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ZEITGEIST The affirmative action racial recruitment team of the RHC

Lylandra

Adventurer
Yeah, that's one of the reasons why we as PCs were so adamantly against fiddling with the planar barrier. Sijhen and his crazy powers scared the sh*t out of us and we didn't want the Gidim to return with more like him. The formation of the hivemind in Cherage turned into one giant "told you so!" to Nic.
 

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Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
One of my players looked up some of the entymology of Ashima shimtu and had some questions
Interesting aside: Ashima means “limitless” in Hindi (Elven?), it seems like it is an honorific addition to the word Shimtu (Mesopotamian for fate, tied to the concept of mana, i.e. what powers personal fate)
Ashima name also appears to be a Semitic goddess of fate as well (Probably as aSHIMa and SHIMtu have the same root Indo word…)

I am assuming this is not coincidence
 

Honestly, I don't put as much stock in names as many writers. I just wanted a Sumerian vibe for the demonocracy, and I probably bounced around Wikipedia links until the right set of phonemes appealed to me.

So yeah, it is kind of a coincidence.
 

My overarching thoughts on language are definitely inspired by one of my years in college where I studied semiotics (a field that considers how symbols are used and interpreted) in one class while studying speech acts (the idea that certain speech alter how people perceive the world, and thus alter behavior) in another class. And this was all in the wake of 9/11, so my head was swimming with concerns about how America was framing the response to the attack as a 'war on terror' rather than, say, 'a military-assisted police action in Afghanistan in concert with other nations to apprehend the leader of a well-armed but non-governmental organization that coordinated a mass casualty crime, followed by a military invasion of Iraq - a nation with high geopolitical leverage - under the pretext that the nation is semiotically associated with concepts of terrorism, and thus is a valid target in response to 9/11.'

The meaning of names are usually opaque, and generally bereft of influence in actuality. I mean, I'm Ryan, which I know means 'little king' or something, but that did not ever cause me to think I should become a monarch or influence people to treat me like royalty. And I'm dating a Katherine, and I have no idea what her name means. I could look it up, but it doesn't matter to me.

Labels, though (and occasionally names with very obvious meanings or allusions), do affect how people act.
 


Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
The Great Demon Lord Heist

With the Coaltongue on route to Drakr the Queen and associates departed dor Sid Minos using an Air Walk spell. They planned on investigating the vault recovering Ashima-Shimtu and also the other prisoners. When greeted on arrival with warnings of doom in Crisslyr they thought it likely that Ashima-Shimtu had given the ritual of Apothesis to Vitus the Godhand as she had intended to test the church and see if it could purify itself. They thought this may have not gone so well as though they had worked well with Vitus they realised he was just a little bit Zealous and may have done something dangerous. Then they put together the death of the devout follower of the God of Night in Risur and realised that the ritual must have been used, they were not sure how and spent quite a while trying to work out what was going on, when they were half an hours flight from the city and could have just gone and found out.

Ashima-Shimtu also told them that they could find a biography of Triegenes in the vault and they were very interested in finding that.

Eventually though they stopped their debate and the Trumpet archon turned up and brough along his celestial host including the Planatar Hexopherial probably the most lawful and hide bound planatar around. They learned he was going to cleanse the vault they tried testing him to see if there was any leeway and realised that he would purge everything, they did not ask about Ashima-Shimtu but did find out he intended to execute the angel Linia so that her heavenly essence could return to heaven and be reborn pure and unsullied by her prolonged confinement of the material plane. This was not their favourite idea but they by this time had come to the conclusion they only concession they would get was they would be allowed to recover the biography, and unless they killed the Reaper and his minions that was all they would get.

So Manuel had a cunning plan, he would stuff Nevla in the Abusrdist web then being so sneaky it's untrue (stealth +63) he would creep into the vault once the door was open and reach the prison of Ashima-Shimtu before the angels did , blow the door down with a magically silent cannon and then he and Nevla would get Ashima-Shimtu into the Absurdist web and sneak back out so they did not have to discuss her with the angels. This was the plan they went with.

William , Ulvaar and Padme went in with the angels to get the biography, and stood by as Linia, the Lilend and the poor architect were executed , they did recover the biography but I was surprised I had expected them to save Linia even if it meant fighting the Hezophiel but they did not. So all those boosted combat stats I prepared were not needed.

Meanwhile Manual and Nevla easily reached the vault, it was speculated that by this point Manuel not so much becomes the night but becomes the secret hour after midnight. And Dammit I just realised I could have really messed with Manuel when the god of night was killed, thats an opportunity missed.
They reached the vault door undetected and put a silent cannon shell into it just as the Archons sounded their trumpets to muffle the noise of the door collapsing. Then rushed in Nevla explained the plan to Ashima-Shimtu who accepted putting her trust into the pc's , with a large tower shield under her in case of mistakes Manuel in Mecha unhooked her, Nevla cast Heal and then they put her in the Web and sneaked out again while the angels were on the other side of the central vault. William and the others joined them and they used the Wind Walk to fly off elswhere to speak with Ashima-Shimtu and read the biography. They learned he had never used the ritual and they discussed it themselves and decided that the only thing they could justify using it for was the ritual on Axis Island and maybe not even then, pariticularly as the Ob will know their names and they risk getting their supporters killed , however they decided they could make the decision later. Speaking with Ashima-Shimtu they confirmed she was the one who gave Trigenes the ritual and that his example seemed to be combined with her imprisonment what had started her possible path to redemption, and she had given the ritual to Vitus to see if he could redeem the clergy , they all agreed the omens were bad. She asked to accompany them to see more of the world and try to understand mortals and their decisions, Nevla agreed the others went along but pointed out her appearence would cause problems , so she started to look like an attractive female Eladrin with strange eyes.
They then discuss the situation in Alais Primos at length. At some point the God point out that it will take them half an hour in game and 30 seconds in real life to get some facts.
They fly to Alais primos with Wind Walk and rendezvous at a nice little resteraunt with Morgan and the Family leaders, they also note the volcanic eruption , desecration of churches and burnign buildings as well as Paladins and Mobsters working together. The situation is explained, and fits with about half their speculation. They decide that helping out will probably let them get someone in charge who will call back much of the army from the invasion plan, they decide that the other option of letting Crissilyr wipe itself out is too evil. They learn the ritual they want is in the great library and it has good defenses plus they need the secular and religous leaders to get what they need, conveniently removing the Godhand should allow them to get people in place who will let them get the ritual particularly as the clergy probably don't care about it. Although they realise the Arch-Secualar is Ob and think she may need replacing.
Their preliminary plan is to put Tiegenese on trial and get him found innocent, they have good social skills and William can learn to be an excellent lawyer. However they think their chances will be better if they stick Legate Tullius in the Absurdist web. If they assassinate her someone will just ressurect her.
They learn that the goddess of Oases is on trial in an hour or so, and decide to go watch the trial but decide they won't be able to intervene after discussing mad plans involving having someone hiding in the Volcano and catching her without being detected

