Shepherd of Fire

Himaestro's Final Stand
With his impending swan song, Himaestro decides to take his friends with him.

It’s 1:04 A.M., I still have 30+ minutes of Summerslam to finish (which I am watching while typing), and McDonalds was closed so I didn’t get my chocolate milkshake. However, that third thing is not the tragedy of today’s tale.

This session was done strictly to bring HImaestro back to the main party’s level. Unfortunately, that would not be the case.

It began with Himaestro deciding to make friends in Hell. Realizing that it would take him a very long time to get even a shred of respect, he decided to look for ice at the same time, as he wanted to cast Simulacrum to make a slightly weaker yet still powerful clone. He got his components while getting caught up in some Hellish politics.

While he was working with Fierna, Orryn Ningel informed Himaestro that he found a loophole in the two’s contracts to Mephistopheles. They were both promised something in exchange for their services. Himaestro was promised Mayor McCheese, Orryn was promised the first thing he created in his workshop. That first thing was Mayor McCheese, so he figured that Mephistopheles had a breach in contract. In the end, the two were released from their contracts along with receiving severance packages. Both were brought back to life. Also, Himaestro had used the Deck of Many Things and used up his “Fates” card and a card which gave him three wishes. One wish remained by the time he left Hell.

Himaestro used one wish to learn where the Staff of the Magi was located. He discovered that it was located in an ancient white dragon’s lair in the Polar North. This was a clear warning. It was ignored.

Himaestro, his clone, Mayor McCheese, and Ali Babin Babar tried sneaking into the lair. They activated an alarm which alerted the dragon. Said dragon took out Himaestro and the clone of him, killing them with its ice breath. Mayor McCheese eventually lost as well, as he could’t match the dragon’s range advantage.

This is likely the last session to feature Himaestro, as his player decided to make a new character. It makes sense; Himaestro doesn’t really have anything to return to in the Material Plane or other realms of existence. Honestly, I don’t like killing characters. Anything I do that makes me seem jovial to kill players is for comedy. Characters dying sucks, and changing them when so late into a a campaign is never fun. Himaestro’s player will not be available this Sunday, so the party will likely consist only of Carth, Aelar, Kriven, and Oskar.

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The Cult of Cthulhu Makes a Serious Move
And boy howdy, it brought the party to their knees.

The session kicked off with Carth and Kriven catching Erdan Piper. He tried fleeing through the city, though he was caught despite his best efforts (he was prepared to teleport away, but then the party caught him). When they returned, they discovered that the Cult of Cthulhu had attempted to invade the castle; this prompted Carth to demand an Alarm spell be placed around the premises. Percival informed King Carth that there was a prisoner in one of the twenty-something dungeons. This cultist, a half-orc warned that the Cult was probably still in Cavalan, possibly Heliod. That was when the newly installed alarm system kicked in.

In the throne room were twenty Cultists of Cthulhu, thirteen Heliod Palace Guards, four Beholders, one Death Tyrant, Estellise, Percival, Rita, Carth, Aelar, and Kriven. The ensuing battle was very brief, and those defending the palace surrendered in under twenty seconds. The Cult had Estellise and Carth brought to the Far Realm, as the blood of Carth’s family was needed (Estellise wasn’t needed, though the Cult would need her and Carth’s children to make sure the ritual didn’t muck up). Aelar, Kriven, Percival, and Rita were imprisoned.

After several days, Aelar was freed after spilling the beans on Kyle Greyson’s location. Despite the fact that they framed him for being a serial killer and a cannibal, they gladly sent him away from Vesperia and to Avienne, where he became a national legend due to his prowess with a bow. Kriven was framed for the destruction of a part in Caetha, and he was to be extradited to face trial. On the way there, his ship was caught in a storm and attacked by suahagin, causing him to land on a deserted island. There, he found a tribe of kobolds and decided to help defend them from various monsters plaguing them. The kobolds seemingly worshiped him, though they were just using him for the most part.

Carth and Estellise managed to break out of their prison, though traversing the Far Realm is no easy task whatsoever. They had to constantly make saving throws or become violent towards one another (Carth, the fighter, shockingly passed every single save while Estelle, a cleric, failed all but once). When Estelle was affected by the plane’s madness-inducing influence, Carth beat the holy high Hell out of her to knock her out cold. Escape seemed pretty much hopeless until they learned of a few ways out they could take: find tuning forks so Estelle could plane shift them out, find a portal leading to the Material Plane, or continuously pray to St. Cuthbert (Estellise’s patron deity) in hopes he would send help. Rather than constantly beg for diving intervention, they decided to continue searching for portals. They came across the same tiefling wizard who kidnapped Carth’s sister, Sabrina, and found him riding atop a beholder (the only one remaining from the castle invasion). Carth decided to surrender, sparing Estellise’s life while sacrificing his freedom while the Cult searched for his brother. Estelle was sent back to the Material Plane by the tiefling.

