Tempest Rising

Looking for Trouble
Or-- Goblin Trap Detector

550px-Gelatinous_cube.jpgWith danger at least temporarily averted, our heroes dug through the rubble of a small hut torn to pieces by the spidery creatures. In the broken remains of what seemed to be Menso’s personal effects, they found a wand and a large leathery bag with a sealed brass enclosure covered in strange runes.

Giving the party a little distance, Boomah tore open the seal to see what was in the bag. A small swarm of black scorpions trust out of the opening and began to sting the goblin mercilessly. He fled, rapidly outpacing the tiny vermin and they were destroyed from range.

The bag contained arcane scrolls to be used against good creatures and a strange spell called memorize page.

Returning to the entry to wizard’s lab, they used summoned sacrificial ponies to defeat its guarding glyphs. The lab showed signs of a hazy departure, and the ancient wizard’s spell book and much of Menzo’s notes were gone. Boomah tried to slide the remaining articles into his bag when one scroll leaped into the air and wrapped itself around his face.

They circled the little alchemist but could not get the scroll to stop smothering him. Dremahl commanded the creature to fall, and with it temporarily still, they shredded it. Boomah buried the pieces in separate locations (and kept a few) to ensure it would not come back and haunt him.

They moved through an empty hallway apparently dug by magical means, and found an empty cell where Menso kept some of his more unruly creations.

Then they came to a storeroom filled with old wreckage, with but two glass cases still in good repair. The noted that they radiated necromantic magic and contained biological samples, including blue and red dragon scales. The other contained several jars with some kind of swirling fluid, and a large steel box radiating conjuration magic.

The curious goblin opened the box, freeing a gelatinous cube that had been stuffed into an extra-dimensional space. He tumbled free, and the party fled down the hallway.

They waited for it to come at them, but it instead it decided to stay and eat the samples laid out for it. Seeing it eat their booty, they attacked it in earnest until at last it dissolved, leaving them only damaged dragonhide for their trouble. 

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Judge Dreadful
Or-- Disobedience is fundamental

675645_orig.jpgFollowing a night in a cave, while chaos raged over the misty vale, our heroes decided to return and see what took place.

Entering the misty cleft, they came across a number of spider corpses, Menzo’s ankeg hybrids and other strange creatures. They found the dead behir aberration and noted that it had been slashed by something with long blade-like edges, not spider bites.

And, its head was removed.

Nearby, they saw that the dark entrance to wizard laboratory was strangely clear of violent remains. Closer inspection showed a hemisphere of dead spiders surrounding the doorway in a 5’ arc. Boomah set about removing pieces from the behir, while others inspected the area magically. Saerin looked for tracks of other creatures.

While most of the party was otherwise engaged, the ranger saw a number of hobbit-sized spiders lurching toward him from the mists. He shouted in time to catch them before they overran the party.

He and Kallius took the front, while Boomah stepped back for fire support. Another wave of spiders came on, and the ranger noted a large darkly shining spider with four eyestalks appear from the shadows of a ruined building. It charged, and nearly froze his limbs when its eyes locked on him.

Warriors and spiders were clashing, and Celeste summoned a lantern archon to join the attack. The otherworldly spider stayed behind, and tried to freeze the ranger with its eye rays again— and failed. Celeste sent her minion to attack it, and the tiny outsider refused. She demanded to know why, and it said that it could not attack, as it was not for its kind to raise arms against it. Again, she asked why and it said that it was ‘fundamental’.

More spiders charged and were slain nearly as quickly as they appeared, but not without inflicting damage on our heroes. The priests were diligently working to stem the tide and keep the front rank fighting. 

The strange central spider suddenly launched forward, scuttling up the canyon wall and biting the magus from above. Its mandibles dug deep, and he was wrapped in its cruel embrace.

The others were still fighting off spiders as the beast backed up the wall, unleashing its full fury on the elf. Dremahl managed to jump up and heal the elf, keeping death at bay for a bit longer.

The creature moved even further up the cliff, out of reach of the group, and continued its attacks on the magus. Boomah swallowed his infusion, ran up to the ranger, grabbed him about the waist, and levitated up the monster’s level. Saerin channeled all of his energy into a single blow, splitting the beat in two. Rather than merely dying, it it seemed to break at the seams and dissolve into nothingness.