I expect them to try and abduct the Legate at the start of next session and will work out where she is and what her security is like. They also tried to work out how to get the Arch-prelate to come back and cooperate with them but realised that was pretty much impossible
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
I forgot that Manuel had a present for Ashima-Shimtu a primer on the use of the first person in speech as grammatical education, after all he too suffers from the urge to narrate when posing in the night as Bat-Manuel. She is amused
 


Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
As we started the family found and rescued a dwarven priestess Florence of the god of forges who hailed from Risur. She had been visitng before the great eclipse and while she recognised the characters as the famous RHC agents from Flint she was not aware she was talking to her Queen, she had also heard that Granny Allswell was dead and a dwarf was replacing her gradually becoming the King Under the Mountain and was not aware Ulvaar was there. She told the tale about her younger sister (Ulvaar's perfect match) who was out to discover the lost tomb of the great dwarven king Ron the Good , one of the kings of the Drakr dwarves before the Demonocracy and told how the key had been lost when everyone got drunk at the funeral wake. They laughed at this and the dwarven names being so normal. I look forward to their expressions when they find the Lost Tomb of Ron the Good with its Beer fountains.

They did consider that at some pointed the needed a clergy cleric who could be head of faith for at least ten minutes so they decided to keep her around as she was a cleric on their side. In the Web she goes until it is safe.

They headed out for the trial of the Goddess of Oases , and were impressed by Legate Tullius's skill but not by the fairness of the trial, they considered intervening but decided that would just tip their hand and they were not prepared. As they moved into the temple they decided they had to act before all the god was embodied and all its followers were killed so William contacted the priestess with a sending warning when she died her goddess and followers would die unless she died before the goddess could be embodied. She agreed death was ineveitable and dying for her goddess and followers was a better death and would make her a martyr. With permission William and Manuel moved into a sniping position so Manuel could shoot her and then they could teleport out before the search found them. With one shot Manuel killed the priestess , thwaring the ritual and preventing the disaster. He just avoided being spotted because of the distraction and distance to the observers and his silly stealth score. For the next trial minor angels would be posted at all the sniping positions so things could not be repeated.

Abandoning the idea of talking to Vitus as he seemed too mad and talking to him revealed their presence in the city Nevla instead went to see the Arch-Secular in the library sneaking in with the help of the family and then, she spoke briefly with the woman and came to the conclusion that she was more interested in saving her own life and all the others which could be saved by stopping the God Trials than in loyalty to the Ob. Nevla agreed that she and her fellows would save the day if they would then get access to the Axis Island ritual, the Arch-Secular agreed.

So they decided on putting Triegenes on trial, but rather than apporaching Vitus to arrange it they decided to crash the party. When Appollonius the priest of Apollo was put on trial the next day they had Triegenese (Morgan Cippriano protected by Mind Blanck so his name could be kept secret) accomapnied by them enter the plaza and demand that as the titular chief god of the clergy that if anyone face trial it be him. Suprised Legate Tullius rallied and to the approval of the crowd agreed. Triegenese himself stayed largely above the fray leaving the arguement to Nevla , ably supported by William on crowd management, local lore from the well read goblin Manuel. Linguistic advice from Padme, the religous scholarship of the lightning weasel a respected scholar in almost all fields by now. Finally legal and historical advice from Ashima-Shimtu Seneschal of the Demonocracy, it would have been nice if she would handle the public speaking but she was not willing to take that much responsibility for actions. It was a closely matched contest , by the time all of the modifiers from assistance and spells had been included the abilities of both parts were exactly even.

The party made the core of their arguement in all phases of the debate 'Improve Yourself' Triegenes had not promised to save everyone and do things for them he had promised to help people help themselves. For every example of the unworthy achieving they found examples of those who had emulated Tiegenes and achieved great things with Humility. The Disaster after the second victory was entirely the fault of the clergy if they had truly followed his path they would not have started the wars with the Eladrin or would have made peace when Kasavarina and William Millar came to them with an offer of peace. Instead their violence and treachery killed the Eladrin civilisation and the price of that death was the fall of their own. The great eclipse came because of the achievements of mortals the Ob, the failure of other mortals including Vitus to stop them and mortal weakness, salvation from those consequences would if it come be the result of mortal endeavors fixing the mistakes of the Ob and Triegenes would seek to aid those mortals but all must come from the efforts of mortals. Nevla triumphed in the debates by the narrowest or margins (and a suspicous RNG on Roll 20 which gave 3 consecutive 18's). The subdued and thoughtful crowd and legate proceded to the Cathedral where they made their final arguements in front of Vitus and his angelic guards. The party decided that the revelation that Triegenes was not a god would not help their cause instead they pushed their message of self reliance and that killing the avatar of Triegenes would kill all of his followers, the message they pushed was logical and rational rather than the legates emotional speech taking advantage of the nature of the new world, which made up for Nevla not being as good at Oratory as her opponent , again they were too closely matched to be easily seperated and after the two rolls on roll20 Nevla made her case by a single point on a dice roll.

