Campaign of the Month: February 2016

Rise of the Durnskald

Shadowed Shenanigans
Session 28

Whisper had arrived.

Everything was calm and black, her mind free from the distractions around her. With a mental push she slid through the barrier holding her back, sliding through the darkness like a fish in a stream. Here the barrier was thicker than she had ever experienced, leaving her with a cloying feeling bordering on nausea as she forced herself through. It didn’t stop trying to pull her back.

Now standing on the main thoroughfare Whisper looked around her and noticed that no one was moving. She furrowed her brow as this, while potentially useful, hadn’t been intended. No matter, she would pluck them from the weft of time so that they could have their little… chat.

Whisper strained against the magical auras around her, drawing them to her in the timeline. After what seemed like hours of struggling she knew that she had succeeded but that it would only last a short span before they were pulled back in. Time is for the most part a self correcting aspect of reality and it didn’t appreciate her interference, especially here. Something about this island made Whisper feel very ill and weak.

They exchanged words. She proposed that the one that they call Summer should return with her. They were not pleased by her offer, if only they knew what calamity this Summer would bring. No matter now, they had made their choice and their time had run out. Whisper relinquished them back to the void.

Something wasn’t right about this island. Near the center of town at the end of the road was a tall alabaster tower. From the tower was shining a soft light. That light Whisper was all too familiar with, as the entire island was bathed in it when viewed from the Plane of Shadow. It banished the lesser denizens of the dark and made things uncomfortable for her kind. She was gazing at the light, pondering its nature, when it was suddenly extinguished.

al-28.jpg

View
Osgaroth and his host
Session 27

Osgaroth watched the scene unfold through Wal’s eyes. Wal had been a big man, a very big man, of simple mind and low intellect. He had been Osgaroth’s favorite type of host, easy to dominate and control but not unformidable in his own way on a battlefield. He could dimly make out Wal’s screaming in his mind but paid him no heed. Osgaroth was in control now and Wal was no more, Wal just needed to accept that fact and move on.

Gripping Wal’s axe tightly with Wal’s hands Osgaroth made Wal’s body stride toward the flames of the town square. Burcia was burning. Osgaroth and his fellow Tsochar band had attacked the town by flinging themselves over the walls forcibly. Most of the hosts died on impact but that didn’t matter, the hosts were just carriers for the Tsochar strands within them. The invasion of Burcia had been going well up until the airship arrived. As things stood now, there was no way they could keep up the attack, the airship was destroying the Tsochar strands wherever it could find them and had blasted apart huge chunks of the city in the process.

Then there were the adventurers. Some had fled the area but a few stood their ground. Those few had stood firm in the face of the invasion, cutting a path through the Tsochar and the flames. All that stood between them and the building their comrades had fled to was Wal and Osgaroth.

They attacked. They were quite strong, but Osgaroth was stronger. Wal’s axe bit into their weak flesh with ease, carving through their armor like it was made of paper. Osgaroth could tell that they were inflicting their own damage on his host, they shared their pain after all, but it didn’t matter. They had slain his friends and Osgaroth would see to it that they paid. He swung, Wal’s axe bit into one of them hard enough to nearly fell the man in one hit and Osgaroth laughed maniacally.

He kept right on laughing as the next hit came, this one from behind. A massive hammer came down with unbelievable force right on Wal’s neck, killing Wal instantly. His host body crumpled under the impact and Osgaroth turned in time to see his attacker, a massive stone skinned woman, raising her hammer for one more strike.

al-s27.jpg

View
The Plan
Session 26

It had started with an unimaginably intense pain deep in the back of his skull, blooming through his mind at an agonizingly slow rate. His scalp was crawling with energy, pain slicing through his body with each unnatural twitch.

His eyes felt like they were boiling inside his skull.

All he could hear was a relentless buzzing sound, like a swarm of extremely large hornets were in his ears.

As the pain progressed, he could feel it following his veins throughout the rest of his body like wildfire. He tried to cry out but couldn’t, his body simply wouldn’t respond. When he couldn’t take it anymore he strained against the numbness as mightily as he could, trying as hard as was physically possible to merely open his eyes.

They popped open painfully, the light piercingly painful, and gave him a rather curious view of the ceiling. With the numbness rapidly fading, he sat up and looked around. He was in a large dimly lit room, and appeared to be sitting in a pool of his own blood. He shook his head once in confusion. Where was he? What had happened?

In a flash Archeusio Rex’Amon remembered everything, the Tsochar, Dax Orbidal, and the adventurers who may still be here somewhere. He strained to listen, he was just barely able to make out their discussion down the hall where the Tsochar and Dax were kept. If they were down there and he was alive again, that could mean only one thing.

The containment field had been breached. The Tsochar kept in the vats below had probably already begun fleeing the prison complex. In a matter of days they would overrun Burcia, from there free to spread to the rest of Crinoa.

