Feery's Leap

Session 94
Goddess chasing, round one

The Communists presented the results of their research. The party did not have any immediate follow-up questions. The party then decided it was time to return to their keep, pick up a healer, and start hunting the goddess in earnest.

Edane, Oervind, Penluthien, Vis, and Aranethon teleported to Shalay to interview the locals. The locals recalled the arrival (“walking on the water” or “riding like a cloud over the water”) of a six-armed purple giantess and her human servants. She demanded veneration, threatened wrath to any who crossed her, cast a few high-level spells, and magically re-shaped the town-square boulder to resemble her symbol. She took a few scheming locals as servants, and marched back out to sea. A scattering of locals have left offerings at her stone every night since.

Aranethon called up a planar being and paid it to reshape the stone gradually over the course of the next week, eroding its link to the goddess. Hopefully, this will not attract her attention.

The party then set sail for the nearest island, using every trick at their disposal (sailing skill, magic, summoned elementals) to accelerate their transit.

At the first island, called Hanging Isle, they found timid and fearful residents (humans, humanoids, and Nguak duck-folk) who all seemed to be slaves escaped from nearby Hemp Isle. They were in rough shape, without farms or tools, living off the land in constant fear of press gangs from Hemp Isle. The party took pity on them, and spent a day curing disease, making shelter, conjuring food, crafting tools, and building a shrine to Amala. Aranethon asked to stay behind to coordinate the relief effort while the rest of the party continued on to Hemp Isle. Indigo Promise came in as a replacement.

The Hanging Isle residents gave the party what information they could about their former owners on Hemp Isle, but had little to add about the goddess. She seemed to consider them beneath her contempt, saying only that she would return and invite those with aspirations to join her crusade. She did not elaborate.

The party gathered in the pre-dawn to sail to Hemp Isle, anticipating a chilly (or openly hostile) reception from the lord of the plantation.

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Session 93 (Interlude)
Retreat, Regroup, Recruit

Well, that could have gone better…

The surviving party members burned their dead and retreated to their keep. They sent urgent messages to their allies, fearing the worst.

The goddess Nouliss-Hakkari turned out to be too much for Drumarch to handle, even in her weakened state. He fled to Kimenta, where the gods fought in the streets. Their combined effort chased her off, but the town has seen better days. Still recovering from events of last year (the necromancer’s flying fortress, sessions 44-49), Kimenta is practically a ghost town.

The surviving members of the Windless Ring set out to recruit new members, to varying degrees of success, while they seek out rumors of the vampire goddess. Seth-Durrash may have found a ranger in the Steppes, Oervind seems to have found a talented bard, and Indigo Promise appears happy to stick around for a while, but the company is sorely depleted and in urgent need of reinforcements.

Goddess afoot

Apparently, Nouliss-Hakkari kidnapped a priest before she fled, and she trudged along the coast to Shalay before she and her newly-created vampire minions disappeared. They have not yet resurfaced, but that is scant comfort.

Thessta (Durju godess of pears) sent a messenger to the Keep to inform them of the situation in Kimenta, and what happened as the goddess fled. The Durju gods will take care of Kimenta and mend their lands as best they can, but they are not prepared for another onslaught. The elder goddess must be defeated before she can regain more power.

Testing, testing!

Oervind recruited Penluthien, and they traveled to Alacrity Keep for introductions, and then to Feery’s Leap for a briefing with the Three.

While in Feery’s Leap, they learned that a Communist monastery in the Elphand Lands was in dire need of a visit from seasoned adventurers. Some planar brigands had slipped in, and were harassing the commune. Edane decided that would be a fine side project, and set off to help the Communists (and make some coin). Edane, Oervind, and Penluthien teleported to Valon, and set sail for Elephas.

It took a while to sail the unfamiliar waters, and they fought some sea harpies along the way, but they made it to the Elephas, and conjured an elemental to power-boat up the Greatflood River to Damkina. They visited the market in Damkina, bought a large flying carpet, and received directions to the commune. Though the trip to the Communist redoubt would be arduous by land, it was a short flight from Damkina.

Consulting with Brikka the dwarven Communist, they learned that the interlopers were githkind, presumably githyanki. They had no interest in parley with the Communists, and just insisted on taking what they wanted and lashing out at anything in their way. The company decided to find their encampment and attempt parley from a different angle.

