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Tuesday, 7th November, 2006, 01:52 AM #201
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Originally Posted by Sidekick
The PCs are all really good, Korm seems to be a very good addition/replacement to the group.
I like that the leadership is a bickering odd-couple of a morally challenged Alienist and a very mercantile paladin of the SF.
Also, Shil I just have to say that this whole arc is very, very well done. The Rhakshassa’s, their use of the prophesy to shadow the PCs & obtain the key from them.
That event, as well as what they were doing with it, also made him step out of the shadows and actually go after it, revealing himself to them much faster than he'd planned. Which worked out well for the Angels in some ways, since he didn't get to plan and obtain as many resources as he could have. That's why he sacrificed poor Desro, who got played for a patsy. He never knew that the rakshasas planned to 'lose' and let the Angels get that magical dragonshard, so that they could follow them to the Shadow Marches.
It’s all the kind of stuff that makes me want to play in your group.
Shame that’ll never happen, oh well.
Oh and hey, tell your group that I think their trash talking was A+ level. I’ve never read nor seen anything quite like that.
Very good way to unsettle the BBEG…
Tuesday, 7th November, 2006, 02:26 PM #202
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Originally Posted by Sidekick
Anyhow....thanks for the comments...I agree with your comments. On a side-note, Gareth's mercantile (and bit greedy nature) comes from my personal nature. I had a different character, same group different campaign, that was a fighter/rogue who was raised in a merchant family.....I played him to the "t"....I played me with swords Though a lot of times the initial jump to greed is subdued after a minute, but it still gets reported in Shil's ledger
Again, thanks for the comments.
Wednesday, 8th November, 2006, 09:02 AM #203
Novice (Lvl 1)
AviLazar - I think that Gareth is a top class paladin.
You should have seen my first (& only) attempt at playing a paladin. Sure he was the leader and sure he helped people, but I played him SOO CG (me).
I still don't know how he got away with not being fallen. I guess we were all having too muuch fun for all that...
Sunday, 12th November, 2006, 09:18 PM #204
Novice (Lvl 1)
Sunday, 12th November, 2006, 11:14 PM #205
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Originally Posted by Sidekick
Monday, 13th November, 2006, 02:37 AM #206
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Originally Posted by Rackhir
I'm a little busy with work, but I should have an update up in a few days. We're not actually going to be able to play again until the weekend after Thanksgiving, since we're coming up on a climactic point and that's the first time we'll be able to have all players there (hopefully), so I may spread things out a bit.
Monday, 13th November, 2006, 08:42 AM #207
Novice (Lvl 1)
Normally there's justice involved, but hey it was a sunday. With monday right around the corner justice isn't excatly a friend of mine (if there were any justice on Sundays monday would be a weekend day as well).
But now its monday....
BUMP FOR JUSTICE, TRUTH AND SMACK-TALKING!!
Thursday, 16th November, 2006, 02:36 AM #208
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
A little late, but here it is. Next one will be sometime next week.
After trying a couple of spells and discovering that they do nothing to remove the effects of the sickness, or Taint, that they are suffering, the Angels discuss what to do next.
“We might as well head down to the village and see what we find, right?” Luna asks.
Nameless frowns. “Why exactly are we going there? I really doubt the rakshasas are there, so we’d just be wasting our time. If those people down there serve them, they’ll either attack us or give them information about us.”
“But what other option do we have?” asks Korm. “I can still feel a link to the Key, but it’s really vague right now, so I doubt we’d know if we were right next to it. Wandering around the Wastes hoping to bump into those rakshasas isn’t likely to help.”
“And if we get close to those people, I may be able to get some information off their minds,” puts in Gareth.
Six rubs at his now strangely slick exterior and says, “Plus they don’t seem ill to Luna. Maybe they have a cure for this Taint thing. Maybe those stones are some kind of a warding thing.” He adds, a trifle irritably, “All of you people’s magic doesn’t seem to be able to stop it, after all.”
Nameless’s frown only deepens, but he says, “Fine. But first let’s try to find out as much about the area around us. Maybe that’ll give us another lead. Korm, Luna – could one of you try to commune with nature?”
Korm says, “All right. I’ll do it.” He looks around at the Wastes and rubs his forehead. “Though I’m not sure how much actual nature there is around here.” He settles down and begins to cast the spell, gradually sending his senses out into the land around him over the next ten minutes. There is an initial feeling of emptiness, followed by the sensation of pushing at a barrier, almost as if the very earth were resisting his mental touch, along with a moment of stomach-churning nausea. Korm fights off the nausea and forces his will against the barrier. There is a long sensation of increasing resistance and strain, and then he thrusts through it.
