"A Fiery Path" - December 14th, 2002
TIME, PLACE, AND 5000 XP QUIZ!!!
Our next game is at Chris' house at 5:00 pm on December 14th, 2002. In the interest of encouraging everyone
to read the recent interlude and game materials...there will be a 5000 XP QUIZ at the next gaming session. The
quiz will cover all material that has a dark red block behind it on the Elder Players page of the website. Consider
it a reward for keeping up on the game...and for being on-time to the game. 5000 XPs!
At 5:00 pm, I will hand out the quiz for completion. If you aren't there when it is handed out...you don't get to take the quiz. You may even consider getting to Chris' house a little early just to make sure you don't miss out on the 5000 XPs possible on the quiz. Get there at 5:05...and you lose out! See you there, Mark Stinson
STAR WARS CHARACTERS
First of all, our current campaign will not be ending...we will still be playing these "Finders" characters...and
that is not in danger of ending in any way. There....with that said, I would like you all to bring your Alternity
Star Wars characters to the next game so that I can look them over. I have been looking at the old Star Wars campaign
materials, and I had a hankering to run a Star Wars one-shot or short series of games on the side. SO PLEASE PLEASE
BRING YOUR ALTERNITY STAR WARS CHARACTERS TO THE NEXT GAME. This is more of an assignment, and less of a request.
If you never had an Alternity Star Wars character in my Star Wars campaign, please contact me regarding what sort of character you would like to play in a Star Wars game. Brian, Jeff, Matt, and Mike H. (though you played Jocko Mar...and could again if you want) are all in this position. You guys just need to e-mail me with what sort of Star Wars character you would like...alien warrior, servant-race to the jedi, armored mercenary, smuggler pilot...whatever you can imagine. Or if your real adventurous, you could roll up your own character using the Alternity rules. ONE WAY OR THE OTHER...PLEASE BRING ME A STAR WARS CHARACTER TO LOOK AT AND MAKE PLANS FOR. Thank you, Mark
THE HOODED MAGE'S MISSIVE
Finders…I promised to give you what information I could piece together. I'm extremely pressed for time, so allow
me to be brief.
In Baator, sympathy withers and malice blooms. The rule of law reveals evil's heart. Those educated in the planes call this realm Baator, or the Nine Hells…but the common man calls the place simply Hell. Asmodeus, the Lord of the Nine rules from Nessus, the bottom level of the nine layers of Baator. I won't bother much with describing how the layers fit together…for it is my understanding you plan to remain on just one of the layers…Phlegethos.
Phlegethos is the fourth layer, and it is a place of fire and pain. Twisting red-hot tunnels of rock… steaming pits of boiling water…huge cavernous rooms with tall steep walls and cliffs…hot air buffets everything…it is hard to breath the hot sulfurous air. The most frightening feature is a huge glowing lake of molten rock. In the lava are dark shapes…thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of humans…and the smell of burning flesh fills the air. Men and women flop and struggle as they burn…and burn…and burn, without end. Clouds of flies swarm in the air, occasionally descending to the tortured humans below and feasting on their human flesh. Filling their eyes, noses, ears, and mouths with a mass of black wings and legs.
A twisted city called Abriymoch (a-bree-mock) rises from the edge of the lake, up the towering walls of the super-heated cavern. At the very top of this city there is a large tower, and it is here that the six captains under the Red Queen meet and make their plans, in order to better serve She That Suckles he Hoards of Hell. Within the city of Abriymock you will have some protection from the heat and flames on this layer of Baator…but almost everywhere else on Phlegethos is deadly to any mortal that remains their unprotected. Within seconds they are suffering, and within minutes they will combust and burn.
The Red Queen wanders among her devils, culling the herd of any that do not please her perfectly. She allows many of the details to be handled by her captains, who are constantly warring against each other politically. Though there has never been any plots against the Red Queen that have succeeded, it is whispered that the death of her father, Belial, was due to her own plotting. The Lords of Hell can be pulled from power, but it is always by someone more organized…more evil…striking them down from below. This may be where your efforts should be focused.
My studies revealed the following captains to be in power when Belial ruled Phlegethos, though certainly there must have been a major shake-up when She That Suckles the Hoards of Hell took her father's throne. It is very very likely that not one of these captains are still in power…or even possibly in existence in Baator at this point. But for what it is worth…
MIRZAXAX, CAPTAIN OF THE BLACK CLOUDS - The first captain has a huge bulbous body covered in sharp spiney hairs. His head is vaguely insect like, with horrible pincers and large mirrored eyes that reflect the fires of hell.
FIKHORALETH, CAPTAIN OF LIES - A man with handsome features, his skin, hair, and eyes are solid glistening black. He is considered extremely attractive in Hell, and even most mortals would consider him horrifyingly beautiful.
DRAGHUL, CAPTAIN OF PAIN - The fourth captain appears male, and has pale white skin, solid black eyes, hundreds of small metal spikes sticking out of his skull and joints, and wears a black leather outfit with lots of straps.
