Chornalth Adventures - Liga (Current: Emerald & Diamond)

Arc 2, Episode 27, the Puzzle Box
Docamald Fields, Forever....

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 5th of Wealsun, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd and Giselle, Alexia’s cohort,
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

Alexia’s parents and the household guards showed up seconds after the final foe had surrendered, but the Baron and his wife were more concerned that everyone was okay than they were with the destruction wrought on the room. As the guards dragged the bodies of the fallen away, Alexia recounted the events of the fight, as well as the events that likely led up to it, as well, while Elerra went through the items recovered and discovered to her dismay that the great-swords wielded by their opponents all had minor demons bound into them.

Alexia and her mother took the swords to the Temple of Murlynd to cleanse the corruption from them, while Elerra and the others questioned their prisoner (Elerra’s father having departed to go and “strengthen the wards” guarding the domicile). After agreeing that the soldier would be turned over to the Clergy of Murlynd afterwards, he revealed that when he last saw them, Janos, Jaliseem and Coleman had all been present at the camp outside the town of Docamald, and that the swords he and his companions bore had been provided by Janos’ friend, the elf, whose name was revealed as Losien.

When Elerra sought to check on her crystal ball, she found it freezing cold to the touch and filled with the same roiling, oily black smoke that had been employed by the Black Rooks to guard their command tent from scrying. She and Wilfred sought out the Baron, who managed to clear the smoke and return the crystal to it’s normal temperature, though the crystal remained slightly discolored (and, as they were soon to learn, had lost it’s ability to scry on areas).

When asked if he knew anything specific about Jaliseem, Baron Aerogenesis could reveal little, except that he knew that she had served as Rary’s apprentice until 580 CY, after which she joined her brother Janos in the running of his mercenary company, serving as the head of the arcane services.

As the night progressed, the party decided that the Rary connection might be enough to convince Tenser to aid them. Plans were made to Teleport out to Tenser’s Castle the following morning. On their arrival, they were told that the Archmage was currently occupied, but that he would make time for them later in the day. The guards handed Elerra a strange disk made from an unknown, translucent material, and was told that when the disk began to flash and vibrate, that the Archmage would be prepared to see them.

The party spent the next hour or so cooling their heels in the Sultry Apprentice’s Tavern in Magepoint, until at last the disk they’d been given began to flash a ring of red lights and hum violently. Returning the disk to the guards, one of Tenser’s apprentices led them inside the castle and led them to Tenser, who greeted them warmly.

Dismayed at their tale of attack in the home of Alexia’s parents, Tenser agreed to try and locate Jaliseem, and succeeded, finding her and Coleman riding through low hills, possibly alone (he was keeping the viewpoint narrow so as not to alert them of it’s presence). He further agreed to Teleport the party to the location he’d seen, but cautioned them he’d have no way to recover them. The party then cast a few preparatory spells and arrived on the same road as Coleman, Jaliseem, and a small coterie of foot soldiers.

Elerra promptly blasted the tight-knit riders with a Fireball, but this only served to illustrate that all but one of the soldiers and the mounts of Coleman and Jaliseem were illusions; the mounts died and the soldier stood charred but quite alive. As the battle played out, Coleman and Jaliseem were eventually located despite their Greater Invisibility spells, and Coleman, who had blasted Alexia, Giselle and Meroln with a maximized Lightning Bolt was soon unconscious and dying at the feet of Meroln. The foot soldiers came running out to join the fray, and Jaliseem nearly turned Meroln to her side with a Phantasmal Turncoats spell, but Alexia managed to Dispel it before Meroln had a chance to act.

Wilfred and Mekkatorque eventually moved to melee Jaliseem, and she nearly did to Mekkatorque what she’d tried doing to Meroln, but she could not penetrate his Spell Resistance. Unable to flee due to a Dimensional Anchor spell Wilfred had targeted her with, Coleman down and her foot soldiers dropping one by one, things were beginning to look grim for Jaliseem, but are those horns in the distance…?

It is the 6th of Wealsun, 600 CY.

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Arc 2, Episode 26, the Puzzle Box
I spy, with my wandering eye...

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 4th of Wealsun, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.
and introducing Giselle Ratchetgear, Alexia’s gnome synthesist-summoner cohort.

The following morning, Alexia made inquiries concerning any former members of the Black Rook Company that might have settled in the region, and one of her retainers gave her the name and directions for Kaden Hral, a mercenary who had retired from the company perhaps 10 years previously. Seeing no reason to waste time, she and Meroln set out to speak with him after breakfast.

The ride out to his orchards took perhaps an hour, and it was clear from the environs that the former mercenary was doing quite well for himself. When the two arrived at his large home, they were greeted by his 10 year old daughter Lizet, who, after informing the pair that her daddy was down by the distillery, proceeded to ask Alexia endless questions about her clockwork steed. Upon learning that the contraption had never been named, Lizet promptly dubbed it “Sparkles”.

At the distillery, the pair soon found Kaden, a tall man whose fighting trim was beginning to vanish behind the paunch of his belly. The two spent several hours drawing him out about his former company, learning that he had served under Elias Tandovr in the Greyhawk Wars, seeing action mostly in Furyondy and the Shield Lands. While he had never served directly under Janos, he said that he had heard that he had his father’s knowledge of tactics and also praised Jaliseem for her growing skill at crafting battlefield illusions.

While he had no real knowledge of the commanders and the faiths they might follow, the only war-god he had never seen a priest of among the company was Heironeous, which he added, “was more the god of knights than of mercenaries”. While talking with the two, he also mentioned that another alumni of the company, Mikhail Draz, was now a mason in a village perhaps 10 miles further north, and that come Patchwall he expected to sell another 20+ barrels of cider to Dalen Mynar, a dwarf who served the company as a quartermaster.

