Tempest Rising

Creepy crawling
Or -- Pulling the strings

zmistspiders_by_dopepope-d7em4xy.jpgMoving past the destroyed web golem, our heroes found themselves on a massive strand of webbing hanging in a misty void. They quickly found that they could walk around the strand, and ‘down’ was always toward the surface of the strand. Ever curious, Boomah experimented and son n learned this ‘gravity’ dissipated quickly, so they chose to remain planted on the ‘ground’.

After a brief time following this bridge into the void, they came up on another, smaller strand jutting off at an angle. Peering down it with the lens, the goblin saw a couple of the relentless spidery monsters that attacked them in the Vale of the Pale Mother.

They decided not to engage the creatures, and continued on their current path.

Soon they came to a large hollow construct in the web, and could see three other paths on the far side of it. They tried to climb on the outside of the hollow blob, but found themselves quickly drifting into the void just a few steps away from the strand.

Fearing what lay within, they had Celeste summon a pony and sent it inside the hollow. It walked a few steps onto a wide, flat floor made of interconnected web strands and stopped. They urged it forward, and it reluctantly moved further into the strange chamber. Saerin and Boomah followed the celestial pony, and found that the floor was a complex mesh made of one extremely long strand, and five long, valuable objects pierced the plane at various locations. Below the knot workm, they could see some kind of bubbling fluid held back by some kind of magical barrier.

They studied the magic, and tried to discover a way to free the objects without destroying the platform they stood on. In the end, they decided that trying to loot this chamber might be seen as greed, and a trait linked to dragons. So, to prove their commitment to opposing the dragons, they left the treasures behind.

Following that, they continued on with the ranger scouting ahead. He nearly stepped into a web trap, and pulled up short shouting a warning. As he was planning a route through the silvery, sticky webs, three pale shapes appeared from out of the void, plummeting from a web strand a couple hundred feet away.

They fired webs to entangle him, but he deftly stepped aside from the assault. He pulled weapons as all three descended on him, and then filled the area with obscuring mist. The mist and the webs slowed the advance of the ranger’s comrades, but in the end the group encircled the invaders and dispatched them.

One had dissipated into a cloud of mist and tried to float away, but was spotted escaping. Celeste ordered her summoned air elemental to seize the creature, but the powerful winds shredded the gaseous spider before it could be returned.

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The shortest homecoming
Or-- what tangled webs we weave

dweb.jpgOur heroes made their way toward the coast, and came upon outriders of the Aerinorn army — finally on the move toward the capital. Seeking to avoid unnecessary conflict, they cut out over the wilderness for the return to Wytchport.

When they arrived in town, it was much less crowded than it had been when they left. The imperial nobility had moved on with their forces, leaving only the logistics and support operations behind. Even so, the group though it would be safest not to try and enter with a massive dragon skull in tow.

So, Boomah and Kallius flew it in invisibly while the others made a more mundane entrance. They regrouped at Ebn’s tower, and shared their tale with the old Valessan. They questioned why many of the emperor’s people were of his race, and he told them that they were a sect of his people’s religion that held secret mystical beliefs, but that he did not know why they were committed to the emperor or his young prince. Many of them work for for foreigners purely for profit, he speculated, and there was plenty of money to be made off the emperor.

Afterward, they went to check in on Eika in the old circus wagon. Kallius and Celeste tried to avoid the spidery woman’s recriminations, but she demanded to speak with the entire party. And when they gathered, she wanted to hear them reassert their opposition to the rising dragons.

They did, and she split open like an overripe pumpkin. A tall spidery creature with a woman’s face climbed out of the shell. It told them they must prove themselves. and opened a long, dark portal filled with webs behind her.

They entered without hesitation. Following down the web-choked passage they came to a low spot with a hulking figure standing in its center. When they got closer it stretched out its long arms threateningly. In response, the magus fireballed it.

The webs went up in flame, but our heroes continued their advance. The smoke was thick and a few them were became sickened. While the webs continued to smolder and the smoke thickened, the golem engaged the fighters.

Thinking quickly, the priests doused the area in conjured water. Even with its protections, the construct soon fell to the blades of the warriors. And they found themselves alone in a dim, otherworldly tangle of webs.

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Current Events
Or-- Stream of Consciousness

129701.jpegAfter the skeletal dragon fell, the strange unworldly ooze that was bound to it bubbled into a cloud and floated off toward Cyr Regus. Their former colleague Phaed had vanished into the marsh leaving behind a lemure in her place, and our heroes once again found themselves in command of Bar Omaro.

After gathering the creature’s hoard, they debated their next step. The war priest Telline was committed to string out for the capital and branding by the Otter in the coming battle, but the group thought it might be more prudent to return to Wytchport first.

Their plan was to leave at first light, and chose to spend the night on the parapet of the keep. In the deep of night, the broken and hazy shape of the last castellan of Bar Omaro was seen clubbing up through the trap door to the roof. The apparition, last seen as a draugr, was carrying an old, unraveling blanket embroidered with golden crabs.

