This session picked up right where we left off, on the final approach to an unnamed mountain that bore a questionably legal mine for the penal colony of Forzcety. In the lands of chaos magic how can people tunnel? With a shit tonne of anti magic and anti monster runes…So the party were to deliver a new shipment, what could go wrong?
Well, turns out the outermost totem had disappeared. All that remained was an imprint on the grass as if it had been plucked into the sky, teleported or some other mysterious means of getting it somewhere else.
They continued on for fifteen minutes and the next one was now splinters. Hacked to pieces with some kind of crude tools by many hands; at least so far as designated tracker Lucien could discern.
Next totem; burnt to a crisp.
They announced themselves to the camp having been told someone would receive their delivery. But nobody came; they got to the camp around the mine they gave it a thorough once over; pickaxes and tools lay in the tool shed untouched. The ground was worn flat from heavy foot traffic. The dorms had every bet neatly made and everything in it’s place. (Dwarf failed to notice engravings on headboard of a dwarven bed.) All things remotely edible were gone, even the wrappings of food and beasts of burden had been consumed. There was no trace.
Except on the hill leading to the mine, where there was blood. Something had been dragged upwards, though it had not resisted. Theories of it being some game slaughtered for food was swiftly put down by Gret, who said they have food delivered and do not hunt game. Jurgen claimed it was goblins.
They strolled up following the blood, finding the entrance to the mine. It looked as if everyone who had entered or exited the mine had been stepping through a pool of blood. Gret said that can’t be possible as there was no corpse here yesterday. The party found two arms clutching the edge of the nearby ledge. With nothing attached from the elbow back; the fall below….
Well at the bottom of the ladder leading to the mine shaft lay a pool of blood and that pool of blood would be about chest deep on Aeyla.
The party being the brave and noble souls they are decided to press into the mine post haste, determined to save any survivors and discover what fate had befallen the mine. They noped the fuck out of there.
Gret wept and begged them to go in… but when her protests fell on deaf ears she grew quiet and moved to the mouth of the opening. Luckily Barack had an eye on her and witnessed her withdraw a Blast rune (perception) and was also quick enough to grab her wrist before she could throw it. (Agility) They struggled and in the kerfuffle the rune fell to the floor and everyone held their breaths as it did not go off.
The party being the collection of cold men and convicts grabbed Greta and (Markus, Barack and Lucien all) tossed her off the edge into the pool of blood. The Dwarf screaming all the way down and landing with an almighty splash. Another splash followed shortly after and several smaller ones indicating something had gotten into the blood.Greta just surfaced when she was leapt upon by this thing and eaten alive.
RIP Gret, horrible way to go >>>>>
The party imitated the legendary Ser Robin and advanced backwards to the hill leading to the mine. Jurgen suggesting they seal the mine with the blasting rune… They did so and made their way back.
On the way two random encounters took place. The first was a stampede of Plane Dashers:
Long loping creatures, said to be the result of Martessian cross breeding of dog and horse. The beasts nonetheless populate the middle of the continent alongside the Planes Orcs They simply chase down small game with easy grace, swiftly striking deadly blows with their surprisingly strong jaws. They carry no fat, being pure muscle. Though during a full sprint their ribs show and give them a gaunt appearance, at rest a Plane Dasher is a majestic sight that has inspired many of a bard’s tale.
After realizing that probably only Aeyla and Markus stood a chance of running to safety the party grouped up and enacted a cunning plan. One which as a GM I didn’t expect; both Lucien and Barack both used their Shape Earth spell together to create a dome of mud and rock to shelter under. The two concentrated as much as they could as what must have been close to a thousand beasts collided with the sides and clambered over the top of their makeshift hill.
Concentration rolls were called for and Barack’s sections began showing cracks, which Lucien was able to fill with his own packed dirt. The two working together like an Orc and a halfling. It was a tense 9 minutes for Aeyla and Markus who’s fates rested in the two others’ hands.