Three years (yup) passed. Rita and Karol tracked down Kriven and explained that there was a problem. Percival Pringle styled, profiled, and walked the aisle to Aviene to tell Aelar that the band was getting back together. Estellise pummeled and blasted her way through the Far Realm to bring Carth back home. When back in Heliod, they explained the predicament:

Vesperia has been crippled by a triangular war: a shadow war is being fought against the Cult of Cthulhu while a disorganized jumbled mess of a war is being fought against the New Light; fortunately, the New Light and Cult of Cthulhu despise each other, so they’re fighting each other at the same time. At the same time, the Ring of Cosmic Bending was delivered to the Archangel by Ishkod Ogana, who is once again searching for artifacts. The party was restocked, re-armed, and re-armored with new magic items. Carth also got to see his children (now toddlers at this point) for the first time: his son, Gabriel, and daughter, Vivian. He also went to a graveyard and killed a rat and death dog, gaining enough XP to level up to level 16. The party is getting ready to assault the Cult of Cthulhu and wipe it from the face of Gaia for a third time in its illustrious history. Will they fail as miserably as the last time they fought members of the Cult? What will happen to Himaestro and Oskar? Where is Schwann Oltorain (okay, he preparing to revive Oskar, who has been in a three year long stupor, with a special concoction)? What happens if the Cult of Cthulhu summons their master before the New Light gathers all ten artifacts? Why am I asking you all these questions? Find out on what will likely be August 30, a week after next Sunday, which is hopefully when the next session occurs.

Countdown to Extinction: 1,900

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This Session...
Ugh... damn it, Himaestro.

Because Himaestro was in Hell, and had the least amount of time given, we’ll start with him. He decided to meet his bandit friends to find a ruby. They were a bit short, so he decided to raid a treasury in Nirodan. Things went south when his stealth plan failed, and Mayor McCheese arrived to save the day. Nirodan’s capital city is no more, mind you. Himaestro then decided to head to Gahdom, but his actions enraged Mephistopheles, who knew that his actions would be traced back to the Archdevil. Mephistopheles grounded Himaestro for a week.

The main party set out to murder Erdan Piper. While in Attilus, they found what they initially thought was Seras Sang Rael. However, when they teleported to face her, they discovered it was actually an unconscious Rita, propped up via a (I found its proper name!) military fork. Oskar healed her and they quickly returned to Heliod. There, they found that Seras stole the Broken Crown of Io and the Tome of Righteous Indignation. This enraged Carth, so he made Rita teleport them to the Silver Mountain Cathedral, where they found both Seras and Saul Richter, the leader of the New Light. Further enraged, Carth forced Rita to teleport them to Attilus so they could victimize Erdan Piper.

When they arrived in Attilus, they had very little legal and political power to work with. Erdan used this to stall for time so he could prepare his special spellbook, the Arcanus Symphonia, to defend himself from his future captors. After the party worked out a possible deal with the guards and left the asylum which Erdan was visiting, Erdan played the intro to Ride the Lightning and destroyed most of the asylum. The party began to make chase, but Erdan summoned five effritti. Those five were killed in a difficult battle. This session left off with Erdan fleeing as the party prepared to give chase.

This session may have been worse than the last one.

Countdown to Extinction: 2,967

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I'd say things are going downhill, but it's more of a sheer mesa at this point.
Lads, this somehow got even worse than last session.

In this ten hour session, the following occurred:

It kicked off with some more banter which ended up being useless in the end. This is despite the party’s attempts to reach the country of Gahdom (or, at least, the King’s attempts). After finally getting to the black island wastes, and on target for once, they found the lair of Seras Sang Rael, who had both the Armlet of Divinity (which was still stuck to Estellise’s arm) and the Sword of Revealing Light. Carth wanted to kill her to remove Estellise’s vampirism, but she told him of an alternate way. It involved sending souls to Wee Jas’ realm (five souls) or Nerull’s realm (one soul). No longer wanted anything to do with souls, Carth decided to kill Seras instead. Her motives for joining were to rid the world of body-and-soul inflicting curses and diseases such as vampirism and lycanthropy.

