Necromancer

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As the party speaks, several more of the creatures arrive. Once you are done, one of the recently arrived creatures speaks in Terran "I can speak for the council of our people. We will offer resources as well as the aid of those who choose to fight. What do you need? There are several hundred people eager to do battle (among the many thousands of us). We have our equipment for moving and shaping the earth and the wealth of the earth. But this has been no match for the powers seemingly possessed by the dark invaders - especially, they fill our minds with fear by some strange magic..."

He continues: "In any case, we can offer a passage to the surface or to the tunnels below the invaders fortress. However, as you observed, the deeper tunnels have terrible dangers currently. We believe the worms moved closer to the surface at the time of the invasion though we don't know the connection. They have always been a danger to us, however."

Meanwhile, the Sarmidal keep uncharacteristically good order and have Terex communicate "We are the Sarmidal, we will find resources to fight these invaders if we have to scour the plane..."


Finally, a thin, straight line opens in the center of the massive steel door and it slides open in the fashion of an elevator. Before you, you see a number of the creatures you got a short glimpse of when arriving to the plane - Humanoid crustaceans with some resemblance to potato bugs. They are "armed" with digging, cutting and wielding tools, including flame throwers (but nothing really designed for combat by itself). The creature in the lead says, in Terran, "Welcome friends, if you that. You come in an usual way and appear strange and monstrous to our eyes but you speak with eloquence and clearly have remarkable powers. What do you call yourselves? You offer aid against the dark enemies who appeared and conquered our lands not long ago. Let us know what you expect to do against them. We are sadly reduced to hiding in our tunnels while the dark invaders hunt us and strip our land using those of us they have reduced to slaves. " Azzim, listening carefully to this speech, feels the creature speaking is friendly and mostly truthful - but it is only a leader, not the only leader, of the creatures. However, he guesses some portion of these creatures are not convinced of the party's friendliness and the speaking would like the party to come up with a way to demonstrate their power and friendliness to convince these potential doubters.


Gift fires into the scare left by Terex and the purple behemoth is reduced to dust...

Almost simultaneously, from the other wall, a rasping voice in halting common says "Surface dwellers by your look, but yet in the below-dark entrance? We have never seen your like, I think. Tell us what is your business?" and adds something in a dialectic of Terran...

Terran or linguistics 27:
"Quite a trick that extra wall, wow..."

Perception 30:
The voice is from a hole only inches above the ground...


The worm shies back 10' as Terex rains on it...


Investigating the door, you find there are a number "firing holes" on your side that are invisible on the other side and designed for quick opening and closing - a quick scan with one a Purple Worm retreated about ten free from the door and sampling the dirt to perhaps burrow... So basically anyone with a ranged attack can make it now


After Bella produces her dinner, three of the Sarmidal engage in ostentatious toasts while two others join the party the preparing for whatever it is that is approaching...

Meanwhile, Terex barely gets the sensation of a couple minds behind the door You can send one message but won't get a mental reply...

And Arlo steps towards the source of the soft hum... that gets louder and louder and... suddenly a gigantic wall appears in front of him and a heavy collision occurs, as the newly created barrier shudders but easily holds. Now Arlo recognizes the sound, the scourge of the underdark, a danger that lurks across numerous planes...

Now you are between two iron doors...


As the party prepares to contact the locals hidden behind their thick, iron door, the cavern is oddly quiet but at some point a hum or vibration begins deep below your current location. The door probably stops telepathy along with other magic but you can try telepathically "shouting", roll something.... The five Sarmidal with you are still excited. Two of them have a scheme for getting the 30 ton iron door open...

perception 30:

Something large is headed your way and will arrive in five rounds...


So, scanning both the tunnels under the Traders' fort and those hiding the natives, you realize many of the empty tunnels were dug by purple worms who likely infest those areas not sealed (so you need to move quietly and not stay long, see below).

Still, you go to those tunnels closest to the natives and after a short walk, wind-up at a lower entrance to the natives tunnel. The natives seem to be some kind of humanoid crustacean naturally able to burrow. The entrance is a simple door that you know has guards on the opposite side - you aren't certain what language these creatures speak but your vision of them shows they're intelligent, social and don't show evidence of being cruel or bloodthirsty. The tunnel is likely to keep the purple worms out. The Sarmidal are excited by Bella's speech and eager to meet the natives - but none of your telepathy goes through the door (has no knocker or lock - it's simply barred on the other side).

Knowledge Dungeoneering 25:

Found throughout the multiverse, these creatures are infamously difficult to clear from a network of caverns they have infested. Like mice or cockroaches, if you see signs of one, the chances are there are many. And their very sensitive hearing means that they will appear sooner or later if you stay long enough in the area.


