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1/03/2019 12:06 am  #21


Re: A Crow's Nest Upon Bleak Shores

Session 4 part two:  After deliberation, the party determined to follow and make an epilogue to the doom that befell Xik Tannas.  Before that occurred, the ranger wanted to stealthily follow the shadowed dealings of the mysterious cult of Khalk-Xu.  In the fortress of stilts he warily tread to be a shadow to their traversing.  In the wan hours of the night passing bald robed figures emerged from dusky hollows and one figure began furiously making gestures and operating "something".  The ranger wasn't sure if it was a spell or some kind of foreign implement being used.  Suddenly a bridge appeared covered in purplish eldritch light that traversed a great distance.  The bald entourage began procession with the ranger lingering at a distance as a shadow follows.  After what seemed like a few hours past, the entourage joined others of their bald-headed robed kin as a tall gaunt individual led a ceremony wherein hapless prisoners tied to driftwood were presided over.  In the predawn gloom, it appeared they were on the shoreline; a magnificent distance indeed!  The ranger watched agog as the ritual commenced culminating in the poor souls tossed to the sea.  That confusion led to horror as a gigantic tentacled creature emerged from the sea to consume the victims.  Before long, the ranger then frantically ran along the bridge back to the upraised fortress.  It was then he noticed that the passage of the night stars, etc.  hardly moved.  It was as if the passage of time was stopped somehow... or so it seemed.  Without time to contemplate this new development the ranger quickly reconvened with his allies to inform them of the cult's activities.  One last piece of business lay ahead: the questioning of Sorinstargos.  The addled mad-man revealed a few things to them once his guards were properly bribed into allowing a conversation.  It appears that Xik Tannas and crew were actually "recruited" into the Lady of Chains' army.  Only Xik didn't relinquish his will to her charms and offer.  A spectacle of brutality followed along with creatures clearly not native to Hyperboria making an appearance much to the Lady's delight.  The crazed prisoner talked about "other worlds" and "joining his queen" and other such spittle flecked statements...  Then the party decided to move out and onward.

Even when they departed Calencia the sharp eyed of the group noted a solitary bald headed figure leisurely following their general direction.  They tried circling back, setting up traps and more, but the figure seemed content to follow at a distance that betrayed its existence to sight, but never closing the distance entirely.  Discomfited, the party doubled up on watches... and that's when they found the wolf-men. 

The wolf-men were clearly enjoying the spoils of new found human kills and the booty that came with it.  One larger muscular wolf creature was their leader.  The party discerned that they too were in the employ of a "lady".  The lady was nowhere to be seen.  With ambush laid, the party then attacked these abominable creatures!  The melee was fierce and they had a robust enough health to avoid turning into one of these lycanthropes when slavering bite pierced their skin!  After a vicious battle was fought and grave wounds dealt to both sides, soon the wolf-men succumbed with only one of their number ensnared in chains.  The party waited until dawn when the metamorphosis occurred revealing a shaggy bearded man slumped in defeat.  After helping themselves out the wolf-men's ill gotten loot, the party laid down a hard bargain to the lone wolf-man, either help them track and settle the issue with the Lady of Chains, or be laid low to the ground in shame!  The conclusion to this coming in the final part three shortly!


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1/04/2019 12:28 am  #22


Re: A Crow's Nest Upon Bleak Shores

Session 4 part three.  After the ultimatum was issued, the cryomancer and others began seriously looking around at the camp of the wolf-men.  Before long a tampered with tree stump when investigated revealed a most curious apparatus... some kind of object with wires and gears and obviously of foreign origin.  The prisoner was reluctant to reveal what little he knew about this, only to say "it came out of the sky, part of the great fallen ship."  Now with curiosity piqued, the party wanted to know more.  Further combing of the grounds in depth along with traversing afield revealed other previously unknown implements.  This heralded something greater.  The party then decided to advance full speed (or is that fool speed ahead?)

Marching double time towards the rendezvous of potential peril led them to a plain where they could see a formidable sized army.  Not a great amassing of peoples meant to assail large fortifications, but an organized troop with clear leadership.  As the party began to move closer, they found grisly road markers making them cautious... Body parts impaled on spikes or casually discarded on the ground bore the raiment and distinguishing marks of Xik Tannas' ill fated troop.  Still no sign of Xik Tannas.  The party entered the mass of bodies making up the camp and mingled within.  They were welcomed with opened arms and praise for the Lady of Chains attracting more able bodied warriors and assets to the cause.  Before long, the party was brought before the Lady and her Voice.  The voice was a tribal painted man with leather armour made from human skin, much like the leather strips dyed various colours the lady wore.  She gesticulated her queries and the voice gave sonorous detail to her demands.  She judged them worthy of recruitment and wished them to enlist.  They were going after long forgotten caves at the northern shores that were protected by the basest of the elements in a personified form.  The party was promised a stipend and that all their carnal needs would be met as well as reasonable monetary needs.  Shortly after the terms were laid out, the cryomancer, paladin and bard realized something was amiss at the camp.

