Friday, November 29, 2013

Flashback: Strangers in a Strange Land

None of it made any sense to Sanford, all the hours these days were filled with talk about wild magic, secret promises, and bad ideas. It was all nonsense to him and had nothing to do with their immediate problem- they were seven lost individuals in a forest full of plants and strange animals none of them had seen before. They all agreed they were no longer in the north, but no one could fathom when it was either. It was actually Sanford that ended the rambling and got everyone working together on their main problem.

It had been a strange and tense four days for the group and each of them individually had challenges to overcome; for Sanford it was that he was tasked as only fighter of the group, which implys that he is the designated protector of the party. As for the others individuals around him…

Being close to these two in the past Sanford observed a stark change between Elad and Claudia; once close partners and Shadow Theives they now seemed to be at odds. They disagreed about something and it merited investigating.

The Brightmantle dwarf, to Sanford, overly worried about what supplies we have at our disposal, specifically ammunition. He is out of his element away from the forges and is afraid of being a liability. So far Blain has done more than his share of nightly watches, skilled work, and camp upkeep.

Tyrus Skullborn is likewise worried about supplies however his worry stems from magical resources, specifically over his spell book, he does not have it. That makes him a liability; he knows it and he knows Sanford knows it. Tyrus will be on the lookout for any spell casters and spellbooks and will use any methods he can to obtain even a scrap of magic. 

Meaghan had the most fascinating story claiming to be reborn in another body- one with a strange divine birthmark on her shoulder- the mark of Mystra. She arrived without any clothes in a body no one had ever seen before. She was quickly aided by the drow who was somehow impacted greatly by the birthmark.

Shar Auvryndar awoke before any of them the day they appeared in the forest. Sanford acknowledged that the drow could have killed all of them if that were his intention, but did not and that as far as Sanford was concerned good enough. The drow has fallen ill however and it is now Meaghan who cares for the drow. Shar’s drow physiology is rejecting the surface environment.  

On the fifth day the centaurs attacked. They were not exactly centaurs but that was the closest thing any of them could come up with after the first wave. The monstrous humanoids had the lower bodies of an oxen, broad and muscular with the upper portions being that of  feral ogres, bearded with thick heavy fur.

The brutes used fist and hoof seemingly in an attempt to grab one of the women but were scared off by Blain’s deadly gunfire- obviously these creatures had never seen or heard the effects of a gun. They may be easily scared but Sanford believed they would be back, and in greater numbers.

Finally! Sanford thinks; it’s time to move on.
“But which direction?” Claudia asked tabling the obvious question looking expectantly at Elad Edals. Sanford thought this was perhaps the root of their disagreement.

“I believe I have detected sounds late at night; faint wisps of sound coming from the west or maybe to the south... to the south-west.” Elad Edals finished confidently.

“Sounds of what exactly?” asked Tyrus anxiously.

“I cannot tell.”

“Then it would be dangerous to follow ghost sounds.” Claudia stated flatly. “There could be harpies or any other number of malign fey ready to turn a man’s ear and will.”

Ok, there it was. Claudia fears being led into a trap.

What followed next was a great meeting of minds that all adventuring companies eventually conduct in order to weigh benefits and risks of splitting the party. Such discourse creates the adventuring bond between warrior, clerics and magic users in a way few other professions can relate to.

And after some days and weeks later the seven lost adventurers finally came across the first sign of civilization they had seen since arriving in this strange land. A narrow overgrown trail extended east and west, the trail ruts just barely visible through the tall grass. Sanford judged it had not been maintained all season; maybe a year and thus would only abide single file traffic; there was no visible indication or clue as to which direction they should take next.  

Goblin's Have Green Thumbs

It was early in Stormhaven. The endless sounds of breakers from the ocean and the salty air had a heightened feeling- like the day was tensed in anticipation of a clenched fist. One by one the tallest of the Upside’s towers and minarets were ignited with morning light as the sun crested the sea. Light spilled down like candle wax until the entire World-disk was alight with a new day and new opportunities.

Using the gold they earned from their last assignment, the goblins Janisgoblin and Scuttlefish purchased a horse to expand their earnings potential. Of course the foolish Scuttlefish did not think of this, for Scuttlefish his baser needs usually came first, he had hoped the horse was dinner if not entertainment.

The destrier was a retired warhorse nearly seventeen hands tall and its name was Ogre. The horse was mostly ashen gray with a black mane and tail to match; and it carried an irregular fan-shaped marking on is left flank in the shape of a certain Evening Isle. When Ogre’s former owner said something about the curious mark both goblins looked confused. What was an island?
 
Neither goblin could ride the large warhorse with any expertise but both would say they could handle animals; however even the sum of their skills was not enough to attach a simple cart to the old but proud Ogre.

“It doz not want to do it. Ezery time Iz goz to fix the rainz it kiks me!” Scuttlefish lamented to Janisgoblin
who looked down sourly at her counterpart. Standing in the cart she regarded him sternly. Her intense demeanor could usually ‘motivate’ Scuttlefish into some worthwhile action, but Ogre was proving too much for him. She let out an exasperated sigh.

“If we miss this delivery it will be your fault!” She promised. “This is a big order and we need the cart to make the delivery unless you want to carry all these sacks to the Liquor Commission yourself.” She said in perfect common all the while taking on a woman’s sexy-time tone. “These are the last of the grains before more can be had.” As far as she was told. 
 
