Shilsen's Eberron SH (Die Hard 7 - Just DIE Dammit : 11/11/12) - Page 19




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  1. #181
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    “Rakshasas,” repeats Nameless, as if pronouncing a particularly foul expletive. “That explains a lot. No wonder they had unusual resistance to magic and to weapons.”

    “And these rakshasas have the Key?” says Gurr’khan worriedly.

    “Yes,” says Nameless. “It’s somewhere in that direction.” He points towards the northeast.

    “But you have no idea of the distance.”

    “No, unfortunately we don’t. Just the direc….” Then Nameless stops. “I’ve got an idea. It may take me a long while. Try to reincarnate Saala. I’ll be back.”

    With that, he hurries out. Gurr’khan watches him go with a puzzled look. “What is he up to?”

    “No idea,” says Korm. “But we should see to Saala.”

    “Yes.” Gurr’khan turns to the corpse, near which Thlie now quietly sits, staring at it and rocking softly on the spot. He reaches into a pouch and pulls out a small object. “I do not have a reincarnate prepared, but with this I can…”

    “Me!” says Luna quickly, “Let me do it!” The other Angels chuckle, knowing how long she’s been waiting for a chance to try the spell.

    Gurr’khan looks surprised, but hands the object over. “You will be able to replace a spell you have ready, but need to use up prepared energy for another spell of the same valence or higher. Meditate on it while holding the idol.”

    Luna takes the object, a small hardwood carving of a pot-bellied orc with both arms stretched above his head, and settles down against a wall to meditate. Fifteen minutes later, she is ready.

    Luna and Gurr’khan lay out Saala’s corpse as neatly as possible and then arrange the ingredients in a foot long, roughly humanoid, shape beside it. Then, for the next ten minutes, Luna chants over it. Once she is done, she steps away.

    “What happened?” asks Six. “Did it not work?”

    “Wait.”

    As the Angels watch, the ingredients slowly begin to swell and expand, while simultaneously merging together into a single whole. Over the course of the next hour, it first takes on the shape of a humanoid form, a little over five feet in length. Then it begins to develop what seems to be skin over its surface. At the same time, Saala’s corpse begins to shrink and decay, rapidly shrinking into an unrecognizable mass.

    At the end of the hour, what was a pile of spell ingredients is now a naked, apparently dead, young human woman. And then she gasps, opens her eyes, seems to choke momentarily and sits up. As the same moment, the tiny pile that is all that’s left of Saala’s corpse dissolves into nothing.

    Gurr’khan rushes forward, followed closely by the others. The woman looks at them, then down at herself, and then feels her face. “Oh! Damn!”

    “Yes,” says Gurr’khan. “Those attackers killed you. We reincarnated…”

    “Me!”

    “Fine! Luna reincarnated you!”

    “The attackers!” says the new Saala, standing quickly. “Did you stop them? Where are they?”

    “They got away. With the Key.”

    “Damn!”

    Korm comments, “You might want to put on some clothes.”

    “Huh? Oh, yes.” Saala accepts a blanket and wraps it around herself. Noticing Thlie, who has been staring at her with evident relief but not coming closer, she walks over and embraces her friend. Then she sits down and says, “Tell me everything that happened.”

    The Angels relate everything. Saala, understandably, is first surprised and then gloomily accepting of the information that they were rakshasas. “That explains many things. Thlie and I were in the middle of a discussion when they appeared near us and attacked. I blasted them with a couple of spells, but failed to affect the one spellcaster, and the other wounded me badly. I shouted to Thlie to flee and created a rejuvenation cocoon to buy time. Seconds later, the spellcaster dispelled it, and the last thing I saw was the warrior slashing into me. Until you brought me back.”

    She looks at Luna, says, “Thank you,” a little absent-mindedly, and then down at herself again. Saala feels her own, now unfamiliar, face and says, “This will take getting used to. And I’ll have to tell a lot of people.” She concentrates and her features shift and turn back into that of her original body. “That’s better.”

    Turning back to the others, she asks, “And you have no idea where they went?”

    “Well,” says Six, pointing in the direction that all the Angels can feel the Key’s existence, “We know it’s somewhere over there, but we can’t say how far away.”

    “Seven hundred miles,” says Nameless, having returned unnoticed a moment earlier.

    “What? How do you know?”

    A little wearily, but smugly, Nameless says, “That’s what I was doing, flying back and forth for the last two hours. I triangulated its position based on how the direction varied with my movement. It’s about five hundred miles north and almost the same direction to the east, so just about seven hundred to the northeast. Give or take ten.”

    “That’s … impressive.” Saala turns to Gurr’khan. “That would put it in the western Reaches, right?”

    “Yes.”

    Saala considers for a bit and then says, “If you do not mind, I’d like to speak to Thlie and Gurr’khan for a while. This situation has obviously changed drastically, and I need to decide what to do next.”

    The Angels agree and give them some time. After about half an hour, the three rejoin them and Saala says, “We have discussed the situation and I think you should go after them right now. The spellcaster clearly used a significant amount of magic in the battle, and if he had more dangerous magic, I'm sure he’d have used it against you. All of you, especially in combination, have many more resources left. And they presumably don’t know that you have some lingering directional link to the Key. I don’t want to take the risk of them placing the Key in some sort of extradimensional storage and losing the link, especially since I don’t know how long it will last.”

    She looks at Gurr’khan, who nods, and continues, “Since Nameless has some idea of the general distance, Gurr’khan can transport you all as close to it as possible. And then, hopefully, you can track them down using the link.”

    Saala takes a deep breath and looks around at the Angels one by one. It is clear that she’s very concerned, but holding her emotions under control. “I know I’m asking for a lot from you, but consider what this can mean for Khorvaire. Will you do this? I will repay you as I can.”

    Nameless says simply, “I will do what I must to keep the Shard safe. If you can get us within striking distance of them, I will go after them even if it is on my own,” the expression in his eyes making it clear that he’s really looking forward to another meeting with the rakshasas.

    Gurr’khan mutters, just loud enough to be heard, "Crazy summoner of tentacled monstrosities 1 - paladin 0."

