Monday, May 20, 2013, 11:54 AM
Tromping along at epic level can get a bit overwhelming at times, so we've taken an interlude to play through that 'Dragon' magazine pixie adventure. You know the one.
So, a swordmage, a bard, a wizard (and daughter of the pixie king) and a vampire (!) set off to vanquish the hag whose bog was threatening the fairy kingdom, and rescue the fairest fae in the forest while they were at it.
They came across a trio of bulliwugs holding a trial to convict a gigantic human of petty crimes unrecognised by the pixie realm. They seemed unwilling to listen to reason, and so had to be battered senseless. By their own incompetence, obviously; the pixies were unable to hit the toads most of the time, and relied on pratfalls to defeat them.
The clumsy human was wary of the pixies at first, and suspicious of losing his soul if he gave his name, but was won around by pixie cutesiness. He explained that his beloved had been stolen away by the hag; with convergent quests, the pixies allowed the blundering oaf to follow them around carry them around.
The path diverged around a lake, where a caged rooster squawked crazy words. The team rang the bell hanging from its prison (the bard taking the severed hand for safe keeping) and a self-rowing boat came to shore. The pixies shrank it down with pixie dust and had their human carry it in his pocket in case it was useful later. Then they set off around the lakeside.
There was a stram barring their path, and a monolith surrounded by a ring of toadstools. Once the dancing in the fairy circle had finished, they discovered that the mushrooms were poisonous. After they had finished dancing the mushroom picking dance, the bard wandered off to the stream, desperate to gather medicine for granny! The others realised that he had been bewitched by the spectres rising from the water, and while the human swatted them with his sword, the successive possession by the dead gave the whole picture away, and an impromptu exorcism put the dead back where they belonged.
As the journey continued, they passed a giant slug dragging a net through the swampwaters, so that ensorcelled otters could grab whatever trash was dredged up. The pixies attempted to save one of the animals that got trapped, but were too incompetent to succeed. They lingered long enough that they could see the hag approaching through the fog - a perfect time to head to her cottage!
The team (minus the human, obviously) flew up to a upper window of the twisted cottage, spying the captured pixie in a bottle, threatened by a candle. The wizard extinguished the flame easily, and the others fought off the few rats that came scrambling out of the thatch.
Once the window was open, getting the bottle open proved beyond their art; it kept shocking them! The swordmage went exploring during this experiment, hearing a human voice from below that was clearly that of their pet's beloved. She was talking with someone, quickly revealed to be the hag's snake familiar as it came rushing up the stairs to attack!
Sunday, May 5, 2013, 7:23 AM
There was not much time to get organised and fully rested and resurrected, as gnoll scouts reported that abominations were swarming down from the mountains, and a large, draconic form was swooping down from the sky to crash into the midst of The Red Order.
Typhon the Destroyer had taken the form of a six-headed dragon, and demanded to know what had happened to Yeenoghu. Ralvereon took credit for the kill, and Arthur tried to dissuade his brother the dragon king from his course of action. That course, of course, being to awaken sleeping caches of abominations buried around the world since the Dawn War to reignite conflict with the gods.
The primordial being of destruction was unconvinced by any attempt to sue for peace, and combat erupted.
Two mariliths joined in alongside Typhon, and The Red Order was in for a desperate struggle. Ralvereon and Arthur were burnt and dismembered by their foe - no more epic escape hatches today - and Kawaii only just managed to finish Typhon after hiding beneath him - literally, thanks to a phasing
power - and tearing out his heart.
The mariliths and other demons fled at their lord's demise, but they were overtaken by the gnolls and ripped asunder. The abomination army crashed against the walls of Nera, but led by Kawaii and Lenwe the gnolls managed to slay them all.
Now followed a time of recuperation for The Order. Three resurrections would take time and resources. The gnolls would now join the war effort happily, but there had been no report back from the adventurer team that had been sent to investigate the rise of Zu the Poisoner. That was added to the agenda.
It was also decided that it was well past time to petition the gods to have their followers aid as well. It seemed like The Red Order was doing all the heavy lifting...
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 1:18 PM
Ralvereon brought the landship back around, and once Kawaii awoke, Lenwe put out the fire that he'd been on and Shibboleth's corpse was loaded up, The Red Order sailed straight down the central boulevard of Nera, to where the gnollish ruler would surely be.
The temple, where the Eternal Flame of Nerath still burned, was currently host to a lounging group of marilith demons and a gigantic gnoll with a multi-headed flail. This latter being put a stop to the ship's progress by lashing the front of it and actually putting a significant dent in it.
