Tempest Rising

Tipping the Scales
Or-- Upstairs, downstairs

c71928f65412d19075e673b3a1e6342c.jpgThe great red troglodyte stepped back from Kallius’ charge and tossed a clear gem over his head and down to melee below. It hit with a thundering force in the middle of our heroes, and left Dremahl trapped within a scintillating bubble. Luix and Boomah were undeterred, and continued their press against the blue lieutenant.

Saerin joined Kallius at the top of the stair and slashed out at the leader. The fiery lizard came to the underdweller’s side and breathed flames at the two before closing. The leader stared into Saerin’s eyes with a magical compulsion, but the ranger shook it off. His heavy black mace came down on the magus, hitting the elf through the magic of his duplicates.

The blue captain sent out a shock wave of electricity and closed on Luix. The two traded blows while Boomah looked for opportunities to drop bombs without injuring his allies. A heavy blow from the troglodyte sent the northerner crashing to flagstones, his life slipping away. Celeste stepped into the fray and brought him back.

Meanwhile, the mesmerized troglodytes defending the wall shook off their stupor and moved in to join the fight. Boomah was fighting toe-to-toe (but far from eye-to-eye) with the captain while Luix swung his flail from the ground. A loud pop sounded as the bubble restraining Dremahl vanished, although no one could see how that happened. He stepped up to try and his allies, hard pressed by the fight.

The scaled priest brought Kallius down with a blow, but was losing ground to the combined attacks of the elves. A healing surge brought Kallius back, but also healed the lizard at the leader’s side.

Boomah got to unleash his bomb at the charging troglodytes, causing a sufficiently fiery blast for the tiny goblin. Luix regained his footing (after much tending buy the priests), and finally brought down the blue, winged warrior.

Saerin was brought to the edge of death, and chose to drop down to the lower level to escape. The fall knocked him out, but the priests were nearby to heal him. A spectacular flashing slash with Kallius’ enchanted and charged rapier leaving a large rent down the creature’s chest, and soon the draconic priest joined his followers in death.

Soon, all that remained was the fire-stoked lizard hulking at the top of the stair. Saerin drank a potion of haste and the healers spent their reserves, as the group moved to face the foe.

In the end, it only took one more blow from Luix’ great flail to snap the creature’s back and put out its fire.

Looking around the scene of blood and mayhem, the party quickly gathered what loot seemed important. Boomah spotted other darker torches burning from across the cavernous plan — indicating that they were not alone.

Menso rejoined the group, and told them that the top level of the pyramid was open from above. Inside the blood-soaked chamber were a series of complex frescoes, and a giant slab table that seemed to have have soaked up the blood spilled on it.

But first they chose to investigate the chamber below. Inside they found a raised dais of black stone, a pallet for the huge lizard, and a large cage. Closer inspection showed a living form inside the prison.

A large metallic disk served as the only lock, and it opened at a touch from the magus. A filthy, frail figure came out, and claimed he was a priest of Nox. The group gathered around him, looking for information…

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Pyramid Power
Or-- How many levels until next level?

ziggurat.jpgUnfortunately, the small elementals at Celeste’s command were not capable of keeping the two aloft, and only offered a brief pause before the elf and the goblin found themselves falling again. But it did give them enough time for Boomah to pull a potion of feather fall and drink it before going splat.

They could see their winged foeman gliding away into darkness as the cave floor loomed up toward them. They landed in a gigantic cavern on a floor of what seemed like work stone, with ruined buildings under a shallow expanse of water.

drill.jpgThe others came down on ropes, and soon the group was reunited. Exploring the cavern, they found the wreckage of the Noian earth-digger crashed into the cave floor. Inside the found four seats and two corpses, with muddy taloned prints around the outer surface.

While they were leaving, Boomah spotted a darkvision flash from a rise across the cavern. They rushed toward and soon saw a four-tiered pyramid rising out of the rubble. Figures were moving about the second tier.

When they closed, a number of troglodytes rained javelins down on them. Four of the foes rolled out a large bellows and sprayed the base of the stairs with some kind of spore cloud.
Boomah raced up the stairs to face the enemy, followed by the magus and the big northman. Suddenly, a number of the troglodytes

Boomah raced up the stairs to face the enemy, followed by the magus and the big northman. Suddenly, a number of the troglodytes stopped attacking and simply stared into space. Assuming this was the work of the wizard Menso, they tuned their attention to those on the other side.

