Thread: The Viridian Legacy
Wednesday, 17th October, 2007, 12:19 AM #1
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The Viridian Legacy
A few months ago my friend ssspaladin decided to start up a D&D game using the Wilderlands setting, specifically City-State of the Invincible Overlord. What follows is my chronicle of that campaign.
Our cast of characters:
Jerard the Weasel - male human fighter/rogue (Player: DH)
Mouse (aka Dalmin) - male whisper gnome beguiler (Player: Zora)
Naiah Theresti - female gray elf wizard, twin sister of Thoin (Player: sniffles)
Thoin Ebonbrows - male gray elf fighter/ranger, twin brother of Naiah (Player: Hedrin)
Trevor Silverlock - male human bard, sometime NPC (Player: John Smith)
As an experiment I've decided to forego my usual first-person narrative style and write in third person. As a result, it's taking me a bit longer to write my entries than in some of my other Story Hours. I hope readers will find it worth the wait.
Last edited by sniffles; Friday, 19th October, 2007 at 01:27 AM.
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The New Year's Invasion
Year's End 5, 4432
The streets of the City were crowded with visitors and gawkers as Naiah and her companions emerged from the Blue Dolphin. A functionary of the court squeezed through the crowd handing out newly-minted coins in celebration of the new year. Naiah accepted a coin, curiously examining the portrait of the Overlord on the obverse side.
As she fingered the coin her attention was drawn to the way the crowd was moving aside to permit a cart to pass. The cart was laden with a huge wooden cask, from which more of the Overlord's servants were filling whatever containers the onlookers proferred to them. "What is it?" Naiah asked her brother in their native tongue.
"Beer," Thoin replied, wrinkling his unnaturally dark brows with faint disdain. Behind her, Naiah heard a petulant voice exclaim, "I wish I had a tankard."
She turned to smile indulgently at Mouse and almost laughed aloud when she saw his forlorn expression mirrored on Jerard's features. With a brief murmur and a simple gesture, Naiah summoned up a large, shallow bowl of arcane force, hovering in the air at about Mouse's height. She steered the bowl of force to the beer cart and held it under the spigot, allowing it to fill but not so much that it would spill at the slightest movement.
To her amusement, many in the crowd stared at her small trick in wonder as both Mouse and Jerard cupped their hands and began to drink enthusiastically from her summoned vessel.
The crowd of drinkers was disrupted again when a huge ogre came striding down the cobbled street carrying a keg under his arm as easily as Naiah carried one of her books. The ogre shouted out a challenge to the onlookers in his gruff, uncouth voice: he offered ten gold pieces to anyone who would try some of his ogre-made brew, which he called "spinekiller". Jerard dared a nearby private guard to taste the ogre's beverage.
Goaded by Jerard, the guard abandoned his duties to try some of the ogre ale. Jerard took a sip as well, eager to win the prize. Instantly both of them slumped to the ground.
Thoin kindly lifted Jerard up and carried the young man back inside the Blue Dolphin. Naiah managed to help the staggering guard to his feet and conducted him inside also. She thought she caught a glimpse of Mouse clambering inside the carriage the guard had abandoned, but a second look showed her no sign of her diminutive new friend.
Jerard began to revive a few moments after being set on a bench in the common room of the inn. Just as he recovered his wits, Naiah heard screams of terror from the street outside. Thoin grabbed his bow case and rushed out. Picking up her own bow, she followed her twin.
The crowd had receded into nearby buildings and alleys as a group of kobolds ran helter-skelter down the street, randomly slashing innocent citizens with their swords.
As she stood in the doorway of the inn, Naiah quickly called to mind the words of a spell of protection and cloaked herself in arcane armor. Thoin fired his bow at one kobold, but his arrow went wide of the mark. Jerard had run out at the sound of screams, drawing his sword, and was now trading cuts with a kobold. Mouse reappeared, waving his hands in a complex pattern. Naiah saw two kobolds halt in their tracks, staring vacantly at the gesturing gnome.
Naiah began gesturing and murmuring again herself. A missile of magical force shot away from her finger to unerringly strike one of the kobolds. Several guards appeared, joining the opposition against the kobolds. One of Thoin's arrows found a mark, and a kobold dropped to the ground lifeless.
As quickly as she could Naiah chanted the phrases of yet a third spell, calling on the mystical Lunia to lend her power. Though she felt only a faint tingle, she knew that her eyes were now glowing with a silvery light. At her thought a mote of silver flew from her eyes to wound another of the reptilian attackers.
She caught a glimpse of the ogre with the ale keg dropping his burden on one kobold, crushing the creature beneath the keg's weight. A spray of vivid colors burst from Mouse's fingertips and Naiah winced involuntarily, recognizing the spell. The two kobolds he had enchanted previously now both collapsed.
Naiah caught sight of one kobold more elaborately dressed than the others, resembling a shaman. She began to move toward it, suspecting it might be driving the others on. Thoin also approached the shaman. As she and her twin neared, the shaman lunged at Jerard. Mouse then went darting behind the shaman to aid his friend.
Naiah had not expected to be fighting that day and had not prepared many offensive spells. She had employed most of what she knew. But now she drew a crossbow bolt from the quiver on her belt and sent it from the palm of her hand with the same energy that a crossbow would have imparted to it. Unfortunately the spell did not improve her aim. Her twin was now very near to the shaman, who appeared to be far tougher than his underlings. Biting her lip in annoyance, Naiah drew a second bolt to try again.
Thoin appeared to have no better fortune than his sister. His arrows missed the dodging, weaving kobold just as Naiah's second bolt overshot the target. One of the guards ran into the area, joining the struggle with the shaman. Naiah could see Mouse wiggling his fingers again, though she couldn't determine what effect his spell had. Her spell arsenal depleted, she drew her bow and knocked a white-feathered shaft.
