Cerulean Era

Session XXIX: Not All Barbarians Are Alike

Player Note

During their break in Triptych, Bryn picked up a rod that would double the duration of his spells. This item combined with his new interdimensional pocket spell would allow the group to rest without worry of nightly ambushes. Kalevi took the time to pass Sharjish’s falchion to her cousin as he was now old enough to attempt striking out on his own. The eighth-orc also took her burgeoning ideas and created her first attempt towards her race of sentient clockwork automata, creatures she decided to call Kyth due to their future birth occurring in Kythera. She was able to develop a tiny humanoid of metal outfitted with retractable gliders and a jetpack on its back. She made its eyes out of the azurite crystal she had been keeping. The little one understood her, but it could not speak. Edgar kept insisting on it having a poison bite and eventually installed it when she wasn’t looking. She promised it a name, but hadn’t come up with one by the time they were ready to strike out again. She had it ride in the side pocket of her backpack and made it promise not to engage in combat.

The first of Lumendi came, and the lords went out exploring in the southern lands once again. They encountered considerable trouble in their first week out. On the second, the group was attacked from below by a giant bulette with a maw that could have swallowed Eumelia whole. While the group was able to survive, Eumelia’s dog did not. Instead of turning back, Bryn decided to conjure a proper sized mount for her every day so she would not have to lose any more animal friends. A nearby elf corpse held three potions capable of purifying food and drink that they took and placed in Bryn’s bag.

The third day was better as they were able to reach Schwartzsaven’s home. Bryn traded him about a hundred gold worth of books for ten pounds of mushrooms. Bryn deduced that four of them were magical and would make him double in size when eaten.

On the fourth day, the group explored around the hillside until they saw lots of beady, red eyes peering from under the hills. Kalevi figured out that they were kobolds and called out to them in Draconic. Once they showed themselves, Kalevi and Eumelia talked to them about the threat they were so concerned about. The kobolds decided to take them to their leader. The kobolds led the group to their camp, an underground hill with rocky outcroppings. They told them to wait while they went inside. After about twenty minutes, a red scaled kobold emerged and spoke with the lords in the common tongue. Chief Bloodscale told them how they had recently fled from the south due to fierce competition with gnoll, giant, orc, and human tribes in their areas. He was unwilling to help until they offered to do something to prove their sincerity. He mused, then requested that they go to the barbarian tribe to the south and retrieve a “shirt of many colors”. Kalevi and Eumelia realize that the kobolds are lying, that it’s not their shirt, but they agree anyway just to get to the bottom of it.

The group traveled two days south to find a crude encampment of orcs. When they were about two hundred feet away, a rain of arrows flew from the barbarians. The lords reacted well in battle, charging forward while taking little damage. The orc leader tried to turn invisible to gain the upper hand, but Eumelia sent out a well-placed spray of glitter to blind and remove the ruse. Galienne called upon a giant column of fire to decimate some of the lackeys. Kalevi engaged the orc leader directly, noticing that the holy powers in her whip were activating, so she was disappointed to know that he was evil. Eumelia then ended the battle by planting a suggestion in the orc’s mind to call for the others to stand down. They were then able to talk to the orc, learning that the orcs and kobolds had both ganged up on an exploring gnome wearing a pretty outfit. The gnome had been happy to be saved from the kobolds, but the orcs just crushed his skull. Galienne spoke with the corpse of the gnome, learning that it was from the gnome continent out exploring. The orcs let the group keep the shirt it was wearing since it was too small for the orcs. They deduced that it was a chain shirt protected by magic, allowing the wearer to appear in any garment conceived and sneak through the shadows with ease.

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Session XXVIII: Odd Encounters

Player Note

The group continued traveling east, hoping to find the other barbarian tribe they heard of from Chief Brokenhand. They knew that they had to return soon in order to run the nation, so they accepted the fact that they probably only had enough time to explore some land before going home.