I will let the discussion continue as the party (and the five Sarmidal) debate their immediate destination... You are out of the Sarmidal world, not yet materialized in the mountainous plane occupied by the Traders, in the abstract lines of force that form the Black Lake... (The Sarmidal naturally want to take the most aggressive approach, go immediately under the Trader castle and "take the battle to them" but their wisdom and consistency might be questionable if not their valor) ...


With a hail of boulders and rays, the Party clears away the death knights on your side of the lake and you are all able to come together and consider Terex' vision of lake... After quick discussion and joined by five of the Sarmidal interested proceeding lower, you concentrate on the lake and have it bring you down to the immediate lower level...(7) Stepping through, Terex and all those now attuned to the swirling dimensional nexus get almost addictive sensation of power - this thing gives you a remarkable mastery of all the planes embedded within it; As you transport yourself, you "see" the complex of fortresses that the Traders have built around the lake and the surrounding rugged area. You see mines and fields where the natives are now forced to toil and the protections they on the Lake's own manifestation. And you tunnels and caves underlying the whole area, some natural, some dug long ago, some dug by the Traders, some with natives hiding in them...

As you arrive, the Sarmidal telepathically send you images of overthrowing Dark Trader control of this plane...

You can put yourself anywhere in ten miles of the lake on this plane, including inside old, hidden tunnel in the Dark Traders' own fortresses or near to natives hiding in caves from the Trades...


Terex' consciousness sinks into the lake and he is able to get something of more of an idea of the ten large planes

current lake view:

10. Gigantic boulders in Rushing water host cities in air bubbles...
9. A salt plane filled (present)
8. Blue jungle with gem-studded plants
7. High slate mountains occupied by a Dark Trader army while an underground people organizes a resistance (entry-way to plane 1, maybe)
6. Swamp
5. Mercury pools amid metal hills
4. ...
3. A field of stars.
2. ...
1. An iron wall surrounds an immense fortress while beyond it lies a forest devoid of all but plant life and strange demons. It now seems quite likely this is an entrance to DYS, the Dark Trader city built in emulation of the true Dis in Hell itself and reputed to be their headquarters.

Terex is certain he can could take the party to plane 7. From there, plane 1 may be quite accessible but he's less certain of that.


Bella The Gift wrote:
Sorry for the lack of posting the last week- Life has been busy, to the point where I've almost debated quitting. I'll post later tonight, and will continue trying to engage with this game.

Posting more is better but you're not the only who's missed time like that. I think Gift just commented 'cause she's fond of Bella.


Gift Fitzroy-Brighthammer wrote:

Have we lost Bella The Gift?

Have patience...


Approaching the Black Lake, Azzim is able to both sever the link the Traders had and cast a spell through the lake, sending enormous salt reeds out, grappling 8 out of the 10 of the death knight spreads about the 1/4 mile diameter of the lake. However, one of the ungrappled creatures happens to be only a 200' feet away - it runs forward 100' and send forth a jet of acid, which is knocked astray as the mount hits a boulder that materializes inconveniently in front of it.

Meanwhile, Arlo and Terex arrive at the edge of the lake that they could study though with the one death knight loose nearby, it seems risky Roll Will and perception if you wish to plumb the lake.... Still, the other death knights are struggling and may break loose soon (but none this round and the closest is 300').


Terex looks for any opening to analyze to the Dark Traders path to the Sarmidal's through the Black Lake but after ten minutes, the combat restarts and he realizes his caution in not approaching the Lake prevented any certainty about the Dark Traders' approach.

Meanwhile, after just a few minutes, the Dark Traders bring in a company of mechanical horsemen who confuse the Sarmidal for twenty minutes 'till the strange parrot people summon an equal number of giant cats who shreading the majority of the company and playing catch many of the others.

But with this success, Sarmidal take a break leaving maybe ten of the Dark Trader company still guarding the lake. In desperately One thing Azzim and Terex' quick planar research determine is the Traders seems to have a powerful advantage near the Lake and the Sarmidal are thus reluctant to approach with 100' of it. However, all of the party member attuned to Black Lake and so might be able to command it to remove it's protections.

Thus after another half hour, the party finds itself with the similar challenges - while the Sarmidal compose songs of the last hour of hyper-violence, ten Dark Trader death knights on mechanical monstrosities patrol the quarter mile area of the Black Lake's shore - their strong life sense means you'll have to eliminate at least some of them to be get even a few minutes to fully analyze the mysterious Lake.

So you've got to deal with a few enemies directly, rolling to attack and all that...


Due to various real life stuff, will be posting what you find when you get some time to look at the lake...


Given the scale of the battle, I've just been narrating rather than running it as melee. Hope people can live with that.

Always feel free to PM with questions and feedback.


