Tempest Rising

Squeeze Play
Or-- Jam in a Jelly

dc705b7a64d47cc53124768903cde9ac.jpegOur heroes moved quickly from the wall into the mouth of the old Omaro mine. They made it only few steps inside before a fiery trap went off and filled the passage with hot ash and rocks.

Beyond that, they saw little signs of recent habitation. Even the ubiquitous black ooze that ran along the wall and floors seemed to have moved on. They moved through a few empty chambers, and were accosted by a trio of floating, bodiless heads. These undead horrors taunted our heroes, until they returned to the earth with a few well-placed arrows.

Boomah flew swiftly about, keeping an eye for danger. He soon discovered that the massive ooze that had been covering the outer wall had moved into the mine, and completely engulfed the entrance.

Rocketing in the other direction, he saw another massive ooze moving slowly down the other outer passage. Trapped between the two, Luix charged the first and found himself swallowed by the amorphous mass.

The rest of the group threw everything they had at the monster, but it was difficult to harm. Worse, it was drawing on the big warrior’s strength to heal itself.

Boomah kept the other ooze at bay by criss-crossing its path with flames. The black ooze then swallowed the ranger Saerin as well, doubling its healing. The remaining companions pounded away at the thing, slowly draining its power.

As the group’s stock of power was nearly drained, Kallius struck home with his ensorcelled blade and sapped the remaining force that held the creature together.

With another ooze at their backs, and castle yard of enemies before them, our heroes took stock of their options.

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Returning to the Scene of the Crime

creature-lucky_graul_1_.jpgRenewed by a night’s rest, our heroes found themselves at the edge of the wood beyond Bar OMaro. Using the lens, they could see a rippling back substance coating the keep’s walls, and humanoid figures dangling from supports above the reaching black tendrils.

Close inspection saw that some of them still move to defend themselves, although weakly.

The debated the best approach, and then a bloated figure appeared in the keep’s entry. It seemed to be an ogre, but had the sodden, unearthly cast of a creature drowned and dragged back from the dead. A few well-placed arrows checked its advance, and it returned to the shadows of the gate.

Seeking a less challenging entry, they moved around to where the keep met the hillside, near the now-trickling waterfall. They reduced the priests, and used magic to prepare to fly over the wall and into the keep.

Boomah flew over to the wall first to check things out, when a surge of water sent another sodden ogre up into the air and it reached out for the goblin. But not quickly enough, as he sped away from its grasp.

It rapidly climbed the wall and tried again to crush the little alchemist. But Boomah was soon joined by his comrades, and battle was joined.

They defeated the creature, and reviewed their situation. The shining black ooze, flecked with bones, was sliding down the wall toward them. Not eager to engage, they flew down from the parapet and gathered sat the entry to the mine, filled with the stench of goblins and rotted death.

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Let's make a deal
Or-- The devil, the dragon, or what's behind door #2?

contract.pngAfter the winged shadow past over the watch tower, Kallius dropped to the lower level to see if others were affected by its passing. They were not even aware of it, and the blinded goblin refused to even hear the magus out.

As they discussed what might follow from the shadow’s passing, they noted a deep red glowing in the upper reaches of the tower. They prepared for attack as the light grew in radiance and resolved into the form of a bearded devil.

They recognized it was one of the horrors they had released from the Mephitan ship, and demanded to know what brought it there.

They beast asked if they truly thought that it was coincidental that the dragon did not note their presence, and suggested that it was diabolic assistance that kept them alive.

And, it added, that assistance could be continued. They questioned its motives, and it said that the dragon was capturing souls that rightfully belonged it its masters, and they merely wanted to return the situation to its normal state. Kallius said that he wanted protection from the dragon’s fear power, and was willing to negotiate.

The bearded devil vanished, and it was replaced by a tall, well-dressed devilish figure. It explained that Kallius’ danger went far beyond fear, but that is was still willing to assist. The devil offered to remove his soul from his body (for its own safety) until the group could end the draconic threat that was facing the region. It would also provide assistance for the others to fight off the dragon fear.

This offer was also extended to Celeste, who refused it outright. The elf was intrigued, but when he heard that his soul would rendered to the Hells if he ever crossed the threshold of death, he had decline. Boomah, whose soul was rejected by the devil, was offered a ‘commission’ if he could help close the deal. Unfortunately, he could not move them.

Failing to reach an agreement, the devil offered to encourage our heroes’ efforts to defeat the dragons. He would continue to cloak their presence until the dawn after next. After that, the group would be on their own.

After dawn, the priests cured the blinded goblin and they set off toward the castle. They had to break through the perimeter set up by the undead crocodile and the skeletons, but they could not stand long against a rested and prepared party of heroes.

A short march through the marsh, and the party was in sight of Bar Omaro. The walls, in the sun, were strangely dark and shining, and the bodies of living humans could be seen staked out on the parapet.

