Posts made in July, 2014
Run #1: Meeting the Ghost River People
PC’s: Macan, Notin Tolkien, Rorsharch, Guildmaster Bob, Frozen Stream, Aria, and Bob (not to be confused with Guildmaster Bob)
The adventuring team meets with Magistrate Nicholai Zed, (see the attached pic: Magistrate Nicholai Zed.png) a very old elf who is known for having some prophetic abilities and for standing above the destruction of the Idyllican Valley calming everyone by playing his wood/bone/glass flute. A spirit of his flute has told him of a place to the south west in a crack in the earth where a stone sarcophagus from Sitriph lies. The people that moved it there wrote a story of their journey on the sarcophagus detailing their trip from Sitriph to their latest home. It is his hope that they can study the sarcophagus and find out how the Sitriph citizens survived the wastelands and by studying the records of their journey they can find the exact location of Sitriph. Without the location information, the Horde may not make it there on time before the wall of Shroud magic reaches them. They leave immediately.
The party encounters and talks with eight-legged squirrels and large tentacles in waterpools where they refill their water. One morning, close to dawn, they hear babies crying and after a quick scouting mission by Macan in panther form, he discovers from a distance an old religious building in serious disrepair with one baby human boy on the interior steps and possibly two more in the shadows. He also sees at least three predator beasts that look like oily horses with pointed teeth and grasping hands at the ends of their long limbs and hooves on their elbow joints. Macan leads them back to the party and the party quickly kill them. Aria picks up the baby boy on the steps and the baby starts to spit up red feathers. As the baby starts to turn itself inside out and become a bird, single named-Bob, smacks the transforming baby out of Aria’s hands. Horrified, Notin tries to burn the abomination with magic. Guildmaster Bob almost gets his eyes pecked out by the bird. Finally the other two birds attack and all three are killed. That morning, single-named Bob has bird for breakfast and finds that the birds have baby skin on the inside. It does not destroy his appetite.
Shortly before dusk under a heat-lightning filled sky the party encounters a group of six bird-headed humanoids bullying on a twelve year old naked human girl very near a huge chasm in the earth. The girl’s wrists and ankles are bound with rope and she has a sack on her head. The six humanoids have red-feathered bird heads and red feathers around their ankles. The red feathers remind the party of the birds they fought previously. They also seem to have leather loincloths and speak in a strange language.
While the lightning and thunder above hides the party’s whereabouts, they attack with surprise. Once they kill about half of the humanoids, they realize that the bird heads are masks/ helmets and that the people they are fighting are humans. The girl finds her way to one of the fallen humans and using the person’s obsidian dagger cuts her legs free. As the battle does not look like it is going well for the natives one of the spellcasters runs to the edge of the chasm and jumps! Without uttering an incantation, she begins flying away impersonating swimming movements. The girl yanks the hood off her head and Macan sees that the girl had been crying but instead of tears, blood is leaking from her eyes. As the girl also charges toward the chasm edge, Macan tells her to stop. The girl freezes in her tracks obviously recognizing the language. She says, “Must kill her!” And then leaps off the edge flying in the same way. Rorsharch starts to have a crisis of faith. He believes he has just stopped the local law enforcement from exiling a vampire and he may lose his Mavor-given powers. Macan follows along the edge as the girl and the spellcaster have an aerial battle. The naked girl finally drives the obsidian blade into the caster’s heart. The caster’s body then plummets to the chasm floor. As the last of the humans adversaries is killed, Macan returns with the girl.
The girl explains that her name is Upon A Time, and that she is (or was) a member of the Ghost River People. She was exiled for having bleeding eyes, the first signs of the Curse of the Seventh Citizen. The guards were escorting her down river and they wore the feathered masks and anklets of the red feathered Ava Birds. She laughs at the party for falling for the cries of the bird things earlier. The history of the Ghost River People is that they were originally from the city of Sitriph. When her ancestors fled persecution, they did so in a large sarcophagus to protect themselves from the wild Shroud magic present in the Wasteland. But only six citizens could fit standing in the box. A seventh citizen clung to the back of the tamed wolf that was used to pull the cart and the sarcophagus. As they travelled, the six were changed only a little but the Seventh Citizen suffered more problems and began to merge with the wolf. Even after the escapees found the Ghost River, the Seventh Citizen, now merged with the wolf, became further unstable and angry. She attacked the Ghost River People (as they were now calling themselves) and their offspring and when they finally did more than protect themselves, they delivered her a mortal blow but she would not die. They sealed her up in the original sarcophagus and hid her away. But the curse lived on. The people that she attacked and their offspring had a chance of bleeding from the eyes and eventually becoming homicidal. No one had seen the sarcophagus in about 100 years and the only one who might know where its current location would be the king. She went on to explain that there are only six variations of faces among the Ghost River People and that each person is an exact replica of one of the original six people that created this civilization. She has the face of the woman who was known as One Who Protects.
