Jorda

TBD
#26

Following the successful nighttime Castle Defense Game from last session, the party happily welcomes the coming daylight… until they realize it’s not quite as bright as it should be. And the next day is even more dim.

A message arrives from Deirdra, saying that reinforcements are on the way; multiple elven forts fell during the attack ( see the maps), and this is one of the few that remained standing. Additionally, she had information on an ancient ruin not too far away, one that contains a nexus of magic. The current thinking says it might be used as a staging ground of sorts for the current invasion, and as a bonus, would contain all sorts of goodies for prospective adventurers. Then, as a parting side note, Deirdra mentioned she didn’t like the way the nobles ran, so she told the party to follow their tracks for a ways. On the trail, a little mouse sat a little too happily alongside a small patch of cloth and a pile of platinum pieces: 100,000gp in total.

Mr. Itemmaker went to work, and prepared a few items for the party on the travel to the ruins. Still suffering from aftershocks of the Tomb of Horrors, the party inches along agonizingly slowly, until Mr. Shootyshoot sees two humanoids, and opens fire.

Battle begins! Pissed at getting arrows stuck in her robe, Tya fights back, and in the darkness little is heard aside from the confused babbling of Keelyn, until a dark shape appears behind the party, almost taunting in it’s arrogance. However, when seeing the shape of the opponents, the dark knight detonates pre-placed explosives, collapsing the room.

The party escapes falling into a reservoir completely filled with undead, and through a truly miraculous series of events manages to track down and capture Keelyn and Tya, killing the sorcerer but capturing Keelyn alive.

They bring her back to the hallowed fort to interrogate her, and just as the questions continue, it quite suddenly becomes apparent that this figure “Poppy!” she keeps referring to in in fact, Perpentach…..

The wizard shows Keeyln Perpentach’s statue, and all chaos breaks loose…

Until next session!

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The forest is old... And the trees do not like strangers.
#25

Write stuff here!

Stuff that happened:

  1. Party meets up with Deirdra and group of men, to make way to Elven kingdom
  2. To get more favor with an obviously powerful character, party sidequests to a shipwreck… found miles and miles inland.
  3. Necromancy stuff! Found a ring on a hand, black inscribed with a ship sailing
  4. Arrived at boundary to Elven Courts, weren’t allowed in and didn’t try. Instead got stupid orders to defend a southern fort, which the party did without complaint
  5. Nobles fled, party didn’t stop (tried intimidate, didn’t really work)
  6. Stuff attacks! Hallowed ground makes for a seemingly easy fight, before flanked by banshees and haunts. Tactics from undead? Whaaaat?
  7. End battle
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Through the Fire and Flames
#23 and #24

Finally, the team’s affairs are in order. Our objective is clear: we’ve met with an orc commander leading Jonas’ forces, and our task is to retake the docks of Hafgan’s base to prepare it as an LZ for supporting forces, so that Jonas can sandwich Hafgan’s armies between the crushing grip of his own. (Note: we’re just “Black Ops” enough to use a phrase like LZ, but not so Black Ops enough to be able to call it an “L-Zed”).

We approach Hafgan’s encampment from the sea, climbing a dangerous, rocky cliff. Disguised beneath a stone rim from the skeletal horrors guarding the city’s rear gate, we await the signal to commence our strike. Unease runs through the party—what if we miss our cue? We’ve been told we’ll know the signal when we hear it, but…

There’s a colossal thud, and roaring flames shoot into the sky from the front palisade gates. Smoke and more explosions rupture the surface of the sky, and the cries of battle and of death carry over the city like a mournful wind. Seems as good a time as any.

Our approach is to attempt subtlety. But Nicholas is having none of it. ‘I shall trip over my own foot so that the clang of my metal armor alerts the sentries,’ he says (at least, we imagine that’s why he does it). Our cover blown, in we go.