As the party observes, the battlefield around the lake is dangerous and bizarrely chaotic. Arlo naturally wades in and destroys dozens of zombie tank drivers and soldiers in one sally but the surge of battle makes analyzing the lake itself difficult and he is swept back as Dark Trader reinforcements arrive. At that point the tank battalion seems to be surging and the Sarmidol group retreats and one Sarmidal somehow summon a titan kitten (110' tall) which tosses the tanks about like bits of fluff for ten minutes...

Then for period that lasts at least ten minutes, the lake has only two tanks guarding it while the Sarmidal heal their wounded, argue and sing songs of war and sorrow pieced together from multiple languages...

(Note, that it only the ten particular Sarmidal who propose the plan of going deeper. The strange creatures seem to seldom agree on anything...)

This might the best chance to get a look at the lake, let me know how you do it...


Comparing notes, Terex and Azzim think that the sky of the area transformed at the point that this Black Lake interdimensional catastrophe expanded across the multiverse sucking pieces of various planes into itself... And looking around, despite their distress, the Sarmidal are not losing. They suffer some casualties but they throw the Traders' forces back in a dizzying array of ways (while other plans fail miserably). They summon tiny creatures that sabotage the tank machinery, they head-spinning spells, the submerge the vehicles in waves of water or oil (they invite Arlo to an area of disabled tanks where he finds the Arlo sword can cut through the armor of the things...). They can't hold out forever but they are only very slowly giving ground if at all.

Some of the Sarmidal think that the crystals are naturally by the lake and those Sarmidal that went up to the surface seeking aid accidentally expelled the crystals.

As the Terex questions the Sarmidal, a group of ten others approach him and halting put forward the idea that they would like to go deeper into the lake to fight The Traders more on their home turf. The group shouts slogans in ancient languages and is volatile and emotion like nearly all Sarmidal (apparently) and actually puts forward three plans for the venture but the general idea is there...


The Sarmidal take the party to a secluded area near the Dark Traders' landing position. Some of the group send to Terex an image of having repelled a couple previous Dark Trader efforts with clever tactics. They did suffer dozens of casualties at one point but the situation seems like a stalemate currently. They have a remarkable power of reaching through planes and pulling out random objects of use.

They have several tunnels dug underneath the assembled tanks and show you the entrance. They are also quite terrified by the sky of their realm having turned a strange black colors replacing the clouds and moon that usually light their area.


At the point that Terex communicates his friendliness telepathically, the Sarmidal respond with a dizzying array of actions and emotions; two move to embrace him, a couple seem skeptical, others are excited to the point of nearly firing their weapons (but are stopped)... A few seem terrified The chaotic group doesn't seem to reach a set consensus but nonetheless begins moving towards the nominal East was they continue to argue ... you notice as you interact, the group members switch "position" as their discussion continues, from fearful to aggressive and back again, etc... One of them sends Terex and any telepaths an image of the area near the black lake (in this area) where perhaps 200 heavy tanks are assembled and more seem to be unloading from the lake itself...

Clearly beings of chaos, let me know how you interact, if you're following them, etc...


So, Azzim gathers the party together at what he senses is the power point of the lake. As you enter the planer rift together, the reflected plates beneath the dark surface shift and become something more akin to a spider web of connections between all of the elements of the "lake". Ignoring the myriad possibilities this web offers, Azzim guides the group to your decided destination...

And the whole of this second plane does seem to be cover by some sort of "trap" for those who would enter it - but with powerful force of will Azzim is able to bypass it And can disable it if he wished... and the party leaves the matrix somewhat confident they are away from the Dark Trader controlled areas they sense on the demi-plane...

Thus you find yourselves on a wide salt-flat area pocketed with boulders 10-100' in diameter and as you orient yourselves, a dozen Sarmidal appear from behind three different boulders and move towards you as they form a semi-circle facing you... They stop about 100' away and one of them stares and says "Meep bozhai ein pods..", speaking in no language you know of. The Sarmidals seem only more alien on closer inspection, they resemble parrot-headed humanoids but also goats and their covering is neither feathers nor fur but closer to multiple layers of cloth... A notable thing is that each of these creatures bears a different weapon - apparently from different time periods and approach. One apparently has an electric chainsaw, another a wand of fire balls, a third a musket, a fourth carries Visuvian paralysis net and so-forth. With all this, their attitude seems curious or questioning rather than hostile...

Also, it should be noted the sky itself here has the dark, multilayered appearance of the surface of the Black Lake...


Terexaltherin, Pseudodragon wrote:
I think I was just remembering that we had to have our disguise/story ready for going through 'customs' and somehow in my memory that became "we had to go through customs because we couldn't plane shift somewhere discreet".

