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Pieces of Eight Campaign / Session 23 Summary
« Last post by David Roomes on October 14, 2017, 10:16:36 PM »
Session 23 Summary

The Player Characters  (aka the "Heroes")

Winlock – orc/dwarf barbarian, wearing heavy chain mail armor and wielding a big war hammer
William – the party’s wizard, human male, robed and armed with a broad array of spells.
Belkor – the dashing human swordsmen/mariner wielding twin scimitars
Listig – the elven thief/archer equipped with several different enchanted arrows
Halimir - An elven archer/ranger. Good tracker. Expert archer. Has transitioned from NPC to PC.

The Current Non Player Characters

"Humble" Almahdi - A likable Padashani beggar with quick wit. Talkative. Funny. Fluent in several languages. Street smart, but somewhat cowardly.
Grim Rigor- A huge ogre warrior. A former slave and gladiator. Extremely tough. Good in a fight. Cured of a zombie infection by Belkor.

Session 23 began with all the characters camping next to their wagon about a mile south of the ruined city.

Kruto,  the secambru giant, had sustained serious injuries from his battle with the clockwork golem. Although they had bandaged him up as best they could, he was still in very bad shape. Luckily, Winlock had unlocked most of the functions of the Talisman of Blood by now and had access to most of its functions, including some remarkable healing ability.

Winlock finished healing all of Kruto’s remaining injuries. He hid the Talisman of Blood from the giant while doing this.

Without the aid and magical healing of the party, Kruto most likely would have died. He knew it. Kruto thanked the party profusely… for saving his life, for witnessing his glorious battle and for their companionship.

Winlock now had access to a wide variety of healing functions in the Talisman of Blood. This included undoing the damage and sickening effect that they had all suffered from the magically irradiated region around the city of the dead. Whatever it was, the Talisman could undo the effects. Armed with this knowledge, the party decided to do a few more forays into the town to scavenge and loot. They also used some divination from the Talisman of Dreams to help them locate useful things.

The spent the entire next day looting the city. Among the treasures they managed to obtain from the city:

Various coins
Various books written in a strange language
A map of the city before it was destroyed
A silver chalice shaped in the likeness of a dragon
A box of copper ingots
A bejeweled scepter
Small wooden chest filled with coins
A detailed map of eastern Qeshir.
Several enchanted arrows including two scorchhead arrows, one arcane disruptor and one lightning bolt arrow.
A beautiful statuette carved from a solid block of lapis lazuli.
A wine cellar from which they recovered 11 intact bottles of wine.

At the end of the day (and over the next few days), Winlock used the power of the Talisman to undo the effects of the magical radiation on each of them.

Belkor was sick with some kind of illness and was in no shape to fight. Winlock had unlocked some of the healing potential of the Talisman of Blood, but he did not yet have enough experience with it to cure disease. So the party put Belkor to bed in the back of the wagon. This is where Belkor stayed for the bulk of this session… in the back of the wagon.

The next morning they left and travelled. Kruto wanted to rendezvous with his tribe. He said that his tribe was travelling to a “great meet” at the ruined city of Jaruska. William used the Talisman of Dreams to get a fix on the next Talisman. The next Talisman was in that direction and so they all travelled together.

Two days later, they met up with Kruto's tribe.... the Fire Eagle tribe. Kruto introduced the party to his father, Chunda, the chieftain of the tribe. The other giants were at first, wary of the party, but after Kruto told the tale of the battle and how the party had healed him afterwards, the giants were more accepting. They were impressed with Kruto's trophy (the crystalline heart of the clockwork golem). Eventually, the party was welcomed into the tribe as guests.

The party traveled with the Fire Eagle tribe for four more days eastward toward the “town of Jaruksa”. On the way, the party learned a great deal about the secambru giants. They learned of the history of the giants, the different generations, the fading magic and so forth. They learned why the secambru choose to live primitive lives with no crafts or building of any kind. [All of which is available for review in the Khoras website]. They also learned about the great meet, which happens once a year and they learned about the ruined city of Jaruska and the Iron Tribe (those secambru giants who have returned to the ways of crafts and trades) and are slowly rebuilding the city of Jaruksa.

During the journey, they passed an unusual mound – it was a circular ring of boulders with an earthen top and a tall wooden pole, carved and painted, at the top. The giants explained that it was an “iron cairn”. After defeating outsiders in the battle, the fallen would invariably have metal weapons and armor and other crafted objects. The secambru wanted nothing to do with such items and so they would bury these metal and crafted objects in great cairns so that “the iron can return to the wounded land and the land may heal”.

The party made note of the iron cairn and marked it on their map. Who knew what treasures might lie within? However, they couldn’t loot the cairn in front of the giants. Clearly, the giants considered it holy ground. The party decided that perhaps they could loot it if they came back this way. There might be other cairns ahead to loot as well. In any case, they marked it on their map and continued on.

The party also learned of the giant's religion, centered on a nature diety named Amurax, a spirit of the four elements. It was a combination of nature worship and ancestor worship, but at the top of their faith was “great Amurax”.

On the morning of the fifth day, the party saw a river on the horizon and a great forest beyond. At the mouth of the river was a city made of stone. On the grass plains on the near side of the river, close to the city, were hundreds of crude, giant sized tents fashioned from trees and pelts and so forth.

There was also a small stone tower, sitting apart from the rest, overlooking the sea. As the party’s wagon slowly closed the distance, they could see a human sized figure sitting at the base of the tower. As they got closer still, they could see it was an elf and he was sitting, smoking a pipe and watching the giants set up their huge tents on the plain.

Listig and Halimir went forth to introduce themselves. The elf stood up and greeted them with a smile. He was a very old elf.

“Well met my young friends, well met. So nice to see fellow children of the forest”.

The party engaged the old elf in conversation and asked him a lot of questions. His name was Quinlar and he was a former member of the lore masters of Ithell. He had been studying the secambru giants for some time. After many years and journeys, he had returned and settled here to live closer to the giants.

