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Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:21 pm

Abadius the 4th, 4711

We woke early this morning and were well on our way through the Brambles by daybreak, squirmy grubs in tow.  It occurs to me that they would probably just have died there in the Manmolds, so perhaps being sold to and cared for by the Night Peddler isn’t a fate as tragic as death.  I wash my hands of any residual guilt.

The Dearth was equally as uneventful as it had been yesterday.  Hot of course.  Sandy, though the wax packing and gauze strips used on my suture sites the evening past, I found to be nearly miraculous in the comfort they provided!  Also, we learned that grubs sweat.  Sweaty grubs stink.

By the time we arrived at the Night Peddler’s camp, we were more than happy to unload our slippery cargo and rest for the evening.  He kept his word and handed over the All Blossom, a huge, perfectly cut emerald.

Placing all of the aspects together, we could feel them tugging us in a definite direction.  Toward the Striding Fortress.  After a day of travel, we opted to rest and begin the hunt upon first light.  We need Quink and we need to get out of here.  It may be that we slowed Mokmurian’s plans with our successful defending of Sandpoint, but I’ve no illusions that there are still machinations in motion that will be in need of thwarting!
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:40 pm

Abadius the 5th, 4711

I could feel something akin to electricity bristling in the air as we set off through the Trackless Dearth this morning.  A certain anticipatory energy.  

The conjoined aspects pulled us deeper into the desert, and it did not take us long to catch sight of our goal off in the distance.  It was an odd and amazing sight!  A great fortress of stone rested atop towering mechanical legs as they ambled over the dunes. The difficulty did not lie in catching up with the structure, for it did not move at all quickly but the ramp onto it began sixty feet off the ground.  I cast Fly on Khassyr who was strong enough to take us up there one at a time in rapid succession.  

By the time I got up there the fight had already begun!  Four ogres and a gnome (who sat astride the shoulders of one of the brutes), seemed to have been disturbed upon their training ground in the middle of morning drills, and were in the process of beating on our gnomes.  In the battle of Gnome v. Gnome however, Skook came out on top.  The ogres fell in quick succession as well and I was glad to be able to save my magics for more formidable prey.

A pair of enormous double doors led to a likewise enormous room.  Titus recognizes it as a temple of sorts, dedicated to both real and fictional gods.  Lamashtu and Urgathoa.  The Mother of Monsters and The Pallid Princess.  Sooo. . .  Don’t pet the dogs and don’t drink the water.  Got it.  Our goblin cleric was also able to note that though the temple seemed dedicated to these deities, the implements of worship were rudimentary; a poor representation of what should be found in such a place, as if the denizens of the Fortress knew of these deities, but weren’t exactly sure how to go about worshipping them.    

Another set of double doors open to a room with a large pool in the center.  Three scantily-clad women were standing in the pool, claiming to have been chained there by Zastrain.  They tried to charm Skook into freeing them, but he was having none of it and discovered that the pool was electrified. . .  Perhaps not so helpless ‘captives’ after all!  We attacked, not willing to chance succumbing to their magic and being lured into that water, and it took a dreadfully long time before they fell, revealing their true forms as succubi.

We took a few moments to recover while Zerye cast a protection spell on herself and went swimming in the pool to pry up the platinum tiles lining the bottom.  A little extra cash never hurt.

Moving on, we found the next room to essentially function as the navigation and steering room of the fortress.  Nuari went immediately to the ship wheel and managed to work out how to maneuver the great structure.  You never know when such a skill might coming in handy!  Right?

An ifrit and a marid. . .two very large and angry elemental kin, decided that we were not welcome in their home and proceed to simultaneously burn and drown us after we stumbled upon them in our exploration of some of the side rooms.  Seems odd they were just hanging out in there but then again, we were attacked a few days ago by a drunken cyclone.  Maybe I should only worry if something doesn’t seem odd in this place!

To be continued. . .
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:40 am

Abadius the 5th, 4711 – Continued


The third story of the Striding Fortress provided us our quarry, some treasure, a way home and the fight of our lives!

We first came upon the room that had been inhabited by the Teamster gnome and his ogres, and found some healing potions that would prove useful.  It did not take us long afterwards to find the “dungeon” area.  Our anxiety grew with ever step that had us passing cells with iron bars and torture chambers, but we were able to find Brodert Quink just as Zerye’s scrying had shown us though he was very weak from his ordeal.  A bit of healing brought back his color and he told us that he had been lured in with the promise of a Thassilonian library by the same gypsy woman disguise that Xanesha wore.  Our quarry was now in hand and it was left only to find a way out of this mad world!

In our search, we passed through a sort of chapel, where a body, clad in red and black patched clothes, was slumped over an altar.  I appears to be The Inquisitor from the Harrow Deck card but as he was deceased, we found it difficult to discern what purpose he might have had.   He wore a tin and gold unholy symbol of Asmodeus and the room was stacked high with unholy texts, but Titus was able to reveal that all these religious accoutrements were mere shadows of actual worship.   I can’t help but feel that’s for the best.

The kitchen was infested with three particularly nasty shadow-bat-demons that attempted to possess us.  Thankfully they were unsuccessful in their attempt but still proved a difficult battle, especially in the face of what was to come.

The Tyrant.

Skookumchuck had been sneaking on ahead of us into every room as we went, relying on his stealth to give us an advantage over our enemies and for the most part such tactics have certainly been used to our advantage in the past, but nothing and no one was going to sneak past Zastrain the Patchwork Lord, the great blue dragon that resided in the library!  He was alerted to the gnome’s presence immediately and Skook engaged him in conversation for a few moments, allowing us at the base of the staircase to prepare for this battle as best we could!  Those few seconds of forewarning could well have saved our lives.

Inevitably battle was engaged and we rushed up the staircase as quickly as we could to come to Skook’s aid.  Nuari, Zerye and I immediately discovered that our spells against the dragon were finding a good deal of resistance, as were the melee attacks that Skookumchuck, Khassyr and Grimjaw attempting!   It was a brutal battle.  As much as I enjoy using lightning attacks myself, I discovered that I rather dislike being the target of such magic!  Thankfully we had the forethought to purchase those potions of protection and resistance to electricity from the Peddler in the Dearth else I don’t think I’d be writing this account today!  Even so, it was difficult enough and Titus was kept quite busy keeping us alive!

The tide of the battle changed once Titus was able to land a Dispel Magic against the protective spells Zastrain had cloaked himself in!  Each strike and spell afterwards came with less difficulty and we pressed our advantage, finally felling the beast.  

Spent and bloodied, Titus patched us up before we took a greater look about the room.  Zastrain’s horde contained some useful effects and a good deal of cash, but it wasn’t until we peered through a huge telescope that we found what we truly sought.  

Home. . .

Or at least, our own world!  Even Galduria looks like home compared to this strange pocket dimension!  We could see our world through the telescope, and with the Scroll of Teleportation that we’d found in the dragon’s horde, we were able to magically port ourselves back home.

When we returned, we found that the gypsies had moved on. . . after stealing our horses of course.  They were gypsies after all!  Skookumchuk was rightly quite put out about losing Shadowmist.  He is a good horse!  Without mounts it would take us a bit longer to get back to Sandpoint, which wasn’t far, so we decided to do that instead of pressing on to Jorgenfist just now.  Mr. Quink needed an escort home.  We need new mounts and to resupply for a much longer journey and I need Tiny.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:03 pm

Abadius the 6th, 4711


The real moon is much lovelier than I remembered! And less breakable to boot!

We bought mounts in Galduria instead of walking back to Sandpoint, which would’ve wasted valuable time. I’m not sure what Mokmurian has planned now. . . He didn’t get the stone from the Old Light has he had wished, and it has been a week since the giants attacked Sandpoint to get it. Afterwards they were to meet him in Jorgenfist, but none of them will make it back. Will he mount another attack? A larger one? Will Xanesha return to him to report that the Heroes of Sandpoint had been disposed of? It is possibly for the best if he does think us dead, for that might give us some modicum of advantage in a situation that seems quite over our heads just now!

We know from Teraktinus (now my Tiny), that Mokmurian is described as a “Child of the Stones”, and has seven tribes of nasty creatures, including giants, gnolls, ogres, and hobgoblins to do his bidding, as well as a few lamias. Two of which we’ve met, but only one which has been dispatched thus far. I look forward to remedying that particular situation. The sihedron symbol, as far as Teraktinus knew, stands for Mokmurian’s legions. Seven tribes, a seven-pointed star. . . These thoughts and even darker ones flitted through my mind throughout the day. I hope I can banish them before it is time to find sleep.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:53 am

Abadius the 7th, 4711

We arrived back in Sandpoint this morning to find our adoptive home in peace.  Thankfully!  Though we had no intention of spending a prolonged amount of time there on this visit, it was a bit of a respite for the soul, or at least for those who are assured to have them.  

With Mokmurian and his clans up to evil inspired hijinks far to the north and east, we spared little time getting resupplied.  Vesna Peroon at The Way North was able to provide us with a map (at a fee of course) of the Storval Plateau and Iron Peaks.  Exactly where Jorgenfist lies remains a mystery.

While I was retrieving Tiny from his haunt on Chopper’s Island and paying my respects at the grave of Aldern Foxglove, Zerye took the initiative to scry for the whereabouts of the red dragon that attacked Sandpoint with the stone giants.  As it was currently in his lair, or so it would seem, it was difficult to make out an exact location, but she was able to determine that his lair lay somewhere within a mountain range, just north of a river that flowed into the Storval Deep.  It may be worth another look as we travel nearer the area.

Only a few hours after arriving in Sandpoint, we left again.  This time aboard Lola.  We will be traveling up river to Ravenmoor then by land to the Storval Stair.  Between the lot of us we can take turns at the helm, by we I mean the others, as I have no skill whatsoever in such manual labors and will instead be focusing my energies on labors of a magical nature.  I began work on a set of robes for Nuari around the campfire last night, but the time we will be spending aboard this craft should prove much more productive.

Strangely, I’ve found that I have missed Tiny’s company.  Perhaps I favor the strong, silent type. . .slightly on the rotting side.  Hmm. . .  I would be best to keep that thought to myself, lest I find that Skookumchuk feels it necessary to have another “talk” with me.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:05 am

Abadius the 14th, 4711

This morning, after our six and a half day journey, we arrived at Ravenmoor. The dock owner charged us an exorbitant amount of coin to keep Lola docked there, but he had us in a bit of a bind since his was the only dock available. So much for the welcome mat! No matter.

As soon as Lola was properly secured, we were off again, this time on horse – or giant – and riding toward the Storval Stair. The snow appears to have been falling continuously for at least a few days in this region and it covers everything in a soft white blanket. I prefer this to the sticky, bug-infested heat of the summer any day, and thankfully we have a few days to enjoy it before we reach the Stair and the Plateau beyond.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:13 am

Abadius the 16th, 4711

Seeing the world from the shoulder of a giant is quite a nice way to travel. He has no issue moving through the great drifts of snow that have been constant throughout this leg of our journey, and in fact, his shuffling gait is actually quite useful in clearing a path when necessary for the horses to walk along behind. Far behind, granted. None of the animals are big fans of Tiny’s, though Matilda doesn’t seem to care. I can’t tell if she’s terribly brave or terribly stupid.

