Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Godsmite

Naoidheamh 35-36, 6639 (yes, you repeated a day)

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, bat familiar
    • Clench, Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, Panther
    • Noona, Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
    • Herman Thorpe, Ectomancer
      • Baelnar Grimtor, Dwarven Sapper
  • Crolack, Thrassian Gladiator
    • Kurt Steinbacke, Dwarven Deep Monk
  • Mor Gibs, Wonderworker
  • Saphira Moonstone, Gold Skinscribe
    • Pentzkin Singletossle Pocketspringer, gnomish beastmaster
    • Alun Tsornyl, Sylph Ranger
  • Te'a Tsuki Megumi, Elven Polydoctorate
    • Harvey Usagi, Rabbitwere
  • Fayleen Ross, Darklord
    • Zai-car, Zaharan Ruinguard
  • Aingeal Bàs Eleonara, Witch

The final scale destroyed, a mage suddenly showed up, teleporting in with a CRACK. Gróin recognized him immediately - it was Chancellor Lucious! Though he seemed about 20 years older than last they had met, only a year and a half before. He waved it off as "something about time travel," and suggested that the group "meet some friends of his." A wave of steam washed over the plains, and when it cleared, the party found themselves standing in a dark, spacious, indoor amphitheater. On the stage are twelve podioums, grouped in sets of three, dark apart from a light that glowed over Chancellor Lucious's head. Interestingly, the entire party was there, including those that had teleported away to destroy the scale. He introduced the Council of 12:

  • Human: Chancellor Lucious, lvl 14 Mage; middle-aged fellow, looks familiar, because he's the time-traveling fellow that killed a dragon turtle.
  • Nobiran: Evelyn Archiater, lvl 12 Nobiran Wonderworker, one of the head Instrumentalists, with an obvious Instrumentalist brand on her forehead.
  • Zaharan: Emir Yazdi, lvl 12 Zaharan Ruinguard, one of the head Seekers, obvious from the symbols on his gear.
  • True Elf: Dwyn Vispasial, lvl 12 Elven Courtier; one of the newly-risen True Elves.
  • Dwarf: Thorfridh Oakenback, lvl 13 Dwarven Vaultguard, a member of the Ruling Council of the Dwarves (she waved at Gróin).
  • Dragon: Angura Whitefang, Venerable Amphithere; demigod of Lawful Dragons.
  • Beastwere: Standing Bear, lvl 9 Wolfwere; aka Mother Bear, granddaughter of Bear (the god).
  • Treant: Larch Hardwood, 14 HD Treant; last of the First Trees (though he spent thousands of years in a valley, and didn't really see much during that time).
  • Magic: The Phares, a sentient +4 sword.
  • Thrassian: Filesh Toggrodh, level 11 Thrassian Gladiator; descendant of the original Thrassians.
  • Fae: Prince Fenix and Princess Maedhe (Fall/Winter), of the Summer and Winter Fae, respectively; they are sharing the podium, since it is Beastnight, the Fall Equinox.
  • Gnome: Panderick Rumblefine Monkeybloomer, lvl 12 Gnomish Trickster, a deadly serious Gnome with a scar over his left eye.

Once the introductions were finished, the Nobiran explained the reason they were brought: "We called you here for a grave matter, of the utmost importance. You've come... rather highly recommended, actually, by Mannanan. And Loki. And Coyote, though you can never be too sure of what he's actually saying. They say that you... assisted them before. And that you are the ideal force for good, regardless of your... er... inclinations. Coyote said something about it being otherwise impossible, because you are the 'player characters', or something?"

The Zaharan interrupted. "Ignoring Coyote's mad ramblings, we have been lead to believe that you are the last, best hope for Mareten, and indeed all of Mor-Thir."

Nodding, the Elf took up the narrative: "Indeed - most telling is that you, and you alone, have managed to destroy the seven scales. Ah - when the sixth scale was destroyed, the Faultless Diamond fell to dust - and thus this meeting was convened."

The Thrassian adjusted his glasses, and finished, "We cannot interfere directly; our power as Council forbids it. We can, however, convey messages, and so gather any willing to assist you. We can only do so at your bidding, however; is this your desire?"

Caranthir managed to get out a "Ye-" before the Thrassian cut him off. "Ah, good, we already did. I hope you will find the people we summoned to your liking:"

  • The Bardbarians, recently having finished their second Beyond The Wall tour.
  • The silver dragon of Mareten Tower
  • The three gargoyles from what is now Quetgar's base
  • Flynn, the mage Arkus, and the cleric Clarence Silverbeak, from the God Squad
  • Grek Trieb ("Grek Trieb! Member Grek Trieb? Yeah!")
  • Hjalmar Greathearth the paladin, Ham the barbarian, Twych the cleric, and Toxwell Dishthunder Galazooks, Gnomish Wizard.
  • The Original Nightblade, who has taken the name Du Ryst
  • Mabel the goat and Winklestem Eustache Bottomwobbler, proprieter of "Another Man's Treasure" (& some of his more... potent items)
  • Ajeela, of course
  • The Airwalkers of the Tower, as well as the Blue Dragon there

The group were given a single day to prepare... the same day, in fact, as they were fighting the battle for the scale! The council transported them back in time...

Ready as they would ever be, the party and their friends were transported to a dim, misty battlefield. The Lawful and Neutral gods were arrayed on one side, with the most devout of their followers at their feet, ready for battle. Soon, across the shallow valley, a horde of chaotic creatures charged down; behind them, great shapes stepped out of the fog: Erklik, Jörmungandr, Serpent, Balor, and Ysbaddaden. Each lead its own group of evil minions. As the edges of the two armies met, and battle began, the party moved to assist Kai-Ra; they quickly cut through the massive war elephant and the men and scorpions arrayed against them.

Moving on, they assisted Thor, though during the battle Loki and many of his followers lost hope and fled. Next, while Caranthir and Aingeal tried to rally Loki's followers, the rest of the party took on Ysbaddaden's minions - Rakshasa and Dao - trying to divert focus from Danu. They succeeded, thanks to Quetgar's quick claws, and Manannán's horde of summoned undead. Manannán fought Ysbaddaden, throwing him into a suddenly-appearing swamp.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the valley, the shape of the Wyrm was taking form. With each chaotic god that fell, the Wyrm seemed less translucent. Indeed, it was the Wyrm who had killed the god in the Pointless Tower; he took that power and split it into the forms of the other chaotic gods, traveling here to there in a soul jar.

The party paused for a moment to watch Bear rip the skull from a stegosaurus, and use it to crush a number of enemies, while Coyote giggled and made trees sprout from the chests of charging men. They didn't seem to need much help... However, Lleu and Kai-Ra seemed to be struggling against Balor; they quickly came to their aid, carving through redcaps and trolls, while trying to avoid Balor's horrible death-ray eye. As they finished off the last of the enemies, Gwydion charged up from behind, his twin swords flashing in the weak sunlight; in a moment, Balor was dead.

