Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review (04/16/2014)

Before continuing with the undead mind flayer eviction in the Driftdowns we began the session with a look into the Council of the Pale Kiss. The Pale Kiss is make up of lawful devils and Rakshasha’s of the Miser House presided over by Belial Lord of the 4th and Father of Horrors.

Gretchen VanFleet, the last original VanFleet, appearing in front of a Pale Kiss hearing comes to ask for leave and assistance in searching for the five lost Rakshasha’s to discern their fate and to learn of their attackers (Roland VanFleet, Dekkar, Cadence, Omis and Lizel). We were among these hearing members. The hearing was accompanied with much procedure and truename descriptions as the Council members rose to speak, table questions, and delay actions to future councils.

She is 540 years in to a 1,000 year pact that supplies her with immortality, aid of the Misers, and hopefully membership into the Pale Kiss. In return she would sacrifice Stormhaven to Belial where it would expand and empower his level of hell.

The human Gretchen VanFleet has achieved all her goals thus far, save for the final sacrifice; while this is the first infraction from an outside influence it nevertheless outreaches the terms of the pact. Discourse waxed and waned from shortening the contract; delivering Stormhaven sooner; to wholesale renegotiation.

Questions were raised about the red attackers but since they could not be scryed upon it did not prove a promising route of investigating, they were likely pacted to another devil. (Tiamat)

After hours, days or weeks of hell time it was agreed that the Pale Kiss would help her in finding the lost five and renew her pact for another 1,000 years in return for unrestricted access to her portal(s), the sacrifice Stormhaven in 460 years, and deliverance to the Father of Horrors Kaer Maga in 1,000 years.

This generated lots of interest in the Council. Also part of the pact included one of the Ancients (the Aboleth) in the sacrifice. Other Ancients known about Stormhaven: the Architect (Nissian); the Keeper agent of H.E.L.L., saved by Nissian during the dawning of this world; and the Timeless (Tharymor the Time Dragon).


The pact was thereby amended.

Meanwhile the Sons of Nissian kicked Octopin ass, wingotaurs, and saved six navy men delivering them to their top brass. While there we cautioned them on why these men were targeted: for their knowledge of the new battleships.

After this we returned to the upside where we noticed combat near the Red Keep involving some of the exotic flying pachyderms we've seen before. Promptly ignoring that we return to the Cinder Block to get some rest before our raid on the VanFleet estate in the morning.


We begin next game session on Wednesday at 9am. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vercel sat silently in his Cinder block office. He admired the craftsmanship of the carpenters his brother had hired. His solid oaken door was heavy and well stained. It sealed tight against the frame to prevent even the tiniest bit of light from penetrating the room. He enjoyed the darkness; he found it easier to clear his mind vs. the distractions brought about by the light. Though he wondered if it was more the noise that bothered him. Most creatures that dwell in darkness were naturally silent. His thoughts ran back to his twilight house days. How quiet that drow always was, never heard him coming. Even the derro was always as quiet as he could be, though I bet that was out of fear. I know Rakshasa’s can see in darkness, & I bet they are pretty sneaky when they need to be. What about Dwarves? Once again they seem to go against all logic with their heavy armor and large metal weapons. Probably hear them coming for miles underground. No wonder so many of them moved here.
A quick rap outside brought his focus back to the door. He reached to light the small candle on his desk, why? This was his last meeting for the day, & should be his last before leaving for the aisles. Standing he bid enter
.
Kalaris opened the door slowly. She had never been to this office and was not entirely sure why she was here. The only light in the room was that which was coming through the door behind her. Not that the drow minded, with her chosen profession the darkness was a boon. Her white pupilless eyes were ask keen with or without the presence of light.
“Please enter have a seat” Vercel approached her clawed hand extended. “I thought today went well the teachers all seemed receptive to the techniques we presented. Would you agree”?

 “Yes” she said, still wondering why the dragon man had summoned her here. “Though some look to be quicker studies than others”.  Looking around she couldn't help but noticed the lack of decoration. A large oaken desk sat in the center of the room. Two chairs one oversize to accommodate his broad size.  A small unlit candle & a book on the desk were the only other items present. She had been around these brothers long enough to know they loved there wealth. The decorations throughout the cinder block & neutral grounds proved that. For his personal office to be bare seemed out of place.

