Viriconium

Andy 3-2: Looks Aghast in Viriconium

As a round up and a reminder and to push the plot along, LOLS are called to a secret meeting in the Mages’s Tower to discuss the current situation. Representing LOLS are Finian the hobbit sorcerer (James), Frizzlewind (do me a lemon!) the gnome illusionist-mage (Nick making a belated first appearance), Aardvik the cheerfully sectarian dwarf paladin (Alex S), Sanguine the revenant assassin (Olli guesting) and Xaphan the dragonborn warlord (Colin guesting). Present are Murgen and Tamurello, representing the Circle of Mages; Commander Hunts-by-day, a dragonborn commander in the Janissaries, Douglas Mac’O’Riordan (head of the City’s gnomish mafia), plus representatives from the Temples of Bahamut, Correllon and The Raven Queen. Also present is an unnamed well dressed gentleman with a pale complexion, representing the Velvet Order (a group of vampires who like being undead and fashionable and who may also have their own agenda). Finally, on a table, is a bust of an articulated mannequin, with jewels for eyes, which swivel constantly, taking everyone in. It emerges this is a magical conference call device linked to Redevivus, a lich who in life was once Head of the Circle. Murgen won’t allow him in the Tower, in person.

Murgen calls the meeting to order and makes his opening remarks: Viriconium is built on an area of inter-plane instability. About 1000 years ago, a large object broke through into this world and came to rest beneath the city. As it fell, it left a wake of microportals, some unstable, some stable.

Priest of Correllon: Recently, certain areas of the City became isolated from the Astral Plane. This was caused by manufactured devices blocking communication across the plane boundary. The devices were short lived. The result was that divine communication was lost, between the deities on the AP and this world.

Tamurello (second to Murgen): It became apparent that these devices were commissioned from a skilled individual by members of the Cult of Orcus. Their plan would seem to be to isolate the City from the Divine. This may also have the effect of trapping souls of the deceased on this World. An astral plane skiff of githyanki origins which was on the AP, hit an area of instability and fell through to this World. It materialised under city and is embedded in solid rock. It is in a column of microportals which continue down, in the direction of the object that fell through from another plane. The Cult of Orcus is using slave labour to uncover this item. As it fell, it momentarily flickered in and out of existence, scouring fragments from its surface. From recovered fragments and brutal interrogations, we can say the object is indeed The Wand of Orcus.

Priestess of the Raven Queen: The enmity between My Lady and the Abomination of the Deep is known to all. In ages past, during conflict with My Lady, the Wand was lost and without it, The Abomination cannot travel across Worlds. He seeks, through his minions, to recover it.

Commander Hunts-by-day: For reasons that are not yet apparent, the githyanki also desire something in the same region. They have come into conflict with the Cultists and have allied themselves with Drow coming up from The Underdark against the Cult.

Representative of the Velvet Order: Orcus desires dominion over all undead, which can never be. Therefore, we oppose him and will give such help as we see fit.

The RQ priestess says : The dead should give themselves into the care of My Lady. They should not seek to avoid her Gathering by unnatural means.

The Voice of Redevivus cries out: ‘What, and be stuck for an age on that dreary wet Monday of The Shadowfell before being left at the whim of an over-promoted angel?’ The meeting descends into a shouting match before Douglas Mac’O’Riordan bangs on the table with his shillelagh. When there is silence he says, “I haven’t the faintest feckin’ idea what you’re all talking about.”

Velvet Order: The Cult has brought in the necromancer Philatros, a renegade tiefling, to increase its number of undead for an assault on the githyanki and drow. He will sanctify an Alter of Devoured Death and use this to create new creatures. He requires fresh cadavers, or better still, living subjects. We have passed information on to Douglas Mac’O’Riordan.

Douglas MoR: That was you lot, was it? My lads and lasses say they’re out in the boondocks, raiding villages and taking the captives and bodies back to this one place.

Murgen: It is clear that of all these threats that of the Cult of Orcus is the most immediate danger. And the Legion of Lost Souls will destroy them. But be warned, Philatros’ Altar gives him mastery of the Knives of the Dead. Aardvick wants to know more. Murgen explains Philatros can channel death energy back as a weapon.

The group set off as directed. Outside the city, they follow columns of smoke and come across destroyed villages. On the road they find a column of captives being marched by armed thugs and archers under the direction of a death priest. They stalk them through thick undergrowth and then attack. Finian makes the first move and struggles to find his mojo whilst turning into a hobbity pincushion. The mages and warlord strike at one end of the column, taking on the death priest. The assassin and paladin take on the other end and tie down the thugs. The mages try to avoid melee, at one point the gnome uses the hobbit as a meat shield. Focus fire and neat shifty footwork from the warlord means the death priest doesn’t really get free enough to buff his allies and eventually goes down. The assassin and paladin deal with the other bad guys but the warlord is hard pressed to cover all the healing requirements of both groups. The thugs flee when the priest goes down. The terrifyingly menacing gnome soon extracts the required information from the death priest.

