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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 1 — Truly Horrid!
To be written....
Session: 108th Game Session - Wednesday, Mar 20 2019 from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM
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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
De Exilio
Chapter 5 — An Anticlimactic End
~ eighth-day, 8th of Hammer, The Year of Rogue Dragons, highsun
Spinning Keep of Siri'wadjen


The spelljammer hovered over the surface of the dried sands of the Calim Desert. Solisar, Belvin, and Leokas had followed the gnomish illusionist's map to the Spinning Keep of Siri'wadjen without issue.

   The keep was not like any structure any of them had ever seen. To call it a structure at all was perhaps not the right language. The Keep was essentially an outer shell to the infamous Calimmemnon Crystal, the magical prison of the greatest two genies of Calishite history. The Keep was itself crystalline, a dodecahedron of pearly, translucent material, which was hard to spot in the day's sunlight until they were rather close.

   The twelve-sided keep magically floated some fourteen or fifteen yards from the surface of the sand and rotated on multiple axes simultaneously. It was more than 20 yards in diameter.

   About 100 yards west of the Spinning Keep was a large, circular tent.

   "Allu and his goblin archwizard are already here, as we expected," said Szordrin, standing at the railing of their spelljammer.

   "Let me take a look," said Solisar, as he removed a bit of bat fur from his component pouch. They waited for ten minutes for him to complete his divinatory spell, after which point he seemed to enter into one of his trances.

   "I am entering the tent. There are two cots here. One of the cots is occupied by a small goblin in robes."

   "The archwizard," said Hakam, "but who sleeps on the other cot, and where is he?"

   "Durbuluk?" suggested Belvin.

   "No, he stayed behind," said Hakam. "It is likely Allustairimarinastralmindivu's cot, and he has already entered the Keep."

   "He cannot enter the Keep," said Solisar. "The elven high magic prevents it, remember. Only the goblin can enter the keep."

   Belvin said, "Allu is gone, and his wizard is asleep — this is either a trap, or we are exceptionally fortunate."

   "Could the tent be an illusion?" asked Hakam.

   "If I were closer in body, I could scan it for auras," said Solisar.

   "We have to take the risk," said Szordrin. "This could be our only chance. Lunk, lower us to the ground."

   Kytharrah lowered them in one of the rowboats to the sand, then lowered Kamil, and finally came down one of the ropes himself.

   Szordrin stealthily approached closer to the tent and then returned to the others. "The tent itself has no magical aura, but there are some inside. The wizard likely wears some sort of magical items."

   "I can encompass the whole tent in silence," said Hakam. "The wizard will not be able to use any verbal spells or hear us as we approach."

   "Do not silence the flap of the tent, so that I can stand at the entrance and use my own magic," said Szordrin.

   "If the goblin is asleep, I can take it out with a single arrow," said Leokas. "Mark my words."

   "I can call on the winds to further guide your shot," said Belvin.

   "I can approach the tent invisible and open the flap," said Szordrin. "The moment that I do, let loose your arrows."

   Everyone agreed with the plan.

   Solisar granted Leokas the ability to see invisible creatures, while Belvin blessed him and enchanted everyone's ranged weapons. Leokas himself called for a blessing from Solonor.

   The others protected and readied themselves in other magical ways. Szordrin created illusionary duplicates of himself, and he and they all turned invisible. Belvin mounted Kamil. Kytharrah drank one of his potions.

   "Kytharrah, stay by my side," Hakam commanded. Then he completed a brief prayer that created a bubble of silence around the whole tent.

   "Follow my footprints," said Szordrin, and he moved quickly toward the tent. Leokas followed.

   The flap to the tent was whipped back, and several Szordrins appeared. They and Leokas took aim at the goblin. As the arrow left Leokas' bow, a powerful gust of wind rushed past the wood elf and visibly spiraled around the projectile as it traveled. Simultaneously, rays of fire erupted from the fingertips of the Szordrins.

   The flames enveloped the goblin, but seemed to do nothing to him or his robes, except to startle him awake. The arrow, however, struck through the goblin's right arm, through his side, and into his spinal column, striking with enough force to knock the tiny humanoid from the cot and unto the floor.

