Fifth (and last) day. And PC followups

The meeting for Vincent’s mystery woman was set to take place at a little used warehouse (I hate the cliche of “abandoned warehouse”, but a busy one just doesn’t work.) at noon. The group got there early and scoped the place out.Vincent waited outside for the woman to show up. She teleported into the center of the warehouse, and even though there were several party members inside, the only one to see her because of all the crates in the way was Kaden, up in the rafters. Since he didn’t want to give away his position to tell Vincent she was here, Vincent waited outside, thinking she was late. She of course thought he was the one that was late. She was just about to leave and go find him herself when Vincent decided to go inside and wait for her.

She gave him a talk about how he had to come back with her, and reenter the service of Ralys, or they would both be killed. She indicated the Slave Ring on her finger and said that it was part of her punishment for Vincent’s leaving. He explained that he had no idea who she or Ralys were, or why he left, although he could guess at that part. She was just about to go into detail for him, when she received a telepathic order, and attacked Vincent. The rest of the group became visible and/or came out of hiding, including Kaden dropping to the floor and taking Dragon form on the way down. She managed to wound Vincent with her Mindblade Kukris (or is Kukri plural?) before Kaden grappled her and pinned her to the ground.

Still under mental control, she began screaming in agony and clawing at herself, until Gareth cast Hold Person on her. Vincent was just about to cut off her ring finger to free her, when they heard a voice say, “Do NOT damage my property, insolent one! Vincent and Cora will stay, the rest of you, be gone!” and Lord Ralys appeared suddenly on top of a stack of crates.

Well, needless to say, the party shifted their focus to him, but not quite enough focus. Gareth was the only one to realize that his oddly long mustache was not made of real hair, and seemed to move on it’s own. Vincent got too close, and the mustache sprang up, ripping itself out of it’s disguise, revealing a tentacle, and wrapped itself around Vincent’s head. The rest of the disguise fell apart revealing a large Illithid- with two extra tentacles! (I’m the only one with a copy of Lords of Madness, so they didn’t know what an Ulitharid was)

Combat continued, everyone managed to hit and damage Ralys, but when his turn came, he Decerebrated Kaden! Cora’s hold person wore off, and she made a mental link with Vincent that Ralys would most likely do the same to him, and she couldn’t let that happen. She fired a Mind Arrow at him, which teleported him into the desert outside the city, with the massive city gates just visible on the horizon. While he was getting his bearings, Karai struck the killing blow to Ralys, and without even taking time to blink, began searching his body (Karai is a bit of a loot hound).

Vincent teleported back into the warehouse, eager to get back to the fray, and not caring about his safety. He took the Master Ring from Karai, removed the Slave Ring from Cora, and gave the set to Cadaver. He then teleported himself and Cora to the nearest temple, with a promise to return quickly. At the temple he left Cora in the hands of the healers, and brought one back to the warehouse to restore Kaden. Kaden, seeing that combat was over and there was no treasure to be had, nonchalantly left for a meeting.

Vincent deposited all of his useful and/or magical belongings, bid his farewell, and teleported back to the temple to care for Cora. When she was well, she filled him in on his past. She was his sister, and they had been Thralls of Ralys, serving as headhunters so he wouldn’t have to do his own dirty work. He had intended to implant an Illithid tadpole (one that he had learned was destined to be an Ulitharid) into the brain of the Tarrasque, creating a Godlike Psionic creature. The tadpole had been stolen and crushed by Vincent when he escaped, but he hadn’t managed to go back for Cora. The reason for that would be lost for all time if he didn’t regain his memories. The two of them left together for parts unknown.

Bushido Brown committed Seppuku for his inability to stay at his employer’s side, and allowing Kaden to be Decerebrated.

Hiwa had entered the City’s catacombs on a quest for the Head of Vecna. She was never heard from again.

Nicodemus was excommunicated from the church for his “unsavory delights”. Of course, what even the Shadow considers unsavory…

Cadaver left the city and became a widely feared necromancer, as he would slaughter and raise anyone who laughed at the Gnome wearing black full plate armor and wielding a mercurial greatsword.

Karai managed to enlist every single orphan in the city to the Assassins’ Guild. Petty theft has never been lower, while unsolved murders have never been higher. Karai is pleased.

