Exodus

Diary of a Square Jawed Legionaire: Day 1
The Bells of Arivan

Dear Diary,

Today the king turned me purple. I joined some Glaistig in defending our engineers against some elephant centaurs.

Today I learned that the fool king and his companions are cowards, but suprisingly creative tacticians. Went to a council of war, way above my pay-grade, wherein a ton of mystic bullshit about bells was discussed.

Today, I lead a drunken, glowing parade into the darkness and madness outside of reality. And Grim became a black moses, staff raised, dividing the sea of shadow with light. And, as the hordes overran the walls, the bell rang out…

Quothe Grim, “Ding Dong Motherfucker!”

Best Saturnalia EVER!

— Hastilarius Quadratus Maxillius

View
Canto, the Last
A Gnome in the butt is worth two in the bush.

CARDS

  • Chaos – Shuffle the Deck
  • Zhuan Zhu
  • Dolmens
  • Apple
  • The Red Queen

The city of Arivan, in the midst of Saturnalia, the time of reversal and revolutions. The city has been in festival for the last five days, and wakes up to a much-too-serious hangover. Three running armies besiege the city. From the northwest come the legions, springing the traditional trap on the rallying local tribes. Between the legion and the walls is the skirling, swirling mass of the rebelling tribesmen. From the east the woods have come to Dunsinane — trees and rocks fly through the air from the giant forest ravagers and their kenku allies.

Meanwhile, by the open gates of the town, Lucius Antonius, Centurion of the Legions, draws steel on the idiots, clearly seeing through their lies. Speaking quickly, Idiot #1 suggests that the charging glaistig might be usable as a buffer against the incoming giants. The Centurion agrees and heads for the eastern wall, glaistig and their war-pipes in tow.

The glaistig and legionaire armies square off, while their commanders shout at them to stand down and start negotiating alliance against a common enemy. The idiots head for the eastern walls, apparently intent on pissing off a group of kenku outriders and drawing them between the two forces.

They roll out of the city and run strait into a plodding, lumbering, lethargic, mountain-sized mass of walking blubber. Showing uncharacteristic intelligence, the Cook turned and ran from the blobs of doom, Stan followed. Ralph (hereafter referred to as Skidmark) conjured up a herd of delicious looking swine, easily catching the lumbering masses’ attention. One of the blubbery masses leaped and sat on her.

Seeing the giant happily sitting on the delicious gnome, another comes crashing in and knocks him aside trying to get at the gnome meat. Two more come clambering up the hill, and are promptly greased up by Fizzle — quickly turning into a blubberlanche down the hill. A backhand from Backhander sent one of the first two reeling backwards into the oncoming blubberlanche.

Running and shooting and more running happens. Backhander and Gropee paused,
turned, and unleashed twin shatters, with a giant shuddering of blubber.
Grim likewise falls back between the leading giant and the trailing Skidmark and lets off a thunderwave.

And more running happens.

They closed in on the Glaistig and Legionaire armies, blubber giants still on their heels, whooping hollering and sending up sparks to draw the attention of all three sides. But, of course, they run strait into a flanker from the kenku-giant army — a horrible dog-like thing that leaps from the woods and, with a touch, makes grim bleed from every orrifice. Idiot #1 promptly appears behind it with a shovel and tips it into a creek.

And more running happens.

And the idiots charged right into the middle of the two armies, with a rolling mass of blubber and a horde of howling dog-demons on their heels and a legion of kenku. The careful negotiations broke down and glaistig and legionaires both went streaming into the city at top speed, leaving the idiots to stall the invaders while the armies got themselves organized.

Val’s falcon dives in and starts pecking at eyes. Ralph charged the enemy lines, axes in hand and started kneecapping. Stan disappeared and started laying out bear-traps. Gropee, it turned out, was so creepy that even the dog-demon flankers recoiled from her. Grim charged the dog-demon chieftain and latched on with his shadow touch just as the last of the legionaires poured through the gates and slammed them shut, and the Glaistig charged up a mound of charcoal onto the walls and lit it behind them. Leaving the idiots outside, alone, with the gates shut.

And more running happens.

Val faded out and runs strait through the wall. Ralph was tackled by Lucius Antoninus, strait into the fade. Gropee conjured vines out of the wall, creating a webwork of handholds to climb up. The Cook and Stan tried to go over the wall but were blocked by one of the dog-demons who was ahead of them. Backhander exploded a bag of sand in the demons eyes, giving the others a chance to get ahead. Grim came last, his withering touch killing the vines behind him. The idiots rolled onto the top of the wall just as the charcoal ramp burst into flames, cooking the following blubber-beasts, sending up reeking clouds of smoke and sizzling rivulets of rendered fat.

“Whose side are we on?!” Val asked exasperatedly. “We’ve switched sides at least three times in the last week.”

“We’re STILL on OUR side!” Idiot #1 replied, still wearing his paper crown.

Then the boulders started to fall, as the giants began bombarding the wall, followed by hurled, gliding ravenfolk shock troops. Ralph promptly started batting the incoming kenku out into the open air. One kenku went flopping to the ground below, the rest landed with a flutter of wings and a cloud of dust, ash, fire, and vermin blinding the idiots and sending Unibrow slipping over the edge.

The idiots were divided on three sections of wall, two divided by the burning pile of charcoal, the third separated by a crumbling section smashed away by a hurled boulder. Ralph held her section, punting birds back out into open air. Idiot #1 did likewise with his section.

The bird on the third section immediately dropped Grim with a blight spell, leaving Unibrow dangling and Backhander facing it alone. The nasty croaking bird easily shut down every spell cast at him. Stan tried to pull him into the abyss, only to . . .AAAAAARRRRRGH!

Later:
He must have died while writing it.

Come on!

That’s what it says.

Look, if he was dying, he wouldn’t bother to write “Aaargh.” He’d just say it.

That’s what’s written in the memo.

Perhaps he was dictating.

Shut up!

View
Canto, the Fifth
Blood Rain Sucks

The idiots charged guns blazing into Saturnalia. Idiot number one was made the king of fools. Then they decided to join the Glaistig in overthrowing Ariven. And, because traitors will be traitors, and idiots will be idiots, they decided to arrange a marriage.

The Glaistig woke the idiots up shortly after the matins. There is a creepy hornless glaistig lady, pale as pale, and hard to see when not concealed in shadow, as contraditory as that is. The idiots are handed their weapons, oiled, darkened with resin, and muted with leather pads. They marched out with the cook on point.

They march through forest that looked oddly virgin. Then on past huge carved and fallen slabs of stone, covered in moss and etched with strange winged figures, like kenku with faces like elves. Ancient, ancient stones, from which nothing good could possibly come.

Of course, there rang out a brutal roar and the ring of weapon on weapon. The Cook moved closer to see a battered patrol of legionaires, most of them decapitated or torn in half, and a dark passage into a hillside. Standing before the passage was a centurion, holding the line against wode-painted, heavily muscled giants.

Quick as his broken wind, the Cook snuck up and healed the Centurion. A flicker of lights through the woods told the rest of the idiots that life was about to get even suckier than it was already. As hard as that might be to imagine.

More giants burst from the woods, to be met by angry glaistig. Ralph the Midget burst into the clearing, sword swinging. The rest of the idiots followed into the melee, apparently having a strange change of heart as many of them moved to help the Centurion.

Backhander snaired them with black-reaching arms of doom from the ground, then Unibrow called on the forest spirits to light up a tree, blazingly bright. With the giants blind and reeling, the Glaistig plowed through strait into the barrow.

Finally the idiots had a stroke of brilliance and followed the Glaistig towards the hole. Not that the hole looked at all pleasant or inviting, but it would be far superior to having one’s head caved in by the wode-painted giants. Idiot #1 even had the odd altruistic turn to try to grab the Centurion on his way in. The Centurion refused, until Snorlax and Unibrow tackled him in.

Val and the Unibrow, being the last in line, were skewered and tossed into the hole. Leaving, of course, myself. I slinked towards the hole, still unsure, until the giants began hurling things at me. Down the hole I went.

Of course the hole just happened to be a passage into the Fade. Of course. Like anyone would be surprised that the creepy, clearly malevolent hole into the hillside after passing through some creepy old ruins would be a passage into grimdark. Meanwhile, in the cold and dark, the creepy hornless glaistig woman who had led us here looked even creepier, her face cracked and ashen.

The Centurion seemed just as surprised as we were. Idiot #1 tried to convince him that the Glaistig with us were auxilia. I, meanwhile handed him my reports, him being the highest ranking officer present. Of course, like all the idiots, the Centurion failed to read the report, and thus bought Idiot #1’s barefaced deception. I shouldn’t even try, really.

