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 Post subject: Episode XVI: Frenimies
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:58 am 
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This will be a shorter write up, in order to keep things moving. :)

The PCs started to implement all of Bannock's proposals. They started calling themselves the Friends of Farweald whenever they interacted with people in town. They sent a message to the tiefling community via Councilman Haupt's tiefling servants, they found out from Councilman Haupt that there were a few people in town who might help them dispose of cursed items, they started splitting up accumulated treasure amongst themselves and their casual-adventuring-associates/hirelings, they started planning activities for their CAAs to undertake, and they discussed the connections, if any, between Shining Justice, the Master, and Hravja. Ultimately, they decided to go and see if they could interrogate Dapple in the Farweald jail for more information. Importantly, the PCs decided to stick together in town because they didn't know if or when Hravja would pop up to harass/attack them again.

On their way from the Grandwood to the Farweald Jail, the PCs saw several instances of people in town behaving badly toward tieflings. This behavior ranged from rude and racist to downright threatening. Bannock and Onnara decided they could not sit idly by and confronted every single person they saw harassing a tiefling, with Bannock's flaming sword getting people's attention while Onarra politely explained the error of racial profiling. Some townsfolk seemed chagrined at their behavior, clearly caught up in the prevailing mood but some simply did not understand the error of their ways.

Nonetheless, the PCs were able to get to the Farweald Jail without engaging in actual combat, and the PCs requested to meet with Constable Harkin regarding his prisoners.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:32 pm 
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The PCs interrogated Dapple and Owan but didn't learn anything much. Dapple informed them that there was 'something dangerous' in an abandoned keep around 2, 2.5 days southwest of town. Notably, both Owan and Dapple offered to team up with the newly minted Friends of Farweald to track town the tiger-man. On behalf of the group, Onarra politely declined.

Next the PCs tried to find someplace in town where they could maybe dispose of the various magical items they did not want in circulation, namely, the cursed dagger and the various magical chests that belong to the Master. Bern Haupt suggested that those who make things are often also good at unmaking them, and suggested that the PCs seek out Hammerheart's, the metalsmith. Hammerheart did some fine metal etchings and maybe his acids would be good for dissolving or destroying that nasty dagger?

With this information, the PCs set off for Hammerheart's, where they met the master gold and silversmith himself. Hammerheart promised that he could indeed destroy the dagger, though a little experimentation would be required to find the best way. However, as with most things in life, there was a catch. Hammerheart informed the PCs that he doesn't work for free. The PCs started to offer him coin but Hammerheart waved away their offers. He has plenty of coin and besides, what is there to spend it on in this town anyway? No, Hammerheart had another price in mind; a mission for the PCs. Hammerheart revealed that two of his children had decided to become adventurers, against his wishes, he was quick to add, and they hadn't been heard of in several months. The last he knew, they were headed to some 'abandoned keep' called "Rebels's Something-or-other" over toward the eastern edge of the forest. If the PCs would go and find his 'idiot kids' then not only would Hammerheart destroy this pesky dagger for them, but he would help them destroy any cursed or evil item they encountered. The PCs agreed to the task.

The PCs also asked Hammerheart if he would be able to destroy the magical chests they had, but Hammerheart declined, saying they were much more Master Ilorg's type of item.

The PCs headed over to Forms In Wood, Master Illorg's shop, where they successfully resisted the crafty dwarf's request for a lot of gemstones in order to destroy the chests. In the end, the PCs threatened the dwarf into destroying his chests in front of them with a sturdy axe.

After that, the PCs decided to help the Constable stake out the Jail in case Hravja showed up to make attempts on two more members of Shining Justice. The Constable begrudgingly accepted the PCs offer of help and everyone settled in for a long night.

After a few hours, everyone was startled by the sound of clay pots breaking against the side of the jail shortly followed by cries of 'Fire!'. Most of the rank and file guardsmen ran outside but Bannock's sharp eyes spotted the rolling mist moving speedily across the floor toward the cells. Bannock cried out a warning as the mist reformed into the form of an elegantly dressed humanoid tiger who immediately started slashing at Quarion!

Bannock and the other Friends of Farweald rushed to engage the tiger-man. The ensuing melee was brief but brutal. After taking many punishing cuts and stabs, Hravja rushed Quarion and grappled him, using the elf as a shield against the other Friends. With a cruel laugh, Hravja raised a glowing hand in front of the struggling elf and slammed it down onto Quarion's chest. Quarion struggled to resist the magic but Bannock and Onarra watched in horror as their companion of two lifetimes quickly faded from view.

