Kingmaker

Drums of War 33⅓: No Tusk Too Large!
Why is everything we fight anymore five times bigger than us?

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 6, Month 5

Northern Mountains

Following the mop-up of the Pitaxan Regiment, Shella turned the tide of the conflict decisively in Arboria's favor. The Arborian First is clamoring for a full scale invasion of Pitax, in Gorum's name. Shella is champing at the bit as well. Gelros has authorized it, but only after a bit more prep work. And so, once again, we returned to air-ship raids over Northern Pitax.

While scouting for Pitax mines and ore supply routes, we spotted a large cave halfway up a cliff face. Large caves usually mean interesting things. Often those things want to eat you, but, still, interesting. So I decided to take a look. I flew over on Haiku, dismounted quietly, and… Haiku caught her saddle strap on a tree. With a loud squawk, she careened sideways into me, and I, tumbling in turn, knocked a sizable boulder down the mountain. Great.

Turns out it was a wyvern in that there cave. Said wyvern was only too happy to charge out and maul me with its tail. Now this seemed like a great chance to leave, which is what I did. (Leave off a cliff face you say? How you say? Snapleaf! Ingenious little device.) I had dismissed the invisibility bit so that Haiku could see and pick me up. Thus, the sight of my falling, bleeding body must have also made it apparent to the others that something was up. By the time I had made it back to sight range with Haiku, Kris had already flown Spike over somehow (seriously, flying stegosaurs…) and Narzeth had cast some bullshit magic that looks vaguely like a shadowy web right onto the wyvern.

As Narzeth enthusiastically and somewhat sadistically explained to me later, apparently his spell makes the wyvern believe it is encased in a web. Whatever. It did work, though: the poor creature sat still looking crazed and nauseated and made no objection to me filling it full of arrows, Kris removing one or all of its vital organs, and finally Narzeth finishing it with one of his various death rays.

In the end, it was just as well: this wyvern was the one with a heavy bounty and had been harassing both our folks and Pitax's for a while. Claiming the bounty paid for a good bit of wargear.

Plains, Eastern Pitax

Wyvern dispatched and plains scouted, we accompanied the First Arborian to find and eliminate a band of mammoth-riding giants known as the Tusker Raiders. Now, normally, it wouldn't be particularly wise to bring regular infantry into close quarters combat with a substantial number of well-armed giants. However, in this case, the objective was to draw them out so that our inner cadre could execute a decapitating strike. Disbanding the Tusker Raiders was part of Gelros's plan to win loyalty from the barbarian horde that Pitax had hired. We already were on neutral and mutually respectful terms with said horde because of Shella's success at the Tomb of Armag (remember that?), so their ties to the Pitaxan royalty weren't all that strong.

The opening moves of the combat involved a lot of maneuvering, with few losses. (Just as well for us.) We spotted their commander: a hulking but oddly good-looking fellow (for a giant) with a chariot pulled by two enormous mammoths. (Yes, I know "enormous mammoth" is redundant, but bear with me here: take a mammoth, and make it BIGGER. There, you got it.) Once he saw what was up, it took a few minutes to chase him down. I had to shoot one of the mammoths just to slow him down (damn shame, that), and then Jaric brought the chariot to a halt with a well-placed pillar of fire.

Now dismounted, the commander absorbed a horrid-looking black ray from Narzeth, which looked like it hurt. So, he decided to meld himself into the earth. (Naturally! Isn't that your first instinct when you absorb a death ray?) It took a minute to decipher what had happened, during which a cordon of the First Arborian sealed us off from the surrounding battle. Jaric and Kris put their heads together. The best we got from them was that these giants had some kind of supernatural abilities that had to do with dirt. As if that weren't self evident from the situation.

Fortunately, we didn't have to dig him out: only a few moments later he sort of erupted from the ground, causing an earthquake. Kris and Jaric fell over. Evariel did not. Haiku and I dodged some of the newly appeared fissures and tried to put a dent in the fellow, but weren't very successful. Evariel moved forward with the spell she had been holidng, and… just then Narzeth turned him into a pile of dust. Evariel, looking bitter, charged off and released her spell into a nearby giant grunt, killing the poor guy instantly.

The sight of their commander reduced to their favorite spell medium (dirt) wasn't great for giant morale. The battle was over soon after; those who didn't manage to flee promptly surrendered. We received word a few days later that the barbarian horde, in a gesture of appreciation, would accompany us in battle for two months' time at no cost, after which they will either demand payment or go home. But a month may be plenty of time to end this.

