Diapha: Blood & Sand (& Pie)

Art Critics

Session 26 – game day 28 – afternoon

Entering the palace on top of Tower Rock the party triggered a mechanical trap. A spinning top with whirling blades dropped from the ceiling and cut up the rear of the group. Once inside there were three possible directions. One way was a set of double doors beyond which was light and the part could hear faint music from beyond. In another direction was a dark single door. And finally there was another single door with light. Garn approached the last door where he heard a woman yelling “Please don’t put me back in the painting!” Garn immediately took action and broke down the door. Inside was an art gallery. All of the paintings had women frozen in sad or frightened expressions. Undead creatures were trying to force another woman into an empty painting. The party rushed to save her. The frightened woman ran to the party, but having slipped to the back of the group she attacked the surprised Rangrim with a dagger. The woman’s face briefly became amorphous when she gouged a deep wound into the dwarf invoker.

Once Rangrim recovered he used his prayers to throw the treacherous woman back into the room. As her undead allies fell she ushered a command word, “Yu-Gi-Oh!” and released the other women from their paintings. The new women seemed genuinely scared, but the woman with the changing face grabbed one of them. The two spun and then there were two identical women. Not knowing who was who Balasar knocked one woman out at random. The girl fell unconscious and did not change form. Then the other woman surrendered. She was a doppelganger working for House Saundir and informed the party that Saundir paid the cursed King to use his palace to funnel necromantic supplies. They hide the supplies inside the small poems and float them down in paper balloons. A sha’ir who also works for Saundir has ink magic where he can hide objects (even creatures) into paper and canvas. The gnome Misty in the town below then collects the poems and delivers them to the empty caravans.

The party tells the other harem girls to wait as they move to confront their captors and destroy the necromantic supplies.

Treasure: Poisoned Dagger +1, 35 gp, (possible 200 gp from 5 paintings)

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I can see my house from here!

Rangrim and Eljah met the (foul-mouthed) gnome Misty in the stables of the Leaning Camel. He claimed to be a lover of poetry and women who was living in Tower Rock collecting the poems floating down from the top of the mesa, and he hoped to one day find a way to woo one of lonely harem women and steal her away from the mysterious cursed king on the mesa. Something about his story struck Rangrim and Eljahn as false, but they did not press the point. They bid their farewells and met with the other group who had finished at the caravansary.

After comparing notes they decided to go to this mesa and investigate up close. Once there they could see that the mesa stood nearly 300 feet, and virtually a straight climb up. While there were rocks and crevices that made for good handholds along its side the top of the mesa was surrounded by a supernatural whirlwind. The party tied themselves off to each other and attempted to summit. It was close, but they were able to navigate a route near the top that avoided some of the worst of the magical whirlwind.

Once on top of hey stood at the entrance of an abandoned palace. Overgrown trees and vines strangled the stones and pillars of a once majestic home. Standing in front of the entrance was the decaying form of the chamberlain. He and a horde of zombies moved to attack. Cutting their way through them the party also had to fend of two diving undead griffons. Once they reached the top of the stairs to the palace doors they stood victorious. Ahead laid the palace of Tower rock.

Treasure: 940 gp (jewelry on the chamberlain)

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Catch a tiger by the tail

Session 24 – game day 27 – evening

The leaders of the RCOS left their territory, the North Ward of Rosso, in the hands of their underlings and capable allies. The need to cut off the supply of dead bodies and necromantic components fueling Governor Nufin Deberg’s undead army prompted travel to the small town of Tower Rock where they hoped to find the source these supplies.

After four days travel the party was close to the town when they decided to push on in the night to reach their destination. Outlined by the coming twilight, the tower-like mesa that gave the town its named rose like a beacon drawing them in. As they traveled by moon and stars new lights appeared in the sky. From Tower Rock’s peak floated specks of light, like fireflies. They scattered to the west of the mesa towards the party, but they scattered widely. Those that came close enough appeared to be small paper balloons with candles inside of them. Really just toys. When one landed only yards away the party moved to investigate. A child’s scream then came from where the balloon landed in a tree. When Rime lit her sunrod the night covered grass showed tigers prowling around the tree and starting to climb towards a girl clutching the small balloon in her arms.

The party dispatched the tigers and brought the girl down. She said her name was Chita and she thanked them for rescuing her. She had been out (against her parents’ wishes) collecting the balloons. Every couple of weeks the balloons would float from the mesa. They contained poems written by maidens trapped by the king frozen to his throne. A self-styled Casanova named Misty back in the town of Tower Rock has been offering a reward of one copper for every poem brought to him. The children had lately made a game of collecting them.

When Rangrim examined the two poems Chita had collected he noticed they were enspelled. And everyone saw that the poetry was horrible. Behind the words, drawn very faintly in delicate ink strokes, were pictures. The ghostly rendering of crates.

The party paid Chita a gold for each poem which she was glad to receive. Skinning the tigers they made camp and rested before entering town.

Treasure: 4 medium tiger pelts, 50 gp each; 1 large tiger pelt, 100 gp; 300 gp total

Game day 28 – morning

When they entered the small town of Tower Rock the party split up. Balasar, Suushur, and Garn went to the caravansary. The clerk there informed them that once a month the caravan of house Saundir would come into town from the east with five to eight wagons mostly empty. Then one morning they were all full of coffins and other necromantic supplies and then set off to the west towards Rosso.