Arrows and spells all flew at the kobold shaman, including Naiah's shaft, which struck him solidly in a vulnerable spot, much to her satisfaction. But the shaman did not fall. Instead he stepped up to Thoin, inside the aim of his bow, and struck. Naiah suppressed a scream.
Jerard bounded behind the kobold and stabbed it in the back. Mouse then ran up and hit the shaman over the head with the hilt of his rapier, much to Naiah's surprise. Her brother took a step back and fired his bow once more, this time easily striking the kobold. Overwhelmed by the combined attack, the shaman slumped and was still.
Jerard and Mouse quickly searched the shaman's corpse and pocketed several items. When Naiah remarked on this, Jerard replied, "When you help someone, you should take their purse!"
Amused, Thoin reached over and pulled Jerard's purse away. "Hey!" the young human objected. Thoin said, "But you do not give the purses back."
"No one ever asked!" Jerard exclaimed.
It was not until after the shaman fell that the Overlord's city guardsmen managed to make their way to the area. Naiah was unharmed, having never come within reach of any kobold, but her twin and her two friends had all been badly wounded. Fortunately the guardsmen had brought priests with them who were able to use the power of the gods to heal such injuries.
When the four companions and the other guards had recounted their activities to the city guardsmen, they were permitted to leave. Naiah and her brother returned to the Blue Dolphin with their two friends, all of them glad to retire to their rooms for a quiet evening's rest.
The following morning the Blue Dolphin was visited by a herald of the Overlord's court, who brought a summons from the Overlord himself, inviting the four friends to appear before the Overlord! Naiah was confused by the reaction of Mouse; she had the impression that he was less than pleased by the invitation.
Wishing to present their best appearance at the court, Naiah and Thoin sought out the location of the public baths on the Street of Maelstroms and paid a gold piece each for entrance. Their two companions did not join them, both complaining that a bath wasn't worth a gold piece.
Once they had made themselves presentable, the four companions were escorted to the palace by a herald and a group of guards. The Palace of Silver Light was a vast and opulent structure. Mouse and Jerard gawked openly, for though both had lived all their lives in the City, neither had ever approached the palace before.
At the palace entrance they were relieved of their weapons. Then their escort led them through long corridors decorated with ornate tapestries and carvings. They passed one particularly large tapestry depicting the Demon Siege, which Naiah would have stopped to examine had that seemed acceptable. Jerard and Mouse were more interested in the scantily-clad Amazons standing guard at the entrance to the Overlord's harem quarters.
At last the small group was conducted into the Overlord's vast and impressive throne room. His Most Terrible Majesty sat on an opulent throne of carved rare marble. He was a more handsome human than Naiah had expected. She had known that the Overlord often had commerce with creatures of a reputedly evil nature, but she was still surprised to see an illithid in sumptuous robes standing close at hand. An eye tyrant also floated nearby. The Overlord's entourage was rounded out by three grim dwarves and several dauntingly large hounds.
The quartet were asked to kneel. When the Overlord asked their names, Naiah was again surprised that Mouse and Jerard gave the names Dalmin and Jaser. But she felt it improper to contradict her friends. Thoin introduced himself proudly, "I am Thoin Ebonbrows, your Majesty." Naiah stood beside her twin. "I am Naiah Theresti."
The Overlord then thanked them for their service to the city in combating the kobolds. The illithid, who was introduced as the Overlord's chief adviser Aichillitl, asked if the kobolds had mentioned who sent them to the City. Naiah had heard no such information, nor had her brother or friends. Naiah could not tell if the illithid or the Overlord were disappointed by this.
Once the Overlord had verbally expressed his gratitude, the dwarves then came forward to present tokens of his appreciation. Thoin was handed a bow of elven craftsmanship, which Naiah recognized as a weapon sturdy enough that it could be used to strike an enemy. One of the dwarves presented her with a wand containing a useful spell to drain her enemies of agility. Jerard received a well-made shortsword, and Mouse was given a pair of enchanted bracers that would help to protect him from harm.
When they had expressed suitable appreciation of these gifts, the four were led out of the throne room and back to the palace entrance. Jerard and Mouse managed to maintain suitable decorum until they stepped outside the walls, after which they began to mutter about their desire to see the Overlord's harem and how much gold they could earn by selling some of the palace decorations.
On their return to the Blue Dolphin, Mouse promptly announced his intention to sell the bracers the Overlord had given him. "But why?" Naiah asked. "I should have been happy to be given such accoutrements, though this wand will serve me well."
"I don't want to wear the Overlord's symbol," the gnome replied, pointing to the crest emblazoned on the bracers. "It draws too much attention."
Though she didn't understand why this was such a concern, Naiah could think of no argument to convince Mouse to keep the bracers.
When the quartet returned to the Blue Dolphin, they discovered that their adventures had drawn attention from other folk than the Overlord. They received a message from a noblewoman, Alyssa Silverlock, who asked that they accompany her that evening, essentially acting as her bodyguards, for she had heard rumor that several young ladies had been kidnapped recently.
Naiah considered briefly that serving as bodyguards seemed rather demeaning after having been to the palace - but the Overlord's esteem would not pay their bill at the inn. Mouse and Jerard had no such scruples. They were more than happy to accept Lady Silverlock's offer.
That evening they met their charge at her family's villa. To Naiah's surprise, Alyssa Silverlock wished them to accompany her to Hedonist Street, to the Plaza of Profuse Pleasures. Naiah was amused by the name. She was less amused when their final destination turned out to be a torture shop according to its signboard. But though her brother shared her reservations, they felt that since they had accepted Lady Silverlock's gold they had no right to object to her choice of entertainment.
As the quartet of bodyguards waited outside with the carriage, Mouse and Jerard noticed some movement in the alley at the side of the shop. Concerned, they went to investigate while Naiah and her brother remained at the front entrance.
A few moments later Naiah and Thoin heard what sounded like a scuffle from within the shop. They rushed inside, Thoin with his new bow at the ready, to find Lady Silverlock tied to a table while a man menaced her - with a feather! But the sight of four kobolds in the shop drew Naiah's attention from that curious tableau.
