Sunday, January 14, 2018

[Pathfinder] Wrath of the Righteous, part 27: The Hall of the Vescavor Queen

As the dawn light struggled feebly to overcome the perpetual gloom of the Worldwound, the heroes of Kenabres exited their tents. Asami had spent much of the previous evening with Jiro, Runa, and Aravashnial, strategizing spells for their return to the vescavor nest. Asami had been too weary to scribe a scroll before resting. She had prepared a spell of fire and one of lightning that she hoped would be effective against the queen, and planned to summon an archon from Elysium to provide  aid to her friends. She also hoped to be able to use some of the arcane power granted her by the Spirit of the Forest to make herself and her companions invisible to the infernal vermin.

In addition to selecting spells for the assault, the group members had also determined who would go to the caverns this time. Out of fear that the vermin would devour the sword Radiance, they agreed that Irabeth should remain at camp. Sosiel was also asked to stay behind, since his healing ability would affect the insects as well as his comrades in arms. Aron of course would remain with his partner. Only Anevia would make a second visit to the caverns, because she could move stealthily enough to avoid the notice of the vescavor swarms.

To further protect themselves from the vescavors' ability to consume almost any substance, the five friends decided to leave behind their most valued possessions. Runa abandoned her armor and Asami would grant her magical armor instead. Aravashnial provided similar armor for everyone else. Jiro left his enchanted lantern and the basket pack he usually carried, along with his extra clothing. Though Asami knew that without Kirara she wouldn't be as capable of moving through the caves unnoticed, she decided that her magic would have to suffice and told the little white cat to stay behind.

Before they descended a knotted rope into the caves again, Asami granted both herself and Runa magical armor and resistance to acid, which they knew to be a weapon of the vescavor queen. She also caused her wooden sword to shed light. She waited until they were farther into the caverns before summoning a sphere of arcane power that would cloak all of them from sight. The spell required everyone else to remain within 10 feet of Asami to receive its effect, so the group crept slowly through the tunnels within arm's length of each other. Unfortunately moving this way made Asami clumsy, and she bumped into one of her friends several times.

As the group entered a larger chamber, Runa whispered that she saw no sign of the queen. The insects in the chamber stirred restlessly when Asami's light fell on them, but they couldn't see the source of the illumination and didn't sense the group of people passing by. The party would have to exit from that chamber into a narrow passage that would force them to go in single file. Asami took up a position in the center of the line to keep everyone else in range of her invisibility spell. The swarms were growing denser. Before anyone but Runa could enter the narrow tunnel, Asami trod on one of the creatures, its shell cracking loudly under her foot. The other vermin crawling over the walls began to surge toward the six invisible people.

Jiro summoned a wall of wind across part of the chamber, blocking some of the vermin from crossing the barrier it posed to their tiny bodies. But Anevia had had enough of creeping along and trying to remain out of sight. She crossed the wind barrier and hurled a flask of holy water at the evil creatures. The mass of insects spread out around everyone's feet, their droning buzz overwhelming. Both Jiro and Asami became confused by the noise. Asami began to recite spell formulae, randomly combining the words of various different spells into a nonsensical babble. Runa and Zosta grasped Asami and Jiro by the arms and pulled them through the barrier.

More vescavors surged into the chamber, swirling around Anevia. Their droning befuddled Zosta as well. Vermin started to climb up Runa's legs. In her state of confusion, Zosta kicked Runa's legs out from under her and stamped on her. Runa glared furiously at her comrade. Asami had recovered by this time. She used her special power to allow her to fill the area around her with silence, shutting off the maddening buzzing noise. This meant she would be unable to cast spells, as would anyone else who needed to speak to cast, but she felt it was worthwhile to escape the noise. Just before Asami cast this spell, Jiro had also recovered from confusion and created a second wall of wind diagonal to the first to hold off more of the vermin, but there were still many of them in the chamber and the noise from Anevia's attack and Asami's babbling had drawn them closer.

Anevia moved into the narrow passage and froze. Jiro followed her. Looking down another passage that intersected with the one he was in, he saw another swarm of the insects crawling over the walls. He gestured for those behind him to wait. Runa also entered the passage, which took her outside the range of the silencing spell. The passage was filling with more of the horrid creatures. Jiro and Anevia both hurled flasks of holy water at them. Runa could hear the sound of the insects' buzzing getting louder as if even more were approaching. The insects in the larger chamber they had just left were coming in behind her.

Runa moved forward and found that the passageway exited out into a big chamber, which was dark. Her eyesight could penetrate the darkness, but she couldn't see clearly what was there. Suddenly Bohgong, who had been riding on her shoulder instead of Jiro's, grabbed the torch from its sconce on her shield and hurled it into the center of the large space. Runa could see a large creature on the opposite side, which looked like a greatly enlarged version of a vescavor. Surely that must be the queen they sought. Runa immediately called on Iomedae's power to fill the part of that chamber nearest to her with blinding radiance.

In response, the queen surged across the chamber toward Runa and spat a glob of acidic spittle on her and Bohgong. The monkey leapt off her shoulder and fled. At the same time, Jiro's first wind barrier vanished, its magic expended. Jiro himself had been healing the damage the insects dealt to his friends, and he was now in poor condition. The vescavors had also consumed his sandals. Anevia threw more holy water into the swarm at her feet and that destroyed them, but they all knew that there were uncountable numbers of vescavors left in the nest. Jiro and Zosta moved toward the queen's chamber, Zosta dropping a flask on more of the creatures swirling around her feet.

