Please may we have our Prince back
- 1 Summary
- 2 Scribe Notes
- 2.1 Byronic figurehead: Mission, Employer, & Agent
- 2.2 The Party
- 2.3 Chapter 1: One Giant Step
- 2.4 Chapter 2: Popping into Town
- 2.5 Chapter 3: Town and Country
- 2.6 Chapter 4: If you go down to the woods today
- 2.7 Chapter 5: Questioning the Real Bad Guys
- 2.8 Chapter 6A: Willard the Oracle
- 2.9 Chapter 6B: Playing Djinn for a Royal Flush
- 2.10 Chapter 7: All of the above
- 2.11 Chapter 8: Time for Plan A
- 2.12 Chapter 9: Guild 3, Djinn 0
- 2.13 Chapter 10: Guild: 4, Djinn: 1
- 2.14 Chapter 11: Guild: 4, Djinn: 2, Victory: Guild
- 2.15 Chapter 12: One Prince - mostly breathing...
- 2.16 Chapter 13
- 3 Nominations and SGT Snippets
- 4 Reference Information
- 5 Calendar
- Father Broc - Rune mage played by Chris C - Party Leader
- Darien, A Human Celestial Spy played by Errol
- Count Aryan - Warrior, General, Hero, Swordmaster, Navigator, Aerogator, Lover, Drinker, and
most powerfool mage!Occasionally influenced by Stephen - Mil Sci
- Kit - ex-Inquisitor and semi-retired Champion played by Andrew Withy - Assistant Scribe.
- Lathe - Air mage of great skill played by Jono Bean
- Silverfoam - Elven Namer played by Michael Parkinson - Scribe & Backup Mil Sci
- Employing agent is Assistant Frederick Herrith of the Royal Westness College of Magic on behalf of Sir.
- Frederick Herrith is assisting the royal family of a neighbouring kingdom in it's search for it's heir to the throne. The Kings fourth son Malcolm went adventuring in the country some months ago and hasn't been seen since (nor has the company of King's household guard sent to look for him).
- After some unfortunate accidents in the family (by accidents I mean War, Assassination and Poisonings) the now unwell King requires Malcolm to return.
- To be negotiated.
- The guild warns that pacted individuals may feel a slight sting upon entering this plane and the attempted summoning of all demons on the plane is recommended.
Byronic figurehead: Mission, Employer, & Agent
The party will be hired by a Diplomat, Lady Elyse of the Ancient Kingdom of Byron to find their ailing King’s 4th son, Malcolm who is now the heir, owing to the disqualification (death & resurrection) of his older brothers. Obviously Malcolm must be returned alive & not having died. The Byronians have already sent out a local rescue mission, from the household Cavalry, who have since disappeared — think of them not as the competition, but more succours to be gratefully rescued. Byron has been at war with their neighbours, Narl … which probably hindered rescue efforts, since Malcolm is thought to be in Narl. Enthroning Malcolm is supported by the Lords High General, Chamberlain, & Treasurer of Byron (who are currently in charge anyway), also his affianced Lady ?Name?. Byron lies across Westness’ Northern Sea (the Great Ocean), and Westness are genuinely trying to help their Northern trading partners: that’s why they asked the guild for help, and have left surety at the Guild in case we succeed but are not paid by Byron. The guild was approached by Herrith, Asst Commissioner to the Royal College of Magic, Westness — the Guild has twice been hired by Westness: helping the new Queen overthrow the necromantic tyrant and, later, a spot of troll-duffing. It would be wise if we encourage the Byronians to assume the party is a bunch of Westness mercenaries. Their world has little knowledge of other planes; indeed it seems to be a long metaphysical distance from known planes. Demons are entirely unknown there; and previous parties discovered that pacted agents severed connections with their owners while on the plane.
In typical guild perversity, most of the party are pacted. Pandering to the pacted, Father Brock was elected Party-leader; General Count Aryan is Military Scientist (no really, he is); Silverfoam is your humble chronicler (in the hopes that having to write means he will shut up & listen to others). The remaining party-members are Lath, Darien, & Kit.
Chapter 1: One Giant Step
Malcolm is protected from Scrying & tracking magic. Resurrection is available for whoever can afford it in Byron; although there is surprise that the eldest princes is alive again – since their royalty is normally resurrection-resistant. When nobles are resurrected, their estates pass to their heirs … although it is common for the resurrected noble to go out & win another estate: fortunately the ongoing war gives the King & Nobles motives to support the recycling & re-creation of nobility. Besides, freedom from worrying over providing for their ci-devant heirs, the wisdom of resurrection, & the challenge of a new start, are all good reasons for the newly resurrected to be adventurous. The Byron Royal family has been established for thousands of years.
Byron approached the Westness RCoM for help; but WRCoM thought it a bit beyond them, so they contacted the guild. Heinrich stressed we are to bring back Malcolm in a never-been-dead state. We are not to consider taking over the country or marrying any heir
“We have Lath, Damian, & a priest … so we could marry any suitable heir, whatever its gender.”
Heinrich & SF remind party-member of how things work in Westness. Mages are rare there (but plentiful in the south), but plentiful in the south, Manthorn. Yet many non-mages have a “talent” — one-off magical abilities of varied usefulness. Because of the Coup, few Westness mages are powerful. The afternoon is spent plotting planning & in sundry chit-chat … Silverfoam, Aryan, AND three priests … it’s a wonder lath got a word in edgewise. (Although personally I feel Darien’s phallus kept coming up in conversation a little too often)
Father Broc to Priest Darien: “Do you administer to your Flock?” Priest Kit: “Yes, nothing like a good flocking.”
We also discussed Fr Kit’s announcement that giving up magic this session, except for extraordinary demonic situations.
Lath: “And I'm giving up clouds unless there’s charity involved … preferably charity work involving shirtless torsos glistening in the sun. Priest: “That's not charity, but Lath’s lust talking” Silverfoam: “Isn't Lust one of the “multitude of sins” that charity is supposed to cover?”
Party proceeds promptly next morning to that Oak, & through to Cummerbund.
“Not many imperial capitals can pull of a convincing Rustic look nearly so well.”
