Posting mode: Reply
Password(Password used for file deletion)
  • Supported file types are: GIF, JPG, PNG
  • Maximum file size allowed is 3072 KB.
  • Images greater than 250x250 pixels will be thumbnailed.
  • Read the rules and FAQ before posting.
  • ????????? - ??

  • File : 1317862147.jpg-(69 KB, 800x504, 1315317490112.jpg)
    69 KB Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)20:49 No.16533524  
    Story time! Picking up where I left off: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/16523963/
    You want chaos? This fight we had next was chaos.

    The paladin does a detect evil. The DM informs him "You get pings all over. The whole group isn't evil, but some of them are."

    The paladin charges Levain for a smite evil, hits him hard. So hard, Levain immediately turns into a swarm of bats and flies down into the church basement to retreat. The paladin charges after him, the duskblade is in hot pursuit.

    Another guy from the crowd (he had a reason) takes the opportunity of the confusion to tackle the dragon shaman and starts fighting him. Isolated, the dragon shaman is doing fairly well in the fight, but his main party roll of 'making everyone better' gets weakened when he starts having to back up the stairs to the second level to retreat from the (now two) guys attacking him.

    The crowd starts fighting itself, accusations are flying, who knew what, why did you let this happen.

    A large part of the group swarms me. The warforged-bard runs to help me, and gets me a flanking position where I actually start getting sneak attacks (sub-dual still... I didn't want to kill the confused commoners unless it became me or them).

    The dragon shaman takes a running leap from the second level balcony and back to ground floor, softens some of the damage with tumble, but still hits negatives. One of the guys who attacked him moves for a coup de grace, the other comes after me.

    And then the archivist opens fire from the pew with his kython dart gun. 1 piercing damage to both of them.

    Attacker: "What did you think that'd accomplish? Oh no, a splinter, I-" and then falls to one knee, breathing heavily as the venom eats 4 of his CON right then and there. "What...what was"
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)20:52 No.16533552
         File1317862343.jpg-(375 KB, 600x910, 1316573160010.jpg)
    375 KB
    The other attacker loses enough hitpoints that he drops into negatives. The crowd backs away from the archivist and the three of us group together. The bard manages to get the dragon shaman back into positives, and the four of us go running after the paladin/duskblade/vampire combo while the first attacker limps after us.

    (I hope I'm explaining this clearly).

    Now, while this was going on, the vampire raked over the duskblade in bat-swarm form, and she's bleeding heavily. The vampire reforms, the duskblade gives him a whack, he gives the paladin a whack, they all trade blows for a few rounds while the vampire tries to turn the situation to his advantage (spider climb? still getting stabbed. Cover from the table? paladin kicked it over my head, ect)

    They drop the vampire, but, you know how that goes. He turns into a mist and seeps through a bunch of cracks in the stone wall (...and we all get hit with a heavy clue-by-four). We catch up, the paladin lays on hands on the duskblade so she stops losing hitpoints, and the paladin starts hammering away at the wall and trying to tear at the stones.

    Anyway. We get through the stone wall with some effort, and we find? Stone passages. Filled with spiders, webs, dust... A few doors here and there leading to other hallways and rooms. We know there's a vampire coffin in here somewhere, but it looks like something more too. There are unholy symbols, small altars, bloodstains.

    After a few looks around, the Archivist informs us that it's a 'temple' to the demon prince of undeath, Orcus. It's less of a full blown temple, but it's likely a place that a cult of Orcus can meet in secret. The layout also suggests that it will lead to under the cemetery too.
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)21:01 No.16533637
         File1317862866.jpg-(121 KB, 565x570, 1317092469652.jpg)
    121 KB
    We trek in a ways, carefully. We're looking for a vampire coffin after all, it's recovering down here somewhere. But after a few passages? We hear a thunk behind us. An oil barrel was just punctured and pushed over by the guy who attacked the dragon shaman, and it sloshes around our feet. He's looking sickly from the venom, but is standing strong.

    He strikes a torch and gives us this line. "Orcus prefers his sacrifices be made in the darkness, not the flame. But this will have to do", and starts lowering the torch to the oil.

    Paladin, out of character: “Then I guess it's time for me to summon my mount.”

    Warforged, out of character: “Yeah, a horse probably won't help us much down here.”

    Paladin: “Yeah, I don't have a horse anymore. Trust me.”

    The DM smiles slyly, and tells us what we see. A dark shape melts from the ceiling and descends slowly towards the attacker. We can't make it out in the shadows, but it's big.

    Paladin, in character, to the attacker: "As a warrior of all that's virtuous and honest in this world, I need to inform you that a giant spider is about to attack you from behind."
    The attacker smirks.

    And finally we see it. The flame from the torch reflects off its segmented eyes, and we see the dark, but somehow 'silvery' carapace of a celestial monstrous spider grapple the attacker effortlessly and spin him up in a bundled web before pulling him up and dropping the torch to the stone ground harmlessly.

    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:10 No.16533716
         File1317863440.jpg-(1.22 MB, 2835x1580, 1317098011937.jpg)
    1.22 MB
    Yup. Our paladin has a brand new bag. And it's AWESOME. First off, a silvery carapace and golden eyes? Oh yes. And it's slower than a horse, but it has a climb speed, and webs (no venom. Paladin spiders don't get venom, fair enough). And he can RIDE it, and it's INTELLIGENT, and friendly towards us. I think it's less physically durable than a horse, but I don't care. CELESTIAL SPIDER MOUNT.

    Our paladin is still a good guy, and a warrior of paladin morals. But he's become, uh, 'dark' and insane enough that heaven isn't giving him a horse anymore. He's gonna be riding around on a Large sized spider.

    And I fully approve.

    The townspeople are pretty overwhelmed at this point. Too much going on. The zombies, the murders, us busting in, the vampire, and now there's a demon worshiping cult in town and we have no idea who are members of it?

    But, they found out that in about 17 hours, the archivist is going to be able to summon enough food for everyone, and then some. It's going to be bland oatmeal, but nutritious, and people on the brink of starvation usually aren't upset about oatmeal.

    Suddenly they like us a whole lot more, which is fair I guess. They've even agreed not to kill me when no one else is looking. I'm still wary though.

    The paladin has opted NOT to let them know he rides a giant spider. Seems...uh, yeah. But we found a few rooms full of ancient religious lore, and a few useful items. I even found some decent makeshift armor that's good for me, and a collar that keeps me under a constant "Gentle Repose" to prevent me from rotting so the archivist can use his spell slots for more important stuff. (the collar was the vampires actually).
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:17 No.16533768
         File1317863849.jpg-(143 KB, 792x1300, 1317099404818.jpg)
    143 KB
    I will say that I don't think the BBEG will be a straight up vestige. (if we even have one straight up like that, our DM doesn't always give us one big "Mwuhahah" kinda guy. In fact it's kinda rare). I also don't foresee a macguffin, but it is possible. That's another thing our DM doesn't like to do, big "Omg reach this to save the world" buttons.

    I dunno how this is going to go down, truth be told. (also, we're higher level at this point, but we were 8 at the start of this section, so yeah)

    The psychos of the party are sleeping in the stone cellar/hidden temple of the church, for lack of better locations. The vampire is staked and beheaded, we've got some loose upgrades to our total party wealth, and the commoners we're with are actually kind of fond of us, even if we creep them out, because the one who mumbles constantly about evil things in the dark and chews his nails compulsively (archivist) occasionally comes out of the cellar and summons enough oatmeal to keep everyone in good health.

    The paladin finally named his mount, "Gold Widow", and the people learned about it when we started making runs out throughout the town looking for survivors. We made a ladder system out the second story window so we could get to the roof of the church, and the paladin summoned his giant spider mount.

    One of the commoners response to seeing the paladin riding around the outside of the building on a silvery spider? "*throw up hands* whatever, sick of this, things are normal and then BOOM, zombies, giant spiders, vampires, I DON'T CARE ANYMORE, JUST DON'T LET US DIE"

    Anyway. The archivist learns some decent new spells, and discovered more about the Orcus problem. Now, for anyone who doesn't know a lot about D&D demons, or binders, I'll summarize what's up and what we have figured out.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:19 No.16533782
         File1317863978.jpg-(286 KB, 1024x768, 1317238462865.jpg)
    286 KB
    Orcus is a demon lord. Arguably, he's one of the three most powerful demons in existence, warring with Demogorgon and Graz'zt (two other demon lords). At one point in this endless parade of death and slaughter, Orcus was killed.

    Orcus, was resurrected however. A surge of negative energy transformed him into the undead demon, Tenebrous, who became so wrathful and powerful that he even became a deity. For a time, Tenebrous existed in this form, trying to find a way to return as "Orcus" instead of as tenebrous, until one way or another he too was killed. His power managed to cause Orcus to rise once again, but as a living demon, not a god.

    The power of his divinity, "Tenebrous", faded into the nothingness between nothings, the void that vestiges reside in. Now, the binder base class (using pact magic) can summon forth Tenebrous (as with any other vestige) and bind him to their soul, granting him the ability to experience existence in exchange for some taste of his power. (This was all official D&D stuff, not something our DM made up).

    Orcus, however, is not happy with this setup. Orcus doesn't want to be a demon prince, he wants to be a GOD. He struggles to, among other goals, steal Tenebrous back from the void and regain that measure of divinity.

    And apparently, he found a way. Or at least, we can only assume

    Which leave us with exactly bubkiss. We're level 9 and we discover that the world is broken because one of the three more powerful beings in existence did something horrible. Sounds like business for the gods, right? Except divine natures: 1) aren't simple, and 2) aren't something they just chat with mortals about. We kinda feel hopeless here.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:26 No.16533843
         File1317864362.jpg-(70 KB, 940x589, 1316669840536.jpg)
    70 KB
    To distract ourselves from how helpless we feel, we spend some time trying to get the town in some semblance of working order. There's too many zombies to just start hacking away at, even with ranged weapons and magic it would be a waste of effort. So our paladin weaves a web from the top of the church to the next building. And so on. Meanwhile, we're using whatever material we can find to build makeshift ladder/bridges, and laying those between other rooftops. We didn't find many survivors, but the people can now move across the rooftops, and we did save a few of them (though they all freaked out when they saw their 'champion' come descending down on a strand of spider silk and a monstrous vermin). The dragon shaman can spider climb at will, thanks to his dragon type, so he used that to good end as well.

    While we were doing this, our archivist (who took "Craft Wonderous Items") is warding some of the hallways with divine traps to prevent anything from coming in that way, and crafting something for the townspeople. He made a series of dishes with lids that, once a day, can produce enough food to feed three people each. He made enough for everyone (and a few extra) and kept three of them for us. (as a note, yeah, our DM will let us design our own magical items, and is pretty lax on XP/gold costs for it, as long as we don't abuse it (and everything is approved by him in the end anyway, so we can't really abuse it)).

