Shadows From Beyond

Quinn's thoughts

The crabs… God, I can still feel them. Those things give me the creeps. I can’t wait til we’re out of this damn hole in the ground. I honestly don’t know what these people would do without me. The small one, Plymouth, seems to be the only one I could hold an intelligent conversation with, although he’s a follower of the silver flame… I’ll have to be careful around that one. The Eladrin seems relatively bright, but she’s aloof, and, quite frankly, a bitch. I don’t mind the bugbear, other than the obvious fact that he’s a bugbear, but that brawler… He’d be dead a hundred times over if not for my gift of foresight and Plymouth’s ministrations. Luckily, the big lug knows how to listen and when I shout out, he’s learned to duck. Fighting these goblins has become a game to me. I can see each blow before it lands, I know when to loose my arrow to cause just the right amount of chaos, and I know what words will inspire my allies to keep fighting. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find these lizard men alive and be able to keep them that way long enough to get the tribe to lead us to Stormreach. A city of pirates, rakes, and shady characters… just the sort of place a man like me can thrive in.

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Lobo Rant 3

(Lobo speaks up while trying, in vain, to pat down his hair)

Well, uh, after that little crab incident and then the machine room, I think we deserve something sweet.

(He extracts a jar of honey comb from his backpack and passes it around. Will be counted as one days food rations in game.)

This seems like a suicide mission to me, now. We’re either going to die in here from the monsters or the lizard men are going to find us tomorrow and kill us anyways.

And I’ve never seen one of those gobbo mutant things before. Nasty little things, they were. And then those crossbow-dog-things.

This place is all kinds of fucked up. It’s no wonder those hunters hadn’t come back, what with all the horrible things in here.

This all just feels really bad, kids.

Hopefully those huntsmen don’t start shooting shit at us when we find them. I’m becoming really impatient with this place. I might have to kill them for that. Or maybe they’ve turned into some kind of mutant like those gobbos did. Either way, I’m ready to get the hell out of here. And the sooner the fucking better. I need to find something to get this hair back down; I look like a freak!

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Jan 30 Session

When we last left our intrepid adventurers, their ship had been destroyed in a terrible magic storm, they had barely made it to an island in Shargon’s Teeth when they were set upon by a giant crawfish (undoubtedly investigating the blood in the water and commotion in the surf). After dealing the death blow to the crustacean, the group weathered the remainder of the stormy night in a small cave they found along the rocky shore.

(Last session…) They awoke to find themselves surrounded by lizardmen hunters. After a brief exchange, they agreed to lay down their arms and be taken prisoner. Brought before the chieftain, they were perilously close to becoming ‘special’ guest of a feast that they would NOT enjoy when an old, weathered lizardman approached the chieftain. After a quick conversation, the adventurers were bound and blindfolded again. Next they knew, they were in a smaller hut with the old lizardman. He explained in halting common that the group had two choices: find the lost hunters in the ruins to the North, or return to the chieftain to participate in the feast. Making a wise decision, the PCs headed North, working their way from island to island following a crude map the lizardman shaman had given them.

Once on the island, Xavius spent some time climbing trees while the others looked on with a confused eye. Once he came down, Quinn recalled some stories about an ancient keep that was built in the time of Giants on an island of Shargon’s teeth (one of the most Northern outposts of that form of architecture yet to be found). Guessing they were on the correct island, the group headed inland, climbing the gentle slope of the island. At the top, they found the ruins separated by a large chasm. Heading East, the meant circle around the chasm and hopefully gain entrance to the ruins. Unfortunately, a river that seemed to flow uphill (perplexing poor Lobo’s sense) prevented them from moving on. Turning around, they eventually found an old, crumbling stone bridge that spanned the chasm. Fearing for their safety, the adventurers sent over members one at a time, lightest to heaviest. Thankfully, the bridge stayed intact.