Although Guildmaster Bob, a dwarf, had some difficulty initially with the concept and related skill needed to swim/fly, everyone eventually got it. With Upon A Time disguised in one of the bird helms, she led them into the cliff-side city to request an audience with the king. It was decided that Rorsharch should be the one to formally request an audience with the king. Upon A Time told him to stand tall and not give up. Although the palace attendant put him through the ringer by first denying him and then angering him, he eventually apologized for testing him for the Curse of the Seventh Citizen. The palace attendant returned with notice that the king would give him an audience in fourteen days.
Upon being told that fourteen days was a short amount of time, they decided to go the quarters being prepared for them and possibly return in morning to insist upon a sooner audience. Magistrate Zed suggests that they sneak into his quarters and awaken him. Upon A Time used to be servant in the palace and shares her vivid living memories by puncturing the roof of her mouth and sharing her blood with the party. At about 3am, they implement their new plan to have their forced early morning audience.
Notin Tolkien, a hobbit who looks more like a short human due to his corruptions, levitates into his bedchamber window and wakes the king by casting a suggestion spell on him. “Grant me an audience” was his command. King All Fall Down reaches for a white cloth on his night table, wipes his face and agrees. Notin begs the king for the location of the sarcophagus but the king grows increasingly angrier and angrier. He accused Notin of being full of lies as he is obviously a ‘Half-man” in disguise and probably in league with the forces of Sitriph. Constantly reaching up to touch his face with the cloth, the audience escalates into a combat when the king launches himself at the now-hovering Hobbit outside his window. Notin recognizes the fury he has seen before and although the king is not bleeding from his eyes suspects that he is under the Curse of the Seventh Citizen but using a magic cloth to clean his face. Notin keeps his calm and calms the king as well. Notin tells the king that he will tell his people of his curse unless he tells him the location of the sarcophagus. All Fall Down tells him that he does not know the exact location except that it is down river. People who are under the Curse of the Seventh Citizen tend to seek it out. Until about 100 years ago, it was kept in the palace but whenever a cursed individual would seek it out it would lead the maniac to the palace where kings and queens lived. Many rulers had been murdered. One of the past rulers figured it out and had the stone box shipped away. Now when someone is found to bleed from their eyes they are exiled and escorted down river. The guards are instructed to let them go once they begin to feel the pull and move along in that direction under their own power. Notin knows they have Upon A Time and that she could probably lead them but doesn’t tell the king this.
Using Ghost River People blood magic, three wise women almost completely drain Macan to open a portal to one of his illegitimate children travelling with The Horde. Grasping vials of blood which will impart the knowledge of Long Bow creation and the Snapshot feat, the party enters the red portal and find themselves back with The Horde. Magistrate Zed and Upon A Time remain and await a new refreshed group to continue the quest for the sarcophagus of Sitriph.
Run #2: Wall of The Black Canyon
PC’s: Brock Samson, Brother Sue Cantacle, Dimo of Clan Jager, Marvin, Poppy O Rue, Thaddeus Venture
When the new party crosses through the red portal they arrive in the palace and the three wise women close the portal with great relief. They find Magistrate Zed and Upon A Time to fill them in on recent events. Poppy asks to see the flute that Magistrate Zed possesses and although he does not allow her to hold the artifact of Samedhi he does promise to will it to her when he dies. She accepts this considering it looks as if Magistrate Zed has one foot in the grave already.