    (Also, I used my ability to go ethereal (now twice per encounter, and twice a day anytime in addition to that as 'ace up the sleeve' uses) to good ends while searching the town, and looted the heck out of it, not that there's anywhere we can spend anything currently. Hey, good team or not, dead or alive, I am still a rogue.)
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:26 No.16533858
         File1317864414.jpg-(170 KB, 850x1475, 1317271788157.jpg)
    170 KB
    We tried to figure out who was in the Cult of Orcus in the city, but there's no way we can tell, as far as we're aware. If anyone in the crowd of survivors WAS an Orcus worshiper, they're smart enough to not draw attention to themselves now. And most of them are probably shamblers at this point, so we're kind of at a loss on that front.

    While we were trying to figure it out though, we picked up on something some of the commoners thought was just rumor, and some swore was true, about a witch who was visited by 'otherworldy forces', and who was driven away and lives in the woods outskirting the city as a result.

    So left between searching the town for clue about the Orcus cult, or the catacombs under the city to see exactly what's up with it, or go to see this spooky witch. We did something that, any horror movie fan knows to never do.

    That's right suckers. We split up.

    Team "Lunatic" set out through the city to get to the woods and look for the witch. The dragon shaman, the duskblade, and the paladin (and Gold Widow). We figured they'd be doing the most sword swinging, so having both heavy hitters and a heal-battery would do them to most good.

    Team "Dora" (....really). The Archivist, me the rogue, and the warforged bard, all set down into the catacombs. We're all the exploring type, the archivist would know more about what was going on, I'd know more about getting us through whatever we found, and the bard would be good backup for us.

    For anyone wondering how this works, we'd go back and forth between the teams at natural sticking points, but we were all interested, even if we weren't actually actively participating in between teams.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:27 No.16533872
    Anyone reading?
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)21:30 No.16533892
    you bet I am I've been waiting all night!
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)21:31 No.16533909
    Get your fucking hands back on that keyboard
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:37 No.16533964
         File1317865079.png-(392 KB, 393x495, 1317277336161.png)
    392 KB
    Now, I talk about moving around the town like it was no big deal. It wasn't. There was enough zombies that just being mobile enough to get through was problematic, and they weren't that dangerous, but even zombies hit on a natural 20, and some of them were heavy hitters. No sentient ones, thankfully.

    But it was stressful going rescuing people, much less leaving with no guaranteed route back in, or wondering when a zombie was going to smile at you and spring a trap because it still had a brain.

    So, the 'hitter' team sets out across the rooftops, weapons ready. Some of the zombies follow them as they move across the rooftops, but most don't pay that much attention. They make it to the edges of town fairly easily, move down off the buildings, and out into where it starts to turn rural, keeping their eyes peeled for signs of trails or travel that might lead to a house or cottage. They wished we had a ranger, or druid, or something.

    The woods were... rough. But more creepy than numerically troublesome. They kept getting attacked by undead animals. A rough patch was a swarm of squirrels. Zombie squirrels. Like I said, numerically they decimated everything they had to fight, but it was just kind of depressingly creepy. The undead animals were attacking the living ones, most of the wilderness had no real chance to speak of. It was a dead place. Sunny day after the storms or no, this was horrible. Something. It wasn't a friendly looking place. It was dark inside.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:43 No.16534010
         File1317865380.jpg-(447 KB, 1000x1060, 1317277485768.jpg)
    447 KB
    The woman just sits there, shaking, holding herself, the acid doesn't seem to be bothering her. But it's dripping from the ceiling and burning the paladin and duskblade. The dragon shaman switches his aura to provide acid resistance, but the cabin is literally puddling up with acid, the resistance won't protect them when they're swimming in it. They start freaking out, the duskblade punches the woman, but she doesn't respond, they start beating the walls. Nothing. The paladin bullrushes the door, hoping to knock it off its hinges. It buckles, but he hits it hard and stumbles back. He takes another charge, the door finally cracks, breaks, and the two of them come spilling out.
    They look back. The blackness has returned.

    The cottage is some kind of freaking venus flytrap. It's assumed that the bones are from other people and animals which were brave or stupid enough to wander in, and the woman apparently calls it home. The darkness, the walls, the acid, the window (which the duskblade checks, and apparently they're panes of force). It's all to keep everyone else out, and the woman in.

    But they need her, right? She's not responsive, but we need to know what's going on. So after much debate, the paladin breaks the door off from its hinges, chucks it into the woods, and charges in alone. He reaches the woman, and the darkness fades again, and the walls start dripping acid again. But he has an exit. He picks up the woman (who's now screaming in rage) and charges out the front door with her. She's fighting, weakly, but Gold Widow spins her up into a bundle of web.

    She immediately calms down. She still looks like she's covered in shadows, even with the sunlight beating down on her. She speaks. "Don't....let me go. Don't let him go" and resumes staring into nothingness and not responding.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:43 No.16534017
         File1317865435.jpg-(104 KB, 600x836, Drugs_Domain_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    104 KB
    The cabin now looks normal, aside from, you know, the bones of everything that died in an acid bath. The paladin goes in again (yes, he has a death wish. He's a death delver, remember?). He can't find much that survived the acid. Wood and bone is just about all of it. But he does find a few items that were apparently treated to be acid resistant. Some kind of magical experiment. He came to the conclusion that it was the woman herself who set this up. Whatever's wrong with her, she didn't want anything coming for her, and she didn't want any way out herself.

    So, you know, hopefully we didn't screw up by tearing her out of her little burning nest.

    Team "lunatic" starts setting out back to the church in the city, unsure of themselves.

    They run into real trouble coming back. The shamblers that followed after them are thicker on this side of the city now, and they have a helpless 'hostage' in tow. They can't get to the rooftops. But they CAN get to the cemetery.

    Long story short, they go over the wall, up into the cemetery, and start hoping it's not a dead end. They find a mausoleum that is locked like a bank vault, and break into it. And find out that it's not a mausoleum. It's just a marble shell around a pit into the darkness below.

    Gold Widow starts dropping on a silk strand down into the pit, carrying the psycho witch woman, and the three others start climbing down after them.

    (And as a side note, my DM apparently does a really good "crazy woman who can barely speak" voice, because when he said "....he....hates?" It seriously sent a chill up my spine. It helped that his face was behind a screen.)
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)21:44 No.16534025
    >Paladin and school marm holding hands
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:45 No.16534037
    Short break guys, don't let the thread fall down too far
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:51 No.16534090
         File1317865896.jpg-(181 KB, 512x630, 1317277870476.jpg)
    181 KB
    The Striker team leaves the church through the rooftop pathways we've constructed, while the exploration team, me the rogue/factotum, the bard warforged, and the archivist, all set down into the stone halls branching out from the church. The DM describes the halls, including mentioning that everything's extremely dusty. My response? "So am I. Even this outfit is dusty".

    I joke, but this part is actually pretty chilling. While the attack team is topside, in stark unforgiving sunlight and running past moaning zombies, we're lowering ourselves quietly into what amounts to one giant tomb. We know there was a vampire down here, what else?

    It's slow going too. I'm creeping forward looking for dangerous situations, the bard is aiding me and doing some searching himself a few footsteps behind me (never know when the bard will roll a 20 while I roll a 1 right? We might as well both be checking). The archivist is a few steps behind the both of us, shining a small wooden pole with a magical light on the end (which doesn't provide much illumination) and scribbling notes about the construction of the area and some of the markings/designs of the stuff we encounter.

    Every now and then, we come across a door. I didn't have any trouble unlocking them, and there were no real traps to speak of (actually, there was one door that sent a small spike into the openers palm. 1 piercing damage, and a wicked STR damage poison with a high save DC. "I'm glad I'm dead". Even managed to get a few doses of the poison out of the device, after it pricked me).

    Inside the rooms were, sadly, a lot of nothingness. There were tables and chairs, tapestries, occasionally you'd find a weapon or two. We found a vial of black liquid that we had trouble identifying. The archivist couldn't figure it out, and it didn't seem to be magical. Out of sheer curiosity, the archivist popped it open and let the smell of it reach him. He actually had to roll a fort save to resist vomiting.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:52 No.16534103
         File1317865953.jpg-(119 KB, 593x788, 1317527340022.jpg)
    119 KB
    "it's just ichorous sludge. Blood, or some other biological matter that's gone far rotten. Probably collected from a gravesite or something for a dark ritual of some kind"

    The warforged is still humming. I ask him why he hums so much, especially when we might be trying to hear danger approaching. Apparently his creator enjoyed his humming, as silence made him uncomfortable. So he made a point to hum whenever there wasn't much going on.

    But he'll be quiet if his new friends want him to.

    I hated telling him it was a good idea, but really, when every noise you make echoes throughout the dusty stone chambers of unknown horrors, it's time to shut the heck up. So he agreed to keep the humming to appropriate times.

    One of the more significant rooms we discover is, apparently, where the cult of Orcus actually spent time whenever they got together. There are musty old books, and less-musty books (which turned out to be journals about some vague plans of theirs). In the back of the room was an altar made out of skulls and chains, and a bone pile in the corner. The bones were stained with blood, and the room smells like a slaughterhouse.

    There wasn't much useful there, but we took a bit of a break while the archivist leafs through the books and journals, putting the ones that seemed relevant in his pack. One of the books he goes through is, at a glance, just a few hundred pages of music sheets. The bard perks up and grabs it from him, and starts reading it intently.
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)21:56 No.16534140
         File1317866211.jpg-(59 KB, 530x461, 1317605314871.jpg)
    59 KB
    Awwww yeah, I get home from work and find this at the very top of the page.

    Keep it coming, OP!
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:56 No.16534143
         File1317866219.jpg-(59 KB, 750x928, andarielreduced3vx.jpg)
    59 KB
    The bard is content to check out the music book. The archivist is more concerned with going through the rest of the tomes. But me? I'm thinking "Why the heck does the cult of Orcus have a book full of sheet music? They don't seem like the jovial singing bunch, and if they do have some kind of ritual chants or something, I doubt they need a thick book of sheet music to keep it up.

    So while the other two are nose deep in books, I get to one side of the bookshelf and give it a good stuff push. It slides along the ground (very, very noisily, echoing throughout the halls. Which made me uncomfortable, and cause the other two to stare at me awkwardly). Yup. There's a hidden safe behind the bookcase.

    The archivist says he's perplexed, and asks me why I would assume there was a safe behind the shelves just because we found a book of sheet music. I told him that he just couldn't think like a thief, and the if you find one thing that's out of place, it usually means there's something bigger out of place related to it. So while they set back to the books, I set to safe-cracking. Which actually took 3 rolls to bypass. Inside the safe, was some cool stuff. A skull charred black (creepy). A pair of masterwork lockpicks, a dagger with unidentified properties (later, it turned out the dagger was enchanted with the sole property of being able to convert sneak attack damage on the undead into either STR or DEX damage instead of 'nothing'! :D), and apparently the reason the safe existed. A flute, with imagery in Bas-relief from end to end. Beautiful imagery depicting a sunrise and praying hands. The bard flipped through the book, and found some notes scribbled in abyssal, which the archivist translated
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:57 No.16534152
         File1317866279.jpg-(82 KB, 900x1150, ao-archer2.jpg)
    82 KB
    Apparently, the flute had belonged to a powerful priest of some unnamed religion. It was stolen by the cult of Orcus, and was being smuggled around looking for someone powerful enough to destroy it. The book too, was tied to the flute, and would re-appear near the flute even if burned to ashes. It was full of "disgusting" (to the cult) beautiful holy music, most of which was mundane, but some of which apparently had real magical effects. The book was supposed to be locked in the safe too. Apparently, the book decided otherwise. Not that it's intelligent, just.... yeah. There must have been a reason it was on the shelf, right?

