Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mask’s Assam and the Lord of the Black Guardsmen

  • Characters: Bixtbie, Dak, Cromwell, Forkbeard, Jebeddo, Rog, Sentalial, V.L., X-Requinn, Zaytheon
  • NPCs: Uljary Blackshore, Armunestor the Mouth of Mask, Zedrick Neely, Councilman Dimlock
  • Synopsis: As representatives of the City of Assam, the horsemen lead by Captain Uljary Blackshore present to the adventurers Armunestor, the Mouth of Mask. The ethereal appearance of the man is astonishing, but Assam’s welcoming committee praises the group for passing the four tests of Mask. With Assam now a theocracy under the direction and guidance of Mask, all citizens are followers of the god. Those that were expelled and failed to vacate the city were sundered during the tests. Some of the group questions the methods, but the calm demeanor of the horsemen lead straight into negotiations. Zedrick Neely, exiled former leader of the Night Masks of Westgate, appears before the group summoning an exotic mansion to serve as a comfortable site to begin negotiations. Jebeddo, wizard class of the Year of the Gauntlet, represents the Army of Nature’s Wrath, and asks the Dark Lancers to join the war against the Black Legion. Zedrick is well aware of the war, serving on the Circle of Holundi as well as knowing the intimate details of Westgate herself. The Mouth of Mask speaks of the common enemy and agrees to join the war, working in conjunction with the attack against the forces of Mystenaculis. The Dark Lancers will fight against the Black Legion and retake the fallen Westgate, restoring Zedrick Neely to his command of the Night Masks. The plan unfolds; in three days time the army of Cormyr will reach the western front. Simultaneously the Dark Lancers will attack from the south and the Army of Nature’s Wrath will attack from the east. But in order for the coordinated effort to succeed Mystenaculis’ second-in-command, the Lord of the Black Guardsmen, must be defeated. The group is to travel to the fallen war mage College of the Fire Hawks where spectral forces are being dispatched by the Lord himself. Zedrick reveals that the Black Bard Mystenaculis is preparing a host entity for the lost god Myrkul, former god of the dead who seeks to regain the power. The group agrees to destroy the Lord of the Black Guardsmen. During the down time, Dak, Zaytheon and X-Requinn receive gifts from Zedrick to aid them in their scope. On the third day Zedrick teleports the group outside of the war college. Bixtbie scouts ahead and surmises that their target is in the largest building at the rear of the compound as spectral warriors are being dispatched in constant fashion. X-Requinn stone shapes an entrance into the building triggering a ward. Moving inside, the party is surrounded by eight stone golems. A lone figure standing the far corner is encased by a wall of force and begins directing the golems against the party before disappearing. Against the far wall is a mirror portal that appears to house the attacker. Moving through the magic portal, the group attacks the necromancer as he has erected another wall of force against the back wall of the new chamber. The maneuver works brilliantly as the stone golems can only move through the portal one at a time, creating a bottle-neck effect. As the rear warriors keep the golems at bay, Forkbeard, Bixtbie, Jebeddo and Dak attack the necromancer. The gambit is a massive success as one stone golem after another is destroyed. Jebeddo opens a dimensional door to access the Lord of the Black Guardsmen while Forkbeard squeezes through the crawlspace at the top of the wall. Relishing the opportunity to use his well-earned armor, Dak vaporizes into a cloud of gas appearing above the necromancer. The fighter’s attack is unrelenting as the spiked chain breaks again and again on the wizard’s body. Surrounded but not out-matched, the Lord releases diminishing spell after debilitating spell before his grand finale. Arced lighting bounces back and forth between his attackers pulling their life force apart in dramatic fashion. With their last breath and concentrated effort, the wizard falls. Immediately the wall of force vanishes and the stone golems cease the attack. Beneath the cowl is Dimlock, former Councilman of New Kelvin and one of Forkbeard’s and Cromwell’s old enemies. Before the dust can settle, the door to the chamber bursts open as a skeletal dragon rears. Cromwell calls on his god and the group is teleported to Threshold with their task achieved.
