Serathis: The Storm of Memory

Game notes 2011 May 21
In which the Stormfront makes another bargain, and winds up on a boat.

Miriana, Udyr, and Genn use the Boots of Teleportation to head back to transport back to Serathis; the remainder of the Stormfront stays in town to prepare.

Udyr goes shopping, finding five potions of darkvision and purchasing them; he can cast waterbreathing for all of us. Meanwhile, Genn goes to the Library and finds out more than he bargained for:

- Water Elementals generally speak Aquan, which at this point none of you do. Smarter elementals can generally pick up other languages, but remember – this thing can’t venture too far from where it was summoned, and where it was summoned was a good depth underwater. Unless it met a mermaid or something, it’s probably not talking to anyone.
- Telepathy would work if you shared a language, as it does have a mind. I think Heightened Telepathy bypasses language, but I don’t have AE in front of me so can’t promise that.
- Water Elementals, in general, are patient, quiet, and their main motivation is hording. Unlike dragons, however, they don’t particularly care what they horde – they just like having stuff in their possession. They are generally unwilling to part with anything in their collections.
- In terms of biology/ecology, a Water Elemental of this size weighs in at about 11-13 tons. It can be up to 40 feet to a side, is amorphous (duh), and has standard elemental traits – i.e., immune to crit/flanking/sneak attacks/bleed/paralysis/poison/sleep/stun. Also, they don’t eat/sleep/breathe. Typically, a water elemental exists for some 200-800 years before it re-corporates back into the Elemental Prime, though some may/have lived longer.
- Elementals of this size are MASSIVELY strong, also, so they hit pretty hard. They are amazingly resilient to damage, though it’s been noted in some texts that Cold may overwhelm their DR. Shockingly, they do not also have SR. They can also see in the dark, which is good given the depth at which this one resides. Oh, and one other thing – Water Elementals get meaner when they and their opponent(s) are both touching water.

He also probes the Memory:

The ship that crashed was called “Vlaakith’s Dagger”, and it crashed into the seas of Serran late in the evening on the 1st day of Seventhmonth, CY 981. It was badly damaged when it crashed, as it’s mission had ended in massive failure – it had blindly shifted some 19 consecutive times in order to escape pursuit, and as a result it’s crystal engine was badly damaged. While it had finally escaped it’s pursuers, it had the bad luck to appear a mere 500 feet over the water while travelling at a downward (well, relative to the plane it had entered) angle at maximum thrust. The Dagger slammed into The Gulf of Firesight less than a second after it appeared, drawing the attention of the small coven of Verrik celebrating the Solstice on the nearby beach. Most of those aboard the ship died on impact – if they weren’t dead already – and many were thrown free of the sinking hull. As the ship sank, the motive Elemental within attempted to break free – it’s bindings had loosened on impact, and it knew the crew to be distracted and scattered. While it did manage to summon a friend shortly after the ship touched bottom, shortly thereafter the remains of the crew managed to rebind it back within the ship despite it’s efforts. The crew were, unfortunately, unable to use the rebound air Elemental to pull free of the ocean floor – an enraged water Elemental held the ship in place and attacked anything moving about near it, and does so still. Even worse, the crystalline engine remained active despite the best of the remaining mechanist’s meager ability. Normally, this wouldn’t be too bad – a minor Planar break, but nothing insurmountable.

…unless, of course, the last plane visited was some sort of hellish nether Shadow realm. With no way to close the rift and no escaping the elemental, the remaining Githyanki aboard quickly fell to The Dark. The Elemental wasn’t long to follow, relatively, though it still clings to a form of quasi-life despite it’s tainted nature. Captain Vlax and her crew remain aboard, undying, and unable to get away despite years of effort.

Genn goes to see Boren, and then Phargaryn, desparate for some means of getting out of this alive. The Inchon seem to have been in some sort of battle. They gesture Genn into the tunnels; he seems them dragging away what seems to be a dead Litoran. The sancuary is littered with signs of battle; Phargaryn himself is visibly wounded, unable to even stand.

“How badly are you hurt?” Genn asks. He starts doing his odd hissing, which takes longer. Genn asks for information; Phargaryn asks him to wait a moment, then the body dies. The guard takes the body, and dumps it unceremoniously into the water. In a moment, Genn sees a strange monster approach. The voice is now incredibly deep, and powerful.

“I don’t know anything specific of this ‘flying ship’”, he says. “As to your first question,” he shows that Vardallian is still glass, and still intact. He doesn’t have much information to give; in the course of the conversation, it is made known that he doesn’t know about the Jerad at all, nor can he even see it. The battle was apparently due to a misunderstanding between Phargaryn and the League of Justice; Genn promises to speak with the Giant next time he sees him. Also, Phargaryn makes note that Vardra is quite interested that Genn is underground and in the dark.

We continue to discuss; lacking options, we go back to Phargaryn, in an attempt to ask him to teleport us all to the ship Phargaryn bargains, and says he may even be able to dismiss the water elemental, for a price. Genn offers up the coin with the pearl, and reveals to the group (and Phargaryn) the ‘vision’ he had, as well as the fact that he stole the coin from the group and has had it hidden with him for years.

Phargaryn puts us up for the night, and in the morning, once we’re ready. Miriana casts Heightened Waterbreathing on all of us, which should give us four hours or so. The potions of darkvision should last around three hours. Phargaryn has opened a portal to the deck of the ship. He plans to send us there first, and then he will deal with the Elemental.

The ship is made of metal, with wooden bits (the floor, the doors, etc.) The air reeks. The mass of water above us starts churning, and then all of a sudden there is a flash and a pop; whatever was wrapped around the ship has now gone.

We hear footsteps, and a grey figure appears. She sees us, sees the water elemental has disappeared, and runs back down the stairs. We prepare for a possible ambush.

The ship starts to rise from the water as soon as the elemental leaves; after a tense battle, the captain of the ship comes out and joins the battle as well. He tosses Orad overboard, but the rest of the party manages to stop him by breaking the spell barriers put up around himself. Unfortunately, everyone but Kirmaul falls off — everyone including the Gith — and into the sea as it lists badly and flips over. The Gith captain swims away, and what remains of his crew follow him; the Stormfront has almost certainly made a new enemy today.

Black Eyes Susan, the beholder pirate, teleports onboard, and the Stormfront uses magic to fly back up and join her. She allows us on board with a nod, and we quickly find the gem we’ve been seeking; the gem that powers that powers the planeshifting ability of this craft.

We bring it up to the deck, and search the ship for the promises plunder.

greatsword +1 x4
masterwork scale x4
longbows, quivers x4 x40
random coins from across planes

x3:
1 chain shirt
masterwork greatswords
masterwork composite longbow (
3 str)
masterwork daggers

int-boosting headband
ring of protection +1
wand of ability boost (strength only), 37 charges

body of the ghost had pair of masterwork daggers, +2 chain, +2 keen greatsword, and a ring of protection +3 with some ghost-like attributes

As we search, Susan brings it into the water, and extends as walkway. Miriana removes the gem with telekenisis, When we reach the deck again, Susan’s already busy getting the ship underway with her rhodin and chorrim. As we disembark, we feel a weight seemingly lifted from us; our Oath has been kept.

We retire back at the inn for the night to recover; Udyr chats up his bard girlfriend a bit, but other than that the night passes uneventfully. Miriana casts Greater Repair on the gem to curtail its corrupting influences, and succeeds fairly well. We decide to teleport back to Serathis as soon as possible, lest we find our throats cut in the night; we’re free of the Oath, but so is the beholder.

In the early morning, there’s some sort of noise outside; some sort of gathering or celebration, despite it not being a holiday. We got outside to look, and we see a crowd in front of the Giant’s fortress, celebrating a Giant Champion of Justice. He holds up the head of a monster, and shouts, “JUSTICE HAS BEEN DONE!” — we see the head of Selsarras.

We head back to the house, and find the door has been kicked in (again). There’s a dire wolf sitting at the table, and a man that’s translucent. “Hello, old friend,” he says. “We need to have a talk about Selsarras.” We recognize him as the ghost of Kaezhar.

We level up (save Genn, due to his template.)

View
Game notes 2011 Apr 23
In which the Stormfront parlays with a beholder

In the morning, the group finds that Genn has arrived back at some point in the night. Abilard/Tarja remains a woman, and slightly confused. Three is no longer at the house, and is missed; she was contributing more to the upkeep of the house than we’d realized.

Udyr calls people around the table, to discuss our next steps and how to defeat or bargain with Black Eyes Susan. Orad decides to go to the Hunting Guild to see what he can learn about beholders, or ‘eye tyrants’. None of the hunters have ever seen one; the one member who had dreams of bringing one down left with a party of strong men, but never returned.

Udyr sits beside Miriana, and asks her, “Have you — or any of your persona – ever come across a beholder?” She replies, “The Dramoj, they were nasty. I don’t know about beholders.”

“We have made a deal with a demon,” Orad explains to Abilard, “who goes by the name Selsaras. We do this for revenge, to prevent future attacks, and to find answers we are looking for. He’s pledged to help us kill an undead Mojh named the Master. We’ve agreed to his plan.”

Genn searches the Memory for tales of people who have killed beholders. One group got lucky, and got in close with axes. Another used ballista to rain down bolts. A less likely story involves a volcano.

As for her crew, rumor has it that is mostly rhodin, with some chorrim. We know the location of a cabin nearby the town (Spetattor), and Orad makes the suggestion to move there and continue our intelligence gathering efforts.

We decide to get some magic to reduce weight from Senka, and use the boots of teleportation; she offers to loan us a Burdenless Stone for some collateral. Udyr puts 6k down, and we take the stone.

Genn attempts to use the Boots of Teleportation based on the description, but fails — her, Orad, and Kirmual end up in the ocean, near a lighthouse. Thankfully, they can fly, and we move toward the lighthouse and town below it. We eventually see the cabin, and move toward it. As soon as we’re in the cabin and safe, Miriana gives Genn a mean look in a way that only a teenager can, and starts removing the boots from Genn’s feet. She is much more successful at using the magic item, and the rest of the group arrives at the cabin with less dampness.

We start looking at the town, and the jungle around it. There are two ships in the harbor, where work may be being done on them. We can’t see marking on the ships. We spend the night in the cabin, uneventfully.

