Against The Sorcerer-Kings

Fleeing Slither

The adventurers left Slither, escaping seemingly without alerting any guards, and regrouped with their crodlu mounts. They rapidly agreed that a quick and aggressive flight from Slither back to Koth was in order, as none of them had any interest in battling the lich Yarnath. Kivrin performed what Elon Mistwild determined was some sort of warding ritual while Kavak and Drax prepared themselves and their mounts for a long and difficult trek. Leveraging Kavak’s psionic direction sense abilities, they adventurers set out at a brisk pace for Koth.

Elon and Kivrin argued at length (in elven) about who should retain possession of the Blood Jewel, and while they were hired to grab it for the Veiled Alliance and Kivrin was their representative, at long last (hours and hours later) Elon managed to convince him that he should keep it… for safekeeping. And while there were some signs of being followed at a great distance, the adventurers pressed on for a great while, stopping only after Kavak began to succumb to exhaustion. Picking out what seemed like a defensive site, the group made camp as a sandstorm threatened in the distance. It grew stronger but as light dawned, it became clear that the area surrounding their camp was warded against it, as it whirled around them at a distance, powerfully but harmlessly. Five figures came out of the storm, a half elf woman and four male thugs. She accused them of being servants of Yarnath come to despoil her shrine, and despite reasonable efforts to persuade her otherwise, it was clear that her time in the wilds had lead to madness, and Elon’s words fell on deaf ears as she attacked. The men, announcing them as her children, transformed themselves into lizard-like beasts and pounced forward, while she invoked the primal powers of the land. Her sons fell quickly to the adventurers blades, but the druid’s ritual was completed and a lava spirit burst forth from the shrine, and attacked the group. The struggle was intense and powerful, with the lava spirit searing and burning, and the druid trying to escape the relentless pursuit of Drax, but in the end the adventurers were successful.

Regaining their strength, they allowed the sandstorm to die down (which it did surprisingly quickly after the druid fell), and they continued on, traveling across the badlands of the desert wastes. After a few days of travel, they stumbled upon a badly wounded Half-Giant, who upon closer inspection turned out to be from the Thundercrag Tribe. Showing signs of long-time abuse, the escaped slave was also covered in fresher cuts and a missing tongue. Through trial and error Kavak determined his fellow tribemember (who he recalled vaguely but not his name) had escaped from an Urik controlled quarry, and that other tribe members where still there. Making camp, the band was set upon in the night by a group of halfling slave catchers. After cutting them down, they discovered that not only were the halflings from Ogo (a distant halfling community that has an alliance with Urik and sends members to serve Urik every year) but that they had drawings of Drax, Elon, Kavak, and Bellem.

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Catching Up
Catch Up Post For A Few Missed Sessions

A brief synopsis of a few missed sessions, to be filled out later (really just a placeholder):

The adventurers returned to a prep room, to recover their strength after the battle in the Arena, when a group of mul and half-giant toughs appeared, wanting to speak to Elon. They seemed less than friendly, and insisted Elon alone go with them. When he did not comply, they resorted to force, but the party quickly overcame them, despite the strains they suffered in the Koth’s arena.

They then went to the viewing box of House Shem, and met with their employer. He made it clear that he was very interested in acquiring the services of Kria. The adventurers returned to their quarters. Kria and Drax had a lengthy conversation about what she should do, with the subtext of freedom and choice for ex-slaves. Elon Mistwild went searching for, eventually staking out the site where the thugs had wished to take him.

The adventurers took from the Veiled Alliance, to accompany one of their members, Kivrin, who had been posing as a bandit under a leader named Yarnath. Leaving Kria in the care of the Alliance, the adventurers traveled across the dangerous wastelands of the desert, traveling to Yarnath’s base, which turned out to be a monstrous building called Slither, which while stationary appeared to be capable of movement. After slipping into the base, they fought their way down through the tower Kivrin led them to, discovering a red gem on a pedestal in what appeared to be a ritual room. After overcoming the defenders, Elon shattered the glass dome and took the gem, an item known as the Blood Jewel, which Kivrin indicated Yarnath sought to use in his quest to achieve the power of the Sorcerer Kings.

