Raiding Mt Rushmore

Due to unfortunate circumstances, Lyka’s player was still absent and Kikkeni’s player, who has been the most consistent in terms of attendance, suddenly couldn’t make it either. I couldn’t contact Nox’s player, but he had informed me beforehand that he’d be late.

Only Linny’s player and Holden’s player arrived. I was worried about splitting the subbed characters between the two of them, but eventually we got so bored that we figured we might as well go ahead. Holden’s player handled Nox, while Linny’s player boldly handled Kikkeni, Linny and Lyka.

We ran into some difficulty with reading Kikkeni’s power sheets (which had been printed on a dot matrix printer), but we somehow managed. Anyway, without further ado:

Day 51: The Onrushing Storm

The PCs get up at 6 AM and begin the treacherous 2 hour journey down the pass that descends the cliff face. They notice that the weather over the canyon hasn’t changed; it has been cloudy since yesterday, and thunder periodically rumbles through the cloud cover. Although there is no wind and rain, the dark sky is foreboding.
Linny notices that the bridge below is a chain suspension bridge held up by crackling electric rings at intervals; these look very similar to the air elemental rings used in airships. Their close proximity to each other causes a sort of resonance that is likely responsible for the bad weather.

At about 8 AM they arrive at the foot of the bridge. They do the smart thing and tie themselves by the waist onto the handrail chains, and slowly begin the quarter-mile walk across the swaying bridge.

About 200 feet from the other end, the five-headed statue of Tiamat that looms over the bridge begins to speak.

“Who dares approach the Fane of Tiamat?”
“Priest Captain Holden Magroen of the Silver Flame.”

Lyka states her rank and complete name as well.

While the voice echoes throughout the canyon and clearly sounds like five different voices, the PCs make their will saves versus the ventriloquism. Lyka is able to pinpoint the source of the voice in the Tiamat statue’s blue dragon head.

Linny asks if it’s possible to shatter the dragon head. It certainly is, but given the scale of the statue, they’re going to have to deal a lot of damage to it.

(For some reason, Holden’s player was under the impression that the statue was only human-sized until here; only now does he realize that it’s more like Mount Rushmore.)

The statue continues: “I do not know what your business here is. Leave an offering for Tiamat and depart from here, and I might spare you.”

Holden replies: “Well, moving toward the statue counts as ‘departing from here’, doesn’t it?” He slings the maul over his shoulder and continues walking down the path. The others follow. Nox drinks a potion of invisiibility.

Almost immediately, the blue dragon Tyrgarun, the guardian of the Fane and father of Azarr Kul, jumps out of the maw of the blue dragon head and dives, landing with a thunderous tremor on the ledge.

Cue BGM.

“I am Tyrgarun, the Onrushing Storm and father of Azarr Kul! I shall not allow you to obstruct his plans! Dare you come against me?”

Kikkeni raises her Inertial Armor, while Linny casts Mass Shield of Faith. Lyka activates her Siberys Armor, spreading her dragonmark wings, and takes to the air. Holden drinks a potion of Fly and likewise moves closer to the dragon.

Immediately the dragon flies off the path and takes a position 65 feet away from the bridge, to the left of the PCs. Only Linny and Lyka succeed on their Frightful Presence saves—everyone else gets nailed. Tyrgarun lights up Holden and Lyka with his breath weapon. Both fail their saves and get blasted with 43 damage.

Kikkeni once more attempts to blast Tyrgarun, but she begins a long string of failures to breach SR. It would have been much better if she used electricity, since it gets a bonus to breaching resistance, but unfortunately the dragon is completely immune to it.

Lyka and Holden each drink potions of Enlarge Person and try to catch up with the dragon. Linny attempts in vain to blast Tyrgarun with Sound Lance, but she likewise fails miserably to breach his spell resistance.

Holden closes in, but before he even manages to get close enough to swing, Tyrgarun does a sharp turn and buzzes Holden, who misses on his AOO. The dragon instead sets upon Kikkeni, goring her with his horn. He attempts to throw her off the bridge, but she makes her reflex save and escapes with a graze. Nox misses yet again, but due to his hide check and the dragon still can’t spot him. (Okay I messed up; there was nowhere to hide. It really wouldn’t have mattered much in the end because…well, read till the end.)

Kikkeni fires yet another energy ball which simply dissipates against the dragon’s body. Linny likewise fails to get any more damage out of her second Sound Lance.

Lyka and Holden struggle to catch up with Tyrgarun, but he’s just too fast and his AC’s just too high. The dragon makes a wingover and comes straight back at Holden, goring him with his horn. Holden is able to make the reflex save to avoid the Awesome Blow, but he’s completely unable to dent Tyrgarun for now. Nox whiffs his shot yet again.

Kikkeni keeps up her bombardment, but to no effect. Out of Sound Lances, Linny instead takes up her Wand of Ice Knife—the only spell she has that can actually hit the dragon—and fails to breach SR.

Now within range, Holden smites Tyrgarun with Divine Surge, scoring a hefty 56 damage. The dragon makes his massive damage save, but Lyka circles and flanks him, dropping a Soaring Raptor Strike on him from behind. For the first time, the dragon roars in pain.