We go into the town (Ed: I was out with kid duties – can someone update this bit?). They allow us in after some questioning and taking note of our description and weapons. (Alibard also made a ‘friend’ with one of the guards, due to his quality booze and Tarja’s . . . attributes.) People seem friendly enough, and recommend we talk to a chorrim named Toshi at the local inn. There are rhodin in this town, as well as chorrim, and they are freely going about their business and work in the town. Nobody is really afraid; there is some tension, but no outright hostility. We spend some time people watching as we go along, seeing if we can notice anyone who may be a connection; we notice the rhodin all have a brand; a circle with a dot in the center, on the left arm. These rhodin are unusually orderly, clean, and well equipped. We continue to the inn.

The inn is a three story building; ‘The Lost Dragon’. It’s about half full, as we’ve arrived close to lunch. We get a table, and some food. We’re attract some attention, just by virtue of being new people in a small town. The guard who Abilard chatted up comes over, and Abilard attempts to chat him up.

Miriana goes to the bartender, and asks about Toshi. We find out it’s “Commander Toshi”. She has an additional tattoo, we’re told; one on her right shoulder, and it has a red dot as well as the black one. We need to wait for Toshi, so we spend time drinking. After an hour or so, a striking, tall, green woman wearing quality armor walks into the room; obviously Commander Toshi, with a companion who remains standing when Toshi sits. We notice a scar on her wrist, as though her hand may have been severed once, though it is fully functional now. Abilard staggers over, unused to heavy drinking in his new body. She tells us Mayor Green gives work around her, and Captain Susan calls her ship the “Blazing Eye”; it’s in dock now, the other ship is down for repairs. She tells all of this fairly loudly, and Miriana and Kirmaul use this chance to go over to the Chorrim.

Miriana starts out, but lies poorly. Kirmaul steps in: “Me and my friends are looking for work,” she says. “Who told you what Captain Susan is?” Toshi starts to question us and how we know so much. Genn steps in and tells him that we found the location and info of Susan via the Memory, but we don’t know what she’s looking for. He attempts to be assertive, playing the group as simply a mercenary party looking to make a profit where few others would dare. We impress Toshi enough to have her say she’ll contact us; we take rooms in the inn.

In the evening, a woman announced as Anara Green comes in for musical entertainment; Abilard drinks most of the evening. Udyr goes up and introduces herself, and she responds politely – in Verrick, despite being human herself. They share a rare Verrick drink, and he finds out she is the daughter of Mayor Green. He continues to chat her up, and finds out she may have a magic cloak that allows her to leave when she desires. Udyr also finds out where the Green resident is; about half a mile west of the inn, on the coast.

At about three in the morning, there’s a knock on our doors. The rhodin ask us to come downstairs, quietly. They leave as soon as we respond. We head down, and see Toshi’s companion. “Susan would like to give you an audience, and requests that no hostile action be taken against her. In return, she will grant you the same, until we get back to the inn.” We agree, and Genn announces he speaks for the group.

We start walking toward the lighthouse; there are four rhodin guards at the gate, and two others near the door. We enter, and are asked to ascend to the top to meet with Susan and Commander Toshi. We arrive, seeing the beholder (wearing a pirate hat, oddly) staring at the stairwell, instantly taking down any magical effects.

As we stand there in the anti-magic field Miriana almost passes out, and Genn visibly fades and looks paler. Udyr tends to Miriana, and finds out whatever is causing this isn’t physical.

“If you can help me in defeating the defender of this ship, I will freely give you the gem and any treasure find on it, and neither me nor mine will harm you in any way.” We agree to Susan’s terms, and she brings down a hookah to bind us to the oath. “I swear upon the salt of my body and by the salt of my ancestors that I will see this oath through.”

The ship in question that crashed into the base of the lighthouse is a Spelljammer; with the gem we were sent to acquire, it can jump between planes (an incredibly rare ability in the world). Susan wants it because it’s a flying, teleporting ship – ideal for being a pirate. Usually, a Spelljammer ship is powered by an air elemental; when it crashed, it summoned a elder water elemental that is now guarding the ship and can’t return home. That’s what we need to fight and kill.

The group continues to probe the situation with questions to the Beholder:

Waiting with the stillness of the grave as his allies ask their questions, the only sound to come from Abilurd while others are speaking is a surprised cough when he draws too deeply from the hookah for his new body’s lungs.

When Orad questions Captain Susan about the elemental, Abilurd’s glazed gaze flickers.  “Is the creature truly alive?  Death holds no sway over an element.  My people believe that in a the great water, a vast, cool water, is where the dead rest.”  A look of confusion comes over his face as he adds, “But I remember it being hot.”

The beholder turns to look at you, and squints as if it has trouble following your questions.

“Alive?  All elementals ARE alive in a sense, but not as you’d describe it – they’re bits of the sentient…um….idea?…of whatever they represent.  ‘Slaying’ an elemental does nothing more than banish it’s ‘spirit’ – and I use that term loosely – back to the plane of it’s origin.  Given how it arrived and that it can’t leave Serran, that may be it’s only way home.  An interesting thought, actually.  Hmm…”

Uncharacteristically, Abilurd scoffs quietly at the oath if it’s brought up by a party member, but not if he thinks Susie or one her commanders is listening – he’s brave and daft but not insane.  He does seem, however, wary of the negative repercussions for breaking it.  If he can catch the ear of anybody but Kirmaul, he wonders if it’s worth “borrowing” the extra ship, the one that’s helping to repair the Blazing Eye, to assault the elemental.

Orad takes another hit of the hookah, and blows three smoke rings into the air.

“Captain Susan, where exactly is this ship? Is it underwater or mangled upon the rocks? Is it still operable? Could it be taken to another…” Orad pauses, trying to sound like he understands the next words, “… plane if we got on board?”
 
The beholder looks back at you, it’s eyes (and, again, the central one is closed here) a little red from all the smoke.  “The ship is under the waves, approximately 300 feet down.  I’m not sure how usable it still is – from what I’ve seen, there’s some damage to the hull, but the interior still seems to hold at least in part some air or air pockets.  I suspect that’s from the air elemental that powers it, but I could be wrong.  I suspect that if one got aboard one could make it planeshift (and this is a word many of you won’t be familiar with) away, but the ship itself might not be useable as a ship wherever you went.  Also, y’know, you made an Oath that the ship was mine, so……”

“And please,” Orad continues, “Tell us all that you know about our new quarry, the water elemental. How large is it? Can it venture far from the ocean? What is its primary method of attack and defense?”

Susan replies: “The water elemental seems to wrap itself around the ship, and doesn’t venture to far from it.  I’m not sure if it even can, honestly – ships can pass over it with relative ease, as can swimmers.  Hell, sharks even.  Only when one gets about 100 feet down does it react, and it does so swiftly – it weighs some 11 tons and is made of pure, heavy water, but moves like the wind.  It’s like fighting the stormiest tide you’ve ever seen, only the tide is made of liquid steel.  It can also form into some sort of whirlpool-like structure, but it again seems to be limited in how far it can move away.  If I had to guess at the size, I’d say it was some 30 feet square.”

The beholder takes another huge rip while she considers your questions.

“Those are excellent questions,” she exhales, staring back at you with 3 stalks while the rest gaze upward, “and I know the answers to none of them definitively.  I imagine both elementals – the one bound to the ship and it’s friend – want to go back to the elemental chaos or somesuch.  The water elemental cannot, for some reason, free the air elemental, but has also itself made no move to escape on it’s own.  As to where the ship came from or what’s still aboard, your guess is as good as mine.  We’re guessing several hundred years, based on the coral growing on and near it, but that’s an educated guess at best.”

Genn nods slightly at all of this, a gesture you’ve come to associate with him committing things to memory. He narrows his eyes, smokes a bit, and sets himself to making plans. “My northern companion makes an excellent point; would it be possible to use the ship repairing the Blazing Eye, or the Eye herself, in our cause? What will you and your crew be able to offer us in terms of aid as we seek to return to you this most valuable of prizes? And you say the ship can fly; none of our number are experienced sailors on water, much less in the air. If we get to the lost ship, would you or one of your number be able to pilot it?”

Orad: “It will take us some time to plan, research, and gather supplies. I assume we will be able to contact you in some fashion as we make ready?”

“Sorry, but a good captain never gives up her ships or men when she doesn’t have to,” Susan replies. "Per our agreement, I’m obligated to contribute nothing save staying out of your way and not vitrifying the lot of you.

“That said…we’ve been boring tunnels into the island beneath this lighthouse in an effort to get under the ‘Jammer and take it that way.  This proved relatively futile, as one or both of the Elementals also have friends of Earth.  If anything, I will send some of my men down to the tunnels so the Earth Elementals – much smaller and weaker than the Water, mind – aren’t able to help in inevitable battle against you.

“As to getting the ship out of the water and repairing it – well, that’s my job.  Remove the Watery obstacle before me, take your prize, and I’ll deal with the rest as I will.”

We take our leave, and search out more details and preparations. Genn probes the Memory, and comes up lucky:

The ship that crashed was called “Vlaakith’s Dagger”, and it crashed into the seas of Serran late in the evening on the 1st day of Seventhmonth, CY 981. It was badly damaged when it crashed, as it’s mission had ended in massive failure – it had blindly shifted some 19 consecutive times in order to escape pursuit, and as a result it’s crystal engine was badly damaged. While it had finally escaped it’s pursuers, it had the bad luck to appear a mere 500 feet over the water while travelling at a downward (well, relative to the plane it had entered) angle at maximum thrust. The Dagger slammed into The Gulf of Firesight less than a second after it appeared, drawing the attention of the small coven of Verrik celebrating the Solstice on the nearby beach. Most of those aboard the ship died on impact – if they weren’t dead already – and many were thrown free of the sinking hull. As the ship sank, the motive Elemental within attempted to break free – it’s bindings had loosened on impact, and it knew the crew to be distracted and scattered. While it did manage to summon a friend shortly after the ship touched bottom, shortly thereafter the remains of the crew managed to rebind it back within the ship despite it’s efforts. The crew were, unfortunately, unable to use the rebound air Elemental to pull free of the ocean floor – an enraged water Elemental held the ship in place and attacked anything moving about near it, and does so still. Even worse, the crystalline engine remained active despite the best of the remaining mechanist’s meager ability. Normally, this wouldn’t be too bad – a minor Planar break, but nothing insurmountable.

