Monday, June 30, 2014

Maritime Treasures

All four brothers watched as Diem flew away towards the continent, some happily pirated treasure in a satchel at his hip, and the head he needed to collect his bounty clutched by the hair in his fist. Sarosh, of course, knew the next order of business and had already started examining the corpses of the dwarves. They had already lost their souls to Tiamat, harvested by Votis and Peroptato, very unique devils pacted with Diem in some way, and Sarosh wryly noted to himself that they would hardly be missing their trinkets and mortal treasures. The brothers, perhaps the most professional looters anywhere on the world, took only minutes to begin collecting items of magic and interest and gathering them on a large table, built to accommodate expansive nautical maps and charts. As the brothers and Sarosh went about their work, the air was heavy and thick. With only the winds and the lap of waves against the hull of the slowly sinking ship to be heard, The scene began to take on a surreal   feeling of ruin and isolation to Sarosh. He stopped and observed the dragons he served. Their zeal was nearly maniacal. All their eyes gleamed as they casually tossed soul-stripped corpses to the side after prying anything of value from their pockets and bags. Speaking of eyes, they all often would glance furtively at one another in their searching, as if to see what the others were finding, or to see if the others were looking at what they had found. Suddenly he realized he was watching physical manifestations of their Greed. It was grotesque to watch these agents of sin devalue the worth of these peoples to their net worth in valuables, and yet there was also purity in it. They made no apologies or justifications for their actions. No moral platforms or convoluted devices to excuse their love of acquiring material wealth and elevating their power and influence. Where others would claim to have noble reasons to bring woe to others, these dragon men were pretty clear with their intentions.  They sought to profit, to build, and to acquire, and prepared to do so by any means necessary.

Auge was the first to speak. "We'll get to the dwarf later, but I found this ring on a dwarf by the engines". It was a simple ring made of electrum, which made it feel very airy and light. {ring of evasion}
Durg tossed a cloak onto the table with a snort. " I recognized this immediately. It like the cloak I have that lets me swim in the ocean as a sea beast. It also seems to have some protections against heat. {cloak of the manta ray with resist energy fire 20}
Versel was clearly perturbed and disappointed with the haul. He threw a couple of wands onto the pile and said nothing. {both wands were deep magic spells to be chosen by the owner}
Jeren smiled crookedly " Jackpot! a handful of scrolls, a few of spells i have never even heard described before! Also this case of tanglebolts." {some standard spells, some deep magic spells}
Auge quickly and smugly tossed the other item he had found, plus some stuff he had gotten of the drowned dwarf. Magic platemail and buckler complemented magic  shortbow and earthbreaker hammer, and he also had magic boots, a ring and cloak, and a handful of potions. The last item he claimed to have found on the ship was a magic staff. {staff of minor arcana, cloak of resistance +1, boots of striding and springing, ring of protection +1, +2 comp shortbow(+4 str), +2 earthbreaker,+2 plate mail, and +2 buckler}
Durg gently places a delicate seeming ring tat seems to be a coil of living mistletoe. the leaves move and twitch and the ring seems to grow tiny,tiny mistltoe berries that sprout, ripen, and shrivel dry right before your eye, like rapidly progresssing life cycles. Others tossed some wands and scrolls with the others that had already been presented. Finally sarosh placed a masterwork chest made of darkwood with a superior inset lock. "Alas," he said sheepishly " it was empty when I found it"
"I've got just the thing." Auge interjected. " Evidently this stupid dwarf carried all his coin with him. " He placed 219 dwarven gold pieces into the box. The three wands from the constructs were all there, each of them able to be used as common metamagic feat components.

All their beady reptilian eyes turned to Durg, each brother firmly aware of the pecking order of plunder that was about to ensue. But his eye was only on the electrum ring. Masterly crafted it seemed to magically enhance his litheness and battle reflexes...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review 6/25/2014

While assessing the dwarven Ironclad and dual construct threat, they suddenly appear on the human ship Diem and us are on...

It was 'Jawbreaker' a dwarf accompanied by a medium sized faceless clockwork constrcut with a crystal wand protruding from its chest and a twenty-five foot tall clockwork bronze giant construct. The battle was quick and brutal during which Diem headed for the Ironclad while Versel and Durg destroyed the constructs, Auge killed Jawbreaker under water, and Jaren also eventually leaves for the Ironclad ahead of us to disintegrate a hole in the ironclad and prepared for a bigger battle. 

Leaving "The Sinker" behind Auge, Durg and Versel catch up with Jaren to watch several pissed off Volcano dwarfs in battle with groups of bone devils. Our main concern quickly shifted to clockwork mages, the faceless/crystal wand constructs, Ker Zod a dwarven paladin, a gargantuan clockwork cannon four-armed construct, and the ship sentential- the mermaid bow spirit; while Diem pursued the dwarven Treasure Hunter below deck. 

Versel, Jaren, and Sorosh each defeat the clockwork mages while Auge and Durg neutralize the ship sentential. The gargantuan construct begins to slam and fire about as the dwarves begin to get the upper hand on the devils. Below deck explosions rock the prow. 

Jaren, Versel, Auge, and Sorosh turn their attention to the Paladin who falls to one knee before a word of recall rescues him away causing the gargantuan construct to deconstruct. 

