Lords of Magic

Adventure Log 2013-05-11: The Mage Games Continued

We began last session in the middle of the first Mage Games competition: teleported to a random tunnel in the ShadowDark with the task of making it back to the Dark Brotherhood compound alive. We had just finished dealing with a Shadar-kai caster and group of Earth Elementals, when we noticed that Pock had gone missing. Apparently deciding not to bother looking for him, we followed Tavni’s hand of fate down the tunnel.

We eventually came to a convergence of several tunnels. After using Hand of Fate to determine the next tunnel to take we heard metallic footsteps coming from down one of the tunnels. It turned out to be a very bedraggled group of mages lead by the warforged who we had met at the last mage games and who had helped us defeat Ssynthia. Because we had just lost a party member and the warforged (whose name we learned was Aegis) was not at all impressed with his current group, we decided to join forces.

We traveled down the tunnel and were soon attacked by another Shardar-kai caster with a group of water elementals. After defeating them, Thorfin attempted to use the Coils of the Balcanoth to get back to the compound and succeeded. With the knowledge that we could use the Coils of the Balcanoth to get back, we then discussed whether or not it would be cheating, whether or not that mattered, and what we should do about the mages. In the end, we used the Coils of the Balcanoth to transport the mages (who just wanted to get out of there) to the town around the mountain from our fortress and then used Phantom Steeds to race back to the compound (during which we didn’t run into any more problems).

Upon arriving, we were approached by the Dark Brotherhood who asked us what challenges we faced on the way back and didn’t seem at all surprised to hear about the Shardar-kai and elementals. The seemed rather shifty when asked about it so Tavni went to talk to the Gradmaster. After dancing around for a little bit (verbally), he admitted that the shadar-kai were their greatest enemy and that they were indeed using the Games as an opportunity to thin the enemy ranks. Once the other two teams returned (the Dark Brotherhood team lost a couple of members and the final team only had two members remaining), we were announced the winners and presented with the prize: 5,000gp and a Cloak of the Walking Wounded, which the Dark Brotherhood had created themselves out of souls.

The next day the second event of the games took place: a free-for-all treasure hunt. Each contestant was given a gem that would get colder as they got closer to the goal. Riding on Phantom Steeds and following the gems and Hand of Fate, we found a man-made crevice along the wall of a tunnel. Inside we found a small room with sparse living arrangements. Suddenly, out from the shadows, we were attacked by a group of shadar-kai from within the room and a tentacled cave creature from outside the room. When the leader of the shadar-kai was defeated, his body dematerialized and his soul was drawn into the nearest gem. We defeated the tentacle creature and the shadar-kai, knocking two of them unconscious.

Tavni’s Grim Interrogator ritual was entirely ineffective, but they didn’t seem particularly tight-lipped when we just asked them questions. They didn’t know where the elementals came from (though the person whose soul we took would have known), but their response to why they had attacked us was because we were with the Dark Brotherhood. When asked why they were against the Dark Brotherhood, they responded that their practice of Necromancy was an abomination to the Raven Queen. Also, Necromancy. They were actually curious as to why WE weren’t against the Dark Brotherhood. We concluded with the realization that we might not necessarily be on the right side here.

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Adventure Log 2013-04-20: The Mage Games

First of all, don’t forget to level up to 14 before next session.

We began last session having just run through Elvewyn’s portal to escape Gith and her insistence that we must be killed in order to fulfill the prophecy. The portal lead into a cave-like room full of glowing purple crystals. Elvewyn said that he had been the one to tell Zerath to use arcane users for his mission (and therefore it was he who had altered the fate of the githyanki). He was well aware of the mindflayer incursion wanted to mobilize the two races in preparation. He then proceeded to usher us through many different rooms, all very different from each other: from plane stone rooms to cavernous rooms with towering ceilings beyond sight to scorching hot rooms. They all seemed to be in different locations on different planes and they all contained shelves upon shelves packed full of books. As we walked through he began telekinetically pulling out different books and handing them to Thorfin and Tavni. Finally he opened a door leading into Tavni’s laboratory, and bid us farewell.

Upon arriving back to Tavni’s lab we finally opened the long avoided “bio-hazard door”. We had no trouble dealing with the oozes and the aberrant creature was dead. They had probably been feeding it and, with anything left to eat, it must have starved.

