Arkose

Picking Up the Plot
Puzzles and explosions

Having successfully saved the Fortress Citadel of Garhlyn from the manic clutches of Zik Rockscrap, what did Moravia’s Most Wanted do? They of course immediately offered to play a show at Rockscrap’s reasonably-guaranteed execution following his upcoming trial. In the meanwhile, though, gotta pay them bills! Some reminder text sent the party scurrying after a mysterious crafter known simply as “The Smith,” who had created an insane justice-seeking sword in the party’s possession.

Dredgeknuckle, by now well established as a jumping off point for quests in the area, acknowledged that he knew about the Smith and usually tried to dodge the subject, but liked the MMW and so offered what he knew with a hearty dose of caution. The Smith was a reclusive artificer who used to engage in open trade with Garlhyn in times long since past – creating many weapons for the Fortress-Citadel, not the least of which was in fact Zash, Council Chamber Defender, Ramrider and Overall Badass. At some point, due to unknown causes, the Smith started getting progressively darker and nuttier, and so the Fortress-Citadel broke off relations. As far as Dredgeknuckle knew, he was still holed up in his well-booby trapped lair up the river to the northwest.

The conference with Dredgeknuckle plus a quick visit to Zash revealed merely that the Smith had a sadistic sense of humor, was really good at making defenses, could construct Constructs that could pass for organics, and – in a surprising but understandable twist – that Zash himself was actually created from the husk of the Fortress-Citadel’s founder. The baddest dudes in town decided it was time to shove and headed back to Kord’s Blade.

Docked immediately adjacent to the Blade was an enormous galley with a single cocksure elf on deck – a bounty hunter (probably?) intending to make good on the ACTUAL bounty posters posted up looking for the party. He seemed confident in his success, boasting that he’d convinced the hapless goblin manservant, Gobbers, to switch out the ballast on Kord’s Blade with explosives. He demanded that the team throw down our arms, secure ourselves in chains, and then surrender ourselves.

Trip’s ability to speak Goblin and confer with Gobbers – who claimed he’d outsmarted the elf on the ship and switched the ballast onto the bounty hunter’s ship – and his magical intuition to note that the ballast actually didn’t have any illusions woven onto it – led him to encourage the crew to cast off, belligerently ignoring the bounty hunter’s demands. The elf, amazed and frustrated, called for the ballast to be detonated – and his own ship went up in a huge explosion. Dwarven guards arrived and were assuaged with booze and an impromptu set played by Moravia’s Most Wanted. With that, they set off in search of the Smith.

A day and a half’s jaunt down the river led them to a thick cord stretched across the river, some 60 feet wide. An inspection on the shore revealed that the cord was not attached to a rock as was originally surmised, but was actually PART of a horrible, horrible operatic, rhyming sining roper. The roper – a denizen of the Underdark trapped in place and reinforced by the Smith, taunted the uninvited guests with song and rape. A fierce battle eventually saw our heroes win the day, but not without sustaining some serious abrasions and engaging in horrible singing of their own.

The river’s dangers weren’t yet completed – a ridiculously well hidden waterfall nearly demolished the ship, but our heroes saw through the veil of illusion in the nick of time and docked the boat before setting forth towards the Smith’s base – an eerie nuclear-reactor-looking structure far below in the valley where the waterfall descended.

The path on foot was no less perilous. The path leading down the cliff past the waterfall was trapped with fire spouts that were cleared only after the Most Wanted deciphered an alphabetical riddle etched in dwarven runes. Their success yielded confetti – creepy quantities of confetti.

The next trap was a bridge – a bridge protected not just with a coin slot toll, but also with magnetic animated chains. But it’s not like the bridge was labelled with all that information. No no no. We had to figure that out. There was some bruising involved. But still!

Past the bridge was a more nefarious piece of work a sign that simply read ‘Please wipe feet before entering.’ We got past it, but we had to do something that I’m not proud of. I certainly won’t repeat it here. My mother might find this, you know?

The episode concluded with our heroes nearing the front door of the ominous structure…

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The Dwarf council has been kidnapped by Iron Man, are you a metal enough dude to save them?
yes.

In this episode, the party confronted some necro-dwarves, an Iron Man, and a sweet Axe-gun-robot-on-ro-goat guy that was sort of on their side. When the party busted in to the council chamber, they quickly assessed the situation. They quickly determined that Zash, the robot-dwarf on the robot-goat was an unwilling adversary, and was unfortunately under the control of Rockscrap. Rockscrap’s visage appeared via a scrying portal and he tried to get Zash to stampede the party. Just when he was about to issue that command, Black Warryn successfully covered the sound of his voice with a well-timed discharge of his pistol. This allowed Zash a slight amount of leeway on his orders, and gave the party a sweet surprise round.

