The Long Way Home

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GM
Jeff Leddra
Time
Autumn 808 WK
Day
Wednesdays
Level
Low

Seagate Gatherings

Da guild guys (from tallest to shortest)
  • Dwork the Orc – A fiery fighter. The natural leader (and scribe)
  • Zanak – A pirate, recently escaped from enslavement by an earth mage
  • Falco – Human Dark Celestial (with a variety of interesting items)
  • Melco – Human Shadow Celestial (with a variety of interesting skills)
  • Koffi – Gnome Binder (and his mate Bill the Clay Golem). The elected leader (go figure)
  • Rumpelstilzchen – a young Halfling of the College of Ensorcelments and Enchantments (the ink is still wet on his certificate).
Da mission

This guy White Raven is not liked around the guild, but he wants some people to travel off of his home plane (Icefall) to get some ‘things’ that he can use to resolve a problem that Mr Raven is having with Ice Demons around the place. He’d go himself, but can’t leave home just now.

Da Loot

I’m a bit suspicious here. We’re getting standard guild pay rates of 500sp/week, a couple of 20HP healing potions each plus a free Guild Rank 12 greater enchantment. There’d better be some other stuff along the way.

Dear Diary

1st of Fruit – Meeting Melody the Missionary (gave us the Mission like)

Melody is a transporting type of person, who is working for ole WR solely because WR has her mother on ice (nice man). Tomorrow, she will take us somewhere where Raven has said we can get resistance against cold – which is important ‘cos Ice Wall is really, really cold.

A passing Tolmar adds a lesser enchantment and then we spend hours while the greater enchantments get cast.

That done, we head out for a last night on the town. Dwork and Rumple are entertained by the delightful sweaty Samantha and then meet the others in the tavern for a quick one (a beer – right?). The night passes uneventfully (surprise, surprise!)

2nd of Fruit – Shopping, Travelling and Stopping

Koffi gets his golem itemised so we can flying without a clay anchor. We buy a whole bunch of general supplies, cold weather gear and trade goods - and set off with Melody up the Sweetwater River to a place where White Raven says there is a portal through to this other place. We barge up the river uneventfully (barring a backfire or two) to a muddy riverside pond which Melody is able to ‘shuffle’ (like flipping cards) to show different places. The pool must be magic or something.

We step though to a crisp cool forest of dripping trees.

Falco flies up and spots a monolithic rock in the near distance (70ft tall!) and a city in the far distance. We travel to the rock, where a tribe of cave dwelling skin wearing natives jibber at us. We eventually get to talk to an Ice Warrior from the city. We find out that we have to become ‘Initiates of the Tribe’ to get the tribes’ renown cold-resistance. Luck for us there will be an initiation ceremony tomorrow for a local boy, so we settle down for a meal and sleep. Some of us go a bit hungry, ‘cos it turns out there is some sort of magic here that means any food that you eat that you haven’t gathered or hunted yourself will make you sick. Some of us are not particularly good hunters or gatherers.

3rd of Fruit – Rites of Passage

  • Rite One: go naked into a cold dark cave, chewing some sensory enhancing fungus and get circumcised by some flint knife wielding low-brow in skins. Don’t flinch.
  • Rite Two: second ice cave, three tunnels. Two lead to some sort of immediate death, the third leads to a veeerrry slippery slope to a cave where basilisks are reputed to hang out. We need to kill them and eat their eyes. It’s all right; we may be naked, but we’re armed with veeerrry sharp obsidian knives.
Rite one is very painful…

…but we survive being de-skinned

Rite two is altogether tougher

We pick the correct tunnel (it has a breath of fresh air) and slip down the slide. When the basilisks arrive (the size of small ponies) Dwork fires up his weapon of flame, the binder tries to make better weapons out of the knives, the Celestials throw a variety of spells and the hobbit encourages them to sleep - and tries to quicken the party. And through the hail of backfires, misfires and the occasional successful cast, the basilisks advance to bite and cast their own sort of cold spells. By the end of it, all but one party member has killed and feasted on warm twitching basilisk eyes - and there are two new statues: one of an orc and one of a native boy.

The ice statues are dragged back and the village shaman does his thing to return them to flesh. Dwork did not manage to kill a creature and eat its eyes (probably because one of the hail of the backfires dispelled his mighty flaming glaive) so he has a lesser protection vs cold - but he did manage to share the warmth with a Neanderthal lass (just checking that Rite one did not cause any lasting damage)

We lose the tune – Melody is gone

Melody is missing! When we investigate it turns out she got sick - so the Ice Warrior took her off to his city (Youla) for some sort of cure. This is not good, as we need Melody to get us to Ice Wall.

Off we fly in pursuit – courtesy of Falco wings

The Trapper Trader Ulna

As we fly we spot a while furred guy. We land to share information and food.