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House Arrest
Or-- Croc-o-Vile

139a61c5eabe65d674ebe01d4be73d63.jpegOur heroes went through what was left behind when Stormseeker abandoned her body, and found the magical ring that covered her escape, as well as her staff and a bag of masgic-destroying dust. But since they had spent most of their power and Boomah was blinded, they decided to return to the watch tower and rest.

About an hour after they arrived, two undead crocodiles showed up to keep an eye on them. Our heroes stayed put. After a couple more hours, a troop of eight skeletons set up a perimeter around the tower.

Worried that this only going to get worse, they decided to attack the besiegers. Arrows flashed from the doorway and the tower top, and Luix charged to face the first crocodile.

It met him halfway and took a huge bite into him. The nearest skeletons threw spears into the fray. Celeste summoned a couple elementals to give him a hand. Although it was massive and did devastating damage when close, the beast fell under their combined assaults.

With a larger group outside the tower, the other watchers fell back to the tree line. Two of the skeletons were taken out by electric arrows and elementals, and only the they were caught in the explosions.

Thinking that they were being drawn out into danger, they retreated back inside. So the two sides were at a standoff until the sun set.

Late that night, Kallius was on the tower top keeping watch in the wee hours. A darker shadow blotted out the stars above the looming hills and a winged shape swooped toward the tower. He could feel the rush of wind as the great wings hovered high above, and all those on watch had could feel the chill of true dragon fear.

The magus stood strong in the shadow of the dragon, but he nearly lost his grip on the parapet as its power washed over his mind and he felt like his body had become not his body, and his life not his life.

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Reptile Dysfunction
Or-- Getting that dead lizard up

194_Marrow_Chomper.jpegThe party moved to catch up with Kallius, and track down the several fleeing versions of Stormseeker. Boomah rocketed off after the nearest, and when he struck it with a fiery bomb it dissolved into nothing.

Meanwhile, Kallius was surprised to discover a corpse-like centipede crawling top his leg. It reached out to exposed flesh, and the elf could feel his life force being drained away from him. As others came near, they could not get a good shot at the small abomination as it crawled around him.

Boomah flew back to the river, and caught sight of a soaking wet Stormseeker hidden in the reeds by the bank. That was the3 last thing he saw, however, as he was struck blind by her magic

The others were brought up short by loud crashing in the jungle beyond. Then, two monstrous undead lizards burst into the clearing, each with a ghastly goblin harnessed on top.

They turned to face the new enemies, while Kallius delivered a shocking grasp to the centipede that curled around him, frying it.

The goblins lobbed javelins while the two lizards lumbered in to the attack. They were slower than they had been in life, but their claws and teeth were just was powerful.

Blinded Boomah landed safely, but the witch’s magical cackle put him to sleep. The others closed on her and soon she fell to the muddy earth.

One of the gigantic lizards had fallen to the warriors’ blows, when the other turned and fled. It moved surely through the jungle and cleared our heroes’ sought before they could mount a chase.

They stood over the fallen witch and several of her former shadow claw goblins, and considered their options.

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Gobblin' Flesh
Or-- Stormseeker splits

027de3d63dd4dee5b44323c03944a3f9.jpegAfter the archon declared the tower free from enemies and vanished back from where he came, they searched the remainder of the ruins. In its topmost rafters they came upon a clutch of what looked to be eggs, but they did radiate any kind of life. But powerful dark magic.

Boomah threw a fiery bomb into the webs and the eggs burst, each releasing a wave of desecrating energy, but no enemies. They did not concern themselves with the desecration, and spent the night below.

In the pre-dawn darkness, the sound of chopping wood was heard across the forest. Saerin tried to pinpoint its location, but could only determine that it was parallel to the Omaro keep along one of the rivers that poured down from the hills.

Once the sun rose, they made their way toward the continued sound of chopping. Close to the river’s bank, they came upon two zombies attempting to chop down a tree. Saerin charged and quickly dispatched one of the horrors. The noise attracted the attention of others, and it quickly became obvious that several zombie loggers were nearby.

The group gathered in defense, and the area is exploded in lava and ash. This made is difficult to see and move, but everyone stumbled free of the area and did battle.

Above the fray flew the goblin witch Stormseeker, empowering the undead with dark energies. A number of ghastly goblins also emerged fro muddy hiding places, slashing the group with their claws.

Kallius sent a fireball into a group, and Boomah circled the area trailing flames, the zombies were falling fast. The ghosts proved more difficult, but could not stand long against the warriors. Boomah flew up to engage Stormseeker, and set her ablaze with a bomb.

She plummeted into the river to douse the flames, and Kallius rushed over catch her. She stayed underwater, ands tried to fell toward the keep. The magus cast dimension door and intercepted her flight, unleashing an empowered shocking grasp when she came close.

