A Game of Dice

AABOR Sessions 2 & 3
In which swashes are buckled, spiders are squashed and drinks are drunked

Chapter the First: Unpleasant Underground Underhandness

[Retroactively: Lumpy was a stowaway on the ship, and tried to take one of the leaky ship’s dinghies to shore shortly after arrival. This went poorly. She was rescued by our noble swimming/walking-on-water heroes and, after some discussion about what use there was for a gnome in this crew, was welcomed on board. Mostly]

Our party decide to enter the mysterious hole in preference to attacking the camp, since mysterious holes in the ground are much more likely to contain loot and people to fight. Strangely, this is correct, and they happen upon two drow happily asleep in a cave with lots of possessions. While Jack and Jaryk fail to see in the dark, Akta and Lumpy loot the chests, and everyone else eventually nobly bands together to kill one of the drow and incapacitate the other, although not before a lot of people have become far too intimately acquainted with spider bites.

Our captive drow introduces herself as Serena, mentions she can heal people and offers her own manacles to be confined in when the party argues over whether to keep her captive or just kill her. This somehow works. Gold and potions are divvied up from the chests, while a strange large stone covered in markings that can only be partially read is also dragged out of the cave because Serena says it’s important for things in the South, where apparently she is also headed. Loot and drow are ferried back up to the surface, even if other members of the party struggle somewhat with climbing ropes out of holes.

Back on the beach, it turns out the camping party has come down to talk to the remaining crew, and are very interested about securing passage to the South. They offer money. Everybody is distrustful of them. After briefly revisiting the possibility of killing Serena and getting lots of money from the others, everybody agrees in the end to keep Serena hostage and to refuse passage to the other group, who seem disappointed but thankfully do not (yet) have their own ship to chase our heroes down with.

Chapter the Second: A Sailor Went to Sea Sea Sea

Suggested Listening

Sailing. Is apparently a thing we can do now. Jaryk bosuns around getting the crew to sail for us, mostly. Everybody has a bit of a nap. Nala chats to Serena, Akta plays some soothing music, Jack stands heroically in the prow of the ship, presumably until he gets bored. The group decides to head for the Pirate Isles, rather than directly towards the South, which makes Serena grumble but everyone else is agreed they need a better (aka more loyal) crew, which they can hopefully hire there. Upon finding out that the main island/town of the Pirate Isles is called Cerveza, everybody rolls their eyes but sets sail for it, carefully avoiding all possible hydra sightings along the way.

Cerveza itself is approached via a curious sailing passage flanked by reefs of broken ships. There are other ships in port, including a very large and shiny ship with red sails, and the wreck of Jack and Jaryk’s previous ship. The combined navigation skills of our crew are not quite enough to avoid crashing the ship into the dock they’re trying to stop at, but after a hasty repair they pay off the previous crew, offer a bonus for any who stay on, and head into town. Reviewing the hostelries on offer, they eventually plump for one called the Horny Tiefling.

Inside the pub, everything is rowdy. Akta looks for someone to play at cards, and accepts the offer of a slightly shady gentleman to unite their decks and play against each other. She draws a completely unremarkable card from the man’s deck, and nothing whatsoever happens. Lausa goes to find some music to sing along to. Nala non-vocally orders two drinks from a bottle with a big red X on, drinks one and observes that the world has turned upside-down and is now populated by fish. Finding this interesting, she locates the fish known as Jack and offers him the other glass, which he promptly drinks. Two members of the party thus spend the next hour or so talking to all the fish-people and participating no further in anything else. Jaryk, sensible man, has gone to the pub by way of visiting the harbourmaster (who is not the same harbourmaster as on their last visit, careers being somewhat temporary in Cerveza), and thus arrives somewhat too late to get involved in any of this silliness. He has found out, however, that the ship with red sails is called the Scarlet Fiend, and that captains of it never live long due to everybody else wanting to kill them and become captain. The new captain (and his hat) haven’t been seen since they docked, though.