Gaining entrance into the inner keep, they found a series of stairs leading down into the bowels of the ruins. In the first room, they found an old pit, obviously a trap that had been sprung, and a number of statues. While they were deciding their plans, two bolts flew out of the darkness, and the battle was started! Goblins, well, things that were once goblins, rushed at the group from all sides while unknown creatures where launching bolt after bolt from the shadows. The adventurers, nay, the HEROES, defended themselves with valor and skill. During he scuffle, Brother Plymouth realized that the pit was fill with a swarm of voracious crabs, yet the goblin creatures, which Quinn was calling dolgrims, fell to their blades and eldritch might. Cleaning up after the battle, Quinn was disposing of the bodies and rotten supplies he found into the pit. Unforunately, the old barrels and crates gave the ever hungry crab swam the chance they needed, and the swarmed up and covered Quinn in a nasty series of attacks. Xavius and Lobo jumped into action while Nadia seemed unconcerned and Brother Plymouth was tending to his prayers. Xavius began enacting a retreat, perhaps from fear of the underground or fear of the crustaceans, while Lobo and Quinn kept battling the swarm (much to Nadia’s amusement). Finally, prayers completed and seeing Quinn down and bleeding from many wounds, Brother Plymouth joined the battle! Lobo, bellowing with rage at the diminutive crabs that have caused so much pain, took a great swing with his massive mace, crushing many crabs and dispersing the swarm.

Wounds tended, a short rest taken, the party continued their exploration of the ruins in search of the lost lizardmen hunters. Following some sound advice from Plymouth, they found two doors that led down into the darkness, but kept to the level they were on (fearing they might pass by the hunters). Eventually, they came to a room filled with four large machines that hummed and vibrated with electrical energy. Tending the machine, was a large humanoid creatures with two long, fibrous tentacles. Seeing Lobo first (who had been ensuring the door was untrapped), the creature launched itself into the battle. Unfortunately for Lobo, the creature landed several claw attacks that left the poor bugbear immobilized and bleeding! The battle through the doorway was intense, with both sides taking and giving terrible blows. The tentacle creature, which Quinn had called a dolgaunt warrior, was joined by two humanoids that seemed to shift form with each moment! These new warriors were quick, and their feints left our heroes exposed and often, bleeding! Not wishing to give up the fight, Xavius forced his way into the room and the tide of battle shifted. First the dolgaunt fell, screaming with rage and pain, then one shapeshifter, then the other, but not before the arcane machine erupted with violent energy multiple times. On one eruption, a majority of the group was thrown to the ground by the diminutive earthquake! And at another eruption, poor Lobo was blasted with a bolt of dark lighting. Singed and hair standing on end, the bugbear fought on valiantly.

Once the enemies were down, Xavius began searching their corpses while Lobo, Quinn, and Nadia worked on disabling the machines. Lobo was able to remove a crystal that seemed to be the focal point of each machine, which, once inspected, turned out to be a crystallized form of residuum! And Xavius had found two magical items on the corpses.

((Please post your own versions!))

Loot found in this session:
  • 43 Gold, 51 Silver
  • Level 3 Magic Item
  • Level 2 Magic Item
  • (4) Gems that can be broken down into 500GP of residuum each
Experience this session:
  • (4) Level 2 Skirmishers: 500
  • (2) Level 2 Artillery: 250
  • (2) Level 1 Minions: 50
  • (1) Level 2 Swarm: 125
  • (1) Level 3 Soldier: 150
  • (2) Level 3 Skirmishers: 300
  • Total: 275 EXP Each (Note that leveling only happens at intervals as dictated by DM)
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Lobo Rant 2

You know, I wonder sometimes how I went from being a Marguul tribesman; from being respected all across southern Darguun, to being led around by some wandering Halfling priest. (No offense Plymouth.) I rack my brain for a good, respectable reason, and all I can come to is being exiled by those ungrateful “Heirs” to the Empire.

And then I look for a reason to not kill myself. I’ll wake up and be two seconds from turning my head in to a wall trophy. And I remember: I’m being led around by this wandering Halfling priest, and I owe him too much to just back out.

That would be the definition of a vicious cycle, wouldn’t it?

