Posts made in March, 2017

Aaron’s Scenario Recap (PCon 42)

The Heart of Gold

Backstory: One of Gargravarr’s great promises to the people of Qoin was to tunnel through the center of the disc to create a trade route from Heads to Tails. While nobody has ever reliably reported contact with the far side of the disc, this proved to be an inspiring undertaking, spreading dreams of beautiful fabrics and exotic spices and wealth to be made.

It was certainly popular among Dwarves and Gnomes, for it created the world’s largest demand for mining and machinery. Gargravarr used a vast tunnel-boring machine, built and maintained by the Gnomes, directed by the Dwarves, and supported by mining grunts of every shape and size.

Or course, a trade route was not Gargravarr’s actual motivation…

Run 1: The Mission is Mine

As far as the Resistance is concerned, there’s one big problem with the mining operation, and that’s that it was Gargravarr’s idea. Therefore, no matter how attractive it might appear on the surface, there must be some underlying motive to the detriment of the world. The first party was sent to investigate the mine and find out what’s going on there.

They had some adventures even reaching the glacier at the center of Qoin where the mining operation was located. All shipping capacity was consumed with miners and supplies, and the captains had turned to highway robbery to allow miners or passengers to claim a spot. With strategic bribery, the party lubricated their departure, and found themselves crammed in to a ship vastly overloaded with rough-edged folk. And then the first night out, the ship’s crew abandoned them, taking the money and running (er, rowing the dinghy) out of sight.

The lack of food, water, and elbow room could have proved to be a serious problem, except for the legendary Elven secrets that the party brought on board. (Namely, an alchemist’s jug producing an endless supply of fine wine.) With a little help from one experienced hand, they managed to reach the glacier, and by following another vessel, crash-land on the docks that were the intended destination all along.

Following the crowd, they crammed into wagons headed for the mine. On their arrival they found a vast temporary city — rows on rows of tents — in concentric circles around a vast hole in the ground. Unable to locate a “headquarters” among the tents (it was revealed later that all those in charge lived underground), they opted to take over one of the wagons of tailings, dumping it and returning to the mine for more.

The found themselves rudely directed down a circuitous path by Dwarves, who appeared roundly entertained by abusing the hapless grunts directing the wagon. In fact, a little investigation established that the mine was run by Dwarves and Gnomes, who were thrilled to have the chance. The Dwarves seemed to choose the route and procedures, while the Gnomes operated the vast tunnel-boring machine, and everyone else involved attended to the mundane tasks such as digging side tunnels, clearing the waste left by the boring machine, and resupplying the proper miners. This left the enormous main tunnel, surrounded by a huge number of weaving side tunnels, and a nearly inscrutable wagon route marked only by Dwarven runes etched faintly into the rock.

More investigation and a fair bit of stealth brought the party to a room where one of Gargravarr’s advisors was apparently dictating terms to frustrated Dwarf and Gnome leaders. From the sounds of it the Gnomes were advocating a break for maintenance, the Dwarves were advocating following a gentler route that avoided harder ground and obstacles, and Gargravarr was insisting on a straight-line route. (To the Heart of Gold, of course, though this wasn’t apparent to anybody at the time.)

Before the party could take advantage of this information, a party of invisible Drow attacked, supported by spellcasters in the distance. This turned into a four-way melee, from which no side emerged satisfied. The party lost two members and was unable to secure any of the specific plans or diagrams that had been under discussion. The Drow attempted to carry off Gargravarr’s representative, but were unable to. The representative was ultimately killed, leaving the Dwarves and Gnomes in a tight spot, and Gargravarr assuredly displeased.

Still, the remainder of the party returned with excellent intelligence on the mine, the factions involved, and Gargravarr’s influence.

Run 2: Tails of Qoin

Coming soon…

Run 3: The Enemy of My Enemy…?

Coming soon…

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Steve C’s Scenario Recap (PCon 42)

Steve & Nayla’s Scenario #1: A Fool’s Gold Errand

Funding a resistance effort is not cheap, and someone is stealing gold. Literally out of the pockets of the Resistance. And the bastard who’s doing it needs to be caught.

