The Othyrian Chronicles: Legacy

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Preface
This is a 4e sequel campaign to a successful three-year run with 3.5e DnD set in a homebrew continent of Othyr. In that story, a group of unlikely heroes faced off against the rising power of seven demon lords as they attempted to unleash their imprisoned brethren from a glacial rendition of Carceri. The whole of the setting took place in northern lands, with northern races, but did feature romps into the Dread Kingdom of Saspien where the vampire houses ruled and some brief planar romps across Vrauktom the Isle of Ice, The Phoenix Forge upon a hurtling iron meteor through the endless Plane of Fire, and ultimately in Carceri itself.

Besides the forces of demonkind, the mechanations of elder dragons worked between, as their ancient and deadly ancestors were also imprisoned. An unholy union formed between dragon and demon, which led to the group's final confrontations with ancient dragons, archfiends, and even the new-born god of Demon-Dragon Kind and his father, the progenitor of all dragons and the embodiment of Greed.

It sounds a bit much for mortals, but the group proved to hold the divine sparks of dead gods of old, the sworn foes of these demon lords and dragons. Each PC was a tiny insurance plan for their respective deity so that his or her essence might live on in some form or another. But the divine spark could not manifest in the group, no, it had to be in their children. Toward the campaign's closing, two group members were raped and the others willingly siring offspring. This collection of new-born deities would be known as The New Gods. With the heroes and their cosmic children beside them in the final battle, they defeated the rising evils before they could conquer and remake Creation.

Over the next seventeen years, the continent of Othyr changed with the effects of the campaign, new nations rising, new races, new heroes and new villains. The north unified into a nation known as Atha, with the heroes as its leaders, championing freedom and equality for all. This put it in direct confrontation with the xenophobic, magic-hating continental empire known as The Kingdom and the slaver confederation of southern city-states known as Azerbad. The Kingdom monarchy was overthrown by a grassroots fundamentalist group and turned into a theocracy with a Heirarch as supreme ruler, supplemented by an alliance with the red dragon elder. Now more than ever they set their sights for consuming what free nations and peoples remain, their ultimate goal the combining of all human civilizations into a Utopia and the banishment or enslavement of all other races. The stage is set for some political, racial and military tension...
 
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The Players
A requirement for this campaign was that every PC be a direct offspring of at least one of the previous heroes, namely the player's own from last game. This resulted in a lot of half-breeds. Each of them in some way of another have been given a privleged life, though some of them don't quite see it that way. There are some mighty large boots to fill, and some vast shadows to crawl out from under.

The Scions are as follows:

  • Giers, Half-Raptoran (Ethrey) Paladin
  • Isabella, Human Wizard
  • Hulda, Half-Giant (Urias) Barbarian
  • Takeshi, Half-Elf Ranger
  • Portia, Half-Goblin (Boggart) Rogue
 

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Session 1: As Fate Would Have It

Delempar 30th, 17 AD

Waking in a Wagon
The group awoke tied and in the back of a wagon, a voice outside confirming the sleeping root had finally run out. They'd been kidnapped, stolen from their very beds, and were now in nothing but their night clothes. From what the group could recall, they'd been traveling many days.

Takeshi and Geirs managed to get themselves free just as the wagon turned off the road and into the uneven wilds. They helped free the others, two of whom still slept, as the wagon parked. They made some quick introductions, some of the children already knowing each other, but all quickly quieted as voices approached.

Abelerd and Bathild
One voice belonged to a woman calling for a man named Abelerd. Abelerd, in turn, eagerly moaned the woman's name, Bathild, to the sound of unbuckling and the rhythm of wet noises. While he was being serviced outside, the group began to form an escape plan.

Escape!
On the count of five, Hulda kicked her mighty leg against the door, which shuddered but refused to break. Geirs followed with a second kick, this one sending the door swinging wide. By this time, Abelerd had his pants up and a mace drawn. He was dressed in a juggler's finery. Abelerd ordered the children back into the wagon, but obviously they refused, and a fight was on.

Hulda tore the door off its hinges and used it as a shield to ward the man back, even as he clocked her good in the face and drew blood. Takeshi sensed Bathild about to strike from off the side and quickly knocked the camp follower out with one strong punch. When Isabella missed with a magic orb of force, Abelerd whistled for some help in repelling the kids. That's when Takeshi and Giers finished him within an inch of his life, the latter threatening to kill him if he ever touched his sister again.

The sound of others approaching spurred the group into the forest, Takeshi in the lead with an unconscious boggart over his shoulder. Before they left, they noticed a name painted on the wagon side: Dolphus-DeWitt's Traveling Circus!

Into the Nameless Woods
They blindly fled into the woods, making sure they were well away from camp before deciding on a course of action. In the mean time, the boggart awoke, eventually revealed to be Portia Torban. So it seemed all the children did share a common link, each of their parents in one way or another contributing to the mythic victory over Shalraza, Krysarok, Kultuss and the demon armies.

Despite Portia's offerings of aid, Takeshi went back to the camp to see if he could retrieve the group's personal effects. Isabella in the lead, the rest made downhill as they looked for a river, and subsequently looked for civilization. In the dark woods in the middle of the night, they could find none.

The group eventually grew cold and tired enough to start a fire.

Takeshi Scouts
Takeshi snuck back to camp, spying the entire circus of twenty as they sat around several fires and had dinner. Some were panicking over the loss of the children, worried they'd never be paid and the circus would be ruined. Others assured them that the show would go on and that Dolphus would find the group soon enough. Takeshi made a bit of noise as he attempted to circle around the four wagons, the most likely place their things were kept, and drew the attention of The Fattest Woman on Othyr and The Sword Swallower. Well, the fat lady wasn't leaving her meal, but the swallower investigated, unsheathing a blade from his throat.

Takeshi managed to hide from him, then circle around to the wagons, but found an armed guard stationed at each of the doors. Knowing he would need help, he backtracked and found the group. Little did he know he was being followed...