Asami was still in the last chamber and had yet to enter the narrow passage, but she decided that it was time to dismiss the silence so she could cast a spell. A wooden sphere infused with green fire formed on her sword and shot down the passageway over the heads of her friends into the queen's chamber, exploding in a blast of green fire as she made her first casting of the spell she had newly learned from Aravashnial. A swarm had emerged from the room to threaten Runa, and Asami's spell burnt it to ash, along with the rest of the vescavors that were near Jiro and Zosta.

The vescavor queen had flown across the chamber and disappeared from sight after spitting on Runa. Runa decided to step just inside the space to find out where the queen had gone. Another swarm attacked her, but a spell she had cast on herself let her avoid a slashing attack from the scythe-like forelimbs of the queen, who had taken up a position just next to the passageway opening where the Runa stood. Asami decided it was time to call for help. She began the spell that would call an archon from Elysium. As she concentrated on her spell, Jiro told Bohgong to stay back and ran in front of Zosta, casting a spell that sent a spray of freezing snowballs blasting at the queen.

Anevia was still in the passageway, between Asami and the others. Two other passages intersected with the one she stood in, meeting it at the same point to form a cross-shaped junction. Anevia moved to the junction point to look down the other tunnels for more swarms. Asami couldn't see her face, but she could tell by the way the woman stiffened that the tunnels were full of yet more infernal vermin. More of them had surrounded Runa, and in moments their ravenous gnawing utterly destroyed her shield. The room fell into darkness again as the torch Bohgong had thrown was also damaged by gnawing mandibles.

The queen retaliated against Jiro's spell by slashing and snapping at him. Runa took a step back and brought divine radiance down on the vermin again. The archon Asami had summoned appeared near Jiro and Zosta, shining a warm greenish light on the passageway. Asami directed the globe of light to lend its aid to Jiro and it cast a spell on him, offsetting some of the harm the queen had just done him. Jiro sent another flurry of snowballs at the queen, which destroyed the swarm gathered around her.

Asami hoped to block more insects from coming down the other tunnels and getting behind her friends, so she told Anevia to go past her, turned her back to the queen's chamber and summoned a mass of sticky vines to fill the junction of tunnels. In her anxiety to do this, she neglected to back out of the area that the vines occupied, and found herself trapped. To add insult to injury, the vescavors were unaffected by the vines except to slow their movement a little by reducing the space they could crawl through. As they surrounded her, she felt nauseous and her wits deserted her. She began to beat herself about the head with a scroll case. Jiro had earlier told Bohgong to protect her, and the white monkey sitting on her pack was trapped in the vines as well. Asami was unaware that the insects had eaten the wand sheath on her wrist and her wand had fallen on the floor of the cave. The lanyard attached to her wooden sword also fell victim to the ravening monsters, and the enchanted pearl she carried was cracked by their mandibles. Only her fragment of the Wardstone survived their depredations, as the creatures seemed to find it unpalatable. The creatures gnawed her flesh as well.

Though Asami was unable to see what was happening to her friends, or even to think clearly, the archon she had summoned continued to minister to Jiro. This was fortunate, as further attacks from the queen had left him unconscious on the ground. Inside the queen's chamber, the vermin damaged a curative wand that Runa carried. Runa charged the queen just as Jiro collapsed. Zosta shouted, "Little Sister!" and activated the holy flames of her bladed brass knuckles, punching the queen and observing with satisfaction that the flames appeared to harm the repulsive monster.

By this time Runa was sorely hurt. She wanted to attack the queen again, but if she did so she might fall herself, so she stepped back to heal herself. Jiro had revived for a moment but another slash from the queen had sent him back into unconsciousness. He woke again after another wave of magic from the archon touched him. Anevia had moved closer to Jiro and Zosta when Asami told her to get out of the way, and she now stepped back toward Asami to toss a vial of alchemical fire into the vines, burning enough of them that Asami and Bohgong could get free. The fire also burned Asami slightly. Now that she was free her mind was clear, but she still felt ill.

Jiro attempted to cast a spell at the queen from his prone position, but the magic failed. He got to his feet and Zosta tried unsuccessfully to block the claw that the queen swiped at him. When the blow connected the young man fell over once more. Bohgong, freed from the vines along with Asami, leaped off her pack and ran out into the queen's chamber. Asami weakly moved over to stand near the summoned archon. There were still many vescavors at her feet and crawling on her body and among her possessions.

Inside the chamber, Runa lost her fight to stay on her feet. The queen turned her attacks on Zosta, the only member of the core group still standing besides Asami. The crawling horrors chewed the magic brush Asami used to scribe spells in her spellbook. Then they began to eat her as well. She had already been injured by other bites, and this was more than her vitality could withstand. Asami joined Jiro in a heap on the floor. The queen attacked the archon and sent it back to Elysium. Only Zosta and Anevia were still upright. The buzzing of the insects was maddening to Zosta, and she recalled that Jiro had said anyone who stood in the midst of a swarm too long might be driven insane. To avoid that fate she stepped away from the queen, where the swarm was most concentrated.

Anevia had run into the large chamber, and she now raised her bow and fired on the queen, one arrow after another. Only Zosta witnessed the result of this attack: the queen, already wounded by Zosta's and Runa's attacks and Jiro's spells, toppled over backward after Anevia's arrows impaled her. The swarms immediately began to disperse when their queen fell.

