Serathis: The Storm of Memory

Genn's Epilogue
In which Genn comes to terms with recent events

After surveying the results of the battle at the Black Pyramid, the surviving members of the Stormfront return to one of the few places they consider safe; the Dragon’s Wing and the protection of their new patron.

The party is muted, keeping their thoughts to themselves; many things have happened in short order. They clean up, tend to their gear, see to their injuries. Eventually, all of the surviving members gather in the common room around a few bottles of strong drink; alcohol has always been something they could agree on. After a while, Genn speaks:

“First, a toast to the fallen. May their bravery and friendship be remembered, and may we meet our ends with their same measure of courage and defiance.

Our goal has been accomplished; Xarthran has been destroyed, and we have cast his plans into ruin. No doubt we have other enemies that still want us dead; Valdra is still out there somewhere, and I doubt she’s forgotten about us. We are still locked into our strange game of chess with Phargaryn. And our newfound patron may soon make demands of us; I doubt the Dragon has simply given us his protection for the sake of charity. But for a time, I believe we have some space, or at least a measure of respite.

No doubt our reputation grows; I’m sure the entire city knows — or thinks they know — what happened today. But there are some that deserve the full tale. With their liege fallen, the warriors of the North have no cause to be here, and I imagine they will wish to return to their homeland and bury their king. If they will have me, I will accompany them on that journey, and give them the news the best I can. I believe I can impart my memories of Abilard into a stone of sufficient quality, and any who hold it will be able to see the King of the North as I did. His people will know the Dragonslayer as I did, and they will know, too, that their kinsmen have brought honor and glory to their people.

However, I will not stay in the North; I will return to Serathis, so that when our fey companions return they will know they are not forgotten, that the Stormfront still stands with them. And, if she is willing, I will help Miriana find her answers. If we cannot avenge Arkith, perhaps we can understand his quest, and I pledge my skills and strength to his daughter’s side, until she releases me from that.

If we can, perhaps we will find out what has happened to him in the Library; I’ve flirted with the idea of re-taking the collection of books to the south that now serves as Kaezhar’s tomb. I imagine the Dragon wouldn’t be opposed to that. Or perhaps we can be of aid to Boren; we owe him and Senka a debt or two, and I believe his cause to be as just as any.

But as for vengeance, I think it is behind me. I’ve made what peace I can with Tarja’s death; she’s not coming back, and I believe any attempt to do so would be a fool’s errand. What happened to Kaezhar is proof of that. The past doesn’t exist save in memory. And vengeance, I’ve come to find, is a hollow victory. I have had my revenge, but at the cost of those I hold dear. It’s too heavy a price to pay.

The rest of you are free to do as you will; I hold you to no oaths, no bonds save that of friendship and respect. But know so long as I draw breath, you will have quarter in Serathis, and a ready hand in any battle you believe worth fighting."

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Game notes 2012 May 19
In which the Stormfront scratches a lich

We type the code, and go in.

The room is dimly lit — we see the room is more of a workshop, with chemical components, tools, books, and other equipment. The floor is grated, and there is a noxious smell coming from below.

“So, you’re in my house, you’ve killed my housemates. This is the one and only chance I’m giving you to leave.” It is Xarthran’s voice, but we cannot see him. Steadfast in our purpose, we say nothing and prepare for battle. Genn flies up toward the ceiling, followed by Orad.

Miriana casts a spell, revealing Xarthran on the ceiling, as well as monstrosities — flesh golems of some sort. Xarthran say, “Hmm, that was a nasty trick.” He commands his minions to attack us, and drops a book — the Wormflesh Manuscript — a copy of him rises from the floor, made of worms.

Orad shoots at Xarthran, but it reverses and turns back toward Orad, piercing him. Kirmaul sets herself against the flesh golem. The worm version of Xarthran encases Orad in ice on the ceiling. Genn goes to assist him, while Miriana manages to drop most of Xarthran’s spells in a single, amazing blast. Xarthran flashes anger, and directs the guardians toward Abilard, who becomes possessed — the lich then turns all of his guardians against Miriana.

Orad breaks free of the ice, and shoots another arrow at Xarthran — thanks to Miriana, the spell that deflected arrow are now gone. Abilard becomes dominated, and attacks our sonomancer. Genn rushes forward to attack the lich before he can re-cast his defensive spells. Miriana tries to cast Dim Door, but it fails.

The battle rages on; Genn tries his best to attack Xarthran, Miriana attempts to flee. Xarthran makes an arcane gesture at Genn, and he falls magically asleep, and thus falls to the floor. He lays on the ground, motionless, with a sickening thud.

Orad attacks the lich with a mighty blow, and Kirmual takes a wild swing to kill both the guardian and the flesh golem. Miriana sighs with relief, and then frantically motions Kirmual toward her. Udyr heals what she can.

Suddenly, we hear Xarthran in our ears, magically: “Don’t you know everything you do here is futile? When I kill your mage, she dies for real. If you somehow manage to get to me, I gain a new body.” He moves, and a spell goes off on Orad — he is encased in a magical sphere.

Kirmual flies toward the lich, and drops the hammer (or rather, axe) on our foe for a huge amount of damage. The worm version looks at Abilard, and says, “King of the North, eh?” and casts — Abilard, King of the North, Dragonslayer turns to ice.

Genn wakes up, groggily. “Xarthran!” he calls out, regaining his composure. “You say we can’t kill you? Do you know we destroyed your phylactery?”

“Which one?” the lich laughs. “The one at Brightstone Keep? The one under Null Lake? The one —” As she goes on, the Lord of the Moment allows events to catch up. “You didn’t . . .”

“Oh, I’m sorry, did I break your concentration?” Genn says. “Oh, you were through? Well, allow me to retort — WHAT DOES THE STORMFRONT LOOK LIKE?” As he says this, Kirmaul hits him again.

The lich falls to the floor, grasping a necklace as he falls, detonating one last fireball as he hits the ground. The worm version seems more real, now, and attacks Kirmual. Kirmual, King of the North, explodes, dead.

