Chaos Monks: The Festival of Shivering Petals

Chaos Monks MountainsTwo months later, we resume our tale.

  • Hum Lae (Max) got work with the Footprinter Clan of Charikot. He was assigned to Ekkre, their Keeper of the Old Ways, to serve as a resource when he had questions about humans and their foibles. The dwarves provided him with fine metal armor and a shortsword printed with runes identifying him as servant of the Keeper of the Old Ways.
  • Xiao Xiao (Jeremy) and Ping continued working for Nyandak of Jade Shadows providing a safe working environment in the seraglio and tending to any needs she may have. In order to be popular, Xiao Xiao took to living considerably beyond his means, and he now owes money to some impatient and dangerous people in Charikot as a consequence.
  • Gazo (Lu) also continued working for Nyandak of Jade Shadows.
  • Tu (Ted) also continued working for Nyandak of Jade Shadows.
  • Lightcrash the Silver Eye (Patrick) got a great offer from Nyandak, transmitted through the sluggish magically to reach him in Kwantoom, to bring his theater company to the valley to perform!
  • Huan (Tyler) naturally got dragged along as part of that theater troupe.

The Night Before

On the eve of the Festival of Shivering Petals, the Jade Shadows seraglio was doing brisk business before leaving for the celebration. Outside was pouring rain, but inside was alive with meeting patrons’ various needs, including gambling and romance.

Lightcrash and Huan showed up with the Eun clan of snailish; the snailish were banished to the barn (which they were cool with) and the humans allowed inside. (Xiao Xiao and Ping were minding the door instead of helping divas pack.)

Hum Lae was surprised to see them, but they quickly caught up on things over food and drink, and got involved in a complex gambling game invented by sluggish millennia ago. Gazo ended up on guard duty while Xiao Xiao got in on the game (everyone demanded he play, as he was sometimes a spectacular and lucrative loser.) Tu also got in on it, and the tables were thrumming with pleasant vice.

Lightcrash headed for the high stakes gold table to play with the sluggish wizards, and while they turned him down at first because of his association with filthy snailish, he bragged about abusing them to the point where the sluggish relented and let him play.

yakkish

By Lu Quade

Shen the Yakkish

Three yakkish showed up, and while they were not normally allowed, they strongly reminded Gazo of the Herald of the Void, so she let them in. They joined the gambling, and Gazo reported to the Mistress, who came out to watch them and intervene if need be. If things got out of hand. Yakkish tend to be bad for business.

Sure enough, Lightcrash had a good round and was exuberant in spite of himself, and Shen recognized him; apparently Lightcrash owed Shen a good deal of money. Shen took his table winnings, but Lightcrash wasn’t going to put up with that. He fired some flashpowder surprise up Shen’s nose, grabbed his winnings, and scrabbled for the exit.

Shen snatched up a table and swatted him with it, and as Lightcrash tumbled through the air, he grabbed a chair and enchanted it so he could ride it; the chair whizzed up into the air with him aboard, and in the general chaos the other two yakkish stayed low and out of it. The sluggish cast a spell protecting their table with a magic bubble. Xiao Xiao snatched as much of the winnings from his table as he could and made a run for it.

Shen rushed to the door to keep Lightcrash from escaping, but Huan delved into his own chaos magic and fired out a spell of chaotic energy that pulled Shen down, restraining him against his will. Hum Lae piled on, adding his muscle and chaos energies to the spell to keep the yakkish down.

Lightcrash decided to exit, and zoomed up towards an air vent. He smashed against the wall, but concentrated all the flying energy into one leg of the busted chair so it could pull him up through the air vent and out into the night. Birds from his magic act, advertising leaflets, and other pocket contents swirled down. He almost made it, but instead of getting stuck, his greasepot burst, slicking him up and ruining his outfit (as well as showreing grease on the room below (and he soared away free, yelling that rehearsal was cancelled for the night.)

There was a general melee between Gazo and the bouncers and the indignant gamblers chasing Xiao Xiao that others participated in, taking the energy out of the group (and Xiao Xiao slunk off to not provoke them with his thieving presence.) Gazo later demanded a cut of the table-grabbed winnings for helping out with that.

