Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Session 41: Return to Valdemar Woods

The party returned to the cave Thornlet told them about, where Boreas was trying to establish a forward base to strengthen his hold on the region. They may have lost last time, but they were stronger now after their defeat of Markessa's kobolds. The first cave had been refortified in their absence, but only with myconids, which posed no threat to the seasoned adventurers, though Goblin was befuddled by the spores for a moment. Further in, they came to a large, moss covered cavern, with a single Domovoi in the middle. As they moved to attack, the moss came alive to defend the faerie. Once this fight was won, they continued on deeper into the complex. Three tunnels led to different parts of the base, north, west, and east. The Abolitionists went north.

The next room appeared to have once been a garden, with a reflecting pool, now drained, in the middle. North, the party found goblin breeding pits, but none of those foul folk were to be seen. They turned east, and entered a bedchamber, guarded by a Domovoi and an Aridni, an evil pixie. This fight proved to be the most difficult so far, but the party overcame the threat. They then had to consider which exit to take -- the door to the northeast, or the passage south-east.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Session 40: Markessa Lives!

After a short rest, the party regrouped in a room with 3 exits. Moving straight ahead, they found themselves in a wide cavern with a bridge crossing it. Up and to the right, sharp eyed Tywill spotted a group of 10 kobolds waiting in ambush. Reacting quickly, Flint smote one with a guiding bolt, illuminating the rest. Lynnya unleashed the fury of nature on one with a hail of thorns that tears him to shreds along with 4 of his small comrades. Tywill climbs to the ceiling with his spider boots and bolts across the deep crevasse surprising one of the lieutenants with a backstab, only to be ganged up on by the remaining leaders. One of the kobolds knew enough magic to send scorching rays at Flint, which singed his whiskers. Goblin killed the caster with a radiant attack, and Volodemir and Lynnya finished the last few before they can act again.

Tywill explores the exit behind the ambush, while the rest of the party crosses the bridge, only to meet up again on the far side at an intersection in the tunnels. To the west, there is a large dark cave full of bubbling mud and a path of stepping stones across. Sensing danger, Tywill once again takes to the ceiling, and notices a sleeping kobold floating near the center of the cave. A few shots in the dark dispatch the would be ambusher. Not wanting to risk the safety of the rest of the party, Flint attempted to cross the stepping stones, bravely triggering the perilous trap. After falling in the thick mud, he was helped out of the mud, sputtering but unfazed, by Goblin with the help of his entangling rope.

Moving ahead, the party came to a room with a mural of Cerberus and about 20 prone bodies of kobolds seemingly sacrificed ritually. As they were feeling there way through the dark abattoir, four kobolds jumped out to ambush the party. Two were killed by Flint's spirit guardians and spiritual weapon before they could act. The leader fell victim to hideous laughter followed by an Eldritch Blast and sacred flames. Adreham's servant was further protected by the spirit guardians as they dispatched several remaining kobolds who were only pretending to be sacrifice victims but were in fact lying in wait.

Within this room there was a collapsed exit which sadly held the body of a dwarf of a local noble clan, cut down by kobolds but had apparently triggered a collapse to hold them off.  Some investigation showed him to be of a local noble family. Flint noted the identity and laid her body to rest at the site of her noble sacrifice.

Passing by the rubble, the party noted an ankle high rope connected to nothing, and stepped past it to avoid any traps. Half way up the slope in the following passage, the sound of a tumbling boulder gave way to the snickering of a group of 6 kobolds who thought they had set a cunning trap. The boulder bounced off of Flint, and the party did not flee, but after dispatching the kobolds, discerned the true purpose of the tripline they had passed.

After this, they came upon a large room with 5 colored pillars surrounding an altar, and 5 colored tapestries on the far wall. On the altar, a young blonde man stricken with agony tried to warn the party to leave, just as his heart was replaced with a stone and he transformed into a demon. Accompanied by an invisible tormentor, the demon did battle with the party, at times breathing fire upon them. Tywill found his way past the circle of pillars, which appeared to deal elemental damage according to color, and disengaged the acid trap from the black pillar. After some more hideous laughter and a long fight involving many missed attacks, the demon was dispatched, and after some more blind lunging about, it was determined that Markessa had escaped for now.