Hravja pulled an object from his pouch and threw it to the floor as Bannock and Onarra were both launching powerful attacks against him. The Friends hit their mark but could not prevent the tiger-man from disappearing in a rainbow effect which emanated from the now-smoking playing card on the jail's flagstone floor.

Shining Justice was safe, but Quarion was gone and Hravja had escaped.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:05 am 
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After the fight the PCs numbly made their way back to the Grandwood. When they arrived, a young tiefling ran up to the PCs and gave them a note which had been delivered for them in their absence. The note reads:

Quote:
"It's unseemly for us to continue our dance on the streets of Farweald, where all of these ... innocent ... people could get hurt. There's an abandoned keep about 2 days southwest of town. It used to be called Lucky... something or other. That's where you'll find us."

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:09 pm 
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If it wasn't destroyed in the casting/using, Onarra would like to examine the rainbow playing card Hravja used for his escape. She's looking for any magic residue that could be used to detect its specific use, or glean a location that the tiger-man may have linked to said card. She's obviously deferring to the arcane trained within her group. She's also curious if this card is connected in any way to her own Fey-crafted deck of illusions.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:52 pm 
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Fen's Ego wrote:
If it wasn't destroyed in the casting/using, Onarra would like to examine the rainbow playing card Hravja used for his escape. She's looking for any magic residue that could be used to detect its specific use, or glean a location that the tiger-man may have linked to said card. She's obviously deferring to the arcane trained within her group. She's also curious if this card is connected in any way to her own Fey-crafted deck of illusions.


You snag it before you leave the jail and back in the safety of the Grandwood, you examine it more closely. The card's image is scorched out, with a small hole in the center of the card. But around the edges it does indeed look like one of the cards from the Fey Deck. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:07 am 
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So the PCs have retired from the Jail back to Councilman Haupt's mansion, the Grandwood, after chasing off Hravja. Unfortunately, the rakshasa did something to Quarion, teleporting the elf somewhere.

You are all resting and deciding what to do to track down Quarion. It has been a few hours with no word from your companion but you do not currently have any magical means of finding him, not without resting and preparing different spells.

Towards dawn, however, the problem seems to fix itself at Quarion comes stomping back into the Grandwood. All of the PCs are roused and gather in Councilman Haupt's well appointed sitting room (minus its rug and a storage chest). The tale Quarion tells next is dismaying on several levels.

It seems that Hravja used some ability to send Quarion to the Beastlands, in the Outer Planes. Nearby there was another of the stable, open portals, so Quarion made for that portal. When he got close, Quarion was attacked by a few predators and an especially aggressive hawk. However, after a few moments, the Hawk turned back into Onarra, who looked like she was pretty disoriented. Onarra led them through the Portal, to just outside of Farweald, then caused the Portal to close, similar to how Brigga closed the portal in the basement of her former stronghold.

At that point, Quarion strides across the room to Onarra and hands her a small wooden figurine, and tells the PCs the following:
(Quarion retells the following in pretty exact detail)
(This is a write up by Tom, which is awesome so he deserves the writing credit) :)

Quote:
As Onarra and Quarion break camp the following morning, Onarra will use her Ring of Mind Shielding to ward against anyone eavesdropping in her head.



"I don't know who I am, Quarion. Closing that portal has done two things, that I know of, and a third that I fear. First, it has returned a portion of my memories, my soul actually, much the same as Brigga experienced closing her portal. Second, it has convinced me that the more I discover, the less I want to know, and the less I comprehend my own nature (Onarra has chosen to accept the trauma of her former life and the Savage trait which grows within her), We struggle to find out who we were, but it seems wiser to pursue who we wish to become. To just be who we are." She hesitates before moving on, struggling with something. "We've comported ourselves well, this time around" she says with a small smile. "Who's words are those?" She looks off in the direction of Farweald, her smile fading. "I don't know what good or evil I may have done before waking up on that stone. But since then, I've made choices - choices on my own and choices with my companions, to do good, and with those choices I have been at peace with...whoever I am now. But now, I've chosen to do something that may be a great evil. It may cost us all. And the worst part is how easy it was. Split my soul a thousand times, and each lost and struggling shard of my essence will make the same choice, time and again."

