Corsair Play Report 5: To Cheliax
August 12, 2012 § Leave a Comment
A lot of things happened in the session last night. First, Let’s start with Dory.
Last we left Dory she was full beast form and diving through a hole in the bottom of the sea. When she emerged several miles out, she found herself surrounded by hundreds of sharks from dozens of species. Many weren’t native to the areas around Bonewrack.
Maybe a hundred feet away, was the source of her strange call. It was repulsive and beckoning, emitting light and absorbing it in the same stuttered instant. A ragged tear seemingly cutting through the water, sickly and wound like. One of the sharks, a hammerhead, swam towards it as she emerged, seizing and shaking about halfway there before it turned back seemingly trying to draw her attention to it.
As she approached it herself, forcing her way forward in hybrid shape, she slipped herself into a deep trance – opening her eyes again onto the world of spirits only to find the sharks condensing themselves into the shape of her old friend, the shark god Bhukar.
Ignoring the god for the moment, she advances through a patch of dead spirits, rotting and growing at the same time in the water. Tide-souls twisted into shapes like seaseed – festering with pustules as new tendrils grow from them and wrap around the throats of flicker-souls of water and salt. The wound hangs there, in the middle of it, her trance granting a twisted semblance of a face – a froglike shamble of a head attached to a snakes neck, with twiglike protrubences jutting out from the scales. She tried talking to the spirit of the wound for a while. It called her stupid for a bit while she explained the idea of why “being” and “fixed” were good things. She made little headway, until she withdrew to talking with Bhukar.
The Shark god could not tell her much, unless she accepted the price for her knowledge. After a short time discussing said price, she agreed to the god’s bargain – and promptly felt the full strength of his will shove itself into her, sapping some of her sanity and filling her with the compulsion to fix these wounds in the world.
She did, however, receive quite a bit of information for her payment.
The Universe does solely consist of their “local” reality, their group of Material planes and associated Astral plane. There are an infinite number of realities, of bubbles, each containing their own prime material plane.
In one such bubble, far in its future, there was a young boy named Trajan whose planet was destroyed. Fleeing the depravations of those whom destroyed it, he blundered into the heart of the planet – where rested an ancient computer of magnificent power. Essentially. It hacked reality.
In an attempt to restore his world, and universe, to balance he attempted to draw mythic heroes into a version of the present. In every attempt, the heroes realized and rejected the new reality, until finally – the fabric of existence frayed too greatly. And broke.
A dimension, separate and outside of all realities, that foreign in between stuff buffered between them and behind them; The Far Realm – began to pour through. Across time and multiple Bubbles, it warped existence, altering the laws of the universe. Those Heroes, in conjunction with deific powers from across dozens of realities and an ancient elder being called the Lightbringer, organized an Iron Circle to stand against Chaos from the Far Realm, delaying and combatting it until the climactic last battle to seal the primary breaches in reality permanently.
They succeeded, in the larger scheme of things, but not completely. Replacing the Lightbringer as Elder gods, they were held outside in a place before even the beginnings of time. Five pillars of ancient power to hold the foundations of the Universe together. They slumbered, and were bound by the earliest of gods who learned their power. Their influence, however, still seeped into the world. Chained in the House Without Light and beneath an entire range of fire-mounts far in the North, two of the Elder reached into the spirits of their reincarnated followers shaping the Gothii and Trahk.
Eventually, these Eldest were released, and set out to continue their war across all versions of reality. Some few among their people, of the Gothii and Trahk, were sent out on a fleet of planar-ships. These emissaries did battle through the generations, travelling slowly through the barrens of Astral realms and waging war against Chaos. They carried with them seeds made from the “corpse” of the first Lightbringer, seeds of power set to right each world individually.
Some time ago, in this world, these crusaders emerged to find a few minor rents. They sealed what they could, left their mark, and then withdrew. A single Trahk clan escorted the Lightbringer’s Seed, intending to deliver it to the prophet-god Aroden whom would use the Gothii’s magic left behind by their people to heal the world completely. Midjourney they were waylaid, and destroyed, by the dragon-pirate Phayu. The dragon, fleeing from the god Aroden, stole into the Gothii city of Consil and, using the magic there, forged seed into a great Hammer with which he smote his pursuer – creating the Great Eye of Abendego. The eye, at its center, is a single massive wound in the world, caused by the death of the destined god.
Maddened and weakened by the combat, barely able to use the hammer’s strength, Phayu retreated into the land he would claim as Shackles. With its strength he held the storm at bay, until a few months ago, when the Hammer was stolen from him.
