Thursday, August 29, 2013

EPISODE 77: Cloudy with a Chance of Death

Augustar 27-Septembar 5, YE 754

Over the next few days, the Rosegate Company hides out at the Temple of Calethon. The Temple offers some protection, but they know it is just a matter of time before Raknian locates them.

First they follow-up on the Kyuss cult connection, discovering a former associate of the cult hanging out in the Warrens. The former cultist explains that he was a member of a cult called the Black Triad, which was dedicated to uniting the essence of three dead evil gods and combining them into a new Ultra Evil God. Unfortunately for them, some members -- specifically the cleric Bozal and the infernal barrister Saygraam -- were merely using the Black Triad to further their own goals related to the return of Kyuss the Wormgod.

Bozal and Saygraam made a deal with Raknian to operate unmolested beneath the city, in exchange for substantial wealth and magic items to aid in the Republican coup. Their ultimate goal was summoning the ulgurstata from the Wormcrawl Fissure itself, and unleashing it upon the Trial of Champions. The cultist explains that had the ulgurstata, an important servant of the Worm that Walks, was intended to feed upon a "champion", which would bring about the "Third Omen of Kyuss." The "terrorist attack" screwed up that whole scheme.

This is all quite scandalous information. The Rosegate Company meets with Ekaym, their contact in the secret Chisel group, and shares this testimony. Ekaym tells them the Chisel will attempt to corroborate this information and use it to challenge the legitimacy of Raknian in the eyes of Elan's citizenry. A few days later, Chisel agents later inform them that the Tairon Times will publish a major expose on the Raknian government called by legendary reporter Gareth Porter himself. They must merely wait for publication, then it seems the ideal time to strike at Raknian will manifest.

In the meantime, the group hunts down Seanus to find out if the halfling knows who killed the wyvern when the Rosegate House was attacked. He doesn't know, and they let him go.

Their investigations lead to a division of the city's monster bylaw enforcement, which is Team 4C of the Monster Control Force. Apparently this team is the one's who stabbed the wyvern to the death when the angry mob burned down the Rosegate House. The companions attack Team 4C while they are at a tavern celebrating one of their members' birthdays, slaughter them quickly, then flee. 

Then Vatex decides he wants to kill a reporter who wrote a negative story about the Rosegate Company after they were framed for the "terrorist attack" at the arena. It turns out to be a young reporter named Elaine Zan. In a morally reprehensible home invasion, the elf beats the woman's father senseless then threatens to murder her. As she cries and begs for her life, his conscience gets the better of his actions and he spares her. But he still punches her in the face for reasons no one is able to understand.

One day while killing time waiting for the Tairon Times story, the group spots that guy who looks like Helmut Itlstein again. They decide to follow him around once again. But this time he goes to a different job and a different apartment. There is also a weird moment where he stops at a house in Midtown. He stares at it for a long time with an expression of vague recollection before moving.

Some digging reveals the house is owned by the family of Baron Edelbert, who actually lives up in Northern Vigoor somewhere. His family sometimes stay in this house when traveling to Elan for shopping and vacation. Sounds innocent enough, but something is fishy about that house.

That night, the Rosegate Company sneakily infiltrates the empty house. It is indeed uninhabited, but in the basement they find nine big storage tanks hooked up to variety of inoperable machines. The various technical manuals on the shelves seem to indicate the equipment is used for humanoid cloning. Could there be a bunch of Helmut Itlstein clones walking around, leading different lives? Why?

As the days pass the group is getting impatient about the Gareth Porter article. They are relieved when they receive a message from the Chisel. It asks them attend a secret meeting about a plan of action against the Republicans.

Unfortunately, this secret meeting ends up being a trap. In an abandoned warehouse in the Guilders District, they fight high-powered killers sent by Raknian: a human who channels earth magic from the lower planes, a tiefling force mage, a tiefling frost mage, and an aasimar storm mage. The battle is difficult but the Rosegate Company prevails.

Friday, August 23, 2013

EPISODE 76: Balacazar Enforcers

August 26-27

It doesn't take long for the Balacazar family's house clerics to to discover that Menon Balacazar's soul is missing from the lifestream and he cannot be resurrected.

Within a few hours, their magic reveals the identities of Menon's assassins: three members of the thought-to-be defunct Rosegate Company and their Killraven allies. They also learn that Menon's soul was absorbed by Emeris the shade.

With Menon Balacazar dead beyond hope of restoration -- at least for now -- Maystra Balacazar, Menon's beloved daughter, assumes leadership of the crime family.

What most people do not realize is that Maystra, despite projecting an outward appearance of disinterest in running the family's business, has secretly been yearning for her father to die so that she can be in charge. She actually has no interest in seeing Menon resurrected. She also does not want to become the target of assassins herself. Furthermore, she wishes to put some distance between the Balacazars and the Republican government.

She dispatches Hadrien Runihan, a vampire fighter-sorcerer from the Covenant of Blood, to offer a truce with the Rosegate Company. If they do make further attacks against her family, she will let bygones be bygones and will ensure an elaborate cover-up creates the appearance that Emeris was killed but Menon's soul was irrecoverable.

