The Northwild: Manifest Destiny

Session 41: Journey's End
One story ends, another begins.

Attending: Flint, Saza Loripine Spirewind Iskandar, Gloria… and — one last time — Sir MacDougal Wyth

FROM THE TESTIMONY OF FLINT SINCATHION:

So… it went down like this. Mac caught the traveling bug bad — god stuff, something to do with Marthammor, I don’t know. He came down at breakfast and grabbed whoever was available. Next thing we knew, he was hustling us off on a journey to the afterlife. No, not like that — he’d rigged up a portal in his room that was supposed to let us travel between planes. Next stop, Celestia.

Naturally, things didn’t work out that way. Next thing we knew, we were trapped in this kind of… in-between place. Pieces of lost buildings and places just hanging above the void, doors that could lead anywhere. Saza could probably tell you more about the magic stuff there. We weren’t alone, of course. No sooner had we got there then this massive worm burst out of… well… everywhere. I don’t know how to describe it. It was kinda real and not-real, both at the same time? It was solid enough to hit, at least.

Then all of a sudden, we were thrown someplace else. To Ysgard, the warrior’s paradise, believe it or not. Not a bad place. The first person we ran into there was this old blind woman climbing up a mountain. I guess she offered Saza something about revealing her fate or some such. But none of us were interested in that tripe, so she just went away.

Then we ran into these valkyries outside of this big mead hall. They said if we went around it three times widdershins, we’d be let in for a single drink. But each of us would encounter some test of strength along the way. Gloria was real interested in that for… well… reasons. So the rest of us tagged along.

We made it into the mead hall for that drink. But what happened along the way, and what happened in there… that’s not my place to tell. Buncha personal stuff happened. Isk got a new elk form. I attacked Kord — went about as well as you’d expect. (Hell of a punch, that guy.) And Gloria… I think… I think she got what she needed.

FROM THE SECRET TALES OF THE COMPANIONS OF MARTHAMMOR:

And it is said that each of the adventurers was individually tested, save for one:

  • Iskandar the druid gave chase to a great elf in wolf form through the woods; and upon successful hunting it, at significant cost, he gained its power;
  • Gloria of the Notched Spear encountered the warrior who killed her family — and, after significant struggle, chose not to forgive him, but not to kill him either. Instead, she forgave herself, and in so doing, gained access to the Hall where she was greeted by the spirits of her dead kin, and learned that her elder brother was still alive;
  • Saza the necromancer found a chess game where her companions served as her pieces, and rather than sacrifice one of them to win, chose to sacrifice herself;
  • And Flint encountered his lost love — his elder adopted sister, whom he had left behind. And despite Kord himself intervening to tell him that the offer was no illusion, he chose to move on, and return with his companions to continue their struggle against the Council of Wyrms. It is also said he attempted to attack Kord after the god admitted to watering down the booze in his hall. And Kord did laugh, for he knew this to be both just and proper.

But MacDougal was not tested. For a much greater test — and sacrifice — awaited him elsewhere.

FROM THE TESTIMONY OF FLINT SINCATHION:

Then we got pulled back to the floating building place. Found these insect-y things waiting for us, but they weren’t a problem. That worm was still there, unfortunately. It even swallowed Mac whole. Saza destroyed it with a single spell, somehow — and it’s right about then that we got dragged off again.

This time, though, we wound up split up. Isk, me and Gloria wound up at Celestia; while Saza and Mac (of course) wound up in the City of Brass on the Elemental Plane of Fire. There, they managed to trade part of their souls or something for three dragonslayer arrows, which I can see comin’ in real handy real soon. I guess some stuff also happened with this brass dragon who played a trick on them. Also, Mac regenerated some guy’s dick. I dunno. Ask Saza.

As for the three of us who wound up in Heaven… again, personal stuff. Not my business to tell. It… it was a good time, while it lasted. Let’s leave it at that.

But there was something that came up when it was time for us to leave. This part’s important. We were told that we could stay, if we wanted… and we were shown visions of something good that would NOT happen, because of our presence in the real world.

  • Isk saw something about a bunch of the Northwilds remaining safe and verdant; but if he went back, it would get conquered and corrupted by an army of the undead;
  • Gloria saw something involving her older brother;
  • And I saw Khar Therum. If I didn’t go back, they’d get over losing the two lower levels and just move on. But if I went back… the war would continue, somehow.

That… took us some time to think about. But… we all came back anyway. Duty, y’know. It’s kind of a real bitch sometimes.

FROM THE SECRET TALES OF THE COMPANIONS OF MARTHAMMOR:

Once again, the adventurers were drawn back to the outpost on the Astral Plane, where they at last encountered that which was responsible for the great net they were enmeshed in: an Elder Brain, greatest of all Mind Flayers. The adventurers did destroy the abomination; and so served Marthammor, he who above all else keeps the way open and the paths clear.

FROM THE TESTIMONY OF FLINT SINCATHION:

The battle was rough, but we got it together in the end. Mac went down just as we dealt the final blow. With the brain dead, the net came apart.

Everything gets… patchy for me at that point. I remember getting over to Mac, and healing him — he was awake and conscious, I remember that. I know that. He’s not dead, okay? He’s not.

And then I guess we were back in Mac’s room, with a bunch of his stuff — his armor and his tartan. But… no Mac. And somehow we all knew… he wasn’t coming back this time. This time, it was for keeps.

And I… don’t know what I’m supposed to do without him now.

… that’s it. That’s all I have to say.