The Centurion exposited of entire villages razed by the giant wode-painted things. Levels of destruction supposedly not possible by small scattered bands like the one we encountered. Creepy Glaistig lady suggested that the destruction might be related to Winter waking.

He finally sat down to read the report as everyone rested, but, of course, the bumbling cook dumped a bowl of stew on them. Everyone rested, recouperated, and ate. Some people got backhanded. Shields were confiscated, traded, and returned.

Within short order the idiots were back on the move, out of the cave and into a strange, unreal landscape. Everything growing was rotten, festering, diseased. The ground a soggy, bubbling morass.

A scout came back, covered with thorn wounds, and his flesh half-dissolved into air leaving only a disembodied skull. A whirlwind of boiling blood and bone descended, and promptly ate a second glaistig. Backhander promptly backhanded it from afar, hurling splinters of bone in every direction.

The idiots threw the kitchen sink at it — light, lightning, force, slashing and tearing blades — but still it stood. In response it did…nothing. Then Snorlax simply waggled up and smote the thing.

Creepy thing dealt with, the idiots moved in closer to the city. They knew this not by walls or houses, but by the wailing of children and the moving, seething, filthy movements of their burried dead. The houses that were there were the ancient, torn, rotted, and burned, remnants of Glaistig hovels.

There was a sudden light, painful, boring, and piercing. Then the idiots found themselves standing in the middle of Ariven. In the clear, finally, the archvist sent a second copy of his logs off to the legion.

Snorlax, meanwhile, pointed out that, beset by monsters the likes of we’d never seen, pitching the Glaistig against the Legion would be a bad idea. Perhaps not everyone in this unit are complete idiots.

The idiots headed for the gates, Idiot #1, still dressed as the King of Fools, attracted quite the crowd. He ordered dunkings for everyone and called for a pig. The Legionaires manning the walls and gates were in an uproar. The gates themselves were swinging closed, fast.

Gutting the pig, Idiot #1 read the entrails. Closing the gate was low reward, low risk. Opening the gates were high-reward, high-risk. The gates were opened.

A wild rabble of Glaistig came tearing towards the gate, as a full legion came out of the woods and began forming up against them. Then, from the other side of the city, came the deep sound of a mighty, shuddering horn, and a rain of massive boulders and whole trees being hurled through the air. Followed by marching rank after rank after rank of raven-folk, then an army of the lumbering wode-painted monstrosities.

View
Canto, the First
Guys? Guys? This isn't funny any more...

Dramatis Personae:

Idiot #1 Peter
Fizzle Abi
The Cook Tim
No one of consequence JC
The Unibrow Jake
The Gropee Dallas
Backhander Bill

The irregulars camped at the bottom of the wall, cuddling in the safety of their bedrolls. The cook was awake, fixing their breakfast. The fire burned merrily, but the steaks were not becoming hot. The rest of them awoke to bone-aching cold.

The archivist awoke to cold, again. His shirt and pants were frost-rimed and his joints creaked. “Typical,” he said, as his clothes froze over and shattered. An idiot came running in, entrenchment tool in hand, and swung for his crotch. “Good thing I’m an eunuch,” the archivist grumbled.

A second, one “Fizzle” by name, rolled in and set fire to the archivist’s pants. Apparently something was hiding in there — something cold and spiky. The something bolted away, with his pants, of course. The something tore a strip from the archivist’s pants and tied it around its head like a bandana.

An angry and veiled priestess anger the something. So, of course, the something burrowed its way into her robes. “Just reach in there and grab it,” the first irregular said. A second, young, with a Hitler-stash and a unibrow, full-bodied tackled the priestess and started groping under her dress.

The something popped out of the priestess’ robes with a hand around its neck. A hand that was neither hers nor unibrow’s.

Idiot Number One shouted some nonsense about condemning it to death, and unleashed some fire, missing spectacularly. Fizzle did likewise, with better results, but only angered the something, causing it to stab for her feet with an icicle, and tumble into a teapot, which promptly froze and shattered.

The archivist spoke a word, “Healing”, towards the gropee, and then lashed out with some lightning, pulling the something over next to him. “You, something you, give me back my pants,” he said morosely. He picked up the largest portions of his pants, and they were suddenly shredded by a crackling bolt from the Gropee. “That’s gratitude for you…”

“Die!” screamed Idiot Number One, lashing out again with fire, more effectively this time, promptly mimicked by Fizzle who missed. At least they know how to take turns, the archivist thought.

“You’re next cupcake!” screamed the something, and it promptly vanished.

The archivist picked up a shard of teapot, which promptly exploded. Muffled mumbling could be heard from a sleeping bag, into which the old seer had somehow zipped himself. His beard woven into a muzzle, tied around his mouth, and frozen over. The seer’s bag had apparently been stolen. The Tribune, meanwhile, lay in his bedroll with a broken leg.

The something was invisible and flying. The archivist looked around and found a trail of blood from the something. They tracked it. Not towards the fire of ultimate coziness, nor the plains of pleasantness, but into the icy heart of the Mirror Forest. “Typical…”

The woods got closer and tighter, and tighter and closer. As they walked, snow melted, icicles fell, and a path appeared. The Cook led the way, covered with clanking pots, and a heap of snow which fell on his head from the trees above.

The brambles grew closer, thornier, almost as if they were deliberately woven to catch our clothes. Fizzle set it on fire, which was surprisingly effective, given how damp everything was. The kind of damp that made the archivist’s bones hurt, almost as much as the cold did.

Hanging in the brambles was a snowflake made of bound-together fingerbones. Fizzle mage-handed it into Gropee’s bag. A lazy, chill wind blew by. Gropee said it was a curse-marker, used by spirits in the employ of the north wind to curse their enemies. “Of course it’s cursed…”

The thorns grabbed and restrained the irregulars. All of them. Except Unibrow. Some creepy little twig-dolls appeared and started spitting thorns at them. The archivist dipped his head just in time to not get hit by one, then looked up and took a thorn to the forehead, and promptly passed out.

Let it hereafter be noted that the next portion of this account is based on hearsay.

Unibrow, with tremendous aplomb threw a rock masterfully at a tree branch, causing it to fall perfectly on top of one of our fell, fiendish foes, striking it a withering blow! Gropee followed with a viciously volatile volley of lightning! Idiot Number One aptly anointed the aging archivist with bilious blood, bringing him back to clear consciousness!

One twig-doll tumbled into the river below, because, of course there was a nearby ravine with a river below. A second leaped at cooky and began strangling him with its thorny limbs. The archivist leveled a smoldering glare at it, and it began to smolder. Idiot Number One lit it up as well.

The archivist said that word again, the “Healing” one, and Fizzle stood up. Then he yanked the twig-doll-thing over next to him with a lash of lightning. Where Idiot Number One promptly burned it to cinders. Then he opened a seal on that thing he carried and all the icicles on the trees turned to blood, and the cook got better.

A small, skittery, thorny creature scrambled its way into the thicket which held them. Fizzle talked to it, about fire and not-snowflakes and the missing satchel. “Winter is coming. Dig your roots deep. Drop your leaves. Store.” Gropee passed it some food, which it promptly sucked all the moisture out of. As the thing skittered away, Fizzle performed a ritual for the detection of magical auras. She sensed cold, faeries, the verge.

The irregulars moved. The trees moved. “Of course they moved.” It was easier to track in the forest at least, as the leaves near where the something had flown were brown, cracked, and frozen.

They came upon a small hamlet of Glaistig charcoal burners. They sent Unibrow in as a sacrificial goat to see if the locals were friendly, the others followed. Branches cracked, dogs barked, children ran yelling, and a crew of charcoal burners all carrying bundles of sticks, with glinting metal things insufficiently hidden within. Unibrow lay down and starts rolling around in the dirt, then stood back up. A nervous tick perhaps?

Someone let Idiot Number One talk. A Glaistig of the irregulars (where did this guy come from) backhanded him and shut him up. The locals seemed cautious, but Backhander stumbled his way through and offered them his weapon as a gesture of their good intentions. Idiot Number One opened his mouth again, and got backhanded again.

The locals were not simple forest folk living a simple forest existence. These were hard-bitten, armed, grumpy. They cooked their meals over long-burning charcoal. Cook stepped in to show off — drawing quite the crowd of women, and children, and dogs.

Idiot Number One struck up a conversation with the Tribune, Claudius Lysias, learning that he drew the short straw in being sent beyond the wall. Of course, everyone out there drew the short straw. As to the archivist, after much coaxing, the Tribune implied that he was “standard equipment”, and the poor man was thereafter referred to as “Stan”. For his part, the archivist cozied up to the fire and tried to massage some of the ache out of his bones.

Backhander strikes a conversation with the locals. They were proud folk, descendants of the workers and engineers who built the outer ramparts of the walls, more concerned with their freedom than their comforts. No fans of the Legion these, but they still would fix a block here or there to keep the wall intact. In exchange benefiting from cast-offs from the other side — medicine, cloth, weapons.

