadowspawn, while potentially dooming everyone else by giving more power to the ruinous titan wench that granted him her ‘blessing’.

Janella finds a nice scroll merchant, who has plenty of nice loot that he’s found from underground temples, and underground resistance fighters from around the realm. Janella wisely shoos away the rest of the party, as Ronn Tellius’ aura of glory would only undermine her efforts to establish herself as the poor, road weary traveler in need of favourable pricing. Serpenthelm, not to be pushed around, and in an effort to gain the upper hand in the negotiations, casts Daze on the shopkeeper. As Janella looks on in abject horror, the shopkeeper sits down, clutching his head. The merchant turns hostile, demanding to know what happened to him. Janella manages to defuse the situation, using her womanly wiles, and the careful and time tested negotiation style of not casting hostile spells at the other party.

Janella buys an ancient scroll which may shed light on the runic magic the group has been studying from the tome acquired from the priestess in Urlisia. The rest of the party also buys several scrolls of various magical effects from the shopkeeper, who’s daze-induced headache seems to be mostly cured by the injection of gold into his coffers.

The group learns that today there will be a grand parade for the graduation of the latest class of battle mages from the college. The group retires to the Silver Serpent, a tavern the gate guard told them about. The plan is for the group to nap for a few hours as they’d been travelling all night, then wake up in time to see what all the fuss surrounding the graduation was all about.

Before retiring, Shadowspawn takes offence to some grand earth shattering comment that Ronn Tellius made in the bar, and takes a swing at him. Unfortunately for him the Enkili was feeling a bit cheeky, and guided his hand toward the glass of a nearby noble, spilling his drink and creating quite a situation. Shadowspawn talks his way out of it and buys the man a drink, apologizing quite profusely for the alcohol abuse.

The parade proves to be just as impressive as anything the party might have expected. Brightly flashing arrows, some travelling unnaturally far striking true on distant targets. Others travelling shorter ranges, but glowing with undoubtedly deadly magics. Soon after the parade commander calls for pikes, and forward steps broken lines of pike men and battle mages. But just as soon as the lines halt in front, they shimmer with power and the gaps in the lines fill with illusory pike men, though if one had not just seen them appear from nothing, they wouldn’t be able to identify them as illusions. Next a great wall of flame erupts in front of the line of pikes, sending waves of heat out to the gasping crowds.

The parade continues for some time with equally impressive displays continuing from the new graduates of the Magic College. At the end after the figurative caps have been tossed into the air, Janella finds one of the recent grads and starts asking him questions. It would seem that they draw their power from each other, somehow building their power based on the number of battle mages channeling the power. She makes a date to meet up with the new graduate later at the Silver Serpent.

Serpenthelm chats up a Charduni, asking about architecture, trying to gleam some information about where the temple they are seeking might be found. It turns out many of the grand old Charduni temples were dismantled After. There were several impressive temples in the Southern areas of the city.

The group revisits the scroll vendor, attempting to find a map of the old city. The merchant Philmoar does indeed have an old map of the city Before. Janella offers to copy the map for a lower up front price, as the merchant wants a small fortune for the relic.

It should be noted that somewhere around this point, Shadowspawn purchases himself a shovel. For excavating the temple. Ronn Tellius barely avoids the swinging shovel as he rolls on the proverbial floor laughing his ass off.

Serpenthelm visited a stable hand not long afterward to question about where the group might find an appropriate tunnel. Dwindle the stable hand tells her that there are underground tunnels everywhere.

Gwynn contacts the local rodents’ guild, and meets with their representatives, several rats. Gwynn inquires after the tunnels. The rats are full of useful information about where to access the tunnels. One leads him to an underground carriage house.

That is all for this chapter, will the party find the temple before Shadowspawn starts digging holes? Or before he explodes? Read on gentle reader, as the great and eloquent Ronn Tellius will reveal all as we continue this epic tale…

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Just like crossing at Willow Creek
Anwalik by Marquis de Marcoux

It just so happens that the titan war, the enormously destructive demonstration of titan wickedness and evil occurred mostly in the northern lands of Venir. While the northern lands are so badly ruined as to be unrecognizable, the south is still beautiful, productive and even pastoral in character. Few Wu’jen hang out in the south. They have difficulty with words like pastoral. Southern Venir is where one might find cities who form their own government and who are run independently from the emperor’s will. The emperor’s power and influence isn’t what it was. Venir was a large united kingdom until the Charduni dwarves took over and enslaved most of the populace. If anything good can be said of the titan war, it would be that its occurrence smothered most traces of Charduni power.
Emperor Denzen, of true royal lineage now rules the south…sort of. When the self declared prince Alphonse of the north came calling, the emperor chose not to do battle. Perhaps Denzen was afraid to engage the prince for return of the northern lands? Perhaps the emperor knew something of the magical weapons forged with white powder? Perhaps he is not emperor material. A so-called recent truce saw the emperor and the prince divvy up the lands. The prince has not wanted to engage the emperor’s powerful battle mages and indeed seemed more intent on the northern territory…until now perhaps. The consequence of the divided lands sixteen years after the titan war is minimal trade between the north and the south, especially when the prince’s men patrol the border…like now!

On our way to the south to look for the orb and the old temple, we investigate the border town of ANWALIK. We decide to check out the most unpleasant bar in town. Here Ronn decides to spin a yarn or two in the hopes of gaining the confidence of the local drunks and picking up some good tips about the area. None of this would have been possible without the hypnotic humming and fluting of Serpenthelm and Gwinn. Shadowspawn meanwhile is keeping an eye out for anyone who looks scary. He finds however that everyone looks scary and in fact some look really, really scary. A small roguish man approaches Shadowspawn and Jannella and nonchalantly starts questioning their/our modus operandi. The rogue informs Shad and Jann that despite the fact that the prince doesn’t want anyone trading with the south, some take the risk. The rogue tells them of a warehouse at the end of town where merchants are hiring scouts. The warehouse opens at sundown. There is valuable cargo waiting to be shipped to the south and nothing has crossed the border since the prince’s 800 soldiers arrived 3 days ago. This order to not trade is tough on business.