Despite his seemingly unwavering position, Carth had second thoughts on the souls matter. Seras, rather on edge about the party, decided to give them the slip when they came back to Gahdom to collect her two artifacts. She was teleported to the Silver Mountain Temple, where violence is pretty much impossible. Archangel was given the Sword and Armlet (sans arm), bringing him two steps closer to freedom and unbridled destruction. Carth began ranting and raving, calling Seras a coward and a bitch for not fighting either he, Kriven, or Aelar one-on-one, despite the fact she would lose such a fight. In the end, he caved in and used the 5-Souls-For-Cure trick on Estellise. She was cured of the vampirism and thanked Carth (again) for saving her (again).

Some time before or after Estelle was cured of her disease, Himaestro died… again. How, may you ask? Well, because of his lifeline with Ali Babin Babar, when one died, the other went as well. Schwann had an assassin put down Ali when Himaestro began getting a bit too jittery, a bad sign for all involved. So, Himaestro was killed, tumbled down the stairs, and ended up in the Eighth Layer of Hell, ruled by Mephistopheles. The Lord of the Eighth offered Himaestro a chance to be his agent. He agreed, so long as he received a special tool to help: a reconstruction of Mayor McCheese. Mephistopheles granted his wish; Orryn Ningel was in charge of its enchantments.

New Years came around and everybody celebrated. Carth introduced Aelar to his sister, Sabrina, and began collecting information on Ishkod Ogana, Patrin Norixius, and Erdan Piper. He tried to get permission to enter Benorthan but was rudely rejected. Schwann is currently looking to put Benorthan at bay. The session ended as Carth received information on Erdan Piper, the most insane member of the New Light.

Not gonna lie, between the player-versus-player fight between Oskar and Himaestro (which was so boring that I changed the tense battle music to the comedic relief and relaxing songs from Fate/stay night), Himaestro bringing the party close to the brink of destruction a few times, the return of Mayor McCheese, and the fact that I will now have to leap back and forth between he and the party, this is my least favorite session of the campaign. At least I have three countdowns to life-changing (and sometimes, ending) moments to look forward to.

Countdown to Extinction: 2,970

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Just when they think they've got the answers, I change the questions!
The party takes one step forward and one thousand steps back.

This session began very slowly, though HImaestro’s reaction to discovering that there really was a kracken in Northern Vesperia’s waters was rather funny. Some useless stuff occurred afterward. They tried clearing a dragon’s den in Qualen, Kriven’s region, but they spooked it and the dragon flew off to retrieve its parents (or elder siblings, you don’t know). After some meaningless banter, they decided to go after Joan Feurouge, a New Light lieutenant who specialized in manipulating flames. How much so was a mystery. Was.

The party made their way to Titan’s Guard, the mountain range separating Benorthan and Salos. They teleported while a member of the Hunting Blades guided them as far as he could. Enduring blizzards, the party eventually came across Joan Feurouge and four horsemen from the New Light. She explained her actions and reason for joining. After it was clear that she wouldn’t budge on her position and Carth wouldn’t let her walk off so easily, a battle engaged. While the horsemen were dealt with rather quickly, Joan proved a more difficult opponent. When she was seemingly defeated, she transformed into a much more powerful version of herself. Funnily enough, this version of her lasted a shorter amount of time than her normal self, as a 100-points-of-damage attack from Kriven made her surrender.

After Joan surrendered, she was brought to Heliod. The party had retrieved the Broken Crown of Io; Rita tossed the pieces into an extra-dimensional space. When they returned, they learned that an assassin, likely Seras Sang Rael, had infiltrated the castle, cut off Estellise’s arm (which held the Armlet of Divinity), and turned her into a vampire. Himaestro attempted to become a vampire by rubbing his finger on Estellise’s teeth, though Carth stopped him and had his powers stripped while he was jailed. The session ended with a now conscious, now vampiric Estellise, a party set on taking out Seras, and a Himaestro locked one hundred feet below Gaia’s surface.

I can’t see this going wrong next session whatsoever.

Countdown to Extinction: 2,977

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Session 13: The Return of the King
The party gets back on track, only to go so far off that it nearly implodes.

