The Astral Gale

A Deal With the Mercane
Working for the Mercane

Andra, desiring more and powerful spells, decided to return to the Mercane to see if a deal could be raised. Andra, Wendeam, and van Rijn returned to the merchant with a list of several rare and powerful spells. After some negotiation, the Mercane suggested that three could be obtained for gold… but that other possibilities were available, if a service was to be performed.

The Mercane required a Non-Disclosure Agreement before providing details, which involved some debate. Fortunately the Company was available to vote. After some debate and a few reservations expressed by Ariel, it was agreed to sign and find out what the job was.

It turned out that the Mercane had a deal that was “problematic” and wanted to hire more security. Their trader, Joliffe, was in a land called Ambartzumian. Ariel and Andra had both heard of it, as it was known for exotic herbs and alchemical goods.

The Mercane would provide transport for the job, which was expected to take a week. More haggling ensued, particularly about payment if the job was to prove to be a failure. Orixia helped but felt that she and Phantine needed to stay in Hest to ensure its safety.

Eventually Andra and van RIjn approached Zell, who was practicing martial arts up by the gates. The githzerai seemed to find the implacable presence of the Guardian soothing. Eager to do some exploring, Zell signed the NDA and went back. She haggled with the Mercane—quite skillfully, to van Rijn’s ears—in gith, and seemed to extract quite a bit from him, at least based on his pained look, but only said she “got some books.” Still, van Rijn wondered….

The Mercane opened a gate to Ambartzumian, and van Rijn, Ariel, Andra, Wendeam, and Zell stepped through. They appeared in a dark jungle, with the raw smell of rotting vegetation and the presence of a dead body being dragged by a scaly, twisted being with a reptilian mein. It charged immediately and, quick on her feet, Zell interposed, sloppily cutting it with her silver scimitar but preventing it from getting to Andra and Ariel. Battle ensued, though, as the creature proved to be tougher than it looked.

Off in the distance, by a fire, a hulking, ogre-sized snake headed man seemed to be butchering a deer that was hanging from a pole using a large hacking blade. He was by a pile of mixed bodies, including some humanoid ones. Wendeam went up to melee the small snake man, killing it, and van Rijn slowed a mass of them, noting that the large snake men seemed to be resistant to magic.

Andra, realizing that the battle’s darkness favored the snake men, cast an enhanced Continual Light and lit up the entire field, showing a camp, many more snake men, and a coffle of roped captive women and children. Ariel used Displacement, which was fortuitous given that the large snake men had quivers of javelins along with shields and large swords and proved to be skilled in their use.

As the fight ensued the small snake men, who appeared to be nearly mindless servitors and the larger snake men charged. Andra fireballed them while Wendeam, van Rijn, and Zell moved up to melee them, while Andra continued casting fireballs, though he was Magic Missiled by a snake-blooded sorceress who was hiding among the captives, invisible.

Far to the edge of the village a large snake man had a hunched over reptile man on a leash, which kept lurching forward as if it was eager to attack.

This proved to be a most fearsome creature… a gith of some sort that had been converted into a dreaded soulsuck. It went straight for Zell, sensing their kinship.

It mind blasted Zell, van Rijn, and Wendeam. van Rijn managed to fight off its intrusion, but the other two succumbed. Wendeam turned out to be reasonably safe but Zell was savaged by two of the smaller snake men, who took advantage of the fact that her guard was dropped.

Ariel, seeing this, used the Fractal Blades to slice many of the smaller snake men and the larger ones to ribbons. It proved necessary to do this twice before the soulsuck fell. Wendeam and van Rijn went to finish off the rest, while Zell threw her adamantine spheres to help.

van Rijn moved up and saw that the captives were elven villagers, and noticed that one of Joliffe’s guards was still alive near the pile of bodies, though he was in bad shape.

To be continued….

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Sesh Is a Lonely Town?

Andra, left to himself, set to a long sequence of calculations.

van Rijn, Wendeam, Ariel, and Orixia had a long conversation with a Loxo—-a bipedal oliphaunt—-named Phantine, who was the lox-firkin of his vessel. This proved to mean captain. His people, the Loxo, were the cousins of the giff, who were from the same world. They were more peaceable and skilled with their trunks to make incredible detail work on top of their crude smithing. He said that they were interested in going to Hest, as many of the herds would be happier there. He also said that his people had great memories and would be able to tell more, but that he wasn’t a tunnuk, or loremaster.

