Interlude: Winter Break
After nearly a full year of near-constant adventuring, the party returns to Sundtar Agamm, Geskas Andan, Akihito-Remi, and similar areas for the winter. Aside from a little time dedicated to travel and trade, the party has decided that they want to devote some time to study and crafting. Additionally, with the new party members, they need to get to know one another, develop their relationships, and understand what one another can do so that they can work together better in battle.
Shiny New Toys
Maleos invests some time into teaching some spells to the party's mages. Then we collaborate develop the Quadruple Colossal Resist Energy (Fire) ritual. It lasts for almost 2 hours, which means we could easily cast it and re-prepare the spent spell, even while traveling. We could do this with Mythic Improved Invisibility, too, but it would take longer to cast and last a tenth as long. Still, at 2 miles out, that's a hell of a lot of ballista bolts pelting the enemy leader.
Shop 'till you stop
Maleos throws in some of his savings, as does Darias, to equip some of the new party members. That plus the spoils of the most recent trading allows the party to build and acquire some new equipment, mostly targeted at the newest members (Thema's crew) since Aida and Yoshirou-Mura had already invested their hard-earned savings in helping Finnbarre to some extent. Maleos, Darias, and Carbry did most of the crafting on these items, though other party members threw in at times; some items, less important ones, were even hired out in order to allow the party to finish everything on schedule.
- +1 keen aelphin lightblade
- +1 dagger
- Finn's chain shirt goes to +1
- ring of protection +1
- amulet of natural armor +1
- 2x +1 flaming dagger
- 1x bowie, 1x double-edged throwing
- boots of striding and springing
- 2x +1 flaming dagger
- Thema's longsword +2 merciful
- Replace Thema's shield with mithril heavy shield +2
- starburst center; smaller deity symbols arrayed around (Islander symbols)
- Klementyna's mace goes to +1 demonbane of spell storing; also incorporates rod of lesser extend (3/day, extend 1st-3rd spell for free)
- Ring of protection +1
- Amulet of natural armor +1
- lv 2 scroll x2
- lv 4 scroll x1
- Beast Shape II
- String of hair beads
- tiny figures representing the full party
- not yet enchanted, but plan was to eventually enchant them to indicate where the person is when you invoke them
- The party purchased materials for Carbry so that he could begin to reenchant his staff
- lv 2 scroll x2
- mirror image
- protection from arrows
- lv 4 scroll
- fire shield
- ring of protection +2, but as a left bracer
- amulet of natural armor +1, but as a right bracer
- cloak of resistance +2 with endure elements so she can wear it even in hotter weather
- +1 spear, changeling
- shortspear, spear, longspear, quarterstaff, 10' pole, or cane forms
- switches between forms on command word
- lv 2 scroll x2
- winged brooches - single use feather fall
- 20 on board ship
- and everyone gets 1
- the rest remaining on the ship
This is the conversation that Thema has with Darias after he presents her new shield to her.
Thema: after looking at the symbols for a long moment "Where are you from?"
Darias: "A long, long way away."
T: "Seems true. Not to the east, though. Even if I couldn't see the lie in that, the mere fact that Maleos says east makes me think south or west."
D: Darias doesn't like lying to his friends. Anyone, really. He remains silent, but that made him uncomfortable. (Bluff bonus +7 for an idea of how good he is at hiding that.)
T: "Hmm. You're all quite protective of your homeland."
D: "We don't have demons there. We'd like to make sure it stays that way. No offense intended."
T: "That… seems impossible, actually."
D: "After all I've been through, I'd have to agree."
T: "If your homeland is free of demons, why come here?"
D: Darias points to the large symbol at the top of her shield, the image of Pelor. "That one. Made it clear to us that we had to go."
T: "And that one is..?" (Darias told her about the symbols' divinity but had not yet gone into full detail about each.)
D: "Pelor. Sun and healing."
T: "Ahh. Who we would call ' Nkanyiso', if we are to believe they are the same. And the one… that you… claim to believe travels with us. Perhaps that is unfair. I can see that he is not human, but… I am not certain I can fully believe that he is a god."
