Thursday, October 11, 2012

EPISODE 71: Queen of Lies, Part III: The Beginning of the Siege of Ul-Drakkan

Augustar 3-5, 754 YE

After pausing to bereave the gruesome demise of Porkins (but not Hands), Vatex, Dziga, and Emeris assault the Vrama watchtower.

Dziga shadow jumps through the wall and, using power from the slightest shadow to remain undetected, opens the barred iron doors. With blades and shadow magic, the deadly trio decimate the various drow soldiers on the first two levels, pet spiders the size of medium dogs, and two elite female slavers whose attacks cut into special pressure points and reduce their strength. On the third level, in the shrine of Gorgoth-lol, they face Quirilash, the formidable priestess of the Spider Queen, and her entourage of four Sorcerer Driders.

The shrine is filled with arcs of lightning and blasts of unholy purple fire as Quirilash and her allies attack, but the Rosegate Company charges forward and slaughters them mercilessly. They proceed to loot the Watchtower, then reunite with their small army in the cavern below.

Human casualties: Porkins, Hands

Editor’s note: A hundred years later, dark elves throughout the region still make reference to the infamous “massacre at the Watchtower.” Stories of its extreme brutality have been exaggerated only slightly over time.

On day 9, a human merc named Cletus drinks from a pool of poisoned water and gets sick. He asks for Dziga to use his restoration wand to restore his constitution, but Dziga refuses.

While the army is taking a break for lunch, a group of drow travellers are spotted, a male and female. The female is unbelievably arrogant despite being confronted with a far greater force, and the Rosegate Company decides to make them fight against Cletus for the amusement of everyone else.

The male drow, named Savinian, reveals that he is actually a spy from House Yurganth, and the female, Vissan, is from House Vrama. Savinian claims he can find out about a secret entrance to Ul-Drakkan, so they decide to keep him alive.

So only Vissan will fight Cletus. It is decided that if Cletus wins, Dziga will use the restoration wand. What follows is swift, brutal mortal combat. Vissan, with only basic training, makes a weak attack that Cletus knocks aside. On the backswing, he hacks Vissan through the chest and kills her. “CLETUS! CLETUS! CLETUS!” chants the observing group of soldiers.

Then Dziga attempts to use the restoration wand but fails, so he can’t activate it again for 24 hours. Cletus is pissed. Everyone laughs at Cletus because he’s a loser and he’s probably going to get killed tomorrow when they attack Ul-Drakkan.

Savinian has been in contact with a Vrama loremaster named Ganthau, who claims he wishes to defect to House Yurganth. Ganthau scries them, and is pleased that Ul-Drakkan is going to be attacked by this surface army. He uses a whispering wind spell to send them the location of the secret entrance: a teleportation circle in the stables. It can only transport 8 people per day, and is usually used for Vrama VIPs to get to their mounts quickly if they must travel.

Savinian will team up with the Rosegate Expeditionary Force, quite pleased to be in the company of such powerful allies. He says hes never been to Ul-Drakkan, but he has a map.

The march continues.

On Day 10, the REF comes to Ul-Drakkan’s main gate. The army hangs back in the tunnel, while Dziga stealthily infiltrates the structure. It is protected by nine elite bugbears, but only two of them are actually on watch. The other seven of them are playing dice & card games and smoking drugs.

There is a fire giant in spiked armor sleeping in a huge chair. His snoring is unbelievably loud. Around his finger is a cord that is also tied around the ankle of one of the bugbears on the wall.

Dziga climbs up behind the fire giant and makes a coup de grace with Asura on the helpless foe. The giant dies in merely two seconds, its snoring coming to an end as it chokes on blood. The bugbears scramble into action, but many of them don’t have their weapons or dont have their armor buckled up properly.

Vatex and Emeris run up the sixty foot ramp into the main gate building, joining Dziga. Vatex starts hacking down bugbears. Dziga shoots down the bugbears on the wall. Emeris unleashes a blast of Killing Shadows that splatters a cluster of scrambling guards. The main gate has been secured in a matter of 30 seconds, and it appears no one yet knows.

Jaren sets up one of the knocked over tables and lays out Savinian’s map. Time to make a plan.

> The 26 elven warriors, led by Zaetra Stallinash, will move straight towards the fortress, and attempt to secure the area around the three towers.
> Meanwhile, the 22 human mercenaries, led by Jaren Thor, will stealthily as possible move through the fungus forests and raid the slave pens. They are to release all the prisoners and look for people from the Temple of Calethon. When this is complete, they will join the elves at the towers and begin to assault the central tower.
> While this occuring, Dziga, Vatex, Emeris, and Savinian will move to the stables and use the teleport circle to enter the fortress and attack from within. They will attempt to strike down high-level drow and find the elven artifacts.
> Then everyone meets in the middle, and keeps destroying and killing stuff until everyone is dead or until they are forced out.

Jaren Thor leads his men through the fungus, staying low and moving in small groups. At one point, a group encounters a group of drow fungus farmers, so they hack them up quickly and quietly to keep their position secret.

When they reach the dark cave leading to the Slave Pens, Jaren commands 16 men to stay behind and watch the entrance. The other six go with Jaren into the cave.

They find a huge locked set of iron doors that cannot be bypassed without making a lot of noise. They turn back, unsure how to proceed, when they see a group of drow exiting a secret door. The humans cut them down and enter the secret door. They enter a guards’ common area and defeat the small group of drow inside.

Then they stumble into the Slave Pens’ barracks, full of elite drow. Jaren commands them to retreat, and rejoin with the others. There are two ultra elite males, two ultra elite females, four elite females, and two regular male soldiers. The elite drow pursue, shooting down a few victims with their poisoned crossbows.

When the elite drow come out of the cave, the 16 troops hiding in the fungus open fire with their bows, covering Jaren’s squad as they join up. The elite drow continue their pursuit, despite being outnumbered and showered with arrows. They charge up the hill into the fungus.

