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Mage Battle II
Session 2: To Iyallatol!
Setting sail to the mysteriously-appeared island on Captain Lallia's ship, Myth, Turtle, and Sinestra train with Vonn, Lallia's first mate. Or rather, they cause enough chaos and confusion with their magic that Vonn admits they don't need his help.

Upon arrival, Myth unearths a fragment of a garment, that he is able to identify by the stitches in the hem come from several centuries ago, appropriate time frame for Iyallatol's disappearance. And indeed, once they begin exploring the island, aside from the multitude of dead sea creatures that one would expect from a previously-sunken land mass suddenly and rapidly rising, and the slight angle the island is floating at, it quickly becomes apparent that this is indeed Iyallatol.

They find an old inn building and settle in for the evening, intending to explore a bit further the next day. However, during the last watch, as dawn begins to break, Sinestra hears a far-off noise and awakens the others. As they approach the building that once was a royal palace, one of its pillars breaks off and nearly crushes them. It was pushed over by a beefy-looking Orc, who shouts a battle cry that summons several other orcs to attack the party.

While Turtle and Sinestra rather handily dispatch the orcs (minus one that ran away), the beefy Orc that pushed the pillar over slow-claps and grins at them, tossing what is probably Vandoo's Diamond into the air to prove he has it, then escapes using a captured Avion, and an obscuring fog prevents the party from pursuit.

The trio is forced to report the good-news-bad-news back to Isik Goldwort; when they show him the symbol painted on the beefy Orc's breastplate, his face drops and he leaves them for a while. When he returns, he confesses that it was never he himself who hired them, and he leads them to their true employer, a wizened monk who introduces himself as Endrin...

Session: Session #2: To Iyallatol! - Sunday, Nov 24 2019 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
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Tags: GM , Level Up , Recap , Summary
Finishing Temple of Sekhmet, on to the Sightless Sphinx
We entered a one-story building that smelled of rancid oil. The scattered goods inside seemed to be about fifty years abandoned. There was a ladder to the roof, and a trapdoor in the floor. Amestri defused the trap on the trapdoor. Below, there was a big room with more old crates and ruined jars and a well.
A (Huge earth elemental) attacked from out of the wall! It fought for a while, then escaped through the walls. The goods in the room appeared to be at least 100 years old, not really preserved by the cool air from a well.
A bigger chamber lay beyond, with a dais at the far end. On it was a statue of a lion-headed woman warrior-- Sekhmet, patroness of fire, healing, and war. Beneath that was an altar, with a symbol: 7 crossed arrows. Here, we were attacked by a stone-skinned woman, who turned out to be a (shaitan genie). She killed Novid-- recovered by Breath of Life-- and shoved Amestri into the stone of a wall. After some minutes, I was able to talk her into just leaving, once she realized she was alone and the other efreets were all slain.
Beyond, there were hieroglyphs that referred to the "Lady of Slaughter" (Sekhmet?) and her blood-soaked dress. Behind the altar, we found a chest with some treasure inside.
Returning to the outside, we searched for more goods. In a corner of the courtyard, we unearthed the hoard of the desert drake. In the tower, there were maps and a box, which turned out to be merely table-settings. The maps showed us a Saerenrae temple and an obelisk, and the Garden of Symmetry.

25th-26th: we returned to the maftet tribe, and told them the coast was clear to their new home. They, in turn, told us about the Sightless Sphinx, where they used to live. They left its insides a lone for decades, until one of their young males, Userib, led others inside to explore. The lone survivor told that the Sphinx had corrupted Userib and 10 of his followers; these eleven drove the whole tribe away. The tribe asked that we try to save the souls of their former tribe members.

27th: we rode towards the Sphinx, finding a ravine with tracks going into it. THere were four more cultists, watining around a shiny metal statue. We defeated them, they again exploded rather than surrender. The statue seemed to have a hatch in it, and we realized that the magical key and control rod that we'd picked up earlier could make it go. Amestri had fun with this (bronze sentinel).

28th: We get near to the Sightless Sphinx, Ostog sends his Arcane Eye ahead to scout. We see that there are lots of mercenary girte-blelu in sentry posts around it, and only one post with cultist watchers. Recalling that the girte-blilu are honorable and that burial customs are important to them, we set up a covert approach to the guard commander. Showing him the pendant that we'd taken from a girte-blilu that we'd buried earlier, we led him to think that the cultists had killed its owner, but we'd recognized the dead one (turned out to be his nephew) and given it proper burial. He agreed to let us make a covert approach to the Sphinx's entry, between its front paws. We were informed that more cultists were already inside.
Amestri recognized the Sphinx as dedicated to Ereshkegal, the demon lord of greed, portals, and riddles. When we got to the entrance, the door's lintel was decorated with images of the planets. Pressing the planets that also represented greed, portals, and riddles, the door unlocked for us.