Onward to the city of Pitax itself.

XP

  • Killing the wyvern (102,400 XP)
  • Quest: Delivering the wyvern's head (76,800 XP)
  • Killing the hill giant commander (12,800 XP)
  • Defeating the Tusker Riders (3,200 XP)
  • Complete quest: Wanted, Kob Moleg (76,800)
  • Complete quest: Defeat Hill Giants (76,800)

Loot

  • 4,350 sp
  • 5,100 gp
  • 240 pp
  • 18 gems worth 100 gp each 
  • +2 icy burst crossbow bolts
  • Winged Shield
  • Rod of Wonder
  • Rich purple corundum jewel worth 1,705 gp
  • +2 loyalty
  • +2 stability
  • Gain Pitax Horde (barbarian horde) as a free army for 2 months
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Annals of Arboria: Second Battle for Ostnend
The turning point

I, Grumsfilt, scribe of the First Arborian Legion, record hereby events witnessed by my own eyes:

Arborian Units: Ostnend Home Guard, First Arborian Legion

Opposing Forces: Pitax Regiment, supported by wyverns and trolls

Location: Ostnend

After a month of regroup and preparation, the Pitax Regiment renewed its assault upon the battlements of Ostnend, supported now by both wyverns in the air and troll marauders on the ground. The full might of the First Arborian had arrived and was now entrenched. Our blockades and battle lines surrounding the city slowed the oncoming forces. Fighting at the line was heavy and glorious. Thanks be to Gorum, for we felled three of theirs for ever man and woman of ours who gave their lives in the opening engagement that day!

While we fought the Pitax Regiment, the Ostnend Home Guard held the trolls so that the Lords of Arboria could personally defeated the troll captain. Broken and disoriented, the troll mauraders fled northward into the forest. Lord General Shella Doramvras, our Iron Lady, engineered a brilliant false withdrawal, goading the Pitax Regiment forward into the maws of a pincer. The fools rushed into the trap, and we showed them the brilliance of Gorum's battle strategy and might! The Pitax Regiment broke ranks and fled. The wyverns attempted to withdraw as well, but we shot them all down and destroyed them utterly.

As the home guard secured the city walls, the Arborian First made chase of the Pitax regulars. We met them in the field after 6 hours mounted march and defeated them within 30 minutes, giving the mercy stroke to those foolish enough to not surrender. Singing and chanting in camp tonight. Glory be to Arboria! Glory be to Gorum!

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Drums of War 2½: Haunted Winery
In which it is Raven's turn to bite the dust

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 6, Month 4

White Rose Abbey

Following the defense of Ostnend, we set about scouting the eastern flanks of Pitax in earnest. I discovered this activity is marginally easier from an airship, mostly because you don't have to stop and feed an airship a couple times a day. Nevertheless, Haiku and I did a good bit of scouting on our own. Meanwhile, Gelros and Kris were chasing down a rumor of a secret Pitaxan weapon—a death fog—being developed deep in the ruins of a place called White Rose Abbey, formerly a rich vineyard and winery.

We arrived and scouted the ruins of the white rose a few days after the Pitaxan forces had been repelled from Ostnend. The grounds were largely abandoned and in disrepair, but the foliage was lush and verdant beyond the perimeter wall. Rumor has it that the monks who lived here were master brewers and vintners, blessed by their god for their vow of silence. That is, until some dark-magic-practicing lunatic who had been hidden away there by the church to work as a gardner went berserk and murdered everyone. So much for blessings. Still, there's something to the tales, judging by the greenery.

Despite the hot, sticky atmosphere and the general state of disrepair, Kris and I found some signs of life. Although the guest house was dilapidated and the winery appeared empty, there were footprints in the abbey on the hilltop and a lookout periodically glanced out the top of one of the towers.

Leaving the abbey, we decided to explore the winery first, by evening. One of the buildings was protected by magical auras, and Kris could hear chanting within. So, naturally, we did what we do best: kicked in a door and started shooting. The first bit of spell-slinging went our way: Raven softened them up with a mind fog; Everiel drops one with a "slay living" spell. (Interesting magic, that. First time I had seen it in action.) However, at this point an invisible group ambushed us from behind and cut down Raven where she stood. This didn't go over well with Narzeth. He disintegrated one of the assassins for their impertinence; I shot three more; and then Narzeth picked off the stragglers. We had the place cleared out pretty quickly.