The party was curious about the town. It was an ancient ruin, originally built by the secambru giants from centuries ago and later abandoned. The buildings in the town were all giant sized. The Iron Tribe giants had rebuilt a portion of it. Others had come. A pirate ship and later a magrakian ship had foundered in storms nearby and both crews had chosen to stay. There were also humans, a few mytharians, a handful of aswani and a few others. It was a small, independent frontier town in the midst of a vast and uncivilized collection of wildlands.

The party asked what Quinlar knew of this gathering of giants. He explained that the giants met every year to meet and trade, but that it was unusual for them to do it near Jaruska. There were whispers among the giants that Kaladath, the chieftain of the Black Elk tribe, the largest and most powerful tribe, was going to make some sort of proclamation. Some whispered that he was going to proclaim himself king over all the secambru giants.

William, using the Talisman of Dreams, once again scanned for the location of the other Talismans. The one they sought, the Talisman of the Sea, was here… it was somewhere down in that cluster of huge tents, somewhere near the center. The party suspected that Kaladath held the talisman and that he was going to use it to sway the other tribes.

Quinlar said that if Kaladath actually did make himself King and united the secambru tribes, that this might draw the attention of Tolkarus. The party did not know the name and asked who was this Tolkarus. Quinlar explained he was a powerful sorcerer who lived in a mountain on the east coast. He never left his mountain. Instead, he sent out armies, agents, spies and so forth to do his bidding.

The party asked about the ruined “city of the dead” that they had encountered earlier and Quinlar explained that it was Tolkarus who had destroyed the city with a fantastically powerful spell more than three centuries ago. Such was his power.

The party decided to go down and wander among the secambru giants and explore a bit. As guests of the Fire Eagle tribe, Quinlar told them that most tribes would let them mingle. As it turns out, they weren’t the only ones mingling. A few humans and magrakians from the town of Jaruska had come over as well to talk and trade with the giants. The two magrakian sailors with the party went over to the town to talk to the other magrakians there.

The secambru giants were setting up for feasting and trading that would take place the next day. Most giants ignored the party, but some invited them to drink with them. They were drinking a foul concoction called “hoomba” that had quite a kick to it. Of course, Winlock joined in on the drinking.

While getting thoroughly sloshed, Winlock noticed a giant that seemed out of place. This secambru giant was moving from group to group, seeming to listen in on various conversations, but not really participate. Something about him seemed out of place. Winlock scanned him with the Talisman of Blood (one of its functions is to analyze the biology of a creature and reveal strengths and weaknesses and so forth). The readings on this particular giant were… odd. Winlock did not have enough experience using the Talisman to understand what it was telling him, only that there was something not right about that giant.

The party had their wagon parked between the Fire Eagle tribe encampment and Quinlar’s tower. They spent the night at the wagon.

The next morning, the giants gathered at the edge of the river. Kaladath stood upon a large boulder before the throng.

I am Kaladath! Chieftain of the Black Elk Tribe I hold sway over all the central plains. But Great Amurax has seen fit to bestow upon me a higher power. I have been given command over all the waters of the land… the swamplands, the rivers, the sea itself. With this power, I declare myself KING of all the secambru tribes. I call upon all the assembled chieftains to take a knee before me and declare their loyalty.

The reaction from the assembled giants was mixed. There were cheers from the Black Elk tribe, boos from the Hill Stalker tribe, shocked dismay, disbelief and so forth. One big giant up from yelled out “We have no king! We need no king!” Another voice asked “Why should be bend knee to you?”

Kaladath turned toward the river. “I command the waters to rise”. He spread his arms wide and the river water shaped itself up into a towering, translucent wall of liquid. It stood more than two hundred feet tall and stretched up and down river for nearly a quarter mile.

Shocked gasps and exclamations of awe erupted from the giants.

Kaladath gestured with his hands and the wall of water rose up, detaching from the river and formed itself up into a huge quivering sphere of water high overhead. Kaladath clapped his hands together in a single loud clap and the sphere burst. The water rained down upon the crowd of giants for several seconds.

When the rain stopped, a hushed awe fell over the giants. They could not deny what they had seen for their own clothing and hair were soaked. The reality of it was apparent to all. Hundreds of members of the Black Elk tribe, smiling, knelt and bowed their heads. One by one other giants knelt down.

Some giants remained standing, others jeered. Several simply turned their backs and walked back toward the encampment of tents. Chunda, the chieftain of the Fire Eagle tribe spat in Kaladath’s direction, turned and walked away. Kruto and the other Fire Eagle tribe members followed.

The rest of the day was an odd day. It was a festive atmosphere filled with feasting, drinking, trading, contests of strength and other games. However, there was also much discussion amongst the giants about Kaladath’s claim of kingship. Many supported him, others opposed him. There were discussions, arguments and a few threats.

Kaladath had set up the largest tent and the largest bonfire near the center of the whole encampment. Many giants were now coming to his tent bearing gifts and seeking to ingratiate themselves to him. He was at the center of attention.

Several times throughout the day, the party saw the “suspicious secambru giant” who continued to listen in on conversations. The party began to suspect that this was no secambru giant at all, but a spy in the form of a giant. Perhaps even a spy of Tolkarus.

In any case, there was no doubt now. The party knew that Kaladath held the Talisman of the Sea. And clearly he had unlocked some of its powers. The party had no idea how long he had been in possession of it or what he could do with it.

The party decided to try to take the amulet by stealth and trickery. That evening, after the stars had come out, William cast invisibility on Listig and Halimir. The two thieves snuck down to Kaladath’s huge tent and crawled under one side.

Inside the tent they found Kaladath surrounded by servants, guards, slaves and wives. He also had four huge dogs. A number of braziers burned some type of mossy plant and the air was thick with a heady perfume that made the two elves dizzy. They were unable to get close to Kaladath without alerting the dogs and so retreated out of the tent and back to the party.

