Elder Players' - Interlude 24

(from Mark) Players, Thanks for a great game last night. You all played well together, and worked towards your goal extremely well. I'd have to say that having the mind-link spell in place, and allowing for characters to communicate secretly during scenarios and fights, seemed to really assist in your success! I had more fun DMing this game than I've had DMing in awhile. I've awarded 6,000 XPs for the game! The quizes are graded, and the results and correct answers posted on the website! If you missed th quiz, and get to the next game 15 minutes early, you can still take the quiz for 1,000 XPs. Chris got 4600, Scott got 4100, Brian got 3300, and Steve got 2200 XPs on the quiz. Good job guys....

Thanks for the Star Wars book. That was above and beyond the call-of-duty, and much appreciated. I will look it over, and we can all decide as a group (after our next two games) whether to convert over to d20 or not. The book looks really cool...but so is Alternity...what to do?!?

Based on our new rules, since Scott is 18th level, several of you get boosted in level. This boost is reflected on the XP page of the website. I DON'T have this impression now, but if in the future I get the impression that this new rule is encouraging any of the players to not participate in Interludes, and just be "dragged along" by the front-runner's progress, I will get rid of this rule extremely quickly. I'm certain that everyone wants to participate in their own way!

If you are at the next game on time, you may take the 5000 XP QUIZ # 2!!! This quiz will cover the entire campaign from beginning to finish. YES, it will be hard to remember it all...but after all...you're all in the same position...and I will grade it on a curve. How's that for fair!

future playing dates page is up-to-date, and posted. SOME DATES HAVE CHANGED, SO PLEASE MAKE NOTE OF THE CHANGES!!!! I hope all of you are interested in being active in all three game worlds (Azure Kingdom, Star Wars, and Twilight Sector)...as all three of them have been an incredible amount of fun over the past few years. Before you exclude yourself...please think about what our group is about. Its about playing...having fun...creating cool stories...as a group. Its not just about YOU. See you at the games!


The Finders sat around in the room on the top floor of the "Safe House in Hell" as if you could actually be safe in Hell. Occasionally some grotesque creature wandered in scrounging for whatever they might find to their liking and had to be dealt with. Kit had taken the last watch before what one would call breakfast and those who were awakening to the smell of the feast Jeremiah had just conjured also found a small package wrapped and sitting on their belongings.

Kit began "With all we have been doing these last weeks I know most of you have forgotten that last midnight, when we freed the Paladins from Hell…it was the longest night in our world of Kempin. I am a student of prophecies and signs and I feel it was possibly a good Omen that on this night…"Rukin's Night"…we delivered these souls from Hell. Legend has it that on this night Po triumphed over the God of Trickery who was winning the battle to plunge the world into total darkness and the sun once again started taking back the day. Across Kempin to celebrate this event lights burn in every window from midnight until dawn for three days to help Po drive the darkness back from the world. Families exchange gifts of light with each other to show tribute to Po's Gift of light to the World."

"I have never taken part in this tradition since coming to the surface because I had no family. I have come to look at you as family and since I am away from my child for the first time in six years I wish to thank you for being my friends and companions. I received my winnings in gems from the Death Match with the Devil, and found a few to be much too great in beauty to just trade away. I have decided to give them as gifts on this day of triumph."

The members of the party unwrapped the package and found that each now held a lightly glowing gem that was worth at least 500 gold pieces. " For you Oren I chose a Ruby for the blood that you have spilled, both yours and from those who opposed us for the benefit of our causes. You are now the undefeated arena champion of not only Kuda-Gar but the 4th Level of Hell and who knows how many more titles are in your future."

"For Ruahdin a clear sapphire that signifies his struggle for clarity in his beliefs."

"An opal goes to Zeek to remind him of his place in the Valley of the Mists."

"A bright green emerald for Casiel to hold the hope of returning to the woods he holds dear."

