Drow Wars: Episode 13 Tyrant of Brass

From the journal of Brottor

Alfric and Ter'ri go talking to the monks, the monks think that the drow are bad, but that they can best serve by staying neutral.

We have our audience with King Kalamon. The throne room has ranks of monks, dressed in orange. Alfric makes his speech to the king.

The king replies, “the mind of man decides nothing alone. … The ancient scrolls describe a trials, should one of your number pass the trials then Murdock Ram will stand beside you. There will be 3 tests, one will test your fortitude, one will test your strength of mind and one will test your agility.” - The first test you must drink poison and survivce, the 2 nd you must walk across a room dripping acid without being hit and the last you must look into the eye of the Kandang demon of fear.

Ribina volunteers and steps forward, we will hold the trial at sundown.

She is sat in the centre of the room, for the first trial – of fortitude. A monk approaches with a slightly steaming goblet. Ribina drinks, and gags, she is clearly failing. We concede the challenge and I cast restoration on her before the poison can kill her.

After some negotiation by Alfric the king agrees to see us again in a month. We teleport back to Zoth Zerandi. The ambassador from the Topaz Dominions wants a word, the king would like to see us, apparently he has a problem that is right up our street.

We head there double quick, wizards are highly respected. The Topaz dominions are both stratifyingly ordered and incredibly dependant on magic. Sorcerers are practicing on street, priests are everywhere. Magic users are well respected, people are overjoyed about magic users from other lands are visiting, they assume that the fighters are our bodyguards and retainers.

The palace of the sun king is extremely impressive and very shiny – the dome may well be real gold. We are met by a powerfully built man, naked to the waste. “thankyou for coming, my father looks forward to seeing you. I have gifts for you, but first I will accept your gifts to me.” Lorenna gives him powerful incense of meditation, I gift him with the statuetee that dispenses wisdom, alfric a masterwork sword and some valuable gems.

He thanks us for our gifts and claps his hands, retainers come in leading marvellous white horses..

These horses are Tetzillin heavenly destroyers. White silver maned horses descented from the horse of the sun god himself. There was certainly a celestial outsider in their bloodline somewhere.

“My army is ready to strike down the dark enemy. But an army needs food and water. We cannot take to the water, my people do not know how to sail and would be defenceless against the pirates the drow have allied with. We cannot cross the deserts without the oasis, the dark ones know this and are trying to prevent us. 2 have already been burnt to the ground and their water destroyed and poisoned. You must find what is doing this. I cannot send my own men as the evil has come from the plateau of skulls where my father the Sun God has forbidden us to go.”

Basic history of the area – the entire place used to be jungle, with a plateau in the middle called the plateau of peace, occupied by a load of elves. During the last war something happened that destroyed the jungle – leaving the desert. Everyone on the plateau was killed and it renamed to the plateau of skulls after the bodies found there. It has since become taboo.

We are taking to the camp of the phoenix legions, men armoured with golden breastplates salute us. We look at the legions ready to die to retake Crom-Kalimar from the darkness – the tide has certainly turned since we left that darkened city. The general of the army invites us for dinner and brings us up to speed. They saw the floating city – its still wandering around evidently. They also saw a plume of darkness, shortly after that the nomads rode in saying that 2 of the oasis had been destroyed.

We are shown a map – it is the nearest 2 oasis to the army that have been destroyed, the plateau of skulls is off to the north as is the devourers mound before it – a rock outcropping that is thought to be haunted.

We can almost draw a line at the borders – on the one side is the fields of Topaz, on the other barren sand that would sap the soul as well as the body.

There had been a detachment of the phoinex legions at the first oasis we visit as well as a shrine to the sun king. Now the shrine is gone and there are 10 shallow graves. Ossius thinks that the guards tried to flee south and the attacker came from the north – fitting with the plateau of skulls theory. Alfric finds a huge spiked footprint.

The next oasis we come to has been destroyed. Scorched plants, humans and animals and a water source that has become tricking and putrid. The bodies seem to have been crushed and burnt, alfric finds a brass spike in the huge footprints. So we have a huge biped with brass spikes on its feet.

A white rock plateau rises out of the desert – the plateau of skulls. A huge dark disk floats above it like a shield – we guess it must be half a mile across at least. The underside of the disk seems to be shaped like the hole originally left by the floating city from the island of chillhame. It is anchored to the plateau by some ropes, by the ropes are 2 men looking not too happy. We teleport next to them.

Their names are Buskin and Rummuld, one day they woke up and the village was floating. So they made a plan, and tied together every single piece of rope in the village, and when it went near the plateau lassoed it and tied it off. They found a golem, which had a socket for firewood. They activated it hoping it would help them ground the village but it went off and trashed the oasis. The village is running out of food. We need to deal with the golem first but promise that we will be back.

There are remains here on the plateau, evidence shows that the scorpions have been here. Alfric sees a dark crevice and investigates, a few seconds later he comes sprinting back to us screaming “GIANT SCORPIAN!” A colossal scorpion comes out of the crevice and follows him. It is very, very big!

The magical artillery lets go and I cast righteous might on myself and advance forward. The claws attack me one grabs me. Terri attacks it, Rubina daces along its flank slashing at it all over. It just misses Ossius with its stinger, the ranger fires his bow but the arrows plink off the scales.

