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"Out of the Frying Pan" - Book II: Catching the Spark (Part One)

Dawn

First Post
Thanks for the information on the colors.

Looks like our heros are a little out numbered. But since when has that stopped them.
 

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Ciaran

First Post
Dawn said:
Looks like our heros are a little out numbered. But since when has that stopped them.
That's because we're too stupid to run away just because we're outnumbered and outgunned. But don't worry, that attitude comes back to bite us later on. Eventually, we do learn to get the hell out of Dodge when things get ugly, but not 'till we learn the price you pay for overconfidence...

- Eric
 

Riekhan

First Post
That's because we're too stupid to run away just because we're outnumbered and outgunned. But don't worry, that attitude comes back to bite us later on. Eventually, we do learn to get the hell out of Dodge when things get ugly, but not 'till we learn the price you pay for overconfidence...

Could that be any more of a tease.:)
 

Martin Olarin

First Post
Ciaran said:

That's because we're too stupid to run away just because we're outnumbered and outgunned. But don't worry, that attitude comes back to bite us later on. Eventually, we do learn to get the hell out of Dodge when things get ugly, but not 'till we learn the price you pay for overconfidence...

- Eric


Doesn't this opinion(s) really depend upon a character's POV? I don't think all the character's would agree that we've acted stupidly. Some would say that we acted the only way we could given the circumstances.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Perhaps there are some choices the PCs have made (or specific PCs) that can be deemed stupid or at least reckless in retrospect - but hindsight is 20/20. . .

The one example I can think of has not been reached in the story hour yet - so I'll refrain from mentioning it.

-------------------------

Also - I am working on an installment now - so expect to see it up later tonight or tomorrow.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #22 (Part II)

The braziers crackled softly, as cold air wafted down through the thorn-covered opening in the ceiling.

Ratchis laid a hand on Jeremy’s shoulder and called to his goddess, “Nephthys, we may soon be in danger. Please heal this wild one so that we may be prepared for battle.”

Kazrack walked past Ratchis and the elf that had opened the door and into the large damp chamber.

“I don’t know what it is we have to talk about, unless you can explain why the elves upstairs were charmed,” Kazrack said to Richard the Red, his smiled broadened.

“Not so hasty,” Richard said. “Why don’t you come into the room where we can talk more clearly and in a civilized manner?”

“Why should we trust you?” Ratchis asked, stepping in. Martin stepped in as well.

“Why shouldn’t you?” Richard asked. “If anything, I should not trust you. We had an agreement to talk before and you suddenly attacked me. Perhaps it is I who am foolish to trust you and give you another chance, but I have to admit I am biased by the presence of an alumnus in your ranks.”

“So, what say you?” Martin said. “What do we have to discuss?”

“Like I said, not so hasty,” Richard eyes, Jeremy who aimed his crossbow at the Watch-Mage from the doorway. Jana walked up beside the Neergaardian.

“Information does not come free,” Richard the Red said. “I prefer a fair and equal exchange. Question for question. You ask and then I ask. One question at a time.”

The party contemplated his offer in silence.

“Why should we?” Kazrack asked.

“You want information. I want information. We can fight and learn nothing, or we exchange information and try to deal with this diplomatically. Personally, I’d prefer to not fight,” Richard replied. “Look, I will even dismiss the wolves as a sign of good faith.”

With a way of his hand the wolves disappeared in a puff of sulfuric smoke.

“Martin, were those illusions?” Kazrack whispered.

“I don’t think so,” Martin replied.

Martin, Kazrack and Ratchis conferred for a moment, and then agreed to the exchange.

“Okay, so we’ll each get a turn to ask a question and answer it as completely and honestly as possible. Of course, you we can reserve the right to not answer a question – but that means the asker gets to ask a different question. I hope it does not come to that however. You can start,” Richard’s smile never faded.

“Ok,” said Ratchis. “What are you doing here with these elves?”

“I’m here to prevent these elves from doing something that they’ve been doing for a long time, that disrupt the power balance not only here, but across what is known of Aquerra,” Richard replied.

“That is not a very clear answer,” Ratchis said, gruffly.

Richard the Red sighed, “Looks like I am going to have to give away some of your secrets, guys.” He looked to the elves that stood, bows drawn, with blank faces. “You don’t mind do you? I didn’t think you would.”

