Wild:30 Cycloptic Hags
Starring: Brilla, Fuelwen & Splat, Nathaniel
Guest Starring: Bo (run by DM), Cycloptic Hag Covey
Challenge: HUGE hill giants, frigid hag (Bhuer), diplomacy
Location: Bone Island
Date Played: 24 Jan 2010
Mundane morning preparations
Nathaniel: In the morning our group awakens to discover that the food stores have all gone rancid. Bo uses his divine blessings to recover the food with Purify Food and Drink, as well as casting Endure Elements generously. As I study my daily spells I remember our goals while on the island; 1) locate the missing dwarves, and 2) find the cycloptic hag on the island, who may be related to the hag who wrote the formula for our bar, the Pink Priaprism.
While preparing for the day, Bo bottles an insect with the intention of enlarging it if needed later in the day. Splat, our glowing, floating, ooze companion reveals that he can detect evil. He tells me that I waver on the edge of being a "bad guy", as he puts it.
Brilla: No matter what the thri-kreen say, I will not let them live on this island. Any food they may catch will spoil, and the land is not great for managing crops.
It has been getting colder and colder as well. Evidently none of may ancestors in my current circles have the ability to withstand the cold well, so I relied on Bo for further resistances. Perhaps in the next frigid island we come across I will pick up a nice cold weather outfit.
Giants "guard" the trail
Nathaniel: As we follow the only obvious trail, it turns away from the coast, inland. Bo, riding his bat, spots giants ahead. I volunteer to sneak ahead, as does Fuelwen. While creeping along I spot a pit trap and attempt to alert Fuelwen, who doesn't understand my hand gestures and falls in anyway.
Miraculously this does not bring us to the attention of the giants, who I now recognize distinctly as well fed, read HUGE, hill giants. The terrain leading up to them is mostly open, with a few scattered boulders for cover. One of the giants wears a pendant of some sort, which is very out of place on the rags and hides it wears.
I return to our group after securely hiding Fuelwen in an ambush position. Brilla volunteers to do the talking and I sneak ahead into my own ambush position. Brilla is able to get a little information from them, about "mommy". As part of getting by the giants, Brilla has Bo cast Purify Food and Drink on my corpse collection to feed the giants.
Brilla: Never being one for stealth, I let the boys go ahead and scout out the area while Nathaniel's creations and Bo stayed a good bit behind. Bo is getting up there in years. Soon it will be hard to distinguish him from the undead that follow us. I have to make a note to take him to a nice spa the next chance we get and have them work out the odd mixture of tight old-man skin and wrinkles.
We eventually came upon two giant hill... err... giants. Our two "scouts" went into position while I went up to them to ask them some questions. They appear to have a strong connection to maternal figures, and I did my best to act as one.
I was able to give them some "fresh" meat with the help of Bo and we were able to make our way past them. they let slip that we should be looking for a cave where mean mommy is. I couldn't convince them to absolutely turn from their task, but at least they won't be bothering us from here out.
Nathaniel: Following the trail to its terminus, we pass a large pile of skeletal remains, which we identify as dwarven. I pull a few of the skulls out that are in good shape. The party reminds me that I can't animate them, but I reply that I'm keeping them as decoration for my quarters.
Venturing forth into the cavern, I cling to the ceiling and sneak ahead. In a nearby room I spot a frigid hag. Frigid hags are nasty creatures whose powers are tied to their staffs. I return to the group, where Brilla summons an ancestor who excels at breaking things. We stride forward, surround her, and the fight begins. I descrate the area, feeling power surge into me as I summon a ghast. With but a single touch the fight is over, as the frigid hag is paralyzed.
There is much debate over what to do with hag. Ultimately it is decided that we tie her up and leave her there unconscious.
Brilla: The source of the rampant cold soon became apparent to us. A mouth of a cave which was littered with dwarven skeletons spewed forth a torrent of cold that I could almost feel through Bo's spell.
Nathanial decided to scout ahead and we were able to get good recon about the source of the cold. A frigid hag stood guard, her staff a great source of her power.
Knowing that in the battle ahead it would be vital for us to break her staff and due to the atrocities that were had to these dwarves, I summoned Aym. She was very grateful for me choosing her and showing good leadership and booned me with her combat insight. I took Fuelwen's axe in hand and we charged the hag.
As luck would have it, one of Nathaniel's undead were able to paralyze her and she was quickly knocked unconscious.
The group game to a great debate about what to do with her next. I stood back for a short while seeing if anyone was going to be reasonable, but everyone was for blood and hobbling. I was able to turn some minds into tying her up and taking her staff. We could then deal with her later if problems arose. Anyway, she made a good prisoner this way.
Nathaniel: We find a room to be filled with discarded junk, but amoung the ruins Brilla discovers a battle standard in pristine condition. The markings reveal it to belong to an archery unit.
Brilla: I was not in color-guard...
A sea of notes
Nathaniel: Further along in the cave complex there is a room that is filled with papers, written in a language that no one is familiar with. I care little for the written word, and continue on.
Brilla: I can't tell if some sort of natural disaster struck this room or if someone really dislikes the written word more than Nathanial. Fuelwen kept some and we carried on.
Covey of Hags
Nathaniel: The room adjacent to the papers room is filled with swirling lights, as it a giant geode. Once my eyes adjusted, I see three hags—annis, green, and sea, each with only one eye. They are barely agreeable to talk to, making demands without offering anything in return. I grow frustrated with them and begin to look around. There is a large ornamental tablet with 17 gems. Each of the gems represents each of the outer planes, with the central gem representing the outlands.
