The Death of Life

Session 5: Raising Katya
Teleport is your friend...

The Players: Rhett (Scott), Haromyre (Jim T.), Garub (John), Quizlan (Doug)
The NPCs: Azar (Rhett’s Cohort), Lorful (The Hobgoblin Paladin), Abner (non-evil Necromancer) and Bennett (Abner’s Skeletal golem)

The tree was homey if you are into that sort of thing or you happen to be a non-evil necromancer named Abner. I’m still trying to figure out how he went from “I really want to know how to raise that corpse as a zombie” to “Fruit looks nice. I’m going to tend the garden”. It’s mind boggling to Scott, the player and Rhett, the PC.

Abner himself couldn’t have been a more gracious host. He allowed us to stay the night in his tree which allowed us to be undetected by the King and his minions. We assume they are hunting for us though we have seen no actual proof of it. I suppose it’s possible they’re not hunting us. I’ll put that on the “odds of rolling 100 on percentiles when you’ll die if you do not” level of likelihood. The chance exists but it’s a small one.

As we had discussed last time, our next step would be to find and raise Katya who had once fought the King and, we were told, would be a powerful ally. Abner informed us that Bennett would show us the way to Katya’s grave but he would not fight for us. He’s a guide and nothing more. The party left with him back to Katya’s grave – the site of our run-in with the corrupted Beholder. . It never occurred to us to mention to Abner that we were familiar with Katya’s Gravesite. We took to the air by spell, item, and even a very large hippogriff (owned by Lorful). Hugging the trees, we arrived at the grave without incident. Bennett guided us the whole way with only an extended arm indicating the direction we should travel. When we got to the gravesite, he pointed straight down.

We encountered two local townspeople at the gravesite. When they asked what we were doing, I told them. I tried to convince them through Diplomacy that it was necessary and right. One of them believed me. The other rolled a 20 on his check and disagreed. He asked that we not disturb the ground and notified us that the grave could be accessed very easily through a door not too far away.

As an aside, accessing Katya’s grave reminds me very much of the Hatch on Lost. It took them days and days to get it open only to find out that there was a doorway not 100 yards away. Anyway….

We get to the gravesite and it’s reminiscent of a catacomb. There are a lot of graves here and quite a few people visiting them for various reasons. We travelled past them deeper into the catacomb.
We encountered a magically sealed door as we got deeper inside. I forget exactly how we knew but we were told to give our reason for wanting to open the door. Quizlan noted that’s why we have paladins –to open magically sealed doors while smart mages stay a good 30 feet away. Not coincidentally, he positioned Azar between the two of us – staying just inside the radius of the lammasu’s continual magic circle v. evil. Brave to the last, I see.

Rhett told the truth of why we wanted to enter (to raise Katya in an effort to defeat the corrupt King) and the door opened.

Haromyre noticed a spirit presence ahead as we entered the room. We assumed it was Katya and our assumptions were proven right in the next room.

Rhett entered the next room first along with Lorful and came to Katya’s grave. Standing in front of her grave was a Stream Guardian. We were aware that the grave would be protected and were also aware that while fighting was an option, it was possible we could get what we needed without fighting. With that in mind, Rhett spoke to the Guardian and explained the situation (corruption, King, needing Katya’s body in order to bring her back from the dead to fight once again). Katya’s body was very decayed, mostly dust and bones. The guardian asked for proof of the corruption. We told him about the corrupt beholder which the King had placed over the grave. The guardian knew about the beholder however he still did not believe about the corruption.

Haromyre had kept an eyestalk from the corrupted beholder and took that opportunity to show it to the Guardian. Time stopped and when it started again, the Guardian was holding the eyestalk. He claimed he could not see the corruption. We explained that it is invisible without True Seeing. After some negotiation, the Guardian agreed to allow Azar to cast True Seeing on him. At that point he understood the corruption and believed us. He threw the eyestalk to the ground and Disintegrated it.

However, after he did so we noticed him trying to wipe off his hands. Those with true seeing up – Haromyre and Quizlan – recognized that his hands were corrupted. I forget where we learned this but Rhett remembered that a corrupted Stream Guardian would be “crossing the streams” level of BAD. With some quick thinking, Garub pulled the corruption out of the Guardian just as he had done before.