“Agreed, but I notice that seems to be the tendencies with lessor races especially humans. Just when you think you find something they can do, one of them lets you down”.
Kalaris smiled. She knew Vercel would never make a comment like that outside these walls. Calling humans a lessor race would be very detrimental to his political career. Though she wondered who all he considered a “lessor” race. 

“Enough with the chit chat, on to business”. Vercel reached into the top desk drawer and produced a fist full of scrolls & a sack of coins. “You may have noticed the extra security around our place. Here as well as Sunbow have received an influx of troops. I have also arranged for you to have more security at the schools as well. The arrangement I made with Samson Dragonsbane will allow for extra swords at the school in exchange for training. This is in preparation of a “business trip” my brothers & I will be making. I am leaving you in charge of watching the school as well as Sunbow. 

Kalaris sat stunned. “I have so many questions I am not sure where to begin”?

“You will be fine” Vercel grinned. “You are a natural born leader, even though up until now you worked alone. Listen regarding lessons at the school, identify the best teachers. Start with this Lazzot, he at least had the guts to speak his opinions to me publicly. These scrolls contain the basis of our principles, as well as some beginning techniques you may not be familiar with. Train the best teachers, let them train the others. I have already spoken with Larratia Pauchard, when you are ready she will work with you regarding the business side of the school. She can handle the finances & any paperwork that may be necessary.  She has a head for business & has done a wonderful job for us here. This is 5,000 GP Use it to improve conditions in the school, upgrades on equipment, teachers whatever you need. You may use Claret as a liaison if you feel like there is resistance when dealing with anyone outside our influence. I understand racial barricades can be difficult to overcome. I would like to see Claret take an active role in the school, though I am not sure to what end his talents lie. Perhaps his spell casting abilities will prove useful? If nothing else training him to be an efficient protector for his sister should motivate him”. Last time the block was attacked he was killed, well the time before last technically.
“And lastly if you have trouble that you can’t handle contact Arkiell. I know you have grown close these last few weeks. It pleases me that his interest regarding your safety has become a priority. I am sure he is willing to hang around as much as you would allow it”. Vercel pulled the last item from his desk. This is a gift my dear, from the Sons of Nissian. It matches the one we gave to Arkiell, may it protect you in our absence.  Now if you’ll excuse me I have some reading to do for our trip.

Versel escorted her to the door so quickly Kalaris didn't even have a chance to ask a single question. Oh and one last thing dear, stay out of the drift downs. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Flashback: The Path of the Righteous

Shar Auvryndar watched as Meaghan stood among their companions speaking in tongues, surrounded by flowing magical celestial light. Dim motes of illumination no brighter than candle light began to rise slowly into the air above her, like glowing water evaporating from her new body through the ceiling of the Cawing Crow and into the Midsummer night sky; the Tears of Selune firmly hovering behind the striking woman.
 
She spoke in High Celestial; Shar was amazed to discover he could understand what Meaghan was saying although it was obvious to the drow that no one else could. She bespoke duty, righteousness, and benevolent judgment in all things; in Mystra’s name and the modern-day Church of Magic. Meaghan also talked of training a charismatic supplicant for the goddess of Magic; her Chosen, a Monitor of Magic and agent against sin.

Shar had no idea at the time how this event would influence his religious beliefs, choices in life and ultimately his path as an arcane spell caster.

The companions and Marta Crow sat enchanted at the serene display of divine light and righteous purpose, all save for Tyrus the Red Wizard who scrutinized the Inquisitor sensing a threat.

“This is a sign Lady Crow, we will endeavor to end this curse upon Tragidore and hopefully return your missing folk,” Shar said surprising everyone at the brave acceptance on their behalf; it was a play for leadership among the companions.

Tyrus turned his seething regard from Meaghan to Shar then to Dale who was studying Tyrus with astute curiosity. Each of the men coveted the Tears, but for different reasons; their silent glance confirmed their mutual conspiracy and temporary alliance...


