Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sciarra's View

Damn miscreants.  Better not cause me any trouble. 

I like things just the way they are.

Party Fame changes:


Laurant's View

GM Note:  As far as Laurant is concerned, Dario's name is Kristoff.

I was lucky.  I think.

Leastways Kristoff came through for me in a fashion I didn't expect.  A fresh face on the scene, I wasn't sure how much credence to give his talk.  Not that we didn't go back some distance.  In fact, we were old buddies -- at least from a distance.

Seeing his face in the Shadow gave me a pause, though not for long.  When I had idly mentioned that I was looking for some muscle to help me make sure and auction went smooth, I didn't expect for him to show up with some serious help to make it happen.  That the help turned out to a Deodanth - Minotaur led combination threw me.  Not for long, of course.  I wasn't going to let anything toss me awhirl for long.

They stayed afterward.  Another surprise though a likeable one.  Having them around made for a good deterrence for a few of the local irritants.  Not that the Minotaur didn't eat anything that wasn't locked down.

I gave them a week, maybe two before Sciarra would be on their case.  He didn't care for much of anything -- but also didn't rouse often to do anything about it.  Sciarra would be more irritable about having to leave his house than anything else.

It happened about like I expected.  Which was why I had already laid my hands on some sides of beef.  When Kristoff came knocking, I was ready.  That he came when I had unwelcome company was unfortunate but his help would be appreciated with a task I had at hand.  Deliveries and moving goods are my lifeblood -- and I had something hot that needed to be shifted into my hands.

Kristoff jumped on it eagerly.  After a bit of rambling they were gone and the Sand was quiet with their absence.  Murtag stopped by the second they split.  Annoying garbage he might be, his connections made him untouchable. 

At least for now.

Their return with the cases released a knot of tension that I didn't know I had.  It was good to have life back in the Sand. 


Party Fame changes for Game Day 1:

  • Known +4 (now 4)
  • Esteemed +3 (now 3)

An Undercity Tale

The relevant part of a conversation held in Old Batterly's Pit and Stone eatery in Concourse Square in Falondé. The primary speaker was Batcholi; he was addressing three of his nephews who where curious about his work in the undercity. We enter the conversation after they had just dined and had leaned back to enjoy a smoke and some wine.
"Fine wine, very fine wine indeed" Batcholi said with a contented sigh. His nephews murmured their agreement though it was obvious to him that Salek wasn't a wine lover. He was taking small sips and doing a very good job of sloshing it as he animatedly interacted with his sightly young brother Roctin. Batcholi took a draft of his cigar and puffed out a mass of smoke, sadly noting a current of air took it away before it could form into the shape he had wanted.
“Uncle”, Kaomok said.
Batcholi pulled his gaze down from the smoke.
Kaomok had a serious look on his darkly cast face. Of course, he always had a serious look. Probably because he was the oldest of the three rascals that Batcholi was sharing the table with this fine evening.
“Uncle, tell us about what you do these days.”
Batcholi regarded him for a moment and laughed quietly. “That, my young nephew is a big question. I do many things these days. Not the least of which is watch over you.”
Kaomok was still young enough to redden, especially when Roctin jabbed him with an elbow while he tried, rather unsuccessfully to cover up a laugh.
“Uncle, what he means to ask is what you do in the undercity”, Salek said.
Batcholi winked at him and set down his cigar. He took a drink of his wine, taking his time as he eyed the three.
“I, of course, run a healthy business. One of imports and exports, like the rest of our family, as you rakes know quite well.”
The three of them looked at one another and it was Kaomok that piped up. “We know that, uncle. What we were curious about was the undercity.”
Batcholi eyed them and then laughed. “Its fine. I have found that most people have a poor sense of what the undercity is like. What do you want to know?”
They leaned eagerly forward, sharing a glance among each other.
“What it like down there?”, Kaomok asked, right as Salek said at nearly the same time, “Is it dark all the time and smell like a sewer?”
Batcholi grunted. “Let's see. Well, its like being in the city except its below it. Also, like the city above it has its areas that are both very good and very bad.”
That was obviously not what they wanted, which didn't surprise him.
Roctin sniffed. “Not quite what I hoped, uncle. I mean, we have heard all kinds of things about the undercity”, he said looking at the other two for support. “I mean, we've heard that they have black masses that eat people, temples to the dark gods; people that sell slaves, black marketeers with auctions of illegal goods, and impromptu parties.”
“Someone has been listening to all kinds of tales.” Batcholi remarked. “Well, let's put some truth to those tales. Its looks like its time to attend to your education. I told you that the undercity is like the city above and just like the city it has its characters.
“The family business lies in a part of the undercity under the control of the March Warden of the Deep Spike. Like his title suggests, that part of the undercity is called Deep Spike, much like our own sector of Falondé is called Djaksim after the exotic Djaksim Tower. It, however, is not as spectacular as the Djaksim tower, though it has a certain mystique of its own.
“The area, in fact takes after the name, since it was once a part of the sewers you mentioned earlier though its been long bereft of scent. It's full of vaults and once was the primary pumping station. The rework of the sewers and capture tanks to handle overflow from the river led to a dry area with numerous vaults connected by a ton of corridors. A very perfect place to do business, since it makes for a good area to put established stores.”
“Uncle”, Salek interrupted, “that doesn't sound very different than the city.”
“Indeed. In fact, if it were not for the gloom that fills the place and the somewhat stifling atmosphere, it could indeed be like the city. People come and go, dropping in from the city and going up from the undercity. Business occurs as does other things you would see in the city. Its just a bit wilder and a trifle more dangerous down below. At least in the Deep Spike.”
“Why isn't it dark?” Kaomok asked.
“Well”, Batcholi said taking a drag on his cigar before responding. “The Deep Spike area retained the large metal grates that once allowed water in. Now, they let in the light that filters down that is captured by the mirrored repeaters that spreads it around.”
“Is the rest of the undercity that way too?” Kaomok asked.
Batcholi shook his head. “No, its generally darker if not outright pitch black.”
“Tell us about the black marketeers!” Salek requested.
Batcholi coughed into his hand before starting. “Well, let's just say that the undercity is where people go to buy things they can't get in the light of day. Things they shouldn't or things that are illegal.”
“Have you ever been to one?” Roctin asked.
He coughed again into his hand. “Well, let's just say that from time to time some of our family business flows that way. Not all of it; its mainly aboveboard but a few things the family acquires can't be sold out of our stores.”
“Who cares” Salek said. “What about the craziness that we here about down there? Man eating bacteria, Wards of the Chained One, Limb Thieves, undead – its seems like everything ugly you can imagine exists done there!”
“I see something has your imagination fired up. Well, I won't lie to you and say such things don't exist down there. The March Wardens' areas, especially those of Deep Spike, Rainbow Falls and Long Spin are relatively safe areas. The undercity lords in those areas maintain a presence, one strong enough to deter the majority of really dangerous things that live down below. The other places are much less safe to utter dangerous.”
“Like the Red Coated Baron's area!” Roctin interjected.
“Like the Red Coated Baron's area” Batcholi agreed. “His lands, if you will, are adjacent to the Deep Spike and so are not horribly unsafe. At least, in those areas distant from the Azren Maze and near the March Warden's borders. Closer to the maze and its anything goes.”
“Anything goes – what does that mean?” Kaomok asked?
Botcholi drew on his cigar once last time and rubbed it out on a metal plate sat on the table just for that purpose. “Let's say that those man-eating bacteria you spoke about could easily make an appearance. Their nest is supposedly somewhere in the maze so they are predominate there and in the areas that touch on the maze. Outside of the areas defined by the March Wardens, the walkways and passages are very unsafe, unlike our streets and roads above. No one patrols or maintains those walkways in general, especially those beyond the reach of the wardens. Only the hubs that house people are considered safe and in those, safety is secured by the quickness of your sword.”
“People live down there?” Salek asked fascinated.
“Of course they do” Roctin said, elbowing Salek. “They don't all go up to the city, do they uncle?”
Botcholi nodded and signaled for more wine. “Indeed. Some people never go above. They are born, live and die in the undercity.”
“Really?” Kaomok asked.
Uncle nodded in answer. “Yes. Its a motley group, even more so than the mix you would find on our streets. We keep certain levels of decency in force above. Down below, outside of certain areas, those rules are gone. Most, however, are decent sorts trying to make their way through life. Others are outlaws, lawbreakers, wanted by the law or their orders for wrong doing. Joining them are creatures that otherwise could not walk easily in the light of day.”
“What do these people do?” Kaomok asked.
Botcholi quaffed a drink from his newly filled wine glass before answering. “I'll assume that you mean those of the darker nature than the otherwise mundane. Still the mundane are important. Let us say that most live like we do above, excepting that their lives are much more dangerous. Where we have the certainty of law and a basic sense of order that flows from it, they do not. Instead, they huddle in groups, like you would in the wild for protection or seek out hiding holes and places of refuge. Of course, they are not alone. The undercity, for all its danger and lack of law, sees a large influx of visitors. Those seeking out those illegal markets are underground auctions. Those looking for a service they could not get above or fear to partake above in order to avoid prying eyes. Or, just making their way to a party, a theater, a meeting, or some other assemblage. Some even come for the adventure or to find something lost in the dark.
“Now those with a darker desire prey on those that live there or who come there. In fact, a favorite pastime with lightsiders is to dunk them. Never heard of it, have you? No, don't bother answering, I know you haven't. Its when they prey on them, give them a good beating or kill them. Then they toss the body into the pools of water that seem to be everywhere or into the working sewer system. Its a horrible business but doesn't seem to deter adventure seekers and those that should know better from coming down.”
He paused and the nephews looked queasily at each other. Botcholi shook his head and waggled a finger at them. “Now, don't look weird, its not all that bad or we wouldn't do business down there. At least in some areas. Most of the undercity is well deserved for its reputation and is filled with dark, beastly people and equally decadent places. People live down there and act out their lives just like we do. They live in some place relatively safe and traverse the winding pipes, tunnels and vaults that connect the majority of the place together.”
Roctin poked at the table and asked, eyes downcast, “I've heard that it has levels, kind of like the city has the upper terrace and the lower grounds.”
Botcholi swirled his wine, studying it. “True. Though not so cleanly as the jewel of our city. It has deeps like an ocean, where the deeper you go the more dangerous and dark it becomes. What we know mostly as the undercity is but the upper skin of the below ground.”
They loosed uneasily at each other and Botcholi put his wine glass down with a thunk. “Let's call this to a close, young sirs. But I'll end it with a warning. You may have friends who will invite you below. I encourage you to take the loss of face and decline. Too often, those virgins who go below do not return the same. I encourage you to seek safer pastimes, like bearding a dragon in its lair or pissing on the king's statue in Crownmark Square in broad daylight.”
He got to his feet and the nephews did the same. “Now, shall we see what delights the Jewel of Khaas holds for us this evening?”
They nodded and he gestured for them to go first, following right behind.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fun Adventures in Avemba--Part 2 of our journey on 4/27/2012