Information Gathered
Takeshi eventually returned to the group with what he learned. They had been spirited away to The Black Forest, a five hundred mile stretch of woods in none other than the xenophobic Kingdom, where only humans were tolerated and arcane magic forbidden. And worse, the circusfolk had sent out a man named Dolphus after them, who they felt confident could find them. They had to keep moving.

Dolphus
No sooner had Takeshi mentioned Dolphus, the man appeared, looking like an unsavory jester in drab gray-blue motley. He brought an armed company consisting of The Bearded Lady, The Strongman and The Sword Swallower. After a futile demand by Isabella to surrender, The Bearded Lady asked if she could have the little princess for her own. Dolphus reminded the hairy woman of her manners and said he wanted to have a little fun first.

SLEEP!
Revolted, Isabella cast one of her most powerful spells, sending the quartet into the depths of unconsciousness. They dropped like rag dolls, where upon the princess demanded the group kill them. Takeshi hacked at Dolphus, but Geirs froze when looming over The Strongman and cut his hamstring instead.

The Weight Guesser
Before they group could coup de grace all the circusfolk, a knife flashed through the air and narrowly missed Isabella. A cried guess of her weight, 125, went with it. Isabella angrily denied such poundage and fired an orb, missing entirely. The Weight Guesser was very well hidden in the forest darkness, prompting Portia to sneak out in search of him.

The knives kept flying, one eventually planting into Isabella's side and proving the most pain she'd ever felt in all her years. While the hidden carnie could have kept up the attack all night, Hulda eventually scared him off when she played a little golf with The Bearded Lady's face, knocking off half her jaw with a makeshift greatclub and killing her.

Hulda's New Squeeze
The sounds of wolves echoed in the not too distant distance, likely drawn by the smell of blood. The group made haste further east, as Isabella read the stars. Hulda kept a souvenir, though, slinging the sleeping strongman over her shoulder. Takeshi asked why she was bringing him, but the oafish ten foot girl only shrugged.

Portia Scouts Ahead
Meantime, the boggart rogue scouted the immediate area. She discovered some well-used game trails and prints of animals and men. All signs pointed to this being close to a hunting lodge or perhaps a small village.

Jolo Wakes
As the sound of wolves eventually died out, the strongman woke. In a thick accent he revealed his name was Jolo. He was a very burly, broad man with a waxed handlebar mustache and red furs. Though he played dumb, he seemed to know more than he let on.

Geirs and Hulda played a hard game of interrogation, using sexual threats to pry information from the carnie. Jolo revealed that the group was to be taken to Mightstone in the southern Kingdom, the headquarters of the Imperial Dragoons (dragonrider knights) and the lair of Yathnoc the Red (elder red dragon). After a little more prying, they eventually got him to name the man who hired the circus troupe, one Valdemar Volker.

It was at that point the group finally discovered a river, or more a large stream if truth be told. Takeshi made a tremendous leap over and turned to help the others across.

The Human Furnace
As soon as Jolo divulged the name Valdemar Volker, he broke into a hot fever and soon began convulsing. Hulda put him down just as his insides ignited, flames spewing from his eyes, nostrils and mouth. Jolo looked a human furnace. Jerking on his feet like a marionette, he attacked the half-giant. Each of the possessed strongman's strikes was incredibly powerful, and set whatever he hit on fire. Hulda was beaten within an inch of her life before leaping into the river to douse the flames.

Giants Sink
As the group laid attacks into the monster Jolo had become, Takeshi even performing an impressive leap back over the river and landing an attack, Hulda fought a very different battle. She was a terrible swimmer and the current quickly took her down the river and around a bend.

Portia threw a rock at the human furnace's head, forcing it back. Isabella followed suit, launching a wave of thunder that forced the monster even further back. Geirs attempted to bull rush Jolo right into the river, but tripped up on a rock and dove head first after his half-sister. The half-raptoran managed to tread water, though.

Taking Care of Business
Frantic splashing down river alerted the group to Hulda's desperate fight for her life. Geirs and Takeshi went after her, while Portia and Isabella finished the monster off. It was with no small skill the boggart rogue wheeled and jabbed, gashing and pounding the monster to the point of tatters. Isabella finished the job with some arcane force and the creature crashed into the water, the fiery spirit immediately exorcised.

Hulda Drowns
Hulda lost consciousness after a last ditch effort to break the surface, but big brother was there in a flash. However he could not muster the strength to lift her in her armor. Takeshi dove in after and even he could not manage to lift the giant, who sunk right into the afterlife...

As Jolo's lifeless corpse floated on by, the ranger and the paladin dragged Hulda to shore. There Giers tore off his sister's armor and began desperate first aid. The group watched in silent horror, willing her to breathe, but the half-giant did not stir. She was gone.

A Cold Night's Goodbye
Giers fell apart, then, even as Takeshi urged him on his feet. The circusfolk were still out there, still hunting them, and even darker forces seemed at work. They needed to keep moving, but Giers punched the other boy for his efforts. As Takeshi tried to lift Hulda, Giers punched him again. The ranger tried to reason with him, but there was no reason in the senseless death.

Portia Scouts Ahead
At Takeshi's bidding, the boggart scouted on ahead. She didn't have to go more than a hundred yards to stumble upon a small thorp, maybe twelve buildings total. The place was deserted in the middle of the night, not one light lit.

Hulda Lives!
As Takeshi tried a second time to lift the giant, with Geirs helping this go, they actually managed to lift her great bulk. It was then they heard something odd. Was it... could it be... snoring? Hulda was snoring. Hulda lived!

Isabella laughed and indeed the whole group was relieved, even as Portia returned and informed them of the village.

Experience: 220 per player
Items: Character Sheet Equipment
Money: Whatever was left over on your sheet

NPCs:
Abelerd, juggler-jailer
Bathild, camp follower
Dolphus, half-owner of the circus (dead)
Jolo the Strongman (dead)
The Bearded Lady (dead)
The Sword Swallower
The Weight Guesser

Monsters:
The Human Furnace (Jolo Possessed)

Places:
The Black Forest (The Kingdom)

Organizations:
Dolphus-DeWitt's Traveling Circus
 

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Session 2: For The Green God!

