Paths of Gaeda

Session 51
New Girl In Town

A mysterious Elven wanderer named Ala arrives at Tor Indradath and manages to insert herself into the courtly intrigues of Iolar and his crew. Iolar spurns lady Kendra’s advances, there is some political back and forth regarding Lord Anthec, and the Party finally sets out into the mountains to find the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.

One the way they encounter a group of Kashwa barbarians who seem to be led a Storm Elf who has “gone native” after attacking the party and being driven off, he warns them not to disturb the Tomb of Kings – a Storm Elf burial site just to the north. The party finds the tomb, and notes that it’s locks and wards are secure. They decide to leave the tomb undisturbed and press on.

Meanwhile, Liath has had encounters with Lahn, the spirit of the river that flows down from the mountains. While sitting by the banks of the stream one night, she appears to him and coaxes him into a nearby ravine where there are several trees. Giving Liath a Kiss, she transforms him into a tree!

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Session 50
Return of the King

The party digs in for a long cold winter at Tor Indradath and makes the first steps towards rebuilding that shattered kingdom. An elven woman named Kendra El-Eladra shows up and insinuates herself into the court.

Meanwhile, a new party member, Bishop Losfal di Martillo of New Delos has been on the trail of the mysterious bespectacled man for some time, investigating a series of missing corpses and necromantic incidents. Tracking him to an old Storm Elf tomb complex, he witnesses the emergence of an undead colossus, which has been aimed at Tor Indradath. He joins the party there, and the abomination assaults the gates, but is ultimately put down.

Some time later, Anthec returns to Tor Naether, and demands a seat on the new High Council.

For notes on the Kingdom Building, see:
Kingdom Establishment
Kingdom Turn 1

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Session 49
Wealth Management

The party spends a good deal of time in this session investigating the vast wealth hoarded by Ingo in Tor Indradath, and squabbling about it’s distribution, with Iolar arguing for the preservation of artifacts and Andros making a case for getting House Martillo it’s due shares out of the expedition.

Several dangerous traps are avoided through careful application of magic as locked chests are opened, revealing their contents. Numerous bits of magic, major and minor, are discovered, along with a vast trove of physical wealth. The crown jewels of the Storm Reaches are recovered, and placed in the trust of Indrid.

The party is perplexed when they find an extremely large and heavy sealed chest which, when opened, contains a flight of steps leading down into a good sized room. The room is littered with corpses, and there appears to be a lever on the opposite wall. Liath attempts to cross the room and pull the lever, but while wading through the bodies picks up a number of rot grubs who burrow into his leg. Fire and sharp steel are frantically applied to Liath’s body in an attempt to cut the burrowing worms out before they reach his heart. He barely survives the experience.

The lever on the opposite all turns out to be an exquisite facsimile of an arrow crafted entirely of iron, bearing an obscure and arcane fire rune on the broadhead shaft, which radiates weak magic. This strage artifact is wedged into a crack in the masonry in the far wall. Attempts are made to shoot with it, but it has the aerodynamic properties of a fireplace poker and there is little success.

September of 1902 has arrived, and Zarunal’s time to pay his debt is almost up. In desperation, he uses the Eye of Arioch to access the Akashic Record. Doing so requires him passing a test of entrance, answering a bevy of obscure questions before a panel of outsiders. He barely gains admittance, and learns some things about Galen, about his apprenticeship, and about the Eye of Arioch, although some of the answers are frustratingly vague.

Armed with this knowledge, he keeps his final appointment with his master and leaves his service in the same manner that Galen left his master: by making an attempt on his life by attacking him with magic. This turns out to be a largely symbolic or ceremonial act, and earns Zarunal his freedom.

The party will divide their wealth and dissolve the Storm Reaches expedition, and spend the winter holed up in Tor Indradath before they make the final push on to the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth in the spring.

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Session 48
Have Fun Storming the Castle

A very direct session. The party gathers together as many men and elves as they can and attempts a large-scale frontal assault on Tor Indradath. The battle is tense at first, but the party’s superior magic and their individual fighting power counterbalances the superior numbers of the orcs and giants. Highlights of the battle include:

Liath kills Ingo’s consort and his cousin, although he is almost squashed flat by the giantess.

Iolar rides into combat with Ingo’s brother, and with the help of Dagnorosa overcomes the brute, although he, too, is very near death at the end.

Andros eventually kills Ingo, after ordering his unit of heavy cavalry to charge in first. Ingo wipes out the cavalry with the help of some goblins wolfriders, although some are eventually saved from death by timely application of healing.

Avron successfully leads the infantry against units of both orcs and trolls, helping his units to rout the enemy once contact is made.

Zarunal’s magic takes a mostly supporting role, shaping the battlefield with a wall of ice and lending aid to the others. He does drop one juicy fireball that nearly wipes out a unit of orcs late in the battle.

In the end, Ingo’s forces are routed, and many of the expeditionary force’s casualties are revived with healing magic. The heroes have done the brunt of the fighting, although there is grumbling among the mercenaries about the way that Andros led his cavalry troop to slaughter and did not charge in with his men at first.