We spent the next two weeks before the mage games renovating and making additions to our fortress, including Windows of Escape, magic beds, and Tavni’s ritual to make doors open and fires light automatically and allow us to change the appearance of the walls and ceilings to be like the sky.

After two weeks, we set out to the mage games, which were being hosted by the Dark Brotherhood in the Shadowdark (the Underdark of the Shadowfell). With Ghesh on his Drakkensteed and the rest of us on Phantom Steeds, we traveled to a graveyard portal to the Shadowfell; then followed Hand of Fate to a Ruin full of graves; in which we found a cellar with a staircase leading down and down and down for eight hours before opening into a largeish cavern where we took an extended rest, though not a particularly restful one (i.e. it would not replenish healing surges or daily powers). Upon completing our rest we were met by a Wraith who said, “Come this way.” We followed the wraith down tunnels and then into a large open cavern (“Stay close”) until we came to a huge tower structure made of black stone.

The entrance to the compound was guarded by two skeletons. Standing just outside was River, the shifter druid from the Arcane Brotherhood, whom they wouldn’t let inside on account of her not being an arcane user. She informed us that all of the arcane users in Sigil were dead and that it was entirely our fault. She asked us to pass on the message and said that she would go back to the natural world and see what she could do there.

Upon entering we were approached by members of the Dark Brotherhood who told us that the primary mage games had been canceled due to lack of attendance (we were the only other magic school to show up). We told them that we had just been made aware that all of the arcane users in Sigil had been killed, to which they responded that this had confirmed their suspicions. When we asked if there was some authority to whom we could communicate this message, they told us that the Dark Brotherhood isn’t as structured as most other schools and that they don’t have a formal hierarchy, though we could talk to the Grandmaster. (We were told to just look for an extremely tall Dark Brotherhood member.) They said that they would still be holding the secondary events and we were welcome to take part. As for lodging, any buildings not guarded by skeletons were open to the public.

Also, the Dark Brotherhood members said that two people, by the names of Clog and Mereth, were looking for Ecthelion. The two turned out to be a half-orc and an elf who wished to study sword-magic and had been sent by Grubble the Magnaflorious with a note that said “You’re It.” Ecthelion agreed to take them on for a probationary period.

The next day at the gathering for the games, the Grandmaster made the announcement about the magic users in Sigil and said that traditions must continue on. The participants were then divided into groups (those in a school with their school) and, for the first round, sent through a portal to a random tunnel in the Shadowdark with the simple task of finding their way back.

Once in the tunnel, we took the direction indicated by Tavni’s Hand of Fate, where we soon ran into a Shadar-Kai and several Earth Elementals. After taking a short rest we suddenly realized we were missing someone; Pock was no where to be found.

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Adventure Log 2013-04-06: Vlaakith and the Fate of the Githyanki

At the beginning of last session we had just interrogated our newly captured mindflayers and learned that the mindflayers are in the process of invading the natural world and we are on their hit list. The next day Ghesh, Tavni, Thorfin, and Pock traveled around the mountain (first by Drakkensteed and then by the Balconoth’s coils) to the place where the Mindflayers had been summoned. They found a circular glade that was corrupted. The area was saturated with Far Realm energies that were slowly spreading and corrupting the surrounding area. They found the now corrupted and aberrant bodies of the summoners, all of which had a tattoo of the symbol of Tharizdun, the chained god. Tavni, with a little of Thorfin’s, help inscribed a magic circle around the area to prevent the corruption from spreading and then used Commune With Nature to to ask a shrub where the cultists had come from, to which it responded “from the rock”. After determining that it was referring to the mountain, they tracked the cultists back to a cave where they found the residue of a portal, probably from the natural world. The exact origin of the portal could not be determined, but whoever created it must have been very powerful (more powerful than any of the cultists).

After they arrived back at the fortress, and after some discussion of how to transport the mindflayers to Tu’Narath, Pock attempted to travel on the Balconoth’s coils to Lady Arashtina’s chamber in Tu’Narath… and succeeded. A little shocked, he quickly traveled back. Over the course of a few more back-and-forth travels (first to outside the complex and then directly into her chamber (“What is this magic?” “It’s a long story”) ), we told her that we had obtained proof of the mindflayer incursion in the form of two captured mindflayers before bringing them to her. Tavni repeated the interrogation on the Mastermind and he told her everything he had told us. Lady Arashtina then took great joy in killing the now unnecessary Unseen One.