On the 21st of Fortunadi, they spied a small opening under a grove of trees, its door wide open. Galienne and Bryn noticed magical auras coming from within, so they held back about fifty feet and called out. A white-haired, dark-skinned gnome popped out with a giant book in his arms. He was flipping through it in order to communicate with “surface dwellers”. After a few slow exchanges, they agreed to have tea. Schwartzsaven was a svirfneblin who lived a long way out from the rest of his people in hopes of trading with surface dwellers. He had gained the book from traveling merchants as well as a highly stylized drawing of a shirtless Bryn tearing a wolf in half. Schwartzsaven asked for it to be signed to his son Varsvitszasein. Bryn arranged for trade with the svirfneblin, willing to grant books in exchange for two logs’ worth of mushrooms. Schwartzsaven tries to celebrate the trade with a toast, as the book said, but he came out with six gallons’ worth of alcoholic light potions. Bryn drank from one, glowing but avoiding going blind from either the magic or harsh moonshine nature of the drink. The lords took three jugs since the svirfneblin found them useless, and Kalevi granted him a tree feather token to use to block up his home’s upper doorway when he deemed necessary. They bade him farewell until the next time Bryn arrives with books.

The lords traveled further northeast, finding an abandoned church surrounded with ten foot tall grass. Eumelia’s herd was unwilling to travel further, saying that they “smelled scales”. The group decided to continue onward, Bryn first hacking at the grass then burning it away by conjuring a ball of flame. A growl started to rise all around the lords, then the ground rose in the air. They watched the church rotate until a giant turtle’s head faced them. It spoke in Draconic, so only Kalevi and Eumelia could talk to it. This was beneficial since Bryn kept making wisecracks at the turtle. Galienne kept reminding the more fluent that Bryn doesn’t know Draconic so they wouldn’t have to backpedal. The turtle asked for the current era, and the two did their best to explain. Apparently, he had been asleep a very long time, as he recalled when dwarves first entered these lands. He wanted to go to the closest forest, and Kalevi explained that it was four days north as the pegasi fly. He understood that it was a half year’s trip, and decided to go back to sleep for the meantime. He complained about something feeling funny on his back, and Eumelia and Kalevi said they would take care of it. They also gave their names and the name of their country in case that was of any concern to him in the future. He said goodnight and went back to sleep, descending into the earth.

They continued onward towards the church. They found a crude garden and strung up animals outside the house. An ettin emerged from the church, his flail readied at the group. They fought back while Bryn took the majority of the hits from the ettin, and the evil two-headed giant eventually fell. The inside of the church appeared defiled and gave them a sense of uneasiness. Dried blood spelled out infernal runes that suggested the summoning of a devil, but they could not tell how long ago it occurred. Noting that the church was once dedicated to Lumenus, they chose to help reverse the situation by dumping a gallon of light potion directly on the summoning circle. The alcohol started to wash the blood away, and the uneasiness started to fade.

They returned to Triptych on the 23rd. During their time back, they decided to water a tree in Autumn River with the rest of the potion. While the tree glowed briefly, it left no other permanent effect, so Theo was still the only special tree in the kingdom. Fortunadi passed uneventfully for the citizens. Galienne sold her spear in order to pass the money to the rest of the group, Bryn eyeing a rod that could double the time his spells lasted. He has just learned a useful camping spell that allowed everyone to rest in an interdimensional pocket. Kalevi gave her chaotic rod to Eumelia and her adamantine greataxe to Bryn. She knew that they would find those items more useful, Bryn especially when he would need the metal to deal with attackers or stubborn doors.

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Session XXVII: Meeting Chief Brokenhand

Player Note

The lords chose to keep the hydra, Bryn reducing its size to allow it safe passage through the stone corridors. They rested outside the kobold’s new home for the night. Their alarm woke them up in the middle of the night as they found themselves surrounded by nine orcs and three half-orcs split up into three parties. They descended upon them harshly, killing the hydra and stealing Bryn’s and Galienne’s horses. One group wrestled with the hill giant only to be dominated by his size. The group dealt with the rest cleanly with Eumelia charming two as her friends and Kalevi sprouting another tree to deal with a magician. Bryn’s sword and Galienne’s abilities swept up the rest of the groups. The half-orcs bore magical items. Bryn claimed a strength amplifying belt, Galienne claimed a bearskin amulet, and Eumelia took pipes that would create mystical sounds at her whim.

The two remaining survivors, one of the orc barbarians and a half-orc cleric, informed the group that they were just a raiding party that decided to take them on because they had a hydra and a hill giant, formidable enemies that would earn them honor back in their home. They came from a village of about 200 humanoids about a half-day’s journey to the south. They said that the party could come if they left the hill giant behind as his presence would antagonize the villagers. Eumelia told the hill giant to go home, aware that her spell would have worn off in a day or two anyway. They rested for the remainder of the night before packing up and traveling.