Without the Hammer, the storm has begun expanding, and the fabric of the world frays. Outsiders of every stripe and color have wakened to pursue it, the dragon’s children fly the world in a desperate attempt to recover it, and the people’s of the Gothii and Trahk have returned to set what is right. By flame if necessary.
An armada of Gothii, their entire fleet, is gathering in the Astral plane, readying to burn the world to cinders and find the Hammer in the ash if necessary. Recovering it, and healing the world, is more important than the world’s survival in and of itself.
The Far Realm is a place of Lovecraftian chaos, ultimate destroyers and corrupters worse than even the darkest of Demons. They do not wish anything but the ultimate destruction and conversion of every reality into the formless and full of form body of their Lords. (There is not much difference between the Far Realm and its Lords.) Wounds are places where the Realm, and its ultimate Chaos, pokes through – and they can be healed with conventional healing magics as well as certain effects of the lawful persuasion.
After receiving all of this information, Dory woke several days later, floating in the water. Upon waking she immediately took a healing potion and spread it in the water around the wound. Sealing it shut.
A dozen sharks arrive to escort her, guiding her back to her friends. She made friends with the original Hammerhead she met. (Name: Eyes that Find Blood in the Water Without Err…roughly translated from the original Shark.)
While journeying, she encountered an abomination. A creature fused from owlbear, killer whale, several snakes and a dozen various mouths opening in its flesh. Along with the aid of her escort – she killed it. One of her sharks consumed part of the creature’s flesh and began to succumb, killing himself before he could finish being changed. They purified and consumed his body in honor of his sacrifice. Dory took some of his teeth to remember him.
Eventually, during the aftermath of the Battle at BloodCove, she reunited with the rest of the party and regaled them with all she had learned. The Promise pulled ashore for a meeting with the Dawnslip and the Dyrfast.
Dory and Abbad dove for a while, recovering what treasures they could from the wreckage in the water. Which included large quantities of spice and rum, gold, some alchemical materials and a metallic silver shimmer cloak that appeared to have been worn for a very long time and stinks slightly of pickles and winged boots made from a strange greyish leather and a single feather from a baby roc. The sole of each shoe stamped with the letters HG and a spiral.
On shore, during the meeting, the various crews began to celebrate and drink. At fire they encountered Captain Trueheart and the Trahk Chief. Trueheart was in an argument, the Trahk was not, though they were apparently having the same discussion in Gothii. Behind the Trahk was Vacht’s father, the shaman Saroht. He looked about a hundred and fifteen, slathered in furs and dripping in fetishes. He spoke frankly, and rolled his eyes at Gothii antics a lot.
Dory and Abbad joined the conversation midway through, with Dory leaping onto shore from full shark to full human in a single dramatic motion. She immediately confronted the Gothii, as Saeche attempted to figure out what was going on from the Trahk. (Saeche immediately won points with the Trahk. They like her, she is forward, and not weak.)
When the Gothii revealed they were ready to go to war with the world, Dory delivered a stunning (natural twenty with Diplo. 13 already) speech about the value of human life and general touchy feeliness that melted the Gothii’s iron resolve in one fell swoop. Most of them were crying heroic tears, with the Captain dropping to one knee and swearing his service to her devices and asking Dory’s counsel.
Meanwhile Abbad drew out some of his books. The Nakse Ki Toma and both iron bound books. The Gothii wizard swirled out of his invisible hiding spot to examine the books, picked them up with his mage hand and promptly found them torn from his hand by Saroht’s winds.
He realized they were important, and Abbad asked him to examine the book with swirly writing. (Psalm of Forever.) Saroht did, and promptly passed out as his ancestor’s surrounded the book in a cloud of ever darkening whirlwinds. Dory and Annika instantly went to his side, healing magic at the ready.
Annika found herself standing, everything else frozen in time. Her familiar, Farley, stood on two legs; his eyes windows into the cosmos. She had a brief and stuttered conversation with him, revealing that the book they had tampered with was called the “Psalm of Forever” one of ten Oraculars. The oraculars were made by the god Aroden and given to the first Oracles of the world. Over time they have morphed and connected to various sections of the cosmos, each encompassing a particular sliver of its infinity.
Each Psalm grants a form of infinite knowledge, for a steep price, all ten together could reveal any secret – and theoretically balance each other out and be “safe” to use. The Psalms could be used to find the Hammer.