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Battling the Sand Thrusters

Initial attempt:

In previous sessions, the adventurers had felt their way through Koth. They settled into rooms at the Drunken Hatori, sold the gear they had acquired during their journey (including the rusted blade discovered in Zakharia ), and enjoyed themselves after their long trip. The adventurers celebrated their survival with an evening of drinking and celebrating, including a brawl with a group known as the Band of Rhadvil. Elon Mistwild made arraignments to celebrate the Feast of Saturnalia. Bellem was left with the Veiled Alliance, who eventually offered them aid in reward for bringing Bellem safely to Koth. The arena of Koth was toured, where a woman named Caala offered to hire them to fight in the arena on her employers behalf. The Feast of Saturnalia was seemingly a great success, and the adventurers discussed a few offers from the Veiled Alliance as well as further discussing with Caala and others… quite a few opportunities seemed to find their way to the adventures at the feast.

In this session, the party agreed to fight on behalf of Caala’s employer if he would meet with them, and so the meeting was arraigned. They met in the back room of a pub with her employer, a man named Rashok. He made it clear that he did not wish their opponents to survive the battle, that they were actually scheduled to face another group, and that those fighters would drop out at the last minute to make room for them.

The crowd was well primed for the battle, with Elon having previously played them up in the market, and Kavak having applied his war paint in a particularly ferocious manner, and having been in the crowd for the previous, less impressive melee. He refused to pay the entrance fee to watch that battle, and when the guard was too frightened to push the matter, he discovered it was “Half Giant Day”…

As promised, they were escorted to a room in preparation. They made their entrance, with Kria also serving to work up the crowd during their entrance. The arena, as Elon had previously scouted and Kavak had observed, consisted of a 20’ high stone block, whose edges were filed down. Then, their opponents, the Sand Thrusters, entered next, to the crowd’s obvious approval. They consisted of a large hulking human warrior, a nimble tiefling swordswoman, and an arcanist (whose presence didn’t diminish the crowd’s approval at all). Then, the extra twist was added, where a vicious horde of Ztal (a small lizard-like creature) which swarmed around the block snarling and snapping. The battle was joined, and the adventurers took the battle to the warriors quickly. The Sand Thursters fought back aggressively, but Kavak managed to savage the arcanist’s, sending both head and body separately into the snapping horde, and despite him being obviously a fan favorite, the crowd roared its approval. The battled raged on, with various combatants almost going off the edge but barely hanging on. In the end, the adventurers (dubbed “Mistwild’s Avengers” by Elon) vanquished their foes, ending the match by sending the tiefling flailing wildly as she fell into the Ztal pack to be devoured…

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Onward to Koth

After disposing of the elf raiders in a vicious struggle, the characters settled in for a much needed rest. Drax set upon the corpse of the id fiend with great gusto, butchering the body to harvest materials (bone especially, but also ligaments and sinew) to create a variety of weapons, storing that which he did not use the first night into the wagon. The adventurers also noticed that Belem, while stable, had taken a turn for the worse. After an uneventful evening and a long rest, they decided to once more set out for Koth.

Using his athletic skills and supernatural teleporting abilities, Elon Mistwild scaled the nearest point, a tree atop the canyon face, and scouted out a path ahead. The badlands of this location abutted an area of sandy desert, and it was through this zone that the group travelled on in the direction of Koth. Kavak carefully worked the remaining kank that pulled their wagon, while Elon kept a sharp eye out for danger and Drax spent his time with Kria, attempting to raise her spirits after her recent capture, as well as question her about training, in an effort to improve her skill to defend herself. The journey took several days, with the band being assaulted one evening in camp by a pair of vicious anakores, whose massive claws cut deep and viciously on the heroes before they were slain. They were also set upon by a band of tarek bandits led by a tarek earth shaman, who attempted to ambush the group as they resupplied at an oasis, but Drax’s sharp eyes and trained instincts spotted them ahead of time. The tareks swung many a powerful blow, and took many a seemingly mortal wound, before they were finally defeated. Kria in both encounters showed more spirit than earlier, employing a crossbow to attempt to aid her allies and protectors; she did not accomplish much but did demonstrate a fighting and resiliant spirit.

At last, the adventurers ran into a crodlu-mounted patrol from Koth, who ordered the band to halt in the name of Lord Mitra. The situation was tense, with the guards not well disposed to wanderers from the desert, and the adventurers in no mood to bow or scrape after their long journey. The group revealed their fallen ally Belem, however, and after examining him the guards let them past, and escorted them back to the outskirts of Koth, which was revealed to be a decent sized settlement located within a canyon, with buildings built into the very walls of the canyon, as well as along its floor. They were pointed in the direction of a large building in the settlement, and told they had best bring Belem there.