But Malkeen Balacazar, Maystra's brother, loves his father dearly and plots revenge. He knows nothing of his sister's plans to deceive the family for her own benefit. He gathers an attack squad consisting of two Balacazar black magi, and his father's former bodyguard, Azonia the half-fiend drow known fearfully as the "Carnage Princess." He also hires powerful outside contractors -- two Pactlords of the Quaan: the beholder Verehein, and the illithid warrior Sarthaun. Normally the Pactlords are allied with the Killravens, but Malkeen offers so many valuable magic items to the monstrous conclave that they cannot refuse the offer.

Hadrien Runihan shows up at the tobacco warehouse where the Rosegate Company is currently hiding out. He explains Maystra's position, and how she does not wants to be so closely tied with the "fanatics" in the Republican city government.

It all sounds pretty reasonable to Vatex, Dziga, and Emeris. By making this truce, it seems they remove the Balacazar family from their list of "enemies to be slaughtered" and this lets them focus on other foes.

Suddenly they hear screams of terror from the warehouse floor. Hadrien eagerly turns into mist and leaves to deliver the acceptance of the truce to Maystra and avoid the fighting. A column of arcane fire fills the back office and burns the companions. Black mages in the alley are attacking the building with magic, while Verehein, ridden by Sarthaun, have blasted through the main entrance and are killing everyone in sight with the beholder's eye rays.

Emeris teleports out to the alley to deal with the black mages, but finds himself assailed by Azonia devastating sword techniques. He unleashes destructive shadow blasts at his enemies but their combined magic and martial attacks drop him quickly. Emeris' bloodied body goes down, but quickly begins to renegerate as the enemies converge on the warehouse.

Vatex and Dziga find that they cannot attack the beholder directly because of its anti-magic field projected from its central eye. So they focus on the other enemies, hoping to get past them and circle around to flank the beholder and its mind flayer rider. Verehein uses his disintegration eye ray to blast holes in the walls, seeking more people to kill.

They are bombarded by ice beams, electricity webs, fire bursts, and force bursts from the black mages. Vatex and Dziga cut through the mages and focus on Azonia, whose skill makes her one of the most formidable combatants they've ever seen. But that is not enough, and the urban ranger and the rogue flank her and stab her. Vatex scores a critical hit and decapitates her with his vorpal blade.

Emeris' wounds heal sufficiently to get him back on his feet, and he teleports to the rooftop. From the higher vantage point, he starts blasting Sarthaun and Verehein with killing shadows. The Pactlords fire back, Sarthaun with his psionic mind blast, and Verehein with the full barrage of his eye rays. Emeris' powerful spell resistance blocks the rays, and his mental fortitude shields him from the mind blast.

As the shade exchanges firepower with the Pactlords, Vatex advances up the alley and Dziga moves through the warehouse. The beholder closes its central eye, allowing it to attack the advancing elf with his eye rays. Vatex dodges or resists many rays, but two nasty blasts get through and leave malign wounds of withered flesh. As Vatex approaches, Sarthaun stabs him with his huge spear. The despite his pain, the elf's blades dance and slash into the beholder. Now's his chance, when the anti-magic field is down. Dziga shadowjumps through the warehouse wall and emerges in flanking position behind the two aberrations. He stabs the beholder so hard.

Together, supported by Emeris' firepower from the rooftop, the beholder goes down in a disgusting mess of blasted and hacked-apart monster meat. Sarthaun dives off the crashing beholder and finds himself fighting the Rosegate Company alone.

Dziga and Vatex hack at him, and Emeris teleports down and hacks with the Shadowgeist Reaver to drain his energy. The spear-wielding warrior-illithid is capable but ultimately overwhelmed. It dies with a final curse, "damned humanoids!" Victory!

The elf and the rogue patch up their wounds, while the shade's renegeration fixes him up. It seems the timing for their agreement with Maystra was a little late to prevent the brother's attack. Hopefully that's fixed now.

They decide the next person who deserves their vengeance is Loris Raknian. He is the leader of the city council and the Republican movement's thuggish leader. He burned their house down, and made the city believe they were responsible for the huge explosion at the Trial of Champions that killed thousands. Raknian must die. But his government must also be toppled -- it is undesirable that Raknian should die only to be replaced with someone potentially worse.

They recalled how in their investigations during the Trial of Champions, they had learned of Raknian's association with Kyuss cultists. The secret organization "the Chisel" had been trying to find something that would delegitimize Raknian's government. It seemed wise to leverage the Kyuss cult connection for that purpose.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

EPISODE 75: The Assassination at Cloud Theater (UPDATED)

Augustar 5-26, YE 754

The Rosegate Company, the rescued prisoners, and the survivors of the REF make their way through the Underdark back to Elan, which takes about two weeks because of all the loot they are hauling back from the ruins of Ul-Drakkan. On the way back, they stop in the Underdark town of Blightstone and convert all their loot to liquid cash. All together, they claim 1.36 million gold coins.