"He gave me back my sister, Quarion. He returned Miette to me!" She continues to look in the direction of Farweald, saying nothing for long moments. Then, her shoulders sag, and she continues, voice low. "In return, I agreed to serve him. I agreed to close this portal. That doesn't seem so evil, does it?" She looks at him with a desperate, weary hope. "No, that's not completely honest. I agreed to do something, but what if he asked me to take a life? What if he asked me to turn on my companions...any more than I already have?" Jaw locked, teeth audibly grinding, she says it though it pains her. "If the Master told me to kill you in your sleep, Quarion...if it brought me back my sister...I don't know if I would have refused." Onarra folds her arms, as though her hands were apologizing by staying far away from her weapons. "That's the only part of me that stays true. Does that make sense? All these lost memories, missing pieces....My sister is my touchstone. I stand by her side." She looks to Quarion. "As she stands by yours," she confesses with a blush.

"I don't know how long I was in the Beastlands until you showed up Quarion, but in that time, Miette has taken my place in the party, at the Master's command. I hope she has been good to you all." She continues on rapidly, the momentum drawing the last bit out of her. "Take this to her," she draws a small figurine, a wolf or a dog carved out of smooth, age-darkened hardwood, "and tell her what I told you. As a favor to me." She gives a hollow laugh. "I don't deserve it, but please. She'll know it's from me. I'll wait here for a day. Tell our companions what you will, but however you choose to view my sister and I, warn them of the portals!" She shakes her head, "I almost forgot, what I fear, having now closed one." She fixes her gaze on Quarion with none of the shame that was present during her confession. "I can't be certain, but I think they keep him sealed away. And I think the price we pay for that prison is a piece of our soul. Maybe we died to put him there," she muses, trailing off. "If I don't hear back from you by sunrise tomorrow, it may be safer if Miette and I leave you be. The Master knew of our bond and used it. I'm a liability," she says more to herself "and I can't be trusted." She turns and walks away from him, away from Farweald. "Tell our companions the truth, that they may make their own choices." She barks a laugh and looks back over her shoulder. "If they haven't already."


There is a moment of stunned silence as Quarion finishes his retelling, then I imagine an explosion of noise as you all start talking at once, which you can do here. :D

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 4:58 pm 
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Brigga rubs her forehead with her left hand, trying to get her head around what's happening.

"So what you're saying is that Onarra ... this Onarra" -- she points at the elven woman with them -- "is actually her sister Miette? And that Onarra -- the other Onarra, who rescued you in the beastlands, made a deal with the Master to get her sister back?"

"And that part of that deal was closing the portal? And ... and that's a bad thing because the portals are shards of our souls that we splintered off in order to imprison the Master?

"And ... " she pauses, rubbing her forehead so intently that you think she may draw blood "... that means that by closing these portals, we're helping free the Master, which is so evil that our former selves thought it was a brilliant plan to break our souls to imprison the bastard?"

"And ... I just closed my portal. And in doing so ... made all this so much worse even as I healed my own mind?"

"Is that what we're saying? If so ... I picked the wrong damn year to stop smoking tobacco. Damn the gods. And damn us. Or at least, the prior versions of us."

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:59 pm 
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Bannock looks visibly shaken, but for the time being seems to have his frustration in check.

"OK friends, just when we thought we had a handle on what was happening, we find maybe we haven't as much of a clue as we thought. Still, Hravja is still at large, and we haven't really uncovered details about the Master, yet. It seems that even with as unnerving as this revelation is, perhaps our goals haven't really been shifted. Perhaps how we achieve them is a bit more murky, yet again, but still, cleaning up the evil from this area and putting the deeds of our past selves to rest once and for all still seems the objective."

"Onar- wait, Miette, is it? Do you and/or your sister have any more info you'd care to share now on the Master? Who the Master is? Anything that might help?"

"And, Quarion, is Onarra nearby? What say you all - would it be better to reunite these siblings? Perhaps if they are together, and with us, then it might reduce the risk of them acting in a way that puts them above our goals?"

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:22 pm 
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Since Jim may not be able to play on Sunday, here's a handy way to explain his absence! And if he does play, we can do this on Sunday night in person! :D


It is early morning now. You are all still gathered in the sitting room, pondering Onarra and Miette's revelation when a young tiefling boy appears at the door.
"P p p pardon me, lords and ladies. There's a girl here. Her name is Enfet. I know her from town. She says her family and a bunch of other people in town are getting real sick, sirs. And missuses. Enfet doesn't look real good herself and she says her tummy hurts. It's said in town that one of your elves is an herbalist of some kind, so Enfet's parents sent her to see if you could help at all.