  • Ulna is from Merna (some 120 miles to the west) and refers to our natives as Nature Nuts. I agree.
  • He did spot someone in the distance flying towards the city, probably carrying a burden in his arms (like a body), so I guess we’re on the right track
  • The city ahead as Youla - the City of the Fallen Angels. Apparently, exiled Angels had conquered the city, throwing out the Ice Warriors. The Fallen ones have ‘concealable’ wings and fight with bows and wands.
  • We trade some of our Seagate alcohol for some fine furs (ermine and arctic fox).
The Hobbit Strikes

It turns out Rumplestiltskin is really attracted to a Amethyst Amulet that Ulna has around his neck, and really overrates his abilities to relieve Ulna of the gem. He fails to take the item and backs off to spell the trader to sleep - all kind of unexpected to everyone. Ulna reacts quickly by throwing a set of darts at the spell-casting hobbit. Melco administers a lesson to the short one with the front side of his shield.

A big apology to the trader (there goes another bottle of alcohol) and a big party discussion ensues about good Seagate adventurer behaviour and ethical norms outside of Sanctuary. Basically, if you are going to be nasty, you better be strong – and have a reasonable explanation for your actions – and simple greed is not a good enough explanation!

And on to the City of Angels

The city of Youla is dominated by many tall white towers, which grew overnight when the Angels took over. They have landing platforms high up. We find out the winged ones are rarely seen at ground level – apart from the young who delight is terrorising the townspeople during the night – with the help of flying black panthers. The townspeople stay indoors or underground during the night.

Rumplestiltskin locates Melody as being in the tallest tower – not good, as that’s where the Prince of the Angels lives. Apparently the Prince and his companions were exiled from some other place, and now (frustrated and bitter) he just wants to go home. That’s where Melody comes from – she could get the Prince home. We now figure that the Ice Warrior was an agent of the Prince’s who deliberately infected her for an excuse to take her away.

We head off to the town market and meet Houg who turns out to be a really good healer - who gives us some information about the situation. This infection is a weapon of the Prince’s – some people are carriers, who transmit the disease by touch.

We also see some disgraced Wingmen – who have had their talent to create white wings for themselves removed through some long painful ritual. Wonder what they did wrong?

At the end of the day, we head off with Houg to an underground pub (finally!). He says he will help us with our quest here (perhaps by giving us a Crystal of Viewing) if we help him with a small problem he has. He got careless with some information he had and a small-time crook by the name of Niblek stole it. If the thief sells it to the Angels, Houg will have to leave (it seems he is not here purely out of a healer’s altruism – he is collecting information for one of the other powers of this land).

4rd of Fruit – Niblek takes a fall, Pandas must die, an eyeful of Goiki

Koffi engages Arty and his urchins to track down Niblek’s hideout and off we go through the sewers in the early hours of the morning. That hideout was well trapped and alarmed, so when we finally get in the thief is gone – but he had to leave behind Houg’s information – as well as a few interesting items.

Houg is happy with the information returned, but still wants us to remove Niblek from the scene, so we send out Arty and his crew again.

Arty and the boys track Niblek down

This time the thief is cowering in a strong-point with two exits. Dwork and Melco cover the back passage, while Koffi makes the front door transparent and then spells the door open - and in they charge. Niblek flees, but dies falling 30ft down a ladder – not so strange that he fell asleep while trying to get away (with a little help from hobbit magic). Not a lot of loot on him (a general purpose poison antidote), but Houg gifts us a magnificent Crystal Ball of Vision (RK 12)

A Walker, A Follower and My Sting

Rumple uses his new toy to have a look back our arrival place (as it only the day before yesterday?!) and we see a strange group of people arriving too, so we fly off to investigate them. It turns out to be a ‘Walker’ (Jack) out on a ‘Ramble’ with a hunchback ‘Follower’ and a couple of bodyguards. They work for a ‘King’ checking out the residue of a ‘plane travelling person’ (obviously our Melody). These titles seem to be something more than just titles – they seem to reflect something innate about these individuals. Jack also has a companion ‘My sting’ which lives as a large wasp on his wrist, but can turn into a cute woman (Lita) – all the comforts of home really. She is some sort of witch.

They seem friendly and we learn about some of the inter-planar politics around here (6 planes with a mixture of relationships). Apparently the job of a Walker is just to Ramble. It is their nature that when they ramble they find things out for their King. His Follower is able to follow people who have gone through portals. There are other classes of people who are ‘Finders’ and ‘Watchers’. Jack just wants to Ramble around here so we leave him and head back to the back to the city.

Winged men activity is way up and Haug has gathered rumours of Max Exodus. It may be the Melody is the key they need to return – but there seems to be some conflict between power groups within the winged ones: the young vs the rightful vs the returners.

The charge of the really light brigade – The last stand of Specs the String Golem

Out on the street we see a strange sight – a robed figure followed by 6 identical red headed boys. When magical investigations reveal the robed figure as a ‘Finder’ and the boys as illusions disguising something called Claws, we decide to follow them. No surprise really when they head out of the city, walking directly back towards Jack and his team. Turns out to be a violent sort of confrontation really.

