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    Canonfire :: View topic - The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth: Lanthorn-style
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    The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth: Lanthorn-style [ Previous  1, 2]
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    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:16 pm  

    Captain Altarius glanced down at the frantic wizard with a mixture of contempt and hatred. He still remembered with vitriolic malice the Lance of Disruption that Doran had unleashed on him, nearly crushing his ribs in the process. Altarius very much wanted to kill this mage, and PAINFULLY. How would he decide to ultimately destroy this pitiful and floundering peon? Incinerate him with a combustive blast to fry the very skin and sinew from his bones as the imbecile had tried to do with him? Or perhaps unleash a conical tempest of ice and frost that froze his blood solid? Better yet, thought the gloating Iuzian military wizard, maybe return the favor with his own concussive blast of magical energy, cracking his bones to splinters and obliterating his internal organs? Even his enemy's pitiful Shield couldn't withstand such an assault. Or maybe a killing toxic cloud, so that his lungs bubbled with bloody froth, choking the annoying fool to death. Yes, thought Altarius at that moment, ALL of them seemed so very pleasant!

    So many choices. Perhaps too many choices... But, he had to act swiftly, before his much-hated rival, that pompous Priest Melchor, slew his victim first and stole his glorious victory!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Melchor, cruel, hateful, twisted, and thoroughly, unredeemably evil Melchor, floated in the dusk air amid a thin veil of smoke and ash, a thick shroud of pine branches partially cloaking him. He reveled in the mass destruction unleashed by his chief rival and counterpart, Captain Altarius, and even Priest Melchor, fully in the exalted favor of the Old One, and one of his 'chosen' servants, had to admire and respect the combat mage's awesome power. In fact, it was Altarius' own magic that had blanketed them both invisibly and enchanted them with the temporary ability of flight.

    This had allowed them to creep dangerously close to their victims, but not before Melchor had used Iuz's combat blessings to charge both of them with his Unholy battle power, enhancing the wizard's already considerable and devastating magic with the Demi-God's cruelty and malice. Before becoming invisible, Melchor had called upon his Evil Master's divine power to utterly obliterate their enemies' protections and wards, just as Melchor had predicted. So predictable, these fools of Goodness...and thus, easy to counter. How many of them...followers, clerics, knights of St Cuthbert, Heironeous, Rao, Trithereon, Pelor...had Melchor slain during his decades long service to Iuz? How many now adorned his personal chambers back in Dorakaa, whether in pieces, or intact, as tropies? The "Chosen" Priest had lost count long ago...but this annoying pest and his friends would soon join the others in his treasure trove! Evil Grin

    Melchor glanced with malevolent intent on Doran, wondering what spell of necromantic power to summon forth to wither his body to a mere husk of bone and skin, or create open, oozing boils, blisters, abcesses, and gaping wounds that would cause him to die an excrutiating, painful death...

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:57 pm  

    Doran had little time to contemplate what to do. He had thrown one of his most deadly fiery blasts at the levitating wizard, and it did absolutely nothing! Shocked He could try to Dispel the protective barrier (if it could even be so negated! He wasn't sure), and potentially ALL of his enemy's dweomers, dropping the gloating S.O.B. into the hard earth where Doran could hew him down with his battleaxe. But Doran wasn't sure if he could overcome this man's enchantments, for he KNEW he was outclassed, judging by this evil mage's own considerable power.

    Doran had to ACT. Now. Or die. He glanced to Justarius to see his friend scrambling behind a tree, holding his enchanted shield up before him, bastard sword tight across his chest. What was he doing?!

    "Justarius! Get your arse up and get OVER HERE!" he boomed, but he couldn't let his gaze linger on the paladin. Whatever had befallen his friend, it had clearly overpowered Justarius. Doran was on his own.

    At least those wretched hobgoblins are still trapped, he thanked silently, but cast a furtive glance at his flanks out of panic. Yes, there they were, still tugging and struggling against the thick strands.

    Doran had another choice, desperate as it was, that he could try. It was a risky gamble, but he was never one to take the obvious, or safe, route when all other options seemed pointless. Besides, he was a trained, professional wizard from the Velunese Battlemage Corps, including tactical, and cunning, uses of magic.

    He pivoted around on his heels, a glass rod in one hand, a fuzzy strip of animal fur in the other. Hastily spewing out the arcane words while (FORGIVE ME FOR THIS DESCRIPTION! Embarassed ) stroking the animal hide over the long shaft, Doran felt the electrical power well up in him...and he released it. (cigarette please?! Laughing )

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    The terror that overcame Justarius cascaded through his mind, crushing his desire to fight alongside his friends. However, the frantic cries around him, the blazing fire, the scent of ozone, and most importantly of all, the sight of Doran STILL fighting, ALONE, caused the young knight to push back the panic. He could NOT abandon them! To do so was against the Code of the Archpaladin!

    But something else came crashing down on the paladin, smashing his resolve and self-worth. Not-so-old memories from distant lands, distant campaigns, GREAT loss, still haunted the Velunese nobleman. The dimness of this forest, the tormented cries and screams, and most notably, the HOWLS echoing throughout the woodlands...they ALL conspired against Justarius at that moment, still reeling from Melchor's unseen blast of magical fear, sapping his nerves and will to fight. He just wanted to hide, to get away, to push back the horrors of past nightmares in a dark, Evil woodland where he and his previous host, his father included (!), battled an even darker, more Evil host of wretched, vile lycanthropes...and their twisted, black-hearted High Priest leader of Incabulos. Instead of rallying to his friend's call, the broken knight, trembling, sweating, battered, and weakened, crumpled pitifully at the base of the pine tree... Cry

    (DM's note: Justarius made his saving throw...BARELY...but I had him make a subsequent Willpower (Wisdom) roll given the circumstances (flashback to a previous campaign and similar situations), and the poor bastard rolled a critical failure...a 20! Confused )

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:27 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Thank you very much, SirXaris. We 'aim' to please! Happy
    Your instincts serve you well, Young Jedi (but they could be made to serve the Empire!)...stay tuned for more!

    -Lanthorn


    SirAxaris, my evil Palindrome twin, is already a slave to the dark side. I vent my evil desires vicariously through him. Wink

    Keep it PG, Lanthorn. This is a family site. No place for literary (p)opc(orn). Evil Grin

    Hmm... I seem to remember that Paladins (and Cavaliers) are immune to all Fear affects in 2e. Why did Justarius even have to make a saving throw against it?

    SirXaris
    GreySage

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    Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:26 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    I seem to remember that Paladins (and Cavaliers) are immune to all Fear affects in 2e.


    Oops! Embarassed

    There it is! Evil Grin

    Captain Altarius to Doran: "Regular? Or extra crispy? Shocked

    Mwahahahahahahahaha!
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    GreySage

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    Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:29 pm  

    Nope. Not true. Paladins get a +2 saving throw bonus to saves. They are immune to non-magical diseases. Cavaliers (kit) are immune to the Fear spell. Justarius is not a Cavalier. That is Marcel. Justarius was once a Noble Warrior, but lost his kit due to a shift in his belief systems. Now he is 'just' a 'regular' paladin. Sad

    It may be different in 1e as well as 3e.

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:24 pm  

    There was a sudden blast of freezing spray, ice shards mixing with killing frost, that erupted upward into the towering pine trees. Any flames caught within the path of the explosive icy storm was instantly quenched into wispy steam that intermingled with the lingering smoke.

    Doran was already in the midst of casting his Lightning Bolt when he both saw, and even felt, the icy tempest that sprayed up and outward in a conical shape into the high branches. There was a cry of alarm and chattering agony as the human youth spun around, leaping from the snapping branches as the blast covered his flanks and the foliage around him. Half-flying and half-falling away from the searingly cold storm, the adolescent was shivering and screaming in agony, an icy, sparkling shroud about his back, legs, shoulders, and arms.

    The invoker couldn't believe his eyes! Who had inteceded on his behalf to aid him? In truth, he didn't really care!

    High overhead, the gloating man in studded leather pivoted at the commotion, hands upraised in defense, and glanced at his side. Distracted.


    Kra-KOOM!

    The battlemage finished his spell even as the youth leaped from his perch, unleashing the elemental magick. Instead of focusing the electrical current upon his enemy directly, Doran angled the forked bolt, half of it searing the frost-coated youth, the other half slamming into the tree under which the seemingly invulnerable war wizard was levitating.

    The trunk of the huge pine cracked and shattered, just as the battlemage had intended, sending a showering spray of dangerous tree debris in all directions. The yelling, alarmed youth, already injured by the icy assault, was peppered by the wooden shrapnel, but the levitating mage's protective Shield deflected them. The compromised pine groaned in protest under its own considerable weight, then, snapping further, it leaned towards the shocked wizard and began its hasty descent.

    Doran watched with utter relief and great victory to see the freezing, dodging adolescent take a mighty blow from one large bough, smashing the youth across the shoulders and back, and driving him downward. However, he was less than delighted to see his primary target, the rival combat wizard, use his aerial skills to dodge through the brunt of the collapse with little ill effect.

    But, Doran realized with premeditated and calculating interest, he was likely no longer in that globe. Unless it moved with him, the invoker dared to think sourly. Nevertheless, the Velunese battlemage quickly prepared for his next maneuver, even as the tree crashed downward with a deafening CRASH! and bisecting the field of battle in half, completely obscuring the youth under its great canopy.

    Doran pivoted, looking upward, and towards the flying wizard who, even now, was focusing to counterattack.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Justarius saw the flicker of light, soon followed by a thunderous noise, a deafening boom from the heavens. He glanced up, wondering if Heironeous had answer his pleas. There was yelling, but his ringing ears could not make it out, but he half-heard, half-felt another great crashing sound as the earth beneath him trembled.

    The paladin scrambled up, heart racing, shield and bastard sword lifted before him. There was an odd mist intermixed with the tangy smell of ozone and smoke. The young knight stood there, bewildered...

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:09 pm  

    Naerenthyxelle fumed when the niggling little gnome had the audacity to hurl his magically-charged puny rocks at her. In truth she was more alarmed than hurt, the mixture of her cover and Shielding spell deflecting them with relative ease. Besides, her natural defenses would prove more than enough to neutralize anything these pitiful mortals could throw her way. These past few exchanges had proven that to her! Their magical powers were quite insignificant. Happy She wondered when she should reveal her "true" self to them, just to see the horror sweep across their faces before she drained their life away... Evil Grin

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Orsen prepared his next spell, but he was already heavily fatigued, both from the spiritual and physical drain upon his battered, tormented body. Sweat and blood poured and mixed freely upon the portly priest, and his breaths came in ragged puffs. Ervil's unexpected arrival more than bolstered the man's resolve, and he was determined to continue the fight.

    Orsen cast another spell from his dwindling reserves connecting him to his Power, St Cuthbert. The link was growing more and more tenuous. Soon, he would be all but spent. He channeled a relatively minor, but no less useful, charming spell on the shadowy figure of the elven witch, hopeful that in focusing the enchantment on but a single mind it would have greater effect. He finished it, releasing the power.

    NOTHING! Shocked The witch, that damnable elf $%^&*!!! She continued to move, ducking and dodging around the protective cover, with nary a twitch! WHY WASN'T ANYTHING AFFECTING HER?! Orsen was getting VERY frustrated, and jerked the warhammer from his belt. Maybe he would have to do this the 'old fashioned way!'

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ervil was about to cast another spell at the cunning, black-robed elven sorceress when she quickly countered with a spell of her own. Suddenly, a noxious cloud of sulphurous, debilitating vapors erupted all around the priest of Ulaa. Ervil had no time to react, and breathed in a good amount of the foul, rank mists. Wheezing, coughing, sputtering, chest heaving, the luckless gnome staggered out of the immobile cloud, crunching through bushes, and smacking blindly amid a few smaller trees in his efforts. Eyes and nose running thick with mucus, Ervil Gadderby fell to his hands and knees and began to vomit uncontrollably...