These vicious elite drow ruthlessly and skillfully hack down man after man who stands against them. Their fighting ability is far superior to the troops, who struggle to cut through the fine armor of the drow. Jaren singles out a ultra elite female for a duel, and he can’t even score a hit, while she cuts him half a dozen time.

The humans are losing three men for each drow they defeat. The two elite males skilfully riposte and strike, each time slaying a human. Blood splatters all over the place. Sometimes humans manage to flank a deft drow and cut him or her down, which rouses a ululating cry.

Jaren drops to his knees as the ultra elite female hits him again. She moves in for the final strike, but at the last moment, he brings up the haft of his huge axe to parry, then quickly strikes back. CRITICAL HIT!!! The ultra elite recoils as blood explodes from his chest. The ultra elite drow and the veteran human then lunge at each other, the drow sword sinking into Jaren’s guts -- but at the same time, the drow’s head goes flying off.

Jaren is nearly dead. He should just lay down and stop fighting. But he shakes off the urge to lay down and die, and jumps back into the battle!

With Jaren able to join with the others, the tide is titled in favor of the forces of men.

But alas, losses were profound. In the end, the bodies of SEVENTEEN men lay broken and dead at their feet. Jaren drinks a few potions, but he is still seriously injured.

Human Casualty Report: Pretty much everyone.

“We should just retreat! It’s game over man! They’re all dead! Game over!” says Martin.

“Shut the fuck up, faggot,” says Black Dog.

“Yeah, fuck this. I say we get the fuck out of here,” says T-Bone.

“Yeah, I got two kids...” says Alex. “My chance of survival seems to be lower than 0.03%.”

"Even the captain is fucked up! We don't stand a chance!" Martin wails.

Jaren glares at them. “What are you, a bunch of PUSSIES?!”

They stare at him speechlessly.

Jaren continues. “It’s just us, because we are the most bad-ass motherfuckers. So are we gonna pussy out and run?”


“Or are we gonna be even MORE bad-ass, and go break out all the slaves and fuck up some more drow?”


“All right!” Jaren holds up his axe, and his remaining team charges back into the cave leading to the Slave Pens.

Meanwhile, the Zaetra and the elves have begun their assault, and the Rosegate Company and Savinian are making their way through the stables to find the secret teleportation circle...

Zaetra - bard, elf leader
Jeren - fighter, human leader
Hazarkan - elf jester


  1.         Aegnir
  2.         Amdir
  3.         Kalabran
  4.         Galdor
  5.         Maedras
  6.         Panlian
  7.         Saeros
  8.         Salthant
  9.         Rumiah
  10.         Quennar
  11.         Mythrellen
  12.         Landir
  13.         Elrohir
  14.         Averion
  15.         Fiver
  16.         Dulgussir
  17.         Mallastyr
  18.         Lurutar
  19.         Bloodheart (wood elf) +2 Str
  20.         Helseth
  21.         Darkworth
  22.         Thyr
  23.         Kavar
  24.         Mynesera
  25.         Keysandis
  26.         Athelor


  1.         McVries (wounded)
  2.         Alex (wounded)
  3.         Martin
  4.         Black Dog (wounded)
  5.         T-Bone (wounded)      

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

EPISODE 70: Queen of Lies, Part II: Vrama strikes! Ambush at Lost River Canyon

Juliar 27-Augustar 3, 754 YE

...And so the Rosegate Company gathers its forces and journeys into the Underdark, on the road to Ul-Drakkan -- House Vrama’s fortress.

The journey to Ul-Drakkan is expected to take 9-10 days. The first three days are uneventful. They pass through various tunnels and caverns of all varieties. They met a few groups of locathah hunters, and some drow fungus gatherers from House Leisharn. The troops joke about wanting some action and being bored. The elf commander, Zaetra Stallinash, seems to be a charismatic leader and keeps the troops moralized despite the difficult terrain and omnipresent darkness. Hazarkhan the Jester provides entertainment.

They do not realize that just after the attack on the Temple of Calethon, Vrama military commanders Tharion and Thariust were dispatched from Ul-Drakkan with a small army of drow and bugbears. Their mission was was to block the road through Lost River Canyon, and defeat any surface forces en route to the drow fortress long before they approach Vrama territory.

In addition to their personal bodyguards -- four mighty Freedom Avengers from the Temple of the Spider Queen -- Tharion and Thariust bring the following regiments:

Drow Female Soldiers x 10
Drow Female Elite Shock Troops x 6 (on giant lizard mounts)
Drow Male Soldiers x 10
Drow Male Soldiers x 16
Bugbears x 8
Bugbears x 20

On the fourth day, the Rosegate Company and their forces are ambushed by House Vrama’s troops at Lost River Canyon.

It is Vatex who spots the drow and bugbears, well hidden on either ridge alongside the road through the glittering limestone cavern, foiling the surprise attack. Emeris sees with his darkvision that about 80 feet ahead, there is a much more gradual slope that would allow the troops to reach the bugbears on the righthand ridge. Jeren is ordered to lead the humans troops up to the ridge while the Zaestra and the elves provide cover with their bows. Emeris teleports to the ridge on the lefthand side, behind the ranks of the ten drow.

He finds himself surrounded on all sides, with an even BIGGER regiment of drow now visible behind the first, along with a squad of female troops. Then there is Tharion, who is clearly marked as a commander, and his paladin bodyguards. From his current vantage, he can also see the other side -- where there is Thariust and his bodyguards, along with 20 more bugbears! 

Emeris blasts raw shadow power upon his foes, destroying Tharion in one hit and at the same time annihilating the entire female regiment. The freedom avengers charge through the blast, initiating special attack techniques that utilize the raw power of ANARCHY! Emeris is hacked twice!

Javelins fall upon the Rosegate’s vanguard, and Vatex takes a hit! Dziga shadow jumps up to the left ridge, followed by Vatex who quickly climbs up slope. Drow warriors surround them and they fight! The elf and rogue simply devastate the low-level opposition that swarms around. Between the two of them, they kill an average of 0.75 drow soldiers per second.