    The bard tucked the book into the pack, and gave the flute a good looking over. Without thinking, he brought it up to his mouth (mouthpiece?) and started playing a few notes (and when the DM asked if he'd give up a use of his bardsong, he agreed).

    The DM actually played the theme to Pan's Labyrinth here. Which, if you haven't heard it, it's really beautiful and haunting. He described the area around the bard starting to glow faintly, spreading out in a soft but all encompassing light, driving back the shadows.

    Which is when we saw it.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)21:59 No.16534164
         File1317866343.jpg-(166 KB, 800x1110, atlanticaa26_aB4vlyFp4j8.jpg)
    166 KB
    Through the doorway, along the wall across the hallway, a pale humanish figure with flat gray-green eyes hunched, apparently wearing nothing but a few light chains wrapped around himself, watching us intently. When it realized we could see it, it hissed and ran forward out of our field of view. The bard stopped playing, startled, and everything was plunged back into shadows.

    We stood motionless for a while, nervous. Okay, terrified. We didn't want to leave the room, wondering if that thing was right around the corner waiting for a fight. We had no clue what it was (even the archivist. Rolled knowledge rolls, came up with nothing).

    Finally we realized we had no choice but to exit. The bard lifted the flute and played his tune again while we walked. It cast light out to a 60 foot radius (30 feet past my darkvision I got from being undead). The bard had to make perform rolls to keep playing the song every few rounds). We'd advance carefully, making spot checks. The archivist had his bone shard pistol out, I had my new dagger and a few other daggers in my belt. We didn't see anything.

    Then the bard failed a perform roll. The song ended, and the area was plunged into black again. The archivist had 20 feet of light around him, the bard could only see the archivist, and I could see in 30 feet around me (I could just barely see the archivist at this points, he was 30 feet away. (well, mind you, we were in a hallway, so I could see 30 feet in any given direction from where I was, not a 30 foot radius).

    The DM rolled some kind of attack, and then told the archivist to roll a reflex save to hold otno his light-stick. he failed. The DM didn't give us tactical information, he just told us what we saw. And he gave a lot of the information to us individually, so we didn't automatically know what everyone else was doing)
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:00 No.16534179
         File1317866413.jpg-(139 KB, 700x975, Delfos_oracle_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    139 KB
    Me and the bard both saw the archivist raise off the ground a few feet, and then the light source dropped and he was pulled.... well, away. Up, down, backwards? We didn't see, he was gone. The DM rolled for hitpoint loss on the archivist. Then he let the archivist take a shot with his boneshard crossbow, but he had to roll for direction, not anything specific. He did it by rolling 4 D20's. 2 D20's would be for the '2d' axis paralell with the floor, and 2 would be for opposite axis. Anything higher than a 36 on two dice was a re-roll. 1 and 36 were 'west' and 18 was 'east'.

    We didn't get to see what he rolled, but the DM said we heard a 'tick' sound as the boneshard hit in a specific spot between the two of us.

    Now, personally? I thought that was really darn clever. The archivist get s ablind pistol shot, so the DM rolls two 360 random directions and gives us the location the dart goes? It kinda pulled me in. Made me feel for the archivist, firing blindly, and really showed what a blind shot meant.

    The DM made the archivist roll some checks in secret (escape artist checks, with the benefit of hindsight). He failed.

    I had to roll a spot check. Then I got hit flat-footed, because the thing successfully closed the distance between us while hiding. It was a good hit on its part, and the DM said I could "Tell it was trying to sneak attack me, not realizing I wasn't alive".

    The bard runs to the light source, naturally, he can't see anything and isn't sure what to do.

    I debate running towards the bard, knowing he was probably freaking out as much as he does (I'm sure the DM just told him that he "heard the rogue shout in pain" or something). But instead I took a slash at the thing, hit it solid, and twice, but have no clue how much damage the thing can take.

    The archivist fails another 'unknown' check. The thing disappears. The bard runs towards where he heard me, ready for trouble. I run towards him.
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)22:04 No.16534208


    I've rarely seen a DnD campaign that effectively did this kind of slasher-movie esque attack, picking off members of the party one at a time. This is awesome.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:05 No.16534218
         File1317866701.jpg-(96 KB, 600x750, 1317792299811.jpg)
    96 KB
    Heh, now, our DM is great, but he's also willing to be a jerk. The bard apparently told him that he was gonna attack as soon as he saw it (or something comparable). The next thing he saw was me sprinting into his field of view. BOOM. The bard socks me hard in the stomach, knocks me over prone. He's very instantly apologetic.

    I down a light healing potion, not sure of what else to do other than getting my hitpoints back to full, and take a scan for trouble, or seeing if I can see the archivist.

    The archivist fails another check. Manages to make a noise we hear through his gag. He's on the ceiling, 20 feet up. Tied to some random creepy architecture and trying to get loose.

    The thing comes sprinting, charging full speed, hits the bard with some kind of charging grapple, because it wraps around him and the two go sprawling past me down the hallway, tumbling over each other. The thing lands on its back and kicks the bard over him in one fluid motion, sending him another 40 feet down the hall into a metal door, 4d6 damage. The bard hastes himself and throws the light down the hallway, shouting at me to take it. I shout that I don't need it, and he says "SO I CAN FIND YOU"

    Why didn't I think of that? So I tumble up to the light, grab it, and then coat my dagger in kython venom (I can make it once a day, 'spiritually', remember).

    The archivist makes his escape artist check (natural 20) and wriggles out of the chains. But now he's clinging to a bunch of creepy spiked designs 20 feet up. He opts to drop, taking the 1d6 damage for the fall. The thing takes another dash this time past me towards the archivist (JEEZ it was fast. it must have had 50 foot move rate before adding running or charging on top). I got an attack of opportunity, and nailed it with the kython venom. It staggered, but didn't stop its charge, and bullrushes the archivist hard into the stone corner, think it was 2d6 damage. The bard sprints towards me, I sprint towards the creature.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:08 No.16534245
         File1317866882.jpg-(111 KB, 500x697, Haquika_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    111 KB
    The archivist? Casts the only spell he has prepared besides cures. Light. On the chains wrapped around the creature. The creature snarls in rage and opens a full attack on the archivist, and drops him to negatives. The bard manages to close the distance between the two, get to the archivist, and give the creature two solid punches. I get up to the whole brawl and sneak attack the thing. It howls in rage and sprints down the hallway away from us, leaping up to the ceiling.

    The bard realizes that it's 50 feet away. His sound burst has a 45 foot radius. BOOM. 1d8 sonic damage, fails its save and is stunned. Drops from the ceiling and takes 1d6 damage from the fall. I UMD a cure wand, and bring the archivist back to consciousness.

    The archivist looks down the hallway at the thing covered in glowing chains, he's sitting there covered in his own blood, he has about 2 hitpoints. Takes his boneshard cossbow and fires. Hits the thing. 1 damage.

    It was the things last GOD D*** HITPOINT.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:08 No.16534250
    The DM ruled that it hit the thing in the neck and tore open an artery. It slumped against the wall and fell into a pile, drowning in its own blood.

    Our jaws, all 6 players, are dropped. The paladin player (remember the other teams are still watching entertained) managed to erk out a small "...what?". The DM has his eyebrows raised, he was a little stunned too. The archivist player holds his hand like a gun and looks at it wide eyed. We all stare at the archivist.

    Archivist: ".... uh. Hmm. For how little damage this thing does, it's been extraordinarily useful to have at hand. I guess I'll just keep hanging onto this".

    One freaking damage. Un-freaking-beleivable.


    Oh, also, he immediately came back to life, and was still pretty quick (which means he was probably a sentient vestige, just, you know, he wasn't smart to begin with, and they have the same mental faculties), but we cacked him pretty easily the second time. Basically just punched/stabbed him until he went down.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:10 No.16534263
         File1317867024.jpg-(162 KB, 811x1050, Hera_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    162 KB
    So we patch ourselves up, and keep on pressing down. We came to the conclusion that the thing must have been a hunter for the cult of Orcus. Or an enforcer. Or something. Whether it used to be human, or was just some monster they managed to wrangle into their service, it was obviously down here to keep victims chained up for sacrifice.

    If we were nervous before, now we're jumping at our own shadows. The archivist actually panicked and shot a rat just because it squeaked near us.

    But we're adventurers. More than that, we're explorers. An archivist of forbidden religious lore, a one-of-a-kind (in this world) sentient golem talespinner, and an undead rogue. If we aren't brave enough?...

    The archivist pointed out that we were under the cemetery. The bard asked how he could tell, and he gestures to the ceiling. There is, what looks like, upside down blades of black grass. "Soulroot. It's a type of grass that only grows underground, near dead bodies or sources of negative energy. We must be under a gravesite of some kind".

    Of course, when he tells us something like that, it's info the DM gave us. But having the player who would know about it explain it? So helpful for immersion.

    We also start finding spell components. More vials of, uh, that icky black stuff that smells bad. Small bones, animal parts, traces of gold dust glittering. We start noticing strange patterns etched into the walls. "Sealing symbols... they're often used by demonologists to keep their summons from turning on them. We need them in church rituals sometimes... they can weaken or hold evil outsiders in place..."
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:11 No.16534280
         File1317867103.jpg-(150 KB, 718x1000, Kiyohime_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    150 KB
    I've got a terrible feeling about this, but it's not like we're going to turn back. Finally, we come to the end of the line. Long stone hallway, metal door covered in "Sealing Symbols", with a red light glowing out from underneath it.

    We didn't even talk. We could have bickered about whether it was a good idea or not, but what would be the point. We all knew, one way or another, that door was getting opened. So I set to work on the locks.

    ...It wasn't locked.

    The door creaks open normally. The room is bathed in red light, and symbols on all the walls are glowing brightly with a more violent shade of red. In the center of the room is a tall dark figure with yellow eyes and sharp teeth. Circling him, are pillars of red light that seemingly have shapes of their own. The figure grins a wicked grin and waves slowly. We see that he has six fingers.

    Me: What? But, how? What's going on here?

    Archivist: It's... Graz'zt. A demon lord-

    "PRINCE!" it interrupted with a smile, in a deep and confident voice.

    Archivist: "A demon prince... wait. It's not him. it's an aspect... a lesser aspect."

    The figure gives an overly friendly smile with his eyes closed.

    So, yeah. To elaborate specifically. It was a weak splinter of the true Graz'zt, an aspect who arrived on the material plane to complete some minor but specific task he wanted done personally. We didn't know what, but he did tell us that the cult of Orcus 'intercepted' his planar travel, magically, and bound him here to prevent him from succeeding in whatever he wanted to do.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:13 No.16534298
         File1317867209.jpg-(158 KB, 789x1100, La_Tirana_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    158 KB
    We asked what he came here to do. "To destroy Orcus, of course". We kind of panicked a little at that. Asked it if Orcus was on the material plane. He simply rolled his eyes and dismissed us with a wave. Told us, actually very politely, that we didn't know the tiniest fraction of what truly going on. We asked if he would tell us more (the archivist, in particular, was wide eyed to actually be talking with an entity such as Graz'zt, even if through an incredibly weak aspect).