At first, the odds seem in our favor—aside from some minor tactical flaws (summoning the party’s new best friend Richard the Holy Ankylosaurus in front of everyone, Nicholas being outflanked on six sides, etc.), we’re winning the fight. And then a quadruple multi-attacking monster level drains Nicholas, and he collapses on the ground. The rest of the tank squad rushes in to ward their fallen comrade, and the odds suddenly turn much more grim: now our last two tanks are surrounded by seven foes, while archers pepper them from afar.

Mana starts rapidly burning as the casters throw as many buffs as possible onto their desperate allies. Though Myles and Yerin fight to keep Nicholas up, the monsters won’t let him rise. But never will we leave a comrade to perish in battle! A ship cresting the horizon, and rapidly speeding towards us, distracts the monsters’ gaze just long enough for Richard to invoke his celestial might and flame strike the enemies, immolating them in divine fire. Yerin enlarges him, rendering his ordinary bulk colossal—48,000 pounds to be exact. He goes off rampaging into the city while the tanks mop up the fleeing sentries (unfortunately, he is unable to torpedo the incoming vessel, as the party decides it’s not imminently hostile).

The ship’s sole passenger, Sheelba, was once a high priestess of Bhall, until the goddess went missing years ago. Since then, she has defected to Jonas’ service, unlike many of her ilk. But how can this be the backup we’re supposed to receive? And then we realize that the spell she’s using just to move her ship is tiers of magic above what we can cast.

“Hafghan won’t be here,” she tells us. “He’s too smart for that.” His main forces have gone to the Pyre of the Seraphic, the very entrance to the elemental plane of fire—Bhall’s domain. Then that is where we go as well.

The Pyre is an enormous pyramid, with the top leveled off: it consists of a gateway portal in the center, with elemental orbs scattered about which must be blessed in order to resist the incinerating fire of Bhall’s domain. Stealth isn’t an option. We sprint directly up the side of the pyramid, racing Hafgan’s forces to the step. Though we reach the top first, a manticore is waiting to block our entrance to the Fire Plane. Quick thinking by Hughes, and a particularly blind guardian, enable minor illusions to delay the beast, and we scramble to collect the orbs before we jaunt into the plane of fire.

Everything around us is heat, and smoke, and ash, and burning. We cannot see. We can barely feel our skin without registering pain. The Fire Plane is a realm not meant to be traversed by mere mortals. The ground is uneasy beneath us, and the lakes of lava which surround the precipitous cliffs on which we find ourselves roil and seethe.

“Go!” Sheelba commands. “I’ll hold the gateway shut and hold off any of Hafgan’s soldiers.” It is clear what must be done. Hafgan will not elude us again.

We race along a progressively shakier plane, until we reach a chamber seemingly made of molten stone. Inside, there are arguing voices—one of them is Hafgan. Each member of the strike team collects themselves, making peace with what might happen. Then, the time for quiet passes. We charge.

Our attack is swift, our onslaught, merciless. Hafgan is foolishly alone, working some sort of infernal necromancy on a magic orb he has combined with one of Bhaal’s religious fire stones, but for the company of one ogre. He dies first, screaming and bleeding acidic blood as he is blazed again and again with Holy Smites. Then comes Hafgan’s turn. There was a time when we would have been scared to confront such a mortal foe—he laid siege to our home, and created civil war between an entire race. But the gravity of the moment has seeped into our very beings—failure is not an option. With detached precision, Myles blinds Hafgan with Holy Smite; he reaches out to grasp at the necromantic orb. Dale cleaves his arm off, using Improved Sunder to remove the entire limb. As he reels in agony, his world and his plan evaporating before him, Brandon puts him out of his misery—via decapitation.

