Archive for September, 2006

An Update of Many Things

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

Editor’s Note: OK, so I’ve not managed to get an update up for the last three (four?) sessions, which sucks. As such, I am skipping the narrative function of writing something from Whitten’s perspective, and simply detailing what has happened:

While Rock and Badl were busy dusting Hillsfar’s attempts to summon demons to fight on their behalf (our band having foiled the Citadel of the Raven’s attempts to aid them), leaving Hillsfar to fashion a Plan C on the fly, Adric and Whitten teleported to Phlan to check on the barbarian horde that had shown up outside of town. Ren of the Blade, sometime protector of Phlan, met up with us at the current mayor’s offices and offered to accompany us out to the barbarians. We went to greet them and, on arriving, discovered that Keth – an old member of the Tinker Trading Company – was among their number, serving as bodyguard to the barbarian chieftan. The chief, an old fellow who seemed much more wise and staid than the term “barbarian” might imply, told us he was there with friendly intentions and the horde had brought supplies of their own. When asked if we could offer them anything by way of payment – to fend off any ugly futures in which the horde, not having fought anything, decides to loot Phlan as recompense for their arrival – we were told the chieftan had come here to repay an old debt to Haktor and no payment was necessary. We asked if they were interested in marching east to meet the army of Mulmaster before it arrived in Thentia, but the chieftan said that while his clan would undoubtedly agree to go to a fight for the sake of going to a fight, he was in no rush to see more death than necessary. He surprised us with his frankness and the sense that he is perhaps weary of war, and they left on very pleasantly friendly terms. Back in Phlan, Whitten got the mayor to say that the city wouldn’t sell Rowena’s old wizard tower to anyone else before letting the TTC make an offer on it.

The whole group got back together at that point and discussed the events so far. There was still the matter of delivering the letter to the wizard-general of the High Elves and trying to convince the Prince that he had been duped by BOB, the name we have given to the shapechanging entity we first new as Alec. We also needed to check in at The Dragon’s Tomb, meet with Elminster about The Font, deal with the Red Wizard staked out in Shadowdale looking for us, get to Thentia to check on their defenses and scout out the positions of the Mulmasterian army. There was also the small matter of the remaining places of power and trying to track down BOB. We first went to Selgaunt, gathered a few more priests to go defend The Dragon’s Tomb, bought a ship of supplies and had it sent to Phlan, then gathered intel to learn that the army of Mulmaster was marching over land with a fleet of impressed fishing boats tracking along the coast to keep it supplied. We started turning over the possibility of stealingliberating said fleet from the army of Mulmaster and starving them back home, then went off to Myth Drannor to try to find the army of the High Elves and make a mail delivery.

Once to Myth Drannor, we had no problem finding the army – just follow the trail of dead drow and keep walking until you hear a big fight. The mythil had been restored, but twisted: it offered all its usual protections and bonuses to elves in the city, but no one else. The mythils had originally offered protections and bonuses to anyone inside them. In the city center, around a high tower from which radiated the aura of energy given off to sustain the mythil, the drow and the High Elves were entrenched and fighting for control. We were quick to sweep in and turn the tide, Adric and Rock turning their attentions on the drow squadrons on the ground while Badl and Whitten focused on the dryders coming up out of a tunnel in the earth. Badl and Whitten collapsed the tunnel and killed the dryders while Rock and Adric started scattering drow. As we were cleaning that up, we heard a voice bellow, “Release the juggernaut!” and an enormous orc kind of thing with huge plates of armor stapled to its flesh ran onto the field of battle from one of the side streets. Badl took to the air above it and Rock prepared to charge when a ball of fire exploded in the air high over the city and – of all the things or people – Nigel began rocketing towards us. The fight paused for a moment, then took on renewed vigor. We dispatched this “juggernaut,” then two of its handlers – a wizard keeping it protected with spells and a priest healing it as it fought. Its third handler, a monk, escaped from us. Eventually Nigel took the form of an enormous devil, herding the drow into a corner and then wading in to slay them by hand. Badl and Whitten dispatched many of them with magic just to be merciful, and then Nigel and Rock took off after the escapees to hunt them down and see where they were trying to go.

