Friday, 5 December 2014

PotS 1x08 - Death by Dragon

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik.  Now returned from the Catacombs, the crew are called upon to defend the Watchtower from an invading force of dragons! 

Three Seconds of Preparation
As they acclimatised themselves to the inside chamber of the watchtower, Kami and her away team noticed over a dozen figures watching on, hustling about, and bringing in small bits of food and cups of water. The should have only been a handful of people here - Regdar, the Kaapiots, and the remainder of Kami's crew. But now, Zandrian, Analastra, and Berrian were all there, as well as many of the fey knights. Not only that, but there were armoured soldiers, led by none other than Cousin Walid! Before they had time to explain, the call came from higher in the tower: "Dragons sighted!!"

"There's no time to lose - get on your feet, and ready your weapons!" Cousin Walid called, and everyone jumped into action. Most of the eladrin joined the watch at the top of the tower, readying their bows. Berrian, with a few more of the troops, left quickly, wanting to return to their grove in case the dragons attacked there, too. Galinndan left with him.

Cousin Walid and his knights moved with the pirates to stand before the tower and face the oncoming storm.

The First Waves
Two black dragons led the assault, breaking forth from the clouds and carrying with them their own auras of darkness and despair. A dozen scaled hunters - some gifted with working wings, others with nasty teeth or enlarged claws - charged beneath the circling dragons, and they all came together to crash against the tower's defences. Hassan tried to embolden the others, but his speaking skills paled in contrast to his martial skills. Wading into battle, he pulled down each dragon in turn, ensuring that their flights were swift, and their bodies close to the blades of others.

At one point, Kami placed Tvennr atop one of the dragons, allowing the dwarf to stand there momentarily, before he was shaken free and fell back to the earth. Still, the dragons did not last long, and were thoroughly defeated before the storm arrived.

With a shudder, the enormous blizzard dragon landed, finally leaving behind its storm of clouds and
mist. It threatened to freeze those around, whilst two green dragons shot past to harass those behind.

Bravely, Hassan and Tvennr stood in front of the elemental monstrosity, whilst Urquilla raced around to flank it. Ogg dodged between them, throwing blasts here and there, whilst Kami discovered the power of one of his collected cards, and banished an enemy. By the time it had freed itself from the magical prison, its allies had died or fled; the skirmish was over!

The Final Push
The final wave hit hard. Two golden dragons swept in, vomiting fire and summoning a volcanic dragon. Its noxious fumes almost ended the lives of those it engaged with, whilst another enormous dragon - with the magic of the cards radiating from its body - dove in to tear the rest apart.

Kami's Donjon was most effective again, banishing one of the golden dragons, whilst the second one harassed those atop the castle. But the main dragon hit hard, and was relentless with its attack. Only when the battle was clearly against it did it consider retreat an option, and turn, limping, from the battlefield.

They had won the battle - but would the dragons come back again, or had the might of the watchtower's guard proven to be too great a threat?

Friday, 7 November 2014

PotS 1x07 - The Catacombs' True Evil

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik.  The crew sent a forward party into the Catacombs below the ruins...and found themselves trapped with a variety of unfriendly undead! 

Lost Beneath the Earth
With no connection to the watchtower, Kami and her small crew had to camp overnight in the catacombs. It had not gone well - Hassan's fever continued to rage, and Ogg's illness returned so much that, by morning, he could barely stand.

Fortunately, the Kaapiot Four recovered their strength as the party rested, and as they were packing up their meagre camp, the Kaapiots managed to send one more person in to join them - Urquilla.

The scaled barbarian came with unsettling news - the watchtower's view was clouded when trying to focus on the catacombs, and could not pinpoint those inside (which was necessary to extract them). Indeed, moments after his arrival, Urquilla lost his connection with the dwarven quartet, and realised that he, too, was now trapped.

Desecrating Graves
There was no other decision but to press onwards, so the group forced their way through another stone door, and found themselves in the Dragonslayer's Tomb. In here, special honour was given to those who had fought against the dragons. heavy curtains made with the hides of their foes decorated the chamber - and created large areas of darkness, perfect for creatures to lurk behind.