I was able to complete my work on the Robes of Arcane Heritage for Nuari this evening. Its magic should allow him to better focus the powers inherent within him, but what that power is now, it’s hard to say. Neither infernal nor demonic. That much is certain. Something more. . . Whatever the source of his magic, the robe should aid him in his abilities at a time that we sorely need all the help we can get.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:31 pm

Abadius the 17th, 4711

We reached the Storval Stair this afternoon.  A massive construction that appears to be made by giants and for giants.  Ridiculously, I felt something of what could be wistfulness for Magnimar and her great Irespan jutting out magnificently across the skyline.  That ancient bridge in whose shadow I lived and died and was born anew.  

While subjugating these maudlin thoughts, Zerye called a halt there near the base of the Stair.  Buried in the thick snow before us, lay the remains of a caravan.  There had been an ambush here . . .  A huge frozen mound of dead hill giant and a much small frozen mound of human male lay rigid and blue .  We went ahead to get a better idea of what might have happened, and then we found out.  Four hill giants burst out from the copses of trees and rocks on either side of us and charged in!  The fight was brutal and though we lost none of our own party, it was a close call for Khassyr and Grimjaw.

While Titus used his divine power to heal their wounds, I chose from among the four fresh corpses, the largest of the hill giants and Animated him for my own purpose.  He was dubbed Short Stack for his inferior size in comparison to my lovely Tiny.  

The Stairs would be a difficult climb and would offer advantage to any more hill giants that may wish to ambush us on our way up, so Zerye shifted into the form of an air elemental and went up to scout ahead.  A good thing too!  Four more hill giants sat around a steaming stew pot upon a platform about one hundred-twenty feet above us.  They had a captive.  A bloody and beaten (but alive!) human male was hanging on a hook waiting to be eaten!

It was time for us to ambush the ambushers.  

Nuari, Zerye and I took our places, invisibly, up by where the giants were reclining, and waited for our companions to pick their way to the top.  When they were near enough, Zerye made liberal application of Spike Stones and taunted them out of their hole.  Even I had a hard time watching as their feet were ground to bloody nubs as the chased after us.  The sight didn’t last long though, as they were hit with both fire and ice and then died before they could get near enough with ham fist or boulders to strike back.  It was quite satisfying.

As we patched up the fortunate man, we learned that his name was Tatho and he was the last of a group that patrolled this area and protected the stairs.  The giants had moved in . . . clearly.  He had actually heard of Mokmurian before, saying that he’d heard the stone giant was cast out of his tribe due to size and his unique differences.  Differences which apparently stone giant tribes cannot abide.  It is said that Mokmurian is an ‘earthcaller.’  One gifted with the ability to speak with stone and use magic.  Presumably he is a sorcerer of some sort, and while that remains to be seen, at least we’re getting a better picture of what we’re up against where he is concerned.

Tatho was kind enough to mention that these four – now deceased hill giants, were waiting for the return of their king, Formock, who had gone to some type of gathering to the north.  He was expected to be returned today!  

Not surprisingly, Tatho was not keen on staying around to wait with us, so after expressing his immense thanks for the rescue, he beat a hasty retreat down the stair toward somewhere safer and warmer.  A man who comes a hairsbreadth from being eating by giants, likely needs an ale or three and a woman.   I don’t envy him the nightmares he will be having.

Once again we found ourselves the ambushees!  This does not happen often and is more difficult to prepare for than I had expected, but when your quarry is virtually unknown, those unknowns invariably generate difficulties.  As it did in this case.

Tiny and Short Stack threw the stumpy remains of the hill giants over the stair and out of sight while we waited and discussed our strategy of slowing, dividing and conquering.  When the king and his entourage appeared, he had some scouts on lead in front of him and things were progressing pretty well at first, but the scouts stopped moving through the Spike Stones and began chucking boulders at us.  From as far back as he could get, Nuari started casting fireballs at them and then I threw up an Ice Wall between the scouts and the king and another of his cronies in the back.  Well. . .apparently that other crony was a wizard of sorts, because after a short time, he Teleported himself and King Formock behind us while we were mopping up the scouts!

Much pain ensued.  By the time the last of the giants had fallen, I saw that Grimjaw had howled his last and was on his way back to the Mootha.  A somber victory perhaps, but a victory none the less.

Titus attempted to Speak with Formock’s corpse to learn more about Mokmurian or where we can find Jorgenfist, but sadly was unsuccessful.  No matter.  We will find him and we will put an end to all this sihedron-marking, soul-winging business!

For now though. . .  We are beyond exhausted.  Under this shelter on the platform is as good enough a place to sleep as any, as it hides us from enemy eyes and keeps my companions out of the elements.  We will make good use of it.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:04 am

Abadius the 18th, 4711

The morning dawned clear and cold, and we found ourselves with a few items of business to take care of before we progress further.  Zerye wanted to trek out into the wilds to find a new helpmate after the loss of Grimjaw.  The rest of us used the time to Teleport back to Magnimar and sell a good deal of the unnecessary items we’d been toting along and to purchase a few necessities.  Onyx gems for instance.  Also a fairly expensive crystal that may come in handy sooner or later.  

I have been practicing the art of . . . disengaging my spirit from my physical form.  While I have managed to project myself a few feet away, there is still a tie that binds me to this body.  A new vessel is what I need, and this crystal shall suffice as a bridge.  Perhaps one day, once this shell fails me completely, I might be able to push my spirit into the body of another and use it as my own.  It sounds like a dark practice even to my own callous ears, but there are those – Dr. Noenn for example, to whom I would find this a fitting end for all their villainous ways.

Speaking of the nefarious doctor, we briefly spoke with the captain of the guard to see if there had been any developments regarding his case or his disappearance.  Sadly, nothing new is known of Noenn.  Unbeknownst to him, he is not so fortunate as to escape my vengeance or pursuit of the truth.  His time will come as surely as mine own.  Preferably the former before the latter.  

After only spending a few hours in Magnimar, we Teleported back to the Storval Stair where I rejoined my rotting companions.  Short Stack had only been with me for a day, but Formock was a more impressive specimen.  I can say in all honesty that it was difficult for me to order Short Stack to hold still while we destroyed him, but his sacrifice is for the greater good.  Formock was Animated and renamed Schmuck.  He will serve us well in our pursuit of Mokmurian.

We spent the rest of the evening in our own pursuits while resting.  I’m in the process of creating a new cloak for Zerye that should better protect her from spells and other less physical threats.  Hopefully she will return upon the morrow and we will back on the road.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:50 am

Abadius the 19th, 4711

As hoped, Zerye greeted us early this morning with a new companion in tow.  Mugi, a firepelt cougar who looks a good deal more cuddly than she actually is.  Apparently she is not a fan of my undead minions either, though frankly I find myself alone in my affection.

Rested and packed, we were quickly off up the Stair and into the mountains, heading toward the Iron Peaks to find Jorgenfist.  

I am yet riding on Tiny’s back in a huge satchel he carries.  His flesh is still degrading in spite of his Animation, and he’s less . . . juice now, more leathery.  I believe the cold is helping to preserve him for a time but if he stays with me until summer, I’ve little doubt he will be bleaching bone by then and far less comfortable of a ride.  I will find others to serve the purpose.

It was easy for us to find the giant tracks left by Formock and his companions.  Since they were going our way, and guessing that he’d come from Jorgenfist, we followed them, but from a good ways off.  We were fortunate not to encounter any of the nasty beasties said to inhabit these mountains.  It was a particular nasty beastie that we were in pursuit of and any trouble would not only delay us further, but possibly put our whole mission in jeopardy.

Nearly an entire day we walked, until at last we came to a ledge that overlooked the Muskhall River valley.  My sluggish heart sunk at the sight laid out before us . . .  Within the valley stood a fortress with walls surrounding it in a great ring that had to be at least fifty feet tall.  In the center of the structure was an enormous stone spire, three times as tall as the walls surrounding it.  That was the least distressing part, however.  No less than seven large giant camps were set up around the fortress!  The significance of that number was not lost on me.  An entire army of the brutes!   A frontal assault was completely out of the question.

We tried a different tact first.  The sun was low and we knew we could do nothing about the giants just yet not only because of their sheer numbers, but because of their keen eyesight at night.  Instead, we decided to make a play for the dragon that attacked Sandpoint with Teraktinus and crew.  Zerye cast Find the Path and found the beast’s lair just northeast of the encampment and at the top of a tall mountain.  A nearly impossible climb, but carefully taking the long way around the fortress, we flew up to the top and into the mouth of the cave.

The dragon was able to hear us of course.  Most of us are not as light on our feet as Skookumchuk is, but it seemed the dragon was more interested in talking than fighting.  He was grouchy and hostile, but clearly didn’t want to tangle with us again after escaping with his life during our first encounter.  He proposed a deal.  Launching into a sad tale about how Mokmurian gave him quite the upbraiding after the failure at Sandpoint, the red dragon went on to say that basically he and the leader of the giant armies are not buddies anymore.  He wants to be done with the giants and naturally doesn’t feel the least bit of compunction for telling us of a less deadly way into the fortress as long as we agree not to kill him.  We agreed.  For now . . .  Bigger fish to fry and all.  Simply told, there were caves along a cliff wall that would lead us into the bowels of Jorgenfist.

It was getting very late, but we needed a safer place to rest than out in the open where we could be spotted by scouts, so we flew along the cliff face to check out the caves that pocked the stone wall.  One large one we came to was inhabited by three wyverns which, aside from scaring me out of my skin, were easily dealt with.  There was a bit of treasure in there as well and one extraordinary staff.  Ringed with Thassilonian runes, Nuari and I were able to identify it as a Staff of Heaven and Earth.  Titus carries it now and it seems to have taken the edge off his goblin-form-induced melancholy.

Nuari and Skook went to check out another cave alone while we situated ourselves in the wyvern cave for the night.  In that tunnel they fought with three undead spiders called death webs!  How I would have loved having one of those as a pet!  I will have to keep a lookout.   Behind a wall of webbing, the pair found a secret tunnel.  As the dragon said, it appeared to lead into Jorgenfist’s underground.
Tonight we rest and gather our courage, for tomorrow will no doubt prove to be a trying day!
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:10 am

Abadius the 20th  and 21st , 4711


In a span of brutally exhausting days, these particular two have left all the others in its wake.  Physically.  Mentally.  Emotionally.   And while I find myself weary to the very marrow of my bones, the events of these same days have proven more exhilarating and enlightening than I could have possibly imagined!

***

The tunnels in which we entered the morning of the 20th, were unfortunately narrow.  Not so for the more compact of our fellows but the largest of us – namely Tiny and Schmuck, were hard pressed to squeeze through.  I don’t doubt that some of the rotting flesh from their shoulders was scraped off as a result.  Yet they soldiered on without complaint.  
 
Around a bend, we were surprised by four strange little creatures in blood red caps and shiny spiked boots.  Zerye recognized them immediately as a bloodthirsty type of fey called red caps.  I wonder if that’s how they refer to themselves.  If so, I have no qualms at all about ending their wretched lives simply due to their lack of creativity.  Our own – only somewhat less bloodthirsty fey, took a pair of their pointy boots once we had dispatched the creatures.  To say that I do not feel moderate threatened by this development would be a lie.
Skookumchuk and Mugi moved ahead of us a short ways in order to scout.  The majority of us are not well trained in the ways of stealthy movement, but with my giants’ armor screeching along the narrow walls of the corridors, the best hush we could keep to sounded more like a smithy sharpening axes than a whisper.  It was good to let them go ahead.