The thing is, plane shift as written won't take you to a specific location on a plane at all. I am house-ruling things somewhat by having planeshift often take one to a specific location, which the locals can put walls around. But jumping from a point one plane to another chosen point on another takes a 9th level spell and I will again house rule that it is expensive.


Arlo, your sheet says you have +12 will, you survive the experience...

So now, the entire party stares at the Lake in a clearer fashion, though Terex is still scared by the experience... Feel free to use the mind-block...

Now, you can all roughly see Emoree's "picture" echoing in the lake/planar-tunnel. The Salt Plane is the clearest visible "place" here. The other exit besides this, if there is one, has to be at the very bottom. On the salt plane, you can see hills, plains, a brackish, a "forest" of tall grass and reeds and a manifestation of the Black Lake itself, a ways from the sea proper, all of which you think you could fairly easily transport yourselves to. In fact, you feel as this attunement has given you each considerable power over all that you can see within the lake, a feeling of power that you feel a bit suspicious of... If you can command this force, the Traders may well be able to as well...

And also, as Gift is sorting her equipment on arrival, she finds a small, rune-cover gem she hadn't expected along with a tiny note. It seems to have been tossed in by Bethia at the last minute. The note reads "A small charm capable of setting off a chain reaction between and among the undead. For use only you if reach the Dark Trader City of Dys where it may effect 1000s, otherwise keep safe and return" It's a powerful weapon, one you've heard rumors of The Organization working on...

Another thing that occurs to the party is that were Dark Trader agents back in Kalthinia and they may investigate the Black Lake if they hear nothing from the Traders who were here when you arrived - indeed, it's surprising they haven't done anything though it's only mid day of the second day you've been (~20 hours). Emoree communicates her desire to stay and guard the Lake if you enter it...

If you enter the Black Lake, roll a will save again to choose where you arrive among the features I roughly listed. You can even attempt a specific terrain with a sufficient save...


And due to site being down all day, will post tomorrow...


Also:

"This is the realm of Gofthonan. So far as we know it's a planet, not a plane. However, it has both strong technological and magical aspects. It's not hard to reach at all in - but in the sense that each 'jump' costs the equivalent of 5,000 universal gold in diamond dust. As you can see, 3/4 of the land area polluted, rendered uninhabitable, some 200 years ago. This involved the unwisdom of a previous empires. Since that time, a variety of kingdoms, republics and empires have risen in the remaining land and produce a variety of interesting things. And since the plane can be relatively easily reached, a variety of interplanar embassies exist to buy these things. A common situation. "

https://paizo.com/campaigns/v5748p75ivlaa/gameplay&page=115#5738

*Usually* you go into the hard to reach planes. But this time, the plane is fairly easily reached. Note since planeshift normally not any-point to any-point, The Organization would be using more expensive magics to do the switch but it's possible.

Remembering the entire situation is hard even for me sometimes.


Lady Lyra Anna Fitzroy wrote:
Terexaltherin, Pseudodragon wrote:
I thought this plane was only accessible via the portals we came through? Wasn't that a big plot-point? Or am I misremembering?
shoot if I have done wrong sorry, i can swich them back and said it failed. Sorry team

I have grown to expect and enjoy your improvisations, Lyra/Gift/Johnny-P. It is fine, you correctly made it "possible but difficult".


Skating across the lake, Bella feels the echoing, churning planes within it, louder and louder 'till reaching the very center, the sensations momentarily explode and then finds herself back at the edge, the images within the lake now somehow not bothering her, almost as if she can feel the lake's flows just from where she stands.

As Gift leaves The Organization's Headquarters, Bethia hands her a box, "If the League of Wizards asks, we definitely have nothing to do with this... and our repairs may take a while, yeah..." Opening the box on arrival, she finds a long length of silver wire (edged with tiny leaves). Several miles long, in fact, enough to circle the lake and analyzing it, it seems it block the lake's transmission and survive maybe ten days, the party a bit more time if you string it around the lake.


As the Sarmidal sinks back into the lake, the sends Terex an image of a strange black vehicle with tracks and feeling of pain... and you are back where you went to sleep, knowing you have only a day or two before the multiverse senses it's presence... Ten minutes later, two more Sarmidal appear and vanish even more briefly and then quiet for at least an hour.

