The Plague of Issarea

Hope prevails over the Shattered Talon

“Did you hear, Wethren?” “Hear what, Laskal?” “The Barbarians and their party…the ones who challenged Xander…they have defeated Yvenna and her druids!” “What??!? How dare they challenge her! What is to become of us! Animus help us!” “You have heard that yourself Wethren! Their powers and the powers of Karitas are stronger than Animus and her followers!” “Blasphemy! How dare you speak such things! Animus, have mercy on him, he’s but a poor fool…”

“No, Wethren. I know what I am doing. Animus does not hear you, and she doesn’t hear me. I am going to follow them and you should too. Our whole lives we have spent slaving over this land and offering our sacrifices to Animus, and what has she done for us? Has she made our lives any easier?”

“She prolonged our lives, Laskal! She has always accepted our sacrifices, and that is why we still live, and why this land hasn’t dried up or why the animals haven’t devoured us all! Even when she takes our children, at least we know they are safe with her, and we all go on livi…”

“DON’T you dare defend the Taking to me, Wethren! You never felt the sting of that wound. I…no, Wethren. All she ever does is take, and all you’ve ever done is survive. That’s not living. There is more to life than just surviving, than breathing and sweating and suffering under some tyrant’s rule. I’ve had enough Wethren. I’m taking my family, and we are going to join them.”

Wethren stands there in shock, and then resumes muttering his frantic prayers…

View
Animus gets KO'ed

When we last left our heroes, Ajax and Tamar had left the party in search of food, when Ajax heard a scream in the distance. The two met up with Anthony and the group, and they all left in the direction of the noise to investigate. It appeared that some druids were in the process of what is known as “The Taking”, for a trapper and his family had failed to pay the requisite amount of tithes to Animus, and their children were being taken from them to be inducted into the Order of the Druids.

Needless to say, the party stopped them, with many of the druids and their spider conjurations slain, except one which disappeared into the forest. After a discussion with the trapper and his family, where the barbarians encouraged the family to follow them to the freedom of the barbarian lands, it was discovered that it was the day of a special festival in the Skyrtwood, one which dictated that all fires must be put out. The party quickly returned to Anthony, knowing that there would be trouble, because the requirements for the festival of Animus were in direct contradiction with the requirements for the festival of Logos, the Day of Mercy. No sooner did our heroes arrive when many druids, led by the Gatherer Xander Belchis, saw the fire and demanded that Anthony put it out. After a brief discussion, Xander decided to test the party with the Three Trials to see if Logos was stronger than Animus. For the first test, the Trial of Strength, Xander resurrected a small tree and made its wood supernaturally hard, and the party had three strokes to knock it down. Bakura first took a swing with her axe, but found little effect. Diarmand surprisingly then took a stab at the tree, having discerned a weak point in the magic protecting the tree, but his blade barely went in. Sven then aimed for the weak spot that Diarmand pointed out, and as he swung, his hammer magically turned into an axe and cut the tree like butter, to Xander’s shock. The second test, the Trial of Speed, involved the party being able to kill or incapacitate a hawk that would leave Xander’s hand before it could return to his hand, which Tamar did with jaw-dropping swiftness. The final Trial involved a riddle, which after some discussion, Seraph voiced the answer to: a Beholder. The scene ended with Xander’s faith being crushed, and the crowds clamoring for Logos.

View
A DND Limerick Quintet
  • Traveling on the Underhill route
  • We encountered the menacing brute
  • The arrow was shot
  • Tamar found the weak spot
  • And then we brought back the loot
  • Vulcanus’s wrath decreased,
  • Diarmand threatened the priest,
  • But the priest did assure
  • That he had matured
  • And then they threw us a feast.
  • The priest gave each of us a chest
  • For triumphing over this quest
  • Thank goodness we’re healthy
  • And now we’re all wealthy!
  • So then we all got our rest.
  • We all had a dream that night
  • In the Skyrtwood we all saw a light
  • An unholy fire!
  • The matter was dire!
  • So we set off to end the blight.
  • On the way we all heard a scream,
  • We saw the priest and the brigand team,
  • They were not polite
  • So there was a quick fight
  • And we threw them in the stream.
View
Glimpses

