Campaign of the Month: May 2014
Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Wow! What an incredible ALL HALLOWS EVE session!
We managed to wrap-up the Beowulf side-plot in 2.5 full sessions and you guys are well under way in the Holy Land. We had a couple of big revelations and an observation or two that were missed but overall you guys really worked well in unison and every member — without exception — contributed TANGIBLY to the resolution of the side-plot. I’m really impressed. We started around a quarter to two after cleaning up all of the broken glass and went until about 2130 or 2200 with a few stragglers hangin’ out for some back-of-house / housekeeping stuff until the wee hours. Lots of candy was had by all and folks were rewarded handsomely for their contributions.
When last we left our intrepid adventurers, in media res, they were right-smack-dab in the middle of an anticlimactic denouement. Zander had just forced his peace pipe down the magical throat of Grendel’s mother (whom he saw in her natural form as an ancient Kumo Mi (deadly wind) dragon). James was outside the front of the cave investigating the disembodied head and dismembered body of Grendel where Helldamn Spellshroud had buried the head but left the body out in the open (originally how Grendel’s mom found her son). HDSS was about 2 miles beneath the Earth’s surface in a watery grave turned subterranean trench / abyss right at the Earth’s crust — just beneath an imprisoned / chained Surtur and Beowulf. And Trent was following the video feed and supporting HDSS from the shores of the cave lake / trash chute.
HDSS saw some pockets of air bubbling up from a little crevasse at the bottom of the abyss and there seemed to be a little steam escaping when the heat came into contact with the water and vaporized. Trent made the deductive reasoning that perhaps the stream of air was perhaps in time with the breathing of something large…something ancient. You guys cleverly deduced that this giant subterranean under-water spire might be one of the roots of the World Tree and that The Midgard Serpent may be lurking…or sleeping…somewhere below. HDSS saw a glint near the pocket of air — possibly of something metallic — and began to clear away the mud and silt to reveal the top surface of a chest / trunk. Surprise! It was remarkably similar in scope to the chest McGreggor pulled out of the Dead Sea in Ancient Babylon and I used the opportunity to remind you guys of a few similarities. Chris correctly remembered that you guys never figured out how to disarm ALL the wards on the chest and ended up just detonating the thing to get it to open in relative safety. HDSS started to attempt to decipher what of the wards he could see.
Meanwhile, Zander finished his conversation with Grendel’s mother after successfully preventing TONS of people from dying by calming the woman down with his “Calm Minds” peace-pipe ability. Right at the end of the last session he had offered to her that friends of his had slain / subdued her son and, much to his alignment, he was completely truthful and sincere. She commended him for having great-big-balls of BRASS but she acknowledged that she was under the ensorcelment of some kind of enchantment and that she would hear him out instead of laying waste to the city and killing the king. Zander explained to her that you guys had reason to believe that she and her son had been setup by a Pandemonium and that you guys had proof. She was completely incredulous at hearing this. He explained to her that you guys had found a sound-amplifying rock in Grendel’s cave that was put there by a Pandemonium — an obvious Dyvalian Agent of Sahtalus. In her calm / weakened state she agreed to give Zander 24 hours to prove this to her and to restore the sanctity and safety of her lair or she would destroy the entire city. She also said that Hrothgar would pay for what he did to her son — that he would pay DEARLY for what he had stolen from her. Oooh! Cryptic!
James was digging out the head of Grendel where HDSS had buried it away from the giant beast’s body and, much to his dismay — the body was no longer visible — and the head was clearly disturbed…although it still lay where HDSS had left it. Trent rolled his D&M Lore and cleverly deduced that perhaps he had regenerated his body. It was difficult to tell because the head was buried but his Lore roll told him that some beings with ULTIMATE regeneration could actually regenerate their bodies if they weren’t buried far enough apart from their heads. Well James took this under advisement and started digging feverishly around Grendel’s head. Lo and behold he eventually found shoulders…attached to arms…and a chest. Oh no! Grendel, however, was still unconscious. At this point Zander said over the radio that Grendel’s mother was on her way back and the video feed confirmed this — she was flying as an ancient dragon — at incredible speeds! She ended up in the air above her son and James with the spade and dove straight down toward the ground like a missile. James wisely vacated the premises to get a front-row-seat when the giant Kumo-Mi dragon gently lifted Grendel by the scruff of his neck in her massive jaws and carried him away flying further into the mountains.