But before Zosta could breathe a sigh of relief, the queen revived and flew up toward the roof of the chamber. Zosta heard a thump on the ground behind her. She turned to find that Bohgong had transformed himself into a large ape and was standing with his fingers interlaced and his hands cupped as one would do when boosting another person onto a horse. Zosta immediately realized what he meant her to do. Just as Jiro opened his eyes again and looked around, Zosta bounded from Bohgong's cupped hands and leap high into the air, her flaming fist outstretched. When she hit the vescavor queen her fist went right through the creature's abdomen, penetrating it from front to back. Gobbets of vescavor guts and unborn larvae spewed from the gaping hole. The queen dropped to the floor in a mass of limp wings and crumpled limbs, the wound Zosta had dealt her too severe for her to regenerate from it. Zosta landed in the corner behind the fallen queen while Jiro and Anevia watched in amazement.

With the queen truly dead, Jiro got to his feet and began to heal himself and his friends. As Runa and Asami regained consciousness, the vescavors, deprived of their queen, wandered away.

Once everyone had recovered a little from their wounds, they looked around the queen's chamber and realized that one of the other tunnels letting into it was glowing with a sickly purplish light. When the group cautiously went through into the next room, they saw a strange energy emanating from a crevice in the wall, which seemed to pulsate and quiver as if it was a living thing. Several vescavors crawled out of this repellent opening, though they were too few to form a deadly swarm. Jiro, Asami, and Runa realized that this crevice was a portal to the Abyss. This must have been how the vescavor queen came to be in these tunnels. It would have to be closed to stop other demons and monsters coming through, but the Crusaders lacked the resources to close such a rift now. They would have to continue their mission to Drezen first, and come back for the rift at a later time.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Don't Take This Game Too Seriously, part 5

[Pathfinder - Mummy's Mask]
As the party were exploring an area full of undead, the shaman heard the sounds of cracking bones and rending flesh on the other side of a wall. Fearing someone was being attacked there, he 'levitated' to look over the wall. Beyond the wall he saw what appeared to be a huge mass of dead flesh and bone that had somehow been fused together. He also saw a creature burrowing its way through this mass from below. He asked the GM if he could identify the burrowing creature.
GM: "Make a Knowledge (religion) check."
Shaman: "I suddenly get religion!"
GM: "It's running down your leg right now."
Shaman: "The river god has blessed me!"
GM: "The river god is blessing everyone standing below you."

[Pathfinder - Mummy's Mask]
The PCs fought a couple of ankhegs. Afterward they discussed whether there might be other ankheg broods in the area.
Shaman: "What's a multiple brood, an emo?"

[Pathfinder - Mummy's Mask]
The party is made up of a nagaji (serpent-person), a tengu (bird-person), a suli (djinni-human hybrid), and a half-orc. At one point someone jokingly states that all of the characters are cannibals. 
Nagaji's player (looking at the tengu's player): "I hear you taste like chicken."
Tengu's player: "I hear you do, too."
Both players look at each other hungrily and lick their lips.

[Star Wars - A New New Hope]
In our Star Wars campaign, the GM makes a crawl for every session, which includes an episode number and title. He plays them on his laptop for the players to read at the start of the session.
One week, he had sent an email to the group to let everyone know what options we had for things to do during our next session. He mistakenly labeled the next session Episode 50, when in fact it was Episode 48. One of the players noticed the mistake and corrected him.
When the session arrived and he cued up the opening crawl, it announced Episode 50, then proceeded to describe a long list of unpleasant things happening to the group, such as being captured by Darth Vader and taken to see the Emperor, culminating with our battle cruiser in flames.
After that he ran the real crawl for the real episode, Episode 48.

[Star Wars - A New New Hope]
During a Star Wars game, three of the PCs were flying one-man fighters when they were attacked by some people trying to steal the fighters. One of the PCs piloting a fighter was a droid, who looked rather like Stormtrooper armor (if Stormtrooper armor was red and black). The GM commented that the pilots of the attacking ships were distressed when they saw a droid in the cockpit of one of the small fighters.
Playeer: "How can they tell he's a droid and not a guy in a helmet?"
GM: "He's got those beady red glowing eyes."
Droid: "I'm in Cylon mode."
Player: "So from now on you're running Cylon instead of running silent?"

[Star Wars - A New New Hope]
The players got into a discussion of the kind of commands officers give in the Star Wars films, things like "Attack plan Delta" and "Fire at will." The GM was an ex-military tank operator, and he commented that when he was in the military no officer ever told him to "Fire at will," nor did he ever give that command himself - he just said "Fire."
Player: "Did you ever say 'Attack plan Delta'?"
GM: "No, but once I did pop up out of the hatch (of a tank) and ask the driver of another tank, 'Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?'"

[Pathfinder - Wrath of the Righteous]
The shaman acquired a scroll containing the spell 'magic fang'. He informed the player of the brawler that he could cast that on her character's fists, feet, elbows, or knees. She then began to enthusiastically describe her character pummeling foes with various body parts.
Other Player: "Your opponent has a bad case of Elbowla."

[Pathfinder -  Wrath of the Righteous]
The slayer failed his save versus a fear effect and ran away from the combat at top speed, screaming all the way.
Brawler: "That's not right. [Slayer] usually runs toward a fight."
Slayer: "He runs with style."
Brawler: "Screaming is a style?"
Slayer: "What happens in combat stays in combat!"

[Pathfinder - Wrath of the Righteous]
The warpriest of Iomedae killed a quasit with one blow and made a smug comment about it. 
GM: "Oh, I forgot, when the quasits die they explode. The damage only affects followers of Iomedae."

