Using My Monsters

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A Boo Boo


Just realised whilst poring over some of the older entries that I have been referring to Ormid and the team looking for a Settari power source, when of course, it is an Ael'Shar power source they seek. I shall make sure that I write it correctly in future (it has been a YEAR since this story arc started, so forgive my mortal brains.)

Thank ye!

::Edit:: I have corrected all stupid entries. No need to thank me....oh, you couldn't care less...that....hurts...

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Ormid et al - Session Report - 11/4/2011

Okay, a quick warning before we go on. If you found the Deathloved stuff a bit much, you will probably find this a bit much too. Out of the two campaigns, this is generally the less grim one. However, the last game went to some pretty dark places, and as such, the report has some fairly unpleasant bits in it. 

However, if you have a strong constituion, or are just warped, read on and enjoy!

*    *    *

23:41 – 23:45 – TocToc stops his retreat and spins round to face the group suddenly. His eyes go through a mad cycling of lenses, and he slowly, cautiously, hops back towards them like an awkward, metallic bird.

Quarut. Gone?”

More lenses flashing and subtle bursts of light as he shifts his awareness through several spectra scanning for the deadly construct.

Most impressive! Based on this, I shall endeavour to help you find what you need – assuming of course that you are able to bring me what I asked for. I know of a daemon named Fungloop who has smuggled several Chronolilies into his club, a place called the Submissive Succubus [nearest translation from source language]. He intends, I believe, to trade the nectar to his, ahem, clients, and to make a fortune from their seeds and petals.

Where can we find this place?”

TocToc opens a small compartment on the side of his body and produces a length of tissue thin sheet metal with a bewildering array of numbers, symbols and words stamped into its surface. He snips it off and hands it to Ormid, who, after a moment, realises that they are the teleport coordinates for the Succubus.

Um, what manner of club is this place?” Asks the artificer.

Searching database...Hedonistic place of meeting, particularly catering to beings that enjoy inflicting or receiving pain, or those too weak to be unable to prevent it. Pain given or received for sexual or...”

THANKS...that's, quite enough thank you. I. I get the picture.”

TocToc gives a curious bow that sees his entire cuboid body simply pitch forwards on his spindly legs.

And you seek?”

A power source. Specifically, one that would be of use to an item created by a race called the Ael'Shar.”

I am unsure as to where I could find such a thing, but shall endeavour to locate one. Now however I must be on my way. As I said before, we shall meet here in 10 cycles, adjusted for the time that has passed between the last issued start point and the current time. Until then.”

14/5/13268 K.C. 22:30 – 23:00 – Two cycles have passed since the group left TocToc and the Fractal Muse; almost twenty hours of frantic activity and preparation, broken only by sleep and eating.

Their first port of call on leaving the inn was a district where they could purchase mystical rituals and pay with something as mundane as coins and gems (Llewellyn mysteriously donated to the group's funds during this time, having somehow come into possession of a highly valuable flawless diamond of alien beauty and singular purity – the legacy of a quick street crime on the way to the shop). Finding a district of human (and nearly human) traders, and within that a fairly “normal” group of businesses, the artificer found what he sought – a spell that would let him home in on a specific items energies. It was expensive to buy, and the artificer was unnerved by the strange cat that appraised their stone for the creepy shop keep selling it - a golden furred thing with one eye of red, and one of vibrant blue – but vital to Ormid's plan to locate the chronolily.

Following their purchase, the group had found an inn in the same area, and purchased rooms. There Ormid had set about deciphering the strange code the ritual was scribed in, unlocking its secrets and making them his own, whilst the rest of the group had taken the opportunity to rest; perhaps sensing that once they were on the trail of the lily, they would be needing every ounce of strength they had.

Time passed in a blur of study and practice for the artificer, and eventually, eight hours later, he had it mastered, and allowed a deep, dreamless sleep to take him like a heavy, liquid predator.

On waking there was more food, and then the business of finding the Submissive Succubus. Using the codes the Duodrone gave them in conjunction with the public teleport system, the group were able to clear the thousands and thousands of miles between the core and their destination in a heartbeat, arriving in a darker part of the dimension; a place of twilight skies and crowded, dangerous streets. Moving through the throngs of alien beings that choked those greasy, shadowed paths, the party eventually find themselves outside of the club; a huge, six floored structure made of imported stone; a shifting, shadowy rock that seems to breathe in the witchlight luminosity of this place. The club's fascia is a nightmare of bladed crystals and barbed cages, within which writhe souls, their ectoplasmic fluids and screams a thin drizzle of agony that forms a dismal miasma over the nightmare throngs that wait to enter the club.