Furthermore, he stated that the previous year’s shipment had been sent to Axeport in the Shield Lands, and that it was likely bound for Docamald. He said it was likely that that would be their base for the summer’s conflicts. When asked if they could arrange a meeting with Dalen, Kaden said that he didn’t expect him until after Brewfest, but that he would send word when he was again in the area.

Returning to the city, Alexia and Meroln encountered a lone clockwork mechanical approaching them. As it drew near, the clockwork contracted itself, sliding back into itself until it revealed the young gnomish female that had been inside. The young woman introduced herself as Giselle Ratchetgear, a “robomancer” who wished to pledge herself in service to Alexia. As they continued their journey home, the two of them worked out the details of their arrangement, and Giselle was introduced to the greater group upon their return.

Afterwards, based on the information Alexia and Meroln had gained, Elerra used her crystal ball to scry on Axeport, and followed the roads to Docamald, where she found the Black Rook’s encampment. She encountered resistance penetrating the command tent, as a layer of thick, black, oily smoke clung to the fabric. Inside the main tent, she found a large map of the Shield Lands, with the towns of Nairen, Weslan, and Shepkote marked as being occupied by the forces of Iuz. Also on the main table was a large bell jar containing a blinded quasit, and a strange black stone sculpture with a smooth concave depression sat at the rear of the tent. Also present were Jaliseem and Colman; she could tell that Jaliseem was a fellow mythic.

Examining other tents, she found that one of the large tents near the command tent contained a shrine to Hextor, where a priestess of Sotillion was kept magically bound, and obviously subdued, presumably for her services as a healer. None of the tents looked as though they might be Jaliseem’s, however. After conferring with her fellows, she returned to her labors, estimating that perhaps as many as two thousand troops were encamped there, and based on their spirits, fresh from a recent battle that they’d won. Also, from the urgency of their activities, they were anticipating battle again, and soon.

The town of Docamald, itself, seemed to have turned itself over to the service of the company, and the inns and pleasure houses along it’s red light district were quite busy. Turning her attention back to the camp itself, she witnessed Janos and an unknown companion, an elf, both obviously mythic, ride back into the encampment, but there was something odd about their approach – no one challenged him, or his companion. Her companions, who were also watching through the crystal ball, pointed this out almost immediately.

While the group began to doubt the “veracity” of what they were seeing, remembering that Jaliseem was a mistress of misdirection on the battlefield. As Elerra brought her scrying point nearer to the command tent, she spotted a mote of light slowly moving through the camp. As it grew nearer, she recognized it as one of the disembodied eyes of the quasit she’d seen earlier. It spotted her, and as it rushed at the focus of her crystal ball, she broke the connection and quickly stuffed the ball into her haversack.

The group began discussing plans, perhaps merely to rescue the priestess they’d seen earlier, or perhaps to wipe out the leadership of the Company on one fell swoop. However, while they debated their plans, others put theirs into action. From the bedroom attached to the sitting room they were planning in, Wilfred clearly heard the sound of a dimensional portal opening, and soon a number of soldiers wearing the colors of the Black Rook company swarmed into the room with them.

Swords and spells flew, and Squizzles was knocked unconscious, but as we broke for the evening, one survivor of the invading force knelt before the party, asking they accept his surrender…

It is the 5th of Wealsun, 600 CY.

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Arc 2, Episode 25, the Puzzle Box
Foundations

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 28th of Flocktime, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

Meroln and Sam quickly moved to dispatch the spiders in the alley, and Elerra blasted the drow hiding in the kitchen with an acid-elemental Mythic Fireball, which finished off all but one of the spiders, killed the goblin sorcerer, and severely weakened the drow. Meroln quickly dispatched the remaining drow as Elerra moved through the wagon in the alley trying to spot the snow elves on the rooftops. As the excitement died down inside the inn, Wilfred used a Teleport to send himself, Mekkatorque, Sam and Meroln to one of the nearby rooftops where he’d previously seen the snow elves in Elerra’s crystal ball. The snow elves were already gone.

As the battle in and around the inn wound down, the city watch began to arrive. Meroln and Alexia took turns trying to explain the situation, which seemed to only grow worse, as the guards quickly recognized Tomoso as Lord Venne (who, as it turned out, was the brother-in-law of the Mayor’s sister, as well as a very highly placed member of the local thieves’ guild). Lord Venne disavowed his sole remaining retainer, and, as Meroln whispered to him that he owed him his life, he made his exit.

When the local watch captain, Arturo Tand, recognized Alexia as a noblewoman, the tenor of the questions changed and the interview began to go much smoother. Eventually the owner of Galasso’s Gate appeared, and after surveying the damage, told the group as well as his other guests that the inn would be closing for repairs. The party then briefly sought refuge in the common room of the Pig & Otyugh before deciding that Teleporting to Narwell was probably a better choice.

The following morning they Teleported to Narwell, and were received by Baron & Lady Aerogenesis at their manor in the city. Plans for their castle were drawn up, and plans for a road from Narwell to that location were also planned. The group also reviewed with the Baron what he knew of the Black Rook Company, as well as their leadership.

The Baron said that he had known Elias Tandovr as a young man, and had often employed his mercenaries for a variety of conflicts. Unlike many mercenary companies, he said that the Black Rook preferred active campaigning to garrison detail, and cited the Northern Leering Keep at the Riftcanyon as their current organizational HQ. The Baron also stated that of late, Janos Tandovr had been known to associate with the leader of the “false priests” of Mabelrode, who currently made Riftcrag as their base of operations.