Because they are still wanted fugitives, Emeris, Vatex, and Dziga must be careful moving around the city. Additionally, they have no house anymore and they will probably get flagged if they try to open a bank account to store their loot.

So they speak with Doraedian Mythlord, who owes them money for assaulting Ul-Drakkan anyway. Doraedian pays them, praising their epic feats of adventuring.

The leader of the Elanian elven community explains the Republican government is getting worse. Most of the City Council has been replaced by Raknian’s friends, and not a day goes by where a new ridiculous law is declared. Worse yet, all-out street war has broken out between the three main organized crime factions -- the Killraven Crime League, the Balacazars (who are allied with the Republican government), and Aggah-shan’s network.

Doraedian fears that although the government is currently focusing its efforts on “terrorists” and the “fat cats” in the Guilders District, the Republican administration will eventually target other easy-to-scapegoat groups, such as the elven community. The Rosegate Company tells him not to fear -- they plan to exact brutal vengeance against the Republicans for burning down their house and confiscating the money from their old bank accounts.

Doraedian lets them operate out of his the back office in the tobacco warehouse down at the Docks. They will store their loot and make strategic plans.


Vatex hits the streets, learning that the Killraven League is in dire straits. Some predict its imminent demise. The reason for this is that the Balacazars, who are the de facto operators of the Elan’s City Guard because of their partnership with Raknian, have started to take back all the territory and black markets which the Killravens had earlier secured for themselves. But that’s not all -- it appears Aggah-shan’s Mrathrach Machine is operational, and he has been hitting the Killravens while they are already under pressure.

So the Rosegate Company decides to extend an offer of allegiance to the Killravens and Aggah-shan, to see if they will work together with them against the Republicans.

Vatex exercises his network of contacts to arrange a meeting with Kevris Killraven herself. Eventually he meets Pianette, a Killraven rep in Riversgate District. She sets up a meeting with a troglodyte called “the Stink Man,” who serves as Kevris’ chief of staff. In a disgusting tavern that caters to troglodytes and lizardfolk, Vatex meets the Stink Man and arranges to meet at Kevris’ headquarters in two days.

Dziga and Emeris visit the White House, and speak with the proprietor Thurman Rees. They demand that he get Aggah-shan for them to speak with. Rees refuses, and tries to have them thrown out. Big mistake. Poor Rees ends up getting thrashed within inches of his life, and Emeris devours the soul of a couple guards. Rees concedes and leaves for a few hours, then returns. A minute later, Aggah-shan teleports to them.

Aggah-shan reveals that he has no interest in fighting against the Balacazars and the Republicans at the moment. He is merely attacking the Killravens because they are the weakest target at the moment. The best thing he will offer is a non-aggression pact between himself and the Killravens, in exchange for running all illegal activities in South Market, and all prostitution in Oldtown. But he also wants Kevris to stop funding Dr Feagus’ science, because it threatens his Mrathrach Machine.

With the offer from Aggah-shan, Dziga and Emeris meet with Vatex and await their meeting with the Killravens.


In a secret hideout in the Undercity, the Rosegate Company sits down with Kevris Killraven. She is an intimidating figure -- a night hag blackguard of incredible strength. Also at the meeting are some representatives from Kevris’ other allies -- a couple of beholders from the Pactlords of the Quaan; a blue-skinned man from the Sorn; and a human from the Shuul.

The non-aggression pact is brokered, even though the term regarding Dr Feagus is not accepted.

This diplomacy, as well as the common enemy shared by Kevris and the Rosegate Company,  makes them allies for now. But Kevris does not totally trust the companions yet. She fears they might be trying to infiltrate her organization on behalf of the Balacazars or the Republicans.


To prove their allegiance, Kevris tells them to assassinate Abenzio Porziar -- a Balacazar cousin who was put on the City Council to when Aoska of the White Tower resigned following the coup.

Dziga handles the assassination easily. At night, he sneaks through the alleys of Riversgate District and finds Abenzio’s penthouse. He climbs the wall, sneaks in through the window, and stabs the councilman to death while he cheerfully paints on a canvas. There are no witnesses.


The first stage of the plan against the Republican government is to punish their Balacazar allies. This also means they will probably have to tangle with the Circle of Blood, the faction of vampires allied with the Balacazars due to an mysterious pact.

Kevris reveals top-secret information that she possesses: Menon Balacazar’s grandson Dullin will be performing Sebastian del Ray’s latest opera masterpiece at Cloud Theater on Augustar 26. This in itself is unremarkable, as the boy is soprano prodigy and he performs frequently. What IS interesting is that Menon Balacazar himself is expected to attend the performance, along with Menon’s mother Maystra.

But that’s not all. This is such a major event that other important VIPs are supposed to be there -- including Medre Allaconda, leader of the Circle of Blood, and Loris Raknian himself.

Clearly this is a chance to assassinate some important adversaries.

The plan is for the three Rosegate Company members to join with Killraven agents Johnny C. Bad the rogue, Mordack the necromancer, and Richard Cheese the fighter. They will combine their forces to kill as many people as possible. But they decide Menon Balacazar will be the primary target.