“What my friend here has been trying to say…”

“Don’t hit me again…” Idiot Number One butt in, after getting hit a few times, asking about ‘Borea’, the spirit of the North Wind. The locals informed the irregulars that there was a struggle in the forest, between the spirits of the wood and the spirits of the winter. It’s always been going on, but this year, “There is real blood, or sap and ice if you prefer, in the water.”

Backhander offered to provide a military escort to the locals to transport their charcoal to market. They, in turn, suggested that it would be more useful if they just emptied out the Kenku nests. Of course, the locals conveniently had some idea where it my be.

The archivist, meanwhile, hugging the warmth of the charcoal fires as much as possible, tried to turn an old blanket into a pair of pants. A gnome appeared out of nowhere and insisted on making the pants for him. They were glittery, spangled, flamboyant — exactly the sort of thing to make a target out of him. “Typical…” Then cut up his shirt into something not-at-all-warm, which showed off his caved in stomach and bared ribs. “Of course…”

At least they got a good night’s sleep.

Then they went off in search of the Kenku nests — filthy, befouled (and befowled) nests. The whole place was heavily pungent. Like a hutch of giant chickens, with a crude, useless outward-facing palisade. The cook scouted ahead. There were a lot of them — multiple hunting parties ten to twenty strong each.

Fizzle hurls a lance of fire at the biggest hut full of guano, and as her name implies, it peters out before making contact. The birds charged them, leaping into the air with heavy bundles of what were surely instruments of destruction.

Gropee suddenly revealed herself to be a kenku, or at least she looked like one. Backhand blasted one out of the sky with arcs of lightning.

Idiot Number One grabbed Fizzle and charged them back, downhill, on a lead sled. Two were knocked prone. One was knocked sliding down the scree. Five more were left in the dust behind him. Closer now, Fizzle could, in fact, hit the broad side of a barn. Of course, she and Idiot Number One were sitting in the middle of the caldera of highly-flammable bird shit.

A handful of kenku swooped down upon the irregulars at the top of the hill. Three dropped rocks on Unibrow, another three dropped rocks on the archivist. Of course. The archivist, being the only intelligent being present, cast sanctuary and hauled ass for the tree line. He probably would have been better off without the flashy pants.

Idiot Number One threw down his shield and surfed further down the scree, dodging charging kenku. He grabbed Fizzle, and cast “Don’t quit on me now girl,” and somehow managed to burn up a kenku as they went past. Fizzle, meanwhile, started glowing and unleashed a thunderwave, blowing the remaining kenku away. They flew down the hill, sparks flying from the metal shield, and breaked right on the edge of the steaming lake at the heart of the extinct volcano on which the Guano City had been built.

And, of course, they were all going to die, but not until next time…

View
Irregulars 01
An end to regularity

The Party
- Athens (Ralph): a red-headed noble gnome barbarian (Maggie)
- “That girl” (V, or Val): red-headed Meliei urchin fighter (Mary)
- Pytor: Glistig warlock (Bill)
- Edward: Elf cleric (Peter)
- Yorrick: Tiefling urchin (closeted) sorcerer (Paul)
- Sven: Glistig rogue guild artisan cook (Tim)
- Physle: Gnome wizard (Abi)
- Riswynn: Gnome bard (Grace)
- Zotah Zhaan: Rakshasa warlock (Dallas)
===========
- A ragtag group of Irregulars is commissioned to venture beyond the wall, into the mirror forest (The Shiverglen), Gaius Claudius Lycius is the tribune who will be leading us (currently getting wasted in a tavern), we are also escorting an old Glistig ‘word keeper’
- Obtaining a seal, the party proceeds to requisition (somewhat on the sly) mounts for the journey
- Continuing to flash the seal in an attempts to get provisions, scamming the Quartermaster & very nearly getting into a fight about it
- Fresh, fully-treated provisions (1 month of food, assuming mounts)
- Lycius, throughly intoxicated, is hoisted onto his mount
- Atop the massive, slanted walls (think Hover Dam) we see the Forest of Mirrors – the Shimmerglens – extending to the east as far as the eye can see
- We are strapped into rapelling harnesses and lowered over the wall, birds in the sky below us
- 1/3 of the way down the wall, Kinku (sp?) land on the wall – hooking into the stone with claws, leaping back off and slashing at us with claws – Roll Initiative!
- Athens (Ralph): spins out from the wall & hits one with a pair of axes, doing 7 damage
- She gets hit back, but her scale mail repulse the attack
- V: springs off the wall, flips & fires her long bow (upside down), hitting the lead Kinku
- She takes 4 damage by another one attacking her from behind
- Pytor: casts Arms of Hadar, catching 2 of them – one twists free, the other gets caught in black necrotic flame
- on the wall, where the flame touches it, runes light up and extend outward for miles. The flames are drawn away into the runes, leaving the wall untouched
- Retailiating, the kinku slashes him for 9 damage
- Yorrick: casts Witchbolt at the nearest one (trapped in AoH) for 3
- The Kinku opens its gliding wings attempting to slash at him, and misses horribly (crit miss!)
- (Yorrick gets another attack): “Get away!” Thunderwave sends the Kenku hurtling off the wall and into the forest below – splat. Yorrick is also cast out from the wall, the rope saves him from being blown off – fraying a bit in the process – but he takes 4 damage
- Edward: Hits a Kinku with his “standard-issue entrenchment tool” (a mace)
- Suddenly the party gets a LOT of slack in the ropes from above
- Kinku retaliates, doing 4 damage
- ZZ: throws a javelin, catching one in the gut & avoiding a retaliatory attack
- Riswyn: attempts to stab one with a rapier & hits, pinning herself to one of the Kinku
- Athens: Str check to stick a javelin in the wall (succeeds), riding it down in a shower of sparks – this slows the fall for the rest of us (all of us being connected by the same main rope)
- Sven: Uses his kitchen knives on the Kinku assaulting Pytor, doing 5 damage & killing it
- He gets attacked, but missed
- Physle: Minor Illusion, but as she is also pinned to a Kinku with Riswyn, doesn’t do much
- V: hits w/longbow for 5 damage, sending it running off
- Pytor: misses with Force Blades, and is missed in return
- Yorrick: (still swinging wildly) casts Firebolt, hitting one for 4 & catching it’s feathers on fire
- ZZ: hits the same Kinku with Chill Touch, taking it out of the sky but drawing the attack of another for 7 damage
- Ed: yelling for less slack, cracks one for 4 damage – catches Yorrick with his free arm
- We close upon the slope along the bottom of the wall
- Riswyn: (still pinned to a falling Kinku) Attempts to deceive the Kinku into helping them land safely (rolls 6 Deception) – takes 8 damage from responding damage, uses Healing Word in response (4 hp)
- Athens (Ralph): continues to slow the party’s descent
- Sven: Stabs with a rapier (8 dmg) – killing one – and throws a knife at another (9), killing it
- Physle: casts Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, sending one into the woods below
- V: ties rope off of her own harness to an arrow and shoots the Kinku with Riswyn & Physle on it; she hits & kills it, providing a rope for them to get off
- Kinku attacks Sven, cutting into him; another attacks
- Pytor: Eldrich Blast does 3 damage
- Yorrick: (still being held by Edward, held by Athens): Attempts another Fire bolt, misses
- ZZ: does nothing (rolls a 1)
- Riswyn: (held by V) strikes with her rapier (4 dmg)
- Edward: S.I.E.T to the head (6 dmg)
- The party slams into the ground, some taking damage; mounts are hurt – lost a couple
- Claudius has a broken thigh, Edward attempts to set the leg & make a sledge
- V apparently knows the area, & leads us to safety (after sucking the blood out of some of the fallen Kinku)
- Party takes a short rest
- Claudius: Target is a ‘city of the lost’ where those who left the empire gather – Arryvan
- There may be legion forces – lost or otherwise – between us and there; we should avoid roads, if possible
- V does something weird with a tree
- party saddles up & moves out
- after a half-day rough journeying, it appears that the vegetation is dying off – unusual if we’re approaching a Melei grove
- The mists of the forest have us freezing cold
- Riswyn sees a campfire through the trees – possibly Legion, based on the way it’s setup
- Sven attempts Insight check, determines a number of individual campires (they’re doing nothing to chase away the mist)
- Suddenly we’re surrounded by lights, leaping up from the campires (edged in blue), the trees are bending down around us, cracked & broken; frost spreads out over the grass & trees
Roll Initiative! (facing cold, undead Will o’Wisp – type critter)
- Athens: Starts to rage, takes cold damage
- Riswyn: casts Faerie Fire (fails)
- Edward: casts Bless
- ZZ: hits a firepit with an Eldrich Blast, blowing firewood out – we see that the ‘wood’ is actually limbs of Legionnaries
- Yorrick: attempts to smother the flame with Acid Splash, but it dodges the attack
- Pytor: Uses his own Eldrich Blast to blast the fire
- V: attacks with shortswords, misses
- Physle: Chromatic Orb (thunder), misses
- Sven: 2 darts, 1 hits for 7 damage
- Floating fire creature attacks Pytor, gets repelled by Among the Dead (Sword Coast), attacks ZZ instead, doing 14 damage – she has to make a DC 10 Con save or die – she rolls 11
- Athens: attacks w/broadsword, misses
- Riswyn: Healing Word on ZZ for 5 hp
- Edward: invokes Sacred Flame (passes DEX save easily)
- ZZ: hits with Eldrich Blast for 7 dmg, blowing it apart
- we realize we’re in the middle of two graveyards, the Legionaries & the Melei grove

View
A Beautiful Lie
"You know it's a good trip when you bring someone back with you."

