Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tellings Revision Update

Apologies for being away from the revision for some time. It seems that other duties and matters are determined to get in the way. However, the hope is that with the summer months approaching there will be some time to dedicate to the new edition.

My current gaming group continues to point up how much the game has matured, how much it works well as it stands, but also how much little things could be honed, polished, and perfected. Just a little bit. There is a delicate balance -- much like a game of pick-up-sticks -- everything touches, leans against, and affects another and I don't think of the revision as a major overhaul. The core is solid. It's now all about refinement.

More soon.

Seattle Campaign 4.0: Fortune Favors the Lucky

5/30/10 Training Time, A Favor from Loxias, Travel to Grand Takare

--experience is awarded
--the adventurers spend the better part of a couple of weeks in Loxian resting, training, and preparing for their next quest
--Tirdim turns over the books of Aquellon the Waterwise (which were taken from the old mage's house from back in Middern) to Lord Mayor Loxias; of course, Tirdim garned what magics and formulae he could from the books
--Lord Mayor Loxias eventually calls upon the adventurers to help out an old friend; Loxias tells the group that a priest of Jule by the name of Ixix has called upon Loxias for a favor; Loxias asks the group to travel to Grand Takare; there they will participate in formal ceremonies of Raising with their respective Orders or Halls, and they will meet up with Ixix Jule
--the adventurers decide on travel by ship; Wren secures passage aboard a small river boat named The Shining Fox captained by a man named Lurick (using the group's rumored infamy as motivation for the captain) to take them from Loxias to the coastal town of Floodern; from Floodern, Wren finds a small, fast ship The Wing captained by an Irain woman named Aleta Forward; The Wing seems to be a smuggling runner but none of the party cares; the ship takes them around the Takaran peninsula stopping once at Corotal and once at Tresta and finally reaching Grand Takare in about 8 days
--the party disembarks and heads to The Star and Laurel Inn; the innkeep Aretina greets them and says that Lord Mayor Loxias has already made arrangements for their stay; The Star and Laurel has expanded to an adjacent building, where Aretina has created a more upscale, private section of rooms and common room called the Wayhaven; the adventurers are given modest suites in the Wayhaven.
--the group spends about a week in Grand Takare waiting to be contacted by Ixix; in the meantime, the priests and the mage attend formal ceremonies for the Medianhood
--the priests are promoted and ordained as median; they spend much of a day in prayer and meditation; the power of augury overwhelms them as each of their gods impart new powers and prayers upon them
--eventually, one evening, Ixix Jule pays a visit to the group as they are having eveningmeal; he is a tall, slender, aging man with silver gray hair and bright gray eyes; he wears a subdued motley shirt, of fine make, dark pants, and different colored boots; he carries a short, narrow staff capped in silver; Jule acts as though he were meeting old friends, fully of smiles and cheerful laughter; he prays to protect the table with privacy and reveals what he wishes the group to help him with; all the while, Ixix, to passing observers, seems to be speaking of nothing serious or secretive
--the adventurers realize, after seeing Ixix's holy symbol, that they are speaking to the Sovereign Priest of Jule (something Loxias failed to mention)
--Ixix explains that since the War of the Nightsage (some several hundred years ago) and since the Great Reprieve, the Powers of Night have gained in strength, visibility, and number; that in of itself is of no concern to a "true" Priest of Twilight for Luck has no investments save for the balance of Fate, the balance of the Pattern, and the balance between order and chaos
--he explains that the Order of Jule, though small in number, has been slowly corrupted by the Powers of Night; there are some priests who claim to serve Dark Jule, claim to use the damning, cursing, vindictive side of Luck; Ixix does not believe Luck to be good nor evil, rather shades of fortune and misfortune
--he has dedicated much of his current energies to trying to bring those of Dark Jule back into balance and now wishes the help of Loxias's heroes
--he tells them that he will send them to the coastal town of Tanton, in the north of Reeor on the Reeor-Feth border; there they will meet another priest of Jule, a major-level priest named Minka; Minka will take them to a sanctuary of Jule (a very rare thing indeed) called the Pillars of Luck, which is located in the foothills of the western end of the Great Spine Mountains
--the power of the Pillars allows only those seeking the guidance of Luck, those worthy to enter the sanctuary to find the Pillars; once one has visited the sanctuary, they can never visit again; Ixix Jule has been to the Pillars in the past and cannot return
--therefore, he wishes to send the adventurers; there they will earn the favor, the gift of the Pillars, which bestows upon a worthy supplicant a moment of extraordinary luck; this moment of fortune can be used to know the incredible, to do the impossible (e.g. to gain knowledge of something lost, forgotten, or yet unknown, to perform a single incredible act, to abjure a unbreakable curse); much like the power of a wish, the moment of fortune has the power to alter fate and chance itself and must be used with extreme care
--Ixix Jule wishes the party to go to the Pillars of Luck to: 1) discover the greatest threat posed by the Order of Dark Jule, 2) to open a curious locked box (which he gives them), and 3) to use the Luck of the Pillars to send them to where the greatest threat to Jule will rise; they will send him a message and he will meet them there; the remaining opportunities at the pillar can be used at their discretion; he will recompense those who give up their moments of fortune
--Ixix also warns them that no blood may be shed in violence in the sanctuary lest Luck take a turn for the worst
--the party agrees to help Ixix Jule; they prepare for the trip (purchasing more potions of healing); they meet Ixix the next morning and he blesses them each with a dark horse prayer as well as gives them each a Temple Coin of Jule (grants +10% to Luck%), which should mark them as worthy of the Pillars; Ixix then uses a magical bracelet (which expands into a portal) to send them to Tanton (alas they must leave their horses behind in the care of the Inn of the Star and Laurel)
--in Tanton, the party trusts luck to direct them to finding Minka Jule; they seek out a place for a drink, a dockworker's tavern called The Brass Cup; there they are given something very strong and something very murky to drink; they fortunately also discover that Minka Jule is in the establishment overseeing a dice game, making sure it is played fairly
--Minka introduces herself (there is some jesting about her name being Minka Radinka) as a Priest of Jule, adventurer extraordinaire, and rider of dragons; she says she will take them to the Pillars of Luck; the party must (once again) buy horses
--the party sets out the next day; the travel is uneventful (perhaps due to their luckiness); within two days, they reach the foothills of the Great Spine Mountains; Minka Jule leads them to the rise upon which the sanctuary is built; she too cannot enter the Pillars and remains behind to watch the horses
--the adventurers make their way up the small mountain, to the top, to a clearing overlooking the plains of Reeor; the remains of ancient stone pillars dot the top of the mountain
--the heroes of Loxias also discover that they are not alone atop the mountain; their adversaries (the minions of Abraxas Rul) are also at the Pillars, including Rissa Ittar, Joven Iirago, the assassin Lamm, and a group of mercenaries
--can the adventurers deal with Rissa and her company without shedding blood at the Pillars of Luck?

