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!