Everyone sets off to swim/fly down river and only Dimo, a dwarf, has any difficulty, but he catches on. Poppy enjoys the swim immensely, feeling the ancient spirit of the river that cut the canyon all around her. They arrive in the plains of the Black Canyon as their ability to fly begins to cough and sputter. They walk across the plain following the river to a large white wall preceded by four strange towers. (see attached pic: Wall of the Black Canyon.jpg) They proceed into the carved out hole at the wall base into which the river flows. Under Upon A Time’s guidance, they eventually find their way into a long ancient chamber filled with mounds of rusty brown earth covered in vegetation thriving in the moist environment.
Suddenly, about fifteen ragged humanoids emerge from the mounds. Each one has elongated claws on the ends of their fingers, animalistic features and angry bleeding eyes. They pause when they view Upon A Time whose eyes are bleeding with this added stress but then launch themselves at the other intruders with rage and fury. Brock wrestles one victim of the Curse of the Seventh Citizen to the ground but the numbers threaten to overrun them all. Upon A Time points toward a deep pit and tells everyone she feels the pull of the sarcophagus down it. Brother Sue instructs everyone to come towards him for he has a plan. Thaddeus gets seriously injured. Magistrate Zed starts to exhale into his flute and call forth the spirits of the dead to fight off the many many enemies. With expert precision, Brother Sue, the cleric of Daglir, cuts the stone free below them so that it gently slides downward into the pit thereby reducing the fall by more than half. Poppy knocks the native girl onto the moving platform just in time. Due to the solid spirits above, only two enemies make their way onto the white stone platform with the party. When everyone lands at the bottom and Thaddeus gets knocked unconscious, Marvin casts a web over the top of the pit. They kill the two that fell with them and run towards the now-stronger pull of the sarcophagus.
They emerge in round room under the bedrock where they hear the rush of the waterfall above them. Before them is what they seek, the sarcophagus of Sitriph. And immediately Brother Sue begins construction on a wall to seal them off from the imminent rush of enemies from the room above while others begin reading the more recent stone plates attached to the top. The stone plates describe the journey from Sitriph, the history of the Ghost River People and the tragedy of The Seventh Citizen. (see the two attached images: Carved Stone Plates 1&2.jpg,Carved Stone Plates 3&4.jpg)
They examine the box and determine it is not stone but some form of hardened ceramic and that it has been affected by the Shroud and has become part of the rough-hewn grand-patterned floor. Carved clearly on the front surface are the words, “CONTAMINATED APHAR. DO NOT OPEN”. (see the attached doctored image:Sarcophagus of Sitriph.jpg) It has a series of four locks that once open at once. But Brock does not share with anyone that he can open the locks especially Upon A Time who is getting more and more impatient and angrier until she finally breaks down and sobs. Although they were not going to open it, Magistrate Zed says he can see an important key inside that they will possess.
As the scraping sounds from Brother Sue’s wall are getting louder they realize speed is of the essence. If they plan on opening the box, now is the time. Brother Sue begins by tunneling upwards toward the sound of the waterfall. And when he begins feeling dripping, Brock disengages the locks and both Brock and Dimo lift up the heavy lid.
Poppy and Upon A Time look in and see the desiccated naked human form of a woman clinging to the back of a wolf pelt. The woman has a healed exit wound in the center of her back. Suddenly the single creature springs up onto its hind legs and stands in the sarcophagus. There is human skin forming an “x” on the wolf’s chest where the woman’s arms have been absorbed into the wolf with an entry wound of a spear is at its center. The woman’s face is a smear on the creatures back but one eye is bright and blue and begins to dart around. She is wrapped in a loose rope. As Poppy tries to speak to the combined woman/wolf, The Seventh Citizen swiped at her with a pair of claws calling her a dirty Half-man from her wolf mouth. Dimo and Brock drop the lid behind the sarcophagus as Poppy falls back. Soon members of the party start blaming Poppy for being bad. She looks at them incredulously. Upon A Time, bleeding from the eyes, steps back muttering that it wasn’t supposed to be like this. The other cursed people on the other side of the wall start going bezerk and start howling. The Seventh Citizen tells Upon A Time she can go. She refuses and joins in the attack set off by Dimo and Brock but every blow is healing slowly. So as water trickles in with increasing speed, Marvin who is up in the hole with Brother Sue starts lighting flasks of flaming oil to drop onto their adversary. Dimo sees a Dwarven key on chain partially absorbed into the neck skin of the joined creature but can’t get rip it off. Thaddeus sees one spell thrown by Poppy get obliterated before it even reaches the wolf as the wolf’s mosaic amulet hums. Nickolai Zed summons up more warrior spirits who start to guard the breaking wall as Thaddeus hurls spells into the newly formed holes. Two other warriors lift the sarcophagus lid.
