Chornalth Adventures - Liga (Current: Emerald & Diamond)

Chapter Four, Session 31: Attack in the Exodar

The story began on the first of Needfest, 1150 I.C. ( C.Y. 605)

Zeshyn the Dai-Kyu, Vanaran Archer, Crab Clan
Seppun Ozawa, Human Monk, Imperial Families
Cortana Tsunoaru, Draeni Wizard (Iounmancer)/Rogue, Unicorn Clan
Arimura Kasumi, Human Fighter, Unicorn Clan
Raen d’Arth, Human Magus, Gaijin
and Maerk the Red, Kakaran (Warforged) NPC Cleric of Wee Jas, Gaijin

Our session began on the 25th of Planting, 1152 I.C.

The battle between the two ships was very brief, resulting in few injuries among the party and a near complete rout of the oni. Once the ship was docked, the party soon used their amulet to return to the Confluence, exited in Waterdeep, took yet another ship sailing for the Moonshae Isles, where they dropped the 8th stone into the Sea of Swords along the way. Once in Gondor, Cortana wanted very much to make contact with her fellow Draeni living there, so on the party spent the better part of a week seeing the sights and visiting the crystalline city of Exodar (actually a crashed spaceship). As the party was preparing to leave, however, they came upon a lone drow warrior waiting for them in a strangely vacant section of town.

This drow, who never identified himself, offered to purchase whatever stones the party still had from them, but of course they refused, so a battle ensued. In the course of said battle, Kasumi was slain by an elvish dragon-rider whose mount she herself had slain, Cortana spent a hero point to tear yet another page out of her former master’s spellbook to use as a scroll to become a dragon herself, and in the end, the party was victorious, taking the nazumi warlock (who gave his name as “Chitters”) prisoner. Under questioning, he admitted that his group had been hired by Kadair to find them and stop them, and that they had been tracking them since they left Sentrial City (mainly by keeping watch over the Confluence).

After defeating the other group, the party looted their bodies, turned Chitters over to the authorities, and spent a few more days buying and selling their gains. As we broke for the evening, it was the 20th of Flocktime, 1152 I.C.

6200 xp

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Chapter Four, Session 30: Enter the Confluence

The story began on the first of Needfest, 1150 I.C. ( C.Y. 605)

Zeshyn the Dai-Kyu, Vanaran Archer, Crab Clan
Seppun Ozawa, Human Monk, Imperial Families
Cortana Tsunoaru, Draeni Wizard (Iounmancer)/Rogue, Unicorn Clan
Arimura Kasumi, Human Fighter, Unicorn Clan
Raen d’Arth, Human Magus, Gaijin
and Maerk the Red, Kakaran (Warforged) NPC Cleric of Wee Jas, Gaijin

Our session began on the 3rd of Growfest, 1152 I.C.

The party eventually defeated the mummies, and, left alone with the Well of Twilight, eventually discerned that the eleven stones that formed the rim of the artifact were the most important, so they used chisels to break them free and distributed them amongst themselves to carry out of the catacombs. As for the gargantuan head of the minion of the Dark Tapestry that fueled the Well, oil and fire would have to do. As they made their escape from the temple, they quickly noticed that a third party had entered the battle, one that some of them recognized as the father of their former companion Katsushiro, the storm-dragon known as Nakadai (only now his draconic form was translucent and tinged with Void corruption). As everyone else was embroiled in their own affairs, the party made good their escape.

As they made their way northwards over the Celestial Sea, they dumped one of the stones they had taken into the waters below. Not having a clear understanding of how to destroy them, their goal was to simply scatter them as widely as possible, making it hard for anyone to reassemble them. They disposed of the second stone by hurling it into the volcano in the lands of the Dragon Clan known as the Wrath of the Kami. Within a day of this, they spotted a larger, slower airship pursuing them, flying Imperial colors, but they elected to keep their distance from it, not wanting to tempt the Empire with the power of the Well. Regardless, a lone figure soon Teleported aboard the Wren, a huchard that several members if the group remembered as Jo-Namur, the brother of Na-Helena, the Jedi/Ambassador whom they had traveled with 2 years past.

He seemed quite aware of the party’s current plan, and had a gift for them: a magical amulet that would allow them to access the Celestial Road. He explained that he’d spent the past year working for the Consortium that operated the Road, studying the artifact in the interests of making it more secure. One of his main achievements had been replicating the amulets that allowed entrance to the Confluence. After a short discussion of how to use the item (explaining that it was on loan to them until they had completed their mission) he took Kasumi’s report and promised to deliver it to Minister Seppun.

At speed, it took the party another six days to reach the Celestial Arch that led from the Lortmil Mountains to the city of De-Shamod on Celene. Three more stones were left behind there, one in the Great Eastern Sea, another in the Sonish Sea, and the final one cast into the volcano known as the Smolderfang, high among the Bitter Peaks. They then returned to Liga, and spent several days flying south to Shatura in the Sunelian Empire, to access the Celestial Road. They left the Wren behind in the keeping of their crew.

From Shatura, they took the Celestial Road to Sentrial City, where they consulted maps of both Krynn and Faerun. They took passage aboard a ship from Sentrial City, and at the midpoint of their journey, they dumped the sixth stone overboard in the dead of night. The following day, however, their ship spotted another ship flying no flags behind them, and spent several hours shaking the pursuit of the probable pirates. Once safely at their destination, they returned to the Confluence using their amulet and emerged again on Krynn, but this time in the city of Palanthus, where, as before, they booked passage aboard a ship, waited for the midpoint of their journey, and dumped the seventh of their burdens overboard.

Almost on time, the following day a ship was spotted, only this time it overtook them. As it approached, it raised the flag of Ne’urul, and a crew of Kuwa (a breed of oni) that the party had fought before. As we broke for the evening, the two ships were entangled, the Ne’urul vessel aflame from a Fireball cast by Cortana, and the fighting between the two vessels is intense….

it is the 25th of Planting, 1152 I.C.