- Talking to a Glistig about a white stone-like tower in the city, there’s a ‘touchstone’ inside it that will heal (& wake?) the Glistig
- the tower is the center of this reality
- Options appear to be: go into (invade?) the city, and get the Glistig into the tower OR go to the invading horde, make ‘friends’ and use them somehow
- We decide to visit the horde, plan is to walk in and throw down with the Big Boss
- The screams of Elves and Glistig emanate from the camp, we see (at a distance) prisoners being skinned and eaten
- Charged by a welcome committee of giant, greenskinned, savage orcs that hardly resemble stepfolk (they’re ogres, actually), followed by some red-skinned, tailed, beasties with sharpened branching horns (demon-minotaurs?), and flocks of vrocks.
INITIATIVE
- Khadagan guts one right away (Ambuscade)
- Breaks throws down wall of fire
- Ithun uses her crown to subjugate 3 ogres
- Aarandyr misty steps and backstabs and orc
- Katya shoots with a long bow
- Our new Glistig Druid friend (Shambala) summons boars
- Ganji fires scorching ray
- Ellendyr chain-lighting, then talks Khadagan into praying for the Truth
- Khadagan prays for Nail to enter the dream and reaveal Truth (rolls a 1 … after using Inspiration)
- Ogres try to retaliate, don’t do much
- Breaks does more fire stuff
- Ithun commands Ogres to attack
- Arrandyr stabbity-stabs one down
- Katya does more ranged attacks vs Ogres
- Something tries to cast Dance of Ruin, Breaks go for Counterspell
- Katya gets bulldozed
- Shambala casts Fairy Fire, her summoned boars charge, doing damage
- Shambala takes damage
- Ganji casts Ice Storm, makes terrain difficult
- Ganji gets 7 pts Poison damage + ongoing, hit by a vrock, Ellendyr takes damage
- Screeching causes everyone to take Con saves (Katya, Shambala & Ganji fail, take sonic damage, are stunned)
- Ellendyr prays to Holly, Ivy, Apple & Thorn to be changed, ends with “…as the old Ellendyr falls away,” shatters his bell
- Smells apple, the deep roots of the Glistig forest reach up and cover him, shielding him from blows; finds himself in a strange place looking out over a battlefield – monstrosities are fighting, but can’t win again creatures that are constanly brought back to life around a spire. The creatures are weak & get smashed apart by monstrosities, but get reborn by the spire. Many spires set in valleys & on hills. These round-eared creatures (“lost their ear points”) are only fit to be used as a weapon against the enemy. Calls out Ramien Maltides name.
- A woman standing nearly in the field w/short, broad-bladed sword. She carries a blue shield with a white cross, leaning on fence, watching the battle. “I’m not/shouldn’t be here, why did you call me here? There’s no part of this that’s real. Who are you & why are you here watching that fall of the first veil?”
- Ellendyr: There needed to be a beauty among the lie
- Woman: GD it! Where is that white-furred SOB?
- Khadagan makes an insight check: Something strange about this situation, about these foes – realize that to truly randomize something, it must be intentional (threatens to eat his black fade apple)
*- Runs back towards the city, ringing his bell
*- Suddenly …
*- Shambala is faced with choosing ‘normalcy’ (for her) or ‘insanity’ (blue pill or red pill)
- Suddenly shes in a tent, filled with smoke (recognizes Arrivey) – can understand our language (couldn’t before)
- We’re all holding (except one – Errandyr) a glass bell etched in elven with our true-names (Comprehend languages DOES NOT work)
- There is arguing about Comprehend languages
- Shambala looks in one of Breaks’ mirrors to see if she is different
- Appears more normal & healthy than she’s been in a long time
- Khadagan sits up, looks around; seeing Shambala: You know it’s a good trip when you bring something back (possibly didn’t happen given the very next conversation)
- Ellendyr is approached by somebody: “Commander, you need to pull them (the heroes of Altan Urdu) out of this, we’re losing people”
- Oh crap, are we in the wrong bodies again?
- Everything sent to the West is simply gone, our seers go mad when they try to get in contact
- Old mothers won’t talk to the spirits, the nailers “won’t” talk to their ‘false god’
- “Won’t or can’t?” No answer from DM
- Ellendyr commands him to break our bells (rest of us still entranced?)
- Breaks is throwing up a pool of mercury – are you going to look into it?
(Apparently, when presented with the straight truth, we find it to be utterly incomprehensible)
- Ithun is pregnant, BTW
*- DM presents Shambala with a ‘game changing’ choice upon waking up in the insanity that is our reality: What do you?
- Shambala has many questions, start pacing, walks outside the tent
- Sees golden standard, hundreds of thousands of people, lights upon lights upon lights
- There’s a huge river full of ships of war, animal headed people wandering around
- Giant, pre-historic creatures sleeping/wandering around, etc. …
- Shambala is in shock, turns around walks back into the tent, puts her bell into the mercury, walks back out & heads towards the river for a swim
- Breaks perceives her (Shambala) ‘mirror’ being placed into his mirror
- On a spectrum of 10 beauty → 1 reality (none of which is true), he determines it’s a 5.5
- We’re now standing at the edge of a forest, standing at the edge of a city; reality is twisting & warping around us
- Ellendyr gets a saving throw, gets to pick reality (go to sleep or not)
- Chooses not to sleep
- In the forest behind us, ranks of Glistig warriors, in front of us is the city of Arivan
- No idea what to believe
- Ithun is puking in the nearest bush
- Khadagan decides to go to the tower
- Ellendyr follows (the last of the Arivan tribe, through tall fields of corn-like stalked plants hiding their approach)
(the Horde is approaching, columns of smoke in the distance)
- Arrandyr wants to sack the city, we are suddenly being ‘shelled’ from the walls
INITIATIVE
- Ithun: calls to Drowned River, a walking wall of water slams into the city walls – not penetrating, but putting the city under seige (asks: Is it possible to have multiple god-mothers?)
- Khadagan fails a Will save & stops to smell purple flowers in the field
- Breaks: casts Wall of Force to block huge flaming chunks of masonry being launched at us
- Arrandyr: does … something
- Shambala: locks the Glistig down, keeping them out of the city that they’re inexplicably drawn to.
- Ganji: Controlled burn towards the Horde
- Ellendyr: walking into town with Khadagan
- Khadagan: pulls lucid dreaming: “I’m a 1000 ft giant & I boot the tower”
- roll of vs DM: Khad: 6, Ellendyr: 15, DM: 15
- Khad’s minds twists as he becomes a giant seeking to knock the tower over, realize it can’t be accepted, different minds pulling/blowing in different directions – realize that everything we are experiencing is a lie. Including the part after that realization.

Caravan actions (we can’t act ourselves, so what have we done in the past to have things happen in our stead/on our behalf):
- Khadagan: Want gardeners to grow Purple Lotus, but only the gardeners can see it.
- Purple lotus may or may not exist in the world, it’s something I think I’m taking
- Ellendyr: Tries to get the gnome into an ironwood tree, gnome can’t simply be transplanted and notes that the ironwood, while pretty is “dead” (Ironwood dryads!?)
- Breaks: Wants to reinforce archers (+4 units)
- Ganji helps sacrifice a Horn Beast to boost to roll
- Ganji: Ritual led by urshi to boost morale of mage-core & old Mothers (opposed roll)
- Arrandyr & Katya: Start an orphanage

- Lost an entire co-hort of Scouts to the West
- Feel that we could bring some closure? safety? to the Arivan inside Maia’s dream. Some of us are questioning if that reality is entirely illusory or not.

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Session 52: Dream a little dream
By the seat of whose pants are you flying?