Wendell asked Phantine if he was affiliated with Law or Chaos, but Phantine indicated that his folk, the Loxo, did not fight in the cause of either. Ariel studied Phantine for a while and thought that it was very sad that he had no connection to his world anymore, or at least none she could see. She wasn’t sure if his folk had been changed by their time in the Astral or if his world no longer existed. She left to go check on Andra.

The rest went to buy any elixir which could be found as well as any smokepowder. Both appeared to be in short supply and Wendeam realized that nobody knew where elixir came from. Eventually they found a merchant who had both. He seemed kind of odd and suspicious, but van Rijn and Orixia dickered him down on the goods. van Rijn did most of the dickering but Orixia’s intimidating presence seemed to… speed things along. Orixia eventually left to get money from Ariel, and returned with two gems, which the merchant found unusual and overvalued. At the end of the haggle, van Rijn got him to accept two oriental amethysts worth 2000 gold, ultimately managing to get a stupendous deal on two casks of powder and three doses of elixir.

Leaving they went to check on Andra. Ariel walked out of the house saying “He’s impossible when he’s like this!” to the sounds of Andra tearing up a bunch of paper. In the room he had covered the walls with tacked up calculations which he was angrily pulling off the wall. He looked at van Rijn, “Why can’t you see? I don’t know enough!!!” van Rijn noticed that Andra’s calculations had the same figure over and over, a hexagon. Both Ariel and van Rijn keenly remembered the mad wizard, Blais Radlock, who, having glimpsed the nature of reality, promptly Feebleminded himself in an attempt to forget it.

Some debate while Andra continued his mutterings about the nature of the gates, particularly why they were solids with four, six, eight, twelve, or twenty corners each, and assorted other things. Nobody really felt better about it, though, and Andra continued his calculations.

Eventually Wendeam grew bored and joined Orixia, whose tolerance for metaphysical debate was even lower than his. Wendeam saw that she too was pacing outside, smoking, nearly as agitated as Andra inside. However, the ever-pragmatic elven warrior was vexed by the fact that Razalflow hadn’t made a move yet. She decided to use Clairvoyance to examine Hest, and said “Ariel, ready the gate, all else, get your weapons. The gith pirates attack Hest.”

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The Captains' Mast

After a long journey, which involved astrally drained pirates (a disturbing reminder of the effect of being shipwrecked in the the Astral), an expedition to find the Icon of Ordered Chaos (ominously consumed by Ariel, who seems… different), a stopover in the settlement of Blor (ruled by the Masked Oligarchy, where everyone wears masks for their assigned social roles, even the prostitutes, much to van Rijn’s chagrin), and a vicious fight with a pack of demons, Owt Roval’s ship arrived at Sesh, with van Rijn, Andra, Wendeam, Ariel, and Orixia in tow.

Sesh is built from the lashed-together hulls of many ships. Busy docs protrude in all angles. van Rijn felt at home, and a little jealous and wondered at the possibilities of living in such a place, boiled of all impurities and reduced simply to commerce.

van Rijn saw a huge vessel, twice the size of an ordinary one, crewed by long bearded giants.

Owt Roval led to the meeting house of the Captains’ Mast. He seemed somewhat nervous, and revealed that he was not a captain, simply a Master.

Captains were voting members, of which there are three Junior Captains and a Senior Captain.

Ecin Dek Oms, the star giant Senior Captain of the Captains’ Mast met them. He was ancient, gray skinned, with a long beard and eyes like the Astral. None of the Junior Captains—-the brash young aasimar Yna Emit and rival of Owt Roval, the dwarf trader On Gnikap, and human Xidreppo Stcaf—-were present. van Rijn presented his case for attacking the Gith Pirate base to Ecin Dek Oms, who considered it carefully. He noted that he would need to confer with the Junior Captains, who voted first, with the Senior Captain having two votes.

A ship-house was provided.

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New Visitors and Happenings

Orixia is sitting outside a nearby shop where an aromatic hot beverage is sold. Its rich and pungent smell pervades the air. She is sitting contentedly with a large burbling water pipe made of artfully and intricately blown glass, her sword slung, feet up, reading an book of illustrated erotic poetry. The clockwork proprietor grinds more of the dark green beans and adds them to his copper-piped still. She passes the end of the pipe to Wendeam, who floats upright nearby. 