They quickly dispatched the last couple spiders, and reviewed the situation. Celeste wanted to know what the archon meant by “fundamental”, and the archon postulated that it was part of the fabric of the universe. Yes, it was older than dragons, but not as old as gods. When pressured for more information, the overtaxed outsider burst burst into a shower of sparks.

Boomah pulled out the dragon figurine and asked it about the spider-beast. It said that it was a lesser servant of beings called the Weavers of Fate, and that they were the enforcers of the laws of nature. Laws that they interpreted themselves.

They asked if mingling mortal and dragon blood was against those laws, and it said while many claim it is not possible, it is merely extremely difficult and rare. And yes, probably seen as breaking the laws of nature. 

They decided to explore the ruined hut before trying to breach the wizard’s workshop.

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Battling Behirs II
Or-- will the third verse be the same as first?

__electric_wyvern___by_sangheili117-d6l4qp8.pngGathered on the rune-carved stone at the mouth of the vale, our heroes reconsidered their alliance with the wizard Menso. They decided that he could not be trusted, and must be dealt with once for all. So they resolved to rest, and strike out at dawn to put an end to this menace.

They could hear the flapping of great wings above them in the mists so they doubled up on watches. Almost as soon as he fell asleep, Boomah had a dream, and awoke shouting that they must go now.

The others questioned this change of plans, but the goblins plea of “lady says go, we go!” convinced them.

They traveled only a few hundred feet before a lightning bolt hits Kallius from the sky. They see a blue shape in the mist, but have no real means of targeting, so they keep running.

It fires again, hitting Saerin. They keep running, hoping to escape the mists. Soon it is thinning, but another blue monstrosity charges out at the ranger. While they turn to face it, the flying shadow sends more lightning down on the priests. A;also struck, Kallius goes downbut manages to cling to life.

They realize that the beast on the ground is a simulacra of the original monstrosity, and combine their attacks on it. It cannot withstand their assault and collapses into a heap of alchemically animated flesh.

The flying behir descends on Kallius in a rage, demanding the filthy dragon blood stay dead. He falls again, but Dremahl and Celeste combine to keep him among the living.

Seeing the group collect around it, the beast decides to take flight.  But before it can get too high, Celeste strikes it with an oracle curse that makes it go blind. They manage to hit it with a few arrows as it wings clumsily away without its sight.

Our heroes continue out of the vale, following the goblin’s warning. Several minutes later they hear the crack of lightning back in the cleft. A tumult is heard in the distance as the group hurries on looking for a place to hide. They find a cave to hide out in, committed to going back in them morning and killing whatever is left.

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Wizard on the Wing
Or-- Misty Mountain Hop

Screen_Shot_2016-07-26_at_10.25.07_AM.pngNot wanting to give any enemies’ any more time to prepare, our heroes set of immediately into the misty crack in the canyon wall. But they did not get very far into the mists before they heard the sound of wings above them,. Then they saw a white-haired figure descending. It was Menso.

They allowed him to land, and he welcomed him to his vale. Keeping some distance, he explained that this place and the notes he ‘received’ from the party has opened the gates of a new world, and ultimate power if they would only help him.

All he wanted was their blood. Kallius’ and Celeste’s blood to be specific. He told them that the ancient wizard Sciao Si’ang spent his life trying to unite dragon and humanoid blood— to combine dragons’ power with our free will. He may not have succeeded, but somehow the oracle and the magus’ had done it naturally.

Boomah, suspicious but eager to gain dragon power, noticed that there was somethin off about the wizard. In fatc, it was not the wizard at all!

The goblin told him so. The simulacra confessed that he thought they would try and murder him, hence the precaution.

Kallius refused to just hand over his blood to wizard, so he, Boomah, and Dremahl went to his lab to test the theory. Deeper in the valley, they were greeted by the real Menso, with unnaturally grafted bat wings on his back, and huge taloned claws where his hands once were.

They entered the ancient wizard’s cavern, and saw the stolen notes along with several annotated sheets and other equipment. Boomah tried to read Menso’s notes, but saw they were written in a cipher.

