The Wrath of the Righteous

At the Gates

At the Gates

The Sword of Valor Session XVI

Some may believe that my frustration came from the death of my followers. In the end that would be nothing more than a foolish assumption. Now were they enlightened men, were they the only ones in this righteous army that understood what was required to win this war, well of course. However, their passing was of minor significance at best, but they stood as reminder to me as to the failings of my companions resolve. They are so afraid to stain their hands in a war that is slowly corrupting the souls of all it touches. Inconceivable, the ignorant fools! The enemy does not play at such niceties. The enemy does not quibble over right and wrong. The enemy craves for death, carnage, and destruction, and my companions are too blind to see they are winning. Fortunately I am not so blind and fortunately the rest of the night went by without further interruption. In the end we decide to leave the issue of Nora alone to see how it would develop. We broke camp early and started to head down the riverbed. I entertained a brief notion of staying behind and ignoring the wishes of our group. I wondered why I should die and why we should fail for their hubris. However, the screaming voices in my head seemed to agree, which gave me pause. Forcing them down it became clear they would most likely attempt to kill me and while I am confident they would fail there were answers within Drezen that I required.

Oddly as we traveled the air felt exceedingly warm but our breath was cover in frost. Yet more proof of the chaotic behavior of the Worldwound. Continuing down the riverbed we came to the double bend that Nora mentioned could be an excellent place to ambush our army. Being cautious Artie moved ahead quietly to determine if such an ambush existed. He confirmed it was a great place for an ambush and noticed a cave entrance about fifteen feet up the one of walls. The cave had a perfect vantage of the entrance to the first curve. Sticking to cover Artie moved up to gain a better vantage of the cave and watch if anything moved when we made our way around the first curve. He may be a barbarian, but a useful one and I am glad I have kept him alive this long. While he did not support my plan, he did not add his voice to the opposition, which I suppose is progress.

After waiting for our agreed upon time the rest of us entered the curve and Artie noticed movement slight movement at the entrance of the cave. It appeared to be a small bird like creature. Artie was only able to catch quick glance as the creatures head looked over the edge of the cave, but quickly ducked back down out of view. With the coloring of the surrounding rock it was he was able to see the thing at all. Once the creature confirmed that we were coming it let out a loud squawk. Lathander believed it to be a warning cry of some sort similar to what a crow would give off. Deciding not to take any more chances than required, Artie killed it. Wishing to confirm his kill Artie climbed up to the cave entrance and found his arrow with blood on it, but no sign of the bird. Additionally he found a tiefling body bearing the same wounds from the Asmodites the night before. It appeared to have been rummaged through, and all the identifying marks and items of worth had been removed.

The man seemed to be of particular vigor that day and Artie climbed back down from the cave only to move up the opposite wall and start climbing. He was obviously intent on checking the flat lands above the canyon so we set a rope and followed after him. Once on top Artie noticed a camp set several hundred feet off of the cliff edge. A camp which we determine could hold a raiding party of 35-50 barbarian tieflings and appeared that it had at one point. Most likely they were planning on ambushing us once the army had entered the curve of the canyon. While even 50 men would be of little effectiveness against us, with the higher ground and potential for rock slides, it could have been a bloody encounter. However, it would seem that we had a guardian demon of some sort as they had been routed. Artie could tell that the barbarians were making there way to the canyon edge when something scattered them. From there they ran in the complete opposite direction deeper into the Worldwound. Focusing on the tracks of the creature that scattered the barbarians it appeared to be a large cat. What was most odd about what Artie explained was that the tracks slowly turned from feline to a feminine humanoid foot. Lucius using his powers followed the aura and recognized it as the same aura from the night before. The same aura that killed the Asmodites. This aura seemed to grow stronger as it turned from the cat like creature to a human, which was ominous.

Seeing as there was little more that we could accomplish we moved the army forward and continued travelling toward the end of the canyon. After some time the canyon walls finally fell away and we came to 5 triangular prisms of solid granite. They did not look natural and sat in the main path of the riverbed. The granite itself was an odd mixture of chaotic patterns as if it had been corrupted by the Worldwound, which I suppose it not entirely odd. It was at this point that the fool Lathander pulled out a hidden map of the Worldwound and found navigation directions listed in our current location. The directions seemed to suggest that they would guide a boat around the prisms if water still occupied the canyon. Once again Lathander hinders our cause and once again escapes a whipping. A detailed map of our surroundings could have saved us time and possibly found us a safer route to the Citadel. Perhaps with such a map we would still have our scouts. A man that lacks character and discipline is allowed to make decisions that could cost the lives of our soldiers and perhaps even cause the forfeit of our mission. This is something that is true of any commander; however he is not our commander, but none the less he takes the decision without authority or command. If only they could open their eyes and see what their cause had become. A cause with men, good men, who follow the ideology of our enemy, the belief that they are free to make that decision. Free to do what they wish! Free to believe what they wish! While I must suffer for not being able to fulfil my duty, MY OATH! FOOLS! Despite their failings I will not fail and I will not let this world fall to chaos, even if good men must die.

Pushing my thoughts on Lathander aside we moved through the five prisms. As we moved through the stone prisms twisted their form, each side taking features of a face, one leg, and one arm which held a vicious looking axe. Almost immediately they start swearing at us in Teran and looking rather menacing. I am not sure who attacked first, but it is of little concern. It was a tough battle as they were earth fiends. In the end though they all crumbled to dust as we destroyed them. Finished with the earth fiends Artie spotted another bird flying off a ledge making its way back toward Drezen. Still being cautious Artie fired three shots and took the bird out of the sky. Moving up to the bird he once again finds only bloody arrows and no sign of a bird. We determine it is most likely some magical summoned creature or some such thing. Lathander and I searched the axes and Lathander notices a makers symbol of a moon rising over a field. Lathander found the symbol again etched onto a small fetish made of bone and copper.

Finally, the army reached us and we are all congratulated for our discovery and destruction of the ambushes. While we had nothing to do with the destruction of the first ambush site, I was confident it was something we could handle so the praise was not ill-received. Meeting up with Edorus he noticed the stone piles and they reminded him of a story about the dwarves in this area. The story went that the dwarves bound and made a pact with powerful champions of the earth to guard the path in Drezen. While it appeared that the legend was true the stone guardians were a pale, twisted, and corrupted version of their original selves. Additionally Edorus mentioned that Nora had gone missing and had not appeared for the entirety of the day. This was of course of little surprise as we were close to our destination and she was after all most likely a spy, the demon worshipping heathen.

We continued to travel with the army and after many days of travel we finally saw Drezen off in the distance. Edorus wisely called the army to a halt and convened a war council. We know little about the current state of the citadel, but Edorus told us what he knew. Demon lord, Aponavicious, master of Drezen, was at one time gathering hordes of tiefling tribes under her command. Unfortunately, all the spies from the city went quiet before the attack on Kenabres so we had little knowledge of what forces waited for us in Drezen. The citadel itself was a massive dwarven fortification, and the city that came up around it was split into the south and north banks. South Bank was mostly markets and such so that almost all lived within North Bank but for the smiths that also operated out of North Bank. A second fortification had been started before the fall of the city and was intended to be a retreat for men of wealth. This was called paradise hill, which was rumored to house all those captured within this area of the Worldwound. There was a large cemetery just below North Bank, which we would be required to pass in order to reach the citadel. We could only guess as to the location of the banner as there was no knowledge of its last location. Also Edorus was unsure as to whether or not the walls had been rebuilt, which could complicate matters greatly. Fortunately we all quickly agreed that if Aponavicious and her army of tens of thousands of tieflings were within the citadel our goal and chances of completing it would be zero.

It was agreed that nothing can be decided until we scouted the citadel further to determine the state of the walls and perhaps discover the source of the billowing black smoke encompassing the city. At my recommendation we moved east and circled around to approach the cemetery from it shadows so as not to be seen by the citadel. We moved toward a rise in the cemetery that would give of a good vantage over the city while providing us with ample cover. If successful the cemetery could prove to be a strategic location to place our army. The cemetery was extremely eerie as such things tend to be and became more so once we noticed that many of the graves had been disturbed. Lathander peered down one of the disturbed graves and discovered a ghoul. Of course he shouted like a fool, but then noticed that it was dead. Investigating the body further Lathander believed that the ghoul, and the others we discovered, starved to death. The ghouls themselves were digging down to eat the dead bodies, which explained the disturbance of the graves. Unfortunately, there were hundreds of them, and ghouls do not truly ever die. Well not unless you hack them apart.