The electricity crackled and she went rigid, but then suddenly split into four versions of herself. Each one of these Stormseekers burst out of the stream and rushed off in a different direction.

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Kill bugs dead
Or-- Raid

14988968.jpgWith the unearthly fog dissipated, our heroes searched for other dangers. Boomah, with his feet ablaze and wings flapping, moved into a chamber on the second floor. A voice from the darkness suggested he extinguish those pesky flames, and he obliged.

While the others came up the stairs to follow, one of the doors was ripped open and several odd spiders rushed out. They seemed to be the desiccated husks of giant spiders with each of their eyes burned out. Their attacks hit home but did not poison him in the usual manner. Instead, a cold deathly force tried to paralyze him.

Meanwhile, Saerin and Luix had been trying to climb through a gap in the ceiling to the second floor. Two more of the ghoulish spiders dropped from the shadows to menace them. Celeste summoned a hound archon to aid them, and Kallius took flight and entered the second floor through another gap.

Boomah rose up and tried to get out of the spider’s reach, and filled the area with choking smoke. The priests’ power kept Boomah fighting, while the warriors and the archon battled below. Hearing the tumult behind the door, Kallius turned invisible and opened it, revealing the goblin and his enemies. He stepped back and filled the chamber with a fireball, catching Boomah and Dremahl on the edge of his blast.

Then, he heard a voice from below suggesting he leave his blade and come down to the first floor, which he did.

With the nearby spiders immolated, Boomah saw one fleeing the area, and joining three others in the rafters of the ruined top floor.

While Luix and Saerin finished off their remaining enemies, Kallius flew down and was grabbed by another undead abomination — a spider-hybrid aranea that appeared to have been torn apart and then put back together. It also had its eyes burned out. The thing clawed at the magus and he could feel his life force being pulled out, but he shook off the dark magic. Using the gauntlet they found at the hunting lodge, he summoned a blade and drove it deep into the beast.

Above, Boomah followed the fleeing spider, and only to see heavy strands of web slipping out of a break in the wall. Choosing not to follow into such a tight space, he flew upo and forced his way out of a window on the top floor.

After being stabbed, the horrifying aranea stumbled backward to disappear into the shadows, and Kallius struck out a again. And when it vanished, it left several pieces behind. It reappeared on the other side of the wall, where the warriors and the archon had finished off the spiders, and they turned on it. By now the creature had suffered many wounds, and could not stand long.

From the window, Boomah saw the the remaining spiders scurry down the outside wall and disappear back into the building near the ground floor.

In fact, they crawled through a break in the wall and dropped down on Luix, Saerin, and the hound, who had been joined by Celeste and Dremahl. As the battle erupted again, Kallius and Boomah flew toward the fray. Reunited, the undead spiders could not hold against them and quickly fell.

With the last few seconds of its summons, Celeste sent the archon about the tower searching for more enemies. But it appeared that they were alone.

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Dead eyes
Or-- Faulty tower

649034.jpegThey took off through the swamp toward a watch tower that overlooked the Castle — where they believe the dragon is.

Our heroes set out to find their way to the watch tower that overlooked Bar Omaro. They were being watched by undead birds as they workload through the marsh, which was unsettling. They tried to kill one, and it proved tougher than they thought. When they applied real pressure (via fireball) it exploded into a swarm of smaller undead crows.

After that, they decided to let them be. And to take a more roundabout path to the tower.

Later, they were attacked by an undead crocodile lurking in a stream. It did not prove to be too much of challenge, but they got the feeling that someone — or something — was keeping an eye omniscience’s their progress.

When they reached the tower, nothing had really changed since they had been there in the winter. Leaving behind a door, they entered  through a gap in the tower’s wall. Inside they found a chamber heaped with the trappings of House Omaro. In the corner was a decaying female figure in ancient Omaro armor, with a cloth tied over its eyes. Boomah immediately recognized it as an effigy of Celeste and scurried over to look closer.

That is when a green mist of incorporeal faces rose up from the debris, shaking them and trying to drain their blood. The priests tried to channel at the undead horror, but quickly realized the area had an unholy blessing. Dremahl reversed that, while the others worked to dispatch the drocha swarm.

Meanwhile, something in the rafters above was firing web bolts down on them. Remembering the undead ettercaps that formerly commanded the place, Boomah rushed forward with a fire trail spell, burning the swarm and a number of webs dangling about.

Dremahl had cast Sunlight on his shield, and driven the creature out of the chamber, and Boomah was at the top of next stairs by himself. They braced themselves for a fight.

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The roots of all evil
Or-- Good dog

61043740014d865a9ddb3686c6a904b7.jpegFresh from dispatching the infernal hounds, and convinced they had scoured the Erarohn form the ‘dragon’ threat, our heroes chose to rest in the upper chambers of the ruined hunting lodge. The night passed without incident and they set off toward Bar Omaro at first light.