Ronn makes a few coins for his troubles at the bar and throws Gwinn and me a crumb of his crumb for our fine performance. We will die of thirst at this rate.

Later in the evening, Clip clop takes us to the warehouse. Gwinn and Shad climb to the roof and keep watch while the rest of us head for the front door. Security is tight and the bouncers insist we check our weapons in a locker before going in. The warehouse is by far the nicest place we have seen in this flea bitten town. The smell of money and ale is in the air and there are a few tables set up with a bar. There are many merchants around and quite a few Wu’jen as well. People are milling around and the atmosphere is serious in a festive kind of way. Merchants want to move their wares and they are willing to pay for the risk it will take to move their cargo across the border. Someone approaches us and suggests we talk to Gladys, so we do. Gladys wants to hire a crew to move some smallish items, the likes of which can be carried in a backpack. He (yes Gladys is a he!) wants his valuables taken across to the first town on the other side called CADAR. We barter with him and agree on 27GP/each. We sign on the doted line and so does Gladys.

Leaving the warehouse, we retrieve our weapons from the locker and gear from the inn. Returning to rendezvous once more with Gladys, he introduces us to his cargo (masterworks silver-high quality stuff),
and his associate Silent Dave. SILENT DAVE is a big beefy guy, well armed with finely crafted and deadly looking weapons. Nice scimitar Dave. Together, we sneak over the perimeter wall and start our journey to Cadar.

The prince has men roaming around the lands whose job it is to find smugglers like us stupid enough to think we will succeed where no one else has. Not far from ANWALIK, Gladys falls into a trap pit and swears discreetly, loud enough to catch the attention of every creature within a 5-mile radius. The prince’s men head our way. Despite our desire for silence and caution, and contrary to everyone’s opinion, Jann elects to try to split their party up by sending lights into the sky away from us. Begrudgingly Serp and Gwinn mutter “good idea”.

We charge the approaching soldiers because I happened to say “let me at em”!!! …and… everyone took me seriously??!!!. We all take aim at the big boss but he is as tough as he is big! Enormous actually! Jann is hurt which pisses her off enough to take out her claws. She rakes her claws across the boss’s flesh but it’s just a scratch. Gwinn rings his axe off the boss’s kneecap and Jann’s burning hands singe his whiskers. Vipette manages to get a deadly fang into his thigh and Sam, the wanna be eagle, dishes out the coup de grace to the boss with a bite and claw to the face!!!

Gwinn wards off the effect of a spell and then hits one of the boss’s men. Silent Dave is no help when his mighty simitar swing only manages to separate a molecule of oxygen! Suddenly we notice that one of the guards has a snake and Vipette goes berserk and attacks the other snake! Distracted by the reptilian battle, Jann is clobbered and thrown into a tree.
Ronn gets in an awesome hit on one of the soldiers! ARGH!! I keep missing!!! I think I’ll make some tea. Gladys attacks and badly wounds another soldier. One guard takes a moment to blow a horn. After his second blast the coward runs away. Unfortunately, we hear an answering blare. Two dead at our hands and we have the remaining guard and his animal snake companion surrounded.

Tea is ready!

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Oh that Gwynn...
Escape! Bloodshed! Clip-Clop!

It would seem Gwynn had quite the night. After hearins some rumours about changes in the leadership of the black slippers, Gwynn went out to visit our mutual friend Chang’E’sok. I guess under the new leadership, things weren’t going to smoothly for the upstanding citizen members of the black slippers.
A wizard was with Chang before Gwynn got there, and according to Chang, he apparnently runs all things magical. He imports stong battle mages from the south, where this wizard also hails from .
Gwynn decided to spill to Chang about the anit-magic powder. Chang didn’t have much to offer up about the stuff. Gwynn got the scoop about a recently abandoned alchemist’s shop though, and decided to go check it out. While there he managed to acquire a quantity of a substance that was downright unhealthy. It causes unconsciousness when ingested.
Having heard all this over breakfast at the Angry Dward, the party decides that it is time to hit the road. The party splits up, ever a good idea! Ronn and Shad head out to secure some horses and a cart, with the intention of meeting up with the others at the Charduni temple, where they are headed to exchange some information with the priestess there.
Ronn and Shad encounter some guards shaking down some citizens, using the awesome power of gold, Ronn finds out that the guards are looking for some thief halfling, for the murder of a prominent alchemist in town. This sounds in no way familiar to Ronn.
Shad slaps some sense into him, and they decide to head straight to the temple, hoping to find Gwynn and the gang to warn him about the heat on his trail.
Ronn and Shad arrive at the temple, apparently before the rest of the party made it there.
A little bit later, the gang shows up, with Serpenthelm giddily wiping the blood off of her battle-axe. I guess they didn’t have quite as easy a time slipping past the guards as the Brave and Nimble Ronn Tellius and his mostly competent sidekick Shadowspawn.
Anyway, after hearing about the extra trouble we’ve found, Ronn and Shad go again to get a cart, and return to the temple with one in short order. The team loads Gwynn into a burlap sack (sort of) and we throw him in the back, and head towards one of the side gates out of the city.
We get a bit of grief at the gate, but with a little bardic magic, we convince the guards that the cart is full of rats infected with the Black Lube, and they want nothing to do with checking on the contents back there.
With that, the team, with their beast of burden Clip-Clop, set off down the road towards more adventure.
Ronn, Janella and Serpenthelm spend the journey studying the Runic tome. They manage to make some amount of progress, though the scholarship largely goes over their heads.
The team sets up camp once the sun starts to go down. The night passes. The next day, the team sets off again, with our newfound scholars back to work on the tome.
Before too long, the team encounters some Charduni, who had taken down one of the Prince’s caravans.
The team splits up, with our sneakier bunch heading out in to the bushes. Leaving Ronn alone to bravely face the Charduni up ahead. Ronn magically disguises himself as Cuthred, the Charduni wizard he had impersonated at Crystal falls earlier in their adventures.
With some smooth talking and thinly veiled panic, Ronn manages to prevent the Charduni from bringing their dangerous magical swords in too close, which would threaten the glamour that was concealing him from their prying Dwarf eyes.
It turns out these are Charduni loyalists, who are conducting an underground military effort against the Prince’s forces. The captain of the group promises that they are ‘everywhere’ and that the prince doesn’t stand a chance.
Slightly off-put by the comments of the captain, Ronn slaps the reins and him and Clip-Clop head off up the road, to meet up with the rest of the party, to find out just how close they had come to having Janella’s fireballs come raining down from the heavens. ..

