What're You Farrowing Looking At?
“And lo, let there come a time after one thousand sunsets, when nothing exists but the dust and the sand. When all is gone but the primitives who know not the legacy they breed. Let the faithful be fallen, and let the unfaithful be cursed, and let the blood of both be spread about the land.
And lo, after ten thousand sunsets let the prophecy be fulfilled. Let grief break the soul of a man of steel, and in his grief may he seek solace with the queen. May the man of steel exile those faithful to him, and corrupt those who doubt, and may the dark magics infect the land to bring together the blood of the faithful and unfaithful alike.
And lo, the blood shall turn back time, and all will blossom again.”
- Partial, possibly bastardized translation of ancient Caeorian texts.
Ok, so this session the group set about trying to find a way to foil the King's plan. We unanimously agree that we have to make sure that the descendants of the drow generals are secure, despite the DM trying to imply that we should we doing something else. However, every time we attempted to contact one of the descendants there would be a strange throbbing sound, followed by the appearance of the reincarnated Farrow, with all his deadly powers.
Farrow forces us to do battle with duplicates of our characters, which proves rather challenging as each battle was a one on one. Intermittent with these encounters, its finally revealed that Nero is actually the Kings brother, explaining why everyone was always acting shifty around him. As the DM later pointed out, this was meant to be a massive WHAM moment that we were supposed to uncover ourselves, but either through our fault or the DM's, it never worked out that way. Something I'll have to take note of for when I do my next campaign. We also find out that the whole affair appears to be a scheme to fulfill the ritual to incarnate Lolth.
After several encounters the group decides to commender an airship to attempt to gain the high ground advantage. Rather than attempt to persuade the aviators, Megi and Azreal decide the best bet is just to murder people for it. It's all for naught though, as once again Farrow shows up to burst our proverbial bubble and send us crashing back to the ground.
“The al'Kah citadel had numerous defenses. The standard unclimbable walls, towers, battlements, portcullises, boiling oil. During the King's madness however, it had become increasingly difficult to find many soldiers willing to take guard duty. Most had fled to join the various opportunistic city states, or become mercenaries. The King had to come up with a new solution. Fortunately his recent pact with the dark arts meant that he could summon a shield capable of holding back all those who were not of his blood.
Blood though, as we know, liked to make its own rules in Caeoria.”
- James Mycroft – Magic fortifications I have had the pleasure of Adapting.
Enough was enough. Word had just come in that the plan had pretty much failed and Cardia, Jingo and the rest had all fallen prey to Farrow and had been captured. It was decided an all or nothing assault on the keep was required. The gates were sealed by a magical shield, but our wilely ways allowed us to scale the wall, impossible though it may seem. Zantir used her magic pipes again to dominate the guards, but it wasn't long before more arrived. Nero gets taken prisoner and the rest of the group get thrown over the wall, back into the sand.
A new approach was needed. Cardia may have been captured, but her mask was likely still free. Knowing that combining the two could unleash great power, Zantir, Azreal and Megi all head to the swamps, and are greeted once again by Cardia's former aide. Without Cardia the undead had now all gone nuts, but were no match for the now seasoned fighters.
The swamp folk reveal that Nero has power over his brothers magics, and if invited into the keep verbally, the group will be able to walk right in. Farrow had to be dealt with first though, and had once again hunted them down. Combining the masks creates three magic rings from the jewels in the eyes, as well as grants the wearers unique items. Zantir gets armour, Megi a staff, and Azreal a... *sigh*... new 'smashy board'. This gives them the edge over Farrow, who draws his power from a giant crystal. One combat encounter later and the dieing Farrow regains his humanity, leaving a final message for Nero.
“Why didn't you tell me earlier? It now all makes perfect sense!”
The Amazing Journey of Thomas Armstrong
“Incident Report 15-05-2011. T. Armstrong. Haz. Lab 74. Fallowfields Site. Strange occurrence in the lab today. One of the cultures quarantine had been breached, or so it seemed. While the integrity was at one hundred percent, somehow a sandy or dusty substance had appeared within. No conclusion as to how it got there, but the entire lab had to be purged just in case.
Incident Report 20-05-2011. T. Armstrong. Haz. Lab 77. Fallowfields Site. Another occurrence today, now more serious, one of the technicians reported hearing voices in a totally quarantined lab. Checked comms and they all checked out. Coincides with reports from other labs too, but they were dismissed. Winters swears blind that the voices were not on the comms and came from outside his suit. Comms pick up the voices too, but the dialect is indistinguishable. Possible Terrorist threat. Report Filed. Lethal defenses requested.
Incident Report 24-05-2011. F. Gordon. Haz. Lab 77. Fallowfields Site. Serious security breach. Strange environmental occurrence in one of the labs while technician Armstrong was present and armed. Strange light based anomalies and wind/rain like anomalies. Armstrong was engulfed but no remains suggest he was removed somehow. Armstrong possibly linked with Terrorist threat. Report Filed.”
It was time to assault the keep proper this time. Megi had managed to sneak her familiar into the keep to get an invitation from Nero to allow the defenses to be breached. Inside, Raz al'Kah looms sinisterly from balconies, awaiting the group's approach. Checking the dungeons, they manage to find Nero who'd been pacified by the King through large quantities of opium. Consequently Nero was of little use beyond incredibly stoned stuttering. Further investigation leads to the discovery of a guy in a hazmat suit.
