Roc Flock

The City of Gold

Temple of 4 Elements

Traps

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The Veiled Isle
A mission for dirt

After the high of saving Absolom for a death cult, the party struggled to determine exactly what their next course of action should be. It was ultimately decided that Yowen would go on a personal quest to “save the souls” found in the armor while the rest of the party would busy themselves with adventuring outside of the city (hoping to avoid more alien raids).

There were a few precursors to the party’s departure: Khalid injected himself into the middle of a drug cartel’s turf war, Fosk hired on a crew (including a very odd half-drow who lusts for battle), Gijit and Rai-il tracked down a lead on air gensai grave dirt to repower the dimensional anchor rod that once trapped Master Gelban and held all of Absolom under it’s control, Marr had another godly revelation and confirmed that he does have the ability to fly (due to his own “divine will”), and, as if sent from a higher power (even higher than Marr), a mysterious Tengu sailor arrived on the ship looking for work. The Tengu, Diesel, quickly proved his worth being the only one of the prospective crew who was trained in navigation and had been to the Razor Coast before (the destination for the upcoming voyage). Oh, the fact that he had an air elemental as his companion certainly didn’t hurt his chances “fitting in” with this motley crew.

After a handful of days at sea (really above the sea), the party was jolted to action by a fireball from below. A pirate ship, towing it’s latest booty, had decided to fire the first shot, hoping to scare off the aerial predator. Unfortunately, their efforts backfired…big time.

The party successfully executed their first aerial assault with a combination of paratroopers, ballista shots, and a dimension door. Having only killed 2 crew members and incapacitating the raging female dwarf mate, the party convinced Captain Smiles to hand over her vessel.

It just so happened that Smiles had a dead sailor pickling in her cargo hold that had been to a mysterious lost island somewhere in Turmoil (the Bermuda Triangle of the Razor Coast). With a well used Speak with Dead, she had pinpointed the location, but was unable to chart a course as she wasn’t sure that she could obtain passage into Turmoil without Admiral Tame’s permission. Tame is the most infamous pirate cannibal around.

The biggest difference between Smiles’ plight and that of the newly named “Randal’s Roost” was that the Roost can fly (and avoid Tame’s curious and baffling way of knowing everyone who entered the waters of Turmoil). Now with 2 ships (and Marr finally able to call himself “Captain”), the party made plans to keep the new prizes in a holding pattern (outside of Turmoil) while they found the Veiled Isle.

Upon discovering the isle (which was quite easy when you are a few hundred feet above the sea), it was clear that semi-intelligent apes had colonized the land that once held some sort of golden-plated temple structure. They hastily made plans to drop a dingy into the caldera lake (thus hopefully still avoiding the “waters of Turmoil”). Things seemed to get hot while paddling, but the scylla proved no match for the firepower of the party.

Now, safety on land (after a brief assault from some of the 4 armed gorillas, the party marched right up to a cave dwelling they spotted from the air and proceeded to make friends with the local resident; a large, white-haired, four armed, vampiric ape.

Despite the offer of fresh dinner (4 armed orc), and many unending pleas, only Marr decided to be “friends” with her. That friendship nearly cost Khalid his life, narrowly escaping his second straight combat death. That said, once first blood was drawn, the party had no trouble ended the unlife of this abomination.

With the apparent matriarch of the island dealt with, the party was ready to proceed to the “City of Gold” and harvest the grave dirt they so deeply desired.

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Arrival at Absolom
Saving the Soul(s) of the City

Determined to get to Absolom as quickly as possible, the party cobbled together a plan built on each of their experiences and capabilities (sailing and weather – Fosk, basic scientific principles – Rai’il, magic items and storage of stone – Gijit, and stonework – Yowen). The result was a throttle-able turbo-booster for the ship that allowed them to arrive in Absolom before the talisman, thus preventing bad bad things.