Water starts pouring down from the hole above as the human cleric of Daglir, Brother Sue breaks into the water pool. Brock opens The Sevenths Citizen’s side and reveals her internal organs but she does not die. With direction from one of the spirits, Brock plunges the silver ‘moon metal’ dagger into the beast’s heart and she falls slumped over the sarcophagus edge finally dead after so long. Dimo yanks off the Dwarven key and others pull other items off her still form.
The party goes up the hole helping each other along the way but Magistrate Zed wants to be last. He chooses to stay with his spirit warriors and when they call down to him he gets into the sarcophagus and says he will not be joining them. He tells them to leave and then look in Poppy’s pack for a letter that will explain everything. Before swim flying up river to the Ghost River People they read the Magistrate’s letter. The letter along with a sealed glass bottle confesses that he was the one who set about the events that destroyed the Idyllican Valley! (see the attached image: Magistrate Zed’s Letter of Confession.jpg)
A young girl with large lidless eyes asks the group to quiet a noisy talkative man in the cart travelling next to hers. And it smells also. They enter the cart and the smell is near unbearable and the sight of this man is grotesque. His corruptions are numerable. His eyes in his sockets are rotted and black but he has a crop of new eyes sprouting on his neck. His skin is green and leathery with some of his overgrown bones protruding from it. He has small legs sprouting from medium legs growing from long monstrous legs. His mouth is frozen open but he has a second smaller mouth inside the original that he may speak with. And it is those words that exemplify his madness. Gergely is his name although no one ever asked for it. (To see Gergely see the attached image: Gergely.jpg) He claims to have visions of other areas in the Wastelands, in all times but he is sometimes unsure when they have or will occur. He described a place that they could get to by following the last rays of the setting sun. That hole under the white square that holds a mirror that shows what once was, that could be again. He calls it the Mirror of Baylis and it is in the still lake in the cave. They ask him how he could have gotten so corrupted. He claims to have travelled far and wide with his visions and that may be the reason. But he admitted to have never been lucky.
Virlinth, a very young elf a little over one year old, uses his magic to tap into the mind of Gergely to get images. Virlinth and Gergeley sees the place the party is supposed to go and suddenly the horribly corrupted man knows his time is up. His very existence unravels before their eyes and he is gone. Since Virlinth was connected to his mind when he was unmade by the sheer mass of corruptions, he asks which god claimed his soul since Gergely was a devout worshipper of the Quartet (Pantheist). No one claimed him because his soul unraveled as well. This unsettled the entire party. They exit the cart and tell the girl that he will no longer disturb her sleep. She thanks them.
The party leaves The Horde as the sun goes down and after about an hour they find themselves in an area strewn with large piles of rubble. They find the large white square seen in the visions shared between Gergeley and Virlinth and pull it up. They descend into the damp darkness. They follow the passage and fight a few monstrous silverfish of varying sizes but the adversaries do not prove to be any major concern. Down one of the dead end passages they discover a place to fill up bowls with water but it seems like it has not been used in many many years. Inscribed in stone above small platform is an eight pointed crown and the words “Gold in Peace, Iron in War.”
Behind a large locked door, they discover what used to an amphitheater now filled with water. They have entered at the top of the theater and across the still pool they see a mirror frame with one golden rod placed within a holder on the left and another empty holder on the right.
Suddenly splashing puts the party on alarm as one very large koi begins speaking to them. Another one also joins the conversation. In their story they tell of a time when they were once human and were part of the elite royal guard of Sitriph. The brother & sister pair was charged with the safety of the Baylis family, the last non-hobbit rulers of Sitriph. Before the Army of Salvation took over rulership of the city, the Baylis family was intent on sending missions into the Wastelands to open communication with the separated havens of survivors. To make sure those that went on those missions could return to their original form despite the corrupting forces of the Wastelands, they developed a special tool that would turn back the hands of time. If a person connected the two rods of Baylis to the empty frame a mirror would appear and show the person the image of what they looked like exactly one year ago. If they so chose, they could switch places and accept their younger form and when their older form looked out from the mirror they could remove the rods and banish the older form forever. This would allow someone who was corrupted to return to their original uncorrupted body as long as they were not affected for more than a year.
