Veiled Threat

In which true nerds roleplay cleaning houses and yardwork

Aukash-Pad told the newly-Veiled Alliance-admitted party that you would need some sort of proof that the templar leadership of both Gulg and Nibenay are in cahoots. His best advice – although the party strongly resisted the idea – was that you make use of the shadowdy Kentu Tuk, a black-market dealer and all-purpose assassin in the red-light-district Drum Circle. He would be more than willing to sell the party into slavery for use in the Red Moon Hunt. Aukash Pad guessed that if you were taken into the Paper Nest district, where the nobles live and gather, you might come across proof. However, you only have a few days before the nobles set you loose in the forest for a Running-Man-esque game of class ascension by decapitation. Sure enough, you guys came across some incriminating letters while cleaning one noble’s house. Later, when trimming her hedges (ahem, unintended pun), you heard her implicate the name of a prospective noble who would be at the Red Moon Hunt. Later, when you were cleaving down unsuspecting ambitious, yet very fragile, nobles at the Hunt, you finally came upon a man with the same name (it escapes me now). He begged for you to spare his life, and promised he would meet you outside the hunting grounds as soon as the ritual was over. Perhaps now that this guy is a noble he’ll have backstage access to get you to the bottom of this little scheme…

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Tree Hugger Mind Control, Do Bears Run Thru the Woods, and, I Don't Have Any $$$, but Would You Like Some of This Meat?

Our adventurers returned after a 2 week break to finally enter the City of Gulg and seek out the Veiled Alliance. The Governor of Altaruk had charged you with stopping the building alliance between the two Ivory Triangle cities to take advantage of the newly-liberated, but somewhat disorganized, Tyr region. First, however, you would need to break the spell dominating the mind of the VA’s Gulgan leader, Aukash-Pad.

The party slipped by the city gates with little resistance, holding the threat of exposing their caravan leader for the defiler that he really was over his head. Once in the city market, to get in the attention of the preserver rebellion, they began asking around for common spell components, eventually finding a shifty alchemist who led them into his interior stall. After the party showed him the blood-soaked medallion worn by the True wizards, he accepted the party’s story and told them to go to a babob tree grove outside the city, where the VA made its underground lair.

After passing the scrutiny of a gruff thri-kreen guard, the party finally met the somewhat obsessed and insane Aukash-Pad, who babbled on and on about the Tree of Life. Nearby wizards rolled their eyes. Eventually, he decided to test the PCs mettle by demanding that they “hunt” him in the forest. And without another word, he turned into a huge black bear and ran into the woods. The party gave chase, tracking him thru a forest grove with an awfully suspicious looking babob tree. While Janet and Wade kept on the bear’s toes, Dave disabled a trap door at the foot of the tree, notice signs of defiler magic – dead vegetation – all around it.

Eventually, the party subdued the bear form enough for Aukash Pad to come out of it, and welcome the party to Gulg officially. Of course, he didn’t take too kindly to their suspicions about the tree. Later, the party crept down below the babob tree, and found an underground cavern housing the supposed “Tree of Life.” Sure enough, when Wade took a drink from a fountain basin in front of it, the spirit of a long-dead defiler – the same spirit dominating Aukash Pad’s mind – came on out and shot lots of lightning at everyone, teleported, and kept getting bugged out whenever Wade would talk to him telepathically. Jane dealt some fairly insane damage throughout. Aukash Pad rushed on in, and after Jane gave him a smack of her axe, he was newly freed, and screamed, KILL THE TREE, KILL THE TREE. Everyone obliged.

Now that the sect leader is saved, he will finally turn to the growing threat and find a way for the party to stop the Ivory powers from threatening the one chance the Alliance has for freedom in the Tyr region! Epicness.

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Gulgan wizards, a mind-dominated rebel, and more damn elves

OK, to recap the events of Saturday’s game:

The party awoke in the comfort of Governor Ariphestenales’ compound and went to the market, where Na Nem had several alcoholic beverages for breakfast. Shara elected for greasier fare, like fried kank mandibles. Hr’ahrek slept in late. Just everyone was going to meet the governor to learn about the Veiled Alliance, mages of the organization the True attacked! Soundly defeated, however, almost as though the DM didn’t anticipate the strength of Character Builder’s feat suggestions…The mages were carrying medallions worn by defilers and templars in the nearby city of Gulg…curioser and curioser…The governor’s ward, the noble battlemind Ereckard, joins the party

Afterwards, the Governor explained that Gulg and Nibenay, normally bitter rivals, had formed a recent alliance now that Kalak’s reign in Tyr has come to an end. What better time for these cities to sack the city and divy up the spoils? The Governor wants to seek the help of Aukash-Pad, a powerful preserver wizard who leads the Gulg sect of the Veiled Alliance; unfortunately, he has heard that Aukash-Pad is under the influence of a tree of life inside Gulg’s nearby forest groves. But while Aukash-Pad believes it is primal power he receives from the Tree, it is, in fact, some sort of ghost, the last remnant of a powerful Defiler from ages past. The only way the Gulg/Nibenay plot can be stopped is if the party removes the influence/curse of the Tree from Aukash-Pad so that he will rally the Veiled Alliance of the Ivory Triangle against the sorcerer kings’ plot!