The party make their way to a defiled church in the village. Peering in, they see an altar, the necromancer, his new ghouls and his ghast assistants. In the corner is a pile of cadavers. The party attack. The ghasts set up nasty areas of control affecting living creatures. Sanguine the Revenant dances through them, blowing raspberries and whacking stuff. The necromancer calls on the Children of Orcus to rise and the cadavers get up (15 minions!). The mage thinks, they are nicely bunched and fireballs them. More than half go down and the Knives of the Dead bite deep, setting up an aura 9 (one for each death) in the room. The party then activate their radiant swords and wallop a ghast, who is horrified (he’s aghast) and aura goes up to 10 per round as he also croaks. This is seriously hurting and sets up a terrible dilemma. The party realise the altar is the problem and work out they can desanctify it with religion checks, needing two successes. It’s a standard action or a minor at -5 though access is difficult, getting through the zombie minions they daren’t kill and the slowing aura of the undead. However, some of the party can teleport. Sanguine is ordered to stop hitting the ghouls and the gnome gets up after being rescued from a failed death save by Xaphan, to teleport to the alter and starts to de-curse it. He succeeds and the aura fades. Now the serious matter of killing the necromancer can begin. Time is running out so the necro, having been thwarted, legs it. The Cult is denied its undead reinforcements for now but can regroup for another day.

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Andy 3-1: Dark G'Arts and Crafts in Viriconium

There is a knock at the backdoor. When it’s opened by Malphas, the new guy Raven Queen paladin (Ross,) he and Leiche the Deathlock Wight are equally surprised but not equally frightened. Leiche wants to move into the LOLS tower basement to shelter. He complains that The UnderCity has become a battleground between githyanki, Orcus cultists and drow. For payment, he offers a sealed container. It’s decorated in the githyanki style, with the emblem of House Emerald Wheel. Inside, wrapped in black silk, is a tiny white fragment. Leiche says he got it off a dead drow. The group identify the fragment as very similar to two others they recovered and have reason to believe (from a tortured cultist) it’s another fragment of the actual Wand of Orcus.

There are a lot of githyanki in the city. Rommie (Paula) knows someone in House Emerald Wheel – G’Art, the corrupt, upwardly mobile brown-noser who almost did for her a while back. The rest of the party consists of Durka the monk (Colin), Prax, deva cleric of Erathis (Carl) and Maze the minotaur warden (James). They go out to see what’s up. VC is a market driven town so someone has quickly put together a githyanki themed bar called The Red Dragon near to the portal and it’s become a favourite already.

Blundering around the mine field that is inter species diplomacy, the party uses alcohol and questionable diplomacy skills to learn the following: The githyanki are soldiers, not Far Travellers (ie, not pirates) who have been co-opted by G’Art; they are digging for a skiff, which was mapping the astral plane (the one previously found under the City); they are looking for it’s mapping records; they have been fighting mad undead-loving cultists but are now in the ascendancy; they have a shakey alliance with some drow but don’t trust them; G’Art is a now a ‘ghustil’ and is commanding from the other side of the portal. (A ghustil is a kind of priest of the githyanki lich-queen, Vlaakith, who directly interprets her wishes into action. They speak directly for Vlaakith and implement her will and as such have enormous power but sometimes, the differences between the will of the queen and the will of the ghustil are blurred.) Rommie sniffs.

Back at HQ, Tamurello is interested in any portal mapping. He regrets the death of Rake, whose specialist knowledge would have been handy. He wonders at what common ground the githyanki and drow might have? Common hatred of mindflayers? He wonders if it is possible to drive a wedge between them, possibly even doing a deal with the mindflayers? The LOLS look at him in appalled silence.

The party decide to scout out the skiff. It’s been further excavated and there are githyanki there. There is a fight, ending with LOLS victorious and the surviving githyanki told to leg it. Rommie did not want to kill her fellow species. The party searches the skiff and uncover a boxy, camera like device with crystal lenses. At that point, some flameborn zombies, some thugs and a cult leader show up. Prax pops a daily to give everyone resist 5 and once the radiant damage kicks in, the fight is over.

Back at the HQ, Rommie has an invitation to dinner, at midnight. It’s Sable, from the Velvet Order, who has brought a date, a dominated cultist who just eats the breadsticks. Her date, once prompted, says that the Cult have retreated in the face of the drow-githyanki onslaught but have now engaged the necromancer Philatros, who is setting up a ghoul farm to generate reinforcements.

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Andy 3-0: Trick or Treat in Viriconium

It is the Night of the Raven Queen’s Harvest. The people of Viriconium dress in carnival clothes and make merry. They make noise and open up all the dark corners of their houses, to allow any lost and troubled spirits trapped there to come out and be gathered to The Raven Queen. It is said on this night the Undead retreat to the lower reaches of the UnderCity to avoid the same fate. It is a time for games, feasts and story telling, which might also lead to deadly adventure…

The LOLS (Nalkyr, Artemys, Rommie and Maze) are out whooping it up with the best of them, looking for a party. They find an inn with good food, free silage and a huge fire to sit by and tell stories. A story teller runs off a few standards and then tells this one.

The Lords of the House of Shaws always had a reputation of being their own men, bowing to neither Gods nor Kings. The Young Earl was seduced and trapped by a succubus. However, she admired his independence and deemed it would serve her cause more to leave him in the world rather than dominate him. She released him. Nine months to the day, at midnight, there was a mighty knocking on the gate of the great hall. The earl strode out with his greatsword and found there on the step, a basket, within which was a new born babe, with a monstrous face and a diabolic features. The earl took him in and raised him as his own son. The creature grew at a speed and within two years was fully adult. The earl named it as his heir. The creature travelled widely across other realms, particularly to the shadowfell, where it learned the shadow magic. It also learned mastery of Teeth of the Dark.

Eventually the earl sickened and was near to death, his brothers and nephews drew about and demanded to know who would inherit. The earl said, his true born son and he cursed any of his blood who would spill slay the creature for profit. And with that he died. The brothers named the eldest as heir. That night, at midnight, the doors flew open and the monstrous offspring returned, wreathed in shadows, to claim his inheritance. The earl’s human kin fled. They spent many years consulting with temples and wizards and worked a magic to entrap, defeat and contain the creature. The spell was split into five parts, contained in a ring, a locket, an amulet, a bracer and a belt.

