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Old 09-01-2013, 08:19 PM   #201
Abe Sargent
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The first place he heads is the Shrine to the goddess Amira, whom Farshid is in charge. Several locals are around, and Alzar finds a local initiate wearing the colors of Amira, goddess of the sand. Her holy symbol is a creature made of sand, with red eyes and blue fingers.

Farshid has just begun the daily intonations at the shrine. The initiate explains that from noon on the previous day through sun-up on this day, each week, Farshid is in quite meditation as he prays over the whole of Hamedh. Thus, no one saw him last night. The initiate heard about the rumors of murder, but it looks like the locals haven’t caught on yet.

Zarrin’s Tavern, The Stale Ale is just two blocks away. There is almost no one here. A barmaid quickly grabs Alzar and leads him to a seat. It seems that hire people have heard about Zarrin;s possible involvement and have not come in much today. Nobody wants to eat a murderer’s food. She takes his order, since it is about noon. He takes lunch, and while he does, he asks about Zarrin. She explains that last night is the only night each week Zarrin has off, and he usually spends time in quiet retreat, using it to regain his energy. She worked last night, and no one saw him leave his home, which is attached to the Stale Ale. Alzar secures lodging here for the night, before heading out for the night.

The next place is Singh’s apartment, which is a block over to the east. It is right above a theater, and Singh is a regular performer there. Nobody is here, but Alzar notes that the theater is closed for two days each week to set up the stage for the next five days. That closing coincides with the murder last night, and it won’t open up again until tonight. Alzar suspects Singh’s story will be similar – not anywhere people can vouch for him


All three suspects had no witnesses to corroborate location. Each was supposed to be here in this district, and then they appear all the way on the other side of town, in a local tavern just across from where a representative and noblewoman was killed. Very coincidental. This was planned by someone good.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:53 PM   #202
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Alzar moves back to the streets and looks for people to see what is up, and stop by local shops to attempt to overhear important conversations, but nothing happens. Alzar heads back to the Stale Ale for dinner, and then to the Theater of Mystic Celebration for an evening of fun.

The theater opens with a musical number by the owner of the establishment, Balmar. He plays the kamancheh for the audience and sings while he bows. While captivating the audience, Alzar’s attention is elsewhere, looking for clues. While his eyes glance about, he notices three workers moving through the mesmerized crowd. He pretends to pay deep deep attention to Balmar as his music crescendos. Meanwhile, he prepares.

As one of the people steps nearby him, he feels the telltale gentle ease of pressure that suggests a pickpocket. Immediately his hand snaps from his jellaba and snatches the hand of the man, with Alzar’s purse in his hand!
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:52 PM   #203
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Alzar yells to everyone and the music stops. He tells everyone that the people here steal your money, so you’d better go now. Several others call out that they are missing an item, and many leave, while others stay and make loud demanding cries for their goods. Meanwhile, Alzar has a death grip on the man who stole his purse. He drops the arm and as the man turns to flee, Alzar casts Hold Person. He fails his save and is paralyzed.

Alzar secures the man and walks him to a back bench in the room and waits until Balmer profusely apologizes and berates the three stagehands who worked the crowd. He tells them that they know he does not approve of such measures at his shows, and he forces them to return what they stole. The other two leave the room, and the patrons fill out.

Then Belmar comes over to Alzar and apologizes for the theft. He refunds Alzar’s admission price and asks if there is anything he can do to make up for it. Alzar takes him up on his offer.

They head to his office and begin to talk. Belmar starts by telling Alzar who everyone is that works there. He founded the theater. Singh is a bard who works for him. They have an illusionist who uses pretty effects. A woman mage provides some other magic,. They have a trio of stagehands, and then a few animals, like a blink dog and some others. Their theater tends to be more magical and musical than acting, although like any troupe, they have local musicians that come in and perform, props, costumes, disguises, and more for acting and plays.

Balmar admits that he did not see Singh last night, Singh was tired and went to bed early. Alzar asks about the individuals in more detail. Noticing the interest Alzar has in the murders last night, he informs Alzar that he has been working behind the scenes against a local assassin’s guild that has taken up residence in Arjuna in the last six months. It appears that there was a splinter group that left the thieves guild after wanting to accept murder contracts, which the guild refused to take or sponsor. Several high profile murders have happened since then.

Alzar asks about Singh’s instrument. Did he break a string on it? Nope, it was fine. The last time there was an issue with the string, it was about three weeks ago when one of the stagehands broke it. Which one? The middle one in age, Wutari. Alzar asks about him. Wutari has been with them for over a year, and is fiercely loyal to Balmar.

What about the illusionist? Where was he last night? Perhaps he sent in illusions into the bar? No, he was here working on developing a new spell for the theater. The mage was helping him, and they were in a back study room, until early. Balmar saw them himself.

Hmmm…What about the disguises? Balmar agrees to take Alzar to the disguise room. They look through it. While decent, they aren’t an extensive amount of disguises, it would be virtually impossible to duplicate a person with the equipment here. What sort of things would you have to have to appear as three different people? Oh, a lot more than we have. I don’t think any of the other theaters or troupes in town would have it either – it’s expensive and specialized stuff.

That’s very interesting, thank you. Oh, which one is Wutari? The one you captured of course.

Of course. Give me some time with him, and that will be enough.
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:39 AM   #204
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Alzar heads out and grabs Wutari and pulls him up to a table and ties him to it. About 30 minutes later, the spell runs out, and Wutari is freed. Alzar shushes him as he starts to babble.

“You stole my purse. I can turn you into the local guard. There were many witnesses and you were caught in the act. Would you like that Wutari? On yes, I know your name now.”

Wutari’s eyes widen just a bit, but not much. He is playing it cool. He refuses to speak.

Alzar continues. “This is a nasty little knife I have here. Why didn’t you take it? It’s quite valuable. It’s a magical one. Have you ever felt a magical before? No? Well the rumors are true. It hurts a lot more than normal steel”

He is still trying to be nonplussed, but some sweat broke out and his face twitched just one. That’s enough.

“All I want is the answer to a few questions, and that’s all. Then you can go, and I put my knife away. And I won’t go to the guard.” For the first time, Wutari makes eye contact.

“Now, before I begin, I am going to cast a spell.” Alzar stand up and casts Charm Person, but Wutari makes his save. “I can tell if you are lying to me. Trust me. You don’t want to know what happens then.”

“Besides,” he says as he moves over to the same side of the table as Wutari. “These aren’t hard questions.”

“Three weeks ago, you broke Singh’s tanbur. Do you remember that? Tell me the truth, was it an accident?”

“No.”

“Did you break a string?”

“No.”

“What happened?”

“I took the string and told people it was broken so it would be replaced.”

“Where is the string now?”


“I gave it to my girlfriend.”

“Who is that?”

“Leave her out of it. She asked me for a golden string as a token of our love. I took it, leave it at that.”

“Oh no, Wutari, it’s not that easy. You heard about the murder last night, right? The high profile death?” He nods. “You know that a golden tanbur string was found under the bed, right?” Another nod. “Well, Singh’s tanbur is not missing any, and it hasn’t since you took a string, three weeks ago.”

“It could be another golden string.”

“Know a lot of instruments with golden strings do you?” A pause. “I told you, I would not turn you into the guard for theft. Instead, I can turn you into the grand inquisitor. I;m sure she would love to know that you stole a string from a tanbur right before a nobleman is murdered and it’s in the same room.”

Wutari is now really looking concerned for the first time. “She still has it. I know she still has it. She has to still have it…”

“When is the last time you saw this keepsake?”

“Not since I gave it to her…”

“Why not, if it’s such a precious item?” Pause for emphasis. “All I want is a name. Your responsibility ends there. Besides, if you don’t give it to m, I can just ask someone else. I am sure you have been telling everybody here about your new love…”

“Her name is Vamiria.”

“And she is?”

“An assistant to the local representative from this district, Bakri.”
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:37 AM   #205
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Now that’s an interesting development. Alzar releases Wutari and reports to Balmar. It seems that Vamiria asked Wutari to secure the gold string for her.

Alzar heads back to the Stale Ale for the evening. It’s several hours after summer. He spends the night and in the morning, heads out for more investigation, this time with a slightly different set of spells that emphasize detection and divination.


He investigates both Vamira and Bakri. It seems that Bakri and the slain noblewoman were politically aligned. He was hoping they were enemies and this would be a natural conclusion. However, things in reality often don’t match the simplicity in our minds.

Bakri’s major political agenda has included getting more rights to local merchants, and reduced taxes on them. The slain woman agreed, and wanted reduced taxes on the local temples and shrines as well. They were a minority on the council on these issues, and the mayor often chooses to listen to the majority on issues of economics.

Vamira is a local woman who has worked for Bakri for some time. Perhaps she is setting up Bakri for the fall. She might reveal that Bakri secretly secured these three items and was actually right by the deceased’s room at that time. She could produce a doctored ledger or something as evidence of a last night rendezvous or perhaps even a romantic tryst that went badly. Vamira is in the right place.