The last of the chaotic gods destroyed, Alehim stepped onto the field. He approached the Wyrm, his massive sword at the ready, his golden armor flashing in the sunlight. The Wyrm, with a dark cry of rage, hurled itself at Alehim; Calmly, the god raised his sword, and caught the Wyrm on the tip, the sword stabbing into its throat and all the way down its insides. The Wyrm's mouth began to close over the god's arms, but a crack of light shone through the creature, then another, and in a sudden, blinding explosion of light, the Wyrm was destroyed. Good had triumphed! The Wyrm was no more, and its followers were routed, fleeing the battlefield.

Speaking of the battlefield... now that the mist had cleared, the party could see the sun, a dim light, far in the distance. A massive shape was rising on the horizon - the Devourer, also known as Yiyen Biri, or Devorat, a massive gas giant! They were no longer on Terrarum, but one of the great planet's moons; Daelna, in fact.

Danu came to speak with the party - in part, to ask why Gróin only ever used the teleportation aspect of his god-staff. The staff has, as he knew, greater planar teleport once per turn with no downside. It also can (temporarily) turn stones to gems (and vice versa), and can cast illusion spells at will, similar to phantasmal image or illusory terrain, except they are permanent until dispelled. Caranthir wondered what their reward would be for all this; Danu replied that while the gods had little use for treasure, magical or otherwise, she would see that the party were aptly rewarded for their role in the battle.

Indeed, the party had played a pivotal role; had they not assisted Kai-Ra, he would have fallen before Erklik. Of course, had they assisted Loki, he would not have fled; but in helping Lleu, they saved him from destruction by Balor.


I pondered how, exactly, I would award experience. While the party did, in fact, destroy 14 men, 5 scorpions, 1 elephant, 6 wyverns, 6 fire giants, 3 hags, 3 rakshasa, 3 dao, 40 redcaps, and 10 trolls, they also assisted in what was essentially a mass battle. Assuming each was treated, technically, as an independent hero in a mass battle, everyone would get a cut of the entire battle's XP. To that end, I present the XP gained from killing a single chaotic god: as a roughly 68,600 hit dice creature, a god such as Balor would have in the vicinity of 154,321,750 XP. Assuming an epic-scale battle with groups of 10 HD or more creatures, single units would have nearly a million XP. To that end...

Each PC and NPC will gain enough XP to be within 1 XP of their next level. Additionally, each PC present in the battle will receive the following, free except for upkeep, plus 150,000 gp:

  • Rig Bigny: 1 unit of 120 trained battleshrews battlebadgers, and a Cloak of Protection +3
  • Caranthir: 1 unit of 120 dwarven mounted crossbowmen, and a Ring of Spell Turning, with 10 charges
  • Gróin: 1 unit of 120 dwarven mounted crossbowmen, and a Ring of Djinni Calling
  • Crolack: 1 unit of 120 heavy infantry lizardmen, and Boots of Levitation
  • Mor Gibs: 1 wonderworker of each level from 1 to 5, and Eyes of Petrification
  • Saphira Moonstone: 1 skinscribe of each level from 1 to 5,
  • Te'a Tsuki Megumi: 1 polydoctorate of each level from 1 to 5, and a Ring of Command Animal
  • Fayleen Ross, Darklord: 1 unit of 120 Heavy Infantry Hobgoblins, and Eyes of Charming
  • Aingeal Bàs Eleonara: 1 witch of each level from 1 to 5, and a +3 Vorpal Sword (while she can't use it in her usual form, a polymorphed form certainly could!)

Of special note, Sorvald managed to actually hit Balor with an arrow; for that, he is rewarded his own thieves' guild, in the city of his choice, for free.

And thus ends this chapter of The Fourth Age; we will be taking a break from ACKs for a while, to go through a new, unrelated campaign - LeTourneau: East Texas University!

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Final Scale

Naoidheamh 35, 6639: Beastnight!

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, bat familiar
    • Clench, Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, Panther
    • Noona, Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
    • Herman Thorpe, Ectomancer
      • Baelnar Grimtor, Dwarven Sapper
  • Crolack, Thrassian Gladiator
    • Kurt Steinbacke, Dwarven Deep Monk
  • Mor Gibs, Wonderworker
  • Saphira Moonstone, Gold Skinscribe
    • Pentzkin Singletossle Pocketspringer, gnomish beastmaster
    • Alun Tsornyl, Sylph Ranger
  • Te'a Tsuki Megumi, Elven Polydoctorate
    • Harvey Usagi, Rabbitwere
  • Fayleen Ross, Darklord
    • Zai-car, Zaharan Ruinguard
  • Aingeal Bàs Eleonara, Witch

Their armies teleported in, the party quickly organized both the battle and the strike team. With Rig Bigny commanding the battle, they launched their attack...

The units under Rig's command destroyed a unit of bloodhounds, a (terrifying) unit of death chargers, a unit of zombies, two skeleton units, and a flight of wyverns. The dwarven troops, a unit of archers, and a unit of infantry were lost.

The units under Ajeela's command destroyed a unit of bloodhouds, a unit of necropedes, a unit of ghouls, a unit of zombies, and a bone dragon (carrying a commander). She lost her barbarian troops.

Fayleen Ross, commanding the lizardmen, destroyed three units of skeletons.

The war raged back and forth, until Herman Thorpe managed to Hold the majority of the skeleton armies. Shortly afterward, the strike team entered the tower, and quickly (through Locate Object, Detect Traps, and a pile of other spells, wands, and magical objects) managed to race through the magical maze with little effort. They arrived at the scale, and quickly dumped more magic (and holy water) onto the black altar holding the evil scale; those on the battlefield felt its powers weaken. After some quick thinking, Te'a cast Remove Curse on the scale, Saphira quickly wrapped it in a temporary Bag of Holding, and Gróin teleported the lot of them to the main temple to Thor, in the Mountain Dwarf capital.

The evil sinkhole removed, the remaining undead were quickly cut down, while the living creatures routed, fleeing to the hills and forests. Even the general and his unit of manticores fled.

XP is a little weird, so bear with me. Hopefully this isn't too unbalanced.

  • XP from destroyed units
    • 1200 Skeletons (15600)
    • 240 Ghouls (6960)
    • 240 Zombies (6960)
    • 120 Chaos-zombies (9600)
    • 120 Wights (9600)
    • 20 Necropedes (16400)
    • 240 Bloodhounds (11280)
    • 60 Death chargers (8100)
    • 1 Bone Dragon (12800)
    • 60 Wraiths (11400)
    • 240 Harpys (75 of the 240 killed, the rest routed: 15600)
    • 20 Wyverns (22800)
    • 60 Manticores (5 killed; the rest routed: 40800)
  • Total XP from units: 187,900
  • XP lost from friendly losses
    • Berserkers (60 died) (2520)
    • Paladins (0 died) (0)
    • Green Men (2 died) (0)
    • Bladedancers (4 died) (0)
    • Clerics (11 died) (0)
    • Heavy Infantry (98 died) (600)
    • Longbowmen (60 died) (600)
    • Dwarven Heavy Infantry (60 died) (1200)
    • Lizardmen (40 died) (0)
    • Gnomes (0 died) (0)
    • Roc Lobbers (1 died) (0)
  • Total XP lost: 4920
  • XP for Rig Bigny (General): 91,490
  • XP for Rig Bigny (Commander): 22,110
  • XP for Fayleen Ross (Commander): 2,340
  • XP for Mor Gibs (independent hero): 5115
  • XP for Llarm, Ffaufe, Alun, Herman (commanders/lieutenants): 2557

Of course, that's not all. There is also treasure! Hooray! The surviving troops collected 1/2 of the battlefield treasure as payment (or final gifts for the family of the dead); the rest, as well as the treasure in the tower proper, will be split up as desired. With a little bartering, I'm sure you can trade items for cash, so I'll just tally it all as if you got 100% gold.

