We spend several hours righting the wagon and putting all our stuff back inside; we stop to rest before we move on.
Geddy talks to Eva about her sister, borrows a necklace for a focus, and casts Scrying. He focuses on the necklace and scries on Rita.
The dragon is aware of the scrying but doesn't resist it. She's in some sort of camp, with a couple of big dudes talking about cooking and eating some big squirrel things and some fish. Then there's some rustling, and another guy comes running towards the dragon. "What's going on here? I sense..."
He runs over and puts a hand on an orb of some sort, and then Rita severs the connection and kicks Geddy out of it. Geddy thinks they have some kind of control device on her. He describes all this to the rest of us.
Eva: "That's not the one who captured Rita. That was their Hierophant."
Geddy: "Once they had her, they probably put somebody else in charge."
Eva: "They had some sort of orb, it was covered in runes and stuff."
Geddy, who apparently has forgotten everything he ever knew about magic, thinks it's probably just a bag of dragon snacks. Eva was taken with a more simple, temporary spell - Dominate Person or something similar. Azrael notes that this must have been Dominate Monster, a considerably more powerful spell.
Rita is quite a bit larger than Eva, too.
Tetsuo is okay with fighting, but less okay with Geddy's suggestion that we feed him to the other dragon for bait; Martini makes us promise not to eat him.
Geddy heals Ruin, and we continue down the beach. We find a narrow side-path, and Tetsuo "volunteers" to scout it from overhead. He returns, looks at the rest of us suspiciously, then settles in beside Martini and whispers something.
Martini: "Did it look like there was a dragon around?"
Martini: "Ruin, I need your counsel on this."
Martini: "So that path curves north and then comes upon a large pile of treasure."
Tetsuo: "Nooo! Why you tell him!?" He sulks.
Apparently the treasure is guarded by dire tigers, rather than a dragon. Tetsuo really wants to have Martini go with him to take the whole treasure for themselves.
Geddy and Ruin are inclined to move on past. Tetsuo is *freaked* by the idea of leaving treasure behind. He's now trying to cut a deal where we take this treasure and Tetsuo stays with half the hoard while we make off with the rest.
Ruin: "Maybe we could grab it on the way back."
Tetsuo: "But what if a dragon comes and takes it before that?"
Geddy: "They haven't so far."
Tetsuo: "But that was red dragon. Red dragons are stupid."
Geddy proceeds to outline the ordinal sequence of dragons, from most to least powerful, with an emphasis on Tetsuo's place near the bottom of the pile. By the time he's done, Tetsuo hates him.
But, we continue south looking for a place to stop... and instead run into a collossal spider.
Martini turns invisible. Ruin hops out and spots a couple of monstrous giant fish in the water. The spider continues adding to the giant web it's laying across the beach/path.
The fish attempt Dominate Ruin but fail; Azrael sees them also and drops a Fireball in the water.
Eva: "Uncle Geddy? I'm going to go wait in the back of the wagon. And don't worry, I can take care of Tetsuo." She scrambles towards the back.
Martini: "Azrael, can we talk about your aim?"
Azrael: "Fish. Monsters. Sister. Did you not see the fish monsters?"
Martini looks over and sees the fish-monsters trying to hide in the sand, and puts an arrow in the one Lilly/Azrael hit.
The fish-things are aboleths. The second one tries to Dominate Ruin again, fails, and withdraws to deeper water. Unfortunately, giant snakes come up out of the sand to replace it.
A snake attacks Martini, biting her and moving in to constrict; the other one moves in to attack Ruin, with similar results. The third snake moves up and starts crawling across the carriage. The other snakes head straight into the forest.
Azrael leaves the carriage on the far side and rises into the air; with his line of sight partly blocked by the carriage, he tags the snake holding Martini with Scorching Ray, burning it badly. An ordinary snake would let go, but this one... does not.
Geddy decides that Azrael has the right idea and hops on Airwolf the Obsidian Fly; the snake beside him bites him and wraps around him.
Martini and Ruin struggle, but the snakes tighten up and pin them. The snake holding Geddy wraps tighter as well.
Azrael move over the carriage and higher up, where he can see the aboleth. He drops a fireball on it. It moves to deeper water, but he follows and blasts it again; the spider winks out of existence at this point.
The snakes are suddenly less huggy and more hungry. Martini's snake abruptly drops her and heads off into the woods. She stabs it as it goes, nearly finishing it.
The snakes begin constricting Ruin and Geddy. Azrael drops grease on them, and Martini steps in on the snake and just... perforates it.
Run shakes the dead snake off, then steps in an chops up the one holding Geddy. We wind up with some snakeskin clothes and coverings for the sides of the carriage. Eva has apparently kept Tetsuo from taking his treasure and running away during the battle.
We continue on for five more days before we arrive at Titan's Reach. Our rest and all this battle experience has made us stronger.
About two nights after the Battle By The Lake, Geddy hears a commotion in the back of the wagon and sneaks back to take a look. Tetsuo is pulling his treasure together and clearly planning to depart; he doesn't notice Geddy.
Geddy uses the wand of web on him. Tetsuo, taken entirely by surprise, finds himself webbed to the ground. "Stupid gnome! I'll get free of this and rip your arms off!"
Geddy calls for the rest of us, then taps himself with a wand of Enlarge Person. Newly-enlarged Geddy explains that this was his one chance and he failed; his next chance is... we kill him.
Tetsuo collapses into apologies and starts trying to explain that he was just counting his money.
Geddy: "For now we count our money in the wagon, and we don't wake up mistress Martini."
