Game Recap - Dec 20th
Bob, Lunara and Falco see what looks to be a wild riding dog cross the path in front of the party, back track the dog trail and find it's just one animal, probably hunting and marking trees. 2nd watch sees a brownie approach the camp, carrying a bouquet of flowers, trying to sneak past them. The brownie, Tim, offers Morrigane the flowers, “for the beautiful pixie,” wants to pay respects, says thank you for dealing with the harpies and clearing up the forest. Morrigane accepts the flowers. Falco starts to question the brownie. Tim says there are rumours of great shadows moving into this area, acknowledges the people rescued from the sawmill were being shipped south. Falco wakes Betty and Salacious, as Tim is afraid of Falco and Bob looming over him. Tim says the abductors were creatures with strange orange hair, human sized. Salacious and Betty cast cone of evil and no evil is sensed in Tim. Paladins question Tim, who says that people were being shipped south every month, and that this has been going on for almost a full year. . Morrigane gives Tim 3 strands of her hair, and he is properly bowled over, promises to make himself a bracelet from her hair.
Marching order, and two days left to get back to Leafton. Falco, Bob and Lunara spot a pack of wild dogs crossing the path, hunting and no threat. The party sees a reddish haze hanging immobile across the path, shimmering, that was not there when the party passed through this way twice before. No evil is detected by the paladins. Grandath casts DETECT MAGIC and discovers this is a thin area leaking between this plane and the Plane of Fire. The river is steaming and the plants are drooping from the heat. The trail leads straight through the haze, which feels oven hot. Morrigane flies up, sees the extent of the haze is about a mile across, and goes up past where the air gets thin. Galen casts ENERGETIC HEALING (fire now heals him and he is immune to damage), and he and Grandath move into the red haze. Grandath summons FIRE ELEMENTAL, and they search the area. The source is in the middle of the river. Galen casts RIGHTEOUS MIGHT, becomes a two-storey high creature, and moves across the river, towards the source, finds a hole of fire, sticks his head in the hole. Determines this is an elemental plane, and reports back to the party. Lunara and Thoon stand rear-guard, every one else moves into the reddish haze. Malevir casts RESIST FIRE +30 on everyone in the haze. From the portal issues 9 fire beetles of assorted sizes. Meleé ensues.
Galen casts SCULPTURED SUDDEN WIDENED ENERGY VORTEX of cold at all nine beetles, kills five and damages the remaining four. Malevir casts DETECT MAGIC to check and see if he can close the portal. The last of the beetles are killed. Malevir is able to close the portal, and the reddish haze slowly dissipates.
Camp for the night, second watch, a swarm of 20 giant dire rats attack. Morrigane sees them, shrieks “rats!” and blows her whistle to wake everyone, while flying up, invisible. Meleé ensues.
Grandath casts FIREBALL into the center of the swarm and decimates all the rats, as he wants to go back to sleep.
Upon return to Leafton, Mathrin has been returned to Lothair. Falco sees a large notice board, with a flyer on it that says, “Song & Sorrow Traveling Shadow Show, performing at the Great Arena outside Hawkmoon.” Grandath attempts to case the largest shop in town (trying to get a teleportation fix), and is shown out, as the shop is closing. Lord Esteban buys drinks and food for the party in thanks for his rescue, deposits his sabre at the feet of the group as a whole, and declaims:
Darkness spills across the land
Evil whispers close at hand
At its heart, a shadow stalks
To his own destruction walks
She sings from heaven of a curse
A lover dead, a daughter worse
For a child to be whole
A thousand souls and more he stole
Engines from the darkest dreams
Tear the sky and rend the seams
Wheels and cogs that will not slow
Sundered by the lightest blow
When the sword has failed to win
Change the will and try again
With earnest heart appeal above
The muse may send her gift of love
Either miracle is done
Halt the doom or heal the one
When our life, our self is lost
When we learn to count the cost
Love will then transform and reign
and free us from a life of pain
Malevir casts DETECT MAGIC, finds the sabre is incredibly magic, casts IDENTIFY but did not get any furthur information, which suggests that the sabre is an artifact. Betty now carries the sabre, named Gilwyr.
The group leaves for the north, traveling towards Skullshanks Tower.
Marching order. The sky is filled with glittering, swooping lights, directly across the path. Morrigane goes invisible and flies up to get a better look but the lights disappear. The party then encounters an adventuring group – wizard, cleric, rogue, and two fighters – who say they are on their way to rid Hawkmoon of the evil there, with people being abducted, and a factory where souls are being burned. The cleric, Jorge, says that the glittering lights were angels of Hieroneous, says that others were called but chose not to answer, that shadows are everywhere and taking over somewhere near Hawkmoon, burning people alive to open the portal to the Plane of Shadows. Falco asks the group to leave a message at the temple of Hieroneous about whatever they find out. The smaller group says that there is a swamp up ahead, and once you move through the mountain pass, it becomes jungle. The party makes a conjoined camp for the night. First watch, 2 giant spiders attack. Meleé ensues.
Galen casts BLOODWIND, smears one spider, while Malevir casts SCORCHING RAY and kills the other.
Second watch, barking and yipping is heard. Nessirëa alerts the camp. 8 riding dogs run up, see Falco standing there with a lightstone in his hand, and run, yipping, away.
