The Ruins; Tamoguna

DM Log - Session 11

Koschei & Arranis were out of the picture. They had been found as the ‘drivers’ of Crawl by using the False Heart to greatly enlarge the mekillot skeleton, fill it with defiling necromantic energy, and to also direct its route. While they were in such close proximity to it everyone felt that same tug and found themselves sliding towards the False Heart. After a brief analysis of it Crow volunteered to destroy it while everyone retired back to the staircase. After several arrows the green, gaseous ball made a distinct CRINK! noise and imploded. The glass bowl that housed it shattered and the delicious smell (of baking golden syrup, the tang of citrus & the scent of roasting meat) flared in intensity.

More importantly, the tower began to shake. Drumm quickly deduced that without the magic from the False Heart empowering Crawl the mekillot would return to its natural size – and that meant the foundations of the towers were shrinking. In the ensuring confusion Crow’s trained monkey, Egg, escaped from her clutches and ran towards the delicious smell. It found a tiny pill – the compressed form of Crawl’s False Heart. Without so much as a by-your-leave the monkey swallowed the pill. It began to mutate, swelling to inappropriate sizes until Egg was larger than the rest of the party. It still looked like Egg- only as tall as a horse is long. It turned out the broken False Heart still had some remnents of its former power!

The party had no time to dwell on this twist of events. The moment the tower began to shake Kris ran to the window ledge and tied a rope to a secure looking block. While she arranged herself to safely abseil down Drumm & Aster took the slower but safer route by running down the stairs. Crow, now riding bareback on Egg, directed her monkey to clamber out the window and hold onto the wall. By relying on Egg’s native grace with climbing Crow was able to watch Kris, forever ready to catch her should he lose her grip & plummet from the tower {holding a standard to try to catch a falling Kris}. Although the tower shook mightily, throwing the swarthy Drumm & nimble Aster about inside (along with the Freed Mul Slaves), Kris & Egg were able to hold onto the tower long enough to just barely make it to the carapace. The two stair-racers had beat them by mere seconds, and with no time to spare they leapt off of Crawl‘s shrinking carapace and into the briny waters. Aster’s elven heritage kicked in & abandoning the group she raced far out into the swamps while Drum wallowed mere inches from Crawl. It was only by tapping into his deepest reserves of energy that he pulled himself up & moved further away before there was a giant

KRIK!!

The weight of the stone tower had been too much for the shrinking carapace, which was simultaneously impaled through by the tower & broke in half. Large building blocks tumbled about the area, but by a stroke of luck the tower fell away from the group. The insides of Crawl saw daylight for the first time. It had been packed to the brim with the undead Bodach’s People even before the shell started to shrink, but now they were truly packed. Many of them were the dry, unconscious forms that did not stir as the sun beat down on their parched skin, but the few fleshier, more powerful zombies tried unsuccessfully struggle free of the squash.

Across the next half hour the party watched the flames slowly take hold of the undead inside of Crawl.The threat of Bodach’s People, aided by the invaluable transport that Crawl had offered was gone, and once again the people in the lands surrounding the salty marsh were relatively safe. Despite the horrible knowledge of what was making was burning, the delicious scent of cooking meat wafted powerfully over to them, and the hiss of popping fat was loud enough for all to hear. It was partially the senses of food that drew the Freed Mul Slaves back to the party. Drumm & Kris were able to determine that the Mul’s motives were to lie to the party. They wanted independence, they wanted secrecy, but most of all they wanted to ensure they kept their freedom. After a generous gift of gold from Aster, Kris & Drumm (Crow did not) the Muls went on their merry way.

That left the party to wonder what they wanted to do.
*Go to Meril of House Ianto to collect their reward & lower their slave-debt
*Examine the Mul Pictograph Diary to learn the secrets of those last few intriguing pages
*Examine the Eladrin Journal to find where the mystical ‘World Within The Winds’ might be (The party also belated remembered the knocked out Eladrin guard they left in the tower; now expired)
*Help Erathis build his perfect city- ‘New Erathis’
* Track down Koschei, who they felt was not truly dead
*Follow the Freed Mul Slaves to keep them safe.
*Examine the pirate town of Salt View

After much debate Drumm opted to try to wipe their debt. He hated the idea of being considered a slave again, and wanted to be truly free. Crow, whose ego had grown along with Egg to massive proportions, challenged his authority. It was a Thri-Kreen thing to do. Whenever an individual felt they could help their clutch (group) more as the leader, there would be a challenge. When things got awkward though, Crow temporarily backed down. Who knew how long until Crow might more seriously try to lead the group and make the decisions for what they should do? After a little thought about how they had travelled they opted to travel first to Erathis to tell him the good news, and then move back to Arakur to talk to Meril.

Their meeting with Erathis was brief. He cheerily & blithely expected them to get to work & help build the towers, and the party was at a loss on how to best decline him politely. It was Crow who came up with the solution. “We will tell others of your town – and they will come & help you. Civilisation will spread here once again.” The words warmed Erathis’ heart, and he wished them good speed. After that they travelled without a hitch through the swamps. They followed their previous trail, which was still obvious for all to see, until they thought they were near Saltborn, which they avoided by taking a short-cut.

While they were on the stretch of pebbly desert near the Mekillot Mountains they saw a man lying face down in the sands. They were wary at first, but finding no proof of an ambush they crept closer. They determined that he was a human, past middle age, male & very badly burned. He was groaning & croaking. Finally they could take it no more & went to help him. After giving him some water & time they discovered he was a trader. He claimed to have once been a successful merchant & had kept his stache of goods hidden in a vault under a well. In thanks for saving his life with the healing & water, he gave them his personal map there – his Trader Well Cache Map. They loaded him onto Egg’s broad back (where Ahren also lay unconscious) and he slowly explained his tale. He had found the fabled city of Eldariich, where he claimed a mad & paranoid Sorcerer King had tortured him to learn of the outside world. One day, about 10 years after he had been imprisoned, he somehow managed to escape & steal an Erdlu. He had ridden the beast until it died in a sandstorm and had been walking ever since. He was a little crazed, and had a terrible cough. His name was Tranned. He professed to know a lot about the history of merchant houses, and bragged he knew more than most! His heavy cough & propensity for long stories quickly got on the nerve of the party. When they arrived in Arakur they paid for him to stay at an inn. He claimed when he was feeling better he would return to the city of Tyr to try to find his merchant house ties again, and still felt in the party’s debt.

Without wasting time the group went to House Ianto. Just like the previous time it was a wonder to step inside the house. A heavy, cool mist cloaked everything & make the area cool, pleasant & refreshing. Meril happily bragged about the shaman whose captured primal spirits kept the water suspended, before getting down to business. As per their agreement with Drumm, Aster, Crow & Ahren he decreased their slavery fee down to 5g. Not wanting this debt over their heads each member paid 5g extra, and Meril signed legal documents to show that they are no longer slaves.

(Quests Complete! 125 EXP gained for saving the world from Bodach! 25 EXP gained for no longer being slaves!)

During the social chats afterwards Aster scored herself a free beanbag to lounge on from Meril, and Drum was given the suggestion to talk to the local shaman. “HhhI hwouldn’t hhhhhave mentioned hhhhhit,” He began in his curious accent, “hhbut hyou see hhhI thought hyou could talk shaman-ha-shamano to hhhhim. Hyou see, hhhe normally keeps haa perfectly hhhhealthy hh-tree hhhat hhhis hhhouse. But for the hh-first time hhanyone can hhemember hhit’s leaves hhare going hhyellow”

It sounded like there could be Shaman trouble afoot!