    He said that he might be inclined to shed some light on the darkness Orcus had shrouded us in, if we would do him a favor. Hesitant to make a deal with a demon, let alone a demon lord (er, prince), but really, REALLY needing to know what we were fighting against here, we asked what he wanted us to do. He told us that, somewhere in the area near the city, one of his more notable 'pets' was waiting to contact with him. He needed very much to come into contact with her, but was confined, mentally and physically to two locations. The True Graz'zt was still sitting in his palace in the abyss. The aspect of Graz'zt was currently confined to this small room with no way out. "Even if you somehow broke the seals binding me here, my time on this plane has run low. All that holds me here are these seals, and I don't know when I'll be able to return, or if I can avoid Orcus's forces the next time."

    Me: “So you want us to bring her...”

    Graz'zt: “Yes. Bring my pet to me, so I can do what I came here for originally. Then I might be inclined to tell you what, exactly, is "going on"".”

    Archivist: “Very well then. How can we find her?”

    Now, I'm sure you all see what's coming. We had our suspicions at the table.

    At that moment, a bundle of human wrapped in spider silk descended on a thin strand, to land off to the side of the figure. Graz'zt lets loose a low chuckle, turns to us, and says "I'm impressed. That was very fast."
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:15 No.16534315
         File1317867342.jpg-(73 KB, 450x627, Lilith_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    73 KB
    Come crawling down after her, are a dragon shaman and a duskblade, with a paladin riding a silver spider descending on his own line on the other side.

    Paladin, from above: "What in the 9 hells is this?!?!?!"
    Graz'zt, shouting up: "It's actually a tad bit more ABYSSAL than HELLISH down here.

    Graz'zt turned to the witch, who was apparently his thrall/servant/worshiper/'pet'. She crawled to him like a worm, inching forwards in her silk cocoon. All she managed to say was "Master".

    Dragon Shaman: “I knew this was a bad idea.”

    The two didn't even look at us. Graz'zt held his hand near the edge of his 'cage', and the woman ran her face slowly along the other side with her eyes closed. Graz'zt told her to stay strong for him, all she could do was nod.

    So then we get the exposition. Finally. We know, at least part of what's going on.

    We've already established the nature of vestiges, binders, tenebrous, Orcus. We know Orcus is trying to get Tenebrous back from the 'nothing' to become a god, which would essentially make him unstoppable. Orcus is already immensely powerful, Tenebrous was powerful enough to slay deities. If Orcus and Tenebrous managed to exist at the same time, in the same form? Well, we're talking about a being that would be able to go toe to toe with Asmodeus in a steel cage match, and Asmodeus is one of the most powerful beings anywhere. But Asmodeus has a calm collected restraint, he's a creature of law and rules. Orcus/Tenebrous would revel in nothing more than outright CARNAGE on a multi-planar scale. We're talking end of days, in more ways than one. No more world, no more AFTERLIFE, NOTHING. In the end, that is. First there would be a few hundred thousand years of slaughter and pain and inescapable suffering.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:17 No.16534327
         File1317867437.jpg-(128 KB, 650x905, Lilitu_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    128 KB
    But why hasn't it happened already? Vestiges are crossing over at an alarming rate. Some true powerful vestiges have come back as sentient creatures, and still more are probably inevitably going to come back with their power intact. If there's one vestige who should have already found a way in, it's the one the 'jailbreak' was PLANNED for, right?

    Except Graz'zt knew something was up, and Graz'zt is one devious, devious bastard. He managed to get enough servants, with enough power, to learn pact magic (become binders) for him. In the final days before the veil between this world and the nothing was pierced, his servants summoned Tenebrous to them.

    Tenebrous did not want to make pacts of course. His freedom from the nothing was close at hand anyway. But apparently, that's not how pact magic works. He couldn't just refuse, not yet, not before the veil was actually pierced. The difficulty in binding him (to make a good pact) was astronomical, but he could still BE bound.

    Now, it's been pointed out that when you bind a vestige and make a pact with them, you show their sign, and are influenced by their behavior. Actually, you don't HAVE to show their sign, or be influenced by them. If you make a good pact (beat the vestiges binding DC on a charisma roll), you stay in control. You supress their sign, control their influence, but still get their powers.

    But because Tenebrous didn't want to make any pacts, the DC for binding him was outrageous. No one had a chance of succeeding. So any of those who forced Tenebrous to bind with them automatically made bad pacts. They had to show tenebrous' sign, and behave under his influence. What are his sign and influence?

    You look like you're standing in shadows no matter what the light source, and you become apathetic and detached. One of your powers? You can create an area of blackness around you at will.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:17 No.16534334
    Another short break, don't let this die
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)22:23 No.16534389
         File1317867801.gif-(176 KB, 350x195, 1303169748809.gif)
    176 KB
    Oh boy I am enjoying the hell out of this story.

    Is this your playing group, OP? Or is from somewhere else?
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:33 No.16534486
         File1317868421.jpg-(143 KB, 718x1000, leda_by_genzoman-d34xx9r.jpg)
    143 KB
    The witch was Graz'zts servant. Always has been. A powerful one at that. When Graz'zt saw that the veil would be pierced, and tenebrous would escape, he had the witch (and several other people, 22 others in total, apparently) bind Tenebrous, knowing it would be a bad pact, knowing he would be fighting them to be freed.

    As long as one living soul has Tenebrous bound to a pact? He CAN'T LEAVE THE VEIL. They're anchoring him away from Orcus simply by continuing to breathe. Tenebrous is fighting them to escape, it's a terrible strain, they're forced to hold him longer than pacts are meant to be held (24 hours. It's currently going on weeks).

    The witch set up her cabin (using power granted from Graz'zt) as a pit for her to hide in. She's been there for weeks, eating scorched fragments of cultists or animals that have come to the house after her (or randomly), and alternating between catatonic staring into her own black shroud, or fighting the urge to kill herself (Tenebrous trying to escape). She's actually RELEIVED to be bound head to toe in spider silk, because being powerless means she can concentrate all her energy on holding Tenebrous inside of her.



    So, in the end, Graz'zt gave her encouraging words and reinforced her resolve and power in her servitude towards him. He convinced us (reluctantly) to undo the bindings holding him in the room, and true enough, he immediately vanished back to the abyss, no longer able to visit the material plane.

    He has no help he can give us, "Unless we come to the abyss to see him first hand, *evil chuckle*". But we really have only one SANE option here. We have to keep the witch with us. We have to keep her alive, defend her from the cultist of Orcus who would gladly kill her on sight, try to find as many of the other 22 as possible before they die, keep THEM alive, and try to find some way to get them to Graz'zt's layer of the abyss for safe keeping.

    We feel very very small.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:34 No.16534496
         File1317868489.jpg-(237 KB, 900x1273, lina_by_kunkka-d48x2or.jpg)
    237 KB
    The dragon shaman asked if the paladin should 'fall' for consorting with Graz'zt and the witch. The DM pointed out that talking to a bound demon isn't the same as making a deal with it, and that the witch, despite being evil, is our PRISONER, being held to prevent greater evil being committed.
    Really, sorry to bring up the paladin falling deal. We don't need another discussion about paladin ethics. Our DM said it was fine, it's fine :-p

    So that's all there is about THAT. We have the witch, who can act as a beacon towards the other servants of Graz'zt by her masters guiding hand. And we're, you know, screwed. As is the rest of the world.

    And lest we forget, EVERYTHING THAT DIES is still coming back to life, so it's not like this new problem resolves the old one.

    So, we set out northeast. We told the commoners we were leaving, even though we aren't beholden to them anyway. We gave them dishes that produce free food, we've really done all we CAN in this world to help them. We're setting out to help more, if we can.

    But try this on for size. As we're setting back out over the rooftops in the city, watching the swarms of zombies moaning angrily at us, I spot something. One of the zombies isn't moaning. it's not even moving. And it looks very familiar. It's rotten and beat to hell, but... it looks, like....
    And then the zombie flies out of the crowd and swoops over in front of us for a moment to wink and blow us a kiss. It's the wizard. The one who used to be in our party. I draw my crossbow and move to open fire, but he snaps his finger, and he's gone with a laugh.

    OF COURSE he found us. He knows us personally, and is a diviner specialist. CRAP.

    We kept our eyes peeled, but apparently he was just stopping by to make us wet ourselves. He seems to take great joy in making us uncomfortable. I wonder what vestige he was.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:36 No.16534517
         File1317868610.jpg-(137 KB, 650x906, Medea_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    137 KB
    Join Date: May 2006

    Default Re: The SilverClawShift Campaign Archives
    A Dance in the Woods


    So we set out on the open road. Or more specifically, we set out through the woods, figuring the undead animals would be creepier, but less dangerous, than a lot of stuff we might face traveling in the open. We would make camp in the trees, sleeping in spider webs spun by gold widow, and we had relatively little trouble with undead animals.

    We did have some stuff go on, but most of it was minor. We traveled for days, resting lightly, using our magic lightly so we could go on for longer without the (risking) resting period. Occasionally we'd fight, most of the time we just simply out-paced the forces after us. It bit us in the behind once, when we wound up resting and woke to discover that the monsters we outpaced had found us, and there were a lot more of them than we would have had to fight individually.

    But we pressed on. After a few days of travel, the witch tells us the binder we were heading northeast for is dead. The next closest one is straight east.
    So this is looking positive right? Pessimism instantly overwhelms us as a group. Not in a bad way (the game was still fun) but we're certainly feeling rather hopeless. We ask the witch how far the next one is, and all she says is "far".

    We don't have a choice though. We change our course for east. As we walk, we start asking the archivist how we could get the binders to the abyss, alive and whole. He says that we can shift to the abyss, but without explicit knowledge of the plane, we have no way of telling WHERE we'll wind up. We could easily end up shifting directly in front of Orcus himself.


    Yeah, things are bleak.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:38 No.16534533
         File1317868711.jpg-(79 KB, 450x627, Marowit_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    79 KB
    To make matters worse, we noticed something that put our hairs on end. There was a large pack of wolves through the trees just ahead, all dead, sitting patiently and watching us. It seemed like there was something wrong with the picture (well, wrong in addition to the fact that they were rotting) and then we noticed. None of them had eyes. But they didn't just have eyes sockets. There was nothing but darkness there, as if their heads were hollow pits of blackness.

    We walked forwards slowly, weapons draw, and eased along one side of them. As we turned, so did they. They turned their heads to keep us directly in their field of 'vision', and turned their bodies when they couldn't turn their necks anymore. They didn't attack us. They just watched. They didn't follow us. They just....watched.

    We started looking around. Birds in the trees. No eyes. Craning their necks towards us. Squirrels. Rabbits. A deer. No eyes, not a single one, just that horrible empty blackness, all just staring at us as we traveled.

    At some point, they stopped staring at us. They were staring forwards, in the direction we were going. We actually stopped to debate veering off in some random direction at that revelation. Talk about ominous? You might as well have thunder crash.