D: "I don't think that's what he is" He looks up and uhs, looking for a metaphor. "If I understand everything he said. Think of Saul as a marionette. A puppet carved in the shape of the puppeteer, dressed as him, and given a small measure of his power. I think that might be the only way the 'gods' can exist in this world. Who knows…" He pauses, and regards the symbol. "And from what I understand, when Saul has served his purpose, the strings get cut."
T: she's silent for a moment, then grunts a 'huh' "Well… you've certainly given me a lot to think about…."
D: He looks to the shield… "If you'd prefer, I can reforge the symbols to something else."
T: considers that for a minute "No, this seems… appropriate." thoughtfully
The PCs teleport to a Faeon village named Faela that Thema and company have been to before. Their plan is to sell some of their rum and fey wine there, something they've been trying to spread around the area so as to not flood any one market and to allow them to continue producing magical items. Upon their arrival in the town, though, they see an empty village. Over the winter wind, they hear screams and shouts and the meaty sounds of battle.
Springing into action, Maleos turns the party invisible and links them with lesser telepathic bond. The party's scouts sprint toward the south, maneuvering through the thick forest toward the sounds. Yoshirou-Mura, with her magically-augmented speed, reaches the scene first with the two rogues not far behind. At the sound of her laughter in their heads, the party regroups to reconsider, moving forward cautiously but with weapons still stowed. As they break into a small clearing, they find a roped-off area with what seems to be the entirety of the village arrayed around it. Men and women with green and brown vests on run along the ropes, eyes fixed on the field behind them. Inside the field, bears and wolves incongruously draped in either red or blue ribbon slam into one another, swiping and biting. Some even bear armor and weapons custom-fit for them - claw sheaths and armored collars, for example. In the air, similarly be-ribboned falcons and owls flit from tree to tree, a couple clutching oddly-shaped buckets in their talons for some reason.
The PCs, realizing this is a sport of some sort, lower their magical shrouds and inquire about the rules. They watch the game, and in a stroke of good timing, the blue team swipes their bucket from the trees and drops it in front of their bears, who quickly shovel the rock into it, winning the match. The crowd erupts in cheers and boos, money changing hands as the teams bring themselves down and exit the field to receive some minor healing. Having now seen the game, Maleos and Darias inquire about whether or not they could polymorph into animals and participate in a loose pickup game with some of the players in order to better understand the game (Maleos as a drake and Darias as a wolfhound). The reds who participate, smarting from their loss, rally to give Darias's side the win and to regain some of their lost pride.
As this is a festival day for the village (with the rangers and druids from the game in town, everyone is in a celebratory mood), the party easily sells their wares. They also make good contacts within this village for later on should they ever return.
Still to write up:
- Aida and YM are doing training with some of the rangers and whatnot - archery, single combat, animal handling, etc.
- various others doing various other things
Into the Badlands
With their self-imposed winter vacation finally coming to an end, the party begins to strategize how to get to their destination without flying or teleporting through any mana storms in the Badlands. After some discussion, the party just decides to fly around the long way - through the south pass near Akihito-Remi, then over the plains to the Great Lake, finally turning north and then back west to skirt the Badlands and reach the relatively safe landing strip of the Salt Lake. This safer route takes an additional week or so to fly, but it keeps the Thunderhead safe from the unpredictable mana storms that could tear into its enchantments.
After landing, the party spends a few days in the legion camps near the lake gathering supplies; they've decided to rely on pure magic for survival as little as possible. Proving out through the border guards is relatively easy for the party now; after nearly four years of battle-hardening, even Maleos has a fighting chance in hand-to-hand combat with an orc recruit. That leaves only the final hurdle of actually reaching the Maelstrom.
Over the next week, the party becomes intimately reacquainted with the many minor annoyances of overland travel: setting up and breaking camp, cooking, dealing with weather, and of course, the endless walking. The hundred-mile hike leads to some quite predictable self-grumbling for choosing this route, but without significant time pressure, the party can at least take the hike slowly and not push themselves to more than 15 or so miles per day.
The First Delve
The nearest legion camp to the Maelstrom is nearly 10 miles outside of the nominal edge of the storm, which leads to a long day's hike to even reach Thema's cavern, 8 miles into the storm. The party can make it to and from the cavern in a day, assuming they don't spend too much time inside the caverns themselves, but doing so definitely qualifies as a forced-march. In order to improve their odds of not having to camp within the Maelstrom (or outside of the protection of the Legions), the party sets off very early in the morning - even before the orc patrol that analyzes the "weather." Thankfully, there aren't any roaming demons in the area for now.