As we enter Avemba, we put our genius plan into effect. Mwahahaha! Thordis the dwarf and his comrades managed to make it through the Beryl Boughs. We come bearing food to hear their tale, as the ship we're looking for is supposedly crashed in that area. After munching on some of my goodies, Kain tells them about his pretty little mithril flake turning into his heart (since he died from that wyvern) and Thordis asks who is meant for the flake. After hearing that it is meant for the House of the Wrung Serpent, we discover we are looking for the Lost Prince.

He graciously decides to help us.

Dead guy who possessed me--Revanai. He's a psychic. They were transporting a metal cylinder carrying someone.  Take the captain's books back to The Pearl in Kurahane.

At the Pearl, we meet a renaissance man named Skylar.

Immaterial is the name of the gnome who runs the Amberjack's company. I hate him.

... Monty Note.  This is a partially done rendition of the game.  Sadly we had to go on hiatus due to events in my life so this was not continued.  Hopefully you'll see a rendition in the future.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Twinkie's happy fun time journal, 5/23/2012

It is such a nice day with my friends. We are on our way to a ship called the Aurora to get some materials for the college of magic. Apparently the poor little ship was wrecked.

As I step out onto the deck to catch snowflakes on my tongue, I see two skyships in the distance. One appears to be attacked with ice, the other with fire, and they are battling each other over The Great Rift. The ship on fire explodes, and as pieces of those poor folks rain over us, I as captain decide it's better if we go around. I enjoy my captain's hat very much.

I was cooking some delicious brownies when we crash into a floating forest. As we attempt to get our ship unstuck, we notice that the trees have been chained to grow a certain way. The trees accumulate cloud moisture to disguise themselves, so it's no wonder we didn't see them. Sultrani sees a person in Cloud Skin sneaking away from us slowly, and I try to give him brownies. He doesn't stop, which makes me sad, and then some of us notice some major channeling going on. Apparently the island is a node of power, and the guardian is having a hissy fit. It begins snowing heavily, and for some reason my friends start to panic and insist that we hurry up and leave. I am upset, since I wanted to stay and explore, but I give in to them since they seem so frantic. I leave a plate of warm brownies on the ground for the strange man. At least I got some soil and some Cloud Skin. Sometimes I feel my friends are no fun.

That evening, we see some sky cows racing across the sky. RAWWWHIIIIDDEEE! I wish I had a cowboy hat instead of my captain's hat. Sultrani and Skahl go "hunting" and pick up one of the giant bovines, and I get to cut it up and take components. Hurrah!

We have stuffed ourselves on sky cow from last night, so I sleep very soundly. That is, until I hear Kain belting out a song about freedom from the deck of the ship. He sounds... good... and he's not singing about humping or drinking, which is weird.

Skahl says he's being touched by some sort of time paradox. It seems like it's from when he was swallowed by that giant stomach and the spirit of that beautiful singer shared his body and then joined Ariadne's ship. Sultrani's little wind friend (that she didn't tell us about because we're not good enough or something) twists around Kain and opens the song. We ride the notes of the lovely song to the paradox and appear in the giant floating stomach-thing with Kain. (Past Kain.)

We begin looking for the song, who is trying to free the spirit and change time (which just can't happen, because then we'd just be screwed and so would Kain.) We find a sky shark, a skeleton, and a gnoll looking through the piles of carcasses. They are very rude and insist on killing my poor Kainy-poo because they don't care about anyone or anything apart from that spirit. We end up bartering for the song, so we don't get her spirit in the ship, just the song. I'm sure this won't bite us in the ass later because I'm optimistic! The animated skeleton referred to himself as Kaniyeel. I wonder what he looks like when he's not a skeleton in a giant floating stomach.

We finally make it to the wreckage of the ship, and we see that spikes have been magically moved from the mountain to penetrate the ship, and that's why it's wrecked. It has been ransacked, and little muddy hobbitt-sized footprints are all over the deck. It's pretty sparse, but I manage to find a secret panel in the ship. Inside, there's an egg-sized gem that is frosted over it's so cold (there are fans blowing on it.)

We go through the underground boroughs and fly over the trip wires. Some poor hobbitt guard named Frost sees us and pees himself before a runeweaver hobbitt climbs up to us out of breath. He munches some of my brownies and we strike a deal: seeds for the College of Magic crates we're supposed to retrieve. (Apparently they need crops badly.) So I leave a plate of brownies for them and go to grab some seeds. The hobbitt is very private and doesn't drink--very, very odd.

We pick up the crates, and on the way back to the College of Magic we run into a meteor shower. We pick up some pieces of the asteroids, and I notice a weird feeling in my tummy. The green light shining from the rock is making me feel strange; the others are definitely looking sick. Ok, so I need to purify the rocks and get them well. Good thing I seem to be immune. Hooray!

As we travel, we look overhead and catch a lot of flying debris. Something is attacking a ship above us... and as a huge yellow feather drops onto the deck, we see that it was a roc. But I get a pretty yellow feather! Huzzah!

As evening falls, however, we see a giant prismatic bird... the one whose baby Kain killed. Granted, it killed him too. But still. Mama be angry, and she's coming for us. HOLY FLAMING SKY COW DUNG!

After panicking for a little bit, Sultrani uses her hero's blessing to land the ship into the water all submarine-style. We miss death by bird-dragon, and return the supplies to the College of Magic. Another job well done by Twinkie's Twerrific Troupe!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Twink's Journal

Game Session, 4/20/2012


I love being on this skyship. I have a new patron, which means a new friend, and I'm cooking for my best friends in the world. I hum to myself happily as I cook, listening to my friends make plans to gather information on the Amberjack and its murdered navigator. We make plans (I'm sure they're good plans and will work, but I was only half listening). Then we all prepare for bed. I grab my teddy bear and doze off...
And am soon startled awake by the ship teetering and tottering. I run on deck, huffing and puffing (will my little cute chubbiness ever be in good shape again?!) and a huge, flaming bird fills my vision. I can feel the heat from the deck of the ship, although it is 300 feet away. Holy flaming turds of Hurkallah! It's a phoenix!
Sultrani, in glorious bravery and humility, bows low and begs favor from the magnificent being. Towards the end of her small speech, Kain rushes onto the deck, gasping and saying, “Ok, I'm here! I've got my armor on—HOLY CRAP! IT'S A PHOENIX!”

I stand on the deck, marveling on how pretty and overwhelming the creature is, and the being speaks in our heads in the language of fire—which sounds weird, and we don't understand it (I mean, who speaks fire?? What is that?)—and so it switches to Arduinian. He asks our names, gives us his common name (Octokao), then inquires as to why we're passing through his airspace. “Four god-touched pass through my space... and I am curious.” After some small talk while I didn't really listen and stared instead, Octokao gave us a warning: “Someone has opened up the veins of the world and is sailing through them, from the chaos this has caused something new will arise.” Octokao offers to give one of us the phoenix's spark—a piece of his hardened fire. Are you kidding me?? That's awesome!