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Loren picked his target high in the trees and leveled the crystalline wand, a gift from the Spellfilcher's Guild, and one of his most prized magical possessions. He uttered the magical command words, spoken in Elvish, to release the power from the powerfully charged item.

    Out came a chilling conical blast of killing frost and icy shards. It completely encased the nearest trees, extinguishing flames and mixing with the ash and soot in the air, while continuing its ascent into the high branches...where it caught the boy completely unprepared in its freezing path!

    Seeing the effect it had on his foe, the elf smiled in satisfaction at the justice he dealt out. He prepared to unleash another blast, his Invisibility negated by his attack, and started to move forward when Doran's devastating lightning shattered the tree in front of him, and had the spellfilcher ducking, dodging, and backpeddaling for his life! Shocked

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:26 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    It may be different in 1e as well as 3e.


    What? Paladins are immune to fear in every edition except 2e?! What nonsense rules system are you using, Lanthorn? Razz

    And, now, the priest tries to cast an enchantment/charm at an elf? Might as well try to put one to Sleep! rolleyes

    I think I'm going to have to brush up on my 2e rules. Cool

    Ribbing aside, Lanthorn, this is great! And, you've surpassed my thread by getting to page 5! Laughing

    SirXaris
    GreySage

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    Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:14 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Lanthorn wrote:
    It may be different in 1e as well as 3e.


    What? Paladins are immune to fear in every edition except 2e?! What nonsense rules system are you using, Lanthorn? Razz

    And, now, the priest tries to cast an enchantment/charm at an elf? Might as well try to put one to Sleep! rolleyes

    I think I'm going to have to brush up on my 2e rules. Cool

    Ribbing aside, Lanthorn, this is great! And, you've surpassed my thread by getting to page 5! Laughing

    SirXaris


    Yup, paladins are NOT immune to fear in 2e unless you kit them as a Cavalier. Specialty priests of "your" God, Heironeous, get a BONUS to fear, according to Bastion of Faith, but are still not immune.

    And I hate to further burst your bubble, SirXaris, but as far as I can read, even in 1e paladins aren't immune, either!!! Happy

    Maybe later editions have it wrong... Wink

    Also, to clarify...the ONLY enchantment spells that have a hard time to affect an elf are specifically Sleep and Charm Person. Hold spells, though of the Enchantment/Charm school, have the normal chance to work against them. I used to think this, too, but came upon a Dragon Magazine or somesuch article that clearly stated so.

    Thank you for your accolades, Sir.

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:41 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Bryce and Dalton had little time or opportunity to aid their massive friend, however, for the other Iuzian cleric unleashed a magical assault against the two soldiers...


    Dalton, wounded and bleeding from the greivous wounds inflicted by the ghostly, disembodied hand (from the now-dead priest), staggered out of the darkness. He and Bryce both drew out their swords even as Avery and the howling plate-mailed man closed for melee.

    Suddenly, Bryce screamed aloud, turned tail and fled into the forest. Startled, Dalton spun around, glancing in panic, fully expecting that some foul magic was afoot. He brought up his shield defensively and spied the Iuzian cleric lurking further away in the shadowy trees. In spite of his poor condition, the soldier rushed his enemy with a wheezing battle-cry.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Avery blocked a savage downward, double-handed chop from his opponent's massive sword. A powerfully built, massive warrior, the Velunese man was the strongest member of his company, and potentially the entire contingent. However, he was both shocked and horrified when the greatsword slammed into his shield with such tremendous force that it dented it quite easily and sent flashes of pain through his arm! Howling in agony and leaping back, Avery pivoted and slashed out with his own sword, deftly cutting the grinning man where there was a gap between the overlapping plates. His foe yelled out as the blood flowed, faltering back.

    Recovering from the cumbersome momentum quite easily, the Iuzian foeman renewed his attack. He roared again, coming in aggressively, pounding and slashing with his formidable, two-handed sword. Avery countered and parried, realizing that although he was a more skilled swordsman, this man,somehow, was the stronger of the two! His enemy bore the leering skull amulet of an Iuzian, and so the hefty fighter concluded he was a cleric, and thus, had used some unholy power to enhance his strength to a supernatural level.

    It did not occur to the skillful fighter that the large gauntlets his enemy wore were the true culprit.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dalton slashed out with his sword even as his enemy tried to avoid the swing. The cleric had cast a spell as the warrior closed ranks, and his hand was now aglow with a shimmering, ebony aura. Dalton slashed, jabbed, and hacked out at his dodging enemy, and finally landed a severe blow on the frantic cleric, drawing blood and causing him to howl in pain.

    The cleric snarled, quickly gesturing so that his black-shrouded hand now crackled with tendrils of ebony magic. Dalton realized that he had to kill this man, quickly, and before the man touched him! The soldier ducked and weaved as the Iuzian tried to lash out with an outstretched hand, and in the process Dalton's sword sliced another deep gash in the savage cleric's thigh.

    But Dalton's wounds were no less severe, and this allowed the injured cleric's reaching fingers, enveloped by that malevolent, black radiance, to brush against his shoulder.

    The scream that exploded from Dalton was utterly visceral as his very life energy was sapped by those hungry tendrils of necromantic power. Even as his life force left his body, it invigorated his enemy's, healing the wounds that the soldier had inflicted upon the cleric.

    Barely alive, Dalton, wheezing, coughing frothy blood, open wounds flowing over his body, blanching skin taut over his twitching frame, dropped to the ground. His grip on the sword weakened, and he desperately tried to reclaim it even as the man's legs flailed to get beneath him.

    Too late. With a downward chop, the leering, healed cleric smashed a mace against his back, cracking bone and driving his dying body to smash into the earth.

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:46 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    And I hate to further burst your bubble, SirXaris, but as far as I can read, even in 1e paladins aren't immune, either!!! Happy


    Nope, I'm sure I remember this part correctly. It was the AD&D (1st ed.) Unearthed Arcana which introduced the Cavalier class, relegated the Paladin to a sub-class of the Cavalier, and thereby granted the Paladin the same immunity to fear that a Cavalier enjoyed as a clas ability.

    Oh, and... another one bites the dust! Evil Grin Poor Dalton. Cry

    SirXaris
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    Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:34 pm  

    Hmmmmm....according to page 16, you are correct. Don't recall this part at all (never played paladins in 1e, particularly of this sort...seems a bit overbalanced if you read all the benefits, actually).

    Yes, poor Dalton... Confused

    We'll see how many more are added to the carnage...

    -Lanthorn
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    Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:11 pm  

    Avery and the supernaturally strong cleric parried and swung, chopped and slashed, feinted and countered with their weapons. Avery was able to score several deep wounds in spite of his foeman's heavy armor and formidable skill. However, but a single blow, even if it was not a direct strike, from the mighty cleric, with his terrible strength and equally devastating great sword, could hew Avery in twain. So far the skilled warrior had been able to deflect most of the blows with defensive blocks of his battered shield and expert swordplay, but the cleric had managed a few strafing blows all the same that had the hulking man bleeding severely.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Gabriel Thatcher looked on in horror even as he could not move a single muscle to aid his desperate men. The lieutenant screamed in rage and defiance in his mind, damning the clerics and their unholy cambion Demi-Power for their malice and hatred. How he strained with all his might to break the enchantment paralyzing him. But the sinister dweomer proved stronger, holding the man fast.

    Gabriel watched in panic as Bryce fled the scene, screaming wildly, vanishing from sight. He wished he could look away when poor Dalton's body was drained, jerking and gyrating while withering before him. How he wished he could block out the dying man's blood-curlding cries of agony.

    The lieutenant's only hope was that others would come to their aid. Where were they?! HELP! HELP US! We are DYING over here! he screamed in his frozen mind, pleading that perhaps Marius would hear the telepathic summons.

    But no help came.

    Kill him, Avery! Kill him! the paralyzed soldier thought intensely, trying to channel his karma, his anger, to the single last fighter. Avery would have to save them.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Bloodied, battered, and exhausted, the mighty Avery did his very best against his terrible enemy. They were almost evenly matched, Avery with his greater martial skill counterbalanced by the cleric's supernatural strength and more dangerous weapon.

    The Velunese soldier pivoted, saw an opening, and drove his swordtip deep between the plates of his enemy's abdomen. Blood gushed forth as he pressed it deeply, eliciting a grunt of pain and stunned look from the cleric. Screaming, the soldier tried to jam it even deeper into the man's body against the sturdy plate mail and the chain links underneath.

    The cleric countered, slamming the greatsword downward against Avery whose shield was pinned up against between the combatants. The warrior could not extricate it in time to block the strike. Gurgling blood, the cleric delivered a solid two-handed chop that practically shattered Avery's shoulder and chest. His immense strength drove the soldier down to his knees, jerking the sword out of his body, but in the process, the cleric fumbled his sword. It flew to the ground, gore-stained, with an audible THUMP!

    Both men, bleeding profusely from their devastating wounds, collapsed to the ground...
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Gabriel's eyes could not move from the terrible scene, but tears streaked down his cheeks. Soon, he would be next. Gabriel knew of the hideous torture he would likely endure at their merciless hands. He wished he would have joined his men instead. Death seemed preferrable.

    -Lanthorn


    Last edited by Lanthorn on Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
    GreySage

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    Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:24 pm  

    Oh well. All good things must come to an end! They died with their boots on. (insert Taps here) Evil Grin
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    GreySage

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    Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:00 pm  

    Yep, dying valiantly is almost as fun as living heroicly. As long as it's a vicarious valiant death. Razz

    SirXaris
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    Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:16 am  

    Red with rage, heart thundering in alarm and panic, Altarius spun around to face the grounded Doran. He had been blindsided by the younger wizard's clever use of the Lightning Bolt, and outside his protective, invisible Minor Globe of Invulnerabilty (which does NOT move with the caster!), Altarius was now quite vulnerable to any spells that Doran might toss his way.

    Altarius also knew there was another spell-caster, and likely a powerful one at that, who had unleashed that freezing cone of killing frost and ice. The devastating cold had virtually enveloped Melchor, taking him unawares, but Altarius was beyond the effects, thankfully. The adept Iuzian battlemage himself could cast such a spell, which told him he was soon to face TWO quite capable sorcerors! This was not something Altarius preferred to do, especially outside his protective magical shell.

    Furthermore, the crashing tree had clipped and buried the flying Melchor, perhaps even killing (!?) the high cleric! Altarius was equally parts thrilled, and terrified, with the prospect.

    By the time the aerial Altarius pivoted and turned to face Doran, preparing to counterattack with an invocation spell of his own, the quick-acting younger battlemage thrust out his arms and finished the final words of power:

    "HI-YUUU-KIN!" Laughing

    The air between the two wizards rippled with near-invisible magical energy. It slammed into Altarius, the wizard's Shield and the Old One's battle favor largely absorbing the impact. Altarius yelled out, spinning by the force of the blow and getting tossed by the terrible force, nearly striking nearby trees in the process. His battered body groaned and shrieked in pain. Altarius could feel his ribs creaking, his lungs burning on fire...
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Doran practically fell to his knees from the exhaustion that swept over him by the drain of casting all these spells. Already wounded, Doran was quickly getting depleted. It wouldn't be long until he was incapacitated.

    However, the Velunese invoker's resulting Lance of Disruption had struck the Iuzian wizard with brutal effect, hurling him backward and injuring him! Somehow, some way, Doran's strategy had worked! The wizard was no longer protected in whatever unseen protective force he had enacted!