Regardless of the dead ghouls, the cemetery provided an excellent view of the city as I believed it would. From the hill we could see the city and it appeared that South Bank had been completely destroyed. North Bank had been mostly demolished and Artie could see work crews in the southern part of North Bank taking materials. All were slaves being driven by tiefling masters. The wall around the citadel had been repaired while they were working on the other walls. It was obvious that they had taken the materials from South Bank and North Bank to fix the wall, but hopefully they are not as skilled with stone as the dwarves. From the state of South Bank we could see that there was once a very large army camped within, but they were no longer there. That fact combined with attack on Kenabres made it safe to assume that Aponavicious was gone with her army. From what he could see Artie guessed a couple hundred tieflings in all and it appeared that the slaves were in fact being kept in paradise hill. However, Aponavicious was said to keep many pets so we had to be wary. We received our first taste of that moments later when Artie pointed out that the smoke was not just smoke, but thousands of carrion birds swarming around the citadel. Something that a giant flying skeletal Linorm could easily take care off and dispersers.

Done surveying the city most of us turn to move to a slightly different location and discuss our thoughts briefly. Lathander lingered for a moment longer looking at something through the looking glass. As he turned to speak with Lucius and point out what he had seen, he found a ghoul instead…perhaps our cause has some hope yet.

pentagram.gif Aldrick

Bloody Murder in the Night

Bloody Murder in the Night

The Sword of Valor Session XV

Riftstorm: haziness, ants pouring out (material plane, abyss fully overlap; short time, appear, pass; can be permanent rifts – corrupts something in area, anchors in one place)
Lath attends to slide down beside Artie; falls down slippery path, knocks Lucius down hill as well (lath on ground, lucius standing)
Aldrick sets rope, starts to proceed down
Ants half surge forward at Artie, Lucius, Lath (others stayback and protect “large creature); wasp hits Artie, soldiers grapple Lath
Renli dives down hill while calling on his faith to protect him
Lucius attacks wasp, hitting (14 dmg); it releases pheremone enraging the other wasps; also compels us to soldier on (extra move action)
Artie shoots more ants
Lath attempts to break grapple, fails
Aldrick slowly makes his way down slippery hill
Ants pin Lathander, start to drag away, Aldrick commands him to be free; swarm overruns Artie and Lucius, wasp and ants close in attack more; Wasp viciously stings Artie, gouging his chest,dropping him unconscious into the mass of ants; ant takes a chunk out of Lucius’ leg
Renli blesses Artie with life and strikes at the nearby wasp; Aldrick compels him to “stop being lazy, get up”
Lucius cuts down the wasp wounded by Artie earlier; compels us to push forward
Artie slashes from ground with longsword unsuccessfully
Lathander calls on his faith in Saranrae to guide a massive healing bomb onto Artie, splashing all nearby
Aldrick lets out an unholy prayer to Asmodeus, empowering us to fight bugs
Ants continue to lash out; regrapple Lath, fail on Artie, swarm runs up Renli, Aldrick
Knocking continues under stone (artie thinks below queen)
Renli kills wasp, moves out of swarm toward Lath
Lucius steps into flank on ant, attacks, killing
Artie rises from swarm, steps out, shoots mass
Lath continues to be grappled
Aldrick unleashes soundburst , killing swarm and stunned ants grappling Lath
ANTS surge forward, back row moves as though commanded
Renli slaughters wasp, steps forward
Lucius hits the other wasp
Artie shoots multiple arrows into last swarm, klling it
Lathander flies to side of room
Aldrick calls on essence of Archons to menace ants
ANTS charge forward, attempt at massive push; 4 hit lucius wounding heavily, 3 try to take down renli but fail, Queen moves forward, grapples Lath, wounding him grievously
The knock in the ground gets really loud
(BACK AT CAMP) Milo eating scorpion, sees millions of ants falling down cavern side – mil i a bitch
REnli hits 2 more ants, killing one
Lucius attacks wasp, kills it
Artie shoots multiple arrows at queen, wounding
Lath throws grenade down queen’s gullet
Aldrick soundbursts and stuns ants, wounding Renli again……….
ANTS stunned, Queen drops Lath, charges Artie and grapples him
Renli kills several ants
Lucius kills ant, steps up to queen
Breaking out of the mandibles of the Queen, Artie unleashes a host of arrows at into the queen’s face, killing it
Lath yells grenade, pulls back Lucius
Aldrick moves back
Ants go crazy, attacking each other and players randomly
Renli walks toward haziness, drinking potion of healing, sees cracking ground
Lucius approaches, switched judgment
Artie “that knocking sound is coming from beneath the queen, and the ground is cracking”
Queen explodes from bomb, Lath ‘killed’
Aldrick pours cure light into Lath, bringing back to life
KNOCK on ground, bigger cracks
Renli casts Bulls Strength
Lucius casts Dimensional Anchor on cursed stalagmite, delay, then pulses and starts to fade (SUCCESS – DP used)
Artie heals self
Lath downs cure mod, stands up
Ground caves in, horrific grub-ant-clawed-demon-woman-face creature (LARVA QUEEN); ants and humanoids in back section of abdomen (sounds like chorus of spring peepers/crickets – confusion)
Renli pushes toward beast, slashed with mandible, Calls on might of Iomedae, slashes righteously
Lucius, battle brother, steps up beside Renli and unleashes another attack
Artie shoots multiple arrows at beast, wounding
Lath throws bomb blessed with the light of Saranrae, wounding and staggering
Aldrick casts Burst of Radiance on Larva Queen, stone (blinded 4 rounds, wounded)
Blind & STaggered, the Queen blasts cone of acid at party, hitting all except Renli
Renli looks down, sees ants flooding out of Queen. Calling on my Righteous blessing, unleashing barrage of wounds (44+24+33+24 = 125 dmg) slaughtering it
The Larva Queen collapses back, tumbling down into pit
Artie goes to explore lower chamber
Renli smashes stone with 2 swings of construct bane warhammer
Lath examines shard of stone, has bug inside – abyssal larva
Lath destroys abyssal larva with holy bomb
check corpse, layer
depart tunnels
Hear commotion from camp, see scorpion burning
men arguing
Lucius “Discipline!”; men snap into line (both human and mongrelman) but one mongrelman glares with demonic eyes, hisses. Lucius slaps across face, mongrelman shakes off possession. Has ‘remnants of evil” on him. “My apologies sir, I do not know what came over me”.
Edores, Lann, Renli, and Lucius – in Edores’ tent discuss corruption, scene of scorpion burning, feral nature in combat, corrupt meat?, edores “one army, if they cant eat, we cant eat”, need to be vigilant, Lucius offers to ease the rest of 12 of the mongrelfolk most affected
Aldrick arrives, Edores informs of him of “Jerry Littlefinger”’s outspoken nature
Aldrick “i want some assurances that we will get into the city”
Lann “my kin have become more aggressive, but I can keep them focused on the task at hand”
Lath “you stole my silver!”
Aldrick “the key to our entrance is to use that which we sleep under”
Renli “bones?” Aldrick “yes, bones, a most formidable creature”
Scene – debate – 3 extreme no (milo, renli, lath), 1 strong doubt (lucius), 1 soft no (artie)
Renli considers Cloak, turns dark gray
Aldrick “My Iomedae preserve all your Souls”
12 mongrelfolk join with Lucius, offer sincere prayers and ask for guidance, keep them safe, restful at night
3 dead human soldiers in tent, clawed apart viciously (they are the 3 Asmodites)
witness begins to panic, blames mongrelfolk, I step to him, place hand on shoulder and speak to that we are all brethren, and this is clearly the work of a demon from outside the camp, we will find it and bring it to justice (diplomacy 35 plus aura, calmd)
thank you lord renli, i know you will find it
Lucius detects Aura of Chaos, creature came into camp, tore apart 3 asmodites, then left heading north
Aldrick walks out of Godcaller’s tent, torches it
Edores “she left to scout ahead”
Concerned Nora perpetrated it
Later, Renli speaks to army to calm concerns, bring together
About to leave, Nora returns
“Who burned down my tent?” to Lucius “Inquisitor, I am sure you will see the perpetrators brought to justice, or is that only for your countryman?”
Lucius “Of course. In addition, there were 3 murders last night.”

