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Sep 14 2012

Chronicles of Netheril, September 1st, 2012

Editor’s Note: It was previously established in our adventures that Ilikan and Nalla were a couple, and that Nalla eventually became pregnant. These facts were not mentioned at the time of their occurrence because they weren’t crucial to understanding the events taking place. At the moment they are relevant as background information.

Loudwater

Upon our return to Loudwater, Curuvar informed us that he had found a way to permanently destroy the Book of Vile Darkness. At his suggestion we first went and made preparations for a quick departure before returning to him so that he could explain our mission.

On our way back we ran into Heyana. Because Nalla’s pregnancy had progressed to the point where it would be dangerous for her to continue adventuring, Heyana had brought us a replacement; a Goliath Marauder named Mavict. The “t” is silent.

Curuvar informed us that to permanently destroy the book we had to travel to the “Well of Many Worlds” and perform the Ritual of Endings and Beginnings; for which we had already obtained the scroll. The Well was located on a mote floating in the Astral Sea; but it wasn’t just any random mote. This mote was comprised of the Astral Remnants of the Divine being Karsus.

Due to the difficulty of reaching this destination, Curuvar had arranged some transport for us. We were to travel north into the High Forest and head in the direction of Draigdurroch Tower. Along the way, there was an area that was attuned in such a way that it would facilitate inter-planar travel. We would know it when we reached it, because the Githyanki pirates he hired for the trip would be waiting there for us.

Normally, getting on a Githyanki ship would be a dangerous endeavour; but Curuvar said he was paying them a sufficiently exorbitant amount that it would be more advantageous for the pirates to respect the contract, rather than abduct us and sell us off as slaves.

We had decided that for the trip it would be better to take the whole stepping disc with us instead of releasing Ilikan and the Book from it. A furious and now evil Goliath would be very difficult to handle, and while it remained in the disc, we were protected from the Book’s corrupting influence.

Before we departed, Curuvar left us with a warning. A lot of people were looking for the Book: villains wanting to harness its power, and heroes wanting to destroy it. And although the combined damping effects of the stepping disc and the shadow magic that kept our lair hidden ensured that while the Book’s seekers could feel its pull, they would not be able to locate it; that would change the moment it left our lair. Everyone that was interested in finding would feel its pull and know exactly what direction it was coming from. We would have a great big bull’s eye painted on our backs.

The High Forest

The lands north of Loudwater had not changed since the last time we were in the area. The only difference was that this time the snow that covered the land was here naturally.

The trip towards our rendezvous point near Draigdurroch Tower was uneventful, except for a single memorable encounter. Beyond the farmlands north of Loudwater was an area of hilly terrain. When we reached that region we saw a figure waiting for us atop the tallest hill; it was a Drow. He had a pair of scimitars at the ready, in his hands, as if he was expecting trouble. By his side was a large panther. {These characters are probably familiar to most D&D fans; but due to copyright issues I won’t mention their names. Please see the note at the end of the article.}

When we got close to the hill, the figure and his panther jumped down to meet us. The panther pounced on Ash, knocking him to the ground and pinning him down. And while the world’s least interesting cat-fight took place, the Drow attacked the rest of us. He moved with such speed and agility that his blows seemed to hit all of us simultaneously.

While it did seem like he was only trying to disable us, as opposed to kill us, it was clear that we were not going to stop him through strength of arms; we would have to talk our way out of this jam.

Based on the few words, accusations really, he spoke in between sword blows, we determined that he thought we were bringing the Book of Vile Darkness to the Drow in Menzoberranzan. With a great deal of effort we managed to convince him that we weren’t working for the Drow. This stayed his hand; but only for a few moments.

He renewed is attack, only now he was convinced we were instead agents of Netheril. And while did made excellent arguments to prove that we were in fact enemies of Netheril, he wouldn’t listen.

In the end Eramus (or Drake, it was hard to tell which in the chaos) put on his hat of disguise and asked it to give him a form that the dark elf would listen to. Eramus transformed into an attractive blue-eyed auburn-haired young woman and told our attacker to stop. {This character is also probably familiar to D&D fans that are familiar with the previous two guest characters. But, again, due to copyright issues I won’t mention names. Please see the note at the end of the article.}

He was clearly perturbed at the sight of this woman and stopped his attack long enough for our previous arguments to sink in. Once he realised his mistake, he simply left.