    Doran's eyes widened in shock, but renewed hope, when the aerial mage, instead of countering with what could have been a killing blow of magic against Doran, FLED the arena of war! Shocked Happy
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Brave, but not foolish, Captain Altarius opted to live to fight another day. He had severely crippled his foes, and though they would live, Altarius knew this battle was far from over. He and any surviving members of the Iuzian force, with or without Melchor, would return to exact revenge and apply a devastating coup de grace on their enemies.

    Before the secondary spell-caster could aid Doran, Altarius kicked off the tree at his aching back and sped off into the gloomy forest, weaving expertly through the towering pines. Yes, he would return...and KILL that battle wizard...

    -Lanthorn
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    Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:24 am  

    Shocked

    They . . . survived Exclamation Question Surprised

    That's "evil" for you . . . cowards! Yellow, through and through! Razz

    Run, you Bastard!

    Mwahahahahahahaha!
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    Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:58 pm  

    Orsen gripped the handle of his warhammer and glared hatefully at the elven witch smirking across the dim woodland. Both of them jumped in alarm, taking cover, when the Lightning Bolt went off, shattering the large pine tree and causing it to collapse earthward. The ground reverberated with its terrible collision, sending woody debris and pine needles everwhere.

    Orsen felt a chilling breeze, saw flickering snowlike flakes and frost crystals dancing in the air, and wondered what magic was afoot. He never saw the lithe, nimble figure of Loren retreating away from the rumbling tree, for the spellfilcher was tumbling on the other side of the great trunk.

    Luckily, Ervil was too far away, lest the poor gnome get completely smashed to death by the bulky tree! As it was, the demi-human priest was still heaving out his empty stomach.

    Orsen turned back to face his adversary, lifting the bludgeoning weapon, and peered around his cover. In the distance he could barely make out her ebon-clad figure. The priest was very drained, both physically and spiritually, but the weakness of his body had the stout man doubting his martial prowess. In spite of all his previous magical disappointments, the priest of St Cuthbert hefted the hammer, called out a plea of battle to his patron Power, and hurled the weapon.

    In mid-flight, the metallic item shuddered and transformed itself into a magical embodiment of holy force. The shimmering hammer tumbled, head over hilt, repeatedly, and, under Orsen's mental command, curved around the tree protecting the elf sorceress.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Naerenthyxelle had just recovered from the shocking distraction and peered from around her distant tree when a glowing, ghostly warhammer came hurtling her way. She yelped when it slammed into her invisible Shield spell, knocking her back, but doing no real damage otherwise. The magical weapon whistled back towards Orsen's outstretched hand, the bloodied, heaving priest locking a vicious glare her way.

    Cursing the man for his insolence (how dare he!), the witch spun around the tree, enacting a spell with her waggling fingers and unleashed four blue missiles of magical force at him. Unerringly, the struck him, knocking the priest backwards, threatening to crush his ribs. She cackled with wicked glee, but somehow, in spite of his many wounds, the man refused to die!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Loren recovered from the surprising collision and doubled back quickly, leveling his wand as he approached the scene of battle. In the background he heard the cries of men in pain, in battle, but he could do nothing about it. The snarling of the wolves had subsided greatly, and from his periphery, Loren noted that Thaddeus and Bolain were still alive, standing if goated in blood and torn badly, with but a few of the canids still threatening them.

    The spellfilcher circumnavigated the top of the downed tree, hoping to find the boy caught below the uppermost branches, and thus provide an easy target for his shortsword and dagger. Instead, as he neared the groaning tree, still rocking back and forth from its collision, Loren saw the retreating, aerial figure of Altarius streaking through the canopy.

    Loren plunged the wand in his belt, bringing his hands up to cast a spell of force missiles that would strike the fleeing man in the back (and thus, if he had enacted a Shield, they would not be affected), but the spellfilcher lost sight of him in the gloomy wood.

    Disgusted, the elven agent from Flameflower continued his 'manhunt...'

    -Lanthorn
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    Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:35 pm  

    "Rally to me. Rally to me!" (Mark Antony - HBO's Rome)

    I think one of your guys would do well to emulated him at this time. Maybe Orsen? Wink Evil Grin
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    GreySage

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    Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:05 pm  

    The fights still looking good. It's nice to see lengthy ones like this.

    SirXaris
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    Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:12 pm  

    Thank you both (respectful bow). In 'reality' I think this battle, in game terms, lasted roughly a turn or so. No more than 15 rnds, for sure! But it took my player and me at least two days of gaming (a few hrs at a session) to complete it. This battle, though technically the 2nd one, was the first pivotal skirmish that had both sides fighting for their very lives, no holds barred, kid gloves off. It surely set the stage for more conflict to come and showed the PCs (and NPCs) why this Iuzian force kicked the initial Velunese patrol group's butt when they were encountered on the northern border. I wanted to back up the rumors with naked and brutal aggression. Trust me: there is MORE to come, so if you like these fights, get ready. The Iuzians are just getting started!

    Remember WAY BACK in my earlier post when I said "Don't worry about the large numbers because I expect casualties along the way"...? Evil Grin

    This is just a taste of what's to come, and why this Lost Caverns campaign is now considered an epic between my player and myself. And the party is STILL trekking in the wilderness! They're not even close to the actual Caverns yet, much less the mapped paths.

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:54 am  

    Huffing, heaving, bloodied, torn, and bitten, Thaddeus and Bolain stood back to back, weapons thick with blood and fur. They had slain all of the half dozen wolves that attacked them. The carcasses of the animals lay strewn about, hacked, punctured, and hewn. Blood poured out and stained the earth a dark color in the failing light.

    The gruff mountain man and his dwarven ally could barely move, so exhausted were they from a mixture of blood loss and combat fatigue. Both of them heard not-so distant cries to their right...the voices of Doran and Orsen. Further away to their left, they heard the clamor of battle dying off, interjected with curt commands from people they did not know.

    Instead of rushing forth, both the ranger and wayfinder settled back to check their wounds and recover their strength amid whatever cover could be found. Neither of them was particularly interested in pushing their luck, or their bodies. And neither the mountain man nor the dwarf were all that interested in playing the role of 'hero.' Out in the rugged wilderness, heroes died whereas pragmatists survived...

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Orsen tossed the shimmering, magical warhammer a second time, his muscles aching with each movement. The cleric's lungs burned and a metallic tang of blood filled his mouth. In truth, the priest was more wounded than he let on, but Orsen was determined to fend off or kill the elf witch, or die trying.

    Noting movement to his flanks, the haggard priest was Doran staggering forward. "Doran!" he called out, his voice raspy. "The elf witch!" He pointed to the distant trees even as his warhammer collided with the wicked sorceress' magical protections, this time hitting her with enough force to send her faltering backward with a yelp of alarm.

    Orsen staggered forward, catching the magical weapon in an outstretched hand, but he screamed out as four more blue missiles of force slammed into him like so many balled, gauntleted fists, each of them as powerful as a club strike. He toppled backward, blood trickling from his mouth, stars and lights flashing before his eyes. His breathing came out in wheezing gasps.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Doran saw Orsen's magical warhammer collide into...someone?...in the deepening gloom. The light of day was virtually gone, so low was the sun, that dusk was truly upon them. The perceptive mage could barely see a shadowy figure almost perfectly hidden in the shadows of the growing darkness. He heard a woman's high-pitched cry of pain as the priest's spiritual hammer slammed into her, and he saw a billowing shape fall back from behind a distant tree.

    Then out came the responding flashes of blue energy that Doran instantly recognized as magic missiles. They punched into the staggering priest with brutal force, dropping the man to the ground, coughing, sputtering, and half-dead.

    The battlemage rushed forward, taking cover by the injured priest's side, and dragged him (no easy feat!) out of view from further attacks. Glancing around, the wizard saw Ervil off to his left, hacking and gagging, but starting to recover, a cloud of noxious fumes at his back.

    "Ervil! Ervil! Help me! It's the elf witch! I need your help!" he called to the gnome, then spied around the protective trunk to find his adversary. Doran wasn't sure what he could do, but he had a few more spells up his sleeves. But not many...

    -Lanthorn


    Last edited by Lanthorn on Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

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    Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:20 am  

    Holy hungry, hungry hippo! Someone else might just die yet! Shocked

    Even the writers for TPK Games are getting jealous now! Evil Grin

    Mwahahahahahahahaha!
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    Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:10 pm  

    With the sudden arrival of Doren to Orsen's aid, and the gnomish priest recovering from her Stinking Cloud, Naerenthyxelle considered her situation carefully. She wasn't sure who else was out there, lurking in the shadows, for she had seen the icy cone unleashed as well and knew that a separate spell-caster was likely in the vicinity, too.

    Too, the sorceress had seen the towering pine tree taken down by a well-placed Lightning Bolt, clipping Altarius (pompous maggot!) and swallowing the all-mighty Chosen of Iuz, Priest Melchor! Although the vain, proud woman thought she was more than a match for Doran, she began to ponder the wisdom of overstretching herself too thin against a rallying counter-assault of enemies.

    The fat priest of St Cuthbert lay greivously wounded, perhaps mortally so, and even if he did survive, she was certain that he would be out of commission long enough for the Iuzian contingent to apply a successful coup de grace in the next day and slay the lot of them.

    With disgust at her prudent decision nevertheless, the malevolent witch pulled her ebon-hued, silken highly enchanted robe about herself, stepped back and ducked deeper in the shadows...and simply merged with them, becoming one with the gloom. And with that, Naerenthyxelle made good her escape.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Doran glanced nervously into the growing darkness with the fall of dusk. He thought he saw the elf witch, and readied a volley of his own magic missiles, but without a clear view of his target, such a spell was impossible. He thought of hurling a fireball and pulled forth the foul-smelling bat feces mixed with sulphur from a belt pouch.

    Orsen was practically incapacitated, and the battlemage knew without magical aid, his wounds might prove very serious.

    "Orsen, Orsen...can you hear me? Heal yourself if you can, man..." the wizard rasped to him frantically.

    The portly man seemed barely to register Doran's words, but his eyes fluttered as he heard his voice. Grunting, gasping, the battered, bleeding cleric crawled to his feet, grasped the amulet at his neck, and tried to call to St Cuthbert for curative aid.

    "Ervil, watch out," Doran warned the gnome, now taking cover and hefting his own warhammer. "She's still out there, somewhere! Can you see her?"

    The gnome looked up, wiping the slime and filth from his bearded, oozing face. He peered into the gloom, his eyes glowing red with infravision. If she was out there, likely his heat-sensing eyes would pick her out. But Ervil Gadderby saw nothing. No trace at all of her.

    "No," he replied. "Gone."

    "Keep your eyes peeled for her. If you see her, let me know. I've got to get Orsen out of here. He's badly injured. Where's Loren?!" the battlemage growled as he went to retrieve the priest, who, even now, was using the last vestiges of his spiritual power to mend his horrible wounds.

    "Don't know," Ervil admitted with a shrug, but he never took his eyes off the surrounding woods. "He went to help YOU. What...you didn't see him?"

    "No," Doran countered, but he was beginning to wonder about the nature of his unseen benefactor and the sudden explosion of ice and frost...

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As a calm fell upon the theatre of battle, Justarius staggered forward to look upon the carnage before him. A great tree lie before him, felled by the awesome power of his friend. The smoke and fires were virtually gone, and a cool haze, remnants of the frosty assault, was beginning to lift. The massive webbing still held, but most of the hobgoblins were nowhere to be seen.

    The paladin hefted his sword and shield and crept forward in the direction of a familiar voice. "Doran..." he muttered, and then, from his fugue, the young holy knight realized his terrible mistake in failing to aid his long-time, childhood friend.

    "DORAN!" he cried, and the paladin rushed in the direction of the battlemage's haggard words.

