Session 17

Hey everyone, it’s been a while.

Since it’s been a while since our last session, we had a rather slow start.

We started out at the end of the Battle of Brindol. Kharn’s rage drake had just been taken down.

Famous Last Words
Wyrmlord Kharn himself stands up, clutching his chest. With a grin on his face, he roars.

“It’s not…it’s FAR from over!”

Kikkeni orders the elves to open fire. Kharn gets turned into a pincushion. A beam of brilliant light shoots out of the dead Wyrmlord’s eyes and mouth, straight up into the midnight sky. His body then dissolves into a pile of black goo.

The remaining hobgoblins run for their lives as the Horde breaks apart. The Red Hand has been defeated. Brindol is saved.

Jarmaath tells the PCs to take the rest that they’ve earned. After taking the ruined bodies of Linny and Holden into the Cathedral, they loot the bodies of Kharn and Ulwai.

The Next Morning

Day 49 (3 Rhann 998 YK) 7:00 AM
The PCs wake up at the Stone Wyvern Inn (sans Wyvern) and are greeted by Delora Zann and Captain Soranna, who both survived the battle albeit with heavy injuries. Delora reports that she actually took the wyvern out for a spin during the battle, although she had a bad fall. The wyvern survived without much problems and was waiting outside.

Soranna then tells the PCs that Jarmaath was waiting for them at Brindol Keep, saying he has a message that he wanted them to hear personally.

It’s Far From Over

At Brindol Keep, Jarmaath introduces the PCs to Sheen, a changeling spy who was able to infiltrate Kharn’s camp. She bluntly tells the PCs the problem: The hobgoblin horde was only the advance guard.

Much swearing all around.

She informs them that the High Wyrmlord, Azarr Kul, is summoning an army of devils from the plane of Shavarath, and that if that gets through, there’ll be not enough military power in the Five Nations to stop them. She explains the Planar Orrery that Azarr Kul is using to realign the planes.

The PCs wonder about how this army of devils is related to Tiamat, but Sheen can’t answer that question. All she knows is that the Wyrmsmokes are already crawling with devils and that when she tried to infiltrate the Fane of Tiamat itself, Azarr Kul’s Erinyes chased her away.

Sheen marks the location of the Fane on the PCs’ map. The PCs turn to leave, but a soldier in a battered tabard enters. He says that he has a message for Sheen and approaches her—and subsequently stabs her in the throat with a short sword, saying “High Wyrmlord Azarr Kul and Grand Talon Indravan-Yagna would like to say ‘That’s enough.'” The soldier then jumps into the shadow of Jarmaath’s desk and vanishes.

Gathering the last of her strength, Sheen manages to write a few words in her own blood: “Beware Azarr Kul’s fa———”
The last word is scrawled out into a line, as Sheen goes limp and dies.

Shaken, Jarmaath tells the PCs that they should go and investigate the Wyrmsmokes at once, or else all the sacrifices will be in vain. He could not, however, offer any solutions to the PCs’ predicament—they’re two men down.

An Offer They Couldn’t Refuse

The PCs leave Brindol keep and encounter a carpenter (part of the rebuilding effort) passing by. The carpenter drops a crumpled piece of paper and nods at the PCs, and goes on his way.

The message reads: “I have a gift for you. See me. — Lady Kaal”

The PCs decide that it might not be a good idea to turn down the gift, so they proceed to Kaal Manor.

When they get there, the guards usher the PCs into a large, plush audience room. Lady Kaal soon enters with a long, thin casket. She says that before she shows them what’s in the case, the PCs have to agree that they wouldn’t be telling Jarmaath anything about this. Nox tries to convince her to reveal something more by bluffing, but doesn’t get any results. He then has her put it into writing first. Lady Kaal agrees. She goes on saying that Jarmaath is a small man in the greater scheme of things and as such wouldn’t understand.

She opens her case to reveal the contents: a silk-wrapped rod on a cushion–a Candle of Invocation tied to Lawful Good.

The PCs ask what she wants in return. Lady Kaal furnishes them with a contract that says:

We, ____________, hereby receive the payment of one Candle of Invocation from Lady Verassa ir’Kaal in exchange for any future service that she might require. In the event that we do not perform the duty she requires, we grant her the lawful duty to execute the appropriate punishment in whatever measure she might deem necessary.

Signed,”

Nox tells the others that he’s got a lot of experience with contracts, and as such knows when to be wary. However, in their desperation, the group decides to sign it.