Some thorough searching after disabling the pillars found some treasure. Perhaps this was an altar to Tiamat, the many headed dragon goddess? The party took a moment to regroup and decide what to do next...

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Arden Est's Planar Cosmology

Arden Est lies at the center of the universe, and all other realities revolve around it. It is known. Arden Est is a flat disk, at the center of which lies a great lake of lava with a whirlpool in the middle. The dimensions of the Land are unknown -- some sages have speculated that there lie lands beyond the Last Sea, but these have not been seen. Underneath Arden Est lies the Underdark, a land hundreds of times more vast than the surface world. Here are countless tunnels and caverns and the civilization of the drow. Here too winds the river Styx, leading to the realms of Hades, and the river Lethe, leading to the Hells the devils conquered from the Lord of Death. Further down, mad titans delve more tunnels and angels and devils both beat back attacks of demons seeking to free their mistress from Hades's prison. Even further below lies the elemental chaos.

The elemental chaos is divided into six semi-distinct areas. The planes of fire, water, air, and earth blend together at their edges and at their borders with the positive energy plane above and the negative energy plane below. At the center, all of the elements combine in a maelstrom of primal energy, and at the very midpoint, a whirlpool stands, leading the way down into the Abyss. The abyss, it is said, has no bottom. But it is also said that Fayon made his infamous bargain with Tiamat at the bottom of the abyss, so who can know the truth of these things.

Above Arden Est are the heavens. On the moon sits Fiat Lux, home of the Valharim. The moon rotates, shining most when Fiat Lux lies directly overhead, and not at all when the fairest city looks the other way. The sun makes a circuit around Arden Est's disk, renewing her energy from the positive elemental plane each night. Beyond the sun are other worlds, such as the platinum sphere of Bahamut and the copper sphere of Ares.

Two planes exist coterminous with Arden Est. Faerie is the cumulation of the hopes and dreams of the people of Arden Est. Here the Courts of Winter and Summer war with each other, causing the seasons to change as Koschei is first ascendant followed by Titania before Koschei takes the crown again. The fears and dark urges of the free folk, on the other hand, create the realm of nightmare, also called the ethereal. The edges are largely safe, but horrors lurk in the depths.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Session 39: Kobold Kapital

The party continued their exploration of the mines under the Tower of Bells. While resting Marcus the warlock comes through (or kicked out) of a portal he claims was from the Land of Faeries to rejoin the party, cheerfully asking what they have been up to, and if they speak blink dog yet. The party immediately sees a use for the sometimes slow (but not mentally handicapped) warlock and have him go back to the frightening looking black device in the other room inscribed with runes. Casting comprehend language Marcus is able to tell them is says that "he who opens this will be damned as is the demon trapped inside." The group decide to leave the demon trapped and move forward in the mines.

They quickly come across a kobold and an evil looking imp creature, Marcus thinks it is a quasit, meaning the kobold has a demon familiar. This is quickly confirmed when the kobold himself transforms into a demon. The party begins an attack, Flint is grabbed by the demon, but quickly drinks a potion of enlargement to break free. Marcus attempts to slow the demon, but it resists the spell and goes on pummeling members of the party, the next to get grabbed is the rogue, Tywill who had been backstabbing him. The party further their attack until the demon is slain, saving Tywill and collecting a map that the demon had on him. The map leads to the kobold headquarters.

The party quickly patch themselves up and go on their way to the kobold stronghold. Outside they see rows of Viking heads put on spikes. Undeterred they walk up to the guard kobolds and ask to see their master. The kobolds are pretty skeptical of the party and despite the amazing charisma tell them to stay put while they inform their master of the groups arrival. Despite trying to talk their way in, the group quickly abandons peaceful solutions and sleeps some of the kobolds and slays the rest as to not ruin their surprise on the other kobolds.