Hassan made the unfortunate discovery of Onatar's presence - or some residual magic, they couldn't really be sure - as he was struck down with a second curse after disturbing one of the tombs. And then, the ghouls struck.

With his health already shaky, Hassan was hard pressed to fight back the turned paladins, though with Tvennr's aid, they succeeded. The wraiths were more troublesome, as the two dark shadows played with them, using hit-and-run tactics for optimal damage. Urquilla's Winter Fury aided them well, as he locked down the shifty sprites, allowing the others to better battle against the threat. Kami was quick to dismiss the fragments left behind, and in the moments that followed, the group carefully planned their next move - how to best stay alive.

A Bowl, and a Room of Khyber
Putting the ghoulish paladins back to rest seemed to gain some forgiveness for Hassan, his body recovering from both curses whilst the group also found a second Sacred Vessel - Onatar's Bowl. Kami's keen eyes also found a secret alcove they had overlooked earlier. Within was a small room, with two other passageways leading back to previous areas of the catacombs. More interestingly were the rough Khyber shards decorating the walls..and the bodies of three more knights, long dead.

The room promised to give great strength to those who remained within it, but they could tell that there was more - a frantic frenzy, a mindless rage, that could cause those within to attack allies as if they were hated foes. They did not spend long in the room, and left with the only thing of worth - three topazes, infused with a taste of the room's strength (and hopefully not its madness).

The Tainted Pirate
The Final Battle

The next chamber - thankfully, the final chamber of these catacombs - was immense. It seemed to hold the remains of the leaders of the abbey, along with many, many of its other important individuals. Sadly, it was no longer a place of reflection and reverence - Khyber's foul presence had influenced it for the worse. As they gazed about, trying to pierce the darkness before them, a glowing figure moved forward. Hook and peg-leg aside, the figure could only be Hawes, the pirate Kami had been warned of.

With him moved a slippery vampire and her spawn, whilst a dark shadow of a dragon lurched and glided overhead. Ogg, not able to do much else, took on the spawn, allowing Tvennr to rip into the vampire, whilst the others assaulted Hawes and his tamed dragon essence.

The fight was brutal, but Tvennr's axes were worse. The vampire barely had time to scratch him before she was reduced to her corrosive mist, and sent seeping from the chamber. Disposing of the underlings, Ogg carefully moved to track her, following her back to her chamber, and ensuring she did not rise again.

Hawes proved more difficult, and slippery, using the power of three cards he had collected to thwart and confuse the party. More than once he dodged a potentially fatal blow, and even convinced Urquilla to charge headlong at Hassan at a critical point in the battle. The shadow dragon continued to swoop and bite at those below it until the fallen pirate was finally silenced. With his grip on the dragon loosened, it howled in frustration one last time, then glided through the far wall, not to return again.

Visions Come to Pass
The chamber had little else in it, but for the Khyber shard growths that moved to warp everything. Lying discarded in a bunch of rags was a blade, which sung out to Urquilla, and shone with the moon's light as he approached. It could only be the weapon Jillepse the Blind had foretold!

Collecting the cards and disrupting as much of the shards as possible (lest more undead be formed from those resting here), the group moved to track down Ogg. Eventually, they found him outside another hidden room - a tomb holding the remains of knights who had also been seduced by the call of Khyber. Clearly, this was no new threat - the order of old must have had some expectation, or perhaps a defence, against it.

Within the hidden chamber, they found the vampire resting, recovering. The lid of her sarcophagus bore the image of a female eladrin, clad in plate mail. She held a long bastard sword atop her body, her gauntleted hands crossed over its pommel. It was a good likeness, though the Khyber presence had twisted and changed her over the years. The sarcophagus also had her name engraved on the side: Aidelvenne Velfarren.

After doing what was needed, the party settled down and waited for the Khyber presence to fade, for the interference to lessen, and for the Watchtower to retrieve them. Though it took many hours, there was joy and relief as the familiar presence touched their minds, and fresh air swept across their faces.