With closed eyes, Korm says, “What do we want to know?”
“Check for presence of powerful unnatural creatures, humans and areas which have been constructed.”
“Okay.” Korm concentrates, and across the ten mile wide space that he sees in his mind, dots and patches begin to appear. Green dots, most of them in two collections of approximately a hundred and half of that, indicate where humans, presumably members of the Carrion Tribes, are. Five large red dots indicate powerful creatures, all of them well separated from the others, the closest of them approximately two miles away. And even larger blind white patches mark where artificial structures have been created. The closest is the village of Rotting Blade, but there are a few more dotted around the area. The largest, just over five miles to the northwest, must be Burning Keep.
Korm opens his eyes and relates what he picked up. After some consideration, Nameless reluctantly admits that it doesn’t give them enough to go anywhere else. The Angels make their preparations and head down to the village of Rotting Blade.
Though they half expect the appearance of spell-hurling rakshasas or at least some alarm once they have left the shelter of the hills, the Angels encounter no response to their approach as they cross the large open area outside the village. As they reach the large stones and step through, they feel a slight tingle, vaguely resembling that one feels when affected by a spell, but significantly weaker. Since there is no evident effect, they continue onwards, along one of the rough paths that pass through the rough fields of lichens and low shrubs.
As they reach and enter the village, the adventurers encounter the first people, some of whom stop, stare for a moment, and then quietly go about their business. As described by Luna, they are mostly humans and orcs, with a few kobolds, dressed in rough clothing. None wear armor, and the most weaponry is a belt knife or a carpenter’s axe. A couple of the ramshackle, yet sturdy, stone houses have weapons hanging on the wall, visible through the open doors and windows, but the folk of Rotting Blade seem decidedly non-martial, especially in view of their village’s location.
“Something is very strange here,” mutters Nameless. For once, Gareth, who is attempting to read a mind or two as they slowly pass, nods in agreement. “Yes. They seem too calm and disinterested.” He concentrates as he walks, and then says quietly, “Most of them are mildly evil. And a couple of them are thinking, ‘More newcomers? Vraria will want to know.’”
“Who’s Vraria?” asks Korm rhetorically. He grins and adds, “And why don’t they automatically realize that you are reading their minds, as everyone seems to? They must be really stupid.”
Luna, in bear form, emits a long, low gurgle that is the ursine version of a chuckle. A couple of passersby, who have shown no real sign of being concerned about the heavily armed strangers walking through their village with a bear, quickly turn away. Luna chuckles again.
Six, currently appearing to be a human being thanks to his hat of disguise, waves at the retreating people, who look surprised, though one hesitantly waves back before continuing onwards.
The group soon reaches the large central building, where they attract a few curious looks but nothing more from the people sitting outside on crudely made stools or drawing water at the large well nearby. A couple of people appear at the windows to watch them approach and then disappear.
Entering, they find themselves in what seems like a cross between a poor tavern and a goods store. The wide room holds three tables, with chairs around them, and a couple of benches against the wall. The long counter has two sets of shelves, some holding what are presumably bottles of alcohol, and a much larger number holding small sacks of goods, crudely constructed tools, coils of rope and other such items.
A burly man is cleaning the counter and talking to one of the four people in the room, and he looks up with a broad smile. “Ah – visitors! Welcome to Rotting Blade. I’m Roval. How can I help you? Want something to drink?”
“Sure,” says Korm, walking forward.
“Excel…,” begins Roval, before seeing the bear walk in. “Um … is that thing house trained?”
Korm and the others exchange grins before he replies, “Yes, she is. Just don’t taunt the bear.”
“She? Err, okay. And I have no intention of doing so.” Roval produces a bottle with a thick, slightly scummy looking liquid in it. “Crapjuice?”
“Crapjuice. It’s a new batch.”
Korm shrugs. “Okay – why not?”
Six shakes his head as Roval pours a glassful and slides it across the counter. “You fleshies put really strange things into yourselves.”
Roval looks curiously at Six, perhaps because the comment comes from what seems to be just another person, but says nothing. Korm takes a swig of the liquid, which is a weak, thick alcohol, with a slightly salty taste and some crunchy bits, and grimaces slightly. “Could be stronger.”
