Exodus

Session 43: Imbessaries
We need to make a braid line!

CARDS
Human Relations #7: Tonsilectomy, Learning to deal with confusion and fear
Semek
Mongolian Death Worm
Human Relations #4: Accepting and sharing responsibility through an open-ended children’s story

We are back in camp, with the entirety of the Void Sept parked on our flank…
Ellen-Dear starts forging a national identity, telling the story of the Altan Ordu…
Focusing mainly on a largely secular founding legend, usable by any religion…
The Nohai scouts report back that the wild Ulfeddin are leaping from the trees to catch stars…
Vargrborg is a huge slaver city with few friends…but they still send an emissary…
We received an emissary of a people we’ve not met before…pointy ears and horns…
Many of their people have been enslaved and they’re looking for help…
“Glaistig”…Barruk speaks of them as terrifying raiders from NW Gaavshahar…
Powerful warriors, but terrible armies…kilted, clannish forest-dwellers…
Recountings of Malik generals of them lining up, bare-chested, frothing…
We’ve had to set up ambassadorial quarters for all of the emissaries…
Khut spends a lot of time hanging out with Breaks Like Wind studying the Yassa…
Most specifically, that it has no provision for marriage…
Khut and Breaks seek out Semek and work out a new Yassa…
Marriages shall henceforth only be recognized if witnessed before a Blacksmith…
We sit down for a bit with the Vittebjorn ambassador…“Jurgen”…a Skald who studies the law…
Nice tent, too warm from giant braziers, ornate armor made for an 18-ft. tall bear in one corner…
The usual questions come out: ‘Do you remember?’ ‘Do you breed?’
“I remember for us. We do not remember as the Yaghuth remember, but I lie in the dark
with a stone upon my chest.”
“You ask Do you Breed. I have learned something during my time here among you, and I imagine
the question is more than proforma…it is complicated, we come to learn, not just for
trade…”
Apparently they have a battle-fleet near Kaupmadr, which they think can repel the Nihil Sept…
Squee pets the big, fuzzy, live teddy-bear…
The tent door is torn open and an enraged Moon-Moon rages in…
“Where’s my Squee!?”
Ithunn leaps across the room and muzzles him…
Arandyr grabs Squee off the bear and teleport-puts her in Moon-Moon’s arms…
Vadim keeps the conversation going…with the confused-looking giant white bear…
“It may be possible that we can help one another. But it is also true that blood has been
spilt and laws have been broken. Our laws call for the payment of weregild.”
They will cooperate in defense of the river once honor is satisfied and deals are struck…
Unfortunately the “breeding” of their “river-beasts” (boats) is a closely held secret…
The only road to the West is through their waters…
If we set foot on their sacred lands and that would be cause for war…
If we turn to felling forests to build boats, there would be war…
They don’t mind the destruction of forests…just the building of war ships…
We can build barges…but they can sink barges from ‘near the horizon’…
As a boon they would like us to gather or destroy the wild Ulfeddin tribes…
He refers to Ithunn as ‘uncorrupted’…apparently the local variety drinks blood…
“You are from the Yaghuth forests, far from here, perhaps the corruption has not
reached so far.”
And, on showing him her tusks, she gets a giant bear-hug…
The forests to the west are ruled by the Meliai, blood-drinkers…
To make a military alliance, they need a hostages of unmatched value…
We give them Khadagan and Hundreds of Dust…
In exchange they bring in the boats to move out whole camp north of Vargrborg…
A Pasht spy (Katja) comes in and informs us that Vargrborg is working with the Nihil Sept…
They’re the ones who sent the fire spirits downriver to burn our cable…
They apparently expect us to attack and have called in their allies from North, West, South…
North — from the very large city of Tvennrstad…
South — into Thaabanite territory where they often capture and trade slaves…
West — Ulfeddin, Glaistig, other races they enslave…
Forming legions of armed slaves…noncombatant slaves being sent in caravan west…
If the caravan reaches the west, we will spill much more blood around Vargrborg…
Apparently their trying to make an alliance with the Meliai…

The vittebjorn load us on their ships and, slowly, relocate the whole caravan across the river…
We land just north of Vargrborg…Moon Moon and his ulfeddin leap ashore and establish a beachhead…
We careen our longship, the Fenrir, and cover it with a cairn…
It is a big, walled, well-armed city…
and a huge caravan is heading up into the mountains to the west…
Seeing the slave caravan, we circle out and around to cut them off…
Ithunn, disguised as a Meliai, heads strait into the caravan…
YOUR Imbasarries left me alone in the woods!” and she proceeds to chew them out…
She yells that the sacrifices are insufficient…
They seem, unsurprisingly surprised to find her there…
“We have sent them nine at a time as you requested.”
She threatens to eat them…
“Without a tree can you feed? Nevermind, we’ll bring you blood…”
They seem very surprised that one would get that close to their campfires…
Ithunn — “Dim that down…”
And they proceed to pour water over the fires…
AND they start avoiding the surrounding trees like the plague…
With Khut, Vadim, Arandyr, Ellen-Dear, Squee, and Katya following in stealth mode…
Vadim and the elves start thumping on the ground…trying to provoke a worm…
Meanwhile Squee and…something…are having some kind of weird slumber party…
It’s a gnome…with mis-matched eyes…and a BADGER
Arandyr and Katja sneak up close to keep an eye on Ithunn…
There are at least a thousand slaves, with perhaps a hundred ulfeddin guards…
They start bringing Ithunn her nine slaves to eat…
Ithunn nicks slave number one and paints her lips with blood…
While Arandyr and Katja absconds with them…
Ithunn steps out of the dark and freaks the Ulfeddin the fuck out…
Khut and Vadim sneak in and start busting open slave cages…
Meanwhile, Squee and Rute scarmble up a tree, and tell it to move…
And a massive black-barked oak tree steps up behind Ithunn…
“You think my people are afraid of fire? I am the exception!”
She steps out of the dark, there is a whistle…
…a flash of lightning…and her tusks are in her hands…

Squee, from the top of a walking tree, drops a cloud of daggers down on the ulfeddin…
“Calling all GNOMES!” and things begin to get strange as two more trees uproot themselves…
Ithunn wades into the ulfeddin and just kills four of them…
Khut smashes a third cage open, releasing a mob of sand-devils fleeing into the woods…
Vadim blasts a gust of wind towards the trees…sending a rain of blood-red leaves into the glade…
We bust open the last cage and unleash a pile of steppe-folk and Malik…
“Third Gond form up!” – two-hundred and fifty POWs lost in the thaabanite war…
A cloud of arrows rain down from the ulfeddin…Vadim blocks with his shield…
And the malik go charging, past horns lowered…
Ellen-Dear drops Black Tentacles…roots erupt from the ground and kill more than a dozen ulfeddin…
Arrows rain down on everyone…and hit nothing but air…everywhere…
Katya and Arandyr appear out of the trees and start knifing things…
The forest on the northern edge breaks and two massive trees stride forward…
Leaves blood red…bodies hanging from ropes like gibbets…their eyes open and staring…
A chorus of fishy screams rises from the north and the bloody leaves start to spread…
Spores start spraying out from the gallows zombies…
And the zombies swarm over Aradyr, bouncing like marionettes, as they swing on their ropes…
And the tree starts waling on everyone…and snatches up Vadim…
Squee makes everything pink…so pink…
Khut and Ithunn, both now up in the tree, start cutting their way through to each other…
AND…the tree bleeds…and Ithunn kicks it to the ground…
Ellen-Dear sends in his swarm of action-figures…tiny copies of the party…
Daggers and tentacles and the Gond happen…and more than half of the ulfeddin are dead…
Arrows rain down…zombies go swinging…spores burst…trees bash…
The tree crushes inward on Khut more and more branches, more and more pointy…
Squee drops the Negasonic Squeenage Warhead again…and the zombies explode into pink sparkles…
The tree wobbles, staggered…
Khut leaps on it…and carves a giant heart in it with his dagger…
spraying Ithunn in tree-blood…and carves “K + I” inside it…
Ithunn – “I forgive you!” (for stealing her kill)

We round up the slaves…and come face to face with Squee’s gnome friend…Rute…
Who lives in a walking tree…has a window…has a tri-corne hat…and a ship’s wheel…
Vadim flips a gold coin up in the air towards the gnome…
The tree catches it and hands it to the gnome…
We start chatting with the trees, gathered around…
And the trees pick us up…where we see the eyes of a number of gnomes…
Eyes that flicker like fire-flies, constantly changing colours…
And Arandyr and Katja suddenly have gnomes perched on their shoulders…
And their hair is being braided…
Vadim and Khut try to convince the trees to carry the refugees out of the forest…
But Squee interjects…“We need to make a braid line!”
Khut and Ellen-Dear run down to the shore, dig out the boat, and start making rafts…
We swing towards the shore as fast as we can…but the trees become sluggish…
We pass the gnome a potato…and tell them to go round up their friends…
Squee gives them one ‘moon’ before we come to start some forest fires…
Ithunn and Khut guide the rafts down-river…

We ride the rafts out into a lake…where we see the Vittebjorn fleet…
And barges full of amalgam, swarming out to build breastworks and establish our new colony…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 42: They All Jumped out of a Rotten Potato
Arandyr -- "The invention of Popcorn..."

CARDS
Semek’s Wife
Nihil Sept
Human Relations #3: Accepting individual differences and capabilities
Orbghuz Forktongue

We’re hanging out in camp…we’ve moved past shoulder into high summer…
Ado lays Guards and Wards over the camp, requiring everyone to scrub before entering…
[Next time plague card flips, it is blocked once]
Khadagan harvests some more iron wood to armor up the troops…
Ithunn talks to the Pasht and starts an academy for spies and monks…
Khut spends the entire time hanging out in the tree watching..
The Academy now has three branches…
The Amazons are training the elite infantry and officers…
The Pasht are training the spies…
The Old Mothers are training the mage corps…
Barruk starts re-training the infantry in formation tactics…
Arandyr takes Semek’s Wife and the Nohai out into the woods to teach them to sneak…
Vadim gets the weavers involved building super death-nets for the fishermen…
Sorqutani sends the amalgam out to go forage for themselves…
Squee busts out her pipes and summons a swarm of delicious lickens…

Meanwhile…Potatoes…
We have a countil of war…the debate centers around what backup we should take through…
It gets heated when Ado suggests taking the Spire and leaving it there…
and when Khadagan suggests going through and praying…just because…
Khut suggests that we just take a few amalgam, because they’re expendable…
We head to a bare patch of the forest…a circle of yellow and purple mushrooms…
Khadagan reaches for a shroom…there is a deep pull as we flow through the roots…

We come out at the edge of an amphitheter…we are surrounded by claws and antennae…
We explode out of a mountain of canvas-covered crates, marked with the sigils of all races…
SUPPLIES!”
The amphitheater is clearly elven…everything around is a wasteland…
Sorqutani’s mind fractures like a mirror as the bugs are separated from the hive…
But, by sheer force of will, she keeps them under control…
Hands outstretched, eyes rolled back in her head, cinnamon smell everywhere…
She gives them one order: DESTROY!
AND the ground disintegrates as massive burning worms break the surface…
The screaming starts as our bugs face outward and rush…
The ground glows white-hot as several desert worms break the surface…
Meanwhile, we’re in the middle of a HUGE Nihil Sept camp…
With some Void Sept emissary’s tents off to one end…
Some kind of meeting is going on in the amphitheater…
behind a life-energy sucking Fade Shield…
Khut pivots sees a rank of Old Empire knights surrounding the shield…
And fires an arrow through the fade into one of their stomachs…