In the morning, the two groups separate. Marching order. The party meets a foot patrol of eleven, from Lyceum, which is northwest. Falco asks if there is a mage tower – yes. Malevir asks the name of the noble the patrol works for – Obald. The swamp is filled with creatures that will slice you open, with their claws – sounds like velociraptors. The party makes camp. Malevir identifies the harpy armour as +3, one wand as ICESTORM with 39 charges, two wands of HOLD PERSON.
Someone is watching the group from the heavily wooded hill. Morrigane goes invisible and flies up there, approaches from behind a human in leathers, with a bow close to hand, who is watching and occasionally casting a look over their shoulder. Morrigane becomes visible and starts talking to the human – Andar. Andar is a very good archer, says to watch out for quicksand in the swamp, suggests a poison made from red berries against the honkers is best. There are hungry plants that are not fun. There are black dragons scattered throughout the swamp lands, and he has seen the remnants of people who attempted to accost the dragons. They have acid breath. It's not safe to be out after dark, that's when the honkers – large, clawed creatures – come out. There are structures all over the swamps. There are also shamans, who are not friendly to outsiders. Andar leaves precipitately, as it is getting dark. Nessirëa tries to track Andar and fails, finds a druidic stone circle. The wind starts to blow from the southwest, smells of sulfur. There is a windstorm that reaches a crescendo three hours in, then drops. The rest of the night is relatively quiet.
Marching order. The party reaches the edge of the swamp, which smells of rotting vegetation. Falco and the three rangers look at the map, see marks on the map but can't read them, as it is an ancient language. Galen casts READ SCRIPT and it says, “if you can read this, you will find Skullshank's Tower, it is in the woods and not in the swamp." The group turns around and goes in the opposite direction. Camp and watches pass quietly. The next morning, the forest being thick and difficult terrain, Galen morphs to RIME GRYPHON, levitates the armoured cart, with most of the party in it, above tree level. The temperate comfort of the forest slowly changes to rain forest jungle – humid, insects and birds scuttling and chirping. The party approaches a large clearing several hundred feet across, a twisted, leaning spire with three sections, seen in the center. There is a smell of sulfur and tar, as the tower is placed in a tar pool 100' across.
Galen levitates the cart to the top of the tower, with Falco and Lunara hanging on to the back of the cart. The tower is smooth and black, 130'x120', octagonal, with windows too small to use for ingress. There is a darkened archway on the top of the tower, and the floor is piled with abandoned metal machinery covered in vegetation. Galen sets the cart down on the tower rooftop, where ivy clings to the walls, and the dark archway is entrance to a covered walkway that might lead to the observatory. There are bones, fur, feathers, armour, debris – it seems something has made a nest here. Suddenly a large (though immature) black dragon emerges from the covered walkway, and breathes its acid breath on Falco and Lunara, who take no damage. Meleé ensues.
The FRIGHTFUL PRESENCE of the dragon affects Thoon, Falco and Malevir. Thoon is shaken, but is able to MINDBLAST the dragon, which is now stunned. Various attacks by the party include Malevir, who casts LIGHTNING BOLT and hits big, Falco, who misses, fumbles and bites his tongue, and Nessirëa, who manages to give it the final blow that kills it.
Searching the nest, it is discovered that there is enough metal here to have built a grand telescope. Also found is 170 GP, 20 PP, 3x 50GP garnets, 2x 150GP amethysts, a jade amulet on a silver chain, a small steel mirror, studded leather armour covered with grease, a light metal shield, a heavy mace, a scroll and a bottle. DETECT MAGIC finds the armour, shield, bottle, scroll, and mace all identified as magic. The bottle appears to be empty. Galen plants the banner of Solanus on the tower roof. Nessirëa buys the gems from the party and splits the coin so that everyone gets 60GP and 4PP. The scroll has three spells: FOG CLOUD / HYPNOTIC PATTERN / KEEN EDGE.
Moving down the covered walkway, a spiral stairway leads to an opening in to a large room – the observatory. The tower is choked with ivy, small animals scurrying, tracks everywhere, detritus, vegetation. Nessirëa moves silently, hiding, into the room, sees one quarter of the octagon, 40' wide and 20' deep, walls with identical metal doors on each side, left and right. Also, maps on the walls, and wood and metal fragments scattered across the floor, remnants of a desk at one wall. Falco moves into the room and a vegetation creature moves and attacks. All the plants in the tower attack and try to entangle the party. Salacious and Thoon are fully entangled, everyone else is only partially caught. Meleé ensues.
While Thoon and Salacious attempt to break themselves free of the entanglement, various attacks are made by the rest of the party, including Malevir and his SCORCHING RAY, but Morrigane is the one to deal the killing blow, at which point, all the vegetation in the tower stops entangling the party - the vegetation creature was the control node. The maps on the wall were not destroyed by the fight. Falco looks at them but can't read them. They have astronomy notes and other markings. Morrigane points out that some of the star positions can be seen from various parts of this world, but some of them are just plain wrong. El Gato finds a journal called The Gate of Flames. Galen looks at the journal, says that it has a lot of references to other planes, and a loose page that he cannot understand. El Gato can't understand it either. Malevir also fails to understand the journal. Nessirëa is busy taking the maps carefully down from the walls. The piece of loose paper is identified as magic, SUMMONING BEARDED DEVIL.
Burl's 3.5 D&D game... For the glory of Solanus Arden! (also featuring Falco)
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