Our heroes were tasked with protecting a shipment of gold between two hideouts, and the trip will take all night. While beset upon by a distraction, the entire payload was lost, replaced with counterfeits made of brass.

On the face of the counterfeits, however, there was an island that is not on any map, so obviously that was their next step. Upon the unnamed island, they overcome two sea hags with strange clothes and the alchemical symbol for lead on their head coverings –– some of the Immortals from the wheel recoiled at the sight of it. The Symbol of the Hand of Dusk!

In a cave on the coast of the island, they come across a laboratory where some Villain is minting fake gold coins that directly threaten the world’s gold supply. They look quite convincingly valuable, and are laced with magic which allows them to steal real gold coins by swapping them out with fool’s gold copies. 1 then turns to 2, 4, 8, 16… Exponentially growing. Dare I say, as “confounding interest.”

In any case, the the Villian comes home to his lab. However, the “Villain” turns out not to be an enemy, but Tabernaculus, an old dragon from The Wheel. “We’ve heard of him!” Exclaimed some of the party.

His world is dying, and he found a way back to the Wheel, into a place called the Garden of Dusk to try and salvage some clippings of the Tree of Life. However, they do not seem to want to grow in this world – that is to say Quoin – perhaps, he says, because it has an incompatible Heart. So he started experimenting and discovered how this world’s Heart of Gold is being depleted. The gold-stealing coins are a way to try and reverse the damage.

But that doesn’t seem to be working either. He stole back into the Garden of Dusk to try and find a better solution, and found out that the Hand of Dusk was guarding something called the “Seed of Life” – apparently the one last Seed of the Tree, which he stole away. However, the next day he woke up to find that it had sprouted, but apparently the Seedling was more mobile than he anticipated (think Baby Groot) and it escaped.

While discussing with Tab, the players realized that they needed some dirt from The Wheel to entice Audrey out to take root, and where Tab had virtually none they remembered the two bodies of the Hand of Dusk. Those would mulch nicely. Bedecked with flowers and a Wheelian lullaby played by their Bard, they they managed to lure Baby Audrey out and bring her back to Tab without incident. They succeeded. (One player exclaimed something about, “Essentially mulching Nazis in order to grow the Flower of Peace.”)

The Heroes ended this run with Heart-strengthening fools’ gold coins, two pages of the Guide, and the Heart of Oak, itself – Baby Audrey.

Steve & Nayla’s Scenario #2: Everything is Illuminated

“Well, let’s see what happened then, shall we?” said Merriweather.

Why does the party have an headache? And why is everything so loud? It was as if their ears had opened for the first time. And why is there so much wind whipping at their clothing? And why is the ground approaching so fast? Ahhhhhhh! They awake to find themselves falling through the air.

How did they end up here? And what is that book falling along with them?

Flashing back to the beginning of things, they were sent off to retrieve The Book! The Book! Another copy of the manuscript – The Guide to the Multiverse – that held details about what is happening with the Immortals and Gargravarr, hoping that it may give them some clue as to how to defeat him. However, the Guide is hidden away in a tower. It’s all terribly mundane: They get their Quest, they go to the Tower, they dispatch the guard… and suddenly, a strange corrosion demon besets itself upon them and – they all die.

TPK. Whoops.

“No, no that can’t be right!”

That is not how Heroes die! So their story begins again. They get their Quest, they go to the Tower, they defeat the two guards, they head down into the Dungeon below it and find a Goblin who challenges them to a game of riddles. And they strain to best the riddle in 3 guesses…

The corrosion beast shows up again! They remember *everything* just before they die…

“Blast it! Why does this keep happening?”

They get their Quest, they go to the Dark Keep, they defeat the *10* guards, they find the goblin *Riddlesmith,* and defeat him with one try… and…

As you can guess, the story “resets” itself several times, changing a bit with each iteration, becoming more epic, more heroic, succeeding more easily against evermore unsurmountable odds, until they get to the final room and they realize that… it’s simply not there.