    But after a long discussion, we come to the conclusion that, whatever's happening here, we can't FIGHT it if we don't know what IT is. So we press on in the direction the animals are staring. It's getting dark, very dark, even though the sun's only been up for a few hours.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:39 No.16534547
         File1317868799.jpg-(63 KB, 600x750, motivator2355006.jpg)
    63 KB
    We see, ahead, in the trees, a clearing... in a sense. It's the opposite of a clearing. It's a void. We can tell where the land is, it's still there, but it's like we're staring into a starless sky at the same time. There's a dead body in the clearing, twitching. The animals, they're all staring at the body. We're staring at the body. Some of the animals aren't just staring though, they're running in a circle, and darting across it in strange patterns, climbing over each other, and continuing to run counter clockwise.

    As we watch, the corpse spins too spins. There on its back, it circles in brief jerking motions like a top. A blade thrusts OUT of one it its arms, shredding the hand into a puddle of gore with a sickening sound. It twists and jerks, spinning up onto the blade/hand. One leg rises straight in the air, and another blade thrusts from it calf, shredding the foot, pointing straight towards the sky.

    One by one, the things hands and feet are shredded by blades coming violently from inside its body. It's distant, but we can tell the things face is distorting, horribly.

    And then it begins to spin.

    Archivist: "Saints have mercy on us, that's the dancer."

    It sees us immediately, and comes dancing towards us in strange elegant patterns, spinning like some bloody bladed top the entire time. As it approaches, it spins so rapidly against a large tree that the trunk turns into woodchips where it moved and the tree collapses.
    We circle into a group, figuring splitting up is suicide. We put the witch in the dead center, to protect her.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:41 No.16534559
         File1317868861.jpg-(66 KB, 600x750, motivator7455338zt5.jpg)
    66 KB
    The thing (Paimon, a vestige, for those who haven't guessed, a vestige of dancing blades) comes spinning towards us, up into a tree in on fluid motion, spins, POUNCES, and falls directly into the center of our square (won initiative :-\) and hits the witch, hard. I'll spare you the gory details, partially because it'd take days and days to write if I detail every encounter we've had up until this point.

    But in the end, we had the vestige gurgling blood, and in its death throws. (Our DM, by the way, apparently does a really wicked death gurgle/vestige/garbled voice). And it asks us. "What do you think will happen if you kill me?"
    And our paladin says, triumphantly, "Back to the void with you."

    The vestige starts to reply. "yes... back to the void. But a more important question would be-" and here, the paladin rolls his dice (physically) saying he attacks the thing right now. He crits, destroys the thing utterly (sliced it in half in one strike), and the thing implodes into nothingness.

    We cheer.

    And then, from one of the animals (a dog), we hear a gurgling garbled voice. "The more important question..." it wracks and twists, its form warping. A blade thrusts from one of its limbs, which are becoming more human every second. "The more important question, is why do you think I'll stay there this time?" *Suicide grin*

    To quote our paladin... well... you know.

    What can we do here? The thing, if it can't OUTPACE us, can at least KEEP pace with us. We're surrounded by dead animals. We don't know if there's a size limit on corpses, but apparently the link has been MADE, the dancer is MANIFEST, he won't stay GONE, and we are TREMBLING.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:42 No.16534574
         File1317868937.jpg-(136 KB, 650x905, Original_Sin_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    136 KB
    Then comes the awesome. The paladin and duskblade, fearless sods they are, both charge the thing in a rage. As this is happening, the bard nonchalantly (he's very nonchalant) asks the archivist why they call him "The dancer". The archivist just looks at him (it) like he's crazy and starts casting to help the Paladin and Duskblade.

    The bard? The bard whips out his flute and starts playing that song again. The light begins to glow around him... and Paimon (the dancer)? Begins to dance.

    "Stop that!" it howls. The bard keeps playing. It screams in rage. The bard keeps playing. It dances in circles around us, twirling furiously in the directions the bard takes it. And finally, the bard dances him straight between two trees. Two trees gold widow had spun a thick sturdy web in.

    The dancer stutters, starts slicing through the web, but gold widow is there. She immediately begins spinning the dancer under her... wrapping him, tightly, arms and legs extended, until he's nothing but a tube of web (screaming furiously at us of course).

    We book it. I mention that it's only a matter of time before it gets loose, to which the dragon shaman says "Then we'd better not stop to chit chat". Despite that, the archivist tells us a brief history of what we were just fighting. Most of us knew, in a meta-gaming sense though. But yeah, that was a vestige given flesh. Apparently they were starting to find ways in, and once they were here, they could just keep coming.


    Anyway, we ran and got some good distance between us. And then we notice? The animals. They're all staring at us again...
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:43 No.16534592
         File1317869027.jpg-(66 KB, 600x750, PackLord.jpg)
    66 KB
    Before a similar mess could happen, there came the wind. Distant and soft at first, but growing until the trees were swaying back around us and we could barely hear each other. The wind carried a voice with with it (complete with a spooky sound clip). It was hard to make out (thankfully, the DM let us listen to it a few times) but we picked out what seemed to be an echoing whisper saying a lot we couldn't make out, plus "come to the north. We can help".

    The sound clip was very intimidating. It was ominous sounding at best. At worst it was horrifying.

    So now we're left with a tough decision. Do we follow the breeze, and head north with the witch in tow, hoping we can keep her alive? Or do we head east, trying to save another binder bound to tenebrous.

    We were fairly split over the whole thing, and actually talked about splitting up again (I convinced everyone that would be suicide at this point. Splitting up is one thing when you have a safe base, but at this point it'd be a game over).

    We finally decided to head north. We were having a hard time keeping this one binder alive, let alone two at once. If whatever was up there was setting a trap, well, we were screwed anyway. Things couldn't really get much worse, right?

    Haha. hee. Oh.

    I am, unfortunately, going to gloss over the travel a little bit. We had encounters with the undead, of course. Sometimes, we'd wind up squaring off against foes that were still alive, including a small group of Orcus cultists (and some summoned demons...) who tracked us down trying to kill off the Tenebrous binder. We even had to fight a few more binders, but fighting them meant "Finding some way to keep them from following us while we book it". I'm not trying to be abrupt, it's just, it would be a small novel if I detailed the whole campaign
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:44 No.16534599
         File1317869078.jpg-(82 KB, 523x799, sample-9ea66bb5acbac5c8489fa76(...).jpg)
    82 KB
    Eventually, the breeze came back. It directed us, in small bits, through the area we needed to go. We came to a rocky mountain pass we had to traverse, which was very stressful. The paladin opted to travel horizontally, on his mount, occasionally peaking out over the tops of the "canyon' we were in to make sure nothing was coming over the top. The rest of us just moved quickly, eyes peeled, panicking every time we saw a hole in the ground.

    At one point, as we came along a far skinny path, we saw faintly glowing runes etched into the sides of the stone walls. Being the rogue, I had to inch up to them. They were some kind of magical trap, so I started to disarm them. Rolled a natural one. They triggered instantly.

    We all had to roll will saves. The paladin rolled a 1, the dragon shaman and me both failed. The paladin experienced no effect, me and the shaman ran back the way we came, screaming in terror. And coming crashing down the path? A giant violent wave of... thick syrupy blood. The smell hit like rancid meat and we saw from a distance that there were corpses in the wave. Some of them were flailing. The Duskblade did a swift-fly and got out of the initial crash of blood, but her and the paladin could only watch in terror as the wave crashed over the rest of us.

    Then we all got another will save.
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)22:44 No.16534603
         File1317869087.png-(603 KB, 768x576, 1253762727990.png)
    603 KB
    >"The more important question, is why do you think I'll stay there this time?"

    Good god this DM just really likes to scare the piss out of his players, doesn't he?
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:45 No.16534612
         File1317869148.jpg-(132 KB, 600x836, Scherezade_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    132 KB
    We passed this one. Instantly, the canyon was bone dry, though me and the dragon shaman were still sprinting back the way we came, hollering in utter nightmarish terror. The wave of blood was an illusion, nothing more, accompanying a symbol of fear effect that had me and the shaman consumed with panic for several rounds. Guh.

    Finally the group managed to get back together, and me and the shaman managed to calm down, and we all (reluctantly) pressed on. When we came back to the area where the symbols of fear had been, we heard a quiet echoing laugh. Eil Ei. The dead wizard. That rat bastard.

    Anyway. We eventually got out of the canyon with minor violent encounters, the wave of blood was certainly the (horrifying) highlight.

    But as we came out of the canyon, we realized what we had been heading towards. As the last bit of rock turned from our field of vision, we got a clear look at one massive ginormous valley. Immediately after our rocky stone path, the stone began showing signs of being intelligently worked. It followed regular patterns leading down, all the way to the bottom, at which there was a massive MASSIVE keep, the size of a city itself. Its towers stretched to the top of the valley, where the stony mountain/hills made it blend in with the naturally occurring peaks. It was covered in jagged patterns that looked like some kind of massive defensive shielding, or violent siege weaponry, or possibly both. Spikes everywhere. We instantly got the feeling that this had been a very bad idea.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)22:47 No.16534623
    Another small break, people need to catch up~
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:02 No.16534755
         File1317870173.jpg-(213 KB, 588x900, secondstartotherightbyb.jpg)
    213 KB
    From a ways up ahead, marching down the spiraled stones leading to the keep, another group hailed us, waving hesitantly. We started climbing down, and they climbed back up a short distance. We approached very hesitantly, but they were just as hesitant. I think we were the more fearful looking group, with our rune covered golem, our spider riding paladin in black armor, our (by this point) clearly dead and stitched together rogue ragdoll, and the rest of us weren't exactly the most normal batch. Plus we had a prisoner bound head to toe in spider silk.

    They were a smaller adventuring party, and an intentionally humurously generic one. An elf wizard, a halfling rogue, a dim-witted looking half-orc with an axe, an a human in tattered priestly robes. They had a fifth person with them, not counted in the initial description. A ragged and tired looking man who looked like he was covered head to toe in shadows, staring blankly at the sky.

    We exchanged stories, but I'm sure you can guess. They heard the call of the breeze too. They were adventurers as well (in fact, the archivist, priest, and paladin had all heard of each other in church documents, though they didn't share a faith). Quote the priest? "That seems like ages ago..."

    Anyway, yeah, they had one of the tenebrous vestige bound with them. They heard the same breeze we did, and decided to follow it as well. As we talked, I spotted a small group (no pun intended...) emerging from another rocky outcropping a distance across the valley. They were kobolds, all of them. And one of them? Yeah, covered head to toe in shadows, being dragged along by two others.

    We were, apparently, where we needed to be.

    We actually all (both groups) caught up the kobolds, who sneered and hissed at us (though one did make a small bow towards our dragon shaman). They huddled together and mumbled something in a reptilian tongue before nodding. One of them approached us, and said in stunted common, "We hate you."

    AWESOME. -_-
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:04 No.16534777
         File1317870296.jpg-(92 KB, 600x887, 1316666937175.jpg)
    92 KB
    He added, though, "Must work with," and the kobolds began marching with us. Ah. Well, it doesn't take an 18 INT to realize what he meant. He was right too, this was bigger than whatever they hated humans for.

