Hand of the Gods

The Tale Thus Far

Our heroes responded to a request for help from the wizard Zagharam in the town of Cublingbrook.
The absent-minded mage told them that he needed someone to go into his basement and find his “wish gems”, five magic gems meant to adorn a special glove. The basement turned out to be a veritable factory and research center for the manufacture and study of magic. The gnome workers, though, were long dead, and the whole place was infested with dangerous creatures, not to mention the wizard’s own security measures, apparently designed to keep the gems out of reach.

Gelatinous cube

After recovering three of the gems and making their way to the lowest level, the party was surprised to find the corpse of Zagharam himself! He was apparently killed by an assassin who escaped with the other two gems. When the group returned to Zagharam’s keep, they found that he was actually the evil wizard Maligor in disguise. Maligor ordered the assassin to take the gems from the heroes. The group killed the assassin, but Maligor escaped during the struggle, taking the glove and two of the gems with him.

After resting at the local inn and meeting their new friend, the wise-cracking halfling Durrik, the party travelled to Circeum University seeking information about the mysterious gems. A sage there told them the gems were somehow associated with an ancient religion practiced in coastal villages to the north, and that he would pay them for whatever new details they could learn regarding these old religious practices. Before setting out, the party was approached by a young noble named Cornelius Uthwait, son of Cedric Uthwait. He told them that he would pay them for the opportunity to travel with them and experience adventure. They agreed to take him along on their trip north.

Along the way, they happened upon an ancient ruin that was being used as a camp by a group of bandits. After a brief skirmish, the bandits were dispatched and their loot confiscated.

The heroes reached a small fishing town called Aeremwold. The people there were heard to speak an unknown language, but switched to common when they noticed the presence of the heroes. They were altogether acting in a suspect manner, making the group uncomfortable. After some investigating, an old drunk told a tale about the townsfolk, claiming that they had made a terrible pact with a race of fishmen, offering human sacrifice in exchange for good fishing and gold. Cornelius and the knight, Erastin Rivenguard, were taken prisoner and brought to the town’s church, where they were to be sacrificed.

Our heroes have made their way to the church to rescue their friends…

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Into the Church

The two female half-elves, Alethe and Tamuril Palla sneaked their way into the Church in search of Erastin Rivenguard and Cornelius Uthwait. Alethe cast invisibility on Tamuril and then led the way in. They found the church itself empty but over by the alter they found a passage way that led down under the church. Following this tunnel, they came apon a chamber wherein her companions were about to be sacrificed by the Father Riggolio and a Sahuagin, Sahuagin
one of a race of evil sea-dwelling humanoids believed to live in a vast underwater kingdom in the ocean to the north.

Alethe attempted to distract the two captors, attacking the priest with Magic Missile, while Tamuril snuck behind, invisible, to release their companions, Erastin and Cornelius. The ploy however back-fired somewhat when Tamuril instead chose to attack the priest, revealing herself.

A melee skirmish erupted. Alethe tried her best, attacking with her ( Alethe snakestaff ) but, rather unskilled, could only manage to land a hit once. She eventually chose to throw down her magical staff calling forth the python snake within. It was during this skirmish that Content Not Found: khell and Gwuorn made their appearance in the chamber, having questioned a townsman as to why there were search parties all throughout town.

It didn’t take long for the druid and dwarf to choose to aid the two half-elves. The Sahuagin, however, escaped, while Father Riggolio was caught by the python that was released from the staff. Alethe showed no remorse at his eventual death.

Introductions were made and as the ladies turned their attention to freeing their companions, a new threat announced itself. A large tentacle snaked its way from the tunnel and made to strike at Tamuril.

Hurrying to free the two bound on the sacrificial alter, Alethe and Tamuril worked at untying rope knots, while the druid and dwarf stood guard facing the tunnel where the Sahaguin escaped down. Another skirmish ensued – against the tentacle (an appendage of Dagon), the dwarf and druid protecting the half-elven ladies as they freed the knight and the noble. After a few good hits the tentacle retreated and now the 6 adventurers are left to decide their next move.

(played out on www.rpgtonight.com)

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Escaping Aeremwold

With the battle with the tentacle over, the adventurers offered up brief introductions and searched the body of the priest for anything of use. Alethe took possession of Father Riggolio’s staff, knowing that it is magical – what with his attempt to use its fear inducing magics on her during their squirmish. Tamuril Palla, with the help of the dwarf Gwuorn, took the priests fine quality robe.

