Conscientious Objectors

Babysitting Stetha

After Varya’s meeting with the ghost, we have Kyras send her into the air via magic to scout. She doesn’t see too much out of sorts, so we decide to make for where the buried gem was, and see if we can access it via dimension door. On our way, Getheday gets a sending from Jia-Noth, his higher-up.

Gethedar, Kyras, Varya, and Marcello decide to dimension door down, and I’m left to mind the two soldiers and Stetha. I promptly get Stetha started digging (to keep her busy, as opposed to expecting her to do anything productive), and settle in. Turns out, not for long.

Only a few minutes later, my four compatriots return. Apparently, after dimension-dooring in, they were promptly ambushed by two 4-armed apes, which they dispatched. This was followed by a roper, which they also dispatched. However, there was also another very… very formidable ape-thing there as well, and they… did not do so well against it. We cast what healing magics we can, then decide to head back to the caravan to rest, recuperate, and reassess how we will engage this creature the second time. On our way to the caravan, we are intercepted by a serpentfolk soldier who warns us that the Red Mantis Caravan has not yet been subjugated by Tiira’s forces. We thank him for the un-needed warning, leave Stetha, Sak-Kwig, and Nyalik-Cheytab outside the camp, and make our way in.

The guards seem jumpy, and after having checked us over for disease, we make our way to Chivane’s tent to give her a report of our findings thus far.

View
The humans are dead.

We make off towards the human dorms where we might find Osond, who is apparently one of the human leaders and doing what he can to stem the tide of the plague. Along the way, we pass by a ziggurat that has been modified… by having a hut shaped into the side of it. It could only have been done through some powerful magic, but we haven’t the time to investigate too closely.

We arrive at the dorms, and wouldn’t you know, there are sick humans everywhere. I try not to touch any of them, and I hold my breath if they get too close. We question a sick human woman, and she points us to where Osond should be. We make our way to his dorm, and he mentions that we should go visit the Muse. And so we do. She is some sort of serpent-y outsider lady (a lilland, apparently). She wants us to help cure the plague. We glean that she may have been here and away from her plane for a while. A good long while. As in thousands and thousands of years. Which is a little bit unheard of. Perhaps she had been summoned here to try to fulfill an unfulfillable task? She does mention that she had been summoned around the time that Saveth’s tomb had been built (Saveth, apparently, being who that giant statue we’d come across earlier was depicting). The Muse orders us to go burn the bodies of the humans.

We decide that perhaps the ghost lady we’d come across earlier may have had something to do with the plague. We set off to find her, and have Osund get started on burning the bodies of the dead.

On our way, we find a clearing. Full of basilisks. After collectively saying ‘nope’ to engaging them, we take the long way around, and finally get to where we met Sozothala. We decide to try the diplomatic approach and approach to engage the humans there in conversation. Apparently, they had been ordered to kill us on sight, but we manage to bluff our way out of a confrontation… until the ghost lady and Dark Fire appear. They are going to go ahead and try to kill us. Whereupon, our Lawful Good cleric utters something I thought I’d never hear him say. “Fucking Dark Fire….” he mutters with more vitriol than I’d have guessed him capable of.

The battle begins and Stetha simply murders one of the humans. They throw an Entangle down in our midst, but our Kyras takes myself and Gethedar into their midst via a dimension door. The humans fall very quickly, as does Dark Fire (I ensure she never gets back up… and her skull collapses. Uh oh.), and we engage the ghost.

And the ghost sinks below the ground. And summons a shambling mound. Which we promptly kill. The ghost summons three giant scorpions. Which we promptly kill. The ghost summons a scorpion swarm. Which we promptly kill. The ghost yells out to a Zakiya (the naked lady we tried to murder a while ago) that we’re more difficult to kill than promised.