The plane begins to rumble ominously, and as many of us look about panic-stricken, Hughes attempts to dispel the necromantic orb. But the magic of the immortals is above the influence of such weak heroes, and the necromantic magic only accelerates, nearly fully fusing with Bhall’s fire. No, this will end here. Brandon strides towards the orb and multiattacks, scoring 3 out of 3 critical hits and shattering the orb into dull, silver fragments. However, in shattering the orb, Bhall’s fire vanishes as well…

The plane shakes terrifyingly, and we realize our time here has long passed. In fact, we may have just exhausted our last minutes in this life. We sprint out of the chamber, and Myles begins Air Walking, but a voice stops us cold: “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” it shrieks. Bhall has arrived, and with it, a massive conflagration engulfs the party.

Brandon drops to one knee—no matter the god, a cleric always knows when the appropriate moment for piety comes. Myles, on the other hand, sees the flaming figure descend out of the very fires of the sky itself, and attempts to turn to run over the magma lake. But a colossal, rising wall of lava roars up, knocking him off balance and nearly sending him into the lake, a swim from which he would never return.

YOU FOOLS!” the voice continues. “I—” Bhall is literally cut short, as a midnight-black, skull-gilded blade and a burst of fiery blood pour forth from her torso. She looks down, then looks back towards us once, and falls, disintegrating into a pile of embers and sucked into the blade, seemingly wielded by nobody. But the party knows better. A cold, skeletal laugh—a laugh that sounds like the tears of the innocent, devoid of all emotion—is the last thing the party hears before Bhall’s power expires and returns to the fire from whence she came. The black blade disappears, and with a cold calculation, we realize that D’Tesh has just manifested. No, worse—he has just slain a god.

The plane of fire can feel the demise of its master. The life force which held it together removed, it begins to collapse—falling meteors descend from the flaming cavern’s ceiling.

MOVE!” Sheelba yells, running into view. Brandon glances back into the chamber to make sure the orb is still destroyed, and notices a flickering, flaming doorway. “Come this way!” he shouts in Divinic, but before he can turn around to run through it, Sheelba pushes him from the back and kneels before it. She murmurs something beyond our comprehension, and, extending her hands through the portal, becomes engulfed in magical fire and de-materializes from view along with the portal.

We have no idea what’s happened, but if we don’t move, we may never live to find out. We sprint towards the exit, and Brandon nearly dies from a meteor to the face. As the party waits for him in the gateway, beckoning him to hurry, he leaps with every last ounce of his strength, extending a hand that barely clears the threshold of the portal. Dale grabs hold, and Hughes—the only one with the intelligence to planar travel the gateway without losing his mind, jaunts us home. We flee to the ship, and stare back at the carnage we have wrought.

The mood is heavy. Even Dale’s first successful casting of a fireball can’t lighten the mood. With heavy minds, and for some, heavier hearts, we think on the demise of an entire plane of existence. There is one less god in the world, and we have no idea what role we played in it. The one person who might’ve answered such questions for us is gone, and not even Planar Communication spells can reach her.

We brief Jonas on what’s happened, and then we sail home. Though we are delayed by Siren-like creatures and other dangers of the sea, we eventually return to the Imperial Kingdom. There, we immediately report to Decius—we collect our reward, which made the whole journey well worth our effort. He’s also got a new mission for us. We are to report to the Elven Kingdom to assist in troubles they’ve been having with villages being found destroyed, burned and razed to the ground. For Brandon, the issue hits particularly close to home—his was one such village. We are tasked to make our way back to a communication outpost, where instructions will be waiting for us, as well as information on our contact within the Elven Kingdom.

Until then, he tells us, we need only think of a name to introduce ourselves as.

Highlights: First use of a gargantuan Ankylosaurus (which can cast spells!). Brandon’s strength using might of the gods can exert over 12,000 pounds of force. Dale successfully casts fireball for the first time. Myles realizes that summoned creatures do lots of work. Nicholas is nearly level-drained to death. Hughes critically fails a dispel check, which could have story consequences we don’t even yet realize.