Black Warryn quickly sniped the necro-cleric in the rear of the room with a critical, and Ashe promptly delayed his action. Trip cast Visions of Ruin, which is this year’s Fireball, on Iron Man. This successfully locked Iron Man down until the very end of the fight, which was probably for the best.

At one point, Sabrewolf ran up a wall to rain pointy death down on the enemies, but Zash steamrolled him with his hand cannon and knocked him off his perch. Sabrewolf had an epic dual-crit twin strike, but followed it up with some equally epic low-numbered rolls. Tom was immobilized, and spent the whole fight unable to do anything. Ultimately, the party prevailed, and left off wondering which side quest they were going to do next to avoid having to advance the main plot any further. This session everyone who hadn’t already done so became 11th level.

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This Parteez Gettin LaZZZZy!
And then what happened?

Somebody was somewhere, doing something. It probably featured Dwarves. Presumably the party didn’d die.

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Crates filled with....BARRELS!!!!
"Dude, where's my ship?"

Photobucket The party stood looking down at the huge defile that was left over from defeating the evil shadow dwarf. At the bottom, Moravia’s Most Wanted (hereafter referred to as MMW) noticed a light twinkling. Black Warryn obtained permission to “check the foundations of the mansion” via an amazing bluff check, and the party started down the hole. After negotiating a series of secret rooms, the party gathered evidence of a long-standing plot to initiate a war between Somquian and the Fortress Citadel of Garlan (as well as a crate full of barrels, and a crate full of rugs). After negotiating a salary of 4,000gp from the captain of the guards, the party takes their leave. Gathering a suit of noble clothes and a bizarre unmarked electrical device of no small size (but NOT Marquis Mark’s sword), the party headed back to the boat.

At the boat, the party discovered Gobbers had wandered off. Trip Wire went to find him, and discovered him “collecting” sickles by the armload. The party adds 7 sickles to it’s treasure pool.

Knowing that an assassin was headed to the Somquienese ambassador in Garlan, the party decided to head there. Black Warryn noticed an invisible follower trailing the ship by branch running. Timing a snap shot to hit the next branch the creature was jumping for, Black Warryn succeeded in stopping the creature. The party jumped out to investigate, but the trail had gone cold. Returning to the boat, the party saw…the boat was underway! Black Warryn tried to snipe the invisible pilot, but didn’t notice the wheel was tied in position and there was no pilot until after the results of his shot were announced. Trip Wire teleported the party on board, and they narrowly avoided crashing into a rock outcropping. A thorough search turned up nothing, so the party continued on to Garlan.

Once in Garlan, the party met with the ambassador, and arranged for Trip to pose as him for the remainder of the stay. The ambassador was a bit saddened because he would no longer be able to hurl insults at the delegation from Garlan (Black Warryn saw his list of insults, and developed a new respect for the Somquienese, but Tomadoch was very offended by the list and spent much of his free time developing retorts), but he allowed himself to be put into a safehouse. No sooner did the party take up residence in the Embassy than a package purporting itself to be a gift arrived. Black Warryn thoroughly inspected the box, and determined it to be in fact a legitimate gift. As soon as it was set down on the table, it became unmovable and started to transmute. The runes on the box projected onto the walls, and a giant face opened in one wall and began spewing stone dwarves, while giant stone hands protruded from the side walls! It seemed that these Dwarves did indeed know how to rock…

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I've got a bad feeling about this...
"You wouldn't like me when I'm hungry"

The shadow monster, having just thrown Black Warryn across the room by his shadow, makes ready to challenge the party. Trip Wire, in a desperate gamble to put the creature off its game, decides to attempt to join his mission. Aided by the shady looking Pirate, Trip manages to stall the combat for a moment.

Rolen, being the paragon of justice that he is, could no longer maintain the charade. Pulling an amazing almost-storming-out-but-spinning-around-and-lasering maneuver, the Shadow beast was taken by complete surprise. Initiative is rolled, and the battle begins.

The shadow beast pulls some pretty sweet tricks on the party, turning the fire in the fireplace into an anti-fire that casts gloomy not-light all through the room. It takes the party many rounds of combat to realize they can snuff the fire out, but Trip Wire came through in a pinch and prestidigitates the fire out, returning normal vision to the group. After finally killing the shadow’s host, the shadow seemingly disappears. Until the sunrod that Tomadoch is holding mysteriously winks out!