   Leokas nocked another arrow and took aim toward the ground. The goblin was not dead. Instead, he seemed to explode into a cloud of black smoke. The cloud was vaguely humanoid and much larger than a goblin or even a hobgoblin, filling half the tent. Red fire glowed for eyes.

   "He vanished into black smoke! It is Allu!" shouted Leokas in warning to those on the other side of the tent. He let fly his arrow, followed by two others, as the cloud immediately flowed under the tent and outside. The magic enchantment in his arrows caused the cloud to break apart with each hit. Szordrin tried to bind the gaseous form of the genie to the earth, but he could not overcome the efreeti's magic. Free from the confines of the tent, it rose into the sky.

   Hakam and the others outside the tent saw the smoke cloud rising and could make out the shape of arms and horns. The cleric touched Kytharrah and an aura of blue, watery mist formed around him. Belvin rode up and instilled him with extra strength. Everyone felt a surge of speed, as Solisar hasted them. "Attack the genie if it comes near enough to strike!" ordered Hakam, and Kytharrah took an offensive stance and waited.

   But the genie rose higher into the sky, far out of reach of any melee weapon. "You! You are the mortal scum who stole my gem!" came a booming voice from the cloud, just as Leokas and Szordrin appeared back outside the tent. The upper portion of the cloud formed into the bare upper torso of a muscular humanoid with bronze-colored, metallic skin, black, magma-like blood pouring from a wound in the side and arm. The blood struck the sand and sizzled and hardened. A ball of fire ignited in Allu's left palm as he opened his tusked mouth and roared. "Give it... ugh!"

   Surrounded by another tunnel of wind, a magical arrow escaped from Leokas' bow, piercing the efreeti's neck.

   The genie fell from the sky like a meteor, bursting into a black cloud on impact, which dissipated into nothing.

   They gathered around the scorched sand where the efreeti had fallen. "That was anticlimactic," said Belvin.
Session: 100th Game Session! - Wednesday, Jan 24 2018 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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How many giants does it take to defeat us? More than this, apparently.
I had a bad feeling about taking the invitation to the Ice Queen's lair. That said, the time for stealth had clearly passed - may as well confront her before spending any more of our strength. The bad feeling grew as we discovered how many of her followers were close to hand in her throne room.

It didn't appear that we had anything to negotiate about, so I led the fight off with a roar - two roars, specifically, as I turned Peck and Aramil into Tyrant Lizards. The Ice Queen didn't seem to appreciate the evening of the odds, because she followed up with a word of death. As I slipped from consciousness, I could feel the Polymorph spell dropping.

I found out later that the party had responded to that first with a Fire Wall by Varis, to begin softening up and hindering our foes. The rest of the group then targeted the Queen with a focused assault, followed by a Sleep spell by Miri - only just powerful enough to take hold after the beating she had taken. This gave Peck the opportunity to administer the Coup de Gras, finishing her off.

Rather than surrender, the remaining giants continued the attack. To keep it out of their hands, the Queen's Orb was picked up first by Oscar, who narrowly avoided domination by the device. Miri then took it off his hands, and was able to firmly resist it. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no time to Attune with the device and make use of it now (too bad - my impression is that the giants were only barely keeping their dragon 'pets' under control even with the Orb).

The rest of the party engaged the remaining giants, with mixed results. Anton and Theron each caught a group of them with Lightning spells, but the giants ganged up on Anton and Oscar... managing to bring both of them down. With the giants clear of his Fire Wall, Varis switched to a Blade Barrier just above our heads - weakening our foes further and giving us cover.

It was at this point that my journey on to the afterlife was interrupted by Varis' Revivify spell. Noticing that he had also saved Oscar with a Healing Word, I responded with another T-Rex Polymorph for both of us. We rejoined the fight with renewed vigor, and Oscar was able to take down one of the giants after a brief scrape with the Blade Barrier. Peck was able to save Anton with a healing spell.