Shen was sent out into the night when the magic wore off, for being disruptive. He sullenly left. (Lightcrash hid in an attic until morning, so as not to cross his path. He got one scrubbing when he got to town, and found himself in need of another.)

The Festival of Shivering Petals

The Vale of Flowers lies between the Charikot and Bharatput city states, and it is home to the Jade Baths run by Jal and her triplet sons Dilip, Hari, and Laxanan. For the Festival, the rulers of both states attend, along with a number of nobles. The noble chooses a cherry tree that is losing petals, and tells a story involving love and/or ghosts. If the story lines up aesthetically with the pattern of petal loss during the telling, that grants good fortune to a coming venture.

Also, there was a competition planned between Jade Shadows and Crimson Shade, where both seraglios put on a show and the one that the ruler of Bharatput, Lord Zhang Dong, chooses, wins bragging rights.

Before the show, Slick caught up to Hum Lae and resumed their tempestuous and sticky romance.

At dusk, the festival began with enchanted fireworks making a burning cherry tree losing petals in the sky. Then they began with the show.

Crimson Shade led off with a dancing dragon full of ladies, and Jade Shadow shot back with snailish sphereplay and drone pipes. By the time they reached the evening’s last round, Lightcrash narrated a tale of a maiden lured to the underworld, who returned like springtime, and he used magic to add light effects and cause the plants around the stage to grow through two years’ cycles. They won handily, and Lord Dong spent the night with the Jade Shadows.

Lions and Blood

Meanwhile, a mercenary company from Charikot was there protecting them, and Bharatput had their own forces too. Hum Lae thought he recognized one of the mercenaries as a member of the Thousand Throat he met on the road, but couldn’t be sure. He mostly attended to Ekkre, Keeper of the Old Ways.

Ekkre told him the dwarves did the jadework carvings for the humans, as a condition securing the neutrality of the site. He told Hum Lae that Jal and her sons were sorcerers, key to defending the valley, and he said something about how blood should not be spilled here. Dwarves are cryptic. They also got the solid-walled collapsible yurt set up, complete with a big compartment for Hum Lae and differently shaped area for Ekkre. They even brought fishtanks; bait fish for Hum Lae to enjoy before feeding them to the expensive fish Ekkre brought along.

They celebrated until late and planned to sleep in.

Morning Violence

Xiao Xiao was woken early by a nervous guard. Jal and her sons had been kidnapped in the night. Xiao Xiao immediately woke his Mistress, finding her drowsing by a pile of exhausted people, nude and adorned with shimmering green runic tattoos. She touched one to clothe herself in a black robe, and blew her hunting horn to rouse the camp, immediately alarmed by the news.

The Thousand Throats bandit army attacked the tent city! As the snailish oozed to safety over the bath house walls, taking Lightcrash and Huan with them, the others headed for the main gate to the bathhouse (as a tent city is a terrible place for melee.)

The attackers in the rush to the gate were led by a big man with a topknot helm and hammer, and Xiao Xiao shot him with a crossbow to weaken him so Gazo could shove through the melee and kill him in the face.

Troops from Bharatput, Charikot, and the Thousand Throat swirled in battle, but Hum Lae skirted the fight to see a robed figure with paired athame slaughtering people, and he took her head off.

The Thousand Throats withdrew, and only then did the news reach the monks; the bandit army had mounted this attack as a feint. The Lord of Charikot was their prisoner!

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

World Between: the Kraken

World Between Fictive Nameplate

As Andor was nude in the sacramental chambers in the depths of the Caligari cathedral preparing for another baptism to push off a new waves of horrific sin, the water began to steam. Evil was near! But he was not deterred in seeking to draw closer to salvation, so Andor entered the water and submerged–

–emerging, thrashing, in the freezing ocean in a storm! During a kraken attack! The Flayed Sail was destroyed by a kraken during a thunderstorm, and the heroes saw for just a moment a shaft of moonlight in the form of the Lady, with a direction to swim to survive. They did so, losing most of their worldly possessions…

  • Andor. (Simon) Zealot penitent miraculously transported a thousand miles.
  • Ragnell. (Shaun) Templar of Saint Bernus.
  • Maeve. (Iris) Fey connected assassin.
  • Ty. (Mark) A bandit.