Scuttlefish did not hear her words however; he was transfixed by the goblin woman. Breaking his stupid fascination Ogre kicked Scuttlefish again this time sending him flying into the path of an approaching mob on course to the Cinder Block.

A spell or incendiary went off startling Ogre causing him to rear and flee pulling a cart that held on desperately for purchase. Janisgoblin fell out of her seat and onto the few sacks of grain they could muster that morning; she too held desperately for purchase.

Scuttlefish was getting his ass handed to him by the angry mob who had decided to take their wrath out on him. 2x4’s and axe handles came down on his head repeatedly, he was still able to hear the fading cries of help from Janis. He somehow got free of the mob and followed the trail of upset people and upside fixtures to where Ogre had taken off to. 

Nearing the edge of the World-disk Scuttlefish’s heart sank as his panic showed him visions of Ogre pullng the cart with Janis falling to their death over the edge. 

"Son of a bitch," he began to weep. But before he could descend into hysterics Scuttlefish heard weak confused sounds over what he took for the edge; on the other side of a small rise he found they did not fall to their deaths as he feared.

About fifty feet from the rise (and the edge of the world disk) Ogre stood casually among the remains of the cart, it clung to him like tattered barding. Broken boards and busted wheels were all that remained of the cart; near by was Janisgoblin was just now standing a small cut colored her shoulder in red from one of the many rocks littering the ground. 
Janisgoblin stood, taking it all in; the broken cart, Ogre, the ramp on which Scuttlefish stood and the sacks of grain. Each sack tore open when the cart crashed down after coming up over the rise, Ogre of course had jumped the ramp but the grain intended for the Liquor Commission now spread in low heaps over the quarter acre of land.


Janisgoblin smiled at their good fortune. “Hey ‘Fish do you know how to tend a garden?”

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Auge’s Journal: Out of Time

The moneychangers’ guild provided me with invaluable tools and methods; gold and wealth in which to improve and speed my craft. Added to my formula library are three formula books and a collection of notes and theories on rare discoveries....

The steel cover of this slim journal has taken its fair share of abuse; acid scars and minor slag spots show where the journal was subjected to intense working conditions. Equations, balances, and chemical notations mark the margins of the pages—with some formulae, it is difficult to tell where the notes end and the formula begins.

Journal of the Beast Within
This ragged collection of scorched and stained notes is tied with cheap twine between wooden covers. A few formulae appear to have been deliberately obliterated, scratched through so thoroughly that the paper is torn in places.

Chymist’s Guidebook
The pages of this formula book are carefully varnished. Sprinkled among the formulae are details and diagrams of alchemical devices, many of which seem to defy the normal conventions of alchemy and physics. The last page contains incomplete notes on the preparation of experimental mutagens.

The Formulae of Master Gebr
These four cloth-bound books are neatly printed—as with a printing press or some other form of mechanical transcription—with a title page, a table of contents, and a useful cross-referenced index. They have been treated well and are clearly reference works, rather than laboratory notes; the writer was obviously a most disciplined and focused inventor.

But now after my visit to the Black Crown and thanks to Adalgrim Redhammer’s tribute I have what I need in which to create a helmet to defend against the mental attacks of the illithids as well as a safety net for practical purposes...


Aura: moderate divination; CL: 9th Slot: head; Price: 1,500 gp; Weight: 1 lb.
Description
This mask depicts a dragon's face, and covers the wearer from chin to crown. When the wearer of the hannya fails a saving throw against a spell or effect, he may choose to attune the hannya to that effect as an immediate action. The wearer then gains a +1 competence bonus to future saves made against that specific effect. If the wearer fails a second save against an effect the hannya is attuned to, his bonus to future saves increases to +2, and if he fails a third time it increases to +3. A hannya of hard won wisdom may be attuned to only one specific spell or effect at a time, and if it is attuned to a new effect, all its benefit against older effects is lost.
Construction Requirements: Craft Wondrous Items, guidance; Cost: 750 gp.

*(Adding this loot for less ability still keeps construction time to two days.)

Adalgrim Redhammer

Adalgrim could not remember a time before the Rockhammer dwarves. For as long as he could cast his mind back it was these burly folk who adopted him into their family. His fathers said he was what others called a Halfling and a special one at that; they would not divulge his origins further only that they were well aware of his special talents that ultimately resulted in his indentured servitude to them.
                                                                      
One of the things that made Adalgrim Redhammer special was that he could naturally speak draconic, as a matter of fact some of his dwarven father figures said that was all Adalgrim spoke until he was in his late youth. A phenomenon unheard of but benefited the linguistics scholars of the Rockhammers greatly. The second trait that made Adalgrim special was his magical talent of mending.

The dwarves of Rockhammer recognized this ability in him early and honed it to a profitable skill by which Adalgrim was able to earn his freedom. Being a Halfling raised by Rockhammer dwarves brought the brawler out in Adalgrim and quickly grew with a warrior's heart and stength. He found that he greatly enjoyed pummeling opponents (usually dwarves) in combat or at play. When not at play however the dwarves put his magical talent to work repairing armor, and mending shields and helmets.


Most of it was blacksmith work, but what Adalgrim took joy in was expressing his magical talent in a torrent of creativity in mending the battered and dented helmets into beautiful hannyas of exquisite detail. It was in fact Adalgrim’s tribute to the Cinder Block. 

