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Session 136 - Invicible Triage

posted Nov 6, 2017, 7:18 PM by Will McCain

The assembled heroes decide to put an end to the mortal threat of Jonid. Before Callon deals the final blow, however, Knox stops him and does the deed himself. With their foe now deceased, Alera immediately attempts a Speak with Dead spell, only for it to fail when cast. Master Morvant is furious at this and storms off to vent his rage at Jonid's continued annoyance with some violent spellcasting.

Finally returning to the surface by way of the Green Olive, the Maladroits find it in a state of panic. Seeking the cause, they find the Invincible Trio of Bull, Cat, and Fox tearing up the Pimento in a veeery drunken rampage. Before the heroes can decide how to deal with them, the seasoned warriors spot them, greet them warmly, and engage them in combat. A brutal series of magical and ranged attacks fall upon the Maladroits. Even though Knox is able to banish Bull to a Maze, the attacks leave the group heavily injured. Lucas and Knox are able to drag their teammates away, and make for the Tower to regroup. Casulaties:  Alera heavily injured and dazed, and Callon freshly spun from the mortal coil and in dire need of a raise.

Session 135 - Hell to the King

posted Oct 2, 2017, 1:47 PM by Will McCain

Jonid.

Ever since the Tomb-dungeon of Mazoo, he had been a thorn in the Maladroits' sides. Every time he had run, but now he sat in a gilded throne looking down on them.

Waiting.

Hearts full of caution and angry determination, the adventurers made ready to put an end to things. Before they could draw their weapons, though, Jonid pulled a last trick and summoned duplicates of each member of the party. Of course. They knew he had the Shard of Illusion, so they couldn't take this final test lightly. There was no going back, not that any of them wanted to, so battle was joined.

Knox opened with show of his magical might and let loose a Meteor Swarm onto the doppelgangers. Though some saved or had defenses, all of the illusory party took damage. Jonid, unfortunately, didn't look particularly hurt. Alera followed up with some Storm Bolts, further damaging the imposters and stunning NegaLucas. From there on it became a back-and-forth of powerful strikes and misses. Fighting themselves was a reminder to the Maladroits of just how much they had grown, and how formidable they could be. They prove particularly frustrating when they pre-empted some of the party's moves, such when NegaKnox used one of his preparations of Time Stop to counterspell Knox's own casting. NegaCallon was able to stun Lucas, but Callon, singularly suited with his Ghost Touch weapon to deal with his counterpart's Blinking, was able to put some damage into him in exchange. Alera attempted a direct attack on Jonid. To their collective dismay, the damage was spread across the duplicates of the Maladroits in Jonid's stead.

Knox and Alera noticed the gnomeling casting Mislead before the entire room shifted and the Maladroits and their doubles were rearranged. They now had to be careful of not attacking one of their own. To that end, and spurred on by Desangriev, Callon forwent his own activation of his ring and instead spent his time trying to take down the other fighter. Lucas focused on Alera, Alera tried to down Knox, and Knox finally got in a Time Stop.

Things were looking dire, but they pressed on and harder. Their noble struggle must have touched the heart of some watching earthbound deity, for they suddenly felt their health and spells renewed! The day might just be won by this mysterious patron!

Upping the stakes, Jonid summoned a demon in the middle of the fray and once again shifted the positions of the combatants. When Callon attacked it, it vanished. A mere figment to get the party to waste an attack. Knox was able to send NegaCallon away with a Maze spell, allowing the party to focus on the already hurting targets. Keeping their focus on their illusory doubles, they began to fall one by one. Lucas did away with NegaAlera, and Knox blasted his own duplicate into dust. The illusory Lucas was tricky with his defenses, but the fighter and the rogue were able to put him to bed, as well. Now left with Jonid (until NegaCallon returns, at least), the Maladroits closed in.

Jonid struck Callon with Blindness, but Alera healed him. Thankful, he remembered that they had questions for Jonid about Cordova, and bid his sword take on Merciful to avoid dealing a lethal blow. The spirits of the blade are aghast that mercy would be called for someone like Jonid, but Callon corrected them that this was a time for justice instead of vengeance, and that the mercy was for Cordova. The magical shifting of Warrior Spirit was their nod of compliance. Lucas and Callon began their assault on Jonid, but his layers of magical defense proved difficult to get through. In his frustration, Lucas tried to grapple Jonid, but he proved too slippery. Cursing at the gnomeling, he offered a prayer to Fharlaghan for guidance in getting his target. 