It explained that the night the spiders came (nearly 50 years past) and destroyed the keep, the Valessan Paro Lento took the young heir to Chalced on the south coast. A generation later another baby was bright to the Erarohn in the same blanket, to be raised by local peasants. They were told to keep the baby’s origin a secret, as there was another who would seek to destroy it.

The next morning the surrounding forest glistened with shining webs, as if there was a gathering of the massive spiders known as Omaro’s orphans. This concerned our heroes, who decided to take the goblins unfinished raft and take the river to the coast.

Boomah had a strange sensation of being connected to the surrounding spiders, and a greater network that stretched all the way back to Wytchport. And something in that connection wanted them to leave quickly.

But before they set off in earnest, they stopped to recover the goblin Stormseeker’s broken body, and question its spirit. She was angry at being roused, but Dremahl’s will was strong. The told them that the undead dragon served a creature known as the Gloaming, ands its mission was to gather souls to fill a vessel. She added that the Gloaming was a bloodwyrm looking to restore their supremacy.

They had not heard the term bloodwyrm before (unlike wyrmblood, which they believe is mortals who have been touched by true draconic heritage), and turned to their gold dragon statue for insight. It told them that in an age long past, bloodwyrms were dragons that tried to gain free will by mingling their blood with mortals. The true dragons, urged on by the god themselves it it said, put down this heresy and removed the bloodwyrms.

Following this news, the patched together the raft and set off toward the coast. A day went by, with nothing more than forest creatures and the ever-present spiders seen by their scouts.

As evening was falling, the raft was snagged by something on the bottom of the stream. Our heroes worked to free the craft, when a mass of waterlogged undead warriors rose out of the murk and surrounded the party.

The troop assaulted them both physically and magically, but the divine strength of the heroes’ prevailed. Further down-river, they came upon a couple of ship’s boats that still held a slight sheen of black ooze on them. They avoided direct contact and continued on.

When dawn came, they started to see fresh-cut trails and small foraging parties moving about the swamp. It seems like the prince’s army has begun to march after all.

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Here be dragon
Or-- Rolling the bones

0b67c18e64736f2cb3d4de3fd9c26da0--dragon-art-fantasy-creatures.jpgKallius and Boomah were on the ground outside the keep after following the goblin witch’s plummet. They realized that Stormseeker had probably fled her body again, and tore her voodoo poppet to pieces. They heard a corresponding scream atop the wall, and took that as proof.

Meanwhile, Telline had reached the bottom of the tower and had paused in front as of a door, sensing danger. The group gathered and she hid them from the undead before proceeding. The hallway beyond was ankle-deep in bones, and Luix tried to creep forward without disturbing them. He failed, and they erupted into a swirling bonestorm. He was battered, and the others pushed back by winds, but in a few soon dispatched the creature.

In the interim, Boomah had found the most recent body of Stormseeker and blew it up. So all were together when the big northerner smashed down the barred door and came face-to-face with Thraul, a huge black draconic skeleton.

The dragon’s fear washed out of the room, and nearly everyone was shaken by it. Both Kallius and Celeste felt a terrible power clutch at them. Undaunted, Saerin charged and crossed a magical spell barrier that allowed the dragon to lash out with all its natural weaponry. He suffered mightily for his bravery.

Luix and Kallius were quick to join, and Celeste summoned a hound archon to provide flanks. The beast never had a good opportunity to breath fire, but its bite, claws, wings, tail, and crushing body were wreaking havoc on the group. Saerin fell, and Luix was briefly incapacitated, but the healers power flowed freely and kept them in the fray.

Drawn by the violence, the gigantic ooze was spotted coming up the stairs from below. Boomah again tried to check its progress with a trail of flame, but this time it merely slid up the side of the chamber to overcome the flames. It spat out its torrent of slime and bone splinters, adding even more punishment to this battle.

But with four highly trained and spell-enhanced warriors surrounding the dragon, their combined assault finally overcame Thraul’s not insignificant defenses, and the creature was brought low.

Immediately following, all could feel a dark weight being lifted from the area, and the ooze began to bubble and spurt. Huge pustules popped and the bone-flecked slime was dissolving into a noxious cloud of black vapor. Boomah started shoveling treasure into his haversack as the others began to scout exits.

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Once more, from the top
Or-- Meddlers on the roof

9aaacfec17b110e5c7345106635b1784.jpegAfter a few minutes of quick preparation, our heroes began their assault.

Once again they shrunk down the healers, and Boomah and Kallius took to the air. As they hurdled down the hillside they noticed that there were three stunted-wing creatures prowled the rooftop. They had hoped that their spells would them from view, but the monsters pierced the veil and pounced on them as soon as they landed.

Not only that, but two of them breathed clouds of acid on the group. Undaunted, our heroes returned the assault on the battle began.