Perhaps Vamira working for Bakri is just a coincidence. She could be helping someone secure the string or she might have even sold it without knowing what or who is would be used for.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:00 AM   #206
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Alzar meets with Zarrin this morning, to continue his investigation. After Alzar explains who he is, they meet in his back office, and Zarrin shows Alzar something very damning. His jacket is missing a button. He has no idea when it went missing, but he is sure that the button at the scene of the crime is his.

Yesterday, some officials came by and accused him of the death, and he’s pretty scared, so he is looking for a way out. Alzar explains that someone stole the golden string at the scene of the murder, and e is confident that someone stole the button to. But who? How?

Unfortunately, Zarrin has no ideas right now, so Alzar and him go over everyone that works at the Stale Ale. He has a barkeeper, two serving boys and a barmaid who also cooks (as does he), a stableboy, and that’s it. The people who currently reside here include Alzar and four others. Two of which share a room, one who likes the gamble, and one who is a retired captain from the town guard.


What about the gambler? Perhaps he loses a lot of money and needed some? Actually he wins a lot. He is a professional gambler by trade and wins at card games. The two who share a room are a pair of friends. One is a hunter and the other does odd jobs here and there for money. He cut the wood for the inn a few times for some coin. The former captain, now retired, lost his house more than a year ago and now lives here in one of the larger rooms. He still pays on time.

Nothing too suspicious there. Alzar spends some time talking to the staff in more detail, but finds no major leads.
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:00 AM   #207
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It’s time to find Vamira. That’s his major lead right now.

He heads out and finds the office of Bakri, and heads into the main entrance. He asks to speak with Vamira on business, but is told that she is not there right now. She is about an hour late to work, actually.

Alzar suspects something is up. He successfully Charms the desk worker and she tells her new friend Alzar all about Vamira.

She has worked for Bakri for more than a year and still fawns over him. She is always talking about how great Bakri is. But she recently began to date this person who works at the theater, and that is her new obsession. She talks about how in love she is with him. Alzar asks if he can wait in Vampiras office for her return, and it is agreed upon.

He spends the next thirty minutes quietly rifling through her things with the door closed. A few times he heard someone close and had to stop, which slowed down the process. She keeps financial records for Bakri’s time in office, many of which are sent to the mayor’s office for reimbursement. However, recently, Bakri has increased his expenditures – almost a 50% increase in the last 6 weeks. That’s pretty interesting.

Maybe Bakri is involved somehow. The expenditures appear to be normal ones, and spread out over several places. But the overall increase is there. Nothing else jumps out at Alzar.
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:18 PM   #208
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He leaves and thanks the lady for her time.

It is after noon, and he grabs some food before moving on. He swings by the theater on the way to the shrine and finds out that Wutari has taken his things and run off. Him and Vamira probably ran off together. That does show that their feelings were mutual, and not just Vamira using him. He felt it was unlikely after hearing about how much Vamira talked up Wutari to her co-worker, and now that seems even more the case. She probably realized the string was the one who asked Wutari to procure for her.


Alzar arrives at the shrine and meets with the priest, Farshid. Farshid is a very old, amiable man, in his early 90s. He’s also quite scattered, could barely hold a conversation without meandering, and cast a spell randomly during their talk. Alzar then meets with an acolyte who tells him that Farshid has been getting progressively worse for years. It’s no act.

He spends a few hours investigating the local people who work at the shrine, but finds nothing of interest here either.

Alzar heads to bed after gambling with the local patron to see if anything jumps out, and nothing does.
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Old 09-02-2013, 01:24 PM   #209
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On the third morning, news greets Alzar. The mayor has appointed a new representative. It is another woman, this time a cousin to Bakri. Is this just a coincidence or something more? A few mumblings are heard over breakfast, as people complain about her representing a district she doesn’t even live in. That’s not usual. The mayor has the right to appoint anyone, but this is a bit odd.

As Alzar begins his investigations, a letter arrives to him with an official seal of the city. He opens it up. It is an official meeting with Bakri later on today. That’s interesting.

Alzar spends most of the day getting ready for the meeting, heading to his estate, waiting for Bakri, and then being told that Bakri can take care of the order his own district. He has arrested Zarrin for the murder of his colleague. Therefore, Alzar can cease his investigations. He orders Alzar to collect his payment from the local official. Alzar arrives in his office an hour later and the official has authority to give him 100 gold for his services.

Alzar takes the gold.

100 gp
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Old 09-02-2013, 01:39 PM   #210
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Clearly, Bakri is involved somehow, but taking the gold might get Alzar some time and space. He returns to the Pale Ale where things have grown into a wreck. Workers are very upset and the barkeeper has had to take over things. A few minutes before his arrival, it has just been announced that Zarrin will be killed tomorrow at noon for the murder.

Alzar moves to talk with the staff. After speaking with two, he runs into Falpir, the stableboy. After Alzar talks with him no longer than a minute, Falpir breaks down and cries. After a few minutes, he confesses to Alzar that he took Zarrin’s button. He was tricked by Rogan, a small gnome, into stealing the button for him after Rogan chided Falpir’s money. He said that Zarrin didn’t care about him and that one of his buttons was worth more than Falpir made in a year. He said that he valued Falpir highly, and would pay him the money worth for a button. So Falpir stole the button about two and a half weeks ago, and got the money. But now Zarrin is about to die, and Falpir knows he is innocent!


Who is Rogan? He is a student gnome who works at Bakri’s estate…


And there is your connection.

There is no question that Bakri is involved now.
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:15 PM   #211
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Alzar wants to penetrate the defenses of Bakri’s estate. He wants to spring Zarrin, find evidence to use against Bakri, and perhaps shut this down himself. But he was there earlier today, and there is no way he can solo that place. If he had his former level of power he could devastate it, but without the extra weapons, backup, and more, Alzar just doesn’t see it happening much.

He retires early and then memorizes a new slate of spells. He would have preferred to hit the estate around midnight but his spells were a poor choice for infiltration. Instead, he has memorized a slate of magic more conducive to gaining entry. Alzar grabs a few magic items that might be helpful and moves out.



Alzar arrives at the estate shortly after four in the morning. Dawn is around 70 minutes from now, but Alzar is ready. Bakri’s estate consists of a a large curtained wall, with towers along the sides. Then is a stable building, a garden and some guardhouses, in addition to the keep that Bakri is inside. Alzar needs to penetrate the compound generally, and then the keep specifically.

And his way to do that is via a diversion. He grabs an orange magic jelly bean. He moves to the front gate and smashes the bean against the ground right in front of the gate, and heads back. The bean bursts and out explodes an ochre jelly. In a minute, a guard notices, and an alarm rings out. The jelly has moved a bit and they wait a few minutes, organizing themselves, and then pop out of the gate and begin to attack the jelly. As they do, no one is guarding the gate, and Alzar slips inside the now empty entrance.
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:26 PM   #212
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Inside there is…just a servant girl moving about. She notices him but does not think him out of the ordinary and nods as if she knows him and keeps on. Perhaps she recognizes him from earlier today.

Alzar penetrates the wall and moves into the compound. He moves into the stables and here is no one here this late at night. He grabs a grey jelly bean, cracks it against the ground, and out pops a grey ooze. He quickly leaves and suddenly there is an eruption of noise from the animals in the stable frightened at the ooze’s arrival, and it moving to them.

He slips behind some bushes, and soon some more folks emerge from the keep, while other soldiers return from outside. He uses his Ring of Chameleon Power to blend in and is unobserved. They move into the stables and prepare to engage the grey ooze. The door to the keep closes behind them, but Alzar noticed that no one was inside. He grabs his vial of acid, moves to the door, but it is unlocked and he moves in under the cover of the commotion.

He recognizes where he is. The ground floor. This place looks like it has two stories, and perhaps a dungeon. Alzar wants to head down first. He retraces his steps along the corridor. As he does, a guard pops from around the end and sees him. Alzar casts Charm Person and charms him before he can retreat or call for help. He fails the save and is now a great friend of Alzar’s.

Alzar asks him where the prisoners are kept, and the guard agrees to show him. After two turns, with the guard leading the way, they pass by a pair of servants who don’t think anything is amiss. A door opens and then descend. All that is down here are old equipment, cold storage for things like a wine cellar, and the dungeon.

They enter the dungeon, and the two guards here look at the man who befriended Alzar. The man moves to introduce Alzar, but they are suspicious. A quick Sleep spell drops all three and he collects the keys and unlocks all of the jail cells. Inside are three people: Zarrin, and two he does not recognize, who agree to come with him. They grab items from the dead guards. If the guards had a uniform, they could grab those too, but they do not.

They head back up and arrive at the end of a long hallway on the east side of the keep. The guard Alzar had charmed chatted away in a lovely bit about the layout of the estate for Alzar, since it’s not a secret. Alzar arrives back at the door and sees there is still a commotion in the stables, apparently several steeds died, and bad things are about to happen. Alzar orders Zarrin and the other two out of the keep while he moves back in for more evidence.
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:01 PM   #213
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As he does, he hears a sound and turns around. Here staring at him are a married couple, one a cleric and the other a mage. “Well well. We were going out to find out what was happening when we came across a thief.” “Hello thief”

“Not a thief, actually. I was hired to investigate the murder, and it led me here.”

“He knows too much, take him out.”