Menlo took an ankheg larva from a nearby tank, and injected it with Kallius’ blood along with other ingredients and performed a ritual. The ankheg turned a burning red, got very hot, and exhaled a small gout of fire. Satisfied with the result, he swiftly the stabbed the poor creature and left it for later dissection.

Meanwhile, the others tried to explore the valley on their own, and Luix was struck by lightning from the behir abomination circling above. They reconsidered.

In the end, the groups rejoined and were left to rest in the valley. The were told not to explore beyond the entrance to the lab, or to cross the river. They were also warned that ankhegs were breeding in the caves on the cliff wall, and to be careful. All good, they said, and settled in to sleep.

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A standup fight, or another bug hunt?
Or-- Attack of the protected intellectual property

hqdefault.jpgThe morning after the bat attack, our heroes woke in the mongrels’ camp. Celeste and Dremahl used their healing powers to purge the leprosy from infected creatures. Müt used her summoned minions to drag the filthy corpses farther from the village.

While she appreciated their aid, the leader believed that the bats were hunting for the party, and their presence was a danger to her tribe. So our heroes set off for the vale of the Pale Mother.

They traveled down the main branch of the Faelit river for several hours. They came across a clearing that looked it had been torn up by some mighty force. Trees had been uprooted and holes were everywhere. A quick search revealed no obvious cause of the damage, so our heroes gave the area a wide berth.  

Later they came across a stream with strange mists rising from it. It radiated only faint magic, and they considered avoiding it as well. Remembering that the Pale Mother’s valley was filled with mists, they reconsidered and pushed up the stream.

Finally, they followed the stream up toward the valley wall, and came to a rent in the cliff wall filled with swirling mists. The river poured out of the cleft. They searched around for tracks and found nothing.

The gathered closer together and moved into the mist. As it closed about them, Saerin felt a strange rumbling beneath his feet. He shouted a warning as the earth gave way and large clawed hands tore loose and surrounded the party.

The burrowers turned out to be squat insect-aspected biped with long claws and terrible mandibles. Between their segmented eyes laid two disturbing human-like eyes that seemed to draw them into madness.

The ranger’s warning gave them a chance to prepare and attack the brutes as they burst from the ground. The mists complicated the struggle, as the creatures would get lost in the haze. Battle was joined, and the creatures soon felt our heroes’ steel. Celeste cast sanctuary and stepped around the slashing creatures to share her healing powers.

Mantis-copy2.pngThe party was holding their own against the brutes, when they heard the beat of wings in the mist. Peering through the haze, the saw two large winged creatures, similar to the brutes on the ground but much more reminiscent of the ankhegs within the Gilt Hall caves. The flyers spit a volley of acid down into the fray.

Boomah managed to entangle one of the flyers with alchemical loogies, and hampered its flight. They were not the most gifted in flight and stayed close to the party, within their range.

Try as they might, the four-eyed mysteries fell one by one to the party, The last of the flying creatures dropped int take out the magus, who turned the full power of his magic against it. The creature did not prevail.

tumblr_o6k7ywJKKC1qeqf5oo1_500.jpgWith the the enemies defeated, our heroes turned to face the misty vale before them.

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Wings of the Storm
Or-- Clerics without Borders

b6_1_.jpgOur heroes accepted the hospitality of the misshapen Müt and her mongrel tribe. She told them that the valley has always been plagued by strange creatures, and they assumed they were birthed by Pale Mother. But for the past couple weeks there have been a real influx of insect-aspected dangers. In fact, an entire hunting party of warriors vanished with in the past week.

A thunderstorm came up in the middle of the night, and shook the crowded hut. Boomah thought he heard a scream, but no one else heard a thing. He stuck his head out to look, and saw a man-sized creature fall from the sky and crash to the ground. Two other creatures scurried over to it. Boomah woke the chieftain, who told him not to worry, and that her people patrolled the village by night.

But then he saw a large winged creature swoop down and slash one of the creatures. Shockingly, they both doubled over afterward as the dark shadow flapped away.

Saerin clambered out of the hut and saw several dark shapes in the stormy sky. He started firing his bow, and was swarmed by filthy, vermin-infested bats nearly his own size. One screeched and put fear deep into out heroes, but only the magus Kallius fell victim to its cry.