As they drew near to the village around noon, a horn sounded from within the walls. The captives told them that it was to make them alert, but as long as they did not draw weapons, they would be safe. The doors parted when they stood in front of them, and they were met by a huge, muscled orc with two hammers on his belt. Judging by what the two survivors from the raiding party told them, this impressive gentleman was Chief Brokenhand. He earned the name from his penchant in battle to violently disarm his foes. Kalevi did the talking, telling him of their intent and the barbarian army growing to the south. The chief realized that Kalevi was part orc and warmed a bit to her. When she was polite and offered her greatest respects, the village watchers cheered. She had apparently requested a friendly duel with the great chief.

They met in the pit a couple minutes later, a shaman overlooking the rules. Kalevi and Chief Brokenhand took turns choosing conditions. They had to fight with large warhammers, but Kalevi was able to keep magic allowed and the conditions nonlethal. Kalevi knew that the chieftain would easily take her out in an unprepared slugfest, so she bought as much time as she could by throwing out a tree feather token and casting spells while he turned the tree into splinters. Eventually, she came down and started to fight with him on equal terms. Her blurring effect kept her safe for a bit, but they traded various blows as the crowd roared. One particular lucky hit on Kalevi’s part made a deafening roar matched only by the onlookers’ vocal enthusiasm. Eventually, she was too bloodied and defeated by the chief’s punches, but she managed to visibly wound the great orc. Eumelia’s charmed friends said that the eighth orc did extremely well for lasting two minutes in the pit.

The chieftain took Kalevi to the back room, and Galienne healed them both. A druid healed the tree Kalevi made and walked it outside of the arena. The chieftain was happy and said that they would now hold a great feast for their new friends. Kalevi was recognized as a member of the tribe due to her blood and performance in battle. During the feast, they were allowed to sit at the chieftain’s table. Kalevi got to talk with the chief further about an alliance with Triptych and his tribe as well as other pleasant conversation. The chieftain’s wife was the only one to defeat him in the pit, and she had born him twenty-three strong children. She was currently away on a hunting trip. Eumelia performed during the feast, earning several livestock from awed viewers. The chief also gifted to the group his favored mount, a woolly rhinoceros he lovingly called “Hairy Bastard”. Kalevi thanked the chief for everything and promised aid should his people ever require it.

They left on the next day to continue exploring. They met with four dire wolves in the field that day, easily defeating them. Nothing noteworthy was found until the nineteenth when they came across a really old corpse. There was nothing they could do for the departed soul but found among his person a nearly spent ring of the ram as well as a strong whip imbued with holy and ice powers. Kalevi claimed the whip while the ring went into the communal bag.

They camped for the night but were awoken rudely by a pair of gorgons. One immediately breathed on the entire group, paralyzing everyone but Kalevi and the rhino in a thin layer of stone. Eventually, Galienne and Bryn shook it off, but Eumelia was unable to resist and was dragged to safety by her faithful dog. Bryn mounted the rhino and fought from there, using the rhino’s attacks as well. Galienne summoned a hound archon from the ether, and Kalevi instructed the group as well as sped up their movements. They were victorious without further problem. They took off their horns, knowing that they would fetch a decent price for their use as spell components.

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Session XXVI: Finishing the Dungeon

Player Note

The lords returned to Kythera on the twelfth. Bryn took the time to learn how to conjure a horse while the rest grabbed supplies. On their way back south, they were attacked by four cockatrices that had made quick work of an unfortunate traveler and his horse. They found their way back to the curious hill on the fourteenth. They decided to track their old steps to avoid any surprises. The large room with magical traps now held zombies that Galienne quickly obliterated and entombed in rock while creating a larger passage. The door was closed and warded with an exploding rune. The pit trap now had an illusion spell hiding a gelatinous cube that they quickly dispatched. Kalevi almost fell down the hidden slope leading into the pit. The end of the hallway held an illusory kobold controlling an illusory eidolon standing by a spike trap. Kalevi found his location by destroying a coffin holding another explosive rune, knocking the kobold from his hiding spot. Eumelia charmed him to avoid further conflict. The kobold was a wizard from Dullunar, bright in his ability but dull in understanding how to start a kobold tribe.

