The session started off a bit slow with everybody leveling up and such. For the first time in history, Carth had a concussion! This… this turned out to be more detrimental than anticipated, for it was not his strength of body that kept the party going, it was his strength of character.
Himaestro, Aelar, Kriven, and Oskar were informed of the location of Orryn Ningel, who may or may not have firebombed the city of Cape Mio (capital of Cithara, Himaestro’s region). The gnomish wizard was at his main workshop in Azari, so they teleported there. Although they were somewhat far away from Orryn’s actual location, it would only take a few weeks by foot. Seems simple enough, right?
The first problem came when the party came across a quartet of dead bodies. One was holding a golden genie lamp, so Himaestro rubbed it. An effritti (no clue how to spell, too lazy to get Monster Manual) appeared. Himaestro attempted to communicate with it via sign language since it only spoke Ignan. What he meant to say is no longer remembered by me; in fact, I don’t think we ever found out since he usually tells me after his charades. Anyway, the effritti interpreted the charades as a desire to serve the Sultan of the Fire Plane, so the effritti used Plane Shift to send Himaestro there. This began a short storyline for him to gain his freedom. Aelar and Kriven soldiered on (Oskar was yet to arrive, as he was still in his drunk stupor).
Normally, I recap sessions cronologically, but this session featured two different adventures for a few hours, so I’ll begin with Himaestro’s Great Escape, go on to Aelar, Kriven, and Oskar vs. Total Madness, and then return back to when they finally met up with Orryn Ningel. That’s right: something that could have been done in just an hour, maybe two, ended up taking the entire session to reach.
Himaestro was stripped of all belongings: his weapons, robes, money, and miscellaneous items were taken. The genies discovered his secret magic castle and basically raided it, including taking Ali Babin Babar out. Their sultan informed Himaestro that he was to be their slave for eternity and was placed under a Geas spell; the DM then gave out about his desire to have Geas be more like its original form, which was bad-ass. Anyway, Ali Babin Babar was also enslaved and worked alongside Himaestro. Their job was to mine for rubies. Every day, the pair were harassed by various denizens of the plane. Himaestro attempted to subtly sow disdain amongst the slaves, probably hoping for an uprising (which he probably would have used as a means to escape) but got caught and was thrown into the Pit. The Pit was a chasm where you had to hope you didn’t splat after a three minute free-fall. The only way to leave the pit is to find a ruby down there, though they’re incredibly sparse in that area. Within the pit, Himaestro ran into Rin, the girl who he helped rid of a succubus, who had found a similar lamp and ended up a slave. The two decided to try and escape somehow. Himaestro was reunited with The Three Musketeers and D’Artagnan (a.k.a. the four Fire Elementals the party helped before who were inexplicably French). After bringing him to the Fire Plane version of Paris, they helped retrieve some of his stuff. Not all was recovered; most of his money and the magic box were never brought back. Eventually, Rin, Babar, and Himaestro discovered a portal leading out of the plane, this one guarded by a fire giant. Himaestro turned him into a frog, tossed him into his backpack, and went back to Heliod, where… well… you’ll see.
Kriven and Aelar managed to cower away from all random encounters thrown at them. Oh well. Oskar was teleported to them after awakening from his alcohol fueled coma. The force of his fall was so great that he murderized the giant eagle that Kriven and Aelar were riding; his body replaced its brain. They continued on and finally, finally looked like they were going to fight something. A bone devil met up with them and did the usual pre-match taunting, asking where their friends were, etc. Aelar blurted out that the king was at home with a concussion. The bone devil smiled and zoomed off. No chase was given. The next day, Rita teleported to them and went on a tirade of how stupid they were, as their tip-off lead the bone devil to bring a few hundred friends with him. She teleported the party back to the now-burning Heliod, where they narrowly defeated a trio of bone devils (by narrowly, I mean Oskar fell unconscious). Himaestro rejoined by this point. He threw the Fire Giant-turned-Frog to some bone devils, who mercilessly brutalized it.
The four made their way to the throne room to find one hundred devils. Dead. Surrounding Estellise, who had her head somewhat down, lolling to one side, with the light of the world sucked from her eyes. An imp tried to crawl away and she crushed its neck under her heel. When spoken to by the party, she snapped back to reality but couldn’t recall murdering the hundred devils. Aelar asked where Carth was, saying he was concerned. In truth, he wanted to kill the king (cue Rainbow song, here; seriously, it’s an awesome song) and Estelle saw right through his lies. She used a bracelet on her right arm to teleport him to a different plane of existence, a labyrinthine demi-plane that is almost impossible to find. Remember those ten artifacts? Remember how one was an armlet? Well…
Anyway, she returned back to reality soon after and couldn’t remember banishing Aelar to the plane he was currently in. It was a dark, bleak plane with no sign of life; plenty of bones, though. Rita explained a bit of what the armlet was to Himaestro and Kriven; by this point, Oskar had drunk himself into another stupor. Himaestro had Estelle try to remove the armlet. He said that it was dangerous and was turning her insane. After some convincing, she agreed, but couldn’t remove it. He brought up the idea of cutting off her arm and then restoring it, but nobody in the party knew spells which could restore limbs, so she refused. In the end, Himaestro ran out of patience. Rather than try to save Aelar somehow, he teleported to Azari with Kriven so they could hurry up and murder New Light Mage Specialist Orryn Ningel.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, it isn’t the armlet that is turning Estellise insane, it’s… something else. Nothing tangible, actually. This descent won’t really slow, mind you.
Anyway, with Ali Babin Babar in Rita, Karol, and Estelle’s hands, the two began a search for Orryn. They eventually tracked him down to a small house near a warehouse. Himaestro destroyed the house, only to find that Orryn had been in the warehouse. Shattering the roof of the warehouse and rising into the sky was the gray dragon. However, it was no organic dragon. It was a machine, crafted by Orryn Ningel, which he could fly and safely cast spells from. To make matters worse, there were two dozen different warding runes which made any magic against this mechanical monstrosity useless. There were, of course, two downsides to this machine: it wasn’t incredibly well built, so it only had 120 HP, and there was a small hole behind where Orryn sat, one he could use to make a quick escape. Things seemed to go well at first, considering only two party members were present. Himaestro held the dragon in place via a Bigby spell while Kriven got onto its back and began chopping away.
Then Orryn used his best spells.
The first big spell was a frozen sphere which badly damaged Himaestro. The second were two prismatic spray spells to Kriven. The first did some damage and threatened to petrify him. The second caused him to go blind for one round and sent him to the Astral Plane the next. This left Himaestro all alone with 20-something HP, his ward vaporized. Orryn used an Immolation spell and brought Himaestro down to 0 HP, causing his body to burn into ashes which were carried away by the desert breeze.
So, just to recap…
- Himaestro is dead.
- Kriven is on the Astral Plane.
- Aelar is in an unknown demiplane.
- Most of the party’s money is gone.
- Estellise is going insane and unknowingly has one of the ten artifacts needed by the New Light.
- Orryn Ningel has a mechanical dragon capable of breathing magic and is immune to spells.
Oh man, this next session is going to be great… for me.