Feb. 25th 2012, 2nd game

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Feb. 25th 2012, 2nd game

Post  GM on Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:04 pm

Start- Marpenoth 25, 1402

Party sets out from Triboar after a relatively uneventful day of resupplying and new and reintroductions:
-Xavkul was introduced to Master Starfire with accompaniment by Magnus. A painful lesson in climbing and jump followed in Master Starfire's inventory “pagoda”.
-Darmorel, along with her paladin and monk shadows visited a few places before heading out of town o get a look at the forest they would be traveling to on the following day.

A rest in a simple inn and tavern kept the cold, dry air at bay for the night. The next day the party set out to find the menhir circle through which Darmorel had first arrived in the Kryptgarden forest. The goblin tribe that had assailed Darmorel (and Cardin) upon her first adventure through the forest could still be heard lurking about, but Darmorel's preferred traveling form seems to have kept them at bay. Before the day is out, the party finds the finds the circle and deciphers how to activate the ancient elven teleportation device.

As a side note, Darmorel and the others find and collect three bunches of a magical plant whose leaves are prized by alchemists and other magic users.

Only three can travel through at a time, and so Darmorel, Magnus, and Xavkul move through first. Immediately upon their arrival on the other side, they are beset upon by a Magma dragon, whose breath weapon critically damages the menhir circle. An unknown defensive feature of the circle activates, shielding the three from the man-sized dragon's attacks. Surrounded by a 15-foot cylinder of green energy, the trio do their best to inhibit and drive back the beast.

As luck, or the will of higher powers, would have it Lex and his elven traveling companion teleport into the protective zone moments before the barrier is ripped asunder by the dragon. However, the fortuitous arrival of reinforcements triggers a strange secondary effect; the “blinking” forms of the other half of the party begin to manifest by three of the ruined menhir stones. They appear caught somewhere between the two menhir circles!

With little time to dwell on this unfortunate magical phenomenon the party is forced to deal with the dragon as the protective barrier falls away in a green cascade of sparkles...

Having successfully defeated the dragon, the party's efforts to reach Darmorel's master's grove are redoubled. Moving swiftly through the pine-needle covered forest floor, the party soon finds itself less than half a mile from the grove when a remarkably long wall of briars and thorns springs up to block their way. Discussions on how to get over, around, or through the wall follow and Darmorel takes the lead by transforming into a small native bird.

Darmorel flies over, lands, changes back and calls out to the mysterious defender in the druidic tongue. No verbal answer comes, however Darmorel catches a momentary glimpse of a rock-covered being who thrusts out an arm towards her and sends her flying back into a nearby tree with tremendous force. Darmorel is momentarily stunned by the impact as several of her internal organs and bones bruised and on the verge of rupturing. Seeing the violent commotion, Aurellion, Lex's elven companion, having already magically lifted himself up, hand-over-hand moves along the underside of the canopy to reach Darmorel. He drags her begin a tree for cover. Xavkul, hearing the commotion, casts Fly and moves to the other side of the wall of thorns and looks about for an assailant to engage. Lex and Magnus are left to hatch and slash their way through the wall.

Darmorel recovers her wits enough to rise up, leaning on the tree she had previously slammed into, and tries again to get her assailants attention. Her words go unheeded and a second wall of thorns is raised, creating a channel between which Darmorel, Aurellion, and Xavkul are not trapped. Aurellion manages to spot the man-sized fey creature and hit it with a fairy-fire spell. Now able to see their assailant, Darmorel recognizes what it is. Speaking to it in sylvan, the creature relaxes its telekineticly controlled exoskeleton of rocks, allowing them to hover in an aura around itself. Slowly, the fey glides through the air to Darmorel where it questions why, if she is a member of the circle, she has not be recalled. The conversation that follows reveals some about the upset state of affairs in Neverwinter woods, as well as the increased presence of fire-beings coming down off the slopes of Mount Hotenow, the volcano that gives Neverwinter its trademark characteristics.

The fey drops the two walls of thorns, catching the two fighters off guard and in mid-swing. The fey guides them to the grove's protective stockade of tightly packed trees where it enters to inform the elder druids of her arrival. Soon after, a blast of snow and ice laced wind rushes out of the closed grove. Darmorel and the others have a short period of time to take in this phenomenon before the trees and brush part to reveal an wholly unexpected figure within the grove.

Exiting the grove ahead of the elder druids of Neverwinter woods is the Druid of Auril who attempted to assault the party upon their initial arrival in Palatinus. He and Darmorel share brief scowls at each other. It is in this atmosphere of tension that Darmorel's master, Davim, steps forward to explain the situation. He states that the circle has been in meeting over the events that have caused the fire creatures, native to the caldera of the volcano, to come down to the forest, and how the activities that have led to this are the result of the efforts of the Druid of Auril who is attempting to “restore the natural order of things to the volcano my sealing the rift to the elemental plane of fire that augments the volcano's heat and allows access to the volcano for various types of elemental beings”.

Davim informs Darmorel that the circle is divided over the situation.