We explained again that we were trying to prevent the spread of that corruption and that Katya was essential to our success. He agreed to let us have her body to be raised – success!

We teleported everyone back to Abner’s. We landed just outside the tree which told our mages that it was not possible to teleport into the tree directly. That was a handy tip. Haromyre cleared off a table which had some kind of bad stuff on it – I didn’t catch what it was. As we prepared to bring Katya back we ran into one small problem. There is no cleric in this group with the ability to cast True Ressurection which would be required since she’s been dead for so long.

Rhett asked Abner if he had the ability to raise her. Abner said sure, if we wanted her to be a zombie. Not quite what we had in mind there, old man. Garub remembered that some of the people we saved from bringing corrupted fruit into the stream were Halfling clerics – powerful ones too. The docks had been closed following the recognition of the corrupted fruit and the explosion of the Harbor Masters office. We thought it likely they were still in the docks. We teleported (again) over to them and after a few minutes they agreed to cast the spell. Rhett, being a good paladin, provided them with a decent sized donation for their services.

We brought the Clerics back to Abner’s tree with yet another teleport and they cast the spell. Katya was resurrected. After some brief introductions we explained the situation to her. She agreed to help us defeat the King. We explained that our first step was to defeat the druid who tended the corrupted grove. She agreed.

We did some light reconnoitering and, meeting with no resistance, decided to call it a day back at Abner’s. Rhett asked Katya (twice) if she required any equipment, armor etc…She declined saying she was a powerful cleric – she didn’t need those things. Whatever you say, honey. Whatever you say…

Our day ended with the decision to rest, memorize the attack spells and go after the druid at first light tomorrow….

Session 4: Comings and goings...
Out with the old, in with the really old.

The players:
Present: Rhett (Scott), Haromyre (Jim T.) Doug was also present but his character Quizlan had not yet been introduced to the game
Absent because he fell asleep: Garub (John)
The NPC’s: Azar (Rhett’s cohort), Senvassagas (Mature green dragon in elf form)

You want to know what happened to this point? Read the previous posts. They’re just below this one.

We travelled at greatest flight speed from the docks to the grove which contained the corrupted fruit. We arrived without incident. The grove was huge. It contains a large number of the fruit producing trees setup in rows along with a giant mound. Not a mound made of giants – just a very large mound. At the end of the grove was a large hill upon which sat a tremendous tree. We landed and started discussing how best to annhiliate the place. We were in the center of a long row of trees which ended at a T-square ahead of us when we all got to make Spot checks. It was an easy check so basically everyone noticed slithering tentacles and purple eyes staring at us from the darkness cast by the rows of trees.

We readied weapons and spells and rolled initiative. Several (6? 7?) very large Displacer Beasts came out of the trees and attacked. A small lightning storm began in the air a hundred or so feet away from us at the same time combat began. We recognized it as a non-natural (i.e. magic) storm but no one discerned what it was – or if they did they kept it to themselves.
Haromyre summoned a walking tower – and by that I mean an extremely large earth elemental (at least I think it was an elemental – whatever it was, it was HUGE). It started it’s smiting. Rhett charged one and hit it but didn’t kill it. Senvassagas took one and started beating it with his hands a’la Sean Connery in the Presidio having decided the sword he carried was just too powerful for the likes of these beasts. We don’t call him the worst dragon NPC we’ve ever had for nothing, folks. Garub, played by Jim, also attacked after activating a dragon aura. Haromyre turned on True Seeing. Azar hit Rhett with the spell as well, robbing the displacer beasts of their 50% miss chance.

Lightning struck from the storm again in the beginning of the next round and two beings appeared. The first seemed familiar – a hobgoblin wearing glistening armor with a blade so sweet you want to kiss it. – Lorful, last seen at the Bronze Accordium. The second being was an air gensai known to none of us. They immediately began attacking the displacer beasts, Lorful with his blade and the gensai with magic missiles.