Dwarves and devils battle below deck where we discover Diem flying out of the breach in the ironclad hull with the head of the Treasure Hunter as two unique devils collect the fallen dwarven souls. These two devils were mortals who are contracted with Diem and who have achieved their status through diabolical deeds to circumvent the trials of Hell to become unique devils. 

Viotis, which in truespeech translates to "To obtain one's wishes." and
Peropatato, which translates to "Just as ones would wish." 

We pick up next week with some brotherly hoard building (Rob, Butch, James, Russ).

Treasure collected from Jawbreaker...
+2 Buckler
+2 Earthbreaker hammer
+2 Composite short bow (+4 str)
Boots of Striding and Springing
+1 Cloak of Resistance
+1 Ring of Protection
+2 Dwarven Plate (Recovered on the Ironclad) 
and 219 gold pieces Auge claims to have found. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Amir Sarosh's pride and the lessons of obedience

There was once a Janni noble named Amir Sarosh. He was a young and impetuous tribal warlord born in a harsh desert of this world, the location of which he was never exactly sure of. He was a skilled tactician, and was known for his willingness to take a seemingly outnumbered band against dragons, devils, and giants of the fierce desert, winning most frays with overwhelming ferocity and ruthless adherence to a policy of leaving no survivors among those they warred with. He was renowned for having a strong connection to natural flow of the elements and how nature responded to them, using talents and spells that most would identify with human druids. He was a master of his environment, and had even made a name for himself in the fabled City of  Brass among the nobles of Janni and Djinn alike.

Like most of his Janni blood, Sarosh hated the tyranny of the Efreet, slavers and despots. When he learned of camp of desert dwarves and fire giants that worshipped a particular Efrreti as a god, he was inflamed with rage. He pleaded with his fellow tribes to form a warband to destroy such a place, but his relatives were reluctant to start a war with an Efreet. But Amir Sarosh's words were persuasive and many Janni volunteered to ride against the enemy before the vile church grew. The elders argued, stating that the only way to deal with the Efreet was to appeal to their custom of law and negotiation, and to declare war on one was a grave mistake.

Two weeks after departure, Amir Sarosh was delivered to his homelands. Every warrior that rode with him had been slaughtered with same zeal that Sarosh's warbands were known for, and both thumbs of each warrior was delivered to prove it. They were delivered by Malik Qatar Muffeletta, the  Efrreti noble Sarosh failed so miserably against. Although Sarosh arrived in good health, the Malik physically beat him nigh unto death in front of his tribe before he said a word. At the conclusion of what was surely the most violent beating any one could live through, he turned and offered his terms to the collected elders of the tribes that were there.
"Your race is a disgrace to all our kind. You are weak and stupid, as your pathetic nobles such as this prove. To prevent me from accepting this offer of war, you must give over to me 25 of your men, warriors all. If you do not, I accept your action as war and will respond with a force of 25 battalions from my holdings in the City of Brass."

Sarosh was forced to pick the 25 warriors that were bought by the Malik that day. That was to be his last act as a noble. He was then stripped of rank and banished from his homeland, as well as the City of Brass. He was even stripped of his power to travel the elements and their worlds. His last image of the fabled City was as if he was falling ever faster away from it as his masters, a collection of Janni and Djinn nobles selected to judge his punishment, sent him somewhere on his home plane. "You must learn the lesson of obedience and the cost of pride".

Awaking in a land he had never heard of, he made his way until he knew enough of the local common to begin to talk to scholars and learned men, but this took some time as there were few such men to be found in the spacious and rural lands he had found. He eventually made his way to a coastal city, and it was soon obvious that he needed to see more of his world, and that sailing was going to allow him to see more than he could otherwise accomplish. So it was that Sarosh eventually and inevitably landed in Stormhaven.

Now, Amir Sarosh has reclaimed what was taken from him. Returned are his magic and status among his kind. His pact, of coarse, represents his submission to the lessons of obedience and to some extent  an awareness of not allowing pride to conflict with what is necessary. However, pride is as insidious a sin as there is. Pride grows stronger with every victory won, with every goal attained. Struck low, he found himself relying on diplomacy and communication and awareness to advance. Returned to his full powers and might, it was easy to rely on the ability to kill and destroy to affect the balance of affairs. Would he remember his lessons or would Pride always be the enemy to defeat Amir Sarosh.

Postscript Van Fleet Fallout

Youvalan stood alone in a small antechamber of the prism letting his metabolism accept the drugs, feeling his exhaustion drain away to be replaced by a sudden energy and vigor.  Normally, these alcoves were utilized as a staging area for those were being granted access to the prism, this day however, the thirteen wizards trapped inside agreed to utilize these private spaces for periods of rest and respite.  The other twelve wizards did not realize that Youvalan had already known which antechamber he would end up in and for how long, preparing his chamber with several portable holes which safely contained his preparations.  Youvalan’s divination magic had grown to such strength that when all twelve wizards arrived he felt certain as to the outcome of the activities inside the Prism. It was outside the Prism that concerned the diviner this afternoon.  While the others thought he was resting, the diviner decided that it would be safer to scry upon his enemies followers, rather than risk drawing the attention of Tiamat’s progeny.  Youvalan cast his spell of calling upon The Caster’s Mirror and waited for a spirit or element to answer.  