The next morning the party spoke with Chunda, the chieftain of the Fire Eagle tribe, and convinced him and other members of the tribe that Kaladath was not “blessed by Amurax” but was, instead, using a magical device crafted by dark magic.

Chunda, his tribe and the party publicly confronted Kaladath with accusations of such, but Kaladath surprised them by pulling out the Talisman and holding it in his hand. He showed the other giants and beat his chest.

"The power of the water comes from this, but Great Amurax himself has ordained that this Power should come to me, that this Power should be wielded by my hand. This Power works for me and me alone. I am KING and no one shall defy me."

That was not the end of it though. The party kept up the pressure, talking to Chunda and others, driving home the point that Kaladath was not blessed and not fit to be king. The secambru giants had never had a king before and did not need one now. Kaladath was merely playing at being god by the use of a foreign device.

Quinlar was helping by also spreading such information and talking to many giants. Quinlar eventually found the party and told them something he had learned about Kaladath’s talisman. According to a giant that Quinlar trusted, Kaladath had been in possession of the Talisman of the Sea for several years. It had been a gift from a shaman… a beautiful trinket with a gorgeous central gem, nothing more. However, about four months ago, the “trinket” had suddenly lit up with power, as if awoken. That is when Kaladath realized it was magical and over the last four months, had come to realize its true power. William found this bit of information very interesting. William surmised that either he or the witch must have somehow activated the other talismans remotely with the Talisman of Dreams, perhaps when searching for them.

The other tribes continued feasting, drinking, dancing, trading and so forth throughout the day. By evening, many were good and drunk.

By this time, the party had gotten the Fire Eagle tribe (and others) riled up to the point that they were ready for a direct confrontation with Kaladath and his supporters.

Seeing that Chunda was getting ready for a confrontation, the party made a few preparations. They packed up their camp and had Almahdi take the wagon (and Belkor who was still sick in the back) to the west. They wanted to get the wagon far to the west and rendezvous with it later. They planned on stealing the Talisman and making a run for it.

A little while later, Chunda led a group of giants to confront the Black Elk tribe near the central fire pit. This occurred later in the day around 9pm as the stars were just starting to come out.

Chunda challenged Kaladath to one on one combat, saying he was a “false prophet” and unworthy to rule. He spoke of the “outlander magic” and so forth. Very quickly the verbal argument turned to blows and both Chunda and Kaladath pulled out their clubs and began to fight.

William cast invisibility and fly on himself, Halimir and Listig. All three took to the air to watch the duel from above. Winlock and Grim Rigor remained on the ground amongst the crowd of giants encircling the two combatants.

William also created a telepathic communication between all members of the party (this is one of the powers of the Talisman of Dreams he had recently unlocked). So all party members could communicate easily merely by thinking.

Chunda was outmatched because Kaladath was an older generation giant. Kaladath was bigger and stronger. After a minute or two, Kaladath was driving Chunda back with furious blows from his club.

William cast a slow spell on Kaladath, discreetly helping Chunda. This helped turn the tide and soon Chunda had Kaladath on the defensive. Frustrated, Kaladath raised his hand and unleashed a torrent of water from his palm, blasting Chunda backwards and knocking him off his feet.

The Fire Eagle tribe members roared in frustration at this cowardly act and surged forward. The black Elk tribe members run forward to protect Kaladath and the two tribes clashed in the middle. Within seconds, there were thirty giants fighting. Above this chaotic scene floating Halimir, Listig and William, silent and invisible.

Several times Listig flew down and tried to grab the Talisman of the Sea. Kaladath was wearing it around his neck on a thick leather thong. Of course, it was a giant sized leather thong, so it was more like a corded leather rope. Not easy to cut. The giant was also moving a great deal because he was in the midst of combat. Listig had, thus far, been unable to grab and cut it, but kept trying.

William scanned the area for magic and picked something up. He could sense the Talisman of the Sea on Kaladath and it was powerful, but there was something else down there as well. He decided to cast See Invisible and suddenly saw the “suspicious giant” was in the midst of the battle, invisible and directly behind Kaladath. He was doing exactly what Listig was trying to do, get a hold of the leather cord, cut it and make off with the Talisman.

Listig made another dive and grabbed the leather cord, but Kaladath made a sudden move backward. Listig managed to maintain a hold on the necklace, but ended flopping on the front of Kaladath’s chest. At that moment, Chunda (unable to see Listig because of the invisibility) struck Kaladath in the chest with his hammer. The weapon impacted Listig and wounded him.

At that moment, the invisible giant managed to grab the cord and cut it, all in one fell swoop. William had been ready for this. He immediately cast Telekinesis on the Talisman and the leather cord, hoping to wrench it out of the giant’s hand. Unfortunately, both Fly and Telekinesis require concentration and cannot function at the same time. The fly spell ended abruptly and William and Halimir both plummeted to the ground, landing hard.

William used his telekinesis to yank the Talisman and the leather cord away from Kaladath and attempted to move it straight up and out. This jerked Listig off of Kaladath’s chest and up into the air again. The invisible giant, however, maintained a grip on one end while Listig grabbed the other end. Listig was not able to see the invisible giant, but all party members were aware of what was going on thanks to the telepathic link.

Listig wrapped the cord around his hand to maintain a good grip. The giant did the same, bringing Listig closer. The cord was still straight and taut and angled up at a 45 degree angle because of the telekinesis spell. It was essentially a tug of war between the two invisible opponents and a telekinesis spell on the Talisman and leather cord.

The giant pulled on his end, bringing Listig closer to him, and threw a punch at Listig (seemingly able to see the invisible elf, for some reason). He smashed Listig’s shoulder and Listig’s left arm fell useless (he was holding the leather cord with his right hand).

