Letters from the Troops

From time to time, when you are involved in sending care packages to our deployed troops, you receive feedback in the form of a letter, post card or email. Some of the stories are amusing, heartwarming, and even moving. I would like to share some of these; however, I also wish to protect the identity of these individuals. Names and other identifying details will be omitted.

Age of Worms Adventure Path – Game Session 40

Game summary for June 7, 2007; present characters included Ashkor (lizardfolk barbarian/battle sorcerer/dragon disciple/fighter), Iapetus Hasur (hu-charad giant rogue/vigilante), Lady Aridarye Phylund Brokengulf (human aristocrat/harbinger cohort), Lyrin Sinbal (simian incantatrix/warmage), Morak Beardfist (shield dwarf fighter/rage cleric), and Taravin Truesilver (human gray guard/paladin of honor).

The Mercenaries wasted no time after their rest in engaging the creature of the portal once they found their sending attempt to Delfen had failed. A blistering hail of magic missiles from the simian warmage brought a quick demise to the abyssal ghoul. Moving quickly, Ashkor and Aridarye entered the portal and the unknown.

As described by Pitamian, the room beyond held shrieking winds and swirling smoke. Unfortunately, it also held half a dozen belkers! The smoke creatures quickly assaulted the intruders, with one sending part of its gaseous body down Ashkor’s throat, where its claws then turned solid and deadly. Ashkor survived the attack, but not without taking some painful injuries. The belkers began materializing into solid form as the remaining Mercenaries moved through. In a short time, all of the evil elementals were slain.

Taravin and Morak forged ahead and found a large, open room with immaculate carvings and bas relief with ancient script. Oddly, two piles of blades, like barricades, occupied the room. The stoic dwarf soon discovered why, when he stepped on a pressure plate, and a hurricane blast of air threw him bodily into the spikes. Soon after, Taravin triggered another trap which filled the edges of the room with a poison gas; however, the gas also revealed a magical scene showing an ancient war between the Djen and the forces of Kossuth, god of fire. As this scene played out, a leader of the Djen stood boldly on the field holding up a solid scepter and some kind of emblem or seal. After the scene faded, Iapetus used comprehend languages to translate portions of the ancient script. From what he read, the Mercenaries believe they are in the tomb of a warlord named Icosiol.

The Mercenaries noticed tracks similar to what they expect Delfen would leave and followed them out the doors to the south. Shortly beyond the doors, Morak triggered a word of chaos trap, which left the entire party, except Lyrin, reeling and deafned for a short time. Within moments, Morak triggered another with the same results. Still following the tracks, the party found a two-tier room with a balcony all around. In the middle was a glistening black floor with four purple-glowing chandeliers above. In the very center floated a great, utterly black sphere. One of the Mercenaries recognized the pattern of the chandeliers, shaped like a wagon-wheel, as a match of their inactive talisman of the sphere. Could the globe in the center of the room be one of the fabled spheres of annihilation? Deciding they were not ready to mess with such destructive power, the party left it strictly alone.

With tracks to follow, the team moved up the balcony and into a corridor that plunged steeply into the depths. After following for a few hundred feet, the Mercenaries found themselves in a large room illuminated by larger versions of the chandeliers they had seen previously. Filling the room were numerous black spider webs made up of some whispy substance. Hanging in these webs, toward the center of the room, was a most odd and noisome creature. The green-carapaced spider introduced itself as the Walker Across the Threshold and asked their purpose.

As the party conversed, Walker Across the Threshold referred to a number of “people”, including Blackleg, Spitgob, Cornerweaver, Hungry Prince and Flycatcher. Despite their efforts and minutes of circular talking, the Mercenaries were unable to determine if all of these were one creature or half a dozen. The best they could discern is that all of them are “like” Walker Across the Threshold. They believe they have made a deal with several of the “people” to not be eaten, although it seems questionable if Hungry Prince is bound by the agreement, and if not, if Flycatcher would even let him eat the party. In return for not becoming dinner for the spider(s) and being allowed to pass through to the next chamber, the Mercenaries agreed to kill the Marquis of the River.