…unless, of course, the last plane visited was some sort of hellish nether Shadow realm. With no way to close the rift and no escaping the elemental, the remaining Githyanki aboard quickly fell to The Dark. The Elemental wasn’t long to follow, relatively, though it still clings to a form of quasi-life despite it’s tainted nature. Captain Vlax and her crew remain aboard, undying, and unable to get away despite years of effort.

View
Game notes 2011 Mar 12
In which an old member of the Stormfront makes an unusual entrance.

Aurora cures us of our wounds, and the poison from Mittens. She sucks the curses energy out of Miriana, and suggests that she can expedite Orad’s regaining his animal companion. She offers to let us camp here for the night, and have her remaining akthar lead us back to Serathis in the morning.

In the morning, we’re supplied with fresh fish and ripe fruit. Aurora seems to be enjoying the sun, the water, the feeling of everything. She’s done what she can to repair Tarja’s body; the skull tattoo is magical and still there, but Aurora has cast Gentle Repose on her and prepared her as best she can. She also gives us as much of the ore as possible, while still keeping herself hidden. Genn looks hard at Three about this, but she says nothing about wanting the rest.

By mid-afternoon, we can see Serthis – we’ve made remarkably good time. Orad thinks he could fine his way back if needed, however. Genn carries Tarja’s body the entire way. As we go through the slums, we are unmolested. Going through the gate to the Giant’s quarter, we see there are many more guards; we decide to go through the cave system to our “secret” entrance to our house. Again, nobody messes with us. The Hooks seem to have been here, and we think we might catch a glimpse of Velorians in the distance. Miriana insists we take the bodies the Hooks have hanged down. We unlock the door with the amulet; the door rotates, and we are in our home again.

Nothing seems to be disturbed in the house; Orad, however, sees that something may be leaning up against the front door, and hears a faint chanting – a Rumknskian funeral chant. Looking for the windows, he sees a figure hunched against the door, holding a broken spear; a cloth sack is next to him, and he’s dressed in rags. With his chanting and the disheveled appearance, he looks homeless. Genn ignores this, and goes to make Tarja comfortable in his own bed. Mirania follows and tries to help, but is oddly hostile toward Genn – unlike her. As they are doing this, Genn hears a noise from Tarja’s mouth; the same chant that the old man out front was humming. He flies into a rage, runs upstairs, and drags the old man into the house and onto the floor. His mouth has been sewn shut. The old man, still on the floor and shaking, dumps the contents of his sack onto the floor. Noble clothing (for a Rumskian, anyway) and a simple, scorched iron crown drops onto the stones.

“His mouth. This is on purpose,” Kirmaul says. “He has bad news. He’s done this to himself.” The man, who the barbarians in the party identify as Torgo, adviser to their king and something of a spiritual leader, nods. Miriana casts a healing spell on him. Orad picks up the crown, and tries to converse with the old man. The crown in his hands is humming, in tune with the funeral dirge.

The clothes are about 100 years old, the group finds after casting some spells; the crown is magical, as are the clothes. As we are doing this, the body of Tarja is walking up the stairs; we hear a faint whistling noise, from the north. Orad asks if Torgo if this is his doing; he’s shaking and doesn’t respond. The hole in Tarja’s heart is still there, but she seems to be growing – she makes no move towards us, however. As we continue to watch, we see what appears to be a heart being built in her chest, from muscle, bone, stone, and whatever else is near at hand. Genn sees that her eyes, brown when living, are now pale, icy blue. We hear the whistling grow louder; there’s a huge crash, and an icy greatsword flies through the wall and into Tarja’s hand. The body begins grasping for the sword like a man dying of thirst crawls toward an oasis. Its eyes are closed until it finds the hilt, at which point they spring open. A dusty voice coughs out, nearly inaudible at first but gaining in strength, “‘Topple the throne and it will fall, fracturing the ice beneath until all are swallowed in the usurper’s folly.’ Was this my grandfather’s sin, or the sin of those who felled me?” The voice is at a roar now, and the newly-risen body raises the great sword of Rrmunsk into the air. “No matter who drew first blood! It pours forth in glacial rivers, and the thaw is unstoppable. I shall wreak vengeance, thus swears ”/campaigns/serathis/characters/79257" class=“wiki-content-link”>Abilurd, King of the Rrmunsk." Looking down, his jaw drops, and he murmurs as he feels along his chest, “My armor…? Where did these come from?”

“It is well, then,” Torgo says, ripping the stitches in his lips. He breathes his last, and dies. Udyr uses the sight on the body of Tarja, and gets a vision of a wasted, icy battlefield. Kirmaul sees what’s going on, and says dryly, “So, do we still need ”/campaigns/serathis/characters/boren" class=“wiki-content-link”>Boren? ‘Cause she’s breathin’ . . ." Udyr says, “Yes,” and runs out of the house to fetch him.

Orad picks up the clothing, and it’s heavy – it’s the king’s armor, with an illusion of clothing over it. He arranges the armor beside what may be his sovereign. Kirmaul attempts to repair the wall; Three is sitting in the corner, taking it all in. She has the star metal we recovered in a bag, and watches us as a neutral observer, waiting to finish her task.

Udyr comes back with Boren, filling him in on the way. He asks Three to step outside, as well as Udyr; they comply. Once they are gone, he exposes his eye, and starts to work. “Well, she’s human . . . and her name is . . . Abilurd . . . wait? The champion of magic? Wasn’t he one of the founding members of the ”/campaign/serathis/wikis/the-stormfront" class=“wiki-page-link”> Stormfront? Wasn’t he in my caravan, years ago?"

“Runechildren aren’t the only way the land protects itself,” Boren tries to explain. “Sometimes the essence of a cause can come back, a spirit that is still needed.” Boren stares a second: “The king ”/campaigns/serathis/characters/79257" class=“wiki-content-link”>Abilurd Njakith died two days ago. But it seems he’s here, in the body of this woman. He’s taken this body; whoever she was isn’t coming back until he leaves." Hearing this, Genn attempts to draw his weapon, intent on killing the thing that’s possessed his love. His companions see this, and attempt to stop him; he backs down, knowing he can’t win against all of them. Boren stares at Genn, and says, “We need to know if this was Aliburd; if it is, he was a good man. If not, I’ll help you destroy it myself.”

Genn stares hard into Boren’s face: “Everything that I had has been taken from me. Again.” He walks outside, and flies away. Miriana follows him out the door, crying. “Tell me it’s not your fault!” Miriana screams out as Genn disappears into the distance.

The group decided to deal with Del-Dorran already. Miriana accompanied Three down to the tavern, and Del-Dorran showed some time later. He asked Miriana if the bag of Elizhar was “all the ”/campaign/serathis/wikis/elizhar" class=“wiki-page-link”> Elizhar the Stormfront found", and Miriana said it was. More notably, Three nodded in agreement. Del-Dorran accepted this, and gave Miriana 50k. Or, rather, 50k in mixed coins in a Bag of Holding – he asked Miriana for one of hers, saying she could just dump her stuff into the new bag. Miriana demurred, gave Del-Dorran 2000 gp out of the new BoH and came back with 48k.

Per the DM’s HEAVY urging, the group opted to look to buying a group healing item. They decided on a universal wand of Heightened Lesser Battle Healing, caster level 10. So 3×10×850 (which is to say Spell Level times Caster Level times 850 for universal user), or 25500gp. As such, the wand has 50 charges, each of which is 1d6+20hp with no subdual to the user. (works out to about 22gp/1HP on average) The remainder was divided some 5 ways (Genn/Miriana/Udyr/Orad/Kirmaul), with some going into the group fund.

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Game notes 2011 Feb 26
In which we defeat the Lifekeeper, and Genn learns a horrible truth

Genn stands with his companions, staring out over a small valley. An hour ago it cradled a small lake and the Lifekeeper’s sanctum; now, it was a roiling mass of water, mud, timber, and debris. After a few moments, he turns away and walks to a nearby fallen tree. He sits, wincing as he does so. The group can see blood still oozing from his shoulder; his armor may have prevented the spear from impaling him, but it still did considerable damage. He slowly takes out his pipe and fills the bowl, his hands shaking slightly as the adrenaline of combat wears off and fatigue replaces it. “That was . . . unexpected,” he says dryly. "I hope the akthar got out ok. They seem to be pawns as much as we are.

“I don’t know why she destroyed her lair; I’m not even sure what she is — if she were still a dryad, she’d be dead; ”/campaigns/serathis/characters/miriana" class=“wiki-content-link”>Miriana and Orad felled her tree, or at least what we thought was her tree. And when we managed to strike her, the blood was red; I don’t think that’s normal. Perhaps she’s turning into flesh, just as her captives turn to wood and leaf? And it seemed almost as though she let us go . . . hell, I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go; a city full of scholars could sit for a dozen years in a dozen libraries and probably not figure out what all we’ve seen. What’s important is that we all got out alive, and we got what we came for." Here, Genn looks at Miriana’s satchel. “It’s dangerous, and I don’t want to carry it any longer than we have to. The Lifekeeper’s on the run, or at least I’d like to think so. In any event, we don’t have the means to track her; we need to rest, heal ourselves, and get out of this damned swamp. The Lifekeeper’s sister wanted proof that she was no longer herself; maybe she’ll take our word for it; I could try to create an Akashic stone, as well, and show her exactly what I’ve seen. I think I can do it; I’ve read about how it’s done, at least. But that will take time — one thing we never seem to have. ”/campaigns/serathis/characters/78452" class=“wiki-content-link”>Valdra’s out there, and seems to have taken our slights to her much more seriously than I thought."

Genn is silent a moment, lost in thought — or memory. “To hell with her!” Genn says, standing up and seeming to rally himself through force of will. “And to hell with the Lifekeeper, and anyone else who stands in the way of our vengeance. We destroyed her elemental, her army, and felled her tree; let her think on that. Let’s find our way back to Serathis, heal ourselves, and find out what happened at Brightstone Keep. Then we can decide whether to go to the Lifekeeper’s sister and describe what we’ve seen, or continue our intrigue against the Master. Anyone got any better ideas?”