And in that hour , you have time to study in detail the image Emoree has synthesized of the roiling ripples within maelstrom.

map sketchy info:

10. Rushing water
9. A salt plane
8.
7.
6. Swamp
5. Mercury pool
4.
3. A field of stars.
2.
1. An iron wall

And, after the night's rest to clear your heads and recover from the shock of seeing it, you come to understand several things about the black lake:
1. Time move much faster in the semi-planes in the lake, up to 50x faster. Entering the lake would give relatively much more time to deal with the thing, if that is possible.
2. Plane 1 may be the other exit but it clearly needs to be approached cautiously...
3. The Sarmidal probably came from one of the near demi-planes (#9 on map) and it's possible that plane is experiencing a dark trader invasion. Why is uncertain... If there is place you'd want to go to within the lake, that plane seem most logical, since you have only the sketchiest of info or none at all about many of the other rough ten demiplanes...
4. Each demi-plane likely has a different view of the lake, so visiting other planes will give you more information
5. There is likely a "ritual of attunement" that must be completed by someone to command the "tubes" the dark traders were using.

knowledge planes 25:

Basically you have walk to the center of the lake, tracing microscopic swirls on the surface feeling the surge of strange things within it but willing yourself to stay on the surface. Player automatically complete it but will save 20 or a surge of confused thoughts give 2 wisdom drain


It actually takes Emoree several hours to fully form her image and transmit it to the party... So she finishes late-ish and sleeps next to the spider mech with the rest of the party.

Daleana and Ullia are happy with stay in the mech but they're thinking about getting on the road back home. They're relieved to be healed but hoping that they can have something of value for the time and risks they took coming here. "The business documents might help but we have but fifty silver between us and that may not be enough..." (the party has enough gold that they could give what to the pair would be a fortune while barely touching the party's own resources).

The party awakens at dawn and returns cautiously to the lake (with Daleana and Ullia staying behind), just in time to see a strange creature (vaguely half-humanoid, half-parrot) appear from the "surface" of the lake, shriek loudly and then return (sucked-back?) to the "depths"... You carefully shield your eyes as this happens as the lake's mind-warping dimensional echo effect becomes stronger. After maybe 30 seconds things return to normal and you see four of the strange "dark crystal maps" scattered near the shore where the creature surfaced (the things the Traders back in Kalthinia apparently sought).

Knowledge Planes 30:
The creature is a Sarmidal, these live on windy salt-fields in material planes near to the abyss. They are reputed to have strange, difficult to comprehend mentalities but to not be evil...

As the creature returns to the lake's depths, you could make a quick effort to communicate, roll an appropriate skill...

I'm working on the "map"...


So, despite exhaustion after the battle with the Dark Traders, the party continues past sunset researching the lake as well as healing and talking to the two young Starling carriers, Daleana and Ullia. These two are suffering from serious radiation damage as well as wisdom damage from gazing at the black lake but with the party's healing efforts they are return to full health. They tell a now familiar tale - desperate to pay their families debts, they took on the Starling quest and saw similar sights to what the party encountered - which they dealt with mostly by stealth and diplomacy. They have the making of adventurers, no doubt and they are curious who you are as well uncertain how their quest will end.

Meanwhile,

Terexaltherin, Pseudodragon wrote:
... investigating the dark lake... are the planes he can sense in it truly contained within it

Your sense the planes are contained, trapped within it and distorted and cursed by the black lake... but this isn't certain. You have a sense there is at least one other exit/entrance on the "bottom" of this maelstrom.

Terexaltherin, Pseudodragon wrote:
what is the relationship between the lake and the crystals the Starling bearers bring back? Are they pieces of the planes within it, or solidified protoplasm from the lake itself?

They seem to be a bit of both - some of the energy of the trapped planes is smuggled out this way and some of the protoplasm is released by opening these maps - probably to bad effect...

Terexaltherin, Pseudodragon wrote:
He also does his best to keep Emoree appraised of what they're doing and why, though the concepts are a bit difficult to explain in images and feelings even with his experience 'speaking' that way.

Emoree seems to have intuitive understanding of the lake, her image-focused thinking seems well to weird phenomena, indeed, she has formed something like a maps of multidimensional world in her mind.

Time is pressing but unfortunately, it seems like you'll have to stay the night before taking any serious action on the lake. As far as you know, you have 2-3 days from the lake attracts more attention. Describe your camp. Especially, will you be next to the lake or a ways away, all in the mecha or otherwise. It's quite possible more random or not-so-random things may emerge from the thing's black depths...


The remaining Dark Traders fled into the lake... you appear to have the lake to yourself, for the moment. Real post tomorrow (no posts Mondays generally)


So, Bella creates the fractal triangle and positions it on the opposite edge of the black lake from the cloud - after a bit coaxing and circling, the thing heads out over the lake ... at which point, you can all the horrifying layers within the lake each glow a strange red while the thing freezes. And then like smoke sucked by a vent, it slowing descends into the lake as you avert your eyes or steel your minds...

And at that you all hear a scream and turn to see two young women dressed on traveling gear, collapsed on the ground near the entrance to Black Lake complex - they appear to be more carriers of the Starling...

After this, smoke slowly descents and the lake returns to its sinister normal.

You can rest and decide what to do with the Starling carriers as you will. Let me know any further research ideas...


