Dragon Empire

Out Of The Temple, Into The Fire

Our heroes found their way out of the caves using the set of stairs below the fountain pool in the temple structure. They quickly discovered a set of sleeping orcs and combat ensued! The group had little issue in hunting down the remaining orcs sleeping/hiding in the cavern. They restocked their food supplies, took what rest they could, and contemplated how to proceed.

At dawn, a man, driving a wagon propelled by an elemental, pulled up to the cavern entrance. Our heroes had time to rest and recover their strength, getting what sleep they could, before the arrival of this driver. After some hefty suspicions, the group was able to force some information out of the driver — the exact location where he was taking the goods. After a few more threats, he agreed to drive the crew to the rendezvous location, provided they gave him compensation so he could go on the run. It wasn’t likely his previous employers would allow him to live out the night, should they find out.

We leave off with the group setting up camp for the night, after a long day of travel.

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I Feel The Need...The Need For Greed!

Our heroes took time to recover from their fight and to re-analyze their surroundings. They spent some time exploring the temple, looking for clues as to where items go. The examination of the teleportation circle led them to believe that items were sent, rather than summoned away, leading them to require the ritual to perform and not simply waiting on the circle to be summoned themselves. Unfortunately, none in the group were capable of focusing their chaotic ways into performing ritual casting.

Meanwhile, a way out was discovered in the pool of water in the north west corner. After some combined searching, Mike and Durn discovered a way to open a hidden staircase in the floor of the pool. The water quickly drained to allow passage to the other side.

Our weary travelers took time to also examine the copiousness of magical gear and equipment, quickly doling out both one-use and true magic items across the team. Being overwhelmed by the sheer power of the magic items’ personalities, the group could not continue….

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To See The Other Side

Our heroes finish cleaning up the rest of the ratlings on the surface. They discover more old supplies and other detritus belonging to an old mining camp. However, hidden beneath an old grate, they find a trap door leading down further into the depths.

The crew has a change of heart and find themselves controlling the denizens of this area. They discover a small underground temple area, sunken into the depths long ago. They have just finished completing the ritual to teleport supplies to their army when they start to hear noises in the deep.

They quickly move to investigate and setup defenses. They summon in a trio of demons to help protect the area.

The PCs find several crates of supplies. Inside are some mundane items (food, clothing) but they also discover a stack of magical items being prepped for sending out to the armies. There are creates of crossbows, shortswords, flails, maces, leather armor, shields, and the like. Inside one specially marked crate, they discover these magical items:

  • 6 armor runes (+1 to AC, +1 to PD)
  • 4 weapon runes (+1 attack, +1d4 fire damage)
  • 4 implement runes (+1 attack or +2 attack if spell targets multiples)
  • 4 energy resistance potions (resist 16+)
  • 4 healing potions

Once defeated, the crew discovers the teleportation circle at the bottom. Lacking the ability to power the ritual themselves, they at least discover enough information by rummaging through the shaman’s notes to point them to a location. It seems the shaman retained all correspondence with his master, seeing no need to destroy the parchment. It details a specific magical endpoint for the teleportation circle’s connecting circle, as well as the specifics involved with actually completing the ritual.

The party also discovers a small waterfall/pool in the north west of the underground temple that seems to contain some sort of mechanisms within the water, and perhaps triggering them will be good … or bad for the group of heroes…

Magic Items

Half Orc Legionnaire corpse

Ring of Defense
Pendant of Burning Blood

Orc Berserker corpse

Boots of Ferocious Charge (pg 289)
*Circlet of Swift Thought

Orc Ranger corpse

5x Lethal Strike arrow
Cloak of Misdirection

Orc Shaman corpse

Potion Belt of Recovery
Scroll of Unspoken Deeds

Lemure corpses

2x Oil of Fiery Burning (Champion)

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Into The Depths

Deek and Simone find Drew, circling the Knave’s Slaughter, watching for the Orcs. Simone heads inside the inn while Deek and Drew head back to The Crusty Bulkhead to meet up with the rest of the crew. Once there, Mike heads upstairs to search for traps/hidden items in their rooms and to leave a small surprise (poison ivy) for Simone, in payback for teleporting him in front of the dire bear in the arena.

