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#14387489 Jul 10, 2020 at 07:23 AM · Edited 1 month ago
66 Posts
Zau'lann raised an arch eyebrow, fresh from arranging books and ornaments in the room his mistress had claimed for them. "Nothing to learn, jabress? We ought to tread carefully, even so" he said. "We learned some hard lessons in the jungle.. the yuan-ti seemed to crumble quickly enough against us, and yet the force at their back fair ruined us. We only survived through some luck or whim, that day."

He tilts his head. "No, I do feel we have to assume there's something out there that can give us a hard time... we're not quite as secure as we'd like to be, yet. Until we complete this ritual, all is uncertain." He nods, smiling an amiable smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes.
#14387516 Jul 10, 2020 at 08:12 AM
56 Posts
So the tower was theirs once more... The goblin inhabitants hadn't proved much of a challenge. Vot had fought and fairly easily slain their leader and most of the survivors had scampered off, unimpressed by Vot and the team. It was probably just as well; such sorts couldn't really be relied on and would just as likely throw in with whomever would pay or coerce them into betraying them somewhere down the road.

After listening to the swirling discussion about what to do next for a bit, Darsin interjected. "I think it might be prudent to tackle the mind next. The longer it has to observe us and our tactics, the more challenging it will. be to overcome, as it will undoubtedly mount counters and defenses tailored specifically for us."
#14387540 Jul 10, 2020 at 08:35 AM · Edited 1 month ago
Veteran DM
131 Posts
'If thou wouldst bring together the ape... the boar... the dragon... the lion... the owl... the wolf... herein perform ye ritual, rulership shall be yours.' In the time spent alone Tian'ith had quizzed Zau'lann concerning the ritual and mused long on the implications.

Here in the fortress her mind set had begun to shift. For the first time it was something that was theirs. Not ideal but theirs as a unit. Suddenly Tian'ith found herself not only thinking that perhaps there could be more but that down inside she was beginning to actually want it. Something that was a little more ... refined. For some time she had not thought beyond maintaining the safety of herself and Zau'lann but she couldn't help but consider how much more pleasing it would be to have that in a way that offered a measure of comfort.

Of course rulership by the measure of some mad druid, while acknowledging her own race's skewed and aggressive consideration of the term, wasn't something she felt would lend itself to safety in the immediate future but still. Perhaps a place to start? Tian'ith listened to the conversation, hiding a personal wince at the mention of the Yuan Ti by Zau'lann, but nods slightly as he mentioned completing the ritual.

"A priority," she added, "but we do not yet know who holds the remaining items. The beholder may already have them but unless these factions hold them they may be beyond our reach without additional information." Tian'ith pursed her lips thinking. "Darsin is not wrong. Though it may make sense to attack the Lycanthropes in some respects we may yet be able to gain access down the old tunnel in the kobold lair. Something we should examine but which may take extra time."

"What we also need is to be certain of too is our foothold in this tower." She glanced at Miiq in a significant manner. "For which we need additional support and therefore need to be a little more cautious with our own discipline and level of diplomacy."

"Either way," Tian'ith gave Zau'lann a look full of meaning which only he might fully grasp. "As yet we know nothing of the whereabouts of the Dar'ges and that is something I would definitely learn."
Old enough to know better, too old to care.
#14387599 Jul 10, 2020 at 11:03 AM
Veteran DM
152 Posts
Session 9

+1800xp for full-party IC posting.

#14388174 Jul 11, 2020 at 10:12 AM
Veteran DM
131 Posts
((Server is up, usual details.))
Old enough to know better, too old to care.
#14389870 Jul 14, 2020 at 09:04 PM
65 Posts
Yaz had too much to drink. He lost track of time, place and latest events.

There was a new town with huge trolls guards. They went into an inn then under it then through tunnels. Met some white kobolds. Broke a wall to get into a kind of temple. Killed huge animals or may be "werecreatures".

"Er... What you want to do now?"