Torches that appear to be humanoid souls with their skullcaps removed and their brainpans' filled with blazing witchfire, sprout like gargoyles from the clubs front, the foxfire flames flickering from their mouths and eyes. However, it is not until one opens its mouth too wide, and emits a metallic scream of incalculable agony that the party realise they are both “alive” in a fashion and suffering.

From within the breathing walls of the Succubus comes a rhythmic bassy thumping unlike anything the party have heard or felt before, and every time the monsters guarding the door allow a party in, a wave of crass, shrieking noise - unmistakably music of some tortured kind – greets the filthy night like a breath from hell itself. Crowds of malformed and strange beings wait to gain entry to the club. Hauntingly beautiful daemons – profoundly wrong and yet horrifically arousing in their unearthly beauty – inflict casual torments on captive souls with barbs of burning steel and drugged whips, whilst shadowed humanoids quietly cast their dark eyes appraisingly around the crowds. Feral eyed vampires wait besides beings too warped and hideous to categorise.

A daemon that resembles a floating, sentient, anal fistula, drifts towards Veteran, and in a horrifyingly child like voice begs to be “impaled on your spines” - a request the stunned warforged refuses. Another daemon resembling a six-breasted, fleshless woman of perfect proportions and nightmarish form, “walks” her pet souls; naked, whispering things that she controls with cruel hooks of rune-scribed iron which have been forced through the scruffs of their necks and attached to a leash, whilst another being - a writhing thing of flapping wings and other appendages - pulses and croons obscenely as its musky pheromones draw blank eyed victims into its folds. Screams of pain and lust echo over the throbbing music oozing into the street, and the stink of fecundity mixes with the sharp tang of blood, agony and scorched magics.

Only Shadevia, a being born of a darkly warped universe herself, is unmoved by the crowded horrors, villains and victims that carouse beneath the razorwire street lights here, her own black eyes drinking in the scenes with something akin to animation, and she becomes something of an anchor to the rest of the stunned party, as they try to figure out a way in.

The entrance is a heavy portal of dark stone and barbed iron, watched over by a huge slime-plated Xareth'Chelde, two massive gorgoth who's flesh seethes with tenebrous power, and a twisted creature that resembles a brain with muscular, dog-like limbs. Llewellyn suggests looking for a back entrance into the edifice, but this is quickly counted as a bad idea – both because the club hangs over the side of the street, jutting out into the twilight void of the plane, and because Ormid reasons that such a prospective vulnerability in the structures defences would be heavily, if more subtly guarded.

In the end, the group decide to try and get into the club through the front door. They queue besides a leather-clad male thing with no facial features other than a lamprey like mouth pierced with hoops of rusted iron and a hulking gnarrak type creature that pants foully and stinks of blood and madness. It takes a while for them to reach the imposing guardians, but suddenly they are there.

Not suitable. Fuck off!” Rumbles the eye tyrant in a deep, phlegmy voice.

So many eyes,” begins Veteran quietly, “and yet so blind. Let us in, or we shall make a point of showing all gathered here what pulses and squirms beneath your armoured plates.”

The gorgoth turn to regard the group, seeming to gather the darkness to themselves and to grow even more monstrous, but Shadevia gives a simple “Ah ah, no.” and allows a small sphere of seething gloom to writhe over her hands like deformed serpents, the vyrleen allowing the cruel flanges of his mace to glint in their darkness.

I said...” Rumbles the Xareth'Chelde, its eye-stalks twitching.

You said?” growls Veteran, the dundorin suddenly by his side, hammer over her shoulders, sparks snarling over its rune-carved head.

Come on in.” finishes the aberration, “And may you find the place too much to ever leave.”

The doors open and an almost physical wave of noise and flashing lights bursts forth. Almost giddy with their success the party move on in, hoping to lose themselves in the darkness beyond before the mind-shattering fear they were keeping bottled up is able to burst forth and get them killed...

