Rise of the Forgotten Kings

Session 32
Nevermore!

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Separated by the doors to their rooms, the members of Team Trust find themselves in deadly one-on-one (or two) mortal combat with members of the Red Knives, sent by their new leader to take out Slink and his team. Outflanked and outnumbered, the group does their best to regroup and take out their attackers, but are clearly on the losing end of the fight.

Suddenly, bursting through a window comes a mysterious shadowy figure, who quickly turns the tide of battle and sends the Red Knives packing (for now). Without a word, he leaves just as quickly as he came, and despite Slink and Rayne’s best tracking, he disappears along the roofs and back into the shadows from whence he came. A quick inquisition at the tavern downstairs reveals this to be the Raven, a Batman-esque vigilante working to rid the streets of crime by taking out Red Knives and other criminals in LoTown. He is sought by the Baron’s Boys, HiTown’s specialized City Guard tasked with hunting down illegals.

But with the wedding now only hours away, Team Trust must quickly figure out a means of bypassing the Baron’s Boys and entering HiTown, not to mention getting into the wedding itself. Seems they have their work cut out for them.

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Session 31
Brain Food: In the Lair of the Mindflayers

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" Itto! Run!"

Rayne, atop the airborne Wolf, pleads with the Half-Orc to sheathe his sword and flee from the group of brain-eating Mindflayers slowly moving in for the kill. Itto, the fearless Paladin (literally, they don’t feel fear), stands his ground, preparing for battle. Moonstalker, Itto’s mount, is still above-ground with the rest of Team Trust, telepathically relaying the events and acting as a sort of living short-wave radio to the Underdark below.

As the group all attempt to convince Itto to fly away, the one of the Mindflayers latches its tentacles onto his head, attempting to suck out his brain in one movement. Itto is able to shake off the monstrosity, but others are closing in. Rayne yells to him that they have greater evils to face, and if Itto should fall now, he cannot help avenge the dystopian future in which they now find themselves. Appearing to come to his senses, Itto begins to use his winged boots to fly, but is alarmed to find that the Mindflayers are capable of levitation as well, as give pursuit. He fends some off, but they begin to swarm him.

Suddenly, a volley of fire-burst arrows Raynes down (get it?) from above, and the Mindflayers hiss and retreat. Itto looks up and gives a thankful nod to Rayne, and the two escape the Underdark with their brains (mostly) intact.

On the surface, the rest of Team Trust has prepared for the teleportation trip to Draken’s Point, as they wedding is fast approaching and they wish to be in attendance, for reasons which seem clear only to Slink. Reunited again, the group attempts to teleport inside the city, but are only able to get to the outskirts, having been prevented entry due to an anti-magic field surrounding the city walls.

They find themselves in an encampment outside, a sort of line up to the main gates, with merchants and travelers waiting to get into the city for the wedding of Rhegar and Isara. Upon speaking to a few of the people in line, they learn the following information:

- Draken’s Point is a neutral haven open to all races, where the Racial Council meets regularly to discuss matters of the land
- The city is ruled over by Baron Baxter Highcastle, supported by his various Lords, who each watch over a region of the city
- Since the time-jump, Draken’s Point has been split into two regions: HiTown, where the Baron and the rich reside, and LoTown, where the poor and sick are kept. A wall divides the two regions, and travel between the two is all but impossible
- Despite being a bustling city, crime and corruption are rampant, and information is the currency of the land (meaning that bribery and extortion are the means for progress)
- The most powerful crime syndicate is the Red Knives Thieves’ Guild, Slink’s former comrades
- Both Hi and LoTowns have their own arenas, fighting pits where death battles take place for the entertainment of the populace

Attempting to gain early access to the city, Team Trust learns to seek the aid of the rogue Nornerous Light-Touch. They bribe a guard at the gates to introduce them to the man, and the guard directs them to a sewer hole at the walls of the city. Upon approaching the grate, they hear a whispering voice coming from an invisible presence, who introduces himself as Nornerous, and agrees to let them into the city in exchange for gold, which Slink reluctantly parts with. The rogue opens the grate and points Team Trust in the right direction.