“Oo! Oo! Pick me! I want to! I'll do it!” I say excitedly, jumping up and down and waving my hand frantically through the air. The phoenix seems surprised and appears to nod, then passes through the air what appears to be a raw chunk of crystal that laces into a necklace around my neck. AWESOME. I bounce around excitedly, dancing with my new toy. I HAVE MADE A NEW FRIEND!!! HUZZAH! He's pretty and fiery and huge and all-knowing and maybe we could play games sometimes.

As I cook breakfast and hum to myself, I hear commotion about some sort of castle in the clouds. Castle of Him? Hymn? Who's him? I don't know. Back to cooking. I'm sure it's fine.
Kain comes charging into my kitchen, yelling, “Harpies! I need something to block my hearing! Quickly!” I look frantically around the shelves and find some of the wax I use to top my bottles and vials. We pack it into his ears and he rushes up onto the deck with me trailing right behind him. Hmmm... nice view. I'll think more on that later. Why are butts attractive? It's so weird. Oh, right, harpies! Need to focus! I feel my face blush furiously. I can't help it—his behind is eye-level! Twink, FOCUS!
As my little feet plop onto the deck, it buckles and I feel energy and cold flash through the air. My jaw drops as I see Sultrani in the middle of the powerful attack, her eyes full of icy determination as she stands slowly and proudly on the deck. I hear her murmur to the air around her, “Let's have some fun,” as Kain leaps to action, running full pace off to the end of the deck and diving off in full Kain show-offery. Her little air friend catches him, and Sultrani and Kain shine in the morning light as it reflects off the clouds and they appear to run on the sky itself. Tears fill my eyes as I look at my friends, and I'm so proud I can barely stand it. Those harpies are going to be sorry! I giggle to myself and plan a victory breakfast. The stone around my neck starts straining, and I'm zapped to the present as Sultrani uses a gravity wave to suck the six harpies in towards her. They make a sickening sound as they all crunch together into a ball. A harpy ball. I giggle again. Clearly, the phoenix wants a ringside seat to see how they fight. I hurry to the side of the ship to give him the view he desires, moving my neck around to try to get the best perspective. “Aren't they awesome?” I whisper.

Kain then lunges forward, fist high, and hurtles toward the mass of harpies. His shouts echo across the sky as his fist lodges there, dissolving the mass into a shell-shocked flurry of feathers. The harpies begin to fall and I whoop out loud with my congratulations.

The four furies that I didn't notice before because I was busy doing something—probably thinking of cooking—start to fly away in fear. One of them, however, turns back to hurl a spell at Sultrani. One of her death breaker runes shatters—yikes, the spell must have been a doozy—and that fury plummets to its death. I guess Sultrani wants to make sure it dies, though, because she uses her gravity fist to plow the unfortunate fury straight down into the ground. Wow, Sultrani must be mad! Her gravity fist makes a crater in the ground. Mad Sultrani is scary, I think.

They return to the ship. Sultrani looks bad. Her eyes have a bunch of burst blood vessels due to the sound damage. I patch her up and she goes to take a nap. Kain finds a harpy feather snagged in his armor and decides to hold onto it (dang it I want one.)

As I anxiously peer over the end of the deck at our destination (we had to fly to Khurhane to get maps or something, I don't know) I can see that the city is on fire! Oh no! A member of the Arduinian special forces lands on our deck and draws his weapons, demanding, “Friend or foe?” I immediately respond, “I'm always a friend!” and he sheathes his weapons. He tells us to land, then explains that a religious cult has tried to start an uprising, and has set fire to the water itself using an unknown ritual. We land and are told to stay on the ship. I sneak the guards cookies as we wait, and it's hard not to notice that the other landed ships have like two guards and we have at least half a dozen.

After a little while, we're able to move but cannot stay for very long due to martial law being in effect. It turns out my old friend Ariadne has a dock here, and a bottle of her famous rum (that I helped her create) is waiting for me! AHH I'm so excited! I will share my rum with my friends tonight. We'll have fun!
Sultrani goes with Inereal to meet the cartographer. As soon as they're gone, Kain and I begin to drink the rum and I decide to cook something with him. This is such fun! Wow, I think I'm crunk... uh... drunk. Yep. Yep, I'm definitely drunk. Oo, that looks good! I'm going to start throwing stuff into the pan. Wait—I think the phoenix crystal around my neck just sparked into the food. Innnnteresting. Hehehe this is great. Except that Kain burned the scrambled eggs he was trying to cook. Now my kitchen smells like burnt eggs. It was nice of him to clean it up, though. Even if he did just spit on the pan to clean it. As the dish begins to take shape, I notice that it looks somewhat like a casserole... and I have no idea what I put in it or what it does.
And then... guess what??? KAIN AND I DID IT!!!!!!!!! Well I think we did, anyway. I think that's what “it” is. I lost my virginity! Oh my goodness! It finally happened! ...But now what? Do we get married? Should I ask him? I think I should wait for him to ask me. Oh gosh. Oh golly. I don't know what to do. This is so wonderful. I'll have to ask Sultrani the procedures. She knows everything. I can always ask her about what to do!

Sultrani comes back onto the ship, and we spend the night all together, eating the casserole, drinking, and looking up at the stars. Her only comment on my less-than-innocent new self is, “If he had your consent, he lives.” All in all, an excellent night. I am so happy.

Kain goes into town to meet someone who wants to see him for some reason. I am concerned at first, but Kain says he's only going to talk, so I send him off with some muffins.

Life is good.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kain, a tragedy and an epiphany

a day in the life of Kain, as seen through the eyes of Kain:

(note: the following story is an account of the day Kain lost Pitchest Black, his black long sword. The story is told through his eyes and, quite honestly, is pretty jaded and not likely the whole truth according to anyone but him. Take it with a grain of salt.)

Dear Diary:

Damn it all! What a horrible day(s?)! It started out so nice. We had a goal. Travel a bit. Find and salvage some parts of some crashed airships to build our own, and then go gallumping off into the horizon battling and drinking and whoring and looting! Oh, victory smelled sweet in the air, but it was not to be. Not quite.

The plan was simple. We would hitch a ride on a skyship out to each crash site, collect the goods, and use Twink's Tarot cards to transport us, the salvaged parts, and our...other acquired goods back to Talismonde. First however, Twink had to pay a visit to some Headmaster of the Taroteers to get her cards reactivaed. Sounded easy enough: Go to a forest in the north, find the headmaster, cook some food, and be on our way with his blessing.

So we acquired a ride on a ship with Simek's daughter, who is a pretty cool cat. We landed on a mountain next to the forest and bid the dwarfette ado.
Upon approaching the forest, Twink bid us farewell and made her way inside as we waited. After a bit, the snake decided to head inside to look for her, not adhering to our patented "let them figure it out themselves and only step in to save them from certain doom" approach. Sultrani decided it was time as well, and upon concentrating for a bit, disappeared. Yet another damn trick she didn't tell us about. Of course she can disappear, why not! (I would find out later this was not her doing. Oh well, she can keep the coolness points anyhow).

Fearing for my comrades, I called into the forest, shouting some encouraging words that they may be brave, stay the course, and remember honor dignity, and all of that crap (I'm working on that whole honor thing--not very Hyrkhallian, so it's kinda foreign to me.) I was greeted in return by said forest that sent several technicolor skeletons (did i mention the trees were multi-colored) to attack me. They were rather pathetic, and I dispatched them quickly. A few more groups came out, but I ignored them as they attacked and instead tried to decipher where they came from and the source of their power. Right as I figured this out (or so i thought) Sultrani came crashing out of the trees and landed most ungracefully on one of the skeletons (return the cool points).

However, before we could establish more than "you ok?" and "what happened" I was whisked away and found myself on a barren, many-paletted plane. Uh oh. (I'm guessing I probably disappeared much like Sultrani).

I figured I was either a.) in another dimension (not uncommon) or b.) in another damn illusion (also not uncommon). First, I tested the dimensional theory by once again attempting to ascertain the source of power nearest to me. I found nothing. THe only source of power was myself. I deduced (correctly, I might add) that I was not prisoner to an illusion. Indeed, when attacking me with shitty rainbow undead didn't work, the forest, clearly behind all of this, chose to imprison me instead.

I elected to deal with the situation much like I did all illusionary magic. However, this was a mistake. Typically, illusionary spells and powers of this nature are easily destroyed by absorbing some of all of it with Pitchest Black. Thus, I attempted this same feat once again.

It was a horrible mistake. The energy powering the illusion was extremely potent. Before I knew it, I had absorbed more than my sword could handle and it melted in my hand!

Distraught and outraged, I gathered the now pieces of my sword, hoping to somehow discover a way to reforge it.

Electing this time an alternate approach, I sat down and meditated, closing my eyes and concentrating on various things: first nothing at all, just to calm myself; then on Twink, sweet beautiful Twink and her smile; then on my sword, I wanted to will it back together! Finally I meditated on escape and finding an exit. Opening my eyes, I found myself still trapped in this Endless Illusion.

Pissed, I began walking. Judging from the count of my pace, I imagine I walked several miles before I noticed the reflection in my armor. Good old Simek, proving himself once again. Looking in the reflection, I saw the forest, and realized what had happened.