  • Encounters: eight stone golems, Lord of the Black Guardsmen Dimlock
  • Achievements: created a temporary alliance with the Dark Lancers of Assam, defeated the Lord of the Black Guardsmen Dimlock, and secured the Crown of the Stone Golem.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Calming of Carowyn Manor

  • Characters: Alrak, Belton Stoutshield, Crulamin, Domollo Blue
  • NPCs: Lord Carowyn
  • Synopsis: After searching what remains of Jocylina, the group discovers a hand-scrawled letter addressed to one Rolth. Piecing the text of blood together, the letter requests Rolth’s return after having taken several of her ‘guests’ from the party, including a minstrel. The words also incriminate the gray maidens, followers of Eliosa Arabasi, in the introduction and spread of the Blood Veil. With the bloodied axe, Barl and Zaos leave Carowyn Manor with the damning letter with intents on delivering it to the priest of Torm Eshtani Doctry. With only have of the manor explored, the group continues the room-to-room search after Domollo hears flitterings of movement in an adjacent room. Two zombies are preparing a garnished human for the main course in the kitchen. The sight of the depravity is sickening as the group harshly deals with the would-be chefs. Exploring the exterior of the ground floor, the group moves through the lavish and scenic back yard to the guest house. The winter wonderland is captivating in its peacefulness. That is until Crulamin spots the broken glass and unmistakable foot dragings of the zombies that fearfully exited the manor via the second story windows. Finding the guest house free of the undead, the group ventures to the cellar below, discovering a hidden crawl space that leads back to beneath the manor. A well-stocked wine cellar is also home to a locked room. Crulamin and Alrak blast the door to smithereens, which is more effective than Domollo’s efforts to gain entry. The adventurers find a cowering man who identifies himself as Lord Carowyn. Rambling about his missing wife Domollo calms him enough to drag out additional facts of the party gone horribly wrong. Lord Carowyn depicts the party as any normal gathering of the elite, until the crazed harlequin-dressed elf crashed it. The intruder began firing her crossbow into the guests. Evidently tainted with the Blood Veil, the wounded began succumbing rapidly to the effects of the disease. In the chaos he escaped to the cellar and locked himself in. Domollo assures that help is in route as their comrades have left with the evidence to the Temple of Torm. Lord Carowyn is instructed to remain in his niche until all remnants of Jocylina’s doing are extinguished. After securing the battered door as best as possible, the group returns to the second floor of the manor following the layout as described by the distraught head of the house. In the master bedroom they interrupt one zombie dressing another in a ruined gown. The description provided by Lord Carowyn matches one of the zombies; it is, or was, his wife. Belton looses an impressive array of electrical sparks, catching the two zombies. Alrak and Crulamin converge on the monsters delivering the killing blows. With the extermination of all uninvited guests the adventurers return to Lord Carowyn to give him the horrid news of his wife’s passing. They began extricating the man to bring to Eshtani as he is now a material witness of the crime that is the Blood Veil.