The companions made plans to rest up at the abandoned house, Alethe and Tamuril, had waited out in earlier, but as the group left the church and began their way there, they noticed that the town streets seemed completely empty. And by the light of the moon, they were able see clearly the bay filled with approaching Sahuagin. It was decided then that it was best that they leave the town of Aeremwold quickly, they sought out their horses – which had been so kindly moved from out in front of the tavern to the stables. But they were missing a few mounts and the group had to double up to escape town swiftly. Tamuril rode with Alethe, Erastin with Cornelius Uthwait and Gwuorn with Khell

There was some confusion as to which was the best route to safety. First the party headed west, along the coast road, then south into The Ash Waste, then more south west. Alethe eventually led the group parallel to the coast line – just within sight of it, for fear of being spotted and attacked by yet more Sahuagin or worse yet – the tentacle creature, Dagon. Their goal being to reach the ruins to the west and hopefully find food and shelter there.

The group of escapees were sadly unprepared for a trip into the Ash Waste however, with very limited food and no water. Some, namely Cornelius and Erastin, were without any gear whatsoever – their stuff having been taken when they were captured by the villagers. There had been no time to search for their gear before leaving ((actually we just forgot – doh! Bad players!)).

After several hours of travel, exhaustion and thirst began to grow. Tamuril offered to create water but needed a vessel to hold it. With nothing else suitable on hand, the dwarf offered up the use of his shield.

It was about this time that the group became aware that they were being stalked.. by wild dogs from the Ash Waste.

Will the adventurers make it to the ruins to the West or will they become dog food?

Eyes in the dark

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A Timely Intervention

As several of the party climbed down off their mounts to drink from the water in Gwuorn’s shield, the pack of wild dogs began to approach warily. With nothing more than melee weapons to defend themselves with, the party stood fast waiting.

But a timely intervention by a stranger with a bow, had the dogs backing off for a bit. The young man introduced himself as Aurel Renata. Claiming to have seen the party escaping Aeremwold.

Alethe and Tamuril Palla seem to be suspicious of the newcomer and his claims of wanting to help. But is the group in any position to turn away aid?

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The Pack Attacks

With the decision made to continue on with the company of the newcomer, Aurel Renata, the party finished with their break and turned to mounting up. Aurel would follow on foot.

It was then that the wild dog pack rushed in to attack. Aurel fired off his bow, missing the lead dog by a hairbreadth. Tamuril Palla nudged Alethe to turn about and distract the dogs from the new party member. With a sigh Alethe urged the horse into a charge. Cornelius Uthwait and Erastin Rivenguard, and Gwuorn and Khell doing the same. But the dogs did not flee or back down as expected, rather they bit at the horses. Alethe and Tamurils mount reared up, and in the process dumped the two ladies.

The ladies were up quickly fending off dogs as best they could. Erastin and Gwuorn jumped down from their mounts and took on some of the dogs. It was a quick and fierce battle – with injuries being taken by the girls and Erastin. But the dogs fared worse with several killed before they fleed.

With wounds to tend to Gwuorn set about skinning some of the slain dogs and planned on making jerked dog meat to supplement their low food stocks. (shudder)

While binding her wounds, Alethe took some time to question the newcomer a bit more. It seemed he was willing to help now… but expected similiar assistance later in freeing the town of Aeremwold.

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Ash Waste nomads

After putting Cornelius in line with a snarky comment about burning his britches and leaving him for the Sahuagin to find, Alethe led the group westward towards the ruins. They travelled on til dawn when over a rise in the land there suddenly appeared a large group of ‘nomads’. Both groups seemed uncertain at first, especially due to the language barrier but civil trade was worked out despite this and the party received food and water, in exchange for a few coins.

Despite being offered to travel with the larger group towards the ocean, Tamuril insisted that the party continue on towards the ruins.

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Dealing with the Brigands

Several more hours of travel westward, eventually found the exhausted party a mile or so from the ruins, where they discovered – the brigands were back. There were over 20 or more. Alethe attempted to first use her Wand of Conjuration to summon a creature to deal with the brigands but she was of insufficient level to use it.

When that failed she came up with plan B. Use the wands ability to cast Prismatic Wall in front of the brigands in the midst of their charge. She forewarned her party – reminding them to keep close to her and not charge ahead. But when the plan came into effect and the 20 brigands were charging forward, three of her party moved into the fray just as the wall came into effect. All were blinded, and one of her own, Khell lost his life to the powerful magic.

