Bastion

The Diplomats
Week 37

- “Slow and steady wins the race!”

As a new day dawns over the settlement, Westin, Tumdrum, and the rest of their companions prepare to travel north to the Kou Kingdom in an attempt to establish diplomatic ties at the behest of New Dawnsburg’s newest ruler, Baron Drusus. Clearly not an easy journey to travel via foot, they decide to travel via hoof. With mounts, outfitted with the most basic leather tack and gear, are collected from willing Ech’lun within the colony, the group – now with four equines, a bear, and a griffin – set off in high spirits towards Nakamaru Port.

For the majority of the day, they travel north, but as the day begins to wane, their direction slightly shifts in a northeastern direction. With the sea able to be glimpsed in the distance, nightfall eventually approaches, and Tanna, ever-vigilant, chooses to scout out and about the local area to see whether or not there may be possible dangers which need to be dealt with or altogether avoided. With trees and hills well-obscuring her actions, she comes to find there are little obvious threats. ‘Tis rare, after all, for there to be a peaceful night on the Storm Isles, and the party takes advantage of it; however, such peace is disturbed when a blood-sucking critters fly through. Thanks to the fire that was lit though, these infernal insects avoid the group completely.

As another day dawns, everyone is swift to eat a morning meal, collect their things, and journey onward. With little conversation passing between them all, they continue traveling northeast until Kaleth suggests to Tanna to scout the area prior to their approach to Nakamaru Port. Given what her retainer, Thal, said of the citizens of the Kou Kingdom, she believed it best for the group to find out what they were dealing with before they fully approached the wall which served as the kingdom’s, or rather Shogunate’s,primary defense. Tanna’s search of the area, however, does not go unnoticed. With Ech’lun slowly following her, Tanna’s stealthy and wiley ways allows her to readily mislead them before she returns to the party to recount what she encountered. Tumdrum suggests that, perhaps, it is best for the party to remain fully together to avoid Tanna coming under harm.

It’s only shortly afterward the group approaches the gate which blocks passage into Nakamaru Port. Giving a loud hail in greeting, Kaleth attempts to communicate to a guard that they need passage inside, but she, and thus the rest of the group, are told they need to travel further north before they can gain access. Perturbed a little by this encounter, Kaleth chooses not to aggressively pursue the matter with the guard and instead follow his advice – travel north. It’s clear though the road was likely closed, possibly due to the troubles occurring at Gungrin.

Realizing that they are being followed, the group continues traveling on until nightfall, preparing themselves for a possible upcoming battle with the Ech’lun that seemed to have been trailing Tanna earlier in the day. As night falls, it’s readily revealed the Ech’lun are not Ech’lun; rather, desperate werewolves seeking to feed their starving pack. But the group is prepared and at the ready, wasting no time to deal with the threat they now faced. With spells cast, swords drawn, and arrows sneakily shot, the werewolves slowly dropped one by one. As Kaleth herself deals a final blow to the Werewolf Alpha, instead of pulling her halberd from its abdomen as she so often did with the enemies they previously faced, she keeps it there and instead asks the werewolf three questions – questions which he is forced to truthfully answer before he is finally allowed to depart the world of the living.

Adam Westin and the others, surprised by the event, demand to know what happened to the werewolf and its clear Kaleth is elusive in her answers. Almost completely unwilling to speak further on the matter, Tumdrum and Adam converse between themselves and it is suggested they wait until morning before dismembering and burning the bodies of the werewolves.

Another morning comes and the werewolves corpses are properly disposed of before the traveling cohort venture onward. With a road finally coming into sight, they also realize they are not alone. A wagon, filled with collected junk and other from scavenging ventures, is being drawn by an older-aged man named Chouko. His, though poorly armored, guards, Goro and Etsuko, are with him and as they all converse with one another, with Kale actively translating, they decide to travel together to yet another gate leading into the Kou Kingdom.

It’s clear though, though Kaleth volunteered to serve as the colony’s primary diplomat, she is still inexperienced in handling foreigners. Poorly communicating, and even stuttering or talking too actively, Chouko comes to the rescue of the group and helps the entourage get into the Kingdom. Every foreign member of the party is given a passport – meant to record their comings and goings within the Kou Kingdom itself.

