Tempest Rising

Lions on the Lawn, Rats in the Basement
Or-- This town is bull

fecd0a22881efa648e334a1bf1571680.jpgOur heroes, leaving Eika and the Wytchport waif, followed the web tendril down toward the mainland, moving through the clouds and canopy at a very high rate of speed. When they reached the ground, they stood in the midst of primeval forest with no signs of civilization at all. They questioned the minotaur Moira, and she suggested that her village may have been downhill toward a stream.

They did that, and came upon some old ruined walls, and could feel some kind of stone under foot. As they began looking for a secure place to rest, they saw a lion prowling around between two buildings. They tried to sneak up for a better look, and when they did Saerin discovered that it was merely an illusion.

Unfortunately, they had moved up far enough to be pounced on by two huge dire lions. Combat began in earnest, and two more lions joined in the fray. To make matters worse, a pair of lamia were spotted on the outskirts of the battle. One fired a lightning bolt through the group, striking one of its own lions in the process.

Boomah spotted a hole open up under a rock on the far edge of the battle, and two beady red eyes glittered in the darkness. It beckoned him forward. Assuming it was a goblin, and encouraged the party to go that way. One by one, they fought their way down, slaying two lions and taking a fair amount of damage, before slinking into the tunnel that the mysterious rat man led them into.

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Exit, stage right
Or-- End of the rope

c47dcb50cebc19b44f764e0d77b2d5d8.pngConcerned that the vibration caused by removing the golden ring might draw more spiders, our heroes quickly exited the chamber and moved on. They wandered around the maze of web tendrils, trying to find the center of the weave.

After a hard-to-place amount of time, they found another large mass of webbing. This one did not have any other obvious exits. Peering in, Saerin saw four humanoid figures on the far side of the room. Looking closer, the figures were a human child, a female minotaur, a strand gel grabbed gnome, and Eika. Each one had a large unmoving retriever looming over them against the wall.

They decided to enter, and saw further that each creature was inside a dull, metallic disk, and that an unoccupied matching disk sat opposite of it. Boomah stepped into the disk opposite Eika, hoping to free the spider woman. Both disks became pillars of smoke, and in moment the goblin stumbled out gagging. He immediately ran back in, only to come out again a couple moments later. He said he was transported into a void, and that the suffering almost overwhelmed him.

Kallius tried the same with the circle opposite the gnome, to the same affect. They tried to have someone step into each circle at the same time, only to have four pillars cause the nauseating suffering to each. Then, Boomah and Kallius tried to go into the same circle, only to have the magus’ entry blocked.

A few moments passed, and the goblin did not return. However, a swirling funnel opened a passage out of the chamber from the center. Haze blocked any vision of what was beyond the first few steps.

Celeste tried to enter the child’s portal, and vanished. With two members gone, Luix and Kallius entered the remaining circles determined to see it through.

After several moments of demoralizing pain ands suffering, each supplicant found themselves on a thick strand of web with their opposite — freed from the circles. But before any reunions could be had, the gnome cast a terrified glance at Kallius and began casting a plane shift spell.
Looking to stop him, and find out why he looked so familiar, Kallius struck with his ensorcelled blade. This knocked the gnome unconscious, but suddenly a hound archon appeared and then vanished with him.

Once again, the strange force seemed to overtake Eika, and told the group they had been deemed not an immediate threat, and that the spiders would not impede their efforts to fight against the rising bloodwyrms. Eika’s instincts proved worthy, and she would be freed, along with the others.

Turning to the minotaur. they questioned how she got to this plane of tangled web. All she knew is that her mate had found a clutch of Zika dragon eggs, and they did not know what to do with them. He decided to take them to the Temple of the Firstborn near their village, and he did not return. That night, she was roused from sleep, and was kidnapped by spidery creatures that brought her to that chamber.

Curious about these dragon eggs, and the minotaur’s story, they decided to go back with her (there were two web trails winding downward), and examine this for themselves. Eika and the child followed the other path down to Wytchport.

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Tear the roof off
Or-- 'Shelob' you into space

b3b2a7f8aab5105973d85cf7ed0701d7--mystische-wesen-magical-creatures.jpgFollowing their battle with the earth elemental, our heroes thought seriously about their next move to escape the chamber of mirrors. In the end, they chose to set the tokens for each element surrounding the dragon rune all at the same time. Boomah and Kallius were chosen, and took up the items.

Once they set them down, the chamber shuddered again. All of the mirrors that showed the room as it was went misty, leaving only the four previously skewed mirrors now showing the room as it truly is. Celeste noticed that one of them showed an open doorway, and the magus investigated the spot where it would be. He bravely stepped into — and through — the wall.