Scenes, such as a fight breaking out, a nude alluring camp follower running from a potential suitor, merchants speaking the exact same sentences when promoting their goods, etc. seemed to replay over and over.  With distrust at a high, the party focused on the minutiae and realized at least two thirds of the camp was an illusion!  Also, they realized the Lady of Chains owned various apparatuses of her own capable of powering illusion on a massive scale!  Armed with this knowledge they went to the Lady, only to be confronted with her final terms... Kill Xik Tannas and his last starved and tortured loyalists to prove their commitment to honouring the Lady's terms.  This was unacceptable to the party and the cryomancer began formulating his ice storm from from his wondrous wand to strike the Lady in her barbaric throne dais and the "voice" beside her.  Suddenly a mass wall of flames sprung up and the camp sprang into uproar!

The paladin began to cut down those of evil intent with the ranger picking off anyone who got too close.  The bard began his counterattack to wear down morale of those assailing the party.  The cryomancer bided his time as the barbarian loosed a vicious fusillade of blows!  The ice storm dropped along with other attacks destroying the raised dais and revealing that the "visible" Lady was also an illusion!  She quickly unleashed a counterstrike of baleful magic that buffeted the party.  That plus the few within her forces that maintained a level head to move in and attack had the ranger and barbarian mortally wounded and bleeding out.  The cryomancer kept unleashing waves of ice and snow, some by magic, some by wondrous object to provide cover for the paladin as he invoked prayers to Apollo to heal his comrades before death carried them past the impassable river.  In the tumult and fray, the voice fell shredded by icicles and flying missiles from the bard.  The Lady tried a last ditch effort of summoning demons from her summoning circle, but the intelligence within the paladin's sword warned them of that and the resuscitated party members focused their attack on purely the demons summoned and the Lady.  The Lady then passed from their midst unwilling to further the combat whilst her army crumbled around her fighting among themselves as the illusion of order and joviality was shattered amidst the chaos.  Most demons were sent back to the abyss, but eventually the party had no choice but to flee the spectacle of destruction.  Elemental caves forgotten, they hobbled as best they could back to Calencia.

After days they discerned they forgot about searching the caves, much less finding Xik Tannas, but it was little work to imagine his potential gruesome fate.  They knew they needed their necromancer and runegraver before they proceeded further....

And that is the end of Session 4, Session 5 commences either January 12 or 19 so expect a report shortly thereafter!  Happy new year all and happy adventures in Hyperboria!


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1/13/2019 12:48 am  #23


Re: A Crow's Nest Upon Bleak Shores

Session 5 part one!  Well whatever ailment was afflicting the runegraver, it wore off, however the necromancer and Theresa were still under its effects.  (Game terms, once more a PC couldn't attend and a story central NPC was sidelined however, things proceed!)  Despite finding out what happened to Xik Tannas (in their own words) and trying to convince the townsfolk of Calencia all was copacetic, it was soon obvious all was NOT well.   The bard and runegraver got the grudging support of the rest of the party (the paladin a bit more enthusiastic than others) that supplying food and drink out of their hard won loot was a good way to spread cheer and favorable reactions from the Calencia townsfolk.  At first the stout townsfolk were reluctant to share in the good cheer, but soon as days went by warmed up to the open camaraderie that the party opined to the stilt fort city.  Shortly thereafter, Xu-Thanidon, the high priest of the cult of Khalk-Xu made known his overtures to meet the party with his highly conspicuous departure of the jail cell of Sorinstargos, the madman who was the last surviving member of Xik Tannas' ill-fated warband.  After the party put forth its postulations to Sorinstargos, they were able to reduce his symptoms of madness to a point of lucidity and warning.  They soon were strongly "encouraged" by the guard of the jail to wrap up conversation as the guards wished to participate in the leisure activities of food and drink the PC's had set up as a goodwill gesture to Calencia. 