The party, realizing that shadows are coalescing all over the room, makes a running leap off the balcony. Landing with minimal difficulty, the party turns to see a sort of shadow implosion melting away half of the mansion! From the midst of the shadow maelstrom a shadow dwarf rises. Revealing he is in fact some sort of avatar for a mage that’s trapped in Somquien, the battle is engaged anew. This time, the shadow beast brought some friends: shadow versions of the People’s Deliberation Front Moravia’s Most Wanted! This was a mixed blessing for the shadow beast, as the party was very familiar with their own strengths and weaknesses and was able to dispatch “themselves” in relatively short order. The streak of criticals didn’t hurt at all.

No sooner did the nega-party get destroyed than the shadow monster arose yet again as a giant shadow golem! The party was pretty beat up and battle weary by this time, but doggedly kept at it. Whittling down the golem turn by turn, several striker criticals allowed the party to emerge victorious. The survivors from the mansion raise a mighty cheer, and Black Warryn yells out “Thank You Grainhollows! We’ll be here all week!” bringing the amazing rock show to an epic conclusion.

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What evil lurks in the hearts of men?
"That shadow over there probably knows!"

With their list of suspicious characters burning a hole in their pockets, the People’s Deliberation Front sails after Marquis Mark to engage in a little sword-point diplomacy.

After checking in with Gobbers, Black Warryn becomes suspicious of his lack of a new collection. A thorough investigation of the ship turned up a bunch of claw marks leading down the outer hull of the ship, with a lone goblin fingernail embedded in the bottom. Also there were seemingly a few ballast stones missing. The party suspects Gobbers may have repelled a goblin invasion, but thought it best to leave him to his secrets. He may have been attempting to waterboard a fellow Goblin in the same way the party waterboarded Ashe, but nobody thought to ask him about that.

Arriving in the Grainhollows, the party discovers a tattered wanted poster for the original lineup that had been recently posted. The OG members of the group had some ‘splainin’ to do to Trip Wire (and everyone, really), but it was quickly determined that bygones were to be bygones. Word is received that there will be a large planting festival hosted by Marquis Macaire, and the party decided they needed to find a way in. Various strategems were discussed at length, and finally the original plan was determined to be the way to go: Disguise ourselves as a troupe of entertainers, and put on a show so epic that they would HAVE to invite us to the festival.

It was decided that the party would dress up like the members in the wanted poster, and pretend all those posters were in fact show fliers all along. Moravia’s Most Wanted hit the stage that night, and an amazing performance ensued. Many successful feats of acrobatics, charisma, and pyrotechnics so thoroughly impressed the crowd that they quickly realized they needed to see more of this.

Most wanted

The Day of the Masque arrived, and no sooner had the party started than it came to a screeching halt: The captain of the guards busted in, and revealed that Marquis Macaire had been brutally murdered in his bed. The party asked during their questioning whether anyone had looked for a magical means by which he may have been slain, and were then allowed to perform said investigation. No sooner did Trip Wire detect a faint aura of transmutation magic, than the captain of the guards charged him with a drawn sword! Thinking quickly, Ashe grabbed him to restrain him. The Captain then stabbed himself in the neck, followed by the Doctor’s attempt to cut HIS own throat with his scalpel. He was stopped by Rolen and Black Warryn attempted to stab the dead body one more time to make sure it was actually dead (it was). Using the speak to dead ritual, the body of Marquis Macaire told the party that a local Tiefling lord was the one that killed him.

The party asked to see the last will and testament of the Marquis, and it named a local lord named Duke Karmont as sole beneficiary. The notary ran out of the room, slamming the door behind him. Realizing it was locked, Black Warryn picked it quickly, and the party found the Notary dead of multiple stab wounds to his own neck. After laying down some tracking dust, the party investigated the Notary’s office further. A brief encounter with some mysterious moving scrolls revealed that there was in fact an EXTRA SHADOW running around the room. The shadow made a break for it upon being noticed, and the party tracked it’s trail in the dust. Arriving back in the room filled with party goers, Trip Wire noticed the will’s beneficiary, Duke Karmont, had the very same shadow! The party lured this individual into a room, where Rolen blasted his shadow with a radiant eldritch space laser. The shadow flew to the ceiling, the Duke jerked unnaturally to the side, and at that moment decided to drop the pretense of stealth and attacked the party! Tune in next week for more thrilling adventures of Moravia’s Most Wanted (the party formerly known as The People’s Deliberation Front)!

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"Sometimes you've got to break a few eggs..."

The party confronts the Black Rock cultist and his Troglodyte-on-a-spider lackey.

Ashe the Ranger, liking the looks of their ritual but little, decided charging in and disrupting it would be the best course of action. Initiative didn’t favor the bold however, so Black Warryn took up the cause and made a charge attempt to try and push the cultist into the Age. Just out of range, Black Warryn stepped in a hidden bucket of poison fungus, and had to stop and scrape it off his shoes. Ashe barreled into the room, and promptly almost died.

