The Order of the Shrub

Winging it

The party is joined by the paladin who they decide would make a better emmisary (of Primus no less) than the fish guy. They get an audience with Skartos, who is in an anti-magic throne room with 20 knights as guards. They explain part of their mission to save people and that they need the horn. Skartos leads them through an invisible, intangible maze to the room of the horn. On stepping through, each member of the party is alone with a horn that looks different to them than to everyone else. The party members gain some abilities (and in one case intangibility) from being in the room, but do not remove the horn.

Skartos tells them they took the test of the horn and are found worthy, since they did not go insane or die. The party reiterates that they need the horn but Skartos mentions that only someone of his bloodline can safely blow the horn. The paladin mentions the egg, and Skartos asks to touch it (which happens on the ship – Skartos and his 20 knights touched it).

Then Skartos goes back and blows the horn to presumably summon everyone in the world that is worthy (or at least who would be in the way of Skartos gaining the resources he needs to conduct his campaign against the invaders). A ton of insects are summoned which Skartos says was done to more easily move people via changing them into flying bugs. Cloak the rogue/bard is upset, and goes into the horn room and gets a handheld version of the horn which she take with her. She feels that Skartos tricked the party. The paladin brings a ladybug into the throneroom, who turns into a scared baker (who goes in the egg); a few more bug interviews later and they find that the people are a bit confused but willing to go into the egg if the world is ending.

Cloak wanted to use the horn to summon people further away so they could more safely go into the egg as people not bugs, but that didn’t happen.

Meanwhile, the paladin goes out with the monk and they gather insects into the egg. Most of the insects go in, except the wasps.

Then a large black crack opens up in the blue sky.

So the party has a moral discussion as to whether it was right to put everyone in the egg or not, or whether only good people, or lawful people, should go in, and what about the other animals?

Anyhow, things happened. No combat this time though.

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Sharknado!

(Yes, I did).

Ok, the party in their cloud ship suddenly were attacked by a magical water spout containing reef sharks! Hilarity ensued, and they even rescued a green fish dude also in that spout, who turned out to be Nagauhas, an emissary to Skartos. Also, they discovered that a mind flayer caused the water spout, but the m.f. disappeared on being about to be confronted.

So the party heard about Skartos in a new light, as a great leader who was uniting various peoples to fight a great threat to the whole world!

And the party saw knights in armour on green and blue dragons, veiled ladies and men, fire giants, hobgoblins, kobolds, and rat-men. All of them had the crest of Skartos (tree with crown on it). The also saw a magical image of a giant head in the sky that announced the alliance with the sea peoples, the readiness to fight to save the world, etc. (At which point all the troops shouted “Skartos!” in encouraging tones). And the head had an incredibly magnetic personality. Obviously a born leader, and handsome to boot!

Then the party has a bit of a discussion on what to do (consulting with Primus via reitual and modron and receiving an internal yet written reply via coughing fit of the sorcerer. They can easily be the entourage/servants of the emmisary, and they got word from Primus that Skartos is the “Back up plan”, trying to save the world (Primus estimates a 13% chance of success). But the party with the egg is currently unknown to him (the party trying to save the world’s souls, since 13% of success means 87% chance of failure).

The monk scouted around with a helm of telepathy. While everyone was saying they needed more (resources, troops, equipment, arms, etc.) they were all quite happy to be part of Skartos’s organization.

So what will the party do? Tune in next week!

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A rash encounter

The party agrees to the challenge and eventually docks at Lord Bagneol’s dark cloud. They issue the challenge and Lord Bagneol (with a large pulsing boil on his neck and another on his head) has to comply.

First there is the challenge of the hand. Lord B. rips the arms off of various enslaved servitors (yellow skeletons but the skulls are beak-like and the people are scared, not mindless) and puts them into a room, armed with weapons and whirling. The party has to get a ruby. The rogue/bard does so, but gets magically paranoid. The sorcerer too, but the pure rogue magically charms him, solving that issue. Lord Bagneol sucks the ruby into himself (it turns into a bloody liquid).

Then there is the challenge of the head. Lord B. replaces the arms on the servitors but rips off the heads! The party is left alone in a room with 30 heads attacking (the beaks sucking blood). The party destroys 27 heads and saves 3 (unconscious . . . ish).