8/14/16 Game Log

The Situation
======
The party has spent a week catching it’s breath after the battle
The Fangin (snake people) are moving in from the South
– their new standard is green with silver circle
– lots of mindblanked Malik & sandpeople
The Nill Sept are in the region (east)
The river to the NE are full of Vitta battleships, led by Jurgen Eisenfaust
– We think the berzerker Valknut (translates as ‘corpse knot’) would be a good emissary for them
To the West are the Meli & the Glistig
To the North, the Ulfstetta are mobilizing

After a “short political discussion” the party decides …
=======
How can we wake the 50k Vargerberg Glistig whose souls were taken by Yorgua?
– A dream w/in a dream w/in a dream
Vadim wants to ally Vitterbjorn to crush whatever sept is harassing their captial
Do we toke up and head in to a dream? Or handle emissaries?
– Send emissaries first, then do the dream

While he was gone: Khadagan had a runesmith etch his True Name inside his armor, Squee uses modify memory to … ? (Nobody is willing to keep Khadagan’s true name in memory)

Yorgua makes his way into camp, not as an ambassador but as an admiral
The party goes to meet him, along w/Firemane & Hundreds
Glassblowers are being trained by Maya the Raksasha to prep for our trip into dream
– she asked Ganji (Ex-Sorq) to cool a small glass bell (“You won’t die, it’s not yours”)
– the bell shatters
In another time & place, an old man dies by a sword to the heart, the blood freezes as it runs along the blade, the ices smashes outward and forms the shape of a bell
In front of Ganji, falling backwards, clutching his heart is an old old elf
Vadim (in a loincloth) attempts to give the elf a healing draft, speaking in broken, ancient elven (maggot folk)
Ellendyr asks the elf (while looking at Maya): “Greeting brother, where might you have come from?”
Maya: I sought to make you a better diviner, you need to see more lies and decide which is the most beautiful
Squee is braiding and beading the hair of the old elf, who remembers dying by an orcish blade – but these new orcs standing around him are not like the others …
At that moment, Yorgua, Eisenfaust & retinue arrive (Vadim still in a loincloth)
(Ithun is bored & wants to smash stuff because Khut is away)
Eisen: “The (Nill) hordes approach, the have crossed the eastern river. We come asking a boon: we ask you to repel them from Kathmather while we remove those Vitta to the holy caves”
“The waters are a river without a river basin, they are more dangerous than ever. In the meantime, you are surrounded”
Elendyr: First we must raise an army, they are asleep at the moment in the city
“The Glistig were once a great empire, but what help are they now?”
Are we going to be saviors? Bond lifters? New oppressors?
Elendyr: They will not last if we don’t help now.
Vadim: Let’s begin moving the army in support of Kathmather, while we go into the dream
Maya: Your guide is here. (Don’t break the other bells)
Khadagan & Ellendear: Launch into dream from the grove, use the spire as our anchor.
The elf, Linvey (a general) – who had no idea the afterlife would be like this, but whatever – comes along, taking in the caravan, watching the spire being pulled into a strangely overgrown city full of giant, black barked (white) apple trees
The party makes its way to the sacred grove in the city
Vadim: We generally fly by the seat of our pants; Ganji: What pants!?
The white apples are wonderful and filling (Vadim gathers 4)
Khadagan realizes the apples can be carved into a pipe of sorts …
In the center of Melei grove we meet Widowmaker & Tangle
Vadim summons his bees from the apple, leaving it in the perfect shape for a bong
W & T see Ithun: “That’s complicated” “She doesn’t have a tree” “Good”
Elendear: “We’re here to dream”
“Where you from Linvey?” “Arivany” Nope, nobody’s heard of it (Elendyr maybe in a dream?)
Maya (formerly Yoruga?) to Khad: Nothing is true, everything is a lie, some lies are more beautiful – don’t become like the Pasht & turn to evil. Everything moves in relation to everything else"
Side note: sounds LOT like the voice I was hearing when my hip got dislocated, but Yorgua was dead during that time … (“By the way guys, I was hearing voices”)
Linvey knows about Purple Lotus!!!
Maya hands each of us a glass bell w/a name written on it in fluid runes: “These are your names as I have written them. None of you exist, you are all figments of my imagination”
Squee: Did you write ‘pink lemur’ on my bell?
Maya: “If you wish to die, smash the bell – when life becomes hard, the door is always open. If there’s too much pain or indifference, open the door. You ought to be open to the idea that there is an alternative to what is.” We will be in dream until we ring the bell.
… additional crap about lies and reality. Basically, smashing the bell causes us to ‘die’ in that other reality, and come back to this one. (But everything is a lie)
Barruk: I’m not stoned enough to understand this yet.
Vadim summons bees to protect us while we’re out. We start to smoke up.
The bees settle on us, we hear a bell and somewhere in there …
… and we are in an enormous city (in a park) full of people (early morning)
(each of us has a single large sting welt from a bee)
We are in Arivany
The plants are fairly normal, but their apples trees have weird, light-grey bark w/a strange greenish to red apple. (Khadagan takes the “small withered green apple”)
Khad (itching) to Linvey: “Where’s the Lotus!?” Everyone but Ganji: “Wait!” Ganji: “meh”
The city is waking up, so Khad agrees to reign it in … temporarily
Vadim: We’re looking for a Glistig horde trapped in a dream. Linvey: WTF? There are some around, I guess ….
Ithun is obsessed with finding butterflies (‘Can they make will saves?’)
Vadim to Linvey: We’re trying to raise an army to fight … the Nil sept (at the moment)
Ganji, uncomfortably close to Linvey: Where can I get tea?
We head to a tavern (Elendyr: It better be dark and shadowy; Linvey: I know a shady tavern, nothing too bad could happen – the party laughs)
The one weird elf, the “pink lemur” and the “half-dryad” are the closest thing to ‘normal’ in this city
Lindwin tavern is well-built, heavily frequented by the legions – it’s full of drunk Glistig legionaires (Arrugoth the orc: I punch one; DM: Initiative!)
The Glistig are happy to engage in fisticuffs – breaks the monontony
Ithun to the female bartender: My husband shoots people for a living, what does yours do? (Gives her a tusk-club, have a competition: drinks for whoever beats the most people out of the bar)
Khad puts one through the ceiling & one through the window
Interstitial: Two legionaires rush Khad, but don’t budge him
Elendyr slides near a table of Glistig near a window and Thunderwaves, puts one through the wall – the other two are happy to be in a fight
Inter: Two legionaires rush Elendyr and get unlucky – missing
Ganji: I just wanted tea! (casts spirit guardians – “I don’t even care if their theists – tie knots in their hair” “Define hair” “Yes”); Khadagan takes 15 damage
Inter: First legionaire fails to throw Ganji out, the other one knocks her out into a cobblestone mud puddle (pixies knock one out)
Barruk, happy, lowers his head & charges – 2 Glistiig charge back and get blasted away, the others are … intrigued
Vadim casts Wall of Stone to repair the outer wall & bar, putting fossils from ‘our reality’ in the wall (he plays with his bell, spinning it around – definitely a cursed item that will kill him). His bell vibrates with the change in their reality
Vadim takes a barstool in the face, lands on Ganji (doing damage, who retaliates with Hellish Rebuke)
Ithun: “Batter up!” Flurry of blows
Arrugoth swings the bar top like a club, knocks 5 down
Inter: One Glistig tries to knock him out, gets tossed (failed Str/Ath check)
Linvey: “It’s been a long day” Punches (Fighter class) someone out the last in-tact window, who lands on Ganji, throws another into a tree on the sidewalk, finally elbows another outside
Inter: Two legionaires fail to land blows on him
Squee: Tasha’s Hideous Laughter (as shadow puppets) on the biggest Glistig – it fails to save
Khad: Throws two more out the door
Inter: They fail to do anything in retaliation
Ellendyr: Blasts two through the celiing (Thunderwave from below)
Inter: Another fail (they’ve been drinking too much), another one smashes into Ganji
Ganji: (flaming) Crown of madness (make him follow her around as a servant)
Bar fight ends (Barruk: That was disappointing)
Bartender (Arrana): Drinks on the house (1 round)! Had a teak bar top, now it’s granite
Elves are pissed and sulk in the corner, the Glistig are impressed (especially w/Barruk)
Ganji: I need tea (they have purple lotus!) She gets 10 does each of red & green @ 10 gp/per; 5 does of purple lotus @ 10 gp/ea.
Barruk drinks whatever the Glistig are drinking, offering to pay for extras. Fairly friendly discussion with off-duty legionaires “Where did these orcs ome from? The only ones we’ve seen we’re supposed to kill?” “We’re on a journey to find the greatest Glistig” “This used to be our city, then these [elves] showed up with their ‘companions’ (giants) and took over”
The greatest of Glistigs are the Arivan, this was their city, they were driven into the wilds
They complain about waiting around doing nothing til some elf says ‘we won’ and then it’s over – no kind of war that they want to fight.
Vadim: Is there a place of remembrance? (Asks Elendyr if these are the ones who are trapped)
Elendyr tries to use his verge-sight (there’s no verge here)
Other elves to Linvey: Why do you have orcs here? I thought you’d marched? Were you successful?
Linvey: It was a stalemate
Other elves: We can’t keep feeding Glistig & companions (giants) into the breach
Khadgan to others: What if we brought back an orc horde instead of/addition to the ‘sleeping’ Glistig? (Vadim doesn’t seem to think it will work)
Khad tries to buy some purple lotus tea, but SOMEONE just purchased the last of it.
Lots of “crazy dryad” and “I’m not a crazy dryad?”
Ithun to barkeep: do you have a boyfriend? Ganji to barkeep: Do you have a girlfriend?
Glistig starting getting (more) drunk and dancing
Vadim steals Ganji’s purple lotus tea to get Khadagan out the door. Khad tucks some into his lip & starts drooling purple
Most of the party dances successfully; Khad fails to dance due to his hip, Squee (for some reason) is headbanging to her own music, Elendyr has no rhythm
Vadim thinks we need to go to a deeper dream-level to find the Glistig
Squee says we can ‘fairy dance’ into a dream … or something
Party wants to go out of the city, through the fields into the woods, but Linvey needs to talk us through the walls
Vadim summons pixies to turn (himself, Barruk, Khadagan – the ‘outsiders’; Ganji is Elendyr’s “bound spirit”) into something as camoflauge (Linvey gets to choose): treesquids sigh
3 companions (giants) + 20-30 Glistig under an elven captian guard the gate
“We thought you’d left to fight. How’d it go?”
Linvey: “I caught a disease”
Ithun: “We are ruffians from …”; Party: “You mean refugees”; DM: “She said ruffians.”
The elven captain recognizes Ellendyr “It’s been, what, 200-300 years?”
E: “Where do you know me from?” EC: “Childhood. You’re not okay, Allen? You finished your apprenticeship”
Vadim OOC: What’s the intelligence of a squid? What can a squid do in this situation? (looks at Ganji)
DM: Anything with tentacles succeeds. Ganji: Portible hibachi grill!
Elendyr: I found myself in the camps of the enemy we fight, but they turned out to be decent folk
Captian: Why are you still allowed to summon fire spirits if you associate with our ancient enemies
Ithun: How’d you get this city?
Captain: It’s always been ours … [general stereotyping of orcs as ancient, hated foes; racist comments about Glistig] .. but I’m not racist. You and Erin are the kindest, nicest people I know
Elendyr punches the captain in the face (Initiative!): “He called us good!” “I thought you converted?” “Several times”
Ithun fires the crown to stop the fight
SOMEHOW, despites all non-squid beings’ best efforts to talk us into trouble, we get out of the city
Squid duel (because pixes decree it)!: Khad smacks Vadim for 13 damage. We change back.
Khadagan looks around for flowers, feels the intoxicating scent of a world that is not real
– Hear Maya laughing about needing to prove what is not real in order to know what is
– He’s looking for lotus, only sees weeds
– Khadagan offers a short prayer (“… pierce this dream, or illusion, or whatever it is and open my eyes to the truth …”) for the truth to open his eyes, takes 15 damage, feels nothing but pain – the field around us is PL, but it’s blocked by pain; sobbing he reaches down through the agony gathering handfuls of grass & weeds to him.
– DM: “You get what you wanted – maybe, but it’s not what you needed”
Party makes it’s way into the forest outside the city, looking for Glistig
We feel the presence of companions & Glistig in the forest, but it’s been thinned out
Vadim casts Commune with Nature, feels an alien presence – like himself – in the forest
We go into the deepest forest, massive roots – or are they snakes? – cover the ground; we can barely see any light; we’re deep in a lifeforce
– We are approaced by “The Mosseaten” – Glistig, covered in moss, with glowing green eyes
– They see us and say – in orcish – “You’re an ork, you’re an ork …” “We were waiting to die, the elves have taken over everything, the hordes are coming from the west”
– “You the golden horde?”
Khad: “Does the name Ja’Lin (Khan) mean anything to you?”
“There’s a splinter in my mind! You don’t understand the pain!”
Vadim feels around his head and neck, find a collar
Maya starts messing with Vadim (“I need beautiful lies, tell me what you think is true, because those are the lies that most can believe”)
Vadim: There once was a people, and they created a series of allegiances (I need something more beautiful) They made some mistakes, betrayed some friends (Yes! Betrayal is beautiful) And they that got themselves in to some bad contracts (Growling) No … It’s too easy (That’s my major problem)
We’ve met with the Glistiig deep in the forest, hidden from the elves (totally normal, common fantasy trope)
Khadagan (chewing grass), beligerently high: You’re not hidding in the forest form them, they’re trapped in the city – surrounded by YOU!
Party doesn’t like that interpretation
Glistig: all this poetry is beautiful, but we have to face reality – the orcs march against the elves, and we hide in the woods – what can Ka do? (Ka = the unknown)

