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.