23:01 – 23:40 – ...Impossibly, inside, it's even worse.

The “music” throbs and writhes around the party, and they gain only split second impressions of the place they stand in, as the only light sources strobe in time to the booming, crushing percussion. They can tell they are in a vast chamber, hung about with barbed cages and filled with platforms of metal and stone, raised to various levels. Grotesque and erotic statues – many of which defy any terrestrial logic or form – bleed fluids into seething pools which are alive with writhing forms, and clouds of drugged smoke hang in musky palls in the stagnant, heavy air. Revellers of every kind, size and form writhe, copulate, give and accept pain, and feed in the darkness, each flash of light revealing a new scene of infernal wrongness to the party, and within seconds of entering this place Ormid feels a muscular tentacle questing for him.

Eaargh! Let's find what we came for and get the hell out of here!”

Agreed.” growls the Veteran, as he brings his brightly blazing axe to bear, its runes casting a pool of reddish light around the party.

Stay close to me.” whispers Shadevia, her eyes reflecting like black moonstones in the darkness, “I shall help you to see better in this place.”

The group huddle around the shadeling, and begin to move into the depths of the club, trying to ignore the horrors around them and the tacky feel of the sticky floor beneath their feet.

It's raining.” comments Ardwaine in a low voice, “It's ….oh Thorduin's blade.”

A constant drizzle does indeed drift from the vaults of the chambers ceilings, and with the shadeling's own perceptions guiding the group's they are able to see its source.

High above, the ceiling is hidden by a shifting canopy of twisting hooked chains and foully glinting barbs. Sewn into these are souls and beings; their flesh pierced and torn, their fluids the source of the precipitation. Ardwaine starts to wipe the filth off her face frantically, but stops when Shadevia warns her to be still.

Blend in sister of the earth, and look for a way out of here. The chronolily must be kept apart from the main club.”

The group get a feel for the chamber, and manage to move without drawing too much attention, though many of the things they see in that place of sweat and agony will come back to haunt them when next they sleep. Eventually they locate a series of warped corridors almost hidden at the rear of the first chamber, and it is here that the nature of the “stone” from which the club is made is revealed, for a dark red light pours along the narrow ways, illuminating the writhing forms that hover like grim pareidolia within the rock's surface.

It's phantasmium or a similar material” whispers Shadevia, running her slender fingers over its surface and suppressing a shudder (of delight?), “solidified nightmares taken from a dream dimension or a descending shadow plane.”

Dangerous?” Asks the Veteran.

Not normally.” comes the reply.

No one feels up to asking the shadeling to qualify her statement.

Chambers decorated with flesh and steel are found beyond the corridors, clearly on a lower level than the main club, curled beneath them. The air here still thrums with the beat of the music from above, but it is the cries of lust and pain that provide the main ambient soundtrack.

Pulsing curtains of living flesh hang from bone rails, creating a maze of smaller chambers, within which writhe things – and no one, not even Shadevia - dares to look within, for the silhouettes cast by the bloody lights that gleam within onto the flesh curtains, are enough to bring madness by themselves. Passing by a number of circular pits cut into the oily floor of a large circular chamber hung about with more weeping soul torches, the group spot a number of stairs descending to a deeper level, watched over by tall humanoid daemons clothed in chains of hooked cthoninc steel, and fire-wreathed creatures similar to dundiir, who's beards and hair are made of flame, who wear fabulous plates of obsidian and who wield flaming hammers of the same vitreous stone.

Chain devils and Zaidir” Whispers Ormid.

Zaidir?” Queries Shadevia, “We call them Azer in my world.”

Whatever,” whispers Llewellyn, “the stairs they are guarding bear warding glyphs of surprising power. I suspect that what we are looking for may be beyond them.”

Ugh great!” Snorts Ardwaine, looking over at the nearest pit in the floor; a yawning shaft lined with upward pointing rows of flesh adorned hooks, which belches a continual mist of blood vapour into the room, adding to the coppery, sticky humidity, “Wish I had brought an umbrella.”

23:41 – 23:46 - “Right then,” mutters Llewellyn, “Vetters, Ardwaine and Ormid, go and draw the guards attention a bit whilst Shadevia and I try to lower the wards. When you see me give the thumbs up, come over and cross the boundary. Okay?”

