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Champions of the Empire
The Cliffs of Kori-Dan - Turn 2.0 - Level 5 - Krelk and Errtu; Yrmen Desert - Turn 1.4 - Mining Challenge
GM: Is anyone going to take the Dagger of Venom or will it go in the dungeon cart? Who will carry the Wand of Frost? I'm assuming either Elenion or Aiya but you might also consider giving it to Aphora so that she has some combat effectiveness.
|Name||Notes and Active Spells||Flash of Insight||Hung Spells|
|Aiya||Mind Mask, Witchsight|
|Eysarian||Stoneskin (11 hits), Invisibility, Strength|
|Tory||Stoneskin (4 hits), Walking Unseen|
|Narathen||Mind Cloak (14 hours), Force Shield (+16 DEF)|
|Spectre||HP 118/118 (158/158), PROT 3, DEF 73, Animal Growth, Stoneskin (6 hits)|
|Oracka Mel||Luck Points 3/3, Fate Points 0/1|
The next day, the ship took them back to the entrance to the Nation of Hiro Janei. The group walked across the bridge to Dragonsgate, the massive cavern where the two headed dragon resided.
When they entered the cavern, the dragon was sitting near the north tunnel having a conversation with itself. The two heads watched the group arrive and one of them said, "Food for me to eat?"
The other head responded. "Don't I remember that I traded with them and allowed them free passage through the cavern?"
"Why would I make such a trade?"
"Because I really wanted the Amulet of the Planes."
"Ah yes. I remember now. Then I am in agreement that they can pass yet again without further payment?" the first head says with poor grace.
"Yes, I am in agreement," the second head reluctantly answers.
Both heads watch as the group enters the cavern. The dragon makes no mention that the size of the group has changed yet again with the addition of Malik Karr.
As the group starts towards the tunnel leading to what had been the slave merchants, the faerie suddenly appears and waves her wand twice. The first time, a silver ankh drops into Aiya's waiting hand. She waves it a second time and 4 tokens drop into Aiya's hand. Then she disappears. Aiya adds the tokens and ankhs to her growing pouch.
GM: The group now has 8 silver ankhs and 18 tokens.
With a wary eye on the two headed dragon, the group approaches the tunnel formerly leading to the slave merchants and takes a step inside while examining the Challenge Table. Words appear.
"Escort the blind crone Orocka Mel from the City of Landor in Elland, and the beautiful Merchant Princess Targatta from the Merchant's Fortress in Errtu, to the Master Mind and convince him to restore each to her original home."
GM: We can start up on Thursday at this point.
The group decides to head to the Nation of Elland next to drop off Frederic and Malik at the City of Landor and also to speak with Livnia and Lourden (Maureen's merchant parents) to see if the group can learn more about Errtu in general and the merchant fortress in particular. They can also ask about the 'blind crone Orocka Mel'.
It takes them a couple of hours to reach the City of Landor. They might normally have had no difficulties getting past the guard fortress at the entrance to the Nation of Elland except that the group now includes a massive gorilla. The group convinces the guards that Spectre is no danger to anyone and is under the firm control of Aphora who proceeds to demonstrate this. The guards allow them to enter but said that Spectre should remain outside the City of Landor. The group agrees so that, once they arrived at the city a couple hours later, Drolin and Aphora remained outside with Spectre. Narathen cast a Mind Link on Aphora to maintain contact.
The group bid farewell to Frederic and Malik and then made their way to the apartment inhabited by Lourden, Livnia and Maureen. Only Livnia and Maureen were home and they were happy to see the group. Livnia expected her husband home within the hour.
When Lourden arrived, the group asked what he knew of Errtu and the merchant fortress there. Lourden told them that he had been as far as the merchant fortress twice before but did not deal with Princess Targatta. He dealt with one of the other merchant princes. The fortress is well guarded and is ruled by a triumvirate of merchant princes of which Princess Targatta is one. She is said to be ruthless and cruel. All three merchant princes are said to be spell caster's of moderate to high skill. He also tells the group that 'when he was young a stupid' he made a trip all the way to the City of Envile deep in the Nation of Errtu. He says that, in Errtu, might and power are all that matter. The nation is ruled by a strong leader but coups are common as a strong faction is built to displace a prior ruler. He tells them to be very wary of Princess Targatta as she is thoroughly evil.