Round 2 saw Azar come to a combat realization after watching Quizlan hover above the fray: Things that can’t fly can’t hit him. Azar realized this right after he got tagged pretty hard by one of the beasts. Lesson learned. Rhett, Haromyre, Garub Senvassagas , the Earth Elemental, Quizlan and Lorful began killing the displacer beasts off. Within two more rounds they were defeated. One of them got away and ran full speed back toward the large mound in the grove.

Some combat notes:
1) That elemental was the size of a tower. I’m not talking a shitty little tower either. I mean a “Hey, look, that pillar of the Brooklyn Bridge just grew legs and started attacking Manhattan! Someone call the Fantastic Four!” kind of tower.
2) Rhett got a full round of attacks on one displacer beast hitting it 5 times with two critical hits. In the interest of time, we declared it dead without rolling damage. I have since rolled that damage. 716 points. Displacer beast paste, anyone?
3) Senvassagas beat his displacer beast to death with his bare hands. During the fight, I asked why he did not just breathe on it. I was informed that of all things a dragon can do, its breath weapon is the least damaging. Yikes! It ain’t called Dungeons and Dragons for nuttin’….
4) Quizlan fights like a smart mage (read: like a girl who doesn’t want to get his hands dirty) and can innately cast magic missile. He also casts all sorts of day-long buffs first thing every day.

When we finished off the displacer beasts, Lorful introduced Quizlan to us all (Welcome aboard, Doug!). When Quiz and Senvassagas shook hands, the green dragon disappeared! My first thought was “Well, how do we get him back??!?”. The answer is “We don’t”. Apparently, he was a placeholder. I know I bash him a lot but he was a mature green dragon. That’s not exactly a travelling companion you want to give up! Game imbalancing, says Dave. So there’s that. We do, however, get to keep Quizlan and Lorful.

I guess the equation is: Quizlan + Lorful <= Senvassagas.

A skeletal golem appeared at the junction of the T-square. It made no moves, harmful or otherwise as we approached it. It beckoned us to follow as it headed toward the tremendous tree at the edge of the grove. (My detail on this next piece is slightly fuzzy) As we approached it we were greeted by a man sitting in a chair. He introduced himself as Abner and his golem as Bennett. A quick scan told Rhett he was not evil (or at least could not be detected as such). He told us he was a necromancer, at which point Rhett scanned him for evil again – still not evil. I wondered if that ability was not working or something. In any case, Abner invited us into the tree with him and we went.

Abner provided us with some differing versions of the history of this place. He told us he was actually from this area – not a settled traveler. He used to be the caretaker of this grove until the King took over and installed a powerful druid to oversee it (read: spread the corruption via this grove). This happened some years ago. We also learned that the red dragon to whose spirit Haromyre and Garub had spoken had appeared a decade ago – not recently as we were told. And it was working with the king – not trying to defeat him. As we recalled, the dragon spirit had asked us to find it’s skull in the castle basement. Abner’s new information leads us to believe the spirit was luring us into a trap.

He told us about how powerful and completely corrupted the druid in charge of the grove is – and that it had an extremely large and powerful pet. I want to say it was a giant displacer beast but it might have been a very large beholder. That’s what happens when you wait a week to write recaps….

Abner also told us about Katya, the woman at whose grave we fought the corrupted beholder. He said she would be a powerful ally for when we fight the King. We thought she was dead. He said that was nothing we can’t fix. We decided to travel back to Katya’s Grave along with Abner and Bennett in hopes of finding someone else to soak up some damage….errrr….I mean….finding someone else to bring the fight to the corrupted king and his corrupted minions…..

Game Trivia

In the history of the past few games I have ran there have been three Hobgoblin Npc’s.
Name them for 500xp.
Tell me their classes for an additional 500xp (just their primary, not any prestige classes.)
(first one with the right answer gets the prize.)
Someone text Doug and be honest if he answers it and not you.

Session 3 - It's not paranoia...
If they're all corrupt and out to get you.

We take a daylong trip to the castle area. On the trip we learn that this area had been attacked and taken over some generations ago by Orcus. It had turned all of the beings here into slothlike caricatures of themselves. They eventually drove him off (we didn’t get into how) and now anyone eating more than a portion of food large enough to maintain them is considered slothlike. Haromyre is very upset that he can’t seem to get a family-sized portion of food.