Free from that chamber, they moved on. Kallius spotted the strange man known as ‘Trapped’ scurrying along the outer shell off the node, but they left him be.

As they moved forward they were forced to make choices on which thread to follow, as the structure of the ‘web’ they followed seem to defy logic.

After an indeterminate time of trudging, they spotted another chamber housing the nexus of three equal-sized web strands. Saerin sent in a beam of light, and saw a number of oversized spiders escaping its bright glare and fleeing into the mist between strands.

He stopped to search for hidden dangers, and could feel a vibration fading away. Soon it was completely gone.

He moved in closer and saw the glint of gold, and a lumpy shape on the ground among a few shattered spider corpses. Stepping into the chamber he saw that the shape was a fallen minotaur, who had apparently taken more than a few spiders out before he fell. He has the goblin spy it out with his magic lens, and he saw that it was dead, but ‘filled with life’. When he stepped around to the far side, he saw that its body was stuffed with spider eggs, growing at a rapid pace.

They chose to remove the body before it could spawn more spiders, so they had Boomah drag it out of the chamber and throw it off the side. Immediately after he removed the egg-stuffed corpse they heard a terrible ripping sound from above. Looking up, they saw the webbed dome of the roof being torn apart by spider legs the size of tree trunks.

One smashed down on Saerin brutally, narrowly missing. The warriors quickly leaped around it and started hacking away. The leg pulled up as others tore an ever-larger hole in the roof. A gigantic spider’s head could be seen in the mist beyond. Once the breach was large enough, it stuck its maw through the gap and spit a mass of acidic poison down on the group. The warriors sidestepped the brunt of the danger, but Dremahl moved to slow and fell victim to the venom. His muscles seized and he could no longer move, while his strength was sapping away.

Kallius grabbed and Saerin, and the two transported themselves magically above the spider. Luix urged Boomah to use his wings and carry them to the beast. Meanwhile, Celeste stepped to ease some of Dremahl’s suffering.

The elves reappeared in the misty void, and barely caught hold of the creature to steady themselves. This, however, did not slow their efforts to slay the beast. Luix was viciously mauled by the beast as he and the goblin closed, but dealt damage in return. Realizing he might not survive another blow like that, he urged the goblin to fly above the spider, which he did.

The priests plied their trade from distance, hoping to keep the fighters in the fray, and the four hammered away at the gigantic spider. Luix poured all of his energy into defeating the creature — and brought it low with a final smash from his flail.

Victory was short-lived, as they quickly realized they were floating off into the mist on the back of the spider. the elves crawled to the other side of the beast, and pushed themselves off as hard as they could, using momentum to get through the gap. Boomah tried and failed to use his wings in the mist, and then used his adhesive spittle to attach himself and Luix got the outer dome of the chamber. From there, they crawled down into the chamber and returned to the group.

With the spider dispatched, they looked to move on from this chamber. But before they could go, Saerin ripped out the massive gold ring set into the webbed flor. Tearing it free seemed to pull on something, and a deep sub-sonic vibration went off beneath them. Fearing that they may have warned other spiders from around this tangle of webs, they decided to beat a hasty retreat.

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Time for Reflection
Or-- Throwing rocks at mirrors

c3bd1c7fd6b089e2f6a3a0dcdee7d8c6.jpgAfter defeating the misty spiders, they sent Boomah over to explore the strand they attacked from. He found no lair, but he did find a bulge of woven web stuck under the far strand. Protecting himself as best he could, he tore open the seam to discover a man inside, ready to attack.

Boomah diffused the situation, and questioned why them an was there. He said that he had been lured here by a strange spider woman ands left to die by their cruel ‘tests’/ He explained that he had come from the outpost at Farpoint off the mainland coast, and indicated that he may have been here for a very long time.

Although he had obvious draconic aspects, he seemed to know nothing about the rising dragons and the current state of the world. So, Boomah gave him his leave. The man said he might follow behind, in order to loot their bodies when they failed, but would not hinder their progress.

Moving onward, they came to another enclosed node. Inside they found a collection of strange objects stacked around a table. The center of the table was engraved with a dragon shape that seemed reminiscent of the primal dragon rune. Looking in the mirrors, they could see windows reflected that did not seem to be in the room. And, they noticed that the sun seems to be moving swiftly across the sky, and a complete day would occur in just a few minutes time.

Peering closer, they discovered that four of the mirrors reflected objects on the table that were not currently there. The objects were in the room, and seemed to be tied to four elements. To test this, they placed an earth-crusted spade below the rune in the place seen in the reflection.

Suddenly there was a deep rumble, and the ground below them erupted into the massive humanoid shapes of an earth elemental. While the creature struck with heavy blows, our heroes prevailed and returned it to rubble in short order.

The group returned to their tests.

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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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