As the drow cleared the battlefield and the high elves advanced, we caught up with the other elven general, the fop, and found out from him that the prince and the wizard-general had gone the same way Rock and Nigel were going even now. We took off after them and the five of us found another tunnel into the city from deep underground. Going down it, we eventually found it paved in sheets of metal and light numbers of drow guards. The guards were dispatched and we pushed for a mile or two underground until the road opened into a huge cavern with guard towers carved from stories-high stalactites and stalagmites. There we caught up with the prince, the wizard-general and the elites of the High Elf army, assaulting a drow wizard and the squads under his control. Nigel recognized the wizard as the one who had tortured him during his years of captivity in the Underdark and swooped – still in devil-form – to knock him from the sky and tear out his throat. As he held the wizard’s beating heart aloft, the High Elf priests, stunned to find a devil in their midst, banished him back to his native plane – now the elemental plane of fire – and Nigel was gone in a flash. Again, we turned the tide and as the elves performed clean-up in the last of the stalagtowers, the TTC explained slowly and carefully to Prince Eradrus that he had been duped and that he should go home. (We also delivered the letter to the wizard-general, the one written by the queen of the elves, and he shed a tear. I wanted to read the letter really badly, but only because I knew I couldn’t.) The wizard-general then laid a hand on the prince’s shoulder, told him he should spend some time thinking about what had happened, and teleported him straight to the tomb of the Fae’rath. He then said he would return the army of the High Elves to Evermeet, thanked us for our help, and all of us returned to the surface.

Along the way, we asked the wizard-general what had been given them to restore the mythil, and told him we knew it had been improperly restored. He agreed to show us, since they were going to take it down anyway, and it turned out to be an enchanted gold net which had been wrapped around the magical stone that powers the mythil. It regulated the mythil’s energies, he said, which had been rendered wild by damage to the mythil.

We left, returning to Elventree for the night, and the next morning were off to Shadowdale to meet up with Elminster to find out what he’d learned about the Font. He hadn’t learned much, but knew that whatever god had been trapped inside probably wasn’t still there as anything intelligent, though their power definitely was. We asked if we could experiment with it, and took it outside to Elminster’s back yard (“Don’t mess up my herb garden!”) to play. Rock and Whitten talked Adric into using The Font as a mystical focus while casting Create Water and, when he did, he took a good deal of damage as the Font sucked energy out of him and then we all took damage when it shot water at high speed in all directions – water which disappeared immediately after impact. We then talked Badl into using it as a Focus for Summon Nature’s Ally, asking for Dire Rats. A point in the air opened and the party saw something maddeningly extra-dimensional – a suggestion of a fractal universe into which every Dire Rat is jammed into every corner – and from that space shot blood and gore and bits of bones from Dire Rats. Again, Badl took damage, and again we were all hurt, and again the output of the spell disappeared immediately upon its own creation. We wondered whether the gold net used by the high elves to stabilize the mythil in Myth Drannor might allow the Font to be used as a powerful spell focus, then asked Elminster to continue storing it on our behalf.

After that, it was time to talk to the Red Wizard, who had a huge and brainwashed warrior acting as his bodyguard. He informed us that the god of the Red Wizards, Kosuth, had learned of this Alec and his apocalyptic fate, and that we knew about him, and thus this wizard had been sent to interrogate us. He informed us he would be casting Detect Thoughts to learn everything we knew of Alec, and we declined his invitation. He lamented that this meant we would have to fight, but I told him that was silly, what we should do was talk, as frankly I was just as happy with the Red Wizards killing Alec as anyone else. We did allow the wizard to cast Discern Lies before we spoke, but then we had a peacable and largely amicable conversation about Alec in which we gave away nothing particularly damning and, hopefully, managed to shake the Red Wizards off our trail. At worst, the Red Wizards have had confirmed that Alec is bad news and that we are on the case; at best, we’ve told them nothing they didn’t already know and have left this one wizard in particular nothing new to tell his masters. As we left the meeting I couldn’t resist one snide remark, however: “Heard from Rowan lately?” Rowan was an escapee from Thay who was part of the TTC for a while, some years ago. “No,” the wizard replied. “Well,” I said, “I wish you better luck with Alec than you’ve had with my old friend.”

With that, it was off to Thentia to get maps of the area where we expect Mulmaster to be marching, and worked out a plan to separate their fleet from their army and, we hope, drive it on to Phlan where there will be a barbarian horde waiting to make sure they don’t cause trouble: Adric would summon a few hurricanes, hopefully creating a real one in the Moon Sea, driving the ships far from shore and far off-course. We scouted it out, finding the ships mostly fishing vessels loaded with supplies, each with a Mulmasterian “handler” on it, plus two warships and one ship stocked entirely with priests. As Adric went out to see and began summoning his hurricanes I snuck into the fleet in various guises and blew a hole in the side of the priests’ ship with a Disintegrate spell. My goal is to sink the warship and the priests’ ships – it won’t kill them, but it will slow them down while the fishing vessels and the supplies they carry are irreparably blown out to sea. As Whitten swam around under the surface of the water as an Aquatic Elf, he dropped a 500gp bar into the sea in hopes Umberlie wouldn’t take offense at this disruption of the ocean’s surface. No sooner had he blown the hole in the priests’ ship and confirmed it was taking on water, however, than he heard a voice in his head that said, “I smell you, elf, I am coming for you,” and saw a dark shape – a vampire – under the water some distance away.

And that’s how we ended the last session.