“Get off of me!” the copy Xarthran yells in Draconic, casting a spell that pushes Kirmual and Genn both away and encasing himself in a Resilient Sphere. Miriana dispells it, and Kirmual cuts him in half. Worms fall to the ground, leaving behind a flesh-colored book. Genn picks it up and gives it to Miriana to pack away, and then notices what has happened to the body of Tarja. He kneels down in mourning. Udyr similarly mourns his old party, doing the rites of his people to free their spirits. After some time, they both seem to come to get hold of their grief, and make way to depart.

The Lord of the Moment appears to Genn and offer to teleport us back into Serathis, at our hold home in the Giant’s side. We make our way back to the pyramid, which has disappeared. The giants are still there, but the fight we engineered has died away. Nobody pays us much mind, though some recognize us. We decide to retreat back to the Dragon’s castle to discuss.

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Game notes 2012 Apr 28
In which the Stormfront tries to reach a lich

We take a week, and prepare for what may be our final battle. We buy some gear, and prepare our abilities and equipment as needed. We say our goodbyes to Boren, Senka, and what few friends we have in the city. Genn toasts the party; Udyr spreads incense and does a ritual according to his traditions. We also find a Memory Stone, containing what seems to be the floating Pyramid. Miriana sends a letter to Tol-Bandari, asking that he avenge Arkith in the event we don’t return. She also goes to see the dragon, requesting aid or advice. He suggests attacking the cultists at the pyramid, possibly dropping the pyramid below the clouds.

The morning of our planned attack, we decide to hire local mercenaries to attack the pyramid; meanwhile, we also hire the Vengence’s Fist to contact the League of Justice, tipping them off about the mercs, and then we tip off the giants alerting them of a huge gang fight at the pyramid. Miriana successfully hires the minotaur mercs, and the rest of the plan also seems to go smoothly. Hearing commotion, we teleport onto the floating fortress to hunt for our nemesis.

It’s cold and windy at the top of the floating fortress when we arrive. We see people, mostly mojh, stepping onto platforms that teleport them in a flash of light. Thankfully, we are not seen. There appears to be a large stone gate, slowly closing. Leaving Orad’s totem hawk outside to watch, we enter inside and proceed down the stairs.

Oddly, the roof also has stairs — ones that seem much older. The one we’re on seems to have been carved fairly recently. At the bottom of the stairs, there’s a doorway. Genn lights a sun rod, and we proceed onward. Orad listens, and hears at least three people on the other side of the door. We decide against stealth, Kirmual kicks in the door.

We see four mojh in the barracks — surprised. One makes it out the door; the rest attempt to hold us off. Kirmaul, in a fit of blood-lust, hits Abilard multiple times (Editor: multiple critical misses). Despite this, we quickly dispense with the rest of the mojh.

We quickly search the room. We find 1200 GP of coins, two emeralds and a ruby, a bandolier with a single magical dagger on it (+1 returning dagger)), a teddy bear, a bag of saffron, a thick blanket, and sundries. Genn guards the door, but seeing nothing, kicks the nearest chest, yielding what seems to be a treasure map to something in the Forest of Towers.

Remembering our deal with the Lord of the Moment, Genn summons him with the Coin, and speaks to him, telling him, “It is time.” “Very well,” he replies, and reminds Genn that we will all be trapped here until he does otherwise — it is unclear what, exactly, has changed.

We continue onward, and deduce that not only is the structure upside down, but it appears to be symmetric. We continue downward. Coming to a circular room, Orad listens at the doors. One room is ominously quiet; in another, there are several voices whispering. Orad also notices a faint dampness, going from one room to another — from a room with a bubbling noise to one with the voices.

We decide to attempting shimming the doors, and go through the ominously quiet door. We open the door — it’s empty, save for a summoning circle made of silver, set into the floor. There’s a torch every ten feet that light immediately with a silver fire as soon as the door is opened. There are scorch marks on the ceiling, and a barrel full of salt in one corner, and one of chalk in another.

We decide to leave it be (save for spilling the barrels) and take another door. We find it full of glass tanks. As soon as we enter, two runes go off, and suddenly light from above makes it as bright as day. There are two that have been broken out of; the rest contain mutations, experiments that obviously failed — mammals with no skins, creatures with two heads, and other monstrosities. This appears to be some sort of laboratory; there are notes and some equipment strewn about. Udyr finds Kaezhar’s chest tucked away in a corner. Genn drops an Alchemist’s Fire on the box, destroying the remains and hopefully preventing further experiments.

We kick in another room, and find it lined with bookshelves. There are a number of tables that have been flipped over and with defenders behind them. At the back of the room is a green, glowing portal, and in front of it is a pedestal with six gems set into it. On the columns are magical torches that give off good light but no heat. As we enter, a rain of crossbow bolts hit Kirmual.

Udyr responds with a Dazzle Sphere, and combat ensues. A drakka comes out, huge and terrible, obviously the result of some sick mutation from Xarthran. We continue the battle, but he is terribly strong and drops Kirmual. However, she is quickly avenged by Orad, who then proceeds to continue his rain of arrows upon our enemies. Eventually, however, he suffers a wound to the hand (crit hit), making his shooting much harder. It’s healed quickly, however, and we continue to destroy the mojh, and eventually clear the room. Miriana takes one alive, and Abilard guards him.

We loot the room, and find a bunch of masterwork gear, various leather and hide armors, repeating crossbows. The mojh were using scrolls and potions; the drakka has armor and a huge magical giant sword, but the armor is fused into his body. We also find 973 GP of treasure.

The mojh comes to, and Miriana talks to him. “If you tell us where Xarthran is, we’ll let you go.” The mojh tells us the lich is through the portal. Udyr reads him, and thinks that he’s telling the truth. There’s a password, apparently, to prevent the acid fog. “If I tell you the password, you’ll let me go?” he says. “It’s blue blue orange green”. He tells us the final door is trapped, and that Xarthran had some failed spells that go off if anyone enters.