Venturing onward through the small Fort built at the gate, the group continue to speak to Chouko and they eventually decide it best to stop at the Fort’s local Inn, owned by Jiro. Kaleth’s attempts at booking room and board at the Inn come at a high cost and utterly livid at herself for her stupidity, the group spend the rest of the evening eating, drinking, gambling, and in Tumdrum’s case, actively entertaining! The lighthearted conversations though eventually turn to more serious matters and though it incites tension between everyone, the information acquired from Chouko himself, and the opinions of the others, prove highly insightful to Kaleth as to how to better handle their diplomatic affairs.

The question remains though… is it truly possible for the group to avoid what is going on in the Kou Kingdom? With Tumdrum’s shadows pointing him ever onward towards an unknown fate, no one can be certain.

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What the Thunder Said
Week 36

We start off doing some things around the settlement waiting for around a week for the Baron to arrive. The constant rain has finally relented. Tumdrum has a horrible, violent nightmare that keeps him from sleeping until he ups his dosage of sleepsweet. The group helps out around New Dawnsburg not wanting to leave or start anything big before the Baron arrives.

He and the other colony boats do finally arrive safely at the lake shore. It is the Sea Otter and four newer, barely damaged ships that make landfall. We all gather and help unload the ships as well as make a quick greeting with the Baron Drusus. First impressions were a bit awkward, but we realize he is working from incomplete knowledge of the events so far on the Storm Isles. We are notified that 4 of the main ships are soon to be going back to Choso though with a skeleton crew.

We later meet with the Baron and have a longer conversation. He seems to be a reasonable and fair man. He explains the awkward look to Tanna earlier and is also only slightly phased when introduced to a dragonborn. We give him a full run down of what we know of the island we are on. Starting with general info about the areas we know little of, then going into detail of the threats faced at the spot our wrecked ship first made landfall, and finishing with a thorough detailing of our current settlement and the area and threats around it. He knows we have saved the heir to the dwarven kingdom and that he still rests unconscious in the Temple and that a rescue party for him has been notified of his safety and current whereabouts. He asks us to consider taking leadership roles in the settlement and that we sleep on it to determine which role is best for ourselves as the fourth wave of colony ships left port expecting more of a solid foothold being set up here before landing. He understands the hardships and challenges faced and is glad at least some have survived, and we aren’t starting completely from scratch.

We awake and meet with the Baron again. We pick our roles and he seems satisfied with our choices having not known us long but trusting that Westin would mention if something was a horrible idea or not. He gladly accepts the help as the man seems to have gotten little sleep his first night on this land. Macdaman tells the group that he cannot travel with them on any more adventures and must stay in the camp to help here. The Baron requests that we go on a diplomatic mission to the Kou Kingdom north of us. He notes that the slivers and the men of the bear are threats, but that the slivers are beyond our current capabilities and the men of the bear have not closed in on us yet. Food supply is the current highest priority. We have to find some to fill in the gap between our current supplies and when a new harvest can come in if planted now on top of our first winter here looming. We are unsure if we can grow food to ripeness before a possible winter snap, but hopeful we can produce at least something.

Millie the Valkyrian agrees to visit the Temple of Alandra and see the artwork of the Valkyrian race and possibly commune with Alandra. She admires the murals and the statues but seems distant. She asks why is this place so alone? Why is there no city around it? Tumdrum replies after asking Alandra that this was a barracks, a graveyard, and an outpost to fight against the creatures of Torbane (that came from the big hole just South of here). Millie seems shocked but tries to hide her feelings and asks to leave. And we all do, and I thank her for giving it a try. Kaleth is very interested in this place as though she knows of Valkyrian, there are no places like this with their culture on display where she is from.

We end the session getting a sending sent to Velm and the reply states that the rescue party has just exited Gungrin and is on the way. Macdaman can handle relations with them if they arrive while we are out to the Kou Kingdom as it appears they will make it to camp before we return. We prepare for our trip north to the Kou Kingdom hoping to get a good night’s sleep as we leave in the morning.

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To Serve
Week 35

- “A servant is a master in disguise.”

With a much-anticipated message – a Sending – sent by MacDaman, the message received in response renewed hope within the weary companions. And yet, though it renewed hope, it too sparked newfound worries. The second wave of colonists from Choso, now led by one of Choso’s very own nobility, Baron Drusus, was expected to arrive soon. How soon was soon though? And where, precisely, would they make landfall? All these worries, and more, likely plague the group, but though they do, the group continues onward in their attempt to persevere against the dangers of the Storm Isles.