Thoin immediately shot one of the kobolds, which then rushed him. He fired a second arrow into the creature and it dropped. Realizing that she was in the heart of danger, Naiah murmured a familiar arcane phrase and gestured, summoning an armor of eldritch energy to protect her. By the time she had completed her spell, three of the kobolds lay dead.
Mouse employed his own magics to persuade the remaining kobold to tell them why it had come to the shop. It explained that its master, whom it called the Walking Worm, desired women. But it did not know why.
The kobold also revealed that more kobolds intended to attack the palace to rescue their "king", whom Naiah had helped to capture two days earlier. But the informant could not say how many of his kind meant to attack the palace. His mathematical skills were rather limited, Naiah observed with amusement.
Thoin immediately raced off to the palace to warn the Overlord's staff of the threat. Once Lady Silverlock had expressed her gratitude for having been saved from kidnapping, she returned to her family villa and the companions made their way back to the Blue Dolphin to reunite with Thoin.
To Naiah's surprise, Mouse's new kobold friend joined them. He was introduced as Zig, and seemed almost to fawn on the smug gnome as he trailed them through the city streets.
With Mouse's coaxing, Zig continued to provide information about his master's plans. He drew a crude map to direct them to his master's lair, which lay beneath the city and could be accessed via the sewer tunnels. Having agreed at the Overlord's behest to do what they could to combat the kobold threat, the four friends decided to descend and learn what they could of the kidnapper.
Mouse made his way down into the sewer first, while Naiah took up the rear with torch in hand. Almost immediately, Mouse found two kobolds, presumably standing guard. He put them to sleep with an eldritch whisper and Jerard slit their throats.
But it soon became apparent that more kobolds were in the area than first thought. They came swarming into the area brandishing weapons and yipping threateningly. Thoin fired arrow after arrow at them while Jerard hurled daggers, then drew his new shortsword and waded into the crowd of diminutive creatures.
Naiah drew a crossbow bolt from the quiver she always carried and whispered, "Fly straight and true". She blew on the bolt and sent it streaking toward a kobold, but it fell short.
Several of the kobolds were now shrieking wildly as they hurled small javelins at the intruders. Jerard skewered one through the eye with one blow. Suddenly what had seemed an endless swarm of kobolds had shrunk.to a manageable size. Jerard slew another, and Naiah's next bolt struck home. One of Thoin's arrows brought the last kobold low. The sewer fell silent, the floor of the tunnel now dotted with scattered kobold corpses.
Mouse and Jerard immediately began to search the bodies for anything of value. Mouse handed a wand to Naiah, which was the most valuable item found, much to the gnome's dismay.
Having completed their search, the group proceeded down a tunnel that was mercifully drier than where they had first entered the sewer. Naiah silently thanked Cilboreth for this small favor.
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The Temple of Blood
After a time the four companions came to an archway leading into a kind of side chamber. Beyond the arch, Naiah's eyes met a disturbing sight: four young human women were chained to stone slabs. Several kobolds stood guard over them while a taller figure in dark robes appeared to be performing some ritual. The robed figure was definitely no kobold. Naiah's stomach clenched when she saw that vermin scurried in and out of the figure's robe.
Her brother immediately nocked an arrow and let it fly toward the disturbing robed man. At the same moment, Jerard hurled one of his knives. But both projectiles bounced off an invisible barrier and clattered to the stone floor.
The robed man turned to acknowledge their presence, his eyes rolling wildly so that they showed too much white. He cackled maniacally and proclaimed, "I am Belzen, the Worm Who Walks! Your puny weapons cannot harm me! I am master of the Blood Temple."
Mouse shouted, "I'll go for the guards!" and began to run. But before he could take more than three steps, more armed kobolds arrived. The gnome made a quick gesture and a brick wall appeared in front of the kobolds. But the creatures were all foaming with battle frenzy and his illusion didn't stop them.
The kobolds swarmed on the small party, teeth bared. Naiah felt her heart leap into her throat as she backed against the wall behind her brother. Thoin tried to maneuver into a better position and one of the kobolds stabbed him, wounding him deeply. Naiah suppressed a scream when her twin crumpled to the ground.
Realizing that to save her brother she would have to first defeat the kobolds, Naiah drew a tiny vial of water taken from mountain snow out of her pouch and whispered to it. A dagger made of ice appeared in her hand. She hurled it at a nearby kobold, but if skittered across the creature's rude armor and bounced off the wall, melting a moment later.
A brilliant spray of many colours shot from Mouse's fingertips. The spell was effective, but with Thoin out of the action they were in danger of being overwhelmed. Naiah bit her lip against her fear and drew a small silver dagger. With a word, she brought into being a duplicate of the dagger formed of arcane force. It danced away from her hand and began to circle the kobold Jerard faced, stabbing at the creature even as the young human slashed at it with his physical blade.
Like every other battle Naiah had yet experienced, this one was over in minutes. Mouse had subdued the most resistant of the kobolds, and the remaining force were so demoralized they began to flee. One of them fell to Naiah's magical blade as it retreated.
Just as she turned her attention back to the crazed Belzen and his prisoners, Naiah was startled to see a spectral figure forming in the air before her. It coalesced into the shape of a nude woman. For a moment she thought perhaps it was another of Mouse's illusions, but when she saw a look of shock on the gnome's features she realized her mistake.
The spectral woman spoke. "This is the temple of the Blood Goddess. Kneel, for you are on holy ground." Cowed by the figure's aura, Naiah knelt, trembling.
But Jerard, who never seemed to be intimidated by anything, began to babble excitedly to the spectre, gesturing at Belzen. He spoke so rapidly that Naiah could scarcely understand him, but the gist of his argument was that Belzen was no true servant of the Blood Goddess and had usurped her temple.