After a bit more research and observation, Azzim gets more of an idea of the black-cloud's behaviors and preferences... It seems attracted to and eager to destroy the symmetry of things, twisting particularly well-formed trees or buildings into bizarre shapes... A construct with these qualities might be able entice it into the lake or elsewhere

The Traders' wood wall is fairly standard non-detect magic - just death-energy extending it. Tearing it down would likely send subtle reverberations through the multiverse... Indeed, the strange thing is that Traders would have had to have been here soon after the lake came into existence to conceal it this way and so they might know something of it's origins. The wall could be replaced but idea it unappealing...

With simultaneous, more intense observation of the lake itself, you are guessing the Traders moved through it by something like force of will. The various broken planes seem connected by lines or tubes - one with sufficient "attunement" to these tubes likely could navigate through the interdimensional protoplasm where they wished. Indeed, looking at the tubes gives you guesses about which of the planes the Traders may have gone to...

I'd assume you try to deal with the cloud now and then rest but let me know...


When Bella drops the anvil on her foot, Emoree touches her with a giant paw that's surprising gentle, sending psychic feelings of warmth and sympathy...

Investigating the lake, you find that after a bit of acclimatization, you can glance at the lake without much danger... And Lyra takes the risk of looking quite deeply into the planar maelstrom... What she sees is several, maybe 6 to 10 planar fragments floating in it. Former planes that are now perhaps demiplanes lost in time as well as numerous smaller fragments, you are guessing these are the source of the "Dark Crystal Maps" that some Starling bearers return home. And possibly the Traders headed to one of the demiplanes - probably they have no other way out than returning to this surface and are lurking in one or more of the fragments...

The Traders built a low wooden wall around the lake (about a mile in diameter). As you examine it, you find it has a humanoid femur or other long bone attached every ten feet or so, with runes in the wood and webs of sinew in between and examining this all magically, this appears to be a powerful necromantic seal on the lake, both stabilizing it and preventing detection.

The combat, however, damaged this "seal wall" at various places and you'd guestimate it can survive for only about 1-3 days as things stand. Indeed, the wall and it's bones appear to have been constantly renewed (another disturbing detail).

In the hour of investigation you've done, the black just circled the lake lazily and you simply moved avoid. Occasionally it produces some transformation of the tower blocks but other relatively quiet...

Gotta wake up for appointment tomorrow, excuse any typos


The lake is such that one can take single glance (a second or so) and look away without harm. Anyone attempting more than that, will save or stunned two rounds and various visions...


So, party moves up to the best cover the black and gingerly observe the cloud-demon and the shiny, black lake, aware of it's disturbing potentials... The angry gray cloud indeed seems like a big-brother of the earlier demon you dispatched. However, it seems to have been released before it was given any specific direction and it's next move is uncertain. It might be enticed into going into the black lake where it most likely came from... It might be destroyed too but that would be a challenge.

The black lake itself... It's clearly some multiplanar disaster, different from what you've seen before (and you've a seen a few by now). Your best guess involves some references to long frozen tubes of interplanar protoplasm that occur when a being from the outer planes is destroyed in the process of being fully summoned to a given plane.

This is the sort of situation that can often get the attention of entities more powerful than The Organization - The Transdimensional League Of Wizard and Witches or an actual Power from the Outer Planes (and looking around and thinking back, it seems The Traders have trying to conceal the thing's existence in a variety of ways). Of course, this is still just glances and guesses.

The main problem is such a group can heavy handed - sealing off this entire plane for example. And there may be important things within the interdimensional tunnel this lake represents - areas the Traders apparently went for example. Got far enough do it and you might find a way to destroy rather than simply sealing it...


About 20 seconds into the "pause", Azzim and Terex stealthily and by a different route, once again approaches the visible part of the black lake... This time taking a bit more care, they avoid deeply gazing at the lake's surface and concentrate on the action around the shore. And indeed, they observes a knot of ten Darker Traders engaged in a ritual about 100 feet ahead. They then quickly relays the coordinates of the ritual creators, at which point, Lyra and Bella launch indirect fire against the casters...

The boulders, shells and creatures massively disrupt the spell and the entire camp. All zombies in about 500' are destroyed but most of the Traders are damaged a bit and knocked prone.... But from where the caster circle was, a creature like angry black tornado arises and kind of circles the lake lazily (bizarre images and objects seem to float within it). One thing Terex notices is that everything, creature or object, that even accidentally touches the shimmering black "lake" simply... vanishes. And once there's lull in the bombardment, the remaining Traders seem to leap into the lake, where unlike other the things, they don't instantly vanish. Rather, for each, a sort of tunnel opens up and they seem to slowly descend into it.