The city built near something called “the Stream”. The Stream is a river that teleports and/or dimension travels any ship that goes past the edge of it – we find out that’s how Orcus got here in the first place. The area around the Stream has become a giant trading hub. We entered the city along with what I referred to as the Chief of Staff and some guards. The king was not going to be able to see us for a day so we shopped around. We found that the city, named Calygeera, was home to a very famous and tasty type of fruit which only ripened every other year. They have a festival for it as traders from all over come to buy it. The fruit was just turning ripe and the festival was starting.

We also heard that the Stream had recently brought in a very powerful red dragon which went crazy when it arrived and started attacking the town. The Chief of Staff told us that the local guards and others around had killed it. Lastly, we learned that all magical power in the area outside the castle was drawn into the castle through a magical device located on each of the four towers of atop the castle. This resulted in the magic outside the castle being dampened. The reason we were given was this was done to protect the populace from powerful things that could travel in through the Stream. We shopped around and other than Azar enjoying some local fruit covered in chocolate, nothing major happened.

The next day we were invited into the Castle. We met with the Prince once we entered the castle who judged us immediately on our titles. I judged him as a pompous ass and despite my personal wishes, a detect evil on him revealed no evil.

We met with the king and his advisors. I gave a breakdown of what we did, how we noticed the corruption spores with magic, found the source was a beholder, defeated the beholder etc…The guards had actually brought back what was left of the beholder after we torched it. They showed it to the king who nodded rather unsurprised. I took it to mean he lives in an area where travellers from all over come through and he’s used to crazy things. Haromyre took it to mean the King knew the beholder was there. The king thanked us for a great service and asked what he could do in return for us. I told him about Duulraam being missing. No one recognized the name or description but Haromyre got a pretty bad vibe off the king as did Azar.

Afterword, we were invited to a dinner at the castle. It was not going to be attended by the King but it was his way of saying thank you. The dinner was being held in a solarium which contained a pretty dense garden. When we got in the room, Azar was offered more chocolate covered fruit. I forget if he had some or not but at that point he became very sick. Using a kind of spirit healing magic, Garub discerned Azar was sick with the corruption. He successfully “pulled” it out of Azar. The corruption tried to bond itself to Garub but he was able to resist it. Now on high alert, Haromyre used True Seeing and saw the corruption everywhere. He quickly figured out that some of the food – specifically the Fruit of the festival covered in chocolate – Azar had eaten was corrupted.

Garub went into a spirit trance and found the spirit of red dragon in the room. He asked it a few questions, mainly about how it got here, why it went crazy etc…Haromyre, being a spirit shaman, also asked it a few questions. I forget who asked what.

In short, the dragon had also been enlisted by Duulraam to fight the corruption. It had gotten to Duulraam’s home planet but had gotten corrupted itself. It wound up in the Stream (I forget if we found out how) which led it here. It said it was attacked upon sight and been defeated but that the corruption was still alive in it’s bodily pieces. We looked over to the door and saw two guards wearing red dragon scale armor. Each of us remembered seeing the Chief of Staff – and many others around – wearing a dragon tooth. Senvassagas, our green dragon turned elf companion, asked if the King had done “the normal thing” and eaten the red dragon’s heart. The red dragon said yes. We immediately assumed this meant the King and everyone with any pieces of the dragon was either becoming or was fully possessed by the corruption.

We also asked the spirit if Duulraam was in the castle. He said yes, Duulram was being used to power the magical dampers on the four towers of the castle. He also told us there were quite a few more of the “eye kings” – beholders. Great. Lastly, the dragon told us his skull was in the basement and asked us to find it and bury it. Haromyre and/or Garub agreed.

It quickly dawned on us that we were in a castle filled with corrupted beings and had told them that we were travelling with the being that wanted to defeat the corruption. We decided this was, in short, a bad thing. I intimidated the guards into letting us leave. As soon as we were outside, Haromyre got on his broom and flew up to the top of the castle. It was protected by a wall of force but he was able to get a look at the magic dampening devices and got a basic idea of where Duulraam might be held.