The little orange monk found a curiously placed necklace at the entrance to a dark cavern and he came back to report before going in on his own.   It was good that he did, although Nuari being clever as he is, scooted forward to grab it using Mage Hand while the rest of us were around a corner.  All I saw was a wave of fire blast down the hall.  I assumed him dead.  Again.  Thankfully that was not the case as he remained slightly alive.  Apparently as soon as the Mage Hand neared the necklace, a stone few toward the item and exploded, causing the necklace (of fireballs naturally) to explode in a conflagration of burning doom.  Nasty trap that.  Titus called down the healing powers of Nethys and revived our friend.  I did not at the time point out the irony of calling upon a half charred god to heal a wholly charred companion.  That would have been in poor taste.

Moving forward into the cavern, we encountered the trap-springer.  A well equipped kobold.  Perhaps a rear guard of some sort?  He?  She?  It’s hard to tell with scaly things, but the scrappy little beast went down after a scuffle and we were happy to make use of its gear.  A magic spear for Skook and a magic breastplate for Tiny.  

We continued screeching down the halls until we came to a chamber that reeked of vinegar, rotting hair and worse.  Worse would be the smell of the ogres living inside.  I say this with full knowledge that I willingly bring along zombies for company.  The living smell ten times worse than the dead.  Sadly, the ripe stench of ogre is not an unfamiliar smell.  There were but three of them in the chamber and they dispatched handily.  We have bigger fish to fry.

Then we found a couple of those bigger fish.  An enormous lit cavern rose around us with four anvils and a massive forge.  There were iron cages within, where four dwarves were chained and required to keep the forge hot.  Two stone giants dwelt within, tending to their duties.  Presuming we were up to no good (What?!?), they moved in for the kill and instead found themselves at the end of The Great Line or wherever giants go when they die.  

We freed the four dwarves who were in terrible shape.  Giving them some food and water, we sent them toward the spider cavern where we’d found the secret entrance to this place.  The way should be clear and they would be safe there to rest and recover.  

Our next encounter was troublesome. . .  A couple of trolls had hidden themselves away behind the walls of a long and cavern dotted with very narrow windows only slightly bigger than arrow slits.  This effectively made my giants useless which displeases me out of hand.  They jabbed at us from the windows with spears until Skookumchuk got inside and started putting the hurt down on one of them while we moved to the other side to take care of the second.  While the last was being dealt with, two lamias with lion bodies emerged from a different tunnel and attacked from the rear.  While they may have surprised us, they’re advantage swiftly disintegrated when my giants, previously useless, now found a new purpose in pummeling them to piles of meat and fur.

Ever since our first battle with Xaneshia, I have found a special joy every time a lamia is destroyed.  It puts a smile on my face.

After briefly recovering from the battle, we had a choice to make.  Continue up the path that would take us toward the surface, or take a second path that would lead us down the long spiraling tunnel into the bowels of Jorgenfist.  We chose bowels.  We learned later what a fortunate choice that turned out to be!

It must have been miles we walked down that unnatural corkscrew.  Nuari noted that the stone had been magically preserved in this area.  When we finally leveled out, we came upon a room with very disorienting walls that seemed to shift constantly, making some of us nauseous and some of us shrink!  Annoying but not incapacitating.

At the end of the room, a hill giant with the Thassilonian runes of Wrath emblazoned on his chest, looked at us stupidly for a moment before those same runes flashed crimson and he moved in to attack!  Skookumchuk declared that the size of the creature’s gut was due to a weak intestinal wall, and he proceeded to beat him to a pulp but not before he took a few devastating blows of his own.

To make matters worse, some kind of strange creature of metal and fire with a maw for a gut, burst from the wall and took a bite out of Khassyr before diving back in.  It came through the wall but didn’t damage it in the least!  The thing was so fast that we couldn’t react nor predict when it would attack again.  Titus also was munched upon before the rune-etched giant fell.

Fearing the return of the flame creature, we moved quickly into the next room where we found something worse.  A stone golem.  Immune to magic, these creatures can be problematic at best.  One strike nearly felled Zerye instantly, so we decided to hang back and let Skook, Khassyr and my giants turn it into rubble.  

Once we had a moment to catch our breath and look around, we found ourselves in a cavern not entirely unfamiliar.  Runes of Wrath were scrawled all over the walls here.  Alazanist again.  In the center of the room stood a huge iron cauldron, twelve feet high, beneath which was lit a blazing fire to keep it bubbling.  

I flew up to determine the contents of the fiery cauldron.  It appeared to be some kind of clear greenish fluid with indeterminate magical properties.  I didn’t get the chance to examine it more thoroughly.  While up there, I felt some kind of. . .tug, as if someone or something was trying to pull something away from me.  It was impossible for me to divine from where this mental attack came, but I could see nothing within the cauldron.  A moment or so later, I felt it again and Tiny took a shambling step forward.  Something or someone was trying to wrest control of the giants from me!  This could only lead to horror. . .  A horror for which I would be directly responsible!  As I battled wills with an unseen opponent, Skookumchuk moved into the next room where he found four zombie hill giants and a terrible headless monstrosity that was controlling them!

Schmuck’s reins slipped from my mind temporarily and he began attacking me.  Some of my companions rushed to my aid but I directed them toward the source of the threat while I dealt with my thralls.  I didn’t desire them to be damaged further than necessary.  Once they were back under my control I sent them out of the room to wait while I moved into the fight with the Headless One who was already engaged with the others.  Incontrovertibly dead, I called to him, attempting to force my will upon him but. . .IT was being controlled by someone else!  Who!?  Someone or something powerful. . .  As much as I wished for this beautiful beheaded creature to be in my control, I realized the cost of obtaining it could be both too high and entirely out of my reach.  

It was a bloody fight.  Everyone was battered and exhausted when at last the Headless thing fell.  We collected all the valuables we could find, and went back into to the cauldron room to try and make sense of it.  It seemed to be a bit like the runewell room we found back beneath Thistletop, with the runes inscribed all over the walls.  In that one, drops of blood were used to create sinspawn.  I would hate to think what this monstrous contraption would create!  Khassyr blasted the blaze beneath with a waterskin that magically gushed an enormous amount of water in a very short time, thereby extinguishing the fire.  That was all we were able to do for now.

We pressed on into a blasted hallway with a couple of important-seeming doors.  One was made of bronze, Arcane Locked, and looked to require a kind of seven-pointed-star key, not unlike the one we used to open the bargest’s cell beneath Thistletop, but of a different size.  

On our way to the second doors we were set upon by some strange hound creatures that I cannot bring to mind ever encountering or having read about.  They were quick and agile with sickly, yellow teeth, but they did us little injury and were dispatched post haste.

A set of heavy iron, double door stood before us, Arcane Locked like the last, but this time we had no intention of waiting until later.  We brought up our Tiny lock pick, who took them down with two swings of his giant-sized earthbreaker.  

Finally.  Mokmurian.

After traveling leagues and spanning yea--  BY URGATHOA’S COLD, UNDEAD TEAT, could it possibly have been only two months since first we heard that name?!?  Gods, it feels like years since we’ve been trying to track this runty little stone giant down!  I certainly look like I’ve been at this for years. . .  Apparently adventuring is not good for my complexion.   I digress.

Mokmurian was wholly prepared for us.  How he was able to counteract so many of our tried and true methods of murder and mayhem, I cannot say but I suspect that he had been watching us somehow.  He must have been!  The first thing he did was conjure up an area of Solid Fog and take to the air, effectively putting him out of reach of our melee-minded fighters.  If that was not annoying enough, he had previously prepared himself with a number of protective magics that made him faster, more difficult to injure and even immune to some of my most potent necromantic spells.  A point I wasn’t able to determine until well. . .well into the fight.

Things got worse before they got better before they got worse.  While Khassyr worked on Dispelling those protections, Mokmurian was shooting fire down upon us from above!  Titus ran around like a goblin with his head cut off trying to keep us all alive and did a good job doing so, but while he was doing that, the scabby giant lord took it upon himself to destroy my beloved Tiny!  Tiny, who had served me so well and faithfully since the day he died!  I wonder if Mokmurian recognized him. . .  He had been Teraktinus at one time after all.  One of “Big” M’s henchmen.  Perhaps that is why he burned him down with such prejudice.  

Then we came to the part where things started to swing our way!  Khassyr succeeded in his Dispel which sent Mokmurian drifting down from the sky and right into the waiting arms (and claws) of Skook, Schmuck, Khassyr and Mugi.  I had a start when I watched Zerye crumple to the floor and become nothing but a giant swarm of bitey ants that dove directly into the stone giant’s pants.  You, dear reader, may feel that I have crossed some lines in this brief life of mine, but gnawing on a giant’s crotch is one line which I will never cross!  And they call me unnatural!  Harrumph!

At long last Mokmurian crumpled to the stone floor in death!  I even rattled out a great yawp of triumph!  I cannot recall ever yawping before but it was glorious!  This dastardly giant, who had somehow resurrected evil magics long dead, terrorized Sandpoint, Magnimar, Turtleback Ferry and was about to threaten war throughout the land, was finally dead himself!  The realm was safe!  We had prevailed!

No such luck.  

Now we’ve come to the part where things get worse again.  Mokmurian jerked upright, as if some great puppeteer lifted his strings. Another yawp died in my throat as none other than Karzoug, The Great Runelord of Greed, spoke through the dead giant’s mouth.  The voice claimed that all of those we’d killed and deaths of all those marked with the sihedron symbol, have hastened his return to life and Xin Shalast, the capital city of Thassilon.

”Winging souls to our lord.  That was KARZOUG that Lucretia had written about!  Not Mokmurian!  A puppet in life and a puppet in death.  More the fool I for believing it could be over so soon.

Karzoug was less than impressed with our abilities.  The guy is a ten thousand year old, supposedly dead Thassilonian Runelord.  Heck, against those odds, I’m less than impressed with our abilities!  When he was finished berating us, he released the corpse of Mokmurian, which crumbled to nothing more than dust, robbing me of a replacement for Tiny.  Salt meet wound.

While I tended to Tiny’s re-dead corpse and relieved him of all the magic items we’d equipped him with, the others recovered what they could from Mokmurian and a chest that stood behind his throne.  Of most immediate interest was a map.  It showed the span from Magnimar to Riddleport, with Sandpoint circled in between.  Four X’s had been drawn in, one at the location of the Old Light in Sandpoint and the three others north of that in a gently arching line, but out to see rather than on land.  In the corner was written, “Hellstorm Flume Ruins – Foundation stones from each would know where the traitor Xaliasa dwelt and perhaps where he hid his key to runeforge.”  

Brodert Quink was right!  The Old Light had been a weapon!  The ‘key to runeforge’ bit is a mystery.  What is the runeforge?  Is that the room with the big iron cauldron in it?  Such was my initial thought, but then it occurs to me that the map reads not “key to THE runeforge”, but possibly “key to Runeforge”.  Giants do not employ the use of capital letters.  I would have to study this further at another date.  

Incidentally, in a room set off of Mokmurian’s throne room, we found the head of the headless creature.  By keeping its head, the giant must have held power over it.  I’ll tuck that little tidbit of information away for later.

Among the assorted treasures, we also found a key that looked to fit the seven-pointed lock in the bronze door we’d come across just down the hall.  As it happens, that key unlocked more than a mere door, but an untold and unfathomable amount of ancient knowledge.  

It was a library of ancient Thassilon!  The self-same type of library that Mr. Quink had hied off after the gypsies for!  Impossibly, it gets even better. . .  The library had a librarian!  Some sort of automaton with three legs, one of which was gimpy, who would retrieve any books that held information on the subject I requested.  In Thassilonian of course, but thankfully this was not a hindrance.  