The Meaning of Faith

Sleep came too easily to Theren that night. Of course he was exhausted—one can’t lightly fight in a siege or travel to another plane or witness the death of a god, let alone all in one day. But darkness seemed to take him too early when he finished Junil’s Rites, praying by the light of the moonlight dancing off of the sea.
He felt conscious, though he knew himself to be dreaming. He was adrift in the blackness, unable to feel his body but knowing that all of his limbs were present and under his control. Theren didn’t know why, but he pictured himself in a great white hall, with pillars of granite connecting a sapphire ceiling of the night sky to a gleaming white floor. Slowly, he felt the chill of the marble stone coalesce beneath his feet. He looked down at himself: he was bedecked in his full plate, and wore his massive tower shield on his back, but his greatsword was nowhere in sight.
“You have carried our faith too far, Theren of the village of Fyr,” boomed a voice behind him. No, the voice didn’t just boom. It thundered through the hall, piercing every bone and muscle in his body as it shook through and from the stone. Theren immediately knelt, planting one fist into the ground as he dropped his eyes. He was mortal, unworthy to turn to see his god behind him.
“Junil, my lord and my god,” Theren began, but the voice silenced him.
“The violence with which you have carried out your duty has become intolerable. You are to the point of excess of the very monstrosities you hunt.”
“My lord?” Theren was unsure now. “Must we not destroy those who violate the moral law?”
The voice gave a deep chuckle. At least, Theren thought it was a chuckle. “The moral law—do you remember, Theren, the confines of the moral law? Do you remember its oaths?”
“Yes, Junil, my god.”
“Recite them. Now.”
Theren paused only for the moment it took him to draw a breath. Before his god, he knew not whether to recoil in terror or prostrate himself in awe. And at the same time, he knew that Junil demanded of him the same quiet reserve he demanded of all his sentinels.
“By the font of the earth and the starlit sky, I swear to these oaths—in whose glory, am I. We, of the faith, shall forever strive to uphold the law. We, of the faith, shall never break the law, unless to prevent that harm may fall to those who are innocent. We, of the faith, shall, if it is in our power, prevent the injury of an innocent. We, of the faith, shall always presume the innocence of man until he is proven to have transgressed. We, of the faith, shall not lie, except that we may prevent harm to the innocent in so doing. We, of the faith, shall always tread our paths with justice as our guide, in fairness and in common decency. A vanguard, a watcher, a warden in the night: a soldier for order, to punish sin with might. I, a sentinel of justice, shall strive to always punish those who harm an innocent. I, a sentinel of order, shall ensure that such punishment is always proportional to the offender’s transgression. I, a sentinel of retribution, shall carry out the punishment myself if the offender refuses to answer for their crimes. Ward my shield and bless my blade, for I hunt the foes of the faith and of the order of law, and ever on this road of justice shall I balance my might with the desert of retribution. And…” Theren’s breath caught.
“Finish it.” The voice was quiet know. They both knew what Theren had hesitated over.
“And never shall I subordinate the dictum of the faith to my petty—”
“Never shall you subordinate the dictum of our faith to your petty prejudice!” the voice roared. “For justice values no one man’s concern, and retribution wielded as a tool of vengeance becomes enmity to the good of the faith and of the world.” There was a pause. “Theren, you partook, albeit indirectly, in the demise of a god. On this day, you bore witness to the death of a divinity. The violence in you has grown too overwhelming.”
Theren was silent. Only a fool would interrupt a god, and the god of retribution at that.
“We are not vigilantes, Theren,” the voice said, softer now. Understanding, but not fully forgiving. “We do not wield the power of the ordered law of the multiverse for destruction, nor for the satiation of our personal wraths.”
“Please, my lord Junil,” Theren whispered. “These creatures—such abominations they are. Undead, whose souls have been ripped from their journey down the river of death and forced into an unholy shell—their very existence is unnatural, and so cannot be in accord with the moral order of the world. Demons, devils, abominations, monstrosities—all of them, the same. Does not their existence warrant our retribution?’
“Do not argue the dictates of the moral order with me, half-elf,” the voice chastised. “I am Junil, lord of Retribution, Dedication, and Order.” There was a pause, as if to let these words sink in. “We do not revile such creatures for their very existence. Indeed, consider the hapless souls who are bound in the corpses of the shambling dead—think you that they wished to be torn from peace and held entombed in purgatory on this earth? No, Theren, we find ourselves opposed to these beings because they are the foes who so often inflict harm on the innocent, whom it is our eternal obligation to protect and to avenge.”
Theren closed his eyes and sighed. He had no response—he knew he had exceeded the faith’s threshold of proportional force, knew he had inserted his own brand of justice into the sanctity of the order’s balanced retribution.
“I know the troubles of your past, Theren.” The voice was as close to consoling as Theren imagined it had ever come. “I know of the creatures that shattered your childhood world and razed your home. But we must seek justice against them by the tenets of the faith: balance, wisdom, dedication, zeal, integrity, fairness, order. And only then will you find the retribution we both seek.”
“I am sorry, my lord Junil.”
“I know, Theren. But you have shown that the violence in your temper perverts the strict vengeance powers I have given you. You must relinquish the vengeance itself and draw strength from the other virtues of our faith.”
At these words, Theren felt something leave him. He didn’t know what—it certainly wasn’t his bitterness about his past, his anger towards the undead, for those, he imagined, would remain with him for all time—but it was something that he knew he would miss.
“I have withdrawn from you the blessings of vengeance, Theren.” The voice spoke flatly. This was how things would be. “I command you now to embody the balance and the justice and the fair retribution that must guide our faith if we are to survive in this world.”
Theren sucked in a breath, and his eyes shot open. Something was gone, yes, but a new strength, an inner strength, had taken its place.
“Go, my sentinel. Judge the guilty, and be fair in your retribution. Examine your shield. And never forget that above all, the innocents we defend till the breath leaves our body are what give worth and meaning to the cold order of the world.”
Theren woke to sunlight streaming in his window. He rose from bed, and knelt before the dawn. “By the font of the earth,” he began that morning. And every morning thereafter.