Delempar 31st, 17 AD

Sneaking Off Alone
At some point during the night, Isabella awoke with aspirations of finding her way home. She tricked Takeshi into letting her pass, then made for the village Portia mentioned. However, along the way she got hopelessly lost and it took over an hour to find what should have taken five minutes. This left her tired and with acute hypothermia, as the night dipped below freezing.

Her round-about trip to the village threw Takeshi and Portia, who tracked the princess not too long after her departure.

The Village of Angern
Isabella came upon a small, rural village of timber and stone, decorated for a holiday festival of some kind. Most noteworthy was a giant effigy made of evergreens, looming twenty feet tall in the village square, with gifts at its feet. The sign leading in read Angern.

The community was far too small to have an inn, and nothing seemed open, so she knocked on a random door looking for shelter.

Harlow and Konstanze
A large, blond Norsman answered the door after not too long, looking shocked at the girl before him. Isabella proceded to explain the entire situation she'd found herself in, from the kidnapping to the circus to the escape. She introduced herself as the Princess of Saspien, and name-dropped her parents (though the peasant didn't recognize the names).

The man continued standing dumbfounded, but his wife poked her head out curiously and welcomed the green-eyed girl inside. She sat Isabella by the fire, gave her warm tea and an apple strudel, and chatted, revealing her name to be Konstanze and her husband's Harlow.

Soon Isabella started feeling very sleepy.

Sounds of Battle
Just then the sounds of battle came from outside, the familiar voices of Takeshi and Portia among the din. Isabella leaped up to try and help her friends, but Harlow blocked her way. She angrily insisted he move aside, even as Konstanze tried persuading her to rest. When the Norswoman wacked her upside the head with her rolling pin, the princess realized she'd been poisoned and had had enough.

Kill or Be Killed
The princess launched a magic bolt, one that killed Konstanze instantly. Isabella was as shocked and horrified as Harlow, who attacked the little girl in a emotional rage. She tried to talk him down, but there was no means of doing so. He nearly broke her jaw with one of his wild punches, and she ended up killing him with an orb. The weight of two dead bodies bore down on her conscience, but she fought back tears to rush out and help.

The Cult Attack
Takeshi fought nearly twenty villagers in deep green robes with red leather belts, swinging his swords with great skill, but simply being overwhelmed by the numbers. Portia was unconscious across the lawn, with ten robed villains looming over her.

The half-elf yelled for Isabella to go and get the others, even as he attacked anyone intending to follow her. She was chased out by a sudden, gravel-croak roar from the woods beyond the village, a noise that couldn't have come from any earthly being. The princess ran out blindly into the forest, terrified, but the poison soon took its toll and she passed out in some bushes.


Waking Up Alone
The sun risen and the world warmed, Giers and Hulda awoke to find their camp deserted. However it was odd that both Portia and Takeshi had left the majority of their gear (save their weapons and armor). With some skilled work on the half-giant's part, she cleaned up signs of their camp, collected the other's gear, and read the trio's trail into the unexplored wood.

The Village of Angern
The siblings made their way round-about to Angern, but remained hidden on the fringe, noticing the occasional villager pass by. For the most part these people looked terribly busy, all of them heading for a place beyond the far treeline.

Hulda read the tracks leading in, and with a little more study noticed the signs of a struggle. Giers suggested a closer look.

The Sneaking Shed
The two quickly ran into town, hiding between some nearby sheds. It was from this closer vantage point they noticed Portia and Takeshi's weapons and armor among the offerings at the base of the towering effigy. Attempting to figure out the best coarse of action, sneak or crash, Hulda began emptying her shed. When all of the tools were piled on the side of the house, one last shovel made them all clatter in a loud crash. Luckily no one was home, as all the villagers were siphoning into the deeper wood. The half-giant proceeded to tear the shed from its roots and use the shell as a hiding spot.

Having spotted some trimmed hedge to hide behind closer to the square, Giers was about to move on when he heard a noise from behind. The purple hem of a dress poked from beneath a rattling bush.

Princess Found
It turned out to belong to Isabella, just woken and frightened out of her wits. After she calmed, she explained what had happened. The three were resolved to recover the missing and sneaked on ahead.

The Walrus
Just then a gang entered the square, massing at the foot of the effigy. Three were simple village grunts, two more skilled militia spearmen, and one a massive man looking part giant in his girth, with a bushy mustache and eyebrows and a bald head giving him the likeness of a walrus.

The Walrus briefed his men that a girl had escaped last night (Isabella), but that she'd been poisoned and couldn't have gotten very far. He made it a special point to mention she had green eyes, which drew a few awed murmurs from the men, and that she needed to be taken to The Spirit immediately.

They fanned out and, with a poor attempt at stealth, Giers accidentally made himself known. A grunt cried out, seeing Isabella and a shed as well along with the paladin. The gang quickly mustered and a fight was on.

Village Square Face Off
The grunts swarmed, mostly attacking the paladin, while one spearman opened the shed door and stabbed within. The other spearman launched his spear, and then javelins, for Isabella in the back. The Walrus rushed in last, swinging his mighty cudgel into Giers temple and following up with a vicious headbutt that nearly overwhelmed the ethrey.

However, with more than a few bruises and cuts, the trio managed to slowly pick off the grunts. Hulda crashed the shed overtop The Walrus and killed a spearman, before the leader burst forth in a total frenzy. Isabella tried another sleeping trick, but the great big bastard laughed her off. With a combined effort the siblings managed to stab and pound The Walrus to death, Hulda going absolutely crazy in her violent finish.

At that point, the last grunt ran off into the far woods, while the last militia man dropped his spear and begged his life in exchange for information. Giers agreed, demanding he talk. Isabella, meantime, fired an impressively accurate bolt of magic into the woods. The fleeing grunt released a shrill scream, then there was silence.

Hulda, covered in blood, standing before five corpses, ran off crying and found the sanctity of another shed.

The Spearman's Tale
Though a realtively young Norsman with strawberry blond hair, the spearman had the soul of an old cynic, and it took a bit of back and forth with Giers and the flight of the half-giant before he talked.