AND its on…
Barruk hastes Sorqutani…Vadim hastes Ithunn…
Khadagan grabs one of the forty-foot-long, white-hot melter worms by the tail…
Swings it around and hammer-throws it right at the Fade Shield…
The energy is sucked strait out of it…and there are incinerations galore…
Sorq shoves her hands under a plate of the worm crossing the shield…
And causes it to spawn a plague of smaller biting, stinging insects of death…
Inside the shield…where they start chowing down on the meeting…
Arandyr misty-steps above the second desert-worm and starts with the stabbings…
Squee casts Otto’s Irresistable Dance on it…and it starts walking like an Egyptian…
Ado drops a Death Ward on Ithunn…she starts glowing…
And Ithunn becomes Tranquil…and walks right through the shield into the council…
TIME STOPS
Six figures stand there, protected in the Cusp…
Ithunn – “I can’t believe you didn’t invite me!”
Void – “We considered it. So come.”
Nihil – “Despite Void interceding for you, we are not convinced that you are the lost seventh”
Void – “Because of our long and bloody relationship, I saw fit to speak against your destruction in the council.”
This from an elderly steppefolk with eyes and mouth sewn shut…
He introduces the council:
High Priest of the Void
Seneschal of Oblivion
Prator Destruction of Nihil
Eschaton of the End
That Which the Yaghuth Do Not Remember (Unknown of Lief)
and a sixth which he fails to introduce…

We join the council…
Void – “There have always been six septs.”
Nihil – “There is no seventh. There is nothing. We will show you nothing.”
Void argues that they’ve gained wisdom from the gods.
End (a thabaanite) argues that the gods are just spirits and the sleepers will destroy everything.
Void goes on a zealous rant about the Golden Nail.
Oblivion argues that they just kill all the non-believers and thus live in peace.
Void and Oblivion share a vision, but parted ways.
Nihil and End agree on some things.
Leif (the cheese) stands alone.
After lots of arguing, Khadagan starts praying…

“To the one around which all things revolve,
To he who holds the night sky to the arc of heaven,
To Him who gathers all instances of himself,
reaching out from the fade, across the river of time.
You, whom the seven profess to serve,
Bring forth your holy light and cleansing flame from the fade,
Walk among this council
and judge as you will.
Weigh the hearts and judge the intent of this assembly.
Correct the paths of the lost,
purge the iniquity of the unrighteous.
Give strength to those who seek to serve as your mighty right arm
and break the backs of those who would stand against you.
Open the eyes of the blind,
speak to ears of the deaf,
and displace the stubborn.
Altan Yadasun, mighty golden nail, I call to thee now.”

The Void Sept immediately throws down their full power behind Khadagan.
Nihil Sept is enraged, but also afraid…
Not of us in battle…
but that we are a tree, growing, beyond their power to destroy…
Oblivion decide that they are turning north, to put an end to us…
Leif, the forgotten, are clearly messing with us, creating mental linkage…
Leif is quietly satisfied…things going according to plan…
but deeply concerned about Vadim and determined to destroy him specifically…
but they are deeply satisfied about Khadagan and willing to back him…
End is waiting, cautious, holding…
And Ithunn discovers the presence of the sixth sept…nameless, silent, whatever…

Ithunn turns and looks at the council…
The Fade Shield explodes…and the council is gone…
And there is the rich sound of cooking food…
Roasted apples, burning mean, cinnamon…so much cinnamon…

And Ithunn needs something to kill…
Ellen-Dear stands on top of the supply dump and spills poisonous gas down into the food…
The shield-thrown worm charges Khadagan and chomps him…
Then it gets an arrow in the eye from Khut…
And Barruk’s flashing flaming radiant hammer to its gut…
Knocking Khadagan free of the thing’s mouth…
Where he proceeds to tear it into very small, tasty chunks…
Khut points out that the camp still has 65,000 Nihil Sept troops…
He points towards the Void Sept tents and leads by example…he starts running…
Vadim heals Khadagan and runs!
Arandyr proceeds with the stabbings against the other worm…
Sorqutani calls in the pixies and starts plowing a path towards the Void camp…
For a moment, she falls to one knee, coughing soot…
Black pouring from her mouth…her lips and teeth are black…
And she becomes subsumed in her little, local hive mind…DESTROY!
The centaurs charge her, but their armor is devoured as they come…
Ado desperately tries to save her mind…and fails…
Ellen-Dear calls out to the fire mother to accept her child…
The Atheist begins to pray…and Banishes Sorqutani…
He sees a fence leading down to a vinyard, a long slope down to a river…
Standing on the fence, resting, is a finely dressed woman…
With scarred, burned arms, and work-hardened hands…
The orchard around him is filled with rich, blood-coloured apples…
“Who are you? I thought that since the veils were torn
the forgotten were lose on the world. Do you come from
beyond the veils? Come, I had not expected company here at the end of things. Come look, some stars fall, other stars rise.”
A star rises from the ground, burning away the darkness of night.
“Who is this rising star?”
“Hope. If you can believe it.”
“Hope is all I have.”
“You won’t understand any of this, but I’m pleased to meet you. My name is Ramiem Meltiedes. I have no idea where you got this memory.”
“How did you come to be here?”
“Some decent human had to be Hope’s mother.”
AND the centaurs all turn Pink…agressively Pink…thank you Squee…
AND Ithunn, raging like a Yaghuth, charges through them like a blender…

Then the last worm descends on Sorqutani…catching her up in its maw…
Sorq begins to glow, as if she were merely an envelope for the flame inside…
Khut flows into the Nihil Sept troops like a wave, bone knife in hand…
Water pours from the hole newly drilled in his forehead…and they die and die…
And Vadim comes behind with his pack of cackles…
And a Negasonic Squeenage Warhead…as she looks out and starts crushing heads…
Ellen-Dear, running the back, drops a Cloudkill behind him…
Barruk launches the worm into the air…
Khadagan dives into the worm’s mouth…
kisses Sorqutani…“Hail to the Nail!”…and flips out and down…
Ado fires an arrow into the worm…
It’s plates fly outward in a volley of burning-hot scales in the Nihil…
AND Sorqutani EXPLODES!
As the mortal form of what was Sorqutani is torn to pieces in a hurricane of flame…
It draws the heat from the worm, from the pixies, from every living thing…
And the sky is lit phosphorous white, bright as day…
Barruk is leading the charge, ahead, a rolling wave of black flame comes towards us…
Steppefolk march on the edges, driving back the dark with gold-flamed torches…
Fireeyes encourages Barruk to smash the Void sept…
“Yeah, duly noted, next time.” Barruk turns to meet the foes behind him…
And drops the hammer, flattening a section of the horde…

In our wake there is fire! The Nihil Sept camp is in flames.
A crater runs the length of the camp.
The Golden Nailer lines are shielded by a wall of water, parting the flames…
All is quiet on the western front.

We are among the Void Sept…obviously, they talk to Khadagan…
He encourages them to pull back for now…rather than pressing on to destroy the Nihil…
“To hear is to obey. You must understand this is complex for us. We will follow your commands. You are closer to our lord than we have managed.”
The High Priest of the Void Sept comes to us in physical form…
They agree to accompanying us over the river and cover our backs.
There is some discussion of religion and conversion…and how its pointless…
They give us a Potion of Speed and Potion of Flying…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 41: Cloudy with a Chance of Khadagan

CARDS
Cusp
Human Relations #5: What Shiela Said: Truth vs. Exageration
Oblivion Sept
Ganbaatar

We are ‘safe’ (relatively speaking across the river…
We continue to build up our forces…
Squee wanders into the hospital and tackle-hugs some nohai scouts…
Leaping from bed to bed of the injured…
Nurses and shamans chase her desperately…
Until she vanishes into the linens…
And morale among the scouts goes through the ROOF!
Sorqutani starts spending a lot of time hanging out with a young mage…
One “Ishni” by name…
Ado starts trying to coax birds onto the water…
convincing the Krokodile archers that boats are not as terrifying as they think…
There is a barbecue for the infantry…or there tries to be…
There is a smell…not a pleasant smell…and waves of black smoke…
Arandyr heads upriver to meet with the Vittebjorn and the Glaistig…
And deprive them of their shiny things…and she’s on the lamb…
Khut takes Ganbaatar and Orbghuz on a fishing trip…
There is some awesome bow-fishing…and some male bonding…
And, finally, the cavalry and infantry are not at each others throats…
Barruk and Breaks sit down with Semek and tries to build up some armorer support…
And suddenly, the man whose been overworked, underpaid, unappreciated…
Now has a forge…and a magic hammer…and some holy mountain beast bones…
And the armor starts flowing out in bulk…
Khadagan rounds up all the gardeners and gets to work growing and compassing iron wood…
And puts semek to work armoring the Holy Mountain Beasts…

We are camped on the Tanngrisnir river…south of Kaupmadr…
Chinnua and Kitty enter the war council after scouting Vargrborg…
It’s a big city (100,000+), as big as Ahuramazda and better defended…
And the people of it are fierce…raiding up and down the Tanngnjóstr…
Mostly raiding Glaistig to the west and Thaabanite in the south…
They have a booming slave market…with Vittebjorn gladiators…
The perenial discussion of ‘To Sack or Not to Sack’ comes up again and takes forever…
Suddenly the maggotfolk are gone, Barruk is mounted and thundering out…
The rest of us rush out to see what’s up…clouds of black smoke everywhere…
A Golden Nail section of the camp is on fire…
A burning body lands next to Barruk and explodes…
Manlike things of living flame turn and scream at us as we charge in…

Sparky stempedes in spouting clouds of petrifying gas…
Which ignites in the updraft around the flaming things…
Barruk invents the game of polo, thwacking one with his maul on the ride-by…
Arandyr notices the burning things coming from outside…
In towards the Void-sept part of the encampment…
And a blood-soaked section of ground with a bloody trepanning drill…
Khut arrives and rails one with a pair of arrows…doing massive damage…
But the things seems to not notice the gaping wounds…
As if its nerves were cauterized…but it blocks with an arm…
Breaks dispels the flames…revealing a trepanning scar on the forehead…
Of what is otherwise a Sureshaft Scout…
Who is suddenly smeared by a flying tackle from Diddlydoo the dworc…
Breaks then immediately starts in on a ritual of Planar Binding…
Then they all turn Pink…thank you squee…
Sorquitani drops a sleet storm…clouding the area with steam as it hits the flames..
Then she floats into the air…for no apparent reason other than its her…
Ado calls in the Yaghuth to quarantine the area…
Khadagan, on the other side of the camp, gets flung into combat by Littlefoot…
Screaming “It’s cloudy with a chance of Khadagan!” as he comes in…
Plowing claws-first into a flaming, trepanned malik…
Ellen-Dear examines the trepannation…looking into the hole…through the cut…
And sees, inside, an immense flaming woman using them as marrionettes…
Yeah…Odqan Talaqan is looking a little crazy today…
Sorqutani places a collect call to the Fire Mother…
“What have they done to deserve this?”
“I BURN! PAIN! METAL! TWISTING INSIDE!”
“I WILL BURN THEM ALL AS I AM CONSUMED!”
“Who should I burn?”
She looks confused…her eyes light with a dark flame…
A rich golden flame behind them…snarling, dripping magma as blood…
Arandyr, across the way, finds Nergui Axetooth…coughing up black fluid…
Black Maw…in image very much like the magma coughed up by Odqan Talagan…
She messages this information to Sorqutani…
“Looks like I’m burning some priests…”
Meanwhile, the flaming things pinned by Diddlydoo and Khadagan return the beatings…
Barruk suppresses the fire in the third…shoving it back into its head…
And Ado banishes the two heavily wounded ones…and they are decapitated…
while Breaks continues his ritual to bind the third…
Khut runs off to fetch Hundreds of Dust…and they both reappear almost instantly…

A Steppefolk woman in a khaftan stumbles out of the Golden Nail enclosure…
She says those afflicted with the Black Maw are gathered here…
And its spreading…
We have a long chat about theology…its boring…Nailers suck…
Then Breaks finishes his binding in a full-on exorcist scene…
Heads spin…black vomit spews…someone gets slapped with a book…
And a mirror its glued onto his forehead over the trepanning hole…
And you see not yourself reflected in it, but fire…
“What do you recall?”
“A nightmare of fire and feathers. Pain. Black feathers.”
Flames suddenly shoot out of the necks of the two headless corpses…
They stand up…
And Khadagan promptly shoves handfulls of yokeleaf into the holes…
Arandyr cuts one in half in a splash of flame…
And Khut puts an arrow clean through the head of the other…
We start to get high…and Ado invokes the lord of light…
Then Breaks decides to drag the captured fire spirit in chains before Drowned River…
Time slows, flames freeze, and we’re all dragged into the Cusp with him…