Walk to the castle avoiding the giant cows, giant birds, etc. The Trench & bunker system is helpful. Remember everything there is BIG, about 144 times Alusian scale. Reach castle & ring the bell. Normally, the bishop's ears are often burning; this time they are bludgeoned by the tolling of the doorbell. The Giant looks like a dwarf built on a titanic scale (60’ high with 30’ wide shoulders); takes us to the portal chamber/cupboard. We emerge through the portal (Blue-6) at a large outcrop looking over a vast stony plain, part of the Osriq Empire. Fr Brock does a portal nearby, & we cloud towards Heinrich’s portal to Westness.
As we cloud.. Fr B: “I lie on my back, sunbathing as we travel …” Lath: “Oooh goodie.” Fr B: “fully clothed” Lath: “Little steps; little steps”.
When we go through the portal to Westness, all the pacted agents (damned or not) take 16 point of damage. Portal extrudes the party inside the castle walls of Royal College of Magic, but outside the keep itself, close to our guest quarters … coincidentally at the same level of castle security as the stables. Party briefly rests & cleans up before being given a private audience with the queen.
The guards are relaxed, the Queen briefs us consistently with what Heinrich told us. And impresses on us the need to maintain the secret of our off-world origins and the portal. Kit plays the role of a peasant without overacting too much.
We then have almost 2 hours rest before Lady Elyse's carriage races in and we follow in for the full formal audience. The Queen and Lady meet privately, then we are called in. There are more guards now, they are more alert, and we are kept at greater distance from the crown.
Lady Elyse confirms most of the same details. We stand around looking mercenary until we are dismissed to a private meeting with the lady.
Chapter 2: Popping into Town
We arranged a weekly maildrop to the guild & emergency protocols. Danol the airmage is introduced to Fr Damian our “windtalker” & establish code phrases. Prince Malcolm’s trail has been tracked by IOUs he left at various taverns & entertainment establishments. Here is the summary of last month’s events …
Malcom flew from Kingston (the capital) to Yarin (an agricultural town) then to Bandar (seat of the Quester’s Guild, by the mountains & other dangerous areas)
15th: Richard (Prince #1) killed in the war. Malcolm in Bandar, travelling the region on horseback.
16th: Richard resurrected somehow (“Who’s your daddy?”). Kane (Pr#2) poisoned.
17th: Jeremy (Pr#3) is implicated in Kane’s death & fatally stabbed by unknown person or conspirators. [How convenient -- was he genuinely a conspirator? Perhaps a witness? Party suspects he was merely a patsy and probably an obstruction to the real consiprator(s) ascending the throne. Is that why Elyse is keen on doing the right thing? Since Lord Byron is next after Malcolm & apparently acting like he's in charge, he is #1 suspect; although when we learn how obnoxious his sons are, we are loathe to rule them out. Of course, it could just be a Narl plot to engender fear & unrest, if not civil war]. Also on the 17th, Malcolm (Pr#4) departed the town of Jammu heading south towards Torres Forest. Never seen again. Now Malcolm is a fire-mage & the woods are home to Camille & the E.L.F. (Elfvish Liberation Front) -- however other plots may be afoot.
20th: Troup of Household Calvary, in search of the heir-apparent, leave Jammu; also N.s.a.
22th: the remaining powers-that-be decide to ask Westness for help, namely the Elyse, the Lords High General & Chamberlain (& the L.H. Treasurer was called in to sign off on the proposal).
The king has 2 younger brothers -- The next heir after Malcom is Byron (who fathered Deciam & Menian); then follows the other brother (& children) and then king's sister, Elyse’s mother. Elyse herself is now 8th in line (& unmarried).
... & interested parties: The fiancée is a merchant princess and from a minor noble house of Olive (the friendly neighbouring country to the East). The Hand: in effect, the Narl assassin’s guild, also the name for 5-strong assassination teams. Not necessarily involved directly.
Our mission is (1) to bring back the prince, in a never-been-killed state. (2) Not to involve the lawyers.
We will have salvage (on the high seas) & may get a part payment from the disposable goods of malefactors we bring to justice — especially in cases of treason, when all lands are forfeit to the Crown. Note that the goods of a normal person who dies obviously go the heirs. Duels are permissible, between social equals, but are not necessarily to the Death.
We will take 2 sets of writs: one for the mission-real; another giving us permission to investigate & detain sundry minor bandits … for those cases where we want to be recognised as legitimate operatives, with out revealing the BIG mission.
We & Elyse depart on her ship &, when out of sight of land, we arrange for the captain to take the longest reasonable time to arrive back at Kingston, while we fly as close to Kingston as we can. We cloud to Kingston & party rests on the way; Divinate Elyse. Lath’s elemental makes it to this plane, but is quite injured & smaller than usual.
Kingston is surrounded by a flat cleared kill-zone with regular mile-stones/ranging marks. We de-cloud 10 miles from Kingston at the edge of the restricted-flight zone & fly as far as possible to the city. Elyse is disguised as an Elvish lady dressed in the height of Alfheim fashion: it soon becomes apparent that she has the courtier (or other) skills to pull off the masquerade.
At 5 miles out, our flying spells give out & we start walking; quickly hailing a passing carriage. We allow the town guard to assume she is an ambassador (which she is, but not how they think) & that we are her entourage.
Chapter 3: Town and Country
In the city, we follow Elyse lead as she directs the coachman past the obvious wayfarer’s inn to a suitable place. We obtain rooms. Do a bit of shopping (especially at the branch office of Greasy’s Grenadoes: for sundry fire, flash, & blast grenadoes.
But business is quite: because the king has died and official mourning has begun: we have three weeks to get Malcolm back to the Capital, otherwise the King’s brother, Lord Byron, will be crowned instead. Party worries about the implications sees dynastic plots everywhere — some of which are probably true … but our mission is still to bring back [King] Malcolm.
We also interrogated one of Malcolm’s drinking buddies; the 'talk' takes around an hour, involves much confusion and suspicion, but no violence. Buddy said that Malcolm suddenly announced he was picking up a sword & some potions, & setting out on a quest for “Ionus, blight of the North” [or some such] to prove to his girlfriend that he wasn't a “quote irresponsible wastrel unquote”.
Lath buys some shoes, Broc buys some grenados, Lath temporarily refrains from lightning bolting Broc in the alchemists shop to earn him a 'best death'.
