Rise and Fall of Arela

Session 29 Recap
Wait, where were we again?

Seeing the Keepers and skeletons milling about in the Causeway, Drael cast a Silent Image over the hallway to disguise their presence while Vyktor assessed the Antimagic field they had passed through. He determined that it would block the Cloudkill defenses that had just been activated, which left them a small amount of time to recuperate – assuming they weren’t noticed first.

Ignomine, still sapped by the effects of whatever was slowing his movements and reducing his strength, attempted to Lay on Hands to cure it. Attempts to cure Vyktor’s mother and Gabriel, the cleric of Abadar, likewise failed, indicating that what was plaguing them was not a disease or curse. In no immediate danger, the group decided to rest while Ignomine prayed to receive spells from Abadar, including the ability to Delay Poison.

The hour of preparation passed uneventfully, but moments after casting the spell the zombies reacted to the noise and use of holy energy, and a long prehensile tongue lashed through Drael’s illusion to strangle him. More of the zombies turned toward the commotion, and several Keepers erupted from the Croach and began dancing to alert the other Vord in the area.

Polycarp risked injury to shoot an adjacent zombie while Artas used Spider Climb to cling to the wall and splatter another zombie by falling like an avenging spiky-armored meteor. This didn’t stop the Keepers’ alert, so Drael sought to distract them by summoning a herd of horses to stampede through the area. Several of them fell as they were attacked, but it succeeded in mashing the Croach in a huge area and disguising their movements. The party maneuvered to mount the surviving horses and hopefully escape.

Ignomine, seeing that Delay Poison worked on his condition, casts it on Vyktor’s mother and Gabriel, allowing them to mount horses while the rest covered their retreat. Vyktor cast Silence to further dampen the Keepers’ knowledge of them, though Drael used the opportunity to shoot a Magic Missile through it and blast one of the Silenced Keepers. He then breathed a gout of flame on another, allowing a horse to escape, though another panicked and bolted into the dim distance. Down the causeway, the shrieking of Vord Knights mixed with the screaming of mangled horses.

Plague and Void Zombies swarmed the party, but a rejuvenated Ignomine wielding found armor and weapons was able to fight them off while the Cleric and Priestess fled on their mounts. Vyktor covered the vanguard, rushing ahead to clear the path. He cast Slow juast as he was noticed by the Vord Knights, but only managed to hit one of the four. They charged the half-drow, taking him to half health in a moment’s breadth. Artas used his Spider Climb to retreat, while Ignomine withdrew and Drael summoned more horses. Polycarp, trusting in his fleet feet, deals a devastating blow to one and a crippling shot to another.

As everyone caught up to Vyktor they realized they were helpless on horseback. Artas, thinking quickly, intimidated them with a glare to buy time. Raven entrances them with a spell, staggering one, while Polycarp finished off another. With the most dangerous warriors defeated the party fled, sacrificing more horses to the horde of undead and glowing green monsters.

They fled through the underground Causeway, dodging zombies and Keepers, until the reached a dead end blocked by what appeared to be a corrupted purple worm. It lay dormant, and beyond its slumbering hulk appeared to be a sealed an locked door – one closed and barricaded for centuries.

Polycarp continued his string of competence and bravado, racing back to draw off another Vord Knight, miraculously resisting its venom as he attacked it alone. Having drawn its attention, he sprinted back between Artas and Ignomine, ready to strike it as it passed them. Their prepared attacks pummel it to the gooey floor, and Artas finished it off with an executioner’s strike.

Their forward passage stymied, the group backtracked looking for other means of escape. Between the efforts of Vyktor’s mom, Raven, and Vyktor, they discover secret doorways almost invisible behind layers of grime and dust from centuries of neglect. The room contained two suspicious mounds. After sealing the doorway, they broke them open to reveal skeletons the immediately collapsed into dust, but left an Arelan Steel chain shirt and leg braces, and the corpse of a drow paladin skeleton with lots of gear. Seeing no other immediate options and reasoning the room had lain undisturbed for quite a while before now, the group settled down to rest and recuperate.

Rejuvenated and finally having a moment to take stock, the party decided to deal with some rather pressing issues that they hadn’t addressed in the panicked flight of their escape over the past few days. Drael still had his slave’s collar locked around his neck, and as they had no way of knowing when it could be used against them again they decided to take a gamble on removing it. The powerful enchantments and locks on it could only be removed by the slaver, but Polycarp was willing to try to remove it. With dextrous fingers he felt around the mechanism and just about had it… and then a blast of power struck down both Drael and Polycarp.

Ready for just such a disaster, the rest of the group sprung into action. Artas deftly sliced off Drael’s head, allowing Vyktor’s mother to remove the band. Gabriel replaced Drael’s head, and Ignomine and Vyktor both cast Breath of Life to restore their friends to life before their spirits had fully departed. Momentarily traumatized but otherwise ok, everyone decided to rest again while Vyktor explored a means of escape with an unsuccessful teleport.

Drael, only slightly discomfited by dying, being decapitated, and revived moments later, scouted invisibly in flight and discovered more hidden doors. Polycarp used Artas’ Spider Climb trick to unlock the door after a magical Open/Close attempt failed. Drael summoned horses to distract the shambling horde, leaving five Keepers and two Grave Knights facing the party. Drael tried to draw them off with an Aqueous Orb but only extracted one of the Keepers, leaving the others to spit their debilitating acid at him.

One of the Grave Knights slashed Ignomine, leaving him teetering until a rescue by Vyktor, and countered with a critical hit. Artas and Ignomine resume their Bro-Tank routine and manage to take one of the Grave Knights down with lots of fancy footwork. The other Grave Knight managed to take out Artas though, and a shadowy specter of the fighter immediately popped up in his place.

Drael is reduced to a drooling shambles by more Keeper venom draining his Wisdom, though his Aqueous Orb managed to pick up more Keepers before they could escape its range. Gabriel did what healing he could, while Polycarp’s sharp senses picked up the combat happening far in the distance and Spider Climbs back to the group. Vyktor revives Artas before the shade can act, to the relief of everyone in the party.

The Keepers continue trying to dance their alarm, but are successfully thwarted by the Aqueous Orb or others’ attacks. Polycarp finally arrived on the scene and immediately critted the surviving Grave Knight, shattering it and eviscerating a Keeper in quick succession. Everyone sprinted to the door, Ignomine making it moments before another attack, and just as Polycarp slams the door shut and disabled it.

The party then explored down the pitch-black hallway using a Light spell, shortly revealing a Seal of the Empire of Arela engraved into the floor. They discover a door Polycarp is amazingly unable to unlock, and Artas used his Arelan Steel greatsword to hack his way through. In the room are piles of rusted weapons and armor, a treasure chest with ancient platinum pieces in it, and a stairwell up to a block with a magical barrier on it. Vyktor studied it while the others explored, foolhardily disturbing a mummy and getting Artas blinded.

Drael held off until Ignomine was able to arrive, cast Haste on everyone, and then sent Raven to alert Vyktor to the danger. The mummy cast Greater Darkness, Ignomine took the front line but was unable to find the mummy. Searching for it, they open the door to reveal a room full of scaffolding, decaying banners, and words written in Undercommon saying “They left us behind” and “They ate ”/wikis/Telchin/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Telchin".

Just then, a Dread Vord Wraith burst through the wall and attacked Gabriel, just after Artas had left the room. The Mummy Lord rounded the corner and speared Drael, cursing him with mummy rot. Drael blasted him with his Dragon Breath in retaliation. Ignomine finally manages to get into the hallway and chops the mummy in half. Gabriel blasts the wraith with Cure spells, distracting it while Polycarp sneaked in and unloaded a fullisade of arrows. Ignomine kept it pinned with a savage slash long enough for Drael to finish it off with a Magic Missile.