[Pathfinder - Wrath of the Righteous]
The Shaman has been affected by a curse that reduces his Charisma. The GM describes him as feeling a bit demoralized as a result. 
GM: "Roll a Diplomacy check."
Shaman: "I feel unworthy." 
Shaman rolls the skill check.
Shaman (sounding depressed): "Twenty-five." (which is a very good result)

[Pathfinder - Wrath of the Righteous]
The party is on the move, with the warpriest, brawler, and slayer in front and the wizard and shaman at the back with the NPCs. 
GM: "You've got all the scary-looking PCs in the front of the party."
Shaman: "We're business in front, party in the back."
GM: "You're in mullet formation!"

[Pathfinder - Wrath of the Righteous]
The GM describes a neighborhood the party is passing through as made up of upscale shops. 
Warpriest's player: "You see a shop with just a blank front and a Victoria's secret door."
The shaman's player and the brawler's player simultaneously roll their eyes, look at the GM and say, "Please, continue."

[Star Wars - A New New Hope]
In Star Wars, the party's Wookiee character raged and climbed inside an AT-AT full of Imperial Stormtroopers. 
Pilot: "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear."

[Star Wars - A New New Hope]
After the Wookiee single-handedly overpowered the commander and pilot and most of the troopers aboard the AT-AT:
Jedi Padawan: "You only need one boarder when your boarder is an enraged Wookiee."

[Star Wars - A New New Hope]
The Jedi Force-grabbed the pilot of a AT-ST (the two-legged walking transports) and sent him flying. 
Droid: "I didn't know those things had ejector seats."

[Pathfinder - Kingmaker]
Our party included an alchemist with a tumor familiar named Cyst. This happened after Cyst did something during one session.
Fighter: "Cyst a-cyst-ed."

[Pathfinder - Kingmaker]
The party members acquired some magic items that would allow a single individual to teleport to a specified location with a maximum weight limit of items. There were several such items and each one was capable of transporting a different amount of weight. We were trying to decide who was carrying the lightest gear and could take the items with lower weight limits. The party inquisitor has the Leadership feat. His cohort is a bard, who is also the inquisitor character's wife.
Oracle: "How much weight does [Bard] carry?"
Fighter: "Well, she's always carrying [Inquisitor]."

[Pathfinder - Kingmaker]
The party alchemist liked to dissect things. A huge demon spider had appeared in front of the party.
Oracle: "Can I make a Perception check to see if [Alchemist] is salivating?"

[Pathfinder - Kingmaker]
The party were trying to figure out if anyone had any teleportation device that could transport one person a long distance away to deliver a message. 
Fighter: "I have a pathway pearl 7."
Cleric: "That's the weight limit, not the distance."
GM: "You could take yourself and one of your axes."
(The fighter uses a double-bladed +1 keen flaming axe.)

[Pathfinder - Kingmaker]
The Alchemist was describing something to another player who was absent during the previous session. 
Alchemist: "Last time we found a 'rod of splendor', if you recall what that does."
Fighter: "It makes your coffee sweet without making you fat."
Alchemist: "That would be a 'rod of Splenda'."

[Pathfinder - Kingmaker]
The party alchemist as usual had a 'countless eyes' effect active, so he was covered in eyes. 
Inquisitor (to Alchemist): "Try to get some shuteye eye eye eye eye eye."

[Pathfinder -  Mummy's Mask]
One of the players had started the Adventure Path with a rogue, who died at first level when she decided to have everyone else leave the room while she disabled a trap - and then found herself unable to escape while being simultaneously bludgeoned, electrocuted, and drowned.
Later the same player's current character was about to disable a trap located in a small underground chamber. 
GM (to that player): "Are you sure you wouldn't like to have everyone leave the room while you do that?"

[Pathfinder -  Mummy's Mask]
GM: "The man is the lamia's paramour."
Shaman: "There's only one of him. Seems more like a unimour."

[Pathfinder -  Mummy's Mask]
Shaman rolls for Diplomacy. 
GM: "He seems hostile toward you."
Shaman: "I rolled a 3. I seem hostile toward me."

[Pathfinder - Mummy's Mask]
The party entered an ancient temple and ran into some mummies. We defeated them by setting them on fire. During the combat one of the mummies punched the party's druid.
A little while later, after we'd also defeated some cultists and were examining the loot we'd taken from them, the GM asked for a Perception roll from the druid. After the roll result was reported, this exchange occurred:
GM: "You notice a black spot where the mummy hit you."
Druid: "Can I make a skill check to determine if it's mummy rot?"
GM: "Okay, make a Heal check."
Druid: "Thirteen."
GM: "It's some soot from where you set the mummy on fire."
The druid's player had already made a save versus contracting mummy rot earlier, but the GM hadn't informed the player that the save had been successful. 

[Star Wars - A New New Hope]
The Star Wars party had split up. The Jedi & Wookiee were fighting stormtroopers on speeder bikes, while the rest of the characters and NPCs had been taken captive by Ewoks, except for the Jedi padawan, who had hidden from the captors.
My husband played the Jedi, and I was playing the Jedi's padawan. When text messaging each other, my hsuband and I often use the poop emoji to indicate disappointment.
Jedi: "I send my padawan a telepathic message: 'I'm okay.'"
Padawan: "I send back, 'Everyone captured but me.'"
Jedi: "I send a poop emoji."

[Pathfinder - Mummy's Mask]
The party had just destroyed a construct that attacked them. It was the bloodrager's adamantine flail that made the final blow. The monk decides to pick up one of the construct's broken legs.
GM: "It has a size 32 foot!"
Shaman: "OMG, look under that kilt!"
Bloodrager: "I shattered it. You're welcome."