Review (11/27/2013)

The session begins with a flashback to Jaren at the Black Crown fulfilling his civic duties by aiding remote viewing of locations in Stormhaven in an attempt to learn who or what caused the ‘disturbances’ ie who was active during the Time Stop. This skilled work taxed his magical energies for the day; but he learns and adds clairvoyance to his spell repertoire as a result.

We catch up to Friday morning and a mob of individuals ready to take action against the squid-heads; they obviously do not understand the enemy we face. Just their presence undermines everything we work for. Council member Versel, undoubtedly voiced the seed of this fruit before us, addresses the masses:
  • Do not engage the mind flayers.
  • Look for strange or uncharacteristic behavior or speech from friends or family.
  • See something say something.
  • It is us vs. them- don’t confuse any actions to the contrary.
  • We open our doors to one on one consultations.

Many individuals who were wrapped up in the emotions that a mob often generates disperse leaving a handful of competent and pragmatic nobles of wealth and four fearless fighters of steel.

Eric Theron Starkmore (brother of Etrain Starkmore of the Rain of Blades Academy) and Galdan of Foxrun (big game hunter) present themselves willing to invest in endeavors against the aberrations.

Undaunted at their initial proposal, Jaren waxes at length our successes and indicate our immediate goal of the warehouse hive. Galdan asks for nothing in return for his tribute; he thus credits us for defeating the Edana Estate monsters that bordered his property and livelihood.

Eric mentions possible political favors from his brother but does not abide for certain. He does however inform us of newly opened tunnelage under his estate since the Stormhaven rise; passages that are sure to extend under the Red Keep. He thought we should know.

While solidifying the deal Jaren prefers incorporating with the underwriters guild over opening an account with the moneychangers. Fuck em. 

Meanwhile four warriors gather at the Vial and Flask for RAGE and magical items posted for sale. (Hand of the Mage, Cloak of Resistance +2, shiftweave, hit kickers)

9am. Twilight House we meet with Arkiel to exchange information on our common enemy. When we arrive we see that many individuals here were in fact unaffected by the Time Stop; however, no actions were taken in what was described as multiple stand-offs. Aside from that Twilight House thrives under his leadership.

Joining Arkiel we share our knowledge of the warehouse hive and information would help our assault.
  • He said a hive of that size likely has 5-7 illithids.
  • Most can control 2-3 at a time, rare few can dominate more than 5-6 at a time.  
  • The aboleth is a legendary creature- millenniums old.

 We ask if he knows of the ‘jump forward’ sensation that occurred during the Time Stop and the many theories about missing people. All he could say was that he did not know but would try to find the answers.

Jaren again expounds on our recent successes and mentions well of our recent benefactors and reiterates this is of the highest importance.

It was here that we also came up with Operation: Durg the birthday boy.

After Twilight House we went to the Black Crown so Jaren could gather his magical energies and memorize spells while Auge purchases two mind blank scrolls and moves to introduce himself to Robalar; playing out ameeting that was negated because of the time rewind. The meeting had a strange out of place deja-vu to it.

In the meantime Versel poses several questions: what is the aboleth after, what is its ultimate (centuries spanning) end-game? The answer: Truename magic or as we intuit the Maleficus Arcanum, a book of truenames and truename magic.

Jaren surmises that the news White Spider relayed was suspect regarding Tamros’ search for the Maleficus Arcanum and that the aboleth seeks the tome through unwitting accomplices. So where could this possible centuries lost book of truename magic be? 

We decide to investigate these newly opened world disk tunnels. To the Red Keep.

Under the Red Keep we do in fact find new tunnels and discover the architect had worked in truename utterances in some areas including a passage sealed like a prison cell. Deciding not to investigate further… yet, we head over to the Starkmore estate.

Once there the birthday boy notices an odor that he had encountered before. We insist that the accidental archeologist lead us to their new world-disk tunnels. Although fearful, the guy leds us to three tunnels; these tunnels obviously lead under the Red Keep and we also believe is the entrance to Iracudia’ lair- the dragon of wrath.

Respecting her space we leave a small tribute of RAGE; an eternal wand- Auge’s signature brand; and a note of formal introductions, intent of non-hostility, and the possibility of a face to face meeting at a time of her choosing.

Retreating back to our territory Jaren deciphers the utterance Knight’s Puissance (in a guardpost) that benefits allies while imposing upon enemies.  Back at the prison door Jaren puts to use his new divination spell and sees a most invocative scene.

Dark creatures some robed while many seemed to be of otherworldly origins; extraplanar beings and gruesome undead-looking creatures all pointing and speaking to a four-armed long tongued creature that had an utterance emblazoned on his forehead- it was painful to regard. They drove back the foul tongued speaker into a glowing portal and presumably sealed it behind the door under the Red Keep. One of the ‘prisoners’ seems to turn to Jaren and ends the vision.


We begin next session Saturday night with Durg’s Birthday party and our attack on the mind flayer hive.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sitting Duck

“Ok Kiton, we can go with your plan, run straight away and rob Tick Tock Castle of presumed wealth, risking the ire of neighbors not to mention OUR BOSS, or we can try my plan, which involves offending strangers on ships and provides us with many more, “sitting duck” targets, I suspect with a greater probability of wealth!” White Spider ranted, “OH I’m SORRY, you don’t know what probability means do you Kiton?”

Kiton tolerated her insults because Auge supported the young Halfling and because, in this case she was right.  Auge had just warned them against making stupid mistakes.  

