Sunday, August 31, 2014

Savage Tide Session 38

The party left their rooms at the Silk Purse (after a disturbing night's sleep thanks to Mendel bringing a barmaid back with him), and headed downstairs. Awaiting them was an Ethengari-looking gentleman with glowing blue eyes (a Arcane Sight spell), who introduced himself as El'Ariah from the Krondohar province of Glantri. He expressed suprise at seeing the party, having heard that some Glantian nobles of the von Drachenfels family were meant to be using this accomodation to take part  in the golem hunt, and El'Ariah was hoping to meet his fellow contestants.After the party explained they would not be taking part, he seemed disappointed, and left them to go about their business - but not before mentioning that the von Drachenfels were supposed to have some 'edge' they were bringing to the tournament.

Before leaving Alchemos, the party visited the Temple of Koryis to send their message to Farshore, explaining their absence, and speak with the deceased spirits of Stefanie and Rissashtak. Stefanie confirmed that she did not wish to return, having given her life i na glorious battle, and Risasshtak stated that whilst there were still demons to fight in his homeland, we wanted to be there to continue the battle. Zhedd argued that the party should only use a cheaper reincarnate spell to bring the warrior back, but the others felt this an insult to how Rissashtak had fought for the party in the battle and resolved to raise him back in Sasserine.

Dacien used his newly acquired spell Greater Teleport to more accurately transport the party back to Sasserine. They headed for the Church of the Whirling Fury and met with Lady Silvermane there. She listened with interest to the report from the expedition on the Isle of Dread, and still expressed her concern over not fully knowing what Demogorgon was up to. The party discussed the next plans, and she agreed that hunting down the source of the pearls with the Crimson Fleet seemed the only avenue left to understanding more about their nature. She offered to take the pearls from the party to study them, but Dacien wanted to hold on to them as a potential bargaining chip in the future.

When the party mentioned the intelligent bow they had found, Lady Silvermane offered to introduce the party to the immortal Ixion to discuss its future. She was a priest in part in his name through his presence on the Council of Intrusion, and so was able to gate the party to Pandius, city of the gods, where they could meet the Sun Prince. Stepping through the portal, the party arrived in a large chamber, seated opposite a table from the follow powerful immortal 'deities'.

Ixion (Otzitiotl) appeared a a young man with eyes of flame, Ka  (Kalaktatla) as a large dinosaur, Odin (Oloron) as an old man with an eye-patch and a raven, and Protius (Manwara), who appeared as a porpoise swimming in a pool to the side, seemingly disinterested  in the entire event. Ixion explained that he had convened the others as their powers had also gone in to the creation of the bow. Ixion seemed the more personable of the four, and claimed to be aware of the party's activities through Lady Silvermane and the Council of Intrusion. When the issue of what should be done with the bow came up, several options were raised, where the immortals might reward the party for delivering the bow to different destinations that might better suit its purpose.

  1. Ka and Ixion both mused delivering the bow somewhere that might suit its purpose of defending the Oltec empire perfectly. They revealed to the party that the planet was in fact hollow, and in the Hollow World at its centre, fallen empires from history were stored and preserved so that knowledge might be saved, in a 'living museum' of delicately balanced lost civilisations. They explained that the Oltec Empire that had once spread across the now Isle of Dread was represented in the Hollow World, and there the bow could meet its goal of defending the empire. They seemed cautious about the bow knowing too much of the nature of the destination, and explained that certain magical effects ceased to function in the Hollow World due to its nature - severe restrictions on conjuration, divination and enchantment magic. But in return for taking the bow to the seat of the Oltec Empire, they would reward the party each with an item. Should the party choose this course, they suggested heading to Barleycorn Monastery in the Broken Lands north of Darokin, where the priests might be able to help with transport.
  2. Odin seemed more matter-of-fact, and wanted to see the bow  in the hands of a warrior. Acknowledging the strong nature of the intelligence in the bow, he suggested the bow could actually be given to the spirit that possessed it! Odin explained that the civilisation on the isle of Dread now revere undead but this once once a form of undead called Deathless powered by positive energy. Corruption at the heart of the empire that contributed to its downfall led the shamans away from this practice. Several Deathless, including Macutotnal, the king inside the bow, lay in slumber guarding the source of this undead corruption. If the party could remove the need for his guardianship, destroy the corruption, the Deathless might take the bow and return to rebuild the Oltec way of life  on the Isle. In return for this deed, Odin would reward them with one item of more power.
  3. Protius only chipped into suggest giving it to the aquatic races, or detroying it do the power invested in it could return to the immortals.
Mendel also asked about the Eye of Arik they were carrying. Ixion was surprised at its existence, and gave some background. Arik was a guardian created by the immortals to act as a sentinel on the look out for intrusions in to this dimension from Outer Beings, and to stand as guard and warden over the Pits of Banishment, an 'inescapable' prison dimension where dangerous creatures could be locked away. Arik had been tempted by the powers that the outer Beings offered, and so had to be locked away in the Pits himself. Dacien asked about the need for a guard at the prison, and Ixion explained his surprise at the existence of the Eye - that the only escape was by a creature 'opening the door to its cell from the other side'. The Eye contained some vestige of Arik's power, and so if brought to the Pits of Banishment might be used to free him.
Back in Sasserine, the party left Aloysius to sell their loot, which should take a fortnight. He was operating form an abandoned tailors in Shadowshore. On the docks, Mendel, Faldak and Ji spotted the crew of the ship they had visited in Farshore harbour carrying the Shadow Elves, surprisingly already in Sasserine. It became clear that the first mate did not recognise them, and from Antony's questions and pub crawl, it seemed their memories had been modified. Dacien scryed for the albinos and found them in a smuggler's cave to the west - in fact the one they had first encountered the evidence of the danger of the black pearls.

