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Dan
Posted by the GM
Rise of the Runelords
April 2nd, 2017
Much has happened since we last checked in with our adventurers.


The wing they last inhabited was controlled by a powerful necromancer, Azaven, who gave the party a bit of trouble when he retreated with one of Nevik’s wakizashi’s still skewered into him after Nevik threw them at the flying wizard. After they could not find a trace of Azaven, they decided to move onto the next wing, as Nevik was not completely out of commission without his second wakizashi, and they could simply return here.

The moved their attention to the Halls of Wrath, where a whole slew of evocation spells were flung at our heroes. Warriors of Wrath harnessed the power into their blades, and came in large numbers. Only proving to be of nuisance to the heroes, they encountered the ruler of the dungeon in the grand hall. Highlady Athroxis, accompanied by many of her most trusted associates, gave quite the fight for our Heroes, but eventually fell. When Athroxis died by Reiner’s hand, a magical glyph was transferred from the forehead of Athroxis to Reiner’s. He felt stronger, and this was likely the mark to show who ruled these halls. It is in the shaped of the rune of Wrath. They also discovered the ashes of vengeance needed for Philip’s ritual for the Super Soft, as well as the legendary sword hinted by the book Reiner read.

Afterwards, they visited the final wing of the Runeforge, The Shimmering Veils, which belonged to the sin of Pride, and the magic school of illusion. As they entered a grandiose image of a peacock inhabited a large, mirrored room. Reiner, unsure of the image, swung his new sword at the image. He discovered this was an illusion, and thus his blade simply passed right through. However, during this, their reflections in the mirror seemed to spring to life, and our heroes had to battle exact replicas of each other. While Shalelu did fall during this, she was quickly brought back to life using the last resurrection scroll provided by the Black Monk. After the fight, they discovered a secret room, where the body of the ruler of the wing lie dead, perfectly preserved. They looted a few things, and gained valuable information from his journal entries, including how to exit the Runeforge.

They couldn’t leave without doing two things first, though. First, they needed to recover Nevik’s wakizashi. Second, they had gathered ingredients vital for enchanting a weapon with the power to greatly aid their fight against Karzoug. They turned their attention to recovering the wakizashi, and returned to the Ravenous Crypts to hunt down Azaven. He put up a tough fight once they found him, but he eventually fell.

They turned to do their final task in the Runeforge: enchant a weapon with the power to greatly aid in their fight against Karzoug. The party collaborated, and agreed that Reiner’s new greatsword was the best candidate for the powerful enchantment. He entered the shards of the mirrors from the Shimmering Veil, along with the ‘toy’ gifted to them by Delvahine, with his sword into the pool in the center of the Runeforge. It glowed a bright blue, and began to swirl. That swirling continued as the bright blue enchantment surrounded the blade. He lifted the weapon out of the water once the glow surrounded the blade completely, and raised it high as the glow faded.

Suddenly, an explosion of water burst out from the pool and a bright yellow light shot out straight past Reiner and hit the Karzoug statue that was directly behind the party. The statue animated and enlarged, as the party was now suddenly face to face with a gigantic stone golem of Karzoug. It’s voice boomed through the room: “You. Again. Your optimism is inspiring, but this is where you will fall. Your weapons cannot save you, the Runeforge will be your grave.”

The party fought valiantly, with the casters retreating to safety immediately, replaced by Reiner, Nevik, and Valtyra, who all rushed in to confront the construct. The status focused all of its attention on Reiner, likely due to him having the new weapon with the enchantment. The new found power came in handy, despite this statue hitting them incredibly hard and accurately. They quickly dispatched the statue, and as it crumbled, the voice returned “Come then! If you wish your death to be the first before the kingdom of Shalast, then come find me atop Mhar Massif. I will deal with you personally.” Relieved that the dangers of the Runeforge are all but gone now, they gathered their loot left behind, and used the exit portal in the Halls of Wrath, after discovering its existence through the journal notes from Vraxeris, the previous ruler of the Shimmering Veils.