But the relief did not last long. "Quick! Stand ready!" the cry came. "They will be on us in minutes!"

All around them, people moved in a panic. People they didn't recognise. People wearing uniforms, carrying tools and weapons. People with a familiar insignia.

Before they could get a proper bearing on what was happening, a friendly face finally found them. "Stand, arm yourselves! The dragons will arrive soon!" Cousin Walid shouted at them, fear and concern on his face. "We have no time - we must defend the watchtower!"

Friday, 3 October 2014

PotS 1x06 - Into the Catacombs

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik. Their time in Stormreach had to be cut short - shipless, they return to the ruins, to search out and solve its mysteries!  

Contenders for the Cards
Almost as soon as they had arrived in Stormreach, they had started hearing rumours of another group who were also looking for the cards. They had been asking questions throughout Stormreach, and had even ruffed up a few individuals, who were still shaken by the experience. They also left for Zantashk at least a week before Kami and her crew even made it to Stormreach. With knowledge and time on their hands, Kami wanted a speedy turnaround.

Cousin Walid was delighted with their map, and eager to set up the portal to start trade with the eladrin encampment. His promised work to the Kami Kaze would take time, though - probably at least a month - and so he suggested another option. The trade portal would be linked within a few days, and they could return to Zantashk via it. Once he was finished with his work, he could sail Kami's shop down for her. After a bit of discussion, he instead offered to send some of his men via the portal to inform Kami of the work's completion, and then she could return to sail her own vessel back.

Sir Edric, of course, was coming with them, and eagerly moved into research mode as they arrived in the feygrove. There, they briefly met with Galinndan, who surprised the party by not rejoining them - instead, he used the now-functioning portal to travel to Stormreach, in search of answers to his own questions.

A Return to the Ruins
Hassan was most impressed with what the Kaapiots had achieved in their month-long Watchtower investigation. Taking the ideas Hassan had come up with, they had turned the observation utility of the tower into a rudimentary form of transportation, being able to draw those they scryed into the chamber, and deposit them at another location. Each trip exhausted one of the quadriplets for most of the day, meaning that they couldn't handle more than two transportations a day and leave the tower manned, but they were able to quickly take the party from the grove to the ruins without the required hours of travel.

Sir Edric was delighted to have found the temple ruins, even though he was deeply saddened as to what had happened to the order. Before the afternoon sun had started to dip behind the mountains, he had confirmed that there were indeed other areas beneath them. Once, they would have accessed them by steep and elaborate stairwells, or short-range magical travel. Now, the stairwells had collapsed, and the magic had long since dissipated. It was down to the Kaapiots to throw them into the catacombs...but such a trip would exhaust them completely! So it was that Regdar's eyesight and Urquilla's brawn would guard over the four dwarves until they were once again ready to run the Watchtower.

Venturing Far Below
The catacombs were dark and reeked of decay. Hassan quickly brought a light into play, with which they could make out the faint shadows of sarcophagi lying here and there, the final resting places of the paladins of the order. More dead had been placed indiscriminately in niches in the wall, piled upon each other so that their remains no longer remained separate.

From ahead of them, they heard the faint sounds of chanting. As they approached, four individuals were spotted kneeling before an altar - adorned in armour, but the metal was covered in grime and dirt, as if they had been underneath the ground for far too long. Expecting the worst, the party were momentarily confused when the knights rose and greeted them. They introduced themselves as paladins, trapped and barely surviving after their path inside had collapsed behind them. Their leader, Sir Glenndin, explained the altar, dedicated to the cycle of life and death - at the top, Balinor; at the bottom, The Keeper. Somehow, they claimed, Balinor had kept them from the Keeper's grasp for now. They had meagre magic to create plain food, but no real way out... which was when Kami realised that she had no presence of the Watchtower any more. They were, apparently, cut off. Trapped, like Sir Glenndin and his companions.

With promises to return, and warnings about what lay ahead, the group moved onwards, which was when the paladins showed their true forms. Lashing out at the party's back, they may well have had the victory, had they not spent so long together, knowing each other's tactics, and being formed into a formidable 'land crew'.