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:51 pm  

    Keep 'em comin', Lanthorn! I'm enjoying every blow struck in this battle. Happy

    SirXaris
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    Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:10 pm  

    You got it, SirXaris. I appreciate the readership from you all and your comments. This battle is soon to come to a conclusion, but rest assured, more WILL be coming in the future!

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:26 pm  

    Loren heard the commotion between Doran, Ervil, and Justarius and soon fell in line behind the advancing paladin. By the time he arrived, Doran had rallied them all, warning them of the danger potentially lurking in the forest (that being the elf witch) and that the deadly, flying battle wizard had retreated.

    Loren announced his arrival discretely and warned the others that he had not found any trace of the strange youth who was likewise flying about the high branches. He made no confirmation about his involvement with his highly prized Wand of Frost and had already concealed it within its protective case beneath his cloak.

    Justarius had little to offer and was quite embarassed by his lack of bravery and initiative. He agreed to assist Orsen to his feet, the wounded priest practically devoid of spiritual power and far from fully recovered. The paladin announced they should fall back to a more secure position and rally the others.

    At that, it occurred to them all to find what had befallen their comrades, and great concern swept over Orsen and Justarius about the "strike team." What had happened to them? Where were they?

    Nobody knew anything. Shocked

    Thaddeus and Bolain came rushing from the undergrowth at that time, bloodied from numerous vicious and deep wolf bites. They looked absolutely horrendous with jagged gashes, puncture wounds, and ripped flesh. Nevertheless, both the mountain man and wayfinder seemed better off than Orsen, at the very least. They quickly relayed their battle with the savage pack but knew the soldiers had likewise been assaulted.

    Loren confirmed the reports, saying he heard distant sounds of battle, as well, but could ill afford to abandon his post.

    At that, both Justarius and Orsen stated, quite firmly, they all had to go to their aid. Even as the group started off, they heard a great ruckus. Heavy footfalls, the crunching of undergrowth, and suddenly, a booming cry pierced the relative stillness:

    "We come to your aid, in the name of the Cudgel!"

    Orsen breathed a sigh of relief, for he recognized the voice...of Fallroyce!

    -Lanthorn
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:27 am  

    Really enjoying this battle Lanthorn! I love it when a band of adventurers are down to their last spells and hit points, covered in blood and bruises and dirt and forcing themselves to carry on. Looking forward to the next installment!
    GreySage

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    Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:43 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    "We come to your aid, in the name of the Cudgel!" . . . the voice . . . of Fallroyce!


    FOUL!

    I cry Foul! Exclamation

    How dare you rescue them at the last minute! TPK Games will never offer you a job now! Razz Evil


    Mwahahahahahahahaha!
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    GreySage

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    Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:44 pm  

    Wolfling, most kind of you. Thanks for the 'thumbs up.' I also a good, pitched battle that isn't one sided. You are sure to enjoy some of the upcoming battles...

    stay tuned, sir,

    Lanthorn
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    Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:47 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    FOUL!

    I cry Foul! Exclamation

    How dare you rescue them at the last minute! TPK Games will never offer you a job now! Razz Evil


    Sorry to disappoint, Mystic. And here I thought killing at least a few of the soldiers would whet your palate...

    I guess I will have to reap the heaps of golden orbs with my current job as a high school science teacher. You know how wealthy 'my kind' is at the current pay scale and budget cuts, yes? Shocked

    -Lanthorn, Public Serveant Pauper Happy
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    Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:19 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Lanthorn wrote:
    "We come to your aid, in the name of the Cudgel!" . . . the voice . . . of Fallroyce!


    FOUL!

    I cry Foul! Exclamation

    How dare you rescue them at the last minute! TPK Games will never offer you a job now! Razz Evil


    Mwahahahahahahahaha!


    We use DMs like him as playtesters, Mystic. If they can run a group through one of our adventures without killing a single one, we know it's too easy and needs to be trashed or seriously re-written. Razz

    Don't let that razzing worry you, Lanthorn. Wait until Mystic reads about me allowing one of my PCs to be raised from the dead. Shocked He'll lose all respect for me as a killer DM. Razz

    SirXaris
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    Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:29 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    You know how wealthy 'my kind' is at the current pay scale and budget cuts, yes?


    Yes, I do in fact. Especially with all that house painting you guys do during the Summer months. So . . . loan me some money! Razz

    SirXaris wrote:
    Wait until Mystic reads about me allowing one of my PCs to be raised from the dead.


    Shocked

    OMG! Shocked

    Did anyone from TPK read that!?

    Are you trying to get . . . FIRED!? Surprised

    If that happens, how will I ever hit you up for a loan!? Shocked Evil Grin
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    Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:13 pm  

    Readers, my player and I don't recall with any certainty what happened with the following characters, so here is the gist:

    They heard a dull roar and saw the distant orange/red glow when the Fireball erupted. This instantly caught their attention.

    "They're under attack!" Marius cried, clearly panicked. "Hurry, before it's too late!"

    Even as the group sped off to aid their comrades, they saw a powerful flickering of blue-white lights, soon followed by the thunderclap of...

    "Lightning!" Luther announced, and he was quite sure it wasn't a Divine sign from the Archpaladin!

    With the flying exception of an invisible Kelmar, off they ran. Captain Fallroyce, towering Sir Marcel, and bulldog Luther fanned out so as not to get caught as one host to any lurking spell-casters. Marius took the rear. It was good that all of them had been granted the heightened awareness of Blessed Watchfulness, for they nearly stumbled into an...

    "Ambush! Watch it, archers!" came the warning.

    The men scattered, each of them hurtling to the safety of a tree trunk as a half dozen crouching, hiding figures leaped up, firing a volley of arrows and crossbow bolts into their ranks. Luckily for the Velunese, most missed, with but a few strafing their targets. Among the enemy could be seen men, mostly, but a pair of women also showed themselves.

    Instantly, Captain Fallroyce grasped his holy amulet and called to St Cuthbert for the blessings of battle. Both Sir Marcel and Luther enacted protective spells granted only to the clergy of Heironeous, and shimmering, blue shields flashed in front of each man, a lightning bolt inscribed upon each magical gift. Marius touched the finely tooled raiment he was wearing, enhancing it with the protections of Rao, stiffening it to the hardiness of chain mail armor. Invisible Kelmar, levitating behind a tree of his own, cast a Shield spell, followed soon by a host of confusing illusionary replicas of himself to baffle the enemy.

    The archers continued their missile assault, keeping the priests pinned (of course, none saw Kelmar) down. Once more, most of their arrows and crossbow bolts failed to defeat the protections, mundane or magical, of their foes.

    Once they had erected their defenses, the priests counterattacked. Luther called upon the mighty combat magicks of Heironeous, bringing forth a tremendous, gauntleted fist, bigger than that even belonging to a giant (!), and with a battle cry of fury, launched it forth. The mighty fist collided with incredible power, shattering the trees hiding a few of the enemy archers and causing them to scatter in panic.

    Marcel took up his crossbow and started firing bolts at other foes, but with minimal effect.

    Marius used mind-numbing spells against others, hoping to paralyze as many of the archers as possible without getting impaled by their fierce shots.

    Captain Fallroyce flung a warhammer out as he enacted a spell of combat, and the metallic item transformed in mid-air into a shimmering magical weapon of force. He began to repeatedly pick out targets and continuously unleashed the Divine weapon at any of the archers who dared show himself.

    Kelmar's 'great magic' was called upon...but where was he?!

    -Lanthorn
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    Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:32 pm  

    Yikes! Shocked

    Kelmar is . . . Missing in Action! (Part IV) Wink Evil Grin
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    Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:49 pm  

    The clerics seemed pinned down by the faster shots of the enemy, but, thankfully, none of them struck too deeply. The protective spells, especially among the Heironeans, held true. However, frustratingly, the Velunese at best had a stalemate with the shifting and moving Iuzian archers. Even Marius' spells seemed to minimal effect, much to his growing alarm and panic. Why wasn't his mind-numbing magic working? The mental resolve of these apparently mundane soldiers, this rabble, was truly impressive...he began to doubt it there wasn't a touch of counter-magic present!

    In the distance, they could hear the pitched cries of battle, the howls and snarling of dogs (?!), the terrible crashing of a tree. What was going on over there?! It was completely unclear to either side, actually, who over there was winning.

    Suddenly, there came a trememdous, searing, near-blinding gout of flame that shot up, enveloping the trees behind which many, if not all, of the enemy had taken shelter. Immediately, horrible screams of terrible agony erupted of people being burnt alive.

    The Velunese clerics could not see their foes, of course, given that the massive wall of flame had swallowed them. They were momentarily shocked given its completely unforeseen appearance, and they fell back, feeling the searing heat as it licked the trees, pouring out choking smoke.

    And then, the explanation became clear as the aerial figure....make that FIGURES (at least eight or nine of them!)... of the scrawny, middle-aged, wispy haired, salt-and-pepper bearded Kelmar popped into view far off to the side. All of them were intently focused on the fiery wall, hands raised high, silken robes fluttering in the light breeze.

    "The enemy is routed!" the numerous mages called with a pompous, almost disdainful, tone to the grounded clerics (though only one voice could be heard). "You will fear no more from their volley." In unison, the myriad images crossed their hands about their respective chests, casting smug looks down at them, particularly Captain Fallroyce.

    "Don't just stand...fly...there, you fool!" Luther boomed angrily to the haughty mage. "We must get to the others, NOW!"

    The shifting and sorting Kelmars waved them forth with a seemingly contemptuous sneer, pivoting effortlessly in mid-air. In so doing, they backed off deferentially to the rushing group, and simply...vanished from view!

    And so the clerics, with an unseen host of Kelmars in tow, raced to the aid of their allies who were truly fighting for their lives. And the wall of fire, just as it had appeared, soon disappeared with nary a trace of soot, ash, fire, smoke, carnage...or, if they had stayed long enough to discover, even a single enemy body! Shocked

    -Lanthorn
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    Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:07 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    "Don't just stand...fly...there, you fool!"


    Holy shaded parody of Mithrandir! Shocked

    Err . . . Gandalf! I meant Gandalf!

    Hehehehehehehehehe!
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:26 pm  

    Whew! Shocked Finally caught up. This is excellent, Lanthorn! I'm envious. I wish my last DM had an eighth of your commitment to roleplaying and storytelling. Cry
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    Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:58 pm  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    Whew! Shocked Finally caught up. This is excellent, Lanthorn! I'm envious. I wish my last DM had an eighth of your commitment to roleplaying and storytelling. Cry


    Friend Smillan, I am glad you 'caught up' and enjoy my 'tale.' Thank you very much for such highly esteemed praise. I do try to 'commit' to my DMing role as much as I would my role as a player (of as many PCs as my DM will allow...last night I role-played four: a werebear priest of Ehlonna, a Flannish barbarian, a human cleric-fighter of Trithereon, and a human female Gnarley ranger). Please continue to read as I add to this campaign journal, and I look forward to your comments.

    appreciatively,

    Lanthorn
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    Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:19 am  

    Still completely paralyzed by the holding spell, Gabriel Thatcher watched in horror as the plate mailed Iuzian scrambled up from the ground over Avery's gore-covered body. He was NOT dead after all, it seemed, in spite of the devastating sword blow that Avery had landed upon him. The man was slathered in blood and he could barely move.

    The second cleric staggered forward, injured by still very much alive. Suddenly, a third, then a fourth (!) figure materialized from Gabriel's peripheral sight, advancing quickly to the scene of carnage. Thatcher thought one was flying, but he couldn't get a good look, while the other seemed to lurk in the shadows and was exceedingly difficult to see.

    Thatcher saw a cloaked, man step into more clearly into view, perhaps in his fifties with a scraggly beard and moustache, salt-and-peppered, and thinning, wispy hair beneath a cowl. He was limping, favoring a shoulder, wincing as he moved. There was a definite aura of malevolence about him, and all others parted as he crept forth towards the gravely injured man at his feet. He scowled as he spoke to his floundering subordinate:

    "I should have your gauntlets stripped from you, Deverell, if you couldn't even lay low a single soldier with their power," he growled menacingly.