There sitting in the center of the camp are the Lady and Lord, our patron spirits…
They don’t look well…Breaks offers them some marriage counseling…
Here, in this land at least, they are stronger…thanks to the mighty river…
The Nail, it seems, has stolen power from the Mother of Fire and Lord of Light…
He is a seed from the Fade and casts a long shadow into the Verge…
Birthed from the spike which we bear…
“We didn’t break the Spire, the worlds been broken since we started tokin”
He has declared war…not on the spirits…his true enemy hides on principle…
Only the eight, the seven silent ones and Hope, can defeat him…
The Doluyan Ebügen who wait to consume the world at the end of all things…
And one eighth “Good Outcome”…
Khadagan sneaks into the tent where the trepanning happened…
And sees a massive concentration of cancer spores hanging in the air…
Which, of course, he collects…

We come out of the high sitting around a fire…or rather a burning man…
Around us stand robed and cowled people in heavy mail, swords drawn, facing outward…
Nail troops left there to make sure we were not interrupted…for 36 hours…
Breaks proposes a wedding between the Nail and the Fire Mother…
We send the guards to fetch some priests…both Black Crow, Void Sept Nailers…
Abaka, a tall, rail-thin steppefolk with steel-capped tusks…
Doquz, a shorter, portly steppefolk lady with greenish hair and a khaftan…
Doquz under her portly, friendly exterior is a little pissed at the suggestion…
Abaka seems deeply satisfied under his angry exterior…
Doquz starts arguing their freedom of religion…
We have some more theological discussions…
“Can the Nail marry himself?”
“How blasphemous can we get?”
A discussion breaks out into whether or not to keep the spire…
There was much shouting and discussion of laws and crap like that…
Are spirits property? Clan members? Subject to laws? Protected by Laws?
It was very boring and shouty…

Arandyr reminds us that Nergui Axetooth was infected and outside the quarantine…
We head off to the Axetooth camp…and tell them they’re now under quarantine…
Ado pontificates and the rest of us slink into the shadows surrounding the camp…
We head into the black felt traditionalist yurts…lots of ‘mothers’…
Seems like they’re pretty solid into trepanning and setting people on fire…
As their way of ‘burning out the plague’…
And not too clear on the idea that the Nail tents are part of the Tribe…
And their nails are crusted with dirt and blood…
Arandyr, meanwhile, pulls lots of shinnies out of Nergui’s pockets…

Vadim calls up the troops. “We’re going to war!”
And he pulls out a potato…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 40: The Battle of Sargymir River

CARDS
Fade
Human Relations #9: Conflict Between Wanting to Help a Friend and Cheating
Xian-Yu and the Old Empire
Hulugu

The crossing continues…
Arandyr starts mining the tunnels with explosive wards and zombie bombs…
Vadim and Khadagan head north to try to make friends with some Bears…
Some hunters are chilling out by their long-canoes…
On the Nihil-blight side of the river…
Clearly placed to keep an eye on our craziness upriver…
One even has a telescope…a long bronze eye…
Vadim sneaks in and drops a Holy-Mountain Beast steak on their grill…
They very politely stand up (to full armored bear height)…
“Doesn’t look like a wolf, doesn’t smell like a wolf…”
Apparently they know how to speak Elvish…
We try to talk them into teaching us to sail…
They’re a little confused that ‘greenfolk’ burned their village…
And the Ulfeddin ships on the river…
They tell us their are sailors in Kalpmather…
A walled city…a city…with walls…flamable walls…
Ado steps in and starts trying to recruit them hardcore…
Their leaders are old, slow, wise, secure, etc.
We scare them with tales of 7 armies on our heels…
Apparently they’re expecting some “Imperial reinforcements”..
from the west…to honor old alliances…
We make some tentative alliance…

It is late in the evening…from the Nihil Blight comes a roiling black fog…
Seeping out of fissures in the ground to form an almost solid black wall…
We hear a moaning and the canter of hooves…then black arrows start to fall…
Their scouts lead…Vadim throws up a Wind Wall between them and ours…
We pull the Bent Blades back from the spiked earthworks we built…
Forcing them to close…scuicide squad style in dead silence…
There is a shuddering crash as the scouts close to knife range…
The first one crests…to find one of Khut’s arrow strait through its heart…
The second…takes an arrow right in the eye…
The third…finds Ithunn up in its grill…and has no head…
Then Ado files an entire volley of arrows by himself…
And a roiling cloud of poison gas from Ellen-Dear…
And soooooo many of them are left dead…
Fourteen of them charge Khut…one even hits…he laughs…
AND then everything is pink and sparkly thanks to Squee…
AND they are swarmed under by a pack of Vadim’s cackles…
Then out of the mist come endless, endless ranks of Old Empire zombies…
A barrage of fireballs from the boats rain down into the fog…
And the leading zombies run into some cancer-spore bombs…
But the rest of them swarm the scouts under by shear number…
Giant balls of bones come hurtling, twisting through the air…
Massive, skeletal holy mountain beasts launching HMB skulls…
But most of them were burned to death by the fireball barrage…
And Machek is leading them…
They shell our mages…but the Ulfeddin back-oar hard…
And the giant skulls splash down harmlessly into the water…
Our archers rain death on them from the river…
We run through the tunnels with the bent-blades, weavers, and cackles…
With piles of zombies dogging out heels…
And packs of blight-bird whelps screeching over their heads…
Khut knocks two arrows into the first one…
crashing it into a pile of zombies…and pissing it off…
where it is promptly eaten by a pack of cackles…
Ellen-Dear blasts one with acid, to no avail…
They respond with acid of their own…and it hurts…
Many are scorched…Vadim drops…
Six weavers are liquified…
Several Bent Blades are down by not out…
Ado heals Vadim…Vadim heals the Bent Blades…
The Bents fire a volley, then withdraw with the weavers…
Ithunn runs up a wall…axe-kicks one off of its perch…
And beats it to a pulp…breaking both wings…
Sorq hedges out the zombies with a Wall of Fire…
Turning the first rank of zombies to a fine ash…
Iron-Dear leaps through the wall and executes Ithunn’s bird…
Squee drops the Negasonic Squeenage Warhead again…
There is a shockwave of sparkly pink butterflies…
That reduces the zombies into piles glitter…
Khut puts two arrows in the eyes of the next blight bird…
Then Ellen-Dear blasts one of the tunnel supports…
The cieling starts to collapse…water rushes in…
Steam rushes up from the Wall of Fire…
Zombies are washed…through the wall of fire…
There are 4 rounds before the end of the world…
Ellen-Dear turns, runs, and ticks a delayed explosive glyph…
Iron-Dear swims for her life…
A blight-bird rushes in and chomps Sorqutani…
And promptly bursts into fire…
And Darth Sorq grows even larger and scarrier…
And sucks the life out of everyone…
And becomes resistant to all damage…
Ado prays to the Lord of Light and blesses all our attacks…
Vadim screams out in a primal tongue…
And a strange, multi-armed creature of earth shows up…
It grabs three weavers and starts earth-glide evacuating…
Ithunn surfs the wave of destruction punching birds as she goes…
AND there is yet another Negasonic Squeenage Warhead…
And a blight bird explodes into puff of rainbow feathers…
Khut dives and engages the last two blight birds…
He guts one with a single hit…stabs the second…
And comes up riding it…
And it vanishes out from under him…
Banished by Ellen-Dear…
We run, swim, surf, and ride the wave towards the exit…
behind us zombies continue to flush through the wall of fire…
Everyone grabs a weaver or two and we book it like crazy…
Vadim turns into an orca…
Khut and Squee start piling folks on his back…
We make it out…with 24 Weavers and 5 Bent Blades…

Up on the surface, the cable is broken, rafts are smashed, but we are across…
We are safe on the western shore…We call a war council…
The eastern shore is nothing but fire and fog and wreckage…
We have crossed the river with the overwhelming bulk of our troops intact…
The Ulfeddin and Vittebjorn still dominate the rivers…
The river runs to a large lake…
There is an Ulfeddin city one valley to the west…
There is a Vittebjorn city to the south on an island…
The trees here are not cursed, but the ground is not fertile…
The plague is still a problem, and their is unrest in the camp…
Golden Nail “shamans” continue to be challenged and killed…
We need to rest and reinforce…
but ‘not being chased’ might be a threat to our cohesion…
So we also need an enemy…
We decide to go sack the Ulfeddin city…
We set the Gray Lady to scry the Vittebjorn…
And Iron-Dear explains our chat with the hunters to her…
Trying to get more information about the old alliance
between the Maggotfolk and the Bears…

We have some peace for a while for a change…
Khut realizes that there is meat that swims under water…
And he starts teaching himself and the Nohei to spear fish…EPICLY!
Then Sorq introduces Hulugu to frozen fish…
Ado and Arandear take a longship and sail out to meat the Vittebjorn…
They let Arandyr up onto their ship…
Ado and Vadim perform some rituals to Awaken on the ships…
This should not work…you cannot awaken dead, inanimate objects…
BUT…It totally works…
The massive rampant bear-figureheads animate…
The ropes coil…the sails pull taught…
The rudder moves…finlike…against the current…
An enormous white bear with piercing blue eyes looks impressed…
He looks naked…but is dressed in fur that matches his own…
He puts a paw down on the deck, which ripples, like fluid…
Vedim has a chat with the ship…which is apparently of elven make…
Made of “Bone Wood”…but the Mistresses of the Ivory Tower…
Meanwhile, Ellen-Dear settles in to make some armor for his sister…
Studded leather with iron-wood studs…invested with the spirit of Thorn…

To be continued…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 39: Swimming Lessons

CARDS
Long Time No See (move bottom to top)
Warblers
Th’tktktkt (snake-boy)
Human Relations Series 2: Learning to Make Friends Through Open Ended Stories

We are still crossing the river, a bit ahead of the Nihil Sept…
Hoargrim says he and the scouts can keep the Nihil Sept busy for 3 days…
But if we can get across we’re solid…
We’ve diversified our crossing capacity…
Amalgam are tunneling under the river guided by Vadim…
using giant borer worms quickened by Gray Lady…
Second we bought a bunch of boats off the local Nohei…
Ulfeddin they call them…

Meanwhile, we’ve all been turned into Orcas by pixies…
And they won’t let us turn back to normal until we do some tricks…
We come to ourselves soaking wet, lying gasping on the deck…
To the sound of manic pixie laughter…
And they’ll never live down the jumping through flaming hoops…
But its the standing ovation from the pixies that really hurts…