6/6/10 The Pillars of Luck

--the adventurers ask Rissa and her party about why they are there; they respond that they are looking for Loxias's heroes; among Rissa's party is a Feth mage by the name of Mhitai, whom the group has never met before; there is something very strange, very unnerving about Mhitai
--Rissa's party is there to claim the power of the Stone of Thanuran from them
--it does not seem that Rissa and the others can see the Pillars of Luck (for they are not marked by Luck)
--Riseif gets in Joven's face, words are exchanged, threats are leveled, as Riseif tries to get the evil party to draw first blood
--Mhitai casts a hate spell on Riseif, causing him to attack Joven; Joven is commanded by Mhitai to stand his ground
--as the battle erupts, the party loses sight of the Pillars of Luck (they no longer can see it either); an extremely bloody battle is waged on top of the mountain; eventually Rissa calls a retreat; Joven is killed (possibly) but Mhitai manages to claim his body
--Tirdim realizes that Mhitai's spellcasting reminds him of the demon Abraxal's powers; it is possible that Abraxal Rul is possessing Mhitai
--after licking their wounds, the party tries to figure out how to complete Ixix's task; with the help of Minka Jule, they decided to use their dark horses in order to once again 'see' the Pillars of Luck
--the party uses the power of the Pillars:
--Galen learns the True Name of Abraxal Rul (approximately spelled Abaraghashuxsl); the power of the pillars allows Galen to reverses the magic of Rissa's medallion (the party discovers that Rissa's group has been tracking them via Rissa's medallion, which they took from one of her dupes way back in Gilal, Takare) allowing him to clairsentiently hear Rissa and the others; Abraxal Rul realizes that he is being spied upon and says, "You wish to know my True Name? Then I will tell you..." (why the demon lord would reveal his True Name is uncertain...)
--Telisa uses the Pillars to open Ixix's strange box; open the box reveals nothing inside
--Riseif uses the Pillars to learn of the greatest threat to Jule; he receives a vision of a group of volcanic islands to the northwest of the Third Continent, deep in the open ocean
--Wren uses the Pillars to learn how to discover items of power to help their cause; she recieves a vision of the Tower of Tomasur Abrill and his Books (located on the First Continent)
--Lanthorn uses the Pillars to ask for a permanent augmentation to the party's abilities; this is achieved via Paw (Ixix's familiar), who brings the party six powerful potions (of Academy make) via the hoop of traveling; where Paw got the potions or how he got them is uncertain...
--finally, Tirdim uses the Pillars to ask for transport to the islands Risief saw
--the transportation comes in the form of Jullux, a True Dragon, the Dragon of Luck, who takes them to their destination (Minka is very happy)