He told of a time when the village of Angern was barely scraping an existence, filled with famine and pestilence, and beset on all sides by the darker things that lurked The Black Forest. In their most desperate hour, Nor (the god of The Kingdom) was deaf and mute to their prayers. But something else listened, a prophet of The Green God called The Spirit of Winter. The Spirit fixed all their woes and showed them the path to enlightenment. In return, it only asked the village help send it home, a place it called Paradise. The Spirit would need green eyes, promising to take those lucky few with him. The village gave up their two green-eyed citizens, who the spearman never saw again, but still more were needed. Seasons passed, but always the village seemed locked in winter, nature holding its breath until the eventual time when The Spirit could return home.

Giers demanded to know where the half-elf and the half-goblin were. The spearman directed them to the woods where the grunt ran off to, to The Chapel of The Green God. The half-elf, it was said, had green eyes, and would be accompanying The Spirit to Paradise. Of Portia, he had no knowledge. And with that he swore that was all he knew, and that The Walrus might had known more but would never have talked.

The paladin told him to run, promising to kill him if he ever saw the spearman's face again. The young militia man wasted no time darting down the dirt path and away into the woods, in a direction opposite the chapel.

Giers collected Hulda, comforting her as best he could, and the three made across town toward the far woods.

Spoils
Giers and Isabella both seemed to notice the spectacular make of The Walrus' armor, a blood-dyed leather with the most perfect stitching either had ever seen. The longer they looked at the intricate patterns, the more subtly red skull motifs emerged. Between religious and arcane knowledge, the two figured out its function.

The paladin later offered it to the half-giant, the suit magically adjusting to her great size, and affording her bloodcut protection. Giers also managed to snag a few apples and dired plums to supplement their rations, all of which proved safe to eat.

Burn the Effigy Down
Hulda only half-focused on the spoils, staring up at the monstrous evergreen effigy. It seemed to stare back down from behind its shaggy boughs. Without hesistation, Isabella angrily ignited the behemoth, its dry limbs quickly catching. From there the ribbons of the dancing pole it propped on lit, and traced back to the cottage roofs. In a matter of minutes, Angern was burning.

The Ancient Churchyard
Passing through the wood on a few minutes hike, they found the corpse of the fled grunt. Stepping over him, the trio followed an old trail and into an incredibly old, overgrown churchyard. Faded, bent, moss-covered headstones, obelisks and occasional statues peppered a soggy, uneven graveyard, all of it surrounding a triangular stone chapel. It looked like an old church of Nor, consumed by ivy and moss and roots, as if nature were slowly reclaiming it.

Ghoulish Ambush
Isabella put out her guiding light a little late, leading the others into the churchyard and alerting the chapel guardians. Two vile ghouls leaped out from behind headstones. Both looked entirely decrepit, with leech-gray skin and faces like mashed blueberry pie. Their jaws worked well enough, bare of flesh and hungrily chattering. One leaped for Isabella, and the other sunk its paralyzing claws into Giers.

The trio would soon know the pain-wracked paralysis of ghoul claws, as they were gored and gutted throughout the struggle. One even managed to take a bite out of Giers neck, tearing feathers and flesh with bloody revel. Hulda had an answer for that, when she hammered a ghoul's head down into its neck, then proceeded to fling it like a zom-bomb at the real menace of the churchyard...

Dark Skull
The undead were but natives sprung in defense of their unhallow ground. The real guardian of the chapel appeared just after the surprise attack, stepping out from behind a mossy angel monument. He was a tall man in deep green robes and a blackened skull mask, silent and menacing, watching the ghouls battle for a time in wicked anticipation.

Isabella threw an orb at this ominous figure, this Dark Skull, immediately fearing his presence, but he casually sidestepped and the magic blew the angel's head off. Taking the hilt of the angel's stone greatsword, he tore the blade from its frozen grip, testing its balance with a few swipes. Then he removed his skull mask, which stuck a little and pulled long strands of slime, revealing a magically enhanced horror of twistedness, bare of flesh and half-melted. The group stole themselves against the sight, and Dark Skull charged the frightened princess, hacking into her easily.

Earning His Scars
Hulda tossed Giers to Isabella's rescue, though his spear was deflected into the ground. He sufficiently managed to draw the ire of Dark Skull, though, who taunted in a cold, aristocratic voice. Apparently he too wanted Isabella and Giers' green eyes so The Spirit could return to Paradise, whereupon the entity would restore his beautiful features lost long ago in some obviously horrible way.

A cutting comment from Giers fueled Dark Skull's next vicious slash across the boy's face, ruining it utterly. Giers, even after healing, had truly earned a scar, what would undoubtedly make his father proud... if he lived to ever show him. The paladin tried to respond with his own ruinous strike, only to have his spear deflected yet again by Dark Skull's superior skill.

That wasn't to say Dark Skull wasn't struck some of the time, but as his robes were torn by the effort they revealed a flawless black platemail underneath.

Impudent Brats
An unexpectedly strong strike against Dark Skull unleashed his temper and with a supernatural roar flung the children ten feet and on their backs. As they slowly rose, the black knight pressed his advantage.

Dark Skull charged, but mere steps from the trio was swallowed by the forest shadows, only to leap out of the shade of a headstone behind the three scions. He stabbed Isabella through the chest.

The Princess of Saspien choked on her own blood and fell dying, saved only by the holy touch of Giers.

Hulda Smash!
Inspired to heroics as her allies were slowly bested, Hulda flew into a barbarian rage, one that knocked the seasoned dark warrior back, brutalizing his face and his body beneath the armor. He stumbled in disbelief, falling to the ground and screeching a final defiance before the half-giant smashed his head like a melon.

Ominous Chanting
The group looted what they could from him, Giers taking the armor and Hulda the healing potion, and gathered their strength for what would undoubtedly be a dark and perilous plunge into The Chapel of The Green God!

Ominous chanting rose from the vaults of the overgrown church, converted by the isolated peasantry and prophetic Spirit of Winter into a worshipped bastion for a mysterious, alien entity.