I asked Bipod the Librarian to find me information on the name written upon the map we’d just found.  Xaliasa.  It returned with a couple of books from which we learned that Xaliasa was a commander in charge of the Hellstorm Flumes in Bhakra Khan.  Alazanist’s realm.  Since we are dealing with Karzoug, it comes as no surprise that this commander would be referred to as traitor.

At this point, I asked – nay, pleaded with my companions that we may rest here for the remainder of the day.  There was so much to learn and no telling when or if we could come back to this haven of knowledge!  As exhausted as we all were from the day’s events, there wasn’t much dispute and I dove into study for as long as I could keep my eyes open.

Bipod brought me a book that gave a bit of information on Xin Shalast, though no actual map could be located.  After ten thousand years and the devastating destruction wrought by the death of the Thassilonian empire, it would be unlikely to be all that helpful anyway.  Still, we found some clues in a particular passage.

Xin-Shalast is a legendary lost city, rumored to be hidden somewhere in the Kodar Mountains.  Stories hold that Xin-Shalast had gold streets and gemstone buildings, and sat under the gaze of a mountain that could see.

Xin-Shalast was the capital city of an empire called Shalast, one of seven that composed the ancient empire of Thassilon.  Legend holds that Xin-Shalast lay at the headwaters of the sacred River Avah – which Varisian folklore says leads to an earthly paradise sacred to Desna. Unfortunately, no record of where this river may have once flowed exists today, and most scholars believe the river itself to have been destroyed during Earthfall.

In the final centuries before Earthfall ended Thassilon, Xin-Shalast was ruled by Runelord Karzoug, one of the lords of the Thassilonian Empire.  The primary architects of the immense city were tribes of giants, themselves ruled by powerful beings known as rune giants.

The Spires of Xin-Shalast stand upon the mythical mountain of Mhar Masif.  This mountain of legendary proportions pierces the skies above the Kodars, and is said to be the highest peak in the entire range of stupendously inhospitable mountains.

Not a road map, but better than nothing.  

By the time I’d wrestled this meager information from the stacks, I could no longer keep my eyes open.

Which. . .brings us to today, the 21st of Abadius.

As reluctant as I was to leave the cozy, comfortable confines of the ancient library, there was more yet to do.  An entire stone giant fortress sat upon our heads!  We locked the door, I said a tearful goodbye to Bipod, and took the key with us after I’d made a careful inspection of the room, for I fully intended to return to this place at my leisure.  

The lot of us climbed back up the corkscrew tunnel until we came upon the cavern where we’d fought the trolls and lamias.  There we met a host of stone giants, led by a brute by the name of Galenmir, who seemed to take exception to our presence there.  I just called my companions to me for an immediate Teleport, when a commanding voice spoke up over the din and ordered Galenmir to stop!  

A female giant stepped toward us and greeted us in a non-I’m-about-to-grind-your-bones-to-make-my-bread  kind of way, and introduced herself as Conna the Wise.  She asked if we’d killed Mokmurian, and when we fessed up to the deed, she was pleased!  Apparently we were meeting the new ruler of Jorgenfist!  We told her of Karzoug, how he had enslaved Mokmurian and she knew of how the Runelords used to enslave their kind to build great structures.  She seemed indebted to us for ridding them of this problem and asked if there was anything they could do to aid us!

Skookumchuk asked if she could speak to stones as Mokmurian could, and when she answered in the affirmative, told of the plot to retrieve one of the stones from The Old Light to gather information about Xaliasa and this key to runeforge (or Runeforge. . .  I have not yet had opportunity to research this).  Conna agreed to do so and also made it known that Jorgenfist is open to us!  This includes of course. . .the precious library. . .

We are now making plans for what is to come.  I will be Teleporting Khassyr, Zerye, Mugi and Skookumchuk back to Ravenmore to retrieve Lola.  They will sail her back to Sandpoint while I Teleport Brodert back to the library with Titus and Schmuck and I so we can research to our hearts’ content in the interim.  There is so much to learn.  So much to prepare for.

I hope that we are up to the task. . .
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Saoirse

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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:29 pm

Abadius the 30th , 4711

Shut up for ten days in a dry, magic-lit chamber deep within the base of the mountain, surrounded by silence and archaic texts, and aided by a gimpy mechanical librarian. . .  I half wonder if I was wrong about my soulless state and I have already passed and found my way to an eternal reward!  

This time has been enlightening as well as relaxing.  I've learned a good deal more about each of the Runelords and Karzoug in particular.  This excerpt was particularly intriguing:

Karzoug was the Runelord of Greed.  While he was, himself, an Azlanti human, he was a powerful man indeed – said to be the most gifted manipulator of Transmutation magic in all of Thassilon, and to have lived for hundreds of years.  He ruled a region called Shalast, part of the ancient empire of Thassilon, over 10,000 years ago.

Karzoug’s armies were composed primarily of giants who followed his every command – the giants were ruled by towering monsters known as rune giants, who were themselves runelord pawns.  Karzoug counted other powerful creatures as his allies as well, such as blue dragons, eerie denizens from the nightmare realm of Leng, blood-drinking outsiders known as scarlet walkers, and immense lamia harridans who towered over most giants.

Karzoug focused his magic on the school of transmutation, magic associated in Thassilonian times with the virtue of wealth.  Under his reign, though, this virtue of rule became more associated with the sin of greed.  Among the runelords, his master of greed magic was uncontested, yet in the schools of illusion and enchantment (related to the sins of pride and lust), his skills had atrophied greatly.  Many believed that weapons infused with illusion and enchantment magic, known as “dominant weapons,” would be particularly potent against Karzoug.

Karzoug warred with his neighbors, but none more so than Alaznist, the Runelord of Wrath and ruler of Bakrakhan.  Between their nations, along a ridge known as the Rasp, Karzoug built immense sentinel statues to watch over Bakrakhan, while Alaznist built towers called Hellfire Flumes to prevent Karzoug’s armies from invading.  Citizens of both nations worried that the war between Karzoug and Alaznist would soon escalate to the point where they could bring about the end of the world.

As Karzoug and Alaznist’s war intensified and as wars between other runelords threatened more than just their armies, the runelords devised methods in which they could escape the world and enter a state of suspended animation, so they could ride out cataclysms.  In theory, their surviving minions would then waken them to reclaim their empires once the cataclysms had ended.

It seems that this theory of reawakening was correct. . .

Also very interesting and possibly game-changing, is the knowledge that illusion and enchantment magics may be most effective against Karzoug!  If we could create some of these weapons before meeting him, it could make all the difference.

On the subject of the Runeforge, we also found useful information.

Runeforge was created as a place where agents of the seven runelords could gather to study magic.  The runelords wove wards around Runeforge that barred entrance into the complex to any runelord or his direct agents, in order to keep the research within free from sabotage at the hands of an enemy.

Runeforge’s magical enhancements sustained those within without the need to eat, drink or even sleep.

The final project the runelords set Runeforge on was the development of ways the runelords could escape the imminent fall of their empire.  Each faction developed a unique answer for its runelord, based upon the underlying principles of that faction’s magical traditions

The sheer value of access to such information is staggering!   If we can find our way to Runeforge, we can not only find additional information about how to stop Karzoug, but we can learn the secrets of all the other runelords should they also decide that it is time to come out of their millennia long sleep!  Invaluable, world-saving information!

Though not of immediate import, I find it worth note to write that I discovered perhaps the origin of the rune which is imprinted upon my chest.  It is some bastardized version of the Rune of Gluttony, whose magical tradition was the school of Necromancy.  I shouldn’t be surprised. . .  Something about it was different though, as if combined with something not so ancient.  Not so Thassilonian.  Something I do not recognize.  What or with whom has Dr. Noenn gotten himself involved?

Tomorrow we all head back to Sandpoint to meet up with the other Heroes.  Brodert and I are both reluctant to leave, but our welcome here will remain.  Conna has taken a strong – and somewhat uncomfortable liking to Mr. Quink, who seems to be acting a much younger, gleeful version of himself in the wake of such discoveries as we have made.  No doubt the stone giants will be seeing more of us at a later date.
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Saoirse

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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:20 pm

Abadius the 31st , 4711

Early this morning after thanking the giants for their hospitality, Nuari, Brodert and I teleported back to Sandpoint.  I have recalled a spell in which I might shrink Schmuck down into a manageable sized sheet of cloth, which can then be folded up and pocketed for easy transport.  This will make traveling and teleporting much more convenient indeed!  

We met up with Skookumchuk and Zerye and a man named Vranti at the White Deer.  This Vranti fellow, hailing from Riddleport, had been following a series of murders similar to the Skinsaw murders with which we have previously dealt.  After hearing our various incredulous exploits and what we seem to be up against, he – to his credit, did not shy away but instead asked to join with us on our quest to see these events brought to proper conclusion.  I pulled him aside to ensure he had no qualms about traveling with a man-turned-goblin, or the occasional mindless undead pawn and he seemed amenable.   So even after giving him every reason to run screaming in the opposite direction, he still chose to accompany us and we are glad for the aid!

We gained one companion but lost another.  Khassyr, whom we’d met in the strange Harrow Deck dimension, decided to go off and find a path of his own.  He seemed a decent fellow and handy in a fight.  We’ll miss his pick, but he has a better chance of living a long, full life without us around.

So there was a bit of excitement in Sandpoint while we were away.  Really. . .  For such a small town, Sandpoint has in inordinate amount of tragedy that takes place.  I suppose being perched precariously on the boarder of two of the ancient and evil Thassilonian domains of Bakrakhan and Shalast at the very time when their ruling runelords are likely struggling to wake from a millennial slumber, doesn’t make for a very idyllic location.  Chalk that up to bad luck.  You’d think Desnans would know better.

Skook revealed to us that the mayor had pulled them aside yesterday about a sinkhole that appeared in the middle of town about the same time that we killed Mokmurian on the 20th.  Sheriff Hemlock had sent out a contingent of seven guards down into the sinkhole to explore and they never came back.  Since then, watchmen were set up around the perimeter of the hole to keep the citizens away from it but some of those watchmen began to feel a weakening in their resolve from the mere proximity to the foreboding hole.  They’ve had to begin rotating people out.  Thankfully after some time away from the source, those afflicted began to recover.  Zerye even mentioned hearing a low moan coming from within the sinkhole.  Considering the timing and the ill-portent of any ‘moaning’, I’m guessing this isn’t a natural occurrence.

After a bit of preparation, we headed down the hole.  First blood was struck when Nuari twisted his ankle on a rock on the way down.  Certainly shoving the soul of such a tall elf into such a short dwarf has got to play havoc with your balance. . .

The hole led us into the Runewell room which has been destroyed by the cave in, but we soon found that we were not the only inhabitants of this room, as two spirit naga appeared and attacked with spell and fang.  Mugi was poisoned but Titus was able to cure him before any major damage was done.

The alterations to the place included more than what may have been wrought during the cave in, however.  The red marble statue of Alaznist was no longer a red marble statue of Alaznist, but a roper!  A strength sucking monster that likes to mimic rock.  An unpleasant battle.  Whatever happened to the original statue, we cannot say, for there is no evidence of it being moved or broken into pieces.

Making our way through, there was little sign of the seven guards that the Sheriff sent down.  A footprint here and there.  We wondered how they could have gotten so far down without being accosted by various monsters that we are encountering such as the horrific insectoid, tentacle monster that lay waiting for us above the doorway to the spherical room!  Thrusting sharp claws into the stone frame, it attempted to shake down the entire structure and was succeeding before we managed to end it!  