(Lobo mutters something low and inaudible, but you can pick up a hint of longing in his voice, then goes about trying to figure out where the party wound up and how to get to Stormreach.)

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Quinn Delucan

Quinn Delucan was born as the youngest son of 5 to a lower-class family of half-elf merchants in the city of Fairhaven, capital of Aundair. Despite growing up in a low class family, Quinn has always shown a flair for the dramatic and the affluent. He learned at an early age to talk his way out of almost any situation, especially when he and his brothers would get in fights. He was neither the strongest nor the fastest of his siblings, but his quick wit and disarming nature tended to see him through trouble. As a young man, he picked up story-telling and magic tricks to help his family pay the bills and put food on the table, and found a love of entertaining when performing in taverns and inns. He quickly made friends with many of the patrons of these establishments, and soon found himself with friends in high places. Using these contacts, he began to climb through the social strata of Fairhaven. His siblings began resenting him for his success, especially his eldest brother, Branwyr, who had followed in his father’s footsteps into the merchant class with mixed success. When the last war began, Quinn’s contacts ended up “providing” him with a career in Aundair’s small but effective military, although Quinn sees this as more a betrayal than an opportunity. Quinn’s unnatural ability to weasel out of trouble and quickly befriend those around him eventually landed him in the Royal Eyes of Aundair, Aundair’s elite espionage service. Queen Aurala, Aundair’s primary ruler, is an extremely suspicious and scheming woman, although she always holds the best interest of her people in her heart. During his service in the REA, Quinn was called many times to infiltrate Aundair’s primary enemy, Thrane, with whom Aundair is currently engaged in a cold war. As his magical and social aptitude increased and he rose through the ranks of the REA, he became increasingly involved in the politics of Thrane. His parter in the REA, a fiercely patriotic human by the name of Aurien, became suspicious of Quinn’s expanding interest in Thrane’s society and his undercover work therein. Quinn was primarily inserted into the heirarchy of the Church of the Silver Flame, Thrane’s primary, and indeed only, religious organization. As he became more deeply entrenched into Thrane’s society, Quinn began to question his allegiances. Although the people of Aundair were his people, he began to respect the devotion the Thranians displayed to their religion and their fierce dedication to their beliefs. Not being a religious man, Quinn held no such beliefs, but the friends of his undercover persona and the friends of his true self began to come into conflict as the lines between undercover work and real life blurred. Aurien began to see the change in his partner and distrust him, a feeling that only grew over time. One night, Aurien brought his suspicions straight to the queen, and the two set up a plan to catch Quinn in an act of treason. Quinn, eternally being in the right place at the right time, overheard their planning and learned of their impending betrayal. Being the opportunistic person he is, Quinn decided it was best to quit while he was ahead. He packed his belongings that night and deserted the REA, never to return. This was not the end of Quinn’s involvement with Aurien and the REA, however. Quinn escaped with many classified secrets and delicate information belonging to Aundair, and his fellow REA agents, especially Aurien, felt personal betrayal at Quinn’s desertion. Aurien was granted permission from the Queen to hunt down Quinn and retrieve him, alive or otherwise. To this day, Quinn is constantly on the lookout for the REA agents that hunt him as he uses his skills as a performer and his charismatic personality to work his way across the land.

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Plymouth d'Jorasco's Journal - Entry #2

The past few days have been trying.

Last I wrote, we were hot on the trail of the princess’ captors, delving through the forests in hopes of catching up, despite the sizable lead they had. Hope came in the form of a magical portal. At first, we were unsure as to the nature of the thing – it appeared to us as only some distant tunnel. Usually one expects glowing runes, arcane symbols clearly identifying the mystical passage. Instead we simply saw a distant fleeting form. After a moment of pause, we pressed through it, after the aforementioned form. We were rewarded soon thereafter for our choice to give chase.

The portal led us from one forest to another. The only discernible difference here was that, before passing through the portal, there was a distinct lack of boulders falling upon us. We fled from the earthen rain, into a clearing. It was there we discovered that the sky was not, in fact, falling, but still, the source was no less fantastic. An emerald beast, a dragon, had taken to ripping up parts of the landscape, and attempting to deposit it upon us from great heights. As much as we appreciated the gifts, we attempted to feel into another bit of forest.