Back at the pub, Lumpy has found a passed out person in a cloak and removed the cloak, without which the person looks quite different. In particular, the person is wearing the Scarlet Fiend’s captain’s hat. Lumpy takes the hat, and puts it on, somewhat annoying Jaryk. Unfortunately, it turns out the hat can’t be taken off again… so Lumpy has to also don the disguise cloak to prevent herself being immediately murdered for the hat. The party also discuss the VIP invitations they’ve been finding, which appear to show a shrunken head of some sort as the meeting place – so probably either the Headless Child or Decapitated Gnome pubs. Jaryk thinks they should head off to the meeting to find out what it’s about, so drags Jack and Nala down to the sea and dunks them in it to sober them up. This works. Jack, Jaryk, Nala and Lumpy then head off to the meeting, with Jaryk dragging Lumpy along physically, much to her annoyance.

Serena, meanwhile, has acquired (through means which are not too deeply questioned) a cloak, and in the pocket of the cloak there is a model ship with spiderweb-sails. She gives this to Lausa as proof she has a ship now too, at which Lausa looks unimpressed. Serena says it gets bigger if you put it in water, and Lausa says there’s no water here, only beer. Serena says put it in the beer, then. Lausa does.

The next short while is full of death and exploding ship for most of the bar patrons, particularly Akta. She dies, and is greeted by her god, who rather unfortunately has to hand her over to the man she was playing cards with earlier – not a man, but a powerful demon who now has a powerful enmity with her. He gives her a week to escape or find him something more interesting to do than hunt her down, and sends her back into the world. Lausa, meanwhile, is attempting to turn the boat smaller again by mopping all the beer off it. This does not work, and eventually she is convinced by Serena to go off looking for ingredients for a spell which will allow them to wash the boat out to sea (and off the remains of the pub).

At the secret meeting, meanwhile, Jack, jaryk, Nala and Lumpy are taken to be whoever the invitations say they are, which leads to unspecified awkwardness. They find other people of importance, however, poring over a map of the whole sea area, pushing ships around and generally obviously keeping an eye on all trade in the area. Apparently a load of Orcs are heading to Aelaria from the East, although nobody seems that bothered about it, and a fair few ships with spiderweb-sails are dotted around. Upon being asked why they called the meeting (under their assumed personae), the party bluff as best they can and ask for advice on heading to the South. They are not given much that’s useful, although they are told that at least it’s not the West – they’ll just not come back from the South, rather than coming back raving as they would if heading West. So that’s something.

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...And A Bottle Of Rum [Session 1]
"I never make mistakes!"

Suggested listening


We open to find our GALLANT HEROES imprisoned in cells in Southhaven Prison. We hear a PROTESTING UNFORTUNATE being dragged kicking and screaming into an ARENA and the roars of a BAYING CROWD in the distance.

Another GUARD is berating our heroes for making too much noise. As he patrols the cells, AKTA (a TIEFLING) causes the door of the empty cell opposite to burst open. Startled, the guard stumbles backwards, and Akta deftly lifts his keys.

The GUARD leaves. AKTA unlocks her cell, and hands the keys to JACK (a HUMAN) in the next cell. JACK opens his cell, walks out and unlocks the rest. Our NEWLY-FREED PROTAGONISTS spill forth from their cells and creep around the end of the corridor.

They reach a SIDE ROOM, which alongside GRIM CADAVERS and DYING PATIENTS contains NEEDLES (a MANIC DOCTOR). Suprised, NEEDLES demands our heroes submit to his medical experiments.

NEEDLES is promptly beaten half to death by LAUSA (a HALF-ORC) wielding a BONE and finished off by NALA (a DWARF) with an eldritch blast, but not before LAUSA and JACK are injected with SEDATIVES. After arming themselves with SURGICAL EQUIPMENT, the party make to head back into the corridor. Unfortunately at this point their absence from their cells is noted, and more GUARDS arrive to search.

AKTA uses her magic to disguise herself as NEEDLES, and convinces the GUARDS to ignore the SIDE ROOM. Once they are past, our party leave and head down the corridor, freeing more prisoners. An alarm bell sounds. JACK tosses the keys to one of them and the party leave.