Theron put up a Sphere of Force around himself - knocking the giants away and killing one by knocking it into the Blade Barrier. The giants retaliated, taking Anton out again, but Varis incinerated one with a Flame Strike and revived Anton with a Healing Word. Peck and Miri's wounds forced them to hide, while Oscar continued his prehistoric rampage - killing two giants.

Anton served up another helping of Lightning, and Theron traded his Force Sphere for an Air Elemental to distract one of the giants. Aramil protected himself with a Blink spell, and slew a giant which was harassing Anton. The remaining giants rallied again - knocking down Anton and nearly doing the same to me (I changed forms at the last moment, and protected myself with a Shield spell). Miri healed Anton, and the Air Elemental engulfed a giant.

Varis wounded several giants with a Radiant Dawn, and I bolstered the party with a Mass Cure Wounds - followed by a Spiritual Weapon to pressure one of the giants. Peck sniped giants from hiding, killing one, and Oscar continued his fight with two of them before being knocked down and out of Dino form. Anton was finally able to disengage and hide, and Theron tossed more Lightning.

At this point, the tide of the battle turned entirely in our favor. Miri continued healing the party, saving Oscar... while the Air Elemental finished off a giant. Varis used his last Radiant Dawn to blast the life out of another, while I cast another Mass Cure Wounds. The last three giants were slain by Oscar, Anton, and Theron. I think I missed a giant or two in all of that, but what a fight!

We all stopped to catch our breath - our thoughts turning immediately to escape. Theron informed us that he had kept back one teleportation circle - he just needs a minute uninterrupted to cast it. I suggested we quickly loot the bodies, and then pile them up in the doorways to buy us time. I'm temped to see what treasure we could find here, but I think we have little time to spare for it.
Session: Frost hall of death! - Tuesday, Jan 09 2018 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Out of the Dragon's maw... into another's !?!
So we can add 'Dragonsbane' to our list of honorifics - although, I got a strange sense of Deja-vu about that. The gargantuan white beast took out many of Draven Thornbolt's fine crew, though Varis and I were able to bring two of them back from the brink with a little Divine intercession. That eases my mind to some degree - this isn't their fight, though I noticed their cook acquitted himself quite heroically.

We continue on, and the lookout yells ‘sails’ - this turns out to be a a wrecked ship (the 'Wander', apparently - a whaling ship). We pass close enough to hail the ship, and get no response. We notice marks of a dragon attack, and no lifeboats left on it. As discuss whether there's anyone left to rescue, Blackwolf smells human & chickens on ship.

We grapple onto the ship, head to the front with ropes, and my blade quickly de-ices the doors. We open the passenger area, and find no one - it was looted (by giants, no doubt), but they left behind an emerald (worth 300gp), 20 silver pieces, and two pieces of scrimshaw (worth 10gp each).

Continuing on towards the back of the ship, in the hold, we find chickens, 4 goats, and the cook (Bor Medred). He is unconscious, and suffering from hypothermia. Varis is able to cure this, and we take him back to our ship. Apparently his vessel was having some difficulty with their hunt, due to giants in the area also taking whales. They must've ended up too far afield in their search, because they encountered a giant longship with a shackled dragon (sounds familiar) which wiped them out & looted them. Bor heard in bits and pieces that the dragon apparently didn't come back to the ship after the fight, much to the giants consternation.

We keep going, and were able to get in a long rest unhindered. On a sleety day, we again get a call of ‘Sails’ - a giant longship! They pass us by (possibly aided by some impromptu magic to hide us), and seem to be following a guiding device parallel with the shore to deeper waters (looking for another of Aramil's family?) Further out, we see a bigger iceberg, with a huge hole down to the water-line (with a giant black chain hanging out from it, and a giant frosted face above it). Our ship anchors at an iceberg and lets us off. Draven is only willing to stay for 24 hours - if we're not back by then, we'll have to find our own way home.