Session: Game Session 26 - Saturday, Sep 28 2019 from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
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The Fifth Passage
The party cautiously approached the village of Ellis, warned so by Tepra upon noting how there flew a deviated flag of Pelor's symbol upon a red field. Dividing the party to investigate further, Izetti, Tarquinius, and Quill advanced to the village center, learning that said village was currently barricaded and under assault from an unknown entity. Sending a pantomimed warning to Mersire, Tepra, and the goblinoid thief pair, the exterior four hurriedly sought shelter within the village, harried by the entity.

Within, the party discerned the village's assailant to be predatory perytons which appeared after they undertook the teachings of the militant Pelorian cult. The hypothesis for their enhanced aggression was the village's application of a curiously powerful herbicide, destroying the natural cover of foliage and exposing them as easy prey. Determining the general direction the perytons were ranging from, the party set off to dispose of the creatures.

Along the way, found victims of the perytons were seen to deny the natural influences of rot that beings of the cycle would be subject to. Purification by fire seemed to resolve the issue. Likewise, the villagers were found to have been exceptionally prolific with their herbicides, decimating an unnecessarily wide swathe of the forest. This, however, was found to be and issue for another time.

Uncovering the perytons' abode, the party found a flock in hibernation with two more still active. Upon dispatching the pair, the party fell into a discussion over how to eradicate the remainder, when on the horizon they spied a concernedly portly man approaching astride a worryingly exhausted pegasus. He introduced himself as Ilitca.

Ilitica then proceeded to exposit at length - from there and for most of the way back to the village of Ellis - in exchange for inquiring as to the party's role in recent events concerning the cult of Mephistopheles in Prinlac. From this the party learned of the enforcers from the Church of Three (specifically this pair of Ilitica and Naz), some formal information on the perytons, the name and whereabouts of the Pelorian cult's local leader, and the casual - if rapidly silenced - acknowledgement of Quill as a warforged.

More important than all of this, however, is that this is the day that Mersire learned she's furry.
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Chisisek's Pyramid
Desnus 2 Our assault on the pyramid began with 4 cultists shooting at us from across the gorge with their crossbows. Between our fly potions and other magic, we were able to defeat them fairly rapidly. As soon as we finished fighting them, the lamia matriarch began to fight from her tent. She had very strong melee skills, but we were able to overcome her by main force.

We searched her tent once the fire was put out (Ostog's fireball that drove her out of it) and found food and cooking supplies. This is about when we saw the seps, a very venomous snake-like creature, crawling across the floor of the gorge. We were able to run it down with multiple ranged weapons and magic missile spells.

Outside the pyramid, we found many carvings in the walls of the gorge behind the pyramid. Tetisurah said that they were carved over 2500 years by the guardian sphinxes, Tetisurah and her mother, covering the history of Chisisek and his guardians.

Inside, Ostog scouted by Arcane Eye, finding one chamber emptied and two with closed doors.

Desnus 3 Amestri led us into the pyramid-tomb, confident that any traps in the first hallway would have been set off or disarmed already by Jamira and her cultists. Instead, we were hit from behind by a rolling boulder! That took quite a while to get around with a stone shape spell. Tetisurah was unable to get under the boulder, since it was a tight squeeze even for humans.

The second chamber contained grave goods and many, many, scrolls. These turned out to be architectural plans, the fruit of Chisisek's lifetime, except there was nothing from Hakotep's reign.

The third chamber had Chisisek's cartouche on it, and it was his tomb. The sarcophagus, lying under a statue of Ptah the creator or architect patron. The sarcophagus was empty, and the statue was a golem that we had to defeat. Amestri had a good time reading the walls of hieroglyphs, which covered Chisisek's life, but --again-- nothing from his years of working with Shori technology on behalf of Hakotep. She also suspected from experience that Chisisek's greatest treasures lay elsewhere.

Finding the secret door to the treasure chamber wasn't hard, and it led to a short hallway to double doors. Those were defended by a clockwork golem, perhaps built by Chisisek himself? We left it alone, to restore spells and health.

Desnus 4 With prepared spells, it wasn't hard to defeat this golem. Amestri rushed in as soon as the cloud of gears and debris cleared. This was his architectural library, and also held some magical devices.