Nora (how could he know that? wait, she couldn’t be involved, no..)
Nora gives report to Edores, landscape is nothing hospitable, a couple ambush points but no sign of ambushes
Nora, “which one of your pets were murdered? Hahahaha, not your pets? The world will be a better place because of this.”
Nora ill at ease trying to dismiss knowledge of wounds ~ clearly has knowledge of something

On the road to Drezen


This Place Crawls

This Place Crawls

The Sword of Valor Session XIV

· Lath makes acid flasks
· Lucius, Artie exploring large tunnel
· Climb up, stretches forward then ‘ends’
· Cautiously move in, Lucius feels ground rumble
· Massive scorpion erupts from ground, lashes out at both
· Clamps down claw hard on Artie
· Cries of battle heard in camp
· Artie breaks out of grasp, falls back
· Lucius withdraws
· Aldrick departs Edoras’s tent, starts moving
· Renli takes off running all out
· Lath drinks potion, starts going
· Scorpion squeezes down, crawls forward into tunnel, attacks Lucius, wounding
· Lucius & Artie repel down from cave
· Renli comes around corner, still running
· Scorpion pounces down on Artie and Lucius, stabbing Artie with stinger
· Artie tries to retreat, gets cut down by scorpion
· Lucius steps up to confront
· Renli charges in, jumping with Radiance cleaving into the beast
· Lath tosses bomb, burning beast
· Scorpion lashes out with claw, stinger at Renli, grievously wounding; misses Lucius
· Aldrick heals Artie meanly (step on chest)
· Renli cleaves into again with Radiance, deep wound
· Lath heals artie
· Scorpion attacks, wounds Lucius, Renli
· Artie rises, gets stabbed by scorpion’s stinger, poisoned; drinks potion of bull’s strength
· Lucius steps around scorpion
· Aldrick summons infernal mace to strike creature, wounds
· Renli breaks out of claw, strikes with Radiance
· Lath bombs scorpion while tossing potion to Artie
· Scorpion misses everyone
· Artie shoots with bow
· Lucius ???
· Aldrick’s infernal mace hits again
· Renli strikes again
· Lath shoots crossbow, bolt skips off
· Heavily wounded, scorpion flees, Renli wounds again
· Artie, vengeful, unleashes a barrage of arrows, killing it
· Lath tries to loot corpse, recovers stinger & poison
· Guards come up, help bring scorpion back to camp for food (not tainted)
· Climb up into tunnel, find scorpion pit, with hole going straight down
· Renli loops rope around hips, drops sunrod down, draws Radiance, “lower me”
· Descends into cavern below; large natural space, several of the ‘scout’ ants milling about
· Rest of party descends behind, start following ants
· Ants are traveling toward our camp
· Aldrick torches a bunch with Soundburst, wounding and stunning
· Soldier ant bites Renli, tries to grapple but fails
· Lucius, Renli, Aldrick all attack drone ants closing on them
· Lath attacked by several drones, wounded
· Renli beheads and smashes soldier ant
· Aldrick lends aid to Artie to escape
· Artie shoots ants, killing soldier
· Lath drops bomb on ants at feet, boom
· Aldrick ensorcels ants, inflicting pain
· Ants attack, Artie and Lucius grappled
· Renli slaughters soldier holding Lucius
· Lucius identifies source of decay
· Artie kills more ants
· Lath bombs ant swarms
· Aldrick ‘blesses’ allies
· Ant swarms surge over us, wounding all
· Renli kills more ants
· Lucius destructive smites ants
· Artie shoots soldier and drone
· Lath bombs more ants
· Aldrick uses Soundburst again on ants, ‘accidentally’ hit Lucius & Renli
· Ants twitching & stunned, couple drones grapple Lath
· Renli pulls out acid flask, toasts swarm at feet
· Lucius steps up, kills another drone, searching for source
· Artie attack
· Lath tries wand burning hands, fails
· Aldrick attack
· Ants Soldiers abruptly turn and retreat en masse; drones keep attacking
· Renli smashes another soldier with shield
· Lucius attack
· Artie
· Lath tries wand burning hands, fails
· Aldrick acid flask to swarm
· Ants continue to withdraw
· Renli runs down tunnel
· Lucius runs down tunnel to massive swarm chamber
· Artie finishes off last swarm, heads down tunnel
· Lath heads down tunnel
· Aldrick
· Ant patrol comes down hall, strange ant with ‘gas chamber’, sprays Artie, gets attacked; Lucius overwhelmed by massive ant swarm
· Renli throws acid at mega-swarm
· Lucius got keg of gunpowder
· Artie shoots bunch of ants, kills gas ant
· Lath tries to activate wand of burning hands, fails
· Aldrick delays
· Ants: megaswarm floods down hall; train of drones surrounds Artie
· Renli delay
· Lucius cracks open gunpowder jug, dumps and tosses down hall
· Artie shoots more ant drones
· Lath tosses gunpowder further down hall
· Aldrick steps out of swarm, torches gunpowder
· BOOM!!!!! Renli and Lath consumed in middle of inferno
· Ants close on Artie
· Renli runs back for Artie, killing two drones; think some kind of scent was being followed by drones; if could disrupt could stop channel
· Lucius moves toward large chamber “I hear wings”
· Artie shoots more ants
· Lath drinks antitoxin, moves toward grand chamber
· Aldrick seals feeder tunnel with stone shape
· Ants drones surge forward at Artie, grappling; Aldrick lends blessing to escape, Artie escapes
· Renli continues back for Artie, killing more ants
· Lucius looks down into grand chamber
· Artie kills more ants, almost free
· Lath throws sunrod down into grand chamber
· Aldrick dowses Artie in water (magical), ants wander away
· Ants crunch sunrod
· Renli heads back toward group, grand chamber
· Lucius move
· Artie move
· Lath move
· Aldrick move
· Ants
· Renli moves up
· Lucius descends into grand chamber, scrambling down difficultly
· Artie bounces down hill, spots mass of ants: winged wasps, queen, soldiers, etc; rift/portal haziness at back of chamber


Dominance, Delight & Detonation

Dominance, Delight & Detonation

The Sword of Valor Session XI

Fire. If not for all that damned fire… I’m still at a loss, I’m not quite sure how he managed, but we should have been able to take that tiefling magic-user without it coming to that. And that blasted halfling was nowhere to be seen either – he could have swung the tide. Teer was on the brink of dying. We let our hatred for those who have turned overcome us. We were reckless, overconfident even? No… we have the ability… it must be the blasted influence of the Worldwound. I hit him through a tiny crack – I heard him shriek when I did – but still it wasn’t enough. The four arrows peppering the side of the wagon should have found their mark too. If they had we wouldn’t have gone through this, wasted all that time…

But what’s done is done, our companions came to our aid and we managed to escape with our lives while dispatching the wretched abomination. It’s nice to be back in camp if even for a short spell. They say we weren’t out for long, but it feels like a long time to me. The city of Keeper’s Canyon lies ahead… well, what’s left of it anyway… inhabited by the enemy. It is our destination tomorrow, and men will likely die. Cayden I thank you for this wineskin, even though the liquid within leaves something to be desired, it certainly works in situations like these. Now, to the matter of my usefulness… I need a few more arrows, time to see what I can scrounge this evening…

We are all off doing our own thing. Lathander is consumed with his alchemy. Aldrick wanders off, likely up to no good. Lucius and Renli are making their rounds of the men – the former scrutinizing, the latter inspiring. The dynamic is still amazing, how they both worship Iomadae yet approach their worship in completely differnt manners.