Lady Arashtina then informed us that since our last visit, Vlaakith had stepped up her efforts to deify herself and that we needed to move now. While Lady Arashtina marshaled her forces and prepared to reveal herself, we were to get into Vlaakith’s palace and prevent her from becoming a goddess. (As for getting into the palace, if we had trouble, we were to tell Osyrimon that Gith required his service.) Vlaakith was trying to draw on the divine spark of The One in the Void: the creature on which Tu’Narath was built. Vlaakith’s castle was in the creature’s head.

Two of Lady Arashtina’s githyanki lead us through the sewers to a grate that opened near the castle steps. Remarkably, we were able to get past the front guards and to the thrown room doors without being detected (turns out the “palace” consists of a hallway and a throne room). We pulled open the massive doors and entered.

Inside we saw groups of githyanki gathered around nine glowing latticework cupolas and in the center of the room on a dais was a tall, undead githyanki woman: presumably Vlaakith. At the base of the dais were three “abominations”: the result of Vlaakith’s attempt to mix githyanki and red dragons. Etched into the floor of the large room was the outline of the six-armed being on which Tu’Narath was built. The cupolas, which were encasing astral diamonds, were positioned on key points around the figure’s body (one at the end of each arm, one in the center of the torso in front of the dias, one in the head, and one where the legs would have started). Vlaakith greeted us and mentioned the prophecy that Lady Arashtina had told us about. We attacked.

Vlaakith was channeling the energy from the being through the astral diamonds in order to deify herself, so we needed to use various methods to delay her long enough for us to destroy the cupolas. The githyanki gathered around each cupola were focusing on protecting them, so we needed to defeat all of a cupola’s protectors before we could destroy it, all the while being assaulted by the abominations and the occasional spell from Vlaaketh.

As the fight wore on, suddenly the doors of the throne room blew off their hinges and Lady Arashtina (looking significantly more powerful than she had earlier) stood in the doorway. Vlaakith addressed her as Gith. Gith then charged up to the dais and began dueling Vlaakith. As we continued attempting to destroy the cupolas, it was obvious that Gith was much more powerful than Vlaakith and was beating her pretty badly. Vlaakith started going on about how Gith was just going to kill us when she was done, and Vlaakith didn’t seem to be lying. Gith simply said, “It’s nothing personal.”

After we had destroyed half of the cupolas, Gith overcame her opponent and cut Vlaakith clean in two. She then turned to us and said that the prophecy foretold that once the fate of the githyanki had been decided, she was to destroy us (or at least that’s a paraphrase of her interpretation). She then approached Ecthelion and stabbed him, and every member in the party felt it. Suddenly, a glowing purple portal appeared emanating not aberrant power (as we first expected) but psychic. Then Elvewyn stepped through and greeted us all with “Thank goodness for varied interpretations” and we all fled through the portal.

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Adventure Log 2013-03-23: Mindflayers Obtained

We began last session having just finished defeating a mindflayer and a couple of Far Realm creatures in the town around the mountain from our dwarven fortress. An old man came shuffling toward the building we were in, attacked us by trying to drain Ecthelion, and was quickly followed by another eye-dog creature and two mindlfayers (a Mastermind and an Unseen One). Caiphon, in exchange for some health from each member of the party, told Pock that the old man was a Herald of Hadar. We killed the Herald and the eye-dog and knocked the two mindflayers unconscious. To contain them, we tied them up and put them inside magic circles on Tensor’s floating disks. The dwarves of the town thanked Thorfin for saving them before we headed back to our Fortress. Once there, Tavni secured our prisoners in magic circles in separate rooms before interrogating them using one of his secret rituals: grim interrogator.

He interrogated the Unseen One first. The mindflayer told us that they attacked the dwarven town in order to kill us as part of a larger plan. The mindflayers are beginning an invasion of the natural plane in order to establish a new Illithid Empire. He said that it is getting easier for them to break through into our world. The defenses have grown thin, there are fewer and fewer entities that are able to keep them out, and there are entities in our world who are helping them in.