But we also had a dead party member. Narzeth instantly picked her up and disappeared with a recognizable teleport gesture. We waited. As we found out, he took Raven's body back to Jaric (who was waiting on the airship at the time), had her resurrected on the spot, and then returned to us to continue the investigation of the abbey. The surface of the vineyard was cleared; only the wine cellars were left.

I scouted ahead. Down the main tunnel below the vineyard, past the casks of wine, was a strange chamber. It was filled with mold, faux starlight, and… moaning. I could see nothing, but as I turned to leave I heard behind me a howl of agony. Leaving continued to seem like a good plan, at this point, so I kept at it. The ghost followed me outside.

The sight of the ghost is the last thing I remember. Apparently, I had a nasty blow to the head somewhere during the fight. My memory of the remainder of that adventure and several days afterward is blank, so all I know of it is what Gelros and the others told me later. We fought the ghost and put it down three times. There was a wererat sniper-assassin involved… he works for us now. Somehow. There was a water spirit trapped in a… water clock?, who we set free; she promptly asked about the location of some world-ending (world-eating?) sword. It's all very mysterious, but to be honest I've not had time to digest it and it's all jumbled in my head now anyway. I had little time to try to sort it, because (surprise surprise), Pitax's armies were pounding on our front door again when we left.

Loot

8 suits of +1 fullplate
8 +1 greatswords
4 +1 shortbows
4 MW rapiers
4 +1 chain shirts
12 potions cure light wounds
16 potions of cure moderate wounds
5 potions of invisibility

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Annals of Arboria: First Battle for Ostnend
The opening moves in the Pitax Campaign

I, Grumsfilt, scribe of the First Arborian Legion, do hereby record for posterity the following military engagement:

Arborian Units: Ostnend Home Guard

Opposing Forces: Pitax Regiment, supported by wyverns

Location: Ostnend and the open lands immediately to its west

The scheming Pitaxan forces wore no insignia and beset Ostnend at dawn, with the Arborian First still two days march away. Following brief but ineffectual exchanges of arrows, the Pitaxan forces began a ground assault, accompanied by the wyverns in the air. The brave Ostnenders held fast and dealt grave damage to the flying beasts. After the ground forces also failed to gain purchase, it is said that the brave inner cadre of Gelros himself found and drove off the Pitaxan general, after which the invaders withdrew. Ostnend victorious in the face of overwhelming foes! Glory be to Gorum!

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Drums of War
A belated attempt to record history

In the haste of war, I have long neglected this journal. Let me now go back and record some of the key events. But I must be brief…

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 6, Month 3

Rushlight Tournament

After I had lost the archery competition so miserably and Gelros won the boasting contest hands-down with his mostly-true tale of our trip into Abaddon, we prepared for the final event of the tournament: the joust. Kris rode Windchaser. Or, rather, Windchaser carried Kris around. As was tradition, Kris drank a full draught of ale immediately prior. Windchaser still won easily, despite the Pitaxian combatant cheating and striking with sharpened lances. I would say it was an upset, but not really to us. We knew Windchaser would carry the day.

But it turns out it was all a pretext. Upon returning to the airship, several things happened in quick succession.

  1. The Lady Quintessa Moray requested a private audience with Gelros, who granted it on the condition that his senior council could also attend. She then warned us of impending doom at the hands of Pitax, after confessing she was originally in the employ of Daggermark. (Surprise! She did implore us to not tell her husband, as she's all converted to Arboria now.)
  2. Baern appeared via the mirror, complaining of armies on the march. Gelros asks whose armies; Baern doesn't know. Gelros says "Find out."
  3. The Pitax honor guard had left the area. (Suspicious!)

So yes, you guessed it: Pitax had mobilized against us while we attended the festival. Although the troopers bore no isignia, I confirmed their origins personally with Haiku when we hunted and captured a grunt and brought him back to Ostnend for questioning.

At this point, Gelros told Baern and Shella to mobilize the First Arborian. Shella personally left to take charge of the army. (We're still hovering at the Rushlight Festival at this point.) On our way out from the festival, Gelros had the airship swing about so he could denounce Pitax (whose entire military presence had apparently already left the festival) to the remaining festival goers.

And then we flew back to Ostnend and defend it against the oncoming assault.