The two warriors and the artificer agree, and move to engage the guards in a conversation about the pits and what lies beneath (the guards don't know, but do know that no one has ever come back up once thrown down), whilst Llewellyn and Shadevia skulk in the shadows and move to the edge of the stairs and the runes carved there.

The stairs seem to curl down into formless darkness, and both the vyrleen and shadeling can feel the familiar prickle of otherworldly magics and warped dimensional bounds. The runes are strange things filled with a mercury like fluid, which are charged with toxic magic. However, to the experienced rogue and the deadly shadeling they are simple to safely disable, and both feel a slight release of invisible tension as their warding energies fall. Seeing the vyrleen madly waving at them, the three distracting adventurers bid the guards farewell, and move quickly to join their companions as they dart down the warped stairs into the darkness below.

23:47 – 23:50 – The stairs and the “corridor” in which they float, are clearly a linking portal between the club and another pocket dimension. At their base is a small square chamber dressed with blocks of black iron. A large set of double doors, 12' high and 10' across bar further progress; a ghastly carving resembling a caricature of a laughing porcine beast, emerging like a guardian from its surface. Lewellyn moves to examine the carving, and after a few moments reports that he can clearly feel the presence of warding magics within it. Ormid considers using the ritual he bought, but realises that within this corridor, technically between two discrete dimensions, his spell will probably not function properly.

The rogue and artificer both turn their attention to the carving and the wards bound within it, and realise a second too late that they are far more complex than those at the top of the stairs...

23:51 – 23:59 ...The pig headed carving spits madness.

A blast of chaotic mental energies are vomited by the head, engulfing the Veteran, Llewellyn and Ormid in their dizzying embrace. Agony rips through their minds, and they taste copper as insane visions of hellish torments and unwholesome pleasures rip their minds to pieces. Weakened and disoriented, they are only vaguely aware of their allies warning screams as the corridor and everything in it fade away, to be replaced by a very solid corridor of black iron, designed it seems to see them cut to pieces by the fiends who wait there.

The group are within a 10' wide corridor, which slopes up straight ahead gently for some 40' before ending in a T-junction. Either side, the party are flanked by corridors who's floors are 5' above the floor they stand on – clearly joined to both prongs of the corridor ahead. Behind the group is a wall of 1' long barbed spikes.

There is a pale grey light in this place, which has no apparent source, and after the sensory overload of the Succubus, this stark place feels decidedly empty.

However, it definitely is not.

Two Zaidir, three of the chain devils and a lean, green-scaled daemon with burning red eyes and a writhing beard of poisoned tentacles, who expertly wields a cruelly barbed polearm, await the group, and strike at once without mercy. A whirlwind of carnage engulfs the corridor as the group suddenly act to defend themselves against these supernatural foes, and although they are severely wounded, they manage to slay all the fiends, the last foe to fall one of the chain shrouded daemons, its putrid gore spilling like oil from the withered flesh-body hidden within the lashing armour of chains and barbs.

The cold, dry air of the corridor stinks of corruption, and with their foes slain, the group allow themselves a few moments to catch their breaths and to gather their wits...

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Something for the Weekend - The Arcanarch (Level 12 Lurker)

I love weird monsters that do strange things, and so am hoping to use one of these in one of my games sooner rather than later. I got the idea for this whilst pooping, which disturbingly is where I get a lot of my brains may well be in my bowels. Anyway, behold a beast that may need a bit more housekeeping to run than some, but which could seriously vex your players; the Arcanarch or Faeya'Nyth

Edit:: The Awesome Software I use to make these stat blocks doesn't add the 1/2 level modifier to the stat mods, so don't forget to add +6 to all the bonuses listed in parenthesis after the stats!::

(Click to shrink yourself for a better lookingness)

A bit of information from you, pulled from the tomes of one Ormid Thefler - adventurer, dracani slayer and time traveller..