Farley appeared shocked at the responsibility of coming up with 18,000 gold.  Farley had just made the most money he ever had in his life, now Auge wanted more and it wouldn't even be his.  

Kiton knew that the Sea Ranger Spade would support White Spider’s plan.  Not for the first time, Kiton wondered if the two had become lovers.

“Your plan is the better one Spider, show us the way.” Kiton’s low growl rumbled. “Just remember that our benefactor’s patience is much shorter than mine.” 

Spade surprised Kiton by speaking up, “Speaking of our benefactors, we should do what Vercel has done.  Let’s make our profit be at some ally’s benefit.  Surely there are ships out there that someone in town doesn't like or want succeeding.  If we fulfill a task for someone else it’s at least another way of bringing in those funds.”

The Halfling woman known as White Spider smiled at Spades words.  “I believe someone in the Embry family should be able to provide just the type of work we are looking for, good thinking de…Spade.”

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review (11/21/2013)

Our climb up the Stormhaven hierarchy continued Thursday with Jaren spending the day at the Black Crown and the rest of the Sons keeping together and going out to the Sunbow Mansion. Checking on the condition of our investments we are seen by Tarken who tells us about the minor paradoxes he and the mansion are experiencing.

“It was like one moment it was business as usual then- in a blink- all was… different,” 4 employees went missing and to make matters worse all the gold from the day’s business was gone. All in all, five thousand gold pieces were lost so Auge puts up 2,500 gold operating funds for Sunbow to stay open. Among the missing employees were 3 tieflings (who bore no scent aside the burning odor of brimstone) and a 4th mysterious individual identified as Wenstafani. Obviously an outside of some kind. (Auge got her scent)

With the problem of money out of the way Tarken expressed the need for more help. Versel devises a plan; appeal to the many Twilight House immigrants for whore tryouts; it was the first of two brilliant ideas he had that day. “Do you want to be a ho? Do it at the ‘bow.” Durg the sloganist.

300 gold pieces were spent in spreading news of Sunbow's job opportunities before we depart from said Mansion and on to the Liquor Commission.

Meeting with Torgar Longbrow (Tamros’ brother) we find he also laments of minor disasters after ‘the
event.’ Likewise here, people are missing as well as a whole week’s worth of raw material components the brewery uses. An incredible overflow occurred in a blink spreading suds and ale all over the LC. It was surmised by us that the brewery’s machines (akin to constructs for this argument) continued to run unabated during the Time Stop creating the mess and consuming all the raw brewery ingredients; twenty thousand in overall value. We also arrange Sunbow to be prioritized for delivery.

Leaving Torgar to his LC duties in light of the catastrophe we seek out Gerto and question him on Torgar and Gerto’s palaver and learn somegruesome details of Mons Montis
  • The prison is under water and under extreme pressure and depth.
  • A placental sac protected him from the harsh elements. While in this membrane he was not in control of his conscious mind.
  • In time Gerto was raised from deeper levels to utilize his skills in expanding the prison for specialized or unique individuals. When providing this skilled work he was more in control of his conscious mind.
  • Not sure about the details of how he escaped only that he found himself in the drift downs and in control of his faculties. (This is a red flag for Auge, Gerto may be a mole- we need to investigate further)
  • Gerto's description of the jailer is consistent with an Aboleth but also describes two accomplices: an illithid and a derro.
  • Other notable details: sharks were used as ‘watch dogs’ and something about a giant eyeball as a prisoner.

After the Liquor Commission Auge, Durg and Versel return to the Cinder Block where Auge meets with the White Spider, Kiton, Spade and Farley after their assignment. They proudly bring in 2000 gold but Auge instructs them to take it to the LC and assist them in recouping the remaining 18,000 necessary to replenish their inventory. They are to complete this task before reporting back for rewards.

3pm. The three of us decide to investigate the abandoned Staircase Keep to ascertain the motives of the evacuated Socordia- has she returned? Will she return?

Upon arrival we find Hanan, the dire-bat jokey and stabler, preparing to make some kind of stealthy hit on the keep now that Socordia is gone. Fighting our way through minor raptorians Hanan explains he has some personal items still in the keep and wishes to obtain them.


Standing in is way are 6 binded troll half-dragons, clearly throngs or offspring of the dragon of sloth. The 'tragons' were bridled to the Staircase Keep by some kind of truename magic and thus guarded the aviary. Wanting to converse with the half-dragons anyway, Auge devises a plan to make Hanan invisible and untraceable by scent while we ‘distract’ the tragons. He enthusiastically agrees.

We approach and land as nonthreatening as we can be, near the aerie. After some tense moments we discover that they are mildly intelligent and because of their binding- they were hungry. We fed them dead raptorians to gain favor and they in turn offered no significant information on their ‘creator’ or if she will return. Auge and Versel suspect these creatures are likely guarding her horde in the aviary, but decide it is best to wait and see if Socordia returns before taking any action towards that. 

We reunite with Hanan at the Cinder Block stables where he claims success! Recounting his goal to successfully modify and mate dire versions of flying creatures. He was able to retrieve an chemical formula book for modifying species and a pair of assisting gloves for mating of such creatures. (the right hand assisting glove AND the rare limited edition left hand!) Joy!

