Sunday, 19 June 2011

Divine Intention: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gods - Part 4


Chapter 9 Part 2
Cool for Cats

“What attracted Lerissa to Carnack is mostly unknown. If there was a sexual or emotional element to it this was almost certainly unseen. There have been many debates over Carnack Cousland's sexuality and lack thereof, but there is not a single documented case that indicates he was ever interested in any sexual fulfillment. As a result then we can say with good confidence that the two's relationship was platonic at best. A practical man like Carnack found Lerissa's abilities to be of great use, and likewise Lerissa found Carnack's stone free lifestyle to be a more desirable future than the stuffy politics of Farrelite society she was intended for.”
- Simon Niel – Strange Acquaintances

Meanwhile, Carnack and Lerissa decide to leave Megi and Damon to their own plan and to take care of the other Generals themselves. Naturally without the DM's character around to shoehorn (or indeed abuse) us into following a specific route, Carnack and Lerissa were free to deal with the situation in their favorite manner. By setting things on fire. It wasn't all easy though, the DM decided that we weren't going to get away with it, and had the camp attacked by driders, giving us the choice of either aiding the soldiers or using the attack to finish them off. The general took a fireball to the face, and Lerissa used her teleportation to get her and Carnack out of there before they got a nommed' by spiders.

The group finally reunites with a frosty atmosphere between them. One of the targets remained before the Varassian forces could be united. This last general was specifically an extremist when it came to the Varassian fear of magic, which made it really easy to capitalise upon. The plan this time was unanimously agreed. Damon would use his divine costume changing powers to make himself a high priest and the general a secret member of the Black Hand. The rest of our characters would create the desired illusion that he was casting magic. Damon's player, who himself was very adept in dramatics, relished this part, verbally crucifying the general in front of the Varssian troops, who was executed shortly afterwards.


Chapter 10
Diplomatic Inconsistencies

“So then, came the siege of Memmnon City. Defending were the conspiring Black Hand, the bulk of who's force was made up of the members of the populace that had bought into the preachings of their puppet dictator, Revenant. On the attacking side were the united forces of the Farrelite invaders and the remaining free forces of Varassia not under Black Hand rule. The battle was almost certainly one sided, and once the walls were breeched, the defending forces were almost instantaneously routed. Many fought on however, to what would be the bitterest of ends.”
- John Barlywood – Conspiracy and War in the North

The endgame was finally in sight. I confess that the first half of this session was all a little bit of a muddle to me. Deciding to be a bit of an arsehole (as Carnack would be anyway) my character found himself excluded from most of the diplomatic talks between the two sides. From what I do remember though, is that Damon did most of the talking, and the best he got from the xenophobic commander of the loyalists was that as soon as the city was taken they would turn against the Farrelites. This didn't really sit well with Megi but beggars can't be choosers eh?
The next half of the session involved breaching the city gates to allow the army to enter. This involved using Megi and Lerissa's teleportation abilities to bypass the walls. Lerissa and Carnack decided to sit out Damon's confrontation with the guards by climbing a drainpipe and hiding on a roof. Finally though the group split up to secure the area, and Carnack was the one nominated to tackle the gatehouse. Fortunately he passed his stealth check, sneaked in, dispatched the guards and allowed the army to enter the city.


Chapter 11
And May Your God Go With You

“What remained of the cleric known as Tom was a creature of high emotion and lack of empathy. Revenant was known to sway between theatrical feats of benevolence and fits of pure rage. The power he had been granted was far beyond his control, and the more he tried to harness it the more it railed against him. By the time of his final battle he was nothing more than a shell holding back divine and infernal fire and fury. A force nothing in the realms could reasonably harness. Those who choose to remember Tom, do so only thinking of the simple man that wanted to change the world”
Denton Romulus - Bound for Glory: Those who dared to change the Realms