The Akthar politely coughs at this. “My task was to escort you back to Lady Aurora once you’d completely your task – that is, prove ‘The Lifekeeper’ wasn’t truly her sister, or that her sister was irrevocably gone. I could certainly escort you back to the city limits if you’d prefer, but wouldn’t the blood you speak of be proof enough that this being wasn’t a dryad? Or the Treant you slew? If they were ‘sisters’, that means the trees would be related as well, right?”

Genn speaks up: “Would she accept our word for these events? I’m not in the habit of trusting many — in fact, the only people I trust, save two, are hearing these words. If your mistress will take our account of what’s happened here as truth, then I’ll be happy to tell her all we know.”

He gives you a silent look at this, as if to say ‘THESE are the dominate species in Serathis?’ “Why would she need to take your word? Have you not the blade coated in her blood? Have you not, oh, a giant Treant corpse you could carve some trophy from? I’m sure she’s going to want to hear your story, but it seems like getting some physical proof to back your claims wouldn’t be difficult. Hell – if you have her blood, we could track her!”

The Stormfront discusses their options. Genn flies up to look for the Akthar slaves who might have escaped, but comes up empty. The party is concerned about staying in the swamp. We ask our Akthar guide, but he doesn’t know where we could go. Short of options, we head into the remains of the lake, hoping to find a place to defend.

We make our way to the room that once contained the earth elemental, dodging corpses. We see the altars we discovered earlier; they have been shattered, and whatever magic they contained has been dispersed. Orad finds the tree that contained the artifact, and takes a trophy. We take a quick look around, and find 150 of gold, a chest of dried meat, a bag of spoiled rice, and some meat that we probably don’t want to eat. Genn wanders in a bit, and on top of one of the rocky pillars, he finds an arrow – the very one he used to shoot the Lifekeeper. It’s been left in a rock, prominently displayed, as though it might have been meant to be found. Genn uses Object Loresight on it, and finds something unexpected; he returns to the party visibly shaken, and refuses to speak to the party. Miriana also casts knowledge spells on the arrow, and discovers the Lifekeeper appears to be human, now.

We continue to discuss options, and decide against using the Boots of Teleportation to split the party. Genn continues to be shaken, and takes no watch. The night passes uneventfully; early in the morning the water level has lowered, as some doors to lower tunnels have given way and flooded.

Our Akthar guide finally gives us his name; Leaf. He offers his services to lead us where we need to go. Miriana probes Genn’s mind, and discovers some secrets he was trying to keep hidden. She asks him if he’s able to fight the Lifekeeper again, and he says flatly, “I don’t know.”

We make preparations, and head out in the direction of Aurora’s ‘camp’, with Leaf leading. Kirmual stumbles into a patch of assassin vine, but we manage to free her. Genn stumbles into another swamp plant (Maiden’s Hair) that looks like a woman drowning, and is paraylzed; Miriana uses magic to take him out of the swamp.

We make our way out of the swamp around nightfall, and Leaf leads us to a cave stacked with provisions where we can spend the night and recover. Udyr uses clairvoyance on Brightstone Keep to see what’s going on; Miriana tries to track the Lifekeeper using her dream magic, but fails. Udyr sees that the League of Justice has been victorious, and the Vengeance’s Fist has survived, to a man.
In the morning, Genn is horrified to find that the arrow with the Lifekeeper’s blood is gone. He begins to franticly search; the party assists him, and Orad spots some tracks; extremely faint boot prints, that fade after about 50 feet. They seem to have gone directly to Genn’s pack, and taken care not to be seen. Miriana casts Location Loresight, but the spell just dies, to her confusion. Genn grabs Orad by the shoulders, saying: “We must find it! We must find this person! Find them!” We find one footprint, with an odd depression in it; similar to the assassin the Stormfront once before. Miriana tries Locate Object, but it fails. Lacking other options, we decide to continue on toward Aurora’s lair.

Three, Leaf, and Udyr feel that something is amiss, right before we are ambushed by akthar with glowing orange eyes.

We loot the bodies for the following:

+1 plate x2
+2 dire bastard sword
+1 returning throwing axe
wand of ice bolt, 20 charges
light crossbow +1
ring of magical might (1st level spells)
amulet of spell knowledge (eldritch armor)
various masterwork weapons

After the battle, we interrogate an akthar prisoner. Miriana questions it, attempting to gain its confidence. Orad and others search the area, looking for clues; these akthar don’t match the bootprints that we found in our previous camp. Finally, Genn snaps, grabs the akthar bodily, and yells, “Where is she? WHERE IS TARJA?” At this, the akthar just grins, at which point Genn drops the akthar, and murders him mercilessly. He goes silent again, and looks like he wants to keep killing.

We move on toward Aurora’s lair, following our guide. Leaf gets increasingly nervous; no signs of scouts or sentries as would be expected. We see signs of a skirmish, and someone has tried to hide it; arrows gone wide left in trees, cuts in tree bark or bits of metal and wood in the ground. We glimpse something, and discuss what to do.

Orad turns into a hawk, and scouts ahead. He sees what seem to be some sort of walking saplings ahead; something we’ve not seen before. We discover a dyrad, holding another dryad over a pit of roiling liquid (acid?), slowly lowering her — oddly, she’s not struggling. What we assume to be the dryad’s tree is wrapped in some odd red flowers. The area has been defiled; not to the extent of the Lifekeeper’s lair, but on its way. 500 feet above, Orad spots a group of Faradians, keeping watch — not doing anything, just watching.

We plan our attack quickly, and then move out. The saperlings, oddly, get out of our way as we begin to descend the hill, moving back to an overhang where the red vine is.

The Lifekeeper “Here’s the deal; I want back my knife. That’s it. And I’ll get back my knife, or you are in a world of hurt.” We look at Aurora,

Genn says quietly, “Tarja, why are you doing this?” At the name, she stops briefly. Genn steps forward, and this provokes the Lifekeeper. “I’m going to count to ten,” she says. Genn fumbles about, trying to appeal to her as Tarja. When the Lifekeeper gets to the count of three, the Stormfront springs into action. The Lifekeeper immediately raises her stone shield around her. “Get them, Mittens!” she says.

Udyr readies a spell. Genn rushes forward, hits some sort of wall of force, and flies over it and continues toward the tree. An enormous scorpion appears, and attacks Kirmaul. Things go crazy; it animates trees.

Miriana stops the scorpion with a dream spell; after a pitched battle, the Lifekeeper falls to the ground, dying.; the flowers start ‘popping’. Aurora comes to.

The end needs some editing still; things got crazy at the end.

“At least it wasn’t your fault,” Miriana says, trying to comfort Genn.

The Lifekeeper’s forces coming down from Brightstone Keep met the forces from Aurora, and a pitched battle ensued. Lady Aurora is deeply grateful; looking at her clearly, she seems to be living wood. She heals all of us. She attempts to raise Tarja back, but the spell fails. “I’m not positive, but I think there is a spell preventing her from coming back if you consume the victim’s organs. Perhaps if a powerful magic could restore her heart, such as a Rune Child, something could be done.”

Further, Aurora suspects that the actual Lifekeeper may not have been Tarja; it may have been some sort of crustacean?

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Game notes 2011 Jan 29
In which we do battle with the Lifekeeper herself

The Nameless suggests that The Lifekeeper can be found under the lake; swimming, or a hidden stairwell seem like our only options for getting down there.

As we continue to prepare, Kirmaul and Orad seem to be overcome with a crushing, inexplicable sadness. Kirmaul tells Genn this. While the spellcasters rest and prepare, Genn uses his ability to breathe water and scouts under the lake. The lake’s sides are very steep; there are crevices in the muck at the bottom of the lake; water is flowing into these. Under the muck, there seems to be some sort of magical barrier that’s “holding” the lake up. The lake, at its deepest, is only about 20’ deep. There’s something under the barrier, but it’s not possible to see what. Others in the party also find a large tree; examining this, they find the stairwell, buried into the earth.

The party discusses its options; Genn urges Udyr to be ready to talk the Lifekeeper out of her ways, and Miriana to be ready to deal with the magical dagger Rokverkur that seems to have driven the dryad to this madness.

Three searches around the area, but comes up empty. The stairwell is agreed to be our best bet; it’s single file, and very dark. Marching order: Genn, Three, Udyr, Kirmaul, Miriana, Orad. We begin to descend the stairs; they seem to have been carved for creatures of our size. We’re around 60 feet or so underground, and then the stairs turn back toward the lake. There is a bit of dim light; there is a giant stalagmite in the center of the room, and at one end there is a wooden stockade, and we hear muffled breathing noises from that.

“Well,” Udyr says to Genn, “After you.” Genn moves to one side of the wall, toward the stockade. It’s barred on the top, and seems to be heavily reinforced, probably with magic. He sees a huge, furry, beast throwing itself into the bars. Genn thinks he’s seen one of these before; it’s a rue-akthar. Above the stockade, there seems to be a catwalk leading to passages above.

Genn goes to the other side, continuing to scout. From here, he can see clearly that the stone in the center has a wooden platform on top, with two akthar in a guard post. The one says, “State your name and purpose,” in an almost monotone voice; looking closer, Genn can see that they’ve been infused with plant life.

“I am Genn Belorn. I and my companions seek audience with the Lifekeeper.” Genn says this loud enough to let his companions know we’ve been spotted. The akthar not speaking has mossy patches where his eyes should be; these bloom flowers. Udyr attempts to use the Sight on the akthar, while the other members attempt to spread out a bit and maintain their cover. Orad moves over to the rue-akthar and investigates further; he thinks he makes out another large form in the cage as well.

The flowers close on the other akthar, and looks at the first akthar back. “She has no interest in speaking to you. We ask that you leave before causing further . . . damage.” Genn appeals, but they don’t care, and begin to cross the catwalk. Genn flies up the platform, in an attempt to block their escape.

Three throws a bag of some kind; it bursts into flame around the bridge. The akthar head off into the passages; the last one out pulls a rope, which causes the cage to collapse, letting the beasts out. Orad lets loose many arrows at them, and Genn hits them with a fireburst. The first ru-akthar grabs Orad, while the second (foolishly) rushes toward Kirmaul; she proceeds to cleave it mightily. Udyr attempts to use magic, and hits the first for further damage. Miriana summons a Dream Hunter.