  • 1,231,200 gp worth of supplies, equipment, and other battlefield treasure was recovered
  • The tower contained the following (well-labeled!) treasure:
    • 81,700 gp in silver, electrum, gold, and platinum
    • 12 jasper (600gp)
    • 8 shells (240gp)
    • 6 citrine (300gp)
    • 4 onyx (200gp)
    • 5 wrought silver studded with moonstone (25,000gp)
    • 23 jade carvings of heroes, monsters, and gods (4600gp)
    • 1 wrought gold necklace (100gp)
    • 1 porcelain curio (200gp)
    • 1 Bone curio (24gp)
    • 1 wrought copper curio (110gp)
    • 1 moonstone curio (3000gp)
    • 1 Fine wood curio (600gp)
    • 6 jars of spices (4800 gp, 6 st)
    • 2 vials of rare poison (2200gp)
    • 1 coat of chimera fur (19,000 gp)
    • 4 rolls of silk (1600 gp, 16 st)
    • 33 rugs of wolf hide (990 gp, 6.534 st)
    • 24 pieces of elephant ivory (1152gp, 11.52 st)
    • 1 metamphora of preserved special components (600 gp, 99.6 st)
  • XP from captured/killed commanders:
    • Hakan Soroush, Zaharan Ruinguard/Mummy Lord: 8200
    • Chulcx Bloodbather, Thrassian Assassin/Vampire: 6600
    • Abigail Rojas, Bladedancer: 3900
    • Geoffrey Wells, Mage: 4800
    • Kharajit, Rakshasa: 3650
    • Porco Chefe, Demon Boar: 2000
    • Sisskt, Arane: escaped
  • XP from treasure: 762616
  • XP from enemy heroes: 29150
  • XP for destroying the final scales: 10000
  • Total character XP: 801,766
  • Total gold for Rig, Caranthir, Gróin, Mor Gibs, Saphira, Te'a, and Fayleen: 108,945 gp
  • XP for Rig, Caranthir, Gróin, Mor Gibs, Saphira, Te'a, and Fayleen: 66,814
  • XP for Faufe, Llarm, Rhea, Gimli, Herman, Baelnar, Pentzkin, Alun, Harvey, and Zai-car: 33,407

Also recovered were the following well-labeled items: Leather Armor +1, Potion of Climbing, Oil of Slipperiness, Scroll of Arcane Spells (Written in Old Zaharan): Invisibility (2nd lvl), Scroll of Ward against Elementals, 2 Short Sword +1, Potion of Sweet Water, Ring of Protection +3, 15', Ring of Wishes (1 wish remaining), Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Old Nobiran): Angelic Choir (1st lvl), and a Treasure Map to 20,000gp. Additionally, the mage's library was rigged to explode if he ever left the area; the dark knowledge within was lost.

Along with the magical items in the tower, there were some found on those killed or captured: Hakan Soroush (captured) was carrying a greatsword, four bone-vials, a crystal ball, and a wand. Chulcx Bloodbather (dead) was wearing chain armor. Abigail Rojas (captured) was wearing a helm, leather armor, and a cloak, and carrying a sword, a knife, and a scroll. Geoffrey Wells (captured) was carrying a staff, a rod, and a wand. The Rakshasa and the Demon Boar had no special items, and were both killed. The only survivor was the arane...

That's a LOT of XP, so I will remind you that you can only advance one level at a time; if you got enough experience to level up more than once, you must cut it off one XP below the next level. However, the XP for the final scales trumps that, so if you're about to go over, you can keep at most 833 over the next level for PCs, or 417 over the next level for henchmen.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Beginning Of The End

Naoidheamh 23-34, 6639; tomorrow is Beastnight...

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, bat familiar
    • Clench, Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, Panther
    • Noona, Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
    • Herman Thorpe, Ectomancer
      • Baelnar Grimtor, Dwarven Sapper
  • Crolack, Thrassian Gladiator
    • Kurt Steinbacke, Dwarven Deep Monk
  • Mor Gibs, Wonderworker
  • Saphira Moonstone, Gold Skinscribe
    • Pentzkin Singletossle Pocketspringer, gnomish beastmaster
    • Alun Tsornyl, Sylph Ranger
  • Te'a Tsuki Megumi, Elven Polydoctorate
    • Harvey Usagi, Rabbitwere
  • Fayleen Ross, Darklord
    • Zai-car, Zaharan Ruinguard
  • Aingeal Bàs Eleonara, Witch

Before I start, I'd like the point out that when we started, we had a total of four players. Now, we have nine, plus another three that have retired. That said, the current major story arc is beginning its inevitable turn towards closure. Even so, this world still has a lot of stories left in it. There are still a number of continents to explore; they may not be as detailed as Mor-Thir, but they still have their stories. There are still planes (aka planets) to find; the [REDACTED] homeworld, which will kick off a rather large storyline, and possibly even a journey to the [REDACTED], which (some of?) the players have (maybe?) visited before (or have they?). And then there's the huge planet with 8 moons... And even beyond all that, I have two different "years later..." storylines. Seriously, there is a lot of wear left on these treads.

But enough of that, back to the present! After hanging around a little - and picking up another party member, Aingeal Bàs Eleonara, a witch - the party decided the best next course of action would be to visit all the various countries they had stayed in before, and try to convince the leaders to send a unit or two their way. While they began, Aingeal and Crolack went to hunt down a dangerous thief. After intimidating a group of men, the two headed to the bad part of town. A little more intimidation later, and they found who they were looking for; or rather, where. The Thrassian "knocked" on the door, sending it crashing to the floor, and the two wandered in. Aingeal decided to try to seduce the guard, which sadly didn't work. The thrassian, not to be outdone, roared angrily, scaring the guard enough to fire his arrow down the hall; the Thrassian charged the door, knocking it off its hinges and thumping the guard pretty soundly.

Their target was sitting, terrified, on a soft chair; after discussing how best to torture the man, they killed his companion and dragged the fellow off to claim their reward: a whole 20 gp!

Meanwhile, the various party members were teleporting around all over the place, talking with the Winter and Summer Fae, the True Elves, the king of Mareten, the Hill, Deep, and Mountain Dwarves, the Northern People, and even the Gnomes, as well as a number of other associates they had found along the way. They tried to contact a few old friends, but they seemed... oddly out of touch. They couldn't find the silver dragon they had freed from the tower, for one.

Caranthir sent Rhea to investigate the Spire; she and Gróin teleported there, and she spent some time creeping through the area. She managed to learn some about their troops, and found that there was at least one living person there, likely a mage. She explored the first two levels of the tower, then left, safely.