6/27/10 The Islands of Aktoh, Bara, Coh, Dumit, Ehvi

--on the back of Jullux, the adventurers make it to the islands in several hours time
--as they approach, they see an archipelago of six islands: one large and five smaller ones; they decide to land on the smallest island
--within about a mile of the island, Jullux suddenly loses consciousness for a moment, regains it, and then simply collapses midair; he transforms into human form and the party falls out of the sky; luckily, they are not too far above the ocean; Galen's belt of safefall fails
--the group manage to get to shore safely, set up a small camp, and decide to explore the island
--Jullux is comatose and nothing seems to wake the dragon
--Galen tries to contact Ixix via his medal of message; the message does not seem to get carried on the wind; Tirdim surmises that something about the islands prevents certain air magics such as flight or message
--over the next several days, the party builds a makeshift raft and explores the island
--on the first island, they discover an extremely disheveled, old, paranoid man (seems Midali-Feth or Midali-Elar) dressed in tattered Elar clothes, with wild graying hair and beard; his name is Aktoh; Aktoh has a worn sovereign coin of Jule with heads on both sides; he flips the coin in order to make decisions; Tirdim discovers via thought reading that Aktoh asks the coin over and over "Can I go?" and the answer is always no; Aktoh also bears platinum bracers, like manacles, on his wrists; the bracers seem to be connected to the coin and are part of how he is being restrained on the island; Aktoh also seems to be naturally telekinetic; the party puts Aktoh to sleep (Tirdim rolls a natural 2 on ESS vs. ESS); they take his coin, mark one side as tails, and return it to him; eventually he flips tails and his bracers fall off of his wrists and Aktoh vanishes into thin air
--whether or not they should of freed Aktoh is undetermined...
--on the next islands, they also discover strange hermits, each of them look exactly like Aktoh but are named differently and doing different things
--on the second island is Bara, who is searching for a lost ring by digging holes on the beach
--on the third island is Coh, who is throwing games of five dice; he always throws five ones
--on the fourth island is Dumit, who is looking for something in a house full of hundreds of books
--on the fifth island is Ehvi, who is trapped in a cave protected by a clockwork golem made of platinum, who according to Ehvi, never loses
--all of the men seem to be engaged in activities of luck and all of them seem to be aspects, perhaps, of the same person
--the party eventually uses the raft to take a couple of people out to sea far enough away from the islands to be able to message Ixix and revive Jullux; Ixix provides what help he can but fears that he cannot go to the islands (something about the islands restrains the power of Luck); he asks them to continue to investigate but to not free any more men; Jullux says he will remain in the area
--on the final largest island, the party discovers a set of rough steps that lead up into the low volcanic mountains; they reach a plateau where a model of the six islands has been raised in stone; encased in the stone of the largest island is the same man, asleep, held in a block of glass or crystal; they see signs that cracks in the plateau floor radiate out from the first, smallest island and reach and touch the largest island, which has caused part of the encasing stone to crumble
--Tirdim tries to thought read the man in the glass block and finds him completely thoughtless; they realize that freeing all of the strange men would probably release whoever was in the glass; that all of the strange men are probably parts of the entombed man's consciousness divided and kept busy; but for what purpose?
--as they try to figure out what to do, they notice on the other side of the island, there is a small ship anchored off shore