At the end of the corridor, LAUSA smashes through a door to be confronted by yet more GUARDS, protecting chests. They are quickly EVISCERATED and the chests SMASHED. The party recover their equipment and prepare as YET MORE GUARDS arrive. JARYK (a HUMAN) convinces the last remaining guard to let our UNLIKELY BAND OF MISFITS leave in exchange for his life, and the party heads out a back door.

They arrive in the WARDEN’S OFFICE. Behind a desk is the WARDEN, who spots AKTA (still disguised as NEEDLES) and cries out for his son as he is taken HOSTAGE at swordpoint. JACK demands the WARDEN take our heroes outside; the WARDEN agrees in exchange for his son not being harmed. The party share a look signifying DRAMATIC IRONY and agree.

The party burst out into a PACKED STREET. The WARDEN flees, and our heroes begin an EXCITING CHASE towards the docks, pursued by STILL MORE GUARDS. There they sight a SLOOP and together they press its DOWNTRODDEN CREW into service and cast off. JACK takes the ship’s wheel and there begins another EXCITING CHASE as AKTA spots a GALLEON manned by GUARDS unfurl its sails.

JARYK licks the crew into shape as NALA fires bolts of ELDRITCH ENERGY at the pursuers, while LAUSA pumps GUSHING WATER onto the deck to put out the FIRES started by FLAMING ARROWS. AKTA discovers the hold is filled with EXCEEDINGLY STRONG ALCOHOL, some of which is hauled up onto the deck.

The ALCOHOL is tied into a net and swung violently backwards, colliding with the GALLEON. This is enough to bring down its FOREMAST, and the sloop speeds off into OPEN WATERS and FREEDOM.

JACK finds a MAP OF THE SOUTH in the CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS, but with supplies low and a grumbling crew he charts a course to a HIDDEN COVE to hide and rest the night. JARYK asserts his authority as BOSUN, and the crew sail to the cove, leaving the ship under cover of darkness.

The cove is well sheltered, with no signs of civilisation, and contains a MYSTERIOUS CAVE as well as a path to the top of the cliffs. JACK and JARYK order the crew to fetch supplies and set up camp on the beach. Meanwhile LAUSA sets off hunting, while NALA and AKTA explore the MYSTERIOUS CAVE.

The dark contains little but a LONE CHEST (considered to be a CLEARLY OBVIOUS TRAP). After poking and prodding the chest is opened – it contains a LONE GOLD PIECE (this is also considered to be a CLEARLY OBVIOUS TRAP). Frustrated by the lack of OUTRAGEOUS RICHES, NALA and AKTA pick up the chest, revealing an OMINOUS HOLE beneath.

AKTA flies down into the OMINOUS HOLE, but discovers only a tunnel leading off into the darkness. Exercising ADMIRABLE CAUTION, she flies back up and reports and absence of anything useful.

Meanwhile LAUSA, seeing a CAMPFIRE in the distance, heads towards it. She is unfortunately spotted by UNHAPPY CAMPERS (HUMANS, ELVES, and a DRAGONBORN), who accost her as she approaches and demand that she leaves.

JACK tells everyone to get some sleep, as they will be leaving at THE CRACK OF DAWN. As everyone else is preparing to leave, AKTA once more descends into the OMINOUS HOLE. There she hears some MYSTERIOUS FIGURES discussing the PEOPLE ABOVE. Deciding to leave well enough alone, she reports back. It is resolved that before they leave, the party will nobly and gallantly RAID the camp before the CAMPERS awake, and potentially DESCEND into the OMINOUS HOLE if there is time.

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Session 17
Explosions both literal and metaphorical

Nev and Alara reach the tower on the east coast of Aelaria, to find that the local townspeople and refugees have pragmatically dealt with it and are using the tower as storage space, kind of like a demonic Big Yellow. Deciding that this seems fine, and that one tower is unlikely to pose much of a threat, they turn their attentions to getting something worthwhile out of the trip. They learn that some rare books were discovered in the tower, which they decide to take with them. The rarest is a Manual of Swiftness of Action, which they agree to read together. Having achieved… something, they decide to return to the group.
En route, they see a plume of black smoke billowing up from Northall. Worried that the rest of the party may have had something to do with it, they set down to find Shandra and Rhandi arguing over whether it was their fault. Before a straight answer can be wrangled out of them, Terek’s direwolf appears with a message for the wizards, and Nev follows it back towards the smouldering wreck of the fortifications.

