"Out of the Frying Pan"- Book IV - Into the Fire [STORY HOUR COMPLETED - 12/25/06]

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
BlackCat said:
Shouldn't you be spending time posting instead of asking funny questions? :p

Maybe if you stopped interupting me I could get it done. Instead, I am only on page 8 of 13 in terms of reading through and editing. . . I could be posting an actual update instead of wasting time here. :p
 

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BlackCat

Explorer
el-remmen said:
Maybe if you stopped interupting me I could get it done. Instead, I am only on page 8 of 13 in terms of reading through and editing. . . I could be posting an actual update instead of wasting time here. :p
So...is that a yes?
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I hope you enjoy this half as much as we did playing through it. Great times. . .

Session #89 (complete) (1)

The Keepers of the Gate jogged at high speed though the ash-covered trees and brush, and over and around the large rocks of the ridge to make their way towards the great chasm that had appeared between it and the amphitheatre turned fortress.

Again they heard the horns and clamor from the western entrance to Greenreed Valley.

“I don’t understand why we aren’t going directly into the valley,” Bastian said in his quiet voice as he paused alongside Martin the Green. The watch-mage had stopped a moment to catch his breath, the ash burning his lungs and making his normally bright green robes into something much drabber.

“Ratchis believes, and I agree, that we need to find away across the chasm and directly to the tower the light pointed to,” Martin explained. “We need to hope we can get in right away and maybe outrun or get by our foes. Going through the valley will take too long, and we don’t know what it is that is making all that noise down there.”

“I have an idea what it is,” Bastian said, and with that he continued to run. Ratchis was way out ahead scouting, and asked Bastian to lead the rest of the party and make sure they stayed together.

It was a nearly two hour march to the edge of the woods on the north side of this part of the ridge. The Keepers of the Gate passed many burned out areas that were nothing but swaths of black ash and scorched stumps, but they were still surprised when the wood ended so abruptly, as if a whole section had been burned away methodically. A few hundred yards across the clearing yawned the new chasm, and across from that the island of rock the fortress sat upon and its rear wall and towers.

“I’m going to scout ahead,” Ratchis said. “The rest of you stay here.”

”I am coming with…” Roland said, his blue-black fur rippling in the steady breeze that blew in from the southwest. The half-orc said nothing and took off, sulking among the blackened remains of trees and blasted rocks. The Bastite trailed after.

They crept up to the edge and the wind echoed in the empty yards of the fortress. They could see the inner buildings much more clearly now. There were long barracks, stables, covered wells, and storage huts, all made of dull grey stone. The four tall rear towers, two on each side of the great black smoke-spewing slightly tapered stack, glistened in places where it was traced with a yellow stone of some kind, and the top were square spirals of marble steps that led to the top. The steps were guarded by a low fortified wall cut with crenels, and enclosed turrets at different levels at each corner. The statue atop the stone pedestal on the tower they sought was a man of stone nearly twenty feet tall. Stylistically, what made it interesting, was the unparalleled craftsmanship and seamlessness of the carving of the stone that seemed almost to draw breath it looked so real, with the juxtaposition of crude raw stone pocked with randomly occurring quartz formations that made up portions of the back and the limbs. It seemed to have been made that way on purpose.

Ratchis and Roland crept to their left to see past the fortress to the valley entrance. There seemed to be a multitude of black figures marching into the valley and coming down towards the fortress.

“Did you see that?” Ratchis pointed, and Roland saw it too. The far ridge wall seemed to ripple for a moment, as if the stone were flowing, but then it was clear what they were seeing. Four or five great brown hairy beasts, with long muscular noses and great white tusks.

Ratchis’ eye was drawn back to the fortress by movement among the towers. He snorted and headed back to the others. Roland quickly followed.

Meanwhile, the others were going over options for crossing the chasm. Martin did not have enough levitation spells prepared to affect everyone, and even then he wondered aloud. How would they get across without horizontal impetus?

“I could use the miracles my gods grant me to make a stone bridge out to the towers,” Kazrack offered. “But it depends on how far it is.”

“The fortress still looks empty, but I saw swirls of air among the towers,” Ratchis said when he returned.

“Like leaves?” Kazrack asked.

