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Page history last edited by Nick 11 years, 5 months ago

Last updated November 20th, 2008.

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Game Summary





Previously, on Rumors of War...





Episode 2: A Dwarf, a Paladin, and an Aristocrat Walks into a Bard

Date: November 15th, 2008

The goblin camp is that of a small tribe; there are about 50 adults, adding to that more than half that number in children. News about the arrival of the party spreads quickly throughout the camp, and three additional guests of the goblins make the acquaintance of the party; a human explorer named Aurelia, an elf refugee named Katri, and a wandering dwarf mystic named Payne. Aurelia seeks adventure in the desert, Katri hails from somewhere in the colder climes of the North, and Payne claims to be guided by vision and prophesy.


Polynices is quick to welcome the new additions to the party, nearly speaking more to them than anyone during the entire voyage aboard the Themia. Katri brings with her a heavy warhorse, which is a marvel to the small goblins, and she is also accompanied by an owl. Payne has a wolf as his companion, though he does not say how he came upon such an unusual traveling companion.


The night passes without incident, and the party sets out just before first light. Some effort is needed to pry Anaxagoras from the beds of a few of the goblin women. The very thought of the bard's activities during the night seems to disgust Polynices, but he maintains his characteristic silence. That morning, the party also has the chance to speak with the man they found unconscious in the desert. His name is Siris, and his reason for being in the desert was an attempt at suicide.


Though Siris is initially secretive about his reasons, Anaxagoras read the man's journal and tactfully pried information from him; Siris told that he was prophesied to be the instrument of his father's ascension to power, though also his downfall. Throughout his youth, Siris was abused by his father, until he reached adulthood and was finally able to escape; he has evaded his father ever since. Siris believes the prophesy of his father's ascent to power to be of some magical sort. Siris has no desire to see his father ascend to any sort of power, and claims that his father is evil.


Owing his life to the party, Siris pledges to aid them in whatever way they deem useful, and chooses to follow them on their quest. Of himself, he doesn't say much else, only that he dabbles in the magic arts. He dons one of the extra sets of desert garb the party has with them, and follows along quietly.


The party makes excellent time during the day; with both Aurelia and Polynices foraging for resources, the party group easily has more than enough food and water to supply their increased number. During the afternoon, the party encounters a few scouts from a tribe of enormous men, each one easily 8 feet in height. These men have coppery skin and the blood of giants.


When the half-giants hear of the group's purpose in the waste, they try to dissuade them from continuing to the temple. They tell of a few other groups searching for the same temple, and they know the way to be dangerous. Polynices, in particular, seems intrigued by the heritage of the large men, though they don't share much about themselves. They claim to be among those descended from the cyclopes who opposed the new order of gods and that their forefathers were cast down into Tartarus along with the titans. They see their lineage as a curse and exiled themselves to the waste in shame.


The party turns down an invitation to see the half-giants' camp and continues traveling for the last few hours of daylight. With the light of the next day, they trek the last few miles to the temple's location with Krest as guide. Krest takes them to where the entrance of the temple is said to lie, the temple itself being deep within a natural cave. The terrain outside the cave, however, is between sloping hills, and completely covered in cacti. A narrow path winds between the spiny plants, but it isn't wide enough for the large warhorse, and is too narrow to be easily maneuvered by the pony and cart.


A small group, consisting of Polynices, Eithne, Payne, and a couple others begin to make their way along the path, only to find after thirty feet or so that the cacti explode when something brushes against them. They carefully retreat back along the path, though they inevitably set off another exploding cactus or two on their way back to the cart. They hit upon the idea of rolling the cart down the hill to make a wider path, free of the exploding cacti. They spend the next couple hours rolling the cart down the hill, dragging it back up when it gets stuck, rolling it down again, and repeating the process until a pathway is clear.


The group leaves the cart, pony and warhorse at the entrance of the crevasse, and make their way through to the temple; on the way avoiding a shallow pit formed by an earthquake and a pool of acid. Inside the temple, they find the bones of several priests, which they bury. In an adjacent room, they detect the presence of the oracle, and they find a mural depicting people in the throes of worship at the foot of a seated figure they identify as Cronus, the king of the titans.


The party decides to spend the night in the temple and being the trek back to Varna in the morning. Telemachus studies the oracle while the rest of the group searches the temple for secret passages and anything resembling treasure. Finding none, they settle down as the daylight wanes. The night passes without incident, and the next morning they leave the temple and head back to Varna. They stop by the goblin tribe and bid farewell to Krest, who leaves to rejoin his people.