When asked specifically about Jaliseem, the Baron’s face could be seen to wrinkle in distaste. He revealed that in addition to being Janos’ twin, that she specialized in battlefield illusions, sculpting terrain and hiding troop movements. A keen and devious mind, he called her, one accustomed to controlling everyone and everything around her.

Later that evening, Elerra attempted to scry the keep, but was overcome by the sensation that something powerful and evil was staring back at her, ready to reach through her crystal ball and snuff her out. Hearing her tale, Squizzles guessed that there was a chance that an elder demonic form, an obyrith perhaps, was bound to the very walls of the structure guarding it against scrying in it’s own special way.

When we parted, the group had spent several days in the Aerogenesis manor, going over designs for their border fortress and planning their next moves…

It is the 4th of Wealsun, 600 CY.

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Arc 2, Episode 24, the Puzzle Box
Three times a lady, or perhaps a trilogy of ambushes...

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 27th of Flocktime, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

Shortly after the building they were searching caught fire, the party teleported back to the ruins of Castle Greyhawk, to make their way nonchalantly back to Greyhawk as if nothing had happened. The group congregated in Elerra’s room at Galasso’s Gate to discuss developments and to plan their next move.

Tomoso continued to be immune to scrying, though Elerra did manage a brief view of the mage they’d encountered at the ruins before he entered Tomoso’s presence and was also clouded from view. As the hour had grown quite late, the group decided to keep watches and discuss the matter further in the morning.

At around 2 AM, Squizzles detected a group of individuals in the hallway outside their rooms, ambling about obviously searching for something and trying to be quiet about it. Peering through his keyhole, he saw a number of what he recognized as snow elves in “outdoorsy” gear checking the doors and generally lurking in the hallway. He promptly cast Message, and once he managed to awaken Elerra, informed her of their presence (both of them being quite aware that snow elves had a particular hatred for drow). Elerra donned her Mask and was quickly spotted by the last two elves as they made their way back downstairs. They apologized for the commotion, explaining that they were merely checking on a friend who had too much to drink. She then went back inside her room, brought out her crystal ball, and proceeded to watch them as they exited the inn, broke into three groups, and took up sniper positions with clear views of the inn’s exits. She informed her companions of this development, then they returned to sleep and their watches.

Elerra tried scrying on the other rooms in the inn, but within a few minutes was interrupted by a knock, and the night manager informed her that the inn was requesting that she honor the privacy of her fellow guests. She told him about the snow elves setting up sniper posts outside, and he responded that he would see to it that notices were posted at the front entrance to that effect…

The following morning they all met downstairs (early) for breakfast, though the kitchen wasn’t quite open yet. A number of carts were outside, making deliveries, and Squizzles noticed that the one delivering bread and pastries had a very familiar feline sitting alongside the driver, which he pointed out to Meroln. Eventually Meroln went outside to see the cat for himself, it being pretty odd that the cat in question would be in Greyhawk. Meanwhile, Sam went out the back door to check on one of the produce carts that had a suspicious lack of activity around it.

When Sam finally reached the street from the alley, close to Meroln, they were both hit with a Glitterdust spell from the previously-Invisible mage who had been standing on top of the “suspicious” cart. As Sam scaled the wall of the alley to reach the mage, he also discovered that the sides of the cart were illusionary, as two of the warriors hidden within attacked him. They began flowing out of both sides of the cart as Meroln moved to try and startle the horses, hoping to set the cart in motion.

The bulk of the party remained inside the inn, interpreting the noise outside as a possibly comical attempt by Sam and Meroln to catch the cat. Elerra eventually drew out her crystal ball to view the scene, only to recognize Tomoso and the mage who’d escaped their ambush at the ruins fighting Sam and Meroln. As the rest of the party flowed out of the inn to join the fray, Elerra remained inside, sending her freshly crafted Golden Raptors (variant of the Golden Lion Figurine of Wonderous Power) out to join the fight. When Wilfred recognized the mage from the previous encounter, he quickly hit him with a Dimensional Anchor spell (which he gained access to via a Hero Point) to keep him from fleeing again.

Sam was quickly losing his fight, as the mage had blasted him with a Boneshatter spell early on that left him weakened and fatigued. He’d also managed to bring a wand into play through his Dancing Wand spell that outright slew the horses tied to the cart (as well as Elerra’s raptors) and generally weakened everyone in close proximity when it unleashed a Cold-based Fireball at ground zero. As Alexia moved in to heal Sam, she was blasted with an Enervation for her trouble. But with most of the party now present, the odds began to favor them once more. Tomoso had finally surrendered, and Meroln took a moment to bind him.

While this was happening, Elerra, still fearing the snipers outside, eventually grew bold enough to move through the kitchen to try and reach the alley to (hopefully) provide her companions with more firepower. But instead of the kitchen staff, she encountered a pile of dead bodies (the aforementioned kitchen staff, the inn’s guards, and some tradesmen), and a pair of drow, their goblin servant, and a pair of large wolf spiders. One of the drow, an Inquisitor of Lolth that she recognized from her homeland, tried to use his Greater Brand on her, while the Priestess of Lolth moved to block the door. The goblin tried to hit Elerra with a Dimensional Anchor, but he missed, and she quickly used Teleport to flee out to the street while the spiders tried to web her.