After returning, Gróin again teleported away, this time to speak with the gnomes, taking his henchmen, Aingeal, Crolack, and Saphira and her henchmen. Aingeal was suitably freaked out by being turned into a gnome, and Gróin quickly lead them to sample the GodBrew. Baelnar and Alun managed to stave off its effects long enough to reach the god's pub. It was empty, save for a barkeep and a single drunk. The drunk happily sloshed over to them, burbling stories and trying to offer them a drink; he mentioned that all the gods were off planning "shomeshing shooper mmmmportant," which is why they weren't there. As the two felt themselves being pulled back to Mor-Thir, he called after them, "Come back shum time wi' shum frens! An' tell'm Bacchus sent ya!"

Once recovered, the group approached the judge-of-the-day. It was a younger gnome; Aingeal once again attempted to seduce him - not her finest seduction, but... well, this gnome was easy. He fell in love with her immediately, and began gushing sweet nothings to her. When she asked if he'd get her an army, he agreed: the Queen's Guard had returned just a few days ago, and he would be just the right man for the job! Irritated at the prospect of only a single gnome, Aingeal attempted to intimidate the gnome. As it turned out, the gnome was into that sort of thing, and offered his Furry Handcuffs. Not fuzzy handcuffs, oh no. Handcuffs for furries. Aingeal, repulsed, took the advice of the nearby scribe, and quickly left to visit the queen. The queen treated them to tea, and listened serenely to their story. Afterwards, the party decided it was probably best to leave town immediately... before the judge ended his shift!

The gnomes, and everyone else who volunteered to send units, were told to collect their men at a central location, where Gróin could teleport them a unit at a time to a staging ground, then from there... directly to the tower.

Speaking of volunteered units, the results table for the diplomatic unit requisition looks like this:

  • 2-: Hostility: lose favor
  • 3-5: Apathy: no troops, but at least you don't lose favor
  • 6-8: Grudging Support: lose favor, but gain units anyway (melee/ranged)
  • 9-11: Support: gain units (melee/ranged, plus leaders for each)
  • 12+: Enthusiastic Support: gain units, (melee/ranged/special), plus leaders

Each faction had different numbers and types of units; some had no melee and/or ranged (the mages, for instance). Diplomatically speaking, most factions have a -2 modifier, because... well... they don't want to get involved. The Northern People and the people of Grove are especially anti-evil and anti-undead, so they didn't have that modifier. Due to being physically near, the Northern People and the True Elves had a slight positive bonus; the Gnomes, Mountain Dwarves, Hill Dwarves, and jungle lizardmen got a positive bonus from talking with people of their own race. However, the Hill dwarves are trying to build up their army, and the Mountain Dwarves, Deep Dwarves, True Elves, and Gnomes are somewhat insular, so they all got slight negative bonuses. Adding it all up...

The Northern People (rolled 11, modified to 12), the Summer Fae (rolled 17, modified to 15), and the Grove (rolled 11, modified to 12), and the Gnomes (rolled 12, modified to same) all pledged Enthusiastic Support. The Mage College of Riverbend (rolled 12, modified to 10) and the jungle lizardmen (rolled 11, modified to same) both pledged Support. The King of Mareten (rolled 10, modified to 8) and the Hill Dwarves (rolled 11, modified to 7) pledged Grudging Support, though the party's reputation with both kingdoms has dwindled. The Church of Alehim, under Ajeela's efforts (rolled 9, modified to 5) had an Apathetic reaction, as did the True Elves (rolled 7, modified to 4), the Dark Dwarves (rolled 9, modified to 5), and the Northern Dwarves (rolled 9, modified to 5). The Winter Fae, who already hate you... still hate you (rolled 8, modified to 2).

The resulting units you've been given loaned are as follows:

  • Northern People
    • 120 Berserkers (1 unit), lead by a 5th level barbarian, Forest Leaf
    • 120 (lvl 1) Paladins (1 unit), lead by a 5th level paladin, Johan Gustafsson
  • Summer Fae
    • 30 Green Men (heavy melee), lead by a sylph, Bryn Silveroak
  • Grove
    • 120 (level 2) Bladedancers (1 unit), lead by a 5th level bladedancer, Lori Grove
    • 120 (level 2) Clerics (1 unit), lead by a 5th level priestess, Julia Williams
  • Mareten
    • 240 heavy infantry (2 units), unlead
    • 240 longbowmen (2 units), unlead
  • Riverbend Mages
    • 2 lieutenants (5th level mages), Herbert White and Rees Haley
  • Hill Dwarves
    • 120 Vaultguards (1 unit), unlead
  • Jungle Lizardmen
    • 240 Lizardmen (2 units), lead by two sub-chieftans, Bas Mnosh and Ra'kaka Portann
  • Gnomes
    • 120 gnomes (1 unit), lead by the Commander of the Queen's Guard
    • 5 Roc Lobbers (1 unit consisting of 5 sets of 4 level 2 Gnomish Tricksters and a level 2 Gnomish Beastmaster driver, all mounted on a Roc), lead by the eldest of the Roc Prepper Sisters, Gnomish Beastmaster Marakkalani Twistspackle Torqueslip. Her other four sisters drive the other four Rocs.

I will, of course, print off all the information for the armies, the leaders, and some info for how these large-scale battles go, so everyone can pick-and-choose who controls what. While you don't need a lieutenant for each unit, it may help. PCs can take part as officers or independent heroes, if they are able. This is a battalion scale battle, so an average unit is 120 men.

Finally, you know from Rhea's recon that the tower has one, possibly more, living creatures. Rhea saw skeletons, zombies, wights, necropedes, death chargers, bloodhounds (the undead ones), wraiths, harpies, wyverns, and manticore in the area - over 2,000 individuals - as well as a huge bone dragon. Chances are, there are more troops elsewhere, if for no other reason than undead are easy to store. Knowing about the harpies allows you to equip friendly units with earplugs. That will allow the units to ignore the effects of the harpies' singing, but each unit costs an extra activation point to activate. You also know a foul darkness lays over the area, blanketing the skies with clouds, and darkening the hearts of any who dare tread that unholy ground; most likely a Forsaken Sinkhole of Evil. That means Turn Undead will not work! Additionally, reversed/necromantic spells cast 2 levels higher, while lawful divine spells cast 2 levels lower, and the undead will be tougher...

XP from encounters: Aingeal and Crolack each got 113 XP, from taking down a vile thief and his accomplice.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Golem Gala

Naoidheamh 23, 6639; next holiday is Beastnight, 9/35 (only 12 days away!)

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, bat familiar
    • Clench, Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, Panther
    • Noona, Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
    • Herman Thorpe, Ectomancer
      • Baelnar Grimtor, Dwarven Sapper
  • (As-yet-unnnamed), Thrassian Gladiator
    • Kurt Steinbacke, Dwarven Deep Monk
  • Mor Gibs, Wonderworker
  • Craydos Silverskin Saphira Moonstone, Gold Skinscribe
    • Pentzkin Singletossle Pocketspringer, gnomish beastmaster
    • Alun Tsornyl, Sylph Ranger
  • Te'a Tsuki Megumi, Elven Polydoctorate
    • Harvey Usagi, Rabbitwere
  • Fayleen Ross, Darklord
    • Zai-car, Zaharan Ruinguard

After much debate, the party finally decided to go take on the great golem, protector of the Hill Dwarf kingdom. They spent nine days researching, building, and entrapping the golem: a hole 60x40 feet, 480' deep, and perfectly square; above, layers of hovering 60x40 iron plates, 6' thick; a stone wall, 40' high, 10' thick, and packed with loose dirt; and, finally, 4 berserkers standing nearby, with bags of devouring full of dirt, who will jump in and dispel themselves to fill in any loose cracks. Whew. Additionally, they made some bets, at 10 to 1 odds, and paid the 10,000 gp deposit the city required before their battle with the golem.

