Light Warriors

Trial of Wits
Puzzles, and Whack-A-Gargoyle

The party continues up the staircase, again feeling completely rejuvenated as they ascend the tower. Once again they enter a room; this one has a dark, black stone floor, and a raised platform with a series of multi-colored glowing lights (one color per element). At the base of the platform, a glowing wand levitates.

The players enter the room, and Sonya grasps the wand. She feels a shock of absolute calm, and the dragonkin booms “COMPLETE THE ARRANGEMENT SHOWN AND SURVIVE.”. Then, an arrangement of orbs was displayed on the far wall, in a different order from the arrangement on the floor. At this point, a series of black lumps on the floor begin to rise.

As the battle progresses, Sonya moves orbs in order to rearrange the orbs to match the pattern on the wall. Every round, gargoyles begin to rise from the black stone floor. If they are not dispatched as they are forming, they form up into full fledged gargoyles. Every time one is missed, an additional gargoyle is created the next turn. The gargoyles explode the turn after they are defeated.

Gargoyles upon gargoyles spawn, and Sonya continues to work on the puzzle. Eventually, she completes the puzzle, and the gargoyles are defeated.

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Trial of Elements
Did not steal this from Catching Fire

The heroes ascend the tower to the next floor, and feel rejuvenated as they pass into the next room. “DEFEAT THE ELEMENTS TO CONTINUE”, the dragonkin booms. The room is split into eight sections: earth, fire, wind, water. The sections are opposite each other, with a glowy gem hanging in the middle, shining light down on the sections and spinning slowly. Every few rounds the gem spins slowly, rearranging the sections. Within the room they see four monsterous elementals: earth, fire, wind, water. As they enter the room, the Earth elemental turns their direction and attacks.

The battle plays out; the elements become aware of the heroes and attack them as the heroes move close to their square. Each section of the room is filled with one of the four elements, and each section has its own effect. For example, earth is difficult terrain and automatic necrotic damage, fire is automatic fire damage and ongoing fire damage, water limits to only at-will actions, and air doubles speed and produces a minor heal effect.

Shortly after the encounter begins, Edith appears as an air elemental dragon to fight alongside the heroes. Edith has warned the dragon guardian that the corruption of earth is interfering with the trial in an attempt to kill the heroes. The encounter is harder than designed.

The heroes defeated the elementals one by one, at which point the wall opens up across the room to yet another spiral staircase. Edith cannot communicate with the players, and dissipates, having done her best.

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Trial of Execution
What the fuck is going on!?!

The warriors rounded the curving upward spiral staircase up and entered a large room. They heard the dragonkin’s voice boom out “SAVE THE WRONGLY ACCUSED FROM THE JEERING CROWDS TO STOP THE EXECUTIONER”.

On a raised platform there was a guy on a chopping block (who wouldn’t speak to them). Below him was a sitting area with rows of benches, and at the back of the room was an executioner. The trial began, and the executioner moved up, and one bench of ‘jeering crowd’ members attacked the heroes. They attempted to forestall the executioner, but found him to be immune to attacks, push effects, ect. They defeated the first set of execution attendees, and the executioner reset to the back of the room. The next set of crowd members were animated, and attacked the party.

There were six benches full of crowd attendees, and one by one the group defeated them, resetting the executioner and stopping him from slaying the man. When they had finished, they stood exhausted, and that’s when the executioner attacked them. He was brutally strong, but the adventurers defeated him. The man on the platform disappeared and was replaced by a treasure hoard.

The wall on the opposite side from where they came in opened up to another spiral staircase.

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Into The Tower of Trials
Shun, shun the heroes

The players were attacked leaving Tower’s Edge in a very odd fight. Initially, two guys attacked Leroy, saying they had a message for him from Codrey. Once this happened, two other men (turned out to be elves) attacked those thugs AND the party, claiming they were there to take Gwyn back to Greybarrow where she belonged. (Gwyn eventually came clean and told them she “may or may not be an elf”)

The thugs and elves formed an odd alliance and said they’d take the one they wanted once everyone was defeated. Sonya got her poor head smashed up real good and went unconscious. The players defeated the elves, and one of the thugs ran away. The guard captain freaked out when he saw elven soldiers in the town, and started raising an alarm and looking around for more elves. Gwyn mysteriously disappeared, but sent a note saying she was shaken up (she was hiding from the guards). Leroy spent something like 3-4sp on retrieving messages from messengers sent to find him, in one of my favorite sequences ever.