7/5/10 The Wave Rose, Dark Jule Cometh

--the party sets out to find out as much as they can about the ship; using Riseif's spyglass, Wren recognizes the ship as The Wave Rose
--Wren is extremely uncomfortable about the arrival of the Wave Rose, but says that the ship should not be a threat per se; the ship is a "trade" ship
--the party tries to spy on the ship; a long boat is sent ashore from the ship
--Galen tries to sneak up to see who has arrived ashore; while trying to stealth his way down the beach, he triggers the retribution of the dark horse hanging over him; he trips, crashing into a nearby coconut tree causing several laden coconuts to strike him on the head knocking him unconscious
--luckily, Tirdim realizes Galen's plight because of the telepathic link he has with him; they assist Galen and get him back on his feet
--the adventurers discover that some twist of luck and fate has brought together people from some of the party's past including Captain Jacob Jill (who commands the Wave Rose and is somehow married to Wren), Vemed Roathe (priest of Occus, who Wren has been hunting), and Arasha D'rivian (a fire mage hunted by Riseif)
--the group from the ship is led by a priest of Dark Jule named Sindian and also includes a priestess of Ittar named Eddara
--they decide that Sindian Jule must be at the islands for some nefarious purpose connected to the strange presences bound to the islands
--the party ambushes Dark Jule and others; the battle is intense as they learn that tangling with a priest of Jule is extremely dangerous; they managed to kill all of Sindian's group save for Jule himself and the Captain
--Sindian Jule flees

7/18/10 & 8/1/10: The Return of Sindian Jule

--the party sets to dispose of the bodies of their foes, but since several of the adventurers are gravely wounded, they seek refuge on the ship; they manage to build a pyre and burn the body of the Priest of Occus Vemed Roathe
--upon returning to the beach the next day, they discover that the bodies of Eddara Ittar and Arasha D'rivian are missing; there is evidence that they have been revivified
--while the party ponders what to do, Sindian Jule releases the being named Dumit and then Coh
--the party decides to intervene at the island of Bara; they decide to look for the ring that Bara is searching for in order to get it before Sindian and to hide it permanently
--while searching the beach, they discover other magical rings (seeming decoys) of various properties
--Telisa augurs the location of Bara's ring and receives a message from Mannan Aia in the form of a small bird that has regained the power of flight; the bird discovers a ring in the branches of a tree
--the party gets into another combat with Sindian, Arasha, and Eddara (with Bara also causing trouble); Sindian tricks via illusion Bara into thinking that the party has his ring
--the party defeats Arasha and Eddara again but they suffer some mortal wounds; Sindian pins Telisa with a hold and threatens to instantly kill Telisa if the party does not let him and his companions go; the party decides to release three dark priests
--they hide the ring in a stone outside of Bara's house and return to the ship to recover