Rangrim and Eljah went to the Leaning Camel inn looking for the Casanova named Misty (Rime had escorted Chita to her home where her parents made her stay for brunch—and chores). They found him out in back, in the stables with a prostitute. A local boy exiting the stables said that Misty just had them drop off their balloons and take a copper from a bowl he had set out. Misty did not want anyone interrupt his “wrestling” as the boy understood it.

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Cut-throat Politics

Session 23 – game day 23 – morning

Once all of the RCOS went over the wall, Eljah dismissed the mob of locals for their safety. He then took severe damage himself from Sul’dargon and had to take cover behind a wall of crates. Garn, the tall goliath, took the hurt warlord’s place at point. Rime moved across the left flank while Balasar leaped from from one stack of crates to another landing right next to the surprised magistrate. Rangrim dealt major blows to the maw demons keeping them occupied in the area between the crates. In the end the party overcame Sul’dargon. The magistrate pleaded for his life, but once he realized that the temple survivors were with the RCOS Rangrim finished him. Amongst githzerai’s mansion the party discovered a letter from the governor. The letter informed Sul’dargon that more corpses and resources to bolster their undead forces would be coming soon from the town of Tower Rock.

Treasure: Rod of Reaving +1, art item (620 gold), 470 gold, 2 potions of healing

Later that morning the band of noble thieves met with Lady Faye and Hawk, the old friend of Eljah’s father. Hawk reported that Tower Rock is a small town east of Rosso, the last stop of many caravans before they reached the city. Eljah knew an old folk story about the ancient king of Tower Rock who made a tragic wish that trapped him in his palace on the mesa. Lady Faye’s contacts know that when Saundir’s caravans leave Nor there are no necromantic supplies, but when they arrive at Rosso they carry spell components and even bodies for the animation of undead. Somewhere along the route they gain these dark supplies. Could Tower Rock be the location where the caravans gain their undead cargo?

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Fire it up!
The RCOS meets new faces and summons mob justice.

Session 22 – game day 23 – morning

The party gave Eljah’s old viscious longsword +1 and the Quicksilver armor to Grace, the paladin accompanying the Raven Queen worshipers.

Lady Goomara performed the ritual to raise Darsen completing it by mid-morning. Darsen returned, but without his powers. When Goomara tried to discern why she was possessed by an other-worldly voice saying, “That which was lost has been returned, though its container has spilled and is now two.”

47 survivors of the temple of Sol arrived led by an initiate named Phillipe and a warden named Garn. 12 other Solarian fighting men led by the paladin Lancelet were reluctant to join a criminal organization, but Eljah convinced them to stay and give the RCOS a chance. After Lancelet checked with the orphans, he agreed to stay, but not to immediately work with the RCOS till he saw how things worked for himself.

Lady Faye then arrived with a dwarf of the Deepwell clan named Rangrim. The Deepwell clan are large suppliers of Rosso, and have strong ties to Sehret. Rosso had recently cut back on its business with the clan and rumor had it the city was considering defaulting on a large amount of debt owed to the clan. Rangrim had been dispatched to help “balance the scales”. Lady Faye vouches for Rangrim having worked with the clan before.

Next it was decided to deal with magistrate Sul’dargon. Rime and Balasar went off to the magistrate’s mansion to scout while Eljah gathered an armed mob of locals to force the magistrate out. When they arrived they found that the magistrate was still in his walled compound. His undead guards were dust, but he had human guards still among them the secret ally of the RCOS, Ringo.

The party convinced Ringo and his local watch to leave the streets. Inside the walls guards who were assigned directly by the governor remained loyal and at their posts. When the mob first came to attack they started pouring boiling oil on the untrained locals. Many died, but in the chaos Eljah and Garn managed to climb the wall. Balasar and Rime directed more of the locals to bring a nearby cart to cause a ramp. From the wall the party realized that Sul’dargon had maw demons protecting him as well.

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Release the undead algae kraken!

Session 21 – game day 22 – evening

The fight with the undead algae kraken ended with the lost of Terios who bought his friends time as they escaped with High Priestess Goomara. Darsen also died, but his companions carried his body to shore.
On the shore the group met close to thirty more of the clergy of the Raven Queen, hurt and wounded. The city watch bolstered by many undead came to the temple of the Raven Queen earlier that night. They charged the clergy of the Raven Queen with treason, and then started a massacre. The survivors came to Heron’s Pier in search of Lady Goomara.

As the RCOS gathered with the survivors of the Raven Queen temple an all bone dracolich took to the skies over the city and destroyed the temple of Sol breathing deadly lightning that engulfed its walls and towers. On it rode the necromancer Yoricka. She waved to the party as she flew by. ShuuShur flared his lightning breath back in defiance. The dracolich wheeled in the sky towards Cattle Corner, but was confronted by a living blue dragon.

When the two dragons clashed briefly, but then flew away before either were severely hurt. The living blue dragon landed near the party to take the form of Lady Faye, the emissary from Sehret.

Priestess Goomara discovered she could make a barrier from the remaining divine energy stolen from her and the other high priests and trapped in the lantern. She looked to the party for input as to where to place the barrier. She could make one large barrier, three small ones, or one medium along with one small. Flying on Lady Faye’s back the party selected the barrier location (one large).

The survivors of the Raven Queen temple decide to join the RCOS and take their faith underground while helping to rid the city of undead. They bestow upon the party the following as reward for their rescue of Priestess Goomara.

Treasure: Dislocation Glaive +1, 1400 gold

The party rested for the remainder of the night as a calm settled over Cattle Corner and most of the North Ward free of undead.

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