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The Hag and the Librarian

At precicely 8:13 in the evening, Gwynn, Janella and Tellius dig a deep hole and bury the red stone at the back of the cave and hide it as well as we can. If we didn’t know we’d just put it there, we wouldn’t be able to find it, and even from close up, Janella’s detect magic only shows a very faint glow.

Shadowspawn, who is pretty wiped out, gets to bed early and puts in a solid 8 hours before his watch at 4am. We can still hear the unnatural storm raging outside, a storm created by a Storm Hag (lieutenant in the titan spawn army) from titan blood and sustained by either pain from other creatures or more titan blood. We realise that it is beyond our ability to fight successfully. We can’t tell if the storm is moving or if it is stalled above us.

At about midnight, when the watch is changing from Serp to Gwynn, we hear a high pitched, haggish, powerful voice over the wind: “Wu’jen, I know you have it, you’d be wise to bring it to me.” We get the sense the Hag is bluffing.

By 9am the storm begins to abate and while we debate out next move, Serpenthelm does some healing. She seems to have an issue with her foot. We leave the cave, hiding the entrance and our tracks. We make note of the location so we can come back and retrieve the red stone if we need to. We estimate it to be about 120ft inside the cave and Janella gets no hint of it with a detect magic spell. We make like trees and leave.

We see and object/being in the distance and it turns out to be a dead slytherin, upside down on a stake, tortured. It had been flayed systematically by someone/something that knew what it was doing to extract maximum agony. We suspect the Storm Hag.

By 1400 we approach Ft Jamal. Serpenthelm won’t stop complaining about her foot, so we pause. While Janella checks out the fort with her spyglass, spotting the Prince’s army inside, the rest of the party tries to fix the foot. We try to purify it, no joy. We try Blood-berry wine; it makes Serp feel better, soothed. It has been 24 hours since she stepped into the Titan’s blood and there is a small sore forming. We try the helmet, to no appreciable effect.

We continue past Ft Jamal on the road and have no encounters. At 1800 we decide to make camp. Gwynn casts guidance and Tellius sings over Serps foot, to no effect. The sore is, very slowly, getting bigger. We set a watch, but nothing happens overnight.

In the morning, Gwynn spends some time looking for plants to no avail. We continue along the road to Junction and after being hailed with “Dirty Wu’jen” we are allowed past the gate. Our first stop is Smythia, who still has a nasty cough, but is almost finished her contract. We ask about a healer, and she directs us to a Temple of Madriel, a human god, in the vicinity. We head to the tiny temple and are greeted by a 50yr old priestess who seems spy and genuine. She immediately goes to work.
-herbs for pain
-heats up tools
-cuts out abscess
-“something magic can’t help you with”
-“blood of devourer”
-would have eventually eaten foot, leg, etc
-GAURAK the devourer
-you will be OK. “Don’t fuck with Titan’s blood”

The priestess informs us that the military was through yesterday on their way to Ft Jamal with many Clerics and Paladins. A week ago, Furbelow was overrun which resulted in lots of refugees and lots of healings.

We make a big donation to Madreil.

At 1430, we find a cart heading for Urlisia, and drop 5 silver for passage. An hour later, we are on our way (accompanied by stoic soldiers, a few small groups and some families) on 3 carts being pulled by 2 horses each. We check Serp’s foot along the way and it seems to be doing fine.

Ah Urlisia, is there any place so sweet? Actually, yes.

Guards accost Tellius and Shadowspawn at the gate, and seem about to refuse entry, but Tellius charms them with wit and hints of great stories to be told. Tellius slips the guard a GP for his troubles. We are recognised by many people as we walk the torch lit streets towards the Angry Dwarf. Here, our group splits with Tellius, Serpenthelm and Gwynn heading inside to regale the punters with hours long tales of Dragon vs. Drake while Shadowspawn and Janella seek out Hagrin for information.
-“prince building an army”
-“getting ready for war”
-“South vs. North”
-“North is where we should be going”
Shadowspawn tells of our exploits including observations regarding the white powder.
-“makes so much sense, they are going after lands in the South, so must go with anti-magic”
Is the Prince in his right mind?
-“Seems to be the same, ambitious”

Jan and Shad then head for the fences on the outskirts of town to try and unsuccessfully sell the previously cultivated proboscis and skin.

Meanwhile, Gwynn drops from the rafters of the Angry Dwarf and slips outside to visit his buddy Chung-gay-sock. Initially, his path to the hideout is blocked by guards, but after flashing the “3 fingers in the shoe” sign, he is allowed past. Chungaysok greets Gwynn with “Come into my palace” which is just a small room, and sends the guard away. Gwynn informs that he has magical gear to unload and items to acquire.

