Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Diamond Sky - Session 5 (02/09/15)

There has been a bit of disruption to the campaign over the last few weeks due to holidays, illness, work and what-not. Last week the players of Skins and Zook played an explore the city style session. However, this week saw four players turn up for a recap session in order to catch up with Skins and Zook.

Karik (Half-elf) - Sorceror
Rhogar (Dragonborn) - Warlock
Salderban (Human) - Paladin (absent)
Skins (Kobold) - Barbarian
Torric (Human) - Bard
Zook (Gnome) - Ranger (absent)

Karik wandered down to the pool and watched the lepers whilst they bathed. On closer inspection he noticed that they were not actual lepers but were malnourished and covered in sores which they tried to wash away in the waters by the Forbidden Gate. One particular member of the band of outcasts took a shine to Karik and spoke to him at length. He invited him into the healing waters, and became the first person to see the albino half-elf without his all covering outfits. Karik asked whether anyone ever passed through the gates and he was told that only criminals took the one-way trip beyond. However, with special permission from the council others occasionally passed through the portals. A recent investigation by the Templars found out something very important; an internal job. Karik thanked the leper, got dressed and left a small pile of coins for the information.

Rhogar, in the meantime, made his way to the magicians' guild where he met with a tiefling wizard. Torric visited the bards' college to gather more information and then wandered around the markets where he picked up some clothing for the ex-slaves back on the ship. When Karik began his conversation with the lepers, Salderban left the Forbidden Gate in search of the temple of the Ancients.

Whilst everyone was about their investigations, a golden sphere visited them all no matter where they were and requested their presence at Arya's Hope in the Hall of Triumph.

It took a while, but all the party eventually turned up where the golden domes requested. As the party arrived they sat at the same table with a high born noble named Daowin, a Shadow Guard of Methredel (a high-ranking Templar), who asked them to partake in a mission for the city. They were to find three missing mages last seen headed towards Magnaroc. The party admitted that they had already met with and subsequently dispatched Orsini and Veross, so only one needed to be found. Daowin suggested that the renowned pirate queen Pascha Kale, recently released from the dungeons, may hold some information. She was the captain of an unruly ship currently docked in Wasters Bay, and used to be a pit fighter, so she was very handy with a knife and good in a fight. Daowin stood up after passing on the information and request, but as he bid Torric adieu he cast a small rune on the back of his hand that would show him to be on official business.

The party retired to a local tavern that Skins had visited previously and called in on her local snoop Sticks. He greeted her warmly but was reticent with what he said until the gold began to flow. The party found out that Pascha Kale was a very dangerous individual but was indeed down at the docks. She had a good trade going in illegal drugs from Oslo with Severus Dune's eldest son.

After the final encounter of the day, the party returned to the skyship via the market and mage's guild (where Karik got the rings he had taken from Veross's fingers identified and realised that one in particular was worth a small fortune). They found that Arathea had tidied the place up and made it more habitable for humanoids and Okzar had made the working areas spotless. The ex-slaves wanted to leave but, after being told the fate of slaves and ex-slaves in this city, they decided they would stay on board until the characters had finished their quest and would then be dropped off wherever they wished.

The following morning the tax collector arrived at the docks with many men-at-arms and suggested that their presence was required by the High Council. He led the party and Arathea on a circuitous route and stopped halfway down an alleyway where the party was confronted by five dwarfs who demanded to see the owner of the skyship. Vedrick, the leader of the dwarfs and king of Greymount was taken aback when the party say that they owned it under the auspices of Okzar of Magnaroc. The rest of the dwarfs postrated themselves upon the ground.

As an honour the party invited the dwarfs on board to meet with Okzar whom they revered almost as a god - Magnaroc is a dwarf legend. The rest of the afternnon was taken up with feasting and drinking from magically refilling horns and mugs, but after a while the dwarfs had outstayed their welcome and were hustled off the ship with a promise that they could come back soon.

The party secured the skyship and headed to Wasters' Bay where they found the ship that they were looking for. They espied a woman covered in piercings with a hook for a hand giving the orders. Skins approached her to make friends but she was turned away in no uncertain terms. Seeing that the friendly approach had not worked, Rhogar moved in with a menacing air but this time the pirate queen was moved to listen, but decided she would only listen to them if Torric could sing her a song of the party's renown. He did so with flair and enthusiasm.

Pascha was so impressed that she was forthcoming with much information including the names of the noble houses that Dune was dealing with:
Regan (tied to the academy of warriors)
Serath (accused of witching and dark magic, but none of the charges stuck)
Varso (a long line of defectors to the elves)
Dune (reside outside Methredel as diplomats to the elves)
Malthor, Veross and Orsini (triumvirate of missing mages who know most about ancient history and the Diamond Sky. They are all keepers of knowledge but they disappeard about a year ago on a mission for the council).
There is a need for the drug Snuff Dust for the God of the Open Hand.

The party left Pascha with the promise that they could return the following day before dawn.

Karik returned to see his leper friends where he found out that they were worshippers of the Truth of Open Hand. The member of this sect accept The One Truth; they do not lie and tell no false truths. Karik, intrigued, became an initiate of the cult.

Torric, meanwhile, managed to get an audition at the Bards' Guild as a precursor to being able to perform at the Aer Dominicum. However, he needed to get everyone in on the act so that all could be admitted to the high council. The rest of the party decided to join in and gave a great performance but Arathea, troubled by a bunch of hecklers spoiled the show by attacking them. A bar-room brawl erupted and fists and bar stools flew everywhere. Skins loved being in the thick of it until the eldritch wizardry of Rhogar brought it to an end with the death of one of the crowd. Karik swiftly made an exit with Arathea, and Torric grabbed Skins and drew her aside whilst the guard arrived and arrested Rhogar.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Diamond Sky - Session 4 (12/08/15)

This week saw the return of the original paladin player, bringing the party back to its full original strength.

