Kingmaker

The Siege Beast
Flies pretty well for a flightless dragon

Neth 15
After a couple of days cooling our heels in the General’s war camp (and Eran and Evelyth being mysteriously missing together), we got word that his scouts had located our target and headed back to the bunker for our briefing. With advance notice we were able to go into battle with most of our buffs up and start attacking immediately after we teleported in. Wow, did that thing hit hard! Ilona challenged it, and I’d shielded her, so we were splitting the damage, but even so, it was challenging for Eran and I to keep up with the damage. Unfortunately for the beast, we had three heavy hitters to reciprocate and Khismia flew around the beast to distract it and provide flanking to the other two. It tried to fly away (wasn’t it supposed to be flightless?!?) but Khismia, Ilona and I all dimension doored to it and managed to prevent it getting away. We were able to head back to the General and report that his siege problem was solved, for now at least.

Having taken care of the immediate threats that his crusaders couldn’t handle, we were given leave to head back home to take care of whatever we needed to in our kingdom. Eran recently approved funding for several more festivals and there’s one coming up in three days. I think it would be nice if we actually celebrated with our people for once! Ilona and Perlivash were wholeheartedly behind this plan. Besides, we need to start building our grand arena so people can use eating utensils again…

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Back to the World Wound
For Gorum!

Neth 13
We met back up with Evelyth near Nerosyan to continue with our interrupted plan to meet with General Tarolen. While traveling to the general’s camp we filled her in on our adventures yesterday and she told us that Raziel has been part of the incursion at the World Wound. We reported to General Tarolen after being subjected to a thorough magical scan (gem of true-seeing, zone of truth) to make sure we weren’t a team of demonic assassins, I guess. After verifying our identities, we were led to an underground bunker with a huge map and lots of activity. The general, a paladin of Iomedae, greeted Evelyth warmly and while a bit surprised by our presence and request to “help out,” he immediately gave us a task to help out a troop contingent which was in the process of getting cut off and surrounded. If we could go immediately they could give us a key that would allow us to port there directly (also giving us a strict injunction that if there were any possibility of us being captured or killed that we immediately destroy it). Taking Ilona’s sword and enchanting it with his magical sheath, he then told us to “Go quickly!” so we did.

We teleported next to a fortress with a bridge which we needed to hold against a force of vrocks and their minions while the troops attempted an orderly retreat back to the fortress. I immediately erected a blade barrier to hold our line at the bridge and we left Breela behind it do deal with any demons that got around or through it. Since the demonic forces lacked the attuning keys allowing them to teleport into the dimensionally locked grounds, it evened the fight a lot. Thes rest of us waded into the waves of demonic forces trying to take the bridge with Khismia immediately flying forward alone to engage a nalfeshnie that appeared. While we were dealing with the vrocks and nalfeshnie still a couple of glabrezu showed up with more fodder troops. I lost track of what everyone was doing because the glabrezu reversed gravity on Jiro and I had to teleport up to retrieve him (and I landed us next to a vrock that had gotten around my barrier, which Jiro immediately dispatched, to much cheering from the remaining defenders of the bridge). Then the glabrezu reversed gravity on us again, so I had to fly up and just cast fly on Jiro so it wasn’t a problem any longer. While doing that I had a brief surreal glimpse of Mari also flying into the air before she disappeared, presumably hosteled by Ilona. I completely lost track of Khismia, which I found out later from Eran was because she’d turned herself invisible early on. We also discovered later that the eidolon had apparently failed to resist a confusion spell and had turned on Khismia and attacked her. Fortunately, due to the eidolon’s summoned nature, as soon as he knocked Khismia out he was dismissed and Khismia was left to fall to the ground (as she had been flying on him), unconscious, invisible, and behind enemy lines. Eran only knew she was alive because he was still taking damage from her life link and his status spell gave him a vague directional indicator.