The party moved inside, with Tywill scouting ahead, he finds a trap in the hallway, disabling it for everyone else and moves into a large cave with a guard tower in the middle. Immediately he is set upon by a band of kobolds. The rest of the group runs ahead to catch up, with Flint falling into a pitfall trap that had been undetected. After pulling him out the party engage the kobolds and after a bit of effort chasing down stragglers, they defeat the kobolds and begin to look around to get their bearings.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Session 38: Kwaint Kobold Kennels

After emerging from the underground lake, the party walked up one of the side paths to a room dominated by a large pool. Flint's sharp eyes noticed a shimmering in the water, which on closer observation turned out to be a gelatinous cube. Several rounds from his wand of magic missiles took care of that creature, and he dove into the water to see if it led anywhere. The silvery walls of the tunnel led to a new room, and so he went to bring the rest of the party along. Goblin in his heavy armor had some difficulty traversing the waterway, but was able to hold his breath long enough to make it to the other side.

In this room, 6 dwarves and 22 kobolds were mining a wall at the far end of the chamber. Their attention was focused on a strange black mineral deposit, but as the Abolitionists filed into the room, their attention turned to the party. But they were quickly turned to ashes. The zombies, meanwhile, had continued to mine, but were quickly put to rest. Upon examination, the black mineral deposit turned out to be the same material they had seen earlier, where it was in a cylindrical shape with a hatch -- this appeared to possibly be one end of the object. But, not having anything useful to do with it at the moment, the party explored the caves further. They eventually came across the entrance to a warren, with side passages leading to three obviously trapped rooms.

The main passageway led them to a guard chamber, where some elite kobolds awaited them. As always, they were no threat to the party. After wiping them out, the party decided to retreat back to an easily defensible room to recover their resources for what must be the central chamber of this complex.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Session 37: The Kobold Gem Mines

Making our way into a cave, we came upon a great hall that appeared to be of Dwarven craftsmanship, wherein lay a number of piles of rubble, most likely leavings from whatever mining operation the Dwarves had undertaken before they had been beset. In the distance, we could hear the faint scrape of metal against metal. Flint suggested it may be the sound of mining carts on metal track. After a quick examination of the rubble, we discovered a trap door in the floor with a steep slope leading downward.

Following the shaft, we found ourselves in a large, perfectly octagonal room hewn from the rock. There, at the eastern end of the room, a great forge lay. Flint explained that forges of this nature were typically used by Dwarven smiths to infuse their crafts with magic, normally through empowered elemental gems set into the sides of the forge. In this case, however, it appeared that some thief had pried the gems loose. The thieves didn’t seem to get far however as there were two scorched skeletons lying near the forge with six rubies strewn about them.

Striding forward to investigate, Flint was suddenly engulfed in the fury of a fire elemental, presumably freed from the rubies when the thieves pried them loose. If not for his Ring of Fire Resistance, the dwarf would surely have perished under the elemental’s anger. Nonplussed, the dwarf summoned a hammer of faith and called upon a spiritual guardian to aid him. As flashes of holy light burst from the ethereal hammer, the rest of us lashed out with arrows, bolts, and spells to send the creature back to its fiery plane. The elemental was clever, however, and surrounded Flint, hoping to prevent us attacking for fear of harming the dwarf. Luckily, the creature found one of my spells particularly amusing, allowing Flint to maneuver outside the elemental’s corona. With another flash of holy light, the creature was banished to its plane.

Having dispatched the elemental, we gathered the gems and explored the two passages leading from the octagonal room. We discovered they led to either side of a large subterranean lake. One led to a room containing a cylindrical object, with a wheel that looked like it would open up the tube. A rickety raft lay nearby in the other room but, looking at it dubiously, the goliath called upon his god to grant us the ability to traverse the lake as if it were solid ground. As we crossed, a black mass of goo rose up from the lake ominously. The amorphous creature, no doubt attracted by our footsteps, hungrily attacked us. The rogue, Tywill, struck the thing with his straight sword and caused it to rift, splitting it in two. Much to our horror, the two halves surged forward independent of one another. The rogue had only managed to double our enemies. One of them then surged forward, trying to envelope the rogue in its acidic touch. While Lynnya and Tywill, fearful of increasing our foes, ran to shore, the two clerics and I combined our magic to burn away and disrupt the ooze. We quickly joined Lynnya and Tywill on shore in case our battle stirred more of the creatures.