A string of bad rolls plagued the party, and the Dungeon Master realized just how broken the Archer Ranger equipped with a Greatbow really was. “D12’s? How about you roll D10’s instead?”

Trip Wire the Wizard proved his worth when he locked down an evil sprite with Visions of Ruin.

Black Warryn received a drastic neck wound that wouldn’t close up (probably 50-60pts of damage before the saving throw finally came through), and Thomas Stormwatcher took an estimated 100+pts of total damage from ongoing poison attacks.

Midway through the battle, Ashe attempted to take matters into his own hands and “rescue” the fencing master’s daughter during the fight. He succeeded on a grab check to carry her, and then on a further strength check to pull her out of the room.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t too interested in leaving with him in that fashion, and started opposing his checks. A critical resist matched up to a critical failure on his part, and he was crushed to the floor by her efforts. Getting frustrated, Ashe used the Lifeguard tactic of punching out the victim to make them easier to manhandle.

Only seeing this part, Trip Wire was alarmed to say the least. Trip cast Acid Mire under Ashe’s feat to keep him from killing our intended damsel in distress, which caused a moment of extreme tension. Both members being new to the group, the party wasn’t at all sure how to handle it.

Black Warryn, having traveled far to the East in his younger days, offered to make use of some of the unconscious-schoolgirl-specific-tentacle-techniques in his arsenal, but wiser heads prevailed.

A secret door to the surface was located, and the party finally got some well-needed rest. Trip and Ashe made up, and the girl was returned to the fencing school. The party received the list of disgraced former students in return, with the possibility for fencing lessons left open.

Also, nanomachines.

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"I thought you said it was clear!!! How's it look now?"
"Looks clear."

The party is still crawling the waterfall cave. After the defeat of the mind-crushing horrors in the pool room, Ash and Lexar came out of the closet and revealed to the party they were a Fey couple all along. Nobody was surprised. Trip Wire, a human orb-wizard dropped from the ceiling and joined up with the party. Nobody thought to ask how he was “sleeping” on the ceiling, but he seemed like a pretty cool guy. So now with the addition of 2 characters with Passive Perceptions >24 (in addition to being Fey, Ash and Lexar revealed they were also Rangers all along), the party proceeds to set off every trap ever. After failing to disarm a loud noise alarm, Black Warryn sets off a trap that caves in the roof of his tunnel. The party makes good use of Thom’s ritual book to save Warryn, and the adventure proceeds. Presented with a flame trap, the party does a little rules lawyering and realized they could simply delay a trap instead of having to disarm it. Doing so has the party march one at a time down this other corridor, where 4 black-rock warped hobgoblins slam a set of spiked walls together on Thom. The party makes pretty short work of these fellows, even taking the time to describe their powers in detail before striking instead of just calling out the rad name of each attack like they normally do. After this, the great idea to sleep in the hidden alcoves to rest up is presented (Black Warryn was at 60% health with one surge remaing, and several daily powers had been expended). Three times a mystery creature defeated the sentry eyes Thom set up and injected Fire Scorpion Venom into the necks of sleeping party members. No amount of perceiving would reveal the culprit, so the party decided to move on without resting after all. Just as the session was coming to a close, The People’s Deliberation Front busted in on a ritual, where it seemed a guy and another guy that was riding on a giant black-rock spider were trying to black-rock infuse the Age, the semi-sentient fungus under the town. Seeing the little fencing master’s daughter looking bored, the party starts a charge towards the ritual casters and end the session with a freeze frame of them all looking cool.

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One Eyed Willie's Treasure
The party does a little cliff diving

Having defeated the mutated, black-rock infused druid, the party made it to poison town. Situated above a massive semi-sentient fungus that is deadly to all things and blocking an entrance to the Underdark, this town is known for both its fencing and its poison. The People’s Deliberation Front is there to track down the engineer of the attacks on the Dwarven Citadel of Garlan. After a few inquiries, the party learned of a missing girl, the daughter of a prominent fencing master. The discovery of a suspicious cave with a waterfall emptying into it tempted the party to climb down. Black Warryn was the first in, making it down most of the treacherous climb but slipping on the last few feet of rope. The rest of the party fell spectacularly, some taking significant damage, but all surviving. A brief ritual was performed to determine the most fortuitous course of action, and the party took the underwater route deeper into the cave system. A battle was fought with a Grek, some kind of centipede, and another one of the blackrock-warped monstrosities. After a long fight, the People’s Deliberation Front emerged victorious.

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DeaTH NoTe 2
Battle in the Teleportation Tower!
  • -1 Solder (teleported through teleport-acceleration door)
  • -4 Radiancers (Al, Barry, Cameron, Diaz)
  • -1 Sentient Glass Golem
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