    So we marched on down the spiral path. We saw others inside the keep, sparring, meditating, some of them looked to be adventuring parties too. As we came up to it, a knight on horseback came out of the front gate. He had a strange symbol painted on his shield... it looked almost like a... seal.

    The archivist (outside the game) gets a note from the DM. And immediately says that he screams “Blasphemer!" and picks up a rock and pitches it at the knight as hard as he can. Rolled a 17 too (still not enough). The knight knocks the stone aside with his shield and WHISPERS "Your reaction is not surprising, but is nevertheless too hasty."

    Archivist: "You're a heretic!"

    Knight/binder, still whispering: "no."

    Archivist: *to us "He's a binder! he's one of the ones responsible for this mess!"

    KB, whispering harshly: "No.”

    Archivist: "Your kind has finally ruined the world!"

    And the binder hisses "No" again. From him, comes a fierce come of wind that knocks all of us (kobolds and all) back 20 feet.

    The archivist draws his crossbow pistol, but the binder hisses, "Stay your hand and have patience, we are not responsible for this and seek to see it ended."

    The archivist reluctantly tucks his pistol back away, and we go with the knight into the keep.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:05 No.16534782
         File1317870346.jpg-(101 KB, 600x836, Sida_Al_Hurra_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    101 KB
    Then we get to trade expositions. The keep is a stronghold for Knights of the Sacred Seal. Vestige worshipers. But when all of this began, most of the members of the organization (which was a collection of knights worshiping several vestiges) either left or were driven off. When it was realized that most vestiges were no longer answering their calls, and the role some of them had in this mess... Well, things got hectic. A lot of them even committed suicide. It's taken this long for them to get everything straightened out, and order restored.

    They're a skeleton crew now. Only two groups of Knights remain in the keep. The Knights of Orthos, and the Knights of Halphax.

    Both of the 8th level vestiges. And the only two vestiges who are still answering the call and making pacts with binders. They could leave the void. But they don't. Halphax is so indifferent to the whole thing, that he sees no point. Orthos... well, Orthos is called the Sovereign of the Howling Dark in the book for a reason. He's quite probably THE original vestige. The nothingness is his domain now. Those two vestiges are staying in the void willingly, not trying to escape, and making pacts just the same as they always have.

    It's the lesser vestiges that are taking the opportunity to escape. The greatest vestiges? "Whatever".

    So fitting.

    So the knights are still in order, and both vestiges, Orthos in particular, want the breach, the 'veil' returned to normal. It wouldn't bring the dead back to life, and it may or may not kill the undead currently marching around with vestiges driving their corpses, but it would at least mean that vestiges killed would either re-enter the void, or cease existing entirely.

    So, we're in the keep of the binders. We all get rested up in shifts, the groups organize themselves, a lot of the adventuring parties actually joined into bigger groups, the ones who suffered casualties especially. We also went up a level, for finding the keep, so that was cool.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:07 No.16534795
         File1317870469.jpg-(156 KB, 773x1000, Sidhe_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    156 KB
    We spent a while discussing various plans for fixing the problem (you know, the whole "the world is over" problem. That little thing). None of it really sounded... er, positive.

    Live Free or Die: Entreating the always eager unholy forces for aid, become their servants for protection and a new home (quote the archivist: "you seem very ready to make pacts with evil creatures, no surprise there").

    Noah's Ark: Attempting to cobble together as a group, circle the world looking for survivors, and physically shunt everything alive into some other plane of existence, to buy us breathing time (quote the dragon shaman: "abandon the entire world?").

    Martial Law: Go military and try to eradicate every undead creature we could, while keeping living creatures under close watch on various buddy systems and legal restrictions, destroying new corpses immediately, and trying to fan back out. (quote the warforged: "they all sound fine to me.")

    Of course, any plan involves facing the inevitable. Praying Orcus doesn't find a way to kill Graz'zt's thralls and free himself from the void, and knowing that sooner or later they'll die of old age anyway. We're not in a very strong position on the table here.

    What's more, it starts coming out that we're facing some very serious, and very rapdly approaching threats. No one was quick to mention it, but on adventuring party said they've been stalked for days by a massive band of Orcus cultists. Way too many for them to fight, they only got here by thinking on their toes and moving fast. Our Duskblade says: "that's not a problem, there's plenty of us now, banded together we can stomp them out the second they show their faces."
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:09 No.16534811
         File1317870570.jpg-(255 KB, 1367x1162, Sisters_of_battle_paintchat_by(...).jpg)
    255 KB
    The bard scratches his head. "There's the dancer too remember. He's tracking us down, and he won't stay dead. Will that be a problem?" The binder knights kinda freak out at that and ask for details. Oh gee, yeah, Paimon, the vestige, has a physical form that won't stay destroyed and is tracking us as we speak. Not to mention the handful of other vestiges given flesh who we also had to tangle with. Then I have to mention "The rogue/jester vestige is also ticked off at ME personally, because I was supposed to be his body".

    Before anyone can even react to the idea that we've got vestiges physically in the world, and coming HERE specifically, the kobold that knows common speaks up. "Master. ours master, he dies. Humans kill him. Comes for us."


    So we're like, Aw CRAP. You know what that means. UNDEAD DRAGON, HEADIN THIS WAY. HUNTIN KOBOLDS.

    Then everyone else starts piping up too. Vestiges, hordes of undead, a massive band of TROLLS of all things, that are still alive by the virtue of refusing to stay dead when they get torn apart by the undead. Seemed like every adventuring party had at least one thing hunting them through the woods leading to this point.

    Then something else crosses my mind. Eil Ei. "Uh, yeah, by the way, there's this undead wizard. He's a diviner specialist, knows us personally, probably has this place scryed to the last inch, might be contacting god knows what to stop us from whatever we're doing and may or may not be listening to any plan we concoct".

    Everything gets really quiet. We hear a gurgle and look over in the corner it came from. One of the adventurers killed himself in despair. Oh, yeah, that's, yeah. Fantastic. Wait. CRAP. BURN THE CORPSE..
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)23:33 No.16535061
    Summon up some atropals. Stuff vestiges into them. Kill the resulting atrocities, preferably with something extra-permanent like a Sphere of Annihilation.

    Because if anything can permanently bind with the shade of a dead god, it's the aborted fetus of a god that never was.
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)23:36 No.16535078
    Update, damn you!
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:42 No.16535134
         File1317872539.jpg-(351 KB, 600x1038, there_be_no_dragons_here_by_gr(...).jpg)
    351 KB
    The dragon shaman, thinking on his toes (he's getting better and better, it's comforting to see him coming into the group) immediately hits it with an acid breath that disolves it almost to nothing. it's still twitching, but we all just immediately pounce, a sorcerer hit it with a fireball, a cleric hammered one of the bones that went flying. We turned it into DUST within seconds. It was kinda comical, except not. It was also very depressing. Kinda.... Yeah.

    Yeah, things were awkward for a while.

    Anyway. Given that new bit of information (the walls have ears), the arcane mages group together to discuss sure ways to get us some privacy, ways that can't be beaten by the other person knowing about them (cause heck, any plan for privacy we come up with he might be listening to). The binders mention that they do have one plan, that they're glad they haven't elaborated on. Then they tell us that everyone needs to start preparing. War is coming, after all.

    The archivist pulls us aside, and mutters something about Orthos, then asks us if we know anything about Halphax.

    Dragon Shaman: "Oh yeah. Everything. In detail. But you know, maybe you should refresh our memories."

    So the archivist mentions stuff you can find in tome of magic (metagaming versus roleplaying here). Halphax was a gnome, who specialized in building defensive structures. At one point in his life, he was blackmailed into using his defensive structures against his own people, keeping them as slaves to prevent someone he cared about from dying. That's part of how he became a vestige. The archivist ends his little comment about it with "Don't trust them. None of them".

    Still, the Archivist heads off with the Binders to discuss what to do and prepare some war spells. And the rest of us take watch around the keep. Already we get the feeling that this is the calm before the storm, because that's exactly what it is.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:44 No.16535152
         File1317872642.jpg-(106 KB, 450x627, Vitalia_by_GENZOMAN.jpg)
    106 KB
    And boy did we need some of it. But this next bit actually really tickled me. We notice a little commotion on one side of the courtyard. Nothing major, just activity besides moping under the heavy weight of an entire world suffocating and collapsing and there's not a damn thing we can do about it and oh god the horrible crushing feeling make it stop.

    So the 5 of us head off to see what's up. There's a bard with scales tattooed on her wrists, and decked out from head to toe in miscellaneous clutter and bags and packets and pouches and extradimensional holding space. She's got "So much random crap" she barely knows what to do with it. So people are just shouting out stuff and she's digging in her packs and, if not coming up with the exact item, coming up with something reasonably similar. People are throwing gold at her and she's stuffing it in the packs, and, and...

    It's me.

    Or it's one of my old characters, a bard obsessed with dragons who has an item collection fixation.

    Anyway, we get what's going on. Martial gear like armors, weapons, magical items that might save our butts, are going to end up getting handed out based on who needs what. If you've got a crappy sword, she's going to dig around and find a better one, to try to help make sure we're ALL (everyone there) geared up for the fight as well as we could realistically be. After all, stuff is useless if you can't survive to enjoy it.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:45 No.16535166
    Anything beyond that? Selling at discount prices. There's not enough gold in this part of the world to dent all the random crap she has stowed away, none of it's good to her if the world ends, and if we save the world she can at least go shopping herself later. So if you want something, you can go for it. A dwarf asks for dwarven ale, she apologetically says all she has is elven wine. His reply? "Better'n nothin!" 25 gold. He also turns out to be a drunken master.

    We can't think of anything particularly worth asking for, but she did wind up gearing us up along with everyone else, good armor, good weapons, good times.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:46 No.16535173
         File1317872790.jpg-(191 KB, 900x698, warcraft___seeds_of_the_lasher(...).jpg)
    191 KB
    Good times which came to a sudden, and screeching halt, when a giant shadow passed over the courtyard. We look up. Yeah. Rotting dragon.

    Two of the kobolds scream, shrill and hard, while the others scatter. Even the shadowy one bound to tenebrous ran from the sight of the dragon. We ALL scattered, actually, but, we're all high level adventurers. We scattered with a plan. We...

    Yeah. We had no plan.

    The archers opened fire on it, the duskblade scrambled for the main door to the keep and shouted "get the mages out here NOW". Then all hell breaks loose. We see, on top of the dragon, Eil Ei, our ex-compatriot. The realization is sickening. If he managed to find the dragon, then...

    Right as we're coming to the realization that he could have been getting a lot done, we see stuff cresting the hills in the distance, and pouring out of the passages we came through. Undead. A lot of sentient ones, and enough shamblers to make things interesting. Vestiges too. The only one we made out specifically was Paimon (the dancer), striking a pose on one bladed arm at the pinnacle of one of the stone faces.