So, of course, the party said they would help out. They join up with one of the Governor’s family’s merchant caravans to Gulg, wearing disguises as traders. Doesn’t help much, however, when a pack of Moonrunners follow them on the road and swoop down on them in revenge for the killing of their brother, Kaldras! This fight turned out to be much tougher….almost as though the DM was thinking, “I WANT SOMEONE TO BE BLOODIED GODDAMMIT”. The interesting twist to this fight? The caravan leader, who had been so squeamish about fighting in the first place, turns out to be a defiler! He asks the party to please keep his secret for safe passage. You begrudgingly agreed.

Next time (the 27th, remember) the party will arrive in Gulg and need to establish contact with Aukash-Pad. Then, of course, the Tree has to be located. And what about this defiler who helped get you there? Has the party finally gotten rid of those pesky elves? To be continued!

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Bizarro Athas: Where Elves are trusted, arena games won't allow bloodshed, and the governor says murdering defilers is A-OK!
adventure log

So, our adventurers can be described as:
Dave: Halfling rogue
Kevin: Mul shaman
Janet: Mul barbarian
Wade: Halfing ardent
Vadim: Halfling psion
At some point I’ll learn all of your unpronounceable, Thri-Kreen-like names.

  1. The party met each other in the newly-free city of Tyr, where the annual gladiator games ended in an assassination of the sorcerer-king Kalak by several upstart competitors. In the resulting chaos, the five of you encountered the elf merchant Kaldras at the city’s Caravan gate. He hired each of you to help guard his precious ceramic-good cargo on the road to Altaruk, a town that connects Tyr with the southern cities. It’s also a haven for escaped slaves, which Janet appreciated, being a newly-freed mul and all. On the way you dodged some boulders (except for molasses-moving Wade and Vadim), survived a raider attack from the brush (which featured a nimble jump across the cargo by Dave that he made without breaking a single ceramic pot), and wondered how the wage compensation for this little trip never got discussed before you left Tyr.
  2. Fast forward a few days later: Sure enough, once you reached the elven market in Altaruk and demanded your hard-earned pay, Kaldras turned his Moonrunner brethren and their venom-spitting kanks on you. Just as you were about to grind his backstabbing little butt into the sand, the captain of the guard, Tellemon, appeared to keep the peace. You tried to diplomatically explain the situation, but Kaldras was one smooth talker. Tellemon decided to toss you all into the fighting arena for some old-school conflict resolution.
    But it wasn’t so bad! Turns out the freedom-loving Altarukans enjoy sport more than savagery, and offered a get-out-of-jail card to whichever side grabbed the most coins from the middle of the ring and placed them in their team’s coffer. The only catch: no direct attacks on the opposition. Muscle-rippled Janet grabbed the discs while Kevin psionically whisked them into the coffer. Vadim manifested some sort of psychic anomaly next to the nimble elves who had reached the coins first, which then slid them away and fried their brains, all without breaking the rules!
  3. But no sooner had the players won their freedom came another chaotic turn of events! Tellemon was mysteriously murdered during the games. A representative of the governor of Altaruk, Arisphistenales, offered a handsome reward to the players if they could solve the murder. After some sleuthing and snooping that would make Jessica Fletcher proud, the players discovered that the governor’s own henchmen carried out the murder on the sly. Turns out that Captain Tellemon was a leading member of the True, a newly formed movement that supports the sorcerer kings. The good Governor, it turns out, is ALSO a secret member of yet another underground organization, the Veiled Alliance, who encourage preserver magic and the downfall of the sorcerer kings.
  4. After the Governor met with the players and rewarded them for their efforts, he offered them a chance to be initiated into the Veiled Alliance, if they so choose. It won’t be easy, but he says they could use all the help they can get in the coming struggle against the defilers!
  5. SO: Will the party join the Veiled Alliance? Will they decide being a king and a dragon simultaneously sounds kind of nice? Will they just go to the bar and get drunk, as Vadim was so eager to do? Til next time….
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