Giving Rest to the Wicked
The next two areas were more straight-forward. There was little doubt that the occupants would be aggressive, undead, and in need of being subdued, though that was not to say it was easy. As they moved into a room dedicated Arawai, complete with a floor mosaic and a spring of life-giving water, Hassan was nearly roasted alive by two flaming skeletons. Tvennr also had to throw back a hungry wight, whilst Ogg cleared away the remaining skeletal guardians.

Though Tvennr and Ogg had each recovered from their month-long bout of mummy rot, they were not eager to engage directly with the two mummified paladins they found next. The room, coated in thick moss, and with masses of roots hanging from the broken ceiling, held two of the creatures, along with an expansive swarm of rot scarabs, and a rather crazy flameskull. Once even his fiery light was dimmed, and the two mummies returned to their resting places, the group looked around to work out where to store the skull. Strangely, the other two sarcophagi were firmly closed, and had been that way for many, many decades. Perhaps, the skull belonged elsewhere?

The search was left for later - with Hassan's skin taking on an ominous (and now familiar) green hue, the party agreed that they had to stop for the night. They all would have preferred to rest outside the catacombs, but with no way of contacting those at the tower, that option was unfortunately removed. Hopefully, that would be dealt with in time.

Friday, 19 September 2014

PotS 1x05b - Whilst in Stormreach

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik.  With their scouting completed, the (mostly) dwarven pirate crew set sail for Stormreach, for well deserved down-time, and their greatly desired financial compensation!!  This post is a recap of things that happened via email in-between games.

The Tale heard by the Dread Pirate Kami
The month-long journey back to Stormreach went by without incident - at least, by the time they arrived, no one remembered anything of interest. That, and their grog supplies were very low.

Whilst searching through the taverns on the dock for a good, cheap supply to restock her vessel, Kami came across an old friend - Captain Spack Jarrow, her first ever captain. After much discussion about her recent adventures, and much drinking, Captain Spack shared a tale with her.

"Did I be ever tellin' ye about why I stopped captaining? The story already be told that it be me loosing one too many crew; that th' spark for adventure were quenched by th' sorrow over too many deaths. That be true - in part - but th' whole story, it be something much, much more." Even though there were only the two of the at the table, Captain Spack leaned in closely. "Me first mate at th' time, a rutheless fellow by the name o' "Hawes the Coldhearted" (though, mind ye, th' last bit weren't so much his family name as it be how we be calling him). He be a nasty piece o' work, even on a ship full o' nasty pieces o' work. But he got th' job dome, and he obeyed me commands pretty quick, so I be putting up with his...less than warm attitudes." 

"Well, one time, we take over this one ship, nary a crew member left alive by the time we boarded, and way too much fire and soot to tell why. But the treasure, oh, Kami, t'was a sight to behold! We each had our share that time! Each had gold and trinkets aplenty. And gems - crystals, mind ye, big, blood red stones th' likings of which I'd never come across." Pausing to finish is current tankard - and then another one, just to be sure - Captain Spack eventually continued.

 "Now - I know, ye'd probably been seeing these things yerself now, moreso these days, now'at the war done gone make them special. But in those days, we aint seen dragonshards before, we aint knowing their power. An' the few o' us that did, well, we figured it was more'n just talk, just something ta let the Houses collect them more easily like. So when old Hawes took th' big one, hey, more gold for me, right?"

"...see, stuff that be buried, should sometimes stay buried. We know the tales, of how Khyber killed Siberys, of how Eberron saved what was left o' the world, and trapped Khyber good an' proper like below. Well, sometimes, some part of that ancient dragon works its way back to the surface - as it did with Hawes. An' Hawes ain't a friendly type beforehand. W' th' darkness o' Khyber inside o' 'im, there weren't nothing 'e weren't do. Slowly, but as sure as th' tide, he turned from a coldhearted first mate ta something spawned o' th' darkness itself! Th' crew - some were corrupted, taking their own chunks o' dragonshards, or being implanted wi' them by 'im, but the lucky ones, they simply died. A scarce few o' us survived, made it t' shore near Zantashk, an' slowly worked our way back up 'ere. I know th' ship went down... but I be sure that Hawkes lives on. I feel it in here. An', he needs to be put down."

