Chains Unbound

Devilsinger (a Queen's Gambit sidequest) story update for 20091214 (Marpenoth 2-4)
The Avengers get into a bar fight; travel onboard the _Lyla Desari_; the Gray Vale Pirates

After receiving word of the Staff of the World Tree’s whereabouts, LaQuel and the full members of the Avengers in her party discussed ways to get to Llorkh. It was finally decided that the fastest way there would be by ship, and with that, Ella headed to the docks district to secure passage. As she walked into the Fisherman’s Friend tavern, a fight between some drunken sailors and members of the town guard broke out. One of the Avenger’s redshirts, (Chris), was also there, and he used his shapeshifting powers during the fight to imitate both the sailors and the guardsmen. Eventually, the sailors won, and the guards were ejected from the tavern. While LaQuel, who had mysteriously appeared inside the tavern, paid off the owner for his damages, Ella and (Chris) negotiated passage with the sailors’ captain. After much sexual innuendo on the part of Ella and one of the sailors, the group secured passage on board the Lyla Desari, bound for Llorkh.

The next day, the group arrived at the docks with their gear and mounts. The captain, a human male by the name of Mac Desari, was most displeased at the arrival of those “smelly beasts”, and demanded an extra 5 gold for each of them, as well as having them stay in the cargo hold for the entire trip. LaQuel relented, and after the animals and the group’s gear were loaded, the ship departed from Loudwater’s harbor. Captain Desari told the group that he expected the journey to take the better part of two days, and that they should be arriving in Llorkh around the morning of the 5th of Marpenoth.

The rest of the journey on the 3rd of Marpenoth passed by uneventfully. Early in the morning on the 4th, however, the ship was attacked by the Gray Vale pirates and their ship, the River Serpent. The battle favored LaQuel’s group from the beginning, as the pirates were unprepared for a ship full of mercenaries. Despite a few devastating attacks, including setting fire to the group’s cleric and most of the Lyla Desari’s deck, and impaling (Danielle) on a ballista bolt, the pirates were quickly forced off of their ship, with Conan, (Chris) and Blaze capturing the ship shortly thereafter. The captain of the pirates abandoned her ship and is currently attempting to make an escape in the talons of her two frost hawks. This is where we will pick up the battle next week.

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Queen's Gambit story update for 20091207 (Marpenoth 6)
Assault on Feyshadow Keep pt. 2

The battle raged on, and there were losses on both sides. Shortly after handing off the Bodybag of Holding to Poppy, Althea staggered and passed out. Hazarak and Darkblade spent some time unconscious and in the bodybag as well. The group managed to kill many of the creatures, but endless waves of them continued to come. Just when most of the party had exhausted their powers, a magic circle appeared on the battlefield. Balasar explained that if was not destroyed, standing in it would slowly replenish your power. The members of the group that were able to get to the circle drove off the bullette that had occupied it, then took advantage of the restorative powers of the circle.

The group received a brief respite from the creatures, as no more of them appeared for a few seconds after the circle was completed. During this time, however, the muddy ground boiled with activity, as if the horde were moving around under it, preparing to burst forth. And burst forth they did, popping out of the ground near the gate for one final, massive assault. With much chittering and screeching, the horde through everything they had into destroying the gate. The smaller ones, flush with power from the larger flamewrought creatures, started vibrating rapidly. This created an aura of heat that quickly evaporated the water in the ground and created a concealing steam. The heat also proved dangerous to anyone that got too close to the creatures, as (Frank) and Lady Tron found out. The creatures used this, as well as attacks by the larger members of their group, to set the gate on fire. Thanks to the combined efforts of the group, however, the creatures were all killed except for one straggler, who fled the battlefield.

Balasar, who had gone inside the keep during the lull, started organizing everyone he could find into a bucket brigade from the kitchen to the front gate. He also ordered one of the keep’s mages, a sky blue dragonborn female, to use her magic to put the fire out. She was most displeased that he had wasted her time as they climbed to the top of the guard tower, and she huffed and went to assist the bucket brigade in extinguishing the fire.