    The knights came out and started rallying everyone, we got all the gates in sealed up and supported, the archers opened fire on the undead pouring down the hills, the archivist came out and tried to shout to them to ignore the runners and hit the dragon first. Clerics started turning undead as the first of them hit the wall, and the dragon swooped in low. Bear in mind that, as usual, we largely get examples of what we see and react to, no raw tactical information.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:47 No.16535180
         File1317872825.jpg-(238 KB, 773x1000, warhammer___slaanesh_by_genzom(...).jpg)
    238 KB
    The dragon lights up the courtyard. One kobold fries to a crisp, the other manages to take partial damage from the flames and wises up and runs for cover with the other ones. The binders are shouting at everyone to get the ones bound to tenebrous INSIDE the keep, and a few knights run in with them and start barricading the doors to keep them protected. Something explodes on the other side of the courtyard, we have no idea what it was, or if it was friend or foe.

    We get to the top of the outer walls. Oh dear god we are screwed. The valley is flooding with undead. Which might be manageable, if it weren't for the much more dangerous unique enemies burning, slicing, rending, jumping, and screaming as they tear through the hordes to get to the walls.

    We hear the wizards laugh echo through the valley. DAMN him. We also can't help but feel partially responsible. If we hadn't come, there might have been more time to prepare, it was probably Eil Ei that brought everyone here. We open fire on the crowds. The archivist opens with a storm of vengeance, straight to the big guns (I love it). The dragon dodges around the edge of the stormcloud and swoops in for another pass, once again filling the courtyard with fire. He gets hit with a few spells, but undead or not, he's still a dragon, and he starts circling around for another pass. There's screaming everywhere. There's blood everywhere. The rear of the keep sounds more violent than the area we're at, and we have a freaking storm of vengeance just outside the keeps walls.

    The archivist says we need to figure out some way to keep the dragon off our backs.

    And the dragon shaman gets the best line he had in the entire darn campaign.

    "I'm on it."
    >> Anonymous 10/05/11(Wed)23:48 No.16535193
         File1317872895.png-(491 KB, 639x466, 1303712481440.png)
    491 KB
    >One of the adventurers killed himself in despair.
    >Oh, yeah, that's, yeah. Fantastic.

    Ahahahah ha ha...

    ehehe... oh god that's terrible
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:48 No.16535197
         File1317872916.jpg-(188 KB, 773x1000, zelda___midna_and_link_by_genz(...).jpg)
    188 KB
    He sprints down from the wall, across the courtyard, takes a running leap up onto the wall over the place where the kobolds are hiding and starts spider climbing up. It takes him a few rounds to get up high, but he gets a lofty position, and jumps clean off the tower.

    And sprouts wings.

    And starts flying clockwise to intercept the dragon going counter.

    And spits a line of acid into the dragons face, enraging it and making it follow him through the air while Eil Ei misses with a ray spell of some kind.

    Oh hells yeah.

    (Now the usual disclaimer applies. As this is going on, so too is other stuff. We're casting spells, firing crossbow bolts, lending aid to other adventurers, and generally trying to keep the keep in one piece. Describing everything that happens would take pages, and it would be like reading lines of code "I fired for 2d6 damage, he fired for 9d6 damage" ect ect.)

    So the fight continues. The Dragon shaman actually pulls some really nice, off the books kinda stunts like swooping through the crowd of zombies and getting the area toasted with dragon breath as he makes a save to swoop back out of the area. (I can't adequately describe it here in text, but I'll repeat for the third or fourth time, that it's nice to see someone get away from the numbers and get into the story).
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:50 No.16535219
         File1317873027.jpg-(705 KB, 3494x2997, 1317238657346.jpg)
    705 KB
    After a while of warring, and thinking "Wow, we're doing surprisingly good", we start getting screamed at to fall back and get inside the second portion of the keep. The paladin shouts something about us holding the wall, and one of the other adventurers screams "THE WALL'S already BEEN BREACHED IN THE REAR". The courtyard is starting to fill with the undead. We start sprinting for the door. Some of the binder knights start throwing down walls of iron to buy us extra time. It made me physically sick to my stomach (and gods knows what was going through the paladins head) but we had to seal the doors before more than 3/4 of us made it back in. It wasn't an issue of bravery or cowardice. It was an issue of suicide or not. Nevertheless, my first course of action was to sprint headlong up the nearest stairs I could find, trying to get to some kind of window to yell to the dragon shaman to try to save someone, and to get himself in through the window as well.

    The adventurers try to start fortifying the doors as well as possible, the rest of my group runs towards where it looks like the ones bound to tenebrous are. They come to a locked door and hear screaming on the other side. After a number of strength checks, the paladin finally kicks in the door. The room they were in? Covered, wall to wall, in blood and viscera. There are exactly two "tenebrous bound" left. The knights in the room protecting them? One of them turns to the group and says, calmly, "Praise Orcus."

    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:51 No.16535234
         File1317873096.jpg-(59 KB, 633x512, a4BrN.jpg)
    59 KB
    Our group manages to keep the cultists, the lying, sneaking, devious bastards, from killing the last two. Namely, by utterly maiming them beyond recognition, and then mutilating their corpses so thoroughly they can't return. They do the same to some of the dead "tenebrous bound", and manage to best the ones that have returned. Our archivist grabs the witch (ours, one of the only surviving ones, despite (or perhaps because of) being utterly bound in sturdy spider silk. The paladin grabs the other one (a shady (no pun intended) looking elf, and they all run deeper into the keep.

    The dragon shaman (alone) manages to get back into the keep through the window I was at, and me and him run off to try to find the rest of our group. We spent a long time exploring the maze like stone and iron halls of the keep, until finally we come to what was likely the center. It's a massive stone chamber with six hallways leading down every direction, and a massive spiral staircase leading straight up. Four of the knights (think they were knights of Orthos) were charging up the spiral staircase. For lack of a better lead on where to find our friends, we charged up after them. We reached the top just as they were activating some kind of crystalline device, which immediately let loose a horrible gust of wind that threatened to deafen us, and then broke into 6 dark fragments.

    I asked what the hell they just did, and one of them turned to me and said "We're not sure ye." In elaboration, it was revealed that that was the firs step to opening a portal. A one of a kind portal to a one of a kind place. "Nowhere". After some mage-babble that my character couldn't understand (in character that is), they laid it out flat for us. They were basically going to open a portal inside out. The effect would be the destruction of the keep and a large chunk of the terrain around it, and the end result would, theoretically be a passageway straight to....well, nothing. The portal wouldn't go anywhere.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:52 No.16535244
         File1317873164.jpg-(58 KB, 600x750, motivator9567483.jpg)
    58 KB
    And why the hell did they want to do this?

    They figure if they toss all the living tenebrous-bound binder into the portal to nowhere... well, one of two things will happen. Either the binders will become quasi-vestiges themselves, unkillable creatures, permanently locking Tenebrous away in the void, as some fragment of him could never permanently escape the 'sacrificial gates' tossed his way. With the one the 'breach' was intended for permanently trapped, it should naturally seal itself shut.


    Or, tenebrous will be unleashed, Orcus will become a god, 10,000 years of pain unimagineable and then the end of creation.


    So I have to ask... what are the odds either way? "Well, we have no way of knowing, at all, so.... 50/50?" Yeah. Great. Grand. Awesome. a 50% chance of utterly damning or potentially saving the world. Of course, even if it works in our favor, it won't solve the problem of everything already THROUGH the void. it'll just mean things will finally start staying dead.

    The dragon shaman asked the binder if he really thought that was a good idea. He just shrugged weakly, and said "please help us..." handing each of us one of the 6 crystal fragments. Apparently, the location of the fragments would effect the size of the portal. They agreed to activate the portal in 5 minutes, on the dot, wherever the chips lay. The goal was to destroy the keep entirely, ensuring that the tenebrous bound inside would be sucked through it as well. What about the tenebrous bound being consigned to an eternity of nothingness? What about everyone else in the keep? Collateral damage. Somewhere, we heard the sound of iron wall groaning, maybe giving out.


    What can we do though? We agree to help.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:53 No.16535256
         File1317873203.jpg-(43 KB, 750x600, esp6ya.jpg)
    43 KB
    We all go back down the spiral staircase, to the chamber with the hallways. The knights all charge off a hallway on their own, instructing us to get the crystals as far to each point as we possibly can. Then they're gone. We look at the crystals, at each other, and down the two hallways we're supposed to be running down. Our directions are northwest and southwest.

    I grab the crystal from the dragon shaman, and tell him to find as many people as possible. "you've got 4 1/2 minutes. Get as many people as you can to head west, come hell or highwater, and leave the binders in the keep." He asks what I think I'm doing, and I tell him I can handle both crystals, he needs to ensure there are survivors.

    So off I sprint, down one of the hallways, two crystals in tow. I figure I can get as far as I can in 3, or 3 and a half minutes, go incorporeal and take the crystal a similar distance in the slightly-off direction. That would leave things slightly off balance in that direction, giving any potential survivors a realistic chance to escape from the portal, as it would be off center on the west side.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:54 No.16535267
         File1317873285.jpg-(51 KB, 750x600, baconposter.jpg)
    51 KB
    The dragon shaman moved as fast as he could, a sprint the whole way, through the side door we came in and shouting for anyone still alive to answer him. He finds one of the kobolds cowering in a corner. He manages to grab it during his run. In the end, he found a handful of adventurers, and our group heard his shouting. He had a heck of a time convincing the archivist to leave the witch behind. The archivist kept swearing it was a trick, it was a trick, they were setting us up for the biggest fall of all... the dragon shaman couldn't even argue. All he said was, "If it's a trick, we're doomed anyway". The archivist finally left the (now cataonic) witch in a quiet room and booked it with everyone else. As they ran, barricades were failing everywhere. Zombies were pouring in through holes in the walls, opened doors, crawling in through high windows (presumably they were so thick they were simply clawing over each other and through 12 foot high fixtures). Eil Ei was among them, and so were a number of vestiges. All they could do was run.

    The arcanists managed to get enough people flying that between them holding people, the dragon shaman flying (and he was strong enough to carry the kobold and one other person), and the paladin riding gold widow, that they managed to get over the crowd of zombies for just long enough to give them a running chance for the edge of the valley. They lost numbers, but most of them made it to the point where they were sprinting for their lives.

    Then the dragon saw them.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:55 No.16535278
         File1317873346.jpg-(63 KB, 600x750, Catstack-ffffff.jpg)
    63 KB
    The dragon shaman took to the skies yet again, while those with enough magic left were hitting the thing from the ground while on the run. He fought it viciously, acid versus fire. And he DROPPED the sucker clean. Oh yeah. During the commotion, the paladin managed to down Eil Ei. I know that sounds anti-climactic? but it wasn't. We were pumped up, cheering, the DM was dancing circles using magic, and the Paladin finally leveled him with one heavy power attack. Practically turned him inside out. GOD yes.