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Lakeside Terrors
#22

Upon interrogating the captured mutated orc, the party finds that it was once affiliated with Bhall’s temple, located in the southern jungles along the coastline. However, the orc was captured by Hafgan’s cronies and mutated with some strong aura into the monstrosity it is now.

Err, was. It’s head comes off in short order, but not before revealing the location of Hafgan’s camp.

Following the encounter in the jungle, the party heads south to the village they protected. They find a young orcish girl telling her father about the fight, leading the orc to express his gratitude… hesitantly… to the dwarves and everyone else in the party. With some awkward conversation, the party heads out to Braduk the Burning to relay this information, and see what can be done about Hafgan.

Upon reaching the gates to Braduk, the head of the orc who led the invasion force grants the party access to an Orc bossling, a few steps under Jonas the Big Boss, despite the 95% of the orcish population in Braduk being openly hostile toward a party of foreigners. Information and a head is exchanged for information and money.

Dale goes drinking with the bossling, and learns that the orcs are planning on taking down Hafgan with this new information in a few days time, after scouts return verifying and expanding on the information gathered by the party, in addition to hearing about a famous challenge ground on the edges of the northern lake.

Ever looking for more loot, the party looks into this deadly orcish rite of passage, finding at first some hypnotic birds from the jungle camping out in the cave. They’re dispatched of quickly, but not before Nicholas becomes enraged, charging down the passageway and larger and larger blue crystals, until the party finds a few small blue and slimy lizards and small crystals in a room. The lizards don’t pose much problem, but they cause the crystals nearby to break open, revealing more lizards…

Hughes doesn’t see much of this for staying back, and is experimenting with the larger crystals nearer to the opening when they start opening up, revealing two large-size reptilians of no intelligence. With breath weapons, they attack Hughes, freezing him solid. It’s only the fastest about-turn that the party has done yet that keeps the squishy wizard from a cold fate, and the party gets alternatingly set on fire and frozen fighting to stay alive.

