Sagiro's Story Hour: The FINAL Adventures of Abernathy's Company (FINISHED 7/3/14) - Page 55


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  1. #541
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    This is why I undertake all of my evil rituals using project image.
    Still excited about 4th edition!

    'If there steady paycheck in it, Krusk rage against anything you say.' - this post

 

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    This is my favorite run ever.

    Mokad is such a liar, and such a convincing liar. He had us worried. I'm still shocked that the plan to kidnap Praska actually worked. I can't remember being more nervous. The group was not a big fan of sending one person in to kidnap her, and neither was I, but it was one of the few tasks that matched Dranko's skill set really well.

    The aftermath, though? Ouch.
    Last edited by Piratecat; Tuesday, 23rd November, 2010 at 06:33 PM.
    - Piratecat, EN World Admin. Now writing TimeWatch, an investigative time travel game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagiro View Post
    ...Crap!

    …to be continued…
    Crap, indeed!

    Wow, this is so good! More! More!
    Forward! We've got them right where they want us!
    Yes, there can be more than one right answer to a rules question! It can be an exercise in futility to attempt to apply a great deal of precision to an imprecise set of rules.

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    I take it that this is the point in the game where in the aftermath, Sagiro tells the party exactly how badly the Black Circle had to scramble in order to locate Abernathy's Company, in SH style? Well, it looks like we have a treat to look forward to. The next writeup is going to be so much fun.
    Game balance is a myth that I wholeheartedly subscribe to. ~ Sepulchrave II

  • #545
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    I joined just to keep reading this--my unregistered access to Story Hour threads apparently was dismissed some time ago, so I registered, and now I'm briefly delurking. I've been enjoying the Company's adventures for some time, as a friend from another bb recommended them to me, and through them, I've also discovered Sepulchrave's writing--this forum is a veritable library for me. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • #546
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    RedTonic: I'm flattered that you'd register just for the story; it's a fine community, and welcome to it! Also, nothing goes to my head faster than being mentioned in the same sentence as Sepulchrave.

    Solarious: Exactly right! Here it is.

    Sagiro’s Story Hour, Part 320
    How The Other Half Lives

    "Cor Kek! Cor Kek!"

    The Grand Diviner of the Black Circle looks up from his desk and slides his reading glasses down to his nose.

    "Calm down, Six Thoughts. Take a deep breath. Good. Now, what's this all about?"

    "It's Mokad," says the woman. "He's gone."

    Cor Kek straightens up, and thinks for a moment. This could explain the ominous (if vague) signs from the Morning Portents these past few weeks. He had figured the warnings concerned the greater mission of the Temple, but now, in hindsight...

    "What do you mean, gone?"

    "I mean, vanished. Like he teleported. And there was someone else - I didn't see his face. I was coming out of the dorms for evening prayers in the Dome, and one of the acolytes was handing something to Mokad. He took it, and then the two of them blinked out."

    Cor Kek rubs his temples. Mokad warned him this might happen when he had first shown up in Kai Kin. "I'm riding around in the body of a girl named Praska," Mokad had said. "And Praska is the childhood friend of Dranko Blackhope, a member of an extremely formidable adventuring party. Given their absurdly overblown sense of heroism, it's a good bet that they'll eventually try to reverse what I've done."

    "Reverse it?" Cor-Kek had scoffed. "Unlikely! They'd have to perform the Ritual of Seven Stars, and they'd need YOU. They wouldn't dare accost us here, and the Book of Lies still shields you."

    "Do NOT underestimate them," Mokad had snapped. "Remember, they were able to plunder the Merging Room in Kallor, which included whole shelves of sacred texts. They have wizards among them smarter and more puissant than even Tai-En. They could cast the Seven Stars if they put their minds to it. And do not forget this - this is the group of so-called heroes that not only thwarted the Merging, but somehow sealed the rift at Verdshane. Their Ellish witch is probably your equal in the spiritual sphere, and they have a spellsword from Condor's direct line. These are Alander's Chosen, and you know that because of that confounded dwarvish Earth Mage, our divinations concerning them are... not always reliable."

    "Yes, fine," said Cor-Kek. "These are dangerous people, I understand. What do you propose we do about it?"

    "I propose that I stay here, remain in the sanctums whenever possible, stay mind blanked at all times, and hope they don't get the foolish notion of disjoining the Book of Lies. We only have to delay them a few more months, and then it won't matter. But I'll tell you right now - I won't leave the temple grounds without telling you. If I turn up missing someday, you can bet your last mirac it's Alander's Chosen."