The crowd and the legate went quiet realising their pirsuit of the gods had been vainglorious folly killing only their own and failing Triegenes test. Vitus however condemened them all for their weakness only he had the strength to see this to it's conclusion tearing of his robe he revealed his own preperations for the ritual of apothesis and ordered his followers to attack, only the angels bound to his service obeyed hitting Padme and William with destruction spells they shrugged off while Advoriel attacked Ulvaar inflicting light wounds on him. Nevla cast overwhelming presence temporarily incapcitating the angels, Manuel donned his steam suit while passing the web to Ulvaar who promtly stuffed the incapacitated Advoriel into it, Padme and William lightly stabbed Vitus, who then nearly dropped Nevla with a flurry of blood crow strike blows and did drop William with actual punches , William being saved only by the autoamtic stabilisation of the new planar configutation. Then Nevla managed to hit him with a disintigrate spell for which he rolled a 1 on his save and was obliterated before he could assume the mantle of Triegenes. Leaving the Avatar of Triegenes, the Family and surviving authority figures in the mob to sort things out the team rushed to the library where their dwarven cleric and the arch secular secured them the Axis island Ritual and they hurriedly departed heading to Drakr.

Behind them the mess of Crissily started to sort itself out , a new secular and clerical council called for the current arch-prelate to stand down and recalled the army for internal duties. The Arch prelate refused and with a portion of the Army continues to support the Ob
 


Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
The group starts in the beseiged dwarven town trying to gather information to come up with a plan. They speak with Vlendan Heid and a dwarven wizard from Risur Sigmund who had visited the town to help his younger sister translate ancient dwarven runic texts and then stayed on to learn some spells from local wizards and then got caught up in the siege, oddly enough the brother of the dwarven cleric in Crissily although no one asked, I wonder if they will when they meet another sibling in Ursalina. Ashima-Shimto proved helpful as she knew of the Riders from the days of the Demonocracy. They decided that as much of the army was being influenced into its behaviour they could not blow up a large part of it with the alchemical bomb :(

They did decide they needed to talk to the Frost Giants but wanted some evidence that Komanov was not dealing fairly with them before making the approach. After much discussion they decided to wait until tommorrows address by Komanov and parade around the camps before breaking into her vault, then they tried their Contact other planes divination with its awesome 44% chance of being accurate and got more confused every time they thought they were onto something the next answer made no sense as it or the previous one was random. As they waited some ghouls attacked the town and got put to rest delivering a note to them from Tzertze the rider expressing an interest in talking. They talked about how much they could trust this and decided it was worth the risk of ambush. William teleported them half a mile from the cairns and then they split up Ulvaar and Nevla walked in openly while Padme, William and Manuel sneaked in to look for an ambush. The only person there was Tzertze so they talked, they told him about the state of the world and he took exception to the Ob, they concluded that he was genunely disloyal to Komanov and willing to sell her out in return for a more interesting life and battles with exciting foes. So they agreed to let him defect then he produced demands about a taking over the town as a base, a Harem and his fellow warlords weapons. They immediatly agreed to the weapons as they didn't want them and instead offered to make use of their abilities to give him a more normal body and then a being of his charisma and power would easily win over a harem, finally they pointed out that this fortress was obsolete and scruffy so Draker would build him a nice new shiny fortress on a border with enemies to fight. This settled the agreement and due to the warlords complete lack of guile they easily confirmed he meant it (no bluff!) . William speculated that if they could not get rid of Nicodemus they could appoint Tertze to the job of killing him every time he reincarnated.
Tzertze told them what Komanov was up to and after a bit of speculation they lept to the accurate conclusion she was digging up the Eye of the Voice of Rot , they wanted this because it may be good for killing Nicodemus, and they did not want the Voice of Rot getting it back. William also made the point they should never put it in the Absurdist Web as they got it from Copperhat and that could mean the Voice of Rot could access the web, everyone else agreed this would be a bad idea. Tzertze provided a method of avoiding combat with the Frost Giants and revealed that Komanov only had a few guards in her workhole. They agreed a plan where the Coaltongue would provide a distraction by bombarding a wood about 20 miles away so that Tzertze and three of the riders would go and investigate then they would burst in and kill Komanov and Nibo.

The plan worked they burst in fully buffed and engaged two frost giant bodyguards killing one with a charge and mellee, Nevla mazed the other giant, Manuel shot the arcane weapon so Komanove could not use it on them. The Nameless lackey used a time stop and then summonned some Daemons. Ulvaar charged in and hit Komanov, Nebo used wail of the banshee only to discover Death ward protected the enemy. Finally Komanov fired a Quickened Ice burst at Ulvaar and then called upon the spirit bound as a guardian here Gozer the destroyer and he manifested as a bulbous white being with a silly little hat and little tabard with strange runes on it , which in an unknown language spelled out 'Stay Puft Marshmellows' one of my players recognised the description so I revealed the image on Roll20. I was glad no one could throw anything at me. He lurched forward and attacked Padme and William covering them with corrosive Marshmellows but failed to engulf them.