Meanwhile, the party pick themselves up and put themselves out, to find fire everywhere. Vesuvion summons the tentacle-y void to extinguish the flames, which works surprisingly well. Within the ruins of the tower, the party finds a firey portal, which burns Vallyn when he sticks his hand into it. As Nia invokes the fury of the heavens and goes to town on the portal with her warhammer, the rest of the party manage to piece together a map of the invasion plan from the fragments of documents in the room. Nev arrives, and has this explained to him, not long before Nia finally (with a little magical assistance from Vallyn) smashes the portal. The party decides, based on the map, to attempt a strike at the fortress over the River Enjay, with the help of their remaining animated armours and the bandits Alara had set to harrassing the demonic supply lines. During the night, Nia dreams that she is visited by Armok, who praises her work against the demons, and grants her a divine necklace to aid her in her quest. Meanwhile, Vallyn is visited by the god of chaos, who wants to call in her favour – she would like him to retrieve an artefact from the demonic realm to which the portals lead. Having met up with Alara’s bandits (with the help of various woodland creatures), the party plans to go down the river, with the armoured folks in barrels, with the armours and bandits providing a distraction to allow the party to get inside the tower and find a way to destroy the fort. Unfortunately, in summoning the barrels, Vesuvion summons one made entirely of screaming rat heads, with makes Nia and Terek a little upset. Nia grabs Vesuvion, but is paralyzed by Terek’s magic, and agrees to deal with the fort before dealing with Vesuvion. The plan goes off mostly without a hitch, though requiring some application of magic from Terek to prevent discovery. The distraction attack is launched, and the party storms into the tower. Terek, Nev, and Alara go upstairs and find a store of alchemist’s fire that explains the explosion from the last fort. Downstairs, the rest of the party find a winged demon, dispatching it with relative ease once Terek, Demonslayer, comes downstairs and hits it with his hammer. The demon dispatched, Nia attempts to smash the portal, much to Vallyn’s dismay.

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Session 16 (possibly?)

(Going by Tom’s week-count in the overview)

Having recovered from the attack by the demon scouting group, the party proceed to teleport to the Terek townhouse in Aelaris as planned. They then go to the palace and barge into a formal war meeting to point out that Lina and Alara are here so everybody should stop paying any attention to Jorg (or probably Petey) now. Everybody eventually agrees to let Lina run things for now (effectively queen, but without a formal coronation until little things like demon armies are dealt with).

Firstly, though, the party collect the 2000gp (+3000sp) reward for bringing the princesses back, and promptly go on a shopping spree.

Some discussion is then held about what the most effective way to counter the demon threat might be. The book that controls the suits of armour in Scorax City is handed over to magically-minded nobles who wish to play with it. Lina stays with the War Council to advise their next moves, and Terek and Nia also think they may be of most use being diplomatic in the capital. Vallyn, Thea, Vesuvion and Nev decide to return to Fellwalk to see if they can convince their friendly dragon to help fight the demon army. However, before they can leave the city, a funeral procession arrives from Easthall, carrying the body of [insert appropriate noble here], apparently slain in a surprise demon attack that came from nowhere. This strengthens the resolve of the party to further investigate the portal system, as it seems likely that’s where the demons appeared from.

Vallyn, Vesuvion, Thea and Nev attempt to teleport directly to Fellwalk, but unfortunately end up a day or so’s walk to the west, in the mountains, where they are eventually spotted by a very large ice dragon. It is not the one they befriended before. However, it is the mate of the one they befriended before, which it grudgingly agrees to fetch so long as the party promise not to approach Fellwalk (now the dragons’ home) any more closely. The party, of course, duly promise. Dragon the ice dragon from Scorax City arrives, is shocked to hear of Hesiah’s death, and flies off to fight the demon army near Woodpig. The party promptly revise their promise downwards and decide to attempt to get into the cave system under Fellwalk which Nev remembers and which might well contain a portal somewhere. Unfortunately, in attempting to get within the walls of Fellwalk, they alert the remaining dragon, who after being made quite angry by all the promise-breaking eventually agrees to allow the party into the tunnels if they leave one member behind. Thea remains and is immediately encased in an ice prison.