[Aldrick had headed out to visit Nora, the Sarkorian guide. Not finding her present, he made himself comfortable in her tent with a chair of his own creation. He rummaged through her things to find a religious codex of sort, with rituals of summoning. As he starts examining it she bursts in, threatening to kill him for violating her space. He honestly tells her he is there to learn of her craft, and reveals we are after the god caller “Berrexi”. She knows of him, but is still upset with Aldrick and demands he leave. He does, but not before threatening to torture her. A runner finds him shortly after he exits, telling him Lucius has asked for his presence…]

[Lucius is on his rounds and with his abilities sees evil coming from a tent. He grabs a sentry, and sends him to fetch Aldrick and Renli. Naturally he investigates without waiting, and hears infernal chanting to Asmodeus. He barges in, startling three soldiers worshiping by a flickering candle with a pentagram. One tries to draw his weapon and gets kicked to the ground by Lucius’ boot. The leader attempts to start erasing things. Lucius demands to know what is going on. He pulls a book away from the leader, but the leader protests. He is allowed to worship Asmodeus. Lucius doesn’t argue, but instead raises his voice to his typical bellow, demanding they worship in the open so they can be watched! They run out of the tent into the night, frightened by the inquisitor.]

Guess I’m going to have to be a little conservative and use my powers. Arrows are hard to come by, but as long as I have a handful I can keep this interesting. What the hell is all that commotion, sounds like Lucius again… Yep, three men running out of a tent, they must have been talking funny. Hmm… he’s holding a book of sorts, and there’s the other halfing – much more reliable. Think I’ll stay here in listen in. Asmodeus? Aldrick? Gaining influence? They sound genuinely concerned…

And speak of the devil… yes, I just said that… here comes Aldrick now. And there goes Lucius, all high-and-mighty again, demanding that Aldrick stop spreading his influence, blah blah. Aldrick claims he has not preached about Asmodeus, but can’t help if the soldiers are in awe of his power. I must admit, this guy is pretty smooth. I suggest if they want to then let Aldrick guide them, to at least keep them from getting utterly corrupted. Renli grabs Lucius and pulls him aside to talk, game planning a common approach? I think I’ll get a little closer and see if I can hear what they’re talking about…

I guess I didn’t need to, now Lucius is bellowing again – this time at Renli. These guys are creating quite the scene now. I look over at Aldrick, who’s expression hasn’t changed much. Soldiers are starting to gather… this is not good… “What’s all that racket! Heads will roll for this!” Suddenly Eddoras barges by, stopping when he sees who is causing all the noise. It’s then that I catch it, the scent of alcohol on his breath. Any of Cayden’s people would have caught that. He demands they calm down, that it’s not good for the men. Lucius and Renli seem humbled a bit. Edoras then wheels and starts to walk off, but talks to Aldrick for a bit. Renli and Lucius resume their conversation, but on a much more civil tone until a quick raise in voice at the very end… wonder what that was about. I think they can tell Eddoras was drinking… neither of them will like that much. No bother, the camp has settled down so it’s time to head to bed…

[Renli and Lucius both seek out Eddoras, but his sentries say he is not to be disturbed. They are concerned about his drinking, and they discuss a plan to address it in the morning.]

Now what’s that racket. Awaken from a sound sleep, only to hear… moaning… what the hell? Sounds like these guys are getting off… well, that’s the Worldwound for you… back to sleep. In the morning a few of the group realize the incubus may have been responsible for the events of the night… to try and wear the army down before we engage their forces. Luckily none of us were affected.

[Renli tries to put his plan in motion with Eddoras, but Eddoras refuses to leave the proximity of the tent, so Renli addresses the drinking. Eddoras assures him he’s focused on the coming battle, but he is concerned about the lack of scouts. Renli echoes the concern, especially with the scouting disaster of the day before.]

The group gathers after breakfast, a little sullen, knowing what the day will bring. The topic quickly shifts to scouting. I volunteer to go it alone, I know the land better and can stay quieter, plus without Teer to jump the gun I can avoid combat or fight it at long range – no need to get close. But the others show concern, and we decide to move together, with me just a few hundred feet ahead and the others able to provide support quickly, rather than being a long distance away. So the task is to get eyes on the city, and we quickly set out while the army breaks camp.

As we move ahead, I notice the river has really receded here. The West Sellen is a shadow of what it once was, especially since the Ahari stopped flowing in. Keeper’s Canyon sits at the confluence on both sides of the Ahari gorge, a perfect strategic spot. So hopefully this isn’t a bad trap, because it could get pretty nasty if that’s the case. Speaking of a trap, I think that’s a sentry on the bluff there…

I take cover behind some large rocks in the riverbed and motion for the others to stop. I sit waiting, pacing his scan pattern. I peek up again, and sure enough it’s a sentry. A large Sarkorian similar to Teer, but clearly twisted. The odd part is he’s standing somewhat in the open, as if daring someone to attack him. A sentry and a warning device of sorts? Looks like he has a horn too. I better head back and confer with the others so this doesn’t end up like last time…

But there is little else we can come up with, nobody disagrees with my assumptions so we decide to lure him down and see if we can possibly have Teer stand in his place. I maneuver the group to my previous position then throw a rock into some loose stones on the bank while he’s not watching. He hears it and looks intently, saying something but it’s hard to hear. He appears to be talking to someone nearby, so there are at least two of them. But after a short while he shrugs and goes back to scanning, so I throw another rock…

That got his attention, he’s almost shouting now. Come down here moron… now he’s.. grabbing his crotch? I can’t hide the large grin on my face… should I? Nah, it would blow the plan… But… he’s still going… too tempting… and I have to prove I can hit something that is certainly smaller than that hole in the side of the wagon yesterday… Why not, Cayden would enjoy this… BULLSEYE!

Two arrows rain down in response, striking me as my target howls in pain and staggers. My companions jump to action, Lucius striking one of the bowmen wiht his crossbow. I move further out from cover and let loose, hitting the big Sarkorian again. Aldrick creates a magical weapon which strikes the beast and he falls. More arrows come my way, then one of the bowmen scurries to his fallen comrade, clearly after the horn. Renli blasts him with a couple arrows, Lathander lobs an ineffective alchemical device, I hit him again, but not enough. Aldrick manages to take him down. The last bowmen then moves over, forsaking an attack to get the warning off. The horn is sounded… so be it. I slam four arrows into him, and it’s the last breath he takes.

Quickly we climb the bluff, and there is the city before us. We thought we were further away, but clearly not. The city… if you can call it that… is mobilizing at the sound of the horn. We estimate there are around 150 soldiers among them, and we realize we need to figure out a way to even the odds. The remnants of the city and the old piers are twisted and wrecked, but some have been put to use as rudimentary defenses. Aldrick spots a leader of sorts and casts a spell, enraging him. I ponder launching a few volleys, but several twisted Sarkorian start in our direction, and we decide it’s time to fall back to the army and report.

Eddoras is happy to see us return, and even more so with the news that we were successful. Tactical discussion ensues, and we gravitate towards using black powder to reduce the defenses and even the odds. I volunteer a flaming arrow, Lathander keeps babbling, Aldrick offers magic, and a plan comes together. We’ll use a small force of the army to approach the defenses while Aldrick uses some magic to deflect arrows. Once we reach the defenses, Aldrick will then create a hole for the keg which will then be placed. The small force will pull back as the balance rush from out of sight on a cavalry charge. Perfectly timed, we will set off the keg and blow a hole in the defenses – hopefully catching a chunk of the enemy in the blast – just in time for the cavalry to charge in.

Once the hole in the defenses is exploited, our elite group will peel off. We have an incubus and a god caller to find – and Cayden willing some prisoners to free.


A Life for a Life

A Life for a Life

The Sword of Valor Session X

Iomedae is my Strength.

The Twins cleared of their conquerors, the Queen’s Men rescued, and the demon lord Maghoula slain in honor of your 3rd Act, we head north toward our destination, toward Drezen. With a majority of our scouts lost, Mlo, Artemis, and Taer have taken up the mantle as frontrunners for our company. We have lost good men and women, Anevia most noted among them, but the worst of it is we don’t even know their fate. Had we more time, I’d advocate for attempts to determine their state and rescue them if they still live, though I doubt we will have an opportunity to do so. There are only so many bridges that need to be cleared to let an army by. I loathe the moment when I will have to share with Captain Irabeth the news of her loss. I have failed her, and the sacred promise I made to both of them.