Lady Kaal smiles, saying she knew that the PCs would be sensible. She hands them the case and says that she has another gift. Immerstal enters, muttering to himself.
“Mr. Immerstal here can bring you most of the way.”
“Look, Lady Kaal, I don’t–”
“You don’t have any more words to say, Immerstal.”
The wizard throws his hands up and sighs. “Fine. I have enough preparations of the teleport spell to bring all of you as far as Drellin’s Ferry. I am not going to risk teleporting straight to the Fane. If we encounter a mishap, we might just end up getting torn apart by fiends.”
Lady Kaal nods. The wizard continues: “I suggest you pick up provisions for the Wyrmsmokes—you do know what the Wyrmsmokes are like, don’t you?”

The PCs stare at each other for a while, but Linny tells them: The Wyrmsmokes are a desolate volcanic region to the West of the Elsir Vale region. Immerstal nods, but continues to explain that small Fernia (elemental plane of Fire) manifest zones wink in and out of existence throughout the Wyrmsmokes, usually coinciding with areas of unnaturally high volcanic activity. The manifest zones are even hotter than the rest of the badlands, and sometimes storms that rain fire appear in the skies over these zones. The PCs also have to bring their own food and water.

The PCs discuss their provisions and determine that they wouldn’t need to bring so much due to their spells and magic items. Immerstal tells them to visit him after they get their friends back so they can begin the teleportation relay.

Credits to Eldariel for the idea, btw.

Resurrection

The PCs discreetly return to the Cathedral, where Tredora has preserved the scorched corpse of Holden and what’s left of Linny with gentle repose. Kikkeni presents the Candle to her. Tredora, bemused, asks where they got it, but the PCs say nothing. The cleric decides it doesn’t matter, sends out the other acolytes, and sets up the summoning.

A stark white light washes out the windows of the Cathedral, and a brief but violent quake follows. The gate opens above the altar, and a terrifying vision of celestial glory descends—six wings covered in eyes, metallic skin, opalescent eyes, and snow-white hair upon which verses of holy writ flow in elegant script—a Solar. An enormous fiery greatsword whirls about around it. (No, I’m not a fan of the bald angels in the MM, nor the faceless angels in 4E)

“Ye shall name thyselves, mortals,” it calls out in a voice that sounds like both the crashing of waves and the booming of thunder. ” And the reason thou calleth me from my Battle Eternal.”

The PCs made a big mistake—they forgot to figure out what to say. Tredora fills in for them. “These champions of righteousness have fallen in service of their gods, but their quest is not yet complete.”

The Solar gestures with its hands, and the bodies of Holden and Linny begin to reform and heal.

“Arise, ye champions. Ye shall yet struggle, and struggle mightily, for thy great enemy yet stands.”

The bodies of Holden and Linny rise up into the air, and the Solar exhales upon them. Bluish-white energy glows softly on their wounds, and their flesh begins to knit. Broken bones snap back into place. Their eyes open, glowing fiercely with the same blue-white light, and their mouths open in an incessant stream of words in multiple languages. The tongues cease, and then the two of them speak once more, along with the Solar, in the Solar’s voice.

“Ye shall yet struggle, and struggle mightily, for thy great enemy yet stands.”

” I take my leave of thee.”

The fabric of the planes distorts once more, and the Solar vanishes with a thunderous bang.

“…that was AWESOME,” says Lyka.

The Ruins of Drellin’s Ferry

<The PCs do some retroactive shopping and get the donations from Jarmaath.>

Immerstal tells the PCs that Drellin’s Ferry is the furthest he can take them, as he grew up there. He teleports the PCs to the burnt-out husk of a town that is Drellin’s Ferry. Immerstal laments the fate of his hometown, then excuses himself , teleporting back to Brindol.

The scene is apocalyptic. The town had been put to the torch as the PCs had seen much earlier, and now the wind howls through the ruins. However, the eerie calm is shattered by the sound of arguing—deep voices speaking in Giant, and two human-like voices. The argument escalates into a shouting match, followed by two screams that seem to be approaching them. The PCs hide in the trees along the path.

A Kalashtar and a Warforged covered with crystals run toward the PCs, with four skullcrusher ogres, a hobgoblin dirgedancer and two whitespawn berserkers hot on their trial.

The PCs leap out of the trees. Kikkeni drops an energy ballon the monsters, and Lyka makes a beeline for the ogres. Unfortunately, nobody else is able to match her speed because of the trees—she’s stuck in the middle of the bad guys, alone. Every single monster attacks her, thrashing her down to -2 HP in the course of one round from full HP (That’s exactly 100 damage; I rolled really lucky on the attack rolls.) Lyka stabilizes herself with an action point.