Though Naiah found his words difficult to understand, it seemed that his argument was persuasive. The Blood Goddess extended a hand toward Thoin, who still lay on the floor bleeding, and Naiah could see the divine energies she controlled healing his wounds. Then she commanded, "Slay the imposter!" Naiah felt a tingle of occult tension in the air and realized that the invisible barrier blocking the archway had vanished.
Thoin plied his bow again and Jerard hurled a dagger at the half-mad priest. Belzen appeared startled when the missiles passed through the arch and the arrow struck him.
Mouse wiggled his fingers and chanted a spell that Naiah recognized, designed to leave the target dazed, but it failed to take effect. Belzen began to utter a spell of his own, though it was not one with which Naiah was familiar. His kobold guards rushed her brother and Jerard.
Naiah drew the Overlord's gift from her belt and aimed it at one of the kobolds. But the ray of energy that shot from the end of the wand missed the kobold and impacted harmlessly against a supporting pillar. Belzen lifted up a cauldron of some bubbling liquid and hurled its contents at Thoin, dousing Naiah's sibling in what appeared to be boiling blood!
Thoin slew one of the guards, as did Jerard. Now only Belzen remained. Naiah aimed her want at him. This time the ray struck successfully and the mad priest staggered as he felt some of his strength drained away. Thoin pierced him with a second arrow. Then Jerard drew his sword and rushed Belzen, followed by a foolhardy Mouse.
But the priest was no weakling, and had protected himself with some infernal magic. He grabbed hold of Mouse when the gnome drew within arm's reach, using some magic to cause a wound to appear on the gnome's body. Thoin shot him again, and Jerard stabbed him. Naiah expended another charge from her wand, once more failing to find her target. She clenched her fist in frustration until her knuckles turned white.
But Jerard and her brother continued their assault with determination, even as Mouse slumped to the floor, too badly hurt to continue fighting. At last Jerard's blade found a vulnerable spot, and that combined with the weakness Naiah had inflicted and the other wounds to lay the mad priest low. Belzen fell in a heap of bloodstained, vermin-filled robes.
The stone-walled chamber was silent but for the heaving breaths of the four companions. Thoin knelt over Mouse and was able to stanch the bleeding of his wounds, though there was little else he could do for the doughty gnome.
From Belzen's cache of supplies they recovered a rod of black glass wrapped in red leather, and a golden bowl which greatly pleased Jerard. When the four female captives were freed they were naturally very grateful - these proved to be the kidnapping victims of whom Naiah had heard when Lady Alyssa hired them to safeguard her.
On their return to the Blue Dolphin, they were summoned to meet with Achillitl the illithid vizier once more. They had provided a great service to the Overlord by recovering the kidnap victims, who were all daughters of prominent citizens. And Thoin's warning about the kobolds had meant that when the kobolds attempted to rescue their chief from the palace, they had been easily detected and soundly defeated. The illithid rewarded them with four black gems of some value.
They had also managed to acquire a wand that could heal wounds, and a rod capable of disintegrating whatever its magic touched. Jerard had also been able to sell the golden bowl and share the proceeds. While he and Mouse were pleased with the material rewards of their latest venture, Naiah and Thoin were satisfied that they had destroyed an evil priest and freed innocents from a horrible death. Naiah reflected that this had made their departure from Palewood worthwhile.
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In the aftermath of the rescue of the kidnapped ladies, Thoin had become acquainted with a knight by the name of Sir Osrid. Sir Osrid's order had been involved in defeating the Blood Temple in the past. The Blood Temple cultists had been attempting to take revenge on Sir Osrid by kidnapping his daughter. Out of gratitude for Thoin's aid in rescuing his daughter, Sir Osrid agreed to train Thoin in the fighting arts.
This meant that Naiah was separated from her twin for many hours of the day, but this was no different than when he had been training with the rangers of Palewood and she with her mentor in the arcane arts. She occupied herself by purchasing a silver circlet and a small ruby from a jeweler. She crushed the ruby and employed it to enchant the circlet with a tiny, heatless flame that would emanate from the circlet when she wore it.
Curiously, Mouse appeared rather annoyed by this device when she first displayed it to him.
During the celebration of the Northmen's Feast of Odin, the odd quartet were contacted by Trevor Silverlock, brother of Lady Alyssa. He asked them to meet him at a tavern called the Flipping Frog.
Upon their arrival at the appointed location, Trevor Silverlock told them that he was something of student of history. He wished them to accompany him in exploring some tunnels recently discovered beneath the city, where inscriptions in ancient Viridian had been found. These tunnels, he explained, were near the sewer tunnels where they had saved the kidnapped girls. He offered a reward of gold in return for their service.
Though Naiah was dubious of becoming a bodyguard, her interest in the Viridian Empire drew her to Trevor's service. It was not long before she found herself and her companions descending once more beneath the streets of the Overlord's city, into the dank, dark tunnels of the sewer.
Soon they left cylindrical tunnels and found themselves amid corridors and chambers, evidently the remains of some long-ago structures that had not always been below the surface. They entered a room containing a descending shaft, perhaps a well or cistern.
Suddenly a swarm of bat-like creatures with long snouts fluttered up out of the shaft. Jerard and Thoin immediately began attacking the creatures with their weapons, while Mouse sent three of them tumbling to the floor, soundly slumbering. Naiah sent a bolt hurtling at one creature, but it moved too quickly for her missile to strike.
After a brief struggle the flying things were all slain, including those Mouse had put to sleep. The gnome then crept cautiously into the next room. A scant few moments later Thoin started and began to run toward the room Mouse had entered. "Mouse is attacked!" he shouted. "Some caterpillar-like creatures." Naiah realized that the gnome must have used magic to contact her brother.
Naiah ran after her twin, who raised his bow and fired through the doorway into the next chamber. Then one of the creatures came surging into the room, lashing long tentacles at Jerard. Trevor Silverlock loaded a bolt in the heavy crossbow he carried and fired it at the beast.