The session kicked off with Himaestro receiving the intel he requested on Gaia’s various nations. Carth, who had just gotten out of his coma, learned of this, along with their terrorist actions in Undaston, and stripped Himaestro and Aelar of their land and titles, killing off Himaestro’s plans for world wide war. Some dignitaries (a word I kept searching for in my head this session but couldn’t find) arrived to explain that they wished to extradite Aelar and Himaestro for their crimes. While they were in Avienne, Carth, Oskar, and Kriven made a deal with the diplomats: Himaestro would be extradited to Undaston, his gold transferred to the country for repair, and Aelar would be brought to Vesperia. Aelar was executed by a Sabu Chair Drop Through A Table (I don’t know if Sabu actually did this in ECW, but it wouldn’t surprise me; maybe in FMW) and promptly brought back to life, just to teach him a lesson.

Himaestro created a prison revolt in Nirodan, where he was being held at the time. He made a deal with its president to make his uprising’s leader somebody other than himself and then returned to Vesperia. After retrieving his magic box to Boxland, as he dubbed it, he decided to go find his other possessions, currently on a ship headed towards Undaston. Oh, and during the uprising, he cut off both ears to remove an Anti-Magic Field earring… only one. I suppose he misheard as having had two.

Anyway, back in sanity (for the moment), Carth decided to do more research on the Armlet of Divinity currently “gracing” Estellise’s arm. He, Aelar, and Kriven headed to Zaphias, as Tarhun was the man who found it in the first place. On the way there, they were attacked by yet more devils from Dispater’s realm. After outclassing the strongest, the remaining two made them an offer: they’d talk to Dispater about possibly ending this deal once and for all. An imp appeared two days later and proposed a War Games contest.

War Games (a real life wrestling match inspired by Mad Max) is a contest which places the competitors in two cages separated by a pool of lava. A coin toss is made between the two teams. After said coin toss, each team sends in one member to fight the other. After thirty seconds, the team which won the coin toss sends in a second man. Fifteen seconds later, the team which lost the coin toss sends in a second man of their own. Every fifteen seconds, the teams alternate between men they send in. Nobody can be killed in the War Games until all men are in the cages, at which point “Survive or Surrender” initiates; those knocked to 0 HP in a War Games before “Survive or Surrender” kicks in is restored to 30 HP. The first team to eliminate all of their opponents wins.

Only Kriven and Carth partook in the War Games for their team; Aelar sat out due to his newfound hatred of Kriven. Estellise, Rita, Karol, and Schwann watched from the sidelines. Carth and an Ice Devil kicked off the War Games, with Carth having the advantage at the start. Team Dispater, who won the coin toss, then sent in their second man: a Death Knight. The Death Knight brought Carth down a bit for HP. Kriven then joined and eliminated the Ice Devil as “Survive or Surrender” came into effect. The Death Knight used a powerful bomb-like spell to eliminate Carth from the contest. Down to Kriven and the Death Knight, the Death Knight dropped Kriven to 4 HP. Then Kriven killed him with one blow, causing him to explode in a shower of holy light. True to his word, Dispater swore to never pursue Estellise or Carth again (unless they asked) and rewarded Kriven with a shield and feat.

When they returned, Aelar threatened a weakened Carth and Kriven unless:

1) They ended a Geas spell put on him to keep him in line.

2) He was given back his land and title.

3) He was introduced to Carth’s sister.

The first two occurred and the session ended as the party set out to… introduce Aelar to Sabrina Greyson.

Countdown to Extinction: 2,980

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A paradox is created within the space-time continuum.
And I run the most confusing session yet.

Things kicked off with Himaestro waking up in Arcadia, a land where everything is geometrically perfect. There are ruler-straight rivers, perfectly lined orchards, and visually pleasingly shaped buildings. It was essentially a nature-version of Clockwork Mechanus. He and Ali Babin Babar decided to talk with some other dead souls.

Oskar decided to get sent to the labyrinth plane to help get Aelar out of there. The two met an extremely powerful sorcerer who needed help getting into a dragon-proof barrier to retrieve his elder brother’s lost treasure. The sorcerer stood back and watched while Oskar and Aelar fought a small variety of enemies: a mind flayer, four minotaurs, and an aboleth. They also encountered a sleeping storm giant but didn’t bother trying to fight him. Afterwards, they met a halfling who was in the dungeon who asked if they wanted to “play cards” with his “special deck”. It was revealed that the deck was the Deck of Many Things, a very powerful magic item which can give one the world or ruin one’s life. Aelar decided against it but Oskar decided to draw one. He received a boost to his Wisdom thanks to the card he drew.