A couple of hours later we meet with the Chancellor and the royal tutor, Schatten. LH Chamberlain issues us our warrents & confirms the royal situation. The tutor reveals there is one specific book that Malcolm spent a lot of time reading (a highly unusual activity for the prince), he will smuggle the book to us via the Chancellor. But when the parcel arrives, the book mentioning the Ionus is not in its case: it has been replaced by a block of wood. The case is enchanted so its contents are remembered.
Broc, Darien, and Aryan head out of town to establish a Rune Portal before we fly north but are ambushed by a brothel on the way out of town and arrive behind the other half of the party who were completing divinations.
Rune Portal established, fly north by cloud. Lath Lightning Bolts Broc, Kit is outraged and demands that Lath never do it again, Lath eventually promises not to zap any of the party (except Aryan). Lath's diminished Air Elemental wanders off while Lath sleeps.
- Frysday 4th Fruit
Arrive at Bandar, the 'questing capital', land and walk the last few miles to town.
Talk privately with the Magistrate who investigated the disappearance of Malcolm. Establish timing of his movements, where he was last seen, and which way he was heading.
A senior member of the Questors Guild is invited to join us. He tells us that a lot of Questors are combing the countryside for Malcolm hoping to claim the expected unofficial reward. No-one has heard of the Ionus, and the forest where Malcolm was heading to hunt it is considered tame. Broc, Darien and Lath join the Questors guild. We purchase some castings of Strength of Stone.
We browse the local healing potions shop drooling over their wares while Lath attempts to purchase their entire stock.
Chapter 4: If you go down to the woods today
After more dickering with the alchemists, we leave them half their stock, but promise to be back shortly. We have a short discussion over morning tea, and conclude that the woods are most likely to have some property making people forget about them - this fits in with the book-cover of 'non-forgetting', and the casual dismissal of people getting lost in the woods, along with the description of the middle of the woods being perfectly safe - only the edges are a wee bit dangerous. Possibly the mountains have a similar effect - descriptions of locations and trails there are equally sketchy and inconsistent, and the local Questmasters are seemingly content with unfollowable directions, ever-changing paths, and mysterious disappearances.
We write notes to ourselves, and lock a copy of them into the forget-me-not box. We'll see how the outside copies change, if we can remember to check. We leave Elyse at the Magistrates, and fly over the woods to the small town of Jammu, where the Prince, and later the 80 Magical Royal Cavalry, were last seen. The town has clear-felled the woods to a couple of miles out, so we easily spot the muddy fields where the Cavalry Troop camped by the woods, and we decide to track them, entering the forest on foot.
The forest is ordinary enough, with a few game trails, occasional clearings, and lots of small streams. Oddly, there are wide and sturdy rough-hewn wooden bridges across most of the streams. The wiser of the party avoid crossing on the bridges, but soon most of the party trip-trap-troop across them, despite the risk of enchanted boundaries, Trolls, traps, and who-knows-what.
The Battle of Troll Bridge
We reached yet another clearing, with a small stream and a bridge. Broc recklessly decided to cross over this bridge, and as predicted, a Troll came forth, demanding a toll. To be precise, the Troll came running from the far side of the clearing, clearly caught out by our unscheduled arrival. It read the note pinned to its club demanding the toll, while half a dozen Hobgoblins cavorted nearby. Broc charged the Troll, with Aryan & Kit close behind, shouting "I saw it first" and similar inanities. Another half a dozen Hobgoblins started chanting from the far treeline while branishing sacks, and a pitched battle broke out.
Darien quickened the party. Broc was swiftly borne to the ground by the mighty twin Troll clubs, and a few forty-point fire spells. Kit repeatedly attacked the Troll with his bare hands, to virtually no effect. Aryan fought his way towards the Troll with his flaming sword, but was initially delayed by having to push through the Hobgoblins around him. Lath flew into the air, and started laying down Knockout Gas to suppress the enemy. The rains of Hellfire were getting heavier, and were accompanied by concentrated arrow storms (twinned arrows from each archer); Darien also succumbed to the magic, and Lath switched to Whirlwind Vortex. Silverfoam had been healing people in between sheltering from the arrow fire, but was in danger of being overrun by the skirmishing Hobgoblins that Aryan had finally pushed past to confront the Troll. Kit finally gave up on scratching the Troll and pulling its hair, and ran back to get Darien up and defend Silverfoam.
Aryan wasn't completely alone however, as Broc was up bravely fighting again, but each was isolated and surrounded by Hobgoblins. Lath's magic was having far less effect than expected - one archer was possibly down from gas, and no one seemed badly affected after 3 Whirlwind Vortices. The enhanced Hellfires were preventing us from having the focus to cast magic, although the arrow swarms had slowed and become less accurate. A second Troll arrived at the forest edge; this one being black and misshapen, with an odd instrument in his hands (to confirm?). Broc had been slowed, and then went down again, this time permanently, as finally the first confirmed enemy casualty slumped to the ground at Kit's feet. Aryan outmanouvered his Troll opponent, and made a break for the enemy mages, allowing Lath to get inside their damage enhance, at which point she cast 2 Whirlwind Vortex spells in 2 seconds, the second being a triple, and almost all the Hobgoblin mages went down, twisting in death back to human form! Unfortunately, the second Troll picked up one of the downed human mages and loped off into the trees.
Chapter 5: Questioning the Real Bad Guys
After this heroic deed by Lathe, the enemy's resistance was broken. The remaining Troll charged Silverfoam, but only as the thinnest part of the line - as Silverfoam gracefully swept up into the trees, the Troll crashed into the undergrowth, and even Silverfoam's desperate flight, doding tree trunks and low-hanging branches wasn't sufficient to keep up with the terrified Troll long enough to cast a locate. Darien downed another Hobgoblin, as the three hobgoblins standing over Broc's body picked him up and did a runner. Kit dashed across and intercepted them, stabbing one through the heart, as the second dropped the body and fled, and the third surrendered. The five active archers also faded back into the trees. Aryan and Lathe then overpowered the last Hobgoblin.
We decided to regroup back at Bandar, partially because the dead human mages were all wereing Quester gear and using Quester potions. We fly for two hours, carry 2 hobgoblin prisoners, Broc, and 4 dead bodies, with some difficulty. The 5 mile walk into town is somehwat easier, as the hobgoblins can carry two of the bodies. We explain what acceptable behaviour in human towns is to them, and they are happy not to be beated or killed.