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The Winners!
Arboria!

Day 4 Evening Announcement.

Well today ladies and gentlemen was the Boasting Competition.  The bold and dashing competitors from the various nations had quite the tales to tell.  As always, Annamede Belavarah had a hilarious tale, this time telling of how she had spent the last few years in Arboria doing all sorts of crazy hijinks and stirring up humors trouble for the locals.  Her recounting of the sad history of the Gnomeracists was particularly funny.  But the true star of the day was none other then King Gelros of Arboria!  Taking the stage HIMSELF, a thing no ruler has sought fit to do before, he told of his adventures in the Teryfing plane of Abbadon.  Truly his story was grand, and despite the impossibility of it all the crowds believed in the tale with all their being.  Thus Arboria Won the day!

Day 6:  Closing Ceremonies

Well my fair companions, last nights jousting contest was truly a thing of wonder.  The winner of the day was Brave Sir Kris of Arboria!  In a huge upset, he managed to take down Vilamor Koth, the Reigning Champion.  But not to be discounted was the fact that Kris rode none other then the Fabled Windchaser, a horse that could talk!  There has even been some discussion of giving brave windchaser a reward for winning as well!   This win cements Arboria as the Clear winner of the Contest!  

Thus it is with great honor that we award Arboria with both the Staff of Healing, rumored to be made by the Mad wizard of Glendale, and with a brand new Rod of Rulership!  Lets all give them a round of aplause, and look forward to next years competition!!!

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A tournament of Champions
Who will Win!

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 6, Month 3

Day 1. Evening Announcements

Well ladies and Gentlemen, this is Nunzio Arpaia, and im glad you all could join us for a wonderful festival this year.  AS you all know, the Rushlight Tournament takes place every year, and this year looks to be one of the most interesting years by far.  In a shocking turn, Brevoy decided not to attend this year.  BUT worry not, For our new neighbor and expansion powerhouse ARBORIA has join the fabled competition.  Will its competitors stand tall among all the other contestants? Find out tomorrow, when the first completion commences!  They sure have turned a few heads with their fancy flying boat, but will their magical prowess translate to physical perfection?  We shall See!

Day 2: Evening Announcements

Well i was truly a great spectacle at the Aiming at the Target Event.  Arboria was the first to go, and while the brave archer Nithlara of Arboria was a good shot, a few of her shots at the red target missed, netting her a total of 26 points.  Ilraith Valadhkani of Daggermark had better luck, scoring a total of 30 points.    Florante Mayank of Gralton played it safe, but sadly her carful aim wasn't enough, and she only scored 14 points.  Navarathna of Mivon showed great flair, cartwheeling up to the line and firing all 6 of her arrows in a blaze of wood and feathers.  She finished in 2 rounds, scoring a bulls eye and 5 hits on the green target, and scoring a total of 32 points!  Villamor Koth, our noble son and champion, was able to score a glorious 30 points, putting him in a tie for 2nd.   But strong Damanjot of Tymon was not to be forgotten, and he also scored a total of 30 points.  A 3 way sudden death round took place, with Ilraith being eliminated first.  Koth and Damanjot fired shot after shot, but an unlucky arrow took Koth down, and Damanjot of Tymon took second place.

Mivon: 1 win, Tymon: 2nd place

Day 3: Evening Announcements

Well today was a truly exciting day.  I don't think we have ever seen a Log competition that was so.. unique.  Small Yegina Varudu of Daggermark was the first to go.  While the crowd laughed as she struggled to drag the massive axe to the starting line, they soon fell silent as the bell rang.  She quickly cast a blurry of spells, growing in height to 12 feet and causing her arms to bulge with muscles.  She then proceeded to smash the logs in front of her to splinters.  as the bell rang, she finished destroying 2 logs and managed to make a good dent in a third, Earning 12 points.   Up next was Kilbaskian Ord of Gralton.  He chose to use a pair of axes, and soon a flurry of wood chips flew into the air.  he managed to destroy two logs and was working on a third, but just as the buzzer rang, Kilbaskian threw his hand axes, hitting logs 4 and 5, and TECHNICALLY earning total of 16 points.  there was great uproar from the crows, but our benevolent ruler King Irovetti ruled in his favor.  Up next was the Arborian Contestant.  AND WHAT a contestant he WAS!  For those of you who were not lucky enough to see it, Arborian sent none other then a TREANT of the FOREST to the LOG competition!  While the rest of us might not view our Fey neighbors in the best light, Arboria has embraced them as allies, and some how got a Treant to compete! AND COULD HE COMPETE!  He managed to destroy a total of 5 Logs and damage a 6th!  We almost ran out of LOGS!  Scoring an impressive 27 points.   Dizon Marmada of Mivon had a Solid Showing, destroying 4 logs and earning 20 points.  Once again our loyal son Villlamor Koth took to the plate, and with the help of his drinking horn of speed, he decimated 4 logs and managed to ALMOST destroy a 5th, but alas, he ran out of time.  He still scored an astonishing 22 points.  Last to go was Timsina Siraj of Tymon.  Sporting her heraldry of Gorum,  She used her divine might to power through 4 logs, scoring 20 points as well.  But Arboria took the day, and what a day it was.  See you All tomorrow as the Tournament Continues!