Luix followed out, and the two faced several fly-by attacks. Kallius soon joined them, and one of the beasts crashed to the ground at his feet. It was only temporarily dazed, but he took advantage of the moment to slash mercilessly.

The bats turned away from our heroes and started tearing into huts, Müt called lightning, as well as a swarm of bats. The others fired ranged weapons and charged ones they could.

By the time the beasts were defeated, many members of the tribe had been infected by the diseases carried by the filth-ridden bats.

They healed what they could, and agreed to leave after healing more in the morning.

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Monkey business
Or-- Monkey see-- monkeys do

minecraft_witch_hut_by_algoinde-d8zs657.pngRealizing they were being spied on by a monkey, our heroes debated their next course of action. They decided that if it was under the sway of evil, it was too late to stop it, so they chose to leave it be. And they badly needed rest.

In the morning, rather than a hidden monkey, they found a chimpanzee sitting quietly on the edge of their camp. They quickly decided it was friends with the monkey.

They made peaceful contact, but were unable to communicate beyond basic sign language. But they agreed to follow it (and the several dozen attendant monkeys in the trees).

They were led to a clearing with a wide pool feeding a stream. They quickly became aware that there were other things hiding at the edge of the woods. Suddenly, there was a surge of bubbles and a creature emerged from the pool. It looked like sahuagin in its head and chest, but the lower half was covered in wet fur and clawed feet.

Sadly, they could not speak its language either, and Saerin used his magic to speak with the chimpanzee, who in turn communicated with the mongrel sea devil.

The ranger assured them they were peaceful, and that they were hunting the wizard Menso. He added that they also sought to destroy the flying lightning-hurling lizard.

The odd creature weighed this information, and conveyed that they should make a sacrifice to prove their sincere intent.

The group had many opinions about how to make this ‘sacrifice’, and Boomah even offered to cut his hand and bleed for them. The chimp suggested that perhaps he would move the blade to his chest as a more worthy sacrifice. The goblin refused the suggestion.

They decided to offer up the dragon statuette as a token of real value to them, and the creature accepted. Then, a raised hut appeared on the edge of the clearing that did not appear to be there just moments ago.

Inside the shadowy hut, our heroes met the mongrel shaman Müt. The elderly creature seemed to have command of the common tongue, and claimed that here tribe had been in the vale for a very long time. Before the flood. Before the invaders. Before the humans. But not before the Pale Mother.

This Pale Mother was some kind of god to them, who had once nurtured the tribe before they failed her and she turned her back on them. But she was not even the first in the valley, for the creature claimed that was he who came before.

The group noticed the symbol of the legendary wizard Sciao Si’ang carved on the hearth, and Müt said that it was the sign of he who came before.

She seem to indicate that they no little of him, and that he was indeed gone (not surprising, being that he was known to live at least 1800 years ago). Pale Mother did survive, but she was in a mist-shrouded vale that her people did not visit.

Her people were aware of the flying lizard, but no one had seen a wizard pass. But there was a hunting party that completely vanished more than a week ago, that may have come in contact with the stranger.

And that the lizard had been seen near the vale of the Pale Mother.

She returned the dragon statue to our heroes, but could offer little more assistance to them. She offered hospitality to them, as the night had fallen and the forest was dangerous at the best of times.

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Nightmare on Elm Trees
Or -- A wolf in sleep's clothing

weeping_wolf_by_sandara-d8he06n.jpgSearching about the swamp where the undead horrors rose, our heroes discovered a few items of enchantment and interest. First was a black banner of the Baorn, which held the power to raise those sworn to it from the dead in its defense. Learning that, Boomah decided that it must be shredded. and the pieces burned. And those ashes scattered.

They also found a chain from a siege engine that had survived the flooding in good repair, and seemed magical as well. And a sodden chest filled with the silver dining service of the now-defunct House-Aparo.

Leaving the field of battle, they traveled the rest of the day. Luix swore he saw a monkey eyeing him from the trees, but no one else saw the creature. As evening fell and they started to make camp, and he saw the monkey again. This time, others were aware that it was a monkey, but saw little of menace in it. They did move camp away from the monkey, and up against the sheer side of the valley.

During the first watch, the priest and ranger heard a nightmarish howling, followed by farther answering howls.