The spherical room had also been altered since we’d seen it last.  The black electricity that had been shooting along the walls and forming runes was simply no longer there.  

Yet another unexplained change.  The spiral staircase that had previously been buried in rubble was now cleared out completely but covered in webs instead.  We moved down and found a secret door at the bottom that led into a foggy corridor.   Bits of prayers to Lamashtu were scrawled all over the walls and as we were reading these things, a strange voice speaking in the Thassilonian language, called to us out of the fog.  “What happened to Thassilon?”   I answered truthfully and spoke briefly of the fall of that empire but the speaker refused to answer any of our questions.

Nuari, using the glasses we’d procured from Mokmurian, could see through the fog a strange man dressed in a mask, armor and ragged clothes.  Upon being noticed, he disappeared.   We tried to follow but the corridor had some sort of ward spells cast upon it, which Confused us and turned us right around to walk back out the way we came.  More than a little infuriating as we held out hope that this stranger was in fact, Xaliasa, that traitor to Karzoug who might aid us in finding the Runeforge and ultimately defeating a mutual enemy!

Looking around a bit more, we discovered this area to be a large cathedral to Lamashtu, complete with an enormous statue of a three-eyed jackal that stood on a dais at the back of the great room.  We approached and heard the voice again coming from another fog-encased corridor.  This time he warned us not to continue exploring, explaining that we cannot see the dangers that lie ahead and this time, he identified himself as the Scribbler.  There was much he wished to understand about the world above him.  It seems he has been trapped down here since the Fall of Thassilon but somehow not in this form.  He seems confused about how he got here and more than a little mad, which after ten thousand years, I cannot hold that fact against him.  All the Scribbler seems to have been doing down here is precisely what that name implies.  Scribbling.  Every wall was covered in Thassilonian writing, ceiling included!  

We asked after the Runeforge and if he knew where the key was, but he was sketchy with the details and spouting something about the secrets on the walls.  He inquired continuously about the current rulers of the world above and we gave him nothing but the sketchiest of information until he revealed that he wished to learn all he could so that the new world could be conquered and Thassilon rise again!  We stopped talking at that point. . .

In the face of his warnings, we moved ahead and learned what he’d meant by ‘unseen danger’.  An invisible glabrezu had been standing in front of the jackal statue and presently attacked us!  It’s possible this demon was bound here for ten thousand years as well, because he was really grouchy.  Picked on the wrong crew though, so we sent him back home.  We probably did him a favor.

At this point we had no choice but to try to force our way past the magic of the fog, trying to get at this Scribbler fellow and find out the answers to our questions.  It took some doing but finally through sheer force of will we made it.  The Scribbler was there with a pack of demonic Hounds of Lamashtu.  The walls of the room were spattered with blood and it pooled on the floor at their feet where we also saw bits of bloodied gear from the seven guards of Sandpoint.  We were not pleased with this development and he was not pleased with our presence and our attempt to steal his secrets by reading the walls.   The hounds were loosed and we fought them off while he used the fog wards against us by stepping into one and out of another to attack our weaker positions.  When we finally had him alone, he still proved to be a difficult combatant, not only well schooled in combat but a very accomplished and deadly cleric!  It was a shame that we couldn’t have learned more from him but there was nothing to be done for it.  Whoever Xaliasa had been, he had become the Scribbler and mad as a Pharast hare.

We came to a room beyond with writings all over the walls but for the moment, chose to continue down the hall which extended a little way longer until we came to a door with script upon it and a Forbiddance spell blocking it.  Inside was another room covered in script, with a table and vials of ink, and the most magnificent peacock quill!  In the corner lay a corpse.  Fresh by the look of him and dressed as one of the guards.

The quill we discovered is a magical artifact called the Revelation Quill, made by Thassilonian worshippers of the Peacock Spirit.  Not only does it fill any vial it is dipped into, with ink, but it also can answer questions put to it, albeit in a cryptic manner.  From the writing on the walls, it seems the Scribbler was asking many of the same questions as he put to us.   Karzoug was mentioned here as “someone out of time”.  The Runeforge had been inquired about and the creation of Runeforged weapons.  Apparently Scribbler wished to go there as well.  

After the hints he’d dropped about secrets on the walls, we began looking around and piecing together some sort of rhyme.  In various places we discovered five separate stanzas, putting them together in what is hopefully the correct order. . .
If magic bright is your desire, to old Runeforge must you retire!  For only there does wizards’ art receive its due and proper start.

On Eastern shores of steaming mirror, at end of day when dusk is nearer, where seven faces silent wait encircled guards at Runeforge gate.

Each stone the grace of seven lords, one part of key each ruler hoards; if offered spells and proper prayer, take seven keys and climb the stair.

On frozen mountain Xin awaits, his regal voice the yawning gates.  Keys turn twice in sihedron – occulted Runeforge waits within.

And now you’ve come and joined the forge upon rare lore your mind can gorge – And when you slough the mortal way in Runeforge long your work shall stay.

After some discussion, we conjecture that the ‘steaming mirror’ refers to Lake Stormunder to the north.  It sounds as if the seven pieces of the key to Runeforge await us there.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:28 pm

Calistril the 1st , 4711

We boarded Lola early this morning to set sail for Lake Stormunder.  Due to size restrictions Schmuck will have to travel in blanket-form, but even so he might become useful if a storm were to damage our sail.  Unless plans go awry, I shall be spending the vast majority of my time creating items to strengthen us against the foes we set ourselves against.  But the ancient and powerful Runelord Karzoug?  Will one belt matter?  One cloak?  Perhaps the sum of them can help tilt the odds in our favor, but I wonder how many of my companions believe we will all make it out of there alive.  The Runeforge could be the difference between success and failure.  

I only hope that my body holds out long enough to see this to the end.  If that is accomplished, then I believe any sins I may have committed in my former life may be blotted out due to the good that I will have helped achieve, even if those sins grow blacker with every memory that returns to me. . .  

These last few weeks I have come to suspect that I was more than a simple victim of Doctor Noenn, but actually complicit in some nefarious scheme.  I have recollection now of choosing the woman whose head now slowly rots off these shoulders I wear.  I remember this face as hers before it became mine!  But why would this person I used to be commit such heinous and premeditated murder?  I fear that my dream of the withered and diseased body that lay on the slab was once me.  That perhaps I was not only complicit in the scheme but hatched it myself, taking others lives to selfishly extend my own existence!  

If any of this be true, than Doctor Noenn is not the only one who deserves to dance at the end of a long rope.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:45 pm

Calistril the 5th , 4711

Skookumchuck was just eaten by an enormous oceanic . . .insect. . .thing that caused a whirlpool and would’ve sucked in our boat had it not been for some seafaring skills!  The thing was huge with hard bony plates on its back and a blubbery underside, a terrifyingly large maw filled with teeth and a tongue that reached out and grabbed our little monk!  We thought him a goner for sure, especially when Nuari killed the wretched fish-bug-beast with a fireball and he started sinking to the bottom of the sea!  There was no way we’d be able to retrieve his body from such a depth. . .  Thankfully, Skook’s adamantine sais were at the ready.  He managed to cut himself out of the thing’s gut and swim to the surface all the while seeming relatively unphased by the ordeal.

I am still quite phased by it thankyouverymuch!
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:43 pm

Calistril the 15th , 4711

After more sea than I ever wanted to see, we finally sailed into Lake Stormunder, arriving on the eastern shore near evening. The water was steaming against the frigid air of the season and the shore rose into the roots of the Rimeskull Mountain range. It was an impressive scene!

Just off to the east, we spied a circular hill crowned by seven ten-foot tall stone heads. As suspected, each of the heads represented one of the runelords and Nuari and I went around the circle determining which head belonged to whom. As I reflect on it now, this is not the first time I have tried to determine such a thing. . .

Regardless, we were able to puzzle it out and as the Scribbler’s rhyme suggested, cast the appropriate spells at the heads as dusk approached. Each time this was done, a key appeared in the mouth and the head emitted a terrible keening sound that echoed through the stony peaks! This proclamation of our presence certainly sped up our work!

Quickly we rushed through the final castings, grabbing the keys as we went, than bolted toward the giant stairway where we could see at the end, the “yawning gate”. An entrance to a cavern that was shaped as an enormous mouth.

We didn’t get far.

Our fears of being discovered by some treacherous beasty were justified as we watched an immense white dragon slither out of the cavern and vault itself into the skies above us!

Now the little red lizard that we fought in Sandpoint was not a dragon. . . Well, it was a “dragon” by definition I suppose and dangerous in its own right, but what found us here at Stormunder was a DRAGON and the two creatures should not be confused. This thing brought rimy death on its wings and terror in his terrible roar that reverberated through the mountains!

Zerye and I prepared Skook to fight, using a spell to help him fly and one to harden his skin to help fend off the blows that would most certainly be coming. The indomitable gnome flew in and attacked, only to nearly be killed by the first assault. This did not bode well. . .

I will tell you that what transpired was humbling in the extreme. A dragon on the ground is terrible enough. A dragon in the skies can decimate you. Skookumchuk, indeed all of us were having an awful time trying to hit the beast and it took us too long to determine that it had on several protective spells that was making our job all the more difficult. Displacement, Shield, Resist Energy, Bull’s Strength and See Invisibility. These were just the defensive spells he’d prepared. He also used his breath of unnatural cold that nearly entombed us all in icy frost and a Freezing Mist cloud that both blinded us and caused our feet to slip and slide over the ground.

Titus was working overtime just keeping everyone in fighting form and actually, after the second breath of cold the dragon loosed, found it necessary to bring Skook back to the land of the living with a life-giving kiss! Titus did not describe it in those terms but upon hearing him complain about it vehemently, I gather that’s precisely what it was.

After much difficulty we managed to wear down the dragon to the point where he wanted to either escape or change the battlefield. It picked up my poor Schmuck and nearly dropped him to his doom, before flying off and clambering back into the cavern it came out of. The pursuit was on! Instead of climbing up those huge stairs on our weak, sea-legs (perhaps I’m projecting here), most of us opted to have Fly cast and regroup up at the entrance. Unfortunately there was some sort of trap on the stairs that summoned in two very big earth elementals! Those things packed a heck of a punch. . .

Once those were dealt with, I cast Fly on the remaining members and we headed tentatively into the cavern. It was a long tunnel that led to a sloping hallway in which the dragon must have cast his Freezing Mist. A good thing we were all flying or we might have slipped down the hall into the gaping chasm beyond and certainly to our death!

The chasm was immense. Even Darkvision could not give us the full scope of what we were flying into, but we continued down and down and down until we finally saw the bottom. Our concern was that there would be a dragon leaping out of the dark at us, but there was nothing. Only a hoard of treasure and seven pillars surrounding a large central pillar. They thrummed with magical energies and we are confident that these pillars line up precisely with the heads of the runelords above us. This must be the entrance to Runeforge!

As tempting as the treasure was, this was no time to press our luck. Maybe we can return and scrounge for what we might find, but for now we had to do what we came to do. Inserting the keys into the sihedron in the central pillar, we turned them twice and the magical gate opened before us. . .

To be continued. . .
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:52 am

It was a strange sensation as we stepped through the gate into what must be a pocket dimension of some kind.  After a long hallway, we came to a large dome chamber with a bubbling prismatic pool in the center.  The pool emanates a strong magical aura within which could be found schools of all but Divination.   It is capable of enchanting things.  We will surely be back here.