HDSS, now under the water for quite a while, read the rune successfully and it appeared as though the ward was meant to blow up when anyone so much as touched the chest. This made him wary. He dug out the other four sides of the chest and found three more wards of similar intent and one ward of anti-magic-cloud. Trent cleverly deduced that since they were on all four sides and one on the top that their might ALSO be one he COULDN’T see on the BOTTOM of the trunk! LOL! Leave it to Brent to get all crafty! HDSS put this problem on hold for a minute and swam upward to check on Surtur and Beowulf chained to the pillar / world tree root. Trent teleported a scroll of teleport down to HDSS who read it and teleported Beowulf OUT OF THE CHAINS and into his hand…and then sent him floating upwards to the surface while he went back down to tackle the trunk once and for all. HDSS used 3 scrolls of negate magic and 3 scrolls of dispel magic barrier. How he was able to read and recite scrolls out loud under water will remain a mystery but there were quite a few clever and useful ideas tossed around and eventually HDSS disarmed the chest and floated upwards with the treasure! H u z z a h ! ! !
At this point Zander did a flying-skateboard-rainbow-corkscrew through the cave and met back up with Trent and James hung back to check the tracks and stuff before eventually rejoining the group in the cave-lake. When Beowulf’s body floated to the surface James began meditating for a psychic diagnosis on the fallen hero who was neither breathing nor radiating magic. Trent resurrected him with Lytsong and a successful dice roll! James then did a psychic diagnosis again and a first-aid roll to confirm that Beowulf was, indeed, alive. He gave you guys some scary first-hand account of leaving the ribbon with his wife and coming here to work with the king. He had returned recently from the crusades and was the most decorated, bravest, and most skilled warrior on the battlefield. He said that he had gotten the ribbon but, knowing the mythos behind the Fenrir wolf and suspecting some kind of connection to Grendel, he didn’t want to jeopardize his mission by bringing the ribbon and allowing it to fall into the wrong hands. ESPECIALLY — he didn’t want Hrothgar to have it. He didn’t trust the man who sent him on a fool’s errand to find a monster and his mother when the woman wouldn’t stop bitching about how Hrothgar stole something from her.
Beowulf was clearly unnerved but when HDSS finally surfaced with the contents of the unwarded trunk you guys found a GIANT BROADSWORD — nearly 10ft tall and most likely made for a giant. The score marks and elemental bindings had the alignment of fire and was specifically designed to combat and target Air Essences / Elementals. You guys correctly deduced that Grendel’s mother was an air warlock ancient dragon and you used mythology rolls to confirm that Grendel’s mother could only be defeated by a special sword made specifically to destroy her. James did an object read on the sword and saw an image of Odin yelling at and threatening the woman / Grendel’s mom with the sword. Odd. Why would Odin need to use a sword to threaten this woman? To what end? And what was Surtur doing down there? Why was his sword up here in Odin’s hands? This left a lot of questions open. At this point Beowulf took his leave to return to his wife and his baby and Zander used the opportunity to do a little scouting for a second entrance to the underground cavern lake chamber. He eventually found a semi-narrow shaft and you guys used D&M Lore to deduce that the Kumo-Mi dragons have limited shapeshifting ability but they DO have the uncanny ability to completely alter their size — unlike the regular dragons — and that it could easily have fit in this narrow shaft. Zander then turned himself into a ball of light and followed the shaft out. One of the passages looked like it left the cave and the other went further downward into a network of tunnels that eventually led to a GIANT DRAGON HORDE!!!! In the middle of which was a stalactite pedestal claw that looked like the perfect spot to hold a big fat gem.
You guys decided to head back to Hrothgar and stick around for a while this time to see what was really going on and get as much information as possible the 2nd time around. By the time you got back to the Hall the 2nd night’s celebration was well under way and you guys used the opportunity to speak to the king at length. He was very concerned about whether or not JFC had killed Grendel and he seemed sorta concerned about Beowulf. His wife, you noticed, was kinda spaced out in LALALAND. When you got close enough to her you noticed she was really zoned out and appeared not to notice or hear you at all. James saw that she was wearing some jewelry and chatted up Hrothgar about his wedding ring and presents to his bride. This new behavior seemed to onset in conjunction with the new wedding ring. James left from there to go see the gemcrafter / jeweler the king recommended who did the work. The store was closed and James went back to the hotel for the night. Zander zoomed around to the apothecary that was also closed and eventually went back to the inn to rest as well. HDSS was approached during the night of uproarious feasting and fun by the elite bodyguards viking team of Hrothgar’s finest soldiers. He recanted the tale of his vanquishing the god of last resorts with one hand tied behind his back and everyone loved it! Then it was the viking’s turn to spin a yarn and they told him of their battle with Grendel. They mentioned that this giant beast — when it first barged into the hall and broke half the building on its entrance it went straight for the band on a rampage and tore apart instruments lie an enraged beast. Then he and his men had engaged the thing and, even with their mighty blows, formidable strength and tactics, and all their magic the nasty Grendel had beaten them back without pause. The viking also explained that the beast appeared to be completely immune to magic as it had shrugged off every single spell they slung at it.