We tack upstream (south) on some boats with a ulfeddin skeleton crew…
We’re spread between two boats…mired in fog…
To the background melody of cracking ice…
One of the ships is missing a mast…
but Ellen-Dear fabricates a new one…
Apparently a blighted thunderbird tried to eat us…
Breaks Like Wind arrives on a row-boat floating directly up stream…
Apparently dragged by weighted zombies walking on the bottom…
Near the prow, Iron-Deer hears a splash and a scattering sound…
Oars? and the sound of snarling voices which she can’t understand…
Khut dives in the water (not so stealthily) and swims after it…
“Who’s there?!”
“A fish!”
They don’t buy it…unsurprisingly…
Ahead, through the mist, we see glowing rings of fire…
Barruk: “Didn’t we just jump through those hoops?”
We’re blinded by the light filtering through the fog…
There is the sound of running feet off to our left…
Ithunn leaps out of the boat and…runs on the water…
And leaps onto an ulfeddin raider ship…black fur, long claws…
“Hello, I’m your new swim teacher, today we learn the belly flop”
And she punts one out into the water…
“Your form was terrible!”
Ellen-Dear grabs a floatation device…
Which apparently Ado was sleeping on top of…
Casts light and tosses it out into the water…
Sorq leaps into Break’s boat…
Breaks councils her to challenge them…recruit, don’t kill…
And lays an illusion to make her sound like a Nohei Darth Vader…
“Silly puppies! There’s no honor in this!”
They snarl in rage, rejecting the challenge…
And someone dives into the water…
Barruk lights up our ship with some Thaumaturgy…green and ghostly…
Accompanied by a loud steady beat of war drums…
Arandyr hears five Nohei on head boat, nine on the flanking boat…
And at least ten in the water to the left…
Khut goes…“There are a bunch in the water?”
He dives, they dive, they don’t swim nearly as good…
There is a LOT of blood in the water, and none is his…
Khadagan scrambles up the mast…leaps into the air…
And glides out to the mast of the flanking ship to the right…
And they don’t see him coming…
As he drops onto their helmsman…and assassinates him…
And hunkers down over the rudder…
And they’re going at ramming speed…
As it goes past our ship…
Ado lets out a shrill scream…
and they are all deathly afraid of him…
Ellen-Dear rakes the ship with a lightning bolt…
And Barruk takes a flying leap on board…flaming maul in hand…
Comes down right on the prow…and goes bowling for Nohei…
And all nine remaining Nohai go flying into the water…
Four swimmers and nine archers all go for Khut in the water…
He is scratched…a bit…he giggles maniacally…
Meanwhile Ithunn gets jumped by an entire ship worth…
She takes a beating, and retaliates with vigor…
Punting one through the ring of fire…
Arandyr misty steps onto the shoulders of one in the water…
And double-stabs him in the ears…
Then gets jumped (completely ineffectively) by five more…
Khadagan rams his now empty ship broadside into the left flanking ship…
Khut’s head breaks the water briefly…and he whistles…
Littlewing snatches Ithunn off the lead ship…
And rakes it with lightning…
And then he vanishes back under water and keeps stabbing…
Breaks Like Wind misty steps into the water…in full plate…
Sinks to the bottom…and forms up a phalanx with his zombies…
And lights up the underside of the lead ship with a fire bolt…
And sees that the boat is held in place by a giant snake…
Some long, round, sinuous thing…
Squee turns the crew of the left (rammed) ship pink…
Then drops a shatter on the hull…
Spraying them with splinters of exploding wood…
Two water-bound Nohei climb over the rails of our ship…
Ellen-Dear charges them and blows them to pieces with a thunderwave…
And two more re-board Khadagan’s ramming ship…
They all start shooting…rather ineffectively…
Littlewing drops Ithunn back onto the ship…
Where three large, coiling salamanders have enwrapped it…
Heating the metal of the ship white-hot…
And also slagging our metal guide cable…
The kills one with a single punch…
then punts a second in the water…
and takes the third by the throat…
The zombies keep towing Breaks’ boat…pulling Sorq with them…
And she burns up the five boarders still on the lead ship…
Then they get eaten by some pixies…
Breaks hauls himself out of the water…
And turns a salamander into an elephant…
Which proceeds to stomp Ithunn into unconciousness…
But at least its not on fire any more…
But the guide-cable is starting to groan and fray…
So Breaks’ quenches it with grease…
Barruk leaps the rail onto the left (rammed) ship…
Kills one Nohei with his horns and a second with the hammer…
Khadagan comes right behind him…and three more die…
And Arandyr comes over the rail and knifes the rest…
Then Squee drops some dynamite in the water…and more things die…
Then goes swinging from the rigging across to the lead ship…
Where she wakes up Ithunn…“SHAZAM!”
Ithunn does a backflip out onto the water and heals herself…
Ado teleports to the lead ship…
Drawing off a few of the raiders staring down Sorqutani…
The two of them tank, sending two into the drink as they do…
Then in a flash of light…Sorq is just gone…
Strait into the verge…
And Ado falls back into the water…
Khadagan climbs the mast and glides for the lead ship…
But slams into the side…and lands in the water by the salamander…
Which he of course stabs for good measure…
Khut, still with two swimmers on him, punts one up on deck for Barruk…
Then ignores the other and goes bolting after Khadagan…
The one left behind climbs over the rail to engage Barruk…
And they both get knifed by Arandyr…
And Khut and Khadagan ginsu the swimming salamander…
Breaks climbs up onto the lead ship…
Turns the elephant back into a salamander…
And himself into an elephant…and shoves the cable free…
Right off the back of the boat and into the water…
Barruk swings over to the ship, and engages the salamander…
Arandyr comes right behind, through a tangle of rigging…
Then the elephant upends the boat…with a great splash…
The elephant grabs the cable and starts swimming upstream…
Relieving some of the tension…
Barruk punts the salamander in the water…to be killed by Khad…
Then knocks a Nohei into the water…to be killed by Khut…
And the last one, gets massacered by Arandyr…
With everything dead, Khadagan leaps the rail…
Tears the mast off the ship…and plunges it into the water…
Dousing the burning rigging, and using it to pole the ship…

Of course…we still have a brittle cable to deal with…
Ellen-Dear summons some water elementals to coral the damaged ships…
Then pairs up with Ado to magically repair the damaged chain…
Ado chants and wiggles and prays…and the mist begins to glow…
And Ellen-Dear pulls material out of nowhere…
Weaving streams of liquid silver in an unbreakable chain…
And the silver threads continue to grow out through the cable…
As if alive…
And when the figure of Ormazhd Bay fades…
Sorqutani is standing there…
Meanwhile two barges full of Yaghuth priests meet up along the chain…
Then Iron-Dear hears a ‘CRUNCH’ from upstream…
Someone just dropped several chained-together icebergs into the stream…
Heading strait for the mass of seven boats…
Khut swims up underneath and unhooks one chain…
Then Ellen-Dear’s elementals shove one of the icebergs free…
Sorq reads the current…
Points out one berg heading strait for the Yaghuth…
Ado tags it with a shatter…breaking it up…
but sending a huge chunk right into the barge…
Barruk yells for the Yaghuth to grab the cable…
They all get out…but the barge breaks apart completely…
Then the second boat gets smashed…
Leaving twenty Yaguth swimming…
Squee blasts another iceberg, just before it hits the swimmers…
Deflecting it into the now nigh-indestructible cable…
Breaks Like Wind breaks up the mass with a wall of force…
But a large chunk of it Titanics one of the ulfeddin longships…
Khadagan orders the ulfeddin to turn another ship to ram the bergs…
And they meet it head-on with the ram…
And the last pieces drift away…
We start hauling yaghuth out of the water onto the second longship…

The tunnel is complete…and the warblers start heading through…
Eight more boats come up stream behind us…
Giving us 10 fishing boats (crew 40 each), 1 longboat, 1 warship…
Khut feels strangely at home on these strange devices…
He immediately takes control of the boats…
Gets people loaded, shows then how to row, figures out rigging…
And a third line of transit across the river is opened up…
Arandyr goes to meet the Naiads and starts chatting up her fey ancestry…
Trying to convince them that she is a long-lost fairy princess…
They begin to bring her tribute off the river bottom…
Squee makes her a pink tiara…
Squee starts singing for the troops…
Healing up our cavalry who are massing on the far shore…
Breaks Like Wind starts harvesting salamander eyes…
And starts making himself a shamanic ephod with nine mirrors…
Barruk leads the scouts out to check on what the Nihil Sept are up to…
Finds they are force-marching twenty thousand troops to catch us…
Khadagan, Sorq, and Ellen-Dear settle down to have a long rest…

To be continued…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 37: Negasonic Squeenage Warhead

Khut’s feeling…
Khut-feels-4.JPG

CARDS
Warblers
Plague — Naquim Blackhand
Human Relations: Grandmother’s Green Bowl – Honesty & Following Rules at Home
CHAOS! — shuffle the whole damned thing

The camp by the HMB breeding grounds are a buzz of activity…
Soldiers, wearied from long campaigning, are finally pulling off the bandages…
Tensions in the camp mount thanks to the addition of the Empty Circle/Hell Horns…
Made worse by the death (presumed murder) of a Golden Nail convert…

We, meanwhile, are still in the Fade…
Khut field-dresses the old-empire brain eaters, makes Vadim a nice mindflayer hat…
The elves loot the bodies:
Scroll of Guidance
Scroll of Identify
Scroll of Eldritch Blast
3 Potions of Healing
We settle in and get some rest…

We’re on a precipice…looking down we see Darkness flowing, pooling, gathering…
Hear a sussurus…a whispering…
Breaks Like Wind points out that there is a storm centered on our Caravan…
Deep Fade energies flowing out of the Deep Fade towards our camp…
Iron-Dear starts tracking the flow…
Around our camp there is a glade of sunlight…golden radiance…
The Darkness cannot get in…
In the center is a candle glowing a deep deep red…
A colour which should be impossible in the Fade…
29 Red Candles circle the camp…
A knot of pure-blackness towards the edge of camp…
We approach the darkness…
It’s big…like House-sized big…
Not really pure dark, but very much like entering the Deep Fade…
Ellen-Dear casts some light…except its not light…just less blackness…
Vadim smells the deep rot of the Fade Cancer Spores…
Shadows gather, coalesce into a corpse-like shape, then recede and vanish…
Breaks says that its Fade energies seeping into the real world…
Like when he animates some corpses…
Breaks casts us back into Reality…
by urinating on the ground around us, his pee falling like quicksilver…
We step out of the darkness, our pupils rapidly undialating…

We come out in a large tent, with a large shrine at the far end…
The shrine is wood, split like lightning, with a giant yellow spike driven through it…
The room is filled with the moans of the dying…and the stench of cancer…
Corpses are stacked against the walls…swathed in death robes…
Empty Circle priests, save that their mouths and eye stitching have been slit…
They are leaning over a body, which is not-yet-dead…
Breaks reaches out to tear out the nail…
Then changes his mind and challenges the head priest…

There is a moan from the corpses stacked against the wall and a puff of black spores…
The head priest raises his hand, holding a glowing red-hot nail towards the corpses…
Ithunn and Iron-Dear leap in and start punching zombies…
Squee then spins and turns the zombies bright pink…
And for some reason there are a whole lot of Ellen-Dears…
Vadim points out that the dark fade energies have been pushed back from the altar…
A seed of flame is burning inside the one on the altar…
Apparently trying to cure diseases…“Black Maw” is going around…
There is a low moaning howl and a zombie blows spores in Ithunn & Arandyr’s faces…
Followed by lots of punchings…
And more spores, tagging Khut, Ado, and Vadim…
Then Sorq unleashes the Pixies!
Ithunn steps up and starts punching some more…
Squee claps at the pink zombies flying across the room…
Then she starts glowing pink herself…in a bubble of anti-wiggins…
Khut is scared, but can still shoot and kill pink things as well…
Ellen-Dear throws down a Thunderwave and flattens several as well…
Iron-Deer also makes with the stabbings and chops up a pair of them…
Sorqutani lights two of them up…
The Pixies keep tearing them apart…
“Oh mistress of toes. I fear to report that some of the toes were destroyed
in our zeal to bring them to justice!”
Ado chucks a giant handful of glittering feathers into the air…
And everyone in the room feels better…seriously…and not so scared any more…
They attack…ineffectively…
Ithunn punches them back…crushing a pair of heads…
Then Squee leaps into the air, does a super-hero landing…
AND goes off like a Negasonic Squeenage Warhead…
AND they are all dead…soooooooo dead…