Though she grudged the time it took, Naiah hung back long enough to clothe herself in arcane energy of protection. Then she stepped beside her twin and sent a beam of frigid cold at the creature. Its tentacles waved wildly, failing to find purchase. Thoin plunged another arrow into its flesh. It looked ragged and sorely wounded now.
But its mate was a more difficult target. First Trevor's bolt and then Naiah's failed to penetrate its hide. One tentacle slapped Mouse, and the gnome fell as still as a stone statue. The first creature fell equally still, pierced by several of Thoin's arrows. Naiah's brother moved up to meet the second beast, but it came too close for his arrows and he was obliged to use the bow as a club against it.
The monster was badly wounded by Thoin's bow, but it did not retreat. Naiah's wand made no impression on it when the ray of energy shot past it. Jerard darted around the creature to stand opposite Thoin, and Thoin's next blow took its life.
After they caught their breath - and Mouse recovered from his paralysis - the little group of explorers proceeded cautiously to the next chamber. They found it unoccupied by any unpleasant creatures, instead discovering a platform covered in Viridian inscriptions. Trevor unrolled several sheets of thin paper and began making charcoal rubbings of the carvings. The four companions spread out to watch for threats.
They discovered two more shafts or wells, which unfortunately turned out to be inhabited by another of the tentacled beasts. Trevor quickly ran to their aid, rapier in hand, as they struggled with the monster. But it took only a few stabs of Jerard's sword to slay the creature.
They retreated to the inscription room so that Thoin could use his newly-acquired curative wand on their wounds, and Trevor resumed his examination of the inscriptions. As he copied them he described their contents as having something to do with the ancient Viridian conflicts.
But by this time everyone was weary and sore. It was decided that they should return to the surface to recover, and to see if they could acquire another healing wand, since the underground ruins appeared to be infested with vermin.
After a night of comfortable rest and the purchase of a wand, they returned to the inscription chamber and continued their exploration of the ruins. A stair they had previously observed but had not descended now called them. At the bottom of the stair they found a room decorated by a column in the form of an eight-pointed star, covered in Viridian runes.
Ever inquisitive, Mouse cast a spell to enable himself to comprehend the runes and began reading the words aloud. The runes described the history of a dwarven hero. One line in particular resonated with Naiah: "A trio of heroes will come requiring the aid of a sorceress of an alien race." This seemed particularly appropriate since Jerard had declined to join them when they descended into the ruins the second time.
Abruptly Mouse let out a yelp and jumped back from the column, staring at it with wide eyes. "I'm not reading this anymore," he complained. "It's talking to me, calling me by name!" Holding true to his claim, the gnome refused even to look at the column again.
Her curiosity aroused, Naiah followed Mouse's example and cast the same spell upon herself. She read with delight as the runes resolved into characters she could comprehend. A long roll of heroes met her gaze, and a tale of the defeat of a lich king. Then her eyes met a sentence that didn't fit with what she had just been reading. To her amazement, the runes formed the words, Naiah, a long sea journey is in your future.
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Tombs and Treasures
While Naiah stood gaping at this startling inscription, her brother had been cautiously listening at each of the four doors leading out of the pillar chamber. When he had satisfied himself that he heard nothing in any of the rooms, he proceeded into an adjoining chamber.
A moment later, Thoin shouted back a warning. The inscription Naiah had been staring at vanished, replaced by more of the tale of the lich king's defeat. Startled out of her reverie, she ran to find her brother facing a slithering monster with a beak-like mouth centered amid stubby tentacles.
The beast began to flee as soon as one of Thoin's arrows struck it, but he continued to fire on it until the creature slumped lifelessly to the floor.
The group members then decided to continue their exploration of the Viridian structure. The next room they entered was a circular one, which Mouse examined first. He revealed to them that he saw two armored figures that did not appear to be statues occupying the round room.
When the gnome entered the room, the two figures began to move, brandishing large swords. Naiah hesitated a moment before entering the circular chamber, to give herself enough time to clothe herself in magical protection. Then she drew her bow, conserving her spells for later.
Mouse darted behind one of the armored figures, but not quickly enough to avoid a blow of its sword that elicited a scream from the gnome. He then maneuvered himself to hide behind the elven twins.
The two armored figures clanked loudly as they stomped toward the explorers. Thoin and Naiah peppered them with arrows, and Trevor joined them with his crossbow in hand.
Naiah was startled when Jerard suddenly made an appearance, sword in hand. Evidently he'd changed his mind and come to join them on his own. But he had no ranged weapons other than his throwing daggers, and moved up to meet the armored figures in hand-to-hand combat.
Jerard tried to skirt around one of the figures and suffered a blow from its blade, but managed to return the strike. Mouse, still hiding behind Naiah, called out to Zig the kobold, "Protect me!" Zig then hefted his axe and rushed the armored shapes.
Naiah was momentarily annoyed with the gnome for using the kobold in this way, for she suspected he'd used magic to persuade Zig to serve him. But a moment later Mouse made an arcane gesture and clothed the kobold in the same magical armor she herself wore.
Jerard struck another blow to one of the armor suits and it collapsed into its individual pieces, whatever force had animated it now gone. The group then turned their attentions to its companion. The armored constructs were difficult to defeat. They had no flesh to wound.
At last the combined attentions of the entire group managed to destroy the second figure, and it too collapsed with a crash in a heap of empty armor. Naiah and her companions stood panting in the silent circular chamber.
Trevor then began to examine the fallen armor, which he declared of Viridian manufacture. Naiah in the meanwhile made a brief motion and murmured an eldritch phrase. Her view of the room altered subtly as she began to scan for the aura of anything magical other than her friends.
The chamber was not empty; it contained a jade statue, which Trevor identified as a depiction of the Viridian emperor Ataxes. Mouse uncovered a secret compartment beneath the statue. Naiah didn't see if the compartment contained anything of interest.
Mouse then opened a door exiting out of the chamber, revealing a heap of rubble where the roof of the next room must have fallen in. Trevor suddenly exclaimed, "I see something crawling!" and Mouse quickly slammed the ancient door shut again.