    * *


    That was several months ago, and all has seemed quiet, though there was a disturbing report that the Spire had found and destroyed Nazg Hodeth in Charagan. But now Mokad was gone, and under suspicious circumstances. Was it, in fact, Dranko Blackhope come to rescue his old friend?

    "Six Thoughts, summon Tai-En and Tel-Mek to the Dome. Have Ashen Cloud bring a pot of divinatory elixir from the stores, and a Scroll of discern location. We'll get to the bottom of this."

    A few minutes later, Cor-Kek, Grand Diviner, is standing in the Seeing Ring beneath the temple's central dome, surrounded by his most powerful servants.

    "Can't we just scry for Mokad?" asks Tai-En.

    "No," says Cor-Kek grimly. "The Book of Lies shields him."

    "The Book may have been broken," says Tai-En. "How else would they have known he was here?"

    "True," admits Kek. He reads the scroll, and names Mokad as his target. Nothing.

    "I will commune, then," says Cor-Kek. He spends some minutes chanting in the Seeing Ring, and is granted insight into the Black Circle that encompasses all knowledge.

    "Have Dranko Blackhope or his allies recently infiltrated the temple grounds?"

    I DO NOT KNOW

    "Crap. He's in a sanctum, or he's mind blanked. Which he'd have to be, if he was just here."

    "Has any member of the Spire Guard conspired to kidnap Mokad?"

    I DO NOT KNOW

    "...Which means all of them are similarly protected."

    "Is anyone attempting, or planning to attempt, the Ritual of Seven Stars?"

    I DO NOT KNOW

    "You need to divine the edges," says Tai-En. "Nothing that directly implies the people involved. They're all shielded."

    "I know how this works," snaps Cor-Kek. "I'm being thorough."

    "Is there, somewhere in Kivia, a Ritual Chamber set up to perform the Ritual of Seven Stars?"

    NO

    "What about in Charagan?"

    I DO NOT KNOW

    "You don't know?!" says Kek, glancing down at the Seeing Ring. “Though the lack of certainty is as good as a ‘yes,’ I suppose…”

    "They could have sanctums up around the Ritual Room, if that's what they're up to," says Tai-En.

    "But that would disrupt the Seven Stars," points out Kek.

    "They could be waiting until they start the ritual to drop the sanctums," says En. "And we can't just keep casting commune every hour. For all we know they don't plan on starting for a week!"

    "Okay, okay. I need more time to consider. It's possible that they don't even know about the Seven Stars. And in the worst case, they started five minutes ago and we have three hours to plan."

    Cor-Kek asks the remainder of his questions, gleaning answers to unrelated problems. Then he sits and meditates. The others wait patiently.

    Half an hour later he opens his eyes.

    "The Circle is with me," he says. "First, I must prepare a second commune. Then, says the Circle, I must give of myself, and so I will."

    Fifteen minutes later, with another commune prepared in an empty spell-slot, Cor-Kek makes his appeal. "Black Circle, source of knowledge, my life is yours. I pray that the magics preventing me from finding what I seek be stripped away for the next hour, so that I may rescue my friend from death."

    So saying, he casts miracle. Then he immediately casts a second commune.

    Is Mokad being subject to the Ritual of Seven Stars?"

    I DO NOT KNOW

    Cor-Kek furrows his brow, but is not too surprised that the Book of Lies is stronger than his Miracle.

    "Are Dranko Blackhope and his compatriots engaged in or planning a Black Circle ritual?"

    I DO NOT KNOW

    Cor-Kek curses. Could these people have magics powerful enough to thwart a Miracle cast inside a Seeing Ring? Still, he presses on.

    "Is there, somewhere in Charagan, a Ritual Chamber set up to perform the Ritual of Seven Stars?"

    YES

    "Ah ha!"

    "Is that place Nazg Hodeth?"

    NO

    "Is that place Aza Temg?"

    YES

    "Is the ritual in progress?"

    I DO NOT KNOW

    "Crap. Too close to the people involved."

    "Are there glowing wooden rods set into a wall in Aza Temg?"

    YES

    "Have they been glowing for more than an hour?"

    YES

    "More than two hours?"

    NO

    "Has the area around them been trapped or safeguarded against intrusion?"