The PCs immediately try to rush to Lyka’s rescue, with Holden and Kikkeni leading the charge. Nox attempts to sneak attack one of the berserkers with a scroll of ice lance and crits, but unfortunately it makes its save and doesn’t get stunned and thanks to Uncanny Dodge is unaffected by Sneak Attack.

The Kalashtar and the psiforged thank the PCs and try to fight back; the psiforged charges up his deep crystal bastard sword while the Kalashtar reveals something interesting—concealed under his sleeve is a mechanical arm much like a warforged. He tells the PCs to hold the monsters off as he begins to infuse his arm. The NPCs’ efforts aren’t necessary—the remaining PCs finish them off in short order, except for the dirgedancer, who is left at 0 HP.

The kalashtar introduces himself as Tharkhad, a wandering psionic artificer looking for a way back to Sharn. He doesn’t know what’s been happening in Elsir Vale, and says that he and his companion Synapse came from Darguun. The PCs break the news, and Tharkhad simply tells his friend flatly—“Told you we were going the wrong way.”

Tharkhad and Synapse thank the PCs profusely, but then Tharkhad notices the red dragon horn that Kikkeni is carrying, saying that if she had killed a dragon, part of its spirit might have fractured off and trapped in the horn; Tharkhad’s hypothesis is further strengthened by Kikkeni’s explanation of how they took down the dragon. Her ego whip, which damaged the dragon’s Charisma enough to shut down his spellcasting, could have forced more than a small bit of the dragon’s personality into dormancy. Its death would have then released the “sealed” part, which would escape into any little remainder of the dragons’ body—in this case, its horn.

Tharkhad says that he could craft the horn of Abithriax into a weapon if the PCs have a Siberys Dragonshard to act as a focus for Kikkeni’s Quori spirit. Kikkeni gladly lets him do so, as she’d been looking for a way to use the horn. She also tells him about the Quori embedded components she salvaged from Ulwai’s backpack. While she has her surgery, Holden attempts to do a Jack Bauer on the Dirgedancer. Nox, being a man of the appropriate profession, aids him. Unfortunately, she knows nothing about the current state of the Red Hand and if there are any remaining camps along the Dawn Way. Nox coup de graces her.

The party finishes early and lets Kikkeni know they’re going to go ahead to Vraath Keep to scout. Kikkeni waves them on, and surprisingly enough gets there before they do thanks to psionic teleport.

The PCs then strike out for the Wyrmsmokes.

The Fiery Death Mountains

Immerstal was not kidding. An hour into the foothills of the Wyrmsmokes, the PCs are attacked by a spellwarped dragonne in a canyon.

Linny pulls out her lore, as usual, figuring that this monster is of the spellwarped variety and as such gets stronger when spells bounce off its SR. A brief discussion over the monster’s lame name comes up. Is it a “drag-own”? A “dragonnay?” The party decides to think of a new name for it.

Lyka advances again, making a jump check high enough to clear 40 feet of rubble along the canyon floor. Much snickering about the effeminate nature of the name comes to a sudden halt when the dragonne pounces on Lyka. Holden drops his maul, moves a bit forward and tries out his bow. Once the beast drops down beside Lyka, however, he decides to just go in for the kill.

Kikkeni offers to toss Holden. The dwarf grumbles, saying that he’d rather walk, but the opportunity is too good to pass up, as he’d have to double back to pick up his maul. Kikkeni throws Holden AT the Dragonne, busting it up pretty badly, and then throws his weapon after him (barely missing him). Holden falls prone in the monster’s space, and then dispatches it with a solid critical Elder Mountain Hammer punch with his gauntlet.

<Kikkeni> …so, what do we call the dragonne?
<Nox> “Dead.”

The PCs then journey forth, but stop at the edge of a particularly large Fernia Manifest zone. No way they’re camping in that hellish area overnight.

The players spend the rest of the session retroactively buying gear since we discovered how much money they actually had (about 13k GP)

Thoughts

1. It was a pretty slow day, honestly, but I’m not surprised. It’s been a long time since we last played.
2. Even though I made the Wyrmsmokes significantly more dangerous thanks to the environmental hazards, the PCs seem to be taking it pretty well.
3. It’s a shame they won’t be seeing more of Tharkhad anytime soon. I thought the opportunity to add a Renegade Mastermaker who can actually make stuff for them was too good to pass up, considering that Kikkeni just had no way of getting her Quori components to work .
4. Any suggestions on what gear to buy? I think everyone’s mostly going to buy a few potions of endure elements, but they want other things to do with their gear. Nothing worth more than 16k, as that’s the Brindol GP limit.

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