Having satisfied themselves that there was nothing else to see in the circular room, the explorers moved on to search the remainder of that level of ruins. They passed through an empty room, and observed another tentacled, snake-like creature under a grate in a second room. Then they came upon another room containing two more armored figures like those they had taken such trouble to defeat.
Thoin tested the two suits of armor by tossing a stone into the room, which elicited some movement. He then fired an arrow into one of the armored figures. Mouse darted into the room with surprising bravery. Jerard groaned, "I wish we had some alchemist fire," before following his diminutive friend.
Naiah decided to forego her bow in favor of magic this time, but the orb of electricity she hurled failed to find its target. Frustrated, she returned to using a mundane weapon. Her brother found one of the armored figure's closing on him too near to fire his bow and instead resorted to clubbing the thing with the sturdy weapon.
Once again it was Jerard's blade that brought the first suit down. There was a pit or trench in the room, and Thoin attempted to knock its partner into the cavity, but the armored figure was too strong to be toppled.
Trevor drew his rapier and joined Mouse and Jerard as they faced the second figure at close quarters, managing to find a weak spot in the armor. Naiah lowered her bow and drew her silver dagger, sending a dagger of force to aid them.
This time Mouse laid the figure low, which was surprising to Naiah given the gnome's usual affinity for avoiding blades and keeping his distance. He seemed to her to dislike shedding blood. Perhaps because the armored figures had no blood he felt no such compunction.
In the trench they found a chest, protected by a spiked trap that Mouse easily circumvented with a spell. He sent a hand of arcane force over the trench to open the unlocked chest.
Inside the chest was a bag, which was so ancient that it ripped when Mouse's magical hand grasped it. They could all easily see the heap of gold coins revealed when the fabric tore.
Having determined that the spikes were present merely to injure anyone unwary enough to fall into the trench, the explorers crossed over to the chest and gathered up the coins. As they were ancient Viridian coins they would be of no use in the City, where only the Overlord's coinage was permitted. But Trevor told them that many antiquarians would be quite interested in such a trove. The chest also contained a magical dagger.
Having emptied the chest, the six companions proceeded on through the underground ruins. In the next room they found an assortment of old clothing, books and scrolls. Then they entered what appeared to be a burial chamber, containing stone plinths occupied by mummified corpses with the greenish skin characteristic of Viridians.
Among the burial goods in the tomb they found what appeared to be a book of spells. Naiah took charge of this with enthusiasm, eager to see what magics the Viridians might have employed that were unfamiliar to her.
Trevor meanwhile began to speak excitedly of his plans to send men to remove the bodies for study. Both Naiah and Thoin found this thought somewhat distasteful, but felt it imprudent to object since Trevor was their employer.
The tomb chamber also held a statue, that when moved aside proved to hide a coffer containing two magical crystals, a bag of green pearls, and an enchanted shirt and belt. Trevor announced that he knew of wizards who would be able to identify the magical properties of these objects, thus sparing Naiah the time and expense. She currently had no pearls in her possession for that purpose.
By this time all of the companions were weary, and Trevor was too excited by the burial to continue. They made their way slowly back to the surface unmolested and returned to the Blue Dolphin, saying a temporary farewell to Trevor Silverlock, who assured them that he would be able to provide them other employment in the near future.
That's been a really fun read! I shall definitely be following this one.
Drinking and Kobolds is a classic starting point for any story... and there seems to be the first murmerings of a really big plot. Worm Priests are no bad thing either!
Thanks very much!
Out of curiousity - what's the story with John Smith and Trevor the sometime PC? Is he someone who can only make some of the sessions?
Nothing to see here. Move along now.
Novice (Lvl 1)
- Join Date
- Mar 2005
- The Rose City
ř Ignore sniffles
Thanks, Inconsequeni-AL!! I'm glad someone's enjoying it.Originally Posted by Inconsequenti-AL
Yes, unfortunately John Smith sometimes has to work on game nights. DH is also not regularly available, and Jerard sometimes becomes an NPC as well (hence his sudden reappearance in the last entry when his player had been absent the previous session).
Gallant (Lvl 3)
I've always been interested in the City State of the Invincible Overlord, and its good to see it in play.
Can I put in a request for a bit more dialogue? The interaction between the player characters is my favourite part of a story hour.
Embrace the chaos!
Pathfinder RPG (no hearts were broken in the making of this product)
Novice (Lvl 1)
- Join Date
- Mar 2005
- The Rose City
ř Ignore sniffles
Thanks for the input, amethal. I expect to be adding more in-character dialogue now that I'm recording our sessions on audio.Originally Posted by amethal
Novice (Lvl 1)
- Join Date
- Mar 2005
- The Rose City
ř Ignore sniffles
Whew! This was a long one. Perhaps in future I'll compress the combat a bit.
It wasn't long before Trevor Silverlock made good on his promise and contacted Naiah and her companions once again. This time the job he offered seemed simple enough: he wished them to assist him in guarding a warehouse where he had stored items taken from the Viridian tomb. As he described it when he met them at the Blue Dolphin, "Some of the other antiquarians in the city are ... underhanded about how they acquire items for their collections."
As the five companions - Zig the kobold now having become Thoin's protege - accompanied Trevor to the warehouse, he explained that he had discovered items showing Mycretian influences among the Viridian ruins. This was curious, Naiah recognized, because the Viridians had hated and suppressed the pacifistic Mycretians.
The warehouse in question belonged to the Silverlock family, but Trevor's father had refused to provide additional guards. This was the reason Trevor had come to Naiah and her friends for aid.
On arriving at the warehouse, Naiah's companions spread themselves out among the stacks of crates, barrels and bags. Naiah found a quiet spot where she could use a heap of sacks as a makeshift cushion, away from Mouse and Jerard, who were both grumbling about why anyone would want to steal anything from among the Viridian relics.