2400 xp

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Chapter Four, Session 29: Hierarchs Take the Temple

The story began on the first of Needfest, 1150 I.C. ( C.Y. 605)

Zeshyn the Dai-Kyu, Vanaran Archer, Crab Clan
Seppun Ozawa, Human Monk, Imperial Families
Cortana Tsunoaru, Draeni Wizard (Iounmancer)/Rogue, Unicorn Clan
Arimura Kasumi, Human Fighter, Unicorn Clan
Raen d’Arth, Human Magus, Gaijin
and Maerk the Red, Kakaran (Warforged) NPC Cleric of Wee Jas, Gaijin.

Our session began on the 9th of Readying, 1152 I.C.

As the battle progressed, Maerk eventually brought the ship back down, dragging the hull through the oasis’ watering hole to extinguish the numerous flaming arrows that threatened to engulf the hull in flames. Cortana cast a Hypnotic Pattern at one of the fleeing caravaners, enthralling his horse and getting him thrown from the saddle (where Ozawa soon caught him and battered him into unconsciousness). On the following round, Cortana’s Hold Person caused the second rider to fall from his saddle as well, where Kasumi soon caught up to him and bound him in lengths of chain. The rest of the party polished off the remaining attackers.

The presumed spotter, who gave his name as Invenz, wanted very much to live, and seemed surprised that after making such an effort to capture him, the party’s plan was to release him and have him do exactly what he’d been hired to do in the first place, which was report back to his employer (all they wanted was to be left out of his report, and for him to identify said employer). Invenz claimed to have been hired by a foreigner who called himself Markosian, a name Cortana recognized as a possible member of the now-deposed Hierarchs of the Horned Society.
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Unable to rejoin the caravan after getting a number of them killed in his bid to escape the oasis, Invenz wrangles passage to the town of Zafri from the party, arguing that if his employer is keeping tabs on him, that’s where he’ll be expected to be seen departing from. The party agrees to this, but keeps his book of extracts as an insurance policy against betrayal. Cortana & Kasumi trail him to Ha-toltas, the capital of Astariim, where he promptly tries to elude them numerous times. When Cortana finally makes herself and Kasumi Invisible, Invenz finally figures he’s lost them and proceeds to his rendezvous at the Crescent Mark, one of the finest inns in the city. Cortana follows him upstairs, and watches him enter one of the rooms.After directing Kasumi to watch the window for a possible escape, she breaks into an adjoining room, but can’t hear anything in the room next door, either using her senses or her magic. She finally drills a peephole through the wall, but still can’t sense anything. After several hours of watching the room, she finally risks breaking into it, to find it empty.

While they wait for the rest of the party to join them in Ha-toltas, both canvas the area, learning that Markosian was not well liked, and had earned a reputation for being overbearing and arrogant. He’d made several purchases in town conversant with being a spellcaster, and one witness had spotted a symbol on a necklace he wore that resembled that of Asmodeus, the premier prince of the Host. He’d had a visitor three days prior to their arrival in town, a preposterously armored warrior who’d given his name only as ‘Warduke’.
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Kasumi also ran across a flyer posted on a hiring board calling for mercenaries to gather outside Zafri by the 5th of Coldeven, offering high pay and plunder. Assuming that this force is meant to storm the Temple of Set, the party returns to the Wren, and stakes out a position outside the town to assess the forces gathered there.

Both Markosian and Warduke are seen, as are a force of nearly 200 mercenaries. Most are clearly cannon-fodder, but a strong cadre of perhaps 20 clerics can be seen (followers of Osiris, mainly), nearly a dozen arcane casters, a number of fantastical beasts (some surely eidolons), and strong force of obvious soldiers well versed in warfare. This force, after training together for several days, sets out on the caravan trail on the 12th, and arrives at the Temple of Set on the morning of the 3rd of Growfest. They do not have surprise, however, as despite their efforts to thwart anyone who might have ridden to warn the Temple, some alarm or augury obviously gave warning, as the Temple can clearly be seen preparing for battle. As expected, most of the mercenaries are chaff before the mummies that rise from the sands, but the lines hold and the battle rages on for quite some time.

While everyone else is distracted by the battle, the party sneaks inside the Temple, waylaying several guards and under-priests, and finally locates the Well of Twilight deep beneath the pyramid. While they know there’s no way they can make off with the entire artifact, they plan to steal enough of the stone blocks that make up the core of the Well itself to render it inert/unusable, and then scatter them across the breadth of Chornalth and it’s moons. As we broke for the evening, the party had engaged the Well’s final guardians, a number of smoldering mummies that had flown up out of the Well itself as they approached…

It is now the 3rd of Growfest, 1152 I.C.

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Chapter Four, Session 28: At the Temple of Set

The story began on the first of Needfest, 1150 I.C. ( C.Y. 605)

Zeshyn the Dai-Kyu, Vanaran Archer, Crab Clan
Seppun Ozawa, Human Monk, Imperial Families
Cortana Tsunoaru, Draeni Wizard (Iounmancer)/Rogue, Unicorn Clan
Arimura Kasumi, Human Fighter, Unicorn Clan
Raen d’Arth, Human Magus, Gaijin
and Maerk the Red, Kakaran (Warforged) NPC Cleric of Wee Jas, Gaijin.

Our session began on the 9th of Fireseek, 1152 I.C.

(Notes got blown up somehow, so….)

Party approached the Skaro Fortress in the Wren, and at about a half-mile out, a cloud giant riding a white dragon came out to intercept them. After doing several flybys, he finally jumped off the dragon and took control of the wheel, directing the ship to a dock made of the same cloud-stuff as the fortress, and bade the party to follow him inside. Once there, a slightly more regal cloud giant calling himself Marshal Dieg asked them their business, and when Kasumi asked after the Well of Twilight, he told them that they would discuss the matter after dinner. They were then led to accommodations scaled to their needs, plied with liquor, cheese, and veggie trays, and left to their own devices for two hours.

After a lavish meal, they presented the writ that Minister Seppun had provided them with, and while Dieg allowed that the 20,000 they offered was too small a sum to secure the Well of Twilight, it was sufficient for them to tell the group who they had sold it to five years previously: a religious group located in the nation of Astariim. He even threw in a map to the location where the deal had been made.

The journey to the map’s end took the better part of 25 days, even by airship. At the end, they found a large pyramid (345’ at the base) in pristine condition, with a capstone made of crystal. Outside the pyramid lay a moderately sized temple, flanked by two 70’ tall obelisks of white stone. Landing nearby, the group was soon met by a delegation from the temple, led by the High Priest, Temet-al. After grilling each of the party members as to whom they served, they were invited inside to discuss matters in private.

