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Down under the Observatory, part 2
(Day 23)
We returned to the Observatory and began looking into the room adjacent to the "Catalogue of Days", which was the "Catalogue of Nights", a repository of deaths of ancient Wati.
A room across the hallway from that was full of sarcophagi and mummified animals, including an elephant.

Down the stairs, we found a room with blue tiles laid across the whole floor. These were a magical trap that flung the tiles with great force across the room. Amestri disabled the magic, and we moved on.
Beyond that, large doors led to an almost-octagonal room, very large, dominated by a 15'-tall statue of Pharasma as Matron. It had hieroglyphs on the walls, interrupted by floor-to ceiling curtains. Most of the curtains hid alcoves which contained shrines to different aspects of Pharasma.
One curtain led to a dormitory area. In two of the beds were deceased women, well dressed and not mummified. Magical and medical examination showed them to be young priestesses of Calistria, dead from exposure to the desert. Their corpses were preserved by magic, but they were not undead. Since Nebta-khufre had recently come from Tefu, perhaps they came through the desert from there? One large bed in this area had been slept in recently, and had many notes in his hand.
Another alcove hid a crypt thing, an undead guardian who told us to leave. He magicked away Khismia and Amestri, fortunately they did not go far, and then began to battle with us.
Khismia only went as far as the unoccupied dormitory. Amestri ended up in a long room occupied by a ghastly half-orc. She fled, and luckily ended up in the same room as everyone else.
Ostog held the ghast while the others dealt with the crypt thing, then Khismia moved to cast upon the ghast. Unfortunately, everyone's timing was off, and the ghast ripped Khismia apart before Sallah, Jes, and Novid could kill it.
We took her body with us, and returned to the Pharasman temple to request her return. Ostog sold off most of the magical cloaks and other items we'd collected to pay for the spell's components. We all rested for the night.

Day 24
When we returned to the room we had just left, the bodies of the undead had not been altered, and the tile-floor-trap had not only restarted, but had replaced the tiles destroyed in yesterday's attack.
Beyond this, and down more steps, was a silent room that had deep pits along both walls. These had once been fire pits, it seemed. A bubbly fountain lay in the center of the room, in front of a large statue of Anubis. This Graven Guardian fought us for a long time before I was able to finish it with a Ray of Acid.
After that was a Really Big Round Room with a pyramidal platform in its center, a walkway high around the outside of the room held up by statues of Pharasma. Bodies lay all around the room, but two mummies flanked the steps up the platform.
Atop that stood Nebta-Khufre, wearing a very magical golden mask. We fought. It was a LONG Fight. My spells kept him at bay most of the time, while the others fought two mummies and 6 zombies that he raised from among the many corpses on the floor.

After finally defeating him and his protectors, we took all of the magic items from the room and returned to inform the Pharasmins of our efforts. The mask was indeed that of the Forgotten Pharaoh, and was highly magical.

Days 25-26 We rested, and then escorted an eager Amestri (hopefully fully recovered from mummy rot?) into the Observatory's several genealogical libraries. There were no more monsters remaining in the lower levels.
There was an interesting room, with a miniature representation of Wati laid out on the floor, complete with running water, miniature people, animals, and buildings. The only difference is that a large obelisk (representing Pharasma's Judgement) arose from the site of the current Mausoleum.
Ostog busied himself with the spellbook of Nebta-Khufre, as well as any plans or other information he may have left in his papers.

Seti the Crocodile was busy with a 2-day-long ritual, intended to lay to rest the remaining undead who rose in response to Nebta's actions.

The Pharasmins had almost no information on the Sky Pharaoh, Forgotten as he was. They suggest the libraries of Tephu for future research.

We shall head there, but after a week or so of preparations and recovery from our labors here in Wati.
Session: Game Session 15 - Saturday, Jul 28 2018 from 6:00 PM to 1:00 AM
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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
De Exilio
Chapter 4 — Lamiae
Leokas stepped to the railing of the floating ship and assayed his enemies. He had a perfect strategic vantage point. The creatures approaching were similar to centaurs in appearance with the lower bodies of beasts and bare upper torsos of stunningly attractive, tanned humans. There were five lamias in all, three of them with the bodies of large lions, one with the body of a goat, and the fifth with the body of a small deer or gazelle. One of the lion-bodied lamias was male; the rest had female torsos. Each carried a dagger in his or her hands or mouth. Beyond that they carried nothing else nor wore any sort of clothing or jewelry.