Once she reached the street, she cast a Mirror Image on herself and began screaming about the drow in the kitchen, the first time any of her companions had ever really seen her afraid of anything. The snipers on the rooftops (remember them?) promptly began thinning her images. Squizzles threw a Grease spell in front of the door in the alley. One of the drow kicked open the door to the alley, and the area was quickly blanketed in Deeper Darkness, which cloaked everyone except Elerra in darkness (to the delight and joy of the snipers, who kept firing and shaving away her defensive images). One of Tomoso’s thugs, who’d been considering surrendering until the shouts about more drow had confused the issue for him, took this opportunity to hide under the cart and wait for the world to make sense again.

As we broke for the evening, Wilfred had smeared Oil of Daylight over Mekkatorque, revealing the pair of wolf spiders that had entered the alley, and once again illuminating Elerra to the snipers (she’d just stepped into the Deeper Darkness to hide from them).

It is the 28th of Flocktime, 600 CY.

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Arc 2, Episode 23, the Puzzle Box
Leaflets, leaflets everywhere...

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 10th of Planting, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

As the party sorted through the dragon’s horde, Elerra chanced to be the first to touch the large puzzle box (which shrank to a cube about 10" per side when she did so). She then stowed it away for further analysis later. The coins, gems, and other magic held within the dragon’s lair was then stowed into the group’s various Handy Haversack’s and Bags of Holding before the group teleported out of the lair and back to the town of Longwood, where they made a substantial donation to the Temple of Pelor there before teleporting back to Greyhawk.

Once back in the city, the group decided that their presence at the Green Dragon Inn was too well known, so they took up residence at Galasso’s Gate instead (though Meroln could often be found in that vicinity as he continued to pursue a relationship with Jenny, one of the barmaids there). While Alexia set out on her mechanical horse to Narwell to ask her parents about ceding the group some land upon which to build a fortress, the rest of the group set themselves to various tasks; Elerra crafted a number of magic items, Wilfred could often be found socializing with his fellows at the Grey College, and Sam spent much time practicing his facial camouflage, learning (again) how to manipulate his features in a way that would allow him to pass unnoticed among humans.

Squizzles, still intent on his quest to collect a scale from each type of chromatic dragon, learned of two white dragons with lairs that were known. One, called Illinax, laired in the glaciers of the Land of Black Ice, and was reputed to be a spellcaster of some repute. The other, known as Telmaker, was more bestial, and said to lair in the Corusk Mts, somewhere south of Dokkhulder and west of the Sable Forest in the lands of the Cruski, or Ice Barbarians.

Meroln was the first of the party to spot wanted posters for Sam going up around town, but these, unlike the one carried by the last group of bounty hunters, offered only 6000 gold for his capture, and listed a man named Tomoso with an office in the Clerksberg section of town as the interested party.

Meanwhile, Elerra, in between crafting items for herself, had finally managed to unlock the puzzle box, revealing a hemisphere with an incised spot for an outspread hand. When she placed her hand in the box, she found herself transported to a vast darkened chamber. The first object she noticed was a giant throne comprised of what appeared to be pure magic about 500’ or so away, and as her perspective caught up with her, she realized that the throne was sized for a being of colossal size, a greater giant or perhaps a titan.

She also noticed that the area where she was standing held a long table (about 20’) with a number of chairs, and that it was just one of several, the section she was in being on the outermost edge. Three “inner rows” of sections lay between her location and the open area before the throne. While she could move freely enough in her own section, trying to leave that area was like trying to walk through molasses. Several of the areas held banners or pennants, her own section holding a banner patterned after the design on the puzzle box that she associated with the Path.

She made her way down to the throne after several minutes of exertion, but it offered no clues as to it’s owner. On her way back to the area she’d appeared in, she made several sketches of the other banners, but when she finally willed herself back to her room they did not accompany her, so she remade them from memory afterwards. Later, when she showed them to her companions, Squizzles recognized one as belonging to a secretive group of arcanists and wizards known as the Disciples of the Bronze Grimoire.

Not having much information about this group, the party elected to solicit the aid of Lantraal, the local High Priest of Boccob. After penetrating the various layers of intermediaries surrounding the High Priest, he proved slightly more knowledgeable than Squizzles, though he proved to know even more about the Path.

The Path, he said, was a disparate group of individuals, mainly spell-casters, who had (or wanted to achieve) mythic stature. Founded perhaps a century past, members were chosen on the basis of their achievements and their character (preferably dark or outright evil), sworn to secrecy and made members of a dark brotherhood that sought power over everything else.

The Bronze Grimoire, on the other hand, were a far older group, perhaps 400 or more years old, having had it’s largest membership during the days of the Great Kingdom’s fall into darkness and depravity. It was rumored that the arch-mage Serten had been a member, and that one or more members of Iuz’s cadre of wizards might also be current members.

While he could not identify any of the other symbols, he did feel that the throne was somehow familiar to him. Before dismissing the group, however, he asked Alexia if he could examine her staff. Though somewhat reticent, she allowed it, and everyone was quick to pick up on the High Priest’s change of mood after he had done so. He bade the group to return in two days.

With time to kill, the group then decided to try and do something about Tomoso and his wanted posters. Elerra used her mask to pay Tomoso’s office a visit (said office being cloaked from scrying by some effect). The encounter was brief, and having learned what was expected of a bounty hunter having “acquired” the target, she returned to her fellows.

The group then scouted out a location for their “turning over” of Sam. Castle Greyhawk’s ruins were selected as the best choice, as the avenues of conventional approach were few and easily watched. Sam was not thrilled by the thought of being even partially ensnared for the encounter, but gave in to his companions’ assurances. The following night, as they had arranged, a carriage was seen crossing Zagyg’s bridge, but as the passengers disembarked before the ruins, Tomoso was not among them. Instead, another individual, obviously a mage was in attendance.

