Friday, May 17, 2013
[NOTE: Niki/Kyone was not present for this game]
Holy cow, this was a big one. Here goes…
The party started off entering the “Room of Power” at the bottom of the Plague Doctor’s facility, where the Egg of Io was being used to power the evil energies used in the research. This was causing lots of negative energy to be poured back into the egg, which everyone agreed was probably pretty bad. The two surviving members of the Retrievers, the goliath Straga & the elf Flicker, tried hitching a ride on the energy stream, accidentally crashing into the egg, dying, and being immediately transformed into undead creatures by the darkness in the egg. The Plague Doctor showed up soon after, and a big fight ensued.
Once the party was victorious, they freed the egg from the magical apparatuses that were holding it, and found that there was great darkness in the egg, though some purity remained. While they were debating what to do with the Egg and how to escape, Nikolai/Micah said out loud “We need to get out of here”, at which point the Egg teleported the entire party (including the sort-of alive Straga) out of the facility (also with any items the party had meant to grab, like much of the library, and also with Kyone/Niki, who was trapped elsewhere in the facility).
Up top, they learned that Ambassador Tepes had actually been searching for the Egg, based on tips he’d gotten from his family’s guardian spirt/angel of Io, but that he couldn’t speak his plans out loud for fear that evil powers would find the Egg. He was devastated when he learned of the darkness in the Egg, though, and volunteered himself to take the darkness into his body to free the Egg of the burden. The party was a little hesitant on this, but they mostly went along with it. Nikolai eavesdropped on a conversation Tepes had with his spirit guide, and learned that whatever Tepes was doing, he had to willingly sacrifice his honor and his place in his family’s bloodline to do it. Afterward the Ambassador gave his family ring to Nikolai (which Micah later realized made HIM the new Arkhosian ambassador… and possibly also a member of Tepes’ family).
The servants began ritual preparation, based on magical motes the Ambassador had sent out to guide them (which meant the servants had no idea what the ritual did). Several of the servants were singled out to take ritual baths and dress in white, though their purpose was unclear. Examination of the ritual revealed that it was likely a version of the ritual used to create a dracolich, an undead dragon that is all kinds of awful, so the party tried to devise ways to capture Tepes once the dark power was inside of him.
It seemed Tepes had a similar idea, because the party found him about to sign a contract with Zira, the dark fey assassin’s guild head (whom we remember from the battle at the casino when Scout/Johny left the group). The party read the contract, but could not verify that Zira had the power to “summon the White Mists and banish Tepes to the lost Shadowfell realm of Ravenloft, where even the Raven Queen’s servants cannot reach trapped souls.” Though there was a clause that if Zira couldn’t do it, she’d become the property/general of whatever dark creature the Ambassador became. The party thought this was less than an ideal situation.
But while most of the party was convincing Tepes not to sign the contract, Nikolai was down at the Egg, trying to ask the dragon-angel-spirit to help. It merely said “Ask the Egg”, so Nikolai asked if the Egg could summon a hunter strong enough to deal with the dark creature that Tepes would become. Just as the rest of the party came down to see what Nikolai was up to, the name “”/wikis/religion" class=“wiki-page-link”> Achra" came from the Egg into Nikolai’s head. He said “Achra?”… just before the God of Domination and Conquest, Bane (who used to be called Achra), was summoned in front of them all.
Nikolai quickly realized that, at the time of Io’s death and the egg’s creation, Achra was the strongest warrior among the gods, which is why the Egg chose to summon him. However, the Egg was also unaware of the binding powers and agreements that ended the Dawn War and keep the gods from entering the Prime Material Plane, so Bane was more than a bit confused when he was suddenly manifest in a place he could not be. The God of Conquest recovered quickly, though he was probably still unaware of what rules governed his presence in the Prime Material Plane… which gave the party a miniscule chance of dealing with him.