With Jiro freed from the tyranny of gravity, he proceeded to charge the glabrezu that had been harassing him, but it wasn’t done being a pain as it then put up a myriad of images that all appeared identical to itself. The other one, also seeing no more fun in reversing gravity with us all flying moved to the place Eran last saw Khismia and did the same. Eran tries to move close enough to channel and heal Khismia (assuming she hadn’t moved) but is surrounded by schir and has to retreat into the air. Ilona charges the second glabrezu and it suppresses the magic on Jiro’s sword. You should have seen how irritated he was getting by this time! Eventually Khismia must have gotten enough passive healing or our channels were hitting her somewhere because the next thing we knew a giant triceratops and Jiro were both charging the final glabrezu and it got caught between them where even its images couldn’t save it for long. With their commanders defeated, the demonic fodder fled and we were able to withdraw to the fortress safely.

After dedicating the glorious battle to Gorum, we headed back to General Tarolen to report the safe retrieval of his troops. He congratulated us on our stellar victory and asked if we were looking for more demons to kill. Since we had more time, we told him of our oath to Sir Garon, which I think impressed him, and also our plight with Gorum, which may or may not have amused him (I think they train paladins to always look stoic or something). In any case, he had another target in mind for us, but it’s one that may take his scouts a few days to find the exact location. We’re to rest up out in the camp somewhere (and I plan to memorize a safe area to teleport to since I can’t get here directly) while he sends his scouts out. The target he has in mind is a giant living siege weapon of some kind that’s been overwhelming their fortifications in the north. It’s a creature from the World Would, some kind of flightless dragon which Breela thinks sounds a bit like a cairn linorm. From that knowledge we plan to memorize a lot of delay poison spells while we wait to hear back from the scouts on its location.

We had barely begun settling in for the evening when we got word that a battle-priest of Gorum wished to see us. He informed us that Gorum was impressed with our mighty deeds and would choose to overlook our “previous transgressions” for a small boon. Gorum wished to spread his glory to our kingdom with a grand gladiatorial arena dedicated in his name. It would, of course, need to be grander than any other arena anywhere nearby, requiring more detailing, more beauty, more grandeur. Eran assured him that we would make it so as soon as we’d dealt with the General’s siege beast and arrived back home.

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Taking the Fight to the Enemy
Into the Abyss

Neth 12
Our research indicated that if we’re indeed getting raiding parties all from the same place then there most likely exists some kind of planar focus allowing someone on the other side to “hold” the portal open to one location. Should the portal be held in this way, the traffic should be both ways and we can also go through to the plane to try and take the planar key from them so they can’t just raid at will.

While Breela and I had gone back to Isenfell to research the planar gate, Eran and the others stayed behind so that he could fill the cave with stone walls to buy us some time. While we were gone, they said they’d heard something trying to break through the stone several times. Once reunited, I cast a commune spell to try and discern the appearance and nature of the focus we’d be looking for once we took the fight to the other side of the gate. The information I gleaned was the key can destroy the portal and that it’s small and will radiate magic when searching for such things. Armed with that knowledge, we destroyed our stone barricade and waited for the portal to solidify again. Three days waiting have finally been rewarded by it opening earlier today and us heading through into a group of demons led by a nalfeshnie holding up what we presume to be the portal key (at least, it’s obviously fey in origin and I can’t think of what else it would be). Unfortunately, the nalfeshnies don’t get to be leaders by being stupid and it immediately teleported away when we came through the portal. We wiped out its little raiding party and headed to the nearest place we thought it likely to go, an ominous fortress nearby.

Not wanting to waste magical might when the fortress looked to be only half a mile away, we simply walked. Not like our arrival was going to surprise the occupants anyway if it was indeed the hiding place for the nalfeshnie…

The easiest way in looked to be flying up to one of the towers, though they obviously saw us coming and headed down and closed the trap doors. Nothing a little Jiro-key couldn’t handle though. There were runes on all of the flat surfaces of the keep, presumably the mark of the demon in charge. The only resistance we encountered on the way down were packs of goat-demons called schir. In the courtyard, Jiro noticed more of them and ran out to lure them all back to us (they’re clearly not the smartest thing around here). Khismia, Jiro and Ilona proceeded to show them why they should have just walked away. However, while they were busy doing that, the nalfeshnie ported into the tower we’d just came out of. I tried to hit him with a dimensional anchor spell, but got interrupted and some schir managed to move to block the door allowing it time to get away again.