XACHATH, CAPTAIN OF THE WORMS - The fifth captain should have the long segmented body of a centipede, with numerous powerful arms and legs writhing about its body. The face of Xachath is vaguely male, with no hair or nose.
MALVORITH, CAPTAIN OF THE HOARDS - The sixth captain should appear in every way to be a living human skeleton, except that his eyes are large wet human eyes floating in his bony eye sockets. He wears long red and orange robes, with a simple black sword upon his side.
BELIAL, THE RED KING - The Lord of this fourth level of hell was fairly human looking, except for his bright red skin, glowing red eyes, sinister mustache, two horns on his head, and knee joints similar to that of a goat. It has been surmised that his daughter has taken Belial's place, and that Belial may have befallen a plot upon his rule and his existence.
Good luck my friends…guard your souls.
Shapiro…the Hooded Mage
HOW TO SERVE HUMANS
Zeek fumbled around in his bag for the book the Raksasha had been reading. Nothing was without a purpose with
the tiger-man. Nothing was "outside the plan." The Raksasha would not have led the party to that pitiful
hole in the ground…were it not to deliver someone, something, or some bit of information to the party. Zeek had
shoved the book in his bad without flipping through it…because he was repulsed by the title…and its double meaning.
Was it a cookbook on how to cook and eat humans, or was it a guide book on how to better assist and help humans?
Zeek had assumed it was a cookbook…and why wouldn't he!?!
Zeek untied the books leather straps, and opened the tanned leather covers. Zeek carefully read over the title page..damnit…it was a cookbook. Zeek felt his stomach turn. The first few pages didn't make things better, for the book was illustrated! Then Zeek felt what he had only hoped for…the book had a hollow space cut out in the center of it. A hiding place…but for what?
Zeek put the book down on the ground, and began turning pages with a long stick. Finally…the hollow space was revealed. It was filled with diamonds the size of plump cherries, and they shone like bright stars. Zeek scratched his head. "What good is treasure at a time like this?" Carefully, slowly, Zeek picked up one of the diamonds, and he felt immediately sad, and somewhat drained. He dropped the diamond and shook his head to clear it. "What curse is this?" Then Zeek saw the tiny corner of a piece of paper…a note…sticking up out of the pile of diamonds. He carefully pulled it out, and read it:
"My little brother…I wish you luck on your efforts to keep the devils within the Seal! We wouldn't want to let my lover into this world without my involvement…now would we. These orbs of crystalline purity are actually the tears of angels…gathered with much joy by yours truly. They are very fragile…and when thrown or broken against someone…they inflict all their potential pain and sorrow upon that someone. Don't be in contact with them when they shatter…or you too will suffer what they have to offer. There are twelve angel's tears here…I would have been able to give you more…had I had more time to torture the gorgeous little celestial I keep bound in my dungeons! Good luck, my brother…happy hunting!"
It was decided. The Finders were going to use the scrolls from the Librum Nefarium and gate to Phlegethos, the
fourth layer of hell. With a prayer and gulp of air, as if they were jumping into the sea, each hero launched into
the gateway not knowing what awaited them beyond.
In this place of fire and pain, the atmosphere does not support life from the prime material plane. The city offers some protection from the elements, but not the evil that lurks within it's walls.
The party appears in the streets of Abriymoch (a-bree-mock). A quasit hovered above the party and said: 'Do you remember Jot…you favored me long ago.' The Quasit pointed at a black obsidian tower in the distance and said, 'Sanctuary awaits you in that tower…get there or you will surely die.' A few of the party members recognized this Quasit named Jot as the imp they captured and then freed in the Sunless Citadel.
The party was in a crosssection of streets with devils on all sides of them. "How did they know we were coming!?!" yelled Kit. Zeek responded, "Like the Raksasha, their agents are everywhere." The creatures began to close for battle. Osytheluths, they were believed to be…with scorpion tails and claws. And leading the Osytheluths were huge devils with large iron plates bolted directly into their flesh. There was much gnashing of teeth and babbling.
Jeremiah, quickly put up a blade barrier and Kit errected a magical Wall of Iron. Oren was dazed from summoning sickness and was not able to attack. Casiel changed into a bird and risked becoming prey to hungry quasits and whatever else hell has to offer. Zeek quickly went into action attacking one of the larger iron-plated devils with a flurry of 5 thunderous blows. His fists seemingly turn to the Azure stone as they hit their target. The paladin, having recently been graced with his holy powers, brought to bear his god's might, smiting two of the lessor creatures.
The cleric of Heironious thought better of battling all of hell's forces and wind walked the party towards the black obsidian tower. As gusts of wind, the party departed, flying 60 feet above the buildings. Half way there, Oren, fell from the group like a sack of potatoes and crashed through a 3 story building. Jeremiah's voice was like the sighing of the wind, "This plane of Baator does strange things to my magicks...."