They turned their attention to the other path. They found an illusory wall. Kalevi waved her axe in the empty air in the hopes of spoiling the illusion and keeping her hand safe. She managed to somehow take off one head of the hydra that waited in the other room. Eumelia was quick to befriend this one as well. They were dumbstruck how a hydra could have been contained in such a small room, so they searched the room. After five hours, Kalevi found a trap door. She opened it to find two large zombies sandwiched between lightning traps arching through the air. A vaguely humanoid lump in a black cloak, working on humanoid parts laying on a large altar, lamented the interruption and told the zombies to keep the intruders from his work. Eumelia had the hydra aid the group while Kalevi worked on disabling the lightning. Bryn and Galienne took care of the zombies and shifted via magic to the monstrosity. It then threw dust on the limbs, causing a flesh golem to take shape and rise, squashing his creator in the process. Kalevi recalled that this type of golem was resistant to all metals but adamantine, so she threw her greataxe to Bryn. Bryn and the hydra did most of the damage to destroy the golem.

Eumelia healed the hydra from the electricity while Kalevi shut down the traps. On the altar, they found a scroll, lots of potions, a strong quarterstaff, a bag that holds much more than it appears, and a light steel shield full of magic it could barely contain. Bryn took the bag while Galienne claimed the shield, choosing to carry her goddess’ weapon with the shield rather than continue with her spear.

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Session XXV: Travel to the South

Player Note

The eggs eventually hatched, revealing powerful magical items. Eumelia claimed the staff of charming, Bryn took the boots of speed, Galienne claimed the dimension-shifting cape, and Kalevi kept the chaotic rod of wonder. The last of the year wrapped up with the erection of a garrison, town hall, and extra city walls around Kythera, Kalevi still concerned about the impending barbarian threat. On the first of Fortunadi, her suspicions were well-founded as she was attacked in the night by a few barbarians and a shaman persistent in burning her house down. She called for help but managed to down most of them personally with sonic blasts. She found some wands of flame and healing, useful when forced to use the healing wand on the last survivor. He tried to escape in death by biting his tongue, but Kalevi’s quick action kept him alive but mute.

She brought the shaman with her to the capital, arriving on the third. Kal was able to help with dealing with him since he knew the shaman’s culture and ways. They learned by reading his surface thoughts that there were seventy-two tribes working under the rule of an ancient red dragon. This act was annoying since he kept thinking in goats. Kal reminded us that not all barbarians to the south had banded in such a manner. His tribe and its neighbors were more northern and not under the sway of the dragon. The lords decided to ride south and negotiate with such tribes in hopes of warding off the impending threat. They asked Kal to come with them since he was most familiar with the area. The shaman, impaired verbally and unable to cast spells, was turned over to the temple of Shekastra for practice on caring for the invalid.

The group traveled and explored for the next few days. On the seventh, they charmed and butchered an auroch for food. They continued until the tenth when they found a burnt out village on a hill. They battled and won against two fire lions, clearly the cause of the fire. In the ashes, Eumelia found magic boots that would protect her from the elements. The group realized that the grass was growing improperly, so they deduced that the hill was unnaturally formed. Kalevi found a divination-powered leyline over the hill and stepped into it, forgetting that an ongoing magical effect within a leyline was a bad idea. Her body slumped to the ground, but her consciousness continued along the leyline, earning a bird’s-eye view of the southern lands. She was able to see the various tribes at rapid speed, but she eventually ran into the barrier that rose from the water and lost herself as she spread out over its surface. Galienne, Eumelia, and Bryn knew that she would be out for a while, so they worked on their own while Kal watched over Kalevi and the mounts.

Eumelia found some friendly gophers to talk to and learned that the hill was hollow. She found the entry point past the illusion, and the group turned off the effects, revealing a much smaller hill and a door with three locks. Bryn used his magic to eat the locks off with acid. They came to a very small opening that required Eumelia to crawl and the others to be very uncomfortable, so they came to the surface to wait for Kalevi. She eventually woke up and joined the other lords to the new obstacle. She saw magical traps on the other side of the hole, so she knew she had to get over there in a manner able to work. She pulled out the rod of wonder granted by the chicken and started to activate it through the hole. After creating a couple pockets of darkness, a cat, and a rat, she managed to shrink herself to half Eumelia’s size. She walked through and disabled the center trap, leaving the side traps alone. Past the traps was a giant stone door. Kalevi called the rest of them over and guided them through the darkness since she was the only one able to see. She instructed Galienne and Bryn to pull open the huge door. She also stopped them from falling into a pit with a zombie ogre resting at the bottom. Bryn took care of that problem with a fiery sphere. There was a fork at the pit, and the group chose to move to the left. That direction required trouble with a living jelly, a mummy, and a gas trap that left Kalevi sick. Since they used a lot of their power, they chose to return to the surface to rest. Since Kalevi was tiny, she rode in Galienne’s bosom the whole way.

