PrinceCon XL: Bob’s Scenario Recap

Kjallintar’s Revenge

Long ago, in the Sword Ages of the world, most Giants were still friendly with the Gods, and Kjallintar became the companion of the gods, but most especially of Janda and Mavors. Under their authority and tutelage, she judged the law among all the races, giant and non-giant. Indeed, she bore a son to Daglir, whom she named Djaglintar. The offspring of gods and giants may be of either kind, and Djaglintar was of Giant-kind, and remained with his mother. But, Kjallintar was jealous of her privileges as judge, and fearful to appear weak in her application of the law.

One day, in the Riven Shield Age, two mothers came before her, laying claim to the same child. The facts were easily ascertained: the birth-mother had fled before invaders, and was forced to abandon her son. The foster-mother rescued the child and lovingly raised him. Now, both mothers wanted custody. In a similar case, Janda had declared that law could not decide this, and handed the case to Mavors to decide on the equities. He offered to divide the child in twain, but this was merely a ruse to determine who loved the child more, and the child was restored to the foster-mother. Kjallintar tried the same ruse, but was unable to quickly decide which mother was more appalled. Afraid, lest indecisiveness undermine her reputation, she carried out the division, and handed each mother half the corpse. The mothers were distraught beyond words, and Janda was furious. She cursed Kjallintar to have two faces, and banished her. Her children followed and Mavors judged that the curse would fall upon them as well.

Kjallintar nursed her hatred. Djaglintar, being of god-blood, was able to modify the curse, so that each of the Ettin, as Kjallintar’s offspring were called, had two heads, not merely two faces, which gave them powers in addition to being hideous to all other races. All the Ettin swore revenge upon all the gods, that their tongues would be cut out, and that Janda should die painfully at the hands of Kjallintar.

Now, if came to pass that Djaglintar had a son, Albervir, who was subtle of craft and mighty to make marvelous things. But, Albervir was not content, and wanted to be the instrument of his grandmother’s revenge. So, during the Wind Age, he learned the arts of disguise from Ratri, and disguising himself as a Svartalfir, lived a mortal’s life as a faithful follower of Daglir, until he had gained the attention of the god himself and was taken to Godsheim to learn craft. Being the grandchild of Daglir, he learned quickly, and more than his grandfather wished or wot. Having learned deep secrets, he departed for Stoneheim, to perfect his arts. Keeping his disguise, he travelled to Mannheim, and tested many ideas there. But he lacked the power of Daglir’s Forge, that is until he learned of the great power hidden within the volcano Katla.

And so, in the Wolf Age, Albervir proposed to create five great items.

The first would be the Rings of Drawing Clerical Power. These would appear to be rings that gave additional prayers each day, and that would become more and more powerful as the days hastened to the Final Battle. But, in reality, they were drawing power from the Clerics, and at the appointed time would vanish with their accumulated power to add their power to that of Kjallintar. In this manner her vow to cut off the gods tongues would be fulfilled, for how do the gods speak if not through their clerics?

The second would be the spear Aetgir, which could allow a mortal to slay even a god. While Kjallintar, as primordial Ettin, had the stature to slay a god, this spear would make her twice as deadly.

The third would be the armor Weliundmail, which could protect the wearer from the attacks of the gods. The power of this armor would be greatly increased if the power of the wearer were enhanced, as by the rings.

The fourth would be the Helm of Forgetfulness. It was the plan to place this upon Mavors head, so that Janda could watch her brother disgrace himself by forgetting all oaths and promises. This would be her torture, before the blade struck.

The fifth would be the Hammers of Unfate. Albervir had learned of the Fatestones, upon which the Wyrd Sisters had written prophecies that could not fail unless the stone was broken. H bethought that some would protect the gods or foredoom Kjallintar and need to be destroyed. For this purpose, he created two great hammers that, if used to strike a Fatestone, would destroy it, though the energy released might cause great destruction. Djaglintar had learned that the Wyrd Sisters had inscribed two fatestones, one protecting Janda and one protecting Mavors. Both needed to be found and doubtless both destroyed.

He also created a variety of war statues, each with a different purpose, designed to protect his laboratory and to bring low the mortal realms. Some were agile and spider-like, to run down adversaries. Some were built like tortoises, with tails that could batter down castle walls and destroy siege engines. Some were predators, shaped like bipedal crocodiles, some of which were small and swift, and some slower and more powerful. And there were statues in the form of fire-breathing brazen bulls, while others were monstrous beasts with multiple horns and vast strength. And so matters lay, until the Valiant intervened.

Dramatis Personnae, in order of first appearance:

Martine Klaengrdottr Mannfolk Hero, NPC (backstory)
Len Vatenari Mage, follower of Mavors, played by Colin Sandon
Treeborn Mannfolk Guardian, Pantheist, played by Tim de Capio
t, r, a Svartalfir Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Elissa Hoeger
Bruce Battlestandard Svartalfir Mage, follower of Magus, played by Joshua Gabai
Jaru Fryen Katterfolk Hero, Pantheist, played by Peter Vancsa
Black Sun Mannfolk Mage, Storm Lion, played by Aaron Mulder
Hrothnjall Mannfolk Mage, Servant of Albervir, NPC
Krojin Ettin Guardian, Assistant to Albervir, NPC
Albervir Ettin Mage, NPC (offstage)
Hrolff the Burning Mannfolk Mage, follower of Hione, played by Chris Cavender
Thunder Katterfolk Cleric of Storm Lion, played by Spencer Kipe
Alyeria Alfar Guardian, pantheist, played by Zen Zen
Thornflower Alfar Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Susan Bergeron
Krosp Katterfolk Hero, follower of Danu, played by Charles Taylor
Markus Katterfolk Cleric of Danu, played by Tim de Capio
Haldir Alfar Hero, follower of Carrunos, played by Michael Brokes
Pirata Fuerte Katterfolk Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Timothy Sullivan
KatteroHexMonkeybane Katterfolk Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Ryan Carr
Amberette Svartalfir Cleric of Danu, played by Megan Coppock
Pfferdsensen Riddari Guardian, follower of Carrunos, played by Greg Nelson
Magus God of Magic, played by Alex Reutter
Noly played by Charles Taylor
Rogar Ironheart Svartalfar Hero, follower of Daglir, played by Corwin Knaff
Vegt Mannfolk Mage, follower of Hione, played by Alan Zitomer
Mavors God of Justice, played by Robert West
Kjallintar Primordial Ettin, NPC

Chapter 1: In search of a lost expedition

The morning dawned as ever in Valor Hall, except that groups of the Valiant were preparing for missions to other realms — a thing that had not happened for an age. As groups were forming, and ways to forestall the evil times discussed, one lone survivor from such an expedition arrived. It was Martine Klaengrdottr, a Mannfolk Hero, who had travelled with six companions to Mannheim, following some vague clues. Moments before entering Valor Hall, where all her wounds would surely be cured, she collapsed. Several of the Valiant rushed to succor her, but she died in their arms. Her last words gave the location of a cavern in the great volcano Katla and the garbled phrase “Alb..collapse..second..” In her possession is a burnt-out Trollhammer and the fragments of a stone with an inscription in moving, magic writing, that somehow gave an impression of being of more-than-ordinary importance.

Examination of the broken stone revealed a text: “Janda will live longer than her brother, but if Mavors should die, a new star shall appear and then fade, and Janda shall not outlive that star.” Examination of the trollhammer revealed that it once was a fearsome weapon that had power to smash items of great power, perhaps even the fable fatestones. The burnout released such great power that it was now only under slight enchantment.

Seven members of the Valiant gathered to go to Katla, find the cavern and explore. Wishing to prepare themselves for what might be a desperate battle, they arrived at dusk in a secluded dell within sight of Katla, cast spells and prayers of preparation, and settled down to rest. In the morning, they ascended the forested slopes of Katla where they spied furtive movement underneath the trees and black crows at about the place where they expected to find the cavern. Moving cautiously, the group drove off an attack by huge dire wolves.