Trent used the opportunity of HDSS doing some storytelling gymnastics as an opportunity to roll a little prowling and streetwise. He then told the vikings of a tale of a secret sword named Kladenets that turned people into NECROM!!!! YOU DARE!!!! The vikings loved this tale and you guys won their favor. The next day, At some point Zander got the attention of Grendel’s mom and came clean to her — saying that you guys had reason to believe that this thing that was stolen could be found again but you needed more time. And I think he visited the apothecary too — saw the fat friar buying some of the famous pot. But Grendel’s mom appreciated Zander’s boldness and honesty and agreed to give another 48 hours to bring this to resolution and justice. James hurried over to the gemcrafter / jeweler and got the crucial information that the king had dropped off this giant crystal that was hard as a diamond to be turned into a ring for his wife. He had crushed it into smaller pieces, kept the largest parts for himself, and made the king a beautiful wedding ring for his bride. James bartered his last two rubies for the gem and I believe a bunch of the TW crystal from the magical leather armor. He then went next door to buy a leather scabbard for his new 10ft giant sword. The only missing piece of the crystal now resided on Hrothgar’s wife’s finger. And Trent tried to bribe him to part with it for a giant rock of kisentite ore…which the Hrothgar wasn’t really interested in unless it could be turned into a sword…or a weapon. Well Trent went to find the Blacksmith and persuaded BJORN to appraise the ore. He then asked Bjorn how long the smelting / tempering and forging of a sword would take — from this rare, alien metal — and the man replied at least a solid month…and that was IF he had the right tools. The giant man took his hammer and literally broke it on the kisentite — that’s how solid and powerful the ore was!
With the help of some temporal magic and buffing and SN PS spells and SN Endurance spells and SUSTAIN Trent was able to ride Hrothgar overnight and setup a fire big enough and hot enough to actually melt the ore into ingots and finally smelt it into a sword with a cast…in 40 non-stop, time-slowed hours that completely wiped him of ALL PPE!?!?! Incredible! You guys took the sword to see the king and he sneered with disdain and dismissed the gift. Zander called him out and accused him of being corrupt and unjust as a ruler and the king challenged Zander to single-combat wherein he used a LOCHABER Axe — not a sword. Well Zander’s ruse was good! He kept Armor of Ithan on himself so that Hrothgar’s blows appeared futile and in the middle of the fight, offered him the use of the alien Kisentite sword which Hrothgar eventually took and slashed Zander to ribbons! Immediately impressed the king made it known that he needed this weapon to add to his arsenal. While in the throne room / celebration hall you noticed a SECOND arrow like the first. The rumors surrounding this arrow through streetwise were that it had been found on the beach, sticking up out of the sand, and found by an urchin who claimed that he had literally seen it fall out of the sky to pierce the sand — the trajectory looking like it had actually flown from the eastern shore of England itself. Impossible!
Once Hrothgar relinquished the final piece of the gem Trent cast MEND THE BROKEN and restored the gem to its formal glory only to reveal that it had the magical property of being a GIANT GLOBE OF SILENCE!!!! Now this explains some things! Hrothgar snuck into a dragon’s hoard and believing he had stolen the most valuable item of the bunch had his jeweler craft a wedding ring from it. The ring was clearly in place to keep Grendel safe. A female being who looked like a pandemonium was seen in James’s object read as having placed the sound-amplification stone in Grendel’s lair thereby COMPOUNDING the affect of the loud music at the wedding celebration.
Zander put the gem back in the cave and went to speak to Grendel’s mother one last time and she came clean about having spoken to Odin who threatened her to keep Surtur imprisoned. She also came clean about Fenrir being Grendel’s father…her lover and semi-husband. She respected Zander but didn’t believe his irrefutable proof of the involvement of Deevils in this plot and she agreed to lay low and keep her eyes open and accepted Zander’s gift of a toy dinosaur for Grendel to play with…but asked for a way to contact him in the future should she need to.
While everyone was getting packed up and going through their newfound loot in the chest (Forge Heresy #7, amulet of temporal control, and the giant-sized elemental long-sword) Zander teleported back to the original town, met back up with Nirvana, the Boiaw ancient being of an Elder Race and the thing had changed a bit. It was now more visible and the outline had become almost real. Whatever you guys were doing was actually healing it! It still didn’t regain its memory but it could now be seen and it looked like a giant manta ray or stingray floating in the sky with giant cartilage flapping wings. He spoke to Zander and informed him that he could merge and meld with his energy and whisk you away with but a thought. Just hold the image / location firmly in your mind and he could…relocate with you. When Zander returned to Copenhagen with this information you guys decided to peace-out and get instantly teleported (instead of waiting for the boat like the original plan) and teleporting straight to THE MIDDLE EAST — the DEAD SEA in fact!
We decided to stop for the night after you guys traveled east toward Jerusalem and came to a town that had been competely destroyed, raped, razed, and pillaged. Congratulations! Welcome to the Crusades!