Upon return, they found that Kal and the mounts had disappeared. Some giant footsteps were visible nearby, so Bryn tracked them. At nightfall, they found a hill giant’s camp. Kal was stuck in a cage while the mounts were already dead and on spits. The group decided to rest and deal with the giant in the morning. Breakfast was preceded by charming the giant and convincing him to let Kal go and come with them. They all traveled back to Kythera to rest up and gather new mounts.

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Session XXIV: The Holy Spoon and Chicken

Player Note

On the second of Shekadi, Kalevi arrived in Norfang to join Bryn. She spent her time observing his academy before Eumelia and Galienne arrived on the third. On the fourth, they set out to meet the caravan. During the day’s journey, six pegasi flew overhead then landed to meet them. They requested asylum from the “black beasts to the north” who kill and eat their young. They gave it gladly and even suggested Tarnak’s two story stable to the south as a human-made safe haven should they require help. They accepted and flew off.

On the fifth, they ran into the caravan. It was a traveling group of halflings with one representative that spoke in a heavily accented voice. Bryn, being the only one who knew their language, started initial discussions. The halflings had to leave their home to the north due to the recent aggressive nature of the humans driving them from their homes. The representative welcomed Bryn into the tent of their leader, an old halfling woman with a chicken sitting next to her. The leader Jazelle explained that she had foreseen their arrival, knowing that they would meet one who knew their tongue. She requested that the two groups camped for the time being, but deference must be paid to their Holy One, their chicken. He agreed, and the three of them came out, the representative holding the chicken on a pillow. Jazelle’s command of the common language was clean, so the Galienne and Kalevi spoke with her. Eumelia used her ability to speak with animals to address the chicken. The chicken mused at her, and Jazelle was surprised, asking if Eumelia was an anointed priestess of the Holy Spoon and Chicken. They ran back to their tent to discuss.

They ran back, stating that they would test Eumelia as a potential priestess. To celebrate the event, they invited the group for a halfling supper. Ten or so hunters came back dragging in three bear carcasses. Jazelle purified the meat with her spells while adepts seasoned the meat magically. The lords were asked to participate in the carving ceremony. Bryn and Kalevi accepted, hefting their weapons. They were blessed with protection from fire and directed to start hacking at the bear along with several other halflings. Several times during the butchering, some fireballs would fly out of nowhere and land on the carcasses, cooking them quickly. The cooked and cut meat was tossed behind and caught by children carrying baskets. After the meal, Jazelle told Eumelia that she would be tested tomorrow to see if she was gifted with the “clucking voice”.

On the sixth, Eumelia and the chicken were moved to an otherwise silent tent. Once Eumelia was able to understand him again, the chicken asked her questions to test her strength as a ruler. At the end, the chicken approved of her answers and shunted her outside. In her hand rested a silver spoon. The chicken walked out to greet Eumelia and the halflings. Even though her ability to speak to animals had faded, she was still able to understand him. The chicken told the halflings that Eumelia was their new leader and he would be leaving to fulfill the prophecy. He had to find the one that “makes the tombs of steel” and vanished in a puff of smoke. The group led the halflings to the capital then worked on their own cities.

Kalevi was busy working in her laboratory with gears and wires strewn about when she called for a tool. Frustrated at the lack of response, she finally shoved herself out of her position to grab it herself. Standing with the tool in his mouth was the chicken that Eumelia had spoken with before. The chicken started to pull apart wires and made a picture of a ship with an egg in it. Kalevi used her ability to generate illusions to check what the chicken had asked for then set down to work. It took her a day, but she made a boat with wheels and retractable wings. The metal egg sat in the front, and she made a seat for the chicken with a steering wheel and horn. During this time, the chicken had been talking vigorously with her pet Kana. Once she was finished, the two chickens started to argue. Eventually, the intelligent chicken pinned Kana and forced her to the ship. In a flash of lightning, Kana disappeared, but the metal egg was glowing. The chicken pushed the ship to a leyline while Kalevi protested the treatment of her pet. Once the ship was in the leyline, the chicken sat in there, hit the horn, and vanished. Kalevi cursed and turned back to her work, unable to do anything, but was stopped when she saw four giant eggs of varying sizes sitting on her desk. She sighed and built an incubation chamber for the eggs before returning to her experiments.

The end of Shekadi saw the halflings move into a settlement at the nearby river crossing. There was some bandit activity but it was quickly squashed.