"The Faeya'Nyth or Arcanarch's are little more than sentient channels of arcane power; living conduits of energy used by the war fae to steal the enchantments of their enemies weapons for their own use. Alas, many are too chaotic for even the fae to control, and on more than one occasion we have found ourselves hunting for a rogue 'Nyth, pushed on by the barbed whips of our masters. A typical 'Nyth is a swirling fractal of chaotic fae energies, that appear as a roiling mass of faceted reflections and gleaming motes of flashing colours. They do not speak as far as I know, and my only real interactions with them have been whilst on the hunt for them. I also have the strangest feeling that my life here is but a dream and that I shouldn't be here, though that of course is plain stupid; a soldier slave for the war fae I have always been, and a soldier slave for the war fae shall I remain until my bones are added to the throne of our Lord..."

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Post War Natives - Session Report 4/4/2011

Arrival +3 days, 1 hour, 31 minutes - +3 days, 2 hours, 05 minutes – Grigori moves to examine the giant wolf's wound, and although Mord Bit initially bears his fangs at the cleric, it calms once Ulframm issues a harsh “stand down” order. Frowning, the cleric announces that he will need a little time to try and draw the infection out with a ritual spell. He also warns that the spell can, in a few cases, cause great physical trauma, and that he will do his best to heal any such harm he inflicts. Understanding that if the wound goes untreated it could weaken or kill his mount, Ulframm gives Grigori his blessing to conduct his ritual. He gives the wolf a hug and receives a slobbery lick to his face, before nodding curtly at the cleric and allowing him to begin.

Whilst Grigori works his spell, the rest of the group search the slain Vanogg. Most of them wear mildewed and mummified armour torn from the dead in the hill clan tumuli they have defiled, and carry a long, worm-eaten spears, as well as a number of polished throwing rocks; spheres of mined stone that weigh roughly 24lbs. However one of the foul warriors wears a suit of armour that shows itself to be of much higher quality; crafted from some kind of stony hide, studded with pebble like nodules and woven with gleaming runes of power. Realising that it is crafted from the hide of an earth spirit, and is enchanted to enhance charging attacks, Schnecke claims the armour, and Ulframm, as close to an authority with regards to the distribution of grave goods as any, gives his blessing for him to do so. Remarkably, the enchanted armour shifts its size, so that by the time it rests on the Ulnyrr's shoulders, it has adjusted to fit him perfectly.

“A sign that you are rightfully chosen to have its true owners revenge.” notes Ulframm, seeming to deliberately ignore the fact that it was guarding the vitals of a Vanogg not ten minutes before.

By this time pale light dances between Grigori and Mord Bit, and a circle of ghostfire blazes eerily around both. The air writhes with power as Grigori's voice twists and warps through the intonations of the ritual, and Mord Bit stands rigidly still; his triangular eyes locked on the cleric. Suddenly, as the ritual reaches its conclusion there is a sense of release, as if a long overdue lightning strike has fired, and with a shriek of pain, the magic purges the wolf's wound of disease; the infection manifesting as a crawling, tentacled mass of black slime and quivering pus. However, as predicted, the rituals magics whip madly around Mord Bit, and several patches of his fur are burned by them, the flesh beneath stripped raw. Luckily, he hardly has time to register any pain before Grigori has rattled off a potent healing incantation, removing all the wounds; fresh, tight, pink flesh and new fur sprouting over them.

For a moment the air around the two is uneasy with ripples and eddies of energy, but with his foot the priest scrubs out a section of the ghostfire circle, and the energy drains away, allowing the thick mists that cloak the mountainside to flow in.

Ulframm runs up to Mord Bit and bearhugs him. He then turns to Grigori, and gives him an appreciative punch to his shoulder – almost knocking him flying in the process.

“Let's move on then” growls Emmiven, “I'm getting bored here.”

Arrival +3 days, 2 hours, 06 minutes - +3 days, 2 hours, 45 minutes – Aware that they are now very close to the Vanogg's tomb hold, the party move with extreme caution, their senses straining to make out anything in the almost physical darkness and mist (Grigori has lowered the light of his lamp to a level sufficient only to stop anyone walking off a cliff – a measure against the eyes of the Vanogg finding them). Everyone grinds to a sudden stop however when a low growl from Mord Bit alerts them to something up ahead.

Peering through the gloom several members of the party can make out skeletal figures arranged in a rough line ahead; unmoving and oddly angled. With weapons and spells readied, the party advance, each noting that the air begins to thicken with subtle, unnatural motion the closer they get to the line of silent figures.

