Yeah, but there's an epilogue to the epilogue, sort of.
As mentioned earlier, we take turns as the DM, so another member of the group was supposed to take over when I was done. "Was" being the operative word. He wasn't available, at the last minute, so I continued.
And thereby hangs the tale...
<Story>As they departed the palace, via a passage that wove through a maze-like labyrinth of corridors, Fireheart bid them farewell. "As you know, I can't pay you.", he began. "But I have some final details to deal with, so it will probably be several days before I can take stock of Ignus holdings. And I think I saw your lance on the ground there..." he said, looking at Pax, but leaving the thought unfinished.
They departed the palace grounds and began the long walk back towards The Details. "You know", mused Cyrano, "I think we may have forgotten something else back there as well."
"I'm not going to rob that estate." declared Pax, the edge of iron in his voice.
"Well until the, um, 'final details' are dealt with, the ownership of that hall is sort of a gray area.", Cyrano argued. "And we sort of have his permission. Besides, what I was thinking was that we got taken away before we could actually free any of those slaves."
Reluctantly Pax agreed. It was quickly arranged so that Cyrano and Ardan would wait at The Details to see about meeting the ex-slaves while the others headed off to free the remaining slaves.
The Wind Walk spell was still upon them so they took the moment to turn to mist and then wasted away towards the gate. After checking briefly with the city guards at the gate, they headed out towards their destination. They followed a particular road across the hellish landscape, lest they get lost, reachong Fieheart's estates in under an hour. From there they had to take a rough heading to relocate Ignis home, a task made no easier by the slowly shifting, undulating landscape. </Story>
<Commentary>Fireheart wanted the Sultan's seal on his settlement with Ignus. It would give him a claim to all
of the lands that Ignus tried to annex, noy just his own but also portions of other Noble Efreeti' lands that he had tried to claim. The other Efreet had chosen to wait and let Fireheart fight it out with Ignus. As one of them had put it, "We'll see which one blinks first." If they fought, whoever struck first would be in deep, because of the Sultan's ruling. If they waited it was possible that both would be dispossed and their lands and wealth up for grabs. Welcome to a Lawful Evil society.
But because they hadn't formally protested Ignus actions, a confirmation from the Sultan that all of Ignus land clams were ceeded to Fireheart would mean a huge gain for our favorite LE Efreet.
According to the Planar Handbook the landscape in the Plane of Fire is constantly changing, as the "land" is a thin solid crust over a layer of slow-flowing magma. I had premised a system of roads that were, somehow, stable, at least to the extent tht they weren't broken up by the flow. Fireheart's home is right on one of hese roads, so travel and trade to and from the City of Brass was relatively easy. Ignus' home didn't have that advantage, which was one of the reasons he wanted Fireheart's place.
So the party followed the road back to Fireheart's, then set out from there. Hard to navigate when you can't see more than 120 feet ahead (per Planar Handbook), and you want to fly at 300. (Normally 600, but flight on this plane is at half speed unless you're a local.) </Commentary>
<Story>After spending far more time than they liked, the flyers saw formations they recognized: Plantings of the odd crystaline "trees" cultivated in the region. They followed the rows to find the estate of Ignus Noir, Flame of the Night.
Their approach didn't bring them to the gate and, being unable to talk while in mist form, discussing a desision was a problem. Pax decided to circle and find the gate, while others decided to simply fly over he wall.
The backlash hit even before they reached the wall, the "passive" defenses lashing out at the interlopers. They quickly decided to rejoin Pax.
Pax had landed and started to materialize in front of the main gate. There were a pair of Janni guards there, shirtless, their oiled muscles rippling as they moved. And move they did. As the party became clearly visible and solid, the outer guards closed ranks, blocking the gateway. Their leader stepped forward, arms crossed, his huge blade evident in his hand.
"These are the lands of Lord Ignus.", he declared firmly. 'What business have you here?"
Pax spoke up first, as was appropriate. "Ignus is done, imprisoned by the Sultan. We're here to free his slaves."
"I know nothing of this." declared the guard, his face hardening like stone. "And if you want to take from my lord's holding, you'll have to go through me." His smile showed a dark glee, predatory anticipation. Then he added, "And to be honest, I don't think that's possible."
Mash stepped forward hefting his scythe. his smile a match for the Janni's. "I am Captain Sir Mash, Duke of Firenzia, named champion of Taruntella, the Green Reaper of Danushan. I challenge you. If I draw first blood, you stand aside. If you drop me, we will leave."
The Janni looked at the creature before him, trying to determine just what he actually was. But his mind was as sharp as his blade: "So you need only blood me, while I have to take you down entirely? Do you take me for a fool?" He scowled his displeasure as he continued, "In any case these aren't my lands to wager. Still...". He drew out the pause for a long moment before finishing the thought, "If you wish some sport, here's a wager for you. First blood. Loser retires from what is to follow."