Manuel, William and Padme launched an attack on the Stay-Puft marshmellow man, Ulvaar hit Komanov, nevla disintigrated the nameless lackey. Komanov cast some spell which achieved very little . The Marshmellow man hit William and Padme again and they broke off to charge Komanov killing her, Manuel dropped the marshmellow man. Komanov then triggerred a dying Miracle pulling all of the riders except Tzertze into the void, no one else was pulled in as Ulvaar currently huge in size lay down in front of the void and stopped anyone getting pulled in.

Ashima-Shimtu explained teh history of Gozer how he was the laughing stock of Hades after failing to destroy another world and then being trapped in a weak and silly form, and now would be back in Hades getting laughed at more. Manuel liked the idea of Ghost touch particle streams but could not think of how to build a reactor. Ashima-Shimtu then asked why they had acted to save a country which was their enemy. Manuel and Nevla explained most of the people of Drakr were not their enemies and by helping them they hoped to avert the threat by winning over their enemies , saving lives and giving them a second chance to make a better choice.

They left clean up to Vledem Heid and teleported to their ship near Seobrigga and will start their investigation later on Day 6.

Also one of them specualted that they would have to face the Riders again with the Voice of Rot , I agreed that was a good idea and so they will
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
William teleported them to Seobrigga and they went to their arranged rendezvous with Glaucia, being reminded again what having your courtroom in a dead dragon says about your legal system. They met and talked and decided this was indeed an odd happening in Ursalina and investigating it should let them persuade the Bruse not to attack them. While having this discussion some Ob hitmen turned up and were killed in the space of a few seconds. (Even without the PC's being vastly more powerful than the attackers Glaucia is terrifying, anyone who has less then 150hp who attacks her is incapacitated for 1d4 rounds or more). They spoke breifly to the fading Ob ghost deciding they wanted a way to stop them regenerating and told him he should defect , particuarly as Nicodemus was gettign angry with them. El Extrano of course knew they were in Ber and spoke with them , they were surprised he did not know what was going on in Ursalina and that confirmed to them it was serious
They considered other things to do to get the Bruse onside and realised they could deliver a huge amount of the Father of Thunders manure (or Bullshit) to a Minotaur and due to the magical properties of said bullshit he would thank them. They decided to wait until after saving Ursalina so it looked more like a generous offer, William in particular considers it a sacred mission to deliver Bullshit to the Bruse. They also found a way to trap incorporeal souls and so prevent them going back to the Ghost council a mere 7th level spell unfortunatly costing 1000gp per level so they put aside funds so that Lya and Amielle Latimer could be trapped as they had been helpful and seperating them from Nic may mean they could be ressurected as allies. After all they needed someone to rule Danor after all this was over

They rested for the rest of the day , then teleported to their ship outside Ursalina and observed the city. They confirmed no one was leaving the city and it seemed quite. They also noted the presence of the Beran navy squadron and its marines. Their ship was left outside the port so its crew were not enfangered and Ulvaar rowed a ships boat in. Glaucia and Ahsima-Shimtu accompanied them, as they came ashore they noticed a Risuri based engineering company logo at the site of a construction for a new train station and railroad. They suspected that no matter what the legal records said Pemberton owned most of that company, William considered taking on the aspect of a Forensic accountant but they decided they did not have time to try and unpick the Dragons dealing and at the moment he was mostly on their side anyway.

They tried to track down the merchant Flida and did so after Manuel talked the police out of arresting a Pickle selling Goblin having a bad day. It appears that Manuel has bought Charisma and social skills, for a mere 144000gp he is now moderatly diplomatic. They spoke with her and it confirmed their impression that the town was under mindcontrol of some kind. They decided to speak with Dieter the governors son and headed for the bar he hung around at, there Manuel silently staked kobold waiters and tried to get them to reveal they were El Extrano's agents. Nevla spoke with Dieter and got him to meet with them after closure. Ulvaar and William spoke to some dwarven Risuri engineers and discovered that one of them was the sibling of the Cleric in Sid Minos and the wizard in Drakr and was here to build a railway, they suspect some kind of dwarven plot as everywhere they go one clan of dwarves is there. Ulvaar warned them to try and get out of town but the identity of the team was not revealed. They also listend to the bickering bards and spoke with them, much of what they said was ignored but they picked up on the ancient ruins under the college and the college locking everyone out.

After the bar closed they spoke with Dieter and became certain mind control was the issue, they arranged to meet the missing Execuetora and got a meeting with her later that night. On the way to meet with her they stumbled across some cerebral mesh and initially were worried it was some kind of webbing linked to Copper Hat or the voice of rot and so decided to use the planar energy cantrip and discovered it was not one they recognised ruling out all the current and previous planets as well as the Ob rejects. They consulted with the Lightning Weasel a known scholar of the obscure and asked Ashima-Shimtu if she recognised it, both of them realised it was linked to the planes of the Ghidim. This surprised the players they had expected a Ghidim invasion but they were expecting waves of psychic monsters not a subtle invasion. Meeting with the Execuetora further confirmed in their mind that they needed to act fast, they had been lucky not to get spotted so far and so if they wanted surpise they had to strike before morning. The revelation that the invisible flying things were deterred by foul odours and chemicals persuaded Manuel to load his Mortar shells with an irritant gas as they could ignore such things with Ulvaars help.

Glaucia and her colleague were sent to the harbour to keep the troops away from the bardic college. We have a long history involving bards, people with guns and mind effecting magics every time a bard has been near a confused person with a gun they have accidentally been critted for maximum damage and died. So several hundred low level gunmen in a bardic college while attacking Ghidim was considered a recipe for a massacre. The team headed immediatly for the college, Manuel was going to blow a hole in the walls when they realised the entance to the underground was near a big wooden main door and Ulvaar has aquired the ability to warp wood at will so he would open the way for them.