They found the encampment almost by luck. Instead of approaching normally, they made a show of it: casting black tentacles on the underside of their carpet for a dramatic appearance, and flying over the gith in multiple passes to exchange insults (using tongues to communicate). For a dazzling finish, Oervind did some quick calculations, they climbed to a suitable height, and Edane lept off the carpet, calling fort the Eyetalon as she did so. The boat plummeted toward the gith encampment with a shrieking roar. At the last moment, she uttered the command to return the boat to its tiny form, and hovered over the gith with arms crossed. “Ready to talk?” she asked, as they broke out in applause.

Impressed by their panache, the gith agreed to talk. Penluthien took lead in the actual parley, Edane supported, and Oervind mostly stayed wisely silent. They realized that the gith were there by circumstance, not design, and they were not at liberty to plane shift away – possibly because of pregnancy. Oervind arranged for one of his teachers to come from Tula, to take them to Skandik town of Sea Rune (the party visited in sessions 75-76). Edane arranged for her old captain Mendoril Thurant to stop in Sea Rune to see if they would make good mariners. The githyanki agreed to this arrangement, as more interesting and potentially more fruitful than lurking in a remote forest.

The Communists were grateful for the assistance, and paid the party in cash (5,000 gp) and in kind (~10k gp worth of Communist services).The party took a moment to draw up a series of topics to research, and set off on their way.

All their questions should have responses in a week or so, and they can retrieve the Communists’ findings from their contact in Feery’s Leap (Endzela Thiessen).

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Session 92
Almost tomb much to handle

24th Dearth, 5060

Making a weary retreat from the battle scene, the party made camp in the room where they’d meditated an hour before. They posted guards and expected trouble, but had about 12 hours to fully recover. Sensing trouble ahead, they prayed to Drumarch Saleleh. He answered their prayer, and came to provide restoration magic. Moments after his arrival, they were disturbed by the sound of a figure walking down the hall toward their camp.

The figure announced herself as a priestess of “Her Dreaded Benevolence,” the god who claimed this ruin. The priestess requested that the party surrender to her goddess and serve or be destroyed. Needless to say, the adventurers chose option 3: mortal combat.

The priestess was eager to make Drumarch a sacrifice to her goddess, and he would have fought beside them, but the party insisted that he retreat to safety.

The priestess seemed groggy, and her attempts at parley/ conversion were feeble. By the time the monk from the last battle came to her side, it was clear that the party would not be persuaded. Sender cast a dimension door to position himself better for a battle, and then melee ensued.

Sender petrified the monk (much like last time), but the priestess proved harder to fight. She managed to fell Oervind quickly, followed by Shegger Gork and Savannah, forcing Indigo Promise to make hard choices between saving fallen allies and helping to end combat swiftly. When the priestess retreated, the pegasus pulled back to tend to the wounded and restore the dead. Edane and Sender finished off the priestess and destroyed her reinforcements, but at great cost.

It drained him, but Indigo Promise restored the party to full health. They explored the rest of the complex, where they found (mostly empty) sarcophagi, more traps, an almost-dead Neamuan prisoner, and a major shrine to Nouliss-Hakkari. As the party started executing the helpless vampires in their crypts, Drumarch came back with a plan: he would destroy the shrine and divert the goddess so the party could escape. What could go wrong?

The adventurers accepted his proposal. As the weary band prepared to leave the temple, Drumarch sensed a surge of unholy energy, and had just enough time to warn the party as a newly-invigorated priestess attacked the party. The last they saw of Drumarch, he and a many-armed blue woman were slipping through the planar membrane to points unknown, leaving the ragged band to fight the high priestess once again.

Struggling to defeat the priestess in their weakened state, party members started falling – and Indigo Promise found his power reserves running dry. In a last-ditch effort, he made a desperate plea to his god for intervention. The god responded with a dramatic earthquake that brought down the temple around them, and released an underground river to run through it. Oervind just managed to dimension door to the surface, and as soon as they saw the vampire priestess destroyed by running water, Indigo Promise flew Edane to safety amidst the falling debris.

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Sessions 89-91
tomb-crawling in the desert

23th Dearth, 5060

Reaching the ruin, the party found the figure exactly as expected. They followed it underground, to find a thousands-years-old pathway laden with traps. They got through most of them, but triggered some summoning and force wall effects (force walls blocked their retreat). They found signs of diminishing but continuous habitation, and walls of graffiti scraped away and written again hundreds of times (mostly ornate paeans to a blood-drenched dominatrix goddess named Nouliss-Hakkari). Running low on energy, they stopped to meditate to replenish some of their depleted energy.