[Pathfinder -  Wrath of the Righteous]
The party shaman was originally a gardener on a nobleman's estate. He was initially uncomfortable and timid about using a weapon. As we prepared to face some demons, the bloodrager suggested that the shaman use a morningstar he recently acquired. 
GM: "You get the feeling that fighting with that" (eyes the shaman) "not necessarily effectively..."
Shaman: "Hey, I've been fighting with my eyes open for at least a level now!"

[Pathfinder - Wrath of the Righteous]
The shaman's spirit animal is a monkey. 
GM to shaman: "Your monkey dives into your pack."
Bloodrager: "And then something wet trickles down your back!"
Shaman: "My soup!"
GM: "Is it split pee?"

[Pathfinder - Wrath of the Righteous]
The slayer was having a bad day. He had failed two saving throws, and a demon had just dealt him a critical attack using a scythe for which the critical success damage mulitplier was x4. 
Slayer (enthusiastically): "I'm dancing in my own blood!"

[Pathfinder] Wrath of the Righteous, part 26: Vermin From the Abyss

In the aftermath of freeing the chapel of Iomedae from the followers of Kabriri, the champions of Kenabres rested overnight, prepared to spend the following day cleansing and restoring the chapel. They also discussed Nurah's apparent betrayal of them by siding with the demons. They still didn't know whether she had done so voluntarily or been compelled. She had also never before shown any sign of the ability to magically compel another person, despite Aron's belief that she had forced him to run for help. Zosta questioned why Asami had attacked Nurah and not one of the babau with her sphere of wind. Asami responded that she had wanted to stop Nurah from giving aid to the demons without doing her much harm, and she had also believed that her spells would have little affect on the babau. Jiro then suggested that Asami could have used that spell to knock the babau away from their targets, which could have denied them the opportunity to flank a single foe. Asami took that suggestion to heart and hoped she would have a chance to use it later.

The next morning Zosta observed Jiro and his monkey Bohgong going through the series of physical movements they performed every day, but on this occasion she paid more attention to it than she had previously. Coming so close to death on the day prior had given her a different perspective. After she completed her own morning stretching exercises, she approached and asked if she could learn some of the routines that Jiro was practicing. The previous day she had been unconscious when the rest of the group heard Bohgong speak, but the others had told her about it so she wasn't shocked when it was the white monkey who replied to her request. Bohgong advised her that they performed this routine at the same time every morning, clearly with the expectation that Zosta would join them from now on. 

While Jiro and Zosta were busy exercising, Asami prepared her spells for the day, including one that would allow her to assist with cleaning the chapel. After Jiro was free, he asked her if she would use her ability to restore some of the magic to one of his wands, and she agreed. She had already used that ability to channel magic back into one of her own wands the previous evening, but Qi Zhong or Iomedae must have looked more kindly on her that morning, as she was able to restore more to Jiro's wand than she'd been able to do for her own.

Meanwhile, Runa gathered up the remains of the broken statue of Iomedae and assembled them together, annointing them with holy water, then encouraged all present to join her in a prayer. After praying with the paladins, she said a prayer of her own, then cast a specially-prepared spell to restore the statue. As she stood with her eyes closed reverently and her hands raised toward the heavens, the statue reassembled itself into its original state, as a figure of Iomedae standing with her hands upraised. When Runa opened her eyes she thought she saw a smile appear briefly on the statue's face before it assumed its original rather stern expression.

The spirits of the group were raised after witnessing the restoration of the statue. Irabeth, who had recovered a great deal of her lost strength, overheard some of the troops referring to her as "unkillable," a rumor that she quickly quashed. The group members all went to work then removing filth from the chapel buildings. Jiro pulled out weeds and dead plants, Asami removed demonic inscriptions, and Zosta carried broken stones and furniture. When most of the clearing and cleaning had been done, Irabeth called on Iomedae's power to consecrate the chapel again in her name. 

The group remained at the chapel another night before continuing on toward Drezen. The following morning Zosta again practiced exercises with Jiro and Bohgong. After they had finished, she was amused to see the monkey suddenly produce a wand from an unknown location and use it to scratch his back. 

In the morning Irabeth sent a bird with a message to Kenabres to inform the rest of the army that the chapel was cleared. Afterward the army from Kenabres set off once more toward their goal, the demon-occupied city of Drezen. When they had traversed approximately 10 miles from the chapel, the scouts preceding the army returned to report that up ahead they had seen a large area filled with green vapor that showed signs of movement within it. Five of the champions from Kenabres went forward with Anevia, Aron, and Sosiel to take a closer look. 

They found the gorge ahead filled from wall to wall by the green cloud. On observing it, Aron identified the creatures moving within it as vescavors, insects from the Abyss. The cloud couldn't disguise that there were innumerable swarms of them milling about. As the group discussed what to do, their combined memories recalled that vescavors always attacked in such swarms, and were difficult to deal with for that reason because they were too small to easily strike with a weapon or targeted magic. They were also more difficult to burn or electrocute than ordinary insects from the Material Plane. It was likely that there were so many of them here because there was a vescavor queen nearby. If the queen could be killed or driven away, the swarms would disperse. 