En-route to the college they encounted the masked vigilante Wolfgang Von Recklinghausen grabbing a bit of a flying eyeball thing, which they worried meant it may even be able to spot Manuel (correctly it is the only thing encountered which can match his stealth with perception). When it was gone they spoke he told them about the implants which ennabled him to be ignored by the creatures he had taken from the police, they were intrigued but decided it would not help much in an assault on the Ghidim HQ and so wasnot worth the time to find, incapacitate and perform surgery on a police patrol. They parted ways wishing him well and saying he would be welcome in Risur

We left it jsut before the attack began, an early finish but there is no point starting a major battle with half an hour to go. Next week Battle inside a giant metal fish
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
The team started off by attacking the Bardic college, they had decided they had evidence that the Gidhim were based beneath it and that gathering more information or subtlety was just going to get them discovered fo Full Frontal assault.
Ulvaar warped the front gate out of the way and they charged through the gardens, the Occulus tried to discourage them but true seeing was in use by William and anyway they were determined. Instead it raised the alarm and retreated to the cave below. Ulvaar warped away the front door then TK'd the tarpaulin away revealing the entrance beneath. Manuel's X-ray vision failed to penetrate the weird living metal so they flew down to look at it and discovered the psychic key was needed, rather than go looking they had Padme and Manuel devise a way to force the lock which with their mastery of Disable device was easy.

The sphinctre of living metal opened and they looked down on the Giant Squid-Fish of living metal and were somewhat suprised this was not what they had envisaged. Looking for an entrance they decided that entering through it's back passage seemed to be the way in. This was not something they looked forward too , landing they met a charge of 10 shock troopers as the fish tried to take off. A hail of spells and weapons hit the shock troopers and even with the intervention of the Occulus and a Flying Horror it took them only 3 rounds to disable all of the shock troopers and enter the fish. Inside the fish, it appeared the fish had a grudge against Manuel and Nevla as a lightning bolt hit them every round, it turns out that Sijhen remembers who drove a train into him and also who had been hosting Xambria. As they moved deeper into the fish they encountered 5 more shock troopers and as they engaged them the Ghidim themselves attacked relying on their ego whip and mind grapple, as the heroes were well protected against melee combat, William was grapped for a large chunk of the fight while the rest of the group slowly eliminated the Ghidim infiltrators one of whom was blasted back to his own realm by a Holy Word. Finally only the overseer was left and it closed into hand to hand combat hitting William and Padme leaving them mazed, Before a series of spells, cannon shells and Ulvaar's lightning blade cut it down.

As the last of the first wave of Ghidim were defeated 8 copies of Sighim entered the main chamber and began to try to enter into false negotiations with the heroes, Nevla had no interest in talking to him although his mention of the Vortex array interested Manuel. She hit him with a disintigrate spell before he could finish his speech. Then while he attacked Ulvaar and Nevla Manuel rushed onto the bridge to try to work out how to steal the Vortex array, fortunatly it was a stand alone object he could recognise. Ulvaar hit Sighim while Nevla attacked with an Implosion spell, Sighim like every other Ghidim in this battle rolled really badly and so the Implosion spells really hurt him and he did not last long. Manuel stuffed the Vortex array into the Absurdist web and William teleported everyone else.

Behind them the Squidfish exploded collapsing the Bardic college and killing a few hundred people in the city and animating as living being a signigigant part of the city , which then ate several hundred more people before being captured and used in the arena.

Glaucia took the evidence of Risur saving Ursaline to the Bruse and he took the opportunity to declare Ber Neutral , maintaining this even when Queen Nevla sent him a present of 500 tons of Bullshit to help the fields of Ber, fresh from his spiritual ancestor Father Thunder. The Bruse sent back his diplomatic thanks, it is uncertain how he actually felt.

The team returned back to Risur and got a catch up from Harkover. Crissilyr was a mess and he expected relativly little in the way of contrbution from them, Drakr was in a better state with internal political troubles linked to the army of the madwomen Komanov having been defeated by Risuri agents, however they were still making a major navel contribution and some troops finally Ber was neutral but the Ob was spreading evidence of Dragon Tyrants being protected in Risur. Overall he felt Risur itself would be safe from invasion for several months but a major attack on Axis Island would occure in 4-6 weeks. The Queen and her advisors agreed and they all felt not enough forces could be assigned to Axis Island to hold it so all Danoran industry would be wrecked and harbours sabotaged with a token garrison trying to look strong in place, these would evacuate at the same time. Pemberton agreed and started pulling his forces out as well.

Next they began to discuss their next move, Manuel suggested trying to arrange a defection of Lya or similar actions against the Ob, but the relisation they only had days before Av was destroyed by the Gyre meant they decided to concentrate on the Gyre and the Axis Island ritual, Xambria and Harkover presented their discoveries and the lack of progress on a route to the Gyre althought all divinations revealed one would be ready soon.
They began to discuss who to take Harkover it was decided was needed to run Risur in their absence they did consider alternatives but he was too crucial. Likewise Gale , Athrylla and Kasavarina were all tied down dealing with ongoing issues and it would be difficult to make them available. Pemberton was contacted but he was not ready to leave his organisation but they suggested he send El Kevin as a representative which is under consideration. They also arranged to deliver a Dracosteam suit to Pembertons daughter , they decided giving Pemberton one was helping him too much but the diplomatic effect of giving one to his daughter would be good. They knew he would reverse engineer it , but they thought he would do that anyway with his agents.