The party reaches the capstone covering the entrance that Thema and company used, realizing that someone else must have passed by afterward to re-cover the entrance with the multi-ton capstone. The party wedges and removes the capstone, then sends Aida down with some alchemical lights and a long rope to secure their entry into the first level of the caverns. Once in, the party pokes around in the entrance caverns a little, securing themselves to one another to prevent potentially disastrous falls like the one that resulted in Thema's illness. They manage to pull together some debris, recovering some gems and coins from the obvious remains of a battle in the cavern entrance. Poking around to the north, though, the party is ambushed by things that look sort of like mantid-demons that have been bulked up by massive rocky plates all over their exoskeletons. The creatures manage to lay a significant beat down on the party at first, but a few carefully-considered spells and some lucky blows from Aida, Yoshirou-Mura, Darias, and Khalil bring down most of the attackers; Finnbarre's invocation of a earth-based abjurative power of some sort saves Maleos great pain as his skin is coated with some form of metal just before one of the insectoid hulks lays into him. The metal armor deflects the majority of the attack, giving Maleos the somewhat unique (for him) experience of taking a punch without falling down afterward.
Having defeated the mantid-like creatures, the party is barely able to move further into the cavern before they're assaulted further by blobby things apparently made of pulsing fire. They begin blindly throwing fireballs at anyone they can see, and the party once more throws themselves into battle, risking more spells to provide some fire resistance. During the battle, more of the mantids show up, burrowing up through the ground to ambush Kalil and Salvatrix. A risky rush by Yoshirou-Mura and Aida saves the two, though not without both fighters taking significant wounds themselves. Maleos, eyeballing the battle, notices something odd about the fire-creatures; they seems to be pulsing with evocation magic, and when killed, they just shatter like a dispelled spell.
After the battle seems to finally be over, the party investigates the odd, glowing, wavy, shimmering rift floating in the air. Maleos and Saul begin to debate what to do about what Maleos describes as a strong evocation source slowly growing stronger, but before they can come to a full decision, Aida punches the air and shatters whatever the effect was.
Having gone through something of a difficult battle, the party retreats to the entrance cavern and decides to poke around at where Thema fell. Aida sends Moxie down to scout, and she eventually comes back looking quite sick; Saul detects that she's been exposed to some form of poison and checks her out. Aida comes up with a clever idea on how to recover some of the poison and heads down, affixing an empty flask to her hammer with some alchemical glue and tossing it into the poison cloud before summoning her hammer back to her and quickly capping off the flask. After a bit of further debate, the party realizes that they've been down in the caverns a couple of hours and have at least another 5 hours of hiking back to the legion camp ahead of them. Aida gathers a few additional things she's found around the entrance cavern, including the identifying marks from an orc body still in the cavern and a couple of spell-rigged bird-heads that spew fire when triggered. Tired, beat up, and concerned about the level of danger in these caverns, the party then leaves the cavern, replacing the capstone.
Returning to the legion camp late at night, the party notices that there were three flags hanging from the central tent, denoting a "category 3 day1" in the Maelstrom. Not the worst possible storm, but significant, and it's somewhat heartening to know they've survived a fairly significant storm.
After a day of rest, the casters note that memorizing spells is much more difficult than they're used to, and the fighters and rogues feel quite stiff and sore from the battle. Persistent head and muscle aches come and go, interrupting the party's ability to function normally, and no healing spells seem to help. The party decides to rest and recover until they feel whole again, and during that time they try to learn some new spells and make more useful materials (alchemical and otherwise) for their second foray into the caverns. Five days pass before they're once again feeling whole and possibly ready to try again.
The Second Delve
updates already made - PC XP; everyone gained 1 mythic trial (or more, for lower-tier characters)
These items were collected by the party as a whole. This doesn't include any objects collected directly by individual party members. Distribution of this treasure has not yet been decided.