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Queen's Gambit story update for 20091130 (Marpenoth 3-6)
Assault on Feyshadow Keep, pt. 1

The group has trekked along they Graypeak Mountains, skirting the Marsh of Chelimber, and followed the woodline of the Feyshadow Forest for the last four days. Finally, in the midafternoon of Marpenoth 6th, you reach your destination: Feyshadow Keep. Upon arriving, the group discovered the reason for their summons: a horde of wickedly clawed creatures with sinuous bodies, along with their bullette slaves, were attacking the keep. Undaunted, the group rushed to join the battle.

The battle raged on for what feels like hours, with the creatures popping out of the ground all along the southern wall of the keep. Galford and (Frank) slaughtered endless waves of the creatures, but more kept coming. Meanwhile, Darkblade and Hazarak rushed the bullettes that were attempting to batter the gate, and Lady Tron, Althea, Balasar, Cpt. Planet, and Tovah tackled the other, more specialized creatures. Hazarak made a mighty effort, and managed to grieviously wound both bullettes, but passed out from the effort. Darkblade found that there was a small creature buried into the back of the bullette’s head, and when it was killed, the bullette went berserk. The group realized that these specialized creatures were sharing their powers with the others around them when a few of the creatures, who seemed to be giving off extreme amounts of heat, caused all of the other creatures nearby to do the same. These creatures also seem to be able to work together to perform highly coordinated attacks. Some of the other tactics that the creatures employed were: Hiding some of the specialized creatures within swarms of their young, which gave them cover from the party’s attacks while letting the creatures jump out and strike at will; gathering around what seemed to be a leader, a creature with dark red and grey mottled chitinous armor. This creature was killed through a combined effort by Balasar and Althea, and its death caused all of the other creatures to stop moving for a little while.

We will pick up the battle in medias res next week.

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Queen's Gambit story update for 20091123 (Elint 30 to Marpenoth 2)
Slimedrop Surprise and a new quest; Balasar kills a little girl's pet

Near nightfall on the 30th of Elint, at the bottom of the Tower of Haunting Melody, the group fought four corrosive cubes. The cubes oozed over everyone in their path, engulfing party members and dissolving the armor from their bodies. The party’s shaman, Captain Planet (...) spent most of the battle locked inside one of the cubes, even after having been pulled out once by Althea. Hampered, but not out of the fight, he continued to provide healing to the party and damage to the cubes via his spirit.

Some notable highlights of the fight:

  • The party’s druid (Frank, I still don’t have his character sheet… or know his name) also spent most of the fight inside one of the cubes, viciously stinging it and casting spells from within it.
  • Galford was the all-star for this battle, with a multiple attack turn for over 70 damage.
  • Darkblade spent the entire fight in the pit, after “accidentally” falling into it. His contribution was to throw Lady Tron’s hammer back out of the pit after a flubbed swing sent it sailing over the edge of the pit.

After the battle, Hazarak searched the inside of the pit and found 4 emeralds worth 200 gp each, plus 900 gp and an eye of deception, which went to Althea. The remaining loot was split up amongst the active party members (not including Darkblade), 200 gp each and 100 for Althea. 270 xp was awarded for defeating the cubes and the slimedrop pit trap. While searching, Hazarak also found a skeleton with a dagger near it’s hand, and the word “recsu” carved into the wall. After he and Tovah pondered what it meant (and pronounced it wrong several times), Althea finally said the word correctly, causing a ladder to slide out of the ceiling. The group then decided to call it a night, and set up camp in the bottom of the tower.

The druid, feeling adventurous, explored the second floor. He found a shelf with a few manuscripts detailing the lives of legendary bards, sheafs of music, and ritual books. When he attempted to pilfer one of the books, a voice from above admonished him, and invited him to come up to the third floor. He dutifully notified everyone else about this, and everyone except Hazarak stepped into the blue teleportation circle on the second floor, and were transported to the third floor.

