mike's epicest epic

Noblesse Oblique
To Hunt a Dark God, You Must Think Like a Dark God

An excerpt from the personal journal of Arc’teryx

The Tales of the Heroes of Auto-Immilatio
Chapter 88 – ’Twas Our Darkest Several Hours

Dear Reader,

First off, if this is the first chapter you’ve found, I want you to know that all the previous chapters definitely exist. You’re missing out, and you should look harder for them. They’re probably in an ancient dragon’s treasure horde, or something. Go collect all the pages! What are you waiting for?

Now back to the story!

As everyone knows, because it was in the last chapter, duh, the brave and noble Abercrombie was revealed to be a member of the Holy Order of the Swashbuckling Swine. People know him, but he keeps it cool, because that’s just how he is. His glowy magic powers make a bit more sense with that context. Our hero Arc’teryx is excited to learn more, if only he had a way to do so… Maybe he has a plan, and maybe it’ll happen soon!

Back at the tavern, Arc’teryx was busy styling on everyone with his Hat of Disguise and Adamantine Armor until Trogdor acquired a dope-ass Magic Cloak. “Fight swagg with swagg,” as the saying goes. Hoping to boost his stage presence, the bard used the Hat to appear a full foot taller than normal. Few, if any, have taken notice. Instead, rumors of soldiers adorned in noble purple and yellow abound.

Sander would later lead the party on an intelligence gathering operation near the docks. In hindsight, it would seem the two Dragonborn would need to gather a different kind of intelligence before such a mission, but it was worth a shot. The two instead simply roused rabble, were thrown out, and continued to dance and make music in the streets. Sander managed to meet with a shady individual who would agree to our heroes’ request to murder a man for a small sum of gold. I know what you’re thinking, because I know how that sounds, but just take it on good faith that these gallant adventurers had a good reason to pay hitmen to murder a stranger. It’s not like the mark was into charity and stuff. He was just a super annoying alcoholic. Eesh, anyway…

Arc’teryx disguised himself convincingly as a drunk old man who stumbled onto the scene of the hit, conspicuously enough to hide in plain sight. From there, Sander took over and ninja vanished his way along until the assassins took the body into a sewer. The group later found a note back at the Outrageous Dragon instructing them to bring payment to the Stamping Skunk for the dark night’s deeds.

Taking a brief hiatus from cloak and dagger tomfoolery, Arc’teryx again tested the waters for his campaign to open the eyes of the lower and middle class denizens of the city to the evils and follies of the rich and noble. He had begun to try sewing the seeds of dischord through colorful ballads and crude limericks, when he was approached by none other than Britha, an aging councilwoman bearing purple and gold finery and an amulet of glowing crystal. She walked with the weight of wealth upon her shoulders, held aloft by air of noxious superiority. Having obviously arrived because Arc’teryx was achieving some success with his musical taunts, she immediately played all the cards in her losing hand. Wisely fearing the unseen depths of his cunning plans, the bejeweled hag threatened his life while simultaneously acknowledging his talents, asking to be spared the sharper edges of his wit, requesting a favor for a friend named Lady Rasanz, and offering to lend him protection. Bribing him with a big jewel could have been an attempt at irony, but more likely she simply saw more dragon about him than satirist. Arc’teryx’s first groupie was a complete psycho.

In the end the party accepted her offer, because it was late and a bad time to make rash decisions. If she thought they were all super stoked on her, it would just be more convenient later. The notion of someone like Kater Erneyng attaining a seat on the council through sinister means and manipulation was also intriguing, and deserving of attention. The team was looking for evidence to substantiate rumors about a council member holding ties to Vecna. And lo, as good things come to those who actively disrupt the forces of darkness, a letter inviting them to an obvious trap referenced their recently destroyed idol to the dark god as bait.

Little planning was required to pull a quick reversal on the sprung trap, and suddenly a dark alley was slick with a pulpy bandit mist. Two survivors were held for questioning, but one was a blithering idiot and the other killed himself to slightly delay our heroes’ progress, like a spiteful prick. His body was hung near the wealthy district as a message to team Vecna. Comically, in a cosmic sense, and in a gruesome coincidence, the body of the priest who destroyed their idol was left out in a similar fashion on the same night. Touche, Vecna.