When the group asks about a blind crone, Lourden tells them that he as seen a blind old woman begging in Tower Square for the past month or two. He knows of no other blind old crones so suggests that they can start there. He says that he will show them the way.
Tory wonders if the nature of the quest is that Oracka Mel and Princess Targatta somehow switched minds and the quest is to restore them.
The group makes their way to Tower Square and finds the woman. They approach her with Eysarian checking with Mental Perception and Elenion looking with Power Perception. Neither of them pick up anything but Elenion does note that the woman seems to have an aura of evil about her. Narathen has Telepathy going but picks up very confused thoughts and is not skilled enough to dig deep into her mind for long term memories. The woman is chanting for alms and so Aiya drops some coins into the woman's hat which is on the ground in front of her. The woman thanks her somewhat confusedly and then goes back to chanting. Aiya attempts to strike up a conversation with her but she is not very lucid. She learns that her name is Oracka Mel but little more in the way of coherent thought. However, she readily agrees to accompany the group when they tell her they will feed her and take care of her. Narathen picks up vague thoughts of relief that someone will care for her.
The group purchases some traveling gear for her and some additional food and water. They bid farewell to Lourden again and head back towards Dragons Gate. They stop at the guard fortress. The guard commander welcomes them to spend the night in a couple of spare rooms. The group sets up in the rooms and talks things over. They know that there is a tower just inside Errtu and decide to check it out yet today before it gets dark. The ask the guards to keep an eye on Oracka Mel and the dungeon cart. They pass through Dragons Gate with the dragon watching them and enter Errtu. They climb to the top of the tower and out onto the roof. They are now 500 feet up and there is another 500 feet up to the ceiling of the vast cavern. A catwalk spans a distance of about 50 feet between the top of the tower and the cavern wall. Set into the cavern wall are large rungs that form a ladder leading up to the ceiling another 500 feet up. The prospect of both the catwalk and the climb is daunting even for those without acrophobia.
Tory says that he will scout by changing into a bird. Virgil will fly with him while Narathen will use his new Ring of Stone Walking to walk up the surface of the cliff. The rungs lead all the way to the roof and then disappear into a hole continuing upward. The group does not go up into the hole and concludes that it leads to the shaft in the area of level 4 where they encountered the ogres and trolls.
The group returns to the surface and then heads back to the guard fortress in Elland to spend the night.
The group decides that they will approach the Merchant Fortress the next day and ask for Princess Targatta. They will tell the guards that they have information that is for her ears only. Being very uncertain of the outcome, they also make plans to beat a hasty retreat if things go bad. Aiya will cast Shadow Wings on Spectre, Drolin and Eysarian and, if the group needs to flee, each will grab two others and fly quickly back to Elland where they will leave the dungeon cart.
The next morning they put the plan into action. Aiya casts Shadow Wings well before approaching the fortress. Eysarian casts a Stoneskin on himself while Tory casts it on others (Eysarian's spell is self only).
As the group enters Errtu they can see the top of the merchant fortress in the distance. A few shapes take to the air above the fortress and head in their direction staying at least 200 feet above the ground. Two are gargoyles and one is a harpy. They remain overhead as the group turns off the main road and heads to the fortress. When they reach the fortress, they find the gates closed. The walls are 40 feet up and a guard captain calls down and asks what they want. Aiya tells them that have very useful information for Princess Targatta. The captain asks for the information and Aiya says it is only for the princess. The captain says he will not let them pass without further information so Aiya says provides a bit more, hinting that the group can help the princess get back to her real home.
Suddenly a female voice sounds from inside the fortress and says, "NOW! KILL THE CRONE!"
GM: This is where we stopped for the night.
AIYA: I'll share my thoughts on the encounter in this email since I won't be there. I have the Wall of Darkness I could put up to offer us some concealment from ranged attacks. One idea is to place it in front of us but have it so we can move to its edges to look around it or move towards the gate. I'd make it taller and angle it so aerial attacks are limited to flying directly overhead us or coming from the sides.
AIYA: The other piece is that we should shout that anyone loyal to the princess should send out a representative to hear about the true location of the real princess. Since Aiya picked up on the doubts in the guard that spot, she wants to work to give further evidence to their cause and hope that it's enough to get them to take action.
AIYA: Good luck and I look forward to reading the recap.
GM: Is Aiya thinking that the group should stand and fight or otherwise try to stay and converse? At the end of last session, the group was thinking to flee. Just want to get a sense of what Aiya would like to see happen. Obviously the Darkness will help but since the group knows that the 3 merchant princes are all mages, it could be countered/dispelled.