After a close victory, the active members of the party got substantial loot, and the respect of a number of orcs in the army, giving them the right to take a special mission in the attack on Hafgan…

Highlights:

  • “Hughes is now frozen solid… again. And at -7hp.”
  • Nicholas getting set on fire and frozen simultaneously, saving him from either fate.
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When The Call Of The Wild Becomes The Call Of The Druid
#21

Adventure otherwise known as “The Tale Of How A Party Wipe Became The Party’s Wipe”

This night saw the shedding of much blood. The party discovers an imminent attack impending by Hafghan’s forces on a small, isolated jungle village consisting of residents devoted to Bhal. Nicholas guides the party through the leafy wastes until we find ourselves pursuing the trail of a now-speeding-up group of orcs. They do not appear to be friendlies, and the mission is quite clear on what we do with those—handle at any cost. Read: terminate without question (at a clear prompting of the orc-hating Myles and the vengeful Brandon).

The party tracks the orcs undetected to a small stone ridge. They appear unintelligent and witless, as they stand idly drooling in the jungle sun, waiting for a signal from their superiors. D&D rapidly turns into The Imitation Game as the notion is tossed around that we must allow the orcs to destroy the village so as to keep our knowledge of the splinter cell’s forces concealed. But of course, a dead orc can’t exactly report on you, either. We silence them immediately—quite literally, actually. The silence spell masks the combat there so as to not alert the nearby orc raiding group that the party is about to end them.

When the scouting group is dispatched, after a not-inconsiderable fright from a shaman wielding the Slay Living spell, the party moves North West to intercept the main raiding force. We briefly try to warn the villagers, but our comprehensive and well-considered magical warning from complete strangers that the residents should totally believe, is ignored. It is therefore on a flat plain of jungle, just north of a village that will never know we were its saviors, that the fate of the mission hangs. The odds are of course against us: we are outnumbered and out-powered, and our foes have access to magic beyond our ability to use. A veil of death’s certainty hangs behind us, the grand curtain of the stage that is our battlefield. And perhaps our final act.

We arrive at the site we have chosen to hallow as the battlefield only moments before the orcs. All conceivable buffs are employed, and each PC takes a few moments to consider the immediate course of their life. Brandon meditates, Myles reflects on the money he’ll make when this is all over, Paul contemplates the appeal of the level up he will most definitely obtain, Hughes pities those who do not know the true meaning of fear, and Dale somehow gets thorns stuck in his beard. We assume positions behind a host of trees that seem to offer the best access to choke points. If our front line falls, then we will have failed, and our only memorial testament in this world shall be our lost and unknown bodies, forever forgotten in this forlorn jungle.

The orc war party closes into sight. There are a host of shambling monstrosities, the likes of which we have never before fought, two shamans, and a big bad brute with an even bigger axe. Our attack is swift, our assault, relentless. We entangle the area in which the orcs are mobilizing, and then Yerin becomes one with the natural world. The trees bend to her will, and by bend we of course mean bend back one of their branches so they can snap it forward with colossal force. An orc shaman dispels the entanglement, but the orcs are allowed no rest as Myles drops a Sleet Storm into their midst, For the moment, as they scramble blindly across the sudden ice beneath them, they are at the mercy of a most violent tree.

Slowly, the orcs begin to get free. One by one, they exit the area of magic and advance on the party. But this only gives our artillery a chance to power up. Paul and Hughes, concealed in flanking trees to the party’s offensive tank line, unleash called arrows that score headshot criticals on the orc leader, as well as set off a sequence of spells that debuffs enemy saving throws. For the time will soon come when Hughes will one-shot all…

As the enemies break free, they begin to flank us. Slowly, the jaws of their pincer onslaught press in. In a moment of desperation, Myles turns to the power latent in the magic of the earth. He is answered by a most majestic rhinoceros, which goes stampeding into the orcs’ midst, a massively buffed Brandon behind it. Meanwhile, Nicholas and Dale are pressing a defensive formation on our opposite flank when one of the shamans begins to drop nasty Cloudkill spells on the party. Yerin again saves us, as she conjures gusts of wind that disperse the toxic fumes, even while still using the trees to beat the orcs in the immediate vicinity.

