Thursday, October 16, 2008

Runelords D&D: Down Come The Rains

This series is a session-by-session recap of the Rise of the Runelords campaign over the course of the school year. The current party:

- Deanda, Elf Druid/Nature's Warrior
- Kiikii, Human Conjurer/Malconvoker
- Nakor, Human Transmuter/Knight Phantom
- Jaime, Human Cleric of Iomedae
- Kraca, Dwarf Monk/Ninja
- Slavla, Half Elf Barbarian/Fighter/Frenzied Berserker

You all are seated in Fort Rannick, some of you having just arrived back this morning. The fire burns brightly. All, at least for now, is at peace.

As our heroes had some time on their hands, they finally were relaxing -telling stories around the fire like they used to. Deanda, Nakor and Jaime shared some of their findings over the past two weeks. The adventurers were a little disturbed by Deanda's recounting of the Stone Giant assault, especially after Malfeshnakor's haunting warning.

Nakor made Lord Mayor Grobaras's information known, and only Jaime, he, and Slavla decided to take on the title of Lords and Ladies of Magnimar - pledging themselves to the defense of the city and it's holdings. To them fell the task of renaming the Fort, though in honor of the deceased Black Arrows they decided to not change the name yet.

The elves Deanda had met in the Mierani forest had come back with her, though the Fort was still very empty - despite the elves and their giant owl mounts.

And so, to a still and empty fort, our heroes retired to bed.

Dawn broke, and with it, disaster.

A frantic man, drenched in rain, and half-crazed had arrived at the keep an hour before dawn. Shrieking out in terror. Nakor and Slavla were quick to respond to the man's calls at the beckoning of an elf who had informed them of the man's arrival. He shouted his message through a veil of terror.

"They are drowning my Lords! The Skull River surges along its banks. Even the waters of Claybottom to the south invade the shore and spill across the land. Turtleback Ferry will be gone in a matter of hours! The people are doing their best to evacuate, but many are trapped in their attics watching the floodwaters rise. Father Shreed is holed up in the cathedrral with the sick, and they can't be moved easily, and what's worse, that old church could collapse an minute. You must help us!"

Within minutes, our heroes were hightailing it through the rains - most of them borne on the backs of Nakor's summoned shadow steeds.

When they arrived, the danger was clear an imminent. The floodwaters were rising, and a nearby ferry seemed about ready to overturn - filled with school children. Across the newly made pond, the church seemed poised to collaspe, though our heroes could still see movement within the upper stories.

Making for the boat, it wasn't long before a new threat presented itself. A nightbelly boa emerged from the water, and attacked little Tabitha Kramm - threatening to swallow her down - freckles, pigtails, and all.

Though our heroes fought hard, Tabitha was quickly swallowed up by the beast, as it wound itself around any who came close. Finally it fell, and with the help of summoned flying beasts, the adventurers were able to get the children and most of the sick to shore before... it came.

The creature which emerged from the waters was made from the stuff of legend and nightmares.

"A monsterous, undulating tangle of barbed tentacles explodes from the water. Its form spurns definable anatomy, a horror of prehistory atop a writhing mass of rubbery tentacles - some crowned with glaring infernal eyes. Its only recognizable feature is the black reptilian head rising above the morass of tentacles, a maw of flesh sheering teeth gaping wide before two piercing eyes, smouldering with alien intelligence."

This beast, Jaime announced, was a Mother of Oblivion. A servant of Lamashtu. Kiikii knew it better as Black Magga, a thought-to-be-mythical creature of the Storval Deep - a lake far to the north held at bay by Skull's Crossing - an ancient Thassilonian dam.

Suddenly, the tides had turned. Our heroes were mere playthings to Black Magga, who wrapped as many of them as she could in her barbed tentacles. A bite from her barbs drained Kraca's very essence along with Jaime's as she lashed out at Jaime, Slavla, and any others who dared to near her. When it looked as if Jaime had met his end, a puff of smoke and the smell of brimstone sealed his fate.

Malfeshnekor stood beside the grappled man. Lashing out with his sword however, Malfeshnekor struck down - not Jaime - but the Black Magga's tentacle. With one mighty sunder, the tentacle released it's grasp on Jaime. In response, the beast flung Malfeshnakor to the side, causing the man to fall to the ground - his infernal helmet falling to his side.

The infernal helmet however, was not an infernal helmet anymore. It was a tan, nondescript hat. A hat of disguise. Malfeshnakor was not a demon at all. The man's spined tail vanished, and for the first time, Jaime saw his true face. The man had beautiful features. Beautiful golden hair which shined in the sun, and amethyst eyes - matching Jaime's exactly. Malfeshnakor looked in every way like an older version of the young cleric. Malfeshnakor was Jaime's father.

The cleric could not believe his eyes. This was the man who had slain who he thought was his father those many years ago... Now lying at his feet. Not knowing what else to do, Jaime extended a hand to Malfeshnakor, trying to help the man up.

Malfeshnakor snarled. "No one kills my sons but me." And with that, he vanished.

As if the two were timed, The Black Magga - seemingly tired of these games, vanished beneath the water and fled. The rains had stopped, and the floodwaters were receding.

For now, at least, they had won.

The town of Turtleback Ferry cheered, and it was almost reminiscent of their days in the sleepy town of Saltmarsh. Once again, our adventurers were the heroes.

In their celebrations, Mayor Shreed offered the heroes a powerful restoration scroll from his treasury in exchange for one further favor.

