Spokes in the Wheel

The Floating World

Cleverly utilising a secret passage the group climb up to a chamber where some sort of bell jar is being guarded by a Clay Golem. They decide whatever has been left in its care must be worth getting so fight and defeat the magical creature to retrieve its treasure. Inside, a human heart falls out of it and dies. (And something far off shrieks…)

They then find another way through to a (different) strange waterfall that reverses when keywords are spoken…Glitterstone puts her hand in a depression, and then Kolibri Little Bird chances it and steps in…and is taken up to the true tomb. The rest follow. Here, a boat and a portrait seem to offer the way to the gem they seek: sure enough, the portrait is an illusion and beyond it floats – on the very clouds – an exact replica of the boat inside the tomb. Inside it is the gem which Kolibri Little Bird flies across to.

With the gem in their possession they can search the resting chamber of the great Pharaoh himself, Amun Re. Despite misgivings, there seem to be no traps and they can easily take the staff and use a secret passage to vacate the chamber (while very wisely leaving the ancient king to his eternal slumber…)

They suddenly find themselves teleported to the entrance to the pyramid – where they can see that the fabled Waters of Athis flow outside for the first time in a millennium. They now have two gems and pause for reflection before carrying on their labours at a later date.

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Egyptian Solution

Eventually, after another encounter with the Androsphinx, some avoidance of traps and cursed items, a chinwag with some lost dervishes and a fight with some minotaurs, the group get out of Kordan’s Master Maze.

Up above it, they discover a paladin fighting ghouls, which they help her to best. They join forces with her and move to a room where a 30 foot tall statue houses a huge gem. Is this the one they search for? No, as it happens, as an alarm sounds when it is taken. Wraiths attack on this sound, but are driven off by the combined forces of Sveyn and a fireball from Tialys Nylar.

The paladin tells of a dark priest who is now a spirit and resides next to a waterfall…the very thing they have seen now to the north. Must they go through the waterfall to progress?

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Procession Toward Learning Land

The group cleverly forge good relations with the guardians of the pyramid, the dervishes, and look inside the temples. They find much untranslated language of an ancient sort and set to work deciphering it. They also find a plundered tomb, quite clearly a false one placed to fool (rather dim) would-be robbers.

Flying up a sluice pipe, Kolibri Little Bird finds herself detached from the others and face to face with a fearsome Androsphinx, left to ward the massive building. He asks her a riddle with a clue for success and a surely unwinnable combat for a wrong answer. She answers correctly, however, aided in no small measure by the crystal ball promptings of Glitterstone and Tialys Nylar.

They move further into the structure, taking advantage of an old teleportation device, but are transported into the very maze the sphinx had warned them not to visit. Adrastea maps it intelligently, and they use ropes to ensure they are not too far separated while mapping it. They see evidence of long sprung traps and wonder which ones have been left in place all this while…

Eventually, they meet an odd bunch of elves mourning over bones but then take their leave of them. However, they are attacked each in turn by them and realise all is not what it seems. Upon capturing one they discover its true identity: they are dopplegangers! Still, four of the five have been cut down. Where has the other one gone though? And where is the exit in this maze?

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Deliver Us From the Elements

The band set off into the desert and, helped by their caravaneer hosts, successfully get to the desert boundary with no mishaps. The desert is formidable, and they are beset by foes as diverse as spiders, a giant scorpion (that nearly makes a meal of Kolibri Little Bird), fearful basilisks and ashworms, fell creatures that burst from the very sand and sting painfully. These last animals kill one of the two camels the group use for bearing.

They also meet varied peoples of the desert, including merchants, the airlancers who patrol the skies above the hot sands as well as the dervishes who take it upon themselves to protect the arid land’s holy sites. Good (or at least non-hostile) relations are fostered with both sides as they cross the desert. Eventually, they discover an ancient and isolated statue; it crumbles under the sands and leads them to an underground complex where they avoid nasty traps and rescue the first of their sought gems. Alas, in doing so they seem to release an ancient evil into the land…

Then, they reach a mighty pyramid that the spirit of a long-dead Pharaoh bids them to rob to dispel his curse and also free his land. They negotiate passage inside with the dervish priest who tends it. So, is the tomb as theft-proof as is claimed?

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Summer Hot as This
In which the party go another trip.

They get rewarded by the Count, and leave for home, but upon stepping through the portal they find themselves on a windswept mountainside, with a fierce storm approaching. They find shelter in a nearby cave, but a giant is headed within so they opt to use a teleportation device found there.

They find themselves (literally) dropping in an eastern wizard who bids them do a task for him: he speaks of an ancient prophecy he believes them here to fulfil, an ancient evil that must be bested and an ancient set of gems that must be collected to achieve that goal. The group set out to do this, but ask him to supply the fee to join the local caravan which is headed north into a desert of fable. Here, there adventure will doubtless begin afresh.

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King for a Day
In which many of the party die

Below the altar the group find a huge cavern, almost boundless, with a swift river running across it. They fly over it, but cannot all avoid the wights, undead horrors that attack them once at the other side.