Around a cooking basin of fired clay, they saw a solitary figure, Xu-Thanidon.  The paladin could sense a malice or evil emanating from said individual, but in a lawful society with regulations in place, all could not act with mere violence as the bald headed multi-jointed individual conversed with them.  He was in the open as were they, so civil discourse was upheld.  The PC's were concerned about the threat of undead from the Tomb of Argach Lahr, and Xu-Thanidon was able to give them information.  The bard discerned that the "Xu" portion of his name had something to do with a title rather than a proper name as such, but was unable to decipher exactly what.  Xu-Thanidon then laid down a rather threatening aggressive approach about how the town would react "negatively" towards the party as they were relative newcomers here whereas the Khalk-Xu worshipers were longtime residents.  After verbal barbs were traded, the PC's secured good will promises from the mysterious priest along with an initiate of their's, a lone figure named Krakanigon.   The young initiate curiously looked like the mysterious bald headed follower that was a persistent shadow of theirs from their last expedition against the Lady of Chains.  After further haggling, the party secured a map from Xu-Thanidon of sewer strewn cavernous region of an age gone by that would be a "short-cut" to the courtyard of the decrepit kingdom of Argach Lahr.  The party desperately wanted a path to secure the goodwill of all the residents of Calencia, so they pursued this path.  The ranger noticed a discrepancy from the map to the geographical topography and was able to find an alternate route to the "pathway".  The party was unsure if Krakanigon was a "plant or spy" or if they were led to a certain trap; so they avoided the map's detailed point of entry and opted for a further egress.  The paladin of Apollo flexed his muscles and ripped open the disregarded grate the ranger found and the fetid smells and squelching sounds along with brackish sewage began to swirl about as the PC's began the descent down to the odious slime below... part two coming later!


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1/13/2019 1:47 am  #24


Re: A Crow's Nest Upon Bleak Shores

Session 5 part two!  Clambering into the sludge below, thus the party descended!  Upon their arrival to the brackish stained walled structures of ages gone by they allowed torchlight to enter to a region that sunlight had long forgotten.  In caution they heard noises from either end of possible points of travel, one leading to a closed door, the other to a larger man-made tunnel that expelled said foul liquid.  The PC's opted to try for the dryer option, and eschewing traditional points of entry, the door was smashed open to reveal rats scurrying for cover as they saw foodstuffs and barrels full of liquids as well as a sarcophagus in a small room along with holes that showed small points where burrowing creatures could leave the confines of a cave and the flowage of sewage lapping against its borders leading to the relative opposite direction of what they sought they should attain.  After further investigation of that region they found scrolls and loose leaf papyri stating that the inventory in said room predated the "Green death".  They also found that these poor souls outlived the "Green death" but died here to natural predators.  It didn't take them long as they investigated further in the sewage laden environs.   Shortly thereafter quite large crocodiles began to encircle the party thinking "dinner was here!"  As melee ensued and PC's fought these creatures, soon one they dubbed "Mom" showed up working her way from the enclosed space of the partially eroded tunnel and the PC's were surrounded!  The PC's in a dubious attack strategy forced Krakanigon down to fight for them as a "meat shield".  He didn't last long.  After being ripped apart, his necklace with the kraken symbol began to twist and tighten like a constricting wire.  Before long, their "benefactor" was slain as his head popped off and rolled into the sludge as the crocodiles continued their vicious assault.  Unsure if the victim was an ally or spy, the PC's carried on the battle.  After vicious tail slaps, bites and claws, the PC's were ground down until at the end they were victorious but the outgoing scouts consisting of the runegraver and ranger had sent the lesser of the crocs retreating down a corridor of slime and sewage whilst the cryomancer, paladin and bard were able to slay the "mother" of these abominations.  The chosen of the bedraggled party then kept watch while the rest frantically skinned the crocs to possibly fashion armour or clothing from their roughened exterior.  As this happened, the runegraver consumed a potion that seemingly gave him a fire breath.  As his tremendous belch echoed down one corridor all life withered and died as flame licked the walls and melted down every being that drew breath.  Shortly thereafter the party found a solitary grime laden ladder leading up.

Could this be their vantage point to the tomb of Argach Larh?  They were unsure and as such decided to hold the sewer as best they could as they slew a couple more crocodiles of prodigious size, although none like the one they dubbed "mom".  Hurt badly, the general consensus was to rest before trying the door above.  So in the dripping confines of tunnels they rested (if you can call it resting) before bursting forth to what the map of Xu-Thanidon proclaimed was the courtyard of Argach Lahr.  Part Three to follow shortly!

Last edited by MrManowar (1/13/2019 1:52 am)


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2/16/2019 11:06 pm  #25


Re: A Crow's Nest Upon Bleak Shores

Session 5 part three (finally!)  The PC's emerged from the slimy confines of the sewage canal ready for dealing with the manor of Argach Lahr.  What they saw didn't match the rumors and tales they heard about this foreboding structure.  First of all, unlike the grandiose manor they were expecting, this was clearly a structure in ruin.  Gaping holes in the walls, all quiet, all night and all dead and silent.  This was a wreckage, not a manor.  After passing twisted gates and torn grounds, the PC's settled into strategic positions to best verify what really was going on here.  As they crept closer, skeletons and other undead emerged to take militaristic action against them!  Their tripartite split (yup, separate the party) allowed them to see the undead maneuvering against them!  An unearthly voice from beyond the grave was intoning orders and manipulating gruesome beings of undeath in a macabre semblance of a defending army! 