Continuing deeper into the desert ruins, the party fought some planar creatures in a room with summoning circles. As soon as they defeated the creatures (who were called, not summoned), they noticed a half-dozen vampires lounging in the next room, enjoying the battle from the other side of a portcullis. After a few minutes of banter, they closed in for the kill.

It was a rough fight, but the party defeated the vampires and their minions (destroying one vampire and petrifying another) before sealing off the hallway and retreating to a more defensible position to rest and recharge.

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Session 88
Orcking Diversion

Durju heroes swoop in with thoughts of saving the day. They’re nonplussed at having missed all the action, but rally at the thought of marching south to assault the orckish populations mustered there.

The leader of the band is a foreigner named Vanimarakkuri, who would appear to be of Karakhan descent, possibly genie-blooded. The two parties broke bread and exchanged information, then decided to part ways. The Windless Ring returned north to check on Gux and Feordin at the Desert Lotus Outpost, and Vanimarakkuri’s party ventured south to engage the orcs in full force.

Upon arrival at the Outpost, the party learned about Gux’s progress with the conduit, and his work to resolve the energy fluctuations it has produced. He has managed to minimize the planar thinning, but it may take some weeks before it is safe to cast spells near the White Jackal’s tomb.

The Outpost recently received a visit from some halfling scouts who had come in from the deep bush. While exploring, they’d been caught by a sudden haboob, and lost their way trying to race to shelter. When the storm passed just after nightfall, they found themselves lost in the high desert. As they prepared to make camp the next night, they noticed a feeble light from a rocky outcropping nearby. Closer inspection revealed that the rocks were a very old ruin, through which a lone figure appeared to be wandering, holding a candle. The scouts did not approach the ruin – the sight of such a place in a blasted waste, days away from any natural source of water or food, gave them pause. They opted to move on, and report their findings.

The Windless Ring thought that sounded worth inspecting, and set out right away (Sender, Shegger, Edane, Oervind, Aranethon). They made the journey, found the ruin, and saw the candle-light after nightfall. They approached the ruin, and found the candle left standing on the ground, beside a recently-dislodged stone slab that revealed a passage beneath the ground. They felt an unsettling emanation, similar to unholy ground, though were unable to determine the exact nature of the phenomenon.

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Session 87
Orc-colored paste
10th of Dearth 5060

Continuing the assault on Haeldregu Keep, the party regrouped on the first floor and worked their way up. Along the way, they heard (and felt) a spellburst upstairs. Clearly, the fighting they had heard involved a fair amount of spellcasting (in addition to their own expenditures).

Oervind took advantage of the orcs’ weak minds to bind several in a lesser geas with the command to defend him. Sender bound several orcs with a well-placed web, and Girrock’s hobgoblin friends did an admirable job of sabotaging the orcs’ forces from within.

Between the hobgoblin traitors and the spellburst, the party faced a significantly softened defensive line. There was something strange, though… two individuals (a hobgoblin and an orc) who were fighting on Girrock’s side asked to be killed once combat on their floor had subsided. Shegger thought that it might be for spiritual reasons, and Aranethon thought they might not have been acting of their own volition.

The orc warlord either died in the spellburst or escaped, but the party killed or geased his lieutenants. Six of Girrock’s allies survived the battle, and Shegger suggested that they go to the party’s keep and offer their services to the settlement. They might find a purpose and a place for themselves there.

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Session 86
Deeper Orcking
10th of Dearth 5060

(a continuation of the raid on Haeldregu Keep to flush out and defeat the orckish warlord occupying the site.)

The party managed to dispatch or scare off the remaining worgs, goblins, kobolds, and hobgoblins outside. An invisible figure on top of the keep proved difficult, and managed to summon a fiendish giant wasp to molest Edane while a basilisk came up from within the keep, but Sender laid down Evard’s black tentacles to prevent any more reinforcements from coming up. Sender, Edane, Shegger, and Aranethon defeated the basilisk and the invisible figure: a spell-throwing female orc.

The basilisk turned into an orc when slain, which suggests polymorphing. Within the keep, there were sounds of fighting and occasional splatters of blood or gore coming out the windows. The amount of arrow fire slowed to a trickle.

Oervind summoned a multi-armed planar creature to batter down the front door of the keep, then approached to summon an air elemental through an arrow slit on the first floor. Then he went up to the second floor, laid a geas on the archer in the window (“stand down and defend me!”), and used a dimension door to get inside.

