Monday, July 21, 2014

Martyr King 14: Maven's Father

Adventure log for the fourteenth session in the "Legacy of the Martyr King" campaign.

After investigating the armor, our heroes rouse the sorcerer Clark ... except that he's not Clark. His name is Michael Paltry, and he's been hiding out in this tower, killing adventurers and selling their stuff. The bard lures them in, and Michael kills them through traps and, you guessed it, Grizzly bears (its also a good way to grind!). Clark and Beledie (the hero who owned the armor), have been dead for many centuries. After much deliberation, our heroes decide that they like Michael's business plan, and promise to spare his life if he works as their research assistant. Michael hastily agrees.

In the bowels of the Minaret, our heroes find some magically preserved tomes from Clark Laurent. They find little about the tower, but Aymeric makes some discoveries about the soulstones. Evidently "Light" is the power that animates living things, "Dark" is the power that animates the undead. Clark seems to avoid the standard associate of undead and evil.

Deciding that the bard should pay, our heroes go to town and confront Fabguy, who immediately begins writing a song in their honor. Our heroes take him outside, and threaten to kill him, but Fabguy offers a information exchange, explaining that he knows the location of some Dorian scouts. Our heroes agree, and Aymeric simply brands his forearm with "(Lyre)LIAR(Flute)."

Our heroes stumble upon the scouts, who reign down arrows - however, the arrows are all but rendered innocuous by one of Castor's spells, saving much health. A relic walker is with them, the soulstone powered war machines that the Dorians have made but it is taken down along with the scouts and the soulstone is retrieved. Then our heroes head back to the Slate Minaret and activate the Jumpgate. Michael nervously greets them.

Nut pops through to say hello to Adrianne and is automatically paralyzed by a defensive spell. Adrianne, however is happy to see them. All well over all.

Our heroes continue north to Wintershire, Maven's home town, a journey that takes about 3 weeks. He is greeted by a childhood friend (now a cripple, preventing him from being drafted), who is sad to inform him that Maven's mother is dead. He leaves the rest of the explaining to "the paladin."

A paladin is at the gravesite. He greets Maven with love, and introduces himself as Maladrok. He then removes his helmet - he is an orc. And he is Maven's father.

Maladrok explains that he could not see Maven because he took, and broke, a vow of chastity. It would be too obvious to have him around. He also explains that he knows nothing of "The Old Man" (Maven's mysterious god) but that he instead worships the ideal of "Justice." He says that two assassins came in the night and killed Maven's mother. Maladrok killed one and gave the other a nasty scar. He also took the Dorian holy symbol from them.

The party tells Maladrok of their travels. Maladrok says that they must hurry to the capital, and they do (but not before Maven spreads some money around Wintershire).

They enter the Tessian capital and are given fancy rooms. Then, at dinner, they meet the new king Henry Brecht, a brooding, blonde haired young man with a gigantic broadsword which he carries everywhere. The king grills them on their travels, and our heroes begin to get suspicious.

Then the poison sets in.

Nut (not surprisingly) and Maven (surprisingly) drift quickly into unconsciousness. Henry and Maladrok stand up and draw their swords. "Put down your weapons and surrender." Aymeric and Castor briefly consider fighting, but the king and the anti-paladin appear to be high in their "season of adventure," and there are dozens of guards. Castor throws a stink bomb at the king, and then he and Aymeric and beaten into obscurity by guards.

They each wake up tied to chairs in small cells. Then, they are tortured for a few days. Thanks to some good will rolls and self-less actions, Nut, Aymeric, and Castor only tell them about their personal backstories, but nothing else. Maven tells them nothing.

Maven gets a few visits from his father, who appears to show some sincere remorse for the betrayal. Evidently, the plan is to go to the Dorians and split the continent between them. The Tessians are going to throw in the "False Martyrs" to sweeten the deal.

Oh, also - There were no Dorian assassins. Maladrok killed Maven's mother himself, to curry favor with the Dorians. They wanted her dead for some reason. He also killed the old Tessian king, helping Henry take control.

After a few days of torture, our heroes are put in a cage and paraded through the town and then at the head of the Tessian army, where they head back south. The army is large. Five or six hundred cavalry, and over two thousand troops. After three miserable weeks of attempting to break free, they finally reach their destinations.

They meet the Dorians in a large open field. The army is about a third relic walkers (the entire front line) and 2/3rds Dorian monks in light blue and Dorian agents in black leather armor. Also, they have the Beast with them: a giant golden armadillo machine studded with yellow soulstones. It’s about 30 feet tall.

Azriel, the Avatar of Light, is with them. The two armies face each other. the Tessian army far outnumbers the Dorians, who have only about 500. The Avatar goes forward to meet Henry and Maladrok, and Henry begins greeting him and offering him peace terms. They will split the continent in half, etc. The Avatar is as tall as Henry is on his horse. The Avatar is close to Henry, when he suddenly sees the group in the cage. His body bursts into light and his wings go wild, and he suddenly strides with inhuman speed towards the captives. Henry lightheartedly protests, and cuts the Angel off, and Azriel slices Henry's head off and continues towards the heroes.

Maladrok gets in the way and blocks and swing of the Angel, causing his shield to careen towards the cage. A second swing and Maladrok to teleports away, inches away from certain death.

The Dorian army is beginning to cast spells and lumber forward, and the Tessian army is still shocked as Azriel reaches the heroes, his massive glowing sword raised in over his head. He brings it down – and suddenly there is a flash of black and purple and time slows down.

A second angel appeals. This one is purely black, glowing dark purple. He looks virtually identical to Azriel except for the color scheme. He has blocked Azriel’s blade and pushes him back. The fight between the armies starts in slow motion behind them, and it is clear that the Tessian have already lost. Bolts and glowing spheres fly from the Dorian army, exploding and sending Tessians flying. Horses are rearing and already the infantry are beginning to rout.

The battle between Azriel and the black angel at first seems evenly matched. But with every blow (which looks and sounds like a lightning strike), the black angel seems to be weakening. They spin and turn, using their wings as fluid weapons nearly as much as their swords.

Suddenly, the heroes hear a voice inside their heads. As the voice speaks, the battle continues in slow motion, and the duel between the two angels intensifies.

I am Demphiel, Avatar of Darkness. Azriel is far stronger than I on the mortal plane, and I cannot hold out for long. I do not have much time and neither does your world. The God of Light desires the slavery of the human race, to repay the power you took from him so long ago. Go to the High Temple of Darkness in Narset. Speak to the High Priest of Darkness. Show him my sign. He will tell you what to do.”

For just a moment, our heroes find themselves in a vast black space, where dark purple shapes float far and near. There is no air, and they are suffocating.

Moments later they hit the ground in a large room. There is a sudden uproar as many people jump to their feet. Screams and gasps, and our heroes black out.

They slowly come to over the next few days, exhausted from the weeks of torment. It becomes apparent that they have been teleported to the capital of Pruhan, which is currently under siege by Tessia.

It is the evening of July 18th, 2000 A.F. This session took 7 weeks, four of which could be crafted in, four of which were spent in captivity. Heroic Favor goes to Aymeric for branding the bard. Our heroes played this session at level 7.

In this map, Yellow is the Northern Alliance, Red is the Western and Eastern Coalitions (which have basically banded together in a group called "The Guardians"), and Blue is the Dorians.

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