6pm Versel and Durg ‘hang fliers’ for the whore tryouts while Auge studies the masterwork watermark forge kits...
  • Only one primary kit makes the masterwork watermarks; valued at 1,000 gold.
  • Makes 20 units before 300 gold must be spent in upkeep of the kit.
  • The other six kits add/modify signifiers to existing watermarks.
  • Craft wondrous item feat is required to forge the watermarks.
  • Auge can make the watermarks/ Jaren to eventually enchant them. 
  • Completed watermarks are valued at 10,000 gold (cost to create 5,000)
  • Each forge kit is valued at 300 gold.

Later that night at the Halls of Voices we discover that large groups of people have come to tell their version of ‘the event’; the majority of who believes it akin to a religious event, with many giving witness. Our arrival was met with unease as well as exhalation from the masses but for Durg and Auge it was Versel’s second brilliant idea.

Gretchen VanFleet introduces and then formally surrenders the floor to council member Versel who, as a matter of fact, had something to say on the… ‘event’. In a fugue of inspiration, Versel pinned the entire event and its fallout on the illithids. "It was the mind-flayers to can manipulate your thoughts, make things seem real or not, and it was all part of some horrific brain harvest." 

It was magical... It also had immediate effect; the people had found solidarity and order out of chaos in a common enemy. Noble families cast off minor grievances between themselves in spirited accords dedicated to thwarting the squid-heads; there was public outcry in favor of us: masters of Red Keep; and key social maneuvering. We don’t do anything for free so this seemed like the perfect time to drum up top level support hopefully landing some water-breathing aid and the like to use when we go after the jailer. 
 
It should be noted how quickly propaganda on the illithids spread through Stormhaven.

We begin next session Friday morning at the Cinder Block where a mob of people have gathered for purposes unknown.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Ruination

“What?” The bold and shrewd Balthorr Olaskos said, hardly believing what he was hearing. A sinking feeling gripped his sensibilities and he suddenly felt he had to sat down. 

“I’m sorry but at this time we have exhausted all our resources.” was the only consolation offered by the agent of the moneychangers’ guild; he was after all only a messenger, but in that moment Balthorr would have strangled his life from him.

“Hombel protect me.” Balthorr said raising his right fist to his brow.

Then in short order and without delay the Moneychangers' agent left behind two parcels before making his tactless exit.

He was ruined.

If what the agent said was correct all of his most rare and expensive coins were gone- simple as that as if they were never there. Sure there is the parcel of documents and processing reports tracking Balthorr’s assets, the agent was kind enough to drop those off- oh and lest not forget what was left of the Olaskos’ family heirlooms in the other parcel, but all his eastern province coinage- the bulk of his wealth- was lost to him.

Balthorr slowly, methodically closed his shop of rare and wondrous treasures putting out the lights and covering the windows and sat in the darkening light of the day thinking. For hours he sat alone with his thoughts and a growing darkness, bitter and vile growing in his mind. Outside the wind blew carrying intermittent sounds of Stormhaven rebellion.

Had he had hit rock bottom, or as the Nobility say ‘below-topside’? For an unknown amount time Balthorr slowly climbed his way out of the swirl of red emotions and into the realm of mild coherent thought.

He regarded all that remains of his worldly possessions arranged around at his shop, some gold, and even less magic. If he were to survive he needed to make the best of what he still had. He needed to reestablish his wealth or lose his status and his membership in the moneychangers’ guild; he also needed protection or someone may capitalize on his misfortune. Anger welled inside the once companionable coin-collector and spinster. 

As Balthorr was gathering his highest ticket items to sell at a local souk, a woman from the eastern provinces entered the shop of unorganized treasures. She peered in apprehensively and called out into the dark shop. She had the look of a mythic warrior- silent and deadly.

… and here is my protection- Balthorr thought. Mayhap he was not ruined after all. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review (11/13/2013)

We began at the Money Changers guild after the Rakshasha combat and approximately one half hour into the time stop effect. Picking up we decide to investigate further into the Guildhall. The Money Changers was exquisitely arranged with rainbow-stone fixtures and walls as well as rare and exotic wood panels, shelves, and furnishings.

Some of the rooms were filled with all manner of individuals including off-hours dwarves drinking and relaxing, magically outfitted elf guards, and still others doing their daily business but held motionless and frozen in time.

Intrigued by the highly magical and seemingly vulnerable elves Auge attempts to relieve them of their treasures. One attempt was successful (Wand: sleep, mage armor, truestrike; +2 dancing flaming longsword; +2 keen adamantite longsword; boots of speed; blinkback belt; & watermark), however the second attempt was unsuccessful causing the second elf guard to disappear- likely ‘pushed’ back into the time stream as there is the confusing sensation of movement again at this time.

Durg realizes that before the vault- there are the cash drawers; currency available to the guild in order to transact routine currency exchange. This yielded twenty thousand in foreign coinage.

Immediately after teleporting to the Vault entry chamber alarms sound with ear piercing intensity, two dozen water elementals arrive, and we discover that aside from all the security upgrades since our last bank job- there is a second iron golem making a total of one stone construct and two made of iron. We observe that the water elementals, Jaren’s unseen servant, as well as the constructs react strangely to our presence as if we are part of the environment. Other summons also occur, outsiders originating from… outside the time stop who are therefore unable to enter the time stop so they seem to just disappear.