We ducked down into a grate which led to a maze with things scratched into the walls like, “No way out,” “Don’t know how many days, getting hungry.” We came upon two very old corpses in a room with a final message, “Sick of wandering, we will go no further. Maybe we can wait this out.” And in the next room over, something reached out of the floor and grabbed Jiro’s ankle. I don’t know what he did to anger every spirit we encounter, but they sure seem to like him. The creature moaned that it was “So hungry!” and had a nasty con damage attack, but didn’t pose much threat other than that. We presumed they were the final remains of the dead in the previous room. At least they’re truly dead now rather than stuck in an undead state. With no good way to get through the maze I utilize a find the path spell to get us back out and we come upon some non-magical tokens marked with the same rune as the rest of the keep.

Betting that these hold the key to successfully traversing the maze, we do some experimenting and find that they lock the rooms of the maze into place so it stops leading us in circles. While doing this, Khismia reported receiving telepathic sendings, presumably from the nalfeshnie saying, “Your kind do not belong here, leave this place,” “Leave before you face Raziel, leaders of the armies of Baphomet. This is your final warning.” (Baphomet being the Demon Lord of Minotaurs for those who don’t have a friend embroiled in a demonic war…) We ignore it and work our way through the maze, finding a trophy room and at last being halted at a vault door.

At this point the voice shifts to Jiro’s head, asking to make a deal. He declines, “For the glory of Gorum!” and the voice sounds resigned as it tells him, “Fine, I’ll summon her. She will torture me, but she will destroy you.” We go back to trying to figure out how to open the vault door without touching it and Khismia summons a huge earth elemental to that end, but we’re interrupted by the sound of the nalfeshnie wailing and turn to find four glabrezu and a marilith have ported in. Deciding that it can’t hurt to be bold, Ilona demands that she stop raiding our lands. She looks surprised (more for the request or that we would dare demand, I can’t say), and says she has been doing no such thing; it was her minion (glaring at the nalfeshnie). She refuses to give us the planar key to seal the gate, but says she will leave us alone as she has more important matters to attend to. Ilona demands that the nalfeshnie pay for the lives its raiding party has taken and the glabrezu comply by holding him still while Jiro executes him. Not wanting to tangle with a marilith on her home turf, we decide that discretion is the better part of valor in this case and plane shift back home where we immediately teleported back to the gate site to again fill it with stone. Interestingly enough though, the gate itself was gone when we got there, so I guess Raziel closed it?

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Off to the World Wound
Fulfilling a man's last request

Neth 8
After getting a fix on Sir Garon’s son’s monastery and getting Evelyth’s advise, we teleported to a location nearby (most areas near the World Wound are dimensionally locked, a sensible precaution when fighting an enemy that can teleport at will) and wind walked the rest of the way. Evelyth accompanied us to smooth the way. We spoke with the boy’s superior and once he was convinced that we actually spoke with Sir Garon he confided that it might be best if the boy were to stop his training as a crusader as he didn’t really have the skill and drive he would need to be successful. The training master did mention that his devotion was true though and the boy might make a very good cleric. With that in mind, we visit the child and tell him his father’s wishes that he not feel compelled to follow in his footsteps. The boy, while first skeptical of our origins, is convinced by the information Sir Garon told us to convince him. We leave him to decide on his own. While the others head into the camps nearby to locate a supposed cleric of Gorum, I visited Sir Garon’s widow to tell her of our encounter with her late husband, her son, and her son’s superior. Being a leader in a growing kingdom far from active demonic battle, I offered her and her son a place to come live should they wish to grow up in a less hostile area, and tell her that should her son pursue a more cleric-centric field of study we have many fine temples to choose from which he would be welcome at. Leaving her with much to think on, and a token to contact us should she wish to speak further, I headed back to our designated rendezvous to wait for the rest of the group.

