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DMDM's Strange Aeons

Game Master Douglas Muir 406

You have woken up somewhere. Somewhere bad.


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Dotting the gameplay thread.


Cutscene! Fritz the paladin only.

Fritz only!:

"...a brand from the burning," the woman is saying. "Fortune, if you like, or fate. I don't often travel through those regions."

You are walking through the garden, the beautiful garden. The fragrance of roses fills the air. The woman... is perhaps at your side? You don't turn to look. It would be dangerous to look at her directly: this you know. You might lose yourself entirely. But her presence fills you with deep comfort. You feel profound gratitude to her, quite literally from the bottom of your soul.

"But just because you're not his any more, doesn't mean you're mine." The woman's voice is thoughtful. "'I could not love thee, dear, so much, loved I not honor more...' I see that in you. What would you say to that, Fritz? What's more important to you -- love, or honor? Beauty, or truth?"

You answer humbly, but with certainty...

-- Beauty and love!
-- Honor and truth!


Everyone but the paladin

You're standing between the lake and the city, in the light of the setting sun.

The lake is vast and still; it does not reflect the sunlight at all. Something about the lake disturbs you. You realize your clothes are wet. Were you swimming in the lake? You don't remember.

You turn, and there is the city. It's all red and brown stone, in a style you don't recognize. It's eerily beautiful, and yet you have no desire to go closer and look at it. No desire at all. A palpable air of menace seems to hang over the place. There's nothing good for you in there, you're somehow quite sure.

But when you turn back to the lake, you have an unpleasant surprise: a wall of yellow mist, twice your height, is rolling off the dark waters. Steadily, implacably, it is advancing towards the shore.


It's moving quite quickly -- faster than a comfortable walking pace. With growing unease, you realize that the mist is coming off the lake, trapping you against the city.

As the mist pours across the shoreline, you hear a heavy splash. A moment later, you hear a shuffling, squelching sound. You can't see into the mist -- the lake is completely gone, now -- but there's something in the mist and it's moving towards you.

With unease rapidly curdling into panic, you turn towards the city. If anything, it looks more menacing now as the light is leaving the sky. The last rays of sunset are drawing long streaks of red across its lovely, eerie architecture.

You turn back. The mist is just yards away now.

-- I'm sure whatever that thing in the mist is, we can discuss this like reasonable... entities. I stand calmly and await the mist's arrival.
-- You don't scare me, mist thing! Combat stance, ready to fight!
-- I don't like this. Brisk walk or trot, away from the mist, towards the city.
-- I really don't like this. Full speed run, into the city.


Diplomacy +5, Religion +4, Perception +5, String +3 Human Paladin of Iomadae Vital: HP 13/13 AC 21/11/20;San 24/24; Will +2 (+1 v evil), Ref +1 (+1 v evil)Fort +4 (+1 v evil) ; Smite 1/1 ;Guilty Smite 1/1

.


Human (Chelaxian) Oracle (Spirit Guide) 1
Spoiler:
HP 6/9 Sanity 38/42 Init +8; Per +4 AC 17/12/15 Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +1
DM_DM wrote:

- I really don't like this. Full speed run, into the city.

Panic.

"Wha- ... what is .... where am ... I?" the dripping pale woman asks to no one in particular. The first thing she remembers is the sand. It's warm at the surface, but cool to the touch a few inches down. She is on her hands and knees on a ... beach? There's a city in the distance. Struggling to rise, she freezes at the sound of other voices nearby.

"Run! If you can hear me - please run!"

"Nonsense. Don't frighten the poor dear. The mist does look quite inviting and cool - perhaps a quick dip in the lake would be invigorating?"

She sees no one. Scanning nearby, not another soul can be seen. "Hello?" she calls - her voice sounds muffled.

"yesfrightenthepoordearscarefearcoldsweatdangercrackbonesMISTSSUCKMARROW"

THE MISTS. She looks out at the menacing yellow clouds rolling in at the shoreline. Then - the splash of something massive. Emotions cycle across the woman's features, but she settles on fear. Tears spring to her eyes unbidden. The sound ... the sound in the mist. Something about the mist isn't right. Something about the mist is very wrong. It looks as though it is reaching out to take her hand.

Vertigo washes over the woman as she rises to her feet; clutching her hands to her head she blindly half jogs, half stumbles towards the city.

"fAsTeR wOmAn! FaStEr If YoU vAlUe YoUr TaStY sKiN! hEe-HeE-hEe!"

What is happening to me?! She didn't see anyone near her. Nothing makes sense. She tries to wipe away her burning tears only to scrape a trail of wet sand across her face. A small whimper escapes her lips. Must get to the city! She runs.