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Session XXIII: A New Arrival

Player Note

With the fall season firmly in place with winter arriving, the lords decided to work on building the kingdom and its defenses before riding out to explore and diplomacize to the south. Sarbadi and Metadi went smoothly with the establishment of Eumelia’s island city to the north and Kalevi’s Kythera at Tarnak’s location. A flood had threatened Tatzleford’s marketplace but the repairs were swift. There was also a looming threat of a food shortage in Sarbadi, but the lords were able to shunt resources were they were needed to avoid panic and starvation.

Bryn was residing in Norfang when he received word of a caravan traveling from the north. Bryn chose to ride out to meet them rather than wait for their arrival, so he saddled up with four of his guardsmen. On the second of Shekadi, his plans were thwarted when his group stumbled into a patch of yellow musk creepers. The group barely killed the creepers, but they were either dead or terribly wounded. They burned the dead to prevent their rise as creeper zombies and limped back into town. Bryn sent out messengers to summon the other lords while rumors spread of his failure and increased unrest in the kingdom.

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Session XXII: Experiments

Player Note

With the arrival of the elves impending, the three remaining lords in Azyle worked with Theo to recreate the audience chamber that he had absorbed in his growth. He had just finished with the group taking seats when Erramir and some assistants arrived. Palthis ensured that his arrival would not be too early or late.

Erramir stated that his people wanted to leave because they had reports of barbarians mobilizing into a giant force to the south. Apparently, they found Triptych weak and full of resources, so they plan to prey upon it. He said that they would probably attack in a year, and it would take him several months to cross to the nearest port to sail back to his homeland. He also warned them to “beware the thaws”, but they did not understand beyond the obvious dangers of winter. The lords wished him well on his journey, but asked him about the leylines. He denied knowledge, but Kalevi reached out proposing an exchange of information with the elven kingdom. Erramir could not promise anything but an attempt and left. He took about seventy-five elves with him, mostly his crew and children but also a few that could call the elven lands their birthplace. Only those who were born there could go home and be accepted as citizens, so elves like Palthis who were born elsewhere could not go there even if they wanted to.

Hanadi ended with the establishment of a fishing village outside of Beldame’s hut and general peacefulness. Kalevi and Bryn decided to ride around the country in Ishadi to test the leyline nodes they owned. They reached Brynskeep on the second. His tower had five leylines, only missing the magical energies of necromancy, enchantment, and illusion. Tarnak’s area possessed three nearby leyline crossings of a single divination leyline passing through three conjuration leylines. They then returned to the capital to ponder further experiments and uses. Ishadi also saw the first construction of Norfang, Bryn’s home.

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Session XXI: Birth of Theo

Player Note

The next few months were relatively safe and peaceful with easy expansion. The lords quickly claimed Brynskeep in the sunny month of Apati, its good weather putting the citizens in a generally good mood. In Eisadi, the queen of the land bestowed a gift upon one of the kingdom’s champions, a nice way of saying that the lords took money from the treasury to give Bryn mithral full plate in order to improve his battle casting. Thadi was also a good month, except that Galienne and Kalevi had to soothe hurt feelings in their houses. Kal, adopted into House del’Omagia, was trying to stop Kalevi’s father from being a drunken lout in a tavern, but the belligerent human was unwilling to step down. It caused a big commotion, but thankfully caused no further trouble.

On the first of Hanadi, Erramir’s group handed back the map that the group gave them a few months ago. Quick observation told of foul play, as the lines that criss-crossed the map had vanished. Kalevi became curious and started to look further into it. She took Bryn and Darvin to the library to help her find information. Since she was more practical in her use of magic, she needed some more theoretically-minded assistants. Their differing approaches to magic was also deemed useful. Bryn learned the common Elven method of wizardry with personal experimentation playing into learning as much as tomes. Darvin’s people discovered studied magic on their own, establishing a system of wizards and apprentices that kept magic relatively similar in approaches for generations. Before he had left, his father had just started organizing the first human wizard’s college.

The three of them, after a couple hours of searching, discovered that the lines on the map were called leylines. They did not find a full understanding, though, coming across notions of “magical lifelines”, “source of magic”, and “feeding off magic” within the random texts and passing knowledge. When they started postulating on how the leylines could be used, a voice from behind Kalevi suggested, “Maybe you should find out what they are first.”