By now, there were more than a few other interested folk watching the pair, but the Captain was focused on Kami. His collection of mugs empty, his tale told, and his burden now shared, he pleaded his case before his former crew member. "Kami, ye be needing t' find th' man. Ye be needing t' do 'im in." 

Hassan Elfbane, and The Man with One Hand
Meanwhile, whilst Ogg went to get his ruined armour repaired, and his Eberron shard transferred to his new weapon, Hassan set about finding his House Kundarak contacts, and opening that darned chest. There were few locks they could not open, so it was a surprise when, instead of returning with an opened chest, Uncle Ali instead returned with a knight.

 And, as it turned out, a knight with which Hassan was already familiar with - Sir Edric the Gauche.

"Hassan Elfbane, we meet again!" he spoke, simply giving the dwarf a curt nod, instead of offering a hand in greeting. "I believe you took something from me when last we parted...I hope you still have it on you?" The item he referred to was his hand - a mechanical device, created by a particularly insightful House Cannith artificer to make up for the one lost in the Last War. In a particularly vicious bar fight, Sir Edric had saved Hassan from a similar fate, but his own hand had become detached in the process. "I searched that bar quite thoroughly after I finished off those who dared stand before me, but two things continued to be most elusive - one, my hand, and two, the dwarf I had fought beside, had defended, even though, as I recall it, he was one of the instigators. So - do you still have it?"

Waving a hand - his one, remaining hand - towards the chest, he added "I know what lies inside it. I have been researching these items for some time, ever since I learned of the destruction that came down upon our sister order. It is one of three sacred vessels with which I intend to purify the temple, and banish the evil presence that seeks to sully the good name of my brethren! You will take me back there, and I will complete this most noble quest!" 

Urquilla the Scaled is Given a Vision
Whilst most of the crew remained within the city, some needed to escape out to the wilds for a moment of relaxation. Being trapped on board the ship was rough for Tvennr, but Regdar sorely needed to return to his trees and animals for a few days. Urquilla took the opportunity to visit his father and tribe, and let them know what he had been up to.

The news there was both good and disturbing. Good, for his father's injuries had shown great strides in recovery; though, instead of scar tissue, he had grown scales back over the wounds that had almost claimed his life. It was not unheard of, but even within their tribe, it was a sign of strange things happening. And indeed, there were great movements in the glimpses of draconic prophecy they managed to snatch.

 Jillepse the Blind, the tribe's oldest shaman, shared a recurring vision he had been experiencing. There was a mountain, with the red waters washing up it, trying to drown all who sought refuge upon it. Dragons flew overhead, swarming as thick as crows, blotting out the sun. Stars formed within them, to rain down death and destruction, until one man stood against the onslaught. Reaching up, he grabbed at the sky, though the sky. His hand moved, grasping at the moons, feeling them, but letting go, until finally, it reached the thirteenth moon, the unseen satellite, and pulled it down to the earth. It struck with a resounding explosion, scattering the dragon-swarm for a moment, and then he held it aloft - the invisible moon was now a sword, a sword that would cut down any dragon that stood against it. No longer would the dragons destroy every threat that rose against them; finally, the time of dragons was ended, the time of the Takamak tribe was only just beginning!

Clearly, the other tribal elders explained, much of the vision was strange shapes and images, and probably wasn't directly related to the real world situation. But there were more and more reports of many dragons scouting around the south-eastern coast of Xen'drik, and their presence felt like the precursor to another annihilation event. Something has upset them - something big, and that means something dangerous. Jillepse believed that Urquilla was the one to find this "weapon of the moon", and wield it in defence of their people - of all the people of Xen'drik. And with nothing else to go on, the tribal elders all stood backing this choice.

Friday, 5 September 2014

PotS 1x05 - Scouting the Ruins

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik.  Along with a strange chest, they now held information that should see them cured from their Xoriat-induced monstrous deformities, and their mission proper could continue.