After a brief verbal skirmish, in which Sam attempted to outbid the factors, the group launched an attack. The mage teleported away, abandoning his soldiers, who, after surrendering, had little information to supply to their captors. As we broke for the evening, the group had teleported to Tomoso’s office, where, as they searched, several explosions could be heard from the floor below…

It is the 27th of Flocktime, 600 CY.

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Arc 2, Episode 22, the Puzzle-Box
In Skapamoor's Lair

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 3rd of Planting, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

Alexia and Meroln soon rejoined their companions, and after a brief delay to relate the information they had gained, set out mainly on foot for Lake Menosh. Three days later they arrived at the location that Elerra had previously scryed, and sent Sam under the lake’s surface to scout the entrance to the lair.

Sam soon encountered a region of antimagic, which extended from the entrance of the lair,which also was decorated by a spiral of skulls leading down the shaft. Leaving this field, he sought for a second entrance, and after about a quarter mile of swimming further out and deeper into the lake, did find a smaller likely entrance, also protected by antimagic. Sam eventually swam back to shore and reported his findings.

The party decided that Sam should explore the “back door” first, while they attempted to scry him and learn the extent of the antimagic field. After about 50’ of tunnel, Sam felt the return of magic in a section of the tunnel about 20’ long, before it resumed. He also saw a flash of movement in the darkness as something about the size of a small cat swam rapidly away. He returned to the party again to confer, but on his return to the tunnel spotted one of the ogrish half-dragons now patrolling the tunnel he was in. He managed to hide from it.

Meanwhile, back on the beach, Elerra was scrying the junction where the antimagic let off, and she saw another half-dragon, this one inspecting the walls and testing the antimagic with a glowing crystal (that extinguished itself when in the antimagic). She and Wilfred then heard it address an eel that was wrapped around her wrist, saying to it that the “trap junction” was clear, before the eel unwrapped itself and swam (presumably) back towards the lair.

Sam avoided the guard for several passes, but eventually decided to try and take it out. With the antimagic dampening his abilities, this proved to be an unwise choice, as the ogrish half-dragon’s strength and skills were totally undiminished, and it rapidly brought Sam near death. Sam did prove to be the faster swimmer, however, which was probably a wiser choice, as the eel wrapped around this guard’s wrist had fled back into the lair (probably to draw reinforcements) in the first seconds of Sam’s ambush. As Sam fled the tunnel, he turned back to see the guard pursue him only to the mouth of it before returning inside.

When Sam returned to the group, he told an edited version of these events, leaving out the bit where he tried to ambush the guard. As the rest of the party had only been able to see the second eel flash through the “trap junction” in the crystal ball, Sam’s version of events was accepted.

This left the group with some problems. The antimagic fields protecting the tunnels served as an effective barrier against the largely air-breathing party, which could not rely on potions or magic items to allow them to swim such long distances underwater. Teleporting to the “trap junction” was rejected as a viable choice because they were uncertain exactly what that meant, but it certainly didn’t sound good. Elerra began attempting to randomly scry locations under the lake, a long, drawn out process that wasted most of the day. At one point, however, she did locate a 30’ cubical chamber unconnected to anything else containing 4 skeletons, all of which had magic items and full sets of gear. It was suggested by some that perhaps this was where the “trap junction” might shunt people attempting to teleport into the lair.

Towards evening, she managed to locate a small cavern, but the scrying focus was quickly extinguished by an ogrish crone who swung some kind of cane or rod at the focus. Feeling even more frustrated, Elerra eventually decided to spend one of her Hero Points to receive a vision from her goddess, hoping that there was some connection between the lair and the Underdark.

In her vision, she witnessed a group of robed individuals who had come to the dragon offering their services. She saw them laying the foundations for the spells guarding the lair, though one of these worthies noticed several small cracks in the floor by one wall and only smiled and did nothing about them. When they had completed their work, she witnessed the dragon ceding them a portion of it’s horde for their work, and accepting a black and silver puzzle-box from them. Elerra further recognized the designs on the puzzle-box as matching a design worn on the dress of Matron Alda of House Lalander in Fansteris. The vision then returned to the crack in the floor, which revealed itself to lead to a twisting set of tunnels that a small creature could worm through that eventually let out into the Underdark, and then a path through the Underdark that came out on the side of a nearby mountain.

The following morning, the group set out for that mountain, and followed the path Elerra described, eventually reaching the tunnels beneath the lair. The party used Reduce Person on themselves as needed to fit through the crevice, then used a stone with Silence cast upon it to allow them to cast prep spells before bursting into the lair itself.

Once inside the lair, they quickly spotted Skapamoor and several of his spawn going about their business. Sam, Squizzles, Wilfred and Meroln rushed the dragon, wounding it grievously, as Elerra used Wall of Fire to divide the half-dragons from their sire. The battle took an odd turn, however, when the dragon used an item around it’s neck which both healed it for much of the damage it had just taken, and surrounded itself with antimagic, which caused those surrounding him to quickly drop from the air as their magic was suppressed. The dragon began then to fiercely melee his opponents, and was quickly recognized as being a fellow mythic being.

Meanwhile, the other members of Skapamoor’s household began to arrive. His mate, also guarded by antimagic, was quickly felled by Elerra’s sleep poison, and another of his sons proved to also be so guarded. As Meroln, Sam and Squizzles occupied the dragon, Elerra and Wilfred chewed up his brood. Seeing that Meroln was clearly about to fall to the dragon’s attacks, but knowing that she could not heal him while he was enveloped in the antimagic, Alexia called upon Murlynd for the dragon’s antimagic to fail, but he instead made Alexia immune to the field’s effect, allowing her (and only her) to be able to function through it. Her healing kept Meroln and his companions alive long enough for them to finally slay the dragon.

