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 Return from Burning Keep

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PostSubject: Return from Burning Keep   Mon Nov 13, 2006 7:50 pm

As you emerge from the secret chamber in the basement of Burning Keep, the stone door flashes back into existence behind you, so close that it shaves a few hairs off Luna’s tail. Seconds later, there’s a rumble from the surrounding stone. Even though it has apparently stood for centuries, cracks begin to appear in it and streams of dust stream down from the crumbling ceiling. As you hurry up the levels, the rumbling gets louder and turns into the sound of crashing stone, as the lowest level, followed more slowly by the penultimate one, and then the one above it, collapses in on itself. As you emerge into the top level, a thick cloud of dust billows up the stairs after you.

Once it’s clear that the rest of the tower is not about to all, you stop to rest and heal up as much as possible. Despite the healing, everyone besides Six bears the marks of your encounter with the vampire guardian, and there is nothing at hand to be able to deal with it. You also take the time for Nameless to study the magical auras of the items that you recovered. You are fairly certain of most of them, but a couple are difficult to predict.

Nameless also studies the amulet, without actually touching it physically. It has strong auras of abjuration, conjuration and transmutation.

Once this is done, you head back towards Rotting Blade. The return trip takes a lot longer than it should, since you have to detour around half a dozen creatures, which are currently feasting on the bodies of the three giant lizards you slew on the way. These look like large predatory cats in shape, but they have reddish scales and a row of foot-long spines growing down the middle of their backs, as well as an extra set of legs. Considering your condition, you figure it is better to swing wide around them, rather than risk another unnecessary battle, and manage to do so successfully.

It is late afternoon by the time you reach Rotting Blade. Though night falls early in the Demon Wastes, it seems to be doing so much faster today, with the sky seeming darker than it should be by the time you near the village. Or perhaps it’s just a particularly thick pall of smoke from the many volcanoes and flame pits of the area.

When you enter the village, the people again say nothing to you, though you notice more of them are watching covertly. Gareth picks up a fair amount of curiosity in the minds you pass, as you return to the central tavern. Once there, you find Siyal (the naztharune rakshasa in human female form), who quickly leads you through the back room, down to the cellar, and to the room where you met Vraria.

Re-entering her chamber, you find Vraria talking to Uthcheq, still in his orc form. He moves away and takes a position opposite Siyal and beside the door, taking on his true form (as Siyal has). Vraria, also in her true form as a night hag, looks at you with gleaming eyes. But as she looks around, noting that all of you are here, you can clearly see growing disappointment in her eyes.

“So,” she says, “Since you are all here, I presume that means you did not encounter the guardian?” Hopefully, she adds, “Or did you?”


P.S. I'm putting the info on the magic items in another thread. Also, if you do something that would prevent or change the above, let me know.
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Nameless



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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:08 pm

"Ah. That information will cost you extra. There's a number of things you might be interested in knowing about that tower. But we can discuss that, once we have satisfied ourselves as to the quality of the information you have promised us."
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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:25 pm

Nameless wrote:
"Ah. That information will cost you extra. There's a number of things you might be interested in knowing about that tower. But we can discuss that, once we have satisfied ourselves as to the quality of the information you have promised us."

Vraria frowns slightly but then smoothes her countenance. "Maybe. But more importantly, do you have the amulet? And if so..."

She extends a hand.
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Nameless



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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:54 pm

Admin wrote:
Nameless wrote:
"Ah. That information will cost you extra. There's a number of things you might be interested in knowing about that tower. But we can discuss that, once we have satisfied ourselves as to the quality of the information you have promised us."

Vraria frowns slightly but then smoothes her countenance. "Maybe. But more importantly, do you have the amulet? And if so..."

She extends a hand.

Nameless will show her the amulet, make sure she gets a good look at it and then drop it in the bag of holding.

"I don't wish to be rude, but we have just faced down a most 'interesting' guardian to retrieve this on your behalf and we do need that information. Before you raise the obvious objection, we WILL live up to our half of the bargain. If for no other reason, than we have no desire to make additional enemies. The ones we have currently are more than sufficient and I am getting very tired of people screwing with us."