At this point, in my notes, I have written, unremembered: “the chronicler would like it known that he has been poisoned by alcohol”

Gwynn offers the helm with the pictures of ships to Chung for inspection. A wizard is brought in to check it. Chung offers: “Can trade for this” and displays an old Charduni magical axe with runes etched on the head. The trade takes place. (+1 axe plus Keen)

We all sleep uneventfully in the tavern on feather beds. Urlisia is pretty sweet.

The next day, Tellius offers his +2 sword in exchange for Rapiers to Gywnn’s fence. That exchange completed, we head to the Charduni temple where we are greeted by a ½ Ork Monk who leads us down to the library. We show Tathal, the librarian, the book.
-“I didn’t think you would make it”
Tell us where the orb is and everything you know about it.
-“Hidden in labyrinth below Charduni temple in Cader, 5 days by road”
How do we prepare ourselves?
-“Poem of the Rust of the Destroyer” – Buehler to provide text

-“anti-magic”
-“common Charduni guards”
-“gem of dragons”
-“identify/find magic”

Serpenthelm trades “book of enlightenment” for bracers of archery, greater and IOUN stone (dusty rose) +1AC

-“Ron is my favourite Tellius”

We ask about the white powder, and the librarian says she will research it.
What are ‘common Charduni guards’?
-“Charduni are enslavers. Many creatures have been enslaved. Announce yourself to the guardian and face trials.”

Gem of dragons?
-“rumoured. Gem was a great project”

-Charduni rune blood
-Charduni fortification book
-Map of Cador

We also get a wand of dispel magic with 5 charges which Janella carries.
We discussed enslaved Charduni in tower base: “rapid death, don’t know they are dead. Will only die once their quest is completed”

Rune of Underworld in Shadowspawn’s chest. Runic Magic.

Janella trades her Staff of Fireshield for a Wand of Identify with 13 charges.

There are two notes for which I have no recollection:
Learn 0,3
Tellius sword +2

LEVEL UP!

That is all. May the gods have mercy upon my liver.

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The Scorpion, the Storm and the Cave Dweller

The Chronicles of Tellius
Book II
Part I – Battle for the Ridge

We rejoin our hero, Ronn Tellius, as he valiantly coordinates his party into an effective ambush of the oncoming Slitherin. One of the dastardly scorpion riders had planted himself on a hill on the opposite side of the valley, preparing to coordinate with his Muridaen comrades approaching along the ridge. Janella unleashes her fiery manor towards the mounted Rat, the smell of singed fur unmistakeable on the slight breeze. Shadowspawn wastes no time and starts loosing arrows towards the approaching beasts. Using the commotion and arrow fire as cover, Gwynn slithers up the hill, much like his companion might, while Ronn, carefully cranks his mighty crossbow; waiting for the perfect shot to break this battle wide open.
“Do you remember the brave story of the Knights of Venir holding Trontooth Pass against Gaurak’s horde?”, yells the brave Ronn tellius, immediately before breaking into a rousing war chant; the likes of which had not been heard since the Titans were cleaving valleys such as this into the scenery. Vipette doesn’t seem impressed by this display, and slithers off towards the slitherin approaching on the valley floor.
As the rats approach, Shadowspawn looses again, his arrow striking true, leeching deadly poison into the wound and making the beast’s sword look a little heavier.
From behind the hill the sounds of squeaky chants can be heard, and the skies above seem to break into a dangerous looking cloud; an ominous rumbling warning us of forthcoming danger.
One of the Slitherin near the mounted, casting druid tries to fire his bow at us; thankfully Enkili was feeling playful today, and snapped the poor fool’s string, causing him to drop his weapon. As amusing as this turn of events was, there was trouble afoot as two of the beasts climbed the ridge continuing their approach. Another of the beasts spots Vipette, and begins slashing at the grass around him trying to catch the diminutive reptile unawares. The battle at the top of the ridge intensifies as Gwynn slays another Slitherin, presumably his bond with Vipette fuelling his fighting spirit. During all this commotion, the crank on our Hero’s crossbow finally reaches the final notch, the trigger snapping into position in front of the string with a satisfying ‘click’.
Ronn takes aim, remembering the heroics that Vipette demonstrated against the Hill Giant, and the comforting moments spent in close quarters as Gwynn had flown him to safety out of the Titanspawn camp. The release is smooth, and the bolt flies true, and lands just in time for the climax of the third verse of “Trontooth Pass”; the crack of the bolt striking the Slitherin would have to make up for the lack of cymbal.
Serpenthelm, continues her onslaught unleashing arrow after arrow towards the Scorpion and its rider. Though some of her shots seem to be foiled by the crude magics of the druid riding the scorpion.
Lightning cracks, and out of nowhere a horrible swarm of rats emerges, trying to snuff out the torrent of tunage emerging from the brave, yet remarkably eloquent Ronn Tellius. As if this weren’t enough, some of the fell beasts were so intimidated by the song they threw vials of burning liquid down at the party, catching Ronn as he attempted to dodge a lightning bolt.
It would seem at this point Janella had had enough. She began chanting, bringing her thumbs together in front of her, fingers spread out wide, directed at the Slitherin on the ridge. With the last syllable, the enunciation making even Ronn blush, a cone of flame emerged, catching the Sliterin in its fiery inferno.
At this point in the melee, Gwynn goes for some out-of-the box thinking and tosses the dragon orb towards the valley floor.
Serpenthelm, inspired by the show of power Janella had just unleashed, apparently got hungry… Reaching into her pocket she pulled out a small piece of butter and began rubbing it between her palms. But before the rest of the party started drooling, a slopping of magical energy is released and the Slitherin riding the scorpion is covered in grease, making holding on to the saddle difficult. Sam swoops by as well, ready to throw his weight around and drop some bombs, or rocks, whichever is available, on the approaching rat-men.
Shadowspawn strikes true, and catches the newly greased druid with a solid arrow strike and he slips out of the saddle. Janella continues the fire show, and summons a sphere onto the scorpion.
Gwynn uses the commotion of the swarm of rats crawling all over Ronn, and sneaks around and slashes the throat of an unknowing Slitherin.
Shadowspawn, not ready to lose the orb just yet, dives down the hill, rolls dramatically, grabs the orb and poof, vanishes into the shadow realm.
Serpenthelm at this point is locked in bitter combat with the scorpion, and takes a claw attack.
The Slitherin that was trying to find Vipette in the grass, suddenly realised where the snake was, he was sinking his tiny, yet deadly fangs into his ankle, and felt his will to live draining fast.
Janella continues to drive the sphere of fire into the scorpion, the hissing of its burning carapace substituting for what surely would have been screams in any other creature.
Vipette continues his assault, and applies some venom to another of the Slitherin, while Serpenthelm raises her axe and brings it down into the hissing, burning scorpion, slashing through the carpapace, the Scorpion falling limp with one last twitch.
As the crushing crack of the scorpion’s carapace resonates through the valley, Ronn dazzles the rats before him and finds their tiny skulls with the tip of his rapier.
The last Slitherin finally realises the time for flight has come, but as he turns and runs, a pinching in his ankle reminds him he had been occupied with something already, but too late, as Vipette’s poison brings the monster down.
Victory! While the sweet smell of victory (burnt scorpion and rat hair, in this case) hung in the air, the party valiantly looted the corpses of the fallen foes. Some potions, a wand, some vials of oil, and a shiny magical gem.