   Leokas stretched and cracked his neck and drew his weapon. He was ready for them.

   Nulara let fly an arrow at once. It whizzed past the neck of the goat-lamia. The lamia reached Nulara, hair blowing about wildly, and reared back, kicking with her forehooves. One hoof knocked the bow from Nulara's hands; the other struck her in the sternum, and Nulara fell to the ground.

   Leokas filled the lamia with three arrows, allowing Nulara to crawl away from the lamia's stomping hooves.

   The gazelle-lamia appeared to split into a total of five lamias, all of which rushed toward Szordrin in unison, surrounding him. Then Kytharrah, having rushed to the main deck and seen his friend surrounded, and leapt and crashed down unto one of the five, grunting from the painful impact. The lamia illusion popped out of existence. Szordrin darted behind his large companion for cover from the remaining four attackers.

   The two "lionesses" focused their attentions on Hakam. The first reached him and pulled him into a forceful embrace, before he could even draw his sword, pressing his face into her bosom. The second, stroked the back of his neck, while telling him how attractive and manly she found him.

   Hakam felt himself struggling with conflicting thoughts and emotions. The women were extraordinarily attractive to him, yet he knew that they were cursed and evil... and not women at all! It felt rather pleasant being held against the soft flesh of this fair creature.... No, she was a demon! She was draining his sanity. "Fiil," he mumbled. "Fiil tanmu!"

   Hakam felt himself being shoved back. He tumbled unto his back, freed from the lamia's grip as the magical elephant exploded out of the pouch where it had been attached to Hakam's belt. The two lamias were also shoved back. The elephant immediately pounded the nearby goat-lamia across the head with its muscular trunk, knocking her unconscious instantly. She fell limp to the ground and was then trampled to death by the massive pachyderm.

   The male lion-lamia was trying to leap onto the side of the boat. The first attempt, he failed. Solisar floated up beside Leokas, who was turning to seek a new target. He could not shoot at the male lamia, because it was too far below the craft. Solisar tossed a piece of glass down toward the lion, but instead of vanishing as it should have done, the glass simply fell to the ground below. "The Weave is not responding to me!" he exclaimed.

   Belvin swooped down out of the sky, braked with his wings, and morphed back into an elf, landing naked upon Kamil's back. He calmed his companion and guided the camel, who had been galloping away from the battle frightened, back to his pile of clothing and gear. As he turned around, he saw the elephant charging toward Kytharrah. The angry lioness who had lost her grip on Hakam had instead charmed the elephant with her sweet words and commanded it to attack the minotaur. "Kamil, fetch my pouch!" The camel bent down and picked up Belvin's pouch in his teeth, raising it to his master. Belvin began frantically to reach for his holly sprig, but he was not going to be fast enough. The elephant was upon Kytharrah.

   Moments before it would have gored its tusks into the young minotaur, Hakam yelled out from under the boat, "Fiil wa'iinkamsh! The elephant shrunk down into a figurine and rolled until it stopped near Kytharrah's feet.

   The other lioness-lamia followed behind, drawing her blade from between her teeth and waving it about her head. Leokas struck her twice with arrows, the second of which went through one side of her skull and came out the other. Then a column of fire fell down from the sky at Belvin's command and ensured that she was dead.

   From behind Kytharrah, Szordrin sent a ball of fire on the group of four identical gazelle-lamias as they were closing in. Each of them now shared precisely the same scorch marks on their otherwise flawless skin and the same grimaces of pain and anger. They leaned their human torsos forward, granting extended reach to their swinging arms, and clawed at Kytharrah. He noted that their fingers ended not in nails like Cassiera or Ilthian but in thick, pointed claws like his. At first he was confused by all the arms swinging at him, but he trusted his nose. "I smell you," he said, swinging his axe and cutting through the rightmost lamia's bare flesh and spraying foul, black blood. All four lamia's shrieked in pain. He swung again, and they dropped to the ground simultaneously.

   "I got all three," said Kytharrah, but he did not feel happy about it. They looked too much like Cassiera or Ilthian to him from the waist up, but the others who were smarter than him told him that lamias were very bad, so he tried to believe them.