That’s not to say that their trip was uneventful. A lovely group of advanced, monstrous harpies attacked the ship, violently yanking them out of the HOV-lane that was the jet stream they were surfing. Unfazed by this, the crew realized that, thanks to their now dead feather adversaries, they had a ballista for the ship.

As they approached Absolom, it was clear that the city was under an EPIC dimensional anchor, preventing any teleporting or plane shifting into the area. Thankfully, their ship was well received by the pilots after they landed on the water and opted for a more traditional approach to the metropolis harbor.

Upon arriving in the city, two things became clear: 1. the nefarious plot they had been chasing was operating in the open and would require little effort to identify and 2. Marr was alive, in Absolom, and determine now more than ever to both stick with the party and proclaim his godhood.

Without further ado, the party cooked up a plan to assault the Cult of Terizan now barricading the entrance to the Starstone. This detailed and sophisticated plan can be summed up by a choice quote from the fine cinematic masterpiece Ghostbusters when Drs. Venkmen, Stantz, and Spengler were approaching their first full-torso apparition and Dr. Stantz instructed his colleagues to “Get her!”

To be fair, the party recruited aid from the temple of Torag (to supply arms), various dock workers (to guard the ship), and a strong contingent of less scrupulous fellows from Khalid’s days working in the Puddles.

Additionally, the party was able to sneak into the fort and discovered that many of Absolom’s citizens were in the process of being converted to this new “religion” under promise of a future AFTER the destruction.

The party made quick work of the acolytes who seemed not quite human. When they walked into the main building, it was quickly obvious that daemons were involved. After killing the first of several ceustodaemons (big bear-like things with 4 horns), they discovered that the dead were being “devoured” by much smaller cacodaemons (with their big single eye and giant gaping maw). After Fosk panicked and beheaded a body that one was feasting upon, it proceeded to jump up in his hand and produce (from an orifice that we’d rather not think about) a large, red, gem, still sticky with ichor.

The party proceeded into the main room only to be jumped by one of two ceustodaemon guards. The team did what they do best and controlled the situation with Rai’il instantly trapping one in a prismatic sphere while Yowen called the stone from the floor to rise up and walled the other beast out of the battlefield. Upon quick glance, the main priestess was more concerned with a set of bone armor, now bedazzled by hundreds of red gems. It was also not difficult to spot, in the center of the room, the source of the dimensional anchor that was stifling the city.

For the first time, the party saw one of their own members truly fall as Khalid suffered a wisdom death at the needle-like claws of one of the shadows. They were throwing everything they had at this women and she simply turned into mist, avoiding any further blows. Things looked quite bleak until Gijit wandered into the next room and was assaulted by on of the small balls of teeth and eye. Noting that a mouth that big and no stomach to match its size created an interesting opportunity, Gijit tossed in a pebble…

As soon as the priestesses familiar exploded from the inside, the mist coalesced into a body right as the thud on the floor could be heard.

Now it was time to deal with Khalid, and fast. Thankfully, Yowen was able to bring Khalid back to life (albeit a very limited one) through a prayer and a spell.

Once Yowen dismissed the stone wall, a bloody Marr was standing on the other side. It appeared that he had dispatched 4 of the ceustodaemons by himself. Perhaps there was a bit of truth to what he…no, no way. Impressive, but no way!

In the aftermath, much was discovered including a letter from DTN, a tapestry of a map, and a still-living woman frozen in a bed. The party did the honorable thing and dispelled her stasis only to discover that she was a very powerful individual. It only came out later, when Khalid fully regained his senses, that it was Yygara, the head of the city’s protection business syndicate known as “The Guild.”

Wait, did Yygara really flirt with Marr as she was leaving?

The party quickly made their way back to the temple of Torag and Yowen had no trouble getting an audience with High Priest Grizzlock (if for no other reason than Grizzlock would want Brattor the Truth-hammer back).

