Tempest Rising

Calamari Carnage
Or-- Octopus' Sculpture Garden?

squid_wizard_by_zackattack667-d38b236.jpgBoomah found himself alone with the devilfish sorcerer, and the two squared off. Things looked dire when suddenly the evil leader split into multiple forms, and when the goblin attacked the phantasms exploded in electrical blasts.

The others were moving down to assist him, and were being sniped by a crossbow wielder on the far slide of the slitted wall.

Luix had stayed behind, and was attacked by two devilfish who swam out from their inky cloud. The big warrior stood tall, and finished off the enemies. He then broke through the door he was up against, and gained access to the sniping devilfish.

Saerin had made it through and he and the goblin crashed through exploding phantasms. When they had narrowed down the enemies to one, it did not take long to dispatch him.

The lone defender came face-to-face with Luix, and after seeing the damage he could cause, squeezed through an arrow slit to escape. This brought him in range of the rest of the party, and that did not end well.

With the defenders defeated, our heroes searched the complex. They found a few chambers filled with destroyed furniture and gear, and some ancient items of value. They also found a stairway that led up to the base of the lake. Once they were comfortable that the area had been explored, they returned to the site of the devilfish ambush.

Moving through the last remaining door, they discovered a staircase descending deeper beneath the lakebed. At the base of the stairs stood a door. Beyond the door, they faced some kind of barrier that helps the water at bay.

They pushed through, and discovered that any enchantments placed on them had been dispelled. Without the magic to breath water, forward was the only choice.

The room beyond was epic in scale, its arched ceiling supported by two large statues flanking the doorway. One was a dragon holding an orb and a scroll, its massive wings holding up the rooms’ arches. The other was a human holding a sword and a book, with the towers and battlements behind him serving a similar task. The other points of the octagonal chamber featured statues of an elf, orc, dwarf, lizardfolk, gnoll, hobbit, goblin, and a gnome. Closer inspection revealed the dragon’s scroll contained the words:
The Gods
Are Not
Of Mortal
Will.
Barriers
Reveal the
Divine

The man’s scroll was inscribed with:
Order
Safeguards
Free
Knowledge
Overcome
Absolute
Power

A large door stood opposite their entry.

Concern about the dangers posed by the chamber, our heroes thoroughly search the area. Behind the epic-scaled human statue they found a small door. A small group led by the ranger spit off to investigate the hallway beyond.

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Shots in the Dark
Or-- Red ink

d539f1348f7122cedac59275cc716926.jpgKnowing that enemies lurked on the far side of the door, our heroes debated how to best to proceed. They decided to send in the priest for a subterranean assault.

Dremahl earth-glided under the floor, rose up from the earth past their defenses, and blasted the devilfish with his boulder-head mace. Following that the group busted in, but the enemy was prepared. They filled the chamber with black ink, and let crossbow bolts and lightning bolts fly. Both Saerin and Luix charged into the darkness to try and find their enemies. Kallius shot all the way through the cloud, and spotted one on the far side, the beast drifting out of the murk to line up a lightning bolt.

Saerin was struck by lightning, and followed the path of said bolt out of the darkness. There he stumbled out directly below the sorcerous cephalopod. Meanwhile, Celeste summoned a trio of sharks and sent them into the ink. Dremahl — out of reach to do much healing — sent in three of his own. Luix followed the ranger to join in circling the devilfish, and Boomah found himself in the same place by following along the inky wall.

Seeing things going against it, the devilfish inked the area and sprinted away. The other devilfish were locked in combat with sharks and were left behind. Saerin swam after the escapee, followed by Dremahl. Celeste had kept a shark in reserve to ferry her around, so she too joined the chase group. Luix and Kallius stayed behind to guard and try to take out the last two devilfish, who had just dispatched the remaining sharks.

As the first one down the hall, Saerin was struck by a crossbow bolt from an arrow slit in the passageway, and a magic missile from the darkness at the far end. Boomah, quick-footed as usual, shot past the group and out the far door. Only to slam into the devilfish sorcerer. Taken aback by the tiny alchemist’s speed, all it could do was lash out and try throttle him. The wily goblin wriggled free of its grasp.