Falco flies ahead and warns Jack, so when it turns ugly, we attack from behind, while Jack gets stuck in from the front. The Claws were not much of a problem – turned out to be some sort of large vicious red panda (!), but the Finder was different. His strategy was very simple – he invoked some sort of huge fiery self-immolation and simply walked towards his enemies – burn baby burn. We eventually brought him down (mainly by a series of Falco’s dark webs) and by the valiant efforts of Koffi’s string golem.

Not even a binder knows what goes through the ‘mind’ of a golem, but you have wonder what stringy thoughts went through Spec’s mind when Koffi told him to charge through the fiery maelstrom with big heavy darts and attack the enemy. But despite any twiney misgivings, off he ran, immediately catching fire – but he continued his flaming sprint and eventually got close enough to throw the darts. I’d have to say they didn’t have a huge amount of impact, but the image of that burning pile of stringy residue stayed with me for a long while (at least until we had a meal of BBQed red panda).

Urax and the Mage of Four

The interrogation of Urax (the finder) reveals that he was directed by somebody called Mage of Four to kill Jack – for fear of what Jack might discover on his ‘rambles’. Urax has got allies back in the city (at Half-Moon Street) where they’ve been for 6 months. A little more pressure reveals that Mage of Four poses a threat to Jack’s ‘King’ – a threat in the form of a 13” 6 month old baby – who is also a ‘King’. Wheels within wheels. Urax is executed by the Royal Party for Treason and we all head back to the city to investigate this threat the King. Jack has a royal mission to find Melody too, so we’re all on the same page here.

Close combat at Half-Moon Street

Arty's urchins scout out the dead-end street, and spot some thugs-in-residence, so the Orc (as a drunken bum) and Leta (as his lady of the night) stagger in (apparently looking for a little privacy) and once close enough engage in some close combat. Apart from Melco managing to stun Dwork as he was rolling on the ground hammering one of the thugs with cestus clad fists, it all goes smoothly. Koffi slips behind to make sure nobody gets away down a trapdoor and additional thugs unexpectedly arrive, but are dealt with. One thug ‘elects’ to assist the adventures by opening the trap door – and survives the ensuing fireball trap simply because of Dwork’s newly cast fire armour.

We head back into the sewers and eventually come to a rusty iron door. Note that there was NO sign on the door saying ‘Groiki Embassy’.

Koffi cast transparency on the door – and inside there’s a bunch of spindly 5 eye-stalked creatures – armed with swords and grenados. Koffi gets Bill the Golem out of his pack (or is it Belinda the Golem?) and we power up. The binder unlocks the door and in we charge. Bill scythes through them with a huge axe and ignoring paralysing gas. Melco tries to keep up with his smaller axe. The casters throw all sorts of webs and fireballs and sleeps and we quickly clear the room. We split to clear the complex. Melco nearly dies under a trap like a magical collapsing ceiling - and charging through magical barriers to get at the remaining two Groiki mages is nearly deadly. Eventually Jack gets close enough to close the spell casters down.

Despite their protestations that we have ‘Assaulted the Groiki empire’ we look for information (ie loot). No baby king, but a wet-nurse (which Dwork immediately takes the time to comfort). The ‘Embassy Commander’ has fled with the infant, but left behind a report to the Ambassador Fisk about on progress in their endeavour. One of the Mages tries to escape using some sort of Ring of Portals, but Koffi cuts his finger off (nice looking ring :). Stopped that nonsense.

We head back to a safehouse - where Koffi petrifies the mages (that’ll keep them out of trouble!). It's been a realy really long day, so we set watches and sleep (Dwork continues to protect the wet-nurse off course)

5th of Fruit – The Pirate Zanak, A Watery Welcome and Royal Accolades

Haug takes us to a boarded up safe house.

To keep them out of harms way, Koffi petrifies the two Groiki mages.

A 19 year turns up at the door calling Haug's name – apparently sent by Haug's masters. Zanak is strangely dressed (says he's a pirate), but he's got a cutlass and leather armour so I guess he's ready roll. He's apparently from Elusia – orphaned at an early age and when took to the ocean waves, but was enslaved to an earth mage until he recently escaped.

We're mostly sleeping when a portal opens (centred on the Groiki ring on Koffi's hand) and exchanges the petrified mages, Koffi and the nearby Rumplestiltskin for six Groiki grenado dropping troopers – not really a fair exchange. Most succumb to the paralysing fumes, but Jack, Koffi's golem (Bill – or is it Belladonna?!) and Melco awake, resist and counterattack – soon finishing the Groiki off. Letia administers some anti-paralysis venom and we wonder how we are going to rescue our missing half-men (or even if it is really necessary).

Zanak tells us he has this blue polka-dotted lizard which allows him to open up a portal (great!) so off we go.