It was impossible for the army to go around this section of the gorge; the walls were too steep to climb and to circumvent the area would mean going back past the chapel and making a very lengthy detour into territory that was probably infested with demons. The eight companions decided that their best course of action would be to find and dispose of the queen. They had observed some vescavors crawling in and out of openings in the gorge wall, and there were openings large enough that a person could enter them. Aron reassured them that if they moved quietly the swarms wouldn't notice them, so they carefully made their way past the swarms to one of these openings. Anevia went ahead to examine one of the openings, finding that while it was small enough to force them to crouch, it dropped down into a vertical shaft that was larger. She measured the shaft with a rope to determine how deep it was. They decided to set ropes to help them descend as most of the members of the party weren't skilled climbers. Though they worried it would attract attention, they feared the cave would be too dark for most of the party members besides Runa, who could see in the dark, so Asami imbued Zosta's amulet with light and Zosta descended first.

Once they had reached the bottom of the shaft, they found the cave warm and filled with a monotonous droning noise. The walls were covered in a red substance that appeared to be dried mucus, which made the interior of the cave resemble the insides of a living beast. The band began to make their way cautiously along a passage that appeared to open out into a larger chamber. Sadly Runa's heavy armor made moving silently difficult. When she scraped a shoulder guard against the wall Jiro involuntarily gasped. That was enough noise to attract two swarms of vescavors to the area. 

As the vescavors rushed the small band of people, Zosta ran past them into the bigger area. Vescavors surged around Runa and Anevia, who had been walking just behind Zosta. The approach of the creatures was accompanied by a maddening chittering, which left Anevia confused. Zosta hurled a flask of alchemical frost at the swarm, but their sound also confused Bohgong, and Kirara, who began meowing plaintively and squirming about in Asami's pack. Vescavors began to crawl around the corner into the passageway where Asami, Aron, and Sosiel stood. Asami summoned up a sphere of wind to push them back. Sosiel handed a flask of alchemical fire to Aron, who threw it into the vescavor swarm, but the flask's contents did nothing to harm the creatures. Asami could no longer see Zosta, Anevia, or Runa, as they had all gone around a corner into the next area. The swarm closed in on her, skittering around her feet. She felt nauseated. She directed her sphere at them and succeeded in pushing them away from her. She, Aron, and Sosiel all took a few steps back to get away from the creatures' continuously biting mandibles. Asami was covered in bites, which left her weak as well as sick.

Runa called on Iomedae and released a blazing light in the other room, which did more harm to the swarm there than anything else the group had done. A moment later she warned those still in the passage that she intended to do it again. Sosiel cried out when the brilliant radiance left him briefly blinded, but the vescavors were gone.

With the vermin eliminated, the members of the group realized that the vescavors had been gnawing on their clothing and equipment as well as their flesh. They recalled too late that these diminutive creatures were capable of consuming almost any substance, making it even more difficult to combat them directly. They had been woefully under-prepared for this encounter. 

Though they worried that if they left the queen would fill the cavern with more of her spawn, they agreed that it would be wiser to return to camp and prepare with more effective spells before continuing their search for the queen. Jiro had linked his life force to the others to heal them, but he now needed to use his magic to heal the many wounds he had absorbed from his companions. Asami swallowed one of the potions she'd taken from the chapel cache. When everyone was recovered enough to climb up, they left the cave and crept away from the vescavors to get back to the army.

As soon as she had safely returned to the army's camp, Asami approached Aravashnial to ask him if he had access to certain spells she knew of but didn't have transcribed in any of her spellbooks. Her affinity for wood had always led her to avoid learning spells that could conjure fire, but even though she knew the vescavors were resistant to the effect of fire she felt that blasting a larger area with intense flames might be successful in harming them. She had already realized that slaying the queen would be much more challenging than fighting the swarms, and it would be her task to keep swarms away from her friends while they attacked the queen.

Aravashnial did know the spell she desired and he agreed to permit her to copy it from his spellbook into her own. He also had a prepared scroll of the same spell which he offered to her. After thanking him for his help, Asami retired to her tent to scribe a scroll of her own. As the rest of the group made their own preparations, Jiro informed his friends that when they returned to the cave he wouldn't be able to heal them through sacrificing his own life force, because he planned to call on the spirit of an ancestor who had been a wizard rather than the ancestor whose wisdom he usually channeled. Runa also told them that she would go prepared with more of her spells of brilliant light. Equipped with this magic, they hoped they would be able to better withstand the vescavors.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

[Star Wars] Guardians of Peace, Episode 4: "From the Shadows part 3"

Author's Note: I have misplaced my notes for this session. This post will be incomplete until I locate the missing notes.

Vicious bands of pirates and criminals stalk the neutral sectors, striking at will against systems on both sides of the border.

On the trail of the SHADOW WING, Taanar Ryl and her companions are searching for the fugitive pirate Ferb. With the help of the notorious slicer, The Skifter, they have found him hiding in the great junkyards of Ord Mantell...

Next: Episode 5, "A Darkness Grows"

[Star Wars] Guardians of Peace, Episode 7: "A Darkness Grows, part 3"

As attacks by SHADOW WING increase, the systems of the neutral zones cry out for help. The vicious pirates strike virtually at will, only to disappear back into the depths of space.

With their ship captured and their companion Ferb taken prisoner by SHADOW WING, the Jedi and Antarian Rangers resort to desperate measures to learn the pirates' plans. Taanar Ryl and Renpoji Secura infiltrate a mercenary hideout and discover the SHADOW WING plot to take over the planet Glom Tho...

Having found that the Shadow Wing pirates were still keeping a watch on the Fortune of Greepo, the four Jedi representatives quickly made a plan to get them aboard the ship. Den and Ren prepared a distraction that they hoped would allow Taanar and Nema to get into their vessel. As they readied themselves to proceed, a speeder arrived to pick up the pirates, and they could see that it also carried their droid FE.