They begin to cast spells. Alzar grabs his final jelly bean and casts it at their feet, but misses and hits the wall right by them instead. Out pops a green slime. That’ll still work. Meanwhile, he is hit by a Charm Person and a Silence spell. He makes the Charm save but is silenced and cannot speak or cast spells. The green slime takes their full attention, and he moves away.

He pounds out of the keep and sees Zarrin and the others in cover. He gathers them inside of his silence 15’ radius spell and pushes them forward. They move out and approach the gate. While the silence helps, soon the group is seen and numerous people move in to attack. Alzar can’t use his Wand of Frost, it requires a word spoken to activate. He mentally orders Gilded Ears to come inside the gate to help with a diversion and she begins to howl and growl. Meanwhile, he runs in front and then yells out as if in pain, shouts out “Noooo!” loudly, and then turns into a Statue while pointing to the others to go to the gate. They do, and the others are confused as to what happened to Alzar. He and his items have turned to stone.
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:13 PM   #214
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Meanwhile, Zarrin and the others have escaped. Several people poke the statue with a stick or spear, and nothing happens except their items break off. Alzar is now a stone statue. The mage and cleric have finished the green slime and emerge. It looks like he has been petrified. They order a message delivered to an ally with the Stone to Flesh spell in order to release Alzar so they can capture and torture him. A guard is on him in addition to those at the gate.

After a few hours, others come to look, including Bakri and some retainers.

“You came very close Alzar. Very close. But you did no uncover the truth after all. He smiles and heads back.”

After a half a day, when the guard is preoccupied and used to his statue, and he has fully absorbed everything around him, Alzar ends the spell and returns to his state. Within a second he casts Hold Person on the two guards at the gate and they are paralyzed. The guard for him grabs his sword and yells, but a Hypnotism spell forces him to drop his weapons and stay dazed.

In a minute Alzar has escaped from the keep and meets up with Gilded Ears and they move on.
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Old 09-02-2013, 05:08 PM   #215
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Location: Catonsville, MD
He returns to the Stale Ale where he celebrated as the man who stood up to Bakri and won. The other two people are here with Zarrin and Alzar officially meets them. One is a thief who was captured by the guard while escaping from a failed con attempt. The other is a warrior who has powerful arms but a limited vocabulary. He was tortured for a few months by Bakri because their families were rivals. That torture involved damage to his vocal cords, which healing magic was unable to completely fix. He speaks in a low whisper.

His name is Pashtun, and he would like to accompany Alzar. Meanwhile, Alzar takes the thief, Pashtun, Zarrin, the people from the theater, to establish that the three are innocent. After hearing testimony from the boy about taking Zarrins button, and about the same happening elsewhere, the high judge agrees that they are innocent and clears them of charges. But there is not enough evidence to go after the powerful Bakri. Instead, all that will happen is his cousin resigns from his position and a new representative is appointed by the mayor. Alzar doesn’t like leaving an enemy behind, but it will do for now.

Alzar gains 1000XP for partial success.


End of L2. The Assassin’s Knot.
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:36 PM   #216
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Pashtun, level 2 fighter, Neutral

HP: 23
THAC0: 19
XP: 5000 (level 3 at 8000)


Str: 14
Dex: 13
Con: 17
Int: 11
Wis: 10
Cha: 12

Proficiencies – Swords generally, specializes in Scimitar, can use Recurve Bow and Pike.

Alzar dresses him up in armor and equips him. With armor, he is at AC 4 (includes shield)

He also knows riding, riding specialization, swimming, survival, fire-building, healing, tracking, and weather knowledge.

He grew up in the badlands and knows that area well, including how to track, first aid, and how to read the weather. On Hamedh, some people are such experts on steeds that they can do amazing feats on them, like leap off a moving horse and land smoothly, jumping onto a moving horse, and firing a bow with more accuracy while riding.

He wants to follow Alzar and adventure with him, not necessarily out of a sense of loyalty to the person who freed him, but more to break himself out of his malaise. Pashtun can only speak a weak voice that resembles a harsh whisper, and it hurts him to do so.
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:58 PM   #217
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Here is Alzar’s stuff right now:

Stuff:

5142 gp


Gems: Topaz – 100 gp ; Ruby – 500gpx2;


Jewelry: Emerald Headband – 300 gp ; Ivory Earrings – 120 gp ; Ruby Necklace – 750 gp


Objet d’arts: 4 Gold Rods, 85 gp each ; 4 Silver Plates, 100 gp each ; Silver Comb and Brush set – 100 gp
Ornate Perfume Bottle – 50 gp ; Rare Pottery – 500 gp ; Relics from Neconolis – 1000 gp total ;



Books and Library:

6000 gp library, generally
History of the Badlands Tribes (20 gp)
Encyclopedia of Local Plants (50 gp)
Diary of the Wizard, Zelligar
Meteorological Phenomena of Hamedh (75 gp)
Tribal History of this Duergar Clan
Yaghoub’s Journal
Three books of magical history
One book on history of tower and residents
Neconilis’s Book of Horrors
Surrisk’s notes on undead, necromancy, and a spell Undead Familiar
1000 gp library of 300 general purpose books from Dungeon in Desert


Laboratory:

6000 gp lab generally
500 gp equipment from Dungeon in Desert



Magic Items:

Proficient Staff
+1 Pesh-kabz, Short Bow, Dagger
Spear, +1, +2 vs Giants, +3 vs Orcs, Ogres

Potion of Extra-Healing; Levitation, Fire-Giant Strength, Neutralize Poison
Scroll of Protection from Magic
Wizard Spell Scroll: Create Spectral Wizard

Wand of Frost – 6 charges
Yaghoub’s Staff – Striking – 8 charges, Ring of Fire Protection when held

Medallion of Defense
Amulet of Neconilis x3
Ring of Protection +1, Chameleon Nature; Cantrips
Rock Jellaba
Scarab of Venom
Bracers of Protection: +1
Dusty Rose Ioun Stone - +1 AC
Magic Jelly Beans – 2 Grey, 2 Green, 2 Orange, 3 Yellow (G Cube), 3 White (Crystal Ooze), 3 Black
Boots of Varied Tracks

Incense of Enlightenment

Crucible of Melting ; Lens of Speed Reading


Unusual Items:

Brass Dragon Skin; Gold Flecked Ruby from Gold Dragon – 1000 gp;

Silver Knife, Spear
Crossbow, 50 bolts
Flask of Sleep Water
Multiple Vials of Poison

2 Divining Rods
Focus - Signet Ring


5 blank scroll pages, ready to be used
Many bottles of scroll ink
Wand, crafted ready to be enchanted
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:48 PM   #218
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UK4. When a Star Falls





I am really excited to run this, it looks like a lot of fun. I have been trying to find the next adventure for Alzar. It’s hard to find something that would fit. I checked out B11 and B12 paired module set, which sound urban, but they aren’t. I wanted to shoehorn the trilogy of Sword of the Dale,s Spiderhaunt Woods, Return of Randal Morn, but they are in the Dales in the Forgotten Realms and feature characters and places and plots from there. It’s too hard to color Hamedhi. I was initially planning on running N3, Destiny of Kings, but I’ve put it off twice now and I’m not sure. I am also not feeling WG9 Gargoyle or The Silver Key.

But this? I love this. In fact, I am going to just quote the opening section in some detail. It’s that good. It looks like a blast to play out. So let’s send Alzar and Pashtun down the adventuring tunnel into this blast from 1984, and another in the UK line of modules (we ran three in the giant epic Isle of Dread campaign – UK1. Beyond the Crystal Cave, UK2. The Sentinel and UK3. The Gauntlet; ). We just ran UK5, Eye of the Serpent, although it was cut off a bit at the end by my BSOD. There are 7 modules in the series, and we are about to run the fifth one for this campaign. Frankly, I like it a lot. It has a lot of neat character. My favorite idea in the story thus far is capturing the castle where the evil big bad is, and then being forced to defend it shortly thereafter as an army wants to assault the big bad. I think that’s a nice flip of the script for an early 80s module.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:38 PM   #219
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Begin quote…


….of books and a shooting star

The Books of Prophecy are the well guarded treasure of the sages of the Towers of the Heavens. Those few who know of these ageless tomes speak of them with the hushed reverence commonly afforded to the ostentatious might of swords or wands.

The books are closed to the eyes of ordinary men since they deal not with the transient forces of arms or magic, but with destiny itself.

Each page is crammed with cryptic references to the fates of the great and the famous, written in an obscure script. In all of the world there is but one man who can read the pages of the close-written symbols; only one man who can fathom the weirdly coded prophecies.

This man is Shalfey, Elder Sage of the Tower of the Heavens. He inherited the unique power to read the books from the line of Elder Sages that came before him. For generations this line has been unbroken and, as is traditional, Shalfey has gathered a small college of lesser sages from whom to select his successor.

Like his forebears, Shalfey’s command of the books is limited. Although he is able to read them, their pages can be turned but one at a time, allowing him to glimpse only a short time into the future…and then only dimly. Yet such glimpses are rare and their sources are coveted. To protect the Books of Prophecy, and to account for their ability to see into the future, the sages make a great show of the study and practice of astrology. They have even come to use this uncertain art to tell the fortunes of those too humble to be mentioned in the books.