One of the trogs was larger and better armored than the others and led the defense. He slashed at the Boomah, he decided to find safer ground higher up. With his magical enhanced speed, he raced up the stairs, only two find two winged troglodytes coming out of a passage under the stairs.

The others fought bravely and eventually Luix brought down the frog leader on the lower level. Menso vanished from sight, but a lightning flash scorching the fascinated trogs led the group to believe he was still around.

Boomah ran from the duo and found another passage around the corner of the ziggurat. He ran inside and saw a richly appointed chamber with a large cage, but before he could investigate further he noted a large fiery lizard rising from a pallet.
Once again he ran, chased bty the lizard.

The others were working their way through the foes, slowly lowering the number of defenders. Dremahl climbed the stairs to provide aid to the wounded, and Celest worked her powers from the base of the pyramid.

Above them all, a towering, red-winged troglodyte urged on his defenders, and cast spells down on our heroes. Boomah rushed up from behind the leader and raced down the stairs to join his comrades. Seeing this, the other winged enemy from above — who turned out to be the blue-tinged leader from the mine above— used his stunted wings to drop down on the goblin to put and end to his mischief once and for all.

Kallius, in turn, raced up the stairs to face down the leader.

With the stakes higher than ever, we called it a night.

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It's in the hole!
Or-- Can elves fly?

Center-of-the-Earth-1000.jpegFollowing the battle in the passage, our heroes hunkered down in a dead-end passage and tried to get some rest. The warriors stood watch while the arcanists slept, and even the prirsts managed to get some rest as the afternoon and night passed above.

Celeste awoke startled, as if from a nightmare, but seemingly had no ill effects.

Noises from the down the echoing passage reached the group, and they sent the goblin and the ranger to check. As the crept back toward the mouth they spotted a group of troglodytes guarding the shaft that dropped down into darkness.

The returned to the party to strategize, and it was decided to have Menso dimension door a group into the hidden tunnel, and come out and fireball them from behind.

This was done, and the underdwellers soon found themselves surrounded. Warriors charged from both sides, and blade and spell made short work of the defenders.

The armored leader, now aware that this must be the group that had caused the carnage elsewhere in the mine, leaped into the hole to escape.

Kallius jumped, sliding blindly into the hole and jolting the warrior with his electric blade. Boomah followed, as did Saerin. The ranger, however, wrapped himself in a rope and gave one end to Luix before disappearing into darkness.

The winged trgolodyte tried to push away from the magus and the two tumbled down the increasingly steep hole. Boomah tried to control his slide but failed, and tumbled down behind them..

The magus stayed focused on the enemy, ignoring the fall and shocking the enemy again. The passage opened up and the two found themselves plummeting through open air in the darkness. Unlike the captain, Kallius does not have wings.

Saerin maintained control of his slide, and Luix wisely tied off his own rope to the ranger’s —extending its range. Boomah tried to drink a potion of levitate, slipped, and splashed its contents along the wall.

Finding himself in mid-air, Kallius tried to grapple the winged captain, and failed as well, continuing his plummet into darkness.

Celeste summoned a small air and told it to ‘catch’ her allies. It managed to grab the goblin as he dropped into the void. Boomah then cast adhesive spittle to stick the magus before he went splat.

Saerin, meanwhile, is hanging by a rope at the end of a tunnel, firing arrows at the fleeing draclodyte captain.

Celeste summoned another elemental, commanding this one to ‘fetch’. It swooped down to the strange gooey mass in mid-air, and we called it a night.

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Winning; whipped and weary
Or -- That which does not kill you, gives you XP

3LuPMVE.jpgThe lizards both pounced on Luix, dragging him down. Dremahl ran to his rescue and used his healing to keep death from consuming him. Kallius focused on the leader, channeling his remaining magic into his blade.

The black leader lashed out with his whip, which seemed a living thing. It struck Saerin, and its barbs tried to leech his strength from him.

Meanwhile, the wizard Menso cast an illusory wall to keep the enemies away — unaware of the group coming up from behind. Celeste summoned an obscuring mist to cover her escape, and moved away from javelin-tossing foes. Menso cast a spell, but between the darkness and mist, it was unclear what it was.

Slowly, the warriors beat back the lizards and isolated the winged troglodyte leader. To the end he fought, but he could not withstand their combined assault.

When our heroes returned to the illusion-blocked passage, they found one barely living troglodyte and several more that had apparently been strangled.