“Kind of, but more like the black funnels that come out of the sky in a storm,” Ratchis explained. “Violent and quick and gone as soon as I noticed it. I think they were elementals.”

“I didn’t see it,” Roland added.

The Friar of Nephthys went on to describe the multitude of orcs marching into the valley and the great beasts they brought with them.

“That sounds like mammoths,” Martin said with awe in his voice. “But I thought they were extinct except perhaps for a few pockets in the Northern Reaches.”

“Who said that?” Ratchis asked. “Where did you learn that?”

“The Academy of Wizardry,” the watch-mage replied.

“It seems they were in error,” Roland said.

“I need to take a look at the chasm and see if I can make a bridge that will reach it,” Kazrack said.

“I doubt it,” Ratchis replied. “It is about one hundred and twenty-five yards, maybe one-fifty across.”

“Hmm,” Kazrack scratched under his beard and then combed it with his fingers. “What if I shaped some kind of stone platform and you levitated that?”

“As long as it didn’t weigh too much so I could also lift the weight of the party atop it with the spell,” Martin replied and then snapped his fingers. “And then I can turn into my Tanweil-form and fly across pushing the weightless platform!”

“Okay, we have a plan. Let’s go,” Roland said. “We don’t know how long it will take Mozek to get here, but we don’t want to be caught going over the chasm when he does.”

Ratchis nodded, and once again he led the way. The Keepers of the Gate made it to the edge of the cliff and examined the gulf. Water splashed among sharp stones over one hundred feet below. Kazrack began to think of the best way to make his platform.

“If we only had a boat,” Dorn said.

“I have a boat,” Bastian said in his quiet way.

“You do?” Martin turned to him.

“No, no… a boat is a bad idea,” Kazrack said.

“Kazrack, the boat won’t be on the water,” Roland said, snarkily.

The dwarf shook his head.

“Where is this boat?” Martin asked Bastian.

“Right here,” Bastian pulled a patch from his Robe of the Wayfarer and tossed it to the ground. Suddenly there was a ‘pop’ and in its place was a long wooden rowboat and two oars.

“You weren’t supposed to use that!” Martin brought both hands to his face in shock. (2)

Bastian shrugged his shoulders.

“I do not trust boats,” Kazrack said. “Especially a magical boats that was a patch on a robe a moment ago.”

“It isn’t magical,” Bastian said. “It is a normal boat now. Go ahead… Detect.”

“No need,” Martin said. “Bastian is right, Kazrack, and since we have it, a boat will be much more stable and easier to keep everyone in and push.”

“N’kron tells me a great bird is coming,” Bastian said.

“Who?” asked Kazrack.

“My hawk,” Bastian replied. “He said, a bird, but not a bird. I think it is Mozek’s hellbeast.”

“How far?” Ratchis asked.

“Hard to tell. N’kron expresses things certain things in a bird kind of way that can be hard to interpret,” Bastian said. “I think about fifteen minutes, maybe ten.”

“We should wait here for Mozek to come,” Roland said. “If we go to the fortress now we might have to fight him and the place’s guardians at once.”

Bastian nodded.

Ratchis shook his head. “Mozek may have seen where we need to go and if so, he will avoid us and simply try to get into the Maze.”

“We need to bring the fight to him,” Kazrack agreed.

“Why waste our resources fighting him?” Roland said. “We should wait here. If he comes we’ll be ready for him, and if he goes straight into the fortress we can let whatever defenses Hurgun had weaken, or even kill him for us. And maybe he can eliminate some of those defenses making it easier for us to get through.”

“And I have not gotten a chance to summon my patron and ask him what he might tell me of the defense of Hurgun’s Maze,” Bastian said, as the wind began to pick up. “He is a denizen of the earth plane, he may have helpful knowledge. But that takes time.”

“I prefer you not practice your witchcraft on our behalf,” Kazrack said.

“We cannot afford to waste time, or hope that the defenses will kill him for us,” Ratchis said. “This is our responsibility.”

“We cannot leave this to luck,” Kazrack said. “Martin, what do you think?”

“We are wasting time and should have left by now,” the watch-mage replied.

”Ya, friggin’ pansy and the Beard are afraid of a little demon-gnome,” Gunthar smirked. “Let’s go rips his nose off and shove it up his bleeding ass!”