8/22/10 & 9/26/10: The Final Showdown, The Rise of Mallux

--(my memory of these last few sessions is a little fuzzy)
--the party is tricked by Sindian via insanity magics to reveal the location of the ring
--Bara is released and the party fights Dark Jule again; there is no easy victor; Sindian uses darker prayers and curses to thwart the party
--they contact Ixix, who believes that the presence on the island is Mallux, an elder true dragon of Luck; Mallux must have been trapped upon the islands by Jule and Dark Jule hopes to release him
--the party is left with two choices: stop Sindian Jule and try to assure that the last visage of Mallux is not released or to release Mallux themselves hoping to exact a boon from the freed dragon (binding him to not interfere in the Realm for a year and day giving Ixix and Jullux time to prepare)
--Ixix gives the party the blessing of dark horse again
--the adventurers regain their strength and decide to lay an ambush at the island of Ehvi, where the magical golem guards one of the presences of Mallux
--they decide they will use their dark horses in order to insure that Sindian cannot previal
--Wren calls upon Possos to shroud the island in a thick fog (so Sindian cannot see the golem and simply invoke something like malfunction upon it) that they can see through but not their enemies; Possos brings storm into the area
--when the battle is engaged, they are met by Sindian, Eddara, and Arasha (all flying)
--Lanthorn calls upon the dark horse to hold person Sindian; Galen goes up to Sindian in order to remove the relic of Jule that allows him to use his powers on the island
--Tirdim uses his dark horse to cancel Sindian's flight
--but once again, an illusion tricks the party: Sindian is actually Eddara disguised and Eddara is Sindian disguised
--Sindian moves up to the golem in order to end its magic; Riseif uses his dark horse to throw a dagger into the back of Sindian's head to kill him instantly (and because of the magic of karma is also killed instantly as well)
--Eddara is quickly dispatched (while held)
--Arasha moves in toward the golem and begins to cast spontaneously; Lanthorn interrupts him and the party realizes that the magics that are about to be loosed because of a spell gone awry will be devestating; Telisa uses her dark horse to instantly dispel the magic; the magic is turned against itself and Arasha is consumed by his own magic and is disintegrated
--some sort of magical rift is produced as a result of the dispellation/disintegration
--the party returns to the ship to rest
--in the middle of the night, Tirdim sense some magical disturbance coming from the island; the party returns to the island to discover the rift is growing and is attracted to sources of powerful magic (like the golem)
--Ixix is called in for help, who asks for Loxias's help as well
--eventually, the rift is contained; Ixix decides that it would be best if the party released Mallux to take the boon
--the party release Ehvi and head the main island where the crystal prison of Mallux is finally fully revealed; a simple speaking of the word "freedom" breaks the prison and Mallux wakes
--though weak, Mallux is still a threat but the party invokes the boon and asks for Mallux to not interfere in the Realm for a year and a day; Mallux abides by the old laws, the old ways and leaves
--the party is returned to Loxian for much needed rest and recovery

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Seattle Campaign 3.0: The Party's Test for Medianhood

4/25/10 Return to Loxian and Loxias, Tests for Medianhood

--the adventuring party returns to Loxian
--Tirdim (for the Academy), Wren (for the Temple of Possos), Telisa (for the Temple of Mannan Aia), and Lanthorn (for the Temple of Turus) must test for promotion; Loxias arranges to be the administrator of the Tests; the party will be sent as a group on the Tests, each will be rewarded including the non-Testers like Galen and Riseif
--the party receives a letter from the Temples at Grand Takare; each of the Testers also receive individual letters
--Loxias tells the party they have a week to prepare for the Tests; once the Test is begun they will not be able to pause
--the adventurers are brought into Loxias's audience hall on the morning of the Tests; Loxias tells them that the Tests will involve each of them, addressing their strengths and weaknesses; Loxias also offers them one last boon--a trial of chance--he tells them that skill and determination and luck will be a part of the Tests
--Loxias gives them an opportunity to select from several boxes: selecting will either bring them something useful, bring them something negative, or nothing at all; they receive a scroll of water walking and a scroll of median protection from fire and a potion of water breathing
--Loxias tells them that the Tests will be in six parts: The Test of Wood, the Test of Steel, the Test of Water, the Test of Fire, the Test of Flesh, and the Test of Time; the magic of the Tests will be part-real and part-illusory, they will never leave the audience hall of Loxias's manor but what they see, sense, feel, and fight will be real
--to begin, Loxias has one of the party to roll dice (again invoking Luck); the dice will determine the number of days they will have to complete the Tests; Riseif rolls a 5 (on 3d5) so the party will have five days; if the party does not finish the Tests in five days, they will fail the Test of Time
--the test begins and the party is swept into a magical vortext; the room seems to shift and ripple and the group is transported (there is the feeling like teleportation) to a small room with stone walls, floor, and vaulted ceiling lit by some sort of soft, ambient light; in the center of the room is a five-sided stone table; on the table is set with six objects: a wood carving in the shape of a tree, a small iron replica of a greatsword, a crystal sphere filled with water, a piece of fire quartz, a mask made of curious leather, and in the center, an hourglass.
--the hourglass marks five days and the sand begins to flow; the party explores the chamber and the objects; they are magical and discover that to start a test they must hold the object and declare, "Let the Test of ___________ begin!"