Because of the punch, the giant became visible. Winlock and Grim Rigor were already aware of the invisible giant. The instant he became visible, the two charged and attacked the giant. Winlock struck him in the back with his hammer, knocking the wind out of him. Grim Rigor brought his huge two handed sword down and, with a single stroke, severed the giant’s arm at the elbow (the arm that was holding the cord). The giant staggered backward screaming as blood erupted from his severed elbow.

All of this had taken only a few seconds since the time the cord had been cut. Kaladath knew the Talisman had been ripped from his neck and turned to find this new giant with severed arm behind him suddenly.

William telekinetically moved the leather cord, Talisman and Listig aware from Kaladath while also bringing closer to ground level. He telepathically told everyone except Grim to grab hold. He could only telekinetically lift so much and Grim was too heavy. Halimir, Winlock and William all joined Listig in grabbing a hold of the leather cord. As soon as all four had a good grip, William telekinetically propelled the Talisman and cord up, lifting all four adventurers up into the air.

Kaladath, spotting the Talisman, bellowed in rage and charged the fleeing group. He leapt up into the air after them, but only managed to grab Halimir’s boot which was pulled off. William continued telekinetically propelling the leather cord up and away from the battle. Hundreds of giants were now battling each other below and only a few noticed the four adventurers fly away into the night time sky. The four clung to the flying Talisman as they soared over the giants’ tents, just outside of the light of their camp fires and flickering torches. A few giants looked up to see the bewildering sight of a cluster of four men flying west.

A few minutes later, the four flew over the last tent and were heading out into dark grasslands to the west of the encampment. After a few more minutes, William’s telekinesis spell was exhausted and he set them down in the grass. The party was now a mile west of the camp.

Once they were on the ground, Winlock used the Talisman of Blood to heal Listig’s broken shoulder. The four party members then proceeded west on foot as fast they could run to catch up with Almahdi, Kenner and their wagon.

Grim Rigor was still on the ground back at the giant’s encampment, but he was working his way out of the fray and heading west on foot. Grim Rigor travels fast due to his long stride and he knew he would soon catch up to the four party membes who had just flown away.

After a few minutes of running, the party stopped for a breath. Listig looked back toward the east and saw numerous small lights moving out across the grasslands. The party assumed these were torches being carried by giants. Most likely, Kaladath was leading the Black Elk tribe out to look for the party and recover the stolen Talisman. The party was fairly certain that at least a few giants had seen them fly overhead heading west.

So, it’s a race. A foot race across open grassland at night. And the party is being pursued by a good portion of the Black Elk tribe… in other words, several hundred 14-foot tall angry giants who know the terrain better than the party does.

This is where we ended the session.
Pieces of Eight Campaign / Re: Session 22 Summary
« Last post by tanis on September 05, 2017, 03:27:40 PM »
Once again, it's nice to see a new session summary!

I'm looking forward to learning all about the new fauna, as well as the "City of the Dead". :D
Pieces of Eight Campaign / Session 22 Summary
« Last post by David Roomes on September 04, 2017, 09:43:32 PM »
Session 22 Summary

The Player Characters  (aka the "Heroes")

Winlock – orc/dwarf barbarian, wearing heavy chain mail armor and wielding a big war hammer
William – the party’s wizard, human male, robed and armed with a broad array of spells.
Belkor – the dashing human swordsmen/mariner wielding twin scimitars
Listig – the elven thief/archer equipped with several different enchanted arrows

The Current Non Player Characters

"Humble" Almahdi - A likable Padashani beggar with quick wit. Talkative. Funny. Fluent in several languages. Street smart, but somewhat cowardly.
Halimir - An elven archer/ranger, who has fought along side the party from almost the beginning. Doesn't talk much. Very loyal to Listig.
Grim Rigor- A huge ogre warrior. A former slave and gladiator. Extremely tough. Good in a fight. Cured of a zombie infection by Belkor.

SPECIAL NOTE: We had a guest player play with us this session. He ran the character of Halimir. He might join us a regular player and he might continue playing Halimir. So, there's a real possibility that Halimir will transition from NPC red shirt to full player character status.

The party had just battled and sunk one of the Anquaran black ships.

The party wanted to put as much distance as possible between them and the location of the ship battle. They were certain that the infernal knight had managed to “phone home” to Anquar and report to his superiors. The party assumed the worst… that King Dalmoran and his generals now knew the precise location of the party, the type of ship they were travelling in and the direction they were travelling.

As day turned to evening, the Retching Dog headed southeast toward a grey and stormy horizon.

That evening, William began studying the books and scroll that Belkor had brought over from the Anquaran ship. They were all written in Quaryn, but William translated them with a spell.

The first book was the captain’s log. It was clear from the log that the ship they had just sunk was one of a dozen ships that were patrolling various coastlines around the world. These wide ranging patrols began weeks ago, shortly after the party had eluded the Anquarans in the city of Freeport. The nearest patrol ship was somewhere in the Fire Isles, a good 10 days away. The party was hopeful they would reach the mouth of the Uras River before that ship found them.

The second book was some sort of Anquaran holy book. It detailed the official Anquaran state religion based on the worship of King Dalmoran. It also provided insight into the ranks of the soldiers and mages that served him. From this book, William learned that the infernal knights learned their magic at a single great academy  and cast spells as wizards. However, they were also a part of a vast magical network that connected them all with Dalmoran at the center. The book implied that energy could be sent through this network to bolster the powers of any infernal knight. The infernal knights are the elite warrior mages of the Anquaran military and there are only one hundred of them. William also learned that many of their magical items, such as their iron masks and iron staves, were enchanted in such a way that they would only function for an infernal knight. The masks were their connection to the network.

William thinks that, perhaps, with enough time and research, he might be able to break the spells that bind the mask and staff and perhaps use the items or even gain access to the network. He would need a functioning iron mask taken from one of the infernal knights. Unfortunately, the mask belonging to the knight on the boat was destroyed when Winlock crushed the man’s skull with his hammer.

