Posted by : David Guyll February 18, 2012

Cast

  • Iron Jack (human warlord)
  • Dahn (goliath serpent shaman)
  • Lothelle (moon elf bladesinger)
The doors to the armory close, and without astral essence the ship slowly drifts to the ground. Jack, Dahn, and Lothelle disembark and begin exploring the place. They find a large shaft containing the body of a dormant humanoid, roughly 100 feet tall and made of metal, trapped within a stasis field. Five passages branch off, and a set of stairs descends further down.

Each passage is sealed with a warded door. Lothelle's glasses allow her to read the words, which indicate that certain levels of permissions are required to open them. They find one that is damaged, with mechanical spiders attempting--and failing--to restore the magic bonds that keep it closed. They end up fighting the spiders, which combine to form larger constructs. Eventually they stop after a vibration resonates through the installation, allowing Lothelle and Jack to disable the door and get inside.

They find weapons made of a strange, golden material, and an enchanted javelin labeled as "Tempest", which allows the wielder to summon wind storms and elementals. They manage to access two more rooms, picking up a collection of golden weapons, a pair of linked swords referred to as Lightning Twins, and a golden fleece. The swords require two separate wielders to properly use, allowing them to channel lightning or make a combined attack, while the fleece provides damage resistance to the wearer, as well as allowing him or her to deflect an attack.

Unable to access the rooms for siege and geomantic weapons, they head downstairs, where they find a few rooms that require level 3-5 permissions. They head back up stairs and notice a console in front of the stasis field, and deactivate it. The metal colossus refers to itself as Autocthon, and after reminiscing about the Dawn War agrees to let them take the weapons and go if they promise never to return. They agree, and pick up a magic cannon and a bunch of elemental charges. In the geomantic weapon vault, they find an elemental lance and three fire charges.

They notice a door at the back of the room. Inside is a metal pyramid with elemental cores 200-feet high jutting out of the top (the ones they have found have been roughly fist-sized). The floors open, and green lightning carries raw metals into openings on the pyramid. It speaks to them, asking what their race is, what they are doing, and where they have been. When they mention going to Shom it claims to recognize them, and explains that it was there when they destroyed it. As in, the golden-bug-construct. Iron Jack asks it what it is trying to do, to which it responds that it is going to finish what the primordials started.

The pyramid thanks them for opening the vault, and energy courses along the walls, giving birth to more constructs that begin to pry themselves free and advance upon the party. They flee back to the ship, and thankfully the doors have opened, allowing essence in for the ship to fly. Demons block the door, and they are grabbed by a goristro, which is quickly taken apart by the machines. As they flee, they notice hordes of demons descend upon the armory, but are seemingly easily destroyed.

They make it out of the Elemental Chaos and head to the Feywild. Iron Jack tries to make peace by offering up the elemental lance to Lothelle's father, but he forbids her from leaving. After a lengthy argument, Lothelle's father pits her against one of his elite soldiers to see what she could possibly have learned from a "pathetic, drunken coward". She wins--fairly easily due to a combination of Kia's creativity and Josh's encouragement and taunts--and her father reluctantly drops the charges levied against Jack, takes the elemental lance, and storms off.

They then decide to head to a corpse star to see if Gwynneon can help them out further. On the star Lothelle is greatly sickened, and she has a harder time working magic because of all the cold iron. They encounter "voices"; pale humanoids covered with whispering mouths that disorient the characters. As they try to flee they are stopped by a humanoid with a single large eye and lamprey-like mouth. It offers them salvation if they would but open their minds to the songs of the stars (or at the least help feed the sleeping god). They decline and he uses his psionic powers to mutate the characters and rend the planar fabric, allowing an entity of the Far Realm to try and consume them. Ultimately they prevail, but after Jack slices him open a lump of slimy tentacles slithers off into the darkness.