Asima-Shimtu offerred to accompany them as an observer and advisor , she said she was interested in observing the Queen and her colleagues as she learned about herself. They accepted as they thought it would help keep her reforming and she had a lot of knowledge of other planes. Manuel tried to prepare the Coaltongue fitting the Vortex array , and arranging for anti-devil silver ammo to be available. While doing so he encountered a dwarven artificer from the same clan of dwarves and investigated further discovering their were ten siblings the youngest of which was trying to find the Lost extradimensional tomb of Good King Ron, they determined she had found a gateway to the old tomb which was only briefly open and so they teleported there with her brother to identify the planar energies to help in the Gyre and also to see if they could identify a way to use it as an entrance or exit which they could not.

Finally Ulvaar asked the Question. Where is Rock Rackus and could he be useful. I had planned to leave this to the next session but I could not turn down the opportunity of that line. So Rock contacted him by sending , and soon turned up possessing his halfling medium minion. I told the players the chapter title Small, Medium, Large Ego they groaned. They rapidly linked his explantion of devils attacking the dreaming linking it to their vision when recovering the Arc of Reida and so agreed to take the Coaltongue to meet him.

Next Session Rock Rackus - The Final Form Vs Oswyn the Magnificents Golden Legion
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
A lot of the start of this session overlapped the end of the last one as a Williams player missed it and was here this session.

The team pressed ahead with a plan to contact Lya and both offer her a ressurection and try to get her to see their viewpoint and act as a moderating voice within the Ob, with long term plans hoping she would eventually replace Nic and become the new leader of the Ob and/or Danor. The problem was where to set up a meeting as they did not have much time and so had to use teleportation but also needed a place Lya could get to which was not Cherage. After much discussion they settled on Naalem, they could contact Lord Kulp and hire local wizards to transport Lya there . Also as an independent minor kingdom with excellent magical defenses they thought it was a good neutral site and one where there was less risk of a major Ob attack on them.

While waiting for the time of the meeting they considered who would travel with them to Av and probably the Gyre , it was decided that most of the powerful people (Harkover, Athrylla, Kasavarina etc) were doing important jobs and so should not be taken with them. They did try to persuade Pemberton to go both because he was powerful and because they would have him were he could be watched, he declined although he did send El Kevin and Teraklir as his representatives Teraklir got a steam battlesuit as a present. They did not give one to Pemberton as they thought first he would enjoy reverse engineering his own and second he would never trust one they gave him not to have sabotage commands or simillar built in. Apart from those they decided they wanted some people who could represent the Ob's views on new worlds and so settled on Han Jieree, Nathan Joerre and Ottavia Sacradote. They also decided that Ashima-Shimtu would be useful and the more paranoid pc's preferred her to be were they could see her , not that they expected to spot her betraying them before it was too late.

William also used Contact other plan to find out more about Rock. This was contoversial as it give an accurate answer 44% of the time and a lie or randome answer 32% of the time...... It was revealed that Rock is not Human, may be a Dragon and has secret powers. This ability to absolutely useless for the players and exists solely to let the GM mess with their heads as far as I can tell.

When preparing to meet with Lya , Padme expressed the opinion she was not going to apologise for stabbing Lya to death and everyone agreed it came under the heading of legitimate unfortuante war time events and was best not discussed. Arriving in Naalem they were met by Lord Kulp, as they were being cautious William had True Seeing active and realised that Lord Kulp was not in fact a humanoid but a polymorphed Copper Dragon which made perfect sense to them and explained much about Lord Kulp. Not sure what it explained but it fits the players view of the universe . They met with Lya in a conference room and tried to convince her that their current objective was to help fix the world and they would be willing to cooperate with the Ob on selecting the new configuration when they returned to the world even if Risur controlled Axis island still they would discuss with Ob representatives . They also emphasised they had nothing to do with the sabotage they would not have minded stopping the Ob changing the world but once the process was underway they wanted a good solution . She shared her concerns that Nicodemus is becoming more and more dogmatic and is unwilling to consider any compromise and accepted a ressurection (True Resurection was needed which Nevla may be the only person alive who cast the spell as Lya's body is gone into a volcano). The ressurected Lya returned to Cherage and the Players hoped she would influence the Ob , the players returned to Flint and boarded the coal tongue. Before moving to Cauldron Hill they made sure it was evacuated, made sure the area around it was evacuated and finally moved the garrison from the Mayor's mansion out of the area to be safe.

The Coaltingue took it's station above Cauldron hill and began it;s ascent into the storm, William noticed the many ghosts surrounding them and kept a close watch on them. The others worried about the storm damaging Flint but realised that it was not an actual storm but a storm like planar conduit and so they did not need to worry about Flint being devestated. As the swarm of ghosts start to close in Manuel starts to fire air-burst Ghost touch Force damage explosive cells into them, the others start to think of ways to keep the ghosts from attacking the ship and endangering all of the crew members and low level companions. At this point they realise they have the Eye of the Voice of Rot in a pocket (NOT in the absurdist web in case the Voice of Rot can access that) William takes it out and brandishes it at the ghosts, nothing happens. He decides that he needs to use magic of some sort to draw on the power of the Eye and so he calls upon the powers of the Hierophant Kings of Risur and channels a lesser Miracle through the Eye , He commands the Ghosts not to attack and to follow them hopefully to be lead on to their final rest.

With the Ghosts dealt with they continue the journey towards Av , and suddenly the reach the Bleak Gate and their ship is upside down. While Captain Smoth struggles to right the ship Manuel and El Kevin struggle to adjust the levitational engines to flip the ship over they manage to reverse them temporarily and flip the ship. Manuel then continues to work on the engines so he can repeat this trick if they need to do it again. Looking around the Bleak gate they see Rock waiting for them on an analogue of Cauldron Hill, he chastises them for running late and tells them to follow him. They shrug and follow along as he is going to Clover where they would have gone anyway and he know's the way.. His ship is the Ghost of th RNS Thunderchild the half sister of the Coaltongue lost in the battle of Axis Island. The players are fairly certain even a ghost of that ship could not fly , but Rock seems to have convinced it that it can, they decide not to contradict him.