Vallyn, Nev and Vesuvion follow a tunnel that Nev and Terek never went down as kids due to it being dark and scary, and discover three wolves guarding a portal. Having dispatched the wolves, they discover the somewhat decayed remains of Egros’s hand beside the portal, still clutching a hammer decorated with Artell crests, as well as wearing lots of Artell-y rings. Vallyn takes the hammer, Vesuvion the decayed hand. Passing through the portal into the portal room, the reduced party start to investigate where various portals lead. (They do also note suits of armour outside the tower being haphazardly dragged around and occasionally crashing into walls/abysses.) The Caston portal is chosen first, as it might potentially lead directly to Aelaris; however, it seems to lead to an underground cave with a large lake cutting anyone (without a boat) off from getting to the surface. Vesuvion’s familiar is sent on reconnaissance and the party eventually determine that they are in fact on an island in the sea to the west of Parrot Bay. [I think there’s another one here we investigated and I’ve forgotten.] The party then decide to go through the penguin-themed portal which, presumably, leads to House Herreby’s lands.

This portal opens in a broom closet. Outside the broom closet is a glass dome with a viewing terrace over a beach full of penguins. Vesuvion talks to the penguins a bit, who don’t say anything particularly interesting except that people used to come and feed them fish, but then they were told no more people would be coming. Faced with a locked door, the party attempt to batter it down and soon draw the attention of a bright blue shaft of light which wants to know what they’re doing there and eventually sends a golem to accompany them to the main entrance – which turns out to be through several more domes full of penguins. The entrance is full of penguin-related banners, statues etc and a sign that says ‘Welcome to the Herreby Penguins.’ Inside, a bright blue crystal accuses them of having a bit of its brain (the blue crystal that Vesuvion has been carrying around which was constantly issuing a ‘warning’ signal), threatens to kill them a few times over, but eventually lets slip that it lost its friends – other crystals like it – when it fell into this plane. The party suggests that one of those might be the giant red crystal encountered in Scorax City, and mentions that there’s a portal to there, whereupon the blue crystal suddenly decides they might be useful after all. Streaking through the portal (leaving a trail of blue crystals in its wake), it has a chat with its old red friends. Nev wanders off to investigate the rest of the complex and discovers a) more domes of penguins, b) a gift shop and c) a village that seems to have been deserted since about the time the blue crystal took over running the placeā€¦

Eventually, the party venture back through the portal into the portal room, where the red and blue crystals are deep in conversation. Finally daring to interrupt, Vesuvion asks a few questions and discovers the following: the portals were created by the red crystal in an attempt to find his friends. Prior to the party, only one person had been going back and forth through the portals beforehand. No demon armies or wolf packs have been brought through the portal room directly.

With all this information in hand, Vesuvion, Vallyn and Nev decide it’s time to get back to Aelaris. They head back through the Fellwalk portal, collect Thea, forcibly dissuade Nev from attempting to suicidally prove to the dragon that this was his home, head out into the hills for one night and then teleport back to Aelaris.

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Session 12

The party let go any of the resucees who wished to remain in the city, and set out for the South gate. Failing to bluff their way past the guards, they were forced to attack and kill them all. Morthos and Ardik used this opportunity to flee, taking the Emperor’s sister with them, to Vesuvian’s fury.
Escaping from the city, the party resolved to march for the border to the South-west, across the desert. Leaving the road, Terek led the civilians ahead, as the others fell back as a rearguard.
The demonic spiky guard spotted them and attacked. Felling two, the party attempted to retreat, leaving Vallyn and Hesiah to hold off the next wave. Hesiah sent Vallyn to flee, and fought courageously, bringing down many of the attackers, before being knocked to the ground. When he awoke, the demons attempted to discover from him where the party had gone, but he fought on, and has not been seen since…
The survivors made it a week across the desert, and arrived in a small town (Linx?) from which they intend to cross the border into Dunmar.