Tor Indradath is now in the hands of the Party’s expedition, and arrangements are immediately made to move the expedition’s headquarters to the citadel.

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Session 47
Grand Theft

Ingo has brought his lieutenants into the Tor and has gathered them all in the Great Hall to coordinate his search for the interlopers. The party uses this opportunity for Iolar, Andros, and Liath to dimension door into the Librarium while Zarunal and Avron keep watch on the Great Hall from a hidey-hole in the ceiling. The trio in the LIbrarium meet stiff resistance: Ingo’s consort, one of his cousins, a couple of Orc Brute guards and a frost drake chained up like a dog next to Ingo’s treasures. Hanging on the wall behind the drake Iolar spots the blade Luhgrist.

Liath and Andros make short work of the Drake, although andros is grievously wounded in the process. Iolar leaps over the beast’s corpse, dodging large hunks of masonry hurled by Ingo’s relatives as he makes a grab for the sword. The hungry intelligence of the blade guides Iolar’s hand, momentarily sending him into a a fighting rage and allowing him to slaughter an orc brute. It’s bloodlust sated, the sword releases its grip on Iolar long enough for the three fellows to regroup and teleport away using one of Zarunal’s scrolls. Zarunal during this interval provides a furthur distraction by setting off several highly destructive spells in the Great Hall, killing many orcs and goblins and enraging and blinding Ingo. He eventually also leaves by teleport means with Andros. They are almost caught by some sort of dimensional anchor in the tower, but manage to slip the trap and get away from Tor Indradath successfully.

Afterwards, the party goes almost immediately to see Old Greyfang near Tor Embric. The dragon is irascible, morose, and not inclined to be friendly, however it acceeds to trade Luhgrist for Dagnorosa. The black blade protests, but zarunal manages to hand it over without incident.

Indrid and his scouts report that the emissaries of the various orc tribes around Tor Indradath are all fleeing away and that Ingo’s forces are temporarily weakened while he tries to regroup. After some debate, the party decides that it may be time to gather their forces and press a large frontal assault on Tor Indradath in an attempt to break Ingo’s power permanently.

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Session 46
Breaking and Entering

Zarunal, Iolar, Avron, Liath, and Andros make their plans to enter Tor Indradath by stealth. Mio and Indrid disguise themselves as orcs and sneak into the camps surrounding the fortress, where they create a spectacular diversion which draws the attention of the hordes of orcs, goblins, and Ogres in the area. The remaining heroes use the opportunity to quickly scale a wall in an understaffed area of the fortress, killing a couple of guards in the process and sneaking into an old, unused sally port. Inside, however, the corridor is collapsed and the way is blocked, but Zarunal transforms himself into an earth elemental and clears the blockage.

The party begins their mission in relative stealth, quickly poking around the dungeons of Tor Indradath and trying to find a way into the upper halls. The tower is too well-staffed, however, and it is not long before they find themselves involved in a running fight. They are aided by the fortuitous discovery of am old and disused secret passage which allows them to hide as the alarm is gradually raised around the citadel.

They manage to gain access to a number of rooms in the fortress, but are unable to find the black blade. In the process, they kill a sleeping frost giant, and numerous goblins servants, as well as some orcs and an ogre. Using the secret passage as a vantage for spying, they discover that Mako has been captured during his earlier scouting mission the the fortress and has been killed. They also see Ingo for the first time and determine that he most likely sleeps in the old Librarium, but the room is in a difficult to reach position. As the session ends, Ingo is collecting his lieutenants and ordering a VERY thorough search of the Tor.

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Session 45
Military Intelligence

A short session, this. The party interrogates a couple of survivors from the raiding party and learns that Ingo is gathering the Orc, Troll, and Ogre chiefs to form some kind of alliance. He will raise an army and march south in the winter to crush the realms of men.

Zarunal and Andros teleport back to Akandra in New Delos to deliver word of this to House Martillo. There is word of a siege around castle Chatapiet in the north as Jeannette Fouret and Lane Russo settle some squabble. Zarunal also visits his master Galen, but neither is in the mood to dicker and the meeting is brief.

While they are gone, Iolar orders the expedition moved north to the village around Tor Naether, reasoning that the evil hordes will steer clear of the haunted place. The captain of the mercenaries reluctantly agrees, preferring to take his chances with ghosts than with Giants and Orcs. Liath arranges a diversion – a ruse involving the supply wagon to make it appear that the expedition has fled south once more. While setting this up, he realizes that he’s not alone in the forest, and makes contact with storm elf vagabond Indrid Cold, who happens to be in the area.

Indrid has a small troop of elves with him – refugees from the fallen Storm Elf kingdom. He has been keeping tabs on the ruins of the old kingdom, and now he seeks out Iolar and offers his services and what actionable intelligence he can offer. He knows something of the ways in and out of Tor Indradath, having grown up there. He also knows something of the troop strength and disposition of the Ingo’s forces around the old citadel.