Seraph pulled his blade out of the base of the giant’s skull. Leaping to the ridge, he quickly surveyed the remnants of the battlefield. The barbarians and their rock-like friend were taking care of the wolves, while most of the goblins were fleeing. Tamar, who succeeded in wounding the giant with the legendary giant-slaying arrow, was now off to join the others and fight the hellhound who was leading the pack. The victory was hard-won, but it seemed that the party was in no real danger anymore. Seraph thanked Logos for his protection, and then he leapt off the crags to pursue some of the fleeing goblins.

...

This hellspawn was fierce, and the fire it belched over and over nearly brought us to our knees, but no matter. I had made my peace with death. We had fought for freedom, we had fought against the mighty, we had fought against the tyrants. Could there be a better life?

...

Praise Karitas! With his blessing my arrow shot true, and we survived the battle! Thank you for your protection over us. Please help us to continue to do your will and bring healing, mercy, and charity to your people. I pray that there will be enough treasure left for us to bring back, that the destruction of the city may be averted. My bow, my strength, and my life are yours. Amen.

View
Vrath's Journal: The Final Entry

...I can’t believe they got so close to me. I informed Taz immediately, and he told me to give the arrowhead to him. It will be safe with him of course. Even if they got to his son, Taz is a world beyond us in power. May the Fire-lord empower him to scour the earth…

What am I talking about? I can take care of these whelps too. That shadow-man, he just snuck up on me, that’s all. Once I diverted his attention and broke free, he didn’t stand a chance, and that’s why I was able to throw him out the window, and he just tucked his tail between his legs and ran. Hahaha! I should have no problem with the lot of’em, especially after Taz gave me this talisman. They’re probably hiding out in the hidden temple. I should have no problem if I catch them off guard…then the fallen and I will surround them! Let’s see…there were….six or seven of them, I think, and then there’ll be seven or eight of us! This’ll be easier than grinding dwarves into jelly…

...(with his mind at ease, the rest of the journal mentions trivial things and more accounting information about the wealth that has been diverted to the giant)...

View
Cults in the Cavern, Traitors in the Temple.

Brushing the dust and ash off of themselves, the majority of the party found themselves in a small undergrown cavern next to a hallway of worked stone. Tamar jumped down the cavern to help the party investigate, and in the hallway they found several doors, but Tamar’s keen ears could pick up chanting from one end of the passageway. Tamar and Seraph explored the hallways away from the chanting, finding several living quarters, but at the end of the hallway they found signs of the acid-spewing demons they had fought earlier. Fearing the worst, Tamar and Seraph rushed back down the hallway, only to find the barbarians and their rock-like friend opening the doorway to the chanters. Both quickly hid behind some cover, realizing that their unnoticed presence could be a large asset in the battle that was surely to come.

Sven, Ajax, and Bakura seemed to succeed in calming down the chanters from their intrusive interruption. Sven sat down and began to observe the rest of the service with Ajax standing at his side. Led by the Dragonborn priest Balthazar and six priests, the service had an eerie feeling to it, and felt entirely different from any of the methods of worship currently accepted by the Jewelbearers of Vulcanus, or the priests of any of the other known gods for that matter. Bakura walked out of the room, uninterested in observing or participating the worship service, and closed one of the double-doors behind him. This provided Tamar and Seraph the opportunity to creep closer and peer around the door, and as he was doing so, the sharp-eyed Seraph realized that Balthazar was about to cast some sort of spell in the midst of the incantations, and Seraph yelled “Look out!” Tamar then burst into the room, firing two quick shots at the nearest cultists after a quick scan of the area.