In spite of being heavily batted about like ragdolls by the Vestige of Salt, the group attempts to rest and awaken early the next morning within the settlement. While many of the group have a restful slumber, the dwarf, Tumdrum, does not. Still, despite this, Tumdrum awakens and seeks to visit the Thane of Gungrin and his faithful retainers, Marauk and Gimdin. Upon encountering the retainers, it’s learned the Thane has yet to awaken, but instead of continuing the conversation further, Tumdrum leaves and seeks out Deedee and MacDaman. Given the Thane’s dire state, perhaps there is safety to be found in numbers.

Tumdrum, Deedee, and MacDaman return to speak to the Thane’s retainers and it’s revealed the Thane’s parents were assassinated. With the seriousness of the situation weighing heavily on Marauk and Gimdin, they believe it best for contact those still loyal to the Thane’s bloodline. With a Sending sent, it’s learned a rescue party was already mounted to rescue the Thane, but it will still take the rescue party some time until they reach New Dawnsburg.

Shortly afterward, Westin and others have an impromptu meeting with Admiral Otta and it’s learned he intends to travel to where the fleet of ships will make landfall. Westin, it seems, will be temporarily in charge of the colony itself, and it will likely take Otta a week and a half until he returns with the second wave of colonists. All the same, MacDaman immediately seeks to visit Alandra’s temple afterward to greet and commune with the Goddess of Life. Greeted warmly, she patiently listens. Entreated to aid Tumdrum, and others, in trying to heal the wounds inflicted upon their being, Alandra regretfully says she cannot. These are not physical wounds; rather, mental wounds and mental wounds need time, and rest, to heal.

Over the next few days, it’s seen the Ech’lun are tending to the trees outside of the temple and for every day, the trees are getting bigger and bigger. They, and others, are slowly but surely seeking to restore the temple and though there is some tension between the Colonists and the Ech’lun, they continue to keep a truce between themselves. Many Gnolls were put to the pike by the Ech’lun, and it’s clear they’ve been hard at work trying to protect the settlement. With Adam Westin overseeing the colony while Admiral Otta is away, it comes as a surprise and horror to quite a few when he initiates a grave life-changing experience – the removal of his left hand. Vowing henceforth to dedicate his life to Salt, the Sea at Storm, as a Paladin, only time will tell if his sacrifice proved worthy in soothing Salt’s vengeance. ‘Twas only a short time afterward when he visited the lake below the nearby Aether Pyramid to greet his newfound steed and companion, Mackh. A great bear in shape and form, Mackh informs Adam he was a Cleric of Salt in his past life, and a little knowledge is revealed into Salt’s teachings. With this newfound knowledge, what could it mean for Adam’s future?

These events however were not the only events which transpired. Deedee communed with nature itself in the hopes to find, and gather, food as well as learn a little more about the land. Tumdrum, and his blessed steed Amanus, made an excursion into Gungrin in an attempt to find more food and supplies for the colony too. Met by Drow, it seems Gungrin is already being invaded by outside parties bent on raiding it for its goods and secrets after Thassuc’s death. Kaleth’s retainers, Thal, Joel, and Millie, arrive via boat travel to the nearby lake. With Kale’s newfound companions in her shadow, it comes with little surprise they all come face-to-face with Remulus, the ‘Guardian of the Lake’ himself. The interaction proved tense, but conflict is avoided between the parties; still, Kaleth, though deceptive, made mention of a Son of Baelhal visiting the settlement. Deceptive or not, it may very well be an inevitable experience the settlement will have to one day face.

With the game session concluding with Tumdrum speaking to Thal and Kaleth to learn a little more about the Storm Isles, and the Kingdoms present, one has to wonder just WHO will be brave enough to tell Tanna Eaolithe she may, in coming days, greet a dragon…

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New Dawnsburg

Week 34

Whilst still within the belly of the lake pyramid known as the Aether Ruin, our party is exhausted and heavily wounded, having staved off an attack by four beings, Aether Echoes. Kaleth is turning out to be a very powerful, if enigmatic ally. She tells us she has been able to bring down part of the Storm Wall through the lightning spells of the Aether Ruin. We have only a moment to contemplate what our next move should be, however. It may have looked like we killed the Echoes, but appearing on the heels of their departure is a being mightier than they….. the Chronomancer. Even as we try to come to grips with this new threat, two more Echoes appear to flank us. The Chronomancer creates a ‘Wall of Force’ which effectively imprisons Macdaman and Kaleth within a circular wall. They are neither able to break through it or hear through it. The group remaining outside have a hard time tracking the Chronomancer, for he is using his mastery over our time perception by making it difficult to track his physical presence.