The cavern was nearly completely blocked by a rockfall, through the gaps of which carrion birds flew. Martine’s last words might have spoken of such a collapse, but was it a natural misadventure, or was it connected to the burned-out hammer? And what did this have to do with the danger to the Gods? With due care and great labor, the Svartalfir, aided by the remaining members of the party, removed the rocks and opened the way into what was left of the cavern. The interior was piles of rock, and the back was blocked by another rockfall. The whole smelled of burning and of the charnel-house.

More digging revealed the bodies of the lost expedition, and their magical treasures, mixed with burned parts of some sort of giant. A debate ensued on the proper disposition of the bodies, and whether their prized weapons and other magical possessions should be left with them as grave goods. An infernal machine soon dubbed the Hammer Wheel lay on its side. There were signs of an enormous fire and collapse, and a muffled, high-pitched laugh could be heard. One of the bodies had a sack, which contained an undamaged table with a prophecy concerning Hione. Was this the “second” of which Martine spoke? It did not read as something that ought to be destroyed; perhaps it was to be protected from destruction?

Digging some more, a door was found, and behind that door a filthy chamber, with a man, half-starved and dying of thirst, who identified himself as Hrothinjall, assistant to the Great Albervir. Albervir, it seems, had somehow fooled Daglir and received training as an artificer. (Was this what Martine meant by “Alb”?) Hrothinjall was clearly quite mad, but careful questioning and ESP revealed that Albervir was the grandson of Kjallintar, that “fate had been destroyed”, that the trollhammer and a vast explosion had a part in that, that turning on the Hammerwheel was dangerous, and that the party should remove the remaining rockfall so they could die. He also denied that the stone found was the “second”, saying that the first and second were “like, yet unlike, such as siblings ought to be.”

Hrothinjall was locked back in his cell, now cleaned and provisioned. The Hammerwheel was dragged outside, and Bruce Battlestandard began to play with it, trying to understand its function. Meanwhile, a metallic statue in spider-form strode through the rockfall on the far side of the cavern, and attacked the party. Another appeared, in the shape of a great tortoise with a shell made of stone and a tail in the form of a huge club. A third also appeared, in the form of a crocodile that walked upon two legs made of brass. Black Sun, having decided that the rockfall was an illusion that affected all senses, strode through it purposefully, and found himself confronting a small (20′) ettin who was starting up a fourth statue, this in the shape of a quadruped with three horns. A long corridor stretched behind. After a pitched battle, the spider was destroyed, and the turtle entangled with the Hammerwheel. Both went careening down the mountainside. Using spells of hallucination and tripping, the Ettin was disabled long enough for the party to effect its escape. In a valiant last blow, Treeborn blinded the Ettin, but was himself slain. The party escaped to the plain and sounded the horns to summon the Valkyrie to return them to the Halls of Valor.

Meanwhile, came the news that Janda was dead, and a new star had appeared that the sages said would soon vanish. In light of later events, it was clear that a servant of Kjallintar had given up his life to strike the Fatestone that protected Janda’s life, striking it with a Hammer of Unfate. Martine’s party had, doubtless, died attempting to prevent this. The nature and fate of the “second” stone would be revealed in due course.

Chapter 2: Exploring the Laboratory

Having confirmed from other sources that this was indeed a laboratory, a party of seven set forth to learn what could be learned, thwart what could be thwarted, and perhaps to wrest some powerful knowledge and/or weapons. It was agreed that there was a second fatestone somewhere that had to be destroyed before the new star faded, whatever doom it portended. Arriving, they saw a large number of Ettin, guarded by statues, bearing objects off to the Southwest. Rather than engage in a hopeless, but glorious, fight, the Valiant decided to enter the cavern complex. Using Locate Object, the mages were able to pinpoint the location of a stone, similar in substance to the broken one, but intact, and which gave off an air of portentousness. Hrothnjall was gone from his prison, and the corridors of the laboratory were vacant. Apparently all been abandoned in some haste: remnants of a library remained, as did component parts of various infernal devices and a rear guard of the combat statues. Some of these were gathered for later analysis.

Because time was believed to be of the essence, the party tried various ways to limit combat. Attempts to use Dimension Door and Teleport to reach the location failed. Eventually, using stealth, the Valiant found their way deep inside the mountain, to a chamber that contained a strange cylindrical device. The device seemed to bring up mud and steam from the unguessable depths at which the dormant volcano was active. Beyond the device was a narrow passage, too small for an ettin, or indeed a riddari. At the end of that passage was a smooth surface, impervious to Darkvision. Ordinary light would penetrate it, however, and beyond was a stone tablet, written with magic writing.

Hrolff the Burning had knowledge of a crystal that darkvision could not penetrate: such crystal is impervious even to the greatest of fire, or indeed lava itself. It is very hard, but very brittle. A strong stroke thrusting with a sword shattered it, and the stone was brought forth. Reading the magic writing, “Mavors will live longer than Janda, but if Janda should die, a new star shall appear and then fade, and Mavors shall not outlive that star.”

Obviously, this was the “second” stone, like a sibling to the first. Sages have since argued about the fact that two fatestones, both created by the Wyrd Sisters, contradict one another so directly. Some say that it shows limitations in the knowledge of the Fates, but others argue that a Fate is not contradicted until events inconsistent with that Fate transpire. If either Mavors or Janda died, one of the two Fatestones would be false, so clearly neither could die until one or the other stone was broken. And it was fated that at least one should be broken, as clearly as if that fact had itself been written on stone. Kjallintar’s plan was now clear: having destroyed the Janda stone, she would strive to preserve the Mavors-stone from all harm, thereby sealing his doom.

Hrolff knew of a method by which such a fatestone could be destroyed, but he had never seen it done, and did not know what the consequences were. So, he began a chant of the victory of his Will over Stone Sealed Fate. And when it was done, the stone shattered, but so did the cylinder behind him. A great gout of flame poured out, enveloping and incinerating him, as clearly foretold by his name. Thunder stepped forward, prepared to throw all his power into a massive cure that could save Hrolff, but it was too late. And, somehow, Thunder sensed that Hrolff had been chosen by Fate to die, and that interfering with that could only bring further woe.

The cylinder now spewed out mud and clay, which was glowed of magic. The party gathered up handsful of it and proceeded to return to Valor Hall, singing the praises of the mage who had sacrificed his life for Mavors as the star that was to herald his doom faded from sight. The clay that was extracted from the mud proved to have marvelous powers: a few minutes’ concentration, and it would transform itself into a magical weapon or armor. The more clay used, the bigger the weapon or armor.