The ships fly up a crack in the world, this time they are ready for the direction shift and the modified levitationals take the ship through quickly and easily. They start of fly towards Clover seeing the signs of devestation from the attacking devils and the Gyre ominously close in the sky. As they get closer a swarm of lesser devils lead by 6 horned devils and a Pit Fiend swoop down on them to be met by shell fire and lethal spells from the defenders, the company of legionares is wiped out and the Pit fiend injured so the Devils stop messing around and teleport on Deck. The fighting is brief but violent, Manuel is hit by the Pit fiend and poisoned forcing Nevla to Heal him as the venom is lethal , Padme , Ulvaar and William engage in hand to hand combat while El Kevin and Manuel pour in a hail of gunfire , the devils are soon defeated. One of the Horned devils foolishly attacks the unarmed Eladrin standing on deck and only then realises he has assaulted Ashima-Shimtu in violation of existing treaties between her and his Master Oswyn the Magnificent, this treason causes him to be devoured by the curses embedded in his chains. Nevla consults with Ashima-Shimtu who identifies Oswyn the Magnificent a former mortal and Duke of Hell commanding 66 legions of devils and as of the time of her imprisonment he had conquered over 130 worlds, in competition with several other dukes of Hell, she identifies the dead pit fiend as a sub commander in the 13th Legion. The players hope fervently that not all 66 legions are not about to attack their homes as they see no way to defeat them. None of them are aware that the 13th legion is trapped in the Gyre lead by the Dread Devilish Graveknight and anti-paladin Marcus the finest general of Lord Oswyns armies with his sidekick the Pit Fiend Grumblejack.

The fighting over they head towards Clover and the palace, seeing the Legions airship over the city they send the Coaltongue and Thunderchild against the ship commanded by Rock , ably 'advised' by captain Smith. In the meantime the Queen and her colleagues will dismount and assault the palace.

We left it here.
Given the time it takes for any fight at this level which is even slower via videolink I am conflating battles to try and keep things moving . So the Star Marshal will not be on the ship but in the Palace and I will throw the Kitchen sink at them.
 



Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
In the previous pathfinder game Way of the Wicked the victorious pc's who turned the world of Talingarde to the worship of Asmodeus went on to become devils and important nobles of hell. Oswyn was a charismatic oracle and priest of Hell (William and El Kevin in this campaign) , in hell he has become Oswyn the magnificent a Duke of Hell and commander of the shining legion. Marcus was the antipaladin of the group and a graveknight (Ulvaar in this campaign) who commanded the armies of Talingarde and he has become an undead devilish commander of Oswyns legions. Marcus will be replacing General Paelyrion XVIII , Oswyn will almost certainly not appear. The use of those two also worried the players because they fear that the other former pc's could turn up and they were both terrifying diplomancers.

I don't have a problem with high level combat , I actually quite like running it but from about level 16 onwards the amount of decisions some characters have to make and the number of dice rolls for others just takes too long to run fights which are not important to the plot so I tend to skip minor ones and try to use only major or interesting combats and boost the opponents for those.
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
I forgot the most important conversation of the session. Queen Nevla was confronted by the palace interior decorator who wanted to know how her rooms should be decorated, she did not seem to think it important but many of her colleagues had suggestions , In the end they settled on removin Aodhan's decorations and then leaving it with the minimal decoration of a guest room and letting her Majesty decide when she was not about to plunge into another plane on a desperate mission to save the world
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
The group moved on the Palace while the Aurum Treasure fought it out with the Coaltongue and the Ghost of the Thunderchild. Manuel invoked the night with an impressive stealth roll and Av responded by plunging into the darkness of the night. As they moved through the palace grounds they noticed the statues of the Fey Titans had changed the Voice of Rot was larger and replacing Granny Allswell was a small statue of Ulvaar, while among the broken statues of Risuri monarchs was one of Nevla. Manuel then revealed the latest in technomagical developments Clair-ordenance , bullets which when fired from his silent rifle ennabled him to look around the area they hit or listen to the area they hit.
Using these the incarcerated Fey leaders were located guarded by 4 Malaav ,2 Horned Devils and a diamond studded giant Raptor, several flying Golems and groups of lesser legionares.
Immediatly Padme and William charged in and stabbed a Horned devil to death, the other Horned devil and two Malaav's stabbed Padme a bit and the other 2 Malaav's stabbed William less. Nevla then hit the group near Padme with a burst of Radiance blinding the Malaav's , Manuel donned his Steam suit. One of the lesser prisoners revealed herslef to be Star Marshal Tiadora a bardic devil who started boosting all her allies before gettng charged by Ulvaar and a lightning sword in the face, the Raptor lightly chewed on Ulvaar.
Padme and William despatched the Next Horned Devil and Nevla released a Stormbolt injuring all the remaining devils, An Erinyes arrived and shot Manuel repeatedly with a rifle(The devils are very progressive, Longbows are so last millenium) the golems strafed the group with steam which their fire protections blocked. Manuel returned fire with his Maxim gun woundinf the Erinyes and both golems, Tiadora teleported out realising if she hung around stabbing was in her future. Ulvaar burned the raptor with lightning, it returned the favour in a flurry of claws and bites which tore his left leg off, this minor flesh wound annoyed Ulvaar.
The Erinyes dispersed and fired at Manuel as they moved, William and Padme elimianted the badly injure d Malaav devils. Nevla used a holy word leaving 3 newly arrived preying mantis and the Erinyes paralysed for the next 8 minutes (or slightly longer than Av would exist for), Manuel shot down the Golems and Ulvaar used telekinetic force to turn his leg into a lethal weapon and beat the Raptor(Savant) to death with it.