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Session 11

After talking down the Emperor’s guards by hinting at a greater threat that had killed both kings, the party traveled to the next town, where the corpse was preserved. After a quick bit of shopping, they traveled on to capital.
After being presented to the new Emperor, Drax, and explaining the circumstances of his father’s death, the party were conducted to Princess Lena. It quickly became clear that all was not well.
Drax had been infusing himself with demon’s blood, using the palace’s women as sacrifices. The party eventually resolved to break them all out, using a secret passage revealed to them by one of the prisoners, a young girl, the daughter of the Emperor of Scoraxia, with a predilection for pyrotechnics. Knocking out the guards and escorting the prisoners out of the cells and down to the palace library. Entering a secret passage behind the bookshelf, they covered their escape by setting fire to the library, much to Vesuvian’s disgust.
Finding themselves in a totownhouse in the suburbs owned by ‘the man with the funny head’, the party began to make plans to escape the city.
Nev went to contact the criminal underworld and arranged for a set of empty water wagons to be found by the east gate, in exchange for arranging a meeting between two ‘friends’ of his contact and the group of Aelarians that had just arrived in the city.
Hesiah obtained a a bag of Scoraxian clothes for the escapees.
Terek talked to the princess, explaining the succession crisis, and the other two potential candidates. Although in Scoraxian eyes, she and Drax were married, Terek believes that he would not be able to apply a claim on Aelaris. He pledged House Artell’s support if she claimed the throne. She then explained that the great King Aelar was still alive, and in the library…

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Session 10

The party arrived in B’rx to find a mob of villagers preparing to lynch Ardik and Morthos after they caused a fire and burnt down a tavern. The party quickly discovered that they had trapped the bridge to attempt to assassinate the Scoraxian Emperor.
Rushing to cross the bridge, they caused the Emperor to turn back. He sent his guards to disable the trap, but they tripped it, destroying the bridge. Agreeing to travel to the capital with the Emperor, they set out across the desert.
A few nights into the journey, the party was awakened by the shout of ‘the Emperor’s dead’. It appeared that he had been poisoned in the night.

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Session 9.5
Vallyn's Wild Ride

Vallyn quickly discovered from Lina that this was not the world he had left. He was apparently king of Aelaria, and at war with Scoraxia and an army of demons. Scoraxians had conquered much of the Westfold, as well as Aelaris, while an army from Eastfold had breached the wall and taken control of much of the eastern part of Scoraxia, laying seige to Br’X.

Suspecting that this was more of the chaos god’s bullshittery, he decided not to do as she suggested and Wish his way out, and broke out of jail with Derek and Lina with an ease that suggested that this was indeed divine bluffing. While escaping, the group discovered that Morthos was also imprisoned in the dungeon, and with him created a huge prison break to cover their escape. Vallyn, however, wanted to try and recover the Cli Lyre before escaping. He snuck across the courtyard as escaping prisoners were gruesomely dispatched by fireballs, and made his way to the theatre, where he discovered the lyre in the centre of the stage, being played by the little god of chaos. Once again, she tried to entice him to Wish for the lyre, but he refused, and was suddenly confronted by the Emperor of Scoraxia, who, as it happened, was a pit fiend.

Vallyn fled the pit-Emperor-fiend back to the others, dodging fireballs as he went, and in order to escape Morthos cast fly on the group. Unfortunately, they were not fast enough to escape the pit fiend, and so landed in the city to try and escape. Despite their best efforts, the four found themselves trapped between a rock (pit fiend) and a hard place (the Scoraxian army). At this point, the small girl appeared once more. Vallyn, seeing no other option, gave in and asked to return to the temple, and his choice.

Smiling, the little girl returned Vallyn to the temple. She gave him the choice once again of the cards he had drawn, but refused him the choice of the Moon. Vallyn, unable to choose just one, struck a deal with the god – in return for a favour at a later date, he could choose two cards. As he was about to make his decision, the little girl told him that not everything he had seen in the vision was false – some of it represented events that may come to pass in the near future. Considering this, Vallyn took the Star and Knight, and left the temple, finding himself standing with the rest of the party, as well as a new friend – Thia Nightflower. (It seems that Derek had simply been an illusion conjured by the god, rather than a true knight summoned by the Deck.)