The brigands however had stopped their forward charge at the walls appearance and did not rush forward to their doom like Alethe had hoped. She adapted the plan and came up with a means to box the brigands in a triangle of three prismatic walls. Plan C worked like a charm. The brigands were dealt with and the party now had plenty of food, water, and other equipment. They even found new loot – including a recent find by the brigands 7 old fashions gold coins.

After this the party set up watches and the group settled in the ruins to rest for the day.

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Searching the Ruins

Once rested, the party began to hear noises from the ruin entrance, despite misgivings, Alethe followed the others down into the tunnels. Her misgivings were not misplaced as no sooner had they gone a short distance than Aurel was killed by a trap. A little further and the dwarf was gone in a puff of smoke of another trap. (April 26th 2012)

The remaining party members continued on discovering the bodies of other adventures killed in the tunnels. Continuing on they ( Alethe, Tamuril Palla, Erastin Rivenguard and the nobleman Cornelius Uthwait) discover a doorway and within see three sarcophagi. Oddly it’s the cleric that is most curious, and disturbs the rest of the skeleton within one. Alethe is quick to dispatch it with a magic missile.

Afterwards, the party hears what sounds like footsteps near the ceiling. Alethe tries to put whatever is there to sleep but when nothing happens assumes that she had been overly nervous and imagining things.

Before she can make her way back out to leave, the other sarcophagi begin to open. A voice from the corner of the ceiling calls to the party to basically “take me with you” and a drow elf appears. After a bit of an uneasy glance about Alethe agrees and the party leaves the room, shutting the skeletons in the room alone. Introductions are made out in the hall. The drow, a self professed treasure hunter is called T’Jana and Alethe basically has her take the lead and be trap-bait. They make it back to where the bodies had been found only to discover they are risen up now as well. (added to June 9th)

Alethe instructed the others to buy her time to read a spell from her book. She moved to the back and began reading. The others stood their ground and fought the zombies, even the nobleman fought. The drow rogue tried to sneak behind but was seen, but in the end the zombies were all killed before Alethe finished cramming her mind with Magic Missile.

Easleytomb

The drow asked a rude off-hand question as to whether Alethe was useful at all in battle… and Alethe responded by releasing her spell on T’Jana. It created an enmity between the two.. they nearly came to blows before Erastin reminded them that this was neither the time or place for petty squabbles. But it doesn’t seem like the drow and half-elven drow will accept one another. By the end of their conversation, Alethe was calling the rogue pathetic, afraid of her own trade and taking the lead back towards the entrance of the ruins. (June 10, 2012)

Once out of the underground tunnels, the party rested and healed up. Morning dawns and still there is sharpness between Alethe and T’Jana, but in the end the drow offers to remain with the party. When options are discussed as to what to do… it is decided that remaining to search the underground may be advantageous. T’Jana leads, while Alethe quietly directs the route back towards the skeletons..

(Her plan is to begin reading her spell before the others actually engage the skeletons.. that way she can be of some use in dealing with them)

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Kinjo's Arrival

The Salty Maiden’s deck tossed in the swells, a fierce storm this was that her crew were trying to weather. “Damn his hide, where in the nine hells is that lazy good for nothing man?” Shouted her captain as sailors rushed to drop the sails and secure the lines. I’ll keel haul him once we’re through this storm he thought to himself before barking orders to the men.

“Life boat away Skipper.” One of the sailors called out pointing out at one of the Salty Maiden’s few life boats as it rocked in the swells. As he did another sailor poked his head up from a hatch calling. “Skipper it’s Mavis, he’s… Someone’s gutted him Sir.” Just then a fiery explosion rocked the ship then another and another as barrels of rum caught fire and exploded spraying flaming liquid and splinters everywhere, it wasn’t long before the Salty Maiden was no more…

…“Life boat away Skipper.” The strange man in gray heard shortly before the ship exploded. It was unfortunate, he would have preferred to stay aboard until shortly before the ship docked in Palanthus, but he could not risk the sailor he had caught rifling through his belongings divulging his secrets to the rest of the crew. Looking down at his side where a water skin hung from his shoulder he thought to himself he was lucky to have been able to find a full water skin before leaving the ship but he wished he had been able to get his hands on some food. It was going to be hard going, while he floated ashore but only if he managed to stay afloat that long. He then set about keeping the boat upright as best he could, bailing the sea out and holding on for dear life, it would be a long four days indeed…