- Divine Nectar
- The magical water from the caverns in the Maelstrom was toxic if too much was drunk (generally, more than a flask or two within 24 hours, though it depended on Constitution). In an effort to stabilize the mixture alchemically, Saul mixed a sample with a sample of the lichen he'd collected from Erythnul's Cavern. In doing so, he created a sample of divine nectar, a sweet-tasting syrup with various magical healing properties. Since this mixture was significantly more potent than the water itself and was stable over the long term, Saul mixed the rest of the collected water up as well. The PCs had nearly 400 "doses" of water to begin with, but they paid the orcs with around 1002. Another 75 were used to cure the manaburn from their second day of combat in the Maelstrom. This left the party with 200 doses of divine nectar.
- This fragrant, potent mead is meant to be consumed in small doses. Consuming nectar of the gods is a standard action that restores 1d4+1 uses of mythic power to a mythic creature (up to the creature's maximum). If a non-mythic creature consumes this drink, it works like the heroism spell, lasting for 24 hours; mythic creatures can choose this effect rather than the mythic power restoration if desired. If used to support enchantment of a reasonably-related item (quenching fluid for smithing, the base for a potion or a paint, etc.), a dose provides 5,000 gp worth of enchantment value.
- 200 doses collected (total value: 1,000,000 gp)
- The Blood of Erythnul
- This gold-and-red swirled liquid was hidden below an orcish monument of some sort in the location the PCs called Erythnul's Cavern.
- The liquid reacted violently with a telekinetic force spell effect, splashing Carbry and Salvatrix with a few oz apiece. Carbry seemed wreathed in liquid golden fire for a full minute, while the blood just soaked into Salvatrix's skin. Both casters were petrified, locked in a paralytic rigor for nearly 2 hours before passing into a limp, weakened state that took days to recover from. This exposure triggered their mythic ascendance, and other effects might have been triggered by this action as well.
- 1 oz collected (total value: unknown)
- Axeblade Fragments
- The PCs collected a fragment of a very large axeblade. The fragment broke off of the hook (or heel) of the axe. The hook was attached to a collar around the haft of the axe; the collar was studded with spikes of some sort (possibly for parrying, possibly just for decoration). All told, the PCs collected around 1/3 of the collar, with one and a portion of another spike that would have been attached to that portion of the collar. The spikes are nearly a 19" long; the fragment of the heel the PCs recovered was almost a foot long. Extrapolating from the size of the heel and collar, the axe was likely Huge in size and may have been more like a halberd than a one-handed battleaxe.
- The blade consists primarily of steel and brightsteel, but it is laced with titanium, argia, and veneresite.
- The item that originally wounded Thema was likely a portion of one of the broken collar-spikes, though based on the wound's size, it couldn't have been the entire spike.
- 3 or 4 lb of blade collected (total value: unknown)
- Shattered Metal Fragments
- The PCs collected some shards of a very large blade or rod of some sort. The fragments are oddly colored for metal, being more purplish than silvery. Darias wasn't immediately familiar with most of the constituent elements of the blade, which included titanium, boron, aluminum, gallium arsenide, copper, iron, uranium, neodymium, and tin.
- None of the fragments are larger than a toothpick, and none fit nicely together; to Darias, it sort of looks like when he experimented with magically deep-freezing steel and then hitting it quickly and sharply with a hammer, shattering and distorting it in the process.
- 2 or 3 lb of shards collected, none larger than a a fraction of an oz (total value: unknown)
- Semiprecious Stones
- TODO: get these amounts from PCs. a few around 25 gp ea, and a few around 300 gp ea, I think
GM TODO Items
- Talk to Carol about orc stuff (due to armor insignia she recovered)
- document notes from during session
- add notes to pc wiki on orc representations of gods
- Boccob: serpent
- Ehlonna: drake
- Erythnul: orc warrior
- Fharlanghn: pegasus
- Heironyous: vulture
- Hextor: sandspider
- Nerull: scarab beetle
- Olidammara: coyote
- Pelor: scrub brush
- write up session notes
- "insect" fight and Aida scaring them off
- dive through "anus", poison issues
- splitting the party and skeleton fights
- heading to the "dead zone" area and seeing the slenderpeople
- the well of many magicks
- the story-cavern and its fight, then the story itself
- the hidden cavern of erythnul - salvatrix and carbry's god-blood exposure
- leaving and recovering
PC TODO Items
- update Darias on Roll20
- update Maleos on Roll20
- determine loot split/usage
- PC-NPC interactions?