We diplomatically offer to go kill Zakiya for the ghost… the ghost replies by summoning a portal that Varya alone can use. We cast what magics we can on Varya and send her through. As we learn later, it was into the ghost’s Magnificent Mansion. Where the ghost was. Varya and the ghost parlay, Zakiya had said that if the ghost killed us, Zakiya would help find the ghost’s body. The ghost is amenable to us finding her body instead… sometime within the next 10 years.

All in all, a productive afternoon.

View
Sometimes I just have a good day

I learn of this after the fact, but apparently Marcello wakes up and has a bit of a chat with the boggards. Which we receive word of, via Whispering Winds. However, what was neglected in that dispatch was that he had been given a platoon of boggard troops to go kill the rest of the humans. When I heard that, I’ll admit I was a little bit jealous. Up until he mentioned that when he arrived in the human district, he found most of the humans dead or dying. From the bubonic plague.

Meanwhile in the spider… thing… cave… we manage to wake Stetha, and find the gem we’re looking for. Also, a staff of Evocation. Not a bad day. We didn’t manage to kill the lieutenant (still one witness alive and conscious), but I dole out what healing I can (neglecting the lieutenant, of course), we rig up a travois for the lieutenant and corporal, then head off to find Marcello.

Through vegepygmy territory. Crud.

We are ambushed by a squad of them, and rather then decide to see if vegepygmies are as dangerous as we’ve heard, Kyras fireballs them with his new toy, killing most. We very quickly dispatch the rest, and make haste from there…

… Into a second ambush of two vegepygmy squads. It’s chaos, with spores and fire everywhere (Kyras again kills most of a squad with a fireball). During the chaos, Varya manages to shoot Gethedar, and he falls over. She claims it was an accident, but I’m not so sure. Regardless, we kill the rest of the vegepygmies, and make haste to the edge of vegepygmy territory. We veil ourselves as troglodytes, disguise the others as best we can, and get within dimension door territory. That territory just so happens to be in some covered bridge infested with tentacle beasts. As we ferry everyone to safety, I take the chance to stab the good lieutenant to death, and leave his body for the beasts.

Finally we rendezvous with Marcello and there is healing aplenty. I will admit I missed him. His healing, anyhow. We rest a little bit, try curing some bubonic plague, try questioning a cured human (a somewhat pointless exercise on two fronts, I might add), and then we finally decide that our next action should be the megapiranha cave. Again.

What could go wrong this time?

View
My kind of promotion

As I clamber out of the ruins of the tower, I see… no chimeras. At all. What I do see, is the serpentfolk brigade led by my sister engaging Stetha in a discussion of some sort. Which I cannot hear. Because I am still deaf. I hope that Stetha isn’t about to get us all killed before I can get within range to talk telepathically with my sister. I get to shore and in range of my sister, without her platoon killing me or my party. So far so good.

I tell my sister as much about our quest as I think prudent, and without lying because she would know. She always knows. I mention that we’re looking for a way into Ilmuria. She thinks this is a splendid idea, and grants us the help of three of her troop to help. And that we should meet in three days at the serpentfolk island to compare notes. Where she will likely meet Issilar. Who may reveal more about our plans than I’m comfortable revealing to my sister. Excellent. This looks like just a splendid day.

Oh, and my sister wants me to kill her lieutenant Ku-Ish who she’s sent with us, and to make it look like an accident in front of the other two observers she’s sent with us. Apparently Ku-Ish has it in for my sister and, by extension, me. While I have no problem killing the good lieutenant, the “make it look like an accident” thing is a little bit tricky.

Before we leave, we search the chimera tower (and find a bit of treasure), before setting out to the next possible location to find a gem.

Before long, we do locate one. Approximately 100 feet down. We start Stetha digging (more to keep her busy), while the rest of us search around for a tunnel or secret entrance. Finding none, we choose to set out for the Chara-uka district and try our luck there. We try our luck with a Locate Object attempt before finding a glowing cave.

Now, I have yet to come across a glowing cave that is not ominous in some way, but this looks like a splendid place to send certain lieutenants to their “accidental” deaths. We stride in to find… a gargantuan webbed undead crocodile thing. And four webbed undead boggards. Also, a large spider.