The heroes returned to Sandpoint, and immediately handled the selling of all of the various loot. If they couldn’t find a buyer within town, they traveled to Magnimar to find someone to purchase the numerous items off of their hands. They profited greatly, as adventurers normally do. They now needed to prepare themselves for a powerful fight, but first needed to find out how to get there
Session: Sins of the Savior: Weapons of Sin - Sunday, Apr 02 2017 from 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM
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Darth Paul
Posted by the GM
Curse of Strahd
Chapter 26: The Final Confrontation
Come the grey dawn, the heroes set out down the trail from Argynvostholt. They returned to Krezk and the abbey, letting the guards know that their business was there alone. Going up the trail and to the gates, they were escorted once again by the monstrous Otto Belview to the main building and there to meet with the Abbot. His creation, Vasilika, had come very far indeed and was playing the harp when they entered. They confided with the Abbot that the time had come for them to confront Strahd von Zarovich, and that they would be taking the simulacrum of Mordenkainen with them. While the Abbot disapproved, stating that such action would only result in their deaths, he did not stand in their way. Without his blessing, they left the Abbey of St. Markovia for the last time.

As the morning gave way to afternoon, the heroes made their way past the two river crossroads and bypassed Vallaki, heading over the pass, and reaching Barovia at last. They met with Ismark, told him of their plans, and went to Father Donavich, letting him know the hour had come. The old priest gathered up his staff and a jack of leather and metal plates, and set out with them come the following morning.

As the clouds rolled overhead, the heroes found themselves finally heading up the ill-used road to Castle Ravenloft. No black coach awaited them past the upper gates, though they spotted wolves shadowing them along the moors. Finally they reached the castle. The drawbridge was down and the front doors stood open. Verity entered first, past the statues of the dragons in the foyer and the gargoyles in the entry hall. They did not react to her presence, but seemed to leer down in silence. The heroes opted to head up the great flight of stairs to the left of the entry.

Twin staircases led up from a landing at the top of the great stair. Suits of plate armor stood there, silent sentries that clutched dragon-headed maces. They led up to a reception hall, where a throne-like chair sat on a dais, its back to the dual entries. A stained glass window on one side had the image of a knight with a dragon crest. As the heroes entered, Verity moved over and sat in the chair, contemplating what she would do when they found Strahd.


The stained glass window was more than mere decoration. It held a deadly opponent.

That was a mistake. The stained glass knight in the window came to life, stepped off it, and attacked! The two suits of armor trod up the landing as well, swinging their maces. The fight that followed was brief but fierce. Caxius and Evan blasted away with bolts of fire and force, and Zahar rained arrows on all, as Cira and Donavich engaged the stained glass golem. Lupin and Volta charged the suits of armor, one to a stair, as Shokk moved in on the creature of glass. It slashed away with a sword of razor-sharp leaded glass and unleashed a burst of blinding light as Cira hit it with her shining sword. It focused the light into a brilliant spray of colors, that burned, froze, and dazed the heroes. But they shook off the effect. In short order, the golem had been shattered and the suits of armor blasted apart by mighty blows from axe, sword, and fist.

Taking a moment to catch their breath, the heroes made their way back around to the spiral stairs next to the dining hall on the lower level. They ascended them, up two levels, to the small banquet hall where they had found the wedding cake of Tatyana and Strahd's brother Sergei. What they had not counted on were two monstrous creatures, much like spiders with men's torsos, heads, and arms, crafted out of spare body parts stripped of skin and with blades grafted into their limbs. They pounced and slashed with their horrible blades, but the heroes felled them quickly. They recalled the chambers ahead to the west, but had never gone to the door to the north. If their map of the castle was correct, this would likely be where they study was. And where Strahd waited for them.


Strahd awaited them.

The heroes were not wrong. The door opened on a lavish study, lined with shelves of leather-bound books. It was carpeted, and a heavy table stood in its center. Couches sat near the bookcases, and large, overstuffed chairs upholstered in burgundy leather sat before a massive fireplace hearth on the east wall. A figure rose from one chair. It was Strahd von Zarovich. He downed a crystal goblet of some red substance and smiled. "So, you have come at last. Have you reconsidered my offer, as your friend did?" He gestured to the other chair, where Kyne Darkblade sat.

"Our answer is the same as last time." Shokk replied. "Never."

"Then you will die!" Strahd growled, and the fight was on. He moved with unearthly quickness, striking with his blade and withdrawing before they could react. He blasted the heroes with a ball of eldritch flame but their defenses let them withstand the inferno. Cira moved in, sunlight spilling from the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind, but Rahadin slipped from beneath the table and slashed at her, driving her back with his poison blade. Even as that happened, papers and scrolls flew from shelves and tables, forming a large man-shaped figure like a mummy, though arcane symbols flared on its tightly-wrapped pages. It clawed at Shokk, Volta, and Verity as they moved in. Evan, Zahar, and Caxius fired from the other room, peppering the count and his servants with arcane spells, as did the faux Mordenkainen and Donavich the priest.