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Session 85
Sidebar: Plugging in the White Jackal's tomb
10th of Dearth 5060

Gux collected the manufactured conduit replacements from Feery’s Leap, and Feordin, Manudhar, and local hire Savannah Stalu escorted him. Connecting the conduits to the replacements was exhausting and demanding work. The artisans had reconstructed seven conduit components. One of the connections conveyed a strong blue light that blinded Gux for several hours.

When Gux connected the bright conduit there was a bit of planar distortion, but the sixth conduit conveyed a charge of spell energy that pushed it over the edge. The planar boundary thinned, and some red-skinned outsider marauders broke through. They attacked Gux, and did quite a bit of damage before his friends distracted a few of them. They managed to dispatch the invaders, and decided to wait until the following day to finish the repairs.

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Session 84
Coming back for more
17th of Dearth 5060

The party retreated to a secure shelter, and interviewed the hobgoblin they escorted away from the keep. The evacuee, a “spirit talker” named Girrock Hregek, told the story of how he and the orcs got to the keep.

Many of the humanoids from the steppes fled south when the undead rampages began. They crowded out and clashed with local tribes there, until a strange shadow-stained troll appeared among them as if out of nowhere. The troll, Black Brok, carved a bloody swath through the countryside. He whipped several orckish warlords into submission, and turned them against other warbands. They slew or enslaved anyone who got in their way. Other bands allied with them to win the spoils of conflict.

Several bands took their gains (weapons, goods, mostly slaves) and headed north before the tables turned on them. Hrikk Ice-Blood took his band here. He has three dozen orcs, a dozen half-orcs, and at least two dozen goblins and hobgoblins. You could also count at least a dozen kobolds and a few humans. Most of the non-orcs are slaves.

Girrock said he could contact his friend in the keep, and they would not stand in the way of the party’s assault on the warlord. The kobolds would obviously flee at the first opportunity, but the others would need to put up a good front before escaping.

The party said they would not molest anyone leaving, which apparently was good enough for Girrock. He did some quasi-magical circle ritual to communicate with his compatriots. Then he made camp with the party, and they made their assault early in the morning.

Approaching the ruined keep, Shegger Gork spotted a camouflaged kobold (sorcerer?) in a tree. The kobold flew away toward the keep on barely-functional winged boots.

The party approached the keep much as they had before, invisible and by air. As they approached, an air elemental surged at them from the top of the keep. It caught several of them in its whirlwind. When they became visible, they became targets for pot shots from the keep. Sender got a grease spell through an arrow slit, which inspired Edane to follow suit.

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Session 83
Great Southern Orcking
16th of Dearth, 5060

Evening hostilities

Camping overnight, the party was accosted by a small hunting party of seasoned orcs – one of whom had ram’s horns. Daylight and blistering radiance broke up their assault pretty quickly. Though Oervind was rudely awakened by flaming javelins in his backside, his summoned fiendish dire wolf more than made up for it.

The orcs’ remains did not seem noteworthy: no particularly valuable items, no magic items, no valuables. None of them was dressed much better than the others.

Later in the evening, Sender and Shegger spotted a large wolf on the far side of the river, apparently studying the camp. It backed off when approached.

Mayhem in the morning

The party finished the upriver trek to the ruins of Haeldregu keep, where the orcs and their allies had made their base. Imbued with invisibility and flight, the party approached for reconnaissance. They saw wolves, a few horses, and several hobgoblins around the keep. The orcs, they assumed, would be asleep inside.

Oervind summoned a large earth elemental to drop on the keep to flush out the occupants, and the party indulged in a brief orgy of destruction as orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, and kobolds streamed out of the main building (and later the guardhouse). They summoned several interesting creatures to fight on their behalf, and Sender blasted the keep’s main door with fireball spells as the occupants ran out in terror. Aranethon carpeted the keep with blistering radiance.

The party noticed that someone inside had summoned another earth elemental to fight with Oervind’s. Sender spotted a hobgoblin reach the roof and disappear (without casting a spell). Sender quickly cast see invisibility to see the hobgoblin slipping away on a broom. About that point, they also saw an orc on the roof, casting dispel magic at him to strip his invisibility. The party offered him aid in escaping, and Edane distracted the orc with a well-placed scorching ray before the party slipped away into the skies.

The party regrouped to make camp a few miles away, there to converse with the hobgoblin and discuss what to do next.

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