Bloodied but unbowed, they gathered what they could from the fallen. The leader was wearing an ancient suit of enchanted hide armor, his whip that rotted before their eyes, and three more of the strange wire-wrapped stones— ruby, sapphire, and gold. He also had a sealed bag of dried spores.

The others carried no wealth, but all were equipped with multiple oiled bags of strange molds and fungus. The group had earlier experimented with a healing poultice in a similar container, so they kept them.

With little strength and even less magic in reserve, the group decided it would be wise to try and rest. They moved past the night-black opening in the passage toward the dimly lit further corridors. There they found a few salamander-breath fueled lamps that had not been destroyed by the troglodytes and decided to hole up here.

Leaving the warriors to guard, and the priests to wait for dawn, the arcane-powered members of the group sought much-needed sleep. It is unclear at this point whether they will be any…

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Tunnel of blood
Or-- Troglo-bite!

latest2.jpgThe party moved into a side passage, as the noise of a gathering group behind them grew. Boomah peaked from the corner, and saw several troglodytes sneaking up on their position. One even launched a javelin at the goblin before he pulled his melon back.

In response, he tossed a smoke bomb down the passage and relinquished the front rank to Luix. A horrible stench suddenly spewed down the tunnel, and Saerin was sickened before the attack began. A dark lizard lashed out at Luix from the ceiling of the tunnel, surprising him in the darkness.

Dremahl cast light on a small object and tossed it into the opening. Another small lizard ran out of the smoke and scooped it into his mouth, trying to return the passage to darkness.
Boomah threw a fiery bomb at the approaching mob of trogs, shedding light in the tunnel. He was then engulfed in a swirling mass of teeth that appered around him. The wizard Menso filled the tunnel with a fireball, scorching several foes and lightly burning Kallius — clearing the remaining smoke.
Boomah ran down the passage to avoid the swarming fangs, and came up short as the tunnel was ripped open by a rough shaft angling downward into darkness. He kept his distance, but the light-stealing lizard scurried away down the shaft.

The swarming teeth drifted to the nearest living thing and began attacking troglodytes as well as party members. Kallius stepped up and color sprayed a group of foes, leaving them blinded and stunned.

Luix and Saerin slashed away at the massed trogs, while Dremahl and Celeste did their best to keep everyone standing.

With the smoke blasted away. One dark, winged troglodyte stood behind the group. It whistled and two hulking lizards came out of the darkness to join it.

Soon after, they punched on Luix, tearing at him with claws and teeth. The troglodyte leader moved forward and sent out a wave of black acid in all directions. The front ranks were stung, and a wounded troglodyte went down howling.

Meanwhile, Celeste became aware of a small group of troglodytes trying to sneak up the passage behind her. Spotted, they sent a volley of javelins toward her and prepared to do battle.

With friends and enemies scattered across the battlefield, we called it a night.

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Enemy Mine
Or-- Getting the shaft

big_thumb_45b81cf1e211412d14778209c1da2c07.jpgOur heroes began investigating their fallen enemies. Kallius identified the leader’s enchanted chain and falchion, but was unsuccessful in figuring out the stone around his necks. The others only had personal effects, and each carried a foul-smelling bag of rich loam and fungus.
Meanwhile, Boomah was scouting down the mining passages while his magical enhancements lasted. He found several side tunnels and obviously inhabited areas, but came across no enemies.

After his invisibility faded and he lowed back to normal speed, he checked out the last passage. Creeping silently down the passage, he stumbled onto a large subterranean lizard which had also been hiding in the darkness. He fled back to the group, with the lizard snapping at his heels.

Kallius rushed up to face the monster, and Boomah sprinted past to safety. Saerin and Luix followed in, with the freshly blooded Dremahl supporting them. The lizard dropped from the wall it was clinging to and lashed out at the enemies surrounding it. When the magus struck with a vicious blow, it let out a howling scream that was answered from further down the passage. Three small lizards rushed out of the shadows and sunk their tiny teeth into the elf.
The trio maintained focus of the largest enemy and it soon fell under their combined attacks. When she she dropped, the small lizards panicked and fled. The group chose not to follow and returned to the entry hall.

There was a wooden partition over the western cavern with a door set into it. Saerin and Boomah teamed up to pick the lock, and they soon found themselves in a looted store room stinking of trog and death. They found some dry goods, mining gear and a primitively constructed cage. Inside they discovered the corpse of a crippled human, who had been there for a couple days.

They quickly moved on to the other side, and defeated that lock as well. The partition wall had been often been pulled back before, and there were gouges in the rough stone from its movement. Inside, they found stabling for the riding lizards but no actual beasts.