Chapter 3: Out of the Frying Pan, into the Lava

Suspecting that there were secrets yet undiscovered lying within the abandoned caverns, Pirata Fuerte, KatteroHexMonkeybane, Amberette and Pfferdsensen set forth to explore them, only to find the entire region in great turmoil.  Volcanoes to the West and North were erupting. Katla was smoking, and the earth shaking.
Hurrying inside, they were trying to decide what to do and where to go first, when, suddenly, five figures appeared in their midst.  The tallest wore a strange hat and seemed somehow familiar.  He proclaimed himself Magus, God of Magic, and introduced his companions: Markus, Noly, Rogar Ironheart and Vegt. Magus proclaimed his mission — to seek the heart of the volcano.  The party gladly accompanied him: how could they fail with a god at their side?
Magus could sense that they needed to go deep, and Markus knew the way to the corridor that led to at least one deep chamber, and probably to more.  In a flash, the party was at that level, having bypassed all the remaining defenses.  Hearing from Markus of the wonderful clay that the previous group had found, many wanted to mine as much as they could.  Others wanted to continue.  A check of the ladder found that there was a large quantity of clay, mixed with common mud, that had been filling up the chamber. It would require a significant amount of time to sort out what was high quality and what was lesser quality.
Coming up from the depths, the sound of many feet were heard, and a quick check around the corner revealed a number of golems preparing to attack. As the Valiant prepared to fight their opponents, it suddenly became apparent that Magus had left them.  The monsters were restrained with webs, and with a combination of fierce blows and powerful spells were soon reduced to wrecks.  As had happened previously, the golems soon exploded when wrecked, but that was all one: the party had gone on to search for Magus.
At length, they found an open door, held in place with a spell of locking, and a ladder leading down.  There they found a workshop with discarded remnants, and a small tunnel leading beyond.  There, near the very throat of the volcano, they found a great steam-operated hammer, and a forge that appeared to have once been fed with lava from the very depths of the mountain.  Near the forge was a cache of rings, obviously magical in nature.  A quick analysis showed that had the same writing as a ring possessed by Markus, with words blessing all the priests of all the gods.  Such rings had been found before, and added greatly to a priest’s power to grant the favors of his or her god.  There were also other strange things found, remnants of great magical forgings.
Travelling on to the throat of the volcano itself, they found Magus engaged in conversation with some invisible being, whom Magus treated with respect. Even, if it were possible, asking advice, or perhaps permission?
Far below them, rising slowly, was a Bálroc. a foe beyond all present put together save, perhaps, the god himself.  Even Magus seemed concerned.  He informed his companions that this was not an inhabitant of the volcano, as many had thought, but the spirit of the volcano itself: the living embodiment of its power.  Its wings carried heat beyond mortal imagining: were it not for the power of the god, they would have not been able to resist it for long.   Still, Magus required more power, and asked for donations, whether of the quotidian numinous power vouchsafed to a priest, or the mental concentration that enables a mage or guardian to cast mighty spells, or of items in the group’s possession.
Even as the request was made, e’re it could be considered, Markus and Amberette felt much of their power flow to Magus, with no volition on their part. This was not only the power they got from their rings, but also an equal portion of the power that was their own. Concern over such matters aside, the party donated a great store of magical treasure to Magus, whereupon the items vanished.  Using this power in a manner that only Magus could explain, he was able to converse with the Bálroc, and convince it to calm.  In the process, he found it was his fate to converse with the Bálroc for a time, and bid his companions farewell.  As he left, he tossed his hat at them, which shredded into numerous pieces. A quick fly spell enabled the precious pieces of Magus’s hat to be caught, and it was soon found that each had a wondrous power.
No longer in danger of an erupting volcano, but sensing that the Final Battle was indeed approaching, the group explored further.  Nearly half of the time they dared allot, they spent recovering, sorting and cleansing the wonderful magical clay, of which they could quickly make magical weapons and armor. The rest of the time was spent exploring libraries and storage areas.  Parts that had been used to make tampers to excite other volcanoes were found, and it was soon realized that the Hammerwheel found by the first group was a failed experiment in the development of such items.  Descriptions of the golems were found, together with a catalog of their weaknesses.  And there was a description of magical components needed to complete a great weapon and great armor that could stand even against gods.
Armed with many new items, blessed by their intercourse with a god and enlightened by the knowledge they had discovered, they felt certain that the time of the Final Battle was approaching. What secrets were left unlearned, they regretfully had to leave behind.  Unfortunately, the secret of the Rings was not among those they found, and their experience with Magus and the ease with which power left those who wore them did not cause the Valiant to suspect the rings’ true nature.
Chapter 4: A Wild God Chase.
For as long as anyone could remember, Mavors had come to the feasts of the Valiant, and had boasted that he would lead them on the day of the Last Battle.  Then, one day, Mavors came to table, bragging not of his prowress, but of the beauty of his new helm and shield.  And, when one of the Valiant toasted him about his pledge to join the last defense of the gods, and asked when this would be, Mavors denied he had ever said such a thing, nor would he go to the Last Battle.
That the God of Justice should deny what all knew to be true, and abrogate his vow, this was thing such as had not been seen in all the Ages of the World! Even the mortal priests of Mavors were discomfited, as their prayers no longer worked to track or punish felons if their crimes were more than a few hours old.  It was as if Mavors no longer sought justice. Surely this was a sign of the End!
A party gathered to resolve the mystery and bring Mavors back for the Final Battle.  Their first stop was the Palace of Mavors in Goddesheim, There they were challenged by Rognir, keeper of the gate.  Discoursing at length with him, they were finally admitted to Godwulf, seneschal of Mavors.  There they learned that a dwarf, bearing the tokens of Daglir, had brought Mavors a new helm and shield for the upcoming battle, and that as soon as Mavors donned them, he became noticeably more vain.   After the uproar at Valor Hall, he had left for parts unknown, presumably to right some injustice, or visit just vengeance on the Giants.
Casting a Locate spell to find Mavors, Vegt was astonished to realize that he was in Stoneheim: such magics had never worked across the gulf between realms before.  But, there were reports of strange happenings in the wake of Magus’s departure: the governor seemed to be off magic, and spells now were much less predictable than they had always been.  Summoning the Valkyries to take them to Stoneheim, Vegt was able to get a distance and direction that seemed to correspond to a great castle.  Hiding as some of the local inhabitants passed by, the party learned that this was the stronghold of Kjallintar herself.
Unbeknownst to the party, as none of them were clerics, the Rings of Draining Clerical Power had all vanished, taking with them not only their own power, but an equal amount of the power belonging to the clerics wearing each.  This power had infused Kjallintar, and enabled her to let Albervir place the final touches on her armor, that made her proof against any god.  In fact, so much power had been drained, that she felt the first stirrings of divine abilities herself: to seek out followers and grant prayers.
Following the path to Kjallintar’s castle, the party listened, to some of the servants, and found that Mavors was an honored guest, making merry in the meadhall with Kjallintar.  That night, the party spied in the window, and found that this was true.  Mavors sat there, a gorgeous helm upon his head, with servant-maidens to either side taking care lest it fall off, even has he began to nod from the strong drink of the Ettin.  Soon, he was led off to a bedchamber, where he lay down, helm still upon his head, and again with maiden-Ettin as servants to see that it remained so all night.
Bravely sneaking in with invisibility and veil, Rogar Ironheart managed to strike the helm from Mavors head.  A battle was soon joined with the Ettin, but Mavors quickly awoke and put an end to that.  Into the corridor he strode, and was there confronted with Kjallintar in her splendid armor.  Wrathful, Mavors drew his red sword and struck with all his might, but his blow glanced off harmlessly.  And Kjallintar sang, sang a song of wrath and of vengeance for long-nursed wrongs. And as she sang, Mavor’s face grew pale: memories came flooding back to him of a vow repudiated, of wrongs left unpunished in the world because he had forgotten them.  Such was the power of the helm.
Screaming in anger and shame, Mavors turned from the scene, and unbound himself from his physical form, to fly where in the great Worldrealm he would go.  There, unprotected, were he erstwhile saviors, facing an Ettin that even a god could not harm, and her mighty followers. They gripped their weapons and awaited their doom.
But Kjallintar laughed.  She had grown, grown in wisdom and cruelty as she had grown in power. She knew where Mavors had gone and what he would do. And she knew what it would do to these mortals to see their last hope destroy himself; to see the Abyss as it were before their feet.  Let them live and feel her wrath a while longer before they were hunted down and destroyed!  Ettin no more, she was now the Goddess of Wrath, and mighty among the gods was she!
And so, the party fled the scene. There, Vegt prepared to locate Mavors, and found that his spell had great power, as if it were somehow aided.   Summoning the Valkyries, they went to the farthest limb of the World-Tree, where it hung out over the Void.  There was Mavors, desperate and sorrowful, knotting a noose in a great rope.
“I am guilty!  I, who have proclaimed duty and honor and virtue and justice with truth, I am the most guilty of all.  For it is I who was to be the font and source of justice, yet I have let injustice prevail!  I proclaimed oaths inviolate, and I violated mine!  God of Justice?  God of Hypocrisy!  Let me die here as I have condemned others to die and expiate my sin as my blood drains into the Void.”
The party remonstrated with him.  Each took his turn persuading Mavors: he was the victim of spells, of trickery, but he was adamant. Were his sister alive, he could have trusted himself to her justice. But now, there was none. None but he, and only self-slaying would stay the guilt in his heart.  He had willingly set aside the armor of eld, and put on the armor of vanity that was placed before him.  It was his weakness, his lack of virtue that made all this possible.
At length Sven Silverbeard spoke.  “Suffer your fate and punishment if you must, but you have a Last Battle to fight, and if you abandon that, and your followers as well, then you will break faith yet again, and commit even greater sins.  Can evil expiate evil?  Nay!  Then live, at least for the time appointed to this battle. Then, if justice requires that you be punished, let it be done with order, so that your oaths are fulfilled as much as they can be.”
And Mavors hearkened to the words. His sword he held high, and with his companions went to where he was needed, to fight for the gods, and for the mortals that follow them.
Finis.
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PrinceCon XL: Blue’s Scenario Recap

Hunter or Prey

Teaser

Carrunos and Danu have been estranged from the gods due to Ratri’s “seduction” of Carrunos — at least if you listen to Danu. In the Wind Age they have left the other gods and taken up residence with the Alfar in Alfheim.