On the morning of the battle, a crowd had gathered, and an almost carnival atmosphere permeated the place. The battle began with Gróin and Baelnor, who removed the last 20' of stone holding up the golem. As the earth crumbled, a summoned berserker, standing on the top of the pile leapt down, slashing at a knob of metal designed to cause the plate to begin falling, then pushed off, screaming "Blood and glory!" on his way down. He was, technically, the first strike against the golem, as it crashed into the pit. Next, the iron plates and the stone and earth slammed into it, and finally the remaining berserkers jumped in, causing a massive blast of earth as the contents of their sacks were suddenly released.

The blast of dust took over a round to clear; just as everyone was beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe, that had worked, there was a sudden tremble, and the ground began to smoke. As the dust and smoke swirled into the air, the ground began to glow red - something was melting it from underneath! A moment later, a massive hand reached out of the rubble, and the golem drug itself to the surface! It sported three shallow gashes on its arm, where the iron plates had hit it.

Saphira (once Craydos) sent her summoned pet to attack, but its claws only threw up sparks on the tough golem (because, as they later learned, only +2 or better weapons could damage it). She also fired a lightning bolt - which seemed to heal it! Gróin and his priestess, of course, threw earth spells at it, but it seemed it was only taking half damage at best from them. Caranthir blasted it with ice breath, but the third blast seemed to do no damage - the golem had raised a shield! The next round, it dropped its shield and blasted a laser beam of destruction, instantly dropping Rhea, and severely injuring Caranthir, as well as setting a swath of grass on fire. It turned to go after Rig, stomping his crab-apparatus, and nearly upending the few not flying. It swatted at the flying beasts nearby, but missed. Finally, the damaged golem was blasted, and fell into nothing but earth. The great green eye toppled out of place, shattering on the ground.

All was, finally, quiet. Until something crawled out of the rubble... a dwarf! "Ehhh... ¿Dónde estoy?"

The dwarf had, it seemed, touched scale long, long ago, and had been trapped within, powering the hulking creature until it was destroyed. He introduced himself as Grop Beardson (a lvl 8 dwarven vaultguard: 16 (+2) str, 6 (-2) int, 8 (-1) wis, 14 (+1) dex, 17 (+2) con, and 11 (+0) cha).

After a little drama, Te'a collected their winnings (a tidy sum!), and the party sold off the pieces of the eye - 61 emerals, worth 2,000 gp each! Normally, it would take a while to sell all that, but with the huge crowd, they were able to easily sell it all in a short period of time.

  • XP from Encounters:
    • Scale Golem (1800)
  • XP from Treasure:
    • 61 emeralds = 122,000
  • Total XP: 123,800
  • XP per PC (Rig, Caranthir, Gróin, Saphira, Te'a, Fayleen): 11,791
  • XP per Henchthing (Noona, Midnight, Rhea, Laurita, Herman, Pentzkin, Alun, Harvey, Zai-car): 5895
  • Gold per PC, not counting winnings: 20,333gp, 3 sp, 3 cp

Also of note, Saphira wanted to hire some mage-types to come and work for her. There were a surprising number of mage-types found who were willing to join up, from level 1 to level 4. I can show off their stats in person, because I can't be bothered to actually copy all the information and format it all today.

Starting experience: 143,564

Monday, September 24, 2018

Curses! (Foiled Again)

Naoidheamh 14, 6639; next holiday is Beastnight, 9/35

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
    • Herman Thorpe, Ectomancer
      • Baelnar Grimtor, Dwarven Sapper
  • (As-yet-unnnamed), Thrassian Gladiator
    • Kurt Steinbacke, Dwarven Deep Monk
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker
  • Craydos Silverskin, the Gold Skinscribe
    • Pentzkin Singletossle Pocketspringer, gnomish beastmaster
    • Alun Tsornyl, Sylph Ranger
  • Te'a Tsuki Megumi, Elven Polydoctorate
    • Harvey Usagi, Rabbitwere
  • Fayleen Ross, Darklord
    • Zai-car, Zaharan Ruinguard

Some of the party still having things to do, the remaining members decided to investigate the map they found. Incidentally, the map lead them to the same location that the Fae treasure map lead...

After some discussion, the group made an educated guess, and teleported to the vicinity of where they believed the treasure lay. It was a good guess; they landed in the correct hex, near a small village. A dusty farmer type wandered out to greet them. They asked if he knew where a certain hill was found; he laughed, and answered, "Well, it was nice meeting you, seniors, senioras, senioritas, but no one leaves that place alive. It's a tourist trap - literally. I wouldn't go in unless I had a deathwish!"

Still, the party pressed for the location, so he lead them to a low hill. Part had collapsed, leaving a low cliff of sorts; a bright red line was drawn in front of the entrance, and a fence surrounded the entire area. Several signs, in various languages, mentioned that stepping over that line will kill you, the local government can't be held responsible for you doing that, and if your religion or home country prohibits or regulates suicide, this counts if anything does. Shrugging, the party assured the man that they would be able to pass through the traps. Fayleen, using her new Gnomish Joke Book, summoned a bug, which was hit with a flurry of arrows as it entered. And then a scything blade, which bisected it. Following the traps in, and trying to disable or avoid them, the party slowly moved inside. They removed a high-powered Cancellation trap, avoided a pit full of yellow mold, dispelled an anti-magic shell and double lightning trap, blocked a slamming wall trap, crawled under a spinning blade trap, then dispelled yet another cancellation trap. The next slamming wall trap, though large, seemed poorly repaired; after that, there were only two pits, covered with blankets. Finally, a pile of stones were stacked over a trip wire; that trap didn't even reset after use.

At the end of the traps, they party reached four fearsome skeletons, clad for battle! Two skeletons held out their polearms, losing the head of one polearm, and the head of the other skeleton in the process. The first skeleton lost its armor; the fourth skeleton, already missing an arm and a leg, tried to raise its sword, but only managed to pivot a full 360 degrees. The priestess turned them easily, though frankly, a loud shout could have put those fellows down. They were a single hit point each, and likely would have killed themselves trying to wield their own weapons. Interestingly, the skeletons were not human, but orcish.

The wooden doorway was trapped with two magical sigils: a 12d6 fire trap, and an enervate trap, both of which were dispelled.

Inside was a somewhat homely room, with three occupants. First was what was obviously a mage of some sort, wearing rotting robes, sitting in a broken wooden chair, his feet propped on a casket. Second was a huge orc, crammed into a defensive position. The third, after some investigation, was inside the casket - a desiccated priestess. Additionally, there were a number of items in the room; a large rug, a fold-up table, and a huge pile of various items, from swords and armor to boxes, bags, and brooches. Most importantly, there was an anti-magic field that filled the entire room...