And finally, the payoff. The group of four practically ran into battle against Revenant's divine forces, eager for combat. There had been enough talk and negotiation, now was the time for action. Revenant was almost unstoppable, and a helluva lot of healing surges had to be used to keep our guys on their feet. I'm pretty sure that Damon was knocked down at least once, Carnack and Lerissa came close. Fortunately with each drop in Revenant's health, he would harness more of his power from within, showing cracks in his visage and lowering his AC, Reflex and Fortitude, as well as the power of his attacks.
After steamrolling the divine lord it all became too much for him, and trying to harness the last of his reserves he ended up almost imploding and melting himself. Leaving nothing but a charred corpse welded in his final stance. The city was now liberated, but it wasn't over yet, there was one more score to settle...

“Unbeknown to many, the former head mage of Farrel had been scheming for longer than many had anticipated. He had attained litchood many centuries ago, and used his guile and cunning to draw attention away from his agelessness and dabbling in the infernal powers. He had planned to use the chaos in Verassia to help himself to divine magesty. The mage had planned to use these powers to further harness the Palantír, one of the legendary spherical artifacts that contain vast arcania and knowledge. With the death of Revenant, and the fall of the Black Hand, he had nothing left but to try and consolidate it now, his last chance being the power held within the cleric Damon.
- John Barlywood – Conspiracy and War in the North

The head mage symbolized that last and most important goal for our characters. To Carnack it was through the mage's death that he might finally obtain the ancient texts that would give further clues involving the ancient map. To Megi, he was the key to her finally graduating to rank within Farrellite society. To Damon, he was an affront to everything he stood for, he had been the cause of Damon losing the grace of Ioun. To Lerissa, who knows.

The battle was equally as hard at Revenant, if not more so, but being the final battle it gave our characters the chance to roll out everything they had. In desperation, the mage harnessed the power of his magic orb, which would obliterate everything. Damon finally grasped the abilities of his divine power he had obtained from the sleeper, and thew himself at the orb in order to contain it. This led to a battle of wills between Damon and the mage, as the two fought against each other in fierce mental combat.

Damon won out, just. It had been agreed between his player and the DM, that Damon would be given a heroic sacrifice to bridge this campaign for to the next. The session ended with Damon's funeral. What a downer.



“...and so the period of malcontent had begun. With Revenant's death, Memmon city had returned to the crippled visage caused by the great fire, and the lycantrhopic plague returned to the fringes. The driders were still pressing the mountainous regions, seeking resources and slaves. Farrel now controlled the country, though loosely at that, as after the siege many of the loyalists broke lose again to continue a war of attrition against the invaders. Revenant's charred remains persisted, forever a reminder of how they got there.
To the bordering nations, Farrel was now looked upon with suspicion. Once a trusted trade ally, kingdoms like Wardovia, Andavia and Florantine begun to ask themselves if they would soon become the next target of Farrelite ambitions. Diplomatic relations between the states, soon became strained.”
- John Barlywood – Conspiracy and War in the North

“Despite being awarded respectable titles and land, Lerissa had no interest in returning to Farrel. Instead, she and Carnack disappeared for a time, likely involved somehow in Carnack's continuing quest into the mystery of the Bahamut shield he encountered in Wardovia. The question remains if this was still a mystery to Carnack, as since obtaining the Farrelite texts, he seemed to have a smug air of knowing exactly what he was doing from this point on.”
- Ella Howe – Not Now, Not Ever: Existences most Wanted

“Megi was granted a more than modest reward for her services. She was given substantial land within Farrel and a position of Mage Minister within the governmental organisation. She chose to defer her seat however, instead to see more of the realms. As to whether there were noble or devious intentions to this choice, remains to be seen.”
- Crispin Lennon – I Don't Want to Spoil the Party: Famous Farrelites