The third book was the infernal knight’s spellbook. It was written in Lasyne, the magical coding system used in Anquar. William knew enough of the Lasyne system to read the book and will work on adding some of the spells to his own book.

The fourth book was a book of poetry and song entitled “Songs of the Usurper”. Most of the songs glorify King Dalmoran in some way.

The scroll was a navigational map including detailed coastlines, safe harbors, notes on sea currents, shoals and so forth. This map was more detailed than the one that the magrakians had and so Ragnoth, the magrakian first officer, claimed it for the ship.

William studied the four books all evening and all the next day as the ship sailed into the storm. By the end of that day, the sea was rough and towering grey clouds darkened the sky above them. Belkor remembered that the Anquaran ship had been sailing with all its canvas out, racing to the west. He surmised that they had been trying to outrun this storm.

The group discussed their options. Turn and flee back toward the isle of Kasadem. Continue southeast and plow right into the storm. Turn northeast and run toward the nearest coast as quickly as possible. Or turn south toward deep sea and try to go around the storm. As a group, they decide on the last option.

Belkor and the magrakians worked the rope and rigging while the rest of the party huddled below decks. The Retching Dog raced to stay at the edge of the storm. The storm, however, moved west relentlessly and quickly overtook the ship. Powerful winds and blinding rain swept the deck as waves battered the hull. Very quickly the party and crew realized that the storm was much worse than they had anticipated. Despite the magrakians’ boasts about the sturdiness of their ship, Belkor was worried.

As evening turned to night, the storm grew worse and the waves grew bigger. Soon the ship was riding up the side of monster waves, cresting the top and then plummeting down. With each wave, the hull shuddered from the impact. Belkor was convinced that the storm was too strong to be natural and shared his concerns with William. William sensed magic in the storm and a consultation with the Talisman of Dreams confirmed his fears. King Dalmoran was using his four Talismans to fuel this epic storm.

As a precaution, William cast water breathing on the entire party and the three magrakian officers. (That was as many people as he could do). The water breathing spell would last for 24 hours.

Again and again, the ship climbed a towering wave to crest and plummet the far side. The ship only survived another half hour of the abuse until a particularly long drop broke the hull. The forward third of the ship broke away amidst splintered wood and a tangle of rigging and sails.  As the ship began to tilt at an alarming angle, the magrakian crew hurriedly tossed supplies into the two longboats and worked to lower them into the water.  In the chaos, the party managed to cut the ropes that held their wagon down before the ship went down.

William, Listig and Halimir found themselves in the water all too quickly. They had lost sight of the rest of the party. With blinding rain, hurricane force winds and utter darkness, visibility was severely limited.

The three men spotted their wagon, which was floating! Keep in mind that the doors on this thing were designed to seal tightly shut to keep out sand during sandstorms. It was also designed to ford rivers without leaking. The wagon was air tight and floated quite well. The three of them swam over to the wagon and scrambled on board.

As the ship rapidly sank, a dense field of debris rapidly formed. Before the ship went down completely, Listig swam over to the wreck and cut free some sail and rigging and brought it back to the wagon.

The three of them clung to the wagon as it rode up and down the waves. They ended up tying themselves to the wagon for free of being thrown off. They spent a very uncomfortable night clinging for dear life as the wagon was tossed about the sea.

The next morning, the storm had completely blown itself out. William, Listig and Halimir were still huddling on the floating wagon. They could not see any sign of the other two life boats. Listig fired one of his pyrotechnic arrows. It burst high in the sky like a firework. He hoped it would be a beacon for the others.

Bits of debris floated around them – pieces of wood, bits of rope, barrels, boxes, etc. They fetched what they could. They managed to pick up a pair of oars.

The three of them set to work fashioning a crude sail from the material Listig had cut free. They managed to rig a sail and put oars to the water as well. William used his Talisman to determine which direction the closest land was. They headed in that direction.

William cast a sending spell to send a short message to Belkor. He asked him if they were alright, where they were and if they had seen the pyro arrow.

Belkor responded that he, Grim, Almahdi, Winlock and three of the magrakians (the officers who had benefited from William’s water breathing spell)  were in a longboat. They had not seen the pyro arrow. Belkor believed that they were far southeast of them, further down the coast.

William, Listig and Halimir paddled and sailed their small crude wagon/boat for a full two days before they spotted land. As they approached, they saw slate grey cliffs towering over a narrow, pebble strewn beach. They brought the wagon into shallow water and William used a telekinesis spell to turn it so the wheels were down and they then rolled the wagon onto the beach.

Listig and Halimir climbed the cliff. Standing on the top, they saw a vast grasslands stretching away inland as far as the eye could see.

William sent another sending spell to Belkor, asking for an update. Belkor responded saying that they had managed to harpoon a hornwhale, but that the beast had dragged them further down the coast for several dozen miles before they were able to kill it and carve it up for meat.

William’s telekinesis spell was not quite strong enough to lift the whole wagon, nor did it have the range to reach the top of the cliff. They decided to empty out the wagon and take off the wheels. With help from the two elves, William positioned himself half way up the cliff. From this position, his telekinesis spell could reach the beach below and the cliff top above. He used the spell to life the wagon up to the cliff top followed by the wheels, one by one and the heavier supplies. The rest they brought up by  rope.

Once the wagon was fully assembled on the cliff top and restocked, they decided to search these new lands for a beast of burden. William sent his crow out to scout out the area. The crow returned a few hours later with news of a herd further inland.

The three men followed the crow until they crested a low hill and saw a large herd of strange beasts. The creatures were hairless, heavily muscled quadrupeds with thick leathery grey hides and broad flat tails. A massive Y –shaped single horn sprouted from their head.