Soon after this revelation, the Druid of Auril, Vahasti, departs with his Siberian tiger companion back up the mountain side. The group is informed that Vahasti was under the protection of the circle for this meeting... but only for the meeting. Davim then invites the group in to speak with the circle so that they may better inform them of the situation...

Shortly after this discussion, and after the other druids have departed back to their home territories, word travels in on a Whispering Wind spell announcing another attack on a settlement north of the grove. Hearing the message, Darmorel asks which one. Davim casts the return spell, waits for a response, which comes stating that it is Darmorel's family homestead that is under attack. Wasting no time, the party moves to the north side of the grove. Davim cast a spell and opens a passage through a tree which he says will bring them to within a few hundred feet of Darmorel's home. The party moves through the seemingly solid tree. Once the last of the group is through, Davim works one last whispering wind spell telling the druid who sent the message (Nelsus) that Davim had sent help but to “send him in anyway”...

The party steps out of the other side, and all but Darmorel require a moment for the world to stop spinning before they can chase after the impetuous druidess. Coming to the edge of the clearing that marks the border of the Chandler homestead, the party sees a huge beast, with a red-scaled serpentine body and twelve-heads. The pyrohydra is busy setting the grain-barn on fire when it spots the group. A fierce battle follow, with Darmorel taking on the form of a huge earth elemental, and the others launching a heavy barrage of attacks at the beast. The fight is short, but deadly, as the creature slides to a position that allows it to unleash the full fury of its twelve breath weapons on both Darmorel and Xavkul. Only the enhanced durability of Darmorel's elemental form allows her to survive the onslaught, Xavkul is not so lucky...

With two of their companions brought down by the beats, Magnus leads the charge, hacking and slashing into it. Lex's spells allow him to stabilize the dying Druid. Moments later, the beast is dead.

The healing spells follow soon after, bringing Darmorel back around and allowing her to rise up on her massive leg-like appendages. It is at this moment, with things quieting down, that Darmorel's father emerges from the house, spear in hand, to inspect the scene. He emerges just in time to witness his daughter emerge from the elemental that had only moments before towered over him. A joyful reunion follows between Darmorel and her family. The rest of the party does what it can to extinguish the flames from the barn.

As the more magically inclined members of the party finish their efforts to save the barn, Magnus is left to mourn the less of his friend. It is against the back drop of grief and joy that a stranger enters the scene. Dressed in a crimson, high-collared jacket similar to the one Lex wears, this silver-haired fellow strides confidently towards the homestead. The introductory conversation between him, Lex, Aurellion, and Darmorel's father and brother reveal him to an undeniably charismatic fellow whose confidence and brash words would be taken as egotism and insults were they to come from most anyone else. He inspects the dead pyrohydra and offers his condolences to Magnus. Soon the entire group is welcomed into the house for dinner and a bit of family relaxation.

Darmorel's mother's “hinting” comments about Magnus and her daughter cause no shortage of uncomfortable looks and blushing... It is not long before sleeping arrangements are made and those who will be taking watch do so. The mysterious stranger, who seems known to the Chandler family, volunteers to take first watch and is joined by Aurellion and Lex a few hours later.

Marpenoth 26th, 1402-

The next day, the party makes preparations to attempt to reincarnate Xavkul, to give him the chance to return to them. The spells works its will over the charred remains of Xavkul's corpse, to reveal a halfling form whose eyes flutter open. Standing by the corner of the house, the stranger, who finally introduced himself as Nero, watches with noticeable interest. The group is cautiously joyful to see their friend returned to him, though history had already informed them that half-orcs were never fond of losing their physical stature or strength. Xavkul slowly seems to reign in his senses, asking questions about what happened and where were his things. The party helps him out of his now over-large breast plate and returns to him his over-large gladius. Hold his sword again seems to better focus his mind. Xavkul rises after being offered a shirt to wear as a tunic. It is here that Nero approaches the halfling and offers some reassurances that he will soon wield his gladius again. Nero displays his own prowess with his personal gladius by flourishing about for a moment in front of Xavkul. The halfling seems both mesmerized and terrified of the display.

With this, Xavkul attempts to go and make himself somewhat useful in cleaning up with Darmorel's family in the barn. A parting question to him from Aurellion, in orcish, seems to reassure the party that Xavkul's somewhat odd behavior really is just a side-effect of him adjusting to his new form. However, a few words said under his breath to Aurellion about knowing that the elf had been handling the blade, sets nerves on edge again. Xavkul stutters for a moment, before blurting out that the sword had told him. Aurellion reminds Xavkul of his previous statement about his sword never talking to him... at this point, Xavkul clutches his sword tight before him and looks as if he is about to run. It is at this moment when a slightly humming, crackling sound begins and ends with a thunder-crack. At this same moment, the center blackblade shatters!

Xavkul's eyes roll back into his head as his again stutters and begins to convulse. His eyes “black-over” and his falls, stiff, to the ground. The party looks back towards the source of the thunder-clap to see Nero pointing an oddly, smoking, shaped metal wand towards Xavkul. He quickly slides the item under his armored coat. The party slowly approaches the body. They discover that the sword is now almost entirely normal looking, except for a rod of black metal that had occupied its center. Someone notices the advanced state of rigor mortis the body appears to be in. Another suggests that perhaps this indicates the body was never properly brought back to life, or was never actually alive. Nero offers his opinion that the remnants of the blade, particularly the black core, be carefully looked after.