    Saala’s lips twitch at the comment, but then she looks at Nameless and says seriously, “Thank you. You have my gratitude.” She looks at the rest of you. “Will you help too?”

    Korm and Six both agree, while Luna mutters something about the ‘bloody cursed shard’ and then grudgingly agrees to help.

    Gareth, having given Gurr’khan a dirty look, unsheathes Kizmet. “You,” he says to Thlie, “Said this sword was made to fight fiends. Rakshasas are close enough for me.” As he speaks, the paladin feels a thrill of anticipation from the sword. “Can you get us right to them?” he asks Gurr’khan.

    The elderly orc shakes his head. “The best that we can do is show up in the general area. I’ll transport us to a tree 700 miles away, in the direction you indicate, and when we emerge, we can pick up the direction again ... I mean you people can ... and then try to find it. Also, I cannot transport all of you right now. A little shrinking has to happen. Can you do that, Nameless?”

    When Nameless says that he does not have such a spell ready, Gurr’khan digs out the same carving he gave Luna, and explains how to use it.

    While Nameless is preparing, Saala says to Gurr’khan, “I hope this situation will end today, but if it takes longer, leave them to pursue and return tomorrow to tell me what has occurred. I will wait here for 24 hrs but will then head south to Zarash’ak to check on other resources.

    Once Nameless is ready, she addresses the group. “Thank you again. Is there any other way I can help before you leave?”

    Nameless considers for a moment and then says, “My primary concern is our difficulty getting through the resistance to damage and to magic of the rakshasas. We need some way to deal with it. Also, I’m a little puzzled by the spellcaster’s ability to use magic that would normally be clerical in nature.”

    Saala replies, “I have never fought a rakshasa myself – well, not till today – but I have heard that some of them have the ability to cast spells that arcanists, which is what rakshasa spellcasters invariably are, normally cannot.”

    ”It seems,” she adds a little gloomily, “That this one can do so. In theory, that is because much of magic was discovered or invented by their predecessors and the dragons ages ago, so they can craft it as the more mortal races cannot. As you know, certain dragons can use clerical magic too, though they transform it into arcane versions that other races cannot use.”

    As Nameless nods, Saala continues, “Unfortunately, we have no weapons here that would help against rakshasas, but I can help with the resistance to magic.” She digs around in her backpack and produces a scroll. “This is a spell that was brought to us by the dragons. It will help you penetrate the resistance to magic of a single creature per casting. Since it was crafted by dragons, it actually works better for arcanists than for druids or clerics, but Korm and Luna will be able to use it too.”*

    Nameless quickly skims the scroll. “This will help.”

    Gurr’khan says, “All right. Now let us leave.” He points toward the exit from the lair. “Let us get outside and find a suitable tree.”


    * Introduction of Assay Resistance into the game. I made it a Clr5 spell and Drd5 too.
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  • #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saala
    “It seems... that this one can do so. In theory, that is because much of magic was discovered or invented by their predecessors and the dragons ages ago, so they can craft it as the more mortal races cannot. As you know, certain dragons can use clerical magic too, though they transform it into arcane versions that other races cannot use.”
    *has gleeful memories of Heal capable Red Dragons*

    Bweeheeeheeheee.
    Quote Originally Posted by shilsen
    The fight vs. Desro and his two allies involved a lot of faking on the part of the rakshasas, as they pretended to be in deeper trouble than they were and to "flee."
    "Show weakness to hide strength". Always gets them.
    Quote Originally Posted by shilsen
    At least I let them remove the link before it was stolen. My kindness knows no bounds.
    ... Of course it doesn't, shilsen.
    Quote Originally Posted by shilsen
    You're close to right. You'll see after the writeups for the session we had on Saturday (this one was the last one from the previous session).
    Well, close is good, right? The Eldeen Reaches is both infested with various abberations and close to the border with the Demon Wastes. -Everyone- gets to have fun. Right?
    Quote Originally Posted by shilsen
    The Angels chase the rakshasas and have a couple of amusing encounters. One involving trying to pimp out the paladin (quote: "Just close your eyes and think of Khorvaire") for the greater good. And a very interesting revelation.
    As you said earlier, if the most 'normal' of the group is a living construct (speaking of which, we haven't heard a lot from Six lately), the words amusing and interesting takes on new meaning.
    Quote Originally Posted by shilsen
    Not to spoil anything, but the Angels are now on their way to the Demon Wastes. On the bright side, at least it's not Zilargo.
    ...

    You know what? You're absolutely right. They might have a snowball's chance in Fernia in the Demon Wastes as high level oogie boogies, but Zilargo will pwn them without thinking twice.

    Especially if you take Keith Baker's writings about Zilargo (and his numerous postings ) into account.
    Quote Originally Posted by shilsen
    I'm sure my players appreciate the sentiment.
    Damn straight they better! Your players dance for my amusement! Dance, puppets, DANCE ~ <3
    Quote Originally Posted by shilsen
    It was just more convenient to get them to remove the link and then get the Key.
    Why go up there, when everyone is dying to get down here? ~ Corpse Bride, Elder Goodnik
    Quote Originally Posted by shilsen
    But the best-laid plans of high-level druids gang aft agley.
    What? Luna and Gurr'khan didn't show you that yet?
    Game balance is a myth that I wholeheartedly subscribe to. ~ Sepulchrave II

  • #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarious
    *has gleeful memories of Heal capable Red Dragons*

    Bweeheeeheeheee.
    Precisely

    I'd been thinking of a way to make the spellcaster a little more capable, especially in the healing area, and I thought, "Why not give him access to divine spells too?" And then I considered how that's already an ability for various dragons and the connection between rakshasas and dragons in Eberron.

    And then, coincidentally, I went "Bweeheeeheeheee" too

    Well, close is good, right? The Eldeen Reaches is both infested with various abberations and close to the border with the Demon Wastes. -Everyone- gets to have fun. Right?
    Yup. It's just a one-session stop, but they had some amusing interactions and discovered a little more info, some of it fairly important.