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Water Works
Or-- Let it flow

eef57fb488f43d54c4f64806bc6cdbcc.jpgOur heroes found themselves on the symbol of the ancient wizard Scaio Si’ang in a bubble of air. They quickly dug out the old blood mage’s keystone from Boomah’s pack, and reappeared in a flooded chamber of swirling water. Searching the walls, they noticed that (a) the goblin actively avoided one shadowy corner, and (b) one of the corner pillars seemed to be spewing water at a fairly strong pace. They opened a doorway cunningly built into the pillar, and found a cramped staircase within. The current moving swiftly against them.

They fought their way up and through another rotting door, and found a room with two large framed mirrors. The first was spewing the water, and as they got close some hideously barbed tentacles seemingly made of water lashed out at them. Backing off, they checked out the one in the opposite corner. It was surrounded by a hemisphere of air, and they could see clouds skimming along inside the frame.

Recognizing that these were portals to elemental planes, they experimented. They noted that the symbols around the edges of the frame were words (in a language they did not know), and that you could change locations within the plane with command words. Kallius used his knowledge of the planes to recall the origin of powerful winds, and Celeste summoned an air elemental to ‘translate’ this location into Auran to increase the pressure from the air portal.

Succeeding at this, they turned to the water portal and turned it toward a low-pressure tide pool area. This offset the balance of the two, and stopped the water from pouring out of the room.

Moving back down, they went to check out the area that they knew that the goblin avoided, against his expressed opinion that ‘nothing’ was there. They found a crack leading to a natural fissure out into the lake itself. Kallius crawled in, and was quickly encased in aqueous orb and pounded around the narrow cave. Dremahl used clairvoyance to see down the cave, he found a massive croc-headed eel floating in a shaft. They decide to let it be.

Returning to the door in the room they entered by, Dremahl used his third eye to spot three devilfish hiding behind overturned stone tabletops covering the entrance with crossbows.

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What Lies Beneath
Or-- Bursting their bubble

da092ed074b20124e87e0609be363ebf.pngHaving chased off the gigantic aquatic worm, our heroes found themselves at the bottom of the lake overlooking a ruined compound. In its center was a shimmering bubble inside a circle of broken pillars. Boomah spotted a figure moving around in the shadows between the columns, and gathered up his comrades.

As they swam closer, a second figure appeared in the murk. Not everyone on the group was adept in the water and the group began to separate. There was a flash, and suddenly an otherworldly frog-like monstrosity appeared among them and viciously attacked Saerin. It seemed as if the beast’s bite was venomous, and the the ranger slumped unconscious.

While the ranger’s allies tried to attack the outsider, it vanished again and reappeared next to the bubble. Then it rolled the elf inside the hemisphere.

He awoke in a bubble of air in the center of the ring of pillars. And, looming over him was some kind of hellish lobster-hybrid. Its massive claws crashed down as the ranger tried to steer clear.

Both Kallius and Luix fell to the poison of the daemons, and were deposited before their master, rudely being dropped through the bubble’s surface to the ground below. Luckily, the sudden influx of air and the quick return of gravity roused them before the beast could feast on them.

The three warriors faced off against the massive leader of this trio from the underworld, while
the goblin and priests took on the others. The combined efforts of bombs, blows, and the rays of lantern archons eventually wore down the two frog-like daemons. And the powerful blows of the clawed behemoth proved no match for the attacks of the northman, the ranger and the magus.

With the defenders dispatched, the group found themselves on or floating above a pocket of air, with the symbol of the ancient blood mage Sciao Si’ang carved on the stone beneath them.

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Worms and bait
Or-- I thought these things smelled bad on the outside

Laguna-Yahuarcocha.jpgFollowing the encounter with the mud warriors, our heroes looked for a place to rest before diving into the rift lake. Saerin returned, and said he’d found a cave large enough to hide in to at least escape being sighted from the air. So the group crowded in and spent the night in close quarters.

In the morning, Dremahl cast water breathing for everyone, and the group descended in to the the blood-red depths. After more than a half hour of trudging along the steep bottom of the lake, the group began to realize they might need a faster form of recon.

ElectricEel-Journey2.jpgSo, they sent Boomah was scouting ahead, trailed by a summoned water elemental. The creature quickly vanished, but the intrepid goblin continued his search. Not long after, he saw a flicker of light on the murky bottom.