//

Next campaign? Not sure. I could replay a monk I played way back (either in Eye of the Beholder or HotU) but he would likely need a brother/sister. Else may be a Conan type barbarian.
#14390886 Jul 16, 2020 at 09:57 PM
65 Posts
Another faction down, one more to go.

The shapeshifters were kiiind of a mistake. THey meant to go after the mind creature, but their, uh, intelligene was wrong. So they crashed a shapeshifter party and ended up killing em all. Oops.

Well, not "oops we made a mistake" kind of oops, just did it out of order. It's not like offing the mind beast would be any harder. After all, Vot had special protection from that kind of head magic, so he wasn't concerned.

He WAS kind of wondering what they all wanted to do after. If their pattern was anything to go by, that beholder Xrex was next. Well, if he died there would be no one else around to run things and there would be another power vacuum. Except, they were all there, and it seemed like they all knew that's where this was headed.

Not only that, if Xrex had the rest of the druid statuettes, they'd hav a complete set, and then they could do that ... ritual thing Zau boy told them about. To rule. To rule what though? They'd have a city to themselves once Xrex snuffed it. Could they get even more?

Ha. Who needed a worn out old border tower when they could have cities all to themselves. Exciting times.

"You know what, I think we could all use one of 'Vot's Special Piggy Sandwiches' tonight. Oh that's gonna be goood."
#14390969 Jul 17, 2020 at 02:33 AM
Veteran DM
131 Posts
Tian'ith munched steadily on the 'piggy sandwich'. It tasted good but there was no doubt Vot's cooking featured meat. Featured, underlined it, put asterisks around it and an exclamation mark after it. Eat too much and you were going to be moving slowly afterwards. The tower was relatively secure and she had reinstated the old traps and more but would it would require them to be ready to hold back an assault and she was by no means certain that there would be none. So she ate it but kept the portion small.

It was hard for her to see a point where there would be none. At least for her and Zau'lann. This was, after all, not unusual for her race but there had been the opportunity for respite. For months now though they had done nothing but fight with little more than a day or two between points of need. The last period of real respite she could remember was on board that ship.

Now they were facing the need to remove another faction that would not bargain towards acceptable terms and should they remove it what then? There was no trace of the Dar'ges witch so far and she was now doubting that conquering this hold would end that search. But it may still provide a period of security before the need to continue.

Security and peace. Something she and Zau'lann had never known at the same time during any point of there relationship. Tian'ith looked thoughtful for a moment as she chewed. For some reason that escaped her she found she craved that.
Old enough to know better, too old to care.
#14390986 Jul 17, 2020 at 03:41 AM
56 Posts
They had stumbled on to the shapeshifters stronghold and cleared it after a tough fight. It wasn't the plan, but it worked out. That left the mind and beholder; Darsin wasn't sure which of these would be a tougher challenge, but still leaned towards taking out the mind earlier rather than later. He wondered what would happen when all these factions were destroyed? He had no interest in ruling anything himself. He would look for further work, people always needed priests.
#14390987 Jul 17, 2020 at 03:43 AM
51 Posts
It was undeniable that she, and to some extent, the others had grown in strength, power, and ability since the moment their lots became intertwined with each other. And while not all of the companions were of use, such as that orc or the witch, there was no denying that as a group they were fearsome. The shapeshifters fell like paper to them just as the hobgoblins did. If she was a betting girl she would wager that the Mind, and even the Beholder, would fall just as easily. But to whose end was it for?

Ravillion pondered over it as she spent yet another meal with the group. It was almost natural now after all the time they had spent together. Something that felt so natural to her now was certainly not something that was supposed to feel natural to a Drow. It made her wonder, did she grow weak in some ways while growing stronger in others? She could not deny that on at least one occasion she had risked her own life for Tian'ith or Vot or even the kobold... but that could be justified as needing their ability considering their few numbers.