Though the party made several eloquent arguments concerning the Well, and the forces that would doubtless follow and try to take it by force, Temet-al remained steadfast in his position that the Well was a sacred artifact, one that he was loathe to give up. At best, they managed to convince him to ask his deity (Set) about the matter. While he did so, the party was told to return to their airship.

While Temet-al prayed, the party aboard their ship discussed what the next step would be (assuming that Temet-al was unwilling to give them the Well). Amidst the discussions, Cortana decided to investigate the crystal that capped the pyramid, as to her it much resembled the types of crystals her people had used to power the inter-dimensional craft that had been used to flee their second homeworld. While studying the crystal (looking for flaws she might exploit to destroy it to cause a distraction, a strange, black-wrapped mummy appeared on the slope of the pyramid a few feet beneath her (where she was Flying, Invisible) and began casting about, obviously looking for whoever or whatever was also there.

Unlike the mummies with which she was familiar, this one, far from being susceptible to fire, seemed to burn with it’s own internal flame, faint puffs of smoke occasionally escaping from between it’s wrappings. Rather than be found by the thing, she retreated back to the ship. A few minutes later, Temet-al returned, pronounced that his god had spoken, and that the Well was to remain in his keeping Unwilling to provoke a direct assault, the party took once more to the air.

They did, however, take time to reconnoiter a small caravan they had spotted earlier, one that was perhaps a day from reaching the temple complex. One sledge, in particular caught their attention, for the two drivers of the sledge was wrapped head to toe in heavy cloaks, heedless of the incredible desert heat (even at this time of year, Astariim lay near the equator, and was quite hot.) on the sledge their camels towed lay a hut perhaps 10’ in all dimensions, one one side of which a small protrusion from the wall hummed and pumped out plumes of hot air. The two drivers were eventually revealed to be eleti,

Seeing this, the party landed their airship some distance from the temple, and took up a watch to see what transpired when the caravan arrived the following morning. As the caravan offloaded it’s goods,several of the guards of the caravan entered the temple but did not exit. When the hut aboard the eleti’s sledge finally opened, a figure in Granbretanian armor, wearing a Beast Mask of an unfamiliar order (perhaps Ferret or Weasel) emerged and entered the temple. After a brief time, he left, under guard, and returned to his hut, bringing his two companions in with him. Soon thereafter, the sides of the hut fell away, revealing a large clockwork of some sort, a cabin supported by two gangly legs and sporting twinflamelances where the eye just felt arms ought to be on the figure. Said clockwork then began advancing on the temple, spewing fire and sending the bulk of the guards and caravaners fleeing for their lives (except for one individual, who pointedly neither fled nor fought, and who seemed to position himself in order to get the best view of the assault).

Erupting from the sands, a dozen of the black-clothed mummies attacked the clockwork, losing half their number but eventually pulling the Granbretanian from the cabin and slaying one of the two eleti. The other eleti was taken prisoner by the caravan guards who had entered the temple earlier, and who joined the fight late. The party, for their part, just watched it all, taking note of the caravaner whom nearly everyone felt was a spotter, paid to watch the fight to learn what defenses the temple had.

Returning to the Wren as the caravan packed itself up and began to leave, the party arrived at the caravan’s next destination early and was waiting for them when they arrived. Cortana went to that same caravaner’s stall, ostensibly to examine his wares (she did buy a bolt of cloth whose pattern she found familiar) but when she tried to surreptitiously cast Charm Person on him, he revealed that he had a tattoo on one palm that worked like Countermagic, allowing him to break her spell. Afterwards he was noticeably hostile, though he did agree to meet Cortana later to discuss the incident.

Kasumi kept an eye on him as the afternoon progressed, while Cortana used Invisibility once again get a look at the crated goods the caravan had taken from the temple in exchange. The crate she opened contained a number of jars of a strange black granular substance, and a number of black strips of cloth reminiscent of the mummy’s wrappings. Towards the end of the day, the caravaner could be seen talking to another member of the caravan) one who, like himself, had fair hair (though Raen was sure that he had bleached his own).

As night fell, and the party discussed their next steps aboard the Wren, Zeshyn spotted several archers firing flaming arrows at the ship. As the battle raged, two of the figures obviously fled the battle, each taking a camel in opposite directions. As we ended for the night, Maerk had taken the helm of the Wren and taken them 100’ above ground, which while it sheltered the party from missile fire, exposed the ship to flaming attacks that were harder to extinguish. It is the 9th of Readying, 1152 I.C.

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Chapter Four, Session 27: The Black Road

The story began on the first of Needfest, 1150 I.C. ( C.Y. 605)

Zeshyn the Dai-Kyu, Vanaran Archer, Crab Clan
Seppun Ozawa, Human Monk, Imperial Families
Cortana Tsunoaru, Draeni Wizard (Iounmancer)/Rogue, Unicorn Clan
Arimura Kasumi, Human Fighter, Unicorn Clan
Raen d’Arth, Human Magus, Gaijin
and Maerk the Red, Kakaran (Warforged) NPC Cleric of Wee Jas, Gaijin.

Our session began on the 19th of Ready’reat, 1151 I.C.

As we began for the evening, the party had essentially captured the Granbretanian airship, and through experimentation learned enough about the controls to move it away from the tower and to begin attacking ground targets with it’s weapons. While they were doing this, first two, then an additional two Granbretanian airships came into view, two of which attacked one of the troop carriers the party and their Clan Crab allies had arrived in, burning it where it had landed on the outskirts of the city. Their allies on the ground sounded the trumpets for a retreat, for while they were actually winning the battle, the appearance of four additional airships could easily trap the entire force deep behind enemy lines.

The party flew their captured airship towards the two that had not yet attacked a downed huchard troop carrier, distracting them long enough for the troops to reload and regain altitude and make their escape. One of the four airships pursued the fleeing vessels, but it was clearly heavily loaded and could not keep up. One the entire force landed behind the Great Wall, the party re-boarded the Wren and flew at their best speed back to Otosan Uichi to make their report.