We have a chat with the Golden Nail priests…they’re curing as many as they can…
But they’re tapped out…they can only help so many…
Apparently the diseased are all veterans of the battle in the cursed city…
We decide to dispose of the corpses…in our way(s)…
Khut has a snack…Sorq burns a few…the priests get reeeeally uncomfortable…
“Welcome to religious freedom!”
Breaks Like Wind says “Hey, if you’ve got a Golden Nail, lets talk to him!”
He walks up to their altar, gets his shaman on, and Contacts Other Plane…
The night sky twists…warps…rotates around a point…
The heavens wheel around the nail, a single star…
Breaks offers to let them ask the first question…
But senses that he is not in contact with the golden nail…
A creature lands in front of him…
Swirling bronze wings, brass feathers, and the head of a warbeast…
The roar of a furnace comes from its mouth…
Which he lets everyone see…
Apparently his name is Soon-Day (Sunde, Sunday?)
“Oh great spirit of the nail! Does this plague come from the spire?”
“NO!” (and the world shakes)…
“Is there one within this camp who wishes for or helped cause the plague?”
‘You have long had a traitor in your midst…’
“Is the plague the doing of the Empty Circle?”
“Noo…ooooo…ooooo. . .”
They ask: “Have we read the auguries aright?”
“The answer to their question is Yes”
“Does you lord wish the death of the unfaithful?”
“All. All are welcome…”
We ask about the auguries…
Apparently they are all in for starting festivals, building temples, etc.
Ado hands the high priest a jar of crushed opal in alcohol (nail polish)…

We head out into the rest of the camp to see what we can do about the plague…
Vadim and Khut have a long chat about whether we should be running or fighting…
Decide that either way we should cross the river to the west first…
Khut checks on the disposition of troops…
Which are NOT good…we need to delay the fight as much as possible…
Vadim takes Swampy out for a swim in the river…
It is much to wide even for Morva to span it…
Easily a half-mile wide…and very deep (but not Morva deep)…
Not fordable by any but Morva…
The terrain is populated by wolf-headed things…
There is a strong falloff of the Fade influence past the river…
He also spooks some black-sailed, outrigger-canoes…
Smugglers caves and pirate coves up and down the river…
We start to organize the tribe to cross the river…
Put it between us and the Nihil Sept…
And if they chase us we’ll turn and push them into the river…
Breaks and Sorq sick the Old Mothers of the Mage Corps on diviner duty…
Diviner-corps says that the disease is our fault…
We unleashed Fade Cancer Spores in the fight against the Old Empire…
And they mutated and spread to affect the living…among our folks…
Sorq stands up a magical quarantine to try to keep it from spreading…
Ithunn, Squee, and Arandyr start trying to track infection rates…
Turns out they are much lower among the Void Sept folk…
The Golden Nail worshippers who caught it early were cured…
But there are only five priests of the Golden Nail…
The source were a troup of front-line soldiers…
They were pinned down by the Old Imperials…severe PTSD
Some were so badly hurt, near death, but were never the same…
Ado teams up with the Yaghuth priests to Hallow a graveyard…
Keeping all the corpses from standing up and turning to undead…
The Golden Nail burning of bodies has kept the spread at bay…
Whereas the Nohai eating the bodies are breaking out like crazy…
Ado, Sorq, and Breaks walk around the Nohai and hand out torches…
Licking plagued bodies with “Tongues of Fire” in place of eating…
Ellen-Dear starts chatting with the Void Sept…
Asking if they have experience with disease of these sort…
The answer is ‘No’…they’re turning to the Golden Nail priests a lot…
And getting cured…which is strengthening their faith quite a bit…
He asks about the Nihil Sept…
Suicide warriors with mastery of destructive rituals and magic…
Poisons…diseases…explosions…

We break camp and head for the river…
Nohai and Warbler scouts fan out through the Blight Forest…
Nihil Sept suicide bombers dogging close on our heels…
Khut stakes out some high ground and rains death…
Ellen-Dear starts fabricating rafts…trees tearing themselves down and assembling…
Every raft gets jumped on by Mage Corps menders…
Then everything slows down…stops…
And the party gets jumped by Pasht ninjas…in the Cusp…

Everyone is stuck one-on-one against a Pasht assassin…
in their own little pockets of non-time…
Arandyr whips out her blade and guts one…then quickly tries to shove guts back in…
Ellen-Dear shunts one into the elevator…
Squee turns one into a bright-pink swirly-patterned slug…
Breaks Like Wind wiggled some fingers and turned it into a hedgehog…
Vadim reaches into the verge, hauls out to faerie dragons…
Dragons shove it into woohoo land…it eventually gets better…
Vadim turns into a bird and calls lightning until it almost stops…
Then drops from the air and clubs it like a baby seal…
Ado…like a really fast kiwi bird climbs all over the cat…
Caughing on it…shooting fire…trying to polymorph it…
Sorq paralyzed it…and lit it on fire…and waited…
Ithunn and her kitty leap into the air…trade kicks…
Ithunn lands on her feat…the kitty does not…
Khut plugs an arrow in his…then there is a flurry of missed blows…
It gets behind Khut, who shoves his greatsword through his own gut…
Stabbing the kitty behind him…
Ellen-Dear’s kitty comes out of the elevator and takes an arrow to the shoulder…
We have a little chat with them…about how they “underestimated us”…
Vadim hands one of them a potato with orders to deliver it to those that hired them…
They won’t tell us about their contract on us…
But tell us that they will not take contracts in the West…
They don’t take contracts from those without political power…
The binding clause of every contract is freedom for their homeland…
They agree to recognize the Altan Ordu as a nation…
And thus take contracts from us…
Like the one to plant a potato on her employer…
Heck, she’ll do that for free…
Their males do not fight…they chill out in the Cusp…
And are the ones who pull them and their targets in to fight…
We head off to chat with Sarafesh…the lead Pasht in our camp…
She seems to think its funny that Feshtik got her ass handed to her…
And that they should not have taken contracts with the Nihil Sept…
We now have 8 pro-bono contracts available in exchange for sparing their lives…

We pack up, round up, and start crossing the river…
Morva trails a steel cable, pulling the barges, rafts, and wagons…
Water spirits start swirling around Morva’s feet…
Ellen-Dear saw it coming…and is waiting at the edge…
And has a nice chat with the spirits…
“We’re just passing through, we won’t bother your environment”…
Iron-Deer moves out in the river and starts mand-hand petting the naiads…
Khut throws himself between a wagon and a fast-moving ice-berg…
Braces…and the berg brakes…splits…and goes right by…
Ado does a little chirping dance…
And drops Freedom of Movement on Morva…
Sorq, perched on Morva’s head starts selectively shelling icebergs…
Which it spooks Morva a bit…shaking Vadim off…
But Vadim turns it into a nice swan dive and turns into a fish…
Breaks, standing in good view, fakes taking an arrow…
A squirt of seal’s blood…and everyone is on combat alertness….

To be continued…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 36: PARTY!

Khut’s feeling…
Rather upset that Naquim Blackhand still draws breath…
Khut-feels-2.JPG

CARDS
Hulagu
Human Relations #10: “It’s My Turn” – Dealing with Anger
Void Sept
Fireeyes
Hook: The Dolmens

In finding the HMB breeding grounds, we have camped in the blasted wilderness…
Additional food is hard to come by…
The camp digs in in muted, sullen silence…
Scouts indicate that the Nihil Sept is nearby to the East…
Chinua informs us that the Void Sept has cut off retreat to the south…
Led by Orbghuz Ironcrown (BWAHAHAHAHAHA)…

Ellen-Dear is meditating with the Yaghuth…who ‘OM’ like foghorns…
He sees a vision of a city…inhabited…at a distance…
Creatures with long, pale hair…
Long-necked like a giraffe…with tall twisted horns…
On its back is a twisted, moving cage like an orrery…
A second later he sees an endless rainforest as far as the eye can see…
And a sense of devistating loss…

Barruk wakes up to a snarl of challenge…and two burning Nohai eyes in the darkness…
Black fur and slavering teeth leaping for his throat…
Fireeyes! (isn’t he dead?)
Barruk rises, shaking his head slowly…
“You really want to do this?”
And Fireeyes gets the horns…and his teeth shatter…
Barruk wakes (for real)…with his hammer burning in his hands…
Oh look…the hammer is Sentient…and thinks that its Fireeyes…

We’re surrounded…again…so…LET’S THROW A PARTY!
We bust out the fatted Holy Mountain Beast…roasting on spits the size of trees…
Massive bonfires are lit…
The music is…complicated…
Yaghuth droning…under warbler melodies, nohai yipping, and steppe chants…
Rust appears at the edge of the camp and scouts call us over to meet some…guests…
We go to greet the emissaries…
In the valley below is a large camp of black felt tents…Steppefolk tents…
Tattered black flags fly in the wind and ranks of soldiers stand ready…
Rust stands with some black-clad folks…
Starts yapping about how we are brazen and over-bold…
Then a big, scarred orc calls for Vadim’s head on a pike…
Orbghuz Ironcrown and Naquim Blackhand are here…
They’re here to discuss a truce?
REALLY?
They want to join our Ordu…under our Yasa…
And only want freedom of religion for it…
We call a council of war to talk it over with Hoargrim…
There is a long…long talk about whether or not to accept them…
We’ve stolen beasts, stolen troops, stolen cities…
What keeps us from stealing a god?
The answer to monotheism is synchrotism…
There is some worry about splitting the camp…meh…
Khut: “We’re going about this all wrong…
We’re much too sober to make these kinds of decisions…”
We call the vote and 9 to 4, decide to let them in…
AND it becomes one hell of a party…
Families are re-united…Hellhorns and Black Crows and Drowned River coming together..
Including a whole bunch of Black Crow shamans who quickly join us…
Casting off their black cloaks…and letting Squee paint their faces…
Squee starts up some arts and crafts with the new children…
They tie-die some robes…
Ithunn points out to grumpy parents about the freedom of religion clause…
Ithunn takes the Amazons out for a training exercise…
Khut calls out Naquim…and gets cock-blocked by Giggles…
Because there are no challenges during the party…REALLY?
So Khut challenges Naquim to a smoke-off…and kicks his ass…
Ellen-Dear and Sorq get the magelings to put on a firework display…
And set some trees on fire…and put them all in contact with the spirits…
There is acrid tension and hatred in the air…
Both the old mothers and the black crow shamans jump into some cutting…
The rights take a turn even a bitter darker than Sorq is used to…
Ado has a chat with Altan about acquiring large swathes of black silk…
And makes some silk shirts for the troops…
Vadim and Barruk team up with some Fertility priests…
AND casts AWAKEN on MORVA THE ANCIENT HOLY MOUNTAIN BEAST!
Vadim clambers up by Morva’s ear and tells him the story of our beasts…
“You would like to charge your enemies, yes?”
“I suggest stepping on them…”
And Barruk steps in to discuss getting the beasts to partner with riders…
Getting Morva to tell them to “Stay still, at first”…
And Barruk spends a lot of time encouraging “Trampling” as an idea…
He might need some apples…
Rust starts moving among the people “doing good works”…
Reuniting families, managing strained relations from the splits, etc.
Khadagan and Hundreds go off to work on his armor some more…
Crushing some purple lotus to make a dye to colour the whole thing…
The wings are woven out of purple lotus fabric…
With thread-of-gold insect-like traceries…
A flaming circle of gold is etched in the chest…
Anything that bites him must save or be blind or deaf…
And the wearer is deeply terrified of the colour pink…
Squee: “We need exposure therapy!”
Iron-Dear goes off to spend some quality time with her spear-tusk…

Everyone dances the evening away (or meditate as appropriate)…
Everyone is stuffed with meat and fermented mare’s milk…
Khut and Khadagan notice that someone has been raiding our store of apples…
It is definitely not that Malik-shaped person hoofing it through the darkness…
There is also a light dusting of fade-cancer spores over all the plants…
We are hauled out of our sleep in the middle of the night by a hubbub…
Khut wakes up beside a passed-out Naquim Blackhand…
Urinates on him before catching up with the others…
Where Petrana and the Tradestoners have assembled an unofficial constabulary…
Yelling at a stone-faced woman standing unbuding in the middle of the yurts…
An angry crowd is gathering…
And the three biggest troublemakers find themselves Held by Sorqutani…
The fight ends before it starts…Petrana explains…
There was a scream from a yurt…
Belonging to a black crow soldier and his estranged wife…
AND Iron-Dear is in the tent, as usual…
A burly man in Empty Circle robes lies bleeding on the ground…
Raised bands on his arms…like nettle stings…
Rust convinces the woman to let us in to have a chat…
Ado modifies the woman’s memory to grant her perfect clarity…
She tells us her husband gave her a gift brought back from the EC…
A forged golden nail on a silk chord around her neck…
She smelled something like burning gulchberries…Madcackleweed…
Her head swam…heard whispering speech, then grinding noises…
Rust points out that the golden nail is a popular symbol among the converted…
The golden nail that pins the sky to the home of the gods…
Which rotates around the seven-starred constellation of the great bear…
Barruk blesses the nail and tells her to keep it as a memento of her husband…
Sorq finds the scuffed-out traces of a ritual circle…
And his head has a hole bored in it…death by trepanning…
Khadagan also finds traces of a paralytic toxin…
Green Lotus…the really rare, good stuff…
Khut looks at the nettle-welts…
Not nettles…precision work with a very fine whip…
Then does an autopsy on the body, head, brain…
Which is more like field dressing, but whatever…
Inside the mouth he finds a black crust…
Which Khad identifies as mutated fade-cancer spores…
Ithunn points out a neat curlycue of smoke rising from the fire…
AND raises the alarm…