On the floor was scribed a great sihedron, it’s seven points stretching out to each of seven hallways.  In front of each of these stands a 20’ tall statue of the runelord corresponding to the appropriate school of magic.  We chose to first explore the wing belonging to Runelord Xanderghul and the school of Illusion with the belief that we will need to craft illusion and enchantment weapons to help us defeat Karzoug.

The end of another long passage branched into two and Skook carefully peeked around one corner.  The walls of these new hallways are lined with mirrors.  As soon as he sees his reflection, a second Skookumchuck appears!  A magical doppelganger!  The rest of us stay in the cramped hallway hidden from the reflection of ourselves while the gnomish monks begin beating each other to death.    In an attempt to stave off the bloodshed and save Titus some spells I foolishly misjudged the potency of the magic we were dealing with.  Casting Improved Invisibility on myself, I moved into the mirrored hall. . .when another Invisible me appeared opposite.  Great.  Worse yet, not only was this a second me, but it was a second me with a cloth cut-out of a giant zombie. . . which it could activate!  Even better.  So my attempt to help was naught but a hindrance which my allies’ glares quickly confirmed.

As I am able to write this account, it is needless to say the issue was dealt with.  Thankfully no one was too badly injured.  To move us through without further incident, Nuari was able to erect two walls of fire to place in front of the two branches of the hallway, blocking our view of ourselves .

We walked next into a brightly lit and immense room.  Four golden chandeliers hung from the high ceilings.  A raised dais against the far wall was occupied by what appeared to be a giant peacock and to its left stood six clones of a well-dressed man.  One of them presently spoke to us to warn us that “the Master” was in his study and to please keep our screaming to a minimum.  They then attacked and battle with someone other than ourselves was joined.

Titus, employing True Seeing, informed us that the peacock was merely an illusion.  No longer concerned about injuring the motionless creature, we separated the clones with walls of fire and ice, and began picking them off one by one.  Vranti stunned one of them and once the others we dealt with we woke him up to get some information.  In a brilliant display of conniving wit, Vranti was able to convince this Vraxeris – which he called himself, that we had protected him from the other clones.  That there was a conspiracy against the master!  Persuaded that his master was in grave danger, Vraxeris hurried to the well hidden secret door and down into the study.

What we found was the master, probably the originating specimen for the six clones we’d encountered, slumped in his chair.  Vraxeris went into a rage screaming that the harem must have done it and hurried off down into a library, where everything was destroyed by fire and by force.  Furious, the clone burst into the harem room where six succubi lay lounging.  Trapped in the small room, they were quickly dealt with.

To Be Continued. . .
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:40 pm

Calistril the 15th , 4711 - Continued

Once the immediate threats were dispatched, we had a little time to get our bearings.  We found the journal of Master Vraxeris which I will certainly peruse at my leisure at a later date but for the present, the most recent entries proved most interesting.

The runeforge pool awoke!  I first took this as a sign that Runelord Xanderghul had risen.  When I arrived at the pool to investigate, it seemed that the others had come to the same conclusion.  The foolish Wardens of Envy thought to disrupt the recrudescence, and with the aid of Azaven, Ordikan, Athroxis and that lovely creature Delvahine, we were able to defeat them utterly.  Their Abjurant Halls lie in ruins.  Our treaty was short-lied though.  Azaven absconded with the bodies and that treacherous wench Athroxis nearly burned me to death before I made it back here.

    I was mistaken.  Runelord Xanderghul still slumbers.  It is that monster Karzoug who quickens and nears rebirth.  Damnation!  He must not be allowed to precede Xanderghul into the world, for he would rebuild Thassilon in his own inferior image, a testament to his own greed rather than one of pride in the work.  He must be delayed or defeated!

    I have managed to escape this place, to a certain extent.  By astral projection I can explore what the world outside has become.  It is a brutish place, yet it pleases me to see Thassilon’s mark endures in the shape of our monuments.  Still, the wilderness of the world vexes me.  Gone is the empire I knew.  Karzoug’s city of Xin-Shalast is now hidden high in the mountains and when I finally discovered it, I found the spires where his body is hidden to be inaccessible, warded against astral travelers by the occlusion field around the peak of Mhar-Massif.  As long as his runewell is active, I fear even a physical approach would be impossibly deadly.  I must determine a way to pierce these wardings and to send an agent in my place.  No need to risk my own life before my clone is ready.

    I have taken steps toward an alliance with Delvahine.  She may be able to escape this place for she was not of the original blood.  At the least, she can call upon agents from outside and perhaps through them we can secure servants in the outer world  She seems uninterested in Sorshen’s return; all the better for Xanderghul, that.

    The runeforge pool is the key.  As I suspected, the occlusion field around Karzoug’s fortress is Xin-Shalast has a flaw.  His lack of knowledge of the intricacies of Sorshen’s and my own lord Xanderghul’s powers have left an opening.  My agents must use components infused with our lord’s virtues, extract the latent magic within these components and then anoint their chosen weapons with this raw power.  The runeforge pool seems to have enough reserves to enhance no more than half a dozen or so runeforged weapons but those enhanced with enchantment and illusion magic will be most potent against Karzoug’s defenses.  They may even be pivotal in his defeat.  For my own part, fragments of any of the mirrors in the Peacock’s Hall should suffice for a component.  Delvahine’s. . .  equipment. . .  should suffice for enchantment, although one might be wise to cleanse them before they are handled.

    The search for an agent goes poorly.  Delvahine seems more interested in her own lusts than aiding me.  Worse, the lapses and fevers are increasing.  I fear that I will be forced to see to Karzoug myself, in which event I will need to use the master circle I build into the Halls of Wrath to escape this place.  Yet first, I must set aside my work on delaying Karzoug’s return and turn back to the final development of my 205th clone.  I only hope I have time to finish before the dementia takes hold. . .

Apparently Master Vraxeris did not have that time to finish and Titus did indeed verify that his death seemed to stem from natural causes, most likely dementia.  

Those simple excerpts prove to be invaluable to our quest!  Not only has Vraxeris provided us with the key information on how to enchant weapons for use against Karzoug, but he has also outline a path of escape from this place and warned us of possible dangers within Karzoug’s domain such as this occlusion field and an active runewell.  

I dislike the sense that we are finishing Vraxeris’ work for him, but in this case. . .the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  And frankly, since the enemy of my enemy is dead, I feel that I like him all the more!

Before procuring some rest after what was a mentally and physically exhausting day, we managed to collect shards from the mirrors in the Peacock’s Hall as indicated by the journal.  They will prove to be necessary components for the enchanting of weapons in the runeforge pool!
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:48 am

Day 2 – Runeforge

As I am unsure of the passing of time in this plane, I can only mark the date as our second day in Runeforge. More accurately, the resting for about eight hours of time.

Next on our agenda was a much anticipated visit to the Iron Cages of Lust. Please read the sarcasm that dripped from quill to parchment!
Down another long hallway from the runeforge pool, we entered an opulent, grand cathedral area with red and white tiles and walls lined with pictures of Sorshen so indecent that they might have brought a crimson blush to my cheeks if I had such blood for my heart to spare.

A pavilion of silk sheets dominated the center of the great room while around it, many iron cages dotted the area. Most contained bodies but only one, we found to be slightly alive. The cruelty of that mere fact was astounding! He was completely mad and terrified. Unable to speak. Unable to escape. He had been tortured and tormented until he was mentally broken. We brought him the greatest rescue he could have hoped for. Swift and merciful death.

Our mercy did not go unnoticed as four flying alu-fiends commented their displeasure at the loss of their plaything, but they did not attack us immediately but asked why we had come. Upon telling them of our desire to speak with Delvahine, they very willingly led us into the silk pavilion where, after passing five stone giant guards, we found the succubus Delvahine lounging on her silken pillow-throne.
The room was filled with the stench of incense emanating from a censure in the back of the enclosure, which I made note produced the effect of a Mind Fog, making this creature’s enchantment spells all that much more effective against those within its bounds. Namely us. . .

Of course she was curious as to why we were there and we told her about the death of Master Vraxeris and how we needed her “equipment” in order to follow through with his plans to defeat Karzoug. Surprisingly she was willing to comply with this request if only we would make a deal with her. The deal being to let her “play” with one of our male companions for a few hours. Disturbed on many levels, especially after seeing what was done with the poor soul in the cage, I was not able to respond before Skookumchuk spoke up and volunteered himself! He always says he’d try anything once. . . Now normally I would not stand in the way of the predilections of others. I’m no saint and no one to judge! However, I did take issue with the thought that Skook’s. . .state of being afterward might harm our mission to put Karzoug into the grave permanently.

While the monk argued that he was strong enough to withstand her “affections” and I was insisting that he would have to be returned unharmed, Vranti spoke up and declared that this trade was just not going to happen. It was a relief, to be frank.

At that, I ordered Schmuck to smash the censure behind him to break the Mind Fog, which he did and then the battle began! Delvahine and her alu-fiend minions took to the air but not before Skook got to one and pummeled it to paste before it knew what had happened. The stone giant guards, hearing the sounds of battle came charging into the room through one of the corridors but not before Schmuck made a wall to block them in while Nuari burned them down one by one. I was able to cast a Fly spell on Skookumchuk which got him off the ground and into the faces of the demons while the rest of us stayed put and dealt with the combat from the ground. Annoyingly, Vraxeris turned on us at this point, spewing his vitriolic remarks about Vranti deceiving him into believing lies that his Master was murdered when he overheard us discussing the true nature of the death. Vitriol was the only thing he was effectually spewing however, since his spells proved to be little more than an annoyance. Lightning laid him low. We found out later that Vranti was the victim of a Feeblemind spell at some point in the midst of combat, which explained his odd behavior and now that I think of it . . . lack of witty ‘trash-talk’ during the fight.

The demons proved problematic. Even more so Delvahine who was evasive and an effectual caster. It was luck alone that she fell victim to my Suffocation spell and drifted, unconscious down from the sky where she was promptly ended by Skookumchuk.

That left us to the unenviable task of searching around her quarters to find this much discussed ‘equipment’. We did not expect to find more resistance but some kind of trap was disturbed by Skook in one of the rooms and two strange beings of light appeared and attacked! Titus and Skook were blinded almost immediately by a brilliant pulse of light they emitted! What ensued was much burning and pain. . . I was able to grab onto Titus and pull him over to the monk so he could cure him of the blindness, but unfortunately he didn’t have enough power for a second cure for himself! Poor goblin could only stand still and shout to people to come find him if they were injured, which was frequently due to the nature of these creatures.

The fight was ugly and brutal. We were quite spent by the time they were dispatched. Thankfully we found the eight pieces of Delvahine’s equipment in the room, for we were eager to leave this particular wing of Runeforge.

With the materials for enchantment in hand, we decided to try to empower one of Skook’s sais in the runeforge pool. We placed one mirror shard and one piece of equipment in the pool, which began to glow with golden light. He put in the sai and then tendrils of this light began to wrap around and infuse the weapon with magic! As soon as Skook pulled it out he could tell the pool had done its job, but we had no time to celebrate, for just as we were about to breathe a much deserved sigh of relief, the giant statue of Karzoug that stood in the central chamber, became animated! The runelord spoke to us through this chosen vessel and told us we had no chance; no hope of defeating him, before the statue moved to crush us to jelly.