I removed my breastpiece and, looking into it, guided my way through the forest until I eventually found an exit.

Immediately after exiting, I was attacked by a giant flying snake that elected to keep it's distance and spit venom at me from afar. It was here I came upon a great epiphany. At first, I moved in to close the distance between us. But he continued to move back, and flew just out of my reach. I discovered...I wasn't interested in fighting him.

Not only did it feel wrong not having both blades in my hand, but really, it didn't seem worth it to really even engage. So i told the snake he was worthless and walked away. It followed for a spell, and amassed a gang of followers. Eventually, I met up with Sultrani and we headed back towards the others. The annoying snakes eventually left.

When I got back to camp I learned some interesting facts: that the Headmaster of the Taroteers was a hive-mind that essentially comprised of this forest; that the little bits of my sword I picked up now appeared to be bits of tree branches; that the hive-mind controlling the forest call themselves patrons; and that even worse, one demanded that Twink call it Master and serve it!

Twink, on my behalf, ventured back into the forest and requested that the patron return that which belonged me. The patron, claiming to be the soul of the world, told her that the sword was destroyed because I attacked them by calling into the forest. Ha! How interesting to hear my opponent's side of the story.

Anyway, i gave Twink the parts of the blade/branch, and we left the place. For now, the white sword will remain sheathed. I'm not sure how I intend to proceed from here. Perhaps I'll (gasp) meditate on it, after eating a hearty meal. I wonder if the snake will le me have one of it's goats...

P.S. I realized while writing this that I'm writing in Amazonion. That's because Hyrkhalla has no written language. I think this is a major deficiency. We could be much better warriors if we fought intelligenty instead of brutally. And being intelligent is much easier if you can read. I think I'm going to start trying to piece together a Hyrkhallan written language. I hear the simplest languages use pictures, so I'll start trying to piece something together using pictures (probably best to associate the pics with war and warlike stuff). And from there, I can translate some good strategy books into Hyrkhallan and teach them as well. Even if I have to start small, a small army of tacticians is better than a large army of morons.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kicking some demon ass in Skull Tower.

Game Session 3/14/2012

We begin this session in the scenic and vacation-worthy Skull Tower. (Sarcasm.) Twink is using her chubby little hands and gentle heart to try and patch up Jari and Jehaine. Sultrani, being Sultrani, immediately begins looking for a way out and disappears from view. As our heroes look around the room, they notice that the stone is interwoven with bone throughout the space. Kain also notices that among the writing and pictures carved into the wall, there are some that seem familiar from Malgoreen culture. There are images of people leaving the wreck of the fifth continent, then landing on the western shore and ending up in Arduin—some move even farther. 

Other than a sense of peace, there is nothing else in this room. Kain uses this opportunity for a nap, and Twink starts treating Jehaine for parasites, as his body is being eaten away internally. After Jezzik wakes up, he explains that we're safe in this room because the brothers are distant relatives of the Malgoreen. In order to be safe in some of the rooms, you apparently have to meet some circumstances, depending on the room. He also mentioned they were once seven but the other four had fallen in battle shortly before he'd reached out and called for us to help.  Adak, son of Oth the Hammer, Caledie, the Shield of Ctham Bridge; Ergios, a paladin of Megalon, and Nethbok, brother of Indlbek. 

Jezzik then tells us that they have traveled to this godforsaken place to find a mage that is valuable to the Talismonde College of Magic. He is a snake by the name of Skahl. (Ah, Skahl, so we meet again!).  [GM Note:  the group has ran with the 3 brothers several times.  Its well known to them that Jezzik is the College of Magik's retrieval specialist and usually drags his brothers into one adventure or another).  He goes on to tell the wide-eyed adventurers that if they hear music or screaming unrelated to what's going on, they need to run. Immediately. Same goes if you see a reflection of yourself upside down anywhere—that is a life shorn that will fight you and take over your intellect and decimate it. Because we're in an extremely dangerous area, Jezzik performs a ritual that allows us to pull our comrades' bodies, should they die in battle, into ours and we can hopefully take them out with us that way. In order to release them, we must travel to the Talismonde College of Magic and go to the fountain. He also buffs us with two spells: synchronized defense, which allows us to put all our magic defenses together when attacked, and synchronized mind, which pools our psychic defense in the same way. 

To get out the area where we are, we needed to backtrack and then exit through a massive gallery.  Its ground zero for a host of undead, hordes of skeletons and worse involved in some mindless, unending battle.  No other way out of this area seemed possible.  As we hoofed it back to the gallery, Jezzik passed on that they had used a spell to form wedges of energy on the sides of the group previously and just bulled through the mass of the skeletons.  Seeing it worked once, we agreed to do it again.  The gallery, when we got to the balcony overlooking it, was awe-inspiring - if you don't mind mixing a heady dose of fear in with that!  The din from the melee below was deafening and the dead filled the gallery.  It would not be easy.

We make a wedge-shape to plow through the undead warriors, and as we steamroll down the hallway, we see a pitch black rider emerge with his horse from the wall. It raises one abysmal finger and points at Kain, then gallops through the opposing wall. All except two of the brothers and the brave, tiny hobbit of sunshine are totally shaken with fear. Jehaine raises a prayer of bravery to Megalon, and soon the others recover. We travel to a huge pair of cathedral-looking doors, and in the room beyond there is a flood of undead battling two lone warriors. One is a dwarf, and the other is a wolfling. The dwarf is wearing armor that glows with runes, and he twirls a massive two-handed axe. We can't see his face due to bright light shining from his helm. The wolfling is using a special type of martial art and his glowing green claws to rake through bone. They are clearly holding their own.

Our heroes jump off the balcony and crush tons of undead below. Then: chaos. We can't hear each other, there is a ton of noise and calamity, and we begin to fight in earnest. We battle our way through the room, one harried step at a time. Behind us, the snow-haired Sultrani sees the dwarven paladin get run through with a fiery spear. A fearsome skeleton made of quartz has begun attacking the dwarf. The wolfling tries valiantly to defend him, but breaks his hand on the wicked skeleton. Sultrani immediately jumps back to help him, putting away her tea cup in mid-leap, making a perfect landing on the spear. She pulls the dwarf off the spear and catches the wolfling's eye. He had attempted to grapple the skeleton and it thrust both bony hands deep into his chest; he is wrenched in two and falls.  Sultrani notices that the badass skeleton was definitely once human, is using Amok Gorgas as a fighting style.  Around the bones of the ribs is a rippling cap of metal, running from waist to neck.  While once part of the flesh, it now only hangs inside the skeleton.  She recognizes the metal and the incised marks running along it.  Those who undergo the Khodum-Karam, or dance of stones, an Amak Gorgas trial, wear them.  She eyes the skeleton with even greater wariness.

Sultrani boots the quartz skeleton away and picks up the pieces of wolfling.  He gives the poor dwarf an elixir to keep him from joining Helidore, and then jumps over to our heroic wedge of a group who is now at the door. The dwarf, too heavy to be lifted, picks up his axe and plows his way through. The quartz skeleton, regaining its feet, moved slowly after.  It yanked its spear from the floor where it was embedded but they made it to the doors before it could use it.  

As they pass through the doors, they notice that the next room is wall to wall mirrors. The doors disappear behind them. A quick check of the area shows its at least neutral.  While others watch, Twink treats the dwarf, who anoints Kain and Sultrani with a heroic ritual since they came to his rescue. It is called “Blood of Heroes” and lets you do something heroic with a little extra power. His name is Enid, the saint of Helidore. His broken companion, the wolfling, is named Madhusa. They are retreating to the Five Hammers shrine, and they have a way out of Skull Tower. Enid calls upon Helidore and the sound of hammers smiting an anvil fills the air.  Embraced by the echo of the forge, Enid burns faith to return home, bearing the fallen body of his comrade.

Meanwhile, they quickly discover the room holds eight possible exits.  We decide to fog up the mirrors to see if we can figure out which of the eight exits we should go through.  when that doesn't work, some experimentation (accidental!) leads us to discover that we can see somethings with our eyes closed that we can't see with them open!  Finally, after more messing around, with our eyes closed, we can see the only exit. We hold hands and form a line, alternating people with eyes closed and open. We travel the corridor until we hit a trap door—luckily, before we all go tumbling through, so we can go around. We travel through what appears to be a wall and go through to a green hallway full of wires and sputtering light bulbs. As we go up the incline, we see a mass of large reptilian creatures called Carillian—an older race that once lived across Arduin—charging at full tilt down the hallway, moving straight for us.

As the mass of them engage with us, behind the first wave came two pillars of metal, sizzling and burning the air with an arid scent. Shortly after we saw them they began to generate electricity in an arc between them.  Additionally, the front lines of the Carillion begin firing arrows in synchronization with each other. Several of them run forward, big nasty brutes, and attack poor Kain, landing two deadly blows and pinning his arms to his sides in the process. 