Diplomacy +5, Religion +4, Perception +5, String +3 Human Paladin of Iomadae Vital: HP 13/13 AC 21/11/20;San 24/24; Will +2 (+1 v evil), Ref +1 (+1 v evil)Fort +4 (+1 v evil) ; Smite 1/1 ;Guilty Smite 1/1

dm:
Fritz is unsure what prompted his answer but somehow he knows it was right. For a moment he is tempted to turn and look, but he doesn't. He walks on content. Yet there is something at the back of his mind that is unsure


Fritz the paladin:
Sorry, what answer did you give?


There are other people here, besides yourself. Unfamiliar people, but people.

You can talk to other PCs if both of you have selected the "wait", "stand" or "brisk stroll" options. Otherwise, not so much -- panicked running won't allow more than a glance or a brief, gasped question.


Male Human Rogue (Swindler) 1 AC:14 HP 10/10 Perc:+5 Init: +3 F:+1 R:+5 W:+1 SAN: 37/40

An older boy...no maybe a young man stands among you. He is about 5'2, 5'3, can't be more than 125lbs. His wet, long brown hair lays flat against his head.
Now that you think of it is that a young lady? You can't be sure. He/she is wearing well used leather armor and has two swords strapped to their back.

What in the f$&% is happening here...who the f$&% are these people?

And what in the hells is that mist? His eyes dart around for somewhere to hide. Without thinking a coin slips from his waist, he looks down at it curiously as it slowly rolls across his fingers taking his mind away from the fear that was starting to grip him.

Life is chance..., What do you think Worrah? The coin flips into the air, the two faces of lady luck spinning by. He grabs the coin out of the air and slaps it on the back of his had...

Lady luck winking I stay, surprise I go. DM_DM, 01-50 always means the coin came up winking, 51-100 means the surprised face came up on the flip.

SCAZRNI fate coin flip 1d100 ⇒ 49


Male Human Rogue (Swindler) 1 AC:14 HP 10/10 Perc:+5 Init: +3 F:+1 R:+5 W:+1 SAN: 37/40

Oh crap...so I stay. he says to no one in particular his eyes darting around as the coin slips back into his belt. That settles it for the rest of you though, must be a boy...or it's a really rough talking girl.

Can everyone post a short description of their character and what we see about you?

He sees a women panic and turn. Looking at the others, Anyone ere know what in the ells' is goin' on?
Looking towards the mist, the two short swords on the boys back slide free. He appears to be standing his ground against the menace that is moving toward the group.

Sigh, this damned chance coin is going to be the death of me already :]
I am going to have fun with it though, can't wait to be fighting the BBEG and stopping to flip my chance coin!


A pretentious upper class British accented voice screams, "Fly you fools!".

If you turn to look, you catch a glimpse of a scrawny human male disappearing in the distance. He look likes like a bearded, terrified version of Julian Assange clad in scholarly attire.


Two running, one standing. Mesmerist and bard?


Human (Chelaxian) Oracle (Spirit Guide) 1
Spoiler:
HP 6/9 Sanity 38/42 Init +8; Per +4 AC 17/12/15 Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +1

The woman currently kicking up sand headed towards the city's edge is long-limbed but otherwise of average build, with pale skin and long dark hair. Her facial features are slightly larger than what might be considered the aesthetic ideal, but if she weren't currently stumble-running in blind panic (read: wide tearful eyes, fearful grimace) she would likely present a striking presence.

Stuff score of 2, DMDM - what do I have on me? Armor? Weapons? Backpack?

"Leaving them behind, are you? Tsk. What a waste."

She looks back over her shoulder towards the mists, gauging the distance it is closing. Leaving who behind? What is she talking about? There! Others, dripping wet. A young man with short blades in his hands. Is he coming for her? A white haired man sprinting towards the city ... towards her? Fear. No, they must be the voices who warned her - everything is very confusing. The city is closer now, but the mists keep rolling in.

"YeS oThErS! fInD oThErS - OtHeRs HeLp."

Nearly at the city's edge, a column of sand explodes at her feet, sending her flying. Whispers. Laughter. Warnings. Encouragement. She lands hard, scrambling to find footing again as a sob escapes her lips.


Diplomacy +5, Religion +4, Perception +5, String +3 Human Paladin of Iomadae Vital: HP 13/13 AC 21/11/20;San 24/24; Will +2 (+1 v evil), Ref +1 (+1 v evil)Fort +4 (+1 v evil) ; Smite 1/1 ;Guilty Smite 1/1

DM:

Weird. I must have failed to cut that part of my post when I was cutting and pasting. Apologies.