Karik (?) - Sorceror
Rhogar (Dragonborn) - Warlock
Salderban (Human) - Paladin
Skins (Kobold) - Barbarian
Torric (Human) - Bard
Zook (Gnome) - Ranger

Skins and Salderban led the way back into the main chamber and made straight for the walkway and exit to the skyship. Whilst Torric and Karik rounded up the remainder of the old elf's now ex-slaves the two giant constructs carried Okzar's body and guarded the party's retreat. The paladin and barbarian worked out how to operate the elevation device and so the party came face-to-face with the skyship that would get them off the Magnaroc.

The huge hangar opened out before them and the natural rock shelf led the adventurers to a ramp and onto the flying machine. The party rapidly advanced into the hold wherein they met with captain Harlott, his last remaining crewman and the rest of the ex-slaves from the Caraway. After a brief reunion and introductions the party went their separate ways throughout the ship.

Whilst Zook stayed within the forge and Skins made herself busy in the armoury the rest of the party either hunkered down for a rest or made their way to the bridge. The shaking from the erupting volcano spurred those making their way to the bridge into more haste and so they followed the plan that Karik had secured previously to ease their way.

Whilst they passed what turned out to be the power plant room they spotted behind thick glass, through a small port-hole, a solid flame being fed by blocks of jet. Karik read up on this and how it was used to propel the ship. He was dragged up to the bridge and when there he made his way straight to the only seat available. He sat in the command chair and realised through a trick of design that he had an almost 360 degree view around the ship. He realised he could control many other things from the command chair and so pulled the lever to close the loading bay ramp. He fired up the engines and more through luck than judgement glided the powerful skyship out of its birth and into the open sky.

During the next few hours, whilst the others explored the ship and rested, Karik got to learn how to pilot the advanced skyship. A few of his manoeuvres, however, did not go down well as he only very narrowly avoided some of the floating rocks and made rather too many tight turns for his companions' liking.

Salderban and Torric were able to work out that the ship was surrounded by some kind of magical force shield that stopped the crew from being battered by the elements and also allowed the ship to glide smoothly through the air. This smooth running, along with the powerful engine, meant that the skyship could travel at least three or four times faster than the fastest of sky frigates.

Whilst the party travelled through the air at unbelievable speeds, the tasks that everyone set themselves slowly came to fuition. Everybody healed from their encounters on Magnaroc, Zook began work on forging his own weaponry and Skins, messing around with the forge fire and Okzar, managed to bring the construct to halting life; but he could only sport a small beard and short crop of flame hair. The look on his face as he entered the bridge conveyed pride in his ship and happiness that the party had figured out how to pilot the flying machine.

After many hours of travel, the lookout spotted a small floating island settlement. It turned out to be a small trading settlement with many strange ships docked. The ships were identified as water gatherers; this trading settlement gathered cloud water to barter for trade goods and victuals.

The great skyship docked beside the water gatherers and the ramp was lowered. The party strode down the ramp, leaving Zook, the two fire giants and ex-slaves as guards, to be met by Elissa, an elf ranger, and her militia. The welcome party was overawed by the appearance of the adventurers, their ship and the fire giants in the hold, but held their nerve enough to escort the party to the local tavern, The Broken Drum.

The vista from the veranda of the inn was breathtaking. A grand man-made lake shone with light from the setting sun. The party put themselves at ease and caroused the night away, telling their tales of derring do to a captive audience.

The following morning, the adventurers went to the various traders and re-supplied the ship with food, drink and sleeping materials; the ship was not designed for a humanoid crew, only constructs. Elissa put her case forward for joining up with the crew on their onward journey, but the adventurers did not trust her fully and decided to go their own way. Much to her chagrin, Elissa bade the strange crew goodbye and waved them off on their journey.

After a three day flight, the skyship crew finally espied their original destination - Methredhel. The grand capital city of spires, towers and elegant stone buildings glowed in the sunlight; a truly magnificent sight. Karik steered the skyship towards the main docks. On the way in, the great ship was guided past a great carved statue of a Platinum Dragon and the Aerodrome (an outlying rock where aerosports appeared to be played). Skins saw the young people dive from a platform, plunge helter-skelter towards the clouds below and then float back to their starting point with a tail of fire. She thought this was some kind of magic so plunged over the side to see what would happen. She did not realise that each person was equipped with a jet pack on their backs and plunged ot the abyss below. Luckily she was spotted by a flier, Ace Cloud Diver, who caught her and returned her safely back on board the skyship.

After the ship had docked and the ramp lowered, the party disembarked only to be greeted by an official and his well-drilled men-at-arms. They were quickly intimidated by Zook, the fire giants and the size of the ship. What should have been a tax-taking exercise and a laying down of the law turned out to be a nervous welcome and an invite to explore the grand city.

The party split to explore the various areas of the city that interested them, and the reason they were headed to Methredhel in the forst place. Arathea, the rescued half-elf, explained that she was taken as a slave as a young girl and kept in the Aer Dominicum where the High Council abide.

Zook headed to The Burrows to look for his loved one. Skins went down to Hang Town, the seedy downtown area of Methredhel, where she was mobbed by kobolds upon her arrival. Torric, Rhoghar and Arathea made their way to the main town where they managed to sell some of the loot found in Magnaroc to buy some decent weaponry, armour and clothing for all. Karik and Salderban descended to the Forbidden Gate where they met with two suits of magical armour that guarded the way in. Hidden in the shadows, following their every move, they spotted Ace Cloud Diver.