"And a Diamond for Jeremiah to signify the hard line he must stand on to faithfully serve his God. Today back in Kempin they celebrate 'The Triumph of Light' and these gifts I hope will instill in you the message of it. If we hold to our beliefs and work together, Light will triumph over the Dark." With that said Kit begins to partake of the god given food provided by her friend Jeremiah.


As Jeremiah slept in the Safe house in Hell, he dreamed. First of the symbol of Hieriounous then of a shield. The shield held the symbol of Hieriounious embossed acrossed it. Out of the center of the shield seemed to be a spot of red blood. The blood grew to cover the shield and form a dragon. Once the dragon was formed it started to grow wounds. Then without notice the blood began to swirl and drip off the shield. Leaving the shield unmarked and the symbol of Hieriounous unscathed.
When Jeremiah awoke he prayed to Hieriounous for the meaning of the answer to his dream. With a chill a answer came back "look to your own".  As he continued to pray, his miracles came to his mind for the day. But somehow they seemed a little off. The other party members were stirring, and Jeremiah saw something that made his heart sink. Oren's shield! Once a shield carrying symbols that paid tribute to Heironious, the shield was now garishly painted with a dragon. The dream had been so straight-forward, that Jeremiah had almost missed its meaning. The party was in Hell, and the god that protected them had been insulted....


Zeek looked out the grimy window of the second story of the safehouse. "What sort of horrors happened there?"

Oren stood on some rubbish in order to look through a pane of glass clear enough to see through. "I'd say that whole hellish city block is gone...replaced by a big fiery hole in the ground! I am the champion of an arena that no longer exists!" Smoke rose from the vast chasm left where Babel's Tower and its surrounding buildings had stood. "That bull-headed devil really exploded nicely, I would say!" Oren laughed a deep rumbling laugh.

There were footsteps on the stairway leading from below, and the Finders scrambled to tatical locations around the room. Some took cover and others poised themselves near the stairs to strike at whatever devilish terror was accending. But the footsteps paused, replaced by a familiar voice. "It is I, Shapiro. Do not worry or despair. It seems you have been quite successful in your first mission." Shapiro walked up the stairs and into view. "You caused quite the stir...quite the stir! Draghul, Captain of Pain has been humiliated, and his favor with the Red Queen has fallen a notch. I admire your skill, kinsmen!"

Jeremiah's lip curled. "We are no kin of yours! And, as you yourself have said, we are coherts of convenience only! That is all, devil...that is all!" Jeremiah spit on the floor, and turned away from Shapiro.

Shapiro reached up and seemed to adjust the balance of his head upon his neck. "I see. Yes...I went a bit far in my joy. Its important to keep things in perspective. I agree with you priest...well said. An amazing job on your part rescuing the paladin, all the same."

Casiel walked back towards the grimy window. "Shapiro...why did the arena champion, Zoven, explode when he was defeated? The whole city block is gone!"

Shapiro laughed. "He did not explode...he advanced...he, molted, so to speak...into what the devils call..."Dev-razgur." The Red Queen's guard came and took him away to the front lines in our war with the Demons. He will serve Baator well now that he has matured. Those that were lost during his transformation will not be missed. I assure you."

Ruahdin had a strained look on his face. Just being here felt draining to him. The things he had seen in just these last hours was enough to drive a common man mad. "What is next Shapiro? We have come to destroy both the Red Queen and the Dragons' Tear, you counselled us unbidden before as to our course...now I am asking...what is next?"

Zeek spoke before Shapiro could answer, "The Red Queen is our main goal here...it is she that threatens our world...not this Dragon's Tear!"

Kit spoke in a quiet but firm voice, "You do not set our goals monk...nor do you speak for us all."

Shapiro waited a few moments to speak once Zeek and Kit were finished. "There is a window of opportunity available for the destruction of the Tear. Something I have arranged. Once the Red Queen falls, you will no longer have the time, nor the opportunity to destroy the Tear. I care little for whether the Tear is destroyed or not, but I knew that I could secure your cooperation in our mutual goal...the death of She that Suckles the Hoards of Hell...if I assisted you on this quirky side-mission of yours! So it is up to you, really. Do you avail yourself of an opportunity to destroy the Tear, or do you allow it to continue to exist and push on towards your final goal, well knowing that you might not get another chance at destroying the Tear? We must decide this matter here and now...."