The human troops surge into the cavern with a traditional Vigoorian battle cry, and move between the earthen shelves while bugbears rain javelins down on them. Rubino is badly wounded! Jeren Thorr presses them onwards, and the elves take up position behind them. Their bows rain death upon bugbears, and the two groups exchange ranged attacks.

More male drow soldiers swarm around Emeris, who is already being pressed by two superior martial opponents. He waits for the perfect opening and unleashes the Shadow Storm mystery. Electrical shadow power arcs from drow to drow, killing seven of them.

The larger group of bugbears takes position to block access to the righthand ridge as the humans advance. Thariust, seeing that these foes are mighty indeed, shouts a desperate prayer to Gorgoth-lol... and calls a yochlol, which appears at his side. His paladin accompaniment fires their bows, trying to snipe the mighty heroes on the other side amidst the frantic melee.

Bugbear javelins plunge into the ranks of elves and men. Elven bowstrings quiver in retort. Jeren Thorr leads the charge, and notices a fairly large cave across from the slope. His strategic intuition gives him a fire warning, but he sticks to his orders... The human troops smash against the bugbears’ battle line. Jeren Thorr’s mighty axe hacks bugbear flesh. Morningstars crack human skulls and crush ribcages. Vigoorian swords are thrust through bugbear bodies.

Then Jeren hears cries of distress from the back ranks. They have been flanked! The elite drow lizard-riding shock troops make a devastating charge from the cave where they were lying in wait for the perfect opportunity to strike. Their attack causes the human line to utterly collapse on that side. Their masterwork drow-crafted lances punch through the men’s banded mail like it is paper.

The elite drow cavalry have dropped their lances and are stabbing men with bloodthirsty abandon with slender swords. Their lizard mounts chomp off human soldier faces like hungry men eating apples. Zaestra’s elves continue firing volleys of arrows which are whittling down the bugbears with efficiency. Yet, if something is not done, the human unit will likely be overrun.

More drow attack Emeris, scoring a few lucky hits. Thariust attacks with chaotic bursts of divine magic as well. He cannot hold off any further, but his attack has been devastating enough for now. He decides to teleport back to the tunnel and drink potions and draws shadow power into his body to survive greater punishment. This leaves Vatex and Dziga to slaughter more drow troops. Bloodied bodies of drow continue piling up as they are slaughtered by the deadly duo.

Jeren renews his ferocity, cutting down a third bugbear. Another advances to fight him, only to be felled by an elven arrow. Behind him, men fight against the drow cavalry, pulling one off her lizard and brutally stabbing her to death. Emmett loses half his face when he gets too close to a lizard’s snapping jaws. Beowulf takes a slender drow sword right through the neck.

As Dziga continues slaughtering drow soldiers on the leftmost shelf, Vatex begins his dervish blade dance and leaps off the ridge directly into battle with the elite shock troops. He moves through their unit like a gust of wind, skilfully striking fatal blows against each of them as he does. Then, in unison, they fall dead off their mounts. A cheer arises from the men, and their fury is focused entirely on the bugbears on the right side.

Emeris teleports back into combat, this time attacking Thariust and his entourage. Thariust is killed with one of the avengers on the first blast. The yochlol assaults him with magic, and the freedom avenger uses unholy divine strikes. Emeris stunlocks the other avenger with the Shadowgeist Reaver, then finishes him off with the demon in another blast of Killing Shadows.

The bugbears are whittled down to just four, and they attempt to retreat for the river. Emeris teleports to cut them off while Dziga and Vatex block them from behind. The bugbears try to surrender, but the Rosegate Company instead allows the troops to brutally execute them, leaving no survivors.

In the end, the Rosegate Expeditionary Force loses six humans and one elf, with their enemies suffering losses tenfold. The KIA report is as follows:

Human Deaths: Allan, Beowulf, Stuart, Biffy, Wolf, and Emmett
Elf Deaths: Marsulla

Everyone else is treated with first aid and charges from Vatex’s healing stick. The fact that they are led by mighty warriors, and the fact that they were willing to use magic resources to help their troops, keeps moral high despite the casualties. However, some people say there is racist anti-human policies in this army -- despite the fact that Dziga is human (some say he’s not really human).

Vatex reveals to Zaestra that Dziga is actually a child-murderer. Dziga doesn’t like this because TECHNICALLY he made a deal with the prosecutor and pled to a much lesser charge than murder. And furthermore, he is not entirely sure he DID murder a child. Some part of him believes that it was just a weird vision conjured by Keziah or the Black Man, regardless of the ostensibly damning physical evidence.

The REF heads out and luckily has three days of uneventful travel. Despite the difficulty of the trek, people are in good spirits. Many enjoy the sights of magnificent, exotic caverns and strange underdark wildlife like displacer beasts and hook horrors.

On the eighth day, the army encounters a small Vrama scouting party. Emeris teleports close to them and, with a single blast of mighty shadow magic, ensures that none of them will report back to Ul-Drakkan ever again.

About six hours later, the Rosegate forces come across an interesting location. In a large cavern, there is a stone watchtower suspended by hundreds of massive webstrands about 100 feet above the ground. Emeris can see dark elves with crossbows looking out the windows on the tower’s first level.

Vatex, Dziga, and Emeris will attack the tower while the bulk of the troops remain behind. Only Porkins and Hands will accompany them as, ahem, “backup” -- they will be carried by Vatex and Dziga who will drink the only two flying potions in the army’s inventory (taken from the corpse of Thariust).

Crossbows fire at Vatex and Dziga as they fly up to the tower. They drop Porkins and Hands on the stone base around the tower. Porkins’ torch catches a cluster of aranchoid eyes in the darkness as the web begins to tremble, and two enhanced bebiliths, blessed by Gorgoth-lol to guard this watchtower, attack them.