It was a stone golem. Immune to magic. That left me to enhancing the abilities of my companions or looking on helplessly. I chose the former. Titus, still blind, despaired and cursed in equal amounts, picking his way gingerly around the pool so as to be close enough to channel his healing energies when necessary.

It was necessary.

Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to save Mugi who was crushed to the afore mentioned jelly. Skookumchuk was the only one doing significant damage to the construct with his enchanted sai, which bodes well for our eventual conflict with Karzoug once we all are so equipped, and it was without further casualty that he felled the thing.

Exhausted, Feebleminded and Blinded, we will need some rest before we go any further. Titus is spent and refuses to go further until he can see. Understandable. It’ll be good to get Vranti back as well. He’s not doing much more than grunting at this point. . .
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:19 pm

Day 3 – Runeforge

We spent eight hours resting before we were prepared to move again.  Titus was able to Cure his blindness and Vranti’s Feeblemind and we entered into the main hall to enchant the remaining weapons.  

Skookumchuk’s sai was enchanted yesterday, Vranti had his Icyburst kukri enchanted, Nuari, his battleaxe, Titus’ crossbow, my longspear,and  Zerye’s returning dagger.

Choosing a clockwise pattern in exploring the halls, Bellarmius’ Hall was next.  Though Vraxeris’ journal said it had been destroyed, we chose to clear it in case we might find something of use.

As we entered, a giant mouth appears on ceiling trying to warn us out of the “Abjurant Halls of Eager Striving” as they are called.  The warning did not succeed with us and had not succeeded with those who had gone before us, for damage was evident everywhere.  A battle of powerful magics had reduced this wing to little more than ruin.

Nuari spotted a silver Rod of Cancellation which had been badly damaged during the battle and had somehow been thrust deep into the stone floor in the middle of the room.  As soon as we touched it, a charge of power dispelled all of the magics we’d protected ourselves with and also all of our enchanted items, albeit temporarily.

We were recasting some of those spells when we were set upon by a nasty, yellow ooze.  I sent Meat up to provide a bit of a wall and the repugnant glob of snot ATE my giant in SECONDS!  ATE HIM!  AN ENTIRE GIANT!  Better Meat than the rest of us I suppose, but what a waste. . .

After it was defeated, we waited a few minutes until the magic returned to our items and continued our exploration.  We found a room that the mustard ooze must have ‘lived’ in and Skook found a cupboard within that held a few potions that we will certainly make use of.

Much of the wing was collapsed so there was little farther for us to go, but there was one further treasure we were able to procure.   At the bottom of a stair we found a shallow pool of a substance known as Ethillion!  This is the same substance that I have read about in the Thassilonian Library in Jorgenfist.  Vials of this Ethillion can speed the creation of magical items or be used as a powerful component for Abjuration spells!  We were able to collect twelve vials worth, which should come in quite handy!

We’d gone as far as we could in Bellarmius’ wing.  Next in succession was that of Krune, the Runelord of Sloth.  A long passage led us into one of the most foul places I could imagine!  The walls were covered in different colors of mold that had grown in the damp and fetid atmosphere.  Huge centipedes crawled about as foaming sewage drained out of holes in walls to collect in what was some sort of river of filth.  The stench was overwhelming.   To our horror, we realized to explore more deeply we would need to traverse this river!  

A bit of luck was with us though, for Skookumchuk still carried his folding boat.  Titus and I climbed up on Schmuck’s shoulders while the giant pulled the boat behind him with the others inside it.  Unfortunately there were places in this sewer where the water was deeper, and Titus and I were dowsed in the slime.  No ill-effects have presented themselves so far. . .

Our first harrowing encounter within these halls presented itself when we were attacked by two creatures that I can only describe as resembling fecal matter that had taken on humanoid form.  It was a troublesome fight as you might imagine.  There was grappling. . .  I cannot – will not speak in detail on the subject.  The sewage canals and tight spaces made it even more difficult, but we eventually overcame the. . .whatever they were.  

There were three levers we discovered, with Thassilonian writing in the room where the creatures were defeated.  One of the levers threatened to essentially flush the tunnels.  Hoping that we could get through in a cleaner environment, we pulled the lever and made sure we were well out of the way.  As it turns out, an enormous water elemental was summoned into the room where it began scrubbing the walls.  Not precisely what we were expecting.  Oh well.

Next we came to a large area of natural watery cavern, so we broke out the folding boat again to cross into the next passage.  During our crossing we were interrupted by two tentacled monsters attacking us from below the surface of the fetid lake.  Locating them proved both troublesome and painful until Zerye summoned in a water elemental to help end the creatures.

After we’d reached the other end of the cavern, we found a large door and took a moment or two to prepare ourselves for what would be another battle!  

Jordimandus. . .the keeper of this wretched maze of sloth and sewage, sat upon a floating stone throne above a twenty foot wide swirling pool of green slime.  The pool was fed by four pipes, five feet in diameter, and each in a corner of the room, bubbled with fluids each of a different color.  Red, yellow, brown and black.

The man was of immense size and from the appearance of his tiny legs, he had not moved from his throne in. . .I dare not guess how long!  More disturbing than his corpulence were the black entrails emerging from an open pit in his chest.  Still worse, we could see a black heart beating within!  He seemed quite alive however. . .  Somehow.

We wasted no time in going on the offensive.  Skookumchuk leaped onto Jordimandus’ floating platform and the warden on his throne used Dimension Door outside the room behind our group.  Nuari, who had been bringing up the rear, turned and launched a spell at the man, but he held aloft a rod that seemed to absorb the spell!  

At the front of our number, back in the room, we were attacked by a quasit that proved little more than a nuisance compared to its master who kept teleporting around.  Fortune favored us, or perhaps prudent planning, when Titus used one of his prepared spells to lock Jordimandus in place.  After that there was little the man could do to escape the bludgeoning our monk delivered.

To be continued. . .
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun May 10, 2015 11:13 pm

Day 3 - Runeforge, Continued

We cleaned out the room of all the valuables we could find. Skookumchuk was especially excited to find a Manual of Gainful Exercise with all kinds of new exercises detailed within!

Returning to the hub of Runeforge, our next path took us down Karzoug’s wing of Greed and Transmutation magics. Easily the most opulent of the chambers we’ve visited, there were also a number of nefarious tricks and traps. The first presented itself as an ornate door studded with gems. Thankfully, before we went through we thought to look for an alternate and more secretive route, as we’d seen so many of them in Runeforge already. The fake door was trapped to magically fly toward us, crushing us between it and the end of the hallway.

Instead of dying horribly, we moved through the secret door and came face to face with the green sparkling mist wall of a Cloud of Baleful Polymorph. Nuari finally was able to Dispel the fog but only after both of us tried multiple times and as it was a permanent effect on the area, the cloud would not stay gone for long so we started moving through in a hurry!

We first came to an ivory-tiled room decorated with a familiar motif of a claw grasping a gem. In the center of the room was a silver basin fountain with a whale spouting water. Six water mephits cavorted around it but in order not to get caught in the cloud when it returned, we moved on by and down another hall. Nuari ran past us all and into the next room, which held another fountain; a mage holding a staff. We were all still catching up when the statue animated and revealed itself as a stone golem! Skookumchuk hung back to deal with the mephit threat and bludgeoned them all to death in a matter of seconds, which was good because we suddenly found ourselves being attacked by the stone golem on one end while another stone golem approached from another hallway directly across from us through the mephit room!

Chaos ensued. Skook led us from the front, dealing with the threats that emerged one by one from the hall in front, while Schmuck beat down the golems which attacked us from the rear. There were four or five of them in total – I lost track after a time, each of them having once done an excellent fountain impression in rooms throughout this wing until we came around and disturbed the peace!

On our way through, we passed four empty but interesting rooms with a Fabricate spell permanently cast within, for magical experimentation.

We quickly moved on and came to a room filled with books, scrolls and caged animals. There we met the keeper of this wing, Ordikon the Mithril Mage, who had grafted mithril onto his skin! In the language of Thassilon he declared us unworthy to spend time in these halls and attacked. He didn’t get the opportunity to prove the threat he could have been! Skookumchuk ran in and grappled the mage almost immediately and we bashed him until he died, which took quite a long time with the metal skin. When he died, we heard a great roar echo throughout Runeforge! A dragon roar. . .

I’ll admit to being unnerved. That roar sounded like a very familiar white dragon that we had previously encountered, and I was not looking forward to meeting that monstrosity again!

Zerye freed the caged animals and the others scavenged Ordikon and the rest of the room looking for any kind of gear we could use accomplish this task set before us.

We moved through a room tiled in jade and studded with decorative gems, with combatants fighting to the death in the bas reliefs on the walls, and into the final room in this wing. Silver beams supported a great domed ceiling, while a strange pool crackling with blue energy would have dominated the room if it were unoccupied, but such was not the case. A great hulking beast, humanoid in form but bearing the head of a boar and nubby, four-fingered hands, stood in the back of the room. Zuvuzeg he calls himself, and though I am unsure precisely what type of creature it is, we were in no shape to battle the thing! All it claimed to want was freedom from Runeforge and this room which had been created as his prison. Sending him back to his home plane sounded like an excellent idea all around and though Dismissal didn’t work due to the binding magics, Nuari Dispelled that magic and Zuvuzeg immediately vanished. Hopefully to his home plane. . .

Exhausted from our trying day, we took time to rest in the Fabricate rooms, where Zerye made straw and pine needle beds for those who were interested. The cold hard slab of a floor was familiar and comforting to me, so I declined.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Mon May 11, 2015 12:08 am

Day 4 – Runeforge

After our rest, we were still quite concerned about that dragon roar we’d heard hours before and so instead of Teleporting to the hub, we went directly into the Shimmering Veils of Pride. A hall which we knew to have been previously cleared. Skookumchuk sneaked up ahead to take a peek into the hub but found nothing. I will admit relief but also a good deal of trepidation! Had the dragon entered the same portal where we had entered? Where was it now?!

With those feelings of dread we made our way to the next destination. The Halls of Gluttony. Zutha and his necromantic magics. As soon as I entered here, I felt a powerful wave of ill will wash over me. I was not welcome. Not as I had been in the cesspool that was Krune’s hall.

Entry doors emanated a preternatural cold and we entered a room lined with grinning skulls chomping on flesh with pointed teeth. Six mummies shuddered to unlife from catacombs in the walls. While we fought them successfully, we did not emerge unscathed for poor Vranti contracted Mummy Rot through a nasty gouge from one of their claws. Titus had prepared Remove Curse this day, however it was not enough to banish the magical disease this time. He will have to try again as soon as possible!

We opened the next door to find a room with four pathways that led in four separate directions. Either side of the pathways dropped off to a seemingly bottomless pit. The four directions led to four crypts dedicated to four champions of Zutha by my guess. A name and engraving marked each doorway. Inib, wine and bread. Gorryan, cheese and meat. Aanstrin, candy. Finally, Xerriock, a grinning face with teeth filed to points.

First we entered the crypt of Inib and found bottles of incredibly old wine in niches throughout the room. The walls were decorated with the same symbol that Dr. Noenn branded me with upon my creation, a minor detail which I did not share with the others, though Titus was notably aware. He might have said something but his attention was drawn to a strange statue bearing the body of a snake and a sihedron symbol for a head. This statue proved to be a clay golem and the guardian of this particular tomb. It did not last long, for Zerye used a spell to move earth and crush it against the far wall.