Zhedd then persuaded the party to help him retrieve a sample undead from the Isle of Dread - his long overdue mission from the Witchwardens. The party travelled to Mora, and met with the Witch Doctor there, and thanks to Antony's skilful negotiation, a large amount of alcohol, and Mendel's offer of exchange of the secrets of their power (training etc), Zhedd was handed a topi zombie in a box. It was clear the locals revered the undead as 'Walking Ancestors', and the witch doctor hoped for the return of the zombie in the future, but understood how it might have much to teach the outsiders. Zhedd and Dacien delivered the zombie back to the Witchwardens, and were met by the Dark Priestess Annah Teranaki who was very interested in the party's work. Before the party left Sasserine, Mendel visited the temple of Asterius, and spoke again with the priestess Lirali Woarali. She confirmed that the assassins had retreated from the city, and in response to Mendel's offer of assistance, the church and the growing thieves guild would benefit from an exclusive trade relationship with the nation of Emerond to the south - all trade had recently been cut off and if this could be resolved  in the Church's name, they would benefit greatly.

The party still had time to kill whilst waiting for the funds from their loot, and so decided to deal with the dragon turtle on the north of the Isle of Dread. Back in Farshore, Antony's sea Captain Nosmo Beldan had reported sightings of the turtle near the harbour. Some of the locals had also claimed to see a red falcon in the sky to the east, and Mendel spotted this at night - a giant red falcon seemingly made from wood, lit up and hovering over the islands where they met the Hulean preists previously. They party spent some time planning how best to approach the dragon turtle, and decided to repair the Sea Wyvern they left wrecked  on the north of the island enough to limp around in the the cove and use as a platform for their attacks. A carpenter helped with the makeshift repairs, with wood shaping spells from Zhedd. Nearby they met with some tortles, who reminded them of the dragon turtle being worshipped by some of their kin, and it guarding the birthing grounds they used. After some trade, they also revealed the dragon turtle had coral golems to add to its defences.

They limped the ship into the deep waters of the cove, and used the horns to attract the dragon turtle's attention as they had done before. It emerged moments later with a sneer, and was caught by surprise as the party attacked. A vast amount of magical firepower was unleashed from Dacien, Zhedd and Gerald to attack the creature as it tried to capsize the ship, and eventually Zhedd's summoned crocodiles tore it to pieces, leaving the body floating in the bloody waters. Somewhere below was its lair and collected treasure....

Monday, August 04, 2014

Savage Tide Session 37

The giant eel-like demon thrashed in the chamberer, as Faldak and Ji were thrust aside by its sudden appearance. Zhedd quickly teleported Banshee out of harms way, as Dacien racked his brains to identify the creature - a wastrilith, an aquatic demon that usually avoid direct combat, and has a vulnerability to fire. Before they could act, however, a wall of ice appeared between the demon and the bulk of the party. Quick thinking from Mendel saw him use the arrow of disintegration to blow a hole in the wall and press the attack. Soon after the creature was dead. There was no sign of the two headed creature returning, so the party started to explore the area. They found a statue of Demogorgon in a side chamber, with a fragment of a gold annulus held in its arms - similar to the one the party had found in the village of Mora.