As we parted for the evening, the group was standing exhausted in the dragon’s lair, surveying the corpses and the piles of loot they had yet to sort through…

It is the 10th of Planting, 600 CY.
19200 xp

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Arc 2, Episode 21, Checkmate
The Information Trade

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 11th of Coldeven, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

While the rest of her party was preparing to Teleport into position to ambush Scalero, Shen Fo, Gulmara and the others, Alexia was finishing another drink at Galasso’s Gate. Before she could order another, the strange woman she’d seen in there once before approached her and told her that her companions were preparing an ambush, and passed her a note with the address they would be at. Then she vanished.

Meanwhile, across town, our band successfully Teleported into the apartment where their prey where holed up, and with surprise on their side, quickly slew Gulmara before turning their attentions on Scalero and the others. Ezekos emerged from another room, and was quickly joined by a valley elf druid named Kambros and a mage (whose name was never mentioned) who burst in through a window.

Soon enough the would-be ambushers lay dead, unconscious or in Exekos’ case, surrendered, only the wizard escaping. Alexia, arriving at last, met with Kambros as he attempted to flee out the same window he’s broken to arrive, was blasted unconscious by the inebriated cleric as she entered the alley. As the sounds of a guardsman’s whistle could be heard in the distance, the party tossed their dead opponents into Bags of Holding, and slung the unconscious ones over their shoulders, and fled towards the docks, seeking a deserted warehouse in which to question the survivors. Meroln then departed for his assignation with Jenny, and Alexia returned to the Green Dragon Inn to sleep off her inebriation.

Ezekos and Kambros had little enough to say, telling the group little they did not know except that the price on Sam’s head had risen to 8000 gold, and that his wanted poster now included information lightly sketching the rest of his companions, with the admonition that they would fight to defend him. Eventually Elerra used her sleep poison to drug both men, leaving their bound forms in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk.

The next morning the group decided that their habits and choice of habitations had grown a bit too predictable, so they evacuated the Green Dragon and took up residence at the Crippled Griffon several blocks away. Once there, it was suggested over breakfast that if Alexis’ father would permit, perhaps the group could establish a tower or other sort of fortress there, to help against the impending threat of the Pomarj. It was also suggested that perhaps the group could also stay at the Aerogenesis mansion outside the city.

Deciding that there was little enough time to waste, the group gathered their belongings and conjured mounts for themselves as necessary. As they neared the gates, however, a young girl of perhaps 7 or eight years, ran right up to Alexia’s clockwork mount and pleaded with her to accompany her to help her father, who was sick and near death. Though suspicious, she agreed to accompany the urchin.

Following the child into the seedier part of town, she finally led Alexia and company to a shack, which she implored Alexia to enter. Inside she found that the shack was little more than the terminus of a 60’ tunnel, leading down into the earth. Sam followed closely, and Elerra, who was watching Alexia via crystal ball, became quite concerned when she lost contact almost immediately. The rest of the group soon followed, leaving Wilfred behind to guard the mounts.

At the end of the tunnel, the urchin left Alexia alone with Roderick Kalisah, the Cleric of Daern the group had recently rescued from the lair of the black dragon they’d slain in the swamp weeks before. Kalisah still bore many of the wounds from that encounter, his hands not yet fully regenerated and his legs had been amputated below the knee. He thanked Alexia for coming, and apologized for the deception.

He offered Alexia (and her companions, who were slowly but surely joining them in the room) a trade: promise to rescue his wife and daughter, and get them to safety off-world, and he would tell them of a plot against her and her companions being hatched by his superiors. Alexia agreed, and he told them what he knew.

First, he told her that her that Jaliseem Tandovr, sister to Janos, the current commander of the Black Rook Company, belonged to something known as the Path, and that she seemed to have a great interest in eliminating Alexia and her friends. He further related that their father, Elias Tandovr, was rumored to have maybe been one of the Hierarchs of the Horned Society, which was destroyed by the Empire of Iuz in the opening moves of the Greyhawk Wars. he expressed his disaffection with his company upon learning these things, but he feared for the safety of his family should his superiors learn of his disloyalty. he stated that Jaliseem and Janos could both likely be found at their HQ near the Riftcanyon.

The party wanted to take Kalisah to safety as well, but he argued against it, saying that his people were keeping close tabs on him, and that any sign of his defection would likely result in quick retribution against his wife and daughter. he gave Alexia their address, and told her that she had family on Beregond, in a city called Suzail in a place called Baronia. He gave her a ring to help alleviate any doubts his wife might have. Leaving Kalisah, the group quickly found a spelljammer scheduled to travel to Baronia and then found and convinced Kalisah’s wife and daughter to accompany them.

It took most of a week to reach their destination, and it took most of another week to find a vessel intending to return to Greyhawk. Once back on Liga, the group holed up in the Aerogenesis Manor and used their crystal ball to scry out a series of locations they could use to Teleport to in their efforts to reach the town of Longwood in Sunndi (this being the town nearest to Lake Menosh where Elerra had previously scryed a likely entrance to the lair). Leaving on the last day of Growfest, it took several more days to reach a site several miles outside of Longwood. On the final night of their journey, Sam had another dream.