“We’ll vote,” said Ratchis.

”I vote to wait,” said Bastian.

“I refuse to vote. It’s pointless,” Roland pouted.

Dorn, Gunthar, Martin, Kazrack and Ratchis voted to go.

”And we should go now so we are not caught in mid-air,” Martin said, and with a flick of his wrist holding a leather thong tied in a loop at one end and an arcane word the boat began to hover. Another word and another gesture and his features melted and swelled as he changed into a nearly seven foot tall green scaled humanoid with black wings and blue-gray eyes. Ratchis followed this up with a Bull’s Strength on the transformed watch-mage, and granted one to Kazrack as well. Kazrack cast Magic Circle Against Evil on Martin, and then everyone got in the boat. Ratchis was at the front, with Gunthar right behind him. Dorn and Roland rode in the middle and Kazrack was in the stern, sitting in the bottom and holding on tightly.

“I reserve the right to say I told you so if this turns out badly,” Roland said.

Martin pushed the weightless boat out over the chasm and then began to hastily flap his new form’s wings, willing the boat to rise ever so slightly as to create a gentle slope up to the tower they needed to get to. The view from up here was amazing, and soon they all could see scores and scores of tiny black figures gathering around the outer gates of the fortress. They could see the tall statues on the other towers. The far western one had some abstract strands of stone the entwined with one another, and from within every few moments puff of cloud would emanate from it and then quickly dissipate. Atop the next tower was great stone lantern and within it leapt a dancing flame of orange and blue. The easternmost tower’s statue was part of an elaborate fountain that shot up three swirling snakes of water.

The Bastite turned to look where they had come from and pointed down. “Look!”

The rest of the party looked back to see three robed forms lying partially crushed against a protrusion on the cliff face. No one had bothered to look down close enough to spot the fallen monks when the Keepers of the Gate had been at the edge.

“Why do I feel like that was a missed opportunity?” Roland sighed. The going was slow as Martin struggled to keep the momentum to fly while pushing the weight of the party forward.

Ratchis called to Nephthys and cast magic weapon on his great sword.

“Look there!” Ratchis said pointing up into the sky ahead of the boat and to the right. They could all see a dark winged form coming down out of the distant sky and getting bigger every second. It would be on them in less than a minute’s time. (3)

Ratchis sheathed his great sword and called to Nephthys to let him read auras of magic. “The door and statue are magical,” he said, drawing his bow and getting back to keeping an eye on the approaching wyvern.

“This Mozek, will my holy smite spell be a good choice against him?” Roland asked Kazrack.

“Yes,” the dwarf nodded.

“Just don’t catch Gunthar in the blast or he might get hurt,” Ratchis said, overhearing.

As the purple and copper-colored wyrm descended, acrid steam roiling off it waves, the Keepers of the Gate could see Mozek on its back. The half-fiend gnome’s white and yellow hair was whipping wildly back from his green-scaled face. He wore a chainshirt and had a short sword on his hip. Behind him on the monster was another gnome with a green complexion, but with golden hair and big swollen orange lips. She had bat-like wings that snapped out reflexively to keep her steady as the thing came down.

The wyvern’s spiked tail whipped wildly in the wind, and then the party noted that it held something in each of its claws. In one was a third gnome dressed in plate and gripping a battle-axe in both hands. This gnome’s hair was green and black and his face was hideously burned on one side of his face. In the other claw was a strange creature like a pyramid of flesh with an arm and a leg stretching out from three of its sides and a large eye to go with each.

“Modron,” (4) Martin hissed as he continued to push, the forked tongue of his altered form flicking between his fangs. The tower was now less than thirty feet away.

“Oh, great queen Bast! Thou who art as graceful as thou art powerful! I call upon your holy power to smite these fiends and their servants!” Roland roared. There was a burst of holy energy that obscured the wyvern and its passengers for half a moment. The wyvern screeched a painful scream and its dive became a tumble.

Ratchis and Gunthar prepared themselves to leap from the boat to the tower as it came within reach, keeping an eye on the plummeting wyvern that looked like it might slam into the side of the tiered steps of the earth tower. However, Mozek Steamwind pulled on the reins of his mount with all his might and the wyvern pulled its blind head (5) up and lowered its wings slowing its descent in hopes of actually landing atop the tower and not slamming into the side.