The angered dragon roars: “Oh, you shouldn’t have done that.”

“What, slept with your wife?” snarls Holden.

The dragon extends his wings and beats down hard, checking Lyka and Holden with the wind, and opens up a savage attack. The bite and first claw hits Holden, while the second claw hits Lyka. Lucky for her, the tail misses. Freaked out by the dragon’s savagery, Nox messes up his shot.

At this point Kikkeni stops trying to shoot and instead uses the Horn of Abithriax to use Psionic Fly on herself, and concentrates into Psionic Focus. Linny tries her Wand of Ice Knife once more, but the projectile fizzles ineffectually on the dragon’s hide.

Holden smites Tyrgarun once more, smashing him in the face with Bonecrusher. The dragon’s horn cracks down the middle. Lyka follows up with a Death From Above, stabbing deep into the dragon’s back.

This time Tyrgarun lets out an agonized wail.

“That’s what your wife said,” says Holden.

The furious dragon punches it, flying straight up to 90 feet above Lyka and Holden (who both whiff their AOOs), then soaring across the bridge once more to a position about 95 feet away from the bridge.

Nox calibrates his crossbow and uses the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the dragon’s position! He takes a single step to close the distance a bit!

And misses. Ho hum.

Kikkeni takes off, breaking away from Linny and Nox, while Linny tries her Ice Knife one more time. This time she rolls a natural 20 and breaches Tyrgarun’s SR, but fails to confirm her critical. The mighty shard of ice plunges into the dragon for an impressive 8 damage.

Lyka and Holden try their best to pursue the dragon, but don’t even make it halfway.

The dragon uses his Wand of Fireball and sears Linny (she makes her save) and then flies back to a position straight above the bridge, hovering above one of the lightning rings. The PCs don’t realize his plan—he intends to dive onto the bridge (sending the chain bridge quivering like a rubber band) and fire off his maximized breath weapon.

The two frontliners close in, but Nox composes himself and takes his shot. The confirmed critical hit plunges straight into Tyrgarun’s eye. He deals over 53 damage with his sneak, but the critical hit would have been enough to kill him at this point. (Which is why it didn’t matter if he was hidden or not.)

“You…cannot…stop…my son.”

Dying in mid-flight, Tyrgarun’s massive corpse crashes onto the air elemental ring. Draconic blood reacts with powerful magic, and a brilliant blue-white flash lights up the entire canyon. The impact sends the bridge swaying wildly, but Nox and Linny are able to hold on.

Realizing the dragon had just died, the PCs begin rejoicing.

Lyka then ruins the mood by asking Holden: “So, sir…did you really sleep with the dragon’s wife?”


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Session 18

Hack and slash session this time. The Wyrmsmokes were rightly billed as a dangerous place, and one does not simply walk into Mordor.

Journey Through the Wyrmsmokes, Continued
The PCs get up on the morning of Day 50 after camping on the edge of the Fernia manifest zone. They drink their potions of Endure Elements and set out on their way.

It’s not long before they encounter a group of fiendish enemies.

A Certain Psionic Railgun

The PCs arrive in the center of a Fernia manifest zone in the middle of active volcanic scabland and spot an ominous reddish glow in the distance crossing the road. Nox takes another potion of invisibility and sneaks ahead to investigate.

Nox’s rolls are really high, and the fiends don’t even hear him as he approaches them from the volcanic scab rock. He goes back to the party and describes the appearance of the fiends–about as tall as a man, hunched over and heavily built, with glowing red eyes, shredded, useless wings, long writhing beards, and upward curving horns. The three of them wield massive, saw-toothed glaives. Linny identifies them as barbazu.

Nox, still invisible, climbs up the scab basalt along the other side of the road and takes up a sniping position. Before he does so, he empties his pack of all his scrolls, spreading them out all over the ground. He then takes his shot, severely injuring one of the devils. The other PCs attempt to blitz the barbazu and catch them off guard, but the plan backfires–the devils hear them coming.

Kikkeni takes the high ground on top of the basalt scab along with Linny. Lyka runs along the path instead. Two of the devils teleport to confront Kikkeni while the third teleports into Lyka’s path. Although Linny was able to identify their weaknesses and defenses as devils, she didn’t roll high enough to determine their exact abilities.

The devil taunts Lyka, saying that the strong faith of Purified like her make their souls good eating. Lyka replies “My blades taste good too.”

Holden moves too slowly to help Kikkeni, so Kikkeni once more throws Holden at one of the Barbazu using telekinetic thrust.
Linny fires off a Sound Burst on the two devils, but it barely grazes them. Kikkeni tries to back away, but due to their teleportation and reach weapons, the devils are too hard to shake.
Nox takes another shot at the already bleeding devil, which Holden dispatches with his maul.

The remaining devil pursuing Kikkeni bites into its finger, saying it’s not that easy to kill them, and summons another Barbazu. Much swearing around the table.