While there, Deek is surrounded by sycophants who try desperately to please him, and as part of the entourage, he meets a small gnome who gifts Deek with an invitation/entry coin he needs to head to Kjess (Prince 6) on the morrow, and be seated in an area nearby some overly-pompous priests flaunting their artifacts and other items. Jake overhears a conversation that leads him to some info concerning The Three (Priestess 6) and a blue dragon that needs assassination. Drew, Durn, and Aazon eat quietly by themselves in the corner, resting and trying to avoid the limelight.

In the other inn, Simone puts on a wench’s outfit and works her magic and sidles up to most of the gentlemen in the bar. She hears lots of information about the town, and tries to get the lay of the land. She discovers the Orcs were here, but they haven’t been seen in quite a while. The inn does have a set of rooms downstairs and double the number upstairs. Eventually she heads outside to the stables to look for some stableboys to chat with. On her way out, she gets confronted and told to murder Calyphos (leader of a cult of the Diabolist, the traitor at Boltstrike Pillar), take his heart, place it in this chalice, and this will allow the Crusader (Crusader 5) to identify the location of the Diabolist’s closest nexus of power.

Once that memory fades, she continues on and meets 2 stable boys, Jimmy and Lex. They are flabbergasted by Simone, and information is revealed that the Orcs did arrive at lunch time, but they wanted to unload their own wagons. Simone discretely discovers the wagons are full of nothing but left-over hay. She asks the boys to come find her and tell her where the Orcs might be, and heads back to The Crusty Bulkhead.

After a couple hours, the evening starts to wind down, Lex comes running back to inform Simone that the Orcs are still there, and that they never left the inn, and are staying downstairs in room 115. He gets a very flirtatious thank you from Simone. Simone relays this information to the crew, and Drew and Mike head back to The Knave’s Slaughter to investigate. They spent a couple hours reconning. Drew eventually turns into a bird and flies into an open window, trying hard not to make noise and make his way downstairs to find room 115. After some confusion with his shapeshifting forms and how best to acheive his goal, he heads into the common room, finds a candle, and heads down into the hallway to discover room 115 is on his left at the end. He exits and lets Mike know, who then stealthily gets into the room to look around. He finds no traps, but does find a trap door in the floor of the room, beneath a bed. They peek inside but it’s very dark, and Mike can’t convince Drew to turn into a cat and go explore solo, so Drew flies back to The Crusty Bulkhead to wake the rest of the party, who’s just falling asleep.

Everyone wakes rather grogily, except Simone. Simone had quite a tough time getting to sleep and is now covered in itchy, red blotchy spots and her skin feels like it is burning. As Drew notices this, he realizes there is some poison ivy rash and whips up a poultice for Simone. The one trick is how Simone must apply the poultice…

After the quite heated exchanged between Drew and Simone (ahem!), they all head back to The Knave’s Slaughter and arrive by around 11pm. Tired and worn out, but still ready to go, they proceed down into the trapdoor. Deek fires up his dancing lights and Drew has a candle and holder and they dive into the unknown. They begin to descend a very old, dusty set of stairs and travel 50-60 feet before coming to a tunnel entrance. The tunnel appears to have caved in, and a hole was dug into the ceiling to provide access. The stairs don’t go all the way to the floor, but rather stop at the cave-in and some rudimentary rocks/steps were put into place for the last 10 feet or so to get to the floor. Here they discover an old mining tunnel, with a set of dusty tracks for a minecar. There is only one way to head, so the crew proceeds.

Mike, leveraging his time underground, and Durn, leveraging his Dwarven heritage, analyze the tracks and surroundings and discover there has been some foot traffic through here. They move forward and eventually run into a swarm of rats that Deek contemptuously blasts into rhodent goo with a lightning bolt, killing all 40-50 rats in one swoop. They discover another cave-in at one end and a small elevator shaft that had collapsed, and so begin heading in the other direction. There they discover a small room full of old supplies miners would have used (food stuffs, tools, ropes, etc). While they were busy investigating, they were attacked by a rather large looking ratman (Ratling) and another swarm of rats, but the crew quickly overcame the creatures with a minimum of effort. They left off having just finished the battle, ready to search through the rooms to the north and see what the Ratling was hiding…

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The Arena

They head to the magistrate and are given sentence to Trial by combat. Before this happens, Peter is able to escape as a cat/bird and flies away to watch the orcs. As part of the combat, Josh turns into a female and has taken on the ‘perfect’ woman persona. They head back to The Crusty Bulkhead to meet up and recover, while Simone and Deek head to find Peter. The crew has a short rest and gets a partial level up, their first of level 2.