Then, the air exploded in fire and ash. Boomah spotted a female goblin atop the tower and flew off after her. Saerin, Luix, and Kallius squared off against the dragon-tainted festrogs and were holding their own against the beasts.

Up close, Boomah saw that the goblin was not Stormseeker, but was wearing her clothes and holding her fetish poppet. Seeing him closing on her, she leaped off the parapet toward the ground below. He followed, and was surprised not to see a huge black ooze lurking below, In fact, she seemed surprised by that as well.

With the destroys losing ground, the war priest Telline charged forward and smashed through the tower to get down to the main floor. The others followed, and heard the door below smash down as well.

They knew that only a short corridor lay between them and the dragon’s throne room.

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All's well than ends (in a) well
Or-- Silent night, unholy night

20100918_Dino_2210-Footprint.jpegOur heroes sped across the treetops to escape the carnage at Bar Omaro, and decided to head to the hills in hopes of finding a concealed place to regroup. They spotted a small clearing before their magic gave out, and a small ring of stones indicated some former humanoid presence.

When they landed, they realized it was a small overgrown well. Boomah used levitation to descend into the well and explore. About 50 feet down he came upon a natural fissure with a small steam running down it. The gap seemed large enough to fit the entire group, and the damp stones were home to several large, delicious centipedes.

The group was discussing their choices, when the newly rescued Priestess of LyssTelline — said she was returning immediately to fight the dragon. A heated exchange followed, where Kallius pointed out how well that worked for her last time, and in the end they agreed to spend one night before returning.

Boomah explored further down the fissure and came to a hand-dug ledge with seven bleached goblin skulls in a row. He recalled that it was a form goblin fortune-telling, and choosing one would both reveal and seal his fate. Of course he dove at the chance, and lifted a skull. Under it was a bleached spider, that leaped into his clothing and vanished.

After that, the group clambered down, and huddled in the damp and darkness. They stayed in this sodden pit for the afternoon and night, not making any light of sound. In the deep of the night, Dremahl and Boomah heard a snuffling sound from above. They remained exceptionally still and quiet, and eventually the noise went away.

They continued to stay quiet and did not move until they could see light coming down the shaft. Dremahl used his clairvoyant power and saw clawed footprints similar to the size of the draconic troglodytes around the well.

In the light of dawn, our heroes found renewed purpose. They debated tactics before committing to one more assault on the Omaro keep.

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Phaed into darkness
Or -- Is it better to to burn out?

e11b390704257aca9f2b6b40759cfc93-d5qt5l2.jpegOur heroes tallied their remaining resources and began preparations to escape the Omaro compound for there second time. Once again they shrunk the healers, and Boomah and Kallius we’re going to ferry everyone away in the air. But when the exited the cave mouth, the found two floodslain ogres laying in wait. They used their wave powers to slam into the group and sent the Luix tumbling back into the cave.

Seeing a window of opportunity between the undead behemoths, the flyers shot through, narrowly avoiding their bloated fists.

They saw as flock of undead ravens coalescing into a swarm ahead, and Kallius preemptively fireballed the mass before they could pose a threat.

Atop the highest tower of the keep, they spotted Phaed holding Celeste’s former superior by her top-knot over the edge of the parapet. She shouted out that the party should flee, as running away and leaving comrades behind was their specialty. Offended by this challenge, Kallius and Saerin changed course to address this insult.

As they flew close, she lashed out at them with a torrent of unholy flame. And, once they got close, they could see the tower top was a sea of bones. Saerin tucked and dropped, as several poiles of bones rose up and took humanoid form. Phaed continued to taunt them, and tossed spells around while the skeletons held off the warriors. Then, they spotted the giant black ooze coming out of the other cave mouth and moving toward the tower.

Celeste summoned a lantern archon, and it fired holy rays at Phaed. Unconcerned,their former comrade obliterated it with one dark bolt. All while continuing to dangle Telline over the parapet and telling the group to flee before rousing her master.

The skeletons were no match for the concerted attacks of the fighters and the powers of the priests, but they spent precious time fighting them off, while the sorceress cast and the massive ooze inched ever closer.

Again, they decided it was time to escape. Kallius grabbed the ranger and prepared to flee. Unfortunately, they were in range of the ooze’s shower of bone shards, and the the assault incapacitated the magus. The ranger tried to heal him with a wand, but his wounds exceeded its power. Kallius summoned the last of his will to dimension door back to Boomah, who was carrying the now miniature priests.

They brought him back into the light, and once again they looked to escape. Boomah swooped down, and with sovereign glue on his hands grabbed Telline. Phaed refused to let go, so now Boomah had Luix, both healers, the war-priest, and Phaed dangling in midair.

The priests poured their power into healing the war priest and brought her back from the brink of death. Phaed tried to claw at her with a cold unholy touch, but was losing ground to the combined efforts of the healers.

The fought viciously while the goblin struggled to stay aloft. Telline landed a solid kick to sorceress, and she plummeted to the swamp below. Not looking back, our heroes sped off toward safety.

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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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