Linny keeps up her blasting while Lyka tears into the devil that accosted her. The badly injured devil takes a step back, bites into its arm and scatters blood all over the ground. The black blood crawls around the warblade and begins coalescing into a dozen Lemures—all around Lyka. More swearing.
Linny identifies the Lemures as “entry-level devils,” and Kikkeni’s player says “…so they’re call center agents?”
I reply: “If you think in terms of infernal bureaucracy, I don’t think the truth would be very far from that.”

Kikkeni Energy Pushes the two devils near her into each other, but the recently-summoned one teleports to Linny in the back, slashing Linny with a devastating critical hit.

Nox drops a Black Tentacles centered on Lyka, disabling the Lemures—and Lyka. Ironically, the devil with 1 HP gets away. (More snickering about how Lyka—and her player’s characters–are ALWAYS in compromising situations—grappled by tentacles and surrounded by devils.)

Eventually, Lyka gets out of the tentacles, and Kikkeni pulls her out by throwing her at one of the other devils. Holden finishes off the last Barbazu. The tentacles crush the remaining lemures into gruesome black mush, and the PCs press on.

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Don’t Stop Running

Yesterday’s session was rather slow. We were supposed to hold the session last Saturday, but a storm hit the country and power got knocked out, so playing would be pretty frustrating in the dark. Yesterday was a holiday, so we tried to take advantage of our collective free schedules and play.

Unfortunately, Lyka’s player couldn’t make it, while Kikkeni’s player was visiting the cemetery and would only be around after lunch.

Linny’s player is unfortunately out; her parents were no longer allowing her for some unclear reason. It couldn’t be helped, so I decided to ask a regular attendee (who doesn’t play but watches) to take over her character. At first I told him he could use his own character, but he said the party needed a buffer/healer and graciously offered to play as Linny.

We started yesterday with Holden and Loven’s player handling Lyka as well, while Linny’s new player also handled Kikkeni until her actual player arrived.

The party started standing over the rapidly-dissolving body of the Rakshasa they’d killed last session; I had forgotten to roll treasure for it, so I gave them the following: 3500 GP, a large Khyber dragonshard, some gems, a Vest of Defense, an Oil of Bless Weapon, a Scroll of Invisibility, and a Handy Haversack.

They went to report their success to the authorities and booked themselves at the Stone Wyvern for the night.

The Stone Wyvern

When they got to the Stone Wyvern, the gnome owner squeaked “AAAH! ADVENTURERS!” when he saw his new guests, and slammed the door.

When the party actually went in to see what the problem was, he apologized and explained that he’s always been paranoid of adventurers because he was afraid of them unpetrifying the wyvern.

“Ah, yes, we’ll have to talk to you about that…”

The PCs offered a great deal of money–an initial downpayment of 750 GP—to take out the wyvern and unpetrify it for use as a mount in the coming battle. Holden said that the Church of the Silver Flame would compensate for whatever damage and/or profit loss that taking the wyvern might cause–after all, the wyvern WAS a Thrane air cavalry unit and as such was property of the Church. After a Diplomacy check, the gnome, Mr. Yule, reluctantly agreed.

The next morning (Day 35) , they awoke to find Yule sitting nervously under the wyvern, so much so that when he saw them coming down the stairs, he stood up and almost knocked himself out on the stone monster.

Then came the hilarious problem of getting the wyvern out of the building—if you read the writeup of Brindol, it says the inn was built around the petrified wyvern. Holden asked Yule what kind of an idiot built his inn around a petrified monster, to which Yule replied that it made a lot of entrepreneurial sense when his father did it—mostly founded on how only an idiot would unpetrify the wyvern while it was inside the building.

There were several issues here: wyverns weighed one ton unpetrified, so the obviously denser statue would be far too heavy to drag out without smashing the floorboards. Even if they did manage to drag it, it was too big to fit out the door. Finally, if they unpetrified it while inside the building, it would likely trash the place.

Holden offered more gold and set about unhinging the door, while Loven took everyone’s rope and tied the petrified wyvern up as tightly as he could.

They then called Delora Zann in case they needed someone to handle the animal (though they were reluctant since they knew Delora was trying to keep her dragonmark a secret), in addition to some soldiers.

Just before Linny cast Break Enchantment on the wyvern, the soldiers all backed off and began to express their fear. Most of them knew that the wyvern was part of one of Thrane’s infamous air cavalry units, and some of them knew what it was like to see friends getting snatched up by wyverns and smeared on the ground.

Holden says that’s exactly WHY they wanted to unpetrify the wyvern, and tells Linny to go ahead.

As the wyvern turned back into flesh and blood, it made a series of strength checks against all the ropes, but failed to break any single one. Delora was about to use her dragonmark as the creature struggled, but it instantly calmed down when it smelled Holden.

Delora explained that it might have been accustomed to the scent of the standard-issue armor polish that Thrane soldiers used, and as such was calmed down despite having been stoned for quite a while. Holden and Lyka lead it out of the door without much trouble, and then realize that they don’t have a stable to put it in.

They ask the gnome if they could let the animal roost on the roof of the inn, but Yule refuses outright. They decide to chain the wyvern to a large stake they hammer down into the middle of the Cathedral square—after Lyka takes it for a spin.

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