PART II – An unexpected crisis, A cave, some tentacles.

At this point in our tale, the party decides to split up, as a crackling, unnatural storm begins to loom on the horizon. Gwynn and Janella will head back to the previous battle site, with the intention of finding some poison from the dead scorpion there.

“Go no further than 1km” Gwynn tells the remaining party members,

“500 metres”, Janella agrees.

“No, 750m” Gwynn retorts, “we’ll be back in no time”.

“Very well,” answers Ronn, “go no further than 2 km”, though at this point Gwynn and Janella were already on their way. Ronn, Serpy and Shad make their way down the trail, stopping every km or so, losing themselves in the excitement of amateur spelunkery and the imminent danger of the approaching storm. 5km later, “Look a cave!” Serpenthelm announces. Eminently proud of themselves the group heads into the cave. “Oh, but maybe we should leave a lookout for our companions…” someone notes, so the party decided to send the ranger out, who tried in vain to send a signal off to Sam who was still circling behind us looking for something to drop a rock on.
Some time later, as the storm is about to come crashing down, in to the cave saunter Gwynn and Janella, looking incredibly pleased to see the group, especially Ronn. [Chronicler’s note: Did I say pleased? Pissed would have been a better choice] “Took you long enough…” Ronn notes, bravely. Gwynn, overtaken by Ronn’s wit and charm, shows Ronn the business end of his blackjack, leaving Ronn seeing stars. It would seem the party had somewhat of a communication breakdown, 500 metres, 5000? Who can keep track of all these decimal places? Bardic knowledge only stretches so far, farthings are a much more civilised unit of measure…
Shad announces soon after that he’s received a message from the dark lady, in summary: Stop screwing around, find the orb, or I will f@&king make you explode.
Gwynn heads off ahead of the group to see how deep the cave is, as the unnatural storm outside precludes leaving that way any time soon. Shortly after this, Gwynn’s cries can be heard across the cave as he comes running back out from whence he came, apparently pursued by some horrid tentacled cave dweller, Gwynn lets fly with his crossbow, while Serpenthelm attempts to increase the lighting by shooting arrows into the cave walls to create sparks. Shad is the one to finally strike true and drop the horrible creature.
Janella dons the cloak of the bat, and flutters off to explore the cave, returning and announcing she’d found the back.
We leave our party here, tired, damp, still on the run, hiding out in a cave.

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Survival of the fittest
Yea, that's us

Curtain rises:

The mighty Wu’jen warriors spread out on the killing field. The Shad, Serpinator, Gwinn Pipette, Ronn Tellius – yes that Ronn Tellius and Jannella, lookin mighty fine in that cloak, even showing a little leg now and then. Ronn, Jan and Serp focus on the scorpion-riding albino druid while Shad goes after the sniping archer-rat fink. Gwinn, thinking he has the same animal magnetism Ronn does, wants to befriend the scorpion. We slap him silly until he sees reason. Instead he creeps in closer to the sniper hoping to shoot him with a poison arrow. Shadowspawn throws a bag of caletrops at the feet of the scorpion hoping to impede its movements but Jann moving in on it still gets a painful “one on one” with ”the claw”. The druid riding above the scorpion is spellcasting, arms moving widely about. The sniper on the other hand has targeted Shadowspawn and scores a direct hit! Ronn recognizing our great peril inspires us with song while his discordant notes frighten our enemies.

A clamor is heard approaching in the distance-no friends of ours to be sure! Jann, in retaliation for her new scars, uses fire breath on the scorpion and sets its red carapace ablaze. The druid launches a counter spell and smacks her back with lightning! I shoot one of his spell casting arms. The sniper shoots Shad again and is in turn shot in the shoulder by one of Gwinn’s poison arrows. Shad’s life-blood is pouring all over the ground. Ronn Tellius, his song ended jumps into the fray and starts winding his crossbow. The singed scorpion badly distracted by its injuries, misses skewering Jannela with its deadly stinger. Sam, Serpenthelm’s mighty hawk, unerringly picks up a deadly pebble. She circles above, bidding her time to strike.