After the speeder left, Den and Ren cautiously approached the Fortune. There were no more pirates hiding inside, which proved to be because the pirates had disassembled the control panel. As Taanar and Nema joined them, the brothers speculated that the pirates had been trying to bypass the lockout codes that FE would have activated when the ship was threatened.

Working together, the four of them managed to repair their communications system enough that they could contact the Antarian Rangers. There was clearly jamming taking place around Glom Tho, but Taanar managed to punch a signal through. The message they received in response was garbled, and then their hyperspace transceiver burned out.

With the option of contacting the Jedi Order no longer available to them, the Secura brothers decided to return to the church hostel they had visited the previous evening and seek a way to contact the Glom Tho government directly. After telling the man they met there, Garrick Thorn, that they served the Jedi Order, he was convinced to help them. It seemed that the local faith's similarity to Jedi beliefs was more than coincidence. Taanar meanwhile attempted to contact the government herself, but was only able to leave a voice message after listening to a recording that told her contact with offworlders was only permitted during daylight hours.

Ferb had told Ren that the coup would take place at dawn the next day, and by this point dawn was only an hour away. The team was becoming desperate. so they all went to the church again and pleaded for Garrick Thorn to make contact with government representatives, since he was a native. With Thorn making the call, the message was accepted, much to their relief. But within moments they began to hear klaxons in the background. Thorn offered them use of his ground speeder.

Equipped with a vehicle, the team decided to go back to the warehouse to rescue Ferb. As they left the church behind, they spotted six armed speeders heading toward the causeway to the mainland. They arrived at the warehouse to find it vacant and immediately turned around to follow the speeders they had seen.

As they approached the causeway gate, they could see blaster fire being exchanged with the gate guards. Their warning message had clearly been received and believed and the government forces were trying to stop the pirates. Then some Nikto mercenaries began firing on their borrowed speeder.

Den steered the speeder toward the pirates' vehicles. Taanar, who was sitting on the back of the open speeder, reached out with the Force and grabbed one of the pirates' speeders, hurling at another vehicle. One speeder exploded, sending a burning pirate plunging into the nearby canal. They could see pirates and government soldiers fighting at the near end of the causeway and headed toward it. Taanar negated a blast directed at the borrowed speeder. An armored personnel carrier was moving toward the causeway, so Taanar flipped it on its side and used it to block the gate area to prevent the pirates' speeders from getting through.

Despite being hit, Taanar vaulted onto the personnel carrier and began to use her saber to cut into it. Nema deflected more blaster fire and disarmed one of the Nikto mercenaries. Den shouted to the pirates, "Surrender! Your plot's been exposed!"

After Taanar cut open the personnel carrier, Ferb climbed out, complaining that flipping the vehicle on its side had already opened the door. Most of the mercenaries had been taken out either by Nema and her cousins or by the government military. They found the controller for the slave collar on one of the mercenaries and released Ferb, but FE was not with him in the vehicle.

Once reunited with the team, Ferb told them that he'd overheard the pirates and mercenaries discussing attacking a mine. When asked about this, the local military told the Jedi team that there was a kyber crystal mine on Glam Tho. Then someone indicated that communication with the mine had been lost. Ferb offered to pilot one of the undamaged personnel carriers to take the team and some local troopers to the mine.

On route to the mine, the troopers used their medical packs to treat the wounds Den and Taanar had suffered in the fighting at the spaceport. As they approached the mine they could see smoke rising from structures on the surface. The Herglik and the people who had taken Ferb from Ord Mantell were present. The team members also spotted a huge crystal on an antigrav pallet.

Taanar dove out of the carrier and took cover behind some containers, then used the Force to grab the crystal and move it closer to the carrier. Nema and the brothers also clambered out of the carrier and began exchanging fire with the pirates. Suddenly Vima Montari, the captive Imperial Knight, emerged from inside the mine entrance, carrying her ignited lightsaber but still wearing the slave collar. She hurled a spiked projectile at Ren, who realized it must be poisoned after it hit him and he began to feel weakness.

Taanar flipped the pallet upside-down on top of the carrier so Ferb could undo the straps through the roof hatch. The troopers emerged from the carrier and joined the fight against the pirates. With the kyber crystal safely under Jedi control, Taanar turned her attention to Vima Montari. She attempted to disarm the Imperial Knight of her lightsaber and was surprised at the younger woman's ability to resist. Meanwhile the pirate group's leader, Navion, had climbed up on top of the mine entrance building, where the Herglik joined him. Taanar leaped up onto the building but landed awkwardly and missed her attack on Navion.

Ren was getting weaker by the moment, and his attempt to disable Vima with a grenade failed. Nema, however, managed to hit her with blaster fire. Threatened by Taanar, Navion ordered Vima to come to him. When she jumped up onto the structure and attacked Taanar, Taanar used the Force to shove her off the building's roof.

The Herglik then knocked Taanar off the roof also, and Vima jumped back up onto it. While Den jumped into an unoccupied speeder the pirates had brought, a shuttle arrived bringing more pirates to fire on the troopers. Taanar grabbed the Herglik and used him as a weapon for a second time, hurling him at Navion. Unfortunately because she was below Navion, she couldn't see him clearly and her living missile failed to hit the target. She vaulted back up onto the building and thrust Navion off the roof with the Force. The shuttle that had arrived had maneuvered to that side of the building, and as Taanar watched the Herglik grabbed Vima Montari and leaped into the shuttle.

Behind the building, Den rammed his speeder into Navion, killing him. He was found holding the slave collar control in his hand, indicating that he might have meant to kill Vima when he thought she was going to escape. As the Jedi team discovered this, Antarian Ranger X-wing fighters arrived and took out the remaining pirate forces and their hired mercenaries.