According to Walker Across the Threshold, the Marquis is a dead thing who walks with the dead and torments Blackleg, Spitgob, Cornerweaver, Hungry Prince, Flycatcher and Walker Across the Threshold. They all want him destroyed. The party is a bit unclear about what “torment” the Marquis has inflicted, but they decided to take the deal. After all, it was made clear that at least Blackleg, Cornerweaver, and Hungry Prince could hear what was going on, despite the party’s inability to see them. Discretion seemed the wisest choice.

With their deal made, the party began ascending the stairs to the blue metal doors above. What will lie beyond, and just who is the Marquis of the River?

Age of Worms Adventure Path – Game Session 39

Game summary for May 31, 2007; present characters included Ashkor (lizardfolk barbarian/battle sorcerer/dragon disciple/fighter), Iapetus Hasur (hu-charad giant rogue/vigilante), Lady Aridarye (human aristocrat/harbinger cohort), Lyrin Sinbal (simian incantatrix/warmage), Morak Beardfist (shield dwarf fighter/rage cleric), Pitamian Kalal (human yang monk), and Taravin Truesilver (human gray guard/paladin of honor).

With the smoking warzone of Waterdeep behind them, the Mercenaries fled at full speed back to Lyrin’s home town of Daggerford and the only lead they have. Upon arrival, they discovered Delfen “Yellowknife” Ondabar’s tower had been destroyed by a terrible black dragon. Following information gathered from the townsfolk, the Mercenaries learned that Yellowknife had been excavating the Whispering Cairn to the North, and the dragon had flown off to find him. With all haste, the team rode out to the cairn and were ambushed by the dragon.

As she swooped in, she shrieked out “Dragotha take you! The wizard is mine!” Then, the dragon unleashed her poisonous, burning acid breath, catching over half the party in the blast. The dragon seemed to recognize Lyrin and accused him of killing her brood, so she charged and bit him. The devastating injury forced Lyrin to retreat while his brave companions engaged the dragon. The battle was short and brutal, with the dragon inflicting grievous injury to a number of the Mercenaries while suffering staggering blows herself. In the end, however, Lyrin brought down the beast with a well-timed lesser sonic orb.

The team then moved into the Cairn and found Delfen had uncovered a section that was collapsed the last time members of the group were here. Down the exposed hallway, the team found a shimmering, reflective black portal. They attempted to move through but found themselves barred from entry by some sort of blind, undead creature from the Outer Planes. Although unable to communicate in a language it seemed to understand, Iapetus was able to use comprehend languages to understand it. The best they could do was have Aridarye speak to it in Infernal, which it did not understand but made it believe she was an erinyes devil. With some impressive attempts at Intimidate, Aridarye was able to convince it to let her pass, but it promised to eat the souls of her companions.

The team decided that was unacceptable. Brute force seemed to fail as the creature rebuked attempt after attempt to get by. From its shadowy portal, it could lash out quickly and from surprising angles, allowing it to hit vulnerable spots with ease. Ashkor decided to bull rush the monster and was likewise repulsed. However, he believed the creature was lodged in the portal somehow and that it was held there by something rather than being so strong he just couldn’t move it. With this in mind, Pitamian attempted to tumble past and succeeded.

On the other side, Pit found he could still see the creature in a portal identical to the side he came through. The room he was in shrieked with wailing and blowing winds and smokes. As he stood there, twelve menacing eyes appeared in the swirling smoke above, and he quickly tumbled back through to the other side. At this point, Lyrin unleashed a magic missile, which seemed to damage the creature but not destroy it.

Thinking of their recent troubles in Waterdeep, the Mercenaries opted to make camp and destroy the beast once they were ready to go through, lest the destruction of this beast let something worse come out.