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Session 9

Having recovered from their encounter with the Beholder, the party sets out to escape through another tunnel. While travelling through the tunnel, Vallyn is grabbed by an earth elemental! After fighting it for a short while, the party realises the elemental is not actually trying to attack them, merely attempting a friendly hug, and manage to communicate with the elemental (and its friend) via Vesuvion’s telepathy. The elementals lead the party to an exit into the desert, and tell them that a temple in the mountains may hold the power to restore Vesuvion.

The party progresses into the foothills of the mountains, where they see a campfire up ahead. Vallyn and Nev sneak up to see what is happening, and see that the camp is about to be attacked by wolves! Vallyn runs forward to help the travellers fight the wolves, while Nev runs back to get the others. Unfortunately, despite Vallyn’s heroic efforts, four of the five travellers were killed by wolves before they could organise themselves. Vallyn was able to hold off the wolves from the last traveller until Nev and Terek arrived, and between them they turned the tide of battle against the wolves. (In a sad turn of events, Terek has still clearly not dealt with the traumatic issues surrounding his family’s death, and failed to successfully attack a single wolf.) However, the wolves turned out to have frost powers, and it was not until Hesiah and Vesuvion finally arrived that the last wolf was finished off. Helping the remaining traveller to bury his friends, the party learn that they have already travelled through a temple ahead which forms an easy route to the north and Br’X, and that this is part of some god’s mind game. Undeterred, after resting for the night, the party continues onwards to the temple (with Vesuvion now perched awkwardly on a spare horse from the travellers’ camp), where they must enter one at a time.

Inside the entrance to the temple, Hesiah finds four doors; Tunnel to Br’X, Tunnel to the North, Answers, and Power. He chose answers, and was met by a small girl in a very large room, who gave him some rather unsatisfactory answers to his question regarding Terek’s ultimate fate. Not falling for the trap of asking more questions, Hesiah left through a bright white exit door and found himself on the other side of the temple/tunnel.

Terek entered next, and saw the doors Tunnel to Br’X, Tunnel to Aelaris, Power, and Father. His fate is as yet unknown.

Vesuvion found the Tunnel to Br’X, the Arcane Library, Answers, and Restoration. He chose Restoration, and passed through to find a small tree with a single green fruit on it. As he approached the tree, a voice of a young girl declared that the tree was the Tree of Life and that the green fruit would completely heal and restore him. Finding no reason to disbelieve the voice Vesuvion ate the fruit, causing a golden light to envelop him, gradually morphing his stone limbs back to flesh and blood, and healing all of his wounds and scars bar the numbers carved into his upper arm. At this point a bright, white exit door, approximately 7 feet tall appears and the same female voice says that he can either leave now or taste some of the other fruits of the tree- the blue fruit of knowledge or the red fruit of power. As this is said the tree grows and the two aforementioned fruits appear. Vesuvion chooses the blue fruit and as he plucks it from the tree the exit disappears. He bites into it and feels his mind expand. At the same time the exit reappears, but is now a foot shorter and a foot narrower, and the side of the tree with the blue fruit grows, revealing more fruit higher up; larger and more succulent than those below. The voice points out the larger the fruit the more illuminating the knowledge contained. Vesuvion climbed higher and higher into the tree eating the fruit and ignoring the swiftly shrinking exits that appeared and disappeared as he climbed. The tree grew evermore difficult to climb and Vesuvion fell several times, suffering grievous injury the first time he fell but using Feather Fall upon the following mishaps to avoid the damage. Eventually reached the top of the tree and was faced with a two foot by one foot door and a fruit which the voice promised would allow him to really understand what was going on. Trusting the voice and confident that he could use his magic to escape through any sized portal Vesuvion ate the last fruit and saw a vision of four giant crystals, the one already seen in Scoraxia and three others, giving him an understanding of their basic nature. The initial seven foot by five foot exit reappeared and not wishing to push his luck any further and still overwhelmed by what he had learnt Vesuvion steps through the portal, finding himself standing alongside Hesiah.