We step through …

… into an huge iron barred, iron floored cell – with our two naked half-men in another cell (beaten & bloody - and chained to the wall) along with two patrolling Groiki guards – who rapidly set off to get help. Arrow fire through the bars takes out one, while Dwork stands on Melco (to get off the cold iron floor) and does a massive fire bolt to take out the other. Eventually Koffi manages to escape and frees Rumple. Dwork is working away to unlock on the cell door and just about has it open when Koffi magics it open (I hate it when that happens).

Meanwhile Falco has changed to owl form and checked out what’s at the top of the exit ramp – taking out two Groiki troopers and two mages in the process (with only a little assistance from others). Very clever of him.

The heavens open up – well, water chutes in the high walls open up, and the water pours in – accompanied by electrical eels and lots of small fish with lots of sharp bitey teeth. We splash & wade hurriedly from the cell to exit ramp, with schools of nippy and shocky things all looking for a piece of us. Melco delays in the cell to grab the portal crystal ball thing from its pedestal – which turns out to be a really bad idea.

The entire cell block becomes electrified – which has the good effect of killing the bitey things and making the party move a lot faster, but has the bad effect of repeatedly lightening bolting the fleeing adventurers. All except Dwork make it to the ramp – who doesn’t like water much anyway and is stunned standing in the water halfway there. Zanak and Rumplestiltskin go back and drag him out.

It turns out we have cleared out a second Groiki embassy – there is not a Groiki eye to be seen. We have a quick loot and we are off for to tidy up and see Jack’s king.

Royal Audience

Not much to tell here. The King is all regal. Everybody bows and scrapes – and wears great clothes. Jack tells the story. The Groiki in the audience grumble about the unfairness of it all - others grumble back at them. No reward, no treasure. The orc is confused.

A troop is sent off try to intercept Mage of Four (fat chance!). Intelligence has revealed the Groiki have Melody now – they are in an empire expansion phase, and Melody's skills will come in handy.

A Mission for the Alliance

Because of our new position as ‘Groiki slayers’ a cute hobbit Rowena turns up with a mission from one of the major power groups on these planes – The Alliance (toot toot - imagine a flourish of trumpets in your head) (Dwork would prefer a flourish of strumpets). The mission is to the home of the Yalcan’s – a race of four armed, four legged pacifists that the Groiki are moving on (in some way)

In exchange the Alliance will try to track down Melody for us. We are to go and meet Ambassador Gross Blunder of the Alliance tomorrow. It’s been a long day – so we head off to one of those (so called) safe houses for some R&R.

6th of Fruit – Attack of the Killer Slugs, Off to the Market, a Melco Baited Trap, Licking a Squid

Melco Gets Slugged I

Ok - second floor of some apartments, watches all set, Bellinda the Golem on guard. Safe as a vault - right? Wrong! It turns out that the Groiki had infested the golem with a whole bunch of invisible 'pain' slugs. Sleeping adventures are slugged and writhe (still sleeping) in agony. The slugs become visible when they attack, so the golem does what he has been told to do - he/she/it attacks the attackers. Does a spec on Melco's slug (killing it). Does a spec on Melco at the same time (smashing his hip). Oh dear.

Off to the markets

Leaving Melco in the intermittent care of Haug (and guarded by the golem that smashed his hip), we head off the market. Usual sort of visit: we annoy some local stall holders (mist witches), Falco buys some beads of good fortune (living aura?!, power of renewal - or something), Rumple buys a really annoying talking pie (apparently previously owned by some mage call SquidLick). We sell those furs we got off of Ulna.

Melco gets Slugged II

Back at the safe house (!), we find Melco is gone. The hobbit locates and scrys him - Melco is suspended by his arms and legs in an empty room, while slugs come through a crystal ball on a plinth and eat him. Slowly and painfully. Not good. Further investigation reveals: that the guardian Bellinda was frozen by some sort of time stop effect; red hairs left on the seen belong to 'red pandas' (tasty) and the abductors were probably a Female Dwarf and 6 identical children (seen coming into the building).

Off we go to the obvious trap - and after desperate efforts we avoid the trap, but unfortunately are only able to retrieve most of Melco's body. In the process we destroy the trap building and the adjoining buildings in a continuous flood of slugs.

Rip.jpg
  • How? When in doubt split the party. Dwork takes up a watching position (well, all sorts of positions really) in the brothel next door (keeping himself busy with Gertrude - the love of his life). Zanak and Koffi climb on the roof (planning to do the rescue through the ceiling). Falco is flying, scouting - ready to dive and assist. Rumplestiltskin is on the street - looking for a good coffee.
  • Plans are accelerated when Zanak breaks through the roof. He smashes the crystal (which only massively increases the flow of slugs) and grabs Melco. From then on it is a desperate effort to keep Melco alive. Killing the slugs on his body only makes things worse, as he begins to bleed uncontrollably. Troll skins only slow down the death as Falco desperately flees & flies back to Haug - Melco's bleeding body in his arms. Alas it was too late.
  • The building explodes from the pressure of slugs (killing Gertrude) and bringing in the town guards and mages to close the slug portal and clean up the mess. We leave – quietly.
Back at the unsafe house…

…Melco is a basket case. We arrange to get Melco’s soul back to his body – but that body ain’t pretty. More investigation reveals the female dwarf is ‘Sister Charity’ – who works for Mage of Four (remember him?).