--the party decides on the Test of Flesh first
--the room ripples and changes as before and the party appears in a vast underground chambers; the chamber is divided by a impossibly deep chasm; on either side of the chasm are ledges and steel "doors" (plain steel plates set into the wall with no handles or locks) with a length of sturdy chain attached to the middle of the door; across the chasm is a two foot wide bridge of wood
--on one door are the words "make whole" and on the other door are the words "the chain"
--with everyone holding hands, the party can reach across the bridge and chasm; the party decides to be the "living chain" and in doing so the magic of the doors sends an electrical shock through them; each time there is a jolt of lightning, the metal doors begin to resolve taking on other features (like a door handle and lock)
--after several successive electrocutions (and nearly falling into the chasm), the party makes the doors appear; Galen unlocks one door and opening it reveals the starting room; he unlocks the other door and reveals a treasure chest full of loot (200 Lc, 2 magical daggers dedicated to Turus, 8 minor healing potions, and 6 special potions)
--the party heads into the starting room, shutting the door ends the first Test; the party decides to rest to heal up; Tirdim sets to work on identifying all of the objects; Tirdim critically fails on identifying one of the special potions and destroys half of his reagents (natural 100% on Spell Success%) and then he attempts to identify the potions again and critically fails (another natural 100%, then rolling another 10, that's 5 10s in a row) destroying the remaining materials and one of the potions as well
--the potions are augmentation potions (2 for +1 DEX, 1 for +1 CON, 1 for +1 STR, and 1 for +BODYpts, 1 destroyed)

--the next morning, the party decides on the Test of Water
--the room shifts and changes and the party feels like they are transported again, this time they appear in the middle of the ocean; below them, about 10 measures down, is the wreckage of a ship
--Wren calls upon the power of Possos to empower some of the power to swim; they give Lanthorn (since he's the heaviest and non-swimmy) the potion of water breathing
--in the wreckage, they discover two giant eel-like, ray-like sharks protecting a silver holy symbol to Possos; Riseif decides to draw the attention of the sharks; Wren gets the symbol and they kill one of the sharks and drives away the second
--Wren puts on the symbol and the Test ends; the entire scene seems to collapse, drain away into the symbol; the party is returned to the starting room

--the party decides to do the Test of Wood next
--the party is transported to a deep forest, somewhere far away from civilization, and seemingly out of season (there are leaves on the trees)
--in the distance, they spot a clearing; heading to the clearing, they come upon a great oak tree, a treeant tending to the trees around the clearing; they approach the treeant and it ignores them; they attempt to get the tree's attention and it wonders what they want; high in the branches of the tree, they see a silver medallion hanging
--the party plans to figure out how to get the medallion

5/2/10 Test of Wood Continued, Test of Steel

--Galen attempts to jump up to the higher branches of the treeant and to take the medallion; his first attempt he falls but is saved by his belt of safefall; his second attempt is successful and as he takes a hold of the medallion, there is a peal of thunder and a bolt of lightning strikes Galen knocking him out of the tree; he is knocked unconscious but revived by Telisa
--the treeant takes notice of the party now and picks up the silver medallion, a holy symbol to Mannan Aia; the tree plunges the medal into the ground and says that in order to get the symbol they must earn it; they must seek out four plants: wizard's breath (an uncommon but not terribly difficult plant used as reagents in most magical rituals), balm of evening (a very rare flower that can be used to make a powerful sedative, the party has seen this plant before), white woodrose (a common flowering vine but a white flower is extremely rare), and an aged acorn (an acorn from a blessed oak tree)
--the party sets off to find the different flowers; they discover that stepping out of the clearing produces unforeseen results--the clearing seems to be moving, following along with the treeant, even though while you are in it there is no sense of movement
--the party discovers all of the flowers over time, they return to the clearing, and Telisa plants all of the plants; the treeant causes a young oak tree to grow on the spot; in the branches is the holy symbol; Telisa takes the holy symbol and puts it on and the Test ends