  • Encounters: two zombie chefs, Lord Carowyn, zombie debutante, zombie noble
  • Achievements: cleared the Carowyn Manor of undead, discovered incriminating evidence linking Jocylina to the Gray Maidens of Eliosa Arabasi, a member of the ruling merchant council, and secured the eye witness Lord Carowyn that Jocylina was spreading the Blood Veil disease.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mask’s Assault on Assam – The Last Nail

  • Characters: Bixtbie, Dak, Cromwell, Forkbeard, Jebeddo, Rog, Roywyn, Sentalial, V.L., Vexander, Wicasa, X-Requinn, Zaytheon
  • NPCs: Julbin Cometstrike, Uljary Blackshore, Gilpin, Assam heckler
  • Synopsis: Beneath to wall of force atop the coffin, Dak and Rog are worthless again their entrapment. Repeated poundings have yielded nothing. The coffin lid slams shut, crashing their spirits so much as a boot heel does a bug. But as their hope dwindles, Julbin’s visage and voice appear in their minds’ eye. The sage warns that the ruins on the Giant Plane that they discovered are birthing gates to other planes, planes that are violating the order of things. The spawning of gates is allowing extraplanar creatures unnatural access to the Material Plane and threaten the Dragon Coast. The unhallowed mist encroaching on their ankles starts to disperse as Julbin’s work stretches across miles of land. The sage’s efforts free the pair as Cromwell, Zaytheon and Bixtbie arrive. Cromwell guides the group to their destination, the coffin on the south side of Assam. The rendezvous is not glorious as the successive battles are taking their toll on the party. Catching their collective breath the final coffin is the site of the extraordinary and devious. Three ghoulish souls sit atop the interloping chamber deep in conversation. Mention of someone named Gilpin causing them angst is overheard, but not much else. Attempts to engage their conversation are fruitless until Roywyn presents herself causing the ghouls to take a greater interest in their audience. Butting his way into the conversation X-Requinn offers his service as a follower of Mystra and is greeted warmly by the spirits Goren, Gavin and Paul as their goddess Mask has often worked with Mystra for the benefit of all. The lies break across X-Requinn’s countenance, shattering his demeanor. The sea elf presents his symbol of Mystra, but the ghouls are ready for the attack. Combat explodes at the feet of the final coffin, but an unseen wail grows ever nearer as once again darkness envelops the group. From outside the effects of the black sphere, the group works against the hidden assailants, but only a rare strike finds its target. The ghosts are well protected and their spirits are buffed by the growing crescendo that is the shriek of the dead. Cromwell and Wicasa are the only ones to see the true threat as a hideous ghost screams a terrible curse across the fields of Assam. The ghouls cackle with glee as their Mistress of Mask has arrived. The impenetrable globe of darkness hides the attackers well as the adventurers work to dismantle the three ghouls to focus on the spectre. Piecing together a plan from the clues, Jebeddo takes Vexander and V.L. to the previous coffin to retrieve the black knight in hopes of perplexing the ghouls. The knight in ceramic armor can be turned into an ally. Cromwell forms steps from the air and works his way to greet the abomination with his Fist of Helm. The two trade blows but her attacks peal back Cromwell’s layers of charisma and he is forced to retreat or become undead himself. After several repeated attempts Roywyn vaporizes the darkness, exposing their enemies. The ghouls are finally destroyed as the party refocuses everything in its arsenal againt the Mistress of Mask. The collective effort is only just enough to destroy the shrieking spirit, but not before it emits a call of death that catches not only the field of battle, but the wall’s of Assam. The wave of doom washes over the city walls catching onlookers and soldiers alike. The effect is devastating as those commoners who were cheering on the adventurers are taken. Numerous bodies keel overtop the parapet crashing to the uneven ground below. Ultimately the death of Mask vanishes leaving the party gasping for life. Jebeddo, Vexander and Zaytheon arrive, bringing along the black knight now known as Gilpin. Without another word or omen, Gilpin drives his fists into the last remaining coffin, shattering it to pieces. An almost peaceful mood overtakes the knight as its shoulders slump. With his head turned towards the group, the body beneath the armor seems to crumble and the armor collapses in on itself. Falling to the group, the ceramic pieces shatter to tiny bits against the hard, rocky surface much to the dismay of the poorly armored Zaytheon. Cheers erupt from the survivors of the death wail. From the same gate that arrived earlier, the four horsewomen gallop towards the adventurers, accompanied by the heckler. Wicasa snarls at the man, but before words and blades exchange, the dismounting man parts his cloack to reveal the etching on his armor. He brandishes the symbol of the Dark Lancers.
  • Encounters: three ghouls, deathshrieker
  • Achievements: destroyed the Mistress of Mask, freed Gilpin the black knight, and destroyed each of the coffin gates surrounding Assam.