Then there is the challenge of the heart. Lord B. leads them into a magical dark maze with floating lights and tells them to stop the devourer of light (the heads and pieces of heads of the servitors are magically merged into a giant yellow sphere the moves around the maze, eating the lights . . . ok it was Pac-Man, but hey it was pretty funny.

The rogue/bard charms P.M. into helping them and they break out of the maze. Good thing because the bard and rogue stayed in the feast hall for the third challenge and attacked the boils on Lord B., which erupted into Mind Flayers!

Hilarity ensued. The party (aided by the three servitors remaining) fought and defeated the mind flayers, and were able to escape the cloud as it was dissipating. They got to Agneol’s cloud, rescued the niece, got their reward (and medals), saved the day, and even were able to reverse the magic on the three servitors – an elf, a dwarf and a human (the others were saved in a different way by putting them in the egg).

At this point the cloud giants and the party were all privy to the secret of the egg, and those that hadn’t previously touched it, touched it now. The giants also agreed to leave 2 guards and a priest on the ship with the party to help them on the quest to liberate the horn from Lord Skartos.

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What's green and grey and red all over?

The party tracked the green slaad via the modron compass but couldn’t see it among the tribal villagers enacting some ritual. But on scouting ahead the warlock and gnome realized that the tribesman with the staff that became a sword really was the slaad, but it was looking more grey than green. The party got reinforcements and attacked. The modron perished but so did the slaad.

Oh, they set the jungle on fire and scared the villagers off. Probably for the best, really.

Then their airship went above the clouds except a cloud docked with them. A large blue lady (a cloud giant!) welcomed them with food and they were invited to the court of Lord Agneol, who needed their help with his troublesome brother Bagneol, to rescue Agneol’s niece Hypatia. The party agreed to issue the official challenge to Bagneol.

Also the party arranged to free the air elementals in their ship, remove all the other sigals (including communication, sudden release of said air elementals (could have been mid-flight!), etc.) and replace it with a magic cloud. They did promise to try to free all the other air elementals (otherwise there will be war within a year!).

This took a few weeks. But the party should be ready for the challenge soon.

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Jurassic parked

The party lowered the ship near a stream in the jungle for repairs. They fought a T.Rex and won (with a kick to the head from inside that head by the monk!). Then they had to deal with a tribe of lizardfolk, and then the lizardfolk in the ship rose from the dead (as did three of the dead crewmembers!). The party saw that there were glowing skull sigils on the ship and were able to use holy water to erase the sigils. They realized the Church of the Silver Flame was probably responsible for the undead here (and on the giant/ogre ship!).

Then a monodrone modron showed up with a message. Primus wants that Slaad hunted down that was in the ship before. The party decided to fix the ship first and then go after it from the air. The modron is sticking around for now.

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Up in the Air

The rogue/bard finagles a better deal on an airship via the church of Olidamera, but must steal the crown jewels of Skartos for that church in exchange. The party ducks an invitation to “a holy contest to win great rewards” from the Temple of the Silver Flame. They get onto the airship that the monk works on as a cook.

In the air they are attacked by three red dragon wyrmlings! Things get hot but they are fought off and no crew dies (although that is a close thing). The rogue/bard does a crazy heroic stunt – dragon riding!

Then there is banging in the hold. Something has hatched and wants out! Turns out that part of what the malodourous captain is smuggling is an unconscious wizard that is host to a green slaad! The party gets it up on to the deck and then the monk thunderwaves it off (along with the paladin) and the rogue/bard helps save the paladin with a feather fall, so the monk can catch it with her broom. The slaad fails to grab the monk or broom on the long way down, but while hurt, is able to walk it off (slaadi are tough customers!). It even got to fireball the ship on the way down! This forced the crew to open all the water barrels to save the ship, but they do save it (the warlock is good at organizing how the barrels should go)..

And then they all rested.

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Cooking up a new adventure

The party split up in town (DM crying sounds are muffled). The paladin checked out the Temple of the Silver Flame (one of the three factions fighting to have their guy be the next hierophant). Suspiciously, all the clerics and paladins were human.

The Warlock got a ritual spell copied. The sorcerer got new clothes.

The Rogue met up with a malodorous captain through the latter’s cook, and was considering a deal . . . for that captain (at 20 gp a head to get to Skartos’s Castle within 4 days). The Rogue thought of a better plan.