After announcing himself to be Yeenoghu, demon prince worshipepd by the gnolls, the giant was content to parlay with Ralvereon. Typhon the Destroyer had not yet risen, but when he did - from a tomb in the hills - he would bring a significant force that would aid Yeenoghu. Yeah, right.
Further discourse was impossible, as the cackling hyena-headed demon attacked, The Order swinging the ship around to get away from him. He teleported aboard.Of course, we lack both an appropriatley-sized Yeenoghu and a landship
Battle was joined as the vessel raced through the streets, gnolls and demons watching from the rooftops as their god battled The Red Order. His stench and foul language kept them on the back foot, and his flail reaped through them. All fell. Ralvereon died. Then Arthur joined him.
The little ring that Ralveron had looted from Kordell's lair kicked in, the warlordrising again like a phoenix. Not to be outdone, Arthur unleashed his inner dragon king.
So now the landship raced through the streets as a giant hyena wrestled with a dragon aboard it.
Finally, Ralvereon crushed the demon prince beneath his spear, standing triumphant above its corpse. The landship dropped anchor, and an entire city of angry gnolls gathered around.Obviously, here Yeenoghu is not out of focus but merely obscured by his stink fumes. He really is that massive.
The beasts proclaimed Ralvereon to be the new Lord of Murder, and bestowed great tribute upon him, swearing to follow him in cackling howls. The warlord promised to lead them to new conquests and worthy battles. Starting with Typhon the Destroyer.
Saturday, April 20, 2013, 2:46 AM
To travel to where Tython the Destroyer had grouped his gnoll army - Nera, ancient capital of the Nerathi Empire - The Red Order fixed on the idea of travelling there in a landship. None of them was skilled at captaincy though, so they decided to recruit one.
They travelled back to Flotsam, the little village teetering on the edge of the Elemental Chaos, to see if Caseem - the genie who had taken them to the Frostspire to fight against the frost giants - was looking for employment.
The villagers didn't know where he had gone, and seemed content with their lot, fishing junk from chaotic outflow and fighting off irregular slaad incursions. Fair enough.
A sending located Caseem, but he was supposedly too busy to hang out with the world's most awesomest heroes. Instead, The Order settled for hiring on those former citizens of Flotsam who'd been sane enough to leave the place when they'd given them the opportunity. They were all experienced ship-hands (or at least boat-hands), so they should fit in fine.
En route to Nera, a group of hyena-mounted gnolls tried to waylay the ship. They proved no match for The Red Order's ranged capabilities,and were all slain, save for a single warrior - called Bitch - who agreed to guide the way in return for life.
The ship passed many gnoll encampments, the smellof cooking human flesh thick around them. Despite the urge to go and put a stop to it, Shibboleth was sure that cutting the evil at its source would be more efficient than trying to save each individual.
Gnolls had built a crude wall around the city ruins, the entrance barred by a pair of marilith demons. Shibboleth, Lenwe, Kawaii and Arthur dropped off the ship - leaving Ralvereon to steer the crew out of the way of gnolls - to do battle.
Everything was going fine until a balor dropped out of the sky and killed Shibboleth.
Sunday, April 14, 2013, 11:35 AM
The Red Order toppled the first of the warforged titans, but took such an effort to do so that they couldn't prevent more constructs and drones forcing their ways in through the doors, flooding the factory floor with metal bodies. Things began to look bleak, until Obin and his team announced that their ritual was complete. Kawaii primed the vital component that would detonate the facility and gave the team a few seconds to get clear.
Arthur cut a portal in space using the Lord of Blades' sword so that they could hustle from the chamber, but Shibboleth was caught by an errant blow and fell in the doorway, as the chamber erupted in flame, destroying all the constructs but also claiming the cleric's life. The Order and their rebel allies retreated to a place of safety, where Arthur could take the time to learn and cast a raise dead ritual.
Obin and his team - Olivia and Marcus - elected to return to the present with our heroes rather than remain in an alternate timeline that was due to be wiped out. Talking to Future Kordell was low on The Red Order's priorities, so as soon as Shibboleth was up and able they returned to Vermillion.
Shibboleth set to raising Sonata, while the next location to strike and fight against the Dragon Kings was planned. Akra headed back to Neo'vanthor. While the dragon rising against the eldarin in the Feywild and the poisoner leading the yuan-ti were of concern, teams of Paragon Compact adventurers had been sent to look into them already.