They faced down the creature and fought with it. It was subdued but they feared the curse and so it was entombed within a hidden room within the great hall. It is said that the entrance was somewhere in the Chapel. The eldest survivor took up the title of the Lord of Shaw. The magical items that held the creature in place were divided between the brothers and they held them to ensure the magic remained strong. The story passed into legend.

Some short years ago, one evening such as this, there was a great feast at the Hall. As a drunken game, the revellers went to every window and hung a lantern out on a silken scarf. They went outside and saw every window had a light, except one. But search as they might, they could not locate the room the darkened window was in.

Now, the story turns to the present day. The defiance that marked the house lead to its downfall. It had few enough friends, ran out of allies but amassed enemies at a steady rate. The line is extinct and the Great House a ruin. The name is forgotten, save as a Harvest Night story.

The party decide this has to be followed up. The story teller says, there is no mention afterwards of each of the items of the spell. Artemys figures they must be on the bodies and proposes a spot of grave robbing.

They make their way to the ruined House of Shaws. The house is falling down but in the undercroft they find an entrance down to the crypt. Above the door is a carved warning; a gentle friend lets us sleep alone, a curse on those who disturb our bones. Inside the crypt, arranged in date order, are the tombs of the lairds. There is a gap and then five more. They open the later five and take a ring, amulet, belt, bracer and locket. Then the wind howls and skeletal warriors step out of the wall. There are two tomb guardians, with scimitars and two shattergloom skeletons with claws and immobilisation. Now the LOLs grieve for the lack of a cleric and radiant damage. Maze goes down but this triggers his self-recovery routines and they eventually prevail.

Upstairs, they enter the chapel. The centre aisle is lit by the moon but the side aisles are gloomy with an unnatural shadow. As they enter, they hear a sound of stone sliding on stone. There is also the sound of a deep humourless laugh. A cambion with a flaming sword steps out of the shadows. He’s instantly walloped with their best dailies and tied in knots but he’s a top villain and responds by dominating Rommie to whack Maze and then sending her into the far, darkest corner, where the teeth of the dark bites hard. (Lots of damage for being in the shadows, which alarms the sneaky drow). Also, shadow wretches leap out of the dark and their attacks push the party backwards into the gloom. Then the lit portion starts to shrink. Rommie is pushed into the gloom again and falls over. Artemys gets confused and crits the drow whilst Maze takes a terrible battering from the fiery sword. However, they kept their concentration and focus fire. With two tanks down and the strikers looking very vulnerable, the cambion drops and then it’s just a matter of cleaning up. The five items of jewellery were the lock that secured the beast and once reunited in the chapel, let him out. In an oubliette, hidden behind a sliding door, they find pieces of shadowfell jewellery worth 2000gp.

Google ‘The Monster of Glamis’ to see the inspiration. This soundtrack to this adventure includes Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyrie, Verdi’s Deus Irae, Mozart’s Toccata and Fuge, Allegri’s Miserere, Barber’s Adagio and Saint-Saen’s Danse Macabre. Incidental music from Blue Oyster Cut (Don’t Fear the Reaper), Space (The Female of the Species), Muse (Knights of Cydonia) and various bits from The Flaming Lips. And some inaudible tinniness from a phone which shows there’s a limit to what you can cram into a slimline case.

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Andy 2-10: Snakes on the Astral Plane

Snakes on the Astral Plane*

The alarms go off in the basement tunnel. Maze, Nalkyr, Rommie, Freude and Finch rush to defend their bar but it’s not an attack, it’s Zaubr who wants a word. He wants LOLS to escort him to see Douglas Mac’O’Riordan, in person, without him being killed on the way. He’s raised enough cash to pay off the price on his head. He offers to pay for their services. The party have an entertaining time, devising ever more degrading methods of transporting him unseen, before settling on cutting his hair, dying it red and dressing him in filthy old clothes.

They arrive at the Mac’O’Riordan base of operations, a large, elegant nightclub-cum-gin palace (think Board Walk Empire). The front of house is expensive and exclusive and legitimate, where City bigwigs can mix and get free drinks. In the back area is a large room set out like a gentleman’s club, high backed leather chairs, crystal glasses, decanters. This is where Douglas Mac’O’Riordan holds court. He is surrounded by his henchmen. Douglas is dressed in a very expensive green suit run through with red tartan, gold buttons and dragon skin boots. Zaubr is pushed forward. He opens out a velvet bag and starts counting out astral diamonds. He speaks in a low apologetic voice.

“I’ve come to pay the debt I owe you, Mr Mac’O’Riordan. This is the ten thousand gold pieces I misappropriated. This is the twenty thousand gold pieces to remove the price on my head. This is ten thousand gold pieces as a personal gift to show my respect for you. Douglas (and Nalkyr) is gobsmacked and cannot take his eyes off the diamonds. An assistant checks them out with a Gem of True Seeing and signals they are genuine. Douglas says, “Here’s a smart fellow who knows to pay his debts. Where did ye find this size of money?”
“Scrimping and saving.” says Zaubr.
“Ye got a regular work ethic going there but you’re as crooked as me Uncle Mick’s shillelagh.” He stands up and punches Zaubr in the belly with all his might. “That’s for giving me the run-around, ye bollix. But I’ll let you live.” He looks at the rest of the party. “You LOLS. I don’t like the way you operate but TFM assures me since you became official you have behaved yerself. You did do me a favour in getting rid of that Valentine fella so I forgive you for what you did in the past. So, as long as you stick to killing dragons and stay out of business, we’ll have no reason for a disagreement.”