Ferb had flown the personnel carrier with the crystal out of range during the fighting, but with the shooting over he returned. As the carrier landed, Nema felt something calling to her from inside the craft. She had failed to acquire a crystal of her own when they were attacked by Shadow Wing on Ilum, but it seemed that there was a shard from the larger crystal that was meant for her.

As the Jedi and Rangers helped the local troops mop up, Taanar Ryl heard a voice in her mind saying, "Find me."

[Star Wars] Guardians of Peace, Episode 6: "A Darkness Grows, part 2"

As attacks by SHADOW WING increase, the systems of the neutral zones cry out for help. The vicious pirates strike virtually at will, only to disappear back into the depths of space. 

Data from the captured droid leads Jedi Taanar Ryl to the Glom Tho system where she finds evidence of the SHADOW WING. In a spaceport cantina the pirates confront the Jedi and her companions...

Trapped within Glom Tho's isolated spaceport during the nightly curfew, Taanar Ryl wondered how she should proceed. They had lost communication with Ferb, who had been waiting aboard the Fortune of Greepo. It seemed likely that the Shadow Wing pirates had discovered him and abducted or even killed him. She considered returning to the docking bay to find out, but after searching her feelings she decided that it would be unwise. The pirates had probably left sentries with the ship, and she doubted that they would have slain Ferb. But this meant she and her companions would have to find somewhere to rest and hide overnight. They searched maps of the spaceport until they located a nearby hostel. 

When the quartet arrived at the hostel, they were refused entry. It seemed the hostel was only for local citizens who practiced Glom Tho's dominant spiritual beliefs. Ren began to question the doorkeeper of the hostel about these beliefs, and as he did so Nema suddenly noticed a similarity between the native religion and some of the tenets of the Jedi. After learning this, she courteously asked if they might still be given the room, but they were refused. Then the Secura brothers noticed some people nearby who they suspected might be trouble. The group quietly slipped away before they were noticed.

Though they were reluctant to check into a hotel, the four representatives of the Jedi finally decided to take a room in a mid-range hotel near the waterfront. Nema was able to persuade the droid clerk not to ask for their identification. Once they had settled in their shared room, Taanar put Den and Ren into a healing trance. She rested while Nema stood watch over them. As Nema looked out the window toward the canal, she noticed a speeder arriving and being met by a group of armed people who emerged from a nearby warehouse. One of these people was the leader of the group that had attacked Nema and her companions at the Spacer's Delight. She began to feel convinced that these people were holding Ferb inside the warehouse. 

At dawn, Taanar woke the Secura brothers and told them about Ferb and the warehouse. The group discussed how best to get inside to rescue him when they were outnumbered and outgunned. Finally they settled on using a diversion so that Taanar and one of them could get onto the roof of the warehouse. To add verisimilitude, they rented a load lifter, some empty cargo containers, and coveralls.

While Den and Nema took the load lifter to the loading bay of the warehouse, Taanar and Ren climbed up to the roof of the nearest building. The street was fairly wide below, but Taanar had an idea of how to get herself and the young Ranger across. Meanwhile, Den and Nema tried to convince the men guarding the loading area that they had a delivery to make and would get in trouble with their boss if they didn't take care of it. While they were arguing with the guards, Ren made a running jump toward the warehouse roof and Taanar used the Force to boost him across, then vaulted across herself. 

After they had both landed safely without attracting any notice from below, Taanar used her lightsaber to cut the lock from the rooftop trapdoor. When she peered down into the warehouse space, she spotted Ferb looking a little worse for wear but eating. Ren slid silently down the ladder from the trapdoor. He crept up to Ferb and conversed with him in whispers. Ferb warned Ren that the Shadow Wing were planning a coup against the government of Glamtho. He also showed Ren that he was wearing a slave collar, which would kill him if he got too far away from the person carrying the device's remote control.

Meanwhile, Taanar had spotted three speeders inside the warehouse. When Ren rejoined her and told her what he'd learned from Ferb, she decided they would have to abort the rescue in favor of warning the government about the impending coup attempt. She and Ren left through the trapdoor and leaped back across to the other building, then signalled Den and Nema to leave.

When the four had regrouped, they considered heading across the now-open causeway to the mainland to contact government representatives and warn them. But as they approached the causeway they spotted Shadow Wing members watching it. They retreated, deciding to take a chance on returning to the docking bay and using their ship's communication equipment to contact the Jedi and ask them to warn the government. 

On the way to the docking bay they passed by Blaster's Arena, which was displaying billboards advertising that night's contest starring the captive Imperial Knight. They realized that she was wearing a slave collar like the one the pirates had put on Ferb. 

As they cautiously approached the bay where the Fortune of Greepo was housed, the four companions could see that there were six Shadow Wing pirates inside the bay, including the Herglik that Taanar had tossed in the Spacer's Delight two nights earlier.

Next: Episode 7, "A Darkness Grows, part 3"

[Star Wars] Guardians of Peace, Episode 5: "A Darkness Grows, part 1"

Author's Note: I have misplaced my notes for this session. This post will be incomplete until I locate the missing notes.

As attacks by SHADOW WING increase, the systems of the neutral zones cry out for help. The vicious pirates strike virtually at will,  only to disappear back into the depths of space. 

The Jedi Taanar Ryl and her padawan track down the few leads the have gathered. Using the information from the former pirate droid RX-99 they search the hyperlanes for signs of the pirates...

Next: Episode 6, "A Darkness Grows, part 2"