In an uncertain world, any precognition, however vague, can command a high price, and the sages have long offered their insights for sale. With the riches thus gathered from the great and the meek, the Tower of the Heavens was built; a secure refuge on a rocky island washed by the swirling waters of the River Keldir. This place is home, fortress and astrological observatory.

The tower is garrisoned by gnome mercenaries and for their personal protection, the sages have monk bodyguards. While the loyalty of mercenaries must be bought with gold, however the unquestioning loyalty of the order of the monks repays a prophecy granted to their brotherhood many years ago.

The origin of the Books of Prophecy has never been established. Some claim that they were written by a seer in ancient times; others that they were enscribed in the distinct future and sent into the past by powerful magics. Whatever the truth, recent events have shown the books to not only be bearers but also the instruments of destiny – the destiny of a certain shooting star…

The shooting star - omen of change, fell to earth in Therno Pass, destroying the lair of a tribe of derro. To these creatures, it was the instrument of sudden disaster, but to Shalfey, far away in his tower, it came as no surprise.

Only days before he had turned a page of the current Book of Prophecy to find blank parchment! Worse still, he found that the following pages could be turned easily, as could those of previously unopenable books. Shalfey has looked upon these books as the foundation of the tower’s prosperity, but to his horror, he found that every last page was blank! Every page that is, save the last page of the last volume. There, in clear words, the coming of the shooting star was foretold and the Elder Sage was instructed to plot its course, to find it and take it to a certain group of smiths, who in return would provide a second set of Books of Prophecy.

Unknown to Shalfey, it was the intention of whoever (or whatever) wrote the books that the shooting star should be cut by the smiths into a great flawless gem which, in future years, would serve some great, unknown purpose. To this end the smiths had been well prepared and the Elder Sage had been left with no choice but to play his role in which destiny had written for him…
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:30 PM   #220
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(Normally I don’t give the whole plot in the first few paragraphs of a module in this dynasty, but that’s cool!) (I’m not giving it all away…)

A shooting star, Books of Destiny, a Tower of the Heavens, and so forth. Man, that s a fun set up to the adventure! There are so many ways I can do with that just from the preamble. For example, take the order of monks. What happened to secure their loyalty? How long ago was it? Did they dedicate themselves for a set amount of time? Is that time approaching? Will they deem their work over and move on? Are there modern members of the order who want to do more than guard books in a tower? Are there any other divisions? Did the Sage actually help the order or where they deceived? Are the stories told true, or just myths to secure the loyalty of the order? You get the idea. Lots of adventure potential with the order. And that’s just a few sentences in the preamble, a tiny detail out of the many given.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:06 PM   #221
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Three days later, Alzar leaves Arjuna for a few days to visit with an old herbalist, Indira, on the edge of the villages that surround the area. He takes his normal wagons and such with him, and this gives him an opportunity to see Pashtun in action, even if it’s just moving things from one place to another and traveling along it.

He arrives at the sleepy villa of Avonton, he arrives at the herbalist’s house, but she is not there today. They head to the tavern to sleep for the night. Alzar is told that Indira has left for an excursion to the nearby mire, a small region where a large brook hits a nearby river and a small marsh is there. It’s not that common for the area, as the rainfall is not great here and a desert is about six days ride away. She went there yet again to gather more rare herbs and such.

The mire is just a couple of hours away on horseback and so the next day Alzar and Pashtun move out down the road that leads there on horseback and leave everything else behind, save for Gilded Ears who jogs along beside them.

The mire is reached easily enough. Although bleak, has a stark beauty. It rises and dips like the waves of a frozen sea, with only the heavy gorse off the road as a contrast to the flowers and weeds of the area. Coming to the top of another rise, Alzar looks down into the hollow beyond. There, highlighted against the heath, lie four unmoving white-robed figures, enmeshed by a mass of pale clinging strands. They are about one hundred and twenty yards off the road.

Alzar makes a spellcraft proficiency. The strands at first looked like those from the common Web spell, but they are different somehow. Alzar dismounts and grabs his items and moves over, waving to Pashtun to join him. Alzar leads.

As he does, suddenly the web pulsates with energy, and then leaps at him. His magical staff is in hand and it whirls around at the magical web. He misses and the web begins to constrict, with Pashtun on the other side. He swings at the web with his non-magical scimitar and hits for half damage – just 2.

Alzar takes 1d6 damage automatically from the creature.

47/51

His staff connects for full damage – 4. Pashtun misses.

Alzar takes 4 more. They both miss. Alzar takes another 1. They both miss. He takes 3. Alzar hits for 4 damage. He takes 5. They hit for 7 total and the web stops constricting.


34/51 hp

250 XP
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:40 PM   #222
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As the creature dies, it pulsates and emanates a strong psychic energy that absorbs Alzar and Pashtun minds. A telepathic mind shock hammers them as a barrage of memories flows from the web. Many are instantly lost, leaving like a dream. But some were particularly important to the memory holder, and are easier to remember for Alzar and Pashtun. These memories include:

Our master calls and is afraid and we must find the shooting star or die

Guards everywhere no better defended tower makes our master sfe

You will not mistake it the black rock, seared by great heat, dull and seemingly worthless, only it can help

Ground trembled and mountains and a great iron dragon never sleeping

Hard beds and plain walks and ornamentation is naught but a distraction

The sun shines on green dales in the pass where hunters never go hungry

Daily ritual yet again questions constantly

Wild beast men in the mountains

Master I am afraid. Trust me and believe but it moves I shall fall to the chasm

Fair is the day but fairer the jewels of evening

A scream in the night sword in rage devil men

Never far away with shifty eyes, always watching me, never trusting shadow

One last good meal before we part

Do you never covet gold?

Too late, lost in the maze, retuned but gone

Make haste to Indira’s home in Avonton but harm no living thing

Trust given in doubt honors the giver

The walls are closing in the ceiling falls

Go seek for Indira, the watcher, and give her the bestiary


Additionally, Alzar and Pashtun gain complete information about the location of the Tower of the Heavens, the nearby locations, and some things inside it.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:01 PM   #223
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They bend down to search the four bodies of the dead men, and Alzar now knows they are an order of monks. They wear white clothes. Nothing much in on them save for weapons, rations, and other minor items. But there is one item of value:

Illustrated Bestiary (250 gp)

They were en route to trade this book to Indira for knowledge. Alzar could just take the book now, and leave. It’s very valuable. He opens it and he cannot read it. But he can cast Comprehend Languages later to do so.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:09 PM   #224
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Alzar and Pashtun grab the bodies of the four men and go back to the village. He’d like to look for Indira first, but he needs information. He casts a quick Detect Magic, but none of their items detect as such. He does grab some strands from the web creature for later research.

They stay another night and in morning, Alzar casts the newly memorized Comprehend Languages on the book. He spends an hour with the book until he finds a section on the creature they fought – a memory web. It latches itself to creatures and attacks them psychically. Then they absorb the memories of victims for sustenance. If one is killed before it can fully digest recent meals, it releases those memories in a telepathic explosion that sentient creatures nearby can feel and remember.

After leading up, the duo heads out again for Indira and hope to find her out in the mire. After five hours, two great eagles descend from the sky as their close. They soar about them and one communicates telepathically with Alzar, telling him that they can follow the eagles in peace, or else leave the mire. Alzar nods forward and the eagle leads him off the road Pashtun is following the other in the same way.

After a half hour of wandering deep into the mire, the ground begins to rise and they arrive at a group of trees in the wetlands. The eagles depart after telling them to wait. Alzar dismounts and begins to feed his horse and Gilded Ears. “A friend of animals is a friend to me…” Alzar turns and sees one of the smallest trees change into an older woman who smiles at him.

Indira introduces herself and leads the pair to her home away from home. As they sit down, a pair of grey langur monkeys set down dishes and utensils and serve them food. Food is eastern quickly and Indira asks them, directly, why they are her.

Alzar explains what happened, what they saw, and what they found. She tells them that the mission of that group of monks must have been to discover the location of a recent fallen star. She often spends time charting the sky, and it fell a few days journey away, in the foothills of the mountains. She can give him exact location and information, and will trade that for the book Alzar showed her, if they are interested in picking up the monks journey.

She tells Alzar that the head of the Tower of the Heavens is an Elder Sage named Shalfey, someone she has met a few times. On the other hand, if he prefers, he can pay her 500 gp, twice what the book is worth, and keep it.

“What language is it written it?” “An ancient Hamedhi tongue that is common in old books, ruins, and other places. Some still write in it today in order to keep the information hidden.” Alzar agrees because he likes the book, and trades her 500 gp of value (not with him, but in the saddlebags)

-500 gp
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Old 09-05-2013, 04:43 PM   #225
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Indira retires for a half an hour and calculates and jots down the exact location of the downed meteor. It went down in Therno Pass. There is a strange race of humanoids that live there, hide under rocks by day, and launch savage attacks at night against locals.

Alzar and Pashtun grab the map she drew and directions and heads back out. The make it back to Avonton just an hour after nightfall and retire for the night. In the morning, they are healed by a nice local cleric at a small shrine for a modest fee of just 25 gp, and head out.