The party reaches in good time Varna; their entire trip has taken just over 8 days, and now they have a month-long wait ahead of them, before the next ship will take them back to Media. Trimedes is very excited to hear about their journey, and congratulates them on the completion of their first mission. The party is granted free lodging in the Order's guildhall as long as they keep mostly to themselves.


A week passes with little excitement; Anaxagoras practices his oration skills for coin on the streets, Aurelia makes some money on the side with the trapping of local wildlife, Ala-din plies his trade as a professional gambler mercilessly; Polynices spends most of his days wandering from mead-hall to brewery, avoiding the troubles of daily life while drowning his ghosts. It is around this time that Trimedes approaches Anaxagoras with a troubling matter.


After the expeditionary force has been called together, Trimedes tells the tale of his brother, Trias, who is a seer of modest talent who fears the visions his gifts sends him. Trimedes has recently learned that several weeks ago, Trias had gone to a local temple of Apollo seeking the wisdom of the priests and relief from the strain of his visions. Around the same time, there was a catastrophe that caused a mass outbreak of madness. These madmen were sent to the same temple to receive treatment by the priests. Trimedes fears that exposure to such an epidemic will cause his brother to go truly mad.


Trimedes offers the party 500 pieces of silver out of his own pocket for the safe return of his brother. He also informs them that the temple is also in a bad section of town where many of the bacchae and their fellows reside, and he's also afraid of contracting whatever maddening ailment the other men have. Several members of the party quickly catch on that Trimedes isn't sharing all he knows. Anaxagoras coaxes additional information out of him. Apparently, the men who went mad were working for the Order of Orion when they developed their madness. While harvesting salt from an Order-controlled salt mine, the workers accidentally broke into a tomb of some type that lay underground. As far as their families know, the men were driven mad by the gods for an act of impiety, for trying to loot the tomb, but the Order knows that some type of trap was triggered by the workers that caused them to go insane.


For this reason, Trimedes doesn't want to be associated with the recovery of his brother, as it may seem suspicious if he is seen having any contact with the madmen. The party, being not well-known in the city, would make the ideal rescue party, though he really doesn't expect their to be any trouble, except maybe from the local denizens of the district. When the party suggests the possibility of using violence as a means to extract his brother, Trimedes frowns and says that none should be necessary, and that they should really try to prevent being associated with the Order should violence break out. The temple of Apollo is well-respected, after all.


The party makes their way into the district where the temple resides, and they break into two groups: Anaxagoras, Payne, Polynices, and Telemachus go in first, to try and talk their way into seeing Trias. They meet with some resistance from some unruly brutes who make fun of them. Some fast-talking by Anaxagoras prevents the men from attacking the four outright, though they continue to deride them, and one of them even pours a skin of wine all over Telemachus. The situation defuses once the group sets foot in the temple, and the thugs wander off.


The temple is a testament to the nature of salvaging resources in the waste; once it was a beautiful temple dedicated to a foreign god, built almost entirely of glass and mirrors; destroyed in a war centuries ago only to be rebuilt and rededicated to the Greek god Apollo. The structure is an amalgamation of stone and glass, and is incredibly well-illuminated in all places. Though the walls aren't transparent, there are some places where movement can be seen behind the walls. Overall, the temple has a very beautiful and very alien feel to it.


The group is met at the entrance by a priestess who welcomes them. They inquire as to Trias, and she politely asks what their relation to the man is. They are initially unable to explain their situation, but once again, quick thinking on the part of Telemachus and Anaxagoras gets the group in the door without too many questions. Meanwhile, Ala-din, Aurelia, Eithne, and Katri wait anxiously outside.


The priestess remains at the entrance and has a couple of the other priests lead Anaxagoras and the others inside to a room where a number of the madmen from the accident Trimedes described are being kept. The priests point to a lone figure huddled in the far corner who may be Trias, the one they seek. Telemachus remains outside the room while Polynices, Payne, and Anaxagoras enter the room. They find, however, the one they were directed to isn't Trias, but only a moment too late. The priests slam the door shut and bar it, and shout to the madmen to kill the intruders. A scuffle begins both within and without -- the two priests square off with Telemachus, while the others are attacked by the unarmed men in the holding room.


Not wanting to injure the "harmless" madmen, Polynices, Payne, and Anaxagoras, though armed, take great pains to employ nonlethal force. They find that the mob goes down fairly simply, though Polynices finds himself cursing his generosity as the undisciplined inmates avoid his attempts to incapacitate them. Payne and Anaxagoras together have the strength enough to pick up the slack, however.