We had a quick party discussion. Haromyre and I wanted to attack the castle to free Duulraam. Senvassagas, Garub and Azar said it was suicide. Garub suggested going to the docks to see if the corruption was being shipped into the Stream -something we eventually decided was “bad”. After some debate we agreed with Garub and went to the docks.

We got to the docks and saw the corruption coming from about a third of the crates on every one of the many boats. Haromyre and Azar began convincing people to stop loading the ships. Senvassagas, Garub and I went to see the harbor master. They convinced some of the other casters in the area to cast True Seeing. Once they saw what we saw – the corruption – they convinced everyone else to stop loading their ships. Someone raised a water elemental to prevent any ships from leaving the docks – something which turned out to be fortunate just a few moments later.

Garub, Senvassagas and I met with the harbor master who was talking to two exporters. They had just brought some of the fruit in for a few merchants. I told the harbor master what was going on and asked him to stop any more shipments from leaving. After a quick explanation, and seeing the brewing chaos on the decks, he agreed. I looked at the merchants and all of us noticed they had dragon teeth necklaces. When I asked the merchants where the grove was located they immediately attacked.

We took down one of them in one round – he had about 250 HP and they could not be critted – they were plants now. Garub sliced him and the corruption spewed forth. We were resistant again thanks to Senvassagas protecting us but the harbor master took a full dose. He was in bad shape.
I smashed the plant Garub hit pretty good with my greathammer and took him out. A cleave attack onto the second merchant did not kill him. The second merchant threw his dragon teeth down which exploded along with the first merchant’s teeth into a massive fireball (20d6, I think). It killed the second merchant. Garub takes no damage from fire (dragon shaman). Senvassagas and I took some but not enough to make us really worry. It almost killed the harbor master. We leapt out the window – two story fall. Everyone survived. I laid hands on the harbor master, and Garub drew the corruption out of him.

We spoke to the harbor master as the water elemntal put out the building fire caused by the explosion. I said I needed to see the manifest of ships that had left with the corrupt fruit. It was blown up in the explosion, he said.

We decided our next move was to go to the grove and hope to take out the corruption there. Senvassagas thought we might be able to weaken the king’s armies if we could fight them outside the castle. He realized that we had not seen a single mage or another beholder and if we didn’t thin out that number before we went to the castle again, we were in trouble. Big trouble….

Session 2 - Welcome to Corruptionville.
Change here for the train to Flatbush

Our teleport landed us in a field, green grass, trees, kids playing…everything was nice. A very calm setting but one thing was missing. Duulram was nowhere to be found. I introduced us to a couple of the locals who were cautious but not afraid of us. That was odd to me considering we had just materialized out of nowhere, we are a pretty odd looking bunch and we are armed to the teeth.

They pointed to a small town in the distance. We saw some chimney smoke rising in the distance and headed that direction. On the way, Haromyre hit True Seeing and saw microbe-like things attaching theimselves to everything attached to the planet (grass, trees etc…). We’ve never been here before but took that as a bad thing. Haromyre also noticed that the microbes seemed to be coming from a spot about a half mile out of town. He immediately hopped on his witches broom and struck out on his own that way. We decided it was more important to go with him than it was to introduce ourselves to the locals and followed at top speed.

We got to the source and found two white lillies surrounded by rocks on either side – looked like a grave or a tribute or something. Intentionally built by someone for some reason. I did a detect evil and there was definitely evil emanating from the ground. Senvassagas, our dragon turned elf, cast a spell to protect himself from magical effects and tried to lift a rock. It was attached to the ground. He tried harder and as he did, we heard a rumble from underground.

The ground rumbled and exploded from beneath us as the two white lillies and rocks turned out to be the top of the head of a massive, corrupted beholder! Initiative, all of us beat the beholder.

Senvassagas cast some kind of protection spell. Haromyre hits it with a massive electrical based meteor swarm esque spell. Garub activates a combat dragon aura slices it with his sword. This causes some kind of gas to escape from the beholder. It seems like it would poison or disease us – my theory is that is the corruption. The spell Senvassagas had cast on us protects us from whatever its effects. Azar, the lammasu, breathes fire on it. I bash it five times and crit twice. We don’t bother rolling dice. It’s a best case scenario – beholder pops out and is dead before it gets to go.