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Session 51: Attack of the Honey-Badgers

Khut has a lovely daydream about the impending wedding night…
Which fades into a frightening premonition about the end result of such things…
He wakes up hanging on the side of Morva’s leg…
There are Rocs dive-bombing our beast…
Something swings by…and then he is falling…
Of course, he shoots a roc before he hits the ground…
Or would hit the ground, but Ithunn (and Ado?!?!) swing in…
And all three hit the ground in a mass…
with Khut on the bottom…by design…
And are promptly trampled by warbeasts…
Khut only briefly pauses to consider how he got here…
Then promptly comandeers a passing warbeast, swings up, turns the cavalry…
They ride under Morva’s feet…and he and Ithunn sprint up a leg…
Squee, hanging out in a fire tower on Morva’s side starts painting…
Pots of boiling honey…which are promptly tossed down towards Vargr boarders…
Up on the shoulder Barruk and Calista, the malik captain of the unit…
Which shall hereafter be referred to as “Squee’s Honeybadgers”…
Charge into a mess of the Vargr boarders, blades waving like mad…
Calista misses and goes sailing over the edge…
Catches her axe into the wood of the tower and hangs…
Barruk has another argument with Fire-eyes…
Then slams his full body-weight into a boarding net…
Shifting the entire harness 90 degrees around Morva’s body….
That-which-was-Sorq calls up a flaming sphere…
Which starts rolling around on top of Morva’s head…bowling for buzzards…
Ado…levitates…of maybe just flaps really really fast…
Morva crashes through and bulldozes rank after rank of sanddevil slaves from Vennerstad…
Khut and Ithunn climb sideways out onto the hausers which hangs almost to the ground…
and start punting Vargr out into the abyss…
Ellen-Dear, feeling sorry for the newlyweds lack of makeouts…
Animates the net and flings Ithunn into Khut’s arms…and sending Vargr everywhere…
Two rocs dive in in earnest and turn Morva left, running between the battle lines…
Barruk, Calista, and her unit charge the few remaining vargr…
Calista cuts down one and Barruk drops another with a flaming maw to the teeth…
The Vargr retaliate…and burst into flames…as tends to happen when fighting Malik…
Arrandyr leaps into the fray and shish-kebabing another vargr…
Khut, Ithunn in his arms, lets go of the net…they land on Littlewing’s back…
And commence making out as Littlewing blows strait through a Roc with a lightning blast…
Singes another…and tail whips it on the way by…
Also on the flyby…Khut swings Ithunn romantically in his arms…
while she axe-kicks the Roc out of the sky…
Where is is mowed under by the war-beast cavalry…
Squee keeps painting…while viciously mocking the last remaining Roc…
The Vargr begin to retreat under heavy archer fire…filling the air with a storm of arrows…
The last Roc begins to retreat as well, but draws Morva after it into the storm…
Callista’s voice booms out: “It’s a Trap! All troops, HALT!”
The Gonds drop into formation and raise a shield wall…
The cavalry, with a split-second to spare, take cover behind Morva…
That-which-was-Sorq immolates the Roc…lighting it up like a blinking beacon…
Arandyr tries to put it to sleep…it nods, but doesn’t doze…
Barruk smacks Morva, trying to turn him, and gets smacked into LOE by him tail…
He smashes into the ground, skidding like a meteorite, armor runes flaring…
Littlewing drops Khut and Ithunn on Morva’s nose…
Khut hero-lands, pulls out the bow, invokes the blessing of the gods…
and drops the Roc with a pair of arrows…
And catches a faint scent of pine and apples…
Ado calls up an illusory Roc, and draws Morva back towards our lines…