[GM Note:  Carillion resemble Ichthyosaurs that grew legs and arms and came on land.  Their body is humanoid, but resembles a heavily slumped over being with vestigal fins descending from the waist.  The fins hang loosely along the legs, which descend from narrow hips.  The legs are heavily bowed and widely splayed, descending into three forward toes and a horned heel.  Upper body is very cylindrical, with a vee shaped sternum, two rather thin limbs, ending in a neckless, crocodile like head.  Eyes are deeply inset, protected by bony plates, and the nostrils lie at the end of the snout.  They augment their native armor with a form of mail made from plates of  their own skin.]

Sultrani jumps forward and grounds the electricity from the pillars, breaking the circuit and exploding them in the process. She then gestures for them to hold and attempts to show that she doesn't want to fight, and our foes can have free passage through. The Carillions flush a purplish hue, looking mottled, and become enraged. Clearly she exhibited some sort of social faux pas, and they are insulted. 


They focus all their magical energies on her. As she studies the situation throughout the battle, she discovers that they are probably in the middle of some sort of religious rite. There is an ancient leader in the midst of their throng, who stands unphased through Jezzik's spells. Kain, being Kain, absorbs a bubble spell from one of their mages with his black sword and combines his black and white swords, then charges the ancient one. He disintegrates the being, but basically kills himself in the process. For some reason, he considers this a great success. Sultrani battles the ancient one's essence as he tries to possess her, and eventually Kain regenerates and gets back up. [Kain has some wereblood in him somewhere...]  He then jabs his black sword into the essence, shouting, “Absorb!” and the essence is sucked into his blade. It is sentient, however, and attempts to control the sword. He hurls the essence to Jehaine, who calls upon Megalon and destroys the essence with his mighty hammer of faith. 

We loot the bodies—a new thing for us—and discover that the lizards had some old dwarven coin on them.  the bigger Carillion brutes must have also looted some old Khronkule (dwarven) tombs, since they were wearing old stitched together pieces of Khronkule plate armor.  They had other Khronkule things too, and we dumped it into a pile to take with us.  The marks on the coins were of the Khronkule dwarves too. The dead human they were dragging was named Cam. Seeing we had no way to take him with us or even care to do so, we shrugged and looted him too.

We keep traveling upwards in the spiral hallway until we reach a doorway. On the wall to our left, blood of the fish-lizards has been splattered in a pattern on the wall. Clearly some ritual was performed to make a doorway, and it has since been sealed. Embossed on the door, two dwarves held out crossed weapons. Sultrani takes the dwarven hammer we've looted... I mean, borrowed... and asks for the blessing of Heldore to enter the doors, so we can return the weapon to her people. She then realized the door is a puzzle, and she has to move the dwarves pictured there so they become inverted. 

Meanwhile, Jehaine asks Kain to cut through certain marks in the blood so the lizard folk cannot come back through their makeshift doorway. Kain enters through the now-open puzzle door, and walks into a darker green corridor with an arched ceiling. The corridor splits in two ways, and is littered with dwarven skeletons. There are two alcoves that appear to be missing something that was held there. Kain notices that the skeletons are slowly reconstituting. As we all enter, we start to try to figure out what to do, and Kain moves over to the skeletons. They stand up and are joined by more.  They are not threatening us but do seem to be massing.  Not wishing to set something off, we kept a wary eye on them while trying to figure out the area.

We try to figure out what to put in the alcoves, and discover that one of the alcoves has holes in which a fluid would drain, and the other has a pressure plate. Since Enid's blood was absorbed into Sultrani and Kain earlier when they saved him, Kain pricks his fingers and puts the blood in the alcove with the holes. We hear a click. Pushing the pressure plate does nothing, but perhaps it has something to do with magnetism... We place the hammer we brought with us on the plate, and we hear some more clicks in the distance. A hidden doorway opens up, and stairs appear that head down. There is a mural on the way that tells the story of how the Khronkule came to Arduin. There are pictures of gleaming cities among the mountains, then dwarves battling fae on the prismatic mountains, and greeting (then fighting) with elves. The mural then shows the Khronkule and the Carillion at war. Apparently, also, there are trials that exist here. The pictures are of the dwarves swimming, carrying a heavy stone through an intricate puzzle, carrying heavy burdens, and of dwarves traversing in darkness.

We emerge at the top of the stairs into the room of trial. There are four corridors, obviously for the four trials. Kain decides to go through the engineering and strength trial, down the corridor portraying crossed crescent hammers. This he decides because he wants to be an intelligent warrior—and in choosing this, has changed his path. Sultrani, with her natural affinity to water, decides to attempt the water trial, exiting into the corridor with waters cascading down after she uses meditation to prep herself. Twink, unwilling to be left out, decides to traverse the corridor portraying closed eyes—she wants to be rid of her fear of the dark and help herself trust her instincts more, as well as heighten her other senses as a chef. 

Twink passes the Khronkule Trial of Darkness because she's an awesome badass. She gets past traps, pits, and many corpses in the darkness, and falls from one small platform to another, then drops her way down them until she hits the bottom. Broken and terrified, she follows the patterns of flame on the floor with her hands until she smells the scent of a blacksmith's forge. Darkness seems to drip onto her, engulfing her very being, until she yanks open the doors in a kickass hobbit feat of amazing strength. She then dances enthusiastically as she emerges victorious into the trial room... and proceeds to vomit up the Oil of Darkness in a very unladylike manner. She is now stronger and cannot be blinded by any normal means.

Meanwhile, Sultrani enters for her trial and stares at a wall of water. She uses her gravity to disrupt the flow of water and surpasses the currents and tides. She then ends up at the same forge that Twink passed, except the feel of her forge is very liquid as it pours over her skin. 

Kain, after dying once and spending much brainpower and strength on his trial, finally makes it through to the forge. Helidore is there, takes the weapons he recovered and had to bear during the trial through all the many traps and puzzles, and reforges them into armor for Kain. The armor is made of a special metal that fixes itself. She hurls the old mithril flake at him, claiming, “This is not mine, but you are an instrument of change and I will use that. Bear this flake to a Khronkule blooded dwarf.” Kain agrees, and she tells him he can have the armor—which forms perfectly to his body—if he can walk out of the door wearing it. She also gives him his pack, which he lost during his first attempt. After struggling mightily to cross the room and get the door open, he hobbles into the trial room where the others are waiting. As he goes through his pack, he notices something extra: a blanket. The name “Talhoud: House of the Wrung Serpent” is embroidered on it. 

As the others rest and recover, Kain decides to go through the trial of strength... because apparently one trial just wasn't enough punishment. He finds himself in an endless desert, where he has to use large, heavy blocks of different sizes to climb up to the top of a tower. The desert drains him as he attempts this, but he ends up succeeding and therefore gaining a large amount of strength.

Twink cooks up dinner and our heroes devise a plan. We go back the way we came—as this was a dead end, just full of trials. As we pass the dwarven skeletons, they salute the four of us (Jehaine included) who passed the trials. 

We go back the way we came and enter the spiral hallway once again. There are more ancient fish-lizards there to greet us; however, we soon make short work of them, between Sultrani's awesome gravity wave attack shoving them into walls and waiting blades, and Kain's metal man amazingness... that is, until another blood gate opens, a giant troll appears, and a dimension-hopping spider slices through us. 

The spider causes Sultrani to live her worst nightmare, and she flies off into a run through one of the lizard's gates of blood, trapped in a blind panic. We travel through the open gate to follow her, and eventually make our way (unintentionally) to a demon (Copper Ringed Sub-demon from the 4th Hell). We then have our first demon battle! (And by we, I mean Sultrani and Kain.) Dull, copper-colored, eyeless, winged, and scaled, it towers over us at over 30 feet tall. It's safe to say that the lizards we slaughtered worship this creature. It has a tail like a giant trident, which weeps some sort of noxious poison. 

Sultrani gets down to business and removes her training yoke, and proceeds to kick some hardcore demon ass in a whirlwind of fists and movement—a true artist in motion. Kain, who has struggled some with this foe, proceeds to call upon the Blood of Heroes ritual that the dwarven saint Enid bestowed upon him. With determination shining in his eyes, Kain severs the demon's head as it leans down to swallow Sultrani, who is a storm of furious movement. He brings both of his blades down on the tree trunk of the mighty beast's neck. Sultrani salutes Kain as an equal, and from here on they will be a stronger team, for certain. But covered in the demon's blood, they soon drop from shock. After grabbing some souvenirs in the form of demon parts and loot, our heroes dash off to find a safe haven. We end up exiting the tower on the east side, the skull in the mountain smirking at the weary heroes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


We are on break for two weeks since we scattered across the US.  We'll pick up afterward.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Game Session 2/16/2012--Elven Battles and Old Friends

We return to Hohonare to give the people back their holy relics. After being surrounded with highly armed elves, we are drug off to a small town and party like it's 1999. Sultrani is told hello by the six southern masters of the Hohonare, a great honor indeed. They spar for a bit, (to Twink's horror, this is how they give respectful greetings), and Sultrani does so well against them, they offer to make her one of the masters.

After the ceremony in Kain's honor, the Hohonare elves leave to an unknown place to perform a ritual, leaving the town mostly deserted. Raol, the old, crotchety elven herbalist, is quickly found by the cheery, chubby hobbitt herbalist chef. As Twink prepares to wow her with her amazing cooking skills and creates a delicious meal outside her house, Kain and Sultrani go to the waterfall for training. All our heroes are busy and distracted, therefore, when the village is attacked.