The party continued to tentatively explore the ruined hallways only to get blasted by a burst of lightning, sending the group scattering. Some hide while others dodge behind the apparatus until Polycarp succeeds in disabling it. He then examines the hallway for more traps before discovering a small, loose floor tile hiding a small tunnel. The rogue squeezed himself down, sees ghostly shapes floating towards him from the corners, and yells for the group to yank him up. Thankfully the specters stop at the border of the room, allowing Artas to make his way in there and finish them off without danger to the rest of the party.

Free of hostiles, the party crept into the room and reveal wards written by ancient drow. The two doors in the room are revealed to be trapped, nearly killing some of the party members. Ignomine channeled divinity to heal the party, and the group decided to leave well enough alone and not risk opening a hole into the Underdark. They climbed back up out of the hole and try to go through the stuck door.

Inside the room is an ancient siege engine, partially disassembled. They explored the rooms, Polycarp unlocking several doors as they are found. Behind one is the distinctive green glow of the Croach. A quick round of preparations by Vyktor later they burst through the door, revealing four Vord Knights. Polycarp’s ambush blast devastated one of them, while Artas terrified them, Drael summoned his laser light show of Lantern Archons, Ignomine Smote one down, and Polycarp slays the last with a Bleeding wound.

Session 28 Recap
"I said I'm not dead yet"

In the midst of the battle in the hallway, Vyktor healed Artas enough for him to regain consciousness. As he did so, the Cacodaemon that appeared when he was shot disappeared. He also de-gassified Ignomine, who tried to heal his staggered condition with a Lay on Hands, but to no effect. Otherwise useless for battle without equipment, without spells, and crippled by whatever was afflicting him, Ignomine picked up Vyktor’s mother.

Meanwhile, a Hawk familiar that had been snooping around invisibly during the battle and delivering a Touch of Idiocy to Vyktor was Glitterdusted, which allowed Polycarp to unload a fullisade that took the raptor out. Far in the distance (from the direction of the fireballs) the party heard a scream of rage and pain with its death. Polycarp once again mentioned chicken wings.

With Artas awake, he managed to struggle to his feet and then unleash a wave of destruction on the Terracotta Soldiers, smashing them to bits. One of them started glowing and vibrating alarmingly, which was Artas’ cue to bail – good thing too, because the explosion took out the other damaged soldiers.

The Wall of Stone that Drael threw up to block the hallway was successful in delaying the cavalry, enough that those with spellcraft heard the use of a Disintegrate spell to bore a hole through it – and then a curse as they ran into a second Wall of Stone blocking their passage.

Vyktor continued to delay many of the soldiers with a zone of Black Tentacles, forcing the spellcasters to waste more spells dispelling them and struggling in the attempt. Raven dropped a layer of Grease, and three more stone walls blocked the second hallway. A summoned Azata Bralani archer harried the casters, shooting them to interrupt their spells and waste more resources that would otherwise be used to hurt the party. Inside the room also stood a massive construct, not unlike the one that they had found below the cottage some time ago. It looked recently repaired.

The three casters in the large room, two of whom carried sticks of some kind and one with a pouch and white robe, then vanished. The Bralani pursued them via their presumed escape route down the stairs, but triggered a trap, then disappeared through an antimagic field. Artas followed to see what happened and barely dodges the trap. As he came back a secret panel in the stairwell opened, allowing a black-robed person to attack Artas… but poisoning himself on the armor’s spikes in the process. The attack staggered Artas, but his counterattack rejuvenated him, allowing to follow up with an even more devastating blow. The black robe falls and tries to counter, only to be finished off with one final strike by Artas.

This entire time allowed Ignomine, struggling from weakness and carrying Vyktor’s mother, to shuffle across the room. Informed by Artas of what lay ahead, he turns back to help the others, and slowly shuffled his way back.

Polycarp meanwhile was hurriedly unlocking doors hoping to find gear to help in their escape or else restore the party to some semblance of competence; instead, he found a room full of those greenish zombies chained to the walls and tables full of notes and various devices. He looted the notes and metal bits, but gets cursed in the process.

Back in the hallway, Raven’s Grease spell proved prophetic as some Rock elementals merge their way through the wall but slip and fall before they can attack the party. Another of the walls explodes after several fireball blasts to reveal a group of human soldiers. At the far end of the large room, the large hangar doors that everyone managed to miss opened up to reveal a zombie troll with metallic plates welded onto its body, a hammer for a left arm, and a strange pipe-like device for its right arm.

Ignomine, sensing an opponent he might actually have a chance against, declared his smite and began to shuffle towards the undead troll. Vyktor then shut him within a Resilient Sphere, leaving a disappointed by relieved half-orc. Unfortunately, a battle mage made his way through the same secret panel that the black robe had used, allowing him to attack Vyktor with a fireball. Polycarp exacted his revenge with another devastating volley of arrows, taking him out in a single round. Ignomine began shuffling back to the group.

Back in the hallway with the slippery earth elementals, Drael tosses them hither and yon with an Aqueous Orb, making the world’s worst dirt-flavored salad dressing. He also summons a Stone Call, pelting the soldiers with rocks and making their motion slowed and laborious… but also unfortunately releasing one of the chained undead.

Then a voice came echoing through the hallways, booming through magically enhanced means. “I am ”/wikis/Adhac%20Yaman/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Adhac Yaman, leader of this facility, and you will be taken alive." The walls began rumbling, and apparently some device countermeasures were in the process of being activated. The soldiers had also made a quick retreat, leaving them alone.

Polycarp made a hasty investigation of the zombie room, revealing that it too lead to an anti-magic field. Vyktor meanwhile looted the copious pile of notes of the massive construct in the main room and inscribe an invisible Arcane Mark in a hidden location in the hopes of tracking it at some point in the future. Drael and Vyktor cast Haste and Bull’s Strength on Ignomine, at least allowing them to all flee down the stairwell just as the countermeasures were about to fire.

They rushed through the antimagic field, though Artas curiously had to force his way through as if something was repelling his progress. On the other side the party saw a tunnel looking like it lead to another one of the underground Great Causeways, this one with more of those shambling green corpses and what appeared to be (currently) quiescent Vord.

The question now was, how were they going to get out of this new debacle?

The College of Kharlin
Where the group ponders ethics for no reason

Like any good prison breakout movie, we didn’t go in a linear, one story arc. We took three tacks because, as you will see, separating the party is really the best way to go about screwing everybody over.e
We decided to take three different routes.
1. Temple Travels – Vyktor, Iggie and Artas were going to go to the Temples of Alion and Abbadar to try to talk to the high priests about Vyktor’s mom and the horrible, magic box.
2. Follow that Man – Drael was going to go stalk Arden and see if he could figure out any info on the restricted space of the college for intel on the whereabouts of Vyktor’s mom.
3. Sneaky shit is best – Polycarp entered the undercity for three goals
a. Find a back way into the tower
b. Find a map of the college
c. Find out who killed his parents and why
Scene 1:
Vytkor, Iggie and Artas (now known as VIA) head to the Temple of Alion, but nobody was really home. All the clerics have left the city and have headed north.
In the Temple of Abbadar, they see the head dude, but he is speaking to some richies. Vyktor slides over and creeps on their personal space so that eventually the priest talks to them and the richies take a hike.
The high priest unsurprisingly doesn’t believe anything they have to say about Vyktor’s Mom, the box or the gubmint of Kharlin being sons of bitches. He says, “Vyktor’s mom is a traitor. Oh shit, you’re a paladin of Abbadar! You ain’t going nowhere.” And tells them that he’s going to go check on the box and seals and check out the story. And he says when he saw the box last time, there were four seals left unopened. And Iggie can’t leave the temple until he gets back because they’re going to use him as a healing machine.
Scene 2:
Drael stalks Arden at the college, bumps into him and invites Arden to dinner to talk about ruins and shit. Oh, and constructs we found in the temple near the cabin in the woods. Arden starts acting all sketchy and shit, but Drael rolls low and really thinks they’re hitting it off. Arden invites Drael back to the “lab” to see some things. I think this will end very well.
Scene 3:
Polycarp stakes out a spot in the undercity near the college. When a mark, I mean student, comes out of the college and into the undercity, he creeps behind him, steals his notebook and then tells the kid that he found his notebook on the ground. They talk and it turns out kid works in a bar. They go to a bar filled with Drow. Polycarp buys rounds of drinks for a group of Drow. After some small talk, Polycarp asks them if they know how to get into the school from the undercity. One knows “a guy.” The bartender overhears all this and Polycarp makes a side deal with him to get people who can get into the restricted area. Kid says nobody likes him. Polycarp asks if they’re going to have any trouble. Kid says no.