They leave. Zaubr, now free to walk the streets, is ebullient. He’s been stuck in the UnderCity for two years with just Leiche for company and now wants to live again. He wants a drink at the best place in town and the party are VERY interested in how he got so rich so fast. He buys eladrin cocktails for everyone and tells his story, while the rogues make notes and Finch steals the cutlery.

Sammy was getting tutored on driving the skiff by a couple of githyanki on the other side of the AP portal. The skiff was in poor shape and needed lots of things fixing. Parts weren’t a problem on the AP but the money was. Sammy treated it as his new project. The githyanki made a few suggestions and he ran over to Starhallow Docks. He was soon running errands for them and making a nice cut. He met someone else there. Sammy is a blabbermouth, especially when anyone asks about his precious projects. This person listened to Sammy and made a suggestion. Sammy told me about it and we decided we needed Leiche in on it as well. So we went down to the githyanki skiff in the UnderCity and Sammy had these things like crystal traps and we were able to capture some of them micro portals. That contact of Sammy’s paid us a fortune for them. Sammy spent all of his on the skiff, I paid off Douglas and I don’t care what Leiche did with his. Go and see for yourself and ask him if the contact wants any more. I need to sort out a decent place to live.

LOLS go through the portal to the Astral Plane. The island has changed. There are now piers and loading areas. It’s turning into a small port. There are workshops and warehouses. They find the skiff. It has all new parts, been painted and fully refitted. It’s even been given a name, “The Astral Kipper”. There are additional new controls which look unfamiliar. Below is a galley and state rooms, it’s a seriously good rebuild. However, the skiff is in some disarray. There has been a struggle below decks. Scattered around are some tools and some weird crystal boxes, a bit like tea-light lanterns. One is intact, one broken. They deduce Sammy has been kidnapped but the AP is a big place to search. They go back to Zaubr, now buying expensive drinks for several young ladies. He confirms that Sammy brought the crystal boxes with him and they are used to capture and transport the microportals. Zaubr didn’t ever go to the AP, it was too dangerous for him but Sammy told him he had fitted new devices to the skiff to help pilot it. One device is a navigation aid. Sammy set where he was and then set his destination and the device navigated the skiff automatically. He called it a set-nav.

They go back to the AP. Nalkyr investigates the crystal box and when it opens, a stream of strong orange light shines out. Finch wants to explore more but the rest of the group decide its too dangerous. Rommie operates the controls to return to last destination and it takes off, very smoothly. The set-nav goes in straight lines and Rommie has to quickly steer around the island and avoid other vessels. Once out on the open Astral Sea, they settle down to see where they go. Down below, the galley is pristine. Sammy fitted a full cooking area but it’s untouched. He seemed to live on cold takeaway and pot noodles. One stateroom is very messy. It looks like Sammy was stripping down an engine on the bed. They close the door and sleep elsewhere. After a couple of days, the skiff approaches a huge verdant land mass, with rolling hills and lush forests. Its Arvendor, seat of Correllon and Sehune. The skiff veers round to an archipelago which stretches out from Arvendor. The closest island has a bright star shining above it and on the coast is a town with a huge dock. Lots of astral vessels of all sizes are coming in and out. This is Starhallow. The docks are a massive no-questions-asked market, with every race imaginable here buying and selling exotic and probably contraband goods.

A githyanki approaches, recognising the boat but not the crew. He talks to Rommie. By his braids, the githyanki is a free trader (or more accurately, pirate). He was looking for the oily human who pilots this skiff. Rommie explains so are they. She asks about developments in the Githyanki capital and learns G’Art is still making trouble but is still in a minority for the time being. The pirate explains Sammy ran goods for them, his skiff was ideal as it was small, fast and not obviously associated with any known group. Rommie switches to deep speech so as not to offend Maze and discusses business. He directs them to a huge warehouse which is done out as a big open plan tavern-cum-trading house-cum-workshops. This was where Sammy liked to eat. Rommie identifies it as a man den. Freude chats to the bar keep and is directed to a side booth where a tall figure sits in the gloom. He is swathed in a cloak and hood. He looks up and they see his eyes are two glowing yellow orbs. He moves his hood back a fraction and they see he is a war-forged. One hand has been modified to be a multi-tool turret. Freude uses his bardish charm and asks directly about Sammy. The warforged speaks in a flat, emotionless tone. It knew Sammy, they had a shared interest in mechanical devices. It helped Sammy source most of the materials to rebuild the skiff. When Sammy told it about the githyanki skiff below the city and the microportals, it suggested a trade. It recognises the crystal box as a portal trap it provided. It paid very well for them. Stable microportals, formed when something crashes through realities, are very rare. It uses them as the basis for various devices it built for customers who were willing to pay. It shows them a brass globe, a prototype portal grenade. Nalkyr wants it very much but blanches at the suggested 5k asking price. They ask about Valentine and it says he did provide devices to him but they were imperfect. They ask if it minded dealing with Orcus Cultists but it says, its just business. It wants to expand its knowledge and abilities but needs funds to do this.

LOLS decide it’s an amoral technologist rather than an agent of evil. Regarding Sammy’s disappearance, it recalls he was often approached by Darksworn of Zehir who wanted to gain portal expertise, but refused to pay the price. They addressed their remarks to Sammy, as if they could not conceive of a mere construct built for battle being the senior partner. Before they leave, Maze asks it it’s name. It replies with a high pitched screech like a faulty fax machine. They ask, what do people call you? It says, as far as anyone is concerned, it’s just a mechanic.