Acquired intelligence reveals that the Balacazars and the Circle of Blood are in the balconies on the left side of the stage. Raknian is on the right.

The six-members of the joint assassination squad all get tickets so they can walk in. Dziga and Emeris take their seats and wait for the show to start.

Meanwhile, Vatex and the three Killraven agents head over to the stairs leading to the Balacazar balcony. The doorman says they are going in the wrong direction, their seats are elsewhere. Johnny C Bad panics and kills the doorman then runs up the stairs. “You fucking idiot!” says Vatex.

The Circle of Blood vampires spring into action, protecting Medre and Menon. Vatex and the three Killraven agents fight these vampires.

Dziga and Emeris shift through shadows from their seats on the floor up to the balcony. Menon’s bodyguard, the half-drow woman called “the Carnage Princess,” reacts too slowly as these high-level enemies appear. Dziga flanks Menon with his shadow companion and stabs him in the guts. A critical hit! Then Emeris stabs Menon with the Shadowgeist Reaver and consumes his soul.

Maystra and the Carnage Princess, and the two black mages with them, look on in shock as Menon’s soul is consumed, leaving no remains.

Maystra pulls out a bluish-green orb and hurls it at the ground below where it bursts, and a summoned Purple Worm appears. It snatches Dziga and starts to eat chew on him.

The black mages blast Emeris wth magic, but he resists their power. The Carnage Princess lunges at him, swords flashing in a fury. Some blood is spilled, but then the shade plane shifts into the Shadow Plane.

Vatex fights masterfully against the vampires, killing two rapidly. When he sees Menon has been defeated, he retreats from the theater. The three Killraven idiots follow him.

Dziga slashes at the worm while it chews on him, then he is swallowed. Splashing around amidst stomach acid and churning fleshy walls, he keeps hacking. He cuts his way out, leaving a series of internal injuries so bad the summoned worm dies.

Maystra throws another orb, generating another worm! Dziga shifts into shadows, making him functionally invisible. He too retreats from the theater.

Menon Balacazar has been assassinated. And because his soul has been absorbed by the Shadowgeist Reaver, he cannot be resurrected. So although they were unable to kill Raknian, Medre, and Maystra, they consider this a highly successful mission.

UPDATE: There is a strange encounter that was not previously described in the account of his episode. It was when Emeris and Dziga were talking back to the talks after visiting the White House, they encounter a guy who was a DEAD RINGER for Helmut Itlstein. So much so, they had to stop him and ask who he was. He claimed to just be some random guy with a lame job. He denied being Helmut Itlstein at all. Everyone has a doppleganger, they used to say. Vatex actually considered the possibility of using him to gain control of the Republican leadership... but that might be too complicated and difficult.)
Next time: Who is next on the Rosegate Company’s kill list?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

EPISODE 74: Queen of Lies, Part VI: Alvolenz’s Disaster! The Destruction of Ul-Drakkan

Augustar 5, YE 754

Outside the fortress, the few remaining human mercs and the liberated ragtag slave ‘army’, led by Jaren Thor, battle disorganized clusters of Vrama’s drow and bugbear troops.

The elves, led by Zaetra Stallinash, are being chased around the fungus fields by the chaositech hydra. They provide little help to the battle, other than keeping the hydra occupied. The hydra sometimes manages to grab an elf, chew him up, and spit him out as nothing more than a bloody mess. How long can they last?

Within the central tower of Ul-Drakkan itself, the Rosegate Company presses towards its goal: a showdown with the drow leader -- High Priestess of Gorgoth-lol, Alvolenz Vrama.


It appears that Savinian has died, killed by the chaos monster. Dziga attempts to disengage a series of traps and locks on one of the doors in the hallway where they were attacked by the chaos monster. Vatex and Emeris keep watch by the doorway. Dziga has trouble with these complex contraptions.

Two squads of drow males rush up the stairs, led by two elite males and a gadgeteer decked out in elaborate power armor with a nasty looking chainsaw-like gadget as a weapon. “Protect the High Priestess!!!” they yell as they pile into the corridor.

Dziga drops one of them with an arrow as they advance. Emeris quickly absorbs the soul of another. Vatex effortlessly hacks through the others, leaving the lieutentants and the gadgeteer splattered with gore.

Dziga tumbles through the crowd and flips over the gadgeteer, who awkwardly shifts trying to face him. Dziga hits repeatedly, going through the weak points in the impressive power armor. The gadgeteer swings the chainsaw but Dziga easily dodges. Another pair of deadly strikes puts down that foe. The rogue and the elf then slay the two lieutenants swiftly.

Dziga then opens the door, and they discover a treasure vault containing several huge adamantine chests. These chests contain the bulk of the fortresses’ wealth in coins, as well as various magic items. One chest also contains an artifact they are seeking from the Calethon Temple -- the Arrows of Righteousness!

With this, the trio continues onward. Next, they face Alvolenz’s elite assassins. All six of them are endowed with greater invisibility as a blessing from their goddess, and wield arcane magic as well as dual thinblades.