“On the day of his remembrance, Damon's values shone through. It was presided by a prestigious high priest of Ioun. It was attended by many who had fought alongside him, those from the Wardovia Job, the affairs in Verassia, and even old ship hands from his sailing days. Nothing would show his importance more, however, than the arrival of an old acquaintance, seeking the Cleric's aid in a time of dire need. Without Damon, he would have to rely on those who knew him best, and hope his values would shine through them also...”
- 'Tripshot' Murphy - Anthem: The Adventures of Damon Volume 2

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Divine Intention: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gods - Part 3


Chapter 6
Not That Type of Fencing

“The hidden city was an unusual blind spot in Varassian society. Its inhabitants lived relatively normal lives despite living in an underground city guarded by a secret entrance. The cities inhabitants were mostly miners who made their fortunes by selling their boons to the rest of the kingdom. To other Varassians, the city was a complete unknown. Few questioned where the minerals came from, and even the cities leaders were in blissful ignorance. This made the city the perfect headquarters for the cult of the sleepers, but unfortunately backfired when the Drider Queen led her invasion force into the city. When the city asked for aid by anyone and everyone, they were simply wrote off as being mad or delusional. Not that it would have made much of a difference, as what was left of Varassian society at this point had bigger problems.”
- Gabriella Burke – Mapping the Realms Underdark

Using the information gleaned by the groups less than scrupulous methods, they headed north to find and unusual cave system with what seemed like some kind of magic puzzle lock. A pressure plate opened a hidden door, which meant somebody would have to stay behind. This was averted though as Lerissa could merely teleport through. This was double averted when we found a switch on the inside that could open and close the door at will anyway.

Carrying on we were presented with a fabulous underground city. The city was not, as I anticipated it would be, populated by drow. It did however house the members of the secret cult, which meant Megi could not be far. After a bit of sneaking it turns out that the city is under siege by the driders. The group steals some uniforms to try and fit in, but get caught off guard, and get roped in to building some barricades. At this point myself and Damon's player decided to play it cool, setting up the barricades and waiting for the opportunity to slip away. Lerissa's player got impatient though, and wandered off. Said opportunity never came either, as the driders set upon the barricade and Carnack and Damon had to dispose of both the defenders and the attackers.


Chapter 7
Harder, Faster, Better, Madder

“Spiders man. They freak me out.”
- Popular Saying

- Azreal of the order of Bahamut, on driders.

Reuniting with Lerissa, the group sneak around behind the drider lines to locate the prison that Megi had been taken to. Fortunately they locate it without any major difficulty. Once inside however, things end up a bit chaotic, especially when the accidentally explode a group of fleeing convicts. Megi is located, being not much the wiser of what the hell is going on. Everything seems hunky dory though. Until we arrive at the prison courtyard.


Its only the bloody Drider queen isn't it? She's none to happy about the group not taking her up on the offer of capturing her some slaves, and decides it would be better just to off us all. Carnack gets webbed right at the start, leaving me rolling for saves for most of the battle. Damon goes to town with everything in his arsenal, with little effect, ditto for Lerissa, who's player at this point has a bit of a crisis feeling redundant. Megi dishes out the damage, but given that she's the DM's character its hard to tell how much of this was automatic.

Finally I roll a save, Carnack frees himself to make up for lost time, and the whole group rallies and manages to pull the battle back into favor. The Queen goes down unexpectedly easily. The remainder of the session revolves around us locating another one of the sleepers. This involves us finding a teleportation room, then taking the characters each to an individual white room. Carnack's helm of true site comes in handy here, locating the method of exiting the room. Damon just batters everything till he can escape. This seems to work equally as well. With the final sleepers located, the DM has us roll a will check, and its Damon that wins out to get his hands on the divine power.