A talking terrier arrives (don’t ask) and we go back to the palace, where the Royal Mage Squidlick (yes, maker of the talking pie and part of the slug clean up squad) arranges for Melco’s soul to temporarily be transferred into the body of a large, pink, big toothed teddy bear. Rowenna (the cute hobbot) arrives to confirm our mission to Yalka tomorrow. In the meantime, Squidlick will work to repair Melco’s body and track down Mage of Four and Melody.

Sounds like a deal to me.

7th of Fruit – Alliance Mission to Yalka

Squidlick (the court mage) was a bit annoyed that we had not informed the authorities about the kidnap and trap which resulted in the destruction of a city block and the deaths of many people, so he insisted the binder stay behind and assist him with constructing a golem to track the Mage of Four (in exchange he will teach him new binder stuff) while we went off plane for their health.

For some reason, he seemed to think that we would not be able to stay alive by ourselves on this plane.

So, off we went to the local embassy to see Ambassador Gross Blunder and the cute hobbit Rowena. We’re officially appointed as 3rd Undersecretaries of the Alliance and ported off to the Yalka Alliance offices in a small town, where we meet Rowena’s twin sister Roxanne and the Sub-ambassador Magnum. As warned, Magnum is a puffed up buffoon - but we requisition a healing potion each (20HP potions!) and some ‘Brooches of the Silver Wings’ and we all fly off to the nearest Yalkian city.

Global Orgy

The skies are dark and the multiple moons are rising (nicely synchronised on the horizon), but this many towered city is stunning – apparently totally made of multi-coloured glass, the soaring minarets included! Markets are full of exquisite glassware, but strangely devoid of Yalkans. Apparently the 4 armed, 4 legged lizard locals are heading for a once every 80 year global orgy in the swamps (whoho!)– and all of the cities are emptying.

The Groiki World Tour

And yes, the Groiki are there. Each of the 40 major Yalkan cities are being ‘visited’ by 1000 Groiki ‘tourists’ (all with properly signed and stamped visas). They are all healthy male specimens (no old age pensioners). Obviously, deeply interested in the artistic virtues of Yalkian glassware (not). They are lead by Tour Director Fisk of the Groiki World Tour (funny, the name Fisk sounds familiar).

Well, Tour Director Fisk changes into Planar Director Proterm Fisk when he invokes League regulations that says that a planet/plain with no inhabited cities can be annexed (the legal incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity). Magnum bubbles in fury, but because the papers are all in order, he puts a cork in it - and does nothing at all (ha!). We check things out with the remaining locals (rapidly departing for the swamps), but they don’t seem to care. The Groiki proceed to start removing anything that is not tied down.

A Rescue Mission

Fisk then annexes Magnum - and we fly off across the flat grey dusty plains to rescue the sub-ambassador. By the light of the moons, we spot Fisk, Magnum and a troop of Groiki on a magically hovering craft, travelling at speed, avoiding the bubbling geothermal bore-holes that are scattered across these plains.

We rescue Magnum and capture Fisk – mainly due to Falco’s webs of darkness, although a long toothed and bloody fanged six foot pink teddy bear in close in a confided place is a scary thing!

A Plague of Groiki

We head back to the town and ponder what to do next. How do we rid the planet of 40,000 invaders before they strip it bare? One of the last departing locals says something about ‘we’ve got to move before the boom-boom’ and the pieces drop into place. We head off with the quadru-arma quadru-peds for a little quadru-amoure in the swamps (talk about mud wrestling!), while the gravitational pull the newly alighted moons inexorably excites the subterranean heat to explode and destroy/melt the 40 cities right down to the ground.

One Yalkan comments that the chemical residues of the Groiki will add interesting colours to the glass when the lizards emerge from the swamps - to once again rebuild their cities.

8th of Fruit – Alliance Mission to The Yill Empire

The Yill Empire is a recently discovered new plain - and the Alliance is looking for a treaty to be able to mine a local special ‘mana storing’ mineral.

The Yill have a highly stratified society, are protocol sticklers and use advanced magics. We’re to assist the local Alliance official (Minister Spradly) to sign this treaty. Of course the Minister is as useless as on Wings on a Yalkian.

The tall grey Yillians treat us as underlings until Koffi demands our place on the high table - were we witness some of the interpersonal posturings that the Yill use to establish social superiority. Non-lethal physical combat is part these posturings and once our big pink teddy bear establishes a superior position over the Yill champion things are smoother. After victory, Melco cleverly challenges and then defers to the chief Yill (F’cowcowcow), becomes his best mate, gets the treaty signed and gets promoted to 2nd Undersecretary.

All in a days work really.