Nameless will smile broadly. "Besides, I'd never hear the end of it from Korm, if we didn't live up to our agreement. Do you know that he actually insisted that we negotiate in good faith with a mindflayer? And he's a Gatekeeper."

"So the information first please."
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Luna



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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:15 am

Hi.
Would you happen to have a restoration spell laying around handy?
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Luna



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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:16 am

Oh, and feel free to remove this taint thing any time your ready!
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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:38 am

Vraria looks at you all silently for a long moment, until interrupted by:

Luna wrote:
Would you happen to have a restoration spell laying around handy?

Oh, and feel free to remove this taint thing any time your ready!

Vraria stares at Luna for a bit and then says, “You are insane. Still, that can be taken care of – and in fact, I can handle that more easily when I have the amulet.”

She looks past Luna and speaks a few syllables (which only Nameless understands, since it's in fiendish, to be, "Watch the wizard. If he, or anybody else, tries to flee with the bag, kill him.") to her servitors. Both of them step forward quickly, shortswords appearing in their hands, to position themselves behind Nameless.

As they move, Vraria quickly adds, this time in Common, "Do not be alarmed. There is no danger - as long as you keep your side of the bargain. If you try to leave with that bag, you" (she looks at Nameless) "Will die for sure."

Vraria then takes a seat and says, "Here is the information - and I have a little extra for you. Zathara has, for centuries, been interested in the Lake of Fire, or more precisely, in what is bound beneath it. The Lake of Fire is a few miles from here, and though I don't know who lies beneath it, I know it is one of the greatest of the Rajahs. Whether Zathara wants to awaken him, or it, or simply to leach some of its power, I don't know. Whatever benefits him most, I presume."

"I have worked with him for short periods before, mainly because it benefited me and there was never any fear that he might succeed. I don't want one of the Rajahs out any more than you, I presume, do. There's no way to predict the results. I have a very comfortable situation here, and I'd like to keep it that way."

"Whatever he found in your lands, I don't know, but I know Zathara was more excited about it than I've ever seen him. He clearly thinks that it'll help him succeed at whatever he has planned. When he stopped here, that was only to inform me to slay you if you ever showed up." Vraria looks speculatively around the group, which does quite look the worse for wear now. "For some reason, you have him worried." She shrugs. "Well, you did defeat the guardian, whatever it was, and I know it has slain rakshasas before, so maybe he has reason."

“Anyhow, I know he was going to a lair he has to the north, in order to recover some things and make preparations, before returning here. As soon as you left, I sent Uthcheq here to the volcano. And he returned only minutes before you came. Uthcheq – tell them what you saw?”

The panther-headed rakshasa speaks, but the blades in his paws, only inches from Nameless’s back, don’t move. “I was watching the Lake of Fire from a distance, and after an hour, I saw three figures appear on the lower slopes to the West. I quickly moved closer and verified that while all three were rakshasas, one was an ak’chazar. It must have been Zathara. He held up a small object, like a rod made of crystal, and an amber beam shone from it. A doorway appeared in the side of the volcano and the ak’chazar, and one other, this one carrying the blade that Nethatar wields, entered. The other rakshasa waited by the doorway. As soon as the two entered, there was an explosion.” He looks at Vraria. “I hurried back to tell you. As I was coming, I heard a loud rumbling and the Lake began to spew smoke into the air, and I think I saw a small eruption.”

As he ends, Vraria says, “And there you have it. They are at the Lake of Fire, where Zathara is trying to achieve whatever he has been seeking to. You must have seen the darkness in the sky when you were arriving. That is the smoke from the Lake. You have no time, so hand over the amulet, let me help you as I can, and leave.”

And, as Vraria speaks, you feel your link to the Key disappear.
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Nameless



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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:49 am

Nameless will quietly take the amulet out of the bag and hand it over to her, saying.

"Well it sounds like we are all about to run out of time."
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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:09 am

Nameless wrote:
Nameless will quietly take the amulet out of the bag and hand it over to her, saying.

"Well it sounds like we are all about to run out of time."

As Nameless is doing so, silver flames erupt in a diagonal line down Gareth's back. Luckily for Nameless, the naztharune are very well-trained, and Vraria did tell them to kill him only if someone tried to escape, so the blades at his back move barely an inch closer before they stop.