FROM THE SECRET TALES OF THE COMPANIONS OF MARTHAMMOR:

And it was then as the portal closed, that MacDougal Wyth was taken up in Marthammor’s arms. And that he gave up all his burdens, so as to travel light — his armor and weapons, his responsibility to the memory of his dead clan, even his name. He was elevated to become one of Marthammor’s favorite traveling companions. But not before he made two last visits:

  • First, to his enemy — Emberhorn, king of the dwarfs of Khar Therum. And there the foes did talk, and it is said they made peace with each other, frozen between the seconds by Marthammor’s grace. Emberhorn promised to allow MacDougal’s teacher and mentor to escape his prison. And the dwarf once known as MacDougal did forgive him. And so did they both lighten their loads.
  • Second, to his friend – Iskandar, whom he entrusted with his final gift to the Northwilds: a map of that territory for all travelers, so that they can find their way. To this day, it is known as the MacDougal Map.

If the dwarf once known as MacDougal did anything else before he left the world for good, it has been lost to the wilds. But this much is known — that the dwarf once called MacDougal Wyth, adventurer and favored of Marthammor, still wanders the paths. Some believe he helps to guide the souls of the dead to their final destinations; others, that he merely does his god’s bidding to keep the way clear as needed.

And so did the tale of MacDougal Wyth end… and a new one begin.

REWARDS:
x3 Dragonslayer Arrows
x1 Frost Giant Skeleton (Gross!)
8,000 EXP per person

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Session 40: Vengeance is Mine 88
Lean out to make a poopy

Attending: Flint, Saza Loripine Spirewind, Sir MacDougal Wyth, Sir Calaph di Sutherland, Gloria, Iskandar

{Still typing this up, but this is a place holder}

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Session 39: The Rise, Fall, Rise, Fall, and Rise of House Khemstock
on lock for a Khemstock warlock cock block

Attending: Gloria, Sir Calaph di Sutherland, Saza Loripine Spirewind, Sir MacDougal Wyth

“A Toast! A Toast from our liberators! A Toast from the Dauntless Dozen!”
“But there’s only 4 of them.”
“Shhh”
“Toast! Toast! Toast!”

The Crowd quiets down. MacDougal raises a flagon of Tabby’s Tawny Tripel and speaks in booming, cleric-y tones.

“To Gloria! A fighter and a champion above all others!”

Everyone cheers and stomps their feet. Gloria blushes, but that might also just be the blood splatters on her face catching the light. She stands abruptly, holding her drink (which might just be green tea) like a weapon.

“To……..”

Her giants eyes take in the waiting crowd, who all wonder if she’s also been possessed by another demon.

“………..fighting!”

THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE! It takes a minute or two for the banquet hall/tent/ruin to quiet down. Saza stands. No one notices. An animated skeleton picks her up and places her on the table, to everyone’s chagrin. Slipping on a bottle of rye, Saza speaks in an affectless, bored tone while her eyes roll around in her head.

“To….” she looks back at Mac and Gloria and smirks. “To luck.”

Saza makes a rude gesture and the skeleton puts her back down as the assembled Khemstocks huzzah for luck, though the elder siblings seem more muted at this idea. Sir Calalph rises, all smiles, and hoists a goblet of rosé. He makes significant eye contact with everyone.

“Honestly, I have nothing to say….”

A servant in the back sighs with relief.

“…I have something to sing! Hit it, troubadour rock!”

Well gather round, people, and I’ll tell you a tale
of demons and mages and plots.
Twas just two days ago as the dawn was a-pale
we were visited by old Georg Khemstock
He entreated our help as his home was locked down,
with evils and devils afoot.
So we gathered our bags, and set off with a bound,
though in truth we traveled on foot.

The same servant from before says ‘did he just rhyme foot with foot?’, but is ssssh’ed by his colleagues.

Castle Khemstock was filled with demons and more,
And Lady Tabitha had just disappeared!
Mindcontrol magics with a Khemstock at the core,
and red lights had everyone all a-feared.
Macdougal prayed that Tabitha was spared,
and Saza summoned a dead platoon
to distraction attack the front of the
while we all flew into Tabby’s bedroom.
A Marilith appeared with so many arms,
and glowing-eyed bewitched soldier men!
But the Marilith’s tail couldn’t keep her from harm,
punched out by Bigby’s Big Hand.
We searched for survivors who all were quite stressed,
beset by paranoia’s dark sting.
But we tied up the possessed and saved all the rest,
Like a scene from John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Suddenly two demons blundered into our path,
A Nalfeshee and Hezrou!
Thus the halls of castle became a bloodbath
as all of our weapons struck true.
Gloria soared through the air like an arrow,
while Calaph and Baba flanked mightily.
The demons were sliced and diced to their marrow,
hand-mandled by the hand of Bigby!
Into the basement went our heroic band
To find horror from another dimension.
But Balor or no, we had the upper hand,
Thanks to some Divine Intervention.
We beheld a sight that was one for the ages,
for the villain was Emilee Khemstock.
She had possessed her two sibling blood mages
though she was revealed as a warlock.
Battle began with a great thunderwave!
So loud it made all our ears pop!
Mac started bleeding as Saza commanded the grave,
And then Natasha attempted Time Stop.
(call and response section)
Can you counter a counterspell?
Well, I countered your counterspell!
Did she counter that counterspell?
Well, I counterspelled her back!
But there has yet been a spell devised by warlock
that can keep away Gloria’s fist
which violently knocked out Emilee Khemstock,
after which the rest were a cinch.
With Tabitha restored to her rightful place,
Emilee spit and rejected absolution.
So with a broken heart masked by a regal calm face,
Lady Khemstock carried our her execution.
So now we all feast and give thanks for victory,
And we’ll toast till our faces are red,
And we’ll smile to ourselves as we count up XP,
For this storyline has been put to bed.
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Session 38: Playbooks and Slaybooks
Also Pending

LOOT: + Vorpal Chainsword (Has reach, 3 to hit and damage, decapitates its target on a roll of a 20).
+ Plate Mail of Arrow Deflection (
1 plate that grants an additional 2 AC versus ranged attacks)
+ Halberd of Wounding (
2 Halberd that applies a “wound token.” The wound token adds an additional 1d4 damage every time the target takes damage. 2 wound tokens increases this to a d6, 3 a d8 and so on up to d12)

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Session 37: Before Blades Meet
"There are literal gods who walk the realm. How can you be an atheist?"