So after maybe 10-15 seconds, there is only the weird whirlwind creature and a few zombies on the far other side of the lake... The whirlwind creatures seems akin to the chaos demon you faced earlier, probably a bit stronger, but it's not doing anything currently.

And the lake itself clearly is dangerous... let me know how you approach it if you investigate it...


Events happened fast, Emoree rescues Terex and Arlo in 20-30 seconds and bring them back in another 12. Lyre quickly scouts ahead and then in 30 seconds, the party retreats to field just a bit to field between several tower block where they quickly set-up their large machinery, ready for hot pursuit. But then there's a pause for at least a minute...

Perception 30:
Just in earshot, you hear a low chant likely intended to summon something, you're guessing one powerful demon... or several...

You estimate the field is about 300 feet from the "lake", 200' square and blocked from a direct view of the thing/phenomena... The tower blocks are 350' high, about 80' x 100' wide each...

Emoree took about 60 points of damage and 2 con damage... The bear is very tough, however. Also, see if you can clarify and coordinate intended tactics... The lake's effect is magical but the magic is probably part of the lake's nature, not something cast on the lake...


Quickly scouting ahead, you get the feeling this is a large but fairly standard Dark Trader camp. Dozens, maybe hundreds of zombies (this might be the fate of some who followed the Starling). At least ten Dark Traders, who are usually akin to Liches in power. They seem to be involved in some operation (mining?, covering?) on the "lake". For that reason, it seems unlikely for any but small group to break off to chase you.

Short post, work extra shift tonight


Man, those natural 1's killing you. You know I count a 1 as an autofail right?

Arlo charges toward where Terex last had contact and ... he essentially falls victim to the same effect as Terex (see earlier)... And at the same time, you hear a maternal growl from the side where Emoree has (apparently) been scouting in parallel and it seems she too charges in the same direction ... twenty seconds later, the dwarf and the pseudo dragon wake to find the enormous bear standing over them, howling and surrounded by a dozen or more shreded zombie bodies and suffering from multiple necrotic burns across her body, at which point she scoops up the pair in one dexterous paw and goes running back to the rest of the party, in front of Azzim whimpering - she also sends an image of the "lake" and the undead camp around it...

As Arlo and Terex left, they got an image of the huge camp seeming all slowly moving in your general direction...


Coming upon the highrises, Bella drills tunnels straight through a couple of them but then realizes there are a few miles of this stuff to go and lets Terex take the lead... The party deduces that now taking the path pointed to by the Starling would not be wise since the Dark Traders or their allies are at the end of it. So carefully skirting that and moving through the huge tower-block complex, Terex approaches the end point with the rest of the party far enough behind to be quiet, close enough to communicate. (As you approach the end point, the radiation you can detect diminishes but you detect a sort of field of chaotic magic flooding the area).

Then, rounding a bend, Terex sees a stunning vista...

will save 22 or stunned for some rounds... otherwise:
In the first instant, it appears like a reflective lake ... of black oil or glass ... about 1/2 mile in circumference ... a series of zombie sentries, guard houses, and wooden fences circling it ... the tower blocks in 50' of it crumbled away, then you have a vision of multiple similar levels reflected downwards, like mirrors reflecting mirrors but each level somehow a strange and twisted version of the last, at a level where you feel your seeing more than normal vision would allow, endless bizarre visions stretching down... If Terex isn't stunned, he has time to move aside as a sentry approaches.

Those behind at the minimum sense a gasp through the telepathic link...


As Terex' lightning crackles around the thing, the chaotic storm around it gathers force and then explores in a strange, mind-bending swirl of dissonance. Anyone within 120' feet, will save 22 or 2 wisdom damage Once the swirl clears, the ground in the area is strangely reshaped and the creature is gone. Healing as best you can, the party continues on the Starling path. In the next day, you encounter several more minor chaos-creatures. Then the morning when you approach the end of the Starling path dawn, you guess only a few more hours. This area was once a series of high rise housing structures...

Describe you strategy of approach, you assume some Dark Traders or their allies control the final area, whatever it is, seen in vaguely in the traveler's memories as a field of shiny, liquid obsidian...


Arlo steps from behind cover and swings against the spinning creature that either didn't sense him or didn't care. But the glowing rents he cuts in the thing gets it's attention and weird appendage comes snaking out and strikes him full on the side to send him flying 30' 37 points slashing damage + reflex save 25 or land prone and take 6 more points of damage while the thing seems to incidentally turn a nearby tree into weird spaghetti.

Then Lyra's shell strikes it and adds another large rent to the huge creatures and the light hits. Then it's various tentacle and arm-like ampendages futilely lash out at the clatterstones while it moves in a disoriented fashion.

Arlo, you should have gotten a full attack + an extra with blessing of fervor, please roll those extra attacks.