After reviewing their notes, it seems like Therno Pass should be four days away by wagon train. Alzar and Pashtun rest and then headed out the next day with a loaded set of supplies, including feed, water, and various adventuring gear in the wagons.
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Old 09-05-2013, 06:55 PM   #226
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As they set out on their journey, the day ebbs quickly by. Near the end of the day, a large howl can be heard from the other side of the hill, and they stop to see. After a few seconds, a nasty looking hyena-like creature rounds the hill. Is it? It is. This is a lycanthrope. A werehyena. As it rushes down the path to them, about two hundred yards away, two men run across the hill two, firing arrows at it from their short bows as they rush in. The creature is moving quickly. Alzar decides to get involved and leaps off the horse and grabs his weapon. He stands right in the werehyena’s path with his magic staff at his side. The creature sees him and turns and goes left. In a flash, Alzar’s hand grabs a silver knife and flings it at the creature but misses. Another knife misses but the men hit it once with an arrow. Alzar casts Continual Light at its eyes and it makes the save. No go.

Alzar jumps back on the horse and gallops off, catching back up with the creature. He gallops to its right and turns and cuts it off and it turns left to head back to the hill, but now the two men have mostly caught up to it and another silver tipped arrow bites into it. Pashtun has almost arrived and the creature is caught, snapping at the men and moves to them. Another arrow dices into its chest and it falls, and dies.

They have slain the werehyena. The men stop and gather their arrows from the creature and introduce themselves as hunters. They came across this creature last night and have been tracking it. They thank him for corralling it, and then they begin to skin it. Alzar returns and the caravan moves on for another pair of hours before stopping for the evening. At the end of the night, nothing more has happened, and they move off the next day
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:44 AM   #227
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The second day is pretty quiet and passes smoothly. The second night does not.

Around midnight, while Pashtun has watch, Gilded Ears senses something out in the local trees and perks up. A howl erupts through the night and scares people, but Pashtun makes his save and does not flee. Soon a few creatures emerge from the woods and attack, one a large shadowy mastiff, one a human and the last a huge raven. (The UK Series is heavy on running creatures from the 1st Edition Monster Manual II and Fiend Folio. Many creatures were not reprinted in a major 2nd edition source, and we are facing that now, but its alright. I grabbed my MMII and we are good to go – for the record, they include a Shade and a Shadow Mastiff)

Forewarned by his familiar, Alzar is up. He senses the presence of an extraplanar presence and tries to control the dog and fails. (Recent creatures in this tome include Crystal Ooze, Shade, Derro, Dao, Shadow Mastiff, Muckdweller, Phantom, Huge Raven, Vilstrak, and many others)

The mastiff snaps at Pashtun, misses, and blends into the shadow and can’t be seen. Alzar orders Pashtun to focus on the Raven. He’s not sure if normal weapons will hit the other to creatures.

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Old 09-06-2013, 12:52 PM   #228
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The Shade is a 6th level monk from the Tower of the Heavens who was sent to hunt them down. He recognizes the person and the clothes as belonging to another monk in the order. Not all are good loyal little guardians it seems. Alzar makes his Netherworld Knowledge proficiency check. This is a Shade. A powerful person can undergo a process to merge their soul or essence with shadowstuff, and they become more powerful as shadows grow. He summons Shadow Images, like Mirror Images, and there are 5 of the things made, now six images, one the real monk, are around.

A Shade is undying save from violent death via accident or battle or spell. A Shade can still gain experience, and use the abilities of its class and race. In bright light, a Shade looks like a regular person, with a darkened complexion. They can also Shadow Walk back to the Demi-Plane of Shadow.

Turning into a Shade is a long and involved process and Alzar doesn’t know anyone that actually knows it back on Thorasia. Perhaps it is known here on Hamedh. That would be powerful information.

Because of the light from the campfires and the shadows it casts, the Shade is more powerful than at any other time. Alzar grabs the bucket of water and spends a turn putting out the fire. Meanwhile, Pashtun is hit for 4 damage by the Shade. The mastiff tries to bite Alzar and misses.

Now the night is in and the Shade, still strong, is weakened. The shadow images have fallen away and dissipated. Alzar will not be casting Continual Light. Shades have an innate magic resistance as well, but its not that high, so he might get a spell in. He doubts any of his stuff will work thought. No Charm or Hold or Sleep is likely to work. Hmm… He decides to handle this warrior style and grabs the magic weapons right by him. One round wasted gathering up weapons. He is attacked, hit, and takes 6 damage from the Mastiff. Meanwhile, Pashtun has hit the raven and killed it. One less foe to worry about.

45/51
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Old 09-06-2013, 01:29 PM   #229
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They win init and the monk/shade stabs Alzar again for 7 damage with a Khukuri. That’s more damage than a blade that small would normally do. With blind-fighting, Alzar stabs out with his magic spear to hit the monk/shade and hits for 5 damage. (It’s easier to hit when fighting as a level 7 fighter). Meanwhile Pashtun gets two attacks this round with his normal scimitar against the Mastiff, but he misses both times. It’s hard to hit in the darkness without blind-fighting training.

The monk orders the dog and himself to concentrate on Alzar, sensing he is the stronger target. Alzar spears it for 5 damage and takes 10 back from two hits. Pashtun misses.

28/51

Alzar regains init and misses the shade. It hits for 6 and the Mastiff misses but fades back into the night and Pashtun can’t keep his weapon on point. They lose init and the Shade misses, the Mastiff bites for 4 damage, and Alzar spears the shade for 3 damage while Pashtun finally lands a blow for another 4.

18/51

The Shade uses this turn to shadow walk away and leaves this plane for the Shadow one. Because this is Hamedh, it will take a little longer, and Alzar has a chance to spear him but misses. The Shadow Mastiff also flees into the night and a few minutes later, they have left.

The fire is relit and they heal up and then head out the next day.

50 XP for Huge Raven
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:45 PM   #230
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The next day is pretty quiet. With the use of Healing proficiencies as first aid, and Alzar’s fast healing trait, they are doing well, and at the end of the day, all is quiet.

The night passes uneventfully. He feared another Shade attack, but it appears that the Shade is gone for now.


Day four arrives and they near the pass that was mentioned. The Tower of the Heavens is up in these foothills as well, although not that close to here.

They decide to camp for the night and approach the place of the meteor in the morning, with a fresh day. No issues are encountered either.

The following morning, Alzar has 27/51 hp.
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:07 AM   #231
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About a mile away they can see the landing area. Sparse trees have been denuded of leaves and those close to the area have been blasted and pushed away from the landing zone. They move in to a large rocky crater in the center. The crater is nearly 100’ feet across and about half as deep. The explosion which caused it must have been enormous. Rock has been thrown in all directions but much has slid back into the crater from the slopes above. In the very bottom of the crater, a deep hole has been excavated.

It appears that someone excavated a hole into the crater from below, and took the fallen star. Gilded Ears leaps down to explore under some rocks and such. The hole is about 20 feet deep and there is a dead human here, with a broken pick next to him. No other signs of life are here and the hole heads down.

Alzar and Pashtun set up the wagons and such a good distance from the crater and Gilded Ears will remain for now as a scout. They head down after gathering and exchanging equipment. As they do, they see a deadfall of rock that killed five small humanoids. Derro. These are evil nasty highly magical creatures that have been raiding others. They must have found the rock first. Alzar searches and finds broken equipment and armor but

22 pp
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:12 PM   #232
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The excavation has not been filled out, or fixed or braced, it was just a quick natural hole to get the stone. So the tunnel here is very windy and damp and more of a gentle slope in order to keep things stable. Both of them have a Continually Lit stone out to provide light.

They slide down into a larger open chamber and there are a sextet of Derros here working at a collapsed section of the tunnel and a leader. They see Alzar and turns around and shout out. Alzar casts Sleep and drops three. The other four grab crossbows and begin to wind them. They shout for help.

An arrow from Pashtun’s bow slices into a Derro for 5 damage. They mostly miss and scratch Pashtun;s armor. Alzar has his knives out and is throwing them and missing. Noise can be heard deeper down the shaft and soon another group of six Derro plus another leader arrive.

Alzar casts Hold Person and paralyzes two with crossbows. They set up and fire back, since they have numbers, they see no need to advance ot Melee range. One of the leaders barks to a regular Derro to begin waking the sleeping Derro. Meanwhile Alzar takes 2 damage from a bolt and Pashtun 4.

25/51 Alzar
19/23 Pashtun

2 paralyzed, 3 sleeping
7 Derro
2 leaders

Alzar casts Continual Light on the one about to help and it fails the save and is blinded. Pashtun hits the wounded Derro again for 4 damage with his bow. They hit each of them once again for 4 damage each.

21/51
15/23

Alzar casts Hypnotism and three drop their weapons and stop attacking. Pashtun misses

Their leaders call a retreat and leave under the cover of crossbows.

Alzar and Pashtun follow and slay the sleeping, paralyzed, blinded and hypnotized Derro, leaving behind one for a prisoner.

9 Derro finished off – 900 XP
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:51 PM   #233
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Alzar hears some digging in the tunnel and they move. A quick glance shows that they are building fortifications quickly here to hold the line. As they do, 6 more Derro have arrived, two with a lot of power. One grabs a potion and drinks it and shrinks in size. The other grabs the small one and puts him in a sling and begins to twirl it. Huh.