    Most of the campaign has been Sharn-based, with the only other place visited being Xen'drik, so I wanted the PCs to get to see a little more of Khorvaire. This sequence of events worked well to that end. So far, it's been Shadow Marches, Eldeen Reaches and soon to be Demon Wastes. It's like a magical train ride.

    As you said earlier, if the most 'normal' of the group is a living construct (speaking of which, we haven't heard a lot from Six lately), the words amusing and interesting takes on new meaning.
    Six's player tends not to do the most talking and NPC interaction, but that's partly also my fault in the writeups. I need to amend that.

    You know what? You're absolutely right. They might have a snowball's chance in Fernia in the Demon Wastes as high level oogie boogies, but Zilargo will pwn them without thinking twice.

    Especially if you take Keith Baker's writings about Zilargo (and his numerous postings ) into account.
    Oh, I do. I love Keith's take on the gnomes, though I've been told that my gnomes are even worse. There was one point when the players discussed OOC whether it would be better to go to Yarkuun Draal or Zilargo for info, and the general consensus was that a city of aberrations was way preferable to a country of gnomes.

    Damn straight they better! Your players dance for my amusement! Dance, puppets, DANCE ~ <3
    I'll get them started on the next chorus line
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  • #184
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    Ahh now this is cool. A Rhakshassa plot is what I like to see.

    Bring me more story hour goodness to cheer my day at work.

    Justice demands it!!!

    Oh and the gnomes of Zilargo are evil. My players whenever they encounter a Gnome all call out in unison "Gnomes. B@STARDS!!!!".

    They have their reasons...
    Avatar courtesy of Sialia!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by delericho
    Sadly, the reality is that many people don't realise that "no, you can't" doesn't always reduce fun, and "yes, you can" doesn't always increase it. So, very often, they find themselves working against their own fun.
    My idea of faith: The All Black's WILL win the World Cup - it's gonna happen people!!! (so long as we don't get France or Oz in our semi-final).

  • #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidekick
    Ahh now this is cool. A Rhakshassa plot is what I like to see.

    Bring me more story hour goodness to cheer my day at work.

    Justice demands it!!!

    Oh and the gnomes of Zilargo are evil. My players whenever they encounter a Gnome all call out in unison "Gnomes. B@STARDS!!!!".

    They have their reasons...
    I think the PCs (and players) were reasonably relieved that it was rakshasas and not gnomes. Though it's quite possible that the gnomes are manipulating the rakshasas, of course

    And since you ask...

    *****
    About ten minutes later, the Angels follow Gurr’khan out of the trunk of a thick tree. As they emerge, they look around to see a very different scene to the one they left, on the banks of the Pool of Shadow, seven hundred miles to the southwest.

    The area is thickly forested, with huge trees rising hundreds of feet into the clear air above. The ground beneath the trees is incredibly lush, seeming more natural in some way or other, not wild but rather untouched by civilization. The bushes and grass are especially thick, the leaves on them and the bark on the trees almost glowing with vitality. The mushroom rings that dot the area do actually glow slightly. The shadows in the area seem a little thicker and deeper than would be normal, and plants and stones that are sheltered from the sun gleam with spots of phosphorescence. The air is thick with the scent of vegetation, but still much lighter and significantly less humid than the thick, hot atmosphere of the marsh in the Shadow Marches. The only partly unnatural things in the area are a number of long, wall-like areas of vegetation, which look almost like they were grown in that shape, though they lack any sign of pruning or other artificial crafting. Though not unnatural, it is also slightly unusual that the sky looks like twilight is about to set in, considering that it should be late afternoon.

    Gurr’khan looks around and says, “I have not been in this area before. As I said, we are far west of where I have generally been. If I am judging rightly, we are well within the western woods. This entire place is a manifest zone to Thelanis. Probably the largest manifest zone on Eberron, actually. These would be fey lands.” Gurr’khan’s tone is slightly disapproving. Then he shakes his head, focusing on the reason for their presence. “Do you sense the Key?”

    “Yes,” says Six, “That way,” as he points directly to the west. “Wait – what’s that?”

    As the others turn, some of them spot what caught his attention. From behind the trees and vegetation in the way, sunlight gleams off metal. In multiple places.

    As the others draw weapons and ready themselves for danger, Six moves forward quietly, followed by Luna. Peering through some intervening bushes, they see five men in polished armor, hiding behind bushes and trees about a hundred feet away. They are all facing to the west, away from the Angels, with weapons drawn, apparently focused on a particularly thick example of the long vegetative walls. Though their armor is well-polished, above it they wear tattered clothes and torn cloaks, and the little that the watchers can see of their faces shows both tiredness and concern. Most interestingly, all of their armor displays symbols of the Silver Flame, and a couple of the men seem to be holding holy symbols of the Flame.

    Six and Luna turn to motion the others forward. As they are approaching, Six steps through the bushes and calls out, “Hello there – who are you?” The men promptly spin around, a couple beginning to swing their bows in his direction. As they are doing so, the sound of horns and pipes springs up to the west, coming from behind – or within – the wall of vegetation the men are facing towards.

    The men begin to swing back, and as they are doing so, the vegetation they were looking at seems to part, bending out of the path of a number of figures, who burst out of its depths. In the lead are two satyrs. The half-men half-goats are dressed in nothing beside a number of belts and straps that hold weapons and pouches in place, and one is playing on a set of pipes, while the other blows a horn. They form the outer edges of a triangle, and immediately behind and a little closer to the middle follow two half-elves. Each is garbed in leather armor and wears a wreath of mistletoe. Behind them, forming the apex of the triangle, are four small humanoid figures, each with dark green skin and brown, barklike hair that stands up in spikes. They are garbed in thick, rubbery leaves, and each holds a buckler, with a longsword at its side and a longbow at its shoulder. The druids and Nameless recognize them as Thorns, warriors and defenders of the fey realms.

    As soon as they appear, the humans attack, three shooting arrows and the two men holding holy symbols hurling hold person spells. A satyr and a thorn cry out as arrows hit, and one of the half-elves, who were watching the ground as if following tracks, is paralyzed. The humans shout, “For the Silver Flame!” and charge forward.

    “Stop!” yell a number of the Angels, trying to end the fight and find out exactly what they stumbled into.