Roval just smiles. “Want any food? Crap chop?”
“Crap chop. Crapweed chop.” He nods at the glass in Korm’s hand. “Like that’s crapweed juice.”
“That’ll be those plants you have growing in the fields, right?”
“Yes. It’s our staple here.”
“What about meat?”
“Oh yes – we just had a new batch come in.”
“New batch? What kind of meat are we talking about?”
“Oh. That sounds good.”
While Korm is indulging in gastronomic adventures, the rest of the group are talking to an elderly orc, who walks up from one of the tables to talk to them. “Hello. I’m Uthcheq. We don’t get many travelers here,” he says. “What are you people doing in the Wastes?”
Nameless says, with a deadpan expression, “We have a survey we need filled out?”
Six chips in. “Survey. We like to get our survey filled out in lots of places.”
“Well,” corrects Nameless, “We would like to. I don’t think we ever got anyone to fill one out. I thought that we had a chance with the beholder, but …”
Uthcheq looks back and forth between the two. “You’re both ins…”
“Yes, we get that a lot. Anyway,” asks Six, “Do you know where we could get a map of this area?”
At this point Gareth, who has been casually scanning the room, says quietly, “Can we talk outside, Nameless?”
“Sure. Excuse me, Uthcheq,” says the mage.
As soon as they are outside, Gareth hisses urgently, “That orc you were talking to is evil. Overwhelmingly evil.”
The alienist smiles, partly in relief and partly just to irritate Gareth. “Oh, good! That means we can probably trust them.” He turns and strides back into the chamber. Gareth stares after him, momentarily flabbergasted, and then strides just as quickly after him, scowling faintly.
They enter to find Uthcheq explaining that while maps are not available, there are a couple of people in the village who know the surrounding area particularly well and might be willing to act as guides. “Depends where you want to go. Any place particular?”
The question is never answered. Gareth attempts to detect thoughts on Uthcheq, and the orc resists. Uthcheq immediately steps away from the group, looking and sounding alarmed. “Somebody just tried to use magic on me. Was it one of you?”
Unsure whether it is Gareth or something else, Nameless looks around quickly, and asks, “I don’t think so. Do you have any rakshasas around here?”
“Rakshasas. Furry guys with heads like tigers? They like to detect thoughts and things like that.”
Gareth attempts it one more time, and again fails. “That does it,” says Uthcheq, and promptly disappears. Roval, who had already been on his way through the back door when the commotion occurred, speeds up and disappears into the back room, while the few other villagers in the room also head quickly for the exits.
“Interesting,” says Nameless, flicking a coin at the space Uthcheq just occupied, in case he is just invisible. Luna moves forward, sniffing at the area, and then shakes her massive head to indicate that she cannot scent a presence nearby.
“What was that about?” asks Korm. “You think that was the rakshasa?”
“I doubt it,” says Nameless. “They’d just attack us, I think.”
“That guy was overwhelmingly evil!” interjects Gareth, before adding accusingly. “And Nameless thought that was just great news when I mentioned it.”
“Well,” says Six, “It’s not necessarily bad news. Really evil people usually do one of three things to us. They try to kill us immediately. Or they try to get us to do something for them. Or they try to trick us.”
“Good list,” says Korm. “Mind you, sometimes they do two and three together.”
“Yes. Anyway, since these guys didn’t try to kill us immediately…”
The Angels are again interrupted by Uthcheq, who this time walks in through the door, followed by a young human woman dressed in similarly drab and shapeless robes. As they enter, Nameless looks at them calmly. “Nice trick.”
“Thank you,” says Uthcheq, sounding slightly surprised as he notes how calmly these strange people are responding.
Except Gareth, who is again attempting to detect evil on the pair. While he is doing so, Uthcheq continues, “I had to leave and speak to someone about your arrival. She can tell you about those whom you are following. Will you come with Siyal and me to meet her? She has a proposition for you that I think you will appreciate.”
Korm and Six turn to each other with broad smiles and chorus, “It’s option two!”
“What?” asks a clearly confused Uthcheq. Six and Korm smile back and say, “Oh, nothing – just something we’ve been discussing.” Korm looks over at Nameless. “Maybe that’s what we should put on the survey.”
A disgusted Gareth ignores this byplay and says aloud, “She’s overwhelmingly evil too. And we’re going with them?”
“Oh, come on – Gareth,” says Nameless, sounding just as disgusted. “We know that already. Tell us something new. And do you have a better option?”