They continued onward, slightly stressed and grumpy as they passed through impossible terrain. Tundra to cliffs, cliffs to forrest, forrest to dessert… and in that dessert a man in fancy clothing sat writing into a notebook atop a dune. A fascinating large crossbow on his back.
Barack shouted greetings to the stranger who enthusiastically waved back. He joined the man on the dune and they began to converse while a voice in Markus’ head bitched about how much he hated sand.
The strange man was a brother of the Guild of Free Minds; also known as The Priests of Neutrality by the Dwarves. They are an order of mercenary scholars, taking the coin from their contracts to fund expeditions, experiments and knowledge far and wide. Always diligent, professional and frighteningly competent they pursue knowledge zealously, pouring money into restoring their secret temple which is rumoured to have archives of history older than the Dwarven archive itself.
Brother Nuleron, came to examine the animals of the Wildlands and the effects it has on creatures brought there from the mundane areas. He explains he has been in the Wildlands for two years, three months and four days if his theory on how time flows here is correct. The two scholars exchange some information and Barack warns him about the Ogre Wizard.
Nuleron explains he has seen the creature, but that it kept itself to itself. He found it odd that it could speak but was conducting other research. Barack found this suspicious and pressed, Nuleron happy to share his experiences with the Ogre. Stating it liked to watch new arrivals and he had met it twice now – as the people wandering the wildlands tend to run into each other every now and then.
He then asked Barack’s tale and wrote it down verbatim. A fact which puzzled Barack for a moment. The Priest asked a few questions especially at the meeting with the Deorlas but faithfully his quill kept pace. He was thrilled and could not wait until he returned to the temple to archive such a mystery. Barack wondered what he would keep record of it for, especially after he was warned of the Ogre’s plans.
“Why wouldn’t I? Success or failure, this could occur again cycles from now. Saving this information might also save countless lives should demons set foot on this realm in future. Your tale will be history and we must learn from history.” He said grinning.
Barack urged him to return home immediately to archive it. But Nuleron said he had work to do. Barack opted to be diplomatic stating he worried that even as hardy and capable as he was this information made him a target of the ogre.
Nuleron tried to assuade his new friend’s fears by showing his belt – inscribed with a 90% complete teleport spell it needed only verbal activation for a one use get out of jail free card.Barack would not relent, stating that Nuleron claimed the information could save lives, so his duty should be to protect it. Before leaving he showed Barack how to contact the Guild in case he needed mercenaries or to commune with the Grandmaster. Barack rolled a 2 to memorise the method and instead improved upon the ritual, allowing it to be translated into multiple languages easily and making it more efficient on the caster. This final scholarly endeavour left Nuleron grinning as he disappeared in a flash of blue light.
That night looked to be uneventful as the party camped on the outskirts of a forest which inexplicably grew out of a stone plateau. It was second watch when Markus saw a pair of eyes glinting in the treeline. They noticed him noticing them and instead of attacking, they simply let him notice that he noticed that it had noticed him noticing.So Markus pointed it out to Barack, who noticed what Markus noticed while the thing noticed that Markus notified Barack.
The Dwarf urged caution but Markus was as quick as ever to let arrow fly the arrow flying low but sounding like it hit something. An arrow flew right back landing into the fire, causing it to dance before falling low. A standoff ensued as the party was roused. Lucien took off in the trees to the right and succeeded in sneaking up behind the snake lady, putting his sword to it’s throat as it readied another arrow. It hissed at him in frustration.
He asked it if it understood him. It nodded so he told it to drop it’s weapons, which it did by dropping it’s arrow but not it’s bow no matter how much he demanded. He asked if she had anymore weapons and she just pointed to her mouth strangely.
Leading his captive to the fire, the spell knight rightfully felt accomplished. Barack, knowing it was a Lamia and thus sapient interrogated the creature asking if it understood him. Before apologising for Markus opening fire. Markus being the gentle soul he is thought they should kill it. She spat between his legs and the ground sizzled leading to Markus (and I quote) “Promptly shutting the fuck up” Barack refused to kill her and asked Aeyla to treat it, she agreed and dutifully stitched an awkward cut between it’s tail scales.