Now the giants come and while Carrunos and Danu oppose them, their split from the other gods weakens the defenses for Godheim and may spell disaster in the fated Final Battle.

Inspiration

Carrunos was our Freyr-analog. During Ragnarok he participated in an epic fight against the Fire Giant Surtr — which he lost. Freyr was also a god of fertility (and I think that came across), was married to the giantess Gerðr (or Gerd), and had given away his magic sword (potentially Lævateinn/Hævateinn) which fights on its own “if wise be he who wields it”. Without it he lost to Surtr.

Of the primordial giant that opposed him, Hione said this:
“Let me tell you a story of gods and giants,” he began. “Once upon a time Sjinnar, runt of the giants, lived among the gods, and they were friends. Back then, Sjinnar was the greatest of trackers. It is said that he could follow a falcon on a cloudy day. But Sjinnar was alone, and jealous of Carrunos and Danu. One day, Sjinnar proposed to Carrunos that they should hunt for a glimpse of Mimir’s children at play, and they went to a very misty place that no one had explored before. It was Sjinnar’s intention to lose Carrunos there in the Mist between worlds, but Carrunos has an unerring ability to find his way in the wild. Instead, Sjinnar still wanders that other land.”

Also the fact that Carrunos and Danu had left the rest of the gods in the Wind age, and we’ve got a lot going on.

So, Sjinnar, primordial creator of the Jotnar, becomes our Surtr-analog. However, the Jotnar cloak themselves in illusion and are tricksey instead of being associated with Fire, so they get others to do much of their dirty work for them, involving Trolls, Tetrakh, and even Ratri and her Cult of the Serpent. However, the giants always being half a step less powerful than the gods, Ratri was actually playing him.

Sjinnar hungers for revenge. The best he could do would be to blind Carrunos and let him wander forever lost in the mists behind the nine realms. Killing Carrunos would not be as sweet. And those mists, which he has learned to walk over the Ages he’s been stuck in them, allows him to move others between the nine realms without using the normal bridges between them.

Sjinnar knows he needs to lure Carrunos out of his place of power, and will use his own hubris to do so. He convinces Drótten (warband leader) Skirnismal, a renowned Tetrakh archer, that he has a plan to allow Skirnismal to overcome Carrunos. Several tricks would be used. First it is set up to kill the most in the shortest time, and with four arms he could fire two bows of haste and outshoot Carrunos. Second the targets would be the Bálhaukr, firehawks, little cousins to the legendary Bálroc, Fire Roc, which slept in volcanos. Without special arrows, they would burn up or melt before hitting.

But all of that was for Carrunos to discover and become complacent, because the biggest trick was causing them to overload and immolate to hurt and blind Carrunos so Sjinnar could pull him into the mists. This is homage back to Surtr the Fire Giant.

Now, Sjinnar is nothing but opportunistic. The Bálhaukr were available because the Cult of the Serpent, one of the two organizations that were part of the Open Door of Night, Ratri’s secret organization. They were attempting to anger the Bálroc to set off the volcanos, and part of what was done was to steal their little cousins away. (To find out more about them, and also the final straw to setting off the volcanos with the Thumpers, please see Andy’s and Alex’s scenarios.) He gets Trolls to make fireproof cages out of volcanic rock.

He later brings Trolls to cut of the Svartalfar’s supply of Star Metal (3rd run), and sends some Jotnar into Godheim itself to bring back the Stone Egg from the giant’s ancestral valley from before they were exiled (Steve Wolfson’s run). And finally, he waits in the mists to ambush Carrunos and enact his revenge.

Run the First: Old Friends and Old Enemies

Friday evening, 6 hours.
Haldir (Michael B.) Alfar Hero of Carrunos
Ilyeria (Zen) Alfar Guardian
Keith Belgerent (Ron S.) Riddari Guardian of Magus
Sven Silverbeard (George M.) Mannfolk Paladin of Carrunos
Thornflower (Suzanne B.) Alfar Hero of the Storm Lion
Thunder (Spencer K.) Katterfolk Cleric of the Storm Lion
Tosinsthal Wilfsyn (Corwin K.) Svartalfar Hero of the Storm Lion
Vegt (Alan Z.) Mannfolk Mage of Hione

Run the Second: Geld Unsettled

Saturday morning, 6 hours
Armoladd (Jeff D.) Alfar Hero of Danu
Athelia (Shannon D.) Alfar Cleric of Danu
Pfferdsensen (Greg N.) Riddari Guardian of Carrunos
Ragnaroc (Rob T.) Svartalfar Hero of the Storm Lion
Vinnelop (Liz T.) Alfar Guardian once of Janda

Run the Third: Metal, Fire and Words

Saturday evening, 5 hours
Keith Belgerent (Ron S.) Riddari Guardian of Magus
Riffington (Kelly W.) Alfar Archer Ambusher (Hero)
Rogar Ironheart (Corwin K.) Svartalfar Hero of Daglir
Sven Silverbeard (George M.) Mannfolk Paladin of Carrunos
Vegt (Alan Z.) Mannfolk Mage of Hione
Wussun of the Narwal Tride (Hugh H.) Alfar Cleric of Danu
replaced with Wuswosun (Hugh H.) Alfar Cleric of Danu

This run needs a bit of a preface. It was intended to give the PCs two (but really three) spread out goals that all involved investigation and travelling and a limited amount of time to achieve them. They would have access to the Valkyrie to transport them, but sounding the horn would put forces on alert. How would they spend their time and resources, which goals would their prioritize.

However, directly before this run started, the Mirror/Eye of Oodlask was recovered. This meant that they had perfect visibility over the entire world including perfect retrocognition. So they found out people involved, and played them back in time until the found everything. It was gorgeous how effective they were in using it, and they were able to accomplish all three objectives with time enough to go back and stomp on some Ettins that they had stealthed through the first time in order to get more loot. Smart murderhobos, I salute you.

Run the Last: The Hunt is On

Sunday morning, 5 hours
Archion Stormfriend (Ryan R.) Mannfolk HERO of the Storm Lion
Bruce Battlestandard (Josh G.) Svartalfar Berserker Mage of Daglir
Dimrodel (David R.) Mannfolk Cleric of Carrunos
Hattero Hex Monkeybane (Ryan C.) Katterfolk Guardian of the Storm Lion
Riffington (Kelly W.) Alfar Archer Ambusher (Hero) of Carrunos
Wuswosun (Hugh H.) Alfar Cleric of Danu

(covert to carrunos)

Carrunos would be wounded by overloaded immolating firehawks, but even though it would put him directly in the blast radius his cleric Dimrodel cast Immunity to Fire on him. Carrunos was still blinded by the light of the burst of the magically enhanced firebird.
Carrunos was then almost killed by Ratri with Kjallintar’s god-slaying spear, with Dimrodel again casting to stabilize. Ratri struck again the next round, yet Wuswosun bent fate and god vs. god became a narrow miss. Ratri struck a third time, and this time Archion Stormfriend, locked in a one-on-one duel with the leader of the Tetrakh Honor Guard,

Carrunos was blinded and dragged into the mists by Sjinnar, but with the aid of Dimrodel, Wuswosun and the more-giant-than-giant Bruce Battlestandard was able to overcome and slay him. Dimrodel, his cleric, and Wuswosun, his beloved Danu’s cleric, replaced his eyes with carved ones of Oak and Holly (thank you Regrowth spell) and given an extra boost from Bruce’s Second Sight, was abel to lead all four of them out of the mists.

