The Acts of The Lords of Rannick, LIV

I’ve started writing things down for myself, after a session. After capping the night off with more Premo, some whisky and an episode or two of Community, I’ve found that my recollection of what actually happened to be poor. So I have these amnesiac scribbles to myself that seem cryptic until I remember what they were and even then, they are sometimes deliberately cryptic. Again, this is in part because the Runeforge is a tough place to record keep: in more linear locales I can check the text for which flags you hit on your slalom towards treasure, but in the more open environment of Runeforge… who knows?

Well, I think I do, now. Last night’s session was remarkable for there being a combat that didn’t end in slaughter, but I felt everyone’s character stamped their own personality on the proceedings in a way that combat doesn’t allow, hence the Compleat Adventurer award note below.

We left them as Dagfinn had just found a harem of stone giant studs inside the entrance to the silken pavilion that lay in the center of the Cathedral of Lust. Halvard, glancing such iniquity through the opening dashed into the room full of opulent rugs and comfortable throw pillows and began smiting, catching the stone giants a little off guard. When you’ve spent that last X00 years doing nothing but sexy business, the idea that someone might want to stave your head in with a greatsword must come as a little bit of a shock.

Dagfinn contributed too, casting Glitterdust to blind two giants and make them a lot more glam rock, then singing to inspire which probably made it even more glam rock. Albedon held back, unable to see the combat at first, so casting Haste on everyone, then Invisibility to allow him and Shortfang to go exploring inside the pavilion. Don rushed in too creating a front line of Don, Halvard and Dagfinn. Halvard shouted one of the giants deaf too, just to add one more worker’s comp. headache for the proprietress.

One of the blinded giants had stepped to one side at the beginning of the fight, to demand to know who had sent the party. His question was never answered, although someone figured out that the giant was being talked through, so it wasn’t really his question.

The fight became perilous when Don was dropped and Halvard was disarmed by some unseen source. Albedon moved in and Dimension Door’ed everyone back outside the pavilion.

A while passed with no chase given from the pavilion. Shortfang, still inside, watched the giants gather at the tent entrance, ready to leave. The party took the opportunity to get Don back on his feet and healed up a little before the giants eventually emerged. Albedon, being Albedon, wanted to test a Fireball against the flimsy silks of the pavilion. The Pavilion did not turn into a conflagration, it just started burning a little: that silk isn’t just silk

When they did so, they were joined by a succubus who dropped her spell of invisibility and stepped forward to speak. The demon’s name was Delvahine and Dagfinn pumped her thoroughly for information. Oddly, she didn’t seem too interested in getting information back from Dagfinn.

Delvahine

The exposition dump that Delvahine laid on them was this:

Yes, Runeforge was set up in a rare act of cooperation by the Runelords, who realised that they needed a neutral research facility where their mages could work with each other to overcome the problem of opposition schools. Each Runelord, while excelling in their own school of magic, was rubbish at two of the other seven Thassilonian schools. Runeforge could be a place where wizardly schools would work together. Eventually, as Divination told of an upcoming catastrophe, the Runelords bent the efforts of the Runeforge to finding a way they could bypass the world-changing event that was to come.

When the catastrophe did come, ending the reign of the Runelords, the inhabitants of the Runeforge were stuck there for ten thousand years. Delvahine arrived after this point, being summoned as a servant, but worked her way up to the top of the heap by murdering the servants of Runelord Sorshen who had summoned her. None of that really helped, she was stuck, with no way to leave Runeforge, just like everybody else. She had cooperated with the servants of Xanderghul, Runelord of Pride in an attempt to get out of Runeforge, but apparently that had come to nothing. Only five years ago did anything change, when the Runeforge Pool at the center of the hub flared to life.

The servants of Envy attempted to appropriate the hub and its pool at which the other 5 wings (Sloth had deteriorated during the long wait) banded together and destroyed the Halls of Eager Striving. The alliance was very short lived and each wing retreated and pondered what to do next.

She told them that there were  other surviving inhabitants of the wings in Runeforge, naming Kazaven (Gluttony), Vraxeris (Pride) and Athroxis (Wrath). Dagfinn also found out about the schools of magic associated with each Runelord (although he’d kind of already done that at the entrance).