As Strahd slashed with his blade and tore at Volta and Verity with claw and fang, he animated the furniture in the room and sent it crashing into the heroes. Kyne danced around them, summoning darkness and vanishing from sight as he stabbed and retreated time and again. Rahadin was a blur with his poison blade.

But the heroes were far from helpless. Cira and Volta cut away at the scroll golem as Verity paralyzed Rahadin with a spell and a song. Zahar filled him with arrows, ending his life. Shokk finally came face to face with Strahd, and struck him with three mighty blows, his sword flaring with radiant fire each time. Strahd snarled, his blade flicking away, piercing the paladin's defenses time and again. Shokk was barely on his feet and everyone else wounded. Volta had fallen twice and was barely on her feet. Strahd moved as a blur across the room, snatched Verity, and drug her through the far doors into the bedchamber where he'd kept Gertruda. He tore at her throat with his fangs, lapping up her lifeblood.

But Cira stepped in, using a prayer to the Morninglord to revitalize the warrior-bard. As Shokk moved in, Verity stood up with the thighbone of St. Markovia in hand. She swung the holy mace with all her might. "I've had enough of you!" Her blow shattered the mace, driving the bony shard into Strahd's heart. He screamed and dissolved into a mist, which swirled past their feet with the swiftness of the wind and back through the vent in fireplace. A blast of cold from Evan finished off the treacherous Kyne, and Volta had cut the paper golem to shreds.

With their foes defeated, the heroes extinguished the flames and stepped into the massive hearth. Cira found a loose brick, pulled on it, and opened a secret door into a hidden treasury. But there was no sign of the mist there. She found a crack in the far wall, near the floor. Grabbing an iron torch cresset there, she pulled open another secret door. It led into a web-choked hall that ended in bronze-sheathed double doors. Making their way carefully down the hall, tearing the webs away, they opened the far doors and found themselves in the castle's belfry. Nearly at a loss, Cira and Lupin carefully searched until they found a crack in the floor on the north side of the room. Another loose brick was pushed in, and a latch released, opening into a larger secret treasury. Inside was a tower of iron, fully 20 feet across and 30 feet high.

Volta remembered the iron key that the ravens had dropped for her weeks ago, and tried it on the door. Sure enough, it opened. Inside they found heaps of gold coins and treasure...and a single, black coffin. A blow from Volta's axe revealed Strahd, lying in state. With an oath, Cira stepped ahead, drawing a flask of holy water as Zahar put a shaft of ash wood straight through the vampire's heart. Shokk took his head with a blow, and Cira sprinkled the water on his remains. The vampire crumbled to ash. It was over.


Strangely enough, Strahd had a look of peace in his eyes just before Shokk's blade fell.

Outside, the clouds broke and the sun came out, the dark skies lit up as the sun neared the horizon. Night was coming, but for the first time, it was a night without terror. The heroes rang the bell, and it pealed gloriously through the valley beyond. They looted the treasury, finding an enchanted helm, shield, and rod, and managed to shrink the iron tower back into the cube from which it sprang. Their sacks overflowing with gems, jewels, and gold, they made their way down the mountain and back to Barovia.

Come the dawn, they saw the wagons of the Vistani rolling through town. They had others with them as well - Rudolph van Richten and Ezmerelda! The two said their good-byes. Van Richten was leaving, seeking evil elsewhere, while Ezmerelda said she would remain to protect this place, lest Strahd someday return. Madame Eva told them their time here was done. The Vistani were departing and would show them the way. Would Strahd return? She did not know. Did evil ever truly die? If he did, she and her kin would return. But the heroes had brought hope to this land, and that was something sorely needed.

They followed as the mists cleared, and they found themselves on the forest road back to the river and Daggerford. They had returned to the Realms, and to what fate they knew not. But adventure beckoned, and they would answer it's call once more.


The sun had finally risen, and the road beckoned them once more...
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Darth Paul
Posted by the GM
Curse of Strahd
Chapter 25: A Beacon in the Dark
The heroes fled down the road leading to Castle Ravenloft, reaching the upper gates as the sun dipped below the horizon. The sky was overcast and dark, lit only by flashes of lightning and the eerie blue balefire which danced among the gorse and heather lining the steep road. They found Strahd's black coach awaiting them. The silent coachman pointed to them with his driver's whip and the doors to the coach opened. The heroes declined to get in.