Slowly Youvalan’s reflection disappeared from the mirror, flames filling the mirror to its frame. The crackling sounds of fire eventually becoming echoing words, “Your debt is paid, ours is owed”.   Smiling the wizard replied, “Reveal the Troll in Plate Armor!” and the image in the mirror changed again…


Last weeks review:
The Cinder Block battalion had fought the battle of Van Fleet Manor well into the afternoon, with the battle spilling over into several other noble estate grounds.  Finally Hislop called for all troops to gather back at the grounds house, a warehouse of sorts located in between several noble estates and close to Fox Run.  Normally the grounds house was used by the various garden staff of the noble estates as well as rangers who worked the Fox Run hunting grounds for cleaning and prepping of kills. This afternoon it was being used by Hislop to call his troops into order and see what he had left to work with while assessing current threats.  After some whining from the injured Hislop was reminded again of the need for healing.  Indira reminded the troll that the bosses had an excellent relationship with the Church of Sun and Sky and word was soon sent requesting their aid.  Many of the battalion had returned, the initial savagery of combat replaced by confusion towards the end, as combatants grew unsure of the true identities of those being fought inside Van Fleet Manor.  

When the priests from the temple arrived, three other more obvious outsiders entered the grounds house.  Harpel, Davil, and Elenore, three black crown wizards who a few hours before had answered the alarm at Van Fleet Manor and fought against the battalion.  The group approached Hislop and presented him with a copy of the contract they had answered and expressed a desire for peace as well as some assistance. The Black Crown was in a state of lock down and the wizards could not enter the obsidian tower. The trio feared a state of civil war was erupting between Black Crown members and wanted the group to present Jaren with the copy of the contract as well as to do their best to report in to an officer of the Black Crown. The trio had exhausted their arcana in the battle and were worried about a problem that had arisen from it hours before.  A group of darker wizards were using the battle to gather darker forces from portals inside the manor.  These wizards, led by “the zombie king” had taken a group of diabolical winged minotaur, undead, and ettin into Fox Run to run raids on several noble houses and nearby businesses.  Without any spells to stop their renegade brethren, Harpel, Davil, and Elenore called upon Hislop to deal with situation….

Hislop, guided by Indira, decided to lead a small team into hunting grounds to deal with the insurrection.  Hislop and Indira were joined by the Tiefling flail fighter Breaker, the Ifrit sorceress Firi, along with the Dock Master Vormite. Upon entering Fox Run they were soon set upon by a Lizardman Ranger, an Assassin who attempted to strike down Vercel, The Zombie King and several unique undead, three ettin’s and a Salamander.  The battle was short, less than a minute before the surviving enemy retreated after an Ettin was killed and the other two blinded.  The Zombie King’s minions were destroyed but the necromancer escaped the parties justice. Following their enemies trail the group ran into the devil Minotaur the trio of wizards had warned them of….




















Youvalan sighed as the images in the flame disappeared, the sensation and rush of his magic ending always momentarily depressing, although the images this time provided their own sadness.  Clearly he had a new problem because Elenore was Profen Rostagaire’s sister.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Flashback: Summer Shadows

Shar Auvryndar looked into the feline eyes of the Lamia, the so-called Seer, and unleashed a fan of purple scintillating colors that only succeeded in stunning the large creature. Her upper torso was that of a ghastly woman with sharp fangs and blackened claws, while her lower body is that of a scaled wyvern complete with a stinger tail.

Shar, surprised at seeing the Seer’s true form, completes a spell that displaces his true location from her deadly tail and razor claws. Rousing from her momentary lapse she emits a roar that sounds like nothing Shar had ever heard before. A roar that was laced with an enchantment that Shar’s natural resistance easily overcame.

Meanwhile, as the Midsummer Night’s festivities played out in the rest of the Tragidore, the air rippled with eldritch energies as if the discordant harp strings of the Weave were now in tune and playing for the entire realms to hear. Lights whether born of fire or magic radiated a midnight blue color; the effect was surreal and peaceful.

From the side of the Seer’s makeshift hut, where Shar had just entered, Meaghan stood poised ready to move. Her position was such that each of her companions could see her and know when to move. The seven companions split up in three groups, each waiting for Meaghan’s signal to converge on the Seer.  Claudia and Sanford waited along an east to west thoroughfare that connected the southern town bridge to the main boardwalk. Blain, Tyrus, and Elad- or Dale depending on who you ask- hid in an area of magical darkness. They were the farthest from the hut blending with the natural shadow of the town’s outer wall. The combined effect along with the harmonic coherence of the Weave, and their natural camouflage created a deeper darkness that, Tyrus assured his two accomplices, would hide the three of them easily.

Townsfolk would come to refer to the Waterhavians as the Companions of Summer Shadows; seven individuals cast into the Cormynthor forest in the summer months of the Year of the Shadows. Who were these big city individuals? And was one of them a Gundwynd returned from the dead? Soon there will be many people who will be very interested with these Companions.


Tyrus’ display of arcane magic did not; unfortunately, escape the attention of a pair of sisters who were curious of the newcomers to Tragidore. Each young woman wore similar outfits as twins often do but as far as the nature of their curiosity… they could not have been any more different; which is why these three individuals piqued their interest the most. 
               
The three men were discussing plans, they tried to speak low but closer the twins approached they could hear the men’s palaver easily. They spoke of plots to deceive and betray something or someone; maybe one of their own. Of the two men one was a red wizard and the other… something more, he had a cool way about him. The dwarf however was silent and kept watching, waiting for something. Sometimes he looked to want to say something but changed his mind as the last moment each time.

