Following the Fumes III

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Contents

Scribe Notes: Session – Summer 813

GM: Craig Harper
Night: Monday nights, at Craigs place.
Level: Medium/High.
Title: Following of Fumes III.
House Rules: Opposed rolling combat system play test. Quickness & Slowness.

The Party
A few good Air Mages are needed to help the Sorceress in Silver once more!

  • Lath - Female Air Mage (Human) played by Jono. -- "Lots of airmagics".
  • Clementine - female Hobbit/Bear Air Mage, played by Kelsie. -- "Bear/owl/odd-eyed hobbit; also a Sylph that isn’t exactly her; does hair-doing that helps resist charm". The Partly Leader.
  • Sir Wojer - Male Elven Warrior, bunny air mage (to fly into the enemy faster), played by Ian. -- 6’5” Alfheim elf. Has a squire who is insubstantial but can do some substantial chores.
  • Silverfoam - male Elven Namer with only a few airmagey spells, played by Michael Parkinson. -- Currently 6’[elf] +4”[heels]; obviously the MilSci & Scribe.
  • Vychan - male Giant Dust mage - played by Sean English. -- 16’4”, PB20 even with the horns growing out of his head; “Don’t look into my eyes”.
  • Jaundice - female shape-shifter Fire mage - played by Elaine Harper. -- Loves fire (PB 9).

The Mission
Aid is again needed and fore-told on the winds. Cast aside any doubt, the time to act is now. Rush into the new winds for a cold breeze is no friend.


BRIEF SUMMARY OF EVERYTHING

We're hired to escort Kyle Evinbourne and a food shipment to Campignol in Vole — TICK.
(Trees and credit/credentials for a promise of food --> ships; hay & credit --> food from the East, transported back to SeaGate. We take employers food North, selling several ships' worth cheaply to negotiate passage through Tuscana & Bowcourt)

Then to deal with irregularities that are going on in Vole
Ultimately we were employed by the Vicomte and by the Druids of the Forest.
We defeated orc raiders at Evignon, destroyed the zombie looters (& loot!), built minor fortifications. Then relieved the siege of Montbousin by destroying some tough Drow, mages, too many earth-elementals that throw lightning bolts, &over 100 orcs in their underground fort supported by a rift portal to a 500-strong army camp. Then wiped out a third of that camp and most of the command (although the leader escaped through a portal to a Drow Chaos City-Fortress deep on the wood). We didn’t take that on, but we did destroy the warped tower that was corrupting & killing the forest and beaming the processed mana to the City-fortress ... after first taking on orc wolf-riders (lances & acid grenados); Corrupted Oaks (whumping multistiking long thick branches that only did endurance hits; lots of Endurance); and a final Multilimbed Corrupted Giants, wall-walking pus-splattering Things, mages, and a multi-tentacled Chaos-blob that ripped holes in reality. Don’t cross the beams!

1st of Meadow - A day of action

Guild introduction

Brief intro. For tactical reasons, Adam (sitting next to Firemage Jaundice) volunteers he now has rank 20 Fireproofing.

Sir Wojer: “So we all have a rk20 Fire-proof on ...
Clementine: “... it’s great if the firemage can fire through the party”
Lath: “...and it’s even better when we’re fire-proofed!”
[Note: The fact that it takes three airmages to finish a single sentence is merely proof of how well they work together. Refreshing to see three minds working precisely as if one.]

Sorceress in Silver

It’s arranged that we will meet tomorrow 10am at the Sorceress in Silver’s place for morning tea. So we do. She greets the airmages and Lath introduces the rest. The Sorceress has arranged a party on behalf Kyle Evinbourne, younger son of the Vicomte de Vole at Campignol.

Death at the Golden Drake

A maid Windwalks into the room, “Very sorry miss; he’s been attacked, still in the Inn” (The Golden Drake). The Sorceress Windwalks all the party; we re-materialise in cheap backroom of the inn. No death buzzes noticed.

Kyle and his retainer have been stomped, killed, rifled through (the possessions that is) — in Lath’s & Clementine’s professional opinion assassinations and overkill at that, with multiple hits on each body in several fatal places. We quickly establish the party’s healers are Adam (rk6), Silverfoam (rk8), neither capable of resurrection.

Clementine: You can’t fix him?
Silverfoam: No I’m an elf
Clem: You haven’t got that fixed yet?
SF: No I’m an elf … You can’t fix that.

The Healers confirm that the bodies were merely killed, about an hour ago; probably no rare sinister anti-res poisons involved. At that point, the guard turn up because suspicious deaths and probable larceny had been reported. They show their experience by readily agreeing, when we name ourselves, that the young gentleman and his servant are very, very, very ill and need to be taken for serious healing immediately.

Guild Healer Services

We Windwalk, via Lath & her sticks, back to guild. “I know it’s only the day after the guild meeting, but we’ve already got an employer to resurrect”. Interview Kyle & retainer: The killers came thru the walls [Wallwalking?]; four or five of them. Kyle describes a distinct teak chest that has his family crest, a gold clasp, and lots of valuable stuff. Probably attacked for the box. “We were coming here to buy food for the Viscounty & that was the purchase price: Money; jewels. The necklaces will be worth a lot of money, about quarter of a million all up. We’re here to buy food & supplies and guards to escort us back. Then need to fix unnatural weather and such in Vole”

Following the trail to catch a Flea

We Locate the chest and Fly down to a seedier part of Old Seagate. Sir Wojer assaults the suspicious, ragged person cackling over the chest. The person, calling himself the Lord of Fleas, is persuaded to talk: “He was a tall villain, like you, glint in his eye ... He just casually walked past the alleyway and threw it down my alley ... I know where he went, I stuck a flea on him (but now on a dog, squashed one) ... went to a pie-vendor.”

Old Seagate Docks

Fearlessly, but now somewhat fleasome, Sir Wojer lifts the LoF at arms-length & flits to the indicated pie-vendor, who describes the Unsub: “not poor, average ... Stormed off down to the dock ... spoke a foreign tongue” [quick experiment suggests Volksprach or similar]. Lord of the Fleas says “I think they’re out there on a boat”. Lath whips up suitably navigator-alarming weather beyond the harbour.

Lord of the Fleas: That’s strange the flea that bit him is feeling ill.
Clementine [to SF]: Can you empathy the flea?
Silverfoam: Not from here.

A diligent worker on the docks saw “A bunch of rich young bravos with no day job to keep ‘em out of trouble ... Took out a small skiff.”

To the Skiff and arms

We fly out and quickly discern a skiff, heading out to sea suspiciously (instead of staying safe like real professionals or enthusiast). The Spyglass reveals 5 miscreants drinking wine and celebrating.

We execute our attack

We execute a beautifully coordinated attack: there’s nothing like doffing a few ne’er-do-wells to warm up a party. Flying in, Silverfoam dispels their Rank12 Magewind while Clementine Thunderclaps (1st attack stunned two); Lath surrounds the skiff with sheet lightning; Jaundice takes out the jib with fire. Then SF Magewinds the skiff backwards; Clementine’s next Thunderclap stuns one more (though 1 recovered). Sir Wojer charges in with appropriate music but unfortunately skewers his opponent and gets westwained by the wigging; meanwhile the Giant lands on foredeck, ignoring the remains of the burning jib, and the rest of the killers wrongdoers stunned and disabled.