Apparently each man who ended up missing over the past year had visited the Seer at one time or another, people’s memories were unsure, however not every man who sought her services met the same fate. Embarrassed these old men were evasive as to the nature of their visit but admitted they never actually saw the Seer, only her personal assistant, an elf woman of exotic beauty and strange dialect.

Dale Slade gathered that the Seer first arrived around the beginning of the Time of Troubles when she acquired a two-room structure built into the side of Tragidore’s inner bailey…   
                                                   

 “You know it is better if I go in alone,” Shar looked plaintively at Meaghan who seemed somehow whole and vital… Meaghan Gundwynd now.

“Agreed, Mystra has blessed me with clairvoyance, and am sure the Seer's assistant is of drow descent; I only wish to keep to our vow… no two of us are apart.” Meaghan said, the look on her face balked no argument. 

It was his drow heritage that made Shar the obvious choice to first assess their motives, somehow gain their trust, and gain any useful information about the missing scores of men.

“Very well then I will communicate to you by hand-sign like so, should anything awry dissolve my discussions with the Seer.” He motioned with is fingers to illustrate what he meant. Meaghan nodded in approval as did the others who waited anxiously. 

Meaghan invested Shar with Mystra’s divine favor and blessed his silver tongue for a favorable discourse between the drow.
                                                               
     
Shar levitated quietly in deep shadows studying the Seer’s abode. It was in reality two converted merchant wagons sans wheels nestled in a corner where the inner wall of the Jewel joined a tower overlooking the inner bailey. A thick curtain covered the entrance, however a low light from behind the curtain outlined the shape of a door. Shar could see shadows moving through the escaping illumination when a figure suddenly emerged, a wizened old man with long grey hair and beard to match. He stood there briefly in the light of the moon regarding his elixir purchase.

Shar watched below as the grey man drank deeply of the elixir and hurriedly saunter off in the direction of the Crescent where the Midsummer Night’s festivities were still alive with song and festive dance.  

Shar lowered himself to the Seer’s dwelling, quietly pushed back the curtain and stepped inside. The entry was small lit only by a brightmote orb that dimly illuminated a plush couch along one short wall and a shelf of realms cirios along the opposite wall. Directly across from the entrance was a doorway to the Seer's quarters, the structure's only other room. Standing between Shar and the Seer was a half-drow of stunning beauty. If Meaghan embodied purity and love this woman represented impurity and lust. 

A joining of gold elf and drow the voluptuous elf woman turned around completely surprised by his sudden entrance, but it was not a surprise followed by hostility he noted. Although I surprised her, Shar mused, the color of my skin did not. The woman was without a trace of human traits that Shar could see, only fine elven features, and that that made her all the more desirable to him.

Frizzt Boz’Wevial! Usstan zhahus naut expului dos nindol medosek” The woman said, she had a good command of the drow language. “Usstan tlun Endrenn Allerendris a dosst klath'ra. L'Seer zhah kr'athin ulu thalra xuil dos." 

[“Frizzt Boz’Whevia!, we were not expecting you this early. I am Endrenn Allerendris, at your service. The seer is anxious to see you.”]

Obviously Endrenn thought she recognized him; Shar did not know if this was a good thing or a bad thing. Nevertheless Shar allowed himself to be escorted into the adjoining room, this one filled with sweet aromas that made Shar thankful he took precautions against poisons. He would need to be in control of all of his senses. 

Being constructed of two merchant wagons joined together meant there was little room inside; the Seer’s room consisted of a table in the center of the room in front of a veil-curtain that obscured the back half of the room. Shar could see that area was made up of cushions of all sizes and rich blankets all the way up to the translucent curtain. 

On Shar’s side of the veil the walls supported small shelves containing potions, tokens, and elixirs, on the Seer's side of the veil the walls appeared to possess strange drawings similar to primitive cave drawings, save that these representations depicted the animals hunting people not the other way around. 

“My lady I give you Frizzt Boz’Wevial,” Endrenn announced to the Seer still obscured behind her wispy veil.