    The plate mailed figure crumpled before him, drawing ragged breaths and seemed on the verge of passing out. He could barely look up at the hissing man standing over him with clear contempt.

    "You are on your own. Heal yourself, and BE SWIFT about...drain this fool dry by your own power," the older man rasped, nudging Avery with his booted foot, "or you will be left to your own Fate."

    A cold chill coursed down Gabriel's body at that, numbing his heart, and he wanted to vomit from the sick feeling that overcame him at that terrible moment. He knew he'd be next... Shocked Gabriel began to scream and yell defiantly in his mind, tried to break the magic paralyzing him, and he could feel his muscles vibrating, almost overcoming the terrible spell. But the dweomer was to powerful! A numbing terror overcame him...

    The near-dead man, coughing and sputtering, could only nod as he propped his weakened body up, blood still oozing forth. Grasping the skull effigy about his neck, Deverell rasped forth a spell, his right hand suddenly enveloped by a flickering blackness of writhing tendrils. The spell nearly caused him to pass out, and he half-fell upon Avery's bleeding body, slapping his darkly illuminated hand upon the hapless soldier.

    Gabriel wanted to look away, tears streaking out of his eyes, as he watched in disgust, horror, and rage when the necromantic power of the priest slowly turned the once-mighty Avery into a withered husk of tight flesh over bone...and began to mend the near mortally wounded priest of his own grievous injuries!

    "What of them?" the junior cleric asked the venerable man, pointing to the dead littering the field, including the two deceased Iuzian clerics.

    "They all will serve the Old One," came the smug reply, a dark glint to the hateful man's eyes. "Their service is just beginning."

    "And of him?" the underling pressed, pointing to Gabriel, causing the soldier's heart to leap and jump thunderously.

    A wicked smile creased the leathery face of the senior cleric. "Him, too. But first, bind and gag him. We must be swift. Collect everything of value, and get our new soldiers moving before the enemy rallies fully. This is far from over..."

    -Lanthorn
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    Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:39 am  

    Wow! Seems to be some missing action between the occurrences in your last two posts. Confused

    Still, Sir Xaris and TPK Games will be proud of you! Evil Grin

    Mwahahahahahahahahaha!
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    Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:22 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Wow! Seems to be some missing action between the occurrences in your last two posts. Confused


    I shifted back to the soldiers. Nothing missed, just picking up things from the paralyzed lieutenant's perspective. The last we read about them, the plate mailed Iuzian and Avery had clashed, dropping each other, while Thatcher was held fast by a Holding spell. Poor fella!

    -Lanthorn
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    Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:23 pm  

    Ahh, yes! Back on track! Wink

    But! . . .

    Will help arrive in time? Evil Grin

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    Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:31 pm  

    Nice! Prisoners! Evil Grin I just love having Iuzian Clerics sacrifice PCs/NPCs to their demented lord and master.

    SirXaris
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    Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:07 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    I just love having Iuzian Clerics sacrifice PCs/NPCs to their demented lord and master.



    A contributor to TPK Games would! Razz

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    Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:26 pm  

    Lanthorn,

    Just caught up on your tread. Nice bit of writing, enjoying the battle so far.

    Later

    Argon
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    Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:56 am  

    Conclusion

    By the time Fallroyce, Luther, Marcel, Marius, and Kelmar joined with the 'main host' (Justarius, Doran, Orsen, Ervil, and Loren), the battle was pretty much done at that point. The two mages and the strange boy had long departed with nary a trace, and the half dozen wolves were all slain. Both Bolain and Thaddeus linked up with them all, showing numerous bite wounds and looking extremely haggard. Both trackers were severely wounded but, barring infection, would survive. Of the rest, Orsen was the worst off physically, and he was spiritually drained as well. In fact, everyone from the main group was beaten up and thoroughly exhausted.

    The strike team members, in comparison, were far less injured, with only a modest amount of magic used. However, it became obvious to them they would need to use what residual spiritual power they could summon forth to mend the wounds of their beleaguered allies.

    However, it was Marius who inquired about the fates of their soldiers. This realization greatly concerned them, for none of the men had returned from their posts, leading everyone to wonder what had occurred. This notion weighed most heavily upon Marius, who dreaded what they would discover.

    It was at that point they learned the horrid truth. Not a single man was found, and only the splattered blood and gore, the gouged earth and mangled undergrowth, and spent arrows and bolts alluded to their worst fears. They were too late. Their men were captured, or killed, or both. Marius was particularly overcome with anguish and guilt.

    The trackers noted that there were several shuffling prints, as well. Confused Such a sign made their collective skin crawl with the underlying possibility yet steeled their resolve to exact revenge upon this most-hated enemy.

    Unfortunately, nobody was in any shape to follow the tracks (they were plenty of them) leading into the gloomy forest for a counterattack and rescue mission. However, that was exactly what they intended to do, at the first possible opportunity, for time was no longer their ally. Each passing minute would be their enemy, for the Iuzians would surely exact a terrible price on any captives (if any were present).

    And so the second fight came to a close and the party settled down to 'lick their wounds' and rest for what would become a protracted battle against the Iuzians.

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:51 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Unfortunately, nobody was in any shape to follow the tracks (they were plenty of them) leading into the gloomy forest for a counterattack and rescue mission. However, that was exactly what they intended to do, at the first possible opportunity . . .


    Yes, you are definiely Sir Xaris' "young Padawan learner." TPK Games would be so very proud of you! Evil Grin

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    Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:48 am  

    Yep, that's a great outcome to motivate your player to go after the Iuzians for more than principle.

    My only question is, how did the good guys become separated by so much distance that they couldn't see each other. I understand that one group was scouting ahead, but it seemed that no one else could see the soldiers or the two fighting the wolves and there were two or three different groups of spellcasters that couldn't see each other either. Neutral

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    Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:41 pm  

    -Mr Sun Tzu (rough quote): To avoid what is strong, strike what is weak

    -I'm sure it's another Sun Tzu-ism, but dividing up one's forces to attack (separate enemy elements) also divides one's power...
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    Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:32 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Yep, that's a great outcome to motivate your player to go after the Iuzians for more than principle.

    My only question is, how did the good guys become separated by so much distance that they couldn't see each other. I understand that one group was scouting ahead, but it seemed that no one else could see the soldiers or the two fighting the wolves and there were two or three different groups of spellcasters that couldn't see each other either. Neutral

    SirXaris


    Good question. Don't forget they were in a forest, and it was getting dark. There was plenty of cover. The strike team was WAY out in front, nowhere close to the action. When the fire and smoke hit, it also clouded the battlefield, then the big tree toppled. Plenty of chaos. War is full of it. Everyone was fighting for their very lives at that point.

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:48 pm  

    jtylerk wrote:
    -Mr Sun Tzu (rough quote): To avoid what is strong, strike what is weak

    -I'm sure it's another Sun Tzu-ism, but dividing up one's forces to attack (separate enemy elements) also divides one's power...


    Excellent quotes! Tis very true what you wrote. There were basically three groups within the main host spreading out so they could cover more ground. They formed, somewhat, a triangular shape, and didn't want to get too close lest a single spell or spells kill the whole group! The soldiers were in one region, the trackers in another, and the others (Justarius, etc) faced a third.

    The wolves were 'summoned' by the Iuzians and unleashed; in addition the hobgoblin soldiery were used, along with the wolf pack, to draw attention and open a potential weak zone.

    Next Altarius and Melchor moved in, but only after Melchor employed battle-enhancing magics to bolster themselves (and also the foot soldiers that intercepted the good guy strike team!) and Altarius cast both Invisiblity and Fly on them both. The dangerous duo focused on the 'main group' while the Iuzian clerics attacked a separate flank.

    It was a pitched battle from the word "Go!"

    Good Guy Casualties
    Avery: 5th lvl fighter (Str: 18/30), +3 ring mail, +1 hand axe
    Dalton: 4th lvl fighter, +2 small shield
    Gabriel (captured or dead): 6th lvl fighter (Dex 18, Con 17), +2 chain mail

    Bad Guy Casualties
    Zeb: 6th lvl speciality priest (Wis 17)
    Alton: 5th lvl specialty priest (Wis 17)
    All of their magical items got recirculated within the Iuzian faction.

    Deverell, a 7th lvl cleric, NEARLY got toasted by Avery's strike, dropping the cleric to 1 hp!!! Shocked He nearly died in that skirmish. Melchor considered very seriously slaying his subordinate outright, taking his magical items, and then Animate the junior cleric as a zombie. The ONLY reason he did not was NOT out of mercy, but the logic that he was MORE important, in the grand scheme, alive than undead. The expedition was still very early in its stages, the Caverns were still unknown and far away to the Iuzians, and so Melchor, out of sheer necessity, spared his life. Of course, he could always reverse his ruling at a later date if Deverell proved equally incompetent. Evil Grin

    more story to come soon,

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:29 pm  

    Lanthorn,

    Another interesting read on the conclusion of the battle. The enemy is not strong at this point, though they have struck a vital blow. I surmise their worst fears will be answered once they catch up to the Iuzian forces.

    Mystic,

    Lanthorn did not kill off the entire party so TPK games would not be proud. Though I think Sir Xaris is enjoying the story so far.

    For some reason I see a thriller video in the party's future.

    Later

    Argon
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    Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:38 pm  

    Argon wrote:
    Mystic . . . Lanthorn did not kill off the entire party so TPK games would not be proud.


    Ah ha! But you forget, my friend, Lanthorn claims that our intrepid heroes intend on pursuing the Iuzian forces "immediately." Shocked

    Really? Without rest? Without recouping spells? Confused

    That's TPK at its finest! Evil Grin

    Hehehehehehehehehe!
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    Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:42 pm  

    Everyone...reread what I wrote at the bottom of page 6. The party is first gonna rest and recuperate, but intend at the earliest opportunity (don't think this means IMMEDIATELY) to counterattack the Iuzians. These people are neither stupid, nor suicidal. They'll attack, after preparations are made...

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:29 pm  

    Argon wrote:
    Lanthorn did not kill off the entire party so TPK games would not be proud. Though I think Sir Xaris is enjoying the story so far.


    It's the thought that counts. Besides, it's sometimes beneficial to allow at least one member of the party to survive to carry the tale. Evil Grin

    Quote:
    For some reason I see a thriller video in the party's future.


    Nice reference, Argon. Wink

    Regarding Melchor vs. Deverell: I consider that Wisdom in a fantasy game is not the same as wisdom in the real world. Whereas, in the real world I would equate the conscious choosing of evil as the definition of evil, in D&D where evil gods are just as apparent to their worshippers as good ones are, wisdom has little, or nothing, to do with good vs. evil, but simply in the ability to use one's mental and other resources in an advantageous manner. Thus, Melchor's choice to keep Deverell alive was a wise choice because Deverell is of much more use to Melchor alive than as a zombie.

    SirXaris
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    Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:24 pm  

    Sir Xaris,

    Thanks for getting the reference. Tough crowd in here.

    Now if they learn to moonwalk that would be impressive! Laughing

    Later

    Argon
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    Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:27 pm  

    That night the party clerics healed the most serious wounds without completely draining their spiritual reserves of magic. There was great concern among the group, and with good reason, of an Iuzian counterattack, for nobody really knew just how injured the enemy force was. Bryce had returned to the group, explaining (sheepishly and with great embarassment) that he had fallen prey to a spell instilling great panic in him. He recounted what little he could recall about the skirmish of the soldiers against the clerics. Others did the same, and thus, a great deal of tactical information about their enemy was collaborated amongst and between the group. Everyone realized just how effective, and deadly, the Iuzians were. They could not underestimate them, and so a future assault/rescue mission would have to be carefully planned...and executed.