Silently the twin sisters crept ever closer listening to their devious ploys and schemes. The wizard seemed bent on betraying some sorcerer and bringing revenge upon another. The other man offered his opinions but left the wizard to his wrathful venting. The dwarf deftly stayed out of the conversation. The sisters with a knowing glance silently agreed they had heard enough, so with the stealth and silence of a Midsummer Night’s breeze the twins converged on the three companions...

Tyrus, and Blain were caught completely by surprise. Tyrus was consumed with his plans and Blain Brightmantle was studiously watching for the time to move. Elad however sensed their approach and their eavesdropping. They were skilled, and that intrigued him. It was why he led the whispered conversation with Tyrus the way he did, to see how these two women would react. Where these two out for personal gain or were they every bit dales people, full of duty and purpose? Elad wondered what the nature of their curiosity was; and so with their silent advancement, Elad eventually found his answer.

To the south Claudia Kelton and Sanford Stubblemane posed as a pair of party-goers deep in their cups, as many in Tragidore likely were. They loitered and waiting for the signal to come and offer swords against the Seer. The ruse was a good one Claudia thought; she was actually beginning to believe Sanford was drunk. Claudia however, thought she looked ridiculous so she resigned to a drunken lean against a parked wagon. The wagon was securely hobbled but just as she placed her weight against the wagon Claudia thought she heard the sound of a horse whinny.

The surprise sound made her stand and look toward the front of the wagon to see the creature that had made the sound. Standing amid a halo of red-gold light, proud and noble was a beautiful heavy warhorse. A thoroughbred stallion, by her estimation- a horse that seemed familiar, one that stood on horseshoes that defied the earth. It was translucent like a ghost but Claudia did not run if fear of it, in fact she believed it to be a manifestationof a higher power.   

Sanford drank deeply of his ever full flask, belched loudly and paused, where was Claudia? She was here only moments ago. Cursing he cautiously walked around the nearby wagon and found nothing. He looked east where the others would be hiding and no sign. Lastly, he then looked towards the inner city for some glimpse of where Claudia might have gone. But that way had gone silent too. He looked back to the Seer’s hut and saw that Meaghan was gone too. What happened to everyone? What happened to him? The world seemed to teeter around him...

Outside the Seers abode Meaghan overheard the conversation between Shar and Endrenn Allerendris and then eventually the Seer. While her grasp of the spoken Drow language was weak, Shar had only begun teaching her the complex language, Meaghan could only understand some of the discussion. It was obvious they were expecting a drow caller; but was even more revealing was how the Seer parleyed for her freedom. Something was definitely going on in the dale and it involved drow.

Suddenly she could feel an evil force gathering strength within the makeshift hut. Meghan’s arms began to tingle as a warm tide of magic washed over her. She then overheard Shar’s words, “and now your part is over.”

Gathering her divine power Meaghan burst into the first room and commanded the Endrenn to yeild. The half-drow was not armored but had a dagger in hand, the poison still fresh on its wicked blade. The command was immediate; to Meaghan it felt like Mystra spoke with her lips and her voice. The half-drow woman dropped the blade but Meaghan did not wait for her full submission before picking up the dagger and racing into the next room. As she moved a terrible roar so strange it sounded like a monster and a woman’s scream together. It filled her with fear. Meghan yelled for her companions- who did not come. Meaghan imagined Shar in combat with not just the Seer but her animal companion as well. But when she raced into the Seer’s chamber, she realized her error in such a hasty judgment...

Sizing up his formidable foe Shar produces a glass rod and a bit of fur and unleashes a bolt of purple
lightning. The electrical line of fire burns the creature causing her to drop back cautiously giving the drow sorcerer time to cast yet another spell.

Having the time Shar enables his touch spell with magical reach and fatigues the Seer. The lamia comes on despite her pain and fatigue with black claws scratching for drow blood. Lunging toward Shar she swings and succeeds at scratching a long wound down Shar’s left arm.

As his blood sprayed, Meaghan entered the battle with her dagger in hand- empowered with her inquisitor bane to defeat the lamia. Her attack came low and stung deeply into the lamia’s flank stinging the creature nearly as much as the lightning. The monster screamed.


Noting the distraction Shar stepped to flank the lamia and drew the death priest Nhar-Del’s magical sword and brought it down on the monster breaking her back with a sickening crack. 

Review 6/11/2014

Wednesday evening when we experienced the full dangers of what is considered the ghettos of Darkell, a maze-like level where one surely needs a drow guide to continue to lower levels. And while non-drow have no standing here we are beings of Tiamat and have Lawful connections to Hell.

Darkell is Lawful, however the lower one travels it becomes more chaotic in the bowels of the underdark. The Nine Hells are each represented in the nine levels of Darkell each mimicking their respective environments. It was further revealed that Tiamat battles The Bearded Lord and Barbatos (an Asmodeus general) for Avernus and that house Draz’Kuri services the Bearded One.

As Anan scouts the city as the rest of us keep busy with some upper level socializing. We discover that time is kept by huge water clocks and that Morantem Merzo “Diem” the Tiamat temple architect for Darkell, has already begun some work here in the form of a vast carving of what would become Tiamat's image.

Within the extra-dimensional confines of a rope trick we discuss plans as to what house to approach for our plans against the elves…

House Merezzym: Surface runners and workers, the drow from Spragel's tower were members of this house- we were gifted with magic items (less than 4k) in hopes for future trade.