Attending: MacDougal Wyth,Saza, Flint, Teyrnon, Brakitsur

(Report is the amalgamation of various letters by MacDougal Wyth)

Dear Roscoe;

In my short time in the Northwild, I’ve been put in the unique situation to cross the veil between life and the great beyond, to bring someone back from behind that veil about five times. The first to were quick and dirty: the equivalent of emergency medical care for two of Lady Khemstock’s retinue in our arduous journey through Redblades feckin’ terrtitory. Next was General Clague, which was done out of respect and understanding that he really didn’t need to leave this life yet. The last two have been perhaps the more affecting: Saza who has returned all the darker in mood, and Vyentuk. I was tempted to let him lie…to let my friend rest in peace: to be remebered for his heroism. Yet..Marthammor Duin insisted there was more purpose for him.

So I put his body in grass, drank a beer in the pale moonlight, and walked a path for him to return to his body, only to be joined by her highness: The Raven Queen. We talked about Vyentuk: she’s of the impression that there isn’t much to him useful to unless I were involved. I think that’s a cheap way to view a life but she’s a God, so I didn’t say that aloud. Vyentuks return was conditional to our upcoming journey to Bladesmeet:
1. Garrickthur the Barbarian is not to die under any circumstances.
2. The wives of Az Ar Kul, the Grand Tyrant of the Red Hand, is not to die.
3. We are to stay out and not interfere in the fate Rilety, the daughter of Az Ar Kul.

I shortly after saw Marthammor in body for the first time. I was not my most composed. I’m pretty sure I wheeped like a shrieking fangirl. At some point I introduced Brak to Tamara (no relation) and handed the responsibilities of primary pastoral work at Dauntless to Father Bertio. Bad things are coming: my services can be used elsewhere.

Vyentuk, post revival, agreed to help Morrinkrath’s grander plan, with a bunch of conditions (giving him substantial power in the organization, ability to shape the mission to be more noble in character, etc).

How’s bard college?


Fiona,

It is midnight at the camp that formerly belonged to Garrickthur, and my head hurts not from the heapin casks of ale I just aquired, but greater awareness. I had hope to invite you to this decadent place of pleasure. I should have known better what it was in the first place.

We rolled into Garrickthur’s encampment with our Redhand group and suddenly ran into a very particular snag. Garrickthur made a single insistence to Vyentuk that he not go with Morrinkrath and Vyentuk quickly had himself a 180 of heart from being enthusiastic about his future with Morrinkrath to quickly deferring to our larger than life friend. Teyrnon and Morrinkrath had a larger discussion about the ways in which one can change ones mind when I felt the suspicion to investigate. I did some digging..and Garrickthur is not who we believed. He was very much an Illthid; A Mindflayer. Blegh. I slept with that thing. I mean I slept next to that thing. Teyrnon though…

We got some distance from the encampment to begin thinking of a plan. As has been the mood lately, I reached out for assistance. We needed our friend, but we couldn’t just kill the being enslaving an entire encampment of warriors. Per my agreement. I struck a bargain with..uhh..Kord. You ever met Kord? That fucker will put hair on your chest; or the lady like equivalent. He lent us the valkyrie Zoomaria to help incapacitate the Flayer. Saza lent us her new friends…who are skeletons. Ugh.

-We roll back into the camp, and this is where I get really embarrassed: Flint, Teyrnon, and I had been uhh..psionically conditioned to protect Garrickthur. Fortunately, we couldn’t protect him from the Valkyrie who charged through the tent with a spear and began to run off with him.
-Teyrnon got some shots off at Zoomaria before he came to and spent the fight engaging with the similarly conditioned warriors stuck at the encampment.
-Flint and Saza engaged in a recurring game of “Polymoprh the Illithid” and Flint trying to help said Illithid: Saza took advantage of Flint’s newly acquired handicap. Flint eventually captured Garrickthur with a net arrow.
-Brak has become surprisingly calm and collected, largely staying out of the fray and convincing the blood hungry warriors to just chill.
-Once I came to I helped get Vyentuk to his senses.

In the aftermath, we pressured the fucker to let his hold on everyone go. He insisted what he was doing was better for all of them. We briefly tried to explain the concept of “consent” to a FUCKING MINDFLAYER. I swear, sometimes we are shitty at which people we try to talk to. Zoomaria did us the favor of taking our squidfaced friend to another plane of existence. In tribute to her work, we need to slay ourselves a dragon. No pressure, but there’s a whole council of them wanting us dead. Shouldn’t be hard.

I’m going to drink something stronger. I need some sleep.

PS- Flint actually made positive social interactions. He met the Elves of Aeschel’Valan (Galindor and Irindus). They’re recluses to the North. We gave ‘em a copy of the Council of Wyrms letter: they’re open to meeting us to potentially allie with us.


My Griff!

Enclosed is a rough sketch of the road to the Red Hand high command. I can’t articulate the splendor of the glittering path because this glitterin’ path belongs to the oppressed high elf communities of the Northwild, who now serve as slaves to the Red Hand.