In desperation — because we see we are no match for his power — some in our party attempt to communicate. Some tell him we wish to speak, not fight. Others put their weapons aside in an act of faith. The Chronomancer begins to speak, the effect of his magic allowing the individuals in our group to hear and communicate in their own native languages.

The Chronomancer tells us he wants us to leave, and he wants us to take the artifact with us. He says it is damaging to them, that is is something created by a god called Iouna. He will allow us to leave unharmed if we cause no further violence and put away our weapons. He is questioned further by others in our party, by which we gain some incredible information.

The Chronomancer states he can defend this place from all — even the gods — except for Baelhal the Dragon. He tells us that the god Haurom is chasing us, that Haurom is a ‘shattered’ god, that Haurom now has different aspects… which include Salt and Alorum (sp?). Many of the gods are in this shattered state. When asked how the gods became shattered, the Chronomancer replies with a short tale of a great war among the divine beings. It is due to this that the shattering took place. Others among this new pantheon include: Korrick (war, honor), Omin (civil, justice), Meloron (the wild), Irena (death).

When we tell him we were told to bring the artifact back to the pyramid ruin by the Spirit of the Lake, Remus (sp?), he expresses disdain. He states that this creature, ‘Abdeth’ is not who he claims, that he has been trying to get into the ruins and is not trustworthy.

The Chronomancer states that it is time for us to leave, and bids us pass through a portal again. When we do, we find we have been set to the grassy plain a half days’ journey south of Alandra’s temple ruins, we decide against resting and head north. Macdaman is able to provide some healing to our battered group. It is still raining heavily, and just before we move out, Macdaman is able to launch another Sending to the Choso ships, telling them of the path to take through the calm portion of the Storm Wall.

Rest and peace are an elusive prize, however, for our group encounters four powerful elementals, who immediately attack. Though we try bunching to shore our defense, the elementals — Water, Air, Fire, Earth — punch through our line and cause heavy injuries. We are able to defeat Earth and Water, but Air and Fire coalesce into the Vestige of Salt. His attack is sudden and brutal, sending a tidal wave of divine power. When the wave passes, all but two in our group are mortally wounded and dying. Tanna gives Macdaman her last healing potion, and he surges to the god, intent on sacrificing himself for the survival of the others. He feels the fault is his through the destruction of the statue dedicated to Salt back in the first few days we landed on the Storm Isles.

In a private communication between Salt and Macdaman, Salt demands a sacrifice to appease him of his wrath against our group. He then disappears, leaving us to contemplate the meaning behind this.

We finally return to Alandra’s Temple and the remains of our colony, New Dawnsburg. It is apparent that, in our absence, a schism may have developed between our colonists and the Ech’lun, for their camps are clearly divided.

The Sending Macdaman sent earlier is answered. The Choso ships will follow his directions but they need to land soon as they are nearly out of rations. They also warn of the presence of an important passenger who will become part of our colony — the Baron Drusus. This does not bode well, for the Baron is known to some as a prideful, arrogant man.

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Their Legacy

Week 33

Still in the Observatory of the dwarf mountain city of Gungrin, our party is recovering from the explosive trap set off by the dying dwarf artificer, Thassuc. Tanna is only saved from certain death due to the skills and magic of the groups cleric/healer, Macdaman. Members of the group search the ruins in vain for anything of value — only some bits of gems and Jaderite remain to be claimed, as does the original large crystal of Jaderite that our group initially brought to Thassuc.

Before we begin departure, we want to explore the immediate area rooms in case the morally-questionable dwarf artificer has any secrets to reveal. Throwing caution to the wind due in part to his continued mental illness, Tumdrum accidentally trips a trap on the door to Thassuc’s private chambers, setting off a lightning curse. He is injured, though not critically, and gruffly steps aside after berating everyone for their slowness. Just as Tanna and DeeDee enter, they become entranced by another magical device…. a large mirror hanging on the wall. It is another God’s Mirror, ensorcelling those who look on it. The elf scout seems especially affected, perhaps due to previous influence, and it takes Macdaman entering tied to a rope and the strength of DeeDee pulling out Tanna before all are safe. Recovering himself, Tumdrum again enters, tethered as the others were but with the addition of a blindfold so he does not become bespelled. His dwarven strength helps him to pull the mirror down.