Because Dziga and Vatex are flying, Porkins and Hands present easier targets to the demonic spiders. The bebiliths tear off the two soldiers’ heads with a disgusting, meaty snap of their jaws and pedipalps.

Emeris teleports onto the platform and uses shadow magic to paralyze one of the bebiliths, which Dziga starts stabbing with Asura and Gozu Vrow. Vatex flies in, avoiding an opportunity attack, and slashes hard with the axiomatic Sword of Aqaa. Both combatants find that the Spider Queen’s blessing has made the spiders tremendously resilient to damage.

As the paralyzed bebilith breaks free of Emeris’ spell, the shadowcaster hits it with umbral rays and Dziga stabs it in sensitive locations. Vatex exchanges furious blows with the other bebilith. They defeat the demonic spiders, suffering only some minor injuries, then prepare to enter the watchtower.




Zaetra - bard, elf leader
Jeren - fighter, human leader
Hazarkan - elf jester


  1.         Aegnir
  2.         Amdir
  3.         Kalabran
  4.         Galdor
  5.         Maedras
  6.         Panlian
  7.         Saeros
  8.         Salthant
  9.         Rumiah
  10.         Quennar
  11.         Mythrellen
  12.         Landir
  13.         Elrohir
  14.         Averion
  15.         Fiver
  16.         Dulgussir
  17.         Mallastyr
  18.         Lurutar
  19.         Bloodheart (wood elf)
  20.         Helseth
  21.         Darkworth
  22.         Thyr
  23.         Kavar
  24.         Mynesera
  25.         Keysandis
  26.         Athelor


  1.         Abran
  2.         Jyjiro!
  3.         McVries
  4.         Chinpot
  5.         Cedric
  6.         Graham
  7.         Alex
  8.         Saladin
  9.         Martin
  10.         Black Dog
  11.         Rubino
  12.         Boris
  13.         Franklin
  14.         T-Bone
  15.         Fat Bill
  16.         Cletus
  17.         Gaylord
  18.         Killer Sanchez
  19.         Jackson
  20.         Alberto
  21.         Schaffer
  22.         Baldwin

Friday, September 14, 2012



Thursday, August 9, 2012

EPISODE 69: Queen of Lies I: Tragedy at the Temple of Calethon

Juliar 19-26, 754 YE


The Rosegate Company makes their way back to Elan. Having been forced to teleport out of the exploding Arena with nothing but their combat gear and the money in their pockets, they are eager to get into clean clothes and eat some good food. They also need to resurrect Early, whose dismembered corpse was left behind in the Shadow Plane. But that’s okay -- they have his gear, and with the proper magic they can resurrect him from his finger nail.

Posing as out-of-towners, the Rosegate crew gets back in the city and finds the Republicans are clamping down even more with martial law. The Arena explosion has been portrayed by those in power as a terrorist attack. The terrorists were the Rosegate Company. All Rosegate assets in the city have been confiscated. Khellek was declared the winner of the final battle and he turned his winnings back over to the city to help pay for rebuilding. No mention of Kyuss rituals in the “mainstream portrayal” of events.

The Rosegate Manor has been burned down. Their bank account balances have been transferred to the city treasury. Early’s dog ran away but is apparently alive somewhere. The wyvern was stabbed to death by city guardsmen.

The Rosegate Company is officially broke and homeless and a fugitive adventuring company. They consider leaving the city altogether, or maybe attacking the Republicans directly (which would be dangerous but satisfying). But they figure they might want to get some money first, either way.

Vatex visits Shilukar who speaks of an attack on the Temple of Calethon two nights ago. Their vault has been raided by House Vrama dark elves and important artifacts were taken. Shilukar tells Vatex he will hire the Rosegate Company to mount a recovery expedition if they are not hired by Doraedian Mythlord, the elven community leader, instead. He tells them to speak with that guy first.

Temple of Calethon had many people killed in the attack, including Darnesha, the high priestess, her paladin-guardian Coralaen, the human cleric Jeffers, and the half-elf leader of the lay community Marta Gerrit.

Four people are missing and believed kidnapped. Theron Thelonia, Raelan Teranith, Kirstae Neverwind, and Cam Jaystone.

Three items of considerable religious significance -- the Silver Circlet, the Challice of Reeds, and the Arrows of Righteousness -- were taken. In addition to this, they learn from Shilukar that the special piece of chaositech he was keeping his eye on, was taken. This item is known by some as “the Godspike”. Shilukar strongly believes seems certain that the dark elves were after this, which is substantiated by the previous encounter with House Vrama’s champions in the Banewarrens a year earlier. The Godspike had been on their list of “treasures to get.”

They speak with Doraedian Mythlord. He does not believe they were responsible for the terrorist attack at the Arena. He actually wishes to hire Vatex and the Rosegate Company. He wants them to lead a counterattack against the dark elves that attacked the Temple of Calethon, an attack that has shaken the elven community badly.

His intelligence has revealed that the dark elves came from Ul-Drakkan, a city far below Elan. It is believed they took the artifacts and the prisoners there.

Doraedian has as a ward a young elf woman who escaped from Ul-Drakkan several months ago. She was a slave and has provided some intelligence about the city, and a map of the tunnels leading there. It’s going to be a 9-10 day march to Ul-Drakkan with troops.


The group settles in at Saharasahla's old library, now abandoned since the old shadowcaster betrayed Emeris and settled in at Kadmiel. Emeris takes some time to review some books, trying to find information about "Nightfang Spire", where the Death God Samhain had told him to go. Doing so, apparently, would shed some light on the metaphysical disruption to which both Samhain and Dagda had referred.

Nightfang Spire is apparently an old tomb in the southern region of the Holy Empire Vigoor's province. It was the headquarters of a cult that worshiped the mighty shadow dragon Ashardalon. It is said that when the druid Gilanaeus and his allies defeated Ashardalon, the cult disbanded. The cult's leader, Garloth Gulthias, disappeared around the same time, and is presumed dead.

Maybe when this expedition to Ul-Drakkan is over, they can make an expedition to Nightfang Spire. 


