Posted by : David Guyll June 14, 2012

A bolt of lightning many times larger than it should be hammers into Autochthon, sending it careening down the mountain, over the cliffs, and into the now-tranquil seas. A dragon, specifically the blue dragon that they saw before going into Moradin's fortress. Thankfully its attention is focused on Autocthon, and it does not notice them.

It does smell them.

It looks at Iron Jack, then at the axe, then back at Iron Jack again in disbelief. "The axe has chosen you?" Before Jack can answer, Autocthon rises from the water, so the dragon scoops them up and takes to the sky, narrowly avoiding an energy lance fired from Autocthon's extended arm. They take shelter on the other side of the mountain, where the dragon grills them on who they are, how they got here, what they are doing here, what is that giant metallic creature...you know, the usual things adventurers get asked.

Iron Jack mentions the golden pillar of light, that he absorbed it, and that they just "kind of found the axe underground". Before they can get into it too mcuh the top of Celestia explodes. With more pressing matters at hand, the dragon says that he will occupy Autocthon while they go inside and destroy him Unicron style. As they fly towards the mountain-obliterating god-like construct, they see that it now has four arms, and that those four arms had combined into one massive cannon.

The arms separate, four cylinders that look like wagon-sized versions of the cores used to power the energy lance that they had before shoot out of its back, and it fires again. The dragon manages to evade each of the lances and throws the slaughterstone behemoth at Autocthon's mouth and then grapples it. Blades jut out of Autocthon's body, and the dragon suffers numerous tiny cuts as its mouth seals and the behemoth collides with it.

Danh activates the behemoth's blade array and the adamantine swords easily tear through the material and they get inside. As they try to find there way to something expensive-looking that they can destroy, they end up facing off against numerous clockwork horrors, made worse by the dragon wrestling Autocthon about.

Eventually they find what they think is its heart: a glass-like container filled with raw Astral energy. They start blasting it with magic and beating it with the Axe of the Dwarven Lords, eventually damaging it enough where it starts to leak and melt through Autocthon's torso. They flee and run out of the mouth, assuming that the dragon would be there to catch them and that they would  not be hundreds of feet in the air.

Well...at least the dragon was there to catch them.

Or rather, try.

Autocthon explodes into two halves, but as a construct is still able to use its energy lances. The dragon swoops towards them, but just before it can grab them an energy lance slices off its hand, and another clips it. Everyone goes crashing into the water, and Danh is almost dragged to the bottom by the behemoth. They make it to shore, battered, barely alive, and both behemoth- and dragon-less. They decide to make camp.

During Iron Jack's watch the behemoth surges from the water, mindlessly walking along. He stops it and collapses it back into a cube. Everyone is pretty happy that at least they still have one toy. Then an arm, followed by the upper half of Autocthon, comes out of the water. This makes everyone's day considerably worse.

He tries to blast them with his last good arm and Iron Jack throws the Axe at his hand. This time the entire arm explodes off. They rejoice until they realize that Autocthon's mouth is also an energy lance. They figure, what the hell, and just charge him. The lance misses and they leap on its head. Using the behemoth's swords they carve it open, and Iron Jack proceeds to axe the rune-core inside, destroying it. What remains of Autocthon collapses in a heap.

Then, of course, the dragon shows up. Having no ship, the dragon agrees to take them to Hammerfast so they can see if they can find Jack's crew.

At Hammerfast they find hundreds of refugees from neighboring islands, including the githzerai they ran into on the way to Moradin's Forge. It seems that Autocthon had been busy expanding while they were away. They are reunited with Jack's crew, but the reunion is short-lived as they are taken to the dwarven council, who could apparently sense the Axe. The council consists of dwarves so ancient that they are barely recognizable stone pillars. Jack gives them the Axe, and agrees to let them study the behemoth so that they can produce more of them for an imminent attack.

Jack decides that in order to have any chance of beating back the clockwork horrors that they need more allies. He is told that Asmodeus and Nerath are either unwilling or unable to send reinforcements, so determines that their best course of action is to seek out an old friend of his, and they set a course for Horizon.

BEHIND THE SCENES
I do not even remember when these sessions happened, as it was quite awhile ago. People had things going on, Diablo 3 came out, and the D&D Next playtest finally went public, so we have missed quite a few weeks. That, and since the party is now 11th-level they get to, for the first time ever, choose a paragon path. Given that Jack has absorbed a god's power, I told him to think of some divine things to give his character. I am curious as to what everyone else came up with.

The fight inside Autocthon was fun to run. I randomly determined which way Autocthon was facing and falling every round, which caused them and the monsters to tumble about, sometimes into hazards like the Astral heart and fire cores. It was also fun trying to envision what might be inside Autocthon (thankfully I head read some of Exalted: The Alchemicals and played God of War 3).

Josh did some more unexpected things, like offering shares of his money to the crew if they did not want to come along for the suicide mission (which reminded me of a scene near the end of Serenity), and went out of his way to make a deal with a local tavern for profits in selling his divine booze. He even wanted to find a way to get rid of his divinity, which the dragon told him he could do by investing it into a dominion (as well as that worshipers could empower him).

I think the biggest--and most pleasant--surprise was that he just kind of mention his "old friend the astral pirate", as if it was an official part of the world (though they first debated going back to Acamar, the Feywild, a god-corpse, or even hitting up Asmodues to talk with the devils). I like Josh keeping me on my toes, so I have no problem throwing it back on him when I ask him the name, personality, history, etc of the NPCs he is looking for.

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