   "Four," said Szordrin, as he spun around and blasted a jet of fire toward the lion-lamia underneath the ship where Leokas could not shoot at him. "You got four." The flames engulfed the male, and it stumbled. Solisar also flew out over the others, drawing his wand and shooting at the same target. At least his magic items still functioned. The male was persistent; despite the burns and magical pummeling, he leapt again onto the side of the ship. This time his claws caught hold, and he clung to the bottom of the vessel like a spider, with four lion claws and two humanoid hands holding onto the planks of wood. He began climbing the side.

   "Help me up!" It was Nulara calling. She had managed to climb up Ormur, but was having trouble pulling herself over the railing onto the deck.

   "Hold on!" said Leokas, who thought it more important to deal with the climbing lamia. He leaned over the railing and aimed his arrows straight down at the beast. A single arrow struck the male, and it crashed 40 feet to the ground with a thud.

   Solisar flew over and offered Nulara a hand. She took it, and he helped pull her aboard.

   "My zanks," she said. Then she drew her black dagger. "One is coming up the side!" she warned, readying herself.

   "Not anymore," said Leokas. He raised his bow and fired off two more arrows at the remaining lioness, striking her in her tawny, furred flank, just as she was raising her arm to point at Kytharrah. "Dreams upon you!" the lamia shouted.

   "I feel sleepy!" said Kytharrah.

   "Fight it! Stay awake!" urged Szordrin, coming now from behind the cover of the hairy beast. He completed a spell and sent a barrage of snowballs at the lamia female.

   Covered now in snow, with two arrows in her hide, and seeing all four of her companions dead or dying, she bolted to the north.

   Belvin started summoning allies to pursue her, as Hakam rushed over to the four fallen lamias around Kytharrah. They were still breathing, though a large pool of black blood stained the sand around them. "Which one is the real one?" he asked Kytharrah.

   "That one," said Kytharrah, a hint of sadness in his voice.

   Hakam plunged his blade through the left side of her back and then through the side of her deer-like body to ensure that she was dead. The three duplicates and the gore beneath them vanished.

   Leokas moved quickly to the starboard of the flying ship and watched as the fleeing lamia appeared again on the same side. He sent two arrows after her with a single pull of the bowstring. They struck her in the back. She staggered but then recovered and kept running, taking cover behind a ruined wall so that Leokas no longer had a line of sight.

   Four dire weasels appeared, and Belvin sent them in pursuit. Solisar had flown quickly back inside the forecastle of the ship and sat back in the magic chair. He directed the ship to move, and it jerked forward, positioning Leokas for a clear shot. He took it. The lamia fell to the ground. Moments later, she was overtaken by the four squeaking weasels who brought her to a disturbing end.

   "Victory!" yelled Belvin in the Elven tongue. He then rode to the male lamia to check that it was indeed dead. Hakam recovered the elephant figurine and began walking toward the false wall from which the attackers had come. Szrodrin, having cast another spell, jumped and stuck to the side of the boat by his magic and began to climb on all fours. Kytharrah picked up Nulara's bow and began to climb Ormur again. "I have your bow!" he called up.

   Nulara came into the central room where the magic chair was located, with Solisar sitting in it. "Ze battle is over," she told him. "We are safe. Zey are all dead."

   "Yes, I can see that."

   "Is zat how it flies?" she asked. Solisar was distracted, for he was trying to test his control over the vessel. Could he speak to the others on the ship through the chair? Could he do more than see and move? It had drained him of his magical power, yet he had been able to leave the chair and return, and it remained in the air in his absence.

   "Yes," he finally answered her, "though I still have many questions about it."

   Nulara's face was filled with excitement and delight. "Many years have I wondered about this ship!" she said. "You have served my purposes better than I had hoped; I thank you." With that, she stared directly at Solisar with a look of lust, or perhaps hunger.

   Solisar realized also that she no longer had an accent. He tried to get up, but before he could respond, her black dagger flashed in her hand. She plunged the blade deep into his chest with three stabs, an evil grin on her face the whole time.

   Solisar screamed. The shock of the attack meant that he did not notice the pain much. Instead, with his last strained, blood-filled breaths, he could sense that it was the poison of the weapon that was ultimately going to kill him. He felt his strength draining away.