Minister Seppun hears their report, but it is clear from his demeanor that word has already reached him of the battle. He informs them that whilst they were away, a visitor had arrived and awaited them down the hall, and they were all quite surprised to see Ts’oth’ula the flumph awaiting them.His message is short: the party is desperately needed in the city of Sesupwahl, in distant Brithos, for the Ternocki di Irthir has important matters to discuss with them. After notifying Minister Seppun that they will be gone a day or two, Ts’oth’ula unravels a large scroll that becomes a Gate between the meeting room and a hallway somewhere in Sesupwahl.

At the end of the hall, sits the assembled membership of the Ternocki di Irthir, sans Nakadai; Tehersco of Istustan, Frazra’mnar of Ravilla, Gsult of Brithos, Hshatult of Daleruth, Jorven’yur of Keoland, and Kon-ia of the Lunar Empire. They basically explain that while they were overjoyed to see Nakadai return to their fellowship at their last meeting (two weeks previous), upon learning that he now served Durklemes of the Shadowlands they were alarmed by the magical artifact he had come among them to discuss and gather more information about.

Said item, known variously as the Well of Twilight or sometimes as the Well of the Dark Tapestry was a stone circle perhaps eight feet in height, fifteen feet in diameter. Rumored to exist somewhere in the Underdark (there followed a brief discussion of what that was, as Rokugan had almost no known connections to the Underdark) this artifact, either by drinking or immersion (reports conflicted) would bestow a number of powers upon the recipient tied to the Dark Tapestry, a plane of existence outside of an separate from the commonly held understanding of the inner and outer planes. The dragons of the Ternacki di Irthir thought this somehow reminiscent of how the eredar supposedly gained their powers from the Burning Crusade; perhaps Durklemes sought a way to empower his servants on this world similar to the means by which his own race had been corrupted?

Though unsure of the specifics, it was generally agreed that yes, Durklemes should be kept from obtaining this artifact if at all possible. While Ozawa and Kasumi returned to Otosan Uichi to update the Minister, Cortana entered Susupwahl, seeking to learn what she could of the Well in the libraries found there. She found a mention of the Well in a text from Yragath, a nation far to the north. Supposedly it had something to do with the rise of a new religion forty years past. As it happened, Yragath was closer to Rokugan than Brithos, so ultimately the party returned home to make their journey to Gathakos, the capital of Yragath.

Arriving in Gathakos on the 23rd of Sunsebb, Raen was surprised to find a number of small churches dedicated to various Oeridian deities, especially located so far from the Flanaess. While the rest of the party got comfortable at the inn known as the Flowered Cup, he sought out the church of Fharlanghn to see what the local priests knew of the rise of Wah (the local cult that had risen to prominence 40 years ago, and now dominated the region). Hudfud, the priest, related that nearly a third of the supplicants who came to learn of the ‘Glories of Wah’ apparently disappeared within the temple and were never seen again. Family and friends were assured that they’d been sent abroad as missionaries, and to be fair, most of the other supplicants did return to perform much the same duties internally. Hudfud, for his part, found the priests of Wah suspect, charlatans at best.

Meanwhile, back at the Flowered Cup, both Ozawa and Cortana noticed an odd fish in the murals decorating the room where the only tub was positioned, Cortana thought that it must be some sort of aboleth. While they ponder what this might mean, Raen returns to the inn and tells them that the priest he’d questioned had told him that a man named Odalon, a local hermit, might have some information regarding the area prior to the rise of the Cult of Wah.

So the following morning the group set out to find Odolon, and found him fishing near his shack. He spins a tale from his adventuring days, when he and his companions had come to the small fishing/mining village of Gathakos, to help rid the miners of whatever was attacking them. In their explorations, they had encountered a tribe of angry kuo-toa, who’s ‘god maker’ had been stolen from them by a tribe of duergar. A sketch one of his companions had made of a mural the kuo-toans had of the ‘god maker’ very nearly matched the description of the Well of Twilight, though the description they had didn’t mention the large, blinded head of some Dark Tapestry monstrosity whose ichor obviously fed/powered whatever transformations the Well imparted. In their efforts to soothe the kuo-toans, they had agreed to try and locate the ‘god maker’ and return it, but they had strayed too close to the ShadowSea, a vast waterway that lay deep beneath Yragath, and been attacked by both duergar and drow, both coated in some sort of slime as they rose from the waters.

Half of Odolon’s party fell to the aboleth’s servants, and eventuallythey were forced to declare their mission a failure, and they wound up all settling in the then village. Odolon’s remaining two companions eventually disappeared under odd circumstances as the Cult of Wah grew in power and influence. Not wanting to have to break into the temple and fight their way to and past this Shadowsea to try and pickup the trail of the duergar, Maerth cast a Divination which caused Wee Jas to reveal to him that a shorter path to the duergar city could be found in a cave in a mountain many miles south of where they were now.

Two days later they disembarked the Wren and began their journey down into the Underdark. After nearly two days of spelunking, they came upon a door in the tunnel they were traversing that declared itself “Hubert’s Supplies”. Within they met Hubert, a gnome shopkeeper, who, for a price, was willing to give them directions, sell them equipment to help them avoid certain hazards that lay ahead, and who had in stock several magic items that the party purchased for more than they were worth.

Furthermore, Hubert had something to say about the Well, in that the duergar had either lost it or sold it to the drow, from whom it was stolen in turn by a fire giant, who in turn sold it to a surface mage in exchange for a boat that could sail on lava. Said mage had then had it taken from him by a clan of cloud giants known as the Skaro, who as it happened, had left an “ambassador” in the city of Tuthay that lay nearby. Hubert, of course, had a map of how to get there…

Upon reaching the city of Tuthay and paying the guards a hefty ‘entrance fee’, they were directed to the Stinking Hole, a tavern where the cloud giant ‘ambassador’, Dempsy, was known to hold court. After arranging a meeting with Dempsey, he informed them that his clan, the Skaro, mainly followed the Worldspine Mountains north-south as the seasons dictated; this time of year they would surely be in the south, perhaps as far south as Ngresh or perhaps the Shadowlands.

As we broke for the evening, the party had returned to the Wren, spent two more weeks searching for the Skaro Fortress, and found it floating on the border between Ngresh and the Shadowlands… it is the 9th of Fireseek, 1152 I.C.