Scene 1:
Vyktor fakes his way into the library and they go about looking for a map of the college. Artas acts all creepy and shit at these guards in the special section of the library. “Hey, you take anybody back there you’re not supposed to??”
Vyktor reads a book.
Scene 3:
Drow take Polycarp to they guy and he pays down some gold and they find the dude. Polycarp makes a deal with the drow and finds the door.
Polycarp then decides to try to find the crew and hires a kid named Mouse to search the temple area. Finds out that they went to the college. Polycarp asks Mouse if he has any friends he can trust. So now Polycarp has six street urchins under his payola.
As Polycarp hangs out in front of the college waiting for the crew, he sees soldiers approaching. He thinks, “WHAT DID YOU DO, RAY!!!”
On their way out, Vyktor and Artas see all the soldiers and wonder if they are for them or not? Not taking any chances, Vyktor makes them invisible and they climb over the wall on the opposite side and head back to the flop house.
Scene 3:
Polycarp is bored. Goes back into the undercity and has some beers and walks back and forth from bar to station and finds nothing. Head back to flophouse.
At the flophouse:
With the crew – Drael back at the flophouse, C3PO narcs that the dragon left and flew around the city and ate a goat. Also, is he becoming more dragony or Vardy? No Drael. [editor’s note: I don’t remember exactly what happens in the room, but the party – Drael decides to head for the college).
In the undercity:
The party makes its way back to the drow bar the next day, waiting for the college kids. They come. Polycarp makes a scene. They steal their signets and Vyktor scrambles their brains and make the bartender kid look like aces. Who cares, off to the college…..
As they make their way to the door, Polycarp sneaks up and sees two guards. Polycarp tell the group and says, I’ll take them out. Artas, playing the part of Iggie, balks and says no way, let’s talk to them. Polycarp can’t believe his ears. Vyktor has a moral dilemma and asks Raven to do something which she refuses. The conversation goes on for a long time with some other strategies like making Polycarp invisible and knocking them out. Suddenly, Vyktor snatches Raven and thrusts her into his bag of holding and says to Polycarp, “Do it.”
Polycarp needs no other invitation. He sneaks up and let’s a barrage of arrows into the unsuspecting guards….only to find out they are clockwork constructs! All that moral mumbo jumbo for nothing.
The battle is fierce! Artas is knocked out not once by twice! But the team prevails.
Polycarp makes easy work of the door and they are in the bottom basement of the college with the spiral staircase in the middle.
I’m getting tired of typing so I’ll make this quick.
Up stairs.
Fight two guards who have magic. Polycarp does so much damage to one that he falls over and bleeds to death. Glorious.
Through that room is a hallway. Then they are confronted by an Aqueous orb and two dire gorillas. Then spiders. Then Polycarp and Vyktor are Glitteredusted. IT’S DRAEL! He has a magic collar on his neck!! He tells the party, “I don’t want to hurt you, you should just go!”
Vyktor casts dispel evil on him and frees him of his domination.
Polycarp finds Vyktor’s mom, unlocks the door (but trips an exploding trap which does not hurt him! HA!). Priest of Abaddar and Iggie are in other cells. They are all naked. Vyktor’s mom has collar. Raven flies into cells of priest and iggie and turns them into gaseous form and uses her little wings to get them out.
Meanwhile, after 1000000000 perception checks, Artas hears a noise coming from a door. He doesn’t open it and then 3 clay constructs come out. Then he is hit by a fireball from down the other end of a hallway and is knocked out again. Polycarp is dragging naked Vyktor’s mom while he and Drael are trying to help Artas.
I think that is where we left it. Some other stuff happened, but this is the main parts. Feel free to amend whatever I have messed up.
Quote of the night for me:
Tyler: “I like this side of Polycarp.”

Session 26 Recap
We're always been in Kharlin and at war with East Asia

In the Temple of Calistria

The party awoke to find that Drael had absconded, leaving behind only a clumsy note that said he was conducting some secretive business, to trust him, and that he was doing it for the benefit of the whole party. Without any way to do anything about it the remaining party members continued about their business in the city, liquidating some items and purchasing any weapons or components they needed.

Vyktor, after his first successful attempt to scry on his mother and failure to contact her, resolves to try again the next day. His attempt is successful, and he is able to get what limited information she knows. Her captors have been very careful to limit what they tell her, but she’s been able to piece together that they want her, as high priestess of Calistria, to remove a seal on some kind of chest. Currently there are three seals remaining of the original nine: Calistria, Abadar, and Alion. Her prison seems to be part of the original Kharlin infrastructure with added wards to prevent detection from outside, which is why Vyktor had such difficulty scrying on her. They’ve also put her in manacles to prevent her spellcasting, and that one of her interrogators (none of which she has seen) sounded highly educated.

While this was going on, Ignomine decided to take a risk and go about the city to gather information. Kharlin isn’t the most hospitable to non-humans, but he was able to learn a few things. First, that the Kharlin military was in the process of eradicating the goblinoids in the area so that they could eventually march in force to Shivar. There were also rumors of some secret weapon or surprise attack in the works, though specifics were scarce. There was also word that the Order of Alion had recalled all its members in the city to the North, though for what reason was left unsaid.

Furthering their attempts to discover Vyktor’s mother’s whereabouts, Polycarp trailed the interrogator in Vyktor’s mission back to a guard shack. Unable to enter the heavily guarded structure, he executed a plan to disguise himself as a guard and infiltrate the complex while it was less busy. With a help from a Disguise spell from Vyktor, Polycarp easily deactivated the lock and the alarm on the door and roamed about the structure. Its only occupant was a lieutenant asleep in a side room; Polycarp deftly jammed the lock, then went about ransacking the evidence locker for jewels. His attempts to follow the interrogator’s path downstairs were stymied by a gate, however, and in his attempts to deactivate the gate he accidentally tripped an alarm. His forethought jamming the door was rewarded and he escaped before the boots upstairs arrived, and his burglary of the jewels gave an obvious motive for the break-in.

Seeking a new angle to try to find his mother’s location, Vyktor decided to scry on the interrogator seen in his vision. Using a sketch provided by Raven and description from Polycarp, his attempt located his target… but triggered some kind of magical defense. The scry failed, and alerted the target that an attempt had been made from the Temple of Calistria. The party immediately bailed, leaving Raven behind to observe. Thankfully Polycarp in his paranoia had already reserved rooms in a flophouse, so the party was able to relocate without too much difficulty. Some ten to fifteen minutes later the city guard and the military showed up and ransacked the place. All the remaining occupants (mostly acolytes of Calistria) were rounded up and the Temple closed and boarded shut.