The Loss of Curses and Limbs
...yes, I know it has only one head. And wings. I don't have any hydras - feel free to send me one, if you want!
The Hydra Battle
The trip back to shore seemed to take far longer than their journey out to the island garrison - perhaps it was Kami playing it safe with her ship, and the lack of Hassan's guidance, or maybe the cause was more supernatural than they wanted to accept.  Maybe even the tide itself was fighting against them, keeping them from completing their mission, and exploring the ruins.

Whatever it was, the crew eventually planted their feet on solid ground once more.  From there, they quickly returned to the eladrin grove, giving Analastra and Berrian the information taken from Gordian's library.  Together, they worked to rid the grasp of Xoriat from their father, and saw that the party was cured of their touch, as well.  Handing the mysterious chest over to Hassan for further investigation, they moved to the mountain path, and started the slow climb to its guardian - the green-scaled hydra.

The battle was fierce, but with Kami's well-placed haunting serpents spectres, the beast's spirit to fight was lessened.  Despite its caustic venom, enough heads were severed to bring the guardian low, and allow the team passage to the ruins proper.

The Tale of Two Galinndans
Good old "Lord of the Rings" & "The Hobbit" LEGO setting the scene!
Approaching the Gate
The climb to the mountain's top took the better part of the rest of the afternoon, leaving them with little over an hour to scout the actual ruins.  And that didn't include the time it took to fight back the current occupants!

The gate that had once stood proudly before the mountain settlement now held dust, cobwebs, and soot from when the dragons had razed it.  One of the gigantic doors remained upright, its hinges long-since failed.  The other was little more than part of the path, pressed into the dirt and rubble surrounding it.  Regdar sensed they eyes watching him before he noticed the tell-tale movements of the gargoyles.  With a warning call, he kept the others back, and made the enemy come to them.

Unfortunately, it was not just gargoyles that attacked them.  Mid-battle, one of the enemy abruptly took on the form of Galinndan, and the eladrin warlord himself turned to attack his own captain.  Fortunate he was that Hassan had remained behind, else the azure guard might have experienced just how Hassan Elfbane had earned his surname!

Who knew LEGO "Mixel" figures could so easily come in to DnD games?
A Wild Decay Beast Appears!
Amongst the ruins lurked another creature, driven mad by hunger, empowered by the arcane disaster many years ago.  This decay beast had long ago stopped preying on simple metal items, and had instead taken a liking to anything that could decay. Weapons and armour started tearing, rusting, and splintering before him, as his hunger brought his teeth about Ogg's person, dissolving and consuming his armour.

The outfit clearly had meant a lot to Ogg, for he didn't take that slight lying down.  His carefully-aimed blasts of raw power were able to distinguish friend from foe, and within moments, only crumpled, shattered remains were left behind.

Atop the Plateau
The majority of the settlement was now in ruins.  The arcane cataclysm had destroyed much of the structures, and now only three remained upright.  Dragonfire had reduced most of that to rubble and ash, but the temple standing in the middle of the plateau still had half of a roof. 

The stone walls of a former barracks stood to one side, but when investigated further, only the dead bodies of a bulette and two carrion-crawlers were found.  The creatures were killed recently, and violently, prompting Urquilla to investigate more thoroughly.  The tracks and remnants of the battle suggested that the mysterious group who had taken out the spiders in the forest had cleared up here, too.

Along the opposite side of the settlement, there stood a structure that was perhaps once dedicated to those who looked after the temple.  Its walls bore faded frescoes, covered with thick webs.  It was no surprise to anyone that some giant spiders had settled here - and, as no one felt strongly about taking it back, they left the overgrown arachnids to their thing, and focused on the temple.