The party then gives their twice-fallen companion's body a proper burial in the woods...

The group begins preparations to leave when the druid elder, Nelsus, and another individual emerge from the woods. Nelsus checks in on the family and assists greatly in the disposal of the hydra's body. Nelsus speaks to Darmorel and offers the services of his ranger companion, as he too was interested in taking the fight to the person responsible for this disturbance in nature. With the group ready to do, they travel through the roots of the trees by Darmorel's magic to arrive near the upper reaches of the tree-line on Mount Hotenow.

The party makes slow but steady progress up the mountain, encountering and defeating a Magma elemental elder. Nero displays to the group his skills with his odd, and very loud weapons.

The party makes camp soon thereafter within a magical pocket dimension of a rope trick spell....

Marpenoth 27, 1402-

The party wakes and resumes its climb up the slopes. Soon the party clears the ring of mists, smoke, and clouds that ringed a level of the mountain in a dense layer. Beyond this, the vapors, mist, and other assorted gaseous suspensions cover the rocky slope the rest of the way to the summit. It is from here that Nero decides to go out ahead of the rest of the group to run interference on any other creatures that might get in the way. Nero's efforts can be heard reverberating across the slope as the party reaches the summit.

On the lip of the caldera, the party bears witness to a truly strange and unnatural con-flux of forces. On one side of the caldera, ice, wind, and cold have solidified the lava pool and created an area of perpetual blizzard conditions. On the other side, the more natural state of the caldera's magma pool bubbles and shimmers with heat. In the middle of these two opposing forces, a great vortex of wind spin and hurls what lose debris and ejected bits of lava that cool in its rotating currents to become high-speed obsidian projectiles.

The party spots, standing on the far side of the frigid half of the caldera, the vague form of the druid of Auril. The party carefully picks their way down the caldera towards him to. About one-hundred feet away, Vahasti somehow becomes aware of the group and turns to regard them. At the same moment, a spell which had been cast up to the final syllable by Aurellion is finished, creating an extra-dimensional hole into which falls Vahasti's tiger. In retaliation, Vahasti hurls a Polar Ray at Darmorel. Where it not for the celestial nature of her form, and the accompanying cold resistance, the spell would have caused her body to go into shock and die instantaneously. However, while severe, the blast fails to achieve its goal. A follow up spell from Aurellion knocks Vahasti into the spiked pit. This marks the beginning of a somewhat comical scene of various creatures and spells being dropped in on the Druid and his companion. A flaming sphere goes down the hole next, followed by a summon rhino, then a summon stone giant, until finally the pit-spell's duration expires thrusting the surviving giant, druid, and tiger back to the surface. At which point, Aurellion entangles the druid, and kills the tiger in a field of menacing black tentacles. The party closes in on the druid, and as Lex is about to level the killing blow with his mighty hammer, Vahasti manages to pull the tentacle around his neck down far enough for him to say “If you kill me, you'll never learn where they've taken him”. He cuts a desperate look at Magnus who nearly jumps in the way of the paladin's hammer!

Lex manages to merely knock the druid unconscious, if not into a coma, for the next day or so.

With their enemy defeated, the party is left to figure out how to fix the mess that has been created. Amongst the druid's possessions, the group discovers a powerful magical item known as a Major Ice Heart. The group discovers that it is the reason for the perpetual zone of winter now infecting the summit. The party eventually devises a way to drop the MIH into the deepest part of the magma pool. Doing so, however, has unintended consequences.

The magma elemental summoned by Darmorel brings the sack holding the MIH out into the magma lake. As it drops the sack into the molten rock, the entire caldera instantly flash-freezes, solidifying everything molten or made of magma therein. The consequences of this action soon dawn of the party's scholars. This stone plug has effectively created a pressure cooker that will, one day, cause the normally placid Mount Hotenow to explode violently. Darmorel tests the depth of the plug with the use of a “transmute rock to mud” spell. Creating a 100-foot deep well of mud, the party soon sees a geyser of hot mud come shooting out of the plug followed shortly thereafter by an oozing lava flow, which also solidifies sealing the caldera once more. With an approximate depth established, the party makes its way back down the mountain to inform the druids of their discoveries.

Once this is accomplished, and the druid circle agreeing that more investigation is needed, the party sets of for their next destination, Silverymoon, to track down Magnus' leads on his lost half-brother and prince of Palatinus, Yumil. After the group has rested, but before they leave, Davim offers the group a tremendous reward for their services and help in beginning to resolve and deal with this critical situation. After good-byes are said again, Darmorel's magic takes the party eastward. Arriving along the eastern border of the Lurkwood, the party is soon on the roads that lead to Silverymoon.


Forum section start date : Marpenoth 28, 1402

The Road to Silverymoon


_________________
"It is always those who are closest that shall wound you deepest..."

Vendan Ka'Xain, to Elaina of Night as she led her insurrection against him.

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XP:
500000/1000000  (500000/1000000)

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