What everyone failed to find, however, was their lurking friend Diarmand, or more importantly, his blade, which soon found its way into the chest of Balthazar. With a scream, Balthazar directed his spell at Diarmand, and several priests swarmed him. Sven, in a noble effort, charged Balthazar and drew some of the attention away from Diarmand, although it may have been too much for him, as he soon collapsed. In a fit of rage, Ajax charged and felled Balthazar, and the party soon triumphed over the rest of the priests. As the party began searching the area, Ajax plunged his hands into the chests of the two men who had felled his barbarian brother and pulled out one of their ribs in a barbaric and gruesome display of trophy-making.

As the party searched the rest of the compound, they found several holy symbols of Vulcanus, and Seraph soon found a small prayer-book in Balthazar’s quarters, which led the party to suspect that the cultists had infiltrated the temple of Vulcanus and were attempting to ensure that Vulcanus’s wrath would be aroused due to the meager offerings. The party decided to lie in wait for the return of these traitors, while Diarmand snuck off in search of answers.

Tamar left the compound along with Bakura and covered the tracks leading to the entrance, while Ajax dragged all of the demons from the ash pit into the cavern, after which he started pulling various skeletal parts from them and fashioned his own set of acid-spewing demon hide, in a rather fantastical manner that is hard to describe. Meanwhile, Diarmand eventually managed to find the burly temple-guard who was on watch the night of the demon attack. As he crept into his bedroom, he began attaching manacles to the bedposts which he had stolen earlier that day. As he enclasped them around the guard’s hands, he woke up, and Diarmand quickly covered his mouth and put his knife to his throat. Diarmand began to explain the game he called “Pain Management”, and the guard soon had little choice but to play. The guard claimed that the arrowhead was in the drawer next to him, but as Diarmand began to secure his feet to the bedposts, he belched fire and a dark scuffle ensued, which resulted in Diarmand being thrown through the window. He eventually returned to the party, battered and bruised, with no arrowhead, but a certainty that the guard was involved in this foul cult. After resting for a day and waiting for the traitors to show up at their secret coven, nothing happened, and the party began to grow restless and discuss other options of how to root out this infestation…

At this time, we would like to take a vote on the title for our next installment. The top submissions have been selected. Please post your votes in the comments for this post. The titles include:

“Going up a level!” “Diarmand’s lecture: Pain Management for Dummies” “BOOM! The Magma rising!” “Giants be warned: We’re going to kill you all kinds of dead!” “The secret treasure of the Jewelbearers: The shape-shifting underwear!”

View
The Final Artifact, the Consummation of a Lifetime.

Our heroes thus begun our discussion with the man who introduced himself as Malus Lightbringer, a paladin of Justice. He explained that he was in this lair because he had fought the misshapen Wrath and their leader, a gargantuan Black Dragon, but in the process he was knocked unconscious. When he came to, his sword was missing, and he had remained in this lair the whole time in search for his sword, a magic sword that could shapeshift and disguise itself to be less valuable than it was. Unfortunately, once separated from the sword, it had disguised itself from Malus, and he could no longer find it. He asked for the party’s help in searching for it, as well as questioning us on how we made it into the cavern beneath the mountain.

In the middle of this discourse, most of our party seemed distrustful of this paladin, for he had some unusual qualities about him, including a forked silver tongue. Without warning, the assassin tapped into his shadow power and attempted to slay the paladin, but the paladin anticipated the attack and revealed his true form, for indeed he was the gargantuan Black Dragon, and the assassin’s dart bounced harmlessly off his scales. It commanded our service in helping it find its treasure on pain of death, when Tamar pulled out the apple from the Tree of Life and bit into it. The dragon shrunk back down into his human form, and with slightly clenched teeth revealed that he and the party served the same master, the god Logos. He eventually allowed us to pass, and as we neared the exit, Sven pulled out the small mining hammer he had picked up in the cavern. It had been quite miraculously well-preserved, and Sven became suspicious. He secretly attempted to force it to change shape to see if it was the dragon’s prized treasure or not, and surprisingly, it became a Mordenkrad before his very eyes. The dragon howled in anger, and the Wrath rushed forward, but the party was too close to the exit, and we made a narrow escape.