Gareth sat on the council for the guild for many years, until out of boredom he set up an alternate identity and put contracts out on himself as a way to test the skills of assassins. He survived 23 such attempts, until Karai caught wind of his tricks and killed him at a council meeting. With his dying breath, he reached into his robes, pulled out the bounty he had set on his own head, and melted it to slag, saying, “You cheated.”

Kaden somehow managed to cause both the Last War and the Mourning (Linked for those who don’t play Eberron). Freaking time travelers.


Fourth Day pt 3

The group sent Cadaver and Bushido back to the exit to make sure it stayed secure, as they wanted to be able to make a speedy retreat in case things started going badly. Gareth led the way into the next chamber, and took two nasty slices to the chest from some wall scythes for his trouble. The room beyond looked like an incredibly obvious trap, but they couldn’t figure out what kind. The room was well lit with several torches, which was unusual for this place, since all of the zombie children have no eyes (they burst when the kids are submerged into the boiling blood). There were two statues flanking the passageway, both about 7 feet tall, mad of solid, pure gold, and in the shape of a Tarrasque rearing up on it’s hind legs. Kaden had a treasuregasm at this point, and wanted to distract everyone so he could eat the statues, but failed.

Not being able to detect the nature of the likely trap, and being too foolish to find an alternate route, they proceeded to the other end of the room. Kaden was the first to pass between the statues, and as he did, the floor in the half of the room he had just exited dropped down 20 feet. Nobody took any damage because of featherfall, and other such measures, but they were now in a pit 20 feet deep, and once the floor had stopped, two holes were revealed through which blood stated flowing very quickly, filling the pit. Kaden tried to throw a rope down, but there was a forcewall effect at the edge of the pit.

Not one to panic, Gareth simply teleported everyone out of the pit. Which was fine with me, as the trap wasn’t really meant to kill them, just make them waste a spell or two. Mission accomplished. Although I had hoped that they would somehow be dumb enough to let such a simple trap kill one or more of them.

Moving on to the next room, Kaden peeked in through the door to see what could be seen, and set off the “trap” there- a bell chime such as would be found in a shop. The room was well lit again, and he could see a few of the zombie children looking to the out of sight far corner. A loud voice, obviously not that of a child, said, “You’re late! Get in here and start your lessons!” A shadow on the wall indicated a large humanoid being of unknown origin.

In a move that was slightly out of character for Kaden, he burst into the room without a plan, and bagan proclaiming that he had killed dozens of the undead abberations (not meaning a creature type, just in the sense of “unnatural”) today, and he would not stop until he had cleansed the world of their stain. This speech was delivered while he was still analyzing the situation, which included 29 of the undead children, and a large creature that looked somewhat like a cross between a hill giant and a troll. During Kaden’s speech, the others started coming into the room, and Hiwa was able to surmise that the creature was most likely a new type of flesh golem, made out of the very flesh of the Tarrasque.

Upon hearing that their “playmates” had been killed, the zombie kids began moaning and weeping (blood tears), and the golem became enraged, ordering his “students” to kill them all. The children had numbers on their side, and almost overcame the adventurers, especially when the golem began throwing the children into melee with the party. One particularly effective strategy that was used was throwing pairs of children wearing the special chain belts that had been discovered before as if they were giant living bolos. This did impact damage from the children, as well as letting the pair of children get an automatic free attack. In the end, however, the party was successful, and was confident that the last vestiges of the cult had been eradicated. They returned to the surface, triumphant.

Vincent hired Gareth to investigate the woman, Cora, that seemed interested in finding him. He decided that it was time to force an encounter. Gareth located her again at the Blue Ogre, and set up a meeting. The meadhall was cleared out, and all of the patrons were replaced with assassins, and everyone except for Hiwa, Bushido, Nicodemus (who seems to have vanished mysteriously) and Cadaver went to the meeting. Cora came in, and seemed quite surprised to see Vincent still alive. She informed him that, “You must return with me, if you do, he will let you live.” and that if he refused, then she was left with no choice but to force him to come. At these words, many knives were drawn, many darts were inserted into blowguns, and many nerves were on edge. Cora realized the eminent danger she was in, and grabbed Vincent’s hand. He heard her voice in his mind give him a location and a time, and the message, “Come alone this time.” then she let go of his hand, and psionically teleported out, just as two dozen knives and darts flew through the air she had just occupied. Vincent told the others about the message, and said that of course he would go, and of course it wouldn’t be alone, but that there was nothing more to do until tomorrow.