The prime Red Order decided to head off to fight the rising army of gnolls that was uniting under the leadership of a warlord that was the reincarnation - in a similar manner to Arthur - of the Dragon King Typhon the Destroyer. Anyone with the epithet The Destroyer was clearly more of a threat than The Poisoner. Likely more dangerous also, but that was hardly something to deter The Red Order!
Monday, April 8, 2013, 11:05 AM
The leader of the rescused landship-crew - calling himself Obin - paused to tinker with some of the construct-wreckage. He sent a wailing warforged-drone running back toward the approaching army to distract them. Then, after confirming that he and his two companions were the only crew of the vessel, he led the way to somewhere safe.
The Red Order was thanked for its rescue, but their ignorance of humanity's struggle against an evil warforged empire and of the beneficent figure that guided them gave the game away. Our heroes admitted that they came from the past, and were dismayed when they found out that no-one remembered them.
The Lord of Blades rose to power and led a revolt of the warforged underclass. Since The Red Order had torn him apart themselves, clearly (well, clear to someone that has Mastered The Secrets of Time Travel, anyway) this was an alternate future that they had ventured to.
When the rebels elaborated on the nature of the wizard that co-ordinated the efforts of their various cells, and his love of fire in particular, a wild guess ledto Arthur sending Kordell Thayko a sending
, to which the rebel leader replied.
The cell was going to destroy a foundry where the warforged titans were built, and would welcome the help of ancient heroes. Kordell himself would be sending his top warrior.
This warrior,wielding a two-handed axe with aplomb, teleported into the middleof the group and chopped Sonata into pieces. The Red Order naturally went to aid their new ally, but he was dead, at the hand of Kala the Reaper.
Then the killer revealed itself to be Kawaii, the very shifter that The Order had come to rescue! Turns out that she'd been trapped in the future for seven years now,and had been aiding the resistance in their struggle in the absense of Melora's voice. She had also picked up a nasty injury, with a partially-forged face, and wanted to wear a mask. Somehow, she could off-handedly afford to pay for Sonata's (not quite yet but soon for the good of warforged-humanoid relations) resurrection.
The foundry was in the ruins of Tymbarque, and Oban knew a secret way in, through the sewers. There were a few traps to be negotiated, but eventually The Order and their allies reached the central chamber, which could be destroyed by a ritual known to the rebels. The Order would merely have to hold off the inevitable tides of constructs that would try to stop them.
Arthur discovered a means of interfacing with the arcane powers controlling the complex, and was able to open and shut doors to control the flow of warriors that stormed the room. They seemed without end, and The Red Order fought desperately...
Monday, April 1, 2013, 3:16 PM
The Character Index
for this community has a few problems. It doesn't seem to correctly display the inventory of a character, refusing to acknowledge that items have have been removed or to remember that a weapon is enchanted. No custom portraits, either.
Nice to see that it can display a paragon path and epic destiny (not theme, tho') where even the character builder itself seems incapable of same.
Monday, April 1, 2013, 3:37 AM
Shibboleth and Ralvereon paid a visit to the prison cell in Hammerfast that supposedly contained Vogel Bellows. 'Supposedly', considering that The Red Order just finished scooping his gooey remains out a warforged titan that they had destroyed.
The brutal prison guard was all too happy to reveal the tiny room where the prisoner was kept, and eager to turn his back to allow over-enthusiastic interrogation techniques. Neither the cleric nor the warlord would indulge in such barbarism, and settled for merely talking to the dwarf chained up so much that he could barely move.
His appearance and knowledge matched that of Bellows, and only when vigorously cross-examined about the events at Forgepeak did he break down (requiring a ritual of calm emotions to get further sense from him) and admit that Kordell had come to him in his cell and offered a partnership, creating a clone of the artificer. Problem now was that no one knew which was thwe original.
Given the sickening conditions in which Bellows was being kept, and the useful enginerring knowledge he possessed (especially of the construction of landships, a technological development that Ralvereon was keen to explore), The Red Order organised for him to be taken into their custody, to languish in a secure room within Vermillion, far from Kordell's reach.
With that loose end out of the way, it was time to utilise Obanana'a time reaver ritual to travel to the future and rescue Kawaii! With the suitable foci installed, a team consisting of Shibboleth, Ralvereon, Arthur, Lenwe, Sonata and Akra (the Dragonborn sorcerer of The Red Order previously sent to oversee the excavation and protection of the IoNeo'Vanthor ruins, recently discovering himself to be an Avatar of Io within the fallen city) went to the grimdark futuretimes!