Brilla eventually talks with the hags, and surrenders to them everything, including my recently created Death Cunt 5. I balk at this last one, but Fuelwen says to take the cost out of the slush, and I'm sated.
Around the room there are many interesting things:
- Brilla notices an ancient painting of a modern day royal family.
- Nathaniel notices hanging above a suit of armor is a mounted Red Dragon head.
- Bo notices and copies, a lost musical score (history)
- Fuelwen notices a chess set modeled after two sides of a well known battle. A pawn is missing from the losing side. (Tactics)
- Bo notices poisonous mushrooms growing around the cave (Nature)
- Nathaniel notices the outfit of an elf turned god, Gahalaine (Religion)
- Fuelwen notices a map painted on the wall that shows a continent (Geography)
Information from the covey
Nathaniel: The covey reveals to us that cyclops are not invulnerable but are immortal. When one is killed a cyclops will replenish. The map of the continent on the wall was accurate at one time, but there is currently nothing of that size in the world today. Celestians once controlled large portions of the planet and hired cyclops to defend portals. Keys open constructed portals and each island has a native portal to another plane. Each island's topography is shaped by this portal, and the Wilding is apparently tied to this.
The hags also seek Killabron dead and offered us a large sum of money to do so. Apparently he has too much information on portals and is seeking to open as many as he can.
- What are the cyclopes? How old are they?
- The cyclopes are a race that seems to be closely tied to the land. At any given time, as far back as history remembers, there appears to be one cyclopes of any basal species. (Cross-breeds do not apply.) They are inherently immortal, but they are not by any means invulnerable. In fact, many cultures throughout history and even today are afraid of them and hunt them down. Once one is killed, a new one does eventually respawn, given enough time.
- How do the Celestians tie in with all this?
- The Celestian religion once ruled large parts of the world. Their ability to understand and utilize the portal and planar travel helped them with this. Additionally, they were able to construct their own new portals (an ability we were researching until our sister stole the notes you just returned to us). For some reason, they found utility, or perhaps ease, in hiring and training the cycloptic members of each species to do their bidding -- usually to guard their valuable portals.
- Have the seas really risen and fallen as Big indicated?
- Yes. Sea level varies. It changes, sometimes rapidly and sometimes slowly. We do not know the cause of this. There are times when the islands are larger and the seas shallower, as well as there are times when only the tallest peaks remain undrowned.
- This map on your wall? Is there really an island that big?
- Curious piece, this map. We acquired it from a limner who concentrated on maps. He also was a diviner. He claimed that his divinations revealed the landform to him. Something about it being a historic "continent". Personally, we think it's a bit absurd! However, it really does move the mind, don't you think?
- What are these keys?
- The Celestians required keys for almost all of the portals they built. They even harnessed some of the naturally occurring portals to require them. It was their way of maintaining control.
- How can I kill a constellation?
- There once was a theory we heard that the stars are other, distant, realms on our own plane. Sort of like the different layers you experienced in Acheron. It was supposed that there's this "phlogiston" that you can, somehow, escape to and travel to these other places. I believe it said that each realm is contained within a crystal of some sort, including our own. Crystals are usually breakable, are they not. Maybe if you simply found a way to destroy one of these other realms?
- Did you ladies kill that red dragon whose head is mounted there?
- No. We hired someone to kill it for us. It held some reagents we needed. This was long ago, when we were much wealthier.
- Is there a link between the planar gates and the Wilding?
- We suppose there is. We've come to believe that the more powerful (that's a relative term, we can't define it, really) the portal on any given island, the stronger the Wilding is there. For instance, Great Library in Fan has little to know Wilding power. It's one of the few places we can think of that has no known portal. Of course, we cannot confirm this link.
- Additionally, we do believe that the area around the portal does take on some of the nature of the other side of the portal.
- How did you acquire all of these artifacts? How about that fine tray of gems?
- Oh dear. We're old. We've had a lot of time here, and we were once far wealthier and more powerful than we are now. In our heyday, we'd perform services for empires, and they would pay us handsomely. The tray itself? We acquired it from a lich lord in exchange for, well, you needn't know that. Let's just say that he started his own small kingdom after that.
- Do you have any requests for us?
- Take care of Killibron. And we don't mean nurse him.
Do the Thri-Kreen live here?
Nathaniel: We tell the Thri-kreen about the island, and they agree with our assessment that they should travel on with us to Wild Tentacles, where they can be more at peace.
To Drn Tg
Nathaniel: We return to Drn Tg to inform the families about their lost dwarven loved ones. With atypical generousity the dwarves grant us their inheritance. Reading thru the paperwork, I discover why—there is but a single run down shack to inherit. I make all the legal arrangements to have the property turned into a rental property, assign a property management company, and we head to Wild Tentacles.
Nathaniel: Once landed away from the dwarven port, we make our way to visit the plateau, expecting Big and Killabron. Big tells us that Killibron comes and goes for weeks on end and that he is currently in the dwarven settlement. Bo sends the ship, via Animal Messenger, to the dwarven port so that they can have proper shore leave and tell Killibron to meet us on the plateau.
Our imaginations caught by the map of the continent, we go to the moon where we discover that many of the islands are wrong. The seem to be drifting away from each other. Not enough to cause a large issue, but if the migration continues it could disrupt the entire world!
Brilla binds Nan
DM The next time Brilla binds Nan, he warns her not to call upon Amon the Betrayer. "Amon has found a way to continue with his old ways. He has been taking control of even some of the best of your kin and doing terrible things."
Wiki update reward: 1 action piont. Nathaniel, Brilla.
Cycloptic Hag Covey: +250 GP Fuelwen
Chief Erclock: +250 GP Nathaniel
Lucenta: +250 GP Nathaniel