Rommie and Freude trade the microportal for tuition on how to control the anti-portal devices back in Viriconium, much to Nalkyr’s disappointment, who really wanted the grenade. The Mechanic explains they are delicate and need very careful tuning to the local conditions. [It’s a high DC arcane check.] Finch tries to listen in but though he understood the individual words, the meanings go over his head.

They ask around about Zehir. He’s the serpent God whose realm is Tytherion, which he shares, somewhat unwillingly, with Tiamat. His servants are his darksworn. Tytherion and surrounding islands are unstable and they use portals to navigate safely. Anyone who could manipulate them could gain a distinct advantage. Out in the darkness, away from Arvendor, one of the distant islands is Lyef Thierre, a jungle island, home to nameless, ancient cults to dead and forgotten Gods since the beginning of recorded time. They are advised to look there.

The air, as they approach the island, gets warm, humid and oppressive. They see the tops of ruined mayan-style structures sticking above the jungle canopy. One perhaps has a faint flickering light at the top. They conceal the skiff and trek to the top of the pyramid. The top has a narrow walkway and a structure which occupies the whole top. The door gets opened and Rommie walks in. The floor is covered in small holes, which are deep and regular. The walls have friezes of serpent beasts and cultists doing weird culty things. Halfway across the room, two snake statues detach from the wall and attack. Maze and Finch charge in and then tiny snakes come out of the floor, covering it in a carpet, making it difficult terrain and causing everyone to take damage every round from the poison. Nalkyr and Freude stay outside, shooting though the door. Then to make it worse, doors at the far end open and a cultist priest comes out, fires off a few blasts and summons a swarm of bloodspiders in front of Nalkyr and Freude. Things look desperate for a bit but the group has just enough healing to stay upright (close call for Rommie and Finch). In the chamber behind, in a terrible mess, is Sammy. They take him home.

*Thanks to Colin for the title.

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Paula 1-2: Rommie's Rescue

Glock, Finch, Grubeln and Artemys returned to the LOLS lodgings late one night to find the place in disarray. There had been a struggle. Scorch marks and sword marks decorated the walls, pillars and joists. The land-lady handed them a Wanted Poster for Rommie. Grubeln calmed her down and she revealed that a bunch of githyanki soldiers had stormed the place. Rommie had fought, but was overwhelmed and taken.

What do we know of those we fight alongside?

The party headed searched their brains for knowledge of the githyanki. Glock’s tacit knowledge revealed that they are residents of the Astral Plane and are known for being a military race. Finch and Grubeln questioned local urchins and low-lives to discover that that the soldiers had headed straight for the portal to the Astral Plane. The party decided to visit TFM before catching up with Rommie. He revealed that the githyanki have strange customs and laws, and that a reward of that size meant she has really done something bad. He mentions that he hasn’t seen Vitari in a while too, as an afterthought, more to himself than the party. The party head to the portal, and find their skiff still manned by Sammy. Sammy has made a fair bit of progress since you last saw him, and is quite eager to take the skiff on a test drive. He’s been getting lessons. Also present on the island are two githyanki ships, displaying the flags of prominent military families. One of the pilots has become friendly with Sammy and taught him a few rudimentary piloting skills.

Sammy didn’t see the githyanki who “arrested” Rommie pass through, but a bosun on one of the githyanki ships did, and pointed the party to a quieter side of the island. Upon arrival to the island it’s clear that the ship has sailed. A captain of one of the githyanki boats told the party that fortress city of Tu’narath is the Githyanki capital, and a prisoner will be likely taken there. He also informed them that there is also a quiet political unrest in the city; rumours circulating about cheating in competitions and once prominent military families being forced from the city under dark clouds.

Sammy is delighted to test his skills as a pilot on the skiff. After an… interesting journey, our party arrive safely in the city of Tu’narath. Sammy is keen to go buy some parts. Grubeln made it clear that Sammy was to “keep the engine running”. The party found he local “foreigners inn” and asked some choice questions about the rumours. The dockworkers et al that frequented such a bar had little to offer, though did add that there was an increase in the number of groups of githyanki soldiers hanging around these days. They were pointed in the direction of a low-life githyanki who could help them. Nobody knows why, but there is a culling afoot. Anyone with criminal convictions is being arrested. And there doesn’t appear to be anywhere to hide. It has the townsfolk scared. The party agree to let him hide on the skiff while they rescue Rommie. In return he points then to the Prison for Rommie, and a secret tunnel to get them in. The group find the tunnel, and due to some amazing dice rolling navigate it’s obstacles with ease. Upon entering the prison’s dungeon they come face to face with “The Dominator” and some guards.