They are 10' away when the true nature of the “skeletons” is revealed. They are border markers, similar to those used by all the mountain clans, including the Nordvyrr. However, where they use wolf or bear skulls and hides, these use the desecrated remains of the dead that once rested within the tumuli here, as well as what appears to be human skin, blood and faecal matter. Ulframm gives a low, angry snarl, and for a moment seems about ready to launch at them with his sword. However, Grigori holds his hand out with a hiss.

“CAREFUL! They are anchors for potent magic. A part of some greater spell that reaches over the lands ahead. “

“And there are spirits.” Rumbles Schnecke, surprising all with his apparent understanding of these obviously magical things, “Unquiet souls bound to them as guardians.”

“Quite right.” Affirms the priest, “We need to somehow open a hole in the barrier these totems present, for I believe that should we break the invisible line between them, we would not only face the wrath of the bound spirits, but alert Gor'Kuul to our approach.”

And so those versed in the ways of spirits, the gods and magic set to work trying to determine the patterns of magic bound to the totems, and to untangle the skein of energies that compose them. Jaeger also helps, his understanding of how magics can be bound to traps proving a valuable resource, and slowly, with Grigori taking the lead, the unholy spirits (corrupted ghosts, almost certainly twisted spectres of the defiled dead within the mountain) are pushed back under the weight of radiant energy, and a safe “hole” in the Vanogg's outer totem wards created.

Gritting their teeth, the party move past the grim totems, each releasing a long held breath as they are not instantly fried or rotted away by the foul energies that still coil and seethe either side of them.

Arrival +3 days, 2 hours, 46 minutes – +3 days, 3 hours, 10 minutes - The night is alive with subtle movement; a spectral trembling as if a multitude of immaterial beings move constantly around the group – a dark pressure that presses not against their physical being, but against their souls. A subtle susurrus of whispered voices is here also, adding its eerie voice to the unnatural and suffocating night, and all the party are on tenterhooks as they move carefully through the near total darkness.

Suddenly, from beyond a great ridge of earth ahead, the group catch the very earthly voice of a Vanogg, followed immediately by the reply of another. Other sounds too begin to emerge from the foggy darkness – the scrape of a spear butt on the ground, the tromp of heavy boots, someone hawking and spitting a thick load of phlegm – clearly the approach of a large band of warriors. Scrambling to hide, the party begin to head back a ways, hoping to avoid any conflict this close to the tombhold. Unfortunately, they are not fast enough, and the patrol – seven Vanogg warriors; six carrying spears, the seventh a massive maul as well as a mould covered skull, which glows with a sickly rotten light, and is serving them as a torch – spots them.

Desperate to avoid a protracted battle, the group throw themselves at the patrol with everything they have, and very quickly all but the hammer wielder lie broken and dead on the ground. The hammer wielder is a berserk, and misses as often as he hits. However, when he does land a blow, it pulps flesh and shatters bone, and several members of the party soon bear horrible contusions from his attacks. However, he is quickly surrounded and knocked prone by Mord Bit. Moments later and the berserk has his belly opened up by a thrust from Ulframm's blade, though in response to this, he reflexively smashes the Nordvyrr's legs with enough force to cripple him with agony, sending him flying almost 15' back, crashing into a broken pile dangerously close to the edge of the trail and a long fall. This however, is his last act, as he is lashed by a blast of frozen power from Seren, pierced by a poisoned bolt fired by the assassin, and finally, killed by a roaring thrust of the warlord's thundering spear, his last words lost in a puff of blood.

A tense moment then as the group strain to listen for any sounds that may suggest their battle has been heard by others closer to the tombhold...

...Nothing other than the ghostly whispers and their own heartbeats pounding in their ears...

Arrival +3 days, 3 hours, 11 minutes – +3 days, 3 hours, 30 minutes – The corpses of the patrol are thrown off the mountainside, and the group continue. As they creep forwards they become aware of a vague luminosity ahead, reaching up into the skies; clearly a large light source (or multiple lesser sources) shining into the fogs and darkness. Nervous now of being discovered by another patrol, the group decide that Ulframm and Jaeger should scout ahead, the Nordvyrr's keen senses and assassin's innate mastery of stealth the reasons they are chosen, whilst the rest of them will wait where they are.