AIYA: Aiya's fine retreating if the group would prefer but she would want to make sure to communicate to those in the keep that are truly loyal to the princess that the group knows the truth about the princess so that they would have the motivation to reach out to the group, perhaps secretly. It's a long shot but it's worth a try beyond just running away. In character, she could be crafty in how she says it so it doesn't have to be bluntly stated in the open.
AIYA: She'll definitely put up the Wall of Darkness instantly to give us direct concealment from any attacks right now. If it only lasts for 1-2 rounds, so be it. She can then can invisibility on the crone next so that she can't be targeted by those not able to see invisible. Though perhaps the stoneskins on the crone is good enough. Either way, she should be able to pass a message to them and retreat without too much risk.
Aiya speaks the word to cast her spell stored Wall of Darkness, blocking a large number of archers. Drolin grabs up Tory and Aiya and flies into the air and away from the fortress at best speed using the Shadow Wings spell previously cast by Aiya. Aphora has Spectre (her gorilla) do the same with herself and Narathen while Eysarian grabs up Oracka Mel and Elenion and quickly retreats. Some arrows come their way from archers not blocked by the Wall of Darkness but most do nothing more than remove Stoneskin layers and the few that actually hit do not penetrate armor.
The group retreats back to the entrance to Errtu while a harpy and two gargoyles watch from a distance away. The group discusses their next move. They consider going deeper into Errtu and attempting the other quest. Aiya suggests waiting for a day or more than then sneaking back in and looking for an opportunity to catch Princess Targatta when she is away from the fortress.
The group eventually decides to forgo Errtu for now and head across to the Nation of Krelk and see if they can learn more about the challenge there. They stop at the entry fortress in Elland and ask the soldiers to feed and care for Oracka Mel and continue to watch their dungeon cart while they are gone. They leave instructions that, if they are not back in 10 days, to have someone escort Oracka Mel and the dungeon cart to the City of Landor and leave both in the care of Lourden and Livnia. They write a note explaining the situation to Lourden.
The group crosses Dragons Gate and then uses the Shadow Wings to fly up to the plateau that separates the Nations of Krelk and Hiro Janei. They stay more along the Hiro Janei side until they are well past the guard post and then descend into Krelk. They fly along the south cliff face at about 150 feet so they can see the terrain through the ominous mist that fills the evil nation. After traveling about 8 miles into Krelk, they strike out due north and eventually cross some roads. At the north side of the nation, they see a gated compound filled with Black Skeletons. Unfortunately the skeletons see them first so they veer off to the west and continue scouting while the Shadow Wings last. They spot a large, depressing looking city and skirt the edges of it to avoid being seen. They turn east and, after a few miles, see a group of peasants on the road ahead coming in their direction, which is also the direction of the city they spotted earlier. The group decides to descend and try to talk to them. Drolin, Tory and Aiya approach while the others stay aloft.
The peasants are a bit nervous but open to talking to the group. The group learns that they are farmers on their way back to the city after a hard day at work. Fearing that a patrol of black skeletons, lead by a Black Commander could show up at any time, Aiya successfully persuades two of the peasants to accompany the group to a place where they can hide and tell them more about Krelk. The group heads north and, after a bit, sees some low hills ahead. They set up camp and begin questioning the two men. One is an older man who is probably younger than he appears due to his very hard life. The other is a younger man. The two tell of a very difficult life for humans in the Nation of Krelk where they are virtual slaves to the ruler. All inhabitants work hard, many in the fields or mines, until they are too sick or infirm to work, after which they die. The slightest infractions result in imprisonment where they are eventually given to the dragon for food so that Krelk can trade with the other nations. Aiya and Tory learn that there has never been any sort of resistance to Krelk. Either would have expected the occasional resistance, ruthlessly crushed by Krelk but that simply doesn't happen, which seems odd.
Aiya asks the group in Elvish if she should mention the name (Morkoth Pyat) to the man to see if he knows of him. The group agrees.
GM: I called for a group luck roll to see if either of the men knew Morkoth. The group rolled a 14 indicating that one of the men knew of him. Everyone agreed to donate 1 Luck point to reduce the roll by 5 and make it a half Luck roll, which indicated that one of the men knew Morkoth very well.