We interrogate the rich young bravos

We interrogate the malefactors as we return to the shore under Rk 20 Magewind max speed although “she canna take it” (suspect that a giant earthmage landing at speed onto the foredeck, more tactically than tactfully, didn’t help), so a quick Shipstrength is thrown in.

Thieves Guild contacts

They very convincingly confess that they sold the loot to Fitzolomew: Lath & Clementine know the person & want to handle things “friendly like”. The skiff is vigorously beached and the criminals are handed over to the waiting Harbourmaster’s men. Sir Wojer advising that we may wish to question them further.

We enter the Den

We Fly to the Golden Swan, nominally a public house, but inside it is ominously dark, the feebly flickering torches adding ambience but not much light. Lath tells Tiny (a giant tough, obviously) that we need a quick word with Fitzolomew: “We’d like to rectify some mistakes before anyone important notices”.

To keep the peace & our Guild trainers

Go down stairs; more guards; we enter the room; door closes. On the far side of the room, beyond a blatantly impregnable grill, Fitzolomew in a hurt voice dripping with sincerity “That was supposed to be his mother’s jewellery, and we paid fair value — 2000 silvers”. Lath offers said fair value ... “with 500 extra on top and there’s no need to mention any names”.

To the Guild, better weather and our employer

Back to the guild, ignoring the sea-captains in the Lobby stopping one in three to complain about this morning's cancelled sailings, we speak to the recovered employer. The Sorceress in Silver recommended the guild to him: "We came here to get the food back safely, and then sort out the problems back home ... crops had been failing for years, and this year there’s almost no food, so we brought enough family jewels (approx 200k treasure) to buy a large consignment of food from Seagate.

Grain not beef

The party, obviously disapproving of such treasure wastage when we could appreciate it so much better, are loathe to pay Seagate prices, offering plans to get several tons of beef. But Kyle stresses "Need crops ... have plenty of game we can hunt". The amount of money they were proposing would be a small caravel’s worth of food at Seagate's current prices. We discussed vessels, proposed sources, and alternate sailing routes, by land and even sea. Yet when Lath began calculating the loss of pulling her vessel out of standard commerce and how much of the Sea of Grass could be converted to Hay to swap for barley, Clementine started to complain about merchanting not adventuring, though Mil-Sci thought it a good exercise in logistics. Charity, especially sponsored charity, is a good thing.

Cheap grain

We suggest that the employer purchase a ship's cargo-hold (50 tons) of grain from Brastor Holdings.

Troublemakers admit their errors

Finally, after appropriate encouragement, the troublemakers admitted they were Assassins from Ormond (nasty place, neighbour of Vole, supposedly in league with the Drow) going for their rank 8 in the skill — hence the overkill. The assassins were told the target by their master [name suppressed] who was tipped off by someone in the court (of Ormond?).

2nd of Meadow

The party made astute logistical plans

Brastor Holdings has grain.

Clementine (the party-leader): What about Dingbat?
Adam: Who? Sir Wojer?
Clem: Not that one, the other one — the guy with all the money
Adam: Oh, the em-ploy-er.

The main group portaled up to Borovia and to pick up SF’s ship and a couple of barges, a good breakfast, and then sail south. Meanwhile, Lath heads to Court and get a Letter of Introduction to Brastor Holdings so we can hopefully gain cheap grain. Turns out that the price is already 10 times what it was one year ago and the court is full of people representing noble families seeking assistance with the increase in food costs.

A new plan

After talking to Lord Martin Danlaw, Lath requests an introduction to the Seagate Merchants Guild to arrange letters of credit from the Duke Leto and the logging rights in the forest North of Antikazala (which SF had been coveting, the wood-source, not the Barony).

The cost

We have to tithe one shipload to the Duke and two to the Seagate Merchants Guild for the "privilege" of sailing under their flag, obviously marshalling it beneath the more elegant standards of the employer, the Admiral, and select party-members. We all regrouped in Seagate the next day and finalised our plans.

3rd of Meadow - The new shape of the fleet

Lath: (to SF) So you’re telling me that if I just tornado a couple of square miles of the forest... (aside to Vychan Tree-hugger) Oh Adam, you’re looking quite green, perhaps you should step outside for some fresh air ... (to SF) in a square grid to help fell ... how many hundred tons did we need?

4th of Meadow

Lots of hard work marking the area and trees as to what is going to be cleared.

5th of Meadow

A large storm blows in from Confederation Bay and knocks down a large range of trees and undergrowth.

6th of Meadow - A Fleet is born

After 5 full days and have enough wood for 10 more ships including one strong enough to survive a giant's random stomping. It could have been accomplished sooner, but Vychan had to survey the areas, to ensure certain clumps were protected and to hug trees that were marked for humane death. During that time the weather in the Sea of the Grass was made warm and dry. Next day, the convoy of newly formed ships & the Katerina Magewind up the river.

Silverfoam: Who would like a Water-breathing? Vychan you were always falling overboard last adventure.
Adam: Never! Every time I jumped deliberately.
(Sundry sighs and mutterings about Earthmage peculiarities)

Yo - Sweet Riding ahead

We then cut South-east inland across Carzala, then south across into the Sea of Grass outside the ruins of the Dark wall.

7th of Meadow - A stormy night

[QUESTION did we circle the ships and break for the night while SF & the 1st watch slept?]
Early evening of the 5th we weigh anchor in the Sweet Riding. Lath called up a Benign Storm (Scribal note: Who says elementalists don't get irony?) for 40 miles along the Sweet Riding. The storm harvested what 400 man-days could do in a single night. The area effected was several well-spaced, large area's chosen so that the impact on any locals would be minimal. Ships are filled with freshly harvested hay and a close watch put on Jaundice the firemage. Silverfoam steeped slept as the storm raged on.

Setting sail inland

At dawn after a little while, spells are recast, the Katerina drops back and a more bug-shielding lead-ship formed to lead the convoy of ten ships inland.

8th of Meadow - East to the Lunar Empire

After 24 hours our fleet reaches the Great Western Wall of the Lunar Empire which runs from the Inland Sea to Cognitum City, the iron city held by the Lunar Guard at the coast. At the river & wall we turn south and after 30 mins we encounter some Lunar guards riding Griffins. We explain to the guards what we are doing and we move on.

9th of Meadow - South to the Coast

We quickly head south, make it to the coast, and then head out to the island that is Tycho City.

10th of Meadow - Tycho City

Placement of our order

Once at Tycho City, Lath (our Merchant & Courtier) smoothly arranges with the help of the Harbourmaster's assistant which Merchant family would be best to approach to purchase the food. It will take several days because of the quantity, creating a slight bump in the local market. In the early afternoon we sell a little hay, just 1 ship's worth; then late in the day it's off to Cognitium, that city repugnantly built on solid iron.