The demon-gnome giggled with perverse excitement and flicked his hand towards the boat. Four small objects came slamming into Ratchis’ chest and he felt them burn as his muscles cramped up painfully. He looked down and saw four writhing fingers on the boat bottom and he stepped on them, still grimacing through the pain. (6)

The prow of the boat bumped against the tower side and Ratchis and Gunthar came leaping off firing arrows at Mozek and the wyvern, which were still falling too fast. The winged female gnome finally had enough and took off from the thing’s back darting to her left. And a hunk of the battlement exploded, huge chunks plummeting down into the chasm below as the wyvern landed awkwardly on the stairs thirty feet below the top level on the right side of the tower and then slammed into the wall.

It roared in its blind agony buffeting its wings against the stairs and wall as it struggled to get back to the air. The wyvern was huge. Its body nearly twenty-five feet long and its tail nearly thirty. (7)

By this time Kazrack was off the boat and casting protection from evil upon himself, while Dorn hustled off ducking behind the statue’s pedestal, around the corner from the door beneath it. He readied his crossbow. Roland raced across the top of the tower to stand by Dorn, but was startled by a whirlwind of dirt and leaves that came racing across the lower fortress wall and up onto the tower. It howled in an inhuman voice. For a second, the Bastite swore the air itself took the form of winged humanoid with a great sword, and then the whirlwind buffeted against Dorn, and the warrior was forced to lean against the pedestal wall to keep from falling over.

Bastian loaded his crossbow and was slowly creeping to the tower edge to look down at the wyvern..

Martin nimbly flipped the weightless boat around and dragged it behind him as he moved towards Dorn and the air guardian. “Sanctus terrae abjurus auram!” the watch-mage chanted and with a ‘whoosh’ the air creature was driven back to its home plane.

“Stay spread out in case that thing has a breath weapon,” Ratchis barked, moving to the far side of the tower to perhaps get a look down from the opposite side of Bastian.

Gunthar, however, made straight for the edge and fired an arrow into the flank of the writhing wyvern. He could see the plate-mailed gnome on one knee catching his breath two levels down, and the pyramidical modron lying on one of its faces, askew upon the steps, unmoving. It was near the door into the tower itself. The Neergaardian leapt back as the flying golden haired female gnome began to fire arrows down at him with incredible speed. The others watched him dodge as the wyvern took off again swooping down towards the fortress courtyard, but then snapping back up and flipping around deftly to come racing back. They could see Mozek was still on its back.

“Hee! Hee! Time to play with Tinka!” said the gold haired half-fiend as she flitted back and forth, bow in hand.

Kazrack moved to the other side of the tower to look down and see the steps below near the lower wall. There was no one there to see.

The wyvern turned quickly and soon was heading back around to swoop by. Roland hurried around the pedestal with Dorn to join Ratchis as Mozek drew a scroll from a case on his side and spoke the foul arcane words. A splurting and farting wall of green and black ooze popped out of thin air bisecting top of the tower and blocking the door in the pedestal. The wall was ten feet tall and over fifty feet long, slime and pus dripping off the edge of the steps to the top. It wheezed and popped as pseudo-pods of slime and ooze whipped about its surface.

Curious, Bastian fired a crossbow bolt into the wall and it disintegrated.

“Beware the wall,” Martin hissed in warning, still in his reptilian form. “It melts metal and flesh!” (8) He was on the same side of the wall as Kazrack, Bastian and Gunthar.

The dwarf harrumphed and called to his gods. Shaping a bit of clay in his hands, he caused the stone floor of the tower roof melt and stretch up creating a narrow passage beneath the ooze about four feet high.

Ratchis called to Nephthys to restore him, and he felt some of the tightness leave his muscles.

Dorn fired arrows at the wyvern as it flipped over around to return, Mozek gripping tightly and screaming with joy at the rush of it. Gunthar fired arrows at the female gnome and missed.

“Oh Great Queen Bast! Please blast these fiends back to oblivion with your holy searing light!” Roland called to his goddess. He opening his mouth and out came a beam of white holy light that exploded against the chest of the wyvern as it came in once again to swoop across the roof of the tower.