    Meanwhile, I'm running through maze like halls with two black crystals, trying to keep track of the time close enough that I know when to drop one and worry about the other. Finally I reach that point, throw down the crystal, and start running in a reasonable direction (southish). Then I get hit, hard, with a fist to the side of the head. I go sprawling, the crystal goes sliding in the wrong direction, and a nimble but malformed shaped dances between me and it. I move to get up, and I see the Rogue vestige standing between me and the crystal. "I know your tricks, rogue. I dreamt half of them up," it says with a creepy smile. Its arms are a blur. Its hands (there are numerous) all have black daggers. I try to get around him, but he's too fast for me to stand a chance, dancing circles around me and taunting me. It says again "I know all your tricks."
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:56 No.16535286
         File1317873384.jpg-(63 KB, 750x600, imagination3.jpg)
    63 KB
    Finally my brain clicks, and I don't see why I didn't think of it before. "I don't even know all of my tricks". Then I go incorporeal, dash past him, turn solid, grab the crystal, and ghost once again through a wall while he stabs at me (caught me twice, more brutal hits, I'm low on hitpoints actually). I hear his scream echo as he dashes down one of the mazelike halls to try to catch up with me. It's a pretty even race, actually. He's fast as a bolt of lightning, but I'm shortcutting through solid stone.

    Finally, I realize that I'm running out of time. I stash the crystal in a hiding spot, and bolt westward.

    We never did find out exactly how the portal got activated. None of the other binder knights were ever seen again. But with a sickening groan, the world shuddered, and suddenly everything felt a lot emptier.

    For some reason? I expected it to happen instantly. It didn't. The keep started to groan, and fall apart from the inside out. The portal was starting dead center, and spreading outwards. Crap.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:57 No.16535293
         File1317873426.jpg-(61 KB, 750x600, KReligion.jpg)
    61 KB
    So we're dashing west, not knowing how far it'll come, hoping it'll stop at the crystals. Of course, I'm lagging behind everyone else, I'm the one who was placing the crystals. I didn't want to look back, but I couldn't help it. Behind us, consuming the keep, was just an inky black void. Blacker than a starless sky, blacker than the blackest nightmare of negative energy and darkness. It was an aggressive blackness. Nothingness.

    Iron fell, stone crumbled, and the very earth gave way. Wind rushed past us into the pit, threatening to suck us back towards it it was so powerful.

    Finally, with another groaning shudder, it stopped. We could still hear the moans of the zombies around us. We were sitting precariously on a hill, the bottom of which was a pit of terrible emptiness. And at the edge of the pit? Two scrabbling figures. The rogue vestige. And a silk wrapped cocoon with a face. CRAP. Then that sickening guilty feeling. If I'd gotten the crystals farther, none of us would have survived, but neither would the vestige and the binder.

    The rogue had a strand and was trying to pull her away from the pit. That boded well for us, in the sense that the rogue was obviously afraid of her falling into the void for some reason. bad for us, because he could kill her the second he got back to safe ground.

    No chance to hesitate. I ran, moving like I was going to tackle him. The rogue-vestige noticed me, and with a sick grin, pulled out a dozen daggers from thin air, ready for me. I was ready for him. I went incorporeal at the last second, slide past him and tackled the cocoon.
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:57 No.16535302
         File1317873465.jpg-(48 KB, 600x480, iqxl3.jpg)
    48 KB
    The vestige howled in rage. sliding along with the two of us down the rocky slope into the void, holding the silk strand fiercly. The cocoon came to rest on a rock, I gave the strand a sharp tug, and we got stuck in a tug of war match. For a moment. Then the bard came dashing behind him and threw an elbow into the back of his head, staggering him, throwing him off balance long enough for me to pull and send the rogue screaming over the edge, with me wrapped up in the chord. The paladin came charging down too. The archivist, wisely, held the duskblade back and screamed at the survivors to stay back from the edge of the pit. The dragon shaman tried to take to the sky to come help us, but the wind was too strong. He moved to chase after us, but he was way too late.

    The void was closing. The rogue was screaming, holding his end of the silk strand. The cocoon was dangling on the other end, the middle stuck on a rock. I was clinging to both strands, trying to pull myself up it in time. The paladin tried to pull me up, but the combined weight of me, the vestige, and the cocoon/witch, he couldn't quite do it. In fact, the ground crumbled and he fell down next to me, clinging to my side, and I started slipping down.

    Paladin: "I'll let go!"

    Me: "Don't you dare! I can't make it anyway!"

    The Vestige slipped. He didn't fall. He just hung there, glaring at us angrily, cursing at us the entire time as he faded from existence. The Bard tried to pull us up, but couldn't even come close.

    So he started climbing down the strand, casually.

    Me: "What in the nine hells are you doing?!"

    Him: Coming with you?

    Me: "You don't have to do this. You can save yourself."

    Him: "But you're the flutefinder. And it's dark, and you'll need light."

    Me: "You can't light this place!"

    Him: "Then I'll keep you company."
    >> OP 10/05/11(Wed)23:58 No.16535311
         File1317873531.jpg-(70 KB, 600x750, lnobaydi5.jpg)
    70 KB
    I couldn't argue. Whether he understood or not, he wasn't going back. The void started to close. The wind reached a peak, so ferocious we couldn't even hear each other. And the last of the light slipped away as the portal closed, and suddenly, we weren't hanging. We were just floating there.

    The paladin looked up at me, "You know what's funny?"

    Me: "What could possibly be funny right now?"

    Paladin: "I didn't even use any of my extra lives."

    I started laugh crying (borderline for real). The bard played his flute nonchalantly.

    And then there was nothing.

    And, uh. The end.

    I mean, sort of.

    Then the DM started the epilogue. The survivors, including three of our party, had a small but uneventful fight with Paimon. He danced around them, aggressively at first, then cautiously, then he started reacting to something they couldn't detect. In the end, he backed away from them in fear and climbed over the stone face they were near, dissapearing quickly.

    He was afraid of them, because the breach was closing. When he dies now, he'll return to the void. Trapped once more. The same holds true of every vestige still in the world, every undead creature still shambling. The world is not fixed. But now it CAN be fixed. Existence is no longer fighting a losing battle. Whether or not the world CAN be saved remains a question mark, but at least no more ground is being lost.

    The Duskblade said something about Paimon, the Dancer getting away. The archivist just replied calmly that it didn't matter. It was only a matter of time now, before the fight was settled. One way or another. A somber but realistic conclusion. The dragon shaman asked the kobold he was carrying if he was okay, and it replied "yes master". Made the dragon shaman snicker, and flutter his wings proudly.
    >> OP 10/06/11(Thu)00:00 No.16535326
         File1317873620.jpg-(59 KB, 750x600, emergency2.jpg)
    59 KB
    The DM informed the three of us lost to the pit? We've become vestiges. Full blown contactable vestiges. We're working on them as homebrew vestiges currently, and the paladin is probably done and ready to play with. Me and the bard still need to be finished though. What's cool is that the DM is going to gladly let us use those vestiges anytime we play binders, so as tragic of an ending as it is, it's still also fairly cool.

    Then the DM went around the table, asking the survivors what happens to their characters.

    All of them, of course, are going to band together to try to locate and protect survivors, as well as laying waste to as many undead as possible to try to restore some kind of balance.

    The duskblade is going to go back to being a teacher, but with training focusing on martial combat and spellcasting. A swashbuckling duskblade academy, with special courses on combating the undead.

    The Dragon Shaman is going to focus partially on nature, and on the wilderness. Once again looking for survivors, tracking down any undead dragons as a result of this catastrophe and destroying them, and trying to find living animals to group them up together and keep them safe until nature is strong enough to return to normal. He'll also probably wind up with a number of kobolds helping him in the matter.
    >> OP 10/06/11(Thu)00:01 No.16535333
         File1317873672.jpg-(90 KB, 600x750, motivator4499863ew1.jpg)
    90 KB
    The archivist is going to particularily focus on restoring whattever remains of his church are around, and destroying the undead. Dark knowledge and divine magic are very handy for things like that. The next part, I'm gonna try to remember his everything he said.

    "I write a 2,500 page treatise on the nature and evils of pact magic, including how to identify binders and other practitioners of pact magic to avoid something like this ever happening again. No one ever bothers to read the entire thing, but everyone says they agree with it entirely, and a copy of it exists in almost every sect of my church. Included in the book, as examples of dangerous pact magic, are explicit step-by-step instructions for summoning and binding three vestiges. Despite my hatred of pact magic, I've at least ensured that my friends will always have a way to experience the material world, hidden forever in plain sight". Probably not word for word, but that's the jist of it.

    Yeah. he rocks.

    So that's that. A lotta candy, a lotta tragedy, and three new vestiges.

    I hope it was a satisfactory read, and that I didn't bore anyone too much with the way I tend to ramble. Thanks for being interested in it :). And sweet god, I hope it made sense.
    Again with the little details. One thing I'd like to point out? I dunno if it mattered or not. But our DM kept flipping a coin every now and then. Either he had multiple paths laid out, or he just wanted to make us sick with worry.
    >> Anonymous 10/06/11(Thu)00:03 No.16535355
    Wait, I'm lost. Altogether, the Pally, the Op, the Witch, and the Rogue fell into the void?
    >> Anonymous 10/06/11(Thu)00:07 No.16535399

    Far as I can tell, Paladin, Op, and Bard fell in. Witch didn't.
    >> OP 10/06/11(Thu)00:09 No.16535427
    The witch did, she sealed Tenebrous when she fell in.

    Was it that unclear? Sorry guise
    >> Anonymous 10/06/11(Thu)00:10 No.16535432
         File1317874214.jpg-(63 KB, 500x409, IMG_0004.jpg)
    63 KB
    This was an awesome story, thanks for sharing, OP.
    >> Anonymous 10/06/11(Thu)00:12 No.16535449
    So is the witch a vestige as well?
    >> OP 10/06/11(Thu)00:16 No.16535496

    I'm not done yet, I have another journal from the same DM and I'll post in tomorrow if you guys are still interested.
    >> Anonymous 10/06/11(Thu)00:20 No.16535531
    Of course we're interested!
    >> Anonymous 10/06/11(Thu)00:20 No.16535533
    OP, I salute you, your group and your DM.
    I can only hope to have a roleplaying experiance one thousandth of the greatness that this one must of been for you.
    >> Shas'o R'myr !!J5+vjygjQuK 10/06/11(Thu)00:22 No.16535544

    The vestige of "My butt is itchy and I cannot scratch."
    >> Anonymous 10/06/11(Thu)00:26 No.16535587

    what a sucky vestige
    >> Anonymous 10/06/11(Thu)01:11 No.16536016
    Well it was stated that she's a powerful witch.

    Any prologue on the demon guy that helped you? Fistbumps?
    >> Anonymous 10/06/11(Thu)01:16 No.16536057
    no that would be fellatioadon, the might of the ancient suckage.

    suck the bolts out a submarine if you let it.

    Seriously though, bravo OP. Give your DM a big shit eating grin and a slap on the back. As well could we get the lowdown on the vestiges when you are done? It would be neat to include something like this in a future campaign as a common myth.
    >> Greyheart 10/06/11(Thu)01:57 No.16536415
    This is now one of my favorite /tg/ tales. Thank you for posting it, OP.
    >> Anonymous 10/06/11(Thu)03:00 No.16536991
    That was the most epic fucking story I have ever read and I envy you SO BAD for getting to play in such a game. Your DM is likely the best DM that any edition of D&D has ever seen.

    Delete Post [File Only]
    Style [Yotsuba | Yotsuba B | Futaba | Burichan]