Combat ensued as the PC's had the element of surprise and dealt death (for a second time) to the first foray of undead into the baleful manor grounds.  Before long, the ensuing mass of undead pouring forth held them in steady combat as some of the group began to seek out the source of the undead horde.  Amidst ruined walls and blasted foundation they saw a speaking source of undead, Argach Lahr himself summoning forth more undead to "defend" his home!  A pitched battle took place with many undead being slain as the PC's made their inexorable push to the summoning portal!  Soon, the paladin, bard and barbarian were downing foes as the cryomancer used an ice storm from his wand to close off the portal!  The ranger picked off those he could as the bones, decaying flesh and other things in stages of unlife were driven to the ground!  Some of the PC's succumbed to the paralyzing power of the ghasts and ghouls with their slavering bites and then the battle was brought to Argach Lahr himself!  Using all their magical might and ingenuous thinking they brought down the intelligent undead and shattered his portal.  In exultant victory they sought to ransack the keep and it's woeful remains for treasures only to find that the Lady of Chains had been here first!  And worse, she left a scroll for them to find detailing her exploits of taking the treasure whilst leaving them the foes!  Now angered and dismayed and wounded, the PC's slunk back to Calencia.

Once they arrived they were met with skepticism.  Krakanigon was not with them.  Now it was the PC's word the citizens of Calencia had to believe regarding Argach Lahr and other threats.  What once was indifference turned to shunning when the cry from the ramparts and stilted towers of Calencia rang out..."Ice trolls! From the mountains!  Look!"  So with attention riveted at the distant approaching forms as the autumnal air gave way to cold blasts, the citizens shivered.... What had the PC's wrought?  Is an assault on Calencia to follow?

Stay tuned, session 6 was just played and I hope to have that written up as soon as I can!


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2/16/2019 11:40 pm  #26


Re: A Crow's Nest Upon Bleak Shores

Session 6 part one!  "WHAT.  HAVE.  YOU. DONE?"  Thunders the voice of Xu-Thanidon, the high priest of Khalk-Xu as he leers over the PC's as they try to assuage the crowds with tales of heroism.  The paladin and bard try to placate the crowds with encouraging speech while Xu-Thanidon recalls ALL their actions and potential threats to Calencia.  Soon all paltry signs to Apollo and other good luck charms have dissipated as the citizenry turns borderline hostile on the PC's.  Ice trolls?  It's not even in the beginning portion of the wintry years even though according to the astrological signs winter is indeed approaching soon.  Public opinion soon turns against these "unwelcome" visitors despite no attacks from the ape-men this past month or so since the PC's arrival.  Rianorix and his family soon fall under suspicion of aiding the PC's since he allows them to stay in his workshop with no inns to be found with vacancies.  After hurried discussion, Rianorix states he and his family will seek asylum in the mainland of Hyperboria with familial allies he knows.  The PC's offer to protect them in their travels.  So, in the cover of night with clandestine escape routes revealed now, the PC's depart the stilted fortress town.  Descending ground gives way as exhaustion settles in due to the forced march.  Most stay upright with some of the stronger carrying or pulling those whose constitution isn't up to the long hike.  Once the coniferous regions are left far behind and scree and switchback hills and peaks emerge in the gloom of morning the ever weary traveling entourage collapses into uneasy sleep.

When morning or at the least daylight illumines them all from rest, they take stock.  All are here, the paladin, runegraver, cryomancer, ranger, barbarian, necromancer and bard... but wait, no Theresa!  Somehow in the haste to leave Calencia they realize they left a survivor from the Crow's Nest expedition behind!  In sullen silence they also recall the madman who believed them, Sorinstargos.  They trusted that fate (or in the paladin's case, Apollo) would protect them.  At least they had the maps and books they'd accumulated... including the Crow Man's book,,,, hahahaha....

As they traversed on, they noticed peculiar webbing here and there, but it was oddly disjointed or capriciously laid out.  Ignoring that since no immediate danger was sighted they sauntered on towards the impending rocky landscape.  As they did so, crab-like greyish spiders began to leap towards them, expending no webs but attacking with bite and pincer!  Melee ensued with Rianorix protecting his wife and children and the PC's dealing with the spiders.  Almost all were subject to bite and stab, but the battle hardened PC's slew most of them with few escaping in search of easier prey.  Weary for the day, the ranger and barbarian scouted ahead and found what looked like a great cave to rest for the night before the next stage of the journey would ensue.  What could go wrong?

End part one, part two coming soon!


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