“Aaaaaaaaaah!” Mozek screamed as he frantically yanked up on the reigns of his fiendish mount, but it flopped down lifeless sending another rain of dust and rock as it smashed against the stairs and wall below. (9) The tower shook and rumbled and the Keepers of the Gate allowed themselves enough momentary joy to cheer. When the sound had settled they heard they heavy steps of the plate mailed gnome coming up the steps around the tower. Dorn moved to the edge and took a shot down at the gnome as it hurried around the corner out of view. He missed.

Kazrack moved over to the edge of the roof on his side of the tower, throwing axe in hand, waiting for Mozek to come into view.

Bastian chanted in dwarven and soon a tiny ball of flame was in his right hand. He threw it at the squirming and fetid wall of ooze (at the spot where it obscured the door beneath the statue), and a very little bit of it burned away, but mostly it was still there. A second tongue of flame did about the same amount of damage.

Invisus Majorius Martin chanted and slapped Gunthar on the shoulder. “You’re invisible.”

Unfortunately, the flying archer gnome took a shot at Martin the Green now that she could no longer see Gunthar, but the invisible Neergaardian was in the way and felt the bite of an arrow in his shoulder. The watch-mage lifted the weightless boat to act as an awkward shield.

“Nephthys! I call on you to break the ties that bind this foul magic together,” Ratchis called to his goddess to cast dispel magic upon the wall of ooze, but nothing happened.

Gunthar called out profanity in crude gnomish (10) to the flying half-fiend and fired two arrows at her. She tried to block them with her bracers of bone, but instead they clipped her arm and thigh.

“Here!” the gnome giggled in the common tongue and grabbed at her crotch and made a mock seductive face. “Taste the smell of my p*ssy!” She flicked a finger and a cold, cloying miasma of greasy darkness enveloped burst about Martin, Gunthar, Kazrack and Bastian. They all felt an ache in their lungs and in their soul, though Bastian was able to resist the worst of it. Martin and Kazrack stomachs turned and cramped and their eyes watered as they could not get the taste foul burned rotten fish and ash, the smell of evil, out of their mouths and nose. (11)

Roland slipped beneath the wall to the other side of the tower by way of Kazrack’s tunnel, while the dwarf finally seeing Mozek come around the corner just one level down threw his axe down at the gnome. Mozek side-stepped with a grin as if he were doing a jig and spoke some whispered arcane words. Suddenly, Kazrack saw the form of his mother rise before him. She was an animated and bloated corpse with strands of kelp tangled in her beard and part of her face was gnawed away.

“Mother! Nooooo!” Kazrack cried in dwarven as she reached out and grabbed him about the neck with preternatural strength and began to crush his throat with her fingers. “Mother! No!” Kazrack cried again and he was finally able to tear himself free as he felt his life-force threaten to slip away from the overwhelming fear he experienced. He was panting, but the vision was gone.

Martin meanwhile had made it to the edge as well and chanted his faithful spell, “Lentus, trying to affect both Mozek and the mailed gnome that was coming around the corner up the steps. The spell failed. Ratchis and Dorn followed Roland beneath the wall of ooze. The half-orc rolled as four arrows came down at him as Tinka swooped by. Gunthar got a bead on her and returned fire, missing with one arrow, and the other bounced off to no effect.

“Your holes are too small for even my human nose,” Gunthar cursed at her, but unable to see him she continued to ignore him.

Ratchis limped to his feet as three arrows had caught him in the legs. Roland called to Bast with a roar and then rubbed against the ranger’s legs curing the half-orc of some of his moderate wounds.

“Damn you, Mozek!” Kazrack cried, pulling his halberd as leapt down the ten feet to the gnome. “Damn you and the Hells you come from!” Unfortunately he landed awkwardly and lost his footing, landing on his rear end with little dignity. He hopped right back up to his feet, but was flanked by Mozek and the battle-axe wielding gnome.

“Mister Delver, it is my pleasure to introduce you to my brother, Ajax,” Mozek said, again side-stepping and this time tipping his head in a mock bow. “Ajax, make Mister Delver feel welcome.”