After the Storm

Maeve woke up naked and trussed to a spit, about to become a barbecue as the happy cannibals prepared the fire. A more important cannibal came out and discouraged that; apparently she was to be kept alive, tied to an upright pole.

Ty woke up with a busted leg in a tidal pool, and was spotted by two of the cannibals that were scouting for survivors. (One was wearing his new, very fancy hat.) Ty yelled at them, frightening them so one went for reinforcements and the other kept an eye on him.

Ragnell woke up and dragged himself off the beach, witnessing the cannibals capturing Captain Malia and dragging him off. Ragnell followed, finding the village. Meanwhile the cannibals tied Malia up next to Maeve, so she managed to free a hidden dagger from her hair and cut her bonds so when the moment was right they could try to escape.

Meanwhile a babbling scout showed up and a group of cannibals and some manta ray / dog hybrids (dograys) headed out. Ragnell stayed to watch the village.

Andor woke on the beach, still nude, and went about scavaging for clothing or supplies, only finding a modest uprooted tree he could use as a club. He saw a group of cannibals come out of the jungle and close in on the rocks, where Ty was being watched by a cannibal scout.

Beach Battle

The warband came to get Ty, but were distracted by Andor, who managed to kill all three dograys and close in to kill more cannibals. Meanwhile, Ty limped at the cannibal with his hat and killed him with rocks, reclaiming his hat, and he moved to the jungle path so as cannibals fled from Andor’s fury they ran into Ty, with Andor close behind. None of the cannibals survived. (Ty mainly survived because of his Ring of Protection; he was badly hurt from the surf hurling him into rocks.)

Village Battle

They headed up to the village, and Ragnell joined them. Drums and movement indicated some forces were headed for the village north gate, but the heroes hoped to move fast and get out before they arrived.

They walked right on in through the door in the palisade. Six of the tribe’s elite fighters came for them, and a dozen or so other cannibal fighters supported them. Maeve used the distraction to free Captain Malia, but he succumbed to the various hurled knives, clubs, and blowdarts that stormed the prisoner area. Maeve and Ragnell hewed down the guards as Andor and Ty faced the elites.

Ty went down to blows from paired bone swords made of the wings of bats, and his leg was ruined from the knee down. Andor stood against the storm of exotic weaponry and techniques (including one woman who used gourds full of fire ants on a cable to deposit swarms of them on his tough hide.)

As the heroes finished up the elites, they scooped up Ty and Malia’s dying bodies and escaped, while Maeve dropped into the chief’s hut and grabbed all her supplies the cannibals took when they captured her. She made it out of the village just in time as the mysterious reinforcements arrived.

Survival

They found Malia was dead, and Ragnell built a cairn for him. Maeve took off Ty’s ring of protection and operated on him, amputating the leg at the knee. He survived. Andor and Ragnell went scouting for food and drink, bringing both back, and they hid in an old smuggler hole for the night (where Ty found the rum that got him through the surgery.)

They rested for a full day and a half. Weirdly, aside from one patrol of three that surprised Andor and got wiped out in a round, no one came looking for them. Andor also heard a weird vibration in the jungle, but since they weren’t sure what it could be, they didn’t worry abut it.

The Village

They returned to the village to find it abandoned. They replenished their supplies and found some things from previous victims, like healing potions, a vial of poison, a shortsword, and a shield. They decided to follow the ceremonial exit out of the palisade, and it curved around the cliff.

They got a magnificent view of the bay below and the opposite shoulder of the island, which had a Black Tower perched on it. Also, the cave at the end was a big ritual circle for controlling the kraken, and they realized it was dozing in the bay below, kept in by standing stones with symbols that matched the symbolic room. (Andor had been hurling all their ceremonial gear off the cliff before the kraken was spotted in the waters 60 feet below.)

There were also some boats on the shore, by the kraken’s bay.

They decided the best course was to go down, get a Northron ship, and drift out of the bay before picking up speed and heading back towards land. That’s what they did, and the kraken didn’t wake as they drifted over it in shallowish water.

They left questions behind, but they already had answers that had to get to the Church as soon as possible, so their mission continued.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

World Between: Cavern of Oracles

World Between Fictive Nameplate

The Templar of Saint Bernus talked to Ragnell about a rumor they wanted to check out unofficially. The village Sardae, south of Calobra, along the coast of the Crook Mountains on the other side from the Iron Principalities, was rumored to have a “Cavern of Oracles” where a mad god whispered truths. Several religions were taking an interest and sending pilgrims, and the Lady needs the truth of it. They would be sent on the Flayed Sail with Captain Malia, who would wait for up to 3 days while they investigated.