Moving toward it, he was suddenly assaulted by a giant aquatic worm. The massive creature swallowed him whole, leaving the alchemist in a literal tight spot.

He used a freezing bomb to harden an area within the beast, and shattered the frozen spot with the borrowed seaborne sword. Then, he used every bt of his enhanced speed to escape the creature before it tried again.

He returned to the group in a panic, and they chose to disputed the menace. Moving within range of its underwater lair, they lured it out with summoned dolphins . It lunged out of its whole to take the bait, and was blasted by a lightning bolt from Kallius. It thrashed around looking for the source of the pain, and only found attacking dolphins. It swallowed one of the pestering creatures, but was again met by a stroke of lightning.

However, it had enough punishment by apparently exploding dolphins, and rocketed off into the murky depths.

A quick look in its cave revealed little, and they continued on toward the light. There they found a group of ruined buildings and what seemed to be a ring of fallen columns surrounding a half-sphere was filled with a swirling glow. And in the shadows cast by the glow, a bipedal figure moved between the columns.

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Mud rassling
or-- Dirty work

You_Can_t_Scare_Me_-_artwork.jpgAccepting the draconic King of Justice’s offer, our heroes teleported to a far-away valley where Sciao Si’ang once held sway.

Appearing several hundred feet above the ground to throw off pursuit, they drifted down to the shore, and could see no signs of civilization surrounding the blood-red murky lake. They noted a group of gigantic water insects flitting across the open water, but little other signs of life. When they landed, they sent the ranger off to find a safe place to camp and looked around.

Celeste summoned a water elemental, who did widening circles in the lake until it abruptly disappeared. Boomah went into the water to see what he could discover below the surface while the others took up defensive positions. Kallius spotted four thicker ‘clots’ of murky water moving swiftly toward them, and pulled the goblin on to the shore.

Seeing the mounds rear up, Boomah drank an infusion and left a flaming path up and down the shoreline. The creatures pulled up short, and launched thick gobs of mud at our heroes— two of them targeting to hit the blind oracle.

The water and muddy shoreline was no aid to combat, and many mishaps took place as the battle raged. Two summoned archons even collided on the open water.

The mud beasts were resilient, but between the flames and the assaults of the warriors they were slowly being returned to the earth. When the last one was a felled by a spell-fueled blade, there was little evidence of the combat beyond a few wounds and a scorched shoreline.

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Cut scenes
Or-- Exit, stage left

Draconomicon__71_.jpgCeleste and Boomah rose up into the darkness, and through a gap into the chamber of the green dragon Verduous.

It asked what had brought them to this perilous spot, and the oracle answered that she wasa fated to die slowly and painfully, and would prefer to get on with it. This intrigues the ancient beast, and while he was happy to swallow her, he wanted to know more.

She told the dragon her concern that she would be consumed by her dragon nature and die, but he assured her that a simple death by disease would not be her future. Meanwhile, the goblin was poking around a massive symbol of the interlocked Ordinal runes on the far wall, hoping to unlock the fiery line they had been told of.

Celeste asked if she would keep her free will if she fully transformed, and what that might mean. Verduous could not guarantee anything, but in the end offered to send her to someone that might be able to help. She agreed to offer the beast her blood in the exchange.

Once had had received his due, the others were brought up into the chamber as well. It was intrigued by the sight of Kallius, and offered him as deal for his blood as well. The magus said he had a vision of as fiery item of great power here, and would be willing to trade for it.

When the dragon learned his secret had been revealed it became quite agitated, calling the elf a thief and shedding his humanoid guise for full dragon form.

Celeste leaped through the gate the creature had made (with help form a strange wire and gem crown it wore) and found herself falling through cold air. The others chose to follow in short order.

Boomah — heeding advice from somewhere inside himself — tried to force the dragon through, but failing to budge it

Seeing the thief flee, and his bargain with Celeste complete, the dragon chose not to follow.

The party found themselves on a snow-capped mountaintop with a tower in the distance. They went to the tower and found that it belonged to the gold dragon Lareth— the King of Justice. They told him their plight, and the dragon said he would consult the auguries and flew off into the shadows, chased by the goblin.