Annika asks Not-Farley if he can help her, and he says he can. But, being a creature of Balance, any aid he delivers to her he must deliver to her opposite in kind. She accepts it as a fair bargain.
He reveals that if they follow the Gothii they will find three of the Psalms very quickly, without much difficulty. Leaving half of the existing oraculars in party hands. If they travel with the Trahk, they will find only one, but have a small chance of recovering the Hammer without their use. They will have the limited aid of the Psalm of Sin’s Glory while in Cheliax, if they can learn how to use it. Not-Farley explains that Annika was brought to help maintain balance, and that of all the forces pursuing the Hammer, most will seek to use it to reshape the world – while the Trahk and Gothii mean to repair it as the Seed was intended to do and then move on. After delivering this information, time begins again.
Meanwhile, Dory finds herself in the black-space of Bhukar once more, this time with Saroht. The shaman is busy trying to box a shark-god. Dory barges in, quickly calms things down, and aks Bhukar what is going on. After a long winded (for a shark) explanation, Saroht summarizes. “Poked the books, books big magic, bad idea.”
After a short while Bhukar sends them back to their bodies, as Dory’s body has begun seizing and trying to swallow its own throat.
The party relays all this information to their allies (are they really?) and then, after much consideration, decide to go off with the Trahk to Cheliax – where demons lie in waiting. Dory is worried about enemies pursuing the three oraculars, and Cyril promises to pursue them when the Gothii arrive in their lands.
For five weeks the Man’s Promise stays on the high seas, following on Trahk Winds. Saeche works ancient and forbidden magics to bring about living spells, she names them Ray (Ray of Ennervation) and Frosty (Frostbite.) The two spells are childlike in manner and intelligence, and play tag in her rooms. Key spends much of the time attempting to recover their lost past, which Key can’t seem to remember. It seems more relevant as Key develops his/her new magical traps. Abbad spends much of his time in his own private lab, developing axiomatically charged bombs mixed with gunpowder and shaped blast charges. Dory spends the entire month conversing with Spirits along their path, developing her Oracle’s senses and currying favors with various minor spirits. (Approx. 175 favors actually.)
About a day away from Cheliax, they spotted a ship on the horizon. It turned out to be Wyrmswood. As they drew in for approach, Dory scouted with her oracle’s eye, slipping into a trance of boundless sight. She wasn’t pleased with what she found. There had only been six crew aboard, all of them now dead, with blistering holes ripped through their bodies in jagged circles. The Captain and his sorceress were gone and only a slight aberration in her vision moved. She felt the taint of the Far Realm.
The party boarded, drawing alongside the Wyrmswood. As their feet touched wood, a blisteringly green ray tore through part of the deck, revealing what might once have been a half-orc. The thing was covered in metal plates sewn directly into its flesh, along with vibrating wiring, tubing with strange ichors flowing in and out of metal and skin. Its left arm had been mostly dominated by the strange machinery, ending in a cannon-like thing. It steamed.
The party attacked, Dory charged in with hybrid form to protect her, Saeche began tossing acid-enriched knives, Annika cursed it with quietus and twisted the time around it into knots, Key began setting out magical traps and launching arrows through the special one attached to a backpack (for the moment), and Abbad took mutagen form before tossing axiomatic bombs in its direction.
The creature shot its ray into Dory, and she shuddered, her every molecule feeling likely to explode away from the others –but she barely managed to steel herself against its influence before ripping away its chest piece in a feat of divine might. It fired on Abbad, retaliating for the damaging influence of his bombs, as it took massive amounts of punishment from Key’s arrows. Abbad, too, resisted the effects of the ray before Dory ripped the thing off and tossed it back towards him as Saeche threw a dagger through the side of its throat, killing it and causing it to explode. Dory barely survived.
As Abbad caught it with his third arm, the mostly inert cannon began to attach itself to him – reacting instantly to the chemicals coursing through his body courtesy of a mutagen. Chaos and confusion flooded his mind, prompting him to fire the thing off at random.
After they subdued their wayward alchemist through the quick use of a sleep-spell, they removed the cannon from his arm, and found Vacht huddled against the rail, rocking. They took him back to the ship, comforted him in the Trahk fashion, and let him set sail to the Wyrmswood once and for all.
And so they were off to Cheliax, Abbad placing the cannon and another piece that Dory had sundered from the creature into vats of distilled axiomatic fluid to preserve and contain them.