5600 xp

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Chapter Three, Session 26: Slave City

The story began on the first of Needfest, 1150 I.C. ( C.Y. 605)

Zeshyn the Dai-Kyu, Vanaran Archer, Crab Clan
Seppun Ozawa, Human Monk, Imperial Families
Cortana Tsunoaru, Draeni Wizard (Iounmancer)/Rogue, Unicorn Clan
Arimura Kasumi, Human Fighter, Unicorn Clan
Raen d’Arth, Human Magus, Gaijin
and Maerk the Red, Kakaran (Warforged) NPC Cleric of Wee Jas, Gaijin.
Our session began on the 25th of Goodmonth, 1151 I.C.

As they began planning their exit from Lux, it occurred to several members of the party that perhaps delivering the Esoterica into the hands of the dakon was maybe not the best idea (as they were known to be retreating into the mountains in the face of Olman advances, and that the Olman themselves were under pressure from the Scarlet Brotherhood along the coast. Several pushed to visit Tenser first, to see what advice he could offer about making the book safe in their hands. Golkar offered no obvious objections, but it was quickly noticed that when ever Raen took his turn piloting the Wren, their course was obviously more north-westerly (towards the Amedio and the dakon) than north-easterly towards the City of Greyhawk and Tenser’s fortress.

Relieved of flight duty, Raen could be seen noticeably sulking, but it would be several more days before Zeshyn, using his sextant to check their course, would notice that their course in general now tended more NW than NE, and when he argued with Ozawa that they were off course, it eventually prompted Cortana to confront Golkar about it, and he reminded her that his deal with Raen said that he would be taken home, not to the supposed archmage who had successfully been imprisoning the other copies of the Esoterica and scattering them across Chornalth. It would take nearly an hour of argument before Golkar would relent to visiting Tenser, but saying that he would not permit himself to be carried within Tenser’s abode, lest he find himself unable to escape again.

Once at Tenser’s fortress, the Wren positioned itself a few hundred yards away and refused to be moved any further. Tenser came out and attempted to reason with Golkar that he would be better kept away from his people, who would only come to harm should Durklemes and his allies learn where he had been taken. While this discussion was being held below deck, one of the two pilots assigned to the Wren called down that something had appeared above the ship, a luminescent saucer-shape that hung silently 50’ above the Wren. Once the group came up to see, they were startled by a short grey humanoid dressed in some type of advanced armor that simply materialized on the deck along side of them that Tenser, at least, recognized as a fraal.

The fraal, who never gave his name, proceeded to repeat, mostly, the same debate with Golkar that Tenser had had, but with oddly less and less resistance. At one point Kasumi caught the creature slyly winking at her as he brought Golkar around to his point of view, offering the Esoterica a “safe place, one that is not a prison, but one where nobody will find you or try to use you”. Golkar eventually agrees, and the fraal takes the Esoterica aboard his craft and vanishes.

Tenser takes his leave, explaining that while what the party has concerned itself with is important, it is just one of many threats that he has involved himself in dealing with to one degree or another, and that he has other business to attend to. The group thanks hm and returns to Rokugan to report back to Minister Seppun.

[End of Chapter Three]

On their return to Otosan Uichi, they are brought up to date on what has transpired while they were away. The Locust/Crane/Phoenix war has fizzled out, thanks in part to advisors lent by the huchard, who have furthermore agreed to lend advisors to all the individual daiymos of the clans, including Lion & Dragon (both of whom have been ordered to report to Otosan Uichi for negotiations). According to the Minister’s agent in Arfa Dumor, one of Durklemes’ four draeni consorts is expecting a child, but the failure of the eleti to hang on to the copy of the Esoterica they held caused Durklemes to execute all of their ambassadors except the most senior.

Furthermore, he has urged Fu Leng to cede the ruined city of Gathrol (200 miles to the southwest of the Great Wall) to the Granbretanians, so that they might study their methods of mass-producing magic items in the interest of learning the process for themselves. For his part, Minister Seppun would like the party to scout the ruins to see what the Granbretanians are up to, and assess their strength of numbers. The party agrees to do so, flying aboard the Wren to the Wall, and then taking horses the rest of the way south.

From the outskirts, they can see that the Granbretanians have erected a metal tower 100’ tall near the center of the ruins, to which is tethered one of their cigar-shaped iron airships. Smoke pours from several points in the ruins, or perhaps what might be dust or ash. The party quickly overcomes a lone soldier wearing a Hound mask, one who is leading a patrol of about 10 slaves (mainly Nezumi but with several humans) on a patrol/hunt around the outskirts. From the soldier they find an aerial map of the ruins, where the city has been divided into sections. The slaves all tell the same tale: about six weeks ago, three of the iron airships attacked the “city” (though mostly in ruins, it had a population of perhaps a thousand, mainly centered around fishing the river that ran past the city’s southern flank).

Most local warriors killed in first night, the rest of the population cowed into submission. Men and women divided, human women the officers wanted for themselves kept, the rest tossed back and the groups divided again, this time into those with useful skills/crafts and those without. Skilled laborers allowed to continue practicing their crafts, the rest either sent to clear lands across the river for a larger agricultural output, the rest used as general labor in rebuilding the city/hunting for meat on the outskirts like they had been. In addition to the Hound-masks, other Beast Orders present in the city were the Boars, the Foxes (who were overseeing the farms), Ferrets, and a few Serpents and Ants.

As to military strength, most knew only that three airships had originally arrived, two more arrived to reinforce/replace them, and that every two weeks two airships sailed off west to be replaced soon after (making the airship total three in the region at any one time. None had any idea why only one vessel was currently present.

Investigating the farms on the far side of the river revealed that they were mainly clear-cutting the forest that grew there, and dragging most of the trees to a metal shed that took trees on one end, vomited copious sawdust out of its sides, and belched finished boards out the other. Fishing boats could be seen leaving the docks without any Granbretanians aboard, though they remain omnipresent on the docks. As far as their cadre of freed slaves went, some wanted to flee the region, warning other villages that the Beasts would soon set their sights on them for slaves, a few wanted to return to the city to try and flee with their loved ones, but two seemed resigned to the new state of affairs, sullen, but arguing that things were actually better since the Granbretanians had arrived.