The room is searched. Valuable books on gunpowder manufacture and war-forged creation are found and confiscated. Tumdrum takes some time to read, and comes on some hints of Thassuc’s journeys to the Aether ruins. Kaleth, the new dragon-born companion to the group, flips through some of the books, but when she expresses a desire to read what Tumdrum has in his hands, he politely declines. She is disturbed by this but without a common language between her and the others, communication becomes more and more of a problem.

Deciding to avoid a long rest and just push on with exiting Gungrin, the group briefly explores another room, discovering it contains another teleportation portal. Wary now, some in the group conjecture it may lead to planes with undesirable inhabitants, so they abandon the place, locking the door to the portal chamber securely.
Taking the elevator back to the previous portal level, some in the group are eager for the new exploration, while others are simply weary and want to leave. Tumdrum, who has been reading of this portal that leads to the lake pyramid, instructs the others, giving them the incantation to activate the portal. They each enter and are sucked away through the portal’s path. Many see flashes of other planes, other realms impossible to comprehend.
They each arrive in a large square chamber without doors. It is believed this is inside the pyramid. A center stone platform dominates, with large multicolored gems and runes in a precise arrangements on its surface.

The group is learning that Kaleth is a powerful magic-user in her own right. She begins to understand the arrangement before her, and invokes a language-understanding spell. She is able to speak and understand dwarven, a language understood by nearly everyone in the group. Kaleth approaches the center shrine and takes a place in a seemingly bare circle that was perhaps once occupied by a stone (?). Just as this is happening, Four figures make an appearance in the room on each of the four portals. They are ‘Aether Echos’, magical beings, and bent on attacking either with aggression or defense. There is little time to try to inquire which. Whilst the rest of the group tries to defeat the beings, Kaleth sees visions from her position.

The four Echos are killed by our group but not without delivering significant damage to our health. It is uncertain whether our efforts to return the stolen artifact are successful or not, for we must wait for the interpretation provided by our newest member.

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Future Fragments
Week 32

The scouting party begins this day with a grave realization that their work in Gungrin is yet unfinished. Thassuc still holds the stolen artifact from the pyramid, and though a sending was delivered to the Way of White, the High Church of Sol, no definitive reply has yet been received from the Church as to the state of the incoming ships of Colonists.

Knowing that the time of their arrival is nigh, or worse, that they had already arrived and been scattered to the depths of the sea for the drowned to find, the scouting party carefully plans their next few days. Raziel, Richtofen, and Roma are sent to escort the Paladins of Anitar and their Thayne to the safest place nearby, their colony. The Paladin, along with his steed, and the Burglar see them to the safety of the river, before doubling-back to the foot of the mountain. The healer sets himself to making a warm meal to drive the cold out of the other scouts bones and boost morale. His medical training tells him that there is little medicine in the world that treats madness, and only in a cursory sense- such wounds are beyond his mastery. Beyond the mortal wounds, he found diseases, curses, and maledictions- the harsh world always finds a new way to taunt his efforts.

But with a meal that isn’t from the iron rations and another night’s sleep out from beneath the stone of Gungrin, the Paladin finds his hand to be a little more steady once more, and the Warrior is not so quick to bloodlust. There is a worry, but for now, everyone can pretend that all is well.

Marching from the village and back towards the bridge that leads into Gungrin, the scouts react to sounds of battle, rushing forward to find another curiosity of the Storm Isles. The slivers that amass on the bridge they are well versed with, but not the oddity that is the warrior. Covered in scales and less human than even the Drow or Ech’lun that have been found upon the Isles. A warrior that summons her weapon from the fire, wears the cold like a cloak, and rebukes every attack with a chilling riposte. Between the efforts of the Noble and the Scouts, the Slivers are picked apart- their masses razed with fire, their strongest broken under combined fire.

The scouts, not learned in the tongues of the Storm Isles, can only vaguely gesture towards Gungrin, before discerning that the warrior intends to enter the Dwarven city. Another weapon to array against the masses is not easily turned down. With conviction, the Scouts plus one, make their way up to the Observatory, and find a line of modified Warforged awaiting them.

Thassuc is called from the depths of his workshop, and is pleased to see most of the faces of the party returning, though does note that they look to be a bit more on edge- he respects the deal they’d struck, though does not trust them to follow him into his workshop, and asks that they remain for a day while he makes what last use he can get out of the stolen artifact. The party is agreeable, though the paladin clearly becomes restless. The party’s thief, never one to leave her fate up to the hope that a madman will play nice, she cloaks herself with the ring of invisibility and pockets a vial of alchemist’s fire from the paladin.