  • Ragnell. (Shaun) Templar of Saint Bernus.
  • Maeve. (Iris) Fey connected assassin.
  • Ty. (Mark) Bandit.
  • Kael. (Michael) Questing Knight of Scarabae.

Sardae

The town offered an apron to outsiders, with a walled off section for the private lives of citizens. The town guard were everywhere, and very attentive. Guides to the Cavern of Oracles left once a day and would take multiple groups. The marketplace was basically stocked and a controlled source of information (but they got their tickets ahead of time there.) There were pilgrims from the Father and Family religion of Ulverland, and demons, and Relmeenos.

(There were lots of colorful interactions with NPCs like the goatman selling weapons, but I don’t remember enough of that sort of thing to make a reckoning here.)

The Pilgrim Trail

They got in position at their pilgrim stop, and went into the cave, seeing runes to separate the area where they stood from the bottomless shaft beyond. Deciding to leave their jocular guide behind, they ventured past the runes, into the depths.

Only those who heard the peculiar whispiring voices could see the steps (and once the steps were pointed out to others, they could hear the whispering voices.) AT the bottom they found layered glass-like surfaces that seemed impossibly stacked upon one another and containing the drowning dead.

They explored further to find a large chamber where there were many pools with the spittle of the gods, blathering sanity-bending nonsense, and the obvious fish-people talked about how they had this base where they could nurture Father Dagon to strength once more.

Spittle of the Gods

The heroes were detected and they retreated, spittle hot on their heels. As it caught up, Ty blew it away with an overcharged pistol blast, and they escaped up the stairs as more spittle pursued.

They confronted their guide, who threw demon teeth on the ground, and they sprang up as orcs. Hacking down the orcs, they also hacked down the spittle that emerged from the cavern after them, and in general they killed everything they could before beating a hasty and panicked retreat.

Escape

Before they could be captured in the city, the Flayed Sail fired some cannons on the town, and in the confusion, the heroes escaped out to their boat and made it to the open sea with their secret; Father Dagon was on the rise in the area, and the secret of the Cavern of Oracles was revealed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

World Between: Plague of Wolves

World Between Fictive Nameplate

As soon as they left Gilbert, they were haunted by spies. Raptors with smoke wings, local law, bounty hunters; all of Harrowfaust seemed to be after them. They split up; Lady Bellwood led one group on a wild goose chase, and the other group continued with the book. We follow the group that went to Trivium, one of Harrowfaust’s mightiest cities.

  • Sunnhilde. (Kristy) Witch hunter with a damned book to deliver.
  • Ragnell. (Shaun) Fighter, budding templar.
  • Andor. (Simon) Zealot, brutal penitent.

Trivium At Last

After traveling 400 miles across 20 days, they reached the city. They went to the Ashwall neighborhood, ruled by the vampire Lady Louisa Goedde. They were going to meet with their contact, Mara Oldenburg, but she was dead. The neighborhood was having a werewolf problem.

A Werewolf Problem

Turns out, Goedde had invited a werewolf emissary of another noble to do some business three months ago. However, she failed to provide sufficiently sturdy restraints on the night of the transformation, so the werewolf escaped and bit some people.

Those people were tracked down and killed. Well, most of them. So the next full moon, the survivors bit some more people. THOSE people were tracked down and killed. Well, most of them. Now it was the third month after, and there were some survivors out there who were going to change into werewolves and bite people tonight.

Worse still, the werewolf’s name was Kendrick. That was the same monster that bit Andor’s sister and turned her into a werewolf, long ago. Unfortunately, the monster was far away by now, and there were more pressing matters at hand.

There were very few people on the streets, and numerous guard patrols, with higher than usual numbers. The heroes cooled their heels in the Besotted Owl, keeping an eye on the situation; they still needed to smuggle themselves and the dark book across the river into Caligari without being detected by Harrowfaust authorities.

The Town Guard Solution

They decided to volunteer to help out the town guard in rooting out and fighting werewolves. They made it quietly understood that in exchange they wanted quiet passage across the river, no questions asked. Captain Rennick more or less agreed, and they went on patrol.