Jannela sends more fire breath into the face of the scorpion and druid who still manages to fire another bolt of lightning at Ronn. Staggering forward, Ronn stubbornly continues to wind his crossbow. From high above, Sam unerringly drops the pebble which rockets off the druid’s forehead! The druid barely notices the distraction! I manage to hit the druid’s other arm and then, Ronn puts an arrow through the druid’s brain. This time, he notices. Gwinn gulps back a vial of speed potion making him even quicker! Steaming mad he pulls out his hatchet and speeds towards the sniper. Shadowspawn gets there first and finishes the job courtesy of a dagger to the heart. Gwinn redirecting his anger at the scorpion manages to cut off one of its legs! Jann, while still cremating parts of the scorpion takes another hit from a claw. Finally the lobster want-a-be is boiled and done. We start thinking about lunch.

Great Titan! It’s never ending. Shadowspawn sees nine slitherin, including another druid riding scorpion coming in our general direction.

We run south trying to avert another fight. Along the way we lay false trails and keep an eye out for a more strategic fighting arena. Gwinn shares one of his deadly poison arrows with me. Despite our superior brains, good looks and stealth, the slitherin spot us and start squealing maniacally. Crap! Directed by the druid, the slitherin move to encircle us. That pesky druid soon finds himself hit with arrows courtesy of the Shad and Ronn and wearing one of Jannela’s burning spheres. I hit the nearest charging rat.

Curtain closes.

Equipment:

Gwinn has the Helmet = Has boat on an ocean etched on it, ability unknown
Gwinnn has the Red ruby stone – can capture a black dragon, the Fire drake (who is dead) wants it back)
Jannela has the Belt = Improves night vision and aids in reading ancient charduni
Jannela has the Cloak = offers protection – worth 26000 GP, improves night vision and can transform you into a bat. Adds + 2 on saving throws
Serp has the Tome of Enlightenment = Permanent increase of intelligence (1) after 6 days of study
Ronn has a trapped spellbook from the old Charduni
Ronn has a ring that allows you to jump many feet easily
Shad has the Tellery book or Charduni tome for the old librarian
Shad has a cloak which gives +2 on reflex saves and
2 on all saving throws

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Forty-eight
You've heard of "24"; now comes "48"

“48”

South of Fort Jamal at 10:03:06am, we realize that the black dragon’s parting words had not been idle chatter; the fire drake’s cronies DID follow us. Large-winged sand wyverns are hot on our trail, with slytherin manning the reins strapped aboard by 9-buckle Doc Martin leggings, an haute couture look amongst slytherin airmen in 16 After. We’ve been seen. Tellius can sense that there might be a song in this.

The Ronn bolts for the trees, stashing the big red crystal in order to free up his hands to start crankin’ that big ol’ heavy crossbow of his. Gwynn starts dipping one of his smaller bolts in his blood sprite poison, a plan so devious taking shape that even hood-cradled Vipet has to whistle out a wee chortle in respect of its brilliance (Sss…sss…sss!). Jan puts on a shimmering cloak of mage armour, and Serpy flashes a rather large pair of spherical gonads, running up a nearby hill to attract the wrath of the incoming air raid and to get a clear shot off with her composite long bow. Yet it’s the noodle-armed Shad who draws first blood – several pounds of force draw back the string of his composite short bow and release, lobbing a deadly salvo skyward to punch clean through the first layer of dermis of the wyvern, burying the arrow half-way up the arrow point in the large flank of muscle of the wyvern’s upper-right rear thigh. “Yeah, bitches! You want some more o’ that?” he taunts. Turns out the wyverns do.

Down they swoop, barrelling into the exposed Serpenthelm with a mighty shoulder check, sending the brave ranger tumbling off the hill ass/tea kettle. Although Gwynn hits a sneak-attack with his poisoned arrow, doing considerable damage, the wyvern manages to shake off the poison’s effects. “Titan’s teats!” Gwynn curses, his plan foiled for the nonce. Meanwhile, Janella lands a beach ball of flame in one rider’s lap, crisping his tunic. A flurry of shafts rise up from the earth to pepper the wing-ed beasts and their riders – the Shad, Serpy, Gwynn, and Tellius let loose their volleys with most firings hitting their marks and slowly working down the health of the draconic pretenders.

“Pretenders?!?” one of the wyverns gasps in outrage as he somehow crosses planes, realities, and time to appear in my living room and peer over my shoulder at the above sentence on my laptop. “Oh really? What happened next? Did I lay down a frickin’ breath weapon?!!? Is that ‘Pretender’ enough for ya, you… you… bardic pretender?! You’re no Ronn Tellius, that’s for sure!” Point made. A pretty badass dragonesque breath weapon of sand is suddenly unleashed on the party, catching Gwynn and the Shad unawares. “Charduni chestnuts!! I’m blind!!” cry out Gwynn and the Shad in unison, and both rogues grasp blindly for water flasks to rinse out the grit. As if to further provoke the diminutive halfling, one of the riders (a wizardly type, wouldn’t you know) launches a magical acid arrow into Gwynn’s ribs. “That’s gotta sting! Heh! heh! heh!” the wiz cackles in rat-speak. Deeply ticked and offended by the weak pun, the small lad with the roguish good looks and slightly watery eyes, mutters under his breath in ancient Retributionese, “Let’s see how you laugh when I pull the plug on your ride…” He begins dipping another bolt in the paralyzing blood sprite poison. “This is going to be freakin’ epic when it works!!” It doesn’t work.

The Shad runs blindly, yet deftly, to the trees for cover before rinsing his own peepers, but his clearing vision does not show him anything he wants to see – signal flares arcing across the sky, marking our location for the following hordes. The crew realize that they need to end this, and fast!