They discovered that the epic dimensional anchor had been powered by the trapped soul of the now freed (thanks to them and a true rez from Grizzlock) Master Gilban, Gatekeeper of the Wizard School. Fosk’s gem (which also stood out from the rest on the armor) proved to be a wealthy merchant and member of the City Council. Unfortunately, he didn’t take as kindly to the recent events and had to be excused from the room, vomiting violently the whole way.

Although the party had been wildly successful on saving the city, there were many questions left unanswered.

  • What to do with the hundreds of souls trapped in the armor they now possessed?
  • Are their two more sites that are in similar danger?
  • What was the plan to enter the Starstone?
  • Who was this Drax’vale Tre’Nar that seemed to be pulling the strings?
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Prologue
How we got to saving the world

Our story began in the city of Absalom. Fosk, Gijit, Keled and Yowyn all arrived for our own reasons. Those reasons quickly became irrelevant as we found ourselves ambushed and kidnapped, taken onto a slaving ship and destined to be sold into servitude. But that destiny was foiled when another business transaction went awry: Szmed, who led a separate faction within the ship, tried to sell a map to beings that are not precisely local. The transaction broke down; Szmed and his companions killed Captain Longtracks and most of its crew, and then proceeded to abandon ship; we, and another prisoner, escaped our bonds in the hold; and the four-armed, gray-skinned ‘aliens’ took the map. Although not before dropping one of their Magic Missile-storing ranseurs.
Szmed’s abandonment was not the easiest task, however. The ship was high in the air, propelled by a bound air elemental. One of its bonds shattered, the ship careened downward, nearly killing all who remained aboard. Szmed and friends, of course, had long since parachuted from the sides. To avoid being fully torn apart, we fully freed the elemental. Left with a partially-intact boat – but no longer airship – Gijit befriended the half-elf cousin to the captain and ship’s navigator, Randall/Blackfoot, and made our way to the island marked in the map.
We beat the ‘aliens’ to it. There, we found a buried pyramid. Yowyn Stone Shape’d his way into the apex, there to find an ancient stone skull. After retrieving it, Yowyn…tripped. And a drop of blood fell onto the stone skull.
And then it all went to hell.
Blood began to propagate in the skull. The evil radiating from it was palpable. Before long, the blood took on a life of its own, jumping from person to person and seeking to take the life – or perhaps do worse – to everyone it touched. Eventually, it was partially calmed by Yowyn channeling an excessive amount of positive energy into it. But not before the humming began: the ‘aliens’ had come to claim the skull as their own. After falling all over themselves in a pile of Grease, getting stabbed righteously by Khalid, and being cloven in twain by dear sweet Fosk. The only other surviving (former) prisoner sacrificed himself by boarding the alien ship as it was taking off. Once aboard, he caused enough chaos to cause it to go careening off into the distance.
With this reprieve, we rejoined Blackfoot and set sail on the high seas. Said high seas we not cooperative, however. A terrible storm struck. The main mast was taken down, and the water taken on by the ship was only slightly less voluminous than the vomit from our resilient heroes. Desperate, we searched for land so that we could make repairs before we fell apart in the sea. We found it—and with it, we found Marr.
When Marr Cornisk first observed a majestic, high-masted ship sailing toward him, his heart leapt for joy. Finally! A ship had come! All it needed was his fine leadership! The seagulls who had been his constant companion would finally have a repository other than his shoulders! But as it approached, majesty gave way to decrepitude, and a shambling hulk finally came to rest on the beach before him.
After the newcomers explained their situation, it became clear to all that their best bet would be to find a mast together. Very few trees of sufficient size were to be seen, however. Upon venturing out, our courageous heroes mercilessly slaughtered every soul in a small goblin village, down to the women and children. They followed a path from there deep into the core of the swampy island, taking supplies from a goblin shaman’s tree hut along the way (since, after all, he clearly did not need them with his tribe dead). But where goblins could not give our fine heroes pause, the swamp itself did: the bog collapsed, a dank whirlpool swirling our heroes into a dark abyss.