Archeusio had a plan. He would flee, and teleport away to Bestheda Garrison. From there he could gate back several airships and a sizable contingent of soldiers to help hold the town. Maybe the Tsochar could be stopped there, and if he could recapture Dax in the process this situation could still be salvaged.

He stood up, gathered his robes, and fled.

al-26.jpg

View
Oh no, not again
Session 25

al-25.JPG

View
Prey on the Weak
Session 24

Asmud had told them all what was coming. Well, Asmud couldn’t talk so he didn’t really tell them so much as used hand motions but Gren had understood and told the others. Asmud was a Shadow, and a cowardly one at that. Still, the information he gave Gren was important.

Adventurers, somewhat dangerous ones. They had made it passed the guards at the gate and were on their way.

Gren paced near his post, the others were still making their preparations for the inevitable attack. He had been ready. He had been waiting for the day when the pathetically weak humans failed in their duties. Today it seems was that day.

It wasn’t long before the torchlight and the sounds of their approach gave them away.

Several of them entered the room in a rush, a small greenish man, an exceptionally large man with an exceptionally large sword, a tall woman rippling with muscles wielding a dangerous looking hammer, and a smaller woman of slight build whose weapons flashed in the light. Two of them hung back as well, a thin unarmed man-child with pointed ears and a woman with an oddly cold look about her.

The others attacked the adventurers but Gren held back, waiting for the opportune time to strike. Things looked good, everyone was in a good position and the fight was going in their favor. Gren charged towards the large man with the sword, only to stop short as the man brandished a symbol engraved with a blazingly bright greatsword. Gren was momentarily confused about that, how could the symbol actually be so blindingly bright? It was as if the sun itself was contained within the symbol and It wasn’t until he felt the heat and pressure emanating from it that Gren realized what was happening, but by then it was too late.

He had been judged by Othanops.

al-24.jpg

View
Diary of Madness: Mt. Krag
Session 23

Something has changed, J. At first I thought it was just the weather, turns out it is something far larger than that. It’s far larger than all of us. The sky has turned the color of slate. There are now two suns hanging motionless in the vast darkness above, yet the light does not appear to reach us as it should.

People have changed too. Several of the guards posted on watch when the change happened have gone through a slight metamorphosis, becoming something familiar and yet intrinsically different. Many of the greener men panicked but it wasn’t anything that a few strategic executions couldn’t take care of. They are restless now so I’ve confined them inside to watch the main gate.

Something is going to happen, soon. I can feel it. It’s like something is whispering in my ears these words of… power, words I don’t understand but can somehow use? I find it difficult to explain myself to you today. I feel like there is something growing within me, and it isn’t one of the parasites.

View
Darkness Falls
Session 22

Peyt looked up as the sky quickly darkened, shocked by what he was witnessing.

“Uh, boss? Hey, should the sky be doing that? Markus?”

Peyt turned to where Markus had been standing just a moment before. In his place was a man that looked like Markus but only in a general sense, that is to say that at a distance he could have easily passed for Markus. The problem of course being that this wasn’t at a distance. Not-Markus turned to him.

“Peyt? Is that you? What happened to your eye?”

Not-Markus peered at Peyt inquisitively. Peyt decided that Not-Markus really did look like Markus, just thinner and perhaps a bit older. His uniform was completely different though and from the way he was holding his spear he appeared to be right handed. Markus was left handed. Peyt considered this to be a rather large cause for alarm.

“Peyt? Your eye is gone, what happened to your eye?”

Peyt stared at Not-Markus for several awkward seconds while he was trying to puzzle this out. It appeared that Not-Markus knew his name but was unfamiliar with the fact that Markus had accidentally caught Peyt in the face with a cudgel during a sparring match while they were in training. This injury caused a few complications with Peyt’s sight and left some scar tissue on the right side of his face from the tearing of the skin. The tear ran directly over Peyt’s eye, which itself had taken a milky sheen in the years since the accident. This caused those around him to believe that he was at least partially blind. Not-Markus knew who Peyt was and recognized him by sight but was unfamiliar with an injury from several years ago. Peyt found this troubling.

“You… Who are you and what have you done with Markus?”

Not-Markus let out a nervous little laugh and shrugged helplessly.

“Peyt, buddy, what are you talking about? I’m right here.”

Peyt narrowed his eyes and gripped his spear harder, backing up a step towards the parapet.

“You aren’t Markus. I know what Markus looks like, and you aren’t him. What did you do with my friend?”

Not-Markus leaned his spear against the cliff face to his side and took a step towards Peyt with his arms outstretched.

“Peyt, I don’t know what’s going on in that head of yours but it’s me, Markus. I’m your friend. Don’t you know me?” Not-Markus approached another step closer. “Remember that time I had to drag you home after the tavern brawl in Valley? You were so drunk you couldn’t even walk anymore. Remember that?”

Peyt took another step back.

“Peyt, I was at your wedding.”