All three can sense the distortion in the air that suggests invisible creatures in the room. Vatex activates the See Invisibility function on his chaositech visor. He points out their position for the others -- Dziga uses a dispel scroll, revealing two; Emeris casts Shadows Fade on the others, revealing two more. Using wraithstrike, invisibility, displacement, and vampiric strikes, the assassins are tricky are are grindy opponents. Ultimately the elite drow outmatched. They quickly heal up, and head up to Alvolenz’s chamber.


It is like a massive penthouse suite that takes up the entire top floor of the central tower. There is a massive glass table covered in crystal accessories. It is held up by a lumpy gray humanoid shaped thing, that is actually a clay golem.

The High Priestess welcomes them, believing they represent nothing more than a test of her faith to Gorgoth-lol. She is confident in her power. Having heard the battle below, she empowered herself with no fewer than a dozen defensive spells. Her power-up suite includes haste, energy protection, divine power, shield of faith, stoneskin, and more!

Alvolenz is not alone. With her are her two most trusted protectors: Myr the Venomhearted and Zarafay Darkur. These two female drow, wearing no armor and carrying no weapons, have fiendish features, like horns, yellow-eyes, and scaly patches on their skin. These two who share special connections to the power of the Abyssal realms. They are rare mortals who serve as conduits to the Lower Planes.

Dziga disappears into shadow and begins rushing towards Zarafay. Arcane power flares around Myr and intense heat flashes around the group, boiling their blood, but they resist having their brains baked. Zarafay hits Vatex with a fleshshiver spell, but the elf resists and begins to rush at Myr. Emeris draws upon shadow power and attempts to dismantle Alvolenz’s power-up suite. Nearly half of her spells are deactivated -- a huge benefit in this battle!

In response, Alvolenz reactivates one of those defensive spells... and ALSO casts a chain lightning spell at the shade and the moon elf! Electricity jolts them. This reveals Alvolenz’s greatest power: she is somehow able to cast both a divine spell and an arcane spell at the same time!

Dziga continues moving through shadows. Vatex gets hit by a bolt of black negative energy blasted from Myr’s hands. Nearly a third of his lifeforce is destroyed! Zarafay, unable to see Dziga, continues advancing, scanning the room, trying to spot the rogue before he gets sneak attacked to death. Unable to spot him, he instead conjures up a swirling mass of black tentacles underneath Vatex, which grapple the weakened elf.

Emeris teleports towards the center of the room, getting close to launch another shadow mystery at Alvolenz. He positions himself by the big glass table -- the clay golem suddenly stands up, tossing the glass table aside with with a crash of crystal dinnerware. Emeris braces for the attack, but instead the clay golem rips open its own chest, unleashing a swarm of fiendish spiders called an arachnemass! The swarm surrounds Emeris, delivering thousands of burning bites. Mustering his concentration, he ignores the swarm and conjures a curtain of shadow to trap Alvolenz.

Alvolenz is no stranger to shadow magic, and correctly identifies this mystery. She uses divine magic to establish elemental resistance to cold, and simply walks through it with no damage. She then casts a wicked bolt of orange and black energy at Emeris -- a baleful polymorph spell that will deal with this troublesome shadowcaster. Emeris’ spell resistance blocks the attack. Alvolenz stares in disbelief! How can these foes be so powerful? Has the fickle, devious Gorgoth-lol abandoned her? No... it can’t be! she thinks. She has come too far to be stopped now! She will prevail!

Vatex, despite being weakened by negative energy, fights his way clear of the black tentacles. Myr and Zarafay continue blasting him with dark magic. Zarafay walks right by the hidden Dziga, who bursts from shadows behind the fiendish drow. With his shadow companion flanking, he uses Gozu Vrow and Asura stab for vital points. Zarafay howls and blood spills.

Vatex explodes into action when he gets into melee with Myr. The Sword of Aqaa screams to shed chaotic blood. Myr would have died then, but Vatex’s ability to fight was badly affected by the enervation bolt. Dark power swirls around Myr’s fist, and she attempts to kill him with a slay living spell. Miraculously, Vatex’s displacement cloak shifts him at the perfect moment.

Myr is forced to backpedal as the elf’s twin swords strike again and again. She uses her dark gaze power and it is resisted. She splashes him with demonic arcane acid which burns flesh holes in his face but still he presses forward. She opens her mouth and black gas spills out, sapping his lifeforce further. He is reduced to merely half his normal level of strength. If not for his heroism potion consumed earlier, he’d be even worse. But that will not stop him!

Emeris retreats from the arachnemass, conjuring a line of blackfire behind him. The mindless swarm surges through the freezing flames, and it sheds millions of dead tiny fiend-spiders. Still it comes at him.

Alvolenz attacks the group with divine fire and arcane lightning. Dziga and his shadow alternately strike Zarafay, and the fiendish drow knows her time is short. She makes a desperate gamble, attempting a death spell against Dziga... but he resists and steps inside the drow’s defenses. Gozu Vrow plunges into her chest and she dies.