Hay we are in Cognitium

Surprise, surprise! It’s actually a good time of year to sell hay and they want it: very fresh, very nutritious. The Cognitium harbourmaster recommended Barrastoffix, of the Farriers' guild, who buys all the rest of the hay at a reasonable price. The elves remain on ship, naturally. Everyone else, even the demon-like giant, gets permission to visit the flying animals.

Griffon hatchlings

Everyone oohs and awws at the nestlings, which are just too cute ...
—except Jaundice: "Can I set fire to one to see what it tastes likes?"

A good deal

While in Cognitium we get offered a good price on wheat so we take it. Releasing we are out of ship cargo space we decide to make a panicked dash for Carzala.

11th of Meadow - Grass, grass, and more grass

Home sweet home

We take 6 ships of Cognitium wheat (1 for the duke, 5 for our warehouse) back to Seagate sending a message on the wind ahead.

12th of Meadow - Carzala & Seagate

Warehousing and off loading

We arrive at Seagate, in Carzala and off load.

Pricing

We establish that our set prices will be 5 x normal (since it was purchased at 1.5 in Tycho); that is half the current going rate at Seagate.

Wheat normally costs 7 sp per bushel (50 lbs).
In the troubled area costs are very high.
In Seagate & Brastor costs are at 10 times normal.
In Tycho cost at short notice was 1.5 times above normal.

Wheat is around 36 or 37 bushels per ton.
Each of our eleven ships' cargo load is 50 tons being approximately 550 tons.
Buy price: 550 tons X 36 bushels X 7 sp X 1.5 (Tycho costs).
Sell price: 550 tons X 36 bushels X 7 sp X 4.9 (Average sell price).

Costs
1.5 X 7sp =10.5sp
10.5sp X 36 bushels =378sp
378sp X 50 tons = 18,900sp
18,900sp X 11 shiploads = 207,900sp

Workings
5 X 7sp =35sp
35sp X 36 bushels =1,260sp
1,260sp X 50 tons = 63,000sp
63,000sp X 11 shiploads = 693,000sp

Profit
693,000sp minus 207,900sp = 485,100sp

Sweet dreams

SF sleeps while the ships are unloaded.

13th of Meadow - Turn around

We head back along the Sweet Riding once again.

14th of Meadow - Grass, grass, and more grass

Onwards and onto the Sea of Grass.

15th of Meadow - Lunar Empire

3 days later we sail into Tycho to collect our shipment from that city.

16th - Tycho

Loading day

We spend the day carefully loading our cargo: 50 tons of grain onto each of our ten ships. When in port we suspected word of our lightly crewed ships with cargo may have fallen upon pirate ears.

Silverfoam sleeps.

17th - We set sail

That evening we set sail for Seagate by way of Cognitium and our unorthodox land route.

18th - Northward

North and inland.

19th - Westward

Our fleet sails over the Sea of Grass, on its huge bubble of water, using several castings to partially conceal our true heading, towards the Duchy of Carzarla.

20th - Seagate & safety

Cargo in Seagate

All up we've brought 17 shiploads (each 50 tons): 1 for the employer; 1 for the Duke; 2 for the little guild that lives down the lane. That leaves a baker's dozen for the party (although we'll let the employer buy a second ship's worth at cost if Vole needs it).

An old Crew

We hire 50 veteran Seagate sailors (especially those who recognise the Silver Katerina, and are comfortable around magic) to man the ships. Mostly just for appearance's sake and to be watchful; and we then transport 9 fully laden ships north.

21st - Leave for Tuscana

Donations

Bribes and other "donations" measured in hundredweight.

Hamburg City

1 sold in the fine city of (Hamburg), merely at 4.5 the norm.

Negotiation

Negotiation techniques include Jaundice’s fire talents, pop-corn, and the giant holding onto the merchant’s finger, allegedly healing it, until he agrees.

22nd - Bowcourt

The border guards at Bowcourt are much more welcoming and frank.

Rochfort- Bowcourt

In the town of Rochfort we sold 1 at a value of five to the merchants guild.

San Michel - Bowcourt

In the afternoon we sold and off loaded 3 at a value of five to the merchants guild and local noble house.

Leaving us with 4 ships

We aim to take 2 to Campignol (one being theirs remember)

Leaving 2 ship's worth (minus bribes, crew pay, and other necessary expenses). In all these towns, especially San Michel, we see evidence of person wealth and fine houses, but not a single fat or jolly Berger to be seen.

23rd Meadow - Campignol

Campignol

In the morning cruising NW then due south via the new, accidental highway, someone must have said something stupid like "That went well", because, just 15 minutes out from Campignol, we see a huge amount of smoke in the woods, also about 15 min away — possible a raider attack on a village. We rush to Campignol encountering a troop of mounted militia somewhat alarmed, but quickly smooth things over when the Vicomte's son is produced.

A job done well

We leave all the ships in Campignol; first part of the mission successfully completed. Ta-dah!

Lord Kyle

It is very clear that Lord Kyle is unused to making command decisions, so we quickly organise a few special things: the trick is to rapidly prefix all commands with "With Lord Kyle's permission..." and a token, respectful gesture in his direction.
The grain to be secured and some distributed immediately to reassure the Campignol townsfolk.

Vigilance

The militia is warned to be vigilant, and we doubled the wall-guard, since the apparent raid may in fact be a diversion for a main assault on the capital seat.

A boat load of horses

We take only 6 militia & their horses in a reformed battle-transport and navigate the road to the attacked village, Evignon, powering up along the way, especially ensuring all have Flying and are ready for battle. We also throw up a crystal of vision over the village and, when not piloting the warcraft, evaluate the situation militarily (or spyily).

Orc Raiders

When we crest a hill several miles before the village and see a clearing large band of orcs engaging a dozen mounted soldiers that might have had an advantage except the turn to face the new apparent threat. Honestly! Surely the first thing one does when spotting a warship sailing towards an assaulted village is to notice the local Lord's standard flying (even if you don't believe it). We also spot a single orc about to be ridden down by a horsemen, when the orc turns and Lightning bolts through the horses chest to the rider.

The main militia body, now 10 horsemen, are engaging about 30 orcs with glaives; and there a few more knots of orcs with glaives & axes, and Xbows. The Guild partymembers were preparing as they come in: SF counterspells, the ship halts and the ramp slams down; Jaundice standing in a temporary bonfire on the bridge ("balcony") breathes a Malignant flames attack, then Lath Lightning storm the bolt-casting orc (who was creeping up to kill his stunned knight) and several others. Then 4 of the 6 knights we brought charged out; the others stumbling. In the return fire, Jaundice is hit by only 1 incoming bolt; SF takes two critical bolts.

Next pulse, Vychan lets loose hundreds of Javelins killing two and damaging many more, but no friendly horsemen. Lath Whirlwind vortexes some of the remaining and Jaundice Malignant flames-breathes again (magic time for both not to prepare) mostly on the raiders and only a couple of friendlies. As SF looks for the BIG healing potion, Sir Wojer removes the arrows [DA: ??]

The party mop up almost everything although one orc teleported after sending some magic in the direction of the unidentified walkers. Three of the trampling horsemen are seriously hurt by a dragon-flaming orc [college Earth; not pacted; no non-earth damage spells]. Guardsmen restrain him but are attacked by the perverted earth elemental that suddenly appears, tossing Lightning bolts; Silverfoam drops a counter under the mage and a gold ball that gets rid of the elemental.