Experience: 350 per person (570 total thus far)
Loot: +1 Bloodcut Leather Armor (Hulda), Ebon Platemail (Giers), 1 Potion of Healing (Hulda), a stone greatsword, a red leather belt with pouches, a blackened skull mask, apples and dried plums
Money: 130 gp

NPCs:
Harlow (dead)
Konstanze (dead)
The Walrus (dead)
The Spearman
Dark Skull (dead)

Monsters: Human Gangmembers, Angern Militia, Ghouls

Places: The Village of Angern, The Ancient Churchyard, Chapel of The Green God

Organizations: Cult of The Green God
 

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Session 3: Seeking Paradise

Mid-Morning, Delempar 31st, 17 AD


Chapel of The Green God
The group mustered the courage to peek inside the chapel, but the doors swung wide, revealing them to a small green mass. The church, once of the imperial patriarch Nor, had been entirely reclaimed by something wilder than nature, massive roots broken through the floors, choking the walls and ceiling, moss covering every pew and carpeting the walk to the flowery base of a dais. The altar itself was a squat, living tree, bent as a tabletop and candled by strange pods that attracted mass fireflies.

Six cultists sat the pews, looking crazed and swollen from severe allergic reactions to the overwhelming flora. From a stone door behind the altar emerged two women, and Takeshi dragged behind them. A wood door sat off to the side.

Flora and Fauna
The twin sisters were of a beauty impossible for the mortal world, pale and perfect, with flax hair and impecable figures. One wore garlands and the other fox furs, and introduced themselves as Flora and Fauna. With surprising strength they tossed Takeshi, bound in vines from his ankles to his lips, down the steps, and asked if the scions sought Paradise. In a quick trade of words, the sisters revealed they did not want to fight, but instead for the group to take their friend and go.

It might have been a sweet deal if not for the fact Portia was missing. When questioned about this, the sisters frowned, explaining she was needed to usher The Spirit back to Paradise, and that she would not be returned. Negotiations at a close, a fight looked ready to boil.

Takeshi the Tiger
And just before fighting broke out, the ranger managed a feat of tigerish strength and burst his bonds with a bulge of muscle and dig of faint claws. He clawed to his feet, taking on the nearest cultists with bare hands.

Fight of Their Lives
As cultists swarmed, giant barb-firing blood sprouted above, and Flora and Fauna revealed the ability to turn garland into razor wire, the children began the fight of their lives. Down one member, the ranger unarmed, and three would-be saviors tired after fights in the village and the graveyard, the advantage was obviously on the side of the chapel.

Recognizing this, Hulda launched Isabella, who'd been injured in the initial attack, for the side door, hoping to get her to safety. Instead cultists cornered the little wizard, where she fought until dropped.

Hulda's Awesome Pull
As the rest of the group fared just as poorly, Hulda grabbed Fauna's garland whip, which missed an attack on the half-giant and lodged into a nearby pew. With a titan's strength, she lurched the triffid across the room and hammered her mid-air into the opposite pews. The brutalized creature was slow to rise, and the move increased moral amongst the scions.

The Battle Turns
Giers moved to Isabella's aid, fending off the two fanatics long enough to feed Isabella a potion of healing. However it wasn't much longer before the heroic paladin fell himself in defense of the girl, having taken at least one of the cultists with him.

After finishing off Fauna, Hulda charged the cultists harrowing Takeshi, and tore two in half before golfing a third dead in the rafters. Yet in her execution of the one sister, Flora had been driven mad, and she unleashed her full fury against Hulda until she finally dropped.

Takeshi, meantime, knocked a cultist out with a mighty punch, proving again to have a wicked upper cut, but even as he caught his sword from the then-conscious paladin and cut down another, the evil blossoms from beyond his reach shot him down. It seemed he was suffering from a particularly bad allergic reaction as his skin blotches and purpled.

And Then There Was One
Isabella soon found herself alone. She had managed to destroy two of the three blooms, but one continued to fire, whilst Flora saught to cut her down with garland whips. However the wizard wisely used the pews as cover, firing and ducking behind, and Flora and the perched plant couldn't quite get her.

Giers' Resurgence
The group was in need of a miracle and Kalinda saw fit to grant them one, as Giers recovered from his momentary unconsciousness. He rose in a heroic charge and cut down Flora where she stood. But no sooner had he done so, the chapel bloom fired a barb in his neck and he fell down once more.

The act of defiance inspired Isabella to take aim and ultimately destroy the final bloom. Fate had favored the young this day... though looking around the chapel, at all the corpses of the enemy and soon-to-be corpses of her allies, it could have gone either way.

Isabella the Hospitaler
Using her training in the Church of Gabriel, she managed to stabilize her fallen friends and return them to consciousness. Then they had a much needed rest, after Hulda barricaded the entrances to avoid sudden disturbances. The managed to bind their wounds and regain their strength, readying themselves for deeper delves. Portia was still missing and from the way the sisters spoke she hadn't much time left.

The Chamber of Father Laurel
They ventured beyond the side door first, finding a small chamber that once belonged to the abbot of Nor who resided in the chapel when it was still dedicated to The Patriarch. He was now nailed to the wall as a grotesque ornament, festing with fungi above a bet of dirt in a room overgrown with fungi and moss.

Some searching uncovered a chest filled with frozen, skinned foxes looking too unsavory to eat, and a bit of coin. Isabella also found a magic pair of glasses in a leather case inscribed with "Father Laurel". They enabled her to read any language.

Old Catacombs
The scions then tried the heavy stone door behind the altar, overgrown with moss and ivy, and which revealed a narrow, dark stone stairwell. They ventured down, Hulda not particularly liking the enclosed space that she barely squeezed through, and emptied into an old catacomb with three tiers of shelving and supported by squat pillars.

A thin mist curled off the floor, rolling through a massive hole in the back wall and into a timber-ribbed tunnel. Apparently there'd been some unfinished excavation in the past few years. It was much colder down here, below even freezing. Light, and then singing, came from down the tunnel.