The Temple of Battle
Three statues were the central focal point of the temple, though various alcoves here and there had their own, smaller, dedications to the various members of the Soverign Host.  But the main three - Dol Dorn, the god of courage; Dol Arrah, the goddess of combat; and a third figure who was unrecognisable in its currently degraded state - were clearly seen as the most important by those who built and had operated the temple.
I had a lacking of appropriate "fiery warforged" LEGO and DnD miniatures, so I went with the fire motif, and something that looked imposing.
Final stages of the Temple battle

Galinndan stepped forward, trying to work out who the mysterious figure was, but a voice high in the rafters "All the faithful of the Knights of Battle, come and pay them worship!" it cried, as the figure of a twisted harpy settled before them.  Long dead, and driven crazy by some unseen force, this ghostly remnant of one of the temple's former servants screeched and cursed at them, activating two warforgeds to come to her aid.  Their fires burned strong, and even after the ghost was dismissed with certain finality, they locked together and fought on, almost bringing an end to the valiant heroes who stood before them.
stopped his study. 

But in the end, they did triumph, and with the settlement now cleared of enemies (aside from those nasty spiders, who were just left to do their own thing), they were able to finally scout and map the ruins. 

The Ruins, Scouted
Knowing that a sizeable paycheck awaited them upon their return to Stormreach, Kami set the crew's sight towards the month-long journey it would take to get there - but she knew, as did the others, that there were still mysteries here to search further.

Hassan was eager to get some help in unlocking the chest, but at the same time didn't wish to leave the tower unguarded.  Two of the Kaapiot quadruplets volunteered to remain behind, though no one was sure which two, so Kami just declared that all four would remain, and the matter was settled.

Galinndan, on the other hand, didn't cherish the thought of spending another month trapped aboard the dwarven ship.  Instead, he elected to remain with Analastra and her family, helping to set up the arcane waypoint once the crew returned to Cousin Walid.  Although she wasn't overly happy to let the eladrin out of her sight, Kami eventually agreed to this, and the crew set sail once more.

Friday, 6 June 2014

PotS 1x04 - The Paladins' Nest

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik. After taking over the Watchtower, and being touched by Xoriat's foul presence, the crew search for information that may be used to rid themselves of their monstrous deformities.

An Unnatural Mist
The crew reached the Kami Kaze at early dawn, and quickly readied it for their trip to the islands.  Hassan was able to reach out and confer with Kami some more, guiding them quickly to the most obvious location of the garrison.  In his Watchtower-aided-searching, he had come across a large expanse of mist that had not evaporated with the rising sun.  Able to get a high view of the cloudy expanse, he could also tell that it seemed to sit neatly in a circle, as if magic was involved.

Indeed, once Kami had led her ship into the fog, it was clear that the oppressive vapours were magically aided.  They dulled all sound, and shortened all sight -  not even Regdar could pierce it, nor convince any of his feathered friends to scout much farther ahead than they could already see.

By late morning, they had passed two smaller islands, and confirmed they were empty.  The third one, large enough to actually contain a small camp, they sent the rowboat to investigate further.  Ogg, Tvennr and Galinndan joined Kami on the away-mission, and moved over sand that had no trace of guests for many a year - indeed, the only life they found on the entire island was a few birds roosting atop the broken tower.

Their first stop was the garrison proper - the ruined first floor of a structure that once, centuries ago, held a portion of the paladins' order.  Now, its mostly-crumbled remains were guarded by the wraith-like form of one of the former soldiers, and an enchantment-bound door that stood against the test of time.  "Only the Lonely Sword can pass!" and "Gordian must open the seal!" were the only information they could get from the poor individual.  Not wanting to disrupt him further - at least, not for now - they moved off and searched the rest of the island.

Unseasonably Chilled
Moments later: the "statue" icons turned into the gargoyles (portrayed by Chima ravens)The only other thing of interest was half a wizard's tower (the bottom half), which seemed to be built to overlook the garrison.  The ground floor was a macabre laboratory, complete with a twisted, grotesque cadaver upon a fallen pillar.  The chaotic magic that danced about the lab lit the golem-creature, and as Tvennr disturbed it, revealed its violent nature.  Joined by two gargoyles from outside, the battle was dangerous, but whatever had given a false life to the poor individual had not restored its mind - it fought with ferocity, but not with skill, and was soon put to a more permanent rest.