The party splits, to reunite later at the pillaged village. Silverfoam, Sir Wojer, & Clementine triage the wounded, and load all friendlies aboard including bodies and horsemeat. Meanwhile Vychan, Jaundice, and Lath flew off in the direction of the walkers to investigate and react appropriately; or possibly over-react when it’s quickly established the unkowns were zombies — quickly turned into ash and slag, then buried so as not to dishearten the locals over their slagged chattels and incinerated food.

Arriving at the village, we coax out hidden survivors and put out a few fires. We feed and water the remaining villagers. Most villagers have lost at least a one family member; and in the latest attack, dead bodies got up and carrying food and loot. Lots of villages have lost all their possessions (even more than they know). Livestock had been plundered over the past few weeks, but nothing on this scale before. The plan is to remove them to Campignol for the short term, housed in temporarily beached vessels, where they are safe and have food, while the village is moated and walled, by elementals and a few volunteers.

Vychan: Best not to summon an earth elemental and an air elemental at the same time.

At Abignon, the next-most vulnerable large village, they are currently safe we also temporarily evacuate it: feeding the villagers and taking them & belongings back to Campignol. Checking with the senior knight, assuming the Vicomte approves, the plan is to shelter the children and women while we fortify Abignon and Evignon (possibly a couple of other large villages) and install alarm mechanisms such as located unique posts so that we can react promptly. Another option might be to have a few large-scale wards to be triggered on say 10+ orcs near the settlements.

Lath: We’ll go back to the Village now.
Vychan: The Town?
Silverfoam: The capital … It seems to be more important the closer we get to it.

24th Meadow: Relieving the siege of Montbousin

In the early afternoon, we were summoned to the Vicomte who thanked us for the assistance with the villagers. He advised that they’ve received word on the winds from Mt Bousin that it has been under attack. Montbousin (1000 people with a garrison of 200) is an old fort build of stone in a pass thru the hills in the southeast corner of the country; obviously in a strategic position although not marked on our map of the WK.

LATH: Well if it’s important enough to get removed from the map, then I’m impressed.

We went by ship for an hour (about 55 mi) along the flat and crystal of vision the walled town — there were animals milling around town as expected; some burning; but apparently empty of people; and one of the towers is saggy. Clem spots a solitary well-hidden guard. Counters on; Manasight; Round robin of locates so that everyone is located and locates another. We Windwalked into the fort – almost: a roof magically appeared over the walls enclosing it; so we went to our fall-back position and flew to the fortress with banners fluttering. We were challenged, and replied that the vicomte had sent us in response to their message. The postern gate opened and we rushed in quickly. As we’re rushed to the Fort's commander, they say “

Everyone in the briefing room looks as if they haven’t slept for a week. It all started one night: everyone on guard duty was killed. The other day the new stables collapsed thru the ground; “We had a fire just after sunrise … a fire elemental in into the city setting fire to everything he could ... there was a tremor during the night and some bldgs have fallen over ... People have been killed left, right, & centre ... The other night we lost all our bakers; the only one left was the one in the garrison ...” Etiene the Namer and the Captain have fatigue returned to them. Apparently anyone who walks in the open is seen and gets a spectral warrior (including those who were out on patrol). They’ve lost a lot of the military; sundry townsfolk; 20 horses; a dozen bakers [Adam: “Was that a baker’s dozen?”]; one healer is trying to resurrect the fallen, but there is a backlog and everybody is exhausted. The roof over the fort’s walls was part of the stronghold’s centuries-old defences.

Suddenly 4 spectral warriors simultaneously stride through the walls of our room and attack Adam, Jaundice, SF, & SW. All four of us are hit because we were surprised. Next pulse, Silverfoam and Adam both dispel theirs; Sir Wojer smashed his with a weapon and Jandice breathes Malignant flames ... in a small room. The back-lash wipes Sir Wojer’s warrior; the Captain falls over, negative, bleeding; two other “nearby” guards (each about 15’ from the captain) are both wiped of fatigue and annoyed. The paranoid one blocks SF as he flits over to heal the dying Captain, but Lath gets Etiene to tell him to stand down and SF Empathies the Cap (from range, just to be safe) restoring him to full effect.

The enemy fell into our trap, or possibly vice versa

Once again the traditional Guild ploy of allowing the enemy to ambush us in order to foolishly reveal vital information succeeds: fortunately with manageable collateral damage. Spectral warriors are highly predictable (travelling at TMR 13, about a mile every 6+2/3 minutes, in a straight line to their targets), the enemy were “that-a-way, some five miles away”; at least 4 in number; normally the spell can only be cast or invested, and the single-effect unenhanced range is well under 4 miles. They may have 4 necros with an E&E to prolong the spell duration; or heaps of investeds with enhanced effects; or whatever ... — but clearly the enemy are evil and must be stopped. And looted.

Clem, SirW, & Jaundice (some with witchsight) windwalk out to the general area and about 2min30 later, Lath, SF & Vychan obviously fly out, as targets but appearing to be subtle. One of the zig-zagging windwalkers breaks the located stick to indicate they have perhaps found the enemy or (as intended) seen the direction from which an invisible spectral warrior came: very lucky considering their relative speeds. The flyers mostly avoid the warriors, and the party approaches; and ESP, detect calculating minds, confirms the approximate site: a barren hillside with direct line-of-sight to the Fort but no obvious signs of activity (Illusionary terrain?). SF throws down a 50% Bane in the approximate area

The party advances at max speed
Jaundice (to the Giant): “Better be careful, you’re in front of me!”
...but with no visible enemy. Silverfoam shoots up into the air and, when the minds pop out, floats down gently: The enemy are about 20' or 30' underground. Vychan's Tunnelling exposes the tunnel complex and Lath’s Elysian breath says there's things 25’ down the tunnel and in another room beyond. Jaundice breathes too: Malignant flames, doubling both damage and range.

The party jumps down, body in the corner, which our exemplary party leader starts to loot; Adam Vychan shrinks. Next pulse SF & Jaundice go left; SirW, Clem the bear, & mini-Adam go ahead into the room of armoured types. Sir Wojer was wounded by an EN blow and pierced with something flying from the opponent’s wrist. Meanwhile SF, protecting Jaundice's back, is caught between a suddenly appearing earth-elemental minion and a very hard, reflective rockface; the blow missed, but the lightning bolt bounces 19 times between the earth elemental on one side & the stone wall on the other (and a life-saving item is destroyed rather than the MilSci).

The combat continues ...

Pulse-4: Silverfoam dropped a gold ball & all their elementals disappeared … except the one standing right behind Adam Vychan, who defended superiorly against a decisive attack. Sir Wojer went down, but not dead (yet) thanks to the Armour of Earth Endurance. Jaundice MF-breathes again and both of them run up but only one was able to attack (but missed). Lath, miffed that her opponent disappeared, rushed to the other theatre and prepared.