While Naiah settled down to further peruse the new spellbook she'd acquired, her brother took up a position not far away in company with Zig, and Trevor sat at a desk beyond a stack of boxes, doing some research.
Naiah was thoroughly engrossed in the Viridian spells, which were written in an archaic style that took more time for her to interpret than she had anticipated. Suddenly she felt a sharp stinging sensation in her neck. As she put up a hand to discover the source of the discomfort, she was overcome with irresistible drowsiness. She slumped limply against the her improvised couch.
Thus Naiah was unaware of what transpired in the warehouse for the next several minutes. Mouse and Jerard heard several odd noises and went to investigate. Mouse discovered a dart stuck in a crate near his position. He then found himself menaced by a small figure wearing dark clothing and a mask and brandishing a blowgun.
Jerard meanwhile impaled another masked attacker through the throat with a thrown dagger. Thoin, also finding himself under threat, fired his bow and began shouting an alarm to his companions. Trevor leaped up from the desk and loaded his crossbow, but his first bolt went wide of the mark.
Mouse turned to magic to handle the next foe he met, persuading the attacker - which proved to be a goblin - to tell him who had sent them. The goblin confessed that they had been dispatched by someone called Ranni, but had no other information to give. Mouse then directed the goblin to go and find its companions and bring them to the gnome, whereupon the goblin departed and was not seen again.
Thoin clubbed another goblin with his sturdy elven-made bow, then ran to find his twin. He discovered her insensible on the pile of sacks and shook her awake.
Naiah revived to find her brother leaning over her with his dark brows knitted in concern. She rubbed her eyes sleepily and then felt her neck, her fingers coming away stained with drying blood. "What happened?" she mumbled drowsily.
"We were attacked by masked goblins," he explained. "I think you were hit by a poisoned dart. I was hit also, but the poison didn't affect me. Get up. There are still more goblins here."
Mouse appeared unexpectedly at her side, looking at her with a serious expression. Then he turned to Thoin. "There's nothing I can do. I think she's done for," he said solemnly.
Thoin stared at the gnome with a perplexed look on his pale features. "What do you mean? The blood has already dried. It is a minor injury."
"I'm just saying, it looks bad to me," the gnome replied. "You shouldn't joke about such things," Thoin answered irritably.
Naiah clambered to her feet, still groggy from the poison. As her brother had warned, more goblins came around a stack of crates nearby, surrounding the point where she, Mouse and Thoin stood. Thoin fired his bow, dropping one goblin immediately.
Naiah withdrew a crossbow bolt from her quiver and sent it flying at the goblins with a whisper of "Fly straight and true."
Mouse suddenly exclaimed, "I hear something!" and darted away. Naiah realized she could faintly hear the sound of splintering wood, as though someone was breaking apart one of the crates.
Her attention was turned away from that sound when a figure larger than a goblin clambered over the stacked boxes, entering the aisle where she and her brother stood. This figure was as tall as Thoin but more heavily muscled, and its skin was a reddish color. The hobgoblin glared menacingly at the twin elves and stalked toward them.
Thoin fired an arrow into the hobgoblin's shoulder. In response the creature grasped the shaft and plucked the arrow from his flesh, his expression growing even more murderous.
Thoin turned and began to scramble up the stacked boxes behind him. Naiah quickly gathered up her skirts and followed her brother's example. By Cilboreth's mercy she had recovered her wits enough that she didn't fall.
From their perch atop the crates, Thoin fired another arrow into the approaching hobgoblin, with the same result as before. The hobgoblin appeared to be trying to intimidate them by showing how little Thoin's arrows hurt him.
Several goblins had followed him around the corner of the stacked merchandise. Naiah pointed at them, uttering the words, "Find my foes!" as two silvery motes of force shot away from her fingertip. The motes obeyed her command and struck two of the goblins, causing them to grunt with pain.
Zig the kobold had been following Thoin, going unnoticed by Naiah until now. The little creature uttered an inarticulate screech and rushed the hobgoblin, wildly swinging his small axe with both hands. He swung with such abandon that he entirely missed the larger creature.
The hobgoblin, who had been brandishing a shortbow, dropped his bow and drew a flail from his belt. He lashed out, striking Zig a harsh blow. The kobold slumped to the floor, bleeding profusely.
"No!" cried Thoin, who had grown attached to his curious little protégé. He peppered the furious hobgoblin with arrows. Naiah fired off two more missiles of force, this time bringing down one of the goblins behind the larger foe.
Mouse reappeared atop a neighboring heap of items, pointing his finger at the hobgoblin in a gesture not unlike the gesture Naiah had used. But instead of motes of force issuing from his fingertips, he said, "You want to be my friend," to the hobgoblin in a self-assured tone.
The hobgoblin showed no sign of having heard Mouse's command. He stepped over the fallen Zig with disdain and continued his advance.
Thoin leaped down from his vantage, lowering his bow and drawing a wand from his belt. Naiah recognized it as the wand of curative magic he had acquired in their exploration of the Viridian ruins. He directed the wand at Zig and she could see the kobold's wounds stop bleeding.
As the hobgoblin stepped over the still prone kobold, Zig stirred and swung his axe upward, attempting to hamstring his larger opponent. But he was hampered by his position and his blade failed to find purchase in the hobgoblin's flesh.
The hobgoblin, oblivious to Zig's attack, lashed out at Thoin with his flail, drawing blood. His eyes blazed with raw fury. Thoin took a step back and sent a shaft burrowing deep into his enemy's chest. But the hobgoblin's rage seemed to fuel his life force and he showed no sign of faltering.
The narrow aisle below was swarming with enemies. Naiah moved her hands gracefully and said, "Lunia's light embrace me," feeling her skin tingle as she was engulfed by silvery radiance. She took a step back to set herself further from her nearest foe.
"Oh, thank you for making me more visible!" Mouse complained as the silvery glow fell upon him. He had skipped nimbly across the crates to stand behind her. "I'm sorry," Naiah apologized. But she did not dismiss Lunia's light.