He said that we are doomed. Killing us is an important part of their plan, so they will continue to send stronger and stronger forces at us until we are defeated.

Next we interrogated the Mastermind, though he didn’t know too much more than the Unseen one. They are working with a group and/or some higher entity here in the natural plane. Their team was were brought here by a small group of mortals whose remains should still be scattered on the other side of the mountain. He said that we were easy to find because there are not that many powerful magic users. He said that the master brain whom he serves isn’t currently interested in any of the other planes, just the natural one. When asked about the githzerai and githyanki, he said that they were no longer worth being thralls and that they would be exterminated.

We then discussed various ways to bind them and get them to Tu’Narath. The closest portal to the Astral Sea is four days west of our fortress. Once there we would need to find a ship who’s captain would be able and willing to take us to Tu’Narath.

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Adventure Log 2013-03-09: Lady Arashtina

We began last session in the middle of Tu’narath, where we would be attacked on sight by anyone we came across. We entered a skill challenge to evade the guards (and everyone else) while trying to find a place to hide and get our bearings. Thorfin used his dungeoneering to find a place in the sewers for us to hide temporarily, where we realized that there was some powerful psychic entity looking for us. Vashkyrai used Consult Oracle and found that the answer to who was looking for us, who brought down the dragons, and where we should go to find Gith, was all “Lady Arashtina”. Vashkyrai also discovered that Lady Arshtina was the leader of the Githyanki revolution and that her intentions toward us were not overtly hostile. We soon met up with a group of Githyanki who were sent to take us to this Lady Arashtina.

We met Lady Arashtina, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Vlaakith I: the step-mother of her people. The current queen of the githyanki, Vlaketh XXV, has turned herself into an undead abomination and must be overthrown. There is a prophecy saying that arcane power will be the deciding factor in the future of their race, hence both of their interest in us. Vlaakith would likely have used us in an attempt to gain god-hood, while Lady Arashtina wants our help in defeating Vlaakith.

We asked Lady Arashtina where Gith was, to which she responded in the Nine Hells being held as collateral by Dispater. After a brief discussion about whether Lady Arashtina was lying and why and who noticed, we told her about our mission from Zer. She seemed amused by this, and commented that “Zerith (or ‘Zer’ as he is apparently calling himself these days) is singing a different tune than he was 1800 years ago.” When we told her that he had said something was coming which was bigger than their differences, she said that the only possible reason for the githzerai and githyanki to rejoin would be under the threat of another mindflayer incursion. To this we told her about the rats and the mindflayers who attacked us. She said that she needed some verifiable proof that the mindflayers were coming back, both for her sake and in order to rally the githyanki behind her. If the githyanki will need to ally with the githzerai, they will need a strong leader.

With that she loaded us into crates and had us carried back to our ship. Unfortunately, our captain wasn’t too keen on having random, unknown cargo dumped onto his ship, so the githyanki left us sitting on the docks. It then took another skill challenge to get out of the crates and onto the ship, and then out of Tu’narath airspace without anybody noticing. Once we were out of Tu’narath, Thorfin used his Planar Loadstone to find a portal to the natural plane. Once there, Thorfin went off and discovered that there might be mindflayers in the little town near our fortress, so we headed off in that direction. Upon arriving we discovered that a small group of mindflayers had taken over most of the villagers and were using them to break into the temple of Moradin, where the last resistance was apparently holding up. Vashkyrai snuck into one of the buildings surrounding the town square and found not only a mindflayer but also two other aberrant beings: a large starlight creature and a strange one-eyed dog-like creature. We surprised and quickly defeated them. One down, three (ish) to go.

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Adventure Log 2013-03-03: Tu'narath

Last session we continued our discussion from the previous week about what we were going to “trade” in order to get into Tu’narath. We decided on a combination of residuum and magic items (of which we had a few extra). As a fallback, Tavni cast Ironwood on the skiff in exchange for getting the captain to carve some wooden weapons for Tavni to also cast Ironwood on.

We learned that Githyanki society is very Spartan. From birth they are raised in military groups and rarely meet any of their immediate family. They build their cities on the bodies of dead gods and other powerful Astral beings. Finally, They are ruled by the Githyanki Lich Queen of Tu’narath: Vlaakith.