Aiya asks about Morkoth Pyat. The older man says he knows him well and that Morkoth is a very sickly youth who runs a metalsmith shop in Onyo (the one and only city of the Nation of Krelk). They ask about the nature of the sickness but the man simply shrugs and says that it is not unusual for children to get sickly and die before they reach 20 years. It doesn't happen a lot but it certainly happens. Aiya asks if the man can bring Morkoth to meet the group.
GM: In talking to the two men, the group conclude that they are not overly intelligent (maybe 13 for the younger and 14 for the older) nor very strong willed (11 or 12).
The men agree to go see Morkoth and see if he wants to meet the group. Drolin suggests the he accompany them as he is human and can easily make himself look downtrodden to better blend in. Narathen casts a Mind Link (successful on the 5th attempt) on Drolin and the three depart. They are gone for about three and a half hours before they return with a very sickly young man. The group starts talking to him and very quickly picks up that Morkoth Pyat is a very intelligent and sharp witted young man, mature beyond his years. He agrees to have Eysarian look him over to see if he can diagnose his disease. Eysarian is not able to learn much with a quick examination but concludes that he has multiple diseases and may not live for many more weeks. He tells Morkoth that he can try to cure his diseases, with both his magical sword (Sword of the Meek can Cure Disease twice a week) and his own abilities. The young man readily agrees but the curing does not seem to help. Then, at the same time, it occurs to both Tory and Narathen to check him for a curse. Both Tory and Elenion are skilled with the Remove Curse ritual, giving them the ability to Detect Curses. Elenion determines that indeed the young man is cursed with a level 12 divine curse whose general nature is to inflict deadly diseases on the man until he dies. Aiya uses her Aura Reading talent to learn more. She determines that he has had the curse since birth and that, in all likelihood, all children in Krelk are born with the curse. For most children, the curse eventually weakens and later expires altogether. But for those with superior minds (high INT, WP and/or CHA) the curse will activate and, over the course of their first 20 years, inflict worse and worse diseases on them until they eventually die by the age of 20, if not sooner. It is already clear to the group that Morkoth has a superior mind. The purpose of the curse is almost certainly to kill anyone who might eventually grow to be a threat to Krelk so the challenge now makes sense. If they can permanently heal Morkoth, he will grow into someone who will be able to challenge Krelk. He might fail or he might succeed but he will certainly be able to challenge him.
Neither Tory nor Elenion are particularly good with the Ritual of Remove Curse and the fact that the curse is divine in nature makes it even more difficult. However, Tory has a scroll with a clerical Remove Curse ritual on it and Eysarian feels certain that it will succeed. The group explains what they would like to do to Morkoth and, knowing that if nothing is done, he will die soon, he readily agrees to it. Elenion casts a Read Magic spell and then reads the scroll. The curse is removed on Morkoth.
Immediately the fairy appears and waves her wand three times. After the first wave, Tory's Shadow Gi drops into his hands. After the second wave, a silver ankh drops into Aiya's hands. With the third wave, 6 tokens follow the ankh into Aiya's waiting hands.
GM: This is where we stopped for the night.
With very few spell points left, the group needs to rest. Aiya and Tory have enough spell points left (and the luck of the dice) to cast Shadow Wings and Wings spells on Spectre, Drolin and Eysarian who then carry the group out of Krelk and back to Dragons Gate. They cross Dragons Gate and spend the night at the entry fortress in Elland.
The next day, the group decides that rather than tackle Errtu, they will follow the tunnel down to see if they can meet the Master Mind and find out more about that challenge. They leave Oracka Mel and the dungeon cart at the Elland fortress. Because they want to be able to protect everyone mentally, they also leave Aphora and Spectre behind. That way Eysarian will be able to use his Mental Resistance talents to protect everyone who needs a Mind Mask.
The group also casts some spells, including Spell Stored (hung) spells for the trip to the Master Mind but most of the spells have expired by the time they reach the fortress of the Master Mind after just over three hours of travel. They inquire about an audience with the Master Mind with the gate guards. After a bit of back and forth, the group is told that they can meet with the Master Mind in two hours time.
Although the relatively small cavern that houses the castle of the Master Mind is tiny compared to those of the other underground nations, it is still large by normal cavern standards and so the group decides to walk around the castle and explore. In doing so, they stumble across the Token Store. The group has 24 tokens and uses them to purchase a +2 Shield (SR) for Narathen, a +2 Helm of Protection for Drolin, a +2 Ring of Protection for Tory and a Potion of Positive Energy Channel that Tory will carry.