The Underdome
Takeshi quietly in the lead, noogies and clumsiness marked the parade behind him, but even that was drowned out by the eerie, yet beautiful, chior singing that resounded ahead. Spoken entirely in elven, they sung of The Spirit's return home, and how one was lucky to go with him. It was basically a goodbye song, which only spurred Takeshi and the rest further.

They came to the threshold of a huge domed space, some forty feet high and a little larger in diameter, reinforced and supported by a framework of timber looking like the interior ribs of a turtle shell. The cold was even deeper here, and the floor and walls covered with snow. Great roots and vines snaked across the walls and ceiling, sheathed in ice.

In one corner sat three iron cages, similarly sheathed in ice, containing an unconscious Norsman, unconscious Norswoman, and thirdly a little figure wrapped in bear furs. Portia! Three supernaturally beautiful creatures, triplets, male versions of the sisters, sang with four warped little monsters looking to have been shaped of bark and rat parts, all of them led by a broad, burly human in red robes and wearing a helm reminiscent of a stag, with great antlers sprouting from either temple.

Surprise!
Fighting to the front, Isabella fired a surprise attack centered around The Horned Conductor. The orb caught the leader and two of his warrior guard, and otherwise causing a general turn and panic.

The Spirit's Ilk
The three guardians unfurled their beautiful faces as the sisters had earlier and charged, managing to pierce the planar veils long enough to teleport in front of Takeshi, Giers and Hulda respectively. They proved capable warriors, wielding their green longswords with terrible efficiency.

And chasing after them with moves of blinding quickness were the blights. One managed to latch onto Isabella and harrow her with poisoned bites, another going after Takeshi's jewels and a third Giers' ankles.

A Fight for Freedom
Portia, having pocketed the keys on The Horned Conductor's person as he was struck, managed to open her cage door. However the creak of the hinges drew two twig blights against her and she began a fight for freedom, the keys like daggers in her hands.

A Mighty Throw
Hulda, sensing a great threat from The Horned Conductor, threw Giers across the room, the glide of his wings carrying him down in a strike against the leader. He followed up with another attack, impaling the heathan through the gut with his spear.

The Horned Conductor
Well past bloodied, the conductor spat blood and a spell, flinging the paladin back in an explosion of darkness. Shadowstuff clung to his eyes and effectively blinded him, impeding his pursuit of the cult leader as he hobbled for the icy mouth of a cave or a lair. Eventually reaching it, despite the sightless stabbing of the ethrey, he cried within, "Infidels! Infidel defilers in the Underdome!"

Something large stirred deep within the hole.

How About a Little Fire?
Midway through the struggle, Isabella launched a fire-based attack, which seemed to do more damage and bring more pain than any of her other attacks against the triffids. Having discovered their weakness, she quickly took advantage with more bouts of flame that blackened and bubbled.

It Burns Down There
And the dastardly twig blight finally sunk its thorny fangs into a weak point in Takeshi's codpiece, injecting just enough searing poison to take him down. He kissed floor for the second time this morning.

The Spirit Answers
The Horned Conductor was about to call down a second time when a sudden rush of blizzard air flew up in a cawing roar of an answer, uplifting the cult leader and freezing him solid even as he spun in the air. He landed with a crash against the cave floor and scattered into thousands of tiny pieces.

His minions were quickly finished off, Portia using her keys with deft lethality, and Hulda and Isabella taking down the rest. Giers' blindness finally wore off and he looked with horror at what had once been his enemy.

Bracing Themselves
With the short break before The Spirit's arrival, Portia scrambled back into her armor and grabbed a shovel for protection. Likewise everyone dressed their wounds and gathered together, not having time to loot, and seriously considering running back up the way they came. A final explosion of arctic freeze from the cave mouth herald the prophet.

The Spirit of Winter
A gnarled, white avian claw larger than Hulda's hand curled around the mouth of the cave and pulled the rest of the unspeakable out into the open. The Spirit of Winter stood near twenty feet tall, a twisted and emaciated monster covered in a light hoarfrost and dusting of gray feathers. Either shoulder sprouted heavy gray down wings hiding thin, overlong arms beneath. It's head looked vaguely like a ram's, and its forehead like the shell of a great king crab, broad and dull, with horns bent like crustacean arms. Its face was pinched, with piercing white eyes that cut like blades into the hearts and souls of the scions, and where a beak might have been had long since shattered, revealing rows of icicle-like fangs.

It spoke in a voice like the cold of the moonface, the emtpiness of a widow's loss, the fester of all those that ever died in snow...
"I am Hunger. I am Thirst. I can fast a thousand years and not starve. I can drink a river of blood and not burst."​
Nothing of its like had been seen on the face of Othyr since the Demon Wars, and Giers logically called it a demon when delivering a passionate defiance to its very existence. The insulted creature retorted that it was Fey, a king in The Wild and a thrall and prophet of The Green God. He and his ilk of triffids and blights had been stranded on Othyr after a planar cataclysm involving the sinking of Vrauktom. Now he was on the verge of returning home, to Paradise, but he needed green eyes, or better green blood, to open wide the door.

The Planar Wheel
Tucked under the feylord's great wing was a wheel made of exquisite pikes bound in a ring. In their center was a fist-sized emerald which sparkled with otherworldly light. Five of the nine pikes which made the wheel had a head stuck on them, a head with green eyes.

The Spirit threw the wheel hard and planted it into the side of the wall, where the emerald manifested a weak and flickering portal. Again the feylord beckoned the children to come with him to Paradise.

Experience: 255 (825 total)
Magic: Reading Spectacles (Isabella), 2 Potions of Healing
Loot: Leather Armor and Green Longsword (Takeshi), Fox Pelt Outfit (Hulda)
Money: 30 gold pieces, 100 silver pieces (160gp, 100sp group total: 32gp, 20sp each)

NPCs:
Flora (dead)
Fauna (dead)
Father Laurel (dead)
The Horned Conductor (dead)
An Unconscious Norsman
An Unconscious Norswoman
The Spirit of Winter

Monsters: Cultists of The Green God, Chapel Blooms, Triffids (Flora, Fauna, 3 Chapel Guards), Twig Blights

Places: The Green Chapel, Father Laurel's Quarters, The Old Catacombs, The Underdome

Fey: Spawned from primordial earth of a plane known as The Wild, fertilized by the corpse of the goddess Lordanna, and tainted in her last mad moments of agony, the fey are twisted creatures combining the most dangerous aspects of animals, plants and insects. Their Feylords have even inherited elemental or seasonal portfolios, like Winter, Forests or Water.
 