    However, before such a risky venture could be attempted, the party sorely needed to rest, recuperate (magically, as well), and prepare themselves both spiritually (clerics) or via their arcane studies (wizards). Furthermore, the trackers would have to successfully follow the spoor left behind by the enemy, find their new hide-out, and report their findings without being discovered themselves! This might prove more difficult than it seemed of course. Finally, a sufficient and low-risk counterattack, rescue attempt, or both, would have to be planned out by the team strategists.

    As night fell, Doran confronted Justarius secretly, demanding to know what had befallen his long-time friend. He was partly outraged with the paladin's uncharacteristic 'cowardice' during the deadly exchange, but when Justarius admitted the underlying reason (with great shame, no less, and profound sorrow), the battlemage's ire lessened. Doran had fought in numerous campaigns with the paladin, and knew well Justarius' high moral character, bravery, and self-sacrifice. Too, Doran recalled with utmost clarity their last misadventure, a debacle and tale of horror, within the frightful Phostwood against the rapacious werewolves and their unholy leader, an extremely powerful high priest of Incabulos. The wizard also remembered the loss they all had suffered for that horrible experience, including debilitating disease: Doran still bore the permanent scars that Raunos had unleashed on him, stealing some of the mage's fortitude in the process, while Justarius not only lost a prized magical item (doubling as his war horse...but that is for another tale) but also the life of his father.

    Yes, Doran still shivered at the thought of those dark times fighting darker enemies in what seemed like a haunted woodland. Even these vile Iuzians seemed like modest villians compared to the lycanthropes... The mage could not begrudge the emotional scars still plaguing Justarius.

    Shifts were posted, and the party settled down for a rather sleepless, fearful night of rest.

    -Lanthorn


    Last edited by Lanthorn on Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:34 am; edited 3 times in total
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:31 pm  

    Nice prequel to the on coming rescue attempt.

    "Blood shall be split."

    "Lets hope most of it belongs to our enemies."

    Later

    Argon
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    Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:48 am  

    DM aside:

    You may be wondering how I decided to rule Justarius' 'cowardice' given that he is a paladin of Heironeous. I gave this great consideration, both from a DMing and a role-playing perspective. I have access to the Complete Book of Paladins, Bastion of Faith, and LGG, as well as numerous other references that discuss and outline the faith of Heironeous, too (From the Ashes and the original boxed set, too, for instance).

    From a black-and-white viewpoint, Justarius had a 'code' violation, the severity of which depends upon your personal philosophy and which source guide you prefer.

    However, I see things in a broader shade of grey and also did not want to 'punish' the player, or the character, too harshly. Justarius has made ethos/code violations before...and has been punished by the revocation of certain paladin powers. He has made his appropriate atonement for these errors, to my satisfaction as DM, without crushing my player's desire to continue playing him.

    The road of the paladin is NOT an easy one...I treat it much akin to the path that Jedi players must follow (different gaming system, I realize, but a good analogy nonetheless, I feel). I allow my player, and thus, Justarius, to stumble along the way, learn from his mistakes, atone and repent as needed, so long as they are not SEVERE transgressions.

    So far this has worked to our mutual satisfaction and has given Justarius a 'mortal' and very 'human' quality. It makes him more 'believable' to us both as a man trying to uphold a very difficult code of behavior. Perhaps it is more the attempt than the always perfect and successful execution of this code that makes him such an interesting character.

    At any rate, I ruled that Justarius did not "blow" his paladinhood by failing his Willpower roll as old demons from previous horrors overwhelmed him. I saw it as a 'realistic' outcome. For sure, should this continue to occur, I would definitely rule such actions as ethos violations requiring atonement.

    For the time being, let's just say that "Heironeous" made a mental note about Justarius' "cowardice," placed it on his scales of balance/justice, and has opted to grant his holy warrior a chance to 'redeem' himself in future encounters...a chance to rise above himself, vanquish his personal fears, and prove himself to be the hero that he tries to be...

    -Lanthorn

    story to continue shortly...
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    Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:35 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    DM aside:

    You may be wondering how I decided to rule Justarius' 'cowardice' given that he is a paladin of Heironeous. ............Justarius had a 'code' violation, the severity of which depends ...........However, I see things in a broader shade of grey and also did not want to 'punish' the player, or the character, too harshly. ...........without crushing my player's desire to continue playing him.

    The road of the paladin is NOT an easy one..............learn from his mistakes, atone and repent as needed, so long as they are not SEVERE transgressions.

    .......... just say that "Heironeous" made a mental note about Justarius' "cowardice," placed it on his scales of balance/justice, and has opted to grant his holy warrior a chance to 'redeem' himself in future encounters.


    The way I see it, that is how it should be.... as long as the action is the exception, not the rule.... further.... what point would divination, quest, and atonement serve if not the chance for redemption..... Cool
    BUT, I think depending on ethos of the deity involved (in this case H) that tolerance and atonement would vary..... I have a Paladin of Mayaheine in my campaign... so the view would be different.
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    Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:13 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    From a black-and-white viewpoint, Justarius had a 'code' violation . . . I see things in a broader shade of grey . . . The road of the paladin is NOT an easy one . . . I ruled that Justarius did not "blow" his paladinhood by failing his Willpower roll . . .


    In short, you did not allow the Guidelines to make the decision for you, but made the decision for yourself. You chose a course of "realism."

    Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Wink

    Dark_Lorad_Galen wrote:
    I have a Paladin of Mayaheine in my campaign . . . so the view would be different.


    Heironeous and Mayaheine are both merciless gods. Mercy, which stems from Love, is not in their portfolios. Shocked

    I allow leeway for my Paladins for this very reason. My "Heironeous" and "Mayaheine" are not so unforgiving. They do not expect "mere mortals" to follow the Path they have set for them perfectly. They know that mortals cannot do that.

    For those School Teachers among us: In the real world, we're all getting an "F" grade. The scripture above shows that we can't get anything else. What God concerns himself with is whether or not He can give us -- individually -- an "A" for . . . effort!

    I bring just a touch of that into my game. For the very reason that Justarius failed . . . it's all dependent upon the roll of the dice, which no one can make every time. Wink

    Keep it coming, Lanthorn. Good stuff! Cool
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    Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:03 pm  

    Lanthorn,

    I would have ruled your decision in much the same way. No one achieves perfection. Yet it is what we strive for. Justarius will fail as all of us do. How he recovers from adversity will determine if he is worthy of the Paladin mantel or not. Besides a failed die roll is a punishment by itself. No need to lose ones paladin hood- because of a bad die roll.

    Later

    Argon
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    Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:45 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    Heironeous and Mayaheine are both merciless gods. Mercy, which stems from Love, is not in their portfolios. Shocked


    According to Bastion of Faith, the supplement focusing entirely on the Archpaladin and his clergy, Heironeous is merciful! At least one can expect far more mercy from a cleric of Heironeous than one of St Cuthbert or Pholtus. Check out page 43.

    I agree that its more the journey than (reaching?) the destination that matters.

    At any rate, thanks for reading and commenting, fellas. More to come, soon.

    -Lanthorn
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    Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:39 pm  

    I agree with the others, that you've handled the situation well, Lanthorn.

    I recall that the only reason he acted in cowardice was because he rolled a '1' on his Saving Throw. Thus, you came up with a legitimate penalty for that 'critical failure' and explained it in the story very well. Nicely done. Wink

    SirXaris
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    Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:13 am  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    Dark_Lorad_Galen wrote:
    I have a Paladin of Mayaheine in my campaign . . . so the view would be different.


    Heironeous and Mayaheine are both merciless gods. Mercy, which stems from Love, is not in their portfolios. Shocked

    I allow leeway for my Paladins for this very reason. My "Heironeous" and "Mayaheine" are not so unforgiving. They do not expect "mere mortals" to follow the Path they have set for them perfectly. They know that mortals cannot do that.


    Have to say MS... Respected Dear Grey Sage, I disagree.....but only partly.... I would concur with Heironeous fitting that profile, but not Mayaheine. While much of what defines their "portfolios" is the same, the one thing that differs is Protector....

    From here
    Wiki - Mayaheine
    "Her relationship with Heironeous is more uncertain, but most of their respective clergy sees their roles as complementary, Mayaheine as protector and Heironeous as the one who marshals the hosts to battle. "

    Further it goes on to state "The Valiants dedicate themselves to the protection of the innocent, downtrodden, and good."
    whereas,
    "The faith of Heironeous is a very militaristic one, launching crusades against evil and championing causes."
    "Priests of Heironeous often travel the world on orders from their superiors to seek out and destroy evil."

    So, again.. subject to "orfice review" I see one as more "offensive" and the other as more Protectorant or "Defensive". Though neither would tolerate cowardice in upholding their charges....

    Also, Mayaheine grew from the dogma of Pelorians who strive to perform so many good acts that evil has no room in which to exist, though they will fight if necessary. Where a Paladin of Heironeous often travel the world on orders from their superiors to seek out and destroy evil.

    While both hail from Mount Celestia, The Fields of Glory are the realm of Heironeous, while Arvenna, the Chanting Grounds, (training and prayer) is where Mayaheine of Oerth and Tarastia of Mystara can often be found training here with the others.

    I still see one as, based on their portfolios, protecting the weak, covering the flank or guarding the retreat, as opposed to the other spearheading the assault and seeking out the next foe. Neutral
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    Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:48 am  

    I understand where you are all coming from, but you don't seem to grasp where I'm coming from and to do that, we'd have to have a "real world" religious discussion . . . which isn't going to happen.

    "It's alright, Justarus," said Heironeous, consolingly. "You tried your best."

    That's mercy and that's how God does it . . . but not Heironeous or Mayaheine. Not according dot Canon.

    "I'm going to look the other way this time, Justarius," said Heironeous/Mayaheine. "But only because you've never done this before. But don't let it happen again!"

    That's not true Mercy. Sorry you don't recognize the difference in attitude in those two statements.

    But, as we always say "here," we each play it our own way. And before it goes further, let me say: I'm only interested in the Bible's definition of Mercy, not a man's opinion of what is, or isn't Mercy.

    Sorry to offend anyone.

    So let us return our attention back to the fact that we are discussing a game and that we're each going to do things differently. I'm was merely explaining how I do it and why.

    Incidentally, Myhriss has "Love" in her portfolio, though it's obviously a Aphrodite type "love" and not the "love" of the Bible. Zodal has "Mercy" in his portfolio. Not seeing "Mercy" in the portfolios of Heironeous or Mayaheine.

    http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=List_of_Greyhawk_deities

    Of course, I do see "Justice" in both their portfolios. Interestingly, the Bible tells us that the reason we are all still alive is because God's Justice is tempered by his Mercy.

    Romans 6:23: "For the wages sin pays is death."

    Since we are all sinners, we are all deserving of death. God's mercy is the only reason any of us are still alive. Like I said, it's just a game. I play it with a touch of reality, you play it however you do.

    But Heironeous and Mayaheine are not nearly as merciful as perceived. "Justice" is exacting, not merciful.
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    GreySage

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    Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:37 am  

    The Story Continues:

    The party clerics and mages spent the next morning and afternoon praying and studying in preparation for the upcoming conflict against their foes. Magical healing was used, but sparingly and only when needed, for the bulk of Divine power would be needed for the battle to come. The trackers could easily follow the spoor that was left behind, and thus, a small group (led by Thaddeus and Bolain) left the main campsite to discern where the Iuzians had gone while the rest prepared. Among the group went the embarassed paladin, determined to restore himself in the eyes of his allies, himself, and most importantly, Heironeous. The clerics provided minor spells of guardianship upon them before they departed.