Shar refused to let things happen around him so he took control of the encounter and did not wait for a formal response from the Seer. “You know why I’m here and you know the importance as well.” Shar said sternly in High Drow.
               
“Then you are not here to release me?” The Seer said pleading. 

Shar remained silent, only cast his purple eyes on the silhouette of the Seer who he could see moving now, pipe smoke exiting her lips as she spoke.

“I have fulfilled all that was required of me to earn back my freedom; I cannot help it if weak willed or frail humans cannot make your dangerous journey north.” Still the Seer remained cloaked behind the veil-curtain however Shar could now see what could be vertical feline eyes. 

Shar began to feel the Seer's power surge; it was like a leech whereby it drained not your blood but draining all free will. It was an evil that he would not suffer to live. Shar thought he knew who or what the Seer was but how did Endrenn fit into this scheme?

“We all have our parts to play,” Shar said evenly “and your part in this is now over.” As Shar said these final words he motioned with his fingers signaling Meaghan and the others to converge on the Lamia 'seer'. 



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review (04/09/14)

Our session began with Auge, Jaren, Durg and Versel discussing possible strategies in infiltrating the VanFleet Estate and replacing the usurping rakshashas with our own allies. Several ideas were tabled until one plan coalesced into something we all agreed upon. 
  • Jaren itemizes three dispel magic alchemist bombs into a square sheet of cloth.
  • The cloth is then rolled up into a message addressed to Roland VanFleet.
  • The message appears to be from Twilight house informing the addressee of new monstrous specimens for VanFleet consideration.
  • Message to be delivered with the 8AM business.
  • The message is armed with a magic mouth that will alert us to the messages’ opening and the discharge of three dispel magics (CL13).
  • When the magic mouth is heard, we enter through a second floor balcony.
  • As this occurs, Nefertiti Xanthippe and Adalwin Joscelin move against Gretchen VanFleet.
  • And Arkiel with Hislop attack as a second wave behind us at his discretion.

During the day we also begin packing our hoard in the case of a hasty retreat from Stormhaven. Later that day we receive messages and guests to the Cinder Block.

Kalaris reports that she is being harassed by Dorger Rockhammer, the dwarven investigator. Versel arranges to have the dwarf relieved of duty with payment. 

Lifters report of Mind Flayer activity in and around the dire docks (closest to the old Driftdowns.)

Visitors included Cadmar Embry for a casual meal and drink; and Darsoon who delivered his crude map of the Dark Continent’s eastern shore. He offers names of two navigators who could answer nautical questions and warns of magic-dead pools in the straights between the volcanic island chain and the mainland making magically assisted travel difficult. Furthermore scrying in the area is problematic because of the heat waves and heavy smoke common to the area.

Versel raised some questions on the elves of the area and learned of five old elf tribes before the cataclysm, now it is just the elder led elf clans of the north (who are aggressive to non-elf culture) and the Walking elves of the South (relative new comers to the world).

6pm We travel via the lifts to the dire docks and rumors of mind flayers. Arriving at the Dragon Dock guild office we meet with Vormite where he says a large battle occurred between mind flayers and Navy sailors. While he is still gathering intel he says the Navy guys were taken to the old Driftdowns and that many pursuers were repelled by a mental barrier. Each of the Navy sailors taken was a part of the new battleship crew.
 
Versel flies to the Driftdowns investigate when the SquidSeeker perilously indicates several aberrations ahead and below. Undaunted, Versel flies ahead to find a criminal safe house overrun by aberrations and their thralls; he waits for us to catch up. When the rest of us arrive we find the safe house issuing forth vile undead that begin to spread out into the streets hungry for warm blood.

Using this as an opportunity to practice our VanFleet tactics we enter through the top (4th) floor where we detect one sailor (or rather his watermark) and several others at other floors (6 on the main floor, 3 on the second, and again just 1 the fourth).

As we approach we see there are 4 mind-controlled criminal thralls taking watch, just as a red flash of light pulses and outlines our invisible forms; Jaren then transports us inside where we find a horrific scene.