What a terrible idea.

Stetha is very quickly incapacitated, as is the good lieutenant (hurray) and one of the observers (oh dear). We dispatch the undead crocodile and the boggards, and get to work on the spider. The spider that can teleport.

What a tiresome skill. It may just be me, but it would seem as though all our foes are capable of this. Thankfully, the spider is not the most tactically-minded creature, and we are able to re-engage and kill it. When the dust settles, Stetha is unconscious, as is the lieutenant and one of the observers. However, awkwardly enough, the second observer is quite conscious. Which makes killing the lieutenant somewhat… tricky….

View
Need a light?

Take from one of Yssith-Atil’s note books:

There is no particular evidence that burning an outsider’s body actually does anything more than make a significant amount of rancid smoke. However, fire does tend to make dead things stay dead. (Research dismissal) With the demon gone, Garluu has agreed to hold up his end and the new belt will be ready in 2 weeks. They had limited additional information about the mantises in the area, that being that these creatures are some how bred or controlled by the troglodytes. We proceeded back to the portal/archive area and discovered three things on the way:
1. The humans have likely captured the elf woman (Should find her equipment for anything related to the hidden city)
2. A ghostly being has occupied the building above the tunnels which house the portal and archive, she has one of the Scorpion Clan goblins with her, Darkfire we believe.
3. Lena-Karik has some form of supernatural bond with nature. (Discover how this works at a later date)

The archive room contains a map of Saventh-Yhi, depicting it just before its fall. Additionally, it contains a socketed painting of a portal, presumably the portal activation (Keep Professor Stetha on a tighter leash. New fear of fire a good teacher?) Gethedar discovered the last known locations of all the stashes of portal rune stones via raised symbols on the map. We located the ‘Gluttony’ rune stones but they are guarded by mega-piranha and other fish humanoids, these will be dealt with later. The chimera were close enough to another rune stone that we moved to clear them out before searching for it. This was when Het-Kiril’s sister arrived with a squad of archers who peppered the remaining chimera. Luckily she asked Stetha who we were before they…

View
A killing we will go

So, now we know why the salt was there. After some wandering around and exploring, we find a giant slug. So question asked, and answered. The slug dies rather quickly (and messily), and we continue on to find… the back side of our salt wall. Also, a gold nugget.

We harvest the salt, and I’m given the unenviable task of dragging the bulk of it back to the boggards. We set out, and I quietly hope that it doesn’t start raining. We make some progress before we’re set upon by three dinosaurs. As apparently hauling along sleeping members of your party constitutes ‘bait’ to dinosaurs, they are voraciously determined to eat us. Nevertheless, we dispatch the dinosaurs (for which I salvage two of their skins), and press on.

We eventually arrive at the boggard district, and we conduct some business. Salt is sold, fancy belts are purchased. As is healing. I’ll confess, healers are actually something that are more useful than I gave them credit for. Ugimmo takes this time to blame us for shattering a demon bottle and releasing a demon (something about the demon needing to answer questions truthfully, and once those questions are used up, the demon is released). I know nothing about this, but find out that apparently our party did exactly that, during a period where Ihad taken a nap a while ago. Ah. And apparently, that demon has been killing boggards out of some kind of desire for vengeance. Makes sense.

We agree to meet Garlu (the chief of the boggards) regarding the demon. Garlu wants us to kill the demon. Also, a vampire. In exchange, he pledges the boggard forces to kill all humans. We negotiate to kill the demon (and only the demon) for some healing and a fancy belt. We make our preparations and set out!

View
Stocking up on spices.

We get back to camp, do what we need to regarding people’s injuries and deafness, and prepare to return. We do so, hear some more of the manbats, and prepare to ambush them. We use a major image as bait and, as planned, get attacked by a half-dozen of them. And manbats, doing what manbats do, scream. Naturally, I go deaf as a result. Frustrating, but luckily I don’t need my ears to drive a four-foot long sword into my enemies. Or breathe fire at them. So, I breathe fire at some, carve up others, and Varya… is Varya. Not more than two shakes later, and all the manbats are dead on the ground. I get to skinning, the others get to looting, and we press on.