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Townies
2016-01-01
  • Library
    • Iianed: researching Vekna in the library, she’s not evil
    • Arc’teryx distracted her while Sandor stole her books
  • Temple District
    • met priests; showed them our lich deity (Vekna) symbol; they threw it in holy water / took it away because it’s basically a deity listening device
    • there is a Vekna cult in town; leader is one of the 9 town leaders
  • Alternate tavern
    • waiting for assassin guild contact, they don’t show
  • We heard (where?) that Carl the Druid is investigating near our land
  • Arc’teryx… (something more here?)
  • Home
    • found Carl
      • Carl spoke with the pig for a while
      • he’s friends with the ents; there are other, baby ents about, but they won’t grow / be sentient for many years (20-50… or more?)
      • Arc’teryx’s pig is a pig-knight?
      • Carl said to check out the house
    • we searched home and found a passage behind (in/through?) the stove
      • down some steps, trap
      • secret room
      • found another secret room behind stove in secret room
        • fought/killed 3 shadows and a shadow demon
  • Carousing
    • Trogdor: won 200gp (arm wrestling?)
    • Trypan: goes to jail
    • Sandor: 39gp gambling
    • Arc’teryx: remember getting drunk with a human who boasts being a king in a distant realm, gets a diamond
  • Arena
    • wagered 1,000gp, won… 2,000gp?
    • giant scorpion, some close calls, maybe Trogdor should have…
      • kited more with ranged attacks
      • been inspired by the party bard prior to battle
      • not completely missed (roll 1s and miss with high dmg ranged attacks)
  • Meta
    • DMG pg. 138; probably 2000gp – 3000gp for a +1AC magic item (bracers / ring / armor improvement)
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2/3 and 3/3 to Traveler's Rest
2015-11-20: Met some cool dudes who were impressed by Arc'teryx's performance
  • inn at 2/3rds way: arc’teryx performance with trogdor, nearly burns down inn, very akward, got 2gp (trogdor stared down the audience for payment)
  • 10 guys we met along the road, Arc’teryx performance impressed them, they escorted us to traveler’s rest
  • volcano opened, flooded dragonborn lands
  • bad stuff source in the west, manifesting in the east based on population
  • see traveler’s rest description on obsidian portal
  • meeting with an Earl
    • got fine clothes
    • Trypan: interested in paylor, making amends (for ?)
    • ShadowStrike: ?
    • Sandor: libraries
    • Arc’teryx: helping the people, pig-servent
    • Trodgor: “Fight and burn shit.”
      • 1-sq-mile parcel of land (East across the river): maintain it, expand Traveler’s Rest domain, show fealty to city, keep land free of bandits, etc.; can rent it out for farming and such
      • TR is trying to expand borders & surrounding safety area
  • blackmail information on people from human lands who need help, sandor takes to thieves guild
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Stupid, Sexy Flanders' Rusalka
2015-11-06: Session ?; goblins, an anti-lycan potion, and a dangerous pond
  • fetch and carry (FAC)
    • goblin cave, killed a bunch of goblins, their leader, and an ?
    • went in the cave and found / killed 2 owlbears – trogdor raged and lost control again, was bound by Trypan before he could attack his allies
    • Trogdor is aware that he lost time (wis check natural 20)
  • town bulletin board
    • check out flanders’ farm
  • intel from the inn (wolf & bucket) back in town
    • flanders farm – they all disappeared
  • trogdor drank some stuff
    • lycanthroply effectively neutered
    • side effects unknown
  • at flanders farm
    • rusalka & pirhana
    • I think we drained and burned the pond?

rusalka.png

meta: Level 5!

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Raging Were-Brawl on the Bridge
2015-10-23: Session ?; The Bridge on the Road to Traveler's Rest
  • fight on the bridge with Greul’s henchman (name?), who was there to get Trogdor
  • Trogdor raged and unintentionally went werewolf
    • killed lots of guys
    • attacked allies a bit
  • Trogdor was bound and woke up in chains – “hey guys, looks like they got the drop on me… go the keys?”
  • Arrive in town, allies make inquiries about helping someone suffering from lycanthropy (next time, say you’re hunting one)
  • The apothecary (mage?) needs us to do some FAC-ing thing and he can help cure the lycanthropy
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Do Not Test Trogdor
2015-09-25: Session ?; The Road to Traveler's Rest

Everyone read their books and Trogdor’s Flammable Accelerants for Fun and Profit taught him a new flame trap. It also suggested there’s a better flame trap book somewhere in The Great Desert of Alonach.

As the party left the previous temple / dungeon, there was a large explosion to the east in the Dragonborn lands that sent shock waves through the earth. Who knows what that was – travelers on the road and guards at the checkpoint generally just agreed that it was bad, and that they (Tieflings) were happy since it happened to the dragonborn.

The party resupplied at a smallish town on the road leading west of the (?) mountains located west of Honor’s Hold. With all of the talk about lycanthropes lately, Trogdor decided to get his maul silvered. It felt a little funny and energetic when he tested it it, but it’s probably got something to do with his recent Sorcery awakening.

