Delayed Revelations

Ep18 Six Secrets of a Successful Dragon Slayer
being killed by its rider is not one of them

The dragon rose from the pyramid and attacked!
Jangles GTFOed. Gcroilar miraculously broke the enchantment that held him. Ilyana chanted as the air charged with electricity and discharged into the dragon. Crunk accepted the touch of dawn from Vandur and raged. Manifred lent the strength of Lathander and summoned Hipponius Egalis to aid in the battle. Enlarged Heyman rushed the dragon and attempted to wrestle it into submission.

The dragon didn’t like that. Neither did the rider. Both of them attacked in earnest: teeth gnashing, claws swiping, wings buffeting, tail sweeping, blade flashing. Heyman took the brunt of the attack but did not falter.

Crunk charged the rider as Gcroilar fired arrows and Manifred pierced the air with a sound lance. Heyman successfully pinned the dragon in a wing nelson but could not prevent it from crying “Puny Morsels” before bathing us in dragonfire. The smell of kentucky fried hippogriff filled the air.

The rider struck Heyman a mortal blow. He fell away from the dragon, still cursing with his last breath. Crunk seized the moment and returned the favor by sinking the bloodsword deep into the Dragon’s heart. With the dragon killed, the rider took one quick glance and teleported away.

In the blink of an eye Heyman experienced a journey to an afterlife filled with battle, ale, and women. But yet he felt a tug on his neck and heard the soft voice of Ilyana, “Come back!”

Heyman accepted.

His dwarf body slowly changed and regrew into a taller, human body. When he eventually gained consciousness and took inventory of his new physical assets, the string of dwarven curses that accompanied his death resumed anew.

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Ep17 At the Heart of Rhun Kazhai
wherein we find temptation and trouble

As we drew nearer to Rhun Kazhai, Shiv popped into existence and said, “Almost forgot- you may need this!” and tossed us a faint and cryptic map, with notes on it in an unknown language. With Lathander’s grace, Manifred was able to read it for a short time, revealing such charming touristy features as: “Underground Ruins Do Not Enter”

Jutting 200 feet out of the rocky mass into the haze was the dock, at which was berthed a 60 foot long sailing ship with arcane sigils & gossamer sails.

We detected the smell of burnt metal and a hint of sulfur.

As we pulled up to dock, two big ballistae on the other ship swiveled and pointed at us. The githyanki in flashy armor hailed us and demanded to know the name of our ship, our race and our rank. They weren’t all that interested in our answers until Heyman antagonized them . Then they welcomed us, appreciated Manifred’s angelic ass, and urged us to enjoy the hospitality at the Heart of Rhun Kazhai, but to avoid the crystal grottoes, and to absolutely under no circumstances enter the pyramids.

In downtown Rhun Kazhai, we heard the angelic song of the poor, innocent, incredibly hot half-elf Lieska. Soon after finding her, Manifred, Gcroilar, and Graphel fell in love with her. Crunk handed her 100 gold coins to hear her sad story.

Gcroilar and Jangles came up with their own specialized definition of “absolutely under no circumstances” and padded off to see the pyramids.

soon after, we heard a screeching sound and woosh woosh sound, and then saw a big red dragon emerge from the pyramid with a seriously badass quicksilver sword wielding gith mounted on its back.

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Ep16 A Shivt in the Wind
headed for a stroll, plainly

We determined that the ambush site was well established. The age and condition of the wagons suggested they had been there for years, attracting unwary travellers to provide regular meals for the trolls. Little did they expect that today, Graphel would be making a meal of them instead. In fact, he may have overdone it – there’s only so much troll blood that can fit an a little gnome’s stomach before it comes back up. And come back up it did, in a spectacular spray of color that only a sorcerer could manage.

But in an unexpected change from protocol, Gargamel was not in spew range and did not have to go for yet another change of clothes. Knowing something was not right about this, Crunk watched our fat Captain and soon suspected that he had not taken his hand from the hilt of his pointy pointy new rapier since the moment he had acquired it. When Crunk pointed that out to him, Gargamel became excited and immediately launched into an extremely lengthy and detailed account of the sword’s history. Crunk made himself comfortable and listened to every word, demonstrating once again his incredible endurance.