Figuring that starting a slave revolt would be difficult at best, the party returned to Otosan Uichi at their best speed, and brought Minister Seppun up to date on what they’d seen/learned. He bade the group to abide for a few days while he rallied support, and two days later called them to a conference with two leading generals from Clan Crab and a pair of huchard advisors. For their part, Clan Crab pledged 100 samurai and an equal number of soldiers to lead an assault on Gathrol, the huchard pledged four of their airships to transport the troops into position. The party wanted to use potions of Invisibility and Fly to help assault the tower and scuttle the airship, at the very least crashing it if they couldn’t learn to fly it themselves.

On the 19th of Ready’reat, the airships began landing their troops, and the party began their assault of the tower. As the battle raged in the city below, the group slowly chewed their way through the Boars guarding their airship. The Granbretanian’s flamelances were deadly, particularly because nobody warned the newer members of the group about them, so Maerk was working overtime to keep everyone conscious as the fight progressed.

As we ended for the evening, the party held the gondola of the airship, but a few Boar soldiers remained, trapped in a Spiked Pit Cortana had trapped them in after their massed fire nearly killed her. It is the 19th of Ready’reat, 1151 I.C.

1200 xp

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Chapter Three, Session 25: Out of Light, Into Darkness

The story began on the first of Needfest, 1150 I.C. ( C.Y. 605)

Zeshyn the Dai-Kyu, Vanaran Archer, Crab Clan
Seppun Ozawa, Human Monk, Imperial Families
Cortana Tsunoaru, Draeni Wizard (Iounmancer)/Rogue, Unicorn Clan
Arimura Kasumi, Human Fighter, Unicorn Clan
Raen d’Arth, Human Magus, Gaijin
and Maerk the Red, Kakaran (Warforged) NPC Cleric of Wee Jas, Gaijin.

Our session began on the 2nd of Richfest, 1151 I.C.

Three days after their return to Dulstrand, the portal back to Sunela opened, and the party returned to Fol Birin. Gelesta Folfan awaited them, and congratulated them for recovering the Esoterica, but still had reservations about the book falling into foreign hands. So when the group returned to Greyhawk (and thence to Tenser’s keep) she accompanied them to meet Tenser and take his measure, as well as that of Greykin, once he arrived to take possession of the book.

Amid these discussions, the group asked Tenser to return them home via Teleport, which he did, so that they might return Kirigaya’s remains and possessions to his family, as well as report in to Minister Seppun. Raen & Maerk were given quarters near the rest of the group, but largely excluded from the debriefings.

Current events in the empire stood as follows: the wars between the Dragon & the Lion still raged, as did the conflicts between Clans Crane & Phoenix (Clan Locust had now also been drawn into this fight, as well). In addition, refugees from settlements beyond the southern wall were petitioning for admission as well, as bands of oni had begun burning them out. As predicted by the spirit “Munil” who had briefly possessed Ozawa near the [[Chapter One, Session 04: The Claw of Fu Leng | Claw of Fu Leng]], his elder brother, Ling, had recently died, and his younger sister, Dou, had stepped in to become the heir-apparent of the family. Katsushiro had risen high in his clan’s military, but by all reports, Durklemes appeared to have turned his father, Nakadai, to his cause, as agents planted in Arfa Dumor reported seeing the dragon free on the streets of the city, often in the company of other members of Durklemes inner circle (this information was being kept from Katsushiro).

The huchard had deepened their presence in the Empire, and had given several of their ley-line powered airship to Rokugan, in addition to several more that had been sent to aid in the empire’s defense (but crewed by the giants themselves). If the party so desired, one such vessel would be made available to them for their use, as the Minister considered their mission important enough to warrant such.

Finally, it had been reported that the eleti had located the final copy of the Esoterica and were believed to have taken it back to their homeland, bartering with Durklemes for better terms before surrendering it. Hearing this, the party decides to return to Tenser, hoping he has more information on the homeland of the eleti. At their request, Minister Seppun once more has one of the wu jen at his disposal Teleport the party back to Greyhawk.

For his part, Tenser tells the party what he knows, which isn’t a lot. He knows that Philintis lies on the south-eastern coast of Kanos, the southern continent, and that it is not well-liked by it’s neighbors. He further knows that politically, it’s main opponent is the nation of Luminarch, with lies to it’s west, which is mainly the domain of a race of beings with strong ties to the Positive Material Plane. The people there might know more of their ancient enemies than he.

s-kanos.JPG

Armed with this information, the party once more has Tenser Teleport them back to Otosan Uichi, where they take Minister Seppun up on his offer of the flying ship, the Wren. Each member of the party (as well as two recent graduates of the new “flight school” the giants had helped set up) would be attuned to the ship in order to pilot it. Shortly thereafter, the reinforced party set out aboard the Wren for the southern continent.

720X720-dragon-hunting-airship.jpg

Arriving in the port town of Azena on the 13th of Goodmonth, the party is referred to the capital, Lux, where they soon meet Xellim Hassur, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Hearing their tale, he agrees to aid them, but that it will take time to learn the probable location of the book. On the 1st of Harvester, they are once more summoned to his office where he tells them that the Esoterica is reportedly being held in the Dissolute Library is Mor’Arete, the capital of Philintis. In addition to the eleti themselves, several emissaries of the Va have been admitted to view the book. Hassur knows many legends regarding the Va, and tells the party that they were supposedly the first of the mortal races created by the gods, but considered a failure because they refused to bow down or serve; before the gods could destroy them and start anew, several fled and had supposedly hidden themselves away, to plot the downfall of the gods. – If anything, they were regarded as being worse than the eleti.

The party brainstorms a plan by which Cortana will disguise herself as an eredar, and pretend that she and her party are emissaries of Durklemes, come to claim the book. When asked to cast a Divination to assess the likelihood of success, the answer Wee Jas provides is simply “Be careful what masks you wear, lest they become your heart”. Their flight to Mor’Arete takes a week, and on the 21st they arrive in the city and are soon walking into the Dissolute Library. Led to the book by an eleti who introduced himself only as Curator, they passed numerous traps both magical and mundane, easily as secure as those of Tenser or Kelben. In the Esoterica’s chamber itself, numerous traps lay waiting, as well as hidden doors that doubtless held other guardians.