As the army of Vennrstad flees, Ado calls down the Blessing of the Gods over the battle…
The scouts inform us that the remains of the Vargr from Vennrstad and Vargrborg are gathering…
The river north of us is a forest of Vitte war-ships…you can cross mast-to-mast…
Semek’s Wife also says she met an annoying little creature named Root…
Who says the woods to the west are full of both Melliae and Glaistig…
And messages are flowing between them…not necesarily in alliance…
both have reason to fill the void left by the crushed Vargrborg…
The Faagin march in force from the south under a strange banner…
Which looks for all the world like a jade coin…
The Gray Lady brings news from the Fade…
Shuan Tzu and Ma’achek have gathered their forces and are coming for the Spire…
Most of Gaav Shahar has fallen to Oblivion and are heading north to subdue the Glaistig…

We retire to the caravan to tend our wounds and reconstitute our forces…
In order to improve morale among our archers, Ithunn promises to kiss and tell…
Providing them with details about their hero Khut…
Khut commits to providing the kissing…
and other things that might eventually add to the archer supply…
Squee shows up with an adorable baby Pasht kitten…Patrída…
Who is apparently extremely powerful and the first Pasht born in the homeland…
Who loves sweets…loves Ado…and terrifies Ado…and loves sweets…
Khut sees Ithunn paying too much attention to the cat…
and vanishes it into Barruk’s food-stores…which might be intentional…
The “Weird Sisters” (Gonji, Arandyr, and the Gray Lady) have tea with “an old acquiantance”…
An old, gray-furred, gray-cloaked Rakshasa…Maya by name…
Who tells them that we’re beginning to border the edge of the great forest…
Meanwhile all of our diviners are going mad trying to scry it…
“These are very diplomatic teas…”
Sorqutani lets the Rakshasa crash in her tent…
Arandyr offers to help with her disguise as one of the old mothers…
Because apparently she’s a deception purist and refuses to use illusions…
Sorqutani, over tea, points out that Yorga tranced all the remaining folks in town…
The solution, Maya says, would be to enter their dream and break that reality…
Ellen-Dear joins Hulagu and throws down some Fabricates to re-equip the troops…
Sadly, our numbers (at least among Malik and Steppefolk) are hurting…
We need to branch out and start pulling in some other units…
Barruk moves to have Callista and Squee’s Honey-Badgers expanded as a prestige unit…
The Honey-Badgers are now almost as prestigious as the Bent Blades…
Meanwhile, Barruk walks among the cavalry rocking some hard-core inspirational speeches…
He learns that, unsurprising, our troops are badly divided religiously…
The one thing going for us is the tradition of victory…at least til we loose…
Ado rounds up the remaining cavalry and archers, mixed up with Void Sept centaurs…
For the first day he demands that they all stand close together in reverent silence…
He gives a hard-core religious tolerance and ecuminicalism speech…
Then he lays down some Hallow spells to allow them all to share a language…
We start to build out a mixed unit…centaurs archers with warbler fletchers…

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Session 50: It's a Nice Day for a White Wedding
"She's at the beach, screw her" - Elondyr re: Arandyr

CARDS
Phaagin & Thabaanites
Deja Vu, Semek’s Wife
Shuan Tzu

The inevitable fall of Vargrborg…
The jewel of the Ulfstedde…
They’ve been raising armies…marching…tired…
Their plan of crushing us between the walls and their army…
Has been completely boned by “unforseen” events…
We are inside the city, chilling out in a pasht safehouse…
Arandyr vanishes, claiming she needs more sacks…
We hold a council of war…
Squee starts petting Yourga…he tries not to purr…
They’ve repurposed their standing infantry to ranged support…
And at least half their acting infantry are slaves…
Which are ours…[insert evil laughter here]
There are other Rakshas in town…
Yourga suggests we warn them…so they can leave…
As we chat…Ado feels a brush of fur across his neck…
Ithunn bursts into the room looking kindof panicked…
We make plans to sew chaos…
That-which-was-Sorq runs off to set fire to everything…
First she calls up Tangnostr and asks her to soak the forest…
“I need you to protect the forest…”
“From?”
“Me…”
The forest becomes engulfed in fog…and Gonji starts burning the city…
Khut and Ellen-Dear head off to free the slaves in the stocks…
Lots of big, burly steppefolk and malik…
And the biggest Vittebjorn general we’ve ever seen…
Squee suddenly appears in a sherlock holmes hat…
She finds some sticky pawprints…
Squee and Ithunn take off to investigate…something…
There is a sticky bundle of…stuff…
Vadim is going to go chat with the remaining smiths…
In the meliae groves…as the fog rolls in…
Vadim suits for unification…though our reputation is not-so-great…
The dworcs refer to him as “Steppefolk Captain”…
The word sounds something like “Horsethief”…
Vadim invokes the pixies to show them some young dworc hotties…
So, of course, Vadim looks like one…
They’re not convinced…so he tries to think up a good lie…
“Ellen-Dear has had a vision and it cannot come to pass without you…”
And he and the dworcs head for the river…
“Go to the killing holes…we’ll take you out…”
Ado and Yourga go off to chat with the Rakshas…
They head into the market…
and drop an elaborate illusion of everything freezing…
Out of which step LOTS of rakshasa…
They don’t need or want anything…except beauty…
Ado busts out some fat rhymes…
One, white with flaming eyes, pulls him aside afterwards…
“Remind them, when the time comes, that, when they want to believe, that this is their first dream. I have protected them from the other dreams.”

What is seen is not the Truth
What is cannot be said
Trust comes not without seeing
Nor understanding without words
The wise comprehends with knowledge
To the ignorant it is but a wonder
Some worship the formless God
Some worship His various forms
In what way He is beyond these attributes
Only the Knower knows
That music cannot be written
How can then be the notes
Says Kabir, God made the illusion look real and the real an illusion

Barruk discovers his sister, Neema, amidst the slaves…
And they both run off to take the gatehouse…
Khadagan walks up to the gates and asks the guards for purple lotus…
And they take the walls…
As usual Khadagan starts battle by falling on his knees…

To the one who hears and answers prayers
To the one who shines the golden light of Truth
upon all things.
Who has marched with us to victory time and again:
across the endless steppes,
across the harsh desert,
across the mighty river.
I,Gekhdee üneniig Zogsooltgüi, call upon thee now.
We offer up this city to you.
Let it be the shining gem in the constellation
that is your kingdom in the here and now.
Let it be a sanctuary to those who seek the Truth
and a tomb to any who would stand against us.
Fill us with your righteous might,
And give us the power to wrest from our foes
these walls and all that lie within.
I pray that the scales of disbelief fall from the eyes of the unbelievers
as the gates fall open by your hand and your people enter into your city,
into your rest.
Let the smoke of the fires we set,
rise as incense to your nostrils.
Let the blood that runs in the streets this day
be a sweet nectar unto you.

Meanwhile…the trumpets blow…there is an explosion on the walls…
And the Vargr general takes the field…tearing into the Altan Ordu cavalry…
And a sixteen-foot-tall Vitte and the stockade slaves slam into their back…
Then their hellpig cavalry come smashing out of the gate…
We charge their archers, but are intercepted by their cavalry…
Then the hellpigs wheel around and crush our archers…
Their infantry march out, the left vargr, the right collared…
Hoargrim and his officers charge their cavalry to cover the archers withdraw…
Vadim awakens Morva and he comes pounding up to the support of our cavalry…

Meanwhile, in town, a pack of black-furred Vargr berserkers track down the party…
They charge at us…one dies mid-run with a pair of Khut’s arrows in him…
A second closes on Khut…but Ado jumps up and pecks him right on the nose…
At which point Ithunn appears between them and kicks him into the air…
Kicking four times before he hits the ground…and kills him…
Another starts doing the hokey-pokey…thank you Squee…
Five run screaming…thank you Ado…
Ex-Sorq turns eight of them into dogsicles with a cone of heat sucking
Barruk, Neema, and Khadagan show up just as another wave of them do…
And one of the second wave dies with an arrow…
And five of them break and run…thank you Ado…
Khadagan leaps on one and guts it…
Another gets shot dead…
Another gets kicked to the curb by Ithunn…
A swarm of earth elementals summoned by Elondyr pummel one…
and he just shrugs it off…
and another half-dozen of them come running in…’
Vadim grabs the Perun, the head smith, and hauls him up to the battlements…
“You have a wedding to perform…”
Borer worms break the walls of the city…and lightning kills another…
Neema finishes another off with a thunderclap…
Then ignites a second as it claws into her…
Ado mows down a the rest of them with the power of Ormazhd Bay…

We blow open the gates…Morva and the cavalry charge…the slaves defect…
They trample their infantry…their archers…the scouts…the berserkers…

The party charges the general…and are intercepted by his elite guard…
As they come in, the berserker captain takes an arrow to the throat…
As does a second…but a third reaches Khut and scratches him a little…
One comes in on Ithunn and gets punted to the ground…
Ellen-Dear leaps in the middle and drops a thunderwave…busting their formation…
That-which-was-Sorqutani mows down a pair with another Cone of SUCK
Vadim starts calling lightning from the skies…
“Let’s start the wedding with a little introductory pyrotechnics…”
Neema unleashes a color spray…and everyone…everyone…becomes invisible…
Barruk hurls one screaming from the battlements with his maul…
Ado shouts an order to the archers and fills the air with arrows…
And the remaining berserkers fall, feathered with warbler arrows…

We stand on a crumbling battlement…and the walls are breached…
The rivers pour into the streets…and upon them ride Dust and Drowned River…
with her shieldmaidens Tangrisnr and Tangnostr…
quenching the Vargr forge spirits with great gouts of steam…
Breaks Like Wind rides in wearing his best ephod…
And we have a wedding…Ithunn tosses a buquette of death lilies…
Khut fires an arrow with three acorns into the sky…

“…He grabbed three golden apples
And threw them high into the sky…
…Three lightning bolts burst from the sky,
The first struck the groom,
The second struck the bride,
The third struck six hundred wedding guests,
Not an eyewitness left
Not even to say how they died.”