Arrival +3 days, 5 hours, 10 minutes – +3 days, 6 hours, 00 minutes – The group wait in the darkness, listening to the occasional snatches of Vanogg conversation that carry on the foggy night winds from their settlement, praying that the two scouting ahead are not found and killed. After what seems like a small eternity, they return, both clearly excited by what they have found.

“Ahead a little ways,” begins the assassin, “is a great tomb mound, the size of a large temple. It is surrounded by a wide trench filled with the same glowing mould as covered that bastards torch skull earlier, which is the source of the light we can see. There is a bridge that leads to a vast entrance on the southern side of the mound, though it is a false entrance.”

“How do you know?” Asks Varracuda.

“And what's in this pit?” Adds Seren.

“Death lurks in the pit.” Replies Ulframm grimly, “Long spears are set at its base, and moving amongst them are the hungry dead. “

“Aye,” agrees Jaeger, “Ghouls or wights of some kind. And to answer your question Varracuda, I climbed along the underside of the bridge a little bit and noticed several things that seemed 'off' to me. Firstly, there is only a minimal guard apparent; a few Vanogg like the ones we just slaughtered. Secondly, there are the components of some kind of trap, almost certainly rigged to the weighted portcullis I saw primed to fall at the entrance's mouth. Finally, as far as I could make out, the passage beyond the entrance only goes a short way in, and is guarded by something huge.”

The assassin shudders as he recalls what he glimpsed squatting in the writhing dark of the tunnel; A huge cadaver, massive and humanoid, limned in the foul glow of its own decomposition; the animated corpse of some kind of gigorim or even, given its size, an Adar...

“There was something in there that I believe would have had the power to destroy us all, and would be too potent and deadly a beast to keep shackled near a true thoroughfare.”

Varracuda leaves it at that.

“However,” continues Ulframm, “we found a path that winds around the entire main mound and up behind the sheer sided cliffs that rise to the north, which seem to house the main habitations of the Vanogg; caves mostly, open to the outside. This path is well trodden and seems to lead to some kind of smaller cavern, which we both agree, could be the true entrance into the Vanogg's tomb stronghold.”

“So we take the path then?” muses Emmiven.

“Looks that way.” agrees Seren.

Arrival +3 days, 6 hours, 01 minutes – +3 days, 6 hours, 40 minutes – A plan is quickly made, which sees Ulframm smearing blood and filth on his face in an effort to give him a passing semblance to a Vanogg in the dark and mist. The rest of the group then smear dirt on themselves, and make sure their wounds are obvious, and adopt a battered, broken appearance. They then set off to seek out this secondary entrance to the Vanogg lair – and then, with luck, the dark chieftain Gor'Kuul.

Their journey is mostly uneventful, though they have to fight the urge to gawp at the hulking mass of the main tumulus, and have to persuade Schnecke that no it isn't worth trying to kill the thing in the fake entrance just in case. About halfway round the curve of the path the group encounter a group of Vanogg accompanied by one of their wretched canines. The howler senses that all is not as it seems, but receives a sharp blow to its skull-like head from one of its keepers when it snarls at the party, the Vanogg having been convinced by Ulframm's disguise and briefly croaked words that he is one of them, and the others are captured aelfs headed for an uncertain future.

Moving on, the party become aware of a dull regular thumping that they feel in the core of their being, as if it is a powerful subsonic signal or the beating of an impossibly huge and potent heart. It thrums with malevolence, and seems to be coming from somewhere beneath the main mound of the tumulus. Trying not to dwell on what its source could be, the party begin the climb up the last leg of the path, noting that just as was reported, numerous caves, their entrances covered by weighted wolf and human skins, open out into the night from the vertical face of a 200' high cliff that rises to the north of the mound. The path they are on curves behind these, climbing to a low mound of mountain rock at the top of the cliff, into which the group can see, is carved a small, decorated entrance.

None feel too happy when they realise that it too is unguarded by any obvious means.

Arrival +3 days, 6 hours, 41 minutes – +3 days, 6 hours, 50 minutes – Moving slowly now, feeling suddenly exposed on this open area, the mound squatting foully in its green pit to the south, the mountains slopes hidden by the night and the fogs to the north, the group carefully approach the entrance, noticing the lurid carvings of skulls and chained spectres depicted on its stone, as well as the lines of runic script that meander amongst them, resonating with quiet, potent power. As they come within 10' of the doorway, Grigori notices that the darkness within is coiling and billowing in a defined area, and recognises it as some kind of bound otherworldly entity.