Morrinkrath prattles endlessly about etiquette for this event and the joyous history of taking this fortune. It’s fun to throw shade on Elves in my culture, but it sickens me to walk this path. The knowledge to do what’s right colliding with not having the will and power to fix the issue makes me deeply upset.

Please update the big map with this; send a copy to our allies.


Sir O,

To answer your question about Bladesmeet, I got the event list:
Bobsleigh;
Combat Skiing;
Artistic Singles Figure Skating;
Doubles Figure Skating (an emphasis on pattern work);
The Great Hunt;
Hockey;
Curling;
Ice Sculpture;
And Bone Throw Divination.

There is a blood sport to all elements of this. Even curling. More later.


My sweet ale,

I hate dinner parties, especially the opening dinner for Bladesmeet. Yet…it was not without its charm. We were all dressed to the nines. Saza had herself a coming out party for this new edition of her: I have to say the color black DOES suit her. She made her presence known by engaging with Az Ar Kul’s Shaman. Fun fact: Az Ar Kul is irreligious. I’m not asking for fucking deep belief but for Marthammor’s sake I SPOKE TO THREE FUCKING GODS IN THE SPAN OF A WEEK! HOW CAN YOU…You know my frustration.

Anyway. Saza showed her new appreciation for the Raven Queen by animating the bones on the shaman’s dress. Brak mosied about and made aquaintances with the lone human at the party, Gideon. He learned he has a love for the ale. Teyrnon learned that one of the elder Hobgoblins wants to die spectacularly. I gained some insight into the Az Ar Kul’s first wife: she’s incredibly racist toward us soft skins, and learned one of the mages present has died twice and it has rattled him deeply.

Flint found a big glaring weakness: there is a Bugbear commander who will never be in line to rise up in this meritocracy, because there is presently “no place for the Bugbears” in the Redhand.

You would have enjoyed the dinner. I tried really had to channel your calm here.

Oh, and Asshole Wimp. Asshole Wimp, fka Drigtar of the 99 fists has retired those hands to now be called “Drigtar the Decapitator”..because he has come into having himself a vorpal sword of sorts. And it appears his highest superior is prone to caving to his primadonna whims. Oh what a poser. I can’t wait to watch Gloria kick his ass.


XP: 2,000 EXP for Garrok Thur’s camp (Per Person)
2,000 Session EXP (Per Person)

Loot: A TON of trade goods from Garrickthur’s Encampment.
3,000 GP worth of various trade goods (after a gift to Azarr Kul). In addition to this, there were x3 cure arrows (2d4+4 HP), x2 Rope arrows, x3 Fire Arrows (+1d6 Fire Damage), x3 Lightning Arrows (deals 1d6 lightning damage to all in 5 feet of target hit)

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Session 36: Every ROSARET has its thorns
In which closure is found via violence.

In attendance: Braktisur, Saza Loripine Spirewind, Gloria, and Flint

Part I

- So with the Crawling Throne destroyed, it’s time for Brak to finally get his vengeance against the man who abused him, the corrupt Grand High Crusader General of the Light: Rosaret!
- Saza disguises Brak as a page with polymorph. He goes into Rosaret’s tent and finds him as a disease-ridden old man shitting his lifeblood away (which brings him joy.) He convinces the other two pages to leave by “accidentally” tripping over the chamberpot.
- He’s about to kill the bastard when his hand is grabbed — by a beaten-up solar missing its wings.
- And that’s when things go south.
- In the tumult, Saza summons a fire elemental and casts blight on Rosaret. Much to her surprise, this kills him outright. Brak says we can leave now.
- This unfortunately does not disperse or desummon the angel. Which gets pissed off and kills Saza and downs Brak — all in the space of a single round (!).
- Gloria bashes the angel and runs for it. A crusader asks her if the fire elemental it just saw go into the tent is still there. “Yes, but it’s changed form!” The soldiers form up but aren’t sure whether or not to attack. The angel makes up their minds for them by cleaving straght through them.
- Having taken no damage yet, Flint tells Gloria to take off with Brak and Saza’s corpse. Knowing he has no chance of taking the thing, Flint resorts to trash talk. Eventually, he strikes a nerve. The angel teleports behind him and grabs him by the neck. (Triggering Flint’s seizure curse — which is by the way kind of the worst thing ever.)
- That’s when Father Bertio — an elderly priest and Brak’s father figure — creeps up behind the solar and strikes it from behind with banishment. He nails it (1). The fallen angel goes back from whence it came.
- In the aftermath, it turns out that the fallen angel and Rosarette have been pulling the church’s strings for a long time. A lot of the army’s more immoral actions — including the raiding of civilian supplies — can be traced straight back to him. In penance, Perrinar and Hawthorne decide they’re going to go after the death knight. Since the road doesn’t appear to be agreeing with Father Bertio, Flint suggests that he set up shop at Dauntless and stay close to Brak.
- Brak and Gloria head back to Dauntless to get Saza rezzed. While she’s dead, though, Saza has a conversation with the Raven Queen (who initially appears in the form of Squib.) (Fun fact: she and Marthammor are besties!)

Total XP: 9250 XP (more fun with CR 20 creatures!)

Treasure: Gloria raided Rosarette’s chifferobe for bling when no one was looking.
3000 gp (-500 gp for Saza’s rez cost, divided among four = 625 gp each)

Part II

- Weeks later, we head up north to help Perrinar and Hawthorne track down the death knight. Going through Bael Turath, we make sure the refugees we met make it back to their village.
- While on the road, we got attacked by trolls when a certain someone I won’t mention(2) falls asleep on watch. After the initial shock, we take care of them without too much trouble.
- As we move further north, we come across Mordrick’s Factory. Flint takes note of the location.
- Finally coming across the death knight’s tracks, we head into the wilderness. In the process, we come across two packs of canines fighting — one side being two-headed death dogs, and the other being these weird human-faced things (3). Before we can move on, they turn on us when they detect easier prey. Saza takes the initiative and cheerfully uses chemical warfare (aka cloudkill) to clear out the warring packs. The other hounds go down fairly easily, but one gets Victor with a diseased bite, which means Gloria forces us to go home so Mac can cure it.