They were headed for the Slops, a horrible part of the slum of Ashwall, where water collected against the wall but couldn’t get out so all the urban scum flowed into it. It was a great place to hide–if you don’t have to worry about disease or infection. It was the worst place for the city guards to have to search.

The Workhouse

That’s when they heard a ruckus at the workhouse. Both debtors and orphans were packed into the workhouse, imprisoned and forced to labor for the good of the city. Werewolves broke in, and in those close quarters the city guards would likely just barricade it and torch the whole thing, killing hundreds of unfortunates.

To save lives, the heroes grimly volunteered to go after the werewolves in the close confines of the workhouse. They burst in to the level where the werewolves were killing (and worse, biting) and confronted them, hurling them down and killing the lot of them. They also grimly killed everyone who was bitten, or suspected of being bitten. For all the innocents that died, many more were saved.

The heroes left the grisly work behind them, and the captain arranged them passage on a boat vetted by the town guards, no questions asked. Let us never speak of it again.

Across the River

They made it to the shadow city of Venksburg, across the river, in Caligari territory. There they met Bernhard Traub, Templar Knight of the Order of Bernus. He offered them help to get the book to Elmar Drach, Templar Master in Thronberg. Then the heroes could follow later, find him in Thronberg, and induct Ragnell into the Templar order.

Another Werewolf Problem

With the book off their minds, but spies still dogging them, they decided to look into a local missing persons problem, since the town was mobbing with anger. They quickly found that there were werewolves on this side of the river, probably escaped from Trivium. They followed the tracks from an animal kill; some of the brand new werewolves weren’t so savvy yet.

Wolf Cult

They found a cave where dozens of people were sleeping, and a shaman with several tricks up his sleeve was leading them. Once the fighting started, he activated a charm to turn on the lycanthropy even though it was the middle of the day, and the fighting got desperate as the people started getting much tougher. Still, the heroes carried the day, slaughtering all the werewolves including the shaman with all his tricks.

Job well done. Off to Trivium.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

World Between: The Ruined Abbey

World Between Fictive Nameplate

SESSION 1

A group assembled in Harrowfaust for the purpose of weakening the monster population quietly; not challenging the forces in power, but doing what they could to improve the lot of the commoner.

  • Sunnhilde. (Kristy) A witch hunter.
  • Andor. (Simon) A penitent zealot.
  • Kael. (Michael) A questing knight from Scarabae, adding this round through Harrowfaust to his long travels.
  • Maeve. (Iris) An assassin with fey ties from the Shae Isles, here by way of the Iron Principalities.
  • Ragnell. (Shaun) A fighter with heavy armor, sword, and shield.
  • Ty. A bandit from lands where the ephemeral Encroachment from the World Below is all too commonplace.
  • Lady Vivian Bellwood. (Bess) A noblewoman, funding the expedition.

The Town of Gilbert

They arrived in Gilbert, which was rumored to be nearby to the ruined Abbey of Saint Tabitha. Gilbert was founded over 150 years ago as a hunting preserve, and the founders were generous church patrons who wanted to build a magnificent temple to the Lady near the town.

According to the tales, the abbey was built by humans with dwarven assistance, something about repaying the people for assistance rendered to the dwarves in the mountains nearby. It was buried by an earthquake a century ago.

Six weeks ago there was a minor tremor, then there were increasing reports of goblins, and people going missing. Duke Slaut didn’t want to have anything to do with it. However, Duin, a dwarf, put out word that he was willing to pay people to hunt goblins and put a stop to this. (His father worked on the chapel, and he’s wanted to see it since he was a young dwarf.)

Meeting Contacts

The hunters arrived, and met with Duin, agreeing to take the dwarf with them on the expedition (and keep him alive so they’d get paid.)

They also checked in with the Chapel of the Sea, the tallest building in town, a fancy chapel to the Lady. They met with Father Hugo and Brad and Thom, and decided to take Brad with them as a torchbearer.

They stayed in the Green Maid Inn. There they interviewed the only survivor of the last group to head into the abbey; his morale was broken and his memories unhelpful.