Resolution

Carrunos was convinced by the players to rejoin the other gods, and once her Fatestone was broken and she stopped turning a deaf ear to him, Danu relented and came as well. His eyes have been burned out and replaced with one of Holly and one of Oak. One of his saviors, his cleric Dimrodel, now bears similar eyes. Perhaps he will be the next High Priest of Carrunos.

Katterfolk have done several important tasks for him, but when Hattero banished Ratri who was attempting to assassinate him at the eventual cost of his own life, his friends asked Carrunos a boon to honor his sacrifice. Carrunos acknowledges Katterfolk as true hunters, the closest thing he’s get to an apology, and his blessing now work on them.

But Carrunos has spilled his lifeblood and will be weakened for a long time to come. Luckily he can call upon his strong arms, such as his paladin Sven Silverbeard or the instrument of his vengeance and now wielder of his bow, Wuswosun.

Sjinnar is slain, his bashed and arrow riddled body lost in the mists that will now forever be his final resting place. The soul of any Jotnar that now dies will go to Baenheim, but those Jotnar souls that died before him and went to Sjinnar will forever be trapped in the mists behind the realms, haunting them and turning them dark.

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PrinceCon XL: Steve’s Scenario Recap

The name of the scenario was:

“WE NEED HEROING!”

Or if you looked closer at it:

“WE NEED (remedial) HEROING (101)”

There was a large stack of Mead and Turkey leg item cards attached to the poster with the guidelines, “Take one, or more! Feast!” This should have been the first clue where this was headed.

(In fact, I heard that a Turkey Leg was used to save a character’s life, so hey my job here is done.)

In Episode 1, entitled “Don’t Let Your Legend Suck” (that was taken from the title of the training montage music from Episode 2 of Galavant) the heroes are called off to a grand colosseum by the Gods to take part in some heroic games to boost morale. Upon arriving, however, they met with Eða, a Valkyrie, who lets the boom drop that the reason why they’re here is because they are the souls who emphasized the eating and drinking in Valhalla more than the fighting and revelry, and as a result needed to have their doughy bodies whipped back into shape — by physical force if necessary.

Throughout the dilapidated colosseum were hundreds of stoneoak trees that needed to be chopped down to make room for the physical tests, so Eða said “Get on it!” Immediately which after the party executed the most stunning and well-coordinated campaign of aggressive procrastination that has ever played out at PrinceCon.

As the name suggests, stoneoaks are very, very tough to knock down or move. One of the party members — a Riddari — tried tilting at windmills, treating them like giants with a charge with their lance. That didn’t work very well; however, it gave the rest of the party a good laugh.

One of the party’s Danu clerics decided to talk to the trees to see what they could do about their task more peaceably… Eða didn’t like that, so she took her axe and… well very soon afterwards the Danu cleric was complaining that she was just talking to that tree — “Well now you’re not. Finish the rest of them!”

When they finally managed to knock one over, they noticed that down under the roots, coiled around the tree’s taproot was a stony-looking hand. A Detect Evil later, and they realized that rock trolls were incubating under each stoneoak in some kind of symbiotic/parasitic relationship.

Eventually the boom drops and the mature trolls, about 3 or 4 of them, start to climb out of the dirt, their umbilical cords being snipped by the adventurers, and one of the huge stone slabs behind this area started to make thumping noises as if a really big troll was trying to come out behind it, too. The normal sort of fight ensued, but one decidedly abnormal maneuver, involving falling upon a troll with a lance aimed at their head while wearing full plate armor led to the award of the Character title “Trollrider.” It was epic.

Another in the party made the best use of Hold Portal that I have seen. Focused on the giant rock they managed to hold back the huge troll until they were able to build a pit trap in front of the door, call on reinforcements, and gather munitions to take the troll down…

READY STEADY HERE IT COMES!…

But when the spell wore off, they realized that the poor troll was knocking its head into the rock so many times that it was quite dazed and just sat there until one of the players coaxed it out with a turkey leg and it fell headlong into the pit.

The troll, strangely enough was carrying two things: A map leading up into some scraggly woods into a mountain, and a rubbing of a Fate Stone that read, “The characters shall SMUDGE at this fate stone.”

A curious clue that could not be ignored.

That led to Episode 2, entitled “And All I Got Was This Lousy Fatestone.”

The party took on three more members and set out to follow the map, and it took them through the scraggly woods where the were completely unmolested… but noticed that someone was planting stone oak seedlings. With some jiggery pokery (well, pully-uppy) they found that each one had a rock troll larva by its roots that died immediately upon exposure to sunlight.

The trees were getting bigger the further into the woods towards the mountains they went –

Could this be a trap? Nah. Onwards!

Pulling up as many trees as they could they made their way to the base of the mountain. The soil started getting more volcanic.

Was this danger? No! Onwards!

They come across the crest of the mountain and descend into a small, flat valley to notice that there is a little potting shed shack in the center.

A perfectly round caldera-like valley. Is this a potential hazard? Pssh!

They find that an equally disoriented rock troll lives in the little shack, and is more or less harmless. They name him Jonny Trollyseed, assuming he’s responsible for all of the tree plantings…. but much to their surprise, they find in the middle of his shack, the Fate stone they have a rubbing of!

It reads: “The adventurers shall arrive at this fatestone.” A singularly puzzling fate.

Of course, they pick it up. But it is at that point when they hear their old friend Eða, who had followed them, shouting at the top of her lungs to get out. That it’s a trap, and that upon entering the valley she was cut off from the song of her sisters. In fact, none of them can feel any connections to their deities, nor can they seem to fly or get away from the fate stone.

By about this time, too, another party member manages to walk around the back of the shack and notice a large pile of bones… and loot! This was apparently a trap sprung many times before them upon many adventurers much more well equipped than themselves. Lots of them. So many bones.

So, they can’t get out and the caldera starts to activate, the hot lava getting closer and closer.

And then it dawns upon one of them! The Fatestone! That’s what’s keeping them there.

One of them says, “Quick, smash it!”

Another interjects: “No wait! It’s a Fate stone. One of us has to say the incantation.”

Yet another volunteers: “I’ll do it!”

And so he solemnly takes it into his hands, looks squarely at it and recites the words that will break the stone and cost him his life:

“I reject this Fate.
Ordained events kill the adventurous spirit.
Predestination is the little-death that brings complacency.
I reject this Fate.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will face my Future… unknown!”

… and nothing happens.

He says it again, this time quicker and more frantic.

Finally, all of the party members stood around in a circle holding hands “kumbaya style,” reciting the Litany that they pray will save their lives.

Nadda.

So one revisits their, “Smash it!”

And smashing it actually works!

It turns out it’s a fake fate stone, or Fakestone, powered by an old manuscript talisman.

Note: The Manuscript was actually adapted from an actual Old Norse skald poem with some of the names replaced (Hione for Oden, Ratri for Loki, Volva or Wise Woman representing one of the Wyrd Sisters, etc.) with a number of kennings for different events.

With an additional map puzzle in hand it lead them to:

Episode 3: “Verkstedet” (The Workshop or Laboratory)

They finish the map puzzle, making a trek out into the woods and arrived back precisely where they started — but something was different. They found a cottage that was absolutely dripping with both magic, and seriously deadly traps.

Long story short, as this run was puzzle, trap, puzzle, trap, they find out that it is one of Ratri’s auxiliary labs where she is developing the troll-tree-embryos to raise a huge army, and tinkering with fatestones and fakestones, trying to find ways to break them, alter them, or try and create them… luckily she didn’t get very far.