    It was relatively easy for them to follow the footprints through the light woodlands. The Iuzians had left rather hurriedly, but many of them were either obviously wounded judging by the haphazard and shuffling pattern of the prints...or something else... It did not take long for the group to climb uphill, and the trees grew thinner and thinner. Ahead, there was sparse cover, only small trees, shrubs, and rocks, but they did not leave the relative security of the forest. On the edge of the treeline, they spied a large, open cavern and could see moving shapes, shadowy figures, the flickering of a campfire, smelled the scent of horse, cooking food, and smoke. Interestingly, there was a large stone wall, smooth and polished as if carved by hammer and chisel, erected along the base of the cavern mouth. It was not so tall, only about the height of a gnome or dwarf, but it was rather long in span. Further back, they believed they spied another stone wall in like dimensions, but this one was fused with the cavern ceiling.

    The spies could not see any sentries moving around at first, but they dared not emerge from their cover to look around. Erring on the side of caution given the great danger posed by their hated enemies (especially since there were but a few of them!), the did not move forward. Perplexed and a bit alarmed, the scouting group backed off from the cavern and hastened back to report their findings to the rest of the party.

    It would take some more time for the clerics and wizards to 'fully recharge' their magical complements, but time was surely against them, as well as any potential survivors. A debate ensued among the group, and it was eventually decided they would have to launch a counter-attack later THIS afternoon, perhaps just before dusk, so that the darkness might conceal their withdrawal.

    Furthermore, a new campsite would be necessary, given that this one was already known to the enemy. While the clerics and mages finalized whatever preparations they could manage in the dwindling time, the scouting group went out and chose an alternative site...

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:36 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Ahead, there was sparse cover, only small trees, shrubs, and rocks, but they did not leave the relative security of the forest. On the edge of the treeline . . .


    How high up are these guys?

    I ask because Grand Mesa, in Colorado, tops out at 11,333 feet. It's 500 square miles and 40 miles long and . . . it's covered in forest! Wink

    You don't find Aspen -- a type of Poplar -- until you reach 5000 feet. So, if your guys have reached "the treeline," they're pretty high up, assuming that you are referring to the "Alpine" treeline and not a "Desert" treeline.

    Also, in July, it's only necessary to wear a sweater at that altitude. Everyone who "camps out" up there uses a sleeping bag. Evil Grin

    Just asking! I know that you are a "fan" of weather implementation! Evil Grin
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    GreySage

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    Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:12 am  

    Yes, I am a wilderness fan.

    Honestly, I didn't determine the altitude, but I do know that official treelines can be pretty high. Trees are limited by wind velocity and temperature, but mainly the accessibility to water.

    The treeline could extend well beyond the cavern, but the trees in that region stopped where they did due to the effects of terrain (example, rockfall and landslide) instead of the other factors noted above.

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:56 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    . . . the trees in that region stopped where they did due to the effects of terrain (example, rockfall and landslide) instead of the other factors noted above.


    Damn! No snow? No blizzard? No howling winds? No "freezing their tootsies off?" Mad

    Sorry, but I'm going to have to ask Vogan and Velnius for a ruling on this one! Evil

    http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=Vogan

    http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=Velnius

    Keep your percentile dice near to hand! Razz

    Mwahahahahahahahahaha!
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    Paladin

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    Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:27 am  

    *****Extended Rebuttal******
    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    I understand where you are all coming from, but you don't seem to grasp where I'm coming from and to do that, we'd have to have a "real world" religious discussion . . . which isn't going to happen..

    Yet, in the next breath you use it for your debate? Confused

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    "It's alright, Justarus," said Heironeous, consolingly. "You tried your best."
    That's mercy and that's how God does it . . . but not Heironeous or Mayaheine. Not according dot Canon.
    "I'm going to look the other way this time, Justarius," said Heironeous/Mayaheine. "But only because you've never done this before. But don't let it happen again!"
    That's not true Mercy. Sorry you don't recognize the difference in attitude in those two statements...

    Actually,I understand the difference perfectly.
    I'm sorry you fail to grasp my point, that H/M is not the same as saying Pelor is known as Al'Asran or Ehlonna / Ehlenestra Your comparative for "mercy" would be more accurately applied by saying Heironeous / St Cuthbert who have similar viewpoint of "backsliding". Though the first is more focused on the abolishment of Evil in the World where the latter more concerned with Law and Order.

    As a follower of Pelor, Mayaheine would have these views as well:
    Pelor urges his followers to remember that excessive attention to things of evil can blind one to the truly important things: compassion and goodness.

    Where as in Heironeous case:
    His strong adherence to Law sometimes brings Heironeous into conflict with Trithereon.
    Further as defined in one of his "duties"......
    The Heironean Code consists of three sets of duties:
    Duty to the People. This duty stresses courage, justice, mercy, valor, protection of the weak, and faithfulness to church superiors of officer of righteous law.

    Interesting that mercy appears there???? reference here

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    But, as we always say "here," we each play it our own way. And before it goes further, let me say: I'm only interested in the Bible's definition of Mercy, not a man's opinion of what is, or isn't Mercy...

    Yet it was many men that assembled and then later translated those very works (repeatedly through the ages).... but as you say, this isn't the forum for that.
    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    Sorry to offend anyone..

    You didn't, I enjoy theological reference (my minor in university was theology and history)
    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    So let us return our attention back to the fact that we are discussing a game and that we're each going to do things differently. I'm was merely explaining how I do it and why..

    True, how you do it.
    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    Incidentally, Myhriss has "Love" in her portfolio, though it's obviously a Aphrodite type "love" and not the "love" of the Bible. Zodal has "Mercy" in his portfolio. Not seeing "Mercy" in the portfolios of Heironeous or Mayaheine..

    Agreed, though I would think IMO.... that the listed ones are the prevailent ones, not the only ones.

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=List_of_Greyhawk_deities

    Of course, I do see "Justice" in both their portfolios. Interestingly, the Bible tells us that the reason we are all still alive is because God's Justice is tempered by his Mercy.
    Romans 6:23: "For the wages sin pays is death."
    Since we are all sinners, we are all deserving of death. God's mercy is the only reason any of us are still alive...

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    Like I said, it's just a game. I play it with a touch of reality, you play it however you do..

    As do I, your 'realism" just deveates from collective canon in this case, and that's VERY ok, As you have posted many times... Its YOUR Campaign....(of which I am in TOTAL agreement and support) Just don't call out a comparison I make against your own set of guidelines. I would have been good with all your perspective ... if you opened with "IMC", a comparison supported only by Bible verse not game design.

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    But Heironeous and Mayaheine are not nearly as merciful as perceived. "Justice" is exacting, not merciful.

    Psalm 45:3 huh? Wink
    Two last points to table,
    1> to understand the Mayaheine Faith, you have to concider the orgins of the Demi-god. She was summoned forth to Oerth by Paylor in response to a great threat of evil in the land that could not go ignored (Greyhawk Wars). Paylorian Priest's are not the more militant structure as that of Heironeous. She is more akin to Heironeous-lite??? Wink Less justice more compassion 1/2 the calories... Laughing

    2>My Appologies to you should you take this in any way other than good debate, and more so to my dear friend Lanthorn for 'waging battle' on his thread. I will speak no more on this topic here. Embarassed Cry
    GreySage

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    Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:20 pm  

    Yep, it's an interesting discussion, fellas, but this isn't the thread for it. Start a new one instead of filling up Lanthorn's campaign blog with tangents.

    SirXaris
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    Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:55 pm  

    Not happening! Nope!

    PMing Galen with my e-mail address. Wink
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    GreySage

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    Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:56 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Yep, it's an interesting discussion, fellas, but this isn't the thread for it. Start a new one instead of filling up Lanthorn's campaign blog with tangents.

    SirXaris


    You beat me to the "Restore Thread Integrity" spell, SirXaris. Wink I much appreciate it, my dear Heironean friend. Happy

    I don't mind the discussion, and likewise will surely follow the debate, perhaps even offering my own take, so long as it doesn't become a flamewar about this world's religions. Let us remember...there is more than one 'good book' out there.

    Thank you for your sensibilities. I very much hope to find this interesting and highly debatable topic addressed in the General Forum, soon!

    -Lanthorn
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    Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:52 pm  

    lanthorn wrote:

    Thank you for your sensibilities. I very much hope to find this interesting and highly debatable topic addressed in the General Forum, soon!


    I feel safe to say in behalf of MS and to quote him even as to the possibility of the above........
    Wink Laughing


    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Not happening! Nope!

    PMing Galen with my e-mail address. Wink

    Again, my appologies for the distraction.
    GreySage

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    Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:55 am  

    My apologies as well. The e-mails have begun!

    Now, back to our . . .

    Regularly scheduled program!

    Evil Grin
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    GreySage

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    Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:03 am  

    We're back on schedule:

    The party spent the better part of that day preparing for the assault against their hated foes. Nevertheless, not all of the spell-casters had recharged their magical powers, but as time was working against them, they felt it necessary to mobilize all the same (besides, the same might be true of the enemy, as well!). It wasn't until late in the afternoon before a general meeting was called to discuss tactics and strategy. The main focus was to rescue as many survivors as possible, first and foremost. Although everyone wanted to pay back the Iuzians in blood for the previous day's attack, only a few people seemed eager for the coming engagement (most notably the Hieroneans and St Cuthbertines, along with Doran). The risk to their own lives was extremely high, and survival, no matter how well-planned their attack may be, was by no means assured.

    The group mobilized, hiding various packs and extra supplies (weapons, armor, spell components, etc.) in their new campsite before departing. With ease the trackers led the anxious contingent to the lair of the Iuzians. The sun was already beginning to set low in the horizon, with shadows stretching along the mountainside. The party was hoping that the dwindling daylight would give them a chance to strike quickly and withdraw, affording them some meager cover and discourage a counterattack or pursuit.

    Upon reaching the enemy campsite on the mountain slope, a quick survey and reconnaissance of the surrounding area (namely by an invisible, flying Kelmar) showed a few cleverly hidden sentries amongst the rocks and shrubbery. Close inspection revealed that a few of them were humans of living flesh, but the wizard also noticed that others were the hacked animated corpses of not only their own soldiers (Avery, Howard, and Dalton), but two members of the Iuzian ranks! The zombie guards still wore the battered, gore-stained mail they had in life and were standing, motionless, partially concealed near the entrance of the campsite. The other sentries, a man or woman here or there, were scattered throughout the slopes, each of them with a missile weapon in hand.

    But nowhere had Kelmar seen Gabriel!

    The party was disgusted with this news, but were not completely shocked that the vile priests had used their necromantic magic on their own members. However, they would not abandon their dead allies to serve as automatons for the pleasure and enjoyment of the Iuzians, either. Somehow, they would have to retrieve them, but surely this first meant hewing them down! The thought was rather unpalatable, but perhaps a necessary ‘evil.’

    Kelmar could only assume the rest of the party was deeper within the cavern, including the bulk of the enemy force. He had used ESP to scan the surface thoughts of the living scouts, followed by those camped inside the cave, to know that they were on their guard, expecting retaliation. Furthermore, Kelmar ascertained that there was a survivor deeper in the cave: Gabriel! He was alive, if battered and tortured, as the priests and mages had been intent on probing his own mind for information.

    This news came as great relief to the priests, especially Marius, who had felt extremely responsible for the lieutenant’s predicament. Even though Gabriel was the priest of Rao’s guardian, Marius felt equally protective of Gabriel (in fact, this feeling of stewardship as representative of Veluna had expanded to the majority of the party!). Marius could not abide the fact that Gabriel was a victim at the horrid clutches of their enemy. He had to be rescued!