Mivon: 1 win, Tymon: 2nd place, Arboria: 1 Win, Pitax: 2nd Place

 

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Good news
Lets get married!

It has been an eventful year in Arboria.  A local ruffian known as Knuckles the Ruffian managed a set up a pretty spectacular drug ring, evading patrols and investigators, staying ahead of the law for a few months.  he controlled a good portion of the crime in bandits rest, and was spreading to the other cities, but alas, he was eventually cornered in a bakery and laid low for his crimes.  His minions turns to Lawless banditry for a while, but eventually life returned to normal.

King Gelros established embassies with the Elves of Kyonin, and through wits and political maneuvers, managed to secure Alliances with Both the Elves of Kyonin, as well as with Rostland, the souther half of Brevoy that served as Arborias Paymasters at the beginning.

King Gelros continued wooing Airiel Avaularas, and after a year of courting, the two were wed in a glorious ceremony that brought joy to the hearts of the kingdom.  Also brining much joy and honor was the birth of Magister Narzeths child, though some say she bears a strange aura.  Just as things couldn't get any better, Akiros, Warden of Arboria, announced his marriage to Lady Quintessa Moray, a surprise to some who had not heard of the whirlwind romance the two had had the previous year.

Thus Arboria marches into the bold future.  General Shella has retired from adventuring, settling down to the daily business of leading the new armies of Arboria.  Gorums battle heralds can be seen leading squads of troops in daily drillsa and marches.  Arbora has commissioned 3 new armies, and placed them in defensive positions around the land.  With its now allies and a populace ready for the glory of battle, neighbors fear it is only a matter of time before the land that Arboria claims begins to expand… dramatically.

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On the Structural Properties of Damned Souls
A treatise on contemporary daemonic architecture

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 5, Month 9

Candlekeep

After the dust storm, we retreated back to Candlekeep. Gelros had devised this ingenious cross-planar communication system: a scroll and a charcoal crayon, upon which he wrote "Bring Us Home." Which Baern did, thankfully.

Everyone looked the worse for wear. Jaric banished the voices from within my head. He then attempted again to heal Narzeth, who doubled over with a wracking cough and then collapsed on the floor. (Oops.) As Shella and Gelros were also looking feverish and wasted, Baern went out for some antiplague, Jaric went out for some healing supplies, and I scrounged up some cots. We camped out right there in the mirror room for a few days to rest, and strategize.

That was nearly a week ago. We're all much better now. In addition, after purchasing some very expensive scroll, chanting, and muttering for an hour while caressing Narzeth's eye socket, Gelros has announced that the place we are looking for is called the Temple of the Eye and he's fairly confident that Jaric can use some strong magic to point us there. So, tomorrow, back through we go again.

Abaddon: It's a Trap!

We stepped through the mirror into this now-familiar hellscape only to notice something a bit odd: all of us were standing a few inches off the ground, as if hovering in midair. Gelros tapped at the ground a few times with his spear, which was enough to dispel the illusion. Instead of where we wanted to be… well, wanted is a strong word. Instead of where we intended to be, we were on a stone platform, facing three guant figures with scythes. One spoke:

Thanadaemon: "My master sends his greetings, and bids you to stay."
Gelros: "Who is your master?"
Thanadaemon: "Well, you shall meet him soon!"

If you've been keeping up with the story thus far, the next few seconds went about as you might expect: the daemons summoned more daemons (fangy, froglike ones this time), we killed some daemons, fireballs EVERYWHERE. But then, one of the most surreal experiences of my life happened. For maybe 10 seconds, the ground shook violently. Then, a deep voice seemed to come from everyone at once: "STAY." It wasn't an invitation, but rather a command.