The squarely built gnome burst at the seems of his armor as he huffed and puffed and screeched, his green eyes turning fiery red. He brought his axe down on Kazrack and the dwarf’s breast plate screeched in protest as the shining heavy blade cleaved a large deep score in it. Kazrack stepped back and the axe quickly raised up slamming him in the chin and cracking a tooth. The tip of the curved blade punctured the skin of his neck. The dwarf brought his halberd into a defensive position to block the berserk gnome’s frenzied blows. For a second he felt a sense of confusion wash over him as he noticed blood dropping from his face on to his armor, but he shook it off. (12)

However, Mozek stepped up behind Kazrack and touched him with an outstretched finger. The rune-thrower spun around as he felt some of his life-force drained in time to see some of Mozek’s bruises fade. They had been healed by the gnome’s vampiric touch.

“Mmm, dwarf blood,” the gnome smiles and licked the end of his finger. “Rich in minerals.”

Bastian continued to try to batter the wall where it covered the door with the flame he produced, while Martin tried his slow spell again to no avail. Gunthar and Tinka continued to exchange arrows, and Ratchis chugged the contents of one of his clay flasks, feeling his orcish blood charged with the energy of their one-eyed god.

“Kazrack! Let us strike with righteous fury!” the half-orc cried as he leapt over the side to join the melee, great sword in hand.

Roland moved to the edge as well, to see Ratchis behind Mozek and moving in. The Bastite leapt down deftly and purring rubbed against Kazrack’s side and healed the dwarf with a Cure Critical Wounds spell that had been empowered, like all his spells, by the Incense of Meditation. The dwarf twisted around the panther and brought the blade of his halberd down on the distracted Mozek, but with blinding speed the half-fiend gnome had short sword in had and knocked away one blow. He then danced aside to avoid the other, whistling a happy work-song.

Mozek tried to dance around Ratchis, but the half-orc could hardly be more prepared. He slashed a nasty blow against the gnome’s side and chest as Mozek went by, and the fiend grimaced, but ducked around the corner of the steps to the final set that led to roof. Ratchis did not hesitate and went around the corner as well, catching the gnome with a bruising blow on his back against his fine chain shirt.

“Watch yourselves up there!” Ratchis called to whoever was still up on the roof, as he stepped up on to it to follow the gnome and stay on the same side of the dripping wall of ooze.

Ajax brought his axe down into Roland’s the rear flank and the Bastite drew away as the pain exploded in his leg, and he could feel the sticky blood in his black fur. He felt relief as he saw Martin the Green drop a furry ball down onto the steps from above. The fist-sized ball burst into a boar that immediately charged Ajax. The watch-mage also let the boat hover there, letting it go.

Kazrack was looking back and forth, not sure if he should aid Ratchis or stay and deal with Ajax when he heard the flap of wings above and behind him. He turned around in time to see Tinka loose an arrow that while missing him, exploded into a ball of flame when it struck the wall behind him. He ducked and rolled, but he felt a burning in his lungs aggravated by the stench of his singed beard.

Gunthar and Dorn both leapt down to the lower level steps a slight distance from the melee. The former put away his bow and drew both his sword and began walking towards Ajax. The latter lost his footing when he landed and ended up face down on the steps. He got up slowly rubbing a bruise on his temple.

Roland began to scramble up the sheer wall, driving his claws into the mortar to get back to the roof and away from the melee. But he need not have done so, because with three devastating blows Kazrack drove Ajax to the ground. The blade of Beáth-agh steaming as sliced easily into the fiend’s flesh. (13) Mozek’s brother was nothing more than a steaming pile of armor, blood and stinking flesh on the steps, so Kazrack took off around the corner to join the chase for Mozek.

“Bastian! To your left, Mozek is trying to get away from Ratchis!” Roland said as he pulled himself over the edge. Bastian, who had finally given up his one-man battle against the wall of ooze, turned to look where the Bastite indicated as he was heading to the edge to look down at the melee with Ajax.

Mozek Steamwind giggled and side-stepped, taking a moment to look at each of the people on the roof in the eye and winking, save for Kazrack who arrived on the roof behind Ratchis. He looked at Ratchis last.