Jonid moved across the room, but they held fast in pursuit. Even when NegaCallon reappeared between Callon and Lucas, he was but short work. Alera began to tire of Jonid's defenses, as well, and cast an Anti Magic Field on herself to try and reach him. Seeing the threat approaching, Jonid escaped her grapple and cast Disjunction in order to get rid of it and rob the rest of the Maladroits of their own magical boons. The Anti Magic Field resisted the spell, but many of the other Maladroits' magical items were disabled. Even worse, some were outright destroyed. Lucas lost his Cloak of Resistance, Knox lost his Ring of Sustenance, and Callon lost his custom-made Bulwark Plates.

It was but the last, final gasp of a doomed man. The party pushed Jonid into a corner, where Alera's Anti-Magic Field robbed him of his defenses and boons. When she failed to grab him, Lucas latched on. Callon turned the temporarily depowered Desangriev on its side and laid into their foe with the flat of the mighty blade. Jonid tried to stab himself to rob the Maladroits of victory, and perhaps his secrets, but Lucas pinned him, leaving just enough space for Callon to deliver the final knockout blows.

They bound him, removed all his items, and found a dagger that not-so-subtly revealed itself as the Shard of Illusion. Callon took the artifact and wrapped it in cloth. Lucas, still irked, delivered a kick to the unconscious Jonid and walked away to cool down. Despite their losses, despite their frustrations, and despite the uncomfortable history they had been shown, it was over. Jonid was captured and the Shard secured.

They headed out to rejoin their friends and embark on the next important task: Keeping the Shard of Illusion from FernDelia Getting Cordova back. 

Session 134 - Dis Ingenuous World

posted Sep 29, 2017, 7:47 PM by Andy Burras   [ updated Oct 2, 2017, 11:05 AM by Will McCain ]

"We met a gnome from an ancient time,
Who said - “Many vast and ageless empires
Stand on this land….Near them, on their books,
Half truth of shattered history lies, whose honor,
And nobility, and traditions passed down,
Tell that its sculptor well those qualities read
Which yet survive, stamped on these false things,
The hand that mocked them, and the ego that fed;
And on the throne, these words, he spoke:
My name is Mr. Gnome, Pranker of Pranks;
Looks at my Art, ye mighty fools, and Laugh!
No truth beside remains.  Round the deceit
Of that colossal Trick, boundless and false
The impact of which stretch far away."

Having narrowly avoided a battle, the Maladroits brought their friends up to speed. Master Morvant was especially outraged to learn what had been done to his friend Mistress Cordova. They split into groups to search the ruins, and left Qip and Boken at the entrance with Cordova's body in case nobody returned. Once again united, the Maladroits set out.

Taking to the sky, Knox observed that the ruins took the form of concentric circles, with each additional ring appearing more modern and advanced than the previous. As they entered, the seasoned adventurers were surprised to see ghostly figures of gnomes milling about in ignorance of their presence. Taking interest in one particular pair, they were again surprised that the gnomish they spoke was not one they fully understood. Older, perhaps, than the modern tongue. While puzzling out what they were saying, the voice of Jonid spoke through one of the figures, bidding them to pay attention with manic glee. Trying to ignore it, they learned that the garden they thought they were in was actually the overgrowth of an ancient attempt to harness the mystical energies of one of the Shards. They stood in something of a substation for the magical flow, which might activate once more since Jonid undoubtedly had the Shard in the center of whatever illusion or maze this was. After clearing away the brush, they managed the reactive some of the lines, narrowing avoiding getting trapped inside in the process.

Now following the flow of magic, they tracked a shorter course to the center. Passing into another, older ring, they found more apparitions. This time, however, they noticed the Maladroits, and looked upon them with disdain. The group noticed that they were bedecked in much finer clothing than those around them. There was also a sigil upon the wall of a <globe with something over it?>. They also noticed that the lines of stone on the ground traced an outline of their home continent, strangely enough. They tried interacting with the gnomes, and damaging the sigil, to mixed results. Lucas and Alera started to worry that Callon was relying too much upon the advice and abilities of Desangriev. Callon dismissed their concerns, and tried to assure them it was under his command. Despite opening up a new path, however, Alera decided to follow the path they had been on, and left the group.