House Zhakhun: Rangers of the Underearth- meeting with Raviel Tak who remarked surface elves are in clans and not in cities; however, the Zhakhun house would be the most likely to know of any underdark passages to the surface elf realm. (Versel's idea)

And

House Draz’Kuri: the most dangerous and disciplined warriors- would be the most likely of houses to recruit specialist soldiers for Mother.

We also made acquaintances with individuals from the first three houses: House Arras’zur, Divine connections to the dark elements; House Narrishtah, Arcane connections to the dark elements; and House Devoren, Slavers and Nomads.

Auge meets Capsarius Narrishta who sells him six unique barrels of poison components for 5k and a Wand of Stone Call (40 ch). The components have a potential value in Stormhaven of 100k. Jaren gifts the merchant with scraphite.

After a day in Darkell we arrange for Anan to meet us in Spragel’s Tower in approx five days, as we plan a brief trip to Stormhaven. Our departure is even more unpleasant than our arrival as we are magically deposited ten miles from Spragle’s Tower. A save was incurred: Fort + X level of Darkell= DC.

11pm Flaying back to Spragle’s Tower we were attacked by vicious sinister trees who volley stones and earth at us. We evaded the threat. Later, among a great vine covered ruin where a giant scorpion and mantis along with strange wolves battled seemingly at the enjoyment of a quickling and another unidentified fey creature. Our presence ruined the fun.

Later on our return to the Tower we encountered a beetle swarm as large as a football field but we hastily evaded that threat as well. Auge gives Versel a wand of Volcanic Storm for use against future swarms.

Midnight. Returning to the Minotaur embassy we learn that Ambassador Katchlack as ended the curse affecting Hroogar Uzzi. Fine and whatever.

It is then Jaren begins the process of scrying for Deim and finds him on a ship and sends him a message conveying our intentions of bringing him posthaste to Darkell and his return to his sacred duties.

The half-dragon half-devil is in the early stages of a battle with a dwarven Ironclad and is attempting to recover a treasure for the Darkell temple: natural mummified remains of a great wyrm dragon encased in amber. Plus any engine parts, gunpowder, maps and ‘papers’; as well as an slaver from House Kolnahos.

Happy to help we teleport to the ship where our collective presence with Diem causes blind fear in some of the sailors. Nevertheless the Ironclad is believed to have Bobeeo, a dwarven treasure hunter and has in his employ a great construct.

We begin next session with the reveal of a dwarf on the deck of the Ironclad and a twenty-five foot tall bronze golem.

Monday, June 16, 2014

What's a Diviner to Do?



Clutching scales recovered from the Dragon’s Breath, Youvalan quickly moved his belongings to the Crafter's bench, anticipating that The Black Crown would be thrown into lock-down when the sons of Nissian attacked Gretchen VanFleet.  If the Diviner timed things correctly and the wizards he had invited to join him followed their instructions, they would be the only members to have access to the Prism for the next 48 hours. 

Youvalan placed his scales, taking effort to appear concerned for other more senior members work space.  The Diviner had reserved this space and time several days ago, once he was certain of the half breeds’ plans. The wizard knew that in 48 hours the city of Stormhaven would be irrevocably changed.  Youvalan planned to use this time in the Prism to refine the dragon scales into perfect spell components for his greatest Divination. 

Profen Rostagaire arrived, the first of the twelve other wizards the diviner had invited.  Profen had clearly followed all of Youvalan’s instructions, arriving with two unseen servants, one carrying a basket of fruit and the other, a tray of pastries.  The food was being brought in to celebrate Secretary Dobson’s birthday.  How could Profen have known that the good secretary was ill after a long night of celebrations?  As each wizard arrived, following the diviner’s precise plans, Youvalan for the first time allowed himself a smile, knowing his plan would work.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Darkell

Avernum, or the Pyre, 1st layer of Darkell:  Most new visitors soon complain of the extreme humidity and echoing noises, the flow of the water through the center of chamber applying a steady layer of noise.  Observant visitors notice consistent symbology  on all of the drow clearly identifying their station in this society.   Religious symbols translated by Anan Viator frequently reference a bearded lord, although she will explain you would see other symbols on different levels.

Pater, 2nd layer of Darkell: The Stone Maze, the Ghettos.  In Drow carved into the stone above Pater’s open gates it says “never barter farther than you can find your way home”.  Anan explains that Pater can be impossible to navigate without a drow guide and that the deals made in the ghettos are enforced by The Iron Scepter’s who have the authority to Imprison anyone for any serious violations.  The prison is named The Iron Heart. 


Volūta, 3rd layer of Darkell: The Open Palm-This symbol is spotted in the Pyre and is identified by Anan as the faithful of the 3rd

Drow Houses identified by Anan with brief comments

House Arras’zur Divine connections to the dark elements
House Narrishtah Arcane connections to the dark elements
House Devoren: Slavers and Nomads
House Draz’Kuri: the most dangerous and disciplined warriors
House Arbustil: House destroyed by Draz' Kuri, Anan's former house
House Gaundroth: Arcane masters split from Narrishtah, Tathria Gaundroth is the most powerful wizard in their history.
House Kolnahos: Preeminent slavers of Darkell
House Merezzym: Surface runners and workers, the drow from Spragel's tower were members of this house
House na’Khotan
House Pelshothe: Craftsmen and creators
House Zhakhun: Rangers of the Underearth

House Lorgreln

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Review 6/4/2014

It was early Tuesday when the four of us returned to the Temple of Tiamat to inform the Priest of our next steps, which involved Erilis losing his most promising cleric, we found that we were being watched. There were four (Minotaur, orc, a half-drow ‘giant’, and an ogre from Omars) but they were not acting in concert as they seemed not to be aware of each other.