Twink holds a dish of her soup up to her little face, pleased as punch with her meal, when an elf stumbles into her and breaks the dish, soup sprawling all over. A distraught Twink looks at the elf as she staggers to the ground, and sees that the poor elf has been gutted. Twink grabs the wounded elf and bangs on Raol's door. They are quickly transported inside the house by some lively greenery, and the plants and Raol go to battle as Twink works desperately to help the dying elf.

Twink is then halted in her tracks by a vision—battle 18, a throon. Ironic that Kain, in that very moment, is grappling a throon under the waterfall. (How romantic!) Kain, surprisingly, out-wrestles the monster—all that bed play finally paid off, eh? He gets past some self-inflicted damage to defeat his mighty foe, and charges headfirst into the melee before him. Sultrani, in a truly awesome move, knocks down a huge array of foes in the area with her amazing speed.

Twink has another vision of a very pale woman with pink eyes, mobile hair, and a cloak that seems to have a life of its own. She has an eldarin rune burned on her tongue, and she appears to be fey. The very air around her is charged with atmosphere. She turns to Twink and says, “I'm in the forest. He can find me later, if he follows the trail of milk.”

Sultrani, meanwhile, is doing battle with a warrior holding a burning, serrated blade. He quaffs a potion when he discovers his attacks aren't working against her, and his eyes begin to burn, as well. When she attacks him, small beads around his neck explode, and it appears he takes no damage. The elves that had left to perform the ritual now return, and they are pissed as hell and battle worn. Apparently, someone found out about their ritual's timing and used it against them. The masters that Sultrani bested earlier quickly get to work. Kain, however, is encased in ice from an enemy spell and is quickly losing air. Sultrani, seeing this problem, flies to the air and delivers an earth-shattering punch to the ground, causing a minor quake in the area, knocking over many foes, and freeing Kain partway from the ice in the process.

After Twink plunks some stones into enemy heads, and Sultrani uses her crazy speed to knock over innumerable foes and end the battle... and Kain hacks away at the ice around his legs... Twink and Raol work to heal the wounded, and trade herbs. Raol also gives Twink a flower imprinted with Eldarin, so it always stays in its beautiful, fresh form. (It also slowly changes color.) Twink puts it in her hair proudly. The Hohonare then vow to go to war against the Zurahane for this ambush, offering to let Kain join the fight. He politely declines, saying, "As much as I like fighting, I have other stuff I have to do. Sorry." Always eloquent, our Kain.

We find the White Ghost is the name of the fey. She is a wild fey that helps with the arts, and artistic, friendly, social souls are the ones who normally approach her.

While Twink and Sultrani indulge in some sock puppet theatre, imitating Kain and his imagined attempts to try and call to the White Ghost through some form of performance, Kain keeps plowing through in a poor soliloquy. On his second attempt, Kain finally gathers the Ghost's attention at a still, calm lily pond by reciting this poem:

“There once was a ghost named Whitey,

Who was so quite awfully flighty,

Then Kain came and wooed her,

To show him her cooter,

And showed her that he was quite mighty.”

Miraculously, she showed up. Kain basically keeps what happens next a secret. He does inform us that she said he has to make a choice between butchery, honor, and intellect. She also tells him ancient elven lore; each of the three paths discussed are represented by three warriors—the original founders of the rite. During this trek, they are given choices by the three spirits, and the one on the journey must choose one of the paths.

As our heroes exit the forest, Twink's flowered brooch starts buzzing. It's our old friend Jari of the three brothers! (We've met them in battles long past, having traveled to the wreckage on the misty sea with them.) The brothers are in deep trouble, and ask for help. The party agrees--or should I say, Twink enthusiastically agrees to come to their aid--and we are transported to a dark, oppressive area underground. Two of the brothers are on the floor, out cold and really beat up, but they are in a circle of protection thanks to the one brother up and about. We discover that we are in an unholy temple, complete with huge snake statue. We battle five trolls, basilisks, ogres, shadow wolves, and even a death ogre. After we kick some major ass (Kain most especially--badassery incarnate, he was!), Jari tells us that we are in Skull Tower. The huge stone snake, homage to the god Set, begins to animate. We proceed to run for our lives. As we run down the hallway, Jari babbles, “Don't channel! Don't try to transport! This area is like a magnet!”

We find refuge in a trapezoid-shaped room and roll a stone in front of the door and rest.

Also... "My name's Kain! I like swords!" "My name's Twink, I like you!" We're just a mismatched, lovey-dovey, grumpy/happy, hobitt-wolfee couple out for adventure, OUT FOR ADVENTURE!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Game Session: 2/8/2012--A Naked Wolf

We begin this session with a triumphant, dramatic swan dive from Kain carrying our bubbling hobbit. A cloaked Sultrani has jumped from the back of the airship and proceeds to ground the lightning for us as we traverse the clouds together. We eventually come upon a golden platform, the strong scent of ozone permeating the air. Blind and deaf from the all-encompassing storm, we take a second to get our bearings and then Sultrani's paranoia perseveres and we leave the unknown area. As a storm elemental approaches, Sultrani uses her storm and water-based style to chase the magnetic current, sending us on an Arduin version of hell's rollercoaster and bypassing the horrible foe. We are gravitating to the center sphere, and it is very difficult to move. As Sultrani tries to lighten gravity and jump from the ariculum sphere, we hear a voice in our heads that says, “Mine.” We are then sucked into the sphere.

Twink and Kain immediately pass out, and Sultrani tries not to panic and slurps her tea shakily. Gravity is normal when we wake up, and a grassy plain rolls into the distance around us. There are many exits apparent, but when Sultrani tries to reach the nearest one, she is slammed back down. Her mile step leads her right back to where she started. Some very large, multicolored spiders drop from the sky. “We shall test you,” the disembodied voice announces. During the battle, Kain seems to have rotten luck, and Sultrani (in a cartwheel of blades and movement) saves his life from his own steel.

Kain, tired of the charade, decides to stab his sword into the sphere, burning his hand off in the process.

We all pass out from Mark doing his stabby trick. We wake up on a spongy, warm cloud, face to face with a reptilian, draconic-looking creature. He bears a staff of indeterminate wood with a crystal on the end, and looks at us with featureless, opaque eyes. Twink, ever the cheerful, friend-making sort, introduces herself. He, in turn, introduces himself as Machivell. After a conversation, Twink feels the inexplicable urge to stay there with him. Sultrani, after trying to talk her out of it and failing, knocks Twink's ass out and attempts to run. We wake up in the middle of the storm, and haven't yet made it to the sphere—it was all a dream. Goddammit, MOONNNTTYYYY!!! Silver serpents, called IO twirls, have wrapped around us and drained our life force slowly while making us dream by changing our perception.

Sultrani brilliantly decides to drop to a different atmosphere, hoping the change in pressure will cause the IO twirls to leave us the hell alone. We then decide to go up higher to get our bearing. We start to see some silk-like strands, and Sultrani starts walking on them. We pass a huge chunk of rock that has been ripped out of the ground, and as it passes, we see a doorway. Paranoia again wins out, so we don't mess with it. As we walk the strands, a pitch resonates down one, and Twink responds in kind. We follow the pitch to a spider sack with a fey residing inside. We have some interesting conversation with good ol' Ricardo Bob (we named him), but in the end he wasn't much help... probably due in part to Kain and Sultrani's distrust of the fey.

We reach the top of the storm and Sultrani's little pet storm elemental allows us to rest up above, where Kain and Twink get into an argument about the women he's slept with and when... and when he tells her it's none of her business, her little chubby face gets red with tiny but mighty anger and her jaw drops in shock. She turns her back and refuses to talk to him. We are taken to the nest of the Fifth Reaver the next morning.

Kain enters by himself, as Twink isn't talking to him and Sultrani believes in letting people handle their own quests. After he gets sucked in by a gravity well and valiantly pushes his way out, he gets to the junkhold of the nest. It has masses of stuff, so it'll take him forever to sort through it all. Twink finds some Iron Water and Magenta Earth. Kain, while trying to get the artifacts, sets off a trap. One of the Fifth Reaver's offspring emerges amongst lightning and thunder, and ferociously attacks our horny hero. Kain releases all the lightning he absorbed into his sword from the first trap, and the offspring explodes. In the backlash, Kain almost disintegrates—the Battle Soul herb Twink gave him earlier saved his life and kept re-incorporating him. Twink uses a tarot card to transport them to the square in Talismonde, where they quickly take him to the temple of the Silver Lady for healing. Twink invokes the name of Sotineln Moonwalker, a saint of the goddess. She prays so fervently that he comes to their aid, and she feels a hand on her shoulder. He comes to speak to them, and offers Kain healing for being the lady's supplicant. He bids Kain think about taking a stand for law and order, which the Lady stands for, and then gives him a year to think about it before his mark from her is taken. Then he sends Kain to his deity, Cerrunous, who is currently in his child phase, and then the saint distracts Twink by talking to her about organizing a bake sale.

