Rise of the Forgotten Kings

Session 34
Mortal Kombat

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" Itto…My Son…Open your eyes…"

A white glow surrounds the Half-Orc paladin, as he opens his eyes to see his adoptive father, Pratantus Sunwhisper, peering over him.

“Wh-where am I?” Itto asks.

“You have ascended from the material plane for your final reward. However, you have a choice: stay here in heavenly paradise with me, or return to your embittered struggle in the mortal realm. You may use this option once and once only, my son. Make your choice.”

Struggling with the thought of resting in peace for eternity versus returning to Tarragonia to aid his friends, the noble self-sacrificing Itto opts to take the harder route and return to save the world.

Awakening with a newfound scar on his head, Itto rises again and greets his friend. Slink, seeming to fight back angry tears, beats on the paladin, ordering him to “never do that to me again!”

Quickly hiding the corpse of Lady Battlebeard and looting her body for powerful armor and weapons, as well as a coveted wedding invitation, Team Trust barely has enough time before the doors opening and the crowds enter the Bloody Goat on their way to the fighting pits.

First to enter is the sketchy Kevan Serpenthian, Lord of the Stone Gate (prison) District, with his Bailiff, the Half-Orc Janis Gorn. Lady Narissa whispers to the group that Kevan, an outcast of Boccob’s School of Magic and worshiper of the Evil Wee Jas, is widely mistrusted by the other heads of LoTown, and has been rumored to be experimenting on his prisoners. Lute takes an immediate dislike to him.

Next is the stunningly beautiful Lady Loraaga Tarmicos of the Quarantine District, with her Bailiff Prosadi Charster. Slink’s jaw drops as he sees her, and attempts to flirt with the woman, who, Narissa explains to the group, is not terribly well-respected. Loraaga seems amused with the charismatic gnome, who swears allegiance to her in the coming tournament.

Speaking of: the heroes are ushered into the fighting pits for their first battle: a bout with a group of weak-ass Northern Goblins. They prove no match for the heroes, although the second battle against a group of mechanical clockwork dogs is a bit more of a challenge.

As the battles rage on, the group notices Kevan eyeing them with an almost voracious look on his creepy face. After the second battle, Slink blows a kiss to Loraaga, who seems genuinely taken aback. But before the gang can celebrate, Kevan stands up and performs a series of magical gestures, as the dead bodies in the fighting pit all seem to coalesce together into a giant blob monster: The Gibbering Mouther, a hideous abomination capable of rendering its foes confused and useless, due to its terrifying gibbering (the voices of hundreds of corpses rambling in unison like some kind of zombie filibuster).

Despite most of the team being unable to fight, our adventurers are eventually able to best the creature, and are declared winners of the tournament, thus given free access to HiTown and a spot in the larger tournament, to take place during the wedding for the entertainment of the guests. They emerge victorious, unaware that the real battle is just around the corner…

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Session 33
Draken's Point: The City of Intrigue

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Several Knowledge and Gather information checks later, Team Trust begins to piece together the complex political layout of Draken’s Point:

- Baron Highcastle has been promoted to Duke of all of Draken’s Point, having brought about the union of King Rhegar of the human kingdom, and Princess Isara of the elves.
- HiTown and LoTown are each divided into 3 Districts, each ruled over by a Lord (or Lady) with a Bailiff as second-in-command

After a night’s rest, the group is jolted awake by a harsh rapping on the door. Quickly disguising themselves as high-end travelers, they open the door and are greeted by LoTown’s Entertainment District Bailiff, Narissa Sapphire. Flanked by several guards, Narissa announces that she was sent by her boss, Entertainment District head Lady Magstein Battlebeard, to arrest the outlaws causing havoc in town. Disguised and ever-the-bluffers, Lute and Slink try to convince the woman that they have no idea who these people are. But of course, Itto’s paladin instincts (and general inability to deceive anyone ever) take over, and he reveals that he is in fact one of the outlaws she is looking for, much to the rest of the team’s face-palm-y dismay.

Her reaction, however, is not what they expected. Shocked, Narissa reveals herself to be a paladin as well, and generally doesn’t approve of Battlebeard’s (who also happens to be her aunt) arrest-first-ask-questions-never tactics. After much diplomacy and negotiating, Team Trust convinces Narissa that their mission to get to the wedding and save the world is, in fact, of fairly vital importance, and implores her help in getting to the wedding. She explains that there are only three ways into HiTown: a) an invitation (seems logical, right?); b) entrance into Boccob’s School of magic (which would only get them into HiTown, where they would be trapped in the school); or c) by winning the LoTown Fighting Pit Tournament and earning a spot in the coveted HiTown Tournament at the Temple of Koord.

Seeing this as their only option, the group asks if they can be given a last-minute slot in the LoTown tournament. Narissa says that she will “work her magic” and make it so. En route to the battlegrounds, Narissa explains that most of the fighters pick a Lord or Lady to fight in honor of, as the three LoTown Lords will be in attendance. While the logical choice seems to be Battlebeard, Slink is intrigued by the mention of the alluring Lady Loraaga Tarmicos, the wise and noble human head of the Quarantine District. He insists they fight for her, and the others reluctantly agree.

Before arriving at the fighting pits, the group manages to quell a riot over some chickens, then head over to the Bloody Goat tavern, the entrance-way “lobby” to the pits themselves. They are greeted there by the dwarf Lady Battlebeard herself, who ponders on her Bailiff’s plea to allow these warriors into the fight. She picks Itto out of the lineup and pulls one of her constituents, Thomas, from his seat at the bar and demands that to prove his worth, Itto execute Thomas in cold blood.

Unwilling to murder a helpless unarmed man, Itto instead turns his great sword on Battlebeard, provoking a bar scuffle that ends with Battlebeard lodging her ax into Itto’s skull, killing him, and Narissa turning on her murderous aunt and slaying her.

The group surrounds the lifeless body of their most noble ally, stricken and almost too shocked to grieve. But then, they see a white light…

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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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