The party approached by stealth, staying low as they moved through the tall grass. They managed to separate an older male from the herd. Listig dipped an arrow in a paralysis poison (which he had acquired a few sessions back). He fired and hit. The big bull jerked in surprise and took a few steps away, but then stopped.

Their attention was suddenly drawn away from the old male as they noticed several places where the grass was being parted as something moved toward them. Suddenly, a number of creatures erupted form the tall grass and charged. They were tall lean feathered reptilian creatures, a blend of lizard and bird. There were five of them. Each was almost two meters tall. One of them seemed to be a bit bigger and thicker than the others. It also had thicker and more colorful feathers than the rest and it had four horns sprouting from its feathered head. [A male and four females].

William dropped a black tentacles spell between him and the big male. Thick rubbery black tentacles erupted from the ground. The male bird, however, was fast and agile. It managed to run through the maze of waving tentacles, dodging as it came.

Halimir sank an arrow into one of the females while Listig fired a scorch head arrow at the male as he backed up. The scorch head arrow struck and ignited the male’s thick plumage.  The big male began dancing around wildly, screeching it pain as it tried to pull the arrow out.

The four females circled and charged just as William cast a dimension door and relocated himself several dozen meters away. Two of the females managed to score bites on both Halimir and Listig. The two elves returned fire with their bows. The male, at this point, was running away, completely engulfed in flames.

William fired a chain lightning spell which arced from female to female. Three of them dropped, convulsing on the ground. The fourth turned to flee but died as the two elves fired arrows into it.

The three men tracked down the male, whose dead carcass was smoldering a few hundred meters away. Listig field dressed the bird and carved off about 90 pounds of meat.

Much to their surprise, the big male herd animal was still standing where he had been, continuing to graze. Halimir, who had a way with animals, approached the creature while speaking calmly to it. The animal was drooling slightly and had a glazed look. It seemed the paralysis poison on Listig’s arrow had worked, somewhat. Although it had not dropped the beast, it seemed to have put it in a semi-euphoric state. With some rope, they fashioned a makeshift harness and led the docile creature back to their wagon.

The three men built a fire and cooked the meat from the tall bird/lizard creature. While they ate, William cast another sending spell to contact Belkor and see how the other group was doing. Belkor responded that they had reached land, climbed a tall hill to get a better view of the land and (through the spyglass) could make out what looked like a city on the distant horizon. They were going to head for it.

William, Listig and Halimir were certain that the other group was down the coast from them, southeast. They began travelling along the coast in that direction.

They travelled for six days. During that time, the terrain remained consistent… vast grasslands and cliffs along the coast.

On the morning of the sixth day, they spotted someone on the horizon. It looked like a man, a lone hunter, with a spear casually slung over his shoulder. This lone individual was travelling in the same direction, southeast down the coast. The party had come up behind him. They followed this lone individual discreetly for an hour or so before the person noticed them. He waved to them and began approaching. They noticed he had a limp.

As the hunter approached, it quickly became apparent that he was not human. He was much bigger than a man. The hunter stood at least ten feet tall. He had, slung over his shoulder, a number of spears and an unstrung bow. A massive stone headed hammer was slung on his back. He was dressed in primitive furs. Hanging from his belt was the feathered pelt of one of the giant bird/lizard creatures. The giant’s long tangled hair was dirty and knotted. It was braided in places with bits of carved bone jewelry woven into it. This was, undoubtedly, one of the secambru giants that they had heard about. They noticed that this particular giant had a club foot which caused his limp.

The giant stopped a few feet away and smiled at them. “Detaya!” he called out to them and waved again, “Imoya brool tak. Donaten Kruto dena brasti fae”.

William cast a comprehend languages spell on Listig so that they could converse. Listig began a conversation with the giant.

The giant was friendly and curious about them. They quickly learned that his name was Kruto of the Fire Eagle Tribe and that he was on a personal journey called a “spirit quest”. He was searching for his “fate kill” to “claim his honor”. After some conversation with him, it became clear that this giant was a young giant out on his first long distance solo hunt. He was supposed to make a worthy kill and return to his tribe and take his place among the hunters. However, he was also the son of the chieftain of that tribe. Kruto feared that, because of his lame foot and because of who is father was, he needed to return with a truly magnificent kill in order to be accepted as a warrior. Coming back with a common game animal would not do.

The party asked him what animal he thought would be worthy enough.

“I will go to the city of the dead and I will kill the great fire belly. I will pluck out its crystal heart and return that to my tribe as a great trophy. That will impress all the hunters, even my father”.

Kruto told them that the city of the dead lay southeast, further down the coast. The party wondered if this might be the same city that Belkor and the other group had seen from the hill top, the city they were heading toward.

They asked him how far it was to the city of the dead. Kruto told them it was only a few more miles down the coast. They would reach it tomorrow.

The party asked if they could accompany him and “witness this glorious victory”. Kruto said that he would enjoy the company, but he sternly warned them that they must not interfere with the battle. He needed to defeat the great fire belly by himself, or else there would be no honor in the kill.

“Better to die with honor than live in shame”.

The party agreed that they would watch only. And if Kruto fell in battle, they said they would bury him and bring word to the Fire Eagle tribe of his defeat.

The three men camped with Kruto that night. Kruto told them a bit about his tribe. His tribe was, at that moment, travelling to the east to meet up with other secambru tribe in what Kruto called “a great meet”. This great meet had been called by a powerful chieftain of another tribe. After killing the firebelly, Kruto would travel east to meet up with his tribe at the meet.

The next morning, all four of them travelled down the coast with Kruto walking along side the wagon. It wasn’t long before they spotted a large city on the horizon. As they approached, they could see that it was a vast ruin.

They decided to park the wagon about a mile outside of the city and give Listig a chance to investigate closer. Listig was, by far, the most stealthy of the three. He circled the city, skimming the outer most buildings. He noticed that the grass gradually faded away to nothing near the city and the streets between building were stone and dirt. On the far side of the city, he came across tracks where the grass was trampled down. It led from the shore cliffs directly toward the city.