    YES

    "Would we circumvent any of the traps by arriving in mid-air?"

    YES

    "Is the Merging Room still intact, such that it would be safe to teleport directly inside?"

    YES, THOUGH THERE ARE PILLARS

    "Are the traps mechanical in nature?"

    NO

    "Are they magical?"

    YES

    "Do we have sufficient power here at the temple to defeat our enemies and free Mokad, teleporting in as many as we can?"

    I DON'T KNOW

    "Right. Of course not."

    "Is the Seven Star Ritual set up inside the original Merging Room of Aza Temg?"

    YES

    Cor-Kek smiles and rubs his hands together. That's enough, he decides. He asks some more questions at the end, then stands up.

    "We have them," he says to his fellow priests and priestesses. "Mokad warned me this could happen. I should have taken him more seriously. Alander's Chosen are casting the Ritual of Seven Stars on Mokad, right now, in the Charagan stronghold of Aza Temg."

    He turns to Tel-Mek, his bodyguard. "Fetch Perrin Greybeard - the priest who came here from Charagan the day after the Boundary went down. If memory serves, he worked on constructing Aza Temg beneath the Twilight City. We'll need him to describe where we're going so the wizards can teleport us in."

    Then, to Tai-En: "We should have at least an hour before they can finish their ritual. Find Sen-Pi and make sure she has greater teleport today; if not, we should have a scroll in the library. Figure out how many we can take between the two of you. It'll be me, you, Tel-Mek, Sen-Pi, Clavyn, Three Winks, Mon-Zat, and how ever many of Mek's elites we still have room for. Get them all back here as soon as you can, and we'll start preparing ourselves. I want mass fly and mass invisibility, plus whatever buffing spells we have prepared. Pull more scrolls from the library if you have to.

    “If Mokad was right, we're about to have the fight of our lives."

    ...to be continued...
    Last edited by Sagiro; Thursday, 9th December, 2010 at 08:10 AM.

  • #547
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    Just wanted to say I really love these kinds of posts. As a gm, I really can appreciate the bad guy pov and love seeing how the Black Circle got around the plans of the PCs.

    Now I have a question: (if you don't mind sharing) How did you design the Black Circle's reaction to the PC's intricate plans? Was this post hindsight reasoning for the Black Circle's interference or did you come up with the plan on the fly after hearing the PCs plans?

    (I'm a bad gm, and tend to just have the bad guys show up for the climatic fight and come up with a reason why later. Usually because my players are pretty damn smart and stump me until I've had time to think.)

  • #548
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post
    Now I have a question: (if you don't mind sharing) How did you design the Black Circle's reaction to the PC's intricate plans?
    I can't speak for Sagiro, but I can guess. Our group has a long history of divining around the edges of things, like when we found Het Brannoi despite the divination sinks. Sagiro has had to adjudicate each of these. I have no doubt that Sagiro thought long and hard about how the bad guys might be able to find us after Mokad disappeared.

    This was possibly my favorite post-game hand-out we've gotten. I love that all of Mokad's specious justifications to us, the ones that were so well given they almost had us doubting ourselves, were bald-faced lies. I also love that there was a good reason for this ambush, and that he didn't circumvent our defenses willy-nilly.
    - Piratecat, EN World Admin. Now writing TimeWatch, an investigative time travel game.

  • #549
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    I had an advantage: Piratecat and I ran through his kidnapping mission over e-mail, which meant I had plenty of time to think about what the Black Circle would do if Mokad was abducted. And Piratecat's right: the party has taught me plenty about creative ways to get around mind blanks and private sanctums and such.

    Also, the Black Circle folk are expert Diviners, so I didn't hold back -- I figured that anything I could think of, they could think of. Finally, I had decided that if the party did anything so clever that I *couldn't* easily justify the Black Circle finding them, I'd have Cor Kek cast a miracle in response. (Kibi's wish was that thing, in this case.)

    That was kind of a shame; Cor Kek would have loved to have that miracle back in the ensuing fight!

  • #550
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagiro View Post
    That was kind of a shame; Cor Kek would have loved to have that miracle back in the ensuing fight!
    Speaking of which...

    Hey Sagiro & gang, just wanted to say that I'm still really enjoying this Story Hour, your ongoing adventures are just awesomely fun to read! Can't wait to see how this battle turns out...if the past is any indicator, the Black Circle invaders will regret their efforts!

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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