Confronted with a complex vault door, Jaren shrinks the vault door allowing us easy access. This causes more summoning of defenses to come and go and thus do not impede us. Entering the vault we discover several led crates containing many mysteries: a parcel of gems of unique cut and another parcel containing eastern province coinage. 

We split into two teams and in one half hour of time stopped time each of us end with ten led crates. Half of these crates we abandon because of their sensitivity to the Stormhaven sea environment, while the others contain more worthy treasures: 1000 pounds of coins and gems, freezer-stones, and best of all 100 pounds of red volcanic gemstones that radiate a mild residual warmth.

Approximately two hours into the time stop effect as we test the limits of our bags of holding one of us discovers a secret trap-door concealed but now revealed underneath some of the garnered crates.

Auge steps up, opens the portal, climbs down into a small stone hall where 100 safety deposit alcoves are stacked ten by ten. The first box opened and searched was the 100th, a set of family heirlooms that were ultimately left behind. The second and least magically protected contained six watermarks and forge kits. Nice! “We knew there were supplying watermarks somehow.”

Finally, as surmised by Jaren, we attempt to open the most magically protected of the safes, however when Auge attempts to disable it he is teleported to Mons Montis and is immediately under duress from being now underwater and from the mental assaults from the alien jailer.

Taking necessary precautions against coercion, Auge begins to formulate a plan for escape.

On the Upside Jaren, Durg, and Versel teleport to our lair under the Cinder Block and relieve themselves of the led crates, gold, and booty from the Money Changers guild. Referring quickly to the map revealing our watermark locations, Jaren asserts Auge is alive, but under duress, and below topside.

Meanwhile Auge gets busy making corrosive acid from components both on him and around him to degrade the thick iron mesh that domes Mons Montis enough to get a bomb to do sufficient damage to escape. After twenty minutes Auge swims free and rejoins is brothers visibly affected by the event. Jaren successfully breaks enchantment allowing Auge to fall briefly unconsciousness.

Back at our lair Durg the wise uses a candle to determine when time recommences and after about four hours is does so with a sensation of temporal movement… going from zero to one second… two seconds…3…4. Time was again flowing.
 
Emerging up to the Cinder Block several news reports indicate Socordia has up and left… no, she was just gone... and that there are various house, and guild alarms going off around Stormhaven. It was chaotic at first but we steady made our public presence establishing a firm alibi.

Auge begins to make arrangements for his retraining when a summons from the Black Crown arrives; the spell casters apparently want to brief us on what has happened.

About an hour of playing ignorant of what indeed happened, we are also informed of a missing member of their cabal- Brita Francisca a runescholar and Greystone family member. Kapilla believes she is in league with an antagonistic organization or individual.

During the time-rewind spell Nefertiti Xanthippe, Iosif and Kapilla believed they felt something, brief and confused it was then they noticed she was gone. (around the 'time' we felt the same thing) Several theories where discussed until we finally agreed to search her cottage for information.

Within her cottage were sigils, runes, and symbols on the walls, floor and ceiling. Two hours of searching through her notes  and research (+1 to Knowledge [dwarf runes] skill) when we notice a change in her writings as well as her own personal script; after the solstice (and the rising of the underwater city) her script changed to an alien form of writing. Nearly everything else was covered in a lunatic scrawl. 

We immediately traveled back to the Crown, Nefertiti, and our assertion in that the Aboleth could be at the heart of Brita’s unwitting betrayal. A strike against the jailer's interests is tabled with Jaren’s declaration that actions should not be confused against the action against the jailer. The alien jailer is everyone’s enemy.

We begin next session with Durg and Versel checking our interests at the Sunbow Mansion, Jaren sees to daily Cinder Block business, and Auge heads to the Liquor Commission to speak with Gerto and learn as much as possible about his time at the prison. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Underwriters You Remember

Slipped from your grasp in the sands of time...

Tappa was a merchant you obviously underestimated.  He was capable of manipulating magic through his weapons.

Ogaro proved to be more than a simple warrior, his heavy armor combined with his ferocity and skill with large weapons made him a force, albeit one night quite as skilled as you.


Crimm Corran used a mix of martial arts and combat maneuvers with his pole arm. He seemed fearless.

Duneharrow was the only member of their attack party that you didn't recognize.  Always shadowed, he exhibited skills in alchemy and monstrosity.


You also faced Balasar Frolo, a zealot

Flashback: Upon A New Path

The urgency of the attack left no time for ceremony for the Auvryndar clan and the newly named apprentice. Shar gathered his new gear and moved to where the others went. Looking out over the drop from the impossible height of their mighty fortress Darien, Tevera, and the other house females looked on as House Drodeen and House Despana clashed in the sidewalks, waterways, and rooftops of Skullport.

The attack came at first in the form of slave force, meager underdark denizens whose only misstep was they lived too close to drow controlled territories. Not all survivors of Ched Nasad’s houses used slaves, however; drow also were likely to summon other denizens as well while another house secretly forged political ties. Allies always fought better than slaves and were more skilled.

“Be ready to rain down blue fire on them should they take any actions against us.” Matron Darien Auvryndar said in an authoritative but sultry voice. “Until then we shall watch them to destroy each other.” This was greeted by several titters of laughter. Just then a loud rumble shook the enormous spider-shaped fortress followed by screams of alarm.

“Yamon, Shar go and report.” Tevera commanded harshly; males were not front-line combatants by custom but they were expendable compared to the female hierarchy.
 