“Careful” warns the priest, bringing his holy symbol to bear, “an unholy presence watches over the entrance.”

As if realising the game is up, the darkness suddenly begins to seethe with fluid movement, and a thick, unpleasant psychic pressure floods the area, leaving a putrid, purely telepathic “taste” on each adventurer's tongue. As the pressure increases, so the vague form continues to take on more solidity, eventually manifesting as a 9' tall, 6' wide horror of sagging loose flesh, dripping black eyes and a wide, toothy maw.

It is a squat almost frog-like daemon of some kind, though Grigori, Seren and Varracuda quickly realises that it is actually a Shator – a demodand – a chthonic entity of greed and anger often summoned as guardians.

The horrible thing regards them with eyes that drip tarry tears, before speaking into their minds with a glutinous, choked voice. “You...are...strong. ….we....make...yes? No....fighting? Benefits....for....all?”

Everyone gags as the words are accompanied by the telepathic equivalent of horrible halitosis. However, the meaning behind the foul spirits words are clear – and despite some initial reluctance, the party agree to parley.

“What do you propose daemon?” growls Emmiven, retching slightly at the bitter after taste of the Shator's words.

“I...know much...about Gor'Kuul. Would you....CRUSH free me...from his spells...”


“He great chamber...shrouded by dark...primal...power. Surrounded he hosts of black spirits...and the...the ghosts of the...mountain clan's ancients....powerful beyond your abilities...
“My essence...bound to a stone kept wet....wet with the blood....of the children. SMASH THE STONE...” Everyone reels from the crushing onslaught of foetid psychic malodour that the demodand's fury belches forth, “SMASH THE STONE....AND....and....” A cunning, sly note enters the monsters voice, “I shall fight with you...Gor'Kuul...will know see him dead...”

“And when he is dead daemon? What then?” Asks Jaeger, his eyes hooded, a look of plain distrust on his pale face. The Shator grins, thick, tarry tears sliding over its bloated, fungous cheeks. “And then....we shall.....see...”

The group spend a moment or two talking amongst themselves. Some, like Emmiven are not happy about trusting a daemon and are less enamoured with the idea of entering into a bargain with one. Others such as Seren seem happy to make the bargain, arguing that they will be fighting a potent evil in its own lair and will need all the help they can get. Eventually, they agree to take the demodand up on its offer.

“Goooooooood....” Gurgles the daemon, “Then make....your way into....this door.... and down. The tunnel...... splits eventually, and you....... must...... head left. Then follow the evil...... southwards, through....... the outer chambers and...... the halls of the Vanogg..... until you find the rotting menhir. There....... you will see the entrance..... into Gor'Kuul's lair.”

“And what of the Vanogg?” Asks Emmiven angrily, “How many must we battle before we take our fury out on Gor'Kuul? A hundred? A thousand?”

“None...” Oozes the reply, its stench particularly powerful, “For all of..... them pray through the..... first..... half...... of the night with their.... lord, and so will...... be caught...... in the throes of their..... intoxicants and lusts....You can walk......walk through their homes.... and halls least until you reach the rotting menhir....then you will fight....oh then you will fight for sure....”

“And Gor'Kuul, what can you tell us of him?” Asks the warlord.

“Daemonhost....possessed by.... rotten souls..... born of the primal black..... Unlife is within...him.....and as such....he.....he is weak....against that....against which the are weak.” comes the drooling, stinking reply.

Spitting to rid himself of the choking amaroidal taste of the monster's words, Emmiven backs up, and the rest of the party steel themselves, watching as the Shator, its horrible psychic stench lingering long after it has faded, returns to its shadowy, half form.

“Goooooo....oooo...oooooo” It croons foully from the darkness, “Gooo and free meeeee....”

Friday, 1 April 2011

TocToc - Duodrone Fixer (Soldier 6)

As there is no intention of him being involved in any battles (not that this means anything) I thought I would share my take on the Modrons (with one power "implacable" borrowed from the official modron stats)

Alternate Views

Here are some links to some alternate views of this blog. No real point to them, but hey, they are there if you want them. 

There is another, but it doesn't seem to work for this blog!