Next Time: The Depths

Behind the Scenes
I have been waiting a long time to use clockwork horrors in a campaign, and now I finally have. It was fun dropping them in to the pilot episode, and again in Shom. They got to see how outclassed they were, and have now unleashed an army upon creation. I am curious to see how they deal with it, as well as how I will respond to their plans.

They also finally got their hands on a nice collection of magic items (they are level 4, by the by), all of which are custom-made:

  • The Golden Fleece: Magic leather armor that grants the wearer resist all 1 and lets him use an Immediate Interrupt to deflect a ranged attack against anyone within 5 squares.
  • Lightning Twins: Magic longswords that have an encounter ranged 20 lightning bolt, but let two wielders use a daily lightning blast that deals way more damage and knocks the target back. How it works is that one person uses their Standard Action, while the other uses an Immediate action. I also told them I would give them a +1 bonus to the attack roll if they gave it a name. They decided on Gemini Lightning Maelstrom, and it is funny hearing Josh and Kiara try to time it.
  • Tempest: Magic javelin that can create a blast of thunder damage on impact--kind of like a thunder-themed scorching burst--or summon an air elemental, similar to any other summoning power out there. 
  • Elemental Lance: With a range of 100 squares (and a 2-square blast radius) and 5d10 + 50 fire damage, I was surprised that they parted with it even though it only had three shots. Lothelle doubted she could make more since it required "a massive amount of fire energy, condensed in a kind of singularity". Very unstable and difficult to make.
  • Magic Cannon: Basically a magic ballista that can fire cold, fire, and lightning typed shots. The shells just require elemental cores to fabricate.
There was a hiccup when they went back to Astrazalian. Josh wanted to hand over the elemental lance and try to patch things up, but I figured Lothelle's father would not have any of that. They had a huge argument, but ultimately the right things were said to the point where I figured that he would want them to put up or shut up. The duel was ran as a kind of skill challenge, with some instances Kia and the soldier making opposed attack/defense checks to see what happened. My players realized early on that I am not going to pull punches and that there are plenty of things more powerful than they in the Astral, and there has yet to be a session where they had to flee from something.

I did not expect them to seek out a corpse star, seeing as all I had for Acamar was that crappy drawing I posted awhile back. Given that cold iron comes from corpse stars, Kiara was very much against it as she figured it would hurt Lothelle. She was right to a point; Lothelle feels feverish and her skin itches everywhere. Seeing as I am playing up cold iron's efficacy against magic, it is harder for her to use Arcana to detect magic (skill penalty), to cast spells (attack penalty), and when Dahn missed with Tempest it got stuck in the ground instead of returning to his hand.

Skill and attack penalties; much scarier than any city of aberrant horrors.
Josh is both a clever motherfucker who is not afraid to try some crazy shit. While fighting the voices, he decided to zap the Far Realm entity in the eye with his Lightning Twin's encounter shot, stating that he hoped to "daze it so that it stops grabbing us". He rolled and hit it, so for the next round I figured it would stop grabbing them and also give Kia an immediate save to escape it. For his next trick, he ran into a building and made a Streetwise check to kick down a wall (the walls were not mortared and fairly brittle) and double back on the cultist (who assumed he just ran off), giving him a chance to sneak attack him. He rolled well enough, and leaped out of the shadows, skewering the fucker, ending the fight in a decidedly climactic fashion.

On the downside, for them, Iron Jack got bit, meaning that now I have to come up with some sort of mutating disease (he failed the save), and Kamon actually had Dahn pick up the cultist's rod. I just laughed manically and called the session. Partially, I wanted to keep them guessing as to what was going to happen, but also because I had no fucking clue.

Four sessions in and my players claim that they are having "the most fun they have ever had with D&D". Sure, there are some problems with people remembering who was where, or if they can maneuver into a flanking position, or how far one thing is from another, but..fuck it. I'm tired of running low-level campaigns that barely hit 6th-level before the campaign falls apart and a lot of the shit I have planned never sees the light of day. They like the speed, the flexibility of their skills and powers, and that they are getting shit done.

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