Later that evening
Eran told me they found a cleric of Gorum, and while initially he refused to speak with Eran, my brother turned on his full charm and soon had the cleric eating out of his hand. It seems that while we’ve made Gorum angry right now (and the cleric already knew of the curse), Gorum is essentially easily distracted and should we dedicate great battles in his name, he would be quite likely to forgive us our transgress and remove the metal-heating curse. Eran and the others talked it over on the way back to meet me and decided that there are certainly plenty of impressive enemies up here, so Evelyth will introduce us to the commander in this part of the world at Nerosyan.

We set out to wind walk to Nerosyan (which we can’t teleport to, of course), but got a sending from Jhod requesting our immediate return as there were people disappearing mysteriously and patrols sent to investigate have ceased reporting in. We returned immediately to get his full report that farmers near the fey crystal cave have been disappearing that there is a swath of destruction nearby. A quick flight to the mine shows it covered in a strange mist. From there we noticed a column of smoke from the east coming from a burning farm. Apparently on their way back from burning said farm we also found a vrock leading a raiding party which we destroyed. Heading back to the cave and into the mist we discovered the previously dormant cave was now filled with a large sphere of shifting colors which we’re certain is a permanent planar gateway. This is bad. A little testing shows that it seems to shift to random planes, at least from this side, though the pattern of destruction around the area would seem to indicate that many parties have come through it to pillage, so we head back to do some research.

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The Wrath of a God
Gorum gets mad

Neth 4
While we were in the council chambers with just the six of us, Ilona’s armor showed up, rising up from the floor and speaking in a booming voice of how we’d displeased Gorum by destroying his servant Armag and his weapon. Our kingdom would now feel Gorum’s curse! As he said this, Kestin and several guardsmen burst in saying they’d heard the commotion, and had tried to draw their weapons but they were burning hot to the touch! Checking our own weapons showed the curse to be more widespread. With some investigation we discovered that any metal implement, including ones I really couldn’t figure out how to turn to weapons were now uncomfortably warm to handle. Oh bother!

We’d actually been meeting to scry for the location of Sir Garon’s son so that we could discharge our debt to him. With Evelyth’s help (as she’s familiar with that area of the world), I believe we can find him pretty easily. There are a few more days of bookwork we need to accomplish, and then we’ll deal with Garon’s son and see what we can do about this very annoying curse.

In appreciation for the part her realm and minions played in removing Armag’s cursed sword from the world, we’ve erected a shrine to Pharasma in Rechnoye. I don’t know that Pharasma will gain many worshipers there, but it can’t hurt to be careful. Maybe if we’d put up a shrine to Gorum? We also upgraded Brightmoor’s pier to a full waterfront and added the coveted magical streetlights that every city wants once they’ve seen them. I swear it’s like a mid-winter treat how eager they are to get them!

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Our Artifact Problem Solved
Meet Sir Garon

Lamashan 20
After three days of fruitless queries in line we at least got some answer on the bloduewedd, though not as useful as we’d hoped. They were able to draw a personal rune of a spell-caster, one from the wizardly college in Brevoy. Slightly more information than we’d had earlier, but not something we can use directly at the moment, oh well. Khismia decided to go off and start asking various celestials around the Spire if they knew anyone suitable in line and found a Deva who thought she could find someone. She returned this morning with to tell us to seek out “Sir Garon Shadowbreaker” near the end of the line. After nearly a half hour of frustrating encounters with the line attendant flunkies we were finally able to convince them that we didn’t need to stand in line (as we weren’t dead), and that they could remove our annoying presence by simply placing us near Sir Garon (though we didn’t tell them it was to remove him from their precious line, should he be amenable to our proposal). While hunting Sir Garon, Ilona, Breela and Khismia headed off to find Sir Garon’s tomb with the aid of the endless librarian resources.

Sir Garon turned out to be a former crusader-knight in Mendev, committed to Iomedae to help end the demonic incursion. He was slain near the World Wound and by his account “died well” and is now ready to move on. When told of our task though, he was willing to help us remove an artifact of chaos from the world before doing so. While traveling to the site of his tomb (which the others had found in the meantime), we inquired if there was anything he’d like us to do in his stead in repayment for his aid. He asked of us two things, one was to destroy as many demons as we could, and also that we find his young adolescent son and assure him that his father doesn’t require him to follow him in the crusader path. He told us enough information that we should be able to convince his son that we are legitimate.