This was a mistake, as so often we make. I found myself being snatched up by the beast, and before I knew it, I was hurtling back toward the ground, bouncing off of Lobo like an uncooked ham. After recovering from the drop and sudden stop, I fled to the tree line, finally. There was a great deal of indecision as to what to do. (More coming).

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Lobo Rant #1

Damn, blasted fucking humans! They just dont know when to quit when they got a knife in their faces! Dargunn would have killed the lot of ‘em were they there, out of their precious walls and in the bush; living like the real folk do. Not that I’m going back: not after the last time.

Maybe I should listen and watch Plymouth more; get a sense of how these places work and such. The Smoothskins wont like it, and maybe that’s why I’ll do it. It’ll be tough, but I’ll do it.

Gad, every day feels like another mile from home. Maybe more, or something. Dhakaan bastards wont respect the Marguul; wont show them the same right as the rest of the goblins. And all because we’re the “dirty”. Because we do the nasty work of holding the Empire on our backs. And they can’t bear to come down and see where all their money comes from. I’d kill the lot of ‘em if they weren’t so untouchable and holy and shite. They shouldn’t be breathing the same air as Marguul folk.

But the food out here is better. Don’t have to eat gobbos when we’re starving anymore. Never did feel right, that. They are our people. Just smaller and less able, but our people all the same. Maybe one day, after I’ve made myself into something, I’ll go back and tear the Heirs down and put the Margull in the rightful place next to the Ghaal’Dar; make the Empire back up to what it should be: strong and ruthless. Hmmm… But some bugbear won’t get there.

Not that it’ll stop me from trying.

NOTE-My God, it was hard to write that.

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Rainclaw's journal

It is late. The moon is full tonight. Insects sing as we make our way into the blasted remains of the poor attempt at life that is New Cyre. The others seem to be unaware of the massive, overpowering stench of humanity here. This shouldn’t surprise me, as I am generally the only one to sense such things. Death has visited this place, made it’s bed with the people. I wonder once more why I feel so obligated to stay with the group, who refer to themselves as the “Drunken Scarecrow Mob.” Plymouth had saved my life, and I had saved his in return. We owed each other nothing, and yet I had decided to stay by his side. The animal inside me scoffs at this sense of kinship with the halfling. I need nobody but myself, nothing but the trees around me, the sky above me, and the thrill of the hunt. I have no particular attachment to any of the rest of our ragtag group, more a marriage of convenience then any feelings of attachment. We help keep each other alive. Pack mentality is not exactly something my feline soul knows, but it is not an unpleasant phenomenon. For the moment, I shall remain with them. Perhaps hunting alone is not always a necessity for survival. Sharing the kill does have it’s benefits.

I keep silent unless spoken to inside the city. I am out of my element here. We are directed to the local tavern after Lobo gave us a vague description of the problem here and an offer of gold, which of course piqued the interest of our two dwarven companions. Dorin’s thirst for ale never ceases to amaze me. I don’t know what Diesa sees in him. The magistrate summons us to his chambers, and after some quick talking from our halfling “leader,” it is decided that we will pursue New Cyre’s princess. As we leave the city, however, I stop the others. Something is there, in the woods. Something unnatural.

A feral growl escaped my throat just as a large orb of inky blackness hurtles towards the group. Is splashed onto the ground, creating a slick of oil that, while I had no problems with, seemed to greatly hinder the others. I roll out of the slick and take on my true self.