Sensing trouble, the remainder of the party enters into the temple, and charges in the direction of the sounds of battle. They find Telemachus in the midst of battle with two of the priests, with on of them already staining the flagstones with his blood. Seeing the party's reinforcements, one of the priests flees down the hall, leaving the other to his fate. The party gives chase, and Telemachus releases Polynices and the others from the barred chamber, and the entire party pursues the last priest into the bowels of the temple.


Chasing the priest into a large, unfinished room, Eithne cuts the woman down with a flash of her twin scimitars. Though the excitement has calmed down for the moment, it isn't long before the party realizes they aren't alone in the room. Meanwhile, Anaxagoras has found a key on the body of one of the fallen priests and is looking for a door; as he catches up with the party, he finds that the key goes to a locked door in the unfinished room. There is one of the undead in the unfinished room, and the party moves to deal with the creature, realizing too late that the monstrous creature is bound to the scaffolding supporting the ceiling. As Polynices and Telemachus close to dispatch the beast, it shakes itself loose and the ceiling begins to rain deadly shards of glass down on the party.


Having only just worked open the locked door, Anaxagoras yells to the party to head down the stairs on the other side, as stone and scaffolding collapses, blocking the other exits. The first ones down the stairs, Ala-din, Eithne, and Katri, startle a man dressed as a priest. The entire wall opposite the entrance, it seems, is lined with victims chained to the wall in varying states of discomfort. A hunched figure, wrapped from head to toe in funerary wrappings, stands near the priest. Whatever glowing energy the priest had in his hand fades and he snarls an order to the bandaged figure to attack the intruders.


Ala-din is the first one to approach the bandaged figure, shrugging off fear and revulsion at the sight of the creature, only to have his quarterstaff bounce harmlessly off the creature's hide. The creature responds in kind by slamming its powerful fist into the chest of Ala-din with enough force to cause a cascade of dust and glass particles from the ceiling to rain down harmlessly. Ala-din wheezes and withdraws, trying to catch his breath after the devastating attack.


Eithne hurls one of her scimitars at the priest, and she scores a remarkable hit, gravely wounding the man. The man turns to flee, Polynices charges to intercept the priest, and thus is the next to feel the crushing force of the creature's attack. Eithne is the next to challenge the creature, though she is unable to more than scratch it with her blades. The creature turns its attack on her, next. The party notes with a mixed air of concern and curiosity, that despite the violent force of the creature's attacks, it fights without malice, as though it were under the thrall of another, probably the priest.


The priest manages to open a passage that leads deeper under the temple, but Polynices remains in pursuit, and manages to head him off by tumbling passed him into the darkness. In desperation, the priest uses a vile spell to try and deter Polynices, but he is unable to lay a hand on the warrior. Telemachus soon joins the battle against the creature, and is able to mete considerable damage on it.


Grabbing the priest by his robes, Polynices forces the man up against the wall and tries to prevent him from escaping further, though the snake is able to wriggle free of the grasp of Polynices and continues his flight down into the darkened tunnels, but not before he manages to lay a hand on Polynices and place a curse on him. Only a dozen steps away, the creature lands blow after bone-shattering blow on Eithne, who is finally forced to retreat to the far side of the room, leaving Telemachus to face the creature along. Ala-din is still trying to regain his breath after the creature knocked the wind from his lungs.


Polynices is able to slow the priest down, but the man is still making his way deeper into the tunnels, and each passage brings him closer to escape. Eithne and Katri manage to slip passed the creature as it duels with Telemachus, and soon join in the pursuit of the priest. Polynices grabs the man again, and this time is able to render him unconscious with a well-placed blow to the head. As he stoops over the man to bind him, Katri steps in and delivers a mortal wound with her bow at point-blank range. Stunned by his companion's action, Polynices drops the lifeless corpse.


Meanwhile, the battle continues to rage between the creature and Telemachus. Both dwarf and creature are rapidly reaching the end of their stamina, and it looks like the dwarf's energy is dwindling faster. A call comes up from below that the priest is dead, and Ala-din, who has finally caught his breath, shouts out to Telemachus and the bandaged figure to stop, and both combatants immediately cease their fighting. Without the priest controlling its actions, the bandaged creature has no will to fight. Telemachus, glad to see the powerful creature cease its hostilities, lowers his weapon, and the fight ends.






She's stuck between a dwarf and a bard place.


That was a terrible pun. One we shall never utter again.






She's stuck between a dwarf and a bard place.


We said we weren't going to use that pun again.


I never agreed to that.






A dwarf, a paladin, and an aristocrat walks into a bard. "Ouch," says the bard, "watch where you're going, Telemachus!"




Game Review






EXP by Player












Next Session

Date: November 22nd, 2008

Link: rw081122


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