Scales of War

40a -- Subplot Recap

Since the gaming sessions have been spotty, I thought it might be helpful to recap some of the subplots. Here’s some things off the top of my head:

  1. What is General Zithruun doing here?
  2. What is the sense of impending trouble in Overlook?
  3. What is Amyria up to?
  4. Why did Thorn answer the sending stone when trying to contact Reness?
  5. How is Greystone holding up? Did the dwarves clean it up? What came of the visit paid by the Astrazalian mage?
  6. What foul attacker is making plans for Drellin’s Ferry?
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40 -- Fight at the Museum

The heroes investigated the door and found a makeshift supply room guarded by two fey dwarves who ordered the party’s surrender. The party refused and instead allowed the dwarves to drop their weapons and live. The dwarves were last seen in the entry room.

Then the party investigated an area with sleeping cots, a library, and a forge. Two animated anvils attacked but were dispatched. The forge was the source of a blinding magical trap.

Next came the kitchen and dining rooms. There were dead bodies of fey creatures evidently killed by trolls.

Finally the group climbed the stairs leading to the reliquary. The doors opened onto a corridor with stairs leading to a platform in a large room. A hooded figure wearing a strange harness flew off the platform and left the field of view.

Then a large fight ensued. Trolls, dragonborn, and human mercenaries fought the party while some sort of living statue protected them. When they were all defeated, the statue assumed a frozen meditative stance.

After some reflection, Longbreath thought the hooded figure that others called General Ziruun might be the Githyanki general Zithiruun. He told the party, “General Zithiruun was a great military leader and hero to the githyanki of Tu’narath. It’s said that he was crippled and his mount slain in a battle against a sort of mighty dragon or fiend. Rumors disagree on whether he still lives and what position he might hold (if any) among the weakness-intolerant githyanki.”

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39 -- Rest in the Crevice

The heroes killed the foes and the looted the corpses to find some potions of acid and fire resistance. Sneaky trolls. They were tired and decided to rest for a few hours in the crevice breaking into the room. During the rest they heard noises but weren’t significantly interrupted.

Feeling better, they explored another room broken into by the crevice. It housed a number of fey creatures—two fey dwarves, four cyclopes, another dart blower, and an old dwarf that later turned out to be a disguised hag. The battle wasn’t too bad except when one of the cyclopes beat on a pillar holding up the ceiling and almost started a cave-in.

The fey had valuables, but most importantly, the hag was carrying the Incunabulum Primeavel. It was written in an old dwarven script. Biatch could make out the letters and translate some of the worlds but most of the book was written in a cypher. Some of the diagrams led Elan to believe that rituals were contained in the huge book.

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38 -- Three Way Fight

(It’s been two months since the session and I don’t remember the details well.)

The group went through the heavy doors to the north and found themselves in a giant cathedral, larger than most buildings. There were three levels with an altar on the top level. Large pillars ran to the ceiling, some collapsed.

As the party moved in, a small fey creature jumped out to backstab Gilbain. Other fey creatures around the room blew poisoned darts, and a fey dwarf came out to join the fight. The fey creatures were very fast and would run far to take better positions. Every so often another fey would jump out of the shadows to help.

During the combat, a loud pounding could be heard on the doors far across the room. After a minute of ever increasing banging, the doors splintered open and a horde of trolls led by a two-headed monster crashed into the chamber. The fey fled from the trolls, who killed indiscriminately. Elan put up a fire wall to slow their advance but soon there was a three-way brawl in the middle of the room. The trolls were tough but easy to hurt. The biggest problem was keeping them dead. After being “slain” they would shake it off after a minute, stand up, and continue fighting. Fire and decapitation seemed to help.

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37 -- Into Mountainroot

The door to Mountainroot Temple was blocked by a thin metal wall. When touched, the wall grew a face that said only devoted followers of Moradin could enter and challenged each of them to tell a parable describing Moradin’s principles. Most of the party had no trouble with a little coaching from Gilbain, but Biatch didn’t get it. She talked of killing and smashing and blind loyalty. Eventually the door let her through saying that she seemed to be a good mercenary and loyal to the cause of her group even if she didn’t understand the cause herself.