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:20 pm  

    Apparently, Marius is unfamiliar with the John Wayne classic:

    "They were Expendable!" Shocked

    Tsk! Evil Grin


    Mwahahahahahahahahahaha!
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    GreySage

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    Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:29 pm  

    Looking forward to another large battle with fireballs, lightning bolts, and cones of cold flying willy-nilly. Happy

    SirXaris
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    Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:57 pm  

    Hope not to disappoint, friends. Happy

    With this intelligence, the party hastily concocted a battle plan, focusing primarily upon the rescue of Gabriel. Claiming the bodies of the ‘living dead’ was secondary at this point. Realizing that their enemy had cleverly constructed stony barricades along the face of the cavern, likely to repulse both missile fire and various spells, they would have to somehow develop a strategy to somehow breach those defenses.

    Marius offered that he enter the Border Ethereal Plane with the Heironeans and St Cuthbertines, casting the spell twice to include all of them. This team would use a ‘smash and grab’ technique by passing through the stone walls with ease from that hazy plane and use the element of surprise against the foe when they returned to the Prime Material. While Marius and Justarius focused on rescuing Gabriel, the rest of them would serve to counter the priests, hopefully slaying some in the process. Marius intended to exit with Gabriel and Justarius back through the Border Ethereal and retreat with all due haste. Those remaining would have to flee ‘the old fashioned way’ and link back up with the others outside.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the group would remain outside the cavern to offer support and target any of the sentries. Of great concern were the enemy battle mage (Altarius) and the elven witch, both of whom were not believed to be within the cavern. After the previous exchange, it seemed doubtful that Doran could alone win against the raw power of the more adept combat wizard. Against his desire but having little room to debate the issue, Kelmar was told that he would have to bolster Doran against that deadly man. However, that still left the elven witch, and it was Loren who, somewhat nervously, agreed to counter her dangerous magical powers. Gnomish priest of Ulaa, Ervil, was quick to lend aid to his half-elven friend. The rest of the group (Bryce, Bolain, and Thaddeus) were told they would have to use missile fire to keep the living (and perhaps undead) foes at bay.

    With their plan solidified, the party prepared for another potentially lethal exchange against the Iuzian contingent…

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:07 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Marius intended to exit with Gabriel and Justarius back through the Border Ethereal and retreat with all due haste. Those remaining would have to flee ‘the old fashioned way’ and link back up with the others outside.


    As Mr. Spock once said: "The needs of the one, out weigh the needs of the many." Shocked

    Or, as Willy Wonka once said: "Scratch that, reverse it!" Evil Grin

    Yo! Marius! Gabriel is . . . E-X-P-E-N-D-A-B-L-E! Come on, Marius! Spell it with me!

    Mwahahahahahahahahaha!
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:01 am  

    Phew just caught up! Great stuff Lanthorn, I'm looking forward to reading about the rescue mission! I like the sense of brotherhood I get from the band of heroes.

    (I also enjoyed the theological debate even if it was a tangent!)
    GreySage

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    Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:43 pm  

    Thanks, Wolfling. I always try to DM a sense of human emotions and capture those in the NPCs and PCs alike. It's what drives them onward, whether they are nice guys or not. The hack-and-slash element may be fun, but I am always one to delve deeper into what makes each character tick. I am definitely a role-player at heart...but don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good, heated scrap, too!

    -Lanthorn

    p.s. will return with more at some point...stay tuned.
    GreySage

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    Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:44 pm  

    The strike team assembled around Marius, the clerics all casting various spells of protection as well as those to enhance their fighting prowess in preparation for their presumed surprise assault. Next Marius had the St Cuthbert priests touch his shoulder while he spoke the divine words of power that had them fade, ghostlike, from the Prime Material into the hazy, greyish fog of the Border Ethereal. Marius then briefly abandoned them in the otherworldly plane, speaking a word of counter-magic to return him to the Prime where he quickly collected Justarius, Luther, and Marcel. Without hesitation, the priest transported the Heironeans and himself to join the Cuthbertines back into the swirling mists.

    At that moment, the allies rushed forward through their otherworldly surroundings. With hardly a sound, for they had all become transformed into some type of vaporous, soldified substance as well, the strike team easily pushed through a hazy image of the seemingly impenetrable walls protecting the cavern in the bordering Prime Material. They exploded through the barriers on the other side to notice several glowing, humanlike figures aggregating along the far wall of the cavern.

    “Now!” Luther bellowed to Marius, and the priest of Rao complied, instantly negating the effects of his divine magic upon everyone.

    In a dizzying whirl, they materialized from the Border Ethereal, fully solid once more and no longer shades of grey in hue. With a furious, joined battle cry, the mixed company of Cuthbertines and Heironeans charged forth, weapons drawn. Sir Justarius and Marcel shielded Marius defensively, and the trio quickly noticed the battered and bound form of Gabriel huddled against the cavern wall behind the ranks of the enemy.

    To their credit and skill, somehow the Iuzians seemed to rally quickly in response to the sudden ambush. Already they were readying weapons and launching counter-spells to thwart the Velunese attackers. It was obvious that they were not nearly as surprised as the forces of Good had hoped or intended! How they could possibly anticipate such a tactic was unknown, but very disheartening…

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:37 am  

    I hope they rescue poor Gabriel! Sounds like another heroic struggle is about to ensue - looking forward to seeing what happens next!
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:22 am  

    Just starting to read this, so I may be awhile before responding. Forgive me if I post regarding things you wrote a long time ago! :)
    GreySage

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    Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:27 am  

    <Thanks, Ragnar. I look forward to your comments.>

    The two sides clashed with fury, both sides exchanging feints, thrusts, parries, slashes and swings. Among the Iuzian clerics were a few of their warriors, including one very adept soldier, a Bakluni whose swordsmanship and shieldwork proved extremely difficult to counter or defeat. Orsen, Luther, and Fallroyce had their proverbial hands full while Justarius, Marcel, and Marius rushed to the rescue of their captive, tortured ally.

    Even as they went to Gabriel’s aid, the immensely strong, plate mailed cleric of the Old One intercepted them, hefting his greatsword and blocking their advance.

    “Get Gabriel!” Marcel commanded the other two, leveling his spear and raising his shield as he charged forth. Despite the cleric’s best attempts to deflect the attack, Marcel’s aim held true, and he guided the speartip unerringly into the heavily armored man’s abdomen, penetrating the mail between overlapping plates and practically pinning Deverell against the cavern wall.

    The Iuzian howled in agony, blood spraying from the wound, and grasped the shafted weapon in a gauntleted hand before it could skewer him fully. His strength was frightening, and the man began to extricate the spear from his body with relative ease in spite of Marcel’s own considerable might pressing forward.

    Justarius and Marius focused on their charge while the scene of battle erupted around them, the clangor of steel, the shouts and cries of men echoing throughout the cavern. They winced at the sight of Gabriel, one eye nearly sealed shut, his lips cracked and bleeding, one side of his face swollen, blue and purple. It was evident what his captors had done, and both men swallowed hard in revulsion and growing anger at such unacceptable, wanton brutality. Gabriel seemed to acknowledge that something was happening, blinking his one good eye open with a look of recognition and shock, and gasping through the gag, leaning forward at the sight of the two familiar men.

    Justarius grabbed the soldier, jerking the gag free, hefting him to his feet. “C’mon, Gabriel, we’re getting you outta here!” The lieutenant rasped, coughing, and nodded feverishly. Finding his weak feet, Gabriel leaned against the young paladin even as Justarius hastily slashed his bindings apart.

    Nearby, Marius saw his friend’s armor and weapons. He knew he didn’t have the time to heal Gabriel in this dangerous place, so he scooped up the man’s gear in both hands and rushed back to Justarius’s side. “Time to leave,” he told the holy knight. “Place your hand on my shoulder, but hold Gabriel. We’re leaving.”

    Without hesitation, Justarius did as the priest stated. Marius spoke another word of divine magic, and the trio faded from the Prime Material, sliding into the swirling fog of the Border Ethereal…


    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:08 pm  

    I hope he comes back to help the others with the fight. Shocked

    SirXaris
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    Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:13 pm  

    “Run, quickly, run!” the priest of Rao yelled as the trio were swallowed by the strange vapors. Marius guided them through the shadowy barrier of the wall, easily parting through the semi-solid fog that constituted it. Through the shadowy, eerie realm they raced without a sound, save their heavy breathing, Justarius helping the battered Gabriel to support his own weight.

    The men erupted out of the foggy replica of the cavern. Marius encouraged Justarius to follow him down the slope and towards the shadowy forest of the Border Ethereal, and thus, to relative safety. Only then would he relinquish the spell and tend to the soldier’s wounds.

    All around them, however, the men could see heightened activity, the glowing figures of people moving about with frantic motions. They knew battle had been joined, and Justarius very much wanted to assist against their hated enemies. He was still very ashamed by his poor performance during the last battle, and the paladin had as much to prove to his allies as he did to himself and the Archpaladin.

    When he turned to follow Marius downhill, the young holy knight glanced in all directions. Where had he gone?! Marius was nowhere to be seen, and the paladin’s heart raced wildly at the sudden realization that his wandering mind and attention had cost him the knowledge where the priest had gone.

    “Gabriel, did you see where Marius went?” he cried in panic. The half-dazed, injured soldier only shook his head, for he was barely able to stand much less keep his wits about him.

    The paladin stifled a curse under his breath, his anxiety mounting, and he picked a random direction down the mountainside. “Marius! Marius! Where are you?!” he roared into the vapors shifting and writhing around him in this greyish environment. There was no answer.

    Hefting Gabriel, the strong holy warrior staggered downslope, careful not to fall, even though the ground did not feel as solid in this plane as it did in the Prime. Justarius could not take any chances with his wounded charge.

    Into the smoke-like, greyish fog they blundered while moving, racing, and even flying (!) glowing figures of people moved about behind them. Not again! the paladin thought to himself, trying to force back horrible thoughts what was happening to his friends and allies. He called out to Marius again and again, but still there was no answer. Heart racing wildly, he felt sick to his stomach, feeling very alone and exposed, and even…scared…in this alien world. His only hope was for the spell to end, but he knew that could take some time.

    In the end, feeling helpless like the man he was aiding, Justarius placed Gabriel down against a greyish foglike tree in the surrounding Ethereal forest, hefted his shield, drew his bastard sword, and waited...

    (poor paladin just cannot catch a break!)

    -Lanthorn


    Last edited by Lanthorn on Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    From: South-Central Pennsylvania

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    Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:12 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    I hope he comes back to help the others with the fight.


    John Wayne . . . "They Were Expendable!"

    Epic film. Wink


    Hehehehehehehehehe!
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    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2531
    From: LG Dyvers

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    Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:04 pm  

    Justarius is an NPC, right? How did you determine that he became lost in the ethereal realm?

    SirXaris
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    Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:36 pm  

    He's a PC. He got discombobulated in the hazy, shifting mists by failing an Intuition roll when he got distracted carrying the injured Gabriel, thus losing track where Marius went.

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:50 am  

    He's only "discombobulated?" Doh! rolleyes

    Hehehehehehehehehe!
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    GreySage

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    Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:00 pm  

    Bringing this to the top to remind Lanthorn that we're still waiting, hoping, and expecting, this adventure blog to be continued. Wink

    SirXaris
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    GreySage

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    Tue Jan 21, 2014 6:43 pm  

    SirXaris, et al.,

    I have been terribly remiss in continuing my saga, but with 'life' and other duties, not the least of which includes running and playing in some current games, this poor thread has been neglected. Confused

    I daresay that if I continue along writing this tale, my account will likely lack the detail you have all enjoyed. Cry

    However, perhaps I owe it to you all to stumble along and give you the gist of what has happened...

    It may come as somewhat of a surprise, but although the main adventure for my player has ceased, there are still some 'loose ends' remaining, so the tale of The Lost Caverns has not fully ended. Yet.

    -Lanthorn
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