Fortunately, it was not a deep abyss. Just an ancient temple. Scholars of history, our heroes knew that only good things came of exploring ancient ruined temples, and so ventured onward. Soon, the hiss of a naga rattled their bones. The kind creature claimed that it, and its master, owned the island; and it wished merely to help them find a mast. Unwilling to part with their worldly goods, however, our heroes saw fit to instead attack. Or more precisely, Fosk saw fit to split it in two. (They also faced a decaying horseman bound to its mount from around a corner; but since that took them to within an inch of their collective lives, we’ll leave that one out.)
Eventually, the heroes made their way out of the temple. Observing boggart breeding grounds, they thought the goblin children they had killed were enough for one day, and so left well enough alone.
Or close enough. They then slew a triceratops on the way home—albeit after a couple party members were almost impaled, eviscerated and mauled simultaneously. In a show of sympathy – and, as it turned out, potentially practicing for the future – Gijit almost convinced the calf to join them after they had slain the mother. But Marr [or was it Khalid?] would have none of it; and Gijit was sad.
Took triceratops skull back and mounted it on the prow of the ship; Fosk (or was it Khalid?) began carving into it, realized partway through that the designs looked kinda like the swirling patterns on the skull
Lizardmen – surrounded, threatened, tasked us with killing Boggart queen
Just [before? after?] we killed the Boggart queen, Marr tried to swipe the skull, which apparently had been partially reactivated in the fight with the Triceratops
At some point, we overnighted away from the ship; and when we returned, Blackfoot was gone; found tracks, led along the beach and then disappeared
That night, heard the ghostly sound (kind of like some type of wildlife, perhaps moose?, but not) from across the island…Marr went like Blackfoot had, essentially losing track of everything else around him, then slowly lifting off into the air and glowing
Battle in the sky, etc.
We went off to get the mast from the Lizardmen grove; encounter with the aberration and the tree that tried to eat us; cave with the bone throne
To get the mast back, Yowyn raised the water level and helped wash it down the river to get it to the proper side of the island
At some point, Yowyn used a spell to reach someone who would summon the air elemental directly; turned out to be very powerful; revealed we knew his True Name (Ahhuaate) (“These rings bind to service the one named Ahhuaate”), but would not reveal to anyone else and would give him the bonds that had held him so that he could destroy them, if he helped us get the ship to fly; took him some time to engineer their destruction, but then paid Fernando (from Sigil) to come and craft us a gate to the elemental plane of air that we could direct and use to power the ship; Fernando accompanied by Shae (shadowy figure, Khalid seemed to have connection) and Peri (fiery semi-angelic figure)
Rai-il’s arrival; coral reef illusion to guide him in toward us; Roc encounter, including Yowyn blinding one, killed both parents, etc.; first-hatched one became Rai-il’s familiar, took remaining eggs back to ship, along with wings and other body parts of parents; affixed wings to the ship; a couple of the baby Rocs stuck with us for awhile, a couple flew off
Encounter on the high seas with illithid-like merchant ship, wanted to pay us rubies for the skull
One of the “traders” cryptically said that “Terizan leaves a mark” at some point after the party refused to sell the talisman
Yowyn has been tasked with saving 100 dwarves (not at once) to repay for his dealings with the roc
We’re trying to save Absalom from destruction, relating somehow to the skull
The ‘aliens’ came back in a well planned heist and recaptured the skull. Even with a series of dimension doors, a resilient sphere, and surprise, the Witchwynds still lost many in the assault, but they were successful and they seemed quite content with that.
A combination of Yowyn’s commune with his diety and the bits of info picked up along the way, it is clear that the Talisman will be used to ?destroy? Absalom. The party (due in part to Yowyn’s quest to save dwarven lives) has decided to head to Absolom to try to warn them / see what we can do to stop it.

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