The door was a portal that opened into a large chamber. One wall has collapsed somewhat from an earthquake and there were doors leading to other portals. Some fey dwarves and harpies were in the room and quickly attacked. The party fought well but suffered some damage. They considered returning through the portal but found that it didn’t work to go back! So they bravely carried on…

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36 -- Mountainroot Temple
The heroes fought another group of thugs, dopplegangers, and well-dressed citizens who had psionic powers.Initially they came in as guards but they were acting strangely and Biatch didn’t trust them so she let out a howl from a catwalk and jumped down on one of the guards. Chaos insued but the Defenders of Brindol came out okay.

After some serious searching they found a trapdoor leading to a hallway and a small cell. Inside the cell was the real High Priest Durkik but he warned that the door was trapped. Elan feystepped inside to evaluate the trap and determined that it was nasty so she freed him from his chains and gave him water.

Durkik explained that he had been tortured and questioned about Mountainroot Temple but wouldn’t give away any more information until he was freed, lest the party be dopplegangers in disguise.

Rather than disarm the trap they looked for other ways to get Durkik out. They searched for a hidden key and asked the Red Wizards for a portal but didn’t have any luck. Then someone suggested that Gilbain could teleport Durkik out of the cell.

“I can’t do that,” Gilbain said, “it’s a divine gift to be used on my enemies. Besides, I can hardly see Durkik through the bars, let alone stick him with my sword.”
Longbreath saw the opportunity and planted the healing Banner of Brindol. “Everyone, concentrate on the banner so that it will heal Durkik.” Then he turned to Gilbain. “Gilbain, you have to use your divine power against me to teleport yourself into the cell and then use that power against Durkik.”
“I can’t do that,” said Gilbain, “that would be an misuse of…”
Longbreath interrupted, “Shut it! I don’t want to hear excuses. How many people are going to die because that dwarf won’t talk? How many have already died?”
“True, but I still won’t misuse divine power, even for a noble purpose.”
“Don’t give me excuses! You are pathetic. You were too weak and scrawny to cut it as a paladin so you took to reading and preaching, but you weren’t even good at that! You have no discipline, no honor, and no friends.”
“Hey, that’s just mean.”
“Mean? People are dying and you think I am being mean? You disgust me!” and with that, Longbreath pushed Gilbain.
“Don’t push me, lizard, back off.”
“Or what, Scrawny-man? surprised you can even hold a sword in one hand. You can’t hurt me, you can’t hurt a tough dwarf like Durkik. You are small and weak.” And Longbreath pushed him again.
“I said that’s enough!” Gilbain lept up and punched Longbreath in the eye, teleporting him such that he stumbled and fell into the barred door of the cell while Gilbain found himself inside the cell. Infuriated, he said, “And you, Durkik, you will tell us what is going on and how to stop it!” and he punched the poor dwarf squarely in the jaw, teleporting both outside the cell.

Gilbain stood panting while everyone else looked flabbergasted. Longbreath rubbed his swollen eye and said, “nice punch. I’m sorry about what I said. You know I didn’t mean it.”
“You meant half of it,” Gilbain replied bitterly.
“Maybe 10 percent of it.”
“I know you think I did the right thing but you are mistaken. There is a convenant between me and Bahamut that transcends mundane problems. I broke my oath. I will make penance and I will never do it again.”
“Then I am sorry for my part in that. But at least Durkik is safe.” Longbreath replied.

Durkik explained that General Ziruun wanted to know about the defenses of Mountainroot Temple and might have been after the Incunabulum Primeval. He didn’t know much of the defenses other than they are controlled by someone called “The Caretaker”. He asked the party to go to the temple to stop General Ziruun and to bring the book back to Durkik. The party agreed although they had some misgivings about retrieving the book and decided they might leave the book in the temple if it seemed safer there.

The party rested in the Stone Anvil and early in the morning went to warn the council of the doppelganger threat to Overlook. Durkik helped very much and the party was relieved that at least his voice would be trusted. Then Durkik showed them the secret door to the sepulcher which he had taken an oath never to enter.

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35 -- Following Durkik
While the heroes were doing errands during the day to wait for nightfall, they found themselves in a seedy part of town. Instinctively, they became a bit more cautious. Then, while walking down one small street, Adren saw something and shouted a warning. Longbreath hear it too, and spat a cloud of acid at a group of ambushing thugs. They tried to form a defense, but Gilbain started to attack Elan!

Biatch and Elan focused on taking down Gilbain while Longbreath kept the thugs at bay and Adren picked off crossbowmen on the roofs. At first Biatch and Elan held back, unsure how much to hurt Gilbain, but then someone spotted a slumped figure around a corner and recognized him to also be Gilbain. Convinced that their enemy was a doppleganger, they tore into the impostor with fury. The rest of the attackers were soon dispatched as well.