Not long after that, a man in leather armor and carrying a sword began patrolling in the area immediately around the Temple, carring a sign that said “Ignomine”. Fearing a trap, Polycarp volunteered to go investigate. The man turned out to be wearing a slave collar and had been purchased by a “Vandelay”, then told to go into the service of a guy called Ignomine that would be somewhere around the Temple of Calistria. Still suspicious, Polycarp stole the scroll tube at his belt and dashed off – though not before more than two dozen archer guards popped up from the rooftops and managed to fill him full of crossbow bolts. In the safety of the room they discovered a standard slave contract and a note from Vandelay – but a hunch from Vyktor revealed that Drael’s original message, which had appeared clumsy at first glance, apparently spelled out “Vandelay” with the first letters of each line. With that reassurance, Ignomine returned to the slave (now talking with the guards) and explained that it was all a misunderstanding. The guards, though peeved that they had broken cover for what turned out to be a mistake, left them alone. The slave, who revealed his name to be Monte Crow, seemed enamored to finally meet Ignomine, who “Vandelay” had talked up quite a bit. “Is it true you really slew a dragon?” he asked in breathless awe. It took some time to explain Ignomine’s exasperated sigh.

After quite a bit of explaining to clear everything up, and Monte discovering that he might have been better off in the fighting pits or as a mining slave after all, the party decided to return to the airship for preparations. GS343, in discussions with Artas and Vyktor, work out a plan to use the infrastructure of the city to find Vyktor’s mother. It turns out that any registered citizen could be tracked while they were within the confines of the city. Since they knew that his mother was clearly near some original construction, they set about adding her to the registry. Unfortunately, without some of his mother’s blood or skin, they couldn’t add her directly, so they worked out a plan to add Vyktor and Raven and track her as a blood relative. One vicious stabbing of Vyktor, and a tiny self-inflicted droplet from Raven later, GS343 had the information to add them to the registry. However, they would have to access the infrastructure terminals directly to do any tracking, so the construct would have to go into the city in “person”.

A surprise came in the form of the dragon arriving and announcing that it too wanted to tour the city. Given its recent interactions with Ignomine the party was apprehensive, to say the least, but in the end decided to take the dragon with them. With the addition of GS343 this caused complications with being able to teleport everyone there, to say nothing of how obvious and distracting the two hangers-on would be. The solution turned out to be letting Raven teleport one group on behalf of Vyktor while he took the next one. GS343 revealed he could fold up to the size of a small box or chest, and the dragon (after some haggling) acquiesced to being stored in the bag of holding for the duration of the tour. Thankfully their selling spree earlier had left enough room to accommodate it, but just barely – there was definitely a fear that if the dragon succumbed to Vord influence while they were there, the party would be in serious trouble and potentially jeopardizing Vyktor’s mother and the rescue attempt.

The party (Artas, Ignomine, Polycarp, Vyktor, GS343, and dragon) teleported into a marketplace close to one of the walls late at night, and with the help of an Invisibility Sphere spell avoided attracting any notice in the deserted bazaar. GS343 directed them to one of the towers set into the wall, and the group made it stealthily past the two guards athwart the entrance despite Ignomine scraping noisily at the last moment. Several flights of spiral stairs down later, GS343 indicated one of the access terminals a short distance away, locked behind a portcullis. The dragon surprised everyone by revealing that this terminal was inactive, or at least had been the last time Vord had been here. Polycarp was able to find the portcullis controls with help from the construct, and interfacing with the terminal confirmed it was indeed not responding. Luckily GS343’s role was in maintaining infrastructure and repairing it would not be an issue, but it would require two hours worth of repairs. Polycarp lowered the portcullis, Vyktor cast Silent Image to hide their presence by the terminal, and the two hours passed uneventfully.

When it came time to locate Vyktor and Raven’s mother, GS343 continued to emphasize that he wasn’t sure he could even do it – but the party ordered him to soldier on, and with that, the construct attempted to locate her. Success! She was located in one of the sub-basements of what was known as the Mammartine Tower, what had once been used as a prison within the fortifications of the old city but was now in use as the College of Kharlin. This matched the description she had mentioned of an educated voice interrogating her.

Now came the issue of how to escape. Vyktor had exhausted most of his spells getting them there and remaining unobserved, so there was no way to get everyone out invisibly. Polycarp elected to sneak up, tap both guards on the shoulder, and then launch himself off into the darkness. The party followed as soon as the two guards were out of sight, only for the entire wall to light up and orders to halt echoed down from the ramparts. They dodged into an alleyway, and a sudden BOOM and the crackle of ozone revealed that the dragon had protected their retreat with a massive lightning strike. Presuming Polycarp had gotten away (he is rather good at protecting his own hide) the remaining three party members and two exotics tried to non-chalantly return to the flophouse… only to be stopped by a Kharlin military patrol of eight soldiers.

Knowing that in all likelihood they’d be detained and questioned, Vyktor summoned a swarm of black tentacles to restrain them, enduring several javelin strikes to continue casting through the pain. The dragon, for its part, launched another bolt of lighting at the leader. Artas then stepped up and, summoning his most fearsome aspect and commanding voice, ordered the soldiers to stand down or else be killed. Attacked, in the night, by only three strangers that had a dragon and summoned a swarm of black tentacles currently strangling and beating his soldiers, the lieutenant relented, Vyktor dismissed the tentacles, and the two groups swiftly went their separate ways.

Once back at the flophouse the group took a moment to recover. Vyktor made a Sending to Drael to inform him of their whereabouts and progress, and Drael responded that he’d meet up with them. Once there, he informed the party of his activities:

  • He’d tried to find slaves that worked in the Keep, but had little luck
  • He also took a tour of the College, and learned they had a high-security area
  • He identified Ormal Ardem, an old aquaintance from the battle at the Ruins, as having access to this secret area
  • He also learned the College was working on or repairing some kind of massive construct, possibly one like they’d discovered in the tunnels, possibly the weapon they were planning to use in the attack on Shivar.

Given this intelligence, the group thought it prudent to inform Gaius Cerris of what they had learned, using their Decanter of Endless Water and his signet coin in order to contact him and relay all that they knew. Now it was time to figure out how they would infiltrate the College and rescue Vyktor’s mother.

Session Recap
Another Big Fight: Death Metal Snow Globe Edition

Below is an outline of a session recap.