Delvahine was evidently not remotely invested in the plans of the Rune-peerage’s servants. After all, they’re only mortals. She didn’t consider herself to be a servant of Sorshen’s, it’s just that they had a few things in common. Speaking of which…   … all of this information and the peaceful accord didn’t come entirely for free… and they had killed her daughters and assaulted her pavilion. She’d need a volunteer.

Don was having none of this, stomping off away from the various innuendo-laced exposition and deal brokering. Which left Dagfinn, Halvard and Albedon. Albedon volunteered and Delvahine looked delighted. She led him into her pavilion and everyone waited for a while… actually not that long.

I don't think anyone realises how very dangerous sex can be for dwarves. That said, this headlines makes me want to get back into journalism.

After 20 minutes Delvahine reappeared, looking refreshed while Albedon looked drained and dishevelled. Maybe a little bewildered.

Quite what Delvahine’s motivations are, you are free to speculate. She seemed to have difficulty believing that the party knew so little of Runeforge and in particular that Dagfinn hadn’t been affected in some way by the Halls of Eager Striving. She also seemed amused by Kerplak’s discomfort (which had evidently caused him to run away). She CAN leave the Lust Wing, as evidenced by the raid on the Abjurers of the Sloth Wing, but is reluctant to. She maintains that everyone is trapped in Runeforge, but desperately wants a way back to the abyss.

Anyway, Halvard was by this point itching to get going and plant his returned greatsword in something that wouldn’t chat with or molest his party members. Don had had enough of being around this manifestly evil temptress too.

Returning to the hub, they made camp in the pleasant and clean surroundings near the blank corridor from which they had entered. Dagfinn took first watch as Halvard got his insanely short sleep (maybe that ring he wears isn’t even magical and his magic chop-things-up powers are just psychosis caused by lack of sleep,.. can he even really cast spells?). Anyway, as Dagfinn watched Albedon sex-nap and everyone else just have really weird dreams he heard a voice, loud and bold, yet seemingly far away intone “Welcome back, Dagfinn Cleng.” A few seconds later, he heard it again.

He woke Don, who groggily waited to hear it. When he did not, he went back to sleep, and Dagfinn saw out the rest of his shift, listening for the voice again. Halvard, upon taking his shift also heard the voice repeat its earlier greeting “Welcome back, Dagfinn Cleng.”

Weirdness aside, everyone felt rested and refreshed in the “morning”. No one felt hungry or thirsty and the marble floors were a nicer sleeping surface than they’d had in a while.

Halvard lobbied to go straight to the Greed Wing as the most direct route to find out more about Karzoug and Xin-Shalast. Girding their loins, they set off down the seemingly endless hallway behind the grand statue of Karzoug.

Halvard and Don arrived at a long, but no longer endless hallway decked in polished gold. Dagfinn, meanwhile, did not.

I always have a hard time imagining what gold looks like. You get used to gold spray-painted stuff and you forget how crazy gorgeous actual gold is... at least I do.

At the end (almost) of the golden hallway, a large iron door studded with precious stones stood in the eastern wall, the sole feature in the hallway. Halvard made a quick search of the end of the hallway, but found nothing. Don found that the Iron door had no handle or latch, although it did have a keyhole. Pressing the door, the door shot forward suddenly, squashing Don against the far wall, almost inventing Druid jam. Marmadruid.

Dagfinn struggled to make it down the hallway, and made it in time for some experiments that Halvard and Don were conducting, namely, setting the door off and trying to figure out  what was going on. They established that the thing was pretty sensitive and driven by a piston that they saw drive the door to the far wall. They tried sabotaging it, but it seemed a bit tricky. Pulling the Crowbar of Opening out of the gear of the gnome (who doesn’t need it!) they rang the chime and caused a door at the far end of the hallway, where Halvard had already searched, to open.

Beyond the secret door, a wood panelled and rune-inscribed hall stretched even further,  before reaching a pale green mist that obscured sight.

Green mist? Nah, it'll be fine.

That’s where we left them…

Compleat Adventurer summary: Everyone got a card, although no one won. I thought there was good character work last night.  From Dagfinn’s tireless work trying to nail down the particulars of Runeforge (for which he should be thanked) to Halvard and Don’s less amiable reaction to the Succubus I thought everyone did a good job of roleplaying their character in a way that defined that character a little better.

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