After two hours, the group is admitted to the castle and shown to a reception room where they meet the Master Mind, a very old but still spry human. Aiya explains their challenge to the Master Mind who promptly tells them that he has no interest in exchanging the minds of Oracka Mel and Princess Targatta unless the princess agrees to the swap. His tone makes it very clear that he does not believe she will. Up until this point, the group believed that an evil old crone (Oracka Mel) somehow took over the body of Princess Targatta, exchanging minds in the process and leaving the real Princess Targatta trapped in the body of Oracka Mel. Based on some of the information they gain while talking to the Master Mind, they are no longer sure of this theory. As they are talking, a gate guard enters and tells the Master Mind that there are some merchants outside that seek to deal with him.
Having learned what they could, the group departs. They see a group of a dozen or more armed men escorting a wagon outside the gates of the castle. Aiya is able to see down into the wagon through the eyes of her familiar, Vigil. She sees six bound humans. Clearly the men hope to sell the humans to the Master Mind, making it clear that the Master Mind purchases slaves.
The group walks back to Dragons Gate and arrives after about three hours. They cross and return to their rooms at the Elland fortress to talk things over. Both Narathen and Aiya think that they are overlooking some important clues about the challenge. Then Elenion puts forth a new theory. Instead of an evil old crone mentally taking over the body of Princess Targatta, he suggests that Princess Targatta was the evil old crone. As a merchant princess, she would have been quite rich. He suggests that she sought out the Master Mind and paid him to switch her mind to the body of a young woman. This theory seems to answer most of the confusing questions but one question occurs to the group. If she paid him to switch her mind from her very old body to the young body of Oracka Mel, how did Oracka Mel, now inhabiting the ancient body of Princess Targatta, end up in Elland? It seems likely that Princess Tagatta, now safely ensconced in the body of a young woman, would have wanted her old body destroyed (along with the mind of Oracka Mel). Even if the Master Mind refused for some reason, it seems unlikely he would have taken the trouble to see her safely escorted to the City of Landor in Elland. At it seems even less likely that she could have escaped and made her own way there.
The next morning, the group enters Krelk but only proceeds as far as the tower that leads up to level four. They head up and make their way to the area where they had previously encountered the ogres and trolls. There they open the puzzle door and make their way down the shaft into Errtu. Before coming out into Errtu, one thousand feet above the ground, Aiya casts Invisibility on everyone and then Elenion and Tory cast Avian Wings/Wings on Spectre, Drolin and Eysarian who carry the group deep into Errtu. They land near the north wall and make their way towards a towering, nearby forest of trees that extend hundreds of feet into the air.
As they enter the forest and prepare to rest, another question suddenly occurs to both Aiya and Tory. If the Master Mind, himself a very old man, can make people immortal by switching them to younger bodies when they get old, why hasn't he done the same thing for himself?
GM: This is where we stopped for the night.
It is still early in the day so the group decides to circumnavigate the thick forest staying close to the edge where they can see out over the rolling plains. They spend the rest of the morning and much of the afternoon in this endeavor. They eventually reach a point where the undergrowth gives way to a swampy bog. The towering trees continue into the bog. The group continues through the forest staying on the relatively dry land north of the bog. Late in the afternoon, they reach a trail heading south into the bog from the forest. Aphora suddenly notices a couple of archers high in the trees and shouts a warning. Arrows rain down but cause only minor damage. Not wanting to fight over a dozen archers high in different trees, the group retreats and the archers do not follow. Elenion caught a good look at them and recognized them as orcs though they were a bit larger than normal orcs.
The group decides that they really need information and the best place to get it is the City of Envile. It has a dark reputation but the group is tough and skilled and should be able to handle it. They pick a direction and head across the rolling plains. An hour later, Elenion hears sounds from up ahead indicating that multiple large creatures are coming down the trail towards them. The group takes cover in the trees. Aphora casts an Animal Growth on Spectre and Narathen casts Telepathy and begins probing down the road. A short time later, he picks up the minds of multiple ogres as they come into range. Then he is suddenly hit with a psionic attack (Psychic Crush) that causes him some pain (6 damage). He grunts and warns of psionic attack. He points in the direction where he last detected the ogres. The group decides to wait and see what happens.