The traveller entered, and passed straight through to Br’X (or says he did, anyway).

Vallyn entered, finding four doors: Tunnel to Br’X, Deck of Many Things, Answers, and Vengeance. He passed through the door to the Deck, and found exactly what he expected. He drew seven cards; Key, which gave him the Cli Lyre, Jester, The Fates, Star, Knight, and Donjon – which he returned to the deck using the power of The Fates. He then drew Gem, followed by Ruin, and Moon. He then declared to draw one more card, which was Comet. He dared to draw again, and received the Throne, which caused what appeared to be the crown of Aelaria to appear on his head. At this point, the small girl appeared, and offered to allow Vallyn to leave with one of the cards. Despite her threats, Vallyn chose to use a Wish to escape with all of the cards, and appeared in the throne room of the Emperor of Scorax, along with the various benefits he had gained, including Derek Bartell, his knight. The two were immediately thrown into prison, opposite… Lina Caston. The small girl reappeared in Lina Caston’s cell, declared that Vallyn had cheated, and threatened to kill Lina.

Nevan found the Tunnel to Br’X, Riches, The Road to Mastery, and Terek’s Safety. He picked the Road to Mastery, and found himself in a crowded city bar with three figures in cloaks walking away from him – a black cloak, a blue cloak and a red cloak. He chose to follow the blue-cloaked figure and soon found himself chasing it over rooftops, scaling high towers and jumping off them, and eventually making an improbable leap over a huge canyon (ignoring bright white exit doors which kept appearing beside him and growing worryingly smaller every time he ignored them). He eventually chose to leave when the door had shrunk to 3′×2′ in size, whereupon the cloaked figure turned back and asked if he didn’t truly want mastery? If he followed the figure, it offered perfection. When questioned as to what type of perfection, it said ‘trust.’ Nevan decided that this sounded far, far too good to be true, and crawled through the tiny door to find Hesiah and Vesuvion awaiting him on the other side.

At the point in time at which Vallyn’s wish was made, the party standing outside the temple feel a strange ripple going through reality, and looking down at Br’X are sure it wasn’t on fire before…

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Session 8

The party begins their descent of the tower(which is not as easy as it looks), but quickly find another sealed room, containing a huge iron-bound book. However, as Alara is about to descend, she reveals that she has faerie wings, and flutters down without any trouble. The party succeeds in retrieving the book from its stand by rigging a rope across the room, and having Alara tightrope walk across with the book, with the help of Vesuvion’s Mage Hand. Removing the book caused most of the floor to disappear, revealing a huge, spiky, pulsating red crystal beneath them. Nev was the first to continue the climb down but lost his grip and fell away from the tower. Thinking quickly Vesuvion jumped out of the window after him, casting Featherfall on Nev and himself so they both floated safely down. Dragging the book with them, the rest of the party climbed down the rest of the tower , onto the roof of the palace of old Scorax City. Hesiah leapt from the roof into a building opposite, leaving the others to descend into the palace through the roof, where they found a hoard of treasure.

Below the building, Hesiah discovered a white dragon and its companion, who had been living beneath Scorax City since its destruction a century earlier. Despite the presence of animated armours, the rest of the party were able to join Hesiah eventually, where they learned of the true history of Aelaria and Scorax from the dragon and his companion, one of King Aelar’s party who had effected this destruction. Terek offered the dragon safe passage to the hills near Fellwalk, and Alara left with the dragon and his companion to ensure that the country would not be too disrupted.

The party was forced to drop down to the catacombs below the city to escape the animated armours drawn by the dragon’s dramatic exit, whereupon Vesuvion and Vallyn went off alone, exploring an abandoned tunnel. In this tunnel they encountered Norg, a spectator who through a stroke of luck managed to incapacitate the two, dragging them off to his lord, the Beholder Norlem. The rest of the party attempted to rescue Team Elf, but were unable to prevent Vesuvion from launching an attack on the Beholder, who subsequently partially petrified the warlock, and demanded a tribute of 1000 souls and 1000 demonic bouncy balls. The number ‘1000’ appeared twice on Vesuvion’s petrified arm…

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