    Unfortunately, nobody seems to be paying attention. After the momentary surprise, the fey fight back, the thorns unslinging their bows and firing, while the remaining half-elf casts a spell, causing the grass and vegetation around the humans to entangle them. A couple are held firmly in place and all are slowed in their movements. This provides an opportunity for the satyrs, who scamper to the side, utilizing magical effects through their instruments. One of the humans collapses, apparently asleep, while another stops and looks around confusedly, asking his companions, “Why are we fighting? They’re friendly.”

    As Gareth rushes forward, the eyes of Flamer in the center, who seems to be the leader, light up as he sees the symbols on his armor, and he shouts, “Comrade! Help us!”

    Trying to prevent the attacks on either side, Luna drops an fog cloud between the two groups. At the same time, Nameless casts a web. Having measured the distance between the opposing parties and realized that he will only be able to affect one group, he casts it around the humans. Already in the middle of the grasping vegetation, all but one are held firmly in place, and even the one not stuck (the leader) is barely able to move. Alarmed, and assuming the spellcaster is an enemy, the leader yells to Gareth, “Look out! Behind you!”

    Korm chuckles, commenting to Six, “He’s evidently seen the two of them together.”

    The joke is even more appropriate now than usual. Seeing Nameless’s web appear, Gareth spins around and shouts angrily at him, “What the hell are you doing?”

    “Trying to stop them from fighting,” says Nameless calmly, as he walks forward, keeping well in the rear of the group.

    Despite the attempts to defuse the conflict, it doesn’t seem to be working that well. The fey move around the edges of the fog cloud and both they and the humans continue to attack, switching to ranged weapons due to the combination of spells hampering movement. The humans have a momentary advantage, as a pair of sound bursts from them stun all of the fey except for one of the satyrs.

    This one, evidently presuming the newcomers are enemies too, attempts to affect a number of them with its horn, but fails. Six, having moved up ahead of his companions, quickly spins his spiked chain around its hooved feet and pulls it to the ground.

    “Stay down,” warns the big warforged, but the satyr shows no sign of comprehension.

    Language adds to the problems here, since the fey, some of whom are shouting commands or orders, are only speaking in sylvan. While the half-elves would presumably understand the Angels, one is still paralyzed and the other is stunned.

    Luna, already a bear, gestures to Gurr’khan, who has changed form too, that he should change back and translate. The older druid grunts angrily and then begins to transform. As he is doing so, the sound of distant hoof-beats springs up behind another of the vegetative walls, this one to the north of the conflict. Luna hurries in that direction, followed by Korm.

    Gareth, meanwhile, after yelling at Nameless a couple of times to dismiss the spell, stalks over to the mage. Absolutely livid, he raises Kizmet and says through gritted teeth, “DROP the spell! You will get them killed due to your prejudices. Drop it or I will hit you.”

    Nameless, who has been abortively trying to explain to the combatants that they should stop, looks at the paladin disgustedly, unconcerned by the shining blade six inches from his head. “That web is currently stopping the fey from filling them full of holes. Now get that sword out of my face. There’s more trouble coming.”

    The alienist is quickly proved correct. Luna has just raised a large paw to pull aside the vegetation in front of her when the sound of hooves advances at incredible speed. The leaves and branches slide aside right in front of her to reveal a large horse, its color a green so dark as to be almost black. Astride it is what looks like a tall and incredibly beautiful elf, with pearly opalescent eyes and a radiant aura that floats around her head and streams behind her with her waist-length coal-black hair. Her eyes widen in surprise at the sight of a large bear right in front of her and she pulls back on the reins. The horse rises in an incredibly quick and smooth leap, sailing over the head of Luna, who frantically throws herself out of the way.

    Simultaneously, another section of the wall parts to reveal a similar horse and rider, this one with a male rider, his face strong where the woman’s is beautiful, a similar aura playing around his head.

    Between the two horses, at a significantly lower level, a third section parts before a large black hound with flaming eyes, a greenish mist streaming from its open mouth as it lopes forward.

    As it emerges, the hound almost runs into Luna as she dives beneath the leaping horse. The dog growls and snaps at the bear, but its teeth clash against the mage armor that Nameless had placed on her. Luna rears up and growls fiercely, but restrains herself from attacking.

    The male rider pulls his horse up on its rear hooves as he sees his partner forced to leap over the bear and reaches out, crying, “Intruders!”

    A stream of lights shoots from his fingers, washing over a number of the Angels. Eyes go wide as the spellcasters realize what it is. Prismatic spray!

    Luna, Gareth and Korm stagger as each is hit by a beam. Despite what they expected, the rays neither burn nor electrocute them, but simply rock them with powerful, but non-lethal, energy.

    Gurr’khan is not as lucky. The druid has just changed back into an orc and yelled loudly in sylvan to the fey, momentarily stopping their attack. As he is turning to face the newcomers, a ray slams into his side. He groans at the impact and a gray pallor shoots over his body. A second later, a stone statue stands in his place.

    “Oh, great!” says Six, remembering the experience in Yarkuun Draal with Korm, “What is it with druids turning to stone?” As he speaks, the warforged warily readies his chain, in case they have to battle the newcomers.

    Gareth quickly turns away from Nameless, thinking the same thing, but the alienist intervenes. “They’re eladrin,” he says urgently. “The lords of the fey. Ghaeles, I think. They’re not evil – just chaotic. And much stronger than us, as that spell should have shown you.”

    “Not evil?” grits out Gareth, holding Kizmet at the ready. “They just attacked and turned Gurr’khan to stone!”

    “But they’re not attacking any more. See!”

    As Nameless says, the attack is ended. The female rider quickly cries something to her partner and then trots over, speaking urgently in sylvan. He nods and lowers his hand.

    Nameless steps forward with a hand raised to show peaceful intentions. “Please! We mean you no harm, or anyone else here, for that matter. We are simply traveling through here and got embroiled in trying to stop this battle.”

    As he speaks, Luna is in the process of changing form to join in the explanations. A second behind her, the black hound does the same, resolving itself into the shape of an attractive half-elven woman.