XP: 1800 XP (trolls) + 2000 XP (hounds) + 1000 XP (session bonus because Dan has nearly enough to level up (4))

(1) Ryan rolled two crit fails in a row for the solar’s saving throws.
(2) It was Brak. He made up for it later by rolling two twenties. It was that kind of session.
(3) Yeth hounds.
(4) FYI Flint is now level 13.

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Session 35: Scry The Throne
Power Word Biff

Attending: Saza Loripine Spirewind, Iskandar, Flint, Sir MacDougal Wyth, Gloria, Sir Calaph di Sutherland,

{editors note; at Shelby’s request, I’ve been asked to ‘punch up’ my progress reports to the Duke to add a more humanoid interest angle. While I resent this impingement on my creativity, I told them I’d give it a go if they promised to tell me where they keep the good pens.}

The day I saw the world end in flames

We set out to negotiate a cease fire between Bael Turath and the Crusaders of Lathander who have been in conflict ever since Rosarette led the knights north. Both sides feel equally aggrieved and disinclined to trust each other. When Saza and Iskandar arcane eye the Crawling Throne, however, they discover that the throne is not weeks away from discovering the ancient mass grave, but days. Days until the world ends. We do more recon, discovering that the Throne is a series of platforms carried by zombies and pulled by undead giants. A Dracolich and cultist-operated catapult provides aerial support, a massive organ seems to mesmerize the undead legions, and in the center is the Hex Lich that rules them all. It’s a mess. And it’s almost at its goal.

The day I realized I was the only one who couldn’t hear the voice of God.

We teleport to Bale Turath, grab some supplies and a letter of introduction from Ambassador Karakass Endell, and head towards the two armies in the field to convince them that the real enemy is the Throne. It’s….challenging. Both sides are stubborn and planning treachery. Fortunately, they both agree to attack the Throne while we conduct a more surgical strike. Commander Perrin, however, has received orders from High Command to betray the Bael Turath forces, which is kinda stretching the definition of ‘neutral good’ if you ask me. We plead with him to act with more honor. Bael Turath promises to do their part, which should have been a warning sign, in retrospect.

The day I left my home to find something more.

The day of the attack is overcast and stormy, thanks to some divine intersession. As the armies harry the front left of the Throne, a sabotage team of Sir Renfro, Sir Georg of Caer Greenwald, and Captain Vyentuk goes for the catapult. We strike from the air, with Mac and Saza on flying carpet, Calaph on his owl, Gloria and Flint on Victor, and Iskandar riding himself in bird form (dirty). Our plan is to free a captive frost giant in the hopes that he fucks things up. We’re immediately met by the Dracolich, which engages with Gloria and Flint, while Saza and Mac descend to the giant. Iskandar dive bombs the Dracolich, which shakes him off, bites him, and temporarily strikes fear in Flints heart, causing him and Gloria to battle over Victor’s reins. Iskandar is freewill and fails to thorn whip lasso the Dracolich, who slashes, wing slaps and bites us. Then the catapult fires.

The day I lost everything.

Mac and Saza free the giant and turn it invisible, so now a massive empty space is smashing zombies left and right. Sabotage team launches the catapult not at the Lich, but at the massive organ, destroying it and breaking the Lich’s hold over the horde of undead. Meanwhile, Calaph is knocked off his owl and starts falling as the Dracolich readies a breath weapon. Flint channels Lara Croft and rope arrows the Dracolich. He swings underneath it, causing it to loose it’s aim, and then tangles its wings in the rope. It plummets to the ground, ultimately crashing into the catapult and killing Captain Vyentuk [DECEASED] in the process. Two vampires arrive and leave in short order after getting fireballed, frost giant-ed, thunderwave cannonballed, and raked by giant bird talons. Calaph grabs his owl’s serpentine tail and descends low enough to jump onto Baba’s back. He checks the package strapped to the owl and commands it to climb. Reunited on the Crawling Throne platforms, the party confronts the Lich.
As we approach, we attempt to take the initiative by killing the zombies supporting the Lich’s platform. This works, but Flint gets cursed for his trouble. Calaph gives the signal and something begins to fall from the sky: EV-9D9, the battle droid we brought Back from the Future. Lightning strikes it several times, causing it to power up and enter ‘combat mode’, just as a Bonestrider arrives to flank us. We confidently descend on the Lich with curses, lighting and dispel magicks.
The Lich casts power word kill on Saza.

The day I discovered the power I had inside me.

Power Word Kill is one of the most powerful spells in the world. Counterspell is known to almost any semi-literate hedge mage. The chances of successfully countering an instant death spell is maybe 10%.
Saza does it.
The Lich strikes back with life disruptions and Lair effect, but now we’re in mêlée range. Gloria finally throws down her gods-damn bow and fire up her lightsaber, charging in on victory to swipe at the Lich. From the beginning, Sir Calaph had argued for a decapitation strategy. Most thought he was being figurative. Baba leaps across a chasm of grasping zombie hands and Calaph, infused with divine power, takes the Lich’s head from its shoulders. The Lich’s Phylactery, spread throughout the army, glows brightly, as a rapid-firing EV-9D9 starts to get overwhelmed by zombies. Saza, still shaking from her miraculous save, unloads her magic missile wand on the softened up Bone Strider.
We grab the Lich’s body, get on our mounts, and flee as the EV-9D9 goes critical. For a moment, there is no sound. Then a deafening roar as the Battle Droid ignites and obliterates the Crawling Throne. In the aftermath, we confirm the Lich is no more and help the survivors of the battle bury their dead. Bael Turath ended up betraying the Crusaders, but at least Perrin didn’t betray his beliefs. We return home to Castle Dauntless, wounds mending, friends mourned, apocalypse cancelled.