The fight was tough, with Artemys inflicting damage on Glock and the guard’s hawks inflicting significant damage on the party. Having dispatched the guards (who were under the Dominators influence), the party discover that every cell of the dungeon is already empty…are they too late???
Just as they ponder the next steps. A howling sob is heard from the courtyard. Glock lifted Artemys onto his shoulders so that she could view the courtyard from a dungeon window. She witnessed: Sets of gallows stood erect. Fifteen (3 rows of 5) hooded and bound figures stood next to each set of gallows, ropes around their necks. The courtyard was surrounded by soldiers on guard. A githyanki soldier stood ready to pull a lever, while a Masked figure was reading a proclamation:

Vitari: you have been found guilty of treason, murder, theft and resisting arrest. The punishment for your crimes is death.
Scarar: You have been found guilty of treason and resisting arrest. The punishment for your crime is death.
Alaya: You have been found guilty of theft and resisting arrest. The punishment for your crime is death. (at which point a hooded gallows figure (a child) begins to cry uncontrollably).
Rommie: You have been found guilty of treason, murder, being a fugitive from the law, resisting arrest and of causing physical harm to others of your kind. The punishment for your crimes is death (and that is too good for you). (A female hooded figure drawls “And of your crimes G’art? What’ll be your punishment?” (He ignored her and carried on reading)

The party killed the guards, then moved onto the masked figure. The masked figure was an old enemy of Rommie’s; G’art. G’art is corrupt. Trumping up charges and over-punishing menial charges. He has been responsible for over punishing criminals and the rumours around town. G’art is trying to get a name for himself so that he will receive an invitation into a prestigious organisation. He’s publicly tying up loose ends. G’art was using the Dominator to find out where criminals are; his victims couldn’t hide anything when dominated.

Rommie will always be a wanted fugitive in the Astral Plane. It’ll take a damn good reason to get Rommie to come back to Tu’narath. Rommie is part of an underground coven who believe the Githyanki can be even more powerful if those with Arcane abilities maximize their use (learn dark
and potent magicks).

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Colin 1-6: Secrets in the Tower

Maze, Prax, Nalkyr and (Alex) were happily resting at LOLs HQ, when a summons came in for a job. They were invited to visit Mr Red, who had a nice ‘simple’ retrieval job for them, with a nice bonus of 1000g each up on delivery of a single item from a chest, along with the paperwork that would be in the chest with it. He gave them a key, which was recognised as being the necklace from the mage that some of LOLs had found in a mine (see Colin 1-4). There was only one tiny snag – the needed to find the location of the chest from the mage’s belongings, which would be in a storeroom somewhere in the main mage’s (council) tower.

The group brashly wandering up to the tower, but were refused entry when they couldn’t provide a suitable permit for why they were there. They group hung around to try and get a glimpse of what an appropriate form would be, while Prax went back to try and find Mr Red, who had long
since left the grotty pub. The group then went to one of the numerous inns within the local
vicinity of the wizards’ tower, and located a low level acolyte who looked down in the dumps. They applied him with sufficient quantities of alcohol, and managed to get him to produce something that looked like, and had a passing enough magical resemblance to something that
might get them through the front door, and bluffed their way in from there. The inside was marble with gold swirls, huge sweeping staircases, ornate doors, highly polished rare woods, inlay. The main entrance opens into a huge circular hall.

Upon arrival, they concluded that they had no idea where to go from there. They found an absent minded, busy looking acolyte to point them in the appropriate direction; this took them to 2 doorways, which the group managed to determine was one going up, and one going down. Upon
opening the door, they found themselves on a Tensor’s Floating Disk. The group managed to find their way down to the appropriate level, and started following tracks up to a crossroads. The first direction they followed lead to a dead-end, and although the group could determine that
there was a door there, they could not figure out how to go through it.

Eventually they tried the other path with fresh footprints, which led them directly to a storeroom, where amongst a recently deposited set of belongings they found too much information on one particular area in the UnderCity.

Fighting their way through a tomb, the adventures found their way to a room containing a chest, and some stone dogs – of course the dogs came to life, and out from the wall appear some skeletons. The group survived this encounter thanks to the magical healing abilities of their
friendly cleric, although this did not stop the Prax losing consciousness. However, the group had done sufficient damage by this point and mopped up the rest of the guardians with little inconvenience.

Upon opening the chest, the group found a set of notes, and a necklace that looked suspiciously like the ones that Maze, Elias and Artemys adorned not too long ago (Colin 1-5). The group were indecisive on whom to deliver the necklace to, and took it back to LOLs HQ for further discussion with the guild.

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Colin 1-5: Spit or swallow?

Elias, Artemys, Maze and Donn (Oli – Monk) were lazing around, wandering around the streets, visiting houses of ill repute when Donn spotted a notice being put up. It was a request for volunteers to provide information on a certain type of rock. Donn went up to find out more information about the job, but was being stone-walled by a low level acolyte who didn’t say very much and refused to let the small sample of the rock he had out of his site. Donn collected the rest of the group, and Maze recognised the rock; he had been mining it not so long ago.