On shore, found several tunnels that had been hidden by the darkness of the cavern. Following one shaft inside, were all at once beset by three kobolds with their hunting dog. We managed to get the drop on them. Though it pained me to do so, I was forced to injure the poor canine in my efforts to destroy the kobolds. Weakened by my thunderous spell, the kobolds were quickly dispatched. Luckily, Flint was able to heal the dog. The dog, who he has named Petey, has taken a liking to him. I’m certain little Petya will enjoy living with us a great deal more than the kobolds.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Session 36: Medusa Cuckoo

Upon reaching the summit of the cliff, we surveyed our surroundings and spotted a small tower rising out of the forest below. After a quick search, we found an old trail leading into the forest. The tower appeared to rise from the rock almost organically for there were no visible doors to be found. Following this trail further led us to what appeared to be an old, dilapidated villa. With the tower looming nearby, we surmised that there may be a passage leading to the tower within.
Approaching the gate house, we noted a number of lifelike statues of dwarves littering the area. The status were of incredible detail and might have been true works of art had not the expressions of the dwarves conveyed such horror. Tables had been overturned to form a barrier but appeared to have had little effect in halting whatever force had overrun the manor. Moving further in, the manor was largely empty and appeared to have been ransacked of any of its valuables.

Eventually in our searching, we discovered a passage leading down into the earth beneath the manor. There we found ourselves in a large antechamber whose primary feature was a titanic column in the center. As we surveyed the antechamber, we were ambushed by the slings of four kobolds who had hidden at the top of the column. We weathered their first volley of stones and then took action while the little ingrates reloaded. In a flash, Lynnya and I teleported to the top of the column through a gate of magic. Meanwhile, the rogue, Tywil, made his own magical relocation, disappearing in a puff of mist and appearing in the midst of the kobolds an instant later. The goliath, being half the height of the column to begin with, merely climbed up to join us. Startled as they were by our sudden appearance, the kobolds fell quickly to arrow, spell, and sword as they fumbled with their slings.

The battle ended, we now saw how the kobolds were able to sneak upon us. A spiral staircase rested atop the column and led upward, seemingly into the tower. Mounting the stairs, we found they indeed rose up into the tower. We only found one chamber, all the way at the top of the tower. It was a semi-circular chamber with a wall cutting through what would have been the center of the circle. Upon this wall, there was a great clock face looming ominously over us.

Just then, the clock struck midnight and began to chime. As part of the clock’s display, a small door opened twenty feet above where we stood. Expecting a small animatronic dwarf, as is customary within their craftsmanship, we were instead horrified to see a medusa step through the door. Suddenly, the dwarven statues near the gate house made much sense. I felt the lethargy of the medusa’s gaze grip my body just as I was able to look away. Thinking quickly, I unstoppered the Eversmoking Bottle Flint had given me (and he thought I would never find a use for it!) and the room quickly filled with a quick smoke, obscuring the medusa. Tywil leapt up to the platform where the medusa stood to engage her directly but was nearly brought low by the short sword she wielded and the poison of her writhing, serpentine hair. While the rogue fought her directly, Lynnya, Goblin, and I engaged her with spell and arrow. Certainly, the smoke filling the chamber made the battle more difficult but it protected us from the medusa’s deadly gaze. The odds against her, the medusa retreated back through the door which closed tightly behind her. We refused to be deterred, however. Mustering his strength, the goliath moved the hands of the clock to the top of the hour, causing the chimes to thunder through the tower and thrust the startled medusa back into the room where we quickly made short work of her.

Following the battle, we searched through her chambers behind the wall and found a small chest with an array of treasures, including a magic ring of protection. We then rested, anticipating the battle against whatever foul force  was holding this kobold rabble together into an army.