Monday, August 1, 2011

Tales of the Bard 013

Don't slip

Our adventurers decide to carry on, moving into the next cavern. Large, precarious, holes, comes to mind as they edge their way across a network of spider and darkling holes. Not far into their journey Varaxis, the only light source slips on some pebbles, and tumbles deep into one of the holes the party is trying to skirt around. Varaxis hits the ground hard, hurt penetrates into his body as he raises himself up to see he is stuck down a 50ft drop hole. With their light source gone, the party sends Jaspyr to climb down after Varaxis to bring him out of the spider hole. Jaspyr edges his way into the dark eventually finding Varaxis at the bottom, fending off some darklings attacking him from half sized passage ways leading away from the hole. Successfully fending off the darklings, Jaspyr carries our head dress wearing demon back to the top to rejoin the rest of the group.

Still traversing the room, Sieg succumbs to his weight and lack of dexterity and falls down the hole, Dex misses catching him, but Aranel dives fast, grabbing Sieg on the way down. Unfortunately, our frail blood drinking elf suddenly encumbered with an extra 300 pounds of undead weight is pulled into the hole too. Bumps, scrapes, pain, and stopping, the pair are wedge halfway down the hole. Jaspyr starts in after them, as the two holemates manoeuvre and slip and fall the rest of the way down. Aranel blessed with temporary darkvision sees the darklings coming as he tries to get Sieg boosted up and out of the hole. Sieg nearly makes it to Jaspyr when he slips and falls down on top of Aranel. The darklings take advantage and Sieg drops unconscious. Jaspyr playing the roll of elevator scoops him up and takes him up top. Varaxis meanwhile realizes that he has some rope decides to throw it down, too late to Aranel. Dex tries to go down and help Aranel, but can find no sign of him when he reaches the bottom of the hole. With no darkvision, and no light source, Dex decides to regroup with the party, lest he be taken too.

Is he awake?

Aranel wakes to find himself being dragged off, encased in web by one of the worker spiders. He manages to loose his dagger, and cut himself loose and sneaks off. Attempting to climb out of the darkling lair, Aranel slips, falls and looses touch with consciousness once again.

The companions finally make it to the other side of cavern after a few more falls, and climbs. Where is Aranel? how will we find him? and should we just leave him here?

Awake again, Aranel finds himself in a sticky situation. Naked, upside down and stuck in web and covered in a viscous liquid. He pulls together some strength deep within himself to wriggle himself loose, slamming hard on the wet cold stone floor. He sees other animals, ensnared and dead hanging in the web, no gear, no clothes, what to do? Shit, someone is coming. A small darkling comes into the cavern where Aranel was hanging to find a naked, and very much animated Elf standing there. After screaming, the darking is pounced upon. Aranels, tusk like fangs, newly grown back sink deep into the meaty tissue of the creatures throat. The elf rises, blood fresh and makes for an escape. Turning one corridor, two corridors he is assailed by darklings hot on his trail and is overwhelmed again.

Noise, and battle sounds, unmistakable that has to be Aranel causing a stir down there Varaxis thinks. He and Jaspyr set out to retrieve Aranel while Dex and Sieg sit in the dark, waiting, and trying not to go mad with darkness all around. Hot on the trail Jaspyr and Varaxis find their charge, and do away with the darklings hauling Aranel away. As Jaspyr drags the elf away, Varaxis is shot with an arrow that miraculously turns to web sticking him in place. Fire, the fire burns foes, as well as webbing, as well as tiefling. Eventually Varaxis and Jaspyr route the darklings and escape with Aranel, and a special new bow. Uptop, the clothe Aranel in a spare cloak and head on, with the pressure of loosing time to this darkling pit.

Try it this way, no no no, the other way

The next chamber is filled with stone tablets, strewn about with a circular patterned ring in the floor. At the center of the rings is a imprint where the Argos Librarium upon Varaxis arm can be set in. Varaxis tries it, nothing happens as the others realize they have to put the pieces back together to activate it. After figuring out the puzzle, the party puts all the pieces in the right order, activate the dias and stand back. A door opens, as a bright light fills the chamber.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bards Tale 012

What lies beneath

There are deep places in this world, many long forgotten and undisturbed for an age. Entire cultures, races and worlds live unto themselves in the depths. Strange things hint at the past buried beneath centuries of neglect and disinterest. Facts well known to our companions.

The party finds themselves at the top of a stairway leading to unknown depths. Sieg and Dex are revived with the skill of Aranel and the brave lot heads deeper. Spurred on by the unknown fate of those brothers of Karnak on the surface, the party delves down 5 stories deep into the earth and rock. Finding a chamber at the bottom, with a large ornate door, blocked by toppled debris and statues. However with every path closed, at least another presents itself. Following air currents in the room, Aranel spies a hole leading down into a natural looking chamber. Hoping for an alternate entrance into the ancient Magnatherian library the party explores. Finding a dead end path, the party finds themselves assaulted by large poisonous spiders within their den. Small fighting quarters makes the fight difficult but the party prevails. Smashing carapace, limb, and eyes, the blighted care not about poisons. Varaxis however still of a living persuasion indeed succumbs to the biting poisons of the dog sized spiders. Arrows fall, axes cleave, and swords ring true as Jaspyr obliterates the last of the spiders and the party explores further.

Not all is as it seems, Aranel spots a crude trap through one of the natural chambers exits. Is there deft hands at work down in these depths, setting nets and the like, or are these the remnants of a long forgotten people, they wonder. The question is soon answered as Aranel sets off the trap intentionally, and walks through the opening sensing no danger. Spiders descend upon the party, this time with little fierce halfling sized men riding upon their backs, armed with spear and net. The bottle neck in the cavern allows limited access to the 3 darklings and their mounts. The party even in their hurt and tired state easily dispatch these 3 and send them to a darkness new to even those that live without light.

“Carry on, there are people dying up top we need to find a way to help them” Dex commands as the party continues on. Coming into a large chamber split into two by a large chasm they cannot see the bottom of. Halfway into the chamber they hear a few words of the clicking language of the darklings and all is dark. Varaxis carrying the only light source notes he cannot even see much more than his Magnatherian gift and the others have never known such darkness. With no blightcreep, no lights and no senses the party stumbles, trying to find their way out of the darkness. Spears jab at Jaspyr and Sieg as Dex and Aranel find their way out to the cavern wall. Darkness still greets them until Varaxis emerges forth, showing a globe of black still encompassing most of the chamber and 2 of their cursed friends. Sieg being attacked from many sides stumbles and brutally falls deep into the chasm, hitting a ledge far below his already bruised and battered body leaves his consciousness behind. Jaspyr wanders in the dark as a spider net grabs hold of Dex and Varaxis. Aranel climbs a ledge to gain a good advantage on the situation and tries to lower a rope into the chasm, hoping beyond hope that Sieg is still conscious, and able to find this life line, he is wrong on both counts. A bolt of dark energy emerges from the dark sphere slamming Aranel hard with enough force to make him drop his rope into the deep. Dex and Varaxis struggle out of the spider web and try to gain their footing. Jaspyr eventually takes so many spears and jabs in the dark he succumbs to unconsciousness.

The darkness lifts and our 3 remaining hero's spy many Darklings scurrying about and hauling Jaspyr off into the chasm. Dropping many with his arrows, Aranel spots a Darkling wearing a head dress made of one of the large spiders as dark bolts fly from his fingers hitting him again and again. Dex and Varaxis hurry to help as the 3 take out the remainder as the Darkling shaman runs up the wall unhindered by gravity or the need of a spider mount. Varaxis and Aranel quickly drop him as Dex hurries to secure the fate of his chasm bound comrades. Dropping down 50 ft of rope and heading without tarry, Dex leads into the chasm. “We need to find them, and get the hell out of here” as he drops down to a ledge in the chasm 15 feet below the end of his rope without a second glance. As a man possessed Dex drops the Darklings, and spiders hauling off Jaspyr and newly bound Sieg. They revive Sieg and Jaspyr as they scramble up to the rope with difficulty finding themselves atop the chasm once again.

At the top, upon closer inspection of the Darkling shaman Jaspyr finds a strange ring upon his small hands. As he holds it, the ring re sises to fit upon his finger perfectly...Magic! With new found stability balance and grip, Jaspyr finds he too can now scramble up vertical walls as though he were a spider. Varaxis takes the head dress and finds it makes him look even more fearsome and decides to make it a permanent fixture to his travelling know to scare the kids. As if a demon man with glowing rune tattoos, bracer and green fiery energy wasn't scary enough

Monday, June 6, 2011

thoughts of a paladin

As our band of blighted heroes face what appears to be miniature blight bringers they are quickly overwhelmed and Sieg is struck down, shortly followed by Dex. In the throes of this bizarre form of death, Sieg feels a great darkness crawling over him; over his soul. His faith wanes and his mind races..

The faithful have been a dying breed in the years of late. As we clambered on in our own lives the xenophobic cultures grew less and less accepting, leading to suffering, hatred and death. It was these factors that brought me to my faith, or should I say it brought my beliefs to me. I discovered Avandra's guiding hand on the roads of travel. Traveling as an axe for hire, defense for some of the more hapless caravans, I felt a light within compelling me to help. Having heard many rumors of the god of luck, change and travel over the years, I began to feel her presence. Her light brought new life into me, gave me purpose and guidance. I pledged my axe to this light and the people it watches over and began life anew. Twiceborn as a paladin of the free people.

However, times have changed. In what's seemed like a matter of days the world has fallen into darkness and the light of my faith grows dim. Avandra's presence is faint and with the monstrosity I've become my ability to believe has waned. I've felt as though we've been abandoned and left to rot amongst the blight ridden of the world. We're burned by the light of the gods and reviled by the people. How can I prove myself and do good for the people like this.

My four compatriots and I fight for different reasons, but I sense that we are all fighting for our humanity. And as I lay here, burning in the sunlight of the Pelor and overwhelmed by the creations of blight, I wonder; do we deserve our humanity? In the countless years we were not of our mind we have most definitely committed atrocities I care not to fathom. In my personal attempts to maintain composure and sensibility I have gone mad and attempted murder of innocent beings. Maybe this change in our bodies was a sign that we are lost and we have been forsaken. And maybe this is the end.

Not all luck is as bad as it seems. Change is sometimes a necessary evil for a greater good.

A-Avandra.. I can feel your light within me once more. Your divinity flowing through my veins, albeit faintly. Perhaps this has happened for a reason. Maybe I was fated to meet these individuals and to be drawn through such trials. Perhaps we can indeed bring about a change in this world yet. We are close to an almost ancient discovery and I feel I must protect my compatriots. Avandra knows I can't do this alone and I feel a bond with them stronger than I've felt with others in a long time.
My faith was dying, but Avandra is watching over us, of that I know. Renewed in belief and love for this world I know we must push on and we must survive. We must bring about change.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tales of the Bard 011

We come in peace

As the figures approach, Aranel decides to split off from the party to get a better look and ambushing position. The others stand ready for an assault and hope for an easier solution to present itself. These brave, who toil to find out the mysteries of what has consumed this world, still have hope. It happens quickly, the figures are seen to wave and move their arms in a fluid like motion, bringing together both hands and pulling them apart. As their hands pull apart a path is made through the fog squarely on the hero's of Ostwick. 'We are found' they think as they are presented with a familiar question. “Who are you?”. Dex, Sieg, Jaspyr, and Varaxis come forward to confront these men and women of Pelor. Dex explains that “We come seeking refuge from this war, in hopes that mighty Pelor can help us with our plight”. Looking the blight weary over the monks and sisters of Karnak decide to bring Elder Reubin to decide the fate of these strangers.


Elder Reubin is an old cane laden man in his twilight years. But with all that age, there is a quickness in his eyes and he almost sees through this lot set before him. “I see you have multiplied, there is 5 of you here where the brothers told me there was only 4?” Elder Reubin queries as Aranel steps forward. After asking many questions of the party, and gleaning truths and half truths from them, the elder decides to grant the travellers sanctuary under heavy guard. Sensing Jaspyr's unease, Reubin tells him “I am but an old man now my friend, I'm afraid i would not taste very good to you indeed”. Noticing the Argos Librarium grafted to the arm of Varaxis The leader of this Temple sees some familiar looking runes upon it. Leading them into Karnak the party takes great pain as they enter the light and walk to some makeshift quarters set up for them to stay through the night. The guards bring them live chickens as horrible sounds ring through the courtyard.


The next morning Reubin comes and collects the party wanting to show them around the grounds, to see if they came to the right place as they warranted. Showing the party around the grounds, the elder points out some familiar runes located on walk stones around the base of the main temple. As Varaxis holds up his hand and survey's the surroundings, the Argo Librarium plinks little flashes of light on the runic sequence he is meant to unlock a secret door. As Varaxis activates the runes they light up and a secret door opens up to stairs leading downward below the temple. Moments after opening up the secret stair, the unnatural glow of the site discontinues as there are shouts of “incoming” and the hustle and bustle of everyone in the temple mobilizing to defend. Black balls of writhing tentacles fly overhead and slam into buildings, the ground and people. 2 of the monks wisk away the old man as the party takes the fight to one of the newly arriving blight bringers. Aranel, Varaxis and Sieg strike with great ferver. The swirling mess of tentacles lashes out slamming into Sieg. Jaspyr steps in and unleashes a rending blow to the mess almost cutting the beast in twain with smoke roiling off of his argent blade. Dex orders Jaspyr to strike again and he does. The monster reels but pulls itself back together as threads on a loom intertwine making cloth. The blight bringer rains down tentacles on Sieg and Dex as it grabs hold of the argent wielding Jaspyr. More blows pummel Sieg into unconsciousness, then the same for Dex. Jaspyr frees himself as Varaxis and Aranel bring the pain to the tentacled mass as it wails unto unconsciousness. Grabbing up Dex, and Seig the party withdraws into the hidden stair as the sounds weapons, spells and fists ring through the temple.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dex before and after blight pics

From the journal of Aranel Aelynsar...

It has been a week since we awoke upon that strange battlefield. Now, here I sit with my companions, with the Burning Plains to our backs, and a city bathed in holy light before us. In such a short time, we have traveled far, slain old monsters and made new enemies. I pray that we begin to find the answers we seek, and perhaps even save our world from this blight.

I should detest the monsters we have become. For an elf, the dead feeding upon the living is wholly unnatural, but I find myself...indifferent. While the others generally choose to avoid it where possible, it has come more easily to me. My years in the elvish army taught me to survive at all costs. I do tend to fall back on habits, but I wonder if it is something more. The hunger is present in all of us, but I am beginning to crave it. We become primal and violent when the hunger takes over and we lose control, and I fear those who abstain for as long as they are able may eventually lead to our downfall.

But these fellows are the closest thing to friends I have found since leaving Tellion so many years ago. Sieg, ever so pious, is by far the most stubborn. It has been good to see his spirits recently lifted. Dex, the half-breed, is an honorable man and a natural leader. I am grateful to him for helping me unlock some of the blight's mysteries. Veraxis, our living map, is a curious one. I fear for his safety around the likes of us, however. Even though our party of misfits may have only known each other briefly, we fight as if we have been battling alongside one another for a lifetime. I suppose in one respect, we have been.

Prior to being blight-touched, I was nearing the brink of my own mortality. I fought in battles before most of my companions were born, and suffered too many injuries in my long career. I do not know what fate we will meet in that holy temple, but if we do find the answers we seek, I know not if I will return to my former self. Since tasting the guard's blood in Fendis Ren, I have, ironically, felt more alive than I have in years. But for now, I must go.

Someone is coming...

The collected journals of the elven ranger would later be retold by the bard, in THE BALLAD OF BLIGHT AND BLOOD.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tales of the Bard 010


Taking stalk of events the party notes they are all standing and 3 blighted women lay at their feet. As Sieg and Dex attempt to pull daggers from inside thier necrotic flesh, Jaspyr makes a discovery of a different sort. Two of the featureless porcelain masks of the blight witches lay in shards, likely pierced by the arrows of Aranel. However the third, yes the third is still intact. Jaspyr looks closely at the woman laying without consciousness and sees that her blight tendrils have woven themselves into the mask, making it as much a part of her face as her eyes or nose. Pulling out his argent blade Jaspyr begins to cut the tendrils from the mask. They sizzle and pop, snap and recoil from the silvered weapon as the mask slowly peels away. The woman beneath is beautiful, such a shame such beauty perverted to such horrible means. They gather the rest of their things, the mask and a few of the blighted witches cloaks of crimson and orange and make way to investigate the chain gang.

We are here to help

Even with the best intentions some things can still go horribly horribly wrong. Approaching the chained humans, orcs and dwarf the party makes their intentions well known. Met with equal parts horror, intrigue and obedience the party makes contact. These prisoners are bound together by chain, all single file and pillaged from different nomadic tribes from the burning plains. The humans explain that their bonds are only accessible by the sisters' ability to phase through the locks to unlock its sealed mechanisms. The orcs grunt and spit their language at the would be saviours while their leader is bound with a type of mussel as well as his hands bound. The humans explain that he is likely a war priest with an arcane manipulating tongue.

Sieg continues to calm the crowd as some of the humans tell him the knowledge that there is a dragon born tribe that roams the northern most parts of the burning plains.

Desperation coupled with fleeting time motivate Dex to experiment with the Sisters' mask. He believes it will grant him their ability to phase through objects and remove the bonds that imprison the captives. As he brings the mask closer to his face his blight tendrils reach and stretch to pull the mask snug to his face. A whole new world is laid before Dex as his perceptions are completely changed. He has no sight, however in the darkness the roiling energies of the living illuminate them beautifully and gracefully. Also their is a sense with the blight creep, a sense that he perceives for the first time perhaps because his is blinded. He can detect slightly, as if they are shadows, his comrades. And the hunger, the hunger my god it is enhanced and hard to control with this evil thing attached to his face. However, Dex remains strong, if not aware of his fleeting time. Searching from within, Dex manages to activate the inate ability to phase, clumsily however and phases up to his chest in the ground. The others manage to pull him free and Dex tries again, this time with more control. He phases through a shield as a test. Next he tries to free one of the humans. Phasing through the lock Dex can almost feel the mechanism and with some trying manages to keep his fingertips phased to manipulate the inner mechanism while his arm passes through its outer barrier. Dex deftly releases the poor captive amongst a short lived shower of praise.

Looking upon the now freed human, his essence changing colour with the new prospect of being freed, Dex looses himself to the increasing hunger. He can't take it any more and lunges for the human. Sieg and Aranel try to stop him but as Sieg tries to reposition himself Dex breaks free of his grasp. He grabs the Human and bites his arm in twain. Screaming and fear boil over as Sieg and Jaspyr manage to subdue Dex. Dex looses consciousness and Jaspyr cuts the mask from his face.

Sieg manages to calm the chain gang and stabilize the wounds of the human cauterizing his stump of an arm. A terrible price to pay in such troubling times. Varaxis decides their must be an easier way, perhaps the warpriest can help. Varaxis removes the mussel from Rekvar'thra and explains to him in broken Orcish the situation. Rekvar'thra begins to chant and spell that is almost as a song dripping off of his Orcish tongue. With some effort Rekvar'thra loosens the bonds and the fall unbound to the ground from the chained captives. After a further exchange Varaxis is told of the nearby temple of Pelor known as Karnak which the party is seemingly headed towards. “A very dangerous place for blighted” they warn as the party takes heed. After further talk Varaxis limited understanding of Orcish grammar and context leads to insult. The party will get no quarter should they run into Orc kind again.

What pretty cloaks

The party continues through the night towards the maps navigation. After a few hours they see a large blight bringer on the horizon, the party decides to give it a wide birth and skirts around the large mass of tendrils. Again off in the distance more blight beings and the party worries they may be spied and again tries to arc away from the encampment. Just then ahead of them the party is approached by more 'Sisters'. The party is quick to tell the sisters not to attack Varaxis, as tasty as he may seem for they are on a “mission” of some importance. The Sisters explain that they should follow them to speak with “the mother” if Varaxis is so important. However Dex dismisses this notion and convinces them of a higher purpose. One sister asks if they have seen their new recruits and another group of sisters bringing them. The party lies horribly to the sisters as 2 of them are wearing their very same cloaks. After more intimidation and wheeling and dealing Dex manages to convince the sisters to allow them to pass anyhow. And forward they go.

Light, such brilliant light

As they progress the party sees a beaming and otherworldly light emanating on the horizon. Karnak! “Lets go around” Dex says, their is no place for blighted in a temple for the god of the sun. Varaxis speaks up, The map is pointing directly at Karnak. Whatever it is they seek, it lies somewhere within that Temple. Aranel finds the party a decent spot to camp for the day as Karnac is blight creepless and bathed in daylight, even before sunrise somehow. During the day Dex discovers that he can tune into the blight creep to perceive his surroundings. With effort Dex believes the party can use it to communicate eventually and he attempts to instruct the others how to use it. During 3rd watch 6 figures approach wearing the same colours and cloaks as the sisters. However these beings are indeed alive still and not blighted.