They left it behind and returned to the passage that held the fiery draconic leader. They heard nothing, and sent the alchemist and ranger ahead to scout. They came upon a Y-passage, but the rails only continued on the left. Following up, they soon found a large machine mounted atop the end of a long, straight rail. It smelled of salamander breath and had venting tube up to the roof of the passage. Kallius determined that the machine was designed to build up pressure and release it in a powerful blast.

Following the straight rail, they moved up the passage, disregarding smaller side tunnels on the left. The rail ended in a ragged crack in the tunnel wall— and a crater into darkness. As our heroes discussed what to do next, they started hearing quiet scraping and muffled movement. Fearing a mass assault from creatures in the side tunnels — they retreated to a tunnel on the far side of the passage to wait.

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Scaly Sequel
Or-- do burning troglodytes smell even worse?

261391_1225748463_large.jpgWhen our heroes defeated the cavern’s defenders, they tried to heal and recover as quickly as they could. But it was only a few moments before they could hear a rising roar from the passage that the flaming troglodyte leader had fled down. Using the lens, they could see a group of living things approaching from behind some kind of ore-carrying rail cart, and the scent of salamander breath was in the air.

The group scattered, and the cart rumbled into the center of the cavern. When it hit the end of the rail it tumbled over and exploded. It was followed by a number of troglodytes in armored kilts and huge clubs. They were quickly met by our heroes and combat ensued. Boomah saw his flaming bomb strike the enemies without effect, and quickly slipped to the rear of the action.

While the battle raged, the smoldering red-scaled troglodyte leader emerged from the passage. Kallius closed and delivered a shocking grasp with his rapier. One by one the troglodytes fell— even Dremahl was swinging in the fray, and in the end our heroes dropped them all.

Without immediately threatening enemies, the group took a closer look at their fallen foes. The trio warriors had little more than raw gold ore and personal trinkets, but the leader’s armor and massive falchion were both enchanted and of an extremely archaic design. He also had two large spheres around his neck, one in black only and the other copper.
The group heard nothing, and once again found themselves alone in the dark.

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Mine-crash
Or-- What's behind door number 2.

50.jpgAfter defeating the strange hybrid insects, our heroes stopped to take note of three large shapes in the courtyard of the mine below. They appeared to be armored humanoids with tails atop gigantic lizards. Saerin stayed out to scout while the others tried to get some rest. Soon, another evenlarger lizard came out of the darkness-shrouded entry, and the quartet padded off to the west.

After the moonset, a small number of other tailed creatures came out and crawled around the courtyard, but he could not get a closer look. By morning, they had gone inside, and the riders had not returned.

The group went down at first light to check out the scene, and found fresh clawed tracks in the dust. Kallius believed them to be troglodyte tracks, which jibed with the stench that Boomah smelled in the camp a few nights past.

The defensive gate over the mine opening seemed to be held fast, and the group was stymied at first at how to get through. They tried pulling, digging, and of course burning to no avail. Then they struck on the idea of using a potion of tongues to speak with a summoned elemental, and send it under the door to release the bar.

Celeste instructed the small earthen creature to do just that, and it dissolved into the ground. Moments later, the sounds of confusion, clashing weapons. and a heavy wooden thud were heard inside — followed by silence.

Luix heaved at his side of the door and it moved, balanced expertly on some kind of counter-weight. Saerin rushed inside to hold the opening, and could see shadowy figures moving about the darkened cavern. Then it all went black again as magical darkness descended.
Javelins were hurled from the shadows along with spells, and the elves charged into the fray. Luix pulled back into the daylight, and waited for Dremahl to dispel the darkness before rushing back in.

Saerin took blows from all sides, but bravely held the line. Kallius cast mirror image and avoided many a heavy hit that way. The group pushed in among the crates and ore bins in the entry and took the fight to the lizard men, who were quickly reinforced by warriors coming in from side corridors. One was a menacing winged creature in archaic looking armor.
Once it came close, it seethed out a cloud of smoke, embers and fiery cinders damaging everything in its range. Menso struck it and its comrades with lightning, but it did not fell any of the enemies.

A swirl of insects started to gather in the center of the cave, but as soon as it coalesced into a swarm, Boomah breathed fire and scorched them all. The others focused on the winged leader, who was quickly pressed.