To celebrate the treaty signing, the Yill give us some mana storing jewellery and triggered items – and a relaxing afternoon.

9th of Fruit – Fun in the Yillian Desert

We’re no rush to get back to Squidlick – it’s gonna take time to track down Melody and Mage of Four, so we head out for some sight seeing. Somewhere along the line we’ve learnt not to split the party, so we all head off to the red-light district where Dwork and Melco buy a few items of erotic interest – and are trying arrange to come back later that night to investigate the anatomy of the local girls, when the rest of the party are just plain childish, so we are forced to leave.

The Abandoned Shrine

We hear of some spooky ruins out in the desert, so we hire some riding lizards and some local tour guides and head out. Travel is uneventful (although one of the lizards didn’t seem to like the hobbit and pirate on its back). The ruins are, well ruined – some sort of abandoned shrine, with only a few pillars and walls protruding out of the sand.

The Fun Ramps Up

So what’s the spooky part? Well, the guide tells us we should go down those stairs to an underground chamber and put a hand on a desk there. Next some ghost will arrive and try to talk to us – and then fade away. Yep, we do all that (eventually). All pretty tame for hardened adventures, so we have to discover a hidden ramp (200 ft long, but only about 2 ft high) which the half men head down, accompanied by a couple of stringy golems and an owl by the name of Falco. The flesh and blood ones are invisible. Down in the catacombs, a new golem briefly makes an appearance before some ghostly shape detected in the distance dusts it. Bother. You’d think it would be slower going up a ramp then down it – but no, the adventures make impressive speed back up the ramp.

The shadowy figure follows, not deterred by a tunnel engulfing fireball and emerges into the chamber to be confronted by Dwork and Melco’s flaming weapons. Even though Koffi closes the ramp door behind it, once struck it seems to shadow walk back through the wall.

So, it looks like we may have to go in after it. Quick divinations have revealed that it will be corporeal at midnight – and yes, its highest rank spell is white fire. Nasty.

Back at the City

We head back to the city on lizard back, where Rowena is back, telling us we have another mission to go to some sort of Hobbit games and get into a Time Vault (what ever that is).

As midnight approaches, we buff up, Rumplestiltskin locates the shrine and we take off (courtesy of Falco wings)

10th of Fruit – More fun in the Yillian Desert, Hobbit Hopscotch

100 seconds of Mayhem
  • We’ve looked around and there was no other way in. The stubby ones will go first; Melco is going to have to ‘bat’ his way in, while Dwork will do the butterfly thing (float like a butterfly, stink like an orc); Falco and Zanak will bring up the rear, squeezing down the ramp. The hobbit’s scrying has revealed the undead guy seems busy with some sort of ritual. It’s just after midnight and we cluster around the top of the ramp for about 30 seconds, feverishly buffing ourselves up. What buffs? By the time we charge there’s quite a few: fire armour, quickness, weapon of flame, troll skin, witch sight, celestial counter spell and shadow form!
  • Its all downhill from there. It takes us about 20 seconds to do the ramp crawl. The humans don’t get stuck. Melco successfully comes out of bat form. Dwork changes back from a butterfly to a caterpillar (a 6ft caterpillar with glaive of flame).
  • Another 30 seconds pass as we do the catacomb charge. A string golem with a stream-of-corruption bomb leads the way. In the centre, Koffi builds a succession of clay golems (the first of which gets promptly un-built) one carrying a giant axe of flame - while Melco triggers a ward of Darkness which causes the humans (only) to flee in panic (you’d think a dark celestial wouldn’t be afraid of the dark). Dwork charges up the left failing to cast fireball, but resisting some unknown (but probably deadly) magic. Rumplestiltskin charges up the right - ready to lay down his life to take out the evil one. Falco tries some long range spells which don’t seem to land – probably because we can only generally locate the bad guy using witch sight.
  • The last 20 seconds get down and dirty. The string golem suicide bomber lets off the stream of corruption. The hobbit tosses in a Greek fire grenado passed to him by Koffi’s other string golem. As a clay golem and the orc get up close with their massive flaming weapons, a pony sized wolf appears (wtf?!), attacking and temporarily stunning Dwork, until the other clay golem and Dwork return the favour. Melco, Rumplestiltskin and the axe armed golem can’t lay a weapon on the invisible enemy until Zanak arrives with his ‘Hug a Wight today’ tee-shirt. The pirate does a shield charge (without the shield) hitting the invisible guy - and then trips and does a face plant in the still burning Greek fire. Once visible, the robed undead is easy meat for the fighters (life drain or not!)

Of course it then takes three hours to loot the catacombs and the associated tomb (lots of good stuff there) and dig our way out.

We fly back to the Yill city loaded with goodies - and back to our digs, where a slightly annoyed hobbit tells us we have to leave to compete in the Hobbit Games in just three hours. Talk about bad pre-match preparation.