    She looks around the scene quickly, puts her hands on her hips and speaks. Her voice is melodious and strong. “Travelers in the Reaches, eh? We usually do not get many in this part of the Towering Wood. Greetings. I am Kaelyn Windsong. These,” she indicates the two silently watching eladrin, “Are Titania and Oberon.”
    shilsen is broken - Crothian (and this is why)

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  • #186
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    Will we ever get away from Shakespeare? Damn you long-dead writers!

    By the by, aren't Hold Person ineffective against creatures of the Fey and Plant types? Not that everyone knows that.

    Hee! Should I start a gallery of stone druids in awkward poses?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarious
    Will we ever get away from Shakespeare? Damn you long-dead writers!
    I'm doing my Ph.D. in English, and the Renaissance (esp. Old Billy) are my areas of specialization, so it's a little surprising that he hasn't shown up even earlier. But in an encounter with fey running around the Reaches, I couldn't resist.

    By the by, aren't Hold Person ineffective against creatures of the Fey and Plant types? Not that everyone knows that.
    The Hold Persons were used against the two half-elves among the fey.

    Hee! Should I start a gallery of stone druids in awkward poses?
    We were laughing about that after Gurr'khan got stoned. NPCs always suffer lousy random luck in my games. Gareth's player rolled for the ray effects and got the petrification one for Gurr'khan, and I rolled a 2 on his Fort save. I forgot to mention that Luna actually got hit by the Plane Shift effect and blew her save, having to use an action pt to reroll.

    And on to the next bit. Less action, more talking...

    *****

    Nameless introduces the rest of the Angels and then points at the statue that was Gurr’khan moments ago. “And that was our guide, Gurr’khan, a member of the Gatekeepers.”

    “Gatekeeper?” asks Kaelyn. “Pity about that,” she adds, though her tone does not sound particularly regretful.

    “Can you turn him back?” asks Six.

    Kaelyn looks at Oberon and Titania, who are sitting and watching the group with some interest. “Not today,” says Oberon, his voice strong and resonant, with no signs of any particular urgency to that end.

    As he speaks, Gareth is scanning the pair, and Kaelyn, for evil. While the druidess is evidently not, the two eladrin present something he has never seen. As the paladin focuses on them, he sees an evil aura, which then promptly fades away, before reappearing a few seconds later, then fading away again. And so on.

    Meanwhile, Kaelyn continues, “So what are you doing here, if you were here by happenstance?”

    “We were pursuing two rakshasas who stole something important to the Gatekeepers.”

    “Rakshasas? Interesting! What did they steal?”

    There is an amusing moment of dead silence as none of the Angels answers the question, simply staring back at Kaelyn and waiting for someone else to respond. She looks from face to face, a smile beginning to widen across her face, before Nameless finally repeats, “Something very important.”

    Kaelyn laughs. “I see you don’t want to share the details.” She shrugs and laughs again. “Not that I care.”

    Nameless quickly moves on, “We have some idea of where they might be, but you have petrified our guide.”

    Kaelyn shrugs again. “Well, you did ruin our hunt.”

    “It was ruined already,” puts in Titania, giving Oberon an accusing look. “I told you that we should take away their weapons, because they might do something stupid. You know Flamers.”

    Gareth immediately speaks up, a frown on his face. “Hunt? You hunt humans?”

    Kaelyn snorts disgustedly, while the two eladrin simply smile. “No, we don’t hunt humans. We just happened to be hunting this bunch.” She jerks a thumb at the five humans, who are standing back to back, clearly not reassured by the fact that they are not currently being attacked.

    “Why?”

    “They crashed one of our parties.”

    “What?!” asks Gareth, while a couple of the Angels chuckle.

    “Yes. We’re in the middle of a dance and suddenly they come rushing through the trees, making a horrible racket. Trespassing is bad enough, but sounding like a herd of elephants is just rude! So we told them that if they gave us a good run we’d let them go.”

    Gareth stares at her for a moment and then turns away. He strides towards the humans. A couple of the thorns move to intercept, and then stop, at a gesture from Kaelyn. Gareth passes them and asks the man who seems to be their leader, “What is going on here?”

    Instead of answering, the man asks uncertainly, “Who are you?”

    “Gareth Byron Deneith, a paladin of the Flame. Tell me, please – what happened here?”

    The man shakes his head, confusion and weariness writ clear across it. “I am Flamebearer Char Gilam. We were pursuing a group of lycanthropes that had killed some travelers. We ended up lost in the forest and the next thing we know, there are strange lights all around us and these fey surround us. They take us somewhere – no idea where, since we were blindfolded – and then tell us that they’d give us a chance to escape – since that would be more entertaining! It was soon clear that we’d never make it, so we decided to make a last stand and die honorably. And then you people showed up.”

    He stops and then asks, “Can you help us?”

    “I intend to,” says Gareth grimly, before heading back towards the others.

    While he has been speaking to Char, Kaelyn says to the remaining Angels, “Anyway – our hunt’s quite ruined now, so…”

    Nameless suddenly interrupts. “There’s a way we could make this up to you. Wouldn’t hunting two rakshasas be very entertaining?”

    “Hmm! That’s possible.” Kaelyn looks at the silent eladrin, both of whom nod. “That’s an interesting idea. Where are these rakshasas?”

    “To the west,” says Nameless. “Within a few miles, I think. I can narrow it down soon enough.”

    “Hmm – that’s well within our territory, which is another reason to deal with them.”

    That is when Gareth returns. Seeing him do so, Kaelyn smiles and gestures at the waiting fey, who move towards the humans. “Wait!” says Gareth. “What are they doing?”

    “They’ll take them away, since the hunt’s ruined. We’ll decide what to do with them later.”

    “No – you need to free them now. It’s bad enough that you were hunting them down…”

    Kaelyn arches a brow. “We weren’t hunting them down. We’d never hurt them. Just a fun chase.”

    “That is not what they say.”

    “Of course not! What good’s a hunt if they know they’re in no danger?”

    “Nevertheless, they must be freed.”

    Kaelyn holds Gareth’s gaze and then suddenly smiles. “Very well.” She looks at Oberon, who waves a hand. The humans promptly drop in their tracks.