“Shouldn’t you be sucking the sh*t from the black teat of you slave-goddess, the whore of Set?” Mozek asked with evil glee, and power of his blasphemy washed over them. Ratchis was dazed as he felt his limbs grow heavy with the smallest doubt about his goddess’ ability to triumph over evil. Roland was frozen in place, unable to will any of his muscles to act as his mind reeled, still unaware of the strength that had also been sapped of him. Bastian was similarly paralyzed, dazed and drained of strength. Kazrack was also dazed by the sheer audacity of the fiend, his strength ebbed nearly as low as it had after the battle with the shadows in Topaline. (14)

Martin, luckily, was just out of range having taken to the air to avoid Tinka’s arrows. He grimaced as he felt them bite through the reptilian hide his form gave him, and he charged at the gnome woman as she had swooped down to just a few feet off the ground. The transformed watch-mage tried to grab hold of her and pin her sings down, but she laughed and pushed him away easily, drawing blood with her black claws.

“Fresh!” she admonished him with a playful slap. Sighing, Martin took a moment to mentally command the boar to charge around the corner and go onto the roof after Mozek.

Gunthar came around the corner, having avoiding Mozek’s spell and flicked his short sword against Kazrack’s helmet in an attempt to break him out of his daze. He was still invisible.

“Nephthys, forgive me,” Dorn whispered as he drove his sword through Ajax’s neck, delivering a coup de grace. The half-fiend gnome’s corpse began to shrivel and fold in on itself giving off the odor of sulfur and burned copper.

Mozek giggled and danced away from the boar and slapping his hands and speaking an arcane word caused crackling black energy to burst out from his body in all directions enveloping those still dazed or paralyzed.

As if the additional pain has snapped him out of it, Ratchis regained his wits and swung his sword over his head, charging at Mozek, but the little fiend side-stepped and stuck out his tongue, dinging his short sword playfully against Ratchis’ blade. Still invisible, Gunthar moved towards melee with the gnome with more caution.

Down in the valley near the front gates of the fortress came the sound of trumpets again, and then the chilling roar of a multitude, and the bellowing of mammoths.

The sound may have distracted Tinka because Martin was able to reach out and pluck her bow from her grip and fly down near Dorn out of her immediate reach.

“I’m going to enjoy watching you die, mage,” she said, the giggle leaving her voice. It was now more a menacing squeal. She spoke an arcane word and swooped down to touch Martin, but he moved out of the way and Dorn moved in threateningly, sending her attack off line. He cried out in fear and anger and swung wildly at her, missing.

Roland came to his senses and realized that his Ring of Alacrity allowed him to ignore the paralyzing effects of the blasphemy. He hurried under the wall of ooze by means of Kazrack’s tunnel and to the edge of the tower to get a better look at the gates.

There was a flash and Mozek disappeared, reappearing above the obscured door atop the statue’s pedestal. Ratchis threw himself around the wall of ooze and tried to climb the smooth stone of the pedestal on its left side, but made no progress.

Seeing Mozek above the door as he took to the air to avoid Tinka once again, Martin chanted and two arrows of pure flame went flying at the gnome. Mozek easily dodged both of them. Martin moved to the roof behind Kazrack.

“I’m not done with you yet, little nose!” Tinka swore taking to the air as well, and hovering a few feet above the roof. Dorn took off around the corner and up the stairs to join the others.

Roland took a moment to call to Bast and deal with the wounds dealt to him by Ajax, while Kazrack calling to Natan-ahb, caused the stone of the tower roof to warp and flow in one spot, stretching out to be a crude set of steps that circumvented the wall of ooze and reached up to where Mozek stood at the top of the pedestal.

Shadam! Fwam-Fwom! Mozek cried and black lightning forked from his hands cleaving through Kazrack and reaching Martin as well. Luckily, both were able to roll with the worst of the blast.

“Tell me how to get in Hurgun’s Maze from here and I will let you live…” Mozek hissed and giggled, and then added slyly. “…A little longer.”

Ratchis flung himself around the wall again and hurried up Kazrack’s impromptu staircase. The boar followed at Martin’s command, and Gunthar followed it. Martin decided to go and get the weightless boat once again. Tinka landed behind Dorn and reached out to touch him to cast some awful spell, but he dodged out of the way and counter attacked. She blocked the blow on one of her bone bracers. However, she did not expect Roland to emerge from under the wall of ooze once again and pounce on her. She was able to tear away, but green steaming blood streamed down her right arm.