Uthcheq and the woman he called Siyal turn to consider Gareth curiously, and as he is about to reply, he now feels a magical force attempting to affect him. The paladin shakes it off easily with an effort of will, immediately recognizing it as an attempt to detect thoughts. With an oath, he rips Kizmet from its sheath. “They just tried to read my thoughts! They must be rakshasas!”
Both Uthcheq and Siyal step back, raising their hands, but Nameless is faster. “Stop it!” he says loudly. “All of you!” He steps between Gareth and the pair of villagers. “Let’s all stop screwing around. We’ll go with you, but don’t try to use anything magical on us. And we,” he adds with a frown at Gareth, “Won’t do so either.”
“Certainly,” says Uthcheq. “My apologies.” He walks up to and around the counter, Siyal following silently in his wake. “Please follow me.” The Angels do so, Gareth reluctantly putting away Kizmet as he does so. As they pass through the doorway, they find themselves in a small antechamber, meeting a surprised-looking Roval, carrying a couple of plates with large chops on them.
“Excellent!” says Korm, collecting the chops on the way, and chewing on one as they walk. The meat is surprisingly tasty, and the fact that it is a little undercooked enhances it in Korm’s opinion.
Uthcheq and Siyal lead the group to a narrow set of stairs leading down. Luna reluctantly changes shape in order to fit. “I see you people have some hidden skills too,” says Uthcheq, as they descend.
The group reaches a storage area in the basement, and Uthcheq leads them to a wall, where he pushes open a concealed door. Beyond is a short, dark corridor, ending at a wooden door. Uthcheq knocks and a pleasant female voice says, “Enter.”
Beyond is a large sitting room, roughly furnished, but seeming lavish and opulent in comparison to the village above. Sitting on a divan against the far wall is an attractive young human woman. “Welcome. Please – be seated. I am Vraria.” As the Angels move to take seats, Uthcheq and Siyal take up positions on either side of the door. “I have been expecting you,” continues Vraria. “I know who you have been looking for, and I can help you find them. And, in return, I have a small favor to ask.”
“I’m not promising anything,” says Nameless, “But we’re listening. First, however, just to make things easier, please humor me.” He turns to Gareth and says, “You know you’ll be wanting to do it, so just go ahead and detect evil on her.”
Gareth gives him a dirty look but complies, and then mutters, “She’s overwhelmingly evil too. Not that it matters to you idiots.”
Vraria, who has been looking on with interest, asks, “Detect evil? Are you then a paladin or a priest?”
“Yes,” says Gareth. “I am a paladin of the Silver Flame.” He removes the large cloak that he has worn over his clothing all this time, revealing his Flame-marked armor.
“Good. I was told there would be a worshipper of the Flame in the group,” says Vraria. “We do not often see people of your faith here, but one of them stopped by recently. He was a priest, I believe. He and his two companions left yesterday and went to Burning Keep, a location near here.”
At her words, a grin spreads across Nameless’s face so widely that it threatens to meet at the back of his head, and he throws back his head and guffaws. Korm does so too, while Six emits a metallic laugh. Luna turns a little red, claps a hand over her mouth, and turns quickly to Gareth, whose face has gone dark. “Oops!” she says, with a guilty smile, “My bad!”
“What’s going on?” asks Vraria curiously, with a slightly puzzled smile.
“Our friend here,” says Nameless, indicating Luna, “Visited Burning Keep and stole a few things from those people.”
“Hey!” says Luna defensively, “I didn’t know they were Flamers.”
“Like that would have mattered,” scoffs Korm.
“Well…,” says Luna, with another guilty smile, letting the sentence trail off.
Vraria shakes her head and then says, “Anyhow, it’s a good thing you know where Burning Keep is. The favor I need is the retrieval of an item from there. If and when you obtain it for me, I shall let you know what you want.”
“Before we agree to do that,” says Nameless, “How can we be sure you really know anything? After all, you could just be just trying to trick us into doing something you want.”
“All right,” says Vraria. “You are searching for two rakshasas, the leader of whom is called Zathara. He is an ak’chazar rakshasa, and…”
“Sorry for interrupting,” puts in Nameless, “But what exactly is an ak’chazar? I have heard the term but don’t know what it means.”
“It is a specific kind of rakshasa that tends to be especially good at spellcasting. They have white hair, as opposed to the more common, yellow-haired, variety.”
“Same as the drapes,” grins Nameless at his companions.