The Rosegate Company’s mission has three components:

> Rescue the prisoners
> Recover the artifacts
> Strike a terrible blow against the dark elves that will never be forgotten

Doraedian provides them with upfront cash to cover expenses, and 18 elven troops from his personal security force.

For the next week, the Rosegate Company puts together its small army that they will lead into the tunnels of the Underdark. They manage to recruit another 9 elf warriors, 30 human warriors, and an elf jester named Hazarkan to provide some entertainment for the troops. They also recruit a couple of leaders for their forces: Zaetra Stallinash, the elven bard, will provide leadership to the elf forces; Jeren Thor, a human fighter, serves as the commander of the non-elves.


Vatex and Dziga visit Shilukar and tell him that Doraedian hired them, but they can still recover the Godspike for Shilukar if he pays them. Surprisingly, he refuses. He says he is hiring his own force to recover the Godspike, parallel to the Rosegate Company's efforts. He says he might even hire the Company of the Blue Lantern.

Also, Shilukar discovers that Dziga possess an Impossibility Cube and offers up to 375,000 gold for it. Dziga refuses to sell it at any price, however.


Zaetra - bard, elf leader
Jeren - fighter, human leader
Hazarkan - elf jester


  1.     Aegnir
  2.     Amdir
  3.     Kalabran
  4.     Galdor
  5.     Maedras
  6.     Panlian
  7.     Saeros
  8.     Salthant
  9.     Rumiah
  10.     Quennar
  11.     Mythrellen
  12.     Landir
  13.     Elrohir
  14.     Averion
  15.     Fiver
  16.     Marsulla
  17.     Dulgussir
  18.     Mallastyr
  19.     Lurutar
  20.     Bloodheart (wood elf)
  21.     Helseth
  22.     Darkworth
  23.     Thyr
  24.     Kavar
  25.     Mynesera
  26.     Keysandis
  27.     Athelor


  1.     Abran
  2.     Allan
  3.     Beowulf
  4.     Hands
  5.     Porkins
  6.     Wolf
  7.     Emmet
  8.     Jyjiro!
  9.     McVries
  10.     Chinpot
  11.     Cedric
  12.     Graham
  13.     Alex
  14.     Saladin
  15.     Martin
  16.     Black Dog
  17.     Rubino
  18.     Boris
  19.     Franklin
  20.     Stuart
  21.     T-Bone
  22.     Fat Bill
  23.     Cletus
  24.     Biffy
  25.     Gaylord
  26.     Killer Sanchez
  27.     Jackson
  28.     Alberto
  29.     Schaffer
  30.     Baldwin

NEXT TIME: The Rosegate Expeditionary Force enters the Underdark with a small army! Will they stick to House Vrama?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

EPISODE 68: The Trial of Champions IV - A Clash of Gambits! Faceoff with Auric's Warband

Juliar 18, 754 YE

The final battle begins! Dziga and Tirra disappear while Khellek the wizard begins bombarding Rosegate Company with fireballs and thunderclaps. Auric shouts orders and the stone golems advance.

Emeris advances via teleportation and blasts Auric his three golems with Killing Shadows! One golem goes after Vatex and tries to smash him - but the elf dodges! The other two golems try to smash the shadowcaster, but he outmaneuvers them and uses Killing Shadows against them -- they explode!

Suddenly the ground starts shaking violently. It sounds like something is trying to break through the floor of the arena! But the battle continues for now.

Invisible to all, Dziga uses his powers of darkness. His murderous intent is focused on Auric, who is using his amazing powers of command to empower his allies. He rushes past Vatex while the elf hacks apart the last golem. As it collapses into a pile of rubble, Tirra de-cloaks before him and steals the effects of his haste potion with her supernatural thieving skills. He fights back but she is quick, and blinking in and out of the ethereal. She counter attacks, slashing with a flurry of ghost knives. While attacking, she manages to completely strip him of his mithril shirt, his speed boots, and a magical amulet. Early, arriving to the melee a bit late after getting stunned by one of Khellek’s spells, joins the elf and hacks Tirra to bits, splattering her across the sand before she can remove any more of the elf’s stuff..

Khellek and Emeris trade spells, the wizard launching fire rays and feeblemind spells, and getting hit back with the shade’s Afraid of the Dark mystery, eroding his will. The battle is suddenly interrupted by the Apostle of Kyuss bursting through the earth. It is a massive, advanced ulgurstata from the Wormcraft Fissure itself, summoned earlier by the tiefling cleric Bozal. It had been waiting in that big black egg they’d found in the Kyuss worshipers hideout a few days ago.

Some people look on his horror, others think this is awesome and it’s part of the arena’s final event! An old man in the executive booth with Raknian steps forth and calls to the ulgustata, “Glorious Apostle of the Wormgod! There!” he points at Auric. “There is the champion you seek! Feed upon him, and bring the blessing of Kyuss to this forsaken city!”

The ulgurstata vomits forth a legion of Kyuss spawn as the huge monster looks upon Auric. Before it can eat for holder of the Champion’s Belt, however, Dziga appears and murderizes Auric so bad he shoots a geyser of blood 100 feet in the air, much to the old man's annoyance.

Early and Vatex hack down the swarming Kyuss spawn, while Emeris supports from the opposite side with Killing Shadows and Shadow Storm mysteries. Urlgurstata breathes a wave of necromantic slime over Vatex and drains his health.

As Vatex dervish dances through the last of the Kyuss spawn, Saygraam teleports into the fray, attacking Early with his Sodom Sword Storm attack. Early gets hacked up! His body is covered in hundreds of small cuts and blood gushes out of him. As Saygraam prepares to finish him, the Cyber Ninja arrives, appearing up in the stands!

Cyborg Ninja carpet bombs the arena with her liquid missile launcher, hitting everyone. Saygraam begins closing in for the kill on Early, and Emeris conjures up the Shadowgeist Reaver to stop him. Saygraam hits the shade with his Ruby Eye Rays and dodges a slash from the spectral blade.