Not far away, van Rijn is at the butcher shop buying meat for his pablum flatbread. The tiefling butcher makes small talk with him about various trade matters. “What say you, Sir van Rijn, about the three eyed gimel? You clearly enjoy its flesh… as do all of Hest.” He hacks off a chunk of the flesh of the creature, and throws it into a sizzling pot of oil. “I have more today, but I would pay well for a reliable source….” He and van Rijn discuss such things every day. 

The crowd is light between watches. The folk of Hest have settled down after waiting for the God-Machine to act. It has not moved from its position, although Andra’s scrying reveals that the internal reconfigurations have proceeded and the interior has been altered almost totally from what it was before. The folk of Hest have finally given up making random gonging noises and kowtowing, after Orixia somewhat amusedly suggested to them to use a gong at a regular time so she could sleep. (Although like the rest of the party, she sleeps in the soundproof keep built by Razalflow.) 

A group, really a squad, of large creatures marches through the square. Each is the size of an ogre, although clearly not. They have a a broad head with an almost horselike maw, and stubby teeth or tusks more like swine. Each is wearing an odd green uniform and bearing a large musket, sheathed bayonets at their side, their heads topped with tall hats made from the fur of some unknown beast. They form up in a line in front of Orixia. An older one, hideously scarred and dressed in a grander red-coated uniform topped by a gold-fringed bicorne hat, a jeweled horn strapped to his snout steps to the side. He raises his blunderbuss and bellows an order, “Ten-SHUN!” The rest crash their musket butts into the ground in unison. She looks at them somewhat amusedly. 

The older one addressed Orixia in an odd voice. He speaks in a raspy, gruff voice, one that has bellowed orders over dozens of battlefields, “We have heard of you, captain, from one who served you before. The giff would be honored to slaughter your foes for coin and glory.” 

 

*

 

The redcoated giff looks Wendeam up and down, alternating eyes. “I see a warrior! You look tough, but I wonder just how tough you really are! We should fight and find out!” He brays uproariously, which you take to be a laugh. “But first, I must see to my platoon.” 

He looks at Orixia. “I wouldn’t have thought you were some kind of captain. You look like a poncy elf to me.” He gets real close and you’re not too sure his eyesight is all that good. She stares at him and sips the hot efek. “I’m afraid you have me at somewhat of a loss. I don’t even know who, er, what you are.” 

His eyes seem to cross. “We’re giff! We’re strong and proud and fight for glory and coin, coin and glory! We’ve fought gith pirates! Demons! Devils! Crazy shit you never heard about! Sometimes we lose and a lot of our boys die, but that’s the way of these things, can’t make an egg if you don’t break the omelette! So when it happens, you don’t look back. No sir. It’s back to the wallow for more of the lads! More there want to pursue the path of glory! But sometimes, sometimes you win… that is the sweet path of glory for you! Medals! How many medals”—-he thumps his chest, widely adorned with jewelery pins—-“do you have?” 

 

**

He studies Wendeam’s spear very closely. You think he might be somewhat nearsighted. He considers it for a while and then smiles (at least you think that’s what that look is). “Ahhhh… you keep your medals on your weapon, not your chest! Not so different than giff. Glory is essential for one’s name. Coin is nice.”


He considers Wendeam further and says, “I, Lieutenant Algernon Redcoat, challenge you to a duel to blood, or whatever passes for such from you. For honor and a test of our mettle.”

 

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Awakening in a Broken Universe

Awakening

Something terrible has happened. My patrol had been operating within acceptable parameters of the expected result. The minions of the Queen of Chaos had been active along my route, requiring a moderate amount of hunting. Once I had completed the destruction of a cluster of demon touched creatures and the infestation they revered, I proceeded towards the station along Cubic Three. Then when I stepped out of the gate I found myself confronted by a mixed band of humanoids in a disheveled cave by a malfunctioning cubic gate. It was also approximately 100,000 years after I had stepped into the gate.

The whole situation proved to be full of enigma and confusion. After some discussion with these savages, I pieced together the following approximation of events. The humanoids had had some sort of conflict with even more primitive humanoids. Eventually they uncovered the gate and got it to activate. That released me from whatever happened to the gate.

One race of them, the elves, was at least familiar. With my translator, I was able to establish effective communications and adjust to the debasements which they had applied to the language we gave them. The others were Lizardmen and Humans. The former resembled large reptilian animals which had been incapable of speech before I entered the gate. The latter were unfamiliar. They are overall somewhat bigger and more crudely made than elves. Lacking the pleasing angular qualities of the elves, they are ruled by rounder symmetries. More disturbingly, they are even more given to irrationality and emotional reactions.