Alexia and Meroln went in as advance scouts, and to ask the Priest of Pelor in Longwood for any help and information he could provide them. Said Priest, Kasem Hadar, welcomed the both of them, and readily agreed to assist them, though he said that previous hopeful dragon-slayers had never returned. He confirmed the probable location of the lair, and related that the region had once been dominated by a great old wyrm named Verdraxilius. He had sired a brood of four dragons, the eldest of which, Nervizix, had been the first to return and challenge his dominance. Nervizix died, but Verdraxilius was injured, and eventually fled the region before the rest of his children could arrive to challenge him. When the other three did arrive, Skapamoor defeated the others and claimed the region.

Perhaps 20 years previous, Skapamoor ceased leaving his lair. Rumor said that he had taken a local ogress shaman as a consort, and soon several half-dragon young could be seen hunting and raiding on his behalf in the region. He also added that perhaps eight years previous, a strange group claiming to be dragon-slayers had passed through the region, seeking Skapamoor, though Hadar found them… unsavory. The strangers had not returned.

As we parted for the evening, Alexia and Meroln were making their way back to their companions…

It is the 3rd of Planting, 600 CY.
6144 xp

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Arc 2, Episode 20, Loose Ends
Splitting the party makes bad guys happy!

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 18th of Readying, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

The party spent the rest of Readying either manufacturing items themselves, or having them crafted for them, then spent six days riding back out to Narwell to recover their incantation scroll, deliver Garrosh’s axe to Baron Aerogenesis as a trophy, and to pickup Alexia’s clockwork mount. The trip back to Greyhawk was expedited by Teleport spells.

Finding themselves without a patron or clear goals, they decided to try and help Squizzles finish his quest to collect dragon scales for his tribe. To further this aim, they asked about the city for the possible locations of a white, red, or green dragon, and Squizzles found a hobgoblin who called himself Ezekos who knew of a green dragon named Skapamoor who was known to lair somewhere in the Menowood, near the Great Swamp in Sunndi.

Sharing this information with the rest of the group soon found Elerra holed up with her crystal ball trying to suss out possible locations for the dragon’s lair, but the best she could do was track a trio of green half-dragons to the shores of Lake Menosh before her scrying was blocked by something beneath the water.

As the group discussed their options later that day in the Green Dragon, a number of things happened more or less at the same time. Squizzles spotted Ezekos exit from one of the private back rooms and stop at a table where a tiefling and a sylph were sharing a meal before exiting, Alexis and Wilfred got into a shouting match over a blend of money, tactics, and goals, and Meroln noticed Jenny the barmaid flirting with him.

In short order thereafter, Alexia stormed out of the Inn, eventually making her way back to Galasso’s Gate, where she proceeded to get quite sloshed. Sam slipped away from the table and went upstairs, drank a potion of Invisibility, then returned to watch Ezekos’ friends. Meroln set up a date with Jenny after her shift ended, and stepped out to find something to prevent unwanted pregnancies, while Elerra sent Ezekos’ friends some drinks. The two men soon joined the remains of the party, saying that now the rest of the patrons could save themselves the trouble of trying to stare at two tables, now that all the weirdos were concentrated at just one.

They introduced themselves as Scalero (tiefling) and Shen Fo (sylph), claimed to have just arrived in the city after guarding a flotilla of Rhenee barges making their way across the Nyr Dyv and down the Selintarn for some kind of celebration. Over idle chitchat, they wondered about Sam’s origins, calling him a walktapus, and remarking that they’d heard of such a creature in the lands of Doraster to the far west (or far east, across the Solnor Ocean). Sam spoke up at that point, and the two men told him what they’d heard about walktapi, namely that they were monsters, and that it was odd to find one so civilized (if that were what Sam was, indeed).

Eventually Elerra made her goodnights, quickly joined by the rest of the group. Once in her room, she scryed the odd pair, watching them finish their drinks downstairs then walk a block or two away and take a narrow set of stairs to an apartment nearby, where a woman named Gulmara (probably a spellcaster of some sort, based on her garb), a man named Helmuth (probably a warrior of some type, based on his armor) sat discussing the current locations of Meroln and Alexia with a myna bird that sat in the middle of their table.

Elerra went down the hall to Wilfred and Squizzle’s room, and then got Sam to join them as they watched the other group plot against them. She used her crystal ball to find Meroln and used Message to urge him to return, and as she switched back to the other group, she heard the myna bird declare that Meroln was returning to the Inn at a run, prompting Helmuth to begin fastening the rest of his armor with the aid of an Invisible Servant, and for Gulmara to begin setting out potion bottles on the table, arranging them by type.

As we broke for the evening, the party was casting prep spells and preparing to ambush their ambushers…

It is the 11th of Coldeven, 600 CY.
(Happy Anniversary!)

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Arc 2, Episode 19, Drums of War
Wait, you're back?

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 27th of Fireseek, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

After much deliberation, the party decided to wait for the next full moon and to use the multitude of casters in Alexia’s family to fuel their incantation. On the 11th, they gathered with the scions of the Aerogenesis family and the priestesses of Murlynd at used their incantation to arrive on the balcony where their crystal ball showed Garrosh, his pet drow, and some of his honor guard were stationed, observing the defense of “their” city.

As they arrived on the scene, Elerra and Alexia both promptly blasted the assembly, while Meroln charged the drow sorceress, who eventually fell to her death without casting a spell (other can attempting to use her innate Levitate to try and escape). When Garrosh finally had a chance to react, he brought his axe Slave-cleaver to bear against Meroln, quickly driving him to the floor unconscious.

As Sam moved into position to divert Garrosh, more of Garrosh’s allies began to emerge onto the parapet, including a man in a sealed helm that the group quickly recognized as a follower of Mabelrode, like their previous patron, Galen. As Sam discovered to his sorrow, the man (who proved to be a priest) wielded a wicked blade that moaned at Sam after he was struck by it.