The players left Tower’s Edge and started the journey to the Tower of Trials. The players found other people on their way there to see if they were worthy of being heroes; it seemed like some sort of party had sprung up around the tower. When they approached it the next day, the players were jeered and boo’d at they entered.

Inside was a giant dragonkin warrior who thundered at them that only 4 could enter. Plexar smarted off and was summarily thrown out of the tower. He re-entered, and Jax volunteered to stay outside.

The giant dragonkin informs them that they are to be tested to prove that they are worthy of being Heroes – she grins because she remembers when four walked these halls a thousand years before, and recognizes them for who they are. The entry room is speckled in white and black odd-shaped tiles. Each main wall (the tower is a hexagon) has a stained glass window with a different element (earth, water, air, fire), and each window has light pouring in from a different time of day (sunrise, noon, sunset, and full moon). The lights from the windows shift slowly between all times of day, but it is obvious that the earth window is always dimmest, with fire being the next dimmest, followed by water, and finally air.

The dragonkin accepted their challenge and the players ran on ahead without asking any questions.

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Unicorn!
Unicornus.. unico... one horn

The players haggled with Morgase (the witch in the wilderness) and she had them go catch some horse-things (she’s so coy). They’re unicorns. The players had trouble finding them, almost stumbled into a bear (way to go Gwyn), but eventually did. The unicorns communicated via empathy, communicated their pain and betrayal at Morgase’s madness, told them about that a long time ago a spirit corrupted the land, and turned the elves and woodland folk insane. They think this is happening again because of what happened to Morgase, and they think if the corruption is defeated the land might return to normal.

The players pretended to bring the unicorns back and then attacked the witch. They had a solid plan involving magic and misdirection and all that, but it didn’t work so well. Battle ensued, the witch called her wolf minions to her side, and eventually the players were able to defeat her (not kill!). The players bound her and hauled her ass back to Xaltoon – along the way, they noted that she was rapidly aging. Ack! Sonya wisely stops the group from bringing a tied up, unconscious, (naked?) severely beaten woman into a major town.

Back in Tower’s Edge, things had sped up dramatically. The pocketwatch allowed time to pass more quickly within its area of effect, and somehow Xaltoon was using it on all of Towers Edge. The pace of change in Tower’s Edge was accelerating – more farms, stronger walls. The population was also exploding, in part due to the smaller towns moving into Tower’s Edge for protection, and also due to a massive earthquake in the large city of Kaieng, to the West.

Xaltoon identified Morgase and said he would take care of her. He locked her in a dungeon. The players gave Xaltoon Morgase’s moonstone, which was their primary objective anyway. Xaltoon approved of the new additions to the group, and told them that they needed to go to the Tower of Trials, which had appeared to the Northwest since the last time they had visited. There they would face their first true test and regain power.

Leroy discovered that, through the power of Olidammara, he could create tasty ale and sell it for money. The players headed out to the Tower of Trials.

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We're off to see the Witch
Wait, she can't be evil, she's hot!

The players left Jaxus and followed a series of trail signs to find the Witch of the Wilderness (Morgase the Druid). There was a special tree which appeared to have offerings or something nearby which had gone unclaimed and were rotting. Gwyn lead them down the trails with some success; Leroy and Plexar attempted to do things with the rotted food, or climb trees. Plexar attempted to start a wildfire, but failed.

Upon entering the forest, they noted that the earth and fauna were rotting and malnourished. The ground was cracking and the trees were losing their bark. Gwyn climbed a tree and was bitten by an ant; upon inspection the ant was actually undead. As they continued deeper into the forest towards the source of corruption, they encountered two undead, necrotic wolves. Initially they tried to approach them or gain their trust, however the wolves attacked them. The players opted to run away (into the forest).

After running for a while longer, they attempted to climb another tree. It caused many undead birds to fly away, all in the same direction. The players followed them to a small cottage in a clearing. There were undead livestock and even an undead cat. The players forced their way into the home, and saw an undead wolf dragging a limp but live animal towards the cabin. The players inspected the cottage, but were finally discovered by the undead cat, but not before letting many small woodland creatures free. The cat freaked out and zipped into a back room. A melodious voice came from within; slightly annoyed. Morgase the druid emerged, a young, beautiful blonde woman with a cheery disposition. She pouted and the players argued over who was in the wrong. Leroy broke a lamp.

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Fresh Meat
Also, a gap in the space-time continuum

There’s some information missing here. I am not sure what exactly happened following the storytelling contest, but the players wound up, after some time, running into Plexar and Gwyn.