A claw grabs Terri, the wizards are letting rip on this thing, With the claw pinning me I can't do any more than scream obscenities at it. Jessault raises more holy fire against it. Suddenly it rears and dies, dropping me and terri to the ground. Rubina spins to a stop behind it, her scimitars are covered in blood as she flourishes.

We need to move to stop this golem quickly and get off this plateau. The golem seems to be going around clockwise, we head counter clockwise. We find 2 oasis that are fine, at the 2 nd we meet 8 desert nomads who offer us water and assistance. I ask Vendyss who implies that moving south is good to meet the golam, we accept the nomads help as guides. They take us past the devourers mound, making signs to ward off evil. It is a place of old evil dating back to the last equinox – there are glyphs on the walls that we note down to translate later.

Continuing south we see plumes of smoke raising before us. We prepare to engage the golem. It's a huge flaming automaton with the symbol of a spider on the front. Terri charges it, Lorenna summons a huge earth elemental next to it. I charge in and it hits me – hard. Rubina ducks under its blade and attacks, her attacks aren't doing much damage. Jessault and Jerek cast spells at it but they fail. Lorenna summons another earth elemental and Rubina rolls around it. I let rip with my hammer and smash it – the power of Vendyss is flowing through my weapon and we can see it smash through the creatures defence. Terri leaps onto its back and attacks the door that leads to the furnace. Alfric leaps through the creatures attack to get the decanter of endless water from my pack. Jerek and Lorenna let rip with sonic attacks that harm it. Rubina slashes across it again but does minimal damage. I smash it again with my hammer and deal it a mighty blow that it crashes to the ground.

We discuss what to do with the golem – the best solution we think is to bury it so nobody can try and reactivate it. We use air elementals and Lorena casts move earth to sink it hundreds of feet below the sands. We head back to the plateau to rescue the people, going past the devorers mound. We translate the runes on the side:

“Laid reverently in darkness, Mock and Crunaer the husband and wife who loyally served the Maggot God. May the curse of he who consumes the dead fall upon those who seek to plunder the golden grave goods. Lets their bones run with hot lead, their eyes be made a feast for the vultures.”

I can see the party members eyes light up at the mention of golden grave goods. Oh dear, I get the feeling we are going to be testing the lead filled bones theory soon.

We think about how we are going to save the people on the plateau. I remember that the last time we saw a floating city was where the kraken eggs were. Legends have it that there are 3 stones that can lift mountains. One was used to destroy dwarven fortifications, moving the mountain they were on, we know one was used to raise the city with the kraken eggs and it seems one is floating this village.

At the village Jessault and I create food and water, give the villagers something decent for their bellies.

Likelihood is the stone is in the centre of the plateau. We go there, there is a house, the villagers tell us it's the wizards house. Alfric checks for traps on the door and finds nothing. We go in and look around, it's a standard house, nothing on the ground or first floors, time to go to the basement.

The basement is clearly a wizards lab, or was – the wizard cleaned up and left. All that is left in the centre of the room is a stone obelisk. A granite megalith with patches of strange purple moss on it. Warm to the touch it radiates transmutation magic. It probably responds to command words.

Lorenna and Alfric go to Zoth Zerandi via teleports to try and research the monolith. The rest of us stay here, the clerics creating food and water for everybody in the village. Jerek, me and Jessault have a few drinking competitions, the human is not bad but nobody out-drinks a dwarf! I watch him pass out, but Jessault lets the side down and slumped down first.

Lorenna and gelnix are unsuccessful in finding the controls words. She informs the conclave to get them to devote some time to it and teleports back to let us know.

Whilst Lorenna is teleporting around I hold several services to Vendyss in the village. They have close to 100% attendance from the village, plenty of converts for Her glory.

Gelnix finds the key words for the obelisk, we now have a mobile floating village. It moves at about 1 mile per hour. Gelnix sets it going East – towards Murdock Ram where the villagers can find sanctuary. We teleport back to the Sun King to inform, him of the destruction of the Golem.

The Sun King is ecstatic and wants to march on the Drow immediately. We manage to convince him not to march yet. Just, he is not too happy but agrees that now is not the best time. He rewards us with 30,000 gold pieces, and will instruct his court wizards to craft items for us at cost price.

We decide to go and steal some loot from the servants of a maggot god. We look around the mound and I find an area where their used to be a tunnel that has been caved in. Jessault and I stoneshape a crawlway so we can get in to a dark and spooky passageway.

The passageway opens into a room with unstable rock slabs holding up the sand above us. The air is sickly, like done off pickle and spice. There is a pit in the middle of the room with 2 human bodies in ancient bronze armour, they appear to have cat skulls instead of human skulls. There are piles of bleached bones in the corners. At one end of the room is an alter with a figure of some form, that gleams golden and has stuff hanging off it. Alfric examines the statue, it is a foul naga, plated in gold, with various jewels and a belt of skulls.

Alfric examines the statue in more detail searching for traps, the 2 corpses wake up. What a surprise! Thankfully we have them surrounded, we feel a dark scary presence from then and ignore it. Lets get it on!

One of them summons a swarm of locusts on me. I ignore them. Terri leaps into the pit and attacks, one of them tries to slay him outright with dark magic but he resists their attempts. Ossius attacks with his bow, I leap into the pit and attack with my hammer. Lorenna summons a huge fire elemental. We kick their asses and we loot the place.

We sell the stuff and do a lot of shopping.