We debate what to do with our prisoner; Genn and Kirmual think we should throw him into the room first — meanwhile, Miriana puts him to sleep and extracts the true code from his memory — blue blue orange green red. “Well, we’ll give that password a try, shall we?” Miriana says. “Do whatever you want,” Miriana says.

“I have seen other people enter Xarthran’s lair. I saw him lead a party of four people into his lair.” From his description, Udyr recognizes them as his old party. “So, I gave you my word that I’d let you go,” Genn says. Then he leads him to the portal, and shoves him into the curtain of acid. The mojh dies screaming, and we hear a deep laugh echo through the library.

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Game notes 2012 Apr 21
In which the Stormfront avenges Arkith

“Well, kill them,” the human on the dais says indigently after overcoming the initial shock of seeing the party appear in the room.

Battle ensues.

Miriana casts a fireball, dropping several of the Hooks in one enormous blast.

The Steelclaw brothers, seeing the effectiveness of our casters, wade in.

The heavy Steelclaw brother kills Kaezhar; his blade clatters to the floor as Kaezhar’s image dissipates soundlessly.

The battle is hard on everyone, but eventually we beat down the heavy Steelclaw brother; in an act of defiance, he lashes out, felling Alibard, and almost drops Kirmual as well — she barely hangs on to consciousness. Miriana drops him.

“Bring it on, assholes,” Kirmaul says, recovering after using the wand.

Turns out the leader is a vampire, and after pulling the Steelclaw brothers toward him with telekenesis, starts making them into thralls.

We decide to flee, and manage to intimidate the lesser Hooks outside of the room.

We decide to go to the Dragon’s Wing for protection, such as it can be had. We are taken into a room to clean up. Genn goes limp and cleans up mutely. Kirmaul at one point utters in exaspatation, “Why do you guys keep falling down?” Still unable to

It’s been over 25 days since we last talked to the Dragon. Since that time, a new bunch of giants came in, usurping the existing leadership and the Lady Protector. She left with her loyalists peacefully. What’s more, they are looking for Alibard and his items, thinking that he was leading a revolt against the Diamond Throne. The Giant’s Quarter is no longer safe for us.

The Hooks have apparently been busy, consolidating power and trying to eliminate adventuring groups and others that may pose a threat. The Shadow Circle seems to have fallen, but the Justice League seems to have survived.

As we discuss northern politics, the dragon notices our pile of old coins from the old dragon. He asks that we dump out the bag of holding, and to our mild surprise, the parts of the dragon are gone; the heart has become a ruby. The dragon offers us 42,000 queens for the old coins. We use the Lens of Analysis on the ruby; it is a single shot of Perfect Health — if you use it on undead, a creature must make a will save or be destroyed.

We are given quarters in the dragon’s castle, and regroup.

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Game notes 2012 Mar 25
In which the Stormfront does several fairly gross things with entrails, and makes a deal with a demon.

The three members of the Hanavere Trinity are Nalos, Tayana, and Seron.

We attempt to detect magic; the heart and the entrails of the dragon radiate primal, universal magical energy. We use the Lens of Analysis on the heart and entrails; the Lens tells us that the heart, if fully consumed, will render the eater immune to all poisons and disease, forever. Upon use on the entrails, the lens flares and goes dark.

We flail around a bit, looking for answers, at one point even asking the entrails in Draconic where we should go. We try holding the knot next to each door (a la Monkey Island); we try tossing the entrails to see where they point. We also check to see if the entrails resemble any draconic script or an

We decide to rest and heal up. Orad flies up to the second story, and discovers that when a living being is up there, those doors also appear to activate — more choices, it seems.

Udyr tries the Sight — against all odds, it actually works. The entrails are immensely powerful; he gets an image of a maze, like a hedge with small red flowers, from above. Eventually the archways get closer and closer together, blending into a single hallway.

We decide to try a door; specifically, the door above and opposite to the one we came in on — in other words, we go through the blue door on the roof. We decide to keep the same marching order, with Kirmaul holding the entrails; we also say the "all hail. . . " bit. We seem to come into the same room that we just left; the dragon’s corpse is there (on the roof, now), and all other details are the same. We seem to have come out of a blue door, just as we went into one. We decide to continue Orad’s plan; this time, we go below and left, through the orange door. Again, the same thing happens; we’re in the same room. Udyr and Orad notice that the dragon seems to be decaying rapidly; the entrails that we are holding seem ok, but time is apparently moving differently in the room. We continue to follow Orad’s path; he dragon continues to seem to decompose. We go through again; now everyone can see the decomposing. The room also appears darker. Our view of the world below also appears darker. We switch again, and go through the blue door. Same thing happens; this time, as Kirmaul walks through, the entrails untie themselves. The dragon is now severely decomposed, rapidly becoming a skeleton. “The entrails have untied!” she says, and on a whim shoves her hand into the intestines. It seems to be bigger on the inside, somehow — her arm seemed to be smaller when inside the entrails.

We debate what to do; rashly, Khaezhar and Klovek decide go into the entrails. They seem to get smaller, and smaller, and smaller, and eventually disappears entirely. Orad consults his totem and receives no response. Lacking other ideas, we follow Khaezhar.

We crawl out; we appear to be in the same room, but it’s completely dark now. The dragon is nowhere to be found, though some leftover viscera and such are still there. We search, and find nothing else. We decide to go back through the entrails, but it is now much less pliant and we are unable to do so. It seems the Stormfront is stuck in this room, for now.

Kaezhar tries to fly through the “roof” — and upon breaking that barrier, discovers the temperature drops and there is no air. Below, he sees four squares below with the other members of the party, and nothing else — nothing. He tries the same thing on the other side; looking behind, he sees the same four portals suspended. He strongly suspects nobody else would survive. One other thing of note is that nothing is in color, with one notable exception; the Rune Sea is bright, electric blue. He tries to see if the constellations are the same; they seem to be. When he’s on the star side, he finds out where the sun should be, be, but makes out only a black disc.