Promptly ignoring them we continued toward our immediate plans.

Arriving to the Temple we happen across whispered conversation between Erilis and Anan Viator. It was more verbal sparring as each tried to get the upper hand on the other but it was out of mutual respect for and not of spite. A debt was owed.

Making our royal presence known Erilis offers us translators to better understand the local dialect in the form of three old sailors from Stormhaven. The offering was accepted and with thanks, but our path would not enjoy the presence extra men into dangerous unknowns.

Excusing them we turn to Erilis and formally advise him that we mean to abscond with his cleric from Nimbus; likely forever. It was not for him to refuse us however there was the debt owed.

Erilis was responsible for saving Anan from unknown torments when her house was attacked by a more powerful (first level) house. During this Anan realized the ‘truth of Tiamat’ and for that Erilis saved her.

Erilis respectfully asked us to recover blocks of Starmetal. With this he could not only finish the scaled alter but it would permanently hold her blessing and empower the Temple. Furthermore Starmetal is very much similar to certain nodes of magical power across the world of this plane. Through these nodes and the Starmetal one could access the elven Wayline crossroads. (Stormhaven?)

This prized metal however was stolen by a band of giants who insult us by presuming to build their own horde. Conveniently these bands of ‘Jack and Iron’ giants are between Nimbus and Darkell raiding the main trade road. These giants fight with either chains or wicked vines, have an affinity with earth magic, and like to daze opponents. 

Our acceptance is two-fold: one, we agree to look into the giant problem and see to reclaiming the Starmetal and two, we each agree to Tiamat’s blessing from Erilis as we leave. With that satisfied we turn to Anan who graciously answers our inquiries.
·         Darkell is a city of dungeon-like layers where the lower one descends, the higher the danger.
·         Also called the Drow Hells. It is mostly lawful and evil but as one descends it becomes more chaotic.
·         It is like a hallow pyramid with the slums at the top and Noble drow houses at its base.
·         Below the third level are dead magic zones, wild magical storms, and even diseases. Some even leave with some affliction either sever or benign.
·         It is an expensive city with a population of around fifty thousand.
·         It is protected from surface elves as well as magical travel in and out of the city, however it could be overcome by having been in the city before.
·         Usual access to the city was by way of Spraggle Tower and the drow guides charged with leading groups of individuals to the gates of Darkell.

Satisfied we talked and agreed that Spraggle Tower would be our next step leaving Nimbus behind.

Spragle tower lies ten miles away from the slums of Darkell in a cleared out area that looked like a military training camp. The tower itself looked carved from a mountain with three large towers; the larger central tower was seventy-five feet tall with two shorter towers leaning toward the large middle spire. Two-hundred practicing warriors were grouped into ranks of all various races with both drow and spriggan instructors. We descend from the sky in our now customary peaceful landing.

We were received by Grator Uzzi, a spirggan and the son of wounded and unconscious Hroogar Uzzi the steward of Spraggle Tower. After stating our intensions and even offering our healing resources we were cautiously thanked but unfortunately our help was not needed (or wanted) this was not time. He did however give us some directions, a common hall that may suit as our accommodations, the Embassy of the Minotaurs and a local monastery. Grator sees our difference to other half-dragons and asks if we are from Industria. No.

The Minotaur Embassy was a wide stout stone building hidden in a maze of trees on the outskirts of the training yard watched over by elite Minotaur rangers. Our approached is noted and we were challenged by three giant albino Minotaurs. We parley and peaceably land along with six of the rangers.

The largest of the albinos was Ambassador Katchlack. We introduce ourselves as members of the court of Averica and explain our plans of acquiring a force of troops to use in our endeavor against the giants (short term) and the elves (long term). Seeing our difference and our stated intensions he leads us to his office proudly boasting his direct service under King Fruges Saxo of the Minotaur Kingdom.

In his office etiquette is observed as we begin discussions with a three-month accord finally reached. Along with magic scrolls from Jaren and a quick potion eternal wand from Auge, Ambassador Katchlack agrees to service twenty Minotaur rangers within the area fifty miles outside Spraggle Tower and the Minotaur Kingdom against the Giant brigands. In the meantime, after three months, Kings and Mothers will advise their ambassadors on a longer term accord. Talk of sea trade with Stormhaven was also discussed but with the Minotaur Kingdom land-locked sea trade was not possible especially with the dwarf ships at the eastern coast.

With business sated Ambassador Katchlack grants us ambassador status within his wheelhouse and confides that in all the years the elves never once shared their arcane magics with the Minotaurs. Furthermore he was responsible for Hroogar Uzzi’s condition after a honorable duel and that Hroogar’s condition could be easily ended at Katchlack’s whim.

2 pm. The Monastery was quiet and full of students in Zen meditation surrounded by flowers and waters in a garden. As the rest of us stood back Versel entered and was challenged by an Ogre woman, Lotus Blossom a druid of the Monastery. The conversation was brief but did inform us of a ‘Spirit Tree’ and a nearby druid grove.