Pour

Visitor
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Session 4: Greener Pastures

Afternoon, Delempar 31st - Early Morning, Kelehess 1st


Facing the Feylord
Weathering the initial attacks well, The Spirit of Winter flapped his mighty wings and took air, only to blow a blast of cold over Hulda and Portia. Its breath was sub-zero, to the point it even stung the resistant half-jotun. Then it soared overhead, crashing at the mouth of the escape tunnel, blocking Takeshi inside and preventing anyone else from leaving without feeling the feylord's retribution.

Ravaged Ranger
As Takeshi peppered it with arrows, which landed hard and did noticeable damage to its brittle frame, The Spirit clawed and bellowed down the tunnel, bringing the ranger to the brink of death. He threw his swords, planting them both in the monster's back, and fled to a defensable position to await the others.

Kalinda's Might
Giers, perhaps most offended by the feylord's presence, stabbed and skewered the creature over and over again, but in one particularly high call to Kalinda, he jabbed the monster through the side and caused a great leak of blackish-green blood. The monster wailed as the holy light burned the wound, emanating from the paladin's weapon, which helped to inspire the others and give Giers the confidence to face this beast until the cold, bitter end.

Cursed Witch
Isabella, obviously terrified, was struck by several blasts of arctic cold, freezing her garments, crystallizing her hair, and leaving her with a numb, blue complexion. Yet she clung to her wand and did her mother proud, finding gal to face the frosted behemoth, and in fact send two jets of explosive, well-aimed fire which seared its sunken cheeks, forehead and eyelids into blackened ash.

Though others might have hit harder, The Spirit of Winter found fire the most abhorrent of all attacks, killer of cold and plants alike, and promised her the more torturous death when all was done. It took supreme pleasure in her fearful reaction.

Bogarts with Shovels
Teeth chattering, enveloped in the cold aura of the feylord, Portia resolved to remain between its legs, whacking ankles, shins and toes with her shovel. At her most remarkable, the boggart launched a deft and agile attack for The Spirit's groin, landing the most devestating singular attack on the monster throughout the course of the battle. With a hollow ring, the creature doubled over, nearly collapsing.

A little later on, Portia was responsible for a rain of shuriken that tore ribbons of the feylord's throat and eyes and brought it to the brink of destruction.

Batter Up
Hulda, Hulda, Hulda. Such a quiet girl, some would say, and a large one, but with hammer in hand and enemy in front of her she can bring down mountains of pain. Like avalanches she struck, crushing and clocking whole pieces of the feylord apart. Though at times it proved too quick for her laborious strikes, one particularly well-placed strike tore half the face off the monster and sent it stumbling back against the Underdome wall, clearing the escape route in the process.

And when The Spirit of Winter was spent, the Starsdottir chopped its legs out from under it. In a last defiant howl with the backing of countless winter storms, it crashed against the frozen ground and shattered into a thousand pieces.

The Gaze of The Green God Is Upon You All!
In its last few moments of existence, the ancient creature spat, "You haven't beaten me. You've only drawn the gaze of The Green God upon you!" What greater implications the ominous tiding could mean, for now, remained an unsettling mystery.

The Heart of the Wild
While the others regrouped, hefted the unconscious Nors, and went about collecting the spoils of battle, the rogue gravitated to the fist-sized emerald in the center of the planar wheel, eyes transfixed on its otherworldly gleam. With some help from Hulda, Portia managed to pry the thing loose, only then recognizing its great heritage as The Heart of the Wild. It was unclear just who beyond the half-giant saw the bogart pocket the gem, but no doubt an artifact of such magnitude would have great ramifications, greater than Portia babying it like a child.

Hungry, Hungry Chapel
Takeshi scouted on ahead, backtracking to the chapel proper, only to find all the corpses had been absorbed into the greenery. Sounds of digestion resounded throughout the room, as precious nutrients were drained from the dead. The half-elf moved to a window and pushed the roots away, scanning for a clear coast. Indeed there was one, and soon after the others came up the way and eventually exited.

Dark Skull Missing!
One of the first things Hulda, Giers and Isabella noticed was that Dark Skull's stripped corpse was missing! It boded ill, as ill as the great plumes of smoke coming from the still-burning town of Angern. Smoke and fire would likely draw attention, circusfolk attention. Exhausted though they all were, the group pushed on into the woods, knowing to stay anywhere in sight of the chapel or the smoke could be their discovery and recapture.

Cleansing By Fire
Before they left, though, Isabella demanded the unholy greenhouse be burned, and without much more prompting ignited it herself. The wild roots, moss and the like seemed overly adverse to fire, more so than natural growth, and quickly lit up. At that point the half-giant dragged Isabella away, as she'd managed to light a perfect beacon as to their location in her hasty revenge.

Back in The Black Forest
Within fifteen minutes hiking, Isabella in the lead, half the group simply couldn't go on from exhaustion. As it was, even Hulda was getting tuckered out having fought so many battles and now carrying the two unconscious Nors. As they were forced to take a short break, the Norsman began to stir.

Inquisitors Erig and Grenwigne
The Norsman, whose named was revealed to be Erig, panicked when he saw who and what held him captive. Hulda was quick to take him by the ankle, turning him upside down until he calmed down. It wasn't happening, as he and Giers went back and forth, the latter convinced they were invaders, then in league with the feylord, and finally that they were Athan fugitives. As an act of good faith, Hulda put him down, though couldn't quite control her looks (which made him cringe every time).

The Norswoman woke soon after, whose name was revealed to be Grenwigne. She seemed a little more level headed, accepting food and drink, though her brother Erig outright refused such from what he called animals and later illegal immigrants. He still wasn't sure the half-giant, half-raptoran and half-goblin hadn't kidnapped the girl (Isabella) and man (Takeshi) along with he and his sister. Grenwigne calmed his worries, assuring him the fey were the cause of all the devastation at the chapel, and she mourned Father Laurel a moment.