Two of his companions threw smokesticks into the melee, and he fanned the smoke with his wings to cover his escape. The last few troglodytes hiding in the shadows came forward — as if they had no choice. While their leader disappeared down a back passage, the last few held off the party. One by one they fell, and soon our heroes found themselves alone in the mine entrance waiting to see what what might happen next…

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Creepy Crawlers
Or-- Don't let the bed bugs bite

latest.jpgLooking for a place to rest the night, our heroes made their way up the rocky slopes of the mountain. They picked up a narrow trail, and soon saw a spindly tower overlooking the peak.

Even though they had found a reinforced cave entrance that promised rest and relative safety, they moved to the summit before the light faded for the day. From the top of the abandoned wooden spire, Boomah and Luix could see far and wide across Malabar. To the north they could see the crowded harbor of Wytchport and the lands they had just traveled. And to the west, they saw plumes of smoke rising from several burning ships moored at a river delta.

Searen told them that this was a commonly used pirate meeting place, and the group decided that the new authorities had decided to ‘clean up’ the area.

Seeing no pressing dangers, the group returned to the previously discovered cave. Boomah scouted out the small cavern, and found several cracks and fissures in the back. However, they did not provide even his small frame much room to move, so they decided not to worry overmuch.

They piled up stones to block as much of the opening as they could and set up watch. Fairly soon after sunset, Luix and Kallius could hear chirping echoing in the cavern. Too loud to be normal insects, they began to investigate. The magus turned invisible and climbed outside.

Almost immediately, to dog-sized insects covered in mushrooms scrambled over the rocks into the cave. At the same time, several more burst out of small passages and attacked the group.

Sleepy adventurers were startled awake by vicious bites and shouting comrades. Menso could not shake the beats atop him and flailed wildly trying to cast spells at it. Others jumped up, grabbed weapons and fought back. Celeste stayed on the ground, channeling healing power and rolling to where she was needed.

The huge insects proved poisonous as well as dangerous, sapping the strength and vitality of those they bit. The small cave was filled with sounds of combat and the scent of blood, but our heroes soon prevailed.

The last fungal crawler (as they were called) leaped past Kallius and Dremahl — vanishing into the brush. They found themselves once again alone on the small landing high in the Gilt range hills. Dremahl chanced to look down, and noticed the movements of something very large in the courtyard of the Cervo mine below.

But with two healers, they poured in more hit points than I could take out. Joe miscounted a selective channel and raised a crawler from the dead, which is the third time that has happened to Oakley.Funny.

At the end of the fight, the last bug jumped into the darkness. Three PCs ended up outside, and in the light of two full moons one noted movement of something large down in the courtyard of the mine. We called it there.

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Rubble Recon
Or-- Ding dong ditch

mine-exterior.jpgWith the ogres defeated, our heroes coaxed the goblins down from their perch atop the broken mine elevator.

After some posturing (and elf-baiting) the goblins explained that they had been mine slaves with the ogres. They had been locked in a pit one night when they heard crashing and violence above. No one came for them in the morning, and it took two more days to convince the ogres to try and escape. The brutes forced their way out of the pit, and found their masters had vanished, leaving behind wreckage and slaughtered pack animals. After a night’s hike they found this abandoned mine and decided to hole up.

The group dug through the ogres’ possessions, finding some roughly smelted gold and a few other odds and ends. A strangely secure rope led Boomah to descend into the mine shaft and extract a small bag that the goblins ‘accidentally’ dropped in there.

They found a few treasures, and a metal box inscribed with nine-pointed stars. It was locked and trapped, but they quickly defeated these protections and found two magic tokens carved like feathers, a wand, and a potion bottle. They claimed these, but offered to split the remaining valuables with the goblins.

After a meal of roasted mule shank, the group’s separated and the party made their way up the winding trail toward the Cervo mine.

It was late afternoon when they came up the rough wooden palisade of the mine, and could see lines of wispy smoke. The gate had been forced out from within and swung lazily in the summer breeze.

They stealthily moved into the courtyard and soon discovered very little was left standing. The bunkhouse, offices, and smelter had been thoroughly ravaged and there was little more than foundations left standing. Carefully peering into the wreckage, they noted some of the heavy timbers had been pockmarked by acid as well scorch by flame. They also discovered tracks of clawed feet of different sizes roaming in and around the open space.

Many of these tracks led into the fortified gate of the mine itself, which seemed to be undamaged by whatever violence had taken place outside. It was also shut solid, and the few openings in its bulk were shuttered.

Rather than risk disturbing whatever was behind the barricade, the group chose to fall back, find a hiding place in the rocks above the mine, and rest.

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