Listig decided to follow the tracks back toward the cliff. He found an outcrop of rock and laying hidden in the nook of the rocks was a magrakian sailor. It was one of the officers from the Retching Dog. He was covered in blankets, but was shivering, covered in sweat and his skin was ashen colored. The magrakian was alive, but unconscious.

Listig then followed the tracks back toward and into the city. The place was ancient. The stone buildings were badly weathered and broken. Any wood in the city had rotted away long ago. Many buildings had collapsed. Rubble littered streets and plazas. Here and there was a bone, a skull or a partial skeleton. Based on the bones, it seemed that the inhabitants of this city had been humans.

Listig found a taller building and climbed up to the third floor to get a better view. It was a large city, perhaps enough room for 20,000 inhabitants. At the center of the city was a vast bowl shaped crater. Movement at the edge of the crater caught his eye and he watched as something moved between the buildings. It was large and he couldn’t see it clearly. Eventually it come out from a street and into a plaza.

The thing was some type of clockwork golem. It was quite large… around twelve feet tall. Metal armor plating covered most of its body. Something inside its chest was glowing brightly. The thing was rusted and looked heavily damaged from old battles. It appeared to have, at one time, had four arms, but only two arms remained. Listig watched the golem for awhile. It seemed to be wandering the streets randomly, perhaps patrolling the city. Listig climbed down and headed back to the wagon.

Back at the wagon, William was casting various divination and detection spells. The magic field here was different and William was able to sense it. It seemed that the magic energy field was distorted in some way… almost as if it was fractured. William cast a few minor cantrips to test the field. One of four test spells failed to function.

When Listig returned, the party decided to go to the magrakian sailor he had found and see if they could help him. They fed the magrakian a healing potion, but William deduced that he was suffering from a poison or toxin. The healing potion roused him briefly and they asked him where they others were. He pointed in the direction of the city and said that they had entered sometime in the last day or two (he had slipped in and out of consciousness and was unsure how long it had been).

Kruto recognized that the magrakians was suffering from the venom of a beast native to this region. He took out some berries from his rawhide sack, ground them into a paste, and applied them to the magrakians wounds. Kruto told them that the berry paste would cure the poison, with time and rest.

The party decided to leave the magrakian where he was and come back for him later. The party then accompanied Kruto into the city. As they entered the city, William sensed that the magic field was even more distorted here.

The party followed the giant until they could hear the golem coming. As it approached, the three men took up hiding spots nearby.

William cast a few subtle beneficial spells on Kruto to give him a combat advantage. Although the three men had promised not to interfere, William was certain Kruto would not be able to tell that any magic had been cast. William felt the magical energy straining against some resistance, no doubt the distorted energy field around him, but the spells worked.

The giant waited for the clockwork golem in a large plaza and they rushed each other as soon as they saw each other. The giant was swinging a huge stone headed hammer while the golem swung with huge metallic hammer-like fists.

The battle raged all over the plaza as the two huge opponents pummeled each other mercilessly. At one point, a metallic whine began to emanate from the golem, growing louder and higher in pitch. It reached a crescendo at which point the armor plating of the chest opened up revealing a bright blue crystal within which unleashed a blinding bolt of energy. The energy bolt struck Kruto in the chest knocking him forty feet back. He landed on his back, momentarily stunned. The golem marched over to the downed giant and raised his metallic foot to crush his opponent’s head. Kruto managed to roll out of the way at the last second as the huge metal boot came crashing down.

Listig used his magic ring to go invisible and sprint over to the golem. He grabbed a large rock and leapt onto the thing’s back. Finding a crack in the battle damaged plates, he shoved the rock into the gears in an attempt to jam them. He then leapt off and fled. Looking back, it did look as if one of the arms was having trouble functioning.

The two giants continued beating each other. Kruto was knocked down several times, but managed to get to his feet each time. Finally, he connected a particularly devastating hammer blow against the golem’s knee and the entire mechanical leg shattered in a shower of plates, bolts, rods and gears. The golem went down hard and was unable to get back up. Kruto swung his hammer again and brought down several hard blows on the golems head and arms. After several more hammer blows, the huge golem was twitching amidst electrical sparks.

Kruto took out a stone knife and pried open the chest plates. He then tore out the crystalline heart of the golem and held it high and roared in triumph. He then collapsed. The party members ran over to the badly injured giant. He was bleeding from multiple wounds and had several broken bones.

The party spent the next hour binding the giant’s wounds and giving him what little healing they could. William recognized the crystal taken from the golem as an arkulyte crystal, a naturally occurring crystal which is highly charged with magical energy. This type of crystal is often used by mages to power certain types of golems and other magical constructs.

Once Kruto’s wounds were bound, the party searched the city. They found human sized booted tracks ranging all over the southeast quarter. They eventually came across a number of crudely fashioned cages. Within most of them were skeletons and corpses. In the cage at the very end, a cage that seemed recently built, they found their comrades imprisoned – Winlock, Belkor, Grim Rigor, Humble Almahdi and the magrakian first officer. Several of them were injured, but everyone was alive and conscious. William used a spell to rip open the cage and they freed their comrades.

The party looted the skeletons in the other cages (who still had some gear on them). Among the skeletons was the corpses of several Anquaran soldiers, including an infernal knight and a stalker.  William investigated the remains of the clockwork golem. It had a number of runes upon it that he did not recognize. Furthermore, one prominent symbol showed up on several places. He made a sketch of it, thinking it important. It was obvious that a powerful wizard had crafted this golem. Although it was old and damaged before the fight with Kruto, it was obvious that this golem had, at one time, been quite powerful.

Afterwards, most of the party returned to the wagon parked outside the city. William and Listig, however, travelled to the center of the city to explore the crater there.  As they neared the crater, they began to feel ill, nauseous and overheated. This become worse as they entered the crater. With every step, they began to feel more sick. Seeing nothing of interest at the center of the crater, they turned back. Only hours later did they realize that the illness had permanently affected them.