Past the door, it dissolves into nothingness, and it feels awful familiar. Like it’s where they started out. And then in a moment of desperation– they break through. Everything dissolves into a thousand threads of gold, and they fall “out,” looking up at two giant Monks of Hione, who are in turn looking down upon tiny versions of the Heroes, sitting upon a page of a manuscript.

It turns out that they are not the Heroes themselves, but how history had remembered them. The manuscript – which was illuminated with literal golden letters – was damaged when the gold was drawn from it by some surviving shard of Gargravarr, and the Monks (Albus and Merriweather) were trying to repair the book along with its illuminations. However, the final portions of it (think, the explosion and falling through the air part at the beginning) were damaged irreparably. So they did what any old Monks of Hione would do: Cast Speak with Book and try and see if the book remembered what happened. They did not expect *this*. :-)

Meanwhile, many centuries before, the real Heroes made their way into the tower – which was little more than a storage silo – searching after the Book. The Book, that could help them. Instead, with the help of the farmer who lived there, they came across a small, but powerful, magical item in the form of a figurine of a Raven. Their source had misheard. The Rook. The Rook was hidden in the tower. Granted, along with some very nice loot that certainly *could* help them turn the tide against Gargravarr.

Where their original quest was quite mundane, History remembered them as True Heroes.

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Wolf’s Scenario Recap (PCon 42)

Run #1: Alcheringa Calling

Starring: Bran Brightwood, Bree Specklefoot, Caeleth Mutewind, Cainin, Dork, Korona Psefdiko Theo, Morti Kustos, Piddles Proudfoot XIV,

The Prologue: All the elves and half elves of Qoin have been having the same dream. The dream was troubling to all the full blooded elves because, elven trances give rest but there are never any dreams. Although the dream seemed garbled some things could be gleaned. Some words were hard to interpret as they faded in, faded out, sped up or slowed down.

The grey statue of the crocodile man stared at his feet while he held the leather-bound tome over his head. There seemed to be bandages around his right arm and the right side of his face. His robes were torn and you could see the stone reptilian skin through the holes. A blue fan and shards of black glass were strewn on the rough floor before him. The dawn lit up his face and a mouth appeared in the upper right quadrant of the book cover.

In a heavy breathed elvish with an odd accent, four mouths seemed to say the following words in various quadrants of the leather bound tome.

“Witness… the end… Gargravarr… stone prison… living place… beginning… divide… reality… peace…”

The Story: Yulga, the seer of Archeringa, an immortal from the world of dreams explained that in order to crystallize and reconstitute the energies being sent from Alcheringa and ungarble the message, there must be nine rods placed around a commonality where physical energy and spiritual energies merge. He suspected he had found a place. The location is atop a somewhat active volcano where the ruins of an ancient elven stronghold sit. It was near the border of Sardalus and the Barrowlands. The Seer of Alcheringa was a double agent working in the Lesser Council of Light and needed to be back soon before his cover was blown. He dismissed his significant other, Jordan, and went over the ritual with the party and told them there would be a ship waiting for them in the morning.

The mission left the following morning aboard the Heir Apparent. Just to be sure the immortals hid below deck as they passed the Isle of Light. They passed the ice flows near the center of the Qoin and Korona tried to convert as many sailors to his brand of religion. They arrived at Bath’s Bay at the mouth of the Iron Way River and sought passage down river aboard an ore barge captained by Lorna a female dwarven devotee to Daglir. She was very flattered by Bree’s advances but due to Bree’s lack of a magnificent beard, the effort was for naught. At each night, Caeleth and Korona, (the two who had elven blood) analyzed more of the dream and determine more details such as the embossed symbol on the books formerly leather cover now made of stone. Bree confirmed it was truly the symbol of Alcheringa, so unless this was a cleverly constructed ruse, the communication was continuing to be sent from Alcheringa, the land long thought dead and gone having been devoured by Gargravarr. Bree was sure because she was from old Archeringa.

The group arrived in Rat’s Mouth, the mining town where there is a dilapidated bridge to the Barrowlands. The bridge was in disuse because the Barrowlands is a dead land where all sentient life died about 300 years ago. The locals say the land is cursed, but the Iron Way River provides a magical barrier from the evil there.