We continue the fight, but begin to hear a rumbling noise of some kind. Orad continues to flee. Genn flies down and stabs it through the heart, but the beast shrugs it off and continues to fight. Kirmaul strikes again, but her monster, too, stands back up and continues. Miriana’s summoned creature manages to kill the first beast, but as before, it explodes in a burst of negative energy. Three fells the second, which likewise explodes.

The rue-akthar dealt with, Orad listens intently at the rumbling. Rocks start to crack, and the stalagmite grows an arm – an earth elemental emerges from the rock. It proceeds to lash out at us, and our attacks are mostly ineffective. Kirmaul urges us to flee if possible. Udyr attempts to heal us, but the elemental foils his spell. Miriana does manage to heal Genn, however. We continue to press the attack, using many of our best spells and abilities; things that do elemental damage and might get past the creature’s DR. The healers continue to do their thing. We start to see success for our efforts, and eventually the elemental falls.

We recover a bit, healing as we can, and plan our next steps. Orad scouts about, and upon sticking his head into the far corridor is greeted with a hail of arrows; the akthar are apparently waiting for us. He catches a glimpse of something of an underground village beyond them, including trees. The corridor above (with the bridge) seems to curve around and drop back down as well; both seem to lead to the same place.

Udyr hears something; someone barefoot running up the corridor. He steps by Kirmaul, pulls his crossbow, and says, “Someone’s coming!” We prepare ourselves.

A javelin comes through the tunnel, with a white cloth tied to it; perhaps someone is trying to surrendering to us? “Show yourself, then!” cries Kirmaul, lowering her axe. We see it has orange eyes. It asks to talk. Genn goes forward, and it tells him that the akthar are being forced to serve the Lifekeeper; the ones converted into plant monsters cannot be reasoned with, the akthar said, and the ones of his tribe that are able to fight are being forced do so, to defend the Lifekeeper, who seems to be behind the waterfall in the village. The old, the young, and the infirm are being held prisoner, subject to the whims of Lifekeeper’s plan; this one is obviously fearful of being discovered. Genn presses him about the Lifekeeper’s defenses, and if he’s seen the artifact the Stormfront is after; he has not.

With this info, we regroup, and decide to find out if we can talk to the akthar defending the lower corridor with arrows.

Lifekeeper village

The “village” has some buildings, but they look more like livestock pens than fit habitations. The akthar are waiting for us, all armed and set. There is something of an alter in the village, covered with glowing runes. Three throws the javelin.

Miriana shouts to the akthar, “We’re not here for your tribe; if you leave, we can cover your retreat!” We here the voice of the plant-corrupted one, who’d spoken to us earlier: “They will not retreat. Leave. We won’t be warned again.” At this, Miriana lets loose a magical blast, and cries out, “Run, save your tribe! We’ll fight these!” We move in to attack the “plant akthar”, while leaving the “slaves” untouched. They are confused by this, and initially don’t move while we engage the others.

The plant akthar, however, do respond – they draw whistles and make a piercing noise, and others hit Genn with two javelins so hard they push him back. Kirmaul, intimidating as always (especially when covered with ru-akthar blood), cries out, “If you’re in my way, you’ll fall!” and charges forth. Genn uses an earth blast, and knocks one of the akthar prone. Miriana again implores the uncorrupted akthar to flee. After some indecision, they do; meanwhile, the Stormfront continues to wail on the others, dropping them in short order.

Udyr looks at the alter, and determines it’s some sort of sustaining device; a battery for spells, essentially, though we don’t know what it’s storing or powering. A quick look at the bodies reveal the suits of +1 plate (3x) +1 bastard swords (x3). We prepare as best we can, and then proceed through the waterfall.

Lifekeeper island

We are immediately hit with a scent of death and decay, and a sense of evil of death and decay. An akthar is strapped to some sort of alter, held down with vines. A beautiful, slight blond woman is at the center; “Stay back!” she says. “We must not break the circle, it might hurt him!”

Genn walks forward, questioning the dryad, stating that he’s here to recover a dangerous artifact that has corrupted the Green. The Lifekeeper drops her pretense, and the illusion of beauty; she appears as a black woods dryad, and says, “Get them.” She becomes encased in stone slabs, and the water around Genn starts to boil. Two corrupted shambling mounds rise up; the first does an enormous amount of damage and grapples him. Orad, the hawk totem warrior, notices a gleam of silver buried in the tree behind him; perhaps the artifact we’re looking for. He points this out to Miriana.

Three displays her agility, pushing off of Genn and leaping to the island. Udyr casts at the other mound, hitting it massively. As he blows off part of the debris, he sees that there’s what looks like an akthar buried in the creature; apparently, they are being turned into these creatures. Genn surges, breaking free of the grapple and flying up as fast as he can to escape.

Miriana uses telekinesis to attempt to rip the silver object out of the tree. The shard of metal comes free, and Miriana attempts to move it into her bag. Just looking at the shard evokes cruelty and malice. The tree begins to animate, but the shard is ripped through what would have been his face. The tree falls dead, hitting Miriana in the process. We hear a shrieking; another mound rises out of the water.

Three attempts to disrupt the circle; she succeeds partially, but gets hit by energy in the process. Udyr drops another greenfire on a mound, killing it. Genn hits one with another Earth Blast, knocking it prone. However, a jet of lava shoots up from the earth. It damages several of the party. We continue to fight on. Three decides to kill the akthar on the alter, hopefully preventing him receiving a worse fate; however, she’s severely injured. Udyr summons a dire wolf out of sonic energy.

The fight turns for the worse for the Stormfront; Kirmaul is possessed magically with a desire to kill her friends; Genn is hit with a spell causing his own wounds to grow hideous tentacles and attempt to strangle him. Miriana attempts to dispel this magic, succeeding and most likely saving our lives. Kirmaul turns her rage once again toward the mounds, and we redouble our efforts. The Lifekeeper continues to elude us; we don’t know for certain where she’s at, or what she may cast next against us.

We finally drop the last shambling mound, but the Lifekeeper still eludes us. We spread out and try to spot our final quarry. Three uses a blast of energy from one of her devices to attempt to destroy the casting circle in the center of the island.

The party, running out of ideas, spreads out and fires arrows randomly. Genn, miraculously, hits the Lifekeeper; he tries desperately to grab her when he sees the arrow hit, but she squirms free. We continue to search in vain, but seem to be out of spells, healing, endurance, and ideas. Knowing that the Lifekeeper still has spells (proven by the fact that she keeps casting and trying to kill us), we cautiously retreat. “Go then; flee,” we hear a voice say. “Whatever, we killed your tree!” spits Kirmaul defiantly. The Lifekeeper seems to let us go, however, and we head out, back out of the swamp.

We meet up with our akthar guide again, and when we get to the portal our guide doesn’t get his expected call. He severs the portal, assuming his party is dead; as he does so, we see a ghostly black figure attempt to come through. We assume that this ghostly shape was the “Song of Infinite Dark”; perhaps cast by Valdra Longclaw in retribution for past wrongs.

We hear a crash behind us, and returning to see the lake we were under has now collapsed, flooding the Lifekeeper’s lair. The Stormfront stands at the edge, with many questions. Is the Lifekeeper still alive? Why was she not killed with her tree? Is she now mobile? Who sent the ghost after us? Did the orange-eyed akthar escape? Will they ally with us if needed? How will we escape the swamp and return home?

View
Game notes 2010 Dec 11
In which we recruit allies for an attack on Brightstone Keep, and fight a battle in the swamp

Miriana and Udyr search for the League of Justice – meanwhile, Orad has sought out Vengence’s Fist and convinced them to aid our cause with a rousing speech.

Miriana and Udyr find that Tol-Bandari has been hanging out at Grom’s Pit lately, and go there in the evening. The evening meal is finishing up, and they find the giant telling tales to an less-than-enthused audience. “Mr. Bandari!” Miriana calls out. “We have a proposition for you!” After getting over the confusion about what “proposition” means, Miriana tries to convince him and his band to attack Brightstone Keep, spilling some of the information about it being related to The Lifekeeper. “I will gather my men, and we will ride to Brightstone Keep — for justice!” Udyr gives basic info to the Litoran about Vengence’s Fist, so they aren’t accidentally killed. Tol-Bandari orders two more ales, and insists that the two drink with him “to justice!” As they are finally leaving, a member of the League hands Miriana an unlit torch – this man may have been from Valdra Longclaw‘s men. "You’ll need this; beware the night!" he says, almost jovially. Miriana lights it once they are out on the street; the torch seems totally normal, no different color or anything.

Also, at Genn’s suggestion, they give a note for the Shadow Circle to the bartender. The next morning, at around midday, Ashe Bitterslice knocks, looking hopefully for Teodoire Wynne and asking us to meet back Grom’s. Miriana confirms with Ashe that the League of Justice isn’t there, and that “Uncle Genn” can come along. We meet with the The Shadow Circle. “So, what do you know about the Lifekeeper?” Miriana asks. The Shadow Circle know much, and Miriana asks if they would like to help us remove the Lifekeeper. We discuss our options, and the Circle agrees it would be better to move against the Keep to help keep Vengence’s Fist alive, despite Ashe and Tol-Bandari. Fenora Drake, during this conversation, seems to know something about Miriana’s oddness and her connection to Fraalsch — we commit to speak on it more.

The day before we’re planning to leave, we awake to a commotion of people yelling, banging on shields, etc. — the League of Justice announcing to the city that it is leaving. Kirmaul gets her axe enchanted by Senka. We prepare for our journey; Orad has come back from his time in the woods, making peace with the loss of his hawk. We set out across the city, toward the northern slums.