   "My children proved weaker than I had hoped," Nulara said, as she nonchalantly slid the shoulder of her garment off with her hand. The thin fabrics fell to her waist, baring her breasts, and pooling at her wide hips. Then, it seemed as if she suddenly grew taller, and her clothing slipped completely from her body, revealing not the lower half of a woman but the terrifying form of a giant serpent. "At least there will be fewer mouths to feed."
Session: 90th Game Session - Wednesday, May 24 2017 from 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM
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The Art of Making and Not Making Assumptions

I am a learned man. I am not being prideful, my brain is just gifted to be able to recall and store lots of knowledge. And I study. So I know a lot of things. But of a lot of what I know is book learning, not experience. The difference is like using a recipe to cook something that is more of an art. When I was a young boy my mom cooked this dish called chahou kheer, which is a purple rice porridge. It is quite tasty and very spicy. However, as you might suspect purple rice only grows in my homeland of Vudrani and while my family traveled quite a bit. And when you aren’t in Vudra, purple rice is hard to come by. But chahou kheer is my father’s favorite. So my mom improvised. Book knowledge would have toward mom that she couldn’t make chahou kheer. Experience of a lifetime of cooking gave my mom the skills and abilities to make chahou kheer out of pretty much anything.

What does this have to do with me?

Remember book learning? Well I read this book long ago called “The Hill Giant’s Pledge” by Grigora Voiculet. In it the humanoid race of hill giants and their various abilities, legends, and myths, were described. So, my book knowledge was that hill giants were evil and sadistic bullies. But my experience told me that generalizations are almost always false in some way.

And thus when we encountered a bunch of hill giants licking their wounds after fighting some Technic League goons, I thought we could ally with the giants, fight the Technic League, and everyone (except the TG) would win.

So, I made an assumption: it wasn’t Technic League goons the giants had been defeated by. It was some really serious robots with really dangerous abilities. Luckily, I was able to cast electrified fireballs that really hurt the Warden robots. Then they hit me with really powerful sonic beams. And that was all I remember.

Apparently, they nearly killed me. Thadian was able to bring me back from the brink.

I am so remembering to memorize resist energy next time I study spells.

And I am remembering never to make assumptions and never to not make assumptions. That last sentence only makes sense if you read what I wrote, which I did. Anyhow…
Session: Iron Gods 35 - Friday, Jul 07 2017 from 10:30 PM to 3:00 AM
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Epic!
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Lyndsey
Posted by the GM
Clockwork City
Session 1 Recap:
Adventurers:

Korvic two toes (half-elf swashbuckler)
Brock (human barbarian) and
Marc Mercel (human frost druid) are tasked to discover what is wrong in an orphanage outside of Arcadia City by a mysterious young woman.

They arrive and find that things are much worse than they imagined for the orphans and staff housed in the old Merrywine Monastery.

Headmistress Matilda Gorouk and her assistants are trying desperately to survive a situation that it getting more and more precarious by the day.

Our adventurers face possessed dolls, young women being driven absolutely insane, and a wing that is haunted by perhaps more than clockwork.

Where we leave off, Korvic has had to attack Brock, as he has lost his mind and gone berserk due to his cursed axe. After narrowly escaping death, Marc regards the whole situation with suspicion, and wants to leave the collapsing monastery immediately. Brock is bound and confused. Crying children are streaming out of the ruined building, because of the commotion, and one young gnome assistant (Uretreia) lies dead, while the other (Fanny) is unconscious and injured in the headmistress's own private room. Our heroes decide to rest for the remainder of the night, before regrouping on the morrow.
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Darth Paul
Posted by the GM
Curse of Strahd
Chapter 21: The Towers of Ravenloft
The heroes continued up the spiral stairs that had brought them to the office of the king's accountant. The next landing led into a short hall with two alcoves flanking an ornate steel door. As Shokk approached the door he saw two dark man-shaped figures, one standing in either alcove. With a gleam of red eyes, both figures collapsed into a swarm of rats! The rats surged forward and down the stair, biting at everyone. Shokk and Volta swept the swarms with their two-handed weapons while they stomped and smashed themselves and dozens of rats into the walls. Kyne swung about with the sunsword, incinerating rats by the score, while Caxius, Cira, and Verity used magic to blast and burn the rats away.


RATS!

With the vermin cleared out, they entered what appeared to be a dining room set for some sort of reception. A large, moldy, green-tinged wedding cake stood atop the table, listing precariously to one side. The small wooden image of a bride sat atop the cake, while the groom lay upon the floor, covered in dust. A harp stood in one corner, while a lute was on a table in the other corner. Verity investigated the lute, and found it remarkably clean and in tune - and enchanted! She played the harp, and a spectral figure materialized, that of a dwarfish man in the livery of jester. "I was Pidlwick the fool," the phantom said, "and my treasure lies in the tower above. I died falling down the stairs...." As the figure faded, Volta picked up the figure of the groom and put it back atop the cake.