Heading Out

They followed Brad out to the site of the buried temple. On the way they were ambushed by goblins, who they handily dispatched, and they found the first signs of the Encroachment. Upon reaching the site, they found several possible ways in; a hole that descended to a huge echoing room, or a more manageable tunnel-like entrance with some foot traffic. They chose the tunnel-like entrance, pushing through an overgrown courtyard garden following some strange footprints. By now it was clear the Encroachment was leaking up from this place.

Into the Abbey

A zombie had been left in the reception area, muttering at them to go back. The zombie matched the description of one of the last waves of adventurers to brave the site. They chopped it down and proceeded.

They reached the pilgrim’s chapel, mostly collapsed, and faced goblin ambush. Again they won through, and continued on to the common room, finding the goblin camp now abandoned. They also found a door with something monstrous behind it, and left it alone.

The Dome of Tabitha

They found a giant room (with a hole in the ceiling) and observed the eight stations of the Circle of Virtues, and found the room to be free of Encroachment.

Further In

They passed through rooms for preparing the dead, and finally came to stairs leading down to a winding corridor waist-deep in water. Steeling themselves, they waded on as carefully as they could, in darkness since the corridor was also full of flammable gas. This was INSANELY BRAVE, but they got away with it, reaching the far side with no branching to the corridor, and no pits or monsters.

At the far end, they climbed out on the landing, and as they were composing themselves they faced a metal door enchanted to stay shut unless the proper words were spoken.

However, goblins opened it from the other side, and the group swiftly killed the goblins and propped the door open before it could close.

SESSION TWO

The witch hunter Sunnhilde and the Lady Bellwood decided to stay here and protect the only way out, and the rest of them continued on.

The Library

They found a library where a female goblin shaman was looting the temple’s books with her elite bodyguards, and they had a savage fight (the shaman threw a cobra at them) and managed to slay all the goblins just as reinforcements arrived, with a tough goblin leader with paired weapons leading another mob. Poor Brad fell in this fight, his torch setting his body alight.

After a brutal hallway slaughter, they continued on to find the kitchen and pantry, and avoid going into an area where giant spiders got in. They burst in on the leader of the goblins and his massive hound monster, slaying them. They temporarily stored their loot in this area before continuing on to where goblins guarded the stairs along with their pet sewer dumpling. The stairs led much deeper; a quick spate of murder later, they descended the stairs.

The Excavation

They got down to an area with a deliberate pool and more digging machinery. Following the stairs down, they found a pump room that was partially collapsed and in poor shape; they also heard something following them from the pool. They went back to investigate, but it retreated into the pool and they did not feel it wise to pursue.

The corridor below had a Y intersection, and the central part was carved like the prow of a ship (in honor of the Lady, of course.) Having found the pump room down one direction, they noticed the goblin tracks all headed the other direction, so they followed that. They found a dark room full of water that they decided to ignore. Reaching the stern of the “ship” they saw there was another passage that led deeper still, and also a branch leading to tombs.

Monsters At the Bottom

The corridor leading deeper had been opened by the eruption, and it may lead all the way to the World Below. Goblins issued up from it, and monsters, and there was a mighty battle. After the intruders won, they examined the tombs, finding one to “Ares Rex II, Heretic, May the Saints Forgive Him His Curiosity.” It was burst open from the inside.

They found the corpse of Ares, infused with energies from the World Below and the Encroachment, turned into a powerful lich. He had a pit where he could toss the dead, and they would crawl out; or maybe it was a pit to the World Below. He could cause it to heave, vomiting masses of the dead, and the heroes chopped through them trying to reach him.

Ares dropped a curse on Andor, rendering him blind and deaf; the panicked zealot kept swinging his mighty blade, nearly killing Ragnell, who managed to calm him down.

Ares swelled up into a demonic form, and as Sunnhilde (who had caught up to them)  smote the lich over and over with divine energies, Maeve managed to assassinate the creature with a magic blade.

Sunnhilde found Ares’ dark book of magic, the Magus Malificarum.

The Stern Shrine

As they were staggering out, sorely afflicted by their injuries and distressing experiences, they found a secret door at the “stern” of the ship corridor. It led in to an original shrine to the champion of the Luminous Hawk, Tabyth. There was a decanter with sweet liquid to simulate tears on the statue, and they applied it; the earth trembled, shutting the way to the World Below, and clearing all the Encroachment.