“Just an interior decoration issue we had,” he says. “Please go on.” Seeing the expression on Vraria’s face, Nameless adds, “Yes, we know. We get that a lot.”
“I see,” she says. “As I was saying, Zathara is an ak’chazar. His follower and bodyguard, Nethatar, likes to wear a particularly thick form of antique armor and she uses a saw-toothed falchion. Does that sound accurate enough?”
“Yes,” says Korm. “I see you know them. So – what is it you want from us?”
“Though Burning Keep is mostly in ruins, part of the lower levels still exists. There is a hidden doorway there. Beyond it there is a powerful guardian. If you defeat him, you will find an amulet. That is what I want.”
“What form of guardian are we talking about?” asks Gareth, curious despite himself.
“Honestly, I do not know. Whatever it is, it’s very powerful. More than a few people have gone in there and none have returned. That includes a couple of rakshasas.”
“Great,” scowls Luna.
Vraria smiles thinly. “That is actually where I sent the worshipper of the Flame and his companions. They were not that powerful, so I doubt they succeeded.”
With a sideways glance at Luna, Six says, “I’m fairly sure they didn’t.”
“Since you are being so honest,” says Nameless, “Can you tell us who and what you are? And these two,” he jerks a thumb at Uthcheq and Siyal. “And a little about how you know so much about us.”
“Very well,” says Vraria, “In the interests of full disclosure.” She looks at Gareth and smiles slightly, before addressing the rest of the Angels. “He will behave, won’t he?”
“You can talk directly to me,” growls Gareth, a second before Nameless says firmly, “Yes – he will.”
Vraria simply nods and then, a second later, her form changes. Where there was a young woman a second later, there now sits a stooped, ugly crone, with large yellow fang-like teeth, her dark purple skin, the color of a livid bruise, hanging loose in long withered folds on her frame, red-rimmed eyes staring at the Angels to see their response. She nods, almost respectfully, as none of them even flinches, though Gareth’s glower deepens. Then she points a long clawed finger at the figures that stand against the door.
Uthcheq and Siyal now stand revealed in their true forms, that of humanoid felines like all rakshasas are, but where others bear the heads of tigers, the pair have those of panthers, borne of sleek bodies covered in short, coal-black hair.
“Night hag. And naztharune rakshasas,” says Nameless, his tone clinical and unconcerned.
“Impressive,” says Vraria. “Few people would recognize a naztharune on sight.”
Nameless shrugs. “And now that we know who you are, care to explain how you know so much about us?”
Vraria shrugs too. “I have known Zathara for centuries, though I haven’t seen him a long time. He and Nethatar stopped here three days ago, and he described you and said you might be coming this way. He asked that I allow Uthcheq and Siyal to attack and kill as many of you as possible.” She looks at the group speculatively. “You must be very powerful if you worry Zathara that much.”
I hope she’s right, think most of the Angels, as Vraria continues, “Anyway, that is enough information for now. Let me tell you how to find and enter the secret door.”
“One more thing,” says Luna. “Can you do something about this Taint thing? We’ve been having trouble with it, and if you can help us with it, we’ve got a better chance of kicking this guardian’s ass. We noticed the people here don’t seem to have a problem with it.”
“Yes,” says Vraria, baring fangs in what is presumably a smile. “Some of you do look … well, like . The villagers have mostly been born in the Wastes, so they’re born immune to it, and the others have developed it over time. Which, of course, you do not have. I can provide you a temporary cure. And a permanent one after you bring me the amulet.”
She reaches down, moving aside a long and withered breast that hangs to her waist, to produce a small jar. Oh, thinks Luna, That’s just wrong! Vraria hands it over and says, “Place some of the ointment on your tongue.” The Angels do so, finding that the yellowish-black paste disappears almost instantly, leaving an acrid aftertaste. Immediately, they do begin to feel slightly better.
“I guess that’s it then,” says Nameless. “We will be on our way. See you again soon.”
Vraria grins toothily again. “I hope.”
Last edited by shilsen; Thursday, 16th November, 2006 at 02:52 AM.
Thursday, 16th November, 2006, 04:47 AM #209
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
FYI - Gareths Charisma is high enough that his DC for Detect Thoughts is 20. Which means, if you don't have a crazy high wisdom, or are of the right class, you better be darned lucky to notice him using it.
Thursday, 16th November, 2006, 04:51 PM #210
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Originally Posted by AviLazar
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