We arrived at Tu’narath, a buzzing but very dreary and dirty city built on the giant corpse of some six-armed humanoid creature. A Githyanki riding a red dragon took one of our magic items as tax before leading us to the merchant district: the only district in which we were allowed access. We paid the captain of the skiff to wait for us before heading off into the city.

After an initial look around, during which we didn’t really find much, we located an inn to spend the night. The next day, in the hopes of making some contacts, Tavni cast Ironwood on some catapults owned by a gnome. Meanwhile, Vashkyrai and Ecthelion did some nosing around. The latest rumor was that there was a group of mage’s who had just arrived in the merchant district and were offering magical services. The general feeling seemed to be that this was unusual enough that it might be considered dangerous.

That afternoon, Githyanki showed up at our room in the inn and demanded that we come with them; their only explanation being that it was “for the empress’s purposes.” They loaded us onto three red dragons (with Pock in one of the dragons’ mouths) and took off toward the center of the city.

As we were flying over the city proper, the dragons suddenly dropped out of the sky and we all began plummeting toward the ground. Tavni cast Feather Fall; allowing us to gently float to the ground while the Githyanki and dragons fell to their deaths. Upon reaching the ground, we were spotted by a small group of Githyanki and were immediately attacked. We fought them off, and are now in the middle of a city where we will be attacked and killed on sight.

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Adventure Log 2013-02-12: Githzerai

(An initial note: Sorry for making it so long. I’ll try to be more concise in the future.)

At the end of the previous session, after discovering that Mind Flayers were after us and retreating to Tavni’s lab, we were suddenly confronted by an aggressive group of Githzerai, who were apparently uninterested in any sort of diplomatic solution to whatever problem brought them there.

Last session, we began by fighting off the Githzerai on two fronts: Ecthelion, Tavni, and Vashkyrai in Tavni’s lab, and Thorfin and Pock in the streets of Ye Olde Unnamed Town. The lab battle was made especially interesting when Vashkyrai’s Deck of Many Things began swirling around her and compelling her to draw a card every round. This resulted in, among other things, her falling unconscious, summoning ghouls, becoming conscious, falling unconscious again, and summoning a set of sending stones (which promptly disappeared because the battle was over).

While the party members in the lab were ultimately victorious, Thorfin and Pock’s battle in the streets didn’t turn out quite so well. Pock was able to escape, but Thorfin, after an attempt to run for it, was knocked unconscious and captured. (It really wasn’t his day.)

After the battle Vashkyrai’s cards spread out in front of her and she was able to draw two final cards and choose one to leave the deck’s blessing or curse as it left. She drew and chose the Vizier, allowing her to use Consult Oracle or Consult Fate once per day.

Unfortunately, more Githzerai showed up and, after reuniting us with Thorfin and Pock, brought us to an earth mote in the Elemental Chaos. We were brought to a facility which, we later learned, used the siphoned off power of captured arcane magic users to contain beings of “great evil”. Since the Githzerai were impressed by our combat prowess and general competency, we were given the option to go on a quest to free the Great Gith rather than become humanoid batteries. The Great Gith was the one who led the Githzerai and Githyankee people to freedom from the Mind Flayers and is now imprisoned by a devil as part of an agreement with Tiamat. We agreed to go on the quest, and were then escorted to an island in the Astral Sea where they would find us transportation to the Githyankee capital city: To’narath.

While on the island, Vashkyrai used Consult Oracle to ask five questions (of which I remember only four).

  • Who is behind the psychic attacks?
    • The Stars of the Great Beyond.
  • Where, specifically, is the Gith being held?
    • This question has no answer.
  • Why does it have no answer?
    • The Gith is not being held.
  • Where should we go to find the Gith?
    • To’narath.

Finally, we discussed what reason we would give for entering To’narath (specifically, what we were bringing to trade). Ideas and suggestions included

  • Dwarven ale
  • Selling arcane reagents
  • Selling potions
  • Thorfin using Lap of Luxury
  • Slavery
  • Prostitution
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News 2/28/2013
news

Hey guys, just a heads-up to let you know that D&D is off for Saturday, March 16th, as Anya and myself (and Craig) are going to the Corban spring play that evening. You’re all welcome to come along, too, of course. Anyway, we may just bump the time up and have D&D beforehand, but I wouldn’t count on it.

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