Whereupon we are promptly ambushed by four more. If six weren’t able to overcome us, surely four more will be the tipping point! I skin them as well, and we press on once more. We continue our exploration and come to a wicker wall. Unsure of its purpose, we choose not to breach the wall. Continuing our exploration of the manbat cave, we also come across another wall… this one of salt. I’m underwhelmed, until Gethedar points out that 3000 pounds of salt is quite valuable. Which poses an interesting logistical issue. Removing 3000 pounds of salt is doable. However, somebody has bricked up a passageway with 3000 pounds of very valuable trade goods. We remove a single brick and have Varya fire a lit arrow down the corridor, but are unable to discern what terrors lay in wait. We put the brick back, and decide to try to circle around to the other side through some of the other corridors available to us.

We do so, and do manage to find the other side of the wicker wall. We continue exploring the other corridors, and find an Azlanti statue. Which, it turns out, is not a statue but a stone golem… either waiting or dormant, we’re not sure. Either way, we arrange ourselves in a particularly threatening manner and destroy it. Unsure of its purpose, we feel it safer to continue our explorations without it at our back to (potentially) ambush us. As we have had an experience or two with fighting battles on more than one front, we choose not to have a repeat of that experience.

View
A few components shy of a full pouch

Written in one of Yssith-Atil’s note books and cycles sentence-by-sentence through a dozen different languages:

Set off from the Red Mantis caravan on our way to the Boggards. The Free Pirates have taken control of the nearest lake to the caravan camps. Skirted about 100ft around the lake to avoid chimeras. There is a temple of some kind dedicated to a serpentfolk slaying warrior or god close to the Human’s encampment. A cursory analysis of the statue did not provide any useful information. (Unknown deity, unknown event) Terod conducted a further investigation which confirmed my suspicions that the temple area affects non-sentient serpents. He found that it has minor emotional effects on our kind (Inform Issilar to not allow degenerates to come near this temple).

An undead serpentfolk magically attacked Reethna with no effect. The undead, Sozothala stopped when he realized that we were of his former race. He claims that he has been in a torpor for 10,000 years (Post fall of Ydersius during fall of Saventh-Yhi) and was woken up by an elf. He crippled the elf, who is still running around somewhere underground, but destroyed the activation stones to a portal in the process. Sozothala seems to have been a necromancy of substansial skill before his failed transformation (No telepathy…concerning). He still has a lot of power (Where does he keep his books?) and he is still able to raise undead servants. He zealously supports Ydersius’ return… we will have to deal with that before he regains any more power.

We killed several Kletches and Sabosans (Find way to block shriek)

(or create virus to kill all Sabosans)

View
Stocking up the skin bag

We escort our three new charauka firends to the charauka island. They tell us to wait before coming over, and we see them chatting to three other charauka. Probably saying nice things, but I have a hand on the hilt of my sword anyway. Surreptitiously. As surreptitiously as one can have a hand on the hilt of a large sword strapped to one’s back…

Ten minutes later, the charauka return and invite us to meet Olugini. I presume some sort of leader.The three charauka point us in the direction of a fortress… a fortress they appear to be afraid of. As we approach, we hear a growling creature inside. Our charauka decide to leave us to our devices. Oooookay….

We shout telepathically to the creature inside not to kill us, as we are just here to talk. We spot someone through a slit (an arrow slit or peephole?) and Varya manages to negotiate our entrance. We open the doors to… to see five large apes.

I like their skins.

But no… we’re here diplomatically. I proffer two of my rapiers as tribute. Here’s the thing I learned about charauka today. Apparently, they hate gifts. My offer of two swords is apparently the worst sort of insult. They start up with some bluster, and Varya manages to calm them down a bit. Just far enough that the leader accepts a challenge to a duel from Varya.