Even in triumph there is loss, and triumph is never guaranteed. Such is war. But I shall not falter, shall not lose faith, for Your radiant light and righteous wrath guide me, driving me ever on.

In the distance, a lone rider. We tense up, is it friend or foe? Too small to be a man… ah, it’s my kinsman Milo returned. He eagerly reports on their findings – a company of tiefling slavers. My heart jumps for a moment, could our soldiers still be alive, but held captive by these horrid beings? I prepare to call to Edoras to hasten the company when Milo says, “Oh, we killed them all. Arti and Taer are sorting through the mess, I just came back to let you know.” When pressed for signs of our soldiers, he muttered a casual “I don’t know” then wanders off to find some food.

Perhaps I was born for something more, but I have never suffered from the strangely consuming hunger of my race. It has always perplexed me.

Kicking our horses, we hasten up toward our companions. Milo had said the tieflings had been easily slaughtered, but why this sense of foreboding, this uneasiness? Coming into the ravine where they had encountered the tieflings, we spot a herd of aurochs, tainted by the Worldwound, meandering through the battle field feasting on the fallen tieflings. Demon eat demon, it’s a touch amusing.

My heart stops.

This, this cannot be! Leaping off my steed I rush through the horrid beasts, slaying two that think I am their next meal. I jump up onto the wagon, tearing at its wrought-iron bars. Tears stream down my face as I try to rend the metal with my bare hands. Lathander follows quickly behind and unleashes his nimble fingers on the lock. Throwing the door open I dive in, lifting the decapitated head of my Sarkorian friend. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

As I stare there at the mutilated remains of my brothers in arms, Taer’s visage slowly twists, warping into the hideous face of an Abyssal tiefling. What trickery is this?! I throw the tiefling’s head to the ground in disgust. Lathander nearly loses his mind at my actions ~ he cannot see through the magical guise that had been cast upon these corpses as a way to mock and torment us. But my soul is pure, my cause is just, and thus You grant me the ability to see through such lies.

I will have vengeance.

Lathander has recovered and begins investigating the other wagon, one with solid wooden sides. Foolishly he springs a trap, getting himself caught in a chamber of metal and fire. His skills allow him to free himself, and he recovers some useful items before the whole carriage is consumed in flames.

Meanwhile, Lucius and Aldrick have found three wagon trails leading out of the river bed. Aldrick’s sight enhanced by his unholy pacts, he is able to determine that two of the trails are magical in nature, meaning the third is our clear choice for pursuit. Cracking our steeds into a brutal gallop, we charge ahead with hopes that our friends may still live.

A crow caws in the distance. It is unsettling, an agent of some unknown demon lord perhaps. It will not pass any message home today. Without Artemis to take it down, I take on his role and unleash an arrow at the avian beast, then watch it plummet to the ground.

Coming up over a rise, we see another barred wagon rolling away in the distance. Pushing our mounts on further, we close the distance further. A driver can be seen atop the wagon. Suddenly it stops and the rider disappears, reappearing inside the wagon with a blade to Artemis’s throat. “Another step and your friends die" he utters. Lucius casts back threats in turn, then he and Aldrick try to negotiate. “Your life for our companions’ lives”, Lucius offers. The slaver counters, “ah but you get two, whereas I get only one. I will free one of them for my safe passage, the other goes on with me”.

I cannot… I will not lose any more of my friends this day. Especially not to the bondage of slavery. It is simple, the value of two lives is greater than one, even my own. Though I am loathe to I will entreat with this man, for he holds the fate of my friend’s lives literally on the edge of a blade.

I up the ante. “My life for the other’s then”. The slaver snorts, “Why would I want a half man in shiny armor? The Hag Jaruka will pay far more for this mighty Sarkorian.” Proudly, I dismount and declare, “I am Sir Renlidorn Taggletoe, knight of Kenabres, the sacredly blessed paladin of Iomedae who slew the demon lord Maghoula… your Hag wouldn’t want something like that?”

He is taken aback by my bold declaration, and to a degree I am as well. I have never thought of myself as much, yet in those few short words I painted a portrait of a hero of old… The man ponders for a moment then accepts, and calls on Lucius to execute me. I laugh, if he wants my life he can take my life, not another, but I will see my friends go free in return. He calls out, “They will pay handsomely for your head.” I stare back “are you telling me they wouldn’t pay more to torture my soul for eternity rather than get my dead corpse while my soul rests in Heaven at Iomedae’s Court?”

Yet again the slaver is caught offguard by the dark reality of my words, “wait, wait, hmm, yes.” With that, I start walking forward, disarming slowly as I approach. Lathander continues to protest my actions, but it is of little use. I will save them. Ever i insightful, Aldrick states that he “must determine if they are still alive for this deal to be sure. i will not harm you, you have my word.” The slaver motions for him to come and he follows behind me.

As we draw near the wagon, I drop the last of my arms, then my shield. All save Radiance. “I must know they are alive”, I utter as I stop. The slaver throws me a key. Picking it up, I step up and unlock the door, allowing Aldrick to step in. Aldrick smiles, “let us talk, won’t you drop the knife”. Suddenly the slaver drops the blade.

The game has changed, he no longer holds my companions lives in his hands. I dive forward, striking him with Your righteous might delivered through my fists.
Tiefling teleports away, Renli “he is nearby, used teleport magic”

Party closes
Renli lay on hands Arti, back to life
“No one betrays Baron Issen and Lives” Fireball
Aldrick blasts ‘burst of radiance’, wounding and blinding tiefling
Healing splash on all
Renli lay on hands Taer, starts charging
Lath dismantles manacles on Taer, hands crossbow to Arti “you know how to use this”
Arti, still manacles, shoots bolt at tiefling, hits
Lucius runs, with magic, nearly at blind wizard
Renli keeps running
Taer tries to break out of feet chains
Arti to Lath “reload”; does, works on manacles
Blind Wizard, “i surrender, do not kill barron issen, i know many things and can be of use to you”
Aldrick runs
Lucius charges, plunging sword into blind wizard
(servant of Sifkesh, demon lord of ….)
Aldrick searches body, finds holy symbol
Renli, “we cannot tarry long, let us return with him”
Lucius, “we cannot allow this heretic to speak”
debate options for interrogation
Lucius, “we must get back to army” draws sword and executes
Lath tries to block, but parry is futile
Lucius “what was that, he is a criminal”
Aldrick pulls gems from pocket, casts spell trapping Baron Issen’s soul
Lath, highly upset "do you know what he just did?
Lath rants about spell
Lucius defends as way to prevent evil soul from becoming demon
Aldrick, “this will be leverage when we negotiate with him”

Renli is highyl conflicted – binding soul is inherently evil, but tiefling/demon not same and if doing it will serve greater good, lesser evil is acceptable;

find small chest with ledgers, chalkboard, small statue, jars with soul worms (break jars)

Aldrick, “this is pointless, i am tired, let us go back to the army, i am tired from saving you all so much today”
Taer identifies fallen sarkorian tieflings as “Stormbloods”, clan that has fully gone over to service of Deskari

Head back, reconnect with army
Discuss loss of scouts, Anevia
Edoras and Lucius have brief go around regarding a scout’s duties
Edoras makes mention of going before “Our Queen, and wanting to be judged successful”
Aldrick and Renli both speak of success and living, Renli’s words are very moving for Edoras

Lathandar continues to scoff to the side

Aldrick casts Speak with Dead
– Issen is happy his soul did not go on to Abyss, because of demon contract
– Keepers Canyon, nearby town
– the small statue allowed Issen to speak with Jezebel (Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth)
– Tortured and raped Anevia, then sold her to “worse owner”
– Keeper’s Canyon, now home of “Baraxi, chief of Stormbloods”, have welcomed power of Daskari; Baraxi is unique in his power; about to call forth power from blood; does not call god to his side, but rather god possesses him; delight in freshly spilt blood on the storm winds
– Baraxi has new lover – “he is not what she appears to be” Incubus
– Baron Issen starts taunting Lathander, about “soul gem”, the Inquisition, makes reference to risen devil “ragathiel”
– Lath runs up behind Aldrick and tries to tackles him
– Aldrick off to see our own God Caller “Nora Deadwinter”
– Have demon contract with demon’s “true name” on it


Fear and Foolishness and Zombies

Fear and Foolishness and Zombies

The Sword of Valor Session IX

Noooo why! The shriek that pierced through my skull woke me from the restless night’s sleep. Screaming, begging, and cursing, some in pleasure but most in pain. A ceaseless cacophony of voices lived in my head, roaring to the heavens their displeasure and anguish and hate! Did they live there now, or was it truly just a manifestation of the abyssal cursed crown…I was not sure. I was hard pressed to deny that it was becoming worse. In the beginning it was a continuous stream of screams, all women. This however, though unsettling, was bearable and I was able to drown out much of the noise. It did not take long though for the voices to shift into ones I knew, and that was all before they started talking.