Finally seeing the light of day, the party hurried off from the mountain, anxious to put the dark horrors in its depths behind them. They were able to rest, and made quick time to the cotting of Valley. As we arrived, the party met Dergen, the master smith and most famous crafter in all of Valley. Bakura was glad to see his old mentor, and after a brief introduction to the party, Dergen revealed the task he was working on—a mithral arrowhead, that would be sharp and lethal enough to kill a giant in one hit. He had been commissioned to make it by the High Jewelbearer and Overseer Tasz, so that the giant who had attacked the trade route to Underhill could be slain. After reporting to the Overseer about the pass through the mountain cavern, the party rested at the inn in celebration of their victory.

When they awoke, they found an investigation underway with Overseer Tasz and the temple guards. Through Diarmand’s craftiness and Sven’s disarming personality, we discovered that Dergen had been murdered the past night, and the completed Arrowhead had been stolen! Tamar, aided by the rest of the party, found the tracks of several acid-spewing six-legged demons, and after some more investigation and preparation (through the purchase of several Antivenom potions), the party followed the tracks into the Ash pit, the reservoir of the ash that was constantly being spewed out of the volcano. The party was there ambushed by six of the demons, but the sharp eyes and quick reflexes saved many of the party and all but Bakura and Ajax fought on even terms. As the last demon fell, the ground fell underneath the party, and a majority of the party fell in a cavern ten feet below the surface.

Who but the most powerful of prophets can predict what will happen in the cavern? We can, and we will tell you in our upcoming episode,

“Vengeance is ours…and so is the Arrowhead!”

View
The Perilous Depths of the Mountain

Our brave adventurers, having just narrowly escaped the elementals guarding the Mountain, found themselves sealed in with mounds of treasure, dead dwarves and other races, as well as skeletons of the Misshapen. Who could tell that just beneath two of the standing skeletons lied a Gelatinous Cube in hiding?

As Tevye and Ajax inspected the skeletons, the Gelatinous Cube pounced on them, as several skeletons animated and attacked the rest of the party. After a hard-fought victory, Diarmand became aware of what he claimed to be the “fears of the dead”, which apparently are linked to the Misshapen. As the party navigated through the maze-like passageways, the echoes of the Misshapen could be heard, and their graven voices shook the bones of many of our heroes and weakened their fortitude.

Past a giant door, the party reached an impasse, with what sounded like hundreds of the Misshapen on their tails, as well as a cluster of them ahead, blocking the passage to the light. Led by a hexer and a brutish chieftain, the Misshapen fought in large numbers and in conjunction with poisonous fungal creatures that had been captured. The party managed to break through, although it was severely battered and bloodied, and several of our heroes were near death and temporarily fell. With the blockade breached, the party rushed forward, only to find that the light was not from the sun on the other side of the mountain as originally hoped, but from a mysterious stranger. With Misshapen swarming all about them, the strange man cast a barrier around the party so that he could converse with them…

Our adventurers will return in our next episode,

“Holy Man or Radiant Demon?”

View
The company assembles

(by Tito)

After an epic party thrown by the Hillies, where Diarmand demonstrated his skill with the fiddle and Ajax danced a barbaric jig, and merriment was had by all, the inn was attacked by a pack of wolves led by the mysterious fire wolf. The wolves, it seems, had been branded with the sign of the Giants, and they had attacked the messengers from Valley, although one made it to Underhill alive.

After a brief debate of where to go first, it was revealed that the entire party had each received the same message with a sort of map on it, indicating that they were all called to venture out together to the Life-giving Tree Temple of Logos. The High Bishop there sent us off with his blessings and with a warning that we should take none of the riches that lay in the secret chamber in the mountain.

Following the map’s instructions, the party head due north of the tree, until they reached the cliff face, and were able to open the hidden door just in time to escape the rock elementals that had formed. With trepidation and excitement, the party is about to go through the first leg of its quest in…

...the Hall of the Mountain King

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.