After the voice, things were a little different: the thanadaemons we had been facing attempted some summoning magic (even I can recognize it by this time), but no new monstrosities appeared. Then, a thanadaemon tried to teleport away; that also failed. Within a minute, we had mopped up the rest.

That was maybe 5 minutes ago. In those five minutes, we've deduced a few things:

  1. Planar travel, and indeed teleportation of any sort, has been barred.
  2. This is highly unusual. Gelros speculates intervention by a deific entity, and further speculates that it is likely temporary, as permanent banning of teleportation would have adverse side effects. (In other words, it seems likely to start a civil war.)
  3. Narzeth has consulted with his eyeball and believes the focus cannot be far off.

So, we're stuck here. Might as well find this temple.

Hand of Gorum

I'm no poet or bard, so I fear my account of the end of our adventure in Abaddon will hardly do it justice. Nevertheless, here it is. After the ambush, which we handily turned into a rout, Jaric imbued me with route-finding magic I've never experienced. Somehow, I knew where the Temple of the Eye was and how to get there, despite the landscape before me being totally unfamiliar. Let me skip over the flaming hills (fire resistance for the win), exploding bodies (no one got sick this time), and the soundless valley and get straight to the main attraction: the Temple of the Eye.

We found them template after several hours of fast marching. At first glance, it looked like a standard temple, not far removed from the one Jaric built to Iomede. (Indeed, Narzeth and Gelros speculate that once it may have been in the material plane. How it got to Abaddon is anyone's guess.) However, the normalcy is dispelled as soon as you realize that the mortar is made of crushed and broken people, moaning in perpetual agony. Quelling the urge to flee, or vomit, we moved through the doors, which whimpered as they swung open before us. Beyond, in the antechamber, we saw burning piles of bones and four daemons standing at attention, clicking their their single mandibles at us.  

As happens so often when we meet daemons, they started a fight. The opening moments of the combat saw some more (failed) summoning magic, a lot of reeking gray-green fog, and Shella slicing a daemon's arm off at the elbow. A couple of our chittering spider friends appeared. (You know, the ones from Armag's tomb? That place seems so tame in comparison.) Avariel threw up a blade barrier to block their path, but they seemed not to notice it. Narzeth's spells weren't landing well either; this place is full of antimagic resistances. Fortunately, Shella unleashed a radiant burst that (I came to realize later) reduced the daemons' defenses against magic.

For a moment, we were in danger of being overwhelmed. Kris found himself covered in army ants, and Avariel temporarily succumbed to the mind-numbing fear unleashed from the chittering spiders. However, I took out said spider, Jaric burned off the army ants with a flamestrike, and Gelros rescued Avariel from her mind prison. Right about then, a new daemon appeared: this one made of chains and blades and bidding us "Welcome!"

I've think I've finally learned something about Kris, which is that he feels a need to always be standing in front of the biggest, meanest thing in the room, whether or not getting to said thing is advisable. In this case, Kris voluntarily sprinted through two blade barriers to go stand in front of our new lady-friend. He also took one of her chains to the face. I do have to admit, though, whether or not he's bright he's at least brave and stoic. Jaric, looking somewhat confused at this turn of events, shook himself into action and channeled a beam of healing energy through both Shella and Kris.

Kris distracted the chain-lady for at least one exchange of blows. Meanwhile, the remaining psychodaemons kept attacking and messed up Avariel and Shella a good bit. After chanting some spells, Shella, looking particularly battle-crazed, dropped two more psychodaemons with three deft swings. Avariel felled hers as well (it was the one with a missing forearm), which left us all staring through a ring of blades with Kris and the chain-daemon beyond.

Getting nowhere with Kris, the Lady of Chains cast something and disappeared from sight. This was mildly concerning, but not more so than Narzeth's incoherent babblings, which cut clearly through the sudden silence. A moment later Gelros had pulled out a scroll (I learned it was of True Seeing) and was casting a spell on Shella. This in turn led to a rapid sequence of events, ending in the daemon's demise:

  1. Gelros casts True Seeing on Shella
  2. Shella, pivoting her head, rushes forward, flinches to the side very slightly as wounds open on her cheek, and engages what appears to be the air with several mighty and loudly clanging swings.
  3. I, judging from Shella's swordwork, place an arrow designed to trip up an opponent. To my amazement, we hear a crashing sound.
  4. Gelros, following the path traced by my arrow, casts Glitterdust, outlining a prone, chain-covered figure in golden sparkles.
  5. Narzeth scorches her with multiple rays of fire, then disintegrates her. Or tries: she's still twitching.
  6. Kris and Shella (mostly Shella) chop her apart.