The way the colors have been washed out remind Genn very much of his past experience in The Moment. Kirmaul beats her axe against her shield and yawps in frustration. Miriana grabs the intestines and flails them about wildly . . . and discovers completely by accident that the ‘back’ end activates the doors, and it appears to go through. We decide to go through the entrails again, using them to go through the door.

We come into the same room, once again; the map of Seran appears to be breaking apart below, and above there are no more stars. There are skeletons of various styles, wearing plate mail and holding greatswords. More disturbingly, there is a dracolich sitting at the center. “Oh, hello,” he says as we enter, “We meet again.”

“All hail the Hanavere Trinity,” Udyr says. The dracolich responds, “Yes, yes,” but doesn’t attack. All of the doors appear to be empty, black voids. “Where are we?” Orad asks. “You are in the Moment.” he responds.

“The only people that can see the correct door are people without souls.”

The dragon takes the dagger, and plunges it into Genn’s eye. Kirmaul runs up, but is stopped.

The spell completes; "If you like, "

The rune is now red, and is the rune for “vengeance”. Genn can now see the “correct” door.

“I think we both know how you’re going to hide this for me.” Genn says, handing him the knife. He dives off, and in several hours. “In exchange, I’ve returned something to you as collateral.”

“Have I met you before?” Kaezhar asks.

We will bind the demon to a contract that says we will release him if returns to Saren with us at a place and time of our choosing, destroys the lich and only the lich Xarthran as quickly as possible, and the moment the lich is destroyed he returns immediately and alone to the Nine Hells, and never willingly allow anyone under his influence to again return to Saren.

Satisfied with our oath, we enter a door that Genn indicates.

We enter into a room of nothingless; in front of us is a makeshift platform of earth, as though it had been ripped from something. On top of the platform is the crystal skull; it’s as large as we are. On either side is a pillar; one glows light, one grows “anti-light”. All of us agree, and Khaezhar and Miriana do the ritual.

A voice comes to us as though someone was “No, don’t leave me here again . . shit!” Udyr says, “What?” “Exactly,” the demon responds. “We posses the means to release you,”

“We will bind the demon to an oath that says we will release him if agrees to he return immediately and alone to the Nine Hells, and never allow himself or anyone save the Stormfront that is under his agency or under his influence to come to Saren.”

I will agree to this, if you render me mortal and provide the means to leave the plane.

Oath the third:

“We will bind the demon to an oath that says we will release him by rendering the head mortal and providing the means to shift planes if agrees to provide the truename of Xarthran and then return immediately and alone to the Nine Hells, and never allow himself or anyone save the Stormfront that is under his agency or under his influence to come to Saren.”

The demon agrees: “I swear an oath upon my name in Sigil . . .”

Genn places his hands on the demon’s eyes, and says, “I forsake my power to give life once more to Korangar.” The crystal glows green, and now it is around a solid, fleshy head; Genn is cast aside.

“That’s much better,” he says

Xarthran’s truename is “Goarulskul”. Allow me one one moment of gloating; you never specified you were leaving here alive. Allow me to give you two truths and a lie. You should never trust the Lord of the Moment; destroying the Jaren would probably end Time as you know it; the Master is looking for the demon’s body."

There is a blast of fire and brimstone, and suddenly we seem to be in the throne room of Tower Rock, home of the Bloody Hooks.

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Game notes 2012 Mar 15
In which the Stormfront attempts to unravel a knot

Abilurd, King of the North, Dragonslayer, throws back his head and laughs a deep, sonorous laugh. “This is no map. Perhaps it is a key, or password, at best. It is, simply, the way. The way to the center. Do not think it so literal a thing.”

Genn starts pacing back and forth, staring at the floor. “I’m not sure, Tarj— Alibard,” he says. “Some of the knots are left over right, some right over left. Could that be a clue, for right vs. left, perhaps? And while they are all overhand knots, they are tied on one another. I need to think,” he continues, lighting up his pipe and staring blankly into the distance, attempting to consult the Memory.

Orad suggests the three knots may have something to do with the Hanavere Trinity; Udyr agrees that it is three little knots that are surrounded by one big knot, “But what does it mean?” he questions. "Triple knot! What does it mean? Is it a metaphor for each door or is are we now suppose to turn left 3 times for each knot or say “klaatu barada nikto!”

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Game notes 2012 Feb 26
In which the Stormfront fights a dragon in a dungeon -- no, really!

We return to the house. When we get there, Miriana tells the group she has something to say. “I’ve begun to remember a few things about why I’m here,” she says quietly. “When I showed up in the city, that was the first time I was me. But I used to be an entity called ”/campaigns/serathis/characters/mirinith" class=“wiki-content-link”>Mirinith. I lived through the drammojh wars. I think I tried to change myself, somehow, but the ritual went wrong. I think parts of me are still dreaming. I think…"

We return to Phargaryn to attempt to get the coin; unfortunately, it had been sold to the Jaren. After some heated discussion (Genn, in particular, is most angry), we go to the merchant’s quarter to see if we can get it back. He is less than cooperative, despite our best efforts. We discuss options; attacking it outright, trying to steal it, and other plans. Orad spies on it after the market closes, and sees it fold up its table magically before disappearing. Lacking both information and options (as usual), we abandon thought of the coin for now, cast the dice of fate, and make for Stonepile Lake.

We go through the orange portal; this room is identical, save for looking down onto a map, the pits are full of molten lava — so is the ceiling. Three groups that appear to be undead versions of us appear at the other entrances, mimicking our motions. They fall easily, but seem to deal as much damage as we ourselves, and as quickly. They also don’t completely follow the party, but rather seem to react in the way we would ourselves. This, of course, means that Kirmaul — all of them — soon charges toward the center to do battle. Genn drops a fireball on the group before any of them can attack; the real Kirmaul shrugs off this blast, but it drops the undead versions. The rest of the group fans out and deals with the other skeletons and zombies. They seem to turn to ash as they die, and there is some discussion about whether Genn might have accidentally torched the ones the party was actually looking for. Lacking any options, however, the Stormfront presses on.

