PCs: Toad, Saad, Xeal, Ms Terspungecake
Ring of NPC: Urisk, Garnidelia
1st – 2nd of Nethysta, 179th Year of the Goddess
Session 13 was solely dedicated to the combat between the two evil parties, so we won’t spend much time to describe how that played out. Some highlights, however:
- Saad poking at things with his trident
- Urisk shaping the fabric of the pocket reality that they were in to create a giant glowing disco ball above them that permanently illuminated the opposing party
- Girthy being stuck in a web and being utterly useless for an entire combat
- A massive detonation of fireballs as Jack of Spades triggered eight fireballs of a necklace of fireballs (each fireball 5d6, total 40d6 damage).
In any case, Emmett called the combat to a halt following the fireball explosion, pronouncing our protagonists to be the winners of the combat. The space around them once again resolved into a boardroom, with the two parties facing each other and Emmett standing at the head of the table. Their victory had clearly won them no favors from their counterparts, and the enmity between sides was palpable, especially Lilly at Saad and Girthy at Toad.
Emmett congratulated both teams on their efforts, but dismissed Felicity’s team while he spoke to the party. He also made Ginko and Miss switch teams, cryptically telling the group that Miss’s skills would be valuable for the tasks ahead.
He then presented the party with a choice- to take the Path of Might and be the major villains of this era, or take the Path of Subtlety and carry out missions of precision and stealth to further Norgorber’s objectives. Weighing up their individual skills, they chose the Path of Subtlety, and were granted new knowledge and power as a result.
- Once a week, with three members of the party concentrating together, an hour of memory from the last 24 hours can be wiped from an unconscious or sleeping target. At least one member of the party must be in physical contact with the person, with the other two a maximum of 20ft from the target.
Emmett then informed the group that one last task was required to prove their faith to Norgorber (and in doing so, prove themselves worthy of receiving their next reward). They were to take certain children from the new orphanage in Foi and bring them to Norgorber’s realm to be sacrificed for the cause. The individual party members took this news in different ways- evil aligned members such as Toad and Miss simply saw it as just another objective and Xeal found himself in self-denial over the term “sacrifice”. Saad saw this as one step too far, however- callous and hardened as he is, he wasn’t willing to slaughter toddlers for power.
Having given them their instructions, Emmett left them to sit in the boardroom, only for them to realise they had missed yet another chance to ask him about the mysterious List of Names. With their attempts to call him back from whatever pocket dimension he had disappeared into failing, they chose to leave the boardroom. With a choice of two doors, they chose not to go through the long corridor they’d entered through, but instead through the door that Felicity’s group had exited through. To their relief, this led back into the reception, where the bored receptionist was still filing her nails and generally paying no attention to them.
One by one they were teleported back to Emmett’s Emporium to find that no time had passed since they had entered Norgorber’s pocket dimension. The majority of the group made their way back to their rooms at The Red Parrot, with Miss going to The Toulouse a couple of blocks down. All the group had agreed to meet up after eight hours rest (because really, who needs a proper sleeping schedule) to discuss exactly how they were going to get the children away from the orphanage. They all went to sleep at around 10, with plans to wake at 6.
Saad, on the other hand, had other plans. Having secretly taken a number of items from Toad’s Handy Haversack, he decided to get the hell out of dodge. Leaving his rooms at the inn at midnight, he bought the first horse he could and rode as fast as he could over the Scales of Justice, hoping to put as much space between himself and the others as he could.
Six o’clock came around, and the group gathered at The Red Parrot. They had planned to meet in Saad’s room, but found a “do not disturb” sign hanging from the door and a sock on the doorknob. Knowing Saad’s reputation with gentlemen and one night stands, they decided not to push the issue, instead convening in Toad’s room. While checking to see if the room was secure from curious ears Toad found that the room had previously been subject to a Permanent Silence spell, but that the permanence had worn off to some extent. Miss also found what appeared to be a map to a specific location, somewhere in the swamps on the other side of the continent.
The group spent the next two hours discussing potential plans- invisibility, kidnapping, pretend adoption and (of course) Xeal lying to the orphanage management. This was all discussed in code, with “stealing the children” being replaced with “eating food”. As the clock chimed the 8 o’clock bell, the group decided to check on Saad once more. Xeal chose to tactfully message Saad via magic, but received no response. Beginning to realise that something was up, the group opened the door to find a perfectly pristine room, devoid of any trace of Saad.
The group raced down to the common room to ask Octavius the barkeep if he had seen Saad leave during the night. Xeal got quite chummy with him (nat 20) and Octavius happily told the group that he had seen Saad leave in the early hours of the morning. Miss decided to take the lead at this point with her superior tracking skills, following signs of Saad’s passage through the city back to the guard checkpoint at the Scales of Justice.