There is much discussion on what should happen next, and how the party might play off the alliances and antagonisms of the region. It becomes clear that Ingo holds the blade Luhgrist while the dragon Old Greyfang holds the sword Dagnorosa, possibly using them as insurance against one another. Mio would happily slay Greyfang, but Iolar sees that Indrid might welcome a chance to repair the old alliances and wonders if the dragon can be reasoned with. There is talk of simply bypassing the current dilemma and pressing on into the mountains towards the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. What to do next?

It is finally resolved that the party will attempt a covert entrance into Tor Indradath. Their aim is to either steal the black blade Luhgrist or kill Ingo, possibly both. They hope that without Ingo’s influence, the local tribes and clans will once more fall to bickering and fighting amongst themselves. If this caper is successful, they will approach Greyfang and attempt to parley, though they will not shy away from killing the Wyrm if necessary. Then, they will press on towards the Lost Caverns.

As a final note, when the party had safely moved the expedition to Tor Naether, they discovered evidence that a certain bespectacled man had been there, and some kind of struggle had taken place in the hall. The corpse of Rhadec Malygris had vanished, along with all of his treasures.

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Session 44
Marauder Cavalry

Zarunal realizes that the book he has taken from the Corpse of Malygris is a manual detailing the dead wizard’s attempts at Lichedom. The book is altogether evil. Also, within a day of taking Malygris’ artifacts, Zarunal realizes he’s placed himself under a profound curse. Not wishing to tempt fate further, he returns the items he took without further investigation.

Zarunal teleports back to the camp at Tor Embric with Andros to discover that a raid has taken place – the expedition has been attacked by a band of mounted Orc Boar-riders and Goblin Wolf-riders, several members of the expedition have been killed, and a wagonload of food stolen.

The party tracks down the raiders, who are on their way towards Tor Indradath. Liath prepares an ambush, and a confused battle ensues. The supplies are recaptured, and almost all of the raiders are put to death. The party realizes that they are very close to Tor Indradath now, and that the raiders were headed back that way. The orc chieftan bears correspondence meant for the giantess who was slain at Tor Embric. Ingo, the leader of the Frost Giants, is in the middle of some large enterprise at Tor Indradath, something which can’t be good.

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Session 43
Shadow Dance

Mako immediately begins harassing the party – making attacks from the darkness and taunting the others. Confusion reigns. Mio has failed one too many will saves and her mind breaks – something in the tower has gotten to her. She is either lashing out or else retreating into a new personality – the naive and childlike Mimi. Avron and Liath begin investigating the rooms off of the main hall while Iolar desperately tries to gather the components necessary to complete the riddle of the tower. In one room, illusory appearances force Liath and Avron into a confrontation with one another, and Avron suffers serious wounds. They also find a room containing what appears to be a bottomless pit.

Eventually, the party reunites against Mako. As the party attacks him, he is released from possession – Iolar realizes that they have been dealing with a Shadow Demon. They party attempts to engage the thing. They search among the tower and wander through impossible rooms that don’t connect to one another in any sane way. Eventually, they collect the items needed to solve the tower’s riddle. Just at that moment the Shadow Demon attacks.

It is a quick fight, but the party is weakened and drained of resources from fighting one another and dealing with the night’s confusion. With some difficulty they put down the shadow. The riddle of the tower is solved, opening a hidden passage to a secret room. The room contains a set of golden plates which speak of the creation of the world, the quest of Rhadec Malygris for the Rod of Earth and Fire, and the murder of the Shadow King. They also uncover a dark gem which bears the true name of the Shadow Demon, which was apparently in service is Malygris.

The storm over the tower breaks, and the party leaves the corpse of Malygris in his tower – although Zarunal tempts fate by removing his book and staff.

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Session 42
Tor Naether

The party heads north once more amidst increasingly bad weather. THey chance upon the ogre chef who was lately evicted from Tor Embric, but Mako dispatches him quickly rather than bother with an interrogation.

Moving on, the party reaches the outskirts of Tor Naether, replete with totems of warning meant for the goblins, orcs, trolls, and other local inhabitants. The message is clear: “Stay away.” Since the storm severity is only increasing, the party enters the forbidding dark tower at the center of Tor Naether.

There many unusual things occur – strange sounds and smells, and strange behavior among the companions. Avron seems possessed by occasional murderous fits, Mako is behaving extremely suspiciously, and there are strange and dangerous objects scattered about. The corpse of Rhadec Malygris sits in an ebon throne, watching over the great hall. Is he really dead, or undead? Mio and Zarunal are exposed to a cracked crystal ball, and it’s influence seems to drive Mio insane.

Meanwhile, Iolar has discovered a complex set of cyphers and tangled riddle at the heart of the tower, but can he solve it in time? Fighting has broken out among the companions, with blows struck and spells cast. As Mako skulks away by himself for a moment, he hears a voice whisper in his ear: “That wizard is annoying, isn’t he? Let’s go kill him!”

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