Mash agreed and the pair stepped out onto the field together, allies and enemies drawing back to make room for the fight.
Their eyes met and an understanding was exchanged, and it began. And it was over. The Janni's blade flickered out, once, twice, three times, and it came back with blood on it. Mash, caught off balance by his foe's lightning speed, finished his strike clumsily, striking nothing but air.
There was laughter from the other guards, and one could be heard saying something about "Teaching these mortals just how mortal they are."</Story>
To clarify, Mash started out as an Orc. Not a Half Orc, the full thing. +4 Strength bonus is nice for the party's heavy hitter. He also managed to give him a slightly positive Charisma. After a few Sorcerer levels he started taking levels in Dragon Disciple, which eventually turns the PC into a Half Dragon, complete with wings. So yeah, his blood line isn't obvious. That odd skin tone, overlayed with Copper Dragon from his half dragon part, and his talent from slaughtering anything he met with that scythe. earned him his reputation as the "Green Reaper".
In the first blood battle, Mash rolled a 1 on his Initiative. Add 2 from Dex, and that's it. The Janni rolled an 18, and they have a 9 point bonus, so yeah, his strikes were lightning quick compared to the PC's. </Commentary>
<Story>An arrowe featherd itself in the laughing guard's chest, and blades were drawn. Dion, the Druid, nocked another arrow, ready to fire again.
Siri looked across the field and started to move, cursing the soft yielding ground that shifted and flowed as she moved. Two huge blades flashed out as she went, the reach of her larger foes catching her off guard, and then she was bleeding as well.
The captain of the guard stepped forward to strike, and was gone. Ferguson's voice echoed in the void as the power of his spell faded.
The Pax was there, blade in hand, challenging Ferguson, "What are you doing?", he asked, shocked athe destruction of guard who was simply doing his duty.
"What?", stammered Ferguson, confused by his friend's reaction. "All I did was send him home, back to the Material Plane."
Pax and the other guards were both calmed by this statement, and as a second Janni stepped forward to take command, he pointed to Pax. "I remember you from earlier. You refused healing in the middle of a challenge, and now you speak out like this. You are a man of honor. You I trust."
He looked askance at Siri, who had been rushing in to strike someone in the back, and at Dion who had drawn and fired without provocation. "Not them, but you. Until I see a statement from the Sultan, I can't let you take anything from this hall, but I can take you to see the slaves, so you can see that they're alive and cared for."
He looked back toward the entrance to the hall itself, noting the sudden absence of the two guards who had been stationed there.
To the surprise of all, Pax refused. "I'm here to free them, and nothing less will do.", he declared firmly, standing his ground. "If you remember me, you also remember Ignus surrender to Fireheart, and the terms they agreed upon. Ignus is no longer the master here."
"I saw and I heard. I also saw the magic of the Sultan sweek all away. Until I hear the final judgement, I must defend these halls."
As these two spoke, Mash had been slowly dematerializing and now, in mist form, he drifted towards the unguarded doorway, Had he been breathing he would have held his breath as he passed between two of the outer guards, but they didn't appear to notice. As he approached the entry itself though, they whirled and struck. Two other Janni, the door guards who seemed to have left, suddenly appeared, their blades singing in the thick smokey air. And Mash was staggering, amazed that they'd noticed him, and even more amazed at how easily they had struck him down.
The quartet now turned to face him squarely and, one by one, struck at him again, a pinwheel of steel and pain that didn't stop until he was done. They had apparently been waiting for him to step into their trap, and he had.</Story>
<Commentary>Wind Walk gives you the benefit of Gaseous Form. That is, you get a DR 10/Magic and can drift through tiny gaps. But the forms is till visible, and in fact looks like you to the point that someone might mistake you for a ghost. Further, Efreet can do this, so the Janni weren't at all fooled. They'd even seen him transform.
The pair at the door had gone Invisible, which they can do several times a day. At the center of their square pattern all of the Large creatures had overlapping reach, and it was there that they took their Attacks of Opportunity. And, because Rogue is the preferred class for Janni, and because I'd advanced them, there was sneak damage as well. He was in a four-way flank.
Gaseous form also negates any physical armor, natural armor or shield. You get Dex, Deflection and any Force effect defenses, but that's all. Mash' AC had dropped through the floor. All the Janni had to do was not roll a 1.
Mash' Initiative was last in the round, and the Janni were first, so right after their AoO, which took fully half of the character's hit points, it was their turn. Technically he should have died, but rather than roll the dice the player agreed that his character was down. We placed his hit points at an arbitrary -5.
I'm goinng to take a break before I write any more of this. So the classic line would be, "To Be Continued..."