Janella calls an eagle from another realm to fly in the face of one of the riders, tearing him a new one with its razor-sharp talons, but the wyvern mount quickly retaliates with a swing of its barbed and poisoned tail, sending the majestic bird straight back to hell, which is about 10 klicks south of our current location.

Serpenthelm takes a break from her deadly bow-work after the wizard rider drops a giant, poisonous centipede in our midst; one mighty chop with her great axe and the one centipede suddenly becomes two. Both dead. Back to the bow. She keeps racking up the damage on the big draconoids, and suddenly begins doing an extra damage per attack, having just realized that her bowstring can be pulled all the way back to her cheek, not just her chin! “Why didn’t they teach me that in that online Ranger course I took?” she wonders with no small measure of irritation.

All members of the party are doing steady damage while taking some knocks themselves, but it’s Tellius who buries his heavy crossbow bolt the deepest – into a tree branch 4 feet above him. “Fortunately, nobody saw that one!” he whispers to himself. Nobody but this narrator, that is. “Arrgghh!! Twerking titan!!” he bellows.

Janella swings her floating, burning, sponge cake right into the path of one of the passing riders, lighting him up as his lights go out. The mount, spooked by the flaming carcass on its back, flies off to a nearby ridge to roll in the sand and scrape the flaming lump of rider off against a large conifer. With that cleaned off, it chooses to hit the road. Smart bird. “BIRD?!!??” Sorry, bub. You’re off stage.

“Okay, this is it,” Gwynn plots, “My last dose of poison – you’re just going to feel a little prick…” (“Sss…sss…sss” Vipet snickers) His shot cuts a perfect parabolic arc through the air, unhindered by such things as targets.

Serpy has had enough. She pulls that string all the way back to her cheek, exhales halfway like they taught her in that 7-hour correspondence course she took, and releases, drilling a hole in the side of the already-wounded beast. The majestically soaring wyvern suddenly transforms into a plummeting lump of meat with its rider still strapped aboard in fashionable leggings. All watch as he madly works the buckles on his leg straps trying to free himself. “Damned double bows! Why didn’t I go with the Velcro®?!” Ah, got it, just one more to go and th/” Burgers.

Halfway through a round of high fives, the group notice new quarry rumble over the southern rise –a slytherin druid mounted on a gigantic scorpion and a slytherin crossbowman on foot. “Damned flares… How many more are going to answer their call?” wonder the crew to themselves. Getting sticky.

An entangle spell by said druid has Jan trapped for a moment, but she breaks out in a round. The Shad pops a cap in the druid’s ass, causing him to squint a bit, though that could’ve just been that he was looking toward the Sun. All the while, the Prius-sized scorpion rolls forward like a juggernaut. At this point, it is still uncertain whether the giant arthropod is friendly.

Tellius scoops up the huge, red crystal and runs out of the entangled area. Bravely.

Time: 10:03:54am

Elapsed time: 48 seconds

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Escape from the fallen tower
They will send more to find you!

We find our heroes swiftly retreating as a titanic battle of draconic proportions unfolds. Thankfully our back-up plan worked and we are still alive. Unfortunately, Shadowspawn, though safely back in the shadows, has grievous drake inflicted battle wounds. This same monstrous drake is now fully engaged by the freed acid spitting black dragon giving us the extraordinary opportunity to escape its wrath. With the exception of SS, we all run towards the northwest rocky outcropping looking for protection from the battle at hand. The drake, thinking to eliminate its nemesis in a vicious frontal assault, hurls itself at the black devil, who just manages to jump out of the way at the last second. The drake slams into the cliff face setting loose a shower of fiery debris just missing Ronn and Gwinn.

Mesmerized by the battle and afraid for my life, while in an all out sprint, I misjudge my leap across the titan infested sickly stream. Phew…thankfully I only get the end of my toe wet.

The black dragon takes to the air, circles and successfully strikes the drake with a 60’ ball of electricity. The drake misses badly in its counterattack. The enraged dragon yells “slitherin get me that red stone!” The black dragon flies away towards the northwest with the drake on its tail.

We continue escaping around the rocky outcropping and keep running towards what passes as a trail in these parts. It’s no more than a narrow track cleared by the slitherin of the worst wreckage from the titan war. We draw our weapons in anticipation of a slitherin attack. Jannela, ever resourceful, sends a big 5’ ball of fire ahead and above the path to annihilate our pursuers. The dry grasses and shrubs catch fire and the ensuing inferno, growing quickly, incinerates the nearest slitherin. The black dragon unbelievably continues to be successful in its battle with the drake. Again it discharges its acid breath at the drake. Again the Drake misses its counterattack! Shadowspawn, witness to the chaos, follows us within the shadow realm. The fire-ball is spreading fast and disintegrates the trail ahead of Jannela and Ronn. The two are forced to run through a circle of flames like circus clowns performing for a crowd! Through the flames slightly crispy, Ronn and Jannela are then ambushed by javelin throwing slitherin above the trail. Thankfully their aim is as bad as their smell!

Meanwhile Gwinn and I take a casual relaxed jog towards our rendez-vous destination keeping a wide berth away from the out-of-control fireball. We take note of Slitherin clerics who seem to be following our escape away from the battle.

The twin terrors swing back towards the tower. The Drake succeeds in clawing through the thick hide of its nemessis. A horrible screech fills the air. Ronn squeezes by Jannela on the trail and heals her burns with his magical touch. Jannela uses fire breath to extinguish three rapidly approaching slitherin. They die quietly, murmuring softly – no – more like screaming in agony! The drake gets in one last shot before the black let’s loose a deadly inferno. The drake explodes, and is no more. The aftermath of the blast is like Scarn day over the Titan sea. Fireworks rain beautiful embers over the slitherin hovels…cut to more screaming.