A group of ogres comes into view. By now it is well after dark. Aiya had cast Witchsight spells on Drolin and Aphora so they could see without lights.
The ogres are clearly wary and know that there is someone nearby. A group of them comes towards the copse of trees where the group is taking cover while another group is doing the same on the opposite side of the track in another copse of trees. The group also sees a manacled human being escorted by a pair of ogres. Walking behind them is a fully armored human who seems to be in charge.
The lead ogre suddenly spots the group and shouts gleefully. The ogres (and a few trolls) close in. Aiya casts a Wall of Darkness that one of them blunders into but the rest go around. The ogres from the road and the opposite copse of trees also start charging forward.
Battle ensues. At one point, the armored human shouts "SMASH!" and begins chanting. At that point all of the ogres and trolls attack simultaneously. From that point on, as the human chants, the ogres and trolls seem much more effective in their attacks although their defenses are not particularly good. The group drops a number of them.
Aiya, who was the target of one of the trolls, disengages and runs towards her Wall of Darkness to peer around it. She sees the armored human still chanting and looking in her direction. She retreats.
GM: This is where we stopped for the night.
Aphora has Spectre go over to assist Drolin and Eysarian while Tory and Narathen charge towards the armored man. When they reach him, he stops chanting and puts up a field of darkness around himself, making it difficult for Tory and Narathen to hit. Fortunately Aiya hits the darkness with a Light spell and nullifies it. When they are able to see again, they see that they are not facing an armored man, but rather a large demon. Both Tory and Narathen get in some lucky hits, as does the demon. However, as most of his ogres and trolls are now dead, he sees no reason to remain and he teleports away.
Aiya looks around for the prisoner that they had initially seen being escorted by ogres but sees no sign of him. She has Vigil fly around but, after being attacked with some sort of spell (Vigil saves but only after using a Luck point), Vigil flees back towards Aiya.
Narathen uses his Telepathy to try to find the prisoner but is attacked with another Psychic Crush that results in a critical hit. It is not a lot of damage but Narathen pulls back his Telepathy and warns that a psioncist is still about. Eysarian burns a point to watch for mental energy.
Elenion begins looking for the tracks of prisoner but finds none. He finds the tracks of the ogres and trolls as well as those of the demon. Narathan wonders if there ever was a prisoner. The demon clearly had an illusion on himself to look like an armored human so maybe he used another illusion to make himself look like the prisoner and created the armored man illusion from whole cloth. When the battle started, he dropped the prisoner illusion and assumed the armored man illusion. With no other ideas on what might have happened to the prisoner, Narathen's theory is as good as any.
Eysarian does first aid on everyone and then Narathen does some Empathy spells. Eysarian uses his Sword of the Meek and one spell to heal Narathen after the empathy spells.
The group continues down the track and it eventually intersects a main road. Off to the west less than a mile away, they see a city. They head towards it and enter the City of Envile a short time later. Envile strikes the group as a dangerous city where everyone is skilled with combat. City guards patrol in groups of 10 or more and seem unpredictable. The group makes their way deeper into the city looking for a place to stay that might provide some safety. Spectre gets a few looks but not many. Not surprising as the group sees plenty of monsters and they make their way down the darkened streets. Orcs, ogres and trolls are common but they also see nightmares and other monsters and strange creatures.
Aiya and Drolin (both with good Streetwise skill) finally find a place that will meet their needs. They enter and deal with the armed and armored proprietor. After a bit of bartering, Aiya gets a three room suite for 95 silver a night and another 20 silver for a good meal. They find a table and sit down to eat. Drolin sees a group sitting nearby and decides to go over and talk to them to see if he can learn anything. Aiya does the same thing a short time later with a group of five ugly humanoids enter and sit. Two are female half orcs and two more are male half orcs. The last is either a half orc or ugly human. All are armed and armored.
Drolin learns nothing of value but Aiya learns that the Rod of Dragon Fire is in the possession of some powerful guild or group in the city. She doesn't learn which one.
The group retires to their room for the night and finishes healing. In the morning, they eat breakfast and then head out to dig for information. The group mostly sticks together but, now and again, Drolin or Aiya will engage someone in conversation to attempt to get more information. In this manner, Aiya eventually learns that the Rod of Dragon Fire is in the possession of the most powerful Assassin's Guild in the city, a guild by the name of the Guild of the Dark Bane. She does not learn the location but learns some places in the city where she can make contact with guild members.