The entombed priestess was wrapped in some sort of ritual-level binding, a black rag with fine text written on it. The party attempted to communicate with her, but learned something else important: the Staff of the Dead has a 25% chance of raising the corpse as a zombie. The corpse stood, moaning, and began to lumber towards them. Laurita quickly Turned the corpse, and it was blasted into dust... or, rather, it started to blast into dust, but the magical bindings held the corpse together, so it was merely un-zombified. The second cast worked much better, and they asked the dead priestess three questions, which I should have written down but did not. The priestess answered Gróin's suspicions: she was Ajeela!

Meanwhile, the other party members managed to find a pair of secret exits, one of which was a deathtrap, and the other of which lead outside. After successfully triggering the deathtrap and plummeting to his doom, Harvey was rescued and healed by Gróin and company. Using Rhea's Gloves of Curse Prevention, the party gathered the various rings (including the two on the hands of the huge orc), dropped them into a bag, and lugged them through the secret tunnel. Gróin and Laurita, left in the room to talk with the corpse, found themselves suddenly very interested in some of the treasure; Gróin picked out a dashing pair of glasses, while Laurita picked a lovely amulet. After a bit of back and forth, the rest of the party returned, and found that they, too, wanted to grab some items for themselves. Rhea, still wearing the gloves, found that none of the items satisfied her; she picked through them all, finding nothing. Finally, irritated, she tried on a belt, and finally felt relief. Curious at what it did, she crawled out through the exit, stepped away from the anti-magic field. She read the word written on the belt, presumably the command word: "Behold!"

In an instant, the belt activated, and she found her clothes flung open! Startled, she quickly re-dressed, and looked up to see a small child staring open-mouthed, and a pair of very large rabbits rolling on the grass in laughter. Embarrassed, she rejoined the group. The belt, by the way, is enchanted with the Knock spell, self-targeting, usable three times per day. The others chose magic items as well: a scroll for the polydoctorate, a smooth rock for the ruinguard, and so forth.

In the chamber, Laurita had asked Ajeela's corpse if she wanted Atonement; she agreed. Laurita placed her hand on the corpse's forehead to begin the spell, but before she could even start, she found herself suddenly switched into Ajeela's body! And, worse, Ajeela herself was in the priestess's body! (As an aside, this was actually an ideal situation; Ajeela, being a 14th level priestess, and Laurita, being a 9th level priestess, were able to keep all their spells and such in each other's bodies.) After much consternation and accusation (from both sides), they figured out a possible method to return everyone to normal: go to Ajeela's church, and return her eyes, and from there cast the Atonement spell.

Gathering up the various magical items, they stuffed them all in a bag, sorted out which ring was the anti-magic field, and stuck it back into the chamber. Additionally, they added a few more traps, and re-hid the secret exit. They told the farmer, and he didn't seem as shocked as they expected... He rushed back to his house, and returned with simple NDAs for them to sign - non-disclosure agreements. Adventure-tourists frequently came by, and the village made a significant amount of money from them, from selling goods and from recovering their gear if they all snuffed it in the hill. The non-disclosure agreement ensured that the party wouldn't tell anyone that they actually managed to escape the traps... there had been a number of adventurers that had actually made it through, but it was much more mysterious if he could say that none had ever returned. The party was a little leery, until he explained that the signs were there to keep people out, and if anyone went it, it was their own dumb fault; he couldn't stop an adventurer if he tried. They agreed, and signed.

In Foreston, they visited a church of Alehim, and restored Ajeela's eyes; she and the priestess swapped back into their proper bodies, and she healed Gróin's eyes... though he did get a bird-foot out of the deal. Oh well. Ajeela decided to stay at the temple, for now, but said she would be willing to return if the party had a great need.

While that was happening, the rest of the party took their items to a sage, who looked them over. It was a fairly fast job - most of the items were cursed, and his great tome of reference material meant he didn't have to do much study. Here's the list he came up with:

  • Cursed and evil:
    • Rug of Curse Attraction, which causes anyone who touches it to yearn for a cursed item.
    • Amulet of Infection: once per hour, curses a random item (this is what the priestess chose).
    • Deck of Many Thongs: cursed. Oh, gods. A deck of cards in the style of "nekkid lady" playing cards, except it's all pictures of men in thongs. And orcs. And ogres. And trolls. The curse is the after-effect of that image, burned into your brain...
    • Cursed coins: a bag of 1000 gold coins. Each one causes a point of (one of) STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, or CHA damage. Cumulatively.
    • Clown Doll: a freaky doll that always teleports to just ahead of the user any time it is discarded.
  • Cursed, but not evil:
    • Ring of Flight: causes you to be weightless
    • Ring of Unebriation: immune to drunkeness... but not hangovers. May actually be evil.
    • Leather Armor of Hunger: +2 armor, but must eat 4 times a day.
    • Gauntlets of Meager Power: grants strength of 8 (-1) or -5 points, whichever is less.
    • Arrows of Returning: return upon being fired. Instantly. Before hitting the target.
    • Sword of Sarchasm: a sentient sword. "Oh yeah, great job, picked the cursed sword that can talk to you in your sleep, nice work, idiot."
    • Grind Stone: when used for any task, that task must be continued for the next 24 hrs. You will get an XP or stat boost from it, though!
    • Box of Fun: a brightly colored box. When opened, randomly tosses 1d6 cursed items at everyone within 15'.
    • Scroll of Chainmail: reader must make 10 copies and distribute them to his friends, or be at -4 for all actions.
    • Lenses of Powersight: you see everyone as lesser than yourself, and easily defeated.
    • Goggles of Science:
    • Mask of Misplaced Identification: causes anyone within 20' to hear the description of an item in the best light (if bad) or worst light (if good).
    • Belt of Opening: actually has a 3/day knock spell, self-target only, command word "Behold!" Oh, yeah.
  • Evil, but not cursed:
    • Sword of Corruption: deals corruption points instead of damage
    • Bag of Glitter: as dust of appearance, except it curses everyone within 10', and anyone they touch, making invisibility and stealth impossible. Note that it isn't cursed, but casts curse when used.
    • Staff of the Greater Demon: command word 'destroy'. Nothing else is known about the object.
    • Packrat: a stuffed rat. Turns any object it is placed inside into a bad of devouring.
  • Neither evil, nor cursed:
    • Ring of Unsleeping, aka Ring of Paranoia: (the second ring the orc was wearing) grants +2 bonus to AC and saves, and constantly warns you of danger
    • Amulet of Kitten Immunity: immune to all kitten- or cat-based magical effects.
    • Seven League Boots: each step carries you seven leagues*.
    • Helm of Allure: You are irresistibly attractive to anything even vaguely living; automatic success on seduction.
    • Sword of Decay: if it hits a target (0 AC regardless of armor), there is a 25% chance to cause rust as a rust monster.
    • Sword of Healing: causes 1d6 healing on the target. On top of the 1d6 damage it does as a sword. Handy against undead!
    • Sword of Retaliation: magical bonus equal to the number of times the creature hit you; does no damage if never hit.
    • Effreeti Lamp: rub to collect three wishes!
    • Potion of Age Reversal: causes the imbiber to age in reverse.
    • Bag of ???: looks like a normal bag. Has some sort of acid in it. If someone puts something into it, then hands it to another person, the object is gone; holding it again returns the object to the bag. It's magical, but the sage would need to do some intense study to actually figure out what it does.