At Bandar, we get Broc resurrected, and question the Quester Administration about the bodies. They are an adventuring group with a bad rep. They had been resurrected yesterday, and spent all their money getting the equipment that we found them with, so they can't afford another resurrection. Fine with us.
We go to see the Bandar magistrate again. Kit is deputised as a magistrate, and tried the hobgoblins for banditry. This is merely a legal ruse to allow the party to question the dead questers, for Kit can call the dead as witnesses in a trial, although local law prohibits them from being tried with anything directly, being dead. There follows an illuminating trial, which sets several dangerous legal precedents. The bandits skin-changed themselves as hobgoblins, and got the local trolls and hobgoblins to help to ambush us, so they could get our stuff, seeing how wealthy and
foolishforeign we were. They knew nothing about Malcolm, except standard gossip. We have the Namer, Fire, Wicca and Earth mages. The E&E Leader [?Name?] and the Celestial [?Name?] got away. However, the hobgoblins had seen him, and knew he went to see a hermit. They also know of Ionus, and believe he wiped out the cavalry (?to confirm?).
The hobgoblins are 'punished' by being banished back to their home village in the forest, and warned that if they are involved in banditry again, they will be punished severely. Straight after the trial, we then hire them as forest guides. The questers are placed in legal limbo - they are not charged with anything, for then they would be resurrected, and possibly bailed - we use the royal writs to delay normal legal procedings as long as possible.
Broc gets a Greater Enchantment (4 days seems long enough) and Strength of Stone, then we all have high tea with lashing of ginger ale (the hobgoblins like this bit much more than the court room, which was full of ghosts and legal terminology). We then fly by cloud back into the centre of the forest, being directed by the terrified but curious hobgoblins to a point near the hermit's cottage, and we descend into the trees through the post-dusk gloom.
After half a mile of trekking along forest trails, with an over-exuberant scout, we find the hermit's cottage. We hail, approach, and are invited in to share a meal. The Hobgoblins remain outside on watch, while Broc and Lathe take over the cauldron and whip up a fine feed. Aryan and Kit go outside to chop firewood, in return for the hospitality at short notice. The firewood pile includes several large tree trunks. The largest is chopped into small pieces in ten seconds, but stacking it takes an absolute age, and we forget to ask the hobgoblins to help - needless to say, they don't exactly volunteer for hard work. Meanwhile, the Hermit tells the party a little about Ionus, a very muscular and tall guy who is a good neighbour, and has been living nearby for at least thirty years. He's the one who provides the firewood, plus occasional help around the cottage, providing new furniture, etc. Sounds like a really nice guy - our suspicions are aroused! After dinner we make our excuses and head off to met Ionus.
Better the Devil you Know
We follow a well-worn trail to a clearing with a large tower. We approach cautiously, and soon spot earth, water, ice, air, elementals at the four points of the compass, and an occlusion that might be a dark sphere above the clearing. We knock, and an eight-foot devil opens the door. After some chit-chat, he admits he is Ionus. Meanwhile Kit realises he has fulfilled his penance, and is busy strapping on all his demon-slaying gear. There is a little verbal sniping, but hostilities are kept to a minimum.
Ionus claims many things, most are unconfirmed:
- He has been on this plane for 8621 years.
- He was banished by his master Berith (the Savage Duke).
- He has learned most of the magic colleges at different times.
- There is evidence that he still has all these colleges.
- He used to rule the kingdom of Westness, 5000 years ago.
- Evil bores him now. ! !! !!!!
- He can't be destroyed:
- He has gathered many demon-slaying artifacts; none of them worked
- He has worn out artifacts by mechanically being hit until they break or wear away.
- He can't be banished, or go off plane
- He can't get hurt by any magic or physical attack.
- He accepts holy wayer being splashed on him, and even drinks the stuff.
- He wants to return and have a go at Berith.
- He has spent 8000 years trying.
- He would be happy if we can send him to hell, or to any other plane.
- He hopes that we or Malcolm can help him.
- He sent Malcolm off to the oracle to fufilll this quest; in return, Ionus can parade him around the streets of Byron, before sending him back to Hell.
- He suggests we go to the Oracle.
- Oddly, he understands Seagate Silent Tongue (and names it as such), which is a strike against his story.
We leave, after expressing a friendly and genuine desire to send him straight to hell.
Chapter 6A: Willard the Oracle
We then walk south for an hour through the forest, full of hobgoblins, trolls, and vengeful E&E's and Celestials, as well as an invunerable super-devil. Apparantly its too dangerous to fly. We camp, and have a very uneasy night on high alert.
Reapsday 5th Fruit
As dawn breaks the next day, we break fast, and take to the air, reaching the road running along the southern edge of the forest after 40 minutes. There is another road heading south from it.
At the intersection is a little road-side stall, with an attendant. The sign indicates he is titled "Road Warden". We warn him of the bandits, turncoat quester mages, and trolls in the forest - he is a little surprised. He has seen a number of questers nearby, looking for Prince Malcolm. He didn't see Prince Malcolm himself when he passed by, around 19 days ago, but can direct us to Willard the Oracle, who lives in a cave high on a cliff, about 5 miles south along the side road.
We fly to meet Willard, the sensible landing on the wide flat entrance to his cave, the feckless on the narrow windy path leading to his cave. Willard is an old drunkard with little mental focus, but does keep regular accounts, and his oracular visions are stunningly relevant and clear, compared to astrology. We ask some questions. After the first one, he wants payment - a particular vintage of a wine from Narl. After Broc gives him some ever-full wineglasses, he reveals that we could have gone to the back of the cave, where more of the Narl wine was stored. Lathe negotiates that in return for the glasses we can ask 5 questions, plus one per elapsed year if we come back at a later date.
- Where is Malcolm?
- Malcolm lies still, inside a cage in a dungeon. A refoxusing of his oraculr vision shown he lies under a small keep in good repair, which has three distinctive onion-spired towers. He does not recgnise the keep.
- Did Malcolm come here?
- He does not recall it, and even checks his records - there is no sign of him having visited, not missing or deleted passages in his notes. This is a bureacratic, not oracular question.
- How can we find the Keep?
- Follow the local river to its source.
- Who has captured Malcolm?
- This is blocked, so does not count as a question.
- What will assist us most to get rid of Ionus?
- A mighty powerful wish.