Today. Because today I can still make a difference.

XP: 12,400. Damn.
Loot: items taken from the cultists.
[In a quiver on a deceased Crusader sharpshooter] x3 Lightning arrows (+2d8 lightning damage and 1d8 lightning damage to all creatures within 5 feet of a struck target, no save)
x2 Net Arrows (Target entangled until they make a DC15 Athletics/Acrobatics to escape)
x2 Rope Arrows
x3 Healing Arrows (Heals 2d8 to struck target)

-Battle Standard of Dawn: When planted in the ground as an action, it grants the same buffs as bless to all allies in 60 feet of the standard. If a foe drops the standard, the same stats are debuffed accordingly until it is raised again.

[Lich] Robe of Scintillating Colors

[Lich] Spellbook with the ritual to become a lich, an advanced version of it to spread one’s phylactery about, an interpretation thereof for making demiliches (which can be further blunted to make flame skulls) Every spell listed in the entry for “Lich” in the MM

[Lich] Staff of Skulls – It’s a staff made of skulls. Go figure. +1 to save DC of necromancy spells, and 1d6 charges of Animate Dead per day. Undead made in this way are permanent. This staff slowly but surely corrupts its user.

[Cult Leader – killed by Crusaders] Pallid Mask – Grants advantage on saves VS gaze attacks. Makes one immune to the Hex Lich eye. Looks spooky.

[Found in the cultist’s quarters] Scrolls: x2 Bestow Curse, x3 Speak with Dead, x2 Feign Death, x1 Locate Creature, x1 Word of Recall, x1 Forbiddence, x1 Symbol ,x1 Divine Word, x4 Cure

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Session 34: War! Huh? What Is It Good For?

We head North by way of Bael Turath, but we don’t spend too long in the city itself. The place rubs Flint the wrong way, and I am growing tired of hearing about my dancing skills. Not far from the city, we find a massive shanty town where refugees from the farmlands have set up camp. It’s not a pretty picture. A woman named Sishenna explains just how bad things are since they were driven from their homes by the presence of the undead and the fighting between Bael Turath and the Crusaders of Lathander. We delay our scouting a day while Mac buys some warm clothes for the freezing people, and we promise to do what we can for them. Apparently some of them want to leave Bael Turath, but the tiefling Council of 666 treats their common folk as little more than slaves. Note to self: start working on disguises.

Also, it’s a good thing we stayed a bit longer. The camp was attacked by ettins in the night and we were able to help fend them off. Flint was …. bloodthirsty, but effective.

A couple days west of the refugee camp we find the trail of the throne, still making its way north. There are also some weird lights painting the sky in unnatural colors, Mac thinks it’s a sign of something big is about to happen. Maybe Saza will know more?

The first life we see in the farmlands is some scouts from the Crusade. They bring us to a nearby village to speak with their commander, Major Janica Hawthorne. She seems decent enough, and is just as frustrated as we are that the two armies cannot stop fighting each other long enough to deal with the undead threat. When we fill her in on what they’re looking for, she’s even more worried. Mac sends word to the other Crusaders through some of the folks he met before, and we offer to bring Ser Caliph up to see if he can help with their faltering truce, but Janica has more immediate worries.

Turns out a mercenary captain named Chernow is not up the (ammitedly lacking) moral standards of the Crusaders, and she’s got a mutiny on her hands. We agree to help her with her problem, but I’m still pissed that she seems to think she’s the good guy in all of this. Just because her boss ORDERED her to pillage the countryside, doesn’t mean what they’re doing to these people isn’t wrong. At least she and her men have the decency to be ashamed once they learn that the people their torturing are less than willing participants in the war currently destroying their homes. Hypocrites.

But one problem at a time. Captain Chernow is about fifteen times worse than the rest of them, and thinks this war gives him free reign to rape and pillage his way trough the countryside. He and some of his men are planning to attack if Janica won’t step down and let them keep doing whatever the hell they want. We do our part to help prepare for the battle. Flint lays some traps, Mac helps boost morale and helps our fledgeling commander find her groove, while I play some mind games with the enemy troops. Side note: my reputation around Bael Turath is starting to get a little weird. I’m some sort of clumsy oaf in daily life that turns into a true terror on the battlefield. There’s potential there I can work with.

The battle goes well for us. Between the traps and Flint’s archers, their vanguard fell apart fast, and Mac basically destroyed half their army on his own. Do not piss off that dwarf or his god. Chernow thought he could outsmart us by flanking the town with some fo the cavalry and going after the few civilians that were still around, but I stayed back with some fo the horses Flint stole just in case he tried to pull something like that. It did not go well for him.

No time for celebration though. The battle wasn’t even finished when a swarm of undead came over the horizon, led by a towering deathknight on a flaming horse. We got the people out of there as fast as we could, and he seemed content to let us go. The thing made it clear that the Crawling Throne doesn’t want us there, so we better get back up there real fast.

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Session 33: Deck the Mak’Nathals with bowels of folly!
Walking in a Neverwinter Wonderland

Attending: Saza Loripine Spirewind, Gloria, Tobbar Riker, Sir Calaph di Sutherland, Flint
Observing: Tobbar’s girlfriend

It’s February 7 and it’s cold in the Northwild.