The combat is fast. Criticals and damage rolls are flying, and records are set. Brandon discovers that Myles’ summoned rhino can be mounted, and the pair become fast but unlikely friends as they cooperate in a charging pinball of death. Myles’ healing keeps everyone alive long enough for the two halves of the party to unite. Dale and Nicholas become panicked, but come back to themselves and press the orcs back from our squishies. Hughes successfully scares to death two of the most dangerous foes on the battlefield. Paul scores critical called shots and imposes massive debuffs on the enemy forces. And Yerin dominates the battlefield, her magic controlling and damaging anything and everything at will.

At the end of the battle, one mutant orc is left standing. Brandon sees his foe before him, but Hughes employs a Rod of Forbid Action to prevent him from killing the last possible captive. Brandon’s save is a natural 19. Dale calls on the powers of chaos to curse Brandon with a Hold Person: his roll is a 1, and he immobilizes himself. These must be signs, but the mission comes first: Brandon incapacities and KO’s the orc, and binds him with a pair of manacles—turns out he’s actually the best prepared to deal with capture and interrogation. Yerin wisely observes that this orc now no longer needs legs, but some of the, shall we say, more squeamish party members don’t approve of her sound tactics. Loot is divided, and questions shall soon be put to the test…

Highlights: Brandon sets a new single target record damage roll. Hughes one shots two of the toughest enemies in the battle. Paul criticals a called head shot and staggers the boss for 4 minutes. Yerin reveals the massive power of druids in the forest. Myles actually pulls off a successful summoning.

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Diplomacy by Normal Means (We finally can. Thank you Yerin.)
#20

Or, The Tale of How We Finally Attained Consensus.

By mutual degrees of being fed-up with periods of waiting for things to happen, the party agrees to implement a new timing system. Pros: stuff might get done. Cons:…it’s us. Shockingly, with the system in place, many decisions were successfully made tonight, and the party slowly finds itself making major decisions not (entirely) by physics-based shouting matches, but by group agreement. Gasp, the heresy.

The party divines the contents of Flauros’ message to the giants, and infers that it is essentially a message which will lead to their demise. As stealthily as we can, and with all the grace of a horde of stampeding buffalo, we make our way to a giant encampment to deliver the letter to the giants, planning of course to clairvoyance once the message is opened. Sentries are bypassed, elks are used as mounts, and the message is successfully delivered.

We follow the giants to a special meeting place of “usual payment,” a cave in which the party realizes that half of the group has no ability whatsoever to see inside, including one of the tanks. The giants manage to spot Nicholas, but quick thinking and a rapid jerk on Dale’s part saves us from a one-to-one giant-v-player fight. Yerrin befriends the giants, and the party makes an alliance against a common enemy: Flauros.

The party uses its phone a friend lifeline to call Myles to decide whether to immediately pursue the orcs or to return to the city. Myles, ever suspicious of the road often traveled, prefers instead “cave”. Party returns to the city anyway, where after only one member of the group shows up to close Flauros’ contract, ties to the nefarious fiend who is most definitely an arch-undead necromancer masquerading as an uptight tool are dissolved.

Instead, the party requests an audience with Desius. We somehow manage to pass ourselves off as a top-notch special operations black ops team, and are assigned a top-priority mission. The objective: infiltrate the orc homeland and gain information on the splinter cell hostile faction—at the cost of any necessary force. Failure is not an option, and should we be captured, we will be disavowed.

We resupply using covert military funding, and realize something that has never happened before: we are all satisfied with our quest. More than that, we have unity in the group! Brandon is happy because Desius hates Flauros, who’s probably behind the orc insurrection anyway. Paul is happy because his backstory becomes more fleshed out. Myles is happy because military operations pay better. All other dwarves are happy to kill orcs. Hughes is happy because…well quite frankly, the chance for any kind of knowledge with a possibility of mayhem during its acquisition makes him happy.