The black dragon though badly wounded flies towards us then vanishes into another dimension. In fearful disbelief, we all hear the black monster roar “they will send more to find you”. Such a lovely cheerful thought after all we did for it!

We are left wondering who? What? When? Why? And How?

We run. Jannela obsessively tries to use her magic items but finds they are rendered inactive by the red crystal. Ronn holds it for her and Jann observes a rekindling of her powers when the thing is 40 feet away. We run all the way back to Fort Jamal, set up camp and remain vigilant overnight. In the morning, on the way to Junction, we see 2 winged reptilian humanoids called Sand Wiverine. They have the ability to make sand storms and have really nasty breath.

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We had a plan!
Yeah, I've been in the middle of a drake/dragon fight.

New table. To be named at a later date. Matic has awesome friends!.

We start our session with Janella attempting to throw magic at the red stone, and after several attempts, is able to ascertain positively that it is red. At the same time, Gwynn tries to determine the new belt’s qualities… seems it’s got something to do with divination and maybe alteration, but that its already activated.

Everyone lies down and pretends to be comatose (although Janella and Shadowspawn chat quietly between themselves) while Tellius bravely runs away to talk to the junior undead to try to get descriptions for the artifacts in the vault. He returns with some mixed news, The good…. the red stone is not a red stone, it’s a red crystal and it’s called the Dragon Crystal. It is used to capture dragons (Titan’s Teats). The bad… there is no record of the other items, so we are still a little lost on that account. Also there are wards upstairs that will go off if we try to get out. The really good… there may be an exit from the service level out onto the cliff face.

Tellius also brought back a stack of notes that we study for hours. Janella deciphers a big chunk of text that describes ancient magic techniques regarding enslavement magic against dragons.
Specifically:
- the dragon crystal is akin to dragon kryptonite, I know, I know, “what’s kryponite?”
- you channel energy through the crystal to capture
- the dwarves experimented against a black dragon before the war
- information on method – not simple, involves drawing a pentagram and then casting “hold monster” spell
- release phrase is “I RELEASE YOU FROM YOUR BONDS” in ancient dwarven, spoken in the vicinity of the crystal

We also are able to gather some information about Drakes, specifically:
- Drakes hate dragons
- Drakes commanded armies of titan spawn
- They would sometime desert their posts or deviate from their path in order to fight dragons.

After another study session, we determine that the crystal can hold one dragon and that we are unable to determine if it is loaded with a dragon.

Tellius tires of studying, for the words are often long and mutli sylabic, and convinces the group that it’s time to get moving. We are able to make it to the service level without incident and, after determining which direction we are facing, head towards the cliff face.

We meet up with Schneider, the tall, derude? demon, and he trades information for his freedom. He shows us the exit to the cliff face in exchange for us removing the belt of compulsion which has been making him clean for the last few decades. Removing that belt was an ordeal and took most of us to get it done. Shadowspawn did most of the work and became familiar with the mechanism. Schneider informs us: “I’m going home” and disappears. We ran a few tests on the belt and at one point put it on Gwynn. Tellius finds a dwarven spell in a charduni book that compells Gwynn to clean. He reports that to not clean was painful, as was trying to remove the belt. Shadowspawn is able to remove it quickly without causing further harm, but not before Tellius and Janella jump on the oportunity to have their boots shined.

So here’s the Plan:

Shadowspawn into the Shadows with schneider’s belt – will attempt to put belt on the Drake’s leg.
Janella presents stone to Drake as a distraction
Serpenthelm and Tellius flank the Drake and play music to add some pomp and circumstance to the event, with the intent of adding rousing support to those of us who need it.
Gwynn, who has obviously been studying Tellius’ fighting tactics, elects to hide along the cliff edge.
If the belt works, we walk away, giggling
If the belt doesn’t work and we are able to release a dragon, we run away, laughing
If the belt doesn’t work and there is no dragon, we fight, swearing.
It was a good plan, honestly, a really, really good plan.

We peek out and look for the Drake who is not to be found. There are two guards paying little attention. Hoping to bluff our way out, we boldly descend to ground level. Gwynn hides himself as best he can and Shadowspawn slips into the shadows.
The guards notice us and sound a gong which quickly brings the drake to us.
He (she?) immediately knows some plot is afoot. His first question is where are the missing two members of our crew, which we were ready for and explained thet they had been slain while getting the red crystal. Then he asks why we have not collected their magic items… shit, didn’t think of that.
Janella places the stone on the ground and begins making a (hopefully) distracting speech about how truely awesome the drake is and how unworthy we are to be in his presence etc.,etc.,etc. Tellius may have been much better at this.
The distraction seems to work since Shadowspawn slips out of the shadows shouting something about seeing an eye in the crystal and manages to attach the belt to the drakes leg. He slips back into the shadows quickly but not without taking a nasty bit of damage from a bite. He’s the only person I know who has taken a bite from a drake and is able to tell the tale.
Once the belt is on, Janella enacts the spell to compel cleaning, but before the spell seems to have any effect, the drake lets loose with a gout of flame that is truely horrific and burns the belt off it’s leg.
As we are all losing our eyebrows, we realise that we have either grandly overestimated our abilities, or grossly underestimated the power of our foe, or most likely both. We are well and truely up a river of excrement without an adequate method of propulsion.
Sticking to the plan, Janella releases the captured dragon from it’s bonds (God’s Balls, a dragon!) and thankfully, the drake and dragon immediately begin to battle each other.
Serpenthelm is on the far side of the battling beasts, but Janella is able to whisper to her to go east and rendezvous with us south of Crystal Falls. With Shadowspawn slipping from the shadows in a very sorry state, the rest of us follow Tellius as he runs madly southward away from the drake’s explicit threat that he will not forget what we have done.

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