As more and more of his followers fell, Garrosh took one chance to strike at Alexia, who had thought herself safely out of reach, bringing Slave-cleaver to bear courtesy of his Ring of Far Striking, but before long, he himself fell beneath the party’s blades. The priest, seeing his allies lying in ruin at his feet, pushed a freshly healed Meroln off the battlements, but Meroln spent one of his Hero Points to drink a Potion of Flying on the way down, saving himself from a brutal 70’ plunge. The priest soon used an item to Word of Recall himself safely away, and the group used the chaos of the battle playing itself out in the city streets below to escape.

The group took shelter in a nearby cavern, striking deep into the Underdark in an effort to escape the milling throngs of orcs no doubt combing the countryside for them. Eventually Elerra’s pleas to her goddess led the group to a portal that dumped them out in the upper works of Castle Greyhawk.

As we broke for the evening, the group was selling their loot, and looking for their next adventure. Sam took a ship to Hardby to see a man named Murray, who had been recommended to him as an expert in “fancifying” weapons that might someday bear names…

It is the 18th of Readying, 600 CY.
5267 xp

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Arc 2, Episode 18, Sizzle in the Swamp

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 7th of Needfest, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

As Wilfred and his drow-balloon closed on the dragon, it paused mid-flight to deal with the Sam hanging from it’s entryway. While it mauled Sam to unconsciousness, Elerra (who dropped to the ground once she was in range) began repeatedly blasting it with fireballs, as Wilfred and Mekkatorque closed to melee. As the others slogged into position, Squizzles eventually dispelled the dragon’s Mage Armor, allowing Wilfred and his eidolon an improved chance to hit.

Eventually the dragon collapsed, just missing crushing Sam’s unconscious form. Wilfred bathed Bloodweaver in it’s heart-blood, and the sword awakened. Once within the lair, they healed the BRC cleric of Daern they had seen there, whose name turned out to be Roderick Kalisah, and brought him along with them as they made their way back to Greyhawk. Amongst the treasures of the lair they found plenty of coinage, but also a large amount of antique furniture, elven wines, even some aged cheese. The sole magic item the dragon possessed was it’s Crystal Ball, which could scry an area with Clairaudience, but lacked any ability to scry other planes. The party spent an overlong time making their way back to the city, stopping along the way to redistribute some of their wealth, but wasted no time once the moon was full and they could once more use their incantation.

Once in Greyhawk, they dropped Kalisah off with his own people and returned to the Green Dragon Inn to plan their next objective. On the 13th of Fireseek, Alexia, still despondent over the ending of her engagement, went out on her own, finally ensconcing herself at an establishment called Galasso’s Gate, a luxurious inn on the outskirts of the Park District. While there, a young fop by the name of Milo Valaam tried to pick her up, but she rebuffed him.

The following morning, over breakfast at the Green Dragon, she heard others talking about the murder of her erstwhile suitor, found in a locked room with no way anyone could have escaped from the room he was found in (his parents having already hired arcane investigators to establish this fact). While obviously not under any suspicion for the crime herself, Alexia did remember seeing a strange woman of an unknown race in the bar that evening, a short, wiry girl with luxuriant black and silver hair.

Having done all the research they could in the city, the group set out for the city of Narwell at Alexia’s request. She wanted to see her parents, and reasoned that the group with the best knowledge of Garrosh and his movements would be the people who had dealt with him the most often. Elerra also wanted to dig up the bones of his son, Thrall, known to have fallen outside Narwell in the last big battle, for use in improving their ability to use the crystal ball to scry out his location and activities. So Alexia brought her companions home to meet the family.

Baroness Victoria received her unexpected house-guests with good grace, her professional calm only slipping once as she surveyed the people her daughter had taken up with. After dinner, Baron Colman Aerogenesis arrived, and greeted his guests. As the night wound down, Alexia withdrew to her parent’s apartments to commiserate with them, learning that according to Stryker’s retainers, he had sent several messages to her by way of the manor outside Greyhawk, though Alexia had never received any. Much relieved by her parent’s comfort, she slept well for the remainder of the night.

The following three days were spent excavating the mass grave where the bodies of the orcs had been thrown after the last fight, and eventually Thrall’s remains were identified. Seeking even further information, the group was referred to a middle-aged halfling named Kalik Brightblade, a former adventurer who had spent several years in and around the Pomarj before and after Turrosh Mak’s rise to power there.

Kalik told the group that unlike most “orcish hordes”, Turrosh Mak’s “Empire of the Pomarj” was and would remain the most dire threat to civilization in the region for some time to come. Himself only half-orcish, Mak had managed to unite all the warring orc, goblin, hobgoblin, and even kobold tribes of the region under his banner, and was carefully forging them into a well-oiled fighting force. He told how they would build a city from scratch, learn how to defend it, then another group would assault the city, learning how to bring it down despite the efforts of the first group. He told a very convincing tale of how when they were ready, they would doubtless sweep north, taking the remaining cities and towns of the Wild Coast, until either Queen Yolande of Celene stirred herself, or the Domain of Greyhawk was forced to take the field against them.

Armed with the bones of his heir, and Kalik’s stories of the interior, Elerra set herself to scrying out Garrosh’s location. Her crystal ball found him standing on the ramparts of a coastal town or city, with a drow follower of Zinzerena utilizing a silver bowl to scry for him the location of three ships brimming with soldiers who were doubtless there to raid “his” town.

As we broke for the evening, the group was determining the best way of reaching Garrosh’s location, and planning as well how to best escape with their lives…

It is the 27th of Fireseek, 600 CY.
5330 xp

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