Vatex unleashes the fucking fury of a pissed off elf! Blood sprays as his blades strike home again and again. Myr goes down. He hits her a few more times for good measure.

Emeris bolsters his power with shadow magic, and hits the arachnemass with a shadow laser to destroy it.

Now there is only Alvolenz. Despite her fear that her time is up, she is defiant to the end!

The three companions close in on her from all sides. She hurls fireballs and lightning bolts at Dziga but the rogue simply dodges them entirely. She blasts a cone of cold energy at Vatex but he simply accepts the hit and closes in. She tries to slow their advance with magic but they resist.

Emeris hits her with an umbral blast, slowing her. She cannot flee. She can only fight now.

Dziga gets into melee first. Asura stabs into Alvolenz’s abdomen, and the vicious dagger in turn makes Dziga suffer for his attack. She retaliates with a Harm spell and Dziga nearly goes down. She skillfully pulls off her second spell -- nothing more than a magic missile. Even so, it is -- embarrassingly enough -- sufficient to drop Dziga into unconsciousness.

Emeris and Vatex assault the High Priestess. The Shadowgeist Reaver strikes and drains her diminishing lifeforce. A final blow is struck by Vatex with the Sword of Aqaa that decapitates her dramatically. VICTORY!!!


They force feed Dziga a potion and he gets up.

Searching the massive chamber, the Rosegate Company discovers a tortured elf slave named Kisandir. They also discover a mini-portal that goes to a creepy demiplanar abode.

Within this abode is a zaug, a lesser Galchutt entity. Dziga cannot even look at the hideous thing without puking all over the place. It asks Dziga what is his name. When he refuses to answer, it becomes threatening so he complies, trying to avoid a confrontation. He says his name. It says, “No -- what is your OTHER name?”

Screw these mind games! they think. “Don’t know what you’re talking about, dude,” Dziga tells it.

The zaug replies, “So then... you will die!!!”

They are forced to battle against it. Vatex collapses, puking everywhere when he sees the thing. Its horrid appearance is too unbearable. Only Emeris’ great willpower allows him to look upon it without absolute horror.

The zaug fights with chaos magic and acidic bile that spews from its open guts. It gets its strength totally raped by shadow and Shadowgeist Reaver. Level drain causes it to succumb to the daze effect of the Reaver. As it is stunlocked, Dziga’s resists further fits of heaving, and despite being deeply shaken by its horrific appearance, he rushes up and stabs it to death.


Emeris takes the corpse of Alvolenz and tosses it out the window. When spreads quickly among the Vrama drow that their leader is dead. Everyone either begins fleeing into the Underdark, some taking a chance to loot stuff before they do. The human mercs and the slave army get free hacks on fleeing drow and bugbears.

The Rosegate Company regroups with their forces and destroys the chaositech hydra.

They then proceed to systematically start clearing out the rest of the fortress. The only ones who remain are the priestesses in the Gorgoth-lol Temple. They submit to be executed. They say the Spider Queen has spoken to them, and their purpose has been fulfilled, and She is pleased. So they are happy to die. Their words are somewhat haunting however... how could the Spider Queen be PLEASED with this mess? Oh well.

Theron Thelonia is found alive in the temple, which means all the prisoners from the surface have been recovered. They also find the Challice of Reeds and the SIlver Circlet, meaning they have successfully recovered the Temple of Calethon’s artifacts.

In a hidden chaositech labratory, the companions recover Shilukar’s prized item -- the Godspike. They also find 40 chaos storage cubes, which are used to create and recharge chaositech items. They keep five of these to sell or keep for later, and use the remaining 35 to set up what are basically demolition charges in the base of Ul-Drakkan’s central tower. After thoroughly greyhawking the fortress, the surface forces leave. When the chaos storage cubes are detonated, it causes the central tower to collapse -- which in turn causes a chain reaction that causes the entire cavern to collapse. Ul-Drakkan is utterly destroyed.

The Rosegate Company has so greatly fucked up House Vrama that it can never again be made whole...

...and yet they leave several powerful enemies in their wake, who will vow revenge. This includes: the twin drow doctors, Trivon and Thalestris Llaron; the drow vampire Zachaen and his elite squad; Varchi Vrama, head of Vrama’s gadgeteer division; and, worst of all, Vrama’s greatest warrior, Tzzird Nedru’od. Surely they will seek revenge!

But for now they don’t have to worry about that. Instead, they can haul their massive amount of loot back to town and consider what to do next.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

EPISODE 73: Queen of Lies, Part V: Drow Crushers

August 5, 754 YE


Dziga the shadowdancing rogue, Emeris the shadowcasting shade, and Vatex the dancing slashing urban ranger elf assault the guard post at the bridge leading from Tower I to Tower III.

The guards and their lieutenant are brutally slaughtered. Across teh huge stone span to Tower III, they can see ranks of drow lining up to protect the gate, but apparently waiting for something.