We travel through a thick, obnoxious jungle, full of OP beasts the DM clearly wanted to use to wipe the party: a blind roc, an enormous but absent serpent, and a narcoleptic triceratops. Nicholas somehow manages to navigate the party through the jungle until we encounter a scout. In the midst of a raging debate in which Brandon attempts to tackle Hughes but gets counter-tackled by Nicholas, Hughes makes friends with the lamest scout on earth as he surveys the terrain of his toe. Food is traded and merriment was enjoyed, until the mention of Hafghan as leader of the splinter faction is brought up. We make camp to the south of a large lake that clearly hides something horrible, and prepare to embark on a quest to catch Hafghan in the act of assaulting a village. There, if all goes according to plan, we’ll acquire the target, and complete the mission.

Highlights:

WE ACTUALLY ALL AGREE ON SOMETHING. Diplomacy actually doesn’t end in a fight. Dale disguises himself as a shrub. Brandon catches Paul’s eyelid as he attempts to wink at a beefy secretary. The success of the strike team has thus far depended on the worst monster perceptions ever.

Party: We need a decision. Orcs or City?
Myles: I vote cave.

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Once more into the breach
#19B

A Samsaran druid joined the party, interested in all the going-ons- welcome Yerin. Many magical items were requested of the wizard to make, so the party took a trip to the city in order to spend some time. In providing proof of the successful defense of the now-named “Shitadel”, due to it’s low quality at the moment, the party opted for obtaining legal ownership of it.

The party also went and tried to investigate Flauros on ungrounded suspicions, and learned that he has a huge life force, but also that there was a dampened necromancy aura coming from upstairs in his mansion…

The contract was renewed, and again The Adventurers Guild is back in business!

With that taken care of, the party went and cleaned the basement- they found a small orb, causing the corruption of the local high-magic area. Hughes realizes that this is the same as one that appeared in the Wizard’s tower which was appeared there approximately 40 years ago, and in destroying it, a message played “Lord D’tesh salutes you…”.

Highlights: Discussions on morality, Brandon’s lawfulness vs. the party’s chaos. Low damage rolls from party, large damage rolls from death-spider-necromancy thing. Monster with death gaze slaps people in frustration when it’s vision attack doesn’t work, and gets wrecked.

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Burning Bridges
#19 A

Dale and Hughes, with alternate characters, are paid to take a jaunt into Flauros’ mansion and burn some contracts for a noble who got a bad deal. In doing so, the main party’s contract was burned, which will require a re-signing.

Of course, Flauros keeps copies of important contracts, such as the one Dale was sent to burn; while he got paid, the noble paying him still got hammered by Flauros, and now is on the lookout for Dale.

And, of course, so is Flauros, who was interrupted quite rudely by a crazy person flinging alchemical fire into his study. So Dale is now wanted by two groups, but on the plus side, the party no longer has to pay tithe to Flauros!

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Defense #2
#18

Killed things. Convinced giants to stop attacking because the party killed the orcish leader that was holding giant children as hostage.

With the successful defense of the Citadel, the party now has a base of operations to work from, and upgrade.

End of Season 1.

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Defense #1
#17

To Battle! The orcs attack. Cueva, an orcish bard, defects from the orcish army and brings the party information. The first wave is repelled easily, but a shout from the soldiers alerts the party that deciding to station no one at the posterior gate was not a good idea. Dale and Brandon rush towards it with 10 soldiers. Giants start charging in the front. Myles uses a sleet storm to slow their advance, and takes advantage of stormy weather to lightning bolt them. Hughes makes some ballista bolts with explosive tips that work stunningly. Nicholas loses patience and charges out solo to meet the giants.

Highlights: One giant developed an existential crisis while passing through Myles’s sleet storm. Cueva literally gets stepped on, and dies.

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