Beauty and Truth. For both of those are the seeds from which the other sprouts.

Sovereign Court

Female Human(Kellid) Bard(Animal Speaker)/1-Spiritualist/1 - HP 15/15; AC12, FF10, T12; F+4,R+4,W+4; Init+2; Per+4

Suddenly realizing that whatever is in the mist is not something that she wants to deal with, Kyleen decides that it is time to make a good decision, something that she is not familiar with, and turns tail and simply begins sprinting toward the city.

Stand if you want. This girl ain't getting eaten today.

With that, the disheveled looking girl takes off. It is hard to determine what she looks like. She would probably be attractive if not for the grit and grime on her face and the variety of sticks and leaves tangled in her hair.

--> Run full speed toward the city.


Okay, I'll bot the Mesmerist. 1 chat, 2 fight, 3 stroll, 4-6 run.1d6 ⇒ 1Well!

Gherik, you're not alone! Someone is standing beside you while the others flee.


As the mist rolls over you like a wave, a voice cries out from somewhere -- either in horror, or in exaltation.

"Iä! Iä!"


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Sensing the cosmic horror about to engulf Ghelik, Percy the Scholar stops and turns, unable to resist instincts at the core of his being despite the effect of the fugue.

"Sir! Or is it madam?!", he belows.

A sudden flashback to an obscure treatise interrupts Percy's thoughts for a split second. Entitled "Abyss, not His-byss, Gender Issues in a Multiverse of Endless Terror" the work in question had not at all deepened his knowledge of lore. But for some reason lost to the memory it had been mandated reading. Something to do with referring to a shuggoth with a male pronoun in some ancient language? Now the lesson emparted became useful for perhaps the first time in the history of elder lore studies.

"My pardons for assuming your gender identity! But please, for the love of gods don't just stand there and die! It would be such a waste! Could you take out a quill and parchment and jot down the final experience in detail ? We may be able to recover the final ravings from your corpse at a later date".

*Continues running*


So, two characters standing there as the mist engulfs them. 1 the rogue, 2 the mesmerist. 1d2 ⇒ 1


The screaming starts. It's the sound of someone in mortal terror or agony: high-pitched, gasping, inhuman.

The screams don't end quickly. They go on, and on, as you flee into the city.


Congratulations to Gherik on achieving one of the victory conditions!


As you enter the open gates of the city, you hesitate. Despite the horrific screams from behind you -- not terribly far behind you -- you find yourself reluctant to enter the nameless city. There's no threat in sight; in fact, there's no living thing in sight at all. But the very stones seem to breathe forth an almost palpable air of menace. And night is falling.

But given a choice between the creepy city and whatever is happening to that poor young man back there... you gather up your courage and plunge forward.


Nameless Oracle:
As you step through the gates, the voices that have been gibbering in your mind suddenly fall silent, like birds when the shadow of the hawk passes over.


The scholar shakes his head imagining the young fellow struggling to bear witness to whatever phenomena has engulfed him. Would he be able to record what is happening before overcome by pain, madness or death? Even a few frantic sentences would be of great research value! And if by some wonder he survives, will he be able to accurately recall his experience or just be a babbling mess?

"So sad", he murmurs aloud.

Gazing at the cyclopean city before them, and pondering the events of the last minute, Percy concentrates on the clues and facts presented before him. What exactly has happened here?

*Makes knowledge arcana/planes check*


+8, yes? Let's see: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28

Whoa!


Human (Chelaxian) Oracle (Spirit Guide) 1
Spoiler:
HP 6/9 Sanity 38/42 Init +8; Per +4 AC 17/12/15 Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +1

"There! Yes, there is shelter. Run to ... NO! WAIT! ---"

Nameless vaults over a low wall landing in a crouch, and presses herself back against the boundary in attempt to hide. Panting with exertion and panic, she swallows down the sourness in her throat and gazes to the sky - gulping acrid breaths. The man in the mists. His screams are endless ... A shudder creeps down her spine at the sheer and absolute terror, tinged with - adulation? Surely not. The sound of his agony has overwritten her thoughts - or whosever thoughts. The voices no longer goad her and fill her mind.

Hello? Nothing but the distant screams and her heart racing in her ears. Please don't go! Don't abandon ... what do I do?

Casts Guidance (unwittingly) - +1 competence bonus on a single attack roll, saving throw, or skill check. Applying to Perception roll.

The wall obviously won't keep out the horrid clouds of mist. But what is the safest path? This city ... it ... feels alive. Why do I think that? What does that even mean? Nameless grits her teeth and presses the lower palms of her shaking hands to her temples - hard. The pain distracts her from the panic that threatens to rise. She scans the area just inside the city in which she's currently hiding, and peers over the wall.