After the mages sacrificed two monkeys to the cause of disarming traps… and nearly causing a kerfuffle with the nature clerics in the party (earning one of the characters the title “Monkeybane”) they manage to utterly destroy the cottage by — “accidentally” — creating a feedback loop between a trapped cabinet of reflection (which stored one of Ratri’s deepest secrets) and a mirror of reflection, held by one of their clerics.

The cabinet… and the supporting wall behind it… lost after a volley back and forth 13 times.

Some things that were not caught: After they realized that it was one of Ratri’s labs, why would a god have a place to sleep? Why would a god have an underwear drawer?

And, if they *had* managed to get into the cabinet that they… *cough* blew up, they would have been asking, “Why is there a painting of a little Ratri with flesh and blood mortals who look like her parents?”

Regardless! With the secret lab destroyed along with the extra hordes of troll seeds, the Remedial Heroes are proven to be genuine heroes after all.

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PrinceCon XL: Andy’s Scenario Recap

Storm Lion and the World Serpent

BACKSTORY
In her quest to gain power, Ratri seduced Troll-Mother Drugar and gave birth to a large serpent. It was not long before the deadly nature of its poison, even to the gods themselves, became apparent. No skill could heal or repel the toxin, so Hione consigned it to the oceans around Mannheim. There it could live out its existence without posing a danger.

Mother troll objected to her off-spring’s banishment, but Ratri remained silent. This began the unraveling of the relationship between Trolls and the other races of Godsheim. With Ratri’s help, Drugar fashioned a race of Sea Tolls, adapted to live in the waters around Mannheim. They would serve and protect the Serpent should the Gods decide banishment was not enough.

Even Hione did not know that a small contingent of Fishfolk had survived the primordial Godswar by escaping to the very waters to which the Serpent had been consigned. Bereft of their defeated Dark Gods, they began to worship the Serpent and taught the Trolls to do likewise. They called it “Hafnadhr” in its native tongue.

Then they warded their new God against every manner of scrying and detection, lest their old foes look upon Hafnadhr and discover their own existence. It was their worship that caused Hafnadhr to grow to such an extreme size and make it a pawn in the Great Game of Fate that was to unfold as the Ages of the World sped by.

When Ratri’s plans were ripe, she entered Hafnadhr’s mouth – what child would hurt its parent? – and called for Aru’s aid, pretending she had been poisoned. Her message to him contained secret writing only he could read, telling him where to find her. When he arrived, she cast about him a confounding Darkness and shoved him down the Serpents gullet. There Thoki waited to complete Aru’s imprisonment, keeping him from foiling Ratri’s gambit before it could develop.

UNDER THE SEA — SERPENT! (Run 1)

Intro: (For all runs)
Queen Eir asked the party to seek out the World Serpent and obtain a sample of its poison from which she might make an antidote. With Aru missing, it was the only way she could think to save her firstborn.

The Action:
Two Valiant Kattrfolk answered Eir’s call. Their Valkyrie dropped them far out and under the oceans of Mannheim, before a mountain ridge across which she could not travel. Finding a pass, they saw two Sea Trolls. Through the clever use of an interactive, programmed, traveling illusion of its normal prey, a sea monster of the largest sort was called down the mounting, aimed right for the Trolls.

One of the Trolls rolled a “20” on his Awareness check. He saw the sea monster veer off. He pointed it out to his buddy the next round. The two of them stared at the chase enthralled, eventually betting on how many rounds it would take the predator to catch its victim.

The last thing to go through the Trolls minds, before the sea monster, was, “Hey, it’s getting awfully close…” Blood in the water called down a cascade of creatures to feast on the carnage. And, the wiley Kattrfolk used the confusion and dust cloud to sneak past the outpost.
Ahead the Kats crept eventually seeing an encampment of Sea Trolls and the Serpent’s Maw — fifteen miles across, with fangs the size of mountains and row upon row of “lesser” teeth, all dripping a dark ichor that killed anything it touched. For the first time in many an Age, they knew the taste of fear.

Before the Maw, the saw stone plateau on which had been carved a odd-shaped pentagram. In the center, a giant bubble of air encased a group of live Mannfolk, about the number of a large village. The robed figures completed their ritual, and a gate opened beneath the bubble.

Once the bubble was completely consumed, the figures departed to a sea city beyond.

BEFORE THE SEA SERPENT (Run 2)

The Action:
Four Valiant answered this call. They made various and protracted calculations to try to supe up one character to zip in and out to collect the poison. They collected the sample, but before they could leave, they saw a new sacrifice was being prepared.

They attacked the robed figures, killing most and capturing one. Using a combination of spells including ESP, they questioned the Fishfolk and gained valuable information:

  • The Serpent had been sluggish just before the Con started.
  • They were sacrificing live humans to it in order to energize it for the coming Great Battle in which their god would kill the greatest champion of the ancient enemy in Godsheim.
  • A group of humans also worship the Serpent as a god and were providing large quantities of live humans for the sacrifices. (See Alex’s scenario for more.)
  • The leaders of the human cult were invited to witness the final great sacrifice, but the Fishfolk were going to betray them by making them the final victims.

Alas, without the priests to maintain the magic bubble, the humans to be sacrificed had died. With bitter tears, the Four returned to Godsheim with their prize.

After two days of celebrating their success in Valor Hall, the Four were summoned to Queen Eir’s presence. Drawing her sword, Queen Eir impaled her attendant and then forced her to drink what the Four brought back. Miraculously, she was fully healed.

INTO THE SEA SERPENT (Run 3)

The Action:
A group of Six Valiant next went forth. They found the game had changed. The attack on the sacrifice had confirmed to their enemies that Godsheim had noticed their activities. So, an army of Sea Trolls with Ballistae were stationed around the Serpent and the altar and the sea city.

After debating several theories of why the poison brought o Eir had healed, they observed that the poison on the far side seemed to kill, while the poison on the near side did not. They reasoned that to succeed in the mission they needed to collect a sample from the correct side.

The (sole) Storm Lion follower among them proffered the theory that the oddness of the poison could be because Aru was imprisoned within the Serpent. His compatriots agreed to return to help him free the god after they got the sample to Eir.

When they returned, they quickly advanced toward the non-deadly side of the Serpent’s Maw. To the incredulity of the Sea Trolls, the Six fought their way INTO the Maw. Their observations had taught them that the Trolls were wary of the poison and would not follow.

Once inside, they sought to make camp and rest. The giant predators living among the Teeth and a dampening field against spells like Rope Trick convinced them not to dally. One last look around with Detect Magic showed the back on one Fang glowed brilliantly. Telescopic Vision revealed it was the Fatestone outlining the battle of Strom Lion and the Serpent.

While the group debated the implications of breaking it — touching means dying, freeing the Serpent from dying to Storm Lion, etc. — the lone Storm Lion among them acted without hesitation. Nothing would stop him from his glorious sacrifice. The Fang shattered, the Serpent writhed, and the (now) Five Valiant went tumbling down the Serpent’s gullet to Joe Appel’s Third Run.

World Tree

BACKSTORY
The World Tree is a metaphor for the interconnectedness of all worlds. It only made sense that the inhabitants were metaphors as well. The Dragon was easiest to peg – Hunger. It chewed on the roots of the tree; it chewed on the dead oathbreakers and adulterers; and never was it full.

The Eagle, as the Dragon’s foil, therefore needed to be Fullness – in this case, self-satisfaction. It spends its existence literally “on top of the world, looking down on creation.” The Squirrel, given its willingness to spend eternity carrying insults back and forth between the other two, was Rumor – just the thing to inflate an egotist but never fill/satisfy the glutton.

After Blue Carstensen developed the rivalry of Sjinnar and the Jotans with Carrunos, the Harts fell into place. If they became metaphors for aspects of civilization and Sjinnar were to desecrate them in spite of Carrunos, could this explain why the world had entered the Wolf Age? So the Harts became Honor, Fellowship, Charity, and Hospitality.

THE WORLD TREE (Run 4)

Set up:
Queen Eir asked the party to seek a prophesied shelter in the World Tree were the twin youngest gods could shelter.