With a crack of his whip, the black horses burst into blue flame, consumed until there was nothing left but fiery skeletons drawing the black coach. It charged the heroes, attempting to run them down as the coachman gestured with his whip. A cold chill ran down the heroes' spines as it charged, but they fought back. Cira and Lupin managed to dodge the coach's wheels but Shokk, Volta, and Verity weren't so lucky. Zahar kept well back, and he peppered both driver and horses with arrows. Evan had vanished, along with the dragon's skull, protecting the precious relic. In the end, despite the half-orc barbarian nearly being run down, a blow from Volta's axe shattered the hip of one skeletal horse, sundered the front wheel of the coach, and sent the whole thing into a tumble. It vanished amidst a spray of churned up mud and earth, and the thunder of its wheels was replaced by the roll of the storm overhead.


Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me...

Barely pausing to catch their breath, the heroes made their way down the road towards Vallaki. They did not pass unmolested. Cira, Evan and Lupin provided light as best they could, but this became a beacon in the night. The group heard the flap of leathery wings overhead, and saw two giant bats descend, accompanied by swarms of normal-sized bats, all with shining eyes and glinting fangs. The two monstrous ones were mounted by warriors in the mail and livery of Strahd's household guard. Like the rest they had seen, these warriors were already dead, their withered flesh clinging tight to iron-hard bones. They brought bows to bear, but the heroes were ready with missiles of their own. Zahar proved to be as good a marksman as he claimed, and his arrows brought one down in a hurry. Verity used a favorite spell to create a pattern of hypnotic, swirling lights that lit up the darkness and brought the huge bats crashing to earth. Volta, Shokk, Lupin and Cira were quick to capitalize on the fallen wights, and brought them low in a hurry.


Giant bats descended from the night sky.

Stopping only long enough to grab the skull, the heroes pressed on to Vallaki. Some honeyed words from Verity got them through the front gates and across town, with the heroes only pausing long enough to bind their wounds and catch their breath. They continued past the Luna River crossroads, running into a shambling horde of zombies along the way! These unnamed dead, victims of tragedies along the road, were no doubt animated by Strahd's necromancy from afar. But Cira called on the holy power of the Morninglord and blasted them all to ashes and dust.

With hardly a pause, the heroes made their way up the long, forested road to Argynvostholt, the seat of the Order of the Silver Dragon. They would return the dragon's skull to its crypt, as they had promised the dead knights who still lingered in the ruined manor. But their way was not clear just yet. Several sets of lambent eyes shone out of the darkness ahead as they reached the front of the ruin. Dire wolves. What meager light came from the moon and the night sky was eclipsed as a shadowy, draconic form flew overhead. It was a dragon of shadow, a living darkness, no doubt called up from the pits of night by Strahd's foul wizardry. A figure sat atop it - a vampire, from the gleam of his eyes and sharp teeth - in dark robes. One of the devil Strahd's dark servants, sent to stop them.


The shadow dragon descended out of the night sky, seeking the dragon's skull and the heroes' deaths.

Exhausted and embattled, the heroes fought against the dire wolves and Strahd's fell servants. The shadow dragon flew in, it's breath a lance of lambent purple flame, searing and rotting flesh. Its wings, claws, tail, and bite tore at them, notably Caxius and Zahar, whose attacks seemed to cause it the most pain. The vampire warlock blasted them with fire and lances of force, but Cira blasted him back with radiant bolts of holy light. In the end, sword and spell laid the dragon low, and its shadow flickered into the dark as the vampire riding it crumbled to dust.

With the way clear, the heroes made their way into the mausoleum behind the manor house and placed the skull to rest. As they did, a beacon of silver light lit in the topmost tower of the great house, shooting skyward. They felt new hope surge into their breasts. As they made their way back into the main hall, Sir Godfrey Gwilym descended the steps. "You have laid my brethren to rest, even Vladimir Horngaard, whose sword you," he nodded to Shokk, "carry. With our master laid to rest, we can rest as well. What arms we had are yours. Seek them in the vault upstairs." With that, he crumbled to dust leaving only his armor behind. Among them they found a scythe-like polearm and a longbow, both enchanted, a shield that could warn its bearer of impending harm, and a breastplate of spell-forged steel. Re-armed and armored, the heroes rested until dawn. With hope in their hearts, they would make their way back to the castle soon enough - and put and end to Strahd!
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Dale
Posted by the GM
Tyranny of Dragons
Session 38 (23 February 2017) The Misty Forest
Penetrating behind the waterfall they find a large cave complex. At the edge of an underground pool they are challenged by a group of elves. Their attempts at passing themselves off as members of the cult fail dismally when they are unable to name any of the cultist ranking structure (although a creditable effort was made at the ranks of Catholic Church).