The group grabbed Freude, and took him to the exit portal site of the mine, but he could find no trace of any portal activity. As the group traipsed back through the city gates, Donn felt something being attached to his neck; he spent so long going wtf, and running around identifying
that his new necklace had a similar signature to the magical rock, that the trail of who had attached it to him had long gone cold. As the group was wondering what to do, Maze found himself with a remarkably similar collar around his neck. This time the group managed to follow the perpetrator – right into an ambush. Early on during the fight, Artemys found herself with similar adornments to Maze and Donn; the group found that the necklaces seemed to be blocking some of their offensive abilities and had to dps them down with their at wills only. The group kept one of the bugbears alive, but to no avail, as it turned out that only their leader knew who their employer was or where to find him. The group decided to give up on bluffing the bugbear, and handed him over to the wizards and went in search of a pub. That pub was full of dwarves, but to the amazement of the group none of the dwarves recognised the rock. One of the dwarves suggested a newly opened magic shop. The group again tried some bluff to get some information out of the shop owner, by picking up an item that was worth
100pp. With some insight they deduced that the owner probably new something of the necklaces, and tried to barter. It was agreed that they could swap their necklaces for the item, but were put off when the heard that that would require them having their heads cut off. Eventually a deal was struck such that the shop owner would provide a means of getting the necklaces off without taking their heads off, although it would destroy the necklaces. All it would require was that the group would, on the word of TFM, give the next necklace they found directly to the shop keep. Elias, Artemys, and Donn agreed, but Maze insisted on checking with TFM, before they all signed a magical parchment to that effect. The shopkeep carefully lead them through the under city to a cave, where he magically summoned 3 small worms, and carried them across to the
group. He placed one on each necklace, and then scarpered as quickly as he could. The worms started munching their way through the necklaces; but Donn in a fit of panic threw his worm onto the ground, where it buried itself underground. The worms made short work of the necklaces
on Artemys and Maze; upon which point Donn threw himself on the ground. He tried to find his worm, but it was too small! The worms who had eaten the necklaces, grew in size and turned purple. Sensing the necklace on Donn’s neck started trying to eat it off his neck. Unfortunately, they were also hurting Donn. Elias tried in vain to keep Donn up, and suggest wrestling with the purple worms, but none of the group could get a decent grip. The worms kept salivating on Donn’s neck. Being worried that they might kill the worms too early,they decided to take an approach of tough love and left Donn to his fate until the necklace was eaten through. At this point, they decided to revive Donn and started attacking the worms. Unfortunately, the worms had grown bigger on Donn’s throat. The two worms swallowed Maze and Elias, before they killed one of them. The worm exploded, spitting out its victim, and the other worm grew in size from the first purple worm’s gunk. More swallow-age occurred before the group managed to slay the final purple worm. They departed, relieved to have survived their ordeal. A little while later, Durka sneaked into the cave, cut out the profitable bits and flogged them. He was generous enough to split out the cash, and the group each received 200g each.

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Colin 1-4: Rock and Roll

Durth (Pemby) came to some semblance of consciousness, with a weird object in his hand and something hanging from his neck. Eventually in the poor light of the local area he works out that he is in a mine, and the object around his neck looks remarkably similar to the necklace that was mind controlling the orc in the OGR‘s training area. Gathering the rest of the group [Rommie (Paula), Maze (James T), Morphus (Ross), Grubeln (Andy – dwarven rune priest)], they stumble upon a dwarf that they eventually recognise as the owner of the caravan that they were supposed to be guarding. Neither the dwarves in the party nor the arcane caster in the raid could tell much about the rock that the group was mining, other than it had a magical feel to it, and that they had never come across it in their life. It was a rust-like powder, which the group decided wouldn’t act very well as an impromptu ranged weapon. They venture forth to try and find their weapons, the way out and the mysterious bag their employer is very worried about.

Those with some dungeon sense wanted to go in one direction, but Rommie’s new affinity with her sword directed the group to where there weapons were, but found it was too heavily guarded. Morphus managed to go around the back and sneaked in and retrieved their weapons and fortuitously found the bag. Shortly after an alarm sounded; and the group made a quick sharp exit.

As the group was making their way out, they came across a burnt out pile of the local rock and alongside it was the body of a beholder tyrant and a mage. The group investigated the body and found out that he was a high ranking mage from one of the top council, although not part of the Circle of Twelve. They also found out that he was a member of the OGR (Red). Maze hefted the body onto his shoulder and the group continued onwards.

Their journey through a further cavern along the route was rudely interrupted by a mage who could oversee the cavern from an upper entrance way. The mage called down “So, you think you can escape that easily – this stuff is brings in too much money for me to allow you to leave”. He then fired a magic bolt at a pile of the mysterious rock, which subsequently opened up into a portal, and various monsters jumped out of the portal investigating it. The group eventually dispatched the monsters, and found that all that was left of the portal and its cause was a pile of burnt out rock similar to were the found the beholder and the mage.

The group then unknowingly stepped out of a one-way portal into a guarded camp. After dispatching the guards and finding that they could find no trace of the portal they limped their way back to Viriconium – Grubeln particularly hurting on one HP and no surges.

At HQ, the found TFM finishing a conversation with someone dressed in immaculate black leather armour. He had a belt knife and a very magical looking sword at his waist. He shook hands with TFM, then he turned and looked at the adventuring party. He had a very Spanish style accent, and said “Good day. My name is Sandro. It is an honour to meet you all. I very much look forward to the time I may work with you”. He then bowed to TFM, and left.

TFM then displayed his displeasure for the group again failing to complete the task set them – namely “simple caravan duty”. He is not interested about the mind controlling necklaces, or the curse the yyy said they were under. The argument seems to be going nowhere, until the dwarven caravan master leans in and whispers something in TFM’s ear. At this point, Kendarik knocks on the door, walks in and deposits some money on the table; “For services, well inconveniences rendered” He then takes the necklace that was surrounding his colleagues neck, and states “I’ll take that key – can’t have that getting into the wrong hands”, and subsequently departs.

The group takes beholder parts to Glocka, and then make a journey to the council. They try to inquire about the rock, and to deposit the mage’s body. The council of 12 confiscate all the rock the group had taken, and agreed to take the red OGR mage’s body. They said that the mage was just a minor functionary who “didn’t do anything interesting”.

The group left wondering:

  • Who was the mage that fired the bolt at them?
  • Where was that mine?
  • What is going on with this mysterious rock?
  • And what was one of the red OGR’s mage up to.

NB: This adventure was played between Andy 2-3 and 2-4.