She turned around, but saw no one. Before anyone else could react, Bryn had cast a spell to blind and reveal invisibility, forgetting the range of the sorcery. Kalevi and Darvin had been blinded from the spell, but the invisible intruder was outlined in glittering dust. He removed his cloak of invisibility, revealing himself to be Palthis, the kingdom’s spymaster. He cursed and started to brush the glitter off of his cloak. “By the bones. There’s only one of these cloaks available in the network.”

Kalevi was initially paranoid about the elf’s sneaking about, but he snarkily reminded her of her job, though he admitted that maybe he should have taken the cloak off first. Palthis knew what they were working on, having already created a copy of one of her maps, and assured her that Erramir and his group did not know of their discovery. He however cannot get information out of Erramir’s encampment. Darvin also takes the opportunity to lecture Bryn on the range of spells, having finally blinked off the rest of the blinding effect and feeling cross about the situation. Kalevi checked on a couple more things with Palthis, including assassination attempts on Eumelia. In all these years, she only had six made against her, although Palthis’ crew had stopped every one before the gnome noticed. Only two of them had been from Dullunar. Since the kingdom is light on imposing rules, Kusnaya’s job in keeping the peace has only gone so far as to enforce rulings made within hamlets and other small towns.

More hours passed as Kalevi and Bryn planned out how to create a spell to detect the leylines since the simple spell of detecting magic was not enough. Darvin had to excuse himself to make tea. They eventually decided to start experimenting in order to gain the spell. Kalevi funded the research for Bryn to gain thorough theoretical understanding of the magic’s intent and create a spell based on the findings. Kalevi was unable to personally benefit, as she was unable to engineer a method of employing the logic at the same time. It took two weeks, but it was worth it.

On the morning of the eleventh, they decided to start by finding the leyline node within their own city. They quickly deduced that it was within the castle itself. They discovered that the leyline node inhabited a full room in area and extended through all the stories of the castle. They decided to start experimenting in the first floor of the basement.

Bryn could see that both leylines possessed all magics, but they were strongly influenced by one over the others. One was strongly abjuration while the other was strongly transmutation. First, Bryn stepped into the abjuration leyline and cast a shielding spell. The shield emanated a stronger aura then disappeared from Bryn. The collision of two strong abjuration effects started to inferfere, causing sparks to fly. Kalevi’s ability to see magic allowed her to see the leyline as a giant shielding spell. They would later learn that the effect extended half a mile in each direction. Bryn was unable to stop the spell but stepped out of the leyline.

The second experiment had Bryn stand in the middle of the two leylines and cast a strength enhancing spell. The spell continued to grow in strength the longer Bryn stood there, exceeding the normal bulk one would gain under its effects. No other magic effected him other than the spell he had just cast. The final worrying condition was when Bryn found out he could no longer move. Kalevi first used her weak servant bot to try to move him, but he would not budge. The clockmaker had a bad feeling that she could not just jump in and grab him herself. She pulled out a tree feather token and threw it at Bryn’s feet.

The tree did its job in pushing Bryn out of the way. It also shot him through three floors of wood, causing damage to both the spellsword and the building. The strength spell also left Bryn. Kalevi climbed up to grab Bryn and move him to a healer. Galienne was away from the capital working on the founding of Autumn River, her city centered on faithful devotion, so Kalevi located Orrik.

Orrik healed Bryn in an inn room a couple blocks away, alternating magic with splinter removal. Unfortunately, Kalevi could see the tree pop out of the castle ceiling and flicker in all the colors of the rainbow. Palthis came in, removing his cloak before speaking this time, and reiterated the chaos the tree was causing.

“Permission to speak freely?” Palthis asked after giving his report. The two lords agreed, not realizing that Palthis’ “free speech” was punching the already injured Bryn in the jaw. The elf expressed his dislike in “his boss making his job harder”. Bryn and Kalevi couldn’t really say anything against that. Kalevi looked out the window and saw that the tree was continuing to grow but the rainbow effect had ceased. She asked for all of them to come with her back to the castle and try to stop the tree. Palthis donned his cloak and went searching for information.

They entered the castle while the help were trying to flee, the floors creaking considerably. They reached the center, the trunk having expanded greatly. Orrik cast a spell to commune with the tree while the rest tried to figure out what was going on. He was able to tell the tree to stop growing. They realized that the tree had been absorbing all the wood it came in contact with in order to continue expanding. Darvin soon joined them, wondering what had happened and telling them that the tree had finally stopped growing. The shielding spell, surprisingly, was hanging onto the tree.