- Where can we get (mighty powerful) wishes?
- There are wishes available in the keep.
- What is the question we should ask to learn the most?
- "Where is your crown?" - and this question shouldn't be directed at the oracle.
These answers all proved to be useful, and even the apparantly obscure answers proved to be useful, not just explaining things after the fact. If you are in the area, Willard the Oracle is highly recommended.
Chapter 6B: Playing Djinn for a Royal Flush
We fly up the nearer of the two major branches of the river, but it doesn't look interesting. We try the second branch. Near the headwaters, a few miles past the town of XXX, is a derelict tower. It's appearance triggers the suspicions of all of the party who have dealt with illusions, and we decide this is what we are looking for. We land on the far side of some forest, and advance cautiously. Lathe summons a scouting cat, which slips through the trees, and down to the tower, and then reports back as we lie beneath a ridge top overlooking the tower. The tower is guarded by two men, one scary; they fed it fish; there is something odd in the area. Lathe got more information than this from the ginger cat, but the details escape me. Kit changes into a jaguar (his version of being an innoculous ginger pussy cat), and the party ambles towards the ruin.
At twenty feet from the place we cross the boundary of the illusory terrain, and it is revealed as the keep of Willard's vision. Standing guard are two Djinn. The first is 10 foot tall, with twin giant scimitars (with dual-element magics) and chainmail; the second is 12 foot tall, with twin morningstars (of velocity) and full platemail. They each carry several potions. After a short chat, we are led into the keep, where we have an audience with the King and Queen of the local Djinn. The King is 11 foot, the Queen 10 foot; also present is the captain of their guard, 11 foot with half-plate, 2 half-and-a-half swords, magical pussiance and a temper, and their vizier, 10 foot with a smile and very powerful illusions, including rank 20 rituals and nightmare. Inside the keep is twice the size that it is outside. We have a very frank discussion with His Majesty (Her Majesty does not deign to talk to us).
- We learn
- Malcolm visited here.
- Malcolm was rude to the Queen about her appearance.
- Malcolm was called out on this Point of Honour, and lost the challenge.
- Malcolm is imprisoned in the dungeon for 101 years (unaging).
- Malcolm isn't leaving.
- The Djinn have been around for 5000+ years.
- They like it here, compared to other places.
- They can't leave but don't want to.
- They are responsible for the forgetting magics around the mountains ?and forests?.
- The forgetting affects all locals, and they have extended it to Ionus.
- They could extend the forgetting to us too, if they chose (subtle threat!).
- The forgetting doesn't seem to affect Malcolm - it might by linked to the royal anti-scry and anti-resurrect.
- Ionus has gathered all the power usually spread across all the devils of the plane.
- The same situation probably applies to the Djinn - they are much more powerful than regular Djinn, but also more solid, less airy - like their use of platemail and big blunt weapons, and their colleges being other than air.
- There is a spirit permanently splattered against a wall in the keep.
- They use wishes like we use toothpicks.
- We spend hours talking to them, and don't wish for anything, even when they try to offer us wishes and twist our words. Well done, party!
- The dragons have their crown (see Willard's good question)
- They don't know where the dragons are, even with their super wishes.
- They would prefer to set us a wager than to get the crown back from the dragons.
- This makes the dragons significantly more powerful than beings who have near-infinite wishes as talents. These are Elder dragons, or similar.
- We make a FOOLISH wager
- We have from dawn tomorrow (Sunday) to dusk the next Reapsday to rescue Malcolm.
- Rescuing him involves getting him onto the top step outside the palace.
- The guards (the 3 we have seen, plus up to a handful more, so 3-8) can stop us.
- The Queen will watch, as this is her idea of entertainment.
- The King will also watch. The Vizier will not assist.
- There are several rules, almost all suggested by the King, and each disliked by the captain of the guard:
- No new wishes
- No irresurrectible killing.
- No attacking the King, Queen or Vizier.
- No dismembership (this really upset the Captain)
- No killing Malcolm (Broc's idea - excellent)
- No attacks outside five miles of the keep.
- If someone is dead, or about to die, they can be healed by the opposition, but cannot rejoin the fight for the rest of the week.
- (I was a cat at the time and my mouth was full of carp, otherwise I would have objected).
The King orders "Take them to the dungeon", and we get a tour by the Captain. We say hi to Malcolm - he is sorry, but not remorseful. He is suspended in a 6x6x6 foot metal cage on a chain above an illusory lava pit. The chain goes to the roof, then 100 feet over to a magically locked windlass. There is an 80x80 foot area to one side of the lava pit, which includes the stair entry and the windlass.
Our audience at an end, we are instantaneously wished to a large field 6 miles away, where a camp has been set up. Servants assist us, and massage Lathe. They are locals who believe they have been trained as masseurs for a year, and that we have organised this camp.
We start to make plans, then the King pops in (just as we are discussing trickery such as moving the top step), and gossips with us for a bit. Wagers just as ours are sometimes won by imaginative reading of the rules, and this would be respected by Her Majesty - providing it's a good story to dine out on. The 'observers' to the wager are watching us as part of the entertainment, but will not (it is claimed) give any information to the guards. We probably learn more useful tips, but
I was we were getting tired by then. Party, can you recall what was discussed? I have no notes...
- Create objects at whim (duration dependant on solidity and complexity)
- All Air elemental talents
- Magical items
Plan One - The Lamp
- A Simple Plan
- This plan uses little of the party’s special abilities, as I do not know them well. These special abilities can only change the plan for the better. Abilities used: Darien’s Shadow Walk; Silverfoam’s Namer Current; Lathe’s Air Elemental & general toughness; Aryan’s Windwalk and general toughness; Kit’s Transmutation, Ethereal Maze, and gall. General: Navigation, Crystal Balls, Military Science, Stagecraft.
On the evening of Day Two (or earlier, if desired), we launch a three-pronged assault on the Djinn Palace.
- Aryan goes in wind-walked, with 2 multiple images looking like Darien / Kit.
- Lath goes in with an Air elemental.
- Silverfoam & Broc go in on Namer Current, sealed inside a 30 foot long bronze lamp (actually made of diamond). Darien & Kit are hidden beneath illusory furniture in this vessel, providing some extra magical defence.