The cosmic moment also cleared Andor’s curse so he could see and hear again.

Conclusion

They escaped, and Duin paid them. They buried Brad, gave a brief account to the Father (omitting the part about the pagan shrine at the center, a shrine that the dwarves seemed to revere more in their craftsmanship than the Lady sections) and they were on their way.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Chaos Monks, Mountains of the Moon. Dine and Dash

Chaos Monks MountainsThe monks met in Khalart, an orderly city on an island in the glacier-melt runoff flowing from the mountains.

  • Hum Lae (Max) Lvl 3. Thromil the Goldsmith sent him from the Yellow City to take a mysterious locked stone chest to Dhudek, leader of a dwarven ghetto in the Charikot Oligarchy.
  • Xiao Xiao (Jeremy) Lvl 1. A bald, weaselly, acid scarred former necromancer lackey with a shovel. He and his henchman Ping (topknot, light red jacket with camo not floral) accidentally poisoned the necromancer leader. Nyandak, mistress of the Jade Shadows seraglio, took him on as an agent after he dug something up for her; something that twisted chaos into him. Spellcaster.
  • Gazo (Lu) Lvl 1. She is thin, shaved, and covered in bad tattoos (except the good one, of the Jade Shadow sign, given her by Wangchuk Tenzin, mystic artist.) Roof runner.
  • Tu (Ted) Lvl 1. He is tall, lanky, and a bit lazy. He served the dragon lord Paytrack, but in contacting the dragon’s castoff material he got frayed to the point of chaos flowing into and through him, and he had to leave. He found easy work with Nyandak and the Jade Shadows seraglio.

Mountains of the Moon MapThe chaos monks met in Khalart because Xiao Xiao, Ping, Gazo, and Tu had escorted some plague victims this far south past the Thousand Throat army of bandits cutting off access on the Thirty Back Trail to Charikot. Now they were resting, preparing to head back, maybe with supplies (or maybe those could wait.) They were in a nice restaurant, overlooking the koi pond, out of sight of the main seating area. They found Hum Lae, who was happy to join them, so they could all head up through the mountains together.

What’s the Rush?

They were comfortable through breakfast, and charmed the wait staff romantically through lunch, but it was the manager who told them to leave as supper approached. He was scared off by the monks, so the owner came, with the town guard.

By this point Hum Lae was headed to the bathroom, so right in front of the owner and captain of the guard, he relieved himself on the wall instead of in the bathroom. That was the final straw, so three guards jumped Hum Lae in the hallway while six more piled in after the rest of them in the koi dining room.

Hum Lae slaughtered the first of the orderly town guards, and the rest withdrew to the main dining room; the furious captain of the guard was a short, muscled woman with hook swords. She cornered Hum Lae in the hallway, and he killed his way out past her. This scared off the rest of the guards, who retreated to regroup and return with numbers.

Before they pulled back, Gazo retreated by leaping into the koi pond when the guards burst in. Xiao Xiao incapacitated a guard with his Worm Loop spell, and Ping grabbed him and leaped out into the water, leaving Tu alone against five guards. Tu was doing alright with spear and shield, but was relieved when the guards pulled back. He tossed Gazo’s supplies out to her where she was swimming, but she couldn’t catch them and stay afloat, so much of it was lost. Ping swam to safety with Xiao Xiao, out of the koi pond, ignoring the stirring in the deeper waters.

  • Worm Loop. The target must test Strength or Dexterity or be constrained for 1 minute per caster level. OR, the spell can squeeze for a single round, and the target takes 1 hit point per caster level.

Hum Lae burst into the dining room with Tu, all bloody, and they took the stone chest and the rest of the supplies and retreated quickly to the rendezvous point by the north bridge.

North Bridge

Tu and Hum Lae tried to steal a pair of llama, but they were spotted by a kid who called the guard. Tu escaped with the llama while Hum Lae killed a couple of the guards and escaped. (Tu named them Yut & Yi.)

Meanwhile Tu stone a goat hooked to a cart. (Ping named the goat Mr. Pointy.)