Sloshing their way through the sewers, the team is chased down by a group of decrepit undead creatures riding giant crocodiles. Despite Itto’s best attempt at diplomacy, the creatures advance, and Team Trust, rather than face conflict, flees behind a locked door, which they put all their weight against as Slink and Quinn figure out a strange lever puzzle to open the next door. They do so just as the crocodile-mounted undead burst through, giving Team Trust barely enough time to clamor up the ladder out of the sewers and into LoTown. It would DEFINITELY be the last time they spent an extended period in the sewers! Right?!

Popping up in LoTown, our heroes notice hordes of homeless Mongrelfolk warming themselves over burning rubbish bins. The air doesn’t smell much better than it did down below, and the streets are littered with…litter. But it’s late, and the group wants only to rest after their trying day. They head to a bar, where Slink and Itto shake down a man to find the location of Slink’s closest ally: the former Red Knife-turned-royal chef Torblud Tusken. In the process, they out themselves as the last paladin and a former Red Knife, and everyone in the bar flees in terror. But the shake-down is successful, and Slink learns that Torblud is head chef in the Hall of Pantheon, home to the Duke.

Heading upstairs to an inn for the night, the group finally gets a moment to rest…or so they think. As they begin to rest their eyes, the doors to their individual rooms fly open and a group of darkly-clad rogues enter, all carrying small red-colored knives…

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Session 30
Let's Yu'in Me Escape This Volcano!

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“Ach! What a crick in the neck!”

Team Trust stands there, perplexed, as a stout creature clad in arcane symbols appears from the smoke of the lamp.

“And who might you be?”

“Not You-be! Yu’in! Of Clan MacGregor!”

Through a long, confusing conversation, Team Trust discovers this being is not a wish-granting genie at all, but a trapped Outsider spirit; a dwarf wizard who left his non-magical dwarven home years ago to study the arcane arts, and was magically trapped in the lamp many millennia ago, by none other than the evil vizier Shardic. He idolizes elves, especially the hot little number Rayne, who he mistakes for the goddess Ehlonna. He seems to have some distrust of the Half-Orc Itto, thinking him to be Gruum reincarnated.

With nothing better to do, Yu’in decides to assist the adventurers in their journey. The only caveat: without a body of his own, he must inhabit the body of another. He chooses Quinn for the time being, and once his spirit is within Quinn’s body, the features change to match Yu’in’s.

As the group gets acquainted to their new friend(?), a rumbling is heard, as the volcanic lava below prepared to erupt. The group hurries onto the magic carpet and attempts to flee through the roof, but as they escape, ash spews forth and knocks them in every which direction.

They awake days later and, realizing the wedding is now only days away, decide to quickly check out the Post (where the 40 Thieves gang was said to be located), and then teleport courtesy of Yu’in to the wedding in Draken’s Point.

However, in place of the Post, they find an enormous hole in the ground, which Yu’in the Dwarf recognizes to be a passage to the terrifying Underdark, a realm underneath most of Tarragonia filled with nightmarish horrors. Not to be swayed from their goal, Itto and Rayne venture down via Itto’s new flying boots and Wolf.

They quickly fend off a flock of bat-like Cloakers, and just as their eyes adjust (using Darkvision), the spot several cloaked humanoids approaching, whispering with outstretched hands to Itto: “The lasssst paladinnnnn….”

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Session 29
Be Efreeti. Be VERY Efreeti.

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Evil attacks!

Lava bubbling beneath them, and the triple threat of former-ally-turned-lich-sorcerer Nilochan (Ni-lich-an?!), the vermin mage Squirm, and the Efreeti himself, Team Trust draws their weapons and prepares for perhaps their most violent battle to date.

Slink, thinking quickly, grabs the golden lamp and narrows his eyes at Squirm, who transforms into a giant scorpion and scuttles underneath the platform. Their new ally sorcerer, Quinn, targets the former ally sorcerer, Nilo, with a giant boulder. The rest focus their attention on the Efreeti, who promptly vanishes from sight, hitting them with blows from an unseen vantage point.