Meanwhile, in wolf form, Ilyana continued to inspect the area. When she reverted back, she was visibly shaken. The smell was so intense, and unnatural that it left her terrified. The unidentified nightmarish odor was burned into her memory.

All agreed that this death trap must be destroyed. Manifred summoned Pilosus Bubalis, the celestial bison, to quickly reduce the wagons to little more than splinters.

As the sun set, Graphel felt briefly sated, his compulsions quieted. Then, a new dream: he was floating, calm, in the blackest of blackness, no hint of light; then, a far-off cluster of stars emerged and moved toward him; as they drew near, he could see they were not stars at all, but all-seeing eyes!; they closed in and he knew they loved him, as he gazed at them he stiffened into stone (no, this is not that kind of dream, shame on you), before he was shattered into the dust of millions of pieces; finally, a great and terrifying toothy maw consumed all that remained of him. He awoke with a new compulsion: an unshakeable urge to eat a beholder eye!

Heyman read late into the night and finished the book he found in the golem factory. It was a tale of a rugged underdog with dreams of greatness, who persevered against impossible odds with fierce and dogged tenacity. As he reached the last sentence, he looked up and reflected for a moment before he felt a surge of newfound strength, and his hands took on a golden lustre. He knew his own path was now blessed by the gods of strength themselves.

And then came the dawn that was not a dawn. The skies remained in twilight as Manifred Gund’ark Stoneworthy II took on a brief but unmistakeable celestial glow at the moment of sunrise. All present knew at once that he too had been touched by the gods.

Delerek continued to lose patience with Jangles but passed the latest and perhaps the most trying test of his holy resolve yet as he endured Jangle’s metaphysical chicken-crossing-the-road joke without killing him.

Crunk became uneasy. Once again things were “off.” He pointed out that the ship seemed to be moving forward but the sails hung dead and empty in the windless air. Mother’s boys ignored us as they robotically went about their tasks.

It was Ilyana who deduced what had happened, when her hand passed through one of the crew and she could no longer sense Kyren the wolf. The profound sense of disconnection she felt told her that we were no longer on Toril, but now adrift in the Astral Plane.

The ship stopped and we could no longer perceive the crew.

We realized that we felt no hunger or thirst, and felt no need to breathe.

Crunk immediately challenged Graphel to a “breath holding” contest.

Jangles created a magical sound in the eerie silence.

From the crows nest, the sound echoed back at us. We looked up to see a priesty-looking guy with an uppity and camp demeanor and a very unique haircut looking casually down at us with a cheshiric smile.
Jangles climbed to the crows nest. From there he could see that Mother was at the center of what could only be described as a “reality bubble.” Being a halfling in a white suit, he pointed, shaped his ghost magic into the sound of a clanging bell and cried out, “Boss! Ze bubble! Ze bubble!”

“Forgive me ladies and gentlemen!” said priesty-guy. “I am Shin.” It sounded more like a sneeze than a word. “Not like a knee, not like a foot, but a…” and he made the sneezing sound again. Heyman became antagonistic. “Shiv?” he asked. “Shin!” replied priesty. “Shiv?” repeated Heyman.

“Shiv!” he exclaimed in a sneeze-like reply. “I like that! My name is Shiv! Not like a knife, not like an axe: Shiv!”

Shiv informed us that we would now be here in the astral plane with him forever, and was quite pleased that he had the company of “real people” after such a very long time. Crunk abruptly lost the contest with Graphel when Shiv struck a conversation with him and asked him to tell his story. Crunk happily complied, starting at the beginning. Shiv listened with great interest until hours later Crunk finished his story.

Heyman was unimpressed. “I have a story of my own. There once was a god named Kord. He told me to kick your ass. Now how do I get out of here?”

Shiv was equally unimpressed by Heyman’s bravado. “You serve me now. When you can speak nicely, perhaps then we can talk again,” at which point he faded from sight.

In the distance there was a grey dot which grew bigger and bigger. We eventually saw that it was an island of disenearthed rock perched in the midst of the eternal twilight nothingness that surrounded us. Upon it was constructed a city, surrounded by a great wall, upon which were giant stone parapets.

Gcroilar’s eyes grew large as he breathed words unfamiliar to us: “Rhun Kazhai!” and then, when he saw our confusion followed with “Gods’ Foot!”