--the party heals up and and decides to proceed with the Test of Steel
--the small iron sword becomes a magical great sword; a door appears on one wall; Tirdim identifies the sword as a median great sword dedicated to Turus
--the party goes through the doorway and appears upon a stone pedestal in the middle of a large underground lake; a small beach is in the distance, two tunnels lead out of the big cavern; closing the door, the test begins
--in the distance, on the shore of the lake, people with jet black skin enter dressed in bone and leathers, painted to look like skeletons (they look like they are from the Third Continent, Tyurraeans perhaps); they accuse the party of blaspheming their sacred pool; they begin to fire arrows at them; the party struggles to reach the shore
--Lanthorn is given the scroll of water walking and he charges ahead to the shore; Lanthorn makes a charisma attack and scares off some of the attackers
--the party attacks and defeats the tribal men and a giant darkling; taking one of the passages, they discover a small chamber where a tribal woman has been left, bound, and collared; attached to the collar is a silver holy symbol to Turus
--to take the collar off requires hurting or killing the woman; they discover that the woman is meant to be a sacrifice to "he that will come," meaning a priest of Turus
--the party discusses what to do about the woman; the woman freaks out and says that if she is rejected then she will be killed anyway and tries to kill herself; the group stops her
--Lanthorn eventually realizes that if the woman is meant to be a sacrifice, meant to be for him, that he can accept her but instead of killing her set her free
--in setting her free, the collar shatters releasing the woman and the holy symbol; Lanthorn puts on the symbol and the Test ends

--the party rests and heals up for the next and final test, the Test of Fire

5/23/10 The Test of Fire, Completing the Tests

--limited attendance (only three of six made it to gaming); Telisa, Riseif, and Lanthorn succumbed to stupid disease
--Tirdim begins the Test of Fire
--the party appears in a broad, domed chamber; the walls and floor and ceiling are gray stone
--they are surrounded by thin, flickering, fiery hemispheres of flame; 23 barriers; each wall of fire is only an inch thick and set about a foot apart; the walls give off no heat until you get very, very close to them
--in the distance, through the walls of fire, they can see a door in the far wall
--on the ground, a symbol of fire has been carved into the stone and the lines:

a sacrifice of power
a sacrifice of knowledge
a sacrifice of pages
or a sacrifice of self

--also on the ground is a fine quality book, bound in leather, with gilded pages; the book looks like a spell book; opening the book, each page seems to contain a formula but the text and notation are completely garbled; Tirdim attempts a translation spell to no avail
--the party deduces that they must either sacrifice themselves, wound themselves on the walls of fire, or rip out pages to be burned
--Riseif, Lanthorn, and Galen volunteer to try sacrificing themselves
--entering a wall of fire inflicts fire damage (approximately 30-40 points of PRC damage to average defense); the damage is dangerous and drains the party's healing ability and potions; however, a sacrifice of self does cancel one wall
--sacrificing a page to a wall will lessen the effectiveness of the wall; one page reduces the wall's damage slightly, two pages reduces the wall's damage slightly more, and three pages will cancel a wall entirely
--through a combination of sheer determination, healing, and careful use of the pages, the party manages to get through all 23 walls
--Tirdim walks away from the test with a number of spells to enter into his spellbook; the test is frustrating because every page that is burned up reveals what spell it is before it is gone (e.g. losing the formula for invisibility or cone of frost was a tough loss)
--the party makes it to the final door; the door is magically trapped; everyone is extremely wounded; Galen decides to pick the lock and does so successfully (bypassing the trap)
--the party returns to the starting chamber with one day remaining on the hourglass
--the hourglass reveals a message saying that they have completed the tests but they can use the remaining test to repeat any of the prior tests for a second time, for a different reward; the group decides it best to cut their losses (particularly given their weakened condition)
--the Tests for Medianhood end

--the party reappears in the audience hall of Loxias; he congratulates all of them on their hard work and perseverance; the party is returned to their rooms, healed, cleaned up, and tended to
--they return to Lord Mayor Loxias once they are rested
--Tirdim must complete the practicum portion of his mage test; Loxias tests Tirdim on his forms and tracings; he also requires Tirdim to perform identifications for five magical items (given the fact that Tirdim failed identifications so miserably during the test); Tirdim passes both the forms and identifications with flying colors; he identifies a median mana reservoir (a ring), a median wand of shards of ice, a bag of holding, boots of stealth, and a medal of command
--Lord Loxias commends all of the group and says that he will send word to the Temples and the Academy recommending that the priests and the mage be Raised to medianhood; he gives everyone an additional monetary reward and allows them to keep the magic items Tirdim identified
--the Lord Mayor suggests the party rest for a week or so, train, and prepare; he will send them on their next task soon; the wraith still wanders the realm and the evil adventuring party led by Rissa Ittar and Joven Iirago are also at large