(from Chris) Shapiro, what do you know of this Tear? Do you know how to harness it's power? Your nemisis on Kempin, said this about the Wyrm's Tear: "It is evil...you must destroy it. It cannot be used...but instead will use its naive user. Do not trust it...do not tolerate it...do not give yourself to it. Only through great sacrifice can its powers be utilized...and then only briefly."

Is this true? Or does your doppleganger belie us, due to our past failures? He may not trust us to use it 'correctly'. Forgive me Sir Paladin, but the need of the many outweigh the need of the one. Your calling could be to take up this burden to save us all. Ponder these words my friend and let's hear what the true Shapiro has to say...

(Reply from Mark, DM) Trapped within the Tear is the energy...the spirit...of a horribly evil and chaotic Red Dragon of incredible might. The corrupting power of the Tear is well known...to use it would be to sacrifice one's innocence...one's goodness. The power of the Tear is unpredictable, and I have purposefully excluded it from my planning...and I would advise you to do the same. If I thought there was any hope of success, I would have offered to buy or trade for the Tear at our first meeting within my tower. It has real value as a bartering tool. But, as I stated before, I resigned myself to the fact that to garner your cooperation, I would have to assist in destroying the Tear...if that is what you choose...

(from Scott) Kit moves beside Ruahdin in a supportive stance and says. "I for one would like to hear what this side mission to destroy the Tear entails. If there is some way we might gain an edge or put the destruction of it to our advantage such as causing a diversion it would be good to know. Maybe when the Tear is destroyed we might find a way to capture some of its power that is not tainted and use it to our benefit."

(Reply from Mark, DM) Shapiro laughed. Not a rude laugh, but a quiet one. "If I sought to entrap or destroy your party, it would be easy enought to prey on this want and need that you feel to use the Wyrm's Tear! It is a rare and wonderfully wicked item of incredible power...and value. But it is evil...and unpredictable, and it is impossible to foresee the results of using such an item. Oh, how you thirst to use it! Count yourselves lucky that our goals parallel each other and that I still feel some connection to our home plane of Kempin!"

The party looked at Shapiro, a look of natural distrust in their eyes. Shapiro wiped the grin from his face. "Now, now. I'm admittedly a bad man...a horribly corrupt soul, with my eye on a position as a Captain of the fourth layer of Baator. But, our plans dovetail together...and I have everything to gain from working with you...not against you. Keep a healthy level of skepticism, but don't let it descend into outright distrust! We've done well together so far...have we not?"

"I've blathered on long enough. To destroy the Tear involves placing it on an alter of one of the Nine Lords of Baator...and that is why I have arranged events that will leave the alter on this layer of Hell relatively open to you. If all goes as planned, you will be able to place the Tear upon the alter, utterly destroying it forever. When you have committed to a course of action, I will tell you more. To do otherwise is to expose myself, and unneccesarily I might add. Do you wish to destroy the Tear...or do you wish to move directly on the Red Queen...She That Suckles the Hoards of Hell?"

(from Brian) It seems to me destruction of the tear should be further considered. I attempt to determine if Shapiro has any info he would be willing to share concerning the activities of the Mad Duke of Bantroth and/or the devil dealing going on within the Island of Sir James. I ask him how sure he is that only an individual that loves the she-devil can actually destroy her. I ask him if he knows of anyone besides Belial her father who might actually love her. I ask him if he has any knowledge of means to contact presumedly destroyed devils.

(from Mark) These questions ended up being answered in game-play...so while Brian was right on track with his questions...I decided just to wait until the game to answer them!

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M. Ludwig Stinson, P.O. Box 28204, Gladstone, MO 64188