A vampiric octo-mind flayer is consuming a sailor as two other dead forms lie nearby on the floor. As the battle ensues an undead far-something grey render comes cool-aid man straight for Jaren.

After some tense rounds we prevail and decide to continue our assault on the main floor which is where we begin next week.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Review (04/02/2014)

Our session began with our assault on the Illithids who were herding dwarves below the upside warehouse and presumably through the portal and the planar marketplace. Once the battle began we discovered other opponents including a sizable and tough horned-snake creature, perhaps the buyer of the hapless dwarves. Our surprise netted four dead mind flayers, hoard-building treasure, and forty-nine rescued dwarves.

Escorting the dwarves to Rockhammer we encounter a platoon tasked with looking for two missing units. These forty-nine being one, and the other group likely lost to an unknown fate beyond the portal. We also ensure the fiftieth's body was returned with the survivors.

After doing the dwarves a solid we return to the Cinder Block and our lair. Versel and Durg catch up on their beauty sleep while Auge pens messages to be sent out in the morning. Jaren learns a new Truename spell and begins magically rearranging the lair using stone shape.

Sunday. Auge meets with Hanan to politely remind him who he works for; get him to deliver messages from Kiton to Claret at the Cinder Block; and to implant a story of being reclusive for the next two weeks to a month. Hanan is to be our eyes on the lifts as well to report anything unusual.

Later Auge meets with Torgar to inform of his 'busy' schedule for the next few weeks and eventually asks about the remaining upside guildmaster scrolls. Torgar explains Dagmar the dwarf and Myles, an upstart halfling, control the remaining scrolls and guildmaster status. These two meetings are the start of gaining more power in the LC.

Auge crafts Versel's eternal barkskin wand but the rest of the day passes uneventful.

Monday. Meetings with Darsoon and Obryn. The dwarf Obryn knew more about the Continent than the islands, however he did say that the volcanic island chain was an empire of volcano dwarves. Between the islands and the Continent was the Steam Sea (later presumed to be part of Mother's domain). He provided information on where certain cultures of dwarves are in relation to the Dark Continent but did add that the dwarves do not go south of their empire because of the walking elves. Their capitol island is beyond wealthy because of their trade in metals and magic. No mention of dragons until we asked.

Later that day at the Dragon's Run we find Darsoon who was refereed to Jaren by his Black Crown affiliates. Starting by describing walking elves as long lived nomads intent on racial survival by forming sustaining communities of their kind and moving on to begin the process anew. Darsoon is from the Continent where he says lie elven city-states below the island chain line. These elves do not particularly war with the dwarves, but their river elf cousins in the north do. He supplies a rough map but admits his memory and information at the time is over one hundred and fifty years old.

6 pm. Lair. Communing with mother we learn a little more about where she is geographically and what we are to do once we get there. While we don't have all the details we will hopefully bring the walking elves and dwarves into combat with each other in order for us to eliminate the victor before they can celebrate.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Securing the Docks (Auge)

 "Here, hopefully you'll be easier to understand," said Durg with finality.

Auge heard his brother’s scornful tone from inside the guild office and could not help when flame escaped his lips; a titter that could only be achieved by one with reptilian blood in their veins.

Auge was relishing their rise to prestige as of late; his acquisition of the Dragon/Greed Ring of Sustenance has given him a new perspective on Stormhaven. With a reduced need for rest and recovery Auge could therefore be privy to more activities both in the Cinder Block and outside resulting in more opportunity for business.

Bzzz Bzzzzzz, Bzzzzzz Bzz bz…Inside the guild office Auge took the tattoo needle and dipped it into the ink reservoir allowing the gun to take in the ink, then looked at Kiton with an unspoken Ready? Kiton grunted.

Auge tested the consistency of the ink and began tattooing Kiton’s strong arm. Bzzzzzz Bzz bz…                                                                                                                                                          
“Kiton,” Auge said as he worked the scarlet ink into his hireling's skin.

“Yes boss.” Kiton said without the usual inflection of a question, the higher tone at the end of an interrogative. It was impediment to conversing with the creature, but Ague had more patience than others.