The thief waited for a path through the line of Warforged, careful not to make any noise to alert the Warforged to the presence of a sixth member in the party that had come up the elevator. She found the Artificer mid-surgery, looked upon the horrifying scene as he dug about in his own chest, using the help of one of his Warforged to carve and place the beginnings of a Jadrite array within his still-living body. With no remorse, she filled his chest cavity with liquid fire, plunged her hand and dagger down into the heat- stabbing for the heart. She found a lung, but leveraging her surprise, being pulled from her invisibility, she stabbed the wheezing man again, almost certain she he’d delivered the lethal blow- she fled.

The workshop descended into the chaos of another battle, with the Warforged immediately spouting flame and wielding over-sized weapons. The scouts had seen plenty of warforged perish at their side, had slain a handful in their first few hours inside Gungrin, they had no qualms with destroying more of them- yet more that would never see their awakening.

Thassuc returned, his chest marginally healed, gripped with a mad rage. and attempted to assassinate the thief in a similar manner that she’d tried upon him, striking out with a poisoned shortblade and firing upon her with the pistol. Before the mad Artificer could finish his work, the Paladin put Thassuc down with fire bolt hailing from across the room, rocking the observatory with a concussive, ear-ringing explosion as the deadman’s switch was triggered.

Last is the door of death. The final resort. Nothing can hurt us after we are dead, or so we have been told.

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Prey instinct
Welcoming the rain.

Week 31

Our adventure begins with the scouts (and the jackass) making it through the southern door, entering a room of pure darkness. The advanced scouting gave them an idea of what to was to come, but no one expected the onslaught that this room would bring.

The Paladins of Anitar decide to take the Thayne to higher ground, choosing the elevated landing around the parimeter of the room. Unfortunately, the stone door that they came through did not hold for long with the pounding from the brutes behind them. Within seconds, the scouts were surrounded and something seemed to be pushing the Behir towards them from deep within the pit.

The Slivers, once again proving to be a dangerous foe when their numbers grow, quickly put our heroes to the test. The Brutes with their pure strength are stopped momentarily by the Royal Guards, but after mere seconds, they are overcome and the guards fall. Tanna, while up on the top level doing what she does best, was surprised by a flying brute hovering over her as he began to swing with wildly his talons. Swing after swing landed, knocking Tanna unconscious. After many rounds of combat, the scouts finally clear their way to the door and make it through. Nearly losing Tanna in the process. But with the healing talents of Macdaman and her quick speed, she makes it through. But the fight wasn't over.

Once they were through this door, the arrived in a hallway. Some feeling as though they would never escape this hell. The scouts begin to move slowly through the dog-legged hallway and are suddenly surprised as 3 monsters jump from the rubble in front of them. The stench and uneasy feeling emitting from their bodies. The Scouts decide to take a heroic retreat and run for the door to the north. Tanna, with her excellent "treasure hunting" skills, gets to work on the door, nearly feeling the displeasure of a necrotic spray trap. Once through the door the scouts are shocked at what they see.

In the next room, their eyes set upon a massive room of graves. Standing at the center is a figure. Later they learn that this figures name is Panacea. Strange, quiet, almost uncomforting figure standing before the party. Macdaman spends a few moments discussing why he/she stands there and guards this graveyard while the rest of the scouts work on the door to the north, hoping this will lead to their exit. And with luck, they find the elevator they've been seeking. After a long ride, they reach the top. Making a B-line for the door, they finally welcome the feel of the cold rain on their faces. Smelling fresh air after what seemed like forever. Quickly a plan to make it to the village to the southwest is devised and the party takes up settlement inside a building. All but Tanna who is in no hurry to be locked inside somewhere again and sleeps in a tree. Tanna and Macdaman once again are haunted with terrible dreams. So Much so that Tanna is visited by Aralgrout in the night.

Macdaman has now begun working on his Sending message to the Choso Empire. Westin seems to have come out of his rage and sadism. Tumdrum even seems to be a little better, though they all seem quite stressed and are in no hurry to rush back into the asylum that is Gungrin. This is the diary of the Choso Empire Scouts – 3rd wave – Sar, 21st Dravago 2801 RB

Lieutenant Adam Westin, III

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Flight of the Griffin
breaking through the Noble Level

Week 30

During the long rest our party desperately needs, there is some discussion on what the next move should be. Try to battle through again? Search for another exit? Tanna suggests allowing her to scout through the dwarf nobility level for a viable escape route, and while some of the others are agreeable, Tumdrum expresses doubts.