Chapter 8
Pure Gibbing Clensa

“The Farrelite invasion was not only unexpected by Varassia itself but also the many factions who where capitalising on the chaos created by the great fire. With the ascension of Revenant, many of the Variassian forces seceded from the governing body, preferring to side with the invaders than defend a regime that they hardly knew. Not all felt this way however. In particular the aggressive and devoutly patriotic Lord “General Scream” Scrathe and his associates preferred to fight outnumbered and under supplied against all comers, even their fellow Varassians, than side with the invaders.
Scrathe was a problem that prevented the Farrelites from attempting a peaceful transition of power, as well as directing an overwhelming force against Memmnon City. It is widely believed that they chose to employ some independent assassins to take care of Scrathe's vocal supporters in order to force him to rejoin the remaining free forces.”
- John Barlywood – Conspiracy and War in the North

Damon's god-like powers had yet to manifest fully, only currently giving him the ability to change peoples clothes in an instant. Not very useful but he did like putting Carnack into a dress. Hooking up with the invading forces they are told that they're best course of action would be to try and create an alliance with forces not affiliated with Revenant. In return Megi and Lerissa were offered their final graduation, Damon himself had an oath to Ioun to free the country from false godhood, and Carnack just wanted the arcane texts from Farrel's former head mage.
The group head off to seal an alliance. The first Varassian rebels seem quite enthusiastic about the idea, but advise that the other rebels would not be so agreeable. In that case the lieutenants of the others would have to be silenced in order to make the general even consider the idea. The first lieutenant to be eliminated didn't exactly go according to plan. Damon had used his powers to conjure disguises for the group, giving them perfect cover. The idea was to have Megi and Carnack wait just outside the camp, while Damon and Lerissa would signal when the target was alone using Megi's familiar. When this happened, Megi would open an arcane gate and Carnack would silently dispose of him. Instead Damon decided to let the rebel encampment and rather randy leader know that Lerissa was female, to which he decided he would take some liberties with her.

Suffice to say the plan went quite tits up, Lerissa tried to fight off the target, Carnacks shot went wide and instead Lerissa ended up burning the entire camp down before escaping with her dignity, just. Carnack displayed uncharacteristic chivalry after seeing what Damon had intended to do (or maybe it was just that he was pissed off that his well laid plan didn't work out) and the two ended up in a fight.

The second lieutenant was easier to dispose of. He was taking on challengers in a fighting ring, and if bested would pass on command of the camp. Carnack put on his best mock noble appearance and fought for the title. He won, thankfully, and ordered the camp to join up with the free Varassian forces.


Chapter 9 Part 1
Two's Company

“Despite the fact that the invasion force had the distinct advantage of employing magic on the field of battle, something the Varassian armies would never dare, they were still only backed by a small island nation. The Varrassian forces however, clearly had the numbers, though now fractured and disorganized. The deciding factor would always depend on leadership, and what held the Farrelite line back time and time again was always down to the fear that radiated from the loyalist generals. Without these generals, the command structure would all come crashing down.”
- John Barlywood – Conspiracy and War in the North

Three generals remained and this session began with the group making its way towards an impending clash of armies. There was a big disagreement in the group on how to deal with this general, but the consensus was that the best way would be to off him during battle. Damon had used his newfound powers to disguise everyone as soldiers. However Carnack had disagreed with Damon and Megi on how to deal with this, and Lerissa had decided to sit this one out in a tree after being nagged one too many times. Carnack ended up being restrained by Damon and kicked about by Megi after trying to convince the generals that Megi was pregnant as cover, culminating with him being tied up and dumped in the medical tent to calm down. No word of a lie, at this point I was ready to walk out, since the DM had given us no indication of the best way to complete this task, and then having my player character humiliated for trying to find a solution.

I calmed down however. Lerissa had arrived and decided that if Megi and Damon wanted to handle the situation on its own, then they were welcome to, and untied Carnack. The two then left to deal with the remaining generals. As for Megi and Damon, they rather ham fistedly awaited the battle and tampered with the siege engines to fire on their own ranks. In the chaos, they managed to locate the general and do away with him before escaping into the woods. Damon's player was worried that there were driders in the woods, but the DM stated that there were not. There were however, driads in the wood, and that they particularly wanted to sleep with Damon.

This also turned out to be unture.