As Meteors started to fall and the world crack open the group tried to get all the Fey in the palace moving towards where the Coaltongue and Thunderchild were landing, they saw devils also heading towards the ship so Padme and William killed some of them and the rest decided to teleport elswhere and not get stabbed. As a chasm opened up between them and the ship Ulvaar used TK to carry groups of Fey over the burning Whitch Oil, Manuel used his immense strength in a steamsuit and a giant shield to lift groups over while William and Nevla loaded refugee's into their magical painting and the Absurdist web so they could be transported, as they got them aboard the world blew up.

They recovered conciousness amid the wreck of their ship in Risur and I took a drink and bathroom break. I would have preferred to end a session on that but my timing was wrong.

I returned and sadly they were already speculating about Mirror selves. So I revealed that in fact they were in the Gyre and had just woken from a dream , their was then another delay as I had to get a map of Urim loaded, the devils stood no chance and I used weaker Vaknids while the Voice of Rot taunted them and the fight was no trouble. I am going to throw Vaknids at the party alongside the 4 riders with the Voice of Rot in the final battle as I expect the Ritual to be more of a battle of ideas not swords as Nic will not have many allies left.

After the fight most of the Fey were missing and they presumed they had ended up on Av in the Gyre, Ashima-Shimtu was also missing which worried William as he thought she may be up to something. They got the Coaltingue fixed up but is engines remained doubtful for long flights. As they did so Calily the monk turned up and spoke with them, after a little bit of initial distrust they consulted with her and her knowledge of the Gyre . They decided to move the Coaltongue to Caeloon were it could be repaired while they scouted out the area around them. At this point Nevla realised she could sense two divine presences ,one was narrowed down with Calily's help as Hounslow the other seemed to be a weak link to Ssramma and at this point Nevla realised she now channelled positive energy and had normal clerical domain access instead of her normal unnusual link.
From Caelonn they had limited choices of where they could go, South-west was the burning waters of Padyer and they soon realised it was a nasty place to be avoided, North West was a void, North was the abandoned palaces of Celestia and NE took them back to Urim so North it was.

Celestia was a strange place (resembling the Chinese Forbidden city) Constructs and Zombies went about their appointed tasks even though their world had crumbled, the group devined the place's nature was that 'Everything is Ordered' Nevla was not keen on this but Manuel persauded her they should try and get Icons of almost everywhere which was not insane so they had a big choice and could look for balances and synergies. She agreed to investigate and they concluded that they should spend the time on each world to understand it. Findin the palace at the center of the world they found signs of fighting and Manuel sneaked in it looked like the palace had been attacked in the past and several broken Mithril Golems lay in the palace. In the throne room he found a Jade thrown but all traces of gold had been looted from the palace in the throne room was a servitor which recorded all events , after some effort Padme aided by William was able to get it to share the information with them. It seems this world broke when Nomads rebelled against the Mandate of Heaven and attacked the empire defeating it only to discover it was THE mandate of heaven and breaking the order of it broke the world. The Palace ended up in the Gyre and here it was attacked by first the Shining Legion and then the Pirates of Hounslow who took the child emperor and his surving staff as slaves the realised that returning the Emperor would let them forge an Icon for this world. Discussion about the pirates with Calily decided them that the pirates needed to go as did the legion as they did not want them somehow ending up on a world they brought back into their own.
From Celestia they could get to Thrag, Hounslow, Talingarde or go back on themselves.
The world of Talingarde was dominated by a Giant Frog crossed with the Tarasque and they knew they wanted nothing to do with that world , even the shining Legion avoided the FROG at all costs. They also divined it's nature "Evil is Beutiful and all Frogs are poisonous" they could not decide if that meant all evil people would become pretty or all pretty people would become evil , they decided to never find out.
They debated Thrag and finally decided to go back and circle round to the worlds on the other side of Hounslow , so they could do an efficient exploration. One was dead motes and uninteresting the other was a strange world .

There was a forum overgrown with plants and grazed by sheep. Calily found it sinister and all but Nevla agreed. Most buildings were ruins but three buildings in the center were overgrown but intact. As they moved to investigate they noticed almost all the plants were poison ivy and that when they were away from Nevla the sheep started giving them murderous looks. Manuel used his Bat handling skills to grab and investigate a sheep and discovered each sheep has viper fangs in its jaw , extracting some venom her realised it was incredibly lethal the only thing more lethal he had encountered was the bite of a Pit fiend.
Moving forward and watching the sheep carefully they saw the buildings in the center were a temple, a building containing art and fresco's and a hall of statues. Speculation that this was linked to Ssramma was put to rest at the architecture was more Crissylian than Eladrin and Nevla could sense Ssramma far to the North west. They decided to check out the statues first, the building was overgrown but they cleared as they went most of the statues had falled into rubble. Near the entrance were statues of two strange beings the characters could not identify (2 evil and charming pc's from Way of the Wicked)
further in they found a Silver statue of Triegenes in his moment of triump but showing his doubts about the future and regrets over what victory had cost, a perfect statue as if he had been transformed at that moment(they checked he had not). At this point they were starting to think the world was linked to Ashima-Shimtu as she had a Triegenes fixation. The Final statue suprised them a statue in gold of Nevla, taken at a moment when she was distracted by one of the prolonged ethical debates the group has.
As they pondered this they heard a noise and realised someone had been watching from a hidden spyhole in the wall, they tried to look though the wall with X-Ray vision and soon realised this was not a normal building , possibly some sort of solidified soul or spirit stuff certainly not stone.

We ended with that mystery and now I have many questions about planes and buidling your own solar system to answer
 


Halloween Horror For 5E

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