    “What did you do?” asks Gareth, alarmed.

    “Put them to sleep. So they won’t do something stupid.” Noting the expression, Kaelyn says, “Really – we’ll drop them outside our territories.”

    “I’m sure she’s telling the truth, Gareth,” says Luna, who has been getting a little bored. “Can we go after the rakshasas now?”

    “Yes,” says Kaelyn. Then she looks at Gareth and a strange expression comes over her face. “Give me a moment.”

    She walks over to Titania, gesturing for her to lean down, and whispers something. The eladrin listens and then throws back her head and laughs loudly, in a significantly unladylike manner. “I doubt it,” she says, between diminishing chuckles, “But you can try.”

    “What do you think she’s up to?” asks Six quietly.

    “Oh my!” says Luna, and then a big smile spreads across her face, “I know what it is.”

    As her uncomprehending companions look at Luna, Kaelyn walks back. “Since you ruined our hunt and we’re about to help you out, I’d like a little something in return too.” She points at Gareth. “Him.”

    Luna chortles, “I told you so!” while Nameless rolls his eyes, and Korm and Six chuckle. Gareth’s expression shifts through a moment of shocked surprise to a forbidding glare.

    “Oh, please – Kaelyn,” says Oberon in a disgusted tone. “He’s human. That’s nauseating.”

    Kaelyn just smiles and says, “A girl has needs. And it’s been a couple of days already. So – how about it? Just two hours and…”

    “Two hours?!” interrupts Titania. “You’ll kill that poor thing!”

    “Yeah, you’re probably right. All right – an hour then.”

    Seeing that she is completely serious, Gareth finally says, “No.” And goes back to glowering.

    “Oh, come on! Don’t be such a stick-in-the mid! You’ll enjoy it.” She smiles, more than a little hungrily. “You’ll really enjoy it.”

    “No!”

    Nameless, who has been grinning broadly, say, “Come on, Gareth. You know how important this is. Make the sacrifice.”

    “Yes,” chuckles Korm. “Just lie back, close your eyes and think of Khorvaire.”

    If looks could kill, the one that Gareth gives Korm would leave him a smoldering pile. “This is not a discussion we need to have.”

    Kaelyn puts her hands on her hips exasperatedly. “Really, what is your problem? It’s not like it’s your first time, right?”

    There is a long moment of silence as everyone’s eyes go to Gareth’s face. Though it remains expressionless, a slight flush runs up his cheeks.

    “Oh my!” says Kaelyn, her expression going from surprised to amused to extremely excited. “That’s amazing! Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I had one fresh out of the stream?”

    Luna, wiping away tears by this point, says, “Believe me, Kaelyn, it’s not happening. And it’s not worth it.” She gestures at Korm and Nameless. “How about either of these?”

    Even before Kaelyn can respond, Korm gives a guffaw. “Okay, now that is funny!”

    Kaelyn, looking slightly relieved at his response, says, “Yes, it is. No offense, gentlemen, but I think I’ll pass.”

    At this point, Oberon speaks up. “We’ve wasted enough time. Let’s go see these rakshasas.”

    “Fine!” says Kaelyn disappointedly. “You really sure…?” she begins, looking at Gareth, and then quits. “Are you sure these rakshasas will be entertaining enough?”

    “Oh yes,” says Nameless. “They’re very entertaining.”

    “So – where are they?”

    Nameless spends ten minutes triangulating and discovers that the distance to the Key is about seven miles.

    “That’ll take a while to travel,” says Kaelyn, before Titania says, “We can speed things up.” She gestures at the group. “Everybody – get close to each other.”

    Oberon and Titania take up a position about thirty feet from each other, facing inwards, with the others between them. The two eladrin close their eyes and concentrate. Seconds later, the surrounding forest shimmers and grows darker and more shadowy. The Angels, however, can see each other and the other three just as clearly, though the fey and sleeping humans nearby are also partly obscured by the shadows.

    “What did they do?” asks Six quietly, but Kaelyn overhears. “They just moved us partly into the border between Eberron and Thelanis, without going all the way over. It makes travel faster.”

    “Something like a shadow walk spell, isn’t it?” asks Nameless, with professional curiosity.

    “Yes,” says Titania, opening her eyes. “Let us go. Walk together and nobody stop unless we tell them to.”

    The Angels quickly work out why she says this. As they walk, the shadowy forest flows by at remarkable speed. Whenever someone stops or, in Gareth’s case, stumbles, anyone following behind bumps into him with bruising force, or he is quickly left behind and has to hurry to catch up.

    Nevertheless, after a couple of collisions, they manage to make good time. In less than ten minutes, they reach a spot where the direction to the Key suddenly changes. Nameless mentions it to Kaelyn and all of them carefully stop simultaneously, retrace their steps and stop again.

    Oberon and Titania bring them back to normality, and then Kaelyn asks, “So – where is this rakshasa lair?”

    Nameless looks down at the ground beneath his feet, seemingly the same as that in any other part of the forest. “As far as I can tell, right below us.”
    Last edited by shilsen; Saturday, 14th October, 2006 at 02:51 PM.
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  • #188
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    Oh, this is good. The situation with the fey was one of your best ones yet. But the help of two eladrin and co. so easily gained? Something is bound to go wrong.

  • #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gold Roger
    Oh, this is good. The situation with the fey was one of your best ones yet.
    Thanks. I was especially happy with the session since I effectively ran the entire thing on the fly, because I hadn't had time for detailed prep due to a lot of work for college. It's sad to put grading 50 freshman comp papers ahead of D&D prep, but it has to be done sometimes. I knew the situation they'd meet in the Reaches and had some vague ideas for the rakshasa lair, but that was it. Luckily, I've really got into the habit of flying by the seat of my pants, so it went quite just the way any other session does.

    But the help of two eladrin and co. so easily gained? Something is bound to go wrong.
    I'll let you be the judge...

    ************************************************** ******************
    “Below?” says Kaelyn, as she turns to the two eladrins and raises her eyebrows quizzically.

    Oberon nods calmly. “That makes sense. It must be more than twenty feet below the surface, since I cannot feel it, and some of us would have known if rakshasas were traveling regularly on the surface here.”