Meanwhile, Kriven found his way to Sigil, the lone city along the Infinite Road. He met the same wandering halfling and drew a card.

He drew the damn Fates card.

The Fates card allows one to “avoid or erase” a past event. Due to the ambiguity of the card, we decided the following: erasing an event will make it so a certain moment in time will not have happened but the timeline continues as normal with minor changes; avoiding an event will make it so a certain moment in time will be altered and the timeline will be accordingly changed completely. Kriven decided to avoid finding the magic lamp, causing the timeline to alter. Time shifted back to when the party encountered Orryn, though this time they had Oskar and Aelar at their side. Orryn was defeated when they used a magic topaz to blast his protective dome from the inside out (5d10 Lightning Damage + 5d8 Thunder Damage). He was only crippled from the neck down, so Himaestro brought him to his plane-in-a-box and threw him off the highest tower he had, earning the “Stargazer” achievement.

After this, Himaestro began plotting to create political discord amongst other countries. In the meantime, they attempted to assassinate Baern Strahklin, the King Beneath the Lake, Sovereign of Undaston, and New Light Lieutenant. They tried twice: once with an explosive book, the other with Cadalbolg, an explosive lance that was modified to be shot from a bow. They failed twice. The man with the explosive book was caught and Cadalbolg struck a Wall of Force guarding the king; the resulting blast killed 70 innocent civilians. We last left the party two hundred feet in the air as guards rushed to their position.

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Houstin... we have a problem.
And it's a major, major, planar-spanning problem.

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?

Right?

Right?

Wrong.

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.

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The Party Foils Most of My Evil Plans
When half of them are missing (again) and things change on the fly! Quite clearly.

It’s quite a good thing I can’t go on to /r/squaredcircle today (at least until I get off of work) so now I can type this at work with no distractions!

The session kicked off with the party going to a village to try and find Sabrina Greyson, Carth’s sister and a member of the Cult of Cthulhu, though they believed that she was forced into the cult rather than having joined it willingly. They arrived at a village that was under the cult’s control. In a short fight afterwards which gave them 40 XP total (the enemies were all commoners) they knocked out many of the villagers. Later on, they found some people hiding in the village temple. The villagers explained what had happened and how there was an underwater temple to Cthulhu in the nearby Lake Iommi.

When they arrived at the lake, Sabrina threatened the lives of three other villagers. She decided to let them live if only Carth entered the temple. Through deceit and trickery, Himaestro and Kriven managed to sneak into the temple alongside Carth. They avoided several deadly traps in a hastily shrunken dungeon and eventually found Sabrina. In a rather short and one-sided match, Carth beat her to a bloody pulp and into unconsciousness. A tiefling appeared and said he planned to sacrifice her to Cthulhu, but the three party members persuaded him otherwise… for the moment.

After they cleared the underwater temple (which collapsed after they left) they moved on to the Silver Mountain. Via the power of flight, they managed to skip an entire dungeon and reached the peak in less than one hour. When they reached the top, they found a temple to the Archangel which the New Light worshiped. He explained his goals and plans, along with the Cult’s. He revealed the ten artifacts which were needed to free him and also revealed several of his lieutenants. The party left and found a treasure vault with a metric ton of silver and a magic box which could send somebody to a demi-plane of paradise that seems perfect… perhaps too perfect?

After they left the Silver Mountain, they decided to free Estellise of the curse which plauged her. Rita teleported them to Heliod and used the spellbook she found to cast a wish on Estelle, ridding her of the curse which condemned her soul to Hell.

Then things went very wrong.

Estelle was thrown into a coma thanks to the spell’s effects. The tome Rita used was then revealed to actually be the Book of Vile Darkness. It corrupted her and turned her into a Neutral Evil spellcaster. She immediately teleported to elsewhere. Kriven and Himaestro then dropped everything and went to a lich’s tower. They met a Solar Angel who demanded they stop Rita, who was already mobilizing an undead army, or else pay for playing a part in creating this disaster. In the meantime, Carth discovered that Dispater had turned the soul-capturing goal of his from a business prospect to a personal matter, as he believed the use of an extremely powerful “Wish” spell to be unfair and a breach of contract. Therefore, his goal became to capture Estellise, torture her in some pit of Hell, and have her surrender her soul or die. Carth said no.