"What th...," begins Vraria, before she recovers to quickly grab the amulet from Nameless's hand. She quickly drops the chain around her neck, letting it dangle on her withered chest, and then completes the original sentence. "What the Hells is that?"

It is now clear that the flames, which continue to burn, are running up and down the sheathed blade of Kizmet. They do not harm or burn Gareth in any way, but those near him can feel their heat.

Gareth, however, notices something extra. For a moment, there's a voice, a harsh, metallic voice, in his head. "The Lake of Fire. You must go to the Lake." A scene flashes in his mind, the scene from his dream where he holds the Key in one hand and Kizmet in the other. Then both voice and scene fade, and, a few seconds later, so do the flames.
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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Tue Nov 14, 2006 2:52 pm

Phased for a moment, more of shock then anything else, Gareth is happy his face is masked behind a helmet. As the flames die down, "She is correct, we must go to the Lake of Fire. There we will defeat our prey and complete this holy quest." Deep down Gareth gives a prayer to the Silver Flame, thanking the Flame for its help and guidance.
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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:15 pm

Vraria looks a little suspiciously at Gareth, and then settles for a comment of "You need to be careful with that sword. Do that in the wrong place and you'll be dead before you know it."

Then she switches her attention to the amulet. She looks down at it and smiles, before stroking it gently in an almost lascivious manner. "Just to make sure...," she mutters, and then looks back up.

"Would you," (she points at Nameless) "Please detect magic on me, and you," (she indicates Gareth) "Detect my thoughts?" Vraria puts her hands on her hips and waits.

Assuming you do so, Nameless detects the same magical auras as before on the amulet and also picks up a few different magical auras on her. Gareth, meanwhile, picks up the surface thought, "I'm thinking that you very likely are screwed."

"So," Vraria asks, "What did you pick up?" When you answer, she grins toothily, and then places a hand on the amulet. After a few seconds, she says, "Now try it again."

This time, there is no effect whatsoever. As far as Nameless's spell and Gareth's divine ability are concerned, Vraria might as well not exist. When you explain what happened (or rather, didn't), she smiles broadly, and just a little relievedly. "I always did want to experience the joys of a Mind Blank."

Vraria sighs contentedly and says, "It is the Amulet I wanted. You have done very well - better than I really expected. Since you have little time, let's make this quick. What sort of help do you need?" She looks at Luna. "A Restoration, you said. And a cure for the Taint. Anything else?"
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Nameless



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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:08 pm

Admin wrote:
"What sort of help do you need?" She looks at Luna. "A Restoration, you said. And a cure for the Taint. Anything else?"

"Most of us could use a restoration, except for him" Nameless will jerk a thumb at Six. Also if you can speed up our transit to the Lake of Fire, that would seem to be advisable. I lost my teleports when I was drained by the guardian. There's also a ring we recovered from the guardian. It would be nice to know if it's useful."
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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Fri Nov 17, 2006 4:20 am

Do me first!
I'm already molting and retaining a water!
I simply can't also have taint and be down levels too!
It's unseemly!
And I feel all cross and put out!
And like I can't enjoy killing or even playing with the new magic items in this condition!
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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:15 am

Vraria is about to reply to Nameless, when Luna breaks in. The night hag smiles thinly at her words. "You people really are a little insane. Hopefully that makes you the right ones to stop Zathara." The tone of voice betrays a little uncertainty about that.

"To that end, I'll do what I can to make things easier for you. After all," she adds with a real smile this time, "I might as well try out the limits of my new toy. All of you who need healing, hold hands."

When you do so, Vraria reaches out and touches Luna's shoulder. Luna feels a warmth flow in from her hand and spread instantly through her body. The next person feels the warmth flow in from Luna's hand and spread through and to the next person. And so on, till everyone feels it.

Vraria closes her eyes, raises her other hand to grasp the amulet, and concentrates. After a couple of seconds, starting with the last person, the warmth recedes. And as it passes, so does the feeling of weakness that you have had since the battle with the guardian. And even the least lingering traces of the Taint.

As Luna feels the last of the warmth drain from her, Vraria staggers, even her purplish-black complexion paling, and almost falls. The two naztharune rakshasas step forward as one, blades flashing into their paws, but Vraria gestures quickly. "Stop - I'm fine."