Instead, he casts the Find Steed spell, and his faithful companion and familiar, Amanus, is transformed into Tumdrum’s “steed”, in the form of a horse-sized flying griffin. The smaller-sized Amanus has traded dexterity and quickness of his former self to greater strength and power of his larger form. Tumdrum is awed by this transformation, and for himself, Amanus seems very pleased with his new incarnation.

Tumdrum has a lengthy discussion with Bolrim, the lead guardian paladin for the unconscious dwarf prince, the Thayne, trying to gain more information that can lead to a better outcome for our group. Tumdrum first asks Bolrim if there is another Bag of Holding he could acquire. Bolrim claims there might be more, but they’d be in the upper reaches of the mountain near the storage areas.

Macdaman asks Bolrim about acquiring more diamonds, and lest the dwarf think our group are merely treasure-hunters or thieves, he explains that diamonds are used in life-saving spells and Bolrim seems a bit easier with the explanation. But he does not have any good news for Macdaman; any diamonds, he explains, would be in noble dwellings, especially the jewelry shops, crafting areas, trading outlets, and that some of the officials may have stolen them as the level was overrun.

Tumdrum questions Bolrim further on our escape route possibilities. Bolrim explains that a south exit leads through what is called the ‘WarQuarters’, an area set aside for soldier housing and training. He says one level up are working mines, probably now infested with slivers. There is, however, an outpost shaft, used to ship goods directly for sale, and this would lead directly to the surface and the outside.

Macdaman intercedes, explaining to Bolrim that before we can leave Gungrin, we need to go back to Thassuc’s level in the Observatory in order to trade the crystals we have gained for the stolen artifact belonging to the Lake Pyramid. But Bolrim is extremely disgusted with the mention of Thassuc’s name and warns our group against any dealings with morally-questionable artificer. He states he will have no dealings with Thassuc, instead politely asking for a map that would lead back to our settlement on the outside. Macdaman is agreeable, saying it is right and proper that the Thayne be returned “to his rightful place,” nearly spilling the news that the dwarven King and the Thayne’s father may be dead. Macdaman expresses his gratitude and good wishes to Bolrim and stating he hopes the dwarves of Coalbrund and our people will remain friends.

Tumdrum decides it would be best if Amanus does the scouting, and asks Bolrim for the best route. There is some discussion again about the way to the outside. Tumdrum seems especially curious about getting to the Underdark, the deep passage that leads between Gungrin and Coalbrund, but Bolrim again stresses that the best way out is through the WarQuarters.

Tumdrum casts Invisibility over Amanus and the griffin takes off. While his is not visible, the beating of his wings is not silent and begins to draw attention from the enemy slivers. Tumdrum sends out a fireball as a distraction but for the time being, slivers leave Amanus alone. He stays for a time at the top of the 60ft ceiling to the giant cavern, but again proceeds south.

Amanus comes upon a set of doors on the south wall, and on landing, is able to press through. Only Tumdrum can see this, being able to see through Amanus’s eyes, but the rest of the group cannot. It is much as Bolrim described, this passage through the WarQuarter. He comes upon a sizable sand area, arranged like a small arena. This is apparently the training grounds for the soldiers. A ‘creature’ comes forth from the sands, seemingly controlled by telepathic slivers also in the grounds. Feeling the danger of the place, Amanus returns back through the noble level to the rest of our group. When the rest of the group hears this description, one of the paladins guarding the Thayne says that he’s heard of this ‘serpent of the deep’. Tumdrum tries to ride Amanus around our refuge in the Throne Room, as a test to see if he could travel this way, but it’s apparent this will take some time and practice.

Our group equips ourselves for the journey again through the noble level, dispersing healing potions among our party. A plan is decided by Macdaman, Tumdrum and Westin - go straight through the noble dwellings to the door on the south. We are to avoid fighting, even to the point of leaving some behind. The Thayne is to be protected at all costs as repayment to Coalbrund for having saved our colony with life-saving supplies.

The fighting is brutal, especially as we pass the abandoned elevator shafts. Several brute slivers appear, along with other slivers. We barely make it to the southern doors with our lives. During the dash to freedom, Bolrim sacrifices himself to allow his companions to escape with the Thayne. The only one of the War-Forged left with us now is Roma. We reach the doors and bar them from attacks from behind.