They went downstairs to investigate its roots. They found that the tree had also absorbed the large wood supply for building in one of the basements. The old vault, first discovered by the group shortly after removing the Stag Lord’s threat, was covered in vines similar to the rest of the basements. Upon opening, though, they found that the vault had escaped penetration. While talking to the tree, Orrik appeared quizzical. “Apparently, the tree wants to be called Theo.”

They found out that the tree was intelligent enough to understand their speech but not enough to be called a treant. It was able to take commands from Orrik after some prodding. Theo also felt bad about removing the rooms in the castle, its trunk now eighty feet across and filling the central rooms, so it tried to generate rooms with its trunk. As they stood at the entrance of the central room and tried to explain the concept of a hollow square to Theo, Palthis emerged to see Theo’s recreation of the vault down to the twin-daggered lock. He explained that the top of the tree had now replaced the entire ceiling, its branches extending over the entirety of the castle. He also explained that Erramir’s crew was packing up to leave immediately, its captain rushing to the castle to speak with the lords. While Kalevi and Bryn worried over what to do, Orrik tried to talk Theo into generating staircases.

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Session XX: The Owlbear's Den

Player Note

After healing up from the encounter, the group continued north. They found the owlbear’s lair on the fourteenth, a large crack in the rockside leading into a dark cave. Eumelia strengthened Bryn’s resolve while Galienne pulled out her torch. They walked through the hallway until they reached a large opening. Kalevi stopped them, having seen the fungus ahead of them. Some of them were monstrous mushrooms known to rot their prey. The lords engaged them from a distance, killing them easily, but their movements caused shrieking from the darkness. After the fight, Bryn and Kalevi moved to the sides to take care of the two screaming mushrooms. Eumelia and Galienne noticed a magical object in the refuse in the center of the room, pulling out a vial of silversheen.

There were three openings in front of them. One possessed webbing, one smelled of rotting vegetation, and one sloped downward. They chose the slope and came face to face with the owlbear. It roared and charged at them. Curiously enough, the owlbear was wearing leather barding, so they knew it was not completely natural. Eumelia tried her luck at charming the beast, and while it believed her to be a friend, its rage was too great to listen to her sweet words and continued its assault on her allies. The owlbear was making quick work of the swordmage and shaking the clockmaker in the air as though she were a ragdoll. Eumelia convinced the owlbear that they were mean to her so they could fight back without breaking the spell that hinged on plausibility. Eumelia made this more apparent by throwing a wand of healing at Bryn, the owlbear not recognizing this as anything more than an attack. The owlbear was laid low by Bryn’s falchion and Galienne’s spells but still kept alive. Bryn and Kalevi spent time healing using the wand before examining further.

They found a map with both the owlbear den and their capital marked. The remains of an adventurer laid to one side, appearing torn by the beast. A room to one side revealed six dead bandits and the remains of the owlbear’s family save a starved cub. Eumelia befriended it while Kalevi gave it a ration to eat. They gathered up what was salable and useful. In particular, Kalevi chose an imbued chain shirt while Eumelia benefited from a lovely magical darkwood crossbow that probably belonged to the one halfling corpse. Galienne, wishing to hedge her bets further, claimed the daggers and wellcrafted throwing axes. Among the adventurer’s treasure was a ring meant to charm animals but laced with a curse. The ring instead cursed the target animal to fly into a rage. It was obvious the fool had caused his own death along with endangering the capital. Galienne’s proficiency with Shekastra’s secrets allowed her to question the skull, explaining that it was sent here to resolve a prison sentence given to him by Dullunar. He gave no further explanation of Dullunar’s status other than the status quo they were familiar with.

The lords quickly explored a couple other areas of the cave without being thorough, wishing to avoid the obvious spiders in one corridor. They wiped some other spidery creatures in an above opening and another shambling mound that had made its home nearby. These monsters were unintentionally guarding a powerful ethical horn and a wand that shot lightning. The cave safe enough, they camped in order to cure the owlbear in the morning.

Morning came on the fifteenth, and Galienne uncursed the owlbear before healing it. Eumelia told the owlbear to take the cub and go north for a new home. The adult mourned the loss of his family before taking his leave. Eumelia told the group to take the head of the dead female so we could prove quickly to their people that they had solved the problem.

They returned to their city on the twentieth amid cheers. The victory of stopping the threat healed the unease caused by the attack and allowed the city to flourish further. The lords, not expecting any further distractions and satisfied with their exploration attempts, settled down to hone their skills and expand the kingdom.

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