Those fiends bested, they come to a pyramid which they correctly deduce an opening for, having to give a command in the name of the lizard king Sakatha. They proceed, and little Jaalask does sterling work in avoiding the many traps beyond the door. They come to a table laden with delicacies, but leave them well alone, as do they the odd murals that speak of battles and hunts. (Wise move!)

They descend further into the structure and avoid more traps, and kill some lizard folk accompanied by a couple of dark acolytes. Past them, they burn some coffins and see a strange gaseous shape seem to float away from them and into a side chamber. They follow, but are just in time to see the lizard king Sakatha, bride by his side. Alas, the evil monarch acts with greater speed than they, and casts a cloud of deadly fog upon them, and only a few escape with their lives: all are slain save the kobold, Kolibri Little Bird and the doughty warrior Kelldan. Yet, despite such odds, the three try to save situation and rush to attack the vampiric reptilian. Aided by the bard’s haunting melodies, Kelldan strikes some mighty blows on the undead foe, but it is left to the fierce little reptilian in the room to finally put to rest his bigger cousin. The bride is also quickly despatched, and the remaining trio destroy his resting place before looting his treasure.

As luck has it, the bard identifies one of these items: a plain looking ring. It has the power to grant one wish and the selfless Kolibri Little Bird wishes her comrades back in full health. And so it is.

The group then find a room crammed with wretched prisoners, stolen citizens of the lands surrounding, who they must find a way to take back to their lands above…

A great triumph surely awaits back in the Court of the Count!!!

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The Ugly Underneath

The group descend into the complex beneath the altar.

First, they have to battle past the bulk of the guard host. There are many, with leaders and, behind them all, an old man in a tattered cloak who turns out to be a wizard. The group fight bravely, none more so than the plucky young kobold Jaalask who assaults the spell caster personally, and nearly pays with his life. A fierce battle is won by the forces of good, however.

After this, they search and clear the barracks then, past an evil altar, the clerical enclave as well, lead by a patriarch who sells his life dearly.

They carry on deeper into the complex, wondering what will come next…

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We Kill the Beast

Just before reaching their destination they encounter the captain who lead his men south, though something certainly seems amiss with him.

At Waycombe, the band find only an inn, with an innkeeper just leaving. He tells them the place is theirs, as he is off directly after their conversation. They spend the night, and though a couple of men taunt them from a field, they see them off and do not stir abroad, though they do see a winged figure of some size flying in the night.

Next morn, they check out the mad hermit the innkeeper talked of though, and find a man of wild appearance who indeed appears to be addled: all the same, he leads them through the great swamp to a crumbling temple on an island, replete with demonic altar, where they quickly thwart an ambush by crossbow wielding brigands, only to be confronted by an altogether fiercer opponent: a black dragon named Aulicus.

A mighty battle ensues, where first Kelldan and Sveyn are attacked, then Glitterstone and Tialys Nylar: they barely make it through, but through diligent swordplay, skillfully utilised magic and the not inconsiderable musical talents of Kolibri Little Bird, they are eventually victorious. They heal up and loot the dispatched lizard’s hoard, then prepare to investigate a trapdoor behind the altar. Was the dragon responsible for the raids, or will they find another lead beneath the isle?

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Travels in Nihilon

The cleric, alas, says nothing and even magic cannot seem to loosen his tongue. The Count urges his hirelings to head out as soon as they can.

Moving south, to Waycombe, the group find stragglers seeking refuge in the capital, telling of bandits, evil flying in the night, and burning and looting. All is certainly not well where they are headed, as some clerics from the area reporting home are sorry to confirm, though they warn the travellers not to take the stories of superstition too seriously: they have seen no flying horrors themselves and precious little beyond the sad effects of banditry.

An inn also provides a sombre encounter, with a young minstrel incurring the wrath of the locals by singing a song called ‘The Ballad of Sakatha’ which they do not take to at all. Fortunately, a more uplifting performance by Kolibri Little Bird soothes the customers’ anger.

There are fights en route as well though: 5 ogres jump them, but are bested after a struggle. Much harder work is needed to overcome a trio of hill giants, who nearly kill them before their quest is really started. What worse can be thrown at them though, if they have beaten such mighty foes?

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Great Fire

The rest of the tower is quickly cleaned out, including a sneaky thief and a nasty cleric both of the wererat persausion, and a grateful dwarfish community helped.

Back in Sigil, the party is ambushed in two separate places by hideous undead called Boneclaws. They are quickly cut down and must retreat, with Sveyn and Kolibri Little Bird particularly perilously close to death. This seems a coordinated attack, but who is behind it? The group suspect the wizard Montesque, who they assisted the Lady Lythara against.

Before they have a chance to investigate further, work comes their way: a messenger from a place called Eor requests their help to thwart some brigands for his Count. The group move through another portal and are granted an audience with the Count Brunis. He gives them the job, but during a briefing with local merchants who have fallen foul of the bandits, a rogue priest calls a column of flame to attempt to assassinate the Count. By luck, coupled with a good job from the group, the Count lives and the cleric is captured. But who is he and why does he wish the Count dead?

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