Eventually, Slink is able to pry the Squirm-pion from the wall, but before plummeting into the lava, Squirm is picked up by a giant bat and flies off, swearing vengeance against Slink and “his girl”. Likewise, Ni-lich-an and the Efreeti are eventually defeated, with the soul of the former disappearing into a magical artifact around the neck of a dark version of Snowl (nega-Snowl?)

Finally free of the threat, Slink cautiously unlocks the cage in which the golden lamp is being held and rubs it, fearing the worst. The lamp shakes, rattles, and rolls, and a brightly-colored gas begins pouring out…

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Session 28
Phenomenal cosmic powers! Itty bitty living space!

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From amidst the gold hordes appears a large lizard which Rayne identifies as a deadly Basilisk: a monster with a petrifying gaze, which can turn creatures to stone, or in this case, gold, with but a look. Avoiding eye contact at all costs and firing mostly blind, Team Trust is able to avoid this frozen fate and dispatch the monster, only to find that another appears…and then another. Each time one is destroyed, another rises to take its place, and the boiling lava pit in the middle of the room bubbles yet higher. Finally, a high Wisdom check from Rayne reveals that the only way to stop them is to destroy both creatures at once, which will cause the lava pot to overflow and open the door to the next room. A few well-timed shots vanquishes the foes.

Before moving on, the team finds a convenient flying magic carpet in the room, which they bring along for the ride to the final room: a pedestal along a narrow path from the entrance contains the prize the seek: the magic lamp. Below the path is a giant pit of lava, and overhead, a round hole.

Using a newfound phantom-like power, Slink teleports in a puff of smoke over to the pedestal, only to find two lamps: the black one atop the pedestal, and a golden one locked in a cage behind it. Remembering the note from earlier, Slink grabs the black one and shakes it vigorously.

A cloud of magic pink and purple smoke pours from the lamp, swirling around Slink, until a strange figure who calls himself Efreeti materializes in front of Slink’s eyes, cracking jokes and morphing into several hilarious characters. He seems nice enough, the group reckons, and are overjoyed to hear that Efreeti will allow them to make 3 wishes. They allot these wishes to Slink, Itto, and Jil.

Itto’s wish is to resurrect their fallen comrade from ages past: Nilochan. The Efreeti rubs his hands together and proclaims it done.

Slink wishes for the immediate and violent murder of their enemy Squirm, one of Dracarys’ Five Fingers. Again, the Efreeti proclaims this done: Squirm, with surprise on his face, is transported into the room and immediately crumbles into smoke.

Finally, Jil wishes for ultimate power as a spell-caster: the ability to cast every spell known as often as she likes. “Done!” says Efreeti, with a flourish.

For a moment, nothing seems to be happening. But then, a rumbling sound is heard, and a portion of the ground gives way as something arises from the earth: it is Nilochan, but somehow changed. His eyes are dead, and he walks with a frightening limp. As the group watches this with horror, the ashes of Squirm reanimate and coalesce to form a newly-living Squirm, who likewise sets his eyes on Team Trust.

“I never said just how I’d get your wishes done, did I?” says Efreeti with a villainous grin, as he too begins to descend upon our adventurers, who now find themselves completely surrounded…

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Session 27
A Diamond in the Rough...

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In front of the enormous puppy-head made of sand appears an enormous hole in the desert, with the imprint of the face of Gruumsh, god-king of all Half-Orcs. Out of his mouth spews a series of Dire Jackals, also made of sand. A quick battle allows Team Trust to finally enter the Cave of Wonders, where they hear bats overhead and see grandiose statues of Orcs and Half-Orcs holding enormous great axes. Recognizing this as a trap, Slink quickly disarms the ax-swinging statues, and the team progresses to a room filled a large dark pool with a whirring fan at the bottom.

Using her Darkway spell, Jil creates a path over the lake to the other side, where a locked door appears to be connected to several levers operating the fan and the level of the water. After several attempts to figure out the riddle, the gang enters the water to get a closer look and is immediately attacked by a huge aberration which Rayne identifies as an aboleth, a tentacled water-dwelling monster. Grappling several party members and dragging them underwater, the aboleth defends its home viciously until being murdered-to-death by Team Trust (largely due to several volleys from Rayne’s electricity-induced arrows).