Lifeboat away

… T’Jana knelt at the door quickly sorting through her lock picks to find the one she needed, hurriedly she inserted it into the lock trying desperately to get the door open so the adventurers could escape the nauseating smell of the wall made of rotting carrion. With two tumblers left to go the a ghoulish hand reach out and gripped T’Jana’s wrist pulling her into it, when she pulled back the fingers wrapped around her wrist lost their hold but more hands reached out to grab at her. “Please help me.”, “Quick pull me free!”, “HELLLLLP MEEEEEEE.” The wall of once living flesh pleaded and moaned as it gripped T’Jana again, this time by her ankle and sleeve, the once living flesh was weak but with more and more hands reaching out soon the half elf was absorbed to writhe in agony as part of the living wall. With no way to save their friend and no way to pick the locked door the adventurers fell back to regroup and recover their strength outside the ruins.

That evening as the adventurers were sitting around their fire a small boat washed up on shore, Tamuril went to investigate and found a strange man wearing even stranger clothes. In a thickly accented tongue the man said. “Oh thank the ancestors.” As he fell out of the boat and kissed the sandy beach, then looking up to see Tamuril standing there he asked. “Please, do you have food to spare? My ship was lost out at sea, I haven’t eaten in days.” As the man spoke his stomach growled loudly confirming his hunger.

Tamuril replied. “There’s plenty of food in our camp” And showed the man to the campfire where he immediately grabbed a bowl and ladled himself some stew before digging in, in fact the strange man ate with such fervor that it looked as if he might eat the bowl as well. Tamuril began to speak, intending to introduce the party of adventurers to the newcomer but was interrupted by Cornelius.

“No no no, you must observe my position and address me first,” Cornelius said tsking before continuing. “I am Cornelius Uthwait…”

Erastin was quick to speak next, cutting Cornelius off. “And I am Sir Erastin of Rivenguard, a knight of the knights of Sholamnia.”

Last another feminine shape spoke in a hoarse whisper. “I’m Alethe.” Her words dripped venom and it was apparent she didn’t care much for a stranger eating their food.

As the adventurers introduced themselves the strange man looked up at them from his bowl of stew, then when they finished he said. “Where are my manners?” Before standing and walking over to Cornelius where he knelt and forming a triangle with his forefingers and thumbs bowed his head to his hands on the ground. “Many thanks most noble one, I am called Kinjo.” He said before telling the party about how his ship went down as a result of the storm and how he has been making his way as a wanderer for many years.

Upon hearing that the party of adventurers were traveling to the Circeum University Kinjo asked to be allowed to travel with them so he could repay their kindness with service, cutting Tamuril off as she was asking if he wanted to accompany them. When this was agreed to it was decided that it was time to turn in for the night. Recognizing spell casters when he saw them and eager to repay the debt of charity Kinjo spoke up again. “Worry not; I will stand watch so you may be well rested and able to cast your spells in the morning.”

Alethe clearly distrustful of Kinjo replied. “So you can knife us in our sleep no doubt, we’ll keep our own watch.” She then set about assigning watch shifts to the others.

“I have no knives to knife you with, but as you wish good elf” Kinjo said before settling down in front of the fire to meditate. He sat there starring into the fire, seemingly oblivious to everything around him until a few hours later on Erastin’s watch when he noticed movement in the darkness.

“Did you see that?” Kinjo hissed at Erastin, quickly standing and pointing off into the darkness.

“What is that?” Erastin asked when he looked where Kinjo was pointing, not quite sure what it was he was seeing.

“Wake the other’s, quickly” Kinjo hissed as he stepped around the fire and dropped into a stance to face the unknown enemy.

Erastin quickly woke the others and as Tamuril stood her half elven eyes told her exactly what the threat was. “Kobolds.” She called out gripping her staff and trying to look intimidating.

Kinjo held his ground waiting for the enemy to charge as Erastin and Cornelius came up to either side of him. When the charge never came, Tamuril suggested. “Maybe we could scare them off.” Kinjo then looked over at the two men and nodded to them before drawing a hidden blade and advancing on the kobolds with Erastin at his side. When the kobolds barked at the two advancing men and backed off, they continued their advance. The kobolds, having lost the element of surprise and being clearly out matched by men with swords and armor broke ranks and ran off into the night.

The men returned to the fire where Erastin spoke of Kinjo’s impressive eyesight and of his hidden blade in shock, while Kinjo returned to the fire and his meditation having already sheathed his blade, seemingly having made it disappear altogether.

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A long overdue update

this is where the update will go once I review the logs.. : P

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