That was a mistake. As the half-orc barbarian did so, the window to the battlements - where Shokk was standing - blew open in a cold draft of air. Verity and Volta both felt a chill close around their hearts. There was a presence there, an invisible presence! Verity cast a spell that rained fey flames down on the area, surrounding two invisible forms in flickering, spectral fire. One appeared to be a man, the other a woman, their phantasmal features contorted in fear and rage. With blows from enchanted blades and spells, the two spirits were dispelled.

Leaving through a door across from the one they had entered by, the heroes entered a bath chamber with an adjoining walk-in closet or dressing room. As Volta, Shokk, Caxius, and Verity went into the closet, Kyne and Cira went to investigate the tub...which was filled with blood. As Kyne approached, the liquid exploded upward and a figure shot up to the ceiling. It was a woman, nude, her pale skin and long, dark hair drenched with blood and her features distorted. Her hair reached down to lash at Kyne, wrap around him, and pull him to the ceiling where she raked at him with long nails and reached to kiss him, filling his mouth (but fortunately not his lungs) with blood. A hail of steel and spells greeted this foe, and she was brought low in moments. The horrid apparition and the blood vanished. The heroes grabbed a few capes from the closet to replace their own rain-soaked garb and went through a set of double doors on their right.

The room beyond was large, clean, opulently furnished...and occupied. A figure rose from a canopied bed along the far wall. It was a young woman with dark hair and wide, innocent eyes. "Who are you?" She asked, "Did Strahd send you?" The young woman, barely little more than girl, introduced herself as Gertruda. With a start, Cira realized this was the daughter of Mad Mary, who had wept so bitterly after her daughter back in the village of Barovia. The young lady was reluctant to trust the heroes and did not wish to leave. "Strahd has been very kind to me. He treats me like a woman, not a little girl. I won't go with you!" That changed when Caxius enchanted her with a simple spell. The heroes had decided - they must leave with her and now!


The innocent and unfortunate Gertruda.

They made their way back to a window and climbed out on to the parapet surrounding the upper floor of the castle. Making their way around to the side that faced the gates, they tied ropes together, secured them to a battlement, and prepared to climb down. Kyne was down first, with Shokk right behind. The burly half-orc paladin carried the girl. That is when things went horribly awry.

A cold wind flashed past Shokk, and Gertruda was lifted off his back and carried to the top of a corner tower, 40 feet up off the walkway. A dark figure stood there. Strahd! He sneered down at the heroes. "You cannot take what is mine!" He snarled, and with savage fury he tore the girl's throat out with his fangs and flung her body from the tower to the courtyard 120 feet below. He then hurled a fireball into the party, the explosion burning away Shokk's rope, and the paladin narrowly avoided a plunge 80 feet to the courtyard when he grabbed the nearest crenelation. The battle was joined, though the heroes were hard pressed. Caxius grabbed Volta, and the two vanished, reappearing next to Strahd. With a bit of magic, Shokk joined them. Verity enchanted Cira, allowing the cleric to fly closer, the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind burning with bright sunlight.


Strahd joined them in battle atop the towers of Castle Ravenloft. Things did not go well for the heroes...

But their spells and blades were not enough. Shokk was thrown from the tower, and only his supernatural vitality enabled him to survive. Volta was horribly wounded, and Cira was brought low by Strahd's bite. If she had survived that, the fall to the courtyard was her death. Verity was nearly dead, and Kyne had fled over the wall, hiding from the dark lord. But Strahd had enough for now. "Flee with your lives! Know that I am your master!" Perhaps the sunlight and the wounding dealt by Volta's magical greataxe had taken their toll; perhaps not. Shokk used a prayer and managed to restore life to Cira, whose soul had not quite fled. But the heroes fled for now, managing to lower the drawbridge and regroup outside the walls of Castle Ravenloft.

They returned to the village of Barovia, joined later by Kyne, who had hidden. They rested, determined that they would first head to Vallaki, then perhaps to Krezk, and gather supplies and reinforcements. They were not done with Strahd. Nor, they knew, was Strahd done with them...
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