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Shooting the Bull-ywug
Or-- Mister Toad's Wild Ride

421f2f2798e4b427ceb937f8660e9bc6.jpgKallius had flown closest to the tree, and hailed the monstrous thing offering to heal its mossy affliction. It laughed off the offer, and demanded to know why these meaningless beings had invade the master’s domain. At that point, Celeste interrupted and said that the returned the dragon’s henchman. Questioned about why they had invaded the temple, they said that they had simply come to speak with the dragon about the bloodwyrms.

This seemed to gain the creature’s attention, and it bade them wait. After several minutes, a bullywug game down a long staircase from above. It seemed ill-fit in its body but demanded to know what they group wanted. They again claimed to only want answers, so it offered to go quid-pro-quo with questions.

They asked what it knew about the Gloaming returning at Malabar and it seemed visibly disappointed. Probing further, they learned that the creature thought that since the dragons had been imprisoned on the mainland, they would rise there as well.

They questioned it about the symbol beneath Bar Omaro, and it thought — while surprised it was that far away — that it could have been a protective seal over a slain bloodwyrm.

Our heroes traded secrets with the apparently-dominated bullywug, and seemed to avoid provoking the creature. Finally, Celeste confessed that she simply wanted to know what would happen to her. In response, she stared levitating up into the darkness beyond, with a goblin hanging on her coattails.

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Getting to the root of it
Or-- S(l)ay it with flowers

untitled11.pngOur heroes greeted the dawn with impatience, after being interrupted in the night. Keeping an eye on the Firstborn Temple on the horizon, they watched as five of the small dragons list up into the morning sky. Leaving one behind.

They prepared themselves as best they could, and Boomah, Saerin, and shrunken Celeste flew out invisibly toward the looming edifice.

They were given two minutes to clear the jungle and fly to the open level roughly half way top the tower. Then, Kallius, Luix, Dremahl, and their captive charau-ka teleported onto the landing. This was handled deftly, but unfortunately the thick vines that choked the opening lunged to the attack — against all but the magus.

Trapped in its clutches, Dremahl gained insight into the ravenous plant and learned that it was susceptible to cold. He shouted this out, and Boomah let fly with icy bombs,

The creature was slowed by this, and it gave the others a better chance to break free of their grasp. However, the heavily wounded ape-man had collapsed from the additional crushing.

Luix drank a potion of enlarge, and tore himself free from the vines. He grabbed the limp ape-man and moved to clearer ground.

Celeste had been dropped inside the circling vines by Boomah, and noted that the one large tree in this verdant area seemed to be aware of their presence, so she approached.

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Let there be rock
Or-- Somebody hold my pig

9fcec126d4215606ca62f8fb41a55205.jpgOur heroes had huddled into a small cave in hopes of making it through the night, and assaulting the dragon temple on the morn. Unfortunately, fate intervened.

Just before dawn, the captive charau-ka started howling at Dremahl. He had chewed through his gag, and was accusing the priest of stealing from his master. Concerned that combat would restart in earnest, Saerin quickly knocked the beast unconscious.

Other had been wakened by the shouting, and questioned exactly why their captive was accusing the priest of theft. So, they redoubled their restraints and woke the ape man again.

When asked about the accusation, the ape said that Dremahl carried a mace with the master’s symbol on it, proving the theft. He has been carrying the mace for a long time, and never paid much attention to the markings on its butt.

Closer inspection revealed that the marks were a combination of the four elemental runes bound together. But what connection it had to the dragon was unclear.

They woke the golden dragon figure and asked it about the symbol. It told them that dragons rarely use personal symbols, but that this particular symbol is used by Eltherian, the champion of Eldermere. This elven hero and leader carries a bow made of pure air, that he claims was a gift from the defenders of the mainland.

Following up, they asked about items of elemental power. The figure said that there was a draconic legend about four elemental items that the beings that preceded the gods of the Serachle used to bind and control the dragons in ages past. It added that this legend had never been proven, and promptly went inert.

Looking to test the potential of the now mysterious mace, the group chose to subject it to elemental energy. Celeste summoned a creature of earth, and they gave the mace to its control. The creature took up the weapon, and immediately removed the shackles of the oracle’s control. Then it crushed the massive stony head of the mace, and released a long chain seemingly forged of earth from within. Fearing its escape, Saerin leaped forward and struck the creature down with a single blow.

The creature dispatched, our heroes were left with the stony chain, and the prospect of sunrise on the horizon.

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