The party explained the problem with the darkness in the Egg. At first, Bane asked the party to give him the dark power in the Egg directly. They thought that was probably a bad idea. Then Bane asked if he could hunt whatever the power became… and that seemed slightly more amenable to the party. Bane marked Tepes’ head with the tip of his spear, marking him as prey bound for Bane’s hunting realm. Bane also used a word to name the Tepes/darkness creature that would emerge from the Dragon God Egg, calling it “Dracula” (a supernal word referring to the destructive power of a dragon). Bane then left to prepare his hunt (or maybe out of fear that other Powers would learn he had broken the Dawn Contract?).
Then the Ritual began. The party was tasked with protecting the ritual from interruption. The dark energies that gathered blotted all light from the sky… that is, until Jimmy’s body came rushing at the party, demanding in a loud Supernal voice that they must stop. One of Pelor’s archangels of vengeance had inhabited Jimmy’s body, creating a sword of radiant flame in his hand, wings of fire bursting from his shoulders, and eyes that shone with the radiance of the sun. While the angel was very direct & demanding, it seemed unaware (or just didn’t care) about the fact that it’s possession of Jimmy was burning him alive. Just as the party felt like they would have to fight the angel – somehow without hurting Jimmy in the process – a dark rider appeared on a black steed on a nearby hill. He loaded several arrows onto a greatbow and fired bolts of shadow at the angel, knocking the angel out of Jimmy’s body and pinning it to the rock behind it. The angel dissipated back to the Astral Sea, cursing the party as it left “MAY YOU REAP WHAT YOU HAVE SOWN HERE!” The dark rider, whom the party figured out was probably Jimmy’s dad the evil paladin, rode off to leave Jimmy unconscious but still alive with the party.
The party turned back to the ritual itself, where all those white-wearing, specially washed servants had entered the circle. As the darkness arose from the Egg, it infused Tepes with unnatural speed, letting him fly around the circle, tearing out the throats of each of these specially prepared virgin sacrifices as he went. That ferocity was enough to draw the rest of the darkness into Tepes, who became a large creature that was at once both dragon and humanoid, but total evil. As it took it’s form, though, horns were heard in the distance, and the creature was gated to Bane’s realm, where it began to run as the latest prey in Bane’s most dangerous game.
The party found the Egg fully cleansed of the evil energy, though much weaker than it had been. Nikolai theorized that this was probably a good thing, since the hatching of the Egg was part of a dragonborn prophesy about the end of the world, so it’d be okay if the Egg needed a few extra millennia to get back up to strength before hatching.
Soon, however, all 5 draconic members of the Mithril Arm showed up to take the Egg into custody. They demolished the Plague Doctor’s facility, bestowed many gifts upon the party, and thanked them each for their roles in protecting one of dragonkind’s most sacred trusts. One of them mentioned that her grandmother had been given an item to hold on to by a previous version of Akara (the Sash of Vitality Ceaseless, part of a deva item set that Akara is re-collecting). By the time the dragons left, the party had an upgraded set of carts (pulled by drakes), 50 or so indentured servants (whose contracts made them the property of the one who wore the Ambassador’s ring… which Nikolai now has), a bunch of books about diseases and how to potentially use them to create an undead plague, and a mess of magic items.
Oh, and they settled down for a bit of a rest since, you know, it had been kind of a hectic day.
-Skaivani’s Anklets (lvl 10 feet, set item)
-Ring of The Dragonborn Emperor (specifically for Nikolai, lvl 15 ring)
-Sash of Vitality Ceaseless (for Akara, lvl 14 waist, set item)
-Cart upgrade: horses become guard drakes that will defend the carts during rests (& can hunt for their own food in wild settings); carts become armored, lockable, defensible against most attacks; traveling speed for carts increases dramatically.
Everyone should be at 8,500 (2/5 of the way to lvl 7, at 10,000)
Next session, “Where Gods Have Tread” will be Sunday, June 2, 2013.