As her head was severed from her torso, the daemon-lady cried, "Master will be displeased…" And so, just about a minute after it began, it was over, and we were back to the quite crackle of the bone fires. The people-mortar had stopped screaming, which was welcome but somehow terrifying all of itself.

I've never robbed a temple before, but maybe there's a first time for everything. We hastily plundered anything valuable looking from the side chambers, while Narzeth moved with purpose into the inner sanctum. On the pedestal was a skull. Narzeth reached out to pick it up, but stopped suddenly, as if stunned. So, naturally, Shella came up behind him, plucked it off the pedestal, and turned it over to examine it. Narzeth then shook off his torpor, only to find that the Eye was nonfunctional.

We tried a low-level summoning spell; but it still fails: still stuck in Abaddon. So we began walking out the old-fashing way. At about this time, the walls started murmuring. Gelros started singing to drown them out, but I distinctly heard someone shout "Run!"

"Um, Gelros? The walls said 'Run'."

"Ok, run!"

We ran.

As we exited the front doors, the temple imploded behind us. I looked back and saw that a giant daemon-thingy had appeared behind us. To which I said, "A giant daemon-thing has appeared behind us! Maybe we can leave now?"

It didn't take long for Gelros to catch on: after testing teleportation with a quick dimension door spell, he pulled out another scroll and opened a gate back to Arboria. "There is a horseman primarch chasing us! We should leave!"

We left.

As we stepped through the gate, we found ourselves interrupted a bout in the middle of the Hand of Gorum's primary arena. As Gelros closed the gate behind us, it sliced off a tentacle of the olethrodaemon that we had just escaped. I bet they don't see that in the arena every day. Jaric and Kris calmly walked over, bagged the smoking tentacle, and took it off to dispose of it.

Narzeth took his new skull off to find it a new "place of power." He tried his tower; apparently no good. So he brought it back to the war room, where I happened to be studying maps. Shella walked in too just about then: good timing, coincidence, or (if Shella is to be believed), the guidance of her deity. Shella spent the next half an hour expounding the glories of Gorum and attempting to convince Narzeth that he should give the eye to Gorum. "You may not be Gorum's usual material, but you're just as vigorous in battle as Avariel in your own way. Join Gorum in battle!" Lots of fervor, blah blah.

Well, I'm not sure if Narzeth would have bought it, except for the following: he set the skull down on the table (I guess he was tired of holding it?) and it pulsed with power. Strong power; we could all feel it. So Narzeth slowly took his hand away. The Eye shifted from black to red. Something changed, for sure. Shella says that Gorum has claimed it as his own. And perhaps he has. In any case, Gelros now says we can worry somewhat less about the effect it is having on Narzeth. I wonder. But we've bolstered the defenses around our war room, which now doubles as the treasure chamber for an artifact of great power.

That's done, and everyone's off. Gelros has kingdom business to attend to and most everyone else has something going on. Me? I'm going on vacation.

XP

  • Surviving the thanadaemons (76,800 XP)
  • Surviving the temple (115,200 XP)

Loot

  • 50 PP, 757 GP, 430 SP, and 3,000 CP
  • Gems (2097 GP)
  • Gold Figurine (7300 GP)
  • Greater Caster's Shield
  • Pirates Eye Patch
  • 2 soul gems
  • 20 PP, 5,187 GP, 2,180 SP, and 13,800 CP
  • Gems worth 4,575 GP
  • Art objects worth 8,798 GP
  • Bracers of Sworn Vengeance
  • Soulbound Eye
  • Tyrant's collar
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Death in the Perpetual Twilight
Because this plane has no real concept of "afternoon"

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 5, Month 9

Abaddon: The Rotting Corpse Expanse

After a rest, we came back through the mirror and have begun to explore Abaddon on foot. I've only brief time to write during our infrequent rests, so these entries must be short. We set off westward from the ruins, threading our way past lava pools, and found ourselves here. "Here" is a vast plain covered in piles of rotting corpses which explode if one comes too close. I've dubbed it the Rotting Corpse Expanse.