Alzar warns Pashtun and the diminished Derro is flung past their position and comes back to normal size and casts Shadow Magic, which is basically a specialized Magic Missile like spell that fires six missiles to random targets. By being away from the battle, the only targets here are Alzar,Pashtun and the captured Derro. Alzar takes two, Pashtun three, and the Derro one. Save for half damage is allowed for each missile.

15/51 Alzar
10/23 Pashtun
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:36 PM   #234
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Alzar orders Pashtun to go after the guy who flanked them while he holds up the hallway, where an advance is occurring. They have 7 warriors, 2 leaders and 2 savant students, one of which is behind them. The Savant in the back casts Charm Person on Alzar but it fails. Meanwhile, Alzar grabs the Wand of Frost and puts in three charges for the powerful Cone of Cold. Everything in front of him takes 27 damage or save vs half. That’s enough to kill every Derro unless it makes its save.

Now they have two warriors, one leader and both savants.

The final leader calls another retreat. Meanwhile Pashtun attacks and misses the Savant behind them. Alzar casts Skeletal Hands to chase down the wounded Derro. The Derro in the back casts Anti-Magic Shell to keep himself save from any magic Alzar might fling his way. A crossbow bolt hits Alzar for 4 damage from the retreating Derro.

11/51


Alzar orders the hands to pursue and attack the wounded Derro and turns and faces the one behind him. His staff is out and he moves in. The savant student swings a shiny scimitar at Alzar and misses. Pashtun;s scimitar swings twice, connects once for 7 damage and wounds it. Alzar misses. It keeps initiative and smashes and connects with Alzar for 6 damage. Alzar misses, and quaffs his potion of extra healing to gain 21 hp back. Meanwhile Pashtun hits for 5 more damage.

The Derro misses, and both Alzar and Pashtaun stab it for 11 damage and it falls.

Meanwhile the Skeletal hands dropped a wounded Derro but were destroyed.

Alzar orders Pashtun to follow and leads into the rest of the tunnel. After a short bit, they arrive at slave pens, and then a temple. Here the remaining Derro are tended to wounded and they grab their weapons and attack. A bolt hits Alzar in the front for 5 damage.

21/51


They move in on the other Savant and in two round finish it and the leader soon follows. No one else was injured, they were rattled too much to hit. A quick search turns up no other Derro in the complex.

XP – 2100

Used: Potion of Extra-Healing, 3 charges on Wand of Frost (just three left)
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:34 PM   #235
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Alzar frees the slaves while he orders Pashtun to gather all of their items together in a big pile in the chapel here. There are just 6 slaves here, and they grab food from a local storage room. They inform Alzar about the dead chief’s room some undead there, and a destroyed route to an evil Lamia to the left.

Alzar investigates the chief’s room and feels the fundamental pull of undead power. He enters it cautiously, there have been some rock slides and some hit and slew people in here. Three are now animated and look like zombies. Alzar tries to control them and does. He fails his Necrology check and sees them as normal zombies.

Alzar forces them to grab all of the items from this room, including keys, weapons and other items and armor to the temple. After an hour, most of the items are here, and Alzar casts Detect Magic.

They find:

Magic Scimitar
Magic Shield
Magic Wand
Magic Ring
Magic Potion

Gold Armbands, 500 gp
98 pp
120 gp
Rock Crystal Bottle Stopper – 75 gp
Silver Dagger with Ivory Handle – 250 go
Gold Studded Leather Armor – 500 gp
Ruby Pendant – 900 gp
Silver Belt Buckle – 100 gp
Ivory and Jet Ram’s Head Amulet – 550 gp



In a locked chest, opened with the key from the “zombie” is the meteorite. It is roughly spherical, grey metallic, weighs about 10 pounds, and does not detect as magical.

Some of the items they found on dead Derro and such.
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Old 09-10-2013, 04:04 PM   #236
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Alzar does not want to dig to the Lamia’s chamber and free/expose/attack it. It’s way too powerful for now.

They head out and the slaves agree to come with them since they have protection. They can find a route out from the Tower of the Heavens .


After moving stuff to the wagons, including foodstuffs and more, they move to follow the path up the pass. They are going to head up the pass and then cross over the Tower, about five days away.

They go nowhere and rest close by on the first night. The second day sees a nice breeze blow down and then an unusual sight looms up above.

A gigantic beaver dam has been built here. It has stopped up most of the stream that goes along the path and stretches hundreds of feet to close things off. This barrier of mud, logs and branches is twice the height of a man and blocks the pass completely.

With the wagons, they can’t poke a hole in it and let the water through. Gilded Ears nips up the wall and looks around – there is a large body of water there, and a huge beaver ducks down under the water. There is too much water in this makeshift lake to safely drain it and it is too long to ford. The lake is about 500 feet long. The beavers here basically carved it in the pass itself. There is a village on the far side of the lake with about a dozen buildings in all.


This dam and village has to have been here for a while, but they blocked a major pass in doing so. Alzar shouts across the lake and in a few minutes a few hunters swim out to meet him. They have a camp and have been here for a few years. 7 women, 10 men and 15 children live there and they swim and hunt the local area.

Alzar tells him that they need to head up the pass but there is no other way the hunters know to get wagons up there since the beavers built their dam about a decade ago. The hunters agree to take the free slaves into their camp and let them live here. Meanwhile, they will use canoes to ferry Alzar and Pashtun and some supplies to the far shore. But even horses are too big for their passage. To be fair, the water is not that deep. At the edge of the lake, there is a ridge tight on the shore right above the dam. Alzar gets his people to work building a ramp up the dam and after ten hours, the work is basically done. Alzar takes two horses and leaves behind the zombies in his personal wagons as a trap, and Gilded Ears comes with him.

They head over and make their riding proficiency rolls and the horses make it to the far path and are out of the lake region and heading up the pass further.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:20 PM   #237
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Two quiet days pass, but on the third, a cave bear emerges from a long nap and sees Alzar’s familiar as dinner. Alzar and Pashtun force it away and it retreats.

Alzar has indentified all of the magic items by now:

+1 Scimitar, handed to Pashtun
+1 Shield, handed to Pashtun
Wand of Metal and Mineral Detection – 43 charges
Ring of Quick Action
Potion of Diminution

When worn, the Ring will always allow the wearer to win init, even if the group rolls low and attacks last.

Alzar puts it on, and the miscibility roll is made. However, the first item he ever put on, the Bracers, don’t work with it on. He pulls off the Bracers and everything works fine. He pulls off the Ring, adds the Bracers back, and then puts on the Ring again and the same things happen. Then he adds the Boots of a Varied Tracks and they do not work, but everything else does, so it works.


They head off and two days later the pass has hit its peak and headed back down. Meanwhile a large river comes down the foothills and hits their pass. The combination of their stream and that river make a wide and deep area of the pass, and on it is an island. They have arrived at the Tower of the Heavens.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:59 PM   #238
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They make for a ferry to the island. Hadley a ferryman here greets them as they arrive. He is a monk and tells them that there had been a coup. An assistant to Shalfey named Piyarz has launched a coup, claimed Shalfey is dead and named himself Elder Sage. The mercenaries and monks are now following him. But in reality, Shalfey is not dead, he sent a message to Hadley to tell him that he was locked inside his apartments and defending himself and the Books of Destiny against Piyarz. He asks Alzar and Pashtun for aid in invading the Tower of the Heavens and ousting Piyarz.

He recommends pretending to be seeing knowledge from the sages, arriving at the barbican and waiting until entrance into the tower is granted, and then getting in that way. This should secure them entrance without fighting their way in, and making things a lot more difficult. Wealthy people arrive regularly to inquire for aid and to pay for it, and Alzar and company look eligible. Alzar and Pashtun drop their steeds in the stables here cared for by Hadley, and he ferries them to the island to on the east side, which has a barbican. The west island is the main Tower, and only a walkway on the second floor allows entrance to the Tower. There are no entrances on the ground level of the tower.


They arrive at the barbican and Hadley introduces them to the local gnome guards. Alzar says that he is here to request an audience with the Sages about planar transport back home to his own alternate prime material plane (when in doubt, use a lie that is the truth. He does want to return home, so there was no lie told, in case any magical detection is about).

They are welcomed into the barbican and taken to a hostel behind it four humans wait on them as the gnome mercenaries are all around. They are led to private room of the main room, and there is food served for them in a kitchen and dining area. They stay the night.
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:46 PM   #239
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Five hours after dawn the following day, Alzar and Peshtun are summoned by the sages of the Tower of the Heavens, and six gnomes and two monks escort them upstairs to the barbican. (Alzar;s spell list for today swaps out Locate Object for Death Armor)This level has some of the barracks and defenses of this structure. The doors open and they walk across a walkway 40 feet above the river and just 7 feet wide, with a small set of rails about three feet high. Double doors open and a dozen mercenaries are arranged here in a row.

This fine room has no furniture. Its stone flagged floor and the handles of the brass paneled doors are very worn by a long period of use. After a few minutes, they are led forward past a set of double doors into a large room with curtains and tapestries along all of the walls. This sombre room is lit by the dancing flames of braziers. The curtains are red, and the ceiling blackened while the marble floor is worn by centuries of use.