Moving closer in, they were witness to a singular gnome racing about a landscape of ponds and hills, reshaping them with ease. Like before, they noticed clear similarities between the landscape and the layout of their continent. Disturbingly, they saw him create a gleaming metallic object and then bury it beneath a mound of earth and rock. The similarity to the ship of the Guren was not lost on them. After getting his attention, they were able to get him to show them what their entire world looked like. Collapsing his hands together, the landscape around them shrank beneath them until he held a globe in his hands. Standing in the void before him, they saw their planet, with enormous sections of the world separated by the seemingly random snaking of the Stormwall. Alera rejoined them at this point. Not wanting to waste more time in pursuit of Jonid, they thanked the gnome and pressed on.

Coming to the final circle, they were met with a vast plain stretching out from a singular earthen hut. Carefully walking inside, they found tapestries and murals filling the walls. They told in detail of the Guren efforts to uplift the races of the continent that they had learned pieces of before. As they were admiring them, however, they heard gnomish giggling coming from the center of the room. Turning to it, they found a gnome man sitting in a chair, trying to contain his mirth. When they asked him what he was laughing at, he explained that he had been waiting for thousands of years for someone to come by and find him so he could explain all this secret history for what it was: his own, greatest practical joke upon the world.

As he explained, he had gathered the Shards ages before and used their power to craft exacting histories and fill the minds of the various races with tales of how they came to be. He created the Guren ship and all of its technology simply to serve as validation of this great lie. Even the Akari were tricked into thinking that they had chosen to refuse the Guren's gift, when in truth the gnome had merely reshaped their memories. All of this was in service to the greatest joke of all of history, in that all of history had been made up by him. The Maladroits were speechless for a time, but Lucas soon spoke up to voice his indignant outrage at the gnome's flippant manipulation of people. He had brought races low who could have been great, only to amuse himself. Alera joined the rogue in his outrage, but Knox and Callon simply looked back the murals they had marveled at before. 

Upon their asking, the gnome admitted that he was an illusion and that Jonid was waiting for them. Now they knew the truth, though, even if no one would believe them. However, they would not be so easily disturbed. They each dismissed the gnome man, either out of anger as with Lucas, or in unimpressed disappointment from Callon. So the man faded away, and the Maladroits found themselves in a throne room filled with the slow clapping of their fated and hated foe: Jonid.

Session 133 - Careless Wishper

posted Sep 28, 2017, 2:12 PM by Will McCain   [ updated Sep 29, 2017, 11:36 AM ]

"WHY?!"

Callon's anguished cry echoed through the chamber as Cordova's limp form fell into his arms. The other mingling adventurers turned toward the sound to see Callon cradling the fallen cleric and Jonid smiling menacingly where Watch once stood. The members of the Maladroits immediately tensed and cursed at the sight of the gnomeling, but he left them no time to ponder his presence. After casting a spell over the group, he disappeared. 

The Maladroits felt nothing different about them, but noticed their friends beginning to act strangely. They turned malevolent gazes towards the heroes, and they understood that Jonid had left them to fight their comrades while vastly outnumbered. Nico and Master Morvant had managed to avoid succumbing to the spell, but that was small solace for the odds they faced.  Lucas, as quick to understand the situation as he was on his feet, tried to subdue Amii and Elistra. Master Morvant was quick to come to his aid, but all his magics were resisted. Nearby, Alera was on the receiving end of Pebble's fists and was struggling to stand afterward. Nico braced herself to square off against Yanjing and looked to the Maladroits for aid and guidance. Callon carefully set Cordova down before he stood to join the fray with Nico. He ordered Desangriev to assume non-lethal magics, but found himself strangely rebuffed. 

