Piratecat's Updated Story Hour! (update 4/03 and 4/06)

Status
Not open for further replies.

The Crimster

First Post
One thing I can't help but think of in your 'Sir Aleax is a secret creation of Evil' theory. If they worked on him for centuries in order to fool the good guys - why wouldn't they work on some way to give him false flesh - so as to not raise any suspicion?

The Crimster

PS: I am now a dyed in the wool fan of this Story Hour. Good work here, P-Cat (and the players!).
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Galfridus

First Post
Re: Re: Questions

Blackjack said:
That certainly is the question of the hour, indeed.
The question of the hour is, "What are the Pre-requisites for the Speaks in Bold Text feat?" Do you get +2 to Bluff and Intimidate for speaking in bold?

Just think how differently this encounter could have gone:

Those are very beautiful,” says Mara, looking at the tapestries. “What are they of?” Sir Aleax’s head swivels to see if she is joking. She doesn’t appear to be. It’s hard to tell when a skull is frowning, but Aleax manages to give that impression.

“Those two are excerpts of the Book of the Sun,” he says, sounding disapproving. “This is the Angel Aubros with his fiery shield. This is his Holiness Lantic at the battle of Nar Veglin. These on the far wall are scenes from my own history. There I am entering the caverns at Abrundin; that’s a bad likeness of Morak next to me. There is an image of me as a boy, first hearing the call to service. Perhaps religious education is not what it used to be, Mara Thornhill, but I was trained to know my history and religious lessons.” Sir Aleax sits down behind a large mahogany desk, his armor clanking as he pulls himself into the chair. The noon sun coming through the skylight reflects off of his armor, sending golden fragments of light across the room.

Who's got the more commanding presence now?!?
 

Ridley's Cohort

First Post
The simplest answer is Sir Ghouleax is exactly who he claims to be. His undead nature is intended to provoke a schism in the church when their united strength is most needed. The only fake detail is the importance of the undead orb of power thingy. I bet it exists, but the White Kingdom is using it to distract their enemies, smashing a potential rival at the same time.

The most effective lies are those that are mostly true, save one or two key details. But the lie is structured to force the target to doubt the truth, and therefore waste energy following dead ends.

If you want to create a schism in a church ideologically opposed to undead, the logical choice is to create a undead being out of one of their most revered saints. It makes perfect sense.
 

Sagiro

Rodent of Uncertain Parentage
Plane Sailing said:
I know this must have occurred to the Defenders, but... a Saint of Aeos died trying to hold back the White Kingdom - and they have had 300 years to rebuild and grow...

Still, I suppose Velendo has already been a proxy of Calphas, which must rank higher than a saint :) - and Tao has a bit of a hotline to Galenna nowadays ;)

As for the church of Aeos... well, there is nothing like having your support structure kicked away just when you need it, eh?

:D

Yeah, it has occurred to us that a party of adventuring types at least as powerful as us tried this quest 300 years ago and failed. Velendo is acutely that it was one of Calphas' great champions who doomed the expedition to failure, despite the warnings of Calphas himself beforehand.

That said, Aleax wasn't considered a saint (I assume) until after his death. Before that he was "just" a really stoked Paladin.

Note that Velendo is no longer a proxy to Calphas. It's possible that Calphas will make him one again, depending on the true magnitude of this quest. Remember that last time, all life on the planet was in jeopardy from either an incoming comet, the release of world-consuming giant worms, or both. It will probably take a threat of similar gravity (no pun intended) for Calphas to reinstate Proxihood on one of his servants.

And Velendo is absolutely in agreement with Ridley's Cohort concerning the suspicious nature and timing of Aleax's return. One point I think was left out of Velendo's ramble PCat posted: A vampire of Nolin's acquaintance went and warned the White Kingdom that the Defenders were planning an expedition to wipe them out. It was soon after -- about two months -- that "Aleax" was found wandering the Sephanic plains.

-Sagiro
 

Piratecat

Sesquipedalian
Well, the entire church of Aeos, including the High Elders and the most suspicious inquisitors, have all concluded that the skeletal St. Aleax is the real one. Some members of the Knights of the Emerald Chapel have disagreed, and have been riven from the church thereby.

Aleax (the sword) was found in the hoard of a dracolich's lair. It had been there for hundreds of years, and could no longer remember its origins; nevertheless, it did remember its identity. I think its pretty clear that the sword has true paladin abilities; it can lay on hilt and detect evil, for instance.