So Rogue, Sorceror and Paladin (waiting outside) tried to get some deal where they would give the magic horn of Skartos to the Temple in exchange for even an old airship (alternatively give an airship to Skartos in exchange for the city of Yvr’s freedom from attacks by Skartos). They said they would consider it.

The cook overheard both her own crew muttering that those passengers better keep their nose out of the crew’s business (about what the cargo was) and also a group of assassins planning to kill the airship sailor (rogue) she just met! She followed them.

They were staying at a luxury inn to keep up appearances (The Red Lion). The assassins climbed up but the flying cook signalled with a whistle and that woke up the party. Hijinks ensued, including repelling blasts by the warlock, errol flynn maneuvers into 2nd story windows from the third floor, flying, running, grapples, karate chops from the cook, arrows, fire bolts, sword action, and even an lightning orb. And a posthumous beheading of the non-human assassin.

The human assassin was dead and eventually so was the purple tenacled one (A mind flayer).

The party found (and despite the cook playing a secretive game, eventually discovered) that the note was from the Temple of the Silver Flame and asking them to kill the party and send the human assassin back to report success! And the temple-folk seemed so nice! So now the party is considering checking out the temple more carefully, perhaps using disguise magic and a con-game.

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extra addendum

Also, the human rogue is having a few second thoughts about how air elementals are used to power air ships. Is this slavery?

And the paladin’s ring started talking to him (not in the hag’s voice).

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New Rogue and a city!

The party is joined by a gnome rogue and rejoined by the warlock. They see an airship in the distance fight off a red dragon. Closer to them an airship passes over them, stops and some ogres start coming down! The party rallies (the gnome rogue reveals a bardic nature which, oddly, the rogue does not remember having afterwards) and defeat the ogres, and then the human rogue airship sailor gets . . . creative. Disguised as an ogre child he gets onto the ship, then sets it on fire, flies around with the rope ladder to hinder escape (only 4 ogres got off in time, and the party dealt with them), and accidentally frees the air elementals in the airship. The ship crashes, and the giant/ogre crew are attacked by said angry air elementals. Later, they rise as giant/ogre zombies!

Anyhow, the party goes into stealth mode, avoiding some city guard riding out to check out the airship crash (and then galloping back to report the giant zombies!). The party sneaks into the city of YVR to plan their next move. The old hierarch (clerical advisor to the Lord Mayor) is dead, and the priesthoods are politicking and sometimes outright fighting over who shall be the next hierarch. The party discusses the morality of using air elementals to power airships. The party thinks that getting a merchant airship quickly to the castle of Starkad the Destroyer might be the best plan. We shall see next week!

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Hey, a poem!

In honour of the paladin changing his race/oath and identity without changing his character, I wrote a poem. Anyhow, it involved the gods (Bahamat giving him to Ehlonna), the Egg, and the wild magic of the Prime human sorcerer. The world itself changed to accommodate the fact that most people don’t remember the dragonborn guy at all – except for those that touched the egg, he was always a half-elf (and even for them, even for the half-elf himself, the dragonborn is hard to remember, except in dreams and daydreams).

The paladin’s husband had come with a plan

to save their son’s life, for a righteous young man

he was destined to be, could he only survive,

Yet dead was he before he was alive.

How to thwart destiny? The gods knew a way,

but the price of such changes was heavy to pay,

No more would the paladin be known by his son

Or his husband or indeed by almost anyone.

He would give up his family, become someone new.

He agreed, for he felt it the right thing to do.

“No matter what changes are made to me,

Yet always a paladin I will be.”

And like thread through a needle his life was re-threaded;

the world changed around him; a new path was treaded.

No more dragonborn, a half-elf was he,

and ever was so, as all could see.

New parents, memories, goddess and name,

save for a few who felt all the same,

that the previous man was more like a dream

and the man before them was a part of their team.

This magic attracted the attention of a Night Hag, who wanted the heart of the Prime Human for her own purposes. The party dealt with her, but it was a near thing. Then they nearly killed their sorcerer who had turned into a sheep (he got beeeeeeetterrrrrrrrr). Then they met some giant elk and talking to them via magic were warned off of a giant in the area. Then they fought some orcs and an orog, but this attracted the attention of the giant. They ran away and the giant ate the dead bodies instead of pursuing the party.

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