Two goblins scrambled up the pile toward Mouse, who backed up nervously. One goblin lost his purchase on the boxes and fell back to the floor, but his companion managed to reach the gnome. Naiah had seldom seen Mouse use his rapier to do any foe injury, and this time was no exception. He clubbed the goblin with the blade's pommel, knocking the creature off its perch. It landed on the floor behind Thoin, momentarily stunned.
"Sister, I could use some assistance!" Thoin exclaimed from below. He was still being menaced by the ugly hobgoblin. Naiah released Lunia's light in a surge, two silver rays shooting from her to strike the two goblins. One of them went still. The radiance surrounding Naiah faded, Lunia's energy now expended.
The hobgoblin in front of Thoin suddenly surged forward, attempting to push Thoin back against the crates. Zig screeched as the hobgoblin tread on his hand. Thoin tried to club his opponent with his bow, but the hobgoblin was too close for a blow to land. Thoin resisted the hobgoblin's rush and shoved back, knocking his enemy to the ground.
Naiah, realizing that she had expended most of her offensive magics, drew her bow and fired an arrow at the fallen hobgoblin - but even with the advantage of height, her shaft couldn't penetrate his heavy armor. She dropped her bow and slapped her hand to her waist, where her gift from the Overlord was thrust through her belt. "I'm such a fool!" she exclaimed, drawing the wand.
In the meantime the hobgoblin rolled back to his feet and swung his flail at her brother. Zig the kobold had also regained his feet and lunged at the hobgoblin, squealing furiously, but once again his axe found no purchase through the hobgoblin's armor.
The hobgoblin seemed to be leading a charmed life in Naiah's opinion. Jerard came darting around the wall of stacked crates with great agility to position himself opposite Mouse, but his stab was no more successful than her arrow or Zig's axe.
Then her brother's next arrow sunk into their foe's body and she could see a rime of frost form on his red hide around the wound, caused by the enchanted crystal now attached to Thoin's bow. "Surrender is your only choice," Thoin said confidently to the hobgoblin. The hobgoblin merely growled in return.
Now Trevor Silverlock joined the battle against the mighty hobgoblin, but the hobgoblin's luck prevailed and Trevor's crossbow bolt went wide of the mark. Mouse pointed his finger and once again attempted to charm the hobgoblin into friendship without success.
Hoping that she would experience the same success as her brother, Naiah uttered the word to command the wand and a ray shot from the tip to strike the hobgoblin. It should have weakened him, but he showed no indication that it had any effect. Naiah frowned.
To her surprise, the hobgoblin began to move away from the group surrounding him. As he did so Thoin fired another cold-enhanced arrow into his body. The hobgoblin staggered and attempted to jerk the shaft free of his flesh as he had before, but he was obviously too weakened by his many wounds.
Now Mouse's hands moved in a complex gesture as though weaving yarn. Naiah recognized by the arcane phrase he spoke that the spell was meant to cause a veil of shadows to fall over the subject's eyes, leaving his vision limited. The hobgoblin seemed confused when he suddenly could see only a short distance around himself and all of his foes were no longer visible to him.
Concluding that her skills were of no more use and that her brother had the hobgoblin well in hand, Naiah climbed down from her perch and cautiously peeked around the crates to see what lay beyond. She saw only a number of goblin corpses scattered on the floor, some penetrated by crossbow bolts, others evincing stab wounds.
She heard a sound behind her, a grunt of pain that did not sound like her brother or any of her companions. When she turned to look back at them she saw that the half-blinded hobgoblin had sunk to his knees and drawn his dagger. As she watched, he drew the dagger across his own throat and fell on his face, a pool of dark blood spreading rapidly beneath him.
"What a waste," her brother remarked regretfully. Naiah stared sadly at this spectacle. The hobgoblin had been a might and admirable warrior. "I would not wish to face an army of those," she answered, gesturing toward the dead hobgoblin.
When they had assured themselves that no more enemies occupied the warehouse, the small group set to work gathering up their fallen foes' possessions. Jerard collected a substantial number of small curved blades that had been carried by the goblins, all of them of fine craftsmanship. Trevor took up the fine longbow the hobgoblin warrior had borne. The hobgoblin's corpse was also divested of its suit of well-made plate armor and flail.
Naiah reflected silently that it seemed somehow wrong to take his belongings in this manner, but after all it would serve no useful purpose to destroy them or leave them to rust.
"He killed them!" Mouse wailed suddenly. Naiah went to investigate his cry and found the gnome just outside the warehouse where the goblins had broken in, looking down sadly on three goblin corpses. They had obviously been struck by a weapon such as the flail the hobgoblin had used. "I told them to go tell their boss not to come back here, and that red-skin killed them," Mouse told Naiah sadly.
They returned to the warehouse to find their companions examining the remains of several crates that the goblins had broken into. The contents of the crates had been several clay tablets inscribed in the Mycretian language, an odd choice of target for thieves to Naiah's mind.
"Someone doesn't want us to learn more about the connection between the Viridians and the Mycretians, I think," said Trevor. "I've been planning a voyage to the Holy Cities to learn more about this subject. I think it's more important than ever to do it as soon as possible. Would you be interested in accompanying me?" He looked around hopefully at the five companions. "I'd gladly pay you a substantial wage to act as my bodyguards."
Naiah looked to her brother. They had been sent out of Palewood to learn more of the rest of the world, and visiting the Holy Cities would certainly achieve that goal, in addition to satisfying Naiah's curiosity. Thoin nodded. "I would be glad to travel with you, Trevor Silverlock."
Mouse shrugged. "If there's gold in it, sure, why not?" Jerard shook his head. "No sea voyages for me, thanks!"
"Very well," said Trevor. "My family has been outfitting a new sailing vessel, the Maiden of the High Seas. She should be ready to sail in about two week's time. Shall we plan to meet then and prepare for our journey?"
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