They all returned home, and prepared for the meetup in the morning.

SNEAK PEEK: Vincent will learn the truth about his past, but will most likely be leaving the party permanently (and involuntarily) as a result.

Also: Post your theories in the comments on what you think his background is! The first one to guess it will get an advance update of the PDF! (Although I’ll admit up front that the changes are minor, it’s the best prize I’ve got.)

Fourth Day pt 2

Honestly, nothing happened worth going into detail about. The party continued exploring the underground complex, killed a bunch more zombie kids, set off some traps. I blame the lack of interest on the players, because they aren’t using their heads. For example, Cadaver isn’t interrogating any of the zombies he gets under his control. Otherwise they would know that “Uncle Stitch” is waiting for them further down, or that they might not want to go into the “pool room”.

Last sentence counts as my sneak peek. See you next week!

Stroke my EGO!!!!!!

So I was looking at the stats for the blog, and about 75 views are registered on the entry for the newest version of the PDF. Any feedback yet?
Also, is anyone actually following the game I’m running? (Yes, my ego wishes to be stroked, sue me:D.)

Fourth Day Pt 1

Most of the group decided to go rumor mongering, Bushido was sick, so he stayed in bed most of the day, Hiwa headed to the library to see what she could find on zombie kids. Vincent investigated the man he saw at the party that recognized him (I forgot to mention him, there was a very tall man with a comically long mustache at the party who seemed to recognize Vincent, but Vincent was unable to follow.), and learned that his name is Lord Ralys. He is fairly new in town (been here about six months) and no one seems to know who he is, what he does, or where he lives. His bodyguard, Cora, has been seen around town though, so Vincent went to try to track her down.

He found her in the Blue Ogre Meadhall, watched her have a conversation with the bartender, then she stormed out, looking very irritated. Vincent engaged the barkeep himself after she left, under the guise of hoping to get a date with the pretty lady. He learned that she pays him (Well) and other bartenders in the city for the names of psionics. He doesn’t know what she does with the names, nor does he care. Vincent paid him a ridiculous amount to forget that he ever met him, and left.

Gareth tried to see if there was a pattern to the children that had been kidnapped, and there was no connection other than the age range of 7-10 years old. There were no witnesses in any of the cases.

Nicodemus and Cadaver both confirmed their suspicions that the necromantic energy in the city has been rising steadily for the past month.

Karai and Kaden went to “the guy who has the most medical knowledge in the city” (Kaden’s words, not mine) and failed to learn anything, but when they returned, Karai was approached by one of the children that the guild recently recuited, and said that they found a strange hole in their playroom (the room where Lucas was slain). The hole was a tunnel that looked similar to the ones in the cult’s lair.

Deciding that this was probably where the kids were hiding, they passwalled through and found an underground complex. Not far in, they found a room with five children hanging from the ceiling by chains. Cadaver realized they were “still kicking” as it were, just sleeping. He managed to get four of them under his control, and the fifth one was torn apart by them before it could raise an alarm. Gareth scouted ahead, and found four more of the children “playing” in the next room. Using the ones under his sway, Cadaver lured them out one by one and tried to get them under his control as well, killing the ones that resisted his spell. After two rooms, he had five zombie (Undead, Feral, Spellwarped Children to be exact) minions. Cadaver told them to “go take a nap”, and they hoisted themselves back onto their chains.

There was a portcullis leading to the next room, which made a lot of noise when it went up. Gareth saw six more children “sleeping” on the ceiling, and checked the next room. There were four more, playing with dolls. Hiwa cast Hide From Undead on the group, and they went to sneak up on the ones playing, but one of the little boys that they thought was asleep caught them by surprise, letting out a roar that sounded just like the Tarrasque itself. Hiwa cast Sphere of Undeath (I think that was the spell, I can’t remember) that killed all but two of Cadavers minons, the one that had roared, and one of the ones playing dolls. The one with the doll ran away, and they quickly ended the cursed existence of the one that roared.

At this point I called it a night early, because everyone was losing interest/falling asleep, and “No Gaming id better than Bad Gaming”. So I taught everyone to play Mao, which I highly recommend for a way to kill time while waiting for a player to arrive.