Early in the afternoon, Narathen has the idea to find out more about Princess Targatta as well. Mainly to see if she ever comes to the city. Afternoon and evening questioning by Aiya and Drolin reveal that indeed the princess visits the city of Envile fairly regularly.
The group finds a different and slightly better inn to stay at for the night and, the next morning, continues questioning. They have significant luck in that first Aiya finds someone inimical to the Guild of the Dark Bane who provides Aiya with all of the information she could hope to get about the guild, including the location and the best times to strike if she wants to find the guild full of members or mostly empty of members. She also learns that the guild is magically warded in some way.
Then Drolin finds someone who knows a lot about Princess Targatta. He learns that she is some sort of mind mage, probably Sorceries of the Mind but possibly even a psionicist. She travels on a nightmare and has a personal guard of harpies.
The group assesses the information. They debate whether to approach the guild and barter for the rod or assault the headquarters and steal it. They settle on the assault but, since they want to depart Errtu after getting the rod, they decide that they will need to capture Princess Targatta first and complete the other quest before they assault the guild headquarters.
GM: This is where we stopped for the night.
The group departs the City of Envile along the road heading towards Dragons Gate to find a place where they can set up an ambush to capture Princess Targatta. They find a location along the road and set up camp out of sight of the road. Aiya, Aphora, Elenion and Narathan take turns watching the road, with their familiars (Gertrude in the case of Aphora) watching the road and the four mages further back where they can watch their familiars and see through their eyes. A third watcher is near the camp and is rotated between Eysarian, Tory and Drolin. A twine runs between the forward watcher and the camp watcher for signalling purposes.
The group maintains this watch formation day and night for the next three days. It is eight in the evening, and the "sun" is starting to "go down" when Princess Targatta's retinue is spotted. Loki is the forward watch, with Narathen further back watching Loki and watching through Loki's eyes. Drolin is on watch near the camp at the other end of the signalling twine. Narathen pulls the twine giving the signal that Princess Targatta is coming and they have about 30 seconds before she will be in range. The group had already discussed their plans and they flew into action. Preparatory spells were cast, Mind Masks were put up and the group moves into action such that, by the time the Princess comes info full view, Eysarian is standing on the road with an Invisibility spell on him courtesy of Aiya. Aiya and Elenion are on a rise looking towards the road. Narathen is close to the road where he was keeping watch. Drolin, Aphora and Spectre retreat since they have no way to hide from a Telepathy spell that the princess may have up. Tory is moving into position.
The battle starts when Aiya begins to cast a Sunburst spell with the intent to blind the circling harpies. Unfortunately one of the harpies hears her casting and squawks and loud alarm. The harpies react immediately such that Aiya is only able to blind two of the harpies with her spell.
The princess spurs her horse to speed but Eysarian hits her hard with his great sword and she is unhorsed and stunned. The horse immediately turns to attack the still invisible Eysarian. Elenion casts and Oaken Shard and hits one of the harpies flying in his direction.
The next round, Eysarian hits the princess again as she gets up but then she hits Eysarian with a hung Mental Bolt for 52 NL damage. Eysarian saves and takes 26. One of the harpies hits Elenion and Aiya with an Ice Storm, causing 14 damage to each and stripping away their Stoneskin spells. Another harpy hits Narathen and Loki with a cone from a Wand of Fear but both make their saves.
GM: This is where we stopped for the night. We completed initiative 9 and will be starting next session on initiative 8.
Harpy 1 already attacked using an Ice Storm from her Wand of Frost against Aiya and Elenion.
Harpy 4 already attacked using her Wand of Fear against Narathen and Loki. Both made their saves.
Harpies 5 and 7 are stunned for 11 more rounds due to the Sunburst spell.
Harpies 2, 3, 6 and 8 have held actions. The nightmare has not yet attacked.
Eysarian has already made all of his attacks for the round. His last attack on initiative 9 stunned Princess Targatta for the rest of the round.
Elenion cast an Oaken Shard spell and has already attacked this round (I think).
Narathen is starting to cast (what spell and at whom?)
Tory is moving up to attack Princess Targatta with NL attacks.
Aphora, Drolin and Spectre are moving up to back up Aiya and Elenion (although the area effect Ice Storm may change their minds).
Everyone saw the Ice Storm attack. Those with familiars nearby (Tory and Narathen) might want to consider having their familiars move away to avoid AE attacks.