Around midnight, Durkik left the Stone Anvil and briskly walked towards town. Adren followed from a safe distance and motioned for the party to stay out of sight. Durkik then ducked into an alley and a few moments later another dwarf emerged from the alley wearing similar clothing and walking in a similar fashion. Adren checked the dead-end alley and found it unoccupied so he continued to pursue the dwarf on the assumption that it was a doppleganger.

Eventually Durkik came to a warehouse. He went to the office door on the second floor, looked around nervously, and entered. The party carefully went up to the door and tried to sneak in but the warehouse was partially on alert. They fought thugs, two dopplegangers, and a dwarf wearing moderately nice clothes who had some sort of telekinetic powers. They defeated the enemies without much trouble but only had a moment to rest before being set upon by another group.

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34b -- Interrogating Grovald
“What a mess,” someone said, looking over the corpses. “We came to find what was going on and ended up with a large body count.”
“Glory to Defender of Brindol!” said Biatch. Her cheer was met with cold stares.
“It’s not as if we could take Grovald alive. He didn’t run or surrender. He was fighting to the death. We couldn’t … uh what’s going on over there?”

Everyone looked to see the assassins’ skin warp and turn gray. The eyes widen to large black orbs. The assassins were dopplegangers.

“So what do we do now?”
Elan spoke, “I have an idea. Bring Grovald into the cottage. The rest of you deal with the guards.”
Longbreath replied, “Adren should stay out of sight and keep watch. Too many strange things happening tonight.”
“That’s fine,” Adren said, “but what are you going to do with Grovald in the cottage?”
“Question him. I just wish Gilbain was here to help me remember the right prayers.”

As Longbreath dealt with the guards, Elan started the ritual to speak with Grovald. Biatch watched and Adren listened from the tree outside, ready to shush them if the guards got too close.

“Biatch, light that last candle,” Elan directed, “Grovald. Grovald. Grovald! Hear me and answer my queries!” Suddenly, the candles went out. Biatch lit them again. “Grovald! Speak!”
The head of the corpse rolled to face Elan and said, “Grovald has left.”
“Then whom am I speaking to?”
“I am Grovald’s corpse.”
“Do not play games with me! Answer my questions!”
The corpse seemed to shrug. “I’ll answer them if you do me one favor.”
“What is the favor?”
“Bury this corpse in a dark place and let no one know of the location.”
Elan looked to Biatch then Adren then replied, “You have my word.”
“What are your questions?”

With that Adren left his hiding spot, cleaned some of the bloody tracks, and joined Longbreath and the guards. He winked to Longbreath and said, “Unfortunately, Grovald body disappeared. I don’t know if it is dark magic or perhaps he wasn’t really dead. See here where he continued to bleed after being slain. Then there’s no sign of blood trail or the corpse. Maybe he’s hiding across the street…” and Adren led the guards away to buy time for Elan.

“Now corpse of Grovald, answer my questions.”
“Sure. I will answer two questions.”
“First question. What is the true name of Zza’thx, demon ruler of Izzea?”
“I have no idea! But I won’t count it against you.”
“OK then, what happened to Haelyn?”
“Haelyn, keeper of the shrine of Erathis. Grovald killed her and buried her behind the fountain two weeks ago so he could assume her position.”
“Why would you do that? Who are you working for? How does this relate to other priests?”
“That sounds like more than one question. Grovald was being paid by Durkik, high priest of that rock-headed god—although he gets his orders from a General Ziruun. Some nights Durkik leaves the Stone Anvil to … mee… so…”
Grovald’s corpse stopped speaking and his eyes glazed over.

Biatch and Elan were able to move the corpse and hide it before the guards checked out the cottage. They wondered where to bury it—someone suggested outside the walls but Longbreath pointed out that the city graveyard was closer, plenty dark, and no one would have to know. So Grovald was laid to rest in an unmarked grave in a dark corner of Overlook’s rumored-to-be-haunted graveyard.

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34a - Tension in Overlook

The heroes went to the temple of Bahamut to find why funds were being diverted away from Donaar in Brindol. The priest who was consulted on this hadn’t been seen in days but the party did find out that the money was funneled to remodel the old temple to Moradin, so they headed there. They found the Freeriders doing guard duty and one of the Ironfell dwarves held some sort of grudge against the party. After asking around, the party learned that the Ironfell clan lost a lot of money due to some of the actions of the heroes.