The 12 guards arrange themselves along the walls. A sage enters the room and is flanked by two monks. He casts a spell on himself (Alzar makes his spellcraft check - it was Non-Detection). He then asks Alzar what their business is here. He explains that he was flung here from his home plane of Thorasia, and he would like to know the way back. The cost of this is 3000 gp. Alzar grabs the requisite money, counts it out, and places it into a satin bag provided by a monk. He places it on the ground and an unseen servant comes out and grabs it and takes it back.

The sage retreats behind the curtain in front of Alzar and will return with the answer. Alzar and Peshtun wait for about 30 minutes. There is no furniture in this chamber. Upon his return, the sage pulls out a scroll with fresh ink on it. I have your answer.

“The path to own’s home is through strength of will.”

Alzar looks at him. “That is not an answer.”

“Nevertheless, it is the answer that fate has in store for you. I cannot give any other.”

Alzar asks for his money back then, since that was not an answer to the question. He is refused. So Alzar presses. Could he pay more for a more specific answer? That gets the sage’s attention.

How about 1000 more gp for a more detailed answer. He agrees to try the Fates again and takes Alzar’s money. Meanwhile, Alzar starts to plan with Pashtun. As suspected, the sage returns with another obviously fake answer, but Alzar thanks him profusely and asks for the scroll. The sage reaches out to hand it to him when Alzar slams a white and black magic jelly bean onto the ground and out pop a Crystal Ooze and a Black Pudding.

The soldiers are surprised but no more than the two monks and the sage. They move to the threat and Pashtun drops to the ground and moves out of the way while Alzar moves diagonally out of the way. Several people track them while others move into engage the creatures. A Crystal Ooze is just annoying, but a black pudding will split when attacked with a non-magical slashing weapon. Just like Pashtun did with his nonmagical scimitar, although it was damaged in the fall.

Now there are two puddings and an ooze. Pashtun drops his weapon and rolls to a corner away from the gnomes who are now more focused than ever. Missile weapons fly out and Alzar uses his Ring of Chameleon Power to slip behind the curtain.

In here is a small pathway that ends at a locked door. A minute later, the remnants of the acid lock drops and he moves down some stairs. Meanwhile, more than 30 gnomes have moved into the large chamber, being barked orders by the leader and the Sage. The ooze creatures have really pushed out and Pashtun is guarded by four gnome guards with weapons out and ready to attack. He has surrendered.
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:44 PM   #240
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Alzar arrives on the next level. No general alarm or anything has rung, which seriously surprises him.

A door opens at the base of the stairs and he is in a short hallway. He heads left and hits a dead end and a door. It pens into a small dorm with no one here. It’s probably monks that leave here from the lack of decorations or comfort. The other way leads into a large library. There are 10 robed figures that are working at tall desks or standing with arms folded. No sound comes from the room and as Alzar enters, no sound can be heard. Silence spell on the room. His Ring works and he blends into the background.


There are three doors on one side and one on the other. As Alzar moves to one side, even though he is making no noise and cannot be easily seen, one of the people here manages to notice him (he rolled poorly) and runs over and hits a big button on a center table and the silence spell drops. He shouts a warning to others. They turn on him.

Alzar wins initiative always and casts Sleep. 5 scribes fall asleep, one is up and five monks are unharmed and move in. Three monks close, two move to the fallen and the sage casts Light at Alzar’s eyes, but he makes the save.

Alzar casts Hold Person on the monks moving to the sleeping folks and paralyzes both of them plus the last sage is in the blast area and paralyzed too. Alzar is attacked several times and takes 8 damage from two hits.

28/51

Three monks to him. He casts Hypnotism and all three and two fail their save and the third moves to run. He gets hit with an attack of opportunity by Alzar and takes 6 damage from his staff and Alzar adds in three charges and kills him.

Used – 3 charges from Staff of Striking. Alzar moves out and slays all of those entranced by his spells.

XP – 800 – solo
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:30 PM   #241
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Alzar casts Skeletal Hands and checks the three doors and they enter into small bedrooms, each a bright color and two match two sages in their rooms clothing and another matches the bright color of the one upstairs. He skips the rooms right now and moves to the other door. (He knows those rooms belong to those sages from the memories in his head.)

This is the scholar’s hall. The room before him is large and lavishly decorated and elegantly furnished. There are four dark robed figures and a raven waiting for Alzar to enter, behind some tables. Alzar identifies the center figure as Piyarz. The others are just monks. He calls out and asks for parlay. He has the meteorite and wants to trade for information. Piyarz refuses to even answer and casts a spell. Four magic missiles dart into Alzar for 15 damage.

13/51

That just made me mad . Alzar reads the Scroll of Protection from Magic and then moves into the room. The raven has gone invisible and Alzar can see it (low level illusions, including invisibility, don’t work on him.) It’s not a raven, but an imp. A sleep spell bounces off his protection The imp can’t touch him either, it’s a magical creature. Its tries its Suggestion spell and fails and a Magic Missile flies into him and fails. Meanwhile, Alzar spends those turns casting Continual Light at the eyes of a monk but it fails to blind him and casting the unusual Death Armor, memorized just for today.

The monks move up while the hands begin to attack the sage. They hit him for two damage while the sage tries to come up with a plan that will work The monks attack Alzar and one hits him for 3 damage and takes 6 back. The monks have to hit with their hands, and thus Alzar’s Death Armor works quite well against them.

Meanwhile, he rushes to the Sage’s side and grabs his staff and swings. He hits for 3 damage. Alzar wins init and misses. The hands hit for 4 damage. The Sage misses Alzar with his knife. The imp casts another spell and it fails. Alzar takes 4 and deals 8 to a monk.

6/51
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:41 PM   #242
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The monks back off. Alzar smashes Piyarz for 6 damage and he moves to retreat. The hands miss. The imp, monks and sage move to the door on the far wall. Alzar grabs his Wand of Ice and uses a charge to put a Wall of Ice behind them. The Hands hit Piyzarz for 2 damage and his orders the monks to attack the hands.

Alzar spends the turn coating his staff in poison with his Scarab. The monks kill a hand and Piyarz grab a scroll and casts Mirror Image. The next turn, Alzar swings with his staff at a wounded monk and kills it when he fails the poison save. The monks kill the other hands.

Alzar spends the turn coating his staff again and the sage orders an attack on Alzar but the monks instead run around him and back toward the library and flee. The sage and the imp move on Alzar.

Alzar can see through the Mirror Image (level 1 illusion spell) and stabs with his staff, hits Piyarz who fails his save and dies violently to poison. The imp fades away, released to his own realm.

XP – 1000 solo
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Old 09-10-2013, 11:14 PM   #243
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After battle, Alzar moves to the door on the right and opens it into Piyzarz’ room. Hovering above a large coffer in this black bedroom is a creature that Alzar recognizes quite a bit. It’s a spectator! He had one guarding his treasure room in his complex back on Thorasia.

He greets the Spectator warmly and is greeted back. He inquires to the creature’s health and it is quite happy guarding.

“What are you guarding in here?”

“Why, I am guarding the things in the coffer.”

“Just the items inside the coffer or the coffer itself?”

“Just the items.”

“So I could open the coffer lid, but not touch anything, and we’d be okay.”

“Of course!”

Alzar opens the coffer and inside are about a dozen books a bag, two caskets, and a mace.

The rest of the room has a bed, chair, desk, table, and more. A quick search ensues.


“What are the conditions of your guardianship?”

“I am to guard the items in this coffer for 101 years.”

“And who gave it to you?”

“Piyarz.”

“And if Piyarz dies, what then”

“My contract does not specify one way or the other.”

Alzar grabs the sage’s body and drags it in. After thinking for a few minutes, the Spectator sighs and portals back to his home plane of Mechanus.

Alzar will come back later for stuff.
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Old 09-10-2013, 11:27 PM   #244
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The Wall of Ice is still blocking the other path, so he grabs piyarz’s body and heads back up the stairs to the room.

In here the sage is questioning Pashtun with gnomes as he tries to find out where Alzar went.

Alzar drops into the room with Piyarz’ body and drops it down. Piyarz is dead, and he lied to you gnomes. Shalfey was never dead, just trapped in his chambers. This sage lied to you too. Arrest him and get more information from the Elder Sage.

They don’t know what to do. The Sage orders them to kill Alzar for killing Piyarz, yet there is no clear chain of command that leads to the Sage. They move out to secret both Alzar and the sage and the two monks in the room and head out to check.

They find the many dead, but they also puncture the Wall of Ice and head into the chamber of Shalfey, who is freed by the gnomes. Alzar and Pashtun are released and healed as an apology. The elder sage banishes the last sage, and then allows Alzar to take the items of the slain ones he finished. He does and returns with the gold they took from him as well.

Meanwhile, Alzar produces the Falling Star for him. He tells what happened with both himself and the monks. Shalfey hears him, and tells him the remaining bit of the prophecy from the Books of Destiny. They are to get another set of books from creatures that want the Star.
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:58 AM   #245
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After doing research, he believe he knows where to go. There is a group of xenophobic svirfneblin about 27 miles away in the foothills and up the river. They are nasty little buggers, but he believes that is where the other set of Books lie.