- Lots and lots of encounter prep. Artas and Iggy turn into Inflatable Tube Men.
- Drael summons the Screaming Eagles which immediately get Fingered to Death while the Caller in Darkness scares the pants off 2 others.
- Artas and Iggy hang out.
- Mummies and Ghouls appear.
- Vyktor casts BLACK TENTACLES followed by Eredris’ Fireball. Everything dies.
- Polycarp sneaks into a building and finds some Mummies. Mummies also find him.
- Artas and Iggy hang out some more.
- Drael initiates “Operation Disco Pete”. Eredris follows suit.
- The Daemon flies into the air and curses the mortals.
- The Caller in Darkness begins swallowing Archons. One is reduced to blithering stupidity.
- Artas gets bored and steps out to taunt the Daemon. It is pants-shittingly effective. Luckily Vyktor is protecting them from….everything.
- Wraiths walk right past Polycarp and don’t notice him. The Mummies, however, give Polycarp a hug and he begins to rot (not that you’d notice).
- Raven comes to Polycarp’s rescue, turning him invisible.
- Polycarp buggers out through the back door.
- Skeleton Archers “hut-hut-hut” their way out onto a ledge a the far end of the room.
- Drael says “Hey guys, what about Aqueous Orb?” The rest of the party rolls their eyes. The skeletons roll in the ball of water. Drael proceeds to create the most metal snow globe ever.
- Whiskers enter the fray and starts attacking the ghouls. Stock in Blend-Tech™ goes down.
- The ghouls and mummies begin running past Whiskers. Mummy and Ghoul bits stop running past whiskers.
- Artas and Iggy are being mostly ineffective against the Daemon. Iggy because of the daemon’s displacement and Artas because he just sucks at hitting things.
- Vyktor curses the tits off The Caller in Darkness who spends the next 3 rounds with its thumb up its butt.
- Polycarp begins rummaging through the rubble with Raven looking for the thing.
- The Caller in Darkness breaks through the curse and charges Vyktor who becomes grappled.
- Eredris readies his action to activate Anti-Magic Field if Vyktor can get free.
- Vyktor, via some magical bait and switch, slips out of the clutches of the Caller of Darkness. Eredris pops his Anti-Magic Field and the Caller in Darkness is squashed into the Incorporeal plane.
- The party begins unloading on the Daemon and it goes down in short order, but not before targeting Eredris, who succumbs and whose healing is complicated by the Anti-Magic field
- The party cheeses the fight with the Caller in Darkness by playing Eredris shuffle-board
- The rest of the room is ransacked, except for a few of the closed-off buildings that smell bad
- The party returns to the not-robot and they proceed to power junction. What’s your function?
- The not-robot tells the party that they have 3 minutes to decide how to redistribute power to the walls, and that whatever they choose there is a chance that the walls and any thing they draw power from could be unpowered completely.
- The Party decides to draw power from the docks.
- With bated breath and clenched assholes the party watched Vyktor and Eredris fiddle with the magical components.
- To the party’s great relief Vyktor managed to not blow everyone/everything up and saved the day. Both the Walls and the Docks continue to function.

Session 23 Recap
The Best Laid Plans...

We rejoined our stout party sitting outside a shattered section of ancient causeway as they dithered over how to avoid painful death. All manner of schemes, plots, and machinations were considered, rejected, reconsidered, ejected, unconsidered, abjected, re-reconsidered, until finally the party was tired and decided to have Dreal drop a bunch of rocks on the skeletons and then go to bed.

Artas, being the ever helpful party member but lacking the senses to be useful, told the group to wake him up if anything tried to kill them. Polycarp, while often less helpful but always more perceptive, stood watch. Not long into the night a number of ghoul wolves, responding the racket of a small avalanche in the causeway found their way into the party’s camp. Not having slept a full night, Ignomine was more than happy to unload the remainder of his holy power onto these poor wolves, who clearly had no idea with whom they were fucking. Polycarp turned the wolves into veritabe pin cushions, while Ignomine landed bowel shaking critical hits rendering at least one wolf into a fine powder. Luckily, for the party Artas was able to shake himself awake and lumber into battle just in time for some kill-stealing douchebaggery. And with that the party returned to slumber.

The next morning, the party continued to hone their plan to razor sharp precision. Everyone had a role to play and everyone knew their role inside and out. The party had considered every outcome and developed contingencies for eventuality. They were ready and stepped confidently into the corridor.

…And everything went to shit. Ignomine and Artas clanged and rattled their way through the rubble alerting every unliving thing of their presence. Ignomine was immediately greeted with the pitter-patter of arrows as they bounced off his armor. Drael, with a strong desire not to get shot with arrows, asked Vyktor if he had Fireball prepared. Vyktor scoffed and then chuckled in that way that only Wizards about to cast fireball can chuckled at which point a dozen or so skeletons disappeared in a blaze of fire and light.

Artas and Ignomine began trudging their way up through the causeway until they were accosted the creepiest collection of junk either had ever seen. Was it carrying a doll? Is there an undead orphanage down here? Unfortunately, Ignomine could not answer that question as the creature quickly sucked the breath right out of him. The two mountains of muscles and metal commenced frantically beating the ever loving snot out of this scary child monster.

Spying two other creepy child monsters, Artas and Ignomine split up to help dispatch them. Artas and Polycarp pushed forward only to be met with a veritable horde of horrors. Five more ghoul wolves and two Minotaur wandered into the fight and there were sounds of heavy armor and air support coming as well.

Honestly, I don’t remember what happened to the Minotaur. I think there was a bathroom break and then when I came back the Minotaur were gone. I assume Polycarp brought the pain like he always does. I think at least one of them survived into the Graveknight fight, but I don’t recall.

Now up to this point, Drael had been invisible and spider-climbing his way along the ceiling summoning various things to aide in combat. Trying to be clever, Drael whips up an invisible air mephit with the hopes of sending it down to pick up their bauble so that they can bugger out. The one flaw in this plan was that whatever creature(s) that were farther down the hall seemed to see right through the invisibility and made short work of the mephit.

At this point, the heavy armor arrives in the form of two Graveknights. Well apparently, one of Draels Lantern Archons slept with the Graveknights sisters or something as he immediately blasted it with unholy acidic power. The other Graveknight, in classic “come at me bro” fashion, unloaded on Artas cleaving dozens of hit points from him. Artas looked down at his bleeding wounds with a “Tis but a scratch,” but deep down he knows that he’s in trouble.

Ignomine quickly took up arms against the first Graveknight, bringing more of his patented holy wrath, but the Graveknight had his number and quickly reduced his hp to sphincter frighteningly low values. Overcoming his BFG Anxiety, Artas unloads his Grasp of the Dead on the Graveknights, wolves, and straggling Minotaurs, in the hopes that he might cull the herd and turn things back in their favor. At this point, things are getting a little scary.

And thats when the Vord Knights show up. At this point Vyktor is done fucking around, no longer content to just throw out massive heal bombs, he whips out his massive black tentacles on the sorry SOBs. While their enemies are held by the Tentacles and the Skeletal Arm, Artas and Ignomineuse the distraction as to do a little self healing. Unfortunately, one of the Vord Knights is still running amok and starts charging the two guys with bows, who have been having a rough time penetrating the tough exterior of these armored foes. Polycarp and Godfrey made a speedy retreat, with Polycarp hoping to gain a sneaky advantage behind a conveniently placed pillar.

With nothing in front of him, one of the Vord Knights turns around to find another Void Knight struggling against a Graveknight. The Vord Knight happily renders aide to his embattled comrade. Artas watches in stunned silence as his two enemies pound on each other. Apparently, the Vord think that Artas is also a Vord, how convenient. Artas tries to back away slowly and let Polycarp plink the Vord in the back with Arrows.

I’m a little fuzzy as to what happened after this, mostly because I wasn’t there, but I can only assume that Artas struck the final mighty blow and the Vord Knight exploded pinata fashion and rained copious loot upon the party. To save the GM the hassle I will use my best judgment to decide the appropriate loot that Artas received.

Session 22 Recap
Understated Undercity Underdoings

The following is a faithful retelling of the events in the Undercity below Shivar. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. The events have been mis-remembered to protect the guilty.

Quint Strain’s daughter tells the party that the Shivars walls used to be magic, but they broke for some unknown reason. Its believed that the answer to the failure can be found in the Undercity but that no expedition has ever survived going down there. He is meeting with some representatives of Kharlin and Ceres in 3 days to decide the fate of the city. He plans to tell them to bugger off but can’t do that if the wall are shitty. So he tells the party to head on down to the undercity to figure out whats up with the walls. He lends his mage friend Eredris to the group for moral and magical support.

The party was lead to a hole in the ground below the city. The hole was deep, very deep, so naturally the party took a very cautious approach. Ropes were procured and measured while an order of operations was negotiated. As discussions continued Eredris mentioned that he would be float…wait…did Polycap just jump down the hole? Yes, yes that’s exactly what just happened.