Antony found a passageway south, and Dacien confirm with a use of locate object that the kopru had fled in that direction. The party found two pools which appeared to lead to underwater passageways, and signs that the two remaining kopru had come this way. As the party prepared to enter, there was a ebllowing roar form the main chamber - the two-headed demon had returned. The party returned to the room, and spread out along the walls to attack. The beast was in the centre of the chamber looking healed form its previous wounds but drained of energy. Wary of the original encounter, the party feared it may be an illusion. Faldak and Ji hurried forward, and spotted the real demon hiding in one of the rooms. As the party tired to pin it down in the room, it teleported behind Mendel and attacked. This allowed the rest of the party to close in. Driven by an desire for vengeance, the beast would not flee, and the party soon brought it down. A it died, the body collapsed in on itself in a bubbling mass of black ichor. Dark smoke rose form the putrefying corpse, and coalesced into the image of Demogorgon, whose gaze fixed the party. One head snarled in anger, whilst the other hissed "You have my attention!".

The party then return to face the kopru, cowering in their flooded cavern. Gerald warded Faldak with a freedom of movement spell, and the dwarf used his necklace of adaptation  to breathe under the water. Zhedd conjured a pod of dolphins to guide them, and turned into a dolphin himself to tow Faldak along under the water. Together, they cornered the two remaining kopru and between a wet dwarf and some summoned crocodiles, they managed to defeat them. The cave contained lots of furniture carved from coral, and appeared to be where the kopru kept most of their treasure. One chest was chained to the floor and trapped, and Anthony soon found out why - one trap caused him to grow gills, and an innocuous handbell inside the chest dropped a fireball when accidentally rung. The party were then more cautious retrieving a set of bellows form the chest - which Dacien later identified as Bellows of the Fascist Swarm that could summon a swarm of bees to attack hippies (CG creatures in preference).

The party then spent a day ensuring they had cleared out the complex. They found no sign of other kopru, but did find underwater routes that lead into the main lake. A small fish informed them a large predator guarded the lake, and as a shadow loomed overhead, the party quickly retreated. Zhedd wanted to approach the treants again before he left. Zhedd communed  again, and picked up the treants trial, as well as spotting that several demons still plagued the lands around the plateau. Mendel accompanied him, and, dodging a flock of wyverns, they managed to find the treants. Zhedd informed them that the island had been cleared of skinwalkers, and the treants again thanked him for removing the taint of civilisation form the plateau. They seemed resistant to accept any further help, and eager to see the party leave so that they could reclaim the land for nature themselves without man- or elf-kind.

Dacien gathered the party to teleport back to Farshore, focussing on Professor Aldwattle's laboratory. As the spell neared completion, a fly darted up his nose, causing him to lose concentration. The party vanished and reappeared in an alchemical laboratory - but not the one they intended. As a bookcase golem started to move to defend its masters room, Dacien quickly dimension door'd the party out to the street. They found themselves in an immaculately kept cobbled road, an avenue with well kept plants and topiary. The smell of smoked haddock and hot metal filled the air. A passing dwarf with a wheelbarrow informed them they had arrived in Alchemos, on the continent of Bellisaria in the Empire of Alphatia - a great many hundreds of miles from their intended destination. Alchemos was the home of the Alphatian School of Alchemy, a prestigious site of learning.

The party started looking for somewhere cheap to stay, when Mendel decided to pick somewhere more upmarket, and spotted a lavish inn named The Silk Purse. At the door, after an initial look of derision, the proprietor seemed to mistake the party for some expected guests that were due to take part in 'The Hunt'. The party happily went along with the ruse, and were shown to a lavish suite of rooms. The next day, Dacien and Zhedd did some research at the library and Mendel and Antony did their 'research' at the taverns. They found out that The Hunt was actually an annual event where the  Alchemists Guild would unleash a hellish alchemical golem of their own devising upon contestants trapped within a maze of invisible force fields. There had only been 2 winners in recent years, and taking part was seen as an act of desperation by down-on-their-luck mages looking to get their hands  on the 100,000 gp prize for defeating the golem and leaving the maze. The party (almost universally) began to think taking part was a Bad Idea.