Narzeth has contracted some kind of demon fever, no doubt from the miasma in the air. I dried to delay it, but apparently Abaddonian diseases don't react well to humble nature magic: Narzeth fell over retching, and is now weakened and sweating. As we continued, Shella and Gelros also became feverish. We've now paused so that Avariel can treat the three of them with more conventional methods: water, herbal compresses, and such. But we must be moving on; I see some type of weather approaching from… by fiat, the direction it is approaching from is East. There, now we have a frame of reference, if only temporarily.

Abaddon: The Lost Lover

We found that tavern. Good thing too, because we were caught in a soul-storm. That's right; it was raining the souls of the damned. They're so cold they burn when they touch you. So we ducked inside "The Lost Lover."

I've parked myself at a window to watch for the weather to abate. I'm taking notes while I wait. This place is exceedingly odd. You might think the weirdest bit would be the lady-daemons (same type as Narzeth summoned; Gelros told me they are "erodaemons"), or possibly their soul-eater assistants just floating about, or maybe the fact that we recognize two of the three patrons: the fallen souls of Imekus Stroon and some rabble-rousing bard who we killed a long while ago. But, no, all of that seems par for the course here in Abaddon. The weird bit is that the hostesses say everything is free, we just have to stay. Suspicious.

Oh dear, Imekus Stroon has noticed us and is making a ruckus. His erodaemon waitress/mistress is trying to calm him down. The bard is just playing very loudly on his lute. Awfully noisy for a transparent stringed instrument.

And now Kris has sat down and asked for a drink. That seems… unwise. Another erodaemon dropped it off with him and gave him the slightest brush with her lips. He seems pretty smitten. That seems… not great.

Gelros has gone to the bar to question the barmaid. Narzeth, shivering, is joining him. I can't quite hear; repositioning… Huh. They're asking her about the Occulus point blank. I think I saw a flicker of alarm before she recovered her composure. Sounds like she might have info, for a price?

Souls. The price is souls, or more specifically soul gems. Five of them.

Narzeth counter-offered three. (Three? We don't have any.) She's not having it. Upped her price to six. I hate this place.

I just noticed something: none of these erodaemons are moving their lips when they talk. That means they are speaking telepathically. I wonder what they are hearing telepathically?

Ah, the bard's erodaemon just ate him, and now it's quiet. I think I know what the price of dinner is now. Look, the rain is done. Let's go! We're going! Going to, ah, collect some souls! Oh, Kris's erodaemon is coming too. Lovely!

Abaddon: The Dusty Plain

Good news: I'm alive to write this! Also good news: nobody else died either, but we managed to lose the erodaemonbitch. We've got a few moments to catch our breath, and I'm trying to get the voices out of my head. (No, really. Hang on. They'll tell you, I mean I'll tell you about it.)

From the tavern, we first explored "south", through some pools of magma and lava jets that seemed to not like us. We ran away, to this dusty plain. The dust and wind on this plain interfere with magic. This got us into a pickle: we ran into a cloud of some little beasties Gelros called cacodaemons, and had some trouble carving through them. Spells kept failing, and my magical quiver sealed itself off: no arrows. Gelros had to loan me his quiver. The combat was relatively horrible: lots of swatting down daemons, while they were biting at us. One bit my shoulder, and that's when the voices started. We'll get you! You're done for! More souls for us!

Without magical enhancement, our weapons were somewhat underwhelming, but we still cut through the swarm eventually. Jaric summoned an air elemental, which kept winking in and out of existence but was quite effective during the "in" phases. Narzeth used a lot of fire. He burned our erodaemon friend in the process, who complained to Kris. Kris said something to the effect of "Not now, dear! I'm a little busy!" and she left in a huff. Good to know it's that easy. Although I'm worried about Kris's reaction. So far, he hasn't done anything stupid. I mean, no stupider than normal.

After the daemonswarm came rock trolls. Shella and Kris worked their way through these. Die mortal! Ugh, this brain fever is getting distracting. Then came some flying daemons with large bows. These proved not so bad: I shot one up and Gelros reduced a second to vomiting. At this point they cut and run. So did we.

You can flee but you can't escape us! SHUT. UP.

XP

  • Driving off the daemonswarm (60,600 XP)

Loot

  • TBD
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