Then Dr Trivon Llaron, a drow expert in the field of hormonal therapy, steps through the ranks with two particularly big bugbears at his side. Dr Trivon says that he has biologically engineered a special rage hormone that causes the bugbears to become insanely powerful during their barbarian rages! He says he will prove the effectiveness of the hormone by crushing these surface attackers with his bugbears. Then House Vrama will put his hormone into mass production and create an army of super-bugbear barbarians. And he will become the greatest drow doctor...ever!

As the bugbears get ready to charge across the bridge, Emeris throws up shadow barriers in their way. Dr Trivon spazzes out, saying he is ruining the test! He orders guards to find some wizards who can dispel the barriers. The only wizards immediately available are unable to overcome Emeris’ shadow magic. The doctor, bugbears, and guards fall back... but Emeris goes invisible, teleports across the bridge, and nukes the guard post with a maximized blast of killing shadows! He blows away a couple of driders, a ballista crew, a cluster of guards, and injures the doctor and one of his barbarians. Emeris teleports back.

After the barriers go down, the battle really gets crazy. The Rosegate Company faces hordes of drow troops on the bridge, clerical and sorcerous driders, and deadly ninja squads. But that pales against the challenge they face when the bugbear barbarians come back, fully healed and ready to fight.

As the bugbears fighrt Dziga and Vatex, they begin to rage. Their blows become devastating and their reslience to damage becomes truly incredible. Dziga is forced to use the Deathstrike Bracers to even make them flinch. Vatex unleashes the most powerful attack sequences he can muster. The bugbears wear only leather armor, but their flesh is like stone.

Emeris’ aid would be beneficial, but emerging behind the group from Tower I is a drow gadgeteer and an entourage of Gorgoth-lol’s freedom paladins and he must face them. The gadgeteer first attempts to kill Emeris quickly with his Wand Gattler, which fires five lightning bolt ones on a single discharge. Emeris’ mighty spell resistance as a shade leaves him completely unscathed. As the crusaders attack him, the gadgeteer uses a different device which fires glob of burning plasma.  

Dziga and Vatex are battered and bloody, but they manage to take down the bugbear barbarians. Dr Trivon can’t believe it! He retreats into Tower III, vowing that they haven’t seen the last of him.

Emeris absorbs chaos crusader souls with the Shadowgeist Reaver, then goes after the gadgeteer who hits him a couple of times with plasma blasts. But it is not long before his soul too feeds the shadowgeist reaver.


The group falls back to heal and decide what to do. They hide when they hear someone coming. It’s an illithid coming down the stairs. They jump out of hiding and it pleads for its life, saying its just a visitor from a faraway illthid city and it just wants to flee.

They let the mind flayer go,  but not without surrendering some information. They learn the following:

> There is a drow ninja dojo in Tower III.
> There is a temple of Gorgoth-lol in the basement of Tower I.
> The leader of Ul-Drakkan and House Vrama is Alvolenz. The illithid is afraid of her power. Some say she is a half-demon, or a succubus in disguise. There is even the rumor that Alvolenz is a ZAUG, which is a low level Galchutt entity. Her chamber is at the top of Tower I. In any case, she is believed to be super-powerful. She uses both arcane AND divine magic.
> Ul-Drakkan was abandoned only a few years ago, and House Vrama in shambles. But Alvolenz reinvigorated the House, took back the fortress, and has overseen great improvement in the House’s finances.  
> Alvolenz has been visited by a mysterious masked illthid called “The Architech”. The nature of those visits is unknown. Nor is much known about the ostensibly unaffiliated Architech, except even other mind flayers are afraid of it.

They decide that although it would be fun to hunt down Dr Trivon and kill him in Tower III, it would be best to try and attack Alvolenz. They figure she is probably at the top of Tower I, so they head there.

They head up one level, and Dziga disables a series of traps. They find the chamber of a weird dark elf shadowcaster called Minilir, whose chamber is lined with shelves full of weird scuptures and figurines. For Dziga, some of these sculptures evoke the weird statue in the Rat God Temple, and the weird star-headed thing that manifested from his dreams.

Minilir seems to want no direct confrontation, but he doesn’t help them either. He reveals his is Alvolenz’s councilor. He denies the claim that she is a demon or a zaug, and finds those rumors amusing. He says if they try to fight her, they will die.

Dziga asks about the star-headed thing, and Minilir says they are a race of beings called “tyranthraxi” or “soul riders”  that can attach to other people’s souls. They have mastered the ability to travel not only through space, but through time as well. Not much is known about them.

They leave Minilir and trigger a trap in an adjacent corridor that causes a chaos spawn called a blorgoth to attack them. The blorgoth attacks with blasts of raw chaos power. It seems to distort reality around it, making it difficult to injure. Dziga and Vatex weaken it with a flurry of attacks, then Emeris attempts to absorb its soul.

OUCH! The Shadowgeist Reaver absorbs the ‘soul’ or whatever the chaos spawn possesses. Emeris’ great mind resists the mental trauma, but his body is affected right down at the cellular level -- the power of chaos MUTATES HIM! But, arguably, it ends up being the best mutation you can get -- a mutation that makes him more resistant to mutation. Score!