Luckily, Polycarp was able to float himself safely to the bottom of the hole. Unluckily, Polycarp was not alone at the bottom of the hole. Electric shocks seemed to jump out of the darkness and slowly chipped away at the health of the noseless man. Being a quick minded individual, Polycarp lit himself a torch to see what was attacking him. Annnd, there was nothing to be seen, but the shocks still came fast and hot. Again, being a quick minded rational actor, Polycarp ran around the room aimless hoping to escape his invisible tormentors.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party was frantically climbing down the rope with the manic screams of Polycarp echoing around them. Eventually, Polycarp managed to make it back to the rope and attempted to climb away from the creatures. Polycarp coming up and the party coming down along with the now visible Wisps resulted in a bit of a vertical traffic jam. Ignomine made the dramatic decision to extricate himself via a knee shattering Superhero landing, which turned out to be unnecessary once everyone remembered that Eredris’ feather fall could have been cast on the entire party. In the end, the wisps were destroyed and Polycarp was returned to health.

The party then set themselves to the task of wandering the undercity in hopes of finding their goal, so they picked a door at random and wound their way through its narrow corridors. It didn’t take long for that search to be interrupted by two rather large rock chewing creatures that Kool-aide manned their way through the walls. Again the party’s expert planning paid off as the creatures completely ignored the carefully arranged marching order and struck right for the soft innards of the party via the soft innards of Drael. Ignomine, lacking the ability to smite these creatures, hacked like an impotent lumberjack while Polycarp peppered the creature with arrows with marginally better effect. Artas managed to distract the remaining creature from mauling Drael long enough for the various magic users to obliterate it with magic missiles. Undettered by the Cronenbergian horror of the Zorn, the party marched on.

Until they hit a dead end. But there was loot there, so thats cool. I don’t recall what loot exactly, but there was definitely loot on a dead guy. Anyway, the party moved on.

After a bit of back tracking, the party stumbled into a room and were immediately set upon by another set of Xorn. This pair, however, was craftier…Well, at least one of them was. One of them stood in the doorway and got his mouthhole stomped in, while the other one Zoidberged his ass out via chewing into the wall. The party continued with their adventuring.

Somewhere in here, there was a room with a small 1ftx1ft hole near the ceiling. The party spent some time investigating it but found nothing.

And then the fucking spiders. A whole flipping room of spiders along with some weird spider queen. Vyktor walked into the room and promptly said “NOPENOPEBLACKTENTACLES!” Artas followed close behind with “OHSHITOHSHIT!SKELTONARMS”, followed closely with “dafuq did I just do?”. Needless to say the rest of the fight did not last long as the rest of the party mopped up the stragglers. Loot was collected from the creepy queen spider lady, and the party moved on.

Again choosing a door at random, the party soldiered on with their intrepid rogue leading the way checking for tra…..and the roof is trying to smash him…ninja juke out of the ro….and the floor dropping him into pit….double ninja juke over the hole. The rest of the party, on the other side of all of the traps found themselves at a loss for how to disarm them. Luckily Artas provided clear thinking and deep insight and ripped the whole damn door off. Problem solved.

By this time the party was getting kind of ancy. They chaffed at not having a clear direction and they almost missed the corpse stuffed in a cabinet in the next room of an empty room they were strolling through. Vyktor pulled the corpse from the cabinet and found a map of the dungeon. The guy was clearly a member of a previous expedition that was less than successful, but the notes on his map gave some good direction on where not to go. Also, there were a bunch of weird notes about cats.

With the Map in hand, the party avoided the rooms labeled “GIANT WORMS”, and eventually accosted several ghouls. I think? While dispatching the ghouls the party noticed something peeping out of another weird hole near the ceiling.

Some more hallway later and the party find itself another hole. Always wanting to learn from past mistakes, they send Polycarp down first. Fortunately, Polycarp is invisible this time. At the bottom of the hole, Polycarp finds that its much nicer down there then the shit hole up above. Also, there is a weird ass metal thing with a bunch of arms floating around looking at the wall. After considering Polycarps expert rendering, the party decides that the multi-armed penis looking robot is no threat and they make their way down the hole.

In no time at all, the party finds itself locked in a room full of shelves (of crystals? I don’t remember). From the other side of the door, the robot which had vanished earlier addresses the group saying that it will only speak with or help a citizen of the Imperia. Either Drael or Polycarp (or both) attempt to bluff their way out with little concern toward the consequences. In a brief moment of clarity Artas mentions that he is or was a Knight of Sidus. The robot thing responded immediately by offering to his assistance. Unfortunately, he was unable to leave his current area unless given orders by a superior, and unfortunately he couldn’t confirm that Artas was his superior without the proper module, and unfortunately that module was lost to all but the cat (oh Bee Tee Dubs, the cat showed up), and unfortunately the cat won’t help find the module unless we help him get his blades back from a terrible awful no good very bad place. So you know, typical fetch quest chain.

The party then travelled for a few hours with the cat to collapsed “under-causeway” similar to the one found beneath that damn cottage. The only difference was that this one was a hell of a log longer and a hell of a lot more full of creepy bad stuff. An initial investigation using Vyktors newly spawned familiar/sister reveals that the blades are located 3/4 of the way down the causeway. The party begins planning its assault.

Wisp Wrasslin’ – Polycarp jumps down a hole and almost almost dies from invisible wisps in the dark.

Xorn Fight – Drael almost dies

Dead End – Some loot here?

Spider Fight: Black Tentacles + Grasp of Death is awesome.

Trap Room + another trap at the exit: Artas breaks the door off. plus there’s a cat (but we don’t know that)

Find dead guy stuffed in cabinet. Dead guy has map. The map has some bad things written on it. Worms?

Team back tracks finds another hole.

Polycarp investigates, finds a scary robot.

Team jumps down the hole gets locked in a room with crystals.

Robot refuses to let us out unless we prove we are citizens of the Imperia. Artas states that he is a Knight of Sidus, robot lets them out.

Robot agrees to help but needs a module but can’t get the module. Need the cats help but the cat won’t help unless we get his blades back.

Cat takes us to an old causeway that is infested with all manner of bad things.

The Team plans to fight.

Session 21 Recap
First Time for Everything

Quint Strain’s elf “consultant” Eredris came to the pier to investigate the crate containing Aramil’s corpse.

He apparently tries to teleport onto boat, but misses. He asks for crate to be removed from the extradimensional space, then asks to have it moved off the boat. After performing some ritual and donning a pair of spectacles, he shows a path the crate took.

The group get Polycarp and Eredris to follow the trail invisibly. It winds around the city, jumping off and onto the different causeways until finally wending behind the Temple of Alion and its cemetery. The path leads to a large monument on a slab before disappearing underneath it. Polycarp tells Eredris that the trail ends here and to be free to return to his boss with the news, who promptly takes the offer and teleports away. Polycarp then sets up to have a stakeout, without results.

Polycarp returned to the ship, informing Vyktor about his discovery and waking up Artas Menethar to tell him he found nothing. After that he had a conversation with the dragon, learning that water elementals have been trying to drown people and had tried to drown him.

The next day was the day of the announcement. The party decided to split up to approach the event separately to avoid detection. Polycarp and Drael made their way to the bank as part of their plan. They saw the lackluster guard put in place as part of Quint’s plan and began making their way to the roof. On the fourth floor Polycarp noticed a wet spot on the floor, which further investigation revealed to be blood. Picking the lock revealed a storage closet containing a stripped body. They locked the door again, and sent an arrow to the members on the balcony.

Meanwhile, Ignomine and Vyktor met at the base of the Merchant’s Guild tower, heavily fortified with their own security and Shivar Guard. They met Alexandra, who despite her unpretentious appearance was clearly commanding respect from those around. Alexandra instructed Ignomine to stand on Snugga’s, leader of the Skullcrushers, left impersonating her Third. Vyktor was to be standing near Quint, appearing as one of his magical advisors. Ignomine provided Quint one of his bracelets as a means of providing healing, to which Quint acquiesced with a roll of his eyes. Snugga, meanwhile, yanked Ignomine to the side and made it clear that he was to do exactly what she said while he was supposed to be in her employ.