Richard let out a small laugh. “They are so agreeable! Anyway, have any of you ever heard of the Novilustani? You might know them as drow, or dark elves.” (55)

“Dwarves tell such stories,” Kazrack replied.

“I thought they were a myth,” said Ratchis.

“Oh, they are not a myth. Trust me,” said Richard. “Anyway, this place was established to guard over an entrance to the Plutonic Realms (56) and warn if the drow should seek to return to the surface, and to guard over a power that the elves feel that the dark elves should not get their hands on. I plan to allow the dark elves to re-gain this power.”

“What?!” Martin cried.

“Is that a question?” Richard said, calmly. “I’m sorry, but I do believe it is my turn.”

“Fine,” Kazrack said, grumpily.

“So, why have you come here? Was it only to find this elven maiden, or was there more to it?” Richard asked.

The companions looked at each other, and Ratchis spoke up, “We came seek help from the elves to help some gnomes to the north who need it against an a common enemy.”

“I see,” Richard said, scratching his chin. “Is that it? All this trouble for such a simple thing.”

“Different people have different priorities,” Kazrack said. “Some people want to release evil in the world, others want to help innocent gnomes.”

Richard the Red laughed. “Your turn.”

“Let me first state that I am a priest of Nephthys,” Ratchis said.

“I guessed,” Richard said with a slightly mocking tone.

“How do you think its possible to convince us not to stop you when these elves are here to warn the against the coming of a great evil?” Ratchis asked.

“Because I can see a bigger picture than you can,” Richard said smarmily. “I learned in my adventures that the drow are gearing up for another attack on the surface. The elves have grown complacent, and they have lost their imagination when it comes to dealing with these kinds of crisis situations. The time of the elves is passing, and all they will leave us is the legacy of this evil. Well, if they can’t do anything about it, I will.”

He paused, and looked at each of the companions in turn, trying to search their face for some kind of understanding.

“There is something about the society of the Novilustani you need to know,” Richard said in a patronizing tone. “They respect nothing but power and deceit. It is their small numbers and their constant in-fighting that keeps them in check. However, certain powerful families have accumulated power, and unless something is introduced to lead to another power struggle we can expect an attack soon, perhaps as soon as 10 years from now. My plan is to allow them to have this great power and struggle over it. The dark elves will destroy their own power base and their assault could be delayed for hundreds of years, if not longer.”

Again, there was silence as the party contemplated the answer they received.

“So, here is a question for you,” Richard said. “What is the nature of the danger to these gnomes you mentioned?”

The three companions who were concerning themselves with the questioning conferred. Finally, Martin replied, “It is an internal struggle.”

“Is that all you are going to say?” Richard asked. “I do not doubt it is technically the truth, but how can I help you if you withhold important information from me. It would be unfortunate if your friends suffered for your obstinacy,” Richard the Red commented.

“That is all we can say on the matter,” Ratchis stated.

“Have it your way,” Richard said, sounding slightly annoyed.

“Our turn,” Ratchis said. “Please give us a moment to confer.”

“Of course,” Richard smiled.

Martin, Kazrack and Ratchis spoke in hushed tones for a few moments.

Martin spoke, “What evidence do you have that the elves will be unable to defeat the drow and that we should allow your plan to proceed in hopes the drow destroy themselves?”

Richard did not hesitate, “You have my word. I am sorry I have nothing else to offer you, but I am a wizard of the Academy, do you think I’d risk the release of such an evil unless I had reason to believe there’d be a greater good involved? Since men were running around in furs like orcs… no offense…”

“None taken,” Ratchis said.

“This place has stood since that time to watch for the coming of the Novilustani, but they are not prepared. Does not the ease with which I stand here prove that?” Richard said.

“Is that a question?” Kazrack asked.

“It was a rhetorical one,” Richard replied.

“What is all this really about?” Jeremy suddenly piped in, walking into the room while keeping his crossbow trained on Richard.

“I thought it was my turn to ask,” Richard said.

“It is. Ignore him,” said Ratchis.

“We usually do,” added Kazrack.

“Hey!” Jeremy exclaimed.

“Yes, I know,” Richard replied. “But do you see what happens if are too literal with this arrangement? We waste time with semantics instead of exchanging information. Regardless, my turn to ask: If I could offer you help with this gnomish internal struggle, as you call it, will you leave me to this mission? All you need do is wait here, and make sure no one else disturbs the delicate procedures by which I will accomplish my task, and then I will accompany you to aid in you own mission.”