The party flew down to save him, and saw that a several iron-devils were closing in on Oren. They had to wait several seconds for their bodies to materialize. Oren battled the devils by himself, until the party was able to physically come to his aid.
The battle began again with iron-devils and the devils with stingers for tails. Kit threw multiple lightning bolt spells at the top of the stair, Oren slashed away with his axe, the paladin Ruahdin and Zeek defended the windows, and Casiel hid in his bird form. This time the iron-devils were able to unleash their magic. Hot billowing clouds of ash came through the Oren-shaped hole and up from the stairs, filling the entire room. The party stayed only long enough to cast a 'walk on air' spell on Oren, and escape by air.
They made it to what came to be known as Shapiro's tower or as the party knew him, the real Headless Hooded-mage. The lodging was in the style of the old Empire with chairs and lounges strewn about.
Several things were learned from this headless mage. He owes Vikos for his current success, because it was Vikos that killed him those 13 years ago, and sent him to hell. We aren't sure if he wishes ill of Vikos or is truly wanting to shake his hand for killing him and beginning his career in Baator.
Shapiro gives the party a key to a safehouse and says he will aid us in our quest to bring down She-that-Suckles the Hordes of Hell. But, we must wait until we are ready. He tells us of Kreeg, the old warden of the prison where Thorn's Paladins are being held on the Isle of Moans.
At the tavern, "Babel's Tower," Kreeg agrees to help us, but, we must battle his champion with one of ours in gladiatorial combat. It is decided that Zeek will go first to test Kreeg's champion and see what it is capable of. Oren will be sent in to clean up.
It is learned that this champion is some kind of minotaur-devil named Zoven. He has been here for 200 years and has never lost. Also, this thing is some kind of larva, but that it hasn't molted or changed in it's 200 year reign of the coliseum.
The fervor of the crowd has Zeek and Oren worked up into a sweat. Fear is not known to exist in these two warriors. However, it has been said that to die in hell is to condemn your soul for eternity.
Zeek went into battle, pumped by spells from Casiel, Kit and Jeremiah. He was stronger and quicker than he ever was before. His strategy was to disarm his foe and hopefully inflict some amount of damage before he was wasted. He succeeded in his goal but was humbled by the fact he was unable to do any sustaining damage. Zeek used dimensioned door to grab the monster's weapons and jumped back into the stands.
It was Oren's turn to vanquish this evil. Oren jumped down into the pit and looked up at the crowd and yelled a dwarven war cry. The giant creature dwarfed the all ready squaty dwarf and had the edge in reach. Oren ran under his legs and attacked him from behind. It also but Oren between the monster and the guards bringing more weapons. The creature then bull rushed Oren into the gate, breaking a few ribs. Rhuadin winced in pain as he took half of what Oren was taking through a transfer spell. With no weapons, Oren made quick work of the beast. He felled him and everyone started to run away as if the thing was going to explode, which it did.
The blast took out an entire city block. Kleeg said he wanted us out of his sight. He was concerned that he would be blamed for this mess and didn't want any "primers" stinking the place up. He paid up his debt to those that had wagered on Oren and Zeek. The coin was in Platinum, stamped with the likeness of She-That-Suckles. Kleeg indicated that we needed to take the tunnel under the lake and not over it. We would be too visible riding on the stone vessels.
At the top of the stairs that led to the tunnels an old devilish man was attending. "Where's your papers?" he yelled. We tried to talk our way in but failed miserably. Zeek decided to use one of the celestial tears to bribe the pesky bastard. Zeek reached into his tunic and pulled out one crystal. He held out his closed fist and dropped it into the devil's hand.
Even as the man's arm turned black and his eyes rolled back into his head, Zeek still thought he had succeeded in bribing him. "Alrighty then, that work quit well. It must be like a drug to them…hmmm." As the devil lied there paralyzed in pain, it muttered, "Zeeeeeek, I'll remember that name. I will get you…" cough, weeze, splat.
Just to be sure, Oren dropped one of the celestial tears into the old devils mouth...causing more pain! Kit
shape-changed herself to look like the old devilish man and on we went. To this day, Zeek still believes he bribed
that old man. The disguise got us in the next secured area of the prison.
Jeremiah scryed Phenious Thorn and we were able to locate him and 28 others. We bribed 6 more Kyton guards for four hours of torture time which gave us time to figure out how to get them home.
We set bones and loosened shackles for 4 hours. When it came time to read the scroll, we opened the gate and had two rows of paladins run through it and return to Kempin. Most will make a full recovery. The others will need continuous support for the rest of their lives.
The party slipped back into wisps of wind and headed for the safe house. Part one of our mission was complete and sucessful. The other two parts still remained a mystery. We needed to find a captain to ally with us. Hopefully that will be Jack Skull, the Captain of the Hoards. A lower priority is to destroy the Wyrm's Tear.