The fortress had three levels with several rooms and chambers; the structure was intended to be a life-boat for the family if something catastrophic were to happen. Little did the creators know it would be gods cast from the skies that made the construct necessary.

Ahead Yamon could hear rigorous sounds of battle. “Prepare yourself Shar; yon battle may be the last you hear in this life.” Little did Shar’s master know that this statement was metaphorically true.

A shift in gravity orientation and the two drow knew the magical fortress was on the move, likely scaling down the cavern wall or gaining a more defensive position. The master and ward emerged from a wide opening in the fortress where the spider’s mandibles are located and looked on as an orchestra of warfare played out in cosmic rhythm. Mages in red cassocks, rogue factions, ancient dwarves, drow and others all vie for control of the portals.

Yamon stood with his bow sending several arrows tipped with a tiny ooze, targeting any drow he saw. Next to him Shar put to work his new wands sending regular intervals of magic missiles into the fray. Not necessarily into drow elves but focusing more on giants and ogres. Now, after exhausting one wand, Shar could see the Auvryndar mothers summoning outsiders to help their cause.

Magical forces gathered, there was a pressure to the air, and magic surged unhindered.

Decades later Shar to this day does not recall accurately the details of the wild surge that occurred when the outsiders appeared answering the call of his mothers, but remembered well the events after; events that set his life down a new path.

When Shar regained consciousness he found he had been magically transported and now saw that his environment was no longer the dark cavern of Skullport but a bright landscape of alien flora and strange company. 

Shar had visited Waterdeep in the past but only at night never during the day. He had only read about the many forests and other ecologies but the unconscious individuals around him were as unknown to him as the species of trees that surrounded them.


Movement from one of the unconscious humans, a huge brutish man stirred threatening to awaken at the slightest provocation. Quietly getting to his feet Shar took in the details of the others: a woman, adventurer of some kind she looked like a hunter; an older man, bureaucratic looking; the still stirring brute who seemed to be covered in acid scars; a red robed Thayan; a middle-aged dwarf-gunslinger by estimation; and another human woman, naked save for a birthmark Shar thought he had seen before. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Foresight

Pilini
"Thank you master." The trim and cut Pilini said taking the LC officer badge and pinning it under his vest; the gnome surged with self satisfaction and pride. He stood waiting further instructions. 

Auge VonBulle, now aware of how major events should play out for the next few days, decides to ensure the safety of his thieves guild members. 

"Pilini I want you, Gerto and his three gnome dire bat jockeys to go to the Liquor Commission brewery and introduce yourselves to Torgar Longbrow." Auge said thoughtfully. In a flash a knife was in Pilini's hand; overhanded as to slice a neat line across a victims hamstrings. 

"Not at all. He is Tamros' brother and I believe he would be very interest in Gerto's account of his escape from Mons Montis where the jailer is reputed." Auge did not let Pilini the chance of putting the pieces together, time is short. 

"We believe that is where Tamros is so I want you to not only come together as two sides of the same Liquor Commission coin but as my conspirators against the aberrations." Auge smiled broadly. 

Elsewhere in the Cinder Block Durg and Versel get pumped up, and Jaren prepares spells for combat with the alien illithids.

Moments later Auge was addressing the White Spider who was recovering nicely from her compulsions
The White Spider

"I want you to accompany Kiton, Spade and Farley in dispatching the choker and bring back the remaining secret cashe." 

"Are not chokers aberrations?" White Spider said, fear drowned her eyes and he began to quiver. 

Auge remembered well the literal time before when all he could do was obey and the feeling at the total loss of free will.

"Yes, but you need to get over your fears." Auge raised his voice a bit while actively visualizing his own fear aura. The effect must have worked because the halfling girl seemed to awaken and met Auge's gaze. 

"As you will Guild-master Auge." She said, anger simmering under her striking beauty. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review (11/6/2013)

The Vault
Just as we close in on our enemies, we are transported both physically and temporally to our lair under the Cinder Block, Wednesday the morning of Obadiah’s memorial service.

The sensation was like teleporting but with an underlying sensation of being elongated or stretched. Coming out of the effect in our lair we ultimately intuit that the Black Crown has enacted their plan returning the portal to Kaer Maga and Stormhaven to a previous point in time:

Also in attendance at the lair, Nissian who listens with amazement at what has taken place and who announces that he will not be going to Kaer Maga after all.

Jaren asks Nissian of the nature of Tiamat’s motives for if/ when she discovers us (because hopefully she is again unawares because of the time reset). His cryptic response indicated that we would lose all individualism and become her pawns rather than outright destroy us. So that’s a relief. L
 
Roland VanFleet
7am. With the promise of mind-flayer activities to come Auge sends his contacts elsewhere, Durg and Versel get pumped up, and Jaren prepares spells for combat with the alien illithids.

A little later Ague prepares wyvern poison as Jaren scrys on various contacts in the Cinder Block all of which looks sluggish and lethargic, he notes the presence of other scrying eyes then suddenly Nissian announces aberrations are nearby.

Prepped for combat we began a patrol of our holdings and discovered we were infested. Somewhere above was three illithids as well as Hate an ‘outsider’ recognized from the rock hammer dwarf night. An outsider and an aberration; a crab-like nightmare with a lamprey’s mouth and many inhuman eyes! A Neh-thalggu Wtevrthfuk- A brain-collector!