Since money from all religions was being diverted to Moradin, the party started asking about other missing priests and found that the caretaker of the shrine to Erathis went missing over a week ago. The party spoke to the replacement, Grovald, and didn’t get a good feeling from him. An old lady also shared her concern that Grovald was not a good man.

The party decided to stake out Grovald with Adren and Elan’s pet bird. Adren noticed two humans hiding nearby. He was uncertain of their motives but signaled the bird to summon the party. The party came down from the nearby tavern and was discussing what to do when they saw a group of thugs rushing down the street towards them. There was a big brawl, the two hidden assassins joined in, and Grovald himself engaged. Grovald was tough but fought to the death.

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33 - Purging the Sins
After a shopping spree the party met with Lady Shandria. She was happy to acknowledge Brindol’s claim on Castle Greystone but had a small concern with the portal to the Elemental Chaos. She asked sage Antenian to investigate.

Overlook showed signs of mobilization. Military men were training, walls were bolstered, and the guard was more alert. However the urgency wasn’t strong as evidenced by workers goofing off, smiling, and joking with little rebuking. The party’s entrance was challenged but when they identified themselves as Defenders of Brindol they were warmly greeted with smiles, cheers, and clapping. The party asked about the mobilization and determined that the recent attack and rumors of another attack have instilled a “better safe than sorry” attitude.

Gilbain’s first order of business was to have the nightmares removed. At Bahamut’s cathedral, Jurten Steelskull was able to help. He took Gilbain to the Chamber of Sanctity, a large room dominated by a magic circle. He sat Gilbain next to the holy water font and began the ritual of purification.

Halfway through the ritual, something seemed obviously wrong. A large mass under Gilbain’s skin could be seen moving about, then Gilbain started screaming as the skin on thigh stretched as if something would burst from it. Jurten remembered his trained and jumped ouside the magic circle and uttered the quick prayer to ignite the materials to cause a small holy flame to burn around the circumference of the circle. Just at that moment, a dark grey creature broke through Gilbain’s leg. It looked like a cross between a dog and a frog and was too large to have been completely inside of Gilbain. Nevertheless, it emerged, looked around, and lunged at Jurten only to be rebuffed by the magic of the circle. A second creature emerged and was simillarly rebuffed. A third, larger creature came from Gilbain leg and threw himself against the circle but to no effect.

At this time Gilbain was in great pain but summoned all of his will to stop any more creatures from coming out. The three Slaadi already emerged were furious and pounded on the circle but left Gilbain alone, other than some sniffing and curious prodding.

Seeing all of the, a panicing acolyte ran for help and found the rest of the party nearby. They rushed over and saw the angry Slaadi prowling around their cage while Jurten was uttering prayers both to keep the circle active and Gilbain healthy.

When the party came in, Gilbain could not contain the creatures any longer and three more burst out, including a larger purple Slaad. The party immediately used ranged weapons to slay the purple Slaad as another purple Slaad came from Gilbain leg. This creature flung himself through the circle, breaking it. The other Slaadi went crazy with chaotic delight and threw themselves at the party, ripping them with their claws. Smaller Slaadi continued to emerge from Gilbain until he was so exhausted that his body could create no more.

The smaller Slaadi were shifty and hard to hurt. One of them try to escape the room but Adren slew it before it got away. The rest of the Slaadi were contend to stay put and rip flesh. The purple Slaad had infected claws that implanted embryos in it’s victims.

Jurten helped to heal and the party was able to kill of the the Slaadi, their corpses slowly disolving into chaos. However, they were infected with embryos. They spend the night at the temple and Gilbain was able to cure everyone other than himself, being the most wounded. The head priest was not feeling well and was unavailable but the party found a healer and some medicine. Gilbain spend three nights recovering and had a fit of madness but finally he was cured.

Once they were all well, the Defenders of Brindol briefly spoke to the council regarding Brindol’s claim on Greystone Castle. The council replied that so long as the Castle was used to defend the people of Elsir Vale they would agree to Brindol’s claim.

The party also asked about why the funding of Bahamut’s temple in Brindol had stopped and they learned that the money was going to renovations of the Stone Anvil, the enormous temple to Moradin.

Finally, the party offered their services. The Council thanked them but had no immediate jobs, other than perhaps helping to guard the walls.

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