After the group tried a confidence game utilizing arm wrestling in the Tin Swords Inn, they all went outside to investigate the sound of someone getting beat up in the street. Dork, the Aru cleric told three assailants to stop but the two spear men moved menacingly toward her. One of spearmen, named Stabbington sporting a ridiculous mustache must have been at least second level with a name like Stabbington. What should have turned into a small scuffle turned into the party murdering all three brutes and questioning the victim. When they heard the constable’s whistles getting closer, they high tailed it over the crumbling bridge in the dark.

In the morning, they climbed to the top of the volcano and witnessed smoke mephits dancing around a circular pool of lava. Despite the cackling, they trusted the mephits to not harm them. But at the first hammer strike of an iron rod, a lava elemental emerged from the pool and the mephits attacked with glee. After the battle, they arranged the nine rods and imagined them connected with lines creating a network like a dream catcher. The ritual worked by pulling the ghostly spirits of the past into the imagined networks of fiber. Caeleth witnesses the full dream before any other elf. The dream was clear, complete and is in the proper order narrated by the Dragonborn’s precast magic mouths….

“Gargravarr made history and on Archeringa, he ended history. I saw his charismatic arrival. How he spoke of peace but he only sold fear.

“I saw him divide us. I was a witness from the beginning to the end and I am a chronicler of what transpired.

“In the Dindaralu Nation, in the living place west of the Manburi River. In the seventh tower’s hidden vault, where she policed reality,…

“I will wait to be awakened from my stone prison to tell you details of how he did it. Unfortunately, I can wait forever.”

Suddenly, from across the crater, Marti, the human paladin, spied a Halfling witnessing what they had done and little one was, without a doubt, an immortal like many of them. And when the Halfling realized he was spotted he ran and jumped down the far edge of the volcano. And despite his small size he covered the ground as quickly a normal sized person would. They lost him in the brush but understood in order to get back to civilization he must also cross the bridge back to Rat’s Mouth. The party ambushed him and captured him. Under interrogation he told them his name is Charles Tantoes. He went on to tell them that he stumbled upon them and recognized them as immortals when they arrived in town but he did so from the shadows. Knowing their immortal aura sensing abilities would peg him as an immortal too, he arranged with the thieves’ guild (In Rat’s Mouth, called the Butchers) to rough up the rat piper outside their inn to ascertain their capabilities and general demeanor. However, after their display of cold-blooded murder, he definitely tried to stay clear. Despite his newly granted immortality he was afraid of death. He was still in his original body and thought, perhaps ‘this immortality thing’ might not work and he was sure it would hurt anyway.

They returned to Bath’s Bay with the help from Lorna and made their way back to the caves of Hireling Hideout with the rather frightened immortal prisoner of the Lesser Council of Light. And with the reconstituted dream being sent to all of elven blood they knew what must be done with the information. It was time to somehow travel to Alcheringa, the World of Dreams, and awaken the Dragonborn who witnessed Gargravarr eat his world. Maybe then the rebellion could figure out how to stop Gargravarr from devouring the Qoin in the same way.


Run #2:  Waking the Crocodile Man

Starring: Annondolis, Belgron, Benzamfel, Craag, gmac, Red, and Vivienne

The Story: The mission was get to the fabled world of Alcheringa, the dream world.   There they would reawaken the Dragonborn who was a witness to Gargravarr devouring his world and possibly find a way to defeat him on the Qoin. 

With the information provided from the reconstructed dream, the party and an odd priest gained a focus on the world called Alcheringa.  He told them that they should take a sacred sash similar to his and do whatever they felt naturally doing with it. For instance, wave it about, hold it on your arm, dance, feel the wave of creativity and when about a minute has passed, repeat the following words three times with conviction “But the end never came. At least not then.”

Then sight down your thumb and open the golden portal and follow the golden Broomway to Alcheringa.  Repeat the same steps to get back but to get back to the Qoin your must repeat, “Don’t Panic!” three times. 