Dashing through the Snow

  • Tobbar Riker emerges from his laboratory needing a special ingredient for a new potion: the tip of the tongue of an orcish matriarch. That’s a metaphor, right?
  • No, no it wasn’t.
  • After some thin justifications about whether or not tongues regenerate, we head north to the orc camp that apparently was there the whole time, just waiting for us to notice it.
  • We run into bearfucker Hendrick, dressing a deer with abandon. Gloria’s new mount, a griffon named Victor, takes the deer’s skull as a toy, and Hendrick warns us that the orcs are dangerous. Sir Calaph di Sutherland buys his carved-bone chess set.
  • Later on, we free some humans and hobgoblins who were turned into tormented trees by an orcish shaman. Dick move.

Hot Mayonnaise with a side of steak

  • Beautiful clear skies!
  • We come upon the orcs in the midst of Mak’Nathal, a relatively peaceful time when Orcs don’t wage war and give each other presents (which might be a dagger in the gut, we’re told). * Our presents to them end up being a bone carved chess set, a painted skull, some flying dwarf fists, a scroll of identify, and, of course, 2 gallons of hot mayonnaise.
  • Okay, was that a metaphor??
  • The camp is alive with the song of Mak’Nathal!

Most days it’s war and blood for all
But we halt on Mak’Nathal
A blessed day of keeping the long view!
Orcs never give, they only take
But every shield must bend and break
If it never meets the smith’s expert hands
And so we share with each berserker
Words, good food, and a hauberk’er
Two. It’s what we do on Mak’Nathallllllll

  • While Flint settles some racial scores, Sir Calaph sputters in the face of Zemankur, one of the orcs who fell in the golem factory in Session 29. He now has a limp, but his daughter can’t walk at all. Sir Cal gives them the chess set as a rather insane compensation.
  • A venerable orc named G’Urukh tells Tobbar that to get what he seeks (which, let’s not forget, is the tip of the tongue of living being), the party must walk the Koon Ut’Khali, a hallucinogenic vision quest. Sans mounts, we all crowd into a sweat lodge and soon find ourselves in misty-shrouded snowy vale.

I’m Dreaming of a Koon Ut’Khali

  • We’re not alone! We are joined by an fierce warrior halfling, a teen halforc in medieval workout clothes, and a cadre of elf rangers, led by Lineradil, who is known to Flint from his upbringing.
  • This is clearly some sort of magical land. Is it real? Is it a dream? IS IT A METAPHOR???
  • We slog our way through a pond, solving riddles and getting spanked by tentacles, a prelude to the later BDSM delights of this land.
  • Shouts draw us to a red-suited old man being menaced by three krampuses…krampi? One of them is a Krampus Lich and no, I didn’t know that was a thing either. As we engage the Krampae, Saza returns on her flying carpet, only to have an undead reindeer shoot her with nose-mounted heat weapon.
  • Tobbar gets whipped up into a Krampus sack, but an ingenious use of shockwave rockets him out as Flint hacks and slashes some peppermint scented blood.
  • Gloria runs and guns while Sir Calaph pick and rolls, and Saza fireballs the undead Rudolph who takes flight and knocks Saza off of her flying carpet.
  • Flint crit fails a lightning arrow, but fortunately isn’t near any harddrives, and he makes up for it by wasting Rudolph. The rest of the Krampi fall to the party and Santa rewards us all with presents. We apologize for killing his magical caribou, but he laughs like a bowl full of jelly and says “The mutation comes back every few years, there will be another Rudolph soon. At this point we’re about 8 Rudolph’s deep.”
  • When Santa isn’t looking, Tobbar cuts off Rudolph’s nose, in case you were worried he wouldn’t desecrate a corpse on this adventure.

Questions are gifts, Elven Commandos are thieves

  • We arrive at the Chasm home of the wise old orc woman. Saza plays magic carpet Uber driver for us, and Tobbar solves a fun little (s)laughter pun puzzle and we’re inside, ready to claim our prizes.
  • Fortunately, the next thing that happen does not involve slicing off a tongue, but rather the receipt of a coffee plant.
  • The warrior woman shows up to find out how to turn a bag of bones back into her brother (soup), the halforc asks how to defeat an orcish chief (bum knee), and the elves show up to kidnap the wise woman (dicks). Flint attempts to put them off by giving them his Menorah of Guidance, and then the wise woman sweeps them back to their land, and us to ours.

These orcish delights have orcish ends

  • We emerge from the sweat lodge and immediately start fighting for our lives against a horde of orcs. It’s touch and go.
  • Saza cone of colds and machine gun missiles, but gets dropped by Zemankur!
  • Tobbar wastes some skirmishers before also getting dropped by Zemankur!
  • Gloria ends up in pitched battle, dealing some good hits, but taking a fair amount herself.
  • Sir Calaph attempts to calm emotions before he and Baba wail on G’Urukh, with both ending up within one lighting blast away from dying.
  • Flint manages to stay on his feet and cuts a bloody swath through a number of orcish foes.
  • Eventually, Zemankur loses his temper and charges Calaph right before he loses his head to a divine smite. G’Urukh turns the rest of the orcs into eagles and attempts to flee, but Gloria and Victor give chase. They almost get zapped by fatal lighting, but fate is on their side and they bring down a junior druid AND G’Urukh!
  • Bloodied, Battered, but Unbowed, we return to Dauntless with a ton of stuff scoured from the orcish camp and the bodies of the fallen:

+ Crook of Calling (Staff) – When casting a conjuration spell, the save DC is increased by one, and any creature summoned by the wielder gains +1 Hit die. This hit die is maximized. This staff is fashioned of seared driftwood. Atop it is a massive bell that chimes with foreboding, It is always kinda loud.