There is a cracking sound…and an arrow materializes and cuts one of Ithunn braids…
AND another arrow is in the air from Khut’s bow…Ithunn tries to deflect it…
AND there is a surprised ‘Meow’…and a Pasht falls off of a tent…
Ithunn has a nice chat with the Pasht (Sarafesht)…who she owes a favor…
Apparently someone has taken a contract out on us…
Apparently they want the ones in our camp to be delivered to them…
One of those ones is the mother of one of their best assassins…
But is obscenely overly attached to her offspring…
Who is the one who is going to kill us apparently…
They take contracts to protect their homeland’s sovereignty and independence…

Vadim goes down on all fours and sniffs…a faint waft of incense and the Fade…
Barruk puts the scouts and mage-corps on alert for possible Old Empire intrusion…
Sorq brings in the coven…It’s time to smoke up…
“We’re like the super-dark version of the powerpuff girls”
The three sisters share a creepy meal…and their eyes turn creepy-green…

AND…we are standing in a lush, verdent forest with gray-green leaves…
The delusional dream-elf-twins notice…something…like we’re being watched…
And Vadim catches the very very faint scent of incense…
Khut and Iron-Dear take point…
We find a valley with an arcane circle with alien, old imperial ideoglyphs…
And a quartet of cloaked figures gathered around a twitching, bound body…
Arandyr creeps up to investigate…
And realizes that the valley isn’t really there…
A precipitous cliff dropping away into nothing…
And the hooded figures are looking directly into a mirror in their hands…
Creepy old imperial with long tongues with eyes on the ends…

Khut launches some arrows, which bounce off some suddenly raised shields…
Ithunn and Barruk go leaping in…with similarly ineffective results…
Khadagan follows and manages to sink its claws into one…
Then Squee makes them blurrily pink coloured…
Vadim’s cackles show up and tear into them…pulling one down…
Ellendear animates some little rock monsters to join the grand melee…
They try to telekinetically fuck up Vadim and Iron-Dear, but Ellendear shuts them down…
And Sorq treats us to a brand new kind of fire…immolating one…
Ado vanishes in a puff of purple smoke and appears in the melee as well…
They hammer us with mind blasts, stunning several…
Mostly Khut and Khadagan…who stand there for a long time doing nothing…
Rust runs to clear the blast radius…
Then one raises a Wall of Force between them and the cliff…
Iron-Dear appears and knifes one…and it dies…
Sorq drops a fireball on everyone…
One of them is blown strait off the cliff…
Then Ado…who had just been standing there…stabs one…
With a dagger…which pricks it…AND
Simultaneously mind-fucks it and inflicts a contagion…
Ithunn kicks one’s head clean off…
Squee drives the last one mad…and he gets eaten by the cackles…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 35: The Holliest of Mountain Beasts

Khut’s feeling…
Khut-feels-5.JPG

CARDS
Chinua & Dust
Human Relationship Series: Truth vs. Exageration
Ganbaatar

The battle with the Old Empire was won…
We are on the move…heading north…a week has passed…
There is a strange sense of waiting from the tribe…
The earth seems to move and shift underfoot…
When we wake there appear to be hills where there were none previously…
The land becomes more lush as we go north…
For the first time in ages we are not starving…
Our scouts have run into merchants, travelers, and things…
Strange people who travel up and down the rivers on floating platforms…
Strange, strange, boats that can go UP-RIVER
The people keep their distance from us…call the land the Hronrad…
We piece together some maps
The woods to the east are crawling with “Nihil Blight”…

We start with a scene of utter chaos and panic…
We are clearly under attack…there are sounds of gunpowder explosions…
Our staunch, clear-headed veterans, panic and go to ground…
Rattled by the whole ghost-town and one-in-seven dying thing…
Clearly ready to shoot at anything that pokes its head up…
Ganbaatar goes berserk and the Holy Mountain Beasts start stampeding…
Khut sends a shrieker arrow right past a HMB’s nose…
Turning the herd…a little…
Khadagan wheels his beast and rides full-bore at the unseen foes…
There is a cheer from the troops…followed by a loud banging sound…
Cresting the ridge he sees the long line of a river snaking away…
Vadim tries to invoke friendship in Littlefoot…
And almost gets himself stomped…Littlefoot is hardcore panicked…
Ellen-Dear raises a cloud of fog in front of the beasts…
They shy from the East (for the scary sound)…
The West from the shrieker arrow…
The North from the fog…
Turning them due south back into the camp…
Iron-Dear, Ithunn, and Sorq dive out of the way…
Iron-Deer recognizes the weird gunshot sound as ice cracking on the river…
Breaks Like Wind calls up a giant light-show…
A huge golem of ice heaves itself up out of the center of camp…
Hands like slabs, face blank as a slate, gouts of steam…
It bows…in time with the cracking of the ice…
Breaks bellows: “The spirits of this land greet Drowned River”
Ado leaps for Littlefoots reins…misses…spooks them…
And the Holy Mountain Beasts run hell-for-leather to the north…
Through the wall of mist…and they are gone…
Towards the “Blight”…
Ganbaatar starts floating around in the air inexplicably…
…probably Sorq’s doing…

Breaks, Khut, Ithunn, Ado, and Sorq go running after the loose HMBs at full throttle…
Khut tracks them in short order to…the edge of a blighted forest…SUPLIES!
Barren pines…no fire, no borers, good soil…twisted from the inside…
Obligatorily creepy…
With a giant jagged hole in the forest where the HMBs entered…
Vadim, Khadagan, Ellen, and Iron-Deer catch up on some herdbeasts…
Ithunn reminds us that the HMB’s feel safe in the forest…graze there as babies…
Ellen-Dear points out that the forest is clearly nec-romanticized…
No spirits involved…some creepy elven magecraft nonsense…
Khut pulls his second-most-prized-possession and head in…
We all head in…it’s foggy…obligatorily creepy you might say…
Vadim points out some things that are indistinguishable from normal plants…
But clearly are not…
So we get jumped, at five to one odds…they die…
There is some fire…and Iron-Dead turns into a bear…
Khadagan checks out the plants to see if they can be home-grown…
We find a body in the rubble, a centaur, swathed in Empty Circle finery…
Tattoos cover its skin…prison tattoo style (charcoal in a wound)…
a steppefolk death prayer…
yaghuth anagram for amnesia…
old empire sigil of the portal to Hades…
Sorq burns the warbler symbol for death into his skin as an addition…
Iron-Dear says he was clearly collecting…
and thus must be a member of the Nihil Sept…
Ellen-Dear says the tattoos match the death-magic infusing the wood…
possibly a self-sacrifice…
Not gaunt, well-fed when he died, came in from the north-east…
Vadim finds some loot in his pack:
* 1,100 old-imperial copper pieces
* 7,000 yaghuthan silver pieces of exchange
* 2,700 gaav-shaharan rose nobles
* Skull-carved mug (250gp)
* Opal Statuette of a Yaghuth w/ defaced trunk (250gp)
* Glass birdcage of warbler manufacture (250gp)
* Steppefolk fur tapestry (250gp)
* Wool rug of Naiman-tribe manufacture (250gp)
* Old empire Jade ring set w/ small gems (250gp)
* Empty Circle Cloth of Gold Sacrificial Robe (250gp)
* Tattoo (Scroll of Cloudkill)
* Potion of Fire Giant Strength
* Elixer of Health
* Potion of Superior Healing

We get back on the trail of the Mountain Beasts…
The ground becomes uneven as we head north…
Ravines…once stands of mountain laurel…
Snow covered with a thin layer of blackened leaves and needles…
Iron-Dear notices a heat-shimmer in the distance…
a well hidden campfire or kiln…no smoke, but plenty of heat…
Dead-north, Khut sees that something else has taken up pursuit of the HMBs…
Enormouse five-toed hoof-tracks, with signs of vestigial claws…
Scoring marks on the trees, like tusks…pointed the wrong way…
We head after the HMBs at full speed…
Khut runs up a tree and ninja-runs through the tree-tops…
He hits a branch, its wet and slippery, and falls into Ithunn’s arms…
Except its not a branch…its a bone…twenty-feet long…
Like a massive, massive femir…
From an animal that would have to be at least two-hundred feet long…

We hear the high-pitched rage-scream from Littlefoot and Thumper…
We start to feel sick…like a low vibration felt in the bones…
And then there is a full hunting pack of beasts…
Like tapirs with tusks and claws…about nine feet long…
Two already hanging from Littlefoot’s flank…
AND there are thirty or fourty Holy Mountain Beasts in the valley…
AND Holy Mountain Beast bones as far as we can see…
Both a breeding ground and a hunting ground…
Khut plants an arrow in one…it twists insanely fast…but still gets hit…
and two giant ones (4x the size of the others) turn and charge…
and eighteen or so little ones trying to bring down the HMBs…
Breaks Like Wind screams, berating the frost spirits into caring for once…
Creating a dome of mirror-like ice covering all the baby HMBs…
One of the big ones charges Khadagan and catches him in its mouth…
It swings its tail at Sorq…Ado jumps on for a very distracting ride…
The little ones bring down one very old Holy Mountain Beast…
Ithunn looks at the HMB go down…and becomes sooooo happy…because MEAT!
She punts a small one into the air…and Littlefoot sends it flying…
Then lands on it and crushes it with a double-footed axe-kick…
Khut sends another arrow flying and knocks the second one off Littlefoot…
Khadagan, in the big ones jaws, stands up, pries its jaw open and holds it…
Vadim runs in with a wave of cackles…and they climb all over it…
Ellen-Dear rolls out his bedroll, dumping a small army of microbots…
Shaped like little figurines of the party…
And the big ol’ spear-tusk is aggressively dead…
Sorq walks into the middle of the smaller ones and calls in the pixies…
Ado steps into the middle of the the elderly HMBs and drops a Beacon of Hope…
Iron-Dear knifes the living daylights out of the second big one…
Then Breaks sprays some grease right under its feet…
And it skids out, slides down the hill, and falls prone…
It tries to stand, but Ellen-Dear just laughs and it falls down again…
Then Vadim dominates it…
The little beasts pile over the HMBs, bringing down five…
But only kill one thanks to Ado’s beacon…
Ithunn and Khut wade in together, finishing off one and stabbing a second…
Khadagan follows and tears the lungs out of the second…
Sorq runs up a downed beast and blows a pack of them off of it…
Ado drops some healing and the four wounded HMBs stand up…
AND they stand with much shaking of the ground…
The cackles and microbots pull down two more…
Ellen-Dear shoves one into the elevator with a Banish…
Breaks drops a fireball into a curve of the hill…
scorching several of the spear-tusks…killing one…
The remaining spear-tusks bring down four more and two dying…
The ground heaves…Khut goes sliding down the hill, and lands in Ithunn’s arms…
Littlewing gives them a lift…
and, from above, they see a REAL Mountain Beast…an ancient one…
The size of a ridgeline…slow…covered with moss…
Like its been sleeping for decades (and we call it Morva)
Ithunn drops on them and kills two with a couple swift blows…
Khut drops an arrow, skewering one…
pinning it to a tree…
over the fire from the fireball…
and shakes some aromatic leaves from the tree…
And the lovely aroma of cooking meat wafts through the air…
Khadagan tears into another…and Sorq finishes it off with the flames…
And Ellen-Dear cooks the last one with a fire blast…
Ado heals the two downed Holy Mountain Beasts, bringing them back up…
Vadim makes friendly with the dominated giant one…
And Iron-Dear gets all cuddly with the weird elephant-tiger-thing…
Ellen lets the last one out of the elevator…
Khut and Ithunn disappear behind a tree for a half-hour…
And come back with an unconcious spear-tusk…
“We were only beating it unconcious, honest…”