They appeared in front of the steps of an old opera house.  The building was covered in vines practically bursting with small bluish white berries.  As were all the buildings in the area.   They realized they were on a shard of the original planet.  All seven moons were disintegrated and the multicolored dust blew around in the street.  The sun seemed to travel at a very fast speed across the sky bringing 3o minutes of daylight and 30 minutes of darkness before a new day would begin.  As the dream message had mentioned he was in the seventh tower, so as they started moving through the streets, they heard a droning humming sound, as an alarm resonated throughout the dilapidated cityscape. 

They surmised the ‘crocodile man’s hidden vault’ was in the violet tower, one of three towers remaining. (as it corresponded with the last of the set of seven moons of old Alcheringa).  As they travelled through the dust strewn streets they spied two humanoid figures climbing among the foliage of the buildings.  As they craned their heads to look behind them, their spines seemed more flexible and the party was able to see that although they may have been elves at some point, their toothless jaws jutted upward and forward like post-spawned salmon and their left eyes seemed to be missing.  The party was caught between them as they each belched forth a watery mist and obscured the streets.  Many other savage twisted elves using mostly cobbled together armor and weapons joined their comrades in the battle against the party.  Another pair of twisted elves missing their right eyes joined the battle and fought against the first group and tried to scavenge from the dead ones before the fight was even over.  The party showed no mercy when dealing with either groups of denizens of this dying world shard. 

The party found the secret door in the lower levels of the tower and discovered the red waxen walls of the vault which at one point served as the home to one of the Dream Serpents.  And just as expected, the statue of the crocodile man was waiting. Using the blue fan at his feet, they waved air across the still form and it turned back to flesh.  The Dragonborn was named Warrugul Tau, or Tau for short.  He had willingly turned himself to stone to escape what he called the Mind’s Eye plague that was sweeping across the world.  He was a historian and chronicler and expected that Gargravarr was either defeated or had ascended to godhood since fifty thousand years had passed.  But of course that wasn’t the case because it hadn’t been that long.  The giant mirror that had been sending the dreams to the elves across the multiverse was set to count the number of dawns that had occurred.  Tau had not expected the days would slowly get shorter and shorter nor did he expect that his world would shatter without the Jade lattice Heart.

He went onto explain that Gargravarr,in the form of a Dragonborn, had come to Alcheringa and sowed the seeds of discontent among the normally peaceful nineteen nations that were ruled over by the nineteen divinely created Dream Serpents.  The Dream Serpents trusted him implicitly because they could look into his mind and see no falsehoods and only good intentions. When Gargravarr asked for a ritual called the Dream Barrier near the Jade Lattice Heart because one of the other nations was trying to get into his mind and steal his power, they did so willingly.  That shrank the World Heart enough that he could magically devour it.  He killed everyone in the room including the Dream Serpent of the Dindaralu Nation who had cast the ritual, but the badly burned Tau had escaped in the water.  After Gargravarr ate the World Heart, the ‘Jade Immortals’ of his world suddenly died.  In the days that followed, Gargravarr killed all of the other remaining Dream Serpents and flung himself into the vastness of the multiverse to find his next conquest. 

Using the magic mirror in the Dream Serpent’s lair, and the sky projector book, Tau set up the plan to be reawakened when any surviving elves in the far off future would hear the call. 

When asked what a Dream Serpent looked like, Tau said that their forms were so gloriously incomprehensible, that the mind could not truly contain the image.  The memory of their true form would fade immediately when they can no longer be seen, like a tentative dream upon waking up.  But it didn’t matter anymore, Gargravarr had killed all of the celestial beings known as Dream Serpents.  And now no one could possibly undo the Dream Barrier.

On the back of the gigantic stone mirror there were nine elven heads on spikes, each of them alive, preserved by magic in the middle of actual dreaming.  They were sending out the images of whatever the mirror saw at dawn each day.  In this case, it was the repeating message of Warrugul Tau, the ‘Crocodile man’. The party removed the heads and destroyed the mirror for fear that Gargravarr could use the mirror as a weapon against those with elven blood. 

With nothing left, Tau agreed to follow the party along the golden broomway.  It was discovered that the portal could only be entered if one had a sizable chunk of gold on them.  It was also discovered that the reason why the immortals from Qoin could enter easily was because their hearts were truly made of gold when their bodies had formed.  