- It should take The Lamp 6 minutes to cover the 5 miles from the border, at 50mph. Aryan & Lathe will come in at different angles from the vessel, in case they have border guards. I assume most of the enemy forces will be near the palace – by this point, our forces will have formed up and wiil pretend to assault the place, while actually maintaining some distance & trying to stay alive.
- When The Lamp is at 200 foot, a 5 foot chunk of the top step will be blasted away from the palace, and the air elemental swoops in and grabs it. All forces then turn tail and flee, trying to protect the step if possible. Failure to protect the step is perfectly acceptable.
- The Secret Part
- As The Lamp slews round and turns to retreat, Darien & Kit will pop into the ethereal (with luck, a brief puff of mist will not be noticed). It’s a fairly long walk into the dungeon, at 1 foot/second – say 3 minutes. When they are in the correct position (Navigation, Crystal, Geometry to confirm bearing and timing), they will prepare, pop out, and cast, and take Malcolm back with them. Then it’s another 3 minutes in the Ethereal back outside, where hopefully they will arrive within a few feet of the remainder of the front step, at about the time that the rest of the party either (a) reaches the border, hotly pursued, or (b) begins another diversionary attack, apparently timed for a minute after our expected arrival.
- Why Darien as the second inside man? – mainly because he can summon Rank 20 Ethereal Elementals as a talent in the Ethereal, which is useful in case there are djinn/defences there (Errol, its true – this talent works at your highest rank in Illusion or Shadow magics), and also can teleport. Aryan would be my other preference, as the best fighter, in case we need to fight to the steps, or even inside the dungeon. Broc is also a viable option as a versatile fighter mage. SF is needed for the vessel, and Lathe for the elemental. Going in alone would be really foolish. Kit can cast Ethereal Halls (his Maze variant) on 3 targets – Kit, Malcolm, and one other (thus not two-target Lathe).
- Why a Diamond Lamp?
- It’s scary to Djinn – they won’t want to come in after us. It’s enclosed from air magics. It’s transparent (in the bits without bronze) so we can cast our non-bolt spells. It’s diamond, so reasonably hard to break. It's the right shape for a boat. It’s going to be inside a 50 foot high, 50 mph stream of water, so should be hard to affect in general. It obscures the enemy’s vision enough to be able to hide 2 people behind illusions without too much suspicion. It’s weird enough that they won’t know what to make of it. It keeps the four most ablative party members close together under the control of a Rank 10-15 Mil Sci and with MR120-200. And it’s amusing.
- Variation One
- Silverfoam and Broc bail out ?Wind walk? near the palace. This leaves an apparant Trojan Lamp for the Djinn to investigate. Of course the Lamp will be empty, but would you climb inside a magical lamp to check if it is trapped, if you were a Djinn? This endangers Silverfoam/Broc a bit more, and reduces the effect of any second round of diversions, but it would be very funny, and might tie up a front. Or Silverfoam and Broc sit tight inside the apparanetly deserted lamp (hiding in the illusions), and burst out just as we arrive back.
- Variation Two
- Silverfoam joins Darien and Kit in the Ethereal. We can't travel in the Ethereal through wards that are in the real world, so they need to be Expelled by a Namer. This also gives us better Mil Science, Resistance, anti-Magic penetration, and Initiative. When we leave, either Darien or Silverfoam stays behind. If Darien can shadowwalk from there, excellent; otherwise, we leave Silverfoam, as his job is just to get us in. Either person surrenders immediately on seeing a Djinn. This leaves Broc either alone in the 'deserted' Lamp or windwalking with Aryan/Lathe, and someone alone trying to surrender in the dungeon. Maybe we can switch one of us into the cage, disguised as Malcolm? This could buy us some time on the out-lap, and we can pick them up later.
- I have an item that may let me remove wards from the Ethereal - we can test it? It's rank-based, the ward resists at 20-60% (60% likely). This might also help us remove the magic on the cage lock and chain. How are you thinking we get Malc out of the cage? For me to do it is quite long-winded (Darkness in cage, SW in, pick him up, petrify him, SW out). Note if they put 100% light everywhere my life is more complicated. --Errol 13:50, 21 Apr 2008 (NZST)
- The ward-remover sounds great - maybe we don't need to take SF into the ethereal and leave him in the dungeon!. My plan was to pop Malcolm straight into the Ethereal - should take half a pulse if you tell him not to resist. Don't forget the cage is cold iron, which may prevent you petrifying or SWing out again - but SWing in there looking like Malcolm would be ballsy, and then we can take SF in with us. --Andreww 19:38, 21 Apr 2008 (NZST)
- Remover is a word I should not have chosen, but check it out. I'm wondering how like Malc I can make myself (Spy Disguise, Imitate, Courtier Oratory) look, or maybe just sound (if the cage is in Darkness), without using magic. --Errol 20:04, 21 Apr 2008 (NZST)
- Variation Three
We disguise Aryan or Lathe (or the air elemental) as a 12' Efreeti. Efreet are the traditional enemy of the Djinn, and they tend to attack each other on sight. Efreet do fire magics (flaming sword/axe, immolation; sound appealing, Aryan?). This would be a way of luring some of them away after a party member, or at least scaring them a bit. It's likely to be fatal, but if it distracts enough of the Djinn, it might be worth it? Volunteers only...
- Aryan can do the flaming sword and immolation bit, but wouldn't be able to windwalk - Efreeti don't do that. Sounds like fun.
- Major Flaws
- We don't have any escape plans if we get overwhelmed in our assault.
- We don't know their colleges, or how air-focused they are.
- DA returned no college on the guards. They might have some magic, but not full colleges.
- We don't know how many there are.
- They may have moved Malcolm or the keep.
- The palace may be magicked so we can't enter.
- The inside might be on a different plane.
- They may have warded/guarded the steps or dungeon a great deal.
- They may be able to casually defeat our assault.
- This last problem is going to be an issue unless we try 100% subterfuge, and at least with this plan we only pretend to assault them. All going well, I’d expect around 33% casualties.
- Any of these factors would stop every one of our plans (except the plan to hide in a Trojan Lamp and try not to giggle).
Plan Two - Raid the Dragon Horde
- Find out from the Oracle where the Dragon with the Djinn's crown is
- Recover the crown from the Dragon
- Make a token attempt at freeing Malcolm to give the Queen a good fight to watch
- Trade the crown for Malcolm and Royal Gratuity
Chapter 7: All of the above
We briefly discuss the plans then leap into action before deciding.