We don’t know what the corruption does – if it regenerates or anything – so burn it to ash, just in case. We decide now would be a good time to meet with the town elders to explain everything. We are brought to meet the town elders and we explain everything – the corruption, the teleport, the microbes and the beholder. We also ask if they happened to have seen a missing planatar as Duulraam is still nowhere to be found. The elders haven’t seen him and are very surprised at what we told them about the corruption. They sense our urgency and suggest meeting with the King.

Session 1 - Round up the (un)Usual Suspects

Session #1: The roundup

A being shows up nearby one of the player characters (it was me first). He is tall – over 7’ – and cannot speak any language we can understand. He was described to me as a planatar but I don’t know what that is, really. He holds a crackling bolt of lightning in one hand and a warped tree root in the other. He’s offering the root around for everyone to touch it. Everyone but the PC’s (and two NPC’s) see nothing. The PC goes into a dreamlike state.

The PC’s see a lone tree – described as ancient – at the edge of a desert. A mage and a druid are exiting the desert and approach the tree. They seem to be friendly. The druid claims the ancient tree is sad because it is the only one of its kind left. The mage, playing a trick on the druid, casts a spell that makes the tree seem to speak. He embarrasses the druid who responds by saying the wizard has caused him to question his faith for the last time. The druid sticks a knife in the wizards heart, killing him. He then takes the knife and kills himself. Both of them bleed to death on the tree.

The PC awakens and is able to talk to the planatar, named Duulram, who describes what happened after the vision ended. The tree, corrupted by the blood and death, begins taking over its area – a thing Duulram described as “the evil of life” or “the death of life”. He says he is looking for people to help cleanse this evil but only certain people can access his planet – those that can see the dream.

Rhett agrees to go. He’s accompanied by Azar, his lammasu cohort who also saw the dream. When we pickup Haromyre, the teleportation corruption does intense damage to his land. He comes very close to attacking but decides to hold back. I introduce Duulram and myself and explain the very basics of the root and the quest. He agrees to touch the root and goes into the same dreamlike state and sees the same After some debate with his father, he agrees to go.

Duulram’s teleportation device leads him into the areas where people who can access his planet can be found but it’s being corrupted by the magic of the root and is severely damaging the Weave in the process. We are next teleported into a private area of the Bronze Accordium, home to a very, very big Copper dragon named Felzon Do’Chante (he was part of one of our old games). After narrowly avoiding another “what are you doing here” fight, Felzon and a good hobgoblin named Lorful, his Captain of the Guard, who we also know from the same old game. They agree to hear us out. After our explanation, Felzon agrees to have the people in the accordium touch the root. Two are sent into dreamlike states. Senvassagas, an NPC from the old game, who is a good green dragon who has taken the form of an elf and Garub (John’s character) a dragon shaman. Both agree to come on the quest. During the explanation of what Garub saw, he was able to make out outlines of other people around the tree. He interpreted this as people who would eventually join the party on the quest.

Felzon explains that Duulram’s teleportation is doing massive damage to the Weave, a fact that Haromyre agrees could not possibly agree with more. He says that it must be repaired before he can allow Duulram to travel with it again. He will have the best tinkerer and artificier in the realms, a gnome named Simple Bob, repair it.

During the trip to the gnome Haromyre and Garub determine that Duulram is not actually the real Duulram. He’s a clone of the original. We find out that he becomes separated from the lightning rod, he’ll wink out of existence.

When we get to the gnome’s home, he agrees to do the work but we have to travel pretty far away from any inhabited place in case the rod causes the Weave to shatter. After some time spent convincing Duulram to allow them to work on the rod, the gnome and his dwarven assistants do some crazy magical science work. They are able to repair / blunt the corrupting power of the root and repair the magic of the teleportation / lightning rod. They think. Probably.

According to the planatar, it’s a long trip to his home world and once we get there it’ll be a long time to clean up the mess, so to speak. We go up to the very top of the mountain, pretty far away from the gnome’s area and teleport out.

End of Session 1.


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