The next room is radiating heat; the searing flames in the room quickly start to damage everyone save Genn, thanks to his elemental abilities. Of course, the fire and flames are not the only the the party confronts; there is also some horrid creature in the center of the room, part flesh and part fire. Kirmaual, true to form, decides this enemy must die by her axe, and charges toward it; however, her liege lord Alibard chooses the better part of valor, and makes for the exit to the right, ordering the rest of the group loudly through the portal. They comply; Genn makes sure everyone else is out before ducking through himself.

The group again says the mantra, and is shocked that 1) it contains a dragon, and that 2) the mantra prevents the dragon from attacking them on site. “Any who revere the Havninar Trinity are welcome here,” it says, offering to give us quarter and provide for us. The group exchanges meaningful glances and eye rolls; we now can see clearly that this is the creature who did not attack us, and therefore we have to slay it. We hedge around a bit, but Miriana finally discretely casts some protective spells on herself and moves toward the dragon, thinking that perhaps she can again use her dream abilities before the wyrm can react. The dragon notices her spells, however, guess her intent, and combat begins.

The battle is intense, with many of the party falling at one point or another, only to be either healed or finding some inner strength to continue the fight. Miriana, for all her magical ability, is quickly knocked down. The Northmen press the attack, led by their king, and in the end, despite him bleeding from multiple wounds and looking close to broken, we hail Abilard, King of the North — dragonslayer.

A quick search of the room reveals a total of 20,864 GP, plus whatever we want from the dragon — head, teeth, claws, skin, etc. We take all we can, and place into bags of holding. The entrails of the dragon are indeed a clue of some sort; they are knotted in a way that is not natural, but we cannot immediately guess what it might mean.

Abilurd relishes the blood-soaked rush of victory a moment longer, looking around at his compatriots whose efforts slayed the dragon. His eyes remain longer on Kirmaul and Orad, fellow Rmunskians. The pride is overwhelming. Light-headed even. Or perhaps that’s not pride. As his very un-lady-like chest beating ends, he realizes it is not dragon blood he’s covered in, but his own. He wobbles, feeling weak — and reaches out toward Udyr….

Kirmaul looks at Abilurd curiously. “What good will falling down do?” she asks, completely in earnest.

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Adventure Log for 2/11/2012
In which the Stormfront converses with The Master

The group begins by discussing options to rescue Three. Miriana attempts to use Clairvoyance to view Three but the spell fails, ruling out teleportation as an option. Orad communes with his totem spirit and seeks the answer to “Is the giant Del-Dorran alive?” and receives the answer “No”. The group eventually decides to negotiate for her release and head to The Cathedral, leaving Genn and Udyr behind to guard the house.

Assistant 16 arrives at the Cathedral and begins a discussion with the group. He assures the group that The Master means the group no harm and would prefer the group win out over Xarthran and offers to share information. Miriana asks that Three be returned as a show of good will and he assures the group that she will be waiting for them when the group returns home. Abilurd asks if creature has been impersonating dDel-Dorran the entire time, to which it replies “You have never actually met Del-Dorran. You have only ever met me or an illusion controlled by me”. It further reveals that Del-Dorran was a giant noble that came to Serathis before it was revealed from the memory and died. His identity has since been assumed by The Master.

Miriana asks what happened to Mirinith. The creature responds “You made us promise not to talk about it”.
Miriana responds: “I think things have changed, and the promise is no longer valid.”
“If that were the case, then the deal would no longer be valid. I can tell you that Mirinith and the being you know as ”/campaigns/serathis/characters/79683" class=“wiki-content-link”>Fraalsch came and spoke with my master and a deal was struck. I can tell you no more than that. Not knowing isn’t hurting you. Also, you should really stay away from null lake."

Orad asks where we can find Xarthran. Assistant 16 responds that the inverted pyramid provides power to an invisible keep that floats above the city. Xarthran makes this his base. Assistant 16 says that they could provide in trade an akashic memory stone that would allow us to teleport into the keep once we have destroyed his phylactery.

Assistant 16 goes on to explain that Xarthran has cast a spell that will return him to his phylactery should it be destroyed, but he misunderstood the nature of the prison and his spell will not function. The prison exists in a place between this ‘now’ and the next, known as ‘The Moment’. The Moment is ruled by something known as the ‘The Lord of the Moment’ which we are told, looks something like a giant lobster. The Moment exists as a sort of place of potential not yet realized, so that if we destroyed the lich’s phylactery he would not know of it until either the Lord of the Moment chose to allow that information to pass on to ‘real’ time, or until Korangar returned to the plane. This presents the group with several options on how to confront Xarthran: they may bring Korangar back to Serran, causing the Xarthran to teleport to Korangar’s location (which they may be able to choose) and fight him there, perhaps with the demon’s assistance or they could make a deal with the Lord of the Moment to release the information about the phylactery at a moment of the group’s choosing.

Miriana then asked some questions about Phargaryn (answers detailed in his bio).

It is revealed that while Three will remember being with us in every case that we will remember her being there, it was not always her. Miriana demands that Three be returned and allowed to remember what has transpired, but Assistant 16 says that this is possible, but that it would have to make her go elsewhere. The group decides to back down from this demand.

Assistant 16 lets it slip that we have caused the destruction of previous incarnations of itself.

The group discusses a few options for dealing with Korangar and Xarthran for a bit and sends for Genn and Udyr, filling them in on the way. Assistant 16 confirms that a rune child would only need to give up their power to release Korangor. He also described the method by which Genn could reunite his soul with his body. He would need to destroy the dagger, which would be very difficult to do, although dipping it in the waters of null lake would likely make it easy.