We fly back to the oracle, he is sitting at his table still nursing his wine. He greets us in standard oracle speak, expecting us (all of us this time) and already knowing the answer to our question, though he does not remember our prior visit nor does his journal have a record of us any more. He will trade the location of the dragon with the crown we are after for us seeing off some men who will cause trouble for him tomorrow morning. We agree and settle in to wait. Aryan and Darien go to Bandar to get laid.
- 6th Fruit
In the morning the farmers turned gold hunters arrive and meet Aryan disguised as the oracle. Aryan gives the oracle's deal to the farmers, they try to intimidate Aryan, Aryan intimidates them (without letting the rest of the party join in the fun), and they leave.
The oracle gives us the location, about 50 miles away, NNE of the Djinn, about 15 miles NW of the biggest peak. He also informs us that there are hundreds of dragons within 50 miles of the location.
We fly there, after briefly considering caution in approaching the lair of a dragon (or dragons) we land on the road leading into the mountains and Kit and Broc talk to a baker who is delivering pies to the local Count and his men who are in the mine (Dragon Cave) at the end of the road.
Then we fly on to the head of the road where Broc approaches the men atop the wall abreast the cave entrance. He asks politely to speak to the count, then shows the warrant and insists. A Wizards Eye appears in front of him and the warrant is reduced to ash. DAs revealed that all of the guards are Fire mages with Fire Bolt.
We withdraw to cast the short-term buffs before charging. Lath suggests we feint one every half hour or so for a while to wear down their buff-mages before we actually attack. Aryan heads out first to test their defences, Invisible at 200 feet from their walls he is Hell-fired just as he is about to draw an arrow, so he pulls back before Broc is killed. Aryan is hit with Sleep all the way back and then a few more times while discussing events, bored of resisting he (badly) fakes being affected.
They put up an Illusionary Terrain over their entrance and Kit puts one up over us.
Chapter 8: Time for Plan A
Silverfoam divinates Aryan and finds they have Rk 20 Hellfire, Rk18 Enhance, and Rk 15+ sleep. Lath casts her first weather control to start a blizzard in the mountains. Two more flanking rituals later and the valley is completely lost in snow and storm.
We fly south to the Djinn to implement Plan A.
Kit, Silverfoam, and Aryan (no, really!) design the boat and Kit begins construction. Once Aryan and Broc have gone into Bandar, Lath corrects the design so it will meet tactical requirements.
- 7th Fruit
Experiments with Kit's planar travel conclude that it will not work.
We decide to charge anyway, flood the copper/diamond lamp-ship, board, sink the ship, and charge the castle in a 50mph wave.
Arriving just after 3 in the afternoon the guard at the gate is slightly surprised, as are we when we discover the water cannot enter the castle as planned.
The front line disembarks to charge while Darien tries to break through the barrier magic.
Chapter 9: Guild 3, Djinn 0
The two Djinn on guard upstairs (Unarmed/Scimitars) withdraw to protect the entrance to the dungeon. Kit and Silverfoam perform some nauti-magical manoeuvre which results in the lamp-ship being beached in the middle of the entrance hall. Aryan and Kit advance to engage the Djinn in melee, Lath hits them with WWV, Broc protects our flanks with Rune Walls, Darien attempts to break the magical barrier to let our water in, Silverfoam provides healing by transferring the damage from Aryan to Broc at 2/3:1. Lath gets first kill joining melee and immediately killing the Scimitar wielder, a new Djinn wielding dual morning-stars charges up the stairs into melee, gets a couple of big hits on Aryan before being disarmed in return, and then killed by Broc's spear lethal attack. The unarmed and unarmoured Djinn proves the hardest to defeat, getting increasingly faster and skilled as the battle progresses, so Broc stops casting and charges him, dispatching him with a quick spear to the aorta.
We charge downstairs to find another 4 Djinn lined up waiting for us.
Chapter 10: Guild: 4, Djinn: 1
The Djinn engage us at the entrance, a significant amount of damage is dealt and healed by both sides.
Ganging up on the lightly armoured dagger wielding Djinn proves futile as he is fast enough to heal any damage he takes that their Mind Mage is not able to heal first.
The Djinn captain is amazingly skilled with his dual hand and a half swords able to hit any of the party even when evading with enough force to kill an un-armoured man in one blow.
The Djinn Mind Mage retreats from Lath's WWV and Kit's banter to throw Phantasms from the top of Malcolm's Cage.
Aryan, Lath, Kit, and Broc gang up on the weakest Djinn and manage to kill him before he can be healed.
Three of the Djinn gang up on Aryan and kill him before he can be healed.
Kit and Darien make a play for the prince (Plan A2) while Lath and Broc distract the Djinn Captain and the Dagger Dervish (now up to 4 actions per pulse).
Lath is whittled down, Broc is hacked down (unconscious), Darien gets his web bridge up to the cage just before being engaged by a Phantasm, Kit gets most of the way to the cage trading Mol-Rec's with the Mind Mage as he goes.
Chapter 11: Guild: 4, Djinn: 2, Victory: Guild
Darien is cut down from behind has Kit reaches the cage. Fortunately Kit manages to grasp the cage by one hand as the Web Bridge disappears, and slip the carpet inside. The djinn atop the cage floats to mid-cavern to increase his available targets as Kit changes the carpet back to "Front Step". The fight near the door continues, without effecting events at the cage. As Malcolm has been compeled (and ordered to not "step on the carpet"), Kit takes mist form, moves into the cage, changes back to an up-strengthed human, and manhandles Malcolm onto the step for the WIN!!
The Djinn King resurrects and heals where required, and we all go upstairs to feast and discuss tactics.
Lath and Aryan Windwalk to Ionus to invite him to meet the Djinn, they negotiate and agree on a wish powerful enough to return him home to Hell in return for 500 years service, though there are some things even he won't do.
Scrying reveals that the dragon cave is somewhat battered by flooding, the valley is scorched, and three dragons are flying around out for revenge. They destroyed the oracle's cave (evidently having linked him to their troubles) and were tracking him south before we extracted him from danger. We think it likely that the Dragons will seek vengeance on us and/or the Djinn if they can find us.
- 8th Fruit
We pick up Elyse at Bandar and fly south to Kingstown. There we meet up with the Lord High Chancellor and head for the palace with the Prince and Elyse disguised.