That fight ends…then a house-sized head swings down…
There is a giant blast from the nose…sounding like a volcano…
With a sound reminiscent of a mother HMB defending her calf…
The oldest Holy Mountain Beast ever…and its male…
Because apparently they don’t die of old age…
and they keep growing perpetually…

We move the camp to the valley of HMB bones…
Ithunn takes the Amazons out to go collect the massive, massive amounts of
dead Holy Mountain Beast and spear-tusk meat…
While Ithunn is thus distracted, Khut climbs up the spire…
Climbs up a floating tentacle horror…
Seeks out the Achillobator chief…
And has a long talk with him to ask for Ithunn’s hand…
Khadagan seeks out Hundreds and Ruven to make him some fancy chitin armor…
Hundreds goes white-eyed and does some very careful stitching…
Weaving strange, undulating sigils into the weft of the harness…
Sorq rounds up the would-be mage-cadets and some old steppefolk midwife teachers…
Tough, scary, old biddies start beating the children into shape…
Ado joins the Yaghuth in their meditations…
They keep hearing a ringing gong and feeling the flicker of candlelight…
Vadim scales the Holiest of Mountain Beasts…and starts collecting semen…
Invoking both Dust and Drowned River…violence and fertility in action…
He brings along Fletcher, Kitty, and Chinua…
And our females are now pregnant with Morva’s brood…
Dust and Drowned River tell us in no uncertain terms that the world has changed..
There is only fire where once there was light…
Ormazhd Bay’s light is flickering…
Odqan Talaqan’s fire is burning out…
Breaks chats with the Gray Lady and convinces her to be headmistress of the school…
Ellen-Dear meets the Yaghuth and asks them to help Iron-Dear go deep and remember…

As Khut comes out of his hut in the morning, there is a sliver of bone…
Like a knife, but no difference between blade and haft…
No signs of work…just worn into shape, like millenia of moving water…
And it cuts effortlessly through anything…

Khadagan wakes up choking to find Hundred’s hand on the side of her face…
Her eyes still trance-white, but burning red…
The suit is nearly complete, with runes covering the entire surface…
The breastplate reinforced with bronze-like ribs…
The chitin nearly alive, shifting and moving…

Then the scouts let us know that a massive Nihil-Sept army comes in from the east…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

View
Session 34: Volatility and Drugs

Khut’s feeling…
Like he can and will take on the world…
but he doesn’t know why…
Khut-feels-3.JPG

CARDS
Hulugu
Human Relations Series #11: Accepting and Respecting Authority
The Cusp
The Old Empire

We are “Raiding” (totally not fleeing) north…
High season moves on, but the weather gets steadily colder…
The cold reduces the number of apparent snakes…
The Yaghuth fish out the most overt of Phaanin infiltrators…
Our troops condition is steadily improving…
But the caravan is becoming steadily more grim…
As the Apple Tree continues to feed off of our hope…
We breed up the slithers, store the eggs, eat the rest…
Go looking for some alternative mounts…
Semek’s wife comes reporting that the Empty Circle is closing to the east…
And a large number of Steppefolk are riding with them…
Seems like Forktongue sold us out (Shock!)…
Regardless, we need to get to the city and drop the ants…

Khut leads a recon party to the city…
Classic former-Thabannite…now amalgam…
There are flickering strange-blue lights in the city…
A fair number of people (not bugs) camped out…
We reach the edge of the city…but find no people…
no resistance…but goosebumps…wiggins…
Iron-dear has a strange sense of being watched…
Something spooky is going on…SPOOOOOOOOKY!
At about the time that Ado says “I think this is a bad idea…”
We find ourselves surrounded by hooded Phanin…
With a bunch of tall, lanky, flaming-eyes Old Imperials…
A dusty blizzard blows up…
“We have been sent to bring you…”
Vadim: “We’re sending our most volatile to talk with you
and they will be on drugs…”
Khadagan: “Why would you tip our hand?!?”
Vadim: “That’s our hand? Volatility and drugs?”
Everyone: “Yes…”

We transition…the phaanin’s skin rotting away…
We are in the middle of a populous city…
Lots of people encamped…tents…pennants flying…
Clearly Old Empire…of Shan Yu’s faction…
Squee: “Who’s Shanyu?”
Khadagan: “Someone we used to know…”
The undead Phaanin conduct us towards one of the largest buildings…
With each step we shift further into the Fade…
We enter an enormous mosque-like building…
All roundde and covered with Thaabanite artwork…
Big ‘ol Imperial thrones with a man and woman seated…
Vadim plays crazy and offers a wooden bowl of tapioca…
Shanyu greets us…
Apparently his consort wants to chat…
Or him to chat…she lays a hand on his arm…
Ado prepares a feast (illusory and scent-heavy)…
Shanyu refuses to break bread with us…
Since we might soon be at drawn blades…
"You come with the Empty Circle on your heels,
we’re greatful for the ones you left burried
in the salt flats…"
Ooooh…he has shiny red teeth…
Squee appears in his lap and starts beard-braiding…
Khadagan: “She’s a ‘Beard Lemur’…”
“Ah! The rare beard-lemur…”
Ellen-Dear waxes diplomatic…“We call it a Squee”
“Ah! Thank you for the Squee, it’s a noble gift”
Sorq approaches the consort: “Great Lady will you dine with me?”
Ladies only dinner ramps up in a side room…
Food is laid out…gray, green, gangrenous…
And dust-soaked water that leaves hands glistening black…
Sorq: “What may I call you?”
“I am now merely The Consort…”
Oh shit, it’s Ma’chek…
“The faded have no names…”
“May my sister join us?”
Iron-dear steps out of the shadows…
Khadagan: “This is my sister, she likes to watch…”
Sorq is crazy, we’re all in her head…
Khadagan: “So do I just leap out of your ear or something?”
Sorq: “Everywhere I go Squee’s in my head…
I go to the Fade, she’s there, to the Verge, she’s there”
DM: “You found an Empire of Darkness and she’s there in your
lap braiding your beard, believe me, people empathize…”
Ma’chek wants some amusement, some revenge…
Some pregnant pauses…some menace…
She unveils…her face is featureless, black, cracked ash…
Meanwhile we sit and chat with Shanyu…
Squee asks Shanyu about the cloaked woman…
“What’s a ‘Consort’?”
“Ah, the Squee talks”
Ithunn: “It’s the most intelligent of it’s kind”
He is not subtle in poiting out that his Consort is plotting…
With the assumption that we’ll all join him…
One way or another…eventually…
Also…he breaths…water vapor in the cold air…
Ado: “This is not you…” and he lays out some stories of Shanyu…
“You’re not tied to a consort, you owe her nothing…”
Ado tries to coax Shanyu into paying a visit to the spire…
We trade safe conduct in the city…
In exchange for letting him into the Spire…
AND the Consort…and his generals…
The Ladies’ Tea ends and Ma’check leaves…
There is a restlessness in the room as we head out…
Undead snakes lying in torpor begin to ripple…
Draw up their shrouds…their eyes ignite…
Palpable tension between the Consort and Shanyu…
Which is clearly, entirely an act…
We are conducted out of the city by old empire knights…

The gates of the city swing open and sand is blown out of the empty city…
We call a council of war…and invite a Yaghuth who Remembers…
“Remembers Forgetfulness” being the man in charge…
We need them to stand vigil while we head into the spire…
Watch out for what happens when we drop the ants…
Make sure everyone living thrives here…
Calm tensions…keep minds together in the face of the maelstrom…
We ask Hundreds to spy on Shanyu and Machek…
She goes into a shamanic frenzy…then goes still…
Machek cajoles Shanyu on his bad acting skills…
Hundreds plays out one half of a conversation…
Then grabs Khadagan…and passes out…
The caravan, spire and all, rolls into the city…
We set up camp, all 45,000 of us, Semek running in overtime…
Hoargrim is grumpy at us being “sitting ducks”…
We call to the tree and set down the ants…
There is a sound like splitting wood after an ice storm…
AND the ants come…take one look at the city…
AND Sorq feels the overwhelming urge to burrow…
The Red Emissary asks about the city…
Refers to it as one they ate the roots of long ago…
They go DEEP…all 100,000 of them!
Will not approach the surface unless Sorq says its safe…
After the ants submerge a pale-face, white-haired woman appears…
Bowed, breathing heavily, edges indistinct…
Grass and flowers spreading out from where she stands…
Vadim tries to hook her up with Ellen-Dear…
AND Ellen-Dear turns her down…
Vadim: “You’re always welcome in my tent…”
She gives Vadim the hottest kiss ever…

We take them with us and head for the spire…
Remembers Forgetfulness comes and complains about the fade-infected city…
Yaghuth priests sit, facing outwards, every 30 yards around the camp…
We toke up…We head in…with the Consort and Shanyu…
And the generals presumably hanging out outside to jump while we’re gone…

We enter the pillared hall…the brazier still burning with incense…
As Shanyu follows we all fade…the air grows cold…
the world bending with pools of darkness beneath their feet…
They seem more real…less shadowed…
A well-dressed couple in full regalia…
Khut listens to the whispers…there is a twisting in the air…
Things writhing…the fire in the brazier ignites…
A hallway directly ahead open where it was caved in before…
Our old winged friend from the fade squats on the throne…
Ado calls on the sense of the Lord of Light…glowing from inside…
Something here is terribly wrong…the light is changed…
Iron-Dear absconds with wingy-boys sword…

Khut pulls his bow…time stops…the arrow flies…and burries in Sorq’s back…
The Guardian shoots squee…the blow bringing out her sinful inner nature…
One eye flaming red…one burning green…it’s CHRISTMAS SQUEE!
And she sows…Confusion…
Ado drops some protection from wiggins on Khut…because yeah…
Sorq calls forth an army of pixies…which tear apart Shanyu and the Consort…
Khadagan lets loose a couple handfuls of lifeline spores…
They cling to the corpses of what had been Shanyu and Ma’chek…
Barruk beats on Ma’check’s body…smashing it to pieces…
Ellen-Dear animates and awakens the spire…
The skeletal arms embedded in the walls reach out for the Guardian…
Iron-Dear tries to have a chat with the walls…asking about her own past…
A skull says “the seed of memory lies farther within”…
The guardian starts pounding on Khadagan…with limited efficacy…
Then Ithunn jumps and punches him into a boney-armed wall…
Khut puts an arrow in the Guardian…and it Explodes into holy flames…
A burning crown expanding out around it…
or starts to…except Ellen-Dear shuts it down…
Some healing happens…then a wave of wolves climb all over it…and eat him…

Squee examines the bodies of the fallen…
Identifying them clearly as not Ma’chek and Shanyu…
By his fake-red teeth…
Khut looks up…the elves are gone…
He starts tracking…and, head-down, bumps strait into Ellen-Dear…
We debate what to do…until Khadagan tosses some purple lotus in the brazier..
Weird shit happens…we press deeper…
Pink light streams through windows we didn’t know were there…
Vadim rolls into the room, invulnerable on a wave of wolves…
There is a forest dipped in gold…
Pale-skinned beings with white hair and feather wings…
Khut stands very still and waits to have a psychotic episode…
Iron-Dear starts hugging everything: “I love you guys!”
Vadim: “Do you breed?”
Things rapidly go south…
Their voices like gongs: “You are not of the seed”
“You have to save your people…”
“Perhaps your prayers would be answered…”
“We will reveal the truth…”
“We will return the lord of lords to his rightful throne…”
There is a Lorax? … We are in THE very strange place…
Everything smells like rotting wood…
The forest disintegrate as the light bathes it…
The trees rotting and twist, metal replacing their bark…
Vadim prays to the Lord of Lords…trying to steal his cattle…
or rather…all the souls he put in this nice spire…
The angels turn to close the door…and get a little angry…
Or a LOT
And its on…sort of…at least Ellen-Dear is kindof sober…
Ellen-Dear banishes Vadim…shoving him back into the real-world…
The Angels slam the doors shut, then hurl them back open…
“Begone from this place!”
Sorq: “I look forward to seeing your master…”
We leave…fast…