The original expedition to the White Kingdom was undertaken by Aleax, Morak of Calphas, and others. The story isn't well known; according to a legend lore and what the skeletal St. Aleax told Mara, their group had the ghouls trapped in an area that served as the only access point from the ghoul-controlled caverns to the rest of the Underdark. If they could have held them there, the ghouls would have soon run out of both victims and boltholes. When it became clear that they were losing the battle, Morak brought down the ceiling of the cavern. He killed himself and his entire party, along with many thousands of undead, sealing them into a stony prison for centuries. They eventually carved their way out, though, and have advanced through the underdark since. For some time their progress was checked by a city of mind flayers. Ironically, Nolin and the Defenders had a cubic gate that led to this city, and they sold rights of access to a rrakma (hunting party) of Sigilian githzerai who proceeded to lay waste to the illithids. By the time the githzerai departed for their own plane, the mind flayers were no longer strong enough to hold back the ghouls, and they advanced once again.

We played last night, and saw some truly spectacular role playing on everyone's part - especially Malachite's. I'll finish Mara's conversation with St. Aleax, and write up Malachite's, this weekend. Look for an update on Monday!
 

KidCthulhu

First Post
Piratecat said:
Ironically, Nolin and the Defenders had a cubic gate that led to the mind flayer city, and they sold rights of access to a rrakma (hunting party) of Sigilian githzerai who proceeded to lay waste to the illithids. By the time the githzerai departed for their own plane, the mind flayers were no longer strong enough to hold back the ghouls, and they advanced once again.

Yep. The whole white kingdom is an elaborate revenge by Pkitty on me for coming up with a way to eliminate a city of mind flayers without having to go there ourselves. He'd been reading The Illithiad just about the time he told us about the cubic gate, and we were sure we'd end up going there at some point.

So I came up with the Githzerai plan, which was one of those lovely moments when I got to surprise PC. And he's been plotting his revenge ever since.

Ripples, my a**.
 

Dr_Rictus

First Post
The Crimster said:
If they worked on him for centuries in order to fool the good guys - why wouldn't they work on some way to give him false flesh - so as to not raise any suspicion?


Oh, that's easy. They want suspicion, and the attendent doubt and strife that come with it. Think how much harder it would have been to rive the Emerald Chapel from the mother church if ol' Ghouliax were not known to be undead. It could have taken years, instead of weeks, for him to orchestrate such a division.
 

KidCthulhu

First Post
Plus, after all those years underground, they had no idea of the fashions above ground. Their first try at Sir Ghouleax came above ground wearing platform heels and a purple paisley leisure suit.

He was spotted as an evil abomination right away, and wiped out by a first level party of halflings and 12 year olds. Very embarrassing for the White Kingdom.

They decided to stick with bones. Very classic. Never go out of style.
 




Piratecat

Sesquipedalian
They, like you, Mara Thornhill, will have to make a choice: do you follow your faith in the Church, or do you choose to disregard the Holy Writs, and be banished thereby?”

“I have made a vow. I have obligations to the church, but I have obligations to others as well. Without me, they may be lost, and many people perish. Isn’t that important? I stand before the same quest that you yourself set upon many years ago.” Her voice is convincing.

Mara changes the subject. “If I may ask, your Grace, how did you come to be brought back in your current form?”

Aleax answers, more quietly. “More than four months ago I found myself standing on the Sephanic Plains, thoughts muddled, with neither armor or blade. I knew who I was, but I could not believe it.

“I should have believed it.

For some time I suspected that I was some sort of ruse, some sort of trap, forged by the Necromancers to betray the Church. The theological issue has been debated, the divinations and tests have been done, and they have proven what I know in my soul: I am Aleax. For better or worse, I have been brought back to do my God’s will, and I shall not fail.”


“Perhaps you’ve heard. My companion Sir Malachite of the Emerald Chapel has a sword that… well, that also claims to be Sir Aleax.”

Formerly of the Emerald Chapel. I have heard such a thing. Perhaps it is my own sword. Perhaps it is a ruse. Perhaps it is another miracle of Aeos, although,” and he folds his arms across his armored chest, ”I certainly don’t feel as if my soul is diminished. I look forward to seeing the weapon and having it examined. It is a holy weapon belonging to the Church, and will not stay with him if he proves to put his former organization’s loyalties over those of the church Militant itself.”

His eye sockets stare at Mara. “Commander, your loyalty to the church, to the cause, is not in question. I will not force you to join the army we have gathered, but I strongly urge it. Every warrior will make a difference, and you are experienced and practiced in the craft of war. The Church looks to you to set an example and lead its flock. The mission you have set before yourself is a distraction from the true task; you can delay them, no more, and it will be our strike into their lands that decides the true victory in the war. If you do not act to win that war, if you simply act to counter their diversion, you ultimately do your church little credit. Think hard on this, Mara Thornhill; Aeos will judge you harshly if you make your decision based on cowardice, or fear, or disloyalty.”

Sir Aleax stands up. “Our meeting is over. I wish to meet your companion Sir Malachite as soon as possible, and his sword with him.”

As Mara is escorted out of the office and down into the Hall of the Sun, she sees movement by the front of the temple below her: Tao and Malachite, striding in. Malachite has a look of tight, cold fury on his face… and the sword Aleax in his sheath.