It was a bad situation quickly growing worse. Lucas felt this keenly as he narrowly fended off an attack from Elistra. In his frustration, he yelled out, "I wish you all would just snap out of it!" He had forgotten about the remaining Wish spell in his Luck (now Ribbon) Blade, and the magic sprung to life. It cleared the minds of the enthralled heroes, resetting them to normal. After a moment of confusion, they all counted themselves lucky for having narrowly avoided some bitter fights. Callon called out his thanks to Lucas' quick thinking, which the rogue absently acknowledged. His conflicted gaze was fixed to his sword. While thankful he had been able to undo the mind control, he had also accidentally used his greatest magical resource. Should he be happy, angry, or... both? 

There wasn't much time to ponder, as the group left the room in pursuit of Jonid, only to find themselves in the presence of ancient ruins and a great mystery.

Session 132 - The Prestige

posted Sep 9, 2017, 11:49 AM by Will McCain

Team Callon raced towards the end of the labyrinth, powering through two dreadful encounters.

In the first, they faced an empty room with their entranceway turned into an enormous mirror. Magic damaged them anytime they look anywhere but into the mirror, so they closed their eyes and walked toward the exit at the far side of the room with one another providing directions. Once accomplished, they faced off against two undead. One was a huge mass of muscle and the other was a semi-corporeal floating menace. Between magical, holy, and bladed might, both were brought low.

In the second room, they found a small indentation in the center of the room and a slowly lowering ceiling. While Mistress Cordova was convinced that they were in no real danger, the party went along with the threat and chose her to rest in the indentation in case it was real and there could only be one survivor. Before the falling stone crushes them, though, it disappeared and their real challenge appeared in the form of a merilith demon. The many-armed snake woman tried to whittle away at the group, but found them steadfast in their own prowess. When Callon put her in dire straights, she summoned another of her kind to aid her. With dreadful efficiency (and many summoned monsters to take hits for them), the party dispatched both creatures and finally earned an exit from the gauntlet.

It was happy tidings, indeed, when they walked through the exit and found the rest of their friends waiting for them. All had faced terrible trials, but not one of the Maladroits or their friends had fallen. They spared a moment before continuing on to claim the Shard to celebrate their success. Mistress Cordova leapt up to Callon and wrapped her arms around his neck to surprise him with a kiss. Leaning back, Callon watched her happy and loving smile slip away and the life fade from her eyes. He caught her as her arms, now devoid of life, now fell from around him. 

Looking up in horror, the assembled heroes saw Watch pulling a gem back from where Cordova's back had been. Smiling cruelly at Callon, his form shifted into that of Jonid. With a careless toss, the gem with Cordova's trapped soul vanished, banished by the gnomeling's magic to parts and planes unknown.

Session 131 - A Party's End

posted Aug 25, 2017, 10:09 AM by Will McCain   [ updated Aug 25, 2017, 10:24 AM ]

Team Knox arrived at their last challenge. Hands that were patting the wizard's back for his clutch save earlier now moved to chins in contemplation of their new puzzle. It was a bare room with four torches lit, and some script barely legible on the far door. Elistra carefully made her way down and found a riddle: you must create that which is so fragile, to utter it's name would break it. Quick-witted as ever, she immediately deduced the answer and returned to her team, bidding them to produce what they needed: silence.

In the stillness, they could still hear the gasping of the flames on each torch, so they each took position by one and extinguished them quietly. When all was finally still, silent, and dark, they felt the room shift. Around them, they could hear (and feel) tiles of the floor falling away. At the same time, they saw the imprints of four hands begin to glow on the exit door. Knox tried to fly, but found his magic suppressed by a powerful Anti-Magic Field. They steeled themselves and began to carefully make their way towards the door while trying not to fall off their precarious paths. Qip was the first to stumble, but as he held himself on the edge of the remaining tile, he felt an illusion disperse from his mind and felt the original, unmolested floor beneath him. Again! Another false danger, just like the last room! He tried to call out his realization to his friends, but, like before, they could not believe without overcoming the spell themselves. He first helped McGraenge to see the illusion for what it was, then Knox. Elistra was more hesitant, but at Qip's rather unexpected urging to throw herself into his arms, she took the chance and also saw through the magic. With a wink, Qip reluctantly let her go and they made their way to join the others at the exit.