Crazy wizard...Radagast feels like a good fit!Upstairs, Gordian was finally discovered - though, the fellow was clearly not the same as the wizard who originally built the tower and set up the protective wards over the paladins.  Time, heartache, and a whole heap of broken magic had warped him and his study, which was now filled with the frozen forms of past 'guests'...and he wanted to add more. 

His work with animating the dead was not restricted to Elaida downstairs - he was currently working on two corpses as the team broke in, and after Tvennr went to smack him with his axe, the two mummies joined the battle, spreading their curse and their rot to the party.  But once the frail, lifeless form of Gordian was put to rest, the team were able to gather up enough of his writings to open the Garrison, and hopefully, restore all those touched by Xoriat's influence.

The Paladins' Chest
...yes, the duplo block was the chest.  I couldn't find an actual chest in a reasonable amount of time!The garrison had its own bound demon, as well as two paladin-wraiths, but after the horrors of the tower, they were easily dealt with.  The chest within, however, was not so easily bested.  Four intricate locks, each needing a separate key, ensured the chest stayed closed, whilst intricate and powerful spells woven through its very structure kept out less-physical options of opening it.  Without the ability to investigate further, Kami had the chest moved to her ship, and set sail for the mainland once more.  Her crew needed to be strengthened, and these ruins weren't going to investigate themselves!

Friday, 16 May 2014

PotS 1x03b - Watching the Watchtower

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik. The pirate crew have taken to the land, and after defeating the nightmarish terror within the Watchtower, are trying to recover, and work out what to do next. This post is a recap of things that happened via email in-between games.

The Aftermath
Leaving Hassan behind to study the watchtower further - for even with a cursory look, it was clear that there was more to the tower than mere vantage points - the party took Zandrian and Gernathiel back to the eladrin camp in the woods.  Analastra and Berrian were, to no one's surprise, both overjoyed at their father's return, and horrified at his twisted form.  After their countless attempts of restoring him (and the others who found themselves to be changed by their brush with Xoriat), the eladrin siblings had to admit defeat.  They saw to his comfort, and properly listened to the tales, both of his initial quest, and of Kami's crew's travel through the tower.

Berrian spoke with concern once the tale was told.  "What you discovered within the tower disturbs me.  Such a bridge across the planes should not be possible, especially to Xoriat.  There must have been powerful magic involved to cause such a breach.  And, where one breach is, others surely linger.  We must learn more."

The unspoken statement clearly leaves the searching in the hands of the party, not the eladrin and his team.  However, Zandrian does have an idea of where to start.  "There is an island in the gulf, one of many, to be sure.  But one island alone has a garrison, a defensive point from which we paladins used to draw strength.  A wizard who worked with the order - Gordian Pierce was his name - had done much study on the planes.  Perhaps something of his study remains?"  

The decision was reached - Kami would allow this minor distraction in the hopes that their crew members' afflictions could be cured, and that they would all prove more useful for the remainder of the mission. It would be a solid hike down to the shore, and who knew how long it would take them to find the island garrison, but the hope was that it would all be worthwhile in the end.

Secrets Found
Fortune was with them, however: for in the morning, when they rose to begin their trek, Kami was surprised by Hassan's voice greeting her.  The keen Kundarak-taught dwarf had learnt many things about the Watchtower over the night - the first, as he was using now, was to project his voice at great distances.
More importantly, Hassan had learned how to project his sight, and was now capable of viewing locations all around the gulf, and up and down the coast, too.  No wonder the Watchtower had been such a strong point of defence for the gulf!
But there was more - though he hadn't worked out how to activate it safely, Hassan had uncovered transportational magic within the tower.  He hoped that, given some more investigation, he could set it to aid their movements around the gulf.  For now, though, they would have to travel on foot and by ship.  And, after learning of their new mission from Kami, Hassan would focus on scouring the islands for a sight of this garrison.  If he could find it by the time they reached the Kami Kaze, Hassan could guide them straight to it, still saving them valuable hours (or days) of searching for it themselves!