SNEAK PEEK: I have a strong suspicion that Vincent will try to face Cora and Ralys alone, which will make a fantastic night. I’m tempted to have him run it as a solo session. Cora is the Sabretooth to his Wolverine.

Third Day

(Note: I tend to use the names Kaden, Kefka, and Kaelix interchangably. They are all the same character- Kaden- but different identities. See character intros.)

The group spent some time with the assassins’ guild to try and find out why Lucas Gerridos had been having so many people put to death. There seemed to be no connection, none of the names on the list were important people, they lived all over the city, and they seemed to be totally random. It was decided that a look inside his home was needed.

Luckily, Kaelix gets an invitation every year to a party at Gerridos’ house for the anniversary of the Chaining, which was a month away. Until now, he had never accepted one, knowing that Lucas Gerridos was not really the big damn hero everyone said he was. This year, he would accept. Through his contacts, he got two more invites, one for Hiwa, and one for Nicodemus. Each of them could bring one guest, leaving two group members without a way in.

Gareth learned that Gerridos was hiring an entirely new staff for the event (as he apparently does every year for some strange reason.), and he got a job as a waiter, complete with a room in the servant’s quarters, where he stashed everyone’s weapons. Hiwa split the month between training Vincent on how to act civilized at a high society party (Think Mal Reynolds in “Shindig”.), and adapting Mordayn Vapor (BoVD) to be ingested instead of inhaled. Kaden spent the month in various guises trying to learn more about the other rumors going on in town that he was interested in. Nicodemus found the blueprints for the house, but it was strangely incomplete, as if someone had stolen parts of it.

The night of the party, everyone who had dates went in without a problem, and Cadaver just turned invisible and snuck in. Hiwa slipped the vial of Mordayn to Gareth, who dosed the punch bowls. Pretty soon an orgy broke out (as the group decided that Mordayn Vapor is D&D Ecstasy.) and the guards went upstairs to inform Gerridos what was happening. As he was telling the guards to put everyone in separate rooms until they calmed down, the group burst into the room, saying that they knew everything (Lying out of their asses) and that he should come with them to the constabulary and turn himself in. Hiwa got close and tried to expose him to the Mordayn, knowing she would expose herself as well, but he was immune. His response was to laugh and run into the next room. Bushido stayed with Hiwa to make sure she was safe, while the others oursued Lucas.

The next room contained a very out of place Fire Pole (I was improving and that was the first thing I could think of, sorry) which led down to a large empty and dark room, which was full of chains hanging from the ceiling. After some witty banter between Kaelix and Lucas, Lucas revealed his true form- he was a Chain Devil.

While my goal for the night was to kill one person, I actually had to tone this fight back, which I hate doing. The first round brought Kaden near death with a single full-round attack from the seven chain-strikes Lucas rained down on him. Considering Kaden is the toughest member of the party, I realized that this fight would be over in about 6 rounds. The judgement was to take away Lucas’ offhand attacks, leaving him with four attacks for a full round.

The group took Lucas out, mainly thanks to some undead summoned by Cadaver, and went back to check on the guests. The drugs had worn off, and Kaelix told all of the guests the truth about Lucas, and since they were all still a little hazy, they took his word for it. The rent-a-cop guards were sent to fetch the City Watch, the guests were questioned and sent home. Karai quickly forged a bill of exchange and ran to the House Kundarak Banking Guild to get all of Gerridos’ money for their troubles.

The next day, Kaelix was summoned to see the tribunal, who were very angry with him for killing Gerridos. They confessed that they knew he was a devil, that a deal was made with him when the city first was founded. He would live in the city like a hero, and be given carte blanche. In exchange, he would supply his own blood to forge the chains holding the Tarrasque in place. Now that he was dead, the chains would soon be to weak to hold the beast. They told Kaelix that he had to find a replacement as soon as possible. If he can find a way to control the devil, fine. If not, make a deal.

Kaelix accepted the responsibility, and left. He used his share of the money to purchase Gerridos’ house, giving it to the Assassins’ Guild for a new headquarters. The group decided to take a break before investigating what was going on with the children the cult had been kidnapping.

SNEAK PEEK: Flesh Golems created in a city where the most powerful creature in the world is vivisected daily…