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The Ambush & Arrest

Josh finds a close-to-the-docks, semi-reputable tavern, The Crusty Bulkhead. Jake scouts the area and while he doesn’t discover the most shady dealers just yet, he gets a good idea of the locations of vendors, who to watch out for, when the best time to look for the nightlife is, etc. Matt and Larkin scout the boat, and Matt sees the orcs unload 5 wagons full of gear and head off. He begins to tail them, when Josh returns. Josh offers to tail them instead, as Matt was not doing such a great job. Josh follows them to The Knave’s Slaughter, an inn about 20 minutes from the docks at their slow pace. He gets there, scouts around a bit, and decides to head back. On his way back, he senses that he’s being watched. He ducks into an inn, tries to draw them out unsuccessfully, and leaves a drink behind for his viewer, to let them know he is aware of them. Dan, meanwhile, met a stableboy of The Crusty Bulkhead that Josh hired to find Dan. The boy then guides Dan to a small, local monastery. There, he was able to pay to send his warning to The Dwarf King by turning in his robes (Priestess 5), as he has embarked upon a different quest than the one the robes were made for. At the agreed upon time, they all reconvene at The Crusty Bulkhead for lunch and begin to formulate a plan.

The to-do list begins as Peter plans to find potential exits to the west or north to watch for the Orcs. Jake will look around the Knave’s Slaughter and scout there. Josh wants to look for a library to find info on paths to the Knee Deep, what is the Knee Deep (do people avoid it?), and what is the hell hole. Matt decides to watch the Orc boat for activity and possibly sneak on board for answers.

Before this can happen, 3 human figures ambush the group as they exit the Crusty Bulkhead. They force Matt, Jake, and Dan down into the alleyway. A brief fight ensues and constables come and arrest them all. Peter blows Nightshade powder into Josh’s face as Josh begins to levitate and mumble in tongues on the ground, to help him sleep. The constables quickly throw them into the cart to take them downtown to the magistrate. Josh awakens and casts force missile at a guard. The guard comes down and shoots him with a crossbow. Josh retaliates with a psychic scream and gets another crossbow bolt in retaliation. He comes to his senses and we leave off with them heading to the magistrate.

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Arrival in Axis

They set sail for a few days. At the end of the first day, they take shelter/anchor in a cove just past Glitterhagen to avoid a massive storm. A story begins being told by one of the crew. Lights were coming out of the water from the depths, and they heard music. Perhaps this was from the Jubberfish, who sing songs similar to female voices. Many sailors have wandered into the deep in search of the Jubbers. Looking over the side, they began to see faces of humanoids (orcs, elves, humans) in the water and was frightening. The crew took the least liked member of their crew and tossed him overboard in sacrifice. Later they hear that all the crew drowned.

They hear voices, noises, moans and screams. (Josh playing tricks). Then a giant squid attacked! They quickly took it down and the day ended uneventfully. The next day went by fine. The crew wrangled in a large fish that took them hours for the entire crew to pull in. They also passed a large merchant ship (a cog) on the way to Axis. The ship was one of the merchant princes’ and was rare and huge.

Over the night the crew finds more gold in their purses in the morning, whereas the captain finds less … and some rocks in his coin purse. A shooting star landed nearby in the middle of the night splashing down nearby. Josh, reminiscing high up in the mast, eavesdropped on the captain and first mate. They ask “are we supposed to get rid of them” and the captain says “Don’t worry I’ve got it covered”. The captain arranged to have it done when they get to Axis.

The captain convinces Josh, after Josh used the Ring of Poor Choices, that he was simply going to relay that the heroes arrived safely. After arrival, Jake scouts the city for contacts, Larkin finds a telescope and heads to a high temple, Matt goes with Larkin. Dan looks to find a temple of the priestess to contact the Dwarf King. Peter tries to scout in bird form for the boat. Josh went scouting for a inn/hotel

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Escape From Shadowport

Simon and Durn begin investigating the merchant guilds to try and find out more about this person who was trying to buy supplies. They head to the center of commerce and ask a few questions and drop some coin to try and get in touch with the seedier aspects of the guild. They get directed to a few blocks down and speak with a rather burly looking half elf. After dropping some more coin they discover that this group / symbol has been in town for a while, and has quite a few agents looking to purchase some rather large quantities of gear. They get directed down to the docks to talk to a small gnome who was the dockmaster. Despite the fire and chaos, they find him and discover the boat the Orcs/humans are on and that there was a rumor they were heading to Axis, on behalf of the Emperor himself.