She straightens, still looking weak, and again closes a hand around the amulet. She closes her eyes and, after a second, her normal complexion reasserts itself. "Aaah!"

Reopening her eyes, she says, "That's as much as I can do for you right now. And I can't get you to the Lake of Fire any more quickly. It's almost directly to the northeast. Four miles. You'll see it easily enough once you get past the second set of hills in that direction. With what's going on in the sky, I don't think you can miss it. The door's easy enough to see. To the southwest - right, Uthcheq?" The naztharune nods silently.

"There you are. As for that ring you mentioned...," Vraria stops and walks over to a cabinet and produces an ornately carved chest. She opens it and after rummaging inside for a bit, pulls out a scroll and tosses it to Nameless. "That should do it, but you'll have to use the spell."

"And now, I suggest you leave. Quickly." Vraria pauses and looks around at all of you, clearly weighing your potential. "And, paladin or not, I suggest you all pray."

Note: When Nameless checks, he finds the scroll Vraria gave him is an Analyze Dweomer. Are you using it now?
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Nameless



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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Fri Nov 17, 2006 10:43 am

Admin wrote:
Note: When Nameless checks, he finds the scroll Vraria gave him is an Analyze Dweomer. Are you using it now?

Have we leveled yet?
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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Fri Nov 17, 2006 11:48 am

Nameless wrote:
Have we leveled yet?

Nope. But you can still use the scroll.
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Nameless



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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:18 pm

Admin wrote:
Nameless wrote:
Have we leveled yet?

Nope. But you can still use the scroll.

You're really getting off on torturing Nameless like this aren't you.

He'll use the scroll.
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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:45 pm

Nameless wrote:
You're really getting off on torturing Nameless like this aren't you.

Yes, yes - I am Very Happy

Quote :
He'll use the scroll.

Nameless finds that the ring is of a kind he's never seen. It's a Metamagic Ring, designed specifically to alllow a spellcaster to imbue his spells with Metamagic Feats, whether he knows them or not, and more effectively than known Metamagic Feats work.

It's powers are as follows:

Thrice per day, you can apply any one of the following metamagic feats to a spell of up to levels 3 while casting, without increasing a spell's casting time or using a higher level slot:

Empower Spell
Energy Substitution (Acid)
Enlarge Spell
Extend Spell
Silent Spell

Additionally, once per day, you can apply any one of the above metamagic feats to a spell of up to level 6 while casting.

The wearer of the ring can cast Detect Magic, Prestidigitation and Unseen Servant 3/day each.

The ring also provides a +5 competence bonus to Spellcraft checks.

So, is it good for you too?
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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:51 pm

Admin wrote:
Nameless finds that the ring is of a kind he's never seen. It's a Metamagic Ring, designed specifically to alllow a spellcaster to imbue his spells with Metamagic Feats, whether he knows them or not, and more effectively than known Metamagic Feats work.

It's powers are as follows:

Thrice per day, you can apply any one of the following metamagic feats to a spell of up to levels 3 while casting, without increasing a spell's casting time or using a higher level slot:

Empower Spell
Energy Substitution (Acid)
Enlarge Spell
Extend Spell
Silent Spell

Additionally, once per day, you can apply any one of the following metamagic feats to a spell of up to level 6 while casting.

The wearer of the ring can cast Detect Magic, Prestidigitation and Unseen Servant 3/day each.

The ring also provides a +5 competence bonus to Spellcraft checks.

So, is it good for you too?



Though unless you mean the previous list of MMF can also be applied to a spell of up to 6th lvl once a day, you forgot the second list.
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PostSubject: Re: Return from Burning Keep   Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:56 pm



Very Happy

Quote :
Though unless you mean the previous list of MMF can also be applied to a spell of up to 6th lvl once a day, you forgot the second list.

Yes, it's the same list. I was editing the post just as you posted.
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PostSubject: Moving out   Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:58 pm

Anything particular the PCs are doing before leaving?

The expeditious retreat spells are still in effect, so you would be able to do the same thing you did before, Nameless and Gareth riding Luna, and Korm and Six walking.
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