Early chugs a potion and runs into battle with Saygraam. Early HERO POINT parries the AoO from the big steel arm. He Swooping Dragon Attacks Saygraam and stuns him! His mask cracks from the impact! Emeris flanks and slashes with the Reaver, drawing Saygraam’s lifeforce!

While Emeris and Early fight Saygraam, Vatex defeats the last Kyuss spawn. The elf joins Dziga to flank the huge Apostle of Kyuss. Dziga activates his Deathstrike Bracers and jumps onto the monster. Asura and Gozu Vrow strike devastating hits. The monster flails about, unleashing a Waves of Exhaustion SLA against Vatex as the elf advances. A slashing fury of Wind Duke swords murderize the ulgustara!

Early drinks another potion while Ruby-Eye is stunned. Then Emeris makes a desperate attack with the Reaver... and dazes Saygraam! This locks the strange Baatorian in place and Early powers up his ultimate attack -- RAGING MONGOOSE WOLF BLITZ!!! Saygraam is destroyed!

Cyborg Ninja stamina surge extra move actions from the stands to the arena ground, and fires a liquid missile at Vatex as the huge bulk of the monster flops over. On her other side, Dziga Emeris and Early gather in attack formation. Cyborg Ninja wastes no time, doing a Demon Rush Tactics maneuver which nearly kills the three of them Early, Dziga, and Emeris.

Cyber Ninja then does her Meteor Smash maneuver and KOs Emeris. He is not dead though, and his shade healing goes to work, stabilizing him and slowly bringing him back to consciousness. Early and Vatex look on to attack in a blaze of glory, but she does lunges forward with a Rising Deflection Attack and gains crazy DR. Everyone keeps their distance and drinks potions.get

Dziga's hiding ability was so supernaturally good that the Cyber Ninja's visual decoder could not detect. So Early passes Cryssaegrym to him so that if ninja kills everybody, she can’t get the sword. Early and Vatex fire guns at her while Dziga takes the sword and disappears. THe bullets bounce off her armor.

The ninja can’t get the sword, so she figures that she will just kill the others then leave, let them get resurrected, and come back for Cryssaegrym later. She uses her Zu Khen Spacetime Cut on Early and cuts him in half.

She then does Zhu Khen Spacetime Deceiver, bringing Vatex towards her. She then uses the Obliterating Hydra Slash maneuver. Vatex gets miraculously lucky and lives. He counterattacks and hurts her pretty good. Then Dziga appears and fires three shots from his bow hoping to kill her. If it does not succeed, everyone is fucked when she strikes back. Fortunately the Ninja goes down.

Emeris wakes up, and everything seems pretty good overall. Khellek the wizard had fled, so it seems they had won the Trial of Champions. But not much of the audience remained, and the referee was long gone. And even Raknian and the other dudes in the executive booth have also fled.

But there was a bigger issue. When the Cyborg Ninja went down, a protocol was activated in her Biocrystal Armor that armed a nuclear detonator, so that her remains would be destroyed and no one would trace her back to the Rebel Moon. Dziga attempts to disable the device but cannot go quickly enough, and to avoid death Emeris gathers everyone up (along with the two halves of Early) and plane shifts them to the Shadow Plane just as the explosion goes off.

Thousands die in the explosion. The arena is basically obliterated. One of Dalengard's towers and main walls collapses. The surrounding neighborhoods are in chaos.

In the Plane of Shadow, the Rosegate Company chills out for a bit, and are visited by the... ghost, or something, of Dagda Hazareth, whom they had seen before. Hazareth tells Emeris that dark power is swirling around him, seemingly aroused by his merging with the Shadowgeist Reaver. This is creating a disturbance in the Plane of Shadow, with which the true essence of Hazareth merged long ago. Eventually, says Hazareth, this could cause a severe problem of a metaphysical nature.

NEXT TIME (if there is a next time): No one has the faintest idea what to do, actually, so who knows.

Monday, March 19, 2012

EPISODE 67: The Trial of Champions III - Get to the Final Round! The Froghemoth, the Reaper Knight, and the Fire Mage

Juliar 16-18, 754 YE


The Rosegate Company has defeated the followers of Kyuss in the hidden shrine, although the mysterious infernal outsider, Saygraam Ruby-Eye, escaped. Early figures the ancient scroll of Bozal's altar is one of the Apostolic Scrolls mentioned by the sage Allustan, so he takes it. The party then smashes the glass tube and extracts the body of Emmalyn, Ekaym's sister. She is technically alive, but has seemingly been reduced to a human vegetable.

The party leaves the shrine and returns to their quarters in the Coenoby. There, Early reviews the journal of Bozal. He learns the following:

  • Saygraam the Faceless aka "Ruby-Eye" is an outsider from the Nine Hells. Little is known about him other than he is some kind of baatezu lawyer. His "mask" is actually a powerful artifact called the "Pledge Stone" which is used to make binding contracts with mortals. It is believed that his extensive bandages hide a body that is composed of the fragments of a million shattered magic items... supposedly. Bozal writes that Saygraam is no Kyuss worshiper and seems indifferent to the whole Age of Worms thing, so only speculation offers any explanation on why Saygraam is involved.
  • Raknian's lover, Emmalyn, had been exposed to some element of cosmic horror, and her mind had suffered such intense trauma that she died. Standard resurrection magic had been unable to restore her life. Saygraam made a bargain with Raknian using the Pledge Stone -- if Raknian can acquire an Apostolic Scroll and give it to Bozal, the followers of the Worm That Walks will bring Emmalyn back to life.
  • Somehow Raknian did get his hands on an Apostolic Scroll, and Bozal brought Emmalyn back to life with special necromancy. However, Emmalyn's mind was still utterly destroyed, even though her body had come back to life. Raknian was furious, thinking he'd been tricked, but the Pledge Stone had bound all parties to the agreement -- it's just "restore life to Emmalyn" apparently did not include repairing her broken mind. So Raknian made another deal on the Pledge Stone with the barrister of the Nine. Raknian would siphon 150,000 gold per month and 30 prisoners per month to the worm cult, so they can fund their operations and create new undead allies.
  • Bozal does not discuss the Apostolic Scroll much in his journal. He writes that it evocatively describes the Age of Worms that is to come should Kyuss break free of his prison. It also describes a complex ritual whereby an a powerful servant of Kyuss called an ulgurstata, would be teleported from the Wormcrawl Fissure to a location specified by the possessor of the scroll.