While Rhea was interested in the corruption-causing sword, Fayleen was adamant that she destroy it. Luckily, the Packrat had caused the bag they stuffed it in to become a bag of devouring, so they stuffed all the cursed items and the sword into the bag, erasing them from existence. Handy, that! As a note: let me know if there were any uncursed items you got rid of, or cursed items that you kept.

*Seven leagues: a league is the distance a man can walk in an hour; in ACKS terms, seven-league boots essentially cause you to travel a full day's journey in a single step. I mean that literally - these boots are based on your normal (land-based) movement speed. You can take a step in the boots once per hour.

There wasn't any XP to be gained this time, from treasure or enemies, but the party did gain a powerful new friend, and a bunch of dubious magical items. As before, starting XP is 137,669 XP.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Airplane

Ochdamh 25 - Naoidheamh 13, 6639; next holiday is Beastnight, 9/35

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
    • Herman Thorpe, Ectomancer
      • Baelnar Grimtor, Dwarven Sapper
  • Sorvald, Thief (As-yet-unnnamed), Thrassian Gladiator
    • Kurt Steinbacke, Dwarven Deep Monk
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker
  • Craydos Silverskin, the Gold Skinscribe
    • Pentzkin Singletossle Pocketspringer, gnomish beastmaster
    • Alun Tsornyl, Sylph Ranger
  • Te'a Tsuki Megumi, Elven Polydoctorate
    • Harvey Usagi, Rabbitwere
  • Fayleen Ross, Darklord
    • Zai-car, Zaharan Ruinguard

Having defeated the dark force holding the tower at bay, and healing the magical vine at the center of the tower, the party exited. As they walked down the large stone steps, they could see vines had already wreathed the tower; as the last foot stepped off the building, there was a deep rumble, and the entire tower was dragged underground! In its place stood a tendril of the vine. The natives stared in shock, then immediately began bowing to the vine. Caranthir grumbled that it wasn't the vine that did all the work, but his comments were largely ignored.

By sheer happenstance, Winklestem Eustache Bottomwobbler, leading his goat Mabel, trudged onto the scene. With a cry of, "Look, Mabel, it's our best customers!" he set up shop, and immediately tried to pawn off his rapidly aging Neutral Water. Te'a and Fayleen were not enticed. They did, however, purchase a joke book, the King of Wands, and a wand of sentience. By way of testing the wands, they turned a wand sentient, and had the King of Wands command it to fire, which incidently used up its last charge. Te'a felt a little bad just discarding it, after that, and kept it around...

Things purchased, they teleported to Caranthir's kingdom, and spent an evening feasting - though Te'a and Harvey went on ahead to Slohaven, and started doing a little research on longevity. The party followed, and began selling off their immense treasure. After two weeks, they sold the lot. Sorvald, meanwhile, found the object of his dreams: the world's most perfect wheel of cheese. Knowing that no other wheel would ever be the same, he spent his entire fortune on the wheel. Its owner, a rather confused Thrassian, kept trying to make change for him, but was eventually convinced to take the whole pile of gold and various magical items. His dream fulfilled, Sorvald bid the party farewell. The Thrassian, realizing anyone with that much money must have quite the adventures - and looking for adventure himself - offered to take the thief's place, and the party agreed to bring him along.

Having a few spare moments on hand, they decided to find the last piece of Elric's equipment: his belt. They teleported to the desert, near where Gróin had envisioned it. They found two things: one, a ruin, with a single building in it, and two, a portal. To the Plane of Air.

In the Plane of Air (surely it's the Airplane? No, it isn't, and stop calling me Shirley), they met the Ying and Yang of the Gem Dragons, Diamond and Onyx. The two moved and spoke in perfect synchronicity; as guardians of the Plane of Air, they were happy to welcome humans and humanoids to their home plane. Various wind elementals, dragons, and other creatures of the air flew near and far; there was no land in sight, which was a little odd for a planet. The party asked where Elric's Earth Belt was; the dragons laughed, and pointed. "You are close, and yet far!"

Onyx pointed far into the distance - stars shimmered in the darkness, but the heavenly body he pointed to was no star, but a planet - the planet the party had just left! Diamond pointed to the portal, from which they had recently arrived. After some further chit-chat, the party returned through the portal, having now crossed that one off their list: they had visited the planes of Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. And had realized that the various planes were actually planets - or planet-like-places, anyway - in their solar system.

Back at the ruins, they met an elderly fellow, and managed to make him slightly more grumpy than he already was by making fun of people with number in their names. Septivus was... not amused. However, he lead them to the basement, where he offered a choice between three items: an item Gróin deduced to be a Sphere of Knowledge, a gold pin in the shape of the Seekers' Eye, and a compass, the symbol of the Instrumentalists. First, he chose the Sphere, which wasn't supposed to be there at all. Second, he chose the Eye, which made the Instrumentalist even more grumpy; he called in two further members, a mage the party had (briefly) met before, and an explorer named Nal McRandy. After much rule discussion, the mage rolled his eyes and left, and the cleric - a Humanist Cleric, granted divine power through his beliefs as a secular humanist - gave up on following the rather intricate regulations, and dumped the various items onto the table.

Along with the belt - which offered Gróin a vision of Elric struggling through a sandstorm, and being pelted with rocks, which he somehow managed to avoid, and showed the belt additionally provided immunity to knockback, along with earth-based damage - the party also was given an eye. A human eye, green, and apparently in perfect working order. Gróin quickly poked out his own eye (yuck) and inserted the new eye; after a moment, he felt he could now cast True Seeing once per day with the eye, and additionally could Sense Intentions and Sense Power, as the proficiencies. It was Ajeela's eye!

There were no encounters, nor treasure, this session, but the XP from selling goods is available:

  • Caranthir, Gróin, and Sorvald receive 16040 XP, and 30086 gp
  • Rig Bigny, Craydos, Fayleen, and Te'a Tsuki receive 13959 XP, and 25924 gp
  • Elenora, Gimli, Laurita, Herman, Baelnar, and Kurt received 8021 XP, plus whatever their share of the treasure is.
  • Pentzkin, Alun, Midnight, Noona, Harvey, and Zai-car each receive 6980 XP, plus their share of the treasure.

Additionally, starting XP is now: 137,669 XP.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Bog-Cheese

Ochdamh 25, 6639; next holiday is Beastnight, 9/35

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
    • Herman Thorpe, Ectomancer
      • Baelnar Grimtor, Dwarven Sapper
  • Sorvald, Thief
    • Kurt Steinbacke, Dwarven Deep Monk
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker
  • Craydos Silverskin, the Gold Skinscribe
    • Pentzkin Singletossle Pocketspringer, gnomish beastmaster
    • Alun Tsornyl, Sylph Ranger
  • [insert-name-here], Elven Polydoctorate
    • Harvey, Wolfwere
  • [bad-with-names], Darklord
    • [some-other-name], Venturer?