Martini: "Money. Back in the wagon."
Tetsuo: "As soon as I can move...?"
Martini waits for him to load up his treasure, and then she stabs him to death and throws his body in the woods.
It takes a day for us to notice; Ruin isn't bothered, and Eva is happy to be rid of him.
We approach along the shore, coming around a corner to see a bunch of dead bodies and a few live figures standing on the shore naked.
We stop a ways back, and Azrael sends his owl to scout. The camp appears to be behind a ridge leading off into the water. There are a bunch of dead bodies on the shore, and the servants are being tossed into this sort of bottomless magical hole. The servants appear to be burying their fellow servants in some sort of actual grave; but the dead Vecna-wizards are being dropped into the hole.
The main camp is a little beyond that; there are a couple of warrior-types sitting around the fire, a tent, and a hand-shaped pedestal holding the orb, which Azrael thinks is being used to control the dragon.
Ruin thinks we should get control of the orb. Geddy thinks we should drop the orb into the hole, and use the wand to raise some dead wizards. Azrael is of the opinion that unless we can use the device ourselves, it will reject us if some wizard has already attuned it to the dragon.
Geddy tells Eva that if anything happens to him, she has to get the orb and take it away. Azrael and Martini cast False Life on themselves. (Azrael already has mage armor.)
Geddy fires up the fly; Ruin sneaks along the edge of the beach. One of the guards hears something, but the other one mocks him.
Eva flies in and positions herself near the orb. Ruin moves up to the front of the tent, and all of a sudden he's hearing sounds of feasting from inside the tent.
Geddy swoops down and starts raising skeletons. The servants freak and scream. Martini moves in behind one of the bruisers, which won't end well for him. (Assassin spellcasting in 3.5E is nothing to sneeze at.)
The two bruisers stand up, sounding alarms. Azrael drops Enervate on one of the Bruisers.
Rita rises up. "Flee! Get out of here now."
Ruin holds his position in front of the tent. Geddy swings over and grabs the orb, and a blaring alarm goes off. On the plus side, he does have the orb... and he's still invisible. Touching it, he sense incredible power within this. It starts to fight back, before he gets control of his thoughts and forces the orb to quiesce.
Martini begins attacking the guy she's standing behind. He had no idea this was coming, so he's basically just standing there as blades start plunging into his back. The bruiser falls.
Other Bruiser: "Holy shit! Heyyy! Paiiin!"
The wizard charges out and Ruin takes a slice at him... but finds only an image. The orb is gone, but Geddy is invisible. The Kaz-wizard drops a paralysis spell on Ruin and Martini. The bruiser charges over and tags Ruin in the face with a maul, hurting him rather badly.
Azrael tags the bruiser with Glitterdust, then zaps Kaz with a quickened Scorching Ray, hitting him once and blasting two of his images.
Eva bites the bruiser, but remains invisible; Geddy tries to use the orb and gets himself damaged by the backlash instead. His skeletons swarm Kaz, wiping out another image.
Kaz manages to cast another spell despite the skeletons, and then moves out from the middle of them. They attack again as he leaves, damaging him, and then the invisible dragon takes a chunk out of his shoulder.
The now-blind bruiser takes a wild swing, and manages to connect despit being blind.
Rita is still yelling at us to get out of here and trust nothing. Azrael throws Magic Missiles at Kaz but doesn't quite kill him; Eva attacks the bruiser and damages him badly.
Geddy tries to manipulate the orb again, and has a vision of endless time and the birth of golden dragons -- and finally to Kaz, with his hands on the orb. Geddy focuses his will and blows Kaz straight off the orb.
Geddy: "Rita, be a dear and eat this guy that's battering Ruin."
The remaining bruiser rages and tries to attack Eva and actually manages to connect, the lucky bastard. Rita promptly bites his head off. The skeletons move in and attack Kaz again, which is... not a situation he's suited to deal with. He disappears -- another image -- and appears beneath Azrael and casts Prismatic Spray. It blasts Azrael fairly badly, but he responds with Black Tentacles and grapples the guy; Eva then flies over and tags him with her breath weapon.
Geddy asks Rita to blast him as well. Kaz casts dimension door and disappears; but Rita leaps into the air and pursues, immolating him.
Rita: "Please release me."
Geddy: "That's not going to hurt you, right?"
Geddy breaks the connection.
Rita: "Thank you!"
Geddy: "How the hell did all of this happen?"
Rita: "That disgusting thing is known as a dragon orb. It has the ability to control certain dragons. They came upon us in a clearing, and that Malefar man took control of us and..."
Geddy tries to offer it to Rita, but she retreats; dragons can't touch the orb.
Rita: "Titan's reach is a penninsula. There are ridges that go off it, like fingers. The Vecna worshippers believe that their artifact is at the bottom of one of the fingers. The problem is that Mar Dentro is far deeper than they realized; the bodies here are the initiates who went down and failed. Malefar left through the tent to gather more resources; Kaz Drachma was put in charge in his absence.
The tent actually leads to an extradimensional space; it must have a second entrance, as they're using it for travel as well as shelter. The hole is a portable hole.
Rita has a suggestion. It involves a portable hole, an extradimensional space in the tent, and the orb. So the plan is to put the orb in the hole, draw the enemies into the tent, and drop the hole in.
Geddy is in favor of this. Ruin is more about the chopping things up, but he'll do explosions. And apparently this space is both a bridge and a temple that Drachma uses to train acolytes.
Eva is coming with us.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Duendewood: Titan's Reach
We spend several hours righting the wagon and putting all our stuff back inside; we stop to rest before we move on.