For his part, the Curator seemed surprised that Durklemes had sent a party to collect the book, as he maintained that negotiations were ongoing. He allowed the party to see the book, even allowing Raen to approach it to assess it’s bindings. Raen, for his part, opened his mind to the book and made contact with it’s Guardian, Golkar of the Dakon. When asked his opinion of his current state, Golkar indicated that he was tired of cages and zoos, and that given his druthers, he’d want his freedom and to be returned to his ancestral lands. Fearing that having left the chamber were the book was being kept that they might not be readmitted, Raen allowed the guardian to possess him, and what followed was a particularly violent cut-scene as Raen-Golkar and the rest of the party fought their way free of the Library.

Just before leaving the library, however, a trio of the Men of Va were seen, one of whom smiled at Raen-Golkar with deep amusement. As they made no move to oppose the party, however, the group continued to smash their way to the docks, where they boarded the Wren and returned to Lux at their top speed, pursued briefly by several dragon-riders. As we ended for the evening, the party was preparing to make the journey to the Amedio and the Hellfurnaces, where the last redoubts of Golkar’s people were said to dwell…

It is the 25th of Goodmonth, 1151 I.C.

2000 xp

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Chapter Three, Session 24: That Makes Three

The story began on the first of Needfest, 1150 I.C. ( C.Y. 605)

Zeshyn the Dai-Kyu, Vanaran Archer, Crab Clan
Seppun Ozawa, Human Monk, Imperial Families
Cortana Tsunoaru, Draeni Wizard (Iounmancer)/Rogue, Unicorn Clan
Arimura Kasumi, Human Fighter, Unicorn Clan
and introducing: Raen d’Arth, Human Magus, Gaijin
and Maerk the Red, Kakaran (Warforged) NPC Cleric of Wee Jas Gaijin.

Our session began on the 5th of Wealsun, 1151 I.C.

After several more rounds of combat, Kasumi spends a Hero Point and uses her Kyton Ring to ensnare the dragon’s wings and pull it down to the ground, where she quickly slaughters it. Once the dragon falls, his lizardfolk servants flee, leaving the party free reign to loot the castle and his hoard. In the search of the keep, the party finds Raen & Maerk prisoners in the catacombs beneath the south tower, frees them, and offers to allow them to join their quest against the followers of Wastri. Over the next week, Maerk tells the group of his quest to find the Hammer of the Lifebringer, a minor artifact to Jascar that he has been following visions to locate. As he believes it is in the hands of Wastri’s priesthood, he’s only too happy to tag along.

After another week of making their way through the Vast Swamp, they finally reach their goal. Surveillance reveals vigilant guards, and what might be a hidden entrance to the keep located underwater in the swamp surrounding the temple. Ozawa attempts to make his way to scout it, but is spotted. Cortana tries later, aided by stealth and Invisibility, and discovers a large pipe leading out of the temple’s catacombs wide enough for even the kakaran to traverse.

After discussing several plans for entering the temple, their guide, Glimm, suggests that with enough of a bribe, a nearby tribe might be willing to distract and engage the temple’s forces while they steal away inside and find their goal (as all of the local tribes hate Wastri and his minions). A deal is struck, and a little before dusk on the following day, the marsh folk begin taunting the guards, eventually causing a major portion of them to emerge from the temple to pursue them.

The party enters the temple via the hidden underwater entrance, defeats a chuul set to guard the way to it, and eventually find the Esoterica they sought (the one containing Rajarikit, to their mild surprise) who is apparently counseling a quartet of priests in the defense of the temple. As the party eliminates the priests one by one, it quickly becomes obvious that while Rajarikit is appearing to aid the priesthood, in reality she’s pulling her punches, obviously eager for the priesthood to lose. Once the priests are defeated, they quickly ransack the room where the Esoterica lay, find Maerk’s fabled Hammer, and beat a hasty retreat back the way they came.

As we ended for the evening, the party has returned to Dulstrand, and is preparing to return to Sunela when the priestesses there open the way back. It is the 2nd of Richfest, 1151 I.C.

8500 xp

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Chapter Three, Session 23: You Have Converted Him to a Fine Mist

The story began on the first of Needfest, 1150 I.C. ( C.Y. 605)

Zeshyn the Dai-Kyu, Vanaran Archer
Seppun Ozawa, Human Monk, Imperial Families
Cortana Tsunoaru, Draeni Wizard (Iounmancer), Unicorn Clan
Tsugumi Kirigaya, Tengu Oracle, Crane Clan
Arimura Kasumi, Human Fighter, Unicorn Clan

Our session began on the 3rd of Wealsun, 1151 I.C.

We resumed the battle against the chuul, who were eventually slain by the party, even the one who tried running away was overtaken and slaughtered. The following day the party crossed the lands of one tribes they knew they would have to bribe their way past, who informed them that the lands beyond their territory, where once had stood another tribe (that the party expected to bribe their way past) had been overrun by a tribe of lizardfolk claiming to serve Golamyyr the Black, a dragon who had supposedly enslaved the tribe for his defense and set up shop. Questioning the tribe about the dragon was fruitless to determine it’s size or age, as it had only been seen flying overhead.

Asking Glimm how long it would take to circumnavigate the area controlled by the dragon proved to be too much of a detour, as it would put them behind the timeline they’d arranged with the priestesses of Wee Jas at Fol Birin to bring them back to Sunela. Besides, it’s a dragon… nothing ventured, nothing gained…

Later that night, the party’s camp was attacked by a force of seven lizardfolk, two of which surrendered to the party after the defeat of their raiding party. The two lizardfolk revealed that Golamyyr had enslaved their village, slain their elders, and taken several of their choicest females as concubines; and no, he could not assume a humanoid form, as their cries of terror and pain could be heard easily by all. They also mentioned that the tribe had taken several members of a previous group of adventurers prisoner, awaiting the dragon’s decision on what to do with them.

Armed with this news, the party was now even more determined to kill the dragon, hoping to release the lizardfolk from his control as well as rescue the prisoners. The following morning, after leaving the two prisoners tied up in such a way that they could eventually free themselves, the party burned most of their store of potions and scrolls in preparation for the fight to come.