We come up with the following plan to surprise the giants: Anton casts water-walking, and we head straight there single-file (behind a minor illusion I keep up, of the area behind us) As we get closer, we see large arctic owls - might be dangerous if hostile. We get a better look of the giant face - a depiction of a giant ocean god. We get a bit of a scare about the possibility of giant sea creatures swimming below us (the area is known for them), but we make it safely to the iceberg (off to the side of the opening)

Around this time, a SECOND huge white dragon flies out of the cave in the direction we came from. We hear signs of battle, and then see it come back with Draven in its claw. I'm not optimistic about the rest of his crew, but it looks like we've got someone else to save. We use two upscaled Invisibility spells along with a Locate Object (targeting Aramil's signet ring), and then head into the cave (using ropes to stay together).

Peering around the edge, we see a large harbor inside with five giant longships and 1 normal ship (possibly of elvish make?). A giant staircase of ice seems to lead up to a huge ice castle, and below that is a wide, bloodstained beach (covered with whale bones). We cut across the bay inside the harbor, up the beach, along the edges and up the ramp towards the castle.

Peck squeezes under a door on the ramp, and finds three people frozen solid against the wall (no one we know). With a combination of Wildshape, Polymorph, and Dimension Door, we're all able to make it through the door quietly. We replace the invisibility spells and pass through another door, narrowly evading an axe-wielding Giant sentry. He seems to hear us, but we're able to sneak past him and then flatten up against the wall.

We make it to a 4-way intersection, leading to a kitchen and various shut doors. With our options seemingly limited, we continue straight (following the locate spell) to a locked door.
Peck picks the lock, which attracts the attention of the giants inside (note to self - good time for a Silence spell). We decide that the time for stealth is past, and engage the pair of giants in the room. The fight seems to be going well, but their yells of pain are attracting further attention. I square my shoulders and prepare for a long fight.
Session: Did that iceberg move? - Tuesday, Dec 12 2017 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Waking from a Nightmare
As we pass through the mists and back into our homeland, the memories of our recent adventures start to seem foggy and unreal. At this point, the following still sticks in my mind:

Oscar, Anton, and I left the Vistani wagon heading out of Ravenloft, and turned back toward Valaki. We were met by Laucian - a Cleric survivor of Mordenkainen's peasant army, Randy - a Bard from another world, and Sergei - a Paladin who had a run-in with the Vistani. They agreed to join us, so we gathered up supplies & horses and headed towards Strahd's castle.

Rather than barge through the main gate - setting off traps and attracting guardians, we discovered a back door of sorts. We had just enough magic between us to levitate slowly up behind the castle to the attached outbuildings, then shatter a window and enter. We discovered coffins identified as King Barov and Queen Ravenovia. There seemed to be no threat, so we left them in peace.

We dispelled a blue magical field around the outbuilding, and entered the burial vault. We explored a group of numbered crypts, including one with Laucian's named on it (and containing his 'corpse') - more of Strahd's deceit, no doubt. Another crypt belonged to Gralmore Niblenobs - inside we found a white-bearded corpse clutching a staff of brass and marble. Ray put the staff into a shallow recess in a slab within the crypt, which opened a chamber containing a leather case containing a sword hilt.

We discovered that the hilt was magical - upon wielding it, a shimmering blade projected from the hilt. Somehow I got an empathic reading from the blade - it apparently belonged to Sergei (Strahd's brother). It was originally a thin crystal blade, before Strahd instructed a wizard to destroy it. Somehow, the wizard's apprentice (Niblenobs) snuck the hilt out and preserved the enchantment - deadly to undead creatures. I accepted the weapon to use against Strahd.

Further inside the vault, we discovered a room containing three coffins - these turned out to belong to three women in wedding dresses who rose out to attack us (along with swarms of bats from the vault). We were able to destroy one and drive off another, only to be confronted with Strahd himself.

Little remains in my mind of the fight with Strahd, except that it was long and grueling. He struck again and again with powerful spells, transported himself around the room to frustrate our tactics, and taxed the last reserves of our strength - but somehow we prevailed. We did everything we were aware of from Van Richten's notes to dispose of the beast for good, and left the castle behind.

Unfortunately, it seems that this evil realm abhors a vacuum - without a new Lord to take Strahd's place, he main return again regardless. I'm not sure how I know this - perhaps a final taunt from the vampire. All I know for sure is that my vengeance is spent - yet it feels empty.
Session: Stay Alive - Wednesday, Oct 12 2016 from 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM
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