The infantry sacks and loots the city for wedding gifts…

  • Sentinel Shield
  • a Crown of Rulership, which Khut immediately places on Ithunn’s head
  • Mace of Disruption

Barruk bestows matching drinking horns on the happy couple…
Ellen-Dear gives them a bladed baby carrier…
“May Drowned River bless you and Dust bless the one to come…”

AND then the army from Vennrstad arrives…
Ado gives an inspiring speech to the troops…
Khut grabs Ithunn, hops on Littlewing, and flies off into the sunset…to war…
Under a lightning streaked sky, we tear towards the enemy on an adult thunderbird…

The Vennrstadr lead with enormous, living siege engines, lifting boulders…
We call encounter…Arrows fall from the sky, dropping one instantly…
Littlewing sweeps in air-drops Khut, Ithunn, and Squee with some hero landings…
And some lightning…and some fear…and they’re all hasted…
Ithunn sweeps the legs out from under one and spurs it to death…
Squee drives one mad…
Khadagan comes flying in…hurled by Morva…and goes right through one…
They’re mad…they rip trees out of the ground and pound us…
Ado blinds three of them with a sunbeam…
Barruk comes charging in on Sparky…petrifying one with Sparky’s breath…
Neema, mounted behind him, unleashes a lightning bolt…dropping one…
AND everyone is invisible…again…
Vadim drops a wall of thorns on them…
and Breaks follows with a fireball…
and That-which-was-Sorq immolates a pair of them…
Khut rushes in and vivisects another one…
And the battle ends…with the rest of the giants kneeling at Ithunn’s feet…

Meanwhile Ellen-Dear wanders into the grove and invokes Apple, Ivy, Thorn, and Holly…
Asking them to overtake, claim, and ruin the city…

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Session 49: Rotisserie Chicken
Kill everyone! Is there a question?

We’re in a maze of fire…
Vadim birdifies and flies towards the quenching vats…
The fires sweep over Khut and Squee…it hurts…a lot…
Ellen-Dear zots out of the fire and pegs a forge spirit with a sunbeam…
Arandyr gets rammed through a wall by a fire spirit…
A second tries it against Barruk…
And ends up with an axe to the face for his efforts…
Ado ducks under a fire elemental, grabs Squee, and zots up onto a gantry…
That-which-was-Sorq drops a sleet storm inside a kiln…
Which goes boom! Belching steam and smoke everywhere…
One of the other kilns explodes…
and a thirty-foot tall creature of flame rises out…
Khut points and laughs and hopes people get that its an illusion…
Sadly Ellen-Dear still wastes a sunbeam on it…
Vadim gesticulates and the air is suddenly filled with webbing…
And giant spiders…which proceed to kick over the quenching vat…
Which tips slowly pouring water into one of the kilns…
Khut sees a spider swinging over and jumps, grabbing a leg…
And swings right through the wall of fie…
Ex-Sorq sucks the heat out of the air…nuking both fire spirits…
And there is a hiss, a sputter, and a scream of pain from a forge…
Barruk swings for the fenses shattering a frozen fire elemental…
And sprays one of the forge spirits with the icy remains…
Arrandyr follows Barruk up, feints, and catches an invisible forge with a knife…
Ado unleashes a rain of arrows…and there is much screaming…
The three forge spirits appear…spread out…and carpet bomb us with fireballs…
Squee makes the middle one dance…
And Khut puts an arrow right through it…
And Arrandyr cuts it in half as it does a twirl…
Spiders scurry off trying to plug air-intakes of the forges…
Ex-Sorq sucks the heat from the air, and shards of ice rain down on them…
Barruk tears clean through the right-hand forge spirit…
freezing and shattering it…
The last one standing fires a barrage of flames at Khut…
But is so distracted by the bards on the gantry and can’t hit anything…
Vadim spider-web bungie jumps and pounds him with a shillelagh…
And plants a tree in the frozen corpse…

The foundry is completely wrecked…
All the dwarves fled out through the holding cells…
Vadim invokes peas-blossom the bee…
Who tells him that he stung Rustad…
Ellen-Dear scrys on the venom…
and sees Rustad running out into the city…
He uses Sending to ask him to come back…
Rustad sends his Vargr bodyguards back…and keeps on into the city…
Vadim goes down on all fours sniffing the ground and we run…
We round a corner, strait into the Vargr…who walk right past us…
Thank you Mr. Rakshasa…
We smash though a hedge into a garden…
Arandyr says we should go strait through the parlor to make up time…
Squee blows open a trophy case with shatter…
And Arandyr snags…something…as she runs past…
And we come out onto the street…right in front of a quite surprised dwarf…
And the world slows…shards of razor-sharp glass float through the air…
As Yourga gives us some time to chat…
Rustad waxes arrogant…your men in collars, blah blah blah…
Ado hijacks his brain…and glosses over our most overt hostility…
“…well it’s been charming. I can’t wait to see that good-for-nothing
that married my cousin see what we’ve done here with such
limited resources…”
We follow him home and he offers us some apple brandy from the west…
Which is guarded very heavily, including Ahura Mazhdan iron golems…
Snipers on the walls…and Vargr fire shamans coming in and out…
He offers us baths…refreshments…
Khut declines and strigils himself with Drowned River’s knife…
Rustad invites him into his lab…to fix his shattered arm…
Cuts it open…replaces the bone…mends the tendons…
Arandyr follows him in and starts lifting things…
It starts to get REALLY hot in there…
AND Khut has a bionic arm…
We settle down for tea and start discussing the collars…
We ask about highly advanced models…he shows us a crown…
Vadim tries it on…and starts acting like a guinea pig…
Rustad takes the crown off…but seems perplexed by something missing…
He excuses himself and asks a large Malik seneschal to find…it…
Who heads off into a side room to make with some divining…
Arandyr follows him and kifes a vial of blood…
Then she tries to steal his nose ring…
Which turns out to be a control collar…
which explodes in her hand…

Arandyr is in the study…which is on fire…
Standing in the middle of the room is a coal-black Rakshasa…
Yourga…who has no eyebrows either…
“So are we killing everyone here, or are we moving quickly?”
Arandyr – “Kill everyone! Is there a question?”
Yourga decides to impersonate the Malik…
He throws open the door, with a bellow…
And starts shouting suggestions at the guards…
Meanwhile, we hear a boom, and Vadim, Khut, and Ellen-Dear dive under a table…
At the sound Rustad’s head snaps up…his eyes burning with runes…

Khut puts an arrow in Rustad’s chest…
Vadim calls down some lightning…
Rustad reaches out…a life rune appears…twists…crushes…
And PWNs Vadim in the pants with a Harm spell…
Khut puts another arrow in him…and whistles…
A stroke of lightning comes down…and blows Rustad’s body to shreds…
And under it all is a metal skeleton…
The doors are thrown open…some golems and guards barge in…
Followed by “Rustad”…er Yourga…who sends them all away…
We scoop up the smoking bloody remains and haul them to the lab…
And Khut starts dissecting it at Yourga’s instruction…
And we start stitching Yourga in Rustad’s flesh…
Vadim sneaks into the blown up library…
Summons a vine to pull apart the ceiling…
Climbs up…out a window…grapples to the roof…
And starts communing with the bees…“Save me now!”
And the world becomes VERY distracting…
There is an insect apocalypse outside…
Yourga-Rustad starts shouting for everyone to get inside…
Yells at us to head outside and start repelling insects…
He hands Vadim Rustad’s signet ring…

We exit stage left…

Vargrborg is wide open…
We purified their river…
We cut off their melliae allies…
We disabled their slave collars…
We nuked Rustad…

The jewel of the Ulfeddin is wide open…

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