Polycarp, seeing his party mates, launched an arrow with a letter to the balcony. Unfortunately, he didn’t consider that there might be protections around the balcony, which was apparently the case; the arrow stopped in midair and shattered. A few glares from the guards nearby and Drael realized he could send a silent image informing them of their discovery.

Quint Strain stepped forward with the Jezebel impersonator to the cheers of the packed crowd. He began the announcement by making a nod towards the anticipation built up around his and Jezebel’s pending nuptials. The crowd roared its approval. “I am sorry I will have to disappoint you.” A hush fell over the crowd. “…Because I asked Templemaster ”/wikis/Farn/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Farn to marry us last night."

There was a moment of silence, and then the cheers erupted throughout the packed square. After a few moments Quint motioned for the crowd to quiet, which they finally did to a dull roar. “But that’s not the biggest announcement I had to make today. Some of you guess that my marriage to Jezebel might mean the re-establishment of a form of nobility for ”/wikis/shivar" class=“wiki-page-link”>Shivar.

This, however, is not necessary to establish my family’s nobility. Allow me to explain: As many of you know, I and my late wife survived the 30 year war and had my beloved daughter, Alexandra.

“What many of you do not know is that my wife, ”/wikis/Alyssa/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Alyssa, was a member of the McGovern family. Clearly she survived the night of blood all those years ago." There were gasps throughout the crowd as the swifter among them realized the implications of this information. “As you may realize, this means that Alexandra is already of Shivaran noble birth, and that I am by marriage.” The stupefied crowd were suddenly shaken into rapturous cheers, at least until Quint spoke again.

“But all of this means nothing without proof.” Templemaster Farn then stepped forward and spoke in his deep sonorous voice. “When Strain and Jezebel came to me to marry them last night, I at first refused. It was only when Strain presented this that I agreed to his request.” At this, Templemaster Farn then presented a dagger with a large green gem. “This is the sigil blade of the High Lord of Shivar. It will only glow for the blood of the noble family.” He gestured to Alexandra to approach and take the blade. As it passed into her grasp, the gem in the hilt lit up with a brilliant emerald light. As its light shone over the square, cheers and applause erupted with thunderous force.

“With this knowledge, I am pleased to announce High Lord Quint Strain.” He turned to the rest of the Templemasters, who all stepped forward in turn to recognize the new High Lord.

As soon as this bombshell was completed, the assassins began their attack. On the bank roof, one of the guards drew his bow and aimed at the balcony. Polycarp immediately drew his bow on him, but hesitated just long enough for him to get off his shot. On the balcony itself, Shugga’s second tensed up and started to move. Vyktor immediately sprang into action, but unsure of the orc’s motives launched a Grease spell to drop him to the floor. Down in the crowd, Artas detected a cloaked figure pushing his way through the crowd. As he pursued, the cloaked figure began pushing his way through the crowd. Unable to catch up, Artas roared a challenge and clearing the crowd between him and the suspect.

The shot from the guard snapped through the air, but instead of crashing into the barrier the shield of force split and fell with a shimmer. The arrow struck true, embedding itself into the new High Lord’s neck. At the same time, the glamer around the Jezebel impersonator fell, the miscellaneous wards and auras collapsed, and any spells prepared and cast refused to function. Quint collapsed in a pool of his own blood. Ignomine desperately asked Snugga if he could help, then leapt forward to Lay on Hands, staunching the bleeding. Vyktor meanwhile identified the arrow as having delivered an Antimagic Field – unfortunately now attached to Quint’s flesh.

Polycarp unloaded on the guard, now revealed to be the assassin. Five arrows pierced the figure in a blur of rapid shooting, and the disguised figure dashed off the side of the bank’s balcony. Artas tried to grab the fleeing character, but he managed to slip out of his grasp just as the other figure landed in front of him. “This is NOT how you said this would go!” he hissed. In response, the fake guard launched himself into the air. Drael meanwhile summoned a swarm of lantern archons to pursue the fleeing assassin.

Ignomine did what he could to heal Quint’s wounds, but was blindsided by the Second bull-rushing him off the balcony. Vyktor, shocked, urged Quint to move back into the building and dashed to the far corner of the balcony, away from the field emanating from him. He then launched a spell that summoned a field of black tentacles, grappling him in place.

The assassin that Artas was pursuing, seeing his immediate future, drew a potion. Artas tried to strike him down but he managed to down the potion, and disappeared. Thinking quickly, Artas menaced the invisible assassin, calling him out for his cowardice. The assassin, compelled by the taunt, tried to sneak attack Artas before he realized that it would purge his invisibility, negating his escape. Seeing no other option, he surrendered.

The sniper, pursued by the archons, began to zigzag through the city streets as he flew. Polycarp dashed off as fast as he could run, barely managing to keep him in view. Harried by the archons, the fleeing assassin was held back long enough for Polycarp to race ahead and set himself up for a shot. He drew a careful bead, then launched a strike that finally dropped the assassin for good.

With the assassins subdued and Quint taken to safety, it was time to clean up the mess. Inside the Merchant’s Guild Tower, a recovered Quint thanked his rescuers and made clear his plan to interrogate his assassins. Farn and the other Templemasters tended to the worst effects of the assassins’ weapons.

To be continued…

Session 20 Recap
A Further Series of Unfortunate Events

Decide to use crystals to meet with Etzio Damien and check his motivations before giving back equipment or (possibly) crystal. Leave equipment on ship, travel outside the city. Crush the crystal, and Edagener appears; try to negotiate shard. Requested to speak to Etzio. Etzio confirms through speaking-stone, essentially, that he was working to return Rovagug. During course of conversation Artas reveals that he was a servant of Sidus and had been there at Rovagug’s original imprisonment. Etzio says to forget the previous deal with the crystal, but to bring him Artas Menethar. Party refuses (Drael hesitated), combat is joined, Edagener says how glad he is that he will get to kill Ignomine with his powers restored.

Kill Edagener, death reveals that he is a lich and will return.

Have a second meeting with Alexandra at a swanky restaurant, Polycarp gets all dressed up like a ponce, they explain their plan to have a public announcement to draw out Jezebel’s assassins, use a double to protect her, and have the party placed strategically around them to capture the assassins. She explained that the teleportation indicated that Evil aligned people were able to teleport, and that the deal with the Temple of Abadar preventing teleportation had been modified. Drael’s attempts to teleport were unsuccessful, indicating that only Evil was allowed to move in this way – a bad sign.

Group reveals they might have been followed, Alexandra is exasperated, they leave back to the ship to prepare.

Once there, the group worked to discover how the equipment of Butcher of the Bay, and the proof of Kharlin’s involvement in the assassination attempt, had been snatched away from them. Vyktor surmised that it had been a spell of recall, which required the use of an Arcane Mark placed upon the item. Realizing that Etzio had declared himself an expert of teleportation, the party realized that much of their gear could be taken away from them. They spent much of the rest of the evening scanning their equipment and discovered arcane marks on all of them. Even more disturbing, Vyktor’s practiced eye revealed that just about ALL of the items had curses laid upon them, nasty devices that would detonate the item, or curse the individual using it, or cause nasty and unwanted effects if used for the wrong (good) purpose. The group sequestered the items in the ship’s extradimensional room and let Vyktor work on defusing the marks and the sabotage.

This required a trip to acquire a scroll of Erase and a few other items, which Artas and Ignomine elected to complete. Vyktor was able to get a few items decontaminated, enough that the party wasn’t completely hampered in its combat effectiveness. Drael meanwhile left to contact his information network. Polycarp tries to infiltrate the Magistrate’s location, is unable to make it past his formidable, beefed-up defenses.