At the big dinner that night, the companions speak with their manager about Ekaym about their discoveries beneath the arena and the recovery of Emmalyn's body (which is stashed in their sleeping quarters). Ekaym looks forward to reporting information about Raknian's allegiance with the Kyuss cult to the Guilders, as that will help them start turning some neutral factions against the Republican government. He is also overcome with joy that his sister was found alive, but is worried of the difficulty in doing so if Raknian had needed the Kyuss cult's help. So grateful is the bard that he says he will ensure they can keep the full 100,000 gold prize if they win the tournament (instead of splitting it 75/25).

Ekaym gives them some intelligence on the froghemoth, dubbed "Madtooth the Hungry". It is an especially huge, nasty aberration that gets rendered sluggish down by electricity. However, Ekaym's contacts report that management has given the monster an item that will absorb electric energy damage to compensate for that weakness.


The next day, after lunch, the Rosegate Company enters the arena. The crowd is going crazy, because they love the giant monster round almost as much as the tournament's grand finale. "MADTOOTH! MADTOOTH! MADTOOTH!" they chant. When Madtooth is finally announced, the crowd gets even CRAZIER.

BUT. Several minutes go by and there is no sign of the monster being brought up to the arena. They see a figure with a glowing red eye balancing at the top of the tallest flagpole, overlooking the arena. Saygraam is observing! They can see Raknian watching from the executive booth with a smirk. The crowd starts getting pissed off, and it seems almost like a riot will result if there isn't a monster battle in the next few minutes!

Finally, after about 10 minutes, a giant box wrapped like a birthday present is hauled by guards and monster caretakers into the arena. They pull on big ropes and the sides of the giant box fall away, unleashing an explosion of confetti and exposing... a ridiculously tiny froghemoth! It lets out a squeak and one of the arena wizards dispels the "shrink froghemoth" spell -- suddenly Madtooth's size expands dramatically until it is a 30-foot long monstrosity worthy of its name. The three big yellow eyes at the end of a protruding fleshy stalk blink frantically in the sunlight.

It is clear that the delay was probably engineered by Raknian to cause their short-duration power-ups to wear off. Sneaky! Only a few effects are lost, with others having longer durations or able to be re-applied.

The gong signals that start of the battle. The froghemoth roars and begin to hop towards the group at the other end of the arena, but it is primarily an aquatic creature so it is pretty slow. Dziga steps into a shadow and disappears, rushing towards the monster head on, while Early and Vatex begin moving to either side and hit the monster from all sides.

Emeris hangs back, conjuring up shadowy duplicates of the monster that materialize briefly, lash at the mental power of the monster, and fade away. Yet the huge brute monster is surprisingly resilient mentally and even several of these mysteries fails to bring down the best.

Dziga's shadow companion swipes at the froghemoth and drains some strength as the rogue-shadowdancer appears from shadows and sneak attacks the beast as it runs past him, veering sharply to the north end towards Vatex. One of froghemoth's tentacles snaps out, crossing the distance in a split second, its force blasting Vatex to the ground in a cloud of sand. The tentacle quickly curls around his torso and brings the struggling elf towards its gargantuan maw.

Vatex struggles to break free but the grip of the trunk-like tentacle is unimaginably great. His Aura of Law seems to keep his ribs from breaking, but there is nothing he can do as the froghemoth gobbles him up in a single bite. His companions the elf's scream fade as he is swallowed...

Emeris invisibly maneuvers into melee, avoiding the flailing tentacles, and thrusts the Shadowgeist Reaver into the monster. Before it retaliates, Dziga appears appears from shadows and leaps onto its back side. His stabbing frenzy devastates the froghemoth, with Gozu Vrow thrusting deep wounds that sizzle with acid, and Asura's deadly effect disrupting the flesh around the stabs. Blood fountains erupt from the creature and Dziga leaps back. Early dual wields Sheol the gunsword with the Tri-Elemental Magnum and uses his Dancing Mongoose maneuver to unleash hell upon the monster. Massive bloody holes erupt across the monster's flank as Early riddles it with a hail of bullets. There is literally a shower of blood in the arena, but the froghemoth is unrelenting, pivoting its massive bulk to start eating more of these tasty high-level snacks. Then it starts to spasm in agony...

...Inside the belly of the froghemoth, stomach acid spews from slimy walls of flesh and muscular contractions threaten to crush Vatex. He can feel the monster violently reacting to the incredible damage being inflicted by his companions. He has but one arm free, and he begins hacking at the stomach wall. Blood and acid splashes his face and he keeps hacking until he opens the abdominal wall and spills out of the open froghemoth along with a river of gore. The monster stumbles back and collapses dead, rivers of blood flowing through the sandy topography of the arena.

The crowd goes wild, and virtually everyone starts chanting, "Rosegate! Rosegate!" Saygraam teleports away. Raknian looks pissed.


After the battle, they learn that tomorrow they will be fighting a team called "Pitchblade". They are three dwarven barbarians, DRUSFAN, DURK, and PHARBOL, with huge swords, ebony skin and crazy tattoos, from the far off land of Urak. But Ekaym reports something strange -- acting on a hunch, he'd checked out the registration files and he says he believes Pitchblade's documents were forged to add two NEW members after their original sponsorship.

It turns out that the two new members of Pitchblade are Republican agents. One of them is called RUBIA, the "Reaper Knight". She is mysterious, and the story is that that she was a "Chosen of Samhain", and her mission is to help accelerate the passage of souls to the Realm of the Dead. She wields a ridiculously big sword called "Death Penalty".