The Action:
Four Valiant answered Eir’s call. They were deposited on the Tree, and they decided to ask the Eagle’s advice first. So they began to climb, though the distance looked vast.

Now, the key to this run was metaphor. Distance, direction, gravity – everything practically – was a metaphor. Movement occurred by intention and need. The players climbed up or down as a signal of their intent. Two consecutive Will Save were required of the leader in order to arrive. The players’ chatter as they climbed possibly provided a modifier.

When they reached the Eagle, he gladly spoke to them. When they referred to him as simply Orn, he corrected them “…The Great.” His answer no matter what they wanted was to go talk to the Dragon. In this case, he told them the Dragon’s head was the hardest substance in creation, impenetrable to anything. It had the added benefit of being largely empty and would make a perfect haven.

And so the party started back down the Tree. As they descended, the Paladin of Carrunos began to notice his mind returning to the story of his Lord’s infidelity to Danu. The intrusive thoughts became nearly overwhelming as he realized that they were among the Roots near Baenheim, where the Dragon chewed on adulterers.

They tried to be circumspect in inquiring if the Dragon would give up his head to make a Haven. It was a noble effort. The Dragon soon divined they had spoken to the Eagle. He got them to admit what Orn (… The Great) had said. He told them to make a Haven of Orn’s nest and save him a leg of that overstuffed chicken.

Climbing once more, the group encountered The Squirrel who promptly invited them to tea. The players graciously traded stories with Rattatosk, who mentioned in passing how odd it was that he hadn’t seen any of the Harts recently.

So off the party went looking for the Harts. They found three of them – murdered and desecrated in ever more horrible ways in insult to Carrunos. It was clear that it was deliberate and the work of Giants. They decided to take the bodies to Carrunos – a move I must admit I had not quite anticipated.

Carrunos confirmed that it was the work of Sjinnar and charged his paladin to find and save the last Hart. At their request, he leant them his best hound to help track it. He would need to confer with Danu if restoring the Harts was possible.

Back on the Tree, the search was going nowhere. Then it occurred to someone that they might have more luck tracking those responsible for desecrating the other Harts instead. And, lo, they soon found themselves face to face with a Jotun hunting party.
With righteous wrath the paladin smote his sworn mortal enemies. The Jotuns barely knew what hit them. Questioning a momentary survivor, the group confirmed there were no other hunting Jotuns on the Tree and that the last Hart still lived.

Returning to Eir, the party reported their exploits. She thanked them for their service although the Haven had not been found.

Ramifications:

To find the Haven, the party must take the twins with them and let them “lead” the climb. Upon finding the Haven, they will be welcomed by Risna (Hospitality). Alas, they will also have led the Jotuns to the last Hart also. Battle ensues. Or, so it was planned. biggrin

Nevertheless, the service done to Carrunos and the piety of the paladin went a long way to convince the Nature deities to support the gods in the Final Battle. Please see Blue Carstensen’s write up for why this was particularly important to the Con. Well done!

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PrinceCon XL: York’s Scenario Recap

THE BACKSTORY: The background fiction made it clear to me that Drugar, the Primordial Troll, had a specially profound hatred of Daglir. At the same time it seemed clear that trolls, being essentially made of living stone, were excruciatingly vulnerable to the Lord of Stone. So I decided that two of the giant races were pulling a switcheroo: the Trolls gave the Tetrakheires charge of Daglir’s Fatestone and consequent assassination, while in return accepting a commission to take Danu’s Fatestone and see to it that Danu met the Fate inscribed thereon.

1. Luruk Kraagh, Tomb Raider: In terms of the overall plot this existed only to reveal some clues and point the way to more. I also wanted to have a short, straightforward run where PCs could get some useful items and get quickly back to Valor Hall. The situation was that some trolls had broken into the tomb of an Axe Age king to steal one of his grave goods, a set of magical Runestones that were a powerful prophetic device. (Malice aforethought, the item would allow players to extract additional information from any GM running for them and I figured with all the plots and counterplots running around the players could use as much help as they could get.) Part of Hrolf’s funeral ritual was a promise from the Gods themselves that any violation of his rest would be punished. The Valiant are, among other things, the Gods’ enforcers. So, the trolls open the tomb, thereby desecrating it, and *poof* a party of Valiant materialize to show them the error of their ways. I tried to make it clear on the poster that, although *players* had a free choice of whether to go on this run, the *characters* were, in concept, drafted without warning — in the blink of an eye you go from kicking back and relaxing in Valor Hall to being full-armed and armored, standing in a tomb confronting some trolls. No time for in-game prep like casting lasting spells.

The characters fought well but found themselves overmatched (there were only three trolls but they were higher level than the PCS). They fought effectively (among other things, they kept the Troll Guardian from ever managing to cast anything until he ran out of the room to break LOS) but they were running out of spell and prayer points faster than the trolls were running out of hit points. Magical characters who were low on power started looking around for useable items. The cleric found a magical horn which he decided not to use until it was a last resort, but a mage who was completely out of spell points rummaged up a dagger which put him into mental contact with King Hrolf’s ghost. The ghost offered help if the character would drop his saves; he assented, and was promptly possessed by Hrolf and went charging into battle berserk with Hrolf’s combat skills and Hrolf’s enchanted axe. This boosted the party’s damage potential enough that they finally managed to take down the trolls. Hrolf thanked the PCs for their intervention and gave them leave to take all of his magical grave goods back to Valor Hall — he’d arranged to be buried with them specifically to preserve them against the ultimate need, namely now. He also advised them to seek out the wisest man in the world.

One clue that emerged was a rainbow-colored stone enchanted with power stolen from Bifrost. A structure built from such stones could create an additional bridge between Mannheim and Godsheim.

2. Nikto the Undying: Following up clues the PCs went looking for the wisest man in the world, Nikto the Undying, whose last known residence was the mountains north of Hekla. Arriving, they found a cave on a high ledge with signs of recent occupancy and a door that opened onto a blank stone wall — they inferred that there had previously been a Dimension Door behind the stone door. Unfortunately they realized that a party of Tetrakheires was climbing the ledge toward them. While the rest of the party prepared to attack from the cave, the Storm Lion-worshipping berserker mage Black Sun used ashes from the cave’s firepit to make his hair look gray and charged out of the cave to make the giants think the cave’s aged inhabitant was fleeing from them. Diving over the side of the ledge, he failed to arrest his fall and ended up sliding painfully down a steep (but not vertical) slope. As it happened the lead giant chasing him didn’t manage to stop in time and joined him in skidding down the slope. A vigorous fight ensued, highlights included the sliding giant clambering back up to the ledge only to be knocked off again by a well-timed Trip spell, the Tetrakh Guardian being blinded by summoned Jub Jub birds, and one of the party’s heroes being beaten to a pulp in one round by getting caught between two gargantuan clubs (two-handed weapons for Tetrakheires, who are merely Huge, but it was wielding one in both right hands and another in both left hands, and could do massive extra crushing damage if it caught a single target between both clubs.) I should mention that this combat encounter also involved a great deal of argument between Black Sun and the Storm Lion cleric Thunder about what was or was not fair in combat.