To be continued….
 

Blackjack

First Post
Sagiro said:
And it's occurred to me that we may be able to round up a few hundred disaffected Emerald Chaplars who'd be psyched to come with us.

It occured to me as well. Hats off to Piratecat for coming up with a very good answer to the question "Why doesn't the whole of the Chaplars come with us? We're going to the White Kingdom!, after all!" Well, the Necromancer kings, and the rift in the church, answer that quite nicely, so the story flows believably.

That said, there should be more than a couple members of the true and orthodox Church of Aeos here and there, and once Malachite has a spare moment he intends to find and rally them.
 

Ridley's Cohort

First Post
Dawn said:
I'm at a loss to understand why the White Kingdom would release Ghouleax (nice renaming) other than to be a distraction. Logic would say that, if he really is for real, that once he defeated the Necromancer kings, he would then take the Church armies to defeat the White Kingdom.
Why release a potential enemy - unless you are a villian in a James Bond movie.

<wild-eyed raving mode on>
Because the White Kingdom is working with a surviving cabal of PsiCor^H^H^H^H^H^H Ithilid who have planted a baby mind flayer in his head to be activated at the correct time...
<raving mode off>

My explanation...

The information Sir Ghouleaux has about the Necromancers may be essentially correct: destroying the Evil Artifact will nuke undead for miles around, including Sir Ghouleax. It is Sir Ghouleax who insists hitting this artifact will also be a substantial blow to the White Kingdom. If that detail is incorrect, then everything makes sense, all motivations are accounted for.

If the Evil Artifact does exist, it may well be a long term Ace against the White Kingdom. It is quite conceivable that no undead army could ever successfully seize it from a Necromancer who knows its secrets. Therefore the White Kingdom needs someone else to remove this obstacle to undisputed world domination, a living army that cannot be swayed by its powers.

The White Kingdom may consider the Underdark locked up and they are just moving on to disrupt their next opponents. Sir Ghouleax, with certain information carefully spilled into his hands, is an interesting wild card calculated to cause headaches to both the Holy Mother Church and Necromancers. Such a powerful wildcard may indeed have some risk of backfire. That is the nature of the game when you play with the big boys.

I must admit PC has got me with the sword. I am dying to find out what happens when they meet themselves...
 

It will cause a time paradox that will destroy the universe!

Because, of course, see, Swordleax is a version of himself from an alternate timeline. In the current time stream, Ghouleax tries to save the day, but just before his victory, his beloved Malachite is turned into a ghoul, and thus both of them die horribly. In the last instant before he passes on, Ghouleax sends his consciousness back in time to inhabit a sword that he knows Malachite will eventually recover. Unfortunately, he gets amnesia, and doesn't recall who he is until the last second. So Swordleax, in the alternate timeline, must kill Ghouleax before he destroys the evil artifact. Unfortunately, this causes a time paradox. . . . So everyone dies.


But at least they're not ghouls.
 


Piratecat

Sesquipedalian
Malachite demands the attention of an Acolyte, and older man. “Where is the Commander?”

“I’m sorry, Sir? Who?”

“The Commander. The undead one.”

“Saint Aleax? He’s not a Commander, Sir. He’s a General, the head of the Church Militant. I can find someone who may let you see him if you….”

Mara’s voice echoes down from the balcony above. “Malachite, Tao! Saint Aleax is here. He’s very eager to see you and the sword! In fact, he’d like to examine the sword extensively!” Mara’s companion Father Tolliver looks her suprisedly, and his brow wrinkles. He hurries down the white stairs towards Malachite. He’s checked slightly by Tao; she’s clearly a power in her own right, radiating an aura of divine energy, her solid green eyes looking at him curiously. He addresses Tao before Malachite, perhaps thinking her some sort of divine servant made flesh.

“Lady, you honor us with your presence. Make yourself at peace in the Home of the Sun. May I help you?”

Tao answers “I’m accompanying Sir Malachite,” and Father Tolliver turns at last to Malachite. The Knight’s emerald green surcoat seems to glow in the angling sunlight, but Tolliver just looks at him with worry on his face.

“Come with me, please. Mara, will you please give your friend a tour of the temple while I speak with Sir Malachite?’ Mara nods acquiescence, even though Tao looks irked that she doesn’t get to meet Saint Aleax, and Tolliver and Malachite leave the two of them behind as they climb the stairs.

Settled comfortably in Tolliver’s office, Tolliver begins in a compassionate voice. “I’m aware that you must be upset about what has happened. I think that…”

Malachite’s voice interrupts him, frozen like ice and as tightly stretched as a steel hawser. “Who authorized the rewriting of the Book of the Sun?”

“It was authorized after long theological de…”

He interrupts again. “WHO authorized the rewriting of the Book of the Sun?”