Alzar agrees to porter the Star to them in exchange for a powerful item of Shalfey’s choice.

They move out after resting for two days and Detecting Magic. Alzar acquired:

+1 yataghan
Folding Boat
Potion of Extra Healingx2, White Dragon Control,
Bracers of Defense: Ac 7
Ring of Warmth
Mage Scrolls – Summon Shadow, Erase, Dispel Magic
2650 gp
1050 pp
11 books on the nature of demi-humans – 250 gp
Book - Creation of the Shade
Pair of Diamond Earrings – 2000 gp
Platinum Belt – 1500 gp
Emerald Bead Necklace – 500 gp
Coral Carved Horse Statuette – 550 gp


Four spellbooks – Piyarz, Lurg, Porro and Cipolla – They have already have been dispelled by the sages and monks and Shalfey for Alzar


Piyarz – Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Light, Magic Missile, Read Magic, Sleep, Baltar’s Lightening, Magic Mouth, Locate Object, Tongues, Rary;s Mnemonic Enhancer

Lurg – Detect Illusion, Detect Magic, Emrikol’s Question, Identify, Phantasmal Force, Read Magic, Wizard Mark, Non-Detection, Illusionary Script

Porro – Change Self, Color Spray, Dancing Lights, Find Familiar, Detect Magic, Identify, Light, Read Magic, Wizard Mark, Hypnotic Pattern, Misdirection, Knock

Cipolla – Detect Magic, Read Magic, Sand Jambiya, Tensor’s Floating Disk, Wall of Fog, Invisibility, Ventriloquism


Baltar’s Lightening
Level 2, Alteration

Target – 1 container of not more than 200/coins per level
Duration – 1 hour/level
Components – VSM
Range - Touch
Casting Time - 2


This spell is cast upon a container that cannot weight more than 200 coins per level and may not hold more than that at any time during the spell, or the spell will immediately end. That container’s weight is halved for the duration of the spell. The material component is a feather, which is consumed in the process.

Emrikol’s Question is a 1st level charm spell that forces someone to answer one question asked immediately and briefly if they know the answer and if they fail the save, and if they understand the question.


This is a local spell that was made by people in Hamedh, and Alzar memorizes it. He also learns Rary’s Mnemonic Enhancer, Emrikol’s Question, and Knock
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:15 AM   #246
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During his few days here, Alzar levels up to level 5. His new spells will be Dispel Magic and Lesser Rhabdomancy for now. He would normally lose his class abilities being so far away from the workshop and library, but the Tower works and is close enough. They even send out two people o check on his things at the base of that dam.

Alzar swaps the Bracers of Defense for the Protection ones and gives them to Pashtun. These Bracers work with the new ensemble without any further issues, although his Boots still won’t work, but they keep everything else working, so they are worn.

Alzar’s new AC with the Bracers is 7. He chooses not to add the Ring of Protection +1 to keep things real.


They head out to find the Svirfnebli enclosure nearby in the early morning. These deep gnomes are very mean and cruel, but they don’t bother anyone out here, and no one has bothered them either.

The day passes by quietly and they head up the river and arrive at a side passage. They travel down it for an hour and close to their destination. They are moving up a valley and nearing the end of it.
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:59 AM   #247
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As they do, a warbling war cry echoes across the valley and a squad of 20 hairy, small naked humanoids bursts from behind a mountain spur and charge down. They are gibberlings. Alzar decides to deal with them as a fighter and spends a turn putting on armor. He wants to save his magic for later. Pashtun dismounts and moves to the front while Gilded Ears moves back away from the gibberlings.

They collide and Alzar will miss this turn finishing up changing. Then the carving begins. Both Alzar and Pashtun deal minimum damage (4 for Pashtun, 5 for Alzar) above that of the hp each gibberling has (4 hp) so every hit kills one. These are maddened and they will fight to a swift death. With specialization, they both attack 3/2 times. They are naked with AC of 10. Alzar needs a 2 to hit one and Pashtun needs a 7. The gibberlings need a 19 to crack Pashtun’s armor and a 17 to do so to Alzar’s. They do 1d4 with clubs.

I’ll fast sim this with random.org

41/51 Alzar
20/23 Pashtun

Dead gibberlings

Pashtun gets 100 XP


Alzar remains in combat ready clothes and armor and they move into the valley and see a small village in front. As they do, another score of gibberlings leading a duo of large subterranean lizards moves out to meet them. Again, they are maddened and charge. Another random.org battle occurs


33/51 Alzar
11/23 Pashtun

Pashtun gets 225 XP
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:31 PM   #248
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They move past the quiet village and there are pens with a group of six more lizards tied down and they leave them there. A small bridge crosses the creek and they arrive at the other side, in front of an entrance to a cave. They move into the cave and quickly draw out continual light rocks. The halls of these people are very grand and highly functional, rather than ornate. The corridor is at least 15 feet tall, and it corves and winds up at a door made of iron.

The door is unlocked, and swings open. It reveals an empty hall with two doors past it. The walls, ceiling and floor have a metallic sheen to the, and is highly polished. In the centre of the room is an oval, metallic dome, about five feet across.

Alzar moves in first and as he does, the dome lifts and moves. It is a machine or construct of some kind. It rotates and out blasts a jet of steam and some darts fly out. Alzar takes 7 damage and orders in Pashtun behind him. His axe rings out against the armor and does not penetrate. Pashtun’s also.

26/51

Alzar wins init due to his ring and hacks twice. Once he cracks it for 9 damage. Pashtun;s double swing cant keep it down. The enemy spins and launches a steam blast and darts. It hits Alzar for 4 damage and Pashtun for 4 as well.

22/51
7/23

Alzar carves it for 6 damage and he orders Pashtun to retreat and he does. The machine misses Alzar. Alzar hits once for 8 damage and misses. He takes 5 damage from some darts.

17/51

He misses, and Pashtun fires at it with his bow. The machine hits for 6 damage with a blast of steam but misses with darts

11/51

Alzar misses, the machine missies, and Pashtun hits for 2 damage.

Alzar hits for 8 damage and the machine is destroyed.


Pashtun gains 500 XP
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:45 PM   #249
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That was a nasty little construct. A quick search turns up nothing too unusual.

One door opens into a set of stores with food, fuel, and raw materials (like coal, oil, iron ingots, wheat, wine, etc).

The other door is locked and it takes two vials of acid to eat through it. The corridor past soon opens into ahuge inner hall. The hall is grand but plain, with air filled by vapour from a stream that crossed is. Barring a bridge over the creek are a group of five machines like the ones Alzar and Pashtun just fought, but bigger. Four are eight feet and the middle one is twelve feet. Nasty. They puff steam and remain where they are.

In a few moments, several kagu-svirfnebli arrive and more arrive after shouting follows. One knows Arjuni and shouts to Alzar “Peace! Do you come for trade for war?”

Alzar says trade, and then several of the small grey humanoids move up. Alzar says that he has a fallen star for them and they nod their heads. The time is come.

A long time ago, a magical shield was built here, and a plate to the side said that whatever was inside the shield was to be traded for a magical star which would be turned into the most beautiful gem the world has ever known. Alzar holds the star up to them.

They escort him and Pashtun to the shield. They head forward and into a gigantic workshop, which had some of the constructs being worked on. Alzar’s queries about them is waved away. They leave it and land in a long corridor and turn right, and open an metal door.
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Old 09-11-2013, 03:16 PM   #250
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Here is a small circular chamber, with a pulsating magic shield of an unknown sort. Alzar steps forward with the stone, and the shield drops. It leaves behind 20 books, bound by leather. Each weighs 10 pounds. Pashtun and Alzar gather the books and secure them. Then Alzar hands the svirfneblin their shooting star. They then escort Alzar and Pashtun back to the inner hall where the stream and the set of five machines were, but they were pulled out. In a few minutes the people have left and the doors lock closed by two bars. Their complex is now shut out from Alzar. A few minutes later, while securing the books, a large explosion shakes the area, and steam seeps from the door for a bit and then ends. Nothing else happens. Alzar moves to the door and looks at the bar on the other side. He wants through. He tries the door and it won’t budge. He tries moving it with a magical spear or something, but it is too heavy. The door won’t open.

So Alzar quaffs a potion of Fire Giant Strength. In less than 10 seconds, that door is broken in half. He heads back and moves toward the workshop. It looks like they set things to blow up behind Alzar and retreated. As Alzar opens the door to the workshop, a gust of hot, humid air blasts him with a deafening sound following. There are destroyed machine parts and some working in odd order. Several move toward him and he backs off and shuts the door.

He moves to the other doors. The first one opens into pens with more subterranean lizards, and they are tied up. The other opens into the dormitory of the creatures. It is quite large but rather stark with 17 alcoves with a small iron framed bed in each. Near the end is a locked door which Alzar obliterates with his fist and opens, revealing a small closet. In addition to random clothes, there are six boxes labeled in an own unknown language. Alzar grabs the boxes and moves out.

They arrive back in the main room and then from there to the entry room. Alzar secures the six boxes, all locked, to investigate later. As they move to level the complex, something flies overhead. Holy crap!

There are a pair of red dragons circling the valley.
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