The party is now camped outside of the city by the wagon. The giant, Kruto, is with them, as are two of the magrakians. These two had been with Belkor’s group in one of the long boats and were still with them. Ragnoth, the first officer/navigator (who had been in the cage with them) and Raiden, the third officer/quartermaster (who was the one who had been poisoned).

In any case, the group is reunited now and, other than a few wounds here and there, all of them are ok.

They all exchanged stories of their travels. Belkor’s group related that when they came upon the city, they went in to investigate, but were immediately attacked by the clockwork golem. Despite outnumbering it, they had lost the battle. It’s primary weapon, the central beam weapon, had been very effective at stunning them one by one. It had then imprisoned them in a cage that it assembled using bits of debris, stone and metal.

While they all ate dinner, they reviewed the loot they had obtained from the cages. Most of the skeletons had something on them. It seemed that the golem had battled and imprisoned them, but had no interest in taking away their weapons, armor or treasure.

Besides various coins and a few precious gems, here’s a list of items they recovered:

Two potions
A scroll with a couple of wizard’s spells
One arcane disruptor arrow
One winter’s bite arrow

Other items were recovered that should have been magical, but weren’t. The mask and staff of the infernal knight were both drained, as was the stalker’s chameleon cloak. William surmised that the distorted magical field around the city may have an adverse effect on magic items as well. He guessed that long term exposure to the energy field might have drained some of the items.

We ended the session here.

Behind the DM's Screen

The sickness that William and Listig experienced in the crater... in game terms, the characters lost several hit points permanently. In fact, all of the characters had been slightly, but permanently, weakened by their time in the ruined city, to varying degrees. The whole city is affected. Sort of like a high radiation zone. Cumulative effects. The longer you stay in there, the worse it is. The closer to the center crater, the worse it is. That's why everyone experienced some loss. Belkor and crew weren't near the crater, but they were in that cage for a full day. William and Listig walked right into the crater and suffered the worst. All of this is connected to the "damaged" magical energy field in this region. This is also why there was no response to the last couple of sending spells that William used. Belkor was close enough to the city at that time that long range communication spells were being blocked.

Several things appeared in last session and this session that aren't on the main website. We're venturing into territory that has not been fully fleshed out on the site. This includes the town of Salhanrasha, the Juenta Kingdoms (including the Kingdom of Herota), the dragon occupying Fort Jegorim, the Star Scepter of Rashi, the ruined city that they encountered this session and various new fauna. This campaign is uncovering a lot of new details in this part of the world. All of this material will eventually end up on the web site.

The reason I separated William, Listig and Halimir from the others with the storm is simply because I had only three players. The players for Belkor and Winlock were both unable to attend this session. That means I would have had 3 player characters and 12 non player characters! Twelve! (Winlock, Belkor, Alhamdi, Grim and eight magrakians). That's far too many. So I used the storm to get rid of all the NPCs at once and that allowed me to focus on just the actual three players who were across the table. Much more manageable!

General Discussion and Questions / Re: Timeline of Khoras creativity process
« Last post by tanis on September 04, 2017, 09:34:03 PM »
Ooh, how Platonic.

But yeah, it's not, in principle, that different from someone like, say, Michelangelo talking about seeing the finished sculpture in the rough stone, and merely cutting it free of its concealment.
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Last post by tanis on September 04, 2017, 09:30:58 PM »
Agreed, though I have to say that's not a terrible idea, and I think it would add a lot of flavor to the race. It's a very Freudian interpretation that would make a lot of internal sense.

Though I admit I do prefer Jung. XD

Though, Jung gets most of the fun stuff in D&D and similar hobbies, what with archetypes, his conception of the self, and the mythological extension of his work by people like Joseph Campbell.

But yeah, if you ever try this out, let us know. I'd be interested to see how it affected your players' perception of orcs in your game.
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Last post by David Roomes on September 04, 2017, 06:35:58 PM »
I love that you DO worry about.  ;)  The internal debate is worth it. That's often where good ideas come from...
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Timeline of Khoras creativity process
« Last post by Drul Morbok on September 04, 2017, 05:41:12 AM »
BTW: On (I can totally recommend this site) I found a GM saying that for him, it feels less like creating his worlds, and more like discovering them.
Well said  :D

Just wanted to share...
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Last post by Drul Morbok on September 04, 2017, 05:30:21 AM »
But I also have another idea that brings me back to my original post:

Since long I have the idea of giving orcs a slightly different reproduction cycle:
A female orc could either become pregnant with many female offspring. 4-7 being common, but as much as 12 not unheard of. They'd be born naked, blind and with only rudimentary limbs, like newborn mice. Few if any would reach adulthood, as it would be also common for male orcs to slay a female's existing offspring when mating (females would be possesions to fight for rather than individuals with any rights).
Or she could give birth to one single male orc, but this one would grow so big in her womb that she would not survive his birth.

This way, no orcish warrior (I guess it's not surprising that there's only male ones) would have a brother, and none would ever meet his own mother.
In some way, I think that this is an interesting background for a brutally paternalistic warrior culture...but than again, the words "interesting" and "brutally paternalistic" are no easy mixture, and I think many people would consider it tasteless. And yet again...having dozens of orcs being slaughtered by heroes is acceptable, but portraying them as sexist ist something I worry about? Morality is a bitch... ::)
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Last post by Drul Morbok on September 04, 2017, 03:24:56 AM »
Yes, I totally agree - even talking about how much D&D alignment sucks can  be valuable for trying to find a way about how moral could be categorized.  ;D
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« Last post by tanis on September 04, 2017, 12:32:34 AM »
I agree, and I'd rather play without much, or any, of the alignment system's components, but I do like that they were at least trying to get players thinking about the ethical views of their characters.
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