Bella The Gift wrote:
Dumb question for DMs- against a creature with blindsense, would a field filled with Clatterstones (About 20 with 4 per square) who is blinded be enough of a crowd for someone to make a stealth check? Or would a crowd of medium animated objects?

That seems plausible. Naturally, nothing is guaranteed with weird demons...


Arlo carefully charts a path outside of line of sight that takes him close to the entity . He winds-up behind a ruined merry-go-round about 40' away from it. Close enough to charge it - or he could wait for it, it's spinning path seems like it will lead it to him about half a minute...

That takes about four melee rounds, the rest of folks can buff or maneuver


So, with Bella partially filled-in on the quest, the party continues forward towards the final position indicated by the Starling, which with a bit of recalculation for terrain changes, you now guess is 2-3 days ahead... Continuing through the area of ruined research and technology enterprises, Emoree still reports she can detect no dominant creature in the area. Finally, the path crosses a hole in a large fence and some railroad tracks and finally emerges in what seems to have been something like luxurious park... However the grass and flowers are dead in patches and overgrown elsewhere, the park rides are fallen in places. But even more, you see places where it appears space itself was distorted - Buildings, trees and ground are all stretched and twisted but not destroyed. Moving with stealth and caution through this strange zone, in about an hour you see in the distance a weird creature; it has a conical body of spongy flesh with a variety of legs, arms and other things sticking asymmetrically... it takes an irregular path like a mad, slowly spinning top.

knowledge planes 30:

It's Chiralzon demon, a unraveling demon, a creature that creates distortion in reality as it moves. Kept as pets and steads by the Choronzon... A dangerous thing to allow to roam free and a weird thing to see in a random plane... Emoree is behind you scouting.

DR 10/silver and good; Immune Fire, poison, acid; cold 10, fire 10, electricity does double damage for unknown reasons; SR 25
- They have strange senses and an alien mindset but generally want to destroy things.

You are about 500 feet away from the thing, behind some of the debris. You could either attack or attempt to evade.


Emoree sniffs the berries Bella offers her and gently takes a few (which requires considerable dexterity given her immense size). Looking at Bella and the party, she send an image of Bella accompanying them. And to Bella, she sends an image of a very large honey comb and looks at her expectantly...

Soon or someone needs to give Bella a run down of the situation.


The examining Bella don't see any evidence of damage from the radiation. Lyra recalls the storage might have had some kind of shielding or it might be an effect of Bella not being active.


Entering the North wing of Institute For TransDimensional Studies, Terex finds some deserted offices fairly typical for mid-tech research institute. Jumping from room to room, he discovers what seems like the offices of a group of idiosyncratic researchers all brought together for their interest in "interplanar travel" (in a world where it's mostly considered ridiculous) - with most being the typical fantasy spinners but with a few seemingly guessing the truth of this interplanar travel but some, a couple, having some grasp of the principles of magic.

Terex' deep intuition on scholarly research and planar lets him discover these details in just twenty minutes. But what he discovers ultimately is that the serious research was quickly moved to the (now radiated) South wing when it showed signs of success. Still, he moves the papers of Otto Wallagan to his library for further study...

It is at that point, Emoree sends Terex an image of the scene outside the Institute with feeling of opportunity and danger. The telepathic bear is curious but knows of various mutant plants in the decimated zone capable of first mesmerizing and then consuming the unwary and she sends images of these as well to Terex...

Outside, the party sees Emoree, the enormous telepathic bear, return from her usual scouting and glance at Bella, sending a feeling of curiosity and wariness to everyone.
Entering the North wing of Institute For TransDimensional Studies, Terex finds some deserted offices fairly typical for mid-tech research institute. Jumping from room to room, he discovers what seems like the offices of a group of idiosyncratic researchers all brought together for their interest in "interplanar travel" (in a world where it's mostly considered ridiculous) - with most being the typical fantasy spinners but with a few seemingly guessing the truth of this interplanar travel but some, a couple, having some grasp of the principles of magic.

Terex' deep intuition on scholarly research and planar lets him discover these details in just twenty minutes. But what he discovers ultimately is that the serious research was quickly moved to the (now radiated) South wing when it showed signs of success. Still, he moves the papers of Otto Wallagan to his library for further study...

It is at that point, Emoree sends Terex an image of the scene outside the Institute with feeling of opportunity and danger. The telepathic bear is curious but knows of various mutant plants in the decimated zone capable of first mesmerizing and then consuming the unwary and she sends images of these as well to Terex...

Outside, the party sees Emoree, the enormous telepathic bear, return from her usual scouting and glance at Bella, sending a feeling of curiosity and wariness to everyone. FYI, Emoree communicates with feelings and images though Terex is attempting to teach her conventional language.

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