Pulse-5: they both swing at J and fail to connect as she defends appropriately. V, ignoring the elemental, attacked the drow, decreasing its armour. Two opponents were on Clemtb, minor damage, and she landed a walloping bear-swipe (37 fat) ... on the one with damaged armour, naturally. Lath cast her special Whirlwind vortex (that also does damage insubstantial undead) on 5 drow and the spectral warriors (which she can see) sneaking up on Ctb: 1 drow resisted & charged AV from behind, doing a critical in the back, stunning the giant! (and the party)

Pulse-6: the drow behind AV was faster, AGAIN criticaling the giant; swing & a miss on the elemental. Ctb missed. SF empathises SirW for 30; he stood up, weapon appearing in his hand. J failed to Breathe (MF that is); the enemy stepped up & endurance J. Luckily the corridor was only one person wide.

Pulse-7: J was stunned, reduced to 0fat; AV was done again by the drow, not in the back for a change; ctb misses; SirW strode in & hit the drow (for 38); and the elemental stepped on the unconscious AV & missed SirW twice. Lath WW vortexed the elemental & Drow for double damage (Byebye Drowie). SF gutbusters.

Pulse-8: SW & Ctb (& a big bear too) attacked the uncontrolled elemental. J was stunned again. Lath rushed up, pushing J aside to engage the Drow. A moment later, that end of the room was swamped in magical magma; the immune SpecWar continued to hit J.

Pulse-9: SirW annihilated of the elemental; SF (01!) empathied J for all EN & some fatigue, so that J MF-breathed on the 3 drow ... and Lath.

Pulse-10: Lath was hit whilst casting; the Vortex just succeeded (thanks to the Death buzz); SF removed the Bane; SirW rushes up and removed the Firemage in distress, but still the SpecWar still gets in. Ctb by this stage had rushed through the two empty chambers to the back of the corridor fight.

Pulse-11: The drow missed Lath who stepped back and prepared. Ctb was hit; she missed. SirW stepped in with a glaive, no effect. SF counterspelled the SpecWar. J advanced for a better view, then Malignant flames breathed on Lath & SirW & Ctb and 2 drow in between them all. Classic guild firemage target-ratio: 40% enemy targets, 60% friendly fire. SF gutbusts again.

Pulse-12: Lath treble damaged on both drow. SirW charged viciously. Ctb & her drow waltz back into the side-room (Ctb doing a devastating blow).

Waterworks

The currently-not-a-giant, somewhat healed in a large empty room saw (through the solid stone walls) a unit of orcs pouring into the neighbouring chamber, the one before the large open space Lath detected, so he put up a Wall of stone in front of the exit to his room. When the orcs started hitting the wall, AV retreated to the corner of his room with the 2 other exits and put up another Wall, himself on the party-side of it. When the first wall apparently succumbs to their attacking (i.e., AV, hiding behind Wall#2, dispelled #1), they rushed into the chamber & started attacking the next.

AV put up Wall of Stone #1A, where #1 used to be, then headed back to the party (onceSF Dispelled the Magma) to put up a Tunnelling and we quickly exited. On the hillside, another Tunnelling was cast into the Orc Room and one of AV’s Flash-flood bolts was fired down by someone else better at shooting the earth. After the orcs drowned, Wall#1A was counterspelled killing more orcs packed behind it — so many that Lath lost track of the buzzes.

Portal

Through a crystal we saw that the antechamber did not open onto a spacious cave complex, but had a portal or rift on the other side of which was an orc army in a forest (not raining); there are two storms several miles away. SF Located a distinctive orc helmet: it’s within 110 miles. The Party argued a bit *BRIEFLY* on what to do. The elves (SirW & SF) flew back to Montbousin, checking the direction of the Locate (about 20 mi; in Vole, maybe). We updated the Captain and he & several guards Fire-ran to the hillside.

??? DID the Whispering Winds messages fit here or a paragraph earlier ?? PLEASE CHECK

It was proposed with the Captain (subject to the Vicomte’s approval) that the Invasion force in the forest should be defeated by Vole’s forces, for local morale and as a blunt message to their rapacious neighbours. But we changed our minds later that day when we realised the enormity of the task.

We are hired & some key answers

Lath as a philosopher of Portals (“Who knew?”) opined that the destroyed portal had been an engineered Rift: Expensive and versatile, but temporary — probably had been unable to last more than a month before becoming inoperable. MilSci note to self: short-term, for particular purposes that, directly or indirectly, will justify or recoup the expense: Massacre of the Fort? For territorial gain or to eliminate resistance for an army using the pass? Really big diversion before sacking the city? Looting the forest of lumber for military purposes? That’s more a guild tactic perhaps.

Speaking of which, we loot everything; Orc stuff was good but spectacular (recyclable for Vole's troops?), but the Drow stuff is very tasty. Vychan Itemised the drow bodies, for convenience, Light chainmail that they could cast in; and very elegant Katanas. Can we assume the party-leader professionally acquired all interesting rings, potions, & assorted shiny objets trouvés ???

We took back a messenger to Vole: Fly to ship; & then Rivers of the Mage towards to Vole on a slower, simpler, heading so that SF can Divinate one of the Drow: College Earth; heaps of standard buffs about Rank-15 including Armour of Earth & Blood charm (which gives more PS, EN, regeneration); No Vapour breathing.

Sir Wojer: Obviously they had no Water breathing either.
Vychan: They will now.

The party, on look-out for trouble, observed the anomalous weather not doing what it should. There were two storm areas: one in the forest; and one that was in Tusanca, but has moved Northwards against Lath’s Weather control. Trouble! We pulled up at the capital and our presence was requested by M. le Vicomte. SirW asks the Adjutant to take us there directly, via the armourers, to have the Drow chain [12 pt!] adjusted for him since his own had been repeatedly perforated and was in need of restoration.

His lordship advised “We’ve been having raids for the past 2 months, none as extreme as what you fought yesterday ... Believe it is related to the Drow invasion going on the other side of the ffenarggh. We didn’t expect them to come this way since there’s a forest in the way.

Vole only has a garrison of about 200, so we offered our mercenary services. “That sound fair enough you’ve certainly done a reasonable body of work, with the bodies.” After a brief negotiation we’re hired for a fortnight for 50,000 silvers and the Vicomte set us up with some Rangers to reconnoitre the timbered environs “Bunch of mad druids in the forest that caused problems for my predecessor; but we’ve come to an arrangement with them.”

AV called up Bob (or an equivalent elemental) and asked about the large number of humanoids out that-a-way pointing in the Locate’s direction (the other end of the former portal. “There’s heaps of things down there”. Doing a rough one-to-one tallying, he pummelled rocks until he has about 500 or 600 pebbles. “Also two other earth elementals, but they’re sick somehow” [Lightning casting, presumably]. “There’s a larger group further to the west, many of them keep disappearing & reappearing,” [Portal? Illusionary terrain?]. “Also about 10 elementals.”

SW, SF, J, & Lath Windwalk for a quick recce (with a Locate rota, thanks to Lath’s sticks, to keep us together). Estimate 500ish troops in the well laid-out camp by a tributary. WE return and Crystal-ball the 500: multiple squads of patrolling guards; Captain of the guard; couple of ogres walking around; some big-orcs and lots of normal-sized orcs doing normal camp-stuff ... cooking fires, especially Preparing siege-ladders.