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Colin 1-3: Training Day

This week Aurora (Paula), Finch (Oli), Pax (Carl) and Maze (James) were joined by Mortos/Raven? (Ross) a Tiefling rogue. A call once again came in via TFM to go see an old friend Mr Red from the Order of the Gilded Rose. He requested that they clear out the White’s training ground (Deadhouse Abbey), which the guild had located on their last mission for him. He said that his squire (Kendrick – human paladin) would catch up with them on route.

Following the path the guild had previously discovered, they came across a human hunter, they tried to sneak up on him, but all they managed to do was scare away the prey he was hunting, which they later discovered was a wyvern. They managed to sweet talk him into giving them directions to the abbey which could probably get them in unseen.

Unfortunately, this route turned out to be a cave system that had a few wild beasts living in it, and was also enshrouded in magical darkness, reducing everyone’s visibility. The indigenous bats swooping past and the vicejaw crocodile caused a few difficulties, with Finch failing a couple of death saving throws and Aurora be dragged away, 1 health point off falling over for a second time. With Mortos being the only ranged character, killing the blood bats was proving a difficult task

Once the group had healed up, they managed to find the back route in, overcoming numerous problems on route (ok so the GM ran out of time and skipped this skill check). Kendrick finally caught up with the group at this point.

The group managed to surprise the current group of recruits being trained; Maze, Mortos and Kendrick took on the training instructor with Aurora and Finch going up opposite sides to deal with the guards who were overseeing the training facility. Pax was staying at the back supporting the killing of the instructor. It was noticed that the instructor had a magical necklace around his neck. By the time that instructor was down, Aurora was on her last legs and Finch was again making death saving throws. Eventually the group managed to kill all the White members, and on searching the bodies noticed that the instructor had a tattoo off Orcus on his chest. The group picked up the necklace and once back in Viriconium discovered that the necklace had been mind-controlling him.

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Colin 1-2: A house divided against itself cannot stand, nor can a gnome when thrown against a window.

This week Gnim (Aaron), Atremys (Ann-Marie), Maze (James) and Timeee(Jon) were joined by Storm (Alex M) a Goliath barbarian and Paullus (John), a human cleric. A call came in via TFM to go see an old friend Mr Red from the Order of the Gilded Rose. The party arrived at the inn to see Mr Red getting set upon by 5 men; Storm tried firstly to throw Gnim through the window, but only managed to leave a gnome shaped splat mark on the window as Gnim slid down it. He then charged into the bar picked up a chair and tried to smash it into the back of one of the assailants to no avail. Timeee just sat down, and contemplated order a drink, before he recalled the advice from previous adventuring runs to the inn. Meanwhile Mr Red had successfully cut down the entire group without breaking a sweat and sat down to clean his nails with his dagger.

He sent the group the task of locating Deadhouse Abbey, which he had learned was being used as a training facility for the White faction. He recommend not going in to empty it out, but did ask that the group kept an eye out for his squire.

The group split up, some went to the library, where they met an old, scatty librarian dressed in purple velvet, who between absent minded moments managed to point them to the appropriate section. Gnim acted as a runner between this group and those who went to the temples (of first Correllon and then the Raven Queen), as the party discerned that:

  • Deadhouse Abbey was once the inhospitable home of the fabled dwarven robber baron Snow von Hammershaft, this fort later became a training grounds for the temple of the Raven Queen c.100 turns after his death
  • Snow terrorised the region for decades, well before the troubles hit Virconium. He created himself a fortune, which was never found after his death. Many adventures and treasure hunters met their demise at the Abbey before people decided it was haunted and the treasure hunters gradually dropped off.
  • The temple of the Raven Queen decided that they like the haunted location, and set up a training ground there. The treasure was never found. When disaster struck the region, the Abbey became abandoned.
  • The abbey was reputedly on a local mountain top, miles outside the city, although last known records of its existence date as far back as OGR’s civil war.

A priest at the temple of the Raven Queen recalled that a descendant of Snow’s ended up with the Gnomish Mafia. The party went out to try and find a member, and caught up with one of the bashers performing a Gnomish shakedown in a shop. Despite Maze holding the gnome upside down, their attempts to intimidate the basher failed, and the group resorted to diplomacy. Once he was let down, the basher let out a shrill whistle, and he was soon joined. The group managed to arrange to do a task for the Gnomish mafia in exchange for some information. They successfully managed to raid a drug dealer’s home and liberate a white powder, which Timeee tried to identify but all he managed to do was to become high, which turned out to be useful when he entered combat. The Gnomes informed the party that the abbey was fed from a freely flowing river, although what happened to the river is unknown. According to mafia lore, the river presented an escape route should the baron ever have needed it.

The party put all the information together and managed to figure out the abbey location, and started back to report their findings. Unfortunately, they were ambushed on route and a fight in the crowded streets ensued; the group heard the leader call out that they “were worth money”. The party smote their way through the ambush, although Maze and Storm ended the fight unconscious. Paullus had just stabilised the poor barbarian when they heard a call of “That’s enough of this mummery”, before a sleep spell was cast.

Maze, Storm woke up in a torture chamber with a humanoid looking in very poor shape. The room was furnished with the A-Z of torturing instruments, and the Dummies guide to Torture. The rest of the group woke up as their door was opened and they were told to get out before the whites caught them, and to take Kendrick with them. Exploring the area led them to the door of the torture chamber, which Gnim picked with an old bone fragment. The group decided, following Maze’s example to pick up some torture implements to use as weapons, including bending an particularly flexible bit of wood and tying it together with some garrotte wire for Artemis’s bow.

As they tried to exit, half carrying their fellow prisoner Kendrick, who turned out to be Mr Red’s squire. The group were well rewarded for their efforts.

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