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Storm Isles: Ambushed
Ambushed by Slivers in Gungrin, continued

Week 29

We start off continuing the manic retreat back to the safety that lies just beyond the throne room. Our stalwart warriors are flustered, desperately trying to carve their way through these slivers as more and more appear. They hope beyond hope that no more flying ones assault them on this day.

Behind the others, the slowest of them, Tumdrum, comes to face the grim reality of the situation; he can’t outrun these things and will soon be surrounded. Having no idea how he will get back up, he makes a hazardous move, feather-falling down to the grates below over the lava pit. Having seen one sliver fall down and through the grates, he hopes the other slivers remember that pain and do not risk coming down after him. Two turns later, he is surrounded by slivers and no path is open as different chunks of the grates have been broken through open to the lava below. Roma grabs the rope thrown by Tumdrum and helps him out. Macdaman casts his Spirit Guardians and begins to eat away at these slivers, leaving many dead around him. This and his healing allow Roma and Tumdrum to make their way back to the rest of the group.

Meanwhile, closer to the Throne room door, Tanna has stayed outside on a rooftop slinging mighty arrows helping the raging Deedee and Westin carve through some big slivers. This is how most of the night is spent with the slivers dispersing only as everyone finds a way inside the Throne room doors. They do not press in where their number advantage is negated by the bottleneck of the doors. They know we must come out sometime, and the big area of the noble landing is very well suited for them to take advantage of heavily outnumbering our heroes.

We all make it to the Thayne’s quarters behind the Throne room. Raziel identifies some of the items we found, and we try to figure out how to best distribute them. We take a long rest having gained enough experience downing so many slivers that we discover new abilities during our rest. That is where we ended the night.

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Meeting the Thayne, at last...

Week 28

Meeting the Thayne

As the doors to the vault slid open, the party beheld a welcome sight: survivors!

Larger and apparently more powerful Warforged than the party had yet seen guarded the entrance, as a figure who turned out to be the leader of the surviving Paladins of Anitar challenged the party in a loud and commanding voice, “Halt! Who goes there?!”

Tumdrum, the Champion of the Sun Goddess, stepped up to the challenge. He convinced the group of paladins that the party had been sent by the Head of the Order of Anitar from Coalbrun, the dwarven capital, to rescue the Thayne, if still he lived. The party discovered the Thayne still alive, but catatonic and unresponsive. Macdaman the Healer was unable to help the Thayne, and further conversation revealed that all methods available to Macdaman had already been tried by the desperate paladins who guarded him.

The party’s successful offer to convince the paladins that they could all effect an escape from Gungrin together was almost derailed when a Warforged discovered Tanna’s attempt to steal one of the jaderite crystals from the hoard of gems and coin in the vault where the paladins had retreated with the comatose Thayne, but Tumdrum’s masterful diplomacy defused the situation. The paladins were shown the Godsmirror which Macdaman speculated may have been the cause of the Thayne’s condition.

The party was told of another exit from this level of the underground city, to the west of the throne room…a private elevator used by the highest nobility of Gungrin which exited directly on the ground level. Roma was given directions on how to locate the elevator and the party left the paladins with food and liquid sustenance and left the throne room to scout the route to the elevator and clear it of slivers so the helpless Thayne could be transported to it.

Before leaving the throne room, the party took what they could carry, about 5,000 coins each, of the treasure pile the Construct Dragon, Rhenium, had amassed. The party found gruesome remnants of the subject kobolds who had driven the party into the vault complex after the death of Rhenium, and speculated the slivers had attacked en masse and wiped out the kobolds.

The party exited the throne room and proceeded west, following Roma’s lead, until they came to the passage leading west to the elevator they sought. There were only a few slivers, who curiously ran away when they sighted the party. The party found the passage had been blocked with tons of stone rubble, and as they stood discussing alternatives, were attacked by two waves of slivers. After dispatching the slivers, more came…and more and more… until it became obvious the party had been led into ambush by the increasingly cunning slivers, who revealed themselves to be a hive intelligence of frightening cunning and cleverness.

At the end of their power, and bleeding from many wounds, the party broke for the throne room, retreating for their lives….

In the chaotic melee, Raziel rescued Tanna from being surrounded and slain by a large contingent of slivers with his Dimension Door spell, and Lieutenant Westin showed that he had begun to succumb to the mental assaults of the sliver queen by displaying an uncontrollable bloodlust that led to his attacking party members each time he slew a sliver. The party must escape Gungrin soon, or be devoured.

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