Realizing they were about the enter the final floor of the tower, the party stopped and retreated upstairs for a night's rest. Refreshed (though warned by the locals that something bad was coming), they headed back downstairs.

The final level of the tower smelled of damp and rot, and the sulfurous smell of swamp. They had barely gone a few feet into the passage when a voice echoed through the passages: "You... dare... intrude?"

Interestingly, each party member heard the voice in their own native tongue - some kind of magic, surely. They continued on, uncovering the maze surrounding the center, and occasionally hearing more echoed speech. First was a call: "Where... lies... my champion?" followed by a rush of wind, laden with the scent of decay. Then, "My children... come... to me...", and the sound of scrabbling sound and a cacophony of chirping and clicking. Finally, as they near the center (having toasted a couple green slimes), the voice roared, "Erklik... accept this blood sacrifice! ERKLIK!"

The voice receded, but continued to chant. Finally (after the thief and his henchdwarf fell into a pit), they reached the center of the tower, the lowest floor. Torches lined the walls; four pools of water surrounded a dark throne. Mist and magical darkness obscured the throne and its occupant. Six figures lined the walls, human with dark, almost black skin, standing at attention, looking... well, fairly normal, actually. And then combat started... the dark-skinned creatures, awoken by their master, writhed and flailed - bog bodies! The scent of decay was nearly overwhelming, and the poor cat-badgers choked on the overwhelming smell. Caranthir immediately began slashing at the bog-bodies, bringing down six before they could awaken; the others began slowly spreading out.

After a few seconds of fighting, the chanting... stopped. And eight ankhegs burst out of the ground, thought were quickly destroyed. And behind the party, a new mummy stepped out - the dead Thrassian from the day before! The priestess and ectomancer, working together, managed to turn the mummy. The other Thrassians fell before Rig's arrows and a few well-placed hits from the dominated lizardmen.

The battle seemed to be going pretty well, so far at least. Sorvald fired an arrow at the dark shape, but only managed to ricochet from the magical glass surrounding it. Gróin tried to damaged it with a blast of his trumpet, but only managed in damaging himself, and those around him! Caranthir and Gimli slashed at the strange roots dipping into the pools, but apart from damaging them, didn't manage to do much. Finally, Caranthir touched the glass with a Rod of Cancellation, and having drained its magical ability, slammed into it with as much force as his double-sized self could manage. The glass split, cracked across, then in a rapidly-shattering sheet, fell downwards into nothing but shards. The mist cleared (revealing that one of the four openings was, in fact, open), revealing the four carcass scavengers and four rust monsters held within! Caranthir blasted them, and the dark figure, with a double-breath, killing the monsters and... well, gently tickling the massive Thrassian Conduit Bog-Mummy-Lord. The mummy strode out, chopping into the Darklord's companion, and firing a curse at Caranthir (which missed).

This was the main threat. As he fired spells left and right, the Polydoctorate cast two spells: first, a death-ward spell on Caranthir, and second, "Jail", which slams a portcullis-cage onto the target. As the others blasted lightning, cones of cold, and the many earth-based spells of Gróin's party at him, the creature returned fire... and failed. First, his no-save-turn-directly-into-an-undead spell was rebuffed by the Death Ward; then, his other attempts at dishing out damage (or causing everyone to fall asleep) were thwarted. The only one that ever failed was the poor ectomancer, and even he managed to survive the sleep of death.

Even summoning swarms of insects didn't work; eventually, screaming hatred against the skinscribe in particular (he remember the skinscribe's uprising - he was there!), the dark mummy-lord was slain, and his corpse fell into a swarm of insects, which flew out of the chamber. The party quickly located, de-trapped, and smashed the canopic jars, and the mummy lord was no more. The last ankheg, hunted down and slain, revealed a network of tunnels underground, containing treasures; under the throne were even more treasures.

Last, but certainly not least, the vines on the throne were dunked in holy water, and eventually had Cure Disease cast on them; they writhed and healed, and almost immediately, the four stagnant pools cleared of the boggy water. A deep rumble sounded from the tower itself...

And that, folks, is how you use your spells in an intelligent manner and make what was going to be the second hardest fight of the yet-planned story into a walk in the park.

  • Experience from encounters:
    • 2 green slimes (76)
    • 8 Ankhegs (4000)
    • 24 Bog bodies (1920)
    • 4 undead Thrassians (860)
    • 1 Mummy-thrassian (660)
    • 4 rust monsters (800)
    • 4 carcass scavengers (540)
    • 1 Ancient Thrassian Bog-Mummy Lord (9300)
  • Experience from Treasure:
    • Cash (11,450 gp, 12 stone total):
      • 2,000 platinum pieces (10,000 gp, 2 st)
      • 1,000 gold pieces (1000 gp, 1 st)
      • 4,000 silver pieces (400 gp, 4 st)
      • 5,000 copper pieces (50 gp, 5 st)
    • Gems (1.333 stone):
      • 2 diamonds (1,000 gp each)
      • 1 jacinth (4,000 gp)
      • 1 ruby (8,000 gp)
      • 1 ivory jewelry (900 gp)
      • 2 moonstone jewelry (2,000 gp each)
      • 2 gold statuettes (1000 gp each
    • Everything else (42.287 st):
      • 26 jade carvings of dark gods, each worth 200gp (5200 gp, 4.333 st)
      • 1 rich fur coat (2,000gp, 1 st)
      • 16 rugs of large common fur (panther) (1st/150gp, 90 gp each) (1440 gp, 9.504 st)
      • 3 rolls of silk (400gp, 4st each) (1200 gp, 12 st)
      • 12 sticks of rare incense (1 st/100 sticks, 17 gp each) (204 gp, 0.12 st)
      • 3 jars of dyes and pigments (50gp, 5st each) (150 gp, 15 st)
      • 2 sets of superior thieves tools, worth 200gp (1 item) (200 gp, 0.1667 st)
      • 1 vials of rare perfume (1 item each, 125 gp each) (125 gp, 0.1667 st)
  • Total experience (before selling): 29,606 XP
  • Total experience (after selling): 181,469 XP
  • XP for PCs: 2277
  • XP for henches (everyone but Luce and Rhea): 1139
  • Magic items on the Thrassian Conduit:
    • Lifedrinker, a dark, twisted sword (evil, but not cursed; lore says is drains health and gives it to the wielder)
    • Earthbreaker, a Hammer +3 that grants resistance to Earth magic (-1 damage per die, +2 to saves)
    • The Soulstaff (which, if lore is correct, can speak with dead once per hour, as the spell)
    • A tarnished silver coin, currency of Ancient Zahara
    • Plate armor, Thrassian-sized
  • Elsewhere (the throne, the ankhegs, and the ankhegs' nests):
    • A ring
    • A very oddly-jointed club (+3 after testing)
    • Two bags
    • Two swords (+1, after testing)
    • A potion
    • A Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Dwarven): Command Word (1st lvl)
    • A Scroll of Arcane Spells (Written in Dwarven): Resist Electricity (lvl 2), Trance (lvl 1)
    • A lumpy rock