We meet an akthar as promised, and he gestures that we’re ready to go on. He leads us deep into the woods; the forest is thick, and we make slow progress. At one point, we pass a hill with two concentric circles of monoliths; the spellcasters feel a power in the area. Around mid-morning, we arrive at a clearing; it contains two clumps of trees that have been ‘moved’; other akthar are tying them together into some sort of large arch that doesn’t appear to appear magical. We rest and eat; about half an hour later, the arch is complete. One of the akthar, apparently a female and some sort of leader, climbs to the top and pours some liquid on the arch. Odd lights and static effects start – after a couple of minutes, we stare through the arch and into a swamp. Our guide finishes his food, stands up, and says, “Ok. Now we go.” He steps through, and gestures us to follow. We do so, into the swamp. Kirmaul sinks a bit into the swamp; Genn elects to fly just above the ground. It’s warm now, foggy, and smells of decaying plants. We hear insects. Our guide helpfully points out quicksand, vampire vines, and the like, helping us to avoid them. Some of the group hear some sort of repeating noise; Kirmaul draws her axe. Our guide notices, listens for a moment, then says, “Get in the water. Now.” He jumps in, and we reluctantly follow suit. After around 30 seconds, we see an enormous scorpion moving through the swamp. Thankfully, it doesn’t see any of us. “We must be close,” our akthar guide says, “That creature isn’t supposed to be here.”

Our guide continues to lead us; after 1/4 of a mile or so, we come to a low, shallow valley with a shallow lake in the center, surrounded by thick, moss-covered trees. “We’re here,” the akthar says. He refuses to go further, saying that he can feel others of his kind in the area. The lake is murky, with no plant life save for a fallen tree in the lake; Orad points out that there are no animals about, either. We scout about (magically and otherwise), but don’t come up with anything. We notice that Orad is looking toward the center of the lake; as he does so, a wave of water rises up out of the lake and hits both Udyr and Genn.

As we start to battle the bog salamander that rises up out of the water, three of the trees along the shore turn into undead tree-like things, and enter the battle as well. Kirmaul falls into the water at one point; Genn manages to pull her back above the surface. Three, Orad, and Udyr continue to battle the tree monsters.

[Max, playing Orad for this session, triple crits on the salamander at one point, dropping it one point of Con (dropping it 14 HP), 78, pushing it four squares, and it starts drowning, etc. etc. It had 21 hit points when it died. Rob and Max both get a hero point for this.]

Miriana gets bound by plants, and disappears. Kirmaul appears to be under the influence of some magic, keeps trying to go back into the water; Genn keeps trying to restrain her. She eventually shakes it off. (In her head, she recounts later, was a voice compelling her to roll into the water.)

A . . . presence . . . telepathically asks Genn why the party is here, and who they are fighting against. He answers honestly, saying that The Stormfront is here to recover Rokverkur and stop the corruption, as well as to have its revenge against Xarthran. Hearing this, the force tells us it will not help, nor hinder, us. Genn agrees, because this is the force that has captured Miriana; she is returned unharmed. Before leaving, the presence tells us the Lifekeeper is below the lake, and tells us two potential ways we might enter. It then departs.

View
Game Notes 2010 Nov 19
In which Genn confesses something of his past, and a plan is hatched to defeat the Lifekeeper

Genn comes back, and tells the party what he’s learned in the library:

COLD-FORGED IRON: It’s Elizhar, or at least the description of it matches that which Del-Dorrin gave. What’s more interesting is the description he gave of the dagger – some research leads you to a story about a knife called Rokverkur that has the same properties – impossible to track/find, withers with a touch, appears to be totally mundane. The story tells of how Rokverkur was forged by ‘a screaming scourge’ from ‘beyond the horizon’, and how it was somehow instrumental to sealing it away.

BLACK-EYED SUSAN: Black-Eyed Susan is a pirate that’s known as the scourge of the Southern Seas, and her ship is known for it’s brutality – no survivors, ever, or so the legend goes. Even those that teleport away seem to be taken down and destroyed, or prevented from doing so somehow. The Memory allows Genn to learn that “Black-Eyed Susan” is called by a different name by her crew – “Black-EYES Susan”. She’s a Beholder, and her crew is run through a combination of outright terror of her and a grudging respect for her overall fairness – she rules with an Iron Eyestalk, but is just. Well, as “just” as a xenophobic, abomination pirate can be. The crew is unsure as to why they are holing up in Spettator, but they know that “Susan” is looking for something in the tunnels beneath the lighthouse that Selsarris mentioned.

Genn then comes clean:

Genn places tumblers on the table for all, and then removes the wax and cork from a squat, dusty bottle. He pours some amber-colored liquid into each glass, and then takes one in hand, gesturing for the others to grab theirs as well. “To companions,” he says, raising his glass and then quaffing the drink. “Sit down, make yourselves comfortable. There are things that need to be said.”

The Akashic fills his pipe from a small pouch, lights it from a small brand in the fireplace, and takes a long pull. He continues smoking as he paces slowly back and forth in front of the group. “I came to Serathis looking for answers. No, let me go back further than that.”

I was framed for murder, and for a crime I didn’t commit the Giants tossed in a prison little better than a sewer. This is what the Champion of Justice, Tol-Bandari, was speaking of, and as is the gift of those who take his oaths, he spoke the truth. The only good that came out of my time there was that it was in those cold, damp cells that I learned to tap the Memory and focus my abilities, thanks to a fellow prisoner and friend. The Champion of Justice was also truthful when he said that I escaped from that prison. Every day thereafter I’ve been searching for two people; the one who was responsible for framing me, and the woman I left behind." Genn draws a deep breath, sighs heavily, as though he’s preparing himself for something unpleasant. "She was the wife of my best friend, and could have proved my innocence – because the night her husband was murdered, she and I were . . . together. I’ve lived with that guilt every day since, and willingly kept that secret to protect her, and to do penance for my arrogance and selfishness.

I came to Serathis because of the rumors — answers could be had here, information, access to knowledge and Memories found nowhere else. I originally hired the Stormfront to pursue those leads, and lacking gold promised to help them in their endeavors in exchange for help with mine. That has led to far more . . . interesting things than I’d anticipated. We’ve encountered runic constructs; we’ve made enemies of gangs, liches, corrupt forest spirits – hell, the bartender of our favorite dive even hates us. We’ve done good, but we’ve made mistakes, and our lack of knowledge, our lack of skill, has caused some of us to die. Kaezhar took his own life because of what was done to him by Xarthran, and has yet to be avenged. Arkith was cut down, and wasn’t given the warrior’s death he deserved; he, too, is unavenged. Our fae companions have left us, not wishing to bring whatever danger they faced to the rest of us.

Or perhaps they couldn’t trust us. We’re good at fighting, we’re good at splitting loot and executing plans, but each of us still has secrets from the others. I’ve kept many, myself, but I’m tired of it. It’s been too far to carry such burdens. Perhaps if Arkith had trusted us more, he would be drinking with us. Perhaps if Teodoire or Natalia felt we could keep confidences, they wouldn’t have had to flee in the night. Perhaps if I hadn’t lied to Marco, he’d still be alive today.

‘Many things are unclear to me; I don’t know if my time in prison has shaken me, or if it’s this damned city, or something else. I see things that can’t be real, I have visions of things that make no sense – hell, I had a long, involved, disturbing conversation with a eight foot tall lobster. The Memory changes in this city; it changes around me, and I can’t explain it. Fortunately, I don’t seem to be alone in this.’ Here, a wry half-smile at Miriana. ‘But the one constant I have now is the loyalty of my companions, and I will not betray such loyalty again. Some things I still can’t share; I will not give you the name of my love, or who in the city is connected to her – the fewer people who know, the safer she is; I fear the Memory may have already betrayed her secrets. I will tell you that I am convinced – utterly – that the iron golem we call Stompy that stalks this city holds the key to my personal mysteries, to why I was framed, and by whom. I am Genn Belorn; I search for those who framed me for the murder of Marco Turunen, and I will have my vengeance upon them. But I am also part of the Stormfront; and as ragged a band as we are, I will use whatever means we have to avenge our fallen, and ensure that our missing companions have a home to return to. We all seem to be pieces in a large, complex game, figures being moved around, our fates being controlled by the roll of dice. But whatever fate has brought us together, we have all fought and bled for each other, and so I will help you in your causes as well. Some of us come to this table for vengeance, some for loyalty. I pledge to you now that if you choose to be part of this company, you will have both, in so much as it is in my power to grant.’

Genn sits down, pours another drink, downs it, pours another for himself. He takes a long drag from his pipe, and looks visibly relived to have gotten some thins off his chest “You have questions, now’s the time. I’ll answer as I can.”

OOC: +1 hero point, Genn

Miraina pats him on the back; “We all do things for honor,” looking sad.

“Then we should decide what we’re doing,” Udyr says. The Stormfront discusses their options; if Del-Dorran can be trusted, if Three can be trusted,if we can contact the Lifekeeper’s sister (or just visit her with our newly-acquired Boots of Teleportation, etc. Not being certain of where the giant noble’s loyalties or motives lay, we make plans to visit the Lifekeeper. We visit Boren looking for wands or other means of reducing weight. We come up with a bit of a cash problem, but Boren is willing to loan us the items we need. After some math, it’s decided we can’t all go, even with weight reduction; Genn, Three, and Miriana are chosen to visit the Lifekeeper’s sister.

Genn activates the boots, and in a flash of light, we arrive as intended. “How did you . . . ah, you’ve increased your abilities.” Genn explains what happened last time, and the Lifekeeper’s sister notices Miriana. “Who are you?” Miriana is confused, but the dryad seems to know more about her.

We make a plan to meet one of her agents at the shore of the lake in the slums, near Phargaryn — in three day’s time, we’ll have the League of Justice and Vengeance’s Fist attack Brightstone Keep as a distraction to draw some of the Lifekeeper’s forces out in response. Meanwhile, the Stormfront will attack the Lifekeeper directly. The sister had promised to send some wyvern under her control to Brightstone to provide air support.

VIDEO OF SESSION – http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/10966435

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Game Notes 11/13/10
shortest session ever

The majority of this week’s game took place over email conversations. Below is a rough transcript:

From: DM
To: Gaming Group
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 7:49 AM

After Phargaryn’s rock deploys it’s payload, things settle down. Miriana (presumably) gets her tea, Genn and Orad both leave the house to attend to ‘personal issues’ (Genn returns shortly with a bottle under his arm, but doesn’t comment to it), and Udyr and Kirmaul work on their own personal projects while Three goes about making a small meal in the kitchen – she can see the group’s had a long day, and as she’s been doing most of the grocery shopping just to fill the hours she sets to making a stew. Miriana tries to help out, but keeps getting politely shooed away by your silent houseguest. All in all, other than the brooding silence coming from Genn’s corner as he mulls something over, it’s a peaceful and quiet evening spent at home with your friends and companions.