The lights returned, the anti-magic field lifted, and their foes began to fade into view. Horror fell upon Elistra to see the reanimated forms of the fallen Champions of the Realm taking positions on the opposite side of the room. No. This was too cruel. A hand upon her shoulder startled her out of her disbelief. Meeting Qip's solemn gaze, the Druid reminded her that they were in a place of illusion, and she should not hold back from fighting mere figments meant to unnerve her. She breathed deeply, nodded at the Akari, and slowly drew her blade. The others did was preparation they could, and battle was joined.

The figments won initiative on them, and Volfeng the Half-Orc Cleric read a scroll of Time Stop. When the jar magic passed, the party saw that he had summoned a huge fiend to fight them, as well. Stonewall the Dwarven Abjurer cast Fly on Brushfire the Elven Fighter, who took the air in order to attack Knox. Trusting Knox to do to Brushfire what he had done to the Jub Jub Bird, McGraenge laid a withering salvo of fire into Volfeng. Elistra attacked the devil, who took appreciable damage despite his damage reduction. Qip shifted into a Dire Tiger in preparation to join McGraenge's assault on Volfeng, while Knox attempted a spell on Brushfire. The fiend, however, attacked during his casting, and he lost the spell. 

The false Champions continued their assault, and the party felt themselves waver, even as Volfeng fell to McGraenge, Qip, and Floofs. Knox was barely clinging to life from Brushfire's attacks. Qip saw the wizard's dire condition and cast a targeted Greater Dispel on Brushfire, removing the magic that gave her flight and resistance to magic. Finally, the bloodied Knox was able to cast Maze on the fighter, removing her from the fight. For a time.

Now left with the fiend and Stonewall, the part was still hurting. McGraenge and Elistra peppered him with shot and arrow, which mostly served to whittle away at his Mirror Images. Qip decided to try another Great Dispel, and succeeded in unsummoning the fiend and removing some of Stonewall's defenses. Panting but not yielding, the group finally felled the wizard, who faded away like Volfeng. Now with some time to breathe, Qip used Heal to remove the grievous wounds from Knox and McGraenge and Knox granted Elistra the benefit of Greater Invisibility. As everyone else took position, Qip healed himself a bit and poured as much buffing magic as he could into himself and Floofs. When Brushfire reappeared, she proved a formidable opponent on her own. She once more wore away at McGraenge and Qip, but Elistra carried the day. She forced herself to look at the likeness of her former friend as her invisible blade delivered the final blow. 

As the elven woman faded away, her face grew serene as the challenge she represented was overcome. Its purpose complete, the figment passed gently into the ether. Sheathing her sword, Elistra could only hope that the true souls of her friends knew such peace. And that one day, she would find it herself.

Session 130 - The One Who Knox

posted Aug 12, 2017, 8:54 PM by Will McCain   [ updated Aug 25, 2017, 10:19 AM by Paul H ]

Returning to Team Wizard, the Knox-led party found themselves in what initially appeared to be a barren room. Taking a cautious step forward, the ground disappeared beneath them and they fell a short distance into a circular room with several gaunt humanoids pressing themselves against the obsidian wall. In the center of the room was a stand with magical device. Looking upon it, Knox deduced that the item caused a fear effect in people, forcing them to flee as far as they could from it and find the nearest corner to cower in, much as many of his spells did. However, with no corners to be found upon the slick, black walls, the people in the room could do nothing but continuously shuffle against its edge. Doing so long without food had clearly led to their emaciated state. While the group puzzled over it, McGraenge was unfortunate to fall under its effect and backed into the wall, trying to find some purchase. They began tossing out ideas then, suggesting that perhaps erecting cloth barriers would could as corners for the spell and be enough to fulfill whatever bizarre conditions the puzzle required. It was then that, in examining the worn people moving along fearfully, Qip found his hand passing through one of them and saw through the illusion. The people, the item, even the walls and the fall through the floor had been fabricated. They didn't need to solve some cruel game. They simply had to break through the deception. Qip urged Knox to test it himself, and the wizard, too, saw the truth of things. Elistra followed suit, but McGraenge remained horrified at seeing his friends' hands pass idly through solid people. Working around the spell, they told him to try and create a corner by chipping into the obsidian wall. Obliging, he drew and dagger and chipped at it. The brittle material gave way easily, which was enough to dispel the elaborate ruse and summon their true test. 

