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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Heroes of the 13th Age: Part 9: A venture into the hinterlands

After a short break, we were able to play our 13th Age game for a second time in November (November 30 to be precise).

Now, very, very long delay, I can write what happened after our previous game.

Our cast is now as follows:

Cerise, the Spirit-Touched Cleric
Indigo the Gnome Cleric
Zailey (as always, the name changes), the Half-Elf Rogue
Legolis, the High Elf Ranger
Hey Watchit, the Half-Orc Fighter
Lief, the Human Bard
Delthen Eversoar, the Human Paladin, and
Rolen Stillwind, the Wood Elf Sorcerer


We sadly note the absence of our Samurai Half-Elf Yoshi who has had to part ways with us for now.

We resolved the final actions of the spear quest.  The party made its way to Santa Cora, and the carefully (if temporarily) neutralized spear made its way through inspection by Imperial and Archemage officials, and by representatives of the Elf Queen.  It was then handed over for safe keeping, for the moment, within the Cathedral of the Priestess.

In the aftermath of the quest for the cursed spear Alkaarg, the adventurers were able to level up, each becoming second level.  Several of the players took an opportunity to look at things they never used during the first mission and everyone was allowed to retool their characters to better fit how they ended up playing, given that this was everyone's first outing with the game.

The information on the retooled characters will be it's own post in the future.

After leveling up, the characters each engaged in some activities within and around the city of Santa Cora.  Lief the bard sang and performed around the city, just casually, building his fame and earning some 70 gold.  Zailey the rogue also tired to pick up some extra cash and information, but ended up with only a dented silver cup, perhaps worth 5 gold pieces.

Indigo, gnomish cleric took the cursed ring of fear found within the ancient Orc warrens and deposited for safekeeping in the Temple of Bastash, a god of the House of Light and one of the tutelary gods of the Gnomes.

Legolis the High Elf Ranger sold cheese from his (1UT) Cheese Trees, netting a whole 5 silver pieces.

Rolen, the Wood Elf Sorceror, sought to investigate current affairs among the magical circles of society, but came up snubbed at every turn.

We then moved towards assignment of a new mission, this time overtly on behalf of the High Druid and the Priestess (secretly, Dark Paladin Delthen also received word that the Crusader's forces had its own concerns that he should investigate).

 The Priestess was represented by Sister Sanjana, while the High Druid sent the Druid Biturix as her representative.  Jointly they expressed their concerns about the community of Tampu Tinku (also know as Tinku Tampu, because the residents' dialect does not distinguish).  This town lies at an important crossroads of trade deep within the Wild Wood.  Historically it was settled by members of the Druidic faith, led by a hero, Wamani Tinku.  However, over time, and through centuries of hardship and disasters, the town has been resettled several times, and now the population is split between followers of the old Druidic faiths and the beliefs in the gods of Light, especially now the House of Light, led by the Canoness Shar Patali.  Recently, the local Druid leader moved on, and in the interim time, things have been unbalanced within the town.  While there has always been a peace (easy, uneasy or otherwise) between the religious communities, now there is growing conflict.

The auguries of both faith communities indicate dire danger if the conflicts do not get resolved, but the locals seem unable to resolve their differences.  Thus, the Cathedral and the Wild Wood have agreed, after difficult negotiations, to send forth a set of auditors to investigate and seek to resolve (at best) or report back (at the very least) what is going on. 

Given the strong ties to the High Druid and the Priestess held between the party members, and the general reputation for competence and bravery as well as a least some wisdom, the Cathedral and the Woods have agreed to send these eight adventurers forth as auditors.  The Elf Queen (due to Icon Relationship Rolls) also gave her blessing for the journey, in the form of a cloak for Legolis, boots for Hey Watchit, and a protective dagger for Rolen.  Also, the Priestess offered a magic orb to assist the cleric Cerise.

The first part of the journey proved to be long and boring river barge travel up The Grandfather until the river became to difficult to navigate and final approach had to be made over a trade road leading from the docks to the crossroads at Tampu Tinku.  

They fell into traveling with a halfling teamster named Hullorn ("call me Hull"), who was allowing a half-elf named Quillern Nureddin ("call him Quill") to ride along in his wagon to Tampu Tinku.  Hull lives in Tampu Tinku and is the proprietor of the local shipping company.  Quill is moving to Tampu Tinku to help his grandmother ("gran gran"), Vamil Eddin, manage her affairs within the town.

Hull began to tell the party of all the varied problems currently plaguing Tampu Tinku, but he got sidetracked on his particular complaint.  Bitterly he told them of the return of the scourge of bandits who have returned to the area.  Once a terrible bandit camp was know to be centered at the Blackfort, and it is as if the bad old days have returned.  He hoped that someone could deal with the bandits who have been robbing him blind, injuring and killing his employees, and taking bread from the mouths of his hungry children.

This discussion segued then to a discussion of the history of Tampu Tinku.  Wamani Tinku founded it in the 12th Age, but he disappeared and shortly thereafter, the population who was present in the town completely disappeared.  Survivors who happened to be away and others who moved into the area eventually resettled.  Some one hundred years later, the bandits built up the Blackfort and terrorized the area, and then there was a huge battle with bandits and evil monsters who had attacked the town.  Fortunately, adventurers and Imperial forces beat back the attacks and scattered the bandits, burning the Blackfort.

Everyone observed that after the first disaster happened to Tampu Tinku, a second disaster followed about 100 years later, and the present day was again about 100 years after that.  Hmmmmmm.

The Half-Elf Quill mentioned that his "gran gran" knew a lot of the old stories.