Mask’s Assault on Assam – The West Coffin

  • Characters: Forkbeard, Jebeddo, Roywyn, Sentalial, V.L, Vexander, Wicasa, X-Requinn
  • NPCs: Julbin Cometstrike, Assam heckler, Uljary Blackshore
  • Synopsis: Jebeddo appears in Threshold frantically searching for allies in their battle. The gnome’s name and honor are at stake, as he has yet to even begin negotiations with the City of Assam. The wayfinder finds his way to Julbin Cometstrike’s hut and drafts Vexander the cleric and the breathtaking Roywyn to his cause. Julbin also provides the means to aid the party by repelling the magic surrounding the coffins, as well as freeing Forkbeard from his petrified status. Stuffing the items into his pouches, Jebeddo grasps his new allies and teleports back to Assam. As the party’s resources continue to dwindle, Bixtbie, Cromwell and Zaytheon return to the coffin that has trapped Rog and Dak. Their sheer brutality will be needed to win this engagement. The rest of the party fly after the departed Sentalial, only to find him undecided in his approach to the coffin on the west side of the city. Standing atop of the landscape’s intruder is a knight in black ceramic armor. Whispered advice escapes the helmet as it repeats “Do not listen to her. If you do you will die.” The parlay is worthless as the herald continues spouting his warnings. As if plagued by singular, unrelenting, and impossible to kill gnat, Wicasa is hounded by the heckler atop the city wall. Accusations hurl from the safety of Assam. But luckily the words are drowned by the pending combat. Surrounded by his allies, Sentalial leads the group, pressing the attack. Whomever or whatever the herald is, or what woman he bellows about, he is at the wrong place at the wrong time. Blows are delivered but not returned, but the melee triggers the lid of the coffin. Immediately surrounding the frontline warriors are undead creatures summoned from some barren wasteland of dust and dried-up seas. A swirling mist of gray envelops the adventurers, and Sentalial and V.L. quickly find themselves in a bad way. Jebeddo’s reinforcements arrive to prevent the murder as the gnome wizard dispels the mist. Even more undead join the fray, a pair of embalmed corpses and a walker of graves coated in spider webs. Vexander presents his holy symbol and sends two of the attackers away in fear. Sentalial and V.L. work quickly delivering righteous blow after righteous blow, sending chunks of salt and debris showering the ground. The exchange of attacks is epic, as the slams against Sentalial seem to suck his breath from his lungs. And the paladins belief is greater than his enemies; they are smited and Sentalial’s sword sends the salted adversary screaming to the soil. Only a fraction of time expires before the salted mounds reform into their former bodies and begin attacking anew. X-Requinn grabs his decanter of endless water to test his theory. True the the hypothesis, the water douses the creatures forming puddles that seep quickly into the disturbed ground surrounding the unholy coffins. Weary of previous attempts, Jebeddo cautiously investigates the coffin finding that permanent spells are in place making the chamber unhallowed with Mask’s authority. But more disturbing is the gate effect still in place, somehow allowing for interplanar travel. Despite their accumulated knowledge the group can only derive that the source is from one of the outerplanes. The group recuperates, quickly assessing their resources. Before they march onto the last coffin, the outlandish heckler once again scolds Wicasa, blaiming the secretive adventurer for the cities woes. In a burst of rage, Wicasa Wakan shouts back, “Will you not fight for your own city, will you not?!?” As a retort builds, the man is cut off by Uljary Blackshore, one of the city’s commanders and one of the four horsewomen that initially greated the adventurers. Seemingly the heckling stops, but not before Sentalial rides off to the last of Mask’s coffins. Moving after their ally, the group simulataneously floats to the ground. The warriors immediately feel weaker and less mobile. The spells put in place before the battles have been exhausted. Now they must face their last, and greatest encounter with but their swords, wits, and what little spells remain.
  • Encounters: three salt mummies, two mummies, webbed zombie
  • Achievements: defeated the attackers from the west coffin, and admonished the cowardly troops behind the walls of Assam