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Betrayal in Zakharia

The adventurers stood in the room in ancient Zakharia, empty save for the bodies of a number of minor demons that they slew, and the figure of the “tiefling” trapped within a magic circle at the center of the room. The figure attempted to convince them to free him, as they all attempted (or appeared to attempt) to ignore him. He offered treasure, power, women, and powerful weapons, the last of which caught the attention of Kavak, but he stayed his hand. Finally, as the adventurers were preparing to leave him, he tried to earn their trust by warning them of a band of elven raiders who had snuck up on their position. A short but vicious battle ensued, and the elven raiders were laid low, save for one who was trapped in the room and offered to bargain information for his life. He informed the adventurers that they had been betrayed by Felleen, the elf “trader” they had encountered in the desert, who had sold them out to a local tribal leader named Ignara, who had seized Kria as a hostage and was, along with her sister, combing the ruins for them.

A intense discussion broke out then, with Drax anxious to start out after the elves to rescue Kria, and Elon Mistwild arguing that they needed to rest, as his wounds from the previous encounters were severe enough to keep them from pressing on. The trapped figure, who identified himself as Amduscius, urged them to free him, so that he could go lay waste to the elves and save Kria while the adventurers recuperated. He also offered to revitalize the party so that they could press on, but they tried to ignore that. Eventually, as Amduscius offered more and more enticements, in order to shut him up Drax asked “Why don’t you just turn the world green again?” “It could be done… it would take much effort, but it could be done…” which startled, silenced, and greatly disquieted the party. It did not, however, succeed in convincing them to free him. Eventually they agreed to hole up in the room for four hours, giving Elon a chance to recuperate (at his advanced rate). The shaft of Kavak’s halberd quieted down the captive (repeatedly…). Drax grudgingly agreed, though he paced and grumbled the entire time.

The band moved out, leaving Amduscius behind them and bringing the elf captive along. They discovered sign of what they believed to be Ignara’s sister, Jaenus, though before they could reach their a sentry detected them. A fight erupted in a room, previously undetected, connected to the great hallway by a secret passage way. Jaenus’ guards were vicious, firing sharp, stinging blows that hamstrung Drax while Jaenus unleashed fire upon the party. Kavak dove in, swinging terrible blows down upon Jaenus, who tore into his mind and sent him (briefly) running in fear from the room. Blades cut into flesh and shattered on stone, primal and psionich powere flowed. Eventually, however, the band defeated the elves and captured Jaenus, intent on using her for trade.

They pressed on to search for Ignara and her band, eventually succeeding in doing so in a different section of the ruin, beyond several hallways, in a large room lit with huge braziers. Ignara and the adventurers parlayed, each threatening the lives of their captives. Eventually they struck a deal, wherein Ignara offered up Kria (and leaving behind Felleen) for her sister, but as the two groups warily began their exchange the treacherous elves struck, hoping to overwhelm the adventurers and seize it all for themselves. Another vicious battle erupted, and the heroes quickly overwhelmed Ignara’s guardians, though Felleen proved more dangerous than they suspected, loosing several vicious arrows into them and clouding their minds with his own psionic powers. Ignara summoned fire elementals to aid her, but it was all to naught as the heroes cut down her forces, eventually forcing her and Felleen to flee. The adventurers gave chase, and finally knocked Ignara prone, forcing her to yield. Drax and Kavak gave chase, and their might hews and intense endurance proved too much for Felleen, who they caught up to as he was attempting to catch his breath. He tore off again, but not before driving a few arrows into Kavak. The might half giant, greviously wounded, knowing that another of the archer’s arrows might be his doom, nonetheless drove onward, guided by his barbarian rage and single-mindedness, and managed to cut down the archer before he could finish Kavak off with another barrage.

As Drax and Kavak caught their breath, Elon and Kria caught up with them. Drax and Elon stole up to the enterance and finished off the guard Ignara had posted. They then returned to the room, freeing the captive as they agreed, but making Ignara pay the price for her treachery by cutting down Jaenus before her, then herself. The band collected the elves weapons (as many of their own were destroyed in the battle), and even uncovered an enchanted Heavy Throwing Shield, though it was curiously enough not made of metal (as they expected in a Green Age ruin) but instead bone, wood, and sinew. The band decided to camp at the entrance to the ruin, as they planned their next steps, with Drax leaning towards further exploration and Elon hinting that they perhaps should be on their way to Koth