    While they are speaking, Nameless walks back and forth for a couple of minutes. Finally, he says, sounding slightly disappointed, “It’s about thirty feet, and no deeper than forty, I’m sure. But I can’t be certain of the precise location. The link seems a little vague here.” He shrugs and adds, “Of course, this is the first time we’ve been this close since we began tracking it, so perhaps one can only pick a general area. Even an area hundreds of feet in width would seem very precise when targeting from miles away.”

    “Who cares?” says Kaelyn, who doesn’t seem that interested in the details, “As long as the rakshasas are down there. Let’s go.”

    The comment is aimed at the eladrin, who promptly take up positions twenty feet from each other. “Stand between us,” commands Titania.

    Once the Angels comply, both Oberon and she slowly raise their forearms till they are horizontal to the ground, palms downwards. They spread their fingers and concentrate for a few moments.

    Instantly, the Angels feel movement beneath their feet. Looking down, they see the earth under them flowing away to the sides. For a few seconds, the Angels struggle to keep their balance, especially Gareth in his heavy armor, but soon adapt to the situation. The flow of earth gradually lowers the group deeper and deeper into the ground, and within minutes, they are more than a dozen feet below the surface, standing at the bottom of a trench ten feet wide and stretching between the two eladrins.

    After a couple more minutes, the flow of earth ends abruptly, as their boots clang against a stone surface. Looking down, they see that they stand on what must be the roof of a rectangular chamber and the tunnel leading away from it. The stone is extremely smooth, and there are no signs of seams, as if it had been carved out of a huge granite slab.

    Nameless and the others confirm that the Key is somewhere below them, but cannot say exactly where.

    “Do you need us to break through the stone too?” asks Oberon, adding, “Considering the effort we are making, I hope this will be sufficiently entertaining.”

    “I’m sure it will,” says Korm, unsheathing his sword. “And I’ll get us through it.”

    “I’ll help,” says Six, reaching into a pack and producing the adamantine blade that the late, unlamented Desro had wielded.

    Korm’s blade, forged out of meteoric iron, is just as powerful, and Six and he quickly chop their way into the ceiling.

    While they are working, Kaelyn asks Nameless, “So – are you going to need us to fight too, or can we watch?” She glances at Gareth, grins a little salaciously, and says, “Sometimes I just like to watch.”

    Gareth ignores her, but Nameless replies, “I’m sure you’ll find it much more interesting if you join in.”

    “We will consider it,” says Titania. “We rarely have dealings with rakshasas. But they can be …irritating.” The tone of voice is like that of a housewife discussing a noisy neighbor.

    “We’re through,” interrupts Korm, indicating the hole they have carved through the five foot deep granite ceiling. At the bottom of the hole is a fifteen foot deep room, the only thing in it visible being the edge of a large rug with an abstract pattern.

    After a couple of preparatory spells, the Angels lower themselves down, followed by Kaelyn and the eladrins. They find themselves in a large, mostly featureless room, with a door in each of the north, east and west walls. Besides the large rug that covers half the floor, which they had glimpsed through the hole above, the only notable thing in the room is a large stone tableau, half painting and half carving, set into the southern wall. It depicts two large archways, each of which a rakshasa is stepping sideways through.

    The two rakshasas are bigger than life-size, standing as tall as ogres. They are partly three-dimensional, carved so that they extend halfway out of the wall. The carvings face each other, mirroring the other’s stance, with a clawed paw raised and extended. While both have black stripes, one has yellow fur and the others is bone-white. They also have a different gem representing the single eye that can be seen in each statue, one of them a large emerald and the other a reddish-black opal.

    Luna whistles at the sight of the gems. “I want those!”

    As she steps closer, Nameless says, “Let me check for traps first.” He casts detect magic and then it’s his turn to whistle. Magical auras of various kinds spread across the room, creating a spider-web of overlapping spells and dweomers.

    “Nobody move!” warns Nameless. “There’s magic all over this place.” Everybody goes stock-still, though the eladrins look more intrigued than concerned.

    After some moments of concentration, Nameless says, “I don’t think there are any immediately dangerous ones, though the three doors have what I think are glyphs of warding. By the way, the rug’s heavily magical too.”

    Careful experimentation reveals that the existing spells seem to be mostly maintenance-related, restoring breathable air in the area, slowly cleaning the area, and repairing damage to it. There is also a single powerful abjuration that blocks teleportation type magic into and out of the area.

    “In that case, I wonder how they got in here?” says Korm. “Maybe there’s an entrance elsewhere.”

    Six, who has been carefully checking for tracks once Nameless said the area is safe, comments, “There’s been some traffic through here recently.” He points at the east and west doors. “Two pairs of tracks going either way. No tracks to or from the north door. The way the dust has collected here, I’d bet that this place hasn’t been used for ages, then saw some use for a bit, then not for a couple months or so, and then very recently again. Maybe just today.”

    “Not bad tracking for a warforged,” says Kaelyn. “We see very few, and they rarely lean in that direction.” Then, turning to Nameless, she asks, “So – you know where these rakshasas are?”

    “Well,” the alienist says, pointing east, “It’s in that direction somewhere.”

    “So let’s go then!”

    “Like I said, there’s a glyph of warding on each door. Can you help get rid of them?”

    Oberon, who has been watching silently with Titania, sighs and says, “Very well.” He stares at each of the doors in turn for a few seconds. “That should do it.”

    Nameless confirms that the spells are gone and Korm carefully opens the door.

    As soon as he turns the handle, there is a strange sound, containing elements that both recall the grinding of stone across stone and the glutinous sucking sound of something emerging from a mud pit. Spinning around, the Angels see that the two rakshasa carvings are pulling themselves the rest of the way through the archways, revealing themselves to be complete statues.

    As each turns its two gemmed eyes, now lit by a dark flame in their depths, and steps towards the Angels, Nameless says, “Stone golems!”

    The alienist hurriedly steps back to the far wall as his allies rush to the attack and hastes them.