The Astral Sea – The Trip

With the dark elf gone, we took a few moments to mend our wounds and then made the rendezvous with the githyanki pirates that were to be our escorts in the Astral Sea.

The pirates were as expected, completely disreputable, and trustworthy only as far as you could pay them. We boarded the ship after brief introductions, the pilot opened a portal to the Astral Sea, and we were off.

The pirates were very curious about the nature of our cargo, as well as our purpose in visiting a hard to find mote in the Astral Sea. Since Curuvar hadn’t informed them on the nature of our trip, we thought it wise to do the same and simple said that our intended destination was the only place where a curse that afflicted a friend of ours could be lifted. An entirely true answer, but vague enough that it didn’t reveal anything of import.

The trip was going smoothly, but as usual, our luck did not hold. Out of nowhere, and simultaneously, the ship was accosted by no less than seven groups that were after the Book. There were some demons; some slaads; undead of course; and two separate groups of devils, one led by a Pit Fiend; that wanted the Book to further their nefarious purposes. A party of adventurers and some Astral Hunters were after the Book in order to destroy it. These latter two looked to be of the “stab first and don’t bother asking questions” variety, so we counted them as enemies.

Of course, the pirates learned what our cargo was and turned on us. A contract is one thing, booty capable of granting you god-like power is another.

The fight we now faced was un-winnable. There were at least 20 foes; most of which were as strong, or stronger, than we were. The Pit Fiend could probably swab the deck with us on his own.

At this point, Ash came up with a brilliant plan to turn the odds in our favour. Since all the various groups on the boat wanted the Book for themselves they couldn’t just take it from us; they would have to make sure no one else did. So if we hid below decks and let all the others fight over the Book; whichever group was left standing at the end would be severely weakened. At that point we could simply come back up on deck and curb-stomp the survivors; or since we were on a boat, railing-stomp them.

But before we could put the plan in effect Mavict, who has an extreme hatred of traitors, killed the pilot in a single blow; sending ship out of control.

Eramus had noticed that our destination, a mote formed by the remnants of Karsus was looming on the horizon. He grabbed the stepping disk, and taking advantage of the confusion used the power of his flying boots to leave the ship and head for the mote.

Now that our ship was out of control, our approach was too fast; it was being pulled in by the mote at an alarming rate. In a matter of moments, the ship crashed and shattered on the surface of the mote.

The Astral Sea – The Mote

When we woke up we found ourselves alone in the wreckage of the ship. Eramus was nearby, having been knocked down by a piece of flying debris. None of the other beings who were on the ship had survived. Most of the boarders had been located on the part of the ship that impacted the mote. They would have died instantly. The others were on the opposite side of the ship and would have been launched a great distance upon impact. Their landing would most likely have been quite fatal as well. We must have survived because we were amidships; in a buffer zone between the deadly extremes. The pirates, who were also amidships, must’ve died because they were as strong as us.

The noise of the crash had attracted the attention of nearby residents of the mote, and soon we found ourselves surrounded by a Dire Bulette and a group of Astral Giants.

Despite barely having time to regain our senses after the crash, we were able to defeat these new foes. We killed the Astral Giants and the Bulette, not wanting to suffer the same fate, ran away. It did help that the ship had crashed into some kind of fortified building. Two of its defensive towers had survived, and atop each one was a large ballista. The siege weapons were very effective at penetrating the Astral Giants’ armour.

Now hopefully will be able to rest for a few minutes. Gods know we deserve it.

Editor’s Note: The characters of Drizzt Do’Urden, Guenhwyvar and Cattie-Brie; alluded to above, are the copyright and intellectual property of R.A. Salvatore, Wizards of the Coast, and possibly others.

They are included in this blog post because our DM used them during the gaming session described. He needed a guest character that could quickly and easily disable our entire 6-member party and remain believable while doing it. Since all the players were familiar with Drizzt to varying degrees, he was the best choice. Another player came up with the idea of using Cattie-Brie as a distraction.