The Damned II (Session VII) - The Elemental Chaos
by, 03-25-2009 at 01:05 AM (1940 Views)
Session Date: Saturday, February 21st.
Before reporting for duty, the party makes contact with an Azer by the name of Gilt. He is a free laborer here at the Fortress of Ash (one of the few) and he is a master of crafting all things metal. He is especially fond of and adept at working with Baatorian Greensteel and is willing to trade a tidy sum for the shard the party acquired in the mines surrounding Meliphisus' lair. However, the party doesn't want to give up such a precious metal so easily and negotiates to trade some of the other magical equipment they have come across in their travels to have him craft some greensteel-alloyed javelins.
Duly impressed by his craftsmanship, they negotiate with him to produce another weapon forged of more pure greensteel and a suit of Ragedrake Scale armor -- another of his specialties. There are a number of other elements besides greensteel that Gilt favors for forging, and the party offers to gather some of that in trade.
In particular, he is in need of a material called Ignicite which can be harvested in the Elemental Chaos. Ignicite is a porous, brittle rock that can be found in places where the elements of fire, earth, air come together. It is especially more likely to be found in quantities where all four elements have been in contact with each other. Gilt explains that when ignited, ignicite burns hotter than any coal and is extremely useful in working with difficult metals such as greensteel. He gives them specially treated leather sacks to fill and warns them that the ignicite will not ignite from a casual spark, but it would be very dangerous for the ignicite to come into contact with open flame.
The 59th day of Torment, 25306
The session begins with the party on the run in the Elemental Chaos. They have been serving on the patrols for most of a month now and have not had the opportunity to explore any areas far beyond the battlements protecting the mountain pass from the Elemental Chaos. However, their patrol was under attack by a number of fire achons and felementals when a firestorm swept through the battlefield. Their unit became separated, and they managed to escape with their lives by fleeing the storm front deeper into the Elemental Chaos. Their unit commander, the surly Bearded Devil named Brutis, was also separated, and only four of their legion devil escort survived.
The fun begins as the party finds themselves cornered at the fork in a river of fire. To their left, the river falls off into a void, so deep that they cannot make out a floor. To press on, they must cross a fire-flow some ten feet high and equally as wide, which threatens to sweep up and burn to a cinder anything caught in its fiery embrace.
Their pursuers quickly catch up, but the group is able to repel their attackers, a group of flamelings (small fire elementals that are more dangerous in groups) and some beasts of seemingly made hardening magma. Still, even after the fight, going back is not an option as the front of the firestorm still threatens to overtake them. Using floating motes of earth, the group makes a bridge across the fire-flow. Crossing is still not without danger as the flow catches up the earth-motes and forces the party to cross them while they are on the move.
Safely across, the party continues their flight from the firestorm, looking for any sort of shelter they might be able to use to ride out the storm. They are also hoping to make the best of this opportunity to find some ignicite, as their tour is quickly running out and they will be marching to the City of Dis soon. Tim makes an educated guess that what they are looking for might be found on a larger earth mote with some obvious fire-sign.
With some luck, they find such a place. The earth-mote is one of the larger ones they have seen at about half a mile in diameter. Flowing off the side of the floating mountain is a continuous stream of lava. This is just the sort of combination they were looking for. The only problem is that this earth-mote is floating some one hundred feet above the ground. There are smaller gravity defying chunks of rock orbiting around the mote at various heights, but they are dangerously far from one another.
Mason, actually only known to his fellows as Beard since he's never spoken aloud to them, makes a series of Olympian jumps and uses rope and grapple to pull the motes closer together so that the party can follow. Once atop the floating mountain, the party finds a field of polygon shaped basalt with pillars of columnar basalt inland a few dozen yards. Here, they are beset by a pair of nasty elementals known as Firelashers, which appear as small tornadoes of fire with whip-like appendages and a hatred of all things.
After the group wins their ground and defeats the Firelashers, they set off to explore the rest of the mote. They find a deep tunnel that will serve as adequate protection against the storm and shows some potential of possibly containing ignicite. Thorn, the only one who can see in complete darkness, sneaks off ahead of them to scout the tunnel and finds within the sleeping form of a young adult red dragon in a large cave within. He also can see that there are veins of ignicite that crisscross the cavern floor that they can harvest.
The party "stealthily," moves into the tunnel, and near the mouth of the large cave, Thorn stops them. Thorn makes a bold, but ill-fated decision to try to sneak up on the sleeping dragon and deal it a mortal blow and flee before it can respond. Unfortunately, as he approaches the dragon, he comes to find out all too late that the dragon wasn't still sleeping. Within a few seconds, he is downed and even as the party pours into the cave to try to engage, the dragon tears his unconscious form apart, slaying him.
The "ambush," turns in the dragon's favor, but the group is still able to defeat it. Not without loss however, as by the time the battle is over, Thorn's body has dissolved into a nasty, purplish goo. If Tim's understanding of their condition is correct, Thorn hasn't been slain in the traditional sense of the word since he wasn't on his home plane. It is more likely that he has been banished back to his home plane. In the case of Thorn, that probably means that he is somewhere in Stygia -- naked without his equipment which still remained behind. That might as well be dead for the moment though, since the group has no hope of being able to mount a rescue to recover him from the frozen bergs of Stygia any time soon.
After collecting the small hoard the dragon had collected, its hide and golden-dipped horns, and, of course, the ignicite, the party waits out the storm and then retraces their steps to the Fortress of Ash. Only two of the legionnaires that originally accompanied them survived, and both returned to the Fortress giving high praises for Donaar's leadership through the Elemental Chaos.
Their commander, Brutis, is incensed by their high praise for the dragonborn and finds cause to punish them for their supposed cowardice and inability to follow orders that lead to their unit from being separated. In truth, it was Brutis' cowardice and inept leadership that undid their unit, but there is no avenue of appeal. Brutis forces the party to "decimate," one of their number, and has the two remaining legionnaires draw lots to determine whom shall be punished since the group is protected from being included in the sortition. They are not immune to dealing out the punishment though and are required to beat one of the legionairres to death.
Their day does end on a high note, however, since they are able to trade the ignicite and the the dragon scale in to have Gilt make a greensteel fullblade for Jonas, the swordmage, and two sets of drakescale armor.