All of us felt a chill as a sense tickling the feet of our own consciousness suggested that somehow, we were being tested.

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Ep15 Of Trolls and Trouble
wherein Graphel gets bloody

We had left Gilder with a dark sense of foreboding. The day passed as we headed north. That night, Kyren the wolf dream of great earth spirits; the effect on him was DIRE. We woke to find him three times his prior size. Mothers’ boys began work on renovations to enlarge the entrance to Ilyana’s quarters, while Graphel was in the next room suffering with the delirium tremens, calling out to mama gnome for lack of precious life-giving troll’s blood!

There were plains as far as the eyes could see. Eventually, far far away in the distance, the Thesk mountains emerged on the horizon. Ilyana looked to the sky and transformed into a hawk to scout out the lands ahead.

A cluster of covered wagons drew us to investigate. The brave and still very fat Gargamel was the first to disembark and investigate. His sonorous call, "Helloo! echoed through the empty hollow.

Graphel peered about and saw there was magic at hand, concealing a well outfitted troll! who leaped from nowhere in its thick studded leather armor and vicious sword, striking Ilyana a savage and not to mention, rather rude, and eerily silent blow.

And then, like the air after a meal of dark leafy greens, eggs, onions, and raw meat, another silent but deadly troll sprung from nowhere into the fray.

Heyman, no stranger to near-fatal flatulence, did not delay. He pinned one troll to the ground.

When Crunk saw the trolls he raged into a frenzy and carved his initials into the other troll’s backside!

We let loose every manner of beating, thrashing, shredding, searing, and lacerating until in the end we were rewarded with great green arterial sprays of troll blood! Which were quickly stemmed with somewhat unnerving efficiency by the loveable Graphel who clamped his junkie gnome mouth on the geyser of troll juice drinking it in with barely a drop spilled!

It all went downhill from there.
We found loot, patted each other on the back, looked nervously at the crazy gnome, licked our wounds, and looked again to the distant mountains.

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Iceglace Lake
a holy dawn and an unholy dusk

The next stop is Iceglace Lake, where Naianaa retrieves water for her mysterious quest. Vandur bathes in the frigid lake showing Crunk (and all others present but especially Crunk) that he is truly a blessed and pious disciple of Lathander.

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Tiny Tiny Vampires
wherein an urgent need for stirges is sated

The mighty Gargamel overhears the group discussing a trip to Icelace Lake and a hunt for stirges. “Going stirge hunting, eh?” He offers his services as captain of the magical Rock Schooner, Mother. He can offer lodging, transport, and navigation services for a small monthly fee.

Crunk is spotted by Heyman Stonecudgel and challenged to a contest of strength.
-Gargamel the Bard becomes master of ceremonies.
-Talen wagers.
-Heyman wins.
-Vandur revives crunk with the healing grace of Lathander.

The invitation to embark upon Mother is accepted. All have their own quarters (even Grim, Vandur’s porter, who stays in the stable with Gram) in the larger-than-possible below-decks, and settle in as Mother begins the jaunt towards Stirge Swamp.

En route, there is a drinking contest! Only the bravest and stupidest join in this challenge – it involves a particularly vile concoction comprising sea-urchin guts and a half dozen other odoriferous components. Among other (more entertaining) side effects, the smell attracts…

Stirges! The party is introduced to proboscisus stirgerus and much bloody flailing, flying, leaping, and slashing ensues.

When the battle ends, Graphel hypnotizes onlookers as he rabidly consumes a raw and still twitching stirge!

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Belduberis. A Good Place To Meet
You never know who'll you'll meet on the Meet streets

All meet in the tent city of Belduberus in the Northern Land of Nerfell.

One tenday each year, there is a huge trade meet here. A virtual tent city is formed as delegates from across the continent coe to do all manner of business.

By chance, our heroes’ paths intersect on a crowded street.

Crunk nearly collides with Vandur’s mule (Gram).

Maelexia, Crunk’s Halfling companion and shoulder-sitter, helps disarm the situation.

Vandur’s dracoman, Talen looks on and takes every opportunity to “earn” coin.

Graphel the gnome has seen all in a dream and implores the group to aid him in his quest to find stirges. Naiana needs to retrieve water from Icelace lake.

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