NEXT TIME: The showdown with Alvolenz and her guardians! But is there another power behind House Vrama's rise? Maybe. Will Ul-Drakkan and House Vrama be toppled for good?

EPISODE 72: Queen of Lies, Part IV: The Storming of the Drow Fortress

August 5, 754 YE


The remaining human mercenaries bind their wounds, then find the key to the slave pens after searching the fallen dark elves. Jaren Thor leads his men in their raid on the slave pens, fighting off a ferocious ogress with garish makeup and a belt full of torture implements, and a few more drow guards. One human merc is put down by drow sleeping poison on a crossbow bolt, the other has his head smashed by the ogress before she is cut down.

Among the prisoners is Raelan Teranith, Kistrae Neverwind, and Cam Jaystone -- three shrine servants captured from the Temple of Calethon in the drow surface raid. The cleric Theron Thelonia however is NOT among them. The other prisoners report the drow took him to the fortress yesterday, surely for some foul purpose.

Jaren is able to convince the prisoners to join the attack on the fortress -- slave rebellion! All in all they are joined by 12 human slaves, 9 elves, 3 dwarves, a halfling, a locathah (who doesn’t seem to mix with the other slaves) and even six dark elves from other Houses. They equip themselves with weapons and armor from the cleared out barracks outside the slave pens.

This group hurries to join the elves attack on the fortress, not realizing that the elf attack has encountered a serious setback...


While the human mercs carry out their mission at the slaves pens, Zaetra Stallinash leads the elves into the fungus fields on the way to the fortress. There are virtually no soldiers protecting the fungus farmers, and the elves slaughter the drow civilians with no remorse. About 45 civilians, including males, females, and even a few children are killed. The drow are completely unprepared for this attack. The small groups of soldiers they encounter are forced to retreat back to the fortress otherwise be slaughtered by the sizable elf force.

One drow lieutenant has his squad make a few hit and run attacks on the surface elves. Zaetra prepares an effective counter attack and shoots down the drow and the lieutenant retreats. Three elves are sent to pursue him and kill him. Unfortunately, they are never heard from again. The lieutenant systematically takes them down in the thick fungus forest, then makes a wide circle to get back to base.

Trumpets of Alarm start sounding from fortress. Zaetra’s elves shoot down a few more civilians and soldier squads. As the fortress reaches a higher state of alert, the elves come under fire from the huge ballistae on the fortress are forced to pull back until the humans arrive. However, they are still able to continue picking off small groups of guards and civilians.

Meanwhile, the Rosegate Company and the drow rogue Savinian move around the periphery of the cavern housing Ul-Drakkan towards the Stables and the teleportation circle. Dziga’s shadow scouts ahead, and is chased by a couple of bugbears who think it’s a ghost or something. The other guards seem to ignore the issue.

With this distraction provided by the ‘ghost’, the company is easily able to sneak into the stables past the bugbear barracks. The shadow finds the teleportation circle, and getting there takes the group into the path of a few drow stablehands and bugbear guards who are quickly, quietly dispatched.

As they approach the teleport circle, they encounter the drow Beastmaster and his two chaos crusader guards. The crusaders use their special techniques provided by Gorgoth-lol, and the Beastmaster is able to stab key nerve intersections which leave the victim substantially weakened! But the Rosegate Company defeats these foes and enters the teleporter.

Alarms begins to sound at the fortress, indicating the elf attack is proceeding as planned. Now the attack on the fortress REALLY begins.

It doesn’t take long for the Rosegate Company’s attack to start spreading chaos within the fortress, which hampers the drow’s ability to respond to the elves, who continue butchering any drow they see.

Eventually, Vrama’s security specialists get the “Elf Eater” fired up and sent out to deal with the elf problem. The Elf Eater is a horrible chaosomaton -- a chaositech construct meant to mimic a living creature. In this case, a six-headed hydra!!!

The hydra is big and slow, however the elves soon find themselves utterly helpless against it. Their weapons can barely crack its armor! Worse yet, when they do get lucky enough to find a weak spot, it heals almost instantly! Zaetra gets a critical hit with a grenade and it doesn’t even slow down the monster.

After taking heavy losses against the chaosomaton, the elves are forced to flee, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse in the thick forests of fungus... How long before they are devoured?

Dziga, Emeris, Vatex and Savinian are teleported into one of the top levels of the central tower of Ul-Drakkan. They storm through a nearby drug parlor and kill the intoxicated drow there who have not even roused to the alarms. They attack a guard post and kill the troops there. Dziga merges with shadow and scouts the level below, seeing another guard post at the bridge connecting to Tower III being fortified.

Before that can be much considered, a group of four drow with shaved heads, baggy pants, and crazy tattoos rush upstairs into the drug parlor, attacking Emeris and Vatex! They are hardcore drow monks! Dziga sneaks up behind them and joins the battle, which is fierce. The monks fight with mystical techniques like hadukens and punches that cause force explosions. The heroes take a good beating but dish it out five times as bad and kill their foes.

With a brief respite, the group heals in the drug parlor then storms the guard post below.