Vadim and his wolves appear in the middle of an all-out war…
Man-to-man, blood everywhere…lots of bad guys have us surrounded…
A twelve-foot-tall Githyanki knight leads the press…
Bodies litter the ground…mostly ours…
Which start to stand and join the salt zombies…
The dead numbering five thousand…
Yaghuth hold the line, walking steadily forward…
Chanting OM through their trunks…
Bursting into white flame as the zombies overrun them…
The old empire encircle the city…we form ranks around the spire…

Khut stands very very still, waiting to have a psychotic episode…
Ithunn grabs Khut to haul him out of the spire…
He lunges for her, slips, and bangs his head on the stairs…
Sorq sees that we are proper-fucked…but at least not mind-fucked…
The undead phaanin clearly chowing down on our forces souls…
Khadagan drops to his knees and starts praying…HARD CORE
“To the one who exists at the root of all things,
the one who unites the fade, to the verge, to the cusp,
to the one fathered all things,
who sustains spirit and stone, leaf and bone,
I entreat thee now, make thineself known
come forth, sword of flame
come forth, crown of light
a nation of seekers are lost
a multitude of wanders search
without your truth,
they will fall under the blades of their foes
Come now, o nameless one,
Let your flame roar
Let your light shine
Let my people see you and be saved
Let your people see their savior and give thanks
let them give praise to you
and carry your name to the edges of the earth”
He feels hands on each shoulder…and its not Iron-Dear hugging him…
On the one hand the rich scent of apples…
On the other, the crackling of molten metal…
And he reaches out to the burning light of Tsaluth…
He externalizes the rage…
A heavy tred strikes the stair beside him…
An enormous creature…eighteen feet tall…burning, spreading wings…
Iron-Dear: “Hug!”
We feel sick…

And battle is joined as the doors of the spire open and dark angels pour out…
Vadim’s wolves charge into the fray to save the Gray Lady’s scholars…
Then a massive burning crown drops, surrounding the spire…
Barruk charges the Dark Knight who leads the Imperial troops…
Slamming into him with the full smiting force of his enmity…
branding him…“My enemies need to learn to despair!”
AND Squee turns him Pink…and his buddies…
Iron-Dear appears behind knight-boy and hugs him…with vigor…and knives…
Then Ellen-Dear sends in a bolt of lightning from the side…
Sorq calls down a storm of ice…which sublimates in the heat…
Steam rolling across the battlefield…
Death-Knight-boy retaliates with some Hellfire…blowing away Squee…
And our losses raise to 8000…
Khut stands…wipes the blood off the back of his head…
Runs up to the top of the spire…“Hey asshole! Up here!”
And drops three arrows into the knight…blasting him to kingdom come…

Of course…there are still hordes of salt zombies and knights…
Ado drops an endless volley of flaming arrows on their heads…
Sorq follows it with FEAR…and a whole phalanx runs screaming…
Khut calls for his wife…
who has a divine-off with Ma’chek…and reports that she’s in the Deep Fade…
Khut tosses out death spores…Vadim plant-growths them…
And salt zombies turn into plant food…

To be continued…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

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Session 33: Everyone Bumps Semek's Wife
One way or another...

Khut’s feeling…
Khut-feels-5.JPG

CARDS
Semek’s Wife
Oblivion Sept
Horgrim
Giggles

We are locked in Thaabanite territory…
The road goes west towards “Snake Mountain”…
To the east is the Kraken…
We’re running out of food…
Snakes are massing along the ridges…
Hoargrim comes complaining…
Squee starts piping up a swarm of lickens…
The nohai start eating like crazy…
A runner breaks in to the conversation…
Semek’s wife found an amazing kill but needs help…
Squee’s eyes light up with a waft of apples…
And a voice says “my stomach is bursting”…
In a sound like creaking tree branches…
Khut hands Squee, Vadim, Sorq, and Breaks some weed…
While he and the rest head out hunting…

Out in the wastes, we find Nohai surrounding…
Some horn-beast-like creatures with heavy forequarters…
Nohai run around hooting…
Giggles egging them on…
Semek’s wife and the malik cavalry push them off…
Khut walks into the middle of them and says “Mine”…
Ithunn glares…
To Ithunn, “I mean ours…”
Khut and Giggles man up for a challenge…
Khut rips Giggle’s throat out with his teeth…
Ithunn steps up and similarly drops Kitty…
Everyone else starts trying to do non-Nohai diplomacy…
Barruk drives sparky into the riot…
Bellowing for people to disperse…
Ado drops a Compulsion and tells everyone to go home…
And the Nohai leave…
Hooch and Fletcher dragging off Giggles and Kitty

Meanwhile in drug-land…they chat with a tree…
“There is a cracking in my roots…”
“Something afflicting all the spirits…”
“Something has been birthed in the verge…”
“Something that does not belong there…”
“A potentiality that was only possible before…”
“All I can see is a burning crown…”
“A circle of gold on fire like the sun…”
“There are two separate problems…”
“My roots are cracking because of the change…”
“And I need to put down my burden…”
“My roots don’t hold here any more…”
“I must set them down before my roots break free…”
“Or I need power…”
“I thrive off of Hope…”
We suggest turning north…
There is a Thaabanite ruin…possibly amalgan inhabited…
We have no maps that way…
And its marching into Russia in winter…
Literally…
And full of gods and demons according to legend…
Southwest would be into the badlands…
Back into northern Gavshahar…

As they drop out of drug-land…
They see roots spreading throughout the encampment…
We feel a pull…drawing life from the caravan…
We haul back the massive “Shoulderbeast”…
And hand it over to Hulagu to start butchering…
Collecting the bones to boil into broth…
And Vadim starts handing out Goodberries…
To feed up a large hunting party…
Squee and Khut notice Semek’s wife dosing the meat…
Hulagu suddenly turns and attacks Sorqutani…
Swinging at her with a poison-coated cleaver…
His hands seemingly moving independently…
Nohai start howling in pain…
It looks like the entire hunting party is jacked…
And poisoning the food…
Khut punches Semek’s Wife in the face…
Barruk drops darkness on the brain-jacked Malik…
Semek’s (angry) wife stabs Khut…
Khut – “I’ve got Semek’s Wife handled…”
Ithunn – “Who’s being handled?!”
Khut – “No actual handling is going on…”
Squee geas’s Hulagu…and tells him to stand down…
CHARM OFF!
An angry Malik charges her…and misses…
One horn on either side…
And she starts painting the horns pink…
Ithunn leaps in and bitch-slaps Semek’s Wife…
Then kicks her twice…sweeps her off her feet…
Khut stands back to watch…
“I dreamt of this…”
Ado Purifies the food…
and steps between Hulagu and Sorq…
A Malik charges him…
Ado grabs a horn and fakes his death…
Another Malik charges Squee and gores her…HARD
Sorq pulls out her giant spear-like wand…
AND…cone of fear…
in the direction of everyone who’s being an idiot…
Semek’s wife and a Malik start running
around like they are on fire…
Hulagu wails on Sorqutani…and bursts into flames…
AND Sorqutani blows up into a giant fireball…
Nuking everyone…EVERYONE
Vadim grabs her as she falls over…
“Sorq, do that again!”
A pack of cackles appears and piles onto Hulagu…
AND another pack drops a Malik…
Wow that’s a lot of cackles…
Barruk gives a demonstration of proper goring technique…
Slamming into the Malik on Squee and tossing him…
Squee geas’s another Malik…
“Don’t hit anyone and let me paint your horns…pink…”
He responds by beating her unconcious…
Khadagan comes hurtling in…
Lands on the wolf-pinned Hulagu…and starts clawing…
Three Malik charge Khut…who sidesteps and keeps staring…
Because…there is a catfight over there…seriously…
They block his view…
Two of them a promptly fall to the ground…
Sorq paralyzes Hulagu and a pair of Malik…
The cackles tear Hulahu up…and another Malik…
Vadim whistles for them to stop…
just before they rip out Hulagu’s throat…
Barruk vanishes out from between a pile of Malik…
Reappears in a pack of Nohai…
starts curing poisons left and right…
and purifies the rest of the food…
Barruk: “I’m fluent in Nohai now…”
Khadagan: “I picked up a little Nohai tongue in
the last year, but I can’t speak it at all…”
Khadagan drops another Malik…
Leaving four still standing…and two paralyzed…
Three of whom charge Khad…he laughs…
Semek’s Wife ganks Ithunn with a poisned knife…
Then gets kicked to the curb in response…
Khut stares happily…
And caves a Malik’s face in with an elbow…
Ado aggressively bane’s the remaining Malik…
And Sorqutani lights them up…
And the cackles come back and pile on them…
Taking one more down…
Then Sparky comes rampaging in…trampling another…
Khadagan, Khut, and Ithunn join in the beatings…
and there was one…
That gets killed and torn up by the cackles…

Ado challenges Fletcher to a race to the Yaghuth…
Cheats…wins…and comes back with some Yaghuth priests…
Sorq, Ado, and Barruk purify and cook all the meat…
and we drop a whole lot of healing on the Nohai…

Khut notices Ithunn stalking him around the camp…
“Are you following me?”…book comes up…upside down…
Khut runs off…fishes a bone out of the pot…
Cuts off a sliver…hollows out the marrow…
And drops it in Ithunn’s lap…
some weird kind of beast-bone promise ring…
probably should have let her have the marrow…
At least Drowned River is pleased…
Vadim: “Everyone needs to be bumping Semek’s Wife…”
Khut: “I am NOT bumping Semek’s Wife…”
DM: Bursts out laughing for five minutes…

Ado takes Hoargrim to go meet the Yaghuth…
And starts teaching Hoargrim mindfulness meditation…
ONLY Ado could pull this off…
Yaghuth would not go anywhere near the battlefield…
Hoargrim sees them as useless pacifists…
Yaghuth might serve as a possession-warning-system…
The best idea Hoargrim has heard in all morning…
Barruk sits down to chat with the general…
Discussing our recent set-backs and the need to improve morale…
Suggesting a tour of the units to meet the troops…
Time for Hoargrim to go shake babies and kiss hands…
Teaching Hoargrim the politics of leading troops…
Squee gives him a serious beard-braiding…
Like Marie Antoinette’s hair…but a beard…
Sorq starts pushing him on the idea of a magic-wielding unit…
Time for Breaks, Rust, and the Gray Lady to start teaching…
Start finding those with talent…make a mage academy…
Weavers, maggot-folk, crazy warblers, would-be shamans…

Vadim hauls Semek’s Wife and the malik north…
Then wakes them up with Goodberries…
Starts suggesting that they need to scout to the North…
The snakes paralyze you with a gaze…
Only the elders can subsume your will…
Regardless of desire, you’re not in control of your body…
They have massed armies in the hills…
Mountain Slithers…sand devils…snakes…
Vadim suggests taking Yaguth priests with each scouting party…
Then Vadim takes point on the first hunting/scouting trip…
Lays some protection from wiggins on Semek’s Wife…
Amazons and Yaghuth form jack-detection squads incoming scouts…
We get intel on Thaabanite patrols…
Mostly client races…fewer and fewer Phanin…
Largely avoiding the Amalgam ruins to the north…

Khadagan goes in to Hundreds of Dust…asks her to bless his chitin armor…



And the author said, “This is good, this thing I have done.” And he went for lunch and a drink. And it was good!

- From the ramblings of Khut

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