Perception: 1d20 + 6 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 6 + 1 = 19

Priorities: Find safe looking location away from the mists. Find and join any other party members and jointly look for safety.

DM_DM wrote:
Congratulations to Gherik on achieving one of the victory conditions!

Oh. Oh good. That's encouraging and settling.

Sovereign Court

Female Human(Kellid) Bard(Animal Speaker)/1-Spiritualist/1 - HP 15/15; AC12, FF10, T12; F+4,R+4,W+4; Init+2; Per+4

Kyleen continues running:

It's not my fault. It's not my fault. . . .


The man in wizard's robes halts at the gate of the city. He does not enter. Instead he takes a long look around.

Then he pulls a dagger out of his robes, carefully puts it to his throat... and then with a single convulsive movement slashes across.

2d4 - 2 ⇒ (3, 2) - 2 = 3 <-- This is a coup de grace attempt. It's auto-crit, -1 on each die for his low Str. He'll then get a Fort save to survive; the DC is 10 + the damage taken.

Fort save: 1d20 ⇒ 6


The man in falls to his knees as a sheet of blood pours down from his slashed throat, soaking his robes. He raises one arm as if to speak... then slowly topples over. Blood pools around him.

A moment later, the mist rolls over his sodden corpse. It's moving faster now.


1d3 ⇒ 1 Huh, okay.

1d100 ⇒ 19 Well!

Meanwhile, the Oracle:

Quote:
Priorities: Find safe looking location away from the mists. Find and join any other party members and jointly look for safety.

Options: there's a broad, open plaza, or a tangle of narrow small streets.

-- The plaza! Good for flat-out sprinting, and we can see what's coming at us!
-- The narrow streets! Better chances for hiding, dodging and evading pursuit!


Human (Chelaxian) Oracle (Spirit Guide) 1
Spoiler:
HP 6/9 Sanity 38/42 Init +8; Per +4 AC 17/12/15 Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +1
DM_DM wrote:
-- The narrow streets! Better chances for hiding, dodging and evading pursuit!

Nameless cries out at the actions of the white-haired, robed man. Seeing the mists closing in on her, she spots an alley directly across the way and takes off at full sprint away from the mists. Certain death in the mists, or possible death in the streets?

Running farther into the city == loss of sanity? Just can't see a good IC reason to throw myself on my weapon (if I have one). Would a Knowledge: Planes (+5) check be helpful?


Fritz the Paladin:
The woman smiles. You're still not daring to look at her directly, but you can feel her smiling, like you can feel the sun with your eyes closed.

"If you're not sure... Take a turn with the new girl, first, and see how that works out for you. But here's something to carry along." She leans over and kisses you on the cheek. You very nearly faint. "Take care of it, and it will grow. All right then, back you go..."

PM or e-mail me, please.


Everyone else: follow into the narrow streets, go the other way into the plaza, or what?


Diplomacy +5, Religion +4, Perception +5, String +3 Human Paladin of Iomadae Vital: HP 13/13 AC 21/11/20;San 24/24; Will +2 (+1 v evil), Ref +1 (+1 v evil)Fort +4 (+1 v evil) ; Smite 1/1 ;Guilty Smite 1/1

DM:

Fritz, ever so slowly wakes, the world slowly seeps into his mind, then all at once his eyes pop open, in stark contrast to the gentle waking that was going on.
What is that? Screaming...wait what is that? Gasping...someone is hurt.

He turns and sees the convulsing man. Dear Goddess! He rushes to him and tries to lend what aid he can heal: 1d20 ⇒ 5, but he sees no wounds, nothing to suggest what is wrong.

He pulls the man's head into his lap and holds him steady.

Shhhh...the Goddess will protect you. You are in the hands of a friend.


Wait, I guess "everyone else" here is the bard. So, let's say that on a 1-2 she runs into the central plaza, on a 3-6 she follows the oracle into the narrow streets. 1d6 ⇒ 2


The Oracle

The streets veer off, curve, cross each other, go up and down bewilderingly. You had hoped to lose your pursuer, but you're the one who is lost. And every time you turn to look behind you, the mist is there.

If you have Survival, you can make a Survival check to not get turned around. Otherwise, it's an Intelligence check, and with -2 on the roll.


The Bard

You dash straight into the middle of the plaza, then pause. Behind you, the mist seems to have slowed its advance. You do indeed have good sightlines. Mind, the sun is slipping below the horizon. You think of darkness in this place, and that's bad. Then you think of the stars shining down... and somehow that's even worse.