It is thus that much more disconcerting when Selsarris walks up the stairs from your basement. “I LOOOVE what you’e done with the place.” he sneers, iridescent saliva flecking the walls. “The secret room behind the rotating wall – classy! Still, it could use a bit more decoration – perhaps you should hire a decorator? I could make a recommendation.”

As the group stares in shock and silence, there’s a crash from the kitchen as Three drops the pot she’s holding and lunges for her bow, lying unstrung against the wall. The slassan raises one of it’s front legs and with a word freezes her in place. You can see the muscles in her arms and back straining as she tries to break free of the spell, and the terror in her eyes as she continues to stare between the monster in your living room and the rest of you doing nothing.

“Please keep your guard dog on a leash, mmmm? While it doesn’t surprise me that you haven’t told your friend here of your recent partnership, I’d prefer not to have to kill again today. I’m here because you need to know of the next of your tasks in our little….endeavor.”

From: Genn Belorn
To: Gaming Group
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 9:21 AM

Genn has been oddly . . . friendly the last few days, certainly after his
confrontations with the Champion of Justice, as well as Miriana. Things
that would normally elicit a snide remark from him have only gotten a
silent smirk — even Miriana’s odd behavior and sometimes childish ways.
The other members of the Stormfront can tell he’s mulling over a burden in
his mind; the frequent loud sighs and distant look imply something weighs
heavily on his mind, or perhaps his conscience.

When the slassan appears, Genn is as shocked as everyone else, but quickly
recovers. As he speaks, he walks casually around the room toward Miriana,
trying to glance nonchalantly at his companions and the lay of the room,
and hoping the rest of the Stormfront is also moving into a position to
fight, should it come to that. “You’re right, but we’re still making
improvements. The insect problem in the basement is a particular pain in
the ass,” he quips, trying to hide his fear of the creature with sarcasm.

“For a power that’s reputed to be always lurking in the shadows and
playing behind the scenes, you’re grasp of subtly is poor — and coming
from a company such as ours, that’s almost insulting,” he continues,
growing bolder. “Let Three go; I promise I won’t let her kill you until
we’ve had our words.” He glaces over at the assassin, smiling to reassure
her and convince her to back down. “Now, what could possibly justify this
intrusion?”

From: DM
To: Gaming Group
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 10:12 AM

“To be fair, your meat did hang curtains up a few days ago. We are relatively private, lest someone kick your door in again.” With a wave, Three once more can move. She looks to Genn with a look of relief tinged with confusion, and remains close to the door and at ready should things get interesting. Meanwhile, the slassan composes itself at the head of your staircase and seems to revel in the discomfort.

“Kisonraaliisar returned to me this evening on his own two feet, a feat (it snickers) for which he seems to feel a disturbing amount of pride given that his own failure caused the issue. Regardless – your recover of his gear was impressive, timely, and seems to have had no repercussions to either your party nor to Serathis proper. So, kudos – you’ve proven your worth. Now that you have the Boots, we can move onto the next phase of our…..hmmm. Do you want to show your dog out for this, or do you care if she knows?”

From: Kirmaul
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Kirmaul seems oblivious to the tension, and is unconcerned about the possibility of a conflict. And yet, she could wield her ass fiercely at a moment’s notice. “Get on with it. How do we kill Xarthran?”

From: Udyr
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Udyr thinks to himself while staring at the slassin, “Was it a good idea to involve yourself and these people with a devil such as this?” He stands ready with his back to the corner. His hand grips his witchbag, ready if the conversation turns south.

Udyr glances at Three. “I don’t think you could say anything that could surprise her anymore than she already is.”

From: Genn Belorn
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Genn nods. “Udyr is correct. I’ve spent far too long hiding things from those who have fought” - a glance at Miriana -“and died beside me. No longer. Three has taken up arms with us, and shed blood for our benefit. If her loyalities are divided, that is something she’ll have to wrestle with. Now speak your piece, Selsarras, and then take your leave.”

From: Miriana
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 3:20 PM

Miriana grabs Three’s hand and tells her telepathically “We bargain with a snake to kill a demon. Lets hope we can afford the price we’ll pay.” (I think I can say that many words, don’t has book).
“It’s not polite to enter without knocking, Slassan. How are we going to deal with our eating-challenged mojh?”

From: DM
Date: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Selsarris ignores your jabs and waves its front claws in a gesture that you suppose it meant to be magnanimous. Due to the ichor and poisonous ooze dripping off it’s claws, however, it doesn’t have that effect at all.

“In order for this to work, first I’ll need you to collect two items for me – a blade and a gemstone.

“The blade is made of cold iron, and was forged long ago in another form. Currently, it lies in the hands of the being known as “The Lifekeeper.” Actually, that’s a lie – it’s the CAUSE of the being known as The Lifekeeper. You see, any living thing that touches this blade grows corrupt, withers, and dies in a matter of moments, becoming flooded with The Dark – no exceptions, at least thus far. Something drove this spike deep into the tree that served as the earthly bond for one of the more powerful dryads of the Serathian swamps and, well….I imagine you know some of the rest, based on your contacts and what you’ve been up to of late. Given that you folks have issue with “The Lifekeeper” already, I don’t imagine collecting this knife will be hugely out of your way. That said – it’s a very powerful item, and as I’ve said it has a high potential of destroying you or anyone else that touches it. It’s roughly a foot long, silvery in color, is composed entirely of the same substance. It’s also completely invisible to the Collective Unconsciousness, untraceable magically, and radiates no magical aura. Guard it with your lives, as without it we cannot progress further – worse, Xarthran could use it against u….well, everything."

“The gem is guarded by a pirate named “Black-Eyed Susan”. She gone to ground now that winter approaches and the oceans grow treacherous here in the North, but I know where – there’s a village on the Gulf of Filan named Spettator where she hides. Her crew is largely Rhodin and some rogue Chorrim, but due to a recent encounter with the Noll navy she’s making repairs and resupplying. She’s taken over a lighthouse well off shore, and the villagers are too afraid of her and her crew to do much about it. I imagine you could win some accolades from them as well for removing her, but that’s irrelevant to me – I just need you to collect the stone. The stone is a clear greenish color thoroughly laced with purple ‘veins’, and pulses with a deep inner light. It’s roughly spherical, about the size of a large dog, and hovers about 2 feet off the ground if left untouched. For all intents and purposes, it has no weight."

“I have faith you can find “The Lifekeeper” on your own. As to Spettator, I had Kisonraaliisar Scry the area and make up a Memory Stone for you to use in calibrating your new Boots – it’s a visual scan of an abandoned cabin not far outside of the town. It’s empty, mostly whole, and will not draw much attention if used unless, oh, you blow it to pieces or something."

“Once you’ve claimed these items, we’ll be ready to progress to the last part of my plan. Once complete, Xarthran will be a significantly lesser threat if not neutered entirely.”

From: Genn Belorn
Date: Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 5:36 AM

Genn stares at the creature. "And the last part of the plan would be . . . " he prompts.

A video recap of the session.

We began our regular session at 10AM MST on 11/13/10, and we had to recap what had happened in email to get everyone up to speed. The group had no real questions for Selsarras, so he bid them adieu and disappeared once more from their basement. I spent some time reminding the group of the various plotpoints they might have missed – namely:

1) The [[:Blood Hooks]] still hate the group.
2) Phargaryn wants to talk to them.
3) The Lifekeeper’s Sister wants them to go kill The Lifekeeper, which will then let them collect on their job to Del-Dorrin and send Three on her way.
4) Selsarras ALSO wants them to go engage The Lifekeeper, if only to retrieve an item.
5) Selsarras has tasked them to recover an item from a pirate named “Black Eyed Susan.”

The group talked about this for a bit, sent Genn off to the Tower of Infinite Knowledge to do research, and then on the next day went to go see Phargaryn. Phargaryn welcomed them into his audience hall (as always), but seemed different – he was more on topic, to the point, and less tolerant of the groups jabs. He explained that the group had already engaged the beings he was calling “the Vallorians” – a degenerate race of humanity that had gone underground long ago, and now grew hideous experiments and modifications to themselves in vast vats of flesh. He trots one out that is clearly barely hanging on to life – it’s neck is broken, and appears to be hanging on by mere scraps of flesh – and has it pull some of it’s organic armor from itself to show the group. The group killed many of these a week or so back, on the day Arkith the Lost died, and now the Vallorians seem to be working with the Hooks to make the underside of Serathis less safe for all. Phargaryn was telling his various contacts in hopes of seeing someone take action against them, and mentions that he had already talked to the “League of Justice” – much to the groups ire. Kirmaul suggests “Vengeance’s Fist”, and Phargaryn says he’ll look them up.

Miriana and Phargaryn have a conversation about how to wake ‘the dreamer’, and both give cryptic responses to each other. The group then decides to head back to base and wait for Genn to return.

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Game Notes 2010 Oct 22
In which the Stormfront fight flying akthar and a slaughterfiend . . . at the same time!

We leave the horses, and proceed cautiously into the canyon. We see some buildings, but nothing else — yet. The woods look relatively well traveled, but not abused. Still no movement from the buildings. There are a couple of larger buildings — three stories, 40’ tall. There is smoke coming from the chimneys, but all of the doors and shutters appear closed. We choose to avoid them, going on the southern side of the canyon. Nobody comes out of the buildings, despite Orad tripping at one point.

After 10 minutes or so, we start to come out of the trees; there is a waterfall on one side, with a small pool under it. We assume the formation we planned (Kurmal leading slowly, flying characters in the air, the rest behind), and proceed cautiously on. We see a cave, as well as a series of what looks like smaller caves pocking the canyon walls.

We decide to make ourselves known; Genn drops a Tunderstone. Boom! We see the small caves fill with faces — Akthar faces. A war horn goes off; some of us see a problem — they have leathery bat wings, and can fly. Some appear to be gathering stone slabs, that they may be preparing to drop on us from above.