+ Stalker’s Gorgonmail (As Scale Mail but available to druids. Does not incur disadvantage on stealth). Scales expertly assembled from the hide of a gorgon, and thus, composed of natural elements and not in defiance of a druid’s tenets.

+ Fletcher Catcher (Tower Shield – As a shield but permits you to use your reaction to gain 3/4ths cover vs. any ranged attack. This enchanted shield also provides resistance to damage from non-magical ranged attacks). A shield emblazoned with a complicated heraldic array, dominated by white, blue, and gold enameling.

+Slithering Mantle: A black cloak that causes your shadow to move and waver of its own accord. Adds +10 feet to any teleportation spell/ability

+Crone’s Eye Pact Necklace: A blinking, rheumy eye on a chain made of finger bones (Adds 1d6 damage to your eldritch blast, and you may pry a secret from the mind of a target hit by this attack. This ability refreshes after a short rest)

+Ring of Malfeasant Whispers: Grants a +2 to ARCANA rolls made regarding fiends, the 9 Hells, The Abyss, or similar topics. This ring is made of a pure, smooth, dark read stone. Staring at it too long creates a sense of deep anxiety.

LOOT: All art and gems worth 50 gp: 2 Quartz, 1 Sardonyx, 2 Zircon, x1 Chrysoprase, A pristine Megaloceros hide blanket, Hobgoblin Battle Standard (Eagle with a helmet on), Ornate orcish headress, Gold inlaid captain’s cape

+ Enough food for Caer Greenwold to last a week if you can transport it.

COIN: 2,000 GP | 59 PP | 7,800 SP

Merry Mak’Nathal to all, and to all a good trip down the Koon Ut’Khali!

XP: 6500

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Session 32: Coming up with puns is a real BASTION sometimes.
Golems, guards, and good times.

Flint’s log. Northwilds Year One.

Active adventurers: Flint, Sir MacDougal Wyth, Gloria (with her new griffin mount), Iskandar

February 29th: about a hundred dwarf refugees arrive from Khal Therum in the middle of a blizzard. They’re fed up with the King. Mac made arrangements to shelter them at Caer Greenwald. Supplies are short there, but they should be alright for the moment.

March 1-2: We pick up Vientuk. Mac can tell you more about that.

March 3: Set out from Caer Greenwald for the factory. Explored on the way. Iskandar explodes birds sometimes.

March 4:

  • Went into the factory. Place was dead. Huge, metal-eating maggots all over the place. Avoided them and headed to the office.
  • Ran into golem trouble in this hallway with conveyer belts. Vientuk was helpful. Iskandar fell into a molten metal pit and came out a spider.
  • After that, Vientuk and Iskandar stayed back to cover us.
  • Got into the office. Mac tried to banish the demon; didn’t take the first time. Casting the spell activated a Shield Guardian right on top of us, of course. I attacked it, got burned. Gloria took out an animated tablecloth on my back and called in her griffin; it managed to finish the thing off. In the midst of things, Mac got the demon banished.
  • Raided Camarata’s library. Grabbed whatever was left in the food stockroom for Caer Greenwald.
  • Weren’t equipped to blow up the factory altogether, but found the blueprints for Einarr to take a look at.
  • Explored further up the road. Found desert out past the factory. Came across this big party being thrown by a guy named Garakthur. Macdougal got us in with a growler of ale. Thought this was… suspicious. (Where do they get the food from?) I got some wine and listened to music. Macdougal stuck with Garakthur and tried to figure things out; got wasted. Gloria had a bath and a fight — at the same time.

March 5:

  • When we woke up, party was still there. Garakthur said we’re welcome back at any time. Vientuk decided to stay. We promised to send on his hobgoblin buddies.
  • We explored further up the road. Found the Highlanders. Came across a big fortified town, under a blue and white flag. Guards called the place Fife Bastion. Said something about the “Royal Decree” — a hand-to-hand combat tournament to determine who the queen’s next consort will be. Dwarves need not apply.
  • Big temple at the center of town is completely locked down. Inside is infested with undead.
  • Found an adventurer’s guild that’s been converted into an inn called The Prayer and Slayer. We convinced the barkeep into clearing out the old portal room.
  • Meanwhile, Gloria was putting her griffin into a stable when a woman came out of nowhere and shoved a bag into her chest. Turned out to be full of gold clerical ornaments. We had Mac take a look; turned out to all be fake stuff from a cleric of Loki. Naturally, it was stolen; the thief showed up looking for it later on. Mac thought she was trying to pass the blame on us, so he blew her out of the window with thunderwave. Thief name’s Loose Lips. We wound up recruiting her for Calaph’s spy network. Bail was conditional on her staying out of Fife’s Bastion from now on. Mac took her back to Dauntless.
  • Gloria found a guy to make her griffin armor.

Goals Accomplished:

  • Banished the demon in Camarata’s factory
  • New location discovered: Garakthur’s Oasis
  • New location discovered: Fife Bastion
  • Quest unlocked: The Royal Decree
  • Quest unlocked: Cathedral of the Dead

Books recovered from Camarata’s library:

  • Phantoms of the West (adventure story about… well… adventurers)
  • Armies of the Ancestors (mythology)
  • Officers of Light (a buddy paladin mystery)
  • Kids and Kittens (primer on Common for halfling children)
  • Sinners of the South (southern thriller of some kind; may be of interest to Irakli)
  • Angry with the Pants (comedic autobiography of a court jester)
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