Several days later they made port in the small port city of Manansbrood, with Abbad dressed in the robes of a kyton priest, and the rest dressed in Chelaxian parade armor. He all around acted like the boss, intimidating a few sky-flying imps, and aiding in the sale of their carried goods. (I believe they netted around 9,000 gp total.) The session finished when it was officially time to start shopping.
Letter from Cyril
About a week before reaching the coast of Cheliax, a gleaming golden heron arrives bearing a letter. Written on parchment and sealed with the sign of a wolf”s fang, the Heron delivers it to Dory, before flying off.
Most Honorable and Auspicious Oracle,
I regret that my father’s ship carries no sigil of the Shark, nor honorary markings for a being of your profound sight. The Judge’s Eye is of use only in specific circumstances, and I was not allowed, so I have attempted some small relief of my egregious insult with the inclusion of the Eldest’s fang as seal. I hope it shall, in some small part, make amends. I mean you not even the slightest of disrespects, for you are a woman of great compassion, vision, and style — and have wrought a great change on my father.
He speaks now with hope, and boundless vigor, instead of from the dark miasma of grim reaping that had overtaken him. Like as death, he would be, and burn the world. But no more! He is anew, and joyously full of heart and love and preservation as only was seen in the Dreaming Days. He is worried, that our kinsmen and allies, and people, will not receive your words so kindly. But he is determined. Even if must he face our people, singlehanded, bare fisted, in the night, all against him and only he. Were he wounded and dying, were his blood frozen, he would still fight them to protect your world and bring it to Light and healing.
We have reached our ancient homelands, alone we were able to skirt through the Plane Astral, and return. We are but one ship of many, of course, but it is of our charge to lay first eyes upon the old fields. News is simply woe, I am afraid, and I hesitate to lift my pen again and bring it down…for I would not wish such saddened news on any Lady half so fair as you have proven.
The city Consil has been sacked, its ancient pillar taken. We fear this is indeed what aided the fell Draconic Menace in creating his Hammer. Our legends speak of such a Hammer, the original I would say, and call this Dragon Menace a dastard and a liar and a cheat and without mind of his own, to make only the echo of what was once a glory, and to make it so ill done as he has worked.
Those lands once won, have been reclaimed by the petty states of Taldor and Qadira. I have taken two of my closest companions, Sanadaranontanien of the Wands Silver and Kaial of the Close Blade, and we have set to search for those strange Psalms you spoke of. Three in number, they were, if I remember right. And I could not forget such words as yours.
I have felt a strange presence in my mind, since our landing here, and have spoken to the others of it. They do not feel it. I am sure it is the pressure of Destiny itself. I am sure. We have headed into the hills, into the desert, and found the ruins of what was once a circle of temples. There is something strange about them. We have camped here for three days now and are exploring each of the nine of them in turn. At their center, where we make camp, is a circle of five runic stones. Hope. Discipline. Love. Resolve. Wit.
I wish you well in your adventures, and your pursual. May the Eldest find you worthy, may your Song be glorious indeed, and may it shine into the night; wrapped round the moon’s cloak and embroidered so in silver letters to catch the dawn and therein gleam by gold. In a hundred colors will the notes and the words of your deeds be written, and may you never be Unknown.
Your Most Humble Servant,
Cyril Trueheart, Heir of the DawnSlip
Lesser Knight of the Order of the Fifth Rune
Royal Trumpet of the Ancient Choir
Brother of the Rose-Prince Circle
Of the Lines of Aeld, Voldr and Sagril
Manansbrood is home to some items not conventionally available in most places, here are a few things that could be purchased.
Chelaxian Peaceblade: Upon striking with this+1 longsword, the wielder can choose to force the opponent to make a Fort save (DC 13) or become fatigued for five rounds.
Faint enchantment; caster level 5th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, touch of fatigue; Price: 3,315 gp
Rod of Answers: This black rod is covered in small red barbs and spikes. When touched to a foe, it forces them to answer the next question put to them truthfully (Fort DC 14) or suffer 1d4 +1 points of damage. It does not otherwise compel them to speak truthfully, but they suffer a -4 to any Bluff checks to convince you.
Faint necromancy; caster level 5th; Craft Rod, interrogation.; Price: 5,000 gp
Venomous Whetstone: This greenish-grey stone coats the blade it sharpens with a fine layer of numbing poison that inflicts 1d4 points of temporary Dexterity damage, and 1d4 more a minute later (Fortitude save [DC 16]). The stone can produce only 10 doses of poison each day. Moderate necromancy; caster level 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, poison; Price: 5,000 gp;