Looking upon the creatures slowly appearing to face them, each member of the group felt a chill run down their spines as they beheld a khala and the dreaded jubjub bird. When battle began, they wasted no time. Since they recalled more about it, they decided to take out the khala first. McGraenge opened up with a volley of shots that left a number of gaping holes in its hide. Elistra followed up with a dashing sneak attack. Before Qip or Knox could add their own attacks, however, the dragon responded by laying several savage blows into Elistra and hit Knox with a freezing beam that encased the wizard in ice. For its part, the jubjub bird emitted a horrible shriek that stunned the party and stole their momentum. Knox was the only one to resist its effect, and saw the brave souls who had followed him now turned to prey.

Well that simply wouldn't stand.

Muffled by layers of magical ice, there was no way for the residents of the room to hear the words of power that froze time around them. Nor did they hear the other mystical chant that teleported Knox out of the ice to float freely once more in the air. He surveyed the scene briefly, for that was all that was needed. Correcting an earlier oversight, he summoned Mirror Images around himself. He then placed a barrier of fire carefully around the dragon to punish it for the umbrage of hurting one of his teammates. Finally, as he felt the flow of time begin to reassert itself, he readied a spell to dismiss the annoyance of the jubjub bird until conditions were more optimal. It barely had time to blink before it was transported away into an extradimensional Maze. It would only be gone for ten minutes, but that was more than enough to tidy things up.

Between the flames surrounding it and the renewed assault of the party, the khala quickly fell and disappeared. Knox handed out further magical enhancements while Qip tended to the injured Elistra. They all took their places around where the jubjub bird would reappear, flanked on either side by Qip as a Fire Elemental and Floofs, who were both now huge-sized. The dreaded fowl popped back into existence, but only lasted a matter of seconds under the withering assault of bullets, blade, flaming fists, and deadly magic. It, too, disappeared, and their way forward opened.

Knox smiled. All according to plan.

Session 129 - Bargain Teams

posted Jul 23, 2017, 10:32 AM by Will McCain   [ updated Jul 23, 2017, 11:55 AM by Paul H ]

Alera's team felt they were closing in on their goal. After several rooms with minor challenges, they arrived in one with a strange puzzle. In the center was a large pot sitting over a fire and filled with some kind of soup. None of the girls wanted to try it. To their right on the western wall was a simple wooden chair with one leg broken. Opposite it on the eastern wall was a rose bush growing from the stone floor. 

Before they could figure out what to do, Triss wanted to make sure none of the items were trapped. When she approached the pot, she was hit with a Shout spell. Fortunately, it didn't do much to her, so she tried to find the trigger she had obviously stepped on. After a few minutes, she was confused to find that... there wasn't one? Clearly it was a trap, but the trigger condition apparently only being in the vicinity of the pot. Shrugging it off for now, she examined the rose bush and the chair, finding no traps on them (though the rose thorns were poisoned). Curiously, the Shout trap didn't trigger when she was by the other items, so the party reckoned that the pot must be just within the radius of the Shout's cone of effect. They thought long and hard at the northern part of the room. Nothing seemed to fit. A seat to the west. Thorns to the east. Shout to the south. Ah ha! The directions were anagrams (the title = "anagrams bite") for where each item needed to be. After rearranging the room, their foes began to fade in. Time to fight.

They had two opponents, a nemhain and a rune giant. While everyone did their usual preparations, Alera case Holy Word upon her friends, offering them further defense against the creature's abilities. Pebble delivered the first blows, followed quickly by Amii and Triss. After their assault, the giant was nearly done for, but the <undead> still had some tricks. It tried to use one of its abilities on Pebble, but Alera's Holy Word had strengthened her mind enough to resist the effect. With Amii's final barrage, both creatures were reduced to smoldering ash. After healing, fist bumps, and lots of licks from Lickity, the triumphant women proceeded to their final reward.