I know you got lots of important things to do an all, but it sounds like these people are getting REAL sick. And since the town's herbalist, Hilma, died in that horrible fire a few months back, that other nice lady who helps those other adventurers was helping out. But now no one can find any of those other adventurers, and, well, now people are getting desperate ....."

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:50 pm 
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You kindly usher the tiefling lad out of the sitting room, promising that Quarion will be right along to look after his friend. Sliding the doors shut behind the boy, Miette turns back to the group.

“Onarra could not succeed in her mission to close her portal without help from one of you. When that became apparent to him, he ordered Hravja to send Quarion to the Beastlands to help. He anticipated that Quarion would figure out that Onarra had been replaced in your party, and that his true nature would be revealed, but he believed he had few other choices.

The Master is a powerful and cunning Green Dragon named Aradace'Nurvalosuryte (Aradace Nur Valos Uryte). Translated into Common, the name means "The Mighty Masked Master of Lost Lore", or "The Master" for short. In Draconic, the short version is "Valos".

In elven he is Nelluon Tura’ik Thron’que (Tura: Master- Nelluon- Hidden, -que - Forgotten, -ik - Mighty, Thron- Lore), which again, is “The Hidden Mighty Master of Forgotten and Forbidden Lore” or simply, i’Tura (The Master).

In dwarven he is Baribol’Kronok’Bolval (Kronok- Master, Bol- Hidden/Secret, Bari- Mighty/Crushing, Val- Magic/Draconic), or “The Hidden and Powerful Master of Secret Magics”, or simply, n’Kronok (The Master).

I have not met The Master directly. He is trapped somewhere, as I said. I do not know how or why, but I think his prison is not in this world.
Also, several of your former adventuring companions are now openly working for The Master. Erk was recruited back to his service shortly after coming her to Farweald. Balisar and Naziah were also recruited from here.

You have disrupted some of his other servants, but the most powerful remain. Balrakas, a red dragonborn from Farweald, who you slew, Bannock, had a clone on standby. Another dragonborn, Khrytos, descended from black dragons, is another powerful lieutenant, as is Hravja, some sort of terrible fiend, who is hidden away here in town.

Be war! I must go to Onarra now! She was in beast form for a very long time and may have difficulty acclimating back to her elven form. One or the other of us will return to you if we are able. “

With that, Onarra slides open the door and slips out. The rest of you aren’t sure you’re done questioning her though, so you follow her out of the Sitting room, only to find that she is nowhere to be found.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:51 pm 
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Brigga blinks once. Then twice. Then three times. And then sighs deeply. "So the master is imprisoned somewhere. The closing the portals -- which are the keys to restoring parts of our own memories -- are also the keys to unlocking that prison. The master has agents out in the world ... but we're not sure what they are up to, but we have to assume they'll want to free the Master."

"Hunting down and slaying these lieutenants seems like it should be our primary goal. Restoring our own memories would seem to be a gamble; it restores what we know, but risks unleashing the master before we are ready to confront him (and yet ... we may need that knowledge to confront him.

Brigga rubs her temples. "We need ... knowledge. I'd say knowledge at any price, but I suspect that didn't work out for us so well before. I've had some thoughts about certain arcane constructs that might do the job. An extension of the ideas behind *locate object* that would let me scry a creature from afar...

I'm going to need a very expensive crystal ball..."

Brigga is now Fighter 2 / Wizard 9. She took Wall of Force and Scrying as her 5th level spells. She's also able to learn Control Winds and Contact Other Plane from the Walk About spell book.

Scrying may help us find Hravja in the city. Contact Other Plane is a risky spell (there's DC 15 check, and if you fail you take 6d6 damage and go insane for a while). Responses are limited:

Quote:
The GM answers each question with one word, such as “yes,” “no,” “maybe,” “never,” “irrelevant,” or “unclear” (if the entity doesn’t know the answer to the question). If a one-word answer would be misleading, the GM might instead offer a short phrase as an answer.


Risky ... but may be worth the risk if we have good questions.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:03 am 
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I apologize for not recalling this, but Bob brought to my attention during our last HoD session that Onarra did indeed have to put her hand on Balrakas' Sword and swear to the Master. She "felt some kind of compulsion fall over her". This is information she knows and would not have withheld, so please consider it revealed, and retcon that whole, "Nope...I think I'm free of the Master" impression Onarra gave during the last session.

So...possible Manchurian Candidate in our midst.

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