The camp was subdued from the previous nights events. Although we had succeed in defeating the horde of undead, the Nabasu, and rescued many of captain Dann’s men, the men were shaken. Anevia and her scouts were still missing from their excursion the day before. However, I believe it was the mass of Zombies, many of which were women and children, that had many of the men’s spirits at their low. While I have no taste for the senseless slaughter of women and children, I do not quiver at the enemies use of them or putting them down like the mindless tool of the enemy they had become. In truth if Iomedae and her followers were wise enough to follow the enemies actions this war would most likely have been over for decades. I suppose that is why I am here. In either case the battle had been cleverly planned by the enemy…

As was only fitting we returned to the camp on the Twins to the chorus of cheers. We had after all returned with many of the lost men who would be able fill the holes in our ranks. It was after all from the battle to take the Twins that we had lost the men in the first place. Captain Dann understood this all to well and pledging herself and her men to our cause. Flay her, make her kneel, writhe in pain! The screaming in my head amplified to drown out captain Dann’s words and slowly transformed to match her stern voice. Closing my eyes I pushed and the voices slowly started to reseed, enough for me to hear Edoras say that Anevia and four of her men had gone missing while scouting the forward path. Unfortunately, it was to late in the day to attempt a search so any efforts would have to wait till the morning. It seemed that damned girl was in a hurry to kill herself, which was rather annoying given the effort I had expended to drag her ungrateful ass out of Kenabres. Ignoring the new screams in my head and the familiar voice they took on I turned in early for the night.

Lucius on the other hand continued his nightly vigil and forced Milo to join him. Milo instead of using this time productively decided it would be wiser to play a song on his fiddle as if no one was trying to sleep. Either way it was fortunate for us that they were awake. The night had grown eerily quiet and dark so that not even the stars shown in the sky. Given the fact that we were in the Worldwound none of these factors were too alarming, but when the sentries did not come back from their rounds Lucius shot a bolt of light out into the darkness. It revealed an entire Sakorian village of men, women, and children, who had all been turned into the walking dead. The most disconcerting part of the this army of dead was that not a single sound escaped from their shambling forms. Much can be said about such creatures, but stealth is not numbered among their virtues. Having just fought a master of the dead earlier in the day it left little doubt as to whom was behind this attack.

I am not sure who, but someone was wise enough to blow a horn signalling the alarm and waking the army. Wasting no time I found a slight rise to give myself a better vantage of the battle. Seeing that the army would not be ready in time I thought quickly and twisted reality around the Zombie army slowing their movement. It did not take me long to get the men ready on the bridge to block the advance of the dead as they make their way through the rubble. I ensured the line formed completely from the north to south walls of the bridge and that the men would be ready to relieve the front ranks as required. As we engaged the enemy I noticed how thorough the silence around them was and judged it to be some sort of magical silence. During this time Artie decided to position himself on the north wall for a better vantage of the killing field, which would prove unwise.

Swooping out from the darkness was of course Maghoula, the Nabasu demon that we failed to kill the previous day. Maghoula wasted no time and lashed out at Artie giving him a grievous wound all the while calling down a thick cloud of darkness to hinder Renli and Teer as they made their way up to aid Artie. Knowing the unnatural darkness could turn the tide of the battle, I struggled to find the strength to counter the demon’s chaotic magic. Not knowing where the power came from, but not complain of its result as a burst of light countered Maghoula’s foul darkness. From the south wall I heard Lucius scream at Maghoula and he began to vomit in fear. I am still not quite sure how Lucius has such an affect on a demon, but I suppose you must be one to fully understand one. Either way Artie took the opportunity to repay Maghoula with two arrows to the chest.

While Renli, Artie, and Teer battle Maghoula, the men and I continued the fight against the undead. The battle seemed to be going in our favor, but of course Lathander decided he had to throw one of the few remaining kegs of black powder into the mass of zombies. Seeing what he had done, without warning a soul, I ordered the men to fall back. The explosion that rocked the bridge was enough blow chunks of rubble thirty feet in all directions. The fool was lucky he did not destroy the entire bridge. Kill him! However, reckless it was affective as the zombie army was mostly destroyed.

Maghoula and the others continued to fight along the north wall. It did not appear to be going well for them as Maghoula had paralyzed Artie and was attempting to do the same to Teer and Renli. The foolish hafling decided it would be wise at this point to jump off the wall and attack Maghoula, slicing clean through one of his wings. Both Maghoula and Renli plunged into the water below, but Renli gained the upper hand and slammed his blade deep into the beast’s chest. With the battle over the men went about restoring order to the camp. Renli dragged Maghuola’s body back up to the bridge and we searched it for any useful items. However, not a one of them thought to go among the dead and search them. Fortunately I am not so foolish and I discovered three collars, which appeared to be the cause of the undead army’s silence. They are not worthy! I decided it would be wise to keep such useful items to myself for the time being.

I broke from my thoughts of last nights battle as I noticed the others were speaking of events from the night as well. Lathander had discovered that some of the men, including himself, had contracted ghoul fever. While a minor annoyance, and something I was sure even Lathander could handle, it was something that needed to be watched. Additionally, Teer and Artie had gone out before the night was fully upon us to see if they could find Anevia’s trail. What they found did not bode well for Anevia and her men. They found a trail of three wagons which had come from inland and headed north along the river much in the same direction we were heading. At the start of the trail they spotted a twisted Sakorian who had been killed by poison. The foul Sakorian was most likely killed by Anevia, but the fact that she was missing and the blood they found near by left many questions. Knowing there was not much more they could do they headed back to camp.

I had apparently missed much by going to my bed at such an early hour. When Teer and Artie arrived the sentries attempted to arrest Teer claiming that his soul had been corrupted. Fortunately for those men, and many others, Lucius was near and proved it was the armor that Teer wore which gave off such a foul aura. Lucius even had to go so far as to reprimand some men who were unhappy about Teer and his demon armor. I cannot really say that I disagree with them as Teer is a beast and should most likely be put down. However, he is a useful beast that should be guided until that usefulness comes to an end. Either way I was happy to hear the destruction of most of our army was averted and moved on to the days affairs.

As we made ready to leave Teer, Artie, and Milo decided to act as our forward scouts and moved out to investigate our path. As we would find out later they discovered a small camp comprised of three wagons, which appeared to be the same three wagon that made the tracks from the day before. Unfortunately, Anevia was nowhere in sight. Milo moved up to investigate and determined the camp was comprised of about a dozen tieflings. The one that appeared to be in charge was a particularly grotesque tiefling with a pronounced hunchback. While two of the wagons were cages the third, where their leader sat, was fully enclosed so it was impossible for Mile to know if Anevia and her men were within. The tracks showed that the tieflings were returning from somewhere further down the trail and given the cages they appeared to be slavers. However, Milo could see that they were roasting and eating human flesh so the odds were good that they were already dead.

Reporting what he saw to Teer and Artie, they all conveniently forgot the definition of the word scout and attacked. It did not take them long to kill the demon spawn as they described it, but the fools let the leader escape. This they would soon learn was a grave mistake and I would be forced to clean up after their folly.