After the fight was well over, an ancient wizened white-bearded Mannfolk arrived, riding on an oversized flying mortar (and apparently making it fly by continuously pounding its pestle into it). He summarily told the players to follow him to his current home and “led” them by simply flying off without checking to see if they would, or could, follow. Fortunately the party had some flight-capable characters who followed him home and then went back to help the rest of the party find the way (get over terrain obstacles, etc.) When they arrived they were curtly informed that they needed to clean out his stables and tend to his horse before he would talk to them; Nikto remained rude and overbearing throughout. The party worked well and industriously on this project despite a “horse” with a flaming mane, “feed” that included sulfur and mineral oil, and “manure” more appropriate to a toxic waste dump. In-character conversation between Markus the Danu cleric and the “horse” produced some genuinely delightful roleplaying. Ultimately Nikto greeted them back in his house proper and began behaving like a gracious host, now that the PCs had demonstrated that they were capable of humility as well as valorous glory. He revealed many crucial pieces of information, including the two key plots. Drugar had hidden Danu’s Fatestone inside Drugar’s own torso, opening her own flesh with a magical blade, putting the Fatestone inside, and letting the wound regenerate over it. (Drugar is female despite having somehow fathered the World-Serpent on Ratri. Examining the sex lives of deities too closely endangers one’s sanity.) The Trolls were using Bifrost-infused stones to build a tunnel from Mannheim to Godsheim, specifically from the northeast of Jannmark to underneath Alfheim; Danu’s Fate would allow them to erupt from their tunnels to abduct and slay her. Nikto could tell the Valiant that there existed a magical weapon that could pierce Drugar’s invulnerable hide and shatter the Fatestone within, but he had not yet ascertained where that weapon might be found. Meanwhile the Tetrakheires had denuded many forested slopes in southwest Stoenheim to build a huge wooden raft anchored in a sheltered bay there. Atop the raft was a wooden tower; atop the tower a vast wooden pot filled with fertile soil; growing from the pot was a majestic live-oak; and embedded in the oak’s trunk, with wood grown all around it, was Daglir’s Fatestone. For multiple reasons, one of which was his special relationship to stone, Daglir had the unique ability to destroy his own Fatestone, something no other god could do. The fate inscribed on the stone decreed Daglir would die in ambush, alone and far from the stone of his domain. The Tetrakh plan was to isolate the Fatestone as far from any stone as they could get it, and to ambush Daglir when he came after it; Mathiron-Grund the Primal Tetrakh was itself on the scene to deliver the deathblow. Nikto provided the party with a variety of useful items from his stores and wished them well.

(The party also discovered that Nikto was “Undying” because he was a title rather than a person; a secretive order of sages and magicians hidden among Mannfolk had been gathering knowledge for generations, with the wisest among them being appointed the new Nikto [a name meaning "Nobody" in an archaic language] upon the death of the previous incumbent. The party also learned that this order favored neither the gods nor the giants but rather was concerned with insuring that whatever world existed after the coming death-struggle, whether the old world preserved or a new world reborn, would be a fit place for Mannfolk and other mortals to live.)

3. Tetrakh Tetris: With the weapon for use against Drugar still missing the Tetrakh Sea-Tower was the target of this expedition. The party gambled that with stealth and guile a party of mortals might accomplish what a God in full power could not do by brute force. They landed in the hills of Stoenheim just out of sight of the great raft, and recruited local birds to scout it for them. Knowing that Tetrakheires, unlike all other giants, are diurnal with no innate ability to see in the dark, they decided to slip in by night, with one mage keeping the party airborne in a Levitation Sphere and another with a Fly spell towing them. Careful scrutiny as they approached revealed the hidden watchers with Darkvision spells, and because the watchers were scanning the sky through small slits (in order to remain hidden), delicate timing allowed the PCs to reach the pot and the tree unseen. They had planned to use lightning to burst open the trunk where the Fatestone was embedded, and use Clerical Silence to keep the noise of the blast from being noticed; but this plan failed when a Magic Mouth cast on the tree trunk began bellowing about the approach of intruders. In a hectic battle the PCs managed to retrieve the Fatestone and fight their way clear of the flying Tetrakh who accosted them, warriors who obviously had benefited from multiple spells cast by others. Once clear of the melee the players learned that they could outfly their pursuers, but that invisibility was of no avail against See Invisible. When they were halfway to the safety(?) of land they saw a flying boat emerge from the tower and chase them at a speed greater than their own; they made landfall before it overtook them and hid in rugged terrain while summoning the Valkyries to retrieve them. Although they dodged the ship, a high-level Tetrakh Guardian with a Locate spell tracking the Fatestone teleported after them with a warrior passenger. The teleport landed low, killing the caster, and while the warrior was formidable the party was (narrowly) able to overcome him. The Valkyries retrieved the party, who presented the Fatestone to Daglir; the God broke the Fatestone and rewarded the party richly.

4. Last Chance to Save Danu: The Great Weapon needed for use against Drugar was finally available; a spear that could be used in melee although its true metier was being thrown. “Fatebreaker” was a sentient weapon with various senses, an eager personality, and the power of speech. The small party (only three, a Hero, a Mage, and a Cleric) that set forth to break Danu’s Fate had a simple plan; since there was no way for them to overcome the vast numbers of trolls surrounding the Mannheim end of the Rainbow Tunnel (and the Godsheim end had not broken the surface, and would not until the trolls were actually in the act of abducting Danu), they would approach Drugar by stealth and get close enough to make a single cast of the spear against the scar on her belly. (Their plan was partly shaped by their possession of an item that could guarantee one attack roll of natural 20.) They approached cautiously, and so survived their discovery that the Troll encampment contained numerous casters and was protected by magical as well as mundane sentries. They were also somewhat nonplussed to learn that Drugar was already in the tunnel, traveling toward Godsheim. Indeed, while they were nearing her location the Locate spell broke, indicating that she had passed the Rainbow Arch within the tunnel that connected Mannheim to Godsheim. Ever adaptable, they went to the spot on the ground just above their last location for Drugar and used a Dimension Door to go to the last spot the Locate had indicated. They knew she was traveling at a walking pace and were quick enough that she would be no more than 100 to 200 feet ahead of them. They had not, however, realized that the tunnel was packed across its full width with the army of Trolls marching with Drugar. (Actually only three abreast, but Trolls take up a lot of space.) Since the tunnel was arched, there was room for the party to fly above the heads of the middle rank, and this they did, swiftly overtaking Drugar. Casters cast at them and warriors swung at them, but the party’s mage kept them alive with judicious use of Power Word: Web. Desperate improvisation kept them alive long enough for Yew the Alf Hero to get in front of Drugar, activate the “Strike True” magic, and make the spear-cast; at that moment Thunvald the Cleric was alive only by having Decreed Fate to minimize the damage of a deadly spell cast on him, and Ozymandias the Mage was alive only because of an item that would (once only) cause a killing blow struck at him to instead leave him with 1 hit point. (Ozy didn’t know his item would do that. I love the hotlist!) While magic guaranteed the true strike, it was the Hero’s own skill that caused the True Strike to also be a confirmed critical hit, doing devastating damage to Drugar herself as well as shattering the Fatestone. Fatebreaker perished (as must all mortals who break a Fatestone), wailing in agony; her destruction lit a fire in Drugar’s belly that would not be quenched until the Primal Troll was crippled. With the other Trolls now cowering in terror it was easy for the PCs to escape and return to Valor Hall.

AFTERMATH: The Tetrakh scheme against Daglir was completely defeated, but Mathiron-Grund was never harmed. (Actually, the PCs avoided ever encountering it, which probably helped their survival.) Unfortunately Daglir managed to die anyway — the fact that you’re no longer doomed to die in a specific way doesn’t mean you can’t be killed. Danu was rescued and survived, and Drugar was crippled for the next Age of the World, the War Age.

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Recap: Steve’s Scenario

 

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 Magistrate Nicholai Zedpic: 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. 

Wall of the Black CanyonEveryone 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)


Sarcophagus of SitriphThey 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. 

Magistrate Zed's Letter of ConfessionThe 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)

The blood red portal was opened again and they returned to the Horde with a story to tell and with the exact location Sitriph, the Haven to the West.
Run #3: Glass of the PastPC’s: Gareth, Garm Stormcrusher, Lee Veraage, McCormik, Verlinth
When not sent out on missions, the life of an adventurer within The Horde is not a glorious one.  Patrolling, gathering food, keeping the peace, and even caring for the ill are common tasks that need tending to. 

GergelyA 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.

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Extra information:

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.

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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.

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Extra information:

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.

For an image of General Valiff in his early career, see the attached image : General Valiff.pngGeneral Valiff

For a crude map of the City of Sitriph see the attached image: Sitriph City Map.jpgSitriph City Map

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/File:Flag_of_San_Francisco.svg

 

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