The other guy is HOBBES, known as the "Fire Mage" because he was born with the crazy ability to control fire at will. He had developed this ability such that he now surpassed any average evoker wizard.

Obviously this was Raknian's team. In addition to tampering with the froghemoth fight, he was now setting them up to fight with his inside agents.

So the next day, the Rosegate Company enters the arena for the next round. Pitchblade stands across the arena from them, looking cocky and geared up to fight. Rubia and Hobbes sparkle with various magic effects, and the dwarves all have strong barkskin and extra strength added.

Once again, Saygraam watches from the top of the highest flagpole, and Raknian watches with a sneer from the executive booth.

The gong! Hobbes meets the gaze of Vatex, smiles, and snaps his finger. "Vulcan Shock Ignition!" Vatex erupts in flames! He starts rolling around on the ground to try to put it out. Durk erupts into a rage and uses his flying potion to get to the middle of the arena, where he is met by Early, Dziga, and the shadow companion. They start hacking at each other.

Emeris uses his inherent shade power to teleport to a shadow in close range of the other enemies. He channels power from his ring and blasts the two dwarves, Rubia, and Hobbes with a Maximized Killing Shadows. Emeris curses when he sees everyone survived the attack, and Drusfan and Pharbol burst into rage mode and charge him with a leaping totem pounce attack! One of the dwarves gets lucky, breaking through the steel shadows and cutting his chest. Rubia aim at Emeris as he fights with the barbarians and calls, "Soulclasp Web!" With a wave of her arm, a black tangle of energy fires at the shade. He dodges too late, but fortunately its touch only glaces his shoulder. Nonetheless, it reduces his agility a bit. Hobbes attempts to hit Emeris with a Vulcan Shock Ignition but his natural spell resistance as a shade is too hard to penetrate, even for the powerful fire mage!

Vatex rushes up the side of the arena, putting a Hunter's Mercy spell on his rifle with the magic of the Grim One. He passes the combat in the center of the arena, where Early, Dziga, and the shadow companion are completely overwhelming Durk the barbarian. Early Rabid Bear Strikes hack rip his flesh, the shadow drains his strength, and Dziga's stabs him in the face five or six times and he dies.

Emeris fights off the two barbarians while Hobbes blasts him with beams of white-hot flame. Emeris, fortunately, is too quick, but he will not be able to hold off against these three attackers for too long. He unleashes another Killing Shadows attack that reduces Drusfan to a bloody mess in the sand and leaves Pharbol quite weak. But Hobbes keeps shooting fire blasts...

Early charges Rubia and Cryssaegrym clashes against Death Penalty with a shower of sparks. They exchange blows but then Rubia uses her Doom Strike attack. The apparition of a grim reaper with a scythe appears behind her as she attacks, mirroring the motion of her own attack. This dark power might have put Early down. But the warblade's senses expand through the Vajra and his Wall of Blades technique deflects the attack.

Vatex keeps moving towards the melee and sets his rifle sights on Hobbes. The Hunter's Mercy shot nearly blows the fire mage's arm clean off. The next two shots explode his head like a melon.

Early slashes Sheol across the face of Rubia. The warblade is a better warrior than her, and worse yet Dziga and the elf were closing in as well. She swings her sword, hitting Early and activating her Chronos Typhoon attack. A cone of distorted space-time blasts Early and Dziga. The rogue resists the unusual attack, but Early is overcome. He suddenly ages 50 years. He sees his wrinkly face in the mirror-like reflection on Sheol's blade. His body suddenly aches terribly, and clutching his weapons produces stabbing arthritic pain.

The ferocity of Early's attacks fade a bit as Dziga sneak attacks her. Unfortunately for him, her Reaper Plate seems to be especially resistant to his attempts to target vital organs and she fends him off. Shadow guy saps her strength away.

Emeris conjures up the Shadowgeist Reaver and starts methodically sucking out Pharbol's lifeforce. The brutal experience is so agonizing that Pharbol can do basically nothing to fight back as the spectral weapon passes through his flesh, ultimately breaking his soul down into pure shadowstuff and absorbing it into the shadowcaster.

Vatex throws down the rifle and goes into a dervish dance maneuver, spinning around Rubia's flank and landing two decisive blows in his back, killing her for good... but when her body hits the ground, a minor death emerges! The undead monster starts swinging its life-stealing scythe. Early, although he is basically geriatric now, is still connected to the Vajra, and still pissed off. Cryssaegrym surges with extra power when facing the undead foe. Early completes a Rabid Bear Strike maneuver, and the minor death explodes in a single powerful hit.

Once again, the crowd is in awe, not only of the the Rosegate Company's impressive level of power, but their brutal efficiency as well. "Rosegate! Rosegate! Rosegate!"


Early gets his youth restored with some costly healing magic.

Tomorrow the Rosegate Company will be fighting Auric's Warband, last year's champions. Auric is some kind of tactical fighter, Tirra is a bomb throwing rogue / master thief, and Khelben is a generalist wizard. They are fighting with their construct minions, the "Stoneworks" -- three stone golems.

The companions openly ridicule Auric and his team in front of as many people as possible. Auric is pissed and vows to embarrass them in the battle tomorrow.

During the night's festivities, it seems more and more people are starting to dig the Rosegate Company, or at least give them begrudging admiration. Some dancer named RENAYLA gets a somewhat drunk, celebrating Early into the sack that night and then tries to convince him that they should get married. It seems she has this dream of running off with a mighty adventurer and living happily ever after. Early lies and says "yeah sure after the tournament..."

The next morning, after Golem Lacrosse and Illusion Fights, the Rosegate Company begins walking up to the arena grounds for the final round of the Trial of Champions...

NEXT TIME: The Final Round! Is Auric's team actually any good? Will Raknian allow the Rosegate Company to win the tournament? Will Saygraam seek revenge?