Genn, unable to contain his rage, finally abandons guarding the house and makes his way to the cathedral. Seeing the group involved in a figure, he storms up to the person, grabbing him by the lapels (or equivalent), and demands, “What does the Master want with us? What does he want with ME? WHY DID HE CHANGE ME?!”

The creature steps back easily, avoiding the grab, and somehow in the intervening seconds has managed to draw a sword into either hand. “I’d kindly ask that you keep your distance, Genn.” the monotone voice intones.

So long as Genn (or anyone else, really) makes no move to advance into the ‘neutral zone’ it’s once more placed before itself, the creature straightens and resumes a nonchalant pose. Interestingly, the swords it was holding disappear back into it’s arms – the two metal fingers move aside, and the blade retracts into a cavity within.

“You were changed because you had….Potential. Potential for greatness, potential for great darkness – it was as if the coin were still in mid-air, really. So I hedged my bets – I added equally to both sides of the equation, then nipped the bud as it was forming to see what would develop in it’s stead. It seems clear, now, what direction you would have gone – fighting for ’what’s right’, all that – but then, who knew? The fringe benefit of all the is that your Potential is still there, unchecked, unclaimed, and right below your skin. It means you are singularly useful in getting into The Moment, if nothing else, and won’t suffer the ill effects therein.”

Genn steps back. “I don’t care,” he says. “I don’t give a damn about your Moment, or your Master. I want my life back. You think you gave me a gift, but you stole from me everything I valued. I want it back. I want to be just a man; I want to decide my own fate again, to make choices for good or ill, and to live with the concequences of my actions, whatever they might be.”

He turns away from the construct and back to his companions. “Have we figured a way out of this yet; if we’re to be pawns, let’s get it done with. If we’re able to trade my ‘Potential’” — he practially spits the word — “to defeat this lich, so much the better. I’m willing to do that. Whatever it takes to avenge our fallen and get my life back. And if it doesn’t work, or we’re being used,” he continues, turning back to the creature, “I swear to you, I will let the world burn.”

“What would you have me do, Genn? Bring your cuckolded best friend back to life? Send Abilurd once more into oblivion so you might have back your ladylove? Somehow reverse the flow of time itself? Please. You have all the potential – and Potential, ironically – to do whatever it is you feel needs doing.”

“Be warned, however – your unique nature grants you certain unexpected perks, such as being immune to Akashic Memory alteration. If you chose to rebond your soul and lose your Potential, even I’m not sure what’ll change there.”

“Go, then,” Genn says, waving the creature away. “We’ll play your game, since we don’t seem to have a choice. We’ll plan, and prepare, and at the time and place of our choosing we’ll confront Xarthran. What will happen after, I cannot say.”

Once the creature leaves, Genn turns back to the company. “We should prepare. Senka is already working on our weapons and armor. What else do we want to do? I’d prefer to fight this battle on our terms, and I’m not willing to lose anyone else.” Here, he takes a long, remourseful look at Miriana. “Do we try to bring the lich to us? Do we try to create a distraction at the Pyramid and catch him by surprise? It seems sooner or later we’ll have to confront this demon; we should know exactly what we want from him.”

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Game notes 2012 Jan 21
In which the Stormfront

The group arrives back at their home, having been teleported there by the warlock; later in the morning, Orad arrives back from his quest; as he arrives, he sees that the house is being guarded, oddly, by two of Del-Dorren’s guards; the rest of the party doesn’t seem to notice. Genn looks out the window, and sees them; neither appear to be Three, and they seem to be attempting to keep people out, not in. There also seem to be more people on the street than usual. “Our reputation proceeds us,” Miriana says quietly.

We keep in the house, and decide what to do with the new items. We decide to sell the ring, kopesh, and the rune plates. Miriana keeps the enruned scepter. As we discuss our next options, there’s a knock at the door. It’s Three, bearing a basket full of fruits, bread, meat, and other breakfast goods. “Three!” Miriana sqeeals with deight, hugging the assassin. (Kirmaul goes more for the ham.) Three waves at us, hands over a scroll of Del-Dorren, and leaves. It is a note of congratulations, and a request to meet him for a meal later today.

We leave the house to sell our items; the two guards stay behind, making no attempt to move. Orad notices a third guard on the roof as we leave. We go to Boren’s; we are noticed on the street, but we’re not accosted or held up in any way. At the gate between the Dragon’s Wing and the Giant’s quarters, we are just waved through.

At Boren’s, he greets us, and asks us where the rest of the metal from Stompy is. We tell him we took the valuables (including the head and sword Kirmual took), but that it’s only been a few hours and we haven’t been back for more. Boren tells us he was at the site at dawn (he has his sources, too) and there’s nothing left.

We proceed to sell the items; Boren doesn’t have enough gold to cover everything we want to sell, but is willing to take it out in trade. We buy the Burdenless Stone, upgrade Genn’s armor and cloak, Kirmaul’s shield, gloves of dex, cloaks of resistance, an enchantment on Orad’s bow, and other items.

We head to the Guard Tower (the posh inn that Del-Dorren frequents); the giant is at his usual table, with three guards — one of them being Three. As soon as we enter, he immediately stands up and applauds us. We sit with him and are offered drinks and food.

“Well done!” he says boisterously. “The heroes of the hour; well done indeed!” Miriana informs him that unfortunately, we have bigger plans. Del-Dorren mentions that Tol-Bandari may be displeased about us usurping his fame. Udyr asks his purpose in inviting us, and the Count tells us simply that he wishes to congratulate us. Udyr presses him about calling in the giants for a favor, possibly involving battle. “It depends,” he says, looking around the room. There aren’t a lot of House politics in Serathis, but there are still many factions in the city. He expresses some concerns about where we are going with this, and Miriana suggests we meet in private later this evening at the house. With that, the Count leaves, and tells us that he has informed the innkeeper that been told to give us lunch on his tab for the forseeable future. One merchant in particular comes to us and thanks us for destroying Stompy.