After properly destroying him with an array of alchemist bombs that remodeled the Neutral Grounds with a repulsive coat of Neh-thalggu entrails, eyes, and pustules we do a sweep of the upper areas killing stunned mind flayers at will.

Clean up is executed by the Dragonsbane troops and after the Cinder Block is safe we decide to attend Obidiaha’s services again.

Driftdown Chaos
10am. Time Stop. Durg falls unconscious as we enter into a period of time that is being affected so that it doesn't occur. People stand as statues, birds hover in the air; indeed the entire world looks as if it is waiting.

Plans and schemes race through our minds when we see that we are not the only ones exempt from the Time Stop- Socordia is flying about and if you see her moving… it must be for catastrophic reasons. Jaren explains to her what is occurring and she repays with information that we are in mortal danger. Outsiders are likewise unaffected by the time stop and can get into places- secured places- that they would normally be barred from. The devil who is actively researching our truenames for one.

We can’t let that stand so we of course decide to break the first rule of d&d and split up.

Where would this devil go? The embassy? Jaren, Auge and Durg decide to find out while Versel plans to send his regards to the Money Changers guild.

Flying to the Embassy we immediately sense something wrong. The time stop has caused the release of a demon from a prison-gem, a device Nissian is fond of using. We kill the creature but not before he grows to a gargantuan size.

Off to the Money Changers where we find Rakshashas waiting for us: Roland VanFleet and another Rakshasha. These too were killed in an amazing battle of fire, spell, claw and strength.


We begin next session at the Money Changers guild after the combat and around a half hour into the time stop effect. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rumor Has It (Vial & Flask)


Son's Commodities/ The Vial and Flask
Headband of Vast Intelligence +2 (4000)
Headband of Giant Strength +2 (4000)
Grappler’s Mask (5000)
Eyes of the Eagle (2100)
Tainted Skull Belt (6500 gp) 3,250
Gloves of Missile Snaring (4,000)
Headband of Vast Intelligence +4 (16,000)
Cloak of Resistance +1 (1,000) SOLD- 
Gloves of Agile Striking (MC105) 2,200
Hand of the Mage (450) SOLD- 
Hat of Disguise (1800)
Shiftweave (250) SOLD- Adalgrim Redhammer
Hit Kickers (1,000) SOLD- Adalgrim Redhammer

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Just a typical day at the office

Prophet of Jubb
The Prophet of Jubb waited impatiently for the familiar mage to make her morning appearance. The fledgling wizardess was conveniently punctual and would enthusiastically fulfill his request.

Insanity etched the Prophet’s dark features as he scanned his environment of fine gardens and willow trees with malevolent intent. Benches and tables, often used for games of chess were occupied despite the early cold hour. Quietly almost in-perceptively the Prophet of Jubb bespoke the truespeach fundamentally changing the tapestry of reality within his regard. To the unfortunate individual at the table to whom the mad Prophet spoke; today would be the unluckiest day of their lives.

Nevertheless he did not come to the Black Crown to wrack spontaneous misfortune on random people; today he was here to attempt to obtain a critical component to make contact with Jubb...
           
Callran Willowand is a young crafty half-elf but lacking in the experience her intelligence might otherwise
Greya of the Cöos
indicate. It is because of this handicap she often consults Greya Agathena, Oracle of the Cöos.

The widely known sage and oracle occupied a hut somewhere in the Fox Run. The hut itself is remarkably difficult to find, except by those willing to pay her price. The crone looked up from the seven cards placed deliberately on the table. 

“You will meet two men this day whereby I see two possible fates for you child,” Greya of the Cöos had said that morning. Callran loathed being talked to as a child but suffered the comment to gain a better understanding of her life course. It is what she paid for. Greya was a bitch but a bitch with the sight nonetheless.

“Each road augurs sin,” she continued cryptically. “One course will ignite a red passion and a burning lust within you; the other will be a darkness that will fill every corner of your being with righteous wrath.” ...

Armed with this portentous information Callran equipped herself defensively and was on time for work. As the Black Crown came into view, like a colossal castle chess piece in the middle of the World Disk, Callran encountered the first path as seen by Greya.

After a brief introduction and conversation with an unsteady man about the destruction wrought after the Solstice the man said, “I am very interested in obtaining Scraphite. It will enable me to consult with the my... oracle to whom I am dedicated to.” The dark figure was fretful, almost panicked. Having just come from an oracle herself, Callran deeply sympathized with him.

Callran Willowand
“I was hoping your office could assist me, perhaps there is something I can provide.” The man said in a giddy tone. This man is deliriously unstable Callran thought, but when he spoke that last phrase her mind instantly thought of her project at work and the encroaching deadline. It was the first time she had even thought of the magical rod in days.

“As a matter of fact I am researching for a new metamagic rod and lack the ideal material component to infuse into its creation. I can use others types but I believe this creation requires something unique and rare.” 

The Prophet of Jubb had the answer for her...

Arriving at her desk in an unremarkable, unnoticed cubical Callran sat looking at the message delivered via a small black mouse. Disappointment covered her like a shroud. The message said for her to serve a summons firstthing that morning; she would not be logging any hours on her rod today.


An hour later, Callran Willowand stood before what was the second path as seen by Greya. The half-red dragon before her was handsome and fair spoken with an enthusiasm that ignited her deepest passions. She lusted for him both physically and for what the future held for her because of what she needed... the perfect material component for her Burning Metamagic rod was a scale from a red dragon wizard.