Even the mere thought that it could be something more than need or use that was guiding her actions... bothered her. She already knew Tian'ith held such thoughts and beliefs... was she becoming weak like her? Even if she had just claimed that Tian'ith had skill and strength... she was also going against the common beliefs long held by their race in certain ways.

The same beliefs that led to her own sisters taking the initiative to humiliate and curse her with that horrible, ugly, horrendous form of a bugbear and banishment from her own home... But she had persevered and overcome it however! Certainly proof that Lloth still showed favor and that it was all merely a test to prove her worth... Or so she told herself.

But the question perhaps most important at the current moment was... What's next? After they take over the city and perform whatever ritual her male claimed to know... What then? Happenstance was what led them together, but now they were all back to familiar ground. The... Couple had a House hunting them. The Sorcerer failed to eat his meal and thus needed to find a new one. The Warrior and Priest sought merely riches worth killing for. The Ryld was like a leech upon the Warrior. As for herself, she wanted revenge upon her ambitious sisters, whose ambitions were as high as her own, Matron.
#14391129 Jul 17, 2020 at 09:28 AM
66 Posts
Zau'lann ate. He wasn't complete convinced of the way things were going.

"It's going to be hard fighting back any Drow forces without help," he finally said. "Even if this ritual is all we hope it will be. If it's just us, a town's not going to be all that helpful. We may as well just built a shack somewhere and waited."

He tried to make his way through another bite. "Gaining allies and servants is so much more than just domination through strength, you understand? There's an art to it. A contract. A one-sided contract of course, a contract that almost wholly benefits us, but the point is the appearance of an arrangement. That's part of the yoke hat keeps people serving you, even when you're not all that good to them. That takes a certain... charisma, a certain awareness of what people want and how to use it against them."

"Willing servants. That's the point. Willing. Not pampered or coddled, but swayed." He nodded, chewing another bite. "Basis of civilisation, that."
#14391155 Jul 17, 2020 at 10:23 AM
49 Posts
"It is good to have servants, yes," Miiq said, intruding upon the conversation. "But those that would conspire against... us? Those so foolish they do not respect, do not fear, our power? They are not... assets. Only matter of time before they become more trouble than they are worth. Serve better as examples. Never permit them to forget what true power looks like."

There was something like fire in the little kobold's eyes as he spoke of this, which was not uncommon these days. The trials they had faced had burned whatever inclinations of restraint or mercy he might have once possessed.

It was not so hard, under the flickering light of torchfire, to catch him at the right angle, and see the silhouette of a tyrant.
#14391193 Jul 17, 2020 at 11:58 AM
Veteran DM
152 Posts
Session 10

+1800xp for full-party IC posting.
#14391618 Jul 18, 2020 at 10:07 AM
Veteran DM
131 Posts
((Server is up, usual details.))
Old enough to know better, too old to care.
#14394228 Jul 24, 2020 at 02:41 AM
51 Posts
The city was their's. As expected, the beholder and Mind fell easily to them, with somehow the goblin proving to be the greater of the two challenges. The ritual was performed, a staff of immense power created, and the outright threat of the Drow House they had history with laid to rest for the moment. Overall a highly successful day. Yet Ravillion felt conflicted about it all.

It wasn't the fact that Tian'ith currently held the staff. No, while a point of contention that wasn't quite it. It was the words of that Spymistress, that Vampire, and even the worthless Ryld. Looking back upon their journey almost every encounter was the same. True, they discussed most plans amongst themselves and came to decisions, but for the most part it was undeniable that Tian'ith was the face of the group. She took to speaking and negotiating for them with others, and for the most part Ravillion saw no part to echo her sentiments as they were usually in line with her own.

Her focus had always been on battle, finding advantages, and other matters along their line for the journey. Her focus had always been on her revenge. Her focus had always been on the fights until she could advance further towards her revenge. It mattered not what those around her viewed her as, as they were only temporary aid. Except it turned out that they were not. The group lasted, as did the images each impressed upon others. And Ravillion was not satisfied with the one she left. A warrior. An assassin. A scout. But leader and matron were not among them.