Once back on Qoin, Tau set up the sky book projector in the main cavern of Hireling Hideout so people could see the glory of the sky from within the normally dark cave.  Among the resistance, Tau looked for those like him but never saw another Dragonborn.  He began to believe he was the only Dragonborn left in the multiverse or, at the very least, on the world of the Qoin. 

Now armed with the knowledge of how Gargravarr devours worlds and his potential vulnerability without a Dream Barrier, the rebels began hatching a plan to defeat him.  No more worlds would fall to Gargravarr!

Hidden Facts:

  1. Once the message was solidified, elves in the Council of Light told Gargravarr about the details of the dream.  Shortly after the party arrived back on Qoin, Gargravarr ‘s team comprised of ten immortals of the Lesser Council of Light arrived to destroy the statue of the Dragonborn witness.   Luckily the party was able to get him out of there in time.  Another pack of Mind’s Eye Plague victims killed three of the immortals before they realied the Dragonborn had been reawakened and taken away.  Then they opened the Broomway to face the wrath of Gargravarr.  If the mirror hadn’t been destroyed by the rebel party it would have broadcast the battle to the elven blooded across the multiverse.  Gargravaar could have certainly found a nefarious purpose for the mirror in the aftermath.
  2. The Dream Serpents seek solitude because their true forms do harm to weak minds and when they appear in another form, it is uncomfortable like wearing clothes one size too small.  Dream Serpents do not need to breathe or eat so solitude is generally easy.
  3. The Mind’s Eye Plague affected the entire population but it was only the long lived elves that survived the thousand years (or so) of scavenger society.  The survivors of the original plague decended into madness as one of their eyes started to migrate to the center of their brains.  For some unknown reason the ones who were missing their left eyes despised the ones who were missing their right eye. The non magical fog that they were able to produce from their toothless deformed mouths allowed them all to have a form of depth perception as things further away in the fog were less clear.  If the fog had been blown away with magic, they would have had a difficult time fighting with any skill (disadvantage).
  4. The Jade Lattice Heart was more than just a source of power to help the population create what they needed with thoughts.  It was also a dream catcher to filter the dreams of the sleeping creation gods who dreamt in the distance.  Once Gargravarr devoured the World Heart, the gods started dying and when creation gods dream in their century long death throws they unintentionally create nightmares in the waking world.  The nightmares took the form of things such as the Mind’s Eye Plague, the disintegration of the seven magical moons and eventually the shattering of the planet.  As the planetary shard floated in the void among the debris it started spinning more and more rapidly causing the days to speed up and throw off Tau’s day counting mirror.  If a cleric visited the Shard of Alcheringa, he would have discovered he had access to the prayer power of the similar gods who were sleeping .  But he would have been stealing it, instead of it being granted to him.  And he would have all of his prayers back at every dawn.  In other words, every hour!
  5. Before Gargravarr ate the Heart of Jade, elves across the multiverse slept like all the other races.  According to Alcheringan memory all the elves were created from a single gigantic celestial pool of soul material that was split and given to individual as each was born.  Its proximity to the gods picked up their dreams so when the gods dreams became unfiltered, elves across the multiverse began to go mad from the nightmares whenever they slept.  The ones who learned the ability to forego sleep and simply trance for four hours a day for rest survived.  The others did not.  Soon the survivors lost the ability to sleep and truly dream.
  6. The world that Gargravarr devoured before coming to Alcheringa was the Fey world.  One of the powers he got from eating that World Heart was the ability split his mind and allow one part of his mind to think of one thing while another part thought of something else entirely different.  So anyone peering at his mind would see exactly what he wanted them to see.  On Alcheringa, when a Dream Serpent would look into his mind, he would see only altruistic motives.  The Dream Serpents had never heard of this ability to have deceptive thoughts.  To a Dream Serpent thoughts were the undeniable truth.  (As a matter of fact a Dream Serpent can not lie in any language. Look up Coutls in the Monster Manual sometime).
  7. The large diamond with flaw at its center was actually a Dream Serpent egg and the flaw was the embryonic form of the last Alcheringan Dream Serpent.  It was waiting to be born into a world where it was safe.


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