Deek heads out to procure a wagon for the group, one large enough to contain lots of supplies.

Mike begins looking through town for Shez. He spends some time trying to work his craft, unsuccessfully.

Drew heads to talk to his contact. His contact says they don’t know the symbol, but it does seem roughly Orcish in nature. He suggests they talk to the merchant guild to see if anyone else in town might know something.

Aazon heads to research at some local churches. He spends lots of time digging through old tomes, and spends about 200g in donations but eventually comes across some really pertinent information. He discovered the orcs, named “The Risen”, tend to live apart from their normal orc clans in the swamps to the west, nearby human settlements. They like to hunt the monk orders and so stay close by.

Eventually they meet up at night at their inn. Jake sees Shez and summons her to meet inconsipicuously in the back. The adventurers level up to level 2! Deek, Simon, and Durn head to visit with Lars Renfist to procure a boat. They spin a story about knowing who started the fire in town, trying to pin the blame on the folks with the symbol/banner. They tell Lars they need to get to Axis as soon as possible and in exchange for some coin and to keep Lars in the loop. Lars gives them a way to contact him, and he can send an agent. They decide they want to hop a boat as soon as possible, and so Lars offers to get them that but they need to pay for the bribes.

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An Un-Orclike Orc

There are whispers and store patrons that are talking about a disturbance to the south near the waterfront. Bar patrons begin talking about a cult being responsible. Panicked whispers from urchins on the corner about how to get their next medical treatments. Other workers nearby begin crying alarms and a surge of constables are heading in the direction of the fire. This means less constables nearby, so there is some fights/crime…

Scene in the road. An man is arguing with the owner that he cheated him out of his supplies. Some rope, some paper tubes, glass lenses, some metal wire, some small knives. The shop owner says the man is trying to steal his items without paying for them. No constables around. Man is carrying a small list of other tools, equipment, and some weapons. Lots of climbing gear. Looks like it could be tools to stage some sort of massive climb for much more than this man alone. Pitons designed to embed in rock and stone. Grappling hooks.

The man and shopkeeper are arguing, and eventually Simon and Deek head out to confront the man and tell them to quiet down. After a tense moment he backs down and Simon and Deek head back into the tavern to finish lunch. Meanwhile Jake swiped the list of items the man was shopping for and discovered a mysterious symbol of a blood red talon overlayed with twin crossed golden scythes. He shows this to the crew and Durn recognizes it as a symbol for the cult that killed the Grandmaster of Flowers (and is hunting him). He immediately heads out to confront the man. After a few tense moments, Durn’s fury cannot be contained and he lets loose into the man, catching him off guard. The rest of the gang follows Durn and a fight ensues.

Upon death, the man transforms into an orc, with a shimmer from the Belt of Illusions (Prince – Jake or Larkin). Upon looting, they discover a clasp with a the same insignia. The crew resurrects/heals him so they can try to get some answers from him. The orc seems resistant to physical punishment and after a few minutes, the team gives up. They just aren’t up for torture in the middle of the shop keeper’s area.

No valuable information was uncovered, other than the symbol. They ask the shopkeeper about the man, the absurdly large quantity of gear he was procuring, and why he might be so eager to get his equipment now. The shopkeeper tells them about the weird secret midnight meetings and how the man promised to make him rich. The keeper needed a little more time, as the next meeting was not scheduled until midnight — he did not have all the supplies just yet, which is why the orc/man was arguing.

The crew contemplates heading to Glitterhagen next.

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Return To Lars

Dan gets infected and Peter’s herbalism can help cure him. He’s able to commune with the spores briefly to see their plan. Dwarf King – 5

Peter heals dan with the “nosiop itna” berries. He takes some of the dead fungus for later, as it is used in nightmare sequences. They eventually dig out the dagger and Jake takes it. The crew knocks over braziers and ignites the building.

They head back to deliver the dagger to Lars. The party gets 1,000 gp to split. Peter heads off to talk with his contact to see if this was part of the reason for being here. Larkin heads to cleanup and change his appearance. Dan finds some cherry blossoms/trees to meditate. Jake heads back to the tavern looking for Shez-a-kah.

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