Having bested the beast, Team Trust takes their sweet time to finally figure out the water-level puzzle and accesses the next room: the gold horde. Slink’s eyes grow wide, but they remember the warning from the Half-Orcs stating that they are to take ONLY the magic lamp and nothing else. Despite his greedy Gnomish instincts, he resists the urge. Aside from all the gold treasure, the adventurers also identify several gilded humanoids, frozen in time by unknown means in a shiny gold shell. Quinn recognizes this as a transmutation spell, and is able to carbon (or gold) date the bodies to having been frozen a few hundred years after Gruum’s time.

A journal in the hands of one of the adventurers states that “Tendra will not be sorry he sent us. We have infiltrated the cave as ordered, and the magic item we seek lies just beyond this room. Remember what we were told: SHAKE THE BLACK LAMP.”

Our team’s attention is diverted from the advisory note by a rustling amidst the piles of gold. Something, or SOMETHINGS, is moving about the room…

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Session 26
Dragon Spawn and Sand Puppies

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Having dispatched the evil Blue Dragon and false Pharaoh, Team Trust heads back to the roof, where a cache of dragon eggs begin cracking open. Suddenly swarmed by hundreds of tiny dragon / half-orc hybrids, the group realizes the horrifying truth: that the Pharaoh/Blue Dragon had been taking the form of hundreds of women and seducing the men of the city, in order to create an army of dragon-spawn to rule over the land.

But in true Team Trust fashion, the gang quickly murders all the tiny little babies and recovers the Brass Dragon Egg, which hatches to reveal the mystical Brass Dragon, who bestows the power of Draconic Hubris upon the team before disappearing. Soon thereafter, Davek and the until-now-missing Goddark join the heroes on the roof and explain what had been happening: after ousting Goddark, the former Pharaoh, from power, the Blue Dragon seized control of the city. Davek, in rebellion, took his band of loyalists and formed the Black Scorpion Gang to cut off economic ties to the evil usurper and save the city.

Before further discussion can occur, the Staff of Time rises up and begins glowing red, as the storm-cloud overhead begins twirling into a devastating tornado, ripping apart the city’s only orphanage and continuing on through the city. Unsure of what to do, it is Wolf who takes action, grabbing the floating Staff in his teeth and snapping it in half. The tornado dies down and tranquility is finally returned.

Davek and Goddark then defer to Itto to determine which of them he would like to install as the new leader of the Half-Orcs. After some debate with his teammate, Itto announces that the older, wiser, and less militaristic Goddark would resume power as he had before. Davek vows to serve as his first lieutenant.

The group then bids farewell to the city, determined to make it to Draken’s Point in time for the human-elf wedding, but first, they decide to make their way to the hidden Cave of Wonders, home of the genie’s lamp.

On their way, they discover a hag with two vicious ogre bodyguards, tending to a magical well. After slaying the creatures, Team Trust fills their water-skins with the magical well water, which seems to have varying healing properties, before heading to the entrance to the Cave of Wonders (based on the map given to them by the merchant in Gruum).

At first they see nothing…until a giant dog-head made of sand rises from the desert sands.

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Session 25
A Snake, Am I?!

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Finally, the evil vizier Rafaj reveals just how ssssssnake-like he can be, pitting our heroes against his staff-turned-snake-construct in a vicious battle to the death in the throne room of the Great Pyramid. Wolf, the first to attack, is tossed into the throne-room’s magical pool, and suddenly, he emerges, larger and more majestic than ever before…and with a set of wings, to boot!

While the team seems to gain the upper hand against the creature, Rafaj displays his terrifying magic power by blasting Team Trust with a rainbow blast, with devastating effects. Itto is turned to stone, Jil is transported to the celestial plane (which isn’t so great for the newly-evil Bone Knight of Cas, as the heavenly aura disintegrates her body), and Rayne and Lute are likewise destroyed by the acidic and fiery blasts.