“I don’t think we know enough about what you are trying to do to agree with such a plan,” Martin said.

“And from the little we do know, I would say it is unlikely,” Ratchis added.

Richard the Red sighed, “that is truly unfortunate.”

“Our turn, “ Kazrack said.

“Wait,” Richard lifted a hand, his smile having faded to an emotionless visage. “I think I am done with this. I have nothing more to ask you if you are going to only give me vague or partial answers.”

“You cannot expect us to simply leave these elves to your whim,” Ratchis asserted. “At least the gnomes are free to defend themselves.”

“Well, if you think it will help us come to a more peaceful situation, I will answer more questions, but do not expect me to be as forth-coming if you are not offering information in return.”

“Who is that girl?” Jana asked, speaking up for the first time and pointing to the figure still lying on the stone pedestal.

“Oh her,” Richard said. “She is a local girl who is helping me contain and control the power. It is a difficult prospect, but she will succeed with my help.”

“And those wolves?” Jana asked. “I got the impression they were of a fiendish origin.”

“The tools of the enemy can be used against them,’ Richard said, simply.

“Don’t you think this has a chance of corrupting you?” Ratchis asked.

“No, they are under my control. They do what I say,” Richard replied.

Again, there was tense silence. One of the elves let the tension down on his readied bow, and shook his hand as if it had grown sore, but then returned to his readied position.

“Maybe I can send someone to fetch some food,” Richard suggested.

“No thank you,” replied Ratchis.

“Not hungry,” said Martin.

“And why will this power lead to the dark elves’ defeat?” asked Kazrack.

“I said because they’ll fight over it,” Richard replied in an exasperated tone.

“Did they once have this power?” the dwarf asked.

“In the Second Age,” Richard said.

“Did it hasten their fall then?”

“Yes, and it will do so again. They will war among themselves for a long time.”

“What will happen in the meantime? I mean, what effect with this war have on Derome-Delem?” Kazrack asked.

“Well, there will be some upheaval. This cannot be avoided, but some loss of life is necessary to staunch the death, destruction and suffering that is sure to follow if this menace is left unchecked.”

“Where are all the female elves?” Ratchis asked. “All the elves we have seen here thus far have been male.”

“There are only males here,” Richard replied.

“And what is the matter with them?” the half-orc asked.

“Oh they are fine,” Richard’s smile returned. “It is quite a simple thing. Yes, a simple thing.” The Watch-Mage paused, and his sense of pride was palpable in the air. “You see, they are in reverie (57). They are dreaming, or at least they think they are dreaming and thus open to suggestion.”

“So you are controlling these elves?” Ratchis asked, the anger growing in his voice.

“Controlling? No.” said Richard, his voice returning to his polite tone. “Actually, it is really ingenious. Let me take a minute to brag about it, if you’ll indulge me. You see, in dreams, even the most irrational things make sense. For me to know what is best for them, for them to follow my suggestions would make no sense in waking life, but in dreams it makes perfect sense. It is really a simple thing. Simple, but pure genius if I do say so myself - It is that kind of thinking that leads one to graduating first in his class at the Academy, which I did.”

“I am finding this all very hard to tolerate,” Ratchis said. “Let us speak to Tirhas, and if see she is not ensorcelled and she tells gives us a reasonable explanation, perhaps we can let this go.”

“She cannot be disturbed,” Richard replied.

“Convenient,” Martin murmured.

“Oh, you know Martin, not sure if you have heard the news about the Archmage Nemmerle,” Richard said. “You did hear he was ill, right?” (58)

“Yes,” Martin replied.

“Well, he passed on very recently. I thought you might like to know,” Richard said. “Poor old man. It would break his kindly heart to know that two alumni were at odds like this. I can still remember bits of his traditional speech at commencement, just before we took the oath.”

“What does the Academy oath say about letting magic into the wrong hands?” Martin asked, his voice gaining the slightest bit of confidence.

“Oh, the oath,” Richard laughed. “Come now. It is ridiculous that some oath made when we were wet behind the ears and didn’t know our elbow from our arse is supposed to bind us throughout the rest of our lives. Real life outside of the Academy, and what we learn while we are there are two very different things.”