Across the open courtyard, a dozen town guard were blocking escape by bridge. Ping drove the goat cart right at them while Xiao Xiao fired on the guards with a crossbow, and the rest of the monks charged at the guards. Gazo flipped on through, but the other monks killed about half the guards on their way by; the guards lost the stomach for the pursuit, and the monks escaped Khalart without further incident. (The llamas were left behind.)

  • Duplicating Insect. Spell lasts up to 1 hour per caster level. An insect appears in your mouth, it can be programmed to repeat any sound you want. Will tests to get special effects beyond baseline function. (Xiao Xiao’s new spell.)

The Void Herald

They traveled until they ran across a huge yakkish draped on a pile of a dozen or so human corpses, arranged like a fainting couch. He had a double-bitted scythe, and he was lounging on former members of the Thousand Throat bandit army. More corpses had been hurled off the nearby cliff.

He was tired, said he fought his way out of the world accidentally in a dwarven fortress, and was happy to be back where it was warmer (even in the cold.) He knew that the stone chest was coming this way, and wanted it to get through, but in the future they would not meet on friendly terms (though he allowed for the possibility Hum Lae could be his apprentice sometime in the future.) He spoke in hazy riddles and terrifying images, implying he would sleep then wake and eat all the corpses.

Sign of the Herald

They asked for a sign of his favor, since he wanted them to get through the Thousand Throats to Charikot. He dug a handful of something out of the corpse pile and offered it up; Xiao Xiao took him up on it, and received a bone spider; its body made of two shoulderblades, jointed ribs for legs, a spine tail. It can purr, it radiates cold, and it snuggled onto his shoulders and dropped his body temperature. Rudimentary telepathy and empathy, ability as a scout, can distract in combat but not inflict hit points; a Sign of the Void Herald too. It bonded with Xiao Xiao instead of trying to destroy him.

When they continued on and met a few soldiers of the bandit army, Xiao Xiao created a stone locust in his mouth that repeated some of the Void Herald’s words, and the bandits were all too eager to let them pass (especially since the effect was bolstered with some of the Void Herald’s supernatural menace.)

The rest of the trip to Charikot was uneventful, though bandits trailed them on the road.

  • Soul Cascade. The victim must pass a Will test or truthfully answer a question, and also volunteer some awful fact that has nothing to do with the matter at hand. The caster can ask 1 question per caster level.

Charikot At Last

A mercenary band in green armor guarded the entry towers to the valley, but they let the chaos monks through since they had legitimate business below. The monks headed to the Jade Shadows seraglio, the best one in the city state, where they met Nyandak.

The matron of the seraglio likes poison, and has a daughter who is an open secret (though people who go on about her family end up poisoned.) She has some kind of interest in chaos monks, which can’t be good. Still, she welcomed them and paid them for their troubles, gold tabs worth 20 silver.

Also, a stone assayer and regular customer, Kelsang, was there with a couple dwarves. Hum Lae was able to offload the stone chest for gold tabs worth 100 silver.

Finally, the monks could relax.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Guns of Telluria in the Vale of the Iron God

Vale of the Iron God coverThe last big Simon Forster project I adapted was his Lottery Dungeon, before he started developing his hand-drawn maps.

Now that I’ve had a chance to look over his newest book of lairs, Vale of the Iron God, I think it’s time to adapt another of Simon’s projects to a custom rule set and do my own thing with it.

The setting is Guns of Telluria. An aristocratic house is charged with defending the valley and keeping the curious away, because ancient lore holds that the Iron God is buried in this vale. In the wake of a massive war between humanity and the fey, the possibility of an iron super-weapon is too intriguing to ignore. So, the aristocrat is fitting out an expedition with about twenty veterans and sending them into the valley to find out the truth of what it holds.

The mystic door will only be opened long enough for them to get through with their gear, then it will close. They will have to set up camp; the Cave of Bones is recommended as a starting position to get out of the harsh winter weather.

The setup of Simon’s book means I can pull out the maps and put them each on a page in Roll 20. Then I can get the monsters and treasure and such prepped for each, and adjust as needed between sessions. So, with a not-too-heinous setup, I can get the sandbox of the valley set up for as many expeditions as it takes for the veterans to find what facts may lurk behind the legend of the Iron God.

Moving under Vorn’s sight means I wanted to do rust and winter, so here’s a quick adjustment of the original image!

Vale_of_the_Iron_God_Guns of Telluria

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment