Archive for May, 2011

Flash! Aaaaaaaaaargh

The cleric used this time to Restore the medusa and the centaur, keeping her distance from the minotaur.  The group were now stuck in this city, not knowing where to go- the portal they used to come in having sealed up behind them, only reopening to drop off the stonechild who had searched for the party.  The cleric went off to explore the city for herself, hoping to find some sort of clue, and the others decided the gyroscope must be the way out.  The gyroscope was huge, and was emitting a faint humming with the buttons on its control panel looking like they were willing the group to push them.  The medusa decided to take a closer look, but after confirming they were not magical runes she was pushed onto the panel by the minotaur, and instantly disappeared.  The minotaur shrugged, and followed suit- pushing a button and teleporting away.  Boris also investigated, trying to push buttons but failing due to his incoporeality- though luckily he found one button that could be used whilst incoporeal, and so he pushed that.  The centaur was next, and held onto the stonechild as she pushed a button- and sure enough she teleported but the stonechild remained.  Steve had been watching, and made sure to push the same button as the centaur, and finally the stonechild pushed a button at random, following the others into the unknown, leaving the cleric behind.

like this, but the human wasn't so armoured

When the party arrived in their new destination, they were seperated- all apart from Steve and the centaur who had pressed the same button and therefore were together.  As they arrived, each member got a message in telepathically in their head, saying ‘You have been caught trying to sabotage one of my power sources, for which you will be punished.  Welcome to the Maze.  If you are lucky, you will find the single portal that leads you to the exit.’  The minotaur was unfazed, being familiar with mazes, and whilst not as good with them as the rest of his family he still wouldn’t get lost, knowing if he turns back on himself at all.  With this knowledge, he marched onward tracking Steve.  When the centaur and Steve started off, they quickly came across one of the other inhabitants of the maze- a human wearing not very much other than a large sword strapped across his back.  Steve went into his usual role around strangers of acting as a perfectly ordinary monkey, and after a brief introduction the human and centaur decided to stick together, the centaur wary as the human said he could fight and cast magic- something she had only bad experiences of previously with other party members.  Meanwhile, Boris had just picked a random direction and drifted straight through the walls, after getting a bit of a headache when he tried to investigate above and below only to find more maze, but eventually his plan paid off as he stumbled across the stonechild.  The minotaur had caught up with the centaur and Steve by this point, and got Steve’s attention in giant- which unfortunately drew the human’s attention to him, who panicked on seeing a minotaur in a maze- not helped any by the centaur who screamed ‘Run! It’s a minotaur!’.  The facade was short lived though, as the minotaur and centaur started laughing as the human was visibly terrified.  Following the noise of the screaming, the medusa and stonechild met up and followed the sounds to the rest of the party- the medusa noticed the human run past the intersection ahead and so ran to meet him, narrowly avoiding falling into the minotaur and centaur who were following behind.  Once again, the human was tricked with the centaur shouting ‘It’s a medusa!’ and started running, avoiding the stone gaze he knew medusas had.  The medusa tried to intimidate the human further but failed miserably as she ended up reassuring the human who noticed he didn’t get turned to stone, though Boris attempted to steal the human’s weapon whilst he was distracted, spotting it was a ghost touch weapon and therefore usable by incoporeal creatures, but the human had the prescence of mind to stop the shadow.
As the party rested for a moment, now they were reunited, the medusa thought she could hear something that sounded like dull thuds, not dissimilar to footprints of large dinosaurs.  She cast a Daylight spell, illuminating the whole corridor, and Boris went through the walls to investigate.  Sure enough, a creature was spotted that was somewhat dazed by the intense light, and appeared to be a grotesquely misshapen  giant, specifically a Fomorian.  It did not appear to be interested in battle, so the minotaur decided to question it.  The giant told them that he had been stuck here for months, sent here for committing a murder in Sigil, and has since been scavenging on whatever he could find, and sure enough he would leave the group alone- if they could find alternative food for him.  Luckily, the group had some alternative food in the form of the herbal allosaur burgers, which the formorian eagerly devoured.  Once he was sated, the creature introduced himself as Urthak and asked the minotaur if he would be interested in a test of strength- in his culture, the strongest always has power over the weakest, and evidently this minotaur has many slaves accompanying him.  The minotaur accepted, and the fomorian threw down his flail as he psyched himself up.  The minotaur acknowledged the lack of weapon, so started with an attempted gore attack- charging in, the giant was ready and grabbed the bull by the horns, flipping him over onto his back (though not before the minotaur got a hit in).  As the creature tried to trample the minotaur, the bull punched him in the foot which caused a surprising amount of damage, which impressed the giant.  The minotaur kicked the giant’s flail out of reach and decided to use his axe- it never being stated that this was a non-lethal test.  Urthak didn’t mind, as he managed to reach his flail, though after suffering another mighty blow the giant conceded that the minotaur was the stronger fighter, and therefore the fomorian would be in his service for now.  After recovering their wounds, the party continued on their journey to find a way out of the maze.
A couple of hours passed, and the group began to notice spiders webs lining the tunnels.  Forward was the only way they could go, so first the medusa summoned her lizard friends to scout ahead, which they did willingly as the human ran off in the alternative direction.  Time passed, and the human found himself back where he started as the lizards were re-summoned.  The lizards told the others of what lay ahead, all they saw was more webs.  The party continued on, and at the next intersection they thought they could hear a skittering noise from one of the passages, which Boris decided must be a Dragon so he ran on ahead down a different passage.  The group waited for him to return, and he discovered a spider-like creature that had several humanoid eyes.  The creature told Boris that she and her sister had set up a lair in these tunnels, where there was often a steady supply of victims.  Boris said he could lure their next lunch closer, and accompanied the spider back to the party- though the other spider had by now got within threatening range of the group, so they attacked.
The medusa was first to spot the spider, noticing that it was not in fact a spider- it had ten legs- and although called a Harpoon Spider it was in fact an aberration.  The first thing the medusa did was use Daylight, followed by a quick rapid shot of her bow.  Unfortunately, she was in such a panic that she tripped over whilst drawing her bow, and managed to stab herself through the jaw with her own arrow.  And this being a magical bow, when it senses that it has struck a vital area, it emitted a Thundering effect- almost enough to deafen everyone around.  The group sighed at the medusa’s ineptitude, and the minotaur went in for the charge, having to step over the medusa to do so- which, again, unfortunately injured the medusa and there was an ominous snap as the minotaur stepped on her, followed by an intense flash of light that blinded the centaur, and suddenly everyone was fully healed, but also dangerously close to spontaneously combusting due to the immense amount of positive energy all had received.  The minotaur felt this, and stopped short of his target demanding that it hit him.  The spider was confused by it’s meal offering itself to her, so ignored him thinking it must be an elaborate bluff, and so moved on, though unfortunately not before Steve imploded with the positive energy, covering everybody with positively charged monkey brains.  The medusa had meanwhile called out for Urthak to hit them, which the minotaur agreed to, so the giant started hitting the centaur with his flail.  The centaur acknowledged it was necessary, but still wanted to injure the medusa for caudsing this so attempted to step on her but only succeeded in throwing more dust into her eyes making her blinded still further.  The stonechild and human were busy hitting themselves with their weapons, again causing a deafening thud with the stonechild’s hammer, and the spider with Boris just watched the carnage, concerned at the fact their meals were tenderising themselves.  The spider that had ignored the minotaur decided to go on the offensive, firing it’s fangs as harpoons at the stonechild and human, though not able to grab a hold and it didn’t take long before the spider was cleaved by the minotaur from behind.  The fomorian had been convinced to leave the centaur alone now as she was no longer in danger of exploding, and instead focused on the dead spider, pulling its legs off and playing with its tendons.  The party now turned their attention to the other spider who was climbing the wall, and as they got closer the spider successfully harpooned the human, leaving him hanging in the air which the stonechild saw as a good opportunity to rid the human of any risk of exploding like monkey.  Unfortunately he misjudged, and ended up killing the human outright, which at least gave Boris an opportunity to grab the sword, and raising it over his head in triumph Boris brought it down, killing the spider in one blow.
Mourning the loss of Steve, and looting the human’s body (though taking his head in case of resurrection), the party continued, searching the corpses that were scattered around the spider’s lair though not finding anything of particular interest.  They eventually found their way out of the spider’s territory, and after a couple of hours more travel- the minotaur getting increasingly worried about his level drain that was still in effect- the centaur could hear a female voice that sounded like it was calling for help but in an unknown language.  Luckily the medusa could speak the language, identifying it as Celestial, and guided the girl to the party who revealed herself to be a beautiful Deva, holding a large sword.  Evidently she was not something likely to kill them without provocation, so the party attempted to communicate.  She informed them that she was sent here by the Lady for no apparent reason, she was just a messenger for the celestial realm who were annoyed that the Lady had interfered with one of their plans.  The deva was told of the minotaur’s affliction, and said she would be able to delay it but not remove it completely, which the minotaur was grateful for.  She also revealed that one of her powers was raising the dead though she would need the whole body, so the group recovered the corpse of the human to be raised.  On return, the medusa wondered if the deva would be capable of a Reincarnation rather than standard Raise Dead, and the deva said she would be willing to give it a try.  After some concentration, the spell did indeed seem to be working (though came close to resulting in a Polymorph Other instead) and the body started fluctuating between different forms, some elven, some gnomish, though finally settling on female Kobold.  Understandably the now-kobold was not too happy about his (or, more accurately, ‘her’) new form, but at least it was alive again.  With this, the group decided it was probably night time so settled down for some rest.
In the middle of the night, the stonechild noticed a breeze starting to gather around the party so woke them quickly.  The wind was quite noticeable and seemed to be blowing from one end of the corridor to the other, so the party decided to follow it to its source, hoping for an open portal.  They followed, coming to a wall and no sign of any portal.  Boris looked through the wall, nothing.  The minotaur tried drawing a door with his magic chalk, still nothing.  Whilst investigating, another voice could be heard on the wind- on turning, the party saw a pair of windrazors, an extraplanar creature that delights in violence who were heading straight for them.  The party readied their weapons, but first the creatures had to get past Urthak.  He tried to grab one out of the air, but failed when the creatures got a hard hit on him, so violent were they in their assault that it was enough to shaken the giant and reveal a third creature.  When they flew for their next attack, one hit the minotaur and the other hit the stonechild as the third flew over the whole party, leaving all three in perfect position for retaliation, and sure enough they fell within seconds, the Deva demonstrating her skill with her flaming greatsword and Holy Smite.
This left the group with a still breezy corridor, and the medusa noticed her back was damp for some reason.  Looking in all directions she couldn’t see the source of the water, then realisation dawned.  She tentatively looked into her pack and almost got knocked down by a small typhoon eminating from her pack, the bags that contained the elementals starting to leak.  A water elemental started to form out of one of them, and swiped at the medusa as it was steadily growing bigger, so it was quickly decided that these bags should be disposed of by hanging the bag of devouring on the wall and sending a small summoned pterodactyl through it whilst carrying them.  The party were expecting an interdimensional tear or something, but none happened- instead a satisfied bag of devouring fell to the floor and the elementals were disposed of, which was enough to stop the wind blowing through the tunnel leaving the group as lost as they had been throughout.  The minotaur decided the next plan should be to keep a wall on their left side at all times, and sure enough after a couple more intersections a portal opened up before them, which the party eagerly dived through including the deva, though the fomorian was not quick enough and unfortunately remained behind.

Boris gains a level in badass

Important events:
Cleric left back in city, will catch up next session.
Met Chris’ character, a human rage mage who died and got reincarnated as a kobold.
Encountered and  befriended a fomorian
steve dies from a HP overdose
befriended a Deva
lost summoning bags due to leak.

The Strength of the Shadow

Before we get to the fight with the Storm Elemental, the medusa and the cleric were returning.  Passing through the room with the five-headed terror, the medusa had a look into the volcano, seeing the flock of fire bats overhead and the minotaur swinging to the other side below.  Continuing on quickly, they found themselves in the room with the graves, and after noticing the signs of a recent battle, they hurried on eager to catch up with the rest of the group.  The medusa was first to cross the wooden bridge, wild shaping into the form of a very small pterodactyl to fly to the other side- though unfortunately she attracted the attention of the fire bats who flew after her.  The cleric offered some ranged support, using her wand of magic missile which was enough to injure but not kill any of them, and Boris’ shadow merely danced around mocking the others who were struggling.  The medusa quickly transformed back as one of them latched onto her arm, and she ran screaming down the metal hall whilst bashing the bat against the wall but to no avail.  Luckily the cleric had the idea of creating water over the group, not enough to extinguish their flames but enough to annoy them sufficiently that the main group retreated, and once the bat that was attacking the medusa had its fill of her blood, it also retreated, leaving the cleric to cross the bridge safely.
They advanced down the metal corridor, wary of the runes on either side, and found the large steel door the rest of the party had entered moments before.  Trying it without hesitation, the medusa quickly realised it could be trapped but too late- though luckily for her, it wasn’t.  They entered the first room, which changed from how the others saw it- this time it had empty shelves and the wardrobe was on the other side of the room.  Whilst investigating, they heard noises coming from the room next door, so Boris poked his head through the wall and saw the others throwing their elemental bags into the corner of the room.  Opening the door, the medusa and cleric saw the storm elemental rising in front of them, the minotaur charging straight at it, the stonechild hurriedly getting out of harm’s way.

Unfortunately, there wasn't a bag of heart

In mid-charge, the elemental reached its full strength and expelled its thunder and lightning, deafening everyone around and very nearly killing Boris, and frying the minotaur with it’s bolt of electricity.  The minotaur continued regardless, trying to find a somewhat solid part of the elemental to hit with his axe, taking some static charge in the process, as the centaur and Steve fired their arrows attempting to do some damage.   The cleric and medusa did what they could, firing their wands and healing when possible, though none of the party knew if what they were doing had any effect.  Luckily, before the elemental could fire another Thunder and Lightning, it was slain, the bags that created it falling harmlessly to the ground where the medusa hurriedly picked them up before noticing the ground was moving underneath them.  Quickly retreating to the other rooms, they watched as the metal ground slided away, revealing steps leading down to a small hole with a ladder.  Deciding it was the only way to go, the party descended (save for the stonechild, who heard the rumbling of the ground so stayed hidden throughout).
On the next level, they found themselves in another metal corridor, quite narrow and splitting in two directions.  The group decided this would be a good time to recover their wounds from the previous battle, so as they settled down to rest the medusa summoned a pair of small possum-like lizards to investigate where the tunnels led.  They didn’t return, so the medusa resummoned them after a while and they informed her that there was nothing but corridor and eventually they met with themselves at the other end- the tunnel seemed to go all the way around the volcano with no doors or passages leading off of it, and before they could return the summoning spell expired and they were dismissed.  Satisfied with this, the party rested for the night, the only significant event being the medusa investigating the elemental bags and finding a ruby inside the first of them.  She took it out, and dropped it as it suddenly ignited, almost setting fire to the cleric who was sleeping by her feet.  The cleric woke as the medusa quickly picked the gem up, using the bag, so the cleric decided to take her watch as she was now up, praying in the process as she had no idea what time of day it was.  The night passed uneventfully, and as the group prepared their breakfast the centaur decided to investigate the tunnel to see if she could spot anything the summoned animals missed.  She didn’t, and when she returned then Steve suggested to the minotaur that no-one had searched the walls yet.  The minotaur knocked, and found his hand went right through, and as the medusa deciphered the runes on the wall she found they read the second half of the riddle above: ‘any other obstacles are but an illusion’.  The animals were once again summoned, and sent through the wall to report what they found on the other side- but they didn’t return.  The medusa shrugged, and walked straight through regardless, followed by the centaur and Steve, but the minotaur stopped the cleric before she could enter.  The cleric wondered what he could want, and saw he was down on one knee, offering the ring with the swirling blue gem.  A moment of silence passed, the cleric noticeably flustered.  The minotaur was growing nervous, ‘you’d best say something soon…’, but the cleric politely declined, as diplomatically as possible ‘I’m sure you’re a lovely person, but you’re just not my type’.  The minotaur grunted, put his ring away, and walked through the wall, leaving the cleric to follow as she tried to consider what exactly had just happened.
On the other side, the group found themselves in a very dark, shadowy city- the portal sealing as soon as they entered, evidently a one-way portal.  The minotaur distanced himself from the group, but all noticed that there were creatures around them, glowing eyes in the darkness and the occasional growl.  The cleric decided to put a spell of Light on herself, but it was quickly extinguished by the shadows.  The medusa tried her own Light spell, but that was also extinguished.  Advancing further into the city, the party found what they believed to be their target- a large mysterious structure, similar to a gyroscope, but with a swirling mass of dark shadow on top of it.  Before they could get too close, a couple of the creatures lining the causeway pounced on the group, revealing themselves to be shadow mastiffs but masterfully blending themselves into the shadows making this a tough fight- made all the harder thanks to the minotaur dragging his heels and refusing to participate, and Boris accidentally healing the shadow creature with his strength drain, though the party seemed to think they could handle themselves well enough.  The fight was certainly made much easier once the cleric and druid realised they shared a spell that could help: Daylight, and sure enough when Daylight was cast it wasn’t extinguished by the shadow.  This meant the mastiffs couldn’t shadow blend, making them easy targets, and the other mastiffs started backing off, but the cluster of shadow on the gyroscope remained unaffected.  Once the mastiffs were destroyed, the shadows began to laugh.
‘How amusing,’ it said, ‘you’re even more pathetic than the others that have come here’.  And with that, the druid quickly began casting Call Lightning, fearing the worst.  The creature in the shadows was delighted with this choice of spell, as all dragons have a flair for the dramatic- unfurling its wings against a backdrop of a crackling storm, the first bolt unable to overcome the Shadow Dragon’s spell resistance.  The party readied themselves, knowing they were in for a fight.  The dragon, knowing the lightning could prove dangerous and seeing the centaur readying a shot, quickly Dimension Doored to one of the nearby buildings, hoping to provoke the party into a tight cluster.  Again, the party rearranged formation for its new position, but the dragon created a Mirror Image- two identical duplicates flew to other vantage points, one back to the gyroscope, one to a building on the opposite side of the plaza, no way of telling the difference between either of them.  The cleric thought quickly, and used her wand of Magic Missile to determine which were the illusions and which was real, revealing the one that didn’t move was the true dragon.  The dragon was pleased that all the party were reacting in ways that revealed their strengths, as it was now aware that the medusa was a druid, calling the forces of nature; the centaur was an archer, predictably- not a problem for such a heavily armoured creature; and the cleric could use magic missile, interestingly, and the daylight itself was enough to show she was indeed a cleric- the dragon called upon its powers of shadow, making the landscape flicker as the previous spell ended and immediately replaced to extinguish the Daylight, which in turn was quickly replaced by the druid but served its purpose to slightly panic the casters.  The minotaur was suspiciously quiet, and the monkey sat on it had obvious signs of intelligence, so the dragon flew straight over the party, exposing all to its Frightful Prescence- enough to make the monkey panic and run as far as it could.  The rest of the party were slightly shaken, but held their resolve well as the dragon landed on the opposite building.  At this point, the minotaur had enough of the dragon’s mind games, and hadn’t acted before merely because it was perched out of reach- however he decided this building might just be weak enough that if he charged it- which he did- then it might crumble with the force combined with the dragon’s weight- which it did.  The dragon was visibly shocked by this display of strength, managing to suspend itself in flight but not without taking a hit from the minotaur as the centaur ran to flank it.  The dragon clawed back at the minotaur, spotting the medusa running into position nearby, and once the medusa, minotaur, and centaur were in the right position it flew over the minotaur, willing to let him have an attack of opportunity, leaving the three lined up perfectly for it to shoot forth a cone of intense negative energy, causing level drain in all three.  The minotaur and centaur felt weaker, but decided the dragon had to be killed before they could do anything about it, but as the medusa was panicking about whether it could cast spells any more it ran to the cleric, who prepared a Restoration spell though it would take a little while.

all dragons have a flair for the dramatic

The dragon started concentrating on the minotaur, thinking the easiest way to deal damage to it would be through spells.  It started with a spell it learned from one of it’s expeditions to a jungle, where it encountered the high priest of an evil cult- muttering ‘Kali-Ma’ to itself several times, an illusory hand appeared in front of the minotaur and entered his chest, heading for his heart- but the minotaur was too strong, able to resist the magic attempting to pull his heart from his chest.  The minotaur retaliated with a couple of strikes as the centaur ran to the medusa to pick up some more ammunition.  Once again, the group was in a perfect position for another of the dragon’s weapons- this time a spell it observed a cleric of Ilmater perform, when a party of adventurers tried to take on the dragon’s lair and as such they got surrounded by the dragon’s kobold followers.  Clerics of Ilmater are known for emporing spells with their own suffering, and this particular spell involves expelling elemental force from the user’s body, and if the user chooses to take damage then it doubles the effectiveness, though of course the self-inflicted damage would have to overcome the user’s own spell resistance, which in this case it didn’t as a cloud of acid burst forth from the dragon, injuring the entire party and successfully disrupting the cleric’s restoration spell without affecting the dragon itself.  Seeing the minotaur readying another powerful strike, the dragon muttered something incomprehensible to itself but the minotaur’s raging blow was enough to fell it, the shadow dragon returning to the plane from whence it came.
With the dragon felled, light returned to the city and the shadows evaporated, there being no sign of the mastiffs that were there before, however the gyroscope was still stationary.  The minotaur and medusa decided to hunt out the dragon’s hoard, as the others investigated the gyroscope.  There was a control panel there, but this was well out of any party member’s area of expertise, but there was a big green button and a big red button.  The centaur decided green must be good, because it’s the colour of grass and trees and nature, whereas red is the colour of fire and demons and general bad things.  Steve thought it could be a bluff, and that the green button summoned the dragon, however he decided it was more likely to be a double bluff so pressed it anyway- causing the gyroscope to start spinning into life.  Before investigating further, he party regrouped at the dragon’s hoard.
As usual, to be continued…

The Dragon’s Hoard:
A small obsidian pyramid with dragon etchings on the side, unknown value.
A tiara with ornate dragon horns, unknown value.
A fine toothed comb, in the shape of a dragon, unknown value.
A psionic crystal of Cognizance.
Pipes of Frenzied Revelry, a relic for worshippers of Olidamarra.
A Radiant Sphere, a crystal that emits bright light and has various effects.

Important events:
Stonechild needs to catch up
Shadow Dragon killed (or is it?)
Minotaur and Centaur level drained by 1, 23 hours to recover before permanent.
Medusa level drained by 3, 23 hours to recover.
Cleric rejected minotaur’s proposal, possible repercussions.

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