Once we arrived at his grave, he meditated at it for a few minutes, then took the sword and calmly struck it three times, though he did get an odd look while swinging and asked us afterward if we’d heard or said anything. The sword shattered quite impressively and we extended our profuse thanks for his part in our quest. As if on queue, the Deva who’d located him suddenly appeared next to us and informed him and us that there was no need to return him to the line but she’d take him from there and she requested our discretion on this matter (I’m assuming that’s a no no in this place of endless bureaucracy) which we of course assured her of. Vowing to Sir Garon that we would fulfill his final requests, we headed back home to Isenfell, since we’d accomplished all of our tasks in the Boneyard.

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Scratch One Astradaemon
Soul Ladles?!?

Lamashan 16
We scouted along the river for a few hours in cloud form before coming upon a party of murdered devils including an Eirynies. They carried a weird device with them which we’d been led to believe they used to “scoop” tasty souls from the river, like helpings of stew! Guessing that a party this large had probably had more than one scoop and was hopefully killed by our marauding quarry (and hopefully not something more powerful!), we started casting about in a search pattern with a locate object spell in effect. We got a ping from a hill with no discernible exits which Khismia claimed she could summon a scout to check out. She certainly did, she summoned a succubus! Eran gave her that look of “You and I are going to have a talk later,” but didn’t press the issue today. The succubus was unhappy with her assignment as she was rightly concerned for her continued existence should the daemon sense her presence, but she had no choice, and followed through with her scouting mission, returning to report that it was indeed inside.

We started buffing up, preparing to use dimension door to make our own entrance when it seems the astradaemon had indeed sensed the succubus and had followed her out to investigate us. He started summoning his own party to fight for him, starting with a derghodaemon which painfully rended me. Many, many summoned daemons later we’d finally finished off all his meat shields and could deal with him directly, though there remained the problem of him being a flying entity (well, it’s only a problem for some of us!). Khismia, being her usual impulsive self, flew up and got herself grappled (this is bad as this entity likes to suck out one’s soul once it grapples), but got out by mystically swapping places with her eidolon. I send Jiro up to help with a fly spell, assuming Ilona can fly on her own. With the two of them charging (though Ilona had to shed her armor to be able to go fast enough, which I certainly intend to tease her about! Oh how quickly that girl can shed her clothes if she “needs” to!), they were able to kill it, barely. Back to the Spire!

With the daemon head in hand, the flunky at the gate was happy to assist us with a letter of introduction to the librarian, though he looked rather surprised at our success. The librarian was able to tell us the sword could be destroyed only by the “wielder of the sword striking his own gravestone here in the Boneyard three times.” He also informed us that we couldn’t do it since we were alive. After some debate about killing one of us to do it and ressing them later, we figured we may as well start asking the already dead people standing in line, but with little success. We left a couple people back in the Spire to also query the librarians about our missing fae soul.

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Making Stuff to Kill Us a Daemon
Kestin Garess gets some bad news

Lamashan 15
We’ve been busy the last several weeks creating items we think will be useful against a powerful daemon. Breela’s been researching the abilities it’s likely to use against us while Khismia and I enhance and augment our gear.

Meanwhile, we’ve added a town hall, stockyard, park and temple to Abadar (improving their shrine) in Brightmoor and housing, a shop and a foundry in Rechnoye. Somewhere near the beginning of the month Kestin Garess reported to the council meeting drunk and tossed a letter down on the table saying, “I have three family members left.” A review of the missive indicated that the Medvyed and Garess families had been declared traitors and wiped out. Though he was estranged from his family, that’s still hard news to get. We told him to take as much time as he needed and notified his second-in-command of his need for a time to grieve (discretely, of course).

We’ve finished our crafting and research today, so I think we’re headed back to the Boneyard bright and early tomorrow to hunt down the marauding Astradaemon.