Plexar was the country minstrel from the storytelling contest, and Gwyn was a shadowy ranger seemingly out of her depth in strange lands. Gwyn offered to join the party because their next target was a renowned witch of the wilderness, known to Gwyn as a powerful druid. The witch had received a bad reputation lately due to failing crops and disease; Xaltoon suspected she might have gone bad. Plexar joined because he needed money, and offered the players his services in exchange for cash. Also, Gwyn only had elven coin; weird! Together, the party left Jaxus toward the South to find the witch.

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Storytelling Contest
Throwaway Game Denied

Edith decided to stay in Noye and help them rebuild. Jax opted to spend a day training children. That left Leroy and Sonya with time to kill in the Dead Cat. They noticed that there was a storytelling competition (apparently a famous one) that would give them a substantial prize, and decided to enter it. The other entrees were a nervous country bard, a famous court bard, a female minstrel adventurer, and a somber monk. Leroy decided to try and gain a competitive advantage by weeding out the competition, and wound up causing the nervous country bard (Plexar) to fail horribly due to his nerves. Plexar was participating in the contest in hopes of getting enough money to help his ailing father. Since he lost, his father died, and he never forgot 1) the powerlessness of being poor and 2) that Leroy ruined his life. Neither of these factors ever impacted the campaign. Leroy also hit up the famous court bard and ruined his carefully prepared song notes. This led the bard to be unable to play his tune correctly, and being jeered off the stage. His name was Codrey, and this also never impacted the campaign again.

Sonya wound up coming in 2nd place in the storytelling contest, and Leroy came in third. The female minstrel won the prize and sauntered out in delicious skin-tight leather.

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Some Loose Ends
Crazy People in the Woods? That's Nice.

The heroes wake up and leave Arc for the tower. Tower’s Edge has changed visibly since they last saw it – the population is swelling, new pallisades are being erected, and people are in general being busy building up defenses. Many people are working new farms near the tower. The heroes present Xaltoon with the golden pocketwatch and tell him that he has it for a year. Xaltoon is thankful, identifies one of the heroes magical items, and provides them with enough money to buy Hank’s chess set. The players set out for Mote and discover it abandoned. The last people left run the inn in town and are gouging anyone who has to stay there. A number of houses are abandoned – Jax stays in one – and notices some people walking away from town late at night. Leroy talks with some drunks who divulge that a group of people are living in the woods and worshipping some woman as a goddess.

The heroes leave Mote in the morning and head for Jaxus. Once there, the boy who showed Jax around the statue of himself is excited to see them. Jax tells him a embroidered version of their dungeon delve. Jax gathers a crowd of small children and some adults for the tale –
the adults are interested in shutting the tunnels off so nobody gets hurt. The children are not afraid. Sonya heads to Hank’s house and finds him totally wasted. She haggles with him for the chess set and gives him 300g for it. He accepts. Leroy gets drunk some more.

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Deeper in Maeve
That's what she said!

After defeating these enemies, the heroes discover that the room is a crypt and that the skeletons were enchanted to defend themselves. They find a room off to the side which appears to be some sort of study. They find a key which opens a grated door, which leads down a winding hallway into a sort of mess hall / training area. One strange thing about this area is that everything is about 75% normal size – Sonya recognizes that the beings here are Kiv, a small race of mechanically inclined creatures.

The heroes are attacked by swarms of baby spiders – after defeating them, they inspect the rooms and discover several treasures. Again they go down into the bowels of the keep, and in the next area they smell gas and ammonia. There are cannisters lining the walls and some sort of work table. These cannisters have a primitive form of napalm developed by the Kiv, as well as gasoline. One cannister was breached at some point, and killed two Kiv in the room. Those Kiv were abandoned. As the heroes inspect the room, they are ambushed by large spiders. After defeating the large spiders, the players try to open a heavy locked door but are unsuccessful. They then find a hidden crack in the wall which leads further down.

Down the crack the heroes find a large cavern; with some investigation they notice that there are large metal carts at the base. Due to their investigation, they again hear the sound of tiny spider legs hitting the rock floor. They are swarmed as they descend down the ramp from the small ledge they are on by the large spiders they had seen previously. They also note groups of small glowing sacks in all corners of the room. They fight the large spiders – smaller spiders appear which are weaker but explode when killed. Finally, after defeating a lot of spiders, the spider queen shows up. The players defeat her. They finally get a good look at the metal carts – they appear to be some sort of primitive tank. The heroes discover a large cache of gems and some magical items — they exit the cave through a passage way which leads out of the Jaxus plateau. They go onward to Arc, and sell their new items and rest.

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