Kain appears before Cerrunous, who is giggling up a storm and gambling with Puck. They invite Kain to take a seat and gamble to determine his fate, which he decides to accept. He chooses the game, fortunately, and decides to use military strategies in a giant game of civilizations. After taking out the child, Puck narrowly beats Kain.... and who knows what this will mean?

Kain wakes up the next morning to Twink pounding on his door. He is naked, sans fur, and without any marks of the gods. And if you look closely, you can see the blank space between his scars says, “You got owned.” Puck left one last parting gift—his wolf pelt, in silver (so he can't touch it.)

We head for Ho'Hanari to return the rods.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Game Session 2/1/2012--Street Brawls, Sages, and Sky Ships, Oh My!

Note: Apparently my writing style changes based on what mood I'm in. When I took notes, I must have been feeling like a smart ass. So don't expect any wondrous prose or heart-wrenching literature, ha!


We begin at Oosla Dawn after Kain recovers from his latest battle. He is a bit more torn up than usual, but under Twink's gentle care, he soon resumes his customary gruffness and vitality. After discussing their options, the party decides to go to the storm god's pillow so Kain can get his little sword enchanted. And of course, by discussing, I mean Sultrani and Kain talked about their various options while Twink bounced from the kitchen to the gardens, then happily agreed to whatever the two decided.

They use Twink's tarot card to transport to Talismonde's town square. Unfortunately, they end up in the middle of a military funeral--the funeral of the five mages Tai-Kyrie killed. As the group awkwardly, painstakingly passes through the Marines, Twink protests Tai-Kyrie's guilt, claiming that he would never do such a dishonorable thing. However, she learns from a friendly Marine that the five mages supposedly jumped Tai-Kyrie at once. (He must certainly be a bad ass, if he took them all down, eh? Twink has the coolest friends.) Twink, in true Twinkie fashion, rewards the kindness with homemade cookies.

As they are almost out of the depressing--and monotonous--military funeral, a message is pressed into Twink's chubby little hand that says, “I'll be at your restaurant in three days for the dinner you owe me for this.” (He speaks, of course, of interrupting the funeral and getting them out of there.) The message is from the House of the Grey Stallion.

As our heroes finally enter the safe and homey-smelling Twookery, Aurie--a blast of sunshine in the form of an executive hobbit assistant--quickly waylays Twink, telling her all the things they have to do. As Twink gets pampered and pressed, Sultrani stands guard over her. Kain goes in search of information, meaning to seek out a library and begin plans for his upcoming quest. Twink begins her evening at the restaurant and is soon overwhelmed with all there is to do.

Soon, Kain gets lost in search of a library. After travelling for a time, he realizes he's underground. It's getting dark, and he decides to cautiously approach a light source up ahead--and in doing so, becomes acquainted with a goblin-human mix who introduces himself as Havisham, to which our hero responds, “They call me Kain.” (Insert bad ass hero music here, or maybe some old spaghetti western melody.) He then proceeds to ask Havisham for directions, since he is hopelessly, stupidly, and miserably lost. Kain then plays nice and makes friends with the hobos, which is quite a sight. He even *almost* gets Havisham's name right. (Happersnatch? Hindenstitch?) They have a small area that is lit, and a shaman drew a circle around it to protect them from things that go bump in the night. However, as they were eating, several pairs of glowing red eyes shimmered menacingly in the darkness. Havisham, his eyes glowing crimson, explains that those eyes belong to the wolves of the night, who probably smell Kain's--uh--wolfiness(?) and perceive him as a challenge. Kain goes to meet them, and instead of challenging the leader, as he planned, the leader offers to let Kain hunt with them. Kain agrees, and the two share blood. Kain can now (temporarily) see in the darkness. Together, they hunt.

In the meanwhile, Sultrani follows a disguised fey descendant to find out his business. She was eyeing him suspiciously as he came into the Twookery, disguised. When he confronts Sultrani, however, he explains that he just “observes.” They have tea together, (I smell a date night!) and Sultrani hears from him that after the five mages were killed, a couple of things were stolen from the royal treasury, and there is much talk of political intrigue. He also tells her that the “purple mage” has been spotted in Kurahane. She gets a crap ton of information out of him, because he also warns her that the head of tarotteers—Maaton Quill—probably isn't happy with Twink's blatant use of the tarot cards. It tends to be a secretive thing. (Wait, what—Twink isn't covert?? No way.) She also, very subtly and usefully, discovers that a ship named the Dixie often flies to the storm god's pillow—you're welcome, Kain—and he'll also have to deal with lightning, rain, and wind that tears you to pieces. There is supposedly a sphere in the middle made of ariculum. You're doubly welcome, Kain. Yeah, that's right—while you were playing with wolves, Sultrani got business done. BAM!

As the sun shines once again over the city, Kain awakens with his face pressed against a hard surface. He's on top of a shattered tower overlooking the city. There are a lot of bird feathers around... and no birds. Hahahahahaha! Kain ate some birds. Mmmm. And he reeks. He tries to traverse down the tower, but he trips and falls, careens into a doorway, and interrupts the awkward lovemaking of starstruck teenagers. Mortified, they scramble to cover up and he exits the tower... but not before locking the door shut behind him on the poor, now-trapped lovers.

Twink meets with Kalabar to discuss the upcoming adventure, and on his way back Kain gets into a street fight with some motherfucker. He kills the poor SOB outright, and soon is arrested and chained. Luckily, the guards that came to arrest him are Hyrkallen, so they try to resolve the situation as easily as possible. However, he is taken into custody. Soon, a hobbit comes into the cell with him (from Kalabar) and offers him a deal: he keeps Twink safe, and Kalabar helps him out. In a moment of rare compassion and solemness, Kain swears, “God help those who harm her, because you won't kill me before I get to them.” So the hobbit (a big, burly fellow named Nike) helps Kain escape. (You're welcome. Again.) Kain trims up, changes his appearance, and gets a tattoo on his head. I'm sure it increases his already debonaire appearance.

Sultrani, in the meantime, goes to see Simik, who owns a bad ass sky ship made from the Yggdrasil tree. He offers to have dinner with her so they can discuss possibly taking our lovely heroes to the storm god's pillow. She also wheedles out of him some information on equipment that would help them with the lightning. (Takin' care of business, it's all right! Takin' care of business, and workin' overtime...)

In the preparations for the journey, our group (with the help of Kalabar) learns about the storm god that used to reside at the storm god's pillow. He was put to sleep, supposedly, and some say the northern god Eru and Borius came together to birth the storm god. It was an old elven god originally, most say. There have been dozens of attempts to fly through, but most are utterly destroyed. Watchers of the Mist is an organization that has humans that can sense their way through the heavy fog of the Misty Sea. There's one of the Watchers that has reputedly traversed some of the storm god's pillow, and his name is Abdopale.

Through gathering information, we discover the beast we're looking for has four wings, flies quickly, and eats lightning, and it is one of two beasts: either a relquin, which is pale blue hairless creature that uses tech to absorb lightning and attacks ships, or a singular being known as the Fifth Reaver. It eats lightning, and it's a mix between a draconic being and a plumed bird. We need to retrieve the artifacts, some rods of the Ho'Hanari, that the creature stole. We decide it's basically the Fifth Reaver, and go searching for the sage named Aegan to give us more information on the beast.

Kain travels to the home of Aegan to set an appointment, and is waylaid by the stuffy doorman--who we discover later is actually Aegan's son. He tries to prove that he is interesting enough to see Aegan, and bribes the doorman with information about Mearoc and one of the firstborn of the dwarves. He agrees to let Kain see the sage under the condition that he brings proof of his tales, and that he brings his two companions.

Twink keeps arranging things in the shape of a horn or a shell, and she also forms dessert into a mountain range. Clearly her visions are speaking to her subconsciously.

In the morning, Twink happily and busily bakes some muffins while Sultrani slurps her tea, and the group travels to Aegan's tower. As they climb to his room, Sultrani's little secret friend tells her that every element is present in the room, guarding the sage. The sage tells us that the visions Twink has been having are signifying the Schorchar Horn over the Prismatic Mountains, which delights Twink as she absentmindedly fondles the pure golden strands in her hair. Kain tells the sage his stories, and he in turn tells us of the Fifth Reaver. It is very individualistic and fickle, and takes trophies to remind itself of historical events it was part of. While he learns of the creature, Twink goes to look into the two mirrors, which are the Time elemental. They show her possible futures of herself. In one, she has an eye patch and is surrounded by brownies.

(The brownie pirates be very feared in some parts of the world, arrr! Eat me brownies—I made them with me booty! But 'twas so hard to bake with me hook!) Ok, so wrong brownies. Twink kind of has a one-track mind when it comes to food.

Aegan tells them each about something important. To Twink, he gives advice to find all the metal waters; she may be surprised when she does. To Sultrani, he says, “The steps of Vritz are in the north, and follow the path that is only apparent to you.” He also says, “Do you know that your mother betrothed her firstborn as a pledge to someone?” Sultrani raises an eyebrow and sips her tea. She refuses to look into any of the mirrors in the room.