The third floor of the tower was both invisible (allowing one to see the second floor, which appeared translucent, and the first floor) and hidden by an illusion from outside the tower. At the top of the tower stood a Deva bard by the name of Kiniro Okimasa. He asked the party to retrieve fragments of a piece of music called the Song of Eternity, which grants the person or group that performs it flawlessly in conjunction with an epic song detailing the singer’s life, grants the singer immortality. Verses of the song, when sung correctly, also grant power to those singing them. He told the group that one of the fragments could be found in the tomb of the famous bard Ormus the Polyglot, at the north edge of the Feyshadow forest. After conversing with the bard for an hour, the party slept at the bottom of the tower and cooked the acidic remains of the corrosive cubes. Hazarak was the only one to successfully find and cook a portion of a cube, however.

Two days of travel later, the group met a young girl riding a horse and looking for her pet. That pet turned out to be a rust monster she had accidentally made invisible. It chomped on Balasar and shook him around like a rag doll, but the girl quickly subdued it with a sleep spell, making it visible in the process. Balasar, seeing an opportunity, immediately performed a coup de gras on the rust monster (and after rolling a natrual 20) killed it and handed the girl its head. Tovah and Urgarr spent the next hour trying to console the girl, who told the group about the ranch owned by a Mr. Nostrum that her dad works as a rust monster breeder at. They make a living by converting adventurer’s unwanted magic items into more residuum than the Disenchant Magic Item ritual can extract, then keeping a small percentage of that. The party overwhelmingly agreed to avoid going to this ranch, instead making a note of its existance, and continued on towards Feyshadow Keep after sending the girl back home with 5 gold.

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Queen's Gambit story update for 20091116 (Elint 27-30)
Hobgoblin Fort and the Tower of Haunting Melody

After spending the night at the Hills Hospital (the one dedicated to Chauntea), the party continued their journey southeast, towards Feyshadow Keep. Near the end of the day’s travel, they encountered the fort that Hazarak had scouted out previously. The party was split on what to do; they could attack the fort, leave it alone, or wait. Balasar made the decision to wait, and have Althea scout it out. The fort was occupied by goblins and hobgoblins, lead by a young blue dragon. Deciding to take on the goblinoids the next day, you camped in a magical campsite (Frank) created.

The next day, the party encountered a goblin scouting party from the fort. They demanded a toll, but were cowed by Balasar’s presence. Their blue dragon leader snapped them out of it, and combat ensued. The party fought well, making quick work of the smaller goblins and the hobgoblins leading them. Near the end of the battle, the portal stone fell out of Althea’s bag, and a new redshirt fighter entered the battle (Danielle, I need your character’s name and sheet). Nightblade attempted to finish off the dragon, but as he swung, his sword glowed with an unholy light, warping his teleportation power and recharging the dragon’s breath weapon. Lucky for him, the 30’ drop proved to be no match for his cat-like reflexes, and he took only minimal damage from the fall. In the end, Galford landed the killing blow on the dragon, and the new redshirt finished off the hobgoblin battle chanter.

After the battle, while Althea and Nightblade bickered outside the fort, and Galford cut up the dragon for cooking, (Frank) and Kerrick searched the fort for loot. This amounted to 2800 gp in a chest made of ornately decorated oak, worth another 25 gp, which was sent back to Loudwater through the portal stone. The redshirts went through the gate with the chest and a tooth from the dragon, and Jarvis gave them their bluetooth implants, making them full members of Balasar’s Avengers. This took a day and a half.

The next day of travel was a short one. The navigator, (Frank), took the party briefly away from the plotted course before realizing that it was the wrong way and correcting the group’s course. Along the way, the party came across a group of kobold shit merchants, who were trained by the ones that the Avengers had met at Spellgard. They worshiped Balasar and gave him their names, and told of the devastation that a group of sinuous, sharp clawed creatures had wracked on the Feyshadow forest. It seems that these creatures had eaten most of the edible plants and creatures in the forest, leaving only the frames of trees and skeletons in their wake. They also told of a topless tower further south, from which could be heard a haunting melody. The group told the kobolds of the fort that they had just cleared out, and the kobolds resolved to occupy that fort and make it their home.