Please! Kill them all! Bathe in their blood! Ahhhhhhh! Some days I couldn’t agree more…

pentagram.gif Aldrick

Incompetence and Division

Incompetence and Division, A Setback most Natural

The Sword of Valor Session VIII

Leave church of pharasma

Teer quickly locates the groups physical trail, but Lucius finds a different trai using his follow aura spell.“Stupid”

he believes something has tried to alter the physica trail to lead us astray.

Adrick becomes suggested by some unseen power. Convinced that Lucius is lieing, they argue.

Lucius catches a glimpse of some Fey creature hiding in the tree tops. Creature was invisible. It has chaotic aura, but not evil.

Lucius calls out, demands the creature show himself, but no response.

Several members of group are hit by tiny needles during the conversation.

The group decides to follow the Aura trail. After some time we find the physical trail again as well.

We hear a call for help in the distance, probably trap. But “stupid” good group members would not be satisfied without checking. So Lucius orders them to take a look.

Teer and Artemis scout out in the direction of the noise. They find a grove of sickly looking trees.

Lathander, perhaps not trusting Teer and Artemis to do the “good” Cough…foolish thing, runs off in that direction as well.

The trees try to entangle art and teer but they escape. As they leave, teer becmes suggested to bring Lathander into the grove.

The Pixie attacks, first animating a tree to keep us busy. Then fascinating many with a splash of pretty colors.

Artie and Tree go man to man. Tree starts to prove itself the better man.

Teer continues to grapple lathander, and lathander continues to escape.

Lucius interrupts a spell with his crossbow, and then charges the tree to give aid to Arty.

Aldrick casts a fog spell to hide us from the Fey creature’s spells.

Aldrick casts a spell to reveal invisibile creatures in the area.

The tree falls.

The pixie gets off a confusion spell on most people.

Arty drops the now revealed pixie in one round.

Lucius manacles himself and goes and sits in the fog, so as not to be a danger to others.


Tales from the Crypt

Tales from the Crypt

The Sword of Valor Session VII

Light. It’s not that I’m afraid of the dark, I’ve splent plenty of time in the caverns of the Worldwound. But I can’t keep our enemies at bay if I can’t see them until they are almost on top of us. Can I hold my own toe-to-toe? You bet, but I can overwhelm an opponent a hundred feet away – even the odds so my companions can make quick work of those who get through my barrage. Like those trolls and their pet drake. These blasted ghouls keep shambling out of the darkness, and while we’re holding our own right now a little more light would make this easier…

Amidst the combat I could hear Renli – our short, well-armored friend – calling out to Iomadae. And there it was – Light. The next room was illuminated – dimly but enough for me to see in from my position covering both doors. More ghouls, but looking a little heftier, the evil cleric, and something that appeared to be demonic in origin. I let loose a volley at the beast as my companions jumped to the new threat. Renli stood in the door, attempting to hold the line.

And then there was chanting coming from the evil cleric. Next thing I know hands burst from the ground grabbing at my legs. I try to shake them off but they are relentless. I get pulled to the ground and I notice Lathandar is struggling as I am – and I know he is not very strong so he must be in even more peril than I am. Some ghouls had tried to enter the room behind us but the hands grabbed them too. Blast this magical mayhem…

I can hear the combat – Aldrick chanting, Renli battling, Lucius bellowing – but I can’t help them. I feel like I’m starting to be pulled into the ground. Damn these hands, I need to break out of this. More chanting and then a large zombie appears near my feet, tearing at Renli. But the little man stands like a giant, holding his ground against attackers from both sides. Lucius deals a solid blow to the creature while I struggle to free myself. I am definitely being pulled into the ground now…

And suddenly I’m free. Aldrick gives me a cursory nod as I stand up, and I take quick advantage and let loose a few arrows. Lathander has been lobbing holy water at the ghouls – how he managed not to hit any of us I’m not sure. Renli has entered the next room, still battling when he gets blasted by a dark ray of energy. He staggers for a second, then seems to catch a second wind and deals the final blow, ending any immediate threat.

We pause for a moment, to take stock and recover slightly. Renli in particular is in rough shape, and we use some of the magical healing items we purchased to get everyone back into fighting shape. Man that guy can take a beating. We start digging through the smaller room, looking for anything of use. We find a couple of keys, one opens a nearby strongbox with an ornate key. The evil cleric had a dagger in her chest with a bony hand as a handle – likely what corrupted her. There are a few other odds and ends that Aldrick looks over, and we decide to get moving again.

In the courtyard there are two other buildings – the stable and the crypt. Even with my familiarity with the Worldwound this is still an eerie place, the way the… vegetation… is out here. Since we’re looking for a bunch of soldiers our first stop is the stables. We approach on guard, not knowing how many more ghouls might be out there. The barn is also in rough shape, there is a collapsed wall on the far side, and as we approach we can see some glinting from a pile of metal in the center. Aldrick steps closer to bring more light to bear and out of the shadows charges a demon-horse, kicking and biting. We quickly swarm and dispatch it, then examine the pile of… armor? With the Queen’s coat of arms. So the men are around somewhere, but they aren’t here…

The crypt is next. I hate this feeling I get out here. It’s always too quiet, the stars change much too fast, almost as if they aren’t our stars. But back to this crypt. Very ornate stairway – Pharasma’s people wasted no expense – so we grab the ornate key and open the door… to blackness. Aldrick begins chanting, delivering a spell this time to clear the darkness, and we can see another door in a short way. All the tombs in this short hallway have been defiled. While I’m not surprised, it is still a shame to see. We move in and Lathander opens the next door, and as he does another dark energy ray strikes him. We hesitate for a moment, but nothing else happens so we move into the crypt.

As the light enters the room with us, we see people – soldiers – chained to the wall. They are recoiling from the light having been kept here in the darkness. We press into the room around the corner to see how many there are. Renli gives a rousing speech, trying to lift the spirits of the men, letting them know we are here to free them. But as he finishes another voice – clearly demonic – rises from the far dark corner of the crypt. “How lucky I am that the Knights of Kenabres would find me in my home. Imagine the look on my Lord Vang’s face when I bring you to him!” Our quarry is revealed in the dim light, a winged demon. Aldrick quickly identifies it as a Nabassu Demon.

I move up to a firing position, realizing this would be no easy fight. Cayden give me the strength to help my companions. Let them share in my hatred for this evil. Lucius bellows for us to advance into the fight, and I suddenly find myself wanting to move. Aldrick takes advantage, approaching and retreating quickly. Renli cries out to Iomadae and rushes the beast, landing a solid blow. Lathander hurls an explosive at it. But it appears unfazed.

Using it’s wings it quickly moves across the room, and glances at all of us except Renli. “You stay out of this!” I feel something coming over me but I shake it off. “Like hell I will!” He had moved to a point where I had a clear shot, so I let loose a volley on the beast. He looked… surprised… that I was shooting at him. Lucius takes advantage of this and charges into the fray, his sword landing another blow. Aldrick begins yet another infernal chant, and Renli finally runs the demon through.

We pause to take stock, and begin to unchain the prisoners. But Lucius wasn’t quite done. He noticed something was off with one of the prisoners – how I don’t know – but he did. He quickly challenged the prisoner, who first look terrified but quickly became angry. Lucius didn’t waste any time and plunged his sword into the prisoner… but it was no prisoner at all. It was a demon spawn… a Thoxel Aldrick tells us as he studies it. A spawn of insubordinate armies or deserters.

With no other threats imminent we free the soldiers, give them food and water, return their armor and get them ready to travel back to the army. In deference to Milo we consecrate the crypt, to try and remove some of the taint of evil on the site. Seems like a decent enough thing to do. Time to head back to the army and continue on this march to Drezen. Hopefully some of these men will be strong enough to be helpful soon.


Milo the Magnificent

Milo the Magnificent

The Sword of Valor Session VI

Robed figure holding ceremonial dagger opens door (female voice)

“you are a long way from home travelers. Come, it is not safe in the night”

Teer goes inside, darkness

Renli goes in and uses radiance to dispel darkness

Inside is very ornate, blankets over statues

asks us to sit, we can smell wonderful BBQ (hard to resist halfling temptations)

She casts suggestion on Renli, he shrugs it off and asks where our men our.