Using the last of their strength, the remaining heroes, Quinn and Slink, are able to team-up to sneak attack Rafaj and take him out. Distraught over the loss of their entire team, the two begin to frantically search the throne room, unsure where to turn. They enter the Pharaoh’s chambers to see an enormous hole in the wall. Using Wolf’s tracking ability, they are able to determine that whoever left the hole was now up on the roof.

Following the scent, Quinn, Slink, and Wolf head to the roof of the Pyramid, where the thundercloud overhead is beginning to swell into a great storm. A lone figure stands in the center, and when Slink heads towards the creature, he sees none other than his long-lost love Myst, holding the Staff of Time. She seduces Slink, who gives in to her wiles, and as he pleads with her to give over the Staff to reverse time and save their friends, she begins to shed her “skin” and turn into an enormous beast…the Blue Dragon.

The storm now raging around them, Slink attempts to bring down the flying beast, and manages to wrest the Staff of Time from her grasp. It is retrieved midair by Quinn atop Wolf, who, tapping into Cas’ mighty power, is able to use the device to turn the personal timetables on the rest of the team back before they were killed by Rafaj. Now reunited, Team Trust leaves the roof through the skylight and descends back into the throne room, attempting to seal the hatch while the Blue Dragon claws her way in. Through multiple ranged attacks, all while dodging the dragon’s breath weapons and other attacks, the group is at last able to bring down the mighty creature.

But they cannot celebrate for long…

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Session 24
Enter: Lutervoc!

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We open in the sewers beneath Draken’s Point 100 years ago, where a young gnome bard named Lutervoc is running from a terrifying Ghoul. Turning to face the frightful monster, Lute holds up his short sword, his knees trembling wildly. As the Ghoul descends upon him, a brilliant FLASH lights up the dank sewer, and the visage of the Gnome god Garl Glittergold appears and disposes quickly of the monster.

“Hello, friend!” he says, turning to Lute, who can scarcely believe his eyes. “I come from the future. 100 years, to be exact. Your aid is needed in a dark time when the Son of Tiamat has risen to power to destroy all life. Close your eyes, Mr. Kyte…you’re off on adventure!”

And with that, Lute is transported to the future, where he joins the Black Scorpion Gang. Through him, we learn that the B.S.G. believe the Pharaoh is now using the Staff of Time for evil. He and the Gang head into the Great Pyramid in order to free a group of prisoners, where they bump into our illustrious heroes and, after a brief scuffle, realize they are all on the same side and have been deceived by Rafaj and the Pharaoh. All the while, they hear prisoners in the dungeons around them calling out various female names…

The adventurers travel up to the peak of the Great Pyramid, where the throne room is located, to confront the villains. The Pharaoh is nowhere to be found, but sitting on the throne is the treacherous vizier Rafaj, who grins darkly as his cobra-headed staff comes to life and grows into an enormous serpent…

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Session 23
A Legend Awakens

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“Thank you…for…releasing me…”

The voice of Gruum, recognizable from the flashbacks, emanates weakly from his tomb.

“Thank you for returning my eyes, tongue, and key,” he says. “I can finally be at peace and complete my journey to the afterlife to be with my love…”

While Slink argues with Itto about the merits of stealing back the powerful relics and letting the mummy rot where it is, the spirit of Gruum ascends from its mummified body and blesses the heroes for their help once more, before floating up towards the heavens, where the faint outline of Ehlonna awaits him with outstretched arms.

Their good deed for the month accomplished, Team Trust wearily make their way out of the Tomb of Gruum with their prize: the Staff of Time. Our “noble” adventurers return to the city of Gruum, where the vizier Rafaj asks for the staff’s return. The relic is handed over, and Rafaj bows deeply as he hands it off to a figure emerging from the shadows: The Pharaoh herself, who is revealed to be Ellay Hol, Itto’s former lover! She implores the heroes to go out and defeat Davek’s rebellious Black Scorpion Gang, and agrees to give up her position as Pharaoh and reunite with Itto if the group is successful.

But would our heroes succeed? Would Itto hold Ellay in his arms once more? Find out…next time!

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