We head back to the house; upon approaching, we see a dozen or so moja and drakka; “”/campaigns/serathis/characters/78414" class=“wiki-content-link”>Krovacatharis the Seeker requests your presence," one says. Genn steps forth and says, “Of course; we welcome an audience with the Dragon.” We recognize both the Dragon’s spymaster and his guard captain in the party. Abilard presses a bit, and we find out the audience is regarding “our activities this morning”. We are escorted back to the Dragon’s Wing.

We are escorted to the audience chamber, in the presense of the Dragon. “Hello!” he says, in something of a metrosexual lilt that he has always had. “So! The Stormfront . . . what is it you have done this day, and how, hmm? I only know a few of you — perhaps two.” Miriana chips in, “We’ve met before!” she says, “with my father. I remember it! I’m Miriana, daughter of Arkith.” The dragon is puzzled at this.

We introduce ourselves in turn. The Dragon is terribly well informed, knowing of the death of Udyr’s party, and recognizes Abilard as the Lifekeeper initially. We gain the Dragon’s full attention. The Dragon and the Stormfront speak; Miriana claims that she is part of an individual named Mirinith. We discuss Xarthran, and while the Dragon is forthcoming with information, he is unwilling to commit resources to our cause, though he won’t seek to stop us, either. The Dragon also makes us an offer; in exchange from providing us a manor and some degree of protection from the many people that are now watching us (including a decoy party living at our old home for a while). He gives us a couple of days to decide, and several guards for our home in the interim. Genn askes about the Master; Xarthran and the Master are not the same, the Dragon says — he also tells us that the latter lives in the Forest of Towers. He also mentions that the Bloody Hooks are almost certainly under his control. Finally, The Dragon tells Genn that the soul he is carrying is on the verge of becoming a runechild, and many people would be interested in having it.

We return home and discuss; Genn is convinced that his soul has been repurposed for a reason, and that it has something to do with freeing the demon, possibly yet another plot by the Master.

Del-Dorren arrives, and Miriana begins to tell him what we learned from Headtaker and the Maze. Del-Dorren says he doesn’t know who among the Giants might be favorable toward Xarthran; Udyr and Genn don’t buy it, and we question him further. Miriana, also suspicious, casts Hightened Read Mind psionically; the spell fails. Tensions flair as we attempt to call his bluff; Genn diffuses the situation with some diplomacy (bluffing that we believe Xarthran’s soul to be in the Forest of Towers, and that we are heading there), and Del-Dorren takes his leave, with the Stormfront promising to call in a couple of days. Three, as they are leaving, looks at us — Miriana attempts to touch her with a Contact spell, and discovers that the person that looks like Three . . . is something else. As Del-Dorren and Three leave, Miriana casts Dispell Magic on Three. As she moves, we can now hear her; her constant Silence effect is no more. Moving quickly, Miriana follows to the door, motioning for the group to follow, and casts again — this time, an area of effect Dispell. This time, Del-Dorren winks out of existence — he was an illusion. Three turns into a familiar figure with two finger metal gauntlets and a cloak.

“Thanks for getting my cloak back,” he says as the steel-gloved assassin activates Dimension Door and vanishes. The party acts quickly and orders the remaining ninjas to check Del-Dorren; they return quickly, and inform us that he’s not in his chamber. Miriana uses her abilities, and determines that Three is sleeping in the Forest of Towers. The other guards apparently interacted with Del-Dorren this morning, but they are as surprised as we are about the deception. We tell them to go to the Giants and alert them that Del-Dorren may be in danger; we tell the guards from the Dragon to continue to look at our house.

While we’re discussing this, someone fires a crossbow bolt and hits Orad’s hawk; there’s a note with the same hand as the note we received earlier from Del-Dorren; “Your friend Three is alive; if you wish to keep her that way, the Stormfront is to meet me in the Cathedral at midnight. Just you. – Del Dorren.”

Genn flies over to the rooftop and recovers a crossbow; between him and Miriana, they discover the last owner was “Assistant Number 16” — oddly, this name comes in Verrik. A clue pointing to the Master?

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Game notes 2012 Jan 14
In which the Stormfront goes up against Stompy

Having decided they need to drop Stompy, the group discusses their options. After discussing several things, Miriana wonders aloud if there’s something to the path Stompy travels. We decide to investigate further, and in the morning we speak to Boren.

“We’re fighting Stompy,” Kirmaul says bluntly. “How do we do it?”

Miriana tries to explain that we need to free the power source within the golem. Boren tells us bluntly that other groups have tried and failed at this task. He tells us it is heavily magic resistant, and shrugs off almost all damage. Most golems have some sort of token that allows the creator to control it; nobody knows that this token for Stompy is, and is already berserk. Others have attempted to find the control token, without success; it could be any inanimate object — even something as simple as a piece of paper. Genn tries to delve for info about the path he travels, without success.

Still (always?) needing more information, we decide to see the Hag. We are allowed to speak to her. We are not allowed to approach with weapons; not willing to give up their blades, Genn and Abilard volunteer to stay outside with the group’s gear. Unfortunately, the Hag doesn’t have any useful information for us, other than the fact that once, about five years ago, he went on the far bridge instead of the near one.

Lacking other options, we see Phargaryn once again. When we get there, we see the beach has seen a lot of traffic lately. Phargaryn recognizes us, and says, “Welcome back.” Kaezhar and Phargaryn both express surprise at the other’s changes. Miriana explains, bluntly, that we need to kill or control Stompy. “Why would you think I would know that?” he asks. Miriana replies that he’s been in the city longer than anyone we know. He tells us he thinks there was a control gauntlet created, but destroyed. He tells us, almost off hand, that the path Stompy walks has drifted, changed over tens of years. He also tells us that the Master was involved in creating the golem. Genn confronts him, and Phargaryn lets slip that both the troll warlock and a fire elemental within; the former is a prisoner (trapped in an iron maiden), the latter the power source for the iron golem. He also tells us that Kaezhar’s weapon can damage it, but weapons have to be at least that powerful.