As the party was exiting town, the local magistrate demanded that everyone be tested for lycanthropy with their ancient silver dagger. They allowed the party cleric, Trypan, to administer the test to the party. Trogdor refused, because who the hell are these guys. Things were about to get ugly when Arc’teryx, by chance, spotted a werewolf that very instant. Trogdor leapt into action and lead the search, but was unable to find anything. The townsfolk thanked him for being awesome, and the party set off.

The immediate plan is to head to Traveler’s Rest and then search for some guy mentioned in ShadowStrike’s book somewhere in the marsh east of Traveler’s Rest. According to the book, he’ll only be around until the end of the year.

Meta

  • Trypan was deceptive in his (successful) attempt to take over the party testing; he also pocketed the ancient silver dagger
  • The other party members books’ each suggest finding something/someone all over the continent
  • Some of the books dates suggest they were written in the future
  • Sander’s book that he recovered is different – it’s basically the same info, but some passages are now more clear/vague and written in a different style
  • The book handwriting does not match character handwriting
    DM Edit
  • Each book is dedicated to that particular character.
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Trogdor Kills Undead Stuff
2015-09-11: Session ?; Battle in the underground lair/dungeon

Trogdor kicked down every door and beat up every bad guy he saw. One of the guys hit him pretty hard – enough to knock Trogdor back against the wall, but he laughed it off and easily decapitated the foe with a counter-attack… or something… who knows – Trogdor won. Then Trogdor searched out the rest of the bad guys and killed them too. Some of his companions might have helped a little, cleaning up the scraps. In the end he killed some guy he’s pretty sure he already killed, and got a book about burning stuff.

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Monastic Misadventures
Also Cloistral Projection

After solving a mind-wreckstroying puzzle from which we all barely escaped with our sanity and our lives, we gained access to a dungeon-like druidic monastery of sorts.

Once inside, we made our way directly into conflict with a horde of undead. Because of the general crampiness of the spaces, the narrowness of the passageways, and the brightlessness of the interiors, Arc’teryx left the fighting mostly to his more meat-baggish companions, opting instead to experiment with some new magic that been testing his patience since it first crept into his lizard brain.

With the aid of the muscle golem ShadowStrike, Arc’teryx launched himself into the fray, under the pretense of being useful. Instead of destroying their foes, he instead conjured illusions of more, and to continue salting ShadowStrike’s wounds, once more imitated the speech of one obnoxious sentient staff.

When the party mopped up the remainder of the walking dead, he waited until their attention was directed elsewhere, and cast his new magic, becoming invisible. He attempted to sneak away, but while most of the remaining party chose one path, Trogdor had a similar idea, and wandered nearly stride for strike with Arc’teryx along an alternate route. The party emerged almost simultaneously into a large chamber through two different doors. Within the chamber were 3 (was it 3?) ghostly figures, wights (were they wights?), and one mysterious hole.

Arc’teryx’s unwavering faith in his party’s penchant for terminating all things within a certain radius left him no choice. They would murder the wights while he examined the hole. In all fairness, the strange floor anus proved nearly as difficult to spelunk as the wights were to kill, but through considerable effort, Arc was able to glean that the hole led to another chamber in roughly the time it took the others to dispatch the dangerous undead.

Again visible, Arc’teryx rejoined the group, who strangely did not really even inquire as to his whereabouts a moment prior.

Obviously, the group delved deeper into the monastery, eventually happening upon a latrine occupied by a vengeful water spirit. While the others debated locking it in its room like a prison, or murdering the creature outright, Arc’teryx boldly stepped forward, opening his heart to the spirit as a friend. The water weird instantly realized how brave, rad, and compassionate Arc’teryx was, and became his ally on the spot, no question. Fortunately, Trogdor is mad strong, so he carried the water weird out of the latrine and down the hall, where it helped the adventurers dispatch some posers (can’t remember what we encountered).

Because lycanthropy is rarely at the forefront of people’s minds, the group was taken somewhat by surprise when Trogdor turned into a dragon wolf man and set upon those nearest to him. A battle among friends ensued, with the adventurers eventually subduing the monstrous, scaly werewolf, but not before the gnome was bitten (this happened, right?). No one really wants to get into it right now, but there might be two werewolves now. Crap.

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Todo: Survive
Everything Else Can Wait

We saved a grand total of four villagers from the orcs who were sacrificing them all to Vecna. Said villagers were grateful, to a degree, but uncertain about their futures. Everyone else was slaughtered, and someone burned down their village…

We hunkered down for the night after burning all the orc corpses. ShadowStrike’s new staff began to speak, mostly a series of insults directed at the monk, but also a lengthy technical exposition about its purpose. It was a Quaterstaff of Beligerence, its name was Clarence, and it was to increase ShadowStrike’s glory factor, whatever that was. It can apparently see rather well in the darkness. Arc’teryx thought it would do well with jangly armbands affixed to it.