"To the north lies Skull Crossing. It is the dam that holds back all of the Storval Deep. Even with these rainwaters, no flood like this should have ever happened, as the dam is equipped with floodgates to minimize the damage.

I'm not sure how the floodgates work, as the dam is also the home of a band of trolls. With these floodwaters arriving, and the appearance of Black Magga, a creature said to live in the Storval Deep north of this dam, it is clear that something must have happened at the dam.

It did not burst, for if it had, we would not have stood a chance. Something must be wrong with the floodgates though. Please, do us one last deed and head north to Skull's Crossing. Open the floodgates. Save our city from imminent destruction - I beg it of you noble heroes..."

What awaits our heroes next time... at Skull's Crossing.


Mark said...

I am a juggernaut.

We learned that Turtleback Ferry was flooding and the town was in imminent danger, so we rode out as fast as possible. I conjured forth phantom steeds to arrive faster still, and could only imagine how easily a catastrophe such as this would be dealt with by a force of Knight Phantoms.

Upon arriving we saw that many people were trapped on a violently rocking ferry and others were trapped within the cathedral. I laid off my armor so I could fly unencumbered in an altered form, strengthening and enlarging myself to carry as many people as possible. Kiikii summoned forth griffins to fly off the trapped children and Deanda merged the wood of the rocking ferry into a house to stabilize it. Jaime, too, took to the skies but Kraca and Slavla found themselves water bound. Unfortunately, a nightbelly boa rose from the waters to devour an innocent child, all of us helpless but to watch. After it's initial rise, the creature itself was easily dispatched. After rescuing all but determined priests searching for scrolls, another monstrosity rose from the depths. This Black Maga was unlike anything I head ever seen before, a squirming mass of black tentacles. Our party found itself virtually helpless against this gargantuan creature which grappled virtually all who tried to fight it and drained them of their power. Kiikii summoned many creatures in an attempt to fight the abomination but they served as little other than a distraction against it since it's skin was thick enough to deflect most any blow. Fortunately, that wasn't true in my case. I flew up to the creature and, using a few spell tricks I know, was able to overcome it's defenses and smash into it with Mjolnir. Unfortunately, despite Mjolnir being made from the hardest material and magically enchanted, some of the damage was absorbed by the Black Maga's divine nature.

Malfeshnakor appeared yet again, but this time to rend the Black Maga's tentacle that was holding Jaime. He was knocked back to reveal that he wasn't a fiend at all, but actually looked remarkably like Jaime. He left a moment later, but it was still clear that Malfeshnakor is Jaime's father. The Black Maga took the same cue as Malfeshankor and decided to leave us as well. I get the feeling that I will cross this creature again. Until then, I can only look forward to killing it.

After the battle, the town was in cheers for our deeds. They thought we had driven the Black Maga away and saved them all, even though we knew better. Father Shreed informed us that the Black Maga's presence must mean that there must be something wrong with the dam at Skull's Crossing which we agreed to fix. I have no doubts that this is related to our foes' plans.

May Nethys guide my journey through magic,
Lieutenant Nakor Issalani, Lord of Magnimar

Slavla, The Dragon Slayer said...

I was awoken early by an elf telling me there was somebody to see myself and Nakor, the other Lord of Fort Rannick. I never was going to understand why some elves are so stuck up about seeing others simply wrapped in a sheet holding their ranseur. But anyway, after I put on some pants I met the man out in the rain with Nakor. Turtleback ferry was flooded and townspeople were in desperate need of some heroes. Rescue work was always my area of excellence, and using my pointy stick. Our party were off as soon as possible, some of us flying, others riding horses or phantom steeds.
The man wasn’t kidding, as we arrived in turtleback ferry we found the town flooded. People forced to roofs and everything. My magic user friends set to their own way of rescue while I of course went about my normal hand’s on approach, jumping into the rising swells and trying to reach a ferry where several children were trapped. I was nearly there when a giant snake sprang out of the flood and ate one of the little girls. It was too late for her, but I redoubled my efforts, reaching the ship, but the snake was soon killed by another giant snake kikkii summoned. We rescued the rest of the children and headed to the church where more were trapped. I waited outside trying to see if I could notice anything else, and not much later a giant black thing came out of the water. I think I heard the other saying it was called black nagga, a thing of evil and corruption. Kikkii’s snake was able to get me and swim me closer to the thing so I could tried to stab it with my trusty pointy stick.
I am ashamed to admit I missed my first attempt and the thing countered with one of those tentacles that covered its body. Things went dark for a few second, the next thing I realized my pointy stick was lodged in the snake I was riding and it poofed before my eyes and I plummeted to the water below. The black nagga once again attacked, grabbing me. With the new magic on my pointy stick I was able to stab it several time, but it wouldn’t go down. I heard several screams from the other side of the creature, I couldn’t see but I knew it was Jaime, nobody else sounded like that. Plus nobody else screams quite the wimpy way he does. Another moment and I was dropped, and the black nagga disappeared beneath the water. I swam to the boat and saw the rest of the town cheering for us. I knew the thing was afraid of me, all tremble in fright of the mighty slavla.
My friends tell me that we are off to stop the flooding at a place called Skull’s crossing. They also promise me the chance of trolls to kill. My pointy stick is as always ready as am I.
-Lord Slavla the Dragon slayer of the pointy stick, corporal of magnimar.