At the time it made sense. She needed to observe and learn how this group would act. And even more importantly at the start she was relying on the Derro to fix her form, to restore what was stolen from her. So she needed to understand what she was working with, their skills, their intellects, their worth. To her surprise they ended up being worth more than the Derro ever could be... Well most of them. The orc and red witch were disappointments.

It then became all too easy to focus merely on furthering herself towards her revenge after the Derro betrayed and stranded them on that island. Improving her lethal abilities. Improving her arsenal. Improving herself. They would suffer just like her sisters once she could get her hands on them. Or at least that was what she thought.

Now though... she could see what single-minded vengeance looked like. The kobold. True, her desires of revenge were more refined, but the sorcerer's focus and drive was similar to what hers had been. It clouded the mind and masked opportunities that could be. As of late she could not deny the potential ruin that could befall her should she continue this path. Not the vengeance against the Derro, of course, aside from potential lost vassals. Rather, what it would take to actually have a chance of murdering the daughters of a house matron, her sisters. It was no simple task and it was one which would require more sacrifice.

Sacrifice. Why should she have to sacrifice even more to get even with her sisters? And after she manages to kill them, what then? She wasn't the first daughter, albeit she was one of the oldest ones. She wouldn't be welcomed back. No, she was likely already considered dead to her house. The more she thought about it the more she realized that her revenge would gain her nothing and only cost her more and more as time went on. In fact, the only sensible thing would be to... throw it aside. To throw away her revenge. Her old drive.

No, not throw away. Change it. Redefine it. If she could not kill her sisters for denying her the chance to scheme her way to becoming matron of her house... then she would just have to challenge them a different way. And opportunity just gifted her a city. True, it was a shared city between her and the rest, but that did not mean all sought to lead it. Vot and the Priest would be fine with high level positions, the Male would never dare to suggest he lead the city, and the Ryld was in no position to demand anything. Truly, the only three with desire to rule, or perhaps merely to not be ruled, were herself, Tian'ith, and the Kobold. Truly a massacre waiting to occur, if left alone.

They were not your usual group. Many had commented on that fact everywhere they went. But their effectiveness could not be denied. All foes who sought to end them failed... minus a dragon and demon. But they had grown since then and proved that even traditionally thought power in the Underdark was not absolute. So it stood to reason that she did not need to rule a traditional city, or perhaps even in a traditional way. What she needed was power. Vassals. Territory. She held the first she could say, but the latter two would take time. Perhaps even... compromise.

It was almost a self inflicted insult to even consider it. In fact, if you had suggested such a thing to her in the past, especially in regards to her revenge and goals, she would have taken it as a deep insult, one worthy of death. But now... she was going to do something unthinkable to her past self.

A discreet invitation. A secret meeting. An undisclosed agenda. These were decisively Drow actions and not out of the ordinary. Perhaps Tian'ith would believe it to be a meeting to finally remove that Kobold now that they were in a more stable situation. Or maybe something over the ryld. But certainly, she could not expect what the true discussion would be over. Ravillion still almost couldn't believe it herself.

"... Tian'ith. Usstan sees you found and accepted the invitation to meet. Usstan will be brief and to the point. The situation has changed and... goals have shifted. Dos have proven to be the most rational of the group, aside from Usstan. Revenge can be achieved in... methods other than reckless murder... so Usstan makes this offer to dos. As stands, dos, usstan, and the kobold desire the staff and title it brings." Ravillion pauses for a moment as she gauges Tian'ith.

"This group... is naut traditional, but is effective. So stands to reason same could be said a city and how it is... ruled. Offer is simple. Dos and Usstan... Both public rulers of the city. Both share the staff. Both Matrons. Usstan and dos knows dos are naut typical for a Drow... But it has naut made dos weak. No, usstan would naut make this offer to one thought of as lesser... So, what are dos thoughts?"