Nothing more to find there, we moved through to the next room and discovered two pylons pulling negative energy from the plane of the same name. Concerned it could be used as some sort of battery and to heal the undead we were fighting in this place, we decided to try to destroy this connection to the plane. Schmuck destroyed one of the pylons but not before I ordered him to use the energy to heal himself! Handy that.

When the pylon fell, it severed the connection to the negative energy but an enormous bat-like creature, a Nightwing, popped through the portal at the last second and attacked us. I was unable to Control such a powerful creature, but Zerye managed to destroy it with a Sunbeam before it could do any damage to our party!

Still holding onto the power of the sun, the druid implored us to move quickly so she could make the best use of such potent magic! We ran out of the Inib crypt and across the pathway into Xerriock’s. The room we entered was littered with the bodies of Bellarmius’ folk, which were recognizable by the robes they wore. A passing glance told us that. . .parts of them had been taken.

Frankly I’d feel better if something was just eating them. I find fighting golems made of people and/or animal parts deeply and personally disturbing. We didn’t get the chance for that sort of surprise just yet however, for we came face to face with Xyoddin Xerriock very much unalive and kicking in his own crypt!

Yet again I found myself sorely inept and unable to exercise any sort of control over this creature, who was vicious to say the least! Skookumchuk went in for the grapple and the two of them wrestled for control while the rest of us loosed spells at it before he could do serious damage to our monk. It was going for the brain! Thankfully, Skook was able to keep his brains for the time being, as Nuari Disintegrate the thing.

To be continued. . .
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:37 am

After stripping Xerriock of valuables, we moved on into a very extensive necromantic library. Quick examination showed handwritten notes in the margins. Experimental notes. Unfortunately there was no time for leisurely perusal, so I shoved the lot in the Portable Hole for later.

More mummies were in store for us in the adjacent burial chamber. Vranti, who has been having a rather unenviable bout of misfortune, was paralyzed when struck by one of the creatures but Skookumchuk picked him up and hurled him behind us down the hall where he fell flat in front of Titus. An impressive feat and one that saved Vranti’s life!

The mummies were cleaned up after a close-quarter battle and I managed to snare one for my own. I named him Flopsy, as his jaw hung loose on the right side.

We found a secret door behind and urn that led to an empty closet-like space with another secret door (. . .) which led to a larger room. Lit by lanterns within, we could see two examination tables upon which lay a pair of patchwork human corpses! Not animated. Not yet. It seemed that their creator, the lich that presently perched beside them like an enormous, shriveled raven, had not yet discovered the secret to granting life to such a construct.

He recognized me for what I am. I did not know how at first, only later discovering that he carried a golem bane brooch which alerts the wearer to the presence of golems. Certainly I am more than an animated assemblage of parts. Am I not?

The lich, Azaven he called himself, was the keeper of these Ravenous Crypts and we chatted a few pointless moments before surrendering to the inevitable battle. Skook charged him, attempting to grapple as has worked in the recent past, but the lich proved elusive, using Dimension Door to teleport away. Thus began a most frustrating game of cat and mouse. Once we finally tracked Azaven down, he was in a secret room in the floor where he held his phylactery, a magically trapped coffin that dispersed waves of negative energy. He had also summoned a powerful undead creature called a devourer to defend him. Skook, Vranti, Zerye and Flopsy descended into the hole while the rest of us aided from the entrance to the tiny pit.

The devourer fell, but before Azaven joined it, he cast a Prismatic Spray that killed Zerye outright! Once the battle was over, Skook carried her body out of the pit, while we destroyed the phylactery and thus Azaven for good.

Exhausted, disturbed by the day’s atrocities and those surely to come, we take our rest in the lich’s chambers beside our companion’s body until Titus is given the power to bring her back.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:25 pm

Day 5 – Runeforge

We suffered a setback upon waking from a fitful rest. Titus cast his spell to bring Zerye back from death, but she didn’t heed the call, choosing instead the adventures waiting for her on the other side of the veil. I honestly can’t blame her for leaving us in the midst of this struggle. Perhaps part of me is even a little jealous to think that there might be a modicum of peace to be found wherever she’s gone. At least until she gets her hands on something pointy. . .

Five of us now remain.

After Vranti was cured of his Mummy Rot, we Teleported back to the Hall of Shimmering Veils which we had previously cleared, and Skookumchuk sneaked off toward the Runeforge Hub to see if that old white dragon was lurking about. It seemed clear so we went in, heading toward the Halls of Wrath. As it turns out, it was not clear. Not by a long shot. . . The dragon dropped down from the ceiling upon us! Worse yet, it was not the old white dragon we had come to know and hate, now it was skeletal, undead and more powerful than it was before! I blame the lich! If Azaven wasn’t already dead . . . again, we’d have to see to it that he was ended a third time.

The dragon – now ravener, raged at us, blaming us for what happened to it! Why it was upset I can hardly know as it seems like quite an upgrade from where I was standing!

Ambushed, the world around us erupted with blizzards and icy blasts of magical cold. Every time I felt that supernatural chill, it seemed as if part of my life energies were sapped from me. Things went from bad to worse. We couldn’t see the beast through the blizzard but he could see us well enough. Schmuck and Flopsy found him and attacked and the dragon started tearing my zombie giant to pieces, apparently having remembered him from before. Skookumchuk couldn’t hit it with any solid strikes and spells were simply bouncing off, so we fell back and teleported to the Shimmering Veils to regroup. Poor Schmuck and Flopsy had to be left behind. . .

We waited a minute or two for the blizzard to drop and to cast some spells that would aid us in the battle, including bringing in a lillend azata to bolster our abilities. Much weight was placed on bringing down the ravener’s protective magics so that our attacks and magic would be more effective! Back in we went, ready for battle. Things never go as planned. . . When I looked up at the ravener with a Dispel Magic on my lips, I saw. . .nothing! No spells were enhancing it! I felt my heart thud once! THAT’S how terrified I was in that moment! Things went from bad to worse. Flying, the ravener was difficult for us to all engage, and we were getting torn into badly. Titus was running low on healing magic and we were still having much difficulty landing spells or fists or weapons on the monstrosity. Nuari was able to burn it with a fireball, which most certainly got its attention and would have meant certain death for our dwarven companion if the lillend didn’t step between the ravener and the sorcerer sacrificing herself to save his life. This area was not at all conducive to a dragon fight, so we used the momentary distraction to make a quick exit into the Halls of Wrath. Maybe we could find our way out. Maybe we wouldn’t have to fight it at all. . .

Moving quickly, we found ourselves in front of an iron statue guarding a hallway and holding a bow of crackling energy. It came as no surprise when it moved to strike us upon our approach. The attacks it launched at us shifted to different energy types with each arrow and did serious damage, but with an angry ravener behind us we had no time to dally. Instead we Teleported just beyond the statue into the hall, closing it off with a Wall of Ice to give us time and hoping against hope that the ravener and the statue would do each other in.

Within the next hall we found two circles of a magical nature. One red and one blue. The blue one was an outgoing teleport and the red one, an incoming. Precisely where we were heading, we didn’t know but we certainly didn’t want to stay in our current predicament. Only four of us could get onto the red circle at a time but after a few short moments we found ourselves in a new room still within the Halls of Wrath – a chamber filled with practice dummies. Not all of them were dummies however. Some of them were dummies with weapons. Eleven sinspawn and warriors of wrath noted our arrival and attacked. At this point we casters were already rationing our heavily depleted magics, but thankfully it was not overly necessary for the fight. Because it would be soon.

Vranti was able to Charm one of the warriors of wrath to our side and we were able to defeat the attackers. After the room was cleared, the ravener, now invisible ported into the room and cast a fog, blinding us again! Skookumchuk filled us in this evening on what we couldn’t see. The ravener put up a Wall of Ice blocking himself in a corner of the room with Skook, but the gnome used his Eversmoking Bottle to hide himself and vault over the ten foot wall!

So again, we ran. We took the teleport pad to the next room, which was small and cramped. One of the walls was made of some kind of smoke which we chose not to pass through yet. Considering our depleted magical resources, there were mixed feelings on whether to take our stand here against the ravener or move on, but it was decided that this was the best chance we were going to get to end it.

Again we prepared. Again the ravener ported in and cast a blizzard throughout the room. Again we were blind, but this time there was much less room for the monstrosity to move about. I couldn’t even tell if my spells were landing against the thing or if my companions were dead but the floor was slick with blood and it must have been even worse up there next to it because we heard Vranti call for retreat. Titus and I heeded the call and stepped onto the pad, exiting the room.

I was ready with a Teleport to take whoever was left deep into Jordimandus’ halls, which was as far away from here as I could think. . . but no one came through the portal. Seconds seemed like years. Then Skook emerged from the portal pad and told us in his monotone voice that it was down! Nuari had landed a powerful fireball to finally end the creature! Titus quickly shoved Nuari’s liver back into his body and reattached his arm before the dwarf met his own fate.

Things were pretty dire even then. The ravener was down but we were hurting and dreadfully low on magic. The only thing we wanted more than rest, was to get out of Runeforge! We held off on going through the strange smoke wall and instead went to get a better look at the room where we’d fought the warriors of wrath. There were three different vats that Vranti’s Charmed companion told us were skin warping vats. They would take an old decrepit human and place it into one of the vats to turn it into a sinspawn. In this particular place, they were now trying to reverse the process and turn sinspawn back into humans. It wasn’t working well.

This got us no information we could use to get out of here, so we moved back to the room with the smoke wall. Vranti’s buddy told us that beyond this was the room of testing, where initiates might prove themselves. Anyone who defeated the High Lady of Wrath, Athroxis, would become the next lord or lady of Wrath. I don’t think anyone was especially interested in the title, but we’d have to defeat her to escape, so through the wall of smoke we went!

The High Lady was not alone. I’m guessing she was alerted to our coming by the dragon battle on the other side of the smoke wall. . . She had time to bring in a very large, demonic friend to help her in combat. She and the demon stood upon a large seal encircled in flames in the center of the room, which depicted the rune of wrath. More pain followed. Vranti’s buddy perished in the battle, thankfully saving us the trouble, but for the most part we faired rather well excepting one incident in particular. The ceiling was completely engulfed in flame. One wouldn’t normally see as a problem until one has a Reverse Gravity cast against them. The fact that I had a Fly spell on me was the only reason I didn’t perish. Nuari was not so lucky but is much more resistant to fire than I and took the heat like a champ. A blood-curdling, screaming champ, but he didn’t die.

We were able to bring the two adversaries down, which Skook landing the final blow. Upon that final strike, the monk acquired a faintly glowing rune of wrath upon his forehead. All hail the Skookumchuk the High Lord of Wrath! Truly he does not seem the wrathful sort, but the rune has magical benefits for him and therefore us by extension, so I will happily call him High Lord from now on. I think he’ll like that.

The seal in the center of the room was the Master’s Circle written about in Vraxeris’ journal. It was hidden well, but casting a Teleport spell upon the Circle would open up a gate to take us out of Runeforge! We didn’t know where it would take us, so we’ve decided to take some much needed rest right here in this room and find out tomorrow.
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Re: Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

Post  Saoirse on Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:54 pm

Day 6 – Runeforge: Calistril the 17th, 4711

We emerged from Runeforge just outside of the Rimeskull Mountains, in the circle of the seven stone heads of the Runelords. In the this world, not quite two days had passed! It felt like years. . . Remembering the formerly white dragon’s horde that we’d bypassed on our entry to Runeforge, we flew back into the mountain and cleaned it out. We will put it to good use!

Boarding Lola, we began the long journey back to Sandpoint.
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