Teer stays at the entrance

lightening flashes, stain glass reveals symbol of demon god kabreri

pulls back robe…she is undead

“you wish to know where the others are?! Come join the feast and you will understand!”

Casts flame strike

Fight ensues (gargoyles come down from the ceiling)

I tumble and flip and….get hit….and diseased…..and I do 2 damage…..balls

I am hit again….and paralyzed

Renli unleashes on the bitch

Eventually she is hurt and says that we will die before the sun rises

She melts away and disappears

Renli ventures into side room, finds dead bodies hanging from rafters and 2 ghouls guarding

Bell rings and ghouls rise throughout the surrounding hills

Lathander is left alone w/ Aldrick…..creepy…..RUN Lathander!

Ghouls everywhere!

Mirror images for Milo

Ghouls breakdown doors

Aldrick casts difficult terrain

Lathander uses holy bombs

Teer destroys things…..per usual

Renli tries to knock down door, gets 2 negative levels

Teer destroys door…..per usual

Inside is darkness…..

Aldrick casts mythic prayer

Bitch casts unholy prayer

Renli dispels darkness and within the darkness a half death demon with wings, the undead caster (bitch), and 3 ghouls are revealed


The One-man Army

The One-Man Army

The Sword of Valor Session V

Storm Father be my strength. We meet so many foul beasts as we get closer to the wound, I need your guidance now more than ever.

We continue to lead the army toward Drezen and lick our wounds from the battle with the plagued trolls. The wretched beasts deserve to burn. Who knows what crimes they have committed. Captin Etoras is not pleased with our little adventure. “How the hell can I keep you fools safe if you keep running off into danger?” Stay out of our way and lead the army. We’ll keep us safe.

We will make the ford this day. Artemis, Milo, Anevia and I scout ahead to see what lies in the woods between us and the tower. A cloud of carrion birds circle ominously in the distance in the direction that we ride. A dark omen in a dark land. Once we are in sight of the tower, we can see the reason for the bird. A large group of mindless tieflings are milling about what looks like a battle-ravaged tower. Curse these chaos-worshipping demon spawn! We need that river crossing! One of the others notices that the tower is flying the queens banner. Well, that is bloody peculiar. With what little I know of this country and their heraldry that seems very out of place. Milo offers to investigate. We caution him against it but he assures us that if it his time, he’s prepared. Your god’s speed little one. He takes a potion and disappears.

When he returns, he reports that the queens men still hold the top of the tower though they are not sure how much longer than can fight. There are not many and many more have fallen than remain. Scores of tieflings appear to have died. Many from the battle but more from something else it would seem. These demon lords are always fighting among themselves so I am not surprised.

We alert the army of what awaits us, then mount up and ride on the tower. We position our army with myself on one flank and Artemis covering the other. He rains down arrows on his side a I charge in, screaming blood and rage. “Storm Father, crush these demon spawn!” I take a potion in order to become a small giant and smash my hammer down upon a group of the awaiting demon zombie creatures. The others wade in to the fray along with the army, many still mounted. I trust my two legs better than those of any horse. As the battle rages, I destroy the enemy’s flank and turn and crush their rear guard in one mighty swing. It may have been harder had they not been mindless zombies. But then it would have been more fun too. These undead bastards can barely stand let alone put up a decent fight. I think one landed a blow on me. One! Well these pit-born are what they deserve to be. DEAD!

Our army is victorious and we start clearing the keep and the tower of any enemy stragglers. We are able to reach the top and find the survivors. 11 of the queens men remain. Captain Dann is in charge and tells of the events that transpired here. Some foulest of demons ripped these tieflings to shreds with claws and teeth when they wouldn’t turn over human prisoners for what I would assume is some sort of demon sacrifice. It seems they got their blood one way or the other. It also appears they wrecked the tower on the far side. I scout across to see if it passable and to see if the thing left any trail. Perhaps it could put up a decent fight.

The other side of the river is a blasted waste land, typical of the wounded lands. I have scouted some areas similar to this before and know that nothing but trouble awaits us here. I find some tracks on the other side of the bridge after climbing through the rubble. They seem to lead away from the river and off into what was once a wooded area. Now just cleared land, it seems it would be easy enough to follow. I return and discuss with Captain Etoras and Anevia. Also relay what I have found to the others. We decide to send a small party tonight to see how far the trail leads and if following would prove feasible. Lucious, though I despise his presence, offers to come. As his pit-born brethren, he can see in the dark and that may prove useful should we loose the light on the return. Perhaps he could “fall” off the bridge while we are crossing. No, that would be too simple and he’d probably survive.

With our combined tracking skills, Anevia and are able to lead a small band along the trail easily and we come to a small rise overlooking what appears to be a ruined temple in the distance. As we are almost out of light, we turn back at this point. Lucious seems confident we can follow his aura to this point once more in the day time. Apparently even the sun can’t remove the stench of demon.

We meet again with the captain and he is not pleased, ranting about trying to keep us safe and blah,blah…. we’ll catch up. This could prove important. At the moment it appears to be us keeping you alive. We turn in for the night.

Overnight, I dream of horrendous things. Witch hunters burning my family. My mother raped and burned at the stake. My sister, though she fights many off fiercely, meeting the same end. Many of my companions appear to be taking part and taking much pleasure. Horrible, treacherous, traitors! MOTHER!! I wake. We need to be done with the World Wound soon. I can’t imagine these will get better.

I can see others are equally bothered by their dreams and many men did not sleep well. It seems the troops are almost as disturbed as Lathander normally. That is saying something. The man is out of his head but he seems to keep us alive. Renli is able to calm the men with a most well put speech. There is something different about that little one. I put my gear together and head to the bridge where men have started clear the debris so they may cross. I give them a hand with some of the heavier bits. It seems they like having a Kellid around when there is heavy lifting to be done. It is too bad my brother could not be here to accompany us. I’m spared a few words by our cold god-caller. She believes they treat me like a dog. I tell her I do what I must. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and my honor lies at her feet like unwashed clothes to be aired on a line. I will reclaim my honor in this life or the next. First we must survive.

We gather together across the bridge and head into the wounded land. It is unseasonably hot for this area. Some magics are cast by one of the group and I feel better, as if the heat isn’t pressing on me so much. The tracks are weaker today but through my efforts we are able to follow them fairly easily back to the rise with no incident. During the journey Lathander seems more on edge than usual. Aldrick tries to feed into it, goading and taunting him as he would. That man is evil, I can almost smell it.

Once we are in view of the temple it seems as if it is at the foot of a mountain and that mountain has cast a great shadow over it. There are no mountains for many days ride north of here. Ah, yes, the wound expands. The chaos knows no up or down, no left or right, no bloody idea where the mountains are…

As we approach we noticed the building is not so ruined as we once thought. The door is in good shape and the windows seem all intact if a bit cloudy. Milo identifies some of the markings as belonging to his god, Pharasma. The god of fate if I guess his often musings right. I scout around the side to look in the back courtyard of the building. Its a roughly 10 foot wall so that shouldn’t be an issue lets see if I can… wait, did that thing move. Nah, just this crazy land playing tricks on me. There doesn’t seem to be a good hand or foot… no, I swear it moved. I stare intensely, almost snarling at this gargoyle. I must be going out of my mind. Its a bloody statue. But I stare. I doesn’t budge, not the smallest bit. I ignore it and focus on the wall. A short jump and grab the top and…owch.. spikes. Didn’t see those. Well, the other side has been overgrown by thorn bushes and other odd things. Strange…. that’s the most vegetation we’ve seen since we can across the river. And try to release the these spikes seem to be hooked barbs. I get my hands off but that didn’t feel great. Where is that bottle of clan brew? I could use a drink. I return to the group and notice Artemis is looking at the gargoyles as well. “Did you see that thing move, Artie?” He nods. We may be in for a fight. The building has many of these statues. We are moving to arms when suddenly, the temple door opens.


Dramatis Persona: Capt. Dann
Note: Aldrick finds magic something on a dead tiefling



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