Phargaryn then presses us about why we need to talk to the Warlock; Udyr lets slip that we need him to tell us how to get through the maze under Stonepile lake. “Here’s my proposal to you,” he says. “If I help you drop this thing, you open the iron maiden here, with me. And he stays. He knows things I don’t.” Finally Miriana asks sweetly, “Why do you help us, Phargaryn?” “I helped you the last time you were here,” he says. “You’re interesting, and I admire you trying to make it work.”

Phargaryn tells us to attack Stompy when he is above his lair at night; he also tells us that the fire elemental within will get out as he’s damaged, and he also grabs metal and attempts to repair himself that way; if you’re wearing or using metal, be warned.

We consider ways to increase our damage and otherwise prepare for the battle with Stompy. Fire damage heals it, but electricity will slow it down. Miriana and Udyr spend a ton of money and time at Senka’s crafting a detonation of Caustic Burst; they hand it (very, very carefully) to Genn, who is otherwise going to be pretty damn ineffective during this battle. Kirmaul does her best to up her damage, and Kaezhar sees about making his halberd more effective in combat. Finally, after a series of buffs, we’re ready to begin.

The moon is out, giving us enough light to see and fight by. Phargaryn has provided some inchon as well; we lay in wait at the appointed part of Stompy’s path. Two faen and a giant wander by, and the adventuring party decides to stay on the roof of a nearby building and watch the show.

As Stompy approaches, we see that up close, the joints and eyes of the golem glow faintly red. As it sees the inchon and moves to attack, the light brightens. Kaezhar charges, and hits it quite well from the roof of a nearby building; the heat from inside the iron golem sears him in return. Genn throws the caustic burst, accidentally catching Kaezhar in the blast (OoC: thank God for hero points, I rolled a 3!).

Miriana summons the “energy ape” and it rushes forward to attack. Stompy turns to face Kirmual, and slams her for an enormous amount of damage. She responds in kind with a crushing blow (OoC: 77 damage, on a nat 20!) Kaezhar hits it again, and the iron golem begins to fall.

Stompy glows dull, and then starts to draw metal into itself to repair. The resulting blast almost kills the party, but when Stompy stands back up he is smaller, and the fire damage seems to have stopped.

We surge upon it; Kirmual and Kaezhar hit it repeatedly, the rest of us basically supporting those two. Within the pile of iron and scrap we have created, we find the following:

- silver ring, etched with the images of swords (ring of the blade, p. 224)
- foot long rod of iron, clearly magical and engraved with moving runes (enruned scepter, p. 222)
- two rune plates (for runethanes)
- a magical dire sebbucai kopesh (+2 seething dire acid kopesh)

We also find a wrought black iron maiden, banded with some other kind of silvery metal. We bring it to Phargaryn, with the help of some (non-incinerated) inchon. Phargaryn unlocks it with a wave of his hand; inside, there is a desacated form of a large humanoid. It pulls itself off of the spikes in the maiden, and lays motionless for a few minutes. Slowly, he starts to regrow body parts, and his hair catches on fire. “What year is it?” he rasps at one point. Genn answers him truthfully. Eventually, the troll stands up. “So . . . thanks?” he says. “First, who are you? Secondly, what the hell are you?” he says, pointing to our sebbucai. “Third, does anyone have any food.” Genn gives him a packet of iron rations, which he devours. At one point, We fill him in on recent political details — the failure of the godlings, the rise of the Giants. “So, they were successful when they made you,” he says, noticing Phargaryn.

“I clearly owe you for my recovery. I wish you had done it several hundred years ago before I merged with the fire elemental, however,” he says, ruefully. “I think the traditional payment of money or items is difficult for me at the moment, so I offer you answers to questions. I’m not trying to screw you, I’m just tired.”

First, we ask about the path through Stonepile Lake. He balks at this, but tells us. Every room is the same, but with subtle differences. When you enter, you say, “All hail the Havenar Trinity” — the monster that does not attack you is the one you need to kill; the entrails of that beast will tell you where to go. Everything there is generated by the maze, and there is no treasure. I do not know the way out, myself; however, if you have the ability to get the demon out, as you say, you should be able to use that."

Miriana asks about the Master; how the warlock was imprisoned, and what he had to do with it. There were a number of people who helped build the maze; the warlock was involved in casting the spells to create the maze, and responsible for the back door he just told us about. As a result, he was entrapped. The Trinity itself suggested the imprisonment of the iron golem itself, as punishment for my hubris. I don’t know of any specific individual called “the Master”. When asked about a powerful akashic, he pauses and thinks — there was a verrik, but I . . . I can’t think of his name, for some reason. Probably manipulating the memory.

Finally, Genn steps forward purposefully, and demands to know what was done to him, why, and by whom. Odds are, your soul was pulled from you to protect you in some way. I was the only one who knew these spells.

Examining the blade, he says that Genn’s knife is just a copy; however, he has the ability to bring the original back. After much brooding, Genn agrees, and hands the copy over. The troll snaps the blade in half, to Genn’s horror, and after a couple of minutes an exact duplicate – or more accurately, the original – knife flies into the room, carrying bits of debris as though it has just traveled thousands of miles, flying into the troll’s chest. He removes it, heals quickly, and gives it to Genn, who accepts it mutely.

Later, back at the house, Genn examines the knife in detail with Object Loresight. It is as expected; a simple hunting knife, crafted by a local merchant, made of steel and wood. The only interesting bit of information is that the Master was the last person to own the object, and that its purpose is as a hunting tool, but also a receptacle for a soul. Genn does now seem to literally carry his soul with him.

Kirmaul, Kaezhar, and Udyr all get hero points for the battle; the first two for stepping up and fighting an incredible fight, the latter for rushing in to heal his comrades with no thought to his own safety. Also, given that many people saw the fight with Stompy, the Stormfront’s name and reputation grows further.

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