Having decided they need to drop Stompy, the group discusses their options. After discussing several things, Miriana wonders aloud if there’s something to the path Stompy travels. We decide to investigate further, and in the morning we speak to Boren.
“We’re fighting Stompy,” Kirmaul says bluntly. “How do we do it?”
Miriana tries to explain that we need to free the power source within the golem. Boren tells us bluntly that other groups have tried and failed at this task. He tells us it is heavily magic resistant, and shrugs off almost all damage. Most golems have some sort of token that allows the creator to control it; nobody knows that this token for Stompy is, and is already berserk. Others have attempted to find the control token, without success; it could be any inanimate object — even something as simple as a piece of paper. Genn tries to delve for info about the path he travels, without success.
Still (always?) needing more information, we decide to see the Hag. We are allowed to speak to her. We are not allowed to approach with weapons; not willing to give up their blades, Genn and Abilard volunteer to stay outside with the group’s gear. Unfortunately, the Hag doesn’t have any useful information for us, other than the fact that once, about five years ago, he went on the far bridge instead of the near one.
Lacking other options, we see Phargaryn once again. When we get there, we see the beach has seen a lot of traffic lately. Phargaryn recognizes us, and says, “Welcome back.” Kaezhar and Phargaryn both express surprise at the other’s changes. Miriana explains, bluntly, that we need to kill or control Stompy. “Why would you think I would know that?” he asks. Miriana replies that he’s been in the city longer than anyone we know. He tells us he thinks there was a control gauntlet created, but destroyed. He tells us, almost off hand, that the path Stompy walks has drifted, changed over tens of years. He also tells us that the Master was involved in creating the golem. Genn confronts him, and Phargaryn lets slip that both the troll warlock and a fire elemental within; the former is a prisoner (trapped in an iron maiden), the latter the power source for the iron golem. He also tells us that Kaezhar’s weapon can damage it, but weapons have to be at least that powerful.
Phargaryn then presses us about why we need to talk to the Warlock; Udyr lets slip that we need him to tell us how to get through the maze under Stonepile lake. “Here’s my proposal to you,” he says. “If I help you drop this thing, you open the iron maiden here, with me. And he stays. He knows things I don’t.” Finally Miriana asks sweetly, “Why do you help us, Phargaryn?” “I helped you the last time you were here,” he says. “You’re interesting, and I admire you trying to make it work.”
Phargaryn tells us to attack Stompy when he is above his lair at night; he also tells us that the fire elemental within will get out as he’s damaged, and he also grabs metal and attempts to repair himself that way; if you’re wearing or using metal, be warned.
We consider ways to increase our damage and otherwise prepare for the battle with Stompy. Fire damage heals it, but electricity will slow it down. Miriana and Udyr spend a ton of money and time at Senka’s crafting a detonation of Caustic Burst; they hand it (very, very carefully) to Genn, who is otherwise going to be pretty damn ineffective during this battle. Kirmaul does her best to up her damage, and Kaezhar sees about making his halberd more effective in combat. Finally, after a series of buffs, we’re ready to begin.
The moon is out, giving us enough light to see and fight by. Phargaryn has provided some inchon as well; we lay in wait at the appointed part of Stompy’s path. Two faen and a giant wander by, and the adventuring party decides to stay on the roof of a nearby building and watch the show.
As Stompy approaches, we see that up close, the joints and eyes of the golem glow faintly red. As it sees the inchon and moves to attack, the light brightens. Kaezhar charges, and hits it quite well from the roof of a nearby building; the heat from inside the iron golem sears him in return. Genn throws the caustic burst, accidentally catching Kaezhar in the blast (OoC: thank God for hero points, I rolled a 3!).
Miriana summons the “energy ape” and it rushes forward to attack. Stompy turns to face Kirmual, and slams her for an enormous amount of damage. She responds in kind with a crushing blow (OoC: 77 damage, on a nat 20!) Kaezhar hits it again, and the iron golem begins to fall.