However, the Mirror of Baylis was never tested because the coupe led by the Army of Salvation occurred and although General Teodore Valiff was able to capture the Iron Rod of Baylis, the frame and the golden rod was whisked away to the safe house by the two sibling elite guard. Although the party failed to ask again, their names were Knight Nealeo and Dame Annette Kyukaku.
The pair never knew what happened to the Baylises. They suspect the king and queen were captured and possibly executed but the young princess named Threnody Baylis had a craftiness and life about her. She would have put up quite a fight.
When they arrived at the safe house, they lived in the amphitheater intent on waiting until the right people should claim the mirror frame and rod. They waited for over a century and a half. The amphitheater flooded and due to their corruptions they slowly adapted to fit their new environment unintentionally, they took on the form of the pair of large blind cave fish. When asked how The Shroud threads had changed them into fish they replied with, “We’re lucky, I guess.” McCormik said they knew someone who viewed himself as unlucky referring to the horribly corrupted man that sent them on the mission.
They offered the party the mirror and as the party was ready to leave they asked them if they needed other items for their mission back to Sitriph. The pair of fish offered them the items they could no longer wear like their boots, glass armor and a cloak.
The party said goodbye to the elite guard and headed back to The Horde with some hope of reversing the corruptions in their hands.
Princess Threnody Baylis escaped and went into hiding for about 20 years with the early members of the resistance. When she was finally able to escape the city she and six others left in a ceramic vessel usually used to dispose of corrupted Aphar. They called it a sarcophagus and she renamed herself One Who Protects. She and the others became the first of the Ghost River People. See information contained in Run #2.
Run #4: General Electric
PC’s: Brother Sue Cantacle, Dimo of Clan Jager, Hildegard Finelli, Iggy, Knob, Naylor, Rhopinu, Winters Wisper
The party is on an advanced scouting mission and is camped for the evening, by all estimates, about two days east of the City of Sitriph. Near to dawn, a limping Hobbit enters their camp. He explains his name is Ogadai and that due to his imperfection, he was not allowed in the Army of Salvation. So he joined the city’s resistance group nicknamed the Phoenix. He drew a map of Sitriph in the dust and they formulated a plan. With help of Dimo’s Dwarven Master Key, they would enter the city via the long lost secret passage in the Southern Wall and eventually find Rich Fellstaff, a merchant man is also secretly part of the Phoenix. After loudly rousing everyone to get moving, Ogadai moves back into the wildness and teleports back to Sitriph.
The party arrives in the purple swamps to the south and makes their way to the secret passage in the dwarven made wall. They emerge in the neighborhood of Shutterland which is a large illegal market. They make contact with Rich Fellstaff who lives close to the Aphar Mill and is aware that the place that transmits the power to the Aphar Golems is hidden in the building. He agrees to help them on the condition that the Phoenix resistance and the members’ families will be allowed to enter the Fortress of Sitriph before The Shroud descends. The party agrees to these conditions and leaves the mirror frame and golden rod of Baylis in the merchant’s possession.
The party plans their assault as a group of Golems move the large ceramic ‘sarcophagi’ out of the building for disposal. Brother Sue uses his abilities to remove the lock in the metal doors and the party enters. Naylor and Dimo rush in to deliver a serious beating on a Hobbit who has exited his crude golem to handle some paperwork. Knob gets into the golem and tries to fit in with the other workers. As the party begins to see the sheer numbers of adversaries, the city alarm starts to scream. Other members of The Horde have set off the alarms elsewhere in the city and the majority of the Aphar muscle leaves to attend to the disturbance. That was certainly lucky.
Iggy and others notice a panicked Hobbit run to blank spot on the wall and enter a secret doorway that closes behind him when he enters. The party runs underneath the dead bodies on hooks being prepared to be changed into Aphar and make it to the area they saw the nervous Hobbit disappear. Brother Sue casts another spell and gains the ability to mold stone and carves open the door to allow everyone through. The party descends down a long staircase and emerges into a strange room.
An eight foot diameter orb floats in the center with seven rotating pendulums swinging throughout the room touching key points within the room. The ceramic sphere is pulsating with electricity and delivering that energy to the walls where it is absorbed and theoretically delivered through the earth to the Golems throughout the city and beyond.