“You broke your oath!” Martin’s voice grew louder. “The oath is the profession of our duty and the guideline by witch we act.”

“That’s unfortunate,” Richard scoffed.

“Unfortunate that you broke your oath?”

“No, unfortunate that it is written so poorly, so narrowly, that it cannot foresee the necessities of the world beyond the walls of the Academy.”

“Get ready to take out that elf on the left,” Ratchis said to Kazrack in not quite a low enough voice.

“Jeremy, get ready!” Kazrack said.

“Oh, this is so stupid!” Richard roared. “You idiots! You are going to force my hand aren’t you?”

And with that the fiendish wolves reappeared, except this time there were on 3 of them.

The elves did not hesitate, as the elf who had opened the door fired an arrow at Ratchis, striking him deep in the calf. Ratchis felt the muscle spasm in pain, as blood soaked his pant leg and the fur of his boots. The pain would slow him down. (59)

However, Jeremy had not let down his guard either and he fired his crossbow at Richard.

Even as the bolt went flying toward Richard, in his mind’s eye Jeremy felt that he was flying directly behind it. Even as it left the crossbow he knew this was once in a great while kind of shot that an archer has, where nothing could go wrong. It felt as easy reaching out and placing the arrow into the target with your hand. No, this was better than that. This was one of those once in a lifetime shots. This was going to be the shot that killed Richard the Red, the mightiest wizard Jeremy had ever seen. The bolt raced towards Richard’s neck, aimed right for the Osiris’ Apple (60) that Jeremy had watched bob up and down as the Watch-Mage talked and talked.

The bolt struck. (61)

And then bounced off to no effect, landing with a clatter drowned out by the yelling of the others as they entered combat with the wolves.

Ratchis brought his hammer down upon one of the two creatures that leapt at him, it mouth steaming with saliva. The half-orc winced as he felt another elf’s arrow nip him. He also cried out in pain as wolves slammed heavily into him, trying to bite him.

Kazrack struggled with a wolf as well, calling to the closest elf, “Droleniel! Don’t hurt us! The others don’t know you’ve been ensorcelled.”

Fascinere omun,” called Richard the Red aloud, looking to Jeremy.

“Why are you attacking us, Rich?!?” Jeremy cried out in horror.

“There has been a great misunderstanding, Jeremy, you must stop your friends before someone is hurt,” Richard pleaded.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Notes:

(55) Novilustani is the elven name of what are commonly called “drow” or “dark elves”. It means, “Children of the New Moon”

(56) The Plutonic Realms is the great underground world beneath the surface of Aquerra – Home of dark races and dwarves.

(57) Reverie is elven dreaming. It is really reliving of events and times of the elf’s past, and sometimes even his future, or part of the life of a departed ancestor. Elves sleep with their eyes open.

(58) The Archmage Nemmerle has been the headmaster of the Academy of Wizardry since 271 H.E. He recently allowed himself to pass on. A replacement has not yet been named.

(59) Ratchis received a crit with the following effect: “Foot Wound, +1d3 to damage, speed reduced to ¾.”

(60) There is no “Adam” in Aquerra.

(61) Jeremy’s player had rolled a natural 20, and a crit result of the following: “Larynx punctured, double die damage, After CON rounds make CON check at DC 15 each round (at +1 to the DC each round) or die the following round.”
 



madriel

First Post
Whew, yeah I think I've caught up.:D

Had plenty of time to read the past couple of days and it's a great story hour. I like the party dynamics, they're friends but they still have personality clashes. It's a nice change from parties that are all buddy-buddy and I've played in a group that went the other way.
 

KidCthulhu

First Post
madriel said:
Whew, yeah I think I've caught up.:D

Had plenty of time to read the past couple of days and it's a great story hour. I like the party dynamics, they're friends but they still have personality clashes. It's a nice change from parties that are all buddy-buddy and I've played in a group that went the other way.

I know what you mean. One of my pet peeves about many pre-gen characters written for convention modules is that the writers create great character interactions, with friction and disagreements and the potential for real meaty role playing, and then they end the description with "But soandso is important for the survival of the party, so you don't say anything."

Nothing wrong with character friction, as long as the players can handle it politely. I've had characters who didn't get along with other characters, and the two players can only role play it if we sit across the table from eachother. Otherwise we sit and talk and are far too friendly.
 

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