Peyt found that he suddenly felt terribly cold and weak. He remembered the day that was supposed to be his wedding day. He also remembered the attack that came that day. His sweet bride Valerie died in that attack, she had been found in an abandoned shack on the outskirts of town. She had been defiled and beaten to death. Peyt’s heart ached just thinking about it. Markus hadn’t been able to attend the wedding anyways, he had been assigned to watch duty that day.

“Peyt, I don’t know what’s going on but I’m here for you. Put down your spear and let’s talk, you look like you’re about to pass out.”

Not-Markus stepped forward again, reaching for Peyt’s shirt. Peyt instinctively knew not to let Not-Markus touch him. He wasn’t sure what would happen but he knew it wouldn’t be good. Peyt unsteadily attempted to take another step back, forgetting that he had no more room to maneuver. Peyt’s ankle caught the edge of the parapet and Peyt lost his footing falling backwards.

It seemed to happen in slow motion. Not-Markus lunged forward to grab Peyt’s shirt but barely touched the cloth as Peyt fell backwards over the edge of the wall. Twisting in the air Peyt saw the forest floor approaching. It seemed like the trees were taller than he had remembered, the undergrowth thicker, the rocks at the base of the wall more jagged.

As he plummeted headfirst into the rocks below Peyt’s last thoughts were of Valerie.

dark-forest-moon.jpg

View
Diary of Madness: Kar'dak
Session 21

His screaming reached a new height today. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still learning the “art”, best to be careful and take it slow. Wouldn’t want Dax to spill all of his secrets at once now would I? That hardly seems… delightful.

He told me today as I was driving the screws into his forearm that it was his fault. It was his fault that the Mechromancer kept escaping capture. It was his fault that The Imperius wasn’t adequately protected. It was his fault that the “thing” in the Kar’dak plague ruins wasn’t as vicious as I had been led to believe. It was his fault what happened to Kar’dak.

Oh J., I’m not even quite sure how to explain precisely what happened to Kar’dak. One day the city was there and my men had almost arrived to close the trap, the next afternoon the city was gone. In its place was an enormous hole, like someone literally cut the city out of Crinoa. The men I had sent, well, it turns out that they haven’t fared much better than the city did. Initial reports aren’t exactly clear, other than to specify that there was a massive increase in the temperature of the southern rim of the hole. The ground was said to glow faintly from the heat, and had the texture of a thick custard. The man that fell in to this “custard” of course was mostly incinerated.

The others have all fallen ill to an unknown malaise. Several have since gone blind, their hair and teeth fallen out. Others have developed very unique rashes, accompanied by feelings of weakness and fits of shaking. Those that have survived so far haven’t a clue what they’ve managed to contract, and well, I don’t think they’ll make it another day in the woods, much less make it to Burcia. Just as well, we can’t have them infecting our little prizes now can we? Sure I could send some of those that are standing by in Burcia to retrieve their sickly comrades but they just aren’t worth the effort.

Don’t look at me like that, J. It isn’t my fault and even if it was why should I be expected to care? I am the Consulate Seneschal, with the title of Grand Arbiter still resting on my shoulders I essentially run The Consulate for the time being. If I say that those men are to die horrible deaths that is my right.

Journal, my experiments with the captives will soon be complete as well. The brood mother larva hatched in the host dwarf this morning, I always knew the dwarves were good for something, who would have thought that it would be as carriers to an exotic new parasite?

This is looking up to be a rather nice day.

al-21.jpg

View
The Ritual of Summer Fire
Session 20

She could feel it out there somewhere, the pressure of it pressing on the backs of her eyes. Her heart began to race when Salin left the room, she had thought about warning her but she knew that might be a mistake. If that thing was out there (and Summer knew it was) her friends would need to deal with it before it could find her. Unfortunately, the best way to get the beast to make itself known was to let it think that it could attack from hiding. If Salin were acting defensively the beast wouldn’t attack and her chance to be rid of it would be lost.

Summer watched the scene unfolding on the street below, it attacked Salin the moment she stepped out of the inn. Salin was quickly overwhelmed. Summer escaped from the now burning building in time to protect her fallen friend, but found the price to be high. Cinder the Reborn was gone, yes, but the last thing Summer saw before she fell unconscious was its hateful gaze burning into her soul.
rage.jpg

View
Ozzo's Party
Session 18

Ozzo shifted his weight, irritated. He had waited patiently for them. He had given them a tour. He had been the best host that he could have been.

In return, they had slain his friends.

Ozzo started pacing back and forth in the dark. He felt unprotected now that the door was gone. They had done that too when they made their escape, although Ozzo couldn’t fathom how. The entire gatehouse appeared to be destroyed, almost as if a giant boulder had rolled straight through it.

Ozzo stopped his pacing and looked down into the pool again. How curious of the pool they had been. What did they think was down there, what was so important?

Ozzo thought he might know what they sought. The man from the capital, the one who created his friends, he had stopped here before he left that night.

Curious.

Ozzo decided to go for a swim.

al-s17.jpg

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.