Lath interrogated the corpses and find someone willing to serve her for a year if he is resurrected. Some basic questions are asked:

The Invasion – WHY? “We need to stomp the elves into the dust and wipe them from history”
The attack on Vole is a diversion. The plan was to take Mt Bousin to suck the armies that way while the Drow would march up the main route. [Up the Baratarie probably]
“Important allies are assisting us with the portals; … Important allies are assisting us with the sea.”
WHY weird earth elementals? Surprised that we have Earth Elementals that spit lightning.
They Don’t have air elementals in the 500.
The forces known colleges: Namer; fire; earth; mind; necro.

The party rested and planned a raid.

25th Meadow

Now that we were now on a professional basis to specifically investigate the Drow, rather than our usual amateur, Guild-knows-best interfering on the hopes of picking up interesting loot

5 verses 500

We Windwalked to the vicinity of the 500-camp, uphill. Buffs included Waters of Strength potions distributed [extra D-2 +12 PS] to better retain out footing in the windstorms. Our prearranged strategy was Flash Flood(s); three Windstorms; three air elementals.

When prepared & buffed, we ambushed a patrol. In the surprise pulse: Thunderclap, 3 elementals take out half the guards; Lath stealing the death buzzes. Combat is finished next pulse. The Flash flood wipes out a third of the camp. As we fly-in, SF cast a Dispel Magic.

pulse#1: Party landed in front of the large two-masted command tent & prepare; except J who landed & breathed XXX on the hyper-orc guards; SF went to the closest tent-pole with a prepared one-use Miniaturization Vial [Nano college]

pulse#2: Whilst the elementals are entertaining the troops, the party executed a well-coordinated attack: SF first miniaturised the Tent (since it’s smaller than a large ship) & landed [Adam: “Oops, wrong tent”]. The Enhanced Damage went down; Lath’s Whirlwind vortex (double damage, thanks to the buzz) wiped out all its nominated targets. J breathed as usual. The magical counterattack from the survivors was a Hell-fire from the large fire. One drow got though the obvious portal to the main force, others were crawling to it.

pulse#3. AV cast a Wall of Stone up in front of the portal, others preparing; SF put a Counter-Fire-Special under the large fire. SirW charged a prone person, who desperately hit him back. Clem-the-bear ran across the room to the table, was swung at & missed.

pulse#4: The surviving orcs on this side (about 150) are coming in to us. Ctb strikes her opt (53 fat!). SirW & his opponent mutually failed. WW vortex removes Ctb’s target. J Extinguished the fire, revealing a fire mage who fails to cast, because of the counterspell, while AV (on overwatch) charged him.

pulse#5 AV & the enemy fire-mage mutually defended better than each other attacked. J breathed.

pulse#6 SF stepped to J who took his potion.

By this point all the significant enemies had fled or been killed (not even any enemy elementals to dispell). So we bugged out, with the loot-laden bodies, leaving the air elementals to continue orc-stomping. When we were half a mile away, we saw a giant snake with a glaive, Blood-red scales & a Drow rider (also with glaive) comes through. The party began bickering over blasting it, until another appeared and they rallied the broken orcs very successfully to faint strains of insidious harp music. So instead we bickered over whither to fly.

MilSci: Let’s cross over the border into Ormond or Mordeaux.
Lath (quietly): Not Mordeaux, I hate the way my feet burn whenever I stand on it. Oh that was supposed to be a monologue.
SF: It was, just not an interior monologue.
Sir Wojer explains to Lath the key point of Soliloquy

We flew back to the ship and AV itemised the 6 bodies and possessions: 4 drow (Firemage, Necro, Earth, non-mage) & 2 orc elite.

We discuss with The Vicomte what the situation is and why they’re attacking. Our informant said that the Bunker held:
4 necro [2 killed including Lath’s new servant];
4 earth [all killed];
1 water mage was the first to die, breathed on in the cave, enabling then to scry the Fort (powered by the chained slave)
; An E&E [who got away];
and the Namer Leader who got away.
Occasionally the firemage would come through & assist (but not very usefully).

Our informant said that the 500 camp had:
Orc Commander, Shagrash, who ran thru the portal when we first attacked.
The firemage (now an itemised possession);
a Necro (ditto); &
a Mindmage (who escaped)
Shagrash’s elite (truly fearsome orcs) personal bodyguard comprised 2 at the door (itemised), 2 killed inside; with 8 still living.

The Main camp is led by Kronos, a Drow, a mighty leader that understands magic too. Their Main purpose is to crush the elves underfoot, enslave then for tens of thousands of years, and then kill then when they’re of no further use. They have no need to hire more mercenaries, but we are willing to work with locals who are cooperative. The person in charge of such collaborators is Lord Baraton (a Drow) who is not a mage, but likes gifts, particularly things made of bone. He has unique bone armour.

Also there are the Adepts of Khaleda (a very nasty god) comprising
about 30 priests, who’ve been very very busy performing blessings,
plus other mages (a full complement including, The head Bard who plays a wind-harp (made from the intestines of slaves and defeated enemies)
plus about 6 Sepulchral Stalkers (we saw 2 of them rallying the orcs)
Also Knights of Khaleda, very fearsome warriors who ride mounts (merely 30’-to-40’ long giant snakes), probably about 20 all up.

A walk in the woods

We headed off into the forest with 2 rangers: all better than we were. After some hours, we feel we’re being followed. A flitting figure or two were seen out of the corner of the eye. SirW & a ranger got very hairy; AV gets slimy; J also got some gloop on her shoulders.

A particularly ugly 4’8” high slimy humanoid [DA Avatar-level, GTN Humanish] with a mushroom-like cap or head addressed us, while SirW got hairier and grumpier. The strange creature said: “I am blessed; I am blessed by the Gods of the Forest … We were wanting to talk with someone from Campignon. Strange & terrible things are happening in the forest … the trees are become strange, especially in the South West” [i.e., where the Evil presence in the Forest] ... “We’ve tried to get closer but things have been rampaging though, cutting down trees, and the Forest is dying.” Under questioning, he explained: “I can see anywhere in the forest. But we’ve tried to look at that place but can’t see anything there.” We asked about the others: “Hairy girl, they want to see you.” A ball of hair somersaulted out of the tree. Questioned about the clouds of mosquitos: “Can you see the lord of Mosquitos?” And the horrid smell: “The Chicken hermit is the smelly one”.

We gave him a brief summary of the invading army. He replied: “You say the Drow are behind it, but how are they doing it? We need to go down there and heal them, we need you to protect us.” Jaundice suggested burning the sick trees and her hair grew down her throat and the ends of her legs changed into chicken feet.