Tolliver is clearly annoyed at the rudeness, but keeping his temper. “Aeos himself indicated tha….”

Another interruption. “So the God’s Avatar strode up the steps and said ‘change this verse?”

“No, of course not, but…”

“So you changed a divinely inspired text based on the word of priests.” He tries not to make the final word sound like a synonym for sewage, but he doesn’t entirely succeed.

“Sir Malachite, if you’d understand h…”

“I am trying to understand. Answer the question, please.”

Tolliver looks affronted. “There are precedents. It has been changed before.” Malachite nods his head; he knows that it was last changed 238 years ago, to correct the misspelling of a disciple’s name.

“When?” demands Malachite.

“Well, I’d have to look it up.”

Malachite nods again. “Indeed. You still haven’t answered the question.”

“I was trying to. Based on divinations, prayers, portents, and the hard fact that our Lord Aeos has created a miracle that clearly involves undead, we had to make the change in order to allow Saint Aleax to fulfill the role for which our Lord has intended him.”

Malachite snorts, his voice still icy. “Ah. So you changed it at his behest.”

Tolliver shakes his head. “No, he was quite opposed to the alteration, bu.…”

Malachite’s voice drops another few degrees. “I’m sure he was.”

Tolliver’s temper snaps, and his face flushes. “You, Malachite, will stop interrupting me. You will treat me with the respect to which I am due, or you will leave. I understand that you are hurt, angry, and perhaps feeling betrayed due to the decision affecting the Chaplars. That is no reason for rude impertenance!”

Malachite eyes him up and down. “I will, Father, treat you with the respect to which you are due.”

They lock eyes, and Father Tolliver speaks first. “We are very interested in the rumors regarding your sword. Does it truly contain a piece of Saint Aleax’s soul?”

“I have not said that, Father.”

“Yes, I know you haven’t. But does it? Is that it on your hip?”

“I have not said that, Father.” Still bitter cold and strictly formal.

Tolliver rolls his eyes in frustration. “Malachite, pay attention. I am asking you a direct question. Is that sword you wear the sword in question?”

No pause at all. “Yes, Father.”

Father Tolliver sighs and sits back. “Well, good. May I see it, please?”

Malachite keeps him fixed in his intense stare. “I will tender it only to those qualified to examine it properly. Are you one such, Father?”

“Well, no but….”

“Then I will retain possession of it until then.”

There is a long silence. Tolliver finally sighs. “I’m not your enemy, Sir Malachite. The church needs you; it needs your loyalty, it needs your strength. It doesn’t need division in a time of war. You’re a soldier; you must know how that affects morale. Please, try to keep an open mind. Saint Aleax is the Saint of legend. He is the beloved of Aeos. And he is your superior in the Church Militant. Challenging him in the name of old loyalties will only bring you ruin and excommunication. Don't let your faith crumble, as other members of your old order have done.”

Malachite sits rigid as a board. “My loyalties to the Faith are as strong as ever, Father.”

Tolliver sighs once again. “I see. I’ll take you to him, then. And I’ll pray for your soul and for your faith, that you will see the light.”

Malachite stands. “I say again, my soul is clean and my faith in Aeos is as strong as ever. Nothing will change that.”

They leave the room, and walk towards Saint Aleax’s office.

To be continued….
 
Last edited:

Blackjack

First Post
Piratecat said:
Malachite keeps him fixed in his intense stare. “I will tender it only to those qualified to examine it properly. Are you one such, Father?”

I believe my exact quote was "I will be happy to tender it to qualified members of the faith." Nothing's more fun than the truth, when it involves telling your foes exactly what they want to hear and the reality is something they'll hate. :)
 

Hey PC

In your world can a church strip its Paladins of their divine power or is that merely an action the God can do directly.

It would seem obvious that if the Emerald Paladins still have their powers then they were right not to follow the arrogant skeleton.
 
Last edited:

Nail

First Post
Simplicity is best

Eraslin said:
This is a bit of a stretch, but ....
<snip>
What, do you suppose, would be the results of a spell, cast on Sir Ghouleax, which is a modified cross between Spell Immunity, Permanancy, and Nystul's Undetectable Aura?

Too complicated.

Actually, this seems pretty simple. Ghouleax is the real McCoy, with perhaps part of his soul residing in the sword. He was animated by the White Kingdom uber-lords in an effort to distract the Defenders. How, exactly, that happened, and what kind of undead he is, is irrelevant. He's distracting them (and half the kingdom) quite nicely, and removing most of their resources. Mission accomplished.

That he has few memories, except that he must destroy the Necromancers (or whatever), is interesting....even "telling". How did he find out about the "Evil Artifact(tm)"? Why does he think that moving "now" is best? Etc. All sort of interesting questions.....

-Nail
 

Status
Not open for further replies.

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top