Reading in the library, Amestri and Jes learned:
- Chisisek's greatest achievement was the flying pyramid of Hakotep.
- It was probably constructed in an area that also held a great earthwork, built with bound elementals to fight the Shori. Many slaves died in constructing this weapon.

We suspected that we needed to go north, to find the remaining cultists and their camp, and a divination with Pharasma confirmed that our quest led in that direction.

Through all of this, we were unable to find any larvae from the bee-folk that we'd met weeks ago, even though it was the cultist who had taken them.

Amestri plans to take a few days to digest more of the historical riches found here, before we head out. Ostog will take some of that time to finish learning some new spells.
Session: Game Session 23 - Saturday, Jun 29 2019 from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
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Epic × 2!
Under the bath-house
[Day 40] In the evening, Jes noticed a trio of persons trying to watch our table unobtrusively. When they noticed our noticing, they quickly left the Inn's restaurant, ignoring Hadia's calls to halt. Jes followed them down two streets, whereupon they turned on her. She led them back to the rest of the party, but the tail team disappeared, perhaps down some alleys. We did not pursue further.

[Day 41] Some of us carefully asked about town, seeing if anyone knew what the height of the (now-fallen) Tower of Ra's Glory had been. Sallah found 3 old men who had played on it as boys, they all agreed that it had been 125 feet high. Meanwhile, someone else found the Solar Observatory, and they let us know where the sun's rising would have been on Midsummer.

Using that data, we returned to the main hall of the library. With a little distraction of the library staff, Amestri had the undisturbed time to locate the potential location of the Vault of Hidden Wisdom.

Meanwhile, overheard among the stacks, was that a ranking Nethysite priestess in Sothis, Sarafet, had found something interesting under Azghaad's Spire-- perhaps the Heart?-- and now She Had Disappeared.

We go to the spot, which is on a side street, and is a wall of a bath-house. Amestri detects that it has a secret door, but we don't enter it. First, a bath for everyone! Novid received special attention from the staff, and cleaned up pretty nice. No one found any secret entrances inside the building, though.

Checking after dark when street traffic was decreased, the secret door turned into a tunnel descending a short ladder. Novid first found an ornate chest across the first chamber. There was a trapped floor under it, and he fell it. Amestri caught him with a Feather Fall.

Beyond that, the first reading room had a clockwork servant inside. Before we found a key to wind it up, two clockwork guardians arrived and attacked! Sallah died! Novid was knocked out and Jes had to carry the fight for a while.

We returned to Wati with the body, but not before Amestri discovered:
- the remainder of Khmenti's journal was here! He told that Hakotep's ib and ka were trapped, and the 3rd part of his soul put into the pyramid. Rejoining the 3 parts of his soul could push him into the afterlife. OR, it might bring him back to life.

[Days 42-43] We rest in Wati, Sallah was raised, but he remained in Pharasma's hospital to recover from dying.

Returning after dark to the Vault of Hidden Wisdom, we wound up the clockwork servant, and it led us to a triangular reading room. Here, we were attacked by a pair of eight-armed glowing balls of crystal! These aeon were named as theletos, and they were a very difficult fight before we sent them out of the world.

This room was full of architectural drawings of many Pharaoh's tombs!
- Hakotep's flying tomb was NOT on display here.
- It was mentioned that it could fly, but as soon as his body was interred, the whole tomb disappeared from view.

We search the rest of the Vault, and find a large dome-shaped chamber. Among the many books here, the clockwork librarian retreived the following for us:
- Chisisek was the architect for Hakotep, and he was killed to preserve the tomb's secrets. His funeral was recorded, though his corpse was laid in its own secret tomb.

Having already detected that this dome had a false ceiling, we put Novid to work on breaking into the hidden chamber. The crashing-down of the ceiling brought two large mummified (bashki) lynxes. Novid took a lot of scratches from their paws, Jes evaded and stabbed to finish off the mummies.

- Up on a fresco around the ceiling, we found Chisisek's personal cartouche (an owl in a house), and that his tomb lies "across two bridges, where the sphinx condisers the Crook, the Asp, and the Sun" which seems to mean the Parched Dunes, a moderate journey to southern Osirion.
Amestri also considered that the layout of the Vault itself:
- refers to the shape of the Shori weapons that the the Sky Pharaoh built to blast other flying cities.

We carefully recorded the location of this library, apparently lost to the Nethysites. Perhaps someday we shall tell them about it.

Our next plan is to rest in Wati in order for Sallah, Ostog, and Amestri to completely recover from their deaths. (to Day 61) We might also undertake magical crafting or research and prepare equipment and animals for the journey.
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