Chapter 12: One Prince - mostly breathing...
We pull up to the front steps, as we disembark ten assassins (two 'Hands', a left and a right) appear behind us. We start to hustle the nobles inside but the 5 fighting assassins teleport amongst us and start dealing out pain with their poisoned daggers, the 5 mages teleport to one side and blast us with fire, necromancy, sorcery, and diamond javelins. Elyse and Malcolm and poisoned and only kept alive by Trollskins, the Chancellor is killed, Darien is rendered unconscious when he is flung 50' into a wall, but eventually palace guard reinforcements arrive and we drive off the assassins.
Malcolm's disguise is removed, Healers are summoned en-masse, and a flesh wall of guards escort us inside.
We are guided to some secure guest rooms while Malcolm and Elyse make arrangements for a quick coronation. In the evening Kit and Aryan invite themselves to party with the local courtiers.
- 9th Fruit
Nominations and SGT Snippets
- Remarkably little stupidity - except perhaps going off half-cocked at the first ambush.
- Best Death
- Broc, Aryan and Darien have all died well, but probably not in the best manner. Broc was unluckily overwhelmed by hobgobs (although the multiple 40pt spells didn't help), Aryan died in a good cause after both giving out and recieving a lot of damage, and Darien's timing was perfect (1 second earlier, and Kit couldn't have reached the cage), but being cut down from behind is just unfortunate.
- Our final Djinn battle plan - arriving in a 20' unbreakable brass lamp underwater at 50 mph, stealing the front step (twice - as pumice and as a carpet), picking off the first few Djinn before they clumped (a bit of luck there), using Lathe's Hooks to allow massive & rapid healing cycles, good tactical co-ordination combining to take people down, getting Kit, and then Darien, past their defensive line, using a bridge of darkness over the pit as we couldn't fly, then switching the carpet back into the front step while distracting them, with probably a pulse before the remaining party members went down one after the other; we so deserve a nomination here. The question is which bit is simple enough to explain and amusing enough to tell at the guild meeting? Probably the step switch?
- The step switch is the best intersection of 'time to tell' and benefit - it meant that we only had to get in, and not out. We all worked on the plan, but Kit thought of this element.
- Great plan - I think it was Kit's?
- The step switch is the best intersection of 'time to tell' and benefit - it meant that we only had to get in, and not out. We all worked on the plan, but Kit thought of this element.
- Everyone was brave / staunch. But brave enough?
- Broc, taking the hook, knowing that it would make him a battery, and be under SF's control?
- Not brave at all, simply acting in the interests of the party as did us all - BROC
- Broc, taking the hook, knowing that it would make him a battery, and be under SF's control?
While designing our false backgrounds:
- Darien: Plausibility is important.
- Kit: Deniability is more important.
- Lathe: Loot! ... That's an observation, not an instruction.
Hot and Not
Possibly the phrases are too long?
- Djinn, Accurate & Helpful Oracles, Snow Storms, continous-heal potions
- Insane Indestructable Demons, pesky Dragons, Evil Regents,
- Frederick Herrith
- Queen Ysana
- Queen of Westness
|King ? (deceased)
||High Lord Ralph (Regent)
||High Lord ?
- Prince 'Primus'
- 1st son. Killed in battle, resurrected (likely not related to the King), still with army fighting Narl.
- Prince 'Secundus'
- 2nd son. Assassinated (Poisoned), Irresurrectable.
- Prince 'Tertius'
- 3rd son. Executed for murder. Irresurrectable.
- Prince Malcolm
- 4th son of sick/dead king, now heir, missing in mountains on 'quest'.
- Lady Elyse
- Second cousin to Malcolm, now 8th in line to throne, our employer.
- Lord High General
- Tutor Chatten
- Hamrits - Hermit in Forest
- Willard - Oracle
- Forest Hobgoblins
- Horc and Torc - part of ambush, now bodyguards for Lath.
- Malador - Senior member, Earth Mage.
- Forest Bandits
- Allemia / Borat - E&E Mil. Sci. Greater Rk 20 Quickness Rk 10. Hid in ambush then ran.
- ? - Celestial Str of Darkness. Killed in ambush and carried off by Troll.
- Ollar - Wiccan
- ? - Earth Mage SoS Rk 20 AoE Rk 20
- ? - Fire Mage Fire Armour Rk 20
- ? - Namer
Occupies tower in forest. Friendly and helpful. One of Berith's Devils. Banished by Berith 8,621 years ago. Has every college. Used to rule an empire. Cannot be killed or forced off plane. He has broken holy artefacts through repetitive use while experimenting with whether he can be hurt. He's as mad as a March Hare, but seems perfectly reasonable. He has NOT rejected evil, but thinks he has. He has let a dragon digest him "to see whether it hurt" - it was uncomfortable for him, but I believe the dragon died. Evil, Mad, Evil, Mad, Evil.
- Giant Land.
- The Portal from the guild arrives near village, a couple of miles to Castle Cumberbund.
- Portal from Closet (Blue 6) to open plain.
- 350 miles to portal to next Inter-Planar portal (Broc Rune Portals established to cover the gap).
- Kingdom of our employers
- Neighbours, currently at war with Byron.
Maps & Charts
From Quester Bandits:
- 3 Splitting Arrows
- 5 Blue Steel Weapons
- 20pt Healing Potions * 9
- 40pt Healing Potions * 3 (Quaffed during fight with Djinn)
- 10pt Healing Potions * 3
- Bracelet of Ice Cubes: Ice Bolt Rk 20 * 3
- Amulet of Second Chance (1 use re-roll after rolling) * 3
- Potion of Windwalk Rk 10
- Amulet of Magic Avoidance (1 use instead of resisting) * 1
- Finger of Invested Necrosis Rk 20
- Charm bracelet: 2 bars of +20 initiative for one pulse; 2 circles of damage absorption
|Autumn: Fruit (4)|
|6||Day #1 of Challenge|
|7||Assault Djinn||8||Malcolm to Kingstown||9||Djinn & Dragons?||10||11||12||Day #7 of Challenge||13|
|Autumn: Harvest (8)|
|12||13||14||15||Equinox||16||17||Seagate Autumn Fair||18||Seagate Autumn Fair|
|Autumn: Vintage (9)|