After walking for a while with them hanging behind, SirW speculated whether they have a faster way of moving through the forest. Lath summoned our escort and, long-story-short, we tree-walked. Unfortunately its neighbour is very angry [DA: Plant & a bit; GTN Corrupted Oak; blood magic corrupted it] and it multi-striked three of the party in a pulse with thick flexible branches that struck for endurance damage. And vines flew out to whip the party. Fortunately we managed to get initiative on the tree: SirW evaded and slowly retreated, as an obvious target, while the rest of us ran away. Adam’s DA confirmed that a Bloodmagic counter-special would get rid of the Corrupting magic (MA 25) but, with Manasight a stream of mana could be seen winding towards the Camp-site, flowing through the Corrupted Oak. Clearly these corrupted trees would quickly re-corrupt. We decide to walk beside the stream rather than through it.

A little later

All 3 warning signs went off: Jaundice suddenly stinks; Lath’s eddy was besieged by mosquitos; and there’s baying and howling of wolves. Oops that’s not one of the signs of ambush, it was the ambush! Wolves with saddles, girdles, & reins held by orcs.

AV used a special reserve to prepare & cast a Wall of Stone; Ctb prepared; Elvish instincts kicked in as SirW leapt into a tree and SF into the air (and prepped); Lath prepared too. The Wolf-riders charged — around the edges of the wall: Lath was hit by two; Ctb also hit.

P#2: SirW hit & stunned his opponent; J Breathed & down went several wolves & their riders; Ctb hit again — 41 to FT! Lath made a conc. check & cast: the WW vortex did for 2 wolves & 2 riders; AV stuns his opponent [with a mere 28 pt]. SF Forbade the wolves and those on the outside by Lath & Clementine were kept out, with double damage — although the wall wasn’t long enough to keep all of them out and several flowed around its free side. A stray now-riderless wolf approached Ctb from behind and bit her critically. One rider came round the wall and was surprised.

P#3: J choose to attack the wolf but (on 00) accidentally Breathed in, not out ... been hanging around airmages too long! AV attacked the same rider and he’s down; One wolf-bite and a couple of orcs got through. SirW attacked one of Ctb’s foes from behind; Sf flew down and attacked a wolf from behind — missing because Lath failed to steal the death buzz — and was charged for 22 EN + a bleeder. Ctb was hit by a grenado that burnt the grass (acid!).

P#4 Ctb got out of close. SirW multistrikes doing 32 En bleeder & the wolf was down, but the rider leapt off on the other side; 1 no-effect; and 1 tough 30 FT on the 3rd. AV does 28 FT on orc; despite the death-buzz SF multistrikes, a Better blow on each wolf, neither defended or resisted, so both wolves pop [turned Gaseous for 20 sec] ; J breathed, out this time, maximum strength, for 144 (resist for only 96!) annihilating 6 wolves and 6 or 7 orcs. Another Grenado was thrown near Lath, but she, Ctb, & AV evaded … only Lath & AV taking 12pt acid damage.

Lath (to Clementine as they’re both evading an acid grenado): "Don’t go there; that’s my hex I want to hide in".

P#5 SirW multihexed 2 remaining wolves: 1 down, the other taking damage for the first time, but it still stepped forward and bit Ctb; SF, now unengaged, flitted from a nearby, irate ex-rider to endurance the bear-biting wolf tactically (ie, from behind). Jaundice took out one wolf & its rider and damaged the other wolf. The battle was over a few seconds later.

The Awfully Intimidating Citadel

A breeze was flowing (even though Lath told it not to) towards the camp. There are more corrupted trees as we head in the Camp’s direction and more decay in the forest. Suddenly the chicken hermit squawked “chicken blind, chicken can’t see” and was whumped, and the tree abruptly changed into a chicken. No matter how big you are, don’t try to kill mages, especially crazy ones.

Sir Wojer to Silverfoam: “How many ships can we make out of the chicken?”

Crossing over a ridge, we saw that the Forest became dead & open about half a mile on, with a small 40’ tower about a mile ahead surrounded by walls leaning in at odd angles in a squiggly corrupted pattern. From the tower a tight mana beam from the [draconic] skulls’ face was streaming to a VERY large Fortified Building of exotic design another 3 miles beyond. That Giant Citadel was fully orced, drowed, ogred, etc, on the parapets. Lath thinks the mana-tower is nullifying her Controlled Weather area locally. AV thinks the bizarre walls were corrupted from Walls of stone. SF Ship-strengthed dead & decaying wood, and conveyed the party to the druids’ tree of walking. We discussed improbable methods of defeating the tower or Citadel.

Scribe: “Sorry, wait a mo', the Corruption has seeped into the Scribe notes: We need tp gey rif ogf trh tpwer of evil”.

We asked the Druids what to do & how to help and what local resources there were and had quite a confusing conversation, wilth lines like “... Nobody sees the Squirrel Queen.” We sent whispering winds to Blitzkrieg, the Viscount (our new employer), & the guild. Since the Druids most viable suggestion was airborne gnomes (and nobody knew where they were or how to contact them), we sailed back toward the tower, then walked unseen over the rise, evading as we approached at DA-pace.

The lesser of two evil towers

AV saw flickering flame effects within the walls, and then some miss-happen things lurched at us, through the walls, charging as fast as their warped, malformed bodies can let them. Clem-the-Hobbit, SirW, & Jaundice attacked and are attacked back: the giant in particular (Deadly attack, avg defence) so SF flew over and attacked AV’s opponent, making it temporarily Gaseous.

P#2, SirW multi-struck and then the Giant trampled the line, but charging the last, who evaded. CtH had 2 adjacent Twisted Things and chose to attack the prone one. J’s Thing misses her and she Breathed on the closest three (also on AV, who failed to resist). Lath WW Vortexed all but one, which SF then engaged and fumbled at, the mace flying wide.

P#3, the She-thing hit back at SF (22 less armour), who then attacked back brilliantly (Deadly attack, normal defence) for an embarrassingly low minimum; SirW stepped up & attacked, Clem attacked too, but she-thing still survived.

P#4, Clem, then SirW, hit next. Then SF struck and it went Gaseous; so the Giant charges the other Thing (that ungaseoused a little early) for 35 Endurance — his martial prowess momentarily impressive until he started whining about all the pus that had splattered on him.

By 2 or 3 pluses later, Lath has flown to a side-view on the skull, seeing a group of 3 human-sized mages pulling taffy-like on the mana-beam from the skull’s eyes and creating a large, blobby ... Something.

Closer to the party, on the right, was a giant with Tower shield in one arm and giant glaive in the other two(!) arms. On the left was a Giant with a midget on its back, and near it a smaller giant or ogroid, one-eyed with a 2-armed weapon. Also 7 more humanoids.

P#8: Clem did (01) an extreme Offensive withdrawal (vs avg defence); the Other follows up (Deadly attack – avg defence) for an EN blow. SF went up in the air (preparing an empathy) to get a better view, and when he had it, including several more humanoids near the taffy-pullers, went down a bit; Sir W stepped up besides Clem and did 21ish EN. Adam cast a Wall of Iron not excessively wrought that squiggled towards the tower.

P#9: Clem became a bear (at last); Sir W did 19EN; death buzz. A Thing attacked SirW through the wall. SF Empathied SirW to full. Jaundice & Lath took minor damage to their Fire-armour from the wall. J Breathed a mere 26 to the 3-armed giant. Lath flew and prepared. 3-arm Giant (critical attack – avg def.) did significant FT damaged to J.