Roaring as he realized the steps he created were now too clogged for him to reach Mozek easily, Kazrack charged at Tinka putting all his strength into the swing, which she deftly ducked.

Mozek disappeared, but only Bastian, still paralyzed and unable to speak noticed that the gnome reappeared down in the arch created by Kazrack to bypass the wall of ooze. Mozek blasted the southern area of the tower with a dispel magic spell and several of the party’s spells disappeared. Fortunately for Gunthar, he remained invisible and was able to leap back off the pedestal and move into position to flank Tinka. Suddenly the female gnome was lying in an expanding pool of her own blood.

“Yuck! Looks like that time of the month!” Gunthar quipped crudely, and Mozek Steamwind laughed heartily, seeming to enjoy the nasty joke at his dying sister’s expense.

“I’m sorry, Nephthys,” Dorn said again, and shoved his sword into the gnome woman’s neck to finish her off.

End of Session #89
 
Last edited:

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
------------------------------------------
Notes:
(1) DM’s Note: This session took place on February 26th, 2005 – which means, even though we were technically beginning the final adventure of the campaign, we would not be done until nearly a year later (i.e. January 2006).

(2) Martin the Green theorized that none of the patches on the Robe of the Wayfarer could be used without risking some kind of time paradox. (See Sessions #84 and #86)

(3) DM’s Note: Thirty-six seconds to be exact. I told the players they had about six rounds until the wyvern got to them.

(4) Martin learned about a little about the Modrons, creatures who serve the god Ptah in maintaining the mechanisms of the cosmos, while studying in the library in Topaline.

(5) The wyvern was blinded by the holy smite spell as it failed its save.

(6) DM’s Note: This spell is Lahm’s Finger Darts from the Book of Vile Darkness.

(7) DM’s Note: Purplespite was a fiendish wyvern advanced to huge size. You can read about it here: http://aquerra.wikispaces.com/Purplespite

(8) DM’s Note: This spell is Wall of Ooze from the Book of Vile Darkness.

(9) DM’s Note: The card for the Incense of Meditation I gave Roland’s player had the description of the item as it was in 2E, meaning instead of empowering all his spells, it made them do maximum damage instead. So while the maximum possible damage was not as high as with the 3E version, the damage would be much higher on average. So, having failed the save for the Holy Smite and the Searing Light the wyvern took maximum damage from both.

(10) DM’s Note: This became a kind of contest between me and the player of Martin’s character who was running Gunthar throughout most of the combat, trying to outdo each other with the foul profane and raunchy stuff we could have Gunthar and the flying female gnome (Tinka) say to each other.

(11) DM’s Note: Martin and Kazrack were sickened by the Unholy Blight, suffering a -2 penalty on all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

(12) DM’s Note: Ajax’s axe called for a Will save whenever it hits or the victim suffers from lesser confusion for one round.

(13) DM’s Note: Beáth-agh is a fiend-bane weapon, doing an additional 2d6 hit points of damage to them.

(14) DM’s Note: Ya gotta love the Blasphemy spell! Ratchis lost five points of strength. Roland lost 7 points. Poor always paralyzed Bastian lost 6 points, and Kazrack lost an even 10! Luckily for those who were not paralyzed the reduction in strength only last 2d4 rounds – but then again this was only the 9th round of combat so 2 to 8 rounds can be an eternity.
 


Manzanita

First Post
I like how your battles use interesting 3D terrain. I've tried to emulate that some w/o great success.

This was a cool battle, in any case, against a very powerful enemy. Good job KOTGs!

Someone remind me how Martin got the ability to change himself into a dragon-thing.
 


Graywolf-ELM

Explorer
el-remmen said:
In the spoiler tag below I have place a map of the top of the tower with notes as to where some of the battle's events occured.

It is hidden as to not ruin it for those who might see it before reading the events of Session #89.

[sblock]
earth_tower.gif
[/sblock]

ENJOY. :)

Hmm, I'm seeing the nameservers for aquerra.com as unreachable. I'm looking forward to seeing the map.

GW
 



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