Session 128 - Ice Ice Snakey

posted Jul 7, 2017, 11:41 AM by Paul H

Meanwhile, Alera's fellows found themselves confronted with a room filled with metallic spider webs. The heroes tried to advance, but it only drew the attention of clockwork spiders, the maw of each shedding sparks like drool. Amii was able to discern that the composition of the faux-silk strands was such that they must share a copper core. She asked her fellows to trust her judgment, and the group each advanced somewhat into the room. The spiders started to close in, and Amii used her magic to send an electric shock through the strands, harming the spiders. It was not enough to defeat them, but each spider reactively attacked the strands, sending a much greater current through the room which destroyed them all. Amii is no longer the frightened girl she had been.

A while later, the team arrived in a room featuring a pedestal. On that pedestal was a complex lure appearing to be a pentacle, each point of which indicated a certain symbol. The heroes triggered traps inherent to the engraving before they realized to rotate the pentacle in its tray. When they'd pointed it at the exit door and depressed it, the puzzle faded from view and monsters faded in: a frigid, long-taloned undead and a gargantuan triple serpent. This winterwight and xacarba were a true challenge, but eventually proved no match for the (admittedly Constitution-drained) team. More details forthcoming.

Session 127 - Down with the Sickness

posted Mar 31, 2017, 12:39 PM by Will McCain   [ updated Jul 7, 2017, 11:29 AM by Paul H ]

After resting up, Lucas rallied his party and led them deeper into the depths of danger and illusion. 

At one point, a mysterious shapechanger blocked the party's path. He challenged them to a one-on-one duel in order to proceed, though he would take the form of whoever faced him. Nico strode forth without hesitation and quickly stripped out of her armor and clothing. Taking a simple dagger, she squared off against her confused double. The two Nicos began to trade blows of equal force, but Nico used her Lay on Hands to mend her wounds. Without the blessings of a paladin, the other Nico could only desperately struggle against her withering vitality. It was quickly defeated, and a nonplussed Nico donned her armor again and bid the rest of the party continue on. Such things had to be done sometimes, after all.

In another room, the party found two complicated metal structures affixed to either side of the wall with chains running along the ceiling. After checking that they held no traps, the group was unsure what to do with them. Finding what amounted to small bear traps in their folds, Yanjing tested one by allowing it to clamp down on his arm. Pulling on it revealed that it was attached to the mechanism that opened the door. Without hesitation, he let the other three pairs of metal teeth bite down on him. Then, he pulled them taught towards the door, opening it enough for the group to pass through. He then pried them off and ducked under the passage himself. Shrugging off his wounds, he pressed onward.

Finally, Lucas' band found themselves in a room covered in an ornate mural depicting, of all things, the time when the Guren uplifted the various races of the continent. There were pieces of real material worked into it in certain places. Found no mechanisms or traps, so they checked the door at the far end of the room. When they opened it, they were greeted with the sight of their own backs. The door, it seemed, was a portal linked to the entrance. Indeed, when one of them stepped through it, he appeared at the other side of the room. 

Not seeing this as helpful, they looked for other, hidden passages. Lucas found another door in the floor that led to its sibling at the ceiling. Once more, they acted as a pair of portals. The one of the ceiling, however, was surrounded by a curious part of the mural. A gnome was situated near it, and all around was the outer border of a thought bubble used in comics. It was as if the entire room existed in the imagination of the gnome, except for this door. The party felt there was meaning here, so they tried testing the portal. Nothing knew was found until Master Morvant decided to take some of the wood and flint from the mural and strike it alight. Holding it up to the doorway didn't do anything on it's own, but it did allow them to see the smoke from the flame passing away from the portal and towards the corner of the room. Inspecting there, they found a fifth portal. After passing through it, they felt the weight of familiar magic upon them, and a fell beast began to appear before them.

This time, they found a singular, enormous dragon. It was a taniniver, a strange, seldom seen type that Morvant had only read bits and pieces about. It was by nature diseased, and in constant search for a cure to its suffering. Lucas contracted mummy rot from merely attacking it, while the other fighters had to be careful of its pestilence. Their battle was a straightforward one of cuts and strikes. Nico, in particular, did much damage with her paladin ability to Smite Evil. For his part, Master Morvant was able to stun the beast for a few moments. It was enough time for the three fighters to finish it off without having to worry about suffering any other attacks or illnesses. Afterward, Nico tended to Lucas' condition, and they all breathed a now-healthy sigh at a battle won.

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