P#10: SirW attacked the Thing halfway through the wall to no effect (avg – avg). Clem did a hefty FT (crit – avg) and it’s down; Fire-armours damaged further from the walls. The 3-armed giant missed (better – better). AV stepped up and lifted the ultra-burny potion from CtB; J took a gem to heal; SF tossed back a gut-buster. Four of the mages by the skull full hanks of mana, flinging it at Lath. The multi-tentacled blob ripped a hope in reality and stepped through.

P#11: 3-arm did 27 EN and stunned CtB; SirW attacked (01! Extreme – 97 normal defence) for 30 Endurance and gutted it with the appropriate weapon. AV & possessions turned into an African swallow and headed to the skull. Lath managed normal WW vortex (even with a reroll option), so chose to give in to temptation: she pulled in supersaturated mana near the tower for extra oomph and obliterated half the mages, 3-arm, and some humanoids. And then She used special “dead time”, and the evil mana, to do it all again. SF prepared and ...

P#12: since NONE of the party were engaged & we had unengaged initiate, cast Empathy on Lath for 32 pts, who cast WW Vortex (naturally) and removed the last of the mages, the monopod, and some humanoids and then came to her senses about how dangerously seductive this mana-beam was. Well, Duh! AV lands perfectly on the skull. Some of the Things reach into the surrounding [inflowing] mana-beam and throw corrupting damaging mutating gunk, but the bird survived; but Clementine now a hobbit running along the Iron Wall to the tower was almost killed outright. The tentacled chaos monster reappeared ripping into reality and the mana-beam that came with it ripped thru several walls.

P#13: Lath dropped a ball to enhance damage (avoiding the wall) and drew from the mana wiping lots, but makes the 2xWP to avoid viewing the sparrow on the skull as a threat to her precious mana-source. Meanwhile, J intended aiming just beyond the ogroid who’d climbed onto the wall headed towards the now extremely unconscious hobbit, but (on 97 followed by 98) Breathed across the mana-beam. Do NOT cross the beams! There was a massive explosion, wiping out walls & Things, but SirW managed to catch falling, unconscious Clementine.

Lath: Fortunately she’s a hobbit.
Sir Wojger: If she was still the bear, I’d have caught her on the bounce instead.

Midget-ridden giant (just beyond the effect) ogroid and a few knocked-back, prone humanoids. And the Tentacled-Chaos-Thing got really big. The giant poured the liquid on the eyes and was attacked by the TCT that flew to him

P#14 AV, instantaneously a giant again, had initiative and lit the fluid with a cantrip, then freely falling (with style) off the tower and landing on his feet. Since it only took a couple of seconds for the blazing fluid to burn through several inches of magical stone, Reality rapidly re-established herself.

Defence work at Campignon & then home

Fliers were circling up from the Citadel, and we've arguably done what the Druids needed, so a bold retreat became appropriate. While Lath is Empathied 36 EN back, she Wind walked us back to the transit tree. And Hairy Girl stepped out of it.
Hairy-Girl: “We can see much more of the forest thank you! Are you going to get rid of that big stone castle?”
Lath: “Well, if it’s still there in two months, send a message to our Guild”

We then visit the Vicomte and Told All, or rather Most; as well as conjectures about whom to trust or contact if an further Unpleasantness emerges. He understood clearly, but there was some confusion amongst the party...
Vychan: "But I'm a nice person."
Sir Woger to Vychan: "You’re a giant, that’s why the evil Drow have allied with you. Do try to keep up."

Lath sensed a discontinuity in her ongoing Control Weather an hour or two’s sail south, so we piled into the ship and set off. There was a five to ten mile radius, that was NOT calm, as ordered, but natural (shudder!). We spotted 3 mages flying Northwards near its centre. With a whispering wind, they were lured down to land near the ship while Lath’s very large air elemental was standing off, being non-threatening to the best of its limited ability.

Vireena, (a Finn’s Waste Mage speaking of Lath): “Is she the one who’s been controlling the weather across all of Alusia?”
Vychan: “Not ALL of it”
Vireena (drily): “She missed a spot?”

Lath was lectured that, although emergency intervention is permissible to save lives, a true airmage should “let the weather flow”. Nonetheless we returned to Vole so that Lath could harvest what was left of the crops, to free the peasants for more important jobs, such as extra eyes watching the walls. The party (and volunteer Baroness) spent the rest of the fortnight do generally defensive stuff, especially building walls … that is to say telling other people what to do, especially work-gangs of peasants.

Sir Wojer worked with the local alchemist to provide 5 potions of Whispering wind: 3 outgoing (to Blitzkrieg, St Michel, Bowcourt); 2 inward (i.e. directed to the Vicomte).

We donated the mundane arms & armour from the 500 camp to bolster the guard & militia weapons — also some cooking utensils and other mundane possession to the impoverished folk of Evignon (since a certain fire-mage slagged & all their worldly goods, and an uncertain earthmage buried the evidence; both encouraged by an airmage who apparently knew no better).

Silverfoam dispelled one of the ships for a few tons of wood for the defences & earthworks. Beside the obligatory Wall extensions, he used the craftsmen & work to make two catapults that shoot stone balls which Vychan & elementals extracted and shaped from the hills near Montbousin (transported back by ship). One orthodox; One where the impetus was provided by a falling bronze-fronted weight that is winched up the end of a sturdy Tree-trunk beam swinging round in a circular fashion, pivoting a fulcrum extending out from the spotting tower (Vychan: “...And I suppose it's all made out of tiger wood”). We had the elemental poke holes in some stones to make them howl and whistle when they flew, and Sir Wojer's suggestion of dimpling others made the flights longer, but with a tendency to slice.

We split the rest of the treasure [Jaundice first, then Silverfoam, Adam Vychan, Sir Wojer, Lath, Clementine] including a few invested (Spectral Warrior, etc); wrist bolt-throwers & bolts; mana-drops; Drow armour & katanas; and acid grenados. Everyone was happy with their share, and Sir Wojer's armour was particularly outrageous.

When our service to the Vicomte was done, Lath and some of us did another hay-run from the Sea of Grass to ensure Vole and some other friendly places had sufficient hay, to avoid livestock being unnecessarily slaughtered and for use as building material. Some of the party were dropped off at Seagate on the way.

BUFFS

Total Ft cost: upto 14
Caster: Vychan.
Strength of Stone (+20 End, 20h) 2ft
Armour of Earth (+42% Def, +1 DR, 10.5h) 2ft
Fire Armour (100 points of ablative fire damage protection) 2ft

Caster: Lath
Vapour Breathing (Can breath gases, 8h) 1ft;
Feather falling Rk8 (4.5 hours)1ft;< Flying Rk 13 (43 Mph, 7h) 2ft;
Resist Heat & Cold (5 Gauge, 5 less damage, 17h) 2ft;

Caster: Silverfoam
Mind cloak Rk12 (25 hours) 2ft
optional Water Breathing Rk12 (13 hours) 1ft
optional Water & weather Proofing Rk9 (30 hours for entities) 1ft.

Please identify items you may want Located