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Off to Visit Other Planes
And the loss of the crystal guardian

Rova 16
Today we heard back from one of the scouts we’d left watching the crystal mine, because we’re paranoid (and rightly so!). He had seen a lot of arcane eldritch might being thrown around last night and thought we should check it out. As instructed, he hadn’t gotten involved (our scouts are much better when alive than sent uselessly to their deaths checking things out too closely!). When we arrived at the bloduewedd’s grove we found her dead body and many large chunks of crystal were missing. Utilizing a speak with dead spell, we determined that she’d like to be resurrected, that men in green had killed her (she described the symbol, which sounds suspiciously like the one worn by the Royal College of the Arcane), bad things may happen with the crystals gone, it’s difficult to replace the crystals even if we can get them back, the crystals attenuate the instability in the planes and wards don’t last long here. With that flood of information, we then tried to raise her from the dead with no success. Knowing that the amount of time passed wasn’t the issue we’re now assuming that the “bad guys” have trapped her soul in some manner, preventing her return to life. The only magic capable of doing this is from considerably higher spellcasting than we’ve got access to, so we’ll have to put that off for now. While we’re in the Boneyard we can also see if we can find out some information on how to reverse that.

Leaving our nearby scout with strict instructions to watch closely but don’t get himself killed if some nasty portal opens and things appear, we headed off to the Boneyard to see what information we could dig up.

It’s not a particularly scenic plane, consisting mostly of grave markers, presumably stretching to infinity, though we obviously couldn’t verify that. We’d found out from a little research that there’d be a line of all the dead, no matter their eventual destination, waiting to be “sorted” to the correct plane. As there are always people dying and there’s only so fast they can be sorted, this line is, of course, quite lengthy. Not wanting to stand in line, and not being dead, we headed to the front of the line with wind walk, only to keep getting placed back in the end of the line by flunkies we met along the way who apparently couldn’t understand that we weren’t dead. Eventually we found one to listen for more than the time it took him to remove us to the end of the line and got into the Spire to talk to another flunky who told us if we perform a service for him (her? it?) which involved killing an Astradaemon raiding the river of souls, he’d take us to whoever we needed to talk to. So apparently flunkies taking bribes to do the jobs they’re already getting paid for thrives even on other planes, who knew? With that charge given, he went back to ignoring us, so we decided a bit more preparation and perhaps a bit of item creation was required first and ported back home.

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Researching an Artifact
And an unexpected request

Rova 12
Urin Sinno, our Brevoyan ambassador requested an audience a couple of days ago. He presented a party from the Royal College of the Arcane in New Steven and their request to study a phenomenon they’d discovered on our land. After much vague dancing around the topic we determined they were referring to the crystal mine guarded by the bloduewedd. Asking them to wait while we determined the best course of action we headed over to her grove to ask her opinion. She gave an unequivocal “no,” and having no illusions at all that they’d listen to that answer we told her we’d pass that on and she could murder any of them that didn’t listen at her own discretion. After passing on our denial of their request, they seemingly left peacefully (though visibly disappointed) and we moved on.

This morning Khismia had a request to help settle a legal dispute. A farmer tenant had been faithfully farming the land of a minor lord for years and the lord had passed on. The farmer, knowing the lord had no kin, had expected to inherit the land, but a cousin had now presented claiming it instead. After a short recess, we presented him with an alternate solution – the cousin can have the land and we’ll set the industrious farmer up with his own farmland, as much as he thinks he can handle. I don’t think he realizes how much land we’ve acquired and need to work, but he was amazed at the opportunity and accepted at once.

Research on Armag’s sword and using a scroll of Legend Lore has revealed that it is a chaotic neutral weapon named Ovinrbaane. It’s wielder is protected from magic – slow and hold are ineffective. The sword was originally given to Armag by Gorum himself to be used against worshipers of Pharasma and the name means “Enemy of All Enemies.” This doesn’t sound like something we want to leave lying around, so we’ve been researching how to destroy it, despite Khismia’s constant whining that she can handle the peril and should be allowed to wield it. As far as we can determine it’ll probably involve Pharasma’s plane, the Boneyard, and having no other resources to draw on, we start looking for the correctly attuned planar key for a visit in the near future.

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