It's silent here, except for the sound of your labored breathing. So silent.

In the middle of the plaza is a large stone plinth, like a broad obelisk. Something is inscribed on the side of the plinth.

-- Hm. Take a moment to check it out.
-- Ignore it, stay alert, watch the mist, run if it gets close.
-- Just flat out keep running, across the plaza and on to whatever comes next.


Male Human Rogue (Swindler) 1 AC:14 HP 10/10 Perc:+5 Init: +3 F:+1 R:+5 W:+1 SAN: 37/40

Spoiler:

1d3 ⇒ 1
1d100 ⇒ 44


Human (Chelaxian) Oracle (Spirit Guide) 1
Spoiler:
HP 6/9 Sanity 38/42 Init +8; Per +4 AC 17/12/15 Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +1
DM_DM wrote:

If you have Survival, you can make a Survival check to not get turned around. Otherwise, it's an Intelligence check, and with -2 on the roll.

No training in Survival, so untrained roll? Otherwise, treat as INT roll with +1 for INT score, -2 for penalty:

Survival: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6

Welp.

The dizzying architecture and threat of the mist keeps the Oracle from focusing on a mental map. She can feel the panic rising after passing the same facades over and over again ...

Sovereign Court

Female Human(Kellid) Bard(Animal Speaker)/1-Spiritualist/1 - HP 15/15; AC12, FF10, T12; F+4,R+4,W+4; Init+2; Per+4

Scared of what is behind her, but also frightened of what might be ahead, the bard pauses to see what the inscription on this strange plinth is while catching her breath, before deciding where to run next. As she reads, she constantly glances over her shoulder, disheveled hair flying as she does, to see if the mist continues to encroach.

--> Pause to read the plinth. Flee if it gets too close.


The Oracle

Dead end.

The stone walls seem to mock you, leaning forward to see your end. Behind you, the mist rolls inexorably forward.

You can try a Climb check.


Human (Chelaxian) Oracle (Spirit Guide) 1
Spoiler:
HP 6/9 Sanity 38/42 Init +8; Per +4 AC 17/12/15 Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +1

Literally backed into a corner, Nameless grimaces, closes her eyes and takes a shaky, deep breath. She looks fearfully at her death approaching in the mist, and then searches the walls surrounding her. Damn your ire, woeful city - I will not die here!, she whispers in a trembling attempt to convince herself. Leaping as high as she can, she attempts to find a hold and scramble up the stonework.

Climb: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20 , -4 from this roll for armor check penalty if wearing


Kyleen wrote:


--> Pause to read the plinth. Flee if it gets too close.

Ooh, you looked right at it. Okay, Will save.


Oracle with No Name wrote:
-4 from this roll for armor check penalty if wearing

Ooh, would have made it if not for the armor.

The walls are much more slippery than they look. (Or are they simply rejecting you?) You scrabble helplessly at the stonework as the mist rolls over you like a wave.

1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17

There's something in here with you -- you can hear it moving towards you. You have a round to act.


Human (Chelaxian) Oracle (Spirit Guide) 1
Spoiler:
HP 6/9 Sanity 38/42 Init +8; Per +4 AC 17/12/15 Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +1

Confusion, anger and fear welling deep within, the Oracle summons every scrap of willpower she can muster and yells in the direction of the movement: HALT! She then sprints back the way she came, trying to remember the layout of the street adjacent to the dead end.

Well, here goes nothing/everything: cast Command (DC 15). After casting, take a move action back towards the opening of the alley, attempting to retrace her steps.You have been eaten by a grue.

Command(Halt):
The subject stands in place for 1 round. It may not take any actions but is not considered helpless.


Bard

Here, let me roll that Will save for you. 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

...um.


The stone of the plinth is ancient, but the complex sigil inscribed on it shines as if it had just been inscribed moments ago. It doesn't actually radiate light or glow, but you can feel it burning right through your eyes into your mind, into your soul. You could close your eyes and you would still see it. You can't not see it.

(And if the city were to crumble into dust, still the Sign would be there burned and branded upon the skin of creation, yellow and eternal, shining in a dark cosmos beneath the light of a dead sun.)

Utterly rapt, you ascend the seven steps to the base of the plinth. "Iä..." you murmur softly as you reach out a hand to touch the Yellow Sign.


The Oracle

Well, whatever-it-is gets SR and a Will save. Here we go!

Overcome SR: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
Will save: 1d20 ⇒ 18


AND SUDDENLY EVERYTHING IS SHAKING

SHAKING

Everyone must make a Reflex save. (Yes, everyone.) The Oracle and the Bard roll at -4.

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