They woke the barbarian, and waited. After a few minutes the howls got very loud and a multi-eyed acid-dripping wolf stepped into the clearing. Its horrifying appearance unnerved all who saw it, but they stood steadfast against it. Luix charged, and smashed it with the flail. It struck back - tearing his flesh with teeth and caustic acid- and knocked him to the forest floor. A second nightmarish wolf came from the other side and engaged the ranger.

After that, three smaller wolves rushed out of the brush. The swift attacks of the wolfish horrors continually threatened to trip our heroes, and kept the healers busy stemming the flow of blood.

Boomah fired the fallen to stop them from rising. Kallius, flanked by illusory doubles, struck with his enchanted rpaier, searing the beast with electricity as well as his keen blade.

Luix fell, and only his faith kept him in this world, but in the end the monsters were defeated Our heroes stood against a cliff wall surrounded by burning acid-dripping wolf corpses.

While being watched by a monkey.

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Roiling the Bones
Or-- Zombie whack-a-mole

eeda6b03efcb78b59d0c7d2b1e624094.jpgSetting out toward where they saw smoke, our heroes made their way down the valley. The wind continued to howl with strange voices and the mists formed strange shapes, but did not impede their passage.

Saerin led the way, and Boomah followed close behind. Several hours into the march, the ranger broke through something solid in a marshy field. It opened a cavity and unleashed a horrible stench, and the water around their feet started swirling.

They saw a small rise nearby and stared making their way toward it, when the water started to form a column. Closer note showed that the column was filled with shards of bone and other rotted body parts.

The ground they ran across was littered with bones, and their shape edges and muddy surrounding slowed the group’s progress. The column expanded until it was a swirling whirlwind of bones, mud and debris.

The warriors charged, but their weapons had no effect on the entity. It swallowed Dremahl, and the priest had difficulty acting within the swirling maw.

Boomah repeated fired bombs at it, which seemed to do it harm, and Kallius’ magic had only intermittent effect. Celeste channeled the power of Methys, which tore great rents in the tower.

While most of the party tried to get clear of the fiendish presence, the priests assaults and magical fire eventually broke they thing back into piles of bones.

But before they could celebrate their victory, several other areas in the marsh began to bubble. Misshapen heaps of bone and mud began to rise and lurch toward our heroes. Luix smashed the first with his flail, sending it back to the mud. Only to watch it slowly reform and renew its attack.

The group could outpace the shaming dead, but even as they cut them down the monsters would reform. Only divine magic seemed to keep the dead in the ground.

So the group pulled back, and lured the zombies (if that’s what they were) closer together to focus the gods’ power. Boomah raced back and forth trailing fire to corral them. but the mindless horrors walked through the fire as often as they went around.

In the end, the channeled energies of the two priests were sent through all the enemies, returning them to the graves.

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Luix 1, Pugwampi 0
Or-- Down in the valley

vale.jpgLuix had smashed the small creature to the ground, and a stunned silence passed over much of the crowd. Except for the area where Kallius and Saerin were firing into the crowd, and being attacked by spectators.

Their quarry went invisible, and the dazed dwarf flailed wildly at the ranger. And then darkness enveloped the crowd.

Jotahj cried out for order from the lord’s box, and the fighting stopped. Then he ordered the area cleared of all except the our heroes. Celeste tried to explain what they believe happened, and the Mephitan (aka Vietella) connection to Menso and the Vale beyond.

The dwarf was swayed by the evidence, and agreed to open the south gate and defend the land around the dam. He also agreed to reward the party for their efforts.

The next morning they accompanied a troop of guards to the south gate, along with Corbel — who had been placed in charge of the giant’s den caves.

The spent the next night on the landing of the Nuran dam. They said farewell to the dwarf wizard, and set out after the wizard.

The moved through the caves and down into the flooded valley below the broken dam. A summer storm began to blow through the valley, but this one seemed slightly off. When it approached, they wind howled with anguished voices and cries for help could be heard.

The rain burned like acid, and the group fled to a cave for protection. The cave that Saerin found showed evidence of previous occupants, but nothing larger than insects share the space with them.

When the storm passed, they spotted a thin trail of smoke rising above the mist further down the vale. They decided to move toward that spot, and hoped to camp nearby at the end of the day.

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