Looking for the Druid grove we find a lush vibrant land of milk and honey. Fields of wheat and other crops waved in the spring air like waves of ocean waters. In this grove and Elf wrapped in tree bark finery approach and hail us: Tenere, Master of Ceremony and Druid of the Spirit Tree.

We introduce ourselves as SONS Commodities and that we are pleased to discover the neutrality of the region and come as curious travelers. He sees our difference as non-devils however being creatures of fire his is naturally suspicious of us. Nevertheless Versel learns that the Spirit Tree can only be seen when one strips himself of all physical affects and achieves a heightened meditative state and Jaren learns of several viable areas where tar pits may be found.

9 pm. We are approached by the drow guides at the Common Hall where four other merchants accompanied by eight bodyguards also await travel to Darkell.

The travel through the night lasted about an hour when we could eventually feel the magical barrier surrounding the gate to Darkell, a single specific tree amongst a forest of similar trees. Traveling through the barrier we shrink to the size of rats allowing us to follow an earthen tunnel at the base of the tree. It was necessary for us to emulate drow traits as we entered the City, as no surface elf may enter Darkell without a curse negative levels upon them.  


Evading the colossal bugs and huge earth worms we emerge from the tunnel and regain our usual dragon size when we are assaulted by the din of a large city. The drow guides depart with the four merchant and the rest of us group with Anan. Looking around we see water flows carrying containers to lower levels and trade being conducted between many races and individuals. This was the upper level of laborers and warehouses. Low light effected the area where we encounter the most drow we have ever seen with our fiery red eyes.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Yoruba Pantheon

Yoruba Pantheon

The Yoruba enjoys a Pantheon of Orishas (Deities, ancestral spirits, elementals), this includes: Aganju, Babalu Aye, Erinle, Eshu/Elegba, Yemaya, Nana Buluku, Oba, Obatala, Oxossi/Ochosi/Osoosi, Oshumare, Ogun/Ogoun/Ogunda, Oko, Olofi, Olokun, Olorun, Orunmila, Oshun, Osun, Oya, Ozain, and Shango, among countless others. In the Lucumi tradition, Osun and Oshun are different Orishas. Oshun is the beautiful and benevolent Orisha of love, life, marriage, sex and money while Osun is the protector of the Ori, or our heads and inner Orisha.

The Yoruba also venerate their ancestral spirits through Egungun masquerades, Orò, Irumole, Gelede and Ibeji, the orisha of Twins (which is no wonder since the Yoruba are officially known to have the world's highest rate of twin births of any group). In fact, the town of Igbo-Ora is famous for not only being “fertile” but often producing twins.

Partial list of Orishas

  • Olokun - guardian of the deep ocean, the abyss, and signifies unfathomable wisdom,
  • Oxalá- arch-divinity, father of humankind, divinity of light, spiritual purity, and moral uprightness
  • Orunmila - divinity of wisdom, divination, destiny, and foresight
  • Esu “Papa Legba” - Esu is the messenger between the human and divine worlds, Undergod of duality, crossroads and beginnings, and also a phallic and fertility Undergod and the deliverer of souls to the underworld (an Embodiment of Death). Esu is recognized as a trickster, childlike.
  • Ochumare rainbow deity, divinity of movement and activity, the prismatic Orisha
  • Yemaja Imanja “Mami Wata” - divine mother, divinity of the sea and loving mother of mankind, daughter of Obatala and wife of Aganju.
  • Agayu - Father of Shango, Agayu is said to be the orisha of volcanoes, mountains, and the desert.
  • Shangó - warrior deity ; divinity of thunder, fire, sky father, represents male power and sexuality
  • Oba - Shango's jealous wife, divinity of marriage and domesticity, daughter of Lemanja
  • Oya - warrior deity; divinity of the wind, sudden change, hurricanes, and underworld gates, a powerful sorceress and primary lover of Shango
  • Ogun- warrior deity; divinity of iron, war, labour, sacrifice, politics, and technology- man-made objects
  • Oshún- divinity of rivers, love, feminine beauty, fertility, and art, also one of Shango's lovers and beloved of Ogun
  • Ibeji - the sacred twins, represent youth and vitality
  • Ochosi - hunter and the scout of the orishas, deity of the accused and those seeking justice or searching for something
  • Ozain - Orisha of the forest, he owns the Omiero, a holy liquid consisting of many herbs, the liquid through which all saints and ceremonies have to proceed. Ozain is the keeper and guardian of the herbs, and is a natural healer. He sometimes appears as a beautiful wood sprite when in female form.
  • Babalu Aye - divinity of disease and illness and the earth, son of Iemanja
  • Omolu-Orisha of adaption, deception and infiltration.
  • Soponna-Orisha of art, craft, and skill.  Twin sister of Shonponno.
  • Shonponno-Orisha of murder and music, the assassin of the gods
  • Xapanã-Orisha of worlds, the guardian at the gate, the revealer of secrets
  • Obaluaiyê- The druid of the dark.
  • Inle - orisha of medicine, healing, and comfort, physician to the gods
  • Okko - orisha of agriculture and the harvest
  • Ori - Ruler of the head; Ori, literally meaning "head," refers to one's spiritual ancestors, intuition, and destiny. He is the reflective spark of human consciousness embedded into the human essence. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Review 5/28/2014

Upon arriving we observe a clear road leading to the “free trade city of Nimbus” were we see a variety of intelligent races (cat people, albino minotaurs) doing their day-to-day business comfortable in our presence as if seeing half-dragons were a regular sight.