Ignomine goes to Templemaster Farn to give him an update, informs him of the destruction of Edagener, his exposure as a lich, and the issues with the Wolf’s gear teleporting and the concerns regarding his control and that the Temple of Abadar had traditionally controlled teleportation access and the implication that he might be complicit. Farn explained he was working with the Temple of Asmodeus.

Some time later, back at the ship, the group realizes they haven’t heard from Drael in quite some time. Unknown to the party, he had been taken captive and was being tortured for information. He tried to bluff them, but was ultimately unsuccessful, and finally spilled that Polycarp was the one that had killed the Wolf. In a bid to save his life, he offered to deliver Polycarp to them if they set him free. They agreed, but made it clear that someone was going to die the next day… they preferred if it was Polycarp, but someone else would do just as well.

Just as the party was about to go out and try to find Drael, he returned. To his credit he explained everything that had happened. Polycarp immediately went out to scout the locations he’d picked up from his own investigation and the place that Drael was told to deliver him. He found what appeared to be the area they had been keeping Drael and an empty warehouse for the drop.

The party spent the rest of their time arguing about how to approach the handoff. In the end Ignomine, Artas, and Vyktor would hang back under a spell of Invisibility while Drael delivered Polycarp pretending to be an unwitting dupe. They approached the warehouse which was locked on all sides except one. Not wanted to be directed into a trap, Polycarp picked the lock for the loading door and waltzed in. The rest of the party took up positions before Polycarp suddenly went on the offensive. The hostage takers were quickly subdued, but luckily not killed, as they realized too late that they were members of the Shivar Guard.

Apparently the assassins had tipped them off about the bounty and were just there as unwitting agents of the group. Some urgent healing (including restoring the captain’s eye lost in the ambush) and lots of diplomacy and excuses were enough to paper over the issue, but there was still the issue of the guard’s report. The group was able to negotiate something agreeable to the guard, a few days’ delay while they investigated the Blades’ involvement.

The next day, as the party recuperated on the boat, they discovered they had a crate addressed to them on the pier. When they opened it, they saw a note saying “We warned you.” Inside was the tortured and dismembered corpse of Drael’s half-brother, Aramil.

Session 19 Recap
A Series of Unfortunate Events

The party had little time to rest after the battle with the Revenant. Shortly after divesting it of its arms and armor, proof of the corpse’s identity, a flaming concoction was thrown through the window into the room full of corpses and shattered over the bar. Figures could occasionally be seen dashing past the openings, and anyone that passed in front of a window got a crossbow bolt shot at them for their trouble. The fire soon began consuming the bar, detonating jars of alcohol and making the conflagration worse. Ignomine shouted to Artas to recover the body as proof of the encounter, then foolishly very bravely charged out the window to endanger himself harass their attackers.

Meanwhile the fire was steadily growing worse, the exploding bottles of liquor throwing shards of glass and splashes of fire everywhere. Artas tried to dodge the blast and shove the body away, but succeeded in only moving it just outside the edge of the fire and left himself exposed to the flames. Drael was preoccupied with trying to escape from behind the burning bar, while Polycarp dashed upstairs to see if he could get an angle on the attackers. Vyktor was left to try and keep everyone alive, including the incredibly stupid brave half-orc, who was now on fire and running back and forth past the windows outside trying to chase down the assassins.

Having escaped to relative safety (i.e. away from the exploding bottles of booze) Drael was able to summon several water elementals and begin dousing the flames. Vyktor had to divide his attention between the several party members burned in the conflagration, and Polycarp, after missing his attack on an assassin disappearing into an alleyway, showed remarkable presence of mind by checking for people trapped in their rooms upstairs. Defying the flames and thickening cloud of smoke, he expertly picked the lock on the door to find a small girl overcome by smoke, tossed her over his shoulder, and made his way down the stairs.

Ignomine continued to ineffectually harass the assassins outside while still on fire, while Drael’s elementals succeeded in containing the blaze. Vyktor shouted for Ignomine to come back in, Drael cast Invisibility on the party, and the group escaped out the back door… only to be ambushed in the alleyway. Luckily they were not able to detect the invisible group, one of the assassins even managed to smash headlong into Artas as he was moving down the alley. Taken by surprise most of them were quickly dispatched, with the exception of what appeared to be the female leader of the gang. One of them was able to be subdued for later questioning.

At a loss for what to do next, the party handed off the girl to the clerics for care and made their way back to the ship with their new prisoner. As they approached, they saw members of the Shivar city guard waiting at the pier to their ship, arguing with the Harbormaster and trying to board the Retribution. They set their conscious prisoner in a dark alleyway, asking him to stay tight, after agreeing to his terms to be smuggled out of the city. The group then advanced on their ship. Seeing the party approach, the Harbormaster directed the guard to take the argument up with them. The guards explained that two “inspectors” had boarded and one of them been attacked, and demanded to board the ship.

The party boarded the vessel ahead of them and did a quick survey. In the barracks they found the dragon finishing up the last of his meal of human trespasser. The dragon informed them that he(?) had performed his duty and guarded the ship, though the other invader was able to flee. With the deed already done the party had little choice but to praise the dragon for performing its duty so well, erase the little evidence remaining with some Prestidigitation, and asked the dragon to escape into the water to avoid detection. It did so with alacrity… apparently a meal of human had not completely sated its growing appetite. The guard were then invited onto the ship to perform their inspection, found nothing, and left. The surviving trespasser was presumably spending the rest of his time getting blackout drunk and hoping to forget he ever saw anything.

The party now had a chance to take stock and plan their next moves. They were able to squirrel their captive onto the ship (taking care to instruct the dragon, returning with a catch of large fish, that he was not to be eaten) and negotiate their deal to get him out of Shivar. He gave more information, saying that the lady was his employer and that she had some sort of arrangement with the Temple of Asmodeus. Beyond that he didn’t know much, only that they were supposed to take capture the party alive if at all possible.

That mystery still open, they turned to the events just before the attack on the Spiked Gauntlet. The letter that the Mysterious Stranger had dropped told them they could meet someone at one of the warehouses near their pier. They waited until the appointed time at dusk, then set out to meet their contact. Polycarp elected, once again, to find his own way.

After getting past the gatekeeper they were led into the back of the building. The warehouse was packed with crates and boxes, but hidden in the back was a blocked-off area with a table and chairs. Several dock workers were seated there playing cards, but the real surprise was Quint Strain’s daughter Alexandra Strain. She waved for the muscley dockworkers to leave and for the party to sit down to talk. About this moment, she called out to the rafters for whoever was up there to come down from on top of the crates. It appeared that Polycarp’s attempts to come in undetected had not been successful.

With that awkward beginning to the discussions, the conversation spent a lot of time in vague and circuitous terms, neither side revealing with whom they were inclined to ally and what their aims or goals might be. Exasperated, and to Polycarp’s consternation, Ignomine decided to lay his cards on the table. He explained that he was tasked by his Templemaster with a Quest to find out the motivations of Quint Strain and the Magistrate. He also mentioned that they had reason to fear that the ones trying to assassinate Quint’s fiancee, Jezebel, were none other than the Kharlin Blades. When Alexandra seemed skeptical, Ignomine told her about the attack on the Spiked Gauntlet, then motioned for Artas to pull out the armor and blade marked with the sigils of Avandth Wolf, recovered from his body, from the bag of holding. Artas did so… only for the princely equipment to disappear!

Alexandra immediately started to her feet, and warned everyone that they needed to get out of there. She said she would explain later, but that they had to leave the area immediately. With that, the party had no choice but to flee back to their ship.


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