Twink asks Aegan about Dead Elf Hill, and how she can help. She needs to remind the ghosts of war and battle what it is like to be home. Yet, she needs to improve her skills before she attempts this quest. She sulks a little at this, but is making plans to research these ghosts and find a way to help them.

Aegan also explains to Kain that soon, he will have a tough decision to make--to walk on the path destined for him on his own feet, or keep the marks of the gods...

After many thanks, they leave and prepare to board the ship. They take a couple of days and fly to the storm god's pillow after some heavy preparation, and Twink spots a web-like pattern of lightning in the clouds...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Game Session 1/25/2012: A Long-Awaited Reunion

We begin our latest tale with a chubby, well-dressed hobbit who is washing up from a long day of cooking and forced laughter. Her blonde curls, perfectly kept, frame her face as she looks into a mirror and sighs. She looks across her room at the beautiful silk armor hanging lifelessly from a dummy, then glances at the desk. Something there makes a wistful smile cross her face, and she walks over and picks up a small, lovely flower. She looks out her window into the night, sighs once more, than falls asleep in her comfortable bed with the same wistful smile. If you look closely, you can see the small flower clutched in one chubby, garden-weathered fist.

As the morning comes, Twink wakes up, stretches empty hands to the ceiling, and grins broadly into the sunshine peering through her window. Feeling very springy and optimistic, she begins to sing as she prepares to open her bakery for the morning rush. As she traverses down the stairs, however, she notices people coming through the front doorway soaking wet. A storm has sprung up out of nowhere in Talismonde, so it seems....

Meanwhile, Mergeddon, Kain's guide for the Quest of a Thousand Battles, uses a tarot card to pull them both into the town of Talismonde. Mergeddon needed to see a friend, so after getting rooms at a local hostel, Kain left to visit Twink's establishment.

A large, hairy figure darkened the bakery's doorway--but instead of a growl or a demand for money, as most expected, the only noise was the sound of thunder and Twink's ecstatic squealing. Twink quickly pulled him into the breakfast nook for some privacy--merely for conversation, of course, as the patrons' not-so-subtle insinuations went totally over her head. This was to the chagrin of Aglyn, Twink's grunting, no nonsense hobbit bodyguard, who watched Kain warily as he balanced darts on each of his fingertips on one hand. 

Soon, however, the scent of tea wafted through the air as Sultrani entered the scene. A force to be reckoned with, she chose to appear to her long-lost comrades, silent and radiating with a quiet authority and sense of power. Not noticing this, as she never did, Twink was beside herself with happiness and almost danced with excitement. Even the grizzled Kain seemed to be grudgingly grinning. Twink took this opportunity to show her friends her accomplishments, and led them in a personal tour around her restaurant. As they approached the hearth, however, an earthquake seemed to strike the area, and a sense of foreboding hit the party as five fey seemed to appear from nowhere in battle-ready stances. They were confused for a moment, but quickly regained control as they attacked our heroes, shouting, "There he is! It's Kain! It's the target!"

Unfortunately, our heroes were, admittedly, a bit rusty. Twink, to her shame, was practically useless in the battle, and ended up being a hair's breath away from death. Kain, as well, faced a great deal of hardship. Eventually, after fending off the talented spellcasters and formation attacks of the five fey, the heroes emerged from the singularity victorious--if not unscathed. This was also thanks to Aglyn, who, Twink was surprised to discover, is a void for magic, and therefore was able to free them from their magical prison.

Later, after the crowd is done fawning and coddling Twink, the friends discuss why fey might be after Kain. He knows it is from a recent battle, but is not sure which of his legendary victories has offended the fey. He, of course, shrugs it off while Twink worries and blabbers and Sultrani silently contemplates. Kain's presence that close to the bound was what got them sucked in, as well. 

Twink then shows her comrades around her sky garden, which is held in the sky by magic and absorbs a great deal of her profits from the restaurant with its magical upkeep. As some of her patrons and restaurant workers show up to remind her of all her responsibilities, she bursts into tears. They are mortified and quickly leave, but this has spurned Twink to suggest returning to Oosla Dawn to escape and relive some past glories. 

They get there by using Twink's tarot card, and they quickly find that the tarot shrine is protected by massive cobwebs and entrance to the shrine is prohibited (at least for Twink.) The house is not happy with Twink and Kain, since their visits have been few and far between. While Twink cooks dinner and sends Kain in to bathe (wet dog smell is just not appealing), Sultrani meditates in her room. After a delicious dinner, some training (and flailing) on Kain's part, and a very girly slumber party (in which Twink braids Kain's hair), the group turns in for the night and falls asleep, quite content.

In the morning, Twink goes into the kitchen to begin cooking breakfast, and lo and behold--Mergeddon is at the table in a bit of a cranky mood. It seems Kain left for the night with no warning. He gives Twink some special spice smelling of cinnamon, which he received from Ella Lane (a famous chef from Telassa), and she decides to bake some very special waffles to celebrate the group reuniting. 

As she waffles finish, she patters through the house calling for Kain and Sultrani (Kain insists she picks some flowers for Mergeddon to appease him), and the four sit down to breakfast. The waffles are so good that no one can resist, and soon they all scarf them down. Afterwards, they discover from Mergeddon that the spice Twink used has the ability to change your destiny...

Following breakfast, Mergeddon takes Twink to clean out the tarot shrine. As they do so, he tells Twink that he can no longer be Kain's guide, and he offers her the job. As she stands there, shocked, she sqeaks, "Is there anyone else who can do it?" Mergeddon looked at her grimly and responded, "Yes, but I can tell you that the alternative will not be good for him." With such a response, how could our gentle-hearted Twink say no?

As Mergeddon prepares to leave, he informs Kain that he cannot be his guide any more. While Kain is disappointed, Twink tries to pantomime to Sultrani that she's the new guide. Mergeddon breaks out some ages-old wine to toast to their futures, however, and Twink (being a light weight if there ever was one), blurts to Kain happily, "I'm your new guide!"

Kain's face, at this point, is utterly priceless. His jaw drops, his dark eyes widen, and he stands there shell shocked and speechless. The speechlessness, however, doesn't last long. "You're WHAT??" he cried, looking bewildered to Mergeddon. Mergeddon confirms this, and then takes a hasty exit. 

"It'll be great!" Twink gushes. "I'll be your guide and tell you all my visions and we'll work together!" She continues to babble happily as Kain buries his head in his hands and moans. Sultrani smiles broadly behind her upraised tea cup.

That night, Twink dreams that she is on a ship, and a storm begins beating down onto the water. The ship capsizes and she begins to drown...

Clawing at the air, Twink gasps and wakes, and quickly patters her little feet to Kain's door. She awakens the cranky beast, then tells him her dream and proceeds to meditate in his room as he grumbles and goes back to sleep. Twink then gets a vision: Jain is on a beach--a rocky coastline facing a sinking ship. On the ship is a black flag with a golden lion design. Jane tries to speak to Twink, but the storm is providing too much interference to be understood properly. Twink snaps out of the trance and hurries to shake a now very cranky Kain awake. She acts out everything that happened in a very dramatic and excited fashion, and at Jain's name, Kain snaps to attention. 

******(At this point, if Mark wants to add the visions in detail, he is more than welcome. I don't have them in my notes, and I know he took detailed notes on this part.)******

After many other confusing, disjointed visions--all of which Twink reenacted quite amusingly for Kain and Sultrani--it is clear that Kain needs to aid Jain in her battle against the undead Kelpie. After Twink's latest vision, a wicked storm brews outside the house and Sultrani's "special little wind friend" (that she still hasn't really told us about) becomes extremely agitated and goes outside, feeling very hostile. He battles the storm elemental and loses, and Sultrani uses her mile-step to pull him from danger. 

Meanwhile, Kain and Twink use the tarot Mergeddon left in the shrine to travel to the stormy, cold beach in which Jain is battling the undead horse. It is covered in the same tattoos as an elf in one of Twink's visions, so clearly the Kelpie is a puppet. In his sixteenth battle, Kain defeats his disgusting foe, and Twink learns that Jain is also going to help with Kain's journey. She is going to take a part in his guidance, much to Twink's relief. The waffles of fate--ha!--changed Jain's destiny, and she was able to come back from death. They also learn that the creature controlling the storm is called Shaelme, and he--it?--is a foe to be reckoned with. Her final words are for Kain: "Look for the green blade!"

When Twink and Kain return, the house (using a very cool sandbox) helps them to locate Sultrani. Twink takes an herb that allows her to become a kick-ass elemental and she and Kain travel the mountains in the distance until they find her. As they reunite, an elf with a raised eyebrow asks them politely what they're doing on his front step. Sultrani offers a brief, non-detailed (of course) explanation, and they are invited inside his home. He introduces himself as Bran, and as they share a Twink-prepared meal, 

After a sharing of tales, it is clear Bran is more than originally thought. Twink leaves him an herb--Green Gods, that she used to get up the mountain--and he, in turn, leaves her all he possesses in his minimalist lifestyle: a memory.