I am free of the bipedal form that constrains me. My muscles ripple beneath jet black and forest green fur, my claws dig into the soft ground as I prepare myself to strike. Dorin finds his footing and, seeing a large, rotting creature emerge from the trees, charges. I take advantage of this and leap across the grassy plain, torquing my muscles and pouncing onto the back of the abomination, biting deeply into it’s neck. It roared in pain and flailed in vain, trying to grab me as Dorin hacked at it. As his axe slashed at it, I was thrown from the thing into the woods. I landed lightly, but it bought the thing enough time to grab and throw the dwarf quite a distance. Diesa charged, bringing her hammer down hard on the undead creature. As she did, it seemed to liquefy and then became four smaller, slimmer versions of its previous form. The monstrosities began laying right and left into my companions. I leapt into them in a savage frenzy. I don’t recall the next several minutes, but my next clear memory is of my companions coming together after the fight. My fur is matted with slick black ooze. As they speak, I wander away and bathe in a stream to remove the hideous slime. I return to the group just as we make ready to move on. They look expectantly at me, knowing I could pick up the trail. I find it easily and we set off once more.

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DM Summary, Session 1(B)

So, we decided to start a new group, and while they were rolling up, I sorted out how this loss affects the story (since I want the PCs actions to have an effect on the story) and followed the ever so unique style of: “Your group has been hired by the Prince…” (I actually had a little bit of RP in there, but it was forced and I had to fall back on the old school).

So, the new group is: Rainclaw (shifter predator druid), Plymouth (House Jorasco Healer), Dorin (dwarf barbarian of doom), Lobo (bugbear rogue [I allowed Skippy to keep Lobo]), and Diesa (dwarf dual weapon fighter).

Essentially, the PCs impressed the Magistrate of New Cyre (who was hiring adventurers to find the Princess) enough to get an audience with Prince Oargev. They were given the details, a crude map, and promises of various kinds and were sent on their way. The first (and only) of the session was a single Zombie Abomination that I did some tweaking to: It had a ranged attack that did some basic damage, and had a single shot power that created essentially a big oil slick (to add a little interesting bits to a big solo fight). The kicker was instead of the ‘rise again’ power, I had the zombie explode then reform into 4 smaller versions (same basic attacks, but not special powers). The 4 new zombies had a bit more HP than the ‘re-risen zombie, but I think that was ok.

The fight went well, though I had some issues with the mechanics I laid out for the oil slick (Jason helped me there) and I didn’t take into account of the dwarves power to avoid falling down. I forced the knockdown on the explosion for cinematic reasons, but I know that’s not always the best plan. My general comments:

  • Barbarian damage is just plain silly. Dorin got a massive 57 point critical strike (using an executioner’s axe).
  • Adding a special effect / terrain without really working through the mechanic (especially looking at who is going to be affected by the effect) is not good.
  • I need a better combat tracker [edit: think I found one]
  • Healer’s are good.

So, I’m going to be doing some tweaking of the next set of encounters (sorry for the combat-heavy railroad right now, but I think the situation requires it, and you guys could have always tried to talk your way out of the zombie fight).

I’m going to put up a post in a few days that covers a view of the events from a third part to give the players a view of other actions that may be happening around the world.

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Plymouth d'Jorasco's Journal - Entry #1

(There is a series of pen marks here, as if someone was attempting to get a quill to work; this is confirmed by the first legible, albeit striked-out line of the journal.)

Couldn’t get the damnable pen to work. There we go, that should do.

The Drunken Scarecrow Mob is at it once again. With the return of Lobo from his adventures on the seas, and apparently his last-minute rescue from the gallows, he sought us out; thankfully for him, we were easily found at our usual haunt in Firelight.

Lobo came to us with stories of an assault on New Cyre; an apparent undead upheaval, lead by some manner of necromancer, in a plot to kill the prince. How Lobo escaped from being waylayed in the process, is still unclear, however, I’ll simply chalk it up, once again, to the Flame’s will. Perhaps there will be salvation for him, yet.

After explaining to us about this newfound situation, and of course peppering us with vague threats on our lives, we talked amongst ourselves about our current financial situation.Dorin of course, immediately began thinking we could find ourselves with gold in the hundreds of thousands, however, he’s never quite had the solid grasp on economics that most dwarves have.

We came to the conclusion, fairly quickly, that we were all flat broke; and that while we are loathe to take advantage of any individual in distress, this potential opportunity for work did prove for potential income. We set out immediately, skipping out on our bar tab. We arrived soon in New Cyre, looking as if it had recently been under siege. A quick polling of the locals confirmed that this, in fact, had been exactly the case.