Combat is initiated and while they dispatch the elves quickly, the entire complex is alerted to their presence. This leads to a rolling melee between the party, a group of ettins, more elves, some cultists and an annoying invisible magic user: several times Rider would say "Counterspell", only to follow up with "Damn, I can't see him!".

Magnus takes out most of the cultists with Fireballs, Ella takes out most of the elves with Spirit Guardians, Rider is Blinding ettins and Inspiring like crazy and Krega is wailing with Hazarim. The opposition is reduced to the invisible wizard and an elven knight, and then the dragon and the wyrmspeaker come ...

Rider Polymorphs Krega into a T. Rex and he immediately grapples the dragon and throws it to the ground. Magnus judiciously places a Wall of Fire on the now immobilised dragon and leaves the raging T. Rex Krega to hold the dragon in it and pound on it to boot.

The dragon manages to get off one poison breath which knocks Ella and Rider unconscious, severely damages Magnus but barely hurts a T. Rex. It is then reduced to mundane attacks and while dragons do a lot of damage, raging T. Rex's are resistant and have a lot of hit points. The dragon has a brief moment of hope when it successfully suggests to T.Rex Krega that if he lets go he could get at the dragon's more vulnerable neck. However, even when this happens, rising from prone leaves the dragon within reach of Krega who promptly reinitiates the grapple, and the prone and drags the dragon back to be roasted. (D&D aficionados will note that Rider falling unconscious should have ended the Polymorph, however, in the heat of the moment everyone overlooked this - ultimately it would not have mattered as Rider was up before Krega's next turn and could have cast another Polymorph)

Meanwhile, Magnus gives Rider a healing potion, Rider cures Ella and Ella then proceeds to cure everyone. All the while, Rider and Magnus and giving the wyrmspeaker hell with long range magic. The wyrmspeaker decides to bolt but Magnus cuts him off with a Dimension Door and renders him hors de combat with a Hold Person.

Victory!
Session: Session 38 - Wednesday, Feb 22 2017 from 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM
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Dale
Posted by the GM
Tyranny of Dragons
Session 38 (23 February 2017) The Misty Forest
Penetrating behind the waterfall they find a large cave complex. At the edge of an underground pool they are challenged by a group of elves. Their attempts at passing themselves off as members of the cult fail dismally when they are unable to name any of the cultist ranking structure (although a creditable effort was made at the ranks of Catholic Church).

Combat is initiated and while they dispatch the elves quickly, the entire complex is alerted to their presence. This leads to a rolling melee between the party, a group of ettins, more elves, some cultists and an annoying invisible magic user: several times Rider would say "Counterspell", only to follow up with "Damn, I can't see him!".

Magnus takes out most of the cultists with Fireballs, Ella takes out most of the elves with Spirit Guardians, Rider is Blinding ettins and Inspiring like crazy and Krega is wailing with Hazarim. The opposition is reduced to the invisible wizard and an elven knight, and then the dragon and the wyrmspeaker come ...

Rider Polymorphs Krega into a T. Rex and he immediately grapples the dragon and throws it to the ground. Magnus judiciously places a Wall of Fire on the now immobilised dragon and leaves the raging T. Rex Krega to hold the dragon in it and pound on it to boot.

The dragon manages to get off one poison breath which knocks Ella and Rider unconscious, severely damages Magnus but barely hurts a T. Rex. It is then reduced to mundane attacks and while dragons do a lot of damage, raging T. Rex's are resistant and have a lot of hit points. The dragon has a brief moment of hope when it successfully suggests to T.Rex Krega that if he lets go he could get at the dragon's more vulnerable neck. However, even when this happens, rising from prone leaves the dragon within reach of Krega who promptly reinitiates the grapple, and the prone and drags the dragon back to be roasted. (D&D aficionados will note that Rider falling unconscious should have ended the Polymorph, however, in the heat of the moment everyone overlooked this - ultimately it would not have mattered as Rider was up before Krega's next turn and could have cast another Polymorph)

Meanwhile, Magnus gives Rider a healing potion, Rider cures Ella and Ella then proceeds to cure everyone. All the while, Rider and Magnus and giving the wyrmspeaker hell with long range magic. The wyrmspeaker decides to bolt but Magnus cuts him off with a Dimension Door and renders him hors de combat with a Hold Person.

Victory!
Session: Session 38 - Wednesday, Feb 22 2017 from 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM
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