Naylor and Dimo go about destroying the pendulum arms of the strange device. Hildegard goes head to head with some medium golems and gets targeted by an automatic javelin launching backpack from another. Iggy targets the running nervous Hobbit. Knob casts hold person on the lower half pilots of huge golems so that the entire golem gets knocked over by the swinging arms. Rhopinu summons a gryphon to attack the golems. Everyone participates to disable the device or fend off the golems.
The energy demand is greater with the assault from The Horde’s forces throughout the city. The remaining arms start spinning faster and the orb’s energies pulsate in a quicker pattern but without a way for it to dissipate, the orb explodes and pieces embed themselves in the walls, floors and ceiling. Everywhere, golems fall dormant. Soldiers of the Army of Salvation try to claw their ways out of their clay prisons.
From within the shattering power orb, a small blackened ribcage and skull fall to the floor. Encased within the ribcage is a blue beating heart. With each beat, bolts of electricity illuminate the ghostlike humanoid form of a Hobbit holding what appears to be a lightning rod.
Full of hate and rage, the Hobbit points his iron rod at the members of The Horde and labels them as ‘Abominations!’ With a simple statement, Brother Sue says it is The General.
General Theodore Valiff, raises the rod in the air and shouts “Iron in war!” releasing a storm of broken glass, catching both abominations and imprisoners in his malicious spell. Anyone who gets too close to the general’s form is electrocuted. But as the party surrounds him, they smash his bones, and pierce his heart, forever putting the hate-filled creature to rest. The blue light in his eye socket goes out and his heart finally stops beating. No one chooses to consume the heart, although Dimo considers it for an instance. They pick up the Iron Rod of Baylis and make their way up the stairs.
When the party emerges above ground again, the city is in chaos and they can see The Shroud consuming the Eastern Bridge. They collect the Fellstaff family with the mirror and Golden Rod of Baylis. Then they run to the Fortress of Sitriph that is being fortified by other members of The Horde and close the doors just in time as The Shroud passes over.
The last time the Dwarven Master Key was used was when the seven people escaped the city to eventually become the Ghost River people. One of those people was Threnody Baylis, the last non-hobbit ruler of Sitriph. She would later abandon her name and become One Who Protects.
The story of General Theodore Valiff:
An excerpt from the stone carvings on the Sarcophagus of Sitriph reads ‘The Army of Sitriph used to be composed of all kinds and races and their greatest hero was the Half-a-man, ‘General Teodore Valiff’. Early in his military career, his family was murdered by creatures from The Wastelands. Later, he preached the eradication of all those who were Shroud-touched. He even led raiding parties into the wastelands to destroy the vile creatures where they lived. Since he led so many excursions, he was the first to become enshrouded. When his symptoms became apparent, he was overcome by his own army and destroyed for they felt his mission was just and noble mission. And so that their excursions could continue, the Aphar was made. Aphar could shield only the Half-a-men in the army. Since the Aphar made the Half-a-men so strong, soon the entire army was made up of only Half-a-men. All other kinds were distrusted and treated as low.’
But the truth is this…
When the General’s eyes started glowing blue and crackling with a strange energy they did not simply kill the corrupted general, they imprisoned him and removed him from duty. Those working on the Aphar clay realized that this electrical energy could be used to control the clay and offer a way to power the Clay Golems. And although he was going mad with pain they could use his new found power to bring about his ideals, the eradication of enshrouded creatures. And as long as the Hobbit warriors were covered in Aphar clay, they would remain protected from the fate that befell General Valiff.
When the necromantic ceramic ball at the room’s center is finally opened they will find that it was keeping the General alive for these centuries. Inside they will find a being of immense energy. He will look simply like a blackened skull and rib cage surrounding a beating blue heart. With each beat, a crackle of electricity will travel down the ghostly image of his veins and one will be able to see his Hobbit form in those instances. Once the ball is shattered, the general is doomed. He cannot survive much longer. He is aware of this and will attack both the Horde and the hobbits that have kept him imprisoned for all these years.
Now this is cool…For insight into the choices for the symbols such as the eight pointed crown, the Resistance being called the Phoenix and the saying “Gold in Peace, Iron in War” see the attached link… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/