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Early Campaign
Recap

This is a brief recap of the campaign, up to and including the 01/02/2011 session

The campaign began in the boiling Black Pit of Urik, as the main characters, Drax,Kavak and Elon Mistwild, along with an NPC who they would later come to know as Bellem, were thrust into the pit for a gladiatorial contest. Thean of House Lubar appeared to be sponsoring the games, and the PCs were pit against several bands of gladiators from the Blackblood Warriors, all of whom they overcame. As the PCs were about to be pit against yet another band, it became obvious that they were being sent to their deaths, which did not sit well with the fans, who were won over by their prowess and showmanship in the arena. Therefore, they were given a stay, and sent back to a communal cell, where they ate and rested to recover their strength for the inevitable next rounds.

Those next rounds, however, never came, and the four awoke to find themselves in a sealed, hot and stinking wagon, bound for the salt mines of Urik. The heroes attempted to free themselves, and failed but did manage to damage the wagon they were in, causing the rest of the caravan to leave them behind. That night, one of the templars, Tirius offered to free them if they would kill his superior, Sollus. The PCs did not greatly trust Tirius, but they wanted to be free and avoid the salt mines, and having no love of templars had no objection to doing one in. They fought Sollus and his warriors, including his pet jhakar Dreg, and after defeating them Tirius reappeared, trying to rally the remaining Urikites to halt the “escapees and murderers.” He was no more successful than Sollus, however, and the band defeated him as well, though the battle was close and Bellem was forced to reveal himself as an arcanist and preserver. After the battle, it was discovered that Sollus had brought along a pleasure slave, Kria. She was freed, though with no where to go decided to accompany the band, as she began to develop a close relationship with Drax. After some discussion, Bellem informed the PCs that if they escorted him to Koth, a hidden settlement to the north, they could avoid the reach of the Sorcerer-Kings and get a reward as well. The adventurers decided to take him up on this offer.

The band headed north, taking the kank drawn wagons filled with supplies (which the templars no longer needed!) with them. The trip north was rough, as the land soon turned to rocky badlands. The PCs fought off a variety of foes, including elementals, bandits led by the defiler Gregos, and a silk wyrm that poisoned Bellem and left him comatose. Along the way they encountered a band of dwarves led by a sun-priest named Logos who took them for bandits and assaulted them. The adventurers bested Logos and his band, and forced them to yield. Logos grudgingly gave them information on a long lost Green Age dwarven ruin, Zakharia, as well as giving them directions to Koth (needed as Bellem remained comatose from the silk wyrm attack). The adventurers decided to search out Zakharia, as it was closer than Koth, before continuing on to the settlement.

On their way to Zakharia the adventurers met up with an elf named Feleen, who bargined with them, food for information. He confirmed the landmarks described by Logos, reinforcing their conviction that they were on the path to Zakharia, and informed them of a few local dangers, specifically of an elf raider named Trivus and the evidence he had seen of a thri-kreen band in the area. On their guard, the adventurers made their way into the canyon described by Logos as containing the entry point to Zakharia. Here they found a murder of Kesterel birds, foul and dangerous scavengers, perched on a tree just outside the rock slide area revealed the way into the ruin. Elom’s sharp eyes caught sight of another predator, however, and thus avoided them being surprised as they were set upon by a vicious id fiend as well as the birds. A great battle erupted, with the id feind using its powerful telepathic abilities to hamstring and immobilize the warriors. Eventually they defeated it (after especially a great deal of cursing by Drax, who developed a foul, deep hatred of the beast). They hid their remaining wagon and kank as best they could, equipped Kria with a weapon, and stole into Zakharia, searching for its secrets. They found signs that this may truly be a Green Age ruin and traveled deep into and under the surface, following the passageway down until they came upon a wide hall. Exploring it, they found a lair of crystal spiders, who they easily defeated, and among their lair found a primally infused set of sandals and a rusted steel longsword, which they believe has value to a collector. Traveling further they found a massive door which once contained magical runes and sigils of great warding power, now lost. Opening the door, they found a figure, seemingly a tiefling (though Elom’s sharp eyes and knowledge of planar details told him it was in fact something else) in a magical circle, surrounded by five maw demons, bundles of hate and hunger. The adventurers charged in, heedless of the danger, and slew the demons, standing deep in a pile of their otherworldly bodies as the “tiefling” urged them on. As they defeated the last of the demons, their attention turned to the captive, who urged them to remove the wards surrounding him…

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