Hobbit Hopscotch

Yes, we dominated the Hobbit games: flying, bungee jumping, no-magic fighting, magic-only fighting, all-in fighting, single and as a team. The first contest was fair, but as we continued to win, the opposition began to cheat more and more (d@mn sneaky hobbits). Luckil,y we had taken the opportunity to make generous contributions to various hobbits in authority: Extra-planar Games Entrance fees, The Games Coordinator Retirement Fund and various ‘Consultancy’ fees (totalling about 500sp), so the nasty cheaters were disqualified.

Does not play well with others

The real fun came in the evening, where a party of Groiki diplomats in the local market made the mistake of reacting to a Pirate’s drunken swing (it missed) with (potentially) deadly shocking force. While Falco hung back in reserve and provided some long range strafing, Melco and Dwork charged in for sometimes stunning effect while Koffi’s golems wrecked havoc (Koffi certainly wanted payback for Groiki torture). The Groiki seem to specialise in electrically stunning items. But eventually two Groiki died, two were captured and one escaped. The authorities (with the help of local consulting lawyers) agreed it was a simple case of self defence

11th of Fruit – The Time Vault

Winning the games in the final contests this morning gave us access to the Time Vaults – where apparently blessings for the winning contestants and the surrounding neighbourhood could be gained. All we have to do is go through the portal with offerings (supplied by the nice hobbits), solve some sort of simple puzzle and then give the offerings to some gorgeous woman. Then we just ask away. Simple!

A Demon Trapped

Sometimes evil gets its come-uppance. A very nasty demon known to us as ‘My Lady’ once rampaged the multi-universe.

  • On the one hand she charmed people to worship her and do her malevolent biddings.
  • On the other hand she gloried in slicing them up to many small bits with many razor sharp and often spinning body parts.

This evil seems to have attracted the attentions of an uber-powerful universe maker, who made a very special universe to trap and hold My Lady. Its details are unknown, but it seems that the mini-verse had a pulse, where the magic that sustained it gradually ran down – at which time it drained the magic out of the sleeping demon – and repowered itself for another 10 years. My Lady slept.

It Pays to Let Sleeping Demons Lie

About five centuries years ago in the sleepy hobbit villages of the Big Valley there arose a mighty (ha!) Hobbit Hero – a namer and warrior of renown. Seeking to do heroic things, he investigated two portals set into a valley hillside. After much study, he worked out that one was an entrance and one was an exit. As hobbits are annoyingly curious beings (not likely to let a sleeping dogs lie) in he went, awoke the sleeping demon within – and managed to escape before My Lady was fully awake. He knew immediately that the awakening was not a good thing.

A Great Plan

He sat outside and pondered his mistake for a long time. He perceived that the universe could no longer draw on the magic of the Demon now awoken – so it was but ten years before the magic ran out and the Demon freed herself. A great plan was decided upon. Valiant Volunteers would penetrate the portals once every decade, and die within – by the hand of the demon, giving up their magical ability to repower the prison. But it was a dangerous game he played, for he did not know that if the volunteers had too much magical ability, My Lady would absorb it all – and have enough to break free of her prison.

Of course, after time, the supply of Valiant Volunteers began to run low, so the slimy hobbits of the five villages of the Big Valley came up with a plan - they made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Each five years, they ran some bogus games, and the winners were invited to penetrate the vault – with promises of blessings to be received within. Teams were invited from other valleys – and strange as it might seem, the visitors always seem to win (on alternate games - of course). Nasty deceitful hobbits.

The Seagate Adventures do Gymnastics (The Vault)
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The triumphant victors of the Hobbit Games enter the portal to receive their blessing - and are confronted by a large puzzle of a room inhabited only by a sliced up Groiki (apparently 10 years dead). The puzzle is a wall of 1000 numbered bricks, and on another wall are the numbers 1, 4, 13.

  • Falco checks out the bricks – if you press them in the right order a door opens, the wrong order is deadly.
  • Rumplestiltskin works out the puzzle (something to with intervals of powers of 3). Clever hobbit. Later he pushes his luck by pushing the brick that is the sum of the 6 bricks that opened the door – and dies from the resultant electrical discharge.

Through the door and into a shifting maze of shadowy walls, we persevere and eventually find, yes a gorgeous woman - an amazingly obliging gorgeous woman. VERY hungry for male company after 10 years (er 10 years? Doesn’t she mean 5?) We plunge on in (repeatedly) regardless. Result: five charmed, in love adventures, ready to lay down our lives (and our magical ability) for this wonderful goddess of a woman.

An Angel Amongst Demons

You wouldn’t believe how good ‘The Lady’ is. Instead of immediately killing us all, draining our magical ability and breaking free, this angel amongst demons gave us a chance to help her break out - without dying! She gave us five hours (until the universe drained the ability from us all by itself and resealed for another ten years). If she wasn’t out in five hours, she’d kill us all anyway and escape. To help us, she would give each and every one of us a minor wish – either before or after the escape. She even gave us another minor wish for Rumplestiltskin’s talking pie (which she ate). Of course, that was used to bring the hobbit back from the shocking ‘I’m pushing brick number 543’ experience.