The PCs on the ground feel a slight rumbling in the ground. It gets louder, and we hear an ear-splitting shriek; something acknowledged the war horn. We take some shots at the akthar; Genn goes the ground and activates Minor Battle Memory. Whatever is in the ground is getting closer, and at a rather terrifying pace.

The akthar closest to us drop their stones, and then draw weapons. Others appear, wielding some sort of huge bows. We drop a couple of more akthar, thanks to the spellcasters and our archer. Genn tries to attack the one close to Miriana, but fumbles; thankfully it wasn’t bad, and he didn’t drop his weapon or anything. Kurmal drinks a potion of flight, while the rest of us do battle with the ones in the air. The large bow-wielding akthar aim for [:78074 | Orad], and stun him.

Genn, confronted with three akthar, takes his three attacks and drops all three of them, finishing with a critical on the last one. (Like a boss!) Udyr drops some needed healing on Miriana; the rumbling comes nearer (as does our doom, it seems).

Our luck is tempered, as Orad’s hawk is killed mid-air. Genn avenges it, dropping the offending akthar. Miraiana creates a magical wall, providing some cover. Udyr drops another one with Greenfire.

The slaugherfiend appears, hitting Kurmal hard, and then grapples her, wrapping her up. Orad recovers from his stun, and moves toward our healer for help. Kurmal attempts to break free; with a flash of darkness, she triggers the Finger of Destruction. Genn hits it with an Earth Blast, but rolls poorly. Udyr heals Orad, and then lands on the ground, then Max burns a hero point to take another round and hits the slaughterfiend with a Greenfire.

The slaughterfiend turns and tries to bite Kurmal, succeeding and continuing to grapple her. It roars its displeasure. The akthars attempt to hit Genn with arrows, but all of them miss. Kurmal continues to struggle to get away.

Miriana drops down, touches it, and successfully casts Inner World. Huzzah! Jason spends a hero point to get back behind the wall, preparing to counter-spell anyone who might try to dispel the magic.

Udyr casts a Wicked Barb into the slaughterfiend; it continues its grapple on Kurmal. Orad comes up with a bold shot, and manages to hit the worm with a called shot that causes it to drop Kurmal (thanks to the use of a hero point and extreme cleverness). Unfortunately, the akthar see who rendered the slaughterfiend useless, and rain death down on Miriana, who falls to the ground, almost dead. They then turn their attentions to Udyr, who remains standing.

Genn drops three more Akthar with a fireball, and then lands by Miriana. Udyr does a Lifesong on Miriana, and them on himself while he falls prone to protect himself from more arrows. Orad shoots some more akthar and takes another one out, while the rest of the party attempts to cut into the slaughterfiend and find the legs we’re looking for; Kurmal picks up her great axe and attempts to end the slaughterfiend, decapitating it. As it dies, it lets out a deafening scream; things from miles away can probably hear this. The akthars start wailing, and they start fleeing south-southwest (toward Brightstone Keep). There also appear to be other flying akthar around the keep. Kurmal reaches into the worm, and eventually pulls out the legs. The Akthar leave us alone, though they seem to be trying to commit our faces to memory. Kurmal harvests 8 spines that are worth keeping; Orad takes one of the large bows the akthar were using. Kurmal keeps some of the teeth as a souvenir, as does Orad. He also tends to his hawk quietly.

Rob gets the “DM credit” card for his awesome performance; Jason gets a Hero Point for dropping the slaughterfiend at extreme personal risk. Kurmal gets a Hero Point for taking one for the team.

As we leave, we see the “houses” are just facades. We head back to Serathis; it’s uneventful, but the akthar are clearly looking for us. On the second day, we see a group ahead of us — we recognize them as a party we met once at Grom’s Pit. One of them steps forward; “Ah, I see the Stormfront has arrived; we of Vengeance’s Fist bid you welcome!” We pass on.

The boots are of Boots of Transportation (casts 3x/day, at 9th level).

We head to Rat’s place to return the legs; Lis seems thrilled to see his lower half, takes them, and uses Dimension Door, promising to let Selsarras know we were successful. Rat has apparently re-opened. We head back to the house to plan our next steps; Three is sitting at the table. On the table, there’s a rock, seeming made of glowing, transparent granite. Three points us to a note she wrote; “An inchon brought this; just came, dropped it, and walked away.” Miriana touches it; there’s a flash of light — everyone except for Udyr gets blasted to the ground, and hears a voice in our head. “We need to talk,” Phargaryn says, “The velorians are moving.”

All of us level to 10, and we get 2 Hero Points.

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Game Notes 2010 Oct 15
In which the Stormfront meets a Champion of Justice, and plans how to kill a slaughterfiend

The group is (reluctantly) working with Selsarras; we have been hired to bring back the lower half of his “associate” that was bitten off of by a slaughterfiend near Brightstone Keep — if we do so, the boots he is wearing are ours, provided we don’t examine the rest of the stuff. Selsarras, if we bring the boots back, has a plan using us and the magical footwear. Returning from our meeting with the slassan, we find a note on our door relating to Miriana, telling her to expect a dinner party invitation soon.

Miriana and Genn Belorn go to to the Library to find out what a Slaughterfiend is; they are a kind of giant, spine-covered worm (40-60 feet long). (Think Purple Worm). They like to eat, can burrow, can see in the dark and many have some kind of tremor sense. They don’t have any specific resistances or vulnerabilities. The spines are valuable (and considered Masterwork spears).

The rest of the group looks at securing supplies and horses for the trip, and then we plan how to attack this beast. Options include attacking from the air, getting it to swallow something harmful (alchemist’s fire trick), or making it nauseous throw up the legs, or various magic items we have.

Still undecided on the best strategy, we set out the next morning. We leave the city and into the forest. We find good paths, thanks to our hawk totem warrior. The hawk sees, several miles to the north, something large. Genn sees, in the distance, smaller humanoid figures. It looks like minions of the Lifekeeper. We cross what may have been their path in the afternoon — looks like 10-20 humanoids, some mounted. Miriana recognizes the tracks of the mounts — a dothrog (a frog-like, aquatic creature, native to the Serathis area).

As evening approaches, the hawk spots something ahead — it’s unclear what. Some of us hear the sounds of combat up ahead. Genn takes to the air to see more. About 100 yards away, he sees one group that’s mostly human and litoran, with manglers — Hooks. The other group includes a tall giant with a huge axe, a litoran spellcaster, and some others. The giant is yelling the word “Justice!” in giantish, over and over. Genn comes back and tells the group what he saw, and it’s decided to help the Giant-led group. We come upon them, most of us feel that we may know the giant-led party from somewhere; perhaps we’ve seen them in the city?

We get into combat; as soon as the Hooks see Kurmal, one of them shouts, “The Stormfront is here!” The giant seems to be “testing out battle cries” — “For justice!”, “For great justice!”. A litorian in Hook attire steps out, hearing the news about the Stormfront — he’s adorned from head to foot in weapons. He casts a air-based Sorc Blast at us. Miriana casts Blinding Light, hitting several of the Hooks. Orad continues to rain death from afar. The heavily-armed foe hits Kurmal for considerable damage; Miriana casts Dispel Magic on him, dropping many of his buffs. After some tense melee combat, we emerge victorious.

Miriana walks over to the Giant, introducing herself as we drop the last of the enemies. “We are the Stormfront,” she says. “We’ve had problems with the Hooks, too.” The Giant seems to be on edge still; cautiously friendly. He reaches out his hand to shake. “Yes; I am ”/campaigns/serathis/characters/131231" class=“wiki-content-link”>Tol-Bandari, Champion of Justice. It is nice to meet a just being. You have lived a clean life." Udir uses the Sight. “This is Rashkita, my healer,” the giant says, gesturing to the Litorian. “These others are my . . . League of Justice! Yes, that name seems fitting!” He seems to be still trying on the name. Miriana is again struck that she knows these people somehow; Genn recognizes the men following the Giant as (former?) henchmen of Valdra Longclaw, who we’ve seen not two weeks before. Udir casts the Sight, and sees a scale of justice, but something that might have been drawn by a child; detailed, but very crude. Rashkita seems more feral than many Litoran we’ve seen; a bit wild, with a homespun robe and a staff of burnt, charred wood that doesn’t appear magical. Tol-Bendari has a nice suit of armor and a giant axe, but lacks other gear. Many of the “League” have tattoos that seem fresh on their necks, with decent gear and weapons.

“We didn’t expect to see anyone out here,” Miriana says. Introductions are made. As he shakes Genn’s hand, he frowns, and then says, “You broke out of prison, having been put there for murder?!” and takes a swing, missing. Genn strikes back, hitting him well. Rashkita runs up to him, stopping him from swinging. “Murder? It was murder?” Genn glares at the giant. “I’ll not be judged by you or anyone else who doesn’t know the facts!” Miriana says something, and Genn snaps at her harshly: “Shut up, girl, you’re only seven days old!” Miriana touches Genn, and teleports him away.

Tol-Bendari lets the group leave, telling them to “remain just.” Genn and Miriana are arguing, with her being oddly harsh and seeming older than usual. We decide to set up camp for the night. Genn admits that what the Giant said was true, up to a point — he was in prison, he did escape, but he did not commit murder. We speak, but eventually leave Miriana’s and Genn’s past for later. We also gain a horse from the battle.

(The Claws of Malice — Dual Light Battle Claws. One (left) is just +1, while the other (right hand) is a Flaming Spellstoring enchanted version with no magical bonus – hence, neither additional ability works until it gets at least a +1 enhancement. When worn together, they also function as Gauntlets of Chorrim Strength +2. Kurmal took these, just for the strength bonus.)

We travel the next morning, eventually come to a box canyon. It’s about a mile in length, and about 60 to 70 feet deep at the bottom. There are some trees at the top; there are some trails leading in, and the canyon widens out. The front half of the canyon seems to be settled; there seem to be campfires, possibly from akthars.

We discuss how best to kill the slaughterfiend; drawing it out and hitting it hard all at once seems to be the accepted strategy. Kurmal is taking point, with Genn flying above and ahead. He’ll try to drop the thunderstones to bring out the fiend, and when it appears, everyone else will be 30’ behind, and hit it all at once.

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