A landship was their first sight, exploding before them and scattering a helpless crew about as a phalanx of warforged led by a titan even bigger than Bellows' screamed about 'capturing the rebels'. The Red Order plunged into the fight, just about coping with the powerful magic wands installed in the constructs and managing to get three of the human crew clear of the wreckage.
With more warforged on the way, the party decided to follow the groaned directions of one of the injured future-sailors-of-the-land, running across a devastated and desolate landscape.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 5:03 AM
The Red Order continued their fight against Kordell and Mecha-Kalastryx, the dragon growing a fourth warforged head as it sutained more damage. It tossed Ralvereon into the lava pit, which turned out to be more of a shallow puddle. While the mpnstrosity continued to savage the warlord the rest of the party brought it down, leaving the lich to flee into the shadows and escape.
Looting the lair, a large amount of more information regarding the Dragon Kings and their possible locations was discovered, including carved representations of several prominent individuals (Typhon the Destroyer and other cheery chaps). There was also a suit of plate armour that was powered by some strange magic source to enhance its wearer's strength and senses. It seemed slightly temperamental though, so Ralvereon was cautious of using it. Still, he was more than happy to take a ring of fire resistance that was found, given the serious lava burns he was still sporting.
Shibboleth got busy drawing undead wards around each of the main buildings and the entire site itself, which took several hours. Arthur clearly didn't remember the eventual fate of Kawaii after she plunged her hand into a pool of pure elemental cold back in paragon tier, and happily bathed in the mystical fire that Kordell had bottled up in his laboratory, gaining the Gift of Fire. What horrible side-effects it would be responsible for were yet to be determined.
Taking Karl the Ghost Butler with them, The Red Order returned to Vermillion, where Shibboleth could get back to learning the secrets of time travel to save Kawaii, and Arthur could research the primordials more.
Lenwe met with a griup of representatives from faraway lands who brought news of cultists of Zu the Poisoner seizing a jungle temple of the yuan-ti. A group of lower level heroes from The Red Order's now-extensive membership was dispatched, as the main team had more important work: venturing to the future to save Kawaii!
Monday, March 11, 2013, 1:02 PM
Vogel Bellows, in his new warforged-titan bodyframe, charged into battle. Even with a small squad of artificers patching him up as the fight progressed, he was no match for The Red Order, who fought on through the gouts of scalding steam that opened up where they damaged him - the artificers were not so lucky.
Within the machine was a hideous amalgamation of dwarf and warforged, and it was given no more thought as The Order descended through a trapdoor further into the foundry.
Several Tymbarquean citizens were caged up in a den of horrors, and our heroes busted them loose in no time, gleaning from them confirmation that Kordell was behind the monstrous experiments. Arthur took a few of the tomes around the laboratory, hoping to find a way to reverse the warforging process.
The former prisoners were sent home via a teleportation circle, and then The Red Order proceeded to their stolen tower. The dragon skull mounted above the door taunted them, so they destroyed it. Kordell had taken the tower, so they checked the door for traps. A ghostly face pushed itself through the door, so Arthur screamed in fear.
It turned out to be the spectre of Splug, one time goblin comrade of The Red Order, until he turned against them and led goblin raiders against Kawaii's tribe. Even after they had killed him, he had returned as a death knight in Kordell's service. Semmingly, the lich had brought him back once again.
The goblin was content to taunt the party, as well as tell them that they should go to the basement to see the surprise that Kordell had waiting for them. Eventually he departed, and the party enjoyed a cup of tea provided by the tower's sane resiedent spirit, Karl the ghost butler. During conversation with him, they realised that they should probably find a way to release him from the tower, as the had left him alone for some time now.
In the basement (of course they went) The order discovered a pit of fire, with a gate of fire beyond it. The lich Kordell Thayko strode through the fire to confront them, accompanied by several simulacrums of himself.
He claimed to be working to stop the dragon kings in his own way, and The Order were interfering! He even brushed aside the time he abandoned them in the Shadowfell! Sonata's claims of being turned into a monster were rebuffed; the warforged procedure simply made people more awesome!
Without much of an ado, he revealed his ultimate weapon, constructed from a dragon that had laired in Forgepeak and 'upgraded' with his arcane expertise: Mecha-Kalastryx!Imagine that it has three heads
Once again, the party was fighting a menace created by its own number...