The guard checkpoint posed a problem for the (at this point) mostly evil group- their alignments would be quickly picked up by the paladins’ ability to detect evil. Toad, however, was very confident in a spell that he had just recently mastered, and cast a spell to swap his alignment with a coin he had picked up on the streets. To their credit, the rest of the group stayed back while he tested the effectiveness of his spell by nonchalantly walking up to the group of Knights of Egalite guarding the bridge.
Unfortunately for our young wizard, the gnome captain made his will save, and Toad found himself quickly surrounded by a group of five paladins. With a sigh (and perhaps a partial facepalm) he fell back on his normal escape strategy, turning invisible and hightailing it out of there.
Seeing this, Xeal thought that he’d try and take some of the heat off Toad by faking shock at the sight of the wizard disappearing. His bluff failed dismally, however, as the normally eloquent sorcerer did some of the most wooden acting of his life. The already wary paladins decided to take no chances with their second suspect, and quickly tied Xeal up (Xeal chose not to resist).
A few minutes earlier saw Saad briefly stopping at the Last Rest, pausing only to sell his exhausted horse and buy a new one. He also made the risky choice to tinker with the Cube of Disasters, aligning a reasonable section of one side. Abandoning the cube in case it drew the disaster to him, he spurred on his new mount to take him down the trade road to Jebagara.
As Xeal was apprehended by the Knights of Egalite on the bridge, the effects of the cube became clear in a big way- a large meteorite came sailing through the sky and impacted where Saad had left the Cube on the bridge. The explosion was powerful enough to be seen a full day’s travel away, throwing the crowd at the exit to Iomedaea into disarray. The Knights at the bridge did their best to maintain order, with teams of paladins being sent out immediately to assess the damage and tend to the wounded.
Toad and Miss took full advantage of the chaos to move away from the city checkpoint, deciding that attempting to follow Saad was not as high a priority as not getting caught. The pair headed back to Foi and the new orphanage, hoping to find out more about the children that they needed to steal.
The pair had a very simple plan: pretend to be partners looking to adopt, find out which children they needed to take and come back at a later point. Toad chose to do the talking, confident in his ability to bluff through the situation.
Unfortunately for Toad, luck was not on his side (natural 1). He had been thinking and speaking in the code that they had decided upon that his tongue mixed the two together- instead of informing the Daughter on duty that they wanted to see the children, he said that they wanted to steal and eat the children!
Miss chose to step in at this point, trying to ease the awkwardness that had resulted from Toad’s mistake. While she was unable to get on the duty Daughter’s good side they were able to leave without causing further incident. The pair were politely escorted off the premises and the doors slammed in their face. With nothing else that they feel they could do for the time being, they felt entering the Champion’s Tourney was the most productive way for them to pass the time.
At this point Xeal was being led to the holding cells in Verite by the gnome captain and his group of Knights. The captain had confiscated his mask, deeming it risky to allow Xeal to retain it, but Xeal drew on all his powers of persuasion to argue that he should be set free to go heal those in need at the Last Rest. While she was initially resistant to the idea, the captain deemed it appropriate if (and only if) he was accompanied by two Daughters of Day.
The captain (who introduced herself as Lavendrop) led them into Foi, stopping at the Embrace of Kindness orphanage. One of the Knights detached from the group to go and bring two Daughters back, one older and one younger. After a quick exchange of words, the Knights went back to their positions at the bridge check point and Xeal was left alone with the two Daughters. The older of the two informed him that they were actually instructed to take part in the Champion’s Tourney, and that he would need to accompany them to the melee as a resuit.
Arriving at the training ground that had been set up for the melee the group got their first glimpse of their good counterparts. They also saw the High Priest of Iomedae, Solomon, who was helped to his seat by a Red Judge. With magic amplifying his voice, Solomon spoke to the competitors and the audience to tell them the particulars of the tourney:
- All combat is non lethal- should a combatant be near unconsciousness, opponents should take great care in how they deal the final blow.
- The first stage of the tourney will be a general melee. Individuals may fight on their own or as groups.
- Those who do well in the melee enter into the final rounds of the Tourney, with three rounds of fighting before the finals. Winners of each round receive rewards in gold pieces as well as the chance to choose one of four magic items.
- The winner of the finals will fight in an exhibition match against the heroes. They will also be able to select one treasure each from the vaults in the Hall of Judgement.
With the formalities out of the way, Solomon signaled for the combat to begin. The group accounted for themselves well with their normal strategies: Toad used Create Pit and Stinking Cloud, Xeal tried out his new Fireballs and Miss sending arrow after arrow into the other combatants.
Somehow in the chaos they all managed to find each other, so all that remains to be seen is how they ultimately fair in the melee…