Bzzzz Bzz bzzz… “Kiton, work is going to keep me occupied on the Upside for two weeks- possibly as long as a month.” Auge said vaguely.

Kiton said nothing only looked at his master with absolute understanding and obedience. Auge was comforted, so many of their followers- particularly those hirelings under his bailiwick, who may or may not have fallen under the influence of Claustrum.

“When I am finished with my work the Sons of Nissian will unquestionably be the dragon’s on the peak! or in the human vernacular ‘kings of the hill.’ Kiton grunted. Bzzz Bzzzzzz…

The sound of waves filled the spaces between the buzz of thick outlines and burning color along with the dock side bustle of industry and trade.

“Thanks to my brother Jaren, trade is flowing unimpeded into Stormhaven making the rare more common
and the extreme exotic contrivances must now become rarities. I want you to watch the docks for me and report upon these exotic imports. I want as much foreknowledge of any imports and rival competition that has the potential to impact our business on the Upside.” Auge said confidingly raising Kiton’s morale when in fact it was sound business strategy.

“Henceforth you are my LC viceroy in the Dragon docks,” Auge said then breathed a gout of flame upon the finished magical tattoo. The flame singed Kiton’s hair causing him to grimace in pain. "I am leaving you some rarities to use as you purchase your information or as you see fit; you will send messages through Hanan Al’Sharif who will make regular checks of the Dragon docks." 

They say pride comes before the fall; Auge believed the fall comes when ambitions are failed to be acted upon. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Securing the Docks (Durg)

 Vormite stood back and presented the three most experienced men in this week's security detail; three brothers, as a matter of fact. Humans, heavily bearded and clad in kilts and chain and leather mail, the three nervously studied their employer, their benefactor. He was the youngest of the "dragon brothers", Durg by name.
 "Durg, may I take the time to introduce our three greatest warriors on the docks this week; Arnum, Liam and Ewen," Vormite spoke, each of the three humans nodding when their names were mentioned. "I have chosen Arnum as the captain of security this week, as he's the eldest and most experienced."
 Handing over the magical shield that doubled as a symbol of leadership, Arnum strapped it to his burly forearm and grinned at his brothers, then at Vormite and Durg.
 "Aye, ye ha' nau' tae fret aboot. Th' sheeps an' th' crgu, the sellers an' th' cap'ns all wull be sleepin' safe 'n' soon'ly" Arnum spoke through a briarpatch of fading red beard, fading to a pale orange as age creeped upon him. The other 2 humans nodded their agreement, smiling at themselves as they took heart in their brother's endorsement. "Och, ye kinna bae b'lieving tha' naryaone wull have a hair 'n thare hade missed wi'."
 Vormite looked at Durg, beaming his approval at the fighters' bravado, only to have the smile slowly sour into a grimace. Durg stood there, staring at Arnum with a blank, flat look, one that could only be acheived by one with reptilian blood in their veins. The claws on his right hand tapped a slow stacatto on the head of his deadly axe. Durg's eyes flickered from Arnum to the other 2 brothers. A raspy rattle built slowly in the dragonman's ravaged throat, and his head made a small circle as he cleared his voice. "What?" he rasped.
 Vormite quickly looked to the 3 brothers, swallowing nervously. Liam and Ewen, the 2 younger brothers, both tripped over themselves in trying to translate what their brother had claimed. Durg gently put a claw on each of the younger brothers, pushing them apart, then took the shield from Arnum's arm.
 "'Ere noo, joost wha' dyu ye think wha' yer dooin'?" Arnum growled, but making no move to stop  the dragonman taking the shield from him.
 Durg stopped in taking the badge of office, again starin blankly at the elder human. "A leader needs to have his orders undersood the 1st time, not through a translator." he rasped, Handing the shield to Liam, the 2nd  eldest. "Here, hopefully you'll be easier to understand."
 Liam looked embarassedly at his older brother, taking the shield in hand, "Aye milor' Durg. We'll be sure to keep the docks safe, ye ha' the word of the brothers McTiege."
 Unimpressed, Durg simply nodded and left the barracks, back to the bustling docks.