They found out the Lamia (Eyza though party don’t know) is a scout and was simply doing her duty. She indicated two more scouts were nearby one to the SE and one to the W. Barack thanked her and asked if she would like to rest by the fire. She refused, trying to sign that she was nocturnal and had duties but only managed to make her refusal clear. She did however gift the party an arrow from her quiver, indicating not to touch the head. Barack thanked Eyza for the gift as she slithered into the forrest.
The morning came with Carrion birds circling where Eyza had went, leading the party to conclude she had been successful in her duties. Earning Barack “I told you so” points.
One last obstacle before returning to the city: “The Rainbow Planes.”
To summarize, this is a field where chaos magic has infused the many many coloured grasses with unique effects. The party strolled through, everyone’s equipment turning purple at times. Everyone having that cured multiple times. Lucien experiencing necromantic blight…
But then Barack.
Barack entered the Wild Card Grass and rolled 1d100 for a random effect.
He got “Become extremely non-sexually affectionate to 1 target for 3 hours.” Party rolled 1d100 and the result was Markus. The very same Markus who had just collected certain grasses for a job. After a touching male on male hug on a backdrop of rainbow. The party rolled up into town, one of Lissera’s birds; a sparrow briefly landing on Aeyla’s mohawk.
In an effort to cash in his collections Markus went to the tavern. Only… everyone followed. So he went to piss… only Barack followed. He gave the dwarf the slip in the toilet area and made it to the tavern where everyone’s favourite poisoner cum bartender told him to “go move a barrel in the back.”
Whilst Aeyla tried to stop people using a passed out priest for involuntary five finger fillet table, Markus went and met his anonymous employer; Juan Dos Tresula. Who clapped and thanked him, the buyers will be thrilled. So he handed a weapons requisition form for a greataxe that would make the shitty steel on his back look even shittier. He also told Markus that Kun Kun would pass notes to Juan and vice versa. He told him to go enjoy a pint since he “was part of the family now.”
He did. Promptly abusing the magic on Barack to get his ego booted, also conning him out of the Lamia venom arrow and a gold ring. Before leaving. During the “Markus is the best” show Lucien and Aeyla went to report in. On his way out Barack said hi to Phillip who was drinking some kind of flaming wine. He squinted his eyes and asked Barack if he felt OK.Barack said he felt merry, which Phillip said was why he seemed off; he promptly “Aha’d” And gave Barack an orange potion… which cured him of his BFFness with an hour to go.
He was less than pleased and gave chase to Markus. Who promptly turned ninja by climbing over a wall backwards (skinning the cat for you wrestling fans) Barack promptly went to plan A and summoned Basalt who went all Kool-Aid man on the wall with him on her shoulder…
But Markus had been spirited into a hidden door into a cellar beneath the Smithy by The Matron. The woman who makes Oz’s Wicked Witches seem like Glynda Goodwitch. She tells Barack and Golem to go see the guard captain, as Markus was arrested. She throws in a barb about unsummoning his pet before he goes, enraging Basalt.
Meanwhile, Liserra is deeply concerned by the report. She doesn’t know what the beast Aeyla saw was. Has no idea how the wards failed. As someone who prides herself on knowing stuff she’s worried. She demands the party all gather in her room-office and bring “Joe” who’s name is always said with air quotes and Phillip. Claiming they’d get to the bottom of things.
Turns out the Smith basement has a secret. A dwarf, clearly some kind of undead. Still smithing past his death he creates cheap forgeries of anything given… so Markus has a nice proper gold ring ripe for binding spirits AND a shitty knockoff metal ring that looks gold and will explode if someone tried to bind a spirit to it.
After the Captain sends Kun Kun to find Markus, promising the ring will be returned by force if necessary. Aeyla finds Markus just relaxing by the smithy. They await Lucien who went for Barack…. But not for long, as soon the party is gathered with Liserra their hostess… and Barack is still furious.