The nature of these primitives merely hints at the more fundamental problem. The order of the universe is shattered. The celestial spheres do not intersect and align in beautiful and eternal cycles. The gates are in disrepair, the Vaati are unknown, peoples wander from world to world venerating strange creatures they call Gods. Reality itself is easily suborned by ritual manipulation of energies. The power to do so is granted to an alarmingly large subset of these humanoids by powerful beings. What those beings get out of it is unclear to me, but it seems not too dissimilar with the pacts that Lords of Chaos make with their supplicants. Perhaps these “Gods” are merely servants of the Queen in another guise. To my eyes, the war with Chaos has not gone well, perhaps not entirely lost, but certainly not decisively won. It is everywhere.

Despite their inadequacies, and they are too many and varied to list, the humanoids who repaired the gate have apparently been operating on the side of order. Well, more on the side of order than disorder. In any case, they are the only remotely reliable creatures I have discovered so far in this shattered place.

The Mission

Several of the humanoids have agreed to accompany me on my quest to Vale of Aaqa, so I can report my findings to the Council of the Vaati. They are Andra, a rude and curmudgeonly man skilled in magic; Nicholas van Rijn, a more well mannered man who uses both magic, sword, and gun; and Orixia a mostly civilized elf who uses magic and a bane sword similar to that borne by our people in war. After they had recuperated from their prior battle with the giant humanoids, I led them through through the Cubic Gate. The others stayed behind to guard the area, for we had to leave the gate open for fear that there would otherwise be no way back due to the gate’s malfunction.

Cubic Three Station

The station proved to be in severe disrepair. Empty of the Vaati, it had been infested by crude automatons. Hostile crude automatons. After defeating several of them, we were able to activate a different variety which had hidden itself from the others and self deactivated. My translator unit was able to convert its light signals into speech, so we interrogate it for a time. It called itself Silversann Unit 1. It, like the other automatons, had been made by The Master, whom we eventually discovered to be the Wizard Trobriand. This unit had achieved sentience and rebelled. Finding itself alone, it hid and shut down rather than be broken down as parts for a new kind of automaton.

We won it over to our side and discovered that it had remarkable facility with improving tools. It was able to make its own speaker unit, upgrade my translator, and improve some of our weapons. Silversan then guided us through the disheveled and ruined base to the Master’s lab.

The Lab was well guarded by a variety of powerful automatons and Trobriand himself. Though he had transplanted his head onto the body of an Iron Golem and shielded himself from reprisal behind a dome of glasssteel. It was a terrifically difficult fight. My Hound valiantly gave his life to assault them and give us a moment of respite. In the end, we were victorious, but it consumed many difficult to replace resources, including the bulk of my healing accelerator charges.

We spent a few days searching the base, resting, and watching Silversann Unit 1 assemble more Silversann, and the heavy duty maintenance Farragom units which serve them. We were able to recover some healing charge replacements from the fluid that had housed Trobriand’s body. For he had raided and corrupted the supply station’s charge complement to make the suspension fluid.

The most worrying thing we discovered was an ancient disassembled automaton. Of elegantly simple design and lethality. Simple enough that it was probably capable of making copies of itself. Lethal enough to be very dangerous in quantity. Ancient by current time keeping standards, it is possibly of only slightly lesser antiquity than myself. It is possible that this enemy was what overwhelmed the station and left it in a state suitable for Trobriand’s misappropriation. We made some notes regarding its design parameters and destroyed it.

We also recovered a number of devices whose subtlety was beyond Trobriand’s skill. Especially the control structure for his Golem. They were not familiar to me, though that is unsurprising for I have no need of such knowledge as a Hunter. Nonetheless, the quality and style seemed on par with the work of our people.

They packed up Silversann Unit 1 into an extra-dimensional space with a movable opening in the guise of a container to protect and hide him from whatever lay beyond. The container was in the form of a sack, for some inexplicable reason. Then proceeded through the hexahedral gate using the key we had recovered from Trobriand’s effects.

Hest

Through the gate we found that the Gate area was guarded, the guard had been set long ago by the higher orders. His only concern was that we should not proceed past him through the octahedral gate. He was dubious about my companions and concerned that the town below was too full of disorder. We negotiated a sort of understanding that he would let us pass if we fixed the issues in the city of Hest.