This is where it all starts to get a little hazey, and science fictioney. We're told that Tom was a lab technician working in a microbiotics lab somewhere near Manchester. Its unclear if this was supposed to be linked to the story, the main explanation behind it, or just an excuse for the DM to get some use out of his Mr Freeze model. Regardless, Tom is freed and grants Zantir the use of the gun, to which I decide to have her shoot Tom on the basis that Zantir judged him clearly out of his mind. The DM decided to give him story based invulnerability however, and my attempt to cauterize the non fantasy elements failed. Moving on though, Raz still awaited.
Encountering him naturally consisted of Diplomacy-Mad Ramblings-Combat Encounter. And this time the combat encounter was to consist of a goddess herself.
“Through the winds of the asteral planes! To the edge of the immaterial! A call went out. Was it conscious? Was it unconscious? Who can say? But it summoned our hero from his eternal slumber, to hark the call. The call of Ioun! He was needed, Oh brave and fearless Damon. Justice needed to be served one more time. How better to serve eternity than to return to his friends to grant them the power. His power. Ioun's searing light would purge the shadows all across the lands of Caeoria.
While the company of heroes battled the great spider queen's avatar, their plight almost helpless. Damon returned, for a fleeting moment, and gave them the power of the light. It is said that all across the land, sleeping children heard his battle cry:
'Cascade of Light Bitches!'”
- 'Tripshot' Murphy – The New Adventures of Damon: The Adventures of Damon Volume 3
Lolth rises, a big spider woman thing you'd exactly expect her to be. Rather fittingly the DM decided to represent her as one of the Transformers range, not sure which one, but it was female and a spider so actually worked really well as a visualization.
The battle took a lot of hard graft. First the group had to face Raz and Lolth's avatar. In true RPG style the battle is always more than it initially looks, and upon defeat the avatar transformed into a vision of Jingo, and upon his defeat into a vision of Cardia, and so forth. Since this was the final battle we threw everything we had at her, and for balance as usual the DM would come up with a few things to even the playing field. Restoring some of our powers and having a visitation of the recently deceased Damon pop by to grant us all the use of his overkill power, Cascade of Light.
Finally the evil was put to rest, the land restored and the day saved. Jingo, Cardia and the others arrive to polish off any final plot holes, conveniently sweeping Tom down a portal shaped one. Through rules of regicide Jingo claims the crown, avoiding any Scorpion King comparisons. Megi, Zantir and Azreal are rewarded with wealth, and Jingo commands Nero to go and travel and have other adventures, with Cardia deciding to tag along as well.
Unsure as to how long this session was going to take I'd planned a 'done in one' Campaign which we never got time to do. May turn it into a short story, so watch this space and you might soon see 'A funny thing happened on the way to Andavia'.
In conclusion, I enjoyed the campaign. Could have been more consistent.
“Regicide. Seen as a dirty word by some, but still a legitimate method of securing the throne. Not many were happy with Jingo's ascension, not least the neighboring nations that had to cope with the unreasonable fact that they had to become diplomatically involved with a centuries old Elf/Scorpion hybrid. Things calmed down in Ceaoria itself, but as always, its future was as certain as its own shifting sands.”
Zantir Xanderfell – Caeoria: The Land the Gods Forgot
“Azreal returned to Andavia with the wealth rewarded to him for his deeds in Caeoria, which was almost immediately reclaimed by his order. Shortly after, his affairs would mostly involve menial tasks at the chapter house. Things would begin to escalate however. In need of action that would put him back in good graces with the order, Azreal soon found himself wound up in politics, a messy and dangerous world for a paladin.”
- Tomas of the order of Bahamut – Oh Shining Day!: The Exalted of Bahamut
“Megi's standing in court was almost insufferable for her contemporaries. Farrel had never made any excursions into Caeorian territory and now a this young upstart mage had walked right into a regime change, singlehandedly increasing the nations standing to an otherwise unknown state. With the political climate in flux Megi had achieved the image of a major player within the space of a couple of months. Her success was to be a double edged sword though, as the cutthroat environment of Farrel's society would have a way of turning back on her.”
- Crispin Lennon – I Don't Want to Spoil the Party: Famous Farrelites
“'Caeoria: The Land the Gods Forgot' became a small time literary sensation amongst the realms of man. Zantir, despite her beginnings, had become the talk of many a nobles court, and was soon in demand as a biographer. Zantir wanted nothing to do with these people, and hated that fact that these people, who she was attempting to be in contempt of, became her biggest fans. She withdrew from the limelight for a while, until former soldier Jocasta Lacroix began pestering her to investigate corruption within the Knightly orders. Events would soon show there was more to this suspicion than simple corruption.”
- Rupert Brooks – Voices in the Darkness: The early realms Chroniclers
“As for Nero Celesious Kah. Well... the man had seen more than a man had any right to see. His nation torn apart, his family destroyed. Jingo never intended him to be outright exiled, but Nero took it as such, ultimately seeing it for his own good. Stories of the exiled prince soon began to circulate. Some said he would travel the land doing good deeds, while others claimed he would simply be found drowning his sorrows in intermittent inns. Whatever the truth, Nero still had a full life ahead of him, and a warrior of his skills would find it difficult to stay away from destiny for too long.”
- Bostock Conroy – Family Histories
So that was that. Next stop my campaign, which has multiple player characters, dozens of NPC's, meandering quests and a globe trotting story. Its either going to be brilliant or crash and burn horribly. Can't wait, see you then!