They trudged through the wetlands all morning, and rested as the baking sun reached its peak. As they walked, they had seen old goblin territorial signs showing that the Shadow Claw clan had been in the area in the past couple months.

After the worst of the heat of the day passed, they continued their march. They saw more goblin signs, but no goblins.

Boomah and Saerin were on point when the ground around them began bubbling and gurgling. Several humanoid shapes that seem to be composed of roots lurched out of the earth and attacked. The sap that oozed form the creatures weekend and disoriented our heroes. One rooty abomination let out a howl that further confounded the group.

Celeste summoned a hound archon to hold the center, and Luix stood fast, while the others fell back to shake off the ill effects. It became obvious that all of the enemies were connected together by thick vines, and may have been communicating through them.

The tide was shifting as one-by-one the man-like tubers fell, when the fetid swamp water stated flowing into a hole in the clearing ahead. The mandragora snapped their tethers and fled as long spindly legs appeared from the depths of the sinking hole. It was a spider that rivaled the size of an elephant.

It bounded forward, lithe for its size, and closed with the archon. Its bite was viciously poisonous, but the celestial withstood its initial assault. Luix joined it, and the two faced off against the monster. The rest of the party threw everything they had at it — fireballs, bombs, arrows and more. The archon teleported behind the beast to set up flanking possibilities, and the ranger landed a mighty blow that brought the beast down.

Looking around for further danger, they spotted a small creature hiding in a dead tree at the edge of the clearing. Celeste sent the hound to investigate, and when it teleported to the tree, they all saw the small creature drop to the ground.

Boomah flew over to see more, and found Rokkemuk, chief of the shadow claw clan, lying in the muck.

Undaunted, the chieftain demanded tribute for the party’s trespass upon his land. They did so, offering food and repairing his gear. He told them that he was all that was left of the Shadow Claws,m as his ‘beautiful bride’ had betrayed them and enslaved them all to a dark maiden and their draconic master. The maid met the description of their old comrade Phaed, whom they had not seen for several months.

He added that his tribe had been given over to undeath, as had, Stormseeker, and they had joined Phaed to free a dragon from bondage under the castle.

This reinforced their commitment to find out what was happening at the castle. Rokkemuk refused to join their quest, as he needed to stay and defend his tribal lands. They spent the night in the many hollows of his tree, and set out in the morning toward Celeste’s family estate. They hoped to make it to the crumbling watch tower that overlooked the keep before the sun fell again.

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Hot dogs
Or-- Fire in the hole

Hell_Hound_01.pngOur heroes, hot on the chase, followed the flaming hounds to a smaller building on the far side of the grounds. The creature fled inside, but the group pulled up short and surrounded the bruin, with the goblin flapping his dragon wings above it.

Luix and Dremahl were enveoped in a gout of flame that shot out of a gap in the wall. Boomah could see that the hounds had jumped to the second story of the torched building, and dropped cold bombs on them through breaks in the thatch. Then he summoned a swarm of wasps in an effort to force them out of their shelter.

This seemed to have worked, as the smaller hound leaped out of a gap in the roof and dropped on Celeste. The larger hound followed, and landed next to the ranger Saerin. It lashed out with its claws and fangs, and the elf dropped to the ground.

Dremahl channeled divine power and kept the ranger and the oracle in the fight. Kallius tried to stop inside the ruin to flank the monstrous beast, but fell into a spring-mounted pit in the floor. He had a feather fall prepared for emergencies, and soon was rocketing out of the pit.

Luix had dispatched the smaller hellhound by then, but the larger one latched on to Saerin again, bringing him to the brink of death when he tried to tumble to safety.

The creature was delighted with the destruction it had wrought, even though it was suffering from dozens of wounds. At this point Celeste brandished her rod of flame extinguishing and spiked the remaining hellfire out of the beast.

With the enemies defeated, they turned their attention to the pit. The bundles of burnt rags on the bottom that Kallius had spotted turned out to be the remains of tortured people. But they had returned from the grave as smoking corpses spouting flame. Our heroes kept a safe distance from these new abominations and destroyed them from range.

pata.jpgOnce defeated, Boomah went down to examine their remains. Among the burnt wreckage the found a gauntlet emblazoned with a single ram’s horn. Experimenting, they discovered that you could command as long sword to appear from the gauntlet on command.

Turning to the remains of the hunting lodge, they found little that was not destroyed. On a hearth mantle, they did find two surviving spear heads with scorched shafts, one allowed you to pass without trace in forested areas, and the other conferred the favored terrain ability to its wielder.

They also found a stack of scorched bodies in a rear building, mostly woman and children. They had been burnt until nearly unrecognizable, but not all of them had been killed by fire.

Determining that it was too late to march out into the dearth-infest marshland, they decided to spend the night at the lodge.

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