The city of Hest proved to be a very peculiar place. Its police force was comprised of Daemons, led by an Arcanaloth. Its people forced to make obeisance to the God machine, by bowing a certain number of times, apparently randomly chosen at random intervals. They were fed by basins which produced pablum, a highly nourishing and suitably bland food, several times daily. Furthermore its people were an odd assembly of humans, miscellaneous humanoids, and sentient clockworks.

Fortunately, its map and book vendor, Modron, was possessed of a book of the history of the Vaati, along with a number of maps interesting to my companions. The history book was somewhat disturbing in that it indicated that after an ancient and terrible war, the Vaati had retreated into the Vale and were rarely seen. It brought me hope in that it indicated that the Vale must still exist and my people may yet be found. It brought grief in the fear of what may have become of them to change their course from the way that I know.

Some Gith pirates assaulted us. Though not known to me before, they are of a kind with the lesser servants of Chaos. Similar in form to human and elvish kind, though singularly thin and lacking in moral character. The Gith roam the astral sea and take whatever they can by force. We destroyed the group who assaulted us, except for one who escaped. Anders was then assessed a fine for the damage his area magics caused to the surrounding shops.

Summoned into its presence, we made a deal with the Arcanaloth to destroy the Gith captain. It had an unspecified grudge. In turn it would give us the octahedral key. It also agreed to prepare us with its magics. We prepared an assault and had a largely successful battle against them, though they were quite skilled in martial and arcane matters of war. In the end, their captain chose to use explosive powder to destroy the back of the ship, along with most of the items they had purchased from the merchants of Hest. He was accidentally assisted in this by the hasty use of fire on Anders’ part. Anders was gravely injured, I only survived it by dint of the ring of fire resistance which we had the foresight to purchase in town.

Then we freed the hideously abused slaves of the Gith. In some cases it is possible that death might have been better for them than freedom, but it is not my place to make such judgements.

The God Machine

During our recuperation, especially Anders recuperation, we studied the God Machine. During one of its instructional dances, I noted a face staring out from within its eye. From this we deduced that it was hollow and that something lurked within to control it. Clearly the disorder of the town could only be solved by fixing the machine.

There was a great deal of debate about assaulting it from without, though no entrance was visible, versus my position of teleporting inside directly. Anders had a very great fear of teleporting into solid matter. Though being displaced to another place in the astral did not seem like such a terrible inconvenience to me. He persisted in opposing this idea until he recalled that he had the capability to view the area remotely. Once he engaged this ability, he found it to be a large hollow space with more than sufficient area for all of us to teleport within. However, in doing so his viewing was detected and set the God Machine into some kind of alarm reaction. This roused the town who were confused and tried to determine if it was setting a new obeisance ritual.

We used the ensuing confusion to teleport ourselves, and the Silversann and Ferragom units within. The machine summoned a series of demodands to assail us, but we persisted in protecting the automatons as they repaired broken parts of the machine. Oddly, they chose to do so by incorporating themselves into its workings. In the end they settled the machine and returned to Hest to rest and prepare.

We have not approached the octahedral gate, for it is not clear that the God Machine is operational. Its defensive matrix is not obviously active. It makes no motions. It sets no laws. The Daemons have fled, so the town lacks even their arbitrary protection. It is not clear that we have set the situation to rights.

- Hunter Wendeam of the Vaati

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The Defeat of Trobriand and Reclamation of the God-Machine

After a long hard struggle, the damage done by Trobriand to theGod Machine has been repaired.

In a sense, things have come full circle, as the clockwork lore he stole for his own use from within the God Machine has become the source of his own undoing and then repair of his own damage.

Silversann Unit 1 (aka “Silver Sam”) aided the intrepid band of Andra, Orixia, van Rijn, and Wendeam, who in turn defended the surviving Silversanns as they integrated themselves into the God Machine with the help of the Ferragans. In addition, the Arcanaloth Razalflow and his yugoloth mercenaries departed in haste. Razalflow quickly realized that he had little chance against the God Machine in Its full might, and that the loyalty of the folk of Hest was not to him but to the God Machine. Better profits would be made elsewhere. However, now that Hest has been freed from the day to day control of the yugoloth, it is unclear exactly how it can remain free from the Gith Pirate Fleet. While the would-be Admiral was killed due to the scheming of Razalflow and the hard fighting of Andra, Orixia, vanRijn, and Wendeam, it is likely that another admiral will arise, given that Razalflow is no longer around to keep them in check. (One hopes that he and his yugoloth don’t simply go to the Gith and take over.)

The folk of Hest lack a warlike bent, and it is likely that they will have to adapt.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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