Isabella woke, then, and wrestled for head of diplomacy. Giers was reluctant to give it and more than once the two degenerated into bickering children. However, the calming presence of Hulda and the diplomatic upbringing of the princess ultimately prevailed.

Grenwigne revealed who exactly they were then, Inquisitors of the Kingdom Secret Police or Inquisition as it was otherwise known, charged with the defense of the empire against all threats magic, political, military or otherwise. Specifically, Grenwigne and Erig had been sent by the Bishop of Provia to investigate the sudden stop in communication between he and the local Angernian abbot of Nor. Unfortunately, as the group well knew, what she'd uncovered was worse than her most vivid nightmares.

Displease his sister revealed even this much, Erig demanded the group provision them and then accompany the two back to Provia for questioning by his superior Interrogator Bluch. Grenwigne winced, whispering something about "Bloody" Bluch, but ultimately agreed with her brother. If they didn't and a superior found out, it'd cost them their lives for betraying their oath.

The Deal
Seemingly at an impasse, Isabella offered the idea of pretending either party never met the other. The two could get all the credit for dealing with the chapel and the feylord, and the group could remain in anonymity. Surprisingly enough, Erig agreed, overjoyed what it would do for his career. Grenwigne seemed less pleased, but went along with it. With a deal made, they asked for clothing and supplies enough for the few days it'd take to reach Provia. Armor was given, and rations, and in a surprising act of charity Takeshi offered the Norswoman one of the longswords.

I Find Elves Fascinating
Grenwigne was almost immediately smitten, beginning an awkward conversation with the ranger that implied she was picking up what he was putting down. The disgusted Erig, armor dawned and supplies gathered, dragged his sister away into the woods, expressing he hoped never to see their beastly faces ever again.

Grenwigne called back to Takeshi as she was being pulled along to beware the main road and avoid the northeast, as that path led to Provia, where they'd likely hang the group from the wall. The Kingdom, understandably, hated elves and half-elves, having been under their yolk as slaves for thousands of years.

A Smart Move
Having just started settling in, Isabella suggested they move camp, obviously not trusting the Inquisitors. Everyone agreed and for the next hour they practically dragged themselves to what seemed a safe and defensible position. The smoke was out of sight, and the smell of burning gone, and it seemed as good a place as any. Afternoon turned to evening and watches began...

Night Hunter
In the middle of the night, on Isabella and Takeshi's watch, Portia suddenly awoke. Checking to see if the gem was alright, which it was, she happened to catch something moving in the trees above the group. It looked vaguely leonine, or perhaps reptilian for the wings. Trying to keep casual, she made to look like she was going to pee, but uncharacteristically made far too much noise. She then tried to double back and sneak up on the creature, but broke enough twigs and shifted enough leaves to spook the hunter and send it flitting through the trees and out of sight.

Sufficiently spooked, and well-enough rested, the sentries woke the rest and the group moved on in the wee hours of the morning, well before sunrise.

Takeshi Scouts
The ranger scouted north, eventually finding a flow of water that could rightly be called a river, though a small one. Across the way he noticed something drinking from the swift waters, about the size of a lion with a long neck, long tail, and reptilian wings. The finer details of the creature were lost in the dark, but Takeshi had his suspicions. Suddenly another broke the canopy and landed beside it. In a hushed voice it spoke! Takeshi wasn't able to discern the language, though it did nod the way of the camp.

The sounds of the rest of the group coming up scattered the hunters into the far woods. They almost tripped over the hidden ranger, who then judged the river too wide and too quick to ford. The scions hiked along the bank for a good ten minutes before reaching a point narrow enough to leap over.

And in that moment, Grenwigne's voice screamed in the night, "Erig! Help me!"

Rivers are Deadly
Understandbly nervous, Hulda leaped, but cleared it easily. Takeshi upstaged everyone, though, with a forward somersault entering into an ape swing from low branches to reach the other side. Giers could reasonably rely on his little wings, and Portia her agility, but poor Isabella tripped before she even began and fell head-first into the rushing water. Only the paladin's quick reflexes saved the girl from potential death.

Purple Dragons!
Suddenly one of the leonine night hunters exploded into view, Grenwigne in it's clutches. It was a dragon wyrmling, no mistaking it! However, to the learned's shock, its scales were royal purple and its look unlike any species of dragon known. Indeed purple dragons were never thought to exist until this very moment, as the group watched one sail through the night with the young inquisitor in its clutches. Hulda swung at it, missing well wide, as did Portia with a few shuriken.

Takeshi was about to fire when Erig exploded out of the brush, sword drawn, racing after his sister, only to stop a moment in disbelief at the scions' presence. Then he continued down the river bank, a second purple wyrmling crashing through the trees just after him.



Experience: 270 each (1095 thus far, LEVEL UP)

Magic: The Heart of the Wild (Portia), Stag's Helm (Isabella), 3 pairs of Feyleaf Sandals (Hulda, Takeshi, Isabella), 2 Potions of Healing (Giers)

Loot: Fine red robe with white fur trim (Isabella), 1 chainmail suit and 2 longswords (Hulda), 1 longsword (Takeshi), Flawed Emerald (Hulda, 100gp)

Money
: 80gp (240gp, 100sp total): 48gp, 20sp each

NPCs:
The Spirit of Winter (dead)
Inquisitor Erig
Inquisitor Grenwigne

Monsters: Feylord, 2 Purple Dragon Wyrmlings

The Heart of the Wild
This flawless, fist-sized emerald glows with otherworldly light.
Artifact
Properties:
The Heart of the Wild is a focus artifact of incredible potential, perfectly attuned to the verdant feyhome plane known as The Wild. It can act as an encyclopedia of fey, a navigator for traveling the plane, and can even imbue certain items with fey magic. In a teleportation device, The Heart acts as a key for entering and leaving The Wild.

The Heart is one of a series of gems corresponding to the known cosmology.
 

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