Kasumi, under the effect of Enlarge Person (and other spells), was now easily tall enough to reach one of the guards on one of the ruined keep’s towers, critting him and hurling his broken body down and away with a single strike. But the tide of battle shifted when the dragon emerged from the inner keep and breathed it’s acid breath on him and Kirigaya, who failed his save and was killed outright by the breath weapon. Cortana cast a Dispel Magic on the dragon, which removed the Displacement from a potion it had drank, but after it flew up out of reach it cast Mage Armor on itself to make it harder to hit (again). It breathed a second time of Kasumi, but she persevered.

As we broke for the evening, Ozawa had entered the central keep, hoping that the dragon would perceive a threat to it’s hoard and return, and the party was making plans for how they could ground the dragon before it could breath again….

It is the 5th of Wealsun, 1151 I.C.

5060 xp.

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Chapter Three, Session 22: Shuttlecocks R Us

The story began on the first of Needfest, 1150 I.C. ( C.Y. 605)

Zeshyn the Dai-Kyu, Vanaran Archer
Seppun Ozawa, Human Monk, Imperial Families
Cortana Tsunoaru, Draeni Wizard (Iounmancer), Unicorn Clan
Tsugumi Kirigaya, Tengu Oracle, Crane Clan
Arimura Kasumi, Human Fighter, Unicorn Clan

Our session began on the 25th of Readying, 1151 I.C.

As we rejoined our heroes, they faced only two of the eleti in the courtyard, two more having fled. Between the party and the summoned Chaaor, they made quick work of them. Cortana dismissed her Spiked Pit, allowing Ozawa to speed out to catch up with the eleti warrior fleeing on foot, and when Zeshyn added his arrows to the mix, said warrior quickly fell. The warlock had already made his escape, however.

Searching the bodies, the group recovered two of the missing pages, that identified a noble djinn, Rajarikit, as one of the guardians enslaved by the Ebonwand. By cross-referencing the name, they eventually discovered that this enslavement was one of the points of contention that would lead to conflict between the Suloise Empire and the Bakluni.

The priestesses of Syrul thanked the party for their assistance, and assured them that when the missing page was recovered, they would be allowed to make a copy of it. The priestesses reported that the escaped warlock had protected himself from detection, but that he was alone, and that it would amuse the priestesses to notify the Knights of the Hammer to his presence abroad in their lands.

During the eight days it took for the warlock to be captured, Kirigaya, Zeshyn, and Kasumi had gear enchanted. When word reached the Sisterhood, the party was permitted to be their representatives to recover the missing page and to question the captive, who had made it to the Fol Birin in the province of Sunela to the east. Said journey took the better part of a month, and when they arrived at Castle Sunet, the fortress that shared the island where Fol Birin stood, they met with Ser Elentos Kaldir, the Knight-Captain of Jascar who commanded the post. He returned to them the final page, revealing that the final book was the prison of a dakon arcanist named Golkar.

In questioning Gothurmof, the eleti warlock, they learned that they, like the party, sought the books, only that they wished to use them to enter into an alliance with Durklemes. The eleti apparently knew of the Starfall, and, because they had captured a being known as a fraal, who had knowledge of another world where such an event had happened, welcomed the destruction of the living and the tide of necromantic energies that would be released by such an event. Furthermore, the eleti believed that Durklemes himself didn’t fully understand what the event would entail, or perhaps he felt that he could somehow turn it to his own advantage in some long-range power play between himself and Fu Leng. Either way, the eleti felt that the event would be to their advantage, so they would do whatever they must to ensure it happened.

After questioning Gothurmof, the party made the return trip to Kalbriis, only to realize once they arrived that the warlock must have fled to Fol Birin for a reason, and that that reason was likely that the standing stones could be used as portals to other places. Checking the Sisterhood’s library, they learned that the site was considered sacred to Wee Jas, and that during the Rain of Colorless Fire, many lesser mages had used the site to escape the Empire. So the party set out once more for Fol Birin, but stopped along the way at the Grand Temple of We Jas in Shatura.

The High Priestess of the temple, Dame Gelesta Folfan, had little knowledge of the Ebonwand Society, but a passing knowledge of the Starstone Prophesy, Wee Jas being a patron to witches, which many hags qualified as. After spending the evening grilling Cortana for everything she knew of the Ebonwand and their grimoires, she agreed to assist them with traversing the dolmen of Fol Birin (though she obviously took a dim view of artifacts of Suloise origin being given over to foreign mages); while she did not know of Tenser, Mordenkainen was familiar to her, and she at least took heart that the tomes were not in the hands of the Circle of Eight.

Discussing their next move, the party felt they had two choices. While the Bakluni were no more, their lands had been inherited by nomads known as the Paynim, who still held close ties with the genies, and who might have knowledge of Rajarikit and her ultimate disposition. Kirigaya had discovered that the demigod Wastri had no outer planar presence, but instead held court in the Vast Swamp in the south-eastern Flanaess.

A week later, accompanied by several acolytes of Wee Jas, the party stood once more among the dolmen of Fol Birin, and were Teleported thenceforth to Dulstrand, a city on the outskirts of the Vast Swamp. The acolytes would hold open the gateway for seven days, awaiting news of how long their mission would take. Once in the city (entrance to which required exorbitant bribes), they located a sage named Tolhik Jurn, who brought them up to speed on Wastri, his cult, and the general view the locals held of it (and him). He furthermore recommended a guide (after charging a steep ’finder’s fee’, of course) by the name of Fogur Glimm as the most experienced, and best capable of guiding them through the Vast Swamp.

Actually locating Glimm took some doing, but once found he agreed to guide them for the low, low cost of a mere 1500 gold (and, he warned, the party should keep an equal amount on hand for bribes to the various tribes whose lands they would be crossing in their journey). Though said bribes worked well enough for the first half of the journey, on the night of the 3rd of Wealsun, their camp was attacked by six chuul, who rose up out of the swamp. As we broke for the evening, Kirigaya had been paralyzed by the chuul (who was slain soon after by Kasumi), Glimm, Ozawa, and Kasumi were all grappled by the chuul, and the battle was raging.

It is the third of Wealsun, 1151 I.C.

5000xp

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