Two days passed and the party decided to immediately deal with the newly-cursed Rita. They traveled to the haunted swamp in Qualen, Kriven’s region, since it had multiple overlaps with the Plane of Shadow/Shadow Plane/Shadowfell. With 950-something knights at their side, along with some clerics, wizards, and paladins, they traveled to the Shadowfell’s version of Azari, where the Stargazer’s tower was located, a place Rita had mentioned wanting to visit back on the Material Plane. Himaestro decided to play War Games and create a coordinated plan to fight Rita’s rather small horde (be happy you lot did this within two days), which outnumbered them by more than double. While the army fought the horde, Carth, Himaestro, Kriven, Karol, and Estellise headed straight for the tower. They fought an erinyes outside, two death slaadi in the tunnels, and a young black shadow dragon inside, one under Rita’s control. She led the party to another room where she had two chain devils and another black shadow dragon waiting for them.

The party by this point was beaten, scarred, and out of offensive magic. Therefore, they took the coward’s way out and decided to use diplomacy. They brought up about a baker’s dozen points as to why Rita should destroy the book and restore herself back to normal; sadly, I could only come up with a dozen counterpoints. In the end, Rita banished the two chain devils and blasted the Book of Vile Darkness into oblivion. Carth, Rita, Estelle, and Karol returned to the Material Plane. Himaestro brought Kriven and the surviving knights (who managed to defeat the undead horde) to his plane of paradise and held a giant feast.

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Once more with feeling! Long live the King!
"Not did we, but how many times did we... consummate the marriage?!" - Triple H

Well, this session was packed with information. Fortunately, it isn’t midnight yet, so I’ve remembered almost all of what happened. There was a ten day free-period for the party. I’m pretty sure that a lot of these are out of order, but I think I’ve got it down.

The session kicked off with the party cleaning up the mess of King Tostig’s assassination. First and foremost, Carth discovered a lot about the invaders from his brother, Kyle. First, he learned that they were called the New Light. Second, he learned a bit about their leader, Saul Richter, and his lieutenants, of which there were nine. Thirdly, he learned of their goal: to “cleanse” the world entirely by unleashing an ancient being known as an Archangel. To do this, they need to gather ten artifacts to release him, and this is the first time in history that all ten were on the Material Plane. Percival Pringle decided to ask the party who they believed should be the next regent of Vesperia. All five candidates had some flaws and some positives; Barrett was a commanding man yet a warmonger, Excella was cunning yet the most evil, Ambrose was a man of the people yet insane, Estellise was good hearted yet naive, and Whitehorse rooted out crime yet himself was corrupt. In the end, they chose Estelle.

On day two, Estellise gave the players rewards for their help with defending the kingdom and helping her with the devils. She gave each party member a noble rank and a piece of land, except for Carth. Why? Well, she had asked him if he wanted to rule alongside her. His response: Imma be king, bitch!

On day three, Himaestro helped a woman named Rin, the same one who had been targeted by a succubus that had wronged him. The succubus was quickly eliminated and Rin give Himaestro a map to a dragon’s horde.

Not much of memory for day fourth, and not much likely happened.

Day five was when Schwann Oltorain arrived in Heliod. He effortlessly captured Aelar and Himaestro, though rewarded the second man for good behavior. Carth stayed with Estellise to protect her from potential assassins.

On day six, next to nothing happened. Kriven began to create a new insignia for his knights.

Day seven brought Himaestro and Aelar their freedom. It also brough Himaestro a reason to live: a pygmy elephant named Ali Babin Babbar. He purchased fancy clothes and armor (for Ali). Himaestro also had a magic gem, toy thingy with him.

Day eight was the marriage of Estellise and Carth, then the coronation, and finally the reception. Due to my severe wrestling addiction, the quote in the subtitle ran through my head afterwards. Go to the list of adventure logs to see the full quote.

Day nine… can’t think of much that happened, other than Raven revealing that he and Schwann were actually one and the same and that he had a multiple personality disorder which he had no control over. Pringle also discovered that the party would find more answers about the New Light in the Silver Mountain. I think the party left on this day, if not day ten.

At some point, Rita requested that she and Karol travel with the party for a while so she could get rid of the mages trying to kill her. They agreed, she destroyed her house, and she traveled with the group for the meantime.

Once the group left Heliod, they killed several monsters. At one point, they fought a few mages who were after Rita’s notes. The mages were quickly defeated and Rita asked if they could search for the book her mentor had spent so much time working towards. They managed to find the book in a dungeon guarded by a trio of demons. Now, Rita has the spellbook of an ancient wizard with near-limitless power. Do you think this will honestly end well?

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