At this point, the wagon was hailed by a set of riders.  Though the party thought they might be getting to meet some bandits, it turned out to be a High Elf paladin of the Great Gold Wyrm, Sir Kalari Sunstorm, and his three human squires, Valerie, Rupert and Jock.  They revealed that they too had been summoned to Tampu Tinku.  They were traveling at the behest of Canoness Shar Patali, the leader of the worshipers of the House of Light in Tampu Tinku.  She had asked for aid from the Paladin's of the Great Gold Wyrm to deal with "troubles," but she was not otherwise specific.  Nonetheless, the Golden Order sent forth Sir Kalari to help.  

Upon their meeting, Hey Watchit brought forth his croissants, and everyone had a snack as they traveled along.  During the afternoon's travel, it became clear that Quill had become smitten with Squire Valerie, and he was embarrassingly love sick, much to people's amusement (except for Squire Valerie).  Finally they came to a bridge over a tributary to the River Grandfather.  Sir Kalari and his squires were in the van, and on the other side dismounted at a lazy pool that was fed by the river, to get water for themselves and their horses.

As Sir Kalari approached the pool, and suddenly a rush of shadow burst from the pool and engulfed him, and then possessed his body.  From him then shot lances of darkness, taking his horse and transforming it into a hellish monster, as well as possessing his three squires.  

The now demon-possessed companions turned to attack the wagon, which was just rolling across the bridge.  Quill and Hull, two non-combatants, we up front and began to panic and scream as the demonic Squires approached them, blades drawn.

COMBAT!

Round (R) 1 Escalation (E) 0

Cleric Ceris reacted first and unleashed her Spirits of the Righteous on the demonic force that now animated Sir Kalari.  She stuck with a critical, blasting it with holy fire.

Lief the Bard unleashed a soundburst upon the Squires as he stepped forward to defend Hull and Quill, and incidentally weaving magic from his song to protect the Dark Paladin Delthen.

Delthen struck, using his Smite Evil, but did just half damage with a near miss. 

Legolis, the High Elven Ranger stepped forward to engage the Squires and defend Hull and Qull with his axe.  He missed, but presented himself at least as a target.

Possessed Kalari then struck back, hitting Delthen.

One of the Squires hit lief.

Rolan, Wood Elf Sorcerer, unleashed a Chaos Bolt, but to no effect.

Zailey stepped forward to make an attack, but ended up falling off the bridge and dazed from a fumble.

The now demonic steed leaped the river entirely and attacked Hey Watchit, but missed.

Indigo, the Gnomish Cleric, also unleashed his Spirits of the Righteous, but misdirected his holy fire and missed.

Half-Orc Fighter Hey also missed his swing against the demon steed.

R2 E1

Cerise invoked her Halo as a Spirit Touched and then stepped forward and cast a quick Heal on Lief, then cast Cure Wounds on Delthen.

Lief drew his sword and struck one of the Squires.

Legolis struck Squire Valerie with his axe and his snake pet poisoned her.

Delthen then smashed his mace into Kalari, taking him down, but simultaneously, one of the Squires slashed Delthen, putting him on the ground.

The other Squires each hit Legolis and Lief, but then, as the demonic power receded into the unconscious Kalari, it's control fell away from the Squires.

Rolen fired his scorching ray at the hellish horse, but missed.

Zailey, staggering up from the base of the bridge pulled out some rope and tied up Kalari.

The hell horse tried to take a bite out of Hey, but missed.  

Indigo stepped forward and quickly healed Delthen, then pulled out his crossbow and critically hit the hell horse as he invoked his Strength Domain, leaving the hellish monster dazed.

Hey unleashed a power attack on the monster, but did lesser damage with a miss.

R3 E2

Cerise invoked her Leadership Domain and advanced the Escalation Die to 3 (which robbed the demonic steed of a chance to use a special "odd escalation die" power)

She then missed with her Javelin of Faith.

Delthen charged back over the bridge and struck the steed with his Smite.

Legolis then struck the monster mightily (15 points) with his arrow.

Lief moved into position, but took a moment to rally and recover damage.

Rolen, with a moment of Elven Grace, gather power and blasted off as sadly ineffective Chaos Bolt.

Zailey let loose with her Flying Blade skill and hit.

Once again the demonic monster missed.

Indigo summoned the holy power of his Javelin of Faith, fumbled, and hit Delthen (the other target of darkness)

Hey then hit the steed with a critical.

R4 E4

Cerise summoned her Javelin of Faith, striking the monster.

Delthen missed, as did Lief with his Battle Chant.

Legolis then fired his bow, doing a mighty 14 points (which was more than enough as the monster had but one hit point left).


The hellish force left the steed, leaving the sadly broken body of Sir Kalari's once splendid steed in it's place.


The characters then turned to the bound Sir Kalari.  His wounds were healing, and a darkness still lurked behind his eyes.

The dark power possessing the Paladin had not much helpful to say.  They learned that:

1. "you know not with what you deal, ha ha ha ha"
2. "I am the substance of nightmares!"
3. "You will all bow down before me and do my bidding.  You will pave my way to conquer this pathetic realm!"

Finally, Sir Kalari was able to have a moment of lucidity.  He asked them to keep him bound (no problem) and to get him to the Temple of Light.  He said he could only maintain control for short periods.

Then the darkness started babbling again, threatening them all, so the gagged the poor Paladin.

What dangers lie ahead in Tampu Tinku remain unknown, and what the roots are of the conflict or conflicts in the village are yet mysteries.  However, the strange fate of Sir Kalari points to there being much mreo than meets the eye.