The courthouse, where Lobo had originally been assaulted was our first destination; however, we were quickly turned away to the local tavern. I did manage a glance within the confines of the house of law, before we went, however, and saw the remains of the unfortunate individuals that had taken the brunt of the attack in defense of the prince. It’s a shame. They looked as if they had potential. But that is not our path. May the Flame keep them.

Upon reaching the tavern, we found ourselves in a queue; given a number, made to wait. Impatience (and the potential for us to lose a job) got the better of me, and I pressed upon the doorkeeper to let us to the front of the line. I will admit to throwing my proverbial weight around about, flashing my dragonmark. Still, it has given me good fortune this far, and I have no reason to believe that any of the ruffians amongst the crowd in the line were any more qualified to accomplish whatever task they were asking, than us.

To the magistrate, we were led; and informed of the unfortunate kidnapping of the Princess of New Cyre. Upon listing our qualifications, the concerns of the Prince (whom was overseeing this meeting with the Magistrate) seemed ever so slightly abated. We were offered no set price in the recovery of the Princess; however, the promise of “all the riches of New Cyre” as I believe I put it, will certainly put us in the right place, no matter how small the nation. We were given a map. We were pointed in the right direction. We set out.

Night set before too long; it was then, along a muddy trail that we encountered the true dangers that seem to be set in our path. Having followed an ill-hidden trail, we were making good time in pursuing those that absconded with the royalty. However, we were set upon by a horrific being; a giant amalgamation of a fiend, an undead creature seemingly constructed of sinew and sick. It expectorated a glob of slick filth upon us, scattering us upon the road and into the surrounding wilderness. Still, even with the horrors it belched forth, the Drunken Scarecrow Mob acted without fear. We set upon it.

Dorin was the first to strike, charging and screaming at the creature, burying his axe deep into the blackened nightmare that had set upon us. He was rewarded for this act by being snatched up by the creature, smashed up against a nearby tree, and subsequently hurled back into the goo-slick that he had escaped from. We all eventually made our way out of the slick, Rainclaw being the fastest to do so. I attempted to seal its essence away with a sign of the flame, but the creature resisted the sigils, Lobo and Diesa had much better luck in striking at the creature. And with an almost sick glee, having not been in a real fight in so long, Dorin charged once again from the slick.

His charge set the tone for the rest of the battle – abject brutality; if this thing had not been an unliving thing, it surely would have exploded into a fine pink mist from the blow that the crazed dwarf delivered. However, it instead issued forth a sloughing black ooze from its wound. It was hurt, to be certain – however, not hurt quite enough. It returned the punishment it took in kind, crushing the dwarf into the packed earth below. He was out cold, and there was little time to revive him.

I summoned forth a shield bearing spirit, to help protect me as I tended to the new necrotic wounds that our berserker had aquired, while Diesa, Rainclaw and Lobo set upon the foul thing with increased ferocity. If you are to strike down a member of the DSMs, it is wise to strike at us all at once. It was Diesa who struck the blow that caused the creature to explode into a thousand pieces, only to reform into four, smaller mockeries of itself. I roused Dorin in time to wake to this sight, to which he immediately got upon his feet again, and with effort, waded back into the fray – it took him some time to find his feet again after being pummeled by the monstrosity, but his presence was enough.

There were some injuries during the ensuing tussle with the amalgamated simulacrums, however, none nearly as potentially deadly as when it was as a whole. However, let it be said that I did expend all of my efforts to keep the Scarecrows on their feet – I do not wish to play down the dangers in this case.

After the beast was felled, and we cleaned as much of the sickly goo off of our armor as we could (I thought I saw Diesa bottle some, for whatever dire purpose that dwarf might have…) we sat to recollect our thoughts. But not for long – the road waits ahead; we shall rise to meet it.

May the Flame Protect Us
Plymouth d’Jorasco

(Below are some rough sketches of the events recounted above)

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