When the party finally reached the tower the kobolds had mentioned, they heard the song coming from above it. Most of the party elected to bypass the tower, but Althea and Tovah went up to its doors to explore it. Tovah identified the language that the singer was singing in as Supernal, and noticed that the song was about a life of adventure that spanned multiple lifetimes. Tovah also noticed that her yelling echoed off of something above her while outside the tower, as if there was a ceiling above her. Galford detected magical energies coming from the tower top and surmised that there was probably an illusion hiding the top of this tower. Everyone decided to explore the inside of the tower, especially the large pile of treasure in the middle of the room and the dragon and humanoid skeletons in the back. These skeletons were oddly out of place, and the wounds on the dragon did not look like they were enough to kill it. Then suddenly, the party’s investigation was disrupted by four large, corrsive cubes disolving their way out of the pit trap under the treasure and attacking.

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Queen's Gambit story update for 20091110 (Elint 25-26)
Necrotic Beacon and Chauntea's Hospital

The battle at the necrotic beacon in the Southwood was long and grueling, due mostly to the healing effect that the beacon had on the undead in the area. Due to the efforts of Tovah and Kerrick (Del and Will), the beacon was deactivated, and the undead that had been wearing the party down were eventually defeated. On the body of the pale reaver lord, Hazarak found a ghostphase robe +2 and a canteen of endless water, which went to Kerrick and Tovah, respectively. The party sent out an animal messenger to let Rimewind and the rest of Loudwater know that they had (once again) saved the town from destruction.

The next day, the group encountered a hospital/hostel dedicated to Chauntea. This hospital, the only place that residents of the nearby villages could receive medical care, had recently seen an influx of patients with stonesickness, a disease that causes the bodies of those afflicted by it to turn into stone. A few of the healers and one of the patients reffered to an odd scaled woman with a pet chicken (which was obviously not a chicken, as it was disguised by bad illusion magics) going around the hospital a couple of days ago and visiting patients. One patient said that she had visited him, and when he asked her if she was worried about catching the disease, she told him not to worry about it. She left the next day. Examination of her room by Tovah and Hazarak determined that although there were faint traces of illusion magic there, the room was otherwise spotless, including a complete lack of scent. The staff of the hospital noted that it was much cleaner after she left it than when she got there.

While out scouting, Hazarak spotted a small wooden fort about 20 miles from the hospital. The inhabitants of the fort could not be made out. This fort lies along the route that you have chosen, so unless you plot a new one, you will eventually pass it.

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Queen's Gambit story update for 20091102 (Elint 25)
Leaving Loudwater

It has been three days since you slew an avatar of the demon Samil and the hexer Medina in Loudwater. Since then, teenagers and adults eager to join your group have flocked to your headquarters in town. Ender, the always-hungry quartermaster for the group, suggested to Balasar that any new recruits bring the tooth of a blue dragon as their entry fee, so to speak. After Balasar announced this to the gathered crowd, they dispersed.

Last night, at the party held in your honor, the group received an urgent request from the duke of Feyshadow Keep, requesting the entire group’s assistance in fortifying the keep against an unknown force. The duke, Lars Winsor, has promised 100 platinum pieces apiece for each adventurer that answered this request, plus another 100 platinum for the group’s expenses. You may negotiate an advance payment or other terms when you arrive, if you wish. The lower group (level 7 characters, or your lowest level character) went out as the advanced party, as the other group just came back from a job. The group departed from Loudwater on the 25th.

Other events of note: The group has also learned that a minor artifact called the Staff of the World Tree was stolen from the temple of Silvanus by unknown parties. Brother Griffon, the high druid of the temple, has requested that you retrieve it and bring it back to the temple. Althea, the party’s rogue, has cornered one of the members of the Loudwater thieves’ guild named Talen (Heather, remind me about this at the beginning of next session, need to do a vignette). And finally, an acquaintance of Galford’s, the ranger Rimewind, has warned the party about a dark presence within the Southwood. While traveling through the Southwood, your group found the source of this presence, a large stone pillar with glowing purple-black runes carved into it, which pulses with necrotic energy. We will continue the battle at this pillar next week.

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