Soon after they retired back to the inn with Tranned, who thankfully was asleep. Outside though someone had just finished nailing a sign outside. In the local pictogram style it requested ‘guards – caravan – new route – dangerous – pays good (if you live) – caravan leaves – dawn – 3 days’

The New Caravan Route Guards sounded like an interesting occupation, but tiredness won over & before they inquired about more details they fell asleep.

View
The DM Log - Session #10

Drum, Crow, Aster & Kris had travelled inside of Crawl’s carapace after they found a small hidden tunnel on the third storey of the tower that rested on the skeleton mekillot’s back. They had just outsmarted an arcane, Defiling Magic circle, and were beginning to wonder if they should further explore this section of Crawl. They could faintly hear noises down a dark, carved tunnel, so they decided to quietly investigate.

Kris seemed to have taken charge of the matter, replacing Aster as the scout for the group. What this heavily-armoured lady lacked in grace & stealth she made up for with muscle & impatience. Kris strode ahead of the group with her Everburning Torch, and with the options of sitting in the dark or following the fighter, the group chose the latter. They passed quickly through the tunnel and came to a room that was rounded like the inside of an egg, with 2 large camp fires burning on either side of the tunnel exit. Around them they could smell the evidence that people had recently been living here, and see a few scraps of food on the floor.

Seeing the other’s confusion at this natural room, Kris {natural 20} explained “All big animals, especially ones with big shells like this, have air-bubbles. It keeps the shells light, but tough.” Drum was too excited about the camp fires to listen to Kris ‘the earthquake’s’ lectures, and nearly interrupted her to explain that camp fires meant people tending it, and the people tending it could be the slaves that had been stolen from the number of nearby settlements.

The room had a second exit, this one similarly well carved and straight edged. They followed it’s strange angle until they hit upon a second natural room, and then a third. At their fourth they got the sense that tunnels had been carefully made linking the rooms together for some unknown reason. This fourth room was also a little bit different; where before the tunnels had been very carefully cut, this room had what looked to be a cave in on one wall, and then a narrow, roughly hewn tunnel leading to a larger room that seemed quite brightly lit. The noises were louder now, so Aster cautioned the group to silence. She & Kris snuck ahead as quietly as possible, with Drumm not far behind. In an unusual tactic Drumm dismissed his spirit companion as it was not immediately required while Kris threw her short cloak over the everburning torch she wore on her armour.

The two girls entered into a large room – equal in size to the trap room they had recently come across, and far larger than anything inside Crawl’s shell they had hitherto seen. There were a number of starved looking mul slaves in front of them who stood in rigid, martial poses as if holding invisible swords. They were arranged equally about the room so that if any 2 mul had their hands outstretched they would only just be able to touch fingertips {checkers style on the battle grid}. The muls had their backs to the group, as they were facing a 10 foot tall granite-and-obsidian statue of a Kestrekel that had dark amethysts for eyes. The entire room was silent except for echoing noise of Kris’ heavy shoes. The noise aroused no interest from the mul, but at the base of the statue a figure stood up to survey the room.

It was an eladrin female. She was slightly taller than Aster and less curvy. She wore numerous red sashes across her body, and used them to bind her hair in a complex looking knot. As far as they could see, all she was wearing were these red sashes. She spotted Aster first, who was wearing the eladrin armour she had plundered in the tower. Before this new female had a chance to speak, Aster spoke up {with a successful bluff check} in elven.

“Arranis! I have brought for you another slave for your experiments.”

She bowed with a complicated gesture while Drumm stepped into the room looking forlorn. A cruel smile played on Arranis’ face at this, and after a few probing questions she told Aster & Kris to bring the new mul to her. The party pleaded for Arranis to make the existing mul move to create a passage, but Arranis was adamant she would not; she was the boss, and the 20 mul in the room had been very carefully arranged. With great hesitation the walked amongst the mul, who did not even blink or twitch a muscle. When they came to Arranis Kris subtly kept back and made sure her sword was ready. Aster handed Drum over and made another complicated gesture. The three noticed at the base of the statue there was a small, slightly blue jawbone; their goal to complete the jaws that would allow them passage through the green mist.

“Good, now to test his mental fortitude. These mul can be so mulish about being obedient.”

Arranis reached a hand out, but they couldn’t stand the ruse any more. Kris, Aster and Drumm sprung their trap & attacked. Arranis screeched in response, and teleported away. The 20 mul slaves in the room twitched simultaneously, and the party discovered whenever they moved within 5 feet of one the mul would try to bear-hug them to keep them away from their mistress. In the confusion Arranis had hid herself, but they could hear her lilting voice start to murmur a mantra. Aster desperately tried to follow and lashed out at the noise. Her shadowy whips got lucky and wrapped about the eladrin, but Drumm’s harrying spirits were not so lucky as they wailed about the room looking for someone to distress. Crow took to the grim task of trying to disable, but not kill, the controlled mul slaves. She aimed at the knees, but for once her shots were going astray.

Never one to shy away from danger Kris jogged through the mass of muls to try her luck slashing at the invisible eladrin. She dodged and outwitted half a dozen before one got lucky and grabbed her in an inappropriate spot. The mul had a firm hold on her, and her struggling was getting her nowhere. Arranis’ mumbling was reaching a crescendo when there was a pop! and her mumbling stopped. The malign, angry presence had faded, but the muls were still busy slamming and grabbing at Kris and Drumm. The humanoids were resisting the urge to hurt the mentally enslaved muls, but Crow had no such qualms and took one down. Kris managed to extricate herself from the hands, and returned with Aster obtain the last piece of the jawbone that was at the foot of the statue.

Drum had been examining the statue. He discovered there was a strong bundle of psionic energy in the statue that was exerting its control over the slaves. The energy seemed to be a concentrated emotion of obedience & loyalty. Drum attacked this emotional baggage, trying to counteract it with his mulish rebellious thoughts and anger. He entered a psychic dual, and came away the victor. The psionic spell was broken, and muls were freed. The muls were quick to determine that Drumm had freed them, and ignoring the rest of the party abrasively congratulated the shaman. They promised to tell stories about him, but not poems (they were for the wussy, thieving elves). Aster, Kris & Drum handed out some food & water between the malnourished slaves {each losing 3 rations} while Crow turned her pirate eye to the room. With Aster’s and Egg’s help they each obtained an amethyst eye from the Kestrekel statue and found a heavy, bone box hidden in a wall. Opening it revealed an eye & brain, which Drum later identified as mul. Touching it caused the instigator to momentarily black out. This was the catalyst for the psionic spell, with the statue acting as the battery.

After a period of rest the Freed Mul Slaves were taken to the guard room on the 3rd storey of Crawl to rest in the sunshine or on the beds. The jawbone was pieced together, and it sprung into life. It eagerly bit into the green mist, which would were ‘gulped’ down but not reappear on the other side. It quickly found the heaviest concentration of the mist and rushed up the stairs, leaving a temporary tunnel for the group to follow.

The green mist billowed around them, and as the group climbed to the top of the stairs they could see it issuing from the next room. They could hear a heated debate on the other side of the door. The first voice was clearly Arranis’, who seemed to be talking to a male in an aged, deep voice that had a thick accent.

Arannis: ‘… What Absalom said! Once I’ve perfected the Dominating Beak ritual, we won’t need these Defilers of long ago! And if you don’t help me, you’ll find those muls coming up here with fire & swords bared.’

???: “Again vit ze zword. Am not afraid of leetle gurl and ze leetle toys. Zey cannot fight like men, zey fight vorse zan bay-bee.”

Arannis: ‘A baby! After my Kesteral Warriors have trained them they’ll be better than those fucking defiler Sorcerer kings! Right, that’s the last insult from you name stealer. After tonight’s attack on Salt View I’m taking the captives and heading back to the forest. You can keep playing taxi as long as you want! I hate working for those god damn undead defilers! I’m packing up.’

???: “Not get per-zonal, yez? Iz okay. Haff taken pre-caut-zons to make zure no zombie get here or become beeg man. Iz zafe. Get off prancy leetle high horze. Zoon Bodach will have thinned eetself out. Zen time to ztrike”

The argument apparently resolved, silence reigned in the next room. The group tried to silently arrange themselves as best they could before Kris dramatically kicked the door open. Inside she saw that the floor was covered in the green mist (which the jawbones began to eagerly devour), and there was the False Heart on the north side of the room. She felt like she was being pulled towards it slightly, as were the 2 individuals in the room. One was Arranis, looking healthier but not in tip-top condition & a real giant of man. He was a 9 foot tall half-giant with a thick, long beard. He wore naught but an aged loincloth. His muscles were wasted, and his skin clung tightly to his bones. A large stone mace 5 foot in length was casually held in his hand. They were both staring at the door with their weapons drawn – they had heard the group whisper during their argument.

With rage in her eyes Arranis was the first to attack. She threw a pair of obsidian knives at Kris, who blocked them with her shield. Aster moved in and returned the favour to Arranis. The half-giant stared intently at Aster, gauging her strengths, weaknesses & abilities. He determined that she was the whimsical attacker, relying primarily on manipulating shadows and teleporting through the Gray. In response he threw a number of shadow-wrought darts at her, which she shrugged off. Drumm, Crow & Kris moved into the room focusing on getting rid of Arranis before she could trouble them more. They did not react quickly enough, as Arranis vanished from their midst to reappear next to Drumm. She lashed out at him with her daggers once, twice, and then twice again when she saw how much pain he was in. She was ignoring her own grievous wounds to go on an all-out attack on Drumm, and she nearly succeeded in knocking him unconscious before Drumm’s spirit lashed out and finished the scantily clad eladrin off. That left only Koschei. The half-giant had been examining Drumm, and felt he understood the mul. He had determined that Drumm had an easier life than many mul, and was able to tap into the latent primal energy to speak with and influence spirits. He was not a strong man, but he was the type to encourage others, and to help those in need. The half-giant determined if he took out Drumm, then the rest of the party would soon follow. With great steps he strode through the room ignoring those who tried to swipe at him until he was near Drum. With a casual flick of his club it swung from the ground and collided with the shaman, who was thrown 10 feet back. After there the battle continued. The group had a lot of difficulty to assault the man’s mind, and to pierce his gnarled flesh. Wounds would heal on their own accord, and he relentlessly attacked Drumm and his spirits.

Midway through the battle Crow realised who the man was; Koschei Kalton who was said to have died hundreds of years ago.This half-giant’s birthmarks resembled the statue below, and the poisoned note they had found seemed to imply that this Koschei fellow had created Crawl using the False Heart. She taunted him in Giant, and he responded rudely in kind, belittling her. Drumm eagerly took up the verbal attacks, inciting Koschei to only attack him, and mocking him whenever an attack missed.

The battle proved to be a long one. Koschei was the hardest foe they had ever faced. His heavy stone mace threw much of the party about the room, forcing Aster to cower behind Kris while Drumm had escaped to the stairway to try to avoid the half-giant. Crow spent her time constantly on the move, sprinting about the room to avoid attacks whilst unleashing her arrows in quick succession. The party eventually worked out a battle plan, utilising Aster’s shadow noose to slow him down while Kris and the spirit blocked Koschei’s path. Slowly but surely the half-giant was taken down, but not before he & his most of his possessions turned to dust.

The party was tired. Crow & Drumm were on their last legs, and Aster did not seem much better herself. Kris was still perky and practically unharmed, as Koschei had seen her greatest asset was to hinder enemies, not to kill them. They rifled through the posessions in the room finding 500g of residuum and 10 clay bottles of unknown stuff from Koschei’s tables.

All that was left to do now was to destroy the False Heart and thus end the threat of Bodach’s People.

View
DM Log - Session 10

The group carefully moved back up the ladder. The way was treacherous, with several of the rungs having been partially sawed through. Thankfully, after their trip down it but a moment earlier, they were able to scale the ladder with ease – even the ever clumsy Drumm.

They returned to the room with the four beds, the eladrin corpses (plus one knocked out near naked eladrin guard) and the mist. The closer they got to it, the more they could smell the chartreuse fog. Crow’s 2 animal companions in particular found it irresistible. It smelt like a combination of the tangy scent of citric fruits, the heart-warming scents of roasting meat and the scent of baking golden syrup. Finally unable to hold back their stomachs the party moved forward, with Drumm in the lead. The moment he put his foot on the first step, he found himself turned about stepping back into the room! He felt bewildered, so tried again. Curiosity got the better of the shaman, who began to trail different methods & combinations, such as asking Aster to teleport in, throwing objects in and such like. No matter what he tried, whatever entered the thick green mist on the staircase it was spun about to enter the room.

The mul felt rather cheated, and connected himself to the spirit world. He spent some time searching for Crawl’s spirit {barely passing DC}, before asking it what the mist was. The creature did not fully understand it, but it explained that it was linked to its False Heart, and that only the jawbone of its child would be able to break the fog’s effects. The man who had revived Crawl into its false life had killed Crawl’s child & used its jaws, which was split into three parts, as the other method to gain access to the False Heart. While Drumm explained this to the party there was a loud CLINGGG! A grappling hook had flown through the open fourth storey window, where it firmly lodged itself. When Drumm leaned out to see what danger was next coming their way, he was confronted with a familiar face.

*Kris ‘the earthquake’ – a fighter in the Tyrian Arena who had bested all manner of slaves that Drum had overseen.

She was having some trouble with the salt-encrusted building blocks, and she seemed practically stuck in place- either able to climb up, and too stubborn to climb down & use the stairs. Drumm enjoyed the moment, taunting her & asking the party (jokingly) if they should cut her free. Aster was more pragmatic about it all, simply trying to determine who Kris was, and why she was on a wall outside a mobile fortress. The human was quick to explain; Meril at House Ianto had been uncertain of the party’s reliability, and so had hired Kris to also investigate Bodach’s People. One thing had lead to another, and now Kris too was on Crawl. The group was sated, and they hauled Kris in.

Inside the room and away from the white-glare of the salt, the group was able to see just who Kris was. She wasn’t particularly tall or short, but was stocky. Her hair looked butchered & badly cared for, and each step she took sounded like a pregnant mekillot on a glass floor. She was wearing dull cloth clothes that didn’t draw attention to her, and under that what looked like a miscellanea of various animal skins strapped to her. {camouflage clothes & scale mail}

With Ahren still clambering about on the outside walls, the group was happy to have another sword to better defend them against whatever lay ahead; except for Drumm, who was little recalcitrant about Meril not trusting them, and about a Tyrian annoyance suddenly in such close proximity. Kris was briefed on the situation, and was quick to start telling them what to do with a casual assumption they would follow. Strangely, they did.

Having considered the first hole ‘explored,’ Kris took them down the second hole in the floor. She shone her Everburning Torch down the hole, seeing another ladder extending down into the space between levels, and then veering off towards the walls of the circular tower. More than though, she noticed there were surprises on the ladder, with several of the rungs reflecting back the torchlight; they’d be greased! The party cautiously made their way down the ladder, avoiding the rungs. Ever since they had passed the knife-trap on the level below, it seemed that where ever they turned there was another surprise waiting for them.

The tunnel passed between the third and fourth storey until it reached the thick, outer tower walls. Here there was another hole leading down the another ladder; this one even more cramped than the last. The group relied on ropes to get down. As they went down into the darkness they could feel the heat leave the stones and the walls become carved carapace. They were inside Crawl now.

A dais dominated the chamber’s middle area. On it stood a horrid statue that was carved to resemble a corpulent half-giant boasting an cruel grin. It was 6 foot tall – smaller than life when it came to half-giants. It raises a crystal pedestal in both gnarled hands. At the top are four tiny statues each gripping one part of a faintly glowing part of a jawbone.

The group were curious about the room, poking walls and floors for any exits before they reluctantly stepped up to the statue. Drumm and Aster were keeping well back, worried about any more traps that might be sprung. Kris & Crow however, knew that a trap should not stop their progress so easily.

The pair of them examined the statue, particularly the four creatures holding onto the jawbone. Each of the four statuettes gripping the jaw was unique and bears an inscription in giant. The first depicts a squat, flabby demon carved from red stone with the word “IXAM” on a plate below. The next looks like a cloud made from clay with “ALRASTIL” below it. The third says “PENTUKO” and features an amorphous blob carved from amber. The fourth is made from glass, and it
shows a humanoid form labelled “MYRG.”

Ignoring Drumm’s request to not touch it, Crow reached out one of her odd, multi-jointed arms and lightly touched the glass humanoid with a claw. The item faded from sight, and a Spectre appeared; haunting Drum and his spirit. It disappeared and re-appeared across the battle field, striking at each combatant before fading from view. The group quickly discussed a battle plan; use the aura of cold fear the spectre generated to locate where it might be, then strike. The tactic worked, and after some powerful attacks from Aster and Crow the Spectre was destroyed. They’d learned what the statues had in store for them, and felt better prepared. With all their weapons at the ready, Crow this time spoke one of the names – Ixam. From a corner none were looked a small red imp materialised. This dretch smelt horrible, but it was its fearsome claws that drew the eye. They were the length of knives, but fat and wide; it looks more like it would gore someone open with them rather than leave fine scratches. Contrary to sane thought Kris was glad to see the thing.

“Finally; something I can hit!” she cried, and wholeheartedly launched herself into battle. Kris’ enthusiasm was not matched by her weapon though, which splintered from her powerful blow. Shards of horn and stick sprayed across the room, but it barely seemed to effect the fighter, who merely bellowed out “Another weapon! Quick!” It was clear she was an arena bred fighter at that moment; most other warriors would bewail the loss of a weapon, but to Kris it was just a brief inconvenience. Drumm obediently passed her one of the obsidian daggers. Between Kris’ lunges, Aster’s shadow nooses and Crow’s arrows the fiend was taken down, but not before leaving a few serious wounds. Everyone grimly returned to their places about the statue, and Crow read the third name; they had noticed if they spoke its name it materialised feeling disorientated, rather than vengeful. Their third challenge was the Pentuko; an ochre jelly that was close to 10 foot was side to side, and a horrible gelatinous mess of goo. Drum rather took a fancy to its scent though, and quickly followed the jelly as it easily slipped between the party to hound Crow and Aster. It had latched onto them; slamming both of the non-human females until they retreated far away from the action while Kris and Drumm doggedly followed the jelly. With a mightly blow Kris managed to cleave the jelly in two; and after that it was simply a case of Drumm burning one, and Crow filling the other with her arrows until it resembled a strange festival treat. Drumm seemed to see it as such, for he tasted both the ‘raw’ and ‘well done’ versions of the ochre jelly, and after sampling them felt he would be able to make a recipe of it if he so desired {nature check for culinary uses of ochre jelly}

With three of the four guardians defeated, Drumm pleaded for a rest. They’d been fighting non-stop, and he was beginning to near his limit before he needed a breather. Kris agreed; she could do with a break. The group of four retreated to a corner, where they had a snack, refreshed themselves and oiled their weapons {taking a short rest}. Crow kindly gave Kris a weapon more to her liking; one of the sweet bone longswords from the eladrin guards upstairs. While they were preoccupied they failed to notice the evanescence of the corpses, who reappeared about the jawbone looking scratched, worn, but still definitely about.

When they’d finished their rest & were about to fight the last they finally noticed the reappearances. After much cursing and groaning they decided to hit the enemies hard & fast. They knew what to expect now, so they all readied an attack, and instructed Crow to read out the enemies. The jelly was the first up, with Aster noosing it, Drum harassing its mind & Kris barreling into it before it even had a chance to flinch. The fight was brief; they got the sense that the guardians had not had a chance to recuperate entirely, and their new tactic seemed very effective. The dretch imp followed suite very quickly, but the spectre once again gave them trouble. It haunted them for quite a while before it was taken down by a slash Kris’ bone longsword.

Finally they were down to 1 final statuette – A cloudy little clay figurine. Crow spoke its name and a dust devil whipped itself into shape. It was animated, malign winds surrounded with gritty sands that stung the eye and whipped at unprotected skin. It proved a nimble challenge, knocking the entire team, bar Aster, to the ground at one point as it pivoted about the room. It too was finally taken down, and without pausing for so much as a breath Drumm rushed over and snatched the jawbone from the half-giant statue’s cluthes.

Not wanting to stick around to see what else might happen the group speedily left the room, dallying only long enough for Drumm to scoop 2 bags worth of ochre jelly. They went up first one ladder, and then down the other into a familiar room.

Soft blue light emanated from a glowing ring set in the floor’s center. Flecks in the walls caught and reflected the light. In the ring’s center hovered a small, lower jawbone that looked quite so similar to the one they’d just picked up. A carefully hewn tunnel also lead further into Crawl’s carapace. Drumm chuckled when he saw it, thinking that whoever had constructed the trap hadn’t considered the common psionic gift of telekinesis. With a casual flick of his hand he tried to whisk the jawbone from the circle towards him. The item resisted though, only floating a foot or so closer towards him while the circle dimmed to an angry red, making the room darker and more forbidding. He suggested that Crow go to the opposite side of the circle to try to use the force of her arrow to shoot the jawbone across the circle towards. The Thri-Kreen dutifully tried. When the arrow smacked into the jawbone it moved 2 foot closer to Drumm, and the circle changed colour again.

At this point Kris spoke up; she’d seen this type of circle before during her arena matches {natural 20} and knew bad things would happen if they kept trying these tricks. What they had to do was to disarm the circle or become insubstantial & phasing somehow. She’d seen it done a few times before, so suggested trying to find out a way to disarm it. They searched the room, and found a few loose bricks; they were easy to find given they were inside the carapace of Crawl. More importantly though the stones were hollow, and after cracking them open found it released a gas. Drumm correctly identified it as imbued so that someone would be able to briefly become phasing & insubstantial – hopefully for long enough to get the bone from the circle. They called for Aster’s nimble body, but the eleven lass had tired herself out in the previous battle and was napping against the wall. Crow volunteered. She knew she was not as acrobatic as her elven friend, but had been the most nimble in her pirate crew. Drumm was dubious, but agreed. Quick as a flash Crow passed through the strange gas, flipped through the circle, grabbed the jawbone, and did a little pirouette at the end to finish her performance.

Crow silently handed the jawbone over to Drum, who fitted it together with the other half of the lower jawbone. All that was left now was the upper jaw, and they had a strange tunnel leading into the darkness in front of them. Before they set off though for more trouble, Crow struggled to pick up one of the magical stones. She’d loved the feeling she had, and wanted to keep a ‘back up’ just in case.

{*Hope you don’t mind the title Kris! I went to a wrestler name generator & came across ‘farmer earthquake.’}

View
DM Log - Session 9

{A little rushed sorry!}

Aster listened to the door intently. She could hear voices, and while their words were muffled, she was able to discern that they did not seem to speaking common, and their voices were edged with suppressed irritation. Drawing on her elven assassin history, she was able to silently open the door to see what was happening. A pair of individuals dressed in fine leather armour had their backs to her and were looking out the open window and arguing in her native tongue- Elven. On the back of their armour was sewn the emblem of the Obsidian Kesteral – the image of the magical ki focus that she had recently picked up in Saltborn – and at their hips they each had a sweet bone longsword. She glanced about the room to see if there were any other dangers. Her eyes fell across proof that this room had clearly been lived in; there were 4 simple beds (with an embroided quilt on each), and what looked to be packing crates at the foot of each. A fine green mist was also snaking along the floor, and following its trail she found it falling thickly down the stairs. Leaving the door open, Aster retreated to her friends.

The Sweet Bone Longsword

Drumm & Aster argued for some time about the best course of action. Unknown to them, the ever distracted Ahren decided to find his own way to the the False Heart. Shucking his companions he went to the window in the staircase, and without further ado began to hoist himself out. He was full of faith in his (self proclaimed) god, and scrambled away like a monkey on the outside of the tower. {Ahren was not at the game this day}

The rest of the group had decided to enter, weapons drawn but lowered, to speak with the others. Aster spoke first, greeting them in elven. The two at the window reacted quickly, spinning on the spot and drawing their swords in one smooth motion. They shouted at the group.

“Stop! If you ugly people take another step, you stupid-heads will die!”

The second backed up his partner.

“Yeah, stupid-heads! Arranis’ Kesteral warriors like us can take down you stupid-heads!”

The group was momentarily speechless. They had all assumed the 2 guards to be elves, but their faces were alien. They were much sharper than Aster’s group of dirty, starved, lanky elves. These were a little shorter, well-cared for, and their eyes were a solid, bright green with no hint of white or black. The party remembered old fairly tales of an alternative race called Eladrin, who many hundreds of years ago left Athas for another realm, where they left all arcane & primal magic, instead cultivating their own minds for psionic prowess. It was said that each time someone used arcane magic, some more of the Eladrin’s home disappeared. The group put such a shocking discovery behind them. They had to disable to situation before it turned ugly. Aster tried again & again to beseech them, but they twisted her words into insults and mocked the group over and over as “stupid heads.” In desperation Aster pulled out the obsidian kesteral she had found. This proved to be the wrong thing to do; screeching “thief!” the two guards rushed at her. The battle had started, and the group took to the grim task of disposing of the guards. They used their well-crafted swords to hem Aster in, and tried to flank her. When she proved too nimble, they began to focus on Crow instead. One had received a terrible wound, and without so much as a glance to his compatriot teleported to the window, and quickly scrambled out. He swung himself onto the outside of the tower and began to climb away. The first brick he grabbed onto though was loose, and he fell to his death {athletics score of 4 on a DC 25}. The second guard suddenly looked less confident, and putting a spare hand to his mouth whistles a complex trill. The south-eastern crate began to wobble, and another Eladrin popped out. He wasn’t wearing the fine armour of his friends, nor did he have a similar weapon. He was clothed in soot-darkened leather clothes and a number of obsidian-blade knives were strapped to his person in plain sight. The assassin swiped at Crow with a razor-edged flurry of attacks, and darted away to a corner to better protect himself. Meanwhile, Drum was trying to protect the group. His brow shone with the perspiration as he directed both of his spirits across the battlefield, trying his best to make them absorb blows and aid his allies at all times. His only downfall was his focus, for with no warning at all he found himself beset by a long-tailed shadowhunter bat. It’s spear-like tail lashed at his face twice before it was taken down by Crow.

The two remaining Eladrin were knocked out, rather than killed, and the group spent some time decided what to do with them. Aster found herself staring at the excellent workmanship of the leather the guard wore, and unable to keep her thieving mitts off it, stripped the (male) guard down to his undergarments so she could take it. Ordering no-one to peak she stripped off her current leather armour to wear the obsidian kesteral leather armour (+0). When she was modesty attired again, they deduced it would be best to try to speak with the guard. They tied up the guard, surrounded him menacingly and with an unkind kick rosed him.

Through much ineffective swearing the Eladrin mentions some crucial phrases after being threatened & pleaded with:
*Arranis is their leader
*Arranis is a female Eladrin
*Arranis is “below” (he mocked them whenever they tried for an exact location) “conducting her experiments, what else would she do … you stupid … mortal-headed … stupid-faces!”
*The Eladrin are helping an arcane magic user, which goes against their grain, but they are doing it because it is part of Arranis’ plan which was “inspired by the plans of the First Sorcerer King”
*He doesn’t know what makes the green mist, or what is upstairs (“You ugly-headed face! I’m just a guard!”
He eventually tried to burst free & escape while the party was distracted about what to do, so they knocked him out again. They moved over to the knocked out assassin, and after tying him up he too was woken. The assassin reacted instantly; teleporting and running for the door. Crow raised her bow and shot him through the neck in a single motion. His corpse was relieved of his knives, which went into Drumm’s bag. Crow also took the sweet bone longsword.

They rooted about in the rooms, finding nothing of interest in the beds. The crates at the foot of each bed seemed to have taken from the supplies required to help build or maintain Crawl. There was a box that had been filled with some of those esoteric items on Koschei’s note. Inside there was a half-empty bottle of rough alcohol used to perserve animals. Drumm greedily dumped this into his bag for himself. Other crates mentioned building materials, potions (of dubious repute – Crow believed it said “Madame Elvenica’s Love Potion,” while Drumm believed it read “Moo Me Elvens Lube Potion.” The 3rd crate was empty, and the 4th contained a small, aged journal. It was the Eladrin Journal {collect them all!}.

Having thoroughly looted the room, the three of them glanced at the green mist, before going down one of the holes. It was built between the walls of the tower, and dropped them past the ground floor of Crawl and into the skeleton mekillot’s carapace itself. They found themselves in a strange room lit only by a glowing blue magical circle. In the centre of it was a piece of jawbone. When they saw the magic circle the group groaned, and decided it would be best to first investigate the the billowing green mist upstairs where the Eladrin had been guarding things.

So they prepared to continue on; leaving behind the magic circle & the strange jawbone. They were curious, tired, and wondering where Ahren had got to.

View
DM Log - Session 8.1

{I forgot a bit!}

On the staircase going up from the trap they found a note lying on the ground. Instantly suspicious, they tried to read it without getting too close. It had the contents of Koschei’s note on it. A careful check also revealed that it smelt slightly off- like some sort of acrid liquid had been poured onto the note. Drumm firmly told the group not to touch it.

Ahren picked it up, taking 10 poison damage. He endured the pain, and wrapped the note in one of his hessian bags.

View
DM Log - Session 8

The party milled about in the relative cool on the steps inside Crawl. The floors smelled terrible, and many of the flagstones were stained with old, dark blood. Inside the cells they had recently explored there was fresh blood & still warm cloaks, but it seemed the living had been restricted there. Drumm was certain that the False Heart that powered Crawl was further up, and urged his companions not to dawdle or explore the zombie rott-wieler kennels. They were all feeling worried & scared, so they slowed inched their way up the staircase, ready for an attack. Half-way up the slowly curving stairs they found a boarded up window. A silent glance passed between the four of them, and while they began a whispered discussion on who should do the honours of shattering it, Crow stepped forward and unleashed a mighty flurry of claws & fists. The wooden & hide barricade practically exploded {natural 20} from the window, and a few seconds later they heard the splash! as it fell into the swampy waters below. Sunlight flooded their eyes and created a powerful, hot bar of sunlight that dissected the upper and lower staircase. Drumm & Aster nodded their approval – with this at their backs they would have a shield from any of Bodach’s People who tried to sneak up behind them.

Feeling more confident, they strode up until they reached a door at the top of the staircase. Aster requested the others to pull back a little, and pressed her elven ears against the door, straining to hear any sounds.

Nrrrgg … shf shfff … wierrng

There was the sound of shifting bodies, and an irregular drip of liquid splattering onto something. There also seemed to a low murmur, but she couldn’t quite make out what it was. What really stole her attention though was the smell. The ground floor of the tower had smelt rotten, but whatever was on the other side was otherworldly in its powerful stench. She cracked the door open ajar and peered inside. It was pitch black, but the minimal light from Drumm’s torch was enough to make out what looked like bodies heaped on top of one another. She gently closed the door & retired back to her new found allies. After explaining what she’d seen, Drum was unusually energetic to fight, and Ahren was his usual, monkey-like self. They organised themselves about the doorway, before suddenly bursting out. In the strong light of the torch they made out a gruesome sight.

Bodach’s People. The 40 foot circular room was filled with a veritable mountain of zombies, and they lay unmoving on the floor around you. Their skin was a wasted brown, and drawn tightly against their dehydrated flesh. Their faces were contorted into various death masks like the mummified corpses found in a bog. Standing at guard to the next door were 2 strange zombies. They contrast markedly to others, which are dry & still. These wobble on their feet, and were bloated like a murdered victim left in foul waters. Strange, dark liquids oozed from their bodies, and at times a small weal would pop by itself, showing the area about it in a haze of pus.

Without so much as glancing at the zombies, Aster rushed to a southern-facing window she spotted. With one swing of her broadsword she cut away the lower half of the thick hide that had covered the window, and a ribbon of sunlight bloomed into the room. Because it was only early morning during the High Sun, only a small portion of the room was lit, but the piles of deathly still zombies that were caught in the sunlight began to gently smoulder. Despite what must have been a fatal attack, none of the dry, bog-zombies moved at all.

Meanwhile, Drumm had spent his time examining the room. He noticed that the 2 bloated corpses (“Corruption Corpses”) were not guarding the door like the group had imagined, but were guarding a figure who was neck-deep in zombies. Drumm summoned his Spirit of Athas with a flourish of his totem, and ducked back towards the doorway where they had entered. Crow and Ahren had raced to take down the most potent threat they could see- the corruption corpses. Flames seemed to erupt from every one of Ahren’s attacks, with some of those fires flying towards completely unrelated enemies. The group seemed to be doing amazing, until the zombies finally reacted. The not-quite-unison the Corruption Corpses dug their swollen hands into their chest and brought forth of a handful of rotting, pussy gunk. They threw this at the sunlight-bringing elf, and the imposing stone spirit that Drumm had brought forth. Upon striking Aster she was so disgusted she at first failed to notice it was sapping her strength and robbing her of her mental clarity {weakened ; all damage is halved}. The mostly buried zombie called forth in a deep, crisp tone.

”Lend.”

At his command one of the still, dry zombies began to move. It’s hand jittered about randomly, as if life had suddenly been infused into it. The hand began to powerfully scrabble about, and with a surprising turn of speed pulled the still body behind it to lunge at Ahren. The spellsword Dray was able to nimbly avoid the attack, but suddenly all eyes turned to the Deathlock Zombie Master. The battle raged on, with Aster & Crow teaming up to kill a Corruption Corpse, which upon its re-death exploded in a shower of disgusting gunk. The longer the battle raged, the more power the Zombie Master could use. His words of power became longer, and the number of Crawling Hands he could raise increased. Between the flaming might of Ahren and the empowering words of Drumm the second Corruption corpse had been taken down. Crow had focused her attacks on slaying the revived hands, which tried to swarm towards a target, distracting their enemy until one leapt to attack {all but 1 Hand would use Aid Another to “lend a hand”} trying to deal with the problem before they were overwhelmed with hundreds of partially-mobile Bodachians. The Zombie Master spoke his final line:

”Lend. Me. A. Hand. Now.”

5 hands were raised. Calling for help from the primal spirits that ruled Athas, Drumm unleashed his most powerful chant {daily}. Strange ripples appeared about the Zombie Master, and the rest of the party discovered that their next subsequent attack could hurt the Zombie Master more & more. Across the entirety of the battle Aster had been carefully examining the master for his weakest point, and in a fashion that would have made her Elven assassin masters proud attacked the Zombie Master when he was at his most weak {4 assassin shrouds (4d6) + maximum benefit from Drumm’s daily (3d6) + encounter power = 3d8 + 7d6 damage} to deal the killing stroke. The hands began to lose their vitality, and after a few seconds the Crawling Hands lost the strength to pull the corpses, before finally returning to the stillness they had originally shown.

Feeling exhausted but impressed with themselves, the group climbed halfway up the staircase before falling against the cool stone walls. Drumm & his spirit tended to their wounds, and gave them small words of encourage to help get them back to their prime {full HP}. While the group was resting Drumm tried to smash the boarded up window, which seemed to be in every staircase, but couldn’t muster the strength. Feeling slightly indignant at being bested by hide & wood, he requested that his spirit finish the group. A western facing window was opened up, and once again the group felt better for it.

Feeling ready for the danger that lay ahead, Aster snuck to the door and tried to listen carefully for what may be on the otherside, but couldn’t make anything out. She carefully opened the door and peeked inside. A powerful beam of light from Crow’s Sunrod helped to illuminate the room. From the crack in the door Aster could make out an empty, stone floor that had a dry zombies that had been cut powerfully in two. She closed the door & let the others know about her investigation. After quite a bit of worried wispering, it was decided they would try what they’d so successfully used in the below room; just rush in & hope to overwhelm whatever was inside. They burst inside, eyes wide with adrenaline to find an empty stone room that had thin grooves set evenly throughout the floor. Three steps in, there was a SCHK! noise and a powerful obsidian razor burst out from the far wall. It was a foot thick, and pushed forward like a battering ram. Luckily for the group the razor sliced through an unoccupied column, and served to only heighten their fear. Aster and Ahren noticed on the far wall there was a control panel that was connected to a complex looking lock on a door. Trusting to their skill & luck they quickly darted across the room and started to get to work. Crow hovered behind the two, giving them helpful hints to both of them, but never trusting in her own skill to deactivate the controls. Once one of the 6 razors had been disabled Drumm rushed to the safe area, and began to watch out for the group. He knew if he devoted his time to watching for the razors, he would be able to command his spirit to pull a companion out of the way. Across the next few minutes, and a few false starts, they were able to disable the trap and unlock the door. It has been a few harrowing moments, and Crow had taken a greivous wound that had to be patched up by Drumm.

They knocked out another Eastwards facing window, and were ready to continue on when they heard the murmur of voices. Suddenly worried, the party snuck up to the door to hear as much as possible.

View
DM Log - Session 7

Drumm, Crow & Aster stood some distance from the beast, opting to watch from afar to learn its weaknesses rather than rushing in. They carefully looked for any outlooks on the stone tower or patrolling inside the hollow carapace. Drumm thought he saw a flicker of movement pass across one of the eyes, which was back-lit by a greenish glow, but no-one else saw a thing. Drumm therefore suggested that they walk some distance in front of it, and see if the skeleton reacted in any way. The beast was walking half of their usual pace, so this wasn’t much of a feat. They got a few hundred metres in front of it and waited as the minutes dragged by for it to slowly but surely step closer, and closer, and closer. The heroes were the first to break the game of chicken and retired to the side to watch it pass. As it hadn’t reacted in any discernible way yet, it was decided they would attempt to jump up & grab onto the shell, which was full of small cracks, dents & minor protrusions. The skeleton mekillot stood a good 13 feet off of the ground, so they knew it would be difficult.

They discussed a few options before deciding that Aster, with a rope in hand, would rely on her superior acrobatic reflexes to get onto it. They got ahead of the beast once again then Crow & Drumm stood firm as Aster climbed onto their shoulders. Together the group waited as the beast stomped closer, and timing her moment perfectly, Aster leapt up into the air. She had a terrifying moment where she grabbed at nothing but air, though a moment later she found purchase and swiftly pulled herself up. This close to the edge she found it hard to keep her purchase, as the shell was practically cliff-like. She tied a rope through some cracks in the carapace & signalled the others to clamber up. Crow easily did so, but Drumm failed three times before he got a good enough grip on the rope. The moment that Drumm touched the Mekillot shell a surge of knowledge poured into his mind. From it, he learned that:

  • He got the sense that the Mekillot is known as ‘Crawl,’ in homage to something else. This seems to have been burned into its very essence.
  • He knew that Crawl is far larger than it was when it died, and he got the feeling it has been grown through some unnatural means. The mekillot approves of this change though.
    *You also get the sense that a “False Heart” is powering Crawl, and without the ‘False Heart’ Crawl would return to a full death.
  • After some more divining, he learned that the False Heart was towards the top of the tower

Together they found some stairs which had been carved into the shell & made their way upwards towards the stone tower. Climbing the stairs they suspected that this was how Bodach’s People were able to expand beyond their normal limitations. As they neared the top the smell of decay choked the air that wafted out of the tower in front of them. From here, they could see inside a dark
passage that revealed another staircase going up. Darker patches indicate that the kennels were built inside the tower as well as outside. They glimpsed glowing pinpricks in the gloom ahead and a faint shuffling noise that grew louder. Those dots of light were the faintly glowing eye sockets of horrid, rotting zombie dogs with blackened claws.

2 such dogs leapt out at them teeth bared. The moment sunlight touched them small flames began to erupt on their bodies, and the dogs quickly returned to the safe darkness of the tower. At the orders of Drumm Aster pulled one of the dogs out, which was quickly finished off by Aster. The second dog took more goading, and it was only when Ahren, the party’s fourth & most arcane member, appeared that the second dog ran out of the tower to savage the group. This too was quickly reduced to a mere pile of flaming, twitching meat.

Now that they had time to catch their breath, Ahren & the group exchanged tales of what they had been up to. Ahren seemed different to before. When they had met him he had been stoic, strong of mind & mercantile to the extreme. Before now stood a dray that seemed just that little bit wilder. His grip on the axe was loose, and small magical flames danced between his fingers. The look in his eye was more wild & excitable, and he held himself casually. Ahren kept making reference to ‘the monkey,’ and praising it like some powerful primal spirit. He insisted to Crow that her pet, Egg, was a ‘god,’ reincarnate & would bring Mad Monkey Wobbles to all.

The group didn’t quite know what to make of their companion, and shrugged it off. Ahren had always been a little bit boisterous, so they put it down to drinking too much salty water or the like. Besides; they had bigger fish to fry than Ahren’s sanity, so together they plunged into the tower, with the goal in mind to somehow stop the mekillot from spreading the zombies further afield. Inside the tower was dark and cool. The stench was overpowering, and in the limited light that pooled about the entrance they could see more bloodstains. More canine growls issued from the darkness & half a dozen dogs rushed forward to greet the guests. The action became hectic.

Ahren first glowed dimly, slashing at one dog whilst casting his defiling spells at another. Aster whipped about the battlefield, lashing at enemies with her shadow-wrought nooses. Drum waded his spirit into the midst of battle to swat at the dogs whilst lighting a torch to allow all to see what was going on. Crow fired at the rottweilers from afar. Sooner rather than later Ahren got in over his head as the dogs latched onto him, with one managing to swallow Ahren’s whole head inside its own. Rather than flail about desperately like the rest of the party imaged though, the spellscale dray inhaled deeply and expelled a thick, heavy blanket of fire {{dragonbreath: element fire}}. The fire burst out of the first dog and burned at those nearby. Thus freeing himself, Ahren made the most of the situation to aggressively set himself on fire, harming those about him while remaining safe himself.

While the fight was raging Crow & Aster found a grate thickly covered with blood. Just seeing it made them unreasonably angry, and they found themselves brutishly attacking with renewed vigour {{Critical on 18-20 while next to the grille}}. The dogs refused to die, often hanging onto their half-life with extreme tenacity. One by one they became still, until there were just 2 left, which fled.

160 EXP Earned

After that, the group examined the room. They didn’t want to be set up by a horde of zombie on a level where they couldn’t easily escape, so they tried to find any likely entrances if the zombies were below. There were a number of thin holes that the rottweilers used to access lower levels, but other than the bloody grate there was nothing too suspicious. They examined the badly made cells, finding a number of still warm blankets. Finally, they came across some dank water in a fountain. It would be enough to sate all their thirsts, but the group was wary of it. Drumm finally plucked up the courage to test it, and as his cupped hand entered the water it sizzled painfully. He retracted his hand, suggesting they shouldn’t drink it.

Ahren, on the other hand, had other ideas. He emptied one of his waterskins and carefully filled it up with the necrotic water, before carefully annotating a skull & crossbones on the cap to remind himself of its contents. Feeling lost between exploring the grille & heading up the stairs the group turned to Drumm. He tried to speak with Crawl’s spirit once more, but Crawl could not be found. He was able to sense that the False Heart that powered Crawl was above them though. Thus sated, the group opted to head upstairs.

{{Final notes: I realised I made a mistake. I had been giving Drumm resist 3 damage, rather than resist 3 to ongoing damage (such as ongoing damage from being on fire).}}

View
DM Log - Session 6

With worry in their hearts, the group set off to the 3 towers. As they neared they noticed scaffolding near the top, and that three towers appeared to still only be partially built. They could hear the sound of sawing. The group held a brief discussion, with Drumm repeatedly suggesting that Aster had best lead the way to check how safe or not it was. The elf reluctantly agreed, and she slunk through the water. The thick mud slowed her down, and Aster had to walk much slower than normal to make sure she didn’t create any waves. She crept up to the nearest tower and stuck herself against the wall, where she began to slide herself closer & closer.

Now that she is nearer, Aster noticed that the towers had no doors at ground level, but there was an old frayed rope that dangled from a window close to 10 meters off the ground (6 squares). As she continued to shift around the tower she saw the back of a Halfling who was busy sawing away at a piece of wood. She critically watched him for a few moments to divine his intention, before she returned to the group & explained.

They decided to hail the builder openly, in the hopes that a non-aggressive greeting may be returned in kind. When they thus approached him, the halfling turned about and looked confused at their entrance.

“Hi guys! Could you come back later? New Erathis isn’t quite ready to be populated yet, and it would be ever so terrible for you to come here before then! I know you must have heard there is a wonderful city to live here … but it’s not ready. Pretty great idea, isn’t it?”

He went on to explain that this was the city he had been building for the past 2 years by himself. He found the stones (as he called them – a successful dungeoneering check revealed them to be existing masonry blocks) nearby, and was using the expert construction knowledge he recently was gifted with to build his own city ‘on the water’. Erathis, for that was his name, explained he was on a personal pilgrimage to reinvigorate the civilisation of Athas, which had been decaying.

The party was very curious about his survival, especially how he avoided Bodach’s People (“these zombies try to colonise my village, but when they see no doors they give up. Not too bright are they? They won’t be building any cities, no siree!”), and what he ate (“Why, the reeds of course! They make a darn fine soup too!” He was very excited to share his Grass Soup recipe with Drumm). In due time they asked about the beast, and Erathis was happy to oblige.

“Oh! You mean that darn skeleton Mekillot? Yeah, I know all about that. It started about a month ago I think. It only comes past somedays, and always goes south-east during the day and then north-west during the night. Some strange pacing, hey? It even broke down once not far from here. Zombies all over the place. Eventually they found this big ball and when it entered the skeleton mekillot it started walking again. Weird, hey?”

When the group requested if they could stay the night, Erathis refused. Crow turned on her female charms (diplomacy natural 20) and he readily agreed, as long as they slept in the same tower. As they were now honourary workers, the team was expected to fetch some rocks to help build. They were given directions, so off they went. Drumm suggested that they skive off work & just laze about, but the rest of the group knew what it meant to earn a bed for the night. They found heavy stone masonry blocks that seemed to be one of the Kalton forts that had been built centuries ago (natural 20 by Crow & Aster). The group, except for Drum, carried stones back for Erathis to aid his project. When Erathis suggested they had enough time to do 1 more run before sundown, Drum requested if he could look out from the towers. He had some difficulty climbing to the door, but when he got up he tapped into his shamanic instincts to sense the mighty beast (1st natural 20 for the beast). Drum realised that it was South East of them, and heading in a Northerly direction. It was walking slowly, and he could feel the faint vibrations run up his feet. When the rest of the party joined him, he passed this on.

Dinner was a strange affair, but in the end Erathis successfully convinced them to try his soup. It tasted bland, but it had some crunchy bits that were surprisingly fulfilling to each. No-one got sick, but one or two people did look a little pale while theey digested it. Whilst they were sleeping, their watch heard the baying of Bodach’s zombie dogs, which could only barely reach New Erathis on a good day. The dogs circled around the towers, following the new scents, before leaving an hour or two later back to Bodach. Morning came, and Erathis left without so much as saying hello to get back to his work.

The group opted to slip out, and they went East until they spotted the beast. It was built from a gargantuan skeleton of a mekillot dirk. Turrets and sharp spires rise crookedly from the drik-shell structure, and a hodge-podge stone tower has been built into and onto its back. It looks as if it has the ability to crawl across sand, scrub plains, salt marshes, and ridged foothills with equal facility.

Wary of any dangers, the group waits and watches.

View
DM Log - Session 5

The party had just slain their toughest enemy yet in the abandoned slave village of Saltborn. It was a zombie who had been forced out of hiding and into sunlight. He was slowly degenerating, but he was determined to go out with a fight. His moves were martial, and his ripostes were amazing as he attacked the entire party. Drumm found his spirits slaughtered quickly, their primal flesh easily being torn asunder.

After he was finished off, the group dragged him out of the ankle-deep water and onto dry land. Whilst the group plundered his corpse for treasure, Ahren told the group he needed to meditate and reconnect with the (defiling) magic he had been taught. After Ahren had turned around a corner they could hear him trying to imitate the sounds of Egg, Crow’s pet monkey.

On the corpse they found an ancient amber necklace that would be several hundred years old, which if nothing else, its antiquity would make it a valuable item to sell. On his decaying hide chest-plate they found a strange sigil which Aster remembered was an old Heraldic symbol used for the Bodachian guard. They cut this from his body to later show Meril of House Ianto.

A further investigation of the town revealed a Mul Pictograph Diary that was hidden under a loose floorboard, a day’s worth of food secreted behind some pipes and a magical item {the first magic item for the campaign}. It was an obsidian kesteral that had been infused with shadow energy from The Grey. Aster at once felt a kinship with it, and when she held it she could feel that this item helped her tap into her potential {+1 to hit, +1dmg, when hitting an enemy can move their shrouds to something else}. In due time they felt like they had exhausted their possibilities, and followed the bloody trail the zombies had left. The group tried to convince Ahren to join them, but he was too busy meditating and promised to catch up.

They entered the salt marsh proper. It stretched over the horizon, and was covered in a thin layer of very salty water. The group as a whole waded and waddled through it, and occasionally would walk on the grassy islands. A strange feature of the salt marshes was the complete lack of life: even the insects were absent. The only sounds were their sloshing footsteps and the occasional sigh of wind through the dry grasses. With no warning {successive stealth check} a pair of javelins flew out from the tall grasses, pinning Aster and Drumm in place. A ‘bloodthirsty degenerate’ gith ran out of the grasses and fumbled with Aster’s pack. She proved too wily though and foiled his plans to steal it. Combat was afoot, with the 3 gith aiming to steal a bag, and the party trying to slay the 3 gith attackers as quickly as possible. The gith quickly turned to fleeing once they had a backpack, but 2 of the 3 were slain as they fled. Aster was hurt during the battle, and the salt stung her wounds. Drumm & Crow attempted to make a water tight binding for the wound, but failed. Drumm was contemptuous of the pain Aster was feeling, and suggested she learn to ‘Mul it up’ and resist the pain. Aster eventually agreed. Across the next 2 hours she let her wounds fester in the salt, but after a number of successful endurance checks gained a resistance and learned to block out the stinging. Crow attempted to follower her leader’s plan, but eventually gave up after she made no success.

They had captured one of the Gith and tried to interrogate it. The creature knew not a lick of the Common tongue though, and kept just repeating ‘Poopoo’ at the party. Drum cold heartedly suggested they drag the still-living thing behind them as a warning to any others, but Crow informed the group that any more Gith would not be dissuaded by such an action,

and killed their hostage. With nothing else to do, they followed the trail until it ended in a comparatively open area. After some poking about they found noticed that the blood had just been diluted by the passage of some massive beast, and and the grass in one direction was crushed. When they went to see the grass, there was a massive foot print at least 5 foot wide. Aster voted to head back to Saltborn and wait til the next morning before they explored any further, but Drum convinced the group to at least travel for a little longer. They had barely begun to follow the beast’s tracks when they were sprung upon a second time. The gith who had previously escaped had found a friend and tried again, but this time with even less success. Drumm, Aster and Crow efficiently took them down, and with no survivors they feel like their gith troubles have ended.

The tracks of the beast continued forward, and as they moved further into the salty marsh they could see 3 ramshackle towers poking above the waterline in the distance. Judging from the current angle the beast was travelling, the group believed it may have passed nearby.

View
DM Log - Session 4

TBA!
Rough notes:
-Drove through pass
-Found hitherto unknown patch of Stitchfruit plants (“Stitchthorn”) and obtained 4 fruit. One of them was super large, and Ahren & Aster ate it.
-They travelled during the night to Arakur. During that time Ahren had a crazy dream & learned a martial art from it. Aster has a dream too, but nowhere near as vivid
-Got to Arakur. Opened a locked (puzzle) door and spoke to Meril.
-During the night a salt factory was attacked. It’s name was Windblown. Meril pleaded for party to stop Bodach’s People.
-The party examined Windblown, but there were no tracks. So they went to the other zombie attacked unknown village. When they got there they found a lot of blood.
-There was also a zombie hiding in the salt. It seems that Bodach’s People burn in the sunlight.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.