Varya and the leader get prepared, the leader’s companions step aside, and… we renege. Oh, Varya lights into him alright. But, with a nice unobstructed view, so do the rest of us. We use the doors as a choke point. The leader disappears then reappers in our midst. Now, this is more my speed. I have the sword out, and I do what I do.

Well, we murder those apes to a one. I get to skinning the corpses, the others get to looting. Once finished, we have a bit of a rest in a Tiny Hut, then set off to rendezvous with Sneak Sneak… who has just finished consuming the remainder of our dinosaur eggs. I was looking forward to training Titanicus as a hardened battle steed. Sadly, I have no bag of holding to mete out punishment. We grab the mules (and Sneak Sneak), and waterwalk away to rendezvous with the caravans.

As we get back, we see the caravans are close to finishing the ramps down from the top of the waterfall. We rendezvous with Chivane, who gives us some information on the sword we’re supposed to be finding. Apparently, some sort of sawtooth sword? We gather rations and prepare to set off. Before we do, we send Sasha (the girl who had been washing the torpid bodies of our companions), Kari-Krex, Sneak Sneak, and Kadda off to try to find Mine and Gravy. Though I don’t see why. Goblins have really started to rub me the wrong way. Though, I hope Cuddles… wherever he is… is miserable.

View
And then, chara'uka

Goodness, what… a… nap. I awaken to, well, a situation I’m not too on top of, to be honest. But I’m quickly brought up to speed: Froghemoth controlled, Akarundo killed, Varya is even more lethal…

Oooookay.

So. After a quick interlude (well, for my compatriots it’s an interlude, for me it’s more of a slow start to the morning) where we gather some tactical information on Khalid-Sha the mud genie, we return to his island to seek him out. We descend again, past the dead carnivorous plant, to that accursed hallway of mud. We send Stetha in as a scout, and she refrains from dying, so the import-… I mean, the rest of us… head in.

And we’re promptly ambushed.

I would say I’m surprised, but… well… I just enjoy killing things too much. Even though I won’t get any skins off these mud creatures. Varya, though, does what Varya does best. And shoots them what had to have been eight times. One of the mud creatures does approach into melee, but Varya kills it. The second creature disappears. I am somewhat disappointed. We come to a large room, however the mud is making things very slow going, so we decide to retreat, rest up, and water walk through.

The following day, we enact this plan, and let me tell you… I’m so very glad we chose the tactical retreat and new approach. Things go much more quickly this time around. We reach the large room, and… nothing. Nothing jumps out of the mud to try to kill us. Again, disappointed. We approach a second, connecting room. There is a very large, mean-lloking creature. I ready my swor-

And Varya does what Varya does. Well, it’s not dead yet, so the rest of us fighting types engage the creature in melee. At which point the creature that had been lurking under the mud in the first room decides to attack. Of course.

Pressed on both sides, it doesn’t look good for our group. Moreso, since the large creature standing in front of me decides that the woman wielding the flaming two-handed sword is a threat (I don’t know what gave her that idea). And it kicks the living daylights out of me. So, the group decides to divide and conquer. Half works on the large creature in front of me, the other works on what we now suspect is the genie itself. Kyras manages to do something wizardy to the genie which lets us get a lot more damage through.

And then, Chara’uka. No, seriously. Out of nowhere, three chara’uka appear and attack the elemental. I know, I don’t understand it either. I have no idea where they came from, but given the sheer number of orifices I’m bleeding from by that poiint, I wasn’t in the mood to do much complaining. It’s at this point that the tide turned in our favour, and we dispatch both the genie and the elemental. Apparently the chara’uka had been trapped down here after some time feeling strange. And once they’d drunk from the magic fountain over there, they had started feeling right as rain again, though still trapped.

Wait, magic fountain? I take a sip, and sure as shootin’ I feel better. So much better, in fact, that I’m no longer bleeding from the ears. At that point, we go mud swimming for the treasure the mud genie had been hoarding, and call it a day.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.