Well into the night, on Arc’teryx and Trypan’s watch, weird shit started to go down. Abercrombie started glowing, glowing red motes appeared all around camp, and the holy symbol we had thrown in the fire began glowing an evil red. Abercrombie’s glow appeared as Abjuration magic to Arc, and the holy symbol appeared to be evil divine magic. Arc’teryx was fairly confused, until at some point the dead villagers rose, now undead, and attacked. Trypan woke the rest of the party.

The zombies all attacked Sander and Trypan, who turned them, because clerics can do that. We killed them all as they scattered about. We then spent a great deal of time trying to destroy the holy symbol, eventually succeeding with some strong blows from a silvered quarterstaff. The villagers left while we struggled with that, off to rebuild, or something. Arc’teryx played an awful song about the days events, taking repetition humor a bit too far in the part about the holy symbol. Abercrombie set free some pigs and piglets who had been captured along with the villagers. They appeared to bow or otherwise display deference to him as they departed.

The crisis resolved, we took off northwest, and after a time noticed we were being followed. We attempted to setup an ambush at something known as the “Stone Dick.” Arc’teryx ascended the phallic stone pillar with Trogdor’s rope, in his bear costume, some sort of plan in mind, while the rest of the party laid in waiting, hidden and scattered amongst the smaller boulders.

Unfortunately, ambush would be impossible with Clarence around, as the staff began shrieking and ShadowStrike was given away. At this point, the rest of the party engaged from range, while ShadowStrike approached the enemy, a part of 7 bandits from Trogdor’s old crew. The bandits were hoping to capture the two dragonborn. Clarence somehow convinced ShadowStrike to engage the entire force melee by himself, so he did. Trogdor thinned the crowd a bit with fire magic, and Sander with arrows. Arc’teryx made a bullroarer out of the rope and his longsword, which he also let fly toward the fray, nearly striking the monk, who was on a roll with missile deflection. The fight was over before Arc’teryx made it back down the Stone Dick.

The bandits vanquished, the party now had to deal with the enemy within. Clarence was a blight. They had no luck whatsoever destroying the staff or getting rid of it, as it was attuned. It could also not be silenced by wrapping it up.

The team came across some traders in a caravan, and were able to convince them to take Clarence. It actually cost us gold to remove the “curse,” whatever it was. We then bought craptons of new armor. The blue dragon wyrmling scales we got were turned into a Dragon Shield +1, a shield that provided immunity to lightning damage, which Arc’teryx gladly took. The dragon skull was also fashioned into a helm for Arc. The traders took off hastily after realizing they were dealing with the group involved in the prison break in Dragonborn lands.

After we began to make our way again, the party encountered a couple well-armed travelers, who kindly suggested a route through the forest for us. We headed that way and made camp, and were later ambushed by a handful of large and larger spiders. Their venom was wicked, and gave the party cause for concern. ShadowStrike was taken down early in the fight, paralyzed by the venom. The dragonborn did what they could with fire, and the cleric with his mace or whatever. Many arrows flew, but several missed their mark. Trogdor’s maul was… dulled? Or chipped? Affected, somehow. The party was decidedly unhappy about the whole incident, and so they tracked down the spiders’ den and stole their gold.

What’s next for our brave adventurers? They’ve not had a full nights’ rest in some time. Nor a bath…

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Out of a prison into the badlands

Defiled dragon’s pit with drawing abercrombie images on the wall with dragon’s blood.

Emerged through a tunnel NW of the prison. A few miles. We’re being tracked by scouting parties.

Fondir stirkes out on her own.

On our way to make camp, a search party comes upon us. Laying a trap fails miserably.

We murder six dragonborn scouts.

Party decides to travel NE. Finds the plains. Looks out and sees the dragonborn nation mobilizing for war.

Decides to head NW and skirt the rough terrain.

Comes to an abandoned town where it looks like the residents departed in a hurry. The party hole up in the general store which is as stone building. There was an encounter with an old pig which befriends abercrombie.

In the morning, the party follows the tracks of the villages into the hills.

Trogdor sets the village on fire behind us. Both pigs, and everyone else, knows Trogdor did it. Trogdor tries to pet the old pig, and the pig bites him mightily. Trogor uses his maul and kills the old pig. Nobody else seems to like this.

Ambushed by orcs in the middle of night.

Saw two blue dragons streak across the sky. One large one. One less than large one.

Came across a former orc slaver camp led by an orog. Instead of slaving, they were sacrificing the villagers to the new invading deity.

The orcs got murdered.

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