    Gareth and Luna, attacking separate golems, both have problems affecting their magically crafted stone. At least Kizmet’s abilities and the power he can put behind his two-handed chops lets the paladin inflict some damage. Luna’s claws scratch fruitlessly against the stone exterior of her target. A second later, a mighty fist smashes into her side with rib-cracking force, and Gareth stumbles as a similar blow dents his magical armor.

    “Let’s see how this works!” says Korm, stepping up to Gareth’s side, sword already in motion. The meteoric iron leaves a deep gash in the golem’s side and the big orc grins fiercely with satisfaction.

    Six, meanwhile, has not attacked, quickly reaching for an item he has been carrying around since their visit to the island. “You said this was a golembane scarab, right?” he asks Nameless, as his magical haversack lets him retrieve the beetle-shaped object.

    “Yes,” says Nameless. “You need to wear it to use it.”

    “Okay.” Six tugs at the harness, also obtained on the island, so as to be able to fix the scarab to himself. Or rather, tries to. To his surprise, his metal fingers scrabble over the surface of the harness and fail to find a purchase. A quick check reveals that the harness, which he has not bothered to remove for weeks, has fused with his form. “What the hell?”

    After another fruitless attempt, Six simply holds the scarab in his fist along with the spiked chain and slashes at the golem fighting Luna. Having realized that she cannot damage it, Luna has reared up and thrown both of her forepaws around it. Since the golem weighs twice as much as her, she cannot bring it down, but she manages to pinion one of its arms and makes it an easier target for Six.

    To the warforged’s relief, his chain slashes a deep wound across the golem’s free arm. “The scarab works this way too!”

    “Good to know,” says Nameless, looking around the chamber. Besides the battle, he sees the incongruous sight of Oberon and Titania standing next to each other and having a calm, unhurried conversation about the relative merits of the Angels. Kaelyn, standing near them, is silently eyeing Gareth.

    Luckily, despite the lack of aid, Nameless’s companions do seem to be slowly winning, Korm’s and Six’s weapons gradually wearing down their opponents. The mindless nature of the golems also helps, since Gareth and Korm coordinate attacks so as to make the creature constantly switch targets. While its hammer-blows still cause damage, the fact that it is attacking whomever they choose to let it, means that a single one of the pair is not targeted. Nearby, Luna takes a more direct – if painful – approach, continuing to wrestle her golem and set it up for Six, who slashes away at it. The golem mindlessly tries to break away from her, while pounding the druid painfully with its free arm. Luna simply grits her teeth and accepts the punishment, grabbing it again when it breaks free and threatens to strike Six.

    “Your friends are quite skilled,” says Titania conversationally to Nameless. “I think they will win. How long do you think it’ll take?”

    “Maybe twenty seconds?” opines Nameless. “Faster, if you help,” he hints.

    “They don’t seem to need it,” puts in Oberon dismissively. “But I think they will take longer.”

    “No, I think he’s right,” says Titania, watching appreciatively as Korm is rocked back on his heels by a swinging fist.

    “Care to bet on it?” says Oberon, a sparkle in his opalescent eyes. “Maybe bet a certain … little boy?”

    Titania gives him a mildly disgusted look. “Not in this century! I already told you that you’re not getting him.”

    Amused despite the situation, Nameless says, “I’ll take that bet. How about fifty galifars?”

    Oberon smiles and says, “Done. Let’s give them twenty seconds from … now.”

    “You’re betting on us now?” grunts Six, having noted the end of the interchange as he looks for an opening to attack without endangering Luna. “How about a spell or two?”

    “Most of mine won’t work on them,” says Nameless. “Now kill them quick. I’ve got money on it!” That haste may make the difference.

    Just as he thinks it, the golem being wrestled by Luna stops for a moment, its eyes glowing brighter for a moment. Immediately, all of the Angels feel their movements slow, as the haste fades away.

    That is not enough to shift the balance, however, and a few seconds later, Korm drives his sword one last time into the spider-web of cracks that has covered his enemy’s chest. There is the groan of tortured stone and the cracks shoot out in every direction. A moment later, the golem falls apart, hitting the ground in a pile of fragments.

    With that one down, Korm and Gareth join Six and the second golem is quickly dispatched, barely two seconds before Nameless’s time runs out.

    “Well-judged,” says Oberon, pulling a small gem from his belt and tossing it to Nameless. The alienist sees that it is a violet garnet and estimates it is worth ten times the amount of the bet.

    “Now you’re done making money off us,” says a bloodied and battered Gareth, “You might want to grab those other gems too,” indicating the eye-gems that lie amongst pieces of the shattered golems. As Nameless steps towards them, he notices that the pieces of the golems are sinking slowly into the floor. He quickly grabs up the gems, but the rest of the stone pieces continue to melt into the stone below them.

    “That was amusing,” says Titania. “I hope the rakshasas will be even more so.”

    As she is speaking, the Angels realize that there has been a sudden shift in the direction of the Key. “Damn!” says Korm. “They must have teleported again!”

    “I’ll try to work out the distance again,” says Nameless, as he flies out of the chamber through the hole above. He returns ten minutes later, which gives the others time to heal their wounds and for Gareth to be propositioned once more by Kaelyn, who seems to have been excited by his performance in the battle. Gareth rebuffs her again, leading to slightly irritated muttering about how a “druid has needs too!”

    Nameless returns at this timely point. “It’s a little over three hundred miles to the northwest of us.”

    Korm, who knows this area better than any of the others, looks at Nameless with a slightly concerned expression. “Northwest? That means…”

    “Yes,” says Nameless grimly. “The Demon Wastes.”
    shilsen is broken - Crothian (and this is why)

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  • #190
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    Demon wastes!!!

    Would you like fries with that? or perhaps a life insurance policy.

    now would be the appropriate time to start discussing what poeple want done with their bodies when they die.
    Avatar courtesy of Sialia!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by delericho
    Sadly, the reality is that many people don't realise that "no, you can't" doesn't always reduce fun, and "yes, you can" doesn't always increase it. So, very often, they find themselves working against their own fun.
    My idea of faith: The All Black's WILL win the World Cup - it's gonna happen people!!! (so long as we don't get France or Oz in our semi-final).

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