Just outside the city was a market of sorts where merchants hoped to improve their station by earning ‘shares’, a local currency, seemingly regulated by the cities trade corporations as indicated by tattoo markings we observe. Besides the shares system, minor goods were traded in kind for necessities like food and clothing.

Approaching a trade stand took many by surprise because we acted out of character of what the usual half-dragons do when arriving. Lopel was a merchant who hoped to improve his position on the road with the upcoming trade season (early summer to early fall) by selling an ivory carving; the ‘god’s grove’ (20k – 50k gp) had the potential to elevate him up the trade road.

As we conversed many locals began to loiter and openly listen in on our curiosity- our behavior was not expected. They all seemed to be huddled in their own sub-groups of races and social castes. During the exchange Jaren detects an overwhelming amount of divine magics over that of arcane but does in fact notice an invisible floating tower over the city and its connection to Avericia.

 
Durg breaks from the Lopel's stand and begins looking for a food vendor and finds a purveyor of whale blubber thereby sparking an impromptu pot-luck, feeding the four of us with an amazing amount of sea food and fruit, fruit, fruit. Races of all types participated in bringing strange meats and fruit based beverages.

The guards protect the city against the chance possibility of swarm attacks, arach, or winged apes wielding exotic weapons. Several ogre guards approach but do not interfere, however one is asked about local accommodations and his response was ‘you're not a devil’. Now we understand all the odd behavior from the local folk. We are now seen as separate individuals from the half-dragons/ half-devils by our diplomacy and not the run of the mill Tiamat followers. We were finally directed to ‘Omar or Sharif’s’ or it was suggested just take up in an open building.

As we continue our meal emissaries from the local temple to Tiamat approach with confused looks on their pusses approach and inquire as to why our delay. Erilis and four robed acolyte clerics (2 devil-possessed humans [connected to trade co’s], an orc and a drow woman named Anan Viator) wondered when we are going to arrive at the temple. We respond with 'after we learn the ways of local custom' was the extent of our brief conversation before the high priest flew back to the temple.

After the meal and after granting Lopel and Ali Baba a not so small level of prestige we enter the city.

Noon- The city was consisted of in inner ring of residential structures called the Hill and an outer ring comprised of the old remnants gothic buildings. The local neighborhoods were controlled by their respective racial occupants who contract their labor with the trade corporations.

Family businesses served as a community wide resource, these families have gained enough shares to become independent. The Trade corporations however, (half the outer ring) service their own without rivalry from other companies and operate the trade caravan routes.

The hill is a jealously guarded by the gargoyles and comes with a heavy pall of arcane magic, more so than the prevailing druidic magic outside the hill. Within the ring were three temples: a Shrine to All-Faiths, the Temple to Tiamat, and a Church to the Sky/Sun god (Aranu from Stormhaven?)

The Temple to Tiamat was a gothic structure formally a church or museum that accommodated flyers. As we fly in gargoyles watch our every move. Upon entering we see High Priest Erilis hard at work with his singular purpose: anointing the dragon-scale alter. He was a creature consumed with his duties at the church and was confident that Nimbus would fall to their lord.

Erilis was visibly relieved after our intentions were laid bare and were agents of Tiamat, albeit foreign agents. He gives us a tour of the Temple explaining the Temple’s role in the city and the long methods of gaining converts. It was later tabled that granting of titles to families would gain more recruits to the temple as a faster method.

Upon showing us the basement we find it to be very old and not so much divine in magic but arcane and of sin magic. Jaren performs a test and learns that certain sacrifices yield metamagic sin and has unlocked a key to a new form of magic. A gemstone is also required for the next step. Markings on the natural crystalline stone of the seven-halled room show over the ages a winged humanoid celestial race practiced here and was corrupted by sin magic.

Anan Viator, identified as the most resourceful of the four clerics, was then singled out as we let Erilis continue with his singled-minded service. The drow woman desired to renew an old family pact as a dragon-rider mentioning her grandfather who fought in many battles. She is a believer and a cleric but wants to avoid devilish possession if at all possible and knows this is the Age of Dragons.

She leads us out into the city and to the north road that leads into the jungle whereby she speaks openly after she identifies us a non-devils but princes nonetheless. She is from Darkell, the upper tip of a subterranean drow city. She is familiar with Stormhaven and Twilight House and ensures us that allies against the elves can be found in Darkell. (500 miles from Nimbus) We offer her status in the Stromhaven temple in exchange for her help.

In the mean time she warns us away from landing during monsoon season (rat swarms) and the probable locations of two metallic dragon lairs within 200 miles of Nimbus.

We also learned of a minotaur kingdom 1,000 miles to the west and the best way to find viable tar pits for Jaren’s idea would be to find a druid or an earth priest.

5 pm- We fly to the invisible tower to meet Avericia’s fist wizard Optatio a seven foot tall humanoid who was in all hi-def. Socially awkward he explained that he was looking through his magical telescope for the enemy where he hoped to infect them with a disease they could carry back to their kin allowing him to better track down their jungle elven homes. He has been here only a week and does not get many visitors.


Next session we plan on resting before Jaren teleports us and Anan Viator to Darkell.