We all thought this was more than fair.

A Puzzle to Solve

So, six minor wishes to gather a shed load of magical ability to give to ‘My Lady’. Humm. If course, we had to wander around and check out the mini-verse (just a haiku really). The exit portal is impervious to our magics, so it is back to brain power (oh dear).

  • Some members decide that one wish could change Dwork to female and multiply/continuously pregnant; another wish could reduce the gestation time to minutes. The orc-ess would then pump out magical aptitude bearing orc infants which My Lady could slaughter and eventually escape. Despite his undying love of the Lady, the orc does not like this idea (it is wrong on so many levels).
  • We um and aw. And then - we um and aw some more.
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  • Finally, Rumplestiltskin uses his wish to wish that we knew how to escape – brilliant (one wish down). From somewhere a plan forms. Use a second wish to temporarily drain all of our magical ability into one adventurer (Zanak – for twenty minutes). My Lady will then kill Zanak and will be able to escape. A third wish will be used to resurrect Zanak. After twenty minutes, the other five of us will come back from our vegetative state – with the blessings of three minor wishes to be shared between us.
You know what? It worked.

As a half of a minor wish we each decide to gain the ability to cast Strength of Stone (Rank 10) - happy adventurers. The Pirate came back as a mind mage - happy pirate. Our beloved Lady is happy too, as she rampages through the sleepy hobbit villagers – slicing and dicing. I guess any survivors will learn the lesson that sometimes you should just let sleeping demons slumber.

Back to Seagate

Eventually we hook up with Rowena (that Alliance Hobbit).

  • Squidlick has tracked down Melody, but she suggests that we head back to Seagate – and possibly gather even more hearty adventures that we are, ‘cos the rescue is going to be tough.

Somewhat confused by that statement, but loaded down with treasure, we had back for some R&R and training.

... The End ...

Administration

Standard Operation Procedures

Marching order
  • Dwork
  • Zanak
  • Falco
  • Rumplestiltskin, Koffi
  • Malco

Treasure

  • 2 x 20HP healing potions (each) (Seagate Guild pity)

Trader Ulna

  • ermine pelt
  • arctic fox pelt

Niblek

  • Butterfly Brooch – turns wearer into a butterfly
  • Pouch of Gems – diamond, ruby, coins

Urax

  • Amulet
  • Pouch of Luck (?)

First Groiki Embassy

  • Portal Ring (Groiki mage)
  • Dance of the 5 Stalks (Dirty Groiki book)
  • Gas Grenadoes, Darts, Short Swords, Shields, Soft while leather armour (Groiki troopers)

Second Groiki Embassy

  • Amulet which enhances amulets
  • Poison container which disguises poisons from detect poisons and DA
  • Flavor disguiser, masks the tastes of poisons
  • Unbreakable lock-pick, which changes shape to an earring, and has a chance of opening a lock instantaneously

Market Purchases

  • Beads of Good Fortune (Falco)
  • Talking Pie (Rumplestiltskin)

Mission to Yalka

  • Groiki communication device (Fisk)
  • Rod of Fireballs (Fisk)
  • Rings x 2 (1 x rune of invisibility)
  • Small pouch (Fisk)
  • Gas Grenadoes (6), Darts, Short Swords, Shields, Soft while leather armour (Groiki troopers)
  • Potion (Fisk?)
  • 1 x 20HP healing potion (each)

Mission to Yill

  • Mana storing item (1 each)
  • Triggered items (x5)

Yillian Market Purchases

  • Book of Purfumes (Melco)
  • Comb to Magically untangle hair (Melco)
  • Vial of No food - don't need food for 2 weeks (Melco)
  • Potion of 'Replay' (Dwork)
  • Needle of Organ Increase - size (Dwork)
  • Cigar of Dreaming - may affect orc metabolism differently (Dwork)

Yillian Catacombs

  • Staff of Undead healing
  • Robes (slightly singed)
  • Archbishop’s Ring – a faded ancient magic
  • Ring of summoning Dire Wolves
  • 2 x non-magical rungs
  • Chest of Magic Containment (contains magic inside) 3x3x1ft
  • Blue Glove – cast touch spells at moderate range
  • Pair of Brown gloves (?)
  • Orb 1 - creeping/galloping madness
  • Orb 2 – Signalling magic, signals one entity (Rigia)
  • Rod – ornate ceremonial rod
  • 8 cylinders of soul containment (Dwork)
  • Rumple’s magical ring

Quotable Quotes

Dwork to Rumplestiltskin ‘lets go see Samantha and unrumple your foreskin’

Possible Adventure Nominations

Smartest
Bravest
  • Falco - taking out two Groiki troopers and two mages, virtually all by himself
Stupidest
  • Rumplestiltskin - giving into greed and trying to steal an amulet off of a live breathing alert trader
  • Melco - lifting the teleport crystal ball and electrocuting half of the party
Best Death