Stompy glows dull, and then starts to draw metal into itself to repair. The resulting blast almost kills the party, but when Stompy stands back up he is smaller, and the fire damage seems to have stopped.
We surge upon it; Kirmual and Kaezhar hit it repeatedly, the rest of us basically supporting those two. Within the pile of iron and scrap we have created, we find the following:
- silver ring, etched with the images of swords (ring of the blade, p. 224)
- foot long rod of iron, clearly magical and engraved with moving runes (enruned scepter, p. 222)
- two rune plates (for runethanes)
- a magical dire sebbucai kopesh (+2 seething dire acid kopesh)
We also find a wrought black iron maiden, banded with some other kind of silvery metal. We bring it to Phargaryn, with the help of some (non-incinerated) inchon. Phargaryn unlocks it with a wave of his hand; inside, there is a desacated form of a large humanoid. It pulls itself off of the spikes in the maiden, and lays motionless for a few minutes. Slowly, he starts to regrow body parts, and his hair catches on fire. “What year is it?” he rasps at one point. Genn answers him truthfully. Eventually, the troll stands up. “So . . . thanks?” he says. “First, who are you? Secondly, what the hell are you?” he says, pointing to our sebbucai. “Third, does anyone have any food.” Genn gives him a packet of iron rations, which he devours. At one point, We fill him in on recent political details — the failure of the godlings, the rise of the Giants. “So, they were successful when they made you,” he says, noticing Phargaryn.
“I clearly owe you for my recovery. I wish you had done it several hundred years ago before I merged with the fire elemental, however,” he says, ruefully. “I think the traditional payment of money or items is difficult for me at the moment, so I offer you answers to questions. I’m not trying to screw you, I’m just tired.”
First, we ask about the path through Stonepile Lake. He balks at this, but tells us. Every room is the same, but with subtle differences. When you enter, you say, “All hail the Havenar Trinity” — the monster that does not attack you is the one you need to kill; the entrails of that beast will tell you where to go. Everything there is generated by the maze, and there is no treasure. I do not know the way out, myself; however, if you have the ability to get the demon out, as you say, you should be able to use that."
Miriana asks about the Master; how the warlock was imprisoned, and what he had to do with it. There were a number of people who helped build the maze; the warlock was involved in casting the spells to create the maze, and responsible for the back door he just told us about. As a result, he was entrapped. The Trinity itself suggested the imprisonment of the iron golem itself, as punishment for my hubris. I don’t know of any specific individual called “the Master”. When asked about a powerful akashic, he pauses and thinks — there was a verrik, but I . . . I can’t think of his name, for some reason. Probably manipulating the memory.
Finally, Genn steps forward purposefully, and demands to know what was done to him, why, and by whom. Odds are, your soul was pulled from you to protect you in some way. I was the only one who knew these spells.
Examining the blade, he says that Genn’s knife is just a copy; however, he has the ability to bring the original back. After much brooding, Genn agrees, and hands the copy over. The troll snaps the blade in half, to Genn’s horror, and after a couple of minutes an exact duplicate – or more accurately, the original – knife flies into the room, carrying bits of debris as though it has just traveled thousands of miles, flying into the troll’s chest. He removes it, heals quickly, and gives it to Genn, who accepts it mutely.
Later, back at the house, Genn examines the knife in detail with Object Loresight. It is as expected; a simple hunting knife, crafted by a local merchant, made of steel and wood. The only interesting bit of information is that the Master was the last person to own the object, and that its purpose is as a hunting tool, but also a receptacle for a soul